Taylor and Kelley
How We Met
I had just transferred to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, it was our second semester of both of our Junior years of college. Kelley was competing in an event called Crusader Knights on campus; a spoof version of our University’s Annual Pageant. I had been asked to choreograph a big, silly, 90’s themed dance for all the contestants to perform the night of the show. Night one of practice this tall, handsome, goofy guy steps up on stage and says “Hi, my name is Kelley Clark, and no I did not say Kelley Clarkson”. I spent the next four weeks in tears of laughter while trying to teach this group of guys how to dance. I had no idea that all the while Kelley was trying to work up the nerves to ask me on a date. I found out later some pretty funny stories about him analyzing my every move with his roommates after practice each night. My favorite is the time I pulled his lanyard out of his pocket to look at what it said. His roommates convinced him that because I touched his lanyard I must have been into him! I can honestly say that Kelley was a terrible flirt-er because I had absolutely no idea he was the slightest bit interested in me! A few days before the show, the contestants and I all went to Whataburger after a late night practice. As I was walking out of the restaurant Kelley stopped me and asked me on a date. He was so cute and nervous but I was honestly in so much shock that I had no idea what to say and the only thing that came out of my mouth was “uhhh let me check my schedule”. I had no idea Kelley had been into me! For some reason, the timing just was not right. I ended up giving him an official no a few days later. I still to this day do not understand why I said no and he still to this day loves to remind me of the time I said no! A few weeks later I began dating a different contestant from Crusader Knights (I know I know, I am terrible).
On our first date I asked him why he wanted to date me and his response was that “any girl that Kelley Clark was interested in, was worth a try at”. Like what?! One, was I missing something about how great Kelley was and two, this guy was obviously not a very good friend. From that moment on, I began to question my decision saying no to Kelley but I decided to just let it go, there was no way he would ever want to be with me after I rejected him. I didn’t date that other guy for very long and for the rest of that semester Kelley and I would run into each other from time to time.
I wanted so bad to talk to him and tell him I was sorry for saying no. Even though the opportunity never presented itself, I never stopped thinking about him. At the end of the semester my best friends through me a surprise party for my 21st birthday and Kelley showed up!! I mean, wow, what an incredible guy! Putting all pride aside and coming to my party even though I had rejected him. I knew after that night that I wanted Kelley in my life but I didn’t quite yet understand to what capacity that would be in. We both ended up taking a mini-mester class that May and a real friendship started to grow. We hung out almost every night with a group of mutual friends. We played sand volleyball and went to dinners and the movies. He was the funniest, most genuine, caring man I had ever met! I started to feel stupider and stupider for telling him no. I tried so many times to bring it up and apologize, but every time I choked.
The end of May was drawing near and he was getting ready to go away for the rest of the summer to work at a camp in west Texas. I was staying in Belton to take more classes and I realized that when he left, I was going to miss him so much. To escape the stresses of summer school, I decided to drive out to west Texas and visit Kelley at camp. Don’t worry he got his revenge and forced me to do all the camp dishes my first night there! After my first weekend visiting him I realized I was falling in love and that I wanted to date him. I think my heart was falling faster than my mind because it took me a while to realize it was happening. We always say that camp is where we fell in love. It was so easy and so effortless. I was just drawn to him and he was to me. He ended up asking me (again) out on a date and we have been inseparable ever since!! Saying no to Kelley the first time might have been dumb, but I love our story and I love his patience and persistence. I wouldn’t change one thing about it! I love how we fell in love and I love how in love we are now!
How He Asked
He took me back to the exact spot we first met! The stage in our Universities Chapel where I taught him how to dance during Crusader Knights. He walked me into Chapel and the entire room was dark except for this old glass door he had refurbished and covered in pictures of us! It was surrounded by beautiful white lights. He walked me up onto the stage stopped me in front of the door. As soon as he began talking I burst into tears, it was an overwhelming joy I felt in that moment. I couldn’t even begin to understand how happy I was. He told me that he didn’t know the exact moment he fell in love with me, whether it was our adventures at camp, our late night study sessions in college, him visiting me while I spent a summer in England…etc. He listed all of our favorite memories and told me that he didn’t know the exact moment he fell but that he knew that all those moments contributed to how much he loves me now.
He read me two verses from the bible about love and grabbed my hands and said “Taylor, I can’t promise you that I will always love you perfectly like these verses tell me to, but I can promise you that I will spend the rest of my life trying to” and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!!