One year ago today I was on a Continental flight from Charlotte, North Carolina, back home to Cleveland. I sat with my journal opened on my lap, looking at the words on the very last page: Why didn't he ask me???
I had spent the entire weekend in Charlotte, and had the opportunity to meet Daniel's pastor and his wife, the rest of those who are now our church family, have dinner with an elder and his family, and go to a special wedding-- the wedding of one of our own groomsman. We had a romantic afternoon and evening in Greenville, South Carolina, strolling through the artsy shops, eating ice cream at Coffee Underground and relaxing near the water at Reedy Falls. The weekend was one to remember. Every day was perfect, every moment, even. We were so happy together, and I was so happy to be there in Charlotte with him. I told him, "This really feels like it could be home."
He dropped several hints that weekend. He did several things that made me more than curious. When his best friend Joe called unexpectedly Friday afternoon and yelled (loud enough for me to hear), "Dude!! Are you E-N-G yet?!?!" I tried to pretend I didn't hear. As we were walking leisurely around Greenville, Daniel kept glancing at his watch, as if we had some place to go. When I questioned him about it, he mentioned something about the sunset. Then, when we found a quiet, romantic place right on the river's edge to sit and talk together, he took a quiet moment to reach in his back pocket, as if to pull something out. I gave him a look, and he laughed and said it was just an itch. By the time we left and he had still not popped the question, I had given up, on being asked and figured in my mind he had something else planned-- after all, he had initially said we wouldn't get engaged until winter. But then he surprised me by pulling off on the side of the highway, and looking at me with his cute, "Guess what I'm doing now" smile that he has. We were right on the border-- in two places at once.
But still... no question.
Our goodbye that next morning at the airport was nothing special. In fact, he almost made me cry the way he seemed to just want to get out of there. I demanded a hug, another kiss, another hug, and he finally just told me to go.
Things were happening when I got home. My mother and sister were busy planning for something. But I didn't really care. I had too much to catch up on to be too concerned with their confusing excuses.
Around four o'clock Mom tried kicking me off the computer by asking me to go get the mail. I was in the middle of a conversation with a friend (hi Emily!!), checking email, Facebook and the like, and as much as I love to get the mail, felt that it was not all that important. Ten minutes later Mom asked again, and said there was a rain coming-- I should go now. So I did.
But I took my phone, and dialed a friend's number (hi Michelle!!). I was meandering down our driveway, just about the leave a message when Daniel popped out from behind the row of trees. I screamed, jumped, then screamed and laughed. "What are you doing here!?" He couldn't hide the smile on his face. I knew, but it was all so surreal I couldn't fathom it.
He pulled me to him, and we stood in the middle of the grassy field at the front of my family's property. He made some sort of joke, of course, because he's Daniel Wells, and no story of his would be complete without one. Then, he got very sweet and sincere, and with perfectly natural language told me he loved me, adored me and wanted me to be the one by his side for the rest of his life. "Ashlee, will you be my bride?" He asked as he knelt on one knee, and pulled a single solitaire diamond from his pocket.
The word was out of mouth almost before he could finish asking, and he hugged me and spun me in a circle, and kissed my lips so sweetly. It was like a first kiss all over again.
Then he held me tight and started to sing quietly the song we danced to on our wedding day-- the song that he heard way back in September of 2007, right after he promised his dying grandmother he would marry a woman she would love.
It was at that moment that the first raindrop fell on my face. I looked up at him and smiled. Then we both looked up at the sky, and it started to pour.
Within minutes we were drenched, and enjoyed every second of it. We danced and kissed some more, and laughed at the wonderfulness of the whole experience.
His mom came for dinner, and we celebrated all evening. We finished the day off by star gazing on the back porch late into the evening, but even when I finally fell asleep I wished the day would never end. Even in the dark my diamond sparkled. It was perfect.