Loose Ends

Checkup from the Neck Up

Ricky walked in, shut the door behind him, plopped down on the couch with a frustrated sigh, and leaned his head against the back of the couch. Seven whole minutes passed before the silence was broken.

"You came here for a reason, Ricky. Wanna tell me what that reason is?" Dr. Fields asked him.

"I'm in love with Amy and it's driving me crazy." Dr. Fields arched an eyebrow in question.

"So you've circled back around to Amy?" Ricky shook his head, still staring at the ceiling.

"Are you saying that you don't consider this as circling back to her because you've never stopped being in love with her?" Ricky nodded, finally bringing his head down to face Dr. Fields. "If you've been in love with Amy before, why do you feel it's making you crazy this time around?"

"Because this time I'm scared that if I push her to be in a relationship with me she'll turn me down," he admitted sadly.

"Why are you scared of Amy rejecting you this time but not before?"

"Because this time I'm not running from her," he admitted quietly.

"Are you saying that last time you ran from your feelings for Amy?" Ricky flashed back to the conversation he'd had with Dr. Fields about this plan to string along potential adoptive couples in hopes Amy would decide to raise their son with him and shook his head.

"I don't understand, Ricky." Ricky absentmindedly ran a hand through his hair and revealed to his therapist the portion of his conversation with Amy where he admitted to her he'd run from his feelings for her at band camp. Some more of the puzzle pieces that were Ricky Underwood fell into place in Dr. Fields' mind as he finally understood when and why Ricky started trying to become a better man. "And so you're saying that this time you don't want to run from your feelings for her." Ricky nodded and sagged into the couch a little. He began to tell his therapist about the rest of his conversation with Amy, his dreams about her, his conversation with Adrian and what he'd learned from it all. Dr. Fields was blown away at how much Ricky and Amy had matured in the past two years.

"And that's why this is driving me crazy! We've been having dinner together once a week and doing something together with John for the past month and a half now and I've never been more sure that I wanna be with someone than I am right now! Even though Amy's still easy to talk to and I feel like she's actually become my best friend, I wanna date her! Nice clothes, fancy meal, the whole stupid shebang! I wanna hold her hand, kiss her, spend time alone with her; I mean, don't get me wrong I love spending time with her and John as a family I just wanna spend some time with just the two of us too." He placed his right ankle over his left knee and rested his hand on it as he stared at the wall, wallowing in his jumbled emotions.

"Have you told Amy that you've developed romantic feelings for her?" Ricky hung his head and shook it sadly.

"I don't know if she feels anything for me beyond friendship and I'd rather not say anything and get to keep spending time with her than tell her how I feel and have her pull away from me."

"But keeping your true feelings from her is making you feel a little out of control, isn't it?" Ricky nodded. "Ricky," Dr. Fields said gently, causing Ricky to look him in the eyes again. "There comes a time in every relationship where you have to take that leap of faith." He put up a hand to stop Ricky from trying to protest or interject. "I know with your childhood and past relationships with women that you're more inclined to put up barriers than allow yourself to be hurt. That's a natural, human response, Ricky, and there's nothing wrong with it per se. However, if you want to have a genuine relationship with Amy than you need to be prepared to make yourself vulnerable to her. You'll have to let her get close to your heart and be prepared for her to get close enough to you to influence your emotions. To do that takes trust. You need to ask yourself if you're ready to trust Amy with your heart. If not, than I would advise you not to tell her how you're feeling just yet."

"Wait. Isn't the goal of life to be an honest person?" Dr. Fields chuckled.

"Yes, Ricky. Understand that I'm not advising you to lie to or deceive Amy. What I'm suggesting you do is figure out if you're truly willing to commit to a relationship with her and everything that comes with it. You told me that Amy is only willing to be in a relationship with you if you're willing to be monogamous with her. You also need to hear and understand me when I tell you that there's more to a good, healthy relationship than sex, Ricky. Based on what you've told me today and your body language there's no doubt in my mind that you are head over heels in love with Amy Juergens. All I'm suggesting you do is spend some time thinking about what it will mean to be in a relationship with Amy. The two of you know each other a little better now, you understand her a little better for having walked in her shoes, and don't forget that regardless of what the two of you choose to do in your lives, your son is going to be affected in some way."

"That's all well and good but it does absolutely nothing to keep me from going crazy."

"What exactly is making you feel crazy, Ricky?" Ricky sighed and crossed his arms, his brow knitting together in frustration.

"There just aren't enough hours in the day for us to be together. We have work and then by the time Amy gets home her first priority is to get John fed and put to bed. That means there's only a couple of hours that we can talk before we both have to get to bed as well. We're only together for a couple of hours on Wednesdays because she's gotta get home and to bed for work in the morning. We're only together for a couple of hours on Saturdays because I work in the morning and we don't hang out until after John wakes up from his afternoon nap plus she has to be home in time to eat dinner with her family. And because she doesn't wanna interfere with my quality time with John I don't see her on Sundays until she picks him up."

"Alright. If you could suggest to Amy a way that the two of you could possibly spend more time together what would you suggest?"

"That she and John move in with me." Ricky's eyes widened in shock and surprise as he realized what he'd just said. Did I really just say that!? The same surprise was written all over Dr. Fields' face.

"That's a huge step to take in a relationship, Ricky, and you just told me that you and Amy aren't even dating yet."

"I can't believe I said that," Ricky said, more to himself than Dr. Fields. "Huh." Ironically the more Ricky replayed those words in his head the more certain he was that that was what he wanted to do.

"Ricky, why would you suggest that Amy and John move in with you?" Ricky smiled to himself, not having heard the question. He was too preoccupied thinking about just how perfect of a solution his suggestion was and imagining what it would be like to finally be able to spend all the time with Amy that he wanted. "Ricky?"

"Huh?"

"Did you hear what I asked you?"

"What?"

"Why would you suggest that Amy and John move in with you?"

"It's perfect!"

"How so?"

"We could have dinner together every night, well except when my parents invite her over, and since we'd be living together we wouldn't have to rush so she could get home and to bed at a decent hour; we could just hang out and talk, or watch a movie or something. She wouldn't be so stressed with me around to help take care of John whenever we're both home. Plus we'd get to spend even more time together as a family because of it. I'd always know what was going on with her because I'd be around her a lot more. I'm sure she'd be happy to move away from Adrian too. Moving in together is the perfect solution!" Ricky was grinning from ear to ear.

"Aren't you forgetting a few things?"

"Like what?" he asked, clueless as to what those things could possibly be. Dr. Fields put up his fingers as he began ticking off potential problems.

"One, she's underage so her parents would have to agree to it. Two, the two of you aren't romantically involved so Amy might feel uncomfortable being your roommate. Three, since you aren't romantically involved what will you do about sleeping arrangements in your current one-bedroom apartment. Four, if you move into a different apartment then you will have to worry about a monthly rent payment. Four, if the two of you choose to do this her parents may choose to no longer financially assist Amy so the two of you will be responsible for your own bills."

"Oh, those are just details. Once I explain how much better our living together is for us and John her parents will have to agree to let us do it."

"Don't be so sure, Ricky. I would suggest you slow down, take a deep breath, and figure out if you and Amy are anything more than friends before you rush into moving in with her. One step at a time."

"Oh, fine," Ricky said, his bubble now burst thanks to Dr. Fields' list of possible issues with his plan. Dr. Fields shook his head with amusement.

"Ricky, being in love with someone can make you feel a little crazy and want to do some crazy things. What you need to remember is to take a deep breath when you're feeling crazed and talk to the other person about what and how you're feeling. I know you have a hard time expressing your emotions; you've still got to try." Ricky nodded in understanding. Dr. Fields checked his watch. We have a little over ten minutes left. Is there anything else you'd like to talk about for a little while?" Ricky shrugged.

"Well, I've been trying to figure out some sort of romantic gesture to let Amy know I appreciate her and I'm sorry for taking her for granted for so long." Curiosity and surprise came over Dr. Fields' face as he and Ricky proceeded to discuss his idea of romance for the next ten minutes.

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