Barney only stared at Kevin, who appeared to be ignoring him for the moment, as he walked inside the store and headed toward the counter to speak with the store's sales associate. Barney began to walk toward the door to leave, while Kevin asked the woman behind the counter for the gift he had ordered ahead of time, but once she disappeared into the back room to go and find it, Kevin turned toward Barney, stopping him from exiting the store, but Barney kept his body and head turned away from him.
Kevin spoke up first as he asked, "What are you doing here?"
Barney answered, "I was just picking up a gift myself. Have fun tonight. I'm sorry I can't make it."
"Barney, listen," Kevin said as Barney started to leave the store once again. "I can't help, but notice that you have been uncomfortable and feeling awkward around our group lately. You've been a bit more distant. Don't get me wrong, you seem to be hiding it pretty well and the rest of the guys don't appear to have noticed, but I'm a therapist. I am very good at reading people."
"Yeah, well you are not my therapist, so don't try to get inside my head there, Doc," Barney replied a bit more hostile than he had intended. "My head will only make your head spin and you'll crack up. It ain't pretty. I'm sorry."
Kevin nodded and responded, "It's all right. Look, I know that something is going on between you and Robin. I can tell that you still have feelings for her, but she and I are really happy. Whatever happened between the two of you is over. I need you to understand that in case you're planning on giving her that gift you just purchased."
Barney looked down at his bag and answered, "This gift isn't for her. It's for my mother. I get her something every year for Valentine's Day since she has no one else. I promise you that nothing is going on between me and Robin; not anymore. We were a terrible couple. I'm just glad that she's finally happy again with someone, who deserves her. I am…"
Before he could finish, the sales associate came back with a small box in her hand and Kevin turned to speak with her as she spoke up saying, "I found your order, Sir. It is quite exquisite. Whomever you're about to give this ring to, is a very lucky lady indeed."
Barney finally looked up in shock as soon as he heard the woman mention the ring. His chest tightened and he suddenly couldn't breathe. The last time he even felt remotely like this was when I told him we were no longer friends, shortly after he had admitted to sleeping with Robin.
"Thank you very much," Kevin replied to her as she finished checking him out. "Have a nice evening."
"You bought Robin a ring for… for Valentine's Day?" Barney stuttered.
"Yes," Kevin answered firmly. "Robin and I are getting married."
Barney responded quickly, but firmly, "Listen to me, Kevin. I have known Robin for years. Believe me that if you ask her to marry you, you will scare her away and if you love her, as I can see that you do, you will not blow what the two of you have together. She doesn't deserve to be hurt again and this will hurt her."
Kevin replied a little too smugly saying, "We've already talked about it and she's agreed to be my wife. You are right, she was quite hesitant at first and I was almost afraid that we were finished, but I managed to change her mind after a long talk. I just had to agree to make it as long of an engagement as she needs. I only bought her this ring to make it official."
"This is really happening," Barney said almost in a whisper.
"Yes, this really is happening," Kevin answered. "Listen, I didn't want to say this, but I can see that you are still in love with her and I don't want you around to confuse her about her decision. She chose me. I am asking you to stop seeing her for awhile, at least until you can get over her for good, even if that means that you don't hang out with the group any longer. It's a terrible thing to say, but if you want Robin to be happy, you will do this. It is what is best for her."
Barney looked at Kevin despondently and nodded slightly, as he could no longer speak, turned to open the door, and slowly walked out. Kevin tapped the ring box lightly on the palm of his hand as he thought about the terrible things he just said to a man he somewhat considered a friend until now. He felt bad for hurting Barney, but he knew that those things needed to be said. He just wasn't sure how to explain his actions to Robin, Marshall, Lily, or I when the time came, but if he knew Barney as well as he thought he did, our friend would make it clear to us that his absence was of his own doing.
Shortly after six o'clock that same evening, Kevin walked into the burger joint evident only by a green door. The rest of us were already there and Lily was getting impatient waiting for Kevin to arrive. Once he finally did, she almost gave our waiter a heart attack when she growled angrily and yanked down on his arm to get his attention so that she could order.
As the waiter finished taking our orders and walked away, Lily looked at us sheepishly and said, "I'm hungry. I've been hungry a lot lately and short tempered too. I'm sorry, Marshmallow. Ooo, marshmallows. That sounds delicious! Marshall, we need to stop by the market on the way home to get a bag or two, or twelve."
Marshall nodded and replied, "Ok, Lilypad. How's it going, Kevin? Did you get whatever you needed in time?"
Kevin kissed Robin as he sat down at our table and then responded, "Yes, I did; piece of cake. So, did we decide what movie we're seeing tonight?"
"I wonder if Barney has met up with his clown yet," I said instead of answering Kevin's question. "Clowns are creepy."
"I know!" Robin said in agreement. "They have perverted grins and their laughs are annoyingly scary as hell. I had a dream once where…"
Marshall interrupted her as he replied, "No one wants to hear about another one of your twisted dreams or nightmares, Robin. Sorry, but they're just weird and sometimes disturbing."
Lily added, "They really are. Has Robin ever told you about her dreams, Kevin?'
"I stopped being her therapist before we got into them, thank goodness," Kevin answered.
"You're lucky," I responded. "But I'm sure that you'll hear some of them at some point. She might just be waiting to get to know you better before scaring you away."
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" Robin replied. "What about your twisted dreams you have of Barney? How many have you had now?"
Marshall smugly laughed as he asked, "You have dreams about Barney?"
I looked at Robin as I grumbled, "Robin, I thought I told you not to tell anyone about those?"
Robin answered, "Man up, Mosby! Don't dish it out if you can't take it."
"Fine!" I said childishly.
The waiter came and gave us their burgers, which we ate greedily, as we were all pretty hungry. When we finished, we left the restaurant and went to go see a horror flick that was playing. We were all in the mood for a laugh, knowing that the movie was going to suck and it totally did, but what made it worse was that the blood and guts splashing across the screen made Lily throw up; on me. I told myself to remember never to go see another horror movie with your Aunt Lily as long as she was pregnant.
Marshall took Lily home to take care of her, while Robin and I headed back to our place and Kevin back to his. I was anxious to take a shower and Robin was thinking about turning in early so that she wouldn't be so tired for work the next morning. Little did we all know that earlier that afternoon would be the last time we saw Barney for the longest period of time away from him.