My suspicions started kicking in when Jake said my birthday dinner would be something I would “never forget.” I know, subtle. But yeah, that’s about the point I renewed my membership with TheKnot.com and began practicing my pretty cry. You know, the kind of cry soap opera stars have mastered where their chins tremble slightly while a sole, yet behemoth tear falls slowly down their Estee Laudered cheek? I had it all figured out.
When we arrived at Rosemary’s aka HOME OF THE BOMB ASS FOOD, and Jake gave the hostess his name, I started setting up the scene in my head. It went something like this: Oh, I’m sure this lady behind the front desk is the same woman he made all his special arrangements with. Odd that she’s not giving either of us a big knowing smile. Oh, and I’m sure this is the spot where he’ll take a knee. Note to self: That’s a good time to start the chin-trembling. And, just listen to our waiter, all ACTING like he’s paying more attention to the table next to us so I don’t suspect anything. Uh-huh, not buying it for a second, Mister.
So, that’s pretty much what went through my head through cocktails, appetizers, entrees and dessert. As we drove home, though, I remembered Jake saying that we’d go looking at rings again when he returned from Florida. The statement I had convinced myself was just a decoy turned out to be true, I thought.
I was disappointed. Not because of all the wasted pretty cry practices (two-a-days killed me!), but because I was ready. I was tired of calling the man I’ve been with for 3.5 years and have shared a mortgage with for 1.5 years my BOYFRIEND. I know married couples who don’t have what Jake and I have. I was ready. There were times when I wasn’t ready. There were times when he wasn’t ready. Those times were behind us. I was ready because WE WERE READY.
Or so I thought. Even up to the coat check when I searched the pockets for my big moment. Nada.
When we pulled up to the casa and I imagined us sitting in front of the TV watching the DVR’d finale of the Kardashians, I really felt like kicking a rock down the street with my head hung low. Then Jake put the car in park and told me to wait there for five minutes. SAY WHAT?!
Five minutes later he’s escorting me through our beautiful candlelit home in which a path or roses from the garage door, up the stairs to the bedroom has been laid. THIS IS IT. THIS IS IT. THIS IS IT. Penny is jumping up and down, wagging her tail and whimpering for some attention, which normally we give her as soon as we walk in. Not this time. Shoo, dog, I gotta see where these petals lead! I’m looking at our flight of stairs and what’s that I hear? KC and Jo Jo’s “All My Life”? Oh my God am I walking up these steps or floating because I can’t feel anything right now.
The double doors to our bedroom open and I’m convinced the people who set the scenes for “The Bachelor” broke into our house. Our bed is covered with a heart made of rose petals, a small box with a ribbon on it is in the center. KC and Jo Jo are singing something about cherishing all my hugs, I’m squeezing Jake’s hand really tight and he’s beaming. If he blinks, those tears in his eyes are going to — there they go.
The moment he did the pant leg tug, I gave the pretty cry her coat and hat and shoved her out the door. Oh, hello ugly cry, I wasn’t expecting you, but go ahead and make yourself comfortable. I couldn’t process a single word that came out of Jake’s mouth while he stared at me from bended knee. All I could do was nod my head and say yes, yes, YES!!!
As soon as I heard the words “Open the box” I went at that pristine little package like I was Ralphie on Christmas morning. Apparently the bow was just for show, which Jake pointed out when he lifted the lid. I took the cushioned smaller box out and listened to it creak as I opened it. There she was: my ring. Not just any engagement ring. My ring. The one that has me written all over it. In pavé diamonds.
Wow. I still can’t believe how well it all went down. Nicholas Sparks couldn’t have written it better. In fact, it started pouring rain after we popped open the bubbly. Just to stay true to the whole sappy romantic love story thing, I changed into a white shirt and we went outside to make love while the heavens showered down on us.
But just before that, we snapped this pic. Introducing the newly engaged Jake and X: