Nikk and I met briefly (for about 5 seconds) at a wedding in Philadelphia on October 28, 2011. At the time, I was a groomsmen entertaining the idea of opening a real estate company with the groom from that wedding, my friend Jeff Sublinsky, and she was the wedding coordinator for the event, who just happened to be entertaining an idea of her own; getting a real estate license. During some pre-ceremony small talk, Nikk mentioned her intentions to Jeff, and Jeff, ever the opportunist and recruiter, and smelling the blood of a Philadelphia-based salesperson with a huge database of current and former clients in the water, arranged a meeting between the three of us for two weeks later at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia. On November 8, 2011 I walked into The Ritz, saw Nikk sitting alone in the lobby bar, pretended to not be sure who she was until she identified me, and our life together, in some mysterious way, had suddenly begun. At Jeff's wedding, I was taken by her beauty, her smile, her eyes, and even her crazy hair. What I learned about her that night at The Ritz was that there were things about her that were even more undeniable; who she was, where she had come from, how she was raised, and what she wanted out of her life. So taken, in fact, that I could barely focus on the idea that Jeff and I were, in a sense, interviewing her for a job. So I did what any suddenly smitten, yet nervous man would do in that situation, and I got drunk. Really drunk.
When the three of us parted ways for the evening, and after an awkward hug, Jeff suggested that I should email Nikk and apologize for acting like a fool, and just after midnight that same evening, having sobered up enough to wonder if the girl of my dreams had already dismissed me as some drunken idiot, I wrote her to say I was sorry, in as professional a manner as was humanly possible. To my surprise (as well as Jeff's), Nikk responsed early the next morning and said that she was not only encouraged by the fact that I was able to let my guard down in front of her and not act like some stuffy businessman, but that she was actually interested in working with us. That email, and a subsequent meeting between the three of us about a week later, set off a series of correspondences between Nikk and I that lasted nearly a month, until December 3, 2011, where we met again at Jeff's 40th birthday party.
By that point, Nikk had divulged to both Jeff and I that although she was very interested in our opportunity, she had been offered her "dream job", in The Outer Banks of North Carolina, and that she was strongly considering taking it, and moving in early January of 2012. Her and I had, by then, exchanged hundreds of borderline flirtatious emails, yet never actually talked about going on a date. But knowing her situation, I realized that on that night, regardless of the consequences, I would have to tell her that in my mind, she couldn't move to North Carolina, because if she did, I wouldn't have the chance to date the woman I believed in my heart of hearts was my soulmate. After a night of fun at The Palomar Hotel, Chifa, and finally in the hotel bar at The Sofitel in Philadelphia, I had mustered up some liquid courage, and I did just that, telling her that the moment I met her, I felt like I had been struck by lightning, that she was the girl I had dreamed about meeting my entire life, and if she somehow decided to stay and just give me one chance, I promised that not one day would ever go by where she would regret it, and that eventually, she would be my wife.
A few days later Nikk came to take a look at the islands where our real estate business would be based, and in an effort to put my best foot forward, I arranged a tour of some of the finest homes along the South Jersey Coast. Early in the morning, well before she arrived, I took a shovel, a broomstick, and whatever else I could fit in my trunk, and made my way to the beach in front of the home that would be our first stop. I carved the words "Don't Go" into the sand, big enough for us to see from the home's top floor deck, and hoped that when she saw it, she wouldn't.
The next day Nikk called me to say that she had something to tell me in person, and asked me to meet her in Philadelphia to talk, and I got scared. We met in front of her office, walked to El Vez, and sat down at the bar. She looked me in the eyes and said "I called the people in North Carolina and told them I wasn't interested. I'm going to stay because I want to see what will happen between us", and now, less than two years removed from that moment, here we are, about to embark on our own happily ever after...
P.S. She still hasn't gotten that real estate license.