I see her, her brown hair framing her beautiful face, tears streaming down her cheeks

I see her, her brown hair framing her beautiful face, tears streaming down her cheeks. I know all too well why: Her close friend's death has upset her, and has changed her from that fiery woman to a grief-stricken lady. All I want to do is hold her close and ease her pain. Yet I hesitate, hoping that I could make her happy.

I try to embrace her to comfort her, but she pushes me away. I stagger; she is still strong even if the agony of it all has engulfed her.

"Go away. I don't want to talk to you."

"I only want to help."

"And you think you can help because…?"

Her sharp retort hurts me. Why does she always isolate herself away? Couldn't she see that I sincerely wanted to ease her pain? "Come on, give me a chance. You've always treated me like I was some fool."

"You don't understand me at all, do you?" She has stopped crying, but she still looks agitated.

"Stop acting all angsty. If he were here right now, he'd--"

I have said the wrong thing. Now more tears threaten to spill over. "Don't mention him!" She grits her teeth. "You're only making it worse."

She sobs even harder as I watch, helpless, but desiring to ease her pain. Then suddenly her guardian creature enters. She is an imposing beast. Everything from her large form to her sharp claws spelled the word danger. She glowers at me threateningly, thinking I was the cause of her distress.

"What are you doing? Are you hurting her?" Her deep voice is almost a growl.

"No. . .No...I'm just…" I stammer, stricken with fear. I don't know what to say. If I can't convince her that I wanted to help, how can I convince this beast, her overprotective, domineering guardian?

She prepares to attack and I am frozen, scared. My thoughts are racing, my mind telling me that I am a fool. I think to myself, "Why did I even bother?" Yet inside of me, I know I don't regret it. I care for her—too much, it seems. And even if I do move, I am no match for this powerful creature before me. I dare not move. Then, in a split second, the creature lunges at me.

But before he can even touch me, I hear an anguished shout. "…Wait!"

I am surprised. Questions are forming in my mind. The guardian turns, puzzled. "But I thought you detested him. Isn't this what you wanted, for him to be rid of once and for all?"

"It… well… I…"

"Well?"

"It would be cruelly unfair to hurt him. He never hurt me."

She isn't convinced, still ready to tear my insides apart. She has always treated me with dislike. She does not trust me. She did not think it is in her best interests for her to be near me. "Then why are you crying? Why is he here?"

"He didn't make me cry. He was trying to comfort me" Her voice is shaky. She looks like she is even surprised at herself.

"Why HIM of all people?" the guardian asks, disgusted.

I speak up, stuttering but certain. "Because I care."

He growls menacingly, "She's not interested."

There is an awkward pause. I feel flustered, inwardly calling myself a fool for saying that. Her earnest reply broke the silence."... No, I am."

We both look at her, the guardian unpleasantly stunned and I euphorically surprised. I smack myself, thinking, Can this really be happening or have my daydreams become too vivid?

"I care about you too," she says softly, looking down almost (but not quite) shyly at the floor.

He sighs. "I can't do anything about love even if I am your guardian. It is your heart after all."

"You're right. My heart is his now. "

I sit there, pleasantly surprised. "And mine is yours," I reply softly.

Her guardian moves away to leave, turns back briefly and says, "Mind you, I'm still keeping an eye on both of you."

I chuckle softly, looking at her. She falls silent. Then, slowly, she inches over to me. I wonder if I had done something wrong. For a moment I flinch, thinking she would slap my face.

But before I could cower, she speaks. "You've been a kind friend. Thank you," she says smilingly.

She hesitates, her eyes unreadable as she says, "No. You've been more than a friend. You've--"

I shush her and lean towards her. She tilts her head towards me. I kiss her softly but lovingly, my hand softly stroking her hair. Pure joy is the only thing I feel at this moment. Everything else is swept away by having her so close to me.

Eventually, we pull back, but our hands still hold together. She looks at me, and then whispers softly, almost embarrassedly, "I love you, Sciriatos."

I smile with pure pleasure. "I love you too, Damia," I say gently. "I've always had. And I always will."

I sigh, my heart beating faster than ever. I want to stay in this moment as long as I wish, but I know that can't happen. We'd be facing so much more, but I don't mind that. I don't care about facing anything as long as she's by my side. She is worth the wait.