Incoming message: Why are you still up?
Reply: First of all, how did you know I was up, and why are YOU still up?
Incoming message: It’s three hours earlier in Cali, remember?
Reply: Right. I forgot. How is it?
I lived across the hall from Alex and had for a little more than five years. And for the majority of that time we had been friends, good friends, on the edge of more than friends at times. But he had a girlfriend and I had a boyfriend and even though Brian was more serious than I was I was definitely committed to the relationship. But there was always something about Alex that I couldn’t shake, something that made me daydream about him, something that made me want to make a voodoo doll of his girlfriend and something that I loved more than anyone I’d ever known.
Incoming message: I’m bored. You should have come.
Reply: Yes well…
Incoming message: How is lover boy anyway?
Reply: Can we just not?
Alex never understood why I was with Brian even though he was the one that introduced us at a Halloween party the first year we knew each other. I learned later that they weren’t really friends and that Brian had come with another friend and Alex was just being nice but Brian and I actually had a lot in common and since I didn’t know a lot of people I didn’t hesitate to say yes when he asked me to coffee the next day. When we started dating Alex let me know exactly how he felt about it but since he had some supermodel’s arm draped around him at the time I didn’t really think too much about it.
Incoming message: Sorry. But really, why are you up so late? It’s after 1…
Reply: Trying to get some work done.
Incoming message: And how’s that going?
Reply: It was good until someone distracted me… ;-)
Incoming message: I’ve tried to tell you before that I’m a bad influence.
Reply: That you are. How’s whatshername?
Whatshername was Kallie Lincoln, the latest supermodel in a string of supermodels he’d dated or hooked up with since I’d known him. It was easy for him since he was a fashion photographer and didn’t have to look far for his next piece of arm candy but he wasn’t serious about any of them from what I could tell. That is, until Kallie. They were in California visiting her parents and it was definitely the longest he’d been with anyone since I’d known him, which was somewhere in the neighborhood of eight months.
Incoming message: Why do we do this?
Reply: Do what?
Incoming message: Pretend to like these other people in our lives when we feel the way we do about each other…
Reply: It’s way too late for this conversation.
Incoming message: I agree. We should have had it about four or five years ago but instead we just keep dancing around it and pretending what’s there really isn’t there.
Reply: I can’t do this right now.
Incoming message: Then let’s do it when I get back. Because it’s gone beyond the ridiculous.
Reply: Maybe…but what about lover boy and whatshername?
Incoming message: You don’t really love him, do you?
Reply: I’m not in love with him if that’s what you mean. You?
Incoming message: I’m barely in like.
Reply: And yet you went with her to California.
Incoming message: It’s hard to resist 70-degree weather in January.
Reply: And your supermodel girlfriend in a bikini.
Incoming message: Not even dignifying that with a response.
Reply: Which just means I’m right.
Incoming message: You don’t know everything.
Reply: I know most things.
Incoming message: I’d love to refute that but I just can’t.
Incoming message: I miss you. It’s been too long.
He’d actually been gone a month and I hated it. He had a shoot on some island and then met Kallie in California and wasn’t due back for another week or two from what I remembered. He was quite often gone for several weeks at a time and I missed him every day. When he was in town we saw each other nearly every day, even if it was just a quick hi on the way in or out of the building. But we made an effort to hang out a couple of times a week for dinner or a movie or both and I missed those moments.
Reply: And whose fault is that?
Incoming message: Yes, yes; I know it’s mine. Blah blah blah.
Reply: As long as you know.
Incoming message: I promise to remedy that soon.
Incoming message: Really.
Incoming message: You should go to bed.
Reply: I should do a lot of things that I don’t do.
Incoming message: What else?
Reply: Too many things to list.
Incoming message: Just give me one.
Reply: You’re sort of demanding tonight.
Incoming message: :-| Would you PLEASE give me one?
Incoming message: Yes, I’ve been told.
Reply: Ha ha.
Incoming message: Well?
Reply: Fine. I should go to bed.
Incoming message: I already know that one. Nice try though.
Reply: Stop being so smart.
Incoming message: That is just impossible.
Reply: Fine. I should admit that Brian and I are just biding our time. I should quit my job and hunker down and write this book I keep talking about. I should tell my sister about her husband’s affair. I should tell my mom that we all know she’s a lesbian and she should stop trying to hide it. I should stop pretending that I don’t love meat because I really, really love it. I should stop trying to be a size anything in single digits. I should go to more games and concerts and malls. I should stop trying to be someone I’m just not. I should admit that I don’t really like to travel and I’m just as happy sitting home watching TV as I am doing anything else. I should just admit that you’re the one I’ve loved since I don’t even remember when and that I miss you so much it hurts. And I should really stop talking…typing…
I hit send before I could think too much about it and decided, for once in my life, to just let the chips fall where they may.
Incoming message: I’m coming over.
Reply: Very funny.
It wasn’t so funny when I heard a light knock on the door two minutes later. Had I really just told him I loved him? And was he really at my door even though he was supposed to be in California with his girlfriend? I would not have been so forthcoming if I knew he was just across the hall. I pulled a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt and pulled on some pajama pants then walked toward the door when whomever was on the other side knocked again. I looked through the peephole and sure enough, Alex was there.
"Am I hallucinating?" I asked before opening the door.
"I assure you I’m very real," he smiled.
I took a deep breath and put my hand on the knob hoping I was really ready for whatever was about to happen. I unlocked the deadbolt, unhooked the chain then turned the knob and pulled. “Aren’t you supposed to be elsewhere?” I asked as I leaned against the door and looked into his chocolate brown eyes.
"No," he smiled as he stepped toward me and put his hands on my cheeks. "I’m supposed to be right here."
I sighed and looked down as I put my hands on his. He leaned in and kissed my forehead and I closed my eyes and wrapped my fingers around his. “Alex.”
"I came home tonight after Kallie decided she wanted to stay in California and didn’t particularly care if I stayed with her or not. So that’s over."
"Well, Brian and I are still…"
"I know," he said as he pulled my hands down and held them tight. "But I need you to know that I’m ready to make this happen whenever you are."
I smiled and squeezed his hands and felt as right about things as I’d ever felt. I was tempted to invite him in so we could talk but it didn’t seem right since I was still technically committed to Brian even though I would have called and broken things off right then if I thought he would have been awake. But of course I knew he went to bed at 9:30 as he did every night except Fridays, which was our primary date night. I’d gotten used to it and many times I hung out with Alex late into the night because of it.
"Now, I’m going to go and you’re going to go bed and then we’re going to talk about all of this after you talk to Brian. And Abbie? I want this to be right for both of us so I will wait for you to tell me when it is." I nodded and he started to pull away but I squeezed his hands and pulled him back.
"I’m a little overwhelmed right now but please know that I want this to be right too and I won’t make you wait forever."
"I know," he smiled then leaned in and kissed my forehead again. "Goodnight, Abbie."
He pulled away then walked into his apartment and we closed our doors at the same time. I knew there was a very slim chance that I was actually going to sleep but I did stop working and crawled into bed to make the attempt. An hour later I just got up, went back to my work then got in the shower a few hours later and went to the office. I smiled at Alex’s door on my way out of the building and guessed he was sleeping very well.
Thankfully I had a very busy day at work to distract me from my life but as the end of the day neared and I was just an hour away from meeting Brian for dinner I started to get nervous and actually had to run to the bathroom to throw up. I pulled it together after rehearsing my break-up speech then hopped in a cab and headed to the restaurant.
It was hard to believe that we’d been together for almost five years and hadn’t really progressed that far in our relationship. I suppose it was just a convenience and we really did like each other and enjoyed hanging out. It was just very routine and if I wouldn’t have had Alex to mix up the rest of my life with I probably would have ended things much earlier.
I chatted with the hostess when I walked in, a young woman I’d come to know over the last year and a half since it’s where Brian and I met for dinner every Wednesday night. She told me Brian hadn’t arrived yet which was actually very unusual because he always and I mean always beat me there. I double-checked my watch and continued to wait while my level of worry increased. He hadn’t called and the two calls I made to him went straight to voice mail. I was just about to leave when he blew in like he’d been running for 23 blocks.
"I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry," he breathed and bent over to try to catch his breath. His hair was all crazy and he looked like he’d been up for days.
I waited until he stood up then looked at him and saw the red eyes and haggard expression. “Would you rather not do this tonight?” I asked.
"No, no, we need to," he insisted and a few minutes later we were seated at our usual table, in the corner by the window.
"Brian, what’s going on?"
"I’m afraid if I tell you it’s going to ruin dinner."
The only other time I’d ever seen him like that he told me he’d kissed a co-worker at an after-work party and as I recalled that moment from three years earlier it occurred to me that maybe something similar, or possibly worse, had happened.
"I think you better just tell me," I said then closed my menu and folded my hands on it.
"Right, okay, here it is." He closed his own menu then folded his hands in a mirror image of mine and continued. "I think I’ve fallen in love, no, I know I have." I was stunned. "But it’s not what you think." I raised an eyebrow. "Okay, this is…well, it’s hard to say because I do care so much about you and don’t want to hurt you." He put one of his hands on mine for a second then pulled it back. "The thing is, I found out that I have a kid and for the past few days I’ve just been trying to work it all out."
I honestly didn’t know what to say. We’d never slept together and that was primarily because he said he wanted to wait until he was married, which was fine with me because even though I wasn’t a virgin it had been a long time and I wasn’t really interested in doing it just to do it. I wanted to know it was for sure and I never quite felt that with Brian.
"I know this is a lot to take in especially considering…"
"…the fact that you told me you were a virgin?" I interrupted.
"Yeah," he said and looked down, unable to maintain eye contact. A moment later he looked back up. "And it was just the one time all those years ago and I never knew anything until I got the call on Sunday that she was quite ill and wanted to make sure I knew before things got worse."
"Hang on," I said and leaned forward. "Are you telling me that this didn’t just happen recently? That it was actually several years ago?" He nodded. "Several years ago as in the time you told me you kissed your co-worker and we went to counseling and I forgave you?"
"Yes," he admitted and then I was seriously angrier that he lied than I was that he had slept with the girl.
"Wow," I sighed and leaned back. "Stupid, stupid me."
"No, no," he said and reached for my hands again but I pulled them back. "Oh, Abigail, I’m so, so sorry. I never meant for this to happen."
"No one ever does."
"But you have to understand, she’s dying, and I have to take care of Jenny. The baby. Well, she’s almost three."
"Where is she now?"
"My mom flew in to help." I nodded. "I just need some time to figure this out and see where she fits in with us and…"
I interrupted him with a laugh. “Us? Do you really think there’s going to be an us after this?”
"I…well I guess I just thought…"
"Brian," I smiled and leaned forward. "Forgetting all of this for a minute, can you honestly say you think we’re meant to be together forever? Can you sit there and honestly tell me you’re in love with me?"
He thought about it for longer than someone should have to if the answer is yes then leaned back and sighed. “How did we let it get this far?”
"I don’t know. I guess it was just easy. But the truth is, Brian, I had planned to break things off tonight because I do think there’s someone else for me, someone I’m actually in love with, and I think we both deserve the chance to be truly happy, don’t you?"
"It’s Alex, isn’t it?" I didn’t say anything but I was sure he could read it all over my face. "I always wondered about you two. You just seem to complement each other so well, better than we ever did…not that I haven’t enjoyed all the time we’ve spent together…"
"No, I know," I assured him. "We’ve had some very good times, but there really hasn’t ever been a lot of passion."
"No, I guess not."
We sat in silence for a few moments and it wasn’t awkward but I did feel a little sad. I mean it was five years of my life and I knew I probably needed to mourn it at some level. Still, I mostly wanted to get back to my apartment and tell Alex I was ready.
"So should we just go?" he asked.
"Probably, but I’m starving and I think we can have a friendly dinner, don’t you?"
"I, well, I should probably…"
"Right…the baby…" It was at that moment I felt totally replaced and a tiny bit brokenhearted.
"I’m sorry too," I said. "We probably should have figured this out a long time ago. Maybe you could have had something with Jenny’s mom."
"I don’t know about that, but I have the chance to be a dad now and I’m not going to mess that up."
"Good for you," I smiled.
We stood up and shared a goodbye hug and even a sweet kiss then he turned and walked away and I sat back down and tried to process everything that had just happened. I ordered dinner then ate by myself while all the thoughts of our five years ran through my head. It really hadn’t been bad and while I did feel the loss I also felt a little excitement about starting something new, something that I’d really already started. Still, I didn’t want to just throw myself at Alex so instead of taking a cab back home I walked and took the very scenic route so that I didn’t get home until sometime around 11.
I decided to take the night to myself and not reach out to Alex even though his door was very tempting. I took a nice long bubble bath then crawled into bed around midnight and switched on my computer but quickly shut it off when I saw that Alex was online.
I cried a little as I drifted off to sleep then woke up a few hours later and got ready for work. Unlike the previous day the hours dragged on and by the time we hit lunch I felt like I’d been there for 13 hours. The afternoon went by a little more quickly but it still took far too long for the day to end and I was so tired when it did that I went straight home, skipped dinner, crawled into bed and fell asleep before 9 o’clock.
When Friday dawned I woke up, yawned and stretched and felt as rested as I had in months. Fridays were my work-from-home days which usually meant I had breakfast with Alex, when he was in town, met my friend Trish for lunch, then had a date night with Brian. And yeah, somewhere in there I did a little work. But Trish was out of town and Brian was gone so that left me pretty much the whole day to spend with Alex. And I was ready.
Message to Alex: Breakfast?
Incoming message: I thought you’d never ask.
Reply: Come over in an hour.
Incoming message: How ‘bout you come over here for a change?
Reply: Are you having breakfast catered?
It was a well-known fact that Alex didn’t cook, which is why we always ate at my place.
Incoming message: First of all, mean, and second of all, I’ll never tell. :-D
Reply: First of all, reality, and second of all, I’ll get it out of you one way or another. ;-)
Incoming message: I’m not sure I can wait an hour…
Reply: 30 minutes…
Incoming message: Better…
I jumped in the shower and got ready as fast as I ever had. I didn’t want to look over-eager but I did take a little time to make sure my hair looked just right and I made sure I shaved my legs and put on my best underwear. It’s not that I was necessarily expecting anything to happen but I didn’t want to be unprepared. Twenty-nine minutes later I knocked on his door and realized I hadn’t stopped smiling since I’d woken up.
"Hi!" he beamed when he opened the door.
"Hi," I grinned and he reached for my hand then led me inside where I saw a table set with candles, even though it was broad daylight outside, a variety of food and even what appeared to be mimosas. It was like no breakfast or any other meal we’d ever had together. "You did all this?"
"I told you I wasn’t telling," he smiled then pulled out a chair and I slid in.
"We’ll see," I teased as I put my napkin on my lap and took the mimosa he handed me. He sat down and poured one for himself then held it up across the table.
"A toast," he started and I raised my glass to meet his. "To beginnings." I smiled and touched my glass to his then we both blushed as we sipped. Okay, I may have actually downed the glass as opposed to sipping, which made me a tiny bit lightheaded. I was more nervous than I would have expected to be. "You okay?"
"Just drank that a bit too fast. But yes, I’m okay. More than okay. Though I don’t want to go crazy here."
"We’ll just take it all as it comes," he said while pouring me another drink and I smiled as I took a small sip then set it down. "So…not that I want to dwell on the past but how did things go with Brian?"
I sighed and still felt a tinge of heartbreak as I leaned back in the chair. “They went,” I said. “Can we just not talk about it?”
"But things are over, right? I mean you said you were ready so I just assumed but…"
"No, they are. It just…it didn’t go exactly like I’d planned in my head." I suddenly felt like I wanted to run back to my apartment and crawl back into bed. It’s not that I didn’t want to be there but the timing just seemed off and I hated the feeling.
"You know what?" he said then stood and put his hand out to me. I took it and stood up next to him. "I think this is all a bit much this morning. Let’s go get a bagel down the street."
"Really?" I smiled and realized just how overwhelmed I’d been feeling since I walked in. "I mean this is so nice but…"
"It’s too much, I know," he smiled. "And it’s not really us, is it?" I shook my head. "Come on," he grinned as he held my hand tight and led us to the door. He grabbed his keys and wallet and we walked into the hall where we ran flat into Brian. And he looked awful.
"Brian? What are you doing here?"
"She died," he said then broke down in tears and I couldn’t help but wrap my arms around him. "I’m sorry, I just…I needed someone to talk to and it seemed like maybe we could still do that…I don’t know…"
"Okay," I said, not really committing to whether or not we could make talking a regular thing but not wanting to seem cold and mean either.
He regained a little control and pulled away then realized Alex was there. “Oh, right,” he said as he looked back and forth to him and then me. “Did I interrupt something?”
I said no and Alex said yes and the whole moment became uncomfortable. “Abbie, why don’t you just let me know when you’re free,” Alex said then turned back into apartment and it was like someone had stabbed me in the heart. His face was full of disappointment and maybe even a little sadness and I felt awful.
"I’m sorry," Brian said. "I can just go."
"No," I said. "Come in and I’ll make you some coffee and you can tell me all about it." I looked back at Alex’s door before I closed mine and hoped I hadn’t just ruined everything.
I busied myself in the kitchen with coffee and toast then sat down across from Brian at the table and just listened as he told me so much more than he had when we’d met for dinner. I learned he’d actually been in touch with the woman over the years though she’d never told him about the baby. A few months after their one-night stand she’d transferred to another branch of the company across the country. Most of their contact was work-related but he admitted that they’d had some personal conversations too. It hurt to hear but mostly I just felt bad for him and the fact that he’d never really get to know the mother of his child.
We talked for nearly three hours and I realized that we actually were good friends, better friends than we probably ever were boyfriend/girlfriend, and by the time he left I knew we’d still talk here and there. He felt bad that he’d interrupted Alex and me but I told him it was fine even though I wasn’t really sure it was. I hugged him goodbye and thought about just running right across the hall but decided to give it a little time and actually sat down and started to work. Less than an hour later, somewhere around 3 in the afternoon, I got a panicked call from the office and actually had to go in. I didn’t even bother getting dressed in work clothes just roamed into the office in the shorts and sweatshirt I’d changed into after my day had been flipped on its side.
"Bad day?" one of my colleagues asked as I walked toward my office.
"I just don’t know why no one else can find anything," I lamented. "It’s really not a hard system."
"Yes well, we’re not all as smart as you," he said and I knew he was kidding but it stung for some reason and I nearly cried. "Hey, are you okay?"
"No, but it’s fine. Let me just find this and get out of here before I have some sort of emotional crisis."
I showed him exactly where the case file was and re-explained the filing system for what felt like the 300th time. To be fair, we’d just changed things around a month or so earlier and it wasn’t rocket science but everyone was struggling with it and I was moments away from hiring someone to switch it back even though I knew the new way made so much more sense.
"Oh, Abigail," my boss said and I cringed when I turned around because she wasn’t supposed to be in and had I known she was I would have dressed appropriately. "I didn’t know you were here." She looked me up and down. "Why are you here?"
"Rodney couldn’t find the Mantis file and apparently neither could anyone else and it was a complete crisis."
"Of course it was," she sighed and rolled her eyes. "I don’t know why you didn’t just ask me," she said to Rodney who was still standing behind me. "The filing system’s not that hard, people!"
My boss and I were totally in synch on the filing system, which I was so glad of since it was my idea.
"Are you okay?" she said to me and I shrugged and fought back the tears once more. "Come on," she said and put her arm around my shoulder and led me back to her office.
I actually loved my boss. She was a tough, tough lawyer that I would have never wanted to face in court but she was a great manager and mentor and I learned something from her every single day. She’d met Brian on many occasions and told me more than once she didn’t understand our relationship and one day I’d told her everything about Alex so when she closed her door and told me to sit I just started telling her what was going on.
"Well," she smiled as she leaned across her desk. "It sounds to me like you better do something pretty great for Alex when you get home."
"Got any brilliant ideas?"
"Well for starters you’re going to need a new outfit." I laughed. "Oh hey!" she said as if she’d remembered something brilliant. She opened her desk drawer and pulled out an envelope. "I’ve got tickets to the concert at The Garden tonight. Why don’t you take him?"
"You’re not going to go?"
The concert meant Billy Joel and I’d failed in my attempts to buy tickets and was basically salivating when she offered them to me.
"I think this is more important," she smiled. "Besides, I know Billy’s manager and I’m sure I can make a call."
"Of course you can," I smiled as I took the tickets. I didn’t need to look to know they were great seats. That’s just how Nancy rolled. "I can’t thank you enough. Maybe this will do it."
"And I know it’s a rock concert but really, Abigail, don’t wear that."
"Got it," I smiled.
"And if things go well," she grinned as we both stood. "Feel free to take Monday off."
"Nancy! What sort of girl do you take me for?"
"The best kind," she said and actually gave me a hug, which was very unlike her. "Look. I blew it with a guy years and years ago and while I’m incredibly happy with my life a day doesn’t go by that I don’t regret it."
"That, my dear, is a story for another day. And there will have to be alcohol involved." She winked and I smiled. "Now go."
"Yes, ma’am. Thanks again."
I felt a little giddy as I made my way home and reached out to Alex as I rode in the back of the cab.
Message to Alex: Hey.
Incoming message: Hey.
Reply: I’m sorry.
Incoming message: It’s fine.
Reply: I’d like to make it up to you. Are you free tonight?
Incoming message: Not sure.
Incoming message: I need to run right now. We’ll talk later though, okay?
The tears fell then and I was a mess by the time I actually got home. I practically ran to my apartment and collapsed on my bed and cried for longer than I care to admit. I got it together though because I wasn’t about to miss the concert. Before getting ready I put the second ticket in an envelope and wrote Alex a note.
I don’t know if you’ll even get this but I hope you do and I hope you’ll join me. I don’t know what to say about this morning but I know I can’t lose you and even if we can’t figure out how to get this, whatever it is, beyond friendship that will be okay. I just want you in my life.
Hope to see you…
I took another shower, got dressed in jeans and a v-neck tee that had some glam to it. I pulled on my black boots and my black leather jacket and considered myself ready to rock. He hadn’t called or messaged and before I left I stared at his door and almost knocked but instead just took a deep breath and walked out on my own.
When the lights went down and Billy’s arrival was imminent I was still by myself and while I knew the concert would be amazing I felt so sad. The intro music started and the crowd was crazy. The seats were on the front row and I forced myself to get into the frenzy and just put everything else on hold and it wasn’t that hard to do when Billy stepped on stage and sat down and started playing Angry Young Man. I was completely into the song when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I turned to see Alex and before I could say anything he pulled me into his arms and kissed me.
"I’m sorry," he smiled as I looked up into his eyes.
We turned back to the stage and I knew I owed Nancy big. The concert was amazing but I knew that what I would remember the most was the first time he kissed me and how it felt to have him next to me the whole night and how it meant so much more than anyone around us even knew.
I leaned into him as we walked out and I couldn’t remember a time when I was happier. I knew we still had a lot to talk about and that it wouldn’t all be like that night but I also knew we had an amazing chance to be together forever.
"How did you get these tickets anyway?" he asked as we walked out.
"Nancy," I smiled.
"I should have known. I’ll have to remember to thank her if I ever meet her."
"I think there’s a pretty good chance you’ll meet her," I smiled.
I closed my eyes as I leaned into his chest on the cab ride home and I was so happy we’d gotten through the awfulness of the earlier part of the day.
"We’re here," he whispered when the cab pulled to a stop. He kissed the top of my head before I moved and I knew I never wanted to love anyone else.
We walked into the building hand-in-hand and as we approached our apartments I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to happen. Part of me wanted to spend the night with him and part of me wanted to just kiss him goodnight and float back into my apartment on a cloud. I decided to let him take the lead.
"Well," he said as we stood in the hall between our doors. "Here we are."
"Yes," I grinned.
"I don’t really know what to do."
"Maybe you’d like to come in for some coffee?" I offered. It felt natural, which I thought was a good thing.
"I’m afraid if I come in I might never leave and I don’t want to rush any of this. I think I’d better just kiss you goodnight and tell you I’ll call you tomorrow."
I nodded knowing it was probably the best option. He put his arms around my waist and I slipped mine behind his neck and for a few moments we just stared into each others’ eyes.
"I had an amazing time tonight," he smiled.
"Let’s do it again tomorrow."
"I’m fairly certain Billy isn’t playing tomorrow," I grinned.
"Well, someone’s playing somewhere. We’ll figure it out."
"I believe we will."
He started to lean in and while his kiss earlier in the evening had been so spontaneous and took me by surprise I felt something so much more intense when his lips touched mine at that moment. His kiss was slow and his touch was just right and I thought my knees might give way.
"Goodnight, Abbie," he whispered after lifting his lips from mine.
He smiled then kissed my forehead and a few seconds later we closed our doors and I leaned back against mine with a happy sigh. I stayed there for a minute or two then wandered back into my apartment and got ready for bed. I lay wide awake with my eyes open for nearly 30 minutes then jumped when my phone vibrated on the nightstand.
Incoming message: You awake?
Reply: How could I not be?
Incoming message: Yeah.
I didn’t really know what to say. I wanted to invite him over or to ask him to meet me in the hall but nothing sounded right so I just waited until he sent another message.
Incoming message: You still there?
Reply: I am. Just thinking.
Incoming message: Uh oh.
Reply: Ha ha.
Incoming message: :-)
Reply: I don’t know what to do.
Incoming message: About?
Reply: Don’t play dumb, Alex Chambers. It doesn’t suit you.
Incoming message: There’s my Abbie. :-)
Reply: Your Abbie? ;-)
Incoming message: Yes. My Abbie. Don’t pretend you don’t love that.
Reply: I’m not pretending anything.
Incoming message: I think this is the best way we could have ended this night.
Reply: You might be right.
Incoming message: Might? Might????
Reply: Fine, yes. You’re right. You’re always right. Oh mighty one.
Incoming message: That’s better.
Reply: Is it weird that I miss you?
Incoming message: Is it weird that I want to ask you to marry me?
Reply: Is it weird that I want to say yes?
Incoming message: Is it weird that…you know what? I’m coming over…
I didn’t even bother replying just jumped up and ran to my door and pulled it open. His door opened a second later and as he stepped out and closed it I ran to him and threw my arms around him. He pulled me close then spun around as I buried my face in his neck.
"I am so in love with you," he breathed as he sat me back down.
"I love you too," I echoed.
"And I know we have a lot to talk about and figure out but right now, all I want to do is pull you close and kiss you and pretend nothing else exists."
"Why don’t you come with me?" I smiled then pulled him toward my apartment.
We fell asleep snuggled together on the couch, the retro movie channel playing in the background and our lives forever entwined.
© Carrie M. Medders