When Roxanne Leigh Werner and Kristina Jean Nichols met as colleagues in January 2019, both sensed the potential for a deeper connection.
“We immediately got along really well and had great chemistry,” Ms. Werner said. Ms. Nichols said she also felt “something” between them that day at the Harris County Clerk’s Office in Houston, where they worked under Chris Hollins, a former county clerk now running to be the city’s mayor, and wanted to make sure Ms. Werner knew she was gay.
“You know, like right away you have to drop the gay bomb,” Ms. Nichols said. “I was talking loudly to someone else so she would hear.”
Ms. Werner, then in the process of divorcing her ex-husband, had already been thinking she might be bisexual. (Their divorce was finalized later in 2019, and Ms. Nichols and her ex are “very cordial,” she said.) Less than two weeks after meeting Ms. Nichols, Ms. Werner felt compelled to casually mention to her that she was questioning her own sexuality.
“It was definitely because there was something there,” said Ms. Werner, who now identifies as a lesbian. But, Ms. Nichols said, “it was a few months before anything more developed.”
In that time, Ms. Werner confirmed that employee relationships were not prohibited at their office, where the two worked in different departments: Ms. Nichols, 34, was an outreach program associate and Ms. Werner, 34, was the director of community relations.
From Beaumont, Texas, Ms. Werner holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Houston, and is now the director of communications and outreach for the Harris County Attorney’s Office. Ms. Nichols, who is from is Spring, Texas, earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and currently works in the elections department for Harris County.
As their friendship evolved in the spring of 2019, Ms. Nichols said she was “sort of hitting on” Ms. Werner. But Ms. Werner said she thought Ms. Nichols was just being “overly attentive.” Eventually, Ms. Nichols made things a little clearer.
“I know you could date anybody. But I would like you to date me,” Ms. Nichols said she told Ms. Werner.
Soon the two were spending enough of their free time together that Ms. Werner wanted to introduce Ms. Nichols to her son from her previous marriage, who is now 7. “It was important to me that they meet before it got too serious,” Ms. Werner said.
The three took a trip to a zoo, where Ms. Werner said her son and Ms. Nichols “got along immediately.”
“We were on the train and he was like, ‘I want to sit next to Kristina.’ And he wouldn’t want to do that with anyone,” she added.
By July 2019, they were officially a couple. “She cornered me and said, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’” Ms. Werner recalled. “And I said, ‘I already am.’”
Ms. Nichols proposed to Ms. Werner on March 10, 2021 — but not before Ms. Werner proposed to Ms. Nichols that same day. “I had a feeling a proposal was on the horizon, so I had a ring hidden for two months before Kristina proposed,” Ms. Werner said.
The two had planned to meet at a restaurant in Houston, where they live, and Ms. Werner arrived first. “I gave the hostess the ring and told her I was going to propose at dessert.” When she did, Ms. Nichols was shocked.
Once they got home, it was Ms. Nichols’s turn to wow. “She had bought an old school viewfinder and had a disc custom made with seven pictures of us throughout the relationship,” Ms. Werner said. “The last slide said, ‘Will you marry me?’” When Ms. Werner pulled the viewfinder down from her eyes, Ms. Nichols presented her with a ring.
The couple were wed on March 26 at AvantGarden, a bar and events venue in Houston. Mr. Hollins, who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the occasion, officiated before roughly 40 guests, all of whom the couple requested be vaccinated.
Ms. Werner’s son walked her to the top of the aisle before walking Ms. Nichols down it. At the reception that followed, he also gave an impromptu speech: “Kristina and Roxanne, thank you for being my mothers.”