Emcee & Me

After all of that heaviness, I was looking forward to the next time I got to see Owen. I waited a week and a half before making the 5 hour drive once again. I met up with my best friends. We head to get the best shaved ice margaritas while the men are at work. Owen took the whold day off and works to make sure that each couple has their hotel room, and to ensure us girls have a room to get ready in. He’s “The Voice of the Thunder” so he has to head to rehearsal before the rest of us even need to be ready. He’s extra bummed because the other boys got delayed at work-he takes two shots with me and Barbie. He seems a little grumpy but he surprises me with a beautiful arrangement of peonies in our room.

HLM, Barbie, and I are lucky enough that BadAss Hairstylist flew done to help us with our hair and makeup. She’s been one of our best friends for years and has all of the being-a-girl talent that we lack. I recently died my hair white-blonde and picked out a sleek ice blue gown with a sharp racerback in the front and back too. She develops this wavy tucked braid and beautiful big eyelashes and I look like Elsa from Frozen and Khaleesi from Game of Thrones. I feel elegant and stylish and uniquely beautiful. Barbie and I walk down the hall to pick up Owen and Ken and their room is filled with 8 guys getting ready in their dress blues. Owen is sitting down putting his shoes on, catches a glimpse of me, and his mouth drops into a big O before grinning.

I love being on his arm. I love dressing up. We float downstairs and join the crowds. Owen is charming and funny and I can tel that everyone loves him. They’re eager to say hi and introduce their dates and he’s excited to introduce me. We make our way down to the ballroom and get in the receiving line. Owen is nervous when we are about to shake all of the fancy leaders’ hands and their wives/partners. He tells me that it’s polite to saya quick greeting but move on quickly. I start to do that, but the one head guy apologizes for having to steal my date away for the ceremony but I make a joke about not expecting anything less. Then he tells me that because of the inconvenience to me that “Lt Pedersen is ordered to dance any dance you want” and we go back and forth naming different ones- waltz, two step, break dance, etc. He’s very friendly and I am sure to compliment his wife’s gown and we discuss that for a minute. I chat with each successive couple for quite a few minutes and by the time we’re done, there is no other soldier and date in front of us. Whoops! Did I talk too long? Will he be upset? Instead, I catch Owen staring at me and grinning. We find our assigned seats and he looks at me immediately saying “you are so perfect. I wouldn’t want to be here with anyone else. Man. You are perfect.”

The rest of the night was just perfect. Owen stands up at the front, being the perfect emcee. Normally, I get second hand embarrassed for people, but Owen is smart and capable and I don’t think twice about him standing up in front of everyone. We eat the decent food an dance the whole time to the not as awesome band and take pictures with our friends. We get Whataburger with Kar and Jason and I almost fall asleep at the table. We’re exhausted and head straight to sleep.

The next day we get up to drive to East Texas. My sweet nephew was having his second birthday-it was Wild West themed. Owen digs in his closet to find cowboy boots to match the theme. We pull up onto their property and immediately have my sweet submissive dog get in a fight with the ranch dog, my 9 year old niece bounds up to hug us, and then Owen locks his keys in the car. He is gentle in his reaction, not freaking out or making a big deal- just accepting it. He ends up calling USAA and they come unlock his car-seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We take photobooth pictures and eat barbeque and spend time with my family. Eventually, the other guests start to clear out. We decide to take a ride around the 53 acres on the four wheeler. I hop on to drive first and we zoom over the rough ground, making our way to the back corner. The wheat like grass is long and soft and waving in the small breeze. The sky is huge and bright blue and there are well groomed, peaceful ranches on all sides of us. I park the four wheeler and turn around on the seat. He’s wearing his Stetson and I duck under it to kiss him. I feel like I’m holding my breathe and my mind is going a mile a minute. I don’t say anything out loud and neither does he. Owen looks at me sweetly, puts his Stetson on my head and says “Barbie was wrong last night. Whoever wears my Stetson doesn’t necessarily wear the pants. You put your Stetson on the woman who has your heart.” I pause. Is he? Will he? Right now? Where are those three words? This man. Tellmetellmetellme.

It’s pure silence.

I sigh in my head and think “well, he’s not ready I guess”
He says “Hannah. I love you”

It stops my heart. And my racing mind. “I love you too” races out of my mouth.

“I love you. I’m in love with you. I love everything about you.” he whispers in between kisses.

This man. “Finally”, I say in my head.
I think.
I may have said it out loud.

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I Already Know

Our drive up to meet his parents and some of his siblings is rough. Right before we got in our separate cars he had been super impatient. He had been impatient all weekend. Owen was stressed that his friends weren’t doing anything fun. He wanted everyone to get moving. Instead of helping people along and being kind and generous with his behaviors, he would charge ahead, leaving other people to carry all of the things. Frustration without helpful actions. I was tired of it. I hadn’t said anything all weekend, but now that we were alone, I snapped.

His whole demeanor changed. I automatically knew that I had cut deep. I apologized for snapping but the damage was done. He said he was fine and got in his car.

Twenty minutes in to the drive, he calls me.

“I’m not okay”- O

“I know”- LD

“You are 100 percent right. If I’m going to be impatient, I could also be helpful. You’re right. However, you could have told me this when we were hanging out with Big Sexy and HLM or with BFF and BFF’s Wife. Literally, any other time than right before I take someone home to meet my family for the first time. I’ve been looking forward to this. And now I have to figure out how to get over this so my parents don’t notice that something is wrong. Gah, Le Distraire. Any other time.”- O

He’s right. I could have continued to be patient. Shit. He is crushed because apparently he’s nervous. He’s denied it this whole time. But I know he is. Especially now. Mister Chill Fun Party Guy is actually Stressed Out Planner Control Guy.

“I’m truly sorry Owen. I know what this means to you. I wasn’t planning my timing. I made a mistake and let it just come out. I was frustrated and exhausted from this weekend and I messed up. I’m not perfect. I can’t always plan everything. And I’m sorry”-O

We go back and forth a few more times with him reiterating how important this day was. Like I don’t know that. Like I haven’t been a saint of a girlfriend with a smile and open arms for all of his crazy. I’M FUCKING EXHAUSTED. And also sad. Is there anything worse than hurting someone you care about? We talk like this until he’s good and fine. I’ve apologized 5 different ways and he feels good. Me? I’m crying. I’m so tired. Is this what a relationship is? I’ve forgotten how much work they can be. Does he not want me to meet his family now? I would hate that.

“I’m so sorry Owen. We’re about to hit the split in the highway where I could go left to my sister’s…I have been so excited to meet your family. And I was super happy and excited to show you off to my family. I wouldn’t want this moment to feel obligatory to you. If you want, I can go to my sisters?”- LD

“Le Distraire. No. Stop. I don’t ever want you to ask something like that ever again. I am so proud of you and happy that you’re the person I’m taking home. It’s ridiculous that you think so little of us and how committed I am to you that you would question that. I’m bringing you home and that’s it. I said what I needed to say and heard what I needed to hear and I’m okay now. Are you okay?”

I whiff out a little huff. I’m okay. We hang up. I attempt to de puff my red cried out face.

We get there, and I’m immediately greeted by 2 of his 4 brothers. They hug and look thrilled to see him. Immediately, I love seeing him relax. I walk in to a kitchen full of his family. His mom hands me a blended margarita in a “dog lover’s” glass. It’s loud and goofy and diverse and relaxed and obnoxious and everything I thought it would be.

I jump from person to person, especially the ones that married into the family. It’s always good to win those ones over. His mom is quick to ask me lots of questions and stick close. Owen pours himself too much whiskey in his drinks. They all drink a little too much. You can see where he gets it. His stepdad observes me from afar. He doesn’t ask me much. His fully biological brother turns out to be my favorite. He’s sweet and you can tell that his and Owen have a special bond. Owen sits outside with some of his family and they ask if my family is religious. He tells them about our mission trips in the Philippines when I was younger. I get nervous that they’re asking him about this. And hoping that he is gracious and kind about it and doesn’t secretly berate it with him. Later, I joke that he was “talking shit about me outside earlier”. He responds with “oh no no. Only good things” and smiles. It makes me feel better. That night its just his parents, his sweet brother, and me left. We eat leftovers and watch a movie.

We climb in to the same bed that night (I still can’t with this. I don’t care if its a religious thing or not, it still feels very weird to do this at someone’s parents house). I can tell he’s relaxed and feels better. I do too. It’s nice to see how much his family loves each other. We wake up next to each other and he’s just staring at me. We don’t talk. Just holding each other close and kissing and touching and its all very quiet and intimate and pressed together. I’m thinking about how overwhelmed I feel with learning so much about him. About how different our backgrounds are. About how we handle stress and old friendships and deep family connections. And I’m fascinated and scared by how close I still feel to him. I know he’s in love with me. I know I’m in love with him. I’ve been saving myself for a long time. I thought about letting that go with the last guy I dated. But I waited. That morning, we were close. He held me tight and told me how stunning I am. Smart. Wonderful. Beautiful. That he was crazy about me. But he wanted it to be perfect. I did too. I knew that. I also knew it felt like the loveliest feeling to desire someone and also to be in love with them. He holds me back, staring at me with his big brown eyes. He gapes his mouth a few times like he’s going to speak. He doesn’t. I ask him what’s wrong? Is he mad at me? He laughs and whispers he’s the furthest thing from mad. But he’ll tell me later.

Okay, darling. But I already know.

I love you too.