“Okay,” I say brightly, “I’ll text him then, just to see if he misses me.” Reggie snatches my phone out of my hand and luckily we pull up in front of my building before I smack her to get my phone back. “What the hell, Reg?” I yelp. “Give it back.” “In a minute,” she says. “Let’s go inside and make some coffee.” “Okay,” I say, “Do you want to stay over so you don’t have to drive home?” While she thinks about it, I unlock my door and we go in to make coffee. And I snatch my phone back and before she can stop me I send Mike a text, “Are you working? Do you miss me?”
Almost immediately my phone buzzes with a text from Mike.
“Where are you?”
“I’m home.” I send back.
“What do you mean, do I miss you?
“The flowers made me think about you.”
“We need to talk. On my way home.”
Reggie is reading over my shoulder and laughs. “You’ve done it! I told you not to write him tonight.” I’m thinking maybe she’s right. I tell her she has to stay over, that Mike can’t be mad at me if she’s there. She says she wouldn’t miss it for the world and sits down happily on the couch with her coffee. “Uh, Reg, you’ve got raccoon eyes,” I say, gesturing under my eyes, and the word sends her into peals of laughter again, but she goes into the bathroom to wipe off the mascara smears.
Of course she’s still in there when there’s pounding on my front door and, of course, it’s Mike. He’s looking really big and irritated with me. He notices the two coffee cups on the table and glares at me. “So, he’s still here? And you’re texting to see if I miss you?” I open my mouth to explain, but just then Reggie comes into the room and picks up her coffee cup.
“Mike,” I say nervously, “this is my friend, Regina. Everyone calls her Reggie.” “Reggie, this is Mike, my… neighbor,” I trail off, not sure what else to say. The look on Mike’s face is priceless and if I weren’t so nervous I’d laugh out loud. Reggie, however, is not nervous at all and starts giggling again.
Mike is looking considerably less irritated now as he says hi to Reg. He grabs my hand and asks if he can talk to me in the kitchen. “Sure,” I say, throwing a help me look over my shoulder at Reggie. She shakes her head and waves bye as Mike gently pulls me along into the kitchen, then turns toward me, his eyes glinting, but with what I’m not sure. I take a step backwards and my butt hits the counter. Mike’s right there, hands on either side, pinning me in place.
“I’m sorry,” I say. “I didn’t realize at first that you assumed Reggie was a date.” “What’s going on?” he asks at almost the same time. We both say, “You first,” then stop and smile at each other. He gestures for me to go ahead. “I didn’t know you thought Reggie was a guy until you left here earlier.” I look away self-consciously. “I wasn’t sure if — oh, this is so embarrassing,” I moan softly.
“Hey, Princess, it’s me. You can tell me anything.” Those hazel eyes have gone soft and warm again. “Well, it seemed like you were jealous,” I say in a rush. “And when I thought about it, I guess I kind of hoped you were jealous.” He’s leaning into me now, his eyes definitely focused on my lips. “Hell, yeah, I was jealous! I knew it was for your story, but I didn’t want you always flirting with guys in the bar. Then when you said you were going out tonight with Reggie, I figured it was too late. But, you said you hoped I was jealous?” His eyes search mine, questioning.
I can’t help myself, he looks so cute and discombobulated, so I just nod and lean in and kiss him. And then he’s kissing me back, softly at first, then he picks me up and sets me on the counter and steps closer, his mouth slanting over mine as his hands pull me toward him. Finally he pulls away and we’re both breathing kind of hard and he lifts me into his arms. “Can we go sit on the couch? I think it will be a lot more comfortable,” he says with a grin. I just nod and wrap my arms around his neck and lay my head on his shoulder.
We stay up nearly the whole night talking and its amazing how much we have in common and how well we fit together as we snuggle on the couch. And right then I realize exactly what I’m going to write my article about — opening my eyes to all the possibilities with the guy who lives right next door!
~ Diane D.