The Dumbing Down of Love

The Dumbing Down of Love: Day Eleven

The Dumbing Down of Love
(720 Hours in a Relationship)

     Leaning against the closed door of Gray’s office, Olivia stared down at her feet. She wanted to give Gray a sense of privacy even if in reality it wasn’t. Rosie had ushered her back to his office as soon as she had arrived and though she had said she’d wait up front for Gray, Rosie insisted differently.
     “That sounds like a great plan Mr. Fisher. We’ll set up a face to face meeting when you return next week,” Gray said into the phone. “It was great talking to you too. Have a great day too. Bye.” Dropping the phone into its cradle with a sigh, he said to Olivia, “I’m sorry you had to wait.”
     “It’s all right,” she said, looking up at him. “I told Rosie I could wait in the lobby so I’m sorry if you felt rushed or anything.”
     “I told her to bring you back,” he said, standing. “If I could see you then I knew I could end the call quicker.”
     Olivia smiled at him as he walked towards her. “So you’re just using me as a distraction from work.”
     “Right now, yes,” Gray said, pulling her closer and kissing her.
     Putting her hands against his chest, she gently pulled away from Gray and his kiss. “Can we talk for a moment?” she asked, stepping back against the door.
     “Of course. Is everything okay?”
     Olivia nodded and looked down at her feet. Her brain was so overwhelmed with thoughts that she was afraid she was going to lose her well-prepared speech. “I just want to talk about something.”
     Gray moved and stood toe to toe with Olivia. “Do you want to look at me while we talk?”
     Olivia shook her head. “If I look at you, then I’ll lose my concentration. I’ll lose my thoughtss and since I don’t have a few bottles of wine in me to look you in the eye, it’s just best if I look down at my feet. Your feet.”
     Shoving his hands into the pants of his pockets, Gray took a deep breath and exhaled. “Then this doesn’t sound like a talk I’m going to particularly enjoy.”
     “God this sucks,” Olivia mumbled to herself. She wanted to look up and into Gray’s eyes, but she knew her weakness so she just closed her eyes. “I don’t think we should go to lunch today.”
     Nodding, Gray said, “Okay. Are you going to cancel dinner too?”
     Olivia nodded. “I think we should take a break. Like two to three days. We’ve only known each other for like nine days and it seems we are moving at warped speed. I think maybe we should come up for some air or something.”
     “If I asked you to look at me, you wouldn’t would you?”
     “No. I can’t. I’ll start crying. I’ve had this speech planned,” she said, opening her eyes to stare at the toes of his shoes. “I lost it as soon as I came in here. I’m taking a big risk asking you to give me three days since there’s no guarantee you’ll wait. I don’t want to be that girl where everything moved so fast you didn’t know what hit you until it was too late.” Taking a deep breath, Olivia continued as she felt tears hug the edge of her eyes, “I don’t want to be a regret. I don’t want you to regret anything that happened.”
     “Where is this coming from?” Gray asked, dropping his hands to his side. “If this is coming from Chris, then whatever he said we can talk about.”
     “It’s coming from me.”
     “You know, I’ll admit we’ve only know each other for a short period of time, but I know you’re lying to me right now. I’m not sure why you feel like you have to lie to me. Maybe you think it’s for my own good, but I think you know better than that.” Taking a step back from Olivia, Gray wanted to lash out in anger but he knew his anger was at Chris and not her. “I’ll give you all the time you need Olivia, but afterwards, I expect to hear the truth.”
     Looking up at Gray, she nodded. “I can’t ask you not to be mad at me,” she said, feeling her tears break. “I just need a moment to gather my head.”
     Reaching out, Gray wiped at her tears. “I’m not mad. Go gather your head.” Dropping his hand by his side again, he let out a sigh. “I’ve got to get back to work.”
     Olivia nodded, wiped her tears, turned and rushed out of Gray’s office.
     Watching her leave, Gray took a deep breath to keep his anger in check. He knew something wasn’t right after he had left Olivia alone with Chris. Taking another breath, he walked down to Chris’ office. “Got a minute?” he said, walking in and slamming the door so hard it rattled everything on the walls of Chris’ office.
     “Sure bro,” Chris said, sitting up in his chair. “Why the slamming of the door?”
     “What the fuck did you say to Olivia last night?”
     “Nothing dude,” Chris answered. “We talked about her wanting to set me up with a friend of hers. Why? Did she say I said something?”
     “No, that’s my problem,” Gray answered, feeling his temper escape him. “She’s such a good person that she won’t tell me what you said. It’s either to protect me or to protect me from killing you. You managed to fuck up the one good thing I had in my life. The one good thing that was a surprise I didn’t know I wanted in my life. We’re done Chris. We’ve officially become co-workers. You’re not my friend.”
     “No, I’m your best friend.”
     Gray shook his head. “No, my best friend wouldn’t have said anything to Olivia. My best friend would have said something to my face not behind my back.”

# # #

     Struggling with the cork, Olivia sighed in frustration. “God damnit,” she said as she angrily tossed the wine opener across the room.
     “God has nothing to do with this,” Zane replied as he went to retrieve the wine opener. “Put that bottle down before you hurt yourself.”
     Olivia ignored him and sucked back the remaining tears she had. She continued to try and wrench the cork from the bottle but with no luck.
     “Give me that,” Zane said, taking the bottle from Olivia. “Go sit down.” Zane watched as Olivia walked to the couch and collapsed on it. He walked to where she sat as he opened the bottle of wine for her. Sitting down next to her, he filled the two glasses on the coffee table. “Tell me everything that happened,” he said, putting the bottle down. “Start from last night.”
     “I don’t want to talk about it,” Olivia said as he handed her a glass. “Thanks. I just want to wallow in drunken stupor on this couch and pray that Gray will not think of me as a blithering idiot.”
     “Tell me what happened,” Zane said, leaning back on the couch and putting his arm around her. “If you don’t, I’ll just call Gray and find out.”
     “You wouldn’t,” Olivia said, curling her feet under her.
     “Then you don’t know me very well.”
     Sighing, Olivia rested her head against Zane’s arm. “I can’t really say anything. I told Chris it was between me and him.”
     “And though you keep your promises no matter how stupid, this one obviously has caused some pain so speak up.”
     “Fine,” Olivia said and downed half of her wine. “You can’t tell anyone and you can’t tell Gray if he speaks to me again.”
     “Scouts honor.”
     “You never were a scout.”
     “So,” Zane replied. “I just promise to keep my mouth shut okay.”
     Olivia nodded. She recounted the previous night’s conversation with Chris and her earlier conversation with Gray. “I couldn’t even look him in the eye Zane. I was afraid I was hurting his feelings. I don’t want to hurt him.”
     “I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment so don’t get angry. Are you in whatever it is that you and Gray have whole-heartedly like Chris was asking about?”
     Nodding, Olivia stifled another sob. “I am,” she answered. “Whatever it is that we have, I’m in for the entire ride.”
     “Then maybe Chris is just being a jerk off and saying things that Gray isn’t even feeling. You’ve jumped to conclusions without asking the person who has the most at stake here.”
     “I’ve not jumped to conclusions. I listened to his best friend who knows him better than I do. Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, Gray let on and said something to him.”
     “Why don’t you ask Gray that?”
     “Because we’re not speaking for a few days.”
     “And that was your choice not his. So you’ve chosen not talk to him for a few days. You’re just going to sit here on your couch and be miserable until you do. Admit it kiddo, you’re smitten, probably in love, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. You’re just going to have to love more and fear less.”
     “I don’t have a problem loving more and fearing less. I’ve got a problem if he thinks we’re moving at warped speed when I thought we were at a comfortable pace.”
     “You’re taking this entirely on the words of his friend. You need to take it on the word of Gray. Not Chris.”
     “I know,” Olivia sighed. “I may have fucked up the best thing that’s happened to me because I can’t get out of my own head or my own way. And I can’t go back to him and say, ‘Oops I fucked up. I listened to your best friend and assumed he was speaking on your behalf.’ I just can’t.” Running a hand through her hair, she scratched at the back of her head and sighed again. “I can’t bear the thought of him thinking I am an idiot.”
     Squeezing her in a one-arm hug, Zane kissed the top of her head. “Gray seems like a stand up guy. I think this little girly paroxysm will not faze him.”
     “Paro what?” Olivia asked, sitting up and looking at him.
     “Paroxysm is a sudden and uncontrollable expression of emotion. Which is apparently something you have often.”
     “You’ve been watching medical shows again haven’t you?”
     Zane shrugged his shoulders. “Word of the day calendar at Susan’s. I’ve been waiting to use that one on one of you girls.”
     Olivia laughed and smiled at him. “Thank you for putting up with my bull shit and the tears.”
     “You’re welcome,” Zane replied, raising his glass in a toast. “It’s what friends do. So what am I suppose to tell everyone when they ask why Gray isn’t at the grand opening?”
     “He’s doing something work related,” Olivia said with an unsure shrug of her shoulders. “Don’t tell anyone what happened please. I don’t want to have to hear it from everyone.”
     “He had to work late is the story I’m sticking to.”

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