The week of our first date, we had two dates that followed. The second was at his apartment where he cooked Eggplant Parmesan for me. I insisted on helping, so he let me do a few things! It was in that kitchen as we cooked together when he stole his first kiss.
That Saturday his brother's band, Walker Lukens and the Sidearms, was playing a show in Houston. Nathan asked me to be his date. He later prepped me for the night, letting me know I'd be meeting most of his immediate family...no pressure.
His family does everything first class. We had a lovely dinner, VIP passes, and a private spot at the bar. Everyone was so welcoming. As nervous as I was to meet so many people he was close to, they went above and beyond to make sure I felt comfortable.
A few drinks in and I found myself spending the most time with his father. He spoke so highly of Nathan, his oldest son who he also works with. He shared some of the hurt they've all felt and triumphed over, how much of a support Nathan had been for him, what a wonderful son/brother/father he was, and how big of a heart he genuinely had. It was after that conversation that I knew if everything Brian said was true, Nathan would be the man I could love forever.
That night we took our first photo together. I still remember when I bought that dress.
As most of you know, Nathan lost his mother at age 11. Because of this, he tends to get sentimental when reminiscing about anything from the 90's. Some of his favorite memories revolve around watching Robin Williams movies with his mom. Hook, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Jumanji, etc. He loves them all. Robin Williams is his favorite comedian.
The day it was announced that Robin Williams had passed, Nathan texted me, broken-hearted. I simply told him to come see me. And he did. He later told me it was in that moment that he knew he loved me. And it was the kind of love he'd only felt one other time in his life. This time it was true.
We had been dating for a month before Nathan invited me out to his grandma's lake house. Visiting the Wakeman lake house is one of Nathan's favorite past times, a vault of his favorite childhood memories. He'd been going there since he was born and over time it had become his safe place, the one place that was constant in his life.
I remember shopping for the perfect lakehouse dress, inviting our friends Lakyn and Jim, and the extra 10 minutes I spent on my makeup before he picked me up. Giddy like a school girl, wearing my new dress, I blushed as he opened his truck door for me. He always does that: opens my door and pulls out my chair. To this day, I appreciate it just as much as the first time.
The drive up to Lakeview Estates was beautiful, especially on that perfect day. Summer was ending and a nice breeze graced my cheeks as we drove with the windows down. Clear blue sky with a faint brush of clouds, hundred year old oak trees, hills, green pastures as far as the eye could see...the drive was a little piece of heaven.
As we opened the door to the lakehouse I felt as if I was walking into a boutique bed and breakfast. Vintage pieces along the walls, quirky nick knacks on the counter tops, and my handsome man beaming from ear to ear, 'This is the life,' I thought.
And then...Drip. Drip. Drip. Uh oh.
Nathan spotted a leak coming from a portion of the ceiling in between the dining room and the living room, right where the carpet starts. As he went over to inspect it, he stepped on the carpet and then, SQUISH. The carpet was soaked. About a two foot span of the ceiling had roughly 1.5 inches of water flowing from the ceiling and dripping onto the carpet. This had been going on for some time, at this point there was a three foot diameter of carpet that was completely drenched.
Determined not to let anything ruin our weekend, I found some towels and started drying off what I could while Nathan inspected the leak. When the AC kicked on we heard a rattle indicating the HVAC got clogged which caused a leak in the spare bedroom upstairs and also put the AC out of commission. Still, we were determined not to let anything ruin our weekend.
We found more towels, we turned on all of the fans, opened the windows, and dedicated about an hour to getting the house back in order (all things considered). Once we felt settled in, we decided to go out to the boat house to enjoy the stars and moonlight on the water. After taking the boat for a spin and finishing off a bottle of champagne, we decided to get extra adventurous.
We parked the boat and ran up to the roof of the boat house, jumped on top of the railing and plunged bottoms first into the water. He hadn't done that since high school. Once we both came up for air, he grabbed me and kissed me about seven times. It was in that moment he told me he loved me for the first time. He couldn't have had better timing…talk about "moon river"!