The hall adorned with red scented candles greeted me as I stepped into his house. The shimmer of candles fell on his cheeks and those adorable dimples became prominent as he smiled at me. Looking dapper in his black tuxedo, he came forward, and holding my hand, whispered in my ear “Happy 2nd Anniversary baby”. I was astounded. He remembered our 2nd anniversary, and on top of that, he planned a surprise dinner for me. His habit of surprising me wasn’t new. He would constantly astonish me with surprise visits and gifts. My dream of a romantic boyfriend was coming true and maybe he would soon be my life partner. I was so excited.
He asked how the dinner was and as I began to talk, he cut me short to tell me how each dish was made. He jumped to his love for chicken and then to how he had a skirmish with his boss and went on and on.

While I appreciated him sharing his day, I felt like an audience watching a movie, without a feedback button.

I wanted to share my excitement about my sister’s upcoming wedding and how much my new job sucks, but I couldn’t.

Who’s this guy?

Having finished our dinner, we collapsed onto the couch and I rested my head on his shoulder. He picked up my phone and went through my WhatsApp chats and questioned me about this guy who messages me a lot. “He is my colleague,” I responded, “and we chat generally. He is a nice guy though, very helpful.”
“I can see that he is a nice guy, that’s why you keep on chatting with him. Your last conversation was at 1 a.m yesterday,” he replied.
“What? I can’t ignore him, I work with him. Besides, we’re becoming good friends.”
“Yeah, of course. Now that you are getting along so well, why don’t you make him your boyfriend?” he taunted.
“What the hell! Now I’m barred from making friends?”
“Oh, just don’t say anything, OK!” he answered aggressively. He continued, “How many friends do you need? Your creepy best friend is there. You both keep calling each other. I’m suspicious about you two.”
I couldn’t take any more. “Don’t you dare say anything about my best friend. How dare you question my loyalty? I’ve always been faithful to you but now I can’t take it. I AM BREAKING UP WITH YOU,” I shouted in anger. I banged the door shut on my way out and crying, wondered what I’d just done. I wanted to rant, talk to someone, so I called Raghav, my best friend. I asked him to come to my place.

I can tell you anything

As I reached home I saw Raghav waiting for me. I immediately hugged him and cried “I broke up with Sumit” and couldn’t control my tears. He took me to my apartment and calmed me down. He offered me some water and asked “What happened? Tell me everything.”
“He accused me of cheating on him with you. How dare he say that?” I told him the whole thing.
“I trust you Mahi,” proclaimed Raghav. “I know how loyal and dedicated you are. I’m not mad at Sumit, I’m just sorry for him that he failed to notice how amazing and wonderful you are. You always stood by him in those two long years, quit your job and went against everyone, supported him when he was fired and moreover you couldn’t hear a word against me. I’ve seen people back biting but you took a stand for me.”

He reminded me that I’m wonderful, which I’d forgotten for a long time. He brought a smile to my face.

I could kiss you

I loved the way he appreciated me and I leaned towards him and kissed him. Wait, what did I just do? Kissed my best friend? Perplexed, I sat still thinking, when he kissed me back.
I felt compassion, warmth and a feeling of security as he encircled me in his arms. In the heat of the moment, we went ahead and had sex. It was amazing sex, unlike with Sumit.
The evening made my long-term best friend my friend with benefits, with no strings attached. It’s been four months now and I can’t think of a single reason to complain. We can talk endlessly, go out and have fun, have an understanding friend, have some great sex and all this without any unnecessary questions, mistrust and jealousy. I don’t have to tell him where I’m going, to whom I’m talking, who’s this new guy on my friend list. I realised that more important than the romantic surprises were understanding, compassion and friendship.

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