After six months of planning, Ben and I were all set for our holiday through California and New York. We had the most amazing time walking along beaches, rock climbing…
Written by Louise Holt Last updated: August 21, 2006
My name is RaeAnne, and my fiance is Ben. I’m American, he’s British.
We met online two years ago in an online fiction-writing club, and it was Hate at First Sight. Whenever a subject would come up on the club discussion list, we butted heads; at times it seemed as if Ben was sending emails to deliberately bait me into a fight! (And little did I know, that was exactly what he was doing.) For the rest of that year, we sparred on and off. Towards the end of 1999, however, we had both begun to recognize that we actually enjoyed the debates we’d been having, rather than feeling any animosity towards one another.
In January of 2000, we started talking to each other via instant messenger. The fighting was gone. We became solid friends within a month, and often told each other secrets and thoughts that we wouldn’t tell anyone else. There was safety and security in confiding to someone 5000 miles away from you, someone that you only knew by their words. We knew we could tell each other anything. Within two months, we were "virtually" inseparable. We talked online every day, and soon we even started calling each other.
On April 15, 2000, in one telephone conversation, Ben told me he loved me for the very first time. I’d known for weeks that I had fallen in love with this British man, and hearing him tell me that he had fallen in love too was incredible. I cried even before he finished saying the words. We still had not seen a picture of each other, and the love we felt was for the people inside, not out. We became an official couple on April 17th.
In July, we met in person when he flew to the United States. I had already fallen in love with his heart, and as soon as he walked off the plane in Orlando, and I saw him for the first time, I fell in love with the rest of him. He stayed for two months, and letting him go home at the end of August broke my heart. But I flew out at Christmas for my first visit to England and fell in love with the country and his family — it even snowed on Christmas Day. For a Florida girl who hasn’t seen snow in a decade, it was magical!
We made plans again for him to fly to the United States in May of 2001, during my week’s break from college. It was after our one-year anniversary, but the dates couldn’t be helped. He simply couldn’t get a ticket for the middle of April; the flights were booked.
Or so I was told.
On April 14, the beginning of Easter weekend, I went home to visit my family for the holiday. Late that night (actually 1am on April 15th, 2001), as I was dying Easter Eggs, my brother came home from "a guys’ night out", and then asked me to go into another room so he could talk to me about a private matter.
When we came out of my bedroom and turned the corner from the hallway to the living room, I jumped back in surprise… for there, sitting on my family’s loveseat with a stuffed white Easter bunny in his arms, was Ben. I didn’t know what to do.
I thought I was dreaming, I thought it was a joke, I had a hundred thoughts racing through my mind. I cried. Then I ran across the living room to him and climbed into his lap. He gave me a crystal Easter egg, inside which I could see a beautiful diamond ring. My grandmother’s engagement ring. He whispered two words. "Would you?"
How could I say no? How could I possibly say no? He had plotted with my family and my friends for months. He had flown across the Atlantic with one purpose on his mind: to give me the most wonderful surprise of my life, and to ask me to marry him one year after he first told me he loved me. He was jetlagged, slightly rumpled, red-eyed and desperately in need of a shave, but how could I not kiss him? He was the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. He was only here for 10 days… but what a lovely 10 days.
So that’s our love story… we can’t get married until 2003, when I finish college, and it’s been 8 months since we last saw one another. We can’t afford to see each other more often, and the waits are torture. But it’s worth it. It’s all worth it.