I was sitting in a hotel room on a Saturday morning. I could have easily picked up someone to spend time with that evening, but I was seeing someone back home whom I cared about. The more I sat there thinking about it, the more I realized that I did not want to live without her.
My name is Mike Carter. I'm 25 years old and I live in Atlanta. I work for a company that has offices in many cities around the country. About four times a year, they send me to a few of them to make certain that the computer systems are working correctly. This time, I had to go to Kansas City and instead of the usual one week, I was going to be there for almost two. That meant that I had a weekend to kill. All I really did Friday night was think about my girlfriend back home, Stephanie.
Stephanie is 24, stands about 5-2 and would probably have to wear everything she owns to weigh 120 pounds. We have been going together for the last two years. I enjoyed spending time with her. The more I sat in the hotel room, the more I wanted to be with her. This made me come to a decision.
I got up out of my chair and headed out. I went out in search of a jewelry store. I found a nice one about three blocks away. It took me twenty minutes to find the ring that I wanted. It cost me a month's wages, but it would be worth it when I saw the look on her face.
Later that afternoon, I gave her a call.
"Hey Steph. How are you doing?"
"Mike. I'm lonely that's how I'm doing. I wish you could be here."
"Not as much as I wish that I was there."
We talked for about a half hour before I had to get going. I invited her to dinner on Friday evening after I got home. I told her that I was going to take her out, so she should dress up nice. We said our goodbyes and hung up.
The rest of the week was a blur. I was thinking about Stephanie and how she would react when I presented her with the ring. I had a hard time keeping my mind on my job as well. I was so filled with anticipation that it was nearly killing me.
It was actually work to keep myself calm Friday night when I stopped at her apartment to pick her up. She was dressed as I had hoped in a lovely evening gown. I led her to the car and opened her door like a perfect gentleman. I ran around the car and we drove away, heading to the restaurant.
While we were on our way, I noticed that Steph was a bit subdued. She was not acting like her normal self. I noticed that instead of looking at me, she was looking out the window.
Once we arrived at the restaurant, we were led to our seats and I still noticed that she was acting quite distant. The waiter took our orders and returned with our drinks before I finally started the conversation.
"So what's bothering you Honey?"
She looked at me with a shocked expression when I said this.
"What do you mean?"
"You were totally quiet on the trip here. You stared out the window the whole time. Still right here you won't look me in the eyes. Something is bothering you. Come on, out with it."
She paused to take a drink before she finally made eye contact. I could see sadness in her eyes.
"Mike, I think we need to start seeing other people."
This shocked me for a moment. I also knew that when this was brought up, usually the person bringing it up had already started.
"You found someone else didn't you?"
I could see tears from as she nodded her head in agreement.
"You and him have already gone all the way haven't you?"
Again, she just nodded.
"Then I guess tonight will be goodbye," I said with tears in my eyes.
"I couldn't wait for you to make a commitment forever. You can take me home if you want."
"No. I invited you for dinner. It may not have gone anything like I planned, but I will at least see to it that you do eat."
We sat in silence waiting for our dinner and sipping our drinks. Dinner was good, even if the company was something less than. I had been thinking about everything. Out of the blue, I just started laughing. After a few minutes, Steph gave me a questioning look.
"What's so funny?"
"You don't want to know?"
"Yes I do, now tell me what's so funny."
"Ok. It's two things really. The first is; you know how all our friends tell us that you just seem to know how to keep me from making a fool out of myself?"
"In breaking up with me, you did it again." This generated another questioning look from her. "The second is that you are breaking up with me for my lack of commitment."
"Why would that be so funny?"
I stopped laughing and suddenly got quite a bit more serious. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out the jewelry box that contained the ring, setting it on the table. I looked up to her face and noticed that it had lost all color.
"Is that what I think it is?"
"I rather expect that to be a yes."
"Oh God, I'm sorry Mike. I didn't know."
"It was supposed to be a surprise. Unfortunately, I was the one who got surprised."
"Can I see it?"
"Are you sure you want to?"
"Yeah, I think so."
I opened the box and set it back down. Her eyes got big and round as did her mouth. A moment later, those same eyes were full of tears.
"Mike, would you reconsider the breakup?"
"I wish I could."
"Steph, you already told me that you have already found someone else. If I took you back now, how could I trust you?"
"I'm sorry Mike. I guess I screwed up. That's a gorgeous ring. I hope whoever you find to give it to will appreciate it."
After dessert, I paid the bill and took her home. Once I had returned to my apartment, I cried myself to sleep.
I spent much of the weekend sulking, and gathering up Stephanie's things that she had left at my place. I figured that she would be by sometime to collect them.
It was a week later before I heard anything. Her best friend Teri stopped by on Saturday.
"Hi Teri, how can I help you?"
"Mike, what happened last week?"
"What do you mean?"
"I know Steph had a dinner date with you last Friday. Since then she barely eats, she won't go out and she stays in her room crying all the time. The only other thing she has done is go to work, somehow."
"Well, she broke up with me. What else is there to say?"
"Wait, she broke up with you?"
"Then why is she at home crying her eyes out?"
I told her the whole story about Friday night. I even showed her the ring. She started shaking her head.
"We went out two weeks ago. I went home with the guy that I met. I bet she ended up in bed with Jim that night and decided to pursue a relationship. No wonder she's crying. If seeing that ring and know that would have been hers wasn't bad enough, Jim was in town on business for 2 weeks. He should be long gone."
"Ouch. I guess she screwed up. Hey, if you need anything you know where to find me. Let her know that I still have a bunch of her things. She might want them."
For the next few months, I just sat at home and moped. I was lonely and still hurting from the breakup. I had another visit from Teri a few weeks after the first.
"Hi Teri. How are you doing?"
"I'm doing fine. What's up with you?"
"Not much. Work, work and more work. What brings you over to my home?"
"Oh. How is she doing?"
"Not very well. She does nothing but cry since the breakup."
"What happened with Jim?"
"He's gone. She told me that she was upset after breaking up with you. She came home and tried to call Jim to come over and help her deal with the heartbreak. That's when she found out that he was already back home with his wife. She never knew that he didn't live in the area, or that he was already married."
"I guess she blew that big time."
"That's why she won't stop crying. Listen Mike, could you take her back?"
"I don't know."
"Please? I can't take much more of the crying."
"Since you put it that way, no I can't."
"For one, she has not asked me to. She broke it off with me. She will have to make the attempt at rekindling anything."
"Is that all? I'll have her over here in..."
"No. We never had this conversation for starters. I will let you encourage her to try, but you are never to mention nor promise that I will take her back. She needs to make that decision for herself. To be honest, I'm not certain even if I want to yet. So don't make any promises. That way she has nowhere to go but up. Ok?"
"She needs to make decisions for herself. She needs to feel that she is taking a chance. If she thinks that I will just take her back before she gets here, she will take me for granted later. Then I lose."
"Oh, I get it now. I hope you do take her back. I'm tired of the crying."
"Just be patient with her. You've been hurt in the past. Just try to remember how it feels. Also remember that she made the stupid move in this one. That hurts her more than if she walked in on me cheating on her because she knows she can't pass the blame off to me."
"I took the ring back. Remember, no promises. I can't make them right now and don't you go making any either. If something does happen, she would never forgive you."
Nothing happened for nearly a month. I had initially expected to see Stephanie within a few days. That surprised me a little.
I had fallen back into my work and home routine that I had been into since the breakup. After the first week, I stopped worrying about Steph and started worrying about my job. It had totally shocked me when my doorbell rang late one Friday night.
I opened the door and found Stephanie standing on the other side. She looked like hell. Her hair was a mess. Not like she went out of her way to make it look bad. It genuinely looked like she hadn't run a brush through it in a few months. She had dark bags under her eyes. Her eyes were red from crying.
"Oh Stephanie! Hi."
Very sullenly she replied, "Hi Mike. May I come in?"
"Sure." I stepped to the side and allowed her pass before I closed the door. I led her to the living room.
"Make yourself comfortable Steph. Can I get you anything?"
"Ok, I'll be right back."
I went to the fridge and grabbed two Diet Pepsi's and went to rejoin Stephanie. I handed one to Steph and sat down opposite her.
"How are you doing Stephanie?"
"Yeah, I lost you. That so called boyfriend I was leaving you for never told me that he was leaving town to go back home to his wife. I lost my job three weeks ago."
"Thanks, how about you?"
"My girlfriend broke up with me. I have been lonely ever since. My job is doing well, mostly because I haven't needed time for a social life."
"Mike, would you please reconsider our breakup? I need you."
"I don't know Steph. You hurt me pretty badly."
"I'm sorry Mike. I was stupid. Please take me back. I will do anything."
"I don't know."
She got off the sofa and on her knees, hands together begging me. It really was tearing at my heart to see the woman that I loved so desperate.
"Steph, are you ok? I mean you look like you are not feeling too well."
"I haven't slept well since I broke up with you. I don't think that I have been eating very well either."
"You don't look like you are doing too well. So, where do you expect us to start?"
"I would like to say we could pick up just before the breakup. But I know that that's not very realistic. Right now I would take anything."
"Ok. First, you go upstairs and take a shower. You look like you need one. I will dig out something for you to wear to bed and you are sleeping in the guest room. The way you look, I'm not taking a chance with you behind the wheel. I'm going to think about this and give you my answer in the morning. Deal?"
She showed a pretty big smile and nodded her head. I helped her up and she headed toward my bathroom to clean up. I went into my guest room where I still had her things stored and retrieved one of her nightgowns and a clean pair of panties (I almost skipped those.) and took them to her in the bathroom before heading off to bed.
I woke up Saturday morning at my normal 7 am. I got dressed, headed down to the kitchen and started my morning coffee. Since Steph seemed to be sleeping in, I grabbed my cup of coffee and morning newspaper and relaxed on my back deck, enjoying the beautiful morning.
I had thought about her all night. I knew when I saw her last night that I just had to have her back. I wanted her to feel that me taking her back was not a given. I knew that if I didn't, sometime later she might be tempted to take me for granted.
It must have been almost noon when she finally made herself known. She was still dressed in her nightgown. She looked much better after a good nights sleep.