Post by Thaddeus Duke on Jul 12, 2021 12:24:49 GMT -5
Woolworth Tower || Tribeca - New York City || 9:12 AM
Storm clouds roll in over the city. Standing on the balcony hundreds of feet above the ground, I lean against the railing, staring out over the vast jungle that is Manhattan as raindrops fall on my head. It has been been a very turbulent week for me personally. I'm great at any number of things. What I'm downright terrible at is my love life.
Don't misunderstand me. Love activities are not the same thing as a love life. Very good at the former, not so good at the latter. The temptation to turn back the clock, so to speak, exists. I have friends that are able to do it and while the temptation is there, to turn back the clock, to rewind time about a week... I think it's better to be forced to lay in the bed that I've made.
Mistakes were made... and I don't know if I can fix them. Regardless, I'm not gonna stop trying to put things back in order. Despite what people might think of me, I am a good man. To fight for her, for a potential us? It's a no-brainer and she's worth every bit of frustration. Worth every bit of my own public humiliation. Worth every bit of the agony that this situation has caused me. No matter what it has done to me, she's gone through it too, and very likely worse.
What happened is innocent on the surface of it. But the fallout from my stupidity has caused her to pull back. It caused her to shut me out. I don't know if her feelings about me have changed but I do know, that mine for her haven't.
Becoming increasingly wet from the rain, a pair of arms wrap themselves around my stomach.
My friend Brandon.
In his hand is a hot cup of steaming coffee that he reaches up toward me as he buries the side of his head into the middle of my shoulder blades. “Your coffee, Your Grace,” he says and it causes me to smile.
“Thanks,” I say with a smile as I relieve the cup from his grip.
“Why are we out here in the rain?” he asks, still hugging me from behind.
“Just doin’ some thinking,” I reply quietly before taking a sip of the hot cup of Joe.
“About what?” he asks as he releases the hug.
Spinning around to face him, I lean my back against the railing as thunder rolls into the city. “Not a what… a who,” I answer him. The clouds overhead begin to weep openly, showering me. Brandon retreats backward a few steps into the dry cover of the doorway.
“Come inside,” he pleads. “We can talk about it.”
Brandon is a rather adorable man and I find it hard to resist his caring nature or his steely blue eyes. Succumbing to his pleading, I follow him inside and we sit the sofa. He curls up next to me, leaning his head against me.
“So who is it?” he asks.
“Adi Gold,” I answer him.
“Who is she? What’s she like?” he asks. It’s important to remember that Brandon isn’t real familiar with my professional life. When I met him, he had no idea who I was and sometimes, that’s a really refreshing.
“Adi is an actress, a producer, wrestles a little,” I begin to answer him. “And no offense… but the most incredible person I’ve ever had the honor of meeting.”
“None taken,” he says with a chuckle. “Where’d you meet her? Wrestling?”
Quickly I shake my head. “I was her co-star in a show called ‘Bad Date.’ We hit it off instantly.”
“Were you ever romantic with her?”
“Never,” I answer him quickly. “But I always wanted to be.”
“Did she want…” he begins to ask but I cut him off quickly.
“Yes... as it turns out.”
“Then why weren’t you?” he asks the obvious question. In retrospect the signals were always there. But I’m a dunce in the ways of love and I’ll be damned if I didn’t miss every. Single. One. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re linked to me romantically, I’ll treat you like a queen… or a king… depending on the gender. But at the same time, I’m fucking horrible at taking hints.
“Timing was some of it,” I answer him. “After the show fell by the wayside, we’d lost touch for awhile. I left wrestling for awhile to win a war. When I came back I was with Garrett…”
“That fucking joke of a twink ass bitch,” he says facetiously, causing me to chuckle.
“I took time off again because things in my personal life were a mess,” I continue on. “By the time I came back, I was with Elizabeth. In her own right, she’s an incredible woman too.”
“Thad?” he interrupts. “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course you can,” I answer him.
“Is Adi the reason you won’t… define things between us?”
He’s attractive. He makes me feel great about myself. He’s kind, caring, intuitive of certain needs, and knows when there are things on my mind I need to talk about. He’s an incredible man and despite us being nearly inseparable for the last few weeks… I’d drop him at the blink of an eye for Adi Gold.
“She is,” I answer him. “I’m sorry if that hurts you.”
“No I understand,” he says quietly. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
“Brandon you’re an amazing guy,” I try to reassure him. “I care so much about you. Just Adi has been the object of my hearts desire for years and I’m trying really hard not to go absolutely ballistic, make an ass of myself all over again.”
“Missed signals,” I answer him honestly. “I dropped hints, she dropped hints. Nothing ever went any further because I’m a gigantic dumbass. I’m also really flirty by nature…”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” he jokes.
“I ended up doing something very publicly that made her pull back from me. Essentially it scared her away from me… and it hurts… like a lot. It hurts knowing that my actions humiliated her. That they hurt her. It hurts to know that maybe I messed things up so bad that we can’t ever go back.
“I have this amazing ability to sabotage great relationships without even trying, without even knowing it.”
“How did you know?” he asks. “I mean, that there was something more than just friendship between you two?”
“I knew it years ago,” I answer him. “We had this kissing scene on the show and… damn…” my voice trails off for a moment as a reminisce in my own head about that scene on the show. “There was a real spark. Not the kind that’s all acted out and planned. It was real. And I may or may not have intentionally messed up my lines right after in order to kiss her again.”
“You dog!” he jokes.
“Believe it or not, I’m kind of shy about dating… We live under a microscope. I made overtures that I thought weren’t really reciprocated so I thought I was in the dreaded friendzone. As it turns out, they very much were and I just absolutely missed them.
“Anyway… I really don’t deserve her.”
Brandon lifts himself from my shoulder and looks at me.
“Do you have any idea how awesome you are?” he asks and I just stare at him like a deer in the headlights. “You’re loyal. You love entirely or not at all. You’re kind and sweet, caring and supportive. You’re a man that any guy or girl would be proud to take home to their parents.”
“That’s very sweet, but I disagree. Besides, I’m not the victim.”
Grabbing his phone from the coffee table, he starts clicking and swiping away.
“She’s really beautiful,” he says and I turn to him.
“If it were possible to turn back the clock to before you messed up,” he prefaces. “What would you do?”
That question takes serious deliberation. Despite my charisma on-screen, away from cameras, I’m kind of subdued and shy. My relationship with Adi Gold was (is) on full display under the prying eyes of colleagues and professionals in our shared industries. If I could turn back the clock to before I made an ass out of myself in a big way…
“I’d have reached out to her privately and told her how I truly felt,” I answer him.
“Why didn’t you?”
“Because I’m a dumbass and I didn’t know she felt the same way.”
“Have you two spoken since the incident?”
I nod my head in response, “very little, but there’s dialog.”
“Is she receptive to… rekindling what…” I cut him.
“It doesn’t seem so,” I answer him. “And maybe she’s just defending herself from the humiliation and pain that I caused her in the only way she can right now by wrapping herself in a…”
“When did you figure out that you were a dumbass and missed her signals?”
“When I about hooked up with someone else and her reaction to it… it shook me.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wanted to pursue a relationship with her since the moment I met her,” I explain. “Her reaction to my stupidity made me realize that all this time she had been returning my affection for her and I know I fucked up big. Because I felt like something I wanted was right there and I didn’t know it. Didn’t see it.
“As soon as I realized what was what I figuratively reached out and… its like she disappeared into thin air, leaving behind her… regret and missed opportunity.”
“Pretend I’m Adi Gold,” he says as he lays his phone down and again, I look at him. “If I’m Adi Gold and things went sideways the way they did and I’m sitting here right in front of you. No twitter eyes, no cameras… just you and her… what do you say to her?”
I give him an uncomfortable chuckle, but no answer.
“I’m serious,” he pleads as he turns his body toward me. “I’m Adi Gold. Tell me what you’d say.”
The smile fades from my face as I look into his eyes. I try to imagine Adi sitting in front of me, but it just doesn’t work. There is but one Adi Gold and Brandon, just isn’t her. Nevertheless, I’ll try.
“I’d urge her to reconsider coming on vacation with me in August,” I begin. "We don't even have to tell anyone."
“Why would she go on vacation with you? You just humiliated her.”
“Yeah, thanks for the reminder…
“Because I don’t think misunderstanding, miscommunication, and missed signals should doom something that could potentially be great for two people that have been unlucky in love. For two people that separately wield a ton of power in the industries we share together…”
“So the attraction is about power?”
“Not at all, its a mutual understanding. Public pressures can be daunting even on light days. So like… we can find mutual comfort and support in each other. I feel like, if she came with me we could explore our feelings, our desires, be candid without public pressure and watching eyes.
“No expectations of anything more than two people enjoying time off together.
“It’s an opportunity, I think, for both of us to do what we should have awhile ago but for whatever reason, neither of us did.”
“Take the bull by the horns, so to speak. Not let chance determine what we are or what we aren’t. Decide it for ourselves.”
“Anything else you’d say?” he asks.
“I’d say I’m sorry for being that fucking stupid,” I begin. “I’d say I’m sorry for making her feel so terrible. That it isn’t her that looked stupid, but me. That she has every right to feel how she does, to think what she thinks. Despite knowing I don’t deserve it, I’d beg for her forgiveness.
“She insisted I didn’t do anything wrong, but I did. Missing everything is the biggest mistake I made and there isn’t a god damn thing I wouldn’t do to rectify that. Had I not missed everything, I never would have put her and I both in the positions we’re currently in.”
“Then rectify it,” Brandon offers.
“It takes two,” I reply quickly. “It only takes one to fuck everything up, but I can’t fix things and restore order if she doesn’t want me to.
“I firmly believe that her and I… are a match made in heaven… y’know, if I believed in such things. If she’d just… I don’t know… let me know the door was open…”
“And if it was open?”
“I’d bust it off its hinges,” I answer metaphorically. “Adi is amazing, she’s incredible. Smart, beautiful, talented. She’s never been anything but kind and sweet to me. She’s always supported my ventures, my wrestling career, everything… and I’d give her the world because she deserves every bit of what life has to offer her.
“I’d grab her by the hand and…”
“You jump, I jump,” he interrupts, quoting Titanic and causing me to smile slightly.
“Basically,” I agree. “I’m done fucking up, Adi. I might be a dumbass, but I do learn. I have very strong hands, but they’re also gentle. Her heart would be safe in them for as long as time exists.”
“She definitely seems like girlfriend material,” Brandon says sincerely.
“Nah I see potentially more than that,” I reply before pausing. “You know, I don’t really believe in marriage so much but… She’s the type that could change my mind. And I’ve never said that about anyone. Not even Liz and she mothered two of my kids.”
“So you’d treat her like…”
“The Queen to my King,” I answer, cutting him off. “I’d fully support her in every venture she chooses to take because she’s always done that for me and because she deserves everything she ever wants. I’d bust my ass even harder than I do now to help her make her dreams a reality.
“Plus, I know she was never into me for the money or the material things because she was into me before she knew all that. She was into Thaddeus for Thaddeus.
“And I’m still the same Thaddeus I always was. Just less blind and stupid.”
“I ship you,” he says with good intentions.
“That’s great, but its her that gets to choose.”
“You deserve it though,” Brandon replies.
“To deserve would suggest entitled,” I begin. “As it pertains to Adi Gold, I’m only entitled to what she chooses for me to deserve. I just hope that she’ll see through the bullshit from last week and give me a sign.
“Take the leap of faith. Choose us.”