Donna had been working feverishly on Steve’s inner game. He had been so broken down by damaged women that it was a lot more work than she had imagined. The man had no self esteem to speak of but was not the classic low self esteem type either. If anything, Steve was used to projecting his false bravado so well that many thought he was a dominant alpha male. He was not.
With much work, in time, he would find his inner voice and be a strong confident assured man. He had the traits of a hunter and a leader. He was not afraid to try things and put himself in danger for the sake of others. He just made himself a total martyr to the socialites of the town. They wanted nothing from him. He was their charity date. They used him and spat him out. And the constant stream of harsh dismissals and brutal cut-downs had scared Steve deeply. He didn’t know when he had a good thing.
During their intense summer sessions, Donna had finally gotten Steve to see the pattern of futile chases he was engaged in. Saving women from themselves while hurting internally was a fool’s errand. Wasting a great relationship with Faith was not his smartest move either. Had he not burned that bridge, he’d have found what he was looking for. However, Faith had needed her own work as well.
Be that as it may, Donna had gotten Steve in touch with his hunger and desire for Sarah. He also realized that her lack of significant flaws made her very intimidating. She was a complete competent confident coquette elegant lady. She had sass, she had spark, she had capriciously endearing ways that drew him in hard. Behind the mask of her stout professional face was a delicate flower that could use some pampering but was not in need of it.
Steve was struggling not to kick himself for having dropped the ball as badly as he had. He needed to forgive himself and that was proving to be quite hard. He also was struggling to deal with all the brokenness he was uncovering inside of him and the sense of unworthiness was crippling.
Donna would have enlisted the help of another past girlfriend of Steve’s if she thought it would help, but this man was in a delicate and precarious place. If she pushed too hard, he would not heal fast enough. If she let him ease into himself, he would be very angry for missing his chance at wooing Sarah. Cracking the proverbial whip as harshly as she dared, Donna worked right up through the start of the school year on Steve.
The last frontier would be the setting of boundaries with his past. Donna sensed that once Steve allowed himself to be visible again, his past would come back to bite him. Many of the gals who had used Steve were clients of Donna’s. She knew how much they wanted him and how much the loathed him for not being rich and established. He was the perfect not perfect catch there could be. His charm, his smooth, his charisma, his gentlemanly ways. All perfect. His lack of status, lack of money, lack of awareness of his self worth were all liabilities these gals were not willing to forgive.
When Steve brought up the Mackenzie factor, red flags flew hotly in Donna’s mind. There was a woman out there who appeared to be nothing like his past that was exactly like his path. The venomous viper she-devil was about to ruin all the work she had done on Steve and worse, would destroy his chances with Sarah, and she’d suck him dry before moving on to her next pray.
Their timetable, which was already squeezed tightly, was now pressured even more. Without sounding much alarm to stress Steve out, Donna worked all the coaching magic she could muster to push him as quickly along as possible. He had to gain that self confidence. He couldn’t afford to take trial dates and mock relationships. He had to dive in head first and make every single move count. Steve had to find his overdrive and go after his lady as well as his own peace of mind and happiness before this Mackenzie lady ruined it all!
Worse, Steve was not aware of how he was being drawn towards Mackenzie. The whole ploy using the school’s jock was repulsive to Donna. The only upside, Steve was keenly aware of the play at stake and had taken a few initiatives to draw the teen towards him instead. If that worked, then, the checkmate move was blocked. Mackenzie would need to show her real colors. If Steve could spot the real colors, he’d see his past clearly and hopefully run fast and furious the other way… preferably into Sarah’s arms.
Donna’s goal was not to push Steve into any one person’s arm. Professionally, her goal was to get Steve on solid footing to make his own choices. Personally, she wanted to make sure Mackenzie, based on what Steve had shared, would never have a shot at Steve. Sarah winning was fine, as that was what Steve wanted anyway. Too bad she had very very strict rules about dating clients ever. Once Steve was made whole, he would be the catch of the century.