By Ashley Edwards Walker
Scott’s profile was the first one that Leah came across when she downloaded Bumble in December 2016. At the time, she had already graduated with her master’s degree in education and was teaching at a school in the San Francisco suburb where she grew up. “I started my teaching career pretty young, and I was looking for people that were equally ambitious,” she says. Scott was cute and polished, or at least appeared so in his profile based on a photo of him wearing a suit and the fact that he worked in tech. When Leah noticed they were both from Danville, California, and had gone to the same elementary, middle, and high schools, she realized he also looked familiar. After a quick search of their mutual friends on social media that revealed Scott’s last name, it hit her: growing up, Scott had literally been the boy next door.
When Leah was in fourth grade and Scott was in fifth, Leah moved with her family into a house next door to where Scott lived with his family. He’d stopped by one day to invite her to play street hockey but, being shy, Leah directed her father to tell Scott she wasn’t home. Still, their close proximity meant they eventually struck up a friendship. But a few years later, when Scott was in seventh grade, his parents divorced and he moved across town to live with his mom. Soon after that, he and Leah fell out of touch.
When Scott came across Leah’s profile all those years later, he immediately swiped right because he thought she was cute. It was also only after they matched that he realized they shared a hometown and high school. Still, he didn’t investigate the connection further. When he asked Leah to meet for coffee and she accepted, he figured that they’d work it out when they saw each other. In hindsight, says Leah, their approach going into the first date was fitting. “I don’t like surprises,” she explains. “And Scott really, really likes surprises. So that’s pretty reflective of who we are as people.”
Within a few days of matching, Scott showed up at the coffee shop he and Leah had agreed upon. “I was wearing a peacoat, all dressed up,” he recalls. Meanwhile, Leah was hungover and wearing workout clothes. “She was still very cute,” says Scott. Once they got their coffees, Scott noticed that Leah directed them to a table that could accommodate Scott’s 6’7” frame. “I thought that was really nice,” he says. The first thing they did when seated was try to figure out how they might know each other. Even though Leah knew the answer, she played it cool, asking Scott what his last name was, then pretending she was only then placing where she knew him from. “She didn’t tell me for years that she knew who I was before our first date,” says Scott.
From then on, the conversation flowed. “It felt like I was talking to an old friend,” says Leah. By the time they finished their coffees, Scott says, he was “super swooning.” He liked that Leah wasn’t afraid to skip over the small talk, and that they’d instead wound up getting to know each other for hours. They decided to keep the date going over lunch, ordering burgers at a nearby pub. Six hours after exchanging hellos, they said goodbye having already planned their next three dates.
Over that first week, Scott and Leah met up again to drink wine, crying over stories about their childhood dogs who’d played together when they lived next door to each other. A few days after that, they met up for pizza and beer. By the following weekend, Scott was introducing Leah to his friends at a party he’d invited her to. “I was always excited to hang out with Scott,” Leah says. “We always did something fun.”
For the next month, they continued to see each other five nights a week, even traveling to Seattle for a getaway with Scott’s friends. By that time, Leah was ready to define the relationship. But when she asked Scott what they were to each other, “Scott responded with, ‘Well, you are not my girlfriend,’” laughs Leah. After witnessing his parent’s divorce, Scott was anti-commitment and anti-labels. In retrospect, “I was just being a gigantic weenie,” he admits. “I can talk about it casually now…but basically I just didn’t have a healthy role model of what a relationship was supposed to look like and felt like there was no point in getting together with someone for a serious amount of time because eventually it would end in failure.” Leah decided to give him more time to think it over, deciding that if Scott didn’t think they had a future together, she’d move on.
When another month passed, Leah initiated the DTR (Define The Relationship) talk again. She pointed out that neither she nor Scott was dating anyone else, and they’d long been spending all their free time together. “I was like, ‘If we’re not boyfriend and girlfriend, if that’s not what you’re envisioning with someone you hang out with five times a week, I’ll go hang out with somebody else,’” she recalls. Fortunately, Scott could see she had a point.
Once Scott and Leah were officially a couple, they continued spending time together, trying out new restaurants and bars and traveling to five national parks together. Leah even convinced Scott to help her chaperone a dance at her school—the same one where they’d been students together. They also met each other’s parents, all of whom were amused to learn Scott and Leah were dating so many years after meeting in elementary school. “When Leah first told her mom she was dating Scott, her mom’s initial reaction was like, ‘Oh, no,’” Scott says, laughing. Leah’s mom remembered Scott from his wilder high school days. But now that Leah’s parents have met the adult version of Scott, “They love him,” says Leah. And Scott’s mom, who always thought highly of Leah, was thrilled to learn they were dating.
About a year and a half into their relationship, Scott and Leah moved in together in a rented house in Silicon Valley. And in July 2021, during a trip to Crater Lake in Oregon, Scott proposed. The wedding is planned for June 2022.
The history Scott and Leah share is undeniable. But they’ve talked about it, and although their paths might have crossed again at some point given that they live in the same town, they think they needed time—and Bumble—to bring them together as a couple. “I think we both needed that space to become sure of ourselves,” Leah says “We crossed paths and swiped at the right time.”
Main photo credit: Shoot Something Media