With Davis, yet again, it was completely different. We had fallen in love long ago, when we were teenagers, but that's another story entirely, another life really. That relationship is long gone and we had become, firmly, just friends with occasional benefits.
And then more regular benefits. And he would sometimes say to me, spontaneously, even though he hadn't said it in a while, "I love you." And I let him say it because it didn't bother me and he didn't press me to say it back, so it was like a small gift I was giving him, letting him say this thing even though I didn't return the sentiment.
And then, a year and... seven, eight, nine months ago, something like that... he said "I love you" and the thought popped into my head unbidden, "I love you too." I wanted to say it back. I didn't know where the urge had come from, so I ignored it. But it came back. And not just as a reply to his words. I started to want to say it just when we were close, when we were together. I refused to say it, because we would just end up breaking each other's hearts again, it was a road I didn't want to go down. I told myself that mutual I-love-you's meant we would sooner or later end up in a relationship again (and I was right, here we are), and that wasn't what I wanted at the time.
Finally it got to the point that I was thinking about it when I was on my own, it was hurting me not to say it back to him, to hold onto it. The way it troubles me not to tell Eric how I feel about him now, but moreso. So finally I just said it in reply to him one day when he said "I love you" to me, I said "I love you too," and he was surprised but not too surprised, and very happy. And I was happy too.