I woke up the morning after the wedding feeling pretty good, especially considering how much I drank. I looked around my tiny bedroom in my tiny apartment. I smiled as I looked down. I finally felt like everything, maybe for the first time, was perfect.
I got myself out of bed and threw on some clothes before walking out of my apartment and down the two flights of stairs that separated me from the street. I looked around. It was a pretty warm day, but I knew that these were fleeting. As I walked the two blocks to the good bagel store, I took in all the warmth of the summer.
I picked up half a dozen bagels and an extra large coffee before making the walk back. Manhattan was definitely an adjustment from Santa Monica, but I have to say, it felt a lot more like home. I don’t know if it’s because my family and friends are close by or if it was because I grew up here, but I naturally felt happier here than I did on the West Coast.
When I got home from California, I definitely took advantage of freeloading off my parents for a while. I caught up on some Netflix series and spent a lot of time getting dinner with friends. I chalked it up to relaxing, but it was more than that.
I missed Pete. I missed him a lot. I thought moving back home and losing my job were contributing to my mood, but really, it was him. Right before I left and we were hooking up a little here and there, I thought we were just ‘having fun.’ But it wasn’t only about sex. We bonded. We got each other. Once we added the sexual component to our friendship, it clicked. And then, it was ripped away from me.
Over the first couple of weeks, we talked on the phone every few days. I tried not to sound overly eager when we’d talk. He’d tell me about California and discuss his possible plans for moving, but things were still “in the works.” WebMatch had offered him a job, but only in Houston and he didn't want to move that far from his family.
One day, I was at the mall and Pete FaceTimed me. I really didn’t want to answer, because I looked gross, but I did. Pete answered and I immediately noticed that he was in an airport.
“Where you headed, cowboy?” I asked, trying to sound as easy breezy as possible.
“Nowhere,” he replied with a smirk. “You have dinner plans?”
I rolled my eyes. “I have a hot date with a vegetable stir fry. Don’t dodge my question.”
“I didn’t,” Pete replied. “I’m not going anywhere. I just landed. How committed are you to those dinner plans?”
I scrunched my face up in confusion. “Don’t do that,” Pete said. “You’re going to get wrinkles and being in New York, I’m sure you’re already a lot more stressed than you were in laid back Cali.” I laughed. Before I could even respond, he continued. “I guess I’m going to have to learn how to deal with that stress.”
My stomach dropped and the mall began to blur around me. “What?” I asked as I did my best to locate a bench to sit down.
“I’m moving to New York,” he blurted out, as the most discrete smile crept across his face.
As soon as I got back to the entrance of my apartment, the skies opened up and it began to downpour. If this had been a few months ago, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would’ve been caught in that rain. But my luck had shifted. Everything was working out for me and I smiled to myself as I realized, this was finally my time.
I walked into my apartment to the smell of eggs and bacon. Upon walking into the kitchen, I saw Pete cooking shirtless.
“There you are, gorgeous,” he greeted me with a kiss on the forehead. “I was wondering where you were.”
“When I left, you were asleep,” I replied as I placed the bagels down and grabbed two mugs from the cabinet. “You looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you.”
“We’re not sleeping the day away, lazy bones,” Pete responded as he turned the bacon. “We have a big day of sitting on the couch ahead.”
I rolled my eyes as I began pouring the coffee into two separate mugs. “Yes, I’m looking forward to it. I have those early meetings tomorrow.”
I had started a job doing market research. I really liked it so far. I was able to take what I liked about my job at WebMatch and combine it with a more secure field. As soon as I got hired, I began looking for apartments and found one a short subway ride away from my office.
Pete had started a new job a few weeks after me. The day he FaceTimed me was the day of his final interview with a consulting firm. When we got dinner that night, he told me he had been really conflicted about whether to move to Colorado or whether to try to move to New York. But, when he started talking to his ex-girlfriend, she actually told him that she had been thinking about moving to New York for a few months. “She said this was the sign she needed. And coincidently, it was a sign for me, too.”
So, Pete’s daughter was in Long island City and Pete visited her all the time. As for us, we were taking it slow. We weren’t living together, but we acted like it. Somehow, I just had a feeling. I felt more connected and secure with Pete, even this early, than I ever really did with anybody else. And Pete made it clear that he had similar feelings. We didn’t play games or force anything. I was truly happy.
*Writer's Note* Thank you guys so much for taking this journey with me over the last few years. (I can't believe I wrote this blog on and off for almost four years!) I hope to come back to writing in some form (maybe another blog, whether fiction or real life, or some sort of planned out story) so definitely keep in touch and I'll try to keep posting on Twitter once in a while. For me, I continued writing this blog for so long because I loved all of you guys reading. I'd smile at your comments even if my day was not so great. I hope (fingers crossed) that you feel I gave Caroline a proper send off, but let me know what you think in the comments :)