//Not Really Love At First Sight+

Technically, Cole and I fell in love in 3 days.
One day we went to Cafe Rio, and then BAM - I knew I never wanted to be without him again.

When I say technically, I mean that we fell in love within 3 days of our first date.

But our first date was not the first time I had met him.
Our first date was the first time we were like: "Wait, what's going on? I want to date this kid way bad."
But that is definitely not how we were feeling the first time we met.

In March 2012, I started dating a boy named Ammaron.

As I write this little page, 2 years later, in March 2014, I can honestly tell you he is still one of my best friends in this world (thank heavens).

But that was the problem with our relationship. That's all we were - best friends. I loved to hang out with him and be around him. I loved his family. And, c'mon, he clearly is easy to look at.
But we did everything in our power to kiss as little as possible. There was just no chemistry there. And it kind of killed me, because I wanted so badly to be into him like that - but there was just no way we were ever going to progress. The way I felt about him, was the way it would always stay. We weren't going to fall in love, and our feelings weren't going to deepen.

Anyway, because of this lack-of-chemistry, we were almost never alone. We were constantly bringing our friends with us everywhere.

And, luckily, that meant Ammaron would sometimes bring his best friend, Cole Peterson.

This is the part of the story where you're thinking: "OH MY GOSH, Amanda fell in love with her boyfriend's best friend. What a heartless, betraying snake."

It was lucky for me that Ammaron would bring Cole places with us, but I had no knowledge of that at the time.
I didn't have the least bit of interest in Cole while I was dating Ammaron. That never even crossed my mind for a single second.

But I certainly liked to be around him.

The first day I ever met Cole, Ammaron and I were going to "Sport's Night" at my church, and Ammaron decided to call Cole to see if he wanted to come with us. We picked him up from his house, and within 2 minutes of being in the car, we had a "music bond". Anyone who knows me, knows how sacred I hold my music. When I find songs I connect with, I refuse to show them to anyone else, in fear that people might make it lose its' magic. I swear to you, the reason I am so close with my best friend (Lachelle), is because we have the "music bond" I just referred to. We like all the same music, and we only listen to that music A) alone or B) with each other. Anyway, the first thing I ever, ever learned about Cole, is that he liked all the same music as me. And that was important. 

After Ammaron and I broke up, we continued to hang out. It wasn't trivial or awkward, because we had always been "just friends", even when we were dating. I continued to bring him to my Church Sport's Night, and he continued to invite Cole. 

One night, after I came home from being with Ammaron and Cole, my mom said these words that changed everything:

"Ammaron's friend is really cute."

And as I looked back down at the picture, all of a sudden it looked a little different.

DETOUR #1: Ammaron was the first boy I had dated in almost a year. Before him, I had been a part of a really poisonous, damaging relationship. I walked into it "Amanda Grace Call", and crawled out of it someone else. I couldn't go back to who I was before, because that girl had been burned and shattered and stripped to the bone. So I spent a year straight, not just picking up the pieces of my shattered being, but working extremely hard to become independent; to make sure no human being could ever affect me like that again. 

DETOUR #2: I might have been theeee most weirdly-outgoing person in high school, and even in college (emphasis on the weird). I'll hug strangers, I introduce myself to people I'll probably never see again in my life, and I hold eye contact with people longer than they're comfortable with. I'm not sure what my "inside voice" sounds like, I have no problem with confrontation, and I don't feel the emotion of "uncomfortable".

Cole started to have an effect on me that I had always thought I was immune to.
And I couldn't figure out why.

In the above pictures, you can plainly see that I would throw on whatever was comfiest for Sport's Night.

That next Wednesday, I showed up with curled hair, makeup - the whole nine yards.
I didn't know why, I just knew that Cole was going to be there, and that meant for some reason I needed to look good. I didn't know why.

Everybody went to eat at Beto's afterwards. The majority of people were eating outside, except for me, Lachelle, and Cole, who sat inside.
I say the word "me" lightly, because I swear to you, it wasn't actually me.
I was giggling at everything he said. Not laughing; giggling.
I was thinking of every excuse humanly possible to do that annoying, wussy "slap" on his shoulder.
"OMG Cole, stop it." <---You know the one.
I was nervous, suddenly unnaturally uncoordinated, and feeling completely out of my league.
I repeat, I had no idea why.

He texted me all that night.
I also have no idea why.

I didn't necessarily go home wanting to date him, but I did go home extremely intrigued by the things I felt around him - things I had never experienced in my comfortable, outgoing life.
But mostly I went home extremely frustrated that the newly independent girl I had spent the last year straight working really hard to become, had such little control around a boy.

Like I said before, we were all still friends. Most Sundays, they would come to my Single's Ward with me. One Sunday, after I had had a little while to control my feelings, Cole and I decided to go for a Sunday drive. We were just driving around, listening to music and talking about cars, which I have very little interest or knowledge in - so there's your answer to the level of my control this time around (aka none again).

After awhile, I'm being dead serious, he said these words:
"Wellp, I'm bored." And dropped me off at my house.

Let me just summarize my relationship with Cole thus far.
First Time Hanging Out At Beto's: annoyingly-flirty, nervous wreck.
First Time Alone: "Wellp, I'm bored."

It's safe to say, there were no sparks.

But I got out of the car, and I didn't feel sad or rejected, surprisingly. The emotion I felt was relief. After escaping a relationship in which I had no control over myself, and after a really hard, dark year of working my buns off learning how to be strong again - my independence had become something I valued above almost anything else. And the things I felt for Cole, and the way I acted around him, were things I had no control over. And even though nothing monumental had happened with him, the thought of not being in control of myself again scared me to death.
Plus, helloooo ex-boyfriend's best friend.

We didn't talk for awhile. But I was okay with it. Not only had I learned to be independent, but I actually started to like being independent. I liked alone-time. And I liked being with my family above anything else in the world. So I put the whole Cole thing on a back burner, and it wasn't affecting my life, really. I was even going on dates (with boys who didn't make me nervous or giggly or suddenly unable to walk without tripping).

In August 2013, I went to New York with my mom and brother for my birthday. At one point on the trip, I got in a position where I was surrounded by a freaking million cops. And if there was one thing I knew about Cole, it was that he had wanted to be a Policeman since birth. So I sent him this stereotypical "New York Tourist" picture:

This caused us to start texting again. He was being way entertaining, and making me laugh, and I have never been so pissed. WHY DO I STILL HAVE A WEIRDLY-INTENSE CRUSH ON THIS BOY WHO GETS BORED ON DRIVES WITH ME, AND IS PERFECTLY CONTENT WITH NOT TALKING FOR LONG AMOUNTS OF TIME. WHYYYY. 

After I got home from New York, the [destructive] ex-boyfriend I had dated for years came back into my life. Luckily, I had worked really hard to fix myself - so I was different. And it was different. And it wasn't fireworks or life-sustaining words - it was just passing time. Like every date with him was just one more day to X off the calendar.

One day, we were laying on some rock he had made a "romantic" (maybe for him) picnic on, and he asked me if I had developed feelings for anyone besides Ammaron during the "time we were apart" (some of his sentences make me need to puke).

Here's a little tip for you girls who actually do still have feelings for you ex-boyfriend: When he asks you if you were interested in anyone "during your time apart" (barf), the answer is "NO." Even if it's a lie.

But I could not, for the life of me, get Cole off my mind. And I still had no idea why. How can someone who barely even talks to you, start to occupy your mind during moments like this?

So I told him. Hahah. And it absolutely infuriated him.

We continued going on dates for a week or so longer, but it just wasn't the same. So, what almost destroyed every inch of my mind before, became surprisingly easy, and I let him go.

A few weeks later, I was driving to Cafe Rio with Lachelle and her boyfriend (holla atcha third wheel). And the ex-boyfriend texted me some dramatic text, ending with the words: HAVE A NICE LIFE WITH COLE. Um, I haven't seen Cole in months, but okay, Crazy. After letting go of a relationship that used to (seriously damage and) consume my entire life, I wasn't afraid of dependency anymore. So I thought, you know what? I will call Cole. (Thanks for the idea, Crazy!) And I invited him to come to Cafe Rio with us.

And this will forever be all the proof I need that God's. Timing. Is. Perfect.

A spark finally happened, because I had finally become the girl that was ready for the spark that was about to be Cole Peterson.
I had become independent and content with being alone. I had found a happiness that isn't based off anyone else. I figured out my priorities, with God at the top. I was unaffected by the past, and ready for my future. 

The old Amanda wouldn't have even known what to do with all the happiness that was about to hit me. And you know what? The old Amanda just wouldn't have been enough for all the big plans in store for someone like Cole.
God knew that.  

After dinner, Lachelle and Jared wanted to go home. But MAN, that spark was strong. I have never not wanted to leave someone so much in my life. And he made it obvious that he was feeling the same. So we decided to go to a movie. We decided to go see "The Bourne Legacy". K, worst movie I've ever seen in my life; but probably the most important movie I've ever seen in my life.

Cafe Rio and "The Bourne Legacy". The two most unromantic things ever, right? But something real happened during them. That's the only word that satisfies that phrase. Because I have been in relationships. Some lasting years. But not once did they ever feel real like I felt sitting next to Cole. It wasn't even like butterflies. I wasn't giddy and nervous like before, I just felt content. It was a "real" that felt content and happy and safe.

I left my house that morning, with really only an emotion of "hunger" for Cafe Rio, and came home feeling complete. I didn't know I had been uncompleted all this time, but my proof had just dropped me off at my house.

The next day, my Ward had planned a Luau. As you can tell from this story, I never missed a Ward activity. So I invited him to come. 

Plot Twist: He was going to a wedding with Ammaron, and they were going to head straight over afterwards.

Wait, Ammaron? Uh oh. I had forgotten that I had just felt freakin' fireworks for my ex-boyfriend's best friend; sparks I had never been able to feel with him.

You guys. Not only do I adore Ammaron, and not only do I value my friendship with him, but I respect him more than I respect most humans. I really do. But at the Luau, I COULD NOT STOP TOUCHING COLE. I could not stop laughing my head off at his wit. I could not stop smiling my physical cheeks off at him. I was freakin' smitten in ways that stop for no one. It was just this magnetic feeling that I couldn't shake off no matter who was watching. (My parents were even there hahah).

But, bless his heart, Ammaron gave us the O.K, and became one of our biggest supporters as we made our way towards marriage. 

After the Luau, we went back to Cole's house to watch "Mission Impossible". I think I stayed until 4 in the morning? And we talked the whole time. I mean, the whole time. And it was by far the most comfortable I have ever been around a human being. None of that nervous-giggling before, just laughing our heads off and telling secrets and tired-cuddling.

To this day, we always joke about the "Mission Impossible Theme Song" because after the movie ended, we listened to the Main Credits play that song a thousand times. We were just too content to movie from the cuddly-happiness to turn the DVD off.

I continue to learn more about Cole everyday. But I left that night knowing a huge chunk of what I know today. And I fell in love with all of it.

In one night, he knew me better than some of the people I had spent my whole life around. And still, knowing everything he knew about me - all the scars, all the insecurities, all the the nightmares, all the flaws - he chose me, regardless. Already, after three days, he had begun to show me a love I had never known existed in a world that had been teaching me myths. Already, after three days, he had taught me more about the Atonement in that one decision to ignore my flaws, than I had ever learned in my 20 years of studying it. 

After that, we were attached at the hip. It took us 3 days to go from deciding there were feelings there, to exclusively dating. 

It also took us 3 days to fall in love. 

Sadly, a lot of those first days with him were spent helping me pack for Southern Utah University - a decision which I had come to long before I met him. 

Sometimes I think maybe the fact that we had a time-limit helped speed up our feelings. Whatever the reason, within a week I adored him with a passion that I'm convinced wasn't even part of my soul until I met him. 

When I went through that year of hell, every day my wonderfully supportive Mom would tell me:
"Amanda. It's going to get better. I know you don't feel better now, but one day, you're going to wake up, and happiness is going to hit you like a train."

That is exactly how it was.
I just felt different better the second I was around him. He made me feel safe and wonderful and iridescent.

I know a lot about a lot of things. I like school, I spend free-time reading, and my family breathes trivial games like it's air. But I've never known anything, like I know that Cole Peterson loved me on day 3.

We have this inside joke where we say, "sittin' in the dirt" in this awful hick voice that I'll never show you. Because the next couple of weeks before I had to leave to SUU, we would drive up Suncrest and just sit on the ground in the literal dirt and inhale the company of each other with no interruptions. We would laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more, until our (seriously aching) butts physically refused to allow us to sit in that dirt a second longer. So we always joke about how "romantic" it was that we fell in love "sittin' in the dirt".

It's so weird to me. That you can have relationships where boys write you poems and pack picnics and give you rehearsed speeches, trying so hard to make you feel something - and then one day, you finally feel that "romance" all those boys were trying to create, sittin' in the dirt with your future.

Romantic or not, the next two weeks of sitting in the dirt opened my eyes to a future that I would be happy with, no matter the circumstances. In the dirt, listening to the Mission Impossible song a thousand times, Ward Luau's, on the back of his scooter whose engine sounded like a 5-year-old's bubble machine - I knew that wherever life took me, as long as I was with Cole, I was going to be happy. (And most likely laughing my head off).

I'm always scrolling through old Tweets and Facebook posts, trying to pin-point the exact day I decided I wanted to marry Cole. And I don't know if there was an "exact moment", or if it was just a decision that began the day I kissed him, and increased as the days went on. I'm not sure.

But I can pin-point the exact moment I knew my life would be much less fulfilling without him. I was at orientation for SUU with Lachelle. And I had a full-blown anxiety attack. Like, literal tears. I had only been away from him for less than a day, and I already felt less.....me.

I tried to pack up all my stuff and move home that day. But he calmed me down. 

So I was stuck. But I was stuck with the knowledge that Cole Ryan was the one for me. And that rocked my whole world. 

One day, I got really scared. I had experienced the process of growing attached to someone, and I had experienced that process shatter my mind, and shatter my reality.
So I got really scared. And I tried to push away. Because, I thought, maybe the first part of love is wonderful, but then the longer you stay, the more prisoners it takes. I was not about to suffer through that experience again.

But Cole Peterson was not like any experience I had ever had. And he was patient with me. He loved me through all my breakdowns, and all my freakouts. And I discovered that when you finally find the real thing, it's a love that will never leave you, even at your worst.

Cole loved me. He loved me regardless of my past, he loved me regardless of my demons, and he loved me regardless of my insecurities. He loved me in ways I didn't even know love could exist in a world full of ordinary people. He loved me in ways that made me want to be better. He loved me in ways that made me feel safe and content. He loved me in ways that made me feel a little bit more me.

And he didn't just love me. Even more than that, he understood me. It was an understanding that didn't require questions or lessons. I don't even think it required speaking at all. I just would look at him, and immediately know that he understood. 

I've never believed in soulmates. I believe it's a choice that you continue making over again every day. But sometimes, he weakens my surety of that a little bit. Because his soul knew everything about my soul, without ever being told.

For example: I didn't know I reacted to different situations differently. I didn't know there were different ways to "freak out". But he knew exactly what to do 30 seconds into the conversation. He knew when to be patient, and let me figure it out on my own. He knew when to give me space, and let me cool down. He knew when to comfort me and give me words of encouragement. He knew when to distract me and cheer me up.

He just freaking knew me. He understood me even better than I understood myself sometimes. He was more me, than even I was.

So I stopped being scared. And I let myself fall completely, absolutely, desperately in love with this boy who kissed my scars, and dug up new parts of me that had never been discovered before. 

The next few months at SUU consisted of avid Skype dates,

A million trips to and from Cedar City, and about 10,000 miles on my car ;)

I may have been going to school 4 hours away, but I never went a single weekend without seeing him.

But the thing is, even when I wasn't with him, I felt okay. Because this love was a love that was never going to leave me. I was never afraid I'd ruin it. I was never afraid of not being enough for it. It was never going to fade or slow down - no matter where I was. Living 4 hours away, sittin' in the dirt, no matter the circumstance, I was content and happy and in love in all my bones.

The weekends started turning into weeks, and pretty soon Cedar City became the place I visited, instead of lived.

Especially after my ex-boyfriend's best friend, who made me feel giggly-nervous and comfortable all at the same time, who invaded all my thoughts for no apparent reason at all, who understood the dustiest corners of my soul, and who made every second with him a chance to laugh - had me arrested, and asked me a really important question. (In which I then became nervous-giggly like the first day with him, and continued stuttering for an entire week).

You can read about that story -----> HERE.

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