Chasing Sunshine

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15 - Disappointing Discovery

***


“What's that?” His voice in the background spoke as the clip showed Shine putting flour in a bowl.

“Flour. What are you doing?” She giggled. “Stop taping this, I can’t focus. I might make a mistake with the measurements.

“You're just too beautiful to watch. It's a blessing for the world to be able to watch you bake." James said.

She blushed and tucked imaginary stray hair behind her ear. “Eeep! Stop that.” She giggled.

“Just don't mind me. Pretend I'm not even here. I'll be very quiet. I promise." He said and for a few minutes into the video he was silent as she mixed all the ingredients in the bowl.

Then four almost inaudible words were softly muttered behind the camera. “I love you. I'm sorry.”


***


"James, stop! Don't eat that!" Shine reprimanded James as he ate what was left of the cake batter from the bowl.

That afternoon, they were doing one more item in the list.

Bake a cake.

He had just placed the pan in the oven and was helping her clean up in the kitchen while they waited for the 40 minutes of baking.

He looked up at her as he licked his fingers clean from the chocolate mixture while he sat on a stool by the kitchen counter. "Why can't I eat it? Everything in here is edible, right? It's really yummy. Want to try... "

His sentence was stopped mid-way and he held his breath as she did something that made his heart skip a beat. She casually reached out to wipe some batter that dripped from the side of his mouth with her thumb and giggled. "You eat like a kid. Although, you're too adorably cute, I can't let you do that." She said as she took the bowl away from him.

"Though everything here is edible, it's also uncooked. The raw eggs can give you Salmonella and the uncooked flour can give you E. coli. Don't you know this, Mr. Faulkner? Are you really a nurse?" Shine chuckled as she shook her head.

James scratched the back of his head as he looked up at her. "Of course I am. I just got excited because all the meals you cook are so delicious."

She grinned as she rolled her eyes at him. "Smooth-talker. I bet you say that to all the girls while you flash your dimples to charm them and make them fall for you."

"Hey! I'm not fawning and I'm not a playboy. All I said was true." He smirked and looked straight into her eyes. "Why? Were you charmed?"

She felt her heart beat faster in her chest and her cheeks warmed up while they turned red as she stared back at him.

"Was I charmed? Did I... Oh, dear God, No! I am not falling for his charms." She thought.

She bit her lip and cleared her throat before she chided. "You just got worse, Mal. You're not just a smooth-talker, you're also overconfident." She laughed nervously as she picked up the bowl and turned to place it on the sink behind her.

Suddenly, her hands lost their strength and the bowl fell crashing on the floor by her foot.

"Shine!" James exclaimed as he hurriedly got up from his seat and rushed to her.

In one quick move, he picked her up in his arms and carried her away from the broken glass fragments to a chair in one corner of the kitchen.

"Shine, are you okay?" He asked as he held her face in his hands and looked at her, scanning for any warning signs. He hastily checked her hands, legs and feet for cuts. He found a small one on her left foot. "Haaa... It's just a small cut but we still need to clean it. Wait here. I'll go get the first-aid kit." He said as he turned to run to the nearest bathroom that had one. But before he could leave, he heard her sobs and stopped.

He turned back and went down on his knees so he could look at her face to face. James then gently touched her cheek with the back of his hand.

"James... Just stay here please..." She sobbed as tears flowed incessantly from her eyes.

He felt a sudden pang of pain in his heart as he saw the look in her eyes. He immediately wrapped her in his arms as she buried her face on his chest.

That was not the first time it has happened. She had worse incidents back in New York but it was the first time, as he held her in his arms, as she felt his gentle strokes up and down her back, as she listened to his steady heartbeat and hushed whispers of encouragement that gradually calmed her anxiety, that Shine learned a disappointing discovery.

About something she never meant to happen…

Something she feared for…

Something she tried to avoid but still somehow, by some inevitable twist of fate, still did…

“Damn it! Why did this have to happen? I have fallen in love with James. I love him and I am scared as hell because someday I know I will have to leave him.” Shine thought.

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