Gabrielle Alyse Neimand caught a glimpse of a tiger the length of Micah Lennon McEachen’s forearm while sharing a tray full of cupcakes at her boyfriend’s cupcake tasting in Los Angeles on Feb.13, 2015.
He likes to think of it as Friday the 13th while she likes to say it the day before Valentine’s Day.
“He’s got full-sleeved tattoos,” said Ms. Neimand, who walks past Brie and tries not to stare. “He has a lot of nice work, a beautiful Polish tiki totem and a ship at sea.”
After arriving a few minutes late, she took the only seat next to her in the Kitchen24 restaurant, where her friend Romy Orantes, the head chef, used the feedback from 10 tasters that day to tweak the cupcake recipes.
Ms. Neimand’s interpretation of her favorite cupcake, the peanut butter pretzel with chocolate – it needed more crunch. Its on strawberry-lemon curd – “very lemony, creamy and tasty.”
“She was sociable and clearly intelligent,” said McEachen, 40, who worked as a Hollywood restaurant manager in the evenings.
While they were chatting, they also discovered that they were all just from a long-term relationship.
“He was the UPS of the day, an unexpected pleasant surprise,” said Ms. Neimand, 42, a television producer who now works as a screenwriter for Fremantle Media in Los Angeles. She graduated from Northwestern.
One hour after the tasting, right after her friend tagged a photo thank you Facebook post to all tasters, Mr. McEachen contacted Ms. Neimand via Facebook Messenger.
“Do you like fireworks?” he asked.
“Literally or figuratively,” she replied.
“Both,” he said without missing a blow.
A week later, they went to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in downtown Disney, Anaheim. Later, under Disney’s nightly fireworks, they had their first kiss from the giant Lego statues of Belle and the Beast.
On Sundays, his day off, they soon went to baseball games, concerts, and movies outdoors, or saw each other around 3 a.m. after his shift
“We were in a relationship without realizing we were in a relationship,” she said, and in October when she was ready for one, he wasn’t. So they broke up.
They started a “real” relationship in the summer of 2016 after hanging out on the Santa Monica Pier playing air hockey, but broke up in April 2017.
“As much as we loved each other, we were on different sides,” she said.
During a year of “soul searching” he left the restaurant scene to work daytime at Servpro in North Hollywood, a home restoration and refurbishment company of which he is the manager. He is studying psychology at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, California.
To her surprise, he asked her to have dinner on May 5, 2018, a Saturday evening. and told her he was ready to date with “one eye forever”. They soon decided to seek advice to see if they were crazy to try again.
In August 2019, he fell to one knee in the mud in the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye during a trip to Scotland.
Three months later, Ms. Neimand found out she was pregnant.
“We were absolutely thrilled,” she said.
They planned to get married to 250 guests in November 2020 at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica, California, but amidst Covid, Mr McEachen’s unexpected March 2020 cancer surgery that was successful, and the arrival of baby, James Eron McEachen, in June the plans changed.
On April 10, Rabbi Sari Laufer officiated at the Casa di Pietra, a beach mansion in Malibu, California, in front of the immediate family, and around 300 guests flocked from around the world.
Her Huppa was sewn with pieces of fabric that carried messages and decorated by 150 friends and family members (mom, dad and baby cupcakes from Mrs. Orantes). The groom’s blue, green, and red Clanranald tartan also appeared – on kilts he, his brother and father wore, the baby’s romper and masks.