Nicole and Mike

Image 1 of Nicole and Mike

How We Met

Funny enough, I was dating Mike’s best friend at the time in high school. On the first day of school, as I was officially about to meet him, he came up to me suddenly and whispered an intense “…Fuck you…” in my ear as a joke. Those were the first words he’s ever said to me. Always a kidder. You know though, there was something about Mike that always intrigued me. He’s tall, mysterious demeanor drew me to him. We were merely friends, but after drifting from my boyfriend while the two of them went off to college (leaving me in my last year of high school), our friendship rekindled just a year later. It all started when I invited him to a movie night at my house with a group of friends. He was in town on break and stopped by to visit. To my surprise, we naturally started flirting, and I even got his number to chat with later. We texted and called each other for weeks and weeks, discovering more and more about the other person virtually late each night. One night, I went over to his house (alone!) and hung out on his basement couch with him. Flirtatiously resting my legs up on his lap, I ended up asking if he liked me and wanted to go out (I was typically the “initiator” when it came to boys – I knew what I wanted!). To my surprise – and dismay – he said “no”. I could not believe it. After all this time, after the clear flirting with me – he didn’t like me back? I was disappointed and left. Suddenly – two days later, (February 9th, 2013), he invited me over again while his parents were out. Now here, to my confusion, he seemed to have changed his mind. Perhaps he was scared before, maybe confused, but not tonight. During a movie, he confesses his crush on me and we get together. Before making it public (didn’t want to jinx it), he got his blessing from the ex, and we made it official. 8 ½ years later, he proposed, and we’re finally ready to start the rest of our lives together.

How They Asked

I had a feeling I was going to be proposed to that night. I saw all of the signs – nervousness, stress, and frankly, getting annoyed when I kept moving around our upcoming date. He even insisted that we dress up. We were set to go to Maggianos in Boston, one of my favorite restaurants, to celebrate a recent promotion to a full-time salary position at my work. You can imagine my excitement that morning – giddy, getting perfectly ready, and the feeling that all was right in the world. The only thing that didn’t add up… was proposing at a restaurant. I kept hinting (for better or for worse) that “isn’t the outdoors so wonderful”, and “remember that time in Spider-Man 3 when Tobey Maguire proposed in a restaurant? That’s uncomfortable”, yadda yadda yadda. (Let’s just say he wasn’t thrilled over these comments). He even had a nightmare that I wouldn’t be happy with the proposal! But of course, any girl would be thrilled over any proposal. Nothing has to be perfect to be special. So, he insisted he picks me up (even though his house was on the way and mine was certainly not). As I excitedly get in the car, I turn to my handsome man, who smiles and tells me I look beautiful. He was the happiest I think I’ve ever seen him. I greeted him quietly and sweetly, and we drove off. We made small talk; I didn’t want him to know I saw right through him. As we got to an intersection that determined the direction we were going – he took a left, going South. This certainly caught me off guard, since Boston was North. He knew this, and I knew this, but I realized I had no idea what was in store. So, I pretended to not notice and looked down the rest of the car ride in distraction. Not only did I want to spoil the surprise for myself, but I also didn’t want to make him more nervous than he already was. As it was getting darker, we were getting closer and closer to our alma mater (I noticed out of the corner of my eye). I was a bit concerned that his “big plan” was to propose outside a college dorm or something. Luckily, we kept driving by. Suddenly, he pulls off to the side of the road and the road starts getting bumpy. I couldn’t help but suddenly look up. I quickly switched the car tunes to something more romantic, as I knew we were getting close to the big reveal (this was the soundtrack to my favorite romantic movie, “La La Land” – he was grateful I switched the music to something low-key to match the mood that was about to take place). After making it clear that I noticed we were “in the middle of nowhere”, I commented humorously, “this doesn’t look like Boston”, with a chuckle and smile. At this point, I had decided to watch and take in where he was going. It was too crazy not to watch, and I wanted this locked in my memory forever. As we were going down in almost pitch-black darkness, down gravel (barely visible) road, we drove through what I describe as “a tunnel of trees”. He knows I love nature. Just then, as we get through the trees, the sky opens up. Before me is a big, beautiful field with a dark, clear blue sky above us. I start to cry (and I’m certainly starting to cry just writing about it). In the middle of this empty field is a large, lone tree (man, he really knows me). We drive up to it, and he parks, we get out, and I watch him as he walks over to it. As he bends down and presses a button, tons of beautiful twinkling lights turn on around the base of the tree.

Image 3 of Nicole and Mike

I start to cry even more. He brings me over to a large picnic blanket in the midst of the lights, places me in the middle, and gets down on one knee. The lights surround us in the darkness of the night while his hands shake. He musters up the courage, and with a quivering voice, he looks up at me with a ring in hand and says, “Nicole, I’ve been thinking about this for the last 8 years. I love you. Will you marry me?” With tears in my eyes (and his), I reply with a “yes”, and he slips the ring on my finger. We hug and kiss, and he makes me a promise that he’ll “always be there for me, no matter what”. He asks me to sit down for a moment, goes back to his car, and starts carrying over an entire dinner set-up. Folding tables, chairs, white wine, and take-out chicken piccata (a favorite from a hometown Italian restaurant). To my surprise, this was more than I could ever have asked for in a proposal. It was perfect for me, and he put such an amount of thought, time, and love into it. He started to tell me how he knew since around our 1st anniversary that he was going to propose in a place like this since we had stopped nearby to gaze at a field during my first year of college. After months of planning, he finally found the perfect spot, with the help of Google Maps’ birds-eye view to determine that the land wasn’t privately owned. He even came two weeks prior to show his parents and scope out the place. Plus, the same day of the proposal, he went to weed whack the brush in front of the tree so we could have a place to sit. Needless to say, he was secretly exhausted leading up to the big moment.As we’re about to open up our food and eat, I notice a car start to follow our tracks and drive up through the tunnel of trees. With this mystery car’s lights shining on us, he walks up to the car. A security officer curtly asks him, “what are you doing here?” He was hard of hearing, so my new groom leans in closer, and replies, “what?” The officer gets frustrated and more intensely asks again, “what are you doing here?’ My fiance explains, “well, I actually just proposed to my girlfriend”, and he motions towards me. Happily ignoring the potential issue with us being here, I excitedly wave my hand (and new ring) to the party crasher. To my fiance’s dismay, the security officer then said “you do realize this is prison grounds, right!?” To Mike’s shock, he mutters, “you’re shitting me…”. He then calls out to me and yells “this is prison property!!” to my surprise. Turns out, we were technically on the property behind (well far behind) the nearby hospital prison for the criminally insane. What a twist! Mind you, while my new fiance is devastated that the officer asks us to leave in 15 minutes (to at least have some food and clean up), I am cracking up with my head stuck in the clouds over this rollercoaster of a proposal. We hurriedly cleaned everything up; the blanket, lights, chairs and all, and stuffed them in his car trunk. Disappointed, he drives us back to my apartment where we started, and I suggest we picnic in the park across the street. (I just made sure to call the local police first to ensure that we were allowed after dark!) After a few trips to and from a hill in the park (one thing after another was going wrong – the battery for the lights stopped working and then the food got cold), we finally (and slightly reluctantly) ate together. After packing up, he called his mom and let her know that everything went well. I decided to wait until the next day to tell my family and friends. I wanted to savor these last moments. We spent the remainder of the night watching “The Princess Bride” (coincidentally on TV, another favorite of ours) and drinking the white wine he brought for dinner. Then, the night ended with such passion and romance. I couldn’t stop kissing him and made him ask me to marry him over and over again between each kiss. This really was a night I’ll never forget. And now, as I’m writing this, we are set to be married in exactly one year, on May 12th, 2023.

Image 2 of Nicole and Mike

Special Thanks

James Allen
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