How We Met
Justin and I first met when we were just 20 years old. We had both just transferred to California Baptist University. I was on my way to the first official transfer student event entitled “Clash and Bowl.” Appropriately, I was dressed in shimmering silver leggings, a tropical print top, and my hair in high pig tails. While waiting on the bus to head to the bowling alley, a breathtakingly handsome guy with devastatingly deep blue eyes walked on, looked right at me, and asked if he could sit next to me. He sat down and turned my way with a huge grin on his face and the very first thing that he said was, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I told him I did. We instantly developed a friendship but eventually lost touch while I finished my Senior year and MBA program.
At the conclusion of my Masters, two years after we had met, Justin reached out to me, via Facebook, as he saw I was living in Redlands, which is where he is from. He asked if I would like to join him for a coffee date on March 11, 2011. Though hesitant at first, I called my Mom to discuss it with her. When she asked to see a photo of him, she said “Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and he is very handsome. GO FOR IT!”
We met at the corner coffee shop in downtown Redlands. When he got out of his car, I remember thinking he looked just as dreamy as the first time I met him on that bus two years prior. I still remember he wore a blue and yellow argyle sweater that night, and I just loved his style. We immediately hugged and shared a sweet, tender moment. We spent the next few hours talking and drinking mugs of white hot chocolate until the shop closed. We weren’t ready to end the date so we took a long drive in his car, listening to music and talking until the wee hours of the morning. After that night, it was set in stone. He was it for me.
how they asked
We were both in New York on business the week of Valentine’s Day, 2017. We worked by day and played by night. The evening of Valentine’s Day, Justin took me to dinner at La Masseria. We sat there gazing into each other’s eyes so happily while eating our favorite dish we always order at every Italian restaurant, Ravioli. Mid-bite, Justin placed a card in front of me and excitedly told me to open it. I found some loving words and a key with “New York City” imprinted on it. The card read,“You not only have the key to my heart, but you now hold the key to the place we’ll call home.” Slightly confused, I looked up at him, and he explained that we were officially in escrow for the home we had just placed an offer on in San Diego. Many tears and kisses later, my heart was filled with such joy and dreams of this new place we’ll soon officially own. The rest of the week in New York was pure bliss.
The morning of Friday, February 17, I packed my briefcase and dashed off to work, which was a nice brisk walk to Madison Avenue. Because it was a holiday weekend, the Director of HR said we could leave early that afternoon. As I reached the door of our hotel room, I saw the door was wide open and none of our belongings were anywhere to be seen. I thought for a brief moment that perhaps I was on the wrong floor. Beginning to panic, I asked the maid where everything had gone. She told me that a gentleman checked us out that morning and to go down to the front desk to see where our belongings were. I frantically ran down to the front desk, where I was greeted by the Hotel Manager, himself. He gave me a key and informed me we had been moved to the top suite with a gorgeous balcony that overlooked the city. When I got up to our new room, everything was perfectly laid out like it was in our previous room. I took a moment to simply appreciate the sentiment and then called Justin who excitedly yelled,” SURPRISE!” Little did I know that this was just the beginning of a myriad of surprises I would encounter this special day. Justin had arranged for us to go ice skating at the world-famous Rockefeller Center, (an adventure on my bucket list,) that same Friday evening.
We got our skates and headed out on the rink around 7pm. Our time on the ice consisted of lots of hand- holding and frozen kisses. About 40 minutes in, I mentioned to Justin that I was getting hungry and suggested we head back to the room to get ready for dinner, but no. Justin was adamant about getting our full hour on the ice and to soak in this bucket list moment. It was about 7:55 PM when Justin suggested we try to get a photo together on the ice rink when they clear it out to begin prepping for the second session. “How awesome would that be, Kylie! A photo of us on the Rockefeller ice skate rink, completely alone! That would make an amazing photo.” At the time I laughed and thought what a high maintenance request that would be! It seemed to mean so much to him, that I was happy to oblige. As the ice rink Operator was snapping our photo, I felt Justin pulling away from me and he began shaking uncontrollably. Before I could even look at him to see what was wrong, there he was, down on one knee with a coveted little black velvet box which instantly took my breath away.
Before he could even open that sweet little box, we both had massive amounts of tears streaming down our cheeks. This very moment was six years in the making and now we were living it. He took a breath and opened that box and I saw a ring I couldn’t have dreamed any better. It is beautiful, classic, simple, and elegant. It is what he chose for me to wear for the rest of our lives together. It was sheer perfection. I nodded and screamed “YES!” as he placed it on my shaking finger. It is a moment I will never forget as long as I live. Time stopped and it was just the two of us. When Justin stood up to kiss me, I heard the song, “Unforgettable,” playing over the loud speaker. He really did think of everything. Suddenly, a man rushed out onto the rink and introduced himself as Jono. Justin had hired him to film the entire proposal! He wanted us to take a few laps around the rink to gain some magical footage. As we were skating, we looked up and there were hundreds of people clapping and cheering for our wondrous moment! And then I heard “That’s my best friend!!” I looked up and there she was, my best friend, Elle, yelling her adorable little head off. We both looked at one another and just screamed and laughed in excitement and pure love! Justin had flown her out to surprise me and celebrate with us! She really was the cherry on top of everything! As soon as we got off the ice, the lovely folks at the Rockefeller Center surprised our little group with a champagne toast to celebrate the fantasy that had just happened. After, Justin, Elle, her boyfriend, Patrick, and I, went out for a celebratory engagement dinner at Gramercy Tavern. We were greeted there with more champagne and exquisite desserts. The four of us sat there reliving what had just happened. We laughed and verbally replayed it all. When I heard about all of the planning that went into this day, I cried, and we soaked in this special time we got to spend with one another. Every detail about this day was an absolute dream. I will be replaying this proposal over and over again in my head for the next 50 years with Justin Claire by my side. I am absolutely blessed beyond words.