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‘Can a Man Really Be This Nice? I Felt So Special … Right Then I Was Falling Hard for Him’

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BY JE’DON HOLLOWAY-TALLEY

Special to the Birmingham Times

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LEQUITA AND NATHANIEL WILLIS JR.

Live: Gardendale

Married:  June 17, 2016

Met: October 2015 at a Greek party held at the Parthenon Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity House in downtown Birmingham during their district convention. LeQuita was invited by her former boss, James Green.

“Just as I came in the door and sat down, [Green] introduced [Nathaniel and I] and told Nathaniel to take care of me,” LeQuita recalled. “There was another lady there who I thought was there for Nathaniel, so I was sitting there quiet because she was talking Nathaniel’s ear off, and [come to find out] she was there for James, but he wasn’t interested so he took off and at the end of the night I had to take her home,” she laughed.

The next night Nathaniel asked James for LeQuita’s number, which she passed along.

The pair set a date for the following weekend, “but the date he planned never happened because I became ill,” said LeQuita.

First date: The following weekend at Nathaniel’s place in Homewood. He picked up LeQuita who was sick from her East Lake residence and took her back to his house.

“Nathaniel insisted I let him pick me up and take me back to his house to take care of me,” said LeQuita, “and I looked horrible– no makeup nothing– but he said, ‘you look fine, just come on.’ He took me to his house and had soup, medicine, tea. He had the whole nine, I was, ‘like oh boy.’”

“I became her doctor,” Nathaniel said. “I took a liking to her and wanted to show her [my nurturing side], and I got her soup and tea, and we sat there watching movies.  I got her well and she went back to work that Monday,” he said.

“I was thinking ‘Is he real?’ Can a man really be this nice? Is this happening to me?’ And that night I asked him ‘how long are you gonna be nice to me?’, and he was looking at me like [I was crazy] and said, ‘I’m supposed to be nice to you,’” LeQuita laughed. “I felt so special, and right then and there I was falling hard for him. I could see myself being with him, but I was afraid I was making the moves in my mind too soon, but the moves started making themselves.”

The turn: For LeQuita, she became exclusive to Nathaniel the night he nursed her back to health. “He didn’t know I had fallen for him, I played it cool, but I wasn’t seeing anybody else,” she said.

For Nathaniel, it was a few months later in June 2016 one Sunday after an encounter with the Rev. Dr. Clinton Hubbard at his church, New Beginnings United Methodist Church in north Birmingham.

“[Hubbard] said, ‘you guys have been coming to church together for a while now, when are you going to get married?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know, I hadn’t thought about a wedding,’ and LeQuita said, ‘I don’t have a dress,’ and he said you got one on right now… So after that, we talked about it,” Nathaniel said. “We were floating on air by then…this minister saw something that we were afraid to see,” LeQuita said.

The proposal: In June 2016, the couple went to dinner at the Olive Garden in Hoover that same Sunday after church and discussed marriage, where they would live, and bring their lives together.

“I was pushing for a wedding, but Nathaniel wasn’t going for a wedding, and then I said, ‘I always wanted to be a June bride’,” LeQuita said.

“I said, ‘we can just go down to the courthouse and get married, and she said ‘I ain’t getting married at no courthouse’, and so I said, ‘well we can ask [Hubbard] to marry us.’ So the next weekend we went and got the rings, and the following Friday we got married,” Nathaniel said.

The wedding: At New Beginnings officiated by Hubbard in a private ceremony in his office.

“I wore the same red dress Rev. Hubbard said, ‘I could get married in the day he asked us when we were gonna get married’, and [he] laughed when he saw me in the dress and said, ‘the lady in red’,” said LeQuita.

Most memorable for the bride was holding the secret that she and her new husband had wed. “I went back to work that evening and I had a secret that nobody knew, and it made me feel giddy inside. I worked with James Green [the boss/friend that introduced them], and he didn’t notice that I had a ring on my finger, but I was so giddy everybody knew something was wrong with me,” she said. “Nothing could upset me. All I was thinking about was the clock striking midnight so I could go home to my new husband,” LeQuita said.

Most memorable for the groom was reality setting in. “I just couldn’t believe that I was really married. I was trying to play cool like a big macho man [during the ceremony] but I was married again and had a pretty wife,” Nathaniel said.

Honeymoon: The newlyweds opted to buy a new home instead of going on a honeymoon, and said eight years later they’re still honeymooning.

Words of wisdom: “Trust in God and listen to His voice rather than following after your own mind and understanding. He will know best for you,” Nathaniel said.

“Never ever leave home angry, or without a kiss. I don’t care how angry you are you still have to kiss. Don’t go to bed angry or without a kiss. You should like your mate… I really like Nathaniel and he fulfills everything that I need in a man and I’m so grateful God blessed me with him,” LeQuita said. Don’t argue because you will say things that you can’t take back… we’ve only had one argument and we said we’ll never do that again.”

Happily ever after: The Willis’ attend New Beginnings United Methodist Church in north Birmingham, where Nathaniel plays the organ. They are a blended family, with three adult sons, Nathaniel III, Justin, and William, ages 42-34, and 13 grandkids ages 20- 4.

LeQuita 65, is a Pratt City native, and P.D. Jackson-Olin High School grad. She attended Stillman College, where she earned a bachelor of arts degrees in music, and Revelations Ministry Bible College [Jacksonville, FL.] where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in ministry. LeQuita is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and retired from a mental health facility in Jefferson County as a residential coordinator. She works part-time for Birmingham City Schools [through a subcontracted company] as an instructional assistant.

Nathaniel, 69, is a West End native, and West End High School grad. He attended Samford University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in music theory and a minor in paralegal studies. Nathaniel is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and retired from Americorp Vista, where he worked with the Birmingham municipal courts.

“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.

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