[This is the story I am emailing to people upon request.]
As I've mentioned to many of you, James Dilts and I met in our advanced social dance class. Unfortunately, we didn't really get to know each other that well throughout the semester. In fact, I kept forgetting his name, and he kept accidentally calling me Laura or "I know your name isn't Laura, but..." Still though, I noticed him because he was particularly fun to dance with. So, on the last day of class, I asked him to dance with me for our triple swing final.
We ended up talking a ton before we tested, and James proceeded to ask me on a date and get my number. Score!
So, the following weekend James took me rock climbing for the first time ever. I was pretty nervous, because I don't learn physical skills. In my observation, I'm probably in the 5th percentile. (Okay, so I'm probably not THAT bad. But nevertheless, I was still a little nervous.) To my relief though, James was quite patient with me while I was climbing. (To be honest, she was faster and better than a girl I had just took the week before, though. ~James) The first wall I tried was too hard for me, but then the second was better. I made it all the way to top -- at the expense of all my strength. After that my arms were shaking. So then we went to Jamba Juice, and talked some more... And well, there were no more plans after that. Sad. I wasn't ready to end the date yet. Thankfully though, James suggested we watch a movie or something. YES! So we went back to my place to watch Back to the Future. Then he had to go to work. (Night jobs are lame. Just FYI.) Before he left he said something along the lines of "call me."
And, strangely enough, I decided that was a good idea despite my extreme dislike of telephones.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on the way you look at it) he called me first. After I got home from work on Monday, he called and asked if I wanted to come play four-square. Yes. Yes, I did. So I came over and we all (James, lots of his friends, and I) played until it was time for FHE... at which point I decided to accompany James to his because my ward hadn't made any FHE plans for the new term. So we all went up to a park, and everybody (except me -- I was already in a lot of pain and the four square had aggravated it) played ultimate frisbee. It wasn't long before James stopped playing and came to sit with me. We talked some more and ate cookies and popsicles... Hm. I think I like this guy. At some point he offered to come over Sunday to make me biscuits and gravy. Um, yes. After FHE I stayed over at his place to talk until midnight. I went home pretty happy.
The next day, to my surprise, I received a call the next day -- it was James. He asked me to go kite-flying on Saturday. I accepted. Only problem was... well, Saturday ended up not being so great on the weather side of things. There was a weak breeze that soon died down and was replaced by sleet. So, change of plans.
Bowling! I got to show off my ridiculously horrible bowling skills and he broke 100. After that we went back to my place and watched Episode IV of Star Wars. I originally wasn't sitting very close to him, but then my phone went off. I got up, answered it, and then I replaced myself on the couch. Right in his arms. Woo! (I sure wasn't going to complain about this one! -James)
On Sunday before he came over, I talked to a friend. He'd recently been trying to introduce me to all the new guys in the ward because apparently I was awesome and should not be single. I explained to him that James was coming over later that day -- "Ooooh! Do you think you could date him?"
I thought for a moment. "No..."
"Well, why not?" he demanded.
"Well... he's graduating and moving to Oregon for a few months."
"If you get married, you could transfer!"
I retorted, "Oregon doesn't have a neuroscience program! I'd have to start from scratch!"
"Ah. Well, if it's the right thing, it'll work out."
"Well I suppose so, but--"
"So he's leaving soon. That's not a good enough reason to not date him."
"Oh. You're right," I admitted, begrudgingly.
So I decided I wanted to date him. Which was good because when he came over that day, we made and ate biscuits and gravy, and cuddled, and kissed. And officially started dating only eight days after our first date. (That night in my journal, I was already so twitterpated, that I wrote, "I could see myself marrying this girl." She didn't know about this till a few days ago, of course... -James)
However, at that point, my friend Lisa was over. And she didn't like him. (One of the reasons being because he was too comfortable with me and she didn't like how he inserted himself into my life.) Well, dang. But we were pretty happy for the next couple of weeks. We spent several hours every day together. Once he brought me ice cream to work. I'd come visit him at lunches...
After the last couple of years, I've learned to recognize pretty quickly the facial expression that means, "I want to marry you, Jenna..." Six days after we had started dating, I saw it for sure on James' face. And then I did the unthinkable.
"James, what are you thinking?" (I caught myself thinking, he wants to marry me. Er... self, that is a rather arrogant thought. It's probably something else.) (Nope! Absolutely correct! -James)
His response: "Ummmm... I don't want to answer..." I felt his heart rate go way up, his breathing quickened, I noticed his hands get sweatier, and a rather interesting look appear on his face.
That was enough to verify rather than disprove my suspicions (Oooh, Self, you were right!), so I told him, "You don't have to tell me." But he wanted to. So, after several minutes of deep breathing and courage building, he finally said, "I was thinking that... that I'm sad I have to wait so long to propose." Because well... six days of dating is a little fast even for Provo.
To his relief I didn't immediately freak out and run away. I pointed out again that he was moving to Oregon and I couldn't come with him for at least another year. And he pointed out that although it wasn't ideal, it could still work out if it was right. True... but now I was thinking about whether or not I did want to marry James. Honestly, the idea did freak me out a little.
After about another week, I started to feel uncomfortable enough about the whole idea that I decided it would be prudent to break up with him. I prayed about it, and rather than clarifying my feelings, I just felt the same... not too great. The day when I finally built up the resolve and courage to do so was the day before he to London and then Tunisia on a research conference for a couple weeks.
And so... I did. I broke up with him. He wasn't very happy. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've never seen anybody so devastated in my life (at least right in front of my eyes). He just kind of sat there for a bit, then went into the bathroom to pray about it... came out again... "I should go." So he did.
I shut off all my lights and then crept into the bathroom to blow my nose. To my shock though, the window was open. And James hadn't just left. He was in the parking lot talking on the phone to his mom... I just kind of sat there under the window in a shock of some sort. I could hear his voice loud and clear. He finally left to go to work. And then I still sat underneath the window crying for a while. (I had to work at the hotel that night before my trip. I curled up in a ball on the floor and just lay there, depressed. I was SURE things were just going to work out eventually... It was very depressing. -James)
The next few weeks sucked. I oscillated between 1) the urge to get on a plane to Tunisia to find him and tell him we should get married, (She mentioned this one on her blog, which didn't help ME out any.... -James) and 2) the consolation that it probably was a good thing. I prayed about it more, even more earnestly, and everything I felt came into focus. My answer was clarified from just a general "Meeeeeh..." to a much better, "Well, you could totally marry him. If you wanted to."
And well, at the time I didn't. There wasn't really any good reason in my head for not wanting to, because I couldn't think of much that bothered me besides the speed of the relationship, the fact that we would have had to be apart for a year, and the trivial annoyance that he moved too much when we were cuddling sometimes. Still I didn't want to at the time. So I felt much better.
But then... James and I started to see each other again. The first time we saw each other again we went to a little Social Dance Club get together at the Malt Shoppe. It... was terribly awkward. I noticed again all the things I liked about him. Self, I thought. This is very strange. (That first night... Oh... I had thought I was mostly over her. I had been working on getting over her for a month after all. But, when I first saw her, it all came rushing back. I wanted to marry her, dang it, and I was willing to fight for her. And there was even a small chance it was something else I was fighting and not God's answer! -James)
But we kept seeing each other sometimes. For example, I'd see him at dance... and we'd dance... and I'd notice how much I liked being in his arms. And sometimes he would come over, because strangely enough, sometimes no one else besides him wanted to color or blow bubbles with me... Strange, Self. He likes to do a lot of the same things I do. And on Cow Appreciation Day, nobody else wanted to dress up like a cow to get free Chik-Fil-A (what the heck!?). And sometimes when I was not doing so well, I knew that at least I could turn to him for help. (For all these awesome fun things? I kept on thinking, "Dang it, girl, don't you see I'm the only one who wants to do these crazy things? Do you notice?" Sigh.... -James)
Sometime in early July, we talked some more about marriage. I clarified to him that I didn't feel good about it because I didn't want to marry him and not because God disapproved of the whole idea. I even told him that although right now I didn't really feel like marrying him, maybe after I graduated from BYU next year, things might be different and I'd feel differently. And then I could come up to Oregon to marry him. But at that point it was more musing aloud than actually seriously thinking about it. (Though, let me tell you, I couldn't have been happier. I mean, really, there WAS a chance? Amazing! It might have been a year away, but it was still there. Certainly encouraged me in my efforts! -James)
Last Sunday he wanted to go dance with me, but because I hadn't been feeling very well earlier that day, I instead invited him over to watch The Princess and the Frog at my place with a few other people. At some point he yoinked me over and we cuddled. This is probably a bad idea, Self. Oh, I know, Self, but it feels sooo good! After the movie we talked for a bit... and then it was midnight and thus time for him to leave. I got ready for bed... and then saw my phone blinking. James had messaged me suggesting we go on a walk. I thought about it briefly and accepted.
So we went walking up to the temple. But the grounds were already locked and such. So we found a bench in front of the MTC and just sat there talking for a while. Eventually our talk turned to the subject of marriage again. James admitted that he wanted to marry me. And me? Well, I admitted to him again (I'd told him before) that there was another guy I really liked.
To my shock, James was willing to play second fiddle for a while on the off-chance that I'd want to marry him eventually. This did not quite compute in my mind.
"This is crazy, James. Do you know how crazy this is? You know the odds are stacked WAY against your favor? I've liked this other guy so much for so long..." Plus, he's been one of my best friends for years.
"I know. It doesn't make any sense, I know. If you had told me a year ago that after dating a girl for two weeks, she'd break up with me, and then months later I'd be willing to be the second choice on the slim chance she won't marry her first choice, I'd call you crazy."
"It is crazy!" I replied. "Why in the heck would you do that?"
He got very serious. "Because you're amazing. And if marrying you means being second choice at first, I'll take it." (I meant every word. She IS amazing. I love her crazy much so. -James)
We eventually got home just after 5am... And I was pretty stressed out. As far as I could tell, my life was like a little Mormon soap opera. Ugh.
On Monday, I got a blessing of comfort from my sorta-brother Clifton... which basically affirmed what I already knew: both choices were good choices. I could marry James and it'd be good. Or I could pass up this opportunity and see what opportunities showed up during my last year at BYU. That would also be good. And I felt calm again. I had two very good, very different options.
On Tuesday I had an epiphany while I was at work. I was doing inventory in my section when my mind began to wander... I began to visualize my options in my head. And to my shock -- when I pictured myself marrying James I found myself grinning like a madwoman and deliriously happy inside. So I decided. Right then. I was a little terrified by my sudden change of heart and focus, but long ago I had decided that I should only make faith-based decisions and not fear-based ones. So I did my best to ignore my nerves.
Now I just had to talk to James. Which proved... well, pretty easy. He messaged me to ask if I was hungry... and I was. We went out for pizza. (And she ALMOST replied that she was going to dinner group. Silly woman! -James) And then we came to to my apartment and sat on the couch. We were not sitting very close...
"So what if we did get married?" I interrogated him with lots of questions about his career and other important matters... All satisfactory answers. Then we sat in silence for a bit.
I abruptly leaned over and cuddled him. Then I laid out the plan. "James. I'm going to the temple on Saturday morning. You should go to the temple sometime this week too. And as long as neither of us feel bad about this after that, let's get married." As far as I could tell, this took him completely by surprise. But he liked this plan so we did it. (My mind said, "WHAT THE.... HOLY HANNAH.... WHAT... BWA.... bwaaa.... breathe... .... ... ... ... YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" -James)
He went on Friday -- all was well. And I went on Saturday morning. And basically -- as soon as I sat down in the baptistry, I knew. So went I got out after a couple of hours, I could hardly drive back home I was so excited. And then I called him and told him that all was well... And after I hung up I danced around my apartment impatiently. (Sorry it took so long, I was already at the store. I just had to pick out the flowers.... -James)
Finally -- a knock on the door. I pull it open to find James down on one knee, with flowers and a ring. "Jenna, will you marry me?"
I grinned and bounced into his arms. "YES! Yes, I will, I will!"
And that's how it happened. :D (Crazy, ain't it? -James)