My dad, a 1965 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, used to work with the Academy to recruit young men and women from our area in South Jersey who might be a good fit to attend West Point. Cadets would come down during breaks to speak at local high schools–I was used to seeing lots of good-looking young men stopping by the house on the regular!
But during my sophomore year of high school, my father began chatting regularly with a guy named Clint who was a senior at a regional school a couple of towns over. One day that spring, I answered the phone and took a message for my dad that Clint had been accepted at West Point. Good for him, I thought.
I saw Clint sporadically that next year; we ran into each other at Disneyland right before the Army-Navy game, when the park was closed down for the cadets and midshipmen to enjoy it. Sometimes Clint would stop to see my dad and chat about all the ways in which West Point had changed or stayed the same.
It wasn’t until mid-December of my senior year in high school that I got a call from Clint one day, asking if I wanted to go Christmas shopping with him. I said yes.
(Later, I learned that he’d asked my dad’s permission before calling because he didn’t want to ruin their friendship. Isn’t that sweet??)
What I remember from that date was that I laughed more than I had with any other guy I’d ever dated. We had such a great time. But I didn’t hear from him again for a few weeks . . . until he came over a few days after Christmas to see if I wanted to go out again.
We spent most of my Christmas break together getting to know each other. But I wasn’t sure if this was a romance or not, because even though I thought we were enjoying each other, he never even tried to kiss me.
On New Year’s Eve, we went to a party at his friend’s house. As the clock chimed in the new year at midnight, finally we had our first kiss.
A year later, on Christmas Eve, he asked me to marry him, giving me a ring in a Christmas stocking filled with Hershey’s kisses.
This year, it will be thirty-nine years since he asked me out. I call him my forever boyfriend, because he still cherishes me as though we’ve just begun dating, and I still see him as the boy who made me laugh and stole my heart.
So, yeah, this really IS the most romantic time of year!
Tawdra Kandle writes romance, in just about all its forms. She loves unlikely pairings, strong women, sexy guys, hot love scenes and just enough conflict to make it interesting. Her books include young adult and new adult paranormal romance, new adult and adult contemporary romance and adult paramystery romance. She lives in central Florida with a husband, kids, sweet pup and too many cats. And yeah, she rocks purple hair.
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