After work, we went to a restaurant just across the street from American Eagle. We ordered beers—I got mine on draft and he made a weird comment about how draft beer was cheaper and wondered if that’s why I got it.
During our conversation, it came out that I had a male roommate. I had just moved in with him a few months before.
“Are you going to be Mrs. Mackenzie?” he asked, thinking I was dating my roommate.
I laughed and said no, that we were random roomies. I figured this would’ve been a good time for him to come clean about his girlfriend, but he didn’t.
Nearly a week later, I had worked with Eddie a few times, but nothing was really progressing. One Sunday night after work, I was on the phone with Sheena, telling her about Eddie and that I was a little confused about his relationship status. During our conversation, I got a beep on the line—a text message.
“I have some black box if you want to come over and join me,” from Eddie.
I flipped out and asked Sheena if she thought I should join him. She said yes, so I got ready and got directions to his place.
He lived on Olive street—a name that already posted an image in my mind of what his house might look like. It was a small street, not far from the LSU campus. His house was nestled back from the street, behind a black wrought-iron gate. It had a porch, and was shaded with trees, but in the night, it just looked cozy.
When I arrived, he was the only one home—his two roommates were gone. He poured me a glass of wine and offered to give me a tour. I fell in lust with his home—it was a place I knew I wanted to spend hours. It was old, with hard wood floors that creaked under our following steps.
He took me up the stairs, toward his roommate’s bedroom—the master suite. At the top of the stairs was a bedroom, accompanying a bathroom that featured a white marble tub with black and grey veining. On our way back down the stairs, Eddie smacked at the wall—holding up a spider by the string of its recent web.
“Looks like a brown recluse,” he said. I cringed.
Back downstairs, Eddie showed me his bedroom. His bed was made, books were stacked neatly, and his desk was clean. He got on his computer to play some music. When the opening screen popped up, there were two log-in options: “Eddie” or “Paige.”
Their photos were scattered about the room, framed and looking like a happy couple. But I kept my lips zipped.
“Where’s your bathroom?” I asked. He pointed down the hall and I made my exit.
Once I got in the bathroom, I did a little snooping—sure enough, there was a makeup bag, some tampons, etc. Evidence.
I joined Eddie back at his desk and we talked about the music we liked; I was able to introduce him to a few new bands. We made our way back to the kitchen—a clean, white kitchen with glass-front cabinets and a stainless-steel fridge. Next to the kitchen was an open dining room, with a glass China cabinet. Inside it, were rare glasses and bottles of liquor.
“Ever tried Barren-Jaeger?” he asked. I shook my head.
He poured me a small glass. It was thick, and tasted like honey—with a bite at the end.
Eddie suggested we watch a movie, so we moved into the living room where there was a massive TV, with huge speakers. We watched this old movie with Angelina Jolie where she is pregnant and the baby daddy stabs her in the stomach, and then she rips off the fake belly. Intense.
We were laying down on his couch, about to fall asleep when the movie ended. I asked him if he would carry me to my car, because I was so sleepy. It was at least 2 am.
“No…” he said.
“Why not? Please?” I asked.
“Because. You can just sleep here,” he said.
My eyes were already closed. And he kissed me.
I stayed at Eddie’s that night, and when I left in the morning, I was pretty sure he would never call me again. I didn’t know the status of his girlfriend, and it definitely didn’t help that he was my manager. So I tucked it away in my mind as a great night, and left it at that, trying not to expect anything more.
But when I worked with him next, he said he wanted to hang out again. So I invited him over to my condo, to have some wine and meet my roommate. I raced home from work, ran through the place picking up random crap, and told my roommate I had someone coming over.
“Is it a hot guy?” he asked me, in a sing-song voice.
“How’d you know?”
“You’re all red,” he said.
So I was. Eddie came over, and impressed my roommate. When Eddie left, my roommate told me he thought Eddie was a great guy, and that I needed to keep him around a long time. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to have a choice.
My relationship with Eddie grew very quickly. We clicked in a way I hadn’t clicked with anyone else. And because of that, I jumped into things without a second thought.
* * *
I remember the night Eddie told me he had a girlfriend. He said he wanted to go to dinner, so he picked me up and we went to a little sit-down deli. I asked him what he was doing over the weekend and he said he had to changed the oil in a car, “for the gf.”
I was silent.
“What do you think about that?” he asked.
“What do I think about what?”
“Me having a girlfriend,” he said.
I told him I didn’t know what to think of it—that I wasn’t sure what was really going on between them.
He told me they’d been together for two years, and then uttered a combination of words I will never forget:
“It’s been bad for a long time,” he said. “Girls are crazy.”
Of course, I wanted Eddie to be with me, not her. But I also felt for her.
That night, we were laying in Eddie’s bed, and I asked him if she still had a key to his house. He said she did, and I was terrified she was going to bust in on us, sleeping peacefully.
Before I fell asleep, I thought about her. Eddie had made her out to be the enemy, but in reality, Paige was me. Adam did to me exactly what Eddie was doing to her, and I was the other woman this time.
The next week, I was in class when Eddie texted me that he wanted to surprise me. So I met him after class, out in the parking lot. He said he wanted to take me to lunch at a place that he liked. I was dressed in sweats, told him I wasn’t prepared for a little date. But he insisted we had to go, right then.
He took me downtown to a small pizzeria that was delicious. Afterward, we went back to his house. Once we arrived, his roommate told him Paige had stopped by and left a letter for Eddie. I felt dirty for being in the house, for having my car parked out front, for hanging out in the daylight hours.
But at the same time, I was falling quickly. I loved spending time with Eddie, laughing with him, and being in the company of his friends. Eddie didn’t read the letter—not in front of me anyway.
That night, Eddie said he would cook us dinner. I sat in the kitchen with my elbows on the white tiled counter, enjoying a glass of wine, while Eddie steamed crab legs, and stirred a pot of mashed potatoes. I was in heaven. We enjoyed our dinner watching a football game with his roommates.
Later that night, I remember finding a hat of Eddie’s—one of those furry ones with the flaps over the ears, and insisted on wearing it around the house. That day and evening remain to be one of my fondest dating memories.