"You're secretly in love with your best friend's boyfriend, and you suspect he feels the same way."
The attraction was undeniable. Allie sat across the booth from her best friend, Fran. Next to her, both hands on the table, one wrapped snugly around his cup of coffee, was Fran’s boyfriend, Taylor. Taylor would go through a series of looking up at Allie, and then back down at his coffee. He seemed miserable; although we all did, for various reasons.
Fran’s mother, who had just started a “trip of a lifetime,” mainly because the woman had been saving up for it for most of her life, had made it to Madrid, the first stop. The doctors had explained to Fran that her mother had a coronary embolism, which made Fran frown and look at Allie for an explanation. “Heart attack,” Allie had explained, which caused Fran to grasp at her own heart.
Allie sipped her coffee and watched as quietly, tears began to fall down Fran’s face, and into her lap. Allie reached across the table, and lightly squeezed Fran’s ice cold fingers as they lay limp on the hard surface. Taylor glanced up again at Allie, who just gazed at him for a moment before turning her attention back to Fran. Taylor placed his arm around his girlfriend, but kept his eyes locked onto Allie.
Allie wondered if the same thoughts were bumping around his head like an errant pinball, set on driving her crazy with the loud pings and buzzes echoing in her ears. Peering at Taylor, her heart swelled as she noted that he had yet to move his eyes from hers; but at the same time, ice ran through her veins. She was in love with her best friend’s boyfriend. And Taylor had made it clear that there was an attraction on the other side.
It was not expected, and was truly borne out of a friendship of different layers. They were acquainted first and foremost through Fran, meeting at dinner parties, bars, and had become friendly as they sat and watched Fran flit through throngs of admirers – always the life and love of the event. Allie and Taylor learned much about each other during these sessions; most apparently that they shared many of the same likes, dislikes, and views on life.
It had been Taylor that first intimated that he felt he and Fran were drifting apart – that they were just too different, and the gap in differences made their relationship unsustainable. Two weeks ago, Fran had confided to Allie that she was going to break up with Taylor, that she was tired of being “tied-down” to one guy, and needed a break from monogamy. This was not news to Allie, as Fran went through these life-affirming realizations about every 9 months. But it had lifted Allie’s spirits, as she entertained thoughts of finally being able to confront the feelings that had slowly developed for Taylor, minus the massive guilt of wanting a relationship with her best friend’s boyfriend.
Then Fran’s mother passed away, and Fran was in need of all the love and support of her best friend, and her boyfriend. Neither Taylor nor Allie could fault Fran for her selfishness, which was possibly the most unselfish Fran had ever been in her life, as she dealt with the pain of sudden loss. Taylor had promised Fran he would be there for her during this time, but the statement had been made to Allie, and Allie understood that it was meant as a suspension of anything he had hoped to explore with Allie. Allie was devastated, and could sense in Taylor’s pained looks, that he felt the same. But a journey of this nature cannot be started at the expense of another.
So, unspoken, they agreed to wait until Fran was able to coup with her grief before seeking to find solace in each other. Allie knew in her heart that this part of their voyage would be the longest, most trying of their potential relationship, and would define the three friends for many years to come.