Dylan’s wife dragged him to marriage counseling before things ended the way they did. This is before the huge blow up that caused it to all go downhill. When they still may have had a chance, if only they could spice up their love life a little.
The feeling of Frankie rolling her eyes washed over him as he sat on the couch. It was difficult trying to sit up straight and look relaxed, but you couldn’t look too relaxed because then you might not be willing to work together. Dylan had learned most of his tells coming to marriage counseling. He couldn’t fold his fingers together, straighten his tie, or run his fingers through his hair. And that was just the beginning.
“Frankie says that you’ve lost,” Dr. Jennings referred to her notes, “that loving feeling. That things aren’t as exciting as they used to be. That the passion is gone.” Dylan watched as the doctor flipped back to her current page for taking notes and smiled softly at them.
“I’m willing to try new things.” Dylan focused on his body, forcing himself not to shrug. If he shrugged, it would seem like it wasn’t a big deal that his marriage was falling to pieces. “I just need to know more about what she’s interested in. I’m open-minded.” Mentioning the many nights that went by where she was too tired, or had a headache, or just wasn’t in the mood had happened only once and he would never mention them again.
Frankie’s body language right now, from what he had learned over the past several months, was telling him that she was quite closed-off from the conversation. She was picking at her cuticles and not looking at him or the doctor. Dylan didn’t know where he went wrong and that’s how it felt, that he had done something so wrong that they ended up here.
“Frankie?” Waiting patiently while Dr. Jennings tried to get her to open up, Dylan couldn’t help but fidget. He was sure that they’d both notice, but Frankie was still looking away and the doctor was staring her down. For the most part, Dylan liked Dr. Jennings. She didn’t play games or pit them against each other. She listened, made notes, and then the last part of the session she’d go over a few things for them to work on during the week.
“I’m interested in exploring something more adventurous. I just don’t know where to start.” Dylan watched her like a hawk. There were a few lurking suspicions in the back of his mind that she’d been cheating on him and unwilling to admit it.
“I need more information from the both of you. Do you want to spice things up with spanking and that sort of thing or do you want to bring another person into the mix? This is a safe place, you can both speak your minds here.” Frankie recrossed her legs the other direction, away from them. She appeared unhappy about that thought.
“I guess…,” Frankie paused as she looked around the room, her bottom lip looked like it was quivering and Dylan thought she may have tears in her eyes, “I’d like to bring someone else in. Maybe another couple. Maybe try swinging.”
Insight dawned in Dylan’s mind. He knew where this was coming from now. She wasn’t cheating and she wasn’t bored. She was jealous. They had met a new couple a while back, one of the ideas Dr. Jennings had given them was to go out and meet other married couples, and they were swingers. Hailey’s husband was charming and darkly handsome. Even Dylan felt an attraction to the man. It made perfect sense now, though. She wanted to fuck her friend’s husband.
“Dylan? Do you have any thoughts on trying out something like that?” He looked up, blinking the thoughts away that had consumed him. It was his turn to sit there in silence as he contemplated what to say. He did find Jesse attractive. Hailey was gorgeous and he wouldn’t mind spending time with her, especially if given permission to do something he’d fantasized over the past few weeks.
Forcing himself not to shrug, Dylan turned, his arm along the back of the couch as he faced his wife. “I’d like to hear more. Are you thinking of someone specific or are you planning to go online and look for some anonymous fling?”
“I had someone in mind.” Frankie’s voice was so low, neither he or the doctor could hear. Luckily, she cleared her throat and repeated the answer.
“Okay. This is a good start. Frankie, since you have a couple in mind, I think you should figure out a way to approach–.” Frankie cut her off by raising her hand.
“I won’t have to approach them; they’ve already approached us. Well, me. Um.” She fixed her blouse, ran her fingers through her hair and then, as if it weren’t enough physical tells already, she sat up very straight. However, she didn’t look at Dylan. It drove him nuts that she wouldn’t look at him.
Dylan sat back against the couch and crossed his arms. “Before we go any further, may I ask something, Frankie?” He pointedly looked at her while he spoke and she still couldn’t bring herself to look at him.
“Why won’t you look at me? You haven’t looked at me the last three sessions, and now this one you’re making sure that I am not even in your peripheral vision.” He stood up and turned, then squatted down in front of her.
As he watched her face, the way her eyes didn’t look at him still as he invaded her personal space, she looked as if she might cry right then and there. “Just tell me what’s going on. Did you already sleep with them? Do they not want me included? I’d rather know then be completely in the dark.”
Frankie finally looked at him, shock clear on her face with the way her eyes bulged open and her mouth dropped. “No, no! I haven’t cheated on you. And I wouldn’t even think about doing this if they weren’t going to invite you as well. I’m just afraid that you won’t be interested in trying this with me.”
Dylan smiled, letting the gesture flow through him, he could feel the warm as it spread to his eyes. “Frankie, I love you. Of course I’m willing to try this. I’ve always thought you were… too shy for a lot of things.” The last word he wanted to use had entered his mind first: prude.
“Why would you think that?” Dylan choked back the laugh that he felt bubbling up from within.
“You get upset if the tv show or movie we pick out has gratuitous sex or nudity. You scoff and make negative comments about it and if I don’t immediately agree, you leave the room.” Dylan hadn’t realized that he stood and was leaning over her. His voice had raised a bit as the heat of anger washed over him.
“Did you ever stop to think, dear husband, that perhaps I was jealous?” Dylan blinked. He ran his hand over his face before he could stop himself.
“No, I wouldn’t have thought you were jealous. I thought you were an adult who realized those scenes weren’t real.” He could feel his heart thumping hard and fast in his chest. He couldn’t believe she had actually said that she’d leave the room out of jealousy. Sitting back down, he let himself go and squeezed the bridge of his nose. A headache loomed behind his eyes, just a whisper, but sometimes that’s all it took.
“Let’s take a few moments to calm down, shall we?” Dr. Jennings took a minute to write down some notes and then set aside her notebook. It was time for the homework assignment. “I think you should visit with this couple in a non-sexual way. Get to know them. Have dinner, go to a party together, that sort of thing. I also want you to watch some amateur porn. Just make sure your virus scanner is up to date. Same time next week.”
Dr. Jennings picked up a small metal box from the table beside her. When they started going to counseling, Dylan had thought it was some kind of fancy breath mint holder, but it really held her business card and she wrote their next appointment on the back of two cards. After handing them each a card she showed them out. “Good luck. See you next week.”
Frankie turned to him after the door shut and looked up at him. “Dylan, are you sure you’re okay with seeing Hailey and Jesse? I don’t want to put you into an uncomfortable place.”
“Yeah. It’s not a problem. Let’s just go out to dinner or something first like the doctor suggested.” He found himself rubbing Frankie’s back gently, the way that she preferred. When she didn’t pull away, he continued as they walked out the door to their vehicles.
“See you at home?” Dylan watched her. She’d been staying with her sister the last couple of days. He missed having her around the house. When she turned to look at him and nodded, something unclenched deep down inside that he hadn’t realized was there. “Be safe.”