The plan was a pin-up photo-shoot, a chance to make memories with mom, but Tuesday evening became so much more for Cassie Billings.
Kilgore News Herald’s summer intern is heading back to Indiana and Anderson University, and set aside time Aug. 21 for an Everything That Blings photo session with her mother, Rebecca.
Dolled up in the vintage attire and classic makeup and hair, the pair posed for pictures underneath the derricks of the World’s Richest Acre. They paused for a chat.
“All the sudden my parents look at me and say, ‘Hey, we’ve been lying to you.’ I feel this random hand on my waist. I turned around and I see that it’s Matt,” Cassie said.
Matthew Reed – her longtime crush and classmate, nine months a pair – was standing there with a ring in his hand. She leapt into his arms “like a spider monkey,” he released her and dropped to one knee.
“My first reaction was, he can’t be here, but he is here. I haven’t seen him in over a month,” Cassie recalled. “He set me down, he said my full name. I didn’t hear anything else because I was internally screaming.”
He picked the spot well, she added.
“The oil derrick we were under was actually significant to me,” Casse said, a place she and a close friend, the late Samantha Watkins, often visited to hang-out. “That’s one of the last places I went to with her. He knew that was important to me from all the various times he visited here.”
Cassie and Matt have classes ahead at Anderson – he’s a senior, studying computer engineering; she’s a junior, honing her journalism skills – and there’s lots of planning ahead: they’ll be married in a ‘brunch wedding’ May 20 in Kilgore.
– By JAMES DRAPER