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i came out of hiding today. i signed onto aim with my regular screen name. nikki talked to me, but she talked forever about non-gay stuff. she said that she had talked to fly, and they were worried because they hadn't heard from me in a while, but then she just asks, 'so what have you been up to?'
we talk about taxes, and about udf for a while. she says i can let my dad do my taxes, and then file my own, as a correction.

while i'm still talking to nikki, marie calls, for no good reason, as far as i can tell. i tell her that i'm talking to nikki for the first time, and that she's not mentioning the e-mail or anything. and then i keep talking to marie, and to nikki. after a good long while, nikki asks about my living situation. i'll just copy and paste.

nikki: did you figure out your living arrangements for next year yet?
me: i think so
nikki: whatcha gonna do?
me: i think marie can move out
nikki: that's cool
me: she just has to double check some scholarships and stuff
nikki: that's cool
nikki: so are you two more than friends?

i react out loud -'ahhhh!' because this is probably worse than having your mother ask if you're sexually active. marie asks, 'what's wrong?'
i'm laughing. what a stupid thing. i'm talking on the phone to marie, and i react out loud to a comment made about marie. and this is way too embarrassing to repeat back to her. so i just say, 'nothing.'
she asks, 'did she bring it up?'
'uhh... yeah. sorta.'
well you take my original reaction, combine it with that very vague answer, and now marie really wants to know what nikki said. and i really can't tell her. like, i even decide that it's not a big deal, and i'll start to tell her, like, 'ok, ok, she said-' but then i just start laughing, that silly nervous kind of laugh, because i can't say that to marie, when it's about marie. i just can't. i keep trying to change the subject, and she keeps changing it back to this.
she begs, and then she starts to get mad. she says she's been here for me through all this, and now i can't even tell her how nikki reacted? i try. i really really try. and i really really can't. finally, jay (who i'm talking to online while i talk to nikki online and marie on the phone) suggests that i e-mail the conversation to marie. so i do. the part above, combined with my answer:

me: no
nikki: ok, sorry, i just wondered
nikki: was that a dumb question?
me: sort of
nikki: sorry

marie is a little upset about having to start up her computer, just to get an e-mail from me, when i'm talking to her on the phone, but she knows how i am with words like 'gay,' so she figures this is something like that.
i hear her computer start up, and then i hear her typing to log in, and then there's a moment of silence, and then she's laughing, this nervous, embarrassed, awkward laughter.
'did you get it?' i ask
i change the subject again. this time, she gladly lets me.

that's about it. i told her she had to call the scholarship people soon. and at some point, i said something about arnicia, and she said arnicia had a weird conversation with her today. she recounted the whole conversation for me, and the entire conversation was pretty weird, but the only meaningful part to me was this:
arnicia asked, 'so do you have a boyfriend?'
marie answered, 'well, sort of. but he's in cleveland, so it's funny.'
i really wish i could talk to kyle. i wish i knew if he thought of this relationship the same way that she thinks of it. because when he worked at kroger, she liked him. she wanted him to be her boyfriend. he was flattered. but he didn't think she was his girlfriend; i'm sure of that. so i don't know if things have changed, or if marie just wants to think that things have changed. it shouldn't matter to me, but it does. i think i love marie.