I looked at him as more tears started to fall. I got down on my knees and stared into his beautiful eyes. “Yes, Jake Michael Jensen, I will marry you!” I smiled.
He put the ring on my finger and kissed it as he wrapped his arms around me and held me tightly. “I couldn’t tell you earlier because I had it all planned, but you got so upset and broke up with me and I didn’t know what to do. I called your dad and told him what happened and he said to wait about an hour before coming to talk to you.”
“I’m so sorry I didn’t believe you. I’m a horrible person.”
“No, you’re not, Julia. You’re a beautiful person, and I love you so much.”
As I kissed him, I wrapped my arms around him tightly and I never wanted to let him go. I turned to my parents, who were sitting on the couch, watching us. My mom had tears in her eyes.
“You two knew and didn’t tell me? You let me spend the last hour thinking that he cheated on me and let me cry like that?”
“Sorry, Princess, but I wasn’t about to ruin it for you, even though it was killing me not to say something,” my dad said.
I looked back at Jake. “So tell me who Clarisse is again?”
Jake smiled and kissed my lips. “She’s the manager at the jewelry store where I had your ring designed and made. Your dad is the one who recommended her to me. She’s one of the best around.”
I looked at my dad and he winked at me. My mom walked over to me and hugged me.
“Congratulations, sweetheart. I’m so happy for you. We have to call Mason right now and tell him the news and we have to plan a party. Wait, don’t tell anyone in the family yet. I’m going to have a dinner party and then you can announce it. Connor, this is so exciting. I have so much to do. Where do I start?” she said excitedly.
My dad got up from the couch and wrapped his arms around my mom. “The first thing you need to do is take a breath and calm down. She’s only been engaged for ten minutes.” He smiled.
He walked over to me and kissed me on the cheek. “I’m so happy for you. Congratulations, Princess.”
“Thanks, Dad.” I smiled.
He turned to Jake and shook his hand. “Nothing pleases me more than to have my daughter marry you.”
“Thanks, Connor. You know that I’ll take good care of her,” Jake responded.
“I know you will and, if you get out of line, she’ll kick your ass. Just like her mother does to me.”
“That’s right. I taught my daughter well.” My mom smiled as she winked at me.
“This calls for a celebration. We’re taking the two of you to dinner,” my dad said.
We went out that night and celebrated. After leaving the restaurant, my dad took us to a club where we drank, danced, and had a good time. Collin and Hailey met up with us and we celebrated into the wee hours of the morning.
And that’s how, Jake Jensen, the man of my dreams, proposed to me. It wasn’t how he had planned it, and I screwed it up for him, but we were engaged and that was all that mattered.
As the months passed, my mom and I were busy planning the wedding and I was getting ready to graduate from college. I was sitting on my bed when my dad walked into the room.
“Good morning, Dad.” I smiled at him.
“Good morning, Princess. Do you have a minute to talk?”
“Sure. Come sit down,” I said.
He sat down next to me and smiled. “I was wondering if you wanted to spend the day with your dad. I haven’t seen much of you lately between all the wedding planning and school.”
I could tell he desperately wanted to spend some time together, and I felt bad that we hadn’t lately. I had plans with Jake, but I thought he would understand if I canceled them. My dad needed me and I didn’t want to let him down.
“I would love to spend the day with you, Dad.” I smiled.
“Really? You don’t have any other plans?” he asked excitedly.
“No, not today,” I answered.
He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me into him as he kissed me on the head. “That’s great, Princess. I’m looking forward to it.”
He got up from the bed and walked out of my room. I picked up my phone and called Jake.
“Hello, beautiful,” he answered.
“Hey, babe. Listen, I need to cancel our plans for today. My dad asked me to spend the day with him, and I couldn’t tell him no.”
“That’s okay. You go and be with your dad. I know he misses you. He made a reference about it the other night. I have some work I can catch up on and then I’ll hang with the guys for a while and I’ll see you tonight.”
“I love you, Jake.”
“I love you more, Julia. See you later, babe. Have a good day with your dad,” he said as he hung up.
After I showered and got dressed, I walked downstairs and saw my mom in the kitchen.
“Hi, sweetheart. Thank you for spending the day with your dad. He’s so happy.” She smiled.
“No need to thank me, Mom. I want to spend the day with him.”
“Are you ready, Julia?” my dad asked as he walked into the kitchen.
“I sure am.” I smiled as I looped my arm around his and we left the penthouse.
Our first stop was at the Central Park Zoo. My mom and dad used to take me and Collin there every year since we were little kids. We walked around, looking at the animals and exhibits. Our favorite had always been the penguins and we would stand there for what seemed like forever, staring at them. After spending some time at the zoo, we headed to The Museum of Modern Art. It had always been one of my and my mom’s favorite places to go. As we walked around and looked at the various sculptures and designs, my dad turned to me.
“I know we’ve talked about this before, but I want you to know that I’ve created a division at Black Enterprises for architecture and I want you to head it up. I couldn’t think of a better time than now to branch out and expand.”
“Are you serious, Dad?”
“Yes, Princess, I’m very serious. You’re going to be graduating in a couple of months and your spot will be waiting for you. As soon as Collin graduates from college, the two of you will be working together and getting to know the ropes of the company so I can hand it over to the two of you when I retire.”
“I don’t think you’ll ever retire, Dad. You love that company way too much.”
He laughed and put his arm around me. “You’re probably right, but I will be gone a lot. Your mom wants to travel the world.”
“I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that she hasn’t seen yet.”
“There are a couple places.” He smiled.
When we were finished at the art museum, we walked down the streets of New York and stopped at Pizzapopolous for some pizza. When we sat down and opened our menus, my dad started to laugh.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“I’ll never forget the first time I stood outside and stared at your mom through the window. I sent Denny to her work to pick her up to have dinner with me, and she told him no, and that if I wanted to have dinner with her, then I should’ve called her and asked her. Denny followed her here and then came to the restaurant where I was waiting for her and told me where she was. So I came here and she was sitting at a table all by herself. She looked so beautiful.”
“What did you do? Did you join her?”
“Yes. I walked in and sat down next to her. Needless to say, she wasn’t too happy about it. That was the day that she made me eat pizza with my hands. Your mom made me do a lot of things I would never have done.”
“You two are crazy.” I smiled.
“Crazy in love,” he replied. “When we get home, there’s something I want to show you and Jake. Can you tell him to meet us outside the building in a couple of hours?”
“Sure, Dad,” I said as I looked at him strangely.
He took my hand and looked at me with a smile. “I’m really happy for you, Julia. You couldn’t be marrying a better man. It’s going to be hard, letting my little girl go, but I know I can’t hold onto you forever.”
“Aw, Dad. Just because I’m getting married doesn’t mean you have to let me go. I don’t want you to let me go. You’re my dad and I love you. You’ll always be with me no matter where I am or where I go.”
We finished up our pizza and met Jake outside the apartment building. I thought we were going up to the penthouse, but we stopped one floor below. As the elevator doors opened, we followed my dad out.
“Why are we on this floor?” I asked.
“You’ll see,” my dad said with a smile.
He led us to a door, put the key in, and opened it. We walked inside, and I looked around.
“Now, follow me,” he said as he led us to the next apartment and opened the door.
We walked in and I looked around in confusion. “Okay, Dad. You have me all confused. What’s going on?”
“Well, I’m having both of these apartments converted into one large four-bedroom apartment. I’m having the entire place renovated and redesigned.”
“Wow, that’s awesome. Are you going to sell it or something?”
Jake looked at me and took my hand. “Julia, I think your dad is doing this for us. I’m pretty sure he wants us to live here.”
“Smart man,” my dad said as he pointed at him.
“What?! You mean you’re doing this for me and Jake?”
“Yes, Princess. I would love for this to be your new home after you get married.” He smiled.
“One floor down from the penthouse?” I asked. “Daddy, I can’t. It’s too much. As much as I love it and the idea, it’s way too much for you to give us.”
He walked over to me with a smile and hugged me. “No, it’s not too much. I love you and Jake and this is part of your wedding gift. You can design it any way you want to. Imagine that the two apartments are your canvas and you and Jake make it your home.”
Tears started to fill my eyes and roll down my face at the kindness and generosity of my father. “I love it, Dad, and it means so much to me that you would do something like this for us. I can’t believe it. Does Mom know?”
“Yes, your mom knows, and she’s hoping you’ll accept it.”
“We will accept it, Connor.” Jake smiled. “Thank you very much, but let me at least pay you something for it.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, son. The only payment I’ll accept from you is the happy memories you and my daughter will make here. Oh, and a couple of grandkids too.” He smiled.
“We can definitely do that.” Jake laughed.
“Thank you so much, Dad. I love you.”
“I love you too, baby. Now, let’s go upstairs and tell your mom the good news.”
I graduated from Columbia and started my new job at Black Enterprises. My wedding was taking place next week and I still had so much to do. The apartment my dad bought us was finally completed and Jake and I spent two days shopping for furniture to make it perfect. My mom threw me the most fabulous wedding shower and I got everything I needed for the apartment. When everything was in its place, Jake and I took a step back and looked around.