The Treehouse Proposal

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a proposal. ... view prompt

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General

Jimmy and Lauren were having their usual breakfast at their favorite coffee house in town. While Jimmy normally has a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns, today he was only having toast and coffee.

“Aren’t you hungry, Jimmy?” Lauren noticing the smaller than normal breakfast. “What’s wrong?”

“Ah, nothing wrong at all. I just didn’t feel like eating a bunch today.” He hoped that he had convinced her that all was okay. It wasn’t. He was hoping all would be more than okay and maybe even life changing by the end of the day. They had been dating for almost a year now and everything had been going very well.

He could not believe that he was going to try marriage again, let alone even think about it. After being stood up by Amy on the altar two years ago, he didn’t think this day would ever come again. He was shocked, embarrassed, and didn’t know how to explain this to his family and friends. Even though he was out the money, it wasn’t nearly as devastating as the event itself. There was no warning from her, and he never saw it coming.  Lauren, on the other hand, was proving to be quite different.

Jimmy was a handyman by trade and had developed a nice sized clientele in the town where he and his dad lived. He never felt like he belonged at college. Nothing really appealed to him as far as a career type went. Fixing things and using his hands appealed to him most. His favorite classes in high school were wood and metal shop. 

He was currently working on a passion project for one of his best clients. He took these on once in a while when the job schedule lightened up a little. This project was a huge treehouse on his clients ranch just outside of town. He got excited, just like a kid, when they presented the idea to him. Jimmy had always wanted one when he was growing up. They lived in an apartment in the city and it just wasn’t a possibility.

Lauren had been especially helpful in the beginning stages of the treehouse project. She is a civil engineer with a minor in interior design. She had been out to the site a few times in the early stages of the build. Due to her busy schedule, she has not been to the site in a while and had not seen the completed project.

What Lauren didn’t know, is that he planned to propose to her this very afternoon at the treehouse. 

“How do you feel about an early dinner around 5:00?” Jimmy asked.

“Sure, that sounds great. It’s been a crazy week and I wasn’t feeling like staying out all night.” Lauren did sound a little more tired than normal. 

“Great, I will swing by your place around 4:30. Oh yeah, bring your sneakers.” Jimmy said with a wry smile and a twinkly eye.

“What? Why?”

“Trust me. Okay, I love you and I have to get rolling. I have a lot of work today before we have dinner.” He said. Then he jumped in his truck and drove away.  He was always doing something like this to surprise her. He loved to see the look on her face when she saw whatever it was that he was surprising her with. It was one of the things that made him fall in love with her so quickly.

She didn’t put much thought into it, as she was used to him pulling something like this. After he drove away in a cloud of dust, she began to think about it a little more. It was curious that he had only a light breakfast. Now she was beginning to wonder what he was up to.

Jimmy did have a lot of work today before their date this afternoon. A few days prior, he had talked to Lauren’s girlfriend about what kind of ring she might like. Lisa was only too happy to help out as she loved both of them and could not be more excited for them. They went to a neighboring city so Lauren wouldn’t seem them in town. Her office was downtown and just across the street from the local jeweler.

He had also asked his clients with the treehouse if he could propose there. They were thrilled to be included in his special day and were happy to help. It would be their job now to quietly gather his friends and family and have them on site for the reveal. They would be waiting in the barn until he gave the high sign that she said yes.

Joe Harper was Jimmy’s dad and was probably the most excited of everyone. He loved Lauren right from the first time they met, and he had a feeling this would happen. It wasn’t often that Jimmy brought home a girl to meet him.

 Joe reminisced a little as he was sad that his wife, Emma, would not be there. She had died a few years earlier. Lauren was just the kind of girl that Emma would have loved. Last week, Jimmy had come to Joe to tell him about his plans.

“Dad, I’m thinking of asking Lauren to marry me!” 

“Really? Oh, my goodness, that is wonderful J. What took you so long to get here? I knew this would happen 6 months ago.” Joe could not hide the smile on his face or the delight in his eyes. Do you have a ring yet?”

“No, I don’t but Lisa is going into town with me later this week to pick something out.”

“Lisa has great taste in jewelry, she will certainly help you pick the right ring.”

The treehouse itself was a work of art. The owners had given him a list of must-haves and left the rest for him and Lauren to design. It was built 20 feet up in the trees with a grand winding staircase around one of the tree trunks. This led up to a large wooden deck with railings and planters full of roses and other flowers all around the deck.  Inside there was a great room lit up by a wall of windows on both the east and west sides. Perfect for catching the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that this part of the country was known for.

One of his woodworking masterpieces in the house was a hidden bedroom and bathroom. If you knew just which book to pull on the bookshelf, you could open the secret door. Not even Lauren knew about this little detail.  Out on the deck was a gas fireplace surrounded by comfy chairs perfect for enjoying the peace and quiet out on the ranch.

It was now 4:00 pm and it was time to put his plan into action. Jimmy checked in with everyone, and when he got the high sign, it was go time. The ring was safely in the secret bedroom so that he wouldn’t accidentally lose it. As he hurried back home, he had just enough time to take a shower and clean up.

Patti was another close friend of Lauren and was also in on the preparations. Her job was to steal Lauren away for a girls spa day. Both of them were actually looking forward to the spa and catching up on girl talk.

Jimmy rolled up to her house right on time at 4:30. Being punctual was something she could count on Jimmy for. It was like he had a clock in his head and was always there on time.

He knocked on the door while hiding a bunch of flowers behind his back. 

“Wow, Jimmy you look handsome”. It was hard to hide Laurens smile whenever she saw him.

“Why thank you.” He pulled the flowers around from his back. “These are for you.”

She got a surprised look on her face followed by a frown. “Uhoh, what did you do Jimmy?” she said with a stern voice.

“N-n-n-nothing. Really, I just saw these flowers and they were calling your name.” Jimmy said with some concern in his voice.

“Oh, nice recovery Jimmy!” she said with a smile to let him off the hook. She could get him every time with that. “Where are we going? I don’t think I am dressed up enough for this.”

“Believe me, Lauren, you look wonderful and I can’t tell you. You will just have to trust me. I am certain that you will love this.”

About halfway to the ranch, Jimmy told her that she would have to wear a blindfold for the last mile or so. It was all part of the surprise. Lauren was game for just about anything which was another thing he loved so much about her. She was always supportive of his dreams when in the past, others were not. He felt like she believed in him and also laughed at his jokes. 

Jimmy pulled over and handed her the blindfold. Once it was on, he checked to make sure she couldn’t see. He knew she would try to peek a little bit. Her curiosity was through the roof now. She was asking lots of questions and trying to get him to spill the beans. Jimmy was smiling so hard and was happy that she couldn’t see him.

“Jimmy, this is killing me, what’s going on? If you tell me now, I will go topless for the rest of the trip!” Although he was tempted, he held fast and didn’t take the bait.

Before Jimmy finished the blindfolded part of the drive, he stopped to text Patti that they were around the corner and to get hidden. It would spoil the surprise if they were discovered. She got everyone sorted in the barn with glasses and champagne bottles ready to pop. Jimmy rolled up to the base of the tree, stopped, and came around her side of the truck to let her out. 

He took her arm and guided her up the stone pathway. “Okay, I got you now…… watch your step……. you are doing great……. just a little bit more…. stop! What I am about to show you will change your life! Are you ready for this Lauren Perry?”

“Yes, yes, yes!”

“One……. two……. two and a half……. three!” He tried to stretch it out as long as he could.

She pulled off the blindfold with one quick movement and let it drop to the ground. As she took in her first look at the completed treehouse, she was speechless and started to cry.

“Oh my god Jimmy, this is beautiful”, she said between sniffs. He handed her a tissue.

“There’s more, follow me up the stairs.”

So up the stairs they went. Up to the patio deck with chairs and rose planters everywhere. She could still smell the fresh cut lumber; it was a smell that always made her happy. Lauren was now looking around in earnest and saw some of her designs and plans in place.

Jimmy let go of her hand so she could explore the room on her own. Looking here and there and letting out another “ooo” every time she noticed another beautiful detail. She stopped when she got to the bookcase that covered a large section of the room. For some reason to her, it seemed a little out of place.

“There is another surprise for you”, said Jimmy with a little smile on his face.

“What? I don’t think I can take any more surprises; this is fabulous!”

“Reach over there in the bookcase and get me the copy of Gone with the Wind.” It was one of her favorite books of all time.

She found it and gave it a tug. As she pulled on it, she heard a beep and a series of clicks. With a worried look on her face, she actually jumped back from the bookcase. The bookcase slowly slid back into itself to reveal the hidden bedroom.

She squealed with surprise. “No way, a hidden room! That is the coolest thing ever.” She walked in and while she was looking around, Jimmy retrieved the ring from its hiding place and slipped it into his pocket.

The sun was starting to set outside and had turned the sky a million colors of red and blue. She was taking in the sunset and turned around to Jimmy.

“You have outdone yourself and you should be proud, I know I am.” She gave him a big kiss.

He took her hand and led her over to the handmade railing fashioned from fallen branches found nearby. He turned her around to face him and put his hands on her shoulders.

“Lauren, the day I met you, I never stopped thinking about you, your laugh, your eyes, and how hard you hit me when I tell a bad joke.”

She put her hand over her mouth to giggle.

He got down on his knee and withdrew the little red box from his pocket.

“Lauren, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I want to make you as happy as you have made me. Will you marry me?” He looked up into her eyes.

She stood there speechless, with tears in her eyes. She couldn’t tell anyone, but she had been waiting for this moment from the day she met him too.

“Oh yes, I would love to marry you!”  The ring slid onto her finger like it was made for her. She stood up and kissed him for what seemed like forever.

Meanwhile, the friends and family had been quietly gathering at the base of the tree, champagne glasses in hand. Just when Jimmy knew they were all there, He leaned over the balcony as if he were talking to the trees and shouted, “She said yes!!”

She was taken aback as the lights came up, champagne corks started popping and a cheer went up from the crowd below. Lauren was speechless one more time. She smiled at her friends, and looked at Jimmy with a gleam in her eye as she punched him in the arm one more time.

July 15, 2020 20:24

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