"I like you too much," I said.
He laughed. "I think you like me just the right amount."
Did I detect a note of triumph in his voice? A bit of gloating? Finally, a woman likes him uncontrollably, could even be falling in love with him. Finally a woman wants him more (maybe) than he wants her. The power dynamic is in his favor at long last.
I'm not frightened off by this. QP does not hate women, despite a lifetime of fearing their rejection. I'm happy for him to have this victory. I'm happy to be the one to give it to him. I believe he won't turn it against me.
And though I do like him more than is safe for me, I've grown adept at the balance of friendship and love. I'm keeping my footing.