how we met
It was August of 2011, right before my sophomore year at NC A&T. I was with my parents and we were headed to Raleigh to see some family. On the way, we stopped at the Sheetz gas station. TJ was with his fraternity brothers, as he would say, he was “kidnapped” and thought they were just riding to the store up the street. He later finds out, after being on the highway, that they were actually going to his fraternity brother’s store in Atlanta. On the way, they stopped at the Sheetz gas station – where we had our first exchange.As I was heading out of the store, we locked eyes. Apparently he told them “that’s going to be my girl”. He greeted me first and we were talking a bit. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but we exchanged numbers. My stepdad saw the exchange and told my mom about it. We still joke about it to this day. He always says I texted him the whole way there, but I don’t remember that at all. He came to see me at school shortly after, and the rest is history.
how they asked
Torri’s side: We became an “official” couple in 2013, two years after meeting and when TJ graduated from school (I had one more year left). One of our favorite things to do as a couple is to travel. We started a tradition of going to Cancun, Mexico every year. For our 2019 Cancun trip, we decided to plan it around my birthday. The night before our trip, as TJ was packing, he asked what I was planning to wear because we were doing a photoshoot. I was thinking, “Oh, we are!?” I just said I’ll wear one of the dresses I already packed, not thinking anything of it at first. But then I started thinking that wasn’t like him and he must be planning something. When we arrived at the resort TJ wanted to take pictures immediately to get them out of the way. I thought that was strange, but I went along with it. We went to the resort’s professional photographer and set a time to come back and take pics. While we were waiting, we went to a pool party to enjoy some drinks and the scene until it was time to go get dressed. Once our time came for the photoshoot, we chose a few spots by the beach that were perfect. When we got to the last few photos, I suggested the pier. We took a few photos there and then TJ gave the photographer his phone. When he got back in place behind me, I heard him saying something and then he immediately got on one knee. I turned around and started crying. I was speechless. I just remember I kept saying, “Are you serious?” and then I asked if he told my mom lol. TJ’s side: We changed clothes and I knew it was time to grab the ring out of my bag. I put the ring box in my back pocket so she would never see it and we went to meet the photographer. We took a lot of pictures in different areas but I knew the background I wanted in the shot, so I waited until I felt right. We were trying to go to a rooftop that had the ocean in the background which I thought was perfect, but the door was locked. Next, we went to the pier and the background looked good but I wasn’t sure. There was a boat of around 60 ppl that came by and started cheering us on to kiss each other and that’s when I knew we had an audience and the vibe was perfect. So I told the photographer to record us on the pier for a second and she was a little confused but when I dropped down to one knee she knew it was the moment. The people on the boat started going crazy and Torri started to smile-cry. Smile-cry isn’t a word, but it’s this little thing she does lol (if you know her, you know). I gave my speech and to this day, I’m still waiting for a yes or no answer lol. She was lost for words and I know I caught her off guard.