Despite the fact that I kissed J at our company’s Christmas party, we remained friends.
In fact, we never even talked about the kiss—I think he assumed it was just a drunken mistake on my part.
I wasn’t sure what it was. I knew that I’d wanted to do it. And, if I’m honest now, I was pretty sure that I wanted to do it again.
All the same, we pretended that we’d never kissed. I kept dating AJ, who had no idea, and when my sublet was up, I asked J if he wanted to move in together with me.
Of course, I knew this was a terrible idea. I think we both did. Despite the kiss (that we’d silently agreed never happened), and despite the fact that we were both clearly attracted to each other, we were not a good match. He’s seven years younger than me; he’d been in the city for less than a year, to my five years; his credit score was so low that we couldn’t get approved anywhere. (Parking tickets—kids these days.)
Then, barely two weeks before my sublet was up, I was having drinks with one of my best girls Katya (no relation to the drag queen—we both wish) and her straight brother when he mentioned that he needed a new subletter in one of his five rooms.
“Me!” I said, like Elle Woods in “Legally Blonde.”
“Done,” he nodded, shrugging off how easy it happened. (I’ve found it always happens this way in New York—you can stress for months, but everything always comes together at the last minute.)
“But I promised J I’d move in with him,” I remembered out loud.
“What if I take the room opening up,” he suggested, “and you take my room. It’s the biggest room—there’s a couple that lives in the first room that’s behind on rent. They’ll definitely be gone soon. Then you take that room, and we’ll be set.”
I knew it was an even more terrible idea than moving in with J—moving into the same room. Yes, we could have two separate beds, and splitting the cost of the room would be dirt cheap until the other room opened up.
But the kiss—it still happened, whether we acknowledged it or not.
J and I went to Merchants (may it rest in peace) the next night to celebrate finding an apartment. As we toasted our third toast of the evening, a cute boy at the table next to us leaned over and said, “You guys are a super cute couple.”
“Oh, we’re not a couple,” I insisted. “Just new roommates.”
He and J went downstairs to the bathroom at the same time—when J returned, he blushed, and I realized his shirt was missing a button, as if it’d been torn off when the cute boy from the table next to us ripped it open.
Green with jealousy, I forced my mouth to curve upward at the ends into a tight smile. “What color should we paint the room?” Red like my rage? Black like my soul?
“Gray?” Gray, like the skies above me, raining on my parade.