Sort of a continuation/Robyn’s point-of-view of Hoarfrost from a dang-long time ago.
Unsure of where to go from here, Robyn sat in the parking lot outside her apartment building, slowly banging her head on the steering wheel of her car. She had no clue how to go about her sudden situation with Dante Conti.
Since having him trip over her months ago, she’d thought he was a complete goofball. Not necessarily in a bad way, but he was definitely a goober. And in her generous way she had helped the dummy out, and they had built a sort-of friendship from there. It was a lot of homework-doing and just general hanging out, but still a friendship. And as those few months went on, she found out what made up Mr. Conti.
Dante was a neat freak. His hygiene was crazily well kept, and he took it very seriously. It almost drove Robyn batty with how much of a stickler he was for his regimen. And it was hilarious, because other than his hygiene, he was so disorganized. He had a method to his madness (supposedly), but otherwise his apartment was a mess of paper, burned copies of CDs and DVDs, and other electronic equipment. He took indie music and films as his hobby (read: obsession), and it littered his living space.
Dante was a mama’s boy. In a good way, though. His mother had become ill when he was graduating high school, and for the next few years he’d stayed, given up his goals and dreams to take care of her. What a good son! Robyn couldn’t imagine being able to give up on her dreams, not even for her family, possibly… And she had to imagine she’d like his mother; she’d named her son after a famous poet, after all. She wouldn’t mind meeting Mrs. Conti.
Dante was plain. But that was a harsh way to put it. He was very interesting, Robyn thought, but when out of context (whatever that meant) he could be seen as blah. Well, that was how Tasha put it, and Robyn could see it, but she supposed she looked past that. He was very caring and understanding, a listener, and that made up for his ‘plainness’ in her eyes.
She was suddenly realizing she might really like Dante. Hm. She’d only had one boyfriend before, starting in high school. And of course, high school relationships usually don’t end well. And it hadn’t. She’d gone to the same college as that bozo, and things had ended up turning so nasty sour that the break-up had been part of the reason for her transfer to her new university.
And now here she was, in a situation like that all over again. Well, not really. He’d only asked her out. She hadn’t said yes, or anything.
“Uh, no, actually… I was waiting for you.”
Robyn hadn’t thought of Dante in that way at all since meeting him. He had been strictly and, sadly, friend-zoned. He was a super nice guy, of course, but the thought just hadn’t crossed her mind. And so the sudden appearance at her work had thrown her off. She’d been so mortified. Seeing the expression on Dante’s face, the look on hers probably hadn’t been very encouraging…
“What for?” She hadn’t meant to sound mean. It just took all of Robyn’s willpower to not go bright faced and watery eyed at the whole situation.
And then he’d asked her out! At work! She had felt like barfing. She kept her cool much better than expected, but oh, God, did she want to just disappear right then and there. Why’d he have to come to work? She felt trapped.
“Are you kidding me? You come and ambush me at work to ask me out?”
Needing to escape, and fast, she had grabbed him and practically dragged him from the establishment, leaving Jenny the hostess looking lost at her station. Whatever. She needed to leave.
He’d tried to reason with her, she’d guessed, but at the time she didn’t want to hear it. She saw his ATV and hauled him over to it. And then she let him have it, feeling the red spread over her face like a sudden, nasty nosebleed.
“That was so embarrassing!” she’d hissed, as if there had been someone around to hear them. Not likely. “You don’t pull that crap in public! That’s for in private.”
Oh damn, was she having a nosebleed? Her face was on fire. She put her hands over her face and shook her head, muttering, “Oh my gosh, everyone was there and they all saw and even strangers and oh my go-osh…”
And he’d laughed at her! The nerve of that guy! Here she’d thought he was nice and just joked around sometimes, and here he was laughing at her in her weak moment. “It’s not funny, Danny.“ He had stopped laughing and smirked knowingly at her. Robyn had felt her face burn even more. “That was really embarrassing.”
“If anything, I should be embarrassed. You practically rejected me in there, after all.”
“What? What do you mean? I did not—”
“Really? You didn’t? So you’re free tomorrow?”
“Wait… I…” Son of a bitch. Word play sucked. Robyn had felt like a seven-year-old again learning chess from her older brother. Tricked and totally not seeing it coming. Sneaky bastard…
“I’m kidding, Robyn. I’d like to take you out tomorrow. I’d like to go out with you. But I won’t pressure you into it. Um, I think I did enough pushing for one night…” He’d waved his hands in surrender. “So it’s totally up to you. Of course.”
She’d tried her damnedest to calm down, and not seeing it happening anytime soon, she asked him for time. She just needed to think. The air felt constricted and limited, like she was going to run out if the conversation went on any longer.
“Can I, um… think about it, first? Let you know tomorrow? After classes.”
“Sure. I understand.” And he’d smiled.
Flustered all over again. Ugh! How had she not realized forever ago how freakin’ cute this guy was? His smile was dazzling, and it was just a smile. Thinking about it, she had realized that any time Dante smiled it was wonderful to see. She could only think of it as sunshine when he glanced down at her and showed off his pearly whites. If the situation hadn’t been what it was, she would have taken out her phone and snapped a picture.
“Cool. Great. Okay. Uh…” Unsure where to go from there, she lowered her hands from her cheeks and looked up at him timidly. She hated feeling so lost. And curse him; he was still sharing that sunlight.
They’d parted ways with the agreement to see each other tomorrow, and now Robyn was sitting in confusion in her car. Now what?
Glancing around, Robyn saw Tasha’s car nearby. Good. Maybe her roommate could help her out with this one. She was constantly juggling boys; she’d be able to help Robyn out with this, right?
Making it inside, Robyn found Tasha veg’ing in the living room watching something on Netflix. Breathing in quietly, she said hello and asked if Tasha could talk.
“Well sure!” And so Robyn briefly explained what happened.
“Dante… he’s that tall-brunette-plain-but-still-totally-a-hottie you’ve been hangin’ with for ages, right?”
“Not ages…” Robyn muttered, ducking her head down and blushing.
“You know what I mean. Doesn’t matter. Hot brunette, established.” Robyn wished she had Tasha’s New York uninhibited-ness.
“So what’s your problem?”
“Well… what do I do?”
Tasha snorted, giving her a look. “Well, I could tell you what I would do—”
“Um, no. Let’s not go there.”
Tasha laughed, patting Robyn on the shoulder good-naturedly. “Do you like him?”
“I hadn’t even thought about him like that until tonight, Tasha.” Robyn sighed. “I don’t know… I mean… I think I do. Can I be unsure?”
“You sadden me with your lack of boy knowledge.”
“Look,” Tasha said, gesturing with her hands. “He can’t be all too bad if you’ve been hanging out with him, right? So you’ve gotta like him in some way. And that’s okay if you’re not sure. Relationships are a lot of trial and error. A LOT. You’ve been in a relationship before. Treat it like that. Er, the beginning part, at least. Obviously the ending didn’t go so well.” Robyn nodded sagely, frowning. “So treat it like an experiment.”
“This isn’t a science class, lady.” Tasha was also an education major like Robyn was, but her penchant for the sciences liked to filter into everything. Not that Robyn could talk.
“Shush. Seriously, think of it that way. Hell, even tell Danny-boy that you’re not sure, but you wanna try.” She paused and looked at Robyn. “You do, don’t you? Wanna try things with him?”
“I…” Robyn bit her lip, remembering Dante asking her. He’d obviously been nervous himself. Now she kind of felt bad for how she reacted. And his smile when she’d said she’d think about it… She huffed a short laugh and said, “Yeah. I do.”
“And there you go. That’s fifty for the therapy session,” Tasha said seriously, holding out a hand. She smirked.
Robyn giggled and grabbed her hand, and was promptly pulled into a hug. She squirmed awkwardly. “Er, how about I buy you lunch?”
“Hm… I’d rather have coffee. We’ll say three different times?”
“Woof. Three? You’re expensive.”
“Fine, two. Stingy.”
Robyn thanked Tasha for her advice and listening ear, and went to her room. She sat up for a while yet, hearing the TV in the next room and letting her own thoughts clash together in her head.
Sighing, she rolled over under her blankets and hunkered down, imagining a beaming ray of sunshine-y smiles directed at her accompanied by warm brown eyes. If she could keep seeing those smiles… Yeah, I can do this. She smiled and snuggled against her pillow.