(and the first proposal)
In the spring of 1995, Stefanie got a job as a costume character at Sea World where Clarke had been working for almost a year. Clarke and Stefanie began very good friends and often commiserated about their relationship issues. After one particularly frustrating relationship day, Clarke and Stefanie were sitting outside the dressing room discussing their respective problems. “Ya know,” said Clarke “we should just get married” and Stefanie agreed. The End.
Well, not quite (but that is what we said).
Stefanie and Clarke never dated while they worked together, but always remained close friends. After two years, Clarke left San Diego for northern California and UC Davis. They kept in touch occasionally, but eventually the emails stopped. Fast forward two years to the end of summer 1999. Stefanie was still a costume character at Sea World. Clarke was home from Davis for his summer break. The entertainment department was having a beach bonfire, and they both just happened to show up. They mingled with friends and former co-workers until suddenly, across the darkened beach, they spotted each other and completely dropped the conversations they were having and ran into each others arms. They spent the rest of the bonfire talking and catching up on the past two years. Coincidentally, they were both single (you see where this is going, don’t you?). Stefanie had a few weeks left before heading off to Costa Rica for the quarter and Clarke had a few weeks left of summer vacation before going back to Davis. They spent lots of time together and became just a bit more than friends. Suddenly, it was time to say good-bye for three months. No promises were made and no “where is this going” talks were had. Stefanie got on a plane and Clarke got in his car.
There were emails sent from Costa Rica and Davis, but both were leading their own lives. They found themselves (and each other) back in San Diego at Christmastime. Clarke and Stefanie spent lots of time together during their winter break, and again during spring break. In between, there were emails and phone calls, but still no promises or “relationship” talks. Clarke graduated from Davis and set off on a three-month 11-state (and Canada) solo road trip (with his cell phone). Stefanie had one summer school class to complete which took her to Bodega Bay. There were still the occasional phone calls. Clarke came to visit Stefanie at summer school for a few days and when class was over for the summer, she went to visit him in Davis. They spent all of August in Davis eating 99-cent chicken sandwiches, rollerblading, swimming and looking for jobs. The end of August arrived, Stefanie had (no money) no choice but to return to the welcoming home of her mother where rent was cheap. Clarke decided that he was going to try his luck at freelance web-design and was offered a place to stay at his uncle’s house in San Diego. Seeing as how they were both in the same city for a while, they decided to “officially” start dating.
Five years later………….