No, it was NOT eHarmony, part 4.

And the saga continues.  Part 1 is located here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.

After that first date, I went through the “will he or won’t he call?” phase.  Even though I wasn’t at the point of feeling an absolute determination to see him again NO-MATTER-WHAT, I was interested and of course, no girl wants to be left hanging with no call after a date.  Will had appeared to have a good time, but I didn’t know for sure.

I didn’t have to wait for long to find out whether Will wanted a second date.  The following morning, while checking my email, I saw that Will had sent me an email late the night before letting me know he had gotten back home safely and had really enjoyed our time together.  Towards the end he casually says, “Let me know if you want to do that again sometime.”, adding that he would enjoy getting together again very much.  Like Will, I was not one for playing games, so I responded back that morning and let him know that I had enjoyed getting to know him better.  At the end of my email, I let him know that I would be interested in going out again as well.

Our phone calls continued on a daily basis, as did the emails, and it didn’t take long for Will to find another opportunity to see me.  I now know how strategic he was being, but at the time, was pretty clueless as to why January 30th was a good time for a second date.  Will invited me to see where he lives- now, before you get any ideas, his grandmother lived next door to him so I was to meet and stay with her while visiting him.  This gave me the opportunity to learn more about him in his own environment and to meet some of his family.  I referred to a strategy above.  That strategy was inviting me to come visit him while his parents had taken his nieces to Disney World.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very fond of Will’s parents, but Will knew his father could be overwhelming and decided to ease me in by letting me meet Novie (his beloved grandmother) first.

So I prepared to visit Will at his home and meet his grandmother, bringing an African violet along with me as a gift for her.  I was incredibly nervous about meeting her because I already knew how much Will cared for her…and I was also nervous about seeing Will again.  During one of our phone calls, Will had asked my permission to kiss me when he saw me again, which left me a mess as I wondered about all the things I assume girls wonder about with the possibility of a first kiss (and oh how I admired that he had asked my permission).

Will gave me perfect directions and I’ll never forget pulling into his driveway and knocking on his door.  Will let me in and showed me around his home.  After the tour,  he held my hand as we walked next door to his grandmother’s house due to the layer of ice on the ground.  I enjoyed meeting Novie very much and my nerves continued to ease through the evening.  Will and I went out to dinner and then came back to his house to watch a movie so we wouldn’t disturb Novie.  Falling in love with Will was a gradual process for me, but I do remember that process taking a quick leap forward as he did a variety of impressions for me in the car (John Wayne and his canadian voice being two of my favorites).  A sense of humor in a man always got me.  Anyway, back at his house, we ended up watching Anti-trust and it was during that movie that Will and I kissed for the first time.  It was a simple, sweet kiss, but I was amazed at how perfect it was.  Looking back now, I am not a bit surprised.  What else should I expect when God made us for each other?

After the movie, Will walked me over to his grandmother’s house and we sat and talked quietly on the couch in her living room.  Now, it may already be apparent that Will doesn’t wait around, but it was still quite a shock when, on this second date,  he took my hand and told me that he loved me and knew he was going to marry me.

Yes, you read that correctly.

So how did I respond to this?  After my Will bares his heart and soul in declaring his love for me, I say…”thank you”.

I didn’t want to say “I love you” back because I wasn’t yet sure I felt that way and so out popped “Thank you”.  Good thing Will is persistent and did/does love me, or that could have stopped him in his tracks!

I remained in stun-gun mode after that and woke up the next day still feeling shocked.  After I showered and dressed I came out of his grandmother’s guest room to discover Will sitting with his grandmother at the breakfast table.  It is a sweet memory to this day, as I remember our love story taking another leap forward as I watched Will interact with his grandmother.  His obvious love and concern for her touched me and revealed a great deal of his character.  After eating breakfast with them, Will and I spent some additional time together, and then it was time for me to drive back to Columbia, SC.  I had homework to get to before classes resumed.

I was so flustered from my time with Will that I made a wrong turn getting out of Raleigh and it took me a bit to get re-oriented.  I called my friend Tracey as I drove to update her on how things had gone and to process the fact that Will had told me he knew he was going to marry me.

Now may be a good time to share that, a year or so before I had met Will, a friend of mine in my undergraduate social work program had flat-out told me (prophesied?) one day that I was going to marry a pastor.  A few weeks before I met Will, my mom had told me she thought this as well.  Needless to say, the fact that Will was a youth pastor did not go unnoticed, particularly after our second date…