Occasional Friends

Occasional Friends

A Story by lrigD

Just a casual relationship... or so it seems.


They were only occasional friends.

She didn’t see him very often and they didn’t speak much to each other, either. They were not what people called an instant match; there was no spark between them, no sign of that first recognition of a long-standing friendship.

No, none of that.

Instead, she met him on a night out with some of her girlfriends, celebrating and commemorating a recent break up. They had flirted with the men in a somewhat desperate attempt to forget their own sad love lives, the guys and gals, the messiness and the break ups, the hang-ups of their relationships. Instead, they had unanimously decided, through some wordless conversation, to distract themselves with these men.

And they were not bad looking; not spectacular, either, but certainly not the worst a girl could have.

So they talked, flirted, shared some touches and teases; but strangely, she didn’t feel much like taking it to the next level. She should; she hadn’t been with anyone in months, but there was just no…. need.

So, while her friends were busy flirting, she started talking with the one man who didn’t seem that interested in hooking up tonight. He laughed at the jokes and shared in the conversation, but he didn’t response to any flirtations and thus, like a cat with a boring toy, her friends quickly lost interest in him.

Which made him perfect for her.

They talked; simple talk, for once not tainted by the ‘will we or won’t we’ nervosity that often accompanied her on a night out. They both knew they wouldn’t.

His name was Jack, he told her, and he was from the north. When he told her stories of his brothers, she saw them in him, and through his mouth she experienced life in the rough north, the cold, the cosiness.

In turn, she told him of her life; leaving out any bad parts, as he had, talking about her sister, her friends, her studies, her hobbies.

After that first night, she hadn’t expected to see him again. It had been a chance encounter and she didn’t even like him that much. Sure, he had been nice and respectful, and he seemed like a great guy, but there were other great guys, too.

But then, months later, as she stood in line at the pastry shop, she saw him again.

He saw her, too, and grinned. He was sitting at a table with a girl, and the blonde immediately narrowed her eyes at her.

Don’t worry, she thought, no competition here.

She could appreciate his looks now, though, more than she had that other night. He looked like a gentleman, but with a quietly rugged look about him that made him look like someone who seemed innocent, but was up to no good at all.

She could see the appeal.

She went over and they chatted for a few moments. He asked her about her friend (that night, she had told him about the break up) and she asked if he’d been back to the north (that night, he had seemed to be missing it). She saw the looks the other girl gave her, a kind of feral ‘back off’, but couldn’t bring herself to care much. She was tired of fighting for a man. Next time, he’d have to fight for her.

She knew he knew how his companion felt. When they said goodbye, she read the regret in his eyes that they could not talk longer. He held out his hand and surprised, she took it. He shook it for only a moment; something sharp touched the inside of her fingers, and when he let go, her fingers instinctively curled around the piece of paper he had put in her hand.

Later, she opened it and stared at the numbers.

A mobile phone number.

She wondered what he meant by that: what did he want? Sex, love, friendship? All of those?

He had given her the choice, the ball was in her court: if she didn’t call, he’d never see her again.

But she called him. In the morning, when it was too late to still be in bed.

He picked up on the second ring, answering with a curt “Jack.”

She hesitated for a moment. Was it right to meet this man again, whom she had met only twice? Granted, she knew things about his life; random, but identifiable things. But still… was it the right choice?

“Hello?” He sounded impatient.

She found her voice again. “Uh, hi.”

Silence. “Carla?” he finally asked.

She nodded before she remembered he could not see her. “Yes,” she said.  “How are you?”

From there, it was easy to set a date for them to have lunch; just lunch, he assured her, no date. Good, she thought, We’re on the same page. She asked, in a desperately obvious attempt, if his girlfriend wouldn’t mind, and he chuckled darkly before saying she wasn’t his girlfriend anymore. She couldn’t stop the relief she felt.

When they met, she was surprised when she felt the first waves of attraction. How she noticed his eyes, his nose, his lips, his body… Damn, she thought, that was not what was supposed to happen.

But nothing happened. And they left, with e-mail addresses and he with her phone number, two hours later.

After that, they occasionally went out together. It was always just the two of them; they both felt like these meetings shouldn’t be shared, that their friends wouldn’t understand the relationship they had.

But it was never awkward. Never, except for that one time, when the time had come to leave and, in an impulse, she had kissed his cheek - still fighting off the inevitable, still trying to ignore the feelings that became stronger and stronger.

Did he know? She hoped he didn’t, but knew it was a slim chance. He was perceptive; he had shown her many times.

Beyond those lunch dates, they didn’t meet: they never crossed each other at the street, didn’t see each other at their nights out -though she kept trying to get a glance of him- they hardly even spoke between those times. They never went to each other’s apartments. He told her about his dog, but she never saw him. And she didn’t mind. The privacy they still had somehow made it easier for her to realize the truth of her feelings.

At times, she thought she was pathetic. Pining after a man she couldn’t have. She still went out, still had a few dates with men who could never compare to him, but it never turned out to be anything.

She had already found the right guy for her.

They stayed occasional friends, year through year. She saw him fall in love and out of love, make new friends and lose old ones. They reminisced on that first night, when they had met; one day, he confessed to her that he had thought she was the most beautiful of the group, and at the words her heart fluttered, and she was closer than ever to admitting her secret - but he talked on and she held it in.

In the end, it became impossible to ignore. She dreamt of him night and day, she pictured their children, she spied on his girlfriends: she became obsessed. It was a sweet obsession with a stingy edge, an edge that she refused to see or feel. She didn’t want any pain to penetrate the bubble she had finally, successfully, created for herself.

She wrote him a letter. Another one. Each one more desperate than the other. In her home, her safe spot, they piled up. Her friends and family thought she had gone crazy; they asked and wondered, but she could never give them a good answer. All these years, she had managed to keep him a secret and she wasn’t ready to share him now, especially not now.

In his eyes, she saw he knew. It was not a chance anymore; it was a fact, an inevitable statement. But it remained unspoken.

And they remained occasional friends.

© 2010 lrigD

Author's Note

don't ask..

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I really liked this! Especially this sentence: "When he told her stories of his brothers, she saw them in him, and through his mouth she experienced life in the rough north, the cold, the cosines."

Based on a true story? Haha..

Posted 7 Years Ago

wow. no, this is actually really good. its very hard to get me to actually sit and read all the way through a story, but this actually captured my interest from the very beginning. very creative. great work.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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3 Reviews
Added on September 11, 2010
Last Updated on October 31, 2010
Tags: friends, friendship, relationship, platonic, love




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