The couple met through a mutual friend in November 2014, making their first connection by phone. Ms. Gregorian, who was living in New York at the time, and Mr. Lavender, who was still living in Charlottesville but working often in Los Angeles, spent four hours chatting on that first call.
âIt was a welcome surprise,â Ms. Gregorian said. âWe had mutual friends but you definitely donât expect to get on the phone with someone for the first time and talk like youâve known each other for years, and thatâs what it felt like.â
During their initial conversation, Mr. Lavender asked Ms. Gregorian what her plans were for that weekend, and she told him that she was visiting her parents, who lived in Washington, and going to a friendâs wedding there that same weekend.
When she asked why he was inquiring about her weekend schedule, Mr. Lavender, who calls himself âa storyteller at heart,â thickened the plot with an unscripted line that left Ms. Gregorian momentarily speechless: âIâd like to fly to D.C. to take you out to dinner,â he recalled saying.
âI just paused,â Ms. Gregorian recalled. âI think I went silent.â
Once able to speak, she accepted his invitation.
âIt was kind of funny to have a 39-year-old man pick me up at my parentsâ house for a first date,â she said. âBut it was a nice throwback.â
He took her out on a Saturday to a restaurant in Washington.
âI fell in love with how intelligent, thoughtful and determined she is,â Mr. Lavender said.
Ms. Gregorian, who described their first date as âa continuation of our four-hour phone call,â said she âfell in love with how sharply observant, friendly, and kind he is.â
âIt didnât feel like it was the first time we had ever broken bread,â she added. âIt felt more like, âOh yeah, of course, we should be here together.â It…