How We Met
We were friends first. I moved back to my hometown, and quickly realized I didn’t know anyone (my age) in town anymore. I can be a bit of a homebody, with Netflix close by, and I wasn’t getting out much. My family noticed, and encouraged me to find someone to hang out with. Jonathan and I would hang out, as friends, and I was happy and content to keep it that way. However, he made it known early on that he was interested in being more than friends. I, having recently gotten out of a relationship, was flattered, but not interested. I informed him of my choice, and he said, “That’s fine. I’ll wait.” Fast forward to more movies, meals, and friendship. One day I had a particularly tough day at work. I informed Jonathan about my day, via text, and he asked, “What do you want to feel better?” Feeling snarky, I responded with, “Ice cream, diamond earrings, and an elephant!” We had plans later that evening to watch The Office on Netflix, and he was running late. He finally shows up, and has a bag.
He hands it to me, quite casually, and I open the bag to find a half gallon of chocolate peanut butter ice cream, two spoons, and a stuffed elephant. Upon further inspection, the elephant has earrings pierced through its large ears. My jaw dropped, and he asked, with a smirk, “Anything else?” That evening I finally admitted, but only to myself, that I might have feelings for him. My sister, Bekah, and brother-in-law, Dan, noticed I wasn’t hanging around their house as much, and asked who I was spending time with. As I was not ready for 20 questions about Jonathan, I told them that it was no one, and they instantly knew I was lying. Dan pressed, and when I insisted I didn’t want to talk about it, he exclaimed, “Fine. You have two options: You can either tell us his name, or I will make a name for him.” I gave the go-ahead to create a fake name, and Dan, very quickly, decided his name was Buck. We laughed, and that was that. A couple weeks later, as friends, I introduced Jonathan to Bekah, Dan, and my two nieces, Talia (Tali), and Leah, ages 5 and 12, respectively, at the time. Before we walked in, I gave Jonathan a pep talk about Dan and Bekah.
See, Dan and Bekah are two of the most sarcastic people you’ll ever meet, and Dan, particularly, loves to poke fun at everybody. We enter their house, and Dan, nonchalantly, says, “Hey, Buck.” I glare at Dan, and we move on. Tali and Leah both come running up to us, yelling, “Hi, Buck!” I look at Dan, pleading, and we continue on to meet my sister. She also says, “Hey, Buck. What’s up?” At this point Jonathan is confused, and Dan proceeds to tell him how he got his name. And that’s how Jonathan became Buck, forever more. One day while I was watching my nieces, Jonathan came over to apply temporary tattoos with us. Tali climbed up on Jonathan’s lap, and insisted she had to tell him a secret. Jonathan and I made eye contact, and in that moment, I felt it. All the things movies tell you you’re supposed to feel when it feels…right. Flashing back to reality, Tali (not so softly) whispered into Jonathan’s ear, “Is she your girlfriend?” Jonathan laughed, and told her that I wasn’t his girlfriend, but asked if she had any ideas on how to get me to be his girlfriend.
Leah caught on, and the two of them, over the next few weeks, gave Buck specific details on how a boy should ask a girl to be his girlfriend. These instructions included: (Tali) “Get her roses!” (Leah) Take her to an Italian restaurant. When you’re eating, tell her, ‘Jennie, we’ve been friends for awhile, and I’ve been thinking that I want to be more than friends. I like you, and I think we should be together, as boyfriend and girlfriend.’ If you can’t remember this, just write it on your hand.” A few private phone calls later between Jonathan and the girls, I received a call at work one Monday, with the following instructions: I was to go home after work and put on a dress Drive to his house, so he could take me to dinner I did these things, and arrived at his home. He was dressed in khakis, a button-down shirt, and a vest. I was given flowers, and told we were driving 45 minutes north for dinner. We arrived at an Italian restaurant. Upon entry, we were informed the power was out.
We decided to stay, because adventure, and the head chef came out to our table, and informed us that he could only prepare certain items. I, being an adventurous eater, jumped at the idea! Jonathan, a very picky eater, was living his worst nightmare. We, well I, ate amazing food, surrounded by candlelight, and Jonathan grabbed my hand, and recited Leah’s words, verbatim. I, of course, accepted, and we finally a true couple. Jonathan, even before we began dating, used to tell me, “I like you!” It was sweet, and eventually he would start saying, “I like you a gazillion plus three.” One night, while watching Netflix, he said it over and over again. I walked him out to his car, and all I said was, “I know.” He look confused, and I repeated it. I said, “Me too, plus three.” I then said, “Don’t say it now, wait until it feels right. Plus three.” For the next few weeks he would say/text “+3.” One night, between The Office episodes, he looked at me and said, “I love you, plus three.” From then on, and to this day, we say “Plus three”, just as you would say “I love you.”
how they asked
I work at a bridal store, and Katie, a friend, and professional photographer, was in store borrowing a dress for a styled shoot she was planning. While we were walking around the shop, Katie mentioned that she had an idea for a photo-shoot, but needed a couple. I happily volunteered Jonathan and I! She asked where I’d want to do a shoot, and I told her I’ve always wanted to do a photo-shoot in a sunflower field. A couple weeks later Katie sent me a text asking if my nieces, ages 6 and 12, would be interested in being in the shoot with us. I told her they’d love it! She said she had a vision for girls in white dresses, in a sunflower field, and we began planning. I told my sister, and she told the girls that they were going to model, and they were ecstatic! Katie came over a week before the shoot and picked out Jonathan’s outfit, and we talked about ideas she had for the shoot. The day of the shoot, Jonathan and I went to my sister’s when the girls got home from school, so I could help get them ready. I promised the girls nice hair and make-up for their modeling debut. While the girls were upstairs getting ready, Jonathan happily napped downstairs.
The sunflower field was about 15 minutes away from the house, and we left 15 minutes late, thanks to a certain 6-year old and a last-minute bathroom run. At the shoot, Katie began with the girls, photographing them solo. Jonathan, and I, along with my sister, who came to help wrangle my nieces, were able to watch and enjoy the amazing weather. Katie then said she wanted to play a game with Jonathan and I, while she took photos. We were given small chalkboards, chalk, and instructed to stand with our backs turned, standing about ten feet away from each other. Katie told us to write down three things we loved about the other on the board. When we were both done, we were told to turn around and show each other our boards. I wasn’t feel particularly creative that evening, and made a fairly generic list. As I turned around, Jonathan’s board had an arrow pointing left on it. When I looked over his shoulder, to the left, I saw my nieces, standing on the other side of Jonathan, holding a banner that read “Will You Marry Me.”
I looked back at Jonathan, who promptly threw his chalkboard to the ground, pulled out a small, blue box from his pocket, and proceeded to get down on one knee. The tears arrived instantly, for me and him, and he asked me to marry him! I’m pretty sure I screamed, “YES!” We were surrounded by tall, beautiful sunflowers, and our engagement photos were taken minutes after getting engaged!