Zoe drove up the next day and asked me to meet her on campus. I saw her as soon as I walked into the student union. She was sitting by herself in the bistro playing with her phone. When she looked up, I saw those beautiful hazel eyes of hers and felt a pang in my chest.
She jumped up and ran over to give me a hug. It had been a few months since we had seen each other. It felt good to have her so close again.
I was curious why we were meeting on campus and I couldn’t wait to ask, “What’s going on Zoe?”
She smiled and sat back down, with me following suit. She sat across the table from me and smiled as she said in an excited voice, “I’m baaaaaaack!!!!!”
“What? When? In school? Where are you living?” I fired off questions before I could get too excited. It was mid semester. It didn’t make any sense.
Then she explained that she had stayed enrolled and had kept in contact with her professors. They had been letting her turn most of her coursework in online and that she wasn’t as far behind as it seemed.
“But I need you to help me with something.” She said.
“Anything, you know that. What do you need me to do?” I asked.
“Help me find a place to live.”
And with that we jumped in her car and took off to look at apartments. It was so fast my head was spinning. I wondered why she hadn’t told me all along that she was still enrolled? What a coincidence that she came up the day after I told her S and I kissed. But I wasn’t about to let any of that ruin this awesome day. My best friend was back in town. And now that I was realizing I was attracted to S, I thought that maybe …. just maybe I could get over my secret feelings for Zoe and just stay, platonic best friends forever.
We had been looking at apartments all day now and she hadn’t brought up S once. I figured since she was coming back to town, there would be plenty of time to talk about all of that …. no rush.
We were standing in the living room of this adorable apartment in the wrong side of town when she said, “I love it! What do you think?”
My mind quickly tallied up the good and bad points to this apartment. Yes, it had a ton of old Californian charm. Yes, it was affordable. But it was right behind a bar and in a not so great area. Zoe would be living alone and I couldn’t help but be protective, “I don’t know, do you really think your dad is going to go for this area? I don’t know how safe it is for you living here by yourself.”
She scoffed at my concerns and already knew how to work around her father. It seemed that we were now standing in Zoe’s new digs. I decided I’d just be happy for her and that I would probably be here a lot to make sure she was safe anyways. It was time to celebrate. We started doing that typical girly squeal thing as it hit us that this was her new apartment and Zoe was already planning where her furniture was going to go. When she stopped mid thought, turned to me and said “Don’t think I’ve forgotten about you and S. I need to know every single detail. Like, now.”
“Now? No, we’re celebrating. Let’s go out to dinner and plan your move up here.” I said.
“No, now. I’m not joking. I need to know everything. Don’t leave anything out.” And with that she sat down on the floor in the middle of her empty, new apartment.
I sat down across from her and asked, “I told you everything. What more do you want to know?”
“I don’t know. Walk me through it. Who kissed who first? Has she kissed other girls before you? What does it feel like to kiss a girl?” she asked.
I explained to her in painstaking detail that S kissed me first, that it was a total shock, that I had no idea if I was S’s first girl or not, it didn’t seem like it. But when it came to what it was like to kiss a girl I said, “It’s totally different then kissing a guy. It’s much softer.”
“Is it better?” she asked.
I had to think about that. Up till that point in my life, I had only kissed guys …. I thought carefully about my answer because I wanted it to be honest and then I said, “Yea … it’s sooooo much better.”
I realized I was caught up a bit in reliving the moment in my head when I looked at Zoe and my heart stopped. I couldn’t tell what that look on her face was. I was afraid it was disgust. She looked angry ..,.. or ….. something I had never seen her look like that before and it worried me. Had I said too much? Was she going to feel weird around me now?
“Say something Zoe. Please. What are you thinking?” I pleaded.
She took her sweet time answering and every second felt like an hour when she finally spoke, “I just always thought that if you kissed a girl, it would be me.”
“What?” I was taken back. If I hadn’t already been sitting on the floor I would have fallen over when she said that.
“I mean, come on. How could you kiss her?! What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t you kiss me first?” She asked angrily.
“What?!” I felt like I was in an alternate reality. I shook my head as if to shake off this vivid hallucination. I looked at her again and she just sat there with this, Well answer me look.
I racked my brain and all I could come up with was, “I didn’t kiss her! She kissed me!”
“But you liked it and you kissed her back.”
“You have a boyfriend!” I fired back. Why was I on the defensive? Why was she acting like a jealous girlfriend? We weren’t together. In fact, I was single and she had a long term boyfriend.
“Leave him out of this! This is about you and me.” she said, “And that bitch, S. What the fuck is so special about her? When am I going to meet her? Call her up right now and set something up.”
“What!?” seemed to be my go-to word for the day. I really couldn’t wrap my head around the conversation I was in the middle of.
“I’m serious, call her up and set up something. Let’s go out tonight, all of us.”
“Umm … you just called her a bitch. I don’t think this is a good idea.” I said.
And with that, it was as if she flipped a switch and all the anger and jealousy was just gone! *poof* Now I was looking at a serene Zoe who claimed to only want the best for me and promised up and down that she would be perfectly nice to S. She pleaded with me to call S until I gave in.
“OK,” I said, “It’s all set up. We’ll meet up with her tonight for dinner and then we’ll hit up some clubs.”
Zoe smiled sweetly and said, “Great, I can’t wait to meet her.”
—- TO BE CONTINUED —-