I'm engaged!

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I thought Robby, my betrothed, would pop the question soon after he showed me a brochure of engagement rings and asked me which kinds I preferred, albeit it was only after I made a comment about how him proposing was probably a distant thing in the future that wasn't yet tangible. To prove it to me, he went and grabbed the brochure out of his car, showing me he was more on the ball with planning than I thought. But still, given that he was set to start law school in about a month (at the time) and we hadn't hit our one year anniversary, I thought we were a few months away from the proposal.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and Robby told me he was planning to drive his mom to L.A. to visit her "jewelry guy" in a few days. This wasn't odd in itself. Robby has a "guy" for everything: shoes, haircuts, suits, you name it. Once he or his family likes you, you're his guy and he shops only with you so you get the commission. His mom, Carol, had recently had a surgery so it made sense that she wouldn't drive herself. But the reason for going to L.A.'s jewelry district wasn't so clear. Robby had two stories: They were going to resize some rings for his sister, DeeDee, who was out of town at the time, and they were going to fix up some of his grandma's old jewelry. He went back and forth between the two stories. It seemed a little weird.

The night before they went to L.A., Robby and I went to his parents' house. Carol had a ring-sizer there, which seemed strange because DeeDee was out of town, so shouldn't they know her size already? And why would they have a sizer if she wasn't there? And wouldn't she want to go with them to L.A. — couldn't they wait for her to get home in a couple of days? I didn't want to sound crazy or suspicious, so I didn't ask any of these questions. Once I sat down, Carol wondered what ring size I am, so she asked me to try a few of the rings on the sizer on. I tried a couple and pushed it aside, saying they didn't fit, but she continued to have me try on different sizes and even suggested an eight because that's my shoe size. Robby then jumped in saying, "Why don't you try this one?" before choosing another one out.

Hmmm.

As we were leaving, Carol casually mentioned that Don, her husband and Robby's father, was likely going to join them on their trip to L.A. So why wouldn't he drive?

"Oh, he's probably not coming; he's not sure," Robby quickly said.

OK.

The next day, the three of them went to the jewelry guy while I was at work. Even though Don went with them, Robby said  he had to drive because Don is afraid to drive in L.A. This was the first time I've heard of this fear, and I was surprised that Don, who teaches deep-sea diving and is an avid New York Giants fan, is afraid of anything, no less driving in L.A. But whatever; to each his own.

During the early evening when they were all on the way home, I remembered some plans Robby and I had made with a friend and wanted to check with him that he was free later in the week. I called him, but once he answered I remembered he was supposed to be driving. So I asked him if he was, prepared to hang up and talk to him about our plans later. Robby paused for a moment before answering that his father, in fact, was driving. That night, I asked Robby why Don drove and he answered   "Yeah, it was pretty weird. He just offered."

So, that weekend, I did the only thing one could do in this situation: I got a manicure, just in case... and I told all of my friends and a couple of strangers, new hair dresser included, that I was pretty sure my boyfriend was going to propose soon.

A week passed. I started making a plan of what I would say to all of my friends if Robby didn't propose: "I swear I'm not crazy; I really did think he was going to do it!"

But then Robby starts acting strangely again. It was his last weekend before law school would start. Let's get dinner and drinks with my sister, he said. At the Boathouse, which is my favorite restaurant. Oh yeah, and we'll walk through the Wilcox Property, a nearby beautiful scenic ocean overlook, to get there. Even still, if he did propose, would Robby want to get drinks with his sister after? That's kind of a third wheel. If it was his whole family, I would understand, but just DeeDee (no offense DeeDee, I love you!)? And the scenic walk wasn't enough for me to be too suspicious, because we've done it before — Robby's quite the romantic! Robby said we could leave his car at the Wilcox, walk down, and if we had some celebratory drinks (related to law school, not me), DeeDee could drive us home at the end of the night and we could pick up the car the next day. It was all very practical.

Robby did a few other things to throw me off, like telling me had a gift to give me on Sunday (the dinner was planned for Saturday). Our one year of seeing each other had just passed that Thursday, and it was sentimental to me because from that moment on, I saw Robby and I as being together, even though he didn't officially ask me to be his girlfriend until September 8th of last year. Thursday was August 15, and that came and went without incident. Saturday was completely insignificant, or so I thought.

Robby continued acting strangely. Prior to all of this, I made plans to get my hair done. I told Robby the appointment was at 11 a.m., following my writers group that started a couple of hours earlier.

Robby said "Oh, so you'll be done by about 1 (he doesn't realize how long it takes girls to get their hair done) and we'll have from then until 4."

I asked him what would happen at 4, because dinner wasn't supposed to go down until 7.

"Oh, we'll just have time to relax," he responded.

It's not weird for me to schedule relaxing time, but Robby is just not like that.

Saturday rolled around, and I made sure to wear a cute summer dress so I wouldn't have to change for our dinner at the Boathouse. Robby asked me what he should wear. He only asks that if it's a special occasion.

Interesting.

Hand in hand, we walked around the Wilcox Property before said scheduled dinner/drinks was supposed to happen. Aiming to gauge Robby's state of mind, I began telling him how much I love him and how happy I am. He agreed, but quickly changed the subject to something random. At this point, I was actually a little sad. He is probably not going to propose; holy crap I made up all of this in my mind out of nothing. I really am crazy, I thought.

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Up ahead, a man on a bicycle stopped to look at something. Robby stopped walking, and said he wanted to pet a dog being walked that we just passed. He walked back as if to pet the dog, which was already quite a ways away with its owner. Robby changed his mind and we continued walking toward where the man on the bicycle was looking, but wasn't in sight anymore.

We reached the overlook, and there was a bouquet of flowers on a tree stump. On its left, some photos were tied to a string nailed between a couple of trees. At first, I thought it was a memorial and the guy on the bicycle was honoring a loved one.

"Is this a memorial; did someone die?" I asked, stupidly.

Robby didn't answer. We walked closer until I saw they were photos of Robby and me, some including friends and family.

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"Oh."

Robby turned me so I was facing the beach below. He got down on one knee and told me he's never been happier, he's never loved someone so much and he wants to spend his life with me.

"Will you marry me?"

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I cried a little and said yes, of course.

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And then we kissed, obviously.

After that Robby said, "Wait, there's more." And then he started looking around, as if he were waiting for something.

I saw a flash of red hair, hiding behind a tree across from us, and knew it could be only one person.

Behind that tree popped out my good friend, Laura Donovan, who lives in New York City.

And after that, came my brother-in-law Kevin, and sister Sumer, who live in Reno.

Next came DeeDee and Erin, a good family friend of Robby and DeeDee.

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All the girls: from left, Laura, me, DeeDee, Erin and Sumer.

Finally, I see Matt Wier, Robby's longtime roommate, and photographer, who had been snapping photos the entire time, and actually whistled at the bicycle rider to get him to leave in the first place.

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Me, with Sumer and Kevin
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So DeeDee rolled up in her PT Cruiser, fully decorated with Just Married drawn on and hearts, and Robby, Laura and I left with her. She took us to McDonald's (random!), because Robby was too nervous to eat all day. And then we took the long way to Robby and DeeDee's parents' house. I thought that was strange, but now I know they were just killing time so we didn't get there too early for the surprise engagement party they were throwing us! About 30 to 40 of our friends and family members waited on Robby's parents' front lawn and cheered for us as we arrived.

Robby, as we arrive at his parents' house

Hugs all around, and lots of photos were taken. Inside, pictures of Robby and I, along with Congratulations signs and a banner, decorated the house, and his parents and DeeDee even had a special cake and Champagne glasses with our names on them for us.

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Robby's parents congratulate us with hugs.
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That weekend went by in a blur, between having the best day of my life, with my wonderful new fiancé, and showing my brother-in-law, sister and friend around Santa Barbara.

Now, it's time for wedding planning. We are looking at a few locations and would like to have a Santa Barbara wedding in May.

This is the most exciting part of my life to date; I couldn't be happier or feel more secure in knowing that I get to spend the rest of my life with the most thoughtful, loving man I've ever met, who is also my best friend.