Like most, our story hasn't been a flawless fairy tale (I guess even fairy tales aren't flawless-- because how boring would that be?!).
The honest, slightly scandalous truth? I was trying to figure out how to break up with an on-again, off-again boyfriend when Jason started putting the moves on me... and I didn't exactly discourage him.
Sure, I'd been admiring this curly-haired athlete (two grades above me) from afar since I'd started high school. But I'd had NO idea that all along, I was-- in his words-- his "dream girl." So since I was in the dark for most of this period, the Hubster gets to tell this part of the story (photos & captions added by me):
|Your new narrator for the day-- Jason, circa 2003!|
A few months before my senior prom, she broke up with her boyfriend and I started building up the courage to ask her to the dance... but before I could, someone else started dating her. Time was running out before graduation, and when I heard rumors that she and boyfriend #2 were breaking up, I started trying to catch her attention.
During our "team stretch" at the beginning of practice, I would look in her direction and if she happened to look back at me, I would keep eye contact for a few seconds and smile. Those times elicited some stomach tingles of excitement.
At the end of the track season, both April & I qualified to compete in the state track meet. The coaches drove us out of town to the big meet, along the other teammates who had made it. During this trip, everyone on the team (including the coaches!) knew that I was trying to get April's attention.... except April, apparently.
At the hotel the team played keep-away in the pool, boys VS girls. Of course, I guarded April the whole time; I'm not sure if she was guarding me back. Those stomach tingles came back anytime I jumped to block a pass to or from her and just happened to 'bump' into her. Both my competitive and lovey side were getting attention. Eventually, my 'competitive side' was replaced entirely by 'how can I block the ball in order to bump into her?'
Like a typical high-schooler, up until this point I had mainly been attracted to her because she was really hot, pretty, & won almost every race she ran. Now that I was finally getting to know her, I was excited to find that my dream girl was also smart, goofy, and the kindest person I'd ever met (she still is to this day). During that weekend at the state meet, April and I were almost inseparable. This was aided by the fact that everyone on the team knew I was trying to win her over, and were all working undercover to make sure we "ended up" sitting next to each other everywhere we went. The stomach tingles continued.
On the way back home, the team split into two vans and again, miraculously, April & I were in the same van. And so the "Matthews-ing" began-- I helped April with her math homework, "casually" putting my arm on the seat behind her, but not quite brave enough to touch her. I also knew that she was still technically dating that other guy (although others on her team asked her about it, and she said she was breaking up with him once she got back.) At some point on the way home, the other van passed us, saw my arm around her seat, and had a small riot over it.
Once we pulled into the school parking lot in our home town, April looked at me, said "goodbye" with a cute smile, and started to get out of the van. At the last minute I reached out, gently grabbed April's arm, and blurted out, "Wait."
I asked if I could give her my phone number. I shakily wrote my number on her hand, and I think some of those stomach tingles reached my throat at that moment.
Although I didn't see her at school that next week, one of her friends reported to me that she'd finally broken up with the boyfriend #2. I jumped three feet into the air in celebrate (her friend reported my reaction back to her). (Ah, high school.)
I saw her the following week in the library, and she apologized for not having called me yet. I told her it was okay. She pretended to look sad, and asked, "It's okay?"
Her sudden directness caught me off guard, and I laughed. I got her phone number, and called her the next week to go read in the park. Which went pretty damn well.
|Spoiler alert-- he got the girl! (Us at MY senior prom).|
P.S. Can you see the blue mechanical pencil behind his ear?!! Who shows up to pick up his prom date IN A TUX WITH A PENCIL BEHIND HIS EAR??!!! Classic Mr. Matthews-er.