As many times as I’ve tried to recall the evening, I don’t remember the first time I met Marc*, although he seems to remember it well. He claims we met in a hot tub at a party that my then-boyfriend was throwing. Apparently, he thought I was “hot,” but I only had eyes for my BF Rick*, who was a friend of Marc’s. That was six years ago.
Marc and I saw each other again many times over the years. He was a peripheral part of my circle of friends — one of those people that pop up in your world every once in a while. The first time I actually do remember meeting Marc was at a get-together at a downtown NYC bar. It was a few months after the hot tub night. Rick and I were still madly in love. Marc showed up at the bar alone. I was wearing a short skirt – it was a humid summer night.
“Nice legs,” he whispered to me as I rocked out to Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.” I definitely felt some electricity, but, like a good girlfriend, I shimmied my “nice legs” right back over to Rick. A few minutes later a girl came to meet Marc.
“Who is that with Marc?” I asked my bff Kristin*.
She rolled her eyes, “That’s his girlfriend Elise.*” She’s totally boring.”
I only saw Marc occasionally over the next few years. Rick and I had long since broken up but still remained acquaintances. When a friend was throwing Rick a surprise birthday party, Kristin and I decided to go crash it. I mean … what the hell, right?
The first person I saw when I walked in was Marc. He was standing alone at the bar looking a bit older, but still hotter than ever. Please let him be single I prayed.
“What’s up Marc? Remember me?” He did a double take.
“Holy s**t! I didn’t recognize you for a minute. You look amazing!” I blushed.
“Where’s Elise?” Kristin asked, jumping in as the ever-protective friend.
“She’s at home,” Marc replied. “She doesn’t like to go out that much.”
Kristin looked at me and mouthed the word “boring.” Kristin, Marc, and I hung out the entire night, laughing, talking, drinking, dancing, and generally having the most fun ever. At the end of the night, Marc asked for my number. “Let’s hang out again.”
Marc started sending me texts all the time. “Where are you?” “Come meet me for a drink.” “When can we hang?” I wanted to say yes, but knew it was wrong. I rebuffed every single advance for four months. One summer night, I was hot, restless, lonely, bogged down with work and general ennui when Marc texted me. “Tonight’s the night. Come meet for a drink. Just one. Please. Thank you.”
I replied, finally caving, “K. Be there in 30.” My heart was beating wildly as I got into a cab. When I walked through the door of the bar, a bolt of lightening flashed between us when I looked into Marc’s brown eyes. “Let me buy you a drink,” Marc said sliding his hand onto my lower back.
When his hand touched me, it burned a hole in my back. After two cocktails we were laughing so hard and having so much fun, I decided Marc was the man of my dreams. That thought was enough to make me forget about Elise. I moved his hand from my lower back and touched his fingers, lingering slightly longer than I needed to.
“I’m kind of hungry now,” I said grabbing his entire hand under the bar. His hand pushed back into mine forcefully. He gazed into my eyes wildly.
“We could get something in the area or my place is right across the street. I could make you some taquitos,” he offered.
“Mmmm taquitos.” It didn’t matter that I technically hated taquitos.
“Sorry. It’s kind of a mess,” he apologized as we walked into his apartment. I looked at the bookshelf. He’s Just Not That Into You was on display next to a framed photo of Elise and her sister. To use Kristin’s word … boring. I looked away.
“So how did you like He’s Just Not That Into You? Did you learn a lot?”
“Ha. Yeah … I loved it … nah … it’s not mine.”
“Your girlfriend lives with you. I didn’t know that.”
Now he looked away. “She’s on vacation.”
“Oh. I see.”
“How many taquitos do you want?”
“The whole box.”
“Do you remember that night we first met in the hot tub at Rick’s place.”
“No … I don’t as a matter of fact.”
“I have pictures from that night. If I find one, will you kiss me?”
“I was single then, you know, but you were busy with Rick.” Marc came out of his bedroom holding a picture of Rick and me in the hot tub. “See. I told you. Now kiss me.”
“What if we missed our chance?” I asked.
“I don’t know what’s happening with my relationship. You never know.” We kissed some more.
“Should we stop? We should stop,” I said.
“Yeah. I know,” he replied. “But I don’t want to.”
“I don’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before. I’m in uncharted waters.” I looked at him searching his face. “Do you love her?”
“Well that’s complicated. I tell her I do but I don’t know.”
The next time I saw Marc was at my birthday party. By the time he arrived, I had already thrown back a few too many. Translation: I was embarrassingly drunk.
“I miss you,” I slurred.
“Me too. I had a great time with you that night. I think about it a lot.”
“I have feelings for you,” I slurringly confessed. “I want to date you. Let’s make out in the bathroom.”
“No. That’s not a good idea.”
“Yeah it is … it’s my party.”
“I think you’re great. Like amazing. In fact, I don’t even know why you like me.”
“Because you’re my dream man!” Oh God, was I drunk.
“But here’s the thing …” Marc paused. “I’m staying in my relationship for now.”
As crushed (and drunk) as I was, I had no other option but to cut off all contact with Marc. Well, I would have, if he hadn’t texted me later that evening and asked me to send him some naked pictures. Please note: I don’t actually recall sending them but I did. The next morning I had a text from Marc.
“The pics are sooo hot.”
I had an “Oh s**t, what did I do last night?” moment.
“Erase them please,” I texted back. “I am mortified. I’m sorry for the stupid things I said last night. You won’t be hearing from me again.” And with that I erased Marc’s contact information and vowed never to speak with him again. Two months later I heard through the grapevine that Marc had proposed to Elise. That bastard was getting married and I would never make the mistake of being the other woman again.
Nine months later I got a text from a mysterious number.
“Hi,” was all it said.
“Who is this?” I wrote back.
“Serious? It’s Marc.”
Marc: “Come over to my place. Let’s have a marathon.”
Me: “No way. Aren’t you getting married?”
Marc: “Yeah but I can’t stop thinking about you. At least send me more pics.”
Me: “I told you to erase those. I have spent the better part of a year being embarrassed about those.”
Marc: “I keep them hidden in a secret spot. Don’t worry … I respect them. I won’t show them to anyone. You look amazing. Come over for hours of fun. I have the place to myself.”
Me: “No! It’s not a good idea for us to see each other.”
Marc: “Boo! One more pic?”
Me: “You’re lucky you have any pics.”
Marc: “Oh well, I tried. Take care.”
I felt sick. My feelings went from embarrassment and regret to anger and exasperation. Not only had this douche lied to me and led me on, but now he thought he could treat me like a prostitute? Hell no! For the first time I felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. Not for myself this time, but for naïve, unsuspecting (boring) Elise. Does she have any idea what kind of man she is about to marry? I know Marc’s relationship with Elise is none of my business but part of me feels obligated to tell her what happened. What do you think? Should I warn her that her fiancé is bad news?