James was one of a panel that interviewed me for the job I have now. The interview was in March 2003, and I didn’t see him again till the start of the summer, at a meet and greet event. Sparks flew on both occasions, but somehow we never seemed to get the opportunity to really speak to each other. When I began work in September 2003, I made a point of looking out for him during my induction week, but unfortunately he was away on training. On the final day of induction, however, I saw him walking through the building and ran up to him. He asked me to have lunch with him but I was promptly whisked away by a member of HR, who warned me off him. The next day I decided I had to make a move, and emailed him to apologise for missing lunch. He wrote back inviting me for coffee the next time I was near his office – I made sure that happened!
We had our first date that Saturday, and had a lovely time going to the MI5 national archive, ice skating [complete with video gaming sessions against 14 year olds], and an introduction to my favourite London bars [Hakkasan and Quaglino’s] before going dancing at Walkabout. The date lasted 23 1/2 hours. The only sad note was that he had to go to Canada the next day on a work placement for six weeks. We spent hours on the phone every day after that date and swapped dozens of emails and text messages a day. Finally, he gave in and flew back for a weekend four weeks into our placement, when we had our second date. I threw him in at the deep end and introduced him to most of my girlfriends on the first night, and then lunched with an ex and his girlfriend the next – everyone loved him! A day after he returned to Canada I flew out for our third date.
I had a lovely time in Canada, and James had planned a host of activities. On the Friday evening, we had dinner at the CN Tower, the world’s current tallest building, in a revolving restaurant. Dinner was lovely, cocktails were great, and as we were leaving James got down on one knee and proposed. Accepting was the most natural decision I have ever made.
The next day we sat down and discussed what we’d decided before going to see Niagara Falls. We spoke to our families and told them the news, and spent some time on our own just thinking things through. In the harsh hangover morning, it still seemed like the best choice we’d made, and so we decided that there would be no turning back. The next day, we went to Birks [a sort of Canadian Tiffany’s] to try out rings, having decided that we both wanted to wear identical rings. We were told that it was highly unlikely that we’d find something, since I was leaving that day, and that it would take a fortnight to size. By some miracle [or fate] the first rings we tried on, which looked just like the design we’d drawn out, fit us both perfectly! That really set the tone for us. Now, several months down the road, things are still going perfectly.