Standard Disclaimer: Brands, cartoons, TV shows et cetera that may be mentioned belong to their respective owners.

Author's Notes: Beware of clichés and adult themes. This story is by no means advocating or criticizing any forms of behavior (except maybe, to show that falling in love is possible). Please read at own discretion.

a love « ❤ » story.

Oh I adore the way you carry yourself
With the grace of a thousand angels overhead
I love the way the galaxy starts to melt;

- "so much" © the spill canvas.

I. They met in pre-school – she was new and he was not. Her straight fringe covered her greenish eyes and the rest of her hair hung off her back limply as she gripped her mother's hand with her knuckles turning white, and introduced herself to the class in a small voice that no one could really hear. Not that anyone was listening, anyway. Except maybe him. Her name had felt warm (like honey) when she whispered it, spreading across his little heart like the way he felt after eating one of Aunt Mae's butterscotch cakes. He had been sitting at the back, already a rebel at such a young age. Hands interlinked on the back of his head (because that had been such a cool pose at that time), he rocked back and forth as the new girl was assigned to sit next to him.

The teacher turned her back to face the blackboard as she wondered why she put herself under so much torture everyday, and one of his friends stuck a foot out to trip the girl. She couldn't see all that well through her hair, so she fell with full impact, bruising her little knees. Biting her lip and trying hard not to cry, she brushed the brown strands away quickly and looked straight up with shining eyes. Her green met his blue, and he stopped rocking in mid-air. Before long, he'd plummeted to the ground to join her, in a messy tangle of chair and limb as their teacher stopped scratching on the chalkboard and let out a big sigh.

He figures, that was when he fell in love with her eyes.

II. The room on the second floor had a big window, and that was why she liked it. Mommy had lined the glass with a translucent day-curtain and a pretty pastel yellow curtain (with flower designs scrawled towards the bottom) that she'd picked out herself. They were the only set of new things in the house, because everything else had come from the previous home or Mommy's parents. She didn't dare to ask about Daddy, because the last time she did, Mommy started crying. Sitting on her window sill in her nearly-empty room, she let the wind blow in and peered over at the other house. Maybe she'd have nicer neighbors this time – neighbors that didn't leave the TV on till four in the morning or made creaky sounds above her, making her ceiling shake a little.

This neighbor had blinds for curtains, and they were currently closed tight. She hummed a soft tune to herself as someone drew the blinds and pushed the glass doors open to stare at her. Sky-blue and forest-green collided once again, and she attempted a small smile, although everything in her was telling her to bolt away from the boy living next door. His gaze didn't waver from her face, and he didn't smile back. She bit her lip to stop herself from trembling and tried to meet his eyes, but he'd already left and gone out to play. Mommy had told her there were kids in the neighborhood, but she didn't think one of them would be the boy who fell when she fell on her first day at school.

She thinks, that was when she wanted to find out more about him.

III. During recess, she sat on the swing and dragged her feet through the sand because no one else wanted to play with her. The other girls had their Barbies, but she didn't like dolls all too much. She looked wistfully at the boys playing tag, remembering the time Daddy used to chase after her in their lawn on weekends and swoop her up in his big arms while Mommy scolded them for getting dirty with a smile and pancake mix on her face. Now, Daddy had gone somewhere else and Mommy never smiled or made anything for breakfast aside from toast anymore.

There was a loud splat as someone threw a freshly-made mud cake at her and it landed on her skirt. Wrinkling her fair nose, she stood up from the swing and tried wiping the dirt off, but to no avail. The culprits snickered at the side, and stuck their tongues out at her. The blonde girls looked up from their great adventures of Barbie and Ken, and turned their snooty noses up distastefully at the dirty girl. Soon, everyone at the play area was staring at her, making her feel rather intimidated. Nervously, she dragged a hand down her hair, leaving mud streaks on her pale face. Then someone pointed a finger at her and started laughing. It wasn't long before everyone started laughing at her too, to her dismay. She didn't like the feeling, but there wasn't much she could do aside from try and be as small as possible so they'd stop noticing her and oh what would Mommy say about her soiled pinafore?

It took her a moment to realize someone was tugging her towards the sinks by the hand, away from the hooting and sneering. She glanced up through her blurry eyes and saw dark hair. His grip was strong, and he didn't seem to mind the mud on her hands. Silently, he wet a towel with water from the tap and rubbed at her arms, her face, her clothes, her hair. She hadn't felt so safe in a long time, not since Mommy and Daddy tucked her into bed together and left the warm night-lamp on for her. He looked into her eyes with a cold stare which she later learnt was more of an intent gaze, hand pausing on her left cheek as he took in her flushed cheeks and downcast expression.

He reckons, he started wanting to protect her with all his might from then on.

IV. Their classmates made fun of them all the time, with K-I-S-S-I-N-G in the tree and other taunts, but neither really cared. She talked about everything and anything, and he closed his eyes while he lay against a tree root, listening to the way her voice rose and fell. He learnt that she'd always wanted a cat, but her mother wouldn't allow it because a cat would scratch the furniture. He also learnt that she liked pancakes better than waffles, and her favorite stuffed toy was a yellow rabbit named Lukie. On serious days, he learnt that she loved her father and her mother very much, and hoped they'd be together again one day. He learnt that her voice was soft as compared to others, not because she was shy, but because she was gentle, and that her laughter had a melodious ring to it.

In return, he told her things in his short, curt way that she had come to appreciate. She learnt that he had two siblings – an older sister and a younger baby brother. The older one didn't like staying at home too much and came home early in the morning through his bedroom window because she didn't want her parents to yell at her. The baby brother was really noisy, because he was always hungry or needed a change of his nappy. She also learnt that he liked green Skittles the best, and started saving those for him every time she bought a packet. When it started to rain, she learnt that he liked the sound of rain pattering on the roof, and that he might consider becoming a drummer when he grew up. She learnt that his unfeeling tone had many different levels if you strained your ears enough – there was the happy unfeeling tone, the amused unfeeling tone, the sad unfeeling tone, the exasperated unfeeling tone, and the angry unfeeling tone. (She didn't really like the last unfeeling tone, but he never used it on her, anyway.)

She remembers, this was one of the best periods in her entire life.

V. Like everyone else, they entered middle school with mixed feelings. Suddenly, boys didn't have cooties anymore, and girls had strawberry-scented pretty hair. She'd never caught on the "boys have germs" fad, and he'd always thought she had nice eyes. So they weren't all that affected, but the kids around them were hit with the full impact of hormones. Spin-the-bottle became all the craze, and stolen first kisses in the bathroom with the light turned off, along with chipped teeth from inexperience. Truth Or Dare made the innocent girls spill their deepest darkest secrets (which were usually about the boy they fancied at that point in time), and the boys were challenged to do silly outrageous things just to prove how cool they were, just to show off to the girls. Mild parties were thrown by the more popular ones, and always had these two games among others, as well as non-alcoholic champagne, balloons and pop music.

She was never invited to any of these because she was too quiet, but he had invitations to all, especially the girls'. With a slightly exasperated unfeeling look, he'd toss them over his shoulder and into the bin as she smiled a little sadly and told him he should go if he wanted to, or they'd stop thinking he was good enough for their parties. He'd answer in his not-too-happy unfeeling tone that she was all he needed, and there was absolutely no point in going for the stupid birthday bashes when it wasn't even really the host's birthday and her parents had forgotten she'd had her birthday bash three times over already.

Her will was surprisingly strong, he came to know over the years. But his was always stronger. She'd relent in the end, and they'd do a bit of homework together in either room before playing their own little games that didn't include spin-the-bottle or Truth Or Dare. He'd gotten a kitten a while ago to please her, but she didn't know that. Either way, she'd been exhilarated with the striped white-and-grey cat. Together, they named it Dusty. He liked it because it had green eyes; she liked it because of its unchanging expression.

He recalls, the times he spent with her were way better than the parties his guy friends managed to drag him to.

VI. Then they plunged into high school, and discovered that the horror stories about a social ladder and caste system were actually very true indeed. The girls who had loved Barbie at a younger age switched to cheerleading, nail polish and boyfriends. Needless to say, they emerged the top of the pyramid, along with the sporty boys who'd shot up to six feet and made the females swoon. The bimbos and the jocks, or so they were named. The birthday bashes morphed into parties about everything and nothing, the games were replaced by making out and pool, the non-alcoholic beverages were switched for spiked punch, and the lousy pop music was taken over by blaring dance songs with loud rhythms.

She had remained thin, but didn't have much of a cleavage to boast about. Her chocolate hair had been layered according to fashion, but she bundled it up into a messy ponytail most of the time, so it didn't really matter. A clear complexion, with sparkling green eyes and a relatively pretty face. She wasn't a stunning beauty, but she did turn heads sometimes. But she preferred drawing to painting her nails, and she still hadn't given away her first kiss yet. In other words, she was a far cry from the girls who ruled the school with their high heels and beautifully-styled golden hair. It wasn't as if she minded, though. As long as he told her she looked fine, anything else didn't bother her.

He, on the other hand, had the potential to become a "jock" and more – everyone knew that. Eleven years had merely enhanced his good looks; he now had a well-defined jaw-line, chiseled features and a built body. With tousled dark hair and a piercing stare, he became known to the giggling fan-girls as the icy cool drummer in Dust, the new relatively successful band in their school. Unlike others, he didn't even have to try really hard to be good in swimming, soccer or basketball. Or even school-work, for that matter. She'd always told him how jealous she was of his multiple abilities since she never understood the workings of Calculus or anything else aside from Art. But she didn't know he excelled for her, to gain her approval. She didn't know he'd named the band after their favorite cat, she didn't know he'd written songs just for her and forced Dust to perform them in public.

She recollects, they might have started drifting then, without them even realizing it.

VII. Through various school projects and other things, they made other friends, but none would ever be as important to them as one another. Or so they thought. Sports and Dust took up most of his time, while Art took up hers. The only times they met were during certain classes, but even then they didn't always sit together because of many reasons. There were always the calming conversations through their bedroom windows, as they glanced up at the starry night skies and murmured to each other, but even these moments grew further and further apart because he returned home too late, when she'd already drifted off to Dreamland with her favorite quilt blanket draped over her small body. She always left the windows open and the night-light on, but he was pretty sure she wasn't aware of his presence in her room every morning at around one or two, after he'd returned from practice or a party. Making sure she wouldn't wake up, he'd climb across the huge tree between their houses, and into her bedroom, silent as a mouse. Sometimes Dusty skulked over with her padded cat paws, but most of the time it was just him.

Her brown straight hair fell in ripples around her face as she breathed quietly, arms wrapped around her favorite bunny stuffed toy. Yellow ears stuck out from under her blanket, stuffed cotton threatening to escape from the fraying edges of the toy. It was just like her to keep things with her for such a long time – something he was actually grateful for. At least, she wouldn't be getting sick of him anytime soon. After checking that she was indeed asleep, he would stroke her hair gently and smile a little as she snuggled into his hold unknowingly. The first few times had been a little awkward, but later on he made a habit of kissing her cheek before leaving for his own room. As much as he would've liked to stay with her and Lukie, he didn't think her mother would appreciate it if she found the neighbor's boy in her daughter's bed.

What he didn't know was that she'd wait till he was safely across in his own room before cracking open an eyelid and laugh softly to herself. Her acting skills had never been all that good, but she could fake a sleeping posture anytime, for his light kisses and caressing.

He probably didn't know, but she'd already fallen into the deep abyss of love with him, then.

VIII. The problem with her, was that she trusted too easily. He hated that part of her, hated how everyone loved to manipulate her faith to get what they wanted. After all, one had to live for oneself, they would argue. He didn't exactly disagree, but he'd kill anyone who would hurt her. He had no qualms about bashing fellow testosterone-filled males to pulp when they got a bit rowdy, and he knew how to send a girl plummeting down the social food chain. Indeed, he was someone you didn't want to piss off. The male problems weren't rampant because she was still single, and everyone was too scared of him to go after her anyway. He was thankful for that, but he didn't think he'd be the one breaking her heart instead.

It'd started off with a simple partnership for a laboratory experiment. She'd met a nice girl named Jessica with glowing red hair and nails painted bubblegum pink, and they'd worked pretty well together. None of the girls had ever really wanted to associate with her since she was a young girl, but she had him so everything was fine. Nevertheless, she'd grown into a teenager who did want someone to gush over Johnny Depp with, once in a while. Or maybe hit her up for a bit of shopping, even if she wasn't a great fan of the mall. (She did have a small fetish for striped underwear though, and she couldn't expect him to venture into the lingerie section just for her, could she?) Yes, this girl proved to be a good chance, even if her lip gloss was a little shiny and she walked with a strut.

The girls had met him at the cafeteria, where he hung around with his band-mates, and Jessica had gotten really excited about meeting Dust in person. He'd given her the unfeeling unfeeling look, but smoothened it to the polite unfeeling look when he saw her send a pleading glance towards him as the red-head mingled around with everyone else. He supposed he'd deprived her of girly fun over the years, and it was good that she was finally getting some of it. The Jessica girl wasn't all that bad, anyway. At least she could carry a decent conversation without sounding too air-headed. This went on for a few weeks, and all was peachy until something went wrong with the formula, and they found themselves crashing, thrashing, burning.

I really, really like him. Can you please talk to him for me? She'd felt a sudden pang in her heart that she dismissed with a slight shake of her head and inward reprimanding. Jessica was a great girl, and would be a good influence on him. Besides, she didn't think he'd had a serious relationship just yet, and the red-head was all a guy could ask for in a girlfriend. Right, she'd talk to him soon, she promised earnestly as Jessica's eyes lit up and hugged her friend with a squeal. And speak to him, she did. What she hadn't expected was a curt nod of the head and acceptance to date Jessica without so much as a word of resistance. Maybe he'd liked the voluptuous girl since the beginning? For once in the many years she'd known him, she couldn't read his unfeeling expression.

She didn't realize, that the splitting pain in her chest had been her heart breaking.

IX. Somewhere along the years, Mom had almost healed completely, and was doing pretty well at work. Mother and daughter spoke easily nowadays, as long as they sidestepped the sensitive issue that was Dad. Mom had kept her mouth sealed, but she'd found out from family members and hidden letters that her father had left the family one rainy night, for a lady he'd met at a bar. The affair had been going on for a few years already, but Mom hadn't known anything about it. It was a known fact that the women of the family could never see through the lies and deceit of the outside world – when you'd gained their trust, they believed in you forever. Left with nothing but a small sum of savings and minimal family support, Mom had brought her up single-handedly, slogging away at her job as a secretary at a law firm. And it was at that very law firm that she'd met the second man in her life after Dad – she'd gone on too long without someone taking her into their arms and running their hand through her hair. The lucky man was her boss (who was unfortunately named Gary), and the daughter approved of him, with his grin and jokes that weren't very funny but made Mom laugh.

He and Jessica were going strong as a couple, without feeling the need to conceal their affections for each other, even in her company. She could've sworn he was looking at her as he buried his nose in the red hair, but then again she could've just imagined it. Unlike the common notion, Jessica still remained very friendly, and they'd become fast girl-friends. She'd even received a striped orange and pink thong from Jess for her birthday, much to her delight. The stinging pain was still there, but she tried hard to be sincerely happy for them. After all, they fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. He'd stopped coming over to her room in the late night while she pretended to sleep, so she stopped leaving the window open. She figured it was because he had a girlfriend now, and it wouldn't be appropriate for him to be kissing another girl in her sleep. The wind was getting a bit too chilly, anyway.

It was then, that her life decided to crumble down in front of her.

Gary had come knocking on a stormy day, not unlike the day Dad had left and never turned back. Mom wasn't in because she had to get some groceries, but he'd said he wasn't looking for Mom. She should have guessed that he wasn't in the right state of mind, by the way his speech slurred and the whiff of alcohol that hung from his breath, but then again, she hadn't expected him to do what he did. Just like in a lousy horror movie, the lightning flashed and the lights went out, inducing a small yelp from her. She shifted slowly towards the drawers that contained the candles and matches, but an arm suddenly snaked around her abdomen and yanked her forward as Gary ran his fingers down her arm. At that point in time, she'd been too shocked to scream, to move away, to do anything. Frozen, she stood still as Gary pushed her against a wall roughly and held her there with his surprisingly strong grip. She felt the rough tips of his fingers against her ribcage as he slipped a hand under her bra and squeezed an area she'd never let anyone touch, ever. It was then that she started screaming, but he silenced her with a sloppy, disgusting kiss. Soon, he'd pulled down her pants despite her desperate struggling and muffled cries for help and would've gotten what any aroused drunken man wanted if someone hadn't slugged him on the back of his head and sent him flying across the kitchen.

Slumped down on the ground with most of her hair coming undone from her ponytail, she watched weakly as her savior attacked the older man in way she'd never seen anyone fight before. Through the open door, light streamed into the house from the streetlights, and even through her blurred vision, she knew who had come. She'd known since the door was swung open with a bang, and Gary had been thrown onto the ground by the impact of the hit. He stood, eyes glinting silver dangerously in the dim light as he stared down at Mom's boyfriend in silent fury – an expression of his that she'd never seen in her whole life. It didn't suit his face – it made him look like another person altogether; someone that made her cower in fear. He didn't bother picking Gary up, because that would soil his hands. Walking over in calm anger, he kicked the older male in the ribs and the head a few times until Gary started groaning and bleeding from the mouth. He knew where it hurt most, because hanging out with the band had helped him gain some experience in dealing with jealous boyfriends of fan-girls and the like. His kicks were swift and hard, knocking a few teeth out and probably disfiguring Gary for life. Lightning flashed again, and thunder rumbled as Gary let out a pathetic shriek as the younger boy stepped on his fingers without any hesitation.

Mom cried for days because of the incident, and so did she. The only difference was, she cried within. Gary had been arrested for further trial, although he'd needed urgent care first. The injuries were taken as a form of self-defense, so no one had actually gotten into serious trouble. Word had spread around, and glances of pity were sent towards her as she walked through hallways. There were those who spoke of her mother as an uncaring whore, as a woman that no one wanted because look at what she did to drive her previous husband away? It was really sad that her daughter had to bear the consequences of her mista- That had been the first time she'd ever hit anyone, and she was suspended from school for a week for giving another girl a black eye.

He knows now, that he should never have started dating Jessica to spite her, never should have left her alone.

X. The relationship with Jessica was short-lived. He'd never even liked her to begin with, and she'd noticed it. It's all right, she said with an overly bright smile, but he really didn't care. He couldn't believe his gentle friend had actually socked a girl in the eye, but to be frank, he was rather proud of her. She'd stood up for herself, for her mother. But he knew she still woke up screaming and trembling as she remembered the fucker's hands on her, he knew she cried torrents during her showers because that was the only time her mother wouldn't be able to hear her. He knew when she couldn't stand the pressure from everyone at school or from her grandparents, who had come over and screwed her mother over for bringing such a despicable man into the house. He knew that all she wanted was to forget and to get on with life, but no one seemed to understand that.

He knew when she started slitting her wrists, because she started wearing wristbands and thick bangles that didn't quite fit her. But she denied it vehemently, whenever he brought the subject up. And she'd always been a terrible liar – she could never look him the eye whenever she didn't tell the truth. It was getting onto his nerves because he wanted her to stop, but there wasn't much he could do if she didn't want to help herself. She'd started leaving her window open again, more out of negligence than anything else. He made it a point to check on her whenever he could, and she didn't seem to mind his frequent visits – most of the time they didn't talk anyway. After the incident, she'd become even more withdrawn than the first time he'd met her at pre-school hiding behind her curtain of chocolate hair.

It shouldn't have come as a shock to him, but it did, anyway. He'd come over for the regular check when he saw her slouched in her bath-tub, soaked in water that was turning redder by the minute. Blue eyes widening, he'd frantically lifted the lifeless girl from her position as her wrists bled down her hands and onto the carpet. Thankfully, the wounds were not as deep as they seemed, and he managed to bandage them despite his trembling fingers. Her pulse was faint, but she was alive, and that was all that mattered. Taking her unresponsive face into his hands, he looked into her empty green orbs painfully. Why are you doing this to me? he whispered, dropping his head to her shoulder as he shifted his arms to wrap round her small, frail body. She felt so cold and limp, and she wasn't responding to his touch at all. It wasn't long before she realized that her best friend; her best friend who only had unfeeling expressions and spoke in monotone, was crying onto her shoulder like a lost little boy. Bringing up her bandaged hands, she encircled his warm body as tears began rolling down her face and onto his back.

She knows now, that she should never have denied loving him, never should have hurt herself and hurt him.

XI. Mom decides it's time for a bit of counseling, so they go for sessions together. They like the counselor, because his name is Ted, and he cares for all his patients like a father would care for a son. He's just a few years older than Mom, and has a twinkle in his grey eyes. She thinks, maybe, he'll be able to mend their broken mother-daughter relationship. Jessica's been really supportive during the whole ordeal too, even though she'd just got dumped. The red-head's definite that her ex-boyfriend has always loved only one girl, and that girl isn't herself. Besides, she's gotten herself a "brand new, shiny, jock boy-toy" and is having a blast. As girl-friends, they don't spend as much time together as before, but she's definitely found a good friend in the fiery red-head.

They've finally slipped back into the comfortable silences of the past, when they do nothing but lie back on the grass and stare at the constellations in the sky. The scars on her wrists are fading, and he's started showing a little more expression. Just a little, but it's good enough for her. She smiles more, like before, to make up for his part, she says. He doesn't reply, but his lips curve upwards against his own accord. Dusty's last litter of kittens are rolling around, chewing on each other's tails and tumbling onto her lap. They're leaving fur all over her, and she laughs. He leans over to pick the lint from her hair, then bends further in to brush her lips with his own. She's a little stunned, but then he kisses her properly, and she feels herself melting into his hold. His tongue gently prods against her teeth, and she lets him in as her hands play with his jet-black hair. It's her first real kiss, and the sweetest kiss he's ever tasted. She thinks he tastes like spice, he thinks she tastes like butterscotch cake and honey.

He understands, that most people call that love.

XII. The years pass by a bit too quickly, and soon they're off to college in different places. She's studying Art at NYU, and he's managed to snag a place at Harvard. They keep in touch through emails and visits and phone calls – the long-distance relationship isn't ideal, but they're doing better than a lot of others. Jessica, for one, gave up trying to keep a hold on her boy-toy in the first month, and moved on to one of the many French guys at her university, much to everyone's amusement. But all of them strive hard, no matter where they are.

It really isn't long before they finish up their courses and move on to their childhood dreams – him as an aspiring doctor in a prestigious hospital, and her as a well-received new artist who's going to have her very own exhibition soon. They return to where they met, and are met with a pleasant surprise – Mom and Ted the counselor, have finally become Mom and Dad after many years of dating. Mom may have graying hairs and Ted may snore in his sleep, but Mom's started making pancakes again, and they're happy.

He appears on the first day of her exhibition in a suit and a tie, making too many wives and girlfriends turn and stare till their spouses or boyfriends have to steer them away. She's amused by the slightly aggravated expression on his face, and slips her arm through his to tell everyone else that he's taken. There's a collective sigh throughout the showroom, but the two of them don't seem to notice. She leads him through the labyrinth of art pieces like a faerie lighting the way for someone from another world, until they reach the very heart of the maze. Hanging on a plain white wall, is a single sketch done in monochrome. A younger version of him in school uniform is lying against their tree, the wind playing with his hair and school-tie. He steps closer, and he sees the faint outline of an intricately drawn set of wings, billowing out behind him in the sketch. The title of the art-piece is: my Guardian Angel, my Love, my Everything. He glances over at her, and finds her fingering the hem of her shirt – a sign of anxiousness. He pulls her close gently, inhaling her honey scent. I love it, thank you.

She recognizes, that there's really nothing to worry about when she's engulfed in his arms.

XIII. On her 25th birthday, he takes her to a nice restaurant by the beach, sans the candles because he knows she doesn't really like them. It's Italian, just the way she likes it. He doesn't have a present for her, or hasn't given it to her yet, but she doesn't actually mind. His company is more than enough, since they're both so busy nowadays. Although, she is a little disheartened that he's quite distracted today, by the way his eyes keep darting towards the sea and the sand. It is her birthday after all, so she expects more attention than usual.

He links hands with her as they stroll down the shoreline, her other hand holding onto her black shoes with ribbons (the ones he'd bought for her on Valentine's Day) as she tries to balance on a long piece of driftwood, before falling over and pulling him down onto the sand with her. He doesn't expect it, and comes tumbling down onto her with a slight yelp. They land in a tangle of dinner clothing and arms, and before long he's tickling her where he knows she's ticklish, and she's erupting in giggles that are making all the younger couples stare, but they don't give a damn. Time has passed and she's not the same timid girl who had mud-cake thrown at her, and she's quick to reverse the roles, poking his ribs at areas that make him grin like an idiot, and we all know that him grinning like a moron is really quite a hard feat to achieve.

Exhausted, they call it a truce and fall back onto the sand, staring up at the velvet sky and tracing the star-paths, as always. A few minutes go by, and he scoops her up suddenly, ignoring her protests that everyone's staring, and props her up on a bench. She blinks at him as he kneels before her and fumbles around in his shirt pocket, because he's not someone who shuffles about things. After what seems like an eternity, he finds what he needs, and his sky-blue eyes suddenly snap up to meet her forest-green ones. A radiant smile has already spread across her face as she sees the small, shiny ring in his hand. It's a diamond ring, a star-shaped diamond etched in the middle of a loop of silver, with her name carved on the inside. He looks so distraught and seems to be going through the words over and over in his mind, that she places her hands on his cheeks and gently pulls him forward. I'll marry you; will you? He responds by moving forward, and kissing her.

They know that their relationship is more than friendship, more than infatuation. It's a bond, a bond that was formed from the very first day he fell off his chair, a bond that ties them so closely that they can't breathe without each other – a bond most people call love.

End Notes: Phew. That was tiring. I hope you enjoyed it and didn't find it too cheesy! Apologies for any grammatical or spelling errors (although the tense change towards the end and some of the repeated references are on purpose); my brain doesn't work well past midnight. Reviews much appreciated.