I ended up riding-along with Officer Cutie the very next night as well.
It was after a little prodding from my friend though, she knew I really wanted to and was happy to take the blame when I said, "So...Courtney says I should ride with you again....".
She knew me too well.
After that night I knew I wanted to see him again...outside the police car.
The next few days were spent texting each other uncontrollably.
My ability to verbally spar proved to be a perfect compliment to his witty sarcasm.
He made me laugh, but more importantly I was letting my guard down...slowly.
No one had been able to make me do that for quite some time.
The best part was that I truly felt like I could be myself around Chuck.
That's what I needed.
I knew that a farmer was who I had inside me, and I wasn't about to apologize for my odd business hours.
He got it. He understood.
And he was still interested.
One afternoon while sitting perched atop the front-end loader in the freestall barn, digging up freestalls he sent me a text.
OK...so we had been texting the entire time, so much so that I could only get between two and four freestalls dug up at a time, in between reading and sending texts.
I was a goner.
His text read, "Do you want to go out and eat sometime?".
After I began breathing again I called my mom, or The Heat as I call her.
Then I collected myself, threw my leg nonchalantly over the side of the tractor, and replied, "sure".
I am so cool.
We decided to go out to the local brewery and a movie after.
Chuck had a red rose waiting on my seat, when he came by to pick me up.
The food at the brewery was exceptional, seeing as I had not been able to eat any kind of melted, cheesey, goodness while getting ready for my figure competition, earlier in the month.
Therefore I ate it.all.
...and his fries.
He didn't seem to mind, which I quickly filed under the "Shares Fries" file in my head.
That file is of the utmost importance.
The evening was wonderful, and we ended up seeing each other-outside the cruiser-again, and again.
We developed an easy pattern of texting all day, going to the gym together, then talking at night.
I loved being around him.
Seriously, loved it.
.....I loved him as well.
This feeling gave me serious anxiety, considering I did not know if he loved me back.
I mean, yeah I knew he liked me...I mean what's not to like?
The wit? The cow smell?
But I couldn't blurt out "I love you" at some random moment.
The feelings I had for him were almost overwhelming.
I felt like I had to tell him or I was gonna bust!
But what if he said something like "OK"?
What if he laughed?
What if it was awkward?
It literally wore me out.
We would get off the phone, he would say "Bye", I would say "Bye"Iloveyou.
Then one evening while driving back from the gym, I leaned up in the car, turned the radio down and said, "Ilikeyou. I mean like, I reeeaaallllly llllllllike you".
He laughed and said, "Well, I really like you too".
That's great. He laughed. I am sooooo funny...harharhar.
I weenied out. Simple as that.
I was going for the gold...and then got scared and didn't even compete.
I still loved him though....
That next week was Thanksgiving and I was all set to go to my Aunt's for a late lunch on the holiday.
I had been stressing over wanting to tell Chuck that I loved him, but still couldn't work up the nerve.
Then I had an idea!
I'll write him a note!
He will read the note, without me there, and not feel pressured to say it back!
....and I won't hear him laugh. Win!
Being much better at writing than talking, I sat down and poured my heart out in ink on a piece of notebook paper.
It wasn't a mushy note, full of puppies and butterflies, but it also contained more than three words.
I decided to leave it for him to find in the morning, while I was at work.
He had worked graveyard the night before, so he wouldn't be getting up until around noon anyway.
The day happened to be Thanksgiving.
I went to work and worried.
Went home to change and worried.
Drove to my Aunt's...and worried.
I parked, and was getting ready to get out of the truck when I got a text.
It said, "Hey! Happy Thanksgiving! I didn't want to bother you in case you were already eating. Call me when you're done and headed back. By the way, I love you too:)".
I sat there and cried, knowing that this would always be my greatest Thanksgiving memory of all.