Undergrad was everything Lauren had dreamed of and more. She maintained a 4.0 grade point average, she had a busy campus social life, she was learning more about the world and herself and she was head-over-heels in love.Finally, she was done with her criminal justice degree and she was accepted into law school and David was also. It was a great moment for her.The day after graduation David and Lauren moved in together, much to her parents’ dismay. Mr. and Mrs. Young were not happy with the idea of their daughter living with her boyfriend. She always told Lauren, “Don’t give up the milk, without making him buy the cow.” However, she had given up the milk and moved into a large apartment in D.C. with her now longtime boyfriend.Lauren was going to law school to be a trial attorney. She was a great debater and an advocate for victims’ rights. It was her dream to be able to represent and defend people who have been unlawfully mistreated, abused or violated.David on the other hand was going to law school to focus on entertainment law and contracts. His father represented a number of high profile actors and athletes and he wanted to do the same. His parents had always provided a glamorous life of parties, yachts, extravagant homes on both coasts and David wanted to do the same for his future family. He saw his future with Lauren and wanted to give her everything she wanted in life and more. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever met on the inside and out and his intention was to make her life as happy, adventurous, financially stable, worldly and fabulous. He was in love.“I love our new apartment. I can’t believe how big it is. Can I decorate it the way I want, honey?” Lauren asked David.“Yeah. Sure. I don’t care. Do with it what you want. I trust your taste.” David replied.“Yay! Thank you.”Lauren’s taste was impeccable. She always dressed refined and sophisticated. Even when she was a young child, her mother was shocked at her daughter’s love of fine jewelry, art, architecture and design. When she was in undergrad she had turned her and Leighton’s dorm room and then their small apartment into amazing chic abodes.Both David and Lauren were thrilled that they had were experiencing law school together. They were growing into their careers and their lives together and everything felt organic and real.That New Year’s Eve after completing their first semester of law school, they decided to go out and celebrate the holiday along with the semester. They went to one of their favorite restaurants downtown.Lauren looked absolutely beautiful that night. She was a naturally beautiful woman with curves for days, hair down her back and dark and even skin, the color of a Hershey’s chocolate bar. She wore a green silk knee-length dress with simple black pumps and a black clutch.David also looked amazing that night. His tall frame looked fabulous in a black suit with a white shirt and a tie. He exuded masculinity.They arrived at the restaurant and were seated. “Can we get a bottle of your finest merlot?” David asked the waitress. “Definitely. I will bring that right out.” The waitress said.“You know what we’ve never really discussed, honey?” Lauren asked.“What’s that?” David asked.“We’ve never really talked about our pasts. I guess I think that’s kind of weird because at some point it just seems that would come up. Maybe, we wouldn’t mention all the gory details, but it just seems like it would come up. We’ve been together for almost five years and I don’t know anything about ex-girlfriends or relationships.”“Well, I don’t know anything about your ex-boyfriends Lauren and I really don’t care. I live in the present and whoever you were dating before me isn’t really any of my business, so I never brought it up.” David answered.“I live in the present as well David. But, I just think it’s important to know as much about the person your with and their past so that you can see where they are coming from.” Lauren said.“Well, if you really want to know. I had a couple of relationships in high school. But, you are the first person I have ever been in love with. Everybody from my high school days were just fun. I was a teenager and I went on some dates, I partied and had a lot of fun. That’s it.” David replied.“Aww. I am your first love?” Lauren blushed. David was her first love and she was thrilled to find out that it was mutual. That was all she needed to move on to another subject. “You know, college was great. But, the best part of it was meeting you. I knew it was going to be great. But, I had no idea it was go to be as fabulous as it was. How many people go to college and meet the man of their dreams. I am sure I’m not the first, but I am glad I am one of the lucky few.”“I feel the same way. You’re an amazing woman, Lauren. I am a lucky man. I know that and I remind myself of that everyday. I promise to never take you for granted.” David told Lauren.Lauren felt safe when she was with David. She knew how much he loved her and as long as she was with him, nothing or no one could hurt her.“I love you.” Lauren said.“I love you too.” David replied.“Here’s your wine sir.” The waitress said as she sat down two glasses for Lauren and David and poured wine for them. “It’s our finest merlot not to bitter and a little sweet. What do you think?”“This is perfect. Thank you very much.” David answered.“Yes. It’s delicious. Thank you.” Lauren complied.They both ordered surf and turf to go along with their merlot.A couple of hours passed and Lauren and David enjoyed their dessert and more wine. When David noticed the clock was about to strike midnight, he signaled for the waitress to come back to their table. “Hi. It’s like five minutes until midnight and we really need a couple of glasses of champagne.”“Yes sir. I will bring you both back a glass of bubbly to toast with.” The waitress replied.“Oh my god, David I am going to be extremely drunk by the time it’s time to go home. I’ve already had three glasses of wine, and now you’re making drink champagne? I don’t know…” Lauren said slightly slurring.“Well, we’re taking a cab. So, who cares? But, I don’t want you to get too drunk because I have something really important I need to ask you.”Lauren’s heart began to beat really fast. She couldn’t tell whether it was the wine or just a reaction to David saying he had something really important to tell her. That was until David got up from his chair across the table and walked to her side and got on one knee. He pulled a blue box out of his pocket and her heart began to beat even faster. She tried not to overreact. Maybe, it was a pair of diamond earrings. It could even be a bracelet or a necklace. They weren’t even done with law school yet. Would David propose to Lauren already? She knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. She just didn’t expect that he would ask her to marry him so soon. “Lauren, you are my first love. I have never felt this way about anyone in my entire life. You changed my entire perception of what I thought my life would be. I can’t imagine my life without you. Will you be my first and my last love? Will you marry me?” David asked. A tear ran from his left eye as he asked her. The waitress finally made her way back to their table with two glasses of champagne. “It looks like I came back just in time. It looks like you guys have more than just the New Year to celebrate.” Her ring was an incredible platinum and six carat diamond stunner.The waitress wasn’t the only one to notice the proposal; the entire restaurant turned around and watched. Lauren began to cry when she finally wrapped her head around what was happening to her. “Yes.” She tearfully answered. “Yes. I will marry you.” David hugged her and they kissed. Then someone shouted in the restaurant. “It’s time to count down.” The entire restaurant screamed, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Happy New Year!!!” Lauren and David raised their glasses and toasted the New Year and their engagement. It was an amazing night, even more amazing than Lauren had imagined.The couple stayed for another hour and then decided to go home. They hailed a cab outside of the restaurant and made their way back to their apartment. “Wow. What a night?” Lauren said as she kicked off her shoes and began unzipping her dress. She slipped into her pajamas and made her way to the bathroom to wash her face and brush her teeth. David also got undressed and ready for bed. It was an exhausting and great night. They both fell sound asleep.The first thing Lauren did the next day was call home. She wanted to tell her parents the exciting news about her engagement. When she called her brother answered the phone. “Hi Ray. What are you doing there?” Her brother was a successful and popular Broadway actor and he lived in New York full-time. “I got a little time off in between shows. So, I wanted to come home and spend some time with mom and dad.” He answered.Lauren and her brother were really close and she was always excited to go see him in New York or hang out with him when he was back in D.C. to visit the family. “How’s everything in New York?” Lauren asked. “Everything is great. I am really excited about this new show. It’s a really good show and so far, I am in love with the cast.” Ray answered. “That’s great. How’s Thomas?” Lauren asked. Their relationship grew even stronger ten years prior when Ray came out of the closet to his family and friends. It was one of the most difficult periods in his life and it was made easier by the support of his best-friend and sister, Lauren. Mr. and Mrs. Young had a hard time accepting the idea that their only son was gay. But, eventually they came around and Thomas, Ray’s long-time boyfriend, was a part of the family. Thomas was a successful painter. They met in high school and always supported each other’s careers and artistic ventures. Their relationship was supportive, loving and emotionally stable. It was everything anyone could ask for out of any relationship. “Thomas is good. He was going to come. But, it’s crunch time for one of his exhibits. It opens in a couple of weeks. You know how that is.” Ray said. “Well, send him my love. I am going to have to come to New York soon so the three of us can go out.” Lauren said.”Lauren’s voice and tone was really happy and although she was always perky, it was on a completely different level and Ray could hear it in her voice. “Soooo, what’s up with you? How’s my boy David?” Ray asked.Ray and David met a couple of times and he seemed like a genuine guy from what Ray could assess from just two meetings. “He’s good. Guess what?” Lauren said, her voice getting higher and higher.“What’s up baby girl?”“I am engaged!!!!!!” Lauren screamed into the phone.“Wow. Congratulations! I’m happy for you! When did this happen?” Ray asked. He was really happy for his little sister. If she was happy, he was happy.“Last night. He proposed like five minutes before the New Year. It was so cute! And, wait until you see my ring!” Lauren excitedly told her brother.“Well. I am happy for you. Oh, by the way, Happy New Year!” Ray said.“Happy New Year! Is mom around?” Lauren asked.“Yeah. Let me get her.” Ray replied.“Hey honey. How are you? Happy New Year! What’s going on?” Mrs. Young asked.“Hi mommy. I’m doing good. Happy New Year! How are you?” Lauren asked.“I’m doing great, sweetie.” Mrs. Young replied.“Where’s daddy? I’ve got something to tell you guys. Can you ask him to pick up the other phone?” Lauren asked her mom.“He’s upstairs. Let me yell up there. Hold on. Will, pick up the phooooone! Lauren wants to talk to us.” Mrs. Young screamed to her husband who was in the upstairs of their penthouse.Lauren could hear her father pick up the line. She couldn’t hold in her news any longer at that point. So, she just let it out. “Mom and dad, last night David asked me to marry him and I said yes.” Lauren told her parents. There was a brief silence on the other ends of the phone. Her parents tried to take in what their daughter just told them. They had also figured that Lauren and David would eventually get married, but they weren’t expecting an engagement so soon.“What about finishing law school first?” Mrs. Young asked. She thought about it again and she figured they were already living together and she would rather have them married with their current living arrangement.“Well, of course the both of us plan to finish school. That’s the number one priority.” Lauren answered her mother.“Good. I’m happy for you guys.” Mr. Young said.“Me too sweetie.” Mrs. Young added.“Thank you. It’s going to be a long engagement. We’re probably going to try to get married some time in the summer when we have some time off. It’s going to be something really small and simple. As long as all of my friends and family are there, that’s all that matters to me. Oh yeah, and I need to have the hottest dress on the planet.” Lauren told her parents.“Sounds good. Small and simple sounds like a good plan.” Mr. Young said.“Well, I will be by a little later to hang out with you guys and see Ray. I want to see my big brother. I had no idea he was even in town.” Lauren said.“Yes. He surprised us yesterday evening when he showed up. Thomas is really busy right now so he decided to come celebrate New Year’s Eve with us.” Mrs. Young said.“I wish I would’ve know that. Me and David would’ve spent last night with you guys.” Lauren said.“Well, dad and I knew you had plans. So, we didn’t call. I’m sorry doll.” Mrs. Young said.“That’s okay. I love you guys. I will see you a little later.” Lauren said.“I love you too.” Mr. and Mrs. Young said almost in unison.“Mom and dad are really excited.” Lauren told David as she sat at the kitchen table and David placed a plate of waffles in front of her. “This looks really yummy.” One of Lauren’s favorite things about David was his culinary skills. He was a fantastic cook.“Well, you know I do my thing.” David replied. He loved cooking for Lauren. It was one of his favorite things to do. His schedule was hectic and busy, but he tried to fit in at least one meal for her three to four times a week.“You know I love your cooking.” Lauren said. David went on to top the waffles with strawberries and sugar for his future wife. “You’re so good to me David. What did I do to ever deserve you?”David made himself a plate and sat across from her. “I can’t believe we’re engaged. We should start planning as soon as possible. I told mom and dad it’s going to be a small affair. Since we’re both in school, I think we should just keep things simple so we can stay focused on school. We can do it during the summer and as long as I’m fly and all our loved ones are there, that is good enough for me.” Lauren said.“I completely agree honey. And, you’re always fly” David replied.“Thanks honey.” Lauren blushed.“So, what do you have up for today?” David asked.“I think I am going to go look for dresses. I’m going to call Leighton and see if she wants to roll with me. I’m telling you sweetie, besides the family and friends thing, the must-have for this event is that I have an absolute fly dress.”“Sweetie, like I told you, you are fly everyday.” David said.“That’s why I love you doll.” Lauren said as she finished her last piece of waffle and got up with her plate and walked over to kiss David. “You are such a good liar. Give me your plate.” She took the dirty plates and placed them in the dishwasher.Lauren picked up the phone and called Leighton. “Hey girl! What’s up?” Lauren asked.“Hey! Nothing much. Chillin. I just woke up.” Leighton answered.“Guess what girl.” Lauren said.“What’s that?” Leighton inquired.“Your girl got engaged last night.” Lauren told her.“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh my god! That’s amazing! I am so happy for you!” Leighton screamed.“Yeah girl. I am so excited. I was wondering if you had time today to go look at dresses with me and pick up some bridal magazines?” Lauren asked.“Of course! Let me hop in the shower and I’ll be right there.” Leighton asked. She was so excited she hung up the phone before Lauren could even say goodbye.Lauren laughed. “That girl is a mess! She was so excited she hung up on me. She’s crazy!”Lauren knew Leighton would be happy for her. It was one of the reasons she loved Leighton so much. She wasn’t one of those competitive girls who wanted to hate on you anytime something good happened to you in your career, personal life or otherwise. She was a loving and caring friend who genuinely wanted the best for her friends and when good things happened to the people in her life, she was generally even happier than them. Her heart was golden.“I’m going to go get in the shower and get dressed before Leighton gets here.” Lauren told David.“Alright baby. You girls have fun. I’m going to hoop. I will see you later.” David went into their bedroom and changed into his basketball shorts and a wife beater while Lauren got into the shower. He was gone by the time Lauren got out.Lauren got dressed and did her makeup.Leighton finally arrived. When Lauren answered the door, she was nearly knocked down by her friend’s enthusiastic hug.“I am so happy for you. Let me see your ring?” Leighton said as she grabbed Lauren’s left hand to check out her ring. “Oh my god! It’s gorgeous! I knew that boy wouldn’t let us down when he finally popped the question! Kudos my friend! Kudos!” Leighton said. She was so filled with excitement she almost exploded right there on David and Lauren’s hardwood floor.“I know. It’s beautiful. He did good.” Lauren agreed. She wasn’t necessarily a diamond girl. But, this ring was making her become one. She was usually a costume, vintage jewelry type of woman, but the stunner on her finger was making her rethink her jewelry ambitions.“Let’s go. I am so happy for you. We are going to find you the perfect dress.” Leighton said.“I know. I told my parents and David I want to have something small. I’m happy as long as I am surrounded by all of my family and friends. That’s my number one priority for this wedding. But, the second most important thing is that I have a fabulous dress. I have to have a fly dress, girl! I have to!” Lauren said.“I know. You have to have the perfect dress. And as your maid of honor, it is my job to make sure that happens. I am the maid of honor right?” Leighton asked.“Girl, of course you are. Let me grab my bag and let’s go.” Lauren said.The girls drove to one of D.C.’s most popular and exclusive bridal shops.It was filled with white, off white and cream wedding dresses and accessories. Lauren felt a little bit overwhelmed, but still every bit excited and happy. She tried on about ten dresses and finally she ran across the perfect dress. She knew it by the way Leighton looked at her when she walked out of the dressing room. She looked as if she was staring at an angel. The silk sleeveless white mermaid dress fit Lauren like a glove. It hugged every curve of her body and showcased her beautiful dark skin. “Oh my god Lauren! You are gorgeous! That’s it!” Leighton said with her eyes firmly fixed on Lauren. You couldn’t take your eyes off of her in the dress. She was a goddess. “You look like heaven. That’s the dress!”“I agree. This is the dress! It feels right.” Lauren said.The bridal store owner walked over to Lauren and placed a beautiful veil on her head. It was a long cathedral length veil with Swarvoski crystals strategically placed throughout. “That’s the perfect veil for that dress. Since the dress is so simple, the veil adds that extra flavor.” Leighton said.“I can’t believe we found the perfect dress this quickly in the process. I was so scared it was going to take forever to find the dress for me.” Lauren excitedly told Leighton. “You’re my good luck charm Leighton.”“That’s what a maid of honor is supposed to be.” Leighton said.“You know what else is really important that I hadn’t thought about until now?” Lauren asked Leighton.“What’s that?” Leighton asked.Leighton briefly thought about it and then the girls simultaneously answered, “the food.”“I hate when you go to a wedding and everything is perfect and then you eat dinner and it’s disgusting.” Lauren said.“I know. I hate that.” Leighton agreed.Lauren bought her dress and veil on the spot and the girls decided to go out for a celebratory lunch. They went to one of their favorite cafes since college and enjoyed gourmet pizza and a couple of glasses of champagne. “I am so happy for you guys.” Leighton told her friend.“Thank you. That means a lot to me. Oh, by the way, don’t think you aren’t going to be gorgeous on my wedding day. I’m thinking a mermaid silhouette for you, but something black and dramatic like Alexander McQueen with really dramatic makeup and diamond accessories.” Lauren said.“Sounds good to me.” Leighton said lifting her glass to toast Lauren.“I’m thinking all of the girls will wear different dresses to compliment their bodies, styles and personalities.” Lauren said.“That sounds good to me. I hate when everybody wears the same thing because everybody has different body types. It looks much better to have everybody just rock their own thing.” Leighton said.“My point exactly.” Lauren said.“So, do you guys plan on having a minivan full of kids or what?” Leighton asked.“I don’t know. I never really thought about it until now. I have been so focused on my education, ya know? But, I started thinking about it last night after he asked me to marry him, and I would love to have his babies. Two kids would be nice. A boy and a girl, of course. I think I can do the working mom thing. I think. I want to try at least.” Lauren answered.She loved David and wanted to share children with him. Family was important to both of them. They both had tight relationships with their immediate and extended families.“I can see you both with kids. You seem like kids people. You guys are going to make great parents.” Leighton told her friend.“Thank you. Well, first things first. I need to finish planning this wedding, get married, finish law school and find a job first. Wow! That sounds like a lot when I say it out loud.” Lauren said. She felt somewhat overwhelmed. It seemed like a ton had been added to her already full plate. It was an intimidating thought. “I feel like I am going to have an anxiety attack now.” She took a deep breath.“Well, you know I’m here to help you get through it all.” Leighton reassured her friend.“That’s enough about me. What’s new with you?” Lauren asked.“Well, I am absolutely loving my new job. I am really good at the whole stylist thing. Everybody at the magazine is wonderful. I’m super happy. How many people can say they graduated college and loved their first job? It doesn’t feel like I am paying dues at all. It feels like I get to go to work everyday and play dress up and shop for amazing clothes and work with all these great designers.” Leighton worked as a fashion assistant and stylist for one of the region’s hottest fashion magazines. It was a dream job for a fashionista like Leighton.“I am so proud of you. You deserve it.” Lauren told her best bud.Lauren and Leighton’s lives were going better than they ever dreamed of when they were young freshmen staying up late at night wondering how their lives would be after college.The girls made their way back to Lauren and David’s apartment. They hid the wedding dress in Lauren’s closet. It was important that David didn’t see it before the wedding. Lauren was really superstitious. It would definitely mean that the marriage wouldn’t work out if he saw the dress before she walked down the aisle.The girls hung out a little bit longer and watched a chic flick and had dinner.David came home a little later that evening.“Well, I am going to leave you two love birds alone. I’ve got my own man to tend to. I’m sure he is missing me right now. I need him to polish my toenails. They look a mess.” Leighton told Lauren and David.“He paints your toenails?” Lauren asked.“Yes girl. He caters to moi.” Leighton told her.“David, you might have to start painting my toenails! Uhm hum! That sounds like a winner!” Lauren playfully told her fiancée.“Leighton, get out! Don’t give her anymore ideas!” David jokingly told Leighton.“Bye ya’ll!” Leighton said and she grabbed her keys and purse and left.“Did you ladies have fun today?” David asked.“Yes. We did.” Lauren answered as she walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him. “I found the perfect dress. It’s gorgeous! You are going to love it!”“I’m sure I will. But, you always look gorgeous baby!” David said.“What do you think about kids?” Lauren asked David.“Kids? What do you mean?” David wasn’t expecting that question from Lauren at that moment. It was quite random. He figured it would come up eventually. “I like kids.”“I know sweetie. But, do you want kids? How many? When do you think we should have them?” Lauren asked.“I think it’s always best to play everything by ear. If God blesses us with kids, great and if he doesn’t, great.” David answered.“Why do you seem so shocked? We are engaged now. You don’t think we should discuss this?” Lauren asked. David seemed nervous about the subject.“I’m not shocked. I guess I just figured that you were just one of those career driven women who didn’t really want kids.” David honestly thought this about his fiancée. They had never talked about kids their entire relationship. Their conversations about their future included vacations and careers.“I am career-driven. But, I want kids. I thought you would to. I thought we were both family people.” Lauren said.“We are family people and I can’t wait to make you apart of my family. Do you know how happy I am?” David reassured his future wife.“As happy as I am?” Lauren said with sweetness in her voice. David always knew what to say. She couldn’t wait to be Mrs. David Christiansen. He came from a great family. It was going to be the most amazing day of her life when she became his wife.