And the correct answer (continued from Chapter 2) is… A, C, and D. Sort of. But before you go on, I should warn you that this post is way too long.

Yes, Derek did paint my toenails one night. I’m still not sure why. My best guess is that he was trying to come across as unafraid of girlie things, unafraid of other people’s feet, and willing to sacrifice just a little bit of manly dignity in the name of keeping his woman content. It was weird. Cause honestly, he volunteered. I didn’t ask him to paint my toenails. It was his idea.

And yes, he did have one of his friends pluck his eyebrows, but only the once. That was at the beginning, before he knew that I thought the uni-brow was cute. Besides, I have a uni-brow too, and the last thing I needed was the expectation of having to constantly pluck it.

So the real answer is that his high school girlfriend, who shall remain nameless, came home from her church mission. This was important because up until then, he still wasn’t sure how he felt about her. So he spent some time with her, gauged his feelings about her and about me, and made a decision.

Here’s how it went down. I was sitting around on a Friday night when he showed up at around 8:00. I should have pretended like I was busy, like he shouldn’t just expect me to be home on Friday night, but I was never into playing games. So there I was when he came over and asked if I wanted to go to the International Cinema. Of course I did. I don’t remember what was playing that night, but I think it was in Chinese. Dan Daring was there, as was said former girlfriend. I think there might have been conversation, and perhaps some sort of after-movie activity. I can’t remember.

What I do remember is coming back to the apartment with Derek, and nobody was home. I made some quesadillas (it bears mentioning that Derek had never had a real quesadilla, with skillet warmed corn tortilla and jack cheese, so this was his first) and we sat on the two separate couches and talked. At one random point, Derek asked me, “So why am I over here, and you’re way over there?” I quickly remedied the problem. Derek told me about his other woman, and told me that he’d chosen me. In retrospect, I should have been at least a little reluctant, but I was pretty far gone by then. Later that night, Derek kissed me for the first time.

That was the beginning of us being completely inseparable. We spent every day together, ate dinner at my apartment, went to church together. (We actually hit all of the Mormon clichés. We met at BYU, at church, which met in the Wilkinson Center IN the Cougareat. You don’t get more cliché than that. Except he wasn’t my home teacher. But he was in my Family Home Evening group.)

I had always been opposed to the typical short engagements found in Utah. I also never thought I would date someone from Bountiful, but concessions have to be made sometimes. So six weeks later, Derek told me he was going to pick me up early on Saturday morning. He arrived at 6:00 with one red rose. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, but drove up Provo Canyon, and then up to Sundance. After we drove around for a while, we went back down. Turns out he’d gotten lost trying to find Stewart Falls, so he gave up and took me to Bridal Veil Falls. I know, more cliché. At least this one was unintentional.

Derek wanted us to be at the falls for the sunrise. Unfortunately, the sun never rose that morning. It was rainy and overcast. We got out and walked to the falls anyway. He made me stop at a bench and hugged me for a minute. I was not such a dummy to not know something was going on, especially since his heart was beating so hard and he looked like he might faint. He made me close my eyes, and when I opened them, he was kneeling on the cold, wet ground, with a ring in his hand. It was a pearl ring, since both of our mothers had had pearl engagement rings. He gave me this little speech that he’d been practicing, and I totally ruined it by not answering him.

We were all giddy and goofy the rest of the day. We decided we’d have 7 kids. Which, in retrospect, is really funny. We have 3 now, and that’s as many as I can ever handle. We shopped for a “real” engagement ring, since Derek thought I should be able to pick one I liked. The pearl one was just so he would have something for the proposal. We told our parents, who were all excited except for my dad, who said you should always say no the first time you get proposed to.

That was Saturday, October 14th, 2000. We planned to get married on January 6th, but Derek’s mom wasn’t thrilled about a 2 1/2 month engagement, especially since we’d only really known each other about 4 months, and had seriously dated for 6 weeks. So we got married on February 17th, 2001, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Since it was just after Valentine’s day, we had Valentine cookies, cheesecake, and chocolate dipped strawberries for the reception. It was the best day of my life. We were young (Derek was only 22) and naïve, but we got really lucky. He is the best husband in the world. I like him a lot. A lot a lot.

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