Two Close For Comfort

A short story by Warren Pilkington, October 2004

Adam had known his friend Louisa for some time. They had been to school together, and had even been to the same University as each other. For years they had been in regular touch with each other and had remained good friends. Often friends that they knew had tried to bring them together but they were both stoical in the fact that they just wanted to be friends and that they were both free to choose whichever partner they wished.

One night, Adam had been out with his friends Dave and Thomas, Dave's girlfriend Patricia, Louisa's friend Hermoine, and Louisa. While Dave and Patricia had been trying to match make Thomas and Hermoine, there was one nagging doubt setting in to Louisa's mind. She was still single and twenty nine years old. Although she had had relationships, none of them were the special one relationship that she was looking for, it all ebbed and flowed for a while and then faded away. She felt a little down at times as she took a lot of the blame for the breakup personally, even if it wasn't her fault. Adam had said to her once that maybe it's their loss because she would get someone better in the end, but nonetheless sometimes Louisa felt as if no one fancied her and wanted to be her soul mate, partner and passionate lover (although not necessarily in that order).

She was feeling a bit down seeing the other four flirt around each other and so started to talk to Adam. "Look", she said, "I'm getting a bit sick of all this lovey dovey ness. Can we talk somewhere?"

"Yeah, sure", reassured Adam. "Do you want to grab a coffee somewhere. The futon's still up at my place if you want to crash out there."

"Okay, done!" smiled Louisa, "Let's go."

On the way back to Adam's flat, Louisa was having a nagging doubt in her mind, and this time it was more nagging than ever. A doubt that had really been self thought of for many years, but also one that would constantly face her as time goes by. She needed someone to confide in, someone she can trust, and also not just feel like someone who would want to jump into bed and have sex with her, although that though had crossed her mind at various nights through the evening that just feeling wanted for those few moments may have been enough.

Adam started to make coffee in the kitchen. "Usual then?" he asked Louisa.

"Yes, but can I please have two sugars instead of one for a change?" she asked, "I really feel like I need the sugar rush tonight for some reason."

They settled down with their coffee: Adam's black with no sugar, just pure and unadulterated. Louisa's with milk and two sugars, and plenty of milk at that, a complete contrast. Louisa started to fidget a little nervously on the chair as if she was itching. Adam had seen this behaviour many a time with Louisa, he knew she was nervous and went across to give her a hug and reassure her things were okay.

It was at this point Louisa asked the question that had bugged her so for long.

"Adam?" she asked inquisitively, "Why have we never had a relationship together?"

There was stunned silence from the two of them for about five minutes. Inside, they both knew at some point that one of them would ask the question but no one until now had felt brave enough to ask. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence, just one of relief that at last they could both search their souls and answer the question. Adam volunteered almost to speak first.

"Louisa", he whispered softly, "I think you've not been alone in asking this question. It's something I think we've both thought about as we've been such good and close friends for ages. I can't deny that you are a really warm hearted, sincere, genuine and kind person - because you are. I can't deny that you are attractive either because you always look feminine."

"And as you always said" reminded Louisa, "Feminine is sexy, right?"

"Absolutely!" grinned Adam. And believe me, when you were at that Christmas party last year I really was just stood there for a while with the jaw dropping because I couldn't believe how nice you looked. I just was hoping someone else noticed you because they would have really not taken tneir eyes off you all night. And yet no one did. Fools!"

Louisa smiled at that as she remember the moment well. "Carry on" she whispered to Adam, "This is doing wonders for me."

"Well" he continued, "I've always been a little too scared to actually ask you out, because if we started going out, and if things changed and we didn't get on with each other, it would be so difficult to us going back to being friends and all, and I really don't, under any circumstances, want to lose you as a friend. Whatsoever. Yes, you have a great personality, yes you are sexy and attractive, and yes, all the little things you do make you the person you are and that's who I like you for."

"Oh Adam!" sighed Louisa, "You don't know how happy this makes me feel. You are so lovely, so nice, so attractive, and there's been times when I've really just wanted to tell you all this but I've always felt embarassed to do so in case anyone listens and they think that we're just trying to end up in bed with each other. Don't get me wrong, I bet you are good in bed and everything like that, but you know what I mean don't you?"

"Don't worry", smiled Adam, "It's they that are foolish. Besides, I think we're both letting a lot go here that we might not have done otherwise. It might do us both good. Maybe it's releasing the feelings that would be bottled up - and you know what happens if you bottle them up..."

Louisa realised that it was a real step for her: admitting her feelings for her closest friend without remorse, without worry and without the undercurrent of sex on the menu. She did want to admit one other thing though but really didn't want to lead it to sex as that would be wrong tonight.

"Adam, I need to admit something as well," she blushed, "There has been times when I've gone to sleep and thought about how nice it would have been to make love to you, passionately, so much so that I've ended up..."

"Relieving yourself?" he responded with gusto. "That's okay." He grinned with all the wideness of the Cheshire Cat. "I wouldn't be lying if I said there's been times when I've need to relieve myself and I've thought about how nice it would be to take you..."

They both realised the conversation needed to change before they'd end up making a mistake at this point and having sex. Adam continued softly speaking to Louisa. "Actually, there is something we could do, but it's up to you and I'll respect your decision whichever way you decide."

"What's that?" she asked.

"Well," enquired Adam. "Now our feelings are out in the open and there's genuine feelings of wanting each other, and not just for friendship, and although it's a big risk in case we did split up and stuff, I really think we should try and give this relationship thing a go. We're both not getting any younger, and with age comes cynicism that you might never find that partner of your dreams, and also there's the fact we know each other well and that we're pretty good at talking to each other, so no problems there. So maybe we should start seeing each other as more than friends and officially have a first proper date? It's up to you as well as me."

"You know what?" exclaimed Louisa. "I think you're right. We have needs too, we wish to have love and romance and friendship (well, got that one haven't we?) and even the odd bit of passion here and there, you know. So why should we deny ourselves when in fact both of our selves might just prove to be the perfect soul mate? Let's try it out, but also let's make a pledge to ourselves. If it works out, fine. If not, we both agree and then go back to being friends. I don't, I really don't, want to lose you as a friend as you're far too dear to me."

"Agreed." joined in Adam.

And then, they embraced in relief and warmth, and slowly moved to each other and gave each other their first, real, proper kiss. Not like any kiss either of them had felt before, but a soft, slow, lingering gentle kiss. No tongues needed. Just the passion and emotion all in one.

From this day on, they knew both of their lives would change.