Mike and I met our sophomore year in college. We quickly became friends and stayed within a tight social circle for the remainder of undergrad years. I think I always had a crush on him, but he was dating someone, then I was. We never made the connection but he was always a constant in my life.
As we wrapped senior year on the East Coast and I tried to figure out next steps, I was definitely influenced by his decision to attend grad school in California. He and our buddy Ryan were off to medical school—but I didn’t want to lose my closest friends. Since I didn't have anything planned yet, when they suggested I head across the country with them and start a new, post-college life, I accepted.
And new it was: Mike and I began dating. This is what I had wanted ever since we first met four years prior. I wanted so badly to make it work. Dating Mike was eerily similar to being friends with Mike, but with slightly more physical contact. And I mean slightly more. Maybe it's just because we know each other well, I thought. Maybe this is what it's like to date a close friend.
And as time passed, we settled into a comfortable relationship. We had sex on a regular, if infrequent, basis, but with time doesn't romance fizzle for everyone? We also had the inconvenience of roommates: Mike lived with Ryan, and I had two of my own. Finding privacy was like an Olympic event. We chased it, but we rarely found it. Most of our time was spent eating out, watching movies, or hanging out with friends.
Things were going well with Mike; we rarely fought. It was Mike and Ryan that seemed to be doing more of the arguing lately. Ryan had recently come out as gay and was dating a fellow med student. Tensions had risen in the apartment since Ryan's lifestyle announcement, and I couldn't help but wonder if Mike was homophobic.