Angelo had gone on a tour with his band without talking with Crystal. Now he was back in town and he’d missed her a lot. He decided that it was time to have a serious talk with her. He didn’t know how she would react on seeing him again.
Crystal opened the door and was surprised to see Angelo. She led the way to the couch and took a seat.
“How was your tour?”
“It was great. We had sold out performances, and we’ve been offered a record deal.”
‘Thanks, Crystal. You gave me a push when I needed it.”
Crystal knew about Angelo’s past just like he knew about hers. His parents had always backed him with his music, but they had insisted that he obtain a college degree in case he was unable to make a success of his music career. So Angelo had a degree in engineering. However, his music was his main focus and now he was becoming successful.
He’d met Crystal years before at one of his band’s concerts. There hadn’t been a large audience that night and interest in his band wasn’t high back then. He’d been considering quitting the band and getting a job in the engineering field. Crystal had approached him during the after party when his band’s performance ended. They had begun talking.
Angelo had told her how much he appreciated knowing that his music had that effect on her. They had talked together for hours that first night without even noticing how much time had passed. They had really clicked and been close friends ever since then.
Crystal never liked to talk about her childhood or her mother. She hadn’t even told June. However, Angelo had insisted and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He’d said that her childhood had been a part of shaping who she was today and as her close friend he wanted to know her the best that he could. So Crystal had told him about her years growing up just as he’d told her about his.
Now Angelo was studying her face, trying to find the words to talk about what he knew needed to be discussed. Words that he knew would probably mean the end of their friendship. They needed to discuss the fact that he’d fallen in love with her.
“Angelo how does it feel?”
“To be in love with me? With anyone!”
“I don’t know how to explain it, but I’ll try. It’s a mixture of euphoria when I see you smile, when I look into your eyes and when I hold you in my arms. It’s absolute hell because I know that you don’t love me in return and that you probably never will. It tears me apart to know that you don’t want me in your life anymore simply because I’m in love with you.”
“Angelo, you know that I don’t want any complications in my life. I don’t know if I’m even capable of being faithful to just one man. You know that if I like a man and I’m attracted to him, then I see nothing wrong with going out with him or sleeping with him.”
“I know that Crystal. I didn’t intentionally fall in love with you. You’ve always been a completely honest person and that’s one of the things that I love about you. Really it’s your fault this happened. You’re just so damn lovable!”
They both laughed at that. Lovable was never a word used to describe Crystal.
“Were you in love with Keith?”
Angelo hadn’t known that Crystal had pursued Keith. She saw the surprised look in his eyes and tried to explain.
“I think it’s because he was different from the guys that I usually date. He wanted more from me than just a quick lay in the sack. I wanted to see where it might lead. I never slept with him because he said that he doesn’t sleep with a woman unless he loves her. Maybe he was a challenge for me. Oh I don’t know but that’s over now!”
Angelo was silent and this time Crystal was studying his face.
“With you though, Angelo, I’ll admit that my feelings are different. I can talk with you about anything, and of course you know that I love sleeping with you. I know that I care about you, and I’ve missed you the past few weeks when we weren’t talking. I… I know that I want you in my life.”
“You were willing to give a relationship with Keith a try, but what about me? Maybe you can give us a try. Maybe you can give it a chance to see where things lead with us? Be honest, Crystal. Please be honest with yourself. You feel more than friendship for me.”
“What do you think that I want?”
“A commitment, marriage!”
“I would love a commitment, but I don’t expect marriage. I know that’s what Jamil told Miki too, but you know me! Marriage and children aren’t in my life plan either. How about if we just do what you were willing to do for Keith. Just start seriously dating and see where it leads between us. Maybe you’ll end up wanting to be exclusive!”
“So you mean dating each other and if we want to go out with anyone else, that’s okay too?”
Angelo frowned. “Are you saying that you won’t mind if I date and sleep with other women?”
Crystal didn’t answer right away. It had never bothered her in the past when Angelo dated, but something had changed in her feelings. It would bother her now.
Angelo read her expression. “See, that thought bothers you just like it bothers me when you date someone else. Let’s start dating and see how it goes.”
Crystal missed June too, and she wanted to try to save their friendship. She asked June to meet her in the bar downstairs for a drink after work and was relieved when June agreed.
“I’m sorry about Keith.”
“Did you know that he’s engaged?”
“Yeah. Honestly, June. I’m not upset about Keith.”
Crystal hesitated. “I had no idea that you were in love with Angelo. Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I…. I don’t know. Really, I’ve come to see that I wasn’t in love with him, but I would like to have been. I think he’s a great guy and I wanted to …I don’t know what I wanted. That’s over now though because he’s in love with you!”
June looked Crystal in the eye. “Do you think that you do, or do you just use him?”
“We’ve started dating, and I’m trying to treat him right. This is new for me, but I do care about Angelo.”
“Are we okay?”
“Yeah. You’re still my homegirl.”
They started talking about other things.
Angelo and Crystal enjoyed the progression of their relationship. Angelo was relieved that he no longer had to hide his feelings for Crystal. He was very thoughtful and did little things to let her know that he was thinking about her even when they weren’t together. He’d leave little notes around Crystal’s loft telling her how he felt about her and cute little messages describing a quality in her personality or appearance that he admired in her.
It was harder for Crystal to open up and share her feelings with him, but Angelo hadn’t expected it to be easy for her. He understood how her past had effected her, and just that knowledge that he truly did understand her made Crystal care even more about him.
“What are you doing here?”
“Is the offer still open?”
“I thought you were engaged!”
“I’m not married yet, and years down the road I don’t want to wonder what sleeping with you would have been like. Don’t you want to know too? Was your offer just a lot of hot air or do you want to go upstairs?”
Crystal led the way upstairs to her bedroom. They undressed and soon were on the bed together. As they had sex, Crystal felt a completely new sensation. It was deep guilt. It kept her from enjoying being intimate with Keith.
Crystal didn’t answer.
She saw the pain and disappointment in his eyes.
Crystal’s guilt made her lash out in anger.
He didn’t wait to hear what she had to say. He didn’t want to hear it. He left the apartment.
I had intended for Crystal to remain single after this, but Cury’s comment a few chapters back made me think that it would be nice to let you all decide. While I don’t believe that Crystal would ever marry, a committed relationship might work for her. Please take a few moments to take the poll for me.