Athena and Brandon
How We Met
It was my 2nd to last quarter as an undergraduate student at UC Davis, and it was Brandon’s last quarter. I’ve always been a fan of the arts and decided to take an art class as an elective, while Brandon, who isn’t a big fan of art, took this class to finish up his GE requirements before graduating. As it turns out, the teacher loved him and his art pieces, while mine were far from spectacular (at least that’s what the teacher thought based on the grades my projects received). Anyway, I remember looking around the room the first day of class and noticing Brandon as the only attractive boy in the class, but that didn’t mean I was ever planning on approaching him. One day when we were working on our 2nd out of 3 major projects, we somehow got to talking about his project and why he was painting it all green. He said his grandmother said green is the color for Libras, so I said, “you’re a Libra? So am I!” We shared birth dates with each other and it turns out his birthday is the day right after mine. At some point we got to talking about school and he said he was looking into grad schools and one of them happened to be Cal State San Bernardino.
Not many people in Davis have heard of that school, let alone that city, so I was surprised he just brought up my hometown and the school right down the street from my high school! We talked about maybe driving down together sometime so I could visit my family and he could visit the school and ended up exchanging numbers. Shortly some time after that, he showed up at Starbucks on campus, where I worked, and asked if I was free to hang out that Friday night, November 16, 2012. I said sure and little did I know that it was a date! We shot some pool at G Street Pub and put in some money on the jukebox to play 2 of his favorite songs and 2 of mine.
One of the songs he played was the song, “As She’s Walking Away” by Zac Brown Band (we’ll get back to that later). After we were done shooting pool, we went across the street to Sunrise Restaurant to eat some Pho, and even though it was getting late, he didn’t want the night to end, so he asked me to come over to watch a movie. I was a little hesitant, but I was also having a good time, so I thought, “Sure, why not?” So we went to his place and watched “Cabin in the Woods” (but really we just made out the whole time). After the movie was over I went straight home and freaked out because I went into this not knowing it was going to be a date and although I had a good time, I also didn’t want a relationship.
He texted me the next day asking if I’d like to come over and he’d cook us dinner. I never had a guy offer to make me dinner before, and even though I thought it was very sweet of him, I came up with some excuse hours later saying I barely saw the text and had work, and then avoided him in class for the next couple of weeks. When Thanksgiving break came around, he texted me to wish me a happy thanksgiving and I thought it was fair enough to actually respond and wished him the same as well. He told me later that he texted me because he was boarding a flight to go to Mexico (his annual Thanksgiving tradition) and the song, “As She’s Walking Away” by Zac Brown Band, came on his iPod and he thought he’d give it one last shot and text me. When I responded he took it as a sign that there may be hope for us after all.
After break I was surprisingly excited to see him again and I stopped avoiding him. We had our final major project to complete and he missed a couple days of class so I brought him up to speed on what we needed to do for the project. It took several students until the wee hours in the morning to finish, including us. We saw many people come and go out of the studio and although Brandon finished his by 4AM, he stayed with me until 6AM so I wouldn’t be alone finishing my project. From standing so long and probably from lack of sleep, one of my ankles really swelled up.
So we walked to his apartment (because mine was much further) and he wrapped it up for me, he gave me clothes to shower and wear to class the next day, and we took a 2 hour nap before he drove me to my class. The following week was finals week and I had a crazy idea to run a half marathon every other day that week, resulting in 4 races. The night before my first race he threw a party to celebrate being done with Art class. When I was trying to leave the party, I told him I had to get up early the next day for my race, and he told me that if I stayed he’d wake up at 5AM and come with me to the race. I gave in and stayed and the next morning, he kept his promise and was up by 5 and ready to go to the race with me. Not only that, but he woke up at 5 every race day and came with me, even though I am an extremely slow runner (it always took me between 2.5-3 hours to complete) and it was December, so it was pretty cold out. It was after seeing how much of a gentleman he was and how hard he tried again and again, that I realized I should finally stop walking away (as Zac Brown Band would put it), and we’ve been walking together hand in hand ever since.
How He Asked
While visiting my family in Southern California for the holidays, we took a spontaneous trip to Vegas with my father and step-mom who asked us if we wanted to visit the Hoover Dam and stay the night in Vegas with them. Brandon decided he’d book the room for us all. When we got there, he had us walk around the hotel while he upgraded the room. We ended up in a suite that would normally cost $1800, but with a little persuasion, the telling of his plan, and a generous tip, he got the room for a fraction of the price. He told me he wanted to make the most of being in Vegas since we live on the East Coast and probably won’t visit again anytime soon, so he asked me to pick a fancy restaurant for dinner and not to worry about the price. We got dressed up and walked around the strip with my dad and step-mom.
From the beginning of the day, Brandon had his GoPro with him and recorded parts of our drive to Vegas, as well as our adventures walking around the strip. We parted with my dad and step-mom at dinner time and Brandon told them to meet us at the Bellagio at 9 PM to see the fountain show. We went to our reservation at the Eiffel Tower Restaurant at 7:15 PM and our entrees didn’t come to the table until 8:30. Luckily, I am a naturally fast eater and we were both hungry, so we were ready and out the door by 8:45. The Bellagio was only across the street and the crowd wasn’t too big yet, so we were easily able to spot my dad and step-mom.
Brandon handed my step-mom his GoPro to record just as the fountain show started and with the song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” playing, he got down on one knee and proposed. In the end he told me the schedule said they were done with the holiday songs and would return to their normal schedule. They should’ve played “Your Song” by Elton John, but nonetheless, it really did become the most wonderful time of the year for us.