It was the last night of the big event I had worked on for months. Once the event was over around midnight, we had a huge party. The pizza boxes and cases of beer were rolled into the office by the dozens. Excitement was in the air but I was utterly exhausted. 18-hour days will do that to you. On top of being exhausted, I was intimidated by the crew. I didn’t know them very well and they surrounded the party in their own cliques.
After I awkwardly roamed around the party to find someone to talk to, I went to grab a beer from the cooler. As I turned around, Adam was beside me.
“Hey! Where have you been? Come here,” he dragged me to the side of the room. We talked about the event, our jobs, our lives, and all about each other. My intimidation of this the party faded quickly. I was definitely in my comfort zone now.
After secluding ourselves from everyone else at the party, people started to fade out but we kept the conversation going. It was 2am and I was still completely exhausted, but this guy made me feel like I had all the energy in the world.
There were about 5 people left in the office, so Adam and I moved the conversation to a quieter area. We ended up at Adam’s desk away from most people.
“I didn’t realize your last job was the same as mine,” he said.
“Yeah I loved it and really want to get back into it,” I said.
“Let me give you advice,” he said. He told me everything he could about his experience in the job I really loved. At first I thought this could develop into a great friendship, but after that night I saw him as a mentor too.
One of our co-workers Marc went to his desk beside Adam’s to pick something up. I immediately felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to be seen with Adam.
The weeks leading up to the event I heard dozens of people on the crew clearly express that they didn’t like him and he shouldn’t have his job because of his young age. It was too bad, because I liked him. Marc looked at us, picked up a folder and walked away without a word.
While my mind worried about what Marc thought about us hanging out, I realized the time. It was 4am.
“Let’s get some food,” said Adam. Minutes later we were off in a cab to the closest 24-hour diner in town. Once we got there, sat down, and ordered some food, our conversation continued.
“What bars do you go to on the weekend?” he said.
“Honestly, I don’t know where to go, “ I said. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know the good bars in town even though I was still new to the city. I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, but Adam was so cool I felt like I needed to prove to him that I was cool too.
Just as he was about to say something, his phone that was on the table lit up and started vibrating. A picture of a girl in her twenties appeared on the phone. We both went silent. My stomach dropped and hit the ground. “Was this his girlfriend?” I thought.
I looked up at Adam and he just starred at his phone with a look of distress. He forcefully pressed the ignore button, let out an audible sigh and turned his attention back to me.
“Sorry,” he said.
My mind raced with excitement, guilt and nerves. Maybe his relationship is shitty and I have a chance? What am I doing hanging out with a guy in a relationship at 4am? Is his girlfriend going to find out about me and be mad we were hanging out?
He tried to continue the conversation but things were awkward. The air was extremely tense to the point where he didn’t even want to look me in the eye.
“Is everything ok?” I said. Adam looked visibly annoyed.
“Yeah it’s fine,” he said.
We talked for a few minutes and then Adam excused himself to the bathroom. He grabbed his phone off the table and scurried off.
I’ll never know how his conversation went that night, but I can only assume it wasn’t great. Adam came back 5 minutes later. We settled our bills and left the diner.
We walked down the street looking for a cab and Adam grabbed my hand. My heart was excited but my head filled with guilt. Who listens to their head anyway?
This guy was took me on a rollercoaster of emotions the entire night. We bonded, I was embarrassed to be seen with him, we had fun again, he ignored his girlfriend’s call, I was full of guilt and then we ended the night holding hands.
We split a cab to our separate homes and parted ways. Our job was over. I may never see or hear from him again.
But I knew in my gut I would. I wanted to see him again. I pushed the entire ‘ignored phone call’ interaction out of my brain as if it never happened. If anything, it made me excited to get to know Adam even more because I thought I would have a shot.