As usual, I was late but in no rush. I let Joey know that I was running behind for the thrift shopping event and she was chill about it. Come to find out, she was always early and she was already there, holding down our place in the growing line with a fresh iced coffee in her hand. I was instantly jealous, wishing I had stopped to get one even though I was already late.
When I reached her, we kissed and she handed me the coffee. “I remember you said you love a good dirty iced chai. I didn’t know what that was, so when I stopped to get my coffee, I asked. Got two. It was bomb and I finished mine. I almost drank yours,” Joey extended the coffee drink towards me.
I could have cried right then and there, but I had a tendency to fall fast and things fizzled just as fast. I was determined to pull back with Joey so that I wouldn’t repeat my same fate.
“You’re so good to me,” I smiled and kissed Joey with my sweaty upper lip. She didn’t mind. She smiled back.
We chit-chatted in line, waiting for my friends to show up, one by one. Queens was a trip and a half for most of us, but this thrift trip was always worth the extreme conditions inside–no air and bins of hopefully washed fashions thrown out by whoever. It was all about uncovering gems.
I introduced Joey to my friends as they popped up. I didn’t notice, but with each friend that came –4 in total — I’d distance myself from Joey romantically. My body language gave more friend than bae vibes. I could tell she noticed, but she was cool.
We had a great time searching for vintage gems and Joey even got her hands on a full-length leather trench. I found a vintage Ralph Lauren blazer and an Oscar de la Renta sequin button up that I was obsessed with. Joey fearlessly climbed into bins, tossing clothes for me to sift through. She pulled bottled water and fruit snacks out of her backpack when I started feeling faint and I thought I would tell her that I loved her right then and there.
When I was certain none of my friends were around, I pulled Joey into my lips for a kiss. “What was that for?” Joey asked.
“Because I’ve been wanting to,” I flirted.
“You sure?” Joey asked,
“Yeah, what…?” I laughed.
“You were kinda funny acting outside earlier. I just wanted to make sure you knew you switched up,” Joey looked me dead in the eyes.
“I mean…” I wasn’t sure how to approach the topic with Joey.
“You mean…?” Joey smacked my butt and laughed. “I get it, I think. But, we’re gonna talk about it. Not here. But we will.”
“Diiiifferent. And I like it,” I smiled at Joey.
We moved toward the checkout counter and saw that most of my friends had tapped out and were catching whatever breeze they could outside.
“We should go to the beach tomorrow!” One of my homegirls, Kelly, suggested once we were all outside, slathering ourselves in hand sanitizer.
“Ooh girl, good idea!” Another friend, Dana, perked up.
Everybody was buzzing about which beach they wanted to go to. Even Joey was chiming in and had somehow invited herself.
“I can’t go,” I said mostly to Joey and then to the group. “I have to work tomorrow. I can’t go.”
“Damn, bummer,” Joey laughed. “I think we should go to Riis beach. I heard there’s a nude section, or at least topless!”
My homegirls squealed. “Let’s do it!” Dana said.
As they continued chatting about their little beach day, I nudged Joey. “I said, I can’t go. Why would you still try and go?”
“Excuse me? Joey said, while she looked at me in disbelief.
My friends were walking ahead of us as we all headed to the train with our bounty.
“I’m wondering why you’re trying to go to the beach with my friends that you just met? We’re dating. I wouldn’t be doing that if the shoe was on the other foot,” I tried to explain to Joey before we ascended separate stairs to get on the train at the station.
“I’m gonna catch the train with a friend of yours who happens to be going in the same direction. I hope that’s ok with you,” Joey jogged to catch my homegirl Dana and followed her up the stairs.
“Danielle!” One of my Brooklyn-bound friends shouted at me. “Earth to Danielle! Let’s go, we’re gonna miss the train!”
When I got home, I saw that I had a text from Joey.
“Call me when you get settled,” no emojis, no fanfare, just the message.
I called Joey. “Are you still mad at me?” I asked.
“I’m not mad at you. I’m confused by you. But I still like your ass,” Joey laughed.
I smiled. “Why are you confused? Because I don’t want you hanging out with my friends without me?”
“That and when we were around your friends today, you were acting standoffish. You don’t like PDA?” Joey asked.
“Well, my friends, at least the ones you met today, don’t know that I date women. It’s not a big deal, it just not something I put out there.” I tried to explain myself, but I felt like I sounded silly.
In typical Joey fashion, she understood. She didn’t like it, but she understood. I explained to Joey that I never considered myself to be a lesbian or even bisexual. I just dated who I liked.
Once we made it over that hurdle, Joey wanted to know why I forbid her from going out with my friends to the beach without me.
“If we were just friends, I would still not like it, but I would be more ok with it. I am just starting to date you and you just met my friends today! Hanging out with a significant other’s friends without your significant other is weird to me,” I explained.
Joey got extremely upset and told me that I was confused and refused to open up my mind to new possibilities of dating and friendships. “Me liking your friends and vice versa is ideal! It’s like you don’t want to be happy!” Joey spat at me.
“Whoa! That’s a bit of an assumption. I’m done with this conversation. If we can move forward and still get to know each other, cool.” I put my foot down with Joey.
“I’m done too. And I’m still going to the beach tomorrow, without you. Goodnight Danielle,” Joey hung up.
I immediately texted my group chat with all my friends who went thrifting with me and Joey earlier that day, “Hey y’all. I’m jealous I can’t make it to the beach with you tomorrow. Have fun without me!” I put a sad face emoji at the end of it so they knew it was real.
“Aww, we’ll miss you babe! One of them replied.
“And TBH, I am dating Joey and I found it weird that she wanted to hang with you guys without me…” I left the text open for someone else to chime in that it’s weird.
“Oooh, you guys are together. Yeah, we just met her. That is weird!” Another friend replied.
They all emphasized mine and her message with double exclamation points.
“So y’all are cool with not inviting her to the beach tomorrow?” I asked.
“Of course boo! Ain’t nobody hanging out with your potential bae without you. Tell Joey to calm down!”
And so it was done. Joey wasn’t going to the beach with my friends without me. Then again, I didn’t hear back from Joey anymore after that, so…all’s well that ends messy?