The Proposal....from my Perspective!

Our journey began four years ago. It was a journey I never thought I would find myself on. I met a tall, dark boy who worked as a waiter at the Olive Garden, who had shifty eyes and long spiky black hair. I had no interest in this fellow, nor did he have any interest in me. I did remember his name though and later that day added him as a friend on Myspace. Oh! Myspace. "I thought it would be nice to know someone outside of my family if I ever move to Colorado, so I thought I would add you as a friend," I told him. We exchanged a few messages and left it at that.

Just a few months later, I moved to Colorado. One day, I sat in my new bedroom, in my new house, at my computer reading a message from this strange boy who I once met. "How are you liking Colorado? Are you settling in? I know you're new in town and if you want me to be your tour guide and show you around town, here's my number." I wasn't sure what to do...so I talked to my Mom and she said that if I wanted to hang out with him, I could. I emailed him back and said that would be great! He came to my house to pick me up a couple days later, dressed in slacks, a white jacket, popped collar, and shades. He thought he was smooth. I thought he looked like an idiot and said to myself, "we will never get along." He drove me around till we got to the downtown area and asked if I was hungry. We ate at Phantom Canyon, chatted, and then took a drive through Garden of the Gods. He took me back home and asked what I was doing the next day. My reply was something to the effect of "I'm new in town, I have nothing to do." He asked me to hang out again, I said okay, then he gave me a high five.

The next day, he came to my house to pick me up. As he walked up the driveway, I noticed that he was dressed in ski pants, a ski jacket, bandanna, and a beanie. My initial thought was, "DANG! He's so hot!!" but then I told myself that I had just moved here, just got out of a relationship, and didn't need to dive into another one. We journeyed to the bottom of Pikes Peak on a very cold, fall day and ended up stopping at the Cog Railway Train Station. What better way to see Colorado then to take a train to the top of the mountain? 

And that my friends...is where it all began....on a train...

Fast forward four years through much heartache, sorrow, hurt, healing, growing, and more than anything, forgiving and loving. 

It started on Valentines day. I woke up that morning knowing that it was going to be a fun day, I just had no idea what the plans were! I had to be in Denver most of the day for work meetings, but got done and back to the Springs around 2. I asked to leave early since James told me I needed to be ready by 3:30. I was almost home when I got a call from my boss saying that there was a beautiful, bouquet of flowers delivered for me. I decided I wanted to turn around and go get them! When I got back to my office, I saw a beautiful arrangement of lily's and roses. I opened up the little card and read, "Real love stories never have endings. I can't wait to put another chapter in our story. I love you Autumn Mc...Carton." My heart just melted and I got butterflies in my tummy just like the first time we kissed. I drove back home, got dressed, and waited for James to pick me up. When he got to the house, he pulled out an envelope and then out of the envelope came a coupon book that he had made! He pulled out the first coupon which read, "A romantic dinner at the restaurant of your choice in Denver." He then said that because it was a holiday, he made reservations at a restaurant for us already. I was excited to see what he had picked out. We drove up to Denver and got to a little hole in the wall place called Chianti Restorante Italiano. Italian food! My favorite, as well as the type of restaurant we first met at. Ohhh, I was catching on...he was taking us back to the beginning. We ate a lovely meal and drank delicious wine. 
Then he said it was time for the second coupon....
"Nuggets tickets. Now that's a slam dunk date!"
We were off to a Nuggets game! We had never been to a basketball game together, so I wasn't sure what the subtlety of that was and he said he couldn't tell me because it would spoil later surprises. I ignored it and enjoyed the game. Nuggs WON! We both had to work the next day, so we drove home, said our good nights, and went off to sleep.

Wednesday (the 15th) was a normal work day. I was busy all day with projects. Got home later in the day and waited for James to come over. He said he had to run errands, which he never has to do, so I knew something was up! He came over and could not wait to give me the third coupon. I was SO excited when he handed it to me! I read, "This weekend we're flying so pack your bags and get ready for takeoff!" I stood in the kitchen in shock, with a blank stare on my face. I looked up at him and had no words! The only thing I could conjure up was, "Does work know I'm leaving?!" hahaha! He looked at me and said not to worry, he had taken care of everything. We ate dinner and I spent most of the time trying to guess where we were going (I was convinced we were going to Oregon to meet his Dad)! Then I called my Dad and he was so excited to find out where James was taking me! I stayed up all night doing laundry, packing, painting my nails, and trying to figure out where we were headed off to! 

The next day (the 16th) I woke up and had a dentist appointment first thing, so I went to that, then called James and he said to meet me at Jives Coffee Shop around 11am. You see, Jives and February 16th are two significant things in our story and relationship. February 16th, 2011 was the first time we had seen each other after having been broken up for several months. We hadn't talked, seen each other around town, and to be frank, I wanted nothing to do with him. That cold, February night I went to Jives to listen to live music, have a cup of coffee, and do some reading. It just so happens that James showed up the same night, to the same coffee shop, to do the same thing. I was in SHOCK! But through all my nerves, anger, and anxiety...a still small voice spoke and said, "It's okay Autumn. It's time." We both had such a peace and that's when the reconciliation and forgiving process started. SO....going back to the very same spot, on the 16th was a must! We sat there and reminisced about what had happened the past year, what the Lord had done, where we were at, and how much we loved each other. We were supposed to be at the airport to catch the 4pm flight, but because we fly standby, there were issues getting on the 4 o'clock flight. James said he had to run a few more errands (later he told me it was to pick up the ring, haha!) and he would meet me at the house where were would wait to see what flight we would actually get on.

I got to the house and hung out with my roommates for a few. They both knew what was going on, so they kept asking me questions, like, "Are you excited?! Where do you think you're going?" I kept telling them Oregon and I was dead set on that decision! James got to the house and the 4 of us chatted and laughed, all the while James was CONSTANTLY texting and talking to people and I was getting so anxious. In the midst of the conversations, it slipped out that James and I were flying to San Francisco. I looked at him in complete shock and yelled, "We're going to SAN FRANCISCO!?!?" I was so bummed that he let it slipped, but I just hugged him and told it was okay, I was going to find out anyways!

We left for the airport. I was beyond excited! We got our seats on the plane and the whole time I couldn't stop thinking about who was going to pick us up, where were staying....anxiety took over and James just held my hand and asked, "Do you trust me?" I did and I do. So, I stopped worrying and just really wanted to land. That flight felt like one of the longest flights I had taken. We got to the San Fran airport and I expected someone to be there to get us, but nope, wrong again....we took a shuttle to our little Victorian hotel called Hotel Majestic. It was so cute, so old, had so much history to it. James and I ordered pizza, watched TV, and then he said goodnight and went off to his own room. He told me though, "We have to get up really early....6:30am. I'll call you to wake you up. You will also get another coupon!" I could hardly sleep that night... 1) Because I was so excited to be in San Fran, 2) The city was SO loud and I slept with my window open to feel the cool breeze, and 3) Because I had NO idea what was happening the rest of the weekend...although I thought about how this could actually be the weekend he asks me to be his wife.

6:30 rolls around, my phone rings, and then James comes knocking on my door. I answer and he greets me with a morning kiss. Then he hands me the coupon....I read it, "Escape the city via the Baylink Ferry!" WHAT?!!? A ferry ride?? I was SO excited, although it was hard to tell since I was so tired. We got ready real quick and walked to the nearest Trolley station. It was like a dream come true getting to ride on the Trolley! Ever since I was little and watch Full House I wanted to go take the Trolley's down San Fran. I kept snapping pictures of everything, leaning out of the Trolley, smiling, acting like a child. It was SO fun! We got to end, got off, and grabbed some food from a little cafe. James kept texting and I was getting pretty annoyed, but I tried to let it go. He then looked at me and said, "we need to go." We cleaned our breakfast mess up and then walked to the Port! There were hundreds of people around, the sun was just coming up over the water near the Bay Bridge, so I was busy taking pictures of nearly everything. James had his paperwork out and was trying to figure out where we needed to go, he was lost and confused so I said, "Here let me help you!" He looked at me and said, "NO! You're not supposed to look at these papers." A random, shady looking guy approached us and asked if we were looking for the Napa Valley Wine Tour Bus. I looked at James all wide-eyed, grabbed his arm, and said, "really?!" He tried to play it off like that's not where we were going, the guy got annoyed and said if that's where we were going, to go to the group of people on the other side of the street. So we walked over there and I was SO excited that we were going to Napa Valley! I've always wanted to go! James showed another gentleman the paperwork and the man said, "Oh, you're not on the Wine Bus Tour, you're on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Your ferry is down there," and pointed to another port. THE WINE TRAIN!!!! Oh my gosh! I was ecstatic. We got to the port where we were "supposed to be"...wrong. We were in the wrong place. By this time, the clock was ticking. We asked another gentleman for some guidance and he pointed us in the right direction. We found our port and in the distance I saw someone that looked familiar,  but thought nothing of it. Who would I know that would be in San Francisco the same weekend we're here? I also didn't have my contacts in or my glasses on, so my vision wasn't the best at the moment, haha.

We finally boarded onto the Ferry. It was one of the most gorgeous mornings I have seen thus far. We stood on the upper deck and watched as the sun was coming up. The clouds were sitting low, and as we pulled away from the Port we could see ALL of San Fran. It was incredible! We got to see Alcatraz from a distance, which was neat. It was about an hour or so Ferry ride to Vallejo, which sits outside of Napa Valley. We got to Vallejo and started making our way down the stairs, but then James decided that he wanted a picture of a random bird that was on the Ferry and so I begrudgingly walked back up the stairs, got my camera out, and was ready to take a picture for James when all of a sudden the bird took off and I looked at James and said, "Really? Let's go! I want to get off the Ferry."

We got off the Ferry, I used the restroom, and then we loaded onto the shuttle that would then take us to Napa Valley. The bus driver called roll call by last name...he called a last name that I am VERY familiar with....so I KNEW it, I knew what was happening and somewhere on this bus was our friend, Adam. But no one answered when the driver called his last name, so I thought, James put him on another bus or a car or something. I looked at James like I knew what was happening and he said to me, "I just love how I throw you off." Now, I knew that a proposal was coming, I just had no idea when, and James kept saying how he was going to be doing big things to throw me off so I would be some what surprised when he actually popped the question. I tried not to think about it too much and thankfully, I get distracted really easily, so I got started with taking pictures again and got distracted with all the sights and scenery. We got to the train station, checked in, and sat for a while listening to the history of the Vineyards and did some wine tasting. We finally got to board the train! We were sat in these really comfy seats facing a window so we could look out at all the vineyard we would be passing. James and I ordered some cocktails and were given our appetizers...which were SO yummy! Except that I tried Duck Foie Gras for the first time. I had no idea what it was until I was in the middle of swallowing and James announced that I had just swallowed duck liver. I about threw up, but managed to get it down and laugh about it.

We were enjoying everything, the vineyards weren't quite in bloom, but it was beautiful nonetheless. James then asked if I wanted to venture out to the Observation Deck, which was on the caboose. Yes! Of course I did. We got to walk through many different cars of the train, one of which we were stopped by a man who said he needed to check a loose door. No biggie! He said it was fine to continue, so we continued to walk through the kitchen and finally got to the caboose. There was another couple out there, they stood on one side, we stood on the other. I was busy taking pictures and oblivious to everything that was happening around me. The couple went inside and James started to talk....."We started our journey on a train...." I really don't remember what he said because it hit me what was about to happen. Let me tell you...I had convinced myself that if/when he was going to propose this weekend, he was going to do it in the evening. Not on the train, not in the middle of the afternoon. So for him to be proposing right here, right now, I was in TOTAL shock! Before I knew it, he was down on one knee, with the most beautiful ring in his hand asking me to marry him!! I cried! I said YES!! He slipped the ring on my finger and we hugged and kissed! The door to the inside opened up and the whole car (along with many cute Asian ladies) were cheering and clapping and yelling "Congratulations!" And then out walked Adam....our photographer...who James had flown out to capture everything! Absolutely incredible! We got some pictures and then made our way to the dinner car. The whole staff knew and congratulated us as we ate! I could hardly eat though, I was SO excited! I was making phone calls and texting, and facebooking. My phone was blowing up with so much love from all our friends and family! We got back to the train station and walked to a winery to do more wine tasting. Then we had a couple hours before we had to get back on the shuttle, so we walked around Downtown Napa Valley and got our engagement pictures done! It was time to go, so we got back on the shuttle, loaded onto the Ferry, and chatted with Adam the whole way.

We got back to San Francisco and were all pretty exhausted. I needed to use the restroom, so we found one and when I walked back out, James was standing there by himself. I figured Adam was either in the restroom or souvenir shopping. We started walking and I saw someone out of the corner of my eye that I thought I recognized, but again, we're in San Fran...who else would be here? James and I kept walking and this guy came up behind us and said, 'Excuse me young lady, I just heard someone got engaged." I turned around it was me DAD! James had my dad drive up from LA to surprise me! OH MY GOODNESS! We hugged and I showed him the ring. Adam was taking pictures. I was so amazed that James pulled off the most amazing engagement I have ever heard of! We were all hungry, so we decided to eat at The Cheesecake Factory on top of the Macy's in Union Square. Not only is The Cheesecake Factory my favorite restaurant, but eating the food, on the roof of a Macy's overlooking the city...it was the most perfect ending to the most perfect day! Dad drove us back to the hotel, Adam was in a separate one in China Town which was pretty great! We said our goodnight's and finally got to sleep! I slept SO much better that night. I had a ring on my finger, the most incredible Fiance, my Dad was with us, and we were getting all our engagement photos done by the best photographer, in my opinion!

The next morning we got up, packed our bags, and waited for Dad to come pick us up. After getting the three of us from our hotels, we parked and walked around San Fran for a bit snapping engagement photos. We drove to the Port and got to take a lot of photos there. James' good friend and now groomsman, Dane and his family drove from Sacramento to see us and meet me for the first time. We all ate lunch at the Crab Shack. It was the best crab!! Snapped some more engagements after lunch. Got to drive to the beach and get some pictures on the water with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. It was lovely! But the time came for us to say goodbye and get to the airport. It was sad leaving Dad, but I knew I was going to see him the next month when he came out to visit!

We got to the airport and had some trouble getting on the flight. Gotta love stand-by! But with the help of a pilot and stewardess moving to different seats, all 3 of us got on the flight and we were headed back home!! James and I got complimentary wine on the way home and sat next to a gentleman who owns a vineyard in Napa! We finally got back to the Springs, stopped at a Red Robin on the way home and all I could do was stare at my ring and call James my FIANCE! After calling him 'boyfriend' for 4 years, it was so nice to call him my Fiance :)

And in just a little over 2 months, I get to call him my Husband!

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