Let me tell you about my husband before he was my husband.
Richie came from a completely different upbringing than me. He had lived his whole life in one town, while I had moved from country to country, state to state, and town to town. His grandmother knew everyone in town, so everyone knew Richie. I was new and quiet and didn't know anyone and nobody knew me...so it was a little weird when Richie's cousin, Cortney, sat hip to hip with me and laid her head on my shoulder the first time I met her. She actually thought I was someone else. She and Richie were some of my first friends in this new town.
Richie was gangly and a little goofy and sort of looked like Harry Potter...not like Daniel Radcliffe, but like what you envision Harry Potter to look like when you first read the books. The first time I saw Richie, I was still as tall as him and he was dressed as a Jedi at our church harvest festival. He had never seen Star Wars and would later watch the original trilogy at my house. I officially met him the following summer at vacation bible school and we talked about all things video games and Pokemon. We became quick friends after that. He was nice, fun to be around, and the most polite person I'd ever met. His grandmother had made sure that he had perfect manners. He was outgoing. Charismatic. Loud. Still is. He has the best personality that people are just drawn to. There were actually quite a few other girls who were seeking his attention at the time. I wasn't one of them.
We were friends, but he was also my older brother's friend. I always like to argue that Richie was my friend first, but it honestly doesn't matter. We got closer because of his friendship with my brother. He was around a lot. Ridiculously so. I was around him a lot and I wanted to be around him even more. It actually caused some conflicting feelings for me, because at the time I was interested in someone else. I could see that Richie cared about me as a person, whereas the other guy was only interested in me as a potential girlfriend. When things ended with said older guy before anything even began, Richie let me cry on his shoulder.
Some time after that, Richie asked me if I liked him. I said...no.
"As a friend," I said.
Yes, I lied.
I was too scared of getting in trouble again and too scared of having my feelings toyed with. I was a stupid 14-year-old kid who really shouldn't have been thinking about boys at all.
After some months and more relationship drama, I told Richie the truth. I had lied and I did actually like him in the way I hoped he liked me. He did. He had liked me from the first time we met and I had been able to hold a conversation about video games with him. I was thrilled. No one else was surprised.
There was one thing little thing. I couldn't date him until I turned 16, which was over a year away. I asked if he could wait and he told me he would.
Richie waited for a year.
A 15-year-old kid waited an entire year to date someone. That's unheard of. He was so sure of his feelings for me that he actually waited a whole year to start dating me.
And then on July 22nd, 2005, things changed...but that's a story for next time.