Leslyn's Lovely Life: Love Story

Love Story

**This is a LONG. LONG. story.**

Where it all began...


You're probably thinking to yourself "What the whaaa? 1994?!"

Yes. It all starts there.

A bouncy, chipper 6 year old little girl is about to watch her oldest cousin perform. It's this little thing that all Ouachitonians love. It's called Tiger Tunes.

Every homecoming, alumni gather and watch this incredible performance where the fraternities and sororities social clubs (gotta love the Baptist schools) compete against each other. It gets pretty intense. Just YouTube it, and you'll be blown away.

Anyways, there's a group of hosts and hostesses that performs between every act. Basically, if you become a host and hostess, you're a celebrity the week you find out you made it (February), and then you're a celebrity the week of Tiger Tunes (October). In between those two events, people don't really care. So my cousin was a Host (or as we affectionately call them, HoHo's. Not the most Baptist name, but whatever).

That fateful evening, I was watching the HoHo's sing Bonnie Raitt, do some weird hula limbo thing, motorcycles came out on stage, and I knew.

I was going to be a HoHo someday.

We videotaped it, and I watched Tiger Tunes on a daily basis for 2 years.

I'm not exaggerating.

My brother and I even memorized the HoHo's dance moves, and performed in front of the TV.


We were those kids.

Fast forward 12 years.

I go to Belmont University... The place that doesn't have Tiger Tunes. And there was this little part of me that was sad about it. After all, it was my DREAM to be a HoHo. But I told myself I would be able to perform.

In Nashville...

Yeah right. Unless you have some kind of deal, nobody wants to hear you.

Anyways, I left Belmont. Begrudgingly. But then I transferred to OBU in 2008.

When I transferred to OBU, I only had one goal in mind (besides graduating and all...). That goal was to be a tiger tunes hostess. In the weeks leading up to the audition, I was trying to decide what I was going to sing for my audition. I called on a former hoho, and asked his opinion of me singing the song. He said it was perfect.

I was so excited when audition day came. I could hardly stand it. I actually stepped out of a rehearsal for about 15 minutes so I could do my audition. I played for 3 of my friends, and then I sang "You Found Me" by The Fray. It really wasn't my best performance. It was actually kind of terrible. I walked off the stage, feeling like my goal just slipped through my fingers. It was over. I went back to class (which was in the recital hall), and tried to move on with my life.

Every year, there's an international food festival at OBU. They serve really yummy, delicious treats, and then they decide to go all crazy on you and throw in gross things like cow intestines or snakes. Yup. Anyways, one of my best friends Maggie and I were there. Well then she got a phone call, and she found out she was a hoho!!! I was so proud of her! Then I realized that I didn't have my phone with me. Of course, the panic set in, and I HAD to find my phone. At that very instant. So we left our plates, and ran. I remembered that the last time I used the phone was in the recital hall, so I ran over there with Maggie. When we got there, a guy walked out of the recital hall (we actually ended up dating for a couple of months after this incident... but let's not go there right now), and I asked him if he had seen my phone. He grabbed it for me, and I saw that I had several missed calls from an unknown number.

I made it.

Maggie and I did a happy dance.

Then my roomie joined us in the happy dance.

A few hours later, I got an email (and I still have it) listing all of the hoho's. I recognized all of the names. Except for one.... Some guy named DJ.

Obviously I had to facebook stalk him to find out what he looked like.

Y'all. That boy was fiiiiiine.

A couple of days later, I saw him walking across campus with one of my friends.

"Hey, DJ? I'm Leslyn! We're hoho's together! I'm so excited to finally meet you!"

After meeting DJ, I immediately thought he was the nicest guy. He was always in a good mood, and was positive all the time. The group of hoho's got together once a week to discuss song selection for the show (we started this in March, and the show wasn't until October. I told you this was a big thing at OBU). I noticed very quickly that we had very similar tastes in music, so he automatically was cool in my book.

We never really hung out outside of those meetings. In fact, I hardly saw him around campus. When you're a music major, you never leave the music building. So I only saw him in those meetings, and we would just engage in small talk.

Summertime came, and we didn't talk at all. I was in Missouri working at a camp (one of the most life-changing, wonderful things that ever happened to me), and I got to the point where I was so satisfied in the Lord that I came to the conclusion that I didn't need a man to make me happy. I was seriously to the point where I didn't care about dying single. I decided at that moment, I would stop looking for relationships and focus on mine with the Lord. There was nothing more satisfying to me.

Hoho's have a certain privilege of moving into the dorms a week earlier than all of the other students. This gave us extra time for dance and vocal rehearsals. It was so much fun. We all hung out with each other all the time- we went to the lake whenever we had the chance (one time. Haha), ate together in the caf (because non of us felt like eating with the athletes who were already on campus) (OBU tries to call their cafeteria "The Commons". It will never work, OBU. It will always be the caf). Once school started, and we had rehearsals every night. It was nuts trying to balance classes, homework, friends, and Tiger Tunes. But I somehow made it work.

There was one rehearsal in particular where DJ was rehearsing his solo (trust me... there will be video of it next week), and the rest of us were watching him. I remember so clearly thinking to myself "DJ is such an incredible guy. Whoever he marries is going to be one lucky girl."

Yup. I thought that. Again, let me reiterate- dating was NOT on my radar. It never crossed my mind that I might want to date him (let alone MARRY him). I guess it was one of those moments where I realized that I had so much respect for him. Crazy, huh?

Before we knew it, it was show time.

It was Tiger Tunes week. Here are a few of the clips of the performances.

My hot hubs singing a song.

So dreamy, right?

Here are the girls singing Beyonce....

Yes. I'm the one in the green.

I'm telling y'all... it was so much fun.

So Tiger Tunes happened. And as any other former hoho knows (for those of you reading this for the first time, you seriously need to go back and read the other parts of the series. Or else this will seem kinda strange to you), you get a ton of attention the week of tunes, and then your life gets back to normal.

And that's exactly what happened.

After all the hype was over, I thought to myself, "DJ is one of those who will never hang out with you again. I mean, he never did before Tunes, why would he start now?"

And I was partially correct.

I may not have seen him a ton on campus (again, when you're a music major, you live in the music building), but he would send me random texts every so often. He would make up excuses to call or text me (like asking what was happening on a TV show.. he could have easily googled it or watched the show, but instead, he called me), but I never caught on to it at all.

I remember a few weeks after Tunes was over, he wanted to go to the campus movie night, and there were several of us who went together. We watched UP, and I remember distinctly thinking to myself "I kinda want to hold his hand. WAIT! STOP IT LESLYN. You're not going to date anyone, remember? You're going to stay single forever. GET. IT. TOGETHER." So we never held hands.

After the movie was over, there were a bunch of us who were walking back to the dorms, and he leaned over to me, and said "I don't want to stop hanging out with you. Let's leave."

So we did.

We went to Wal-Mart, bought pumpkins and carving kits, and I carved a pumpkin for the very first time in my life. Yup. I was 21 years old when this happened. We were freezing to death outside of the student center (because that's the only place where males and females can hang out together at my alma mater), but we had a blast talking, telling stories, and getting to know each other outside of rehearsals. In our conversation, he discovered that I didn't know how to drive a stick shift, and he insisted upon taking me to an old parking lot to teach me.

Let's just say that no matter how hard he tried, I still can't drive a stick shift. Haha :)

Several days later, he sent me a text: "Hey, what are you doing on Friday or Saturday?" I, thinking that he would only want to carve another pumpkin or something, say "Oh, just studying. What about you?"

"I would like to take you out on a date. Dinner and a movie? Friday?"


I literally jumped in the air when I got that text. I mean, it was kinda lame that he asked me out over a text, but at least I could react the way I wanted to, right?

So we went on our first date on October 30, 2009. We went to Genghis Grill, Starbucks, watched "This Is It" (where he held my hand only in the last 10 minutes of the movie, because he didn't want to get in the awkward situation of us having to hold hands when they're all clammy... you KNOW what I'm talking about), and we stood in line at a haunted house for an hour and a half (we left, because we didn't feel like waiting an additional 3 hours). At the end of the night, he walked me to my door, and he kissed me. It was so precious. The next day, we went on another date, and it was so much fun. Our relationship was a blast- there's no other way to put it. We were always having fun together, and it was light-hearted. This went on for 9 months.

When you're in a relationship with someone, you're supposed to get in arguments- you should be comfortable enough around each other to be your true self. Well, with DJ and I, we NEVER got in an argument- I tried to stay calm and under control when he would push my buttons (and did he EVER push my buttons). I didn't want to scare him off by reacting the way I really wanted to. After 9 months of no fighting, and having fun, we realized that we were at a crossroads. Our relationship didn't have much depth at all, and after almost a year, it should have had SOME depth. So, without giving you all of the gory details (that's the whole "sharing a certain facet" thing), we broke up. We both cried. It was just plain awful. I didn't sleep, could barely eat, and was miserable. The thing is that I KNEW that we were supposed to be together. It just didn't make sense.

We didn't speak for almost two months. We saw each other on campus occasionally, and it was super awkward. The night before classes started, he told me that he wanted to get back together, and I told him that I wasn't so sure. So then we didn't talk again. It was so frustrating when we kept on running into each other (oh, the joys of going to a small school). Eventually, I couldn't handle it anymore. So I texted him, and asked him if he would meet me in the parking lot. I looked him in the eye, and told him (and lied): "Look, I don't ever want to date you. But seriously, you were my best friend, and our friendship was too good to let go. Can we just be friends, without worrying about getting back together again?" He said yes.

So then, when we bumped into each other, it wasn't so awkward anymore. We would occasionally spend 10-15 minutes with each other, but besides that, there was nothing else going on. I felt ahuge sense of relief, simply because I didn't feel this anxiety every day about running into him- it wasn't that big of a deal.

He came to my senior recital (his sweet grandma drove up too! It made my day!), and afterwards he took me to Sonic as my post-recital present... His mom called to see how it went, and he told her that I was absolutely beautiful, and that I never sounded better. That's kinda weird when your friend-turned-boyfriend-turned-ex-boyfriend-turned-friend-again says that. But I tried not to think anything of it.

I should have known what was coming next...

A few days after my senior recital, DJ called me around 5:00, and said "Hey, I'm really not feeling well, and I would just about kill for a bowl of Cracker Barrel chicken and dumplings. All my friends already left for dinner, and I was hoping you could come with me?"

He's sick, Leslyn. Don't be a jerk, just go with him.

"Okay. See you in a few minutes."

So we went to Cracker Barrel. He really was sick. We ate dumplings, talked about our weekends, and talked about our plans for fall break (we left the next day). And then we get to the cash register. He insists upon paying for dinner. "Oh, really... Please don't do that. I've got it." "No, I want to. I just appreciate you coming with me."

Well, he did kinda make your life miserable when the break up happened. At least you should let him pay for your dinner. And no, this is not a date.

"Okay... thanks." So then, as we're leaving, he says "I have this huge paper that's due tomorrow, and I know that you're a great writer... Will you help me out with it?"

He's sick, Leslyn. Don't be a jerk. Just help him out.


So I helped him with his paper. For two hours. Let me remind you that we are still very much broken up. Once we finish his paper, he says "I could really use a Frosty from Wendy's right now. You wanna come?

Umm... what the crap is going on.... NO. I don't want to go with you. But I really like Frosties...


After we get our Frosties (is it Frosty's or Frosties? I don't even know... this is seriously bothering me as I type this), he drops me off at my dorm.

"Well, see you later."
"Thanks for hanging out with me tonight and helping me with my paper. You're awesome."
I know. You're lucky I am even talking to you after breaking my heart the way you did, jerk dude. 
"Thanks. See you soon!"

What the heck just happened?! I need to talk to somebody about this.

So I went to my friend's dorm room, and we had a 30 minute talk about it. She didn't know how to explain this strange behavior. Then DJ called again.

"I need to talk to you. Right now."
This. Is. Getting. Ree. Diculous.
"Uh.... Okay? I'll meet you outside my dorm"

So we walked. For about 15 minutes. And he didn't say a word.

Wow, I'm so glad that I am taking the precious time that I could be using to study to just walk and say nothing. This is pret-ty darn awesome.

Finally, we sit down on a bench in the music building. Still no words.

"Sooooo..... what did you need to talk to me about?"

"Leslyn, I'm in love with you. I was stupid for ever letting you go. I knew all along that I loved you, and that you were the one for me. I was too stubborn to allow myself to feel that way about anyone. But I want to be with you. I love you."

That's the face I made. No words. Nothing.

"Uh.... Leslyn.... Will you say something."

I love you too and I've known almost since the beginning that I was going to marry you and I am so happy right now that I could throw up!!!!

"I don't know if I believe you, DJ."

Nice... way to play it cool, Leslyn. 

"Let me prove it to you. I'll do whatever it takes."

So we talked about all of the gory details (ya know, the ones I decided not to share), and he walked me back to my dorm. I hugged him.

"So... can I get a kiss?"

This is what I was thinking....

"Nope. Not until I know for sure that this is real."
"But you know that I've never told a girl that I loved her."
"I know that. But I need you to show me that I can trust you. This whole thing will be completely on my terms. Until I'm ready, I will not kiss you. Hugs will have to suffice."

So we hugged. For over a month (I'm so cruel).

But that second first kiss- it was like fireworks. It was the best kiss I've ever had.

Anyways, we got back together. And those were some of the sweetest times- because we knew each other and all, but there was a deeper significance to our relationship. We went through a break up, and we ended up realizing that we couldn't live without each other.

Something different about us was that we never discussed a "timeline" for our relationship. Yes, we knew we were going to get married someday. But that's where we left it- "someday". Not once did I ever think that we would get married right out of college. But that's what happened.

In early January 2011, there was a huge snow storm that came through AR. I was stranded at my grandma's house, and I thought DJ was just visiting one of his best friends in Texas. What I didn't realize was that he drove down to Houston to talk to my dad, and stayed the night to see his friend... and then he was stranded at the friend's house. Thank goodness I didn't suspect anything. :)

On January 12th, I met up with DJ at our school and he went into a room to take a test for his online class. The proctor walked out and handed me an envelope from DJ. It said something about how it was my turn to take a test... So basically I was sent around campus on this scavenger hunt. And no, I still didn't suspect anything. There were more envelopes and goodies at every stop for the scavenger hunt. Each "stop" was at a place where something significant happened in our relationship (first time we spent time alone together, first kiss, first "I Love You", etc.). My last clue led me to the chapel on our campus. There were candles and roses everywhere. I was completely clueless and was walking through the pews, looking for the next envelope. And then he walked out.

Apparently, he had this big speech worked out in his head. But he got so nervous that he forgot it... So he just said "I love you. Will you marry me?" Smooth, right? But duh, I said yes.

It was the most wonderful surprise. Obviously. Whuddup, mascara?

Instead of writing all about our wedding, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves! :)

It was the most perfect day. It was before Pinterest was a huge deal, so it definitely falls on the more traditional side. But I loved everything about it.

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The Contented Wife said...

This is a cute story. :) I definitely remember that snow storm of January 2011! My husband (fiance at the time) was living in AR at that time and got caught out in it! TOTALLY know what you mean about your wedding being before Pinterest!

Yalanda Ludtke said...

Awe, I completely love this story. Love. It.!!