Valentine's Day had come and both of the couples in our group had plans for the day. Kevin and Robin had an early romantic dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in the city and then went to a big Valentine's ball at the Plaza, New York City's grandest hotel. Kevin never told us how he scored an invitation.
Marshall spent the day practically worshipping Lily. First, he made her breakfast in bed and continued by giving her a shoulder massage, leg massage, and a foot massage. He did all of the chores which Lily usually did, including the cooking, so that she could just sit back and relax. Finally that evening, Marshall took Lily to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, something she's always wanted to see. Marshall did amazingly well after all the freaking out he did two days ago.
All I did that day was hang around my apartment and watched every Star Wars movie back to back, while I waited for your Uncle Barney to call me with information about my set up with who seemed to be the perfect girl. The date never happened. Barney never called, nor did he answer his phone whenever I tried to call him. The truth was, I hadn't talked to him since the other day. It didn't make a whole lot of sense the more I thought about it that night while I waited for the others to join me at MacLaren's for drinks. They all showed up by quarter to midnight.
"So you never heard from Barney at all today?" Lily asked as they all sat down in their booth. "I haven't heard from him since he told us about his clown date. I really wanted to know how that went."
"Maybe the clown went all psycho on him," Marshall said as I shook my head in answer to Lily's question about whether or not I have spoken with him. "Maybe Barney's trying to hide from her after she tried to attack him and he's currently on the run."
I joined in the conversation as I responded, "If Barney was trying to hide from a psycho clown, he would have come to us for help. Unless, he hired friends in the CIA to protect him, in which case he wouldn't be able talk with us. We have no idea what kinds of things he's really capable of. He's so secretive about his job and the things he does when he's not with us."
Robin spoke up finally saying, "Guys, this is ridiculous! Barney has never gone this long without at least talking to one of us, even if it's just on the phone."
"I'm sure that he's fine," Kevin replied. "He's probably just depressed that he couldn't score a hot chick for tonight. He could be having a run of bad luck."
"Kevin's probably right," Marshall agreed. "He'll be in touch when he's ready. What do you say we get ourselves a round of drinks?"
Valentine's Day ended just as any other typical day, with all of us sitting together in our usual spot, with a round of drinks. The only difference was that Barney wasn't there with us and deep down the four of us couldn't shake that something was going on with him. However, it wasn't until a week later that I went into GNB for a meeting with one of my bosses in charge of my building that I discovered Barney had quit his job.
I called up Marshall after I finished my meeting to tell him the shocking news and that my boss had assigned me to work with a new supervisor. He then proceeded to call up Lily, who in turn called up Robin. We decided that night to go by his apartment to find out once and for all what was going on. Marshall, Lily, Robin, Kevin, and I got together after we all finished with work and headed to Barney's apartment, not knowing what we were going to find. None of us knew that Kevin already knew what was troubling our crazy friend. We made our way up to his apartment and I knocked on his door three times, each time a little louder.
I was about to knock again, when I was interrupted by someone, as he walked over to us and asked, "You guys are friends of Barney Stinson?"
I answered, "Yeah, we haven't seen him for a while. Do you know where he is?"
"I help to manage this building," the man responded. "I don't know where he's at, but I'm afraid to tell you that he's moved out."
"Moved out?" I asked shocked. "You mean he moved out of this building?"
The manager shook his head and glumly and replied, "I mean out of the city. He didn't say why, but I could tell he was pretty upset. I've never seen him like that before."
Robin looked down as tears welled up in her eyes and asked angrily, "Why would Barney suddenly pack up everything and move away without telling us? What could possibly be going on? Did we do something?"
I answered, "Maybe we did. I mean, it took us a week to come and find him. Maybe he felt we didn't care enough about whatever it is he's going through and decided to leave, but that doesn't explain what made him up and quit his job. And he wouldn't just leave without talking to us first."
"Before he left, Barney asked me to let you guys into his apartment because he left a few things for each of you," the manager said. "He's left this apartment to a Robin and Kevin for their new home. Rent is covered through the end of the year. Maybe the rest of the gifts will explain a few things for you. Here are the keys. I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Let me know if there's anything I can do for you."
"Barney's left us his apartment?" Robin asked sadly.
As they slowly walked inside and looked around, Marshall responded, "It looks like he's left us everything of his, including his giant television; everything except for his suits."
I went to the closet and replied, "Not all of them. It looks like he's left you and me a few of our own. Our names are on them and he's left you and Lily a new bassinette for your baby."
"Oh!" Lily and Marshall cried in unison as I pulled the bassinette out for them.
The bassinette was a light blue and it had pictures of teddy bears all around it. Inside the bassinette we found a bunch of stuffed animals and toys Barney had gotten them for their son. It was all perfect and Marshall and Lily were openly weeping. My name was also on Barney's storm trooper costume he kept in the corner.
Then, Robin looked down on the coffee table in the center of the apartment and found a box with her name on it, as well as a letter that was addressed to all of us. She handed me the letter to read out loud and then slowly unwrapped and opened her gift as I began to read.
The letter said, "Dear Friends, I'm sorry that I left so abruptly without saying goodbye. The truth is, I knew that I wouldn't be able to leave if I faced you. I guess that makes me a coward, just like I was many times before. I know that you wouldn't understand why I had to leave and I can't tell you the truth, but know that this is all for the best.
Each of you are about to accomplish something spectacular and wonderful in your lives. Lily and Marshall, you're about to have your first child. He's going to be perfect! Just be sure to buy him his first suit for when you take him out for the first time to show him off to people. You know my suit guy. He'll be a legendbaby!
Robin and Kevin, congratulations on your engagement! I'm sorry if I ruined the surprise for everyone else in case you haven't told them yet. I hope the two of you will be truly happy and enjoy the apartment. Robin, I left you something extra. It's something I've been working on for a long time and would have been a shame to not give it to you. This charm bracelet once belonged to my mother, but I've replaced the charms with different memories we've had over the years. I hope you like it."
I paused as I looked over at Robin, who was crying softly as she turned the bracelet around in her hands. There was a charm of both the American flag, as well as the Canadian flag in memory of him trying to prepare her for her American citizenship and in honor of her gaining her dual citizenship. None of us really knew what the other charms symbolized for her, but we could all see that she understood and was deeply moved.
I continued, "And finally Ted, I want to thank you for being my best friend, no matter how many times I've complicated your life. Most of the time, I was the worst friend ever and yet you were always there for me. I can't thank you enough, except for by giving the number at the bottom of this letter. It's for the woman I told you about the other day. I'm sorry it's late. I promise you she really is the perfect girl for you."
And kids, it turns out that she really was the perfect girl for me. She turned out to be your mother. I just didn't meet her until later down the road at a wedding due to circumstances that I will tell you about in a little while, but first I need to finish the letter and a few other things.
The end of the letter reads, "I want you to know I am thankful to all of you for being my friend for so many years. There will never be anyone else in my life like you. Take care of yourselves and each other and please forgive me for not being able to tell you why things have to be this way. Do not ever forget me. On second thought, who am I kidding? Like you could. I am too awesome to forget! Sincerely, Barney Stinson."
"This sucks!" Lily cried out. "We can't just accept all of these wonderful gifts and let him leave our lives forever. He means too much to us. We need to find him and drag him back here even if he starts kicking and screaming. We need to do for him, what he did for me when I left for San Francisco."
"I think you all should to respect his wishes and maybe one day he'll come back on his own," Kevin said as he finally spoke up.
Marshall shook his head and responded, "No! Lily's right. We need to find him. I can't accept that he's just gone."
Lily continued, "We need to know what we've done to chase him away."
"I think I know why he left," Robin quietly said sadly. "This is all my fault."