When he opened his eyes, she was gone. In a blink, he was alone again. He loved her. He would find her.
He had met her through a mutual friend. She was just out of a bad relationship, and so was he. They talked for a while, amazed at how well they meshed. Surely this was more than friendship.
But they took it slow. He knew she wasn't like the rest of them. She was pure. To hurt this creature would have stained his soul.
So he treated her like a queen. He listened to her stories, shared his, became her friend. And she trapped his heart. The more time he spent talking to her, the more he wanted to reach out and hold her. To feel her close. To press his lips to hers.
But it wasn't time yet. There was a greater plan involved. They shared one night that would stick in their minds forever. It wasn't anything special on the outside. They hung out at a diner, then took a walk through his neighborhood. They laid down in the street, to stare at the stars and clouds overhead, listening to the sounds of the night. He felt so close to her. Would this not be the perfect moment? Was this the time? But he chickened out, and it wasn't to be yet.
The next day, she went into the hospital. He worried, spending all day staring at his desk. Was she okay? What was wrong? Would he be able to see her?
He finally got through that afternoon. She was okay, not in much pain, but she was doped up. They didn't know what was wrong yet, but they were going to run some tests the next day.
Sleep did not come that night. It lay just out of his reach. He would drift off to the happy memories they shared, only to remember that those sacred times might now be in jepardy. He rose readily when morning came. Anything to keep him out of his own hell.
That afternoon, he called her father, and asked if he could visit her in the hospital. Once granted permission, he was relieved, but still more scared. He knew she was scared, and he had to keep a strong face for her, but could he do it? He didn't know what to expect, but he prepared for the worst. His preparation, it turned out, was just what he needed.
He stepped in the room that day, and never expected anything like what he saw. She was beautiful. She was lovely, even through the pain, the trauma of this place. And he saw his admiration reflected in her face. They were in love.
He spent every spare second with her in that room, keeping her happy. Anything to see her smile. They'd watch movies, they'd laugh, talk, walk around. Through her pain, they grew closer.
She quickly dropped her fear of showing pain in front of him. He came to realize when she was in pain, and what helped her through it. He'd distract her, talk her through it without even mentioning it. Needles and IVs were forgotten for silly jokes and long laughs.
And she got better. They sent her home, and he visited her there until she was strong enough to go out. He took her to a movie, a comedy, and they laughed together.
Then he slid his hand under hers. She didn't flinch, didn't tense up, but moved her arm to make room for his on the armrest. Their hands fit like two pieces of a puzzle. They walked out of the theatre holding hands, and he had never felt so proud of the girl on his arm.
That night, as he hugged her goodbye, he looked down into her eyes, and they were reaching for him. His soul reached out, and in a moment they would never forget, their lips locked.
As they tried later to describe it, words failed. Entire languages failed. It was like nothing they'd ever known. But each kiss afterwards carried the same love, the same awesome touch. When he asked her to marry him, she was surprised, but didn't hesitate. As the ring slid onto her finger, he felt his future coming into focus, and he was even more enamored by her than he had been before.
The first chapter of their life written, they joined hands and walked the path to their future together.


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