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One Saturday almost a year ago, I was sitting in my room watching a movie. Eric had been over at my house all morning helping my dad with some yard work and the two of them had gone to town to get something to eat for lunch. It was so unbearably hot outside that all you could do was stay in the air conditioning. When Eric got back he came up to my room and asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. Of course I told him no, multiple times, and told him that he was crazy for wanting to go for a walk when it was a million degrees outside. Finally he asked if I wanted to go to Walmart with him and said that if I agreed to go he would buy me The Hunger Games, which had just been released on DVD. Of course I agreed, begrudgingly, after changing into some gym shorts and an old basketball tee shirt. When we got into town Eric asked me if I wanted to go see if they had "put in the new football field". I had no idea what he was talking about and he kept telling me a story about how Lebanon was supposed to get a new football field from EMATS like Honaker and Richlands. I kept telling him he was wrong and that that definitely was not happening, but he wanted to drive by the middle school in town. When we pulled into the parking lot I knew something was wrong, but I didn't know exactly what it was. He kept asking me to get out of the car and I kept telling him I was staying in the car with the air conditioning because he was acting weird and I wanted to go home. Finally he convinced me to get out of the car and sit in the blistering hot sun. After sitting for a few minutes he pulled out one of my favorite books and explained that that was one of the books I had been looking for in the library when we started talking again a year before. I honestly don't remember what else he said, but then he got out a ring and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked I couldn't manage to say anything else but "are you serious?" over and over, until finally I realized I should probably hurry and say yes, so I did. I am glad that I did!

I was planning to ask Ashton to marry me for some time, but I knew I needed to have a job before I asked her. I am old fashioned, and I wanted to be able to tell her dad how I intended to support her. After I worked for a while, I developed a scheme to buy a ring. I knew of a place in Charlotte that I wanted to buy it from, so I developed a story that I had a job interview in Richmond. Really I was driving down to pick out the diamond I wanted for the ring. After a second trip to Charlotte, I made Ashton's engagement ring. I didn't have it for a full day, and I was ready to pop the question. Ashton had always told me that she wanted to get married at the school (I thought she was serious, and mentioning this to gauge my interest in marriage like women tend to do). I knew that I had to talk to her parents about the subject, and I began practicing what I was going to say to both Ashton, and her dad. Ashton's dad needed my help with his latest project, and I saw this as an opportunity to talk to him without worry of anyone else listening. After discussing the subject with Ashton's mom and dad, I was ready to ask her to be my wife. She was up in her room, unaware of the muffled conversations being held. I wanted to take her to the school and propose to her. Ashton really values her hometown, and as Lebanon Middle is right in the center of town (and where I thought she wanted to get married), I thought it was an appropriate location. It took close to an hour to convince her that she needed to leave the solitude of her room, and we were on our way to town. I had attempted to get her to go for a walk, but ultimately switched to the tactic of buying her a movie. We drove through town, and I started this made-up story about the new football field at the school, and Ashton wasn't having any of it. She was being very obsintate, basically the whole day, but I had a plan to finish. I eventually convinced her to get out of the car, and I felt she knew what was going on. I had a copy of Wuthering Heights checked out from the library, since it was Ashton's favorite book, we "met" each other at the library, and she wanted to check it out the whole time I volunteered there. I handed her the book, and we had a conversation about it. It led to me exclaiming, "I always tell you that there are a lot of reasons that I love you, but now I have my whole life to tell you." I got down on one knee, looked into her eyes and said "Ashton, I promise I'll love you the rest of my life, will you marry me?" She stood looking at me for what felt like an eternity. I began to sweat from either the heat, the nervousness of her hesitation, or both. She started saying "Are you serious?" to me in total disbelief of the situation. After she realized I was sincere, she said "Yeah" and put her arms around me. We sat talking for a while (in the shade), and we headed back to her house to tell everyone the news.