It was my last week as a magazine editor. Only three more days in the career I'd always dreamed of. I started having second thoughts. Did I really want to give this up? Was I crazy for turning down the travel editor position? Did I actually even know anything about social media aside from this blog?
But then I pictured myself flying to London, maybe spending Valentines Day with Cayden in Europe rather than spending yet another holiday in good ol' Texas (I'm not hating on Texas or anything. But think about it, London for Valentine's day?). That wasn't going to happen on my magazine-editor salary.
"Want to meet for happy hour after work?" The message popped up on my gchat from Rae.
Cayden was sitting in the cubicle next to mine. He'd been at Starbucks earlier that morning, hanging out there while I worked, but it was the Monday after Christmas so there were only a few people at the office. So I nominated the Monday after Christmas as Bring Your Boyfriend to Work Day. I plan on honoring this holiday every year.
I rolled my chair backward out of my cube and scooted to Cayden's.
"Want to meet the girls for happy hour after work?" I asked.
He looked up from his laptop where he was busily typing away at his latest MBA assignment.
"Sure. Only if you let me cook you a nice dinner afterward."
It was one of those moments where I thought, "Is this really my life?" A sexy British guy just agreed to sit though at least two hours of solid girl talk (see: happy hour) under the condition that I'll let him cook me dinner after? I rolled closer to him and leaned in for a kiss. I loved Bring Your Boyfriend to Work day.
"We're in," I typed back to Rae. "Where abouts?"
"Maybe somewhere by you? Somewhere we haven't been yet?" she responded.
We had a habit of always going to the same bar over and over again, even though there were plenty of bars to choose from in uptown. We'd always throw around a few ideas, but regardless, we'd find ourselves at the Gingerman. They have Leffe on tap :)
"What about that new bar over here? The Nodding Donkey or something like that?"
"Sold," she said.
Within minutes, Joyce and Carson had confirmed happy hour as well.
I clicked on Cayden's name in my gchat box and typed, "So, what's for dinner?"
It felt strange talking to him on gchat when he was less than 5 feet away from me, when usually he was 5,000 miles.
"I'm not telling you. But we'll have to stop by the store after happy hour. Then it's you, me, dinner, and a bottle of red wine."
It's what I'd always wanted. We'd always talked about cooking for each other, but his visits were usually so jam packed with meeting people that we always ended up eating out or bumming off Mom's meals.
I knew at some point I'd have to actually start packing, too. It was Monday and I was moving Friday. I was working Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and we had the Mavs game Thursday night. I hadn't packed a thing.
Work carried on, and every once in a while I'd pass Cayden's cube and stop in to rub his shoulders or kiss his neck when no one was looking. I had a lot of work to get done before Wednesday, so I tried not to let Cayden distract me.
The second the clock hit 5:00, I yanked Cayden out of his cube.
When Carson, Rae, Joyce, and I get together, we tend to forget some things aren't appropriate to talk about out in public, especially when there are guys around us. We talk about Brazilian waxes, the latest Groupon deal, what a certain couples' non-existent and hypothetical children would look like, and sex positions that come with a high probability of getting us off.
Joyce's boyfriend, Joey, had to put up with it all the time. He'd roll his eyes and grumble about having to go build something or talk to himself out loud about a football game none of us had seen. I'm sure he's just as ready as I am to have Cayden move here.
But at happy hour that night, Cayden wasn't intimidated by the amount of estrogen surrounding him. Instead, he listened to us bitch about any guy problems we wanted to talk about and then offered advice from the guy's perspective. (I, of course, had nothing to bitch about.) He didn't flinch when we talked about down and dirty details of a full-out Brazilian wax. (OK, he cringed a little, but recovered quickly.) And he joined in on our serious, heartfelt discussion on how Pauly D is the sexiest and funniest roommate on Jersey Shore. (He agreed.)
He just fit. He fit in with my guy friends. Fit with my girlfriends. Fit with my family. Fit with my life. I've never even had a shoe fit that well, or a favorite pair of jeans.
Later that night, I sat at the pub table with a glass of wine while Cayden sauteed chicken and vegetables and the roasted potatoes crisped perfectly in the oven. He'd sprinkled rosemary and thyme on the potatoes and the kitchen smelled like a garden. To say I was impressed is an understatement. I'd only recently learned how to pronounce the word thyme, much less learned how to cook with it. I started to feel guilty for the nights that I'd fed him Pizza Rolls and Bagel Bites. I made a mental note to learn how to cook something amazing before I saw him again.
Watching him flip the pan around made me want to rip his clothes off and have my way with him right there on the counter. But the growling in my stomach beat out the tingling in places lower than that.
He set a steaming plate of chicken stir fry and roasted potatoes in front of me while I poured him another glass of wine. He sat down next to me and I put my hand on his thigh. We had a moment. If you didn't know us, you'd think we were praying. But we weren't. We were just appreciating the fact that we were finally able to share our first home-cooked dinner at my place. We were appreciating the wine. We were appreciating the feeling of sitting so close to each other.
Somehow, some way, that meal meant more to me than Christmas dinner.