Last week we shared a prologue of how John and I came to be. If you missed it, catch up *here*. This week the story of our precarious beginning continues. You don’t want to miss this one!
After weeks of phone conversations, John suggested we meet for “dinner or something.” Meet? Why? I thought. Like a date? The suggestion caught me off guard. I had grown fond of him, but I never thought he would be interested in me. Furthermore, what would I tell my brother – remember he didn’t like John? Plus, wasn’t John “talking” to somebody?!? Let’s talk about that “somebody” for a minute.
But you say [s]he’s just a friend
John and I spoke and texted almost daily. I was getting very fond of him, but I knew I couldn’t get too attached. You see, early on, when he and I initially started talking, he had confided in me that he was “kinda involved” with someone else. He told me they had just recently started talking (just before I came into the picture), and it was still early. He insisted and assured me that they were just friends and had not DTR’d (Defined The Relationship). So technically he was fair game, right?. So why was I so cautious? Well, it’s because of who SHE was.
In the interest of discretion, I shall not use her real name. We shall call her…Regina (Any similarity in name to Rachel McAdams’ character in Mean Girls is coincidental.*fingers crossed). I can not believe that Mean Girls is already 16 years old, where has the time gone?! As someone who did not fit in and got bullied, that movie spoke to me. Anyway, I digress but not too far off because Regina was one of the cool kids that hang with John back in the day! Everybody knew she was into him, and eventually, the word was that they were an item. Interestingly, John denies this.
Joa…I mean Regina and I never dated. I knew she liked me, we exchanged naughty letters (Letters? I am dating myself here), but that was it. I was into somebody else. I guess I was too polite (or chicken) to tell Regina to leave me alone. Anyway, her parents were so strict that she never left the house. So, we never got to hang out outside of school.
Anyway, despite what he says, everybody from back then expected them to end up together. I did too! John once went to see her (she lives on the east coast), and they posted a picture together. That picture got soooo many likes and comments such as “finally,” and “we always knew…” It broke my heart. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself, back to the meetup request. Knowing Regina was in the picture meant that I was not going to put myself on the line.
Have you ever been in love with somebody you knew you could never have, or have back? It’s the worst feeling, isn’t it? I was determined not to go there. I could feel that John was the kind of person who would be hard to get over. “Don’t fall in love,” became my mantra when it came to him. It’s plain to see I failed miserably at that, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
I put off the meeting for as long as I could. I always had an excuse, which wasn’t difficult. We lived a couple of hours drive from each other, and I was in school and working fulltime. John persisted. Finally, I relented. Life is too short, I reasoned. I have always had a crush on this guy; why deny myself the opportunity to hang out with him? I thought. Furthermore, I am an adult; I can handle myself, I assured myself. But I was going to make sure it wasn’t a date!
This is NOT a Date
To make it a non-date, I brought a friend. We shall call her Fleabag (Again, any similarity…never mind). I could tell he was disappointed when I told him I was bringing a friend, but what he did next was pure genius. Knowing John now, I understand that that was a very John-like move. Wha’ ha’ happen’ was…hold up, let’s take this from the top.
John and I planned to meet at a café somewhere in between my place and his. The café was hosting an open-mic, spoken-word night. (Allow me to use the present narrative tense to take you back to my thoughts.) Perfect! We both love prose so we can listen and decipher and appreciate words without having to say too much ourselves. Less pressure to talk! He is okay with me bringing a friend, so this is definitely a non-date. Why am I paying so much attention to my appearance? For a non-date, this sure feels like a date. I am glad I am bringing Fleabag. Jeez! Why am I so nervous? Get it together, Sly!
My friend and I arrive early and find an awesome table close to the front. We both get martinis. I deliberately position myself to face the entrance so I can see him when he arrives. No shoulder tap surprise for this girl, I smile, pleased with myself. Fleabag catches me, smiling and teases me, “You look so happy, you are glowing!” Annoyed at myself for showing my eagerness, I mumble my protests and pick up my drink. Where is he?
10, 15 minutes go by. I can’t take my eyes off the door. I haven’t seen John in person for almost two decades. What does he even look like now? I start to pull up his Facebook profile page, but I am interrupted by the waitress. “How are you guys doing?” I fake a smile as my friend says we are okay. Thirty minutes go by, still no sign of John. My eagerness has turned to fury. How dare he make me wait!? I am incensed. “I am leaving!” I snarl. Fleabag protests. She is having a great time, she says. “He probably has a good reason for running late,” she argues.
I am rehearsing the telling-off I am going to give John and picturing my dramatic exit as I cut the date short and leave. Shit! Did I say date? Not a date, Fleabag is here, not a date. There he is!!! Oh my goodness, this man is gorgeous. Oh, he smells good too. What is he saying? He is apologizing for being late. “No problem! I exclaim, Fleabag and I are having a great time, we didn’t even notice! He is introducing me to somebody, a guy. WTF? Did he bring a friend too? He did! His friend slides up next to Fleabag, and John next to me. Then it sinks in; OMG, I AM ON A DOUBLE DATE!!!
Next time, John’s brilliant move pays dividends. The kiss. And Regina ruins everything (almost), plus family plays spoiler. Don’t miss it! Follow, subscribe, share the love.