"Don't you have a beer thing to go today." My sister asked.
"Yeah well, seeing as I told my friend (who will be referred to as JC) that I think I might have feelings for him and he just responded to it with, I'm ok with that, shit's awkward and I don't want to go."
"So you just aren't gonna go to a thing you paid to go to?" She asked.
"That's the plan." I said cuddling up with a blanket and putting on Netflix.
"Well that's a dumb plan. Have fun with your other friends at least."
"No. I'm gonna sit here and sulk."
"Fine, so it's ok if we leave the Ford parked behind you in the driveway, you are ok with that?"
"Go right ahead." I said watching tv, determined.
As she closed the door I felt a feeling of doubt come over me. Followed by the question in my head. Are you really going to let something like this stop you from having fun and making memories?
Two hours went by.
For two hours my brain told me how stupid I was being.
I looked at my phone and told all my friends I was on my way. I quickly grabbed my stuff, headed out the door, just as quickly I realized I was locked in the driveway, with no way out... Unless...I went over the front yard into the other person's driveway. I squinted my eyes determining the probability of pulling this off from my sisters stoop. cleared all the kids bikes, wagons and toy cars and made my way, like a crazy person, across her front yard in my car.
It took me all of ten minutes to realize that this event has been going on for two hours and there is probably no parking. Actually the group text from my friends had said as much. So I parked my car at the local grocery store. Told myself this is not meant to be, but the voice inside my head wouldn't shut up again. You gonna let this stop you now?
My godfather, Peter, actually lives right across the street from that grocery store. I decided to phone him in for help. He kinda chuckled and agreed to pick me up from the store and drop me off at the event. I figured one of my friends could give me a ride back to my car later.
On the way there the group told me there was no seating and reminded me that I was supposed to bring a blanket for the outdoor movie part of the event. After a good old facepalm, I asked my godfather to stop at Marshalls. He chuckled once again and was a sport about the whole thing. I ended up getting a blanket and chocolate covered oreos.
When I finally arrived I had that awkward moment I was dreading. But that's just what it was, a fleeting moment where my friend and I didn't know how to interact. I stayed close to the rest of the group and focused less on that.
Then you arrived. Instantly you went and started talking to JC, and I thought to myself just another person I am steering clear of. Instead I distracted myself with the girls, taking cute selfies and actually having fun. You asked if you could take the picture, seeing me struggle to accommodate all three of us in the frame. And I got pretty defensive and snippy, like a child with you.
"I'm actually very capable, and can fend for myself thank you very much." The second the words were out of my mouth I regretted it.
You ever think someone is cute, and then they talk to you and you panic? Yeah...It kind of happened without me realizing, and the only way to mask it was acting indifferent and totally in control. Two things I am absolutely not. But you smirked at me, and took a swig of your beer.
I still felt bad. So I told you I liked your shirt before running off with the ladies of the group. You and JC were left by your lonesome as the only other guys in the group had run into some old friends. From across the hop yard I looked at you and wondered if JC was telling you that I had recently admitted to having a crush on him (kinda...sometimes you think you like someone because you think they might like you). Just about the moment I started accepting that if, in fact that was happening, there was nothing I could do about it. Honestly who cares anyway I'd never see you again after this, but in that moment you looked right at me. I like any person snapped my head back and played it off. When I was confident it was safe to look again you were looking back at JC with a slight annoyed expression on your face.
Thank god I'm at a dang beer fest, I thought, I'm going to need a couple of drinks to pull me through the night. I saw JC in line for food, you were at another food truck, and I decided to try and move past recent events and have normal conversation. JC and I were very successful and before I knew it everything was back to normal. Then you walked over and stood awkwardly between JC and myself.
I really thought JC was gonna give you a segue into the conversation, out of the corner of my eye I could see you fiddling around with your cup. I'm pretty sure I paused conversation with JC at that point and turned to you and said:
"Mulan is such an under rated Disney movie, isn't it?" Yep. Pure genius conversationalist over here.
You laughed and nodded in agreement and mentioned Meg from Hercules was severely under-appreciated. I was literally so comfortable and in my element at that point.
"Right!" I agreed pointing at you and looking at JC as to convince him on an argument he wasn't even making. "Yo, she sold her soul to the devil for her boyfriend and he straight up ditches her, and then she moves on up to a half God."
You are laughing now and start asking me about shows and other movies I like, all the sudden JC is on the outside of the conversation. Sorry JC, but all I was thinking in my immature head was that I stole your friend. I liked you after that conversation.
I walked away though, and you followed. Oh no, I thought. No Jess, don't flatter yourself. there is no way he likes you, but then why is he following me? I needed reassurance that you didn't like me so while you continued to ask me things about myself I started telling you what a mess of a human I am, how I'm currently in this transitional stage of my life and how the absolute last thing on the planet that I needed was a relationship. You kinda blinked at me awkwardly and I excused myself to start watching the movie.
Well ya did it Jess, I thought to myself, now he knows you are a complete psycho and will steer clear.
You and JC ended up sitting right beside me on my blanket because y'all didn't bring your own. FANTASTIC I thought, why did I come here? I should have just stayed home.
The speaker was blasting right next to us and you two kept shouting to talk. I wanted to die. When you all got up to go I was relieved. But you stood in front of me.
"You want to come?" You asked.
"What to the bathroom? I figured you all had broken the seal. Very typical of my male friends.
What the hell, I thought, tonight can't get anymore strange. I agreed and you grabbed my hand to help me up.
I walked in silence next to you with my two guy-friends in front. I glanced back at my other friends who looked slightly perplexed, still sitting to watch the movie, and shrugged back at them. There was a commotion up ahead. A bunch of drunk girls tripping over the curb that was in front of the brewery. I, over here, hadn't even finished my first cup, so I was pretty confident I could stick my landing and make the step. You, however, had less faith in me, and told me to watch out, grabbing me at my waist. Were you flirting? Nope, I shrugged that thought off, he just thinks I'm incapable of walking.
It turns out we weren't going to the bathroom, we were going to the bar. You ordered everyone drinks except me. Which I kind of knew you realized too late as you stared at me mortified after handing out the cups. Someone please kill me, I'm stuck at a table of drunk, weird men. God didn't answer my prayers. Instead he mocked me by putting on the song over the radio that my first boyfriend had broken up with me to. JC knew I hated this song. I looked at him with pain of a thousand swords puncturing my heart.
"This song," I hissed at JC, who looked confused and horrified.
Apparently saving me from the curb wasn't enough for you. You saw me go nuts over the song and grabbed me. With your arm around my shoulder you said "I'm going to get her out of here."
I'll admit I was impressed by this ridiculous heroic effort. Even after you told me to wait, still listening to the song, because you were a diabetic (as you put it) and needed to use the bathroom.
You took forever but the song no longer bothered me, I was having fun with you. Who seemed to be completely ridiculous in a very charming way. When you came out of the bathroom you were ready to leave and you smiled at me. I didn't break it to you that my trauma segment had ended because I actually found myself wanting to be just with you.
We talked and you told me that you work with JC. I told you I had mixed feelings about him.
"I know, JC told me everything." You said.
I looked back at you mortified. "It's complicated."
"I figured, I also figured there was more to the story than he told me, or at least a different side."
I appreciated you so much for this. It was very mature of you to actually not pass judgment based on something you were told.
"What did he say? If you don't mind me asking?"
"He said that things were awkward because you were friends and you caught feelings, and he didn't."
"Yeah, pretty much, but I think he is leaving out a lot of context. Which is understandable." I said a little sad.
"Yeah well it sounded like a load of bullshit to me anyway, and there was no awkwardness that I observed." You smiled at me then and I felt completely comfortable with you. In that moment you became my friend.
On our way back inside I said something to you that you couldn't quite hear you tilted your ear down and pulled me from my waist into your side. It felt nice and I found myself resting my head into your shoulder. You were still in the friend zone, don't get me wrong, especially when you told me you were over a year younger.
"Ugh... I would never date someone younger than me."
"Really?" you asked annoyed.
"No that's weird."
"You know what's really weird?" You said pointing to me, "age discrimination."
I secretly loved how much I un-nerved you with this.
JC came back over to our table and I asked if he could give me a ride to my car at the end of the night.
"Nah I'll do it" you said looking right at JC.
In my mind you still had the potential for stranger danger. But the night was still young, we would see how things went. As we sat and talked about jobs, school, even religion, we got to know each other better. You ordered quite a few drinks for us and at certain point I had to draw the line. You did have to drive after all.
The shuttle came to drop people to the remote parking, that I hadn't known was available, and we both got on the last one to get to your car. All my other friends had parked in the main lot. They texted me to meet up at one of their houses nearby so we could eat and I assume for some, sober up. I had only had 3 drinks total and over a decent amount of time. You on the other hand...well I was worried about you.
The shuttle began to roll out. We were the only two on it. "You alright? You drank quite a bit at the end there." In fact it was the reason I was on this shuttle with him now. (He was responsible and asked if I felt comfortable driving his car to my friends at least, so he could wait out driving home.)
"Yeah I was trying to work up the courage to do something." He said looking at me nervously.
I gave him a strange look and looked away. He can't mean what I think he means.
I didn't flinch and kept looking away.
"Jess" he said a bit louder.
You're crazy, he doesn't like you that way...You just had this same mental issue with JC and you just met this guy today.
"Jess" he said again.
Impossible...But. He did ask for your number, and he did take a selfie with you.
Oh my God you are over thinking it just answer the damn boy.
"Yes" I said calm and composed, turning my head to look at him.
He looked sick, maybe worried, was he going to barf on me?
You didn't though, (thank god) you grabbed my face and kissed me.
And after several moments of initial shock, I kissed you back.
Well it was all butterflies and roses after that right? WRONG. You stumbled to your car after getting off the bus.
Great Jess, Fantastic. You just kissed a drunk Man. "Give me your Keys" I demanded.
You were already digging them up out of your pocket. "Yeah you definitely need to drive."
"No shit" I mumbled, reaching for the keys.
Just then you lifted them higher. I jumped to try and get them from you, but your height was working against me.
"Excuse me ma'am" you said looking amused by my failed efforts. "But I sense some hostility."
I gave you the biggest 'get-real' look I could.
"Let me guess, my kisses got you all worked up." You arrogantly smiled down at me.
"You want to see worked up, I'll show you worked up if you don't hand me those damn keys right now Colin... well I don't know your last name but if I did I would have used it."
"McNulty." You said a little annoyed now.
"Right, give me the keys." I said opening up my hand for them.
You unlocked the car and opened the drivers door for me gesturing me to get in. After doing so you adjusted the seat for me and pulled the seatbelt across me, buckling me up. You looked at me and brushed the hair out of my eyes.
"All set." You said with a slight grin.
We held eye contact a moment longer. "You still have to get in." I said
You laughed "yeah I do." And dashed to the passenger's side. "You know how to get there, right?"
"I was raised around these parts." I snuffed.
"Ok, ok, just checking."
"I thought you knew how to get there...."
"I do it's just dark. Really, really dark."
"You just wanted to keep me all for yourself, admit it"
"Um, I do recall you kissing me back missy."
"Oh you remember that?"
"Yeah why wouldn't I? It was like 20 mins ago."
"I was afraid you were too drunk to remember."
"Oh so you were trying to take advantage of me in my drunken state. I see how it is."
"Um, excuse me you grabbed my face." I said flashing you a look of pure anger.
"Shush you loved it."
"Well now I regret it."
"Why? Are you ok?"
"No, I'm not. Just pull over."
I did as you told me to. "what?"
"Two things, First, do you actually regret it?"
I looked at your sad and almost impatient face before deciding how to answer. "If your decision to kiss me was alcohol induced, then yeah kind of."
"I was totally sober when I decided I was going to kiss you, I promise." You looked at me intently.
"Fine, what's the second thing?" I still wasn't fully convinced.
"Second thing is my phone finally charged so I can use google maps." You displayed the app as if to indicate it was sorcery.
We finally got to my friends house, and it was clear we needed to get food or at least water into your system. Once inside I found myself alone again with the same weird 3 drunk men. Turns out the ladies of the group wouldn't be joining us. Y'all were such a bro fest. And then it happened. You saw a bottle of whiskey. I said No. But your pal and you said yes. I tried to stop it, but he was already pouring you a shot.
A friend of mine actually lived a few doors down, I wasn't going to abandon you but I figured y'all were safe in the house alone. I announced I was going to see DM, my friend.
JC, who didn't partake in shots insisted on driving me the short distance... I think just to ask me how I felt about you.
"He's really cool, a little flirty when drunk, but really nice."
He agreed that you were a really nice guy, maybe JC was just trying to gauge whether I actually wanted you to drive me to my car later. That weird short drive ended with me and JC hugging and I think really putting the awkward past behind us.
He drove off just as DM came out of his house to chat.
"What is going on Jess?" He asked smirking, DM loved juicy gossip, and boy was I about to spill.
I began to pace. "I did a thing DM."
"Ok, Please share with the class."
"I made out with a complete stranger, well not really a stranger. It was JC's friend. But we talked for a good 4 hours straight." I pause and looked down at the street. "I'm so ashamed."
DM laughed "Did you like it?"
"If I didn't like it I would of stopped it."
"you didn't though..."
"No, I bet you I was hella rusty. He probably hated it."
Just then my phone vibrated in my pocket. It was JC, it read: Colin keeps telling me to tell you to come back.
DM chuckled, "It seems he liked it."
I smiled at DM, "I should go." I said.
DM gave me a hug. "They grow up so fast."
Once back in the house the effects of the shots were taking hold of you and the other partaker. You almost knocked over a table twice. You made your way over to me and looked at my lip, having spotted a bruise.
"Is that from me?" You asked loud enough for all to hear.
"No. It's from my puppy rough housing with me."
"Oh" You laughed.
I rolled my eyes and seated myself, you sat next to me eyeing the two men in the room intently.
They were looking away when you tried to grab my face, I pulled away though. "What?" You practically shouted, "they aren't looking!"
One of the did a side eye glance at us and I wanted to die.
I baby sat you for about two hours and headed out, I ended up driving you in your car back to mine. We stopped for some fast food. You seemed to sober up quickly after that. But I was hella annoyed.
"Well," I said as you did a blood test. "This was some night."
You looked tired. "you alright to drive home?" I asked.
You were more quiet than the entire night and you said "yeah" reluctantly.
"Do you remember anything that happened with us?"
You smiled a bit and said "of course." Before puckering your lips like a blowfish in my direction.
You were cute and adorable, but I remember thinking the next time I kiss you on the lips I don't want to taste alcohol. So I gave you a kiss on the cheek and told you to text me when you got home safe.
I got a call from you right as I was about to go to sleep.
"Did you get home safe." since you called and didn't text I was actually worried.
"Yeah, I did."
"Oh, so what's up?"
"I don't know." You said, "I just really wanted to talk."
I was all warm and cozy in bed, and hearing you voice was oddly even more comforting. We talked that night for hours about everything and anything. At the end of the call you told me you didn't want to hang up and you already missed me.
Since then we have never had to miss each other, since then we haven't stopped the conversation. And since then I've cherished every step that led me to you.
I love you, then, now, forever.