You met her at the Freshman Orientation barbecue. You didn't want to go, because you felt you were orientated enough after fucking the first-year advisor in a broom closet, thank you very much, but the quad was empty and you'd all ready smoked up and there was nothing else to do.
So, it stood to reason that you would end up hanging out with the only dyke in a ten mile radius. It was a classically known party fact that Queers of a Feather flocked together. You remember going to bonfires at school before football games and ending up with Mikey, Joel Lipnicky, and Teresa Schwartz under the bleachers with some good quality shit.
At least what you THOUGHT was good quality shit. It was most likely actual grass with a little parsley thrown in.
So, there you were. Eighteen and utterly devastating in your stonewashed jeans, Bowie t-shirt, and mullet. Pre-Gucci chic. And the blond girl leaning on the buffet table next to you didn't check you out once. Instead, she, too, appeared to be focusing on the mother hen RAs fluttering around trying to entertain their little hetero baby chicks. A well-dressed WASP girl who looked like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth...but there was just the barest hint of disgust in her eyes at how some of the girls were all ready off in the trees with boys from the North corridor of Towers.
Score one for classic party facts.
You were doing some studious stalking of your well-fucked advisor with your eyes--making the poor guy jump every time he looked in your direction-- when she finally decided to speak.
"Peterson," she said.
"Actually, it's Kinney," you replied, without interest, not taking your eyes off your target for an instant.
A sound that was something between a snort and a chuckle...but you didn't turn to check which. "*Lindsey* Peterson," she clarified.
"*Brian* Kinney. Chaaarmed."
You drawled it sarcastically.
And you don't think she knows it even now...all these years later...but the minute you actually glanced at her and looked her full in those warm, dark eyes...you meant it. You really *were*.
"And THAT, Sonny Boy, is how I met your mom. Pretty boring story, huh?"
You pull Gus's miniature ski hat more securely over his head...brushing your palm over the wispy-soft hairs that curl against his warm, powder-scented neck. He's a stylin' kid...a Gap baby on the go.
Everyone tell you he looks like you...but you still think he looks like her. This open, trusting face...the way his eyes take measure of you every time you move towards him. He's not devastatingly handsome...he's not predatory...he's simply beautiful.
"You are, you know," you whisper, kissing one of his fists. "The most beautiful boy I've ever seen."
He giggles and says "Dadda" and you can't even believe he's a year old. That you and Linds have really known each other for over a decade and this...this little guy is a result of idle conversation made over fruit punch and ham sandwiches.
But he is. He's yours. And if you close your eyes, you can remember the slick, sweaty heat of fumbling bodies in the dark. Sophomore year...a trip to Nashville so Linds could see some chick she'd met at a horseback riding camp in high school. Some bitch who found religion and found a man...and left a wrecked Lindsey in your arms on the drive home. Your first time with a girl. Drunk and high and terrible.
If you had known, then, that you could create something sober and pure and gorgeous together...you would've fucked her over and over again until you got it right.
You know that now.
You think she does, too.
"Hey, Kinney!" She crosses the loft with purpose, with familiarity...like she has worn a groove in the floor because she knows her way so well.
"Yes, Peterson?" you wonder, a smile quirking at your lips as you heft your son up in your arms.
"Are you ready yet?" she demands, swinging the diaper bag impatiently... a vision of perfect blond motherhood. A vision of something you can't quite touch...something you could blink and miss.
"Ready...?" As you stand there, with woman and child, in this completely surreal domestic tableau, you feel the grin start to fade from your face. It's haunting. A picture postcard. An ad campaign for a four-door family car. Woman, child...Lindsey, Gus. Your wife and your son.
In another life.
Not this one.
Never this one.
"No!" you murmur, defiantly, over the damned telltale lump in your throat. "No, I'm not ready..."
"Come on." She takes your hand and pretends not to see the regrets and suburban heterosexual 'what-ifs' glimmering in your eyes. She just squeezes your fingers and says, gently, "Let's go."
So, you do.
You move forward. Towards the door.
Knowing she'll always be next to you.
Knowing you'll always be charmed.
Knowing that has to be enough.
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