Happy Anniversary! AKA How I Met Nick

On September 16, Nick and I will be spending the day celebrating our one year anniversary. I feel like we’ve been through so many different things that it must have been much longer than just a year by now, but the dates speak for themselves. We crammed so much into such a short time span, and I feel like we have so many memories and experiences together that seem as if they took years to create rather than just a measly 12 months.

A few weeks ago I said that I’d be writing a post about how Nick and I met and some information on the early days of our relationship, and since I came home from work early because I’m sick, sitting around and typing seemed like the logical thing for me to do.

———————————

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

On August 13, 2011, my local comic shop hosted a party to celebrate them winning “Best Local Comic Shop” in Orlando Weekly’s annual Best Of contest. The theme was “Friendship Is Magic”, in honor or My Little Pony and all the fans who vote for ACS. This was their 5th year in a row of winning, and they were pretty psyched.

I was living with my best friend Jascelyn at the time, and despite not actually being in college (we both worked shitty part-time jobs), we lived the college partying lifestyle because our roommates and most of our friends went to Full Sail.

I was in an off-and-on relationship with a guy who treated me like poop and didn’t deserve the time it would take for me to blink at him, let alone spend days being depressed over. I was drinking a lot to get over the situation, and to help forget.

We went to the party. We had a fun time. I beat people I didn’t know at beer pong (I’m really good at it when I’m drunk, but if I get too drunk I’m terrible) and then got escorted home with Jascy by some friends of ours who became concerned when I began showing a distinct inability to keep myself upright. We went home, changed, and I started drunkenly posting things on Facebook that I don’t even remember anymore.

The night of the party. This is post-beer pong but pre-too drunk to function.

I got a notification from the party’s event page that someone had commented saying something about pancakes, and Jascelyn and I started replying even though we didn’t know the guy we were talking to. I blame the alcohol.

What you see above is the actual screencap of the very first conversation I ever had with the person who would later become the love of my whole entire life. It was basically uneventful, mostly filled with things that don’t really make sense and were only funny because we were drunk. He (or I) added me (or him, we never remember which), and that’s how we became Facebook friends.

For over a month, we didn’t really talk. He liked every single thing I or Jascy posted and commented on all of our updates. This a) creeped us out and b) made it look like he had nothing better to do but creep on our goodies. I judged him without bothering to know him, and that whole situation taught me a lesson that I still believe in: You should always try getting to know somebody before deciding that they aren’t worth your time. There are lots and lots of incredible people, and if you’re too conceited or self-absorbed to take advantage of the world’s diversity by learning more about people, you’ll miss out on lots of amazing opportunities — I almost did!

About a month after adding each other, Nick messaged me on Facebook. I was going through some really shitty stuff, had quit my job, couldn’t pay my bills. I had pawned my flat-screen TV to pay our electric and didn’t have the $100 necessary to get it back. The payment was due in a few days and I couldn’t afford it.

Nick messaged me offering to loan me the money I needed to save my poor TV. This random guy, who I had judged and thought of as creepy, was offering to give me, a girl he doesn’t even know, $100 to help me out of a crappy situation. I decided then that he was a good guy and that I wanted to know him better.

I declined, of course. I had no stable income, no way of paying him back. I didn’t want to take advantage of his generosity by screwing him over, so I let the stupid pawn shop keep my stupid TV and a few days after that, Nick messaged me again after posting that Jascy and I wanted to go out for coffee at 1 AM. He had to work at 8:30 AM the next day (I didn’t know that), he lived near the airport which is pretty far from our apartment (I didn’t know that) and he offered to take us to iHop so we could have cappucinos and hang out for awhile.

We got dressed (just kidding, the first time Nick met me I said fuck normal clothes and wore pajamas — And he still liked me!) and he picked us up. I was really nervous (which is silly because we had never expressed any sort of romantic interest at all), but I thought he was cute so I was happy when Jascy got in the back seat and let me sit in the front.

Most of the night is a blur to me. I remember specific events and things that were said, but the night as a whole is kind of muddled.

I do remember that I thought he was hilarious. When pulling out of my once-super-hood apartment complex, he commented, “Oh, I’ve been here! That fountain wasn’t there before, it was just a dead body…”

The very first picture I ever took of Nick. He was wearing a Cheech & Chong t-shirt, shorts and ugly green flip flops. I thought he was adorable.

At IHOP (and, truthfully, for the first few weeks we hung out), I couldn’t make eye contact. I’m not a shy or nervous person in general, but I cannot even express how awkward being around him made me feel. I’ve never felt that awkward or nervous about anything. We hung out as a musketeer group for about a week, and during that week I was convinced that he actually liked Jascy and that I was a third wheel.

The second time we went out to eat together, he drove us to Tijuana Flats. Jascy had just gotten a new job and I had gotten $20 as an early birthday present that I wanted to treat her with as congratulations. Nick brought us and then paid for us, without my knowledge. When I found out, I felt horrible because I thought he liked her and that I forced him to pay for a third person (me), because I was there.

One night, as Jascy and I were waiting at Steak N Shake for a guy she was sort-of seeing to pick us up, Nick texted me and told me he liked me. He had to make it very clear — I must be the only adult to reply to that sort of thing with “Do you mean you like me or you like me like me?” — and I couldn’t stop smiling. He asked me out on an official date, without another person with us, and I agreed.

I almost canceled the date at like 3 AM the night before. I got nervous, my ex boyfriend (who I had still been in a depressing, futile off-on thing with) tried making me feel terrible about wanting to go out with someone else, and I just couldn’t handle it emotionally. My life was falling apart — I didn’t have a job, our bills weren’t getting paid, I was drunk all the time and my sort-of boyfriend treated me like I wasn’t worth anything and after 9 months of being with him, I started believing it.

Nick told me to calm down and said that if I wanted to cancel, it was fine. But he wanted me to at least go to lunch with him the next day, so I could really see if it would be okay or not. And then if it went well, he’d take me out for our date as planned.

He picked me up on his lunch break and took me to Subway. It had a number of awkward moments –

— I still couldn’t make direct eye contact. I couldn’t really look anywhere near him, actually. He was so cute it made my eyes hurt and I was painfully aware of every single movement I (or he) made.

— When we went to order, the guy behind the counter said, “Oh, you brought a different girl today?” Nick later explained that he was referring to one of his coworkers, who he normally had lunch with, but for about 5 minutes until he explained that I gave both him and the Subway guy a stony glare.

Here are the three main things I do when I am nervous:

– I make awfully awkward hand gestures. I have no clue what to do with my hands so they flop around like dying fish. It’s fucking annoying.

– I avoid eye contact. I can’t even point my face in the direction of the other person’s.

– I giggle under my breath, like an escaped mental patient.

Despite the devastating odds of our lunch date going well, it was a success. He bought me what would be the first of many delicious Starbucks treats, and dropped me off back at my apartment so he could go back to work. I agreed to meet him later that night.

—————————-

I was nervous, of course. I anxiously counted down the time until he’d be there to pick me up. I don’t even remember him actually arriving — I just remember feeling scared and awkward and very nearly almost called to cancel (again). But I was determined, so I went through with it.

He took me to Bikkuri Sushi, because a) my brothers told him he’d better get me sushi if he wanted me to like him (THANKS, BROS!) and b) he knew I liked it already anyway.

Things started going wrong left and right. The restaurant was closing so we had to order to-go. My blood sugar was low and I was really dizzy. I had a near-panic attack every time he mentioned going to his apartment (the only thing stronger than my libido is my panic mode, let me tell you what.)

We couldn’t go back to my apartment because Nick is very, very allergic to cats and I had three of them. So we opted for his job, since he had a key and nobody would be in the office to disturb us.

Our first date consisted of us eating end of the night sushi out of a styrofoam to-go box sitting at Nick’s office desk at work.

It was the best first date of my life.

I can’t remember anything we talked about. I remember thinking about how cute he was and how funny he sounded when he talked (I still maintain, as I did the very first night in IHOP, that Nick has some weird accent thanks to his heavily accented parents).

We left and on our way to my apartment, he asked if we could go to another place for awhile. He said he liked being around me and didn’t want the night to end. It was cheesy and gross and I totally fell for it like a lovestruck fifteen-year-old girl with a crush.

We went to Ferkin & Keglers and he bought me beer (bad idea). We ended up drunkenly dancing with a 40 year old woman who told us we looked as if we had been dating for years and that we were the “cutest couple she’s every seen”. When we told her it was our first date, she told us we should be together.

I remember that Adele came on (she was being played constantly at the time) and he said it was “our song” because it was also playing in the car the very first night we met. I said, “It can’t be our song, it’s sad!” And he said, “It doesn’t have to be.” And then he forced me to dance with him. 😛

The old lady later showed us her boobs and regaled me with a conversation about how her bi-polar medication affects her sex drive, causing her ex to divorce her. There were so many odd things that night.

First date beer!

This is from Nick’s job. After our lunch date, he gave it to me and told me it was a present. When I got upstairs, I found a note inside that Nick had written saying I was amazing. I’m pretty sure I loved him then.

After our date, he drove me home and walked me to my front door. I awkwardly said goodnight and turned away to close the door behind me. He pushed the door open, grabbed me, kissed me and I swear it was the single most amazing first kiss of my life.

And still, I would not admit to being his girlfriend.

You see, my current-ex-but-then-sort-of-boyfriend was leading me on and telling me how much he ‘”cared” about me because he didn’t like the thought of me being with another guy. He manipulated me and made me feel bad about myself and about the people around me. Every time I was happy around Nick, I’d have a horrible, nagging feeling of guilt tugging at my brain telling me that I shouldn’t be doing whatever it was I was doing.

To avoid confusion: I was not in a relationship. My ex had dumped me a few weeks prior after graduating from Full Sail and moving back home, but was still texting and calling me on a daily basis trying to keep my feelings of emotional attachment in my face all the time so that I could be there for him as a back-up if his life ended up not going the way he wanted it to.

And, as shameful as it is to admit, I went along with it and even excused his behavior to not only Nick, but my friends and family and just people in general.

At the end of September, Nick and I got closer and closer but I still wouldn’t allow him to call me his girlfriend or treat me in any kind of way that would indicate that I was his property/woman/what-have-you. Truthfully, I was a bitch and it’s a miracle that he stuck by me despite my actions. I’m grateful for that every single day.

Jascy and I had two roommates, and at the beginning of October they moved out without telling us and left their apartment keys in the middle of their empty rooms. We shared the living room because we could barely afford to pay anything, and them leaving screwed us over. Jascelyn had to break the lease and move back to her mom’s house, and I was left with absolutely nowhere to go.

Enter Nick. He begged his roommates to let me stay with them for a few weeks, and I moved in.

This was my view from the bed the very first morning I woke up living in Nick’s old apartment. He put my Harry Potter posters up to make me feel more at home.

After a few weeks of living together, the fact that I was still being such an idiot over my ex started to get on Nick’s nerves (understandably), and he gave me an ultimatum: If I was going to keep acting like his girlfriend, I needed to stop pretending I was someone else’s.

And then I gave him an ultimatum: If he wanted me to be his girlfriend, he needed to close all shared and joint accounts with his ex girlfriend and move on with his life.

So we agreed, and officially became a couple sometime in mid to late October.

——————————

On December 23rd, after two months of living together, three months of dating and four months of knowing each other, Nick came home from a friend’s wedding cruise and proposed to me next to our Christmas tree. It was kind of awkward – naturally – and was coupled with our roommate’s girlfriend yelling from the living room, “CASSIE, WHAT HAPPENED ON THE LAST EPISODE OF THIS SHOW? I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!”

“JASMINE, NICK’S PROPOSING TO ME!”
“WHAT?! WAIT FOR ME!”

We had a witness to the proposal and a few hours later our friends Daniel and Jessica stopped by to congratulate us. We made it Facebook official, ignored the naysayers who told us it was too soon and relished in the congratulations of everyone else.

Every day people tell us we’re the most revoltingly adorable couple they’ve ever seen. While it’s true that we’re disgustingly sweet, it wasn’t always that easy. For awhile, I wasn’t even sure if we’d be together long enough to even have an anniversary. We’ve only known each other for a month longer than we’ve been dating, but I can’t imagine a person better suited to fit my personality.

Nick is the most passionate, caring, loving, creative, sensitive, sweet, romantic person I’ve ever known. He’s the best boyfriend I’ve ever had — And not just in the OMG YOU’RE SO AMAZING I LOVE YOUUUUU!! way, but literally in the “All-my-ex-boyfriends-treated-me-like-a-worthless-pain-with-daddy-issues-and-Nick-treats-me-like-a-princess” kind of way. I get regular comments from friends saying that they wish their boyfriends were as sweet or did the things that Nick does.

He’s the kind of person that goes out of his way to make my life easier in ANY POSSIBLE WAY he can, despite how it may work out for him in the end. He puts me above everything else, and values my opinion more than anyone else’s.

He’s the first thing I think of when I wake up in the morning and the last person on my mind before I fall asleep at night. He’s the most compassionate and generous person I’ve ever known and I wish more people were like him every day. He’s honest, open, adventurous and kind. He very rarely says mean things about anyone else and is open to trying anything put in front of him.

He has literally saved my life and I’m grateful to have him in mine every single second of every day. I can’t possibly imagine having someone better for me; I don’t think anybody else could exist who complements my personality as perfectly as he does.

I am ridiculously lucky.

So here is to another year (and another, and another, and another…) with the love of my life, my soul mate, my best friend and the most incredible person I’ve ever known. I love you.

————–

Dave & Buster’s in October for Nick’s friend’s engagement party or pre-wedding soiree or whatever, I was drunk, I only remember Fruit Ninja.

Shortly after we met, Nick took a trip back home to DC to visit his family and friends. I missed him terribly. The day he got back he brought me to Chili’s and gave me souvenir presents. I’ve never been so happy to see anyone after a few days of vacation, lol.

My first time at Coliseum of Comics, I think.

One of the first ACS parties we went to together. I kept him up late partying and drinking because I didn’t know how full time jobs worked. He must have been exhausted.

We chopped down a Floridian Christmas tree, played with horses and ponies and picked strawberries with Nick’s old manager. Great day!

At a photoshoot for my old website, Coffee & Chopsticks.

And I know that it’s been sang before but you’re my human holiday
I put my hands to the table and dare say, the love of my life.

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