Part of their living arrangement is that he will cook and she will clean up after him, so she is in the middle of tidying the area around the stove on a Sunday afternoon when she finds the folded sheet of notebook paper beneath his oven mitts.
At first she dismisses it as unimportant: he, as his free time decreases, is constantly leaving notes to himself laying around on their kitchen table or on his nightstand. They are mostly reminders of a particular test or homework assignment coming due (though whether or not he actually does them, she is never sure), or a jotted note of his work schedule for the upcoming week, or - most commonly - a grocery list, sometimes incomplete. She finds these little notes, reads them, and places them strategically so that they will not be missed. It isn't as if he is absentminded, she reminds herself as she looks at the folded piece of paper currently resting in her hands - he is just busy, so busy that not even the impressive mind of a Narumi can keep track of everything without making a note or two.
She smiles as she muses to herself about the strange places that these notes always end up, and unfolds the paper simply to get an idea of where she should put this one (if it has any pertinent information on it, anyway). The handwriting on the sheet is characteristic of him, thin and slanting, and the content is no less surprising: there is a half-completed grocery list, a homework assignment reminder, and what looks like a quote from one of his foreign literature textbooks. It is mostly par for the course, so she prepares to fold the note and place it on the kitchen counter where he will see it upon arriving home, and that is when her eye catches on a name written in the bottom right hand corner of the sheet.
She isn't sure how long she stands there, unmoving, her eyes fixed on that name, but she slowly comes around and has enough sense to close her mouth (which has been hanging open for the better part of a minute). She scans the rest of the sheet - it is really his handwriting, right? This isn't some sort of joke, right? - and finally comes to the somewhat shocking realization that he really has written his family name and her name together on the bottom of this forgotten scrap of paper. She is reminded of something very similar that girls did in grade school, writing their first names beside the family names of the boys they liked and fawning over the ones that looked or sounded best. She realizes that she is comparing him to a grade schooler and feels mildly ridiculous, but she looks at this slip of paper again... and somehow it doesn't seem so strange to think what she has about this.
A sigh escapes her mouth, soft and shaky, and she lets her hand drop to her side, the sheet still clasped between her fingers. Her mind is reeling; for all of his affection, she has never been given a single sign that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her... but here it is, proof (or at least a hint) of his feelings, proof that the four years she has spent by his side have, in fact, cultivated a need in his heart that only she can satisfy. She wonders for a moment if she is dreaming, but another glance at the sheet tells her that this is real, that she really has found her name written beside his on an abandoned page from a notebook. Was he thinking about proposing? Could he really have been considering such a thing, or was he simply wondering what it would look like, seeing her name written in such a way...
The sound of a door closing in the hallway reminds her that she is not, in fact, home alone; she fumbles with the sheet and has nearly refolded it when the kitchen door opens and a familiar pair of brown eyes tell her that she has been caught in the act. He looks first at her, at the panicked expression on her face, then at the paper in her hands, and then at her again. He doesn't speak and she wonders if he will be angry - after all, she isn't really supposed to go through his notes, helpful or not. She wonders briefly if he will even realize what was on this particular sheet -
"Do you like the sound of it?"
Of course he realizes it. She blinks innocently, her heart pounding, the paper shaking between her fingers. "Do I like the sound of what?" she asks, stupidly, and realizes instantly that playing dumb will not get her anywhere at the moment. He knows that she looked at the paper and he knows what she saw - he knows it very well, and as the expression on his face changes into one of mild annoyance, she feels guilt wash over her. She wonders if she has ruined something by peeking at this note, and she bites down on her bottom lip, turning her eyes away from his. Maybe he had been planning something, before, when he wrote this -
The kitchen door bangs as he turns and leaves, and she flinches, the paper slipping out of her hands and fluttering to the floor. "You've really done it now," she murmurs, scolding herself in lieu of being scolded by him. Either she has ruined his plans, if there were any, or she has seen something that he meant to keep from her. Her eyes remain trained on the notebook sheet, now laying still and half-folded on the tile floor, opened just enough to reveal the tail end of her name on the bottom of the sheet. Narumi Hiyono, she thinks, and is a little sad. It would have been a good name, because her family name just had one too many syllables in it -
The door bangs back open and he comes back in, lifting his hand. "Catch," he commands her, and tosses something to her in a gentle arc; she barely has enough time to raise her arm before it lands hard in her palm, nearly bouncing out of her hand and onto the floor. For a moment she is frozen again, her eyes fixed, but this time she is only lost to the world for a few seconds before she is able to lift her head from the silver and diamond in her hand. He is smiling in that sly way of his, the smile he uses when he doesn't want her to know that he's really happy about something. "I liked how it sounded," he says, and she knows full well that this is as close to a proposal as she will ever drag out of him, "and I thought you would agree."
Narumi Hiyono, she thinks, has a nice ring to it. "Of course I agree," she says, and before she can stop herself, she has already run across the kitchen and thrown her arms around his neck. He embraces her and murmurs that she really needs to clean more thoroughly - he was beginning to get tired, he says, of waiting for her to find a month-old piece of paper. She smiles and tells him that he is horrible, but she doesn't mean it because she knows he's right. Perhaps, she decides, she needs to clean more often.