Clayton and I dashed out of a swanky hotel bar and onto the streets of New York City. We couldn't get to Times Square, in the middle of all the New Year's Eve action, because police blocked off the street in front of our hotel so that no one could get in or out. But we didn't care. We were close enough to Times Square to get sprinkled with confetti the moment the clock struck midnight. More importantly, we were entering a New Year - 2005 to be exact - engaged.
You see, just a few days before on Dec. 27, 2004, Clayton proposed to me in Norfolk, Va., where he was stationed. His original plan was to pop the question across the street from his apartment at a French restaurant we loved. But a storm blanketed Norfolk in snow and the restaurant, along with most of the city's eateries, closed for the day. As such, Clayton had to come up with a Plan B and fast.
Eventually, he came up with one. He told me to get ready for an evening out. Something was bound to be open, he declared. And as I got dolled up, he executed Plan B. He put on a suit, lit every candle he owned, selected a romantic CD to play and filled two flutes with bubbly-pink champagne. By the time I was done getting dressed, the living room of his apartment was bathed in candle light and oozed romance.
My mouth literally dropped open when I saw how romantic everything looked. But before I could comment on the transformation, Clayton grabbed my hand, led me to the couch and told me he had one more Christmas present for me. "Close your eyes," he said. I did and when I opened them, a little blue box sat in my hands. I expected to open the box and find earrings, but what greeted me instead was a sparkly diamond ring.
"Will you marry me?" he asked.
I was stunned, thrilled and giddy as a school girl all at the same time. In fact, all I could manage to say was, "Really?! Really?! Really?!" and give him a big hug. It was the happiest moment of my life and I couldn't believe it was happening right then and there! Eventually, much to Clayton's relief, the really's turned into a resounding "Yes! Yes! Yes!"
We trudged through the snow that night and found a little lounge that was open and toasted to our engagement. A few days days later, we hopped on a train bound for New York City so that we could continue the celebration.
As the clock reached midnight in the Big Apple on New Year's Eve, my fiance Clayton and I kissed as confetti filled the air and the promise of an exciting new year and life together loomed.
That night, by far, is my favorite New Year's Eve to date. What is your favorite New Year's Eve memory? I'd love to hear your engagement story too!