Because I was home from work today, it was my turn to cook. I opted for pasta, salad, and a nice red wine. I don’t screw that up much if I pay attention.
JJ was in the other room, using my laptop. I was tearing rinsed romaine into a bowl when I heard a weird noise. Like, it could have been human, but I wasn’t sure. And then he appeared in the doorway. The look on his face made me dry my hands on a dishtowel and pay attention.
“What?” I said. Even before he spoke, I knew it was bad.
“Your friend posted on his blog.” He pushed the words out through clenched teeth. “He said… he loved you.”
“Yeah? That’s nice. I love him, too.” I was trying to diffuse the situation, pretending not to understand what he meant because I did know, I knew it the minute he spoke.
“In love with you, Fen. Not like a friend but that way. I’m quoting.”
“Baby, why would he say that online? It’s not like him. Are you sure you read it right?”
“I read it right.” He leaned against the door frame and folded his arms across his chest. “He doesn’t want you to move, but if you asked him, he’d go with you.”
I turned the heat off under the pot and went into the other room, grabbing the laptop and clicking to AJ’s blog. After reading his last entry, I said, “He’s in love with Connor. Says so right here. What the hell, JJ.”
“No.” He sat beside me on the couch, leaning over me to punch at the keyboard. After a frustrating moment, he huffed a sigh and sat back. “It was there. He must have removed it. He said he wanted to wake up with you, wanted to hold you and comfort you about your mom but he wouldn’t lay that on you right now.”
I raised an eyebrow at him. It wasn’t like JJ to make things up. I’m an honest person and he’s the same, if not more so. Truthful to a fault. “Okay…” I said slowly. “It was there and now it’s not.” I leaned into him. “Talk to me, JJ.”
“He’s in love with you, Fen. Has been for a long time. Go ahead, deny it.”
I wet my lips. “Can’t. I’ve known about it for a while.”
“…Do you love him?”
That was hard to answer. I chose my words carefully. “I love him as a friend. I’d hate not to see him ever again.”
He pulled me against him. “You love me.”
“I do, babe. You know it.”
“If I wasn’t here, if I wasn’t living with you…would you two be together?”
I said, “He’s with Connor, so no, I wouldn’t.”
“He doesn’t want Connor. He wants you. He said so in that post.”
I had no answer for that. I hadn’t seen what JJ saw. I laid my head on his shoulder. “AJ’s going to feel what he feels. I can’t do anything about that.”
“You could stop seeing him. Give him a chance to find someone else.”
“I won’t do that.” My tone was final. “He’s my best friend.”
Silence drew out between us. Suki looked at us from where she was laying in front of the electric fireplace. I clicked my tongue at her, and she came, bouncing up onto my lap. JJ’s hand went into her fur the same time mine did. Our fingers met and entwined. We kissed.
Dinner didn’t happen for a while. Neither of us minded.