Hayley: On the evening of November 8th, 2011 I met a man wearing a “safety” orange beanie and a camouflage coat who looked slightly like a cross between Ryan Gosling, Jake Glynhall, and some sort of deer hunter. To be honest, I didn’t quite know what to make of him when my best friend, Garrett, and his friend, Andrea, introduced us. Handsome, well spoken, and interesting, I was intrigued. We spoke about art, photography, and fashion. When our conversation got too involved, or rather too loud, we were shamed out of the small dive bar both of us had randomly been invited to go to on a Tuesday night.
Once outside, the rest of the group comprised of our mutual friends had left and walked back to my apartment a few blocks away, leaving James and I to make the trek back alone. As we walked I remember looking at him, with a slight flutter in my heart, thinking “I’m going to marry this man”. I was so sure of it in fact that when he said “ we should hang out and be friends” ( which every girl who lives in the US understands what that really means) I made the boldest statement I have ever made: “No, but thanks for the offer, I’m not looking for a ‘friendship’ with you. If that’s what you want, I’m not your girl. It was nice to meet you though. Bye!” I then shut the door in his face. Sure enough, I got a text the next day asking me out on a date.
Though I was unavailable to go out that week, we kept talking. After spending hours on the phone while he was at his parent’s for Thanksgiving, we finally set a date to go out.
I was genuinely nervous about our first date, but was put somewhat at ease when James' friend, Walker, showed up, loud and outgoing as can be, making our first date slightly more awkward, but disarmingly more amusing. Once we arrived at our destination, about 10 minutes in, James pulled me away and we ran (literally) off into the night kissing, laughing, and holding hands. To this day, and even as I write this now, thinking about James, our first date, and every day since we first met still brings a smile to my face and a flutter in my heart.
James: It was my birthday weekend. Hayley and I had packed the Cadillac, harnessed little Whiskey up, and headed to Mt. Laguna for a camping getaway. We drove back to San Diego a couple days later, the weekend alone with Hayley, free of distractions and obligations had left me happier than ever. Dinner at Turf Club was the next stop, straight from the mountains. Our friends were there waiting, and it was a great evening. As we drove home, both in perfect moods, I looked over at her and thought - this can't wait any longer. I'd been planning a proposal for months, but second guessing each plan I'd made, thinking that it wasn't "perfect" enough, always trying to create a "perfect" moment. I realized, on that drive home, there isn't any moment like the present.
We walked through the door and kissed, I thanked her for giving me the most amazing birthday weekend I'd ever had, and then asked, with a wry smile, if she'd give me the best present I could ever ask for. I dropped to a knee and pulled the ring from my pocket, "Will you marry me, Hayley?"
Immediate tears, Hayley's face went from complete elation to a sort of teary ecstatic emotional overload and it took her a couple moments to choke out the words, "Yes - OH MY GOD YES!"