Sunday, January 31, 2010

Our Story - Part III

Thursday, September 4th, 2008
He could not fall asleep. He was far to anxious for their meeting the following day. He tried to occupy his mind with reading, or t.v. but nothing could calm his nerves. Finally, at 3 AM he left Charlotte, North Carolina, where he had now been for 6 weeks to complete his Masters of Divinity. The 8 hours that lay between him and this new interest quickly passed (though he did stop halfway through the trip to sleep for a couple of hours)
Friday, September 5th, 2008
The Willeke house, in the meantime, was a hub of excitement. The 5 boys had already dubbed this new friend, “Just Friends Dan,” following a conversation Ashlee had with Nathan on the subject. It went something like this:
“So, who is this guy?” (asked rather casually, but with every intention of getting exactly the answer intended)
A casual response was given, and a general description followed.
“You like him?” (lets just cut to the chase already, huh?)
“O. Just friends?”
“Hmm… So, he’s like… ‘just friends Dan’?”

Ashlee did her best to keep the morning normal—though changing her clothes three times certainly wasn’t normal, and walking to the front door every half hour was not either. As afternoon came her adrenalin began to rise. He said he’d be here around 2. He’s a guy, he’ll be here around 3.
2 o’clock passed.
The clock was fast approaching 3pm… and the doorbell rang.
Angela, for reasons still unknown to all who witnessed, screamed and ran to hide in the kitchen. The boys casually walked to the front door and peered out the windows to evaluate, without any intention of inviting the visitor in. Finally, leaving the baby on the landing of the steps only half dressed, Ashlee pulled open the front door, then jumped back to get Anna before greeting Daniel for the first time.
Naturally, their eyes met. They hugged. It was over. Eventually everyone else made their introductions. He already had all their names memorized. (Impressive, huh?)
They passed the afternoon as any two friends would. They made cookies, talked, watched the kids outside. They talked past 1 am Friday night, she telling him why she was at home, and not at college. Although, months later, with a ring on her finger, she referred back to the conversation and he was completely clueless. Kind of just lost in the moment?

Saturday, September 6th, 2008
Their first Scrabble game. He insisted they play on teams—Angela and Peter, Daniel and Ashlee, and they disagreed how their names sounded best together “Ashlee and Daniel,” he said, “Daniel and Ashlee,” she insisted.
But the worst was yet to come… Angela and Peter, because of their long-distance relationship, had yet to have been out on a date. For various reasons, Mr. and Mrs. Willeke did not want them going alone, and so requested that Daniel and Ashlee to accompany them. But not sit with them, Angela insisted. So reservations were made for a classy Italian restaurant, the girls got dressed up, the guys made themselves handsome, and 5 o’clock rolled around.
Ashlee agreed to the arrangement mostly for her sister’s sake, knowing how important the night out would be for her. In her thinking she reasoned, if she had no feelings for this guy, going out, sitting at a table alone, should be no big deal…. Riiight?
So why was her stomach in knots before she had even freshened her make-up?

Proceeding dinner Ashlee was adamant: THIS IS NOT A DATE. Daniel only laughed, “So it’s a non-date?”  She said that was fine enough, so long as it wasn’t a date. So, it was dubbed their “non-date,” though they both privately acknowledged the outing had all the elements of a real date.
As they sat down at a small table for two, she told him she’d never been to dinner with a guy before this. He was the first. Though he had resolved before leaving Charlotte that he would not let his emotions or subjective feelings out during the course of the weekend, the atmosphere and her obvious anxiety made him slip. With a charming sort of smile he said, “Well, I’d much rather be on a non-date with you than on a real date with any other girl.”

Ooops. :-P

He got the speech about how she wasn’t ready for a relationship, and was happy just to be friends, and hoped she wasn’t leading him to believe she wanted or hoped for more than that…Who cared what she thought? He wanted and hoped for more.

During dinner Daniel presented her with a 5 disc collection of hymns and praise songs, complied to follow the order of worship—beginning with praise to the Lord, then lamentation for sin, songs of the cross and resurrection, then of the Christian life and walk, and then of the Church and her glorification. It was accompanied by a sweet little note about how much he had grown to appreciate her as a sister in Christ.
She loved all of them, and spent the next week listening to and memorizing each song on all 5 discs.
Her take home box that night was more than half full, and when he suggested ice cream (at Coldstone!) she nearly gagged, and politely declined.

Sunday they turned heads, naturally. He was full of talk of how they appeared to be a couple-- walking in together, sitting together during service, and then sitting together (without her family, even) through Sunday school. She justified it easily-- who else would he sit with? The baby? He couldn't have gone to the high school class with Nick, and etc.
He was just plain excited.

That afternoon saying goodbye was actually more emotional than either of them had anticipated. He had to fight tears as he drove down the interstate (though he didn't actually admit to it until months later), and when they met again because he had forgotten his glasses, contact solution and a few other necessities (which made her laugh good-naturedly-- he actually was a real, typical guy), she impulsively hugged him goodbye again, without intending to.

He left that weekend determined to pursue a friendship, in the hopes of something more, very soon. Her expectation for the weekend was left still grey. She had hoped the encounter would have been a deciding factor, but despite all the wonderful things about the weekend she felt no more inclined or disinclined to attach herself to him. He was still just friends Dan.

           be continued...

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