“Let’s go around and introduce ourselves to Jen-gi.”
Genji rolled his eyes. “Genji. Hard G sound. Genji.”
“Oh! Thank you, Genji! Now, let’s go around the group.” The therapist’s voice was shrill and it grated on his nerves (and ears) already.
The woman to the therapist's left spoke in a monotone voice. God, Genji hated circle-jerk introductions. “I’m Janet. I have depression and anxiety. My favorite color is black.” Thanks, Janet.
The man on Janet’s left spoke next, “My name is Paul. I am an alcoholic. I’ve been sober for 15 days because Christ is my lord and savior.” Great. Thanks, Paul.
The next man spoke, “I’m Brett. Heroin was my thing. Haven’t had it in a week. I miss it.” Thanks, Brett.
A woman next, “Angie. Christ is also my lord and savior. I was led astray by wine and an affair.” Aaaand, thank you, Angie.
Genji blew out a sigh. “We’ll skip you and come back to you after everyone else.” He nodded, sitting back and putting his hands behind his head.
“I’m Anthony. I’m a sex addict. And a meth-head. And a pothead. And an alcoholic. And I’m depressed.” Wow. Thank you, Anthony.
“I’m Jeanette. I have depression, specifically postpartum. I am apathetic toward my husband,” she paused, tears coming to her eyes. She started sniffling. Genji rolled his eyes. “A-and I’m apathetic towards my child.” She started full out crying. Angie passed her a box of tissues. Fucking hell.
The last woman spoke now. “I’m Noelle. I am depressed. I have anxiety and I have PTSD.” Genji offered her a smile, which she returned nervously.
The therapist looked at him now. “I’m Genji. I am depressed, anxious, and an addict of many things - sex, drugs, alcohol. I also have PTSD from my time as a sex worker. Oh, and maybe bipolar.” Genji glanced over the group as he spoke. He didn’t like Brett’s face when he mentioned the sex work.
“And who is in your support system?” The therapist asked, jotting down some notes.
“My boyfriend, Jack.” He said it pointedly, staring Brett down. Brett scowled more. “He’s really it. His friend supports me too. But Jack is my main support.”
“Alright. Well, welcome to the group. Anything that’s said here, including names, is confidential. You’re not to share anything said here with anyone.” Genji nodded and sat back.
This was not going to be fun.
Genji lowered himself into the chair, sighing under his breath. A new man sat across from him. He was older, and sort of handsome in the way older men could be. Not the way Jack was, though. Jack had a traditionally handsome face that stayed with him as he aged.
Everyone filed into the room slowly, Genji watching them as they took a seat. Why did Jack insist that he get here so early? Probably to get more hours in at the office. Genji’s therapy had cut into his actual office time pretty deeply. He would go in late because he insisted on taking Genji to it himself each morning, he would leave early to eat lunch with Genji every day, and after going back for a few hours, leave early again to pick him up when he was finished.
The assessment had been a hassle to Jack and his work hours, too. Jack had called in and he and Gabe had to reschedule a meeting. Genji tried to tell Jack that he could go in, that they could go later, but Jack insisted that they go that morning.
Genji was pulled back to the present by the grating voice of the group therapist. She spoke for a while, passing the attention over to Anthony. Eventually, they all looked at Genji.
“Genji, let’s talk about the night it all changed.”
Genji sighed heavily, “Okay. Well…”
Genji hated sob stories. He hated listening to most of the people talk in group. There were some people that he enjoyed listening to, some stories detailing certain things about someone’s life. He usually enjoyed listening to a person’s first day, the things that brought them to group therapy.
But most of the time, he hated listening to most people bitch and moan about things. He wanted to go home. He wanted to cuddle with Jack. Most of all, he hated listening to positive affirmations and sickly optimistic people, especially those that just decided that happiness was the cure to everything.
“...ji. Genji?” The therapist broke through his thoughts with her grating voice.
She smiled. To Genji, it looked forced. “Tell us about Jack? How did you meet him? What is he like?” Genji smirked a little. Well… she did ask.
“Jack is just great. He’s very sweet and he is always there for me. He makes sure that I have everything that I need and anything that I could ever want. I was at a BDSM club doing a scene with a dominant that I had only negotiated with on Fetlife. He went beyond my limits and ignored my safeword. Those are two of the biggest fuck-ups in the lifestyle. So, Jack’s best friend was monitoring the dungeon for unsafe situations when that happened. Jack was monitoring a different room at the time. Gabe made the shitty dom leave and Jack cuddled me until I felt better. I went home with Jack that night. We didn’t fuck, which was a new thing for me. Later on, we agreed to enter into a D/s relationship. That’s a dominant/submissive relationship, for those who don’t know.”
The therapist looked shocked for a moment before she schooled her face. “Well! Thank you for sharing with us.”
Genji smirked. “Anytime.”
Moving from group therapy to individual therapy was the best thing for him. He and Jack had agreed on that. It also let Jack return to working a normal day since Genji’s appointments could be scheduled during Jack’s offtime. Jack wanted to make sure that he could drive Genji and from it, supporting him as much as possible. Occasionally, Jack would join him in a session. Genji liked that best.
They had searched for an LGBT friendly therapist, thankfully not hard to find in California. A secondary requirement for the therapist was to be kink friendly, after going to the first therapist. He was nice enough, a married gay man with 3 children and a house that sported a legitimate white picket fence. He was… too normal for Genji. The man would let Genji go into details about the kink side of his life, his regrets and anxiety about not being a good submissive for Jack, but the man never quite got it.
They moved onto another therapist after a few visits. She was a married lesbian in the lifestyle. She was nice, understood Genji’s concern with his poor submissive performance as of late. Her downfall (for Genji) was that she didn’t understand the sugar baby “thing”, and she would sometimes pull a face when he went into detail about his kink life. Jack encouraged him to move on. They would find a therapist that was okay with their lifestyles and let him speak candidly about his life.
Midday Californian sun shone in Jack’s eyes as he leaned against his car outside of Genji’s therapist’s building. Genji was running late, it seemed… Jack was starting to get concerned. Usually, the therapist was good at time management, and Genji would always text him if he needed more time. Jack glanced at his watch, sighing a little. 20 minutes had passed since Genji was supposed to have finished his appointment. He pushed off the hood of his car, going inside the building.
Genji’s therapist was in the waiting room, chatting with the receptionist. He approached the shorter man with his usual charming smile. “Hi, Mr. Haywood?”
The therapist turned around, smiling. “Hi, Mr. Morrison. Genji left halfway through the session today, so I don’t know where he is.”
Jack took a deep breath, nodded his thanks, and turned around, taking long steps until he was outside. He pulled his phone out, calling Genji with slightly shaky fingers.
“Genji, where are you? Your therapist told me you left halfway through the session. Are you okay?”
“Hmm? Oh! Yeah. I’m at the arcade, the one I like. By the beach.”
Jack exhaled slowly, opening his car door. He got in, starting the car. “Okay. I’m on my way. What happened?” Jack reversed out of the parking spot, the hands-free function taking over his phone call.
Genji’s voice played over the car’s speakers. “He tried to pull some victim blaming shit with me, so I left. You told me it’s not my fault, so I’m not gonna listen to him tell me otherwise.”
Jack shook his head. At least the arcade was just a few minutes away. “Okay… That’s good… I’m proud of you. I’ll be there soon, okay?”
“Okay, Daddy! See you!” Jack let the call end and focused on his breathing while he drove. By the time he reached the arcade and saw Genji standing outside, waiting for him, he was calm from the adrenaline spike of before.
Genji ran up to the car and got in the passenger side, leaning over to kiss Jack happily. “Hi!”
Jack kissed him back, cupping his face. “Hi, kitten.”
Genji settled into his seat, pulling the seatbelt on. “Can we go get ice cream? That sounds so good right now.”
Jack nodded, sighing a little. “Of course, angel. Do you wanna talk about what happened?”
Genji shrugged. “He said that maybe I should’ve just listened to my family and I could’ve avoided the mess.”
Jack shook his head. “I’m really sorry, kitten. We’ll find another therapist for you.”
“No, I feel fine. I don’t need another one.” Genji pulled his phone out, looking up ice cream parlors. “Ooh, let’s go to this one!” He started the directions to the shop, the automated voice filling the car. Jack reversed out of his spot, getting back on the road.
“You need another one, sweetheart. We can keep cycling through them until you find one that you like, it’s not a problem. I just want you to get the help you need.”
Zenyatta was his perfect match. His calm, happy, always loving demeanor balanced Genji’s stormy mood on his bad days. He wasn’t in the lifestyle, but he was adorably curious and accepting of it.
Zen let them schedule sessions twice weekly for two to three hours at a time, happily giving Genji all the time he needed to talk about whatever he felt like. They would start the session with a half hour of meditation, as long as it wasn’t a bad day. Bad days came less and less often after a month with Zenyatta and medication. The psychiatrist they found put him on a daily medication for his (finally diagnosed) bipolar disorder, with Xanax as needed. Remembering to take the daily medicine was sometimes a struggle, so Jack took to waking him up in the morning before he went to work so Genji could take the dose. He went back to sleep afterward, usually.
Things got better, slowly. Genji’s mental anguish started to level out and he could enjoy the things he liked to do again. His bond with Jack strengthened, he was happier than ever with Jack, who continued to support him during every down and ride along with every up of the rollercoaster that was recovery.