A Picnic Promise | Teen Ink

A Picnic Promise

August 16, 2021
By autumnwildes, Thomaston, Georgia
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autumnwildes, Thomaston, Georgia
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     “What the heck? I totally thought I had that one!!” you muttered to yourself as you tapped away at your phone. You were sitting on a bench in the park, playing games on your little device while you waited on your boyfriend to arrive for your date. The two of you had been together for exactly 8 months as of today. The bond the two of you shared was truly unique, you never grew bored of one another. Every time one of you saw the other, it felt like the first time. Every day you found a new reason to love him, and he did the same. Usually, he was early to your scheduled dates and you were typically the less punctual one. However, it seemed today the scenario was flipped. It was only about 10 minutes past when you agreed to meet up, so it wasn’t a big deal to you. It just made you a bit curious as to what came up that changed his usually early arrival. 

     “Guess who!” a familiar voice met your ears as warm, calloused hands clamped over your eyes from behind. You smiled instinctively, reaching your smaller hands up to clasp over his larger ones. 

     “Hm...let me think,” you trailed off, “Tanaka?” 

     The towering figure behind you chuckled. “Yea, of course. It’s me, Tanaka. Your wonderful boyfriend who’s totally not out of your league or anything.” He removes his hands from over your eyes and makes his way around the bench, sitting down beside you. He holds one hand behind his back and reaches one out to you, gesturing for you to hold it. “Close your eyes, princess. I have a surprise for you.” You didn’t hesitate, closing your eyes and resting your hand in his. You trusted him. He flipped your hand over so that it was palm-up and placed a cold object on it. Your eyes fluttered open, surprised by the sudden change in temperature. When you saw the yellow carton of banana milk, you immediately gripped it and threw your arms around your boyfriend. 

     “Oh my gosh, Asahi! How did you know I was craving banana milk today? You’re so perfect!” The excitement was prominent in your tone, it was your favorite drink after all. As you pulled away from the hug you’d thrown onto him, you planted a soft kiss on his cheek. You watched as he put his hand on the back of his neck, rubbing it nervously. An adorable pink haze had washed over his cheeks; despite the amount of time you’d been together, your affection still got him flustered very easily. 

     “Well, you’re kind of craving it everyday.” He said, giving you a lop-sided grin that left crinkles by his soft, brown eyes. You couldn’t help but return the same expression, gazing at the handsome male in front of you in adoration. You were so lucky to have met him when you transferred to Karasuno High; moving to Japan had been the best decision your parents ever made. 

     “I guess you have a point!” You giggled out, resting your head on his shoulder as you slurped the sweet beverage. He began to tell you all about volleyball practice, the one-sided conversation containing a solid balance of the moves he was focusing on perfecting and the ridiculous banter exchanged by his teammates. You rested against his side, listening intently. He was so passionate when he talked about the sport and his teammates, it was impossible for you to not pay attention. You loved hearing the fire in his tone, it ignited a spark of admiration in your heart every time you heard it. You would occasionally hum in affirmation to assure him you were listening. You could easily listen to him speak for hours. 

     “Would you like for me to throw that away for you?” He chuckled, squeezing your shoulder softly with the arm he had wrapped around you. You frowned a bit as you realized you’d made it to the end of your favorite drink, sighing softly. You nodded your head as he took the empty carton from your hand, standing up and tossing it in the nearby dumpster. “Ready?” He asked, holding out his hand to you with a smile. You took a moment to take in his beautiful features, appreciating and enjoying the feeling of the butterflies in your stomach. 

     “If you insist!” you said playfully, placing your hand in his and standing up from the bench. The two of you interlaced your fingers, the familiar comfort of his hand around yours immediately sending a flood of warmth throughout your body. You walked down the dirt trail hand-in-hand, taking the time to admire the scenery around you. It was April, meaning the cherry blossoms were finally blooming. The fragile petals floated around you, cascading down with the breeze. Within the last 8 months, April had quickly become your favorite of the 12. Not only were the sakura trees at their peak, you also got to spend sappy quality time with your boyfriend around your anniversary. The two of you were always pretty cheesy, but your anniversary dates usually take the cake. Each month you alternate who arranges it. Last month, you spent the day at an amusement park and then lounged on the beach in the evening, having dinner at a beach-side cafe. This month, it was Azumane’s turn. You had to admit, you were enjoying it already. 

     “Thank you, by the way.” The gentle giant next to you said suddenly. 

     “For what, honey? You’re the one who set up this date!” You said, glancing up at his softly chiseled face. 

He smiled in response. 

     “I know that. That’s not what I was referring to. I meant thank you for giving me the chance to be with you. I’ve never had a girl who wasn’t intimidated by me, I’m still not used to being able to call someone as beautiful as you...mine. That’s a privilege I’ll be grateful for as long as you allow me to have it.” His eyes flicked over to you as he spoke, his pupils dilated and glazed over with pure emotions. The man truly saw you as a goddess; he would do anything for you. You were his everything. 

     You tugged his hand gently, raising up on your tippy toes and planting a kiss on his cheek as he leaned over a bit. “I plan on you having that privilege for the foreseeable future. Baby, how many times have we been over this? You don’t have to thank me.” You traced your thumb over the back of his palm as you spoke to him genuinely. “If I went back in time, I’d make the choice to be with you again and again. Being able to call you my boyfriend and hear you call me yours, I never get tired of it. It’s my biggest blessing, you’re my biggest blessing. You shouldn’t be so insecure, love, you are the best guy I could ask for.”

     He was silent for a moment. “Hearing you say those things, it makes it hard for me to breathe. My heart speeds up and I feel out of breath. I’ll never get used to it, you’re so perfect. You’re absolutely ethereal, more than I could have ever expected to obtain in a girlfriend. I still don’t know how I got you, but I’m damn glad I did.”

     You smiled, nudging your shoulder into him playfully as you walked along. “I know how you got me. I remember it quite vividly in fact. You, this big, tall guy who looked like he could take on a bear, came walking up to me in the gym. The first time I looked in your eyes I knew you couldn’t even hurt a fly. You looked like you wanted to say something, but you couldn’t get the words out. Then, Nishinoya came to the rescue and told me you thought I was cute. I remember being surprised when he popped out from behind you, I hadn’t even seen him. Not as surprised as I was by the fact that you thought I was cute, though. I’ve learned a lot about you, but I knew from that exact moment that you were the most handsome guy I’d ever seen. And I still stand by that statement!” You said firmly, looking to him as if he may challenge it. 

     He laughed heartily in response. He was completely entranced by you, you had him wrapped around your finger without even trying. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if he hadn’t said something, I totally froze up when I saw your beauty up close for the first time.” You swung your arms as you walked, smiling brightly. Both of you kept a blush on your face most of the time that you spent together. “Time for a detour.” He said, tugging you to keep you from walking ahead. You looked at him, puzzled, humming at him interrogatively. “Follow me, sugar.” He gently pulled off the trail, walking through a gap in the trees. You were in a circular clearing, placed perfectly in the middle of the cherry blossom trees. In the center, there was a plaid, plush picnic blanket with your favorite foods scattered on it in an organized fashion. You gasped, your hand flying out of his grasp as you rushed forward and sat down on the blanket firmly, your knees folded under you.

     “Zu! Where did you get all this banana milk?” You demanded, the excitement in your tone evident. 

     “Jeez, of all the things you could’ve acknowledged. You chose the banana milk first?” He asked, smiling as he sat down across from you. At his words, you pulled your attention away from the fruit-flavored delicacy and took the time to scan over the rest of the foods. He had truly gone all out. There were meat buns, sushi, pocky, watermelon, all of the favorite foods the two of you shared. Your eyes twinkled as you admired the beauty of the food. You pumped your fist in the air, hooting. You loved Azumane more than anything else, but food was a close second. 

     You didn’t hesitate before giving him a rushed “thank you for the food” and then biting a meat bun. You closed your eyes and bummed as you enjoyed the taste. Swallowing your bite, you opened your eyes to meet the ones that were already looking at you fondly. “I knew I made the right decision when I said I’d be your girlfriend. Whew! You’ve really outdone yourself babe!” You shot him a toothy smile, meaning it when you said you loved being his girlfriend. If being able to spend time with your gentlemanly boyfriend wasn’t enough, the food was definitely a huge plus. 

     Azumane was silent for a moment before he ran a hand through his disheveled locks. “Speaking of decisions, I have something I want to give you.” 

     Your brows furrowed as you tilted your head in confusion, “Give me? You’ve already done so much for me today!” 

     “Well...this is different from food. It’s a decision I made a while back. I second guess myself and get nervous a lot, but I’m certain of this.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver ring in the shape of a tiara. You stopped chewing immediately as your eyes widened, focused on the accessory in his hand. “Every day that I spend by your side is a day I’m grateful for. You give me a reason to smile just by being you. I’ve never fallen for someone before, but I fall more deeply in love with you everyday. One day in the future, it would mean so much to me if you allowed me to make you my wife. This is a promise ring, I want you to wear it. It means I'm committed to us. One day, when we’re ready, I’ll replace it with a much nicer ring representing a deeper promise.” 

     You couldn’t hold back the tears rolling down your rosey cheeks if you tried. You gulped down the bite of the meat bun that had been frozen in your mouth before you opened your mouth to speak. Only, instead of speaking, you just whimpered. Azumane looked at you with great concern, panicking. “Oh no, I’m sorry! If it’s too fast, we can go slower! I didn’t mean to upset you!” The concern lacing his voice pulled on your heartstrings. He was such a considerate, kind, and compassionate guy. That was one of the many reasons you were more than happy to accept this promise.

     “I-I’m not upset, baby. I’ve never been this happy before! It just took me by surprise! These are tears of joy! When we are older, nothing will make me happier than to be your wife. I promise.” You set down the food in your hand, wiping your hands on a napkin before swiping your tears away desperately. You couldn’t get them to stop, you’d never felt this many emotions at once before. 

     “I never knew how badly I wanted to hear those words.” He scooted closer to you, taking your hand in his and slipping the beautiful, shining piece of jewelry onto your ring finger. You wrapped your arms around his neck, pressing your chin into his shoulder. You stretched your hand out behind him for a moment, admiring the sparkling ring through your tears. It’s beauty caused another wave of emotion to wash over you as you buried your head in his neck. 

     “I love you so much, Zu.”

     He wrapped his arms tightly around your frame, the big guy himself shedding a few tears. He rested his chin on the top of your head. “I love you more, princess. And I will until the day that I die.” 

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