This is no different than when you came to dinner by yourself. You keep telling yourself to shut up and simply enjoy time spent with a charismatic, funny man. A man that each day, you find out you have more and more in common with. The man you look forward to receiving texts from each night; the one whose laugh you hear when you close your eyes to sleep. You have passed the friend zone, if you are honest with yourself you knew before you even came that if you ever met him; Chad didn’t stand a chance. Is it fair to Chad? Comparing him to another man that lives on the other side of the world? To a man who’s life and culture are so much different then what you have at home? Is it only because Chad has been mostly silent since you met [HN] in person? If Chad were being his normal self, texting and calling regularly would this man still be just as attractive to you? Lost in thought, you jump when a hand gently touches your arm. You look up to find [HN] staring at you with concern, “[YN] are you alright? Lee’s asked you the same thing several times.” You glance over at Lee, “Really? Oh, I’m sorry. I was just lost in thought I guess. What did you ask?” Lee shrugs it off, “Doesn’t matter anymore.” She smiles over at [HN], “Our host has asked if we want to stay and watch a film? You’re good with that right?” You turn back to him, “Sure. Did you have a specific one in mind?” He shakes his head, “Not really. I thought we could watch one in English with Korean subtitles. I sometimes miss what all the slang means." You smile over at him, “Because American English is such an easy language.” You all laugh while you clean up the dishes. When he goes to deposit them outside his door, you round on Lee, “Really?!?! Why? You’re supposed to be helping me!” “How was I supposed to know he’d do that?!? You know him, I don’t. You didn’t tell me he was so slick.” “If we watch this movie, you will NOT fall asleep got it? So help me if you do, I’ll leave you stranded somewhere without any transportation or money.” She looks affronted, “You wouldn’t.” She looks at you again, put her hands up in surrender. “Okay you would. Fine. No sleeping, cross my heart.” “Are we making promises or sealing deals?” you hear from behind you. The two of you turn to see him standing in the doorway, hands in his pockets, smiling at you. “Or is it a secretive best friend only deal?” The two of you just stare at him like deer in headlights making him laugh, “Alright then, shall we find a movie?” It takes about twenty minutes for all of you to agree on what to watch. Lee wanted something romantic for which you kicked her under the table. She quickly changed that to a horror movie for which you simply shook your head and face palmed. You suggest a science fiction one with lots of action, no romance anywhere in sight. He simply flips through the movies; finds those in the genres and states whether they have subtitles or not. Once the movie is decided, he refreshes everyone’s drink and asks if anyone wants popcorn. “You have popcorn?” He looks at you like you’re an uneducated little girl and laughs, “Yes, I have popcorn. This isn’t a third world country.” You blush and look away, so Lee pipes up to save you, “Popcorn would be great! Thank you!” While he’s out of the room you curl up on the end of the couch with one of his cushions. Lee crashes in the middle leaving the other end of the couch open or the end chairs. He brings the popcorn back in a large bowl with smaller individual bowls. The ever courteous host, he hands out the bowls and brings the popcorn bowl over to each of you. “[HN] sit down, we are capable of helping ourselves.” “You are my guests, I’m happy to serve you.” As he turns to put the popcorn down, he winks over at you. He’s being cute and silly, you give in and laugh. He sits in the arm chair closest to your end of the couch and begins the movie. This feels so familiar that without even thinking about it the two of you start making comments during the movie to each other. Lee finally gives up telling the two of you to shush and simply turns the volume up. The two of you get so caught up in the plot and your discussion of it that hearing Lee snore takes you both by surprise. You look over to find her zonked out against the armrest. “Shh,” he tries to quiet you but you remind him that she fell asleep listening to the two of you yammer on. He thinks a minute and concedes, “Good point.” The movie has about twenty minutes left when the storm rolls in. You can hear thunder off in the distance; you aren’t the biggest fan of thunder and lightning. You look over at Lee, shocked that she is still sound asleep. “We might have a hard time waking her; I think she’s down for the count.” He looks over at her, gets up and puts a throw blanket over her. “Well, I’m not opposed to having guests for the night.” He looks out the window at the growing storm, “Especially if this continues to get worse.” “Maybe we should just go now, I don’t want to put you out.” He reaches over and puts his hand on yours, “You would not be putting me out. I’m having a good time, are you not?” You have to admit that you are, as you nod he says, “Good. I always hate when our conversations have to end. I’m thinking this might be nice. What are friends for, if not to do favors for friends?” You have to agree that he’s making sense; however, he has no idea that you’ve already crossed that friend border and are bordering on the beyond big time crush. As he turns the movie back on to finish the last few minutes, the lights flicker and go out. You panic for a minute, you're somewhere strange and now there is no power. When he gets up and heads to the other room to get a flashlight, you head to the balcony doors to watch the storm. It really is beautifully magnificent in all its power and glory. You’re so busy counting the seconds between the lightning and thunder that you don’t hear him come up behind you. When the thunder sounds it makes you jump and cringe; 10 miles out, the storm is almost on top of you. You startle when a blanket is placed around your shoulders, hands remaining on your shoulders after it's adjusted. He leans forward and whispers, “Storms scare you? I would not have suggested you stay to watch if I had known that.” You shrug your shoulders, “I’m a big girl; I can handle it. Besides, it really is a show not to be missed.” You wrap the blanket tighter around you and on the next thunder clap arms wrap around your shoulders and pull you back against him. “Better?” You tense up, Oh God, he has no idea what he’s doing to you; or does he? He isn’t playing with you is he? “[YN]? Are you alright?” He turns you around to face him, but you can’t see anything until the lightning flashes again. He looks sincere and concerned, so you smile and pat his chest. “Yes thank you. I’m fine.” “You are worried about your boyfriend yes? What he would think of us here like this?” You nod, looking over at the dark lump on the couch that was supposed to be your body guard. “You have never had close guy friends? The ones you tell your secrets to? Those that comfort you when you get into fights with your boyfriends?” “I have,” you start and then turn the tables, “aren't you worried about what your girlfriend will think?” He shakes his head, “I told you, she see’s you as no threat.” You give a self depreciating grin, “Oh yeah,” and turn back to the storm outside. At the next round of thunder his arms come around you again, “Just one friend comforting another through a storm,” he says in your ear.