I would say that after that kiss things got hot and heavy quickly, but it actually didn’t. It went nice and slow. Slow and steady as they say…it wins the race right? But really what are we racing towards? We still did all the things we normally did, but now it was just with a hint of romance in it. I would stop over and there would be flower petals up the staircase, he would come over my house with purple tulips in hand. My favorite flower. Did you ever notice how purple tulips just make you feel better? No matter what the situation, how sad or down or distracted I am….the sight of purple tulips always, always makes me feel better. We went on picnics and strolled the streets of Hoboken, we stopped at his parents house and visited over coffee and met my parents for a quick bite. We did all the things we would have normally continued to do as friends, but just as a developing couple. We were on the down low for quite a while. I mean, for the past 20 years we spent a lot of time together and to now try to announce to the group that we were a couple would have been status suicide. They would have been relentless, they would have never let up, the jokes the ridicule, all in good fun of course, but it would have been non-stop, so we agreed that this was our secret. Something just between he and I and our families. There is something to say about secrecy. There is something to say about being in a world all your own without the outside influence of your friends, no matter how supportive and great they are. Things developed at our pace and over a few months and then one day…I’m not even sure we were planning on telling anyone. We were all together hanging out and it just came out. Like turrets. It was just blurted out. I believe someone made a reference to me and then he said “No cause she’s with me” no one even gave a second glance. That’s how NOT believable us as a couple was. He said it again. Then one of the guys turned and asked “What did you say?” he very flatly but with a shaky voice said “Her and I….we are dating” they seemed to laugh it off at first until he held my hand. That got their attention. But still they weren’t biting. One said “Oh really, then kiss her” Being I had been one of the guys for a very long time and the only time any of them ever saw me as a chick was late at night and after 30 beers…. “kiss her” Then that is exactly what he did….with this big stupid grin on his face, he walked up to me and kissed me. That was more impressive to them, but still, they weren’t convinced. “Give her tongue” as if we were still in high school. And so he did….and then the room went silent. They all stared at each other, than us. The disbelief was palpable and I cringed as I braced myself for what was to come next. But much to my surprise…it didn’t. They were cheering and laughing and patting him on the back like he just made the winning goal. “that’s great, good for you guys? and then one asked “So what happens if it doesn’t work out? Will you still be friends? Will we all still be friends?” The thought had crossed my mind numerous times over the past few months. We would always be friends. No matter what. That was the deal. No matter how bad it may turn out, no matter how far south it ends up, we will always be friends. You can’t throw away 20 years of friendship and memories over a relationship right? We were more mature than all that right? Of course we were and besides…it wasn’t going to go south, it wasn’t going to go bad. We would take it one day at a time and build a forever relationship since we already had the foundation of friendship. What could possibly go wrong?