I started working at 21st Century Charter School in August 2021. That is when teacher, Mr. Pawlus, first laid eyes on me, the administrative assistant, Ms. Bernard. I was not paying any attention to this super tall teacher with a baritone voice (I had a new job to learn) but Joe was absolutely paying attention to me! I don't recall how or when, but Joe found out I am the sister-in-law of his former co-worker and friend Mrs. (Aarynn) Bernard. Later he asked me how did we have the same last name (like he didn't already know!). I told him that Aarynn is married to my brother and I wasn't married (he thinks I threw that last part in subconsciously to let him know I was available; I was just making conversation). Anyway.... around October 5th, Joe sent me a friend request on Facebook after finding me through Aarynn's page and a post she made about an anniversary gift I had given them that year. I accepted, which I usually don't do with new co-workers. Then he sent me a DM on October 16th, asking if I had any plans for the next evening and said "I would love to take you to dinner and chat." And I agreed to go. Now, I didn't think this was a date. At that point I was starting to realize who I could and could not trust at work and I thought Joe was going to tell me things about those people and the job. Plus I had spent the last 11+ years single and becoming a cat lady with an anti love, anti dating, anti marriage mindset. So, yeah, I was not in the head space to understand this man was asking me out on a date. And If I wasn't so oblivious to what was really going on, I probably would have said no to dinner. So, on Sunday, October 17th, we went to dinner at Asada Grill and Cantina and I soon realized dinner was actually a date. I didn't shut down or run and Joe broke through the proverbial wall I had built around my heart! AND HERE WE ARE!!! Truth be told, Melissa scared the bejeezus out of me - dark, beautiful, exotic, great teeth and an awesome smile, I was smitten pretty quickly... but she never talked, AT ALL. I spent two months trying to work up the nerve to talk to her and possibly ask her out. During a very brief conversation about how she knew Aarynn, she threw out the fact that she wasn't married, obvious green light to ask her out. Being terrified, I had to wait another few weeks before even thinking about it. I casually friend requested her on FB over the upcoming week or so. She accepted and of course, my plan went into full effect. Finally, one Saturday in early October, I decided to take my shot.... through a super slick 'hey, what's up' FB message. Totally chill. She didn't respond for 8 hours, or at least I thought so. Apparently, internet issues caused a bit of a delay in her response. After checking my FB messenger, a dozen times within a few hours, I just decided she wasn't interested and even though she had accepted my FB friend request, she was not going to respond. When I checked my messages later that evening, she had responded, 'Hi!' I cut through the small talk and asked her if she wanted to go out for dinner the following day. She said sure and that was that. However, she thought I was just inviting her out so I could fill her in on who to stay away from at work and alleges she had no idea it was a DATE. She figured it out pretty quickly that it was a date, that I liked her, and that I was definitely going to ask her out again. One interesting point to this whole scenario is we had been living about 4 blocks from each other for over a year. And She Still Scares Me A Lot.