Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wonderful News!!!! :D

The picture says it all, folks! :)

I'm so excited and jittery I can hardly sit still!  I'm officially engaged to Robby! :D

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  I suppose you'd like to know the whole story?  I thought you might. ;)

My suspicion was first aroused this morning when Robby was fretting about the weather.  There had been major gale-force winds the night before, and early this morning we had a nasty hail storm.  Robby was normally the type to be excited by drastic weather changes.  This morning, however, he was pacing back and forth (as well as he could with his walking stick), talking in low, worried tones to Beast'sbelle and looking toward the window with a forlorn expression.  

I asked him if everything was okay, and he tried to act like he was fine, but he didn't fool me.  I hoped whatever was causing him such grief about the weather would be solved soon.  It didn't seem like the wind and rain would let up.

Robby was gone for most of the morning.  He told me that he and Beast'sbelle were working on a project together, and he would be back later in the afternoon.  I knew he was up to something, probably another romantic date he had planned, but I didn't let on.  I didn't want to spoil his fun.

True to his word, later that day he returned, wearing his red cloak.  He told me he had somewhere to take me, and that I needed to dress warmly.  I agreed and went to change into my pink dress and red cape.  Inwardly, I was a bit concerned.  PLEASE tell me we're not braving the weather and going outside, I thought gloomily.  Robby loved being outdoors no matter what it was like.  I was the type that loved the outdoors on a nice, sunny day, but on cold, windy, rainy days, I preferred to be inside, chatting with friends or  reading a good book.  I hated to be a spoil sport and hurt his feelings, though, so I went back to him with a smile. 

To my dismay, he led me out to the backyard.  The sun was shining, but the wind was still going strong and it was freezing cold.  If I had been human, I would have been covered with goosebumps! 

We came to the deck where we'd spent so many sunny summer afternoons together.  To my amusement, there was a big black umbrella set up on one side.  A huge piece of decorative concrete was holding it down on one end, undoubtedly keeping it from blowing away.  The wind came in spurts, and when it did, it was so strong that even Robby and I were in danger of being knocked over!  

"Here we are!" Robby announced casually.  Or at least he tried to say it casually.  I could hear the tremor in his voice and see the way his hands shook.  He was either excited, nervous, or maybe just really cold!  

He offered me a seat on the concrete piece.  I sat down and instantly felt 10 times colder.  Not only was I in the direct path of the wind, but the concrete was so cold that I felt like I was sitting on a block of ice.  I wrapped my cloak around me as tightly as I could.  I found myself wishing that Beast'sbelle hadn't been so concerned about the accuracy of my attire and had provided me with a jacket!

"Are you okay, Belle?" Robby asked with concern.

I was shivering so hard that my voice shook.  "I'm j-j-just really c-c-cold," I explained.  "Do w-w-we have to d-d-do this out here?"

Robby seemed to panic.  "Well, if you could just wait for a little bit longer..."  He glanced behind me.  "Here," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder and directing me towards the umbrella.  "Try sitting in here.  It's a little more out of the wind."

He led me to a wooden crate that was sitting directly under the umbrella.  A picnic basket and a big bottle of Mountain Dew Code Red sat beside it. I took one side of the crate, and Robby took the other.  

I had to admit it was a little bit better out of the wind, but I was still freezing.  I wrapped my cloak even tighter around my arms and tried not to shiver too much.  

Robby immediately set to work.  He opened the picnic basket and pulled out two plastic mugs (they looked like Nahji's...she must have let him borrow them).  Carefully, he poured some Mountain Dew in one of the mugs and passed it to me.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that Mountain Dew was too sweet for me...he'd obviously gone to a lot of work to prepare for this afternoon.  I just hoped it wouldn't involve sitting outside for 5 hours! :{  

We sat and chatted about nothing in particular as we drank our soda.  I must confess I had to will myself not to make a face every time I took a sip!  I was wishing we had hot tea instead.  A nice hot drink would be just the thing on a cold day like this!  

Robby seemed fidgety and restless.  He kept fiddling with his cup instead of drinking from it, and I often caught him looking away, as if he was nervous about meeting my eyes.  

We finished our drinks, and I politely declined when Robby offered me more.  By now I was so cold that I couldn't hide it.  My arms and legs felt like icicles, and my nose was an ice cube.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't stop shivering.  

"Are you still cold?" Robby suddenly asked me worriedly.  

I tried to shrug it off.  "Um, j-j-just a l-l-little."  I paused.  "H-h-how much l-l-longer were you p-p-planning on being out here?'

Robby looked pained.  "I'm so sorry, Belle.  I had all of this planned out before the weather turned.  Look, why don't you get up and go stand in the sun for a moment?  I've got to get something out of this crate."

"Um, okay," I said stupidly.  I stood up and walked over towards the edge of the umbrella.  The sunshine warmed my legs.  I glanced back at Robby.  He'd gotten up as well and was opening the lid of the crate.  

I suddenly felt nervous, wondering what he would pull out of the crate.  To distract myself (and to warm up), I started walking back and forth in the sunshine.

By the time Robby had lifted his treasure out of the crate, I was over by the silver pole of the umbrella, swinging on it like Gene Kelly on the lamppost in "Singin' in the Rain".  Robby smiled adoringly at me, and then held something out to me.  

"Here, this is for you," he said.

I walked over to get a closer look.  Robby held a round ceramic container with a golden hinge.  There was a picture of a teddy bear on the top, and some words that I couldn't recognize.  

As I approached, Robby sat down on the crate again and waited for me.  He was smiling, but his smile seemed forced and nervous.

I sat down next to him, and he handed me the container.  Now that I was looking at it right-side-up, I could see that the words said, "Je Taime", which I think means "I Love You" in French.  (You might recall I considered studying French back when I was trying to impress Ben.  I never really followed through with that, but I'd heard Marguerite and Raoul saying "Je Taime" to each other a couple of times, and judging by the looks they were giving each other when they said it, I'm pretty sure that's what it means...or at least something along that line!) 

As I opened the container, I let out a gasp.  "Oh, Robby!"

Inside were two beautiful matching engagement bracelets!

"Do you like them?" Robby asked shyly.

"Like them?  They're beautiful!" I exclaimed.  

I could see relief cross his features.  "Beast'sbelle helped me make them."  He looked embarrassed.  "I actually wanted to give them to you for Valentine's Day, but I couldn't get them ready in time."

"It's okay," I assured him with a smile.  "Today is a perfect day for it.  I mean, how many couples get engaged on Leap Day?"

He looked surprised.  "Engaged?  What do you mean?"

For one horrific second, I thought I would pass out.  Had I misunderstood?  Were these just regular bracelets?

Then I saw Robby's teasing smile escape.  I punched his arm.

"That was horrible!" I protested.  

He laughed.  "I'm sorry...I just couldn't resist."  He reached over and took the smaller bracelet from me, studying it thoughtfully.  "I tried to pick just the right colors.  I hope I did okay."  He gave me a sideways glance.

I was grinning from ear to ear.  "It's perfect," I said, looking at each of the beads in turn.  "White for purity, blue for undying love, silver for heart's treasure, and even pink for true friendship."

Robby's face wore a glazed over expression.  "Actually, I just liked the look of the blue beads...I thought they'd look nice with your blue dress.  And all the other ones worked well with the blue..."

"Oh..." I said awkwardly.  "Of course!  Well, it's lovely just the same."

Robby took my right hand in his.  "Belle, I've loved you almost from the moment I first laid eyes on you.  I've tried to be your friend and confidant.  I know I'm not your romantic ideal, but I love you, and I'll do everything I can to provide for you and make you happy."

He paused and looked a little sad.  "I can't go down on one knee..." 

I squeezed his hand, blinking back tears.  "It doesn't matter, Robby.  Just ask me, and make me the happiest doll alive."  

Robby grinned, squeezing my hand back.  "Belle, will you marry me?"

"Yes!" I almost shouted.  

He laughed at my enthusiasm, and then put the bracelet on my left wrist.  

I took a moment to admire it.  The chill in the air was quickly forgotten.  How lovely my bracelet was!  If I had chosen the beads myself, I would have come up with something very similar.  Robby may not have known the significance behind the bead colors, but he knew me, and that was all that mattered. 

I turned to him.  "I know that traditionally you don't start wearing your engagement bracelet until our wedding day, but would you wear it for me, just for today?  I'd like to see how it looks on you, and how it looks next to my bracelet."

Robby smiled.  "I suppose I could," he said with pretend reluctance.

I placed it on his left wrist. 

"I never thought I'd see the day when I was wearing jewelry," he joked.  

"It looks nice on you!" I reassured him.

"Yeah, nice and sparkly.  I tried to tell Beast'sbelle that I wanted to go less girly, but she didn't really get the message."

"Does it really bother you that much?" I asked, concerned.  

He smiled and shook his head.  "No, Belle.  I'm just being my normal, bratty self."  He looked at me warmly.  "If wearing this is what it takes to show the world I'm married to you, I'll gladly wear it."

His gaze was so direct and tender that I had to look away.  I suddenly remembered what we'd planned this entire time.  We would kiss once we were engaged.  It's funny, I'd longed for the freedom to let Robby's lips meet mine, yet now I was suddenly nervous, almost to the point where I hoped he wouldn't kiss me!

I suddenly felt the need to distance myself from him and clear my thoughts.  I stood up, gathering my skirts, and started to walk towards the sun.  No sooner had a taken a step or two, though, when I realized something was wrong.

"My shoe!" I squeaked.  I lifted the hem of my dress to get a better look.  Sure enough, my right pink high heel was missing!

"How did you lose your shoe?" Robby asked, rising to his feet with the help of his walking stick.

I looked at the deck, as if the shoe would suddenly materialize out of thin air.  "I don't know!"  I replied, perplexed.  "I think I had it when I was walking, but maybe it slipped off'd think I would have noticed it, though."

Robby and I looked everywhere, but the shoe was nowhere to be found.  We even checked the ground underneath the deck, just in case it had fallen through the cracks! 

"I guess we'll just have to get Beast'sbelle's help later," Robby suggested, when we'd finished our ill-fated search. 

I nodded distractedly.  

Robby suddenly chuckled.  "You do realize you're acting out the wrong story, right?  Isn't Cinderella the one who loses a shoe?"

"Har, har," I said dryly.  "Well, it's really the wrong story, because I'm obviously not marrying Prince Charming!"

My betrothed laughed at my humor.  He looked down at me with an appreciative smile.  "Well, I'm certainly glad you didn't go running off at midnight, whether I was charming or not."

"Well, there's still time, you know," I said with feigned innocence.  "Maybe I should try it." 

"Not now, Missy," Robby said firmly.  "I can't have you running off now that you're mine."  He looked at me with such warmth that I found it hard to breathe.  I turned away from his intense gaze.

There was silence between us for a moment.

"Belle," he suddenly said in a soft voice.  

I glanced back up at him.  

"I don't want to rush you, but..."

"You want to kiss me," I finished for him, amazed at my boldness.

He nodded.  "If you're not ready, we can wait...but we've waited for this day for so long..."

"I know," I whispered.  "I...I'm just a little...nervous."  I laughed shakily.  "I mean, what if I miss your lips and kiss your nose or something?  Or what if I do it wrong?  What if..."

"Belle," he said again, gently taking my hand.  

I stopped my nervous babbling and looked into his eyes.  He was so patient with me, this wonderful doll I loved.  And he was so much more than just my love...he was my best friend.  Then I realized that I did want him to kiss if my very existence depended on it.  We'd taken it slow, we'd made a commitment to each other, and now, I was ready,  At least, I was pretty sure I was ready...

We slowly drew closer.  I felt like everything was going in slow motion.  Then I closed my eyes and leaned back to receive my first kiss.

It was short, sweet, and innocent...and not quite as romantic as I was expecting.  Don't get me wrong, it was lovely kissing Robby for the first time.  It just wasn't quite as "wowee" as it seems in the movies.  I didn't hear symphonies playing in my head or feel a rush of adrenaline.  It would probably help if I knew what I was doing.  But that was what was so wonderful...Robby and I had the rest of our lives to get this kissing thing down. ;)  And how sweet to know that the first lips we'd touched belonged to our future spouse!  That was worth more to me than anything.

After our kiss, we pulled back with only slight awkwardness.  Robby held me in his arms and looked at me like I was the earth's most priceless treasure.  I smiled up at him and found myself thinking that we should try kissing again sooner rather than later!  

For now, though, we contented ourselves with a hug.  I rested my head on Robby's shoulder and reveled in the warmth and strength of his embrace.  I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with him.

It wasn't too long before Beast'sbelle came out to join us.  Robby had clued her in to the planned event of the day, and she'd helped him set everything up beforehand.  She'd thought it would be fun to do a mini photo shoot to commemorate the special day.  

As Beast'sbelle made her way over to us, I noticed Rapunzel and Eugene pop up in the window of Beast'sbelle's bedroom.  They smiled and waved at us happily.  Robby confessed that he'd let them know what his plan for the day was, too.

So here are our favorite photos that Beast'sbelle took.  There were a LOT more of them, but these were the best.  I have to say, by the end of the shoot, I was once again reminded that I had been cold before all of the excitement, and hoped that Beast'sbelle wouldn't get too lengthy with her shoot. :}

As you can see, we decided it would be a good idea to get a little more kissing practice in.  Hey, we've got to have it perfect for the wedding, right? ;)
A close-up of our engagement/wedding bracelets.

We thought this one was cool...Beast'sbelle was able to get a picture of our shadows! :)

When the photo shoot was over, we sat for just a bit longer, enjoying the beautiful scenery together.  I didn't want the day to end!  Eventually, though, practicality won out over sentimentality.  I was FREEZING, especially since I'd decided to take off my one remaining shoe so that I could actually walk!  We carried what we could and went back inside, spending several minutes by the big gas heater in the living room before making our way back to Beast'sbelle's room.  

Everyone was overjoyed to hear the news, of course...but that's another story for another time! I've got to go for now...Robby and I have so much to discuss!

We haven't set an official date yet, but we're thinking either late May or early June.  Of course, we'll let all of you know as soon as we've worked out all the details. :)

I don't think I'll sleep a wink tonight!  I've never been so happy in my entire life! :D