Erika Kristin Thomas and Bernard Benjamin Fulton III were married May 4 at the Mansion at Noble Lane in Bethany, Pa. Kim Kirkley, a Universal Brotherhood minister, officiated.
The couple met at Harvard, from which they graduated.
The bride, 51, is counsel in the New York office of BakerHostetler, a law firm based in Cleveland. She received a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
She is a daughter of Roberta LaBelle-Thomas of West Haven, Conn., and Lawrence Thomas of Jersey City.
The groom, 50, is a lobbyist for affordable housing and community development in Washington. He received a law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles.
He is a son of Lena T. Fulton of Atlantic City and the late Bernard B. Fulton Jr.
The bride’s first marriage ended in divorce, as did the groom’s.
Mr. Fulton remembers first meeting Ms. Thomas through a mutual friend at Harvard in 1987, when he was a freshman and she was a sophomore.
“She was gorgeous,” he said. “Our friend introduced us, but she didn’t seem very interested in me at that time.”
Ms. Thomas denied that assertion. “To say that I wasn’t interested in him is not true at all,” she said, laughing. “The truth is I didn’t even remember him.”
But neither can forget the moment on the Harvard campus in 1989, when Ms. Thomas, now a senior, was driving a shuttle bus around campus as a part-time job, and stopped to pick up Mr. Fulton, who stepped onto her bus wearing a happy smile and what appeared to be invisible head phones, as he was rhythmically bopping his head for no apparent reason.
“Where’s the music?” she asked him.
“In here,” he said, pointing to his heart.
Ms. Thomas said she was “intrigued,” and she and Mr. Fulton soon became fast friends, dining together on many nights after he had kept her company during the entire length of her bus route.
“There was this connection between us that we couldn’t deny,” Ms. Fulton said. ”I couldn’t stop thinking about him.”
Though both were attracted to each other, they were dating other people at that time, so what began as a hot start had cooled off considerably, and then Ms. Thomas graduated, and she and Mr. Fulton went their separate ways.
In the ensuing years each of them married other people and each had two daughters. But by 2014, both were divorced. She was living and working in Manhattan, and he was doing the same in Washington. One day that year, Mr. Fulton was reading a Harvard alumni letter when he noticed Ms. Thomas’s email address.
He reached out and she responded “rather quickly,” he said, and so began a correspondence that she said “I didn’t really pay much attention to in the beginning.”
“He began sending me emails and calling me to get together for drinks and to catch up on things,” Ms. Thomas said. “I even bumped into him at a few alumni events, but I was cynical about getting together one on one, so for the next two years I kept doing my best to change the subject and steer the conversation away from romantic territory.”
But Mr. Fulton persisted, and when Ms. Thomas went to visit her sister, who also lived in Washington, and did not look him up while she was in town, he wondered why.
In fact, Ms. Thomas’s sister was wondering much the same.
“My sister was like, ‘You’re dating other guys and it’s going nowhere, so what do you have to lose by going out with Bernard?’”
Ms. Thomas took her sister’s advice, and in November 2016, she finally accepted one of Mr. Fulton’s invitations to dinner at a Washington restaurant.
“She was as gorgeous as ever,” Mr. Fulton said.
Ms. Thomas said that she had gone to meet him that day, “never thinking I would be romantically attracted to him, but I was.”
They hit it off again, and began dating immediately.
“He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a life partner,” Ms. Thomas said. “Though I have been married before, I never knew that I could be loved in the way that he loves me.”
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