Kristina's college roommate, Katie, asked what would happen if she fell in love with this guy.
"No way. That will never happen," Kristina told her. "He seems nice, and we'll be friends. It's just for a year."
On Aug. 12, Patrick flew to Philly for Lincoln's orientation. Kristina picked him up at the airport. "I felt like I had known him for years," she said.
After orientation, Kristina and her brother John were set to drive her car to Greensboro, and then John would fly home.
Patrick suggested he skip the flight, and he and Kristina could get to know each other via road trip. The only break in their conversation was laughter.
"During that ride, I knew there was a little spark there," Kristina said. "It made me nervous to live with him for a year - how was that going to work out?"
Patrick didn't feel a spark, but he felt a connection. "We were becoming good friends."
Kristina tried to be as neat as Patrick. They grocery shopped together, tried restaurants and bars, went to the gym, watched a lot of football.
They were coworkers, roommates, and soon, best friends.
A month into their assignment, a group from work was getting together. Patrick asked if Kristina wanted to have dinner beforehand. "We'd gone out to dinner before," she said. "This time, it felt different."
Patrick was cautiously testing things out, keeping things vague enough to save mutual discomfort, if need be. "If it didn't work out, I could shrug it off like it wasn't a date," he said.
Their mutual feelings didn't lessen the complications.
They agreed it would be best, professionally, to keep their new relationship a secret. There was nothing they could do to alleviate the risk of dating your closest friend in a strange city. And it was extraordinarily odd to go on a date, say goodnight, and then return to the same apartment.
"It was worth any of those risks or complications to see if this could work," Kristina said.
The odds seemed good to Patrick - after all, they had already spent so much great time in each other's company. "There was absolutely no reason to go out and find somebody else to go on a date with. She was sitting right there."
In August 2008, both were assigned to Lincoln's Radnor offices, where she works in marketing and he in business development.
Kristina, now 28, moved back in with her mother in Conshohocken. Patrick, also 28, rented a house in Manayunk with some guys from work.
"I joked that we could now be a normal couple," Kristina said.
How does forever sound?
Patrick bought a house in Conshohocken in summer 2010, and Kristina moved there with him - this time, as more than roommates.
On Aug. 12, 2012, the fifth anniversary of their meeting at the airport, Kristina rummaged through her closet, searching for a bathing suit for their trip to Avon-by-the-Sea and Ocean City.
Patrick entered the fray, took her arm, and turned her so she faced him. Dropping to one knee, he opened a ring box, and asked, "Will you marry me?"
She called some family and friends to share the good news on the drive. They celebrated with others at the beach, including Colleen and Brandon, the only couple who knew their Greensboro secret.
It was so them
The couple were wed in a Catholic ceremony at St. Matthew's in Conshohocken.
Colleen and Brandon's son Jayden was ring bearer and their daughter Karley was flower girl. The couple were thrilled that Kristina's grandfather John attended - he had had heart surgery just two weeks before.
They included a prayer for veterans and active military personnel to honor Kristina's three cousins who are in the Navy and veterans from both families. The couple also made a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The owner of Blue Bell Flower Shoppe is a family friend - her son and daughter-in-law were in the bridal party - and so Normandy Farm was decorated with lots of wildflowers.
Patrick danced with his mother, Sharon, to "What a Wonderful World."
Kristina started dancing with brother John to "Stand by Me." Halfway through, they brought their mother, Jean, up to join them.
In the days before the wedding, Patrick wondered, "What's it going to be like when I see her for the first time walking down the aisle, or in the back of the church?" The answer: "It made everything very real. It was awesome."
Jean and John walked Kristina down the aisle. "My mom and brother took my hand together, and placed it into Patrick's hand," she said. "As soon as my hand was in his hand, it was just us, and it was time to get married."
The splurge: The band the Heartbeats and an extra photographer with a backdrop. "They had props, and it was fun seeing groups of friends and family letting loose and enjoying themselves," Patrick said.
A bargain: With assistance from coworker Maria, a graphic designer, Kristina assembled the invitations of her dreams, with pockets, insert cards, and a burlap ribbon. She estimates the DIY project saved more than 50 percent.
A bit of advice
"It's really important that people remember to really, really have fun on their wedding day," Kristina said.
Ten days in Maui.
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