SEMINOLE — Loraine Tesney and Bryan Wexler talked until the bookstore employee informed them that the store was closing. They moved to a restaurant until again they were asked to leave. In the parking lot, the duo fell into easy conversation again. A security guard asked them to go on home.
"It was the longest date I had ever been on," said Loraine, 47, who works in long term care skilled nursing. "I met him at the bookstore at 4 p.m. and the guard asked us to leave at midnight."
It was their first date.
"She is a very good conversationalist," said Bryan, 47, an optometrist from Seminole. "She's very funny and has a bunch of one-line zingers."
That comfortable dialogue led to a courtship that Loraine and Bryan never want to end. They were married May 4 in front of 50 family and friends on the StarLite Sapphire on a cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway.
The sparks began to flicker at an outing for a divorce support group. Loraine had been divorced for more than a year, and Bryan had finalized his a few months earlier.
Both had been looking for a way to get out of the house.
Loraine's 13-year-old daughter was afraid her mom was on her way to spinsterhood.
"I had three cats," she explained. "Somehow the line between cat lover and crazy cat lady seems to be from three cats to four."
She joined the divorce group on a friend's suggestion.
"I found the group on the Internet," said Bryan. "I thought Loraine was really nice and attractive, but we didn't get to interact a lot on the first night we met."
After a few more outings with the group, Bryan happened to sit next to Loraine at an event and they talked the whole time.
"He asked me for my number and said he'd call me," Loraine said. "Then he did."
Sometime after the first date at the bookstore, Loraine wanted Bryan to try Vietnamese food. So she arrived at the restaurant first, ordered and paid before he arrived.
When they were walking out the door, Bryan was worried.
"He asked me if I had paid the bill," she said. "I told him, 'No. We're dining and dashing.' "
For Bryan, the gesture was astonishing. "I'd never had anyone pay for me before," he said. "I didn't know what to think. I was actually shocked."
It was then that he knew.
"They always say, when you meet the right person, you know. I was definitely sure of that then," Bryan said.
After a few years together, meeting the families and moving in together, Bryan decided to enlist the help of their children to steer the courtship toward matrimony.
On Aug. 18, 2012, Loraine's daughter and 9-year-old son and Bryan's 13-year-old daughter helped him set up tiki torches and make a heart out of rose petals on the dock behind their home in Seminole.
"We were brainstorming, and I was thinking that we had such a pretty dock and pretty area behind the house," Bryan said. "It was no work getting the kids on board."
The couple chose a wedding date that accommodated their children. They wanted to have them all there to celebrate the union of families.
Loraine found a dinner cruise ship that sailed for private events. She thought it would be great for Bryan, who loves the water so much he moved from New York to Florida in the mid 1990s.
The midday ceremony followed by an onboard reception was the start of a new life for two people who had talked their way into loving again.
"You just have to find someone who makes you laugh a lot," Loraine said. "You have to find someone you can be best friends with. He's my best friend."