It Happened in Real Life, Unscripted

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.

“It was a welcome surprise,” Ms. Gregorian said. “We had mutual friends but you definitely don’t expect to get on the phone with someone for the first time and talk like you’ve known each other for years, and that’s what it felt like.”

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 friend’s wedding there that same weekend.

When she asked why he was inquiring about her weekend schedule, Mr. Lavender, who calls himself “a storyteller at heart,” thickened the plot with an unscripted line that left Ms. Gregorian momentarily speechless: “I’d like to fly to D.C. to take you out to dinner,” he recalled saying.

“I just paused,” Ms. Gregorian recalled. “I think I went silent.”

Once able to speak, she accepted his invitation.

“It was kind of funny to have a 39-year-old man pick me up at my parents’ house for a first date,” she said. “But it was a nice throwback.”

He took her out on a Saturday to a restaurant in Washington.

“I fell in love with how intelligent, thoughtful and determined she is,” Mr. Lavender said.

Ms. Gregorian, who described their first date as “a continuation of our four-hour phone call,” said she “fell in love with how sharply observant, friendly, and kind he is.”

“It didn’t feel like it was the first time we had ever broken bread,” she added. “It felt more like, ‘Oh yeah, of course, we should be here together.’ It…

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