...In the morning, Matthew eventually came downstairs, drawn by the smell of coffee I was making in the kitchen. He wandered in, eyes down, looking a little worse for wear, and dropped onto one of the kitchen chairs. I poured him a drink and sat opposite. He warmed his hands around his mug as he first took a sip, then gulped it down. He sighed as he set the cup back on the table. He raised his eyes to me then, and I smiled. He began to smile back at me and then his expression froze. He remembered—something—but he seemed scared. I had to do something or he would hide. I knew him too well.
“I… I… Did I really say that?” he whispered.
“If you’re asking me if you told me you love me, yes, you did,” I replied softly.
He closed his eyes.
Damn, he doesn’t remember what I said. He thinks he messed up. “And I told you I love you, too.”
His eyelids flew open and his jaw dropped.
“Forgot that bit, eh?”
“Is that it? Oh?”
“Well, it’s a shock. I never meant to tell you…didn’t think you’d want to know. Never, ever expected you to…to…”
“Feel the same way?”
“Well, I do. Now what?”
“Josh! I’m hung-over and I’ve just had the shock of my life. Don’t expect me to be able to think clearly.”
“Right. Okay. I’ll do the thinking.”
“We’re in love with each other, agreed?”
Matthew nodded, then promptly grabbed his head and moaned. I ignored him and plowed on.
“We’ve been friends for years, so we don’t have to do this getting to know each other thing.” I’d thought about this all night just sitting watching him. Obvious, I thought. “I’ve been fighting to keep my hands off you for years, so…”
I never got any further, though, ’cause he yelled, “What!” He obviously regretted the noise, but gritted his teeth and went on. “If you think we’re gonna just…just gonna jump into bed, you can think again.”
“Ah. Too sudden? What do you want then?” I hadn’t meant to be sarcastic, but I think I was.
“Don’t know. Okay?” He smiled then, the rare one that lit up his whole face, and I felt its effect like a caress on the groin. “We’ve been friends for a long time, but this is something else, Josh. I’ve always had to keep the feeling hidden, but now I don’t have to and I want to… I want to go on a date. I want…” He paused and grinned, the bastard! “I want wooing.”
Can you believe it? We’ve been friends for almost three years and he wants wooing!
I think my mouth dropped open then and I guess I snapped it shut. I remember saying something like, “You gotta be kidding!”
Not a good thing to say because Matthew shot up, knocking back the chair before turning with great dignity and walking out. He spoilt it, though, by looking back over his shoulder and snarling, “Bastard!”
I wasn’t about to ruin the best thing that ever happened to me, so I swallowed my pride and followed him...