Catch up here.
I end my ear-piercing scream when my brain recognizes that it is Robin who turned on my kitchen light. He stands across the living room from me in the opening of the kitchen with his arms crossed over his chest.
My heart pounds against my ribcage. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” I yell, livid he ruined my post-date glow in seconds.
The door bursts open behind me, bumps me in the back, and lurches me forward. I shriek then whirl around.
Chase squeezes through. “Sorry! Are you all right?” he asks.
“Robin decided to surprise me is all,” I answer, dipping my head towards the kitchen.
He follows my gaze. “Robin,” he says cordially.
“Chase,” Robin says curtly and nods.
Chase slides an arm around my waist and murmurs in my ear, “Do you want me to stay?”
“Do you mind waiting in the hall just in case?” I whisper.
He plants a kiss on my cheek before I close the door.
“Explain,” I say brusquely, not in the mood for games, and kick off my heels. I drop my evening bag on the table next to the door.
“I wanted to see how your date went.” He drops his arms to his side and strolls over to the sofa.
I plop into my recliner and flex my feet. “Bullshit. You may be my best friend, but you don’t get to use your key to come in here while I’m on a date to wait for it to bomb,” I say penetratingly. “Especially after the bomb you dropped on me before my date. That’s crass, even for you.”
“Okay.” He sets his elbows on his knees then interlaces his fingers. “I was hoping it was a bust and I could be here for you to cry on my shoulder,” he confesses.
I eye him cautiously. “This isn’t like that, Robin.”
“Maybe. Maybe not,” he says self-assured.
“Chase is different and so is the way we approached this relationship.”
“You say that now.” He narrows his eyes.
I know he will not change gears easily. The last thing I want is to be deadlocked with my best friend of ten years over my love life.
I exhale a long, sorrowful breath. “I think we need to take a break for a few days,” I state candidly.
“Take a break? We aren’t even dating!” He sits up straight.
“No. But you have more feelings for me than I have for you.”
“Don’t push me away, Lara.” He scoots across the sofa closer to me. “Please.”
“I can’t do this right now.” My chest tightens and tears threaten to surface. “I don’t know how to deal with this on top of how I feel about Chase. I need time.”
“How do you feel about Chase?” he asks sharply.
“I really like him, Robin. We’ve gone out for coffee and lunch several times in the last few weeks.”
He buries his chin in his chest.
“I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth,” I say compassionately.
He pushes himself off the sofa and heads for the door and I trail behind him.
“I’ll call you after work on Monday,” I tell him as he opens the door.
“Yeah,” he says somberly.
Chase paces the hallway and stops when he turns and sees Robin exit my apartment.
“Monday,” I call after Robin.
“Whatever,” he mumbles without looking back.
“Would you like me to stay for a while?”
“Do you mind?”
“Not at all.”
He shrugs out of his jacket and hangs it in the coat closet then tugs the tie loose and unbuttons the top button of his shirt.
I give him a short tour of the apartment since almost everything can be seen from the long living room. The burgundy sofa and matching recliner sit on the left wall facing my bedroom. The flatscreen TV sits on a cherry media center next to the bedroom door. The room is also furnished with a cherry coffee table, end tables, and side table next to the door.
The kitchen is just behind the living room with only the maple cabinets separating it from the living room. The cabinets form an L-shape with the refrigerator at the back left corner. A long window breaks up the back wall and a small square maple table and chairs sits in the back right corner. A door on the right side leads to the utility closet/pantry.
My Bedroom and bathroom is on the right, past the coat closet. The bedroom is also furnished in cherry wood with a queen-sized sleigh bed. Dark purple covers the duvet and lavender sheets peek out from underneath. The bathroom is plain with an oak cabinet and cream counter top at the sink. A purple towel hangs from the towel bar over the toilet and a lavender shower curtain hangs across the shower rod. A small walk-in closet sits in the back corner.
I pull out a bottle of Riesling from the refrigerator and two wine glasses, set them on the coffee table, and fill each glass halfway with the chilled white wine. I sit on the sofa, curling my legs to my left so I face him. I press the base of my wine glass against my thigh.
Chase rests his left arm on the back of the sofa and runs the back of his fingers over my hair. “I wanted to spend more time with you tonight, but I didn’t imagine it like this.”
“Thanks for sticking around,” I say relieved. At least my night will not end on the sour note I thought it would.
“My pleasure.” The right side of his mouth curls up.
I catch his hand, still running over my hair, and kiss the palm then press it against my cheek with my eyes closed.
The clean and oh-so-masculine scent of Chase’s cologne permeates my olfactory sense. My muscles relax and I finally feel at ease. The pressure of the chopstick in my hair loosens. I open my eyes slowly to find Chase inches away, letting my hair down with his free hand. His brilliant aquamarine eyes are focused on his task.
“So beautiful,” he breathes. He takes my wine glass and places it on the coffee table.
He touches his finger to my lips. “Shhh. I just want to kiss you. Nothing more,” he says low.
His mouth covers mine, his tongue dips in, and our tongues tango to our own music.
The problem with Robin…forgotten.
©Debi Smith, 2014