So, it was him to bury her parents.
Kristoff had always longed to see Anna again. But not like this. Not due to his profession as a mortician. His father was ill, and it was left to the young man to talk the daughter of the deceased about the burial procedure.
Anna had asked him in with that kind smile and for a second, he could have sworn that she had blushed. Now he sat at the kitchen table, while Anna prepared some coffee for them. Kristoff felt bad, imagining reading into her smile as liking him from her behalf. She was mourning, after her parents had died tragically in that horrible accident. And he had nothing better to do than think of her as his crush, his girl of old days when they had playfully admitted their love and promise to marry each other when grown up. And now… the documents neatly placed on the table reminded him of his morbid duty.
Anna stood with her back to him, though now talking to him in a casual voice, no sadness in it.
“So, it´s still no sugar, but a little drop of milk, right?”
“Yes, thank you.”
“So, how have you been lately? Gosh, it´s so long since we´ve met.”
“Uhm… I´ve helped Dad and then… well, there is not much to tell otherwise.”
Anna had always wanted to see him again. Albeit of course, not like this. But here he was now and when she had seen him standing on the porch her heart had leaped in her chest and her belly had flipped. It was not appropriate thinking of Kristoff as more than a friend right now… But gosh, she had missed him, and she was still annoyed with herself that she hadn´t kept contact to him. But he had been so reluctant about addressing her before she left for university and now… She tried best not to look too craving, but oh how she fumbled with nervosity inside… Her mother would lovingly tease her about the fine boy sitting at their table. Dear Mama…
Anna turned and her loveliness kept him speechless. She was the bravest and the most awesome person Kristoff had ever met. His father had told him that it would be Anna alone to meet, because her older sister was not well. Elsa had troubles coping with their parent´s fading and Anna was to take care of all of it by herself. If there was only a way that he could help beyond talking through formalities.
Anna sat before him, her hands clasped her mug and she nodded towards the paperwork that waited between them on the table.
“Do you like what you´re doing?” she asked and gazing at him with genuine interest.
Kristoff sat taken aback. How should he answer that question? Nobody had ever asked him that question. Most of their clients were simply grateful that his dad – or him – approached them with sincere condolences and helping them through the process with respectful care.
He cleared his throat and looked at her with all the warmth that filled his complete being.
“I like to help, Anna. I don´t like the cause, though. But that´s life and if I can be of support and give a little ray of light into the dark moment of loss, then I like what I´m doing if I can say so.”
Anna´s eyes shimmered with tears threatening, but her face was radiant with true appreciation.
“You have no idea of how much of a support and ray of light you are right now to me.”
Kristoff stared at her flabbergasted and his heart thumped up to his throat.
Anna lowered her face and spoke quietly, almost timidly.
“I have missed you so, and I´m so sorry I have not ever called you when I was gone for my studies. I have decided now to stay here to help Elsa and enter family business. And when it was you coming over for… this… I felt great hope, only by seeing you. I don´t know if it´s appropriate of saying this here and now… but I´m so happy that it is you being here now… for this…” she raised her eyes and her crooked smiled gave the man the rest.
“Anna…” and he reached for her hand and gave it a tender squeeze on which her eyes shone even brighter, “I have never stopped thinking of you and I have never called myself because I was afraid. Should you like that now, though, please believe me that I want to be of support to you in so many ways more than to… this here… but you need your time to get over the loss.”
“With you, it will be so much easier. And you know what?” she bit her lips with a faint blush, “you know I inherited my father´s sarcasm, and I´m picture Mama and Papa smiling just now upon us sitting here like this. They have always liked you and if they´re the reason of us meeting again…”
Kristoff stared at her in disbelief.
“That´s rather dark humour, Anna…” But he couldn´t help but chuckle helplessly upon thinking of Agnarr Delle, smiling and bracing his arms before his chest with a wink like saying, “go on my boy – you surely have my blessing?”
The respectful burial ceremony was over, and the people stood in line to leave their sympathies to the mourning daughter. Elsa had not managed to make it to the graveyard and Anna found herself left to stand on her own.
Kristoff stood with his co-workers in a respectful distance and watched the scenery. It was nothing new to him to see the whispering crowd, some cried, some chatted quietly while waiting their turn. But he could not take off his gaze of the younger Delle daughter with her reddish hair neatly but best possible tugged into a decent bun and nodding gratefully to the kind words addressed to her. She was the bravest, the feistiest girls of all. His chest filled with pride, love and longing to step over and hug her comfortingly.
When the gathering had left, Kristoff made his way to her.
“You´re alright? Is there anything I can do for you?”
She looked up at him and wiped away a silent tear, but then sighed and smiled faintly at him.
“You have still work to do, right?” And she glanced at the still open grave.
“Yes, but it won´t take that long.” He felt a pang at his side, feeling bad talking about closing the last resting place of her parents like it was no big deal handling. But Anna didn´t seem to take it as a bad thing, in the contrary.
“Uhm…” she tugged an escaped hairstrand behind her ear, such a lovely motion because her hair was the sign of her fierceness to him, “you know we have cancelled the official funeral feast due to Elsa´s poor state. But I don´t like spending the rest of the day all alone… would you mind, coming over for a cup of coffee?”
And her eyes flickered nervously.
Was she too pushy, too demanding on the poor man? But hadn´t he said that he had missed her, too…
Kristoff´s heart accelerated magically and he couldn´t restrain any longer and pulled Anna flush to his chest.
“Of course, I don´t mind. I love to come. And if you like, I can stay for any reason you want me to.”
Was it appropriate confessing his willingness to be more to her than merely a friend?
But it seemed that Anna didn´t mind the moment nor place of them standing like this when she mutually hugged him tightly and buried her face into his chest.
“Thank you!” she then raised her face and smiled at him, reaching a slender hand to his face.
“I´d love that!”
A few days later…
Another coffee, another time of spending time together, chatting about this and that and learning of what the other had been up to, no matter how exciting or even boring daily life might sound like. They both loved simply getting closer since they had separated not even knowing how time could have passed so fast after that.
Kristoff ran a hand at the back of his neck and took a deep breath, then reaching for Anna´s hands and locked eyes with hers. She liked his touches and didn´t retreat, in the contrary, she squeezed back, and her reciprocal touch sent a boosted shiver up his spine.
“Anna, may I take you out for dinner – I mean… like a date?!”
He could not believe her forwardness when Anna tiptoed and pecked a light kiss directly to his lips, whispering her excited ´yes´!
But then, to them both, despite the sad cause of meeting again, was it not a happy ending?
Or was it more likely a happy beginning?!