Chapter 1- Here’s to You, Mrs. Robinson
“Welcome home, Mrs. Robinson,” Sean Robinson whispered into the ear of his new wife as they pulled up to their home where they hoped to spend many happy years together.
Alyssa smiled as they both got out of the car. “It looks perfect,” she breathed in as she surveyed the sight of her new home. The pair had just returned from their honeymoon, a seven day cruise of the Caribbean, and was now about to settle into their brand new home together.
Alyssa was so in awe of the new house that she hadn’t noticed Sean come up from behind her until she felt herself being hoisted up off the ground. “What are you doing Sean?” she giggled. “Put me down!”
“Uh uh,” he argued. “Tradition says I’m supposed to carry my bride over the threshold and that’s exactly what I intend to do.” Ignoring Alyssa’s protests he swung her legs over his arms and carried her up the front steps setting her down in front of the door as he rummaged through his pockets for the key.
While he was doing this Alyssa was already over the shoulder grabbing contents from the mailbox. “How exciting! We already got mail!” She frowned as she leafed through it. “Junk… Junk… Bill? How are we already getting bills? Aww… We got a few wedding cards it looks like. And ooh…” Her eyes lit up as she caught sight of a large manila envelope. ”My new resumes just arrived from the printing place!”
“Only you would get excited over a stack of newly printed resumes,” Sean teased as he stuck the key into the door and turned the lock.
“Well, now that you’ve been transferred out to California I’m currently jobless again, so I’m going to have start sending a few of these out. Besides I’m excited to see them since I had to update my new information,” she explained as she tore open the envelope as she stepped inside. Taking one of the fresh resumes out of the packet she stared up at the newly printed information at the top. “Alyssa Robinson,” she slowly read her new name out loud that was printed in bold letters at the top of the page.
“Still sounds a little funny, huh?” Sean sympathized, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Yea, I guess it takes some getting used to. I’ve been Alyssa Martinelli for so much of my life that it’s weird to think of myself having a new last name now,” she admitted. “But I’ll get more comfortable with as time goes on.” She definitely didn’t want to give Sean the impression that she was having regrets about marrying him, because she definitely was not. It was just a little bit of a shock to see an unfamiliar name on the top of her resume. It was a little unsettling. For a moment she felt herself wondering exactly who Alyssa Robinson was. She didn’t feel much different except now that she was married and had a new name. She shrugged the feeling aside for the moment, realizing that she was making a big deal over nothing.
She sighed for a moment as she realized just how dramatically her life had changed over the last year or so. Right after Nick’s wedding last May she’d spent the next few days sulking around. She couldn’t understand how it could be possible for Nick to be so over her already that he was marrying someone else, when she could barely bring herself to get involved with another guy. Then it had finally hit her. Nick wasn’t the one holding her back from another relationship. It was only her own fear of rejection that prevented her from letting go. Once she’d digested that fact, she thought about the advice that Nick had given her at his wedding. He’d urged her to move on and take a chance with Sean. Finally feeling like she had nothing left to lose, she’d agreed to take her relationship with Sean to a more serious level.
There had still been some major roadblocks in their way that Alyssa hadn’t anticipated. In beginning her relationship with Sean, she realized a lot of things about herself that she needed to change and for the first time it really hit her just how deeply the scars she suffered from her past relationship really ran. Obviously those were two huge factors that had a very negative impact on her and Sean at first. But unlike many other guys who’d run once they realized how damaged she really was, Sean had been willing to confront her demons head on as painful as it was for both of them.
Alyssa lay there silently for a moment as both her and Sean stopped to catch their breath. Since Nick, Sean had been the first guy that she’d been intimate with and she was finding it a lot harder than she had expected it to be. Maybe it was because she was so spoiled by Nick or maybe again it was her own fears preventing her from getting too comfortable. Whatever the case was, Alyssa definitely was able to get the sense that sex between the two of them had seemed a little strained.
Maybe we’re just not compatible in bed? she wondered to herself.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the sensation of Sean’s arms snaking around her bare waist and pulling her closer to him. She turned her body towards his and could see the frustrated look in his eyes that mirrored exactly what she had been feeling as well. They both seemed as if they wanted to say something, but weren’t exactly sure how to go about doing it.
It was finally Sean that broke the ice. He reached over to tuck a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Alyssa you know you don’t have to be afraid of holding anything back with me, right?” His voice was calm and gentle and Alyssa could tell that he was trying to approach the situation as delicately as possible.
Still she pretended to act dumb. “I don’t think I know what you mean.”
She could just barely make out the rise and fall of Sean’s chest as he sighed. “I just get this feeling like you’re not giving me all of yourself. Like you’re holding something back and I’m just really trying to figure out what it is that makes you so uncomfortable. Have you not been with many other guys or something?”
Now it was Alyssa’s turn to sigh as she realized exactly where this conversation was heading. She shrugged. “I’ve been with five guys my entire life including you,” she answered honestly. “Two of them were stupid mistakes that I made when I was younger. Stupid guys that I hooked up with at bars because I thought that they’d make me feel better about myself, but they didn’t. Another one was a very brief rebound relationship I had while my ex and I were on a break. Then there’s you of course and my ex…”
“So, it’s obviously not the fact that you’re inexperienced,” Sean pointed out. “I just need you to explain the reason why you’re so closed off to me? I mean I don’t understand. We get along great in every other way. We seem to have great chemistry. When I kiss you I definitely feel something and I know I’m giving you everything of me, but I just don’t feel like I get that back in return. Is it something that happened to you in your past? I’m just trying to wrap my mind around this.”
Alyssa could read the frustrated expression on his face and she could tell that unlike other guys who would’ve just given up on their relationship he was prepared to do anything he could to resolve this issue between them. “You know out of all those guys, the only two I can say that I really truly cared about were my ex and now you,” she commented.
Sean’s lips lifted up into a bit of a grin. “I’m really glad that I’m in that category, but I’m just curious to know… Were things this awkward when you were with your ex or is it just me?”
She took in a deep breath trying to figure out the best way to explain the complicated relationship that had been her and Nick. “The relationship that I had with my ex was pretty much an emotional rollercoaster. We were like Murphy’s Law, anything that could possibly happen did,” she started off. “He was my first serious relationship… First love… All of that. I met him through a mutual friend and we seemed to really hit it off at first. Then not that long into the relationship he cheated on me and being young and stupid at the time, I took him back. As it turned out the girl he cheated on me with became pregnant as a result and it was just a really messy situation.”
“He sounds like a really big asshole,” Sean interrupted. “I’m really sorry that you had to go through all of that Alyssa.”
“Oh, there’s more to come,” she warned. “We were on and off for a while and then he went through a really rough time period and I was there to comfort him and get him through it, so we kind of became stronger than ever. All of a sudden things were finally going great between us. I really began to fall in love with him and I was finally beginning to reach a point where I felt completely comfortable doing almost anything he asked me to. We were going to get married… He bought me this beautiful ring and I really thought that this was it. Then he found out that his parents were getting a divorce which really screwed him up big time. His family life wasn’t the greatest, so this really sent him over the edge and he decided that he needed some time to be on his own and figure out who he really was. He’d just come out of his first serious relationship when he’d met me, so he needed some time to be by himself, or at least that’s what he said.” Her eyes closed at the painful memory. ”He took that ring he gave me and threw it in the ocean.”
Sean looked shocked. “He threw an engagement ring into the ocean like it was nothing? What was he? Made of money?”
“Money was something that he really didn’t have to worry about. He was in a position where he was definitely pretty set financially.” She purposely kept the details vague, not wanting to divulge the fact that Nick had been famous.
“Yea, but still…”
Alyssa continued on with the story. “About three years went by and then we wound up bumping into each other again because he did have a few of the same friends. We started talking again and next thing I knew we were beginning to hook up. Of course the more we hooked up the more feelings I began to have for him and I think that the feeling was mutual, only he had developed such a fear of getting involved with somebody again that it prevented him from fully committing himself to a relationship. Finally I got him to agree to give us another try and it really seemed like he was ready for it. He even found me a condo near him, so I could move closer… I really thought that he was finally beginning to change.”
“So then what went wrong?”
“The thing about Nick was that he was a really attractive guy and he had absolutely no trouble getting girls. Very rarely were they the right girls, but all he had to do was smile and he’d get a swarm of them around him. I don’t exactly know what it was, but he was one of those guys that literally girls would just do the craziest things for his attention,” she tried to explain.
Sean just rolled his eyes and snorted. “Oh, one of them. Yea, I know the type. Guys like that make guys like me look bad.”
Alyssa just smiled. “Well, as it turns out I think that you’re way better person than he turned out to be. Anyway I started getting a little self conscious because I would see the way that other girls would openly flirt with him in front of me, and I was always afraid of him not being able to resist them. Plus, I definitely wasn’t naturally a wild person as they were. I have to take baby steps when it comes to trying new things. So, anyway about a week before I was set to move out by him, I decided that I wanted to really do something extra special for his birthday. He was away on business and I decided that I was going to go pop up and surprise him.” She paused for a moment not sure if Sean would be comfortable hearing the details of her surprise.
“Go on…” Sean urged as he noticed her hesitation.
“Well, I just don’t know if you really want to hear exactly what I planned to do for him. It’s not that important, I’m just sure that you don’t want to hear intimate details about my ex boyfriend and I.”
He shrugged. “If it’s going to help me understand you better I don’t mind at all.”
“My plan was that I was going to sneak into his hotel room while he was out and I got decked out in sexy lingerie and candles and the whole works…” She felt her cheeks turn a little red as she realized how dumb of a plan it seemed now, over two years later. “I guess looking back now it seems kind of like a dumb idea.”
Sean mist of interpreted her blushing as a sign of her being embarrassed at what she had done because he grabbed her by her arms and looked into her eyes. “I don’t think that was a dumb idea at all! If I were him I would’ve been so excited to open my hotel room door and see you laying there looking all sexy like that. Please tell me he didn’t do something to screw a surprise like that all up for you?”
Alyssa just sighed. “I wanted to catch him completely off guard, so I didn’t even call him up to wish him a Happy Birthday. I was totally trying to play it off like I’d forgotten. Which again is a mistake that I really regret now. See he thought that maybe I didn’t care or something like that, so we wound up at a bar and got plastered and picked up some random girl that had been flirting with him all night. He decided to bring her back to his hotel room and they pretty much just burst in on me, although they were too busy undressing each other to notice I was even there at first.”
“Wow…” Sean looked shocked. “That uhmm sure explains a lot. What an asshole! He had no right to try to score with another girl just because it was his birthday and you hadn’t called.”
“I know and I totally agree, but it gets better. We had it out and it was a horrible fight in which somewhere along the line he blurted out that back when we were engaged my younger sister Stephanie gave him a blowjob and he allowed it to happen. That’s why me she and I don’t speak anymore…”
“God, you weren’t kidding when you said the two of you had a complicated past. I always wondered what the deal was with you and Steph.”
Alyssa nodded. “Then he turned around and told me that maybe if I’d given him head more often then maybe he never would’ve encouraged Steph. Later on he swore to me that he was just angry and wasn’t thinking about what he was saying and he really didn’t mean it. I honestly don’t think he really meant it, he just wanted to hurt me, but comments like that just can’t be erased from my memory like it had never been said. That really hurt me and took a big toll on my self confidence. I found myself completely blaming myself, thinking that maybe if I would’ve been more affectionate or maybe if I’d been like more adventurous in bed or something none of this would’ve ever happened.” She could already feel hot tears stinging against her eyelids at the painful memory.
Sean looked at her sympathetically. “I think he’s a real dick for putting you through that and making you believe those things about yourself that aren’t true. You can’t blame yourself and wonder if only. It sounds like to me that you could have been the biggest freak going and the outcome would still be the same. Maybe it wouldn’t have played out in that exact way, but he didn’t sound like he was ready for what you wanted to give him. You would’ve fallen apart eventually. But to see you this upset over something he vindictively said to hurt you makes me want to find this guy and teach him a lesson or two.”
At the moment, Sean’s words were very comforting to Alyssa. She buried her head against his chest. “Since then I guess I’ve just had it in my head that I was dull or boring and not enough to keep him interested. To do something so special for him like I planned for his birthday was a big deal to me because I was really pushing my comfort level, but I did it for him because I trusted him and really cared about him. And then he just treated like it was nothing. It really made me insecure if I wasn’t enough already.”
She could feel Sean’s hands stroking her hair as she spilled out her true feelings. She’d told this story many of times, but never to this degree. It was the first time she ever really opened up to anybody the full effect Nick’s betrayal had on her confidence level. It was no wonder things had felt so forced between her and Sean. He was completely right. She was so afraid of letting go because she was so fearful that she wouldn’t be good enough for him. The revelation stunned even her as she finally realized her problem. “I think I now realize why things have been so awkward between us,” she started off.
“I think I know too, but I want you to be the one to tell me,” he urged her.
Alyssa pulled back a little bit so she was able to fully look him in the eyes. “After what I went through with Nick I really had no faith that I was attractive. I really started to think that I was horrible in bed and that I could never compete with other girls. In thinking that way it became a self fulfilling prophecy. I got so hung up on what I thought others thought about me that I wasn’t allowing myself to really be comfortable. I had my guard up so high because I was afraid of rejection that I really sort of closed myself off to really any possibility of letting someone else in that closely again.” She took a deep breath amazed that she’d actually been able to verbalize all that out loud. “Wow… I never told anyone any of that before.”
Sean grinned. “Well, just the fact that you were able to tell me all of that and knowing that I’m the only person who knows that about you is definitely a step in the right direction. I’m almost positive that you can’t be bad in bed if you really just let go and I’m sure it’s going to take time, but you really need to trust me. You need to know that I’m not going to hurt you… I’m not going to judge you… I just want you to be yourself.” He paused for a moment. “And just for the record, it’s not always bad to try new things. As long as we trust each other, you have nothing to be afraid of.”
Alyssa just nodded. “I understand. I know it’s not going to be easy to trust somebody after I’ve had trust broken, but I’m willing to give it a try. You’re just going to have to be very patient.”
“I can do that,” he agreed. “I can be as patient as I need to. It’s all about baby steps here…”
Patient was definitely the word to describe Sean as their relationship progressed. That particular conversation had definitely helped them so much and without it Alyssa had no doubt in her mind that they wouldn’t have lasted as a couple much longer. Sean had opened her up in so many different ways. Not just emotionally, but even persuading her to do things that she’d never had before. Almost immediately their sex life improved ten fold partly due to Alyssa finally being able to feel completely relaxed around him and partly to do with the fact that the whole trying new things idea carried itself over to the bedroom as well. Not that they’d gone the whole whips and chains (okay they had experimented a bit with handcuffs once or twice- It went into the whole “trust” thing) route, but it really wasn’t too much longer until Alyssa even noticed a major change in herself. Sean had completely turned her negative self concept around and for the first time in a long time she actually felt that she could be sexy and desirable to somebody else besides Nick.
With so much that he’d done to change Alyssa’s whole attitude, Alyssa began to seriously consider if he might be the one. They’d talked about the possibility of marriage and she knew that Sean didn’t want to wait long. Being in the military, he never knew if one day he could be sent into the middle of a war zone. Like many young men in his position he at least wanted to attempt to have a wife and a family before that could happen. That’s why Alyssa hadn’t really been too surprised when he’d asked her to marry him just this past Christmas. They’d known each other only a little over a year, but Alyssa’s feelings were that if he had helped her through so much in such a short time than clearly it was meant to be. She’d also hoped to have a long engagement.
But of course life doesn’t always go according to plan. Only a few weeks into their engagement, Sean learned that he was going to be transferred to another base out in California, a little more than half an hour outside of LA, that summer. The couple had been faced with a decision. Should they move up their wedding date? Or should they both move out to California and plan their wedding there? After much discussion, they decided that it would be better off to get married right away, so that once they arrived in California they’d be officially starting their new life together. There was also the fact that if they weren’t already married, Alyssa wouldn’t be allowed to live with him on the base. It had definitely been stressful trying to pull off a wedding in a mere matter of months and unfortunately in doing so, Alyssa had to sacrifice a lot of the elements that she had always dreamed about having at her wedding. She’d originally wanted to get married up in New York, but due to time constraints and money issues they’d wound up having the wedding in North Carolina. The reception hall was nowhere near as fancy as the one Alyssa had always imagined and the guest list was relatively small. The ceremony had been simple. Her bridal party had been comprised of only three people, her older sister Meg as her maid of honor and Sean’s younger sister, Karen and Izzy as bridesmaids. In fact, Izzy had been the only one of her old friends to attend the ceremony. She’d have liked to invite Teri, Tricia, and Melanie, but unfortunately their budget just didn’t allow too many non family members.
Unfortunately, she had no way of getting around not inviting Stephanie. Her parents wouldn’t stand for it, so grudgingly she had, but she’d ignored her younger sister the entire night, not even blinking when she’d tried to come up and congratulate her and Sean. She knew that Stephanie was hurt that she was excluded from the bridal party. It must’ve really stung that she’d included Karen, her future sister-in-law over her, but Alyssa felt little sympathy towards her estranged sibling. Maybe if she’d have learned to keep her paws (or should I say mouth?) away from other people’s boyfriends and then not lie about it for three years, things could be different between us, she’d thought.
Then of course there had been the question of whether or not she should invite Nick. He’d invited her to his wedding which of course had been a much grander affair than hers. As much as it seemed like the polite thing to do though, she couldn’t bring herself to do it. After confessing to Sean how much he’d hurt her, Sean pretty much had said that if he ever met him he’d definitely have a thing or two to say to him. Besides the threat of an altercation between the two men, Sean still had no clue who Nick really was and she intended to keep it that way. Somehow she got the impression that their wedding would not be the place to reveal that her ex was not some spoiled rich boy living off his parent’s trust fund like Sean had assumed, but someone actually famous. So Nick had stayed off of the guest list.
In a way Alyssa had found her wedding to be a great disappointment anyway. Maybe it was because it was so rushed and not exactly the way she had envisioned it. She’d been so worried that everything was going to get done on time that she couldn’t relax enough to enjoy any of it. She hadn’t even gotten to enjoy the reception because every time she turned around the photographer needed her for a picture or someone came up to talk to her. She’d barely been able to eat a bite and every time she’d get a drink, she’d take two sips before having to abandon it and then it was gone when she came back. By the time she finally got a moment to sit, the wedding was over. Both Meg and her mother had assured her that this was normal and explained to her that a lot of brides don’t really get to enjoy their own wedding, but Alyssa still wished she could do it all over again and just really take it all in this time around.
It’s a dumb thing to be upset over, she’d tried telling herself. It’s just a reception. Those things are more for the guests than they are for the actual couple anyway. Besides, the important thing is that you and Sean are married now, you love each other, and you’re starting a new life together. There’s no need for a fancy ceremony to change any of that.
Yet, still a small part of her wished things could’ve been a little different. Even their honeymoon had been less ideal than she’d imagined. She’d mentioned to Sean that she’d always wanted to go on a cruise because she had never been, so Sean thought that he was giving her a wonderful surprise when he’d announced he’d booked a cruise for their honeymoon. As thoughtful as Alyssa found the gesture, in reality although she’d always wanted to go on a cruise, she didn’t see it as an ideal trip for a honeymoon. She’d have preferred to go someplace a little quieter and a little more private. She’d just gotten married! She didn’t want to be crammed on an overcrowded cruise ship where it was nearly impossible to find anytime truly alone. Sean had been so proud of himself though, so she didn’t have the heart to tell him any of this. The cruise had been beautiful and she’d definitely enjoyed herself despite it not being exactly what she had wanted. But still she would’ve preferred something else like Europe or down at a Caribbean resort.
But all that was petty in the grand scheme of things. They’d just gotten married and were fresh off their honeymoon and had finally arrived in their brand new home on a completely different end of the country. It definitely felt like a fresh beginning to Alyssa. New name… New home… New area code… Plus now she wasn’t far away from Izzy and Grace, and Teri and Tricia. It was comforting to be back in the presence of old friends.
“Hey…” Her thoughts were interrupted as she felt Sean come up behind her and wrap his arms around her waist. “You zoned out on me for a second there.”
“Sorry,” she apologized, setting the resume down on the table in front of her. “I guess I was just thinking about all the changes going on right now. Good changes of course.”
“It’s okay, but how about we stop thinking so much and get into breaking in that new bedroom?” he suggested, his lips tickling her earlobe.
Alyssa turned herself around so that she was facing him and grinned. “I think that’s an excellent idea.” And as she leaned forward to kiss him she really did feel happier than she had in a long time.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Alyssa recounts the craziness of the past year in her life.