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‘When He Pulled the Ring Out of the Cake I Was Very Shocked’

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BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY

Special to the Birmingham Times

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Barnett Wright bwright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.

ANDREA AND QUINDARIUS JOHNSON

Live: Alabaster

Married: March 30, 2010

Met: On Halloween 2003, in front of Quindarius’s house in their West End neighborhood. Andrea, then 13, used to walk past Quindarius’s (then 14) house every day on her way home from basketball practice.

“That was actually my first time seeing her and when I saw her coming from down the street I was like, ‘ooh, she looks good, she looked like a honeybun to me’, so I took my shirt off because my body looked real nice and I wanted her to see it by the time she made it my way,” Quindarius laughed. “So, I approached her and asked her name and where she was going at this time because it was getting dark, and I shot my shot. She was smiling when she first saw me, so I told her I liked the way she smiled and that she looked good.”

“He tried to walk me all the way home but I only let him walk me to the end of the street because I didn’t want to get in trouble, but he did seem genuinely concerned,” Andrea recalled. “We did exchange numbers [before we parted ways]. “I would pass his way on my way home from basketball practice because he told me he would anticipate me coming down his street, and then we became friends and started playing basketball together.”

“Like ‘Love And Basketball’ [the early 2000s’ film],” Quindarius added. “And, she honestly didn’t have to pass my house to get home, so I think she was passing by to see me too because she could’ve went a couple more ways to get home.”

The two became friends and began catching feelings for one another in 2004 when Andrea became a freshman at West End High School, which Quindarius also attended and was a sophomore.

First date: An after-school date in November 2004, at Andre’s in West End. The pair walked there together.

“It was the first time we actually set aside some time to sit and talk with each other, and we planned it…. I remember he asked me if I ‘liked him-liked him’, Andrea laughed, “and I remember Andre’s had the biggest and best burgers in West End, and we had burgers and fries.”

“I used to work with my dad during those times so I had money to pay for the date. I remember I was excited, I couldn’t wait till after school time. After we finished eating and it was time to walk home she still wouldn’t let me walk her all the way home, she stopped me at the end of the block,” Quindarius laughed.

The turn: For both “It was serious from the beginning,” Andrea said, “by Thanksgiving [2004] we were in a relationship. He was different, I had never met a person like him before. He really loved and showed genuine care for people [in his life]. He didn’t falsify things, he didn’t lie, he was just an honest person and I liked that,” Andrea said.

“What drew me to her was that she brought out a different side of me. I didn’t necessarily classify myself as a bad guy, but she brought out a soft side in me that I wasn’t used to,” Quindarius said.

The proposal:  On Feb. 13, 2010, at O’Charley’s on Lakeshore Dr. Andrea was 19 years old, and Quindarius was 20.

“I pulled the waiter to the side and told him I was trying to propose to my girl that night and is there any way he can put my ring inside of a chocolate cake. And he did me a solid, he wrapped the ring in plastic before stuffing it into the cake so the chocolate wouldn’t get inside the diamonds. … so she starts eating the cake and saw the plastic and was like ‘what’s this?’ and I took [the cake] from her and pulled the ring out and unwrapped it and I got on my knee and popped the question. The restaurant was packed and everybody was hollering and cheering for us,” Quindarius said.

“I should’ve known something was up because they both [Quindarius and the waiter] was acting weird, and Quindarius kept looking at the waiter [go in and out of the kitchen] and I was like what’s going on, why is he paying so much attention to the waiter. And when he pulled the ring out of the cake I was very shocked, and happy. And of course, I said ‘yes’,” Andrea said.

The wedding: At Fairfield Civic Center, in Fairfield, officiated by a family friend, Reverend Randolph Austin. Their colors were soft pink and white. The couple’s first two children, Andarius, who was four at the time, and Antonius, who was 1-year-old were also in attendance.

Most memorable for the bride were individual moments with their guests. “My aunt choreographed everything and had us stand by the gift table and it allowed everyone to have a moment with us and they got to come up and hug us and wish us well, and that was a good moment,” Andrea said.  “And I remember walking down the aisle to Quindarius smiling big at me,” Andrea said.

Most memorable for the groom was anticipating his bride’s arrival. “When I got to the civic center, it was way before she came and I was a little nervous, and when she got there everybody told me I had to go hide so I wouldn’t see her, and [that made the anticipation grow], and when I finally saw her walking down the aisle I remember thinking she was looking like a snack, I was like there go my honeybun!,” Quindarius said. “And one of my groomsmen acted like they didn’t have the ring when it was time to exchange them and I panicked because I paid good money for that ring, but it was a joke. And I had fun taking pictures with my groomsmen, we all had the same shades and were posing cool.”

The couple had to skip the honeymoon. “We had to work. But one of my groomsmen actually owned the Little Caesars where I was working, and he took us out to the Cheesecake Factory and that was our first time eating there,” Quindarius said.

Words of wisdom: “I’m big on date nights, that’s very important to me, [and] communication and keeping people out of your business,” Quindarius said. “I know I’ve changed a lot over the years, but I always try to work on our marriage to make it stronger.”

“We’ve both learned to adapt to each other and be open to each other’s growth,” Andrea said. “Over the years, my goals have changed and so have his, and that’s why we just continue to be that support for one another, and any obstacle we face we face it together.”

Happily ever after: The Johnsons have four children, daughter, Aliyah, 11, and three sons, Andarius, 17, Antonius, 13, and Ahmari, 3.

Andrea, 32, is a West End native, and West End High School grad. She attended The University of Phoenix [online] where she earned an associate’s degree in health care administration, Breckinridge School of Nursing at ITT Technical Institute [in Bessemer] where she earned an associate’s degree in nursing, Pelham University [online], where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and Capella University [online], where she obtained a master’s degree in nursing. Andrea works as a dialysis registered nurse at a medical center.

Quindarius, 33, is a West End native, and a West End High School grad. He is currently in pursuit of his associate’s degree in nursing at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville [Ala.], and he owns and operates a cleaning service, Perfect Cleaning Company LLC, out of Alabaster.

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