As their newfound relationship flowed and progressed, Brian and Sara continuously learned interesting things about each other. Dating a 27-year-old was different than dating a high school boy, and Sara was pleased that he STILL opened car doors for her and laughed at her jokes, while surprising her with his maturity – basically fulfilling her mental checklist with flying colors. Meanwhile Brian simply got a kick out of Sara, loving the ease and fun of hanging out with a long lost friend. After many successful dates involving cruising on the bike path, sunset dinners, ferris wheels and barely edible homemade pizzas, the 70 mile drive between Carlsbad and Long Beach started to wear on them. At one point they had a “Meet in the Middle” date in San Clemente, where they ate pasta at Sonny’s on Highway 1, and found a beach to watch the sunset. But after a year of commuting or meeting in the middle, Brian decided to just move to San Clemente, allowing him to be closer to his love (a college buddy with an extra room and routine treks to Trestles helped make the decision easy…).
Being an engineer, Brian makes fastidious albeit slow-moving decisions, but lucky for him Sara is a patient lady. When Brian realized he needed to get on it and ask her to marry him, he also realized how grateful he was that she never pressured him (“Well, I did tell him my ring size, and I started to wear white all the time, but I don’t think he noticed,” says Sara.)
After getting advice from his sisters-in-law, Sara’s roommate, and her mom on what sorts of rings Sara liked, Brian finally was able to go about finding one. He then began the detailed process of planning a dream proposal during an upcoming trip to scenic Colorado a few months later in the Spring.
Some questioned Brian’s decision to keep the ring in his pocket for months, but he had the perfect plan. Until he began to think about kneeling in the wet snow, how suave his words would sound while shivering, and if Sara would be able to see the ring in the dark.
Luckily New Years was just around the corner, and a brilliant plan hatched in Brian’s mind: A romantic New Years Eve date at Sonny’s Pasta in San Clemente, one of their first dates and favorite memories. Then a walk to the beach where he could propose by the water in San Clemente, which holds even more meaning since it’s the town they plan to make their home.
Part III – Brimancing Sara
Although Sonny’s wouldn’t take reservations for new Years Eve, Brian and Sara scored the same little corner table that they got on their first date. Only instead of long conversations and lingering over wine, this time Brian took two bites of pasta, gulped his wine, flagged down the waiter to pay the bill, and said “Alright, let’s go!”
Sara’s suspicions aroused, she compliantly left her bowl of steaming raviolis to follow her nervous boyfriend out the door and into the misty moonlight.
Walking down to the beach path where they had first watched the sunset two years earlier, Sara noticed twinkle lights in the trees. As they continued walking, she saw tea light candles in glass mason jars surrounding a basket with roses and champagne, all hidden in a little alcove in the bushes near the path. Nervously avoiding it, (no polite young lady ASSUMES it’s for her!) Brian chivalrously invited her up to check it out.
The amount of emotion was increasing exponentially, and the air was thick with nervousness and anticipation, causing both of them to start bawling and laughing as Brian finally blurted, ”TharaIloveyoumarryme?”, and in response she flung her arms around him for dear life, which he took to mean yes.
“Don’t you want to see the ring?” he asked as he tried to peel her away to look at the jewel. “I don’t even care about the ring, I just want to be your wife!” she exclaimed. Until she got a glimpse of the beautiful shiny perfect diamond of her dreams and said “Never mind, I care!”
They then drove back to Brian’s apartment where they had celebratory drinks with his family, who had set up all the lights and flowers by the beach. When everyone left, Brian and Sara just sat on the sofa and soaked in the moment.
That night, Brian passed out from sheer exhaustion, his work complete and completed well. Sara, on the other hand, lay in bed all night with her mind racing – caterers! invitations! dress shopping! When Brian took the ring from his pocket and put it on Sara’s finger, he was also passing the baton…
Written and Illustrated by Kirsten Renee
Engagement story: Mark’s-eye-view