For someone who works in an industry that identifies and determines the validity of suspicious situations, Linda King was blindsided when it came to Noi Phimmasone. If Linda--who works in the world of workmen's-comp claims--wasn't looking for red flags with Noi, it's probably because she was happy to be dating the man who was once too shy to ask for her phone number.
Indeed, the couple didn't get together after the execution of a curious flirtation or the realization of sexual tension. Rather, their relationship was brokered by mutual friends in 2002.
Noi, 31, was born in Laos and emigrated to the Pacific Northwest as a child. Noi and Linda met at a wedding, and he admits he lacked romantic gusto in pursuing her. He liked Linda, Noi says, but felt inadequate around her. "I thought I had no chance with her!" he giggles. "I had no guts."
At the insistence of their friends, the would-be matchmakers, a group including Linda and Noi was assembled to go dancing after the wedding. That outing ended in a sleepover at the friends' house. Linda, 26, says the event--and the next day spent on a couch recovering from hangovers--was innocent enough. "We spent the whole next day watching DVDs," she recalls. "Nothing happened. No phone numbers--nothing."
After a few more group dates, Noi and Linda went out by themselves. Though he was initially shy about diving into a relationship with Linda, Noi wasn't at all bothered to deliver a bit of information that might have sent a million other women running in the opposite direction. At age 30, he was still living with his parents.
"He's a momma's boy," Linda says now. "I should have thought about it, but I didn't."
Starting a new romance with Mom and Dad around did nothing to cool the sparks of the couple's first romantic flames. Noi, a driver for FedEx, says it didn't take long for Linda to make herself comfortable around the house. "Linda would bring me chicken soup, and all of a sudden her clothes started piling up in my closet!" he says.
By the summer, Linda moved in with the Phimmasone family. It was a difficult time, she says. "There are expectations about the youngest female in Asian households," is how Linda explains it. She wasn't completely surprised, though, as she experienced similar responsibilities growing up with her Korean mother.
These days, Linda has nothing but kind words for her in-laws. The couple, who in their first year together simultaneously weighed the ideas of marriage and parenthood, moved out of Noi's family home the day after receiving some pretty big news: Linda was pregnant.
"We don't do anything small," Linda says, and she's not joking. In fact, even the story of their wedding has a big story behind it.
After an informal marriage proposal at a Chinese restaurant, the two decided to forgo a personal ceremony to participate in the Z100 radio station's mass wedding the day before Valentine's Day this year.
But they didn't make those on-air vows. That's because Linda miscalculated the time of the wedding ceremony by 12 hours. She laughs about that lateness now, laying partial blame on the fact that she was five months pregnant at the time. In the midst of their error, the couple found a Mormon minister willing to marry them that same day.
Now married three months, Linda says their relationship feels comfortably familiar. "I feel like we've been married for a long time," she says. "But that might be because of the pregnancy. It takes over your whole life."
As for Mom and Dad Phimmasone, their son and daughter-in-law might be out of the house, but they've got a good excuse to come knocking around Linda and Noi's place this summer. On July 11, a baby granddaughter is due to make her grand entrance into this close-knit family.