It was a Saturday in August when I first met Stewart. I was standing with Burt in a circle of guys and he was across from me. I’d had a few beers, but was not drunk. He had dark hair, was slightly taller than me, and looked like he went to the gym frequently. But it was his eyes that drew me in. There was just something about them.
“Who is that guy? He looks so familiar.”
“I don’t know him,” Burt answered.
My curiosity got the best of me and I crossed the circle and grabbed his shoulder. “What’s your name? You look so familiar.”
“Stewart *LAST NAME HERE*. I played football in high school. Went to ECU.” The credentials of a guy who peaked in high school.
“Nope. Doesn’t ring a bell.” He was slurring his words so the motherly instinct crept in. “Let’s get you some water.”
We went inside and I fed him water and he joked that I was a sweetheart. When I say I fed him water, I literally had to put it to his lips and tip it back.
Shortly after, I was done and left. The next morning, we started talking on facebook and he actually seemed like a decent guy. I wasn’t 100% sure about him, he seemed like he wasn’t the brightest in the bunch but I hoped he was just an Andy.
We texted for a week or two after that, he said some really sweet things about wanting to date a good girl who had their shit together and that me having a kid and being a good mom was a good thing, not a hinderance, like so many other guys would say. But then, the next day, the texts stopped.
So I gave up, thinking he was just another asshole. I deleted him off facebook and that was that.
And then, I was on a Tinder date a couple weeks ago and I saw him at Raleigh Beer Garden. I thought, What the hell! I texted him after the date asking if he enjoyed the beer. He responded and we started talking again.
In the interim of these two situations, I had started talking to his roommate on Bumble and texting and then he kind of blew me off the night before. So when I started texting Stewart, his roommate started texting me too.
It was a game. To both of them.
Stewart insisted the game was only his roommate and that his roommate was just an asshole. I remembered how Stewart was back in September and chose to believe him. I want to bet on people. I want them to not be the asshole. My, was I wrong.
Stewart begged me to let him take me out and make up blowing me off in September. He said he was kind of dating someone and didn’t feel right taking me out back then but that she moved to DC so that wasn’t an issue anymore. We texted the next two days and him and his roommate met up with us at Boxcar that Saturday.
Stewart and I kissed a few times at the bar and he let me crash at his place since we both were out of our minds drunk. It was a nice night and he even defended my honor to some drunk guy who was being a dick about the air hockey tables.
The next night was Halloween and my birthday so I was out with other friends. Mike and Travis let me crash with them and Travis took me back to my car early the next morning. Stewart and I had been texting and I had planned to go to his apartment on my birthday and since I was still super hungover, I called him to see if I could come over and sleep for a couple hours before heading home. He actually answered and I went over. We slept and then just laid in bed until noon. It was wonderful. We talked about family. He told me about troubles with his parents, his closeness to his sister. We talked about my mom being sick and he told me he saw the fundraising I was doing and that I was a good daughter.
It felt real. It really did. But it wasn’t. I know that now.
When I left, we kept texting the next couple days and that Wednesday, I met up with him at his apartment and we went to Clouds. We did the beer wall and ate apps. We got to know each other more.There was still that prickling in the back of my mind that he wasn’t really the smartest, but again, I kept thinking about Andy and figured if April could deal, so could I. Plus, his arms were amazing and I loved his kisses so I could just focus on that.
We went back to his place and cuddled. It was a really nice night. He had told me he was going to ECU for the game on Saturday the day before but at dinner and at his place he kept saying he might not. I told him he should stay and the way he looked at me, something in his eyes said he might. When we were cuddling, I said, “I really like you.”
“I like you too. You’re really fun to be around,” he replied.
It felt really good to hear that.
But then, the next night, he wouldn’t text me. And the day after that, he acted all weird. And then when I asked if he wanted to hang out Saturday, he completely ignored me. It was a complete 180. Everything changed in an instant.
It was a game.
He’d gotten what he wanted. He could high five his roommate and be the “winner” of the challenge.
He finally responded to my texts late Saturday night when I was drunk at the Oxford with friends. I’m actually glad I was drunk and surrounded by hot guys. It made me have a really great night. He never gave me a real reason for the 180. He kept saying he couldn’t date. He said he was not a good person. He wouldn’t tell me why.
But like I said, I know why. It was a game. He never cared, not for a second.
It’s a shame, really. I give people the benefit of the doubt all the time. And there’s something in my body that just can’t stop doing that even when I know I shouldn’t. I really wanted to believe he was a decent person. But he will always be the football player who thinks he’s better than everyone. He is the guy who gets drunk more days out of the week than he stays sober. He is the guy who uses girls, simply because he can.
So, screw you, Stewart. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.