He sat next to her on the grey rug.
It was soft as she ran her fingers through it, wondering where the little kitten had scampered off to. She had liked the kitten, and the feeling seemed mutual, but it had run off a while ago, and she almost wished it would come back as a distraction. Focusing her attention on the cat seemed like a less mortifying option than doing the same with the man sitting next to her.
She knew he was looking at her, which was why the rug held her interest. She could feel her heartbeat underneath her skin, the blood rushing softly through her veins, every pulse point vulnerable. He was angled more towards her than she was to him, but it didn’t make a difference. They wouldn’t be doing anything of the romantic variety tonight.
A small smile escaped her. They had never pursued anything of that sort before, and it wasn’t likely to happen now, so why was she all strung up? This was her friend, the funny, empathetic guy she’d met in a grocery store looking at cat food. She’d absentmindedly commented something about the last time she bought cat food. It was a distant memory, a fond one. Buying cat food was a habit she had never truly gotten over, even with the lack of felines around her. There was a strict no-pets policy in her cousin’s house, with whom she lived, and before packing up her things, and making that final move into another city, she gave away her three fluffy monsters to a friend who had loved them from the very beginning.
Regardless, she always kept a packet of cat treats in her jacket. You never knew when you could tempt a furry friend into a few strokes and a conversation with some treats. Besides, the company was rare at her cousin’s house. She was a corporate lawyer who was almost always away and preferred not to invite people home. Dina had been encouraged to bring friends home; Cousin Sheila didn’t care what gender as long as they didn’t venture inside her office or touch any case files. That was the only limit imposed on her. How could Dina explain that she didn’t have very many friends in this strange, sprawling city?
That one grocery visit told her how much she’d missed actual conversation with people who possessed mutual interest, in this case, cats. Apparently, he followed her on Instagram and was surprised to have seen her in public. Things had taken off from there, and before they knew it they became fast friends. She now sat in his house; on the grey rug thinking of how much could be gained or lost from every move they made.
“It’s okay if you want to,” he murmured, “I told you I was fine with whatever you wanted.”
She wanted a lot of things, and most of them weren’t hers to take. So, she finally looked up at him.
“I know you’re fine, and I’m glad but, I don’t want things to be different just because I made another stupid decision, and I make tons of those, I would know,” she stalled, “it’s just I like you. You’re such a good friend to me, and I don’t want any rash decisions on my part to damage what we have.”
He hummed into consideration.
“But it won’t mean anything unless you want it to. It’s completely up to you. I told you, you’re safe here. In this room, in this house,” he hesitated, “with me. For once, don’t overthink. Just feel it, do you want to feel?”
She had to admit, he made sense. She could pursue whatever this was or leave it as it was, despite the consequences, and here he was, offering something that would have the liberty of being free from the binding nature of consequences. It felt foolish to miss an opportunity, especially one that was offered so freely and more than that…it felt right to accept.
She looked into those endless black eyes and made a split second decision.
“Okay,” she said, quietly but audibly, “I want to try….”