tagRomanceObtuse

Obtuse

byTroughton1963©

Thank you for Tigerssman and 'The Bard' for help for this story.

*****

"Hey, James, you want to us join later for some ten pins?"

"No thanks, Tommy, but you have a fun time."

Tommy was James's closest friend; James was a great guy, everyone liked him. James never needed to sit alone for lunch or dinner; friends mobbed him. He sat at a different table every meal. Every meal was with a different set of girls, but always the same group. Janet went up to the counter on Friday night, 'Prime Rib Night.' The server would always cut James an extra thick slice and give Janet the half thick slice. Janet didn't mind; It was a joy to watch him eat it.

As the semester went on James just started to shut down, even Tommy had never seen him like this. Tommy remembered back in Elementary school James confided to him that when he was three his family abandoned him on a beach. Tommy recently found out about 'Borderline Personality Disorder.' The main effect is the high fear or perceived fear of abandonment. Even a vacation could trigger it.

One day Mary thought she would cheer up James at the gym. She covered up the words 'Women's locker room' and dropped her towel as she dragged him in. There were three other naked women also there.

James threw several towels at Mary, then the car keys, yelling, "You take the car, I'll take the bus. I'll try to squeeze you in between in dating schedule." Then he stormed out the door.

"Wait, did he just dump me?"

"That was a 'Two-handed thunder slam dunk dump, my dear."

"Take my card, call me if you need to talk. I take it that boy does not date."

"Not I know of, but girls at every meal encircle him. He could date any woman on campus if he wanted to."

"You're a shrink?"

"I prefer councilor, but yes I am."

Another woman said, "Four naked women and his willie didn't twitch. I must be losing my touch."

"Not helping," said the shrink.

"My dear, you overplayed your hand, and it may have cost you his friendship. I take it he is not one to change his mind once it is made up."

Mary shook her head, "He is the best guy you will ever meet in your entire life. He is obtuse; sometimes I could just hit him. He is in his little world, and the outside world can't break in. Just last week a blonde, bimbo slut tried to get him to notice her by dropping all her books. She first undid three buttons, and her massive hooters were threatening to burst forth."

"All he did was pick up her books and told her to be more careful in future. He didn't even help her up. He just went on his merry way. She was just in a daze, with her ass on the ground and she ruined her pair of silk stockings. She was mad as hell."

Mary had come down to the cafeteria to apologize. James had just sat down, eying his mouth-watering piece of Prime Rib before him. When he saw Mary, he picked up his tray, threw everything out and left.

"Mary, don't you get it? He doesn't want to see you."

Without knowing any of the details, several jocks heard that James saw Mary naked in the women's locker room. They cornered James by the dumpster in back of the cafeteria; these guys were not above kicking a guy when he is down or using pipes and baseball bats either.

James had to be airlifted out. He was barely conscious; soon after he got to the hospital, he went into a coma.

Mary's roommate was blubbering when she got back to the door room. "Mary, he's in a coma, the doctors do not even know if he will wake up or what James will be like if he does. The doctor said he was lucky one of his broken ribs didn't puncture a lung. Mary, he has so many broken bones, I lost count how many he had. His face looks like it has been in a meat grinder. If he wakes up, he will need several painful surgeries to fix his face."

Mary picked up the councilor's card and made the call, "Hello this is Mary, the stupid girl you met in the locker room. Some jocks heard about that stunt, and they put him in a coma. They don't know if he will wake up."

Well, that woke the councilor out of her slumber. "Mary, please call me Martha. Now, you listen here Mary; this was not your fault; it was some knuckleheads that like to write their names in the snow. The law will deal with them."

"Granted your plan for your friend..."

"His name is James."

"Thank you, Mary. Your plan for James must have had a reason for it. What was it?"

"To get him out of his funk he is in. He is not letting any of us into his world, even his best friend Tommy, who he has known since forever. Now he may not wake up, just because I wanted to show him my goodies."

-News spread fast on a small campus. The girlfriends of the jocks dropped them like a ton of bricks. Soon they were ex-jocks. The school had to wait until after the trial before they would get expelled; it was a mere formality. The prosecutor had a laundry list of crimes against the jocks. Still, they had to wait to see what would happen to James.

Everyone wanted to be in James's orbit, especially the women. James was an emotional safety net; he would catch you and hold you in a calm, safe place, without saying a word. Sometimes talking is overrated.

Tommy came to Mary's room after class. "Mary, I am James's advocate. Because of what happened, I can't let you see him. I am only going to count being in the room physically; I have heard cards and flowers and gifts are helping to heal people."

"Thank you, Tommy!"

Tommy said, "Every woman on campus would die to go out on a date with James, even if it was to see the movies. None have asked. They settle to watch him eat, to be near him."

"There will be a woman one day that will put up with all his bullshit and will be strong enough to knock down all his walls. Now look in your mirror a moment for me."

Mary didn't know where this was going, but she complied.

"That is the reason the women haven't swooped in; you filled that position."

"Tommy, it is just me in the mirror."

"Look again, Mary."

"The picture of James."

"You mean the one you picked out that happens to have his right arm stretched out, and that you positioned right at shoulder height, so it looks like he has you in his embrace? The way soulmates do? The way lovers do?"

"Stand by your man Mary, fight for him, he can't do that now. Pour your heart and soul into everything you do for him."

The following day, Mary and her best friend, Belle, went to the mall to get essentials. First, to the florist, Mary said to the florist, "Sir, I have a problem. I need James to wake up so he can marry me. I don't know what his favorite flower is so I would like a single bud in a bud vase. The flower that is there when he wakes up will be my flowers for my bouquet, and you can decorate the church."

A young girl at the register said, "Well, it is about time. Thank God for Tommy."

"Excuse me, could you tell me your name?"

"Eva, Miss."

"Do you know James, Eva?"

"Mary, everyone knows James. I am in the Wednesday lunch group, although I am envious of the Friday night crowd."

"Before my stunt, I was in the Monday breakfast group. I always started out my week by seeing him.

"Do you think you could do the deliveries to the hospital, something different every day in this case?"

"What would you like the note to say?"

"I don't know, Belle?" Belle pursed her lips.

"Mary, you should seal the vase with a kiss. You need a crash course in the ways of love."

When Belle and Mary left, Papa questioned Eva about the meals. "Papa there are fifteen meals per week and fifteen groups of women that eat with James. No one has two meals per week, so each group goes from ten to twenty women. Papa, Mary, and James are soulmates like you and Mama. There is an unspoken rule about dating James, he must ask you personally. Every girl would cancel all her plans to go out on a date with James. Not long ago, some guys beat him into a coma. The doctors still don't know if he will ever wake up."

The next stop was the jewelers; this was why Belle was here. "Sir, could you help me? Someone informed me that a friend of mine and I were soulmates. I intend to make up for lost time, love letter wise. I plan on sealing them with a wax seal. Now everyone knows you need a signet ring for a wax seal. Do you have any I could look at?"

"Does Mademoiselle wish to wear the signet ring? I ask because Mademoiselle has long thin fingers and a Signet ring is often cumbersome and bulky so that it can make a good impression in the wax. Mademoiselle needs a crest of her own. Could I be so bold to suggest two interwoven roses in the shape of your initial, leaving no doubt who sent the letter?"

"Would you be opposed to a signet matrix, made of silver or pewter that has your crest etched into the curved bottom. You would press the object down giving a slight roll to make the impression. We could make deeper cuts to make a better crest. Pewter would make as good of a crest as silver would and would be far more affordable."

Belle said, "That is a clever idea Mary; you could never wear a big signet ring."

"Sir, my initial is 'M'. Could I see what two roses would look like for the crest?"

The designer was brought out and showed Mary his vision. "Oh my, that is a thing of beauty Mary. You have to get it." Mary agreed.

The stationary store was last. Mary bought sealing wax, a box of 500 envelopes and 500 sheets of stationery. A little wicker mail basket would be outside Mary's dorm door; she would put the love letters in it, and the first person to go to the hospital would take them in.

"Mary, you need to number your letters on the outside of them."

Eva and Tommy became fixtures at the hospital, so much so, Tommy started to date her.

The doctors said that day thirty was a big decision day. Eva timed her deliveries when she knew Tommy would be there. Every day she got to know him better.

After week two, Papa was running out of different blooms to give his daughter. Eva got creative; she decided any flowering plant could help. She went to her backyard and snipped flowering dogwood, white and red clover, dandelions, and crown vetch to name a few.

Mary started out just writing three love notes per day; now she was writing so many she had to write them while she ate. Her mailbox was starting to break due to the volume of the letters. Tommy bought some containers to hold envelopes; letter number 200 yesterday was soon, to fill box two will be filled.

Most everyone knew that James would be in a coma on day thirty.

Eva started coming more and more. She cared for Tommy, and she was not going to let him go through this crisis alone. Eva would be there, holding Tommy's hand when the doctors spoke to Tommy on that day.

"Mama, great grand mama's plant bloomed a few days ago, could I take a cutting for James? It has always been my thirty-day plant, but it bloomed late this year."

"I think she would approve of that child."

"Mama, I am so scared for tomorrow. What do we do if they say we should stop the machines? Do we have the right to end someone's life?"

"Child, tell the doctors you need the room, close the curtain, and you and Tommy pray out loud right next to James's bed."

As expected, the doctors advised Tommy and Eva to turn off life support.

The light shone through the delicate bloom that was sitting by James's meal tray. Several people were in the room talking about the situation. At the stroke of noon, Eva flinched.

In a slow, steady, calm voice Eva said, "James, my name is Eva. If you can hear me, open your eyes again."

All eyes looked into James's eyes. James's eyes fluttered, followed by his arm protecting his eyes.

"He's light sensitive, close the curtains, turn off the light, call the nurse and speak softly."

The nurse came rolling in. "What is going on here? Why did you turn off the lights?"

"SHHHH!"

"He is awake; light hurts his eyes, get the doctor."

Eva was texting away; then she took a picture.

The text said, "Mary, he's awake-- Bleeding Heart."

Mary broke down in tears; she handed her phone to her roommate.

Mary's roommate said, "This is great news, Mary! Let me hug you." She rocked Mary until Mary fell asleep.

Eva sent another text. Soon a large group of women descended upon the cafeteria. Janet mounted a bench. "EXCUSE ME, EVERYONE! I have an important announcement to make. JAMES IS AWAKE! As a member of his Friday night dinner group, could you let us get our food first so that we can hurry to the hospital?"

Tommy was trying to figure out how to approach a delicate subject. "James, what is the last thing you remember?"

"What do you mean Tommy?"

"Well, things began to go downhill when Mary lured you into the women's locker room. You must have had a huge fight. You would not even let her apologize later in the day. You walked out of the cafeteria without recognizing her."

"Then the jocks beat the crap out of you and put you in here. James, you have been in a coma for a month; we almost pulled the plug on you today. Eva was tasked to bring a different bloom here every day; this one is her Great Grand Mama's flower."

"Eva, where do you fit in with Tommy?"

"James, Tommy is my rock. When I would bring the blooms in every day, Tommy was here talking to the doctors. We got to know each other."

Soon a delicious aroma wafted down the hallways to James's room. Janet stuck her head into the room.

"James, it's Friday night, and you are awake... we brought you dinner."

"Prime Rib? You guys are the best." All the rest of the meals were divided up, so everyone had some dinner.

"Here are the letters Tommy. There would have been more, but Mary Sue rocked Mary to sleep tonight."

"What are those Tommy?"

"These? They are love letters from Mary. You can't read these yet; you have two full boxes to read first. You have been here thirty days; these are letters 251-255; that is an 8.5 letters average per day."

"Because of your fight, I didn't let Mary come to the hospital; I did let her send flowers, letters, and gifts. That is how Eva got involved; she is the florist's daughter."

"Why?"

"I will bring her by tomorrow. She has a question she needs you to answer. Eva and I think she has earned the right to ask the question. After we leave, you should start reading those letters."

Mary came at lunchtime armed with more letters. "Eva, are you hungry? I'll buy you lunch."

After Eva and Tommy left, Mary stepped up to James's bed. "I will ask a couple of questions, and then I will go if you wish."

"Did you read any of my letters?"

"No."

Mary got choked up and started to cry. "James, would you consent to be my husband?"

Silence.

Mary turned on her heel and headed for the exit sobbing.

Eva and Tommy were laughing as they entered James's room,

Eva said, "Where's Mary?"

"She left crying for some reason."

"YOU KNUCKLEHEAD! Don't you know you two are soulmates? You are everything to her. She put her heart on the line with those letters; she writes to you almost constantly. You could not be bothered to read one letter. Then she comes and proposes to you, and you scorn her. She must be devastated." Eva threw the letters on the meal tray at James. "Go ahead, read them."

James hesitantly picked up the letter and opened it. His eyes grew wide; he read another, and another.

"I didn't know she felt this way about me. Do all of them say 'To my beloved' on them?"

Tommy said, "Not all, but most. You screwed up royally this time James. Spurning a proposal must be in the top five of ways to screw up a relationship. She may never talk to you again. She would have devoted her whole life to you, man."

Eva called Mary Sue; she put the call on speakerphone. "How is Mary doing Mary Sue?"

"Terrible, I can't get a word out of her. What the hell happened?"

"She proposed, and James spurned her."

"Holy crap, doesn't he know what he means to her?"

"James never read a letter until I forced him to, and by then it was too late."

"What a fucking idiot. Tell him he gravely hurt a friend of mine, and he best not show his face at the dorm."

"Take care of her Mary Sue, bye."

James could not believe his ears. "Do you think everyone feels the same way at school?"

"News spreads fast. You and Mary were well liked and respected. That is still the case for her. I am sorry James, I can't get my head around what you did. I can't respect a person that could be so heartless and cruel."

Tommy said, "James, I have to agree with Eva on this point. Whatever possessed you to do that to her? You knew her letters were love letters, but you did not read any of them. You may win some of them back, but you can forget about Mary Sue. She is dealing with this situation first hand; she will insulate her from you."

Eva's phone rang, "Hello Mary Sue. Slow down, take a deep breath. I can't understand you. She did WHAT! Tommy and I will go there at once."

"James, I don't say this to many people, but as of this moment, I officially HATE you."

"Tommy, we need to go."

Mary Sue was in near hysterics. "Eva, she tried to give herself an overdose. My nursing professor gave us all one dose of 'NARCAN'; we were lucky. I don't know if she wanted to take enough to kill herself, or enough to make it look like she was dead."

"Why did you do it, Mary?"

"I love him so much Eva, but when I stood there and proposed to him, and all I got was silence. I didn't know what to do. He doesn't love me."

Two nurses were walking past James's room; it is a shame he did not hear the whole conversation. All he heard was that "Mary committed suicide by overdose." He did not realize she was alive and well. Thinking the worst, he concluded that someone that truly loved him killed herself because of his actions.

A plan started to form in his mind. He needed to find someone who liked greed over morality.

He bribed the night nurse. "Here is some cash and my debit card, could you add some harmful drugs to my IV bag on Friday?"

The nurse had already retired; her last day was Friday. She would do the deed just before she went off shift. It would take time for the drip to accumulate a toxic dose. She would withdraw the maximum from his banking account during the three days before then.

The police came and had Mary identify James. The chaplain sat down and had a long talk with Mary, and advised her to take the semester off and go home.

Mary was in a daze; she was on auto-pilot. She went to James's dorm room and rummaged through his closet. She found what she was looking for; she was very deliberate in her task. She moved a chair against the wall.

"BOOM! BOOM!" The blasts ripped through Mary's chest. Her body slumped, then slid off the chair. The students would only find a crumpled corpse on the floor with James's revolver nearby.

The student's bought a double burial plot, and the tombstone had both names when they were born and centered at the bottom was the day they died. In the middle of the stone, only one line was inscribed, "Unrequited love killed them both."

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