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A/N: …and we’re back.
Since it took me a while, I thought it was better to put some kind of end to it, so this is the final chapter of ‘Stood Up’.
Tim announced himself as he entered the apartment. Becky had left the door ajar after buzzing him into the building. The living room was empty. As he deposited his overnight bag and the snacks he had brought for date night on the table, his girlfriend’s voice emanated from one of the bedrooms off the hallway.
“Tim, tell Ronny she looks sexy.”
Tim took a deep breath. When walking into the apartment, he was often swept up in whatever conversation or situation was currently unfolding, without the slightest hint of what was going on. Of course, that evening he did know what the big deal was. It was Ronny’s first date with Stephen Jones. The preparation for which, Becky had naturally taken full control of.
“Ronny, you look sexy,” Tim called in their general direction as he strolled towards the bedrooms, preparing to climb over a mountain of clothes and makeup just to get to them.
“No. Look at her and tell her,” Becky retorted.
Tim laughed to himself about how redundant that was. He had never once looked at Ronny and found her unattractive. Even while he was trying not to think about it. She might not be full-on ‘sexy’ all the time, but he could not imagine her trying to be sexy and failing.
From his previous relationships, Tim had learned caution when asked by a girlfriend about the attractiveness of other women. When it came to a girlfriend’s friends, the trick was to hint subtly that he found them hideous to look at, while also being polite about it on the surface.
Part of him was still waiting for the other shoe to drop with Becky and Ronny. One day his girlfriend would ask him to tell her oldest and best friend that she was sexy, and when he casually obliged, that would suddenly be the end of it. Becky was not like that though. She was open and honest. Sometimes maybe a little too cavalier about such things, but she was not trying to trap him.
Then there was that one night they had all been together. There was no point denying he was attracted to Ronny after that. A few months later with no repeats of the experience, it was not a regular topic of conversation, but none of them was trying to pretend it had not happened.
All that said, the only reason Becky needed Tim to tell Ronny she was sexy, was that Becky had said it herself so many times over the years, it had lost all meaning.
Tim leaned into the doorway of Ronny’s room. The pile of clothes on the floor was not as big an obstacle as he had imagined. The two women were not physically similar enough to swap clothes, or else Becky would have emptied the contents of her wardrobes for the occasion. Lucky for Ronny.
Becky sat cross-legged on the end of Ronny’s bed, with an elbow on one knee and her chin resting on her hand. Her long blonde hair was tucked behind both ears. She wore jeans and a white sweater. Casually dressed for a night in, she still looked great to Tim who was only wearing jeans and a t-shirt himself. She did look a little out of place surrounded by Ronny’s discarded date clothes: blouses and dresses that had not made the cut, and more intimate garments Tim was trying to ignore. She smiled at him when he walked in.
Across the room, Ronny was turning on the spot in front of a floor-length mirror, trying to appraise her own reflection from various angles. She was wearing a flowy white blouse with long sleeves and a low neckline. She had high-waisted black trousers that fit snuggly at the top and widened out around her ankles. Tim knew there was a name for the style but could not remember it. Ronny’s dark hair, which was usually tied back, hung perfectly arranged around her shoulders in loose curls.
She did indeed look quite sexy.
“Hello, Timothy,” said Becky as he crossed to sit next to her on the bed.
“Hello, Rebecca,” he replied with a chuckle.
Ronny fixed them with a look that threatened to harm anyone who dared to call her ‘Veronica’.
Tim wrapped his arms around Becky and kissed her on the cheek. She murmured appreciatively as she turned her face to his.
“Get a room,” said Ronny quickly as they kissed. “Specifically, not my room.”
“Maybe you should join us,” Becky retorted without fully removing her mouth from Tim’s. “It would save you having to decide what to wear.”
“Stop it,” Tim and Ronny chided in unison, without missing a beat.
“Aw, see, that’s not fair. How am I supposed to not get turned on when you two gang up on me like that?”
Tim rolled his eyes, and Ronny returned her attention to her reflection.
“No fun,” Becky muttered. “Don’t worry, babe. I can wait for Tim’s full attention after you go out. After all, he’s only trying to distract me because he doesn’t want to do what I asked him.”
“You didn’t ask. You instructed,” Tim corrected.
“Exactly,” she replied with mock indignation, “what’s eryaman genç escort the point of being your girlfriend if you’re not going to do what I say? Now, look at Ronny and tell her she looks sexy.”
Ronny ignored them. She started to fold items of clothing and put them away. She held the occasional garment in front of herself, checking it in the mirror, still considering options. Tim watched her thoughtfully for a few moments while Becky stared impatiently at the side of his head.
Tim said, “maybe it’s more important for Ronny to feel sexy, than to be told she looks sexy.”
Ronny seemed to be checking out her own behind in the mirror as she bent to put a folded yellow blouse into a bottom drawer.
“If you tell her she looks sexy, then maybe it’ll be easier for her to convince herself,” Becky suggested.
Ronny held a floral dress between herself and the mirror before hanging it in her wardrobe.
Tim tried to imagine how Ronny might actually be feeling based on what he had come to know about her. If spending a night in her bed had not been enough to convince her he thought she was sexy, then telling her now would not make a difference. Even directly following her break-up from an unsatisfying relationship, that one night with Tim and Becky should have been enough to restore her trust that other people found her attractive. More likely her appearance was not her biggest concern going into her date with Stephen Jones. A date she had kept finding ways to put off over the last few weeks, despite Stephen’s apparent enthusiasm for it.
“I think how Ronny feels about herself in her mind matters more than how I feel about her…”
“…in your pants?” Becky interjected. “Where your dick used to be?”
“Rude!” Tim replied, and nudged his girlfriend. “You shouldn’t be encouraging me to think sexy thoughts about your friend if you’re also going to be mean to me.”
Becky grabbed something off the clothes pile and threw it over her shoulder at Tim. He caught it. It was one of Ronny’s bras. Tim considered a snarky follow-up about how he knew without looking at it that it was not one of Becky’s, but instead placed it on top of another pile without comment.
Ronny pretended to be intently focussed on the skirt she was putting away.
“Fine,” said Tim, standing suddenly and surprising them both. “Ronny, you look so fucking sexy, I would drink your bathwater. More importantly, if you don’t choose the outfit you’re wearing right now, you’re going to be late. Come on. Finish putting the rest of this away. I’ll give you a lift into town.” Then he left the bedroom.
When Becky followed him into the living room a few moments later, he expected some snide comment about bathwater. He was not ready to defend himself as he was not entirely sure where that had come from. Hence his quick exit from the room. Not quite the mic drop moment it might have seemed. Instead, Becky walked straight up to him, wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head into his chest.
“OK?” Tim asked as he reciprocated the hug.
She made a muffled affirmative noise into his chest, before saying, “I’m sorry I was mean to you.”
“No harm done,” said Tim. He did not think she sounded sorry, but he was not really offended. “Since it makes you happy, I’ll let you off.”
“Aw, you’re sweet,” she said looking up at his face. “Almost a shame, since I had some thoughts about how to make it up to you.”
“Oh, yeah? In that case I think I’m pretty mad at you actually.”
She ran her hands up his chest. “No, that’s awful. I couldn’t bear it if you were mad at me.”
“More hurt really,” said Tim, willing his face into a frown.
“Poor thing,” she said, twisting her fingers into his hair and pulling his head down towards hers. “Let me kiss you better.”
Their lips met. Tim was expecting a gentle kiss, but Becky pressed her mouth hard onto his. She was trying to work her tongue into his mouth, and he happily allowed her. He ran his hands down her back as he leaned into her. Becky squealed into his mouth as he grabbed her ass and lifted her off the ground. She wrapped her legs around him. Her face rose above his as he lifted her up and she tugged his hair, tilting his head back, keeping his mouth locked onto hers.
“Get a room… again,” said Ronny, emerging from her bedroom as they kissed. “I should have specified your room. I do wonder where it’s safe to sit around here every time I leave you two alone for more than a few minutes. Like a wet patch minefield.” She walked past them and started putting on her shoes by the front door. She had chosen not to change her outfit further.
“Don’t worry,” said Becky, leaning her head back into Tim’s chest with a sigh as he returned her to the floor. “We always take it to the bedroom before it gets too messy. Even if we don’t always make it to the bed. Now, if you ever come round to Tim’s place, we might have to rope off a section for you.”
Tim lived alone. No housemates. He had spent more ankara escort bayan time with Becky at their apartment as it tended to be more convenient, but one of the main benefits of having a whole place to himself was the freedom to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and indeed wherever they wanted. Tim’s first night at Becky’s apartment, they had shared their first kiss just inside the front door, before adjourning to her bedroom for other activities. The first time they went to Tim’s place after a night out, they had fucked on the floor in the hallway. In fact, they had barely made it into the house to begin with. Becky had been unbuttoning Tim’s shirt while he was unlocking his front door. Of course, while Tim did not have housemates, he did still have neighbours.
“Good to go?” Tim asked Ronny, disentangling himself from Becky’s arms as he changed the subject.
“Almost,” she replied as she put on her coat before crossing the room to check herself again in another mirror. “What are you two doing tonight, other than definitely not having sex in the living room?”
“Netflix and chill,” said Becky with a laugh.
“I know what that really means when you say it, Becks, but I bet Tim’s the sort who takes his Netflixing quite seriously.”
“Those series aren’t going to binge-watch themselves,” Tim agreed.
“Better find something else to put in my mouth then,” Becky retorted as she started rummaging through the bag of snacks Tim had brought. “Ooh, fancy chocolates.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s the ones I was saying about last week. There’s another box in there for you, Ronny. I’ll leave them on the side.”
“That’s so nice, thank you.” Ronny threw her arms around Tim and kissed him on the cheek. She had released him again before he even registered the embrace.
Becky pouted and held out her arms like a toddler wanting to be picked up. “Where’s my hug?”
“You didn’t buy me chocolates.”
Becky offered her own box, poking her tongue out at Tim when he gave her a sideways look. Ronny relented and hugged her friend without taking her chocolates.
“Mm, you smell real good,” Becky said to Ronny. “I love that new perfume for you.”
“Well, if I smell so good, and I look so sexy, I guess I’d better go on this date, or else I’m just wasting everyone’s time.”
Becky held onto Ronny a moment longer and Tim half expected her to make another joke about staying in and joining them in bed, or even seriously suggesting it. He imagined a jilted Stephen Jones sitting alone in the restaurant, staring at his silent phone, memorising the menu. Maybe he would ask a waitress to join him or connect with a woman at another table whose own date had abandoned her.
“I’ll start the car,” said Tim, shaking those thoughts from his mind and heading for the door. “Come down when you’re ready.”
“I’m ready,” Ronny said, though more to Becky, and to herself, than to Tim.
“Have a great night, babe,” Becky said brightly. “Tim, make sure she’s OK before you leave her, but hurry back.”
Tim escorted Ronny to his car and held the passenger door open for her. When he started the car, the radio turned on. He lowered the volume so they could talk but let it play quietly as a defence against awkward silence.
“Where to, luv?” he asked, doing a poor taxi driver impression with a terrible accent and what he hoped was an ironic grin.
Ronny wrinkled her nose and shook her head, but there was a hint of a smile. She told him the name of the restaurant and Tim pulled away from their building.
Ronny sat with her hands together in her lap, fingers tightly interlocked. Tim did not need to ask if she was nervous, but he was unsure if he should ask why or try to assuage her worries. He considered asking her something boring like how work was. He concentrated on driving. Both stared straight ahead.
“We’re OK, aren’t we?” Tim asked after a few seconds, surprising himself. He was sure he had been about to make an obvious comment about the weather.
Ronny half turned her head in his direction with a furrowed brow. “You mean you and me? Yeah, I think so. Why?”
“Just checking, really,” said Tim, “while it’s just the two of us. Not that I was trying to get you alone for that reason. It’s just that when it’s the three of us it can be difficult to keep a conversation on track, you know.”
“Yeah, I suppose. At least we can have a conversation as a three- uh- between the three of us. You know what I mean.” The frustration was clear when she almost said ‘threesome’.
“We’re OK after that night?” asked Tim. They had already discussed it shortly after, but it did not hurt to give her a chance to share any new feelings about it.
“Of course. These things happen.”
“What, threesomes? Do they?” Casual threesomes were not, in Tim’s experience, something that just happened.
“Well, not threesomes as such,” Ronny admitted, “but it’s not the first time I’ve slept with a guy to make myself feel better after sincan escort being dumped.”
“I’m glad you said, ‘to make yourself feel better’. Otherwise, I’d be worried I’d taken advantage of you in a vulnerable moment.”
“Well, you did make me feel better, but you were never gonna rock my world so hard that I’d have gotten over the breakup just like that.” She snapped her fingers. “It was one night, and we all had fun. I can’t tell you what Becks was thinking at the time, but you know it’s not a habit of ours. We don’t cruise round as girlfriends looking for guys to seduce into threesomes. Who knows if anything would have happened between us if you hadn’t been there. It was all just right place, right time.”
The question of why the two women did not simply have a romantic relationship between them re-occurred to Tim. They cared so deeply for each other and were evidently at least somewhat attracted to each other. They both had freely told him that they would not last the week though, saying everything from the way they processed their emotions to their favourite colours meant that they were perfect to share an apartment, but not a bed.
Tim also knew about one significant piece of shared baggage from their past. Ronny’s date for the evening, Stephen Jones. After an adolescent love triangle had divided them years ago, their friendship had been rebuilt stronger than ever, but it meant a big part of Becky’s character was a determination to protect Ronny. Becky would never knowingly put them in a situation where she had the potential to hurt her friend again. Not least a relationship that had dubious chances of success.
Tim did not have as good an idea about Ronny’s thoughts on the subject but suspected that the possible consequences of reintroducing Stephen Jones into their lives was one of the reasons that she had been putting off her date.
“I’m glad we can talk about it, but I’m happy enough not to,” said Ronny, continuing the topic of their night together.
“So, when Becky joked about you joining us tonight?”
“And insisted you tell me I look sexy?”
“Yeah, and then threw your bra at me.”
“Then I love her for who she is, and I appreciate you being level-headed about it. I think you and I are quite similar, Tim. Our lives would be boring without someone like Becks around, but sometimes she needs people like us to keep her out of trouble.”
Tim would have shied away from making the same comment so directly to Ronny, but she was not wrong.
“I like you, Tim. For her, I mean. I think you and I can be good friends though. Especially if you keep buying me fancy chocolates.”
“I’ll bear that in mind.”
“And you have helped me get over feeling sorry for myself. Partly by being nice to me, so thanks. On top of that, having Becky bouncing around the place being all ridiculously happy because she’s got you kinda took all the fun out of sitting in my pyjamas eating ice cream all day.”
“Sorry, I think, and maybe you’re welcome” offered Tim, unsure of the correct response.
“Thanks, on both counts,” Ronny returned with a laugh. “So, yeah, we’re OK, you and me.”
“Ridiculously happy, huh?” Tim mused.
“Annoyingly so, if anything. So, like I said, I like you for her. But let’s get one thing straight. If you hurt my friend, I will cut you into tiny pieces. Understand me?” She said it so casually, Tim could not help but laugh, though he thought better than to doubt her sincerity.
“What if she hurts me though?”
“Then I promise I’ll sulk at her for like ten minutes.” Ronny stuck out her bottom lip. “I’ll even pout.”
“Because no more fancy chocolates?” Tim asked.
“Now you’re getting it.”
Tim laughed again. “Alright, alright. It seems you and Becky aren’t so different after all. You both enjoy making fun of me a bit too much.”
“Yeah, well don’t expect me to make it up to you the way she will.”
“No, fair enough.”
The journey into town had passed quickly after all. Tim slowed the car as they approached the restaurant.
“I’ll stop over here,” he said as he pulled up to the kerb across the street, “so I don’t look like your dad dropping you off.”
“Thanks, Tim. Will you wait while I check I haven’t been stood up?”
“You haven’t. That’s him there isn’t it?” Tim pointed to a lean dark-haired man standing to the side of the restaurant’s doorway, looking away up the street. He had only met Stephen a few times in passing years before, but Ronny looked to where he was pointing and nodded silently.
“Want me to wait anyway?” Tim asked.
“Actually, I think I’ll be OK.” At least the knowledge that her date had shown seemed to have calmed her, rather than made her more nervous.
“Alright then. I’ll leave you to it but call Becky if you need rescuing and we’ll come get you right away.”
She thanked him and opened the door. Just as she was about to step out, she turned back to him.
“Thanks for the conversation, Tim. Were you actually thinking about those things, or were you just trying to distract me from being nervous about my date?”
“Maybe a bit of both. I could be cool and say I was just trying to distract you, but I admit that’s a little like kicking you in the shin because you’ve got a headache.”
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