A love story of sorts.

In honor of Valentine's day, I decided to share a snippet of mine and Taylor's love story.
The first time we exchanged "I love you."
A somewhat humorous story.

Let's start the story a few weeks before we exchanged those three words:
One night, Taylor and I somehow started talking about awkward dates and awkward moments.
I told him a story that involved a boy I dated for quite awhile.
Let's call him Scott.
Here's the story:

Scott and I had been dating for about five months.
Scott had been hinting about saying those "three special words" for a few weeks.
I ignored the hints and acted completely oblivious.
I didn't feel the same.
I had feelings for him, but was far from the "love" stage.
In fact, there were several nights when I was sure he was working up the courage to say it.
Whenever I sensed the "I love you" coming, I would quickly change subjects, get up and do something, or say that I had to go.
But I was desperately trying to avoid an awkward situation for both of us.

I was able to dodge the dreaded conversation for a few weeks.
And then...he caught me when I least expected it.
We were in the middle of an innocent card game, when he suddenly looked up and said, 
"I love you, Kelli."
My heart caught in my throat.
What was I going to say?
I had expected this moment for awhile--so naturally, I played out all of the possible scenarios in my head.
I practiced elaborate responses that would eliminate awkwardness while still displaying my affection and feelings for him.
But when the moment actually came, all of those prepared responses flew out the window.
Instead, I said the worst possible thing.
"Thank you."
That was it!
Thank you!?
And then I quickly played my turn in the game.  
I felt horrible. But for the life of me, I had no idea what to say.
I left early, and neither of us mentioned the incident.
The first couple of days after that were extremely awkward.
We both tried to fill all silences and completely ignore the giant elephant in the room.

I figured my pathetic "Thank you" had given him a pretty obvious hint.
I wanted to bring it up--produce one of my practiced and polished responses.
Explain my feelings, because I knew I had hurt him. 
But I could never muster the courage.
Plus, after a week or so, things were natural between us again--the awkwardness had faded.
And I didn't want to recreate it.

So we continued our relationship as if the incident had never happened.
I was sure he would wait awhile before saying it again.
Maybe the next time he's ready to say it, I'll be ready too?
So I didn't bother preparing another "response."
Instead, I focused on our relationship and on what I was feeling.

A few weeks later, he threw me another curveball.
"Kelli, I really do love you."
I was unprepared, shocked, and still unsure of my feelings.
You'd think I would learn from the first time.
But I didn't.
Instead, I refused to meet eye contact and quietly said, "I know.  Thank you."
I don't know why my mind went completely blank both times.
I felt as though I couldn't come up with anything remotely comprehensible to say.
So I gave the dreaded "thank you" response for a second time.

After being rejected for a second time, I was sure that he would wait for me to broach the topic before he attempted again.
Who sets themselves up for failure for a third time?
The awkwardness was rekindled.
It lasted twice as long.

Maybe you can guess what came next.
He said those three words.
For a third time.
I still didn't feel anything close to love.
And this time--I may have topped the "thank you" response.
I responded by telling him we should end things.
If I didn't feel the same, I didn't want to keep leading him on while I waited for feelings that I may never feel.

How does this have to do with mine and Taylor's love story?
Well...you see, after I told Taylor this story, he was paranoid to tell me he loved me.
He was afraid he would receive the same response: "Thank you."

One night in particular, I was hoping Taylor would say those three words--because I knew I wanted to say them back.
We had come so close to saying it the night before, so I was sure tonight would be the night.
But the guy is supposed to say it first, right?
I waited all night, I thought for sure he would say it.
I even hinted.
I started getting discouraged.
Maybe he doesn't feel the same?

I had picked Taylor up in my car that evening.
I was beginning to become confused and disheartened.
Maybe I had been reading him wrong the whole time?
My eyes started to tear at the thought of it.
I stood up and told Taylor that I better take him home--it was getting late.
He agreed.

When we got to his apartment building, he lingered in the car for a little bit.
My heart started to race--maybe this is it!
I so badly wanted to tell him how I felt.
I had never felt so strongly and so sure of the existence of love.

But then he opened his car door and started to get out.
My heart sank.
I would have to wait another night.
Or face the possibility that he did not feel the same.

What I didn't realize was that Taylor had been wanting to tell me he loved me all night.
But every time he started to say it, he remembered the story I had told him about Scott.
Scott had told me he loved me three times.
And I had rejected him--three times.
Not an encouraging story.
But Taylor knew he couldn't leave that night without telling me how he felt.

Taylor kissed me goodnight.
He got out of the car.
Right as he was shutting the door, he leaned in, smiled, and said, "I love you, Kelli Davis."
And to avoid rejection, he quickly shut the door and walked off.

I was almost too stunned to react.
I had convinced myself it he wasn't going to say it.
I was bracing myself for a night of heartache.
But then, suddenly, without warning, he uttered those three words.
Those three words that meant so much to me.
Those three words that made my heart race faster than it ever has before.
I sat there and smiled--and couldn't help but feel absolutely elated.

And then I realized he was almost out of sight--and I had yet to tell him that I loved him too--so very much.
I was still too stunned to do much.
I quickly rolled down my window and yelled his name.
When he turned around, I said, "You can't just say that and walk away!"
Taylor winked and said, "Hey, you're infamous for rejection.  I just didn't want a Kelli 'thank you.'"

I got out of my car and skipped over to him,
"Well, you don't get a thank you.  I love you, Taylor."
Finally, I had released those three words that so desperately wanted to be free.

I still get butterflies when I think of his sweet half-smile as he bent down to kiss me. 

And now, almost two years later, we get to share those special words for eternity.

1 comment:

  1. This is ridiculously cute!! How have I never heard this story?! I'm so glad you wrote about it - so presh! I love you two!