The two decided to meet at Oceanaire. Sproul was so nervous before the date she locked herself into her boss’s office and had a solo dance party to get rid of her butterflies. At the restaurant they sat in awkward silence until Latimer announced he was ordering shrimp. They clinked jumbo shrimp instead of cocktail glasses and the giggling resumed.
After dinner Sproul invited him to her place to watch “Firefly,” a sci-fi series she couldn’t believe he hadn’t seen. During the first episode, they kissed. “Finally!” she recalls. “I worked hard for that.”
Sproul had been casually dating other guys, but after a second date with Latimer later that week, she cut things off with each of them.
The two began to see each other regularly, but Latimer was apprehensive about the age difference. “I thought she was too young to be serious about anything,” he says. “She had a long time to see other people and do things. And I felt uncomfortable.”
But they always made each other laugh, and she nudged him off his couch to go to concerts and on quirky adventures. The pair spent their first Valentine’s Day visiting the world’s oldest edible cured ham, in Smithfield, Va.
“One of the neat things was just to see how happy Anna made him,” says Roseboom. “He was almost giddy.”
And eventually, he stopped worrying about her age. “I decided, ‘Look, it’s a fact of life. What can you do about it? If you’re meant to be with somebody and it works out, who cares?’ ” he says.
Still, when Latimer began to think about marriage after 18 months of dating, he could sense Sproul’s hesitation. She asked him not to propose on a trip to Michigan and talked about going abroad for a doctoral program.
“I didn’t want to rush things,” says Sproul, now 27. “I’m in my 20s and I want to be with him — I think for the rest of my life — but I’m not in a hurry.”
Sproul shifted her thinking the week of her birthday in April 2011. She is notorious for losing things, and her mother had just given her a pair of earrings and a bracelet. She wore them to a movie with Latimer, but when she looked at her wrist and saw that the bracelet was gone, she began to sob. Once the lights came up, Latimer got on the ground to search and came up with the bracelet. “I felt so taken care of,” she says. “Like I finally had somebody who had my back in a huge blind spot of mine.”
Latimer had purchased a diamond ring the previous December, but he was so worried that Sproul would reject his proposal that he asked repeatedly about the store’s return policy. Finally the jeweler asked, “Are you sure you want to do this?” recalls Latimer, now 41.
He took the ring, knowing there was a six-month window to return it. On Easter morning, a week after Sproul’s birthday, Latimer hid the Tiffany’s box in a basket filled with her favorite candy and other treats.
They stopped at the grounds of Washington National Cathedral, where Sproul had gone to high school. On a bench, she unpacked her goodies and realized they held personal significance. When she found the ring box, Latimer got down one one knee, but the normally eloquent speechwriter lost his tongue. “Please, please marry me,” he choked out.
As tears streamed down Sproul’s face, she replied, “Okay.” They drove to her parents’ home in Bethesda, where Latimer asked for her father’s blessing before the couple celebrated with her family.
On July 28, the two were married at the National Cathedral and toasted by guests, including Cokie Roberts and Donald Rumsfeld, during a reception at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase.
“There’s that cliche, ‘love happens when you’re not looking for it,’ ” Latimer said before the wedding. “In my case it was totally true. Anna basically had to write a sign saying, ‘I want to go out with you.’ ”
“And for me,” Sproul laughs, “The lesson is, ‘Love happens when you progressively pursue it!’ ”
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