Our Love Story: Part 5, The First Date

Here’s the thing about this love story of ours. It’s long. And drawn out. And mushy gushy. And even a bit cheesy. But it’s true. And I’ve decided to take my time writing it, capturing all the special details of those moments I never want to forget. So if mushy-gushy, cheesy love stories aren’t your thing, I totally get that.  Just know that I’m writing this as a gift—to my family, and my children, and their children—and also, for Ben and me—so that on those days when the kids are screaming, the laundry is overflowing and the bills are rolling in…on those days when it all just seems so hard, we’ll have this to remind us of those first moments when we fell in love. And if sappy, detail ridden love stories are your thing, well then you’ve come to the right place. All previous chapters can be found here.

***

Saturday Night:

My heart was racing as I unlocked my teal Huffy bike from its spot in my apartment courtyard.
I threw my canvas purse into the front basket and began to furiously pedal the 10 minute ride to the coaches offices.
Thanks to my nerves and a serious spike in adrenaline, I made it in 6 minutes–just enough time to dab the sweat from my forehead, flatten down the fly away hairs and reapply my Vanilla Frosting Lip Smacker lip gloss.

I walked into the courtyard and paused, realizing I had no idea where exactly I was supposed to meet him.
I became focused on the directory, looking for some clue as to where the basketball coaches offices were in this building with seemingly endless corridors.

Just as I stumbled upon “Men’s Basketball: first floor”, I heard the double doors behind me swing open.

I turned around with eager anticipation–I knew it would be him.
And I was right.

Ben: Well hello.
He said with a bit of mid-western twang and a flash of his dimpled smile.
I melted.
Me: Hi.

He was wearing a pair of rugged jeans, a crisp white and blue striped Ralph Lauren button up that he left open over a simple gray t-shirt which read “Regis University Soccer”–a subtle reminder that he had played college ball.  And his sleeves were rolled to the middle of his forearms–a small touch that made me weak in the knees.  His tan, almost clog-like shoes with textured rubber soles would later be the source of much teasing–but at the time I found them utterly charming.

I watched as he attempted to nonchalantly assess my outfit choice and overall appearance for the evening.
This was the first time he had seen me in something other than my oversized work uniform with mystery stains. He seemed pleased.

He leaned in for what I expected would be a one-armed “friend” hug.
I nearly lost my breath when he reached both arms around me and squeezed with just the right amount of firmness, meanwhile lifting my toes a few inches from the ground.

Ben: It’s good to see you. Shall we?
And with that, he gestured toward the parking lot.
My toes wouldn’t touch the floor for the rest of the evening–I was on cloud nine.
***
We weren’t in the car for more than 5 minutes before I realized he had no plans for our date.
No reservations at a romantic beach side restaurant.
No intimate picnic in the park.
No surprises.
No plan, nada.
Ben: So I had planned to take you to “putt putt”, but Map Quest says the nearest one is 30 miles away. Sooo…
Me: I’ve gotta ask, what is putt putt?
Ben: Ya know, miniature golf.
Me: Ohhhhhh.
I giggled so loud I nearly snorted.
Before I could give him any suggestions for the evening he turned off into the shopping center right around the corner from my apartment.
Ben: I have an idea. 

I knew this shopping center like the back of my hand and there was nothing “first date-ish” about the place.
McDonalds, Home Depot, Costco, bathing suit shop, Borders books store and a movie theatre.
Oh no, not a movie theatre–I thought. I want to get to know him, not sit awkwardly next to him through a two hour movie.

I was even more confused when he parked the car outside of Borders book store.
A book store?
Like a gentleman, he opened my car door and held out his hand to help me.

Ben: Have you been here before?
Me: Actually, I come here a few times a week to study.
Ben: Well, good. Then you’ll know your way around.

I was even more confused now.

We stepped inside of the coffee shop portion of the store and I recognized the faces of the usual weekend studiers.
He grabbed my hand and pulled me into the book store.

Ben: Ok, here’s what were going to do. We’re going to split up. We’re each going to pick a book and a movie that will tell the other person more about ourselves. 

My heart started racing as we split up and I began to completely over think my book choice.
Ultimately, I couldn’t narrow down so I grabbed two– Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and a blank journal.
My latest movie obsession was Serendipity with John Cusack,
so I swiped the dvd off the shelf and hoped he was okay with a girl totally into cheesy chick flicks.

We met back in the coffee shop where I found him waiting at a little corner table with two hot chocolates topped with whipped cream.
I sat down, hiding my selections behind my back.

Me: You first.
Ben: You got it.

He grabbed a book from a nearby chair and set it on the table.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
Ok…not that exciting, but certainly revealing–I thought.
Ben: I’m totally into financial books these days.  It’s really important to me that I’m able to provide the best for my family. Now, your turn.
Me: Ok, but I couldn’t decide on just one.
I set both books out on the table.
Ben: Ahh, a hopeless romantic. 
Me: Yeah, I’ve read it three times already. I’m sorta obsessed.
Ben: Tell me about the journal.
Me: Well, since I’ve been in college I’ve completed about 8 journals. It’s a big part of who I am–writing down all my thoughts so I can sort them out.
Ben: Have you written anything about me yet?
Me: Maaaybe…
I could feel my face begin to turn cherry red–which meant he now knew the answer to his question.
Yes, he had certainly already taken up several mushy-gushy entries in my journal.
I quickly changed the subject.
Me: Okay, what about the movie–what did you choose?
Ben: Promise not to laugh?
Me: Promise.
He pulled out a dvd I could recognize a mile away.
Serendipity.

Me: Is this a joke?
He looked embarrassed.
Ben: I know, I know–kinda weird for a guy to like this movie, but…
Me: No, that’s not what I meant! See…
I pulled out my copy of Serendipity and set it next to his on the table.
This time his face turned red.

Ben: That’s a little crazy, isn’t it.
Me: I’ll say.

***

We took our time sipping our hot chocolate and getting to know each other better.
I told him how much I loved books and how I had this strange need to hold onto every book I had ever read.
He told me how he was starting a new job in an insurance agency in Colorado as soon as he returned home next week.
I told him about my plans to transfer to USC next semester–about how I was both nervous and excited.
He told me about his close relationship with his parents and each of his siblings–especially his youngest sister.

With every detail we revealed about ourselves,
it became more and more obvious that our lives would likely never intersect again after this week.
How could they?
I was moving to Los Angeles to finish up my last two years of college.
He was starting a new career hundreds of miles away.
I was determined to live near my family.
And he was obviously just as close with his.
He was 25, and I was 20–we were at two different stages of life.

This would be a Summer love–nothing more.

***

After hot chocolate, he took me to the beach…
where we took off our shoes,
rolled up our jeans,
curled our toes in the sand,
walked side by side
and talked even more.

For some reason, knowing I would never see him again after this week made me comfortable sharing some of the more intimate details of my life.
My relationship with my parents.
My hopes, my fears.
My past relationships.
My plans for the future.

He too opened up.
Described his dream home.
Told me what he wanted for his life.
What he wanted for his future family.

At the risk of sounding like “that girl”, I couldn’t help but find myself saying “me too” after he revealed all his hopes for the future.
And I could tell, from the look in his eyes, he believed me.

 

Source: whatstheenpointe.tumblr.com via Ashley on Interest

***
It was about 10:30 pm when we pulled up to my apartment.
Too late to go anywhere else, but too early to end our amazing date.
Me: My roommate, Rachel, would love to meet you if you want to come up.
***
I unlocked and opened the door to see that the light was off in Rachel’s room. She had gone to bed early.
A part of me was relieved, as I had not really wanted to share his attention for the remainder of the evening anyway.
We sat next to each other on the couch–knees touching.Me: We could watch a movie.
Ben:Neh, let’s just keep talking.I smiled. Wow, a guy who wanted to talk.
Ben: Is that your computer?
He pointed to my laptop on the coffee table.
Me: Yep.
Ben: Do you have pictures on it?
Me: Uh huh.
Ben: Well show me.

We spent the next 30 minutes giggling over my embarrassing high school pictures and more from my freshman year at UCSB.
I showed him pictures of my family, my home in Oak Park, and even those embarrassing glamour shots I had taken at every high school dance.

After he got a good laugh at my blue-eye shadowed Prom picture, he turned with giddy excitement and said:
Ben: So, you dance?
My heart sank.
Before I could tell him that any form of dancing was my biggest fear in all the world…
Before I could tell him that the thought of dancing literally crippled me…
Before I could tell him the truth, he had both of my hands in his and he was pulling me to the middle of the living room.
Ben: My sister and I go Salsa dancing all the time. Do you know how to Salsa?

This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening. This isn’t happening.
My hands were clamming up and my heart was beating through my chest.

Ben:  Put your hands up like this.

Somehow, by the grace of God, he didn’t notice that I was completely paralyzed with fear.
He grabbed my hands, put them up in the air, and then place his hands against them.
Apparently, this was how the Salsa dance began.

 

I looked down at my feet, too nervous to make eye contact.
He would certainly never want to see me again once he watched my make a fool of myself.
My hands were trembling against his when I noticed he pulled one hand away.

 

His fingers came into view as he grabbed my chin and pulled my face up to meet his eyes.
He smiled.
And in that moment I forgot that he was about to teach me the Salsa.
I forgot that I hated dancing.
I forgot that my hands were trembling.
In that moment, I took my hands that were placed against his, and I intertwined our fingers.

 

I smiled back at him,
closed my eyes,
went onto my tip toes
and prayed he’d kiss me back.

***

Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Comments

  1. Michelle Lubbers says:

    Gah! How can you just end it like that! Loving this, so loving this.

  2. I love reading your story! Great writing! Riveting suspense! Love it!

  3. Amanda @ Lillys & Lollipops says:

    Yay! Not only a new post, but a great post as well! Happy your feeling well enough to blog again.

  4. Great post! Super sweet and made me smile the whole time. I’ve missed reading your blog daily but hope your feeling better!

  5. What a sweet first date! And such a good story! You’re a great writer :) and
    I’m glad you’re feeling well enough to blog again too. Can’t wait to hear the rest of the story and also about how this pregnancy is going!

  6. Awww, how could you stop there!?! I love the part about you both picking Serendipity! Cant wait to read more :)

  7. Ughh, torture! :) I love how you write Ashley, I’ve missed you and totally forgot we were still waiting for the next part. Hahaha! Hope you’re feeling well. =)

  8. eeeeeee!!! i had been waiting for this!! this is seriously real life? soooo dreamy! you are the next nicholas sparks ms. ashley!

  9. You should write a book! I love the way you have me hanging on to every word! You are a great writer.

  10. I loved it!

  11. Seriously! I love it!! Total YA material. I’m so happy to see your post. I’ve missed you!

  12. Jenesssa Phillips says:

    This has been the highlight of my day. I’ve loved reading your story and have been anxiously waiting for part 5. I hope you’ve been feeling better! Thank you for the wonderful post.

  13. That’s a beautiful story. :)

  14. A random visitor/friend, here. Love your blog & your story! Thanks for sharing! You are an amazing writer! And I hope you’re feeling okay these days (one pregnant girl to another). ;)

  15. Um… so super cute!

  16. this is so sweet! I can’t wait to read the rest! =]

  17. I love how your writing is so descriptive and detailed…. teal Huffy bike and vanilla frosting lip gloss? Totally had those! And your love story is the most precious thing ever. Hope you’re feeling better; hang in there, we’ve missed you!

  18. awww i have missed your writing so much! i cannot wait to hear about your lil pea in the pod and how he/she is doing! hope life is getting easier :)

  19. so incredibly good to have you back!

  20. You are SUCH an amazing writer!! I was SO excited to see this post, I’ve missed reading your blog!! I hope you are feeling better and hope the next part is posted soon!!

    P.S. when will you be letting us know the baby’s gender?! :)

  21. OH MY LANTA!!! WRITE MORE!!!!

  22. That is probably the BEST first date idea I have ever heard!!! Too funny that you chose the same movie! Sounds like it was meant to be from the beginning. ;)

  23. You can’t end it like that!!!!! You are an amazing writer! I love this series sooo much, I check your blog all the time in hopes that some how I just missed the next chapter and I can read more. So happy you are feeling better enough to write! We missed u! :)

  24. So great to see you pop up in my reader! Loving your love story and hope you’re feeling okay!

  25. As much as it may sound like I was smooth on our first date, I was very nervous and smitten by this Cali girl and really fumbled on my words quite a bit. It was pretty embarrasing! I really thought we would get to know each other that week and maybe become really good friends, but didn’t see how it could be more due to the distance. I can still remember that night; it was described very well in this post. loce you little miss momma! hubby

  26. This is so sweet!! I’m so sad you ended it there! Ah!!! Don’t leave us hanging too long!!

  27. Love it! I was so excited when I saw a new post in my reader…then even better- it was your STORY!

  28. Shanna Page says:

    I had butterflies reading this! You have a great guy!

  29. So glad to see your post pop up in my reader, I hope you are feeling better and that all is well.

    Your love story is absolutely adorable! I am loving each part, but am disappointed when it ends!

    Even more adorable – hubby comments on it. You two are too freaking cute! :)

  30. Caroline S says:

    Oh my goodness!! Is it so sad that this totally made my night to see that you wrote the next part of your story??? Yeah, so.. you are the reason that I check my Blog feed (don’t know the technical term) on a daily basis (to see if you had written part 5)! Hah, and I must say that it was even better than I had anticipated! Can’t wait for the next part!! (Hopefully this means that you are feeling better with your pregnancy!)

  31. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Love it. :)

  32. What- like I said before, it’s just like a book I can’t put down… and then you do that?!! I can’t wait to hear more!!
    xo

  33. eeeeeeeckkk!! So exciting :)

  34. Cute.
    You’re a very good storyteller.
    I could picture it all!

  35. your love story posts are what first got me hooked on the site. my goodness they are every hopeless romantic’s dream. and this one didn’t disappoint! you should definitely write a romance novel.

  36. *sigh….Oh my goodness how romantic! I cannot wait for your next post!

  37. *sigh… Oh my goodness how romantic! I can’t wait to read your next post!

  38. Oh how I’ve missed your posts! Your blog is one of my faves! BUT, I totally get it about taking it one day at a time when your preggers. Take care of the little one and yourself and I wait with baited breath for the next installment!

  39. What a GRWAT idea for a first date. Your lovely story is adorable and I love the way you’re writing it! PS how cute that your hubby is commenting :-)

  40. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH- Please don’t make me wait this long for part 6! Hope your morning sickness is starting to die down.

  41. awww way too cute for words! Love it! Thanx for sharing!

    Natalie
    http://www.projectdowhatyoulove.wordpress.com

  42. So the Serendipity thing was, well, totally serendipity! You’re lucky that you’re such a good writer and your story is so sweet, somehow the three month wait for this post was worth it. :)

    Hope you and your sweet family are well.

  43. ahhh! so happy to see that you posted… i have missed your blogs! and even better that it was more of your love story. i just LOVE the way you write. cant wait to read part 6! :)

  44. Oh my goodness I am so twitter-pated right now! This is the cutest love story in the world! It seriously feels like Im reading a novel. Cant wait till part 6! You are an incredibly great writer!

  45. AHH! You can’t end it like that!! I need to know what happens next! :] Thanks for sharing your cute story!

  46. You’re KILLING ME Ashley!!!! :) Love your love story

  47. What a great story to read at the end of the day. I have loved reading this story and can’t wait to hear more. I hope that my story will be as sweet:) Ps I love your blog and hope that you are feeling better.

  48. I love reading your love story because it reminds me of when my husband and I started dating in college, only 13 years ago :) I hope you are feeling better! Looking forward the next part of the love story.

  49. I remember hearing this story when Laura and I came up to visit a week after you met him :) It’s what got me into watching Serendipity!! So sweet to hear you tell it again.

  50. I have been reading your blog for about a year and haven’t ever commented but tonight was too good to pass up. I’m loving every second of your love story. You are an amazing writer and I feel like I’m going to have to read these over and over again until the next one. Ah-mazing.

  51. NOOOOOOOOOO! you cannot leave us hangin’ like this!!! PLEASE keep writing!!!! :)

  52. Soooooooo good to “see” you Ashley! Can’t tell you how much seeing a post from you and then realizing it was not just any post at that but THE post (as in the much awaited next part of your adorable love story) made not only my night but my whole week! You are so cute and such a light! This post brought a huge smile to my face because 1) I have been dying for the next part of your story and 2) because I’m hoping it means you are starting to feel better! You have been missed by many girly and I hope you are all doing well!!

  53. This is awesome, I love being left hanging, this isn’t sarcasm.. I absolutely love it!!

    Please write more.. Please write more!

  54. Sweet:) can I ask, how do you remember all these details like what exactly he was wearing and how long it took you to ride your bike to the school??? I can’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday.

  55. So good to hear from you Ashley! Your writing is amazing. I hang on to every single word so much that I am there in that moment with you!

  56. I can’t stop smiling. I am loving this.

  57. Ahhhh!!! Where is the rest?? Such a cute love story, can’t wait for the rest.

    xoxo, Misty

  58. OHHHH, I love it!

  59. Please write a whole book. The way you write is perfect! More, more please!

  60. please would you just write the whole book so I can keep it on my bookshelf. I LOVE this sweet love story. oh my goodness..you two are too adorable. I’m smiling the whole time I reading it. very lovely!!

  61. YAY you have no idea how happy I was to see a new blog post from you! You and your husband have such a great story. I sincerely hope your pregnancy is going well and that you’re feeling better! xoxo

  62. Lindsay Lee says:

    Once again, your story gives me chills. SO SO SO cute Ash!

  63. I love how detailed your memory of this is.

    I wish, I WISH…. that I had the same memory.

    Your love story is beautiful. PLEASE keep writing it.

  64. Ashley — there is going to be more right? :)

  65. Isabelle D says:

    Ohh you’re mean… finishing it like this.. just wanted to let you know

  66. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?! I went to scroll down to read more and that was it! You are an amazing writer! Please don’t stop & I look forward to reading more soon! You have inspired me to write my own “love story” for our three shrinky dinks to read. In the meantime, I hope you are feeling better.

  67. I think we’d be friends in real life. lol
    Congrats on finding out you’re having another boy!!

  68. Dying to hear the rest!! You’re such a riveting story teller! And please post pics of you two. :)

  69. I LOVE reading all about your perfect fit of a love story! :) Well written and adorable to boot! I can’t wait to, someday, record my own love story!

  70. So awesome! And you both chose Serendipity? How freakin’ amazing is that?!

  71. OMG! My smile is now endangered, I can’t help myself grinning like a mad cat Chesire. Can’t wait for the other chapters. XD

  72. Melissa says:

    I am a new reader to your blog. I love to read and I too am a hopeless romantic. This story is killing me. So adorable!! I am dying to read your next post!!

  73. Katie P says:

    I LOVE it!!! Please write a novel…I’d be the 1st in line to buy it. I can’t wait for the next one. Thanks for inspiring my to write down my “love story” for my kiddos…and to remember how sweet that feeling was when I was 1st dating my husbnd.

  74. I love love love reading your story!!

  75. Chrissy says:

    wait, you can’t just leave me hanging!

  76. Don’t just leave us like that!!! Here is Part 6, because I’m dying!!!

  77. Wow, WOW!!! You are an incredible writer! I cannot wait to read more!!!!!!!

  78. I LOVE your love story so much, Ashley. You are a fabulous story-teller–true writing talent indeed! So…when is this going to be made into a movie?? :)

  79. When I read your story I feel like I am reading a love story novel. Please keep going. Can’t wait to read part 6.

  80. I love your website! And of course I’m a hopeless romantic and your story is so adorable! I wish you would finish your story! You should write chick flicks in book form :) You definitely have a knack for writing!

  81. Please write more.

  82. So when exactly are you going to start writing romance novels?! You’re an amazing writer! I’ve read my weight in Christian romance novels and you’ve definitely got it!!

    Love that you are posting your love story!! Can’t wait to read more!!

  83. Oh how I love to read your guys story! You have an amazing gift of writing lady! I truly hope you know that! I LOVE reading anything and everything you write on your blog and I cannot say that about any of the other hundred or so blogs that I regularly read! Hope you are feeling better and that our amazing Lord is blessing this sweet time in your life! Thank you for your transparency and your willingness to be so open and honest about your life. I admire you immensely!

  84. Courtnei says:

    Where’s the rest!!! This is so suspenseful

  85. ok…LOVE the date and what a cool idea…a bookshop date like that would be awesome and it’s sooooo romantic…yes, i’m also “that girl” who also loves serendipity :) so sweet [insert the giggley girl scream here ;) ]

  86. oh my gosh! I love your story. I need more. Keep writing!
    New follower stoppin by from the Wiegands.

  87. That’s such a cute idea! (Getting books & a movie that describe yourself!) Too funny that he picked the same movie as you! Very cute story so far!

  88. what a great story!! thank you for sharing! i just came over to your blog via “The Wiegand’s” and i love it! :)
    *

  89. Thank you for sharing this! You’re a great writer! I really enjoyed reading this and I’m sure you’re kids will really enjoy reading it some day too. So awesome!!

  90. Found your blog off Casey Leigh’s….and as the rest of your commentors have asked, WHERE’S PART 6?! haha I am going to block off about 2 hours tonight so I can read your blog from top to bottom…you’re already bookmarked on the laptop. ;)

  91. YOU’RE KILLING ME! I about died when I saw there wasn’t a part 6. this is the best.
    for one, you’re an excellent writer. leave me wanting more and more!
    two. this really is the best. I love this story. so please give me more!

  92. Found your blog from Casey Wiegand and I have to say….WHERE IS PART 6???!! OMG! hehe…No but in all seriousness, your writing abilities are phenomenal and had me at the edge of my seat! I am definitely enjoying reading your blog and see myself following your blog as much as I love Casey’s! (and that’s A LOT!) :)

  93. where in the world is the end? i have to know… i catch myself oogling & googling & giglling like a school girl! YEOW!

  94. Oh my gosh, I’m totally hooked on your love story! I love every detail!! Can’t wait for the next part!

  95. You have me hooked on this story like a good book! Killing me! What happens next?!

  96. Hannah Odarve says:

    this is so lovely. I am inspired to do the same thing and I made sure I acknowledged your lovely idea. I am also doing it in parts and I just started it. Maybe you could head over to my little blog and read it? It will totally make my day. Thanks for the unending inspiration!!!

    http://iamadaughterofthemosthigh.blogspot.com/2012/05/story-of-love-start-of-something-new.html

  97. Meredith says:

    New reader from The Wiegand’s – I am dying to hear the rest of your love story! Post part 6!! : )

  98. Rose Jackson says:

    Ummmm this was written in February… It is now JUNE! Where is part 6?!?!?!

  99. Let’s hear some more of the Love Story! I found you from The Wiegand’s & I am IMpatiently waiting for more ;)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Read the prologue here. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here. Read part 4 here. Read part 5 here. [...]

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