Sometimes, couples will have known one another for a while before taking it to a different level. For whatever reason, they don’t see that they’re in love. Several of my couples are good friends, often involved with other people. However, the bond between them is strong. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, completely by surprise, they realize that they’ve been in love for ages, and didn’t see it. I’ve decided to call these Epiphanies and I’ll be sharing them in and among the First Meetings.
Duff and Grace have been roommates and friends for over four years. Although Duff had carried a torch the entire time, Grace has kept him firmly locked away in the Friend Box. He keeps hoping something will change, that she’ll realize how much he loves her. He’s been waiting for the right time to talk to her, and finally one night, he has the chance. Her parents are visiting, and he’s talking to her father about what he wants to do once he graduates from college.
“Eventually, I want to do some teaching, but Grace comes first.”
I glanced at her. Tears welled in her eyes.
“What’s wrong?” I put my arms around her, holding her close.
“No man ever put me first,” she whispered. “Except you.”
“Gracie, you’re always first with me. No matter what.”
Nash and Emily quietly left the room. I held Grace, letting her cry. I just hold her until she’s done, I never tell her to stop. I learned a long time ago, that’s the way to make her angry, or make her cry longer.
“Why didn’t I ever see you?”
I didn’t answer, suspecting it was rhetorical.
“You’ve always been so good to me. You take care of me. I went from one moron to another, but you always stuck with me, comforting me when they left.”
“They weren’t all morons. Some of them were pretty nice.”
“Those guys didn’t get the part where we lived together.”
“Well, you have to admit, it’s not the most common arrangement.”
“True. They couldn’t believe we’d never been to bed together.”
“Men wouldn’t get that. There’s no straight man in the world who wants to be just friends with a woman. There’s always an agenda.”
“For what?” She turned wide eyes on me.
I shrugged as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. “Sex—duh. I shouldn’t even have to clarify that for you, Grace.”
“Was there for you? Have the last four years been part of an agenda?” She shoved away from me, sliding off the opposite side of the stool.
“Think for a second, how crazy that sounds.”
“You just said—”
“I love you, Grace. I’ve loved you for ages. I always hoped you’d eventually fall for me, too. I stayed on, as your friend, because it was the only piece of you I had. I could have left, but it would have killed me.”
“Seeing me with other men must have been torture,” she sighed, moving into the circle of my arms.
“Yeah.” I couldn’t say anymore. Just knowing there was another man sharing he bed, making love to her, made me sick. Many long nights, I’d lain awake listening to them having sex on the other side of the house. It was torture.
She kissed me deeply, pouring her love into it. Breathless, overwhelmed, I kissed her in return. It felt so good having her in my arms. This was where she was meant to be. There was only one place I wanted her more, but not with her parents in the house.
Her phone rang—that special ring tone. She reluctantly reached for it, but I took it from her.
“This is the roommate. Who the hell is this?”
“Mark. Her fucking boyfriend.”
I paused, considering. “Nope. You gave up that title when you left town without telling her. But that’s okay, because a better man is in your place. Thanks for that.”
“You? She’s dating you?”
“Yup! Just spent the most fantastic weekend of our lives. Lose the number, Dick.”
“Whatever.” I hung up.
Grace stared at me, a smile twitching her lips. “You lie way too well.”
“It’s that theatre training. I simply elaborate on what I imagine us doing.” I shrugged like it was the most simple thing in the world.
Grace didn’t answer. She stepped closer, holding me tightly, her head pressed on my chest. “I love you so much, Duff. So very much.”
© 2019 Dellani Oakes