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Keep in mind that we ask all couples to answer the questions separately so we can draw parallels between their experiences and say a collective, "aaaaaah!" (Image: Lindsey Clawson | Photographer).
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Documenting Love: Hannah & Nick's Story

Welcome to our Documenting Love series where we capture people's love stories through photos and the written word. This may be one of our favorite weekly series! Check out the gallery and read the couples love story below. Keep in mind that we ask the couples to answer the questions separately so we can draw parallels between their experiences and, you know, say a collective, "Ahhhhhhh!" If you or someone you know wants to be featured in this series, please get in touch with us, hello@seattlerefined.com.

Photos by Lindsey Clawson | Photographer

Hannah
We were playing a game of Assassins. For those that don’t know, it’s a game where everyone gets a name. This name is the person you are trying to “assassinate.” In our case, “assassinate” meant put a clothespin on someone without them noticing. I had proved to be a fairly good hitman and I had inherited Nick’s name from one of my “kills.” I actually was a little disappointed as I rarely saw Nick freshman year, so it was going to be difficult. When I finally spotted him, I ended up chasing him into the bathroom, a safe zone. Before he got into the bathroom, he managed to break a friendship bracelet off of my wrist. Beads went everywhere, and I didn’t assassinate him.

Nick
I remember meeting Hannah during freshman year of college, our alma matter at University of Denver but there are two particular instances that stand out. I don't remember which came first; I suspect that it was meeting her parents, so I'll start there.

During Homecoming weekend, we had a gathering that included parents (come to think of it, I'm not sure my parents showed up) and Hannah had told me and a friend of mine that her mother would be there. My friend and I enjoyed riffing jokes in accents, inventing characters on the fly, and bouncing comic ideas off each other. We particularly enjoyed British accents. Since Hannah's mum happens to be British, she thought it would be a grand idea if we tried out our accents on her. We chickened out. But, we did have a good time telling jokes with Hannah and her parents. I found out later that from that point in time, Hannah's mum constantly referred to her "funny" friend: "You know, the funny one!" Unfortunately, that person was my friend. Not me.

The second memory was during a game called "Assassins." The object of the game was to pin a clothes pin on another person (your "target") before you were pinned yourself. There were a few designated safe places--classrooms, your personal dorm room, and bathrooms, mainly. The overall atmosphere this game created on our dorm floor was one of mild paranoia and dread. Hannah attacked me one fine fall day as I walked past her room. Primed by paranoia and fortified with a healthy flinch reflex, I ran to the bathroom--a gazelle fleeing a cheetah. She caught me at the door of the bathroom, and, with my aforementioned flinch reflex, I turned quickly, grabbed her wrist (I had to defend myself!), and shattered the beaded bracelet she was wearing. I was safe, but I had destroyed the bracelet, which was given to her by a friend. I think it was handmade as well. After we had been together for a little while, several years later, I related this story to Hannah. She thought the person who snapped her bracelet was a completely different person!

Apparently I wasn't very memorable freshman year...

Hannah
He has always loved writing and is good at it. However, as a Budget Analyst he doesn’t exactly get to write novels. Yet in both of his jobs, within the first few months, he has been identified as one of the main people to help with the budget book or other tasks that include technical writing. While I know it’s not his favorite kind of writing, it’s been amazing seeing him leverage his skills and having others recognize him for it.

Nick
She's very accomplished: completed a marathon in Washington, DC; taught high school for 4 years in Baltimore City; earned two Master's degrees. But, most importantly, she's earned what she set out to gain: a chicken coop in our back yard, complete with three hens.

Hannah
I knew I loved Nick early on. I remember my mom coming out a couple of months after Nick and I had started hanging out. I remember her asking me if I thought he could be it. There was no hesitation when I said yes.

Nick
Two moments again because I can't be easy. Also, love has its shades. One shade was when I met her in at a train station in Paris--she was wearing a red coat, while everyone else wore black. I remember being struck dumb by her in that moment. Another, deeper shade was when Hannah decided to pursue her graduate degree in Colorado. I was finishing a degree of my own and I think our bond was strong enough at the time to survive the distance. But, I knew that when she wasn't going to leave, we were going to get married.

Hannah
Nick and I embrace change and jump in with both feet. In the space of six months we both got new jobs, did a stint of long distance, moved across the country, bought a house, and got married. Our house we bought without even seeing it in person, we just based our decision off pictures and a trust in our real estate agent—my mom.

Nick
We make fun of each other quite a bit. It's kind of a triangulation between Beatrice vs. Benedict repartee in Much Ado About Nothing, a Jane Austin-esque battle of wits, and Han Solo and Princess Leia. Loving, yet slightly deprecatory.

Hannah
I was pretty sure he was going to propose soon. He had taken one of my other rings to the jeweler to get it fixed, so I knew that he knew my ring size. I 100% didn’t want to know when it was going to happen, so while we had talked about it, nothing was in detail.

We, and both of our families, had planned a trip to hike the Inca Trail in Peru. We were flying into Dallas from Baltimore, meeting everyone, then all of us were flying to Lima then Cusco together from Dallas. Unfortunately, weather delayed our flight and we knew our connection would be tight. When our plane landed in Dallas we had about 15 minutes until our Lima flight took off. We ran through the airport, only to arrive at a closed gate and the plane still sitting on the tarmac.

It was almost midnight by the time we talked to the airline, so Nick booked a room at the airport hotel. When we got to the hotel, it turned out that Nick had accidentally booked for the following night—since technically it was the following day. We found another hotel, one which the airline had given us a discount for, and dropped our bags down, EXHAUSTED, by around 1am.

I brushed my teeth and when I came out of the bathroom, Nick was on one knee. He said he wanted to make this day a little better.

So yes, I was proposed at around 1am in a Dallas/Ft. Worth area hotel.

It was perfect.

Nick
I had a plan. I really did. But I was foiled by American Airlines. And the FAA. And myself.

The whole family was going to Peru--her parents, my parents, my sister, her boyfriend. The plan was to hike the Inca Trail, a four-day excursion through ruins and rain and rocks. A lovely time, in other words. What better place to propose than on an ancient road or on top of a mountain or something. I thought Manchu Picchu was a little cliche and it is a sacred site, after all, so I had planned to do it before arriving there. Although, I didn't have a particular location in mind. Just, you know, when it felt right.

That was the plan, such as it was. Before any of that, we had to get to Peru. We were flying from Baltimore, my family from Denver, and Hannah's folks from Seattle. We were all going to meet in Dallas before boarding the flight--happy and flush with anticipation and together--to Lima.

Our flight from Baltimore: delayed. Why? It isn't even raining in Dallas is it? "No," says the ticket counter lady. "Thunderstorms in the area, just a precaution. But, your connection is kinda tight. Do you want me to book you on the flight tomorrow?"

Exactly the words everyone wants to hear. Since our experience with flying has been less than spotless of late, we decide to reserve our flight for the following day. Just in case.

We land in Dallas with 10 minutes to spare between the time the doors open on our flight and the time the doors close on the connection. We were ready for this eventuality. Our bags were strategically placed near the front of the cabin and we raced to them as soon as the seat belt sight was off. I grabbed our bags and turn to get off the plane at a sprint when an older man rose in front of me. Slowly. Painfully slowly. "Is your back okay, dear?" says a voice to his left. Hope begins to dwindle.

After the, ahem, walk off the plane, we sprint through the Dallas airport, jump on the train (because of course!), jump off the train, careen down the stairs, skid across the floor and run smack into a closed gateway. But the plane is still there! It won't take long for us to hop on! Text to mother: "Can't someone fake a heart attack or something?" A few American Airline reps walk by, and I ask why the plane is just sitting there and can't we be let on pretty please? "This plane has departed." No it hasn't! I'm looking at it right now! They walk away.

Deflated, we walk toward the voucher station. It wasn't American Airlines fault the plane was delayed, you see, it was the FAA, so we can't offer you accommodation but we can give you a voucher. For $119. "Preposterous! I can find a better deal," I say. Poor silly man, Hannah thinks. And I found one! For less money! Aha! Take that, AA! It's on airport property, to boot!

We walk over to the hotel. I'm still pretty pleased with my penny pinching. The desk manager looks for our reservation--did I mention it was after midnight at this point?--and she finds it for today. Which is really tomorrow night. Like, if you wanted a room for tonight, you'd have to book for yesterday. Because it's after midnight. Of course I'd book a room for the day you would want to stay there, not the day it actually is because days change when the clock strikes twelve and my mom always said nothing good happens after midnight and why didn't I listen to her--where is she, by the way? Oh yeah! Peru!

Evidently, I do not understand hotels. Or time.

But! We have the voucher! So we call that hotel, get in one of those cramped hotel shuttles, trundle along a highway deep in the heart of Texas, and arrive, exhausted and delirious, (did I mention it was after midnight?) at a nondescript Sheraton. Or a Marriott Courtyard. Or something. Well, it isn't exactly a mountain in Peru. But, it'll work!

I have to do something, anything, to make this stupid day better. Plus, if we can survive this debacle, we can survive anything. So, I say something to the effect of, "Hannah I think we make a great team and, especially after today, I think we can spend the rest of our lives together." To which she laughs. For what feels like an unreasonable amount of time.

Hannah
We can be weird together. Impromptu dance parties? No problem. Singing to our cats? Perfectly acceptable. I love having that level of comfort with someone where we can be the silly version of ourselves.

Nick
I love her sense of adventure. We both love to travel, but she is really a better trip planner than I am. She always finds these great adventure spots, sometimes a ways off the beaten trail. I love exploring with her.

Hannah
I love his humor and how he is always saying “I love you” or “you’re pretty” out of the blue.

Nick
How many things can I list? Her empathy, her intelligence, her determination, her dedication to teaching, her energy, she loves to travel, she's funny, she loves animals (maybe more than me). I'm just happy she chose me.

Hannah
Well, first off, he is a good-looking guy which always helps. However, going deeper than that, he is well-informed and well-read. Honestly, I sometimes use him as a human google when it comes to world issues or politics. That may not sound sexy to everyone but hearing him talk confidently about pretty much any current event/issue is a turn on for me.

Nick
Her athleticism is very sexy, but she is a great dancer. I'm trying to improve my dance moves, but, really, I could have as much fun watching her dance as dancing with her.

Hannah
It’s not exactly a ritual, but we try to plan at least one weekend a month where we go somewhere new together. It can be a two-hour drive to Leavenworth, or a weekend in San Diego, either way I love exploring new places with him.

Nick
We eat popcorn almost every night. It's a bit of a ritual that Hannah and her father had, but I've been surprised with the ease that I've adopted it.

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