(For those of you just joining the Love Story, I started it on Friday in honor of our tenth wedding anniversary. This is chapter three; If you want to begin at the real beginning, click here.)
Matt seemed nice to Sarah, and I was happy for her that her date went well. She was excited. The whole night was good, and we were proud of our kick-off activity. The baton was passed, and another apartment began planning the next Ward Date. Two of Matt’s roommates had coincidentally been the dates of my other two roommates, so our two apartments started to hang out a little bit. At one point we went to go see a movie at the theater and I felt like the total “third-wheel” (seventh, actually) since I wasn’t a part of these match-ups, so I slipped away early under the guise of visiting a sick friend (which I really did do, by the way, because I’m not a good liar. She was sick, but she didn’t need nor ask for my help. I went anyway, just to follow through with my excuse for leaving).
Sarah was very happy about her developing friendship with Matt, and I encouraged her and was sincerely excited for her. He asked her to go with him to the next ward date. (By the way, this has since been denounced as a poor social choice that was meant to simply “return the favor.”) In all of our minds as a team of roommates/self-appointed social experts/dating divas, these were all good signs and we rallied around Sarah and her new and seemingly positive potential relationship. Our apartments continued to do several things together and we all became friends. I was still avoiding the two previously-mentioned suitors, and a third one had now entered into the mix. I went out with him one time. It was fine. I wasn’t that interested. He kept asking me out. I tried to be polite, and as obviously disinterested as I could be without being rude or making up lies. I was annoyed by the recurring pathetic themes in my social life. Things had been rocky enough with KK in our recent interactions that I was beginning to feel “healed” from the breakup– still confused by it, but not hurting so much anymore. But still, judging from the three yahoos I was currently juggling, my future didn’t feel super hopeful.
I was talking to my dad on the phone one night, and Matt beeped in. I told him I was on the other line, so could I just have Sarah call him back? He said, “Uh, yeah, but YOU call me back.” Oh, okay. I didn’t think anything of it. Maybe he wanted to ask me something about her or make secret plans for her or something. He gave me his work number, and I finished the conversation with my dad. I called Matt back, and we made small talk for a few minutes. It was a fun, friendly conversation, but I kept wondering when he was going to get around to telling me why he had called. Then he asked me out. On a date!
I literally felt a little sick to my stomach. Me?! I think there may have been a lot of “Um…,” “Well,” and other unfinished syllables, mixed with awkward pauses. My mind was racing.
“Um, can I call you back?” I hung up. I needed to think.
I felt this really unexpected intense confusion. I had never even considered going out with him because I’d only seen him as a possibility for Sarah… one of my best friends of many, many years… remember? But now that he’d mentioned it, I thought you know, he is a cool guy, and he would be fun to go out with, but what?!! This was crazy. I was surprised that I kind of wanted to. I felt horrible for Sarah. I couldn’t go. Could I?
Sarah was downstairs in the kitchen. I called my other roommate, Maria, on her cell phone. She was 15 feet down the hall in her bedroom. I whispered, “Maria! Matt just called. He asked me out.”
“Huh?!” (You can’t fault her for the confusion.) I explained what happened, and we both squealed and gasped and talked as dramatically as whispering would allow. After discussing the whole thing back and forth and probably chewing all the possible life out of the topic, she said, “Can you imagine Sarah’s face if the doorbell rang and it was Matt coming to pick you up?” That sealed it.
I took a deep breath, called him back and said, “Under different circumstances, I would love to go out with you, and I think that we would have a really good time together, and who knows what would happen (Um, what were these words coming out of my mouth?!!), but I just can’t.” He correctly guessed the reason and faulted himself for not foreseeing that more clearly, and was understanding about my decision. Perhaps it was the impossibility of it all that created a weird, exciting tension. The conversation ended by both of us saying, “Maybe later.”
Coming next…. Chapter 4: The Secret