Nick and I met during our Freshman year of college. For three years we were casual friends, until one day, in a bar, our Senior year that I looked over at him dancing and said, "I want to date Nick." Trust me, it wasn’t his dance moves that snagged me, but within a few months, I was in love.
After college Nick got a job opportunity in Florida he couldn’t pass up. I was heartbroken. I had been accepted to graduate school in Chicago and was sure distance would never work. But it did and minutes after I got my Masters Degree, I was on a plane to be with him. We lived in Florida for almost two years before we decided it was time to make a move – this time together.
We announced we would be moving to Chicago the same week as my birthday. For my birthday gift, Nick told me he wanted to take me to Key West to celebrate. I had my suspicions he might propose, but couldn’t figure out when he would have gotten a ring – or how he could have talked to my parents.
Nick had booked us a room in a gorgeous hotel with a private beach. It was a perfect day, but when he told me we had "no plans" that night, my suspicions of an engagement went away. Nick ALWAYS has a plan.
The Key West sunset was always one of my favorite parts of the island. So as sunset neared, we found a spot on the private beach behind our hotel. Armed with wine and cheese, Nick set up two chairs overlooking the water. It was perfect – until 10 of the drunkest Spring Breakers plopped down right next to us! I laughed, Nick did not.
After the Spring Breakers left, the beach was all ours and the sun was setting. Nick asked me if I wanted my birthday present. He handed me a book with a picture of us on the front. What was inside was amazing. He had made a scrapbook of our lives. On the first page, pictures of where we met, our school mascot – even a baseball ticket from one of our first dates. As I turned the pages there were hundreds of little mementos from our 3.5 year relationship. He had saved every plane ticket from our time apart, cocktail napkins, hotel keys, movie stubs, grocery store receipts, amusement park map – very thing. There were pictures from all of our trips, with all of our friends in family on every page. He even made little pockets on each page to hold more pictures. It was truly the story of us – with all of the important people in our lives included on the pages. He had been working on it for months.
As I flipped through the pages, the tears started falling. The last thing I really remember Nick saying was "I’ve always known it would be you." Finally, I got to the last page and there it was, in cut out letters, "Will you Marry Me?" Nick had taken popsicle sticks and constructed a little frame and the ring was hanging from it. I don’t remember much more, but he was down on his knee and I said "yes. "
As soon as I could stop crying, I asked him if my parents knew. Since we lived far from them, we hadn’t seen them in awhile. Nick said he wanted to ask them in person but knew he couldn’t get away without me knowing, so he had made them a DVD a week before the proposal. He sent it FedEx with the word "Question" on the outside. Little did they realize what that "question" would be. My parents popped it in and although they – never told me what he said – they said "it was very emotional." But despite the emotions – they had to keep the secret for an entire week!
After the actual proposal, Nick took me to my favorite place on the island for dinner (he DID have reservations) and then we went out and partied like Spring Breakers. It was a night I will never forget – one that was so private, yet somehow shared with so many people we loved. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share our scrapbook with our family one day.
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