To Have Loved...

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The Proposal

A couple of weeks have gone by and Ian and I had returned to our busy lives. It was a Saturday morning and I woke up alone with the sun shining over the bed. What time is it? I looked at the clock and saw it was after 10:30 in the morning.

I got up and went to the bathroom and did my morning routine. After getting dressed, I went out to the kitchen to grab something to eat. It was really quiet in here and figured Ian had a call and had to go in for work, as it wasn’t unusual for him to work occasionally on the weekends.

I grabbed a cup of coffee and a bagel and while I was eating it, I noticed an envelope on the dining room table with my name on it. I walked over to it and picked it up. Nothing else was written on it, so I opened it.

I pulled out a piece of paper and read what it said:

A little over nine years ago, I moved to this small town and had a hard time making new friends. One day, a beautiful girl came up to offer me help to find my way around and we quickly became friends. Please go to the place where we met for the very first time for a small token of my appreciation for helping me out all those years ago. ~Ian ♥

I looked at the piece of paper and read it again; flipped it over and back again. No other instructions were on it and I was beginning to wonder what this was all about. My curiosity got the best of me, so I put on my boots and coat and headed out to my car. We first met our freshman year of high school, so I guess that is where I’ll head.

I drove to the high school in New Salem and pulled into the parking lot. I didn’t see anything at first, so I got out of the car and walked up to the doors. I knew the school was locked, but the closer I got I noticed a rose sticking out of one of the door handles. I took the rose and saw a compass and another envelope with my name on it and opened it up.

Another note read:

Please accept this compass as a token of my thanks for helping me find my way all those years ago. I never thanked you for being my first friend here in New Salem and I will always cherish that. For two years, we kept that friendship, until I finally got the courage to become more than friends. Please go to the place where I took you on our first official date for another small token of affection for you. ~Ian ♥

“What are you doing Ian?” I asked myself. I thought for a minute and remembered going bowling with Ian after he finally asked me out. He was so cute that day he asked me; stuttering as he asked me to go out a date with him. I smiled at the memory before getting back in my car and setting the rose and compass on the seat.

I drove to the local bowling alley downtown and parked in the lot before walking up to the building. I didn’t see anything outside, so I went into the building and started looking around. As I walked to counter, I noticed an employee holding a rose and I shook my head with a smile. He handed me the rose that had another envelope attached and a picture of the two of us holding our score sheet at the end of the night.

I opened the envelope and pulled out another note:

I found this picture when I unpacked after moving in next door to you and have been holding on to it. Look at how happy we were, even though our bowling scores sucked, LOL. After that night, I couldn’t spend enough time with you. We went to school dances together and went out nearly every weekend. It was the next summer that we took our relationship to the next level under the moonlight. Please go to the place where we made love for the first time. ~Ian ♥

I blushed reading this note, hoping that the employee didn’t read it while he was waiting for me. I looked up at him and he smiled and wished me luck on my scavenger hunt. I got back into my car and replayed the memory of our first time together.

We drove out into the country and parked on a deserted road at the edge of a wooded area. Ian pulled out a blanket from the car and we walked into the woods and laid down under the stars. We started by kissing and slowly moved to second and third base and finally made love under the moonlight. We were seventeen about to start our senior year of high school.

I drove out to that same spot and walked to the clearing where I spotted another rose and envelope. Inside the envelope were another note and an old condom wrapper.

This is embarrassing to admit, but I held onto a little souvenir from that night. I didn’t want to leave it lying on the ground so I had put in back in my pants pocket and when I got home that night, I threw it in my drawer as a reminder. I know that is cheesy and I honestly can’t believe I still have it…well now you have it.

As I write this, I can remember that night like it just happened and I hope you can see how much I loved you back then. We became the hottest couple that year and became the Homecoming King and Queen and that’s where we danced to what would become ‘our song.’ I won’t have you go back to the school, but I want you to go to the place we watched the movie that contains ‘our song’ for the first time. ~Ian ♥

I drove to his house as I remembered we watched the movie in his room a few weeks after the dance. When I arrived, I went to the door and his mother let me in with a knowing smile. She told me to head to his room, so I went upstairs and found another rose lying on his bed along with an envelope and a DVD of “Pure Country.”

I think we watched this movie until my DVD was scratched beyond repair. I bought you this new one to replace your old copy so we can watch it over and over again.

We have been through so much together Sarah including good times and bad. I will never forget the day I stood by you when you got a piece of news that you never thought you would get. Please go to the place where you found out that your sister was safe and I held you through all of your emotions. ~Ian ♥

I got the news at my parents’ place, so I drove there next. When I pulled up in the front of the house, I again replayed the memories of that day. Ian and I had just come home after a day out when my dad received a phone call from the local police department. He was told that they believe they found my sister who had been kidnapped over twelve years before in Chicago. If it wouldn’t have been for Ian holding me, I would have collapsed. He was my rock through it all.

I went into my house and my parents were holding a rose in the same spot we were all standing when we got the news. I started crying and hugged my mom as she handed me the flower and a photo. They quietly walked away when the phone started to ring.

“Hello,” I answered it.

“Hey Sarah,” I heard my sister’s voice on the other end. “I have a message for you:

I’m sure by now you are crying, but I hope they are happy tears and not sad ones. I wish I was there to kiss them away, but I have few more errands to run yet today. You should be holding another picture I found of you, me, Stacy and Jake taken at Christmas that year your sister came home. I will never forget how happy you were when she came back into your life.

After saying that, I regret where I’m sending you next, but in order for me to move forward, I need to close out our past. Please go to the place where we both made the stupidest mistake of our lives. ~Ian ♥

“Thank you Stacy,” I said while sobbing on the phone.

“I love you sis and good luck on your adventure,” she said with a smile in her voice.

“Love you too,” I said before hanging up. I can’t believe he has not only his own family, but all of mine involved in this crazy hunt around town. I said ‘goodbye’ to my parents and headed back to my car.

I drove to the one place I haven’t been able to go to since that day that Ian and I agreed to split. I sat in my car for several minutes before I willed myself to enter the café. Sitting at the booth where we sat was another rose, envelope and a mint shake. I looked over at the waitress who was standing near the table, and recognized her to be the same one working that day.

I sat down in the booth and opened the note:

Please enjoy this shake on me. I know it’s your favorite and I want you to have a happy memory here and forget the bad ones. I don’t know how many times I have wished we could have gone back to that day in January and change everything. I truly did love you, but I was stupid and maybe a little afraid. We were apart in school and I guess I didn’t respect what we had until it was too late. I am so sorry and I hope we can now leave this in the past and move forward…together.

You now have half a dozen roses collected, but your hunt isn’t over yet. Now that we have reminisced about the past, let’s move to more recent times. One year today, we sat at another café and had coffee and spent time catching up. Now, I’m not going to ask you to go to St. Paul, but I wanted to say that I appreciated you meeting me there and opening my eyes back up. It may have taken me a little while, but I finally realized I couldn’t be happy with the way things were and I headed home. Please go to the place where we saw each other again. ~Ian ♥

Unfortunately, the next time I saw him was in the hospital when he was in that terrible wreck. I drove to the hospital, but I didn’t know where exactly to go. I didn’t think he would leave anything in his old room since I’m sure it was filled by now with someone else. I decided to go to my office first to see if there was any secret message.

Sure enough, on my office door was another rose and envelope. A few of my co-workers were nearby and smiled as they saw me and I knew they were in on this and I shook my head with a smile on my face.

I took the rose and envelop off the door and sat down on a chair in the gym. There were only a couple of patients in there, so I wasn’t disturbing anyone. In the envelope was a picture of Ian the day after he ended up in the hospital and a note.

If I could have taken a picture of your reaction when you saw me that day, that would in here as well, but I didn’t have my phone on me. I wanted to get back to you so badly that I didn’t use my best judgment and drove way too long that night. I honestly thought you were going to turn around and run after seeing me, but you didn’t and even allowed me back in.

Now I may have been a little pushy by moving in next door to you, but I was desperate to be close to you again. I may have even used some old friends to help me get you back, but I don’t regret that at all. It is wonderful to have the gang all back together again, so I’m asking you to go see your best friend to find out where to go next. ~Ian ♥

I said goodbye to my co-workers and headed over to Shelby and Sean’s place. “I can’t believe he has involved all these people in this hunt he has me on,” I thought to myself. When I knocked on their door, Shelby answered holding their baby boy with a rose and envelope in his hand.

She gave me a hug and a smile before handing me the gifts. I thanked her and she led me to the living room to sit down to read the next note.

I know you and Shelby have shared so much in your lives and it’s only right that she continues to share things with you. Here is a gift for the both of you to use. Please enjoy this first part of being pampered. ~Ian ♥

I pulled out two gift certificates for full manis and pedis at the nail salon downtown. The appointment was for today at 2:00 pm, which was about twenty minutes away. I went to tell Shelby, but she already had her coat on and Sean was holding the baby. Again, I shook my head at everything Ian has done so far today.

We got in my car and drove to the nail salon where two workers were waiting for us. After hanging up our coats and giving us a bottle of water, they guided us to a chair to begin our nail care. I told Shelby about all the places Ian has sent me and I got the feeling that she knew all about it seeing a huge smile on her face. “I wonder what else she knows,” I thought.

After finishing our nails, one of the workers handed me another rose and envelope.

I hope you spent some time relaxing over the last hour or so, you definitely deserve it. For part two of being pampered, you and Shelby need to head next door to for your next appointment. ~Ian ♥

I pulled out another two gift certificates for the salon next door to get a complete makeover. Shelby and I thanked the workers and headed next door. Again, two stylists were waiting for us and ushered us to a seat. I set my rose on the counter and the girls began their work.

We had a full facial done to open all our pores and clean the oil off before they did our make-up. I didn’t want too much on since I don’t usually wear make-up, so they used a light foundation, some eye shadow, mascara and some lipstick.

We next had our hair washed, cut and styled in a loose up-do. I honestly don’t know why they did my hair so fancy or the make-up, but I stopped questioning halfway through this hunt I’m on. I’m sure Ian has his reasons for all of this.

When finished, I was handed another rose and envelope.

We are nearing the end of the hunt, but it’s not over yet. Just over three months ago, we made a decision that took us to another level in our relationship. Please head to the place where we lie in each other’s arms every night and wake up next to each other every morning. ~Ian ♥

I dropped Shelby back off at home, and she told me she’d be seeing me again very soon. I gave her a questioning look, but she gave me a glare back telling me to not ask anything more. From there, I drove back to our apartment in Bismarck. It was nearly five in the evening when I walked into the apartment and Ian still wasn’t anywhere to be found.

I took my coat off and set my purse on the table. I had left all of the flowers and notes in the car because I didn’t know where this was going to end, but I had ten roses at this time, so I’m guessing I have a couple more to collect.

I walked to our bedroom, since that is where we lie in each other’s arms every night and sure enough, in the middle of the bed is another rose lying on top of my red dress that I haven’t worn since…our first official date back in May. I smiled to myself having an idea where this was going.

I opened the note and read:

I last saw you in this dress the night you finally agreed to go on a date with me and I would love to see you wear it again for me. After putting on the dress, please open the box sitting on the bed to add a little sparkle to finish it off.

Once you are finished getting ready, be at the front door by 6:00 pm where a car will be waiting for you to take you to one last location. I’ll be seeing you soon. ~Ian ♥

I took off my clothes that I had on carefully to not mess my hair and make-up. I am glad that I showered this morning and shaved, because I certainly couldn’t do it now. I put on my dress and shoes and opened the box that Ian referred to.

In it was a pair of diamond earrings and a ruby necklace. I don’t even want to know how much this cost, but I put them on and took a look in the mirror. I looked and felt amazing, but for some reason, was feeling really nervous about what was to come.

I put on my coat and checked my phone before getting ready to leave. There were no messages and I noticed I only had a few minutes left before I supposed to be picked up. I brought the eleventh rose with me and went to my car to gather the other ten roses, gifts and notes. I put the notes, pictures and gifts in my purse and by the time I gathered up the roses, I saw a car, or I should say limo, pull up in front of the complex.

I walked over to the limo and the driver came around and held the door open for me. I climbed in and nervously sat there until we pulled up to the restaurant where Ian and I went on that date back in May. The driver assisted me out of the car and I walked into the restaurant.

After taking my coat, the hostess led me to the same table we sat at that night and there waiting for me was Ian in the same suit he wore looking handsome as ever holding the final rose. When he saw me, he stood up and gave me a huge smile. When I reached him, he gave me a hug and kiss and helped me into a chair.

I set the roses in a vase that I saw sitting on the table waiting for me and I thanked Ian for them before asking him what this was all about.

“Ian, why did you have me drive all over the county today collecting these roses and gifts?”

“Sarah, I have spent the last seven months doing everything I can to show you how much you mean to me and rekindle our relationship. I haven’t been happier than I am right now and I owe that all to you. I set up this adventure today to share with you the memories that stood out to me to the most of our time spent together.”

I noticed our friends and family coming around the table where we were sitting and I gasped when I looked back at Ian now on his knee in front of me. “Oh my God Ian, what…”

“Sarah my beautiful princess, it has taken me way too long to realize just how much I love you and how foolish I was to let you slip through my fingers all those years ago. Now that I have you, I never want to lose you again. Sarah Michelle Bishop, will you marry me and make me the happiest man alive tonight?”

He was holding my left hand and pulled out a box with a ring. All I could do was nod my head as I couldn’t seem to find my voice. After placing the ring on my finger, I wrapped my arms around his neck and gave him a kiss and whispered, “Yes…yes, yes, yes!”

“She said ‘yes’,” Ian declared to everyone and they all broke out in cheers and applause. I laughed and rested my head on his shoulder. He leaned down and kissed me again before pulling us to our feet.

Our family and friends gave us hugs and congratulated us. Even Stacy and Jake were on video chat on Mom’s phone and sent us their best wishes. I felt so happy at this moment and all my fears were washed away. I was going to marry the man I have loved for so long and nothing could come between us again.

Everyone put tables together and joined us for dinner. Ian and I had the same meal we had all those months ago, whether we did it purposefully or subconsciously, I don’t really know. Much of the conversation was about my adventure today and I discovered that everyone in the room knew about it, but me. Ian really put a lot of thought into this and I couldn’t help but love him even more than I already did.

After getting home that evening, I finally got to show him just how much I loved him. I set the flowers and my purse on the table and hung my coat on a chair. After Ian took his coat off, we immediately headed to the bedroom.

I couldn’t get enough of him and we practically tore each other’s clothes off before getting into bed. Ian wasted no time entering me and we quickly moved as one until we couldn’t hold back anymore. “I love you baby,” Ian whispered while catching his breath.

“I love you too,” I said. “Thank you for today Ian, I had a blast and loved reliving some of those memories we shared.”

He looked down at me and smiled before kissing me again and again. We spent most of the night making love before we finally fell asleep at some time in the early morning hours. My last thought as I fell asleep was, “I can’t wait to be this man’s wife.”

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