Post-good ending Robert and Dadsona watch some movies.
After Amanda left for college, I tried to occupy myself as much as I could, to cope. Not having her around felt… unnatural but she was happy at her university and that’s all that matters. Amanda’s an adult who can take care of herself just fine.
The first few weeks were rough. It took all my Dad Powers to not call Panda every hour to check if she’s doing alright, if she’s eating healthy or… I’m getting too into it again.
Most of the time work kept me busy. I’ve also become way more productive in doing things like cleaning the house. So good in fact, I’ve run out of things to clean. I even offered to mow Brian’s lawn out of boredom.
Robert stayed true to his word and spent a lot of time doing… Robert things, I guess. We would often still hang out, of course, and he seemed to be taking better care of himself. I often remember what he said to me at Amanda’s graduation party. I told him that I’m happy to be a supportive friend for him, but sometimes it’s hard not to think about his stupid, attractive face. And his stupid knives.
A ping in my phone snaps me out of whatever I was doing.
It’s a text from Robert.
'wanna come over for a drink?’
Excited, I grab my jacket before shooting him a quick message saying I’m on my way. Two minutes later I’m at his doorstep. Robert opens the door, a grin on his face, and says hey.
“Not going cryptid hunting tonight?” I ask, following him to the living room, being careful not to kick or step on Betsy who decided to run around me in circles.
“Nah,” he turns to me, bottle of wine already in hand. He’s taken it down a notch with the excessive whiskey drinking. “I kinda just felt like watching a movie at home, that sound good to you?”
“Would be a shame to say no, considering you went through the effort of cleaning up.” I remark, taking in the changes of the room. After Val’s last visit, Robert became more self-conscious about the state of his house and started putting in work to fix it up. It wasn’t perfect, by any means, but he’s hauled most of the trash out and there wasn’t an avalanche of things scattered across his floor anymore.
Robert snorted but was obviously happy I’d noticed. I know he felt silly about it, but it mattered to him to be praised for small achievements. He actually showered, too.
We settled onto the couch, Betsy scrambling up between us as Robert set up a film. Since Amanda left, we’ve been having movie nights more often. Sometimes in the cinema but mostly here in Robert’s living room. His TV set up is too good to pass up.
Today he put up some post-apocalyptic horror film and commented throughout the entire thing, pointing out the plot holes and ocassionally leading into another one of his made-up stories. I didn’t mind, I’m not a super huge fan of horror films so Robert’s jokes made the experience all the more fun.
The wine was soon gone and Robert stumbled out to get some snacks while I picked out something else to watch. Going through his endless DVD’s, I notice something on the far back of the table. Looks like a thin book? I move away a few movie discs to find a sketchbook. Doodles of Betsy, other dogs and people adorned the pages.
Huh, Robert draws? I mean… I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising, considering he liked whittling. And he did find a lot to talk about with Amanda, I just figured he was telling her how to identify if her roommate was a werewolf or something.
Flipping through the sketchbook, I can’t help but smile. There’s tons of drawings of his daughter, both small and grown up. As if he was afraid he’d forget what she used to look like. There were also drawings of another woman, his wife, probably. And that looks like the scenery of the town from Robert’s thinking spot, and-
It was a little surprising finding my own face on the last page. Haha wow, is it hot here or what? Ugh, okay, this is no time to gush over how touching and adorable this is. I need to put this ba-
“What'cha so red about?” Robert’s voice boomed as he peeked over my shoulder. “Oh. That.”
His face dropped down all of a sudden and I felt a bit of panic seeping in my face.
“Sorry, I should’ve asked…” I realize how snoopy I was being but Rob just waved a hand at me before sitting back down on the couch.
“It’s fine, I don’t mind,” he sighed running a hand through his hair. “It’s just… embarrassing, I guess. I haven’t drawn in a long time.”
“You whittle but you’re embarrassed about drawing?” I snort, trying to lighten the mood. “Seriously though, you seem kind of upset about it. Is everything okay?”
“It’s… I haven’t picked up a pencil ever since the accident. Since Marilyn passed away and Val… Well, you know.” He fell silent, his eyes shifting to stare through the window.
All of a sudden he looked tired again. Just like the first night we spent at his house. I watch him, still amazed how he’s able to go so on and off like a switch. Even after all this time, it’s still hard to read when or what Robert’s feeling. It makes me uneasy; I want to be able to help him, to say something encouraging. Make him feel less lonely.
“You picked it up again, though.” I say with a small smile, reaching out and taking one of his hands in mine. He turned to me but stayed silent. “I know this is a tough process for you but I want you to know that you can turn to me no matter what. I’m glad to see you getting better but there’s no need to hide and pretend that everything’s alright just to keep me happy. You mean a lot to me, Robert… I don’t want you to feel alone.”
He stared at me for a while longer before breaking into a small laugh, tugging on my hands and pulling me close to his face so our foreheads are touching. Ohhhh no, he’s too cute…! Pure thoughts. Pure. Thoughts.
“Why is it that you drive an old man to tears every time you say something nice?” He said, his eyes closing softly. Movies forgotten, he buries his head in my chest and pushes me down onto the couch, clearly not intending to move an inch for the rest of the night. Following his lead, Betsy curls up on my foot.
“Good night, then.” I snicker, nestling my face in his hair.
A muffled 'mmmhm’ is all I hear before he dozes off.