How They Met:
“You sort of look like a serial killer yourself.” It must have been the worst greeting of all time, but these were the first words Mark ever said to Ashley when they met online in the spring of 2016. You see, Mark was responding to Ashley’s precautionary and rebuffing tagline that she “was only here to see how many of you all looked like serial killers.” Little did Ashley know, Mark was ready to wittily return serve and an early relationship blossomed as the two chatted over their phones for a few weeks before going on their first date. Mark knew Ashley was different from the start. She would send him inventive and hilarious SnapChats, using the filters to alter the faces of characters from “The Office” or the presidential debates in a way only someone who looked at the world with a sense of whimsy would think of.
This initial impression proved true on their first date. They went to Primanti’s and Mark wore a rather loud, short-sleeved, seersucker shirt (a color and material he only had one of). She didn’t run off. During dinner, they learned they shared many mutual interests, including the impossibly coincidental love of the San Francisco 49ers. It made sense for Ashley because she was originally from California before moving to Morgantown to pursue an engineering degree at WVU, but Mark’s ties were firmly in West Virginia, aside from this odd choice of fandom.
They then went to a local nightclub and Mark showed her his two-step (the only move has). Again, she didn’t run off. Rather, they danced, she photo-bombed stranger’s photos (the whimsy), and she drove him home that night before saying adieu. He was smitten immediately, which was odd because he was usually the one who had to be won over by others.
Months passed and the two quickly fell in love. Ashley moved in that September and, by the following year, the two had purchased a home together in Cheat Lake. In the interim, Mark became a pet owner of Ashley’s two feline fur-balls (Marcus and Jack) and loved them so much, he actually adopted two more of his own (Mia and Selena). In short, the six of them comprise a happy, little home, with love and kindness abound.
On a list of 100 things Ashley doesn’t love, surprises rank somewhere around 101. Obviously, this presented Mark with a bit of a challenge for the proposal. How could he surprise her with the ring, in a romantic and personal way, without the shock and awe of a public proposal? Then it clicked. He would ask her to get dressed up so they could “try out the new restaurant in town.” This may have been a tip off for her because Mark’s out-of-office, “dressed up” means wearing jeans instead of sweats.
But she didn’t catch on. Next, Mark positioned the ring in front of their Nest camera, which he bought to keep an eye on the aforementioned fur-balls when they would go on vacation. “Oh no!” he exclaimed. “What is Selena getting into now?” He chose Selena because she was their adventurous climber. Ashley rushed over to his phone to see what the ruckus was, only to be met by a picture of her ring waiting for her downstairs. The two walked down to the living room, and Mark took a knee and asked the most important question he had ever asked anyone: simply, “Would you do me the honor…” They both knew how the sentence would end and now, how their lives were going to turn out.