Noah & Asella
Vol. 1 Installment 1: Too Fall Away.
Noah slightly opened the door and popped his head inside. “Breakfast is ready,” he said smiling at his wife. Asella only half heard him. She let out a deep sigh and continued to stare hopelessly at her computer. “What’s wrong?” Noah asked, his eyebrows furring with worry.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” Asella said stepping away from her desk. “It’s just that… September is… boring. I want to decorate for fall, but it doesn’t come until the 22nd.”
“Well, why don’t you decorate for fall now?” Noah asked, not too sure what the problem was.
Asella grunted, putting her hands over her face. “I can’t decorate for fall, it’s only the 3rd.”
Noah wanted to help his wife with her problem, but he also wanted to eat his breakfast while it was still warm. “Aww, honey. Let me go get our breakfast really quick so it doesn’t go cold. I will bring it to you and then we can talk about it,” Noah offered.
Asella waved her hands and replied, “No, I don’t want to be in the room all day. Let’s go.” Noah and Asella walked into the kitchen, both eager to eat.
“You always make the best breakfast burritos,” Asella grinned after finishing up her meal.
Noah swallowed the last bite of his chorizo burrito before letting out a chuckle. “Of course I’m the one who makes the best breakfast burritos,” Noah said winking at his wife.
“Hey, what is that supposed to mean?” Asella asked crossing her arms.
Noah smiled and said, “You know, we’ve been married for two and a half years now, and I’m still not one-hundred percent convinced that I actually make the best burritos. I think someone just says that so she doesn’t have to cook in the morning.”
Asella gasped dramatically, tilted her head back, and flung the back of her hand to her head. “I would never!” she declared.
Noah shook his head and grinned. “Okay, Mrs. Melodramatic, I’ll believe you, but just for today. Now, do you want to tell me why you can’t decorate for fall a couple weeks early?” Noah asked.
“Because, it is too early. I think the 22nd is even too early to be the first marker of fall, but I accept it because I love fall. However, the 3rd is way too soon. I’m mean look outside,” Asella said pointing out the window. “It’s still too hot to go outside,” Asella said.
Noah looked out the window and could see Asella had a point. The sky was bright blue and the sun was blaring into their window. Their window sill was hot and Noah could feel his face beginning to get warm. “Well,” Noah said moving away from the window, “you have a point. It is really hot outside. However, it’s clear you’re done with summer. Why not make up your own theme for the month?”
“I can’t just make up a month,” Asella said. All of a sudden, her eyes lit up. “Wait a minute. There has to be a holiday for September,” Asella said determined to find one.
Asella ran out of the kitchen and into the bedroom. She grabbed her laptop and came sprinting back into the kitchen. “Woo, I really need to start working out,” Asella wheezed out of breath. She opened her computer and looked up holidays for the month of September. “Oh, nooo, no, no, no,” Asella spurted out overwhelmed.
“What is it? Are there no holidays?” Noah asked.
“It’s actually quite the opposite. There are far too many. Can you pick one for me, please?” Asella pleaded turning her computer screen towards Noah.
“I really don’t want to,” Noah said, reluctantly scanning the computer anyway. There were a ton of different monthly themes for September, but only two really caught his eye. “Okay, here are two options,” Noah said turning the computer back towards Asella. “You can celebrate Country International Music Month, or you can celebrate Courtesy Month. Both are for September.”
Asella grinned. She knew her husband wasn’t as much a country music fan as she was, but he still chose it as an option because he loved her. After much thought, Asella decided to choose Courtesy Month.
“Are you sure you want to celebrate courtesy over country music?” Noah asked grabbing two water bottles out of the fridge.
“Of course! You know I love gift-giving,” Asella said, walking over to the living room to put on her shoes.
“Okay, just to get this straight. We are going to the store because you want to make gift baskets for your friends and family?” Noah questioned.
“Yep,” Asella beamed.
Noah was relieved. He actually loved it when his wife had the weekend planned for.
Asella went into her favorite store excited to celebrate courtesy month. On the car ride, she wrote down five people she wanted to get gifts for this weekend to show courtesy. She then wrote a couple of gift ideas by each name. The list consisted of her best friend, Maple, her husband Noah, her mother, her mother-in-law, and her younger sister, Estelle.
“Okay, first things first, let’s go to the clothes section to get an outfit for my mom,” Asella said. When they got to the clothes section, Asella asked Noah to help her look for a nice work suit for her mom, since her mom had been recently promoted.
“How about this one?” Noah said, pointing to a plain black work suit.
Asella scrunched up her nose and shook her head. Normally, Asella liked black, but she wanted to get her mom an outfit that was professional, yet striking. “It’s not a bad outfit,” Asella said reassuring her husband. “It’s just I want an outfit that’s…” Asella stopped talking. In the corner of her left eye she saw the perfect suit. She turned left and bee-lined straight towards the outfit. The blazer was a dark grey with a touch of blue. The pants were the same color except the touch of blue came in the form of horizontal and parallel lines crossing one another. “This is it!” Asella exclaimed, reaching to grab the suit from the hanger.
Asella was looking for her last gift. It was for her younger sister Estelle. She knew her little sister really liked jewelry and wanted to get her a special bracelet. While Asella and Noah were looking for bracelets for Estelle, they both came across a brilliant opal ring.
“You should try it on,” Noah insisted.
“I think it might be too small. Plus, it’s 524 dollars,” Asella whispered to Noah.
“Just for fun. I can tell you want to,” Noah said.
Noah was right. Asella did want to try on the ring. The band was gold plated, and the opal was light blue with flashes of pink and purple.
“Okay, just for fun!” Asella gushed, her cheeks turning pink from excitement.
The man behind the counter took out the ring for Asella to try on. Asella held the ring up for both her and Noah to admire.
“I really like the small touches of pink and purple. It’s absolutely beautiful. Just like you,” Noah said smiling down at his wife.
“It really is,” Asella said as she put on the ring. The ring slid down easy. The man behind the counter noticed the couple really liked the ring, and decided to try and sell them on it. As the man was giving Asella and Noah interesting facts about the opal, Asella began to twist the ring around her finger nervously. Asella wasn’t keen on talking to strangers, especially strangers who were trying to sell her an expensive ring.
When the man was done with his pitch, Asella said, “Thank you so much, but I don’t think I’m going to get the ring today.” Asella tried taking the ring off, but it wouldn’t budge. Her ring finger had become swollen from all of her twisting. “It won’t come off,” Asella sputtered out to her husband.
Noah saw that his wife’s face was full of fear, so he tried his best to remain calm. “It’s okay, Asella. It will come off,” Noah said assuring his wife. “Here, let me take it off for you,” he said, looking down at her hand with the ring. Asella pulled her hand up for Noah to take it off.
“Please come off. Please come off,” Asella pleaded over and over again in her head. Noah tried his best to get the ring off but it wouldn’t budge. The harder he pulled the more swelled Asella’s finger became. Tears began to well up in Asella’s eyes. Although her finger hurt from all the tugging, she mainly wanted to cry because she was scared.
“It’s going to be okay,” Noah said hugging his wife.
Noah knew the man wasn’t going to let them leave with the ring on without paying for it first. “If we pay for the ring now, and get it off, can we return it?” Noah asked the man behind the counter.
The man replied, “You can, but there’s a possibility you may need to get it cut off by a professional. If that happens, we can’t take it back.”
“Okay, that’s fair,” Noah said handing the man his debit card. While Noah was paying for the ring, Asella began putting away all the items in her cart. She didn’t want to spend over 1,000 dollars in one day. Noah glanced over at his wife putting away all the items and felt bad.
When they got in the car, Noah looked his wife in the eyes and said, “Don’t worry. We are going to get this ring off. Once it’s off we will come back and get everything for Courtesy Month.”
Asella gave him a weak smile and then looked down at her swollen finger. “I’m never going to wear another ring again,” Asella declared. “Well… I will of course still wear my wedding ring,” Asella grinned, looking down at her wedding band and her diamond ring. Noah let out a light chuckle. He loved his wife. He loved that Asella was a mix of both dramatic and meticulously factual.
By the time they got home, Asella had convinced herself that her finger would need to be amputated if she didn’t get the ring off soon. “Does my finger look blue or purple to you?” Asella asked, sticking her hand up for Noah to check. As Noah was looking, Asella couldn’t help but blurt out, “Do you think I need to go to the hospital? What if we wait too long and my finger needs to be cut off?”
“You’re going to be fine. Your finger isn’t blue or purple. It’s just a tad swollen. We can put ice on it to see if the swelling goes down” Noah suggested. Asella nodded her head.
When her husband went off to get the ice, she quickly grabbed her laptop and began searching different ways to remove a ring that wouldn’t come off. A long list of different methods popped up. Asella decided to try each method in order. Butter was the first method on the list. Asella was seconds from getting out of her desk when Noah came in with an ice wrap.
“What are you doing?” Noah asked Asella, handing his wife the ice wrap he made.
“Well, just in case the ice doesn’t work, I was thinking we could try some of these suggestions on this list,” Asella explained.
“You’re not trying to go in order, right?” Noah asked looking at the list.
“Umm, I was,” Asella said in a questioning tone.
Noah’s face contorted as he said, “We don’t have any butter, remember?”
Asella groaned. She just remembered that they had used the remaining butter yesterday to make mashed potatoes.
“I will go get the butter. Put the ice wrap on your finger. Keep an eye out for anymore swelling. If it gets worse call me right away,” Noah said, kissing his wife on her forehead.
Asella did just as Noah said. She kept the ice on her finger and occasionally looked at her finger for any further swelling. Once it seemed like her swelling went down, she decided to try the second method on the list while Noah was gone. Asella grabbed dental floss and put it through her ring. The dental floss looked thin, so Asella took more dental floss and put it through her ring, creating a second layer. Asella pulled the dental floss three different times, but the ring didn’t budge.
“I need something thicker,” Asella thought to herself. She went into the kitchen, opened their junk drawer and found some old string hidden under random papers, clips, napkins, and hot sauce packets. Asella took the string out of the drunk drawer and smiled.
Moments later, she put the old red string through her ring, and pulled on the floss and string as hard as she could. Asella’s eyes were closed when she was pulling, but she heard something fall. She opened her eyes and was immediately disappointed to see that the ring was still on. Right before Asella went to pull the string again, she noticed the opal was missing.
“Oh, no, no, no,” Asella muttered out loud. “This can’t be. Please tell me I didn’t just lose the opal,”Asella thought to herself as she got on her knees in search of the opal.
When Noah came back home with the butter, he found his wife on the floor crying. “I’ve lost the opal,” Asella said, sobbing. Noah looked down at his wife’s hand and noticed that her finger was red and puffy from the band and the opal was missing. “Honey, how bad does your finger hurt?” Noah asked, concerned for his wife.
The question took Asella by surprise. She had been so preoccupied by her search for the opal that she didn’t realize that her finger was throbbing. “It does hurt,” Asella stammered in between her tears and gasps for air.
Noah found Asella’s ice wrap and put it on her. “Everything is going to be okay,” Noah said soothing his wife. He wanted to stay by Asella’s side until she stopped crying, but he knew it would be wiser to get the butter mixed.
Noah helped Asella off the floor and sat her down while he mixed the butter. When the butter was all mixed, Noah put Asella’s hand in the butter bowl and began taking clumps of butter and putting it on her finger. The butter loosened up the ring and Noah was able to wiggle it off of Asella’s hand. Asella sighed. She looked down at the floor. Noah shook his head. “I will look for the opal. You need to rest,” he said.
Asella didn’t argue. She was exhausted from the whole day. Asella grabbed a snack from the pantry and then dragged herself to bed.
After half an hour of searching, Noah found the opal ring under their couch. He was excited to tell Asella the good news, but she was fast asleep. Noah checked on his wife’s breathing, as well as her finger. Her finger was still red, but a lot less swollen, and her breathing was steady and even. Noah then wrote his wife a note on a piece of paper informing her that if she woke up and he wasn’t there, not to worry, that he went to the store. Noah quietly placed the note on Asella’s nightstand and tiptoed out of the room.
He drove back to Asella’s favorite store and looked for all the items that she had put away. He found the suit for Asella’s mom, the kitchen set Asella wanted to get for his mom, and the spa set she picked up for her best friend Maple. The problem was that Noah didn’t know what Asella picked up for him because she wouldn’t show him. He also didn’t know which bracelet Asella would have picked out for her sister Estelle. Noah decided it would be weird to pick out a gift for himself from Asella, so he focused on the gift for Estelle. He knew it was going to be a bracelet, but he didn’t know which. Noah knew whatever kind of bracelet it was it was going to have a clasp on it. He didn’t want jewelry to get stuck on anyone else.
“Are you here to bring back the ring?” the man behind the counter asked, remembering Noah.
“Not exactly,” Noah said, explaining to the man all that had happened when they left. The jeweler recommended that Noah get a silver tennis bracelet with cubic zirconia for his sister in-law since it was only $14.99. Noah was grateful the jeweler was being helpful and not trying to upsell him on a more expensive bracelet. “Thank you,” Noah said to jeweler, happy to check the last item off of his list.
When Noah got home, Asella was still asleep. Noah was excited because it gave him more time to make the day special for Asella. Noah went up into the attic and grabbed the red and orange box labeled “fall”. He took all the supplies out and began decorating the house. Noah hung up the fall leaves, replaced their normal couch pillows with fall-themed pillows, and placed three fall-themed candles on the dining room table. He then opened the bag of candy he bought from the store and filled two pumpkin bowls to the brim. Noah placed one pumpkin bowl on the kitchen counter and the other on the table in the living room. Lastly, Noah lit the candles on the dining room table and made Asella pumpkin-flavored hot chocolate.
Just as the hot chocolate was finished being microwaved, Asella came into the kitchen yawning. “Wow. It looks beautiful in here. I was wondering why it began to smell so good,” Asella said, pointing at the empty pumpkin-flavored hot chocolate pack on the kitchen counter.
“That and the fall candles,” Noah said, handing Asella the hot chocolate.
“Thank you. For everything,” Asella said, smiling at her decorated house.
“I know you love being accurate, but you also love fall. And I thought it would be nice for you to be a little carefree this year, and to celebrate early,” Noah said.
“You’re right,” Asella said, giving her husband a kiss. “Now, although I do want to be more carefree, did you find the opal?” Asella asked, hopeful.
“I did, but I’m not going to take it back. A couple of months from now I’m going to get it custom made into a necklace for you,” Noah said.
“It’s because I broke it, isn’t it” Asella asked.
“Partly, but mainly because it’s Courtesy Month,” Noah grinned. He then grabbed all of the shopping bags out of the closet and showed them to his wife. Asella’s heart was so full.
“You really are the best husband,” Asella said, giving Noah a warm embrace.
Before the day was over, Asella thought back to earlier that day when she had smiled after getting the old red string out of the junk drawer. She had smiled because she loved that there was one drawer in the house that didn’t need to be perfect. Asella realized that she didn’t need to be overly precise all the time. She could put her pride aside and be a little carefree every once in a while.