Messaging with Stuart was solace in my stressful life. I was determined to move our relationship forward when we met at the office party in December. I thought I had given him enough space to recover from the previous relationship.
I did my best to make myself look sexy with a black skirt and high-heel boots. We sat for dinner by region, so I was at the same table as Mr. N and guests from Japan. Mr. N said to me, “you must stay by my side and go home with me at the end of the night.” You must be joking, I thought, but I smiled and changed the subject.
As soon as we broke out for drinks and dances, Stuart and I met at the bar. Judging from fragments of memories and photos, we had a great time chatting, drinking, and dancing with colleagues. It might have been around midnight when Mr. N came to me that we had to head home. I laughed and told him I’d be fine and could go home alone. And I turned my back to him to keep talking to Stuart.
We weren’t the last ones to leave the venue this time. I remember the music was still on, and people were around the bar. I told Stuart to let us get out of here. I felt some of our colleagues were watching us leave together, but I didn’t care. Once outside the venue, we found and went into the back of a barn-like house and started kissing. My fierce passion didn’t match his suction-less lips, but alcohol kept my excitement up. I told him to let us go back to my place. But he knitted his brows and, in a genuinely agonizing expression, told me he couldn’t. Why, I fumed, and asked him if he knew how much I liked him. He said he really liked me, too, but that he’d feel extremely uncomfortable if he slept with me now. Eventually, I relented, though disappointed that I couldn’t make the most of the rare opportunity to see each other. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t sleep with me while he liked me and flirted with me for all these months. But I often needed alcohol before becoming intimate with a man, which tells how limited my understanding of relationships was at the time.