Ailee Tempest and Eric Tullis | Gifts of Love | Indy Week

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Ailee Tempest and Eric Tullis


Tullis knew me all of five minutes when he looked me in the eye and announced, “I’m gonna need your number.” Pretty bold for a guy wearing a scruffy old sweatshirt.

For our first date, Tullis dressed to impress. He ironed everything—button-down shirt, slacks, probably even his socks. Unfortunately, he spent the evening staring at me like a creepy mouth-breather. I deleted his number.

A year or so later we reconnected. Tullis had a girlfriend at the time, but he said it wasn’t working out. I thought that meant they were breaking up. He thought that meant he should try to make it work with both of us. At the same time. I deleted his number again.

Another year passed and Tullis started lobbying for another chance. I wasn’t interested in wasting any time dating a creepy, mouth-breathing cheater but a mutual friend intervened on his behalf and insisted, “he loves you, Ailee. Like Jodeci love.” Fine, then. I gave him one last chance under one condition—give this relationship 100%.

Nine months later, I am pleasantly surprised. Tullis is giving our relationship 150%. He writes love letters, takes me on romantic walks in the park, folds laundry, slays spiders and doesn’t mind being left alone with my parents. When I had surgery he was by my side day and night. At a jazz concert he stood up and sang to me. In front of everybody. Who does that? Eric Tullis does. 150% every single day. — Ailee Tempest, Raleigh and Eric Tullis, Chapel Hill

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