Our Engagement Story.

Today is our one year anniversary of when we got engaged-on my roommate’s birthday, no less. I’m only *slightly* sorry I kinda stole her thunder that year…. I love you, Grettel!

Anyway, I know it’s a little out of the order I’ve had for writing down our story (does anyone even care that I’m writing it?), but dudes. It’s our anniversary, and I HAVE to celebrate/commemorate somehow.

Let’s get one thing out in the open: my engagement was not a romantic affair. There were no flowers, no soft music, no flash mobs, no elaborate speeches. I did get a spider though, and you’ll hear about that in a minute. All in all, it wasn’t the proposal that dreams are made of, that much is true. But I think the more important thing is the fact that I actually got engaged (and later, married), and the mechanics of it all don’t matter half as much in the grand scheme of things.

Okay, let’s actually start the story.

Once we decided that we were going to get married, we started planning on getting married in December. That way, we would have all year to save money and prepare as much as we could, and we rationalized that family is usually in town during December, so it would be easier to get them to spare a day for us. Tanner discussed it with his mother, who promptly told him that December was actually NOT a great idea, because Christmastime is the most wonderful stressful time of the year, and it would be more difficult to organize everything, get married, go on a honeymoon, and still enjoy Christmas. (Bless you, Terra. Bless. You.) Also, let’s be real. With Christmas so close, we probably wouldn’t get as many presents. (I know, I know, selfish, but presents are so helpful to newlyweds!!) We talked it over, and decided to plan for sometime around May.

So with the date officially unofficially set, and seeing as it was the middle of February, Tanner needed to pop the question SOON. When the question of rings came up, Tanner’s mother remembered that she had a ring from her grandmother, Tanner’s great grandmother. Again, we talked about it and decided that that ring would work out perfectly. I’ve always had a love for vintage things, this ring was a precious family heirloom, and it wouldn’t cost poor Tanner an arm, a leg, and our firstborn child.

The second week of February, I left for St. George, Utah to attend a theatre festival for a week. Originally, Tanner and I had planned to go to his grandmother’s boat over the weekend to hang out with his family and have a nice weekend away. Unfortunately, the St. George trip made that impossible, so I went to Utah and Tanner went to the lake. On my way home from St. George, Tanner and I were texting and he asked if I wanted to go to the lake the next weekend, because apparently his grandmother had some ‘stuff’ she had to do there. Later I learned that she really DID have things she needed to do, but I thought this was just a cover for his real intentions. I just knew I was getting engaged next weekend, and shared the news with everyone in the car.

Fast-forwarding to the next weekend, we made our way to Roosevelt Lake to meet up with his family. I was able to meet his grandma, and we had a lovely evening on the dock. While we were there, his mom got up and asked Tanner to come with her. We both got up to go, but she clarified that she just needed Tanner. I immediately got butterflies. She’s going to give Tanner the ring!!!!!!!!!!! I thought to myself. I tried not to look at the boat, but I couldn’t help myself. I took a quick peek just as I saw Tanner’s mom hand over a tiny white box. Now I knew without a doubt that I was getting engaged soon. We spent the rest of the evening together, and I pretended not to know about what had just happened.

The next morning, I got up and saw Tanner. He pulled me aside to tell me that, yes, he had the ring, and even though he wasn’t going to propose just yet, his mom felt I needed to see the ring in person to decide whether I wanted it or not. Tanner said he was going to go get it, and disappeared in the back room of the boat for about ten minutes. My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and I was SO IMPATIENT WHY WASN’T HE SHOWING ME MY RING YET?!?!?!?!?!
He came back a few minutes later, and said he was in the bathroom. He avoided all my questions about the ring, and eventually I gave up. I would be seeing it soon anyway.

We went out to the dock, where his family was sitting. We joined them, and immediately he and his mom started texting. I felt super uncomfortable because I was worried that Tanner was telling his mom that I had been asking about the ring, and I wondered if I shouldn’t have done that. I looked back and forth between the two, watching his mother’s facial expression get more and more incredulous. Oh, great, I wasn’t supposed to ask about the ring. She hates me, I know it. What have I done? Ugh ugh ugh she’s not even officially my mother in law, and I’ve already screwed up. While I panicked over my apparent stupidity and impatience, Tanner got up and went to the boat without me. Tanner’s mother, grandmother, and I sat in silence until his mom asked if I wanted to go on a paddleboat ride with Tanner. I said that it would be fun, while secretly worrying that she was just trying to get rid of my face so she could enjoy the lake in peace for a bit. Tanner returned, and his mom announced that the two of us were going to go on a paddleboat ride. Tanner agreed, we got into the boat, and his mom snapped a picture of us.

Low quality because this is a picture of a picture
 from a picture on a phone. Figure that one out, dudes.

We paddled out in silence until I was sure we were out of earshot, and then I asked Tanner what was wrong. He’d been acting really weird all of a sudden, and I was worried I had offended his mom somehow, and I just. Needed. Answers.

“Nothing’s wrong,” he said in a voice that CLEARLY INDICATED THAT SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
“….Are you sure, cuz it sure seems like something’s wrong,” I said. “Also, is your mom okay? I’m worried I might have offended her somehow. Why were you guys texting each other?”
“No, you haven’t offended her, it’s just…. Okay. My mom wants me to propose to you today. Like, right now.”

Oh. Oh. Oh my sweet goodness, I am about to be Betrothed. My stomach did somersaults while I tried to maintain my composure. We talked about the pros and cons involving getting engaged in the next few minutes, the major issue being that he hadn’t asked my dad for permission. He wanted to ask him in person, especially since he’d only met him just once before and didn’t want to spoil my dad’s opinion of him. But on the other hand, we were practically engaged already, and it seemed silly to waste any more time.

During this time, I had been staring straight ahead and paddling as hard as I could, but I decided we should focus on each other and the conversation we were having. I stopped paddling, and looked over at Tanner just as a HUGE SPIDER
CRAWLED
DOWN
HIS
FACE. Now, I pride myself on not being afraid of spiders, but this was an exception. There was a huge spider on my beloved’s FACE. HIS FACE, PEOPLE. What if it bit him? What if it was radioactive? I can’t handle the responsibility of being Spiderman’s wife!

So I did the only responsible thing left to do, and screamed repeatedly. Tanner casually swiped the spider off his face and INTO MY SIDE OF THE BOAT. I continued screaming, and Tanner stomped the spider to death. He then tried to continue the conversation as if he wasn’t in mortal danger mere seconds ago. I, on the other hand, was still quite rattled, so I hyperventilated and mumbled such nonsense as, “such a… Big spider,” and “ohmygosh on your FACE.” Tanner eventually got tired of me reacting like a normal person and asked me to calm down. I took some deep breaths and eventually returned to normal.

We still hadn’t decided whether or not he should propose right then, but we DID decide that I should at least see the ring. Tanner pulled it out of his pocket, and I opened the box. Inside was a dainty white gold ring with a round, blue stone adorning the top. It shone beautifully in the sunlight, and made a star pattern appear on the stone. It was beautiful. I tried it on, admired it for a moment, and slid it off my finger. I awkwardly handed it back to Tanner, who held it in his hands, sighed, and said: “will you marry me?”
I shrugged, and said “Sure!”

Let’s take a brief moment to realize I had just shrugged off MY OWN PROPOSAL. AND THEN SAID ‘SURE’ LIKE SOME IDIOT. In my defense, however, ever since we had decided to get married, we would joke around and say stuff like: “hey, wanna get married sometime?” and then the other would say something like: “yeah, I guess. I’m not doing anything right now, anyway.” We never took these seriously. They were never real proposals, so I just assumed that this was the same thing! I was expecting something a little more elaborate, so the fact that Tanner had actually proposed went right over my head. Until I saw his face and realized he was serious. Then I quickly said, “I mean, YES! Yes, of course!!!” He put the ring back on my finger and we kissed.

Then we realized he hadn’t asked my father. Crap.
Tanner dialed his number, and as he stumbled over his words (he was a nervous wreck and it was the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen), I admired my beautiful new ring, snapped some pictures, and tried to process the fact that I was FINALLY going to get married.

Okay, I realize that saying FINALLY is a little dumb, considering the fact that A) I had just barely turned 19 a few weeks ago, and B) we’d been dating for only 5 weeks. But I’ve been wanting to get married since I was 12, so it felt like a long time to me. Cut me some slack.

My dad gave Tanner his blessing, and when Tanner told me, the tears came. This was really happening! We decided to hold off on calling everyone for a little bit, and began paddling back out.

Apparently, I’m just not allowed to have a nice moment ever, because this was the moment that my bladder decided it needed some attention too. So we paddled as fast as we could back to the docks, where Tanner’s mom was waiting for us. She looked at us expectantly as I jumped out of the boat and ran for the bathroom. I also had no idea what to say to everyone (I’m guessing that shouting “I’m ENGAGED, b*tches! wouldn’t have gone over well), and wanted a moment to myself to collect my thoughts, so it was the perfect crime. As soon as I walked out of the bathroom though, I was ambushed by my fiance (fiance. Not boyfriend anymore! Holy cow!), and we *officially* announced to everyone the happy news.

We went on a celebratory boat ride, where I finally called my parents.

 I called my mom first, but she didn’t answer, so I tried my dad. He answered, and we reveled in the craziness of it all. Before he hung up, though, he said that he wanted to tell my mom the good news.

Oh dear.

My mom called me back just minutes after I got off the phone with my dad, and I had to figure out a backup plan, fast. So I tried to casually ask her if we could stop by later that afternoon, and she said of course. The whole time I was talking to her, my new family looked at me like I was going crazy. What the heck was wrong with me, not telling her I had just gotten ENGAGED? After I got off the phone with her, I explained the situation, and they forgave me.

The rest of the day went by in a blur, as phone calls were made, a date was set, and preparations were begun. I was engaged to the boy I loved most, and we were completely unprepared for the next hectic 90 days.

~Haeley

Part 5: Winter Formal

*I totally suck at writing our story, but I’m going to try to be more diligent about it.*

Ever the gentleman, Tanner did not want to have asked me to a dance solely through text message. So  he carefully and cleverly crafted the perfect invitation over the course of the next few days.

Tanner kidnapped me one night, and we drove around for a little bit, listening to the Winter Formal playlist he painstakingly put together. Then we pulled into the park, where we danced in the glow of his headlights. He gave me a rose with a note tied to it (it said “I wanted to give this flower something beautiful to look at” ((I melted. He’s the sweetest)), in addition to a thumb drive which housed an official cuddle buddy application (which was HILARIOUS). We danced until it started raining, and then went to our respective homes. And so it was set. I had a date to Winter Formal, and I was determined to have fun!

Until the week of Winter Formal came around, and I began to feel uneasy about my friendship with him. He had told me he liked me, and didn’t expect his feelings to be reciprocated, and he made sure I knew he would respect my decision in regards to who I liked. Still, he was very open about how much he liked me, and flirted with me constantly. I began worrying that he was reading too much into our friendship, and that even though he knew I liked someone else, he was still trying. 


While I loved the attention (don’t hate me, who doesn’t love attention?), I didn’t want to lead him on. I told myself I didn’t want to make things awkward, however, so of course I made things really awkward. Because that is how I roll. 

I started unconsciously leaning away from him when we sat together at devotional, and I stopped texting him back as often as I had been previously. Because the most graceful way to let someone know you’re not interested is to completely ignore them. Right?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t as smooth about distancing myself from him as I thought I was, and Tanner caught on. 

The day before Winter Formal, he messaged me on Facebook. We made small talk for a little bit, but eventually things took a turn for the heavy. We talked about how I liked someone else, and Tanner told me that all he wanted was for me to be happy, and if that meant me dating someone else, then he would be okay with it. He said that as long as being friend-zoned meant we could still be friends, then he would love to remain so. We agreed to meet at the institute building to attend a YSA event together-just as friends. 

After I put down my phone, I cried. I cried so hard I couldn’t breathe. This was my best friend- the person I spent the most time with, and I had just broken his heart. Even though our entire conversation was through Facebook, I could just picture him shrugging it all off, trying to seem sincere and like he really was happy that it looked like I might date someone else. I knew that that wasn’t the case, however. I knew that he was hurt, no matter what he said. He said this wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and he was sure it wouldn’t be the last.

I hated that. I hated that girls had done that to someone as wonderful as him in the past, I hated that I had just done that to him, and I hated the thought of anyone else doing that to him in the future. 

The worst part was imagining him with someone else. That made me feel sick. He was MY best friend! I didn’t want some stupid girl getting in between us! As I thought about it more, I realized I was being ridiculous. I didn’t own him, I wasn’t romantically interested… Right? Plus, it was absurd to not want him to have a girlfriend, especially since he had just told me he hoped I ended up with who I wanted. I was being selfish.

I walked into the Institute building and immediately found Tanner. We awkwardly sat at the same table, chatting and pretending I hadn’t just ripped his heart out. Eventually, we decided that the Institute event was boring, one thing led to another, and we ended up leaving early to walk around Wal-Mart. The evening ended with us as friendly as before that terrible conversation. We even held hands, which confused us both to no end. I had literally JUST friend zoned him. What the heck was I doing?! His hands were just so warm and comforting. 

I know. I hate me too.

At the end of the night, he dropped me off and we agreed to meet the next morning for our day date before Winter Formal.

The next morning, Tanner picked me up and we drove around aimlessly for a while before deciding to watch a movie. The problem was, my roommates were doing something at my apartment, and his dorm was less than ideal, so we eventually sat in the Institute parking lot in his car, and watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. We got frozen yogurt afterwards, then Tanner dropped me off so he could go to a choir rehearsal. 

That evening, I got ready as carefully as I could, and to be honest, I was looking hot. I snapped a few selfies (for posterity, duh), and waited for my date to arrive. My roommates were getting ready to go too, and in the midst of the excitement, Tanner knocked on the door. My roommates sprang into action, locking the door and telling me to hide so I could do a “big reveal”, but that’s not my speed, so I fought through the small crowd of shrieking girls, and flung open the door to reveal a flustered Tanner. I brought him in amid more shrieking, and my roommates insisted on taking pictures. I deleted most of them because they were super blurry, but I kept this one:

We walked across the street to the dance, and Tanner told me I looked absolutely beautiful. Once there, we discovered that the dance didn’t start for at least another hour, so we did what we always did when boredom struck- we went to Walmart.

It also helped that I told him I’d been craving blueberry muffins, so I got some of those too. ;^)

Finally, we headed to the dance where the party was starting in earnest. Tanner was the perfect dance partner, and we danced to the slow songs, rocked out to the fast songs, and sat on the sidelines during the stupid songs. I loved it. We were sitting at a table talking when one of my favorite slow songs came on. I hopped up and dragged Tanner on to the dance floor, where we danced underneath a lantern. I swear this moment could have come straight out of a movie, the way he held me close and looked at me like I was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. I didn’t want the song to end, and when it did, we sat down and I realized I had some SERIOUS butterflies goin’ on. 

This is the song we danced to. It still gives me butterflies.


We danced the rest of the evening until the DJ announced the last song, and at the end, he reminded us that it was a full moon…. Meaning that if you kissed someone at midnight, under the clock tower, the two of you would become True Gila Monsters. A prestigious title, indeed. I toyed with the idea of kissing Tanner. and the thought gave me a serious case of nervous giggles. Tanner proceeded to bug me about it, trying to get me to talk, but I refused to say anything, because I wasn’t sure if I was absolutely positive that I wanted to kiss him. I like to be sure about these things, especially since Tanner’s heart was on the line, and I did not want to hurt him again. 

And so the evening passed, and I didn’t kiss him. But as he dropped me off and we were hugging goodbye, I held him extra close. But at the last moment, I chickened out. I just had to be positive.

It was super hard to sleep that night, because I kept thinking about that dance, and how close we were to kissing.

~Haeley

Part 4: Thanksgiving

*disclaimer: I really, really hate this part of our story. Really truly. I am such a jerk, guys. Such a jerk.*

True to his word, Tanner tried not to make our friendship awkward because I now knew he was romantically interested. I was also determined to not let anything change, so I stubbornly kept throwing the word “friends” in as many conversations as I could. And, like the angel of a human being he is, he accepted it and took it in stride. He wasn’t going to push me into anything I wasn’t ready for.

As time went on, we really WERE the best of friends…

Well, friends that flirt with each other and hold hands in the car.

I know, I know, I’m a terrible human being for leading him on that way. It wasn’t fair to him to play with his feelings like that- I knew it, I really did. But it was just so easy to be with Tanner- I could relax and just be me, and his hands were so warm and comfortable I couldn’t help but hold them as we drove around aimlessly for hours, talking late into the night. Every so often he would squeeze my hand slightly, or trace circles on my hand with his thumb, and when he did they gave me butterflies like I had never felt before- which was weird, because I did NOT have a crush on him at all. At least I told myself I didn’t.
In all honesty, I had thought about it many times and had come to the conclusion that we would probably be very happy together, indeed. He made me laugh, he was kind, and I knew he would do literally anything for me.

But he wasn’t the boy for me. No sir, he surely wasn’t. I knew, I knew I was destined to end up with my crush if I just worked at it hard enough. Sometimes we touched shoulders, my crush and I-which meant we were basically dating, in my mind. I couldn’t allow myself to be distracted by another boy! So what if Tanner was the funniest person I had ever met? So what if he cared for me in a way nobody else had since I moved to Thatcherland? So what if he gave me crazy butterflies every time he squeezed my hand?

I was bound and determined to snag my crush, if it was the last thing I did. This was *~lOvE.~*
What Tanner and I had was a solid FRIENDSHIP, and nothing more. I would see to it.
…As long as I could just keep holding his hand.

As Thanksgiving came up, I had actually arranged for my crush to come home with me for Thanksgiving (score!), and was deliriously happy about it. As an added bonus, I had decided to ask him to Winter Formal that weekend, so that nobody else could take him.
So not only would I be able to spend Thanksgiving weekend with the boy of my dreams, I would walk away from that weekend with a date! I was sure of it.

Tanner and I had discussed Thanksgiving, and he casually brought up that his parents had offered to let me stay with them for the weekend, if my family wouldn’t be able to get me to Mesa. I was touched by the offer- these people who didn’t even know me were willing to open up their home for me and welcome me in. Alas, that was not to be, for I was bringing my crush home with me if it was the last thing I did.

Thanksgiving weekend came, and I drank up the time I had with my crush, enjoying every second and waiting oh-so-patiently for my crush to confess his undying love and affection for me and my wondrous family. I knew I could get him if I just kept at it.

Then came the day after Thanksgiving. We were putting up Christmas lights, and I was working up the nerve to ask my prospective man to EAC’s Winter Formal when my phone chirped. It was a text from Tanner.

If someone were to hypothetically ask you to Winter Formal, what would you say?

I stared at the text for a long time, my stomach sinking. I was JUST about to ask my crush to that dance! I knew it would be fun with Tanner, but I just couldn’t shake the sad feeling. I wanted so badly to spend a romantic evening with the apple of my eye, but Tanner had beat me to the punch. After thinking it over a little bit longer, I replied to him.

I would hypothetically say yes, of course!

And so it was set. I was going to go to Winter Formal with Tanner.

Part 3: Just Friends

The morning after our first date, there was a service project hosted by the Institute. We were to go and glean chilies from a farm, and later donate the baskets gleaned to a charity (or something. The details are foggy).

Tanner had told me the night before that if I decided to go to the service project I should text him so he could come too, so I shot him a text saying I was gonna head over to pick chilies. I was looking forward to spending a morning getting to know the other members of the Institute, hang out with my new friend Tanner, and, most importantly, keep tabs on my crush. It would be a good day, I could tell.

I got to the Institute parking lot and immediately found Tanner. We chatted and waited to hear about what we were supposed to do from there. Soon, we loaded up into various vehicles and headed out to pick chilies. I didn’t get to be with my crush, but I DID get to be with Tanner, which was very fun. That boy was hilarious, and I could tell we would have a fun time that day- as long as I could balance my time between joking with him and flirting with my crush, that is. A girl’s got priorities, after all.

The chili pick went about as I planned- splitting time between Tanner and my crush, and getting sunburnt, which was an addition I didn’t necessarily plan for. Either way, I finished the day exhausted and happy. Exhausted because picking chilies isn’t exactly easy breezy, but happy because I’d spent the day with two wonderful gentlemen. Gosh, that Tanner kid was funny. I just knew he would be the kind of friend I could go to with just about anything. So I did.

Ever since the chili pick, we had been texting back and forth, and since we were such good friends (I even dubbed us “twins” because we were so alike), I decided to ask him for some advice, involving my crush. I just HAD to know whether or not he liked me; or at the very least, if he was displaying possible signs that he might like me. I had done all I could do to figure it out, and I needed a boy’s opinion. So, obviously, I asked Tanner. We were friends! I could totally do that. He gave me the best advice he could, and we continued from there.

We texted back and forth almost constantly, and the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. But not- I assured myself- in a romantic way. We were JUST FRIENDS, and it was going to stay that way, dangit. I was not interested in him, and he was not interested in me. We were f r i e n d s, and that was wonderful.
Granted, every so often I would think about it and I figured that if we did end up together, we would be ridiculously happy together. I could actually be fully myself around him. I didn’t feel self conscious, and I felt like I could hang out with him dressed nicely, or in sweats with no makeup on, and it would be totally okay. Every so often, he would even tell me I was beautiful- which was huge. Nobody had told me that in a long, long time, and it was wonderful to hear that, especially from a friend I trusted as much as Tanner.

The delusion of being “just friends” didn’t last all that long, however. My roommates started making comments about how much Tanner liked me, how much we hung out, and how late I stayed out with him all the time. Despite my protests to the contrary, I began to wonder if Tanner really DID like me as much as everyone else thought he did.

One night, Tanner took me out for a drive (something we did quite frequently), and the subject of who-likes-who came up. I complained of how frustrating it was to like someone so much, and trying to show them how much I liked them, and have them be completely oblivious to it all. Tanner agreed, and we continued talking.

 Looking back on this it’s actually almost painful how blatantly obvious it was that we were talking about our own relationship, and how completely oblivious I was to it all.

Apparently Tanner thought the same thing, because he started laughing and wouldn’t stop. I tried to figure out what I’d said that was so funny when it suddenly clicked: I was being the stupid girl who couldn’t figure out that I was the object of someone’s affections.

“Tanner?”
“Yeah?”
“I’m being the stupid girl, aren’t I? I’m the one who’s being completely oblivious, huh?”
“…….I wouldn’t say stupid…. Just unobservant.”

Oh wow.
Oh my goodness.
Oh gosh. He liked me this WHOLE TIME and I had been completely blind to it. I had friendzoned him, and I’d friendzoned him HARD. I wanted to crawl into a hole and die of embarrassment right then, knowing I’d been such a numbskull.
But I had to know why. Why would he like someone as neurotic as me? So I did what anyone would do and asked him why he would like me.
Apparently that’s a nerve-wracking question to be asked, because he got all flustered and set off the car alarm. In the middle of my apartment complex. At midnight.
After laughing it off and speeding out of the complex, he explained why he liked me.

He was completely honest, and tender, and sweet in his explanation. He also said he didn’t want this to change the dynamic of our friendship, and he was completely content with just being my friend, which is what I needed to hear at that point in time, because this was still news to me, and I needed time to process it and decide how I felt.

Confusing times, indeed.

~Haeley

(click here for part 4 of the story)

Part 2: First date.

The closer Friday came, the more I panicked.

I had been on many a date with guys I knew even less than I knew Tanner, yet for some reason I was still nervous. I didn’t want our instant connection the night of Fall Sing to have been a fluke, and I didn’t want to deal with the awkward silence I was sure would happen. Nevertheless, I had made up my mind to go on this date, and who knew? It could turn out to be fun after all. He had managed to make Fall Sing less dull, and that was saying something. Waiting backstage is SO boring.

We had decided on getting pizza and watching a movie at the park. Since it was October, I’m a valley girl who has no experience whatsoever with chilly weather, and I was fighting a head cold, I decided to bundle up way more than was necessary, so I wouldn’t have to freeze myself.

I got ready quickly, and had some time left to kill, so I puttered around my apartment looking for something to do. Suddenly, I heard harsh knocking and rushed to open the door. Tanner sure was…. Not here yet. It was my crush instead, coming in to do some homework and hang out. I chatted with him for a little bit, then told him I was waiting for my date to pick me up, hoping he would get the hint and head home. But he didn’t, so I continued entertaining him until Tanner came my way- after all, what kind of hostess would I be if I sent him out? Plus, he WAS my crush, and I wasn’t about to say no to spending a little bit of extra time with him.

Tanner arrived right on time, and we left, to some teasing on the part of my crush. After some semi-awkward small talk in the car, we got to the restaurant where we ordered our pizza and sat down. Within minutes, he had me laughing again, and we hardly had time to eat our food! We exchanged stories, talked, and laughed until the restaurant closed and we had to leave. Giggling, we drove to the park in order to watch our movie, where we interrupted a group date. We watched them from the car, which reminded one of us of a funny story, which reminded the other person of a funny story… And so it continued until the park closed.

I thought that would be the end of the date, so I reluctantly put my jacket on and got ready for him to drive me home, but Tanner didn’t take me home. Instead, we drove around aimlessly for a few hours, making a circuit of the small town over and over again. He told me his eyes were each a different color (one green, one blue), a detail I had never noticed before, and I told him about my petrifying fear of throwing up. We talked about so much that night. We even told each other the story of our first kiss, and about dating and how weird it all was. That right there is where I determined that we wouldn’t ever become anything more than really good friends. I mean, we’d been talking about kissing other people and totally dissed the dating game- automatic double friendzone, right? I thought so.

Eventually, we turned into the WalMart parking lot, where we sat and talked until well after 3:00 AM. I know it sounds cheesy, but time really did fly that night. I’m sure we could have easily talked all night long, but the single’s wards had a service project the next morning at 7:00 AM, which I was determined to go to, provided I was awake enough to do so. We said goodnight, and exchanged phone numbers so I could let him know if I was going to go to the service project after all, so he could come and we would hang out some more.

As I lay in bed that night, I thought of how easy he was to talk to. I could very easily see myself becoming really good friends with this boy.

~Haeley

(click here for Part 3 of our story)

Part 1: Fall Sing.

 For the next little while, I’m going to be documenting the story of how Tanner and I met, because who doesn’t love a good love story? Those are my favorite things to read, and now I have my OWN to tell! It’s still so crazy to me, but I’m more than ready to start my life with him.

So without further ado, let’s get this party started.
My first semester at EAC was pretty much perfect. I liked my classes, I liked my roommates, and life was just… So good. I was happy, but lonely sometimes. The impatient, future-obsessed part of me was relatively happy with where she was at, but wanted to move on to the Next Big Thing. I mean, I had graduated high school, gotten a job, moved out, and began college. The next step was to meet The One. I wasn’t too worried about it, because I had a feeling I would find him here in Thatcherland, but I was curious. 
As it turns out, I ended dating around quite a bit that first semester, which was wild amounts of fun. I’ve always liked going on dates, and the added bonus of not having to organize a group date every time I wanted to do so was refreshing, to say the least. 
Eventually, I found a boy I liked well enough, and developed quite the crush on him, and that’s where my attentions remained. I mean, we never went on an actual date and I continued dating around, patiently waiting for him to make a move, but I was happy. I just knew that if I stuck around long enough and pulled all the stops, he would like me back and we could go from there. I was confident that things would turn in my favor. 
Then came Fall Sing, where our story REALLY begins. 
You see, in the choir room there is a drinking fountain. And above the fountain, there are plaques. Tons and tons of plaques, dedicated to those who “drank the water” and ended up getting married. I loved that idea and thought it was hilarious, but never once did I expect choir water to be as influential in my own story as it was in the others before me.
It was October 24th, and we were in the middle of the second performance of our Fall Sing. I was sitting off by myself playing around on my phone when a boy tripped over my feet on his way out of the row. He apologized and I laughed it off, as he made his way down the aisle to get a drink of water. I returned to my phone, and thought nothing of it. He passed my way a few other times, and each time I would tease him a little bit, applauding each time he successfully passed me without tripping over me, and rewarding him with a high five and a “go team!”
The next night, I was lucky enough to sit next to my crush, and we shared a companionable silence,  which I was totally cool with. I mean, come on! HE sat by ME. We were practically dating, I felt. The boy who tripped over me the previous night sat in front of us, to which I paid no mind. The boy started talking to my crush, and after a few minutes, he turned to me and said,
“Sorry, I don’t believe I caught your name.” He stuck out his hand, and I shook it as I introduced myself. He told me his name, which I promptly forgot, so I mentally called him Travis.
After telling each other our majors and talking a bit about where we were from, I expected the conversation to awkwardly fizzle out, which made me a bit sad. I hate small talk for that reason- it always fizzles out. But this time, for some reason, it didn’t happen. Immediately, we were talking and carrying on like old friends, and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. Not only was this kid smart (engineering major!), he was HILARIOUS. And so easy to talk to, I didn’t want to stop. We talked about everything from his brother in law melting his shoes on a date, to smoke grenades, to our crazy families. We had SO much fun that night, and only stopped talking when I ran off backstage to listen to my favorite choral piece. 
I didn’t see him again that evening, but I thought about our conversation and how funny he was, and especially how gorgeous his eyes were. 
Life moved on, and I didn’t think too much about the hilarious Travis with the perfect eyes; that is, until I got a friend request from a guy named Tanner Rhineheart. After some brief Facebook stalking, I determined that Travis wasn’t actually named Travis- his name was Tanner. I accepted his friend request immediately, and a few days later, he messaged me.
Soon afterwards, we had a date set for that Friday at 7:00.
~Haeley
(click here for part 2 of our story)