It had been two weeks since Lachlan had asked me out. There had been three proper dates. And I was walking on air…apart from the insecurities that wanted to get in my way. But I wouldn’t let them. He likes me. I like him. Don’t overthink it.
And I had the weekend off. I was already thinking about stuff I wanted to do with him. Maybe we could go to the museum – there was a new modernist exhibition on. Or maybe he’d want to cook for me again. Last Sunday he’d surprised me with a large pot of lentil stew.
“I mean…I can take it back.” he’d said, when I stood there unable to say anything. “It’s just…you said last night that you were gonna be really busy this week and wouldn’t have time to do anything so I thought-”
“It’s perfect!” I’d exclaimed, flinging myself into his arms. I really meant it. He was the sweetest man alive and I knew I didn’t deserve him. Who would be this thoughtful?
Lachlan, that’s who.
You’re so fucking lucky…out of all the people, why did he pick you?
He likes me. I’ve been nice to him. I have. It’s not so implausible…
“I’m just gonna say…I feel really lucky, Lach.”
I swear I heard him mutter something about being really lucky…why? I’m the lucky one. He’s the one who’s gonna have to put up with me and my crazy work hours and stressy bullshit.
We were on his couch watching movies. Really just watching movies. Dianne had given me a pass on Simchanted this week, but she had a good laugh when I went round to see her new place – Brice’s place – and told her of my plans with Lachlan.
“You’re so cute.” she’d said. “I’m not trying to be bitchy or anything but you know enough to know that it isn’t just gonna be movies.”
I flushed. “I’m not like that anymore!” I protested.
“Slut-shaming yourself is getting really old, Sarai. And you two have known each other for aaaages. Also, just gonna say, Lachlan is fine. Hit that.”
“Dianne!” I shrieked, as she burst into more peals of laughter.
“Ha, you’re easy to wind up. Oh, I kind of miss being a single woman…”
“What are you thinking about?”
I blushed and looked away. I wasn’t going to tell Lachlan about this. What if he did already want to have sex with me? I never went this slow before, but I was changing my approach to men and relationships…what if holding back was gonna make me lose him?
Be honest, came Alessandra’s voice in my head. You’ll never find the answers trying to analyse it in your head.
I shifted off him.
“You don’t think…this is…too slow?” I questioned, cringing slightly.
“I like the way things are.” Lachlan reassured me. “Do you not? Because I’ll-”
“I do!” I hurriedly protested. He placed an arm around me and squeezing me tight, “Honestly. I’m happy, Lachlan. I’m so glad you asked me out.”
He lifted me back into his lap and looked straight into my eyes.
“I’ll tell you something…when the kind, beautiful woman I’d just leased a property to gave me a reminder of where the past is in the lobby of that restaurant, I could have kissed her right there. It’s been over a year since then, hasn’t it?”
“I didn’t realise you…” He’d liked me all along? Even before I properly knew his history, and how to help him? I’d been enough without that connection? Impossible…but he wouldn’t lie to me. I know he wouldn’t.
“Yeah. Took a while for me to grow some balls, huh?” he laughed. “My point is…I’ve waited this long; I can wait longer.”
“OK.” I sighed in relief and rested my head on his shoulder.
I woke up an hour later having used him as a pillow. “Evening.” he said. Just that word sent happy shivers down my spine. It felt so good to be held like that…but not just because I was being held. It was good because it’s Lachlan.
“Sarai, you are absolutely glowing today!” Ann exclaimed when I walked past the desk on Monday. “Good weekend?”
“Yeah.” I replied, with a smile. Despite the early hour, there was definitely a bounce in my step.
It had been. I’d actually gotten one off because Cherie and Kaylyn wanted to run a meditation thing. Apparently it had gone well for them, but I’d guess that my weekend was even better.
I’ve gone through it so many times. I know what I’m going to say. It’s been a month and a half. I asked Dianne and looked shit up online. This is fine. I’m not being weird…not completely weird.
My stomach roiled and churned in fear. It’s such a difficult conversation to have…but I need to have it. I’m chasing my happiness. And I’m allowed to do so, I reminded myself.
“What is it, Sarai?” Lachlan asked once I opened the door. “Decided to flick me already?” he joked with a grimace, though pain was evident on his face.
“What? No!” I almost snapped. “Uh…sorry if it sounded that way. I wanna talk…about this.” I gestured between us.
He relaxed. “Oh. I’m sorry for jumping to conclusions and saying that. It was shitty of me.”
“It’s alright. I still…I just wanna say-” Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck, here goes nothing. “I was wondering if you want to make things official. Be my boyfriend?”
“Damn, that’s way better than what I thought – again, I’m sorry for that! Yes, absolutely yes!” he exclaimed. His smile was infectious, and I started to beam as well.
Then my face fell when I remembered the rest of my little rehearsed spiel.
Of course he noticed. He’s always been so good at picking up on my moods and what I’m thinking. “We’re cut from the same cloth,” he’d said last week.
Sad, but true.
“What else, Sarai?”
“But I need to tell you…I haven’t had a real relationship before. Of course I’ve dated.” Lots of dates. So many that you never let get anywhere. But I was doing so now. And maybe if I had I wouldn’t be with this amazing man next to me. “But never like…a long-term boyfriend. I was always too-” Memories of the stinging hatred and disgust I felt towards myself played over in my head, reminding me of the misery I caused myself. “Too scared. I was scared. But I think it’s something you should know.”
He shrugged. “It’s awful you felt that way. But you don’t anymore – that’s important. And as I’ve said to you before, whatever is in the past is there. I like you now. And look, now you do have a boyfriend.” he joked.
“I know! And I couldn’t be happier! But I might be…really bad at it. This relationship thing.” Are you trying to ruin this, I shouted at myself.
“Sarai, my past relationships have been no picnic, let me tell you that. A shitty attitude and depression kinda does it. And it’s been a couple years since I had one. So my history ain’t great either – let’s face it together.” He took my hand. “I’ll tell you this – it’s not going to be perfect.”
“I know. But…it’s you.” I whispered. Even though it was cheesy.
“And it’s you too, Sarai. This’ll be enough for us. More than enough.”