A/N: This is actually a chapter written by Deb! I am really excited to share this with everyone and I know you'll love what she did!
This takes place when Naomi and Vinh were dating.
Vinh takes Naomi for a night stroll. They end up near some jewelry
shop and Naomi is fairly uninterested. She's content with the
necklace Vinh got her recently, and she tells him she doesn't need
another. Vinh laughs and he tells her alright, and he hugs and kisses
her, and they leave that shop. But, the more they walk together in the
little shopping center, Naomi starts thinking to herself. She hasn't
gotten Vinh a present, and she wants to give him something, but she
doesn't know what yet. So, she observes Vinh closely as they visit
each shop, and they go into a shoe store. She sees that he's really
interested in some black leather shoes, but he turns away from them.
Vinh is selfless and feels like he shouldn't buy anything for himself
while he's with Naomi, because his only focus is to make her happy.
And if she's happy, he couldn't be happier. So, he leaves the shop
with Naomi, and they have wonderful date for the rest of the night. A
week later, when Naomi finally has some time to herself, she goes
back to the shop and buys the shoes. They're expensive, but she had
been doing extra work to save up for them. When she returns to the
shrine with the shoes, she goes to put them in her room, but the other
priestesses come in and she is given the news that she has to leave
Vinh. They tell her about her duty and that she must marry another
man because she is the Shrine's Head Priestess. She sets the shoes in
the corner of the room so she can can argue with the others. She can't
leave the love of her life for some man she didn't care about. The
shoes are eventually forgotten.
Decades and decades pass, and the lost love and heartache is still
there. Naomi married the other man and left Vinh. Vinh went on
with his life as a lonely incubus. Both held bottled up feelings of
regret and missed chances. As Naomi can feel her last days coming,
she goes to her old room inside of the shrine because she feels
nostalgic. To her surprise, it looks the same as it did when she was
young. The bed is made and there is no sign of dust except for a
corner with some books and papers. Naomi walks over and dusts off
the objects, smiling as each one brough back a nice memory, As she
removes the last book, she sees a box. Her face has a sad expression
as she remembers what's exactly in that box without opening it.
Regardless, she opens the box, finding the same black shoes she
worked so hard at getting for the only man she ever really loved. The
shoes are dusty and show wear, so she takes them out carefully and
begins to clean them. The shoes still have creases and lines, but it
gives them a nice vintage touch, and she's satisfied with how they
look. She takes the box with her and leaves the room to return to her
A week passes and Naomi is in her deathbed. Her husband is there
crying and she comforts him. She's seems peaceful, but there is still
that deep regret in her heart. She then notices another man standing
behind her husband. She sees Vinh and he looks the same as they did
when they first met. She smiles and feels tears begin to well up in her
eyes. Vinh reaches out and strokes her cheek, and she can feel his
warmth, and all their entire history together flashes before her eyes.
She is finally at peace and the last words she utters before she passes
away are "I love you."
Months pass and Vinh still cannot forget Naomi. He's sitting quietly
in his kitchen by himself, sipping mint tea when he hears Ushio come
in. Ushio does actually feel sorry for his brother and offers his
shoulder for Vinh to cry on when his older brother needs it. He
comes into the kitchen briefly to give Vinh a package that he had
gone through hell and back to get. Vinh nods and takes the package
and Ushio leaves. Vinh noticed Naomi's handwriting on the front
and hesitates to open it. But, he pushes past his sadness and opens it,
making sure to preserve the wrapping as best as he possibly can.
When he opens it, he finds a box, and inside the box are those same
black shoes he had seen at the shop when he had take Naomi for a
stroll in the town. He notices a note and opens. it.
I saw you admiring these when we had that date years ago. I hope
you still remember that night, because I do. The night was
illuminated by the beautiful stars and Yue was gracing us with a
bright and full moon. You had that goofy grin on your face that I
loved and we ended the night embracing. I'm blushing as I write this.
I have been meaning to give you these for a long time, but many
obstacles got in the way. I've always owed you a gift, and I still have
that necklace you gave me . Sorry it took me several decades to
finally give these to you. I hope you like these. You'd better like
Vinh set the note down and took the shoes out. He felt the leather
against the tips of his fingers and picked up the faintest bit of
Naomi's perfume on them. Vinh needed Ushio's shoulder to cry on
for the rest of the night.