The intertwined vines made the perfect frame and the sleepy sea a perfect backdrop. It was, however, a means only of highlighting the main figures in the picture- a pair of lovers. Hope, love, and life bloomed in their faces, both in the ardent glance of the boy, and in the passionate glow of the girl.
“The sea is unusually calm today, isn’t it, Gabriel? Even though it is generally tranquil, today, it is positively lethargic. I wonder if it’s a precursor of a storm. You know the saying that after the lull invariably come a storm; and by the look of things, it’s not going to be an ordinary storm, it’ll be a tempest.”
“Let’s hope we don’t get caught in it, whatever it is. But I’d like to stay for awhile; the weather is beautiful and refreshing it does one good after one’s been cooped up in a dark and dank old monastery, painting an abbot.”
A silvery laugh met this speech, but sobered up directly, as Viola replied, “I hope so too, but I have this sad premonition that something is about to happen, even though there isn’t a cloud in the sky. Nevertheless, let us tarry awhile for your sake, to dispel the pious pattering of the monk’s feet from your ears, and instead fill it with the sound of nature’s music. See there, the loveliest rose I ever saw; gaze awhile on it, and forget the damp and dark cell of the old hermit.”
“No there you err, Viola. The best music I could hear is your laugh, the brightest light, your smile, and the loveliest sight, you.”
“You are sentimental today, Gabriel.”
“How could I not be with you near me? Your living breath and touch are life and light to me. I live for you and you alone. Give the miser his treasure, and give me your smile, both are satisfied.”
“Do you really care so much for me, Gabriel?” She murmured, turning her head of golden curls away.
“I would die for you, Viola.”
“I was once told that by another man. Treacherous lover he was! He loved me only for my name and wealth. When my parents lost the fortune and died, he cast me off, and made himself happy with another, not caring a sou for my heart- the heart he left broken and trodden upon. He offered me false promises and broke them all. How can I be certain you do not do the same, Gabriel?” she returned bitterly.
“Look, at me Viola! Do you think I would lie to you? I mean what I say.” His eyes flashed, grieved that she had doubted his love for even a moment. Ashamed of her doubt, she replied contritely,
“Forgive me, Gabriel, and show me how I may atone.”
“I will. Viola, will you marry me, and be my dearest possession?”
“Yes, I will Gabriel. I love you too, and consent to pass my life with you.”
His heart overflowing to fullness, he gathered Viola in his arms. “When, Viola? When shall you make my dream come true?”
“Now, if you wish it, Gabriel.” She smiled at him; her eyes radiant through tears, tears of love. Together, arm in arm; they strolled through the arch, oblivious of the dark clouds gathering in the skies above, only sensible of their great joy.