~*~Tracie~*~

It was important for me to know when and how this happened. How do things change like that over night? I felt this relief. I completely saw him as a friend until we did that one romantic thing. Hell, maybe weíd done romantic things before but this one clicked. First time weíd both been single. I took a quick shower and changed into a pair of shorts and one of his UK shirts. I walked back downstairs and felt very different. It was like I wasnít having to work so hard at making the two Kevinís into one. They were one, just with added features.

I saw him pulling the steaks off the grill and I checked the potatoes. He came in the door, "No, I get to do this." He put the plate down and turned around, "Wow, you look . . . oh . . . beautiful. Umm, beautiful."

I pushed him away, "Dinner first. Admire me later."

He smiled, "Yes, maíam. Wine?"

"Thank you."

Dinner was great. Iím not sure I tasted a damn thing.

~*~Lee~*~

Meeting Tracie for lunch today. I picked up some bagel sandwiches and headed over to the club. She was kicked back in the chair watching the kids. When she saw me she jumped up and hugged me. I put the stuff down, "You seem to be in a good mood."

"I am in a fantastic mood, thank you very much."

I sat down, "What happened?"

"We figured it out! How our Ďweí changed. We still get to keep the friendship and just add on to it. Not change it just let it grow."

"Hallelujah! If I had to go to one more party and watch you two not be together I was gonna hurt you. Not really, but you needed to see what was right in front of you. When you two describe your perfect partner you describe each other."

"Why didnít you tell me this?"

"I tried to point you there, AJ was working on Kevin. Then he went and married Jessica and everything got screwed up." That whole thing still pissed me off. "So, any details you wanna share?"

"I donít know if heís that good, or weíre that good. But itís damn good." She laughed.

"Who gives a shit just enjoy it! Stop thinking so much and just have fun. You both think too damn much."

She threw a potato chip at me, "We decided that too." She got serious and looked over, "You know, it feels really good. Iíve never been one to walk around worrying if a man likes me, but there is still that anxiety and newness and waiting to see his reaction. Getting to know each other. Most of thatís gone except for the sex and figuring out the couple shit."

"What couple shit?"

"Calling, hugging, kissing. How much is too much?"

I rolled my eyes, "Get over it. Youíre still working on that friend vs girlfriend thing. Itís not the same at all. You called all the time, dropped in unannounced, hugged, and kissed whenever, why would it be different now? Everyone plays that game not to crowd, not to smother, to give space. You two are way past that. You guys decided long ago that two inches is enough space. Stop thinking just cause your in his bed you need to give him space out of it. Trust me, he doesnít want it. You guys have always checked in with each other. Youíve always let each other know where you are, when youíre coming by, if youíre gonna be late for something. Keep that up. If he needs space heíll tell you, and youíll do the same. I hope to hell that you two have enough sense to never forget the friendship came first and the friendship is the most important part. Sex and passion come and go. Friendship will hold you together. And Tracie . . . you two belong together. You can see it your eyes. You know all of that, you just need to hear it."

"Thank you. I do know that. I get pulled into all the new feelings. Notice I didnít say different? Theyíre wonderful and new and wonderful."

"You in love with him?" Why not? Weíd come this far.

She sighed, "Probably."

I laughed loud, "Damn, that was way easier than I expected."

"Iíve loved him for a long time. Heís a great guy. Heís fun, and heís a great friend. Heís no where near perfect, but his faults amuse the hell out of me, or they piss me off and I dig him about them. Iím not quite sure how to differentiate loving him and being in love with him."

"Hormonal. Falling in love is hormonal. Increase in pleasure chemicals in the brain. Are you feeling an increase in pleasure chemicals?"

She looked at me like Iíd sprouted another head, "You make it sound so romantic."

"Sorry, just a biological reaction. The hormones wear off in nine to fifteen months, just after the wedding. Then itís the friendship that makes it last. Neither of us are so naÔve to believe in that romantic bullshit. Donít get me wrong, I love romance, I want romance, but I know itís just the cover for basic biology. Remembering that makes it easier when the romance comes and goes, and makes it easier to get it back. Realize how it works and go with that, itís not always personal." Sounds kind of harsh, but thatís what I think. I love all the romance stuff, but I chose to believe it. Getting swept away is unrealistic and will always end badly. When the hormones fade.

"Are we really that cynical? I donít want to be that cynical. This feels good, I want it to keep feeling good."

"Itís not cynical, itís realistic. It should feel good. Then it will feel bad. Constant moonlight and roses is bullshit. The world doesnít work that way. You work at making it feel good and it will, you expect it to be easy and it dies. Just ask Nick."

"I worry about Nick. Pam is such a bitch. She can do nothing but whine, and suck all the life out of Nick. He needs some happy."

"Perfect example though. Pam expects it be easy and perfect. If itís not then somethingís wrong. Bullshit, heís 21. His hormones are gonna kick in when he sees a hot girl. Heís gonna flirt and have fun. That doesnít mean he acts on them, and it doesnít mean his hormones donít react for her. Without hormonal reactions life would suck. So he gets turned on by some cutey then takes it out on her, who cares. As long as sheís getting him why does it matter where it started?"

Tracie was shaking her head, "Exactly. Michael used to gentlemenís clubs with other politicos and come home all revved up. I never gave a shit. She turned him on and I got laid. Now if that was all the time or if he would have tried to make me fit that mold it would have been a problem, but he didnít. Look, but donít touch. Bring it on home to me."

"This is why you and Kevin get along. Youíre both realistic."

"Weíre both pigs. We established that fact long ago."

"I wasnít gonna say that. Iím a pig too."

We laughed and talked for hours. Her cell rang. I knew within five seconds that it was Kevin. The guys were under some time pressure and were on a roll, he was gonnna be late. More like eight instead of five.

I smiled at their conversation, "Trace, that is why you guys work."

"What?"

"You have to admit that his life is crazy and difficult to deal with."

"Sure, but thatís just the way it is. Itís not like heís choosing work over me. Itís not personal. I believe that he wants to be with me, making him feel guilty wonít help anything, just make him feel bad."

"Right, but think of others who never got that. Jessica never got that. Being friends with you didnít have to take away from her. She put the wedge in there. Pam doesnít get that and her bitching and whining are driving Nick away."

"Nick is gone within the month. Pamís not gonna change. Too much baggage. Nick has started seeing it. Once you can see itís hard to be blind again."

"Amen"

I loved this. I love girl talk. Nothing we talked about today was anything new. These theories. I wanted to make sure she remembered them. So she would remind herself of how good they were.

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