They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but for them, it was presence. For years they missed each other. Not missed meaning 'felt the absence of'. But missed meaning they hadn't properly seen each other, hadn't taken note of their emerging fondness for one another.
It wasn't until after four years of having known each other - after four years of working side-by-side every day - that they fell in love. From the moment of this realisation, they treated each other differently. Having been friends for so long, they didn't know how to act anymore.
Neither wanted to make the first move for fear of frightening the other away. Neither wanted to ruin the friendship they had spent so long building. Neither wanted to have their heart broken. Both were scared.
Months passed in this way. The two of them working together, seeing each other every day. Both pretending they didn't have feelings other than those of platonic friendship - brushing off anything that could suggest otherwise - and changing the subject if either of them anticipated a serious conversation.
He was the first to crack. He wanted more. He might have said so too loudly. They argued. She got upset. He felt regret. She left without a word. He didn't know whether to go after her. So he sat back at his desk and watched her walk away.
That evening when he arrived at her door unexpectedly, the first thing he said, upon seeing her disheveled appearance and tear-stained cheeks, was 'I should not have come'. But her hands on his chest and her lips pressed against his told him he was wrong. He should have come sooner.