Chapter 17

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A/N: I GOT MY LAPTOP BACK!
Sorry I went AWWOL (Absent from Wattpad Without Official Leave) on you for a few days, but I got my laptop back. Turns out that there was a problem with the hard drive and all my info was erased. I spent the last couple of days transferring info from my computer to the laptop, making sure it is the latest version of the file and installing programs... Anyway, on with the story!

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Lydia's POV

I ran my finger one more time over the photo, where his handsome, intelligent face was.

"And how does that make you feel?"

My finger halted and my nose wrinkled, the smile no longer on my face.

How does this make you feel, how does that make you feel - why did Counselors always ask that?

I'd come to abhor that sequence of words.

It was such a lame question, a hollow question when it came from them. They didn't care; they were just trained to ask 'How does it make you feel' after everything you said.

"Lydia?"

I looked up at Miss Randi Rayner. There was so much wrong with her, starting with the name.

What kind of a parent would name their female child Randi, spelled with an i at the end, mind you?

And the whole thing - Randi Rayner - even if she was a male, I would not pick a Counselor with such a simple name. It sounded like that of a cheap car dealer or some sleazy PI.

Oh, ant that title!

Miss.

Miss?

Not even married and here to give me advice on my family?

Me?

A woman with two children and with a husband for nineteen years?

"Lydia, are you listening to me?"

"Of course I'm listening." I tried to fake a smile. Not that the girl in front of me had earned the gesture. But they liked it here when you smiled.

"So, how does your son's sexual orientation make you feel?"

I gazed back down at the photo album in my lap.

He was so handsome!

The tip of my index finger found his face again, caressing it.

My handsome, intelligent Nathaniel!

"He had a girlfriend, you see, a really nice, quiet girl of Italian origin... Irene was her name," I told her, looking at my son standing on a platform with a certificate in his hands. First place. He had won first place with the essay he'd submitted. Two days later, it came out in print in the local newspaper. His smile was a bit stiff, but I knew he was happy; I knew he was proud.

And so was I.

My intelligent, intelligent boy...

My Counselor sighed - how unprofessional! - and renewed her prying onslaught.

"Lydia, we've been through this before. I realize you need time to deal on your own with situations you find difficult, but you'll have to eventually talk about them. If not with me, then perhaps with your family or someone else in the Help Center..."

I snorted.

I wasn't a woman in the habit of producing such a noise, but I couldn't help it. Norville Clinic for Addicts was anything but a help center. Sure, some of us had a room of our own instead of sharing it with another patient, of course there was entertainment provided - television sets, a library, walks in the garden, bingo games and so forth - but in the end, it wasn't that different from a prison.

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