I never thought that you could be in love with two people simultaneously. That was, until I saw it in her eyes. I saw her eyes light up when he looked at her, they turned a deeper chocolate colour when absorbing his attention. They weren’t even holding hands but I’d seen her look at Dan that way too, infected by his words. She looked truly happy and carefree. Although I know that he has never doubted her loyalty and he has no reason to. Her legs were crossed but her body faced towards him.
Lola is so in to him she hasn’t even noticed that I’m a few seats opposite them on this Piccadilly Line tube although I wasn’t worried about being seen, she wasn’t doing anything wrong. I wonder if at this point if she even knew she was in love with this guy too. It seemed so obvious to me but then again, I was an outsider and you can see things much more clearly from this angle, the little looks, awkward moments, secret smiles.
His name was Gareth or something I think I remember Dan mentioning him a few times. They worked in the city together as PAs to some bigshot deemed as the next big thing in business. I left them at Holborn but for the rest of the day, I wondered about them and Dan. I wondered what Dan would do if he knew, maybe he already did? If she brought Dan up in conversation a lot then possibly but I would have to do a bit of digging and pay more attention to their conversations at the pub on a Friday night. I could ask Jess who is her best friend but girls tell each other everything don’t they? I don’t want to raise suspicion.
I also don’t want to be put in a difficult position or be in the middle of anything but if she has feelings for someone else, how far can they go? Surely, nobody would marry someone else if they had feelings for someone else and surely nobody would want to marry someone else who had feelings for another person?
We had plans to go for dinner at Burger and Lobster that Friday evening. It was always a good evening there, we would finish a few of bottles of wine between the eight of us. We would go somewhere every fortnight on a Friday to catch up. Usually somewhere in the city, Hoxton if we were feeling edgy, Meat & Liquor if we didn’t mind the queue, occasionally Piccolino. My favourite was always Burger, not because of the service or food but because it brought back memories of our early days together. It was where we went when we introduced new people to the group. It was just so classic and it could always lift us. Today, we were meeting Alex, a new acquaintance of Laura’s. Laura had been one of Jess’ best friends at university and they had moved to the city after securing jobs there. Laura was one of those people who always seemed so on top of everything, she was quietly confident and calm through everything. People always seem to think that we connect
We were a really tight group however we always welcomed a new face especially if we thought that they were important to one of us. Although the new faces usually understood this straight away and generally they would mesh in well from the start or wouldn’t at all and that was how we all knew whether people would last.
I glance over to Dan and Lola, her hand was on his and she was smiling at him with that same glint in her eye. It made me happy that Dan could make her feel like that, they seem like such a fairy tale on the outside and they have been together since their first year of university which is how I knew them. Dan had been my flatmate throughout uni so I basically lived with both of them for three years. I’ve been there through all their minor fights and the bigger breakups , heard the make ups I was there for them both as a shoulder to cry on when they had their miscarriage a year ago and I know they both found it difficult. It’s hard to lose something so important and influencing especially when you have to adjust so strongly to having it in your life in the first place. I admire them so much for getting through that together and not arguing while it went on. It’s like they are a branch to each other that they will refuse to break.
Dinner that night was as lovely as always. We heard about Dan’s new manager at work who looked like a Chuckle brother, Jess’ trip to Paris and Laura’s embarrassing moment involving waxing. We laughed, drank, ate and chatted as if there wasn’t a world outside. They always made me feel better about life and realise how lucky I was to find so many beautiful people. I always shared a cab home with Jess as we both lived in Bloomsbury.
“so, when is Dan going to propose?”
“erm, I don’t know.”
I was surprised she was asking, it felt like it was coming out of the blue.
“They’re finally back to where they were and have put the miscarriage behind them, they’ve been dating for six years!” she exclaimed excitedly.
“I can’t believe he hasn’t mentioned this to you, is he not thinking about it at all?”
That’s when I realised maybe Dan should be doing more for Lola- was she expecting a proposal? Maybe that was it.
I was surprised at Jess for talking about this, I feel like we had always a connection on a different level from the others like we knew something that they didn’t or were just very aware of their traits and rolled our eyes at each other when they did something that we knew was stupid.
For some reason on this night the cab decided to drop us at the local bar instead of home and it was raining heavily so we decided to go in for a few drinks. The Jack Daniels and coke was my downfall, her’s seemed to be the rose. We decided to leave and her’s was nearer. The weird thing was that we didn’t even need to talk, what happened and what was going to didn’t need to be talked about or explained. It was like we had conversation with our eyes.
I woke up and her saw her sleeping next to me, I could see her breathing, I watched her chest moved up and down. And then she woke up, ‘hey’, she smiled. I got up and explained I should leave. I got dressed as did she, she lead me to the door but I pulled her close every time we made it a significant distance closer. Eventually we made the door and she told me to leave in a sensible way. We had one last kiss and I smelt her hair one last time and then decided I had better leave.
It went unsaid that we would not tell anybody about it. And the thought of that excited me.
A few of us met at the pub the next evening. My attention switched to Dan and Lola. I wonder if he’s thought about proposing, I know it’s basically set that they’ll end up together. Well, at least I think it is. I was convinced until I saw Lola with Gareth. If someone in a couple that cemented can have feelings for someone else, what chance is there for the rest of us? Also, what do I say to Dan? Should I put these thoughts in to his head? It may not be the best time especially if they’ve made it through the miscarriage.
I keep thinking about Jess too, last night was so good. I know it might never happen again but it was a nice night to have. Even though she was at the pub tonight too, we didn’t say much to each other, we never really had to, we just kind of knew what the other was thinking. We seemed to say a lot more with expressions and actions than words.
A couple of weeks went by and Dan and I were together for a lad’s night.
“ so everyone’s saying that you finally got with Laura last week”
“yeah, didn’t you stay at her place? She has a thing for you apparently.”
This information is too much to divulge. Stay at Laura’s? When I’d stayed at Jess’? Laura has a thing for me when Jess (her best friend) and I have a thing for each other?!
“That did not happen,” I confirm to a disappointed Dan, he’s one of those who thinks everyone should be in a perfect relationship like him.
“Mate, seriously though, would you?”
I shake my head and for a moment I pause and consider telling him about Jess but I just can’t. “Laura and I are friends,” I said, “friends”.
“ How’s Lola?” I ask desperate for a subject change.
“She’s good yeah. Especially now we have the house.”
I’m not sure whether to be relieved or feel bad that there’s no mention of a proposal. I wouldn’t want Dan to propose to someone who wasn’t 100% sure they wanted to marry him but I feel guilty for knowing that it could be the only thing to save his relationship. I decided it was best to keep quiet, I mean he probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.
Another Friday night in the city, this time Duck and Waffle took our fancy. We didn’t usually hang out in East but fancied a drunken one in Hoxton after. Dan and Lola were there when I arrived alone, as were Laura and Jess.
Jess looked so pretty, she’d done something different with her hair and it was up- most girls look better with their hair down but this style suited her really well. I seem to notice these little things about her more now. I don’t mean too, I just do. After Duck and Waffle we went to the Pony and did our usual vodka shots in wine. Winebombs if you like. We all get extremely wasted. I go out to the smoking area for a bit to clear my head. Jess texts me to ask where I am. I wait a bit to reply to check that I want to go with her again, although I know it’s not really a question. I would be mad not to want a repeat of a month ago again. We leave just after three.
We’re barely in the cab before we start kissing and when we get back to her’s, we start at the front door, have round one on the sofa, we manage to make it to the bedroom for round two.
It’s not as good as before but still exciting.
The next week we bump in to each other on a night out with a different set of friends although Jess is with Laura too. I wait for the bar to get a drink. Laura come up to me and asks for a quiet word. I take my beer and follow her wondering if she’s going to warn me about Jess. Girls normally share everything right? Even though we promised that we would never tell anyone.
To my surprise, Laura is a little less controlled then usual, even drunk she’s normally fairly graceful and her Queen’s English remains. We went to the quieter bar upstairs and sat on a sofa. I ask her if Alex was here and she said no but she didn’t seem sad about it.
“Luke”, she said looking at me intently. “ I like you” and she put her hand on my knee.
“ermm Laura, you’re drunk”, I said trying to shake it off.
“I know,” she slurred “but I mean it , I really like you.”
Ahh, shit , Dan been right. I know it’s selfish but all I thought about was Jess and about the fact that I had slept with her best friend. And how awkward this must be. But most of all, I wondered why jess had slept with me at all especially if she knew about Laura’s feelings for me. I thought girls told each other everything and surely Jess wouldn’t want to hurt Laura?
I felt guilty even though none of us were in the wrong.
What do I do now? Should I tell Laura about jess and I? No, actually screw that, I’m not coming between them for one second. I genuinely don’t know what to do or how to tell Laura that I don’t feel the same.
I want to ring Dan but I feel his relationship needs his undivided attention at the moment.