Recently, I was on the phone whining to my former flame after another disastrous date. Pause. I’m being dramatic.
He’s not my former flame and the date wasn’t disastrous. Exie is an "old friend" and the date? Turns out Mr. Amazing has a kid that’s almost a toddler.
Exie asks if this is the same guy who messed up my [electronic device]? It’s not. ED fell by the wayside too. Good guy, but he habitually referred to himself in the third person.
I get asked about other people I’ve mentioned to Exie in passing since we became "just" friends late last year. The lovely specimen who mispronounced any word over three syllables and some two syllabic words too (he was really nice), the producer who strung me along (Exie actually co-signed this one for awhile), the industry guy who... Hold up. There’s nothing wrong with him… except he’s in the industry.
Exie listens intently, pointing out more flaws that I seem to have forgotten about these dudes. Then he launches into how he still needs to come through my spot and fix the electronic device the other dude messed up.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m buzzing him in to the apartment. The first thing he says when he walks in: ‘’Daddy’s home.'’
I roll my eyes and fling his jacket on the back of a chair. He’s not staying long.
Exie, who bought the damn device (long story), undoes dude’s re-wiring (longer story) and redoes it back the right way. It takes him five minutes and when he finishes, he turns around with a stern father-look and says, ‘’don’t let no dudes play in my sh*t again, D.'’ I couldn’t tell if was talking about the system or something else.
He’s being weird. I roll my eyes again.
I watch as he sits on the couch and fiddles with the remote. The previews for some movie come on.
‘’You testing to see if it works?'’
He just looks at me. ‘’You got any juice? Get the lights on your way back too.'’
‘’Um, you’re staying?'’
‘’I shouldn’t have ever left.'’
I plop on the couch and snatch the remote from his lap, flip back to cable and flick through the channels. The system is good as new.
‘’Why aren’t we together?'’ Exie asks like it's a question I should have been expecting.
I pause in flipping channels, but I don't look at him. ‘’Huh?'’
‘’You heard me.'’
‘’Cause we’re just friends.'’ BET, BETJ, VH1, VH1 Soul, MTV, MTV2...
He snickers. ‘’No, we’re not.'’
Er? ‘’So what are we then?
‘’When you need something, who do you call?'’
Oooh! Sex and the City re-runs on TBS. ‘’Depends on what I need.'’
‘’Stop being difficult.'’
“I’m not being difficult.'’
Exie takes the remote and clicks off the TV and surround sound. I look at him finally, giving him the undivided attention he clearly wants.
‘’When you need something, you call me. When someone else f*cks up, you call me to fix it.'’
I grab a magazine from the coffee table. Oooh Keyshia Cole on Essence! ‘’Is this about the ED?'’
‘’No, listen.'’ He waits until I put the magazine back and give him my full attention again.
‘’You need to talk? I’m here. You don’t want to be alone? I’m here. You got a problem? I get it fixed, you understand?'’
I nod. ‘’So like, where are you going with this?'’
‘’If I’m the one you always run to, why aren’t we together?'’
I thought, What?! but I didn’t mean to blurt it out.
‘’It makes sense, D." He's staring at the coffeetable like it's going to talk back. "We kick it, we party, we chill, we never argue. I still like you. I know you still like me.
‘’You think I like you?'’ I ask playfully, trying to make light of the conversation.
‘’Would I be here if you didn’t?'’ He's dead serious.
‘’So whatdoya think about that?'’ He takes my hand and I look at our fingers intertwined, then look up at him. For the first time in nearly a year, I think about us. He makes valid points. He’s dependable, reliable, likeable, fine. I’m definitely attracted to him. We don’t argue and he is fine. (Did I say that already?)
‘’Um… I dunno.'’
‘’You don’t know?'’ He nods, presses his lips together. ‘’So think about it, okay? I’m serious, D.'’
He reaches for the remote, leans back and flips back to the DVD. The opening scene to love jones flashes across the screen.
"love jones?" I attempt that one eyebrow thing again and fail miserably.
"It's your favorite movie, right?"
"I didn't tell you that."
He laughs. "I read your blog."
He motions for me to lean on him. I get his juice, cut the light and then I snuggle into his masculinity (a wall of man, it is.) Why haven't I thought about dating Exie before? It makes sense. It's just honestly never crossed my mind since we agreed to be just friends.
Could I date Exie? Is that really any different than what we do now?
When Darius fumbles his drink at the bar, I turn on Exie, look up at his face.
He looks down, kisses my nose. "Keep thinking. No rush."