(Last week: After two months Gina and Chartan have settled into married life as have Brazil and Julie.)
Chartan spotted Minerva in his side view mirror approaching the rear of the limo, her gait slow, her head bowed. He took a last gulp of his 72-bean coffee, blinked and carefully placed the cup in its holder before flinging open the driver’s door.
He crossed over to the passenger rear side of the black Bentley and grabbed the door handle. His hand, warmed by the coffee mug, turned cold under the grip of cold steel. Why am I thinking about this? Ah, I’m slightly upset that my peace in the front seat has been interrupted. She’s early. The sessions usually last an hour—it’s only been 30 minutes.
“Chartan, I’m not ready to leave.”
He promptly closed the limo door.
“I want you follow me.”
She spoke as if he were under her command and, in a sense she was—she paid for her power over him. Without questioning her, he followed a few steps behind. He knew the way to Dr. Kodor’s office–Minerva had paid for his sessions with the renowned therapist after Chartan been wounded by a bullet fired by the car window bandit. Chartan shivered slightly. He had forgotten what they had discussed six months ago, but he remembered the wood paneling in the office and the wall of documents showing that Kodor was an honored scholar. I’m married now, months removed from those strange times with Elisa. Gina had been my turn in the road, that bright light ahead that gives me a purpose in life.
As Chartan entered the office, he worried that his world was more fragile than he was willing to admit, that it could come undone easily from Dr. Kodor’s first words.The bespectacled gray-haired man stood up from behind the giant desk, exposing his short stature.
“My dear, Chartan, I had hoped to hear from you again.”
Why did I stop seeing him? What did I say in this room? I don’t remember anything?
Dr. Kodor motioned to Minerva with the flip of his hand. She smiled and left.
“Chartan, please sit.” The former guru turned limo driver nodded and took the oversized leather chair he had occupied six months ago. Kodor sat in the other oversized leather chair. The two were now a few feet away, each pushed back against a thick cushion.
“There won’t be any fees attached to our talk,” said Kodor. “I simply want to explore why you stopped coming here.”
“I don’t recall a specific reason. I simply fell in line with a series of events that involved two women and a combat vet. Now I’m married and driving a limo for a living. And that’s my life in 30-seconds.”
Kodor coughed. “It sounds like you don’t care, that, perhaps, you’ve given up. ”
Kodor’s words were a punch to the stomach. Chartan straightened himself in the chair, exhaled and tried to regain the will power that had abandoned him.
His first words were spoken slowly. “I’ve fallen in love.”….”Her name is Gina and I want to be with her now. It’s true that I don’t care about things I once thought important, but I haven’t given up.”
His statement cleared the fog that had followed him from the limo. He didn’t like Kodor and his brand of psychotherapy. Chartan stood up.
“Dr. Kodor, I have a limo to drive.” He turned and left, imaging that the world famous therapist’s jaw had dropped, but he didn’t care to confirm the effect of his sudden departure.
He returned to the limo, not surprised that Minerva was on the phone in the back seat.
“That was quick,” she said, lowering the phone to her lap.
“There wasn’t much to say. Home?”
The two didn’t speak again until the limo stopped in front of her mansion. He opened the door for her.
“My dear, Chartan, I apologize for sleeping on the way home. She handed him a wad of rolled up bills which he stuffed into his pocket as he walked by her side to the front door.
Twenty minutes later he opened his apartment door. Gina was seated at the kitchen table.
“We have to talk,” she said.
His heart pounded. Her voice sounded as if she were in pain.
(To be continued next Sunday)