Have you read part one yet? Click here!!
So the next night I threw on a cute little cocktail dress and headed to a little indie bar downtown to meet up with the guy I was sure had the potential to be my new gay bestie! Not gonna lie, I was pretty excited. He bought me a drink and we chatted about what had been going on in our lives since we had last interacted in Daytona. Turns out I was wrong about one thing, not only did he remember me from school but he had also been in classes with guess who!? Yup, Senior Toxic himself. We had some ice breaking laughs at the expenses of our ex loves, paid our tab and went for a walk down Orange Avenue. He pointed out some art galleries that looked creepy in the moonlight but he promised I would love during the day. I tried my first vegan hotdog (don't knock it till you try it) and Nick bought me a rose from a street vendor. Oh, and I know what you're thinking but no, I still had not realized this was a first date.
We went to a quiet little outside bar and continued to chat. I'll be honest, thinking he was gay was probably the best thing that ever happened to our first date. I wasn't nervous, I was completely myself and I didn't over analyze everything he and I did like I normally would on a first date! I was just out with a new friend, so why would I?! Then it happened.
He put his hand on my knee. And left it there.
This was no friendly pet. This was a first date, I'm probably going to lean in to kiss you, omg-annika-you're-an-idiot kind of caress. I instantly wished I had worn jeans. I started making excuses about having to wake up early the next day. Anything to get me out of that bar! But he was still so sweet. And so cute. I was now terrified and had so many doubts, but he was still somehow winning me over.
At the end of the night he walked me back to my car even though he was parked blocks in the opposite direction (good sign #1) and as I nervously awaited the awkward first kiss, all I got was a hug. He opened my car door for me and complimented me on being one of the few people from Daytona Beach that didn't suck. He walked away and I sat in shock, now completely smitten. Smart? Cute? And respectful? I was sold. But was he?
Insert that awkward moment when you wait to see if he asks for a second "date" here.
We chatted over text and e-mail for the next few days, but the subject of another date never seemed to come up. I was still kind of seeing the guy that stood me up the night Nick and I met so I just opted to not get my hopes up about either. I reverted back to me-myself-and-I mode and decided to stop talking to them both and went out for drinks and hookah with my roommates.
Boy #1 officially fell off the planet around this time but Boy #2 (Nick) kept up the conversation. That evening he sent me a message inviting me to another bar, I'm not a big drinker, one of my roommates wasn't 21 and my pride was still injured from the lack of a 2nd date, so I declined the invite. Ironically, I again told him where we were going and I shit you not people, the bar he was at? Across the street. So, repeat the 1st night we "met" but this time with less alcohol, more hookah and me not thinking he was batting for the wrong team. My roommate and our friend wanted to continue the night else where but I was exhausted by this point. Nick offered to drive me home so that they could go off on their own and by the time we got back to my apartment our conversation was in full swing. We sat out in front of my house for nearly an hour talking about how he might join the military, why I stopped my obsession with photography and of course me calling him out on not asking me out again. He laughed and promised he was getting to that, but he had been just as confused about my interest in him as I was about his interest in me.
He walked me to my door and we talked some more. We went inside and talked even more until I was exhausted beyond belief. I stood up and went to walk him back to the front door to leave when it happened…
The first kiss.
And being the true romantic I am, the one thought racing through my mind was stressing out. This boy was in my house, kissing me, on the 1st and a half date (I refuse to this day to call this night a real date). I knew many a boy who would try to push this further and let me tell you, I'm NOT that kind of girl. I was getting uppity before even being prompted. Like I said, true romantic. But after that, he left. No pushing for more, no awkward situation, just a hug and a goodbye.
I was sold.
Of course, that didn't stop me from being difficult. A few weeks and a dozen dates later, he very sweetly and old fashioned, asked me to be his girlfriend. And I said no. My theory at the time was why change a good thing and potentially ruin it? I of course realized my mistake very quickly and ended up texting him at around 3 am the next morning asking if I could change my answer. Our awkward relationship start needed one more awkward beginning I guess, because he said yes!
And I've been sold ever since. Over two years later and he still makes my heart skip beats and occasionally helps restore my faith in humanity. It's not all puppies and rainbows, it's compromise and communication that keep this little family together with lots of love and sometimes more than a little work. We have culminated the perfect balance of freedom and togetherness through patience and the realizations that jealousy is a fool's emotion.
Bad luck in romance turned into a blessing in disguise for both of us. Through embracing life's hardships we became better people and learned to love ourselves without the help of another person. He's not my other half. We are 2 whole life companions that lift each other up, push each other along and hand out the occasional reality check when necessary. Wildly independent? Yes. But, still of so much better when together? Heck yes.