“Ya know what?” I pointed my steak knife at him, carving my words into the air between us. “I’m really glad you’re here. I needed a friend.” He picked up his own knife and crossed it with mine, signaling the beginning of a duel. “Is that all we are? Friends?”
I faltered, losing ground. Laid my cutlery down in surrender and leaned in. “I’m not sure that we can be much else.”
It was becoming the exact type of night that I seem to spend my days wishing for. But now that I had it, I knew I’d be spending the whole next day wishing it away. Funny, isn’t it? The patterns we keep ourselves in to protect ourselves from happiness?
I had been trying to weasel out of this dinner from the moment I’d been invited. And in my defense, that was a fair reaction, because this night was the night that my aunt and uncle were going to meet their someday-son-in-law for the first time. And for some reason, I had been invited along too. Maybe as a buffer, maybe so I’d have something to talk about in my Maid of Honor speech in a couple of years.
What I hadn’t expected though, was that my cousin’s boyfriend had invited along his best friend as well. And what no one had expected, was that the two of us would hit it off so well. “You just give me one reason we can’t be more than friends.”
I ignored his question, and focused in on our crossed steak knives instead. In typical fashion, I had gone from on-the-fence to fencing, in no time at all. I considered carving “Swordplay & Wordplay” into the restaurant table. Maybe even just “SP + WP” would do it. Whatever party seated there after us would assume it was romantic, and maybe they’d even be right. He tapped his knife against the table. It was time for me to answer.
“You know, you and I are gonna see each other again. Definitely when Abby and Ryan get engaged, if not before then. Hell, we’ll probably be their kid’s godparents someday.” He nodded, lowering his sword a little, ceding me a point.
Not that it was that simple. Because I’d be lying if I said he hadn’t been making me laugh all night, and I’d be downright sinning if I told you that I didn’t like a lil’ Saturday night fencing match. But boys take on new gravity when you consider them as men, and I didn’t have much choice but to see him as a man. And even more terrifyingly, a man I’d be seeing periodically for the rest of my life.
“Look, we’re never gonna exchange vows -“
That made it harder
“ - but we’ll probably stand on an altar together a couple of times before we die. Wedding. Baptisms...”