*Beep Beep Beep*

The alarm clock rang at 8:30AM the day after Nicole flew into LAX at 11PM, tired and groggy she moved slowly toward the buzzing phone to shut it off. She turned over in the bed asking for another 30 minutes of precious sleep, but arose when Ryan brought her a breakfast of yogurt, granola, and tea. By 9:30 dressed and with lunches packed the two made their way out the door for the drive to the trail destination.

They stepped out onto the dirt road an hour later ready to tackle the 7 mile climb up the Malibu mountains. The start of the trail a steep and hard run but short, they were greeted at the top of the first hill by the sandy shores off in the distance in the valley of two other mountain tops.

Moving up the mountain the two reached Mesa Peak and looked out to the north where  Ryan pointed to Point Dume and to the south he noted Catalina Island. Ryan wrapped his arms around Nicole giving her a light squeeze and said softly into her ear, “I love you.”

“I love you.” Nicole said turning around and giving Ryan a light peck on the lips.

Before heading back down the mountain the couple stopped at a lonesome table for a light mediterranean style picnic lunch complete with: sesame bread, hummus, cheese, salami, sopressata, olives, and mixed nuts.

Ryan made dinner plans for after the trail at Nikita in Malibu, a beautiful Mediterranean and Italian combination restaurant. Ryan didn’t want to head back to Tarzana after the trail, which meant that both he and Nicole needed to change out of their hiking clothes into their dinner attire in the car. Nicole was in a strapless turquoise dress with blue stockings and brown suede shoes. The diamond necklace that Ryan gave to her when she moved in with him draped down her neckline sparkled in the sun creating tiny rainbows on the Camry’s roof. Ryan wore a purple and white striped button down shirt with jeans, he completely forgot his leather dress shoes at home, instead made due with some black sneakers, not at all ideal.

With another 4 hours until the reservations Ryan decided to take a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway up to Point Mugu where they settled on an overlook facing the sunset and more than 2 dozen surfers catching waves. They sat on a bench to start facing the beach but found that the waves were better crashing into the treacherous cliff-base debris. Sitting on a rock Ryan wrapped his arms around Nicole holding her tight to keep her warm and in his arms forever.

Ding Ding, Ryan’s phone rang with intent, the photographer that he had hired to capture the moment was sending minute by minute updates of where she was and all the insignificant details of the setup process.

By that time it was about 3:30PM-a little less than 2 hours until sunset. Just as Nicole was getting settled Ryan said, “I want to go that spot that I pointed out on our hike to watch the sunset. OK?”

“Sure, I guess. But how about 5 more minutes here?”

“Five more minutes.”

“Ready?” Ryan said as he got out of the car. “Do you want me to get your jacket? It’s going to be cold up there.”

“No, I’ve got a sweater that should keep me warm enough.”

“Alright, suit yourself.”

The two headed up the trail to get to the summit of Point Dume which was unfortunately covered in sand that was now dusting Nicole’s brown suede heels. “Where are we going?” Nicole asked with concern as her shoes were now sinking into the sand.

“We can turn back and get your hiking boots.”

“No, I’ll keep going,” she said reluctantly.

When reaching the summit the sun was moving steadily toward the horizon streaming golden and orange rays, the water reflecting the rays back into Ryan’s eyes. Point Dume was overlooking two beaches to the north and south of the overhanging cliff which brought the brisk air from the sea to their faces. The salt water filled air was chilling their skin.

Ding Ding, Ryan’s phone rang again, this time with questions and concerns of, “Where are you? I’m here on the beach, by the lifeguard station. What are you wearing?”

Quickly Ryan texted back, “Here, striped purple shirt, at the top of the cliff…”

Ding Ding, “What! I’m on the beach! I don’t know how to get up there! Alright I’ll find my way up!”

“It’s so cold up here, can’t we go back to the other location?”

“I’d really like to stay here,” Ryan said adamantly. “How about we go back to the car and get your coat, change your shoes and something to sit on. We can come back here after. OK?”

Nicole took a minute to think and contemplate how much she was going to put up with, “Fine, we can do that if we must.”

The two made their way back down the hill this time on the hard packed dirt path they found after trekking through the sinking sand. When they got back to the car Nicole pleaded with Ryan for one last time to change locations and let her have a bathroom break before she burst.

“And who is texting you?! Again!” Nicole shouted at Ryan.

Ryan thwarted the plea, put his phone on silent and the couple headed up the hill once again.

“So can we not go to the top this time? It’s too cold up there.”

“Yeah, lets head to the lower level that overlooks the beach, maybe we can find somewhere to sit there.”

Walking around for 10 minutes Ryan found a spot and put down the reusable grocery bags so they could sit down. Their new spot was on the edge of the cliff looking directly at the sunset, to the right was the beach with kids still playing and their parents watching them from afar. On the other side of their view was an extension of Point Dume that some other onlookers were enjoying the same splendid sunset.

Ryan quickly checked his phone for the last time, another 15 messages so he quickly read through the “I’m here at the top! Where are you guys now?” Ryan responded with “Uhh…I’m not there anymore, now we’re somewhere in the middle” and his GPS location hiding his phone from Nicole trying to be discrete.

As the two sat enjoying the sunset they watched the waves crash onto the shore below and the shadow play on the rocks in front of them. Fifteen minutes go by and Nicole asks, “What time does the sun set?”

Ryan looked at his watch and said questioningly, “15 minutes?” though he knew he had more than 40 minutes left. He brought his phone back out and and saw that he had zero messages, quickly checked the weather app and relayed the time left, “fifty minutes…”

Immediately Nicole said, “I am not waiting another 50 minutes here in the cold, when I’ve already dirtied my shoes, haven’t been able to pee since this morning, and dealt with all your texting.”

“Ok, ok, we can go in the next 15 minutes, just a little longer? Please?”

Nicole crossed her arms and let out a humph.

Ryan thought to himself, “Well I might as do it now without the photographer.” Just as he was going to say Nicole’s name he saw his photographer sneak in behind them and knew everything would be alright.

Ryan centered himself and started to speak just as Nicole brought out her lip gloss and thought, “whatever.”

“Nicole Patricia Bowles,” Ryan said looking into her eyes.

“Ryan Edward Lew,” Nicole responded as Ryan pulled the black velvet ring box out of his jacket pocket, “what is that?!”

“Will you marry me?” Ryan opened the box exposing the custom ring with a royal violet sapphire center stone surrounded by two grey diamonds. The band, a custom blend of white gold and silver with a touch of 24 karat gold give the band a touch of warmth in the blending, providing a great platform to display the lovely stones.

“Yes! Yes!” Nicole said completely surprised.

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