knit to someone

Here is the first thing that she did not expect: for him to step into the space between them, in the assured way that he did. She was older. She felt, in some ways, more powerful. It had always been her money, her yes or no, her accepting or ignoring his occasional, hesitant flirtation. She expected that when it came down to it, that power would hold, and he would be shy. That he would follow her lead. 

But when they came to the place where these things unfold, he stepped into that space so confidently, so expertly, and with so much self-knowledge that she never stood a chance. Key, meet lock. Click. Then it was just a matter of delirious discovery after delirious discovery.  

What, his hands asked, if I were to do this? 

How did you know? her body answered. 

Things he said became tattoos she'd retrace the shape of again and again over the coming weeks weeks. Breathless chemistry: that was the first thing. 

The second thing was a wavelength thing. They found one another one it, on that infinitely nuanced spectrum where humor and intelligence hum, waiting to be sparked by the other. Jokes that hit their mark in the sweetest spot. Playful teasing that pulled all the right strings. Cultural references (fucking god how much she'd missed sharing cultural references) that landed. 

And the third thing? Was how quickly, and with what beautiful abandon, he let himself feel what was happening. How honestly he let himself express it, directly, in plain language.

You are fucking amazing. 

I've been thinking about you all day. 

You have no idea the things I've said to my friends.

These moments she gathered up, inhaling them deeply like clipped flowers that might not last the week. 

These were the big surprises. The smaller ones all centered around how much they had in common, in interests, tastes, styles, personality quirks. She had forgotten how good it felt to knit to someone with the same basic values and lifestyle. Work, friends, self care, creativity, play. Rinse and repeat.

She started to lose track of things, like how many times she'd seen him, how many things they were planning to do together, and the reasons why any of it would be a bad idea.

the same gold: part four

The Powerhouse looks, smells, and sounds as exactly as she expected. She's reminded of the once great, now shuttered Bar 107. Unpretentious crowd, bartenders who are surly with newcomers but chummy with regulars, and 90s-era bangers on the stereo. It'll do just fine.

She slides into the booth first; he closes in tight. And they're off. The lightning round comes first on this game show, and they skate from topic to topic back to topic, ticking boxes and laughing much more than anticipated. Five minutes into the conversation she realizes she has brutally underestimated his intelligence. He's making jokes that she barely catches. He's clever as fuck. Ten minutes into the conversation, she senses him realizing that's he's underestimated her, too. It's in his face and reactions when she references (the right) bands or songs or genres of music. When she asks probing questions about his work and his passions. When she gets it.

They don't drink. They just talk.

She loves the way he looks when he's listening to her. There's really no space between them already, and she has to twist sharply to face him directly--but his body language is serious all the same. Head slightly tipped down, eyes focused on the table, looking up at her quickly when some point trips his interest. If he interrupts her he immediately urges her back to her train of thought. He wants to understand. For her part, she feels one hundred percent relaxed and herself. There is nothing on the line her but a good time. This could never be a thing, right? There is no need to be nervous. This is not the usual two person audition. This is just some friends getting to know one another better. And it doesn't even matter that he has just casually pulled her legs across his lap. She's acutely aware of it but it's so natural and right that they don't miss a beat to acknowledge the step.

It happens fast. They're laughing too much, with too much chemistry to stop it. He calls it out, inhibitions peeled away by the chemicals flushing from his brain.

"Why am I so comfortable with you? Why is this so easy?"

She smiles. God that feels good. "Because. We've known each other for a long time, remember?" She shrugs, still smiling, and meets his eye. He wraps a hand gently around the back of her neck, kisses her, and then presses his forehead softly against hers.

This--all of this--is the exact opposite of what she was expecting. He is an entirely new and different person, a hundred times more faceted and complicated than the profile she had constructed of him.

He's sensitive: when she teases him about an old unsettled debt between them, his face darkens in shame. "Ohhh," she touches his chin. "You know I'm teasing." He won't look at her. "I'm sorry," she says, placing her palm against his chest. "That was a weird time in your life, wasn't it?" He nods. "It was a very weird time in my life."

He's quick-witted: for every wisecrack she gets in, he gets in two that are even better.

And most wonderful of all, he's vulnerable: every few minutes, as they move along this uncharted but strangely clear path, this adventure in shared surprise, he stops to marvel, aloud, at how great it is. "What's happening right now? Why are you so awesome?"

And it is, simply, great. They are having a blast. It is clearly on. God knows for how long, if it's the drugs alone, if it will even last the night--but right now, it is on.

After an hour of mutual delight, of talking and laughing and just enjoying one another's closeness, there's a pause in the action. They both feel it but it falls on him to say it.

"Do you want to go to your place?"

She does. She really does.

the same gold: part three

"Let's get faded and find some music."

That had been the official invitation. And maybe it was something about the word "faded" that edged her into "yes" territory. No one had ever invited her to get faded. Not in so many words (and words were everything). Faded sounded like just rewards for getting successfully past a difficult time. Faded like the pastels of sunset, deliciously cool after a long hot day. Faded like forgetting.

Yes, faded sounded just about perfect - so she said yes. After that, there were only two decisions to make: what pill to take (they'd agreed to party together, but launch solo) and what to wear. Both were easy enough: nothing crazy and nothing fancy.

Jeans. A crewneck top with thumbholes. Chunky white sneakers and a puffer. See how casually I am taking this? she hoped her clothes said. See how hard I am not trying? Dressing up or dressing sexy was absolutely out of the question. She'd feel ridiculous.

She'd suggested The Roosevelt, a renovated depression-era hotel on the far end of the Boulevard. It offered options: sprawling lobby with tufted leather sectionals; poolside lounge with DJ and tropical-themed bar; swanky speakeasy with cushy booths lining a single, perfectly restored bowling lane. Whatever vibe they found themselves falling into, The Roosevelt could accommodate.

Not that it mattered; they would leave after two minutes anyway.

She gets there first. Arranges herself, puffer-less with legs crossed, on one of the oversized lobby sectionals. Breathing deeply as the high kicks in. Breathing quickly when she spots him across the room.

"Hey." Big, boyish smile. Plops down unceremoniously next to her. Gives her a one-armed, sideways hug. It's an awkward angle but his touch feels different than anytime before. They'd shared dozens of quick hugs over the years. The difference is that this one doesn't need a chaperone or a curfew. This hug is an unopened envelope that can contain whatever they want.

He's already high too; already restless. "Let's get out of here," he says, offering his hand. "Let's go make some mayhem." She takes his hand self-consciously before dropping it a minute later. As much as she loves his conspiratorial, mischievous tone, her hands are not her strong suit. She isn't ready to let go of her insecurities quite yet. It won't be long now, and the pill will do away with them altogether - but not yet.

On the street outside they assess their surroundings. The Boulevard this far west isn't particularly crowded. If they head east and dive into the thick of things, they risk the throng of bumbling, gawking tourists harshing their buzz. So they go back into the hotel. Clamber upstairs to the speakeasy, joking unsuccessfully with the stone-faced bouncer, who unamusedly lets them into a bar thumping with shitty (to them) hip hop. They frown at one another dramatically, covering their ears as if in pain.

"Ugh. God. This music."

"Yeah, no. There is not enough liquor in the world to make this tolerable."

Back on the street now, the chilly night air welcome on their hot cheeks. They're going higher now. Soon they'll be absolute chatterboxes. Best to hole up somewhere warm and comfortable.

"I know," he says, taking her hand again. "Powerhouse." She's never heard of it but he nods confidently. "Super old school. Right at Highland. Let's check it out." They walk a couple of short blocks before a traffic light stops them. Standing close together, all the potential of a starry night's worth of adventure laid out before them, he suddenly kisses her forehead. And it's everything, that kiss - everything she needs to know. It lasts exactly the right amount of time. It contains exactly the right amount of pressure. It hits her at exactly the right spot, because she's now realizing he is exactly the right height.

And, most importantly, that is his first kiss. Not some fumbling, grasping, too-early and too-deep attempt at having her. This forehead kiss is barely a suggestion. It is sweetness and warmth and six years of harmless flirtation wrapped in the thinnest, most delicate lace of maybe. It says: I am so glad to be here right now. I appreciate this. I'm not going to rush this. 

It says everything that the next fifteen hours would say, in fact. And then the next two dates after that.


Haha, omg, I am doing that thing that I have done before which is take a single night and make eleventy billion posts out of it. I'm sorry, I know that's so extra. It isn't about being dramatic so much as I'm trying to get some writing in before crashing. I'm on a seven day week since the younguns' are traveling right now, so the game for the time being is get in a wee bit of posting when I can. Hope it's not too obnoxious, and I promise there is some wonderful payoff. Having the time of my life and am very, very happy right now.  - e