There I was. Running down the street like a headless chicken – a rather well dressed headless chicken – but a headless chicken nonetheless. I was late. As always. Steven’s parties were always the best kind of parties. Seemingly casual get-togethers would almost always turn into the event of the year. The kind where you would see faces you hadn’t seen in years, laugh like you’d never laughed before and guzzle drinks like they were going out of fashion. I was incredibly excited, but alas my punctuality wouldn’t have suggested so.
I arrived at casa de Steven just half an hour after I said I would be there, so it could have been a lot worse and much to my surprise and satisfaction, I was impossibly fresh looking. As soon as the door opened, I heard music. An eclectic selection of tunes that brought me straight back to my carefree teenage years. My excitement grew. I strolled through the door like the life and soul of the party, waving at people as I made my way to the kitchen whilst trying to discretely pull my knickers to the side where they belonged. My brisk walk had somehow altered the placement of my panties.
I whipped my jacket off in the kitchen and plonked down a few bottles of, well, plonk. It was a party after all and I had no intentions of staying sober. I immediately got chatting to a few old friends like we’d never been apart, whilst juggling a rather large wine glass in one hand and a soon-to-be lit cigarette in the other. I was the always the Patsy Stone of the party and I was perfectly comfortable with that concept. The banter began to flow, as did the alcohol, when suddenly something hit my head. It wasn’t a heavy enough object to injure me but it was weighty enough to warrant an overreaction. I turned around. Dan was there.
Dan was my friend, and a good one at that. We met, God, we must have been about 15 years old and needless to say at that time, we had not a care in the world. We had a great friendship. Always laughing, joking, generally just having a good time. Dan was always that one friend I could rely on no matter what. He’d be on the other end of the phone, or in the pub, or at my house, whenever I needed him and I couldn’t have been more grateful to have him in my life. In our youth, at several points, we shared the odd kiss and a grope, which were normally drunken, teenage fumbles in a seedy nightclub. That was about the extent to which we became romantically attached at any one point. We were friends, not lovers, but somehow as we got older, we seemed to flirt more and more but maintained our relationship – that being friends without benefits.
I looked over at Dan and he winked. God, I hated it when he did that. Our friendship was predominantly platonic but there were instances where I would look at Dan and think ‘God I bet he’s good in bed’ but that ideology never really came to fruition. There was so much power in that wink. He did it to annoy me, and by God did it work. He was hot, he knew it and I definitely knew it too. Sure, he was a friend but I didn’t half eye him up at every opportunity. I headed over to chat to him and we shared a good strong embrace which proved that yes, we had missed each other’s company. It was like we were never apart. We talked all night, about everything and anything. I won’t lie, there were instances where I laughed so hard that it seemed almost inevitable that my Sauvignon Blanc would come shooting out of my nose.
The party was brilliant. Games were played, drinks were drunk, tempers didn’t fray – we were a friendly bunch and the night just seemed to progress into much more enjoyment as the alcohol consumption levels increased. I was having a fabulous time and the reason being was that I was spending my night with Dan. Quicker than expected, we entered the wee small hours of the morning. You know, that point of a party where everyone’s lounging about the living area finding various bits of cushion to use as temporary blankets, and 6 fully grown adults find it perfectly normal being squashed onto a one seater sofa. The rest of the guests were dying off, not literally you understand, but either leaving or forming a suitable bed for the evening on the floor of the kitchen. Dan and I had stolen our settee spot way ahead of time. We had done the whole party thing before – this certainly wasn’t amateur hour.
It was 4am and we were still laughing, albeit at a much lower volume so as to not awaken the drunken mass of bodies displayed on the floor. There it was. The moment our eyes met. We looked at each other at the exact same moment. We kissed. It was a good kiss, a great kiss. We pulled away, sort of gazing at one another as if to say “really? Did that just happen?” Steven walked in to the room. I say walked, it was more of an intoxicated stumble. He said something I can’t quite recall to this day but I remember how it completely changed the subject from us thinking about turning that kiss into a much more sexual endeavour. The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the settee the next day and Dan was gone. I was pleased to discover I hadn’t lost either of my eyebrows during the night, or my dignity for that matter.
What I was left thinking about was Dan. Why was it that we obviously had a mutual attraction to one another, but we could never get further than a kiss? What was it? He had all the qualities I’d look for in a man but when it came to it, in any situation, we could never really make it past first base. I came to the conclusion that we’d always be friends without benefits, and maybe that was a good thing.
To this day, almost 10 years since the day we met, Dan and I are in still in touch and we continue to laugh and joke and have a great time together, and he continues to wink. Maybe we’ve both made a mutual subconscious decision that our friendship is simply too good to complicate with something as meaningless as sex, or maybe we’re just physically attracted to one another but just not emotionally compatible. I will always have a good friend in Dan and who knows, maybe we’ll bite the bullet and find ourselves between the sheets one day but until then, the only benefits I’ll get from having Dan in my life is knowing that I’ve got a top bloke by my side I can always rely on no matter what – boyfriend or not.