I am experimenting with a new word in my daily vocabulary: “we.”

It occurred to me last night as I sat on at a bar/music venue on a warm patio next to a handsome man as we discussed a variety of bars and restaurants and things and agreed “we should go there.”

Last night was date three with someone with whom I now say “we.”

He is not of course the only man in my life. He is, at the moment, the only man in my bed.  He is the only one who has been with me at parties.  He is the one I awoke next to this morning, and from whom a cryptic message at 253 am on Friday night caused a ripple of concern.

He is lovely and charming and solid in character.  At some point, I realized I actually like him very much.

I met him for the second time three weekends ago, on a Sunday afternoon, on a different warm patio at a different bar, just across the street from this one.  I remember thinking, “cute.” And also “young.”

He is blond, with a lazy beard, blue eyes and a great smile.  He is short and slender, and looks not much larger than I do.  He is part of a different close-knit crew of The Reporter’s friends, and he came the Reporter’s birthday party, which I hosted on Mother’s Day, beginning with brunch with a crew of mostly my friends with the Reporter and then expanding to include this crew, most of whom had mother obligations for brunch.

I had met him before on a holiday pub crawl we joined in progress.  I could not, for the life of me, remember his name.  I think I called him something else and it took a little time for me to get it right.  It is as preppy as mine, and when I refer to him to my girlfriends I often put it in quotes, to convey this is not even a real name.  It suits him perfectly.

We had all been drinking before the party relocated to this shady patio with its excellent sangria and great seating, and the party continued with a group now of about 20.  I took a picture, later posted to facebook, of everyone there and it was a wonderful group of a few of my close friends, although most of them had wandered back to start knocking out work, and a lot of the Reporter’s news friends and then three from this tightly knit group of young friends with whom he socializes frequently, although mostly without me.

We had a blast and everyone drank a little too much, until it was time to hit the next bar.  I had some money, and I was the host, so I made sure the Reporter’s glass was always full.  We decided after a couple of hours to move next door to a lovely place with an even better patio.  The Reporter and I had been out since 1 and it was at least 5 hours later, and the group had dwindled to a few of the news guys, me, and this guy.  We are talking at a patio bar and he decides to get a drink though none of us are certain how long we are staying here.  The drinks were more expensive and the boys wanted beer at the next destination.

We are talking mostly to each other and the Reporter and he offers to buy me a drink: hendricks and tonic. Interesting. I’ve not had a gin and tonic in years but this is a revelation.  We are settling in comfortably, discussing the buildout of this really cool looking bar along with a famous local weatherman who is part of our crew.

It is then I learn what my handsome young friend does for a living: construction management.  It’s interesting, and he’s explaining what they would have needed to do to take this building to the awesome levels we are seeing.

We finish our drink and hit the next place, our last stop.  We are the slowest to leave this spot and the last to arrive at the next one, so we are standing together trying to decide on our beer.  I grab one for me and one for the birthday boy, and we decide we should hit a brewery next weekend.  That was literally my first clue that there was something happening.

We join our now small crew of 6 sitting at a round table.  The seating is strange, it’s essentially an octagon with split benches, so GT and I sit down next to each other and we have an easy intimacy that is already obvious to everyone else, and not just because we are now holding hands under the table.  Subtle.

We pose for a picture I don’t really remember the Reporter taking, and everyone seems to be cool with the fact that we are together.  We decide not to finish the second beer we got, or maybe even our third.  The Reporter goes home with his designated driver and we walk together holding hands without a plan towards his car, parked, conveniently less than half a block away.

We are both really tipsy by this point and we are kissing in his car and then we are fooling around in his car, as he drives.  It’s ridiculous.  We head towards my house in a suburb, and stop at a drug store for condoms.  We have no idea what to get, so we end up with the most expensive variety pack, because why the hell not.

We get back to my house and kiss in the living room for a a few minutes before moving upstairs to my room.  I was entirely unprepared for company, so we throw discarded outfits on the floor, toss off our clothes, and fall into bed together.

The sex is okay.  The first two attempts were unsuccessful as we had been drinking all day, but the third time works and we drift off to fitful sleep around 11, after having arrived home around 930.

The next morning, I awaken next to this man, and of course we have sex again, and it’s better, and we are laying and talking about whether he should go to work at all or just call in sick as he felt terrible, and exhausted.  He has to be in the office at 9 am and his crews go out at 7 am, so he is getting more anxious, but concealing it somewhat.  We talk again about a party I am hosting on Thursday for C’s party and I invite him.  He thinks he can go.

I never ever ever bring dates to parties I am hosting, but it feels like the right invitation to make.

We kiss goodbye and he heads off to the complete other end of the city, a good 20 miles north of where we had been in bed.

Later that afternoon, I am flipping through my phone and I see this photo the Reporter took: we are smiling and he has his arm around my shoulders, as I lean into him. It is an amazing photo and I know I cannot under any circumstances publish it as it would destabilize all of my other relationships.  It looks very, very coupley.  I text it to a few of my girlfriends, all of whom have the same reaction: “who is this handsome man?!”

to be continued . . .