So the time came that I started working about 10-12 hours a day at iArchives. I stayed at my computer, listened to my books on CD, and let the night girls (as they were called) do their thing while I did my thing. (I mistakenly thought the night girls were annoying and full of as much TMI and BS as the day girls. I was wrong. But I didn’t know yet). One of them was Tracie. I thought she was cute, but she seemed like other attractive girls: A lot on the surface, not much going on underneath . I don’t remember how it happened, if there was a great catalyst or if I just forgot my book-on-CD one night, but I remember that Tracie girl (I didn’t call her Tracie, I just knew her as Cute Girl #2. Not that she was second place, but she was the second cute girl at night that I noticed, and the third girl was pregnant.) Anyway, Cute Girl #2 commented to the other night shift girls, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend, that she hadn’t thought of him in a while. I don’t remember his name. Overrated or Annoying, I think. Maybe it was a foreign sounding name, like Vapid. Yeah. Maybe that was it. Anywho, Hottie #2 mentioned she was getting over Vapid, and I thought for an instant, “ooh, Cutie #twoie is on the market” but then I remembered I was through with dames . Well, I eventually learned Hottie #2 was named Tracie, and we got talking one time . I was impressed with how smart & cultured she was; I hadn’t had an intelligent conversation like that with anyone in a long time. (Partially because I hadn’t been talking to people, and partially because Tracie is just that smart & a great conversationalist.) I started looking forward to work, at least the last 4 hours of it. Against my will, I began to develop a crush on her.
Around this time, Tracie (Ah, Tracie. To this day, for some reason, the sound of that name just makes me tingle!) decided she needed to make some new friends, so she invited us coworkers over to her house for a party. I also was in need of new friends, though I wouldn’t admit to myself I had a crush on her. I came to her parents’ house, bringing 2 (that’s right, Mr. Big Spender, TWO.) 2-liter bottles of Shasta (the good stuff). We visited a bit; it was somewhat awkward as I was the only person that showed up. She texted her friend Heidi about the party of two, and Heidi volunteered to come over and rescue Tracie.
The three of us visited and watched “Star Wars: Episode II. The Attack of the Crap.” Heidi & I both fell asleep. I went home and on the way out the door gave Tracie a high five, as I didn’t want to hug her goodbye, but I didn’t want to shake her hand either. I thought a high five was a good compromise. Two palms, open, colliding in the air like that. Kind of sensual, in a way. ;)
I remember talking to my brother Ammon on the phone and telling him I went to a party of three with this cute girl at work and her friend. He told me when cute girls introduce you to their friends they often want to set you up with them. I told him that was fine, her friend was cute & fun too. (I know. Not exactly love at first sight. “Hey, your friend’s cute too! Are you both available?” No, I didn’t say that.)
So, it continued. I kept working at iArchives, I started liking Tracie more & more, and she kept having parties that only I showed up to. (Though she’ll deny it, I think Tracie secretly told everyone else NOT to come, just so she could have more alone time with me.) It was at one of these Tracie Parties that I realized I was attracted to her. I had liked her for a while and thought she was pretty, but this time she came up the stairs wearing this tan sweater, her hair & make-up done, and it was just WOW. I’m pretty sure my eyeballs fell out for a second because I heard them hit the floor.
I could tell she liked me, but seemed hesitant to progress, as she still had feelings for Monsieur Vapid or whatever. I was sadly no stranger to girls who still carried baggage from their last trip to Dumpville, but I wanted her to get over it already! You dated him for a couple months! It’s been over longer than you dated him! But I didn’t say that. I was patient and kept telling myself not to fall for her. I didn’t need the hurt that came with liking someone who doesn’t love you back. I’d played that game many times before and had always lost.
I didn’t want to develop feelings for someone who didn’t seem willing to reciprocate, but then she started flirting with another guy at work. So I asked her out. That’s where my courage dried up. And my creativity. I didn’t know what to do, so my amazing cousin Justin planned a fun double date in Salt Lake where we went to hear a symphony perform at the Tabernacle and then eat at Olive Garden. My date was less than warm. It was in October, I think, and she was as cold as the weather. I call her my date, because this wasn’t the Tracie I had gotten to know and wouldn’t permit myself to fall in love with. I felt she was wishing the whole time that she was on the date with Annoying or whatshisname. Yeah, Annoying, that was it. I later found out that yeah, she was wishing that. Luckily for her I liked her enough to stay friends with her and not let a bad date ruin her chances. Plus, at the end of the date, she gave me a really good hug. I think that was our first hug. It was at least our first “real” hug. It was good.
(Quick sidenote from the date: I remember her talking to Justin at dinner and saying “I’m going on a mission soon.” And Justin laughed and said, “You won’t go on a mission! You’ll be married before that!” That really made Tracie angry, but it made me hopeful a little. Ah, Justin. Fluent in the gift of prophecy. Though he had told me one time I was going to marry Ugly, so he’s not always right. Still more so than my weather man, though. I just found that funny that on my first date with her, my cousin told her she was going to get married before she could serve a mission.)
Well, the first date was a fiasco as I mentioned. Yet, for some reason—maybe boredom, maybe desperation—we kept hanging out together. But, though we both knew but didn’t acknowledge the sexual tension (so thick you could cut it with a knife. And I did, several times, but it kept growing back) between us, we wouldn’t kiss. We’d go out to eat, but just as friends. I wouldn’t open the door for her or pay for her (except once) because I was her friend. She wasn’t going to have her Austin cake and get to eat it too. There were several times where we nearly kissed, but didn’t for whatever reason. I actually grew a goatee, partially because I think I look good with facial hair, but mostly as a deterrent to prevent us from kissing—Tracie hates facial hair.
The deterrent didn’t work as well as hoped. I remember telling my roommate and best friend, also named Justin (coincidentally, both Justins were my best men at our wedding) that I was going to kiss Tracie that night. I mean, we’d hung out together practically every night for a few weeks; I was in danger of entering the friend zone. I knew I didn’t want to commit, but I also knew if I didn’t make a move, I’d be in the friend zone from which there is no escape. It’s like the Twilight Zone, the Iron Curtain, and a Wiggles concert all rolled into one.
So, after the movie, (I don’t remember which one) we stayed on her parents couch and cuddled for a long time. Our stories differ on exactly what happened down there that night. Instead of setting the record straight, I’ll tell my version and let you decide.
As I said, we both were very attracted to one another, (how could we not be?) and I began kissing her cheeks. I asked her if she wanted me to stop, but she said no. So I kept at it. I’d kiss her face and come close to her lips, but she’d back away. So I’d just keep kissing her face, approach the lips, and she’d back off. Again, I asked, do you want me to stop? And she replied, no. Though, in her defense, I am not a bad kisser, quite the opposite, (according to Tracie) and I can see how it would be hard to resist. Well, she kept up her fight as much as she could but eventually succumbed to me. We kissed. And it was good. Holy moly, it was good. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Later, I found out (partially because she told me) that she felt seduced that night, and we should go back to not kissing. Well, I shaved my ridiculous looking goatee off and we went back to not kissing. For a while.
Because we were falling for each other, and because I was so darn irresistible, we kissed again. The story of our second kiss is more sweet and romantic (and less seductive) than our first. But you’ll have to wait to hear that story.