Chapter 48- Not just friends. Not yet a couple.

Soon enough, Johan and I were spending every weekend together. Once I get off work on Fridays, I’d take the public transit for 1.5 hours over to his place. Then another 1.5 hours back on Sunday nights.

I shall not talk about the cutesy stuff we did together. Nobody wants to hear about our pillow talk til wee hours of the morning, or how we held hands while reading books in bed. It was hard to turn the page, but I didn’t care.

Blagh! Barf! Boring!

Well, it wasn’t really boring for me. Even though we never did anything out of the ordinary; dinners in (nothing beats Sherpa’s delivery system in China), movie nights (Bootlegged DVDs! God Bless China!). Even the simple act of strolling down the streets together was a blast. Just talking and laughing; laughing about nothing. The weekends were never long enough…


I didn’t even mind the long commute to Puxi. Most of the time, I’d just zone out on the bus with a goofy grin plastered to my face. Occasionally laughing-out-loud to myself over something he said the day before. I got a few stares but I didn’t care.

Yes, it was all going very well, but here’s a Question: How soon do you go public when you start seeing someone new?

Relationships in Shanghai are fleeting and I personally prefer to keep things under wraps until it becomes serious. Am I the only one who doesn’t want to jinx things by telling people too soon? I still made time for my friends (I was determined not be one of those girls who stop having a life once they are in a relationship), but I didn’t tell them that Johan and I were a thing yet.

What thing exactly? Not boyfriend/girlfriend thing. But something… Just easier not to explain.

So one saturday while hanging out with Johan, my friends arranged dinner at a Montreal deli. I decided to join and asked if he wanted to come as well.

“I still hate big group dinners, but I’ll go if you want me to.” He agreed and was rewarded with a kiss on the cheek.

The two of us took a stroll along the Bund before dinner, hand in hand. We sat down to admire the view; I was cold so he wrapped me in his jacket with him. It  was as romantic as it sounds.

Except when we met up with my friends, I yanked my hand out of his and walked slightly farther away. Since we weren’t public yet, PDA would just invite unnecessary questions. I assumed he was on the same page as me.

Ronnie bailed last minute, so I was the only girl among ten guys. After dinner, we went for drinks at a nearby bar, and all the guys were eager to try the fancy cocktails with mini umbrellas.


“Um…I’ll just have a Stella.” I told the waiter. I was more of a beer gal.

While sipping on his cosmo, a guy friend whispered to me “So is he your boyfriend now?”

“Who? Johan?” I pretended to act surprised, “Noooooo…why would you think that?”

“You brought him to Jasper’s party. Now every time we see you, he’s there!” He wink wink and nudged nudged me.

“No…” I laughed and brushed it off with a wave of my hand.

I don’t think he bought it. Guys are not as dumb as they look.

After drinks, they wanted to go clubbing. A bunch of single guys with no girlfriends. Why not!

However, since I was no longer hunting, I wasn’t interested. Johan was even less enthused.

“I’m tired. Let’s skip and go home?” He whispered to me as everyone got ready to leave.

“Ok.” I agreed and announced to the group that I was going home.

Julien (Remember Julien?) decided he wanted to leave too “Let’s share a cab Kathy! We’re going the same direction anyway!”

“Uh….” I didn’t know how to say that I wasn’t going back to MY home.

I stuttered and stammered for a few seconds.

“Um, you know what…maybe I’ll go to the club after all.” I said, hoping to shake him off.

Then Julien decided to come as well! “Oh ok, I’ll go too. Then we can leave together after a bit.”

Goddamn Julien!!! Take a friggin’ hint!!!

We all started walking towards the club, while I racked my brain for a way out.

Johan was annoyed at my wishy-washiness “Just tell him you’re coming to my place. Julien’s a big boy. He’ll understand.”

“No…” I continued to stammer indecisively “They don’t know about us…what they will think about me sleeping over at your place…”

Johan sighed “Who cares what they think? We’re both adults.”

“No….” I tried think up of an excuse instead.

We got to the club and I still had nothing.

Johan said he was leaving, and waved goodbye to everyone. The rest of the guys including Julien walked inside, while I dilly-dallied at the entrance.

At the last moment, I did the only thing I could think of.

“Ok, I changed my mind again! I’m leaving! Bye!” I ran out of there before Julien had a chance to react.

I caught up to Johan, flushed but relieved “Phew! That was awkward!”

“Coz you made it awkward.” He sounded peeved.

“Meh.” I didn’t think much of it, and happily linked arms with him again.

The next morning, even though all I wanted was to snuggle in bed with him, I managed to drag my ass up at 9am.

“Where you going?” He asked.

“I’m meeting Joseph for a photographic stroll around his neighborhood!” I held up my new DSLR. “Wanna come?”

“You have fun, I’m gonna stay in and do some work.” He started getting dressed as well.

“Okie dokie!” I left cheerfully. “See you next week!”

What? I didn’t want to be one of those girls who pick boys over (boy)friends!


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