I pull away from my family after they give me the biggest group hug ever. Dad, Alex, Jer, Calum, Ashton, Lane, and Kirk were all here and in the house that was once home to a family of four but only three came back. I look at my dad to see that he was in tears. I frown slightly.
"Why are you crying, Daddy?" I ask, hugging him by his waist, he hugs me back.
"Because being in this house again is hard, but seeing all of us in it again is beautiful and I missed seeing it and you're all grown up. 22 years ago today was your Dad's 22nd birthday. I remember him telling you that you were his favorite birthday present. I remember the first time he talked to you he had called you Zelda. I also remember he said I was slacking." He laughs in my ear and I also laugh.
"Well I had planned on releasing green balloons and one lantern tonight for his birthday. It's not too late to go get more balloons from the store. I only got three." I say, pulling back from him. He wipes his tears and then wipes mine with his thumbs.
"Three and a lantern is plenty." Dad smiles, kissing my forehead. I look around to see that Jess was nowhere to be seen. I frown, confused. "Where's Jess?" I ask. I look at all of them and they look like deer and headlights as if they were supposed to do something at a certain time, I don't know though.
"Oh!" Alex says, looking at the clock and then at the few presents on the table. He looks for a specific one and then hands it to me. "Here. You get to open this one early."
"Who is it from?" I ask confused.
"You'll see." Ashton says from sitting on the couch. I sit down in one of the chairs and everyone else makes themselves at home, sitting down and watching me. I open the small box to find just a folded up piece of paper. I scrunch my eyebrows together in confusion as I open the folded up notebook paper. I could immediately tell that it was from Jess because I know her handwriting like the back of my hand. I decide to read it out loud. "It says, 'Dear Madison, Today I have set up a whole day of adventuring through LA doing whatever you wanted to do. When we got home, your family was here because they planned on flying in way earlier than they told you. Now keeping that a secret from you was the hardest thing to do because I knew for an entire month. Your dad told me everything. Now since I wasn't home all day, they set up a little scavenger hunt in the house for you. Your goal for this scavenger hunt is to find me. Right? First you're going to start where this clue leads you to. We met at this place by accident.'" I had to think for a second as to where this could be in our house. Then I remembered the picture of the bridge that she brought with her. She had bought a frame for it not to long after that. I go upstairs to our room to find a little note sitting next to the picture frame. I smile at it, noticing it had a 2 written on the front so I know I am right. I open up this one, reading it.
'Yes! The Golden Gate Bridge. Tonight is a special night and you don't exactly know why yet. I want you to get changed into that cute sundress you wore when we first went out the day after we met. Please put on a small sweater over it since it is a little chilly. I care about you because I love you.'. I get changed and put on a pair of flats and a maroon cardigan to match the light pink of the dress. I found a note on the hanger with the dress on it so I now read the note.
'Okay, so now that you are all dressed up, I want you to go to the place where we first facetimed. I still remember meeting your brother and his boyfriend.' I smile widely, remembering that we were making Dad's birthday cake in the kitchen at home, but I'm pretty positive that she's referencing the kitchen. I rush down the stairs.
"How's the hunt for your girlfriend going?!" Alex shouts, laughing.
"Shut up asshole!" I giggle as I search for the notebook paper in a room full of snacks and party supplies. I look over at my cake to see the note sitting next to it. I smile, picking up the note and reading it.
'You're almost done, I promise. Now we haven't really been in your backyard together, but I want you to go back there and you'll see something amazing, trust me. I love you so much, Madison.' I grin, turning around to see everyone had come into the dining room which has a sliding glass door that leads to the back yard. They were all holding a rose and my dad was filming. I look at them confused.
"Just take them and go outside." Ash smiles at me, being first in the line of my family. I smile, confused still as I take a rose from each of them. When I get to the sliding glass door, I couldn't even see outside because there was black paper covering the glass. When the door opens, I see that the whole backyard is lit up with little lanterns on the path that leads to the gazebo in the back corner. There was a fire going for later most likely and there were rose petals on the stone path leading to the small gazebo. And in that gazebo there were christmas lights lit up inside and I see Jess, also slightly dressed up. Not fancy, but about as dressed up as I was. I run over to her with a huge smile on my face. When I get to her, I give her a huge hug. She hugs me back, swaying us back and forth. I giggle as Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls starts playing from a speaker over on the picnic table on the back porch. I look over to see everyone watching us. I'm still very confused on what's happening. Jess just keeps swaying us back and forth to the beat of the music.
"I love you so much, Jessie." I whisper in her ear.
"I love you too, Madison. I did all of this for two reasons." She giggles.
"What are they? I'm confused." I say as she makes me look at her, her hands still on my waist and mine still draped over her shoulders.
"Well one, because we've never had a first slow dance as a couple." She smiles, kissing me real quick and then continues. "Your dad sent me Michael's notebook that you sent back to him so I could get a feel of how to do things since he says you are just like Michael. That's why Iris is playing because that was their first slow dance." She smiles. I giggle.
"Okay that's cute. So what's the second reason?" I ask. She seems to get nervous and tense up a little bit, but is still very calm. It doesn't worry me at all because she did this for me. She takes a deep breath, letting it all out and then speaks.
"Okay, so the second reason is this. I love you so much, Madison. I really do. We've only been together for almost 4 months and my life has been so much better with you in it. But," She pauses, scaring me as she pulls away from me, looking down. But then she looks up at me with the biggest smile and the brightest eyes. She breathes out a laugh as she gets down on one knee. Opening a small ring box. "My life isn't complete without you staying with me forever. Will you marry me, Madison?" She smiles nervously. I'm completely shocked by this and cover my mouth as a huge smile forms from my dropped jaw. I nod as tears start to pour from my eyes.
"Yes. Yes, yes yes." I smile more as she takes my left hand to put the ring on my finger. She stands, handing me the other engagement ring to put onto her finger. I could hardly do it from how shaky I was from shock. I manage to slip the ring on her left ring finger and she hugs me tightly. "I love you so much." I mumble. She pulls back from me, taking my face in her hands and kisses me.
"I love you too." She smiles, wiping my tears. "I love you to the moon."
"And back?" I ask, smiling. I know exactly where she got this saying from.