The last time Diana Alvarez saw her fiance, Joseph Morante, alive, the two teenagers were spending their morning the way they spent most of their time: together, talking about their future.
They went on walks a lot, she said, talking about the kids they hoped to have one day and the house in East Boston they wanted to raise them in.
When 19-year-old Morante got out of the shower Wednesday morning, getting ready to begin his long commute from Alvarez’s family home in Revere to his job at a cellphone store in Roxbury, he promised to decorate the wall in their room with LED lights.
He played with the family dogs before the two went outside, together, to wait for the taxi that would start his journey to work.
“When he came home he wanted to play some Xbox, so he asked me to plug in the console,” she said in an interview Friday night. “He said, ‘I love you and I will see you later.’ ”
Later that night, after Morante had been shot and killed in a robbery at a cellphone store on Tremont Street, the 17-year-old Alvarez was still waiting for her fiance to get home.
She thought it was strange that his aunt came to her home and whispered something to her older brother, Luis.
He looked shocked, and then she learned what had happened. “It’s going to be really different without him; I don’t know what I am going to do,” she said. “We were always together. There was nothing we didn’t do together.”
They met at Susan B. Anthony Middle School when they would walk their younger siblings home. They did not talk for a few years, she said, and they reconnected through Facebook. They started talking regularly, but he was shy at first, until a mutual friend saw their chemistry and told Morante to work up the courage to ask Alvarez out. On May 27, 2012, he finally did. “Our first date we went to this park in East Boston and just walked around and talked,” she said.
They fell for each other, fast. That July, he moved in with her family. Her mother was reluctant, but Morante won her over. “As time went on, she took him in as another son, and my sisters took him in as a brother,” she said.
After moving in, Morante began helping out, fixing the family’s electronics, said Luis Alvarez, Diana’s older brother. The two bonded over video games and cars. “To be honest he was a good kid,” Luis said. “He didn’t bother nobody. He wasn’t into anything like bad.”
Morante didn’t go back for his last year at Phoenix Charter Academy. Instead, he got a job at an electronics store and saved up for a surprise.
In October, he took Alvarez and her sister to the Galleria Mall, picked up a ring he had bought earlier, and asked her to marry him. She said yes.
“I felt very special,” she said. “Every night before we went to sleep, we would lay down and watch TV. Every morning, we would just sit down and like talk. He would go to work, and I would go to school.”
They spent weekends in East Boston at his father’s home, and he would talk about the cellphone business he wanted to start. He earned his GED this spring and was training at iWorld Accessories in East Boston before transferring to the Roxbury store. He had been there for three weeks, she said, and was getting ready to transfer back to the East Boston store next week.
With all that has happened — police said Morante’s death remains under investigation — Alvarez does not know what she will do next. “A lot of people,” she said, “tell me that Joe would want the best for me, that he would want to see me happy.”Javier Panzar can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.