Robyn Huff was absolutely opposed to the idea of her stepbrother Ivan Porter moving in with her. Her Korean husband Minjun had died six months prior leaving Robyn alone to care for two hyperactive, biracial twin girls: Sasha and Jessica.
Robyn barely knew a thing about Ivan except he was willing to help out.
"Helping out" apparently meant taking charge and Robyn didn't want him thinking she needed a white knight to swoop in and save the day...
As Robyn and Ivan discovered what fate had in store for them, they were both forced to admit their assumptions about each other were totally wrong.
This love story confronts complex themes related to forbidden romance and forces you to consider that perhaps you aren't immune to taboo feelings yourself...
“Yes, Mrs. Barnes.”
“I totally understand.”
“I’ll be there as soon as possible for Sasha.”
“Of course. I can take Jessica too.”
Robyn was overwhelmed. Again. This was getting to be too much on every level. Now, one of the twins was sick and she had to leave her house in the middle of the day to pick her up. This was getting out of control. It seems like every single week something went wrong. It had been six months since he died, and Robyn felt like things were getting worse and worse. Sure, her relationship with Minjun was complicated. But that wasn’t for anyone to judge. It didn’t matter now at all anyways, he was dead and she was left to take care of their twin daughters alone. Raising daughters who were half-Korean and half-black in this lily white town was no piece of cake.
Robyn got into her car and started driving towards the school. The drive wasn’t very long, but she still had plenty of time to think. Things were spiraling, and she knew it. She just didn’t know exactly what to do. Her jewelry making business wasn’t doing as well as she had hoped. Robyn felt like she was hemorrhaging money at every turn. When would the bills just stop? The girls seem to be constantly sick and she had started to run out of answers to their questions. They were grieving their father, of course they would be, but Robyn had been past grieving a long time ago.
Even before Minjun had died, it had been years since Robyn felt real love for him. They had hastily got married when she was pregnant with the twins. She had known even back then that she wouldn’t be able to raise them on her own. Or at least she had felt that way until Minjun had died leaving her with no choice. Now, she was handling it in her own way. Robyn didn’t know whether her way was even working. Now, she had her doubts; Robyn was insecure about parenting alone and she always had been. She didn’t know how much longer she would be able to keep up like this now that her income seem to be drying up faster than a puddle baking in the afternoon sun.
People always complimented Robyn on her parenting. If only they knew how hard it was for her to keep her head above water. Would they still feel the same way? Would they judge her for being the black single mother they all loved to hate? In some ways, Robyn accepted their compliments, but she knew many people were just waiting for her to fail. The wanted to see her be a bad parent so they could say, “See! I told you so!” Robyn hated that. She hated that people saw her skin tone, saw her two little girls and threw all these stereotypes and terrible notions onto her. It wasn’t fair. She hadn’t understood before, but now she knew that being a single mother was one of the most difficult and bravest things a woman could ever experience. Except… She didn’t feel particularly brave right now. She felt like she was running out of options fast. Robyn was worried that she would have to reach out to her father for help. It wasn’t that she minded seeking her father’s assistance but she valued her independence. She didn’t want to find him with her tail between her legs.
When Robyn arrived at the school, her daughters were waiting in the principal’s office. Sasha looked terrible. Her sister, Jessica, was smiling brightly as if she had no idea how severe things were with her twin. Jessica was always the more hardy one. Robyn admired her daughters. They had been so strong in handling the loss of their father. Maybe it was because they didn’t fully understand how serious it was. Or maybe, they understood more than she gave them credit for. She’d had a complicated relationship with Minjun since the girls were born. Either way, she loved them both.
Jessica Jisoo Park and Sasha Subin Park. Her half-Korean, half-Black babies. Robyn was determined that They still fully integrate with both their Korean houses and their block house. She wanted the two girls to be fully immersed in both of their cultural identities. So, even after Minjun had died, she insisted the girls keep his last name and their Korean middle names. She also insisted that they take Korean language and culture classes on the weekend. My wondered how on earth she would never juggle all of these things now that her business was getting worse and bills were starting to pile up.
Shit. There was no time for that. Her girls were looking up at her expectantly and she needed to be the strong rock of a mother that they needed. That was one thing about motherhood Robyn found difficult. You could never let your children see your weaknesses. They needed to feel safe and secure with you… Always.
“Hey girls, it’s time to go home now. Do you have all your stuff?” Robyn asked.
Sasha could barely move. She couldn’t respond at all except for quiet sniffling. Her twin sister jumped up and down and said in a shrill little voice, “Yes mommy! We have everything! Sasha too. Let’s go home early!”
Jessica was a little too excited. She saw Sasha’s sickness as an excuse to get a half day. Jessica didn’t quite seem to understand the gravity of Sasha’s illness. Kids could be oblivious like that sometimes. Robyn picked up her second daughter and held Jessica’s hand as they crossed the road to her car. After strapping both of the girls into the back seat, Robyn proceeded to drive both her eight-year-olds home.
By the time she got home, Robyn was already exhausted. After a long day of work, Robyn hardly felt like she had energy for anything. Imagine if I was trying to balance dating with all of this. Robyn thought to herself. Unfortunately, all she needed was the energy she sorely lacked. With Jessica bouncing around the house like the energizer bunny, she tucked Sasha into bed, made her some soup and gave her some children’s Tylenol with cool water to help break her fever. She always got so worried when her babies were sick. Since Minjun died, they seemed to get sick much more often. Grief could have strange effects on you, especially if you were a child.
Robyn was just grateful that her father was coming by later that afternoon. She sat Jessica down with a Harry Potter book to “wait for grandpa”. Robyn had mixed feelings about her father coming by. It wasn’t like Zeke Huff was a bad father; in fact he was quite the opposite. Zeke Huff was overprotective of his little girl. He had never liked Minjun and the way he had “saddled” Robyn with twins before “having the audacity to die”. Zeke was a tough cookie. And now he was coming over. He would surely see the absolute disaster Robyn lived in and insist upon intervening. Sure, the house was a little messy but that he felt like she had everything under control. As under control as she could possibly have it. Balancing all of this was hard, but Robyn refused to believe it was impossible.
Even if Zeke Huff had a tendency to get involved, that he knew that she would be glad to see him. Her father had always been a force of wisdom in her life. Even when he had divorced her mother, he ensured that that he was as insulated as possible from the pain of their family breaking apart. Robyn’s mother was never interested in caring for her that way. She was more than happy to leave.
Robyn was sometimes filled with regret that she didn’t have a mother figure throughout her life. What was harder for Robyn was the fact that her mother didn’t seem to have much interest in her until she realized that Robyn was making big money with her jewelry business. At least she could have just been wholly uninterested and not break Robyn’s heart.When the money started to get tighter, she dipped again. But Zeke never abandoned his daughter, and Robyn knew that he never would. She might not have had a great mother, but she had an amazing father.
Even when he remarried and older white woman, with an older white son, he always put Robyn first. No new woman or new child could take his daughter’s place in his heart. Robyn was a daddy’s girl through and through. She never saw anything wrong with that either.
When Robyn saw her father pull into the driveway, she unlocked the door and pushed it open so he would know that he was welcome in immediately. He walked into the door and gave her a big hug.
“Robyn, my little Princess, It’s so good to see you,” Zeke said with a slight Southern drawl and a wet kiss on the cheek. His pearly white smile occupied his entire face. Robyn looked at his wrinkled face and remembered a time before age groups and so tightly. How the time flew.
“Hey dad. It’s good to see you too. I’m having a hell of a day today…”
Zeke cut her off, “I can see that.” He was looking around her house and noticing the mess everywhere. The counters weren’t wiped down, the trash was beyond full; Robyn’s clutter was strewn everywhere along with Barbie dolls and other toys.
Robyn looked down a little bit ashamed. She hated to feel like even a little bit of a failure as a mother. Sometimes it didn’t feel good to be daddy’s little girl. Robyn still had to prove to herself she could do all of this on her own. But today, Robyn just couldn’t keep up her image of being a “strong black woman” for her dad.
Tears filled her eyes and she began to break down to her father, “Sasha’s sick and I don’t know what to do. Everything feels like it’s falling apart and… I know we didn’t have the best relationship but… I wish he were here.”
“You’re better off without that sack o’ bricks,” Zeke mumbled. Seeing that his words were doing nothing to help his daughter’s tears abate, he gestured for her to come closer so he could hug her again.
“Thanks dad. I needed that,” Robyn said, wiping the tears from her eyes and pulling away. She was a grown ass woman. She knew she shouldn’t have to rely on her father’s hugs to make it through the day. Although she did appreciate the fact that he was there.
“You need help,” Zeke said to his daughter sternly. He was starting to get worried about how Robyn was handling everything. He knew his daughter was strong and he really believes in her, but he didn’t want to see her crash and burn because she was too stubborn to reach out for help.
As Zeke predicted, Robyn did not take his suggestion well.
“I don’t need help. I need money… I need...I just need some time and this will all get worked out,” Robyn said frazzled.
“The place is a mess Robyn. One of the girls is sick. Why don’t you let someone come by and stay with you for a while,” Zeke asked, putting his hand on his daughter’s shoulder.
“Like you? Or Emily?” Robyn asked. The idea of living with her father or her stepmother, or some combination of the two was the absolute last thing that Robyn wanted.
But her father suggested something much different. He sighed and then said tentatively, “What about Ivan?”
Robyn didn’t know what to think about that suggestion. Ivan Porter was her stepbrother and he was a full eight years older than her. She didn’t even think they had anything in common. He was the furthest thing from a brother to Robyn. In fact, she didn’t really know him that well so it was stranger that her father would even suggest it. Her family’s past was… Complicated.
Ivan was complicated. Robyn didn’t have very many memories of him. When her father had moved in with Emily, Ivan wasn’t even living in the house at the time. He had been sent off to some fancy boarding school in New England for high school and then he went off to a fancy Ivy League college. When he was doing his MBA, he dropped out and started a business that soon turned into a six figure income. He had a knack for making money, and a knack for always being on the move.
Now, he seemed even more like a nomadic drifter than he was before. He lived off of his investments, and made more investments, and worked around four hours a week from home. Robyn only knew the skeleton of Ivan’s story. She wondered if she would ever find out the whole thing. He had never taken much of an interest in her when she was young. He never tried to get to know her, and never even spent much time at home. In fact, the only thing Ivan seemed committed to staying away from his house. He was a born and bred rolling stone. He never stayed put to gather any moss… ever.
Why on earth would he want to move in with her? He didn’t seem like a stepbrother to her, he seemed like a figment of her imagination half the time. Robyn could hardly put all these thoughts into words.
“Ivan?” Was all that Robyn could manage to say to her father. She didn’t know how else to react.
“Yeah, he’s been looking for somewhere new to stay and I mentioned to him that you know… Perhaps you could use some help,” her father mumbled.
He was surprised when Robyn didn’t react angrily to the idea of needing help. His daughter was as stubborn as a mule. She was still trying to find ways to avoid having Ivan stay with her though.
Robyn instead asked, “Doesn’t he have like a girlfriend or family or something?”
Zeke chuckled. “Ivan? I don’t think you could pay that little playboy to settle down. He doesn’t have a woman or kids or anything. I think he could really be of some help to you Robyn. Let me talk to him.”
“I’ll have to think about it daddy,” Robyn said. She wasn’t sure if she would really give it a second thought or if she was just trying to get her dad’s mind off the subject.
“While you think about it Robyn, I’m going to go read with Jessica for a little while and then I’ll head home. Go check on Sasha,” her dad said. He went off to read Harry Potter with his granddaughter. Robyn felt relieved that at least someone would have an eye on her. Jessica was the more troublesome of the identical duo. It seemed like without constant supervision she would leap headfirst into trouble.
Robyn went upstairs to check on her second daughter. They hadn’t been home very long, but just being home seemed to have broken her fever just a bit. Sasha was fast asleep. She probably needs the rest. Robyn thought. Robyn looked at her face, taking note of her beautiful daughter’s facial features. She could see Minjun all over her baby girls’ faces. There was the way their eyes had a monolid just like his. The daughters both had soft, round apple shaped cheeks and big smiles. Her African-Korean princesses.
A part of Robyn was glad that they would never have to know what she went through with their father. They would forever be innocent, except for the extreme that comes with loss. At least that grief was immediate, and would surely fade over time. They would have been a lot more pained to find out the truth about their father. Being heartbroken again and again by the narcissistic choices Minjun made would be more excruciating that having him pass away.
Later in the evening, Zeke left Robyn’s house. He did live quite a few miles away and he was happy to get home to Emily. Robyn was always happy that her father found real love. Zeke hoped that his daughter would give some consideration to his suggestion. Plus, Zeke knew that Robyn wasn’t close to her stepbrother and this would give her a chance to get to know her family. Sure, they weren’t blood relatives, but that didn’t mean they had to ignore each other. Zeke was always insecure about the fact Robyn had such a difficult childhood. He hadn’t expected Robyn’s mother to leave them. He wondered how much Minjun’s death had reopened that old wound.
But Zeke figured that Ivan was exactly the kind of person who could be a good influence on Robyn. Zeke knew that his daughter’s business wasn’t doing very well, and he knew that Ivan had just the skills that she would need to help her get things moving in the right direction once again. Plus, he knew that Ivan was very good with kids. Taking some of the burden off Robyn’s back would allow her to focus on providing for the girls. Zeke had a feeling that if his daughter accepted his suggestion, things would start to go differently for her. All he had to do was hope that she said yes.
Robyn really had no intention of giving her father’s suggestion any more consideration until much later that evening. She had put both of the girls to bed when she sat down for some much needed alone time to check her email. When she saw the first message, with it’s subject heading “URGENT”, Robyn felt like she was going to scream.
How could something else really be going wrong?! Sick twins and a failing business weren’t enough. Adulthood was always filled to the brim with bills and bullshit.
Robyn opened the email and she felt the pit of her stomach. This time, something far worse than her monthly credit card bill had popped up. This was terrible. So freaking terrible. One of her friends at the bank had sent her a warning that she was about to receive an eviction notice. Sure there was “confidentiality”, but that notion has never really applied to small New England towns.
Robyn didn’t know where she would come up with the money to prevent this from happening. The last thing she or the girls needed was to be put out on the street. Sure, Robyn knew that she was a little bit behind on her payments but she didn’t know that you could be evicted quite so soon. Why did the credit system seemed designed to have you fail? Robyn stared at the e-mail blankly. She really hadn’t expected this. Her skin prickled in fright. Robyn had figured she would have time to turn us all around forgot to serious. And now, here are the problems were staring her in the face. Things had gotten out of control.
Robyn didn’t know what to do. Well, she did, but she didn’t love the idea. Robyn knew she would have to call her father and say yes what he had proposed. She would ask her father for a little bit of money to help with the rent to stave off eviction for a while and then she would have her stepbrother move in. Things might not get better but at least they could stop getting worse.
When Ivan heard from his stepfather that his younger sister, well, his younger stepsister, wanted him to move in he was thrilled. He was tired of traipsing around the world getting involved in bar fights, hiking obscure peaks and wasting his money on hedonistic pleasures. Ivan was ready to finally be the son that his mother wanted him to be. He was ready to ‘help out’ and ‘stop being so selfish’. His mother Emily had always hoped for a daughter; when she had a son she was disappointed that he wasn’t more of a family man. Ivan wasn’t sure how the title of “family man” would look on him. He was used to looking out for himself. His dad had left when he was young, and Ivan grew up without a father. Sure, he had his stepfather Zeke, but he was already a grown man by the time Zeke had come into his life.
Robyn Huff. That was his stepsister’s name. Ivan couldn’t even remember what she looked like, it had been so long. All he knew was that she needed help and he had tons of money that he was more than willing to throw around. So when Zeke gave him the call, he paid off her rent without asking any questions. I’m a freaking saint. Ivan thought to himself. He wasn’t surprised Robyn needed his help. Sure, he didn’t know too much about her, but he knew that she was a single mother. Ivan knew from experience that being a single mother meant a lot of helplessness. Emily was like that too. Ivan thought.
Three days after Robyn had agreed to have him move in for a while, Ivan showed up on Robyn’s doorstep with all his worldly possessions. All of these possessions fit neatly in a single duffel bag. When Robyn saw her stepbrother standing there, she didn’t know what to think. He looked nothing like what she remembered. His face was plastered with an impish grin. He looked like one of those white, outdoorsy, happy-go-lucky hikers from an L.L. Bean Catalog. Robyn invited him in and introduced him to her daughters. The girls were more than ready to welcome the mysterious uncle that they’d never met. Luckily, Sasha had gotten over her fever and both of the girls were energetic as ever.
“Sasha, Jessica, I want you to meet your uncle, Ivan,” Robyn said. The girls didn’t even know that Robyn had a brother. She didn’t introduce him as such. He was just “Uncle Ivan”. That was because she didn’t really consider Ivan to be her brother. Sure, he was technically her stepsibling, but they hardly knew each other so it didn’t feel that way at all. He was more like a white knight, swooping in to save the day. Robyn didn’t love that analogy much, but it certainly felt that way.
Her twins didn’t question Ivan’s relationship to Robyn at all.
“Hi Uncle Ivan!” They said in identical voices at the same time. They sounded just a little spooky when they did that.
“Trippy,” Ivan replied smiling.
“With twins, you get used to it,” Robyn replied. She remembered when the girls were younger how they had their own secret language. It had taken their father Minjun quite a while to realize that their language contained aspects of Korean mashed together with English, mashed together with something that was all their own. Robyn felt a sharp pain in her chest the moment she thought of the girls’ father. It was rare that she ever thought of him anymore, but a part of him was still with her. Perhaps he always would be.
Within a few moments, the twins were already losing interest in their uncle. They wanted to go off to play. Robyn stood there awkwardly with her stepbrother who is apparently moving in with just the duffel bag.
“So… How long do you plan on staying?” Robyn asked. She ushered Ivan into the house so she could show him where he was staying. Robyn had outfitted the guest bedroom with simple but welcoming decor.
Ivan smiled broadly and responded to her, “As long as you need me to stay Robyn.”
Vague. Robyn didn’t know what his strange response meant, but she was at least glad for the help. When Ivan’s payment had gone through a huge weight was taken off her shoulders. Robyn had no intention of being a single mother of twins with no place to live.
“Well… Thank you. And thanks for the money. You didn’t have to do that. I take care of things on my own around here,” Robyn said. she could already feel herself getting just a bit defensive. Not to mention she realized it was a completely foolish thing to say. Ivan was moving in because she couldn’t take care of things on her own.
Ivan sensed her awkwardness, ignored her defensiveness and he changed the subject, calling over to the girls instead.
“Hey, Sasha, Jessica… What do you say to a trip to Six Flags tomorrow?”
Robyn tried to pipe up, “They have school tomorrow!”
But she was drowned out by the chanting of her twin girls.
“Yay!! Six Flags! Six Flags!” they sang loudly as they jumped around the room, their thick braids bouncing up and down.
Shit. Robyn knew she couldn’t say no now. No one wants to be the mean mom when fun uncle comes into town. She just wished her stepbrother had consulted her first. She had just told him that she took care of things around here. I guess I didn’t put my foot down hard enough. Robyn thought. She tried to maintain a happy facial expression not wanting to rain on the girls’ parade. It was only one day of school, right?
“Mommy can we go?” Sasha asked, noticing despite Robyn’s best efforts that her mother didn’t seem to share her excitement.
Jessica joined in her sister, “Please mommy! Please pretty please!”
“Well… since you said please,” Robyn answered with a smile.
This set the girls off again. “Six Flags! Six Flags!” they continued to chant as they clung onto their Uncle Ivan’s legs. Robyn had to concede.
The next day came quickly as it always seemed to. Raising twins wasn’t easy. The day of the Six Flags trip was upon them. That morning, Robyn knew she was going to have to leave her precious daughters in the care of the stepbrother she barely knew. Maybe it’s not too late for me to back out… Robyn wondered. But she didn’t bother, figuring that she had to let her girls have a little fun. They’d certainly been through enough. Robyn just hoped that Ivan knew how to handle eight-year-old twins. He seemed confident but Robyn had her doubts.
Robyn had let them go but she didn’t feel happy with it. She watched them pile into the car with their adorable outfits and little purses that Ivan had filled with spending money. Who did this guy think he was? She was out here struggling and he was busy spoiling the girls with trips to amusement parks. Robyn was worried that her authority was going to be diminished with the girls if they saw her as the “mean mom” and their uncle as the perpetual supplier of fun and cash.
Robyn couldn’t let that happen. What right did Ivan have to just swoop in like some white knight? Robyn was already insecure as a mother. It was more of a fault of circumstance than a character flaw. She’d had the girls at eighteen right out of highschool with the love of her life… Or so she thought. Robyn soon found out that Minjun was anything but the love of her life and by the time the girls were three years old they were more like friends who co-parented. Except Robyn was the one who did most of the work.
She’d hardly had time for herself while Minjun racked up notches on his belt. At least he’d had the decency to keep his flagrant affairs from the girls. But he hadn’t kept them from Robyn. All these nights spent crying over him… At least they were over. His death had come suddenly, but once the hurt settled, Robyn realized that she was truly better off without him. Robyn hated to think such cruel thoughts about a man she had once loved. But a part of her knew she shouldn’t feel guilty for it. Minjun was more than what he seemed. Only her father seemed to be able to see through his charming nice guy facade, his bodybuilder’s physique and his initial six figure income.
Robyn knew she shouldn’t be thinking about Minjun at a time like this. She had bigger priorities. Now that the girls were out for the day, she’d finally been able to schedule a little time for herself. Well, time for a date at least. She’d met a guy on an online dating site: Hank Weil. He was a German guy from out of town who wanted to take her out for an early dinner. Robyn had accepted his invitation. It would be her first date since Minjun had died and Robyn felt a little bit rusty. How did people flirt these days? Everything seemed to happen online through e-mails or texting. When she met Minjun, it was an entirely different world. Robyn had to admit she was intimidated.
Robyn got ready for her date. She wanted to seem classy and sexy at the same time. She knew she didn’t have the most perfect body in the world, but she looked good because of that not in spite of it. After all, she’d had a C-section to have the twins. No one could expect a woman who’d had twins to be completely perfect. Robyn pulled her natural hair into a headband and got dressed. She put on a tight pair of skinny black jeans and then a silky pink top. She put on just a little bit of makeup to highlight her high cheekbones and her gorgeous, broad nose. Robyn knew that she looked good. Heck, she was a youthful twenty-six; she didn’t know why she was freaking out so much.
Robyn was just worried that this guy would judge her for having kids. She hadn’t told him yet. Robyn just wanted another chance after Minjun. She didn’t want to reveal too much too soon. Why should she be punished for having kids young? Why should she be punished for having been in love? It just wasn’t fair that she should be punished for the rest of her life for doing what most people could never do: single parenting. Raising twin girls on her own was tough; Robyn needed a little bit of time to unwind and she needed to feel just for a little while that she was a hot, young woman, deserving of love.
Robyn left the house and met up with her date at a local bistro. His looks stood out to her immediately. He was tall, blond with icy blue eyes. His nose was narrow and his cheekbones stood out especially.
“Are you Robyn?” he asked.
Robyn replied, “Hank?”
Sure enough it was him. Hank was most definitely attractive, but there was just something a little off about him. From the moment they sat down at the table, Robyn felt a little squeamish. She just couldn’t figure out why but she knew something was off about this guy.
By all outward appearances however, Hank was sweet. Maybe it’s first date jitters. Robyn reasoned away her red flags. Hank was magnetic and hypnotic. he was very obviously incredibly intelligent. He spoke at great length about his job as an engineer, his fluency in multiple languages and his love of traveling. Robyn felt almost immediately hooked. His life seemed so full of adventure! She couldn’t believe he would even be interested in a woman like her. Robyn felt obligated to put her squeamishness out of her mind. What a silly thing! She would look for any reason to ruin something with a perfectly nice guy.
As time went on, Robyn realized that Hank was going on and on about himself. He was handsome, charming, and charismatic but he seems to like no other topic of conversation better than his own life. He spoke at great length about his incredible physique that he worked so hard on. He spoke about all his money. He spoke about all the things he loved doing and how perfect of a gentlemen he was. The longer the date went on, and the longer Robyn sat in silence, she began to realize there was most certainly a red flag here.
Hank was a narcissist! He hadn’t asked her a single question about herself the entire time. Robyn believed in revealing to her dates that she had twin girls once she could do it in person, but she hadn’t even been able to get a word in edgewise. She waited for a free moment to butt in, but Hank just kept droning on and on about himself. At least he told a compelling tale. Robyn wondered if it was all true. Hank was gesturing, varying his intonation and doing everything possible to make the story of his life seem like the most captivating tale in the world. All Robyn could think about was getting back to her girls and wanting the date to be over. They just didn’t click.
After around an hour of listening to Hank and after having gone through three different courses, Robyn decided it was her time to speak up. She couldn’t tolerate his blathering on for a moment longer.
“So… Hank… What would you like to know about me?” She tried to interject
Hank smirked and said in a half joking tone, “Got any kids?”
“Yes. Twin girls actually,” Robyn replied and then took a huge swig of her wine. She figured she would need it.
The look on Hank’s face visibly changed. He seemed to look absolutely disgusted at the notion of her having two children.
“So you’re married?” He asked. He smirked this time. He would have preferred Robyn being married than her having kids.
Robyn was starting to feel a bit awkward. “I was married. My husband is dead,” she said.
Hank seemed even more flustered and a red flush was starting to build in his cheeks. Why was he getting so emotional about this? Robyn wondered.
“So you’re not a virgin?” He asked Robyn. Now she was definitely weirded out. What a totally inappropriate question! Not to mention she was twenty-six years old. Robyn didn’t even know any virgins.
Robyn replied “I have twins.” What else could she possibly answer? How could a virgin give birth to twins…
“I see,” Hank said. His face twisted up in a scowl and he continued to eat in silence. Robyn didn’t know if she preferred the talking to the silence. To Robyn’s chagrin he was eating slower than ever now too! He seemed upset with her but he didn’t seem in any hurry to leave. And when the waitress came, Robyn expected him to ask for the check but instead he ordered them both two more courses. This was a living nightmare.
When the next courses came, Robyn realized why he had ordered them. He fully intended to torture her!
Hank began ranting about single mothers and how they were ruining society.
“So you’re one of these welfare bitches huh? How can I be sure you’re not lying to me about a husband. You’re probably just going to trap me with another kid right? You know, I should know never to meet dumb whores online,” he said with a mouth full of food. Robyn was horrified.
Did he just call me a whore?! She thought to herself, completely infuriated. This man was obviously unstable and she needed to play her cards right if she wanted to leave unscathed.
Robyn’s instinct was to simply flee. She was so humiliated! She was just terrified to leave out of fear that Hank would make this experience even more embarrassing for her. Robyn didn’t even want to touch her food. But when Hank loudly asked her if she was going to finish that, she felt like she had no choice. She couldn’t believe she had agreed to go on a date with a crazy person! The moment he found out she was a mother, he seemed to have made it his duty to torture and embarrass her publicly. She knew something had been off about him, but Robyn couldn’t have predicted this. He had seemed perfectly fine from his profile and their conversations before…
Hank’s rant continued:
“Yes… A huge drain on society with your little brats. You know, they’ll go to prison. Without a dad... a woman like you just can’t raise kids…”
That was the last straw. Social customs be damned, Robyn couldn’t take it anymore. She couldn’t listen to this man and felt her, her parenting, or single mothers everywhere. She wasn’t just standing up for herself. Robyn stood up and slammed her silverware on her plate creating a loud crashing sound that got the attention of everyone in the restaurant.
“Listen up Hank! I did not go on this date to be treated like trash by a good for nothing, narcissistic fool like you! If you don’t like single mothers, don’t date them. No one is forcing you to! But you know what I will force you to do? I’ll force you to pay for this stupid ass date that I completely regret agreeing to. Thanks for nothing! Bye asshole!” Robyn yelled.
She grabbed her purse and stormed out of the restaurant followed by a sea of applause. Apparently, everyone had heard all the cruel things Hank was saying to her and they were all on her side. He was the only one left embarrassed.
But when Robyn got into her car she couldn’t help but feel drained. It shouldn’t have to be like this. Dating shouldn’t have to be this complicated. She drove her car a little ways down the street just to get away from the restaurant, but then she pulled over. Robyn buried her head in her hands and she began to cry. She felt like she would never find love if the world was filled with assholes like that. This would be the last date she would ever go on with some douche bag from the Internet!
When Robyn returned home, her house was just as empty as when she had left it. She hated to admit it, but she felt the sharp absence of her twin girls. Sure, it had only been for a few hours but after what she had just experienced she needed them now more than ever. The twins didn’t realize it, but their mother relied on them for motivation to keep going.
Robyn didn’t need some stupid guy getting to her like that. What did he know about being a single parent, far less single mother? She faced so much hate in society… Robyn knew she faced more hate than most because of her race too. The darkness of her skin and the slightly lighter skin tone of her two girls made her point of targeted gossip for everyone around. Her twin daughters’ eyes looked more like their Korean father’s too.
People asked all kinds of offensive questions. They asked if her daughters were really hers. They asked if she was their nanny. Someone had even asked her if she kidnapped them! Sometimes being a black woman in this world felt like it was only pain. And now, Robyn felt like she had no one who could really understand her. Sure, she had her dad but that wasn’t all she wanted out of life.
She wanted someone to love her. She wanted someone to start a family with. When she was young and foolish, she thought that person would be Minjun. But he hadn’t been the guy she thought he was. And now he was dead anyways so there was no chance of that ever working out to be the fairytale she had hoped for. Robyn almost felt like giving up on the concept of love and getting a fat cat.
Why did you abandon me Minjun? Robyn was forced to ask herself. She just couldn’t seem to stop crying as she sat all alone in that empty house. Where were the girls? They had just gone to Six Flags but it was starting to get late. She hoped that Ivan hadn’t gotten himself into any trouble with them.
If you enjoyed this romance novel excerpt and you would like to dive into another one, check out Love Over Envy by Jamila Jasper. Click here to check out your free sample!