“Son, I wanted to talk to you while they are getting ready,” Mike started looking pale.
“What’s up Dad? Are you ok?” Jake asked, looking concerned.
“I’m fine, better than fine actually…Jake I am in love with Abby.”
“I know Dad. Anyone with eyes can see that you both love each other. I am happy for you. Abby is great and you complement each other very well. Mom would actually really like her and you know she would want you to be happy Dad…”
“You know we are going to California after this to see Emily as she finishes up her schooling and getting started with her residency and if everything goes well, I would like to ask Abby to marry me…”
Jake was thrilled and hugged his father, “Dad that is great! You have my blessing!”
“Thank you Son…I really appreciate it!”
“Let me know how it goes!” Jake said as he got up to get dressed.
Jake went in and pulled out his favorite dark grey suit and got dressed. He was just buttoning his shirt up when Gracie came running into the room in a frilly light blue dress with her hair up in an intricate braid.
“Daddy!! What do you think about my dress?” She asked twirling for him.
“You look beautiful Sweetheart! But remember, you need to knock before coming in ok?”
“Oh sorry Daddy! I forgot about that. Can I pick your tie?” She asked as she danced around the room.
Jake led her into the walk in closet and pulled out three of his favorites and let his daughter pick one out. She looked carefully and she picked out the silver paisley tie for him to wear.
“Good choice!” Jake exclaimed and started putting it on as she ran out yelling hi to her mom as Sammy came in. She went and started on her hair, curling it with the large barrel iron, letting it hang loosely around her face. She did her make-up and then pulled on the matching dark blue lacy undergarments making Jake raise his eyebrows rise up into his hairline.
“Damn Baby, you look good enough to eat! Let’s forget about the dinner and stay here, there are so many things I can do to you,” he whispered as he kissed her neck and shoulders.
Loving the feelings he was stirring she regrettably pushed him back, “No, we can do that later. You have a ring to get!”
He groaned and went out the door as she pushed him out. He went into his office and got in the safe, pulled out what he needed and then went to the living room with the others and waited for Sammy. They were watching cartoons with Gracie when Sammy came out in a beautiful dove grey cocktail dress, fitting her close on the top, plunging lower on the back and the bottom flaring out to her knees. It clung to her curves and made her eyes and her hair shine.
“Samantha, you look perfect!” Jake said as he hugged her close to him.
She blushed as the others echoed his thoughts. She thanked everyone as they went out the front door and out to Jake’s SUV. They drove to the banquet hall and entered a sea of people and press. Jake had warned her, but it hadn’t really registered with her until then how famous he was.
They found their table with Smitty and Lexi after being introduced to other players, wives and coaches. Gracie was in awe of how big Smitty was and watched his every move.
“Mr. Smitty, can I ask a question?” She sheepishly inquired.
“Sure! What’s up Gracie?”
“Are you related to Hagrid?” She asked.
Sammy almost choked on her drink as the other adults tried to hide their snickering, especially Lexi.
Smitty smiled and leaned down to be more at her level, “Can you keep a secret?”
Gracie nodded, not taking a breath as she waited for him to continue, “I am. He is my cousin. Hagrid is a good man!”
“So you are half giant?!” Gracie asked.
“I am!” Smitty replied enthusiastically.
“Wow…” Gracie said trying to wrap her little head around the news she just got.
Before anything else could be said, dinner started and between the appetizer course and the salad, the owner got up and made a speech and then the head coach followed with his. Both speeches include lots of cheering and yelling from the players and families as they finished.
After the main course was done and before dessert was served, they showed a video of the season’s highlights. Sammy was so proud to see Jake featured so many times. The video showed the records they broke and the accolades that every person deserved. Jake had several, tied for the most yards ran and most touchdowns in a single season. It was an exceptional year and from what the coach said, they were going for back to back wins.
After the dessert was handed out, a flurry of activity happened all at once when 25 black clad individuals came in pushing elaborately draped rolling carts that carried the large diamond encrusted rings. They were beautiful and the men got up to find the cart with their name on it and picked up their new piece of jewelry. Jake and Smitty’s ring was on the cart closest to them along with a few other men and they walked up and brought it back to the table.
They all were in awe of the sparkle and actual size of the ring. It was heavy, so much more than Sammy could have imagined. Jake put it on as Abby and Sammy kept taking pictures at his smiling face and how he looked at the ring as it was on his right hand. Smitty was doing the same thing and then the men started getting in groups and taking pictures as they flashed their hands to the camera. They started acting like little kids as the yelling and laughing started. The whole team got up on the stage and professional pictures were taken.
Jake was terribly sad that his best friend wasn’t there for his ring; his would be delivered to him tomorrow as would the other players who weren’t on the team any longer. Kevin was sad not to be there, but he had a new team and to leave for their away game. It was a very bittersweet moment for them both.
The dancing and music started and everyone loved the party atmosphere. Gracie was playing and dancing with some other kids and having a blast. Mike and Abby were dancing as well as Smitty and Lexi. Jake took Sammy in his arms and joined the other couples and held her close. He leaned in and smelled her hair as he kissed the top of her head whispering how much he loved her. She loved being in his arms; that seemed to make everything better, especially after the past few weeks with the miscarriage. She knew the next several months were going to be hard with him being in Texas and them back in Colorado, but she wanted to be with him and make a family and that’s what they had to do at this point.
She was knocked out of her dream trance when she felt Jake pull away and looked at her with a weird look on his face. She looked at him confused and then he let go of her hands and dropped to one knee and looked up at her. Sammy was stunned and her hands flew to her face in disbelief of what she was seeing.
“Jake…What are you doing?!” She hissed.
The people around them stopped and looked at what was unfolding before them. There was a hush in the immediate area and Sammy felt like all the sound had been sucked from the room and there were the only two in the room.
“Samantha Hills, I have loved you since I was 14. I have watched you grow up and become more beautiful each year and now you take my breath away with your very presence. I know I have made mistakes in the past and I have hurt you, and you have somehow forgiven me. I want to spend the rest of my life making it up to you.I want to give you more, I want more. I love our daughter and want to raise her with you and have many more children with you. I want a happy ending with you; I want to give you the fairy tale…” He stopped talking and watched as her eyes teared up as he pulled the ring box out of his pocket, “Samantha would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
Sammy felt the tears run down her face and listened to his words and let them sink into her heart and mind. She smiled and nodded her head yes, not trusting her own voice. Jake jumped up and asked again, “Yes?! Yes?!”
Laughing at his enthusiasm and feeling it fill her, “Yes baby! YES I want to marry you!!”
Jake picked her up in a fierce hug and kissed her deeply as everyone around them cheered and clapped. He pulled back and slipped the gorgeous ring on her finger loving the way it looked on her delicate hand. He was worried before when he first bought it that a four carat diamond would be too much on her small hands, but it looked perfect sitting there on that magical finger, claiming her as his. They kissed again and were then swamped by friends and family hugging them. Gracie witnessed the interaction and was thrilled.
“Do I get to wear a new dress to wear? And new shoes?” She asked as Jake threw her in the air.
“Yes Sweetheart, anything you want!!” Jake replied, hugging her.
“Well how about a ring? You got a ring and Mommy got a ring, I want one too!” She pouted.
The group around them laughed, “One thing at a time!” Jake insisted.
Mike was taking pictures and sending them to everyone he could think of. Abby was wiping her eyes at the moment she just witnessed. She was so touched seeing them take the next step together. She thought they were ready and so proud of the work they had put into fixing them in the time she had known them.
Jake hadn’t thought about the press being there, but seeing some reporters from the sports stations made him realize that this would be on the news. Not that he cared, but he didn’t know what Sammy thought. They sent a picture of them together and close-up of the ring to Ashley, Kevin, Derek, Lynn and Kate. The shock and congratulations were coming in from there and in the room.
Champagne was opened and started flowing around them and the bartender even had some sparkling cider for the kids to celebrate with too. The atmosphere was contagious and just wasn’t dying down. The party lasted until after midnight before the Coach told everyone to go home; they had a game in less than two days. Mike drove everyone back to Jake’s in the dark with Abby and Sammy already making plans. Jake was feeling the champagne after not having alcohol in so long.
Gracie fell asleep on the ride back and Sammy got her ready for bed. They all hoped that she would sleep in since they were all so tired. Mike and Abby quickly went to bed, exhausted. Jake and Sammy closed the door and slowly undressed each other and made love for the first time as an engaged couple. It was so sweet and tender that it made their hearts ache with love for each other. As she curled up next to him with his arms around her and slept happier than she had been in a long time. Jake felt complete and couldn’t wait to spend the rest of his life this happy and in love.