Despite chastising myself for my raging crush (because how could I like someone after last time? And either way, why would he be interested in me?) we agreed to do the same again the next Friday night. I hoped that repeated exposure might dull the butterflies I was feeling – but I also knew I was far too excited about seeing him.
We didn’t even put a film on this time, just talked about anything and everything. The more we talked, the more I couldn’t believe I’d never known more about him. He was witty and ambitious and the most considerate, rationally minded person I’d met in a long time. I spent hours pouring my heart out, finally telling someone that despite everything I had hopes and dreams and wanted to look to the future, and he spent hours proving that he could listen to understand, instead of just to respond.
Through the course of the night my best friend came to know that we were spending time together. She was less than impressed. She warned me not to jump into anything, and reminded me of all that had happened in the past year. I felt guilty; perhaps she had a point. At the same time I felt indignant; just because I liked him didn’t mean that anything was going on, and it felt a little unfair that she had jumped to that conclusion. I brushed it off, and continued to bounce ideas off of my new companion.
The middle of the night had crept in on us again, and despite my best efforts I was falling asleep. Sensibly, he suggested that I should get some sleep. I glanced skeptically at the clock, attempting to suggest that it was still early, but doubt about him driving home this late set in. Reluctantly I had to make an admission: between neighbourhood disturbances and harrowing nightmares, I had taken to avoiding sleep.
Without any judgement, awkwardness or hesitation, he offered to stay with me. “No funny business – purely platonic.”
Be it through sheer exhaustion or perhaps because I didn’t sense anything threatening in his suggestion, I agreed. He didn’t disappoint; we slept, with no inappropriate touching, no interruptions, and for the first time in months, no nightmares.
Waking up beside each other didn’t feel strange either, just calm. It wasn’t until he left that a strange knot formed in my stomach; I felt as though I had done something wrong. While nothing untoward had happened, I didn’t feel confident telling my best friend. Since when do ‘just friends’ sleep in the same bed? Maybe she was right. Maybe this was a thing…