It was legendary amoungst the ton that Lady Korra was well into her third season and unmarried.
It wasn't as if she had not been proposed to either. Korra was a beautiful girl from a very well-known family, and there was no doubt that had she wanted, she could have married during her first season. While not marrying before one's second season was not uncommon, reaching the dreaded milestone of the third season was. The members of the ton were perplexed as to why the young woman had not settled down yet.
Of course, Korra was the Avatar, a prestigious ambassador that helped bridge the gaps between the four nations of the world. Many Avatars did indeed decide to live a life without a marriage partner, but in this time and age, it seemed odd that this one would have seasons and not marry.
Lady Korra's close friend, Lady Asami Sato, was unmarried as well, but as she had, until recently, lived in the colonies, it was excusable. She had already received many offers for her hand, and though they all flattered her, everyone knew that the lady did not intend to wed before her first season was finished.
It seemed to everyone that Korra reveled in the scandal that she caused, though no one was sure why. The elder, female part of the ton sneered at the unique young woman who conformed to no one's rules. The young gentleman admired her and the elder ones were amused by her antics. The young ladies whispered amoungst themselves that the reason that Korra was unwed was because she had a beau that left years before she had had her first season. Whatever Korra's reasons were, she kept silent about them, and whenever the gossipmongers approached Asami about them, she would smile mysteriously and walk away.
As it happened, the two of them attended many parties together with Lady Katara as their chaperone. The two often received invitations to the most coveted parties in Republic City, though Korra had to admit that they were not much to her taste.
Though Asami was from the colonies, Korra was born and raised in the Southern Water Tribe before moving to Republic City live with Lord Tenzin and his family during the season. Her manners and personality were far from what was deemed socially acceptable in Republic City.
Asami, on the other hand, was raised to become the wife of some rich lord and thus, had the public appearance necessary in order to ensure that such a marriage would happen. Privately though, Asami was much like Korra, albeit not as rash as the older girl and much more knowledgeable in the methods of ensnaring men.
Still, they were unlikely friends to the eyes of the ton, but it could not be denied that they made an eye-catching duo. They were almost opposites of one another in both appearance and attitude.
Korra and Asami turned heads wherever they went, and it was at a certain party thrown by Lord Hasook's mother that the two of them turning heads at that particular night.
"I feel ridiculous," Korra muttered underneath her breath as she smoothed her skirt. "Completely, utterly ridiculous."
"Oh shut up Korra," Asami hissed, maintaining an amiable smile all the while. "You look beautiful."
"I hadn't realised that beauty consisted of the latest Earth Kingdom fashions and shawls," Korra huffed. She stopped smoothing her skirt, but now one hand had come up to tug at a few loose curls that framed her face, "And really, I hate these parties. Why do we always have to go?"
"Your mother wouldn't be happy to hear that you're not attending the balls," Asami shrugged, "And if you think about it, you're completely abusing Lord Tenzin's hospitality in allowing you to stay with his family and instructing you in the duties of the Avatar as well."
Korra rolled her eyes, but flashed a grin at her companion nevertheless, "Yes, yes. You've given me this speech before." As Asami's already-smiling lips twitched with the effort of not letting it spread, Korra scanned the room and turned back with her eyebrows furrowed in confusion, "Where's Katara?"
"Lady Katara," Asami corrected automatically. But as she registered what Korra had said, she too, looked around the room in confusion. An eyebrow quirked as she realised that Korra was right; their chaperone was nowhere to be found.
"It's weird," Korra frowned, crossing her arms over her chest as she leaned against the wall, "Katara doesn't usually—" She paused, staring at Asami. "You're not even listening to me, are you?"
Asami was flushed red, and her smile crossed the line from 'obligingly plastered' to 'blindingly genuine'. She took the opportunity to subtly adjust the skirt of her gown. Her golden eyes were fixated across the room, and as Korra followed her gaze, she realised why.
It was no secret to her that out of all her suitors, Asami was most partial to Lord Bolin.
"Of course." Korra sighed, as she counted to three silently.
As if on cue, Asami turned to Korra frantically, her voice suddenly panicking and nervous as it always was whenever Bolin started making his way towards them, "He's heading this way!"
Korra chuckled softly. "It would seem so."
"Oh god, what do I do?" Asami's voice was distressed, though she seemed as composed as ever on the outside. "What should I do?"
"What you always do," Korra pointed out. "Dance with him."
However, it seemed that this time, Bolin had come for Korra. He bowed low to both of them in turn, but offered his hand to Korra. When she took it, as etiquette dictated, he smiled apologetically to Asami. "I'm really sorry, Miss Sato, but I have something I need to speak to Lady Korra about."
"It's quite alright." Asami said, the panic gone from her voice. It was the strangest thing—she only panicked when she thought that Bolin was going to talk to her, yet when he actually did, she was as calm as Avatar Aang.
"Will you save the next dance for me though?" Bolin inquired enthusiastically, "I had hoped that you would."
Asami smiled, but did not answer. But if the shy look in her eyes and the slight flush high on her cheeks were anything to go by, it was definitely a yes.
Bolin led Korra to the center of the ballroom, where all the others were dancing to the string quartet. As they whirled around the floor, he said quietly, "You might want to go out into the gardens later."
Korra's blue eyes met his dark green ones and her eyebrows crinkled in confusion. "Wait, why?"
"No need to thank me." Bolin grinned at the spluttering girl in his arms.
"Thank you?" Korra hissed, "For what?"
But try as she might, for the rest of the dance, he would not reveal anything else. She cursed him, threatened him, but he kept silent.
When the dance was over, he returned her to the corner he had found her in and instructed her once more to go visit the gardens. Bolin turned to Asami, "Miss Sato, if you would do me the honor…"
"Of course," Asami said graciously, accepting his hand and allowing him to guide her across the ballroom floor. "Lord Bolin, what did you say to Korra earlier? She looks so confused!"
"I merely told her to go into the gardens," Bolin smiled innocently. "If only she would let go of her suspicions and go, I'm sure we'd all be happier."
"And I'm sure that I would be happier if you—" Asami paused. It wouldn't do for Bolin to know, but surely, he must know of her feelings? No, it would be foolish to assume so, and it was most definitely out of the bounds of propriety to ask him to stop his flirtations that he was so famous for in order to appease a girl that was one of many.
"If I…?" Bolin prodded, but from the set frown on Asami's face, coupled with the slump of her shoulders, he knew that she would not be persuaded to finish her thought.
"If you…hadn't worn that shirt with this cravat," Asami finished lamely. "It doesn't match at all."
Bolin eyed her with a piercing dark green gaze that seemed so out of place on the exuberant young man, "I'm sorry to have offended your delicate sensibilities."
"As you should be," Asami said primly, averting her eyes as avoid looking him in the eyes.
"Asa…" The childhood nickname brought her looking back up, which was a mistake because the look on Bolin's face was forlorn and utterly heartbreaking. He murmured quietly, as if he did not mean for her to hear, "When did we forget about each other?"
"I never forgot about you," Asami slipped out of Bolin's arms as the dance ended, and pain momentarily flashed in her eyes. Before she headed back to her little corner, she gave him a sad smile, "It was you who forgot about me."
She hurried away from him as fast as she could without seeming suspicious, even as he called out after her. It was only when Asami reached the fountain outside that she stopped, the tears streaming down her face gleaming silver in the moonlight.
Suddenly, her thoughts turned to Korra.
Where was she?
Korra was, at this very moment, walking amoungst the roses, completely ignorant as to what had just occurred between her friends. It was completely stupid to expect her to be here, and yet, she was. She didn't know why or for what, but she was here, if only to satisfy her own curiosity. She collapsed on a bench with a loud huff; she wasn't known for her patience and she had been out here for a few minutes already.
"Stupid Bolin, not telling me why I'm here," Korra muttered, crossing her arms over her chest. To anyone else, the night air would have been cold. To Korra, it was like daytime in the South Pole.
"I'm why," A voice came from the other side of the bushes.
Korra stood up and glanced around. "Okay, you're going to have to come out of the bushes."
The man walked into view, the light from the moon illuminating his features. His golden eyes sought out Korra's own blue ones immediately, and he ran a hand through his dark hair sheepishly. His lips were curved into the most awkward smile Korra had seen before, "It's been a while."
"Oh my god," Korra took a step backwards, her eyes large and her hands covering her gaping mouth. Slowly, she walked towards him, a hand reaching out to toy with the red scarf around his shoulders. A smile spread across her face as she launched herself into his arms, "Mako!"
He laughed, and when she let go of him, he brushed a stray curl from her eyes, "It's been four years since we saw each other last. Have you married yet?"
"Well, you couldn't have expected me to wait for you forever, right?" Korra flashed him a smile. When the awkward smile on his face slipped suddenly and his golden eyes turned hard, she grabbed the sleeve of his coat, "I was kidding."
"You know very well why I had to leave you for four years too," Mako said, patting her on the arm awkwardly. It seemed to Korra that everything Mako did was reluctant, but she knew that he hadn't left unwillingly.
"I told you that you didn't have to," Korra scowled. "It was a stupid, careless remark. You didn't have to run off to honor it."
"Oh, so you don't care that I did bring it back for you?" He wheeled Korra around, her back pressed to his chest and a hand reaching into his coat pocket. He spoke even as he clasped a necklace around her neck, "A necklace made of stars?"
"You didn't," Korra looked down at the necklace that she was now sporting, a beautiful mélange of white gold and diamonds inlaid with blue sapphires, "Oh my god."
"It wasn't easy to make, so you better appreciate it properly," Mako said, "And by appreciating, I mean making good on your word."
"I seem to remember another part of that promise," Korra quipped back, a large smile on her face, "That you'd actually ask outright?"
Mako chuckled quietly, and as Korra wrapped her arms around him in another hug, he whispered quietly into her ear, "Avatar Korra, will you marry me?"
"Why, I'd be delighted, Lord Mako," She laughed as their lips met.
It was a short kiss, a promise of more to come. But as they walked back to the ball, their fingers entwined and a rare, genuine smile on Mako's face, Korra's free hand toyed with the centerpiece of her magnificent necklace: a translucent blue stone carved into the shape of a heart on fire.
Their wedding was a quiet affair, with only close friends and relatives attending.
It had surprised the ton when Lady Korra had managed to snag Lord Mako upon his return from traveling abroad. There were whispers amoungst the younger girls that Lord Mako had been traveling abroad in order to prove himself worthy of her. There was talk amoungst the gentleman about how lucky Lord Mako was; Lady Korra was so beautiful.
It surprised no one who attended the wedding that the two would be marrying; it had been evident since the first time they met, after all. What had surprised them was that at the ball that took place after the ceremony, Bolin asked Asami to marry him.
Really, it was a matter of time. They had only been dancing around one another for ten years.