Yes… I really did say “Kathy McCloy” out loud. I knew it was going to be my name. I knew when I crawled in to bed that morning that I was meant to be with Otey McCloy. I laid there in bed with all kinds of emotions swirling around inside of me. I was excited about all the feelings that the all night conversation had brought out in me… but in the same moment I was scared that Otey didn’t feel the same way about me. We had just had a seven hour conversation… how could he not even give me one tiny little hint if he was interested? But did I give him any hints? Did I have the courage to tell him I wanted to have his babies?
Knowing Otey like I know him now… I’m afraid the “I want to have your babies” approach MIGHT have scared him off. THANK YOU LORD that for once in my life I actually kept my mouth shut.
I laid in the bed wide awake. How on earth was I going to sleep? I was so warm and fuzzy inside that I wanted to jump on the bed and scream. A little over an hour later I heard Otey come in the front door. He piddled around the house for awhile and then he knocked on the bedroom door…
Me: (in my best fake sleepy voice) Come in…
Otey: Hey… my brother’s girlfriend is in town (Otey’s little brother Ben was on the rodeo team at Missouri Valley) and they are going to eat breakfast… are you hungry? Do you want to go?
Me: Yeah. Sounds good. I need to get up and get on the road anyway.
Oh man that was smooth… make him think I ACTUALLY care about getting to Indiana. Make him think that I wouldn’t just unload my car and move in that very day if he’d ask me to.
I quickly brushed my teeth and then tried on fifteen different outfits at some kind of world record speed before strolling out in to the kitchen looking like I just pulled the top thing out of my suitcase and slipped it on with out looking in a mirror. We headed to the Chuckwagon Cafe (I just added that in for my blog readers from Marshall… yes… Chuckwagon) in the backseat of Brandy’s car. Here we were again. In the backseat of a car both of us pushed up against opposite sides. I wanted to touch him. I wanted to hold his hand. But why complicate things? Maybe it was simpler just loving him and not knowing if he felt the same… maybe it was simpler not complicating the clean and pure feelings I had with a fresh round of crappy guy/girl drama. The last two relationships I had been in were so complicated… so yucky… I didn’t want that to happen with Otey. I just wanted to sit on the opposite side of the backseat and love him from there. That was simpler. That was comfortable. I just wanted to enjoy it for awhile.
Breakfast started out awkward and weird. I barely knew Otey. Ben only knew me as the Region’s Secretary and I could tell he was slightly confused on why I was there in Marshall eating breakfast with them. I had obviously never met Brandy. Thank goodness Brandy is a bit of a blabber mouth like myself (that’s a compliment Brandy) and she talked up a storm and kept me from having to make much small talk. I sat through breakfast DREADING leaving town. I wanted to stay right by Otey’s side.
After breakfast Ben and Brandy dropped us back off at Otey’s house. I started gathering up my stuff and secretly dying inside. How could I leave without knowing if he liked me? No. This was best. This was simple. If I didn’t know… I couldn’t get hurt again. Right now he was perfect… and that is how I wanted him to stay.
I loaded my stuff and came back inside to say goodbye. Otey’s phone rang and it was one of the senior boys on his team. He asked if I was there and said he was coming by to say hi. Otey and I laughed and realized at that moment that all fifty kids on his team were probably buzzing about the Region Secretary staying at the coaches house the night before. I didn’t care what anyone was saying… I was just glad that I had an excuse to stay a little longer.
We sat in his living room that afternoon and visited with a bunch of the older kids on his team that I had known when I was still a contestant just two years before. They all did most of the talking. I remember sitting on his futon (yes… that was the only furniture in the house to sit on besides the folding chairs) watching Otey sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall with his legs out in front of him, crossed at the ankle thinking how handsome he was. He wasn’t just hot anymore… now I knew him. Now I knew what was inside… now he was handsome.
Before I knew it, it was four o’clock in the afternoon. All of the kids had cleared out and it was just Otey and I again. He asked if I was hungry and I told him I would love some Taco Bell. We hopped in his truck and ran through the drive through. When we got back to his house we sat down to eat (now is where he starts getting smooth)…
Otey: You didn’t get any sleep last night and it’s already five o’clock. Do you want to just stay again tonight and head out tomorrow morning?
HECK YA!!!! He can’t just be THAT nice of a guy…. he must be interested… he must like me just a little tiny bit… he doesn’t want me to leave… he wants me to stay… he wants to spend more time with me…. he LOVES me. Okay, he doesn’t LOVE me… but he doesn’t want me to leave.
That was enough.
Me: Well, I don’t guess I have to be home until 5:00 tomorrow night. I could just get up and leave tomorrow morning. Then I’d get a good nights sleep tonight. If you’re sure that it won’t put you out?
Otey: No big deal. I’d hate for you to drive home on no sleep.
So, with that, we settled in on opposite sides of the futon (seriously… like four foot in between us) and started watching the brand new movie that had JUST came out on DVD… Shrek.
Dorks. I know.
I watched the movie all warm and fuzzy. All warm and fuzzy four foot away from Otey. I was comfortable. I was happy four foot away. Deep down inside I was dying for him to grab me in his arms and confess his love for me, but in the same exact moment I was praying he would stay four foot away so nothing would get complicated. So I could just love him from a distance. From four foot away.
As the movie progressed we comfortably got closer and closer. I was nervous. I was FILLED with emotions. Please please please hold my hand… kiss me… tell me that you are crazy about me. Please please please stay all the way at the other end of this futon, please don’t complicate things, if you have feelings for me… keep them to yourself.
But he didn’t.
Before the movie was over we were sitting right next to each other… we were holding hands… and then it happened.
And then I died again.
If there was ANY questions before (who am I kidding… there wasn’t) if all these feelings I had for him were real, everything was confirmed at that moment. I was HEAD. OVER. HEELS. in love with Otey McCloy.
Over the next hour my life changed forever. I told Otey EVERYTHING. Well not EVERYTHING. I didn’t tell him that I loved him, and I didn’t tell him that I was going to have his babies, but I did tell him everything else.
I told him about hearing he was going to be the coach at Ogden the previous summer, I told him how DeWitt called him a “real man” that I should date, I told him how I counted the moments in between his phone calls even if they were just about work, I told him about how excited I was the night we all went to Applebees even though he didn’t invite me, I told him about how this whole “stopping on my way home from Colorado” was just a plan to end up right where I was… with him… on his futon… confessing that I have been crazy about him for months. He told me that he had liked me for months too. That he tried to think of reasons to call, that he was going to ask me out at the last rodeo of the fall in November but he chickened out, that when we all went to Applebees that night Cody and Waylon were yelling at him to ride with me in my truck, that they forced him to sit in the backseat with me, that the reason he decided to turn out from that rodeo and stay home this weekend was because I was coming through.
Warm and fuzzy.
This my friends is the definition of feeling warm and fuzzy.
It was clean.
It was real.
It was pure.
It was just like it was supposed to be.
We stayed there on the futon for another hour or so comparing stories from the past six months. The joy of knowing that he felt the same way, the relief of confessing all those feeling I had bottled up for months, the fact that I had been up for 36 hours… they all suddenly consumed me. I was soooo tired. I didn’t want the night to end, I didn’t want to go to bed, but just like seven years later, Otey knew what was best, and suggested that I get some sleep.
I made my way to his room and climbed back in to that same bed I laid in the night before. He stuck his head in the door and told me good night and made his way out to the futon. I laid there in COMPLETE and TOTAL happiness for the first time in my life. I always thought I was a happy person. A complete person. But now I truly knew what that meant. Otey was my missing piece, and now I had him.
I drifted off and slept like I had never slept before.
to be continued…