Nicole and Maxim

How We Met

Max and I were introduced to each other at a party. We had small chit-chat moments, but nothing really came of it until we later kept being put in the same places at the same time and continued our conversations. Maybe a month after meeting him, in one of our casual conversations at another mutual-friend-outing, I mentioned I would be joining a co-ed adult softball team (for fun) in the coming weeks. He got super excited and totally psyched about that idea and asked if it was possible if he could join too. He hadn’t played since he was a kid in Cuba and since moving to Cayman when he was 7 years old. I pulled some strings with the coach and made sure he ended up on our team because I wanted to fulfill this dream for him. Since he was “rusty,” he asked if we could maybe throw the ball around and get some batting practice in on our own over a weekend or something. I agreed and even brought my family along for the fun.

Over time, he got to know them via softball practices we would have, and end up becoming one of my best friends. We were just friends for over a year when I had to quit playing due to an injury in my bicep, so I wasn’t around as often as I used to be, which meant I didn’t see Max as often as I used to. And due to a lot of complications with life, for him and for myself, our conversations started to dwindle down few and far between. However, one day, I ran into Max as I was on my way into work. He noticed me first, yelled out, “CRANCE!” and with a surprised jerk, I turned to see him with the biggest smile I had ever seen on anybody. That hug felt like it had been wanting to be given for a long time, and to be honest, I had missed him more than I understood and it wasn’t until I saw him that I knew that. We caught up for 5 minutes, and that reignited a flow of us catching up more and more.

When I was away on a trip in Germany, maybe a month after running into him, we were messaging each other back and forth (even with the time difference) and he said, “I just want you to know that I will follow you wherever you go. I have truly missed hanging out with you and being able to see you at our games or practice. I was always your biggest fan; every time you were out on the field or at bat, I would be cheering for you with my whole heart. Wherever you are, I want to be there.” Shocked by it all, I was so incredibly happy he finally became honest with me, because I actually did feel the same way. We took our time adjusting to those roles and made sure we didn’t jump into things too fast because we were very intentional and serious with who we wanted to be in each other’s lives. When he finished telling me how he felt, I responded with, “When did you start feeling this way?” He said, “From the moment you threw those ground-balls to me at practice and hit my shin. I knew I loved you.”

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How He Asked

I truly did think we were going out to dinner. I mean, it was a Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. I have to get up for work at 4:30 every morning (gym trainer life). Surely, we wouldn’t be doing anything too crazy on a week night. I’m never been so happy to be so wrong in my whole life. Max had told me we would be “busy” Thursday (Dec. 22, 16) night for a nice, and special surprise dinner he was arranging. Aww! Babe is taking the reigns on this one and making a special surprise. How sweet. :) I never thought more of it other than that. But, when he showed up to my house wearing Oakley flip-flops, with his khaki pants and dress shirt, I was confused. “I’m wearing boots. Is this okay?” I asked puzzled. “You’re perfect.” I just shook my head and went along with it. On the drive “there,” I noticed he was a tad more reserved or focused than normal, but I just took it as him being really tired from work, lots of stuff happening in life, and we are about to go have a special surprise, end-of-the-year dinner for just us. YAY! Ten minutes into the drive, Max pulls over and hands me a towel, not a blindfold, to wrap around my face. “Okay, babe, next part of this adventure.

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You have to cover your face so you can’t see. I didn’t have a handkerchief….my bad.” All I could do was laugh and roll with it. I was suspicious but excited because I was truly enjoying all of the effort he had put into making this a special “dinner” for the two of us. I did not think that night was going to be anything other than what he had said it was going to be, and I’m so glad I wasn’t suspicious so I couldn’t ruin the surprise for myself. We drove for probably another 10 minutes until we arrived in a place with a lot of speed bumps. Okay, I think we’re at Chris and Anj’s apartment complex, I thought. When he parked, he helped lead me out of the car and what felt like an eternity of steps to get to the front door of this secret place. “Are you going to actually feed me tonight, Max?” I jokingly poked. He said, “You’ll see.” Okay, yay! This must be a super sweet surprise dinner where Chris and Anj are hosting for us and making some sort of outdoor picnic on their roof patio deck. Aww! That is going to be so cool! What a way to end 2016.” I was partially correct.

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He led me up three flights of stairs (in boots, might I add) until we came to the roof, which I knew was the roof by the breeze blowing.

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It wasn’t until I heard and saw a flash go off as Max led me further on to the patio that I became suspicious and just as he positioned me, and removed my towel did I realize in the same moment what was about to occur. The place was incredibly beautiful.

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Max had put his heart and soul into every piece of this night and it showed. The floor and walls were decorated with the most beautiful white lights, strung everywhere, and were intertwined around a bamboo ladder that had pictures and old cards I had given him over our time together. He knows how I love white lights and for him to incorporate that into this special moment, just made me melt. There were wooden benches around us, glass vases on the floor that had tiny white lights inside with baby’s breath flowers coming out, candles and sure enough, a table in the back with platters of food from our favorite grocery store. But I didn’t have time to take any of that in until later.

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All I saw was Max, trembling with nervousness (I had never seen him like that before!), Chris, Max’s best friend who was videoing the whole thing and his friend Jeremy taking photos of this moment.

It didn’t feel like they were even there. It was a perfectly private, and surreal moment where Max just took my hands, looked into my eyes, and humbly gave me his heart in words. “I have three questions for you: Will you always be my dancing partner?” Crying, I shook my head. “Will you love me forever and always?” And shook it again. Then, he asked for the ring from Chris, slowly descending to one knee, looked up and said, “Nicole, will you marry me?” I must have been frozen in that moment for a good few seconds before I answered simply because I wanted to fully and 100% take in everything that was occurring.

You wait your whole life for this moment and here it is in front of you. It’s crazy how quickly it goes by and how slow it comes, so I drew it out and memorized his entire face, his words, the wind, the lights, the drive, my day earlier and how I did not know this is what my evening would be….I memorized it all and cried out, “YES!” with some tears. With that, after having our moments, Chris yelled, “SHE SAID YES!!!!”

Puzzled by this, I wondered why he shouted that until I heard a stampede of people running up the stairs. No way, I thought. Every one of our closest friends had been hiding downstairs and were here to join us to celebrate. If I wasn’t crying enough before, I definitely started crying now when I saw the wave of love and support come running to hug us and congratulate us. It was overwhelming and incredibly perfect for them to be there after we had our privacy. I can’t imagine a more perfect night. It’s funny how often you spend time dreaming of “the moment” and when you’ll be proposed to, how, etc. and I am so incredibly happy that I never had this vision for myself. Max blew my dreams, my visions, my expectations out of the water by making everything so personal, so unique, so sincere for the two of us to remember this forever.

I knew I had a special one from the very start and it was just a cherry on top for me to find out that not only did he put together an incredible night (with the help of some amazing friends), but he had also asked my parents for permission a week before this night happened. They knew, they approved and couldn’t have been more excited for me. So, when I told them earlier we’d be back home after dinner, my mom must have laughed inside, “Yeah, okay.” Max has this way of knowing what I want without me having to say much and when I think he didn’t get it, he got it. He showed me how he truly does have a unique ability to surprise me and that I can trust him to pull off something grand right under my nose. I can’t wait to marry my best friend.

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