He Moved Out

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Papa Bear moved out.

He has been in his new apartment a week today.

He tells me he is so, incredibly happy. And he seems happy. He gets to wake up later in the morning because he doesn’t have to make coffee for the Ex-Wifey before he leaves for work. His commute is shorter and easier. And he is way closer to where I live.

Instead of getting home from work and dreading what he is going to be in trouble for now, or what he is going to have to do for the Ex-Wifey, he just comes home and does whatever he wants. He relaxes. Or takes a nap. Or puts together furniture in his underwear. Or walks around naked.

Freedom, bitches!

His apartment is nice. It’s small, but new. Hardwood floors and lots of windows, in a high rise downtown with a gym and a pool. He is excited to have my kids over to swim.

Still, sometimes, the immensity of what has happened overcomes him. Still he tells me, sometimes he wonders “What have I done?”

I understand. Who wouldn’t have those reservations? What kind of person would leave a 20+ year marriage without some second thoughts? When he feels that though, he reminds himself of how bad it was. And of everything he has gained. And the panic slowly fades.

He says I am the most important thing in the world to him. I think its because I support his freedom, and respect his autonomy. Also, of course,  is our amazing, heart-stopping, intense connection that just continues to grow and grow.

We are both so relieved–if that’s an appropriate word to use. We just want to be together, without having to walk on egg shells, or wait for permission, or feel guilty. He tells me he is excited about our life together, and being able to define it without a bunch of constraints.

I agree. We are soul mates. And now we can stop pretending that that doesn’t matter.


The Polidays (Part V)

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It was New Years Day. Papa Bear and I were both feeling raw. He’d called me the night before at midnight, and we’d talked and said our “I love you’s”.  Now we were sitting with hot cups of coffee, watching the snow fall. Immersed in love, but nerves all a-jangle.

“I had a good talk with The Wifey,” he said.

“Oh?” I asked.

“I really wanted to be with you last night. She could tell I wasn’t happy. I hate that I wasn’t with you on a night that means so much to you.”

“The Wifey says I should take what is offered to me, and be happy,” I said tentatively.

“Yes,” he said, “and while that’s good advice, she needs to do that too. After all, I’m the one doing the offering–or ought to be.”

For the first time I sensed the level of his frustration. He was pissed.

“I’m so sorry I wasn’t with you last night. New Years has never been important to The Wifey and me. We never go out, we never stay up until midnight or kiss when the ball drops. It’s never been a thing. But I know it was important to you, and I wanted more than anything to be there. And if I had been where I am now, three weeks ago, I would have said ‘Too bad, I’m spending New Years at Baby Bear’s, you can either come, or stay home and have a good night with your folks.'”

“. . .And where are you now, exactly?” I ventured, tentatively.

“That in all of this, I have been feeling pulled between the two of you, when what really should tip the scales or make the difference, is what I want. She needs too understand that I need you. That our relationship is important. But its my fault because I’ve spent the past 20+ years of marriage ignoring my needs in favor of hers, to the point where she thought that my wants and hers were the same. I told her that she needs to adjust to the fact that my life no longer just revolves around her–I also orbit you. So I need to be much clearer about that. Sometimes what I need is a quiet night at home with The Wifey. Sometimes it’s snuggling you on the couch and watching a movie, and sometimes it’s to go out with you and do something crazy–like sky-diving. To her credit, she was pretty broken up when I told her I’d spent my life bending to her. She had no idea I felt that way.”

I nodded.

“As far as the hierarchical model–primary, secondary, etc–there are some ways in which you can’t be primary right now. I want, so much, for our families to be totally blended, but its just not possible at this time.”

“What do you mean by ‘blended’?”

“I mean, I can help you out financially, but I can’t support you as much as I would like to because I have a mortgage and car payments and credit card bills. I can spend part of the holidays with you and your family, and we can all hang out together and love each other, but when we go visit The Wifey’s family I can’t take you with me. I can’t spend three nights a week at your place right now, and you can’t spend half your time at mine.”

I blinked at him, stunned. “Papa Bear. Did I ever give you the impression that that’s what I wanted?”

“No. It’s what I wanted.”

“We have talked, and dreamed, about living on the same street in a few years, me splitting my time between the two homes once my kids move out, and hand-fasting ceremonies, but all of that is years and years away. I don’t expect or need that to be happy right now.I see us as an extended family. When I said it wasn’t fair, I never meant that I wanted things to be equal. What I meant, is that, if The Wifey and I have differing preferences on something, you choose whoever its more important to, or whoever needs you more.”

“I know, Baby Bear. And as painful as this entire thing has been, it was kind of the catalyst in me realizing that I can’t just stay in my old patterns of doing whatever The Wifey wants. We actually both think its a good thing–she said if I had continued that way, I probably would have had a mid-life crisis in a few years from feeling so resentful of always putting myself last.”

“What else did she say?”

“That, right now, there are some ways in which you can’t be primary. But in the ways that matter…you already are.”


He Sees Me

artist: Tzviatko Kinchev, 2011

artist: Tzviatko Kinchev, 2011

Papa Bear played this song for me tonight. It was the first time I’d heard it, but its me, to a T. The notes floated through the room, and I bathed his face in kisses, clinging to him like we were drifting through space and we’d fly apart if either of us let go.

“Thank you for seeing me,” I said.

“Thank you for letting me.”

“Thank you for letting me fight with you,” he said.

“Thank you for fighting with me.”

“She looks at the rain as it pours. And she fights for her life.Nobody knows.”

Sun been down for days
A pretty flower in a vase
A slipper by the fireplace
A cello lying in its case

Soon she’s down the stairs
Her morning elegance she wears
The sound of water makes her dream
Awoken by a cloud of steam
She pours a daydream in a cup
A spoon of sugar sweetens up

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread
She pays for the bread
And she goes…
Nobody knows

Sun been down for days
A winter melody she plays
The thunder makes her contemplate
She hears a noise behind the gate
Perhaps a letter with a dove
Perhaps a stranger she could love

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
With a thought she has caught
By a thread
She pays for the bread
And she goes…
Nobody knows
Nobody knows

And she fights for her life
As she puts on her coat
And she fights for her life on the train
She looks at the rain
As it pours
And she fights for her life
As she goes in a store
Where the people are pleasently strange
And counting the change
And she goes…
Nobody knows
Nobody knows
Nobody knows

P.S. Watch the video. Seriously!!!


Drowning in Love

Love changes you. Mine changed Papa Bear. He finished my book of letters in a day, and things were immediately different–cemented.

He has all of me–my everything. A dam broke.

We were in bed, loving each other madly. Inch by inch, then all at once.

“I wish I could be with you all the time,” he said. “I have grown around you. It doesn’t matter where I am, or what I’m doing–if you’re not there I’m missing you. It hurts.”

“Never let me go,” I whispered.

“I wish there were better words to describe. . .this. How I need you. How you make me feel. How I’m jealous over you.I want all of you. All your curves and all your edges,” he said, quoting a favourite song of ours.

“Sing me a song,” I said.

“Right now?”

I nodded sleepily.

He half-murmured, half-sang a children’s song about a kitty.

I laughed and shook my head. And then, in a voice that was still husky from sickness and sex, I sang him a love song.

“If you are falling. . .then I would catch you. You need a light. . .I’ll find a match. Cause I. . .love you more than I could ever promise. . .and you. . .take me the way I am.”

“Oh. . .my. . .god. . .” he said.

I smiled my half smile that is only for him. “What?”

“I have never known passion like this,” he half spoke, half-growled.

There was kissing. Touching. The raking of fingers through hair. Over and over and over, the words “I don’t want to let you go.”

Then he drove me home, and there were no more words besides those we sang to each other, with the I-pod, set to “sappy and raw”, as back-up.

Everything has changed.

We’re not falling in love, anymore. We’re drowning in it.

neverletmego


Better Not Pout

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Papa Bear and I had a wonderful pre-Christmas date last night. We have both been so stressed lately, and have tons of other shit going on (health problems, family commitments, professional stress, plus the usual holiday drama), so it was really nice to just grab dinner, play hilariously terrible mini golf, and then go home and cuddle/fuck/talk.

It would have been perfect, except that we also exchanged Christmas gifts last night. You know where this is going. I have been working on Papa Bear’s gift for a month. I wrote him a book of letters, had them professionally bound, wrapped them with a bow, and included a side of holiday shaped baked goods.

And he got me. . .a nativity set. Writing it out actually makes me laugh out loud. I know I am being silly. I feel SO ridiculous, but really? A nativity set?

I love this man. This is our first Christmas together. I gave him a completely transparent and vulnerable package of my love, and he gave me a seasonal knick-knack. To be fair, it is a knick-knack I had admired on the shelf of a fair trade store, but…

I’m not sure my disappointment showed. I did my best to hide it. I squealed over how cute it was. It really is adorable. It is not your traditional, hideous nativity. It is funky and fun, and exactly the nativity I would have picked out for myself. I just feel like, he saw that I liked it, he grabbed it, and this enabled him not to have to think about getting me something that had any real meaning or significance.

I opened his gift first, and I smiled and kissed him and said “Thank you” and acted happy. When he opened mine, he read the poem on the first page, and his reaction was exactly as I knew it would be. He teared up. He hugged me. He said he loved me, and he thanked me profusely.

“You read me so well,” he said. And it was true. I knew that there is nothing else I could have given him that would have meant more.

I am the tiniest bit hurt that he didn’t think of his gift to me in the same terms, but I absolutely know that it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me. It may mean he doesn’t completely “get” me yet, in terms of the way that I look at gifts as they relate to special occasions, but how can I expect him to? It’s our first one. And honestly, if I was expecting jewelry (men–please do not give your girlfriend a tiny box if there is nothing shiny inside!), that is on me, not him.

Just because he has mentioned wanting to buy me a velvet choker does not mean that he owes me one. The fact that he asked what kinds of gems I like, does not mean that he needs to get me anything like that at any particular time. And then there’s the fact that we approach Christmas and presents, totally differently.

For me, special occasions are when I give the people I love, something that I have been waiting months, or all year, to give them. For financial reasons, I don’t really do “just because” gifts. If I know my husband or my children really want something, or there is something I see that I know they will love, I may buy it right away, but I will save it. For me, special occasions add meaning and sentimentality to getting something. You’ll remember when you got it, and I think, create a sense of nostalgia around whatever the gift is. But that’s just me.

For Papa Bear, it isn’t like that. Christmas is kept simple. Friends get baked goods, and immediate family members get stockings with candy, a magazine or book, and useful things like body lotion or cooking spices. He is not into buying gifts “just because its Christmas”. He is into buying gifts, “just because.”

Over the past month, while I have been toiling away on his book, he has got me:

  • A gorgeous pair of red leather gloves with buttons up the sides–not because its Christmas, but because he didn’t want my hands to be cold.
  • A cashmere scarf–not because it was expected, but because he thought it would look beautiful on me and be soft against my skin.
  • The latest book in the Crossfire series–not because he felt he should, but because he knows I love to read.
  • An embellished key to the door of his house–so I will know I am always welcome.
  • A sexy nightshirt–so I will have something to wear when I sleep over, that still allows for easy access!

He loves me. Not just because it’s Christmas, but all the time. Every damn day.

Even if he was a horrible gift giver in general, it would not change this fact, because he gives me everything. He gives me his time, his commitment, his love, and his attention. He listens to me. He is happy when I’m happy, and sad when I’m sad. I don’t care about the stupid nativity (!!?) because he is my gift.

And the cashmere scarf doesn’t hurt either.


The Polidays

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Holidays are complicated for a lot of people. It can be hard to find time to see everyone you need to see, without feeling like tearing your hair out. For poly people, things can be even trickier. The situation in my little circle is no different.

Originally, Papa Bear and I had talked about spending a lot of time together over the Christmas break. We were really looking forward to it, and had even talked about taking a night or a weekend away in the first week of January. Then The Wifey’s parents decided that were going to visit–during the whole week that Papa Bear has off. He could not be gone with me for days at a time, or even for most of an entire day. It is important to The Wifey that they be good hosts and spend time with her parents. Papa Bear is extremely disappointed. We really needed that time together, and of course, he wishes he could just spend his vacation as he would like to without having to hang out with his in-laws the entire time. I think most of us can agree that in-law visit? Not a vacation.

What makes matters worse, is that they come down on the 30th, which means that we also can’t spend New Years Eve together. We had talked about having an intimate hotel party, doing something else wild and crazy, or even just having a small gathering at one of our homes (I offered to host).  Papa Bear said his in-laws wouldn’t care if he and The Wifey said they already had plans, but The Wifey really wants to spend New Years with her parents as a family.

I get it. I really do. You only get so much time with your parents, especially as they are ageing. It makes sense and its totally understandable. It’s just that I never get to do anything–ever. I have spent the past five New Years Eves stuck at home watching a movie and then watching my husband fall asleep by 10:30. The past couple of years I have been really depressed about it. There is NO WAY we can afford what baby-sitters charge for New Years Eve, so the Hubby and I can never go out, and the children’s grandparents aren’t interested in watching them for that particular evening. I can’t say I blame them–they did the child-rearing thing. It’s their turn to finally get to live a little again.

So there is no one to blame, obviously. No one is wrong. I’m just depressed that once again, I get to sit on my ass on New Years and feel super lame and extremely bored. And I don’t get to see my boyfriend, whom I love so much.

Papa Bear really wanted to spend New Years with me, and he knew how important it was to me, too. I get the feeling he fought for this one–even though it was not expressly stated–because he said in exchange, The Wifey has offered to let me have him all to myself for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know how big of a concession this was–if she was hoping to see one of her boys that day, or if they will be with their spouses and she will be alone, but I graciously accepted. (The Hubby and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.)

Papa Bear said he was very proud of me, and he thanked me. “I know how huge this is for you,” he said. Sigh. He loves me so much. I get the feeling that if I had cried, or said I was devastated, or lost my shit, or even simply asked….he would have spent New Years with me. But I wouldn’t do that.

So while I am bummed, I am going to try my best to have fun at home. Again. If anyone has any ideas for a fun New Years Eve at home with kids sleeping down the hall, please feel free to make suggestions! Preferably ones that don’t involve getting blackout drunk and calling Papa Bear in a snit…

As far as actual Christmas Day goes, our family was invited to Papa Bear’s place for Christmas dinner. They were planning on having quite a few guests, though, and The Husband felt that it would be stressful (his social anxiety is just terrible), and that the kids would be exhausted by the time dinner rolled around. I tend to agree with him. He did say I was welcome to go over there after the kids are in bed, but I would not leave him alone on Christmas.

So instead, Papa Bear and his family are coming over on Christmas Eve for appetizers, drinks, dessert, and a kick-ass hot chocolate bar. This will also be my first time meeting his 20 year old son–no pressure! I am happy that we will be seeing each other on Christmas Eve, which is actually even more sacred to me than Christmas Day. It is cozier and has such a wonderful, intimate air of anticipation. I was hoping to see Papa Bear on Boxing Day, but the Wifey has it marked in the calendar as a “home day”, so I guess they will be just spending it at home with the kids. But I should tell Papa Bear to ring me if she ends up going out to see one of her boys. This frequently happens on days designated just for Papa Bear and her. Not bitter, though!

My sister is visiting on the 27th, and depending on what time she leaves, I may get to see Papa Bear that night after I tuck in the kids. We will also be together on the 29th, because his in-laws get here the next day, and then there is that crappy week where we barely get to see each other.

New Years Day we are spending some time together, though. He will tell Wifey’s parents he is out running errands. The Wifey reminded him that we shouldn’t be out too long, but at least I will get to see him. Our weekend away has been very tentatively rescheduled for Valentine’s Day.

I have a hard time managing my feelings, and The Wifey does too. We are all married, and we are all also in love with people who are not our spouses. Throw extended family members  and sentimental days into the mix, and it gets even tougher. We are all doing our best, I think–trying to give where we are able to give, and also being brave about what it is that we want/need/can’t live without.

I have been penciled in for next New Years Eve, though. Assuming we make it through 2015, I will make absolutely certain not to bend on that.

 


Polyamory–this shit is hard

whatido

I am completely exhausted, and all I want to do is fall into bed and sleep for the next twelve hours. Unfortunately my mind is racing. I won’t be able to pass out until I get this jumble of feelings out of my head, so here I am.

Poly is hard, y’all. It is so much harder than I ever thought it would be. Loving someone who loves someone else takes a lot of work, patience, and commitment. Even though I am frustrated right now, I feel worse for Papa Bear. He is trying so hard to balance my needs with that of his wife, and of course, his own needs. He loves to make people happy, and he is starting to realize that, that isn’t always going to be possible.

I have mentioned before that Papa Bear and I have a very domestic relationship. We take care of each other, and we live our lives together as much as possible, while still balancing the needs of our spouses and children. I love being an extended family. I love having another partner in life, and I love our relationship.

But lately, we have been so overwhelmed. We are both having to grow, and growth is painful. I need to be with Papa Bear, and he needs to be with me. Lying in bed today, he told me that he can’t help wanting to be with me all the time. He can’t help that he wants to fill every spare moment of his, with me. But because of that, he feels that it is hard for him to get everything done that he needs to get done, and to be there for his wife when she needs him.

Now, let’s be clear. The Wifey has two boyfriends, and she sees them both at least twice a week each. She spends a lot of time dating. So it isn’t as though Papa Bear is constantly with me and neglecting her, because she is busy more than half the time anyway. What frustrates me, is that Papa Bear pretty much runs the home. I’m not saying The Wifey is lazy, because she is not. She works a full time job and designs on the side. She bakes and cooks and sews and is generally a very productive person. It’s just that she mainly does the things she loves to do–the things that interest her, and bring her joy. It is not stressful for her to sit on the couch and knit while watching a movie or chatting with one of her boyfriends, or to have a boyfriend over for cookie-baking.

Papa Bear, on the other hand, does a lot. He is responsible for laundry (and with a houseful of people fucking like bunnies, there is a LOT of laundry.) He not only washes it, but he folds it and puts it away and makes sure there are dry towels in the bathroom and clean sheets on all the beds. He cooks dinner every weeknight and I think even on weekends. He makes sure the Wifey has coffee in the morning, and that she has a glass of wine after work. He does the grocery shopping. He shovels the walk (and we have had a TON of snow this winter!). He manages the finances. He makes sure the car is washed and tuned up, and he chauffeurs the wifey most places because she doesn’t like to drive. And he gets up every morning at 5:30 AM for work. He is a stellar husband.

The problem is that it seems like we spend way, way too much of our time taking care of these things. I get stressed. I’m not going to pretend like he only takes care of The Wifey and their home, because that isn’t true. He also takes care of me. When I lost the first pair of gloves he bought me, he went out and picked out another really nice pair, and then went and exchanged them when it turned out they didn’t fit. He takes me grocery shopping because I don’t have a car, and always reminds me to bring my laundry to his place because then I won’t have to pay to do it in my building. He has bought me a bus pass so I wouldn’t have to worry about having change around in order to get to work, and even paid for my son’s fillings when my benefits hadn’t yet kicked in and we couldn’t afford to do it. He is amazing–simply out of this world.

It’s just that, sometimes, when we’re together, I would like to just BE together. I do not always want to be grocery shopping and doing laundry and going to the post office and the picking up his wife and making her dinner. Sometimes I just want to be US–a couple, in love. We are fun people. We love to laugh and act ridiculous and do off-the-wall things, but lately it seems like whenever we’re together, Papa Bear also has a list of chores he needs to complete.

I can’t hang.

It’s THEIR home, they can do that when they spend their time together if it needs to be done. Am I wrong for thinking its unfair that The Wifey is out at bars playing pool and singing karaoke, while we’re at home watching movies on the laptop between loads of laundry?

I talked to Papa Bear about this last weekend, and he promised that today we could spend the entire day together (this NEVER happens, people!) and just do things that we WANT to do, and nothing that we need to do. But then a friend of his who wanted me to take her portrait wanted to have that done today, and also go to lunch with us and ask questions about polyamory. Okay, fine.

But then she decided we all needed to go to the mall and pick out a new shirt for her to wear for the shoot. Um, okay?

The shoot took HOURS, and by the time she left we only had an hour and a half left before we needed to go pick up The Wifey from work.

We had sex for a few minutes after Papa Bear’s friend left, but that was interrupted when his daughter sent multiple texts asking why we weren’t fucking in the attic, instead of the master bedroom (there is very little insulation between the master bedroom and her room in the basement). But we had been quiet. I mean, quiet. We barely made a peep–she probably just heard bed springs. After that, Papa Bear lost his boner, ate me out and made me come, and then we fell asleep.

Sigh.

That was when I introduced a “no texting during sex” rule. The phone will be set to “do not disturb” if we’re banging. I don’t care if I’m not the one who normally calls the shots in this relationship–this can’t happen.

Then the Wifey was done work, and she had requested that we go to dinner, because she was going to be too tired to eat at home. So we did that. 

Papa Bear sat beside me at the restaurant, and The Wifey’s reaction was, and I quote, “Get your ass over here and sit beside me.” Really? We’re on a date, here. I think she could tell that I wasn’t very happy about it, by the way I was nervously chattering about not knowing what to order and avoiding eye-contact, because she told him that once she was finished her wine, he could come sit beside me again.

He said “It’s okay,” but she said she could tell he wanted to be beside me and she was done being needy, and sent him over to sit with me. I’m not going to lie, I appreciated this, since we had spent next to no time alone together at all on the day that was supposed to be just for us.

We went home, and The Wifey was kind of sad because her boyfriends were busy tonight so she had no date. Earlier in the week, Papa Bear had said he’d spend some time cuddling with her on the couch after dinner, but that was before our day was totally taken over by everything else. But Papa Bear needed to wash the sheets, and he still needed to grocery shop. So we dropped The Wifey back at home, put the laundry in,  and Papa Bear and I went and got their groceries.

He could tell I was upset, though I was trying not to be a bitch about it. We were supposed to have spent the day at an indoor amusement park–not taking portraits, grocery shopping, addressing Christmas cards that The Wifey had insisted on sending out, doing laundry, and getting interrupted while trying to bang. On the way to the store I asked if afterwards we could drive around and look at Christmas lights–one thing just for us.

He said we could, but he needed to go home and put the clean sheets on the bed first. Because he is THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN DO THAT. So I said never mind. He asked how I was feeling, and I told him I was exhausted and overwhelmed. He promised we’d go back the house, he’d pour me a glass of wine, and we’d go upstairs and talk about it. Except that he’d also promised The Wifey he’d cuddle with her on the couch after dinner? A fact that, I admit, I did not remind him of, because I did not want to go home without clearing the air.

He went and sat with The Wifey for awhile while I hung out on my own, but then returned and told me she thought it would be better if he spent time with her after he took me home. So we went upstairs to the attic bedroom and drank wine and talked.

There is a lot. So much that I am way too tired to be able to communicate it all when my eyes are fighting to close. There is the fact that he is just pissed about our time over Christmas break being ruined by a last-minute, week-long visit by his in-laws (more on the holidays later). He is frustrated and upset because he wants to spend as much time with me as possible and The Wifey has been extra needy the past few weeks (as have I, though he didn’t say it).

I told him that I need time with him where we are just ourselves–not people drowning in laundry and holiday cards and cooking, but two people who just started dating three months ago, who go out and have fun and be romantic. I told him I would rather pay to do laundry in my building, and go grocery shopping with my children in tow, if it meant that we could just date when we’re together.

He apologized and suggested we reschedule our amusement park date for Monday, but I told him he shouldn’t–absolutely should not–tell me we can do that, if we’re going to end up getting given a bunch of errands to do instead. Papa Bear said we should have a fun, no-stress, non-domestic date once a week, and that if he starts talking about other things he has to do, I should just remind him of his promise.

I wouldn’t say I am super hopeful. I am worn out and…not sad, exactly. Maybe the word is defeated. I know I have two wonderful, supportive partners who take good care of their families, but I need to just go out and have fun. I need to blow off steam. I need to get away from all the responsibilities constantly dragging me down. I didn’t start dating so I could have a second husband. I started dating so I could fill my life with colour and experiences and new things. I know this is a crazy time of the year, but that’s why, even more, I need to just let loose. I want to be his partner, yes–but I also want to be his girlfriend.

We’ll see what happens on Monday. Two days and counting.