Our platonic night was not the last time we would see each other for months – as I had expected. Quite the opposite, rather than keeping his distance from the strange girl who’s scared to sleep alone, we texted each other constantly from that night onwards. I scolded myself internally for grinning like a cheshire cat at my phone. I should have just dropped it and let the poor guy get on with his life; after all, what could I bring to the table?
My best friend asked questions. Short questions that suggested she already knew the answer. Thank god it was over text because if she’s mentioned me liking him to my face, the blush would have given it away immediately. Still, she reiterated that from her point of view, it looked like there was a thing.
What thing?? I racked my brains. A thing as in a crush? I couldn’t deny that. There wasn’t one thing yet that I didn’t like about him; from looks through personality, and my current favourite, intellect. A thing as in she thinks something happened between us? Well it didn’t. I mean, maybe sharing a bed isn’t a friend thing, but nothing else happened. I wish it had. Maybe that’s what she meant by a thing.
Once again we had agreed to see each other on Friday night, and at this point I felt like I had to justify seeing him every Friday. I was counting days, counting hours. I was head over heels infatuated and that responsible pain-in-the-ass voice in the back of my head warned me that some time soon I would have to crash back to reality. Begrudgingly, I decided it might be best to explain to him that I didn’t think we should see each other every week. I didn’t want to share my real reasons, but the fact that it could be misconstrued seemed like reason enough.
Friday evening came, replacing my rationality and confidence with shy glances and incoherent sentences. It took me a long time to bring it up. After a fit of laughter we collapsed onto the sofa, somewhat on top of each other, and rather than push me off he pulled me closer. It didn’t feel wrong, and I knew now was the time to point it out.
“Hey, you know that people think there is something going on between us because of… This? Right?” I murmured, almost hoping he wouldnt hear me.
“What people? There’s nothing going on. Is there?” he replied, completely nonplussed.
“Well…,” I named my best friend, and another friend who had made jokes about how much we were seeing each other. “They think that this is a thing.” I gestured at our tangled legs, before pressing my head a little further into his shoulder, knowing that this was the moment my indulgence would end.
“Would it be bad if it was a thing?” he asked, looking only the tiniest bit concerned.
The room spun around me. He couldn’t be suggesting…? I tried to explain. It wouldn’t be bad for me, of course. I quickly countered my admission; what would people say if I was seeing someone after everything that happened in my last relationship? What could someone as well-rounded and established as him see in someone as broken as me? What about my daughter and all the complications we were yet to face?
He just smiled. It felt like it took an eternity for the conversation to sink in. Eventually, in the dead silence of 2am, I got the message.
“So… This is a thing?” I whispered.
It turns out it is. We kissed. We smiled like idiots. We had established that we were, in fact, a thing, and that we would deal with whatever happened next as it happened. The murmurs of guilt and fears of judgement I felt up to that point were drowned out by his beautifully calm demeanor. It finally felt like something was about to go right.
And then there were two.