Thanh Nguyen came out of nowhere. One day he was just there, alone on a picnic table, staring into his sandwich like it held the answer to life. It was twelve-fifteen in the afternoon on a sunny day. Hilary remembered it perfectly, because it was the moment she realized love at first site was real.

Despite sixteen years of never having the earth move beneath her feet and heaven shattering into a million pieces with the fiery consuming passion of her heart, Hilary recognized true love when she saw it sitting alone and looking ultra sad. That specific skinny angry kid was totally destined for her, even if he didn't realize it yet. He just needed time. And probably a lot of alcohol.

Luckily, Hilary had both.

"So," Hilary announced, hauling herself on top of the picnic table next to Thanh. "I'm Hilary. Who are you?"

The skinny kid slowly looked up from his sandwich. He had dark eyes, scruffy brown hair, and an air of cultured resignation about him. "Um," he said. "I'm...Thanh."

Now Hilary could put a name to her true love. "Cool. Are you going to eat your sandwich or just stare at it?"

"Um."

"I'll eat it, if you don't want it," Hilary said helpfully. She was pretty hungry after practicing soccer all morning.

Thanh stared at her for a while, then handed over half the sandwich. It had tons of black olives on it. Olives were awesome. Obviously Thanh had good taste in things, which Hilary hoped extended to girlfriends.

She scarfed down the sandwich while Thanh watched, looking astonished and slightly hunted for the ten seconds it took for her to consume the sandwich.

Once she was done, Hilary jumped off the picnic table and grinned at him. "Okay, I owe you now. Do you like waffles?"

"I'm vegan," Thanh said.

That was not quite as good. Hilary wasn't sure how she felt about not being able to eat pulled pork and bacon with her future true love. She would think about that later. "I'll find a vegan place to eat," Hilary told him. "Come on. I've got an awesome scooter. You know you want to ride on the awesome scooter to find waffles."

Thanh blinked dubiously at her. He had long eyelashes that went golden at the tips, and a couple freckles scattered across his nose and cheeks. Hilary wanted to grab his head and never let go. "There's not enough time," Thanh said. "I've got class in fifteen minutes, and besides, you just ate half my sandwich, and, and what are you even doing, anyways?"

"I'm Hilary! And your sandwich was really good, thanks."

Thanh threw his hands up in the air. "I've been going to the same school as you for nearly four years, and you never once talk to me, and now we're, what, suddenly best friends?"

"Yeah, exactly," Hilary said, pleased. It was awesome he had figured it out so quickly.

Throwing his hands down, Thanh leaped off the picnic table and was about to storm away, but pivoted back for one last parting shot. "I don't know if it's any different in your world, but in my life, things don't work out that way!"

After that he turned on his heels and marched off, looking like an angry, skinny cat. Hilary sighed after him. She was pretty tempted to shout out a snappy parting line of her own, but really, she just wanted to make mixtapes for Thanh about their true love. Although cassette tapes were kind of not really a thing any more. Maybe a playlist? Although that wasn't quite so romantic.

At least she still could get some waffles after school or something. Thanh probably needed some time to adjust to meeting his new best friend and potential love of his life.

x

"Franz," Hilary said, hanging off her brother's bride, "Franz, I met my true love."

Franz continued chopping garlic meticulously, not even looking at her, though she made no move to shrug her off. "That's nice."

"It's because of Thanh. Thanh the one I would bang. Thanh the...one who would make me sang."

She sighed and started slicing green peppers. "You like a guy called Thanh? And that doesn't rhyme. Also, if you keep hugging me I'm going to mash an onion in your eyes."

"Is my brother abusing you, Franzy?" Hilary said, intensifying her hold around her neck. "Is that why you are so full of rage?"

"I will cut you," Franz said politely.

Recognize the threat of her big, shiny knife, Hilary disengaged and went to go sit on the counter. Franz had married her older brother at the age of eighteen, which Hilary would never, ever stop mocking her for, although the two of them were stupidly happy together and Ferdinand had proposed marriage on the first day they met when they were sixteen, so. There was at least some consistency to their actions.

Hilary was over at their tiny apartment since it was full of delicious food. Franz was working at a kitchen while she finished up her nursing degree, and Ferdinand had somehow wound up working in a comedy sketch group that was wildly popular on the internet. Hilary didn't even know, really. These sort of things just happened to her brother.

"Franz," she began again. "Thanh is my singular true love."

Sighing, Franz tossed the garlic in the wok, and then came back over to where she was sitting and started slicing bok choy. "I swear you're even more insane than Ferdinand. Have you even talked to Thanh yet?"

"Yes. He needs some time to adjust to our love."

"I'll bet."

Hilary swung his feet against the counter, humming, and then asked, "Need any help?"

"You can make the salad, if you want, or set the table." Franz flashed her a smile. She wasn't exactly pretty, but she was the only person Hilary knew who she would describe as having a radiant and beautiful personality that shone out of her skin and made her like a lighthouse in the dark times of the world. "Ferdinand's coming home in a bit."

"And so the child-snatcher returns to the cradle," Hilary intoned, hopping off the counter and grabbing the plates, ducking as Franz tried to smack her with a spoon.

x

The next day, Hilary realized that she was in Calculus with Thanh. The only reason she hadn't know before was because she was in the middle of the seats with her friends and he was way out in the corner, blending into the blackboard with his hood up.

He needed a math friend who could be his first mate in navigating the stormy sinusoidal waves. She got up from where she was sitting with her girlfriends from soccer and carried her bag, textbook and pencils over to him.

"Hi Thanh," she said, and collapsed into the chair beside him, spilling school supplies all over the surface of the beat-up old desk. "Being without you is like being a metric space in which exists a cauchy sequence that does not converge."

"Oh my God," he said.

"I know, right? Math is super fun. Hey, I found a vegan restaurant in town. I bet if I asked they could make some waffles. If not I'll just google a recipe and make you some. Did you know Oreos are vegan? That's kind of gross but really awesome, hey, because wouldn't life kind of suck if you couldn't munch down on some tasty oreos every now and then?"

Thanh pushed his hood off his face and stared at her. Hilary liked it because then she could stare into his eyes until the end of period bell rang or the universe imploded, whichever came first.

"Look," he said carefully. "I'm not sure what kind of game you're playing. But whatever it is, stop it. I'm not an idiot."

"I don't play games, man. Unless you mean soccer, because I do play that pretty often since I'm on the team and all, and I also play basketball, and sometimes softball, and I like tennis, but other than that there are no games here, except for tetris on my phone sometimes. Also I love the Sims. Do you play games or what?"

"Yeah, whatever. Just leave me alone," he said, and put his hood back over his head and crossed his arms, staring down at his sheet of Cartesian vector equations.

Clearly he had watched Carrie one too many times or something silly like that and had decided she was out for some twisted prank on him, but Hilary resolved not to let it bother her. He would come around.

At the bell, Thanh jumped out of his seat and took off before Hilary could follow. She ended up walking out into the hall with her friends.

"Why were you talking to that weird Asian kid?" Shannon asked.

Shannon was a bench-warmer on their soccer team because she refused to work out and she was generally a shit-disturber. Normally Hilary had no problem with her because she wasn't a threat to her coveted right wing position but Hilary would not tolerate slurs against her beloved. "His name is Thanh and he is awesome."

"Isn't he like, autistic or something like that? Does he ever speak English?"

"Hey, Shannon. It's really not cool to use that as a slur." Hilary stared Shannon down until she looked away.

"I'm just saying."

"Maybe you should spend less time worrying about my friends and more time on the track getting your sixteen hundred run under seven minutes," Hilary said, mildly.

"Yeah, Shannon, that was a little racist," Kim chimed in.

Evie added, "Have you ever talked to the guy before?"

Eventually all the girls were looking at Shannon with abject sorrow and dismay and Shannon was looking like she wanted to repent all her weird racist and abelist views that had occasionally surfaced over the past three years and prove she was totally cool with everybody who existed ever.

"Sorry, Hil," she muttered. "I have to go to class."

"See you later," Hilary said with a little wave, and watched her hustle across the hall with her shoulders hunched up. Hilary smiled because she had won, and she would totally be an alpha wolf if she was an animal and that would be pretty badass and Thanh would be her awesome partner alpha wolf and together they would rule the plains.

"So… do you like Thanh?" Evie asked after a moment.

"Yeah, of course," Hilary said.

"Like like him?"

Hilary did have her pride and didn't want to explain to her friends that Thanh wasn't buying into their future romantic life together, so she said, "We're just friends."

"Justin likes you."

"Oh. Cool."

"Justin's hot."

Justin was a meaty American boy who had moved to their school about a year ago and wooed all the girls with his clean-cut face and womanizing ways. Hilary had tried to have a conversation with him once and he had looked at her like she was crazy. Apparently he had forgotten about that unfortunately encounter if he wanted to make out with her face which, nope, Hilary was definitely not into, because the thought made her organs clench in revulsion.

The bell rang again and she had to hustle to Biology.

x

Thanh started trying to hide from her after that. It was cute how he thought he could escape her in such a small school, but Hilary let him have a week before she renewed her campaign to capture his heart, mostly because they had a pretty big game against the city school that weekend and their coach was making them practice a lot and between that and school there was a lot less time she could spent tracking down her petulant lovebird.

Her soccer team ended up winning the weekend game—mostly thanks to Hilary's awesome clutch goals, not to brag or anything, but she was probably the greatest of all time—and Hilary traipsed into their 8:00am Calculus class on Monday feeling like she was on top of the world. Thanh was also there early, a lucky coincidence because he had taken to sitting next to Bob lately, and although Hilary liked that he was making inter-clique relationships with the gamer boys, she had plans for him that day.

"Hey," she said, throwing herself into the seat beside him. "Did you have breakfast?"

He blinked at her from beneath the hood of his grey sweater and then reached up to take out one skull-shaped earbud. "I don't eat breakfast."

"Do you want to? I went to the vegan place and they totally made me waffles, and it was on their menu, which is really awesome, and I brought it here in case you wanted it, and I got coffee too but I don't know if you like coffee so I can always just not give it to you and have it myself." Hilary dropped her bag of goodies - all packaged sustainably in a thermos and some tins she'd found at home, because she figured he cared about the environment - on his desk and beamed at him.

"What?" Thanh said.

He was so adorable that Hilary just wanted to wear him like a blanket. Instead she prodded the bag over to him. "It's for you. You can have it for lunch if you're on a fast or against breakfast in general or whatever."

"Why are you buying me thing?"

"Because we're friends!"

"No, we're not," Thanh said. "Girls like you don't want to be friends with guys like me. That's not how life works."

Hilary frowned at him. "Well, you're my friend. And, I don't even get that, of course life can work like that."

Thanh stared at her and then said quietly, "You don't really want to be friends with me."

"Oh, Thanh, get with it, I got you some stupidly expensive waffles, of course I want to be friends with you."

"Why?" Thanh asked, clearly not able to wrap his head around the concept.

Hilary shrugged. "Because I like you."

He just kept staring at her.

She pushed the waffles into his chest. "Here. Take them. Do you want the coffee too?"

"…Okay."

She was breaking down his walls like he was Beyonce and Hilary had a halo. Hell to the yes.

x

"Ferdinand," Hilary whined, draping herself along the back of the couch where he was sitting and trying to slide down to encircle him, "Buy me alcohol."

"No," he said without looking up or moving.

"FERDINAND. Pleeease. I need it. For science."

"You're just going to drink one cooler and start texting me and asking me to pick you up and get you French fries and you're going to make stupid instagram stories about it," Ferdinand said, cutting out a section of clips in his movie editing program.

Hilary felt like she couldn't be blamed for the whole drinking alcohol trend that had swept North America, but apparently Ferdidand did. "That was one time."

"Yeah, and it hasn't stopped."

"Do you want me to quote Nischetze or something on facebook then? Maybe choice excepts from presidential addresses over the last two hundred years? Some insightful analysis of Shakespearean sonnets, or for the more English Major route, John Donne? No because that would literally and literarily be the worst. Just get me some beer. You are my older brother and it's your job."

"No."

Hilary had dealt with enough rejection that day, and in a swift motion honed by years of competitive sports, grabbed a pillow off the couch and clubbed him over the head three times. While Ferdinand worked out diligently at the YMCA to stay fit even though he didn't model anymore, bicep curls were no matter for Hilary's bloodthirsty competitive sports instincts.

He curled into the fetal position and began screaming, "HILARY STOP, THIS COMPUTER IS EXPENSIVE. STOP. HILARY THOSE PILLOWS ARE SYNTHETIC AND THAT HURTS YOU HAVE TO STOP."

"Say I'm the best!"

"You're the worst!"

Hilary delivered one final, fatal blow with the pillow and then did a dive roll off the couch until she was at a safe distance from Ferdinand. Then she threw the pillow at his head. It hit him dead in the face with an extremely satisfying fwumph sound.

"Franz will buy me booze because she loves me more than you," Hilary told Ferdinand.

"No, I won't," Franz said, sweeping into the room with aplomb. "Why do you need alcohol, Hilary?"

"Because there's a party this Friday and Thanh is going to be there and I need to win him over and I'm pretty sure he needs some shots before he thinks that idea is plausible, okay, also, I want to get drunk because life is super hard."

Both Franz and Ferdinand blinked at her. They were kind of adorable. Hilary fought the urge to mush their stupid faces together with her hands.

"…Thanh?" Ferdinand ventured.

"My true love," Hilary said.

"You can't have true loves. You're sixteen," he replied.

"You true loved Franz!"

"I was seventeen."

"NO," Hilary said, suddenly incredibly frustrated. "I'M NOT KIDDING ABOUT THIS. I WILL MAKE THIS WORK OR SO HELP ME GOD, I WILL NEVER GO HUNGRY AGAIN."

After a long pause, Franz said, "Okay, I'll get you booze, but first we have to talk about consent and how you can't just get someone drunk so they like you."

"Yay!" Hialry said, and gave her a hug, then dashed away to prepare an outfit and makeup combination.

"I can't believe you didn't even quote Gone With the Wind properly!" Ferdinand yelled, but Hilary was too excited to care.

x

It was a pretty sweet party, and the cops hadn't showed up yet at eleven when Hilary rolled up with her crew in their sparkly dresses and mickeys of booze. Their designated driver grumpily parked on the gravel shoulder and they all headed inside. Hilary loved it when rich kids threw parties because their houses were always so spacious that truly weird shit could happen. Indeed, there were kids doing stunts on razr scooters in the empty swimming pool off to the side. The teenagers of the suburbs were truly blessed.

It was dark inside and some thoughtful person had bought a strobe light. It caught off the sparkling fabric of Hilary's leopard print crop top, and lit up her mickey of fireball whiskey in interesting colours. "Let's do some shots!" she hollered at her soccer team girls and they all hollered back in agreement.

No signs of Thanh yet, but the night was young, and Hilary was like a sparkly leopard with night vision goggles.

After some shots it was easy to get distracted by dancing like a goon and saying hello to various drunk people who were all way more excited to see her while they were drunk than when they were sober. She was dancing with three of her friends when suddenly she felt a large, warm body slide up behind her. Her heart spiked in excitement. Maybe Thanh had finally gotten over his fear of her and wanted to excessively make out now.

When she turned around, though, she was confronted with Justin's ugly mug.

Her skin crawled under his hand, which he had decided to put on the bare flesh showed by her crop top. "Uh, hey," she said, acutely aware of how vulernable all her interal organs were in her shirt.

"Hilary," he said. "You look good tonight."

"Cool… thanks…" Hilary tried backing up, but the person behind her took it the wrong way and jammed their elbow into the middle of her back. She ended up getting propelled again Justin.

"Mmmm," he said, taking the opportunity to run his hand all down her back. "How much have you had to drink?"

"Oh my God," Hilary said in disbelief against the shoulder of his shirt. She couldn't believe this was actually happening. "Sorry, buddy, I have to go do a thing. An important thing. Alone."

Justin trapped her wrist in his hand as she pulled away and stared with lopsided, drunk eyes at her, intently searching an area a foot in front of where her face actually was. "You don't have to pretend any more. I know you like me. Shannon told me everything."

"Ew." Hilary was going to murder Shannon after she murdered Justin. She hoped she could fit two dead bodies on the back of her Vespa.

Justin was actually going in for a kiss. He was pulling on her wrist, his other hand was sliding beneath her crop top and his big bulky body was leaning towards her like a tree falling in slow motion. Hilary froze in shock. If she could just spin away, then he would fall right on his dumb face and she could stomp him into the ground. She began to move to the side in anticipation, leg drawing up for a sweep.

Then, unexpectedly, someone shoved Justin hard from the side. He went crashing to the ground. However, he still had her wrist in a lock grip. Hilary, after a flare of pain that shocked all the way up to her shoulder, was pulled down onto the floor beside him.

"Let her go, you asshole," Thanh said, standing over them with his fists clenched.

Hilary pressed her free hand to her heart, which was suddenly palpitating with love. "Oh, Thanh," she said breathlessly.

He reached down and hauled her back onto her feet with one hand, still looking at Justin with distaste. "Are you okay?" he asked her.

"I am now," she replied. Her only other option would be saying my body is ready which frankly, she didn't think anyone at the party was ready for.

"Let's get out of here," he said.

"Take me away from all this," Hilary said, and okay, maybe that was a little bit too much despite the fact she was truly about two seconds away from a flat swoon, but Thanh put his arm over her shoulder and guided her out of the room amidst the shocked stares of fellow partiers, leaving Justin groaning on the hardwood floors like the chump he was.

Thanh's ride turned out to be a bicycle, which was in no way, shape or form a bad thing to Hilary. "Can I ride on the handlebars?" she asked. "It'll be awesome, I saw an ad where the chick was doing it, it looked super awesome."

Thanh looked less than convinced. "I got this bike online for seventy-five bucks."

"Some men are born great," Hilary intoned, mounting the bicycle, "Some men achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them."

Suck it, Ferdinand, she said internally, because she had just quoted the shit out of some Churchill.

After a wobbling start, Thanh managed to get the bicycle rolling, and soon they were riding through the streets of the suburbs with impunity. The midnight air was cold and refreshing on Hilary's sweating face, and the wind swirled around her sparkly top, caressing her bare sides. Behind her on the bike, Thanh was laughing. It was the best sound in the world.

"This is ridiculous," he said, but there was a note in his voice that told Hilary he was finally giving in. "You're ridiculous."

x

The next day, after successfully getting his number, the first step in their lifetime of happiness together, Hilary forced him to come over for more vegan food.

"Franz!" she yelled, flinging the door open. "I have come to you in my hour of need!"

Unfortunately it was Ferdinand who noticed her first, from where he was sitting in the living room, editing videos on his laptop. His head snapped up and his eyes narrowed.

"You can't just come in here like that, and I thought I told you to leave Franz alone," he growled, getting to his feet.

"Why, so you can take her to Siberia and sell her innocent young organs to the Speznatz, you communist?" Hilary said, taking off her leather jacket and throwing it to the ground.

The siblings squared off against each other. Ferdinand reached behind one of the coffee tables and pulled out a plastic lightsabre from his internet comedy group's last sketch. It made a little swooshing sound. "You're playing with forces you don't understand, little girl," he said, giving the lightsabre an experimental pass.

It was intolerably nerdy, and Hilary let him know by roughhouse kicking the lightsabre and decapitating the blade from the handle. They both stared at it.

"You have no respect for improv rules," Ferdidand said mournfully, throwing down the hilt in defeat.

"Whatever," Hilary said. "Is Franz home?"

"The real question is why aren't you at home? Don't you have soccer or anything?"

"I wanted Franz to meet Thanh. Thanh, this is my brother Ferdinand. He's from the internet."

Thanh had inched through the door and was now staring between the two of them with wide eyes. "Nice to meet you?"

"Nice to meet you as well," Ferdinand said, and then looked him over again, and then looked back at Hilary. "Is this one of your boyfriends?"

"No," Thanh said quickly. Hilary gave him a sad look, which just seemed to make him confused. "She, uh, wanted to make waffles?"

"And you were going to abuse my sweet Franz to do it? Hilary, you are, without a doubt, the greatest scourge of my existence, and probably Franz's too. And Thanh's. And the world at large."

Hilary looked for something to throw at Ferdinand, but everything on the mantelpiece was adorable photos of Franz and Ferdinand, and she just didn't feel right about bombing one of those into her brother's face. "I was going to make Thanh waffles all by myself. I just didn't want to do it at home."

"So you thought you could just use our ingredients to do it?"

"Whatever, I can give you money," Hilary said.

"We're going to have a talk about boundaries and like, how humans socialize with each other."

Thanh nodded vigourously. Hilary felt a pang of injustice and kicked one of Ferdinand's books into the hallway. "I'm going to find Franz," she announced, and marched into the kitchen.

Franz, it turned out, was outside weeding her garden in the sunlight, listening to her lecture notes from her Epidemiology course on her phone. Hilary flopped on the lawn beside her, waiting to be sympathized with.

"You are a bad influence," Franz remarked after listening to Hilary's tale of woe. "You're disrupting everyone right now. And you left him alone in there with Ferdinand."

Hilary rolled in the grass, smelling the soil and basil from Franz's garden, and stopped when she was curled around Franz's feet. Franz, as usual, was unruffled by this. "What should I do, Franz? I can't actually make waffles and Thanh probably wants some like, cool punk girl or something."

"Well, why do you want to be with him?" Franz asked.

Hilary sat up and stared at the flourishing herb garden. "I don't know."

"Sure you do," Franz said.

Hilary tugged up a handful of grass, realized that was probably disrespectful to Franz's landscaping efforts, and tried to shove it back into the ground. Through a window, she could see Ferdinand and Thanh talking. Thanh's face was really nice, Hilary felt. It was face she would like to hold in her hands forever.

"'Cause he's the one," she said. "Is that weird? It probably is. I don't think he realizes it yet. I have to convince him. I don't really even believe in having a soulmate or anything like that, but I just saw him yesterday sitting on this pinic table. And like…there he was."

"Are you quoting Mrs. Dalloway?" Hilary stared at her blankly, and Franz sighed. "Well, Ferdinand was my first boyfriend, and we ended up getting married. I wasn't too keen about him at the start either."

Franz rummaged around a plant for a second, and then pulled off a tiny, perfectly ripe strawberry and gave it to Hilary. "It is weird, you're right. But that doesn't make it bad. Maybe you guys are genetically inclined to mate for life, like birds."

Hilary bit into the strawberry. It tasted like the summer, and she felt energized. She knew what she had to do. "Ok. Thanks, Franz. Sorry for distracting you."

"It's fine," Franz said, as mellow as ever, and plugged her earphones back in. Hilary loved her so much in that moment. She gave Franz a quick, fierce hug and then leapt to her feet and dashed into the house.

"No time to explain," she said to Thanh, who was now sitting on the couch with Ferdinand and watching him edit a video. "Come with me."

She held out her hand and he took it without a single question.

Hilary didn't actually have a plan, but felt the need to make a gesture, so she made them bike over to the local cafe she liked and bought him an almond milk latte. They leaned their bikes against the flower planters and sat on the patio. Hilary closed her eyes and basked in the sun.

"So… you just really wanted coffee?" Thanh asked. "Although this is good. Thanks for buying it."

"No problem," Hilary said. She had a track workout later, but she was wondering if she could skip it by trapping Thanh at the shop with infinite coffees.

Thanh was quiet for a moment, but persistent. "So. Now what?"

Hilary cracked open an eyelid. Everything looked more blue after baking her retinas in the sun, except for Thanh, who was looking at her expectantly. It was true that she barely knew him, and that maybe things wouldn't work out. Maybe he actually was scared of her. That would hurt Hilary a lot.

Hilary was no coward, and she wasn't about to start by letting rejection scare her. Even if it was rejection from her soulmate.

"I want to ask you something," she said.

"Okay. Sure."

"Do you want to like. Hang out sometime. In a dating way," Hilary said in a rush. She was totally a coward.

Thanh's jaw actually dropped a little. He stared at her. Hilary stared back, feeling her face starting to get red.

"It's fine, it's chill," she clarified. "Just like, chill hanging out, you know?"

"Chill hanging out. You and me."

"No. Just kidding. Super chill hanging out," she said, and then covered her face in her hands. "Ugh, no, that's a lie. It's not going to be chill."

"You want to go on a date?"

Hilary peeked out at him from between her fingers. "Multiple dates," she said.

Thanh's expression had changed into something determined, and he reached out and tugged her hand away from her face, and then intertwined their fingers. He was blushing a little too, high on his beautiful cheekbones. "I want to go on a date too," he said.

They sat there, holding hands with determination, and Hilary had never felt happier in her life.

x

"And that's how we fell in love," Hilary concluded twenty minutes later.

The city official looked a little shell shocked, although it was impossible that she'd regret asking how they met, because it was such a bomb story. "Wow," she said. She was a woman in her forties, with tightly permed hair, and an awesome cardigan with parrots on it. "That's very romantic. Uh, you just needed to sign here."

"It was romantic! It was the best," Hilary said, signing with a flourish and handing the pen over to Thanh.

He signed too. The woman tore off the top of the carbon paper and gave them the one on the bottom. "All right, you're officially married. Congratulations."

Hilary turned to her newly captured husband and found he was already coming in for a highly romantic married kiss. They stood there, wrapped together, until the city official cleared her throat. "You don't have to kiss," she said. "I need to process the next marriage, by the way."

"Nice," Hilary said. "Thanks! You did a great job. I feel super married."

"Ok," the lady said.

Hilary took Thanh's hand and together they left city hall and went forward into their glorious future.