Annika & Nick

Please enjoy this little guest post from Annika of A Sweet Release.

I may wear dresses and like to curl my hair, but as far as inward emotions are concerned, I'm so not a girly girl that it might be safe for you to just think of me as a guy. I like football and fast cars and when it comes to girl drama I wish I could take the route of a man: Throw a few punches, take out your aggression and be done with it. None of that catty crap, please and thank you. But, the one thing that always brings my girly side out, is love stories.

I love hearing how people met. I love when someone marries their High School sweetie (though thank God I didn't marry mine). I just love, love. Nick's and my love story is not your typical one. Maybe not even a romantic one. Actually, it's much like our interaction on a daily basis, goofy with a ting of awkward.

After calling it quits with my ex for about the 50th time (don't look back ladies. It's a vicious cycle.) I completely swore off men. Love had not been kind to me. It told me mean things, it lied to me, broke my heart into a thousand pieces and then made me out to be a horrible human being when I finally stove up for myself and left. And then at the tender but well seasoned age of 22, my mom told me my parents were separating after 20 some odd years of marriage. But that's another story. My theory on life became to love myself and have my own dreams before incorporating anyone else. Sure, I went on dates, heck, I even liked a few guys! But for the most part, if things got even slightly committed, I bolted. In a final attempt to get away from the toxic ex and into the arms of my grand dreams of being a museum director, I began the move away from Daytona and onto the bright lights in the big city of Orlando.

Now let's backtrack a little bit. At the same time I was with Senior Toxic, Nick was dating a guitar strumming lady with the heart of a gypsy. She wrote him love songs, stole his heart, then got uncomfortable with being comfortable and left. I can't say how this made him feel. That's not my love story to tell. But, at the risk of sounding incredibly selfish: I'm glad it happened. Because, about 6 months after this happened, the little heart broken boy joined an online dating website around the same time as the recently embittered girl. Yup. Bet you never thought we were THAT couple, did you!? 

Online dating success story tip: a lot of online dating services work on a rating system of how compatible you and your matches are. While I'm sure these are worth a second thought sometimes, don't make a high compatibility percentage your final deciding factor. Nick and I were only 67%. One of the worst first dates I have ever been on was with a 94%. You do the math.

One evening I received a message on said website that simple said:

Too familiar for me not to message you.
Jul 7, 2009 – 3:47am

I of course was offended because I knew exactly where he knew me from. He was a year ahead of me in the same photography program while we both lived in Daytona. I thought he was dreamy, he had now made it PAINFULLY obvious he had never even noticed me. I toyed with the delete key and the thought of just ignoring him completely before deciding on what I thought was a snide response.

Jul 7, 2009 – 12:59pm
I do believe we went to school together. I graduated the DSC photo program last year

I'm obviously either not very good at snide or he wasn't very good at taking a hint and messaged me back… again. And I did the same. 

Finally, one night the inevitable happened... I got drunk and gave him my phone number. 

What were you thinking, Annika!?

This boys reputation greatly preceded him in his time in the tiny beach side city with nothing better to do than gossip and I wasn't sure if he was a complete playboy or gay. Either way, I just wasn't having it. I had enough gay BFFs to last me a lifetime and had no interest in wasting my time on a male trollop. So he texted and I ignored. He invited me out and I made up excuses not to go. This cycle continued and lucky for me the broken hearted boy persisted in trying to woo the love bitterer girl. One evening however, my excuses became a bit too specific. 

The conversation started out normal enough,

"Hey! What are you up to tonight? You should come downtown with some friends and I! ;)"

Stupid winky faces. Who did this boy think I was?! 

"Sorry, I have a friends in town and we are out at Cantina! Another night maybe?"

Note giving the name of the bar we were at. 

"Oh really? Well we are at i-bar so I'll see you in 10 minutes! :)"

Wait. Did he say i-bar? As in… the bar across the street from the one we're at? Shit. I panicked. As luck (or fate) would have it, I was dressed to the nines on the night I met the love of my life and it was actually the first time I had ever been stood up. Yup. I should have had another boy on my arm that night and I was NOT in the mood to play unenthusiastic footsie with a guy I wasn't even interested in. I tried to get my friends to leave and go to another bar with me and failed. Enter, three totally hipstered out boys moving through the crowd of drunks as if on a mission from god. They bought my girlfriends and I drinks, they charmed, they took cheesy bar pictures with us and we danced the night away. And when they left, I received endless crap from my friends for being so hesitant of these super fun guys that had graced us with their presence. 

I still wasn't convinced though. He was too cute and too nice and in my experience, what seemed too good to be true, probably was. But, by this time I had officially moved into my tiny apartment in Orlando and the girls I had planned to move with had yet to join me. So after spending too many nights alone in a barren 3 bedroom apartment in what had seemed to be an okay neighborhood (mental note, when moving do a drive by of how the neighborhood is at night next time) I was desperate for any sort of human interaction. One evening Nick messaged me yet again to see if I was interested in being shown around my new city and for once, he didn't get turned down. The way he presented this didn't seem like a date at all. It seemed like he was just being nice and based on how he carried himself and dressed the one night we had hung out before, I was leaning more towards gay than true playboy.

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 hot dog (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. 

Oh and in case you were wondering, this whole thing was a little over 2 years ago and their have been many dates since that fateful night. He's my best friend, the love of my life and the one who taught me that not all good things are too good to be true. Somethings, are just good. Oh, and most of the time they come around when you aren't looking for them.

Thanks for the awesome guest post, Annika! Read more about her at A Sweet Release.

1 comment

Louise Cazley said... November 18, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Very nice!! You just never know how or when fate will work in your favor.

~Louise C.

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