I’ve mentioned Sam on this blog since the very beginning and I’m sure some of you feel as though you know him just as much as you know me… even if we’ve never met. If you’re a regular reader you’ll have followed our holidays, businesses ventures, daily musings and may even have insight to some of our conversations! But what hardly any of you know is the story of how we met. Today I thought I’d change that, for a few different reasons. Firstly, it’s a recurring question – so a blog post about it seemed like a cool way to answer in real depth. And secondly, it’s not a traditional ‘love story’ like something out of a fairytale, which I believe is important for young girls to know and learn. So, without further adieu, allow me to set the scene:
It was a hot Friday evening, late August. I had been laying in the same bed, in the same clothes, for 3 days straight. I didn’t want to move and I didn’t want to shower. My eyes were puffy from crying and my hair greasy due to a serious lack of care. As you can probably already guess from the symptoms, I was going through a breakup and it hurt like hell. The last 2 years of my life had been an utter waste of time, and to make things worse I’d lost a lot of friends in the process.
Due to start college in just a matter of weeks, my mum was eager for me to snap out of breakup mode and start a new chapter. At the time, that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to crawl into a hole, to be seen by no one. But just as I thought that for like the tenth time that day, there was a knock at the front door. My mum jumped up off the corner of my bed, speed-walked to the door and greeted what I knew straight away to be my then-best friend, Anthony.
We’d kept in touch but to be honest contact had been low due to the kind of relationship I was in at the time (which was insecure, jealous and controlling – on both sides, admittedly). I was surprised but equally pleased to see him… until I realised what he had planned for us.
“Mezza! Get in the shower you smelly biatch! We’re going to the pub!”
It had been a good 8 months since I’d had any alcohol and as you know, I just wanted to crawl into a hole, to be seen by no one – and a night out up the pub was near-enough the opposite of that! I argued for a good 30 minutes before realising there was no getting out of this. Reassured by Anthony that we were just meeting his brother and his boss, I made little effort. I threw on a pair of jeans, stole my mums black and white boob tube and quiffed the mid-section of my hair, slicking the sides back and creating high ponytail to keep it all in place.
We walked to the bus stop to catch the R11 to St Mary’s Cray, smoking and talking all the way. It wasn’t long before I realised I was smiling and laughing like I hadn’t done in years. Jumping off the bus, we took a long walk through the woods to a pub in Chislehurst named The Bull. I recall asking if there would be anyone good looking there, and Anthony replying no (even though he knew Sam would be there)! I still tease Sam about it today and though me and Anthony no longer speak, I’m sure we’d still be able to have a good ol’ chuckle about it if we did.
Anyway, I followed Anthony into the pub (he was over 6ft, so hiding was always an option) and we joined his brother, Sam and their boss. The three of them had been in there for a good 4 hours, and it was pay-day so the drinks were flowing and the conversation was pretty open – the main talking point almost instantly turning to me on our arrival. Trying to explain that we were just friends was something that Anthony and I had become really accustomed to, so we quickly established that I was single and upon learning that, Sam didn’t hold back;
“You’re so beautiful! Isn’t she beautiful?”
The compliments were overwhelming. I hadn’t been out for what felt like a decade, so being appreciated and admired to such an extent made me feel like a whole new person. Sam was super handsome too, and when we locked eyes I felt content and special. It’s hard to explain but I guess the chemistry was just there, and sexual tension certainly was too! But he was 20 and I was only just 16, and Anthony’s brother wasn’t shy of making his opinion on this known;
“For fuck sake Sam, she’s 16. I know we’re in a pub but it’s not right. Marie’s the same age as my brother man.”
And he wasn’t the only one with an issue. The boss man also had his concerns;
“Sam, behave! Don’t come between these two. Anthony clearly likes her and look at them together!”
True to his authentic self (as always) Sam ignored each and every comment, taking my word as gospel. We got to know each other over a few cigarettes outside and shared a snog, or two. It was a fun night and ended up being exactly what I needed. I woke up the next day (yes, in my OWN bed) and felt back to my normal self. I hadn’t cried in 24 hours and that seemed like some sort of miracle… Finally I was ready to just get on with things, like making and eating breakfast (something I hadn’t done once in the previous week).
Pulling myself out of bed and opening the blinds (another thing I hadn’t done in a while) I checked my phone. Much to my amazement, I had a ‘morning’ text from an unknown number that read something along the lines of;
“Alright missy! How you feeling after yesterday? You still coming to the party tonite? X”
Straight away I knew it was Sam, but I recalled nothing about a party. What party? I called Anthony straight away. Of course, he didn’t answer. He never did – especially if it was before 1pm after a night out! I decided to text back anyway;
“Hey you! Feeling pretty rough, how about you? I might be – not sure yet. xx”
I remember feeling nervous and excited, and annoyed that Anthony wasn’t more responsive! Doesn’t he know a girl needs answers! I decided I’d be going out somewhere or doing something anyway, so I may as well prepare. I laid a towel over my double bed and emptied my makeup bag out, selecting products I wanted to use to create a ‘soft glam’ look. I’M BACK, I thought, as I rushed around trying on dresses and matching up my shoes, texting Sam back every couple of minutes.
That night, I took the R11 to Anthony’s alone. I wore a cow-neck floral dress with a brown belt and brown wedges. I’d put hair extensions in and coordinated my eye makeup with the purple and pinks on my dress. It felt good to have my independence and confidence back, and to know I still had friends who cared. And, hey, someone thinks I’m beautiful! I wondered what Sam would think of me done up, compared to the more relaxed look I was rocking the previous night.
When I arrived at Anthony’s everyone was ready and raring to go. Kathryn helped me straighten up my dress (and made me remove my socks – haha, I’ll thank her for that forever as we later took a group shoe selfie and my socks would have been disastrous) while Amy fed me some shots to catch up with them all. Our cab arrived and we piled on in, singing and shouting like crazy people. We pulled up at the house of the party and I took the girls hands, whispering “what’s the birthday girl’s name again?”
The homeowners opened the door, welcomed us in and offered us all a drink. I spotted Sam in a group in the corner of the garden, smoking (as usual) but pretended that I didn’t. Everyone knew each other, so as the mingling began the less I could hide. I walked out of the kitchen and into the garden to join the smokers, and awkwardly said hello to Sam. The group he was with had clearly been filled in on last night’s antics, so just us kissing each other on the cheek had them teasing and taunting us. I was embarrassed but things soon calmed down and we became old news.
By the end of the night, I was perched on Sam’s knee – drunk and content, yet again. We spoke about a load of random things and then he asked me something I didn’t know how to answer;
“People are saying you just came out of a long-term relationship. Does that make me your rebound?”
I hadn’t even thought about it. I mean, a few weeks ago I was with someone I didn’t even know I could live without but at this point… well, I just felt completely cool with it. It was odd but it felt like the best thing. I knew it was the best thing. So I simply replied;
And changed the subject. We shared a few more snogs and then my phone started ringing. My parents were on their way to pick me up. It was around 12:30am and I didn’t want to leave but the arrangements had already been made and no excuse would change that. So I said my goodbyes and stood outside to wait for my ride on the drive. Sam followed, telling me to stay and that he would pay for my cab home. I was eager to get him gone before my mum AND dad arrived (they almost always came to collect me together) but luckily Kath, Amy, Ellie, Ant and Geoff decided to join us and I was able to slip off without there being any real ‘meet and greet’.
My mum helped me out of the car when we arrived home. Upstairs I sloppily rubbed my makeup away with a baby wipe, ripped off my restricting waist belt and kicked off my booties, ready for bed. With the lights off and my head spinning, I spent some time reflecting on the past two days and started to feel guilty and sad. It didn’t last long, because my phone lit up and Sam’s name appeared on my display screen. I answered, closing my door and letting him know I had to talk quietly. He made me giggle and my drunkness soon wore off. We spoke all night long, about everything under the sun – including our age gap, our life experiences, our hobbies, our friends, our values and sex (of course). It was fun and natural, without any pressure or judgement. Despite our age gap, we had a lot in common.
After that, we threw some messages back and forth every now and again. The more time went on, the less we spoke and that was okay. I was at college meeting plenty of new people, my ex returned to the scene (after finding out I had somewhat moved on) and Sam was busy working, playing Rugby and living life. Sam would like my pictures on Facebook and I’d enjoy his online presence, appreciating his body (from random Rugby shots) and occasionally getting jealous when I saw other girls doing the same. He rung me on his 21st birthday, out of the blue, and pretended he wanted to speak with Geoff once he found out that I was with him. He lived in Beckenham and I lived in Sidcup, and neither of us drove at the time. We figured we wouldn’t ever see each other, so neither of us put in the effort…
That is, until we met again. You guessed it – it was at yet another party, but this time a fancy dress one at Bromley Rugby Club. I attended with the same group of people: Amy, Anthony, Kath, Geoff, Ellie & Amy and was dressed as a cow girl. Sam was also dressed as a cow girl, with boobs made of hay and a stupid straw hat sprayed pink. Still, we locked eyes and hit it off once again. We danced a lot, snogged a lot, drunk a lot and smoked a lot. He impressed me by texting ‘the day after’ each and every time I saw him. No one had been so considerate and confident before – without being desperate, clingy or cringey. It was a nice balance and things were going at the perfect pace.
Two or three weeks later, we arranged to meet for a drink. I was a student at Orpington college so I told him to meet me at the station at around 4pm on a Thursday. ‘The Ex’ and I had called it quits for good by this stage and although I had been on several dates, this was one I was actually really looking forward to. My good friend Alex walked to the station with me (I had a lot of male mates and I wanted to make sure Sam was going to be cool with it. After all, I can’t go making the same mistakes as last time!) and I was pleased when Sam shook his hand and gave us both a friendly smile.
A train pulled up and the three of us got on it together. Alex and Sam got acquainted and I smiled like a silly teenager, making eyes at Alex trying to work out what he thought. A couple of stops later and Alex was off, leaving Sam and I fully alone for the very first time. My heart was beating but we kept the conversation going. He took my hand, led me through the Beckenham Junction and into a bar just across the road (I now moan about how lazy he was on our first date). I took a seat at a stall while he ordered the drinks. I had a Fosters and he had a Strongbow, which he found really funny. Back then I was quite laddish, so I hardly thought anything of it but now I know he wasn’t all that used to ‘girls like me’.
Two pints later and I was tipsy. Happy tipsy. He asked me if I smoked weed and if I wanted to go and smoke a joint, and as my answer was yes to both off we went into the night to find a quiet place.
“I’m not going back to yours, by the way. So don’t even thinking about trying anything funny!” I shouted, in a jokey way yet thinking I was being deadly serious.
“Na, don’t worry we’ll go and plot up in my car if you want to? It’s not insured as I’m not on road yet but it’s parked up near my flat” Sam replied.
Feeling reassured, I linked my arm through his and let him guide me. When we finally got to the car park of his flat I was impressed, yet again.
The area was far nicer than I had imagined (he comes across pretty rough round the edges and lives in Nike tracksuits), which made me feel comfortable for some reason, so I pulled him back from the car park entrance and said;
“It doesn’t make sense to sit in your car when you live just there. Does it?”
He smiled at me and pulled his keys out from his jean pocket (only now do I realise how much of an effort he made. He hates wearing jeans). We took the lift to the second floor and pulled silly faces and poses in the mirror. He introduced me to his dad (super duper embarrassing) who was sitting in the living room watching TV and then invited me into his room. It was small but I remember thinking the flat was really nice. I always try to recall whether or not he had tied it up (as that way I know he was expecting to get lucky) but no matter how much I try, I can’t! As you can probably already guess from where things are going, we did “IT”. And before you grab a bucket, NO I’m not going to give you a detailed run through.
What I will tell you though, is that I basically came on to him (really rare, for me at least) and that this ‘friends with benefits’ type relationship went on for around 6 months before we labelled ourselves a “couple” and changed our relationship statuses on Facebook. Like I stated in my intro, not so traditional, right? But you know what, I wouldn’t change a goddamn thing!
Never did I ever think my ‘f*ck buddy’ would become my life partner AND my business partner.
I guess that’s what love is like. Spontaneous, surprising, supporting and everything I never knew I wanted or even needed. No it wasn’t a fairytale, and yes I pretty much did sleep with Sam on our first date…but it is a real tale: our tale. And that tale is far more meaningful to me than anything else I could read or watch, because it is a life experience – not made up fiction.
How did you meet your partner? Have you broken any dating “rules” to meet the love of your life? Let me know using the comments section below and feel free to ask any questions you may have 🙂
Lots of love,
PS. You can view our shared Facebook album here. Regularly updated, because love is to be celebrated and publicly declared whenever you feel like it! Plus, it’s fun to look back on the many memories we’ve made together.