25 Steps To the Altar
"I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you." – Roy Croft

1: Him

You caught me staring at you the first time we met. I don't remember why I was staring, but I do believe your exact words were, "tormented by my beauty?"

I smirked at the comment.

I thought short, skinny Asian girls with thick-rimmed glasses and flat chests were supposed to be shy. Not to sound too conceited, but I figured that they'd stutter at the sight of a good-looking jock like me.

You haven't stopped surprising me ever since.

And, I have to admit, I liked it.

2: Her

The first time we met, I caught you staring at me.

I told myself not to say anything stupid. Don't act like an idiot. Don't -absolutely don't- stutter. But, before I could even stop myself, I asked you if you were "tormented by my beauty".

I would have face-palmed right then and there if you actually responded, but you just smirked. Your bright green eyes focused solely on me.

Honestly, you seemed more amused by my comment than disturbed.

I think that was the first time that I felt like I could truly act like myself. I could be my weird, slightly sarcastic, abnormal myself and you just played along instead of mocking me... I liked that.

3: Him

I found out that you were also in my upper division history class the second time we met,

I couldn't believe it at first. Not because I thought you were stupid or anything like that. I figured you were Asian so you had to be smart, but you looked like one of those high school kids. I could barely believe that I met you on a college campus let alone believe that you weren't jail-bait.

So I asked you how old you were. You acted like it was a game.

"How old do you think I am?" you responded with that sarcastic mouth of yours.

"Five," I countered.

The look on your face was priceless as you responded with an "I wish!"

In return, I answered with, "Seventeen?"

I knew it was a long shot, but, quite frankly, you looked seventeen.

Even when you feigned hurt over my answer, I could only smirk in amusement.

"You make me sad..." you said with added dramatics. "We're in college."

So I continued our little game by asking you if you were eighteen then nineteen. When your lip twitched at my last answer, I bumped my guess up one to which you exclaimed, "¡Si, Correcto!", drawing the undivided attention of nearby students.

You didn't care though. You ignored them and went on to tell me that I deserved a golden star.

Suddenly, you began to dig through your bag and with a wide Cheshire grin you pulled out a tiny, red origami star.

You said, "But I have a red one," in this rather soft voice.

At that very moment I thought you were weird, crazy, and certifiably insane.

I was pretty sure that I didn't want to date you, but I knew that I wanted to get to know you.

4: Her

The third time we met, I was pretty sure it was fate.

It was the week of mid-terms. I, stupidly, procrastinated for my Geology mid-term so I spent the whole night (and most of the morning) before our fateful day trying to cram as much as possible into my head.

I don't know how I did it but I somehow replaced the basic need to eat with information about fault slippage and sedimentology.

Needless to say, my last real meal was a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch from the morning before and I was STARVING.

I was in line to pay for plate of oddly shaped pancakes and two pieces of bacon from the school's so-called "cafeteria" when I realized that I forgot my wallet at home.

Honestly, I didn't particularly care about the humiliation of returning my food. I didn't care about the odd looks from other students or the flash of disapproval from the cafeteria lady as I backed out of the line. But, I was hungry. And, it was not just your normal I-haven't-eaten-since-breakfast type of hungry either. It was one of those I'm-gonna-kill-a-squirrel-because-I'm-so-freaking-hungry type of hungry.

I walked out of that cafeteria in defeat. My stomach was grumbling like a beast and that was all I could think about. I didn't even notice you were in the cafeteria until I walked right into you.

When you first asked me if I ate yet, I wanted to cry.

When you asked me to go grab some food with you, I was skeptical.

When you asked me what I wanted to eat, I started to have some hope.

When you bought a huge breakfast burrito with side of potatoes, sausage and bacon, two glasses of orange juice, and a cup of fruits, I drooled a little bit.

When you gave me half of everything and let me have all of the bacon, I think I pretty much fell in love.

5: Him

One week after our breakfast together I was standing in front of our history class debating whether or not to go in.

You tapped me on the shoulder and said, "You know the road is full of flat squirrels who couldn't make up their mind. You gonna go in or what?"

I told you that I was deciding and you responded with, "So what? You're waiting for a sign or something?"

To be honest, I wasn't really listening to you after that. You were looking up at me with those big, dark brown doe eyes that I couldn't help but wonder how your body would fit against mine. I stood at a pretty good height of 6'2" and I figured that I was at least a full foot taller than you. I just couldn't help but come up with some incredibly "creative ideas" of how to get you up to my level.

You interrupted my train of thought at one point by saying, "Well, I guess I'll be your sign then. Let's go," before you grabbed my wrist and pulled me into class.

You don't know this, but that you saved me that day.

The reason I was debating about whether or not to go into class was because I was on the verge of dropping out. I just found out that I lost my soccer scholarship because I tore my ACL during a practice a few months before we met. By the time we met, I had recovered but I couldn't run at the same speed as I used to. It was the end of my career.

As vain as it sounds, I thought it was the end of my world. It could have been the end of my life.

Unlike you I was never a "bookworm student" type and the only reason I got into our university was because I kicked ass on a soccer field.

That day I was waiting for some kind of sign. Some kind of reason to stay in school and finish my last year.

Oddly enough, you became a motivation of sorts. Every day that I felt I couldn't deal with school anymore I thought about you. I told myself that I couldn't just drop out any more.

Hell, you were my sign.

6: Her

I was sitting in class one day trying to study for our History mid-term when a group of girls came in early and sat behind me.

First, they started talking about the soccer team. Then they started talking about you.

I was trying not to pay attention, really I was, but they were loud and the things they were saying surprised me. They said that you were this womanizing player. They made you come off like an idiot jock that partied all of the time. I blushed when they started talking about how they wanted to "do you".

It honestly sickened me. I didn't want to hear them talking about you like that.

I wasn't naïve. I knew that you probably dated a lot of women. You were a good-looking guy. A very good-looking guy. But, I also knew that you were more than that. You were always so nice to me.

I found it hard to believe that you were one of those player types that could sleep with a woman then drop her like a hot potato the next day.

With annoyance, I was started to collect my thing to move to another seat when you actually walked in.

They started whispering for a bit about how hot you looked that day. I don't want to inflate your ego, so let's just say that the things they were saying made me feel too embarrassed to look up because I was sure that I would be red as a tomato.

Unfortunately, when they called you to sit next to them I looked up just in time to see you smile. My heart completely, and totally sank at the sight.

I couldn't believe that you would actually fall for their pretty smiles and lack of clothing. And, I really couldn't understand how someone could smile so wide until you sat down next to me and said, "Hey," in this incredibly soft voice.

You ignored the girls sitting behind us as they tried to lure you over with their temptress calls. It honestly made me smile like an idiot. It got so bad that my cheeks started to hurt.

7: Him

After mid-terms, I found myself attending class every day. Not because the teacher was interesting. He was boring as hell and his lectures were pretty much a waste of time. He just had this disturbing nasally voice that made me want to bash my head in every time he opened his mouth.

Honestly, I went to class mainly because... Well, because you never failed to entertain me.

So I admit that I was worried when you were late for class that one day.

You were always in class before me so when I noticed you weren't there yet I decided to just go to our usual spot. I knew that you were a creature of habit so I tried to save your regular a seat, but this bitch with red hair just wouldn't listen. She didn't want to walk her ass five feet to another empty seat because she was wearing heels and "they hurt".

I didn't want you to walk in and see me being a jerk so I tried to be nice. I leaned forward with a forced smile hoping that I could convince her to see it my way and move. I even said "please", but she didn't seem to care. She didn't even listen. She thought I was flirting with her and when I told her that I was saving the spot for you she got pissed.

We were still arguing when I saw you walk in from the other side.

Your beautiful dark, brown hair looked like a mess. It was sticking in every direction and your clothes looked like they had been completely soaked through. It annoyed me, I just wanted wrap you up in a towel and pull you in front of a fireplace.

At first I tried to get your attention like a sane person, but I guess you didn't see me waving frantically.

Then I started calling your name. At one point, I began to think that maybe it wasn't you. How could you not hear me calling like an idiot?

I watched as you were apologizing left and right until you suddenly tripped. Possibly over some stupid asses feet.

Without thinking I got up on my feet, but, with an oath, I sat back down.

What the hell was I going to do, anyway? Play knight and shining armor from the other side of the classroom?

Instead, I watched helplessly as this guy helped you up.

He looked like an idiot with his turned up collar and stupid ass shades.

I couldn't help but frown when you flashed him your signature smile. I almost growled when your idiot in polyester armor grinned stupidly back at you.

I think that's when I knew I was in trouble.

Deep, deep trouble.

8: Her

After mid-terms, there was this epic storm.

Needless to say, I wasn't prepared. I got soaked from head to toe.

When I got to class, I saw you talking to this girl with gorgeous red hair. She was sitting in my seat. I knew that I got to class late, but I thought you would save it for me. I didn't know if we were friends, but I thought we had "something".

With a sharp pang at the pit of my stomach, I realized that maybe you forgot about me. Not that I could really blame you. Her -um- assets were practically in your face.

I quietly walked out and went back in the other side of the classroom to avoid the two of you.

I don't know why, but I thought that I heard you call my name when I lost my balance. I didn't have the chance to look at your direction, though, because I was falling face first when this guy caught me.

I knew that I wasn't the prettiest sight at that moment. I was pretty sure that I looked like a complete mess so when he smiled at me I couldn't help but smile back.

We even talked for awhile before the professor started his lecture.

His name was Lucas and he was super nice. I think I might have really liked him... even with his ridiculous shades.

Yet, the whole time he was talking to me, I couldn't help but think about you.

By the end of class, I was annoyed. Partly at you for falling for that red-head and partly at myself for even thinking that you could ever like someone like me.

Why would you? I wasn't a full-figured woman like that girl was. I would never wear heels as high as hers or wear that many pounds of make up either.

When you caught up with me after class, I intended on flat out ignoring you. I thought that if we were at least friends you would have saved me a seat but you didn't.

So when you said, "I tried to save you a seat, but this bitch wouldn't let me," I decided you probably didn't deserve the silent treatment I intended to hold against you. It wasn't until you held out your umbrella and asked me, "Can I walk you to your car?" that I let go all of my resolve.

9: Him

When I found out you were sick because of that damn storm, I decided to head to the closest card store I could find.

There were walls lined with zillions of cards that said "Get well soon" and other stupid sayings like that.

I thought to myself, "Fuck that shit," and I walked right out.

Instead, I bought a poster and couple of those crazy colored markers and wrote "GET WELL NOW" in huge letters.

Most girls probably wouldn't appreciate a crappily made card, but not you. Heck, I don't think I'd ever seen you smile so wide.

When you pulled me in this incredibly tight hug, I was pretty sure that I'd catch whatever you had but I didn't care. I didn't want to push you away. I could have cared less, to be honest, about getting sick because all I could think about was whether or not you tasted just like the pear body spray you were wearing.

I found myself hugging the porcelain throne the next day sick to my stomach, but I still thought it was worth it even if I didn't get to find out the answer to my question.

10: Her

The final project for our history class was this partner presentation.

We were sitting next to each other and after last week I had a feeling that you would want to be my partner. To be perfectly honest, I didn't want to be.

You barely passed the mid-term with a low C- borderline D+ and you never did the homework assignments. Ever.

The scholar in me simply didn't want to be anywhere near you. I had years of experience of idiot jocks using me to pass a class and I didn't want to believe that you were one of them.

So, when I asked you to be my partner, I think I may have been slightly possessed.

To my surprise you didn't use me. Heck, you tried so hard. It was kind of cute. You even did more work than you were supposed to. You bought the poster, you typed up our essay, and you were always early for our meetings.

Your dedication made me feel so proud. I didn't regret working with you at all.

11: Him

When you asked me to be your partner for that damn presentation, I wanted to hide.

I was terrible at group projects. I would have rather had been partnered with a genius whose coat tails I could ride on without worry about "feelings" or doing "my part".

As much as I wanted to be around you, I didn't want you to figure out just how stereotypically stupid of a jock I really was.

When I agreed to being your partner, I thought I was possessed or something.

To be honest, I had never worked that hard for a group project. I hadn't even gone out partying for three Friday's in a row because of it.

So, when you told me that you were busy that one Friday, I found myself depressed and when I realized that I was actually depressed over you I got annoyed.

I wasn't a playboy like a lot of people thought I was, but I wasn't a fucking hopeless romantic either.

I thought that I had to get over you so I decided to go out with my frat buddies, but that's when I realized that you did something to me.

You changed me without actually doing anything. I would never had even realized it if it wasn't for my friends.

"You haven't gone partying in what three weeks," argued one.

"You haven't even tried to tap a girl in AGES," shot another one.

"Honestly, you haven't been much of a wing-man either."

But the final nail on the coffin had to be Danny's snide comment, "Shit man. Jenna was wearing the skimpest mini in the whole fucking world and you didn't even give her a second glance. Hell, you weren't even looking until Johnny boy over here fucking pointed her out."

That's when I started thinking of you in a romantic sense.

You weren't exactly drop-dead gorgeous. Cute, at best, but not gorgeous.

I was a full-blooded man with needs. I liked my women to be long, blond, and with a total lack of inhibitions. But, somehow... that damn innocent face of yours just always sent me through a loop. Then there was your sarcastic mouth, your toothy smile, your obsession with food, and your contagious (and incredibly awkward) laugh.

I couldn't help but frown at myself when I realized that even though I was trying to forget about you, I was still thinking about you.

By midnight and a couple rounds of beer later, I thought I heard your laughter. At that point I thought it was God's way of screwing with me until I saw you walk past the booth wall to sit across from me and my buddies.

I couldn't help but watch as your small body sashayed across the room in that little black dress. It wasn't that it was super revealing, but it hugs your body in all the right places. And damn... those high-heels of yours accentuated your legs beautifully. It was your hair, however, that made me lose my breath. They were in these soft, bouncy curls. I couldn't help but wonder how they would feel in my hands. Against my skin.

I was getting up to say "hi," when I suddenly realized that you weren't alone. Behind you walked this guy in a tux. It was like you both just came from a formal event... together.

Through out the rest of the night, I couldn't help but throw daggers at your "date" and I frowned every time your laughter swept through the restaurant.

It wasn't until Johnny snapped me out of my thoughts by saying, "Dude, you should just talk to her," that I realized how long I had been staring.

I tried to play it off like it was nothing, but when your date finally got up and headed to the restroom I instantly got up. I didn't even bother to explain myself to my friends. They could have called me an idiot for I cared.

All I knew was that I needed to talk to you.

My heart was pounding so hard as I walked towards your table.

You weren't like most people. You were probably the most honest girl I had ever met.

So I believed you when you said that you were going to a birthday party that night, but when I saw you look so beautifully dolled up a flash of jealousy entered my train of thought. I couldn't help but wonder how you could even be capable to lying to my face and go on a date. You just weren't that type of girl.

It scared me how badly I wanted to know if that guy was your boyfriend or not. My hand was shaking when I touched your back, yet I completely forgot how nervous I was when you turned your head and smiled at me.

You were actually wearing make up and you even took off your glasses for the night.

I realized then that I had to rethink the whole "cute at best" theory.

You looked so damn beautiful that I couldn't find my voice when you greeted me. I found myself praying that my voice wouldn't shake as I said, "I saw you walk in with your... uh, boyfriend."

I almost wanted to kill myself for just saying the last word, but instead I plastered a fake smile. When your nose wrinkled in disgust, my heart almost leaped for joy. The next words out of your mouth couldn't have made me happier. "That's gross. He's my brother. It's bad enough that the debut I just came from was a total dinner bust," you said as you rubbed your stomach. "Anyways, I'm part of the NBSB club." At my confusion, you smirked. "No boyfriend since birth. It's a sad and lonely club, but at least I can promise you that I've got no STDs!"

I couldn't help but let go of my first real smile of the whole night. My friends told me later that I looked like a fucking idiot, but I didn't care.

He wasn't your boyfriend. Hell, you never even had a boyfriend.

As selfish as it sounds, it made me happy. So freaking happy.

You didn't stop amazing me that night though.

I had never met a girl that actually ate her steak medium rare so when your order came in I loved the fact that you could wear that little black dress while trying to stuff your face. You didn't count your calories or worry about your figure. Your chipmunk cheeks made me laugh. But when you blatantly told me to move out of your way so that you could watch the Lakers game behind us on the big screen TV, I pretty much decided then and there that I wanted you.

12: Her

On the Friday night that I ditched you I was primped and gussied up for one of my friend's debut, but, to be honest, I would have much rather been doing the research for our presentation with you than at that damn debut.

Seeing all of my friend's with their boyfriends was depressing. Pure and simple. I think that I may have been the only girl that night without a significant other and all I could think about was "what was wrong with me?"

So, when my older brother, Ryan, asked me if I wanted ditch the debut, I agreed almost instantly.

That didn't stop me from being depressed though. But, I don't think I realized just how depressed I was until Ryan told me to stop being stupid. I think his exact words were, "Shut up, guys like you. They stare all the time like that idiot sitting behind you."

I thought he was bullshitting me so he made this stupid bet. Ryan figured that the guy who had been staring at me the whole night would actually come over to talk to me if he left. Despite my protest, he got up and walked to the bathroom.

After a few seconds, I started thinking that he was just messing with my head and then... well, you tapped me in the back.

I couldn't stop smiling that whole night especially when I got a text from my brother who was lurking in the shadows that said, "told u so."

13: Him

By the twenty-forth of May 2008, I was in love.

I knew it the moment you asked me if I wanted to go with you to church and I didn't say "What the fuck? Hell no!"

The priest and I sat that damn confessional in silence after he did his prayer... thing. I was nervous –so fucking nervous– I think my exact words were: "Uh, look Padre, I don't actually know how to do this confession... thing. To be honest, I'm not even a Catholic, or religious, I'm just trying to impress this girl... Shit."

Father Joseph turned out to be a pretty nice guy. He kind of reminded me of my grandfather actually. He didn't condemn me for cursing. We didn't really talk about religion the whole time I sat in there. Instead, he told me that I shouldn't worry about trying to impress you, but to make sure that I acted like a complete gentlemen. You should know that he was actually the one who suggested that I take you to that church festival for our first date. Not because it was religious, but because he wanted me to take you somewhere that you wanted to go.

I do credit him for the idea to give you flowers, but that teddy bear I gave you was completely my idea.

I've dated so many girls before, but I can honestly say that I never put in so much time and effort as I did for you.

My frat buddies thought I was trying too hard. That I was whipped. That I lost all of my damn cajones.

It was worth it, though, every single time you smiled for me.

14: Her

I thought I was dreaming when you asked me out.

In my head, you were this hot shot All-American jock. Sure you were super nice to me, but we came from two different worlds.

When you turned 18, your parents gave you a car and set you free.

When I turned 18, I had a ten o'clock bed time and my parents still had a tight conservative grasp on my life.

We couldn't be any more different, but that didn't stop me from saying "yes" to you anyway.

How could I when you asked my dad for permission to ask me out?

Not many guys are willing to deal with that medieval crap, but you didn't seem to care. You even bought me flowers and a small teddy bear!

Going to a church festival for a first date may not work for many girls, but I thought it was the cutest thing in the world. I wanted to go so bad.

Winning me that huge teddy bear was a major plus, but buying me all of that festival food made me go head over heels for you.

15: Him

My frat buddies thought I went completely insane when I told them that we dated for one week and six days and I had yet to kiss you on the lips.

A part of that was because I made a promise to Father Joseph not to push you, and the other part was because I didn't want to push you.

I had sex before and I knew that you had absolutely no experience with guys. You told me you were a member of the NBSB club before you met me. It made me happy the first time I heard about it, but then it hit me one day.

You were innocent.

To be honest, it scared the shit out of me.

I didn't want to push you. I didn't want to screw things up by going too fast.

Just holding you in my arms, breathing in your pear perfume scent, and resting my head on the top of yours knowing that you fit so perfectly against me was honestly enough for me.

16: Her

We dated for almost two weeks when I started getting worried. You never once tried to kiss me.

I thought that maybe you were scared because I was so "innocent". I may not have had a boyfriend before, but I had kissed a guy before.

So I had these ideas about how to get you to finally kiss me. I didn't want to come off as desperate and command you to kiss me, but damn, I really, really wanted to feel your lips against mine.

I spent the next week trying to set up openings for you. Your friends even knew that I was waiting for that first kiss. They told me that they were trying to send you some subtle signs but –dear God– you were so dense.

It took you almost three weeks before I gave up on waiting for you.

So I kissed you.

To be honest, I expected fireworks and the whole shebang, but I could feel your hesitation. I almost wanted to cry in embarrassment.

I think you noticed because when I tried to pull away you grabbed my wrist and held me in place.

You forced me to look up at you as I tried to hold back some stupid tears. I felt like my knees were going to collapse beneath me, but you kept me balanced against you.

We were standing there just leaning on each other for what seemed like hours when you finally broke the silence and told me that you loved me and softly pressed your lips against mine.

The second time we kissed I felt the fireworks and I also felt absolutely ridiculous for even thinking you didn't want me.

17: Him

The first two months with you were heaven. You didn't try to change me, you never forced me to wear pink, you didn't make me carry your bag, you didn't call me any embarrassing pet names, and best of all you didn't try to convert me. I felt like I could just be myself with you. I felt comfortable. Naturally comfortable. I didn't feel like I needed to impress you. Whether we just walked your dog around the park or we went to a fancy restaurant, you just seemed so happy to be with me no matter what we did and I loved that.

Then you left me at the end of July.

Technically, you went on vacation for five weeks to the Philippines, but still... I missed you. I don't think I've ever missed anyone as much as I missed you that first summer.

I think that was when I knew for sure things were going to be different with you. Completely and utterly different.

18: Her

You were my first boyfriend.

I didn't know exactly what I was doing, but you accepted me as I was. You didn't seem to care about the fact that my thoughts and words didn't exactly mesh, or that I ate like a beast but never gained weight, or that my family was fiercely conservative. You didn't try to change me. You didn't even make fun of me for being so inexperienced. I loved that about you.

That first summer without you had to be the hardest summer of my life in an emotional sense. I wasn't sure that I could deal with a long distance relationship even if it was only five weeks and you knew that. So you called me every day at nine in the morning before you went to work. Your phone bills must have been ridiculously high.

I wish I could say that I was miserable without you, but I had a great time. I met my extended family, I saw so many great sights, I ate so much good food, but coming home and seeing you standing next to my parents with that huge poster of yours saying "WELCOME HOME! MALIGAYANG PAGBABALIK!" in big bold letters was quite possibly my favorite moment of that whole entire summer.

19: Him

Graduation day in 2009 had to be one of the best days of my life. I don't think I could have done it without you. Heck, you were my sign.

Receiving a Bachelor's degree in Kinesiology was an accomplishment all on it's own, but graduating with a 3.2 GPA considering how badly I effed up before we met made me realize just how quickly you changed my life.

But, I have to say, hearing you scream my name on the tops of your virgin lungs when I received my degree did wonderful, wonderful things to my ego.

20: Her

When you told me you lost your wallet in Disneyland during Memorial Day weekend 2010, I didn't really think much about it.

I thought it was just a wallet.

You told me that you didn't care about your money. You didn't care about your license. You didn't care about your credit cards. You didn't even "give two shits" about the collection of 2" by 3" pictures of your friends since middle school.

So, when you told me that when you went back to Disneyland for two days straight until you found it, I pretty much thought you were completely insane. It wasn't like Disneyland was just across town. It was a good two hours away. And you didn't even have an annual pass. You paid 72 dollars every time.

I couldn't stop scratching my head at how odd you were. When you pulled out your wallet and showed me the little, red origami star that I gave you the first month that we met, I could only stare at you in disbelief. I didn't even remember it but obviously you did.

You don't know this, but that night I told my best friend that you were "The One".

21: Him

Do you remember when we were watching the NBA Final 2010 at your house and I asked you if you wanted the Lakers or the Celtics to win?

I felt like there were dozens of butterflies trying to escape from my stomach.

In my head, I was asking you to marry me and if you said the Lakers that meant you were going to say 'yes'.

I went to buy your engagement ring the next day.

22: Her

Do you remember your 24th birthday?

Johnny and I were sneaking into your dorm trying to get your CD's so that we could play some of your favorite songs at your surprise birthday party when I found you trying to sing to the tune of my favorite song.

You sang only one word. Repeatedly. My name.

Many people probably wouldn't think much of this, but in the whole time that I had known you, I had never once heard you sing so openly. Not even to the radio. You simply didn't have the talent for it so you always clammed up the moment you realized other people were listening.

It was incredible to see you sing even if you sometimes went completely off-tune.

You looked so relaxed, so happy.

I couldn't stop smiling even when you found Johnny and me hiding behind the couch.

23: Him

I think I may have slept under 18 hours the whole fourth week of July 2010. I had your engagement ring in my pocket, but I wanted the perfect moment. I wanted to surprise you, I wanted to dazzle you, I wanted to send so many chills down your spine that you wouldn't be able to say 'No'. But I couldn't come up with the words.

Midnight of July 24th, I took you camping.

It had to be one of the worst ideas I ever had. It was kind of an impulsive move on my part. When I asked your dad for permission to marry you, he suggested that I take you somewhere that we could be away from any distractions knowing that you would hate it if I did it in public. Your mom suggested a nice bed and breakfast. I don't know where the camping idea came from and, to be honest, I hadn't exactly thought through.

I forgot to pack extra blankets and it was freezing at night. I didn't bring toilet paper or pillows or even an extra flashlight. Hell, I even forgot to bring enough food.

When the storm came in and took out the electricity in the cabin, we were pretty much roughing it.

Yet, you didn't complain. Your stomach growled a couple times, but you played it off saying it was an "adventure".

I thought I loved you before that, but knowing that we could survive in the worst situations together made me realize just how much I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. Facing all of life's joys, struggles, ups and downs together.

You caught me staring at you again, but this time when you asked me if I was tormented by your beauty, I said yes and got down on my knees and asked you to marry me.

That look on your face was priceless, absolutely priceless.

24: Her

To call you a guy with great ideas for romantic getaways would be a stretch. I would have been happy with a weekend in Vegas or even an old-fashioned Bed and Breakfast.

That camping idea of yours in July had to be one of the worst.

You forgot the toilet paper, the blankets, the pillows, and even the food! I could forgive the rest, but a couple bags of chips, two sandwiches, and a handful of water bottles will not keep me satisfied... Idiot.

Yet, I couldn't stay angry at you.

Heck, it was an adventure. I didn't mind roughing it at all. I figured we could go fishing the next day or something.

It was almost midnight when I caught you staring at me across the table. The lights had gone out because of the storm so we were sitting at the kitchen table with only a handful of candles to keep us company.

I don't know why I said it, but I couldn't help but blurt out, "What's wrong with you? Tormented by my beauty?"

It was supposed to be a joke to lighten you up because the look on your face with the candle light against your sharp features seemed a little too serious. I liked it a whole lot better when you were smiling.

I could practically see the words processing in your head because the look that was suddenly in your eyes told me that something "big" was just about to happen.

Then you got down on your knees and asked me to marry you.

I blurted out a "yes" before I could even think. Before I could even stop the tears.

And you want to know why? Because I was deeply and madly in love with you... even if you forgot to pack me enough food. Idiot.

25: Him

On November 11, 2011, I saw this beautiful woman in a sexy white dress walking towards me and for a brief moment I completely forgot to breathe. My best man had to tap me on the shoulder to get me to close my mouth.

It took awhile for my brain to process the fact that it was you. I couldn't believe how absolutely gorgeous you looked in that white dress. Almost like an angel.

Watching you walk to me made everything feel like it was going in slow motion. I counted every single step.

Twenty five.

To be honest, I couldn't tell you who attended our wedding, I couldn't tell you if the food was any good, I couldn't tell you if my family understood any of your Filipino wedding customs, or if your dad didn't try to kill me for taking away his only daughter. The only thing I could remember from that whole ceremony after our kiss was Father Joseph saying, "It's now my happy privilege to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Troy and Bernadette Connors." I realized then that I finally felt... complete.


Oh, wow. That was one hell of a one-shot, for me anyway, but I don't think I could have cut anything. Hope you guys enjoyed!

Edited July 14, 2010 and January 31, 2011 because I really suck with grammar, comma usage, keeping details on track... And, I missed some words. Aha. Thanks to those that pointed out my mistakes. I appreciate it :)