Writing a romance series, I have pondered many a marriage proposal. I try to make sure each and every one speaks to the personality and humor of the couple. I try to make each one unique and memorable, and looking back, I have things I would change and things I love, but ultimately, the words fit the characters and where they were at that moment.
One of my absolute favorite proposals happened later in the series.
Mike and Jade.
Their romance is one that reminds me of why I love writing these characters. It’s never too late to find happiness and we are never beyond hope.
Jade was raised with nothing. She had no family and therefore, no traditions and no memories. She felt like she wouldn’t have enough to offer her children, and her fears were suffocating.
Mike was also struggling. He lost everything in a marriage he thought was real and after that, he never believed he was worthy of love. Meeting Jade changed his life and when he held her in his arms, he finally felt like he was home.
Their proposal was so much fun to write because I was able to include every single character in the series. Creating memories and traditions meant the world to Jade, and it meant the world to me to do it.
What are your favorite proposals from the series?
“I’m not sure I understand where we’re going,” Jade said to Mike the next morning. He had told her he had a surprise planned, and to clear her schedule for him. He was driving them somewhere.
“The point of a surprise is that it’s a surprise,” he grinned. “Just go with it.”
She smiled and nodded.
They made their way to Tommy and Brittany’s house and Jade looked at him again.
“I know, just go with it,” she said and laughed when he winked at her.
They parked and walked to the door and knocked.
Mike put his arm around her as the door opened and Ron stood there. He rolled his eyes and looked at them.
“Maybe you can convince him to do his homework. He is being absolutely ridiculous,” he said and walked in. Jade was confused, but followed Mike in. They walked to the kitchen and Jack was sitting at the table playing with a baseball. He had a baseball cap on and a pair of jeans and an old t-shirt.
“You have to finish your essay,” Ron said as he walked into the kitchen and sat down, picking up the newspaper and looking at it.
“I don’t wanna. I wanna go outside and play,” he said sullenly.
“You’re 14 years old. If you don’t get your grades up, you’ll never amount to anything,” Ron said.
“You’re impossible. I hate doing homework. I’m going to be a famous ball player and you won’t let me do anything. You’re killing me!”
Ron snorted and bent the paper, looking at him.
“Perhaps you should go out for the school play? Your dramatics are impressive.”
“Ugh!” Jack sulked and Mike led Jade into the hallway.
“What is going on here? Have we entered the twilight zone?”
“You wanted to know traditions and memories. We are going to take a stroll down the list and give you what you never had. The first was what it would be like to be nagged about your homework.”
Jade was speechless. She looked at Mike as he led her to the next room.
Bill sat nervously on the couch in the family room, his knee bobbing up and down as Tommy and Brittany stood and paced.
“What are your intentions with Julie?” Tommy asked.
“To have dinner?” Bill said.
“Are you a smart ass?” Tommy glared at him.
“No Sir, but I just wanted to eat. I mean it’s dinnertime and Julie likes food. I mean, not too much food or anything, but she eats me,” he stuttered and blushed. “I mean she likes when I eat her, with her. “
“Dad! What are you doing? You are humiliating me!” Julie cried as she ran into the room. “Oh My Gawd!”
“Julie, enough with the dramatics. Your father was simply asking this young man what his intentions were towards you,” Brittany said. “It’s a perfectly reasonable question.”
“I’m so sorry, Bill, we can just go,” she said and turned to him.
“You aren’t going anywhere until he fills out this questionnaire,” Tommy said. “I want you to list all of your history with each and every substance and then rate the list of questions with agree, disagree or unsure.”
“What? You have got to be kidding me. I am never going to have sex, ever!” Julie whined.
Bill and Tommy and Brittany all stared at her.
Mike led Jade out of the room and she had tears of happiness in her eyes.
“The first time you would have brought a boy home,” Mike said. “Are you ready for more?”
She nodded and they walked into the den. Stephanie was sitting by the fire with Bee and David and Josie. They were all eating macaroni and cheese out of coffee mugs and Stephanie was telling them a story.
“You see, when there is a snow day and you get to stay home, it is the most amazing thing. We all cuddle by the fire and eat macaroni or drink hot chocolate or both. We play outside in the snow and make angels and build a snow fort and then run inside with rosy cheeks and gather by the fire to watch it burn. It’s the simple and best thing we do as a family and it’s the time the best memories are made,” Stephanie said and smiled at the children.
Mike led Jade out and made their way back to the living room.
“Getting a snow day and making simple memories with mom,” he said and wiped Jade’s tears. “Come on.”
“I’m not going to your parent’s for Thanksgiving. Your mother hates me and my cooking,” Elizabeth said as she and Evan stood in the room.
He sighed and took a drink of his beer.
“She doesn’t hate you, she just wants you to let her make the food.”
She glared at him.
“I could have a five star chef cook for me and she would say it was bad. I want them all to come here.”
He choked and she crossed her arms.
“I’m your wife, Ev. You have to talk to her for me.”
“I’ll try,” he looked at her and nodded. “I’ll do it.”
“Thank you so much!” she cried and hugged him.
Mike took Jade out into the hallway and she couldn’t stop smiling. He looked at her and nodded.
“One more,” he said and took her into the dining room where everyone was sitting at the table. Elaine was there and Jade looked at everyone she loved. Tommy and Brittany and Naomi, Stephanie, Jack, Bee and Tessa, Bill, Julie, David and Josie, Ron and Jenny, Evan and Elizabeth. Tramp sat in his bed in the corner of the room and watched them. There were two empty seats for them.
Mike turned to face her and she was speechless.
“Jade, I know how worried you’ve been about everything that’s happened over the past few weeks, and I realized, through watching everyone around us, that none of us have had a picture perfect upbringing. It might not have looked like the Cleaver’s, but to each of us, it was our best.”
“I asked everyone to help make some traditions for you. I know how much my dad fought with me to do my homework when all I ever wanted was to throw a ball around. I know how hard Bill had to work when he wanted to date Julie. I don’t think there is a scarier force to come against than Jack and Tommy, and believe me, I’ve seen scary.”
Bill and Julie laughed and Tommy and Jack glared at them.
Mike grinned and looked at Stephanie for a minute before he looked at Jade.
“One of the best memories I ever had was when I was in elementary school and we had a snow day from school. I would spend hours outside and when I came in, my mom would have a blanket and warm food ready by the fire. We would watch cartoons and it was the most amazing day. I looked forward to that, not so much because I got to miss school, but because my mom made it so special.”
Jade wiped her tears as he spoke and she was just overwhelmed.
“There was also the time when my dad wanted us to go to my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and my mom put her foot down. It was the first time I realized how much my dad adored my mom because going against his mother wasn’t advised. He stood up to her and although we still went, my mom made the stuffing and when my grandma ate it and didn’t spit it out, the bond was formed.”
They all laughed and he took a deep breath.
“I asked our friends and family to do this for us because I can’t change the past. I can’t make your upbringing be different or give you the traditions and memories you so richly deserve. What I can do is show you that we are not the sum of the painful experiences we’ve had. Many of us have been dealt terrible cards, but we’ve turned them into gold. We will make our own traditions and our own memories and they will be shared with our children. We will love each other and respect each other and emulate the love and respect shown by those in this room.”
He got down on one knee and Jade covered her mouth. He opened a beautiful ring box that had a simple cut diamond solitaire.
“I don’t have much to offer you. I have more baggage than anyone should have to take on and I have issues, which at times seem insurmountable. What I also have is the love of an amazing woman. You are incredibly beautiful and kind and giving. You have taken my past and my burdens and have loved me through it all. I love you more than I ever thought was possible. It would be my greatest honor if you would become my wife. Will you marry me?”