We became "just friends" in that way where "friends" seemed to fit like a condom. As my we’re-just-friends-now ex, Turner veiled his jealousy behind a scrim of concern when he said things like,"So what’s the deal with this Ashton guy you’re dating, anyway? What kind of name is that, even?" You don’t know him, and it’s Oliver, not Ashton. And you’re one to talk, Turner.
I liked when Turner played the big brother, overprotective guy. "That’s not a good restaurant," he’d pout. "Why are you letting him take you there? See, now that just upsets me." If the old woman who lived in a shoe opened a bed & breakfast in her heel, Turner would have eaten there and asked for seconds. He was no food snob. He was a dating snob, believing that where a man took his date was a reflection of his taste and upbringing. "It’s just rude to take a date to Irving Plaza. I don’t care who’s performing." His warped rules made me like him more, not less. "Cancel on him, and let’s go get the tasting menu at Blue Hill."
Turner became jealous in a light cream sauce way. He certainly wasn’t controlling, but he gave good pout and could mope like it was his day job. It was a cute jealous, the kind he never really was when we were a we. It made me feel wanted, and I felt myself smile when he begged me to stay for another drink. "Call him and tell him you’ve changed your mind." But I haven’t, I’d say. "Tell him," he’d push. No, I’m looking forward to dinner. "No, you tell him you’ve changed your mind about him." Silly. You’re being silly.
Despite his pleas, Turner still managed to come off soft. His body was too loose to ever be intimidating. He was always relaxed, even pushed up against a deadline with partners phoning and emailing on a Sunday. He was a total type-B. And for a long time, I believed he was the perfect type for me. But then I reminded myself what a great guy I’d found in Oliver. I’d never jeopardize what we had by being reckless with Turner, a guy who only seemed to want what he couldn’t have.
Going back would just be going backwards, I reminded myself. And if you turned to Turner, and suddenly said, OKAY. I’m totally on board. I want you. Let’s make this work! He’d put his tail between his legs and limp off like a wounded dragon. It was all smoke. He was fine with expressing how much he wanted me because he knew he couldn’t have me, and it was a game, one he really didn’t want to win. I shared this with him, and he, naturally, repudiated my theory, insisting I let him prove it. I already knew he was all talk. He was the kind of guy who’d lean across the table and touch my face, only because he assumed I’d shoo his hand away, maybe playing coy. But I’d let him touch me as long as he liked, which turned out to be too long for Turner.
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