favorite

I'm in the salon on Friday, getting some desperately needed maintenance done on my hair, when Upstairs walks by with his dog. The salon is on a busy corner, a block away from my building. Its walls are glass, so passerby and salon clientele alike are treated to a mutual show all day, every day. When he sees me through the window, with disastrously disarrayed wet hair, he breaks into a grin and whips out his phone. He pretends (I hope) to take a few quick photos of me as he's walking backwards in the crosswalk. I'm mortified but laughing. My stylist, who recognizes both him and his dog from their daily walks by her workstation, plays along and tries to shield me from view.

When Upstairs gets across the street, he turns, flips up the hood of his sweatshirt, and trots off with his dog in the direction of the park. I haven't slept, look and feel like death warmed over, but his smile and playfulness have instantly made my afternoon.

A bit later, he texts asking if he can bring a present by the salon. When he comes in, he kisses my cheek and introduces himself to my stylist, joking around with her about the dirty looks they've exchanged through the window. He hands me a plastic bag. In it are my favorite tennis shoes - white suede Golas that I left at his apartment a few nights prior. He's just picked them up from the shoe repair place a few doors down from the salon, where's he's had them cleaned for me.

We text for a bit, trying to out-emoticon one another in an increasingly ridiculous series of hieroglyphic exchanges. When I finally get home, I crash until 10 pm.

Some out-of-town friends are visiting, so I embrace irresponsibility and blow off work to go out with them. On the roof at the Standard, I take a picture of our building, which is right down the street and in full view, and send it to Upstairs. Peekaboo, I see you.

Surprised I'm not at work, he asks if I want to meet up and grab a drink. But I'm busy pulling wingwoman duty for my friends, which is no easy feat tonight. There's an incredibly creepy dude glomming onto the women my friends are eyeing, and I take it upon myself to act as bait and lure him away. The girls are grateful, my friends are grateful, but I'm left fending this weirdo off for the next two hours.

In spite of the douche canoe, we have a great time. I meet some new people (friends of my still-new friends), drink salty dogs, and enjoy the people watching. Plus, I get to hear some great stories I've never heard about some mutual friends of ours - including one particularly spectacular one about the bachelor party to end all bachelor parties. But the whole time, I'm thinking about Upstairs, and how soon I can politely peel myself away from my friends to go see him. I text him: WINGWOMAN OF THE FUCKING YEAR. Hooking up mah friends like cray cray.

He doesn't respond to this and instead says, I thought you looked beautiful today. :) That was silly, but I did think that.

It's nearly last call, and I really want to spend some time with him, so I make my excuses to my friends and leave. I feel guilty about doing so, because they've officially dubbed me their LA ambassador, but I can't help myself. In my mind, I'm already stepping into Upstairs's arms and kissing him hello. In fact, when I leave the Standard, I run the four blocks to Seven Grand, where he's at. I'm wearing a mini dress and my tights threaten to shimmy down to my knees as I sprint past clusters of bargoers, but I don't care.

There's a line outside of the bar when I get there, but I don't have to wait in it. This is Upstairs's turf, and he's tight with the staff. A word from him to the bouncer when he pops downstairs to meet me, and I'm in. I promise myself never to take for granted the way his face lights up when we see one another.

In the bar, he introduces me to the girlfriend of a friend of his. She tells me she's heard a lot about me, and I take this in with a thank you to her, but no comment to Upstairs. We don't stay long. Once outside, I make a request for tacos from the food truck across the street. He puts his arms around me from behind and we lumber, a four-legged, slightly tipsy PDA monster plodding down restaurant row.

Back at his place, we get high. I don't put my lips on the pipe; instead, he inhales deeply then carefully blows the smoke into my mouth. I pull it into my lungs, feeling it burn momentarily before exhaling slowly. I'm a helplessly giggling mess within minutes. I clutch at his shirt, doubling over with laughter. As before, he marvels at my giddiness, jealous, he says, of how much ridiculous fun I get out of pot. "You're my favorite person," he tells me, which inexplicably sends me spiraling into another fit of giggles. He's said this before to me. I've not said it back to him, though, but not because it would be a lie.

We play music and dance in his living room. When he puts on my favorite oldies song ever, I push him gently away from me, making him watch while I sing and sway in front of him. I lose myself completely in the music, the moment, and his smile. Oh yeah. I'm falling.