So the next day, I texted him. As I was doing this, I was asking myself, Why am I doing this? I wasn't in a bad mood anymore, but I wasn't in a very flirty mood, either. Hmmm...
As we text he tells me he's coming to Rumors that night (also closing night). I was glad. I wanted to him to see how funny I am. The day before in the green room I'd asked him if he was planning on seeing Rumors.
"I don't know," he said.
"Well, you should. I'm really funny," I said back.
He gave me a dead look and just nodded.
I hate you, I thought as I contemplated making out with him.
Back to the day of Rumors' closing night:
Before the show, I took the kids to a 'beach party' put on by the shakespeare festival at a reservoir in Cedar City.
I had on my swimsuit and a sleeveless dress with straps over that. The swimsuit straps were criss crossed. The dress straps went straight over my shoulders. So my sunburn looked like a road map. When I got to the theatre that night, I put on my costume which was a strapless dress and went, "Oh no!" One of my fellow actors tried to help me cover it up with stage make-up to no avail. My director, Matt, was pissed.
So show starts. Almost immediately after my entrance, I can see that Jeremy is on the front row (it was an intimate setting- the audience sits on the stage with us). Jeez...
Show is going really well. Great closing night crowd.
Jeremy is not laughing, like, at all. (Oh, by the way, Rumors is a comedy)
The show ends, and we have to strike (tear down set, etc). Jeremy sticks around to help, and we chat a bit. And of course he mentions the sunburn.
After strike, we all go to Denny's. We are sitting next to each other, and I'm telling him about my marriage. Matt happens to be sitting across the table from us with a date. Jeremy asks, "Um," glancing at Matt, who was a part of another conversation going on, "should we talk about this some other time?"
After a while, I text Jeremy, who is still sitting right next to me, "Wanna bail?"
He replies, "Yes."
So we stand up and leave together. We go to a bar that is doing karaoke that night. We drove separately and parked a few cars down from each other. I got out of my car, shut the door, and saw The Artist leaving the bar and walking in my direction. Um, um, um, um, um, um!
Jeremy hasn't gotten out of his car yet. I'm standing by my car, and The Artist looks at me. I just say, "Hello, again."
He says hello back. He's with some buddies. Where is Jeremy?
Then up walks Jeremy. Jeremy stands next to me.
"Who's this?" asks The Artist.
"This is Jeremy. Jeremy this is 'The Artist'."
Then The Artist introduces his friends. Jeremy did not know that The Artist is someone I spent some special time with...very very very recently. How could he know? And for that I was glad. But I am ready for the 3 of us to not be within the same 2 foot radius any longer.
Jeremy and I part with The Artist and buds. I shake it off and look forward to rocking' the mother freakin' haus.
Jeremy orders us each a Blue Moon. When it's my turn to sing, I go up to the stage, grab the mic, look quickly in his direction, and see that he has gotten up out of his seat and is standing, looking right at me.
The place is packed. I sing Heart's "What About Love". When I do karaoke, I make people cry. My karaoke stylings are like fine art. Like, Uffizi worthy.
The rest of the story of this night, I already wrote about. But instead of making you go back and read it, I'll repost it here:
I had had my 1/3 portion helping of a beer and so was already very tipsy. Jeremy, in is ex-mormon expertise said, "Woah, we should walk." So we walked. And we talked. And he was all serious again. And I was like, goo' thang I'ym sligh'ly drung. We sat in his car to keep talking cause it was past Cedar's curfew, and I was sober. He talked about his daughter, and I watched his heart break right in front of me. At 2am, I said, "I need to go...but I'd like to kiss you first." He did one of those things where his mouth and eyes popped open and a truncated sound came out of him (been wanting to use the word truncated for a while-NAILED IT!). I immediately apologized, "Oh, I'm sorry. You don't want to? That's oka-" "No, I do! Um, let's...get out of the car." We got out and walked around to the back of the car and bumped into each other. So we made the most of the moment and embraced. He felt all good and tall and strong! All the sudden, out of nowhere, my vagina felt like a very hungry Venus Flytrap. Yeah! Baby! (Being in my 30's, ladies, it is frikyan brilliant! Some days just putting on my shoes makes my lady parts react like that.) And we kissed. And this was a big test for me. Do we have chemistry? Cause Mama needs some action. Mama will be less likely to scream at kids tomorrow.
The kiss was better than I expected. Once we got into the kiss, he scraped his fingernails up and then down my back. It was good. I mean, it was so good. So after that I was all, "Can we go out again tomorrow?"
We went out the next night. I was really liking him. He was starting to relax around me and even get silly.
We texted the next day about how the last thing we both wanted was a relationship/let's just relax and see where this goes/we were both in a very weird head space. It helped that he was living about an hour away at the time.
Aaannnd, we managed to find a way to see each other every other night for the first couple of weeks. We could not get enough of each other. He made me laugh. I made him laugh. Chemistry was out of this world. We related so well with each other, both having Mormon backgrounds, both having such close experiences with mixed-orientation marriages. We just GOT each other. It was heaven. It was divine. Being so utterly understood- there is just nothing like it.
Having done his undergrad partly at SUU there in Cedar from '03 to '05, we had mutual friends coming out the wazoo telling me what a great guy he is, 'one of the best guys I've ever known', 'so talented and so kind', 'I really respect him', 'you are a lucky girl', 'hang on to him'.
Then, when the first whole week went by without being able to see him, I thought I was gonna die. The newness of it all was so exciting and fun and intoxicating.
After about a month, I wanted him to be...my boyfriend. I kinda roundaboutly mentioned that to him a time or two, but he would say something like, "Oh, Ash, I'm just not ready yet. Relationships end. I don't want this to end."
One night, I went to see him in St. George, where he was living. We went to a little cafe where he'd once worked. We sat outside. It was very romantic. It was dark outside and lighting was low and aesthetically pleasing. We held hands, sipped coffee, shared a dessert, shared intimate details. Then I said, "There's something I saw online today that I wanted to post on your Facebook, but I didn't think I should."
"Post it!" he said.
"Yeah, but if I do, people will think we're an item..."
"Ashley? We are an item."
When he said that to me, his gorgeous eyes were too much for me to look at. He was so beautiful that I had to look away. I chose to look down at my plate of tiramisu. And push it around the plate with my fork.
My face was so hot, I knew it would be beet red.
I said, "...wwhuuu?" still not looking. My heart was pounding. I wasn't expecting him to say this that night, and I never expected my reaction to be like this when he did.
"Of course, we are, Ashley."
"I know what I said, but I want to be with you. I want you. I choose you."
I have glanced at him a few times a this point. But now I'm back looking at my deconstructed tiramisu, not knowing what to say.
Then he continues, "And we're together all the time...at least as much as we can be. I'm not seeing anyone else or interested in seeing anyone else. I think we're pretty incredible together."
And like a little girl, I coyly raised my head, and said, "Me, too."
I drove home a little bit later. When I got home, I texted him, "Are you my boyfriend?"
His text back said, "Isn't that what being an item means?"
I was smiling so big and so HARD, like kid actor on Barney hard. I was glad no one could see me.
After a full two months of dating, he got an apartment in Cedar City. His old buddies in Off the Cuff let him get involved with that, he had friends/a support system still in Cedar from years before that knew him when he was struggling in his marriage, he had lots of good reasons to move back to Cedar at that time. I was a very happy girl.
His first morning there, I picked him up for breakfast. It was a grey, misty October morning. Crisp. Low wispy clouds clinging to the mountains. And I think I was falling in love with Jeremy.