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Will you smile, for me?
The hot oppressive air of Beijing engulfed me in a sweaty embrace, dampening my already clammy last-season Yves Saint Lauren pea coat the moment I stepped onto the airport tarmac. Compared to the cool luxury of the airplane, it was pure hell.
After standing on the street outside the airport waving my arms like a madwoman for a quarter of an hour, I finally managed to flag down a taxi and get to my apartment complex. I was climbing out of the car when I broke the heel on one of my brand new Steve Madden pumps. I fell out of the car and slammed into the broad chest of a young man.
“??. You idiot, watch where you’re going.” I flushed an even deeper red and resisted the urge to hit the brusque stranger. The fact that he was the most attractive young man I had ever seen drove all thoughts of violence from my mind, replacing it with a squishy jelly-like sensation in my knees that left me wondering if I had experienced love at first sight.
His dark vest hugged his chest in all the right places accentuating his muscular torso. The sun that reflected off his raven black hair made it seem like his perfectly chiseled jaw line was glowing. I giggled at his serious expression and playfully punched his shoulder.
“What’s with the scary expression? If you’re hurting I’ll treat you with a bite to eat.” I offered him a coy smile along with few eyelash flutters. He leaned in close so that I could smell his aftershave. I was in danger of heart failure at that moment.
“One thing I hate more than anything else?” His lips were now less than an inch from mine. “Stupid girls like you.” Without another word, he turned, climbed into the still waiting taxi, and drove away.
After sulking in anger and disappointment in my apartment with nothing to do for nearly eight hours, I heard a quiet knock on my door. I made sure to keep an open and friendly expression on my face and tried to remember to act amiable as possible when answering the door.
“Nice to meet you, I live just to the right of—” His dark eyes met mine as I took in his dark vest and raven black hair.
I was now neighbors with the most good-looking and arrogant man I had ever met. Our first meeting at the taxi was not ideal. “Look. I know the timing is not perfect, but could you at least smile a little? For me?”
He laughed and blushed. The beeping from the heart rate monitor near his hospital bed speed up momentarily. His hand continued to hold mine. “I want you to tell me about our past everyday so I can remember it all the way up to the end. Just hearing the sound of your voice is enough. Tomorrow you can tell me about July 21. Do you still remember it?” His eyes searched mine.
“How could I not. The day you confessed your love for me and proposed without a ring.” I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my face and splattering onto his medical report. His thin hand released mine and grabbed my chin, forcing me to tear my eyes from the paper detailing his grim prognosis.
“I love you more than anything else in the world, even life itself. But there is one marriage vow that I will not keep. We will not part, even in death. So please, I know this isn’t the ideal situation, but could you at least smile a little? For me?”
I smiled for him, just a little.