Hilda Chacon and her husband, Pedro Moran-Palma, didn't have a long courtship -- just 10 days, in fact. But since meeting at a party, they "haven't stopped having fun," Pedro says. And that includes raising Hilda's daughter, Nadia.
The couple met 20 years ago, when Hilda, a native of Costa Rica, was visiting her sister, a student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. That's when Pedro, another student, spotted her at a party.
"I saw there was a beautiful lady sitting in this party," Pedro recalls. "And at first I thought that you were with somebody else, so I didn't get close to you. And then I realized that there was a guy who was bothering you."
"I was wearing like a short skirt, and he insisted that I would go up the stairs so he would see me from behind," Hilda says. "I was about to get into a fight with him when you came."
Pedro apologized for the man's behavior, Hilda recalls. "And I told you that I was divorced, that I had a kid, and I just started talking very poorly about men, saying, 'I don't know why people get married -- you have to put up with so much crap!' " she says.
"How come I didn't scare you?" she asks Pedro.
"I found you fascinating," he says. "And I was ... mesmerized, I think is the right word? Asombrado. And after we met, I thought about getting married.
"My friends were saying that I was crazy, but my whole body is telling me, 'You cannot let this go,' " he says. "It is hard for people to believe that we only dated for ... 10 days?"
"Yep," Hilda says. "And then all of a sudden, you said, 'Well, I don't make much money ... but if you want, we could get married.'
"I thought, 'This man is either totally crazy or has the biggest cojones on earth."
There was also something else on Hilda's mind: how her daughter, Nadia, who was 6 then, might react to the idea of having a stepfather.
"I remember that the two of you sat to watch a TV show," Hilda says. "And little by little, she started leaning on you -- and then I remember she sat on your lap and put her hand over your shoulder.
"That's how I picture the two of you."
"We became a family," Pedro says.
"We did. Even if you stop loving me tomorrow, I could never pay you back for all of the love and affection you have given my baby," Hilda says.
"I am a really proud stepfather," Pedro says. "We haven't stopped having fun since we met."
"I believe that we started a conversation 20 years ago, and we have never stopped," Hilda says.
"Yeah, I have the same feeling," Pedro says. "These are the best years of my life. I wouldn't change them for anything."
Produced for Morning Edition by Vanara Taing. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.