The Gauntlet

***Dedicated to Anonymous commenter at 5:19pm from the post ‘Oh Well’! Here’s the BONUS!***

“Can’t believe I’m doing this,” I sighed as we rode the elevator, shaking my head.

Anna rubbed my back. “It’ll be okay.”

“You don’t understand,” I said, closing my eyes and holding two fingers at the bridge of my nose as a splitting headache arose. I sighed again. “He’s told me so many plans about them in the future. Almost like wishful thinking that turns into reality.”

“Wishful thinking?” Anna asked.

I nodded. “I think about stuff between you and me too, so I understand where he’s coming from.”

Anna just smiled and nodded quietly, as if understanding what I meant. My hands were so clammy and my chest felt blocked to get into too much detail about what I tended to think about when I thought about the future; so instead I just froze up. My mind was focused on the task at hand; the task of Brian and telling him about what happened between Samantha and I. If there was ever anything that could sufficiently haunt someone, it’s a cheating scandal. I never ever want to be categorised as that ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ guy, and every day I’m grateful that Anna found it in her heart to forgive me, even though we haven’t completely moved past everything. But that’s the thing, I don’t think we ever will. As I peer over to Anna in one of my daydreams of us living together—somewhere further down the line when we’ve discovered every nook and cranny of our personality, mannerisms, tendencies, pet peeves, etcetera—I sometimes imagine myself seeing her giving me a look that takes me back to the moment I cheated on her. The same look I occasionally see in reality from time to time. Every day of our relationship, I will have to live with that consequence. The fact that I’ll be seeing a tinge of pain flicker across her face as she recalls the memory of every gash of her heart that I caused. The fact that I have to see this other side of me, this capability of mine, through her eyes. These are the facts that I have to live with; but I’ll fucking die trying to make her feel like she was, is and always will be the only girl for me, from beginning to end, before I lose her again.

The elevator ding-ed me out of my reverie and we slid out. Walking down the hallway was like walking The Gauntlet in Xena (yes, I’ve seen episodes of Xena; they weren’t all entirely by choice!), except instead of getting beat by rocks and actors from New Zealand, I was getting shame hitting me from left, right and centre.

Anna held my hand the entire time. My clammy hand. Giving me looks of reassurance here and there. I saw in her eyes if she was wondering whether or not this was the right thing to do, and it is. My resistance was only by sympathy towards Brian; I just couldn’t stand seeing a good man down. What’s worse is seeing that good man down by my unjustifiable and poor actions.

Before the door, I ran my free hand through my hair and bounced, rocking back and forth, on the balls of my feet. My breaths were shaky as I inhaled and exhaled, allowing myself to calm down a bit. I heard a rustling sound after I knocked on the door, and after a few moments, the door flung open and Brian flashed a huge grin.

“Brother!” Brian laughed, holding a spatula in one hand and a ladle in the other; and sporting an apron.

I chuckled before I was pulled in for a hug. Sorry, Brian, I thought, I’m so fucking sorry.

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4 thoughts on “The Gauntlet

  1. I absolutely love seeing things from both Anna’s and Daniel’s perspectives. It brings so much life to their conversations and relationship in general.

    Thanks for the bonus post! Such a nice thing to wake up to 🙂

  2. I love the title. Very appropriate! I can only imagine how much Daniel doesn’t want to tell Brian but then Daniel wouldn’t be much of a man (have a hard time saying friend cause a friend wouldn’t do it to start with. Proud of Daniel of working to straighten this up with Anna as best he can!

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