20 - Not Lost But Found
James smiled as he brushed her cheek with the back of his hand. He sat beside Shine on the hospital bed while he fed her some soup and bread for breakfast.
"I can finally see you smile. I missed your smile so much." He said.
She grinned as she reached out and pinched his cheek. "Of course, I am with the most handsome guy in the world. How can I not smile? I missed you so much, James."
He took her hand and kissed it then leaned his cheek on the back of her hand and sighed. "I missed you very very very very very very very very much, my love."
"And yet you still forgot my white cheese?" She teased.
“Ugh! When will you forget about the white cheese?" James scratched the back of his head. "I rushed back here when your sister called me about what happened to you. I'm sorry, love. Don't be angry anymore. Didn't you break your promise too? You said you were going to take care of yourself. Look where we are now." He frowned at her.
Shine bit her lip and coyly smiled at him. "Sorry…" She pouted. "Okay. Let's call it even." She looked at him and batted her eyelashes charmingly. "Don't be angry at me for breaking my promise, okay?"
James chuckled and playfully poked her nose. "Where can I get the heart to stay angry at you?" He sighed helplessly and held her in his arms. "Even though you didn't keep your promise, we're still lucky because you're okay now. When we go home to the beach house, I'll have 10 kilos of white cheese ready for you."
"10 kilos? That's too much."
"Yet not nearly as much as I love you. I love you so much, my Sunshine."
"I love you too, James." She smiled a smile that never failed to brighten up his mood and warm his soul like the sunshine after the storm.
He lifted her chin and gently kissed her lips as the radiance of their love embraced them.
"Ahem..." Ted who just walked in the room cleared his throat to make his presence known to the young lovers who seemed to be lost in their own world.
"Hi, Dad!" Shine beamed. "What's that?"
"I brought extra pillows and blankets from your room. I know how particular you are with them." Ted smiled as he placed the bag he carried on the bench and moved to his daughter's side and kissed her forehead. "How are you feeling, sweetheart?"
"Doing great, Dad. I have a great nurse." Shine grinned while James blushed.
He touched his forehead on the back of the older man's hand. "Uhm... Sir... I mean Uncle, can I talk to you outside?" James asked.
"What about?" Shine interjected.
"You'll know soon, my love. For now, I'll talk to your Dad first." He answered.
"Alright. Let's go outside. Will you be okay for a few minutes alone, sweetheart?" Ted asked
"Yes, Dad. Anyway, you'll just be outside, right? You will immediately hear if anything urgent happens?" She giggled while the two men frowned at her joke. "I was kidding. You two can't get a joke. Go."
"We'll only be away for a few minutes. Behave, Sunshine Malden." Ted warned.
The two men stepped outside and closed the door.
"What did you want to talk about?"
James wrung his hands together and took a deep breath to calm his thundering heartbeat. Four months ago, he never would've imagined himself in that situation.
The conversation he had with his Dad when he told him about his plan of working as a private nurse was still fresh in his mind. Back then, his Dad thought that he was losing his way from his dream of becoming a doctor but James knew that the moment he stepped into the Malden home, he was where he was meant to be and the second he laid eyes on Shine that he was not lost but found.
"Well, Uncle... I would like to ask for your permission."
The younger man took another deep breath. "I would like to ask for your blessing to marry your daughter."
Ted was quiet for a few seconds as he looked at the young man who expressed his intention to marry his youngest daughter.
"Are you sure? You've only known each other for a few months. You haven't been together long enough. You know what her situation is."
"I know, Uncle. I also know that it's hard for you to believe that in the short amount of time that we've known each other, I grew to love Shine sincerely. But, Uncle, I'm sure. I love your daughter with all my heart and soul. I know…" He paused and a sob threatened to escape from him. "I know that a lifetime together for us is uncertain. We can only wait for a miracle and I have hope that we will be given that. I don't care how many years, months, days or hours we have left to share. I want to share each moment with Sunshine-- to love, protect and take care of her as my wife."
Ted fell silent again. Weighing... Considering... Before slowly nodding his head. "When and where do you plan to have the wedding, son?" He smiled.
The next clip was a series of lip-synching videos and wacky faces of Sunshine while sitting on the hospital bed, probably bored as she waited for James and her Dad to return to the room.
He laughed as he watched her with tears in his eyes.