Here’s a story that wouldn’t ordinarily make the local news report.
It’s a love story from Larchmont, shared by art gallery owner Kenise Barnes. She helped conspire, with the best of intentions, in her employee’s recent engagement. And this is a good day to pass it along.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Romance lives. It lives right here in our midst. Cupid and Eros together could not have come up with a story as good as this.
Leanne is the charming, effusive Gallery Manager at Kenise Barnes Fine Art in Larchmont. She and Jorge have been a couple since their student days at Stony Brook University. Friday January 27th marked their six-year “anniversary,” and Jorge, being the romantic type, wanted to give his darling Leanne a surprise she will always remember. It unfolded like this:
First, it’s important to know: Leanne and Jorge have endured a lot of time apart. An ambitious, young professional in the financial field, Jorge has been posted to his company’s Paris office for the last two years. Leanne joined him there for a number of months last summer, but their romance in the past half year has been sustained mostly with Skype and text messages.
The time had come to do something about that. Leanne and Jorge both knew they were meant to be together, but Leanne had no idea they’d be together on the day of their sixth anniversary. Or that she would receive a proposal and a diamond and the promise of a many more days together.
To pull this off, Jorge conspired with Leanne’s boss, Kenise Barnes, way back in November, and made her promise that, under no circumstances should Leanne be allowed to take January 27th off. His worst fear was that she would fly to Paris to surprise him on the exact day he was flying to New York to surprise her.
Kenise, being a romantic type herself, was happy to oblige. And she recruited Alex, the proprietor of Le Wine Shop on Palmer Avenue, to help. Alex, as it turned out, was quite a romantic too, and pulled off his role brilliantly.
The plan was simple but ingenious: Furtively and unannounced, Jorge took a morning flight from Paris to JFK. (With the diamond ring he had been nervously carrying around in his pocket for two weeks.) He made his way to Larchmont, where Alex greeted him showed him to the back of Le Wine Shop. There he set up his iPod and a camera to record the moment.
On cue, Alex called Kenise to let her know that “…the new wine she wished to sample for her upcoming opening had arrived”, and that she could come over and pick it up. Leanne liked visiting Le Wine Shop; it gave her an opportunity to practice her French with Alex.
So, conveniently, Kenise decided to send Leanne instead, and watched her walk out the door, directly into the well-laid ploy.
Alex, who is always very helpful, feigned being on the phone when Leanne arrived. “The wine is in the cooler…” he said as he waved here to the back of the store.
“That’s strange…” thought Leanne as she heard the melody of “their song”.
But that was no match for her surprise when she came around the corner and found Jorge, already with tears of excitement and nervousness, on his knee, with a diamond ring in hand, and a proposal on his lips.
In her joyous shock, Leanne’s first words were, “Oh my God!”, and then “What are you doing here?”, and then, finally: “Yes.”
It was an artfully directed scene; the couple embraced as a bottle of fine champagne was opened. Toasts were offered in French and in English before Jorge whisked Leanne off for a picture perfect weekend in New York.