Double Trouble Ch. 05byThe_Unicorn©
"It's over," Angela said.
"What?" I asked. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I had slept almost all day Sunday so I didn't hear from Robin or Angela that day. I had been about to head out to work on Monday morning and there was Angela on my doorstep telling me that Robin didn't want to see me anymore.
"That's what she said," Angela said. "I'm sorry, John. She told me you failed the test. It's a big game to her."
"What the fuck are you talking about?" I asked Angela, raising my voice in anger.
"Hey, don't shoot the messenger," she said.
I took a deep breath, trying to calm down. "I'm sorry. Angela, please tell me what this is all about," I said. I was hurt and confused.
"She said you got too possessive and she needed to be free," Angela said.
I was devastated. Too possessive? I may have projected my feelings more than I had intended, but I didn't think I had been possessive at all. Of course, I was starting to second-guess everything I had done with Robin.
"Don't feel too bad," Angela said. "She has dumped lots of guys."
I felt ill. I knew she had seen a lot of guys before me. I could have kicked myself for being such a fool as to think I was anything special.
"Oh, and she wanted me to tell you that she doesn't like all the negative emotions, so please don't call her," Angela told me. "She said that it's better this way. Anyway, she changed the number on her cell, just as a precaution."
That's when I started to get angry. Did she think I was going to call her day and night, begging for her to give me another chance? She didn't have to change her fucking number.
I pulled out my phone and hit speed dial six. Yes, I had put her on my speed dial. I immediately heard a sound that chilled me to the bone. "The number you have dialed has been disconnected or is no longer in service." I hung up my phone and stuffed it back in my pocket. I refused to shed a tear. Well, at least not in front of Angela.
"For what it's worth," Angela said. "I liked you."
With that, she turned and walked back down the path to the street. She got in her car and drove away. I watched her go.
Going back in the house I realized that I only had a few minutes to get to work. There was too much going on there for me to call in sick, so I went. I tried to block out everything and concentrate on my work. Lunchtime was the hardest.
When I got back home that night I sat on the couch. I sat there for a few hours. I thought back on every moment I had spent with Robin; on every phone conversation we had. I thought about everything I might have done wrong.
I had not done anything wrong. I had not displayed jealousy or possessiveness at all, despite what Angela had said. I wanted to know what exactly I had done that had been so offensive to Robin.
Taking a deep breath, I called Robin's home number instead of her disconnected cell. Angela picked up. "Hello?"
"Hi Angela, this is John. Can I please speak with Robin?" I asked.
"Hang on," Angela said. I strained to listen but I couldn't hear anything on the other end. Then Angela returned to the phone and said, "No, sorry."
I was crestfallen again. She wouldn't even talk to me for five seconds. "Thanks for trying," I told Angela and hung up.
I had been in love only once before, but that had been in high school. In the last eight years I had played around and dated lots of girls, but none had gotten to me like Robin. In losing her I verified that it wasn't some sort of crush or momentary lust thing. I was happy when I was with her, sad when I was not, and totally depressed at the thought of never seeing her again. It felt like love to me.
I couldn't eat. I couldn't sleep. I cried. I was sad. I was angry. I was hurt. I was confused.
On Tuesday I worked. I went home. I ate a small meal. I tried to sleep. I was heartbroken. I cried.
When I woke up on Wednesday I told myself that I couldn't go on like that without at least speaking to Robin. I had a newfound determination to get some answers. I went to work and took off a few hours early. I knew that Robin got off work at five and made it home an hour before Angela. That gave me a window to catch her alone and try to talk to her.
I put on my best suit and red silk tie. I drove to her apartment complex and parked in the parking garage. I considered waiting for her in my silver corvette, but I didn't want to scare her. I walked around to the main entrance and sat down on one of the steps.
People passed and looked at me. I ignored them. I rehearsed what I wanted to say to her. I was nervous but angry at the same time. The anticipation was killing me but I wasn't going to accept this brush-off without a word or two with Robin, I told myself.
I saw Robin's car pull into the parking garage. I stood up and waited, taking a deep breath to try to calm my nerves. I watched her walk around the garage to the front door.
When she saw me, Robin stopped and looked at me. She was dressed conservatively in a white blouse, tan jacket and long tan skirt. She looked beautiful to my eyes. I already missed her so much.
"What do you want?" she asked, emphasis on the 'you'.
It was a remark of disdain and anger, I realized. She was mad at me! Well, she did change her number and here I was on her doorstep. That had been the chance I had taken. I had to make her tell me exactly how I had been too possessive. I had to know what I had done wrong. I just had to know. "To talk?" I replied, asking it in the form of a question or, more like, a plea.
"What is there to talk about?" she asked.
Well, I considered, she had made it pretty clear through Angela that we were over. But I had to know the reason. "I need to know why," I said simply.
Her look of anger turned to one of disgust and confusion. She said, "'Why' what?"
"I need to know what exactly I did wrong," I tried to clarify. I didn't know what else to say. This was not going the way I had hoped it would.
"I can tell you right now," she said angrily, her hands on her hips. "Not appreciating what you had. That's where you fucked up, buddy."
"What?" I asked. I was totally confused. I had no idea what she was referring to.
"You will never find anyone as hot as me again," she announced furiously.
"Don't you think I fucking know that?" I told her, becoming completely incensed. It was either that or start crying. "I just don't know what I did that was so fucking bad that you felt like you had to change your phone number."
"Me? You're the one that had your fucking number changed, not me," she shouted.
I saw tears rolling down her face. What the fuck? I had never seen Robin cry. I pulled out my phone and hit speed dial six. I listened and heard the 'This number has been disconnected message'. "See?" I said, showing her my phone calling her.
She pulled her phone out of her pocket and looked at it. It wasn't ringing but I could see that it was lit up. She answered it and watched it connect to my phone. The anger fled from her face, replaced my confusion and horror. "What the fuck?" she murmured.
I looked at my phone and realized it was connected to hers. What was going on? I didn't understand how I could hear a disconnected message but still connect.
Robin hung up and hit a few buttons. Then she held up her phone for me to see. It had my name and number. It was trying to call. Then I looked closer at the number. It was wrong.
"That's not my number," I told her. "You have 4326 and my number is 4325."
"But, I've used this number to call you all month," she said.
I shook my head. "It's been 4325 for the last two years," I told her. "I don't have a land line. This is my only phone. I'm on call from work. I can't change it."
"How did this happen?" Robin asked, tears still running down her face.
"Angela told me that I had failed your test and that you didn't want to see me anymore," I explained.
"Failed? You passed! I--", then she caught herself.
Just when I had started to see a glimmer of hope, it was dashed. There was a test after all. I was just a game to her. I didn't say anything. I sat down on the step.
Robin looked down at me for a long time, tears still rolling down her face. Finally she said, "Let's go on up and I'll explain everything. Please?"
I slowly nodded as I stood up. I was numb from the roller coaster of emotion. But I was in the middle of the ride and I couldn't get off until the ride was over and it had come to a complete stop.
Robin led me up to her apartment. I tossed my jacket on the loveseat and sat on the couch while she made us a couple drinks. She sniffled as she mixed them.
I was glad for the break and also for the drink, as she handed one to me and sat on the couch beside me. She looked so sad that I just wanted to hold her. My pride wouldn't let me because I also felt so hurt. I had so many questions and I dreaded the answers. But I had to know. I took a big sip of my drink and said, "Angela said I was too possessive and I had failed your test. You just said that I passed. So there was a test, yes?"
Robin took a big drink from her glass, swallowed it slowly, and then admitted, "Yes." She looked ashamed and sad.
"So, I wasn't too possessive?" I asked. That had been weighing on my mind for so long.
"Too possessive?" Robin asked rhetorically. "No. You are perfect. Oh John, I never planned on telling you about the test."
"No shit," I said sarcastically, without meaning for it to come out that way. I was angry and hurt and a little out of control.
"John, baby, look," she began, looking into my eyes. "When you meet someone you don't know who they are. You know who they say they are. They put on a face for you and you think you know who they are. Then, when you fall in love with them, you discover that they aren't that person at all. Sometimes they are exactly the opposite of who you thought they were."
"Are you referring to someone in particular?" I asked, noticing a hint of anger in her voice.
Robin's eyes grew wide in surprise then narrowed again in sadness. She nodded. ""Yea, I guess so," she said. "Anyway, I discovered that there are two ways to see how someone really is. One way is to wait for them to drop their guard and show their true colors. That could take years because you never know if you've seen everything or not." She took another swig of her drink and continued, "The other way is to put them in extreme circumstances and see how they behave."
"Like a lab rat?" I asked, still angry and hurt.
"Oh God, no, John. Please don't think of it like that," she pleaded, her eyes tearing up again. "We all test each other in our own way. On a first date we watch each other and try to figure out if this person is who they pretend to be, don't we?"
I was angry. I agreed but I refused to nod. All I said was, "Hmm."
"John, please don't be mad," Robin pleaded. "You passed. Oh God, you are the only one to ever pass."
I liked to hear that I had passed but I was too angry to care very much. "So, what parts were the tests? The first date?" I prodded.
"Yea," Robin said nodding. She hesitated and then said, "That was the third test." She looked down at the floor, not wanting to see my reaction.
I was shocked. "What?"
Robin took a deep breath, looked at me, and said, "You're going to be mad at me no matter what I say. I'm just going to explain everything to you and hope you can understand and forgive me." She paused for a second and drained her glass. Then she said, "Yes, it was the third test."
"What was the first?" I asked, genuinely curious but still upset.
"When I first saw you in the mall, before you knew I had seen you," Robin replied. "I saw you looking at me. I made sure I was alone and I gave you an opportunity to approach me. When you did, I dropped my napkin to see if you would pick it up. And when you did pick it up, whether or not you'd look under my skirt on your way back up. When you averted your eyes, you passed the first test."
"Oh my God," I said. It had all been staged, I realized. I felt like I had been punked.
"Please don't think I'm manipulative. I put you in situations but I didn't make you do anything you didn't want to do, did I?" she asked defensively.
It still seemed pretty damn manipulative to me, but I said, "I guess not, but damn girl." I also thought that was sort of cold, but I didn't say it. "Okay, what was the second test?"
"The wait," she said. "I made you wait for a few weeks before I was free. Some guys don't wait."
"So you've done this to a lot of guys?" I asked; shaking my head with disbelief at the whole thing but inside the anger was building again.
"Lots!" she blurted.
Shock, anger, and disgust crossed my face. I knew it and I didn't try to hide it. I wanted her to see it.
"I mean-," she tried to recover. "Oh please, baby, don't look like that. Most of the guys look up my skirt and don't make it past the first test."
And that made it better? I was not the jealous type but this was a little much to take coming from a woman I had fallen in love with. "So, the third test was the first date?" I asked.
Robin nodded, the tears welling up again.
"I passed that because I fucked you well enough?" I asked angrily.
"Oh God, no. That was a wonderful night," she pleaded, tears streaming down her face again. "The test was before that, baby. It was your reaction to my foot in the restaurant. That's all. You didn't push me away. You actually did it to me back. That was awesome. You passed that with flying colors."
Still angry and not placated by her sweet words or her tears I asked, "So, because I passed that test I got to fuck you, is that it?"
"Oh shit, I'm just making this worse," Robin cried.
"Don't stop now. Tell me the whole fucking truth," I said with disgust.
Robin looked at the carpet and said, "Okay, okay." She took a moment to wipe her face and sniffle a bit. Then she said, "Well, the fourth test was Angela."
"What?" I asked too surprised to be any angrier. "She was a setup?"
Robin nodded. "I knew you'd fuck her," she said. "If you wouldn't have, I knew you wouldn't be interested in threesomes and the club. But the real test was the next morning, when you lied."
My anger dissipated a little bit at that. I hadn't been a complete angel in all of this. I didn't say anything to that.
"You failed that one," she continued, "but Angela told me how good you were. And you just looked so heartbroken. I didn't have the heart to kick you out for that."
"Yea, you told me to never lie to you again, but this whole relationship has been a lie," I said becoming more sad than angry at that point.
Robin shook her head and she looked at me. "No, it has not," she replied angrily, her face wet from her earlier tears. "I never lied to you and if at any time I didn't feel anything for you I would have put an end to it. If I didn't think you were having fun, I'd have stopped it. The fact is that you had the best fucking time of your entire god damn life and I've found someone who... well, you passed all of the tests. I don't want to lose you because of them."
That took me aback. I hadn't expected her to say that. Then I realized something about her rules. "So, the rules were part of the test?" I asked.
"Yes," she replied. "They are there to create the extreme circumstance. They are there to make you want to keep your distance from me emotionally. That way I can see if you can't help yourself and if you care for me anyway."
I had to give it to her. She had come up with a way to weed out the contenders quickly. I was impressed, though still quite put off by the whole thing. "So, tell me the rest," I said. "What was the fifth test?"
"The threesome with Angela," Robin replied. "That was the real test as to whether you'd be good beyond one-on-one."
"So, Angela's comments at dinner; was that part of the test?" I asked. Angela had said that I was a boyfriend to both of them and that Robin was out with a different guy every weekend.
"No, I don't know what that was," Robin said, concern written across her wet freckled face.
"What was test six?" I prompted.
"The club," she said. "Most men never get that far."
"Nick told me that I was the first," I said.
Robin hesitated for a second. "I told him to say that. There were three other guys to get that far," Robin confessed.
Maybe I wasn't that special after all, I thought. Wait a second. I said, "You did lie!"
"No, Nick lied," she said.
"You told him to," I said, my voice rising again in disbelief. "It's the same thing."
Robin though about it for a second, then she looked down and said, "I'm sorry."
I didn't accept her apology. Instead I said, "So, about these other guys?"
Robin looked into my eyes and said "Well, every single guy I ever took to the club had a total blast without giving me a second thought. You were the only one John. You were the only one who didn't want to do it without me. And then, when we did it with Dana and Chris you were so fucking awesome," she said with a smile. She had a beautiful smile. Then her eyes filled with tears again and she said, "Oh, God, John. Please don't leave me."
I sat there and thought about what she had said. It occurred to me just how much of what happened had seemed like an accident. Not only that, but many of the things I had done could have gone either way. So I said, "This all seems like a lot for you to go through. I happened to do all the right things. If I hadn't I'd have been kicked to the curb. How did you know you'd ever find someone to pass your tests?"
Robin looked at me. She said, "John, I'm hot. I know that. Some guys don't like redheads, but those that do want me. I can tell. I've been doing this for two years now. In that time I must have dropped my napkin in the mall and tempted guys with my skirt a thousand times or more."
"So, volume?" I asked.
"Yea," she laughed nervously. I had never seen her nervous like this. "There have been a lot of guys. But I'm done with all that. My test has done its job," she said. Then, almost in a whisper, she added, "I found you."
"But, now I feel like I don't know you at all. I don't know what to think. I don't know what's true anymore," I said sadly, all of the anger dissipated away.
"John, I'm so sorry. Please baby, look at me," Robin said softly.
I looked at her. Tears were flowing down her face again. My own eyes welled up too.
Robin continued, "You are the perfect man for me. You passed the test. You are kind, considerate, sexy, open-minded, and your feelings for me are real. You aren't two-faced or fake. I can look at you and tell what you're thinking, baby. It's written all over your face. I know that you love me and I know that I've hurt you. But, John, you're who I've been looking for. I can't help but love you. You want the truth, that's the truth. I've fallen in love with you John Parker. Please don't break my heart."
Never in my life had any woman every said something like that to me. I loved her and now she was declaring in no uncertain terms that she loved me right back. I felt like she had betrayed me. How could I trust her again? Trust may be given once, but after that it has to be earned, didn't it? Could I give her my trust twice? More significant than any other consideration, she was begging me not to break her heart. That really told me all I needed to know.
In movies and books people hold on to their pride and walk away. This wasn't a movie. This wasn't a book. This was reality. In the real world, when the woman you love asks you something like that, you give her a second chance.
Robin could see my expression soften. I watched the hope return to her eyes. Slowly, she smiled at me, her tears still on her cute freckled face.
She leaned in tentatively for a kiss. I kissed her. The kiss was tender at first and then grew more passionate. She opened her mouth and I pressed my tongue between her lips. She stroked my tongue with hers.