And The Fox Declared to the Hound…

Sunday, September 29th

Sunday, September 29th

It’s been a long couple of weeks. You’d think that on a campus as large as this one is, I’d have a little less trouble avoiding one or two people. But, no, it seems like no matter how hard I try to avoid them, I’m practically tripping over Fulton and Dean. As for Adam… he’s been trailing me like a puppy dog. And whenever I tell him that I’m too busy to hang out or that something came up, he looks at me like a puppy dog, too. Like a kicked one. It makes me feel pretty horrible, but what else can I do? I can’t be alone with him until I sort out how I feel. That’s gonna take time. A lot of time. Two weeks isn’t going to do it. Two months might not even do it. What I really need is some time away from him so I can think for awhile without his presence muddling me up. I need to get away from here for a few days. And Thanksgiving is so far off…

For now the best I can do is try not to be in places where he’ll think to look for me. Today’s choice is the library. After all, who would hole up in the library on a bright, beautiful Sunday afternoon on the weekend right after our first round of tests is over with? No one but me, apparently. So, I curled up in one of the big armchairs by the bay windows on the third floor and let my mind drift for a while. The truth is, it’s kind of peaceful in here. I never really realized how soothing a library could be. Maybe I should spend more time in them…

Right outside the window is a perfect view of the quad. Some of the Ducks are out there. I think they’re playing Frisbee. Well… some of them are playing Frisbee, the others are playing chase the Frisbee. I can’t help but chuckle as I watch them. Julie and Goldberg are pretty good. I’m not really all that surprised—they’re used to fielding wild shots during games and this can’t be all that different. Kenny’s also not too bad, in spite of the coordination problems he’s been having since his growth spurt. Every time he jumps to catch a high throw he looks surprised when he catches it.

The only other decent player on the field is Connie. I’ve been watching her for the better part of this last hour. The joy on her face every time she catches the Frisbee, the way her hair flies out behind her when she spins to throw it to the next person, the way her eyes twinkle when she bounces the Frisbee off Averman’s head… She’s so beautiful, so full of life… so untouchable. I still wonder how I’m supposed to live without her sometimes. How I’m supposed to get by, knowing that all of her smiles are for somebody else. Every time I think I’ve finally managed to drag my mind out of that depressing track of thinking, I backslide right back into it. It really makes me wonder about people who break up with their girlfriends just to find someone new the next day.

Caught up in my own thoughts, I barely notice as Charlie approaches the field and pulls Adam aside. They talk for a few minutes—surprising in and of itself—and then Adam nods and points up towards my window. I nearly bolt out of my chair in shock. He knew I was up here? How the hell did he know I was up here? And why didn’t he come up if he knew? I start shaking. Just when I think I’ve got the rules figured out, Adam goes and upends the game board. Clearly we’re no longer playing the game I thought we were… maybe we never were. Somehow that’s not very reassuring.

Just as my brain kicks enough into gear to tell me that that I should probably leave before I get caught, Charlie reaches the top of the stairs. He looks around the room and finally spots me over by the window. He gives me a small smile, then walks over and settles down into the chair across from me. He looks out the window and waves. Adam waves back, then starts as the Frisbee goes flying past him and he has to chase after it. I try my damndest to sink through the cushion and into the floor. I still can’t believe he knew where I was this whole time…

Charlie turns back to me and smiles again, “You’re a hard man to find, lately.”

I shrug, still embarrassed at having been discovered—and with the help of the person I’ve been hiding from, no less! “I’ve had a lot on my mind, Charlie. I didn’t mean to disappear.”

He settles back in his chair, “No problem. We all have times when he don’t want to be bothered with everyone else. We’re only human.” He pauses for a moment, then continues, “But that’s not what I came here to talk about. I just wanted to tell you… you were right. Linda and I are OK, now. We talked it over and we made up. I thought you’d like to know. Especially since you’re the only one that noticed that anything was wrong.”

Oh… that’s what this is about. I finally relax, “I’m glad.” At his disbelieving look, I let out a small chuckle, “No really. I am. Just because I lost my girlfriend doesn’t mean that I want everyone else to be miserable.” I ignore the little voice that’s telling me that just a month ago that was exactly what I wanted. That same little voice has gotten me into nothing but trouble. I’m learning to ignore it. So far it’s been slow going.

Charlie gives me a sympathetic look, “So… is it really over? You and Connie? For good?”

He looks so lost. Poor Charlie. For the first time I really stop to think about how badly this must be affecting everyone else. Mine and Connie’s relationship was one of the team’s Constants. Bombay was another one. They lost the one and that nearly destroyed them. Now they’re losing the other. Now I feel like a heel again. I force myself to answer him, “Yeah. We’re really over. In spite of what it looked like, we’ve actually been over for almost a year, Charlie. Just… neither of us had the courage to say it until something more was at stake.”

Understanding dawns, “Dwayne.”

I nod, “Dwayne. Until him, Connie didn’t have a reason to break up with me, and I certainly didn’t have a reason to break up with her. But once Dwayne was in the picture, it wasn’t worth it for her to stay in a dead-end relationship. And try as I did, I couldn’t even hate him. I mean, I did for a while… but it was a short while. None of this is his fault. He just fell in love.” Why does it sound so much like I’m rationalizing?

Apparently Charlie doesn’t notice, “Still… that’s gotta suck. To lose your girl to someone you have to work with every day… That can’t be easy, man.”

Go on, Charlie. Tell me how hard it is. As if I haven’t figured it out from first-hand experience, “Yeah, well… you live and you move on with your life. That’s really all you can do. If you can’t deal with the penalties, you don’t play the game, you know?”

He laughs, “Yeah. I know. It’s good to see that you’re taking it so well, though. For a while there, the team was pretty worried about you.” Charlie stands up and gives me a wide grin, “Guess we didn’t need to be.”

I return my Captain’s smile, “It’s nice to know that you were worried, though. I’ll remember that in the future.”

“See that you do!” With a gentle slap on the back, Charlie heads back outside. I breathe a sigh of relief. As glad as I am that he and Linda made up, I’m still not that eager to have happy couples shoved in my face. That’s why I’m hiding. Well, it’s one of the reason I’m hiding. I’m also doing a fair bit of mental hiding, avoiding even thinking about Adam if I can help it. Much to my dismay, I generally can’t.

Downstairs, Charlie emerges from the library. To my surprise, he pulls Adam aside to talk. That’s twice in one hour. What prompted this? Not that I’m not happy about it, I just can’t help wondering, “Why now?” They’ve hardly spoken at all (voluntarily, that is) since Adam’s stint on Varsity and suddenly they’re all buddy-buddy. It’s a bit curious…

In response to something Charlie said, Adam looks directly up at me, pauses, then shakes his head and says something to Charlie. Dam, I wish I could read lips… After a few more exchanges Charlie heads back the way he came and Adam goes back to playing Frisbee. I watch him for a few moments, marveling at how he can be so skilled at hockey… and suck so horrendously at Frisbee. The thought brings a smile to my face.

After a few moments of watching, I realize that Connie isn’t on the field anymore. She’s standing off to the side and taking a drink of water. A feeling of melancholy reaches up from the depths of my mind and tries to drag me under. Angrily, I kick it aside. I’m tired of turning into a pile of sobbing mush whenever I look at her. I’m stronger than that, I’m better than that, and damn it, I don’t need Connie to be happy.

With a slight shock, I realize that I’m on my feet with my fists clenched. Well… this is new. I relax my hands and shake them out. It feels strange to be angry—I’ve gotten so used to being upset—but that surge of anger made me feel stronger, somehow. Strong enough to stop hiding. This may be a mistake… but if it is, it’s long since time I made it. Before I can change my mind I head for the stairs and start running down them. By the time I reach the bottom, I’m taking them two at a time. I pause, catch my breath, steel my shoulders and walk out to where my teammates are gathered.

I don’t know if Adam saw me coming, or if he’s just that bad at Frisbee, but his next toss to Connie goes wide and heads straight for me. I pluck the Frisbee out of the air with ease, despite the unexpectedness of its arrival—did I mention that I’m pretty good at Frisbee?—and still manage to hold out an arm to catch Connie as she all but trips over me. I guess she didn’t notice I was there.

When she first lands in my arms she relaxes against me, her weight resting on my arm as she uses my support to get her feet under her. It’s not the first time we’ve pulled a move like that. By now, it’s almost instinct. Once she’s upright, I let go and we both step back.

She already has a “Thank you” on her lips as she turns to face me, but it gets strangled when her brain finally catches up with her body. She gapes at me for a moment before speaking, “… Guy?”

I can’t help but smile at her obvious confusion. It’s cute… and it’s been so long since I’ve had the upper hand when talking to her. Leaving that gentle smile on my face, I pat her on the shoulder, “Don’t mention it, Connie. You OK?” At her bemused nod, I turn to the other Frisbee players, “You guys mind if I join you?”

Goldberg groans and Averman starts to laugh. You see… it’s been a long time since we’ve all played Frisbee—I think it may even have been before Adam joined the Ducks—so all the “newer” Ducks don’t get the joke. I smirk. They will soon.

Julie looks like she’s ready to start up a good long lecture. Can’t have that. When I send the Frisbee whizzing Julie’s way—and she only barely catches it before it takes her head off—the light of understanding slowly begins to shine. At my side, I can almost feel it as Connie’s expression turns into a smirk that matches mine. You see… she may have taught me to skate, but I taught her to play Frisbee. I flick my gaze towards her and raise an eyebrow. With a barely perceptible nod she lets me know that she’s game. I allow my smirk to widen into a mischievous smile as I turn to face the others, “You guys ever play Ultimate Frisbee?”

One exhausting hour later, we’re all sprawled out on the grass passing around the water bottles and catching our breath. Connie is sprawled out next to me, her shoulder lightly touching mine. It feels… strange. We haven’t been this easy around each other in over a year. I don’t think I realized how strained things were between us until now. For the first time, I begin to think that our break-up might not have been a bad thing. It’s a traitorous thought and my first instinct is to shoot it down… but I don’t. I let it settle in and start to unpack. Maybe I can deal with Connie not being my girlfriend, so long as she’s still willing to be my friend…

Averman, as usual, is the first to recover his energy. He props himself up on his elbows and offers a semi—disgruntled look in mine and Connie’s direction, “You know… I had finally managed to forget how brutal the two of you are with a Frisbee. I didn’t really need a reminder.” Harsh words, maybe, except for the tremendous grin which spreads over his face immediately after he utters them.

Kenny lets out a groan from where he’s laying flat on his back in the grass, “You could have warned us, Averman.”

Averman just laughs and shakes his head.

Goldberg jumps into the conversation with, “Playing Ultimate Frisbee with Connie and Guy is something you have to experience without prior warning.” Connie answers that by throwing a water bottle at him. Unphased, he continues, “… Otherwise no one would ever play with them!” That one earns him a Frisbee tossed at his head. Fortunately, our goalie—even tired—can catch a Frisbee.

As a playful, far less violent Frisbee-tossing match ensues I pick myself up and move away from the group. Connie, caught up in play once again, doesn’t notice. Adam does. Somehow, I’m not surprised. He walks over to join me, sitting down next to me but not quite close enough to touch.

“Guy? You OK?”

I just shake my head. I’m not OK. I was just fine… until Averman opened his big, fat mouth. It’s been so many months… That “ConnieandGuy” was like a slap in the face. We’re not “ConnieandGuy” anymore. We’re not even friends for crying out loud!

The gentle hand that Adam places on my shoulder rouses me from my thoughts. “Talk to me.” That’s the closest he’s come to calling me on my recent withdrawal. But what does he want me to say?

He continues, “I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.” He removes his hand and leans away, “If you want me to go, at least tell me that.” At my continued silence, Adam lets out a sigh, “That’s what I thought.”

He starts gathering himself to get up and leave. That’s about when it hits me, exactly what I’m doing. I’m driving him away again. Damn it. Reaching up, I grab his wrist and pull him back down next to me.

“What—?”

“Adam, just be quiet a second, OK? I don’t want you to leave, I’d have told you if I did. I just want some time to get my thoughts together before I talk to you. Can you give me that?”

Though bemused, Adam nods. Good. I don’t need him to understand, I just need him to do it. Once he settles down, I turn my thoughts back inward, back to “ConnieandGuy”. That shouldn’t have hit me as hard as it did. So why did it? I’m finally getting used to being “Guy”, being myself—Wait a minute. Maybe that’s it. I think back to my initial reaction to hearing Averman say “ConnieandGuy”. It wasn’t sadness. It wasn’t grief or loneliness. It was something else entirely.

I turn to look at Adam and in short, clipped tones, explain, “I’m angry.”

That clearly wasn’t what he was expecting me to say. The expression on his face is pretty comical, actually… A deep sigh works its way out of my chest, “It’s as if everyone wants to ignore that we aren’t a couple. They still think of us as a single entity, and we’re not. I’m a person, complete in myself, and just when I’ve finally decided that I like it that way, I find out that no one’s even noticed the change.” I stop, somewhat shocked at the vehemence of that outpouring.

Adam’s laughing. I’m gonna hit him.

Before I can suit actions to thoughts, Adam turns to me and offers me a wide grin, eyes dancing, “I was beginning to think there was no hope for you!”

I cross my arms over my chest and grumble a bit, “You’re no help, you know that?”

And there he goes again. Ingrate. Complains and complains that I don’t talk to him, then when I do, he laughs at me. I give him a moment to calm down on his own, and when he fails to take it, I finally do suit actions to thoughts and land a solid punch on his upper arm. He winces at the impact, but finally stops laughing. Now if only he’d wipe that damned smirk off his face…

I’m so preoccupied with Adam’s bout of minor hysterics that I don’t even notice the sound of footfalls carrying someone else into our vicinity. I do, however, notice the throat-clearing. It’s a sound I know all too well. I turn my eyes slowly to the left to find Connie standing a few feet away as if she’s unsure of her welcome. She offers me a small smile—it’s her “I probably shouldn’t be here but I’m gonna barge in anyway” smile. After a few moments of treating us to that expression she clears her throat again and stuffs her hands into her pockets—that’s her sign that she’s just realized to what extent she doesn’t belong where she’s ended up.

I finally take pity on her and return her smile. Her own widens in response and she pulls her hands half out of her pockets to hook her thumbs through her belt loops. A faint hint of nostalgia creeps into my expression—she picked up that particular habit from me. I suppose it’s nice to know that I wasn’t the only one changed by our relationship. The silence makes me aware that the others are waiting for me to say something. Unable to think of anything fantastically impressive to say, I just nod and say, “Connie.”

She dimples, the picture of calm, “Guy.”

The silence descends again. At first it seems a little baffling, that we apparently have so little to say to each other, but the more I think about it, the more I get a clue as to what’s happening. That game of Frisbee forced a certain camaraderie on us that we weren’t quite ready for. It’s too soon for us to forge a friendship. There are still too many expectations, too much baggage, left over from our previous relationship. And it would be too easy to fall back into the patterns from our old relationship rather than create new ones to suit the change. That wouldn’t be good for either of us and somehow… I don’t think Connie sees that. All she sees is that we weren’t getting along and now we are, so we should be able to pick up with being as close as we were before all this started. As much as part of me yearns for it, I can’t let her do that to me. She has Dwayne to mold into being her lapdog, now. She doesn’t need me, too.

I stand up and brush off my pants. Out of the corner of my eye I see Adam do the same. I meet Connie’s eyes, hoping she’ll understand why I’m about to brush her off and knowing at the same time that she never will, “Good game, Connie. Good to know you haven’t forgotten everything I taught you.” I smile, “We should do it again sometime.”

Yup. Just as I thought. She completely doesn’t get it. She’s never really been interested in analyzing her relationships with others—though to be fair, until recently, neither have I—and all she understands is that I just snubbed her offer of friendship. She does recognize a brush-off when she sees one. She gives me a brusque nod, crosses her arms over her chest, and tosses her hair—I’m offended and I don’t need you, so there.—before answering me, “Yeah, no sweat.” She flicks her eyes to my right, “Adam,” and walks away, back stiff.

Adam puts a hand on my arm and turns me to face his confused and concerned expression, “Guy? Is this OK?”

Apparently he doesn’t understand either. I try to paint a reassuring expression on my face as I explain, “ We’re not ready to be friends, Adam. It’s too soon. But she’ll never get that.” Though I was hoping that Adam might…

He “tsks” at me, “That’s not what I asked.”

It isn’t? I hate this feeling. The feeling I sometimes get in the middle of a conversation, like I’m suddenly not sure if I and my conversing partner are engaged in the same one. Then I catch the look in Adam’s eyes and I begin to see what he meant. His eyes are still stacked with concern and still worried—probably about whether or not I’m going to fall apart now that I’ve barred Connie from my life. Somehow, though… I think I won’t. I turn my eyes away from his and take a deep breath, “I miss her. Every day. Whenever something happens, my first instinct is to tell her. Whenever I’m uncertain, my first instinct is to ask her opinion. When we play, my instincts only want to recognize her as my partner.”

I pause, trying to think of a better way to explain, one that won’t make me sound like such a broken-down wuss. “I need her—that’s what my instincts keep trying to tell me. But it’s a lie. I don’t have her now, but I’m still here. It hurts sometimes, but I’m still breathing. I miss her, but I can still have fun without her. So what you’re asking… I don’t have an answer. I want to say that it’s not OK, but I don’t think that’s really true.” I stop, frustrated and run my hands through my hair, tugging on it, “Am I making any sense?”

Adam has the oddest look on his face. It’s the look a child wears when his parents say that he can have a puppy after years of telling him he can’t—hopeful… but afraid to be so. It reminds me of that day a few weeks ago at breakfast when he was looking at me as if I held the key to all the answers in the universe and he didn’t know how to ask for them. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, being the sole recipient of that look. And for the first time I begin to wonder why.

That morning at breakfast, I’d been so full of my own confusion—thanks to Dean and Fulton’s constant teasing—that I’d let slip the fact that Adam was maybe stepping beyond the bounds of friendship. I couldn’t really figure out his expression that day, but looking back on it, for some reason I think I understand it a little better now. There had been an emotion there that I couldn’t place. He didn’t look shocked or offended… He looked like he’d just gotten caught at something he hadn’t expected to get caught at. And then there was that night with Julie… again, another puzzle piece falls into place. Adam was disappointed when he thought I’d asked Julie out. He hid it well, but it was there. And when he found out that I hadn’t there had been a definite flush of relief in his eyes. I know he doesn’t have a thing for Julie—they’d have been together long before now if that were true, because I know Julie was interested in him at one point—so that only leaves one other possibility.

My suspicions finally crystallize into one large, blazing certainty and my thoughts come to a screeching halt. I get it. I get why Adam’s been acting like a kicked puppy whenever I avoid him. I get why he’s been hanging on my heels since the break-up. I get why the fight he had with Charlie blew so damned far out of proportion. I get it. And I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. In retrospect, it’s bleeding obvious. To think that I’ve been tying myself up in knots at the idea that I might be falling for my best friend and the whole time he’s been dropping enough subconscious hints that I could have tripped over them!

However, as much as it helps to finally realize that I’m not as alone in this as I thought, it doesn’t really change anything. Because I’m not ready. I was just thrown out of a ten year relationship. I need some firm closure on that before I can even think about getting involved in another one. Then… I think I’ll need to be myself for awhile. As I was just telling Adam, I’m only just getting used to being “Guy”, I’m not ready to give that up to be “andGuy” again just yet. And then there’s the small issue of: I haven’t even figured out if I’m gay, yet! OK, not so small. Freaking huge is more like it.

Assuming that I get all of that sorted out—and it’s going to take time—I still don’t know if doing this with Adam, of all people, would be a good idea. I fell in love with my best friend once, and—I can admit it, now—it was a mistake. Because when that relationship ended, I was left with nothing. I don’t want to make that mistake twice.

As I’m frantically thinking through this, I pointedly ignore the tiny voice that’s caroling in the back of my head, “He likes me! He likes me!” As I mentioned before, that voice has only ever gotten me into trouble.

Which brings me back to the issue at hand. How on Earth do you tell your best friend that you’ve just figured out that he’s in love with you? I don’t remember this ever being covered in Health class… Hell, I took Psych last year and I don’t remember this being covered. And let’s not forget how horrifically embarrassing it would be if I was wrong…

The gentle hands that land on my shoulders finally break my paralysis. Physical contact is so not a good idea right now. I back up, letting Adam’s hands fall away and again I drop my gaze. I can say this, I can, I just can’t look at him while I do it. I don’t want to see whatever will be in his eyes… “Adam, I can’t do this.”

OK, masochist that I am, I look up at the last minute. Just in time to catch the shock, fear, and dawning horror vying for control over his expression, “Wh-what do you mean?”

Damn it. Adam stammering is a bad sign. It means he feels like he’s lost whatever handle he might have had on the situation—and that loss of control is terrifying him. I pause a moment before answering, to wonder when I learned that. Have we gotten that close in such a short time? That thought is a sobering one, and it helps me figure out how to respond, “I can’t act like I don’t know what’s going on here.” I clarify, “Between us.”

The fear finally wins and marches triumphantly across his face, “I don’t know what you mean.”

Oh Adam… De Nile ain’t just a river in Egypt, you know. “I think you do. You’re not stupid, Adam. Though considering how long it took me to figure this out, I may very well be.” I meet his gaze squarely, “I need to know, Adam… how long?”

Horror, now, and maybe a touch of shame and guilt. This time it’s Adam who drops his gaze, “I don’t think I want to tell you.”

Sorry Adam, I’m too stubborn for that. I’m going to keep pushing until you tell me. “Before my break up with Connie?”

A reluctant nod.

“Before your fight with Charlie?”

A wince.

“Before Eden Academy?”

Some shoulder hunching.

“The Goodwill Games?”

A cracked whisper, “Before.”

Incredulous staring, “How much before, Adam??”

Whimper, “Not that much.” He pauses, a faint blush crossing his cheeks before he continues, “Since the day you, Fulton, and Jesse crashed the Zamboni through the ice rink wall.” He doesn’t say why, and I’m too shell-shocked to ask. Later. I’ll ask later.

“Holy shit.”

Adam finally meets my eyes, a pathetic, broken look in his, “Now you see why I didn’t want to tell you.”

“Shit, Adam… had we even hit puberty then?”

Embarrassed shuffling, “We were 13, Guy, not 6.”

Silence. I can’t believe this has been going on so long and I didn’t even see it. Then again, how could I have? I didn’t socialize with Adam, well, with anyone, really. It was always me and Connie. But this… how do you miss the fact that your teammate has been in love with you for three years?

Adam breaks into my thoughts, a note of hopelessness in his voice that grabs my heart and squeezes, “If you want me to go away, I’ll understand. If you want me to stay away… I’ll understand that, too.”

I finally find my voice. And what I hear in it surprises me just as much as my anger did earlier: exasperation… and amusement. Where did that come from? Well, it’s better than any of the alternatives… I turn the full force of that exasperation on Adam as I speak, “I didn’t say that. Adam, you’ve gotta stop jumping to conclusions. It’s going to get you into trouble some day.”

The look on his face is priceless, “You… You don’t mind?”

I shake my head, “Did I say I minded?” The amusement is growing stronger, and I think I know why. This whole situation is so ridiculously absurd. Until today, I’d been wondering how I was going to break the news to my best friend that I might be falling in love with him. I never planned for the contingency that he might also be trying to figure out how to break the very same news to me! If this confrontation had held off for a few weeks more, our positions would have been reversed. I let my amusement stretch my mouth into a wide grin. Now that I, at least, have a clear handle on the situation—and the stress of keeping this all to myself is finally gone—I’m starting to have a bit of fun with it. I turn that grin on Adam, “All else aside… I’m actually kind of flattered.”

“You are?” Poor Adam. He looks like he needs a good, stiff—drink. I can’t believe I almost thought that. My subconscious must have accepted this a long time ago if it’s already trying to offer up horrendous gutter-worthy jokes…

I pat him on the shoulder, “Yeah. If you think about it, this is the highest compliment you could have paid me, Adam. Though I’m probably a little unusual in that I’d think so.”

A speculative gleam lights Adam’s eyes as he hears what I didn’t say, “Most people wouldn’t…” The gleam transfers to the rest of his face and his mouth splits into a grin to rival mine. He gives my shoulder a good, hard shove, “You complete jerk! You know, I’d been wondering about some of the things you’ve been saying and some of the ways you were responding to my more obvious overtures… you like me, too!” He pins me with a stare, “Don’t you?”

That’s when I lose control of the blush I’ve been fighting. It races across my skin like wildfire and Adam smiles triumphantly in response. I nearly growl in frustration, “Adam… it’s not what you think. I… Yes, some of the things you were doing and saying were starting to seriously make me wonder about my sexuality, but I haven’t even begun to answer that question yet—much less the one that specifically pertains to my feelings about you. And then there’s the fact that I did just get out of a relationship, not even a month ago, Adam. I’m not ready to jump into another one just yet. I need time.”

Despite the bucket of water I just dumped all over his excitement, Adam looks positively happy with that pronouncement. Like the cat that just got the proverbial cream. He smiles widely at me, “I can live with that.”

I clear my throat to prevent the squeaking that my growing embarrassment seems to want to induce, “OK, then. We’ll just leave it at that for now, OK? I’ll let you know if anything changes. Deal?”

I hold out my hand and Adam shakes it, a slightly predatory look, that I’m not altogether comfortable with, shining in his eyes, “Deal. Now how about I buy you dinner?”

What…? He just completely missed the point… I take another look at those gleeful eyes and pale underneath my blush. No, he didn’t miss the point. He didn’t miss it at all. I missed it. I just gave him permission to help “convince” me over to his opinion. In other words… the fox just declared to the hound…

~Let the chase begin.~

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