This is how it should have happened: it's July and hot, and the air is sticky-sweet with the smell of humidity and eventual rain. Girls lie on roofs and in parks and sunbathe until their skin is honey golden, baked to perfection like their grandmother's apple crisp.
Jeff runs into Britta at the bookstore. Her skin is still pale and creamy like caramel ice cream. The good kind, the kind you get at the fancy gourmet stores he used to frequent. The type of ice cream you buy when you're having a girl over, and you cook dinner to impress her. The ice cream that's the icing on the cake of the evening.
This is when he's been staring at her for just a bit too long.
"You want to get coffee?" he says, just to break the awkward silence and get that quizzical, questioning look out of her eyes.
She does that thing with her eyebrows and a twist of her lips that means that she's happy-amused-surprised. "Okay," Britta says. It's a pleasant afternoon.
This is how it happens: everything from the above is true up to Britta's response.
Instead she says "I have a lunch date, but I'm free tonight if you still want to hang out, I guess."
"Um, yeah-" he scrubs a hand over his face, because Jeff does want to hang out, and lunch date? What the hell is this? And he notices how she's wearing a nice sundress with a small, pretty flowery print and sandals with heels, and this gets him kind of pissed off, and now he should respond to her "-that sounds good. I'll bring a movie. How do you feel about, say, Star Wars?"
And this is good, this is good because it's friendly and light and Britta isn't mad at him, thank jesus and god and anyone else who might have listened to him.
This is what shouldn't have happened: after they've watched the original three Star Wars movies and consumed gross amounts of popcorn, Jeff notices how Britta's been looking kind of... glowy the entire time. He chalks it up to her date and he kind of feel majorly pissed off again. And he shouldn't be, you know? Because Britta isn't his and he says he never wanted it, didn't want it to be like that- goddamn it, and now he's thinking about paintball and the feel of her hair under his hands and her breasts, cause suddenly they won't bounce themselves out of his head.
This is what never happened: Jeff never leaned in and never kissed Britta. She never started unbuttoning his shirt while she kissed him back, and he never started trying to unclasp her bra before realizing that because she's in pajamas she changed into halfway through the second movie that she isn't wearing one. She never moaned into his mouth, and he never kissed his way down her neck. They never had sex on the floor while watching some 4 AM talk show from New York hosted by this brunette who manages to get lit on fire and deliver a baby all in one episode that he doesn't even know he gets. They never made out like teenagers after it's over and watched the sunrise together.
"This has got to stop happening," Britta says.
Jeff can't disagree more.