Missing piece to the puzzle

Christin Smith and Zach Watanabe, both of Mustang, recently got engaged after finding out each were the missing pieces to their puzzles.
Smith was a freshman at Mustang Mid-High, before it became a part of the high school, and Watanabe was a junior at Mustang High School when the two met.
The two met on the school bus in front of the Mid-High after school one day.
“That would have been the first time that we saw each other. One the bus we just talked and became friends. That’s where it all started,” Watanabe said.
The two began dating about a month after meeting each other, but it didn’t last long. They tried to date again in high school, but still didn’t last longer than a week.
Although Smith and Watanabe never dated long in high school, they continued to remain best friends, even during life after graduation, usually keeping in touch via Facebook.
“I got a message from him saying he didn’t know if he could be friends anymore because he had feelings for me and I had never really given him a chance because we were best friends and I was like, ‘that’s totally going to mess everything up,’ but I decided I’d rather give him a shot than lose him for good,” Smith said.
Watanabe told Smith he wasn’t sure if he wanted to be in a relationship, but he wanted to go on a date and see how it went.
Watanabe and Smith decided to meet up to go Pokémon hunting together for their first date.
At the end of the day Smith told Watanabe she “really wanted to be in a relationship” with him, and he replied “Okay, let’s do it.”
“It didn’t long just hanging out with her to be like, ‘this feels right,’” Watanabe said. “It just took one day.”
Finally, the two began dating again last July and the third time was the charm.
“I gave him a shot and I guess it kind of worked out,” Smith joked.
Watanabe said he told himself Smith was the one for him soon after meeting her. Smith chimed in saying he told her on the bus the school year they met that he was going to marry her one day and she swore “it wasn’t going to happen.”
“It was crazy because my junior year she was my first girlfriend I ever had officially,” Watanabe said. “One of my friends told me sometime in that year after we first met, ‘you know, it always ends up going back to the first one.’ I thought, ‘huh, that’s interesting, but whatever’ and I blew it off.”
Smith said she had a string of bad relationships, including having a Victim Protective Order (VPO) against an ex-boyfriend, so she wasn’t looking for another relationship to turn bad.
“It was just bad relationship after bad relationship. When me and [Watanabe] got together, it was completely different. It was one of those things where it’s like, ‘oh, this is what it’s supposed to be like whenever you really care about somebody,’” Smith said. “I knew he was the one after a couple of weeks or a month maybe after dating this time.”
“It took you that long?” Watanabe joked.
During their 11 months together before getting engaged, Watanabe and Smith solved several crossword and sudoku puzzles they solved together after dinner.
Watanabe decided to get Smith to the proposal spot with self-made puzzles she had to solve.
“I knew I wanted to do something custom and knew puzzles were something she liked,” he said. “My mom’s like a next-level expert at Excel so I told her I needed her help. The word search is the first thing we made and we realized word searches are extremely difficult when you have long words. The goal was once she solved it, all the letters she didn’t circle were scrambled up and that was going to be her last clue to ask ‘Where did we first meet?’ That would get her to the ninth-grade center. It was tough, but it was mostly just words about our relationship.
“A couple days later I wanted to make the sudoku, and this was a pain because sudokus are really hard to try to make yourself. Even trying to edit one that was already existing was extremely difficult. We came up with a grid design and used those and put it into a basic math equation to get to nine.
“Then we did the crossword and my mom was like, ‘only one word goes the other direction.’ This one was mostly just questions about relationship about me, our families and things we did together.”
Although the puzzles were made in a different order, they were given to Smith in the order of the sudoku, crossword then the word search.
The puzzles gave the clues of “nine” and “parking lot” before asking the questions of “where did we first meet?”
Watanabe and Smith’s friends, Ashleigh and Justin Hodges, were with each of them and had developed a code system to make sure they arrived at the Mid-High at the correct time.
Smith said she caught on quickly that this is how Watanabe was going to propose and she loves that the puzzles brought her to where they first met, bringing their Mustang love story full circle.
“I love it. It’s original and unique that we have this Mustang background,” Smith said.
Watanabe and Smith haven’t decided on a venue to confirm their date yet, but they said they hope to shoot for June 2 of next year.

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