Brian Novotny first glimpsed Theresa Thomas as he and some Cantor Fitzgerald clients were leaving the Monkey Bar on the East Side of Manhattan. He shook their hands, said goodnight and made a beeline back inside.
Ms. Thomas, visiting from Los Angeles for the weekend, had been in New York less than an hour when she noticed a tall, soft-eyed young man smiling at her. Soon they were deep in conversation. "The chemistry was very strong — no question," she said. "When you have that chemistry, it's unavoidable."
Two years ago, after numerous cross-country visits, she moved to New York, and fell more in love with Mr. Novotny, 33, than ever. One day she remarked of the weather, "It's getting hot," and returned home the next day to find a new air-conditioner humming in her apartment. Feeling out of sorts while vacationing, she comforted herself with a long bath -- and emerged to a room filled with candles and soft jazz.
But then, this was a man who surprised his parents by painting the entire exterior of their house while they were away for the weekend.
A week before Sept. 11, Theresa Thomas and Brian Novotny were engaged. For a few days, the future seemed to unfold joyously before them.
Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on December 16, 2001.