It was December 22nd 2001 and my boyfriend and I were going to stay in a not-very-nice-hotel for Christmas because we wanted to be alone and avoid the usual Christmas of being forced to visit family we don’t get on with etc. I was quite happy with this. The hotel may have been a bit scabby, but that wasn’t what mattered. We were saving for our house and couldn’t afford anything flash. Anyway, back to the story…
We were sitting in the Hotel bar playing bingo with the old people. No one there knew us and we thought it would be a laugh, and it was. I was sulking because we didn’t win, and Stephen asked if he could give me a Christmas present early to make up for it. I love presents and said yes, so Stephen pulled out of his pocket two tickets, leaving first thing the next morning to Disney Land Paris. I was amazed- I had always wanted to go at Christmas and now we were! Stephen said "You didn’t think I would bring you to this dump for Christmas did you?"
Then it fell into place- why Stephen hadn’t let me unpack and why he had made me wait in the car while he checked in for one night instead of the five I thought we were going to stay for. It also explained why the staff kept winking at Stephen and grinning at me! They wanted to get the bingo caller to announce it, but Stephen wanted to do it himself, which I’m pleased about because I would’ve just died!! He knows me well.
So the next morning, after just one night in the scabby hotel, we set off for the Euro Tunnel. As we arrived in Calais it was snowing and all the way down on the long drive we were so excited!! And when we did arrive it was really magical! We stayed in the Hotel New York, and it was still snowing!! We arrived in time to go to the park and had a great first day. Stephen said that we could go wherever I wanted to go that evening for dinner, and I happened to be standing outside the Planet Hollywood putting my hands in the famous handprints (Sly Stallone has really small hands!). I said "here" because Stephen and I are really into movies, and it suited us well. So that night we went for a meal and Stephen was behaving really oddly. I ordered my favourite meal, lamb, which was a shame because I didn’t eat it!
Stephen went off to the loo and was gone for ages. It was getting embarrassing- people thought I’d been stood up. Eventually he came back, sat down and said: "It’s not often I’m lost for words…" (which is true) "but I can’t think of anything to say apart from, will you marry me?" and pushed this little box across the table. I couldn’t speak either and just sat and stared at it. I couldn’t believe he had finally asked me!! He had to ask twice because I didn’t reply!! The ring is a beautiful white gold diamond solitaire, just what I would’ve chosen for myself. That was the happiest day of my life so far, and hopefully, our wedding next year will top it!!
And what amazes me with the whole thing is Stephen is usually so bad at keeping secrets!!