I was crushed. I was shattered. My heart had officially been broken.

The love of my life Natalie Rowe was pregnant. I couldn’t believe it. I watched her every week on Samantha’s City. It was usually the highlight of my week, but Tuesdays were never gonna be the same. It was hard enough to accept the fact that my beautiful Natalie was off the market, but knowing she was pregnant… that meant, you know… She had… How do I put this? She had danced with the devil in the pale moonlight. Yeah, I know Natalie was previously married, but it could have been a sexless marriage. My friends weren’t very supportive of me.

“Robert, you realize you were never actually going to meet Natalie Rowe, right?” That was the advice from my friend Simon. I hated Simon sometimes. He could be so cynical and so negative sometimes. I guess it was my own fault. Did I ever invite Simon on any of my adventures? I knew he would have loved being behind the scenes with me when I went to last year’s Super Bowl, but did I invite him? No. It was sort of a paradox – I thought about the time I snuck into the wrap party for Guardians of the Galaxy. Maybe if I invited him to things like that, Simon would be less of a crab. On the other hand, Simon could be such a buzzkill that he may have blown my cover.

“Simon, why do you gotta be so negative all the time?”

“I’m not trying to be negative! I’m just trying to bring you to reality! Natalie Rowe is a popular Hollywood actress with a net worth of several million dollars! She’s been in movies. You’re…”

I didn’t cut Simon off. He seriously had a hard time finishing that sentence. And I can’t blame him. So I finished it for him: “I’m Robert freaking Tolkien!” Okay, my middle name isn’t Freaking, it’s Ulysses. “I’m the one who taught LeBron how to dunk. I’ve been to all thirteen continents! I can military lift… like 300 pounds!”

Simon just sat in silence for a few seconds – most people usually are awed by my accomplishments. “There really is no bringing you to reality…” Damn right! Sad thing is that Simon was one of the more sympathetic to my problem.

My arch nemesis Benjamin Disraeli Giggard oozed his way over to my table. “Hey Robert, I heard your girlfriend is pregnant.”

Normally, he made similar jokes about Carrie Reinhold, which irritated me. However, this was Natalie Rowe we were talking about – the light of my life. I wanted nothing more than to give Ben five across the lip, but as a trained karate expert, I’m pretty sure I could be charged for assault with a deadly weapon. If nothing else, I could get suspended from school – and I was already recovering from a Saturday detention for impersonating one of my teachers. So I did the best I could to rid myself of Simon. I would ignore him. But since this was Ben, I had to take it one step further:

“Simon, I believe there’s some sort of apparition haunting this school. It’s as if a gust of wind blew through, and I’m pretty sure it’s just the ghost of a former student.”

Ben sneered at this. “You can run from me, but you can’t run from your feelings.” Ben was hamming things up as much as possible before eventually pirouetting away. Simon tried to be a little more constructive in his destruction of me: “Have you ever thought about finding someone new?”

I really resented Simon’s outright refusal to acknowledge my pain. Then again, he had a somewhat astute point. Natalie wasn’t waiting for me. I guess there’s little point in waiting for her. The writing was on the wall. I remember one year, I sent her a happy birthday message on her Twitter. I later found out she got a personalized letter from the President of the United States. Hard to compete with that one…

I had one thing that would help me get my mind off of Natalie. My local theater was holding auditions for A Streetcar Named Desire. The play was by Tennessee Williams – who I was pretty surprised to learn was NOT a country singer. Before going, I decided to truly release my feelings about Natalie. I played my favorite sad song “I Can’t Stop the Rain” by Peter Criss sixteen times in a row. You might think that would get repetitive, but bear in mind I can play that song on sixteen different instruments.

I made my way into the theater. By that, I mean my mother drove me. Yeah, I know it was bogus and embarrassing, but the ‘vette was in the shop! I walked into the theater. There were a lot of other actors there, but I knew none of them matched the titanic acting chops that this gifted thespian had. I scanned the room, scouting out my competition. Then I saw her.

I’m not one to believe in love at first site. After all, I had to see her in a bunch of other movies before I fell head over heels in love with Natalie Rowe. But when I saw this gorgeous creature, I was immediately captivated. She was a redhead, and red always became my favorite color when I saw it on a beautiful woman. She had curves in all the right places. Hell, she may have had curves in a few of the wrong places, but she still looked phenomenal.

There were people around her – men and women. I wasn’t going to let these people get in my way. Nor was I going to let her ravishing good looks intimidate me. After all, when has that stopped me before? Like a man on mission, I walked up to this dream girl.

“Hi there,” I said with confidence.

I thought I’d have to break the ice. She was actually quite friendly: “Hi, I’m Rebecca.”

I don’t know why it popped into my. I have a harder time figuring out why I actually said it, but my immediate rebuttal was, “Me too!”

“Your name is Rebecca?”

“No! My name is Robert!” In lieu of that faux pas, I couldn’t help but think it was perfect. Robert and Rebecca – we were alliterative together! I guess you could say we would have a little R and R together.

Aside from discovering we did NOT have the same name, I learned a lot about Rebecca. For starters, this wasn’t her first audition. She was actually a pretty successful actress in the area. She had already starred in numerous short films and a few indie films. It made perfect sense, since she definitely had the looks of a movie star. She was a few years older than I was and was already in college. She also had absolutely perfect breasts. She didn’t say that herself, but it came up.

I asked her, “So does Rebecca have a last name?”

“Chambers.”

“Like the girl in Resident Evil?” This got a laugh out of her.

“So, tell me a little more about yourself.”

Ho-ho, where do I start? “Well, in between my rigorous football practice, I am hoping to show my chops as an actor. I got to do something after missing out on that part in Ant-man, I’m hoping to book a few more parts.”
“You tried to get a part in Ant-man? As what, an extra?”

“No, I tried to get the part of Ant-man.”

Rebecca laughed at this, “You are so cute!” Cute? Personally, I’d prefer Earth-shatteringly handsome, but a compliment from someone like this is a compliment!

“Some of us are going out after the audition tonight, you want to come along?” Wow! I thought I’d have to sweet talk or flirt or even simply ask if I could tag and – boom – she asks me!

“Sure, I’d love to go.”

“Cool! Listen, since we’re gonna see more of each other later, I really need to focus on this audition, okay?”

Yeah, that was fair enough. I agreed with her to the letter. After all, I needed to focus on my audition too. I needed to keep my eyes on the prize because I was competing with people who would be working just as hard, and if I didn’t match them, I could fall behind. Besides, I had a little extra motivation. I could very well be co-starring with Rebecca.

I had my audition first, and I gave a… a… um… oh yeah! Tony! That’s the award for theater-types. Yeah, I gave a Tony-worthy performance. I figured it would only be a matter of time before I heard back about this part and I’d be acting alongside Rebecca. Unfortunately, that was also happening. I found myself waiting for Rebecca to get out of her audition. Eventually, we did, and it was off to the bar. No longer were we focusing on our respective auditions. Instead, we could focus on each other. At least, that’s what I thought.

I thought being at this bar would give me and Rebecca to hang out. Instead, Rebecca spent a lot of time with her friends. I can understand where she was coming from, but it kind of irritated me that I could really only get in a few micro-conversations with her:

“So how do you think you did?”

“I did alright, how about you?”

“I knocked it out of the park!”

Then she moved on to talk to someone else. The problem was that Rebecca was the ONLY person I knew so I didn’t have much else to say to these people who seemed to be in their own worlds. It amazes, I could draw attention better than a bolt of lightning, but these people were ignoring me. What a world!

The one caveat to coming out to the bar was that everybody else there was old enough to drink, and I wasn’t. Some of the guys kept violently wringing my shoulder, babbling to me about God knows what, and of them sat on my lap. I came to a pretty startling revelation – When you’re sober, drunk people are kind of annoying.

I finally got a chance to get a little closer to Rebecca. And by that I mean, I stood close enough to her that I could eavesdrop on her conversation. She was talking a lot about the projects she was working on. I admit that I was both curious about what she worked on and jealous that she got to do that kind of work.

However, things spiced up a bit. Rebecca turned to me, “Hey Robert, I’m feeling a little sore. You mind giving me a back rub?” If there wasn’t a kettle drum present, I heard one anyway. Though if I must, I must. I started working my magic on Rebecca’s back. It felt wonderful – caressing a massaging her soft, warm back. I vied for a little sweet-talking. “Does that feel good?”

“Actually, could you go a little lower?” Yes, I could! “Lower!” Okay, this was getting a little serious, and that’s the way – uh-huh, uh-huh – I like it. It’s funny because Rebecca was still talking to her friends about other things. And you know what? I didn’t mind. This was one of those cases where actions spoke louder than words.

Then again, one of her friends chimed in: “If someone’s gonna give you a back rub for that long, he may be a keeper.” Damn right! Sadly, all good things must come to an end. I had school, and she had school. To be specific, I had high school, and she had college – minor differences in semantics, but the idea is the same. As we made our exits, we hugged. The thing that caught me was that she really held on to me. She asked me, “Did you have fun tonight?”

Is that a trick question? “Yeah, I had fun!”

“Really, did you enjoy yourself?”

“Yeah, I had a blast!”

“Good!” She held onto the hug for a while. Obviously I liked it. I loved holding my body to her soft, voluptuous curves. But at the same time I was caught off guard. We had just met, and she was already treating me like this. What can I say? It’s the old Tolkien charm.

Having the eye of a woman that beautiful didn’t change one thing: I still had to be picked up by my mother. She yelled at me for calling to pick me up so late. “Sorry, Mom, I was hanging out with a girl…”

“Oh, I get it, Bobby. You don’t have to explain anything else.” Wow! I didn’t have to explain myself. Mom totally understood how I could be enchanted by the magnetism of a beautiful woman. I spent the entire drive home telling her about Rebecca. Mom seemed to like hearing about it as much as I liked talking about her.

I arrived home to look up Rebecca on Facebook. I was elated to find her, but it was sort of a good news, bad news situation. Good news, I finally got to ogle Rebecca in her seemingly infinite beauty. The bad news was that her feed was also filled to the brim with comments about how she didn’t want to date. She was proud to be independent and single. Then again, I guess if there was anyone who could crack that ice, it would be Robert Tolkien.

Unfortunately, as I sat at my computer desk, something began to dawn on me. My shoulder was hurting. I mean, REALLY hurting. It seriously hurt all the way down my arm. I was wondering what caused my arm such excruciating pain. Then I remembered that little backrub I gave to Rebecca. It dawned on me that I had in fact thrown out my shoulder from rubbing Rebecca’s back. I have to say, that is probably one of the coolest ways to injure one’s shoulder.

There was one woman who I wanted to tell about my newfound love. Ever since Carrie decided she was going to replace me with Marshall, I decided to inform Carrie I didn’t need her. Of course, I never did need Carrie, but I wanted to hammer that point in. I approached Carrie after school. It hadn’t exactly escaped me that she was actually putting effort into her appearance. I could tell she was actually showering on a regular basis, and I’m relatively sure she was actually dressing herself. This was all the more motivation to tell her: “Hey Carrie, I wanted you to know I started seeing someone.”

“Congratulations – I’m so happy for you!”

I was perplexed. I came to gloat to Carrie that she had been replaced, and she seemed genuinely happy for me. There wasn’t a hint of irony in her voice. She genuinely seemed glad to hear this news. Maybe she didn’t hear me right. After all, years of not cleaning her ears probably led to some kind of buildup that affected her hearing. So I decided to reiterate: “Carrie… I’m seeing someone. It’s pretty serious.”

“I know. I heard you the first time. You’re a really cool guy, Robert. You deserve someone who makes you happy.”

Carrie walked away. I stood there stunned for a few seconds as there was no schaudenfreuden to found here… Well… It was nice to know I had Carrie’s blessing.

To be continued…

Copyright 2015 Alex deCourville

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