The Dumbing Down of Love

The Dumbing Down of Love: Day Sixteen

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

     “What do you guys think about this?” Susan asked, putting a sample book of invitations on the table and pointing to a brown and baby blue color scheme.
     “What’s it for?” Olivia asked, looking at the invitation she was pointing to.
     “Ross,” she answered. “He and Thom are going to host a wine tasting at the restaurant and want to send out invitations. I told him I’d help pick out the invitations. You know, narrow it down to a few for them.”
     Olivia glanced at Dean for help, but he just shrugged his shoulders in silence.
     “Suzy, don’t you think they should pick out their own invitations?” Heather asked, peering at the invitation
     “So you don’t like it?” she asked, completely ignoring Heather’s question.
     Sighing, Olivia answered, “It’s not Ross. He hates blue and he hates brown even more. You of all people should know him better than that.”
     “Well, I like it,” Susan replied, grabbing the sample book and putting it in her lap.
     The three friends watched as she ran a finger over the invitation.
     “It’s not about what you like,” Heather said. “It’s about what Ross likes and what Thom likes.”
     “And I’m picking out the invitations for them.”
     “But you’re not taking your heart out of the situation. This invitation is not going to make Ross fall in love with you,” Olivia said.
     Looking up at her, Susan’s eyes were filled with anger. “Not everyone can have a perfect situation like you and Gray.”
     “My situation is far from perfect Susan.”
     “Ladies,” Dean said in hopes to defuse the intense situation that was developing.
     Holding up her hand, Susan said, “It’s okay Dean.” She looked at Olivia and Heather. “You two can just keep your opinions to yourself. Stay out of my love life.”
     “Just like you stayed out of mine?” Olivia asked.
     Susan just shrugged her shoulders.
     Leaning back in her chair, Heather raised her hands in surrender.
     “Honestly Susan, you completely amaze me that you have this crazy double standard in your life. You can meddle in everyone else’s life but no one can touch yours. You’re so obsessed with Ross that you don’t even notice the attention of other people.”
     “Like who?” Susan snapped.
     “Olivia,” Dean warned.
     “I keep my word,” she replied to him. Looking at Susan, she answered, “Maybe if you got yourself out of Ross’ ass you’d see.”
     Slamming the sample book shut, Susan stood. “You know, if I wanted this abuse, I could have just gone to work and received it from a bunch of high school kids.”
     “Now you’re just being over dramatic,” Heather chimed in. “Sit back down Susan.”
     “No,” she said, grabbing her purse and jacket off the back of the chair. “I know everyone knows I pine away after Ross but you know what, it’s the one thing I have in my life that I haven’t fucked up so screw you all for trying to fuck it up.”
     “Suzy, come on,” Dean said. “Sit down and let’s enjoy lunch. Ross and Simon will be here any minute.”
     “Wouldn’t want to be shoved up Ross’ ass,” Susan sniped. “I better just go.”
     The three of them watched in surprise as she stormed away from their table because she never gave up a chance to see Ross.
     “Wow,” Heather said as she disappeared into the restaurant. “That’s a first.”
     “She’s actually not going to stay to see Ross,” Olivia said, leaning back in her chair.
     “You two,” Dean said with a slight shake of his head. “Couldn’t you just leave her alone for once?”
     Olivia and Heather stared at him. “What?” they said in unison.
     “She just wanted an opinion that’s all. A yes or no would have sufficed.”
     “Did I just see Susan leaving?” Ross asked as he walked up to the table.
     “Yeah,” Dean answered. “Cat fight.”
     Sitting down in the chair Susan had vacated, Ross asked, “What did you guys do?”
     “We just told her we didn’t like the invitation she had picked out,” Heather said, defending Olivia and herself.
     Grunting, Ross leaned forward onto the table. “Thom cannot keep his mouth shut. That was suppose to be a simple event and apparently now we have to send out invitations and everything else under the sun.”
     “She’s just wanting to help,” Dean said in Susan’s defense.
     “She’s become a pain,” Ross admitted. “She’s under my feet and is almost a down right nuisance.”
     “Have you just told her that there’s not a chance in hell that anything will ever happen?” Olivia asked.
     “More than once, but she doesn’t hear it. So I have given up.”
     “Then maybe Thom should be vocal about his feelings for her,” Dean said.
     Ross shook his head. “Never will happen. He says that as long as she likes me, he doesn’t stand a chance.”
     “Where’s Simon?” Heather asked. “I’m starving.”
     “He’s not coming over. Way hung-over.”
     “We’re all hung-over,” Olivia said, raising her water glass.
     “Yeah, but you’re a functioning lush. Simon’s a weak son of bitch. He can barely function on one beer let a lone six glasses of wine.”
     Olivia nodded her head in agreement. “Did you like Chris?” she asked Heather.
     Smiling, she nodded. “I did, thanks for the introduction. We exchanged numbers and he said he’d call.”
     “Don’t be surprised if he’s a three day kind of guy.”
     “Really?” Heather asked, feeling her brow wrinkle. “Why do guys think that’s what a woman wants?”
     “Don’t look at me,” Dean answered, “I’m gay. I don’t know what my own species want let alone what you women want.”
     “Did Gray tell you that he’s a three day guy?”
     “No. Chris just seems like the traditional guy who plays by the traditional guy rules.”
     “Maybe I’ll call him instead,” Heather said. “Fuck that three day rule. That is ridiculous.”
     “That’s my girl,” Ross said. “Take charge of your love life.”
     “Are we sure he’s straight?” Dean asked. “No history between him and Gray?”
     “They both are straight,” Olivia answered, “and I’m sure the only history they have is their friendship.”
     “You never know,” Heather replied. “I mean Gray did date Ellie.”
     Staring at her, Olivia felt herself choke out, “What?”
     Heather stared at her. “He didn’t tell you?” she asked.
     Olivia shook her head. “Did he tell you?”
     Taking a deep breath, Heather realized she had opened Pandora’s box. “No. Ellie did. We were just loading the beers in the cooler and making small talk. She said it happened while they were in college and they had dated for like two weeks at the most. She said they realized immediately at their first and only kiss it was like kissing a sibling.”
     “Friends only,” Dean said.
     Heather nodded. “I can’t believe he didn’t tell you. I am so sorry.”
     “It’s okay,” Olivia said, feeling jealousy rear its ugly head in her stomach. “It’s the past.”
     “You guys haven’t talked about who you’ve dated in the past?” Ross asked.
     “No,” she answered as she reached for her glass of water. “We haven’t dwelled on the past.”
     “You haven’t told him you made out with Dean before,” Heather asked.
     “It’s Dean,” Olivia answered. “Who in the crew hasn’t made out with him?”
     “Susan,” Dean answered. “She’s the only one.”
     “You stopped being a drunk make out bandit about the time you met Kyle didn’t you?”
     Dean nodded. “I knew it was time to settle down.”
     “You think Gray might be the one Olivia?” Ross asked.
     Shrugging her shoulders, Olivia didn’t have an answer. “We haven’t decided it is what is. We both like where we are and where it’s going.”
     Putting his foot against Olivia’s, Dean nudged her slightly. “Don’t let his past influence your present. Obviously Ellie and him have moved on.”
     “He’s right,” Heather said. “I shouldn’t have said anything. Ellie was very clear they were nothing more than friends.”
     “Did you see the protest around the corner?” Ross asked, seeing the curtains in Olivia’s eyes shutting. He knew she wasn’t the jealous type, but he also knew that if she pondered too long, then she’d get in her own way and would potentially screw something up.
     “What was it about?” she asked.
     “Not sure,” Ross answered, seeing the life return to her eyes. “I think after lunch we should go down and join it. Could be fun.”
     “You’re just instigating trouble,” Dean said.
     “Damn right I am,” Ross agreed. “You guys in?”
     Heather thought a moment and then nodded. “All right, I’m in,” she said with a smile, “but only if it’s a good protest. If it’s some crappy protest, we’re going to the movies instead.”
     “Dean? Olivia?”
     “Only if it’s good,” Olivia answered for the both of them.

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