A Love(less) Story {Chapter 3}

This is the story of how I met and fell in love with my husband, Joseph Loveless.

If you missed Chapter One, fear not, you can read it HERE.

And HERE is Chapter Two, my friend.  The saga continues below with Chapter Three!  Thanks for reading!!!

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The beginning of March doesn’t come fast enough for Chicagoans. It isn’t so much the month of March that we eagerly anticipate (especially because it is still considerably cold) but more so what it represents: Spring!  I was busy wrapping up research papers for what was turning out to be a full semester at Wheaton College. Spring Break 2004 was just around the corner and I didn’t have any plans.

Three days before school officially went on hiatus my friend Kaitlin called me out of the blue.

“Hey, Catie! I know it’s totally last-minute but me and two friends from my dorm are driving to Miami for Spring Break and need a fourth person to share the drive. Any chance you would wanna come?!”

One of the girls was from Miami and offered up her house for the week which meant lodging would be free. I didn’t know either of Kaitlin’s friends but since the trip would be relatively inexpensive, I couldn’t pass up week-long respite in a place where the vegetation was already alive and flourishing! I glanced out my window to see mounds of snow still clinging to patches of dead grass and accepted her petition gladly. Within 48 hours, I finished my last final exam and headed for the Sunshine State.

*************

It was a 23-hour drive from Chicago to Miami. We decided to drive in shifts of 3 hours, rotating non-stop, with two people awake and two people asleep at all times. Kaitlin’s mom packed a road trip feast in the cooler and the person in shotgun controlled the music.   We were cruising ten hours into our trip when we crossed into the state of Georgia.

Two things happened in Georgia: I got a speeding ticket (ugh) and we got a call from Kaitlin’s friend’s mom saying it would be best if we actually didn’t come stay at their house for the week. (Um, WHAT?) Apparently, there was some serious family drama unfolding and four spring break college girls were an unwelcome addition to whatever was going on. (Did she know we are in GEORGIA?) Thankfully, a new plan was already in the works.  Instead of Miami, we were going to re-route to Merritt Island (also in Florida) and stay at her aunt and uncle’s house. It was a slight detour but had some added perks.

Josh Loveless happened to be in Orlando that week for a wedding.  Merritt Island was just under an hour away from Orlando.  This meant it wasn’t out of the question for us to meet up with Josh (and by Josh I mean his brother, Lips, um, Joe).  I called Josh to let him know of our change of plans and find out if he was available to have dinner one night.  He had a better idea. He connected us with a friend, who offered to let us stay at her house for a couple of nights. That way, we didn’t have to spend our entire vacation with Aunt Fran and Uncle Rick and could see more of Orlando. We set plans to meet Josh on Thursday night.

He was going to be at his old church that night to see Joe, who ran the student ministry there. We could meet him at the church and then head to dinner. “Don’t worry,” he said reading my mind. “I’ll see if Joe wants to go to dinner with us.”

***************

My cell phone rang just as I was precision curling my already naturally coiled hair. I was taking a gazillion hours to get ready. It was Josh on the other end of the phone finalizing plans and doing his best to try to make me a clammy ball of nerves. “Joe will be wrapping things up with the student ministry at around 9pm and then we can grab a bite to eat afterwards.” He paused, changing his tone to that of an annoying older brother. “Have you decided what you are going to wear for the big night?” “JOSH.” I baulked. He continued, “I think you should go with your red sneakers. Joe will totally dig them.” I let out an exasperated groan, “Please don’t make this savagely humiliating and lamentable?” He laughed, “No promises. See you tonight!”

I hung up and changed my clothes five more times. What I ended up wearing baffles me to this day. In protest to Josh’s annoying suggestion, I nixed the red sneakers all together. Instead, I wore black flip-flops with a plain black tank top (both good, reliable choices) and (the kicker) a camouflage drawstring skirt hitting right above my knees. It doesn’t sound that weird but wait. I’d only worn the skirt once before and had purchased it at a thrift store something like two years prior. It was the thing in my closet I always considered but never actually wore  because it had a small hole in it (what?!) and it didn’t fit me right and bunched up weird at the hemline — a clear winner for the evening. Also, Camo. I’m not trying to be a hater but camouflage was not a common fabric choice in my closet. So obviously something in my head said, “Sure. Let’s wear that.” I’ve always had regrettable timing for weird fashion decisions. I think it’s a diagnosable tick. At least, Josh got the message that I will wear what I darn well please.

We showed up at church and sat in the back for the last half of the service. There were a ton of kids there – probably about 300 middle school students. Someone pulled the fire alarm so the fire department was there, too. Fantastic.  We waited in the parking lot amongst a sea of 12-14 year olds. Joe flew up to us for a quick hello; he clearly had his hands full. He was energetic and warm, yelling over sirens and squeals from giggling students. We confirmed plans to go to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and said we’d see him in a bit.  My stomach was a turbulent ocean of anticipation.

***********

And then…

We barely spoke to each other at dinner. The ceaseless chatter and eruptive anecdotes between all the ladies at the table regrettably consumed the conversation. We were not an inclusive bunch, going on and on with inside jokes and topics pertaining solely to ourselves. I was trying my darndest to appear interesting, but not interested in Lips Loveless. Unfortunately, no one told me that was a horrendous game plan. Apparently, that’s rude and unwelcoming.  I didn’t ask him one single question and he never dared interject himself.  It was a colossal failure.

But as we got up to leave, Kaitlin, (GOD BLESS HER) all of a sudden turned to Joe and said, “We are going to Sea World tomorrow. Do you want to come?”  Have I told you I love Kaitlin?  What a gem!  What a peach! What a gal!  That girl deserves parades in her honor. Thank the sweet Lord for Kaitlin because Lips Loveless yes.

**Continue Reading: Chapter 4

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