Home Sweet Home (Rumlow X Reader) Chapter Twentytwo

Chapter Twentytwo – Trouble

Brock took a deep breath, gripping the steering wheel a little tighter than necessary as he peered across the parking lot at the brick building; a sign hanging on the front of the building read A Safe Space with a silhouette of a kneeling soldier next to it. A glance at the clock told him he was going to be late if he didn’t get to steppin’; with a grunt, he climbed out of his truck.

On the door, in white letters, read Helping those who served our country since 2001, Linda Jackson (PsyD), Daniel Backster (MSW), Phillis Keeton (MSW), Jillian Mattingly (PsyD).

Brock pushed the door open, and the scent of lavender and chamomile teased his nose as he walked in; the trickling of water from the small fountain on the receptionist’s desk and the tranquil ambient music with its soft melody and slow rhythm in the background instantly relaxed him. The whole office just soothed and calmed the soul; the waiting room was small, several oversized comfortable chairs spaced out and little tables with magazines or a small potted plant; the walls and décor were different shades of blue. A few others were browsing on their phones or reading a magazine in the waiting room.

Brock approached the desk; a short, graying-haired woman with thin wire glasses smiled at him with warm brown eyes.

-Good morning, Brock.

She smiled, her eyes moving back to the screen, checking him in.

-Morning Katie.

He smiled back, signing his name to the paper on the clipboard sitting on the desk.

Brock took a seat furthest away from everyone, his knee jutted up and down, and his fingers flexed against his jeans.

Ten minutes later, the door at the end of the hall opened. A curvy woman with shoulder blonde hair,  wearing a navy blouse with floral pink peonies all over, ankle-length jeans that had rips in the knees, and brown ankle boots that matched her knee-length cardigan. She walked down the hall toward the waiting room; she stopped smiling at Brock as he stood up.


She asked as they fell in step together, heading toward the office she just walked out of. She opened the door and stepped aside for Brock to enter first; the gold plaque on the door said Jillian Mattingly PsyD.

The office was small, with soft green walls, a plush white couch with green pillows, a desk off in the corner where Jillian’s computer sat, and a wall-to-wall bookcase with several books, pictures, and little memorabilia items sat on display. A white armchair sat caddy corner to the couch, a black coffee table separating them with a box of tissues and a few fidget items. Brock sat on the couch in the middle; he watched as Jillian grabbed a black notebook and pen from her desk and sat in the white armchair.

-How are you? You missed our last appointment.

Jillian asked, opening up the notebook she used during every one of their sessions.

Brock furrowed his brows looking down at his clasped hands on his lap; how was he? Searching through the jumbled-up mess of wires in his head.

-Yeah, sorry, I had a shop thing.

Brock gives her an apologetic look.

-I’m uh, I’m okay, I guess.

He says, unsure.

Jillian nods, cocking her head in an understanding manner as she watches him fiddle with his thumbs.

-No need to apologize, Brock, but I think you’re lying; you don’t seem okay.

She points out.

Brocks let out a breathy laugh; he really liked his therapist; she was understanding and nice but always called him out of his bullshit.

-I’m not sure if I’m being honest.

He admits.

Jillian studies him taking in his tense shoulders, the twiddling of his thumbs, and the knee he’s started to shake.  

-You seem on edge; I haven’t seen you this tense since our first session. What’s going on? Tell me what’s happened between our last session and now.

She says, sitting back in her chair, waiting patiently.

Jillian was different from his last therapist; she never pressured him to speak; if he said he didn’t want to talk about that was the end of it; she’d make a note and ask about it later on in the session; she was patient with him, understanding that he had a hard time putting into words how he’s feeling.

-I started seeing someone.

Brocks tell her, licking his lips nervously as he glances up at her. Jillian is smiling at him.


She gently nudges the conversation forward.

Brock nods.

-Yeah, it’s still very new.

Jillian hums as she makes a note in her book.

-Does she know about your past military service?

She asks, another reason why he likes Jillian; her husband is a veteran, and she understands the PTSD, the nightmares, the anxiety, everything.

Brock nods again.

-Yeah, uh…

He pushes out a breathy self-deprecating chuckle.

-Could say she’s grown up in the military life.

Jillian raises a brow at that, then her brows furrow as she waits for him to speak.

Brock’s nervous energy gets the best of him; he shoots up off the couch, grabs one of the fidgets on the table, and starts pacing as he works the switches and buttons in his hands.


He starts but stops trying to figure out what to say; he hasn’t admitted it out loud yet.

-Your best friend, Jack Rollins?

Jillian questions.


Brock quickly blurts out in a rush.

Jillian blinked and did a little head twitch, trying to make sense of whatever it was that came out of his mouth; she put her notebook down and stood up, her palms out where Brock could see her hands as she moved toward him.

-Brock, I’m going to touch you, okay? I’m going to put my hands on your shoulders.

She speaks slowly and clearly; he nods, and Jillian approaches him slowly, placing gentle hands on his shoulders and giving them a comforting squeeze.

-Brock, I want you to listen to me closely, okay?

Jillian says. Brock licks his dry lips; his heart is beating like a loud drum in his ears, sweat collecting at his temples; he can feel his anxiety rising, his chest starts to heave, and his eyes dart around the room widely.

 – We’re going to breathe together, okay? I’m going to take your hand in mine, and I want you to close your eyes.

With a hand on his shoulder, Jillian places Brock’s right hand over her heart, and his eyes slip closed.

-Breath with me. Inhale 2,3,4,5. Hold it, 2,3,4,5. Exhale,2,3,4,5. Ready? Begin.

Inhale 2,3,4,5.

Hold it, 2,3,4,5


Brock focuses on breathing, feeling Jillian’s chest rise and all; her hand on his shoulder was like an anchor keeping him present. Soon his breathing slowed, and his chest stopped heaving.

-It’s June 26th twenty twenty three, you’re in Glendale, St Mansfield, Texas.

Jillian reminded him. Brock nodded shakily; after he calmed down and was able to sit on the couch again, Jillian slipped out of the room to grab him a chocolate bar and bottle of water.

-I’m seeing Jack’s daughter behind his back.

He says, understandable this time.


Jillian asks.

-Yeah, YN and I know what you’ll say. I’m a dirty old man for being involved with someone who’s 20. Whatever you’ve got, I’ve already thought about it myself.

Brock grumbled, crossing his arms and looking out the window.

-Actually, I was going to ask you how that is going, but since you brought it up. No, I don’t think you’re a dirty old man; sure, there is an age difference, but you’re both consenting adults.

Brock blinked, confused momentarily.  

-I…I mean, I guess it’s going well.

Jillian nods, making another note in her notebook.

-Now, obviously, you have some feelings about the age difference between you and YN. I’d like to touch back on that in a minute. I’m more concerned with how you’re handling not telling Jack about this, he’s your best friend, and you’ve shared many ups and downs with him.

She says, watching Brock’s mannerisms carefully.

-It doesn’t feel good at all; he’d kill me if given a chance; that’s his baby girl, and I deflowered her—

Brock drags his hand over his face, leaning forward to prop his elbows on his knees.

-This is a tricky situation you’ve wiggled your way into. Am I the first person you’ve told about this relationship?

Jillian asked.

-No, my sister Sam knows; my other sisters and brother know I’m seeing someone, just not who, and YN told her two close friends. God, everything is just so wrong.

He says, hanging his head down.

-Is your sister supportive?

Jillian questioned.

-Yeah, yeah, she is.

Brock answers.

-Good, I’m glad you have someone to talk to about this. You seem to have some regrets. Are you regretting this relationship? Or are you regretting that you haven’t told your best friend you’re seeing his daughter behind his back while everyone around him knows but him?

Brock jerks his head up when she’s done speaking; he leans back with a shocked expression.

-Jesus, doc, you really don’t pull punches.

He laughs dryly, licking his teeth. Brock thinks about what she said. Does he regret starting this relationship with you? Does he regret he’s not been man enough to tell Jack?  After several minutes of silence, Brock finally speaks.

-Don’t regret starting this relationship with YN; I think that even if we weren’t going to stay together, I wouldn’t regret it. She makes me happy, like truly happy, which I haven’t been in such a long time that I didn’t recognize the feeling.

Brock chuckles, shaking his head.

-I do regret that I haven’t been man en—

He pauses, looking up at Jillian, who raises an expectant brow.

-I haven’t been brave enough to talk to Jack about it.

Brock finishes, after Taylor had constantly told him he isn’t man enough, Brock’s self-esteem took a big hit, and it’s been a long uphill battle to stop himself from thinking that. It had taken countless sessions with Jillian for him to say, to get that line of thinking out of his head. He still catches himself saying or thinking it, but he’s come a long way.

-Unfortunately, our time is up for today.

Jillian said, closing her book. She sits forward in her chair, looking at him.

-I can’t tell you what to do, but we’ve known each other a long time Brock. And I know you probably better than anyone. I would, in my personal opinion, try to talk to Jack sooner than later. I would hate to see you have a falling out with your best friend, but that will affect not only your relationship with Jack but YN’s relationship with her father.

They both stand up, and Jillian follows him to the door.

-Talk to her; tell her how you’re feeling and where you’re at. But keep in mind that with age comes wisdom; YN is still young and figuring out her place in the world, and that’s not to say she can’t have a mature adult relationship.

Brocks nod, stuffing his hands into his jeans pockets.

-If you need to see me again before our next session, you can always email me.

Jillian says, giving his bicep a gentle squeeze.

Brock makes his next appointment with Katie before leaving; he feels lighter talking to someone who isn’t family about this, even though they barely scratched the surface. He climbs in his truck; closing the door, he takes a deep breath before shoving the key in the ignition and turning the engine over. 


Jack sighed, grabbing the shopping cart and an ad and heading into the grocery store. How had life become this hard? When did life become this, and where the hell was he when it happened? You rarely spoke to him anymore, granted you never really did, but it’s been worse since he came home from Chicago. Maybe he shouldn’t have asked Brock to stay and watch after; reasonably, he knows you’re an adult and needs to come to terms with that. It was just that he missed so much of your life; there were so many milestones he missed out on. And now, when he finally got the chance to get to know you for real, it felt like you didn’t need him anymore. And that was a tough pill to swallow. 

Walking along the almost bare shelves, the fourth of July is coming up; he really should have done his shopping early. He starts to grab everything he needs for a day of grilling by the pool, having a few cold ones with Brock, and listening to you and your friends goof around in the pool. Once he’s gotten everything he needs for smoked brisket, burnt ends, burgers, and vegetable kebabs, he’s got everything else at home. Jack then gathers everything he needs for your favorite dinner tonight.  That way, he might be able to have a real conversation with you. Find out what’s happening in your life and if you actually met someone. Jack can’t deny that he would like to meet the guy if there is a guy at all. Maybe it’s something else; he feels sick at the thought and silently prays that you’re not pregnant. He knows how early pregnancies, more often than not, run in the family. And God knows, neither Gen or him have been the best role model in that department. What would he do if you went and did something stupid like that?

He shakes that thought from his head as he reaches into the cooler for a tub of ice cream; he feels a hand seductively brush over his shoulder blade. 

– Hello, Jack, long time no see.

The voice purrs; it makes Jack’s skin crawl the moment he places who it belongs to. Taking a deep breath, he turns around. 

– Miss Spencer.

He answered dryly, trying to stay calm and keep it civil even though every bone in his body told him to get away. Taylor is not the person he’d like to talk to right now….if ever.  

– Don’t be modest, Jack; you can call me Taylor. 

She says, flashing him a smile—the same as always. Taylor should get an Oscar for her performance; it’s almost believable that she’s human.

Jack clears his throat, taking a few steps away, making sure there is a comfortable distance between them.

– Please, Miss. Spencer, feel free to call me Mr. Rollins.

He responds, raising an unimpressed eyebrow. 

– Oh, come on, Jack. Let’s keep the past in the past; we used to be friends.

Taylor says, stepping closer to him and letting her fingertips glide over Jack’s hand gripping his cart.

– The golf club will have a big BBQ on the 4th of July; I hope to see you there.

Taylor continues, her eyes drinking him in as she glides up his arm, gripping his biceps. 

– Have you been working out since I last saw you? 

She continues, biting her lip. Jack clears his throat again.

– Taylor…let go.

He says; her name taste like ash in his mouth.

– Just stop it.

He continues. He feels anger rising in his chest; he knows he needs to keep calm and not make a scene in the middle of the grocery store. Taylor’s parents are loyal customers of his, and their parents go way back. They’ve been in the same social circle for as long as he can remember, but that woman is the devil. And by the way, she’s acting, it doesn’t look like she’s changed.  

– Why?

She asks, batting her obviously fake lashes. 

Jack lets go of the shopping cart and gently removes her hand from his arm. 

– Because if I’m being honest, I don’t like you very much. And even if I did, I would never go behind my best friend’s back like that. You do remember him, right, Brock? 

Jack replies, dropping Taylor’s hand, taking a few more steps away, and putting his cart between them. 

– And I’m not going to the golf club, Miss Spencer. YN moved back home, so we’re going to have a nice 4th of July BBQ at my place with only our closest friends. 

He says, his hands flexing around the cart handle; he starts to walk past Taylor. She grabs his arm, stopping him. 

– YN, yeah, I saw her at Brock’s garage the other day. 

Taylor says, tilting her head slightly with a sly smirk as if she knows something he doesn’t. 

– That’s usually where you go when you have car trouble. 

Jack replies, starting to move again. 

– Oh, is that what she told you? 

Taylor raises an eyebrow, a devilish smile on her lips as her voice implies something more.  

Jack takes a deep breath; he looks around quickly before he turns to face her. Looking at Taylor with pity, he laughs a bit. 

– Miss. Spencer, you really never give up, do you? If you want to, in some ways, punish Brock for walking in on you while you were fucking some other dude. You go right ahead and do it; that’s between you two. But if you try to bring my daughter into your drama, I won’t hesitate to make sure EVERYONE knows what you do with your spare time. Including your fiancé!

His voice was startlingly deep and dark.

-How is he, by the way?

Taylor’s expression changes; her eyes widen, horrified slightly. She just looks at Jack, not saying a word. 

– Have a wonderful day Miss. Spencer

Jack politely says, flashing her a smile before he grabs his cart and continues down the aisle. 

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