Danielle and Paul

How We Met

We met through my cousin back in college. She worked with Paul and told me she “had a cute boy for me.” She told him something similar about me. The first night we met, we hit it off and he asked me out on a date the next day. Since I was going back to school (4 hours away), I had no interest in a long distance relationship. I declined and said I was “kind of” seeing someone at school. Fast forward to almost five years later when I became recently single and my cousin invited me to a party at Paul’s house. I told her I wasn’t going to go because he probably remembered me declining his date and I was SURE that he “hated me.” She insisted that that wasn’t the case, but I still fought her and told her I wasn’t going. That night I made dinner plans with my grandmother and she ended up cancelling on me. My parents and siblings weren’t home, so I decided that I wasn’t going to stay home either. I asked my cousin if I could still go to Paul’s party and of course she said yes! He, in fact, was not unhappy to see me at all. Quite the opposite actually. I later found out that he had been asking if I was going to go. When I got there, we picked up right where we left off and spent the night talking for hours. I found out that he was also recently single, which made me hesitant to get more connected. Before I left, he made sure I had his number in my phone. After that night, I decided I wasn’t going to contact Paul because we were both recently single and shouldn’t jump into something so serious so soon. I knew in my heart that he could be “the one” and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for that type of commitment. One Sunday night, two months later, I got a text from my cousin and she had told me that Paul had just gone over to her house with a tray of food for the family since my aunt had been terminally ill. I decided then that I needed to get out of my own head about what was and what wasn’t “too soon” for my next serious relationship. So I texted him. The more we talked the more I couldn’t wait to get out of bed each day and speak to him. One month into our relationship and we were already discussing our plans with each other for the future.

How He Asked

I had dreamt about the day I would get engaged to Paul after one month of dating him. We both knew then that we were “it” for each other. BUT we had some hurdles to get past first- school, board exams, and secure jobs. As Paul started Physician Assistant school in 2016, I became more stable in my own career and frequented social media sites that included proposals, rings, weddings, etc. He said that he had the proposal all planned out and that I would never know how or when. Since he had to wait until after graduating to afford a ring to propose to me with (or so I thought), I tried not to talk about it much.

Fast forward to one Saturday morning in April. Paul texted me and said, “Hey, we don’t have any plans today, why don’t we go to the mall so you could try on some rings and I could get your ring size? This way next year when I need it, it won’t be so obvious.” I was so shocked and secretly wondered if he needed my ring size to propose soon after. It was the only time he’d mentioned looking at rings, so I was super excited. I tried to play it cool so he wouldn’t feel bad in case he really wasn’t going to ask me soon. After the mall trip he said to me, “Great, now you think a ring is coming soon…and I can’t afford one until I start working.” He even picked a “pretend” fight with me when I started to get carried away sending him pictures of rings that I liked. I decided to unfollow a lot of wedding sites so I would stop thinking about it!

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Fast forward to June 8, 2018. It started as a regular Friday- I went to work, worked out, got my nails done with my sister (little did I know this was a ploy to get me a fresh manicure), and then had plans to go with my family to my now future father-in-law’s band gig. (Side note: my dad is in a band too so I didn’t think anything of our parents getting together here.) One night that week, Paul told me that his aunt, uncle, and cousin were free for the gig. On Friday he told me his best friend texted him to hang out so he was going to go to the gig too. I also mentioned the gig to my sister and she and my brother-in-law “happened” to be available that night and decided to come too. I was so excited that the extended family was going to be together and meet!

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I took a nap that night until about 30 mins before we were leaving. I woke up and had regrets of making plans on a Friday night🤣! I pulled it together and oddly enough, I had decided that I had gotten a pretty good tan in Vegas the weekend before at my friend’s bachelorette party and I was going to wear a WHITE shirt that had been sitting in my closet w tags on it for two years.

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When I got to the bar around 8:30, Paul’s family was already there and had a table in the back for us. It was 9 pm and I was STARVING but both of our families were barely ordering any food! Paul ate HALF of ONE chicken wing and I was questioning him until no end as to why he wasn’t eating anything! My sister and brother-in-law each spilled their own drink at separate times (which I later found out happened because everyone was so nervous) but I again, thought nothing of it. When I looked toward the end of the table that our parents were sitting at, I noticed that they were all on their phones texting! I was dying inside thinking they weren’t having a good time together!!! Little did I know they were all texting each other about what was about to happen!

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Paul’s dad’s band played until about 10:15 pm and his sister asked me to go to the bathroom with her. I went thinking she wanted to tell me about her new boyfriend, but she asked me because Paul’s mom was passing the ring to him while I was gone! When I got out of the bathroom and sat back down, Paul got up and walked away from me. He said nothing and walked toward the stage. I looked at him like “What are you doing?” As he started putting the guitar strap over his head, everyone at my table took out their phones and started recording him. Another side note: he barely plays and DEFINITELY does not sing in front of anyone- not even me! I was thinking to myself, “Why didn’t he tell me he was going to play?! Why does everyone else know and not me?!” When I looked back toward the end of the table I saw my mom recording me. My heart started pounding when I saw her and I heard Paul on the microphone say, “I want to play something for someone special out there…” Although my heart was RACING, I was still thinking that I couldn’t get too excited because there was no way that this could be “IT.” I told myself that he wasn’t working and that this was just a song he had wanted to play for me. Nothing more. He began playing and singing the song “Marry Me,” by Train.

I knew it right away because it was a song that I had asked him to learn for me. Even though my heart was racing and he was playing this song, I STILL convinced myself that this couldn’t be it. When I looked over to the front of the stage, I saw his dad recording him and simultaneously waving me to come up. I looked away a few times thinking maybe he would stop while continuing to convince myself that this wasn’t it. BUT he continued to wave me to come up. This was when I thought, “ok…maybe…SOMEHOW…THIS WAS IT!” I immediately looked at Paul’s pocket and saw what looked like a ring box! It felt like the longest three minutes of my life, waiting for him to finish the song and come off the stage, but when he did it was the best moment of my life! I cried and had the biggest smile on my face when he got down on one knee. I only remember him hugging me and telling me, “this was my grandmother’s diamond.” I cried even more after he told me this. It was the most beautiful diamond I’d ever seen (reset in my dream setting) and I could see how proud and excited Paul was to give this to me. His grandfather had held onto this ring for 26 years since his grandmother has passed and I felt so blessed to be the one to now receive it.

The tears kept pouring out of my eyes and I was trembling! I just remember saying, “Is this mine?? Is this really mine??” When I picked my head up from a wet pool of tears I had made on his shoulder, he pointed to the back of the bar and said, “Look!” I turned to look and saw the rest of my family at the other end of the bar there to surprise me. The ugly cry was REAL. It was the BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE and I think I slept about 4 hours total that weekend.

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