Fortune Favors the Bold But Occasionally Also Punishes Her Boldness

Leif and Alice had been dating maybe four months. Because they both “moved too fast” and had strong chemistry- those four months sometimes felt like four years. It felt like a long time and a short time simultaneously. A long time because they were in constant communication but also surprises popped up to remind one of them that really, they hadn’t known each other for years.

Leif and Alice talked every day. They were in a sort of honeymoon phase. They both thought about each other all the time. They were both scared and insecure about their emotions for the other person. They both had tendencies to be dramatic. Usually not on purpose, but secretly they both enjoyed it. They are smart people and easily bored with the ordinary.

Leif and Alice were both single parents and bored with adulting. They both used the relationship to indulge in eccentricities and to take a mental and emotional vacation from daily life. When they were together, they wrapped each other in themselves like a thick blanket to shield their time from reality. They would be so totally immersed in interacting, trying to get into each other’s heads, engaging in verbal foreplay that in a sense, when they were together, they were like one person.

Alice justified this enmeshing by normalizing it and calling it “the honeymoon phase”, which is a real and common phenomenon to be enjoyed but of course as she had general anxiety, it was hard sometimes to relax and not analyze things. In fact, she is still undecided about “how fast” they are moving. She knows some things can only be revealed with time, but she has also thrown caution to the wind.

Alice and Leif had already had deep conversations about pretty much everything. They had argued, she had backed off only to realize she didn’t want to, he had backed off at one point but more subtly. They were fighting their feelings. Because they are adults with responsibilities and feel like they should “know better”. They choose everyday to move too fast. It’s possible one or both of them has trouble with impulse control.

They had committed to an exclusive relationship within the first month, which is not unusual. They liked each other a lot and it happened very suddenly and neither of them expected to meet someone that they felt such a bond with so quickly. It was scary in a way because again, they both have anxiety.

The relationship had already had some ups and downs and it seemed that things had stabilized and both of them were content until something unexpected happened at the wrong time. Not that there is ever a right time for anything but Alice was under a lot of stress in her personal life.

In a way, they are both “not ready” for having met each other and getting so involved. They knew this because they analyzed it to death. Especially Alice, who was always a sucker for mysteries and figuring things and people out. She was also the type to not give up or give in on anything she found interesting. Rather, she would immerse herself in it and learn everything about it. That’s Alice’s personality.

Leif was just starting to date after his marriage of seven years had ended. Alice was emerging from a period of semi self imposed isolation and had been single for 5 years. She had gone on a few dates, dated one person with whom she knew there was no future with for a few months and didn’t expect to have anything change. She was still dealing with the fallout from bad choices made when she was younger and just starting her life over, really.

They were both aware that they “shouldn’t” get involved so quickly, but sometimes things happen and there is no way around it or changing it. Alice knew that if she ended her relationship with Leif because it was “too soon”, she would regret it. Leif knew the same. So they had had a few arguments already over the future. But neither was willing or even able to walk away. It didn’t feel right. What felt right was being together. Alice doesn’t regret it. And she inadvertently had put Leif through the wringer a couple of times already by questioning him and his intentions at length. But Leif wouldn’t walk away and ultimately got upset with Alice for having what felt like one foot out of the door.

Alice had really just started to relax and embrace her feelings for Leif when their relationship what tested in what Leif felt like was an avoidable situation but Alice had to learn, learn fast.

Alice had a male friend with whom she spoke frequently and genuinely trusted. She had known him for a couple of years and seemed reasonable enough. His name was Jeff and he is old enough to be Alice’s father. Jeff was single and dating, as Alice was and Alice had made it abundantly clear to Jeff (as she had to many other male friends and acquaintances that she had met over the past few years) that she wasn’t ready for a relationship and even if she were, she had very specific standards for whom she would consider dating.

A mistake that Alice made with Jeff, and that she has made on other occasions was that she told him it was mainly his age that was an issue for her. She had stated this towards the beginning of the friendship, years ago, and Jeff had backed off, for good- or so Alice thought. There were other men who wanted to date or sleep with Alice and she was generally entirely too polite about rejecting them.

This mistake was made clear to Alice shortly after she had invited Jeff to have drinks with her as platonic friends but it was made evident that evening that Jeff was playing the long game. Alice had no idea he would be anything less than gentlemanly. Alice was in for a rude awakening.

On the evening in question, Leif had said he was uncomfortable with Alice having a male friend over for drinks. Alice didn’t see the problem. She explained that she had been friends with this particular man friend for years and although Jeff had indicated that he had romantic interest in Alice years ago, he had since accepted that she would never date him. Or so he said. Alice also reminded Jeff when she had invited him to have drinks with her on another occasion (those plans fell through) that she absolutely would not sleep with Jeff under any circumstances. And Jeff had really appeared to be the platonic friend that Alice believed him to be. Jeff played the part of “supportive friend” very well for some time now.

Also that evening, when Leif had said to Alice that he was uncomfortable with the idea of her having drinks with a friend alone in her home, Alice made her second mistake of the day. Alice, in her naïvety, had thought that by telling Leif that she loved him (for the first time!) that Leif would not be insecure about her having a guy friend over. See, Alice thought that Leif was worried that Alice was romantically interested in Jeff. She didn’t understand that Leif was more concerned about how Jeff would behave than how she would.

And because life is ironic, Jeff did indeed make Alice uncomfortable by making sexual comments, sitting too close to her, and behaving altogether much more much like a date than a friend. When Jeff had arrived at her home, Alice started to have doubts about the decision to invite Jeff over almost immediately. However, it was when Alice t had her shoes off and Jeff touched her foot, that Alice began to panic internally.

Unfortunately, as has happened to too many women, Alice had been in a situation before with someone she didn’t know very well who had not listened to her when she said no to sex and physically forced himself on her. He had raped Alice.

It happened quickly and was over quickly that night but Alice was shaken up for a long time afterwards. She also pretended it never happened and told nobody because she was scared that she would be blamed because she had been alone with this person and even though she had protested and tried to push him off, he did it anyways. She knew she had been raped by any definition of the crime and there was no room for interpretation. He had quite literally overpowered her physically while she was saying “no, stop!” and was attempting to push him off of her. He ignored her and did it anyways.

Alice did not want to call the police. Alice did not want to deal with it at all. She simply couldn’t handle it at the time. Alice doesn’t even want to put this story out because she knows her Leif will find out and she doesn’t want to upset him, but she also isn’t ready for him to know but she also thinks he may need to know to understand.

Mostly, Alice wanted to have that not have happened, so she did what she does sometimes and pretended it didn’t and moved on with her life. She even forgot about it after a couple weeks. It was like it had never happened…expect it did, and when Alice was alone with Jeff and he was sitting so close- Alice began to feel nauseated and shaky. Then she started to feel scared. She froze up. While other people have “fight or flight”, Alice has been conditioned to “freeze”. And that response of freezing immobilized her that evening with Jeff.

In retrospect, Jeff had done little more than make suggestive comments and disrespect both their friendship and her relationship with Leif by making it clear he wanted to sleep with her. However, in Alice’s mind- she was back in that situation where she was held down and violated.

In her (just under the surface) thoughts, Alice knew that Jeff might rape her or try to. And she had invited him over. She had both misunderstood and dismissed Leif’s concerns and now she had to face the consequences. Alice was prepared to fight, but she also knew that Jeff carried a gun. Alice no longer remembered all the hours she and Jeff had spent on the phone chatting and being friends, she felt like she had a stranger in her home who was capable of anything and was terrified.

Alice told Jeff that she was extremely tired after not very long, maybe an hour and a half. Jeff had been mostly appropriate for the first half hour or so, it was when they sat down to chat that Alice began to really feel trapped. So it took her maybe 45 minutes to react to her feelings by telling Jeff she was tired and basically wanted him to leave. She also called her boyfriend from another room and was in no hurry to get off the phone with him while Jeff sat by himself three rooms away and out of earshot.

But Leif was still upset that Alice had a male friend over for drinks and both of them were focusing on the wrong things…how Alice had blurted out her feelings for Leif earlier and he had been taken by surprise but also she felt rejected on some level. So, that became the topic of conversation, which ended with hurt feelings on both ends.

After beating around the bush a little more and Alice nervously insisting she needed to go to bed immediately (alone), Jeff announced first that he thought he would have to pass out on the couch and then upon seeing Alice’s facial reaction of sheer terror- he stated would “probably be okay to drive”. He then followed her to her bedroom asking insinuating questions about her bed, which was a cot at the moment, and even going so far as to lay down on it while Alice looked on in horror.

Once Jeff had *finally* left, Alice broke down a little. She locked all the doors and started to breathe heavily. Although he hadn’t “done” anything, Alice felt violated. She felt betrayed and used. And exhausted. Alice felt as if Jeff had totally ruined their friendship, and as if they had never even had a real friendship because he was after “one thing” just like Alice’s father had warned her about “all men” in the past. Jeff had validated both Alice’s father and her boyfriend. Alice questioned how her judgement could be so impaired that she trusted Jeff to not hit on her and he not only hit on her, but could not have been more blatantly clear about it. He had gone just beyond pushy before giving up and leaving.

The next day, Alice was still exhausted, physically and emotionally. She then did something she hadn’t done for over a decade, she woke up and drowned her feelings in booze. She just wanted to not feel and to sleep away the incident. She wanted to sleep away the argument with Leif and pretend that this also did not happen.

Meanwhile, Leif was trying to contact her; he was calling and messaging her. But Alice was checked out that day. It didn’t occur to her to simply shut off her phone or think about Leif’s feelings- she just couldn’t- she was too wrapped up in feeling betrayed. Only now, she felt betrayed by both Leif and Jeff. Leif because he had been right and also she was still tender about having said “I love you” to him and he hadn’t been really in a position to say it back, but also because saying it had been for naught. Mostly, Alice was angry at herself for her foolishness. And she remained angry with herself the rest of the weekend and into the following week.

Alice told Leif what had happened and he seemed…happy! Happy that he had been justified and happy that Alice had learned her lesson. This infuriated Alice. On some level, she knew he was right in a way, but also she felt like he didn’t understand how wrong it was for Jeff to unabashedly come on to her, causing Alice to feel like a trapped rabbit in a snare. Alice had been terrified of what Jeff was going to do and having him there had been torture from shortly after his arrival until he had left, and honestly afterwards also.

Alice had NOT told Leif what had happened to her before this in any detail. She was afraid that Leif would then judge her even more.

Alice had suffered and feared and cried and felt like a total and utter fool and Leif was happy?? Alice tried to see things from Leif’s point of view and tried to explain her point of view, but it wasn’t going anywhere. Both Leif and Alice were stuck in their mutual feelings of betrayal and incapable of supporting each other through this.

After a couple days, Alice had it out with Leif. She tried getting him to understand her point of view while also understanding his point of view- but really the views are completely in contradiction with each other. Or are they? Maybe if Leif knew the whole story, he would understand more why Alice had been so upset. Or maybe not.

A few days after all this happened, Alice blew her top with Leif. Surprisingly, to Alice- Leif claimed that he had been kissing her ass and trying to understand! Alice was beyond shocked at the time. In fact, that statement just aggravated her more. She began to question just how much she had in common with Leif and she misinterpreted a statement he made about “not being treated this way” or something along those lines. Alice was so emotional, she couldn’t see straight.

Upon reflection, Alice did do some work before telling Leif how she felt about him. She had looked up the difference between “lust and love”, she had read a bit into the timing, she confirmed that generally, it wasn’t “too soon”. But it was too soon for Leif. He didn’t want to hear it yet. He didn’t want to say it yet. Even though he had already said it himself weeks earlier, it was a clever way of saying it. He could blame it on sleep talking.

Alice didn’t realize that she hadn’t told Leif the “whole story” nor had she really made an effort to accept his viewpoint. She thought she had tried, but she was too caught up in her own feelings.

Leif and Alice were both so upset and emotional, had they been in the same room, she would have slept with him. That’s how Leif and Alice express themselves to each other best. They do it in bed. There are no misunderstandings there. Not even the first time. But they were on the phone and couldn’t communicate that way.

Alice was blunt and said Leif couldn’t accept her feelings and said he wanted a robot, not a real woman with real feelings. Then she cried her eyes out before sending a goodbye message to Leif, as she had truly thought that this was it. It was over. She calmed down in her goodbye message and Leif called her. At first, Leif was still very upset. About everything that had happened the last few days. Then he began to calm down also. They were then able to have a real conversation in which they actually listened to each other.

Later on that week…

Alice knows that Leif will read her secret and that she had told him. Alice believes fortune favors the bold and that nobody can take that from her- either by her own submission or by force. Alice feels what she feels and owns it. Whether Leif can own it or not is his business.

Published by kristinatehrani

Born a first generation American, half Irish Catholic and half Persian Jew, I like to write about a childhood mired in the chaos of never knowing where I stood. The only constants in my life have been reading, writing and a passion for social justice. I am a nurse, a single mother, a domestic abuse survivor, radical feminist and outspoken advocate for logic, public health, gray areas, and purposeful dialogue. I know entirely too much about sociopaths, autism, and medieval British history. I write under a pen name to protect the privacy of my family.

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