Unbend Wire E2

Clinical Miniseries

EPISODE 2 – CHOICES

⚠️ Reader Discretion: Mature dialogue.

Lunches

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After graduation, Annabel accepts a job placement offer in another state. She settles in and begins wondering about her orientation. To keep from replicating her disastrous college life, Annabel wants to be more selective and establish a reliable reputation.

A les­bian workmate befriends Annabel. After exchanging contact information, Naomi invites Annabel over to her apartment for dinner. Annabel decides to take it slowly. She declines the private dinner but they share public lunches.

While dining at a restaurant, Annabel’s eyes meet a handsome man across the room. He is eating with another woman. But her conversation is muffled and face is blurred as they pass flirtatious smiles with one another. Before their interests becomes noticeable, they both excuse themselves from their respective tables to head toward the restrooms.

“I left myself wide open for that remark. Is it your habit to secretly meet other women while on a date?”

“Just having lunch with a friend that I haven’t seen in months. No matter how platonic my dining partner is, walking over to a table with two lovely ladies would have made someone feel left out. My name is Maxwell.”

“I’m Annabel. No need for excuses. It’s nice to meet you. I recently relocated and am looking for a tour guide. Perhaps give me a call this evening.”

“I can phone you around 7 o’clock if you don’t mind giving your number to strangers.”

“Sounds perfect, Maxwell. Here’s my contact info. Don’t mind my lunch friend. She is one of those people who likes to grab hold of you when talking.”

“I know the type. Hey, you two enjoy yourselves. We can see some sites this weekend.”

Flirtations

Naomi likes to get cozy at the lunch table. Attempts to put distance between them as Maxwell looks on are unsuccessful.

Annabel whispers with a smile, “Naomi, control yourself. People across from us can see what you’re doing. Please hold hands on top of the table or put your arm around me.

I got the impression that we have the same intentions.” Naomi inquires.

“Yes, I came to lunch, realizing your intentions.”

“Good, because as someone new here, you don’t want to get a reputation of leading people on. So why are you declining?”

Uncertain of how things might advance with Maxwell, Annabel wants to keep her options open. “I am going through a personal identity… audit. Adjusting to a new city, a new apartment, a new job, and a new relationship is a bit much.”

“That’s understandable. What if we take it slow? You come by my place, we sip some wine. Watch a movie. Have some fun with no commitment.”

I appreciate the invitation. But can I hold off maybe another month to get settled?”

“Okay, that’s progress. I will put the date in my calendar but don’t play me as a fool by building me up while scouting for something better. In the meantime, we can continue to enjoy our lunches together.” Naomi continues, “It should be obvious to everyone here that we are an item.

Trying to downplay her excitement, Annabel replies, “You are in my calendar too. The last thing I want is an unreliable reputation. But remember, you said no commitment. I mean… we are free to explore opportunities with others.”

Naomi cautions, “It sounds like you are backpedaling already. I hope you aren’t exploring many opportunities.” Naomi cautions, “You need someone to guide you along. Word spreads quickly if you’re the type that strings people along and blows them off later.”

Annabel expresses clear intent. “Naomi, Regarding our date, don’t worry. Nothing else is on my calendar that Saturday. I very much look forward to our movie night.” She confirms, “I will pick the wine and be there.”

“That’s more like it.

Naomi Dating

Over the next few weeks, lunches continue. Naomi’s primes Annabel with whispers about plans for when they are alone. Annabel enjoys the admiration and, when asked, reiterates how much she looks forward to the upcoming Saturday.

Annabel is now a hybrid of her high school values of commitment and her careless college morals. Ideally, she can nurture two long-term relationships that may perhaps accept her going back and forth. But she hasn’t worked out the details.

Maxwell Dating

Through several phone conversations and FaceTime calls, Annabel feels a growing attraction to Maxwell. Each Friday night, he takes her to a fancy restaurant. She is drawn to his good looks, intellect, and wit. Goodnight kisses are pleasant—slightly above a grandma kiss.

On weekends, Annabel and Maxwell go to picnics, movies, and museums. They attend a fashion show with many beautiful ladies wearing revealing outfits.

“This is, by far, my favorite outing!” Annabel exclaims. “The sheer beauty of the outfits excites me. Afterwards, I would love to go backstage to congratulate the designer.”

Annabel accepts an invitation for a weekend lunch at Maxwell’s apartment, where he impresses her with his culinary skills. After the meal, his abrupt offer to drive her back home is a surprise.

Dilemma

Two weeks before her date with Naomi, Annabel is at the crossroad of deter­min­ing orientation in this town. Maxwell has been hesitant.

Now it is early in the week of her movie night. Annabel receives a text message from Naomi asking her to choose a wine and a movie. Annabel’s first inclination is to spend the time, as promised, with Naomi without telling Maxwell.

She vacillates on who to phone first. Before she can rationalize outcomes, her fingers place a FaceTime call with Maxwell. Visualizing a long-lasting relationship with him, she asks questions that normally come up months later.

“We have been seeing each other for three weeks. That’s not a long time, but I hope you enjoy our company as much as I do.”

“It’s always good to see you and hear your voice. The regularity of our dates is evidence of my enjoyment of your company.”

“Can I ask what first attracted you to me?”

“I would say your smile. You seemed to be having such a good time with your lunch friend. When you smiled at me I thought, if I could become a close friend, there is a chance for even more happiness.”

“I am happy around you. This question will come from out in left field. But do you envision yourself someday getting married and raising a family?”

“It is a goal I hope to achieve.”

“If I don’t mess things up and continue to impress, might I be someone you will consider? I’m sorry if that sounds like a premature proposal. I promise to give it context and won’t hold you to a commitment.”

“We have been taking it slowly. At this rate, I may not be able to answer that question for several months. What I can say is that you have not disappointed me yet.”

“I guess that’s a fair answer, thank you. Can I ask if you are seeing anyone else during this time?”

“I am not booking two dates on Friday nights. During the time we met, I had drinks with one woman and lunch with another. Obviously, you impressed me the most.”

“Good…. I mean, so you have seen some other people. I appreciate your candor. But the primary reason for my call is because there is a chance that our time together may be coming to an end.”

“Why do you say that? Those dates were not serious. Am I moving too slowly?”

“You are doing nothing wrong! It’s my background. I have a choice of revealing things that may turn you away or doing things to drive you away. It’s the same outcome. But if I wait longer, you will be angry with me for not revealing it sooner.”

“We have visual contact with FaceTime, but this seems like a conversation we should have in person. Is it too late to come over?”

“It is best on FaceTime. If we break up, it will be less awkward. What I am going to say is not easy. I only want to share enough for you to make a decision. Don’t let me keep talking if I repulse you. Your safe word to end the conversation is battery. Hopefully, your phone is charged.”

“Yes, I have plenty of juice—using my laptop anyway. I promise to keep an open mind.”

“In high school, I was the girl that boys overlooked. That led to a steady girlfriend for two years. In college, such casual relationships continued sporadically. All things considered, I am a bonafide card-carrying les­bian—by circumstance…. How’s your battery life?”

“I am confused why we are going out together. But your last sentence about circumstance intrigues me. My power is fine.”

“In college I had relations with exactly three guys, one time each. Before making my point, are you still with me or do you want to disconnect?”

“I know the safe word. You have to finish this story!”

“For me, pleasure has only been from a female. That which I had from men was only because the person they desired was unavailable…. Do you have anything to say yet?”

“Not until you are done.”

“I think about eventually marrying, giving birth to children and enjoying life with a man. Perhaps, someday it may be you if your battery holds up. But here’s my dilemma.

“This promiscuous pit I’m digging is getting deeper. Nearly a month ago—before you and I began dating—I agreed to visit a les­bian this Saturday. I don’t want this to complicate the relationship we are nurturing.

“Say no more. Thanks for your honesty. If you are a gay, I won’t judge you. Pursue your happiness…. It looks like my battery is getting weak.”

“Don’t say it, Maxwell. Wait! If I wanted to break up with you I could have done so without revealing so much personal information. Let’s talk this through!”

Continued

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