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I had made the decision a long time ago to not try and force love. If it's meant to be, it'll happen, I decided. There's no sense in forcing the issue, right? Well, at least in my case it's worked perfectly.


It was about three months after I had moved out on my own. I had been living with my mom, sister, & step-dad, but when they moved across the country, I just couldn't follow them so I moved out on my own as I had been planning for a while at that point.


My sister still had friends here, and kept in contact with them via the internet and over the phone. One day I got a call from her, telling me one of her friends had just broken up with her boyfriend, whom she had been living with, and needed a place to stay. Her parents lived across the state and to move back in with them would require her to drop out of school and ruin almost an entire semester's worth of work.


Having been in the situation before myself (homeless), I agreed. I was living alone, and had plenty of room, so it wasn't a big deal at all, so long as I could get along with her. Well, that night she showed up at my door and it was literally like a movie. We both knew then, I think, as we just sort of stared at each other for a moment before I invited her in.


Turns out, her boyfriend had been abusive toward her. Mostly emotional abuse - saying horrible things to her, making her feel bad about herself - and when he got drunk would say even worse things to her. She was also a virgin, which he didn't like, and would often pressure her to have sex with him, which was a big reason why she finally left him.


Over the next month or so, we got to know each other really well. I had never felt so comfortable with a girl so quickly before, and I could tell it was the same way with her. Our friendship was obviously built out of something more, though, and we both knew. Still, under the circumstances neither of us really wanted to persue anything. I was worried that, if we were to break up, she would feel like she should leave, and would have nowhere to go. This was the last thing I wanted, even though I knew I would never force her to go anywhere, I knew she'd feel the need to leave anyway.


The first night we kissed was also the night we both realized there was absolutely no use in fighting this thing. It was going to happen, there was no way around it. I got a call from my sister telling me it was Ashley's birthday, which she hadn't even mentioned at all. I asked her about it, and she said she just didn't think it was a big deal - that she didn't have anyone to celebrate it with anyway. I thought otherwise and immediately told her to get ready - we were going out to celebrate.


It wasn't a huge party or anything - just a simple dinner at a pretty nice resteraunt around town, and afterward I took her to Wal-Mart to pick out a cake, which she resisted again, but I insisted. While in the store, I called my sister and asked if she knew what Ashley might want for her birthday. She said Ashley had her eye on a new iPod, but hadn't had the money to buy one. I did, so I ran over to electronics and bought the iPod in question - after a 15 minute description discussion with my sister to find the right one.


I waited until we got home and gave her the gift, and she was so surprised that I had gotten her a gift, especially one that was so expensive. I told her I didn't mind - it was her birthday - she deserved to be treated like the birthday girl. She almost started crying, and now says this was the moment when she fell for me. I dunno about all that, but I was glad I could bring some hapiness to her during a rough time in her life.


That night is when the walls really started to come down. We got close while watching TV, and she laid her head on my chest. I put my arm around her and before I knew it, she was asleep. When I was ready for bed, I gently woke her and moved her head from my chest to a pillow, tucked her in, and after a brief debate with myself, kissed her goodnight on the forehead.


I woke up the next day wondering if the kiss was too much, too soon. Later that night while preparing for bed, she jokingly asked if she'd get another goodnight kiss, to which I jokingly replied 'nope.' She pouted and said I was mean - still joking, of course - so I gave her another kiss - this time a real one, on the lips. It was amazing, and felt so natural, like we had been together for years. We slept together in my bed that night and I left her a rose by the bed the next morning as I left for work. That night we officially became an item and haven't looked back since.


She's hands down the best thing that's ever happened to me. She's everything I ever wanted, and more than I could have ever asked for. It's so great having someone I can open up to and not feel silly telling all my secrets and desires to. It's even more amazing knowing that I provide the same thing for her. I am so completely in love with this girl, I could keep writing forever and not even come close to being able to describe how I feel about her. I hope she knows that I'd do anything for her, and that no matter what, I'll always be here and I'll always love her. She's always #1 in my heart.


Just a few days ago, I proposed on the beach. She said yes and I now officially consider myself the happiest (and luckiest) guy in the world.


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