love

Our Love Story: Part 7, Serendipity

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.

Photo taken on our second date.

 ***

I’m not good at relationships.
That’s what he told me as he removed his jacket and wrapped it around my shivering shoulders.

***

As promised, he had called at around 8:00 p.m. after he had finished dinner with his brother.
I couldnt help but notice that he was practically speaking in a whisper.

Ben: It’s beautiful out. How about we go on a walk?  I’ll see you in 15 minutes. 
And then he hung up.

Fourteen minutes later he knocked on my door, flashed a dimpled smile, kissed my forehead and lead me by the hand on the 300 yard walk to the beach. There was so much I wanted to ask him. About his life. About his plans. About what was going on in his head. And there was so much I wanted to say. So much I wanted to make sure he knew before he disappeared from my life forever.

But neither of us said a word.
We walked in silence.
Soaking in the moment.

I remember taking in deep breaths of the Eucalytus trees that lined the pathway to the water.  I remember taking a mental note of the way the cool air felt against my cheeks.  And I remember his warm hand, wrapped around mine, swinging ever so slightly by my side. I was silent because I was etching every detail of this moment into my memory for eternity.

We watched while fireworks burst across the skyline as a few eager college students began their Fourth of July celebrations a week early.  He pulled me in closer as the ocean breeze picked up.  It was almost too perfect.

Ben: Let’s stop and watch for a little while.

I remained silent as I nuzzled into his chest and admired the blue and red embers falling from the sky.
At one point I turned and looked up at him. He was looking away into the skyline, but I knew he felt my gaze.  We spent nearly a minute that way before he said it—the words that made me question his intentions. The words I desperately tried not to over-analyze.

Ben: I’m not good at relationships.

That was how he chose to break the silence.
In this perfect moment.
It was obvious that something was weighing on him tonight.

Me: Is that what this is? A relationship?
Ben: No. that’s not what I’m saying.

I couldn’t help that his words stung a little.

Me: Well then what are you saying?
Ben: I’m just saying…well…I guess I’m trying to say that I’m not good at this part.
Me: This part?
Ben: The part where the girl starts to like me back. This is always where I mess things up–where I walk away.

Me: Always? So you’ve done this a lot?

He shifted his eyes from the fireworks and into my direction.
I knew he had heard the quiver in my voice when I spoke that last sentence.

Ben:  Never like this. This time is different.
Me: Different how?
Ben: Different because this time…this time I don’t want to walk away, but I have to.

***

We stared at that same horizon long after the fireworks had disappeared.
Both of us afraid to break the silence.
Both of us afraid to share what we were feeling in that moment,
nervous that perhaps our sentiments wouldn’t be reciprocated.
I took a deep breath and put my head back on his chest.
What did I expect? I knew this would end eventually.
But right now, I was here. And he was with me.
And I wasn’t about to waste another second of the night worrying about the moment he would inevitably walk out of my life.

 

***

It was about midnight when I crawled into my unmade bed.
I didn’t have to work the next day, but Ben was scheduled  for a full shift.
I fell into a restless sleep as I thought up ways to keep myself distracted while we were apart.

 

***

Monday:

I didn’t wake up with the butterflies in my tummy that had taken up residence since meeting the boy with dimples in the gym only days earlier.
Instead, I woke up with a pit in my stomach.
Frustrated that I wouldn’t see him today.
Dreading his fast approaching departure.
And confused about what wasn’t said on our date the night before.

I went on a run, got caught up on laundry, and even did a bit of grocery shopping—even though I had no appetite.
It was only noon and I was running out of distractions.
So I watched a movie.
Serendipity.
Big mistake.

My roommate, Rachel, walked in from an afternoon run to find me crying through the final scene of the movie.  You know, the part where a tear falls down Jon Cusack’s cheek as he picks up the match to his glove and makes eye contact with his soul mate, Kate Beckinsale, for the first time in years.

Rachel rolled her eyes a bit.
Rach: You need to get out.
Me: I’m fine right here, thank. you. very. much.
Rach: Well, you don’t look fine.
Me: It’s just this movie. It gets me every time.
Rach: Uh huh.
Rachel wasn’t buying it.  She knew me too well. And we were the “tell it like it is” kinda friends.
Rach: Well, I’m gonna head out for a late lunch. You want to pull yourself together and join me?
Me: Neh, not hungry. I’m gonna wallow instead.
Rach: If you say so.
She grabbed her wallet and grabbed the door handle.
Rach: You know, he hasn’t left yet.  You still have some time.
And with that, she headed out the door for a Freebird’s burrito and I went back to the final scene of my cheesy chick flick.

Less than a minute later, there was a frantic knock on the front door and I realized that Rachel’s keys were still sitting on the coffee table.
Me: Yeah, yeah. Hold your horses. I’m getting your keys now.
I threw open the door.
Me: Here you g…
But it wasn’t Rachel.

***

He stood there silent.
In his work uniform.
With a goofy smile on his face.
I smiled back at him as I felt all the little butterflies in my tummy start to wake up.
Right then, as he looked into my eyes, I knew he meant what he said:
This time was different. 

***

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51 Comments

  • Reply
    Elisabeth
    August 12, 2012 at 7:16 am

    The suspense is killing me!!! So beautiful. I get completely sucked in every time I read your love story!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 12, 2012 at 7:29 am

    Me too! I’m watching “P.S., I Love You,” one of my FAVORITE love stories, and I had to stop it to read this one! You should just write the movie script already…;)

  • Reply
    Brianna
    August 12, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Ashley you are KILLING me with the suspense. Ever since I found your blog, less than two months ago, I’ve been obsessed with your love story. (Not in a creepy way, in a “wow, love stories really do exist” way) and I’ve been hoping you’d write more. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story, now I want to hear more!

    xoxo, Bree

  • Reply
    Maya
    August 12, 2012 at 9:17 am

    No…..I want more!! This is the cutest love story!

  • Reply
    Erika
    August 12, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Loved reading this! Such a sweet story. Write moreof it very soon please!!

  • Reply
    Jen
    August 12, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Ahh! I was so hoping it would be your love story when I clicked on your blog this morning. I love it. I also love the movie serendipity. It is my favorite.

  • Reply
    Imacrazymomof4
    August 12, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    I stumbled across your blog thru instagram and thought you seemed like an old friend that I’ve known forever. I love your love story! The way you write it down is amazing…you are a talented writer and it’s really such a gift to your husband and kids! LOVE it!!!

  • Reply
    Mae
    August 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Your love story is such an inspiration to me! An inspiration to not settle but to wait for that perfect head over heels love story God has planned for me! My favorite word is Serendipity, brought about by the movie. I read the title and thought hey! Ironic! Then you mention the movie and I was like more ironic!!! Maybe my story is right around the corner! 🙂 Always, thanks for sharing Ashley!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Tiffany Mahe
    August 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    gahhh I didnt realize we were at part 7 already… The suspense is killing me now!!!!

  • Reply
    Holly Stanfield
    August 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Each of your short chapters always leaves me hanging on the last word. Now please finish the next one, quickly. 🙂

  • Reply
    Wendy Orme
    August 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    And you left us hanging there?!? Great post…LOVE your love story!

  • Reply
    tiffany
    August 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    sigh, oh man, I had a list of things to do today and got sucked into your love story, thinking it was complete and I was just waaaaay behind…good stuff, cant wait for the next post!

  • Reply
    elise
    August 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    You’re killing me, smalls. But I still love it.

  • Reply
    Shauna
    August 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    I just read these all for the first time today. This is officially the first time I’ll have to squirm with the rest of the group until Part 8! Can’t wait!

  • Reply
    Jess @ The Colorful Ones
    August 12, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    You’re a great storyteller… I am right there with Bree on being addicted to your love story (not in a creepy way, just in a suspense-filled, can’t wait for the next episode way) 😉

    God Bless!
    Jess

  • Reply
    Heidi Ferguson
    August 13, 2012 at 1:52 am

    You could write a novel, like a real one. No wait, you SHOULD write a novel. You could even write your own love story. Because you are a great writer. And the suspense is killing me!

  • Reply
    Mara
    August 13, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    i agree! write a book. in all your spare time, i know 😉 but seriously……

  • Reply
    Natalie
    August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    So great!!! I can’t wait to read more!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Mindy
    August 13, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    seriously, this would make an amazing book! And I was confused for a minute with your comments on the sidebar ha

  • Reply
    Lau
    August 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    YOU ARE KILLING ME!!!! You can’t stop there!!!!! fantastic writing!!!!!!!

    HURRY and write some more!!!! PLEASE!!!!! hahaaaa

  • Reply
    Ari
    August 13, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Best love story EVER!!!

  • Reply
    Kassi @ Truly Lovely
    August 13, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Aw yay! He showed up!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Monkey
    August 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    so cute….. loving the comments on the side bar.

  • Reply
    Krtistyn
    August 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Man, u know how 2 write a gr8 cliffhanger! Please continue 2 wet our appetites! 😀

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    August 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I check your blog daily for the next installment of the love story. I was so excited to read part 7 – but I had to go back and read part 6 again first! Keep it up.

  • Reply
    malory h
    August 13, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    I LOVE your LOVE STORY posts 🙂 (seriously addicted…lol) so cannot wait for the next one 🙂 literally-ha! p.s. your lil’ baby boy is a-dor-a-ble!!! have a blessed day 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 14, 2012 at 1:37 am

    You are killing me by stopping the story! I cannot wait for the next section to be posted! You are also helping me realize I am a HOPELESS ROMANTIC! NO. JOKE. There were tears forming as I read this! Yep, I’m ridiculous!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    August 14, 2012 at 4:56 am

    AHHHH!!! I need the whole thing! It’s like a tv series where I have to wait to get the rest of the story. Such a sweet story you two have!! Miss you friend!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Amazing! Like everyone else, I am sucked in to your love story every time I read an entry! Your writing is so good. Seriously you could make this into a book &/or screenplay!! Fabulous!!! Thanks for sharing…you’ve inspired me to write mine down – if for no other reason, for my kiddos. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    August 15, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I LOVE this! I am addicted, I am constantly checking back for updates… and I was SO excited when I saw there was a part 7. If you turned this into a 500 pg novel I would totally buy it and stay up all night reading it. You’re so good at writing, you’re sort of inspiring me to write my love story on my blog. Thanks for the awesome entertainment!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Thank you for the next installment! I was hoping it wouldn’t end! You are such a great story teller, I agree with the other comments, you need to write a novel, or get this stuff made for movies! I would totally watch this chick flick!

  • Reply
    Claire
    August 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Love your love story so far and can’t wait to hear the rest! I wish I had written mine out at the time, it has been 8.5 years now and I just don’t think I could capture all the specifics the way that you have. Eager to read more of your story! Oh and congrats on your new little man!!

  • Reply
    Capturing Joy with kristen duke photography
    August 22, 2012 at 5:48 am

    Wow, that top picture was taken on your second date? That was some early love! I wished for that….didn’t happen that way for me. Reading your love story inspired me to tap out my love story! Well, I wrote the short version on my family blog, but I’m half way through now on my site…I’m sad that I don’t seem to get as much feedback as I’d like for pouring out my heart! Here it is: http://kristendukephotography.com/my-love-story/

  • Reply
    Mely
    August 28, 2012 at 7:30 am

    Hello Asley!
    I just found your blog as a coincidence, and for the last two nights I had waited until everyone at my house are sleeping so I can come and lurk around your Blog which BTW I just felt in love. I enjoy your style of riding, you could be an awesome romance writer! I said that because you had keept me looking forward for each of your Love story parts. Each one is better then the previous one. I just read all of them! When the next part is coming? I know that you just had a new baby which is SO cute, but please I would love to read the next part. I know that you marry him but I don’t know the details and I’m a romantic my self and I’m trying to figure how you guys get there.
    I am so glad that I found your blog, you gain another fan. Thanks for sharing your life by keeping it real. Congrats for the beautiful family you have!

    Your new fan,
    Mely =)

  • Reply
    Mely
    August 28, 2012 at 7:38 am

    I’m so sorry Ashley I just misspelled your name , and trying to type as fast as I could didn’t notice the other little typos. For example, I wrote “riding” instead of writing. And I couldn’t find an edit button.

  • Reply
    Traci from Dallas
    September 1, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    i’ll have to admit i stumbled across this site and was reading up on one of the hair tutorials. i didn’t realize i’d get sucked into this love story of yours. it is so sweet and so cute and so so addictive. you write amazingly well!! can’t wait to read the rest!! 🙂

  • Reply
    jacie
    September 13, 2012 at 4:00 am

    you gotta stop leaving me hanging!

  • Reply
    Halley
    September 18, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Ashley please tell us the rest! U make me curious whats going to happen next
    I really love it..

  • Reply
    Andrea
    September 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    oh my word!!! can you finish please?! this is such a good love story & i wan to hear the rest!! pppplllllllease!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    September 22, 2012 at 5:31 am

    More? Please? I know you’re probably super busy, but I’m dying here! This is so good! Need to know what happens next!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    October 18, 2012 at 12:28 am

    OH MY GOODNESS girl I love reading your love story! I want the rest!! It’s soooo good!

  • Reply
    Shauna
    November 4, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    It’s been almost 4 months since you wrote this. When are we going to get part 8? :[ Sawyer isn’t an excuse! :]

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 13, 2012 at 2:34 am

    I agree with Shauna. I need number 8!!!

  • Reply
    Emily
    November 17, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Please write part 8! I’ve been following your blog for months now. I have the most recent portion of the love story bookmarked and when I remember, i always check back. This time it’s been sooooo long!
    Please finish soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Angie
    January 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    Please please please write more! I recently found your blog and stumbled upon your love story and I can’t stop! This is so perfect! Please write more some time soon!

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    I go on this website everyday to see if you posted something! Im dying to know what happens next! Please write soon!

  • Reply
    Beatriz
    January 18, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Hii!! I’m new here but I love your blog already!! I saw your curling hair tutorial on Pinterest and now I’m seeing all the things in here!!
    I love the story of how you met your husband! It’s so sweet!! I just wish that I’ll find one like that someday!!
    (but here in Brazil – where I’m from and still live – we don’t have a lot of guys who opens the door for us! 🙁 )

    Can’t wait for the rest of the story!!

  • Reply
    Crsg
    January 21, 2013 at 2:35 am

    You can’t leave us hanging! Pls post part 8!

  • Reply
    little miss momma love story
    March 18, 2013 at 8:14 am

    […] Read the prologue here. Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Read part 3 here. Read part 4 here. Read part 5 here. Read part 6 here. Read part 7 here. […]

  • Reply
    balani seo
    January 22, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I love to read love stories and yours is very touching and similar to mine.

  • Reply
    Zeeshan Saeed
    July 15, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Loved it!

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