A friend of mine once told me that the little voice that usually motivates you to do things when you have a crush on someone is the clown version of you. I never really believed this was true until I got first-hand experience with a man I thought would end up being the love of my life.
Craig and I had been best friends since we were kids. Our families were friends, so we spent a lot of time together. I was like his sister in his eyes since he only had brothers. However, to me, he was always this fun, understanding, caring person that knew the real me. Some part of me had always liked him, but I always felt I wasn’t entirely his type.
He was more into women that looked like they were born to be models. Those that wore stylish outfits and their hair was always made to perfection. The kind that also did their makeup frequently and went clubbing from time to time.
I didn’t fit into any of these descriptions, not to mention I hated the taste of alcohol, so I wasn’t much of a party person. My sense of fashion was always casual. My motto was, “as long as it fits, then it works for me”.
I watched Craig going in and out of relationships since high school. One would think he was the problem, but he always felt that these women never understood him emotionally. As much as he liked women for their beauty, he also wanted to date someone who would listen to him, support him and be there for him.
It never made sense to me since that was what I was for, so why would he want someone else to serve my purpose? Nevertheless, I didn’t question his choices.
By the time we finished university, I had moved on from Craig. I convinced my mind that we would never be together and that I had to let go. He had also started dating one of our friends called Leah.
She was everything that Craig had dreamed of. Apart from being beautiful, she was also intelligent and a good listener. Whenever he would start a project, Leah would help him and give him the motivation he needed. In a way, she had replaced me in his life, although not completely.
Time went by, and we transitioned into our adult lives. Due to our busy schedules, Craig and I never got the time to hang out together, although we would talk on the phone from time to time.
One random day he called me at work. It was weird cause we mostly talked in the evenings. My immediate thought was this was an emergency.
“Hello?” I said in a worried tone.
“Are you in a position to talk?” He asked.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I had a bad argument with Leah, and now I don’t know what to do.” He said.
“Okay, there’s some work I want to finish up. Could I stop by your place later?” I said.
“Okay, let me know when you are on your way,” He said.
“Cool,” I replied as I hung up.
I finished my work and left the office a little earlier than usual. On my way to his place, I tried to call him, but he didn’t pick up. I was at his place in about an hour or so, and I rang the doorbell.
Craig opened the door wearing only sweatpants and sandals. As I stared at his bare chest, my old feelings slowly resurfaced.
“Hey? Are you going to come in?” He asked.
“Yeah, sorry, I’m just a little tired.” I lied as I snapped back to reality.
I made my way to his living room and lay on the couch. Craig went into the kitchen and brought two glasses of juice. He placed them on the table and sat on the sofa across from me.
“So what happened between you and Leah?” I asked.
“She was offered a job in a different city, and we fought about it.” He said.
“What’s the issue exactly?” I asked.
“Fiona, you know I don’t do long-distance relationships. They’re far too complicated.” He said.
“Okay, but you two have been through so much; is it worth letting go?” I said.
“She will end up leaving me, or I will leave her at some point.” He said.
“Okay, so what will you do?” I asked.
“I have to break up with her so she can get a fresh start when she moves.” He said.
“I’m sorry that this had to happen. I know she made you happy,” I said.
“It is what it is,” He said, looking down.
I stood up and walked to where he was sitting. I sat down beside him and hugged him.
“Thank you for being here for me,” He whispered.
“Anytime,” I responded.
When I pulled away, Craig kissed me. I knew I should have pulled back since he was very vulnerable, but the part of me that still liked him convinced me to go with the flow. One thing led to another, and we ended up having sex.
Craig passed out afterwards, and as I watched him sleep, I kept thinking about what we had done. I felt fulfilled and disgusted at the same time. I had wanted this for a long time, but not like this. Although he was going to break up with Leah, maybe this wouldn’t be a big deal.
I got out of bed and headed to his bathroom to shower. When I got out, he was still soundly asleep. I would have stayed, but since I had work the following day, I decided to head home.
Craig and I didn’t talk for a couple of days. I didn’t think deeply into it, considering we had ruined our friendship. He called me on a Friday out of the blue the week that followed.
“Hey,” I answered.
“Hey Fiona, would you like to go on a date tomorrow?” He said.
“Like an actual date?” I asked in a confused tone.
“Yes, an actual date,” He said while laughing.
“Yeah, sure”, I replied.
“Cool, I will send you the details,” He said.
“Can’t wait”, I responded and hung up.
I was so excited. Finally, I was going to get the happy ending I had always dreamed about.
The following day, I decided to go shopping a few hours before the date. I never thought this would ever happen, so I wanted to look good for him.
Once I was done, I headed to the salon to get my hair done. By 5 pm, I was back home just in time to receive my makeup artist for the day. She patiently waited for me to shower and prepare before working her magic.
At 7 pm, I left the house and took an Uber to the restaurant he had picked. I spotted Craig sitting at one of the booths when I walked in. As I approached the table, he looked up and spotted me.
“Wow!” He said as he stood up to hug me.
I smiled while hugging him back.
“You look amazing,” He said as we pulled away and took our seats.
“Thank you,” I said, trying my best not to blush.
One of the waiters walked up to our table and handed us two menus. I opened up the menu and started going through it. When I looked up at Craig, he was staring at me while smiling.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked.
“You just look so different,” He said.
“Is that a good or bad thing?” I asked.
“It’s a great thing,” He replied.
“Well, that’s good to know,” I said.
“Fiona, I don’t want us to be just friends anymore,” He said.
“Wait. How did Leah take the breakup?” I said.
“She didn’t,” He said in a low voice.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“We agreed to do long distance and see how things go,” He said.
“So you want to be with her and me simultaneously?” I asked in anger.
“I love Leah, but I also can’t stop thinking about that day you came over,” He said as he attempted to hold my hand.
“You can’t be serious! So you want me to be your side piece?” I said, pulling my hand away.
“Don’t think of it that way; think of it as you’re going to be my second girlfriend,” He said.
I was so mad at myself for believing that after what I had done with him, he would choose to be with me.
“I can’t believe this!” I said as I stood up to leave.
He held my hand, and I looked back at him.
“If Leah and I break up, you’ll be my next girlfriend. Nothing will be different, and I will see you most of the time,” He said.
“So I’m supposed to be with you and cross my fingers that you will one day dump your girlfriend for me? Are you mad?” I asked.
“Don’t be like that, Fiona. I can’t lose her or you,” He said.
“I have waited so many years for you to choose me, but I can’t accept being your second choice. It’s her or me,” I said as I pulled my hand from his grip and left.
When I got home, Craig attempted to call me, but I was so mad that I couldn’t deal with talking to him. The next day he sent me a text telling me he couldn’t pick between Leah and me since he was in love with her. I replied and told him to give me some space to figure out if we could revert to being friends.
A month later, my parents hosted a get-together at their place and invited him and his family. I felt weird about attending, but I just went because I didn’t have a good excuse.
At some point during the gathering, I asked him if we could talk outside, and he agreed.
” How have you been?” He asked.
” I called you out here because I’ve made my decision,” I said, ignoring his question.
” Let me guess, you don’t want us to be friends anymore,” He said.
“If it were up to me, we wouldn’t be anything to each other, but we can’t exactly tell our families what happened,” I said.
” That’s true,” He said.
” So we will just be two people who see each other during family gatherings,” I said.
” Okay,” He said.
I walked back into the house, holding back my tears. We had built such a strong friendship, and it was over like that. However, I knew it was the best choice, and I would be proud of myself for making it one day.
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