How Many Times?

“I am your friend and I have to ask you how many times are you going to let her break your heart?”

“I am not a scorekeeper, not keeping track.”

“You know you are an idiot. Women like to be wooed and pursued. She is going to yank your chain again because you keep letting her do it.”

“I like being called an idiot by a woman. You chicks flit from one thought to another about how you feel or think you feel under 873 different situations, only 3 of which are based upon reality.”

She laughed and shook her head.

“We are not all like that, we don’t all act like that.”

“Don’t start with the whole every woman is different thing. I know it.”

He walked over to his desk and picked up a card.

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That describes my attitude here. I don’t need agreement, validation or approval for what I think or how I feel. Anyone who has an inkling of understanding about who I am and what I am about understands that if I had to fight Satan, the US Army and the predator and alien creatures from the movies for her I would do it.

But only if I thought it was necessary and required. Only if I was convinced that it would make sense because I believed there was a chance.

“I go the distance.”

“That is what worries me. You’ll burn for her and you don’t know if you are doing the right thing. It doesn’t mean she’ll come back.”

“Maybe she never left. Maybe she only said she had because she felt like she had to go and she knew that I wouldn’t let go unless I was convinced.”

She shook her head.

“Don’t bite my head off for saying this, but there are other women who will love and take care of you. There are other women who you can be as happy or happier with. They don’t show up when you are looking. Go find some chick who wants to have nothing but fun. Go date, get laid and just live. Don’t worry about anything more than that.”

He smiled, walked over and hugged her.

“I appreciate your concern and I know you are looking out for me. But you don’t need to worry here. I am following my heart but I am not blind nor stupid. I don’t know where it is taking me, I am just following it and my focus is on my career. Everything else is secondary.”

This time she rolled her eyes at him.

“You are full of shit. You are still in love with her and you’re still thinking about how to be with her. You think that if you can just get her alone she’ll give in and that all will be well.”

“You are putting words in my mouth. I didn’t say that if I can get her alone she’ll give in. I call that unsolicited advice from you.”

She smiled.

“Do I think she’ll give in? Yeah, I think if she was alone she would but that is why I wouldn’t expect her to agree to see you. If I was her I wouldn’t.”

“I’ll take that as admission that women are crazy.”

She smiled and said something but a loud noise prevented him from hearing what she was saying.

“I can’t hear you over the noise of that truck.”

It took a moment for him to realize that not only could he not hear her, he couldn’t see her anymore.

And then he heard a voice screaming, “wake up asshole!”

He opened his eyes and wondered how long he had passed out for this time. He couldn’t remember whether he had been in the room for one day or one year.

One moment he had been jogging and the next he had been grabbed and thrown in the back of a van that had taken him straight here…wherever here was.

The beatings had started as soon as they had taken him and they had only stopped for as long as it took to move him from the van to the room.

At least he thought they had, he wasn’t really sure about much anymore.

He had managed to fight back a couple of times, but it had never done much to help him that he could tell.

The next time they took the hood off of his head he was going to do his best to figure out how many of them there were and work out a plan for getting out.

“Baby, I am here. Keep fighting, hold on we’ll find our way back.”

“You are not real! Fuck you and fuck all of this. I am going to kill you all!”

He heard laughter and felt the hood slip back over his head and realized he had forgotten to count how many of them there were or look around.

“Take a deep breath Johnny and relax. Anger and panic are your enemies.”

He didn’t recognize the voice, but the one that said “no quarter offered and no quarter asked for” was his.

And then the world went black again.

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