"What's wrong with you?" CJ snapped back.
"In two years, I have never seen you wear a polo," my eyes narrowed as I studied his dark teal Express polo, "You look like a real person."
"Makes me look good, doesn't it?" CJ winked.
"It's about time you started looking like a real person," I scoffed.
"CJ looking like a real person, no way!" Alex interjected sarcastically and I was reminded that CJ and I weren't the only ones in the room. CJ, Alison, and Alex were sitting around Alex's liquor-bottle-strewn kitchen table.
"Hey Ceej," Joey said, entering the room behind me.
"Hey Man," CJ and Joey bro-hugged, "How was practice?" CJ glanced at the two of us.
"Good," Joey answered, "I can lead a running right turn now."
"Really? I can't even do that right, at MIT whenever we did one I just yelled 'heel turn!' at Sarah. I can't lead it right, Alison knows," CJ chuckled, with a glance at his partner.
Alison giggled, "I just do it because I know it's in the choreo."
"For the first time we could do it in context today," I smiled at Joey.
"Drinks guys?" Alex offered, standing up.
"Grab me a beer, dude," Joey answered.
"Scotch, neat," I said, eyeing a bottle on the table and a moment later a glass was in my hand.
"Something is wrong with you?" CJ piped up as I reached to pull my sunglasses off my head.
"What?" I asked curiously.
"Your hair is different," It was CJ's turn to narrow his eyes.
I leaned against the kitchen counter, depositing my sunglasses in the tote bag that was still on my arm, "It's just parted down the middle."
"Why do you care?" I raised an eyebrow.
"It's different," CJ shrugged.
"I'm going for a more high-fashion look," I tossed my curls over my shoulder, "Everyone was wearing center parts at the Met Gala."
"What's that?" CJ looked befuddled, "Was it something here?"
"And you call yourself a New Yorker," I scoffed, "It's a fashion thing."
"You're an idiot."
"Let's go watch a movie!" Alex suggested, cutting off our bickering.
This was our last time hanging out before CJ left for home, it was only proper I spent most of it yelling at him.
Joey and Alex's upstairs family room had one couch and one armchair. CJ, Alison, and Alex took the couch, and I swear I saw a flicker of disappointment when I passed up the last seat on the couch for the armchair.
Midway through 'Now You See Me' I went to the bathroom and when I rejoined, CJ made a discreet effort to tempt me onto the seat next to him. I obliged, under the premise of a youtube video.
As soon as the youtube clip of The Wiggles was over, we returned to the movie and CJ slipped his arm around my shoulder. I was keenly aware when it sank to my waist, settling on the sliver of skin where my cream crop top ended and my gold high-waisted shorts began.
I sighed, leaning into his chest.
Time is a fickle concept. In two weeks CJ and I went from sex to Starbucks: CJ and I went from being closer than ever, to him telling me that we couldn't be friends in my favorite place. In another two weeks, we went from Starbucks to holding hands on this very couch. It was as if CJ just couldn't let me go, but come tomorrow morning, the time would come to say goodbye for good.
CJ's fingers entwined with mine.
CJ was doing it again- cheating on Sarah without technically cheating on Sarah. When Joey went to take a selfie of all of us on the couch, CJ took his arms off of me as if I had burst into flames, like baby Jack Jack in The Incredibles. He knew exactly what he was doing.
When we went to say our goodbyes, something told me this wasn't goodbye, plus CJ and I couldn't say a proper goodbye in front of Alison, Alex, and Joey. We still hugged for a very long time.
Not but two hours later, CJ texted me to come over and help him pack with Alex. I obliged, only when CJ promised me I could share the burrito Alex was bringing him.
The way to my heart is through my stomach, after all.
I trekked across campus, and when I knocked on CJ's door, I heard Alex coming down the stairs.
"Don't let her in!" CJ's voice floated down from his open bedroom window.
"I can hear you!" I called back, gazing up at the window that had so often been the indication that it was morning when I spent the night at CJ's.
Laughter fell from the bedroom window, "I know!"
Alex opened the door, and I followed him up to CJ's apartment where I threw my purse on the floor and plopped into one of the kitchen table chairs. CJ came out of his room and promptly tried to flip my chair over.
"Where's my burrito?" I shouted, steadying my chair.
"Hi," CJ put his arms warmly around me, pulling me into a hug.
"Hi," I said flatly, spotting the burrito and lunging across the table for it, "You know I'm not actually going to help you pack, right?"
"Yeah, I figured," CJ shrugged.
It was one of those nights where CJ seemed like he couldn't keep his hands off of me. Overtime he brought another packed box into the kitchen, he would mess up my hair, tickle me, or put his arms around my shoulders.
When he emerged and put his shirt over my head, my protest of, "Your shirt is going to have makeup all over it," was interrupted by CJ's ringtone.
He seemed slightly shaken when he went into his room and closed the door to take the call. It could only be Sarah calling him this late.
He stopped trying to find excuses to touch me after that.
"So I'm going to try and get on the road at 7 tomorrow morning," CJ said when Alex was in the bathroom, "Make me breakfast before I go?"
"That's so early," I groaned, "If you really," I dragged the word out, "want me to, you've got to call me to wake me up, I ain't settin' no alarm."
Alex and CJ said their final goodbye a while later, and CJ promised he would see me in the morning when I left with Alex.
The next morning, CJ and I would sit out on the porch having eggs and bacon for a solid forty minutes. We would talk, and then sit in silence. I was wearing my bathrobe over my nightgown, with no makeup, and I hadn't even bothered to run a brush through my bedhead. After our many mornings spent together over the past two years, this seemed an appropriate setting to say goodbye.
"I'm so sorry about everything," CJ whispered into my hair when it was finally time to say our last goodbye.
"I know," I muttered into his shoulder.
"I'll see you soon, ok?" CJ promised, "I'll be back, I'll be bored and make the drive back to Ann Arbor."
"I hope so," I smiled just a touch, "I'll miss you, I do miss you."
"I miss you already," CJ pulled me close, and for one final time, he kissed my forehead and let me go.
I sat on my porch and watched CJ's car turn down my street and out of sight. Even though it was barely 8am, I couldn't fall back asleep when I curled up in my bed. Through everything, the extreme ups and downs of our friendship, I wouldn't have traded our friendship for the world. When we were friends, we were great friends. When we weren't, it was the stuff of which novels are written about. I would miss him. Something about CJ and I just inexplicably clicked, and I would miss having that person who understood me completely. The Kaitlyn and CJ Saga had come to it's end, and as I tried to fall asleep, I couldn't help but wish that it wasn't over.