If you aren’t up to speed on our love story read here, here, here, and here to get all caught up.

We had just left off with Zach and I flirting and me going home and immediately (and shamelessly) adding Zach as a Facebook friend and sending him “pokes.”

The following weekend we all got together for games on a Saturday night. I was speaking in Stake Conference the next day so I wasn’t planning on staying out too late. I showed up in the hopes of seeing Zach. He wasn’t there at first so my friend Tara pulled me aside. She told me that according to Jake, Zach was interested in me.

I know this seems a little middle school-ish, but that’s how this part happened. I was so excited I didn’t know what to do with myself. I literally had butterflies and I couldn’t sit still or concentrate.

I made an excuse to get out of the apartment. I told the boys I would run and buy them some Mountain Dew and then I got in the car and immediately called Misty. I had texted her about an attractive new boy at game night that first time…now that attractive boy was also interested in me. This never happened. Ever! So I called and left her a voicemail.

I came back on cloud nine. We played games a little and I flirted a little more with Zach. Then all my friends, including Zach and Jake, told me they would be there cheering me on during conference.

Sunday rolled around and I spoke in conference. I looked out into the audience and I saw this wonderful row of my dear friends: Jen, Tara, Brady, Jake, and Zach. It was awesome to have such support.

After the meeting ended, I went and met up with them. I quickly introduced Jake and Zach to my mom, as she had been filled in up to the minute on the latest Zach news. After my mom left, I stood there visiting with everyone. I then told Zach that some of my friends often got together to play poker on Friday nights (Which was only partly true, I hadn’t played in a while, in fact, I’d sworn off of it and I didn’t even know if Friday night games still existed. I basically told a fib and hoped for the best). I told him if he wanted to join us for a game sometime he was welcome to come. I was more forward than I’ve ever been before but I think that was due to having insider information. We exchanged numbers.

I promptly got in touch with Misty and Ken and told them, “I need to have a poker night that I can bring Zach to.” They weren’t sure if it would happen or not so I just waited. Day by day. All week long.

While I waited, there was still Facebook (note, I laugh as I write this). Zach announced a birthday party he would be having on Saturday. Three weekends in a row with this guy. I was happy. Even if we didn’t end up as anything more than friends, I was loving it. Zach’s group and my group had kind of molded together and we became a bigger more versatile group of friends. I loved the new element it added to my life. It changed things up a bit and I liked it!

I also remember reflecting on this and realizing that not only did I like it but I needed it. I needed all of these new guys that had suddenly been introduced to my world. It really was like Zach’s world and my world collided and I knew I would only benefit from it, no matter what.

Finally, I knew on Friday that there would be a game. I texted Zach and he said he would be there. He came to poker and brought his brother, Brenden, with him. We exchanged flirtatious texts all night long. It was then that I realized that Zach was a poker player, but he wasn’t a very good one (He knows that I know this…he knows he wasn’t very good either. I had a much better teacher than Zach did, that is the truth. However, Zach has gotten MUCH better so it’s okay for me to say this about him).

That night, long after we had both gone home, Zach and I texted back and forth. We flirted. We talked about spiritual stuff. We talked about our interests/hobbies. By the time Saturday morning came, I was more excited than ever. I woke up with butterflies. (I hadn’t had butterflies in so long, I was thrilled just knowing I was capable of that feeling)

That day I graded as much as I could and got some things done. I remember sending Tara a text that said, “I really like him Tara.” She replied, “That’s not a bad thing Sharlee.” Funny how she knew the tone in which I was saying it even though it was a text. It was an, ‘Oh noooo! I like him.” tone. I was scared.

I ran and picked up a birthday card for Zach and a twelve pack of Mountain Dew. I showed up at a church to play kickball because those were the first plans for Zach’s birthday party.

When I got to the church I noticed that Jake, Tara, Brady, and Zach were the only ones there. I wanted to play kickball with them–as that’s one of the only sports I can understand and play. Instead, though, I kept myself planted firmly in the outfield while I talked with Tara–we were totally typical girls. I gave her details of the weeks’ worth of texts, Facebook messages, and poker. We analyzed and celebrated this horribly exciting thing that was happening to me.

After the game was over, we went back to Zach and Jake’s place. I watched my first episode of Firefly and fell in love with it and all of the boys as they sang along to the theme song (in fact, to this day, when I hear this song I get giddy all over again.)

During the show, Zach and I sent a few flirtatious texts. Including one that went like this:

Zach: Do you like it?
Me: Yes. But probably not like you guys do.
Zach: Why not?
Me: Because I’m not a boy.
Zach: I’ve noticed.

Something as silly and simple as that brought a huge smile to my heart.

Later that evening more friends showed up. It was the first time I met Austin, Natasha, Jordan, and Dan. I was nervous about that…Zach had meshed so well with my world and here he was bringing a different part of his world into it. Would this mess it all up?

We all played a few games. Zach and I sent some more flirtatious texts from across the table. This was the night of my mild freakout when we had a conversation that went something like this:

Zach: I just can’t believe you’re single.
Me:  Not sure what you mean by that.
Zach: I just mean that somebody is really missing out.

And in my mind I was like, “WHAT THE HECK IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?!?!?! Is he letting me know that he thinks I’m great and someone else should date me or is he just doing a terrible job of telling me he wants to date me?!?! But Tara said…did he change his mind?” Oh, the life of a single girl. An over analytical one at that.

That night I went home and the texts we sent started to get more and more forward. They eventually led to us basically calling it out. I cannot remember any of the conversation except one of us finally saying, ‘So are we actually acknowledging this?” Zach told me he would want to take it slow, given my personality that was perfect for me.

I went to bed sometime around 4 a.m. with butterflies. They stayed with me all day, all night, and into Sunday morning. I woke up with butterflies again. That was over 24 hours of butterflies. This thing was huge. I think I realized then that this was it. It had to be. That morning I woke up and said to my mom, “Mom, I really like him.”

I was so scared to get my heart broken. I was so afraid of getting disappointed. But at the same time I was ecstatic. I waited for every email, text, phone call, weekend.

Pretty soon the whole gang was hanging out (or at least parts of the whole gang) every night. I was out until 4 a.m. on school nights…as a first year teacher. Talk about killer. But I couldn’t help it. I was having a blast. I was totally falling in love. This time it felt like maybe it would be it. This would last.

And so it did. Zach and I continued our friendship. I knew I loved him almost immediately. It was just the weekend after Zach’s birthday that I told him I would let him kiss me. I already knew. (I was saving my first kiss for the person I thought I would marry).

Knowing that I was probably going to marry this guy, I decided to move out on my own. I wanted to experience living completely by myself at least once before settling down with someone. So not long after Zach and I met, I signed a lease for a little townhouse and I moved out on my own.

We didn’t kiss until our relationship became official at the very end of January. I got scared a few times along the way. Zach was so different from the type of men I normally found myself attracted to. But we were friends first and that is what kept us going.

January came and we became a couple. In June I went to Georgia to meet the other side of his family. In July we got engaged. We bought a house, got married, honeymooned, got a puppy, and fell in love with living together…with sharing our lives. So far…soooooooooooooooooooooo good.

There you have it. There’s the simple story of us. Yes, we met at a game night. But the events surrounding this meeting…well…they lead me to believe that Zach and I were meant to be.

That and the fact that I feel like I’ve known him since before I came here.

Happy Valentine’s Day!