When Chris Quick caught sight of Theresa Dockery in a Fells Point bar, he liked the fact that she wasn't wearing much makeup and had a natural beauty. It was Christmas Eve 1994, and a mutual friend introduced them.
That night, Theresa gave Chris and some other friends a ride home and offered him her phone number. When he called the next day, they talked for hours.
"Chris is really quiet," Theresa says, especially around people he doesn't know. But, "he talks my ear off all the time."
Soon, the two were a couple. Theresa, 31, who spent her childhood moving with her father's military career, saw Chris plenty during the winter months when he worked at a local restaurant. But, "every summer he left me" to work for the Ocean City Beach Patrol.
Chris, 26, who grew up in Canton, worked summers at the beach until 2000. His schedule made it difficult for him to come back to Baltimore. So whenever she could, Theresa would take off Fridays and Mondays from her job as a contract specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and go to Ocean City.
"Many days I sat in a beach chair next to his stand, reading a book," Theresa says.
In 1996, Chris took the exam to join the Baltimore City Fire Department. But there was a long list of eligible people, and for four years, he was not offered a job.
"I pretty much gave up on it," Chris says. But, in August 2000, he was accepted into the department.
"He's an adrenaline junkie," says Theresa, who tries not to worry too much about the dangers of his job.
While Chris was starting his new career, Theresa was earning her bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Baltimore.
She used the nights he was working as a time to study. When they have free time together, Theresa enjoys cheering Chris on as he plays in a competitive soccer league. They also enjoy running, biking, going out on the town and movies.
Chris' new job gave the couple a reason to think about the next step for their relationship. For years they had been there for each other through difficult and good times. And, Chris says, being accepted into the Fire Department meant fewer worries because it was a stable career with benefits.
Chris decided it was time to propose. "Since I met her, it felt good," he says. "It was natural."
He came home from Christmas shopping carrying a bouquet of flowers with an engagement ring hidden inside. Theresa was sick that day and, at first, she was not in the mood for the romantic gesture. But soon she figured out what was going on, and said yes.
The two, who live in Hamilton, were married in a Catholic ceremony at St. Anthony of Padua church in Baltimore.
Afterward, family and friends enjoyed dinner and dancing at the Overlea. Guests received chocolate fire helmets Theresa made with her mother and sister.
The two are looking forward to buying a house, having a family and building a future together. But through many years and many changes, they have proven they are committed to each other.
When she needs someone to talk to, "I know he's going to be there for me," says Theresa. "The way he cares about me, it's unconditional."