Two weeks after the Scottish feast, Mr. Shorter made his way into Mrs. Quiles’s diary. A flirty text dialogue he’d begun the night they met was in full swing. “The reason I asked him to kiss me in Macau is because our chemistry had grown exponentially in those two weeks,” said Ms. Quiles.
Once Mrs. Quiles sat at the table—a coveted corner spot Mr. Short had captured by bribing the maître d’ with a pair of Nikes—and ordered a cocktail, “I was like, ‘Wow, he got me,’ ” she said.
In 2012, neither of them was interested in dating anyone else. In 2013, Mr. Shorter moved into an apartment near Mrs. Quiles’ home in Jersey City. Until then, he had spent most of his life in the Bronx, where his mother, Deborah Shorter, his grandmother, Sadie Gray, and six aunts had guided him through Evander Childs High School and straight to his first job selling sneakers at a local H&Y Sporting goods store.
Two years later, they moved into a new home in Jersey City together. In 2016, she quit her desk job and started POP! By Yaz.
mr. Shorter, who then ran Nike’s boutique, was her sounding board for ideas. He also created an atmosphere of harmony in the home, something that Miss Quiles’s relationships have lacked in the past. “Very early on, NaVell paved the way for a way of communicating that was respectful,” she said. “We would have conflicts, but we never raised our voices or cursed at each other.”
Past relationships were no longer worth remembering for Mr. Shorter. To him, a future with Mrs. Quiles became all that mattered. “I was like, if you know, you know,” he said. “Even food didn’t taste good to me when she wasn’t there.”