It's a late night in July of 2015, and I've just returned from an evening out with my girlfriends. A little tipsy and in want of company, I called Tony, hoping he wouldn't mind if I came over.
Of course he didn't.
He answered the door in his pajamas. I remember thinking, Wow. He's so. Fucking. Cute.
After leading me to his room, he kissed me, telling me how beautiful I looked in my dress. I pulled off my heels, joined him in bed, and kissed him gently.
"Can I tell you something...?" I asked, eyes cast downward, ashamed.
"Is everything okay?" Tony asked, trying to look me in the eyes.
"Yes... I just don't want you to be upset with me," I said.
"What is it?"
I took a deep breath, mustering my courage.
"I... I went on a date with someone recently," I said, guilt plastered across my face.
Tony watched me carefully, before calmly responding, "Did you?"
"Yes... Are you mad...?"
"... No. I'm just... Why are you telling me this?"
"I don't know. Because I like you. And because I thought you should know. And because I felt bad for doing it. I felt like I was lying to you, and I don't want to lie." I rambled, the truth spilling out.
"Well... What did you think?"
"It taught me that I really like you. You're so much better than him. You're better than anyone I've ever met or dated before in my life, and honestly, I was just scared that what we have is too good to be true. Wanderlust was so amazing with you. I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket, and I just wanted to look out for myself and not rush this, but--"
"If you want to be my girlfriend," he started, "I would really, really, really like that."
He said it.
He wanted to be with me.
I remember smiling. I remember kissing him. I remember thinking, Did he just ask me to be his girlfriend?
I couldn't tell.
So I didn't say anything.
I just kissed him. I kissed him for a really long time.
A few nights later, I was introducing him to my friend Rachel, and we were all out watching one of his buddies (who's in a popular band) perform at a small bar called Neck of the Woods in San Francisco.
We took a shot or two.
We danced together.
He kept wiggling up to me, being sexy, trying to get me to dance with him, too.
When my cup ran dry, I mentioned I was going to the bar for a refill, and he insisted he come with me. On the way there, he stopped me, spun me around, and kissed me again.
"Cheri, I really want you to be my girlfriend."
I remember laughing, shoving him a little, and smiling at him as he stumbled a step. He smiled back at me, leaning in to hear as I yelled to him over the live music, "You can't keep saying that, Tony! If you want me to be your girlfriend, you have to ask me!"
He leaned closer, then. He took my face in his hands. He said, "Cheri, you're amazing. I have so much fun with you. You would make me the happiest man alive if you said yes to me. Will you be my girlfriend?"
I smiled. I smiled so big. Finally. FINALLY, Tony. "Yes, Tony. I'll be your girlfriend."
"Yes!!" He closed his eyes, grabbing at the air and gently pumping a victorious fist. When he heard me laugh, he looked at me, then gave me the sweetest, most lovely kiss. My boyfriend. My Tony.
He was so. Fucking. Amazing.
He still is.
I'm so fucking lucky.
I am so. Fucking. Lucky.