Continued from here…
Time and space created a doubt in Rhea’s head and she wondered if she should put herself out there and ask Neal. After spending almost an entire day agonizing over their last conversation, she decided that she couldn’t deal with not knowing and finally called him.
“I hate how the call got disconnected yesterday. I have been thinking about our conversation about love and want to talk more about it. But, before that, I want to ask you something.”
“Sure, what is it? Don’t ask me to be your valentine, alright!” Neal joked.
Rhea smiled at the irony of the situation. “Before I ask, I just want to add a disclaimer: I don’t expect anything from…”
Neal interrupted her, “C’mon Rhea, we’ve had so many intense conversations about higher levels of emotions, you don’t have to add disclaimers before you say anything to me.”
“Well, I’m talking about the real world, Neal, and I think I need this disclaimer. So, I was saying that I don’t expect anything from you and you are free to say no, but please be honest with me.. After hearing all that you said yesterday, I couldn’t help but wonder about something. I don’t want to sound presumptuous, Neal, but have any of your reflections about love been induced by our conversations or my presence in your life?”
“Talking to you does trigger a lot of things for me, Rhea. You remind me of teenage and college days, of pleasant memories and simpler times. However, the stuff that I was talking about goes beyond all that. I have been ruminating over patterns in human behavior, and love and relationships.”
“Neal, I’m trying to ask you if.. ummm.. do you feel something for me?” Rhea couldn’t bring herself to ask him if he loves her. She couldn’t bear to hear no for an answer if that’s how he felt.
Neal wondered how he should respond to that. While he wanted to be honest with her, he didn’t want her to have expectations or to make things harder for her. “I do feel something for you, Rhea, but I can’t be in a relationship. I’ve been in relationships before and they lead to expectations, and I can’t deal with that. You should find a nice boy who is settled.”
“I’m not looking for a nice settled boy, Neal. I thought you know me better than that!” Rhea was annoyed by those statements and wondered if he knew her at all.
Neal realized that Rhea was pissed and that’s not what he wanted. “C’mon Rhea, I was kidding! Look, I can’t cope with being in relationships. You are a simple person and want to be happy in life, I don’t think I can give you that. I dwell in conflict. I’m too complicated to be in a stable long term relationship. I know we have a connection Rhea, but remember, soulmates don’t have to be lovers.”
“But imagine how awesome it would be if they were!” Rhea wistfully smiled.
“Well that’s wishful thinking!” As Neal remembered Rhea telling him she loves him, he added, “Rhea, at this point in my life, I am not emotional at all. However, you are an emotional person. Your ability to relate to other people and their emotions is much greater than mine. If we go down this path, it will only lead to you getting hurt.”
“Yeah I am emotional, and I’m finally at a point in my life, where I like that about myself.” Rhea wondered if he was correct in thinking that a possible relationship would not work out, but she didn’t want to just assume that. “Neal, I love the conversations we have. I’m looking for someone who questions things, someone who is intellectually stimulating, and is as complicated as I am.”
“I really like talking to you as well, Rhea. You are the only person I can talk to about this stuff because you are able to think objectively and you don’t get offended or defensive.”
“That’s because I like questioning and understanding human psychology. I want to be with someone who doesn’t accept things for what they are, someone who questions things, someone like you. Of course, he needs to be emotionally available!”
“So you need a guy who is intellectually stimulating and emotionally available. What else do you want, Rhea, six pack abs?” Neal chuckled.
Rhea had a flashback of Neal’s lean torso from when she last saw him and felt a longing for him. “Well, I can survive without the six pack abs! C’mon, I’m emotional and intellectual! I’m sure there are other people out there who are as awesome as me!”
Rhea and Neal laughed. Neal wished that things could be less complicated and that he could give Rhea what she wanted. Rhea wondered if Neal would ever change his mind, and if she would wait for that.
You can read more Rhea and Neal stories here.