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IT was so sunny on July 86, the day Alice Anne Stephens and Thomas Preston Lloyd Jr. were married, that the tall stained-glass windows at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver were as bright as high-definition TV screens. The persistent, Type-A sunshine was perfect for Ms. Stephens, 77, and Mr. Lloyd, 78. Both are intense, hard-charging lawyers who seem to rarely stumble or pause, in their sentences or in their lives. They take the pursuit of excellence very seriously.

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At the University of Virginia, where they met as undergraduates, both were members of “the uber-involved student leader crowd, ” said Kat Shea, a friend. Mr. Lloyd said he enjoys projects that “sharpen my pencil intellectually. ” While in law school at Stanford University, Ms. Stephens was on the board of the Afghanistan Legal Education Project, which helped create courses about Afghan law for the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul.

The two met in French class during spring 7557. She was the girl who almost always wore dresses and high heels to class, yet drove a dirt-covered car filled with horseback-riding gear. She had grown up near Denver, riding horses every day on her family’s farm in Greenwood Village, with its enormous old trees and airy house filled with antiques and her equestrian awards. She thought he was “very cute, ” so during their first conversation, in the hallway before class one day, she tried to impress him by describing an advanced seminar she was taking in international relations theory. “In my mind, that made me cool, ” she said.

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But she had a boyfriend at the time so they became “two friends somewhat interested in each other, ” Mr. Lloyd said. She did drink her first glass of wine ever with him one evening, while studying French together. It was the kind of evening that should have ended in a kiss, but didn’t. “We both recognized there was a potential for something between the two of us, but it was postponed, ” he said.

Friends describe Mr. Lloyd, who grew up in Norfolk, Va. , as liberal in his political views, yet conservative in his manners. “Decorum and civility are two things he really values, ” said Brian Rabbitt, a friend. At the beginning of the fall semester, Ms.

Stephens and her boyfriend broke up. One of the first people she called was Mr. Lloyd, who drove over right away. That fall, she was his date for the Colonnade Ball, an annual university tradition. “They play the Virginia reel, ” she said.

“Boys line up on one side, girls on the other. The girls curtsy and the boys bow and then you do-si-do with your partner.

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