“So Elliot, did you follow Duncan’s instructions? Did you kiss Olivia?”
Elliot clears his throat then delivers a deceptively easy, “Yeah!”
Olivia’s response, when he turns to her, is more sedate. “Yes, he did. He…kept it light, brief.”
“Not that it satisfied Duncan,” her partner grumbles, drawing back the blinds with two fingers and peering outside.
“He wanted to see you squirm,” George states.
“He wanted to break you down then break you apart.”
Elliot stands up straight, lets the blinds fall back into their neat little rows. “Yeah, and I’m not giving him the satisfaction.”
“Which is why you’ve done the right thing in coming here to clear the air and put this incident behind you.”
He slumps again, wagging his head at the floor. “Incident…”
George draws in a breath, letting the silence sit for a moment. Then he asks in his usual mild tone, “Elliot, would you mind coming and sitting down again?”
Elliot looks up but not at him. His eyes find his partner’s and another silent exchange takes place across the length of the office. George has no illusions about who it is that manages to convince Elliot to re-take the seat opposite his desk and adjacent to Olivia’s.
“Now, before we go on,” he continues, facing the two of them across his orderly desktop, “I need to establish the nature of your personal relationship. And I’m sorry if the following question causes any discomfort but let me once again assure you that these sessions are confidential. Let me also assure you that there is no judgement attached to this line of enquiry as I understand the unique intimacy that can occur in some partnerships—”
“Oh, for God’s sake, get on with it…!”
George takes Elliot’s outburst in stride, moving onto the question he needs answered. “During your years of partnership, has anything of a romantic and/or sexual nature ever occurred between the two of you?”
Elliot’s temper swings the other way and he withdraws in his seat. “What kind of question is that?”
“What I mean is, was this the first time you’ve ever kissed each other because that changes—”
“Yes,” Elliot interjects in an affronted, decisive tone.
“Yes,” Olivia adds, modifying her partner’s response. “First time. We’ve never—…no.”
“No.” Elliot shifts in his seat again, adjusting his jacket on his body.
“I see,” George picks up his pen, returning to his notes as he asks, “But Elliot, you say that it wasn’t enough for Duncan?”
“Too tame. Guess he wanted a little more…raunch.”
“And how did you handle that?”