When Pema and Tenzin invited Korra and Jinora to brunch, they expected to chat and catch up. They expected Jinora to tell them about her time at university. They expected Korra to retell stories of her travels with Mako. They expected Meelo to make fart jokes, Ikki to talk too much, and Rohan to eat more sugar than he should have. They did not, however, expect Jinora to show up with a ring on her left hand.
Korra, swollen stomach and all, helped Pema lay out the food and Tenzin kept his children at bay while they awaited Jinora's arrival. Tenzin was about to remark that it was uncharacteristic of Jinora to be late, but at that moment she soared to the gazebo on her glider. She spun the staff shut and left it on the ground.
"Hello, Mother!" she said breathlessly, pulling Pema into a hug. When she pulled away and set her hands on her mother's shoulders, that's when Pema saw it. A plain gold band resting on Jinora's left ring finger.
Jinora embraced her siblings and Korra and kissed her father's cheek. She sat to the left of her father and that's when Tenzin saw it. A plain gold band resting on Jinora's left ring finger.
Tenzin's eyebrows shot halfway up his forehead. Jinora pretended not to notice as she pointedly kept her gaze on the table in front of her. She folded her hands in her laps as her cheeks burned pink.
Pema promptly snagged her husband's sleeve and dragged him to the side. "Not a word," she muttered to his ear. "She'll tell us when she's ready to."
"But – Pema! That's a – a -" Tenzin spluttered.
"Not. A. Word."
Brunch went by as expected. Jinora talked about her studies in history and journalism in her second year at Republic City University. Korra retold hysterical tales of Mako's and hers shenanigans during their tour of the Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation. Meelo made fart jokes and Ikki talked too much and Rohan ate more sugar than he should have.
There was one incident in which Ikki's eyes caught the gleam of Jinora's band and her eyes popped open. "Jinora, is that a-"
But one menacing look fro Pema caused Ikki to end her sentence in "a new haircut?" to which Jinora blushed profusely, mumbling that she'd shaved most of the top of her head to reveal more of her tattoos.
The end of brunch neared and Tenzin was clenching and unclenching his fists on the table. Pema shot another death glare his way and turned to her eldest daughter with poise.
"Jinora," she began tactfully, "is there anything important you'd like to tell your father and me?"
A bright red flush crept up Jinora's neck and she tugged at the ends of her hair, which she'd let grow down to her waist. "W-well, yes. There is something."
Tenzin was now grinding his teeth and the top of his bald head was turning such a shade of red that Pema worried it would soon be purple.
"Mom, Dad," Jinora looked up at them shyly. "Next year I have the opportunity to travel to Ba Sing Se University to continue my studies in history." Pema's expression softened and Tenzin's jaw nearly hit the table. "I know it's so far away from home," she continued hurriedly, "but it's a fabulous opportunity, once in a lifetime, really. I'd only be gone a few years and -"
"Jinora," Pema said kindly, taking Tenzin's hand, "your father and I would love for you to study abroad, wouldn't we dear?" Tenzin strained his neck to nod. "We're so proud of you."
Relief flooded Jinora's face and a shy smile crept on her lips.
"Is there anything … else?" Tenzin was about to blow a gasket. Veins visibly throbbed on his temple.
"Uh, yes, there's one more thing ..." She wrung her hands together. "I … I'm engaged."
Tenzin nearly fell to the floor while Pema and the others were absolutely delighted.
"To who? Who?" Ikki chirped, jumping on her toes.
Jinora slid the band up and down on her finger nervously. Her eyes found the floor and she said in a small voice, "Bolin."
This time Tenzin really did hit the floor. Ikki squealed and shot herself into the sky and the still-pregnant Korra squeezed Jinora into a hug with difficulty and Pema's face lit up and Rohan and Meelo chased lemurs around.
"Jinora, that's wonderful!" Pema beamed while scraping her husband off the floor.
"I'm sorry I didn't say anything earlier. We've been engaged for a few weeks now … I was so nervous about telling you about Ba Sing Se, and Bolin wanted to say something sooner but I was scared, and he was going to be here today but the Police Force called him in last minute …"
"Dear, it's perfectly alright." The airbender's mother crossed over to hug her, letting Tenzin fall over once more. "When's the wedding?"
"Uh, we thought it would be best to have it when I get back from Ba Sing Se. Bolin will still be in the city while I'm gone."
The announcement was received with coos and smiles and hugs from her small audience. Tenzin finally stood to give his daughter a wordless hug.
"T-there's actually just one more thing. We bought an apartment together."
Tenzin did not get up off the floor for a week.