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Most people couldn’t understand the concept of loving and hating somebody at the same time, but Robbie did. Sometimes he thought he was the only person in the whole world who really understood how the paradox worked. In reality it was much more common than he comprehended. Robbie tried to explain it once to a friend over some beers. He went on and on about the complex nature of the relationship and how careful he had to be about everything he said or did. His friend listened politely for an hour before interrupting him with the cold hard truth.

“So, you love her, and she thinks you’re a good friend?” he asked.

Yea, that was pretty much it.

Noel was beautiful and popular. Other girls hung around her, copying her hairstyle and outfits. Women circled her inner orbit, while guys circled the outer orbit. Guys were always around, offering compliments, trying to get her attention. Any conversation could lead to an opening where they could ask her out. The success rate wasn’t good, but good enough that guys kept trying. A chance to have her on your arm, or something more, would be worth getting shot down a few times in the process.

Noel was average height and weight, with great shoulders from her years of athletics. Her long blond hair swept behind her in feathered layers. Her larger than average chest fit nicely with her swimmer’s shoulders and garnered plenty of attention on their own. The chest was nice, but it was her ass that was the best feature. It was fit, tight, and hypnotic. She wore jeans like most girls, but she wore them in a way Levi Strauss could never have imagined. The jeans fit her ass like they were custom made for her alone. They cupped her ass cheeks just so and made the perfect dent for a man’s hand to rest. There was a lot of competition to be the man using that cheek rest.

Noel was nice to a point, but also knew how pretty she was. With this she also understood she was popular. That role came with responsibility and so Noel thought she needed to date the right person. Unfortunately, Robbie was not that person. Robbie was short. He was only an inch or so shorter than her, but she was considered average for a girl. Women could be short and still be considered cute or beautiful.

A short guy on the other hand was just that; a short guy. You could be nice, and you could be funny, but you were still judged and categorized the moment somebody looked at you. Robbie was all those things, funny and charismatic, but that didn’t change his height. He was a good friend to most and had more girlfriends than guy friends. It didn’t bother Robbie most of the time, but every now and then, the genetics pissed him off royally.

Robbie had asked Noel out last year, and he had seen the lines on her forehead before she could hide them. Noel told him he was sweet, and she liked him as a friend. She didn’t want to do anything to screw up the friendship.

What she didn’t say was that he was too short, but her face said it, and her eyes said it. Henceforth Robbie was a good friend. Truthfully, he was probably one of her best friends. He was the textbook definition of friend zoned. O how he hated hearing that label, but it was as true as oak.

Robbie loved her. Noel thought he was a really nice guy, and one of her best friends. He was like a brother to her. She could tell him anything. When she had a fight with any guy she could talk to Robbie, he was a good listener. So, Robbie also hated her.

November was slipping away and people were just starting to make noises about Christmas. It was taking over the tv and the radio, and soon it would be all anyone talked about. Robbie was fed up with his job and the weather was only part of it. He was working on a construction site framing a building. It was fun in July and August, where you could take your shirt off and enjoy the sun and the heat. It was less fun in November, with the cold and rain and the wind showing up. It felt like he was always wet, cold, and hyperthermic. He enjoyed the hard work and the definition he saw in his body, but he could work indoors for more money.

The other half of it was the danger. Two days ago, Robbie had nearly fallen off the roof after stepping on some early morning frost. The current project was a two-story building, so a fall was not just a minor hazard. A fall could lead to serious injuries, death, or an ass chewing from his boss. His boss often yelled there were no excuses. Any death needed preauthorization and you were still expected to work the remainder of your shift.

Robbie was already thinking about finding another job, but hearing the word snow on the radio made him speed up his timeline. He was definitely going to keep his eyes open and find something else before the snow and ice arrived. Toes with frostbite were almost as bad as falling off a roof.

Noel had called and asked if she could stop by on her way home from work. Robbie laughed into the phone and told her yes; she was welcome to stop by. It was funny on one hand because Robbie Sincan Escort never said no to her. At the same time, it was sad because; well, he never told her no.

Robbie went about straightening up his apartment, but it didn’t need much work. He lived alone and never let it get too messy or cluttered. He liked to keep things neat and organized. OCD was a strong accusation, but he was very organized. If everything had a place, life just went smoother.

Robbie cleaned up and did the few dishes in the sink. When that was done, he just sat on the couch and waited. He didn’t see Noel as often anymore, but they still tried to get together when they could. Robbie worked a day shift and currently Noel was working afternoons and evenings. She worked at a small boutique at the mall that sold an array of novelty products including jewelry. That got Robbie thinking, and he was going to ask her if she knew of any stores hiring at the mall. Working at the mall would be a nice change. It was indoors, warmer, and he would probably meet more women than the construction site. So far there was no downside.

When he heard the knock at his door he jumped up and rushed two steps before he forced himself to slow down. It would look better for him if he didn’t appear too eager. He knew she was never going to date him. She had her chances and had been passing them up for years now. Robbie couldn’t help himself. He was the puppy that kept coming back for more.

He opened the door and there she was, his Venus. Sparkling eyes and blonde hair flying everywhere in the wind. Robbie lived in the third-floor apartment and the walkway was exposed to the wind. She gave him a dynamite smile and hugged him as she came into his apartment. Friends hugged. She smelled great as always, and probably tasted better than she looked. Noel worked the cash register most days and dressed to impress. Today it was tight brown slacks with a cream-colored camisole top with a keyhole cutout. It forced you to want to look where you were not supposed to look.

Robbie took her coat and laid it over a chair as they passed. He invited her to sit down on the couch while he followed. The apartment was only 600 square feet and laid out in a long rectangle. The kitchen and dining room were near the door side, with the living room at the far side. Past the living room were glass doors leading to a small deck, with a lovely view of the parking lot. It wasn’t much, but it was his.

Noel sat down next to him and put her hand on his knee, asking how he was doing. Robbie had to work to keep his concentration while they caught up. He tried not to think about how warm her hand was, or how hard she was making him. Her hand was less than a foot from his cock, which had been growing since she knocked on the door. He gave her the short version about his work, and even remembered to mention he was thinking about looking for another job. She nodded at all the right times, but he could tell she was waiting for her turn to speak. Robbie wrapped up his side of things and asked her what was new?

Work was busy and would only get busier for the next month. She wanted to move out on her own, but for now she still lived at home with her parents. Her boyfriend was an ass and didn’t understand her. Robbie said nothing, he had heard that story more than once. Eventually she got to the reason for her visit.

“I was hoping you could help me with something. I bought this gold necklace at work, and now they won’t let me return it. I could use the money this close to Christmas and was hoping you could return it for me?” she asked with a warm smile.

“Why won’t they let you return it?” Robbie asked, taking the pretty gold necklace from her hands and looking it over.

“One I lost the receipt, and two, I bought it on sale. I was hoping that when you returned it, you could get me the full price,” she asked with some blush on her cheeks.

So that was it, she was looking to sneak a few extra bucks out of her work before Christmas. Of course, he would help her, he literally couldn’t say no.

“I’ll stop by tomorrow and return it for you,” he said smiling.

Noel made a squealing noise and leaned forward to hug him. Her body felt warm and delicious against him. He would have kept her there all night if he hadn’t felt her pull back eventually.

“One more thing, if you could keep my name out of it, I don’t want to get in trouble,” she said, looking embarrassed.

“Don’t worry about it, your secret’s safe with me,” he said.

They talked for another ten minutes before she said she had to go, and he walked her to the door. He got another hug at the door, but with her coat on, it was less warm than the couch hug. Robbie said he would call her the following night, and they said their goodbyes.

The next day Robbie drove to the mall and headed for her boutique first thing. Noel had the day off, so it was a perfect opportunity for him to make the exchange. He went Etlik Escort up to the counter and thought himself lucky seeing the cashier was named Patty and her nametag identified her as the manager.

“What can I help you with?” she asked.

“I have a return to make, but I lost the receipt,” Robbie said, taking out the necklace and laying it on the counter.

The necklace has a thin piece of string tied to it. On the string was a store tag with a number on one side, and the barcode on the backside. Patty scanned the barcode with a beep and looked at the screen that only she could see.

“Hmmmm,” she said, “when did you buy this?”

“Last week,” Robbie said making it up, “I’m not sure about the day, it was a crazy week.”

It looked like she cleared the computer to start over and then scanned the tag again and frowned.

“I need to check something in the back, can you wait just a minute?” she asked, already moving towards the back room.

“Sure,” Robbie said, leaning on the counter.

She disappeared in the back room and Robbie waited. Why was returning stuff always so complicated? Three minutes later two cops walked into the store and headed right for him. Robbie actually moved to the side thinking they were going past him when they each grabbed an arm and helped escort him walk towards the back.

“Hey, what the hell?” Robbie asked, as they moved him along.

Neither said a word as they approached the back of the store. The door opened and the manager Patty was there and pointed to a room to the left. Robbie was pushed into the room followed by the two copy and Patty who closed the door behind her. They were in a tiny break room with a table for two. Patty took one of the seats and the officers pushed Robert towards one of the other chairs.

“Sit,” one of them said, it didn’t sound like a request.

Robbie sat down confused and a bit nervous but was smart enough not to say anything yet. Patty was looking through a leger, and then compared it to the necklace she was holding in her other hand. For the first time Robbie started to get a bad feeling about his situation.

“What day did you buy this?” Patty asked again.

“Monday, or Wednesday, I can’t remember which,” Robbie said, trying to buy some time.

Patty went back over the logbook and eventually looked up to speak with him directly.

“We log all expensive jewelry sales in this book to keep track of inventory, and there are no necklace sales listed for Monday or Wednesday of last week,” she said, staring at him.

Robbie could feel the sweat break out on his forehead.

“Then maybe it was Sunday, or Tuesday, I’m not good with dates,” he said.

Patty went back to her notes and had checked the days in a few seconds.

“One gold necklace sold on Sunday, but that was a twelve-inch chain, and this chain is eighteen-inches. The only necklace sold on Tuesday was sterling silver. According to the serial number, this chain hasn’t sold yet, and should be hanging in the display case,” Patty said looking pissed.

“I didn’t steal it,” Robbie said.

Patty sighed and got up to leave the room. The two cops stared at him and tried to make him nervous. It worked. Patty the manager was back in ten minutes saying she was pulling all the security video from last week, Sunday through Wednesday.

“If he was in here last week, we will find the video and formally charge him,” she said.

“How long will it take?” one of the cops asked.

“I will look at the tapes tonight, and I should have it by tomorrow,” the manager said.

Robbie felt a little better knowing he wouldn’t be on any of the tapes, but he was pissed about the situation he was in. Noel lied to him. It was starting to sound like she had stolen the necklace and tried to use him to get money for it. She should have told him about the ledger. She should have told him about how they tracked the serial numbers. Fuck it, she should have picked somebody else to be her patsy.

But why would she, when she had him? Had he ever said no? Fuck! He was the patsy.

That’s what this was, she was using him. He was a sucker, or more specifically, her sucker. She knew he would do it, and she used his feelings for her to trick him into being the sucker. He was a fool. Robbie sat in the room and burned. He couldn’t remember ever being this angry. Patty came back in one more time and said she was keeping the necklace since it was likely stolen. She also asked the officers to ID’s the suspect before they let him go. The cop nodded and told Robbie to hand over his identification. Robbie pulled out his driver’s license and the younger cop copied all the information down into his notebook. Then he handed the driver’s license over to the older cop who pulled out his radio and asked for a warrants check. He gave Robbie’s name, date of birth, address and phone number to the person on the other end.

It took less than two minutes for the radio voice Çankaya Escort to come back and say Robbie had no warrants, no priors, and a clear driving record. The older cop handed his license back and told him to empty his pockets. Robbie took everything out and put it on the table, but it wasn’t much. Wallet, keys, and a pocketknife. They didn’t take his word for it and still patted him down to check for any other stolen merchandise.

When he was allowed to take his stuff back, the younger cop told him he was excluded from the mall for thirty days, and excluded from the store for ninety days. Then they took his picture twice with an old instant camera and pinned one of them to the wall with all the other shoplifters. When it was all done, the cops asked where he was parked and escorted him out of the store, out of the mall, and all the way to his vehicle. Nobody spoke until they were outside and nearing his car.

“What happens tomorrow when the manager tells you she couldn’t find me on any videos?” Robbie asked.

“Nothing. They keep the necklace, and you say banned. No proof, no charges,” the older cop said.

They walked in silence.

“Don’t ruin your life for your friend’s mistake,” the older cop said, taking an educated guess.

“Not my friend anymore,” Robbie said, meaning it.

“Good, learn from it,” the older cop said.

“Or make them pay for it,” the younger cop said.

“I intend to,” Robbie said, meaning it in a totally different way.

Robbie was furious. On the drive home he was shaking. He could not believe Noel set him up like that. This showed him what she really thought of him. He now understood the dynamic of the relationship, and the doormat he had become. That shit was over. It was so fucking over. All the way home he thought about his next step. She needed to pay. She was definitely going to pay. His feelings for her were now ashes. Noel was willing to let him get arrested, sent to jail, charged with shoplifting? He gripped the steering wheel tighter.

Robbie had been home for hours but was still planning. Their friendship was over, that was a forgone conclusion. Noel would be made aware of it before the night was over. He was going to burn bridges. Friends didn’t do that to friends. Robbie was thinking about their past few years. All the chasing he had done. All the teasing she had done. Since the friendship was over, did he really care if he offended her at this point? They may never speak again after today, so why not. Was he mad enough to go through with what he was planning?

Yes. Yes, he was.

It was past eight by the time he called Noel and asked her to come over. She sounded nervous on the phone but asked if he had gotten the money for her? Robbie said that he wanted to surprise her, and he would tell her when she got her.

She showed up looking as good as ever; but her smile didn’t affect Robbie the way it used to. He knew what it was now. It was her tool. He didn’t look at her the same way either. She was not the princess in the tower anymore. There was no pedestal.

Noel wore a green silk shirt with buttons up the front. She had a long skirt with a Celtic pattern of blues and greens. She had on black suede boots that went up to her knees. She hugged him as she came in, and it still gave him a hard on. Robbie couldn’t do much about his physical reaction to her, that was just biology.

“How did it go?” she asked once they were sitting on the couch.

Her eyes were big, and she sounded breathless.

“It was informative,” Robbie said.

“Informative? I don’t understand, did you get the money?” she asked.

“You should have told me about the jewelry logbook,” Robbie said, and stopped smiling.

“I forgot about that; did they hassle you about it?” she asked.

“They arrested me for it,” he said.

“What?” she gasped. She sounded genuinely surprised.

“They arrested me! They knew the necklace was stolen and charged me with theft. Cops showed up and took me back to the county booking facility. I have to report back tomorrow for the arraignment hearing,” he said, watching her face.

She was surprised yes, but also something else, a hint of guilt maybe. Not nearly enough though.

“Do you really hate me that much?” Robbie asked.

“What?” she asked, with genuine surprise now.

“You sent me in there with a stolen necklace to try and get you money!” he said angrily, “a friend would never do that to a friend. Why do you hate me? Why are you trying to destroy my life?”

“I’m not, I mean, I didn’t know…” she trailed off.

“Bullshit! You knew what you were doing. You knew I would do anything for you. Well, that’s over. I won’t go to jail for you Noel. I am going to go in there tomorrow and tell them everything. You plan, your idea, all the things you told me. Then the police can drive over to your parents’ house and arrest you in front of them,” he snapped in frustration.

“No, please, you can’t,” she cried, tears flowing.

“You were willing to fuck up our friendship for a few hundred dollars! You sold me out!” he yelled.

Now she just sat there and cried. Face in her hands, mascara streaking. She was a mess. A hot beautiful fucking mess.

“You’re a horrible person! You never cared about me, only what I could get you!” Robbie growled at her.

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