Chapter 5 ''Who on Earth could ever have dreamed up you?'' Present Time Apprehensive. That was the one word at the top of Robin’s mind. Not for himself, certainly -this party was not for him - but he knew that Jared wasn’t used to having so much attention focused on him at once. He just wasn’t sure how Jared would react to it. Robin would be fully prepared to play it cool and enjoy the party, but he was also prepared to come to Jared’s rescue if need be. Not only did the possibility of his kid brother’s discomfort worry him, he was also worried about the party itself -specifically all the little things. In the four years since he married Megan, his wife had more than proven herself as the more jovial, social, and personable one. Throwing parties like this one was Megan’s forte, and Robin knew in his heart of hearts that she had everything under control, still he couldn’t help but be hopeful and wonder if everyone was going to have a good time, especially Jared -and perhaps even himself. Tonight would be Jared’s would-be bachelor party, but as Jewel, his bride-to-be, fervently forbade it, for reasons rather obvious, it would instead be a combined sort of engagement party. Planning accordingly and cleverly, Megan had done quite a good job to set up games and activities that would appeal to both genders, yet keep all attendees from sleeping on the couch for the night. Yes, Megan’s tasteful and meticulous planning from her choice in china to the dollar dash left her quite certain that everything was going to go perfectly - yet she couldn’t escape the one thought heavy on her mind in her own marriage. The thought was immediately dashed from her mind as she watched her husband come down the staircase of their French style villa. As he emerged, their guests clapped and cheered, to include Jared and Jewel, as Megan finished tossing a salad and beamed at him with pride. She would take a back seat to all his other guests - for now. ‘’Hey, there he is!'’ Jared exclaimed as he pushed his way through the crowd. ‘’I was starting to think you had gotten smashed up there.’’ Jewel placed a polite hand over her mouth, trying to stifle a laugh. ‘’Ha ha ha,'’ Robin laughed sarcastically, then opened his arms up for a hug. As always though, this was just a guise to get Jared into a tight headlock and give him his signature big brother noogie- and Jared fell for it every time. It was, more or less, Robin’s way of hugging Jared, and neither brother would have it any other way. This time, Robin caught Jared in a headlock with no mercy - a sort of wish for good luck in his upcoming nuptials, or at least that was Robin’s excuse. Jared was laughing like the little tadpole he used to be, and it only egged Robin further to go on. The girls Jewel and Megan, though, didn’t see the humour in such things. They, like most women, found it immature and idiotic -and so put a stop to the boys’ rough housing. ‘’Uh Robin? Could you ease up? Jared’s head is still tender from the last time,u2019’ Jewel laughed. She and Megan looked at each other and shared a small smile and mutual headshake at their significant others. Robin gave Jewel a glare as if to say, ‘’What, are you kidding? This is child’s play!u2019’ yet still followed her wishes all the same. Jared wasn’t giving up so easily, though. ‘Aw come on, Jewel! I had him this time!'’ This made Robin giggle uproariously and uncontrollably. ‘’Yeah, in what plane of the universe, buddy'’ Robin retorted. ‘’Yeah, well you were getting weak this time,'’ Jared shot back. ‘’Hey, what can I say? Constantly beating you at everything gets very tiresome after a while -it’s hard to always win,'’ at this, Robin flexed his arm muscles in a very comical way, making Megan laugh, but secretly fawn. He caught sight of this, gave Megan a small and secret wink, then turned back to Jared and Jewel. ‘’Well first, I just want to thank everyone for coming out tonight - I promise all of you if you stick around, a good time will be had by all. Tonight, we’re celebrating Jared and Jewel, my nut job of a brother and his lovely future wife. My advice to you Jewel is, well, I hope you’re good at headlocks, because that is the ONLY way you’re going to get him to eat his vegetables, just ask mom.’’ The crowd burst into laughter, to include the future bride and groom, a little to Robin’s surprise. ‘’No seriously though, Jewel you’re marrying a good guy. Since the day he’s met you, he’s thought of nothing else other than how to make you happy, and that’s how we know it’s right. And anyone who makes my brother that happy, well, makes me happy too. So, raise your glasses to the bride and groom!'’ ‘’To the bride and groom,u2019' the crowd echoed. While Robin finished his way down the stairs, he gave Jared a (real) hug, and couldn’t help but stir the pot some more. ‘’So we handle this like grown men, then?u2019’ He extended his hand to his brother with a fierce yet playful scowl. Jared slapped his hand in Robin’s without a thought, spitting out a , ‘’You bet, brother.’’ The boys looked over to their quintessential game, their traditional childhood knock down drag out competition that solved all strife and proved who, at the time being, was the victor of the universe. They both spied the game with passion -one look, and both were out for blood- but all in good fun, of course. Their eyes met with playfulness and the competitive spirit while they smiled at each other with a simultaneous, ‘’To the Twister board!'’ The guests chuckled at the boys’ faux rivalry, and while Jared made his way over to the board, Robin felt a gentle pull on his left arm. He looked over to see the lovely and sweet smile of Megan at his side; just as she always was. ‘’Uh Rob, sweetie, could I talk to you for just a second?'’ The smile - the lovelorn smile, really, never left his face while he allowed Megan to pull him back. It was only when he saw the serious and somewhat hurt look on her face that his smile even faded a little bit at all. ‘’Something wrong, Meg? You look upset.’’ Megan looked up at him, full of longing and affection. She so wanted to tell him what was on her mind, yet somehow she knew that now was certainly not the right time. Somehow, in the back of her mind, that didn’t matter so much to her, for no time was, in fact, going to be the ‘’right’’ time. She had his attention now, his undivided attention, no less. At this moment though, seeing the tender and curious look in Robin’s eyes very nearly made her forget what she wanted to say all together. Megan loved it when Robin looked at her like that; it made her feel so warm inside, so loved, so safe. Still though, even her husband’s tenderness and general concern couldn’t stop this conversation from happening, no matter the circumstances - or so she hoped. She forced herself to break from his gaze, even went so far as to look away from him completely. Megan looked down, unsure of where to start, or even of how to start, really- given all of her seemingly countless talents, she admittedly was never really quite good at these talks. Luckily, she wouldn’t have to, for Robin chimed in with another concern. ‘’Are you angry with me? Have I done something wrong?'’ She laughed a little at this; she shook her head and wrapped her arms around his waist. ‘’No, you didn’t do anything,u2019’ she started playfully. ‘’this time.’’ ‘’Phew,'’ Robin whispered, pretending to wipe sweat from his brow, which made Megan laugh all the more. ‘’Okay, seriously now, what’s wrong then? You’ve been awfully quiet tonight,u2019’ he leaned closer into her embrace, pressing his cheek against hers. Now he slipped into a faux, yet surprisingly convincing British accent. ‘’What’s troubling my darling?'’ At this, Megan could see this wasn’t going anywhere - Robin just wasn’t in a serious mood right now, so she knew he wasn’t going to take anything she said seriously, which troubled her all the more. She freed herself from his grip, which actually, she had to do with some degree of difficulty. Robin might not have looked it, but he was actually quite strong, a quality he hid well. ‘’Can you be serious for one moment?'’ Megan asked, half scolding. She attempted to pour herself a cup of water, mostly to calm herself for the task at hand. Robin came after her, not to be lost. This time, he enveloped her with his arms, placing sleepy kisses all across her hairline. ‘’No, I can’t be serious, not when you’re not happy. I don’t like seeing that frown on your face. I don’t like seeing you upset.’’ ‘’I’m not upset..I just want to talk to you about something, but I just don’t know how, that’s all.’’ Hearing this only caused Robin to tighten his grip on Megan and let out a groan of affection. ‘’Come on now, you know you can talk to me about anything.’’ This time, he came around to face her, so as to show her his sincerity and passion. ‘’No secrets, right?'’ Megan sighed. ‘’No secrets. I don’t know Rob, it’s just that -’’ ‘’Robin! You chickened out already?'’ Jared yelled at his challenger from across the room. ‘’Ha! In your dreams, girlfriend!'’ Robin shot back. ‘’Just give me a minute, Jerry!u2019 Jared rolled his eyes a little as he, Jewel, and the other guests continued their own round while they waited. Robin turned back to Megan, that same child like smile on his face. ‘’Sorry about that. Now what were you going to say?'’ She shook her head and placed a hand over her husband’s mouth. ‘’It’s ok. You go play with the guys. I’ll tell you later.’’ Robin stepped back from her, looking over at her incredulously. However, as much as he wanted to call her bluff on it, he was still mindful of the fact that they had guests to entertain, so he was willing to let it go, for now at least. ‘’In the meantime, you can serve the drinks.’’ Megan handed him a tray to give to their guests, which Robin took with some apprehension. ‘’I love you,'’ Robin whispered, his last attempt to cheer her up. Taking it a step further, he pressed his lips out widely for a kiss. Megan laughed wildly at this, and instead of feeling his wife’s velvety soft lips against his, Robin instead felt the sour, squishy texture of a lime wedge between his lips. ‘’Please serve these drinks?'’ Megan asked in the sweetest voice she could muster. Well played, Robin thought, and gave up his crusade -again, for now. Robin gave her a lime wedgy smile and went off to do as he was asked, but not before making Megan gasp and giggle at having felt a little tap from behind. She looked after Robin with a faux indignance and genuine love. ‘Oh Robin,' she thought. ‘Who on Earth could ever have dreamed up you?'