There was a frame in her hand and within it a precious picture that she would forever hold dear. The glass protected such a sacred object from the harsh elements of the outside world. Within the border of that seemingly innocent looking frame, was a picture of her parents and brother. Her finger rubbed against their faces, the glass was cold but she found the memory to bring more of a happy remembrance now. It was true that her family was gone, and she had been ripped apart from them for quite a long time, but the emotions she felt for them still held sturdy.
The smell of spices floated within the air, her nose expanded and then drew in, ingesting the delectable aroma. Her eyes lifted from the picture and met a bowl of soup that had been served by the waitress. It was ramen and this shop used a spice she wasn’t used to smelling. The broth was much richer and dark in color, but the smell was entirely alluring.
“I wish I could bring them back for you,” a voice said.
Her eyes moved away from the delectable smelling soup and met his eyes. His name was Ling and everything about him was perfect to her. Of course, no one was perfect, but to her heart, he absolutely was.
“I know,” she said. He sat down next to her and she breathed in his scent. It smelled of cinnamon and she knew the cologne would stay long after he left.
“You’re thinking about something,” he said. He always knew exactly when she was. She liked to think it was a sixth sense that he inherited from his family. Ling was able to understand her feelings before she was even able to express them.
“I just miss them,” Chiui said. She noticed his black hair was curled on the left side. It was just one strand, but the look gave him a rather disheveled appearance, but cute nonetheless.
“They would be proud of everything you’ve accomplished with your element. I always felt that fire best represented you.” He leaned towards her, his scent growing stronger by his approach. He grabbed one of her hands gently in his, wrapping his fingers around hers and pulling it up towards his mouth, he kissed it.
The gesture was enough to make her blush and she turned her attention back towards the soup.
“You’re so sweet,” she said.
He scooted his stool closer towards her, his fingers still wrapped around hers. Her face was red but he seemed to like the reaction he managed to always give her.
“I wanted to ask you something,” he started. He took a long pause. His arm tensed, his fingers gripped tighter on her hand. His palms began to sweat and it made hers as well.
She knew him well enough to know when he was nervous.
Nervous about what? She wondered. It was not often that he was ever anxious.
“We’ve been together for a long time now, and I know I can completely rely on you. I can tell you anything and everything.” He took a deep breath, and the exhale moved the red strands of her hair. She knew something was going to happen but she wondered if it was what she was thinking.
Chiui placed the picture of her family down, the frame was beginning to grow warm from her constant touch. Her eyes met Ling’s and a tinge of pink rested just under his eyes and upon his pale cheeks. Her heart rate began to accelerate, her pulse quickening from the adrenaline of what might be coming next. She had always cared about Ling with everything in her mind and body and if this was about to happen, it must have been an active blessing made by her murdered family.
The air around the room grew hotter, either that or all the blood was rushing to her cheeks, making her temperature rise. Her body always gave away what she was thinking and this intensified blush was no different.
“I love you,” he said.
Chiui’s heart raced but managed to stop all at the same time. The music playing around the restaurant died out and the smell of his cinnamon cologne completely captivated her.
“We’ve known each other since we were little kids,” he chuckled. “I remember when I first saw you. I thought you were the most stubborn person I had ever met.” He stood up from his stool, and looked down at her. “I remember that day so clearly; even now because it was the time in my life that I had met the person that meant the most to me. Even then, when we were little kids, I had this embarrassing crush on you.” Chiui laughed and he smiled. “I remember when we first went out to eat together,” he continued, “You challenged me to an eating contest. I had thought about letting you win but being that we were both so competitive I took the triumph.” He laughed and so did she. “I want to live the rest of my life remembering those memories and making more with you,” his brow began to sweat. “I want to have eating contests, a star-gazing partner and a wife all in one.”
Her heart welled as he leaned down onto one knee. His colored eyes glistened, “Will you marry me, Chiui?”
This was everything she had ever wanted in her life. She had been through much more than any child should have and he had always been there beside her. He was her best friend, companion and love, how could she not say yes?
She nodded, expressing her desire for marriage and his face lit up in a smile. He placed a beautiful ring upon her finger and they embraced in a hug that brought their souls closer together.
In the background, sitting on the counter behind her was that same frame. The picture of her family grew warm and the smiles on their faces grew even wider.