Fast forward to Summer 2021, with lockdown easing off I saw more of my friends again and things started to become normal again getting back to old activities we used to do. Perhaps the upside of the pandemic is that I became closer to those who I was in contact more throughout the lockdowns. Not having the pressure of dating and wanting to do more activities with my friends meant I could enjoy life a bit more as our freedoms came back.
The meetup events were starting to come back on too and it meant an opportunity to meet new people. One of which was a girl called Katie. First time that I met her was the first event I organised of the year being a trip to the cinema to see Black Widow. I had kind of gathered that she was starting to date another person in our meetup group called Euan. But on first impressions, she seemed very friendly enough. I even popped in a quick joke to her when she said that she needed to adjust her hearing aids before the film began to which I replied “What!?” sarcastically! She had a little giggle.
Next time we would cross paths would be 12 days later at Uttoxeter Racecourse. Both of us as well as a few others went through a self isolation period in the run up to this as we were around someone who had tested positive for Coronavirus. She was again with Euan that day and looking really elegant. Again she was very chatty with me when the opportunity arised although as the afternoon went on, I was talking to a more drunk Katie! I enjoyed talking to her that day as I found her fun which was to my surprise when I got home to find a message of apology from her. I asked “what for?” Turns out she didn’t have a good day which made even more surprised. Further details emerged that Euan had been dating another girl at the same time as Katie and also she came across a guy who had given her an abusive traumatic experience in her past. I wouldn’t find out the full details until weeks later.
Bearing all that in mind, I must admit I wasn’t even remotely thinking of anything romantic at this stage. I certainly found her very pretty and engaging but we hadn’t been in constant dialogue for long. The 3rd time we met changed all that. This was an evening out in Newcastle-under-Lyme for dinner and drinks. I had a message from her to say enjoy the evening out. To which I replied if she was coming out. She replied it was unlikely, she seemed still a little down following the events at Uttoxeter. A few messages were exchanged briefly including some photos of a Bentley Continental that I was driving from Bedfordshire to Crewe that day. I would have messaged more but given the fact I needed to be back up to make the night out meant I cut the conversation short although I did insert an extra kiss into the last message I sent to her prior to leaving, before getting a double kiss back.
I nearly didn’t make the night out as the whole journey back up to the North West was constantly full of traffic jams. I calculated that I had 2+ hours of delays on top of my expected time getting back. Now I was panicking and getting frustrated I wouldn’t get to the restaurant on time. I arrived in at the restaurant nearly 25 mins late. Luckily my friends waited for me and didn’t place any orders until I arrived. Few discussions were had in terms of where we were heading out afterwards and it was then that I found out that Katie was coming down after messaging one of the others who I was with at the restaurant.
A few of us popped down to Whetherspoons down the road. Katie joined us. This essentially would be the first proper engagement of conversation I would be involved in with Katie (the drunk chats I don’t count!). Without any effort from my side, she brought up topics of conversation about cars and motorsport which immediately peaked my interest. With some background stories of my own to go off, immediately we found ourselves sparking between us somehow without others realising what was going on. To top it all off, I mentioned about organising a karting event for everyone to come to. Katie was the first to challenge me claiming that she could beat me but I sense this more in the way that she wanted to get closer to me. As we left the pub, she smiled intently at me saying “see you later” as we parted ways. By the time I got back, I got another message from her in follow-up to the karting event I was going to organise and how she was serious about beating me. I don’t think she quite realised how good I really was but nevertheless she wanted to do something with me.
Into the weekend itself, I spent time alone having a relaxing time doing baking and watching Formula 1. Katie again pinged me a message in the morning about the topics of the night before. Somehow this message carried on all day and into Sunday and into Monday too. This included a brief exchange of our dating lives to which she was surprised how long I’ve been single for. The more messages being exchanged, the more butterflies I was getting. All of this took me by surprise but in a good way. I felt a genuine connection to someone which I haven’t felt for years. By Monday, I asked her if she wanted to meet up the following week for a coffee which she said yes. This followed quite soon by admitting how pretty she was and how I was starting to like her whilst admiting to butterflies too. Her response was the same. It felt like the handbrake was let loose in terms of keeping emotions back.
We didn’t need to wait a week to see each other, it would actuallybe the following Tuesday night instead. Through some unfortunate events on one of the meetups I was at, the cinema had to be evacuated before we could go in. Rather than wait outside not knowing what was going to happen, I decided it was best for me and my mates to go to the pub. This was a good call as the cinema wouldn’t reopen for the reminder of that evening. I messaged Katie pretty much as we got booted out of the cinema. It then opened up an opportunity to meet on the night itself but in slightly bizarre circumstances. Another person who was with us tipped someone else who wanted to come down but asking Katie for a lift. From my prospect, as long as Katie was there it didn’t matter who else was there who I didn’t like. When she arrived, I couldn’t stop taking my eyes off her in a bid to try and catch her attention.
As soon as we all parted ways by the end of the night, Katie texted me asking me if I wanted to stay out after she dropped off Lucy. Immediately replied yes but in a bid to find somewhere to go as most of the places were close to closing time of 11pm. I went on the hunt quickly for places open as she was quickly doing the taxi drop off. Katie was quite speedy getting back, she rang me me saying to meet her where she was parked as I was frantically running Newcastle-under-Lyme trying to find somewhere that open. I put that mission on hold in order to meet Katie. I found her as she was getting out of her car. This was the first time the both of us were alone. We immediately hugged followed by a long kiss and a simple quiet “hi”.
We stayed out for one more drink but a further surprise was in store for ne when she invited me back to her house. We would have TV on in the background as we kissed and cuddled on the sofa. This lasted till nearly 4 in the morning. For me, it felt like a lot of weight was released from me. I felt excited to be with someone again.