Not wanting to rock the boat too much, I have let Kate make all the moves. I am not going to put any pressure on and just see where she takes things. She knows how I feel, I've put myself out there several times. I refuse to put myself out there again until she initiates. That's what I have been telling myself for the last three months. We have casually started riding in to work together in the morning and sometimes riding home together in the evenings but it has not gone any further than that. I am so frustrated! I am dying to ask her on a date, or have her over for drinks but it has to be her decision this time.
Sitting at my desk at work, I am getting very little done as I think about how frustrated I am but knowing there is not much I can do but wait things out. She's obviously happy about me living next door. She didn't take off screaming and she seems happy to run in to me out on the balcony. It's almost like we are seeking each other out, playing this strange game of cat and mouse. It would drive a weaker man crazy, fortunately I am not a weaker man. I can do this. Right? Who am I kidding? If something doesn't change soon, I am going to have to pack up and leave the state. I am going crazy.
With a sigh, I get up from my desk and open my office door looking for Leo. Maybe he has some insight that would be useful for a change. Seeing that Leo was not at his desk I look over in to Kate's office and see the two of them chatting at her desk. As I head over, I hear Kate say my name. I slow down and decide to listen rather than barge in.
"What is Ben doing? It has been months and he has not asked me out at all or made a single move. Do you think he has totally given up on me?" Kate exclaims to Leo.
"Well what did you expect? You did not encourage any of his advances, and stood him up when he asked you out. No man is going to come back for more after that" Leo laughed, clearly enjoying Kate's frustration.
"Why would he make sure I see the apartment right next to his if he was done with me?" she asks him.
"Maybe he thought you would like the place, which I should point out that you do; and maybe he thought it was a good deal, which it was." Leo is now fully reveling in torturing Kate. It was almost sinful to listen in. Almost.
"Get out Leo, I can't take any more of your helpfulness today. Leave the candy, you didn't earn any from me today" she shouts at him as he laughingly heads to the door.
Realizing I am about to get busted, I dash to Leo's desk and grab a pad of paper. I hastily pretend to be writing a note for Leo, just as he looks up to see me.
"Hey Ben, what's up?" Leo says loudly knowing that Kate can hear him.
"Nothing man, I saw you were busy with Kate so I was going to leave you a message about some copies I needed for the morning. No big deal." I stammer.
"Sure, no problem" he says. He grabs the paper from my hands and looks down. Noticing that the sheet is completely blank he laughs, "I can definitely have this done by morning".
"Thanks for helping out. See you tomorrow" I say as I quickly scurry back to my office. Leo could have completely busted me, but for whatever reason has decided to keep my spying a secret. For now anyway. He's probably having a great time watching this whole mess unfold. At least one person is entertained.
Sitting back at my desk I mull over what I have just heard. So she's frustrated too. That's great news. Should I relent and ask her out again, or is she close to caving and approaching me? I don't want to risk scaring her off again. I think I will just keep things casual for now.
I pack up my bag, throw on my coat and head over to Kate's office on my way out. This had become our new routine. I would offer her a ride home, she would pack up, and we would ride home together and then go our separate ways. I am hoping that soon we would ride home together and stay together.
"Hey Kate, ready to head out?" I ask.
"Actually, I am going to stay a while longer, and finish up some work here" she said, sounding tired.
"No problem, I have some more work I can get done, I'll wait. How long do you think you'll be?"
"Please don't wait on my account. I'll just grab a cab or maybe crash on your couch if it gets too late. Have a nice night" she says, dismissing me.
"Ok, but just text me if you change your mind. I don't mind coming to get you" I say, trying to sound as casual as possible but reeling that she is blowing me off after what I just heard her say to Leo. This woman is impossible.
Heading home I decide to take a long hot shower and try and relax from this stressful day. Maybe after my shower, my head will be clear enough to analyze this situation with Kate. Maybe.
Stepping out of the shower I am just starting to feel much better. I towel dry my hair, throw on a pair of boxers and sweats and head out to turn on the TV. I head in to the kitchen and pour myself a glass of scotch and head back out to the couch. Just as I sit down the doorbell rings. Who could that be? It's late, and I'm not expecting anyone.
I head over to the door, glance through the peephole and see Kate standing in the hall. I glance down and realize I am totally inappropriate to be answering the door. I have no shirt on, and my hair is still damp from the shower. Panicking I make a split second decision to let her in, not wanting to her risk her leaving while I change.
"Hey Kate, what are you doing here so late" I ask as I open the door.
"Hello Ben, I'm sorry to come without calling, I just didn't feel like being alone tonight but if you're busy I'll just see you tomorrow" she stammers, obviously as nervous as I am.
"I'm not busy at all, just got out of the shower and was about to have a drink. What can I get you?" I say anxiously.
"Whatever you're having is great, thanks" she says and steps in.
"Go have a seat on the couch, I'll be right in" I head in to the kitchen, grab another glass and pour her a double. I carry her drink and the bottle out to the family room and set the drink down. I hand her the drink and realizing I am still shirtless, head back towards my room, "just give me a minute to make myself decent" I quip.
Coming back in the family room, I plop myself next to Kate on the couch. She has already managed to finish half her scotch. I take my glass off the table and offer up a toast "cheers" I say and clink my glass with hers.
"Cheers" she says back and smiles.
As we sit in a comfortable silence for a minute, I decide to break the ice first. "I'm glad you stopped over tonight. I was worried about you working late and heading home alone, or worse drooling on my office couch all night" I laugh.
She laughs back nervously, "Ben there is something I want to ask you".
My heart starts pounding in my chest. I am trying to keep things light and she is being so serious. "Sure, what's up?" I respond.
"Are you seeing anyone right now?" she asks.
Seriously, that is what she wants to ask me? Where is this going? "No, why?" I say not wanting to give anything away.
"Why aren't you seeing anyone?" she continues, pushing me in to a corner. Do I keep trying to make this light or do I answer honestly with the potential of scaring her off? This woman is so frustrating. I look over at her and can't think of anyone I have ever wanted more that her. If anyone is worth this frustration, it's her.
"Kate, I think you know the answer to that question" I respond.
"I thought I did, but for three months now I have been single and you have not made one move on me. Did you change your mind? Was this about Justin and now that he is out of the picture you're not interested anymore?" she gushes out nervously.
"Kate, I didn't want to rush you after Justin. I wanted you to come to me when you were ready. Nothing has changed about the way I feel." I whisper, embarrassed to be putting myself out there again.
Kate looks at me and smiles. She holds up her drink as if to toast again, and then quickly swallows the remaining scotch. "Well I'm ready" she says and stands up. She starts to head towards the door. Now I am totally confused.
"Kate, why are you leaving? Don't you think we should talk about this" I start to follow her to the door.
She laughs, "I think we are on the same page now. You know I am ready and I know you are still interested, so lets start over. Tomorrow you can ask me out to dinner and I promise to come" she winks at me as she heads out the door.
Laughing, I watch her walk out the door and can't help but look forward to tomorrow. Unfortunately, I think I am in for another sleepless night.