After that first date to Weber Grill, Shawn and I were inseparable. We'd meet first thing in the morning at Joe's (a coffee shop on campus) and we'd read our Bibles next to each other. Then we'd go our separate ways to class, then meet up again for chapel. And it went on and on. At this point, the rumors were rampant and we didn't deny anything. We liked each other. That's all anyone really needed to know (as if they needed even that).
But before we were "officially dating" - exclusively, I guess - Shawn took the initiative to keep my parents in the loop. I vividly remember him pacing around in the plaza where we met, making sure he knew exactly what he was going to say before he picked up the phone to call my dad. He had met Dad briefly a couple weeks before early in the morning. But it was brief. And I was there. Not really the time to explain his intentions.
He picked up the phone, and I have a feeling my dad had seen it coming. Because the questions Dad offered in return were just a little too perfect. :) Shawn told Dad that he wanted to date me and didn't want it to seem like he was going behind his back just because my parents didn't live in the same city. I don't remember much of the conversation, but I remember smiling nervously, hoping my dad wasn't being too tough on him. And then I remember that before they got off the phone, Dad asked to pray for us, and then gave Shawn his blessing.
Now to those of you who maybe didn't grow up in such a conservative background, this all probably seems a little crazy. Maybe you're thinking at this point, "You're not even getting married... just dating... and he has to ask your dad's permission?" I thought the same thing at first. But I also thought it was so beautiful and respectful that Shawn wanted my parents' blessing before he pursued me in any way. I think both of us knew that we would end up getting married, and he wanted to start out on the right foot with my parents. And boy did he! They love him like their own son today and I have a feeling part of that goes back to this very conversation.
So on with the story...
After he hung up the phone, we walked down to the mail room to check our mailboxes and I beamed, "So it's official! I'm your girlfriend!" I thought he would hug me or smile, but instead, he just said, "Well I haven't really asked you yet."
Ok, then. :)
He told me he wanted to take me to dessert that night and talk about it. So we did. It was lightly snowing outside, and we walked to the Grand Lux. If anyone knows us well, they probably know that we love that place, and a lot because it holds some of our dearest memories of all of our days in Chicago. He asked me officially if I would be his girlfriend. I said yes. And we smiled and laughed and leaned across the table just giddy about each other. It was perfect.
He had planned for us to go to the top of the Hancock tower that night to see the view, so we walked hand in hand down a near-empty Michigan Avenue. The snow was still falling, but it wasn't all that cold (at least in Chicago terms), and we felt like the happiest people in all of Chicago.
As we walked, two other people walked on the sidewalk toward us, but we weren't really paying attention until one of them called out, "Whitney?"
It was my ex-boyfriend from high school who had no idea I lived in Chicago. He was there just for the weekend looking for a job all the way from Texas. And I was stunned.
We chatted with him and his friend for a few minutes, making small talk, as we hadn't actually talked since we broke up 3 or more years before. I could not believe (still can't!) that out of all of Chicago, there he was. And there I was. And there, on the same square of pavement, was my boyfriend as of about an hour ago.