Backstory: In 2010, I moved from L.A to Houston to do radio at 97.9 The Box. In June, I had a big birthday bash at club “Venue” out there, and un beknownst to me, Duane got a table at the club that night because he wanted to meet me. During that time the Texans (whom he plays left tackle for) were on lockout so he was in and out of the city. We talked a little bit at my party and, thanks to a mutual friend named Candy, ended up in the same circle’s a few more times. Finally one day, via twitter, we exchanged numbers platonically. When the NFL lockout ended I shot him a playful “Now its time for you to get back to work” text. He replied back that he had just gotten back to Houston and asked if I wanted to hang out. We ended up seeing the Tribe Called Quest documentary together the following day, and never left each others side after that.
how they asked: Shoot forward 4 months later. One of my best friends – Mari Ronquillo, who also happens to be singer Mario’s publicist – calls me and invites me to his listening session in Los Angeles. By this time, I’m living in New York working at SiriusXM’s Shade 45 music channel and Duane and I are figuring out how to make a long distance relationship work. The week that I am invited to go to LA also happens to be the Texan’s “Bye Week” so I invited him along with me. Duane said he would roll but that he could only stay for one day because he had to be in Dallas for a friend’s party. I was kind of frustrated that he was leaving early, and I felt like he had been acting mischievous and distant so I was being kind of fussy.
Shoot….I was being VERY fussy. My Saturday was goingcrappy! My man was flying out, none of the places I wanted to go in LA were open (couldn’t eat at Katana!!) and my friends were acting too busy for me. Duane took off to the airport (so I thought) and I laid in bed at the hotel, turned my ringer off and was planing on skipping the listening session. Yes…I was being a major brat! Well, my besties didnt allow that for long. My girl April showed up at the hotel, forced me to get dressed, and made me promise I’d at least go to the party long enough to have one drink with her.
When we arrived at the Sofitel in Beverly Hills, my girl and I headed to the back room for what the hostess described as a “Private Party”. The moment I opened the door, the first sound I head what that of Jeffrey Osbourne’s voice. Our song “Love Ballad” blarred through the speakers.
The first face I saw was my mothers, with an ear to ear smile and water in her eyes. As I’m trying to figure out what his happening, I notice familiar face after familiar face….a middle school friend, high school friend, college friend…all these important people in my life were right there staring at me.
Then the love of my life…the man who I thought was on a plane bound for Dallas walked out and said:
“Dev, the moment I met you I knew you were something special…little did I know what kind of impact you would have in my life…you are the most amazing person I’ve ever met and just the thought of you brings a smile to my face…You make me strive to be a better man every day…it’s been a privilege entering this journey with you…only God knows what the future holds for us…but I know that I don’t want one without you…..(drops down to a knee)….Devon…will u do me the honor of being my wife?”
After I nodded YES fast enough to give me whip flash, I had questions galore! Turns out he and my three best friends – Ila, Mari and April – had been working on this surprise dinner for three weeks. The menu was perfection and the red velvet cupcakes with our initials scribbled across the top were to die for.
I couldn’t be happier then I am now, and though we haven’t yet settled on a wedding date were thinking mid-summer in Southern California!
Oh and the ring??? Forget about it! Hands down the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. A perfect round brilliant diamond with no flaws. I’ve since named her “Oksana Baiul.”