Robin Murphy was in the utility room moving clothes from the washing machine to the dryer when he heard someone insert a key in his front door and unlock it. Wondering who it could be he stepped out into the hallway and looked towards the door. A few seconds later he was surprised to see Deborah Majors step through the door carrying a suitcase and a bag of groceries. He was surprised because he quite honestly had never expected to see her again.
Rob and Deb had grown up together. Their families living only one block apart in the small lake side community they had grown up in. What a difference that single block made in their lives though. The street that had seperated Rob's block from Deborah's was also the dividing line between two counties. Because of this the bus that Robin rode to school each day took him to one town, while the bus Deborah rode delivered her to school in another. Best friends and pals at home, they were rivals in all things school related. Their two schools being recognized, throughout their corner of the state, as having the most contested rivalries from one year to the next. Robins school usually dominated in football, and basketball, while Deborah's school normally championed in track and field, and wrestling. Baseball, swimming and golf were most often toss-ups as both schools teams were more equally matched.
Robin had championed his school's swimming team, leading the team to regional competitions three years running. Deborah was on her school's track team and had set two new state time records in her Junior year. Six months older than Robin, she and he had both begun their schooling the same year. Her parents having chosen to hold her back until she was actually five before enrolling her in kindergarten. With a November birthday, she could have begun attending while still four years old, as her mother had done. But her mother remembered having trouble in school because of her younger age and hoped to save her daughter that by waiting the extra year.
A Tomboy, Deborah was more often like the boys in school than she was the girls. She prefered Jeans to dresses or skirts and rough and tumble horseplay to gossip, dancing and subtle flirting. Not that she wasn't a flirt, she was by her very nature and enjoyed it. But it was all just good fun with her and carried none of the more serious overtones the other girls flirting did. She always seemed to know just who she could have fun flirting with and who would take it too seriously.
Inseperable companions during their school vacations, Robin and Deborah shared many firsts together as they grew up. Especially when Deborah began developing earlier than many other girls their own age. Puberty made the differences between boys and girls so much more interesting. They shared their first kiss together. Then practiced kissing together often, under the boat dock at the lake. It was Deborah, rather than Robin, who stole her father's adult magazines and then wanted to try all of the wonderful things she read about. Still, even with that, they did not progress to full on intercourse until they were both sixteen. Though they had often masturbated together before that. Both themselves and one another. Practicing both their manual and oral techniques. As a result, they were both proficient at providing pleasure long before they actually began dating. Their first real dates were, of course, with each other.
Deborah's attitudes towards sex were also more like those of a guy than a girl. It was both fun and normally useful in relieving tensions, so she welcomed it much more casually than most girls seemed to. While dating in High School and later in College, many were the times that Deborah sought out Robin after a date for frustration relief. Her date's too quick spurts and apparent lack of caring if "she" were actually satisfied was a constant complaint of hers. At these times her and Robin's casual "friendship with benefits" was a joy for her.
For his part, Robin had been in love with Deborah since they were thirteen. He had first declared his love for her that winter on Valentines Day. She had called him a Dweeb and told him not to be a goof. At fifteen Deborah had told him that she liked him loads, that he was and always would be her greatest friend, but that she would never love him. In college, they both quickly became disillusioned with dormitory life and shared an off-campus apartment. Often, when they didn't each have a regular boy or girlfriend, they took advantage of their mutual "benefits."
They had been living together for about a month when Rob had asked what Deb would say if he asked her to marry him. She replied she would tell him to seek mental health and that marriage was over-rated and archaic. Shortly before they graduated, while shopping together in the Mall, Robin had stopped outside a jewelry store to examine their window display. A bracelet had caught his eye and he was thinking how good it would look on her wrist. Deborah had walked on a few steps before realizing he had stopped. When she came back and looked in the window herself and the first thing she saw was a collection of wedding bands and engagement rings. She punched him in the shoulder and told him not to even think about it. Robin turned and walked on without saying a word.
After they graduated and were packing to go their separate ways, Robin gave Deborah the bracelet he had seen in the jewelry store window. Deborah returned to Pennsylvania for a time before going on to New York to work as a professional photographer. Robin had moved across town to a one-bedroom apartment and found work for himself in Phoenix. He had fallen in love with Arizona during his college years and had decided to stay. Unable to locally find work in the field he had studied for, he took a job working in the kitchen of a small restaurant.
He quickly earned the respect of those he worked for and with. Soon finding himself one of their primary cooks and a shift leader with paycheck to match. After working there a few months, his boss, who owned a few restaurants in the Phoenix area, told him about an invitation only poker game he ran on the first Wednesday of each month. It had a one thousand dollar buy-in and he wanted to invite Robin to play. He would pay the entry fee with no obligations attached and they would split any winnings between them. He thought Robin would be good at it. Robin did not, knowing himself to be only a mediocre poker player. Robin passed on the idea the first two months it was offered to him, but found himself to be more and more intrigued as time passed. Finally, the third time, he took his boss up on the offer.
There were five other players in the game when he arrived and that night the cards all seemed to go Robins way. Beginner's or Newbies Luck as they say. At the end of four hours the game was down to Robin and one other player. Fifteen hands and another hour later, the man was down to only about two hundred dollars. Once the hands were dealt out, and the final draw of cards made, the man was sure he had the winning hand. In his pocket he had the deed for a house. His Grandfather had passed away the week before and his lawyer had delivered the deed into his hands that very morning. It was a property with no mortgages and no liens against it. Convinced of the power of his hand he had dropped the deed on the table, offering to bet it against the money that Robin had won.
At that point, it was only Robin, his boss and the man left in the room. Robin and his boss questioned the man about the property and the house. He described the house as a small two bedroom home, in excellent condition, on a lot a little greater than a tenth of an acre in size. It was located between Phoenix International Airport and Tempe, but still in Phoenix. Three times Robin offered to let the man retract the bet, take back his deed plus his last two hundred dollars and leave. Three times the man declared himself convinced that he had the winning hand. Finally though, Robin pushed his winnings to the center of the table and announced, "Okay, your bet is called. What have you got?"
The man had three Queens. Robin had four Threes and won himself a house. A good loser, the man signed the deed over to Robin and gave him a hand-written, one-dollar bill of sale, then left.
It was ten days later before Robin finally saw the house. By that time the title transfer had been accomplished and recorded at the county records office. The house was everything the man had said it was and more. It was still fully furnished and most of the former residents belongings were still there. It took another ten days to hear that the man had already taken the only things he wanted from the home. Anything left was Robins to dispose of or keep as he wished. After seeing it and deciding to keep rather than sell it, Robin sent Deborah a letter telling her about it. He included a few pictures and a front door key with the letter, ending it by saying, "Drop by anytime old friend. You are always welcome." And she had too.
Her first visit had come a few months later. Deborah had been in Africa taking pictures during one of their many wars when the car she was riding in hit a land mine. It had been her first overseas assignment for a New York based magazine. She had been recovering in a hospital when his letter had caught up with her. After being released she came to stay with him while completing her recovery and rehabilitating herself. Suffering from a hip injury and with a broken arm, she had not even been able to use the bathroom when she first arrived. The entire visit was a new experience for both of them, another of their firsts. It was the first time Robin had needed to care for an invalid. It was also the first time Deborah had a man helping her with bedpans and the clean up afterwards, not to mention what she needed done once her period set in the week after she arrived. Robin didn't mind though. Her visit only reminded him of how much he loved her and he had enjoyed tending to her needs, even the more disgusting ones. They had held off on the sex until after her casts were removed, but then were at each other like minks during her final four weeks of physical rehabilitation.
Her second visit had come about a year after the first. She had met a Puerto Rican man named Raul on the beaches of southern France and a whirlwind romance had followed. She had fallen hard for the man's suave style and line, even agreeing to marry him. The relationship ended though when she came home unexpectedly from one of her work related trips. Finding him in bed with not one, but two girls. A set of teen twins. High School students from Spain attending a private girls school in Troy, NY.
It took two months to put her back together again after the betrayal. Four weeks of tears and blind rages during which he was alternately a shoulder to cry on and a back to beat upon. Two weeks of talking, gentle touches and strong arms to hold with. Then, finally, two weeks of sex in most of it's forms, from gentle slow lovemaking to wild, bronco busting, matress destroying action that found them falling from the bed to the floor in the heat of the moment.
There had been six such visits in the fifteen years Robin had been living in the house. Visits seperated by one or two years in time, all save one of them. Most requiring that he help her pick up her shattered soul and glue it back together for her. Provide her with a shoulder to lean on and a pair of strong arms for comfort as she cried herself to sleep at night. A friend who could help restore her zest for life and give her the strength to face the world once again. All save one of the visits were that way.
The one visit that was different than the others followed Robins only attempted foray to the lands of wedded bliss. He had met a woman who had quickly fallen passionately in love with him. When, after four months of dating, she expressed a desire to become his wife Robin had married her. The marriage lasted three years and ended in divorce without producing children. A month after the woman had left, Deborah had walked in his front door again. Believing, this time, it would be her job to help mend Robin's soul. She was greatly surprised to learn it was not necessary.
"Robin Murphy, you asshole!" she had exclaimed. "Here I end my assignment on the beautiful Mediterraneon Island of Majorca early. Pissing off my boss in the process I might add. Then I rush halfway around the world to help a friend in need and what do I find? You're not broken up at all over her leaving you. You are laughing and happy and joking around as if nothing at all had happened."
"Well, what did you think you would find?"
"Considering that the love of your life, the woman you married, has just left you, I thought I would find you as broken up and miserable as I always was. During all those visits I made to you after breaking up with my past loves. I expected to find you depressed and crying in your beer, or mad and puncing holes in the walls. But no-O-o! You have to be different. All well adjusted and happy. Why is that?"
"Maybe because I never loved her in the first place."
"What? You never loved her? Then why did you marry her?"
"It seemed the thing to do at the time. She was madly and passionately in love with me. She really was and she wanted us to get married. While I didn't love her in the same way, I did care for her and thought I could grow to love her, with time. So, I proposed, just like she wanted me to, and we got married."
"So what happened?"
"Honestly? I knew before the honeymoon was over that it wouldn't last. I think the whole situation was my fault in some ways. Because of things I didn't see, didn't really notice until after we were married. Her love for me was all puppy dog eyes, heat and passion. It was kind of a reverse pedestal situation. Usually it is a guy that puts a woman on a pedestal and doesn't see her for who she really is until he wakes up and looks correctly. Well with her, I think I was the one on the pedestal - for some unknown reason. I was the one who was supposedly perfect and was being worshipped."
"You? Perfect? What planet was she from?"
"Yeah, really. She obviously was not seeing me for who I really am, but as some picture she had built in her mind and thought I matched. I almost ended things between us as soon as I recognized the situation for what it was, but I was afraid it would destroy her if I had. Today I think it might have been kinder if I had ended it then. I guess I still thought I might come to love her and provide for her happiness. We were married almost a year before she finally began seeing me as a normal, real man and not whatever she had thought me to be. Our home life up to then was rather idyllic. She could never seem to do enough things for me and I tried hard to be interested in all of the things that caught her fancies. Like with all relationships, things were good for a while.
"Then what happened? After the first year when she started waking up to the realities?"
"What usually happens as things fall apart I guess. Things at home got more cloying, depressive and restrictive. Arguments happened with little or no justification or provocation. More and more I was accused of ignoring her and flirting with other women. Of constantly casting my eye to greener pastures."
"I didn't think so. But to a jealous mind a polite smile at the grocery check out girl is an invitation and a desire to fuck her. By the end of the second year we were arguing more than talking and yelling more than listening. I began spending more time at work or just away from the house to avoid the incessant confrontations. Of course, that only told her I was having affairs and cheating on her. I wasn't, but you would never have convinced her of that."
"You are not the type to cheat, Robin. You never have been. Once you give your word or make a commitment you stand by it. That has always been one of the things I liked about you. So what happened after the second year?"
"Oh, the marriage was dead at that point. I began sleeping in the spare bedroom and she started hiring detectives to catch me cheating. Showing up at work unexpectedly and picking fights with any woman there she thought I might be screwing. I wasn't getting any sex at home, so I had to be screwing someone. She went through three different detectives and was finally barred from the restaurant under threat of arrest. All in her effort to get ammunition to use in court, to get all she could during a divorce.
It was I who ultimately chose to start the divorce proceedings. Filing the papers with the court and having her served. In the end, I gave her my bank account rather than let myself be forced to sell the house. The bank account she knew about that is. I had another she and her lawyers never found. Not that there was a lot in it, but it was enough so I have a cushion while I rebuild my savings. I'm just glad there were never any kids. The judge was able to limit what she could take from me, since there were no offspring involved."
With a chuckle Robin had ended his story with, "In this case, the divorce actually ended my depression and misery, rather than causing it. So, I don't really need your shoulder to cry on or your arms to comfort me. I will tell you what I do need from you though, if you are agreeable."
"What is it you need from me?"
"I need someone to party, howl and celebrate with over the passing of a three year long mistake in judgement."
Deborah grinned at him and said, "I think I can manage that."
"I also need my fuck-buddy. I have almost a full year of sexual frustration to make up for. I can't think of a better remedy for it than that hot body of yours and those sexual skills I know you are so good at."
"I think I can handle that as well." She did too.