Publish 16 April 2023
EPISODE 3 – ROUGH PATCH
Ronald and Beverly must decide if their relationship is predicated on her looking and acting like his former lover.
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By Kevin RR Williams
Make a Commitment
“Ronald, you need to decide where this is going. Will our relationship stall until you can augment my appearance with technology, months in the future?”
“I want 10, 100, 1000 more dates with you, beginning tomorrow, next week, or whenever you’re comfortable. The cochlear implant is like ordering a pair of eyeglasses. Delivery doesn’t impede our relationship. It will just allow me to see clearer.”
“Nichole certainly missed out on your suave oratory. Do you require me to role-play as her? Considering how much passion she elicited from you, I might not oppose it, occasionally. Just tell me up front.”
“There’s no need to act like her, unless it’s your real name?”
“Spoiler alert. My middle name is actually Nicole, without the h.”
“Seriously? Does anyone ever call you Nicole?”
“Hardly no one. But it might not be offensive to hear.”
“Can I call you Nicole, before receiving my implant?”
“Hmm. I might feel more special if you got to know Beverly, first.”
“Understood. Then Beverly, with what display of affection does our evening end?”
“I’m not working tomorrow. Since you have your own car, I won’t have to drive you home. We are both feeling our way through this dating scene, wondering what’s the appropriate way to end the evening.
“Forgive me if this sounds too forward. Do you suppose you might come over to my place, and share another glass of wine?”
“I would like to believe the evening isn’t over yet. Even without a cochlear implant, you don’t have to ask me twice.”
“I’m texting you my address. Give me a 30-minute head start to freshen up.”
Ronald arrives more than an hour later to see Beverly Nicole has removed her wig and is wearing a satin pajama short set. “I’m glad you finally came over. A no-show to my invitation would have spoken volumes. Will you have wine with me?”
“No thank you. Nice place. May I use your facilities to freshen up?”
“Certainly. It’s right down the hallway. I left out a set of green guest towels with a new toothbrush.”
On the way back from the washroom, Ronald catches sight of candles and flower petals in her bedroom. When Ronald returns to the living room, Beverly is seated on the sofa, sipping wine in dim light with smooth jazzy music playing.
“I could try to make you believe otherwise, but you’re the first man I’ve had over here in years. It’s important that everything goes well.”
“Does that mean you normally go over to your date’s house?”
“No. I normally go to work.”
“Forgive me for seeking clarity. Does that mean you’ve only had women visitors or…?”
“No, I’m not into women. It means it has taken a lifetime to get this far with a man. Hopefully my frank admission is more enticing to you than it is embarrassing for me. I didn’t want you to think I normally have men over like this on a first date. Also, when my inexperience becomes evident, you’ll be better prepared to guide me through the evening.”
“Beverly…. With obvious intentions, tell me what’s too far.”
“Too far is out the front door. Tonight, I want to be your Nichole. As a therapist, I listened to you share details of passionate romance with her. I’m no longer your doctor, and she’s in your rear view mirror. This is my evening to finally have my time with a man.
“It’s true that four glasses of wine have lowered my inhibitions, but this isn’t a whim. For six months, I’ve been in anticipation of this moment. During past therapy sessions, you were quite candid about all the things you enjoyed with Nichole. Maybe the wine is loosening my tongue, but any or all of it is fine.”
As he leans in to kiss her, she leans backward in a supine position. Their kissing becomes passionate. Beginning at her lips, and then her neck, his kisses work their way down to her navel. She then emphasizes, “Anything you want to do or want me to do.
“I appreciate your eagerness, but… slow down…. Wait. This doesn’t feel right. Let’s talk.”
“What did I do wrong? Do you want some wine first? Is there too much light or not enough? Is the sofa too small? I’ve also prepared my boudoir.”
“No. Both the setting and your fantastic body in those pajamas are perfection. What isn’t right is my track record of passion and heartbreak with Nichole. I’m sorry, but it feels like we’re replicating it. How’s the expression go about repeating the same thing?”
“Oh, you mean, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result’? Is that because you plan to leave in the middle of the night, before I awaken? If that’s the protocol, I’m fine with it—as long as I see you afterwards.”
“No. It’s because when you left me holding a milkshake, I went to buy this. It’s an engagement ring. So as a commitment of my devotion, will you marry me?”
Standing up to cover herself with a matching satin robe, Beverly begins pacing the floor. “This is so unexpected. I can’t believe you’re really doing this, right now. The talk about insanity seemed you were seeking an ill-timed therapy session. But I may be the one requiring it, for the whirlwind of emotions experienced this evening.”
“I can’t tell. Is that a yes?”
“No. It’s a—Uh—you don’t know me well enough to propose. And a—give me time to absorb what’s happening, reply.”
“I’m sorry if I misread your signals. I thought we understand that I’ve always wanted to marry the right person. Nichole is unavailable. I waited six months for you and got a call. We had dinner. You and I kissed. We ended up here. In my mind, you expect to be my wife. It seemed everything was going perfectly.”
“I didn’t invite you over for an engagement. You never even said you love me! I’m two buttons away from one direction, and you’re a diamond ring away in another.
“In anticipation of a proposal, I’d spend more than three hours in a salon before slipping into a new dress and shoes. Then I’d sit prim and proper in a fine restaurant, acting like I didn’t know it was coming. I wouldn’t be wearing wild hair and pajamas without underwear, trying to tug your pants off. We are way out of sync!”
“Okay. Back up. Beverly, I do love you. I’ve been away from the dating scene for a very long time. Are you really wearing nothing beneath those pajamas?”
“I don’t know what’s going on, or how I should behave. While waiting for you to arrive, they came off and on three times.”
“Part of me thought the engagement ring would intensify our intimacy. Part of me thought you might want to save yourself for a honeymoon. Which is it?”
“By proposing after rejecting my seduction, I’m both flattered and humiliated.”
“You’re confusing me. I’m trying to do the honorable thing. Do you want me to take the ring back? We can just continue like I didn’t propose.”
“Take my ring? Are you crazy? I’m keeping it, to wear after you know me better.”
“How do I salvage this evening? Do I seduce you as Beverly or as Nichole? Should I stay for the night?”
“Not now! Let me absorb your suggestion of waiting until marriage.”
“That’s a comment I’m beginning to regret already. I didn’t mean to offend you. So I’m clear. You’re keeping the ring, but you’re not my fiancée, and you don’t want to resume where we left off?”
“Fiancée is a big word. I feel out of character, initiating a carnal approach, while you’re trying to be honorable. We need to reset.”
“It seems like our great evening is coming to a disastrous conclusion. Are you always like this?”
“You mean sending mixed signals? This is your doing! I have a Ph.D. I’m supposed to be rational. When are you taking me out again? Weekends are best.”
“So, we’re still dating? Okay, how about tomorrow for lunch and a museum?”
“Fine. Now, you may leave.”
“Fine. I’ll go!”
“Wait! Before you do, kiss me goodnight.”
The door closes firmly behind him as Ronald scratches his head, and Beverly pulls her hair while emitting a short scream.