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On Love

The wedding of Ashley Adams and Kyle Winkfield

A friend predicted that Kyle Winkfield would marry the first woman he ever asked out. And when Winkfield met Ashley Adams, that prediction came true.

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Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ashley Adams and Kyle Winkfield came to know each other in classic big-city fashion. The neighbors in a Silver Spring apartment complex didn't speak, but they constructed hazy ideas of each other's lives based on clues they gathered in passing.

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A Navy Seal flag on his balcony made her think he was a military man; the tightness of his workout shorts had her wondering if he was gay.

He knew she owned a cat and thought she lived with a guy who might be her brother; the preponderance of Maryland sweatshirts gave away her alma matter.

She dubbed him the "The Loud Guy Upstairs" - he lived directly above her and seemed to thunder from room to room. He came to admire her home-decorating skills one day in 2005 when he locked himself out had to scale the side of the building to get into his apartment. Stopping on her balcony for a second, he was struck by the style of her abode. "Man, it looks like Crate and Barrel in here," he thought.

Winkfield's friend suggested he talk to her sometime. "That's not happening. I can't," replied Winkfield, who is notoriously shy about approaching women. "And he was like, 'I bet you the first girl you ever ask out, you'll marry. It's gonna take something special for you to open your mouth.' "

What it took, actually, was boredom. One Thursday in February 2006, Winkfield decided to play hooky from the financial management firm he runs. Restless and annoyed that none of his friends were available to hang out, he began to think that he should get to know his neighbors. When he noticed Adams walking into the building around lunchtime, he made a snap decision to go meet her.

Adams heard a door slam and someone yell "Wait!" before seeing Winkfield stumble down the stairs in mismatched clothes and sandals over socks. He stuttered out an introduction, saying he'd seen her and her brother around and had been meaning to say hi.

Adams told Winkfield she lived alone - an ex-boyfriend had once been a frequent visitor, but they'd broken up several months earlier. Despite being slightly unnerved when he complimented her decorating style, she was charmed by his nervousness.

When snow began to fall that weekend, she found herself hoping they might be able to wait out the storm together. Winkfield was wishing the same thing, but he was stuck at a friend's house in a distant suburb.

The following Monday, Adams gathered her nerve and walked upstairs to tell Winkfield she was making cupcakes and that he was welcome to come down and have one.

That night he stayed at her place until almost 2 a.m., talking and inhaling the baked goods she'd intended to offer her co-workers.

The next day was Valentine's Day; the comic book-collecting Winkfield felt as if he were gliding through the world, "like Superman does." He sent a midday text asking if she was interested in "pizza n a movie 4 2nite."


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