A Lady in the Streets

Chapter 5

by Alan Smithee

Tags: #cw:noncon #dom:male #f/m #oblivious #sub:female #D/s #f/f
See spoiler tags : #dom:female

Doctor Stewart rubbed his temples in a slow, circular pattern. The pain in his head would pass eventually. It was the other headache he was more worried about – the one seated opposite.

“Mia, where are you right now?”

Mia’s eyes were closed and her head was slumped to one side of the tall leather chair. The tears had more or less dried, at least. She slowly opened her mouth.

“I’m in my safe place,” she said.

“Are you feeling calm now?”

“Yes Doctor,” she said. “I’m much calmer.”

“Very good, Mia. Now, are you ready to continue our work?”

There was a long pause.

“Yes Doctor.”

He exhaled deeply and tried to centre himself. Every time he thought he was done with Mia and Isabella, they found some new boulder for him to push uphill. This one had been particularly nasty. They were two weeks into this new stage of their therapy, and while he was making good progress now, he was dreading what might happen if he couldn’t find a long term solution.

“Mia,” he began, “I want you to think back to the events of two weeks ago.” Mia twitched, but didn’t respond. “I know it’s unpleasant, but it’s very important that we continue to go over this. You do want to be helpful, don’t you Mia?”

“Yes Doctor,” she replied. “I want to be helpful…”

“Wonderful. Now, tell me, what happened, starting on Friday afternoon when you received a text message from your friend. Oh, your coworker rather.”

“Cordelia told me there was something I needed to see.”

“Mmm hmm.”

“She said I needed to come in to work to see it. I didn’t want to go back in. So I told her to just show me.”

“And what did she show you?”

Mia’s breathing became unsteady and her deeply relaxed expression blended into one of fear and anxiety.

“I saw… She showed me… pictures. Of naked people.”

“Yes, Mia. That is what she showed you. Who were they pictures of, exactly?”

“Uh… they were pictures of… I’m not sure. I don’t know who they were pictures of.”

“Yes, that’s very good, Mia. And why aren’t you sure?”

“Because they were fake pictures, Doctor. They were some of those ‘deep fakes’ that you were telling me about. A computer made them.”

“Yes, Mia. They were faked. Those fakes can be so very convincing, can’t they? They really did look like photos of you, but they absolutely weren’t. Isn’t that right?”

She was sweating.

“Yes Doctor. They were very convincing.”

Doctor Stewart walked over towards Mia and swept her hair back into place.

“Let’s fast forward a little bit. What happened at work?”

“I resigned, Doctor.”

“Why did you resign, Mia?”

She looked uncertain.

“Mia, I know you remember this,” he said.

“I’m not sure, Doctor… I was very confused. I was very confused until you started helping me to clear things up.”

Mia’s eyes opened, and she looked as though she might start sobbing. The Doctor knelt down.

“Mia, Mia, it’s ok, I’m here with you, and you can trust me,”

“I trust you Doctor,” she said with a smile, before it immediately vanished and she looked slightly terrified again. Her breathing quickened, and her head shook slightly.

“You’re safe with me Mia, close your eyes. Close your eyes and drift down again.”

She complied. Doctor Stewart spent the next few minutes deepening the trance again. He was so close, and he didn’t want to stop at the cusp.

“Mia, why did you resign? Remember all of what we’ve been talking about. Remember the reason.”

“Because…” she began. “I resigned because it was a toxic work environment. They hated me, and made up lies about me.”

“Yes, Mia. That’s right. They were trying to fill your head with lies. Trying to make you doubt yourself and your reality. What was that called again?”

“They were trying to… gaslight me, Doctor.”

“Yes, exactly! They were manipulating you. You couldn’t stand to be around them.”

“Yes Doctor… I just couldn’t stand it…”

“That’s good, Mia, I’m really proud of the progress you’re making here. You know that I have your best interests at heart.”

“Yes Doctor, I trust you.”

“I’m so pleased to hear it.”

Doctor Stewart fumbled around behind his desk until he found what he was looking for. He rang the bell.

Isabella yawned.

“Mmmmmm, Doctor, it’s good to see you.”

“The feeling isn’t mutual.”

Bella pouted. She reached around behind herself and started lifting her yellow top.

“Oh come on doc, you’re not still mad about all that stuff are you,” she said with a devilish smile. She’d managed to unhook the bra and extract it successfully. “Much better. Anyway, you secretly love it, don’t you? I mean why else wou-”



Bella’s arms dropped and her head fell to the same side Mia’s had, jaw still hanging open.

“Bella, Bella Bella. What are we going to have to do with you?”


“Don’t answer that. It was rhetorical.”


He sighed.

“We need to talk about your boundaries again. Do you remember what those are?”

“Yes, Doctor. I would never forget my boundaries.”

“Oh really? So do you understand why it is that I’m so mad with you?”

Bella half-smiled through her trance.

“I've been soooo bad, Doctor. I’m such a bad girl.”

“Yes, you are. And you don’t believe you’ve broken any of these boundaries, Bella? The boundaries you agreed to?”

Doctor Stewart looked down and noticed that her nipples were now visible through her top.

“No, Doctor.”

“So you don’t think that recruiting somebody else to plaster nude photographs of yourself around Mia’s work was across the line?”

Isabella bit her lip, and her breathing was becoming more laboured.

Noooo,” she said. “I didn’t show the pictures to her, Doctor. Someone else did.”

“You don’t think that was violating the spirit of the agreement?”

“A deal is a deal...”

Doctor Stewart slammed his fist on the desk.

“Goddammit, Bella!”

Isabella jumped in her chair and her eyes opened. She blinked and looked around the room. She looked like she was about to say something, but the Doctor snapped his fingers again.


He took a deep breath. The Doctor was regretting unleashing this creature upon the world more each passing day, but he couldn’t just wave his hand and be rid of her. It wasn’t that simple. He supposed she had kept within the technical bounds of their agreement. He watched her laying there, with those delightful breasts rising and falling. His very own malevolent genie. My kingdom for a lamp, he thought.

There was something he’d been mulling for a while. Something that might just work. But first he would need to get her into the right frame of mind.

“Bella, I want you to stay asleep in this deep, comfortable, trance, but open your eyes and look at me.” She obeyed. “Now tell me, are you turned on right now?”

“Yes Doctor,” she said.

“Well then, why don’t you get more comfortable.”

She understood exactly what he meant and wasted no time shedding what remained of her underwear.

“What is it that you want to do right now, Bella?”

“Well Doctor, I’m afraid it isn’t very appropriate…”

“Is that so? Well, this is a place for free expression. I of course want you to speak your mind here, and I can’t stop you from doing things if you really want to do them.”

“Oh, I see,” she said. She stood and approached him. She drew close and unzipped his fly.

“Bella,” he said as she fished out his cock.

“Yes Doctor?”

“Bella, this isn’t right.” A slight smile broke through again on her face. She began stroking him.

Oh,” he said.

It wasn’t long before she was on top of him, grinding against his member. When she took him inside, he suppressed a gasp. His weak protests on ethical grounds spurned her on, and made her even hotter. It was exactly where he wanted her. She was a creature forged in repressed, forbidden passions. This was her core. It did however make it a little tricky for him to formulate his own thoughts.

“Bella, you – uh – you understand, of course, that I can’t let you continue on like this. I need you to help me keep Mia under control. Oh, fuck. Fuck. I need you to behave not just just within the letter of our agreement, but within the spirit of it. What if I... what if I sweetened the deal for you?”

“Uh huh…” she said, bouncing up and down and breathing raggedly.

“I know you… want... more time in control. Oh, yes! What if we gave you a guaranteed day every week?”


“Would that be something, something you could, uh, you could agree to?”


“Only maybe? We both know you want that.”

“I get so turned on, Doctor. You don’t play with me enough anymore.”

He opted not to comment on the absurdity of that comment given the present circumstances.

“I’m a… oh… a very busy man, Bella. You can play with yourself. Or find clients to keep you company. But perhaps… mmm. Perhaps we could find… oh…” he said. As much as it pained him to do so, he pulled out. She let out a protest at the momentary emptiness inside before he filled it with a pair of fingers.

He needed a moment to think clearly.

“Perhaps we could find something else to keep you occupied,” he continued. “I could introduce you to some of my other clients. I believe there’s a couple you already know.”


“Yes, Bella. I think I should arrange some little… joint therapy sessions. But I can’t have you misbehaving. You can be such a bad influence, you know.”

“Oh! Oh yes!” she said.

The problem as he saw it was that Isabella needed a release valve. It was now apparent that she could not simply be suppressed, because she always found a way out to take control of Mia again. She needed time when she was not just in control, but could have her desires to be a very, very bad girl satisfied. And that meant more than just sex. It meant scope to do things behind his back that she thought he didn’t want her to be doing. It was a much looser system of control than he was comfortable with, but the old ones had proven inadequate.

“Alright, Bella. Let’s talk terms. But before we do that…” he said, placing a firm hand around her throat. “You’re going to finish what you started.”

The light on Grace’s desk lit up, and she started moving before she’d consciously registered it. She dropped her small container of yoghurt as delicately as she could, spoon falling inside, and raced over to Doctor Stewart’s office.

“Coming Doctor!”

She opened the door. Mia – Bella, she corrected herself, noting the debauched look on her face – was sitting on Doctor Stewart’s lap.

“Miss Choi, we’ve come to an agreement. Isn’t that right, Bella?”

“Oh yes Doctor, we certainly have,” she said, wriggling her arse on his crotch.

“Look, I’m quite busy,” he continued, looking at his watch, “so could you um, arrange some uh, play dates for Isabella here?”

“Of course, at once Doctor,” she said. She took a moment to process what he was even asking her to do, but it was very important that she agreed to it immediately – she did not want to disappoint Doctor Stewart. A moment passed. Ohhh, right, she thought, gears finally clicking into place.

“Uh,” she continued, “Did you have anybody specific in mind?”

“I was thinking we might start with Anna,” he said. “But I’d like you to handle the details, and I’ll let you use your discretion.” He had a look on his face that screamed just get her out of my hair.

“Yes Doctor!”

“Oh, thank you,” Bella purred. She stood and sauntered over to Grace, grasping her arm. “Let’s go have some fun, shall we?”

“Oh, I… Oh…” said Grace. She steeled herself. “I won’t let you down!”

“I know you won’t, Grace. I’ll see you later.”

Grace did her best to keep up with Bella. Grace had seen Isabella before, but she’d never really met her. Mia was nice enough – a little stiff and prim, but she was in no position to judge there. It was nothing compared to how Grace’s parents had raised her.

What struck Grace the most about Bella was how somebody that looked exactly the same physically could seem so completely different. There was just no way Mia would move like this. Was it possible to open a door sensually? Could one sit down in a chair suggestively? Bella’s answer to these and many other questions was a resounding yes.

The couch in the waiting room seemed like a completely inappropriate place for a liaison, but Bella seemed to have her heart set on it. Grace was not going to disappoint Doctor Stewart. Isabella pushed her down onto the couch and started kissing her. She responded in kind, trying to meet each kiss and seem at least a little enthused. Maybe she’d like this? She ran her hand across Bella’s breasts, unsure of how much pressure to apply and hoping for the best.

“You can go harder than that, sweety,” she said.

“Sorry,” said Grace. “Like this?” She squeezed more firmly.

“It’s a start,” said Bella, before kissing her once again. “You’re not really into this, are you?”

“Of course I am, I…”

“It’s ok, I don’t want you to lie to me. Tell me the truth.”

Grace blushed. Bella was still hovering just a few inches above her face, but she looked more like Mia all of a sudden – calm, collected and almost kind.

“It’s nothing personal – I’ve never been with a woman before, and I don’t find them attractive.”

“You’re embarrassed because you’re straight?” Bella laughed.

Grace took in a deep breath.

“It’s not really that, it’s just… well I can’t disappoint Doctor Stewart. You understand, don’t you?”

“Oh, totally, yeah. You’re very good at that, aren’t you? Not disappointing him?”

Grace beamed.

“Did he say something,” she whispered?

“Oh yeah. He told me all about how great you are. But…”

Her stomach lurched.

“But what?”

“Oh it’s nothing. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

She pushed her arms down on couch and lifted herself higher to face Bella more directly.

Please, please tell me what he said!”

Bella looked over to the door, then gazed back at Grace.

“I’ll tell you all about it later,” she said, lowering her register to a whisper. “I promise. But there’s something else you can do for me right now.”

“What is it?”

“You know all about the other girls, right? The other patients?”

“Of course. I manage the Doctor’s schedule.”

“And the Doctor asked you to help me, right?”

An alarm bell went off inside her mind. Was Bella trying to push her into doing something? Her back straightened slightly.

“Only within reason.”

“You wouldn’t want to disappoint Doctor Stewart, would you?”

“Of course.”

“Well I was just wondering… if you could arrange a meeting with Anna, could you also tell me a bit about her? I’d just like to know what I’m getting myself into.”

“Hmm. I suppose so,” said Grace.

Isabella smiled.

Anna took one last look at herself through the camera. She shuffled around in her seat and practised the look she was starting to think of as her trademark – a wry, naughty little smile at just the right angle. She was wearing a light, summery dress – a little loose, but she thought that made her look homely. It was the items underneath the dress that were more important, anyway. She started up the playlist and started swaying to the beat.

She pressed the broadcast button. Show time.

“Hey guys,” she said, giving them the look.

The messages started coming in from chat almost immediately. She had regulars. It was a strange thought.

“How have you all been?” said Anna out loud. “Hey Jack! Hey ShyGuy!”

To start with, she just focused on looking cute while she responded to all the idle chit chat. Engagement with your audience – that was the key.

Anna stood up and started gently moving her hips back and forth on the spot, making sure to emphasise her cleavage as she leaned over the keyboard and read through the messages.

“Oh yeah, I’m great. I get to hang out with my favourite people again,” she said, then giggled slightly. “Oh hey, I might have a little surprise for you all tonight.”

The chat lit up.

“No I can’t tell you what it is just yet,” she said, then giggled again. Doctor Stewart had been encouraging her to giggle less around him, but she thought it added to the persona when she was online. You started out all giggly and bubbly then got progressively more turned on as the session went. It felt like a natural progression to her.

“Come on stop fucking around, show us the goods,” read one of the messages.

“What’s your favort color?” read another.

“Do you really like Star Wars?”

“Wow your so pretty”

It could be a little strange at times. But Anna had to admit, she liked it.

Two weeks ago, Anna had no idea about how to operate a livestream setup more sophisticated than a smartphone. Now, she had a desktop computer with a dual monitor setup, a dedicated streaming deck, a 4k60 webcam, a new (less squeaky) mattress and an embarrassment of costumes and sex toys. Anna had always liked dressing up a bit, but when Doctor Stewart offered to put her in touch with some friends down at the club, they’d really hooked her up with some good stuff. When she was down there picking it up, the woman in charge had offered her a job on the spot. She laughed it off, of course. She just wasn’t that kind of girl. They’d given her everything from French Maid to Sexy Bunny to an assortment of anime and videogame characters that seemed to really get some of the guys going.

For Bella, there was one thing that really got her going.

It was a bleep. A silly little sound, really. It was the sound the computer made when she received a donation.

Bleep. A small window appeared in the bottom right corner of her screen. Anna shivered and bit her lip. It was just five dollars, but at the same time, it was more than that.

“Great to see you again,” it said.

“Aww, it’s nice to see you too,” she replied. Others would likely assume that the slightly flustered look she had talking to them after a donation was just her playing her role, but it was genuine pleasure.

Inane chatter. Somebody would pay five hard earned dollars to get her attention – for a few fleeting seconds. They were all giving her attention for free. And it made her so fucking wet.

Bleep. Fifteen dollars. That was the minimum for asking her to do something lewd. As if the entire purpose of this wasn’t to do lewd things. Still, she wasn’t complaining. She was too horny to complain.

“That’s a lovely dress. Have you got anything underneath?” it said.

She smiled at the camera directly, then she backed up a little, almost to the edge of the bed behind her, and she pulled up her dress, just for a second. It was enough for the moment. They all saw what was underneath – a blue, flowery lingerie set she’d only just purchased. She thought it looked nice, abut during her last therapy session, she’d forgotten to ask the Doctor what colour she should buy. She hoped she could find a way to ask that wouldn’t seem weird or inappropriate. She did want to wear things that he liked.


“You look a bit empty there. Why don’t you stick something inside?” the next donation message said.

She looked around her desk.

“Oh, I knew there was something I’d forgotten,” she said with a smile. “Thanks for reminding me,” she said, as she carefully positioned herself in front of the camera.

She grabbed the small purple vibrator and next to her and flicked the switch. It hummed to life, and she gently waved it front of the camera, then, in one long, slow move, she leaned forwards, ensuring that her cleavage was front and centre in the camera, moved her hand underneath her dress and inserted the vibrator. She gasped involuntarily as it slid in. She had the lube there as a precaution – but it was unnecessary at that moment. She could feel her breasts slipping ever so slightly out, but that was the point. They could see her face and her tits, but what was happening behind was left to their imagination. She acted like it was a mistake and turned away from the camera to adjust her clothing, making an “oh, silly me!” expression to the camera as she did.


Her audience loved seeing her struggle to hold her composure as she got back to chatting with the pulsing vibrator whirring at irregular intervals. She made a mental note to ask Doctor Stewart if she could get one of those internet connected ones. She just knew it would pay for itself before too long.

Bleep. Another donation. Another small surge of pleasure.

After a few more minutes of chatting, when the pace felt like it was waning a little, she switched the music up a little. The playlists she chose were a mix of some of the more upbeat pop music she liked and club music. Whatever was good for dancing. And she’d done more dancing in the last few weeks than she had in her entire life up to that point. She started swaying faster to the beat. She spun and stole teasing looks at the camera.

She started to lower the straps on her dress, but was careful not to let it fall off entirely as she continued the show. The first two times she’d done this, it had felt awkward. After those shows, she’d needed significant reassurance from the Doctor that what she was doing was right. But now, it felt so normal.

Bleep. Bleep. She bit her lip.

She pulled the dress off completely, giving them a full view of her lingerie. She thought the floral patterns conceptually matched up with the patterns on her dress. It was a delicate balancing act between sweet girl-next-door, and fuckable cam-whore. The audience possibly didn’t care, but if she was going to commit to this, she wanted to do it right.

It wasn’t as much fun as spending time with Doctor Stewart. Sure. Or even as much fun as just getting a message from him, but ultimately she knew that this was good for her. She focused on enjoying the motions, swinging her hips around to the beat of the music, showing off every angle of her body. Every now and again, these rhythms would push the pulsing vibrator into a particularly sensitive spot and her face would light up with a moan.

“Sorry, I was getting a little bit distracted there,” she said. She leaned forward and looked at the chat again. After a while, these shows started to blur. She could allow herself to drift off into an almost trance-like, euphoric state, but it was important that she maintained engagement with her audience.

Bleep. There was another donation message about how hot she looked today.

“Oh, that’s so sweet, thanks Mikey.”

She wished Doctor Stewart could see her now. She wished it was Doctor Stewart who was telling her that he liked how hot she looked today. Tell her that he liked the way she moved her body for him. But it just wasn’t realistic – it would be absurd, to say nothing of inappropriate. He was her therapist, for Christ’s sake! And he was far too professional to blur those boundaries, just because she happened to be a horny little attention loving slut. And so, for now, she could just let the feelings carry her along, doing whatever her audience was willing to pay her to – within the boundaries set by Doctor Stewart for her own safety, of course.

She really enjoyed working up a sweat doing this. The physicality of it all felt good. It all felt so good, actually. It was good for her mind, good for her body, and great for her income. When she had told him about how she was feeling during her cam shows, he’d called this a “virtuous cycle”. She didn’t know what that meant, but he’d explained it – it was a repeating cycle of events that all fed into and reinforced each other, but had a good outcome. It was the opposite of a vicious cycle.


She decided it was time to increase the pace. She fell backwards onto her bed, keeping an eye on the second monitor to make sure she was still in the centre of the frame. She carefully fished out the vibrator with one hand and started playing with her breasts with the other. She flicked the switch off and put the vibrator into her mouth, then licked and suckled on it. She pulled it in and out slowly, presenting her side profile for the camera as she did.

Bleep. Bleep. Bleep.

The more attention she got, the more she craved. And the more she craved, the harder she worked to please them, and so the more she got from her audience. And they wouldn’t just pay her attention, they’d pay money. There were other parts to the cycle too! The more attention she got, the hornier and more depraved she became. And the more of a slut she was, the more attention she got, and thus, more money, and so on. He’d sounded so pleased about it – if it was good for her, then of course it was something Doctor Stewart liked.

As she continued miming fellatio, she started playing with herself. Just a single teasing finger to start with, but it wasn’t long before she had two moving in and out.

Bleep. Bleep. It all felt so fucking good.

It had happened so fast. The idea of running a stream like this would have been unthinkable to her until recently. Sure, she’d always known she liked a bit of attention every now and again, it’s not like her friends way back home hadn’t ever teased her about her selfies, but playing dress up for strangers in real time? Stripping for horny men – and more than a couple of woman? Teasing and flirting with total strangers on a daily basis? Finger fucking herself on camera for the world to see? It all seemed so normal now. Not just normal, it was amazing.

She was still discovering all sorts of things about what people would like. About what the Doctor would like. She shivered with delight as the thought passed through her. As the feeling faded, it left a slight melancholy in it’s place. She loved doing whatever he liked, but she just wished there could be more than she could do for him. More than she could do that he would like. He was starting to become harder to read, she felt. Like he was making her work for it, more and more. But that was probably just her anxieties getting to her again. She made a mental note to mention that at their next session so he could put her mind at ease.

The craziest part of it all was that he wasn’t even taking advantage of her! Here she was, bent around his little finger, willing to do anything he wanted, and in the end all he wants her to do is what’s best for her. He’d been so hesitant to suggest all of this in the first place, so worried that it might be taken the wrong way, but Anna knew better than anybody that Doctor Stewart would never abuse his position of power over her to do anything untoward. Sometimes, when she was alone with her thoughts, she wished that he would abuse it. That he would abuse her. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t who he was.

The fact that he even loaned her all this expensive computer and camera equipment was unbelievably generous – so it made perfect sense that they’d split the earnings between them. She really considered herself lucky that he’d offered to let her keep twenty percent – she didn’t even have to haggle to get that much!

As she continued to pose, pout, smile, writhe and tease, she never lost track of the time. She had a visitor coming. Right on cue, she heard a knock on the door.

“Oh, I wonder who that could be?” she said, staring at the camera and raising her eyebrows in an exaggerated manner. “Come in!”

The door opened, and Anna pretended to act surprised. “Bella” walked in wearing an extremely tight blue dress. Bella was some kind of stage name that Mia was using. She put a small bag down on the ground, then stood upright and slowly sauntered past the camera. Anna suppressed a giggle. She just looked so deathly serious.

“Oh, hello…” said Anna. Bella silenced her with a finger placed gently on her lips.


She planted a long, slow kiss. Anna’s mouth opened and the kiss became increasingly, visibly passionate. Anna’s breathing became heavier. She’d never seen Mia acting like this in person before. She had seen the pictures from work, but…

“Don’t you want to introduce me?” she said.

“Oh, of course. This is Bella, one of my best friends in the whole wide world. Say hi!”

They were loving it. She typed a few low effort replies to the chat as Bella started planting kisses on her shoulder and neck.

The situation was having a lot more of an impact on Anna than she expected. She was getting properly turned on. Was actually into women, or was it the situation turning her on? In the moment, it didn’t seem to matter. She was getting hot, and it wasn’t just for show. They were trading kisses again, passionately. She started taking items of clothing off Bella, who reciprocated, unhooking the bra she still had on. Men she’d hooked up with in the past often fumbled with that part, but Bella managed it in one smooth motion.

Bella was rubbing up and down the inside of her leg. Soon the two of them were completely naked. Bella wasted no time, and after a well timed wink at the camera, she went down on Bella.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The sound of the donations, the scent of the woman in front of her, the feeling of the tongue inside her, the knowledge of all that she was doing – it all took her in one direction. She had her first small orgasm of the day after only a minute or so of stimulation. It would not be the last, or the biggest.

“Wow,” said Anna.

The two were still naked, barring the stockings that Bella had decided to leave on.

“I think that went pretty well,” said Bella.

“Yeah. Just, wow. I could hear all the donations,” said Anna. Bella heard the tinge of pleasure in her voice as she said that. Bella knew exactly how that was making her feel. She smiled. Doctor Stewart had evidently been making tremendous progress with Anna.

But Bella wasn’t just here to enjoy herself.

“It’s just a shame Doctor Stewart wasn’t here to see it, you know?” said Bella.

She saw a subtle change in Anna’s expression.

“Yeah… I mean no, that would have been totally weird,” she said, laughing. “I mean why would my therapist be attending something like this? No, that would be like, inappropriate.” She giggled nervously.

“Therapists have needs, too, Anna. Therapists like things. I mean, hasn’t he ever talked to you about what he liked?”

Anna looked like she wanted to say something, but couldn’t. She bit her lip.

“I mean,” continued Bella, “When we talk about things, he’s told me all about things that he liked.” She put a firm point on that word. She had to admit, Doctor Stewart was being particularly devious with this one. Mia licked her lips unconsciously.

Anna looked like she was being torn apart.

“Um… I mean sometimes he tells me things that he likes, sure. Doesn’t anyone?” But she was growing red.

“It’s ok, Anna. You’re safe with me.”

Bella slid down off the bed and went over to her bag. She unzipped it and retrieved the silver metronome.

“Anna, do you know something else the Doctor likes sometimes? Something he likes us to do?”

Her eyes lit up.

“What? What is it?”

She unlocked the metronome, and the springs immediately brought it to life.

“He likes us to concentrate. To look here, at the tip of the metronome.”


Her eyes fell into a rhythm that was so familiar to Anna, although Mia knew she probably didn’t remember why it was so.

“There’s a way that we can get what we both want, Anna. Just keep watching.”

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