Chapter 1:

Chapter 1

Drawing the Line

Emilia Yoon’s chestnut hair softly fell along the side of her face as she tilted her head downward to shield herself from others noticing her tears. She was holding her mother’s lifeless hand as she sat on the right side of the hospital bed.

Two weeks ago, their family had been awakened in the middle of the night by her father. He had been frantic because their mother had become unconscious after going to the bathroom, complaining of a headache. He had tried to shake her awake but she didn’t respond.

They had discovered that a blood vessel had erupted in her brain but it was too late. The bleeding and swelling had gotten out of control, even with an emergency procedure to drain the excess blood.

To the left of her mother was someone she called her brother. Although in reality, they weren’t related by blood at all.


Yuki Uehara had come to live with their family when he was 10 years old. It had been a stormy September night and she knew something was wrong when she had run to the door to hug her father but was met with somber faces.

Their mothers had been close in university and kept in touch. Emilia even remembered playing with him on occasion, but it had been a while since she’d last seen him. She did not recognize the boy in front of her. He was drenched from head to toe, and he seemed so removed from reality, like he had just found out the world he knew was gone.

There was a long silence that was only broken with small whimpers coming from Yuki. Emilia was young and she may not have understood the situation, but she knew he was hurting.

She stepped towards him and embraced him tightly, so his chin rested on her small shoulders. Hugs always made her feel better and she knew this wasn’t the answer, but she at least didn’t want him to cry anymore.

He had remained still at first but gave in and wrapped his drenched arms around her and sobbed.

She later found out that his parents were on their way home from visiting his maternal grandparents in the countryside. The sun had just set and the rain had started coming down, making the roads slippery. They had lost control after turning a corner and collided with a metal pole, killing them instantly.


Her father couldn’t bear the thought of his wife taking her last breath so he had excused himself after the plug was pulled.

The silence in the room was excruciating as they waited for the inevitable sound of that piercing beep.

As if on cue, the heartbeat monitor flatlined. Emilia laid her head on her mother’s chest one last time and ugly cried.

Yuki wiped his tears one last time and stood up, alerting Emilia with the shuffling of the chair.

“Yuki? Where are you…”

“Just let me be Em, I can’t right now,” he mumbled under his breath and rushed out of the room.


The sound of waves crashed in the distance, offering a disruption to an otherwise quiet silent morning.

Emilia’s phone flashed 6:03 am, a normal time for most people to be waking up from a good night’s rest. Not her though. She couldn’t get a wink of sleep because today was the day. The day they would put her mother to rest.

As if on cue, the sun started peeking through the horizon, illuminating the waves swaying back and forth with its’ orange, pink hues.

The day was just starting and while it was mostly quiet, there were some early risers out for a jog or surfing in the distance. Emilia sat on a wooden bench, one of many scattered along the boardwalk that ran along the beach. She let out a heavy sigh and continued staring blankly into the distance.

She was so focused in her own thoughts, she didn’t notice a young man on a bench 10 feet away who had just sat down with a tote bag and sketchbook.

He was a man not much older than Emilia. He was dressed comfortably in a plain white t-shirt underneath an unbuttoned light blue jean collared shirt, paired with black slacks. He had placed his tote bag to his right and was getting his pencils ready so he could paint the sunrise as it touched the waters.

As he lifted his gaze, his eyes fell upon a woman on the bench in front of him. Maybe it was the way the sun’s rays contrasted against her all-black attire or the way the wind blew against her face, but he was mesmerized.

Upon closer inspection, she had delicate features that would still describe her as beautiful, despite her solemn expression that displayed nothing but sorrow.

He shifted his body to face her and redirected his attention. He picked up his best pencil and began to draw.


It felt like hours since Emilia moved a muscle. The sun was now fully at the peak, and she could so longer look in its direction. She let out one last sigh as she returned to reality.

She had gotten up from the bench to stretch when she was startled by a presence on her left.

He had dark, well-kept hair and had just reached her when she noticed him. He seemed cold and standoffish at first but upon closer inspection, his eyes were sympathetic and provided a comfort that made her feel at ease.

He didn’t smile often but thought this would be a situation that called for one. He handed her the torn page from his sketch book, and it took her a few seconds to register what was happening. She reached out and found herself staring at herself.

It was beautiful.

While it was the same side profile and he had captured her hair the same way, her face had a completely different expression. She was smiling from ear to ear and her eyes twinkled, as if to tell the world she was the happiest girl on Earth.

“I hope this can be you someday…” said the man, as he wiped the last remaining tear from her face and walked away.

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