We met at High Point University on December 6th, 2015 when we participated in a scheduled mock-interview. Ashton was the interviewee and Riccardo was the interviewer. We got a little off track during our mock interview just talking to each other. After the interview, we both spent Christmas break with family. As a new semester started in 2016 we were surprised to see that we were in the same Organic Chemistry class! During a group tutoring session for this class Ashton asked for Riccardo's number and immediately texted him. We texted all the time. We would meet up to study and would end up talking and laughing until 2am. Riccardo officially asked Ashton to be his girlfriend on March 14th, 2016.
While trying to balance medical school, family, and a social life, Riccardo started his hunt for the perfect engagement ring. He knew that Ashton wanted something "simple". Once he found the perfect ring he picked what he thought was the perfect date and location. He was planning to propose the day before Thanksgiving on a walk at sunset in a beautiful garden and before taking Ashton to a nice restaurant for a celebratory dinner. Things didn't go to plan. He called Ashton, while driving 3.5 hours to her apartment, and asked her to get ready for dinner reservations that night (that I had sneakily planned two weeks beforehand). He requested a nice walk before dinner, claiming school had really stressed him out and a walk would calm him. Ashton immediately shut down the idea, instead proposing her remarkable ideas, such as: "It will be dark outside." (at 5:45pm) "We can walk around my apartment complex." "The gardens are closed this time of night." (the gardens do not have gates or park hours) Riccardo had to think fast. He hung up with Ashton and called Ashton's mom, his mom, and friend to brain storm ideas only to be called back (interrupted) by Ashton who suggested (again the remarkable idea) that they go on a walk (run) Thanksgiving morning for an annual Thanksgiving 5K. Riccardo agreed and suggested they go to the gardens afterwards for a "photoshoot," since they had so few photos together. Thanksgiving morning they ran (the grueling, uphill both directions, in the cold) 5K, Ashton remaining oblivious of what was to come. After getting ready at the apartment they headed out for their impromptu photoshoot. (The entire time Ashton is complaining about how she doesn't want to get dressed up, and it would be a lot more fun to stay home, and on and on.) After (FINALLY) making it to the gardens they walked around, chatting, laughing, talking about the scenery, and taking casual photos. There was a photo that Riccardo requested to get: a photo with Riccardo behind Ashton with his arms around her. Ashton (again dragging her feet) got in front of the camera, Riccardo pushed the shutter button, as the camera timer started beeping, Riccardo ran behind Ashton but didn't put his arms around her. "BABE! YOUR ARMS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE AROUD ME!" ... "BABEEEEE!" Ashton turned around to find Riccardo down on one knee. She didn't even see the ring before she collapsed and started tearing up. Riccardo shuffled his way to her and finished his proposal. She looked up and screamed, "JERK!" - still half laughing in disbelief (that I had pulled off everything so secretly). Ashton then started to jump up and down and cried tears of joy. She forgot to say "yes" at first, but they both knew it was a "YES!" Ashton and Riccardo called and face-timed their families and celebrated with a yummy Thanksgiving meal (instead of the dinner I had planned the night before.) Absolutely nothing that was planned was carried out (all thanks to my ray of sunshine Ashton), but the proposal worked out and ended up perfect in its own way.