Smiling over to the passenger side, my heart beat picked up when glancing at my girl of sunshine. She had a very petite stature, milky smooth skin and auburn hair that blew wildly with the window's down. She was so beautiful in my eyes.
Catching my eyes on her, Julianne said with her big carefree smile, "What's on your mind, monkey butt?"
"Wouldn't you like to know," I responded with my lips struggling to keep my sheepish grin.
Raising an eyebrow, Julianne replied sarcastically, "Yes I would. Your weirdness all day is starting to make me concern."
My left leg bounce a little as I asked, "What weirdness?"
"Maybe the fact you keep looking at me with that shit ass grin. Why are you so happy?" She asked making my stomach clench at her sudden attention to details.
Why, of all days, was Julianne not her oblivious self? I thought nervous.
"Can't a boyfriend not be happy to take his beautiful girlfriend on a picnic for their third year anniversary?" I countered back and I could tell Julianne was dissecting each of my words.
"What did you bring?" Finally Julianne asked allowing me the chance to breath and change the subject.
Turning down a dirt road, I answered, "Well I've concocted a few BLT sandwiches. Slaved away at buying small containers of potato salad, bake beans and what no southern should ever forget. Crispy fried chicken."
"Mmmm...your making me hunger Ty." Julianne's soft cheerful voice said as she patted her tummy.
"Well I aim to please miss," I responded with sudden excitement when reaching our destination.
Opening the squeaky door, I ran over to the other side of the pick up truck and pulled my baby's door open. With humor in her eyes, Julianne responded, "Oh my. Opening doors now. What will be next? Picking grapes off a vine and feeding them into my mouth?"
"Whatever your heart desires, baby," I responded as my clumsy hands shook out the blanket and lied it gently on the ground under a willow tree.
Running her hand over the fuzzy blanket, Julianne watch me place the heavy picnic basket between us.
"I'll keep that in mind tonight," she joked still keeping her full attention on the basket.
Taking a silent breath inside, I began to unload the amount of food and finally a bottle of wine with two red solo cups. Her devilish smile emerged and she leaned in close to me. "Tyler Price, one day I'm going to marry you."
As I poured the wine into our cups, my smile grew wide. "I'll hold you to that."
Handing over the red cup to Julianne, I raised my cup up. "To us. That we never take any moment for grant and remember to allows cherish the many memories to come."
Hitting each others cup, Julianne said, "Cheers," before taking a few sips of her wine. I, on the other hand, took a bigger gulp than usual. Placing my cup down, I wiped my sweaty hands over my jeans again.
Breath, my mind tried to calm me.
Taking advantage of Julianne glancing over to the sun setting on the horizon, I quickly had my chance to reach into my pocket. There the warmed metal now laid in my hands.
Inhaling a deep breath, I stated down on one knee. "Julianne, I want us to start now."
Her curious eyes shifted back to my voice and suddenly she ungracefully choked on her wine. Julianne hoarse voice barely whispered, "Are you??"
"Julianne Hillary Reeves, will you do me the honors and be my wife?" I said with my voice slightly shaking.
This was the moment of truth. Logically I knew I shouldn't have any doubts to her answer. We had been dating for three years and even know each other since eight grade.
I loved her.
She loved me.
But yet that aching fear render in the back of my mind.
What if Jules thought I wasn't good enough to be the man she needed?
As Julianne hand covered her gaping mouth, I watched her green jeweled eyes shine with sheer happiness and her head bobbed diligently. "Yes. Yes, I'll marry you!"
Instantly I was tackled with tons of kisses and hugs allowing my shoulders to relax with relief.
Miss Reeves had agreed to be my wife.
Lying back on the ground, we both watched the stars twinkle in the night sky. Shifting my head down, Julianne was tucked into my chest for warmth.
She was just now finishing up her latest thought as to what our dream home would be like. "....a ranch house. Grey blue with white shutters. And it should have a wrap around porch with a swing."
I laughed as I chimed in, "And definitely a white picket fence."
"Isn't that becoming too cheesy?" She added, "Why would we need a fence anyway?"
With my humorous teasing leak out my honest desires. "Where else are we going to keep the dog and our thousands of children."
"Thousand you say?" Julianne laughed and glanced down at her ring in contemplation.
I corrected, "Thousands."
Shaking her head Julianne whispered suddenly unsure, "I've never asked before. Do you want children?"
"I do as long as they look like you," I responded at the seriousness of the conversation now. I wanted it all with Jules. The loving marriage, the first home experiences, kids and growing old together.
She flicked my nose and added, "And have your eyes."
Shaking my head with a smile, I replied, "Hell no. I have poo brown eyes. No one wants that." I knew this always riled her up.
"Excuse me baby, but your eyes are not poo brown color! How many times do I have to tell you, you have beautiful hazel eyes. Mixed with both green and brown hues-"
"Great you just describe the worst kind. I have diarrhe-"
Putting her finger over my lips, I saw her red, pouting face glaring at me with humor. "Don't even start buddy. You promised anything my heart desires."
Slouching back down with Julianne in my arms, I surrendered, "Okay, okay. You win this round."
Glancing down at her sweet pensive expression, my mind, possible my soul was just to happy. I honestly wanted to lie with Julianne forever in my arms.
Being almost lost in my thoughts, I caught sight in my peripheral vision Julianne slowly extending her small left hand outward.
"I don't think the stars can even compare to my ring's sparkle," Julianne giggled with absolute giddiness.
Brushing pieces of Julianne's fine auburn hair away from her round face, I whispered in her ear, "Well I think nothing holds a candle to that smile of yours."
Making a slight snort because Julianne was never the type to who could take a compliment.
Julianne said genuinely, "Thank you." She shifted up so our faces were only inches away, "Thank you for such a wonderful day, Mr. Price."
Being greedy I stole away another kiss while holding her to my chest. I jested with pride, “Anything for you, Mrs.-so-to-be-Price.” A sigh escaped my lips when I sat up, “I should get you home. Your sister is probably bursting at the seams."
I gathered up the blanket while Julianne placed the empty containers and cups back into the basket. She asked surprised, "Do they know already?"
Placing the blanket in the bench seat of my truck, I then took the basket from her hands. Responding back when placing it on the floor, "Well I did have to ask your father's permission."
A sudden slap hit my shoulder and I turned around startled.
Did she not want me to do that?
Searching my fiance face, I realized it held pride, joy astonishment, but mostly humor. "You actually asked him? How did that go?"
"Surprisingly well.” I rubbed the back of my neck with a smile at the thought. “Your dad actually told me I didn't need to ask, but your mom was insisting that I did," I replied helping her into the truck. "And then your sister took quite a bit of pictures of your father and me.”
Engrossed with our conversation, I started the engine right up and turned the heat on. The air had gotten a little chilly outside which meant Julianna must have been freezing.
"Really?" Julianne asked confused as she buckled up. She suddenly shivered and I grasped my jacket from the back seat and dropped it over her legs. “Thank you,” she said snuggling it to her chest.
“Yes,” I sighed as we drove back onto the main road, "She thought it would be funny if your dad held his shot gun next to me. Apparently, there’s a running joke about your father waiting on the porch, cleaning his shot gun, to scare away all your male suitors."
Her cheeks redden and said, "He always thought he be chasing boys away. But I guess that back fired. No boys really were interested."
I glanced over to Julianne, "Well they were stupid-"
The sudden impact punched the wind out of my lungs and all I could register in that moment were four things.
The sheer force of the car jolting.
The sensation of glass flying into our faces and the sound of Julianne blood curdling screams that made my stomach drop to the floor.
Those certain moments flew by in a blink of an eye, but it was the last memory that will always stay with me.
There on the ground, I stared into the side mirror from my truck. I know my body should be registering the the fact I have flown out a car window. That possibly my body was broken in a million pieces from smacking the hard pavement. Or worse scenario, that I was dying.
But as I lay there, all I saw was Julianne's reflection in that side mirror running out of the car.
She was in pain. There was a big gash wound across her forehead. Tears were streaming down her face.
Flashing red and blue lights flared in the background.
And finally I heard her muffled voice scream my name. “Noooo Tylerrrrr!!!!”