So today at lunch, me and Bell, we got to talking about the future and when she moves out to Oregon.
“I don’t want to sell the house.” She didn’t look up from her salad.
“I don’t either.” I reached for another garlic bread stick I didn’t really need.
“I don’t know what you have going on and all of this is very weird.” She chugged the last of her iced tea. “But we can make it work out. Check? Thanks.”
I pretended not to notice the obvious question in there but then when we got outside, she asked, “Are you seeing anybody?”
I kind of shrugged my shoulders.
“It’s a legitimate question.”
“Do you want to know?”
“No,” she said. “I don’t want to hear anything about it. But that sounds like it’s pretty much a ‘yes’.”
We got in the car. I didn’t say anything back.
It wasn’t even very awkward after that. We just talked about normal shit. The weather. Picking up Ryan from his friend’s house later. Where to go for dinner.
“I’ll be living with Matt as a roommate.”
I didn’t ask if they had anything going on.
Bell and I have been pretty much roommates for two and a half years now, so there’s probably enough distance between us and anything romantic anyway. I’m good with everything and I think she’s fine with how things have turned out.
Matt is her best friend, Tina’s, ex-husband. Tina introduced them and he and Bell hit it off immediately. It was fine with me. Gave her a diversion and kept her off my tail. The four of them–Bell, Matt, Tina, and Tina’s boyfriend, Tom–had become inseparable over the last couple of years.
I’ve had my own diversion. Jessica.
I had already been seeing Jess for a few years with the blessing of her husband when my wife began having her own fun. Jess and Jon live a couple hundred miles north, so me and Jess only get to see each other once or twice a month at the most but usually only every couple of months.
Jess and me–and Jon–made plans to eventually live closer, if not together, when our kids graduate. They’re moving down here.
Not long after Bell met Matt, those four came up with a similar plan, except theirs included moving to Oregon. Their plan accelerated quite a bit when Tom got a promotion he couldn’t pass up and Matt lost his job.
Tom found a temporary place to stay in Oregon so he could start his new position as soon as possible and Matt moved in with Tina and the kids to save money. Tom started to look for a permanent place and prepare for Tina, Matt and the kids’ arrival.
Bell felt left out of the whole process. We had agreed neither of us would make any major life changes until Ryan graduates and starts college. Not long ago, Tina, Matt and the kids joined Tom in Oregon, leaving Bell stuck here with Ryan and me. And she’s miserable.
We pulled into the driveway and Bell left the car running. Like she was just dropping me off or something.
“Yeah, so I figured the house will be like our home base for when any of us come home from Oregon to visit or for you, wherever you’ll be. Or will you still live here? When Ryan’s on break from college–”
“I’ll be here.”
“Will she?” She gazed up at the house, toward our bedroom window.
Bell turned off the engine and pulled the keys out of ignition. I guess she decided she had no where else to be. We sat in silence for a few minutes, then headed inside.