The girl and I are both kind of geeks. We follow each other on FaceBook, LiveJournal, Twitter, swap SMS, enjoy geeky jokes, giggle over XKCD, things of that nature. I've known her for about three, three and a half years now (since I came to college, we're in the same class), and we're good friends. I've saved her ass a few times with things (dead projects, ruined computer stuff, I even fixed her bike's handlebars when they were like 30º out of whack), and even gave her a big 'ol gulp of Apple's Kool-Aid, and she's always been appreciative of my help.
So a few days ago (the 12th), she was goofing around on my laptop, and figuring turnabout was fair play, I started goofing around on hers, and when she got an IM from one of my friends, I said she could answer so long as she let people know it wasn't me, and she said I could do the same, and joked that I better not identify as her, because no one she IMs with knows her real name. What followed pretty much was this:
Her (on my screen name): sweet
Her (on my screen name): what's up twin
Her (on my screen name): you're pretty fuckin leet
Me (on her screen name): I dunno. I'm having this weird out-of-body experience right now.
Her (on my screen name): will you be my valentine??
Her (on my screen name): <3
Me (on her screen name): Yes.
Her (on my screen name): i'm staing into your eyes.
Her (on my screen name): and it's beautiful.
Me (on her screen name): Plans?
Her (on my screen name): bowl!
Me (on her screen name): Oh my
The conversation was in a gameroom where I had set up because I didn't care for the night's event, and typically that's where a lot of us hang out because we can actually hear each other speak there. So she gets up and plays Wii Bowling with a friend, and I sit there and try to figure out what just happened. I'm thinking, OK, we'll probably do something day after tomorrow, that gives me a day to figure something out. She makes some sort of comment at this point about having to share her as a valentine with another guy, who she used to be going out with (I can't tell if they are still or not, because when I knew for sure they were going out, I didn't realize it until someone told me. On FaceBook they're both listed as single, but I can't tell if they were just too lazy to update it or not, but this was a while ago. Also, I'm friends with him too), and I don't think she's one of those open-relationship types (I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm not).
What happened after that was nothing. The next morning she went home for the weekend and I didn't hear much from her. She was pretty distracted, I'm assuming, since she was with her family (she lives something like 4-6 hrs away from the school, while I live like a 4 hour plane flight away from mine, so I'm always worried what I'm getting from her is some kind of crazy North Jersey thing that I'm not used to). I didn't see her until Monday, and I helped her out with her video project for her class (including saving her when absolutely everything disappeared inexplicably).
Anyhow, I think I'm getting mixed signals here, or I'm decoding them wrong or something. I've been helping her out with a video project recently (she's taking a writing, research and technology class and she has to produce a few videos for YouTube, and I'm a Radio/TV/Film major plus a major nerd, naturally I'm helping her out with that project), and I've gotten a slightly elevated amount of communication from her, but I'm not too sure what's going on. For a good while she's been sending <3's in her SMS and IMs to me (I don't know if she includes them in messages to others), and just in the past few days I've been reciprocating. She's always been a bit flirtatious, so I don't know if that's any kind of a message. Once when I fixed her laptop on amazingly short-notice she joked that she owed me "a blow job or something," though that was like two years ago and she hasn't said anything like that since. At one point on Monday we were hanging out with a bunch of friends, all just kind of joking around, and I made a joke to her, asking if she wished her girlfriend was hot like me (all indications are she's quite hetrosexual), and she was quite flustered and confused, saying something to the extent of "I thought I was your girlf-- wait, what?" which kind of set off a few alarm bells for me.
Anyhow, I've been trying to keep up on things. She's a writing arts major and in addition to being a RTF student, I'm the tech manager over at the campus TV station. Most of our classes are on different sides of campus, and our schedules are such that we don't often have a lot of overlapping time during the day (tons of it in the evening, though). I've been trying to be subtle in hanging out with her. I mean, I don't want her to think I'm a stalker if she's not interested in me (then again, we did hang out a bit, and she knows I get her Twitter updates on my phone, and vise versa, because we're both totally geeky like that), but I also don't want her to think I'm uninterested if she thinks we're going out.
I kind of dropped some hints that I'm completely stupid when it comes to relationships in the form of one of those "25 things" meme that's been going around FaceBook (which I got tagged in about 25 times, so it worked as an excuse, and I tagged her and a bunch of my friends in it), listing one of the items as noting I'm completely incapable of reading girls' signals. Not too long after that she had her own 25 things (she claims that because her dad tagged her in one that she had to do it not), and it was pretty insightful, though one thing in it worried me, and it was a note that her first relationship ever had been "incredibly passionate, emotional and explosive," and she's been looking for that in all her relationships since. Given that we may or may not have been dating for about six days now, this could be pretty bad for me.
So now I'm kind of freaking out on the inside, not knowing what the hell's going on, worried I'm overthinking everything, and I'm considering asking her out to dinner. Of course, I've never done this before, so I don't even have a clue where I should take her, or what we'd even talk about (I get the feeling I'd end up ruining things, and we'd end up talking about her class project or Internet Drama or something like that). Hell, I'm not even sure what'd be the proper way to end that date. I'm actually kind of worried things'll get fucked up the moment I'd pick her up for such a date (she's been somewhat well off, financially, because of her family, so she's got a decent used car, and I'm borrowing my uncle's truck from 1986 with a sticky carburetor that causes the engine to choke a bit the first time I downshift from 3rd to 2nd, and a bunch of loose plastic panels that squeak when I drive over rough terrain). I've got enough money to take her out to dinner to just about any place in the area, so I'm not worried about that much, but I'm so totally lost, I haven't a clue what to do.
She can be something of a harsh critic, so I'm hoping I can get up the gumption to do something soon. One of the problems is that since our schedules don't mesh well during the day, and during the evening I often go home, and she often plays DnD (she's DMing her first game!), I'm not sure if it's entirely appropriate to ask her out via IM or in a text message or something. I'm also kind of worried because I don't want to screw up our friendship. I suppose I'm being paranoid about this, because the last girl I went out with was someone else I had been friends with since school began, except she asked me out, and we broke up because she didn't know where the relationship was going. We're still good friends, and pretty much nothing has changed.
I'm a little worried about actually being in a relationship because I don't want to screw it up through inaction. My ex practically had to put my hand on her chest before I got the clue that it was OK for me to push onwards. And I know that once I get to second and third base that I'll be OK, though I'm a bit worried because this girl at one point mentioned to me that she was somewhat asexual, though that was some time ago and she's been in a couple relationships since. I'm still a virgin, but at least that much doesn't worry me (it's not necessarily by choice that I'm still a virgin, it's just kind of how things have worked out).
Anyhow, sorry the post is so long, I've never really been good at this, so I'm really hoping I get more than just a few tl;dr's.