It all started when my boyfriend said he would like to go on a double date with a couple that had just moved into town. He had been friends with the guy since middle school. I always like to know the plans down to the very last detail, but my boyfriend knows this as well. True to form, he began withholding information about our double date as a way to tease me. I eventually gave up and just asked how I should dress. He responded that I should dress like, “we were going to our favorite uptown restaurant.” I knew immediately our favorite restaurant was a steak and seafood place that required me to dress up.
We were scheduled to meet the other couple at 6:00pm in uptown. Jared and I both work uptown, so we planned on just hanging out for a little bit after work until then. Well that day was July 3rd, meaning we had the next day off. My manager walked by around 3:00pm that afternoon and told our department to leave early and enjoy the rest of the day. Having been given permission to leave and unaware of Jared’s plans, I left work. I called him from the bus and told him the great news that I got the afternoon off. He took the information in stride as I told him I would be a little late after getting home and getting ready. Our dinner reservation was at 7pm so I did not see a problem. Jared texted me back and said we would now be meeting at 6:30pm in the parking deck. Everything was working out perfect as far as I knew.
While getting ready, I heard on the radio the major highway was backed up. I flew into panic mode and left as quickly as possible so I wouldn’t be later than I had planned. I got a phone call around 6:10pm from Jared asking where I was. I explained I had just pull into Charlotte and was coming down the street looking at the parking deck. He hurriedly acknowledged and said he would see me soon. I had zero idea what Jared did right after I hung up the phone.
I later came to learn the full story. Jared had bought a precious Australian Shepherd puppy to play a role in my proposal, and he had enlisted the help of Joe and Kate to take pictures and get the puppy in position. Well, they had arrived just a few minutes before me (30 minutes before our meeting time). Joe and Kate were unfamiliar with the area so Jared sent them up the quickest route, the same street that I was about to pull onto. After hanging up with me, Jared sprinted through the parking deck to catch up with Joe and Kate. He yelled for them to take the parallel street. The puppy was still learning how to walk on a leash, so Kate had to grab the puppy in her arms and run across the street. I was unaware, but Jared says I missed them by seconds.
I pulled into the deck and met up with Jared, who hopped into my car. He immediately took a phone call, which I took to be Joe calling him and confirming where we were. Jared was actually giving them walking directions as they had become lost. I was none the wiser.
I was so excited to meet our friends and have a nice evening I did not notice Jared being uncharacteristically slow. He is usually a fast, determined walker, and I have to struggle to keep up. Today was very different. As soon as we parked, Jared said that he had forgotten something in his car and he needed to walk over there. After we visited his car, we began our slow walk through the big buildings in uptown. We came up to a street crossing, and Jared very suddenly looked at me and began a new conversation. I do not even remember what we talked about at that crossing, but I later learned why he had done that. As we pulled up to the crossing, Kate and the puppy were on the diagonal corner. The puppy was sitting down and Kate was trying to coax her into walking. Jared had spotted Kate immediately, and Kate saw us. Jared turned to engage my attention as Kate grabbed the puppy for a second time and sprinted up the street. I still had not noticed anything out of the ordinary.
We crossed the street and cut through the building Jared worked in. He said that he needed to use the restroom before we met up with the other couple. Little did I know that Jared was sitting on the bathroom counter attempting to call or text Joe and make sure they were in position. He was not succeeding because the building we were in was notorious for not having cell phone signal. Once we made it outside, Jared nonchalantly called Joe one final time. He was confirming they were in place, while I only heard him asking when Joe was going to arrive in uptown. Jared was trying really hard to be sneaky, but I think he overestimated my ability to catch on to what he was doing.
We continued our walk and Jared led me into a beautiful garden behind a quaint church. Jared turned to me and said that he loved me, and that he had a surprise for me. He said in order to get the gift, I had to close my eyes and not open them until he returned. As he left, all I could think about was, “this is it, I’m about to be engaged!” It seemed like forever, but finally I heard Jared asking if my eyes were still closed. I said they were as I heard him approach. He finally told me to turn around and open my eyes. As I did, I looked down and saw the most adorable black and brown Australian Shepherd puppy looking back at me.
I knelt down immediately to play with the puppy as many emotions flooded through my mind. My wonderful boyfriend had gotten me the perfect puppy! In the excitement of the moment it was just like the world stood still or at least went into slow motion. Just as I sort of regained cognizant thought, Jared knelt down with me, and pulled a small wooden box out of his pocket. As he opened the box, he looked me in the eyes and asked, “Will you marry me?” I began crying and saying, “yes” many times. It was the perfect proposal and I knew that the three of us would begin a perfect family.
Throughout this emotional event, I almost missed the feint sound of a camera shutter. After catching my composure, I looked over to see both of our wonderful friends taking pictures of our event. I’m so glad they were able to capture the moment that I said, “yes” to my best friend since college, my boyfriend, my now fiancé, and my future husband. And that is how it all happened.
And here’s a recent one of the pup!
Photos by Paper Heart Photography