I realize writing this all in this much detail is probably way too much for anyone to read. I make no apologies. I'm writing this for me. And Aaron. Mostly for Aaron. So that I can call this his Valentine's Day present.
And so Aaron fell in love with the back of my head. He would watch me run my fingers through my long dark hair and imagine that some day we'd make gorgeous little babies together. No. Actually that's not how it happened at all. But I like to pretend. Really I fell in love with his insightful comments. His witty retorts. His confidence. And something about his smile, and those dark brown eyes.
Emotionally I was getting to a really good place at this time in my life. I was doing all the right things. Going to church, reading my scriptures, saying my prayers. I felt close to my Heavenly Father. I think that's why He let me know early I was going to marry Aaron. I had this crush on Aaron for weeks and pined for him to ask me out. I walked with him after class, stopping occasionally for a Jamba Juice, just trying to stretch the time with him. In my previous dating endeavors, I had grown to believe that if I acted too interested in a guy he suddenly lost interest in me. So, I was not going to be the one to ask Aaron out first. I thought constantly about how to act just interested in him enough, so that he would ask me out, but not seem clingy or desperate. But then came the moment. The moment where I looked back over my shoulder at him during class and our eyes met for a brief second. Something silently was said between us. And I felt something tell me I would marry him. Our conversations at this point never delved any deeper then what's your major, nor lasted longer than 10 minutes. But I knew I was going to marry him. From then on I stopped worrying about how to get Aaron to ask me out. I just knew it would all work out.
And then one Wednesday after Spring Break it happened. We were walking our usual route when Aaron somewhat nervously told me that he had wanted to ask me to the Easter Pageant before Spring Break. But the day he was going to ask me I had taken off so fast after class he didn't have a chance to ask. I apologized for my quick departure and happily suggested we get together another time. I was incredibly nervous and gave him the wrong phone number. I told him my old house number. I hadn't used that number in years. As soon as I finished saying it I realized I had said the wrong number, and had to tell him I was an idiot and just said the wrong number. I then gave him the correct number, but Aaron thought I was messing with him and giving him a rejection hotline or something. I got his number as well, and was forced to use it sooner than I had planned.
I got home from school that day and was absolutely giddy. I told my roommate the whole story. To which she replied, "Lauren you have to call him right now and ask him to go to the movies tonight!" To which I replied, "NO WAY!" Remember that whole acting too interested thing... I was certain if I called Aaron right then, just a couple hours after he gave me his number, he would think I was crazy. And desperate. And would never want to talk to me again. But Audrey and her boyfriend were only off this one night for the next two weeks. If we were going to go on a double date it had to be that night. She wouldn't leave me alone about it. Her and Stevenson blockaded my computer and TV until I finally gave in and agreed to call him. On one condition - it wasn't a date! I was not calling him and asking him on a date. I was just calling to ask him to hang out, as friends.
So I called, and Aaron answered. I tried to sound casual. Told him my roommate and "some friends" were going to the movies tonight and asked him if he wanted to come. Aaron of course, assumed I was asking him on a date and came over to pick me up dressed all snazzy and smelling so good. And so he was completely confused when I tried to ask our home teachers to come with us as well (they declined, as they were previously instructed to do. I was just trying to avoid making this seem like a date). We got dinner first at a cute little restaurant next to the theater. But I didn't order any food. Because then it would have been like dinner and a movie, and that's a date. But if I just drank water and insisted I wasn't hungry, well then it wasn't a date. It made sense in my head.
After our not-dinner-dinner, we walked over to the theater. The movie didn't start for another hour or so. Aaron and I decided to go for a little walk around the parking lot. On that walk a lot of the nerves started to settle. Conversation came easily. We just got to know each other, playing a question game. We asked each other every question under the sun that hour. Starting with silly things like what animal would you be, and ending with serious things like, what's one thing no one else knows about you. We almost didn't go into the movie, we were having so much fun talking. But in the end we decided Audrey and Stevenson might worry about us if we didn't show up for the movie.
When the movie (Guess Who) was over Aaron drove me home in his beautiful red truck (I miss that truck). We stood there awkwardly in my parking lot trying not to let the night end. I made a lame comment about the amount of stars compared to the stars in New Jersey. Aaron told me that some day he would take me to Saguaro Lake, if I really wanted to see stars. "Someday? Why not right now?" I asked. There were a million reasons why not right now. For one it was already pretty late, and I had a job interview at 8:00 the next morning. For two, I probably shouldn't have gotten in the car with a guy I pretty much barely knew and let him drive me out to the middle of nowhere, with no one else knowing where I was. And that's not even close to a million reasons, but it's at least two good ones. We didn't let that stop us though. We made the 40 minute drive out to Saguaro Lake and continued our question game. We laughed and talked and for the first time since I got to Arizona I was comfortable.
Saguaro Lake was beautiful. And he was right. There were a ton of stars. We walked down to the pier and Aaron gave me his sweatshirt. We silently watched the stars. I noticed he was cold, and I offered a hug to warm him up. I fit perfectly into his arms, with my head on his chest. This person I had never touched before, and yet it felt familiar and perfect. We held each other for a while, and when I went to pull my arms back from around him my CTR ring somehow flew off my finger and fell to the bottom of the lake.
It seemed significant that this ring would fall off here, never to be seen again. Somewhat foreshadowing of the ring that would come here, just four weeks later.