"To who?" It's not the response most couples expect when announcing their engagement, but Trisha Reid and Colby Highland, both 25, didn't mind. Last January they heard the same question, over and over again, when announcing to family and friends that they were getting married.
You can't blame the questioners: Only a handful of people even knew Krista and Colby were an item. Those few who did know were also surprised: The couple had only been a couple for a month.
The two met as freshmen at Southern Oregon University in the fall of 1996, when Trisha began dating one of Colby's football teammates. They were, at first, the kind of friends who'd only see each other between classes and at parties. But as their friendship evolved over the years, so did their feelings for one another.
Of course, neither shared the information with the other. Trisha, a former cheerleader, says she never imagined that Colby, then a defensive end for the Southern Oregon Raiders, would be attracted to her.
"To him I was just one of the guys," she says.
On the contrary, Colby says, he always considered Trisha out of his league. Plus Trisha always had a boyfriend, while he was single for his first three years in Ashland.
For Trisha, tension was high her senior year when Colby moved in with her and a roommate. "It was torture," she says, noting that Colby was involved then with another woman. "I would cry myself to sleep at night."
Colby's reaction wasn't so dramatic. He had accepted living without Trisha, and even considered her then-boyfriend a good friend. On the other hand, Trisha wasn't so fond of Colby's girlfriend. That wasn't unusual, Colby says: "None of my friends liked her."
After graduation, when the two moved to Portland--along with most of their friends--things started heating up. When they'd go out dancing in a group, Trisha would leave her boyfriend at home. On the dance floor, they'd find themselves dancing side by side, as if they were a couple. Colby says it was his upcoming move to Las Vegas that sparked his confidence. He couldn't leave town without telling Trisha about his strong feelings. One night on the dance floor in late 2001, Colby whispered his secret.
On the eve of his move a week later, Trisha spilled her beans--telling Colby she was in love with him--though she admits it took her another week to dump her boyfriend.
Saying goodbye to Colby was hard, Trisha remembers. Life in Sin City, Colby remembers, was harder.
Colby found work as a security guard at the Frontier Casino, but he found the work painfully boring. Toiling for seven dollars an hour, Colby also found that his wallet suffered from a $400 cell-phone bill. The first time Trisha visited--only a month into his stay--Colby made a decision. He was going to propose.
Just before Trisha arrived at the airport, Colby arranged a message in white rose petals on his bed: "T: Will you marry me?"
Trisha said yes. Colby ditched the rest of his six-month lease and moved back to Portland.
Once the shock of their engagement wore off, the couple gathered almost 250 people for their wedding in Dallas, Ore., this summer.
Not a bad turnout for a couple who spent most of their relationship being "just friends."