She knew it was coming.
Or hoped it was.
But Emily Parks, a Spanish teacher and assistant cheerleading coach at Boca Raton High School, wasn’t sure how or when her boyfriend, Zac Trahan, would propose.
The idea that “this is it” idly crossed her mind during halftime at the Oct. 27 football game with Atlantic High School, when the band at halftime started playing one of the couple’s favorite songs, the Bruno Mars tune, “That’s What I Like.”
“I thought, “Would he actually do something like this?’”
But she didn’t expect Zac, a fifth grade teacher in Vero Beach, that night. He’d told her he was held up in Vero and wouldn’t be able to make it to the game.
Besides, the head cheerleading coach had asked her to pay attention to a new routine the cheerleaders were doing, so she was concentrating on four cheerleaders holding signs announcing the name of the song.
Then suddenly, Zac was there, his arms around her waist, pulling her onto the field.
“It hit me. I’m about to be proposed to,” Parks recalled.
She saw the cheerleaders tear off the paper coverings on their signs, revealing the words, “Senorita Parks, Marry Me?”
When she turned to look at Zac, he was down on one knee, holding flowers and a ring box.
She managed to say, yes, yes, of course, yes, before Zak picked her up and swung her in a circle, the very picture of joy.
Of course, there was squealing. And, a clutch of teenage girls wanting to see the ring. Her engagement ring. It felt strange to say it.
“The cheerleaders, the whole school, is cheering, the announcer is saying, ‘We have a proposal’,” Parks, 26, said, laughing at the memory. “He’d even gone to my house, picked up a dress and shoes, and said, ‘Hurry and change. We’re going to celebrate’.”
At Cheesecake Factory, Parks’ favorite restaurant, they called family and friends. They were getting married. It didn’t even matter that Boca lost the game.
“I had the ring for about a month.,” said Trahan, 27. “I wanted to propose in a way that would be memorable and also very romantic. The head cheerleading coach helped arrange everything.”
Parks, who lived in Boca Raton, was a freshman when she walked in and spotted the friendly guy trying to learn everyone’s name.
“He was very hospitable and really good-looking,” said Parks, who now lives in Lake Worth. ”He had my attention the whole time.”
But for years, they were only friends, afraid a relationship that might spoil a valued friendship. Over time, their friends became friends. Each grew close to the other’s siblings. But they dated other people.
Last February, Parks sent Trahan a quick text, saying she was rooting for his team, the New England Patriots, to win the Super Bowl. Let’s get together, they agreed.
This time, they were both single. And willing to take the chance that years of friendship might become something more.
“He makes me feel safe and loved and cared for,” said Parks. “Plus, he’s over the top fun to be with.”
Trahan said, “When you know, you know.”
It all seemed so right. Perfect, in fact.
On a couple of long road trips around the country this summer, they quantified their feelings with questions from a book called, “101 Questions to Answer Before You Get Engaged.”
“We didn’t even have to compromise,” said Trahan. “Our views lined up perfectly, like a jigsaw puzzle.”
Parks, too, was grateful for the clear-eyed approach to matrimony.
“We didn’t want to waste our time, we wanted to be intentional about it,” she said.
Now there’s a white gold ring set with 43 diamonds on her hand. A summer wedding to plan.
And a photo of the moment she said, “yes.”