After Richard’s babysitter arrived, Jim took Cillay to the courthouse so that she could meet with the personnel office and complete the necessary paperwork for her new job. While she was doing that , he stopped at his office and spoke with his administrative assistant.
“Vera”, he told her. “I won’t be in until late this afternoon. I have some things I need to take care of.”
“Very well Mr. Benedict”, Vera said with surprise. That made two days this week that he had missed work. Jim was a workaholic so this was very unusual for him. She wondered if it had anything to do with the young woman rumored to be staying with him.
Jim returned to the personnel office as Cillay was leaving.
“How did it go?”, he asked her.
“Great!”, she told him.
It had gone very well. Although she did not have her degree she did have three years of college working towards her degree in business administration. So her salary was going to be more than she expected. Although she did wonder if Jim had anything to do with that, she decided just to accept her good fortune and not mention it.
“It’s time to head over to Terrance’s office.,” he told her.
Immediately the smile left Cillay’s face. Jim sensed her change in mood.
“Everything will be alright Cillay. I promise.,” he said, and gently caressed her cheek.
Jim’s coworkers saw him caress her cheek and gave each other knowing smiles and smirks. They believed that their suspicions about the relationship between Jim and Cillay had been verified and could not wait to share that juicy bit of gossip with others.
Jim suddenly noticed the looks and the snickers. He wasn’t ashamed of his feelings for Cillay, but he did not want to cause her any embarrassment. He took her by the hand and led her from the building.
Cillay was silent on the ride to Terrance’s office. She was nervous and anxious.
When they reached the office, the receptionist ushered her to one of the examination rooms and told Jim that he could join her after she had changed into an examination gown. She had assumed that Jim was Cillay’s husband.
“Do you want me to go back with you?,” Jim asked her.
Cillay thought about it, and decided that she did since he had already seen the bruises anyway.
“Yes, please.”, she told him.
She entered the examination room and quickly changed. After a few minutes there was a knock at the door and Jim joined her.
After Terrance came in, Jim introduced them.
“Cillay, this is Dr. Terrance Boggs. We’ve been good friends since childhood. Terrance, this is Cillay Rockwood, my…”, he hesitated starting to say girlfriend, but they had not discussed that yet. So he said instead,”my dear friend.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Cillay. I’m looking forward to getting to know you. Please call me Terrance.”, he told her. “Jim didn’t mention how pretty she is.”, he thought to himself.
“It’s nice to meet you too, Terrance.,” Cillay told him.
“Well I know you are anxious to get this examination over with. Is Jim remaining with us?,” he asked Cillay.
“Yes. If that’s okay.” she answered him.
Terrance asked her several questions about her general health. She did not know the answers to his questions about her family health history, because she was adopted. When he got to the questions about her previous sexual history she blushed and looked at Jim.
Jim noticed her embarassment.
“Would you rather I wait outside Cillay?,” he asked her.
“No. It’s not that. I just don’t know how to answer.”, she told Jim.
“Was he the only one?,” Jim asked Cillay.
“Yes.”, she said.
“It happened regularly after that first time didn’t it?,” Jim asked her gently.
“Everyday. Sometimes several times a day.”, she told him.
Terrance listened to their conversation perplexed.
“Would it be easier for you if I explain to Terrance about Tony for you?,” Jim asked.
“Yes, please.”, she said relieved and close to tears.
Jim briefly explained Cillay’s relationship with Tony. He told Terrance about the beatings and the forced physical intimacy.
Terrance was shocked and angered just as Jim had been.
“He needs to be arrested!,” he barked.
“No. No police!”, Cillay cried. “You promised me Jim.”
They both looked at Cillay.
“I did promise her that you would keep this confidential, Terrance.”, Jim told him.
“I think that not telling the police is a big mistake, but I did promise to keep it confidential. I won’t tell a soul.”, Terrance said.
He completed his paperwork and then examined Cillay. She had several bruised ribs, but thankfully nothing more serious.
On the ride back home, Cillay and Jim did not speak much. They each were lost in their own thoughts.
Cillay knew that Antonio had discovered by now that she was gone. She could just imagine how livid he was.
Before they had left the office, Terrance had pulled Jim aside to speak with him privately.
“Jim, I’m breaking my legal obligation to report what happened to Cillay. I’ll honor your wishes for the time being, but what if he finds her again? You can’t be with her to protect her every moment.”, he told Jim.
“I know Terrance, and I owe you big time. I’m going to talk with a lawyer and see what our options are to protect her from him.”, Jim said.
“Another thing that you need to consider is the psychological damage that he has caused that poor girl!”, Terrance said, handing Jim a card. “That’s the number of a wonderful therapist. Her name is Jenny Wilson. She will probably want to talk with you as a couple and some individual therapy sessions. That is if you and your ‘Dear Friend’ ever become a couple.”, he told Jim.
Jim took the card. ” I hadn’t thought about the fact that she needs therapy, but you are right. I’ll talk with her about it. I haven’t asked her about being in an exclusive relationship as my girlfriend yet, so that’s why I called her my dear friend.,” he told Terrance.
Jim walked with Cillay into the house, and told her to make sure that she kept the alarm on at all times. He gave her the code. Then he kissed her and headed for work.
After he arrived at work, Vera came into his office so that they could review the constituant reports. Jim’s mind kept wandering back to Cillay. Vera kept having to repeat information. Jim finally realized that the last thing he wanted to do that day was work. He needed to be with her.
“I’m sorry, Vera. Jim apologized. I’m going home for the rest of the day. We’ll continue this tomorrow morning.”
“Alright, Mr. Benedict.”, Vera said. She thought to herself, “He’s in love!”
When Jim returned home he found Cillay in the nursery with Richard, singing with him as he played his xylophone. “What a pretty picture they make together.”, he thought watching them.
Richard saw him standing there and rushed over to him on his little wobbly legs. Jim picked Richard up and tickled him making him giggle. He put Richard back down and Richard starting playing with his toy car.
“Cillay, may I speak with you in the living room?,” he asked her.
“Of course.”, she said following him out. He handed her the card with the therapist’s name and number.
“What is this for?”, she asked him looking at the card.
“It’s the number for a therapist Terrance recommended. He thinks that it would be a good idea for you to talk with a counselor for individual therapy. He also believes that she will want to counsel us as a couple.”, he answered her.
“Are we a couple?”, she asked looking at him.
“Cillay I don’t want to rush you into a relationship that you are not ready for. I would like us to be a couple. I’d be extremely happy and proud to claim you as my girlfriend, but only when and if you are ready to make that committment.”, he told her, studying her face anxiously.
Cillay pulled his head down to hers and gave him a long passionate kiss.
“I would be honored to be your girlfriend.,” she told Jim.
Jim smiled at her with great happiness and relief. He pulled her into his arms for a tight embrace. After a few moments Cillay pulled away slightly and looked into his face.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?”, she asked him.
“They can get along without me for another afternoon. This was more important.”, he said.
Cillay gently disengaged herself from his arms, troubled by his response. She knew how important his job was to Jim, and she did not want to mess that up for him.
“Jim, I know that appearances are very important for political figures. I can’t help but wonder what kind of gossip is being spread because I’m staying here with you. As soon as I can, I think I’d better get my own place.”, she told him.
Jim cupped her face in his hands and looked into her eyes.
“Cillay, I don’t care what kind of gossip is spread about us. I love you, and I want to keep you safe. That’s more important to me than any job. You and Richard are the most important things in my life. Please stay here with me and Richard.”, he said.
“Alright, Jim.”, she agreed.
“Will you see the therapist?”, he asked her.
“Do you really think I need to?,” she asked Jim.
“Why don’t you give it a try and see how it goes?”, he suggested. “Whatever you tell her she has to keep confidential. I think that you have some self esteem issues that she could help you with.”
“What do you mean?”, she asked.
“Well, Cillay. You are an exceptionally beautiful woman and you don’t see that about yourself. You call yourself a plain jane. You have a loving, kind and giving heart, but you see yourself as poison. I think she can give you some tools so that you can see yourself as you really are, as others see you.”, he told her gently.
At Jim’s words, tears began to fall from her eyes. Jim pulled her into his arms and held her as she cried. When her sobs subsided, he asked her again, “Will you go and see her?”
“Yes. I”ll see her.”, she agreed.