The First Time

I shimmied and held out my hands as Jamar approached me with two bowls of popcorn. Jamar handed me a bowl and sat on the couch next to me. He picked up the remote off the arm of the chair, ready to press play. But something was wrong. 

“Wait a minute,” I said. “Where’s my Buncha Crunch?”

“Oh I mixed it in already. Is that cool?”

I looked down in the bowl and wasn’t sure why the smell of chocolate didn’t hit me before. But I was struck with a new feeling as I looked back at him. It felt like when I first caught feelings for him, but it didn’t end with a flutter of butterflies like it did before. It ended with a warm, calming feeling. Like when you drank tea or ate soup. The butterflies had felt uncertain, but this warm, calming feeling, felt certain. I was certain I loved him.

“Aww thanks babe,” I said, “I appreciate that.”

“No problem,” Jamar replied. “Ready to start the movie?”

I nodded and Jamar pressed play and ate some of his popcorn. I slowly moved my eyes from him to the screen, but I felt nervousness gnawing at the certainty. Should I have said when I first felt it just now? Should I say it at all? We haven’t said the l-word yet. We had our one-year anniversary a month ago and we had agreed to not force it or say it just to say it. Jamar had said, ever so perfectly, that he had chosen me and he would continue to choose me. And I agreed to do the same.

I ate a handful on my popcorn and a few slightly melted Buncha Crunch pieces. I decided to ignore my nervousness. I shouldn’t be nervous. What was he gonna do? Not say it back? I stopped midchew. What if he didn’t say it back? What if he wasn’t ready yet? That’s fair, right? But what if he never said it back? What if we broke up?

A loud noise from the movie made me jump. I figured that was a good thing since I was starting to spiral. I heard Jamar chuckle, but he leaned over and put his arm around me. I exhaled and snuggled next to him, resting my head on his shoulder. I smelled his cologne and settled closer to him. I focused on the movie and quieted my thoughts. He could always do that. Stop the world from spinning. 

As the credits started rolling, we both stretched. He gathered our empty bowls and cups.

“Do you want anything else to drink?” he asked.

“Can I get a bottle of water?”

“Yes ma’am,” he replied.

“I told you about ma’am,” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Apologies my lady,” he said. He laughed as I groaned and rubbed my forehead. “What did you think of the movie?”

“It was good. I liked it.”

“Yeah it was pretty good.” 

“I wish I didn’t have to go,” I said, trying not to whine.

“It’s not that late,” he said, heading back toward the couch with my water. “We can watch another one.”

“Thanks,” I said as I took the bottle. I opened it and took a sip. I tapped my phone to check the time. It was only 9 pm. It was a short drive back to my apartment after all. I really didn’t want to leave yet.

“Okay. We can watch another one,” I said. “But I do want to get out of these jeans.”

“Oh I can definitely help you with that,” Jamar said as he winked.

“Behave,” I replied as sternly as I could, but I smiled.

He stood up with his hands up. “I couldn’t help it. It’s been a while since there was an opportunity to joke. I’ll be right back.”

Waiting until marriage was hard, but it was the right thing for us. My friends probably wouldn’t like me staying at his place so late, but I wasn’t worried. 

A purple blur flew into my sight and landed on my lap. They were my favorite pair of basketball shorts of his to wear. I smiled as the warm, calming feeling washed over me again.

I looked at him, pulling away from his jump shot position with a stupid grin on his face.

“I love you,” I said before I could stop myself. 

My smile faded slightly as he paused. He froze mid-step on his way back over to the couch. He looked mildly surprised but his goofy grin was still on his face. My nervousness came back with a fury. Why did I have to say it now? And he’s not saying anything. I can’t stay now! It’s gonna be so awkward. I stood up and the shorts fell to the floor. I grabbed my phone. I opened my mouth to say I was gonna leave when I felt him touch my arm. I looked at him. And he was smiling. 

“I love you too, Kit,” he said.

Doubt was on its way out of my mouth when he pulled me close and kissed me. And some would say it was the hormones, but I knew he wasn’t lying or saying it because I said it. I don’t know how I knew, but I knew. 

We stared into each other’s eyes for a bit and smiled. 

“Umm since you’re so good at picking movies, how ’bout you look for another one and I go get changed?” I asked. 

“Sounds like a plan,” he said. 

He kissed me on my forehead before bending down to hand me the shorts. I thanked him and headed to the bathroom.

I changed into the shorts and looked in the mirror. I had the biggest grin on my face and wondered what I had been so nervous about. 


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