Mark and I had fallen into a routine, we message during the day and face time every night, we catch up on our days and more often than not the conversation ends with me falling asleep, Mark had fast become a comfort in my life, he gave me something to look forward to each day. We had so much in common; he was my person I wanted to tell everything to like the time I got my promotion at work and I couldn’t wait to tell him; he had helped me practise my interview questions. I saw Charlie every so often but she and the bartender from the bar became a couple and I didn’t fancy being the third wheel, plus I kept getting grief for putting off my own dating life for a guy who was over 3000 miles away.
“So what are your plans this weekend?” I ask, getting nothing but silence. “Mark?” He was acting a little weird tonight and I start to feel I am missing something.
“Actually, I have a date Friday night,” I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.
“Oh,” were the only words I could find.
“That’s nice.” I can hear the uncertainty in his voice.
“Yeah, Justin set it up a few weeks back.” I don’t want to know deep down, but I can’t help but ask, “And you’re only getting around to the date now?” Mark looks at me uncomfortably. “We have been out a few times already.”
I am shocked at no point has he mentioned this. “So it’s getting serious?” He rubs his hand through his hair.
“Yeah, it is, that’s why I didn’t want to say anything.”
It stung like hell, I stupidly fell for Mark. This was a stark reminder that we lived nearly three and a half thousand miles away and we were only ever going to be just friends. I was putting my life on hold for something that was a pipe dream.
“Well, I am happy for you, I hope she is everything you are looking for.” Mark looks surprised at me. For the first time since we started talking, I bail out.
“I am sorry, I am so exhausted I think I just need an early night.”
I can see it all over his face, he knows I’m lying but rather than pry he lets me go.
“Night Blake, I will talk to you tomorrow, yeah?” I had no right to be short with him, but it upset me that he would spend those hours with me and then right after, go on a date.
“Yeah sure.” I know I am overreacting but I guess I just assumed that I meant something to him, well one thing is for certain: since I am friend zoned there is no stopping me from putting myself out there. I know it was a dick move, but over the next few nights, I told Mark that I was working late and tired.
Couldn’t argue it was audit time, and I was getting home later. I was drained emotionally. Fucking Facebook destroyed me. While I was ignoring Mark’s calls, he made his relationship official I went onto Facebook and the picture and words destroyed me on the spot. Mark Hart is in a relationship with Nicole Kennedy. There it was, a picture of them both, all loved it. She was stunning Blonde, Blue eyes, plump lips with no doubt I was jealous. Ok, this was getting out of hand, we were friends and I missed talking to him; I need to get my feelings in check and just be friends. So what do I do?
“Blake everything ok?” I get straight to the point, willing myself to go through with this. “Charlie, I need you to be my wing-woman.”
Charlie sounds delighted with this. “Holy shit, are you asking for my help on dating?” I blurt out so quick I can’t form a sentence.
Charlie giggles down the phone. “Well, fuck me sideways, absofuckinglutely,” I let out a sigh.
“Please be gentle with me it has been a while and I am a little rusty.”
Charlie softens her tone, trying not to scare me to death. “Say no more, double date this Saturday, Jake has a single friend. I will text you the details.” I absorb her words and panic sets in. “You’re setting me up with one of Jake’s friends? Is that not a bit awkward?” Charlie reassures me right away. “Trust me, girl, you want to see Curtis, he is hot, tall, built like a tank and best of all he is a vet, so he loves animals that’s a sexy quality. Don’t overthink it, Blake, so what do you say?” She was right, I needed to not overthink this, so I just went with it.
“I would love to.”
Over the next few days Mark and I message but haven’t face-timed, he has been busy with Nicole and well I don’t want to face him so it’s a win, win. It’s finally Saturday and I am nervous as hell, Charlie has organised the double date, we are going to dinner but Curtis is picking me up from my place at six-thirty. Talk about awkward. I am putting the finishing touches to my makeup when my phone goes; I look down. “Shit!” Mark is trying to face time me. Oh, the hell with it, I hit accept and set my phone on my dresser to continue getting ready.
“Hi Blake..., Blake you there?” I am struggling to get myself sorted.
“Hi Mark, sorry just getting ready?” I hear the concern in his voice.
“Have I called at a bad time?”
I take a moment before I let him know. “Actually, yeah, sorry I am about to head out” I look at his face and can see the disappointment.
“Oh, sorry, anywhere nice?” I give him a soft smile. “I am ...”
I don’t get the chance to finish; the doorbell goes. “Sorry Mark, can you give me two seconds?” Walking off, I check myself in the mirror, walking out of the room. I pause at the door and take a deep breath. Answering my door and holy mother of god, I have a Greek god standing before me. I give him a megawatt smile. “Hi, you must be Curtis, nice to meet you, sorry I will be just two minutes.”
Curtis comes in and stands in the hall holding flowers. “It’s so nice to meet you, Blake, I have heard all nice things, these are for you.” I take the flowers and give him another smile making my way back into my room placing the flowers on my bed and grab my heels. “I am sorry Mark, I can’t talk right now... I’m ...”
There is something in his voice I can’t place. “Are you going out on a date?” I finish putting on my shoes and walk towards the dresser to collect my phone. “Yeah, Charlie set me up on this blind date for tonight.” I see Mark clear his throat. “You look stunning.”
Feeling nothing but awkward, I need to cut this short.
“Thank you, I will talk to you tomorrow, Bye Mark, ”
My heart breaks as I hear his voice, “Bye Blake.”
I feel bad for springing it on him but I didn’t expect him to call we hadn’t mentioned it when we were texting, even though he asked me about my plans, but then again neither did he. I didn’t even want to tell him. Walking back out to meet Curtis, he is still standing in the hallway.
I can’t help but smile. “Thank you, it’s a little small, but it’s home” I walk over to the door towards Curtis.
“Shall we head?” Walking me out towards his car, he places his hand at the small of my back. The touch of his hand sends heat through my body. Holy shit, that was not the reaction I was expecting.
I can’t help but have Mark at the back of my mind. Every so often I have to push my thoughts to the back and enjoy Curtis. It wasn’t fair to compare him to someone; I had never met in person. That wasn’t giving someone a fair chance.