We'd asked for this. We’d all happily exchanged keys to each other’s homes, having met only a few months earlier (this was a couple of years ago).
Now, sometime after midnight, I heard Terisa’s key in the front door of the apartment in which Vee, Edwin & I live. A few minutes ago, I’d hung up on Terisa during a phone fight.
I said to Vee, who was pouring a glass of water before returning to bed:
"Ah. This will be our client now."
Terisa stood, fuming, in jeans and t-shirt, framed in the low wattage of the porch lamp. I sat across the room, naked, in the glow from our computer. The lighting was fine: the world only wished that the state of clothing were reversed.
"How DARE YOU put the FUCKING PHONE DOWN on me!"
"Come in," I said with a poise that I thought suave, but that set off a suspicion in her.
"You've been drinking." She glanced at Vee. "Has he been drinking?"
"He's fine," shrugged Vee.
Terisa crossed the room, hands on hips, eyes flashing.
"Look," I said. "What set this all off was that I just mentioned that I feel the need to spend a bit more time with Vee. That's all. It won't have any impact on OUR time together. I didn't even mean it in relation to you. It was a side comment during a Facebook chat. That's all."
"Then why not say that instead of acting like a child and hanging up on me?"
"I'd said it already. Several ways. I couldn't get it into your head." Our eyes met like iron pilings. "By the way, what the fuck has got into you? You will not stand there yelling at us, with our son asleep upstairs."
I said: "You'll lower your voice, or you'll leave. Understand?" She looked away. I sighed. "Come on: let's go for a walk and talk this out."
Vee padded back to bed.
Twenty minutes later, Terisa's head resting on my chest as we sat on a street bench, I looked down at her hair:
"Why do you do this? Why do you get a few words utterly out of proportion, and work yourself up into a state like that?"
Her shoulders twitched: "I dunno. I was worried. I thought you didn't want to spend time with me anymore."
"Wrong." We kissed.
She said: “And I don't like it when you drink."
I didn't want to re-ignite things, but felt I had to make a point:
"Erm, sweetheart, I didn't come crashing into your home late at night, yelling. Although you did so sober, to be fair.” (Terisa doesn’t drink alcohol at all, and never has).
"I know. But even if you've had just two or three beers, you're different. I don't want that guy: I want my Matt."
We got up, and walked around the block.
"I should go," she whispered, putting her arms around me. "Say sorry to Vee."
I watched her get into her Subaru and drive away, then went inside. I checked on Edwin, crept into our bedroom, and kissed Vee.
"I have no idea," she muttered, "what that was all about."
It was just before 2am. I slept okay. I didn't sleep great, but I slept okay.