“Wait, are you kidding me?” I asked, as I stared down at the gleaming, one-karat ring sparkling on my finger. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
How was it that a lady such as myself managed to get a guy down on his knees (you know, for a change. Hi-oh! Sorry, Mom. That was a joke)?
It all started when I was dragged against my will to a business dinner. Well, actually, I guess you could say it started a good six years before that when I met Jon for the very first time.
We were in the same freshman English class our second semester of college, and all I knew about him was that he had beautiful eyes. Piercing blue, the kind that made your insides clench when he looked at you. We didn’t talk much throughout the semester. I had a boyfriend, he had a girlfriend (ugh), and other than the notes we gave each other on our papers, we were strangers. And then, as fate would have it, we both became single at the very end of the semester.
It was during our final exam that I truly noticed him for the first time. We were required to give a speech about how we write papers, and I remember watching him stand in front of the room, pull something out of his ass, and thinking to myself, “I like this boy.”
After he sat back down and I proceeded to flirt with him, things took off. We met up at a bar that night. We had a romantic drunken, dance floor makeout, and for the next year, he was all I thought about.
Sure, we had our ups and down. And by ups and downs I mean we broke up, didn’t talk for a year, then drunkenly decided to get together again our senior year of college. We moved in together. We moved across the country together. We got an Xbox and a dog and even a wedding greeting from the Obamas together, but still — no engagement.
After being together a good 4 plus years, we had “the talk.” You know, the one where you realize the guy who you thought would propose years ago was not at the same place you were. He said within the next two years and I pretended that didn’t crush me.
And then, two weeks later? The sneaky snake proposed.
As I mentioned, we were going to a business meeting with his boss, a few other work people, and one very disgruntled me. I was told to be ready at 6 p.m. on the dot because we were going to immediately hop in an Uber and head to the swanky hotel across from the restaurant where we’d meet the client for drinks.
And, naturally, I couldn’t have complained about the situation more. Sure, on one hand, I was excited about the free dinner. But hours and hours of small talk? Having to actually put on a nice dress, plenty of makeup, and a permanent smile that didn’t give away my utterly bitchy persona seemed like a little too much for me. So, as I sat in the back of the car, I started feeling queasy. And then, as I do when I start feeling the slightest bit ill, I went on WebMD.
As my hypochondriac-self perused various ailments and diseases, I didn’t even realize that Jon had grown quite quiet next to me. I was too busy reading about diabetes to comprehend just how sweaty his palms were, how overly sweet he was being, and how much anxiety was radiating off of him. When we finally pulled up in front of the hotel, I was so sure I was going to be subjected to a life of insulin injections that I didn’t even notice the ring case that was bulging out of his back pocket.
Once we got inside, I glanced around the bar, wondering which table was hosting his business associates. I tried to look pleasant, even though I was grappling with the fact that I had a pretty serious illness. When Jon offered to buy me a drink to calm my nerves, I turned him down, saying I’d rather wait for everyone else to get there. Besides, isn’t alcohol bad for your blood sugar?
“Well,” he said, obviously at a loss for what to do next, “let’s go upstairs and explore?”
“Upstairs?” I groaned, looking at the steep flight of marble steps that led to the ornate ballrooms. “I don’t want to walk upstairs.*”
He ignored my pleas of laziness and grabbed my hand, all but dragging me up the two flights. Once we reached the top, however, I gazed around at the stunning upstairs lobby in awe. Dazzling chandeliers twinkled at me from above and decedent gold curtains hung from the floor to ceiling windows. Arm in arm, we strolled through the lobby, poking our heads in the different rooms and making comments that the hotel would most likely be pissed about. “This one looks haunted.” “Think anyone has banged in there?” “Doesn’t this look just like the ballroom in The Shining?”
We reached the end of the hall where towering French doors opened up to a sprawling patio.
“Let’s go,” he murmured, leading us outside.
I followed him to the railing, where we looked up and down the bustling street just as twilight was turning into a magical dusk.
“Darling,” he started, turning to me and grabbing my hand, “you look so beautiful.”
I smiled at him, flushed from the compliment and leaned forward to plant a kiss on his cheek before responding with a charming, “Wanna go sit on those chairs over there?”
Before he could answer, I trotted over to the plush, outdoor furniture and plopped down. He nestled in next to me, pulling me close so that I could smell his distinct boy smell. Pheromones, aftershave, and something that was just so, essentially him. I leaned in and sighed, happy to be sitting down, happy to feel at peace about my disease, and happy that I didn’t have to make small talk yet.
“We should probably get ready to head down,” he utterly abruptly, standing up and holding out his hand. “Let’s look over here one more time before we go in?”
I begrudgingly took his palm and let him pull me up, sad that my moment of solitude was being disrupted. It was then, trudging behind him, however, that I saw his free hand reaching into his back pocket. My blood went cold and my heart started racing. Is this it? I thought, watching him move as if in slow motion. Is it finally happening?
Because, you know, after being together for years (and years and years and years) there have been a few times that I thought that maybe this. was. it. Like on our three-year anniversary, when he had me stand on a chair and close my eyes as he gave me a present. Or a few months ago, when he, you know, fake proposed to me.
From his pocket, he pulled…(oh my God, oh my God, oh my GOD)…his phone. You’re being a crazy girl, I told myself. He’s probably just Snapchatting this view before we go get dinner.
And then, well, and then things got real weird. Instead of casting his phone around the patio and posting in on Snapchat even though no one cares that we’re standing on some swanky balcony, he turned the camera around and placed it on the railing.
And then, his phone fell to the road, shattering into a million pieces.
Kidding. No, he put his phone on the railing, and that’s when my brain stopped processing anything and everything. You see, Jon’s not the kind of guy to take a picture of us. Not a selfie, not a normal one, not any picture. He’s just not a picture guy. Hell, he’s not a social media guy. So, the moment he placed his phone on the railing and clicked “record” my subconscious knew something was up. But the me that was standing there, stunned out of her fucking mind? Yeah, she had no idea what was coming next.
Behold below. Now, because the phone was on a railing near a busy street, the audio is shit. I have transcribed our dialogue below for your reading pleasure.
Rachel, I love you. I love you so much. I’m madly in love with you. I want to be with you forever. This old man, a wise man, once said, [Rachel interrupting: Wait, is this real? Are you fucking with me right now?] “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” So, Rachel Halloy, (that’s my real last name, guys. Secret’s out), will you marry me?
Yes, there was a ring. Yes, it was in a golden snitch from Harry Potter. Yes, I’m still in shock. After saying “what the fuck” 40 more times, coherently saying “yes” once, and then finding out that the business dinner was all a ruse, I spent the next few hours in a state of complete shock. We called our parents and best friends. We ending up going to the expensive ass restaurant and feasted on filet mignon and Dom Perignon, all while smiling goofily at each other and whispering “we’re engaged” in a way that would make me absolutely hate us if we, you know, ain’t us.
We left the restaurant and headed to our favorite bar, where thirty of our friends were waiting. Upon entering, we were tackled, forced to take shots, and recounted the tale again and again of how two freshman kids in English class beat the odds and locked that shit down. Well, you know. Almost..