*I mean it’s just a label, nothing would change. It’s just that it has a label now.*
George walked along the canal with that thought whirling around his head. It was flowing in perfect harmony but his heart beat was turning it into some kind of drum and bass track. He laughed at that thought, but his mind quickly returned to seriousness.
He had met Claire at a gig 4 years ago and they had developed a strong friendship, they had only had one big argument but they were the best of friends and it was perfect. But, George could never get her out of his head, he constantly imagined their future together but always had to remember that they were just friends; and that’s the way it had worked all these years.
He was on his way to meet her for a coffee for a good catch-up which they liked to do at least once every week. She had seemed nervous on the phone and he had taken it to be a good sign. He could feel the butterflies going crazy in his stomach as he saw her sitting on their bench; he had to have her, he needed to be with her.
‘Hello there stranger!’ She said, her eyes sparkling. Yet another wave of butterflies flew in George’s stomach.
‘Hey’, he said. Pulling her into an embrace, ‘how are you?’
‘I’m good, you?’
‘Great thanks, you wanna head off?’
‘Yeah sure, I’ve got a surprise for you.’ She whispered knowingly.
They headed back into town; Claire grabbed George’s hand and led him into the marketplace. He followed like a little lost puppy. She pulled him into a well-known, posh Italian restaurant and they sat at a table near the back. Away from prying ears.
‘I’m not dressed well enough for here! I didn’t know!’ George shook his head and looked into his lap in embarrassment.
‘Don’t be silly, you look great! You always do! And anyway we’re celebrating!’ She pulled up his chin and winked at him.
The butterflies were back.
They ordered their starters and drinks, so they could be left in peace without the well-trained waiters trying to attend their every need.
George was bursting to know why she had brought him here. ‘So what do you mean “we’re celebrating”?’
‘Well, this is where it gets serious. I need you to be completely honest with me when I ask you this.’ George was now not just confused but his heart-beat was increasing with worry.
‘The thing is, you know my recent relationship ended quite badly. And I know that we are soul-mates, we always have been since the day we met.’ She faltered.
George waited patiently for her to continue, not once removing his gaze from her expression.
‘So….well you see…’
As she explained the situation, George’s shocked expression turned into a huge smile and his eyes sparkled with warmth. Claire finished talking and looked at him expectantly.
‘What do you think?’ She asked, studying his gaze.
‘Of course I will, I love you. Always have done. I will support you the whole way.’ He smiled triumphantly. He reached across and kissed Claire’s hand, she smiled back at him and the butterflies went into meltdown.