He was engaged when I met him. He had just asked V (she had once been his high school sweetheart) to marry him over dinner with a ring she had picked out herself. He told me because I asked him (I am deeply interested in real life love stories). We worked together at a video store. For me it was a part time job with easy access to time wasting material. For him it was a means for extra money while he made his way through student and substitute teaching. I wasn’t particularly attracted to him at first; I had a boyfriend and things were going well, at the time. But, I flirted anyway (because that’s what I do). We became friends.
The trouble started when I suggested we exchange books. I was horrified that he had never read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy because the humour reminded me so much of his own. That started a back-and-forth exchange of novels which became an exchange of inside-jokes which morphed somewhere along the line into one step short of an affair.
I used to live for the nights we worked together; the brush of his hand against mine. I flirted recklessly, without heed, without any sense of responsibility for his relationship or my own.
Then one night on a drunken staff outing we found ourselves at the bar: touching, laughing, bantering. I pulled him into an empty stairwell and changed both our lives. It didn’t matter that he was planning an increasingly frustrating wedding or that I was on my way to Florida with my boyfriend. All that mattered was that in the moment he was the perfect man for me. So I kissed him. Long and deep and everlasting. Beautiful Gobstopper kisses.
Afterwards, I couldn’t believe what I had done. He disappeared and I was left searching for my jacket with the help of his brother, J. I felt like a sinking ship, desperate to hold on to anything that might float. So I made out with him, too.
And that was how we began.