The school hosted a Christmas dinner at a restaurant after the exam, and we were allowed to bring a plus one. Stuart couldn’t come because he had to fly to Germany for his office party the same weekend. I was vexed that he was still willing to have fun with my former employer instead of supporting me.
The restaurant was loud and busy, and because we sat around two long tables, I only had a chance to speak with a few people around me. Then, on the way to the restroom, I ran into Scott, the British American guy who always sat next to me. He told me I looked hot, but not in a creepy flirty way, but admiration. Scott and I had become close over the past few months. We even went to dinner alone at a popular pseudo-Japanese ramen place. He was my cheerleader when I doubted myself, but he’d also share his struggles with me. I felt safe letting him come close because I thought the shackle of coupledom with Stuart had set the uncrossable line. But I was also toying with the idea of us together. I experienced a pleasant sensation when I felt his body heat during classes and when he searched my gaze in the crowd of classmates.
Some of us moved the party to a pub and had more drinks until close to midnight. Scott had driven in and offered some of us a ride. I got into the passenger seat and saw off my classmates one by one until we got to the tube station where I was to be dropped off. I wanted the ride to last longer so I could spend more time with Scott. He pulled off the car, and I sensed his polite hesitation when he turned to me. I leaned in for cheek kisses, a second longer on each side than usual, and with pressing lips on each other’s skin. We paused for another second when we parted, but then, he said, “have a safe journey home.”
I was disappointed in myself for missing the opportunity. It could have been a fantastic night if I could end it in bed with Scott! But instead, I chose to be faithful to Stuart, who no longer gave me any physical sensation and was partying with my harasser.
I texted Scott that I had gotten home safely. I got into bed, and even with alcohol and late night, I could not sleep. I fantasized about what I’d be doing with Scott now if I had more courage. Then, Scott texted, “I really wanted to take you home tonight.” I was thrilled. He wanted it, too. “I really wanted you to,” I replied. We were excited to confirm each other’s desire and decided to talk more about it the following week.