"Well, it’s clear to see what lies at the nebula of your PTSD. Do tell me about Milo."
The corner of Vivian’s mouth twitched in response to that name. “Milo?”
“Yes. Your ex-boyfriend. The man who butchered his way through Prague and set his sights on you and Camilla.” Vivian nervously crossed her legs.
“What is there to say about him? I met him at the University Hospital when I was enrolled in the nursing program. We dated for three or four months before I learned his true identity. He turned out to be the long lost twin brother that Camilla never knew she had. He’d had his name changed from Ezran Vesely to Milo Dušan.”
“Who is Milo as a person?”A slight pause arose.
“He wanted to punish society for his childhood upbringing,” Vivian said. “Milo and Camilla were separated from their mother at birth. Milo was afflicted with tuberculosis of the brain at an early age and quarantined at St. Ignatius Sanitarium. He resented his sister because she was loved and he was discarded. He used his position as a hospital phlebotomist to spread tuberculosis via blood transfusions. After a brief intermission of love-induced bliss, our relationship spiraled out of control. I discovered who he truly was, and more importantly, the kind of vile psychopath that was lurking below the surface. Don’t even get me started on the breakup.”
“How bad was it?”
“I might save that for our next session.” “Very well. I wanted to touch on one more subject before we end today. I don’t expect you to be fully honest with me, but you clearly aren’t one to shy away from the truth. So tell me, Vivian… Have you, at any point in your life, contemplated suicide or acted on suicidal urges?”
This was the moment that Vivian had prepared herself for.
“When I learned that Milo was simply using me to hunt down his sister, I couldn’t process the guilt. I couldn’t even compartmentalize it. The guilt was unlike any sensation I’d ever experienced before. He suggested that he felt nothing in his heart beyond twisted curiosity. How was I supposed to cope with that? I was days away from fucking proposing to him! Neither did it help that I was expelled from the nursing program at the same time. It isn’t hard to imagine what I wanted to do with myself. I wanted it all to end. So yes, I acted on those urges.”
Her hands shook, clasped tightly together.
“Yet you’re still here.”
Vivian leveled an intense stare at her psychiatrist.
“I’ve come a long way from the early days of Red Widow. I’m not killing myself over a damaged, psychotic, murderous ex-boyfriend. I’ve moved on.”
“But you encountered him weeks ago, is that correct? How do you feel about that?”
Vivian’s eyes didn’t change or blink.
“The last I saw of that monster was in an organ harvesting base in Thailand.” Vivian’s nails sank deeper into the chaise. “I paralyzed him with a neurotoxin as the building went up in flames. So I feel pretty damn good about myself.” Elijah couldn’t disguise the intrigue behind his eyes.
“And what drew you to a man so dangerous?”
Vivian didn’t want to dwell on the attraction that drew her to an alluring bachelor like Milo. It was bad enough admitting that she was attracted to a virulent psychopath. It didn’t quite matter that she fell in love with a façade. The circumstances didn’t detract from the unresolved guilt. She also didn’t care for how deeply Elijah wanted to dig into the issue. His tenacity was stretching her nerves thin.
Fortunately, an idea occurred to Vivian that would bring an abrupt end to his questions.