"What?!" Clark gawked at the sparking ring on Nadina's ring finger. "You're engage?!"
"Oh, hell," Edward moaned behind him. "Oh, hell, oh, hell, oh, hell…"
"What are we going to tell Master?!" Clark's eyes were three times its normal size and he was pacing around the room, waving his arms around wildly. "We leave you to say your good-byes to Kaiba, and you come back here with an engagement ring and a fiancé!"
Kaiba scowled. "Don't talk about me as if I'm not here." Clark shot him a poisonous look.
"This is all your fault." He accused. "Do you make a living corrupting young girls?!"
"Clark," Nadina begged. "Please be reasonable. It's not as if we're going to get married tomorrow."
"When, then? Next month? After a few more months?"
Kaiba snapped, "After a few more years, you fool."
"Hell, you know something?" Edward popped up. "I'm not going to tell the master."
"Neither am I." Clark growled. "I'm not ready to have my head taken off yet. I don't even have a steady girlfriend!"
"Pathetic." Kaiba sighed.
"You proposed," Edward pointed out. "So you come and break the news to Marik himself. And better hope that he won't kill you on the spot."
"I'm not afraid." Their nemesis sounded bored.
"One o'clock here tomorrow, the plane leaves at two thirty."
"And one more thing."
"Nadina stays here tonight."
"Nadina!" Marik's face split into a huge grin. He threw an arm around his sister and they walked away from the door, toward the living room. He didn't notice the Black's cowering figures carefully slipping away. All he had in his mind was Kaiba's face when Nadina bid him good-bye. He was in a hurry to hear all the details and fun, then have a good laugh over it.
But poor Marik never got his laugh.
"Actually, brother," Nadina's fine features flushed to a light shade of rosy pink. "I would like to talk to you in the living room." She took her brother's arm and led him over to the couch. Marik had just settled down comfortably, ready to hear the story, when the unwanted guest appeared.
"Ah-hem." He cleared his throat. Marik shot up from his seat so fast that any on-looker would have thought he sat on a tack.
"What the hell is the jackass doing here?!" His eyes widened. Nanna, who had been dusting in the other room, rushed into the room upon hearing Marik's curses. She stopped as she saw Kaiba's tall frame under the doorway. She beamed.
"Nanna!" Marik objected. "I thought you love me!"
"Ha, get use to it, hippie boy!" Kaiba laughed. "Your nanny loves me better now."
Nadina groaned and she lifted a hand to massage her throbbing temples. She had finally worked up the courage to tell her brother about her engagement, but from the interruption with Kaiba, she lost all courage again.
Nanna gasped before almost screaming, "Nadina!" Nadina froze, wondering what catastrophe would bestow upon her if she moved. She was scared to look back and silently went through her mind on what Marik had bought within the last few months that was dangerous. Finally, almost too scared to ask, she said,
"What?" Her eyes large and fearful. Nanna marched across the living room and took Nadina's left hand from her temples. There, both women stared at the intricate ring garnished around her slender finger.
"It's beautiful." The older woman breathed, taken back by the sight of the glamorous ring. Then, she murmured under her breath, "It must have worth millions."
Nadina was also captivated by the extravagance of the band of white-gold. It looked considerably more majestic with the sunshine shining upon it, reflecting and making little silvery-golden dots form on the ceiling. She looked away from the brilliant stone and sneaked a peek at Marik.
Marik's jaws were hanging right above the carpet.
She looked over at Kaiba. His smirk at Marik's antics did not reassure her thumping heart.
Nanna was shaking her head, and finally released her grip on Nadina's wrist. "Love…" She sighed again and left for the kitchen, calling back, "I'll make something special for tonight. To celebrate."
Edward stuck his head through the door. "Did you tell her yet?" He asked, whispering loudly. Marik and Kaiba turned around.
"You!" Marik cried, shaking with anger. "I leave my sister to you two just for a good-bye and you two let her return back to me with an engagement ring!! You…you…"
Clark gave a nervously laugh, "Heh…heh…I think…I think I hear Nanna calling me from the kitchen." With that, he yanked Edward from the door and the Blacks disappeared.
"Hilarious." Kaiba folded his arms and chuckled darkly. Marik dragged Nadina off to the hallway.
As soon as they're alone, he grabbed her left hand and examined the diamond ring.
"It's tiny!" He immediately accused. Nadina laughed.
"Well, brother, Kaiba was afraid that if it gets any bigger," she teased. "I'd fall over from the weight."
"Nonsense." Marik scowled, dropping her hand. "If he want to propose to you, he could at least come to me first…and get a bigger diamond."
"Would you have said yes if he had asked you first?"
"Humph…" Marik turned his face away and crossed his arms. "Maybe."
"You would have!" Nadina read her brother's expressions, delighted. "You would have said yes if Kaiba had appealed to you! Oh, Marik!" She threw her arms around him and gave him a kiss.
"Yeah, yeah…" Her brother grumbled gruffly, embarrassed. "I am going to marry you off sooner or later. I guess Kaiba is a little better than Malone and most of the others." He admitted grudgingly.
"I heard that!" The Ishtars heard Kaiba call from the other room, where they could also hear Nanna's voice offering Kaiba a freshly-baked cinnamon roll.
Nadina laid her face contently on Marik's chest and sighed with happiness. Above her, she could hear Marik mutter,
"I hate him…"
"So…" Kaiba was sitting on Nadina's bed as Nadina wondered about her room, doing various things to prepare for dinner. She had changed back from the dress pants into a gown of wine red gauze with inner satin layers. Kaiba breathed in the sweet scent of Bluebells that she had just sprayed. So familiar, so memorable…
Nadina was sitting in front of her vanity, putting on her faithful cluster of bells earring when two arms encircled her waist. She turned her face and found Kaiba nuzzling on her neck.
"Kaiba!" she laughed and scolded gently. "I'm trying to get ready here."
"You look beautiful. You're done." He replied stubbornly, his warm breath brushed against her skin.
"I can't just leave my hair like this." She swept her thick hair into a luxurious twist, but with Kaiba and his arm lock around her, various wisps of hair freed themselves from the pins, giving her a natural and becoming look.
"You look fine…" Kaiba looked up and both he and Nadina stared into the mirror at their own reflection. "So…what do you see…?" He asked softly, a smile on his lips. "You can finally look at yourself in the mirror. I would call this successful and worthwhile."
Kaiba placed a thoughtful look on his face, which Nadina thought looked adorable, and said, "Well…now you've got me."
"Hmm…" She placed a finger on her lower lip. "I guess you're right." She took a closer look at her reflection. And now, instead of seeing just another pretty face, Nadina saw herself.
Her courage, her joy, her success, her determination, and most of all…her love.
She got up from her dressing table and walked over to the window, where the stunning scene of the ocean could be seen. Kaiba came up behind her and wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. They both face the rippling water, calm and blue, danced with dappled sunlight.
"I guess this was successful after all." She said softly, turning back to Kaiba. He caught hold of her chin and tilted her head backward. His lips lowered and touched hers. They followed the lines of her throat.
And there they stood, in each other's embrace under the afternoon sunlight, with one of her left bell earrings laying atop on her dressing table along with Kaiba's Blue-Eyes-White-Dragon card, the two items that were enclosed within their bond. The mirror of Nadina's vanity, which had seen their love, their tear, their confusion, and their determination, stood in its place, shining upon the lovers, reflection their passion.
At last, the portrait in the mirror was finally completed.