Chapter 4 (2) The Girl Within

She nodded, “Has that affected your home life?”
I laughed slightly.  “Do you have young kids at home?”
I realized after a few moments she was not going to answer me.  “Of course, it affected my home life.  Daniel has been cutting teeth and is grumpy and won’t sleep.  We’ve been lucky to get a couple of hours of rest a night.  Then Chris’ work has scheduled him for overtime and he’s exhausted.”  I stopped short.  The complaints all seemed minor now.  I would have willingly stayed up all night with Daniel if he would only return to me.
“Did you and Chris argue?” the question was asked expectantly.
I suddenly felt like I was again being grilled by law enforcement.  “Chris and I love each other.  Every couple argues.”  I thought about the last time it happened.  I’d threatened to divorce Chris.  The words just slipped out.  I’d regretted them as soon as they had left my mouth.  Chris had looked stunned.  Have things gotten as bad as that, he’d asked.
Dr. Miles pushed the thick glasses back up her nose, “Were they ever violent?”
I flinched.  That last time we argued, I’d thrown a plate that had almost hit Chris.  I’d never done that before in our relationship.  “No, of course not.”
“But the marriage was strained, correct?” she asked.
I let out a deep breath.  “We were both working hard on very little sleep.  Tempers were bound to flare.  There was nothing fundamentally wrong with our relationship.”
I didn’t like where this conversation was heading.  I could feel myself growing angrier by the minute.
“What made you decide to sell antiques?”
I looked at Dr. Miles in surprise.  Maybe she sensed she had pushed me too far.  “I like searching for one of a kind items.  Each of them has a story to tell.  When I furnished our first home, I realized how hard it was to find decorative pieces that would be unique.  I didn’t want our house to look like everyone else’s.”
“But you recently had to lay off a clerk?”  Dr. Miles queried.
The question stung as if I had been pricked by a needle.  “The shop has done well since it opened except for this year.”  I’d seen the business dwindle away to nothing over the last couple of months.  I’d racked my brain for ideas to get new customers.  I’d tried a lavish advertising budget, securing new, exotic furniture pieces, and contests.  Nothing had worked.  I’d been putting off the inevitable.  It had been left up to my mother to announce the store was closed and dismiss my last remaining employee after the FBI left.
She crossed her legs at the ankle before delivering another blow, “So there were money problems to add to the tension?”
I nearly growled out loud.  If Dr. Trace thought this woman would help, he was crazy.  She was grilling me like an investigator.  “Things weren’t nearly as dire as you insinuate.”
“I just want to get an accurate picture.  Everything you tell me is completely confidential.”
I was starting to find her nonemotional voice and probing questions unbearable.  “None of that matters now.  I don’t care if I have to declare bankruptcy.  With Daniel and Chris gone, I have nothing.”
“Have you been having suicidal thoughts?” she asked quietly.
I instantly regretted the outburst.  Of course I had.  “No,” I answered flatly.
She paused for a moment.  I couldn’t tell whether she believed me or not.  “Do you blame yourself for what happened?”
I thought about the question.  If I had hung up on the customer and hurried home, would it have made a difference?  “No, I just

next page