Leo Felix Bustamante wanted to get noticed in high school, but he didn’t think Brittany Haro would notice he was talking about her.
“He said to my friend, in Spanish, ‘Oh, your friend (that’s me), ‘she’s so calm,'” Brittany says. “My friend looked at me and she said, ‘You know she knows what you said, right?'”
Leo, taken aback, asked Brittany if she knew the language, to which she replied, “I know enough to know you’re talking about me.”
Leo recalls walking into the college writing class they had together at Hawthorne High School in Los Angeles County, California in 2006.
“I was a senior and I was stepping out of myself a bit more and feeling a bit awkward and trying to stand out,” he says. “I walked in and I remember seeing this blonde girl. I mean, she stood out. And I got to sit across from her.”
Brittany, also a senior that year, had done well in English before, but she had struggled with it the year before and signed up for a writing class to improve her grade. Leo had moved from Mexico to California when he was 13 and had previously taken English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. By his senior year, however, he was fluent in English and left the ESL program and found himself in class with Brittany.
Brittany couldn’t help but notice Leo’s grand entrance that day.
“I kept myself for the most part,” she says. “I usually didn’t notice boys. Not that I didn’t like boys, but I certainly wasn’t a high school girl who always talked about boys. He came in and he was talking to everyone in Spanish and he had always in trouble.with the teacher.He walked in and made a big scene as he walked through the door.
They had mutual friends and they all started hanging out in groups, going to the beach, watching movies and chatting.
“He was telling my friend in Spanish that he liked me, knowing then that I could probably understand him,” she says.
Leo and Brittany were friends for months before their first date, Dec. 30, 2006. They went to Jim’s Burgers in Lennox, and since there was limited seating in the restaurant, they took their burgers and fries chili outside and sat in Leo’s car. .
For Valentine’s Day 2007, just months after they met, Leo orchestrated a day of celebration. He asked several of their friends to present Brittany with origami hearts and letters – LOVE, stuffed animals, balloons and candies between each of her classes and in her closet at home. After school, he hid in the trunk of his car and jumped up to surprise her after her friend insisted she open it, carrying more presents – a giant teddy bear, a chocolate from the restaurant where he worked and a sterling silver heart-shaped necklace.
Four years after they started dating, Leo made a paper box, put a paper diamond ring in it, and left it with Brittany. When she found him, he gave a real promise ring.
Two years later, on a Friday night, they invited friends over to watch one of their favorite shows, which was a weekly tradition. Brittany had made spaghetti, put on some comfy clothes, and settled on the couch, looking forward to spending an evening with her favorite people. Midway through an episode, a slideshow appeared, featuring photos of Brittany and Leo and them with their friends.
Brittany thought the slideshow might be a prelude to something special – for their friends. But as she looked at the photos displayed on the screen, Leo slipped away and put on a suit, and when he returned he got down on his knees and asked her to marry him.
They exchanged vows on July 14, 2014 in Malibu, California.
They had been sending their guests date cards and personalized comic book-style wedding invitations, a nod to their love of Marvel and other superhero shows. They made centerpieces for their big day featuring their favorite shows and games.
“There was one for ‘Chuck’, one for ‘Game of Thrones’, one ‘Pokemon’, I think there was probably one for ‘Legend of Zelda’,” Brittany says.
They also had a custom cake made, a figurine of a dark-haired man holding the shirt open under his tuxedo jacket to show an “Ironman” symbol, linking arms to a blonde woman.
“All of our guys were wearing superhero T-shirts under their tuxes,” Leo says.
They had a second ceremony about a week later, on the beach in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico, as Leo’s family watched.
Brittany and Leo moved to Little Rock in 2011. They have a 5-year-old daughter, Amy.
“When we celebrate our anniversary, we don’t celebrate our wedding,” Brittany says. “We’ll say happy birthday, and maybe we’ll go out to eat, but we really celebrate when we started dating because we lose eight years the other way around. December 30 is when we really celebrate. “
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