She was his most treasured person.
Their families were close. They were close.
She meant so much to him. They grew up exploring the world together, and always stood by each other.
It was only when she began to visit his family's shop that he began to feel her grow bitter towards life....
He remembers how her mother stood by with his own as they played.
Her mother was a sad beauty. Long hair hung around her face like a curtain hiding her sad eyes from the world.
Sometimes he grew scared that she would turn like her mother. Always sad with a feeling of urgency to hide from the world.
He sometimes told her repeatingly that he would marry her.
Her laugh was so soft and made his face blush as she hugged his arm, "That's why I know I won't ever be unhappy like the rest of the women in my family," she told him.
It was than that she encountered that man.
That man that would soon turn into her husband....The one that began to torment her to the point that she had to start consuming those bitter pieces of sadness kept in that box.
He remembers when he first laid eyes on that candy box.
The box was painted a dark ivory white and small little flowers decorating the sides. Four little golden squares were underneath the four corners of the box allowing it to be platformed from where it sat. The top of the lid had a large black heart painted on it, at the time he failed to notice that the heart had dark red cracks in it and believed that instead they were veins. It was small, but large enough to contain a million small chocolate hearts.
She and him were curious that day, the little candy hearts looked so good to their naive eyes...
One swallow thought made him cringe. They were bitter, very bitter. He could barely contain his disgust at how bad the heart melted onto his mouth. "It's awful!" he cried, "Ew..."
"They're good though," she suddenly replied, "I think it's good." He stared at her in surprise.
It was later that he soon learned why the taste of bitterness was so appealing to her...
His father taught him how to make those bitter hearts later when he became old enough to take over the store.
He cringed at the idea, but continued his training.
"Oh madam," his father called out from the counter as they arranged that day's sweets, "More hearts?" He looked up to see a somber looking woman, her mother, her eyes red and her lips bleeding.
She nodded and handed the candy box to his father, "Hello," she whispered to him with a weak smile. He looked away, frightened and confused. She looked horrible.
"He comes late at night..." He looked back and watched as her eyes began to become glassy, "He..He never stayed out beyond midnight, but now he is..." Her voice was cracking and he became concerned at how tight her hands clutched her purse, "And sh-she's about to get married too..."
He almost dropped his tray as his father came out, "Anything else?"
"Uh yes, please attend the ceremony...She wanted to come herself-"
"We will," his father patted him on the shoulder, "Now son let's get these displays finished." He nodded and stared at the woman swallowed a heart as she hurried away.
He stands now behind the counter, sighing.
He swore to marry her. To love her....But-"Hi, what's up?" he cheerfully greets her. She looks like a splitting image of her mother now, face full of shadows and eyes blank from emotions.
She hands him the box and he leaves. He stares at the taunting little chocolate pieces he made for her.
He tried to offer sweeter hearts to her, but she always dumped them or wouldn't take the box unless it was full of bitter chocolates. She adored them so much and it became a pill for her to consume when her husband wouldn't return home to her at night.
He takes a heart and dumps it into the box. His fingers shake a bit in anger at the thought of how cowardly he was....
Why didn't he step up? Why didn't he swoop in to save her?
He looks at a piece and swallows it, his tongue screams in disgust at how bitter her medicine is. He grabs around and swallows something.
The smell and taste of vanilla over powers the bitterness and he manages to breath again.
He looks at the vanilla truffle on the counter. Each truffle had a bright little flower painted onto the white coat. He made the truffles and wanted to at least sneak one into her box....
He sighs and goes out.
She dashes over to him and knocks the box out of his hands. He is stunned at the sudden life that has returned to her.
She is wailing and sobbing and crying. She finally returns back to life before his eyes.
He hugs her and he feels the woman he loves from afar begin to calm down in his arms. He pleads silently for her to no longer consume bitter things.
He isn't aware that he is speaking out loud to her.....
"Please know..I love you," he whispers automatically.
It's been four weeks since he last saw her.
His vanilla truffles sell well.
He makes them day and night. Putting a lot of effort. He no longer makes the bitter chocolate hearts anymore.
He finds no more reason to.
But he worries of where she is. The door opens and a familiar figure walks up, "Hi," she smiles. Her eyes are sparking with life and her hair reveals her beautiful face to him in the light.
"Can I try those vanilla truffles?" He takes out of the display case, "Here." He places it close to her lips and she opens her mouth just in time to get it.
Her smile grows as she chews and swallows, "Sweet vanilla..It's so much nicer."
They smile at each other.
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