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Chapter 21: Chasing Destiny Chapter 22: Ironies Chapter 23: Stealing Hearts Chapter 24: Traces Chapter 25: Breath Chapter 26: Confirmations and Confusions Chapter 27: Kiss The Tears Chapter 28: Paradox Chapter 29: Healing Chapter 30: Charades Chapter 31: Taking Chances

Chapter 32: A Promise to Keep Chapter 33: One last Shot Chapter 34: Snapshots Chapter 35: Lost In You Chapter 36: And To Be With You Chapter 37: From Here Chapter 38: Mine Chapter 39: And I Belong To You Chapter 40: Forever Chapter 41:Complete Epilogue

CHAPTER 21: CHASING DESTINY

PART 1

The sun settled in the horizon as sheets of thin clouds hang overhead with marshmallow colors of almost pink on one side and bluish on the other. She put an elbow on the table and gazed out of the open sky. The Han River flowed smoothly and silently underneath the floating Cafe Sun. She decided to be there instead of her friends since she wanted that little silent time alone and it was the perfect place as she unfolded the letter again. Only a few the people were on that humble coffee shop as she was one of them. A couple was sharing a cup of tea laughing cautiously by the open balcony and a woman, maybe older than her, was leafing through a magazine and sipping her smoothie in silence. A while ago, a man sitting three tables away from her was giving him that look but she chose to ignore him until he settled in to his work and the clicking of the keys on his laptop seemed to harmonize with the solemn afternoon. mall And in this small chapel by the beach in Malibu, we got married... That was a beautiful sentence and it seemed like her happiness traveled across the continent towards her. Tiffany added that she would have wanted her to be the maid maid-ofhonor but because of the circumstances she has to drop the idea. Maybe if they decide to circumstances have another one in Korea it would be possible. She folded the letter and gently placed it back inside the envelope and took the box again. Her Unnie never failed to give her birthday presents and this year, it was a charm bracelet and she explained on the letter that it was his something that attracts love. She smiled at the thought as she slipped it on. The powdery pink beads were something she would have wanted to buy for herself and the note with it

made her giggle, Who knows Prince Charming is on his way? She took her cup and let the semi-hot surface touched her lips before throwing a glance at the horizon as night was about to blanket the land. It was her favorite time of the day, sitting there after a long hours of work and before going to school. She works as a Research Analyst in one of Seoul's top broadcasting companies and attends the night class for her Master's on International Relations. It was Fany who insisted for her to apply on that company since she knows someone working there and it was a sort of compensation for her when she declined the latter's offer to study in the US. Only from Fany she got updated with what's been happening to his life. She learned that after military service, he followed them to the US since their stepfather was there already. He graduated from Business School and was currently working in a multinational company in San Francisco. Seo Hyun felt truly proud of him. She would still imagine seeing him one day, though it has been long overdue that Yoona even make it as a constant joke that if ever he still cared for her, he wouldn't have waited that long. Eight years. Yes, it was really a long time of waiting. Not that she was really waiting but maybe hoping. Hoping that one day she could explain why she did not show herself on the train station. But Tiffany doesn't mention him much through their correspondence or even when they get to catch each other online. She only gives her, more or less, the general information about him. Sometimes it would play in her mind that he was probably married by now, the thought would somehow bring a tinge of pain in her heart but she reminded herself that it was her fault after all. Their phone conversation before he left was the last they had and all the what-if's are haunting her now. After finishing her coffee, she stood and left. She still has a few hours before school since her first class for the night was canceled so she decided to take a cab to Myeong Dong and walk around for a while. It was dark now but the busy city lights were inviting and everybody seemed to be in a frenzied rush-- not literally but just the way she felt. She smiled studying the faces of people she met on the street and those young couples gave her that bittersweet feel. She used to be like that, dreamy, wide-eyed and seeing all the colors of the rainbow but once it all happened, her life was nothing but black and white. She did attempt to give her heart a try. Trying if she could find the same love in someone else's eyes and the only one close enough to get through her was Jin Woon. After Yong Hwa left, Jin Woon remained to her tearing down his own walls by declaring his unspoken love for her. It came as a surprise since it never even crossed her mind. She declined upfront but he insisted with, no, don't say no. You can never tell my heart to stop loving you. So she let him be. Let him show her his heart-- his love and she even tried to at least reciprocate his feelings. But love, indeed, can never be dictated. The heart can never be commanded to give itself to someone. She was so sorry for him but he said no again, it was him who chose to be like that. In the end, Jin Woon decided to leave. It was for his best he said and it took almost a month for Yoona to forgive her.

It was another blow. There was really something wrong with her. It seemed like she has been driving away those people who love her. He told her before he left, now I understand and accept the fact that we can never be more than friends. And I am happy to still have you in my life. But Jin Woon now is okay and with this girl he met on his travels-- yes, he became a nomad. Not a literal nomad since he works in an international social support organization. She is so happy for what he has achieved. Now, it was only her and Yoona. Funny, but destiny took its sideways turn when Nichkhun conceded to his family's wish to marry the Chinese woman years ago. She knew how hard it was for her friend but she accepted her faith by standing tall and smiling through the ordeal. They tried to fight for their relationship but as the saying goes again, some things are not really meant to be. And, they were part of the some that will never be, just like her and Jin Woon. Despite of it all, Khun never broke his communication with them and she could tell that her Unnie has forgiven him and accepted their fate. She entered a bookshop and only then she realized that she has an incoming call so she hurriedly took her phone from her bag. Yoboseyo? Hi, I have been calling... Oh, I'm sorry. I did not notice. Are you in school now? Yeah, I did not know Professional Kim will be absent today. I forgot to tell you last night? I'm sorry. Where are you? At Myeong-dong but I will be there soon. Okay, do you want me to pick you up? Oh, no need. I'm just walking around. Just wait for me there. Okay, I'll see you later... De... she ended the call and noticed that she missed five calls from him. She smiled to herself and placed the thing inside her bag. After checking the new arrivals, she decided to leave and go to the University feeling guilty for not telling him. As she passed through one street, she noticed a girl crying while the boy beside her looked like pacifying her. Then she noticed the hut by which they have been and she recognized it. Eight years ago, she cajoled him to try to see their luck and the memory made the hairs on her skin rise. She struggled to keep her feet away from the place but it was too late. She found herself being there

again. Although there was really nothing creepy inside and she hardly recognized the interiors, the effect of being there was not making her feel comfortable. Suddenly, the woman appeared-the same one before, only now she looked older and weirder than the last time with her white attire and this visible decline of her body size. The woman deliberately took her right hand without even asking why she was there. It was pretty obvious, anyway. Her heart started to beat fast as she could see how her hand trembled gently on the woman's grip. Winter has ended; spring has begun. Like a flower after a bud; like a babe naked and pure. Life will come back to you. There are moments of confusions but only the heart will tell and the eyes will say. Look into them and you will find your answers. Don't hide away again for the past is not a mistake but a lesson. Learn to love more and hate less. Life is about love. After that, she let her hand drop and stared at her with a smile. Seo Hyun swallowed hard. She understood her words but questions started popping out of her head that she doesn't know which one to ask first. I... am... going to have a new life? Not really, the soothsayer stood and sat on her chair and started shuffling her cards, instead you will welcome your past life into your future again. What do you mean? This year is eventful for you, make use of it. Divide this deck into three, she dictated and the young girl followed. After that, she flipped open the one in the middle, ahhh, someone will come back. A close friend maybe? Someone from your past and this person will affect your present just the way he or she did in your past. Affected my past? Yes, maybe some issues bothering you before and this person will help you solve them. This person is a? I'm not sure. The cards are ambiguous for you, my dear. The woman has a gentle smile after all. What she was saying doesn't seem to make sense to her, Uhm, years ago, I was here with my... my boyfriend and you were reading for us but then he-- he doesn't like the idea and we left before you could finish. The woman laughed, well, those things happen a lot so I really can't remember now. I am a fortune teller but my memory is not good. You are no longer together with this boy?

Seo Hyun hesitated for a while then nodded, yes, and we haven't seen each other for years. Oh, do you want to know if the person on my readings is him? Ah... yes... maybe... she mumbled unsure of herself since she doesnt want to sound too eager. She flipped another card. One woman, one man. The card only says. Twins but the cards are never literal. This could be one person bringing forth two effects on your life. Seo Hyun nodded it was more confusing now. But the stars always align and destiny has a way of going through the barriers. Your future will always intertwine with this person. Your destiny more than your soulmate. My destiny more than my soulmate. What's the difference? Destiny is your other half. The person that will complete your being and make your stars on their proper positions. Soulmate is a person that would show you your dark side. They are the people that makes us reflect on who we are and who we reflect to other people. They are more of a guide to a better us. Soulmate and destiny can be one person or two different individuals the heavens prepared for us. ~~~ She was there, perched on a flower bed like a little girl exploring her tiny world. Yes, a flower bed! Was she even allowed to? She was smiling to herself humming softly her song, suddenly a tiny yellow butterfly landed on her nose. She wrinkled her face and the little fellow flew away and it made her laugh. She got on her knees and tried to reach out as the pretty creature fluttered over her head as if she was a flower herself. Out of the blue, two or three more came and started dancing around her. Giggling with excitement, she finally stood and started chasing those butterflies as the flowers on her hands dropped carelessly by her feet. That was how he wanted to remember her so he stayed on that little corner just watching her from afar. She was laughing to herself as she chased her butterflies around that little fountain tended by that quiet naked cherub. Suddenly, as she was about to capture one on her bare hands, she caught a glimpse of him by the corner of her eyes. Seo Hyun finally turned to him with those sun-kissed smile. Yo~ng Oppa!!! Hyu~n... his lips managed to utter with those gentle smiles he has been wearing. He took a step but stopped when she started skipping towards him-- her hair, as well as the hem of

her dress, flew behind her in a mellow movement. Oh, how he loved that sight of her-- so free like those butterflies. He chuckled when she came into a halt and stood an inch away from him putting both hands on his shoulders. Yong Hwa smiled when she closed her eyes and tiptoed to plant a soft kiss on his lips. He closed his own and accepted her nectared lips. The kiss lasted for a couple of seconds until he froze upon opening his eyes. She was nowhere in sight. The cold breeze enveloped him. Hyun? he called out but only his voice echoing on that dismal abandoned garden. But it was not like that before, it was full of life. The smiling angel on the fountain suddenly lost one of its wings and the flower bed transformed into ugly grassland. And where were her butterflies? And where was his Seo Hyun? Seo Hyuna, we don't have time to play hide-and-seek now! he called out trying his best to be calm. He shouldn't have closed his eyes in the first place. Come on... He turned only to find her behind him covering her eyes and drenched with tears. Her pretty pink dress transformed into tattered clothing, Hyun? No, don't touch me! Go away! What's wrong? Go away! Seo Hyun was taking steps back on his every forwards and he could tell those frightened look in her eyes, Hyun? What happened? What happened? HE IS MY FATHER! What? No, it can't be! YES, HE IS! she sadly declared hiding her face on her hands again but when he was about to touch her, she pushed him away then laughed angrily, I NEVER LOVED YOU ANYWAY! NOOOOOOO!!!! NO!!! He involuntarily jerked that he finally went back to his wakeful state. Yong Hwa sat up and let his eyes wander around the semi-darkness of his room. He ran his fingers on his hair and stood up. Stupid kind of nightmare. Ahhhhhhhh! he let out just to release those odd feelings on his stomach and took the robe hanging by the bed and wiped his sweat-stained face before running the same on his bare torso.

It was past three in the morning but sleep eluded him, how could it not after that uninviting vision. The whiskey did not help at all and even the hot shower. Homecoming was taking its toll on him. The thought of going back there seemed to be like an unvisited dream for he vowed to himself after leaving the military that he will not go back anymore. He could not understand how one person could affect how a place would reflect on him. He boxed his pillow since it suddenly felt incredulously hard on his head and decided to just lie on his stomach. When his sister told him that he was the candidate to replace one director of CNSD he declined the offer upfront. But, when his brother-in-law came to him and literally begged him to accept the position, he could no longer do anything but to say yes. He knew that Tiffany was the one who influenced Hyun Joong to it who happened to be too caught up under her spell. Only for six months, he said and after that he could go back to his original post. His sister has been convincing him for the past few years to go back to Busan and manage their father's business since his brother, their uncle whom they have entrusted it to, was also getting old and has been mentioning about retiring. Yong Hwa just could not bring himself to go back. Aside from the business, everything else was in the US already-- his sister, his father and most importantly, his life. When he was on the camp, their step-father needed to have a major heart operation that prompted Fany to have it on the US and after that, she decided for him to stay with her. Not long afterwards, his condition worsened that they even thought of losing the old man and thankfully he survived but with a setback. He developed an early sign of Alzheimer and he was currently staying at a medical institution. Their past would still haunt him and her memory would still visit him on his sleep, just like how it did moments ago, and worse even on his waking moments. Yong Hwa doesn't really want to welcome the idea of his disappointment to her. But when she stood him up on the train station that day, he finally accepted the idea that she will never open her mind on accepting her own father. They had a beautiful love. Short as it was and almost like a passing season she came to him. Seo Hyun may have been the greatest love he will ever know in his whole existence. But everything changed when they found out the ugly truth that the step-father he idolizes happened to be the father who deserted her and her mother. At first, he was too possessed with the idea that love really could conquer all and he was so willing to fight for her but she was the one who waved the white flag and completely let him erase her in his life. One day before he has to report to the military service, she promised that she would see him off the train station. He made up his mind that he will propose to her that day and make her wait for his return. He wanted to fix everything-- he was too full of hope that she would be there for him to say his promise. But she did not arrive. His heart shattered into pieces and until now nobody ever did come too close to fix it for him.

She was blinded by her hatred and pride. If only she was there, if only she came just like she promised. At least he will do everything to make it better for her-- for them. He cursed himself and got up. There was no way he could get any sleep if he would be thinking of the past again. ~~~ Another thing that is interesting about the love destiny is that there are some events that are to happen and they are not changeable. Through divination one can find out the future if they want to. When someone has found their love destiny then they do so willingly. They are not forced, but a participant in the meeting of two people. If they have been separated from each other then things will happen to bring them back together and this will happen willingly... Ya, Unnie... I can't believe you're reading that to me now... she said calmly as she twisted the phone chord on her finger. After telling her about her random consultation with the fortune teller, Yoona suddenly became too obsessed on searching this so-called love destiny on the internet. She rolled her eyes then continued with a slight laugh, need I remind you that you were the one who cursed destiny before? Ya! I'm reading this for you! Not for me... Yoona scolded, And will you let me finish first? I'm sorry... she chuckled, fine, please do continue now... Okay... where was I? Yoona mumbled, ahhh... here... Seo hyun-ah, listen well. With the love destiny, two people could be separated from each other and still love each other for many reasons. They might not be able to see each other for a lot of adverse reasons that they have nothing to do with and then events will happen that will bring them back together again. There will always be a strong bond formed when there is a love destiny with two people. It will be very strong and will last all through time and for miles away. It will last through all kinds of different situations that test the deep bond that was formed, but none the less it will last forever. The love destiny is putting to people that were destined to be together finally into each others path again so that they can be together in a better way. She dropped on the couch and reflected on that piece. Seo Hyun doesn't really know how to take what Yoona was reading. Should she be happy and continue hoping? If she does believe in destiny, how could she be sure that he is hers and she was his? They could be soulmates for all she knows but she doesn't really want to put her hopes high for them. The fortune teller's word made her more confused. She shouldn't even be thinking about him and them anymore. That is, in case, there would be a 'them' in the future. So what do you think? I don't know. I think I am too old to believe destiny and I'm doing quite well and happy alone. Besides, it's not only me... she teased playfully.

Ya! Khun maybe my soulmate but just like your fortune teller said, destiny and soulmate could be two different people. My destiny is just somewhere out there getting lost on his way to me. Paboo him, Yoona laughed. I'm so happy you're okay now, Unnie... Of course! That guy moved on pretty well and fast, she chuckled again, I can't believe they got three kids now and another one on the way. Yeah, and I love those little girls... Hmmm... yeah, Amber, Luna and Sulli are just darlings and I'm sure that baby Krystal inside is a gem too. I'm just glad that Vicky did not end up a b1tch we imagined before. Seo Hyun laughed hard with the thought. They used to imagine a girl with big hips that could give their family lots of 'family legacies'. But, indeed, they got a handful and heartful of little girls to love and take care of. But Unnie, honestly, do you ever feel jealous? Jealous? Of course! Especially when I saw their wedding pictures and met her. Seeing him take care of her well made me sick in the gut. It should have been me... those kinds of thoughts. But I can't complain anymore, let's just say I'm his first love so I will forever have my place in his heart. Does she still have that place in his heart? That thought hang on her head suddenly. Forever, he has on hers. Bittersweet feeling rushed over her. She wished that a thought of her would cross his mind too. She felt happy that Yoona was optimistic despite how her love for Nichkhun ended because of his family's wish. So you, Seo Ju Hyun should really find a way to reconnect with him. Who knows he is really your destiny? I don't know. I am more apologetic to him now and to get his forgiveness is more important to me than anything else. Yeah, anyway. I don't want to inject illusions in your head but just look at the possibilities. He could be or he could not be. Besides, it has been eight years-- He might have forgotten about you with all the beautiful girls in America. She continued Yoona's mantra with so much dullness, I know that... I know... Yoona uncontrollably laughed on the other line and it was indeed annoying her. Not the way she would laugh but what the clear-cut sad message. It was her fault anyway so she shouldn't be so bitter about it. Anyway, no worries, Seo Hyunie. We may not get our happy endings with the ones we thought to get but it will surely be with someone destiny prepared for us... Yoona chimed.

It made her smile. Could that someone be--? She shook her head. Not too fast, Seo Hyun, she reminded herself. Whoever that person is she will know it, the magic will be there. The same magic she felt when Yong Hwa first held her hand under the table on their first dinner date. The same magic when he appeared before her as the merry-go-round turned. The very same one she felt when he tricked her inside Jong Hyun's dad's car and kissed her on the lips. There were those thoughts again. Why does she always end up connecting her everything to him? ~~~ All's set now? Tiffany piped in as she paced on his living room. He shook his head and pushed with his foot one of the luggage to the side, not quite but getting there... Good! Everything will be taken cared of the moment you step off the plane. Your pad, car, bank account... everything. She smiled reassuringly and dropped her body down on the sofa, all you need to do is be there. Yeah... whatever... he rolled his eyes and poured himself a glass of whiskey. Ya! Why that expression? Fany stood and walked towards the bar where her brother stood and put her arm on his shoulder, come on, little brother. It's as if you've totally flushed Korea down the drain... remember it's still home and it's still where happiness is... Whatever that means... he smirked and pushed his sister's hand off his shoulder, anyway, I need the employees' background. I want to know whom I will be working with especially my staff. Oh, that! Fany gave a pretend surprised look, I totally forgot! I'll have it prepared. Yeah... you better... this is your wonderful idea, he sneered again emphasizing the last two words, what else did you arrange, my dear, Nuna? Aigoo... uri maknae has turned to a very very cold man... she said in her best husky aegyo-filled voice like she was talking to her two month old unborn child, don't worry, Nuna arranged only for her little brother's happiness. Oh sheez! Stop that! Yong Hwa gently pushed her away, save that voice to your husband! Oh god... Fany laughed as she turned away and took her handbag that was resting on the sofa, my brother needs some real lovin'!

Aish! Go home! Go bother your husband! he finally chuckled as he watched his sister walking like a drunken pregnant woman, he'll surely love you more! Oh, he loves me more than enough! It's you... Fany looked back as she opened the door, ...you who needs to go get that love again... silly boy... He shook his head and waved as she slipped out of his house. His sister is one pain but he loves her either way. She has become his bestfriend and confidant. Yong Hwa may never say it but Tiffany knows his heart. Too bad for him though, she's one nosy woman.

Part 2

There has been that on-going talk about the Director of Media and Audience Research Department and his assistant for having inconspicuous transactions with the rival companies She thought it was a mere baseless accusation since she has known them for quite a while too but in the end it was all true. Seo Hyun stared at the notice she found on her desk early that morning and was shifting on her seat with confusion. You are hereby informed that starting Monday you will be reporting as the OIC, Assistant to the Director of Audience and Research Department. As such you, please take note of your duties and responsibilities listed below... It wasn't really making sense to Seo Hyun so she finally stood and knocked on her immediate head's office. Oh Seo Hyun, hi! Kim Hyo Yeon, the Senior Research Analyst Officer for the Audience Research Office, who happened to be her good friend beamed at her, what brought you here? Do we have any prob? I think we have... she nodded as she handed her the memo. Problem? she shook her head then shrugged her shoulders, I don't see any problem with a promotion. And please sit down. Seo Hyun lifelessly sat, she seemed not to get her point, and yes that's the point. It's a promotion! Like a big one! Woah! Woah! Hyo tried not to laugh by the petrified expression the younger girl was wearing, when did a BIG promotion become a problem? But-- she bit her tongue and shook her head when her boss just smiled strangely, "wait. Did you happen to recommend me?"

"Oh no..." she shook her head, "It was the management's move. Maybe my monthly ratings for you has affected this decision plus, of course, your positive performance for four years in this Company. You deserve this promotion, Seo Hyun. It should have been you... she sadly said staring at the paper again, I really don't think I deserve this... Ahhh! That's what you were worrying! They can't put me up there since they need me more here. Besides, it's only for six months and after that you can go back to me. Hyo Yeon finally noticed that little light reflecting Seo Hyun's face, unless, the Company deemed you fit for the position after that duration. Aish... she muttered, and did they disclose the new Director? Well, because of those hullabaloos the Management has been keeping their lips sealed until Monday when the new Director arrives. But I have a hint that it will be the youngest son of the CEO. Besides, after what happened, they could not just give the position to anybody here. Ahh... that just made more nervous now! Psh! Stop being paranoid there! she scowled and stood, Come on, I forgot to tell you. I will be the one to orient you on your new post. What? So you know this, Unnie, before hand? Although she was Hyo Yeon's subordinate the latter has encouraged her to call her sister whenever they are only talking alone, which she believed to be practiced by their other peers. Only when they are in front of the bosses or other employees of the Company she lets them call her Supervisor. Of course! I did not tell you because I know how you would react, Hyo Yeon walked towards the door and winked at her, and, see? I was right... After introducing her to the staff at the Director's Office, Hyo Yeon ushered her towards the room which she would be working side-by-side the new Director. Seo Hyun was caught in awe with the new interiors, not to mention that it was obviously extended meters bigger. She has been there so many times that was why it thrilled her that the Company really did take the whole change so atrociously. Anyway, it was the son of the CEO and probably the future CEO so he deserved only that luxurious workplace. The office exudes that masculine feel with those rich hard woods and minimal furnishings. A small receiving area furnished with brown leather settee, a black beanbag on the corner, and a Japanese coffee table would welcome anybody who enters the room. On the right side was a desk complete with office equipments that she imagined to be her place. This will be your new work station... Hyo Yeon tapped the table, do you like it? It's far

prettier than mine! I know! she nervously smiled. Deep inside, it was her wish to work in a place like that. Like being inside a real Diplomat's office. Her table was located at the corner a little closer to the door with the high end computer mounted on the side and the other office fixture to her astonishment. However, she wasn't really comfortable of its position. If only she could, she would have asked to have it face the receiving area than facing that of the Director's table. And this will be where our new boss sits, Hyo playfully lunged herself on the mahogany colored box armchair resembling that of the CEO's. She noticed that the blush of pink on the younger girl's face did not even lessen though they were inside the room for a couple of minutes already, ya! Sit down so we can discuss your duties and responsibilities. Seo Hyun followed and took the sit across the table gazing at the empty desk nameplate and listened to Hyo Yeon's instructions. More or less, she knew those already but it was also a fact that she would be taking her baby steps on that new position. The room has that autocratic feel to it and wished that her new boss will be as accommodating and as friendly as the one talking in front of her. The promotion was really flattering that she was losing hope on herself that she could do well. She needed to call Yoona and her mother later to discuss the whole thing. Not that she doesn't like it but the responsibilities overwhelmed her since she was also dividing her time between work and school. Seo Hyuna, the Management trusts you and most importantly, I trust you, Hyo Yeon gently said when she realized that she was zoning out again, prove to us that you are really deserving of this position and for six months show to us a brand new you. Someone we could be more proud of as part of this Company. Seo Hyun felt her heart skipped with what she said, Yes Unnie... I will never let you down... Okay! Good! Hyo Yeon stood again and extended her hand to her, come, let's go to the record and stock room. She thought it was the end to that room but she was mistaken. A door beside the huge bookcase opened towards another room that was what her boss or ex-boss mentioned. Hyo Yeon groped for the lights on the side and exposed a smaller space lined with some metal cabinet organizers and an open floor-to-ceiling bookcase that contained nothing but stacks of papers, documents and books with a sliding ladder on the corner. The cabinets were tagged accordingly with their office supplies contents and there were also a scanner and photocopying machine in the middle of the room. Everything you need is here. You can review the checklist if you want. Actually, you can start using this office but just report to me before and after office hours so that you could

familiarize yourself with everything. They started walking out until Hyo Yeon stopped again, oh, I forgot. The Director, just like the CEO, has a special room where he or she could usually rest and you are the only one allowed to go in here... to fix things around and provide everything he may need. She was getting dizzy already as Hyo Yeon opened the locked door to an adjacent room next to what she presumed to be the restroom. This time it was smaller than the stock room but far sophisticated than her own bedroom, or apartment, for that matter. There was a pantry on the side equipped with a coffee-maker, blender, microwave, small fridge and other what-nots a kitchen should have and a mini dining area. A white day bed with a side table and a mini cabinet was the focal point of the entire room as it was situated in the middle. The area was designed with white furnishings with a tint of black just to complement the rather brightness and the thick white curtain opens to reveal a mirrored wall which has the best view of the skyscrapers outside. Seo Hyun has heard about this kind of room from the other employees and it seemed like only family members of the CEO working in the top management has that kind of privilege. This is so beautiful... she whispered as she looked down from the dizzying heights. I know... Hyo Yeon laughed, and I'm so happy that I was able to enter this room too before I become one of the unauthorized. She sat on the bed and tapped the side for her to take, if only the CEO's sons are not all married, I would throw myself to them to have this luxury! Unnie! she hissed but chuckled when she laughed, yeah, we must enjoy this first before the real owner of this place arrives. Yeah, and Seo Hyun, there's another phone line-- the white one, on the Director's table. That's the private line and you are not allowed to use it nor answer if ever the Director is not around. Okay, thank you for all the help... she ran her palm on the soft cottony bed. You're welcome... What could be my new boss look like? I hope he or she is as kind and nice as you are... I hope so... if it would be the CEO's son, he's a sure hunk but he's married already, Hyo frowned. He is? Yeah, just gotten hooked eight or seven months ago? I'm not sure... but remember when the whole family went to the States? I guess it was because of the wedding...

I see... And oh, for your first assignment. You will meet the Director at the airport Monday morning and drive him to his pad. What? When do those bombs end dropping on her? I will be the one to pick him up? Yeah, I was just informed about this. Only you and the Company driver assigned for you since the Director will have his personal car. But on picking him up at the airport will be your first job and probably the easiest. Right? Picking him up at the airport, she as the one-man welcome party, what could go wrong? Definitely nothing. ~~~ He hated being inside a plane. Comfortable as it was since he basically had the whole corner to himself, he was still restless. Maybe it was the long hours spent being caged in that place that one could not really do anything but amuse himself with all the amenities a first class passenger deserves. He tried one unfamiliar movie among the hundreds on the list but instead of being entertained, the wide screened LCD monitor seemed to annoy his vision so he just decided to recline and sleep his way back to Korea. That is, if he could. With one touch of one of the buttons on his left, he adjusted himself and put on the eye mask his sister prepared for him. He was assigned at the advertising firm of one of the companies owned by Tiffany's husband and the sudden situation in Seoul became a big issue for the Company. The CEO decided to let Hyun Joong handle the problem back in Korea and take the post but since he just got married, he told his father that he will find a trusted person to be the OIC on his absence. And there goes the participation of his sister. It was only for six months and she promised him that after that, she would no longer bug him in going back to Seoul-- ever. Since he was also familiar with the transactions of the Department he would be heading for awhile, he was confident that he could work it out well and fix what was needed to be fixed before his brother-in-law takes office. Speaking of work, he decided to get the folder Fany handed him the last minute before his boarding time. She claimed to have forgotten about it again and thankfully remembered just in time before they left the house to see him off. He insisted that he doesn't need that seeing-off ritual but women are just the stubbornest creatures. Don't forget to visit Uncle in Busan, okay? Okay... And your meds, vitamins and everything...

Yes, Nuna... We will be there as soon as we can, she winked at him and gave her husband a promising smile. Okay, I trust that 'as soon as possible', he smirked. Yes, of course! And don't play with girls too much, okay? Nuna! Ya! I know you! Aish! Get enough rest on the plane and don't think or work first. Maybe you can check these documents when you reach Seoul. Aigoo, Nuna, I know what to do... I know that! But I'm just reminding you! Okay, I get it! Take care of Abeoji... Oh don't worry about him. You take care of yourself there... Yes, keep me updated about Abeoji. Will do... Fany beamed and snaked her arm on his husband silently watching the drama or the obvious lack thereof. Then she continued half-murmuring, and don't forget to visit her. I know she still lives in the same apartment. He rolled his eyes as Hyun Joong apologetically smiled beside his wife, I have to go. I will be late... And oh, don't forget to hug Seo Hyunie for me! That was the craziest follow up his sister pulled. He smirked pondering how on earth he would give his sister's hug to Seo Hyun whom he has no intention of meeting or bumping into when he gets to his destination. Seoul is a big place and it was safe to assume that it would be one to impossible that their paths would cross. Unless there was that divine intervention, which he really was praying not to. He doesn't need those confusions anymore and he has been living his life quite well after eight years. Aish! Yong Hwa muttered out loud as if it could stop his mind from thinking about her

again. Lately, his mind has been doing that a lot. And as much as he wanted it to stop, it just wouldn't. He sat up again and finally remembered what he was going to do so he shoved the eye mask to the side and reached out for the sealed folder. Carefully, he tore the masking tape that kept the folder sealed with the knife that goes with his untouched dinner. After pulling the folder out of the envelope, he threw it on the side. Fany has this different kind of humor for he doesn't get the idea as to why that document needed to be sealed like that. As he did the task, he started to remind himself of the first things he needed to do for the Company. Get the report of the damages done by that old director. That crazy old man who, despite his age, was not good enough in hiding his tracks that may have put not only the station but the Company as a whole in a bad light. That old man who was the main reason why he was returning, together with his stupid assistant, took different deals from the other networks to leak the Company's promotional campaigns and manipulate the result of the researches done by the staff. Those transactions could affect the trust of the advertisers and future clients, thus, may result to an estimated loss of almost a billion dollars. Not to mention, it's effect to their viewers and followers. The document contained mostly about the background of CNSB Broadcasting Corporation and the reports of the problem. Yong Hwa yawned and smiled to himself that it maybe a good idea to start reading those papers to induce sleep on him. He was getting lazier that his fingers where just playfully turning the pages randomly until he got to the staff background. He just leafed through not really focusing on the information neither on those pictures on the bios. Suddenly, as his fingers slid from pages to pages, he caught a very familiar face and stopped on the page after that and thought for awhile then shook his head. No, couldn't be. He mumbled to himself, Yong Hwa-ya, you are sleepy, you are tired and most of all, you are bored. So, you are seeing things. With that, he closed the folder and purposely pushed it towards the side of his feet and grabbed the mask that ended up buried under the envelope. He put it on and slid down on the bed and folding his arms by his stomach. But there was really nothing wrong if he checked it again just to appease his mind. Yeah, he was a crazy fool so he sat up again and reached out for the folder. He started to sweat. Yong Hwa inhaled and exhaled a few times before finally leafing through the pages one by one too afraid he might miss his target. Staff Profile. The cover page said and his fingers mechanically flipped to the next page. There it was and no need for him to read further. She was smiling with that Monalisa one-- as if she was holding a secret that she would be willing to share only to him. Her eyes beacon with

familiarity and her lips sealed with that secret. She with her pink umbrella on that snowy day. She adjusting her bag walking towards him by her school gates. She wearing the helmet he just bought. She inside the booth with a cupcake in hand. She riding her pink bicycle. She with her white fluffy teddy bear. She reading her book. She sleeping on the couch. She kissing him underneath the moon. Oh god... he mumbled in an exasperated tone with closed eyes and hand shielding them as if the picture has that blinding light. He swallowed hard and looked down on the document again. Name: Seo Ju Hyun Position: OIC, Assistant to the Director Of all the people in Seoul. Of all the positions available. Seo Hyun smiling... Seo Hyun laughing... Seo Hyun crying... Nuna! he cried out but louder this time. He thought awhile back that only a divine intervention could make their paths cross without realizing that all that is needed is one manipulative sister and an abiding brother-in-law. Not to mention a crazy situation. All of a sudden, his little private space on that plane became smaller that he felt almost sophocated. If only he was not on a plane, he would have gone outside and get some fresh air. ~~~

It was Monday, Seo Hyun woke up very early or did she even get some sleep? All weekend, she has been thinking of that new chapter in her life. She even reported that Saturday just to study all the things she needed to know about her new position and double checked with the Company driver about the time they needed to be there. She even insisted to be there an hour before his arrival just to make sure they won't be late and at least make that best impression. Aside from her, Yoona was another excited camper for her temporary assignment since she pointed out how doors would be opening for her after that. She was right and it was exciting her more now after gaining more confidence. Maybe it was really the perfect training for her so she must really show her best and go beyond the expectations of her supervisors. She ran her hands on her dark gray trouser pants just to release the tension as Mr. Kang, the company driver assigned to her, skidded on the highway. She looked out and made a quick prayer for God to give her an ordinary day. Sitting up straight, she finally buttoned her eggplant-colored cardigan up to the midriff since she realized that she was breathing normally. Seo Hyun decided on that smart casual look since she doesn't want to pull off that too formal atmosphere instead give away a friendly aura. She doesn't want her boss to think of her more as a stiff subordinate but someone who would be comfortable to be around with. Checking the time again, she was confident they would make it way earlier. She needed that good impression right away and somehow felt sorry for the driver who was assuring her too that they don't need to be that early. A few minutes later, she felt that their speed was decreasing so she finally asked. There's a traffic build up ahead of us, miss, Mr. Kang said, I'm sorry... No, it's okay, Mr. Kang, no need to apologize, Seo Hyun said with an honest smile while gently tapping the old man's shoulder. If we pass through this, I think the road will be clearer. I hope so... I'm also wondering what causing this traffic. He supplied as she looked out on the other lane with almost the same volume of cars and even speed so it would be impossible for them to overtake. Maybe since it was Monday and a lot of people are rushing earlier to their destinations. She settled on to her seat trying to convince herself that it was nothing that could cause her day in a bad start. Besides, they were an hour early to the appointed time. As they moved forward, it was getting slower and slower. Cars honking and frustrated look on the other people's faces were beginning to worry her. Finally, the car came to a total

stop that Mr. Kang decided to tune in to a radio station. Seo Hyun covered her face with her hands in disbelief. Apparently, there was an accident involving a ten-wheeler truck and it somewhat barricaded the whole highway just a few minutes ago. The police and other concerned agencies are now working to remove the vehicle off the main road but the traffic was expected to increase as time goes. That was all she needed for a perfectly normal day. ~~~ He adjusted his knapsack on his shoulder while dropping his organizer bag on top of his luggage on the airport cart. The flight landed on time and thankfully no more other travel hassles for him. Hyun Joong told him somebody from the company will pick him up so he needed to wait by the arrival lounge. Pushing his cart to the side, he sat down and opened the folder again. The image of her face indeed followed him everywhere and being back in Korea was not helping at all. More so, the fact that he would be working side-by-side with her was making him foresee some unfavorable situations. He heaved and mumbled to himself, Keep your cool. She is just another what-used-to-be and nothing more. Darn it, but he was still affected. He felt silly. Tiffany has some explaining to do. She knew well enough how he buried the past and how could Seo Hyun be working on that company for four years now without his knowledge? He knew that his sister has been continuously keeping in contact with her but not this way. Does she even know that he will be her new boss? Yong Hwa doubts it, if Seo Hyun is the same old Seo Hyun she would surely disagree and flee on the nearest exit she could find. Minutes later, he shifted uncomfortably on his seat. Where is that darn welcome party? They shouldn't even let him wait and be there earlier than his arrival but he could not see anybody who could obviously be looking for someone. Someone probably holding up a sign for him? As far as he could remember, he is an OIC Director and directors are not to be kept waiting. He stood with impatience looking around then to his clock. He was already not on his perfect gentlemanly state to be kept waiting so he decided to leave. Whoever that person is has a serious problem now as he carried his bag on his shoulder and pushed the cart on the exit sign. She rushed inside the airport the moment the car came into a halt and checked the arrivaldeparture board. She was in deep trouble. The plane has landed almost thirty minutes ago and she looked around at the lounge holding up the CNSD Broadcasting Corporation sign but none of the people there was paying her any attention. What if he left already? She was terribly late so obviously, he did. Ohhh! I'm so dead! Ottoke! she chanted to herself with that worried tone.

She paced back and forth like a crazy woman trying to figure out what to do. Should she stay on a few minutes more? He might me on the gents for all she knows or just somewhere grabbing a snack. She looked once more around those people buzzing from all direction. The airport has always been a busy place no matter the time. She stomped carefully trying not to attract too much attention to herself then looked around again. Suddenly, she seemed to catch a glimpse of a familiar figure out in the corner so she turned towards the direction to get a better view. But, the swarm of people he was walking through was not giving her any help at all. Her heart skipped. She swore it was him. She had that sudden urge to call his name. She could be wrong, there was this good deal of meters that separated them and those sea of people for her to verify her thoughts. No, it couldn't be him and she was just hallucinating. She shook her head and inhaled focusing on his boss not on the apparition. Seo Hyun turned towards the new set of people going on her way as she held on to her sign. But her heart was still skipping fast. What if it was him? She shut her eyes tight, she needed confirmation. To heck with his boss, she has a person more important to follow. With that decision, she turned and sprinted towards where she last saw him. It was a crazy idea since she was not hundred percent sure that it was him. Only that of his height, built and the color of his hair. Funny, does she think he still has that brownish hair? She couldn't care less as she moved among those swarm of people with her heart totally focused on its one goal. And if it was really him, what now? Anyway, she would figure something out the moment she would be standing in front of him. She was excited and ecstatic; nervous and terrified. Ahhh! she almost exclaimed out loud as she caught a glimpse of his black jacket. But, he was more like than ten meters away from him and moving just as fast as everybody else. Suddenly, with all her excitement, she did not notice the old woman who was carrying two duffel bags and and a shoulder bag and accidentally bump on one of those. The woman almost got knocked down if Seo Hyun was not fast enough to catch her by the elbow. She mouthed her apologies repeatedly and started picking up the items that managed to slip out of the womans shoulder bag when it fell on the floor. Then, she ended up carrying one of the bags for her and letting her seat on one of the nearest benches. I'm really sorry, ma'am... are you okay? It's okay... I'm okay... aigooo, the grandmother muttered, I was just shocked.

I'm terribly sorry! she mumbled again while looking ahead trying not to let him off her sight. Aigoo, ran along now, she gave her that infamous grandmotherly smile as she looked at the younger girl's sign, it seemed like your looking for someone. Yes, I am... she held on to the woman's hands and smiled, thank you so much and I'm so sorry again! With that, she almost leaped and ran but suddenly she could not see him anymore as she reached the exit. Seo Hyun decided it was not time for her to give up, whatever happens she must find him. Looking around, she finally noticed him almost reaching one of the cabs waiting in line. She held her breath the moment he turned. It was him, her eyes were not deceiving her. She almost cried as she put her hands on her mouth. It was really him! Seo Hyun has forgotten why she needed to be in the airport. The world took a break from spinning. The crowd seemed to disperse in sight. She held on to her heart. Jung Yong Hwa after eight years. Yo~ng Oppa!

CHAPTER 22: Ironies

Do you think how it would have been sometimes Do you pray that I'd never left your side What if I had never let you go Would you be the man I used to know ~ what if (kate winslet)

She rushed inside the airport the moment the car came into a halt and checked the arrival arrivaldeparture board. She was in deep trouble. The plane has landed almost thirty minutes ago almost and she looked around at the lounge holding up the CNSD Broadcasting Corporation sign but none of the people there was paying her any attention. What if he left already? She was terribly late so obviously, he did. d! Ohhh! I'm so dead! Ottoke! she chanted to herself with that worried tone. She paced back and forth like a crazy woman trying to figure out what to do. Should she stay on a few minutes more? He mighte on the gents for all she knows or just somewhere grabbing a snack. She looked around once more around those people buzzing from all e direction. The airport has always been a busy place no matter the time. She stomped carefully trying not to attract too much attention to herself then looked around again. Suddenly, she seemed to catch a glimpse of a familiar figure out in the corner so she turned towards the direction to get a better view. But, the swarm of people he was walking through

was not giving her any help at all. She swore it was him. Her heart skipped. She had that sudden urge to call his name. She could be wrong. There was this good deal of meters that separated them and that sea of people for her to verify her thoughts. No, it couldn't be him and she was just hallucinating. She shook her head and inhaled focusing on his boss not on the apparition. Seo Hyun turned towards the new set of people going on her way as she held on to her sign. But her heart was still skipping fast. What if it was him? She shut her eyes tight, she needed confirmation. To heck with his boss, she has a person more important to follow. With that decision, she turned and sprinted towards where she last saw him. It was a crazy idea since she was not hundred percent sure that it was him. Only that of his height, built and the color of his hair. Funny, does she think he still has that brownish hair? She couldn't care less as she moved among those swarm of people with her heart totally focused on its one goal. And if it was really him, what now? Anyway, she would figure something out the moment she would be standing in front of him. She was excited and ecstatic; nervous and terrified. Ahhh! she almost exclaimed out loud as she caught a glimpse of his black jacket. But, he was more like ten meters away from him and moving just as fast as everybody else. Suddenly, with all her excitement, she did not notice the old woman who was carrying two duffel bags and and a shoulder bag and accidentally bumped on one of those. The woman almost got knocked down if Seo Hyun had not been fast enough to catch her by the elbow. She mouthed her apologies repeatedly and started picking up the items that managed to slip out of the womans shoulder bag when it fell on the floor. Then, she ended up carrying one of the bags for her and letting her seat on one of the nearest benches. I'm really sorry, ma'am... are you okay? It's okay... I'm okay... aigooo, the grandmother muttered, I was just shocked. I'm terribly sorry! she mumbled again while looking ahead trying not to let him off her sight. Aigoo, run along now, she gave her that infamous grandmotherly smile as she looked at the younger girl's sign, it seemed like your looking for someone. Yes, I am! she held on to the woman's hands and smiled, thank you so much and I'm so sorry again! With that, she almost leaped and ran but suddenly she could not see him anymore as she neared the exit. Looking around, she finally noticed him almost reaching one of the cabs waiting in line. She held her breath the moment he turned. It was him, her eyes were not deceiving her. She almost cried as she put her hands on her mouth. It was really him!

Seo Hyun has forgotten why she needed to be in the airport. The world took a break from spinning. The crowd seemed to disperse in sight. She held on to her heart. Jung Yong Hwa after eight years. Yo~ng Oppa! she finally spoke but the honking of the cars and the assortment of sounds around swallowed her voice. Her heart pounded when she noticed that he slightly turned and was about to raise her arm but he looked away again and went on walking. She knew it was impossible for him to have heard her but she believed in casting that spell for him to look her way. Too bad, her spell was not strong enough. If only she could shove those people off her way or grow herself a pair of wings to get to him, she would. Oh, no... she mumbled in defeat when he stopped by a cab and the driver started depositing his belongings on the compartment. She took quicker steps ignoring those people she bumped into but before she could call his name again he got in the vehicle. She inhaled and decided to run for it while the car was just moving a little slow but she was too late. With a slower pace, she watched the taxi drove away until it disappeared from her sight. She almost had that moment in her hand. She really should have shouted his name loud enough to reach him. ~~~ Yong Hwa had enough of waiting so he decided that he would just take a taxi to Seoul. Focused on getting to Seoul soon, he somehow marveled at the development of the airport. Was he gone for a long time? Omo! A woman walking towards his direction mumbled in surprise as she and her company looked over his shoulder and deliberately cut his train of thoughts. The sudden commotion behind made him look back a bit and noticed that woman and a grandmother gathering scattered things on the floor. He did not give much thought to it despite the fact that the woman's dark chocolate brown hair that was covering her face reminded him of how Seo Hyun would wear them loose for him. He shook his head with a smirk as he pushed his cart along. He must stop that or else he would be forcing himself to board the earliest flight back to the US. The positive thing that he waited for nearly an hour on the lounge was that there were less people to line with to get a cab. It went smoothly like he did not wait at all, only that getting his stuff inside the compartment made him take a bit of time making sure everything was there. The busy place has never had that moment of complete silence from noise-- impossible, of course. But his mind has been playing a dirty trick on him that he thought he heard a familiar voice calling him using that familiar name christened to him long time ago, on that distant and dreamy fantasy.

As soon as the last bag got in, he opened the door and locked himself up until the driver took his place and drive him away from lunacy. ~~~ She fidgeted inside her unnie's office while the latter was still on the phone explaining to the CEO's assistant why she wasn't able to pick up the Director from the airport. Will you sit down? Youre making me dizzy Hyo said as soon as she put down the phone, the Director knew about the accident. It was inevitable and no one's at fault so you can relax Biting the tip of her thumb, she looked at her superior. How could she explain that it was not the director making her all fidgety there? She was not too worried about the picking up incident since the traffic still sucked even on their way back to Seoul so she was sure that he had the same experience. Where could he be now? Would he be on his old apartment? Seo Hyun, I said, everything is okay. You can relax now she said again as the younger girl was all focused at her but her mind seemed to be wandering somewhere so she snapped her fingers on her face to get her attention, ya! Are you still with me? Oh, yeah! Im sorry, Unnie she finally chirped in. On the corner of her mind, she was also curious of her new boss and hoped he would be nice to her, so, has he arrived? Yes, he is and he is in a meeting with the CEO now, Hyo nodded with a smile, you will do fine, right? Yes, I will. She smiled, maybe, I should be going to. I need to redeem myself. Yeah! Hwaiting, Seo Hyun! Hwaiting! As soon as she went out of the elevator to her new floor, the Departments secretary met her with a serious expression. The older woman was just a few years younger than her mother but the way she carried herself was kinda scary for Seo Hyun. Ms. Seo, the Director has been looking for you. That made her nervous alright, so she nodded sheepishly, ahhh? Really? I have to get these documents from Ms. Kim, aigoo she muttered and thankfully, the Mrs. Park smiled. Its okay, he just got in.

They walked heading towards his office when another employee excused and consulted some documents on the older woman. Seo Hyun was about to go on her way when the door opened. Her jaw almost dropped. Was it just an illusion? For he stood their as everything else moved in a slow motion and the rising and falling on her chest was the only thing she could feel. She gasped in surprise. Yong Hwa emerged from the Directors room talking to someone on the phone. The normal buzzing around suddenly died down and most of the employees just watched him strode across the room. She stood dumbfounded on the side as Mrs. Park bowed when he passed their side. She was not breathing at all as his eyes traveled on both sides of his path as if acknowledging the bowed heads for him and, for a second, it landed to her. But, as quick as lightning strikes, he looked ahead without breaking his sentence on to whoever he was talking with. He walked out of the room when Hyun Joong called instructing him to meet another director who would be giving him some information about the problem. The employees who were there when he first walked in acknowledged his presence again by stopping what they were doing and giving him a slight bow. He tipped his head himself and somewhat looked on that corner where the Department's secretary stood. Only then he realized that familiar girl awestricken by his presence beside the older woman. He could not help himself but to hold her gaze as Hyun Joong's voice seemed to fade away. He cleared his throat slightly then asked some random question he managed to compose on his mind and looked away from her. Then the whole scene played on her mind as he walked passed her with those eyes holding hers for those agonizing seconds then suddenly, with one blink he looked away as if she was nothing but an unreal ornament mounted on that corner for someone else's pleasure. The feeling was like a punch on her stomach. She stood there motionless as everybody else went back to their business like they really should. His free hand was on his pants pocket now while he continued talking and waited for the elevator. His white dress shirt failed to hide his broad torso and lean posture. She could not help but swallow hard. What was he doing there? Rage of thoughts came roaming around her limited understanding of the situation. He couldnt possibly be the Ya! Stop ogling at your new boss. It was Mrs. Park who playfully whispered on her side so she shook her head and started to deny what she said but she ended up stuttering, much to the womans entertainment. She smiled with apologies, but is he really? I thought it was the CEOs son.

Well, he just got married so he sent someone as OIC for six months and it happened to be Director Jung. Yong Hwa walked on, almost sprinting, just to get to the elevator. Thankfully, it opened right away and he went in like he was too excited to get away from that floor. There was that complex feeling of pleasure and pain all at the same time. Those pools he hasn't seen for a long while still hold their mystery and vibrancy. The elevator door shut in a very slow manner like mocking him completely as he noticed how she was still looking his way. That distance was good enough to forge the idea that he was not looking at her back. Seo Hyun continued to look at where he was standing moments ago as he then disappeared when the elevator door closed and she could not tell if he was looking at her or not. Its either her mind was busily painting this fairytale on her head that he was looking at her while those doors were closing, or he was really looking at her while those doors were closing. She could not believe it. Just then she realized how stupid she was running after him at the airport when in truth, he was the same person she came there for. Hes a very handsome fellow. Hes your type, yes? Mrs. Park nudged her with that ajumma-esque character so she smiled and shook her head, I dont know what youre talking about. She turned and decided to deal with him later as the older woman chuckled to herself. She needed some fresh air and her some wise counseling. Yong Hwa finally breathed a sigh of relief when he reached the upper floor. He thought he was prepared for it, but he was not. Was he even successful on that pretense of not seeing her? It was still surreal. ~~~ It was really him I saw at the airport Yoona balanced the phone on her ear and shoulder as she opened the display case to get the last piece of carrot cake. She got an early call that morning from her bestfriend declaring that she saw her ex-boyfriend at the airport and she teased her for sleepwalking again and that Seo Hyun was just seeing things. So what did you do? Nothing... That lifeless voice of Seo Hyun made her smile to herself and nodded to Ji Hwan, the teenager she just hired a few days ago on her coffee shop. The boy was motioning for her approval to keep those newly delivered paper cups. Yeah, anyway, what can you do? He was talking on the phone and if I were you, that's exactly what I will do too-- nothing. She

rolled her eyes and rested her behind by the counter. It was indeed a surprise that Yong Hwa was now back in Korea with a bigger surprise of being Seo Hyun's boss. And what do you know? Hes my boss now and he passed me by. I swear he saw me! It was impossible not to but he just passed me by Ya... ya... ya... Yoona chuckled to herself when she started her litanies. Seo Hyun has that amazing ability of talking non-stop-- she could be a perfect defense lawyer. What were you expecting? For him to kiss you and hug you? To kneel in front of you and beg you to go back to his life? Its not like that Seo Hyun defended herself much to her amusement when her voice faded and she was about to answer that when she went on with a very lonely tone. Oh, well maybe he did not really see me Who are you convincing? Yoona laughed again imagining her slumped on a toilet seat with locked doors. Poor Seo Hyun, she was on her perfect mode to tease her. And yeah, what is it to you if he did not stop and acknowledge your royal presence? Youre his pastpast tense nothing but a love story gone wrong so stop complaining. Besides, it was you who turned away before, right? Do you really have to say those? She walked to the kitchen fearing her customers would find her odd, then continued, And who do you want to hear it from? It would be more painful if you hear it from him, dont you think? Yoona doesn't really want to sound so harsh to her friend but it's better that way. At least, she has something to reflect upon. Seo Hyun may still be nave at some point but she knows that she has learned from her past mistakes to be able to handle this well. She was even curious as to what will happen to them in the future. Yong Hwa has every right to feel mad and all with Seo Hyun but by weighing the past, Yoona knew that Seo Hyun has been so special for him to just forget that easily. Angry or not, she was all too ready for the coming chapters. ~~~ Annyeong haseyo I am Seo Ju Hyun and I will be your personal assistant on your duration of stay here in the company. She said her memorized speech. They say that if you are uncomfortable in looking at a persons eyes it would be okay if you look him by the lips or forehead. She chose the second one since it would be more uncomfortable looking at his lips.

Nice meeting you, Ms. Seo, he said nonchalantly trying to keep his cool. She is just another employee, Yong Hwa reminded himself as she stood there in front of him with nothing that separated them but a big oak table. She was modestly dressed in that too conservative business attire with her hair side swept on both sides of her face and flowing down for his pleasure. It seemed like nothing changed on her physical appearance only that she has become more shapely especially on all those right places. He cleared his throat as if reminding himself to focus on what she was saying and not by how she looked after eight years. I prepared the documents by their importance and urgency for your perusal, she motioned on the stock of folders to his left. He was really making the whole introduction difficult for her as he was lazy-ing on his seat, fingers on his chin, swaying softly like a little boy discovering the wonders of an office chair. You don't have any schedules for today but I already have that of tomorrow. Would you want to know them now, Director? Hmm schedule, he mumbled and idly opened one folder then flipped it close again before looking at her, maybe later Okay then, by the way sir, you have two phone lines. She focused on the thing she was mentioning so as to avoid meeting his gaze, the black one is the company line which is also connected to mine. And, the white is your private line. I am advised not to use or answer that without your knowledge. Okay. Yong Hwa nodded looking at the two phones. How could he forget that first moment of seeing her again after all those years behind them? He thought he was prepared for that meeting as he conditioned his mind the moment he saw her smiling face on that folder, telling himself that he must never lose guard of himself. But that moment of walking along that way as she stood there with that obvious surprise written all over her face, he could feel his heart pounding so loud on his chest. Indeed, she has no idea that he was her boss by the way she wore that expression. Seo Hyun's eyes widened the moment she saw him and was perplexed that she did not even remember to bow at him as the others did. It seemed like time stood still as he walked along that path and looked at her by the corner of his eyes and could not do anything but swallow hard and tried to focus on his brother-in-law's instructions. Seo Hyun restlessly stood still and watched him watch her. If she could only tell him to stop looking at her that way then she would. The room seemed colder than before but she was perspiring badly which made her more concerned if she needed to adjust the coldness of the air-conditioning unit. Uhm... she finally started when it was almost a few seconds that dead air descended on them. Walking towards the farther left side of the room beside the bookcase, she opened the door and continued, This is the record and stock room. All the necessary books, records and documents of the Department are stored here with the office supplies and equipments for your use. Everything you need is here. Please just tell me if you need anything so that I

could give them to you. Anything I need? he managed to utter with the pretense that he was focusing on what she was saying. All he could think of that moment is the awkwardness that has started between them. It was just the start of that long six months they would be working close to each other in that limited space. Yes, sir, anything you need, she nodded as her heart was too worked up. She walked over on the other side, This is the comfort room and, she said trying to be oblivious of those pools that were making her unsteady. Finally, she turned toward the other door and keyed in the password, This is your private room. My private room? he inquired with curiosity as she turned the knob and opened the last door. Yes, sir, she moved to the side as he entered. She took a few steps inside but decided it was better or safer for her to stay on that corner. This room serves as your own personal or private space if you want to rest. It has an electronic lock that requires a passcode. Right now, it has the standard code and if you must please assign a new one-- This is my personal room, he inspected the tiny space with interest. The room appeared to him like a mini studio-type apartment with everything put in their proper places with the little kitchen and dining area on one end and that cozy-looking couch on the other. And who could not give that white bed a passing glance? He doesn't know what to make out of that room but he felt like doing something he shouldn't be doing, So no one is allowed to be in here? Aside from me, yes she nodded matter-of-factly. He tried to maintain his straight face since she doesn't seem to get the idea of where he wanted to lead their conversation. She is as nave as before, he told himself then stressed what she said, Aside from you Yes, sir, because the pantry is in here and I am tasked to keep this place neat and orderly for your enjoyment. My enjoyment he repeated as he walked towards the bed and bending over looking like inspecting if it was as comfortable as it looked. It was something good for late night snuggles. Not that it was her whom he was imagining to snuggle with, he corrected himself. He was just playing but Seo Hyun doesn't seem to get the idea. And, if ever you need anything, please just inform me she uttered her practiced speech but her heart suddenly beat in an increasing magnitude when he motioned towards the day bed. Okay he sat while cradling her gaze on his and finally noticed that uneasy fidgeting on

her part as she remained by the door with eyes that could not look at him anymore. Uh if if you have any questions Seo Hyun felt a little sweaty like she suddenly felt claustrophobic despite the fact that she was standing on a liminal space. No he shook his head, no question Oh okay could it be that her blood was starting to boil with annoyance? He was obviously teasing her and she doesn't know how to deal with him anymore. How long have you been working here, Ju Hyun-ssi Four years, she said in an almost whispery tone then mumbled louder, almost four years Sir. Ahhh nodded then ran his hand on the bed, This bed is cozy. I think will be using this a lot. Her eyes widened then swallowed hard and struggled to think of something good to say, Oh ah about the passcode weyou need to change it Hmmmm what could be a good one? Do you have any suggestion? Uh, its up to you. She felt impatient and wanted to get out of the room fast. Yong Hwa smiled to himself and stood walking towards her with that serious expression. She looked down when he stopped where she was that they ended up standing shoulder-toshoulder, Bobo Ahhh d-d-de? that sure made her looked up to him with worried expression. Would earth be kind enough to swallow her alive? Thats the code I want, tapping her by the shoulder, change it to kiss Seo... Ju Hyun Her knees seemed to have transformed into strings of jellies as they wobble helplessly and she has to hold on to the door to keep herself on her feet as Yong Hwa walked passed her unconcerned. She shut her eyes tight and prayed for strength to withstand anything similar to that situation if it would happen again. Hopefully it won't. With unwilling fingers, she fulfilled his wish and keyed in kiss. ~~~ The lights by the entryway automatically opened when he locked the door behind him. He

slipped inside ignoring to open the main lights by the living room instead slumped down on the couch, stretching his legs and putting one arm by his head. Projecting his eyes towards the glass window, he tried to focus on his reflection rather than the buildings outside. It was not the reunion he imagined it to be, or he did not even imagined any at all. Way before he was determined never to meet her again although they are still connected into that invisible string and not so invisible which is that of his step-father-- her real father. In time, he believed that they would surely see each other but not on that time and place. Maybe someday where he has his own family and she has hers. It would have been better that way and easier. He sighed recalling how she looked at him with those amazement and disbelief. It must have been nerve-wracking as it was to him. Yong Hwa stood and walked towards the bar and poured himself some wine. Clicking the faint bar lights on, he let his sight wander around his new home. He would have wanted to call it his temporary abode but the fact that Tiffany bought the place under his name was making it like a little joke. He did not expect that-- not that he expected everything that was happening so far. When the lawyer called him and discussed about the house and the car, he just had that semi-headache. Besides, it has been agreed between him and his sister that he would just go back after six months so having his own pad spells permanency, which wasn't really an inviting thought for him. Gulping his glass down, he scanned the area his eyes could reach. The place has been designed with more balance in taste rather than having a masculine theme considering it was more like a bachelor's pad. The subtle tones of blues and yellows dominated the place with tints of hard colors of black and brown on the pieces of furniture. The kitchen, adjacent to the bar, has that center island and equipped with everything any housewife would love to have on her own kitchen. He shook his head by how Fany made it more like her little project and created his pad from her own play house. But then again, the place was designed not for a single occupancy but for a small family. Pouring another glass, he wondered by how Fany seemed to really planned the whole thing. He needed to call her again. Depositing the glass on the sink, he decided to just take a shower and try to rest on his posh master's bedroom. Speaking of which, that place is sinfully stressing. A rounded floor bed is mounted in the middle of the room as it appeared like a mini-stage complete with four small shoji lamps on each corner. It was more like a hotel room than his own bedroom; maybe one of the two extra bedrooms would be more accommodating since they look more normal. Interestingly enough, he knew he better get used to that bed, as well as the whole house and his new life back in Korea. He must get used to everything including the time difference; he knew for sure that his body clock would need a lot of getting used to. But for now, he must endure that restless and sleepless night. The perfect time to helplessly recall his past and not only everything that goes with it, but everyone.

Yong Hwa sat by that little corner of his bedroom watching those muted city life bustling below him despite the time. Seoul has been more alive at night now compared to eight years ago. Eight years ago, everything seemed to have happened too fast that he could not even remember those intervals. He used to be a wide-eyed wanderer, as they call it. But with some bad experiences, he regarded himself more of a person who would just go with the flow, creating no more plans for the future since they might not happen the way he would expect and would only cause unhealed wounds. Suddenly, the phone from the living room started to ring as the opened door made it easy for the sound to still be audible inside the bedroom. He folded his legs closer his body and rested his chin on his knees and waited for the caller to hang up. He closed his eyes when he heard his own voice he recorded a while ago and that beep. Hey, playboy... Yong Hwa found himself smiling as her sweet and cheery voice echoed across the room but he decided to stay still. He was not on the mood to talk to anybody even to her. Fany Unnie told me you're here already and gave me this number. You should have called me first so that I could pick you up! I wanted to be the first person you would see here. Anyway, I can't wait to see that pad your sister has been bragging about. Is it cozy? He shook his head with that tone. By the way, now that youre here, you wont have any reasons to excuse yourself from helping me with the wedding preparations, right? The whole thing is getting to my nerves already! I need a break! She laughed and he buried his face on his hands. Now she would be adding up to his own stress. I know you're there but I won't force you to pick up. The baby boy must be tired. Call me, darling... He heaved a sigh of relief when her voice faded in the air. It's not that he was evading her or anything, she could be a little impatient sometimes and she would surely be bugging him around like she used to when they were back at the States. He grinned remembering those times that he suddenly learned to be carefree again and completely leave Korea at the farthest back of his mind. She was one of those few people who managed to get inside his little nutcase and understand the real Yong Hwa. Finally, he stood and grabbed the towel by the rack and decided to take a quick shower. Maybe it could help wash away that ugly energy off his body. What could she be doing now? Would she be thinking about him? Would she also be wondering how he ended up to being her boss? He knew he must keep his thoughts Seo Hyun-free but he has resigned to the idea that it was difficult anyhow.

For five days, lucky if there would be no more Saturdays, in the span of six months, he would be spending those waking moments with the thoughts of seeing her again inside that limited space with that dangerously locked door that could only be opened with a 'kiss'. He chuckled at his own playfulness. Maybe it was jet lag. Maybe he had too much restlessness on the plane. Maybe it was his body clock that made him act like that. She would surely find it weird. Anyway, that was what he wanted to project, that he was totally a different person from what she has known before. He stepped on to the shower and let the coldest water ran on his body. Maybe it would help somehow. If only he could make things easier for him. If only he doesn't have those thoughts of her anymore. If only there was no past behind them to keep them uncomfortable most of the time. Maybe if they don't have that funny connection. Maybe if there would be no maybes would he let her get into his heart again? The very same way she has entered on that fateful snowy day. He wanted to remember none of them but he could never escape those thoughts and he was damned sure that neither could she. The water gushed through him with comfort and ease. Yong Hwa was so sure he would be making a lot of those cold showers now that he's back in the real world. The world he managed to escape safely after eight years. He was tired, he was battered, he was drained, he was sleepless. And the cold water could be the relief he needed. He closed his eyes and let it take over his whole being. ~~~ She stepped out of the tub and grabbed the towel silently hanging by the hook and ran it to her body. Seo Hyun realized that she has fallen asleep for how long she could not tell, one things for sure, the tepid water turned cold. It was the effect of thinking too much. Everything doesn't seem to make sense at all. How could it have happened right under her nose? That was one of the longest and puzzling days of her life as those questions and confusions started hovering above her. Her sudden enthusiasm realizing it was him at the airport has transformed into clueless non-perception of what was happening. She could not tell if it was a worth-looking-forward thought of seeing him everyday in the office. Then she remembered how he acted that afternoon when she was showing him the place. It felt like she was talking to a complete stranger that has taken over her exboyfriends body. She was seeing Yong Hwa sans the Yong Hwa she has known back then. What happened to him? He appeared to have transformed into this immature philanderer who suffers from the worst case of Peter Pans syndrome. She sighed with her own analysis. That thought surely made her cringe as she slipped on her night gown and sat in front of the vanity. Gently, she ran the comb on her long hair. When was the last time she had it cut? She asked herself as she touched the tip from her back.

Don't ever cut your hair short, okay? She could not remember exactly when he said that or why but those words seemed to become a part of her personal rituals. Before him, she would have her hair cut shoulder length; since then, she never wore her hair short. So, for the past years, she maintained this particular length, only having it trimmed once in a while. Did he notice that? She stood and focused on her reflectionmoving from her face down to her body. He must have seen far more beautiful women, far more curvaceous, far more than she has become. He would always tell her that she was beautiful. Some says so, too. But there was really something on the way he would say it, like she believed that a hundred percent. And, even if he wouldnt say those words to her but by the way he would look at her before made her feel like she wouldn't want to be beautiful to other people's eyes but only to him. But nowthat afternoon, it was confusing her, like she could no longer get through him. His eyes would not let her look within him anymore. They were just so blank and it was frustrating her. She heaved biting her lower lip and flipping her hair back as they fell on the side of her face. She hated feeling that way when all those times she was preparing for that single momentto see him. To find in his eyes the same warmth they held before. It was her fault, she shouldnt have put her hopes up that he would still be the same him. She was not really expecting him to have the same feelings for her anymoreno, maybe she was expecting that. Maybe there were just some unavoidable circumstances for him not to come back to her before. Maybe she was this plain fool. I am Seo Ju Hyun Nice meeting you She did not expect that response. Not at all. If they did not have that past before, if her parents were still together and she met him, would they still be together in the present? She soothed her arm once the cold breeze climbed up her body. Yong Hwa was her pasther beautiful past and she still wanted him to be in her present. Her future should be a picture with him. So, the prince in her fairytale did not come on his white splendid steed, instead, he boarded that Boeing 777 to get to her. Her prince didn't come from a far-off kingdom of wonders but from across the continent in a place known as San Francisco. Her prince did not wear that smile that would usually become the highlight of her day. Too bad, the prince did not notice the princess. Or was it because the princess transformed into an ugly frog in the prince's eyes? The princess was in pain now.

The princess thought she was ready... but she was not. She caught a glimpse of the big white fluffy object reflected on the mirror behind her. Would he recognize Bobo?

Here I stand alone With this weight upon my heart And it will not go away In my head I keep on looking back Right back to the start Wondering what it was that made you change Well I tried but I had to draw the line And still this question keeps on spinning in my mind What if I had never let you go Would you be the man I used to know If I'd stayed if you'd tried If we could only turn back time But I guess we'll never know Many roads to take Some to joy some to heart-ache Anyone can lose their way And if I said that we could turn it back Right back to the start Would you take the chance and make the change Do you think how it would have been sometimes Do you pray that I'd never left your side What if I had never let you go Would you be the man I used to know If I'd stayed if you'd tried If we could only turn back time But I guess we'll never know 'Cos I tried but I had to draw the line And still this question keeps on spinning in my mind What if I had never let you go Would you be the man I used to know What if I had never walked away 'Cos I still love you more than I can say If I'd stayed if you'd tried If we could only turn back time But I guess we'll never know We'll never know

Chapter 23: Stealing Hearts

I don't wanna make this too hard But I just wanna be where you are In your life, by your side, forever ~ losing the love (joy enriquez)

Her eyes were glued on the computer screen as her constant blinks and the sound her fingers were making on the keyboard suggested that she was too engrossed on whatever she was working on. Seo Hyun unconsciously gathered her hair from the back and held on to them on her shoulder while she let her right hand continue the work. Tilting her head to the side and pursing her lips on the process, she looked up so Yong Hwa hurriedly averted his gaze from her and pretended to look at his own screen.

He could not understand why this woman seemed to be too obsessed in wrapping herself up everyday as she comes to the office. Now, she was wearing a duke blue cashmere turtleneck and that very unappealing plain black skirt. He reminded himself that Seo Hyun was not that too focused on how she looked before but on how her attire makes her comfortable. That's just it! Taking a pencil, he drummed it to his head as if scolding himself for bothering with useless thoughts.

Seo Hyun slightly swung her chair to the side as she took a book and leafed through it-- her hair finally falling on her side. Flipping a few strands back, she leaned closer to what she was reading as he rested his back on his own chair. Women are fascinating creatures to observe. How she has matured physically, but some parts of her never did. For one, her hair and for another, her eyes.

Suddenly, she arched her head up that it was too late for him to look away. Seo Hyun was now looking straight into his eyes the way he did all those moments he was studying her earlier. Caught red-handed, he felt the need to get away but could do nothing about it. He felt helpless, giving himself away without a fight. 'Damn it, Yong Hwa! Look away!' he could not tell who said that but another voice was panicking and another one kept quiet, happily deriding his defeat. Thankfully, or not, it was she who looked away. But he noticed how she shut her eyes tight for a moment. Yong Hwa finally breathed. It should never happen again. It's either he must never watch her again, or he should be more careful watching her next time. Both choices seemed pretty hard, though.

It would surely make her back ache but she slouched down on her seat just to make sure that he would only be seeing the crown of her head. She twitched her lips when it dawned on her again how their eyes got stuck into each other. Seo Hyun was having that feeling of someone studying her and there was no one in the room but them. Just to appease her mind, she did turn to him and verified that thought that he had been giving her those sidelong glances. Okay, she might be assuming things and maybe he just happened to look her way when she looked HIS way. Biting her lower lip, she would have kicked herself hard for those crazy thoughts.

That moment where she found herself locking glances with him made her incomprehensibly nervous so she has to drop that connection. It was better that way than for him to pretend nothing happened at all. The first few days they were together, she was trying to talk to him about what happened before or just plainly talk to him but he seemed to be brushing her off that it was as if she did not exist at all. But yes, she would catch him looking at her a few times since she was doing that too-- often. Only that, few minutes ago they both caught themselves with that game. When she shifted her look off him, she just had to close her eyes for a moment to help calm herself down.

Just as she was about to calm down, a sudden disturbance of the silence played in the air

when his handphone rang in that annoying volume that made her jerk on her seat. Putting a hand on her chest, she followed his back as he walked towards the private room, shutting the door rather loudly.

Yong Hwa was still on the process of freeing his mind from that encounter when his phone rang and gave him an obvious shock. He smirked when the name of the caller flashed on the screen and decided to take that call in private.

Did you like my little surprise?

That question appeared more like a mockery for him than an expression of joy. He pushed the door of the private room locked as Seo Hyun silently watched him leave. You should have told me that she is working here.

I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise, would I?

His sister's giggly voice was not funny at all as pushed the heavy curtain to the side and looked up to see that blue up in the sky. He could even bet that Seo Hyun has no idea that Tiffany was the new in-law of the CEO. You don't have to do this...

Why not? It's the best way to get you close to her again...

Nuna, we don't need to get close to each other again. Yong Hwa slumped on the couch totally dejected by what his sister did, this is not a funny joke, Nuna. Both of us don't want to be in this kind of set-up.

Ya! You have an undisclosed past, at least try to work on that.

Undisclosed? For pete's sake, she closed it eight years ago! He stood again with that sudden urge of kicking the little table on his side. He was not really on a good mood that morning, let alone that time when she caught him off guard. Or was it since he came back and found out about his sister's 'little surprise'?

It has been three days but nothing seemed to comfort him. Seeing her in the morning with that civil smile she would usually wear, that nearness whenever she would give him some

documents, her sweet smell that would dominate the entire room. And, so far, the last one he would see in the office, excluding the guards and the utility workers. Those were all he has been enduring and would be enduring for the remainder of his stay in Korea.

And, of course, those unguarded moments that he would be unconsciously lazying his eyes on her.

You still love her.

Ah--- I... Yong Hwa stopped for a moment since his heart suddenly tapped loud enough to stop traffic. He shut his eyes tight unable to suppress those raging emotions that suddenly appeared with that thought. Of course, she was just assuming so he shook his head as if Fany was in front of her and fumed, no, I don't! Whatever gave you that idea?!

Then prove it!

Nuna! I don't have to prove anything to you... Why is she so good in ruining his mood?

Who said I want you to prove it to me?

Yong Hwa was getting more frustrated. The girl they were talking about was just a door away from him and his sister was making it even harder for him to deal with her so he grumbled loudly, then what do you want from me?!

Prove it to yourself. Prove to yourself that you don't love Seo Hyun anymore, Jung Yong Hwa.

His fingers found a way to turn off the call without his mind dictating it to. His heart continued to pound loudly that he could almost hear it. How could she pathetically assume something so outrageous as that? Their past was something he could never escape from but the thought of still loving her after eight years was all appalling. He shoved the phone on the bed and ran a hand on his hair. She is really the most annoying person he has ever known-- too bad, she is his sister.

That definitely ruined his day-- some more.

~~~

She set her warm cup of hazelnut coffee on the saucer and flipped the paper she was reading to the Lifestyle section. It was a warm morning that Yoona decided to settle on one of the few tables by the porch facing the street in front of her. A soft breeze blew through the cherry blossom just beside the wooden sofa swing that she instinctively looked up. Only then did she notice a little boy at the other end of the sidewalk with that expression she could not really read due to the distance. She smiled to herself and decided to get a piece of blueberry cheesecake to chase away the heavy espresso shot she added on her cup.

Ji Hwan stopped her by the door to let her sign some acknowledgment receipts. She then instructed him and Sim Ji to take note of the deliveries for the day since she tends to forget about those details. Afterwards, she carried her small plate and went out. When the door closed behind her, she almost jumped finding the boy standing in front of the door staring wide-eyed at her.

Hey... you just gave me a scare! she animatedly said with a slight laugh.

I'm sorry, agassi... the little fellow said in his most serious tone and bowed. He was wearing a white undershirt that was peeping out from the hastily zipped red sweater. Taking off his matching red cap, he looked up to her again with the same expression.

It's okay, she nodded and walked over to her table and claimed her seat. The boy then followed her and took his place across her without the invitation. Yoona raised her brows as the tiny person continued to stare at her, where are you from?

There... he stretched his arms and pointed over at his left.

She nodded again. The shop was located on that little corner around three residential buildings and across an elementary and middle schools. Maybe the boy lives in one of those buildings near the cafe. Why are you here? You're supposed to be in the daycare center?

I don't go to eorinijip yet, he said nonchalantly.

Why not? she grinned when he shrugged his shoulders. The boy has this clean cut hair, two marbles of dark brown eyes, a cute little nose and those adorably pinkish cheeks that anybody would die for a pinch. Okay, how old are you then? He raised both hands and opened wide his right and just a thumb's up on the left. So he was six, Yoona mused. What's your name? She asked again but he gave her another shrug, why are you here?

Grown-ups ask many questions.

What?! she almost fell on her seat with that remark so she took a napkin and wiped the side of her lips. Okay, this will be my last question. Why are you here?

Because... hmmm... he looked up twitching his lips to the side before looking down at the table and pointing at her cup, I want to drink that.

This? Yoona tried to verify his answer and he bobbed his head for affirmation, but aren't you too young for this? Uhm... err... I mean, kids are not supposed to drink this yet.

What's it called? he moved leaning over the table and took a quick peek on her cup.

It's what we call coffee... she supplied as if giving the child the greatest understanding to life.

Ahhh... my Appa drinks that too! he chimed with recognition, but he doesn't let me drink.

Yoona giggled with that little pout he was wearing so she smiled, would you like a taste?

Can I?

Of course! she nodded happily as she pushed the cup closer to him then added, but be careful, it's a little hot...

The boy slowly lifted the cup closer to his lips then took a quick sip but as the liquid meet his lips, he frowned and pushed it away, ewwww!

Yoona laughed like she was of the same age as him and because of her amusement he pursed his lips tight with that disappointed look on his face. Clearing her throat, she took the cup again and uttered after taking a sip, it's yucky, right? That's why your dad doesn't let you have some.

Now I know... he contemplated to himself then looked up to her again, so nothing in here that doesn't have that taste?

Well, we also have smoothies and some fresh fruit juices. And, milkshakes and chocolate shakes, she proudly sales-talked. Would you like to try one?

Uh-huh, he nodded.

Okay, wait, she stood and decided to prepare a strawberry smoothie for her new friend. It took her a little while and when she went out to give it to him, his elbows where on the table as he pressed his chin on his palms looking bored. But, he smiled giddily when she walked up to him and sipped the drink right away before the glass even met the table. She also placed a plate of chocolate-chip cookies in front of him that he happily devoured after every sip, aren't we a little hungry, huh? Is it good?

Uh-huh? he nodded as he munched another cookie then pointed on his tall glass, but this is a little sweet.

Oh? Really? she chuckled while reaching to wipe the side of his lips. It seemed like the boy was now contented so she continued reading the article she left behind. But before she could even finish a sentence--

What are you reading?

This? A newspaper.

Newspaper... he nodded while pondering then his little face lit up, ah! My Appa reads that too!

Really? she smiled as he took another bite. She noticed that he has been mentioning

about a father but not his mother. Yoona took a quick look at her watch and noticed that it was almost fifteen minutes that the boy was there, wait a minute; I think your parents are looking for you now. Do you live near here? The boy shrugged his shoulder again while playing with his straw, what does that mean?

Gently, he pushed his glass aside and put back on the plate the cookie he was munching on, agassi, I think I don't know where I live.

What? her jaw dropped with his revelation while he just stared at her with those innocence that she may not be able to interpret well. So he was lost but doesn't look lost by that unworried face he has been wearing. Yoona might even mistake it as a joke so she inquired, then do you know your phone number? Your dad's number? Your dad's name? Yoona tread those questions, giving a few intervals for him to shake his head, what's your name?

Hmmm... about that, I think I forgot my name too...

With that, Yoona found herself clutching the little boy's hand as she decided to bring him to the police station.

~~~

Yong Hwa decided to go out when he felt that he was calm enough to face the subject of his argument with his sister. Pulling the door open, he went out with a sigh only to find her standing by his table arranging some folders. She looked up to him with those eyes that he could not tell if she was casting another spell on him. He shook his head and took his seat as he opened one folder she left there before taking her own place, What are these?

The documents you were asking awhile back. Seo Hyun said in monotone. He was wearing that look of disgust again. She noticed that after that first day she introduced the office to him, he seemed to be colder and was even hardly looking at her straight in the eye except, of course, for that moments ago where she caught him on the spot. It was understandable since they were both in a very, very awkward situation. If it was only her, she would have resigned that very day she found out that he was her new boss.

Yeah?

He said again with an almost mocking tone as he massaged his temple so she quipped, the record of last year's advertisers.

Last year? I told you I need the record for the past five years? Yong Hwa shut the folder closed with fierce expression of annoyance then continued a pitch higher, Isn't that hard to understand?

The sudden rise of his voice made her backed away and she struggled for something to say, But you said--

It seemed like that negativity spread gravely on his mind that he could feel his veins pulsating on his chest. Flicking the tip of the folder with so much force, it slipped off the table that some loose papers were able to find their way out and came flying down the floor with the folder. Aishhh! he mumbled to himself since he did not really mean for it to happen so he slumped his back on the backrest and massaged his throbbing temple.

She was surprised by his sudden outburst that she was flustered right there. He put a hand on his temple and closed his eyes just then she realized to pick up the papers scattered on the floor. Seo Hyun's lips were starting to quiver and her heart was beating hard, she knew it was better for her to leave that room or else she would be crying helplessly right in front of him. Locking herself on the record room, she brushed away those traces of tears and remembered that she doesn't have any hanky or tissue with her.

Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! she berated herself over and over again while hitting her head with the folder. Maybe she really did not hear him right. Maybe it was really her fault that he was all angry now because of her. Maybe she shouldn't have looked at him when she could feel his eyes on her. The last thing she wanted him to be is to be like that on her. Not because of anything else but he was her boss and it was making their situation even worse.

She hastily got all the folders she needed and made sure everything was there so that there would be no reason for him to be angry anymore. Gently, Seo Hyun pushed the door open and instinctively looked across him first before emerging from the room. He cocked his head towards her but went back to what he was doing as she carefully walked to him and placing

the documents on his right. She was about to turn when he cleared his throat and mumbled.

I need my coffee now...

Oh... okay... she hesitated for a moment before walking towards the door. She creased her brows and bit her lips the moment she entered the private room and faced the coffeemaker. One fact: Seo Hyun wasn't really sure how to operate the machine. She did not really care to learn since she knew that Yong Hwa was never a coffee fan. Second, she knew that there has to be some measurement to it. Sighing helplessly, she opened the cupboard and got the canister, thankfully, they were ground coffee. Opening the lid, she poured a teaspoonful of coffee then another one and another onto the filter and placed the lid back. She then poured two cups of water and prayed that she was doing the right thing. With that, she adjusted the pot on the warming plate then hesitated for a moment before pushing the on button.

When it's all done, she took a quick heavy breath before taking out the pot and pouring some on the cup. She took the sugar and creamer; put a spoonful of each on the cup and bended over to try its smell. She shut her eyes when the aroma told her it's just how a coffee should smell so she took the saucer and decided to face her ultimate doom.

Finally, he was distracted from all those negative thoughts when he started comparing and taking down important notes from the documents she gave him. Seo Hyun walked back to minutes later and placed a cup on his side. Yong Hwa mechanically lifted the cup and took a sip, but he almost spitted out that tiny amount that reached his taste buds. It was a coffee indeed, terribly black and bland.

What is this?! he looked up to find her surprised and guilty look. She sprinted towards him and took the cup.

Her heart almost got out of her chest the moment it jumped because of his reaction. She was standing there and waiting when burst out, I'm so sorry... she swallowed hard as she sheepishly retrieved the cup and bowed repeatedly, I'm so sorry... I-- I will just rep--

Oh, forget it! Yong Hwa shut a glance at the ceiling and hit his back on the chair when she

walked away with the cup. How could he forget? She doesn't know how to do it.

Seo Hyun poured the liquid down the sink and washed the container. She has been crying as soon as she stepped out of that room. Slowly, she let her body slip down falling on her knees and sat on the cold marbled floor with tears streaming down. She could not really take that kind of treatment anymore. It has always been like that since he arrived. Not once her effort was being acknowledged, only being ignored and being set aside. But she has been trying her best.

Folding her legs up to her chest, she rested her forehead on her knees. She just wanted him to acknowledge her, not his ex-girlfriend but at least an old friend-- an old acquaintance. Was it that hard to understand? He was not like this before. He really turned into this cold stranger. Yong Hwa, in her memory was soft and warm, bright and caring. It has been years and she has been waiting for that moment to see him and to, at least, talk to him and get those heavy feelings of regret and pain off her baggage. But, she did not expect that he would be a complete different person. Brushing her tears aside, she decided she must do it now or never. Those thoughts and questions have been running around her head for so long that she didn't want to keep them anymore. She stood and found herself pulling the door open and stopped in front of him with her tear-smudged face.

Why are you treating me like this? her voice quivered but she just couldn't care anymore. Even those lumps forcing her to stop, her lips deliriously spelled what her mind and heart have been screaming. Like you don't know me at all? Like you don't see me? Like I hardly exist? Did I hurt you too much before? Don't you even want to hear my apologies?

Why do I? Do I even need to? that was the only thing that came out of his mouth. Like he never needed to think at all. His eyes were on the papers on the table the whole time he uttered those words of contempt, his fist closed tightly around the pen on his hand. Somehow he felt lighter, it was what he wanted all along and good thing she realized that. Yong Hwa finally looked up and braved himself to see the face that would remind him of that perfect afternoon. It took him a few seconds to get himself back after seeing her tears, Ms. Seo, as far as I'm concerned I am your boss and you are my subordinate and nothing more. I hope that is clear to you as it is to me. Now if you would excuse me, I have so many things to do.

Seo Hyun was taken aback with how he worded those phrases. Her heart was torn now and the liquid on her eyes wouldn't stop from falling. She was denying to herself that he really said them to her but his expression was the only answer she needed. Retreating with a step, she nodded and placed a hand on her lips as he settled comfortably on his seat like nothing ever happened. She choked on her own tears and tried to swallow those lumps as they formed. Now, she understood. This man was no longer the man in her past. The one who taught her this kind of feeling. The man she went on loving after eight years.

It was time, finally, to let her feelings put to rest. Yes, he just gave her the reason to stop holding on. She turned and walked softly until her tears stung her eyes once more that she needed to run and hide.

Yong Hwa let his head fall on the table when the door closed. It was not a good idea to look at her knowing she was crying. His chest seemed to tighten and he could feel his cheeks flushed. Sitting up straight again, he loosened his tie since it was choking him. He let his heavy breathing escape through his nostrils. All along he wanted that show. Just to get back on her, just to see her suffer the way he did for the past years whenever the memory of being on the train station expectantly waiting for her would haunt him. That was just the show he wanted, but it was crashing him to pieces.

~~~

He checked himself on the rearview mirror before killing the engine. His father asked him to check a property by the area so he decided to drop by Yoona's cafe to say hi and lounge for a while since it was still very early to go to school and he would be late if ever he went home first. After checking the car, Minho went out. He adjusted the side mirror that somehow got tilted when he noticed someone passed him by. At first he thought it was some ghost or something but when he decided to look at whatever it was, he noticed the familiar form walking lifelessly ahead of him but he called out when he recognized her, hey, Seo Hyun....

He smiled then lifted a hand to wave but dropped it as soon as she turned making him notice those puffy eyes and red cheeks. Sprinting towards her, he almost put a hand on her face but backed off instead he whispered worriedly, what happened?

Shaking her head, Seo Hyun dropped on her knees hiding her face from him and helplessly crying on that silent sidewalk. Minho bent over and tapped her back, Seo Hyun-a, let's go somewhere, okay?

She put her legs closer to her chest and chained her fingers together to embrace her limbs. Somehow, she felt naked since she didn't remember to bring her bag when she fled the office. Instinctively she ran off and, much to her advantage, it was in the middle of coffee break where other employees were mostly lounging in the floor's pantry or in their respective places since it was against office policy to loiter around the work area.

The calm afternoon was in contrast with what she was feeling. Watching the kids on the playground area of the park made her envious of their simple and uncaring life. They don't need to wake up each morning with those worries and pains. They don't need to pretend that they are okay despite the heavy feeling. It was at moments like these when she wished she was a kid again.

A penny for your thought? Minho sat beside her and placed four cans of orange juice in front of her just to steal her away from her reverie. Seo Hyun just smiled then took the can he opened for her. Which is the problem? The work load or the boss?

Can I choose both? she smiled and focused on the same one he was wearing. He has become her unofficial buddy ever since she started her second year at the graduate school. Minho was one semester ahead of her but they became classmates on one subject he took late. Because of a paired project, he skipped one sem just to make them officially classmates for the rest of their stay at the grad school. Although, he has been vocal about his interest on her, he respected her decision to keep their relationship on the friendship level but Seo Hyun knows that he was still hoping. He was not the type that she should be scared or worried about since he's very understanding and caring to the point that staying away from him because of what he feels for her was a little difficult for. Besides, he was not pushing anything.

So let's just get drunk, he grinned, if you don't want to tell me, its fine. But whatever happened and will happen, you can call me anytime and have this orange juice drinkingspree. Himnae, Seo Hyun, okay?

She nodded with a bigger smile and raised her can, geonbae?

Geonbae! clinking his can to hers he watched her take a gulp. Seo Hyun is a gentle soul. A kind of girl anyone would volunteer to protect. She reminded him more of his own mother who has always been very caring and soft-spoken which is in deep contrast with his father.

By the way, how's your mom?

Was he reading his thoughts? She's okay now. Dad has been berating her again despite being sick, and which I am sure caused by him. But as always, she would just keep quiet.

She must love your dad so much to endure him all these years.

Yeah, sometimes I would wonder why she hasn't divorced him yet after all the things he has done and said. Minho followed her gaze across the open field and smiled, I told her once maybe being away with him would make her smile even for awhile but all she said was being away from him would make her forget happiness. I don't know how she became happy with a husband like that.

Maybe sometimes we are willing to endure anything just to be beside that person we love even though we don't get the same love we offer-- she bit her lips when she realized what she was saying. Minho was like that to her.

Yeah, you may be right. Just to know that the person is just a few inches from us makes us happy despite the thought that their feelings are miles away... he turned to her with softened expression then shook his head, Seo Hyun, I know that love isn't really something that we learn, basing it on my father's attitude towards my mom, but I do believe in miracles and magic...

She nodded and tried to divert his meaning, that's why I do believe this magic you are talking about will happen to your dad. Your mom is a wonderful woman; she deserves to be given the equal love she gives freely to him, or more. And, at least, try to understand your dad. If you can, find out why he is like that to her, wherever that feeling is coming from. The cause, sometimes, is the cure itself.

The cold breeze brushed on her face and she wondered what he was doing now. The thought that her Yo~ng Oppa is gone was something very hard to accept. Yoona was right. He was mad with the thought that she stood him up. Who wouldn't be, anyway? Talking about loving to Minho made her recall her own heart. The name on it. She will forever hide him there on her chest. If he was no longer the man she loved before then this moment of being beside him, she will have to cherish. Even though his feelings for her now seemed farther than the years they were apart but she would take it-- gladly hold it in her hand and just embrace the feeling of being beside the man she loves. Probably, that was what Minho's mom was feeling.

Awhile ago, she was ready to give up but she knew giving up won't really take her feelings off him. So she has decided to love him in her silence, only there was she free to love him. But, of course, she must consider his feelings, too.

Finally, she knew what she needed to do.

~~~

It was busy day on the police station that it took a couple of minutes for them to be given attention. The police wrote down everything that they could gather but the boy was not helping at all. Scratching his head, the officer decided to bring the boy to the social welfare agency until his parents look for him. She pondered for a moment then asked.

That place usually has a lot of children?

Yes, ma'am. There also comes a day that cases like this or many kids are brought to their office from across the city.

Yoona thought that they might not give proper individual care to each child. She looked down on him and noticed how he seemed to be looking around with those perplexed and scared expression, is it possible if I take him first with me? I can give you my home and shop address with my numbers so that you can contact me anytime if his parents come.

I'm not really sure. But we can arrange for that. However, if they don't appear after three days we will then take him and surrender him to that office.

I understand that, sir, and I will take him over after three days if that happens, which I am sure won't.

Thankfully, the police allowed after the boy clung to her arm when he had that second thought. Minutes later, she buckled him up on the passenger seat and was about to start the engine when he suddenly spoke, seatbelt, please.

Yoona laughed out loud nodding vigorously as she followed him, you are like my bestfriend who is so obsessed with seatbelts.

Your bestfriend is six too?

She gave him a tight lipped smile before answering, hmmm... way older than six. By the way, it's kinda weird not calling you with any name so do you want me to call you something?

Hmmm... yeah, it's really weird.

She forced herself not to giggle out loud while he appeared wholly absorbed in the thought but then he turned to her with clueless expression and slightly raised his shoulders, well, let's see... hmmmm. She gave it a thought herself then smiled. It was Khun who told her before that if she meets some random people on her way and she happened to get that person in a semi-conversation that wouldn't need some formal exchanging of names, she could just call him or her as 'cake.' Like Cake ajussi or Cake ajumma.

Cake... I will call you Cake!

Cake? Okay, he nodded unaffectedly, so am I supposed to think of a name to call you too?

Yoona finally laughed out loud imagining being called as Cake herself. She was really enjoying his funny innocence so she shook her head, no need for that since I haven't forgotten my name yet. With that she offered a hand to him, Yoona, I'm Im Yoona.

Ahhh... Yoona-ssi! his eyes brightened as he took her hand and shook it formally.

Yes, I guess you can call me that!

Few minutes later, she decided to drive around the neighborhood hoping he would see something familiar but it seemed like Cake has a terrible case of selective amnesia that all he did was shake his head and look awfully bored. Now, they were in a carpark of an apartment building while she walked ahead of him.

Yoona-ssi...

She turned and found him squatted on the ground with hands on his cheeks and lips so long, yes, Cake?

I'm tired. Can we go back to the car?

Looking up, she heaved a sigh and nodded. It seemed like she was stuck to being his babysitter for a day. But she was not really complaining.

After all, Cake is such a charmingly amusing boy.

~~~

Yong Hwa stared at the silent view below. His military service was a good excuse for him to stop himself from plunging into those emotional thoughts but come nighttime, those thoughts became his company again So, when he decided to follow his sister and stepfather to the States, he vowed to leave everything behind. But the devil had always mocked him since he would not just let things pass so easily. He was badly hurt and it was just right for him to do something about it.

All along, he has been making those kinds of scenes in his mind where he would be totally paralyzed with emotions for her. That it would not matter if she would cry just because he wanted her to feel how it feels to be abandoned and how it hurt him so much when she obviously ignored him by not coming to the train station.

He has kept that deep wound within him and thought that by making her feel the same indifference would somehow put gauze on that cut. But as she stood there asking him the questions he envisioned her to ask, he could not stop that painful cringe on his chest and the knot that formed on his stomach.

Taking a deep breath, he released his grip from the curtain as his head fell down, staring deep into the floor.

Can I talk to you?

That softly asked question made him turn and wondered why he did not notice that she came in the room. Or did he forget to close the door, for she was standing almost ten steps away from him but without the tears she has shed hours ago? Yong Hwa thought she would not come back again.

About what? he said under his breath as he noticed how she was unconsciously balling her knuckles as her hands rested on her side.

About what happened awhile ago...

For a moment, he thought she squarely met his eyes but Seo Hyun closed them and bowed.

I'm so sorry for my boldness and saying those things I wasn't supposed to say.

Yong Hwa, once again felt the knot tightening on his stomach as she remained looking down and slightly bending her upper body causing her long hair to fall on each side of her shoulders.

I know it is hard for you to be working with me because that is exactly how I am feeling right now.

He was in a trance that he was hardly able to say anything, but to just stand there and listen to the girl he was supposed to despise.

But there are some people I couldn't just disappoint so I opted to stay here-- in this

position they believed I can do with my capacity as an employee of this company. I know it is not proper for me to be asking you this, but I have just one request.

Tell me... the words managed to escape his mouth. He was supposed to tell her to quit.

I want to move out of this office. I can stay outside like everybody else but I will still look after your needs. That's all I ask and I promise to stay out of your way or avoid saying stupid things.

She was finally looking at him straightly, like it was the only thing she wanted in the world. Yong Hwa just nodded lifelessly when he was not supposed to and answered back without expecting he would elicit a response from her, have it your way...

Thank you...

She bended her torso once again, giving an almost 90-degree bow then turned to leave. Laboring a breath, he watched her walked out of the room. Yong Hwa decided he should be the one ending that conversation-- not her, Ju Hyun-ssi, someone was supposed to pick me up at the airport. I hope it was not you, Seo Hyun slightly angled her head but refused to face him again so he continued, do you know how it feels to be stood up? I just can't believe it happened to me again....

There was this moment of silence that they could almost hear each other's breathings. Her hand projected to hold on to the knob but consequently letting it fall on her side again as if pondering on what he meant. But then--

I'm sorry, Director Jung, but...

Her voice, barely audible, trailed on to the monotony as she paused, focusing on the open door, completely denying him a glimpse of her face.

I was there on both occasions...

~~~

Yong slumped on the cold tiled kitchen floor, with one leg bent and the other stretched, cradling the box. He flipped open the card and stared at it for awhile.

'...there's only one number here. Call me...'

~SH

He gently thumbed on the inked paper and noticed the tiny detail, funny how they have the same initials. Taking out the handphone, he went straight to the phonebook and shook his head with a smile. True to her words, it was indeed only her that was listed on it. He let the box fall on his hand as the other one held on to his new possession. He rested his head on the kitchen cabinet behind him and stared at the flickering light by his bedroom.

I was there on both occasions...

Her words replayed on his head over and over again. Part of him wanted to believe that and another one still could not handle what she just revealed. Suddenly, as he stared at the phone on his hand, the urge came and just to satisfy it, he keyed her number.

First ring...

second ring...

third ring...

Yoboseyo?...

He closed his eyes as his heart pounded on his chest. The memory of her voice.

Hello? Who's this please?

Yong Hwa swallowed the lump forming in his throat.

Yobo...seyo? Listen, if you're not going to talk, I will just hang up...

He smiled on that fierce yet gentle sound. Yong Hwa was about to open his lips but the line went dead. She hung up.

All these years, she never changed number.

All these years, he still knew it by heart.

There are days when I regret it The things I said to you I put my trust in no one It broke my heart and I blamed it on you You were kind and oh so gentle But I refused to see That someone like you existed I was somewhere in denial While you were loving me I cried myself to sleep last night When I woke up There were tear stains on my pillow It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up Without you in my life I will always feel lonely Losing the love From someone like you Not a day goes by without something Reminding me of you The truth is that I miss you It gets so hard not being with you There are times when I go crazy In the twilight of the night

How I long to be your woman again There's pain that I hold That will not let me go I cried myself to sleep last night When I woke up There were tear stains on my pillow It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up Without you in my life I will always feel lonely Losing the love From someone like you I don't wanna make this too hard But I just wanna be where you are In your life, by your side, forever I cried myself to sleep last night When I woke up There were tear stains on my pillow It hurt so much to sacrifice what I gave up Without you in my life I will always feel lonely Losing the love From someone like you

Chapter 24: Traces

And if I could hold on Through the tears and the laughter Would it be beautiful? Or just a beautiful disaster
~ beautiful disaster (Kelly Clarkson)

The smell of caffeine and some traces of cinnamon blended harmoniously in the crisp air. He walked on that stoned path as the police officer who escorted or brought him to that coffee shop left him to deal with his estranged six-year old. The wispy lights on each flattened rock was more like transporting him in a different place that he only read on his son's fairy tales. He marched up to the steps but the faint object by the corner of that generously lightened corner caught his attention. Pulling silently the chair that directly faced them, he took a seat and got mesmerized by the scene. Ji Son was comfortably cradled on that sofa swing beside a cherry blossom by this woman whom he figured out as his son's random keeper. Her left hand protectively wrapped on Ji Son's waist as the latter has his own arm somewhere on her hips. The newspaper on her right was threatening to fall any moment if she would settle into a deeper slumber. He smiled with the thought that his little boy insisted to be read again and apparently, that paper was the only reachable material as suggested by that wooden newspaper holder resting beside them. Bending closer, it was opened on the Business Section and that probably lured both of them to that state.

The door opened and a teenage girl emerged wearing a maroon polo shirt and a trouser hidden under that brown apron that was tied on her waist. She smiled the moment she saw him and took her small notebook. Good evening! the girl exposed her friendly smile. Hi... he smiled himself and turned towards the one and a half people sleeping by the swing so the girl put a hand on her mouth suppressing a grin, what time do you close? We're supposed to be closed now, but Manager, she looked at the woman and he nodded, ...said that we have to wait for the Cake's parents. Cake? he furrowed his brows since it was obvious she was talking about his son. Oh, thats what we call him since he could not remember his name, she beamed then eyed him seriously, by any chance, are you his father? He nodded, I guess I am... Then we must wake them now! The girl was about to walk towards them but he raised his hand and grinned, can you give me a cup of macchiato. Uhm... but, she hesitated but went on, I will only accept take out since we will be closing... Yeah, it's okay, he nodded as she walked back inside and closed the door behind her causing the bells so rang softly. He turned towards the two because the sound would surely wake them up and he was right. The woman shifted until she opened one eye and directed her gaze towards him. He then stood and walked towards them as Ji Son seemed unshaken by the sound and her movement, hi... Hmmm... hi? she tried to adjust her vision on the sudden brightness, Who are you? He's my son. What? the woman straightened on the seat but secured the tiny body cuddled near her bosom. Really? Do you have any proof? Where are the police? He grinned, amused that she was doubting him. I asked them to leave and what proof would you want? Uhm, I don't know, she hesitated since she was still on that half-asleep state. If he is your son, how come he is here?

Well, I was at the office and his baby sitter apparently fell asleep while watching him play at the playground. She's an old woman so it really happened a lot but this time; maybe he wandered off and could not find his way home. He reluctantly told her as the woman was still eyeing him with doubt, look, maybe we can just wake him up... Oh... okay... she nodded and gently took the boy's arm that was sandwiched between her body and his, hey, Cake, wake up... Cake? The woman did not even look at him but slowly gathered his son's upper body, making him sit up. He was still asleep so his head ended up falling on her chest again and the woman gave out a soft laugh, Yeah, I call him that since he could not remember his own name... Aigoo... he pulled that one again! he shook his head half-amused by the scene in front of him, My mother, his halmeoni, told him not to give his name to strangers so he pulled up that trick on you, I'm sorry. The woman looked up and gave him that lazy smile, it felt different. Getting back his senses, he walked towards them and sat on his heels soothing his son's cheek, Ji Son... Ji Son-ah, il-eona ... it's time to go home now... Ji Son sleepily scratched his eyes with both knuckles and mumbled, Appa... Yes, it's me... wake up... he finally took him from her arms and carried him. But the woman stood before he could turn. How can I be sure that you are his father? He smiled and forced his son to straighten, ya, tell this nice agassi your name... My name's Choi Ji Son... he turned to her and mumbled then rested his head back on his father's shoulder. Oh, okay... she nodded but she still looked like she was doubting him. I'm so sorry for the bother, he gave her a slight grin. He talks nonstop and asks a lot of questions, I hope he did not cause any trouble. Oh no! she shook her head, I find him really adorable. Make sure you find a better nanny for him. Good thing he happened to walk this side. Yeah, he must have walked a good deal of minutes. The woman looked at him questioningly so he supplied, our apartment building is ten minutes walk from here. It's actually on the other side of that building. She nodded as he pointed towards his left, aigoo... that was why he ate a lot when I gave him food.

Oh speaking of, he fumbled on his jeans pocket for his wallet, How much-- Oh no! No need for that! she wave her hand vigorously. I really must-- No, I insist, he gave me this little distraction from my mechanical existence so yeah, he was no trouble at all. Having a kid around is a treat. Really? he looked at him as if he did not believe what she was saying and smiled when she nodded with her doe-eyed smile. Okay, your employee said you extended time because of us. Thank you so much and I'm so sorry... No need for a sorry... she smiled again and they both turned when the door clang open again and the younger girl emerged with his take-out coffee, Sim Ji? Oh yeah, thanks, he finally took his wallet and sheepishly took some bill while balancing his sleeping son on his right arm. Uhm... you don't need to-- At least, let me pay for this one, he smiled at her almost begging so she just nodded as he handed the girl his payment, thank you, I really don't know how to repay your kindness... You don't need to repay us anything. You have a wonderful and handsome little angel there so take care of him and thank you for sharing him with us even for a little while. Yes, Cake-- Ji Son, the doe-eyed woman corrected the girl and they both chuckled. I mean, Ji Son is really an adorable boy and everybody loved him even our customers. Some even thought he is Manager's son. He smiled with them as his son nuzzled on his neck, that's good to hear then. But I guess we need to get going. Oh yeah! The evening breeze is not really good for him. That concern written on her face touched him so he just nodded and mouthed a thank you before turning. But the woman called him back and felt her touched his son's cheek then whispered, hey Cake, don't ever wander off again like that, okay? ~~~

She was getting more comfortable in her new place. The table was moved outside the Director's office just as she asked and it was located by the little corner in front of Mrs. Kim's table. Although, it may appear a little crowded compared to her position inside his room but at least she won't feel that awkwardness or any negativity of being near him. He would phone in whatever he needed and she would just enter the room every time she needed to and leave just as soon as she was finished. Seo Hyun also found the best solution for that coffee-dilemma. Every morning, she would drop by Yoona's and order his coffee and she would just reheat it when he arrived and put it on his desk. Their conversations were still limited to office works and nothing more and though she was his personal assistant, he never brought her to his meetings and would do the reports himself. It was even funny how he would give those papers to her for editing since it appeared that they were exchanging roles. That set up has been better than before. Way better. But she would still prefer to see him a lot. Maybe she really did miss seeing him for a long time that if only she could drug him to sleep and just watch him the whole day, she would grab that chance. She put an elbow on the table as stacks of paper lay on her table. Concentrating has been her major concern so far. For one, he was already a distraction. Then there are those other things that had been popping up in her head. The mysterious call she had that night sent her goosebumps all over her body. Not that she was giving important thoughts to it, but it was her first to experience it. She shook her head and stood to go to the restroom. She checked her reflection on the mirror and fixed a smile. Running a hand on her hair, she adjusted her off-shoulder top so as to avoid exposing too much of her silken skin. Seo Hyun also pulled down her dark teal tiered skirt since sitting for a long time seemed to make it crinkled up that it appeared too short for its normal length. After putting on that light blush on her cheeks and applying a little lipstick, she went out and prepared the documents for him to sign. She knocked gently waiting for his response until she heard a faint answer from him so she opened the door and peeked in. Yong Hwa was on a call when he raised his hand a bit signaling for her to come in. Taking her seat after he signaled for her to do so, she waited as he continued talking and laughing. Ahhhh... really? How about the gown? But-- yes, yes... you should not try it on! Seo Hyun turned her head towards him but the moment their eyes met, he rotated his chair that she could only see the back of it as he continued to sway and chuckle. Are you having cold feet now? You can't back out! We have been waiting for this for almost three years and now you're telling me you're a nervous-wreck? He continued to laugh as she fidgeted on her seat. There was something about that conversation and his excited tone that was giving her uneasy feeling. Should she go out? Maybe she should while he hadn't notice yet but just before she could stand up, he swung

back facing her and looked straight into her eyes. Only the best wedding for you, of course... Those words sparked this blister inside her that made her unable to react or even pull away from his gaze. Is he getting married? The question almost weakened her and thankfully she was sitting or else she would have fallen limp on her legs. They were still looking at each other as he continued to appear to be listening intently to that someone on the other line. She could only gauge a soft sound from the other line but she was sure it was a woman's voice happily chatting while he was wearing that gentle smile Seo Hyun hadn't seen for a long time. She could not make anything out of it at all but her heart was throbbing so fast and she wanted to go out. Yong Hwa was really torturing her and she prayed he would stop looking at her with that smile that was not for her-- no longer for her. She could not even understand why she, herself, could not pull away as they maintained that eye contact. Listen, I have to hang up now, he finally said but his eyes still held hers, check the other designs first before you decide. Anyway, I'll be there tonight. Maybe we can pick out something together. Her vision finally fell on the papers she was holding on her lap. It weakened her and she regretted going there. He was getting married. She closed her eyes tight before they start to tear. She was getting dizzy and if only she could cover her ears so that she would no longer hear what he was saying to that person he was talking with. Ms. Seo? Seo Hyun almost jumped when she heard him call her so she slowly lifted her head up and faced him again with a forced unaffected expression, Uhmm... I just need your sig-signatures here... She clumsily stood and placed the folder in front of him and pointed on the space for his name. And, uh... on the... next-- Are you okay? That was the most stupid question she heard for that day. How could he even ask her that? I... yes, I'm okay. But you look pale, maybe you should-- Oh, no Director, she forced a smile as he finally scrolled his signature on each page. Afterward, Seo Hyun gathered the papers and hastily compiled them back to the folder but she was shaking so much that the folder fell in no time. I'm sorry... she whispered again bending over to retrieve the papers on the floor. Hyu~n, are you sure you're okay? The moment her name was called that way, she froze as she was about to pick a paper that

had fallen just by her feet. She turned back only to see his surprised expression. He did not really mean to call her that she thought and went on picking up the scattered papers. I'm fine. Maybe because I skipped breakfast, she lied. It was all too much information for her mind to process so she decided to just hurry up for her own sake. Thankfully, he stood himself and walked in front of the bookcase. After making sure that everything was inside the folder, she stood and was about to ask for permission to go but he cleared his throat and the gentleness of his voice when he called him that pet name had left no traces. I am looking for the Media Evaluation Studies here awhile ago but I can't find it. Oh that, despite the vagueness she was feeling, she easily remembered what he was talking about. I put it up there, she walked towards him, pulling the built-in ladder on the corner. She carefully took her steps up and reached what he needed in no time but had to make sure the other books won't move when she pulled that one out so it took her a couple of minutes to make sure everything was in order. Slowly, she descended the steps and handed it to him. But, he stood there obviously rooted on the spot as if he had seen something he should not see. Then it dawned on her, realizing too late that her skirt was too short. Silly of her to forget that fact and too late to undo what happened, she just moved away from him and excused herself, mumbling a nag on her head. Suddenly, she did not know what to think. Which should merit her concern first? The fact that he was getting married, or the fact that he seemed to have seen something he shouldnt? She was wearing undershorts underneath her skirt anyway, but still Aigoo... she sighed deeply the moment she fell on her own seat. Even the tears that were threatening to come out got shy by what happened. The thought left her cheeks hot and burning. ~~~ Yong Hwa found himself biting the pencil on his hand. He swore to himself that he really did not mean to look up but it was all just some human act. Despite that short skirt and aside from her helplessly long legs, there was really nothing that she should be worried about since he did not even linger on to the sight the moment he noticed the view he had up there. He mumbled a curse to himself and reminded himself that it was Seo Ju Hyun, not one of those girls he would usually play with before. She was Seo Hyun, not anybody else, so he should try to avoid having these stupid thoughts. He had noticed the clothes she was wearing that day which was quite in contrast with her wrapped up attire before when she was still stationed inside his office. Maybe she really felt uncomfortable and thought that to dress up a little revealing with him in the same room would only add up to the awkwardness between them. But the next day she asked to be

moved out, she donned herself in this off-white loose blouse and a skirt that fell almost a few inches above her knee. He knew it would be presumptuous of him to think that she was dressing up for him now for the obvious reason that she was not even staying in his office anymore. But he could not help to think that she was looking more attractive each day. Then he remembered her pale facade after that conversation with Shin Hye. How could he have forgetten about her? Talking about the wedding right on her face was really uncalled for since they shared a past. But what could he do? They were really discussing that when she knocked and what would Shin Hye say if he would suddenly change the topic of their conversation? It would just piss her off and worse, drove her not to talk to him at all. She had been very kind and accommodating to him that disappointing her before the big day would surely make him the bad guy. But the appearance of Seo Hyun back in his life had been really unexpected. Everything had been going fine until his sister got into the picture. But he knew he should not dwell on the things he could not change anymore. Now, she would really be thinking that he was getting married. He put a hand on his face and rubbed it in frustration. The look of surprise and disbelief were there, catching him off-guard that he even accidentally called her that. Yong Hwa drummed his finger on the table. News about the wedding should not come out or anything about it and hopefully she would just keep what she heard to herself. Just as he was about to pick up the phone and call her back, the office phone rang so he put it on hands-free. Yes? Director Jung... her mellow voice,filled the air. It was more formal and serious compared to how she answered her phone last night, the CEO ordered to cancel your schedule later for a lunch meeting with... us... He rested his lips on his clasped hands as he digested what she said. Sir? Ah... yes, okay. Did the assistant tell you the agenda? No, Director... Okay... just tell me when it's time. He ended the call and let his back fall on the back rest as he stared up at the ceiling. So they would be spending a few hours at the restaurant? Hopefully the old man would stick to business rather than discuss anecdotes again. ~~~ Yoona frowned when some punk took her place on the parking lot but decided to let it pass since she didn't want to start the day with a bad thought. She walked on, tugging her shoulder bag higher when she felt that it was slipping off again. It was a sign that she

needed to buy a new one. We are not having this conversation, Choi Ji Son! But Appa! I told you I don't want that halmeoni! Ya! Mrs. Baek has been very nice and patient with you. Besides, this place is not a daycare center where I just can leave you! But I want to be here! She walked slowly trying to make sure her thoughts were wrong on who those voices belong to. The car parked on her spot must be part of that mystery. She was just a few steps near the shop and that obvious father-and-son bantering could be heard a few blocks away. Stopping right in front of the little gate, she confirmed her thoughts. On broad daylight, she finally verified that her Cake really has a very good-looking father. She shook her head with a smile, the man is married. Nevertheless, she finds married men attractive. 'Yoona-ya!' she scolded herself. Ji Son, I don't have time for this argu-- Yoona-ssi!!!! The little boy almost flew from the steps just to get to her and hurriedly hid behind her, tugging her skirt on the process that she exclaimed in surprise, Cake! Ji Son! the good-looking father sprinted towards them trying to retrieve his prodigal son who was hiding behind her. What's wrong? Yoona finally asked as she, herself, seemed to want to protect the boy from whatever threat his good-looking father could cause. I'm so sorry about this but he promised to be on the daycare in exchange of saying hi to you but as soon as we arrived here he has been insisting that he would stay here. The good-looking father smiled too handsomely for her to handle as that dimpled cheek could really kill someone. And she was not exaggerating at all. She tried to think of a good thing to say despite the fact that he was making it hard for her to do so as he ran his fingers on his hair looking, well, frustrated yet good-looking. Uhm, I guess... You mean he could stay? Did she say that? I'm so sorry for the bother but if only I don't have this meeting then I wouldn't really bother you!

He started to talk too fast as the boy emerged from his hiding place but held on to her hand that all she could do was to give them both an unsure smile, well... okay... Oh! Thank you! 'Oh, brother,' she mumbled to herself as good-looking dad took her hand and shook it. By the way, I am Choi Si Won. Yoona-ssi, right? he supplied before she could open her mouth so she just nodded, great! I'll come back as soon as I can. Yoona's gaze fell from the good-looking father to the equally charming boy chained on her hand as the older man struggled to get something from his wallet and handed her a small paper. Here's my calling card. All numbers are working there so just call me anytime... oh, I mean, later... since this important meeting-- Ahhh, yes, don't worry. That was the only thing she managed to say as he reached and ruffled his son's hair. Ji Son is a great kid. He looked up to her with that proud grin. Well, thats exactly what a parent would say even if he has a devil for a son, Yoona thought, forging a chuckle inside her with a timid smile. Anyway, she had already proven that Cake was not a terrorist and she was safe around him so she nodded again. Be good, buddy, okay? Okay! Cake gave him a thumb's up before they have that quick but tight hug. I'll be back... Yes, you should, she jokingly said as they both watched him literally ran off leaving them at each other's disposal. Cake looked at her with his satisfied grin so she gave his hand a gentle squeeze, so, I guess, it's just you and me now, buddy. ~~~ She sat across him but with head bowed down towards the menu book in her hand pretending to read as he seemed to do the same. The restaurant the CEO chose has that Venetian-inspired environment with vintage-looking fixtures and a centered fountain that resembled one of those outdoor fountains in some piazzas. It was elegantly romantic even

on broad daylight and could be more during night-time. Seo Hyun slowly tucked some strands of hair under her ear and carefully lifted her lids up to catch a glimpse of him. Yong Hwa's eye was diverted towards that something on his left corner. His musky scent has been teasing her senses from the moment she took her place by the passenger seat as Mr. Kang drove them to the meeting place. She has always find good-smelling men extra attractive-- so what more of him. She lowered her eyes back when she noticed a slight movement from him. Pressing her lips together, she traced with her fingers the scrumptious pictures on the book suddenly aware that it was already past her lunch time. Yong Hwa's gaze lingered from her forehead down to her chin and back again. This must be the closest he ever got studying her. He knew that she was doing the same thing a few minutes ago that he was really trying to catch her on the process just to get himself a little revenge from the last time. But she was a sly girl, she never left her tracks but he was smart enough to tell what she was doing though. As usual, her hair moved freely as it was let loose that every little action from her was making those on the side of her face slip for her to flip them back again. Her cheeks, as well as her skin, has this light crimson touch-almost pinkish compared before when it was almost pale white. Those subtle fats under each eye that once were mistaken for eye-bags made her eyes rounder and those supple lips which she painted pink had never been so gorgeous. He has to divert his attention somewhere else before he totally lost it. Yong Hwa looked at his watch, almost fifteen minutes had passed but they were still alone so he cleared his throat and uttered, Can you call Mr. Shin? The CEO is never late for an appointment. Ah... yes, excuse me, she took her handphone and called. Finally, they both have an excuse to look at each other while she was talking to the CEO's assistant. She smiled on the process but his face was still stiff knowing fully well that her smile was really for the man on the other line. Ending the call, she placed back her phone in her bag and looked up to him, there was an emergency and he said he may not make it and will just inform us again. Aish... he silently complained and looked at his watch again. He was supposed to meet her now but he canceled because of this. Oh, well... since we're here and I'm hungry as well, why don't we just eat before going back? Oh, okay... she nodded and sheepishly went back to decide on her lunch. A little later, he called out the waiter for their order and they remained quiet while waiting for their food. Only the soft music playing in the air was her little distraction as she watched the other diners around them. They were seated just a few tables away from the main door that she could easily see the people coming in and out. As for him, he had his back from those distractions so she was basically looking behind his shoulder. A good view to easily slip her sight off him if he would happen to look back at her.

The group of women chatting animatedly by the farthest end of the room started getting up. She noticed how well they were dressed. Some rich kids, she mumbled on her head but admired how pretty they look-- carefree and jovial. One woman was so tall that she could pass for a model; the other one with the long fake strawberry blonde hair has also a pretty smile. The smaller girl, directly facing her has short hair but with big beautiful eyes which made her prettier when she smiled or laughed. The group started walking out but the shorthaired girl turned to their direction and suddenly walked towards them after signifying to the other girls to go on their way. Seo Hyun felt weird but probably she was not really walking towards them. He found her expression kinda weird as she kept staring from his shoulder and so he found himself turning his head back towards where she was looking. Only to find himself regretting doing so. Yong Hwa! Shin Hye waved at him happily while heading their way so he stood and gave her a peck by the forehead, hi... I'm sorry I have to cancel-- Well... yeah... Shin Hye smirked, unconvinced as her gaze wandered from him then to the woman seated like a robot in front of them. Seo Hyun watched the scene unfolding before her eyes. She caught everything, from his obvious surprise, the way he kissed the girl, the way he seemed to stutter as he talked to her and especially the way he was holding her now by the waist. Uhm... this... she's my assistant, Yong Hwa started to stammer as Shin Hye walked passed him and stood in front of Seo Hyun extending her hand. Hi! I'm Park Shin Hye... she smiled gleefully as the shy girl stood and accepted her hand then she turned to Yong Hwa again, so you could not make it to lunch because-- Look, we're supposed to meet the CEO here but he canceled and I'm famished already so... Aigoo... darling! she chuckled unaffectedly as she patted his cheek, it's okay! Me and my girls decided to just meet the florist and you know what? When he learned who her costumer was, the price sky-rocketed! I can't believe it! I told you it's better to get a wedding planner... he mumbled making sure his voice was not loud enough so as to induce the same from her and especially to keep it away from the ears that werent suppose to hear them. Okay, she rolled her eyes and turned to her again, I must be going, enjoy your lunch,

with your... uhm personal assistant. I'll see you later. Yes, okay... he nodded as she patted his cheek again, I'll just call you... Okay... Shin Hye smiled at her and her eyes widened, oh! How rude of me! What's your name again? Uhm, Seo Ju Hyun... she stood again and gave her a slight bow. Nice meeting you, Ju Hyun-ssi, she gave her an honest smile then looked at Yong Hwa, be good, Yong Hwa-ssi. With that, she stomped away with her pixie-like movement leaving them to endure the atmosphere she left behind. Seo Hyun was not really expecting him to tell whoever that woman was to him since it was pretty obvious already. She remained quiet as he took his seat again looking at her with that gentleness she could not really interpret. Was he feeling sorry for her? The knowledge that he was getting married did not really sink in to her that much until now that she has finally met the other woman. She was really pretty and she could tell that she has also a great personality. Maybe, Yong Hwa's taste has changed judging by how the girl looked especially with her short hair. She clasped her hands together on her lap and just look at them with her sad smile. He really has moved on, maybe it was time for her to do the same. She should be happy that finally he found someone whom she could never be. The thought brought an unbelievable pain in her heart. Yong Hwa watched as her expression softened into that melancholic smile. He could not really tell her anything since there was no point to do so. She didn't really need to know since all they were having now is a professional relationship. He put a hand on the table as if trying to reach to her but released it when the waiters came for their food. Just then, Seo Hyun tucked another loose strand behind her ear and gazed at him with that mellow smile. I need to go to the washroom, she said while the two waiters were serving their food. Yong Hwa just nodded so she walked away with her handbag clutched in her hand. The whole time she kept her head bowed, fearing her tears might fall down and people would see her and reached the restroom in no time. Her back fell on the door the moment she shut it and wished nobody would enter. She gripped her bag closer to her heart as if protecting it while she looked up. Closing her eyes, she smiled to herself. She is okay. She will be okay. Yong Hwa wondered if he should start eating or wait for her. He may never say anything to her but he knew she already assumed that he was really getting married. There was this familiar tug on his chest for all those moments it would happen, especially now when she

excused herself with that pensive smile. Whatever kind of spell she has, her sad face could always distract his mind. It would always give a reason for him to hate himself. It was even starting to create that crack on the wall he created for eight years. Probably, this was what his sister wanted to see. This must be the proof she was talking about. The feeling that could make him re-assessed his past and future decisions. But whatever happens, the fact that they still have the same father was still there and would always be there. If she was really there that day, it still didnt change anything-- he still was not able to tell her what he wanted to say. These facts will never leave them-- they will stay hanging above them. If the first reason was hers; then the second one was his. So it would be like that for six months and for the rest of their lives. Unless... ~~~ Seo Hyun closed the book that she was reading and clicked off the lamp by the bedside table. She let her body slip on the bed and turned to her side. She recalled how the woman looked. She seemed almost the same age as him or older by only a few years. It was really hard to tell. The girl probably has a bubbly personality judging by the way she laughed with her friends and cheerfully approached them. Did she believe that she was really an assistant? Maybe he was meant to meet her that lunch time since he seemed to be apologizing to her too much. Maybe the woman was not the jealous type. If she were in that womans shoes, she would have eyed her questioningly and with a smirk. Finding the man you are bound to marry dining out with another woman is not really a becoming scene. What if she would learn that her fiancs personal assistant was also his ex-girlfriend? Perhaps, she didn't know a thing. Her Yong Oppa was now getting married. This must be the feeling Yoona had when she learned that Khun agreed to the marriage. But they were different, Khun was forced to love someone and take her as his wife, but Yong Hwahe had freely loved this other girl after her. It hurt a lot and in the comforts of her pillow she freely let herself cry. She recalled how she could hardly look at him at the restaurant after meeting his fiancee but she noticed that he was trying to get her to look at him. They may never say a word but she could feel that she has still that power to read his body language. Perhaps, he was just feeling sorry for her. Who wouldn't? Besides, she pitied herself, too. Putting her hopes up after eight years-- it was all her fault. Maybe one of these days she could apologize for what she did. If he has forgotten his love for her then at least she should ask for forgiveness. Maybe that would be their finality. Seo Hyun had to hit her chest a couple of times to feel that physical pain, rather than the pain inside her that was crashing her too hard. When he uttered her namethe very same one he used to call her before, she thought she was brought back to the past. Seo Hyun thought he was finally home with her. But it was nothing but a slip of the tongue. He did not mean it. If he had it his way, he would have

erased that part of their conversation. Hyu~n. That would always haunt her. But she would be willing to give up everything just to hear him call her that again. Shutting her eyes tight, she tried to tell her mind to stop thinking about him anymore. Since he chose to leave her out of his life, then she must try to do it herself. Just as she was about to settle in to her pillows, her handphone rang so she reached out for it. It was the unknown caller again so she waited until five rings before answering it. She could not even understand herself why she was taking that call. Yoboseyo? she started but the line remained quiet, hello? It's you again... I really don't have time for this. I'm so sorry... goodnight. She ended the call and stared at the number until she found herself assigning a name to it. You. That was the unknown caller for her. ~~~ Yong Hwas head fell on the armchair as he cuddled himself on the couch with a glass of whiskey on one hand and the phone on the other. Oh, how he longed to hear her call her Yo~ng Oppa again. That would be her sweetest song those words on her very lips. His Hyu~n She will forever be his Hyu~n

He drowns in his dreams An exquisite extreme I know Hes as dumb as he seems And more heaven than a heart could hold And if I try to save him My whole world could cave in It just aint right It just aint right Oh when I dont know I dont know what hes after

But hes so beautiful Such a beautiful disaster And if I could hold on Through the tears and the laughter Would it be beautiful? Or just a beautiful disaster His magical myth As strong as with I believe A tragedy with More damage than a soul should see And do I try to change him So hard not to blame him Hold on tight Hold on tight Oh cuz I dont know I dont know what hes after But hes so beautiful Such a beautiful disaster And if I could hold on Through the tears and the laughter Would it be beautiful? Or just a beautiful disaster Im longing for love and the logical But hes only happy hysterical Im waiting for some kind of miracle Waited so long So long Hes soft to the touch But afraid at the end he breaks Hes never enough And still leaves more than I can take Oh cuz I dont know I dont know what hes after But hes so beautiful Such a beautiful disaster And if I could hold on Through the tears and the laughter Would it be beautiful? Or just a beautiful disaster Hes beautiful Such a beautiful disaster

25: Chapter 25: Breath

I'm being calm and cool But believe me you, Its taking everything to just Breathe
~breathe slow (alesha dixon) breathe

She incessantly shifted on her seat praying that he would come soon since she needed to go to school later that night. It was a Friday night and the staff has decided to finally give the new Director a well-deserved welcome party. It has been like a tradition for their Department to give that informal dinner to anybody celebrating a birthday or a farewell party. As for a new comer, it will be a welcome celebration. Seo Hyun decided to just wear her simple sleeveless gray tunic dress with a black tank top underneath for it was pretty low-necked. And because she would be reporting to class, she wore a very light make-up despite the time and tied her hair in an unassuming ponytail since she was not in the mood to let it loose for him. The group almost dominated the lower floor of the restaurant since the upper floors have been reserved for the night too. They decided not to go to any other place because they love the food and the funky ambiance. As usual, the labeled clowns of the group have been entertaining everybody with their antics and funny stories and one of them was her Hyo Yeon Unnie seated beside her. She checked her phone again and placed it back when Minho hasn't answered yet. Moments later, the group was shushed when the man they were waiting for walked in, commanding attention to himself. Yong Hwa arrived sporting a dark blue dress shirt tucked under his black pants with his hair fixed with that semi-spiked style. Seo Hyun had to stop

breathing for a while and unconsciously fanned herself as her eyes got fixated on him. The moment he walked into that room, she just could not help but to try and maintain her cool despite almost feeling enchanted. He looked very suave and manly that the other female employees were deliberately swooning as he took his place just across her. She smiled but he never looked at her. It was better that way. Seo Hyun reminded herself that that was all she could do, admire him from a distance since he didn't belong to her anymore. But to someone else. As everybody started to get settled, she remained quiet and only intermittently smiling whenever anyone would meet her eyes. They started eating and telling stories as Yong Hwa seemed to be his old self peeling off his stiff and bossy personality and revealed this friendly and outgoing guy. He was sharing his own experiences during his stay in the US that made her glued to it since it was like he was telling that story only for her. I have a question, Director, Se Min, one of the staff, chimed in with her giggly voice, do you have a girlfriend? Everybody laughed but that question made her look up only to meet his eyes. Then he withdrew with this playful glint and took a sip of his wine before clearing his throat, well... I really can't disclose a very private information such as that. There were giggles and protests but the girl who questioned made a follow up, oh, the Director is such a private person! Then why don't you tell us about your first Korean girlfriend then. Her heart sank in and she could almost feel some palpitations as she grabbed her glass and gulped its content. She could tell that he had his eyes on her again. The glass remained on her lips as if she was taking her time to savor the liquid entering her mouth for she didn't know where else to put her attention after that question. Maybe Ms. Seo could answer that. She almost choked on her juice as silence suddenly clouded the group. She had everybody's attention as Hyo Yeon elbowed her gently. Clasping the cold glass in between her hands, she opened her mouth and try to make up something, I-- Well, we have known each other years back. Right, Ju Hyun-ssi? Ahhh... de... she nodded then placed the glass on the table and gave this forced smile. Seo Hyun remained tensed on her seat as she soothed her hands on her legs, forcing the fabric to move up and down but she was not paying too much attention to it. So you know each other back then? Ya, Ju Hyun-ssi, why didn't you tell us?

Questions after questions left her breathless that she could hardly say a thing but she managed to stop looking down on her lap. Seo Hyun peered at him as if asking for help or begging to just stop whatever he was doing. She never liked that kind of attention. But Yong Hwa was wearing that snicker on his lips that meant he was not yet done with her. Well, we have known each other long, long ago that she almost became my sister... Another silence invaded the air. She fidgeted on her seat as she seemed to be hyperventilating. He was really torturing her. Was it not enough for him? She wanted to run and escape but she could hardly see any exit. It's a long and complicated story anyhow, Yong Hwa smiled and took a bite of his lamb chops. He lifted a glass of water and took a quick sip while peering at her from the corner of his eyes before continuing, Anyway, she is a good friend of my nuna and they basically treat each other like sisters so yeah, that qualifies her to almost becoming my sister. Ahhhh... So it was like that... Why didn't you say so soon? She took a deep breath as she looked at him with gratitude but he just averted his gaze from behind her shoulder. What he said lessened the tensed atmosphere and the gang started talking about something else. She ate her food in silence and wished for Minho to arrive and steal her away from that place. Minutes later, her prayers were answered when he sent her message that he was on his way. Heaving a sigh of relief, she cleared her throat and whispered to Hyo, Unnie, I will be leaving in a few minutes. What? You're going already? Hyo Yeon asked loud enough for everybody to hear so once again all eyes were on her so she smiled and nodded, yeah, I have a class at 8:30. That's late. Yong Hwa said nonchalantly without leaving his gaze on his food. Uhm, yeah. I just skipped my first two classes, but I have an oral exam for this one... she unconsciously moved her head to the side as if flipping her tied hair. It has become a habit already. Well, it can't be helped then, he said again then looked at her noticing that familiar peculiarity, You just grab a taxi since it's safer than taking the bus.

Oh you don't have to worry about that, Director, Mrs. Park piped in with that wide grin, Ju Hyun-ssi here has her personal driver. Really? another one asked. Yeah! That cute guy who would always pick her up! Oh my god! The pretty guy I saw by the parking lot the last time? He is your boyfriend? Seo Hyun could not really tell who were talking since most of them were talking at the same time. They have been teasing her about that for a long time now but she would just put them off and she did not expect that they would open it up this time. She looked at him just to see how he would react but there was nothing on his face as he gulped his drink, so he was not affected at all. Silly of her to think that he would be. So, is he your boyfriend already? It was Hyo Yeon who pressed the question as the others chuckled but she just shook her head furrowing her brows. She took a bite as an excuse not to say anything but the others were complaining and teasing her-- like they always do so she shook her head again. Oh come on! You don't need to be shy about it if he is your boyfriend. Besides, he is smart and very handsome! Yeah, Ju Hyun, if you don't like him, just give him to me! Another laughter erupted so she just gave a forced smile, aigoo... why do I always end up being bullied? Because you are so elusive! Hyo Yeon playfully hit her arm. Aniyo she sheepishly said in an almost undertone. Just then, her phone rang and the group continued jeering especially when she took her phone out. She just had to smile and roll her eyes amidst the teasing and took Minhos call with eyes focused on her lap to avoid directly looking at someone on the table. Hey, hmmm yeah, Im ready. Okay. Seo Hyun deposited her phone back in her bag after that and finally looked up, I have to go now, my personal driver is here... she stressed and everybody laughed, except him. Why did she care? Besides, he was the one getting married already. Seo Hyun stood saying her goodbyes and turned to him before leaving her seat, I'm sorry, Director, for leaving so soon. I hope you enjoy the party we prepared and have fun on your stay. Please take care of all of us. Thank you. With that, she walked away without giving them a second glance. Minho entered the

restaurant just as she was nearing the door wearing a light blue polo shirt and a khaki pants that he really looked like a college student. She smiled with a big sigh of relief, hi... just in time. I am? he asked with that easy grin taking her bag from her and slinging it to his shoulder. Yeah... take me away from here, she whispered but Minho raised his brow not really hearing what she just said so she shook her head, aniya, let's go? He nodded then looked at the group's direction and raised his hand a bit with a smile. She did not turn anymore since she knew who he greeted; she has introduced him to Hyo before. Hmmm... the smell makes me hungry again. You wanna grab something to eat first? she inquired hoping he won't since she could not wait to get out of the place. Thankfully, he shook his head. Naaa... I just had dinner. He smiled and moved to the side to let her walk ahead of him, let's go to school! Are you ready for the test? Uh-oh... she gave him a pretend frown and shook her head, not yet! Minho patted her shoulder before resting his hand at the small of her back, that makes the two of us. They chatted their way into the car as he helped her with the door and she slipped inside. It was the second time Minho saved her from him. Seo Hyun knew that Minho has always been ready to take her once her heart has been emptied. And by the looks of it, she needed her heart to be that empty. Maybe she needed to open it now for him. If only she could just do it now but it would be unfair putting it that way. He deserves a complete love. Not a spare from someone else. So, she will try. After all, they just need the magic he was talking about. If she could find it with him, then he might be the happiness she was looking for. The moment they started talking about the other guy, he could tell that tensed face she was wearing. So she has someone else now too, but why did she look so affected with the thought that he was getting married? This guy, he just hoped that he is taking good care of her. At least this person doesn't share the same father with her. He downed his wine as they continued to tease her. She moved on. Eight years is a long time and he must move on too. She was surveying him again when they were talking about him but he has mastered the art of indifference. The moment her phone rang, Seo Hyun looked at him first before taking the call right in front of him. Was that a gentle smile she was wearing while talking to that person? Yong Hwa snorted to himself. He may get to see this 'boyfriend' they were talking about.

Seo Hyun stood and thanked him with that smile he could not really fathom but all he recognized was that nervousness. She walked off without looking back and the other employees gossiped again when the door opened and this tall guy walked in and smiled at her. Indeed, he was a pretty boy they were telling about and he even turned to them as Hyo Yeon waved at him. The latter said he was already a lawyer but took another degree that he ended up being classmates with Seo Hyun. They stood there a couple of seconds and she seemed to giggle at something that he said. He poured another glass and took it in one go, he was feeling weird like he wanted to punch someone. Maybe he should stop drinking or else he's really gonna do just that especially when he affectionately touched her by the shoulder. His smart-mouthing awhile back was backfiring real quickly as the punk rested his hand comfortably on her back and she did not even stopped him but instead allowed herself to be led out of the restaurant. Yong Hwa followed them with his gaze as he opened the door for her and she looked like she was. Yes, this guy must be really smart to make her laugh like that. As an old acquaintance of Seo Hyun, he should be happy for her but he could not find in him to do that. Yong Hwa lingered on to the scene until the car was no longer in sight. Truth must be told, he was tormenting her with those things he had been saying a while ago. Those really tortured her and he must congratulate himself. But, truth must be told too, that he was torturing himself with those things he has been putting her up to. It wasn't really for her, but it was for him as well. It was like testing himself if he would not be affected by her anymore. And he really proved that sad fact, that what ever he does, she would always affect him. There was no way he could ever go against his feelings. The wall has this big crack now. Once again, she did it. Seo Hyun was starting to tear down his defenses. In the end, she might succeed without her knowing it. ~~~ She was checking the book but dividing her attention on that little boy curled like a little ball on the couch. Yoona has tried to sleep the same way there but always got body ache on the process. Nonetheless, her little boyfriend looked too comfortable on that position. Smiling to herself, she tapped the pencil on the table when her phone rang. She answered it quickly without checking who was calling just to avoid waking him up. Yoboseyo? she started making her voice softer. Hey... She doesn't need to ask who it was for she memorized that voice since she entered middle

school, Oppa, this is a surprise. Are you in Korea? No, in Bangkok. Ahhh... how's the kids? Vicky? They're all fine... They're all fine, she said trying to mimic his lifeless tone, how about you? Well, yeah, since you called... she answered herself. Usually, when he was having some problem with work or at home, he would call her. Not that she was complaining but it was something she was not too comfortable about. Maybe he got too used to it since he has been doing that ever since. But now it was different. I'm sorry... maybe I shouldn't call, I-- Oppa, Oppa! No... Its not what I meant. She raised her free hand and massaged her temple, I'm sorry... It's okay, I understand. You may be getting tired of me. It's not that... she mumbled sadly, its not that I'm getting tired listening to you and all since I remained as your friend. I'm even thankful that you would run to me when you have bad days. I'm sorry if I get bean pie at times... See? You end up being the one apologizing to me. Maybe talking to you makes me feel lighter though you can't really help me with my problem. No one else listens to me like you do. Then why don't you tell her your troubles? I don't know... I just can't understand myself at times. I love her, I really do. Then try to work it out for her sake and the kids. Besides, whatever it is, if you're finding it hard to deal with her, just stretch your patience some more since she's pregnant. Somehow, it was no longer hard for her to say those words -- to hear him say that he loves his wife. They had really moved on and accepted their fate. And she was glad of that fact. But she was still torn if she wanted them to continue like that. After her conversation with him, she decided to laze outside on her favorite spot-- by her sofa swing. She started leafing through the magazine when she noticed a customer walking towards the cafe. It turned out to be Cake's father. Hi...

Hi, she folded the magazine and waited for him to drag one seat and placed it just adjacent to her. He's asleep... Since the day she found the two arguing, they came into the decision that while Si Won could not find a nanny for him, Ji Son will stay with her and he would just pick him up after work. How's work? Tiring as usual, he complained while massaging his nape. Want some coffee? She smiled and he did too. Yeah, later before we go, Si Won pressed his hands together while focusing on her, how about you? How's your day? Same as usual, she sighed. I just had this phone call that I really don't know how to feel about. It kinda felt nice having someone to talk and listen to, especially that kind of question. Hmmm? Boyfriend? he grinned as she shook her head. Ex? she chuckled and slumped on the swing staring at those fake vines crawling by the post, he's married now but we remained good friends. Weird, isn't it, he lunged on his chair himself staring at the same ornament she has her eyes on, remaining good friends with someone you used to love. It's weird. she turned to him again and he nodded, so how about you? What's your story? I'm sorry to butt in to your personal life but, I have been meaning to ask about Cake's mother. Are you sure youre ready to listen to my whirlwind romance? Well, I guess I am so you can start before I change mind. Yoona raised her brows with a half-laugh as he playfully batted his lashes. Si Won pretended to clear his throat then shook his head when she glowered then started, Hae Won... we met on this Real Estate Brokers Examination. Took the test together, decided it was love at first sight, we basically hit it off on the spot, he smiled in recollection, I was aiming what she was aiming for. Both of us were ambitious, we wanted to be the best on our field. Accidentally, we had Ji Son, we got married in a haste. Tried to juggle work and the baby but then she made this complete turn. Like I no longer see the same woman before I married her. She wanted to have a family, to have kids-- but not that moment. Ji Son was just a baby but it seemed like she was seeing this little monster that was making her life miserable. My mother said it was natural for a woman to be like that when the baby is born but she was still the same even when Ji Son turned one. Everything he did was not cute, not baby-ish, it's either he was making a lot of noise or he was on the verge of hurting himself. She was all tensed up.

Yoona listened to his story. It was so vivid like seeing the scenes happening right in front of her. It was like seeing this baby boy not getting the right attention from the woman who was supposed to be the first one to show him what love was. I know the relationship won't work anymore so I opened up divorce, just to make her see my point. Just to scare her of what I can do if she continued being bean pie with her own baby. But I was a fool, the moment I said the D word, she looked relieved and told me right away that she will not stake any claim on the baby. That was how she would refer to our son, 'the baby', not 'my baby' or even 'our baby'. Her heart was tearing listening to him. Just a few steps away, the baby they were talking about was sleeping comfortably on her couch. Her eyes felt stingy, thankfully, the lights by the garden were subtle enough to hide her tears. You divorced right away? Who filed it? I gave her the privilege to do that. I thought I would be devastated in the process but I was not. Thankfully, I was able to raise that little guy for five years. She smiled and put the magazine beside her, I admire you for not giving up on him. I'm sorry to say this but I don't like your wife-- ex-wife, I mean, one bit. Cake is such an adorable boy. I wish she saw that the way you do... I thought before all women are the same. Maybe Hae Won was special, they laughed with the irony. So, did you remain 'good friends' with this ex? she tried to recreate this tone. Not really, but yeah. Since we belong to the same circle we get to see each other a lot, eat out together, like that. Does she visit him? Yes... he hesitated for a moment then continued, not really. Well, I would initiate those meetings but you know my son, he's kinda opinionated for his age and a little stubborn so they would end up arguing. He laughed, when they are together, I could not guess whos the kid and whos the adult. Maybe they really grew apart. Umma has never been in my son's vocabulary. Then what does he call her? That woman. Si Won laughed out loud. I'm sorry... it was really a surprise. Her Cake was indeed a strong kid but she could not believe what she was hearing. It's okay, anyway, Hae Won doesn't like to be called Umma for all I know.

Really? Yoona was personally hating that woman already, no offense meant but your wife-- Ex-wife... Oh sorry, she chuckled and cleared her throat, she's a b1tch. He nodded and stared deep into the sky, I don't know, maybe it was my fault too. I should have tried harder to make the relationship work not only for us but for our son. You are doing the right thing. It was her who doesn't want to be called mother... Maybe... we are all to blame, he stood, too bad, Ji Son is the one suffering from all of this. Yeah... she nodded and stood herself. Thank you for listening, he let her walk ahead of him as they directed towards the cafe, it's been a long time since I talked about this. It's better to let it go sometimes... Yeah... maybe next time it will be your turn to share. I have nothing to share, really, she chuckled pushing the door open that made the bell rang. They laughed together when Si Won got a shock from it. ~~~ Yong Hwa came to the office since he has forgotten his key. Only the security personnel was there and told him he would be staying at the lobby if he needed anything so he walked straight into his office. His key was just resting on his table so he grabbed it and decided to leave right away since he has to meet Jong Hyun and the other two by the pub. Sprinting out, he heard this faint sound coming from the private room so he walked towards it and carefully turned the knob. He almost jumped when Seo Hyun squealed in surprise too, what are you doing here? he managed to say as he walked towards her. She was standing by the sink and was fumbling over something he was not sure of. I was just... she stopped and turned to him. Her cheeks were now in deep pink hue maybe because of the scare she just felt. Yong Hwa has to swallow hard when her gaze got fixated on him. Without second thought, he started walking towards her as one hand rested on her chest as if securing her heart from him. Finally, he stopped and raised his hand and rested it on her shoulder. He took another step

closer that an inch was now only separating them. Focusing on her languid eyes, he slowly traced her jaw lines with the tip of his finger. She has always been like a doll-- a fragile item on his fingers that he must handle with utmost care. Gently, his hand dropped just below her neckline and he started playing with one button until it snapped open then again another one. Another one until he realized that she was not wearing anything underneath the thick fabric. He looked back at her as if asking for permission to go on. And with a slight nod from her, he smiled, lifting her chin up and angled his own face towards her until he could feel her warm breath on his lips. He tasted her in a soft motion and she answered back. That was his cue to push her forward that her back rested on the wall and her hands ended up playing on his back. There were no hint of shyness in her kisses just pure passion and desire. Maybe both of them have been waiting for that moment to happen, for someone to initiate it. He missed her smell, he missed her touch, and he missed her taste. Sweet and easy. Almost like chocolate melting on his tongue that was making it hard for him to stop instead to beg some more. He needed her more than anything else in the world. Eight years. It must have been a reward for him for being so patient. Slowly, it was her who broke away from his kiss and took his hand walking towards the day bed. She sat with that wide-eyed innocence he remembered before. Yo~ng Oppa... He inhaled and exhaled loudly as he was snapped back into a wakeful state. The dinner ended earlier since he was starting to get dizzy and sleepy. Perhaps it was the alcohol. Perhaps it was the memory of the accident the other day where he accidentally saw her long legs and what-not. He cursed with that kind of dream he has. It felt so real-- damn, but he wished it was real! Shaking his head, he stood and sprinted to the bathroom. Yong Hwa sprayed water on his face for he needed to find out if he was still dreaming. It was indeed a very dangerous dream. Why did he have to see her in something like that? She was still Seo Hyun and he shouldn't be having that kind of dream featuring her. Deciding that it would be a crazy decision to go back to sleep, he grabbed a clean shirt and a pair of jeans. Maybe he should just work on some documents he conditioned his mind to finish that weekend. If he would be able to finish them, then he wouldn't need her to go to the office for the next two weekends. He reached the office in no time since the traffic was less dense because of the time. It was almost eleven o'clock so he calculated having slept for an hour and a few minutes. When he reached his office floor, he recalled that crazy dream but laughed at himself since there was no security personnel meeting him so it was indeed not some recreation of that dream.

Reaching his table, he took his seat and opened his computer until he heard this faint rumbling sound. He scolded himself for his brain was surely playing a trick on him but another rustling coming from the stock room made him finally get up just to make sure he hasn't gone crazy yet. Walking like an undercover agent in some old movies, he slowly turned the knob and forcefully opened it wide. Just then, Yong Hwa heard her screech as she slid off the ladder where she was apparently at when he suddenly barged in. OMO! that was the only thing he was able to utter as he ran towards her but it was too late. She fell off and landed on her bottom having her left leg positioned just under the wooden ladder. Ahhhhh... she scowled in pain as she was holding on to her injured leg and he rushed towards her. I'm so sorry... I did not-- he stopped seeing that fresh blood inside her left thigh, You're bleeding. Yong Hwa slowly guided her to sit in a more comfortable position resting her back on the bookcase. She was still making those faint moaning as she held on to that part of her thigh. Come here, he took her right hand and rested it on his shoulder and then placed one arm on her back and another under her thighs to scoop her up from the floor. I can walk! she complained but he was not hearing her. It was one of the most uncomfortable positions she was ever in since she could feel her body pressed into him. Really, you can put me down, Seo Hyun demanded in a whisper as his scent lingered on her nostrils that she was even tempted to rest her head on his chest. No, you should not move right away. He seriously said as he continued walking without looking at her, your buttocks would hurt if you do. You had a pretty bad fall. Gently, he put her down on his chair and stood keying the word 'kiss' on the private room then opening the door wide. Yong Hwa then lifted her again and set her down on the bed. Then he went to the restroom to get the first aid kit. I'm fine... she said again as he started opening the kit and purposely shoving her right leg off so that he could easily see that tiny cut. She shut her eyes tight with that kind of position she was in-- seated on the bed with legs half-parted as he carefully put some antiseptic on a swab of cotton and took out some bandages. Her hands anxiously clasped together making sure her dress would remain covering her. Why do you act so clumsily? See? You hurt yourself again... he grumbled totally oblivious of her dilemma. Seo Hyun watched as he dubbed the cut carefully on her reddened skin and the memory of the time when she was learning to ride a bike came into her mind. That was what he was talking about, but she complained softly, because you surprised me... appearing just like

that caught me off guard. He looked up to meet her gaze and for a moment they got stuck on that staring game again until he broke away and set the cotton aside, I'm sorry. He managed to say and took one bandage then run a hand on his forehead to wipe his sweat. Yong Hwa could not believe how that simple task was making him perspire like crazy. No, it's me who should be sorry to you... her voice was soft as she stared at the crown of his head while he put the bandage. A lump on her throat suddenly appeared when Yong Hwa diverted his gaze to hers again, I'm so sorry... I'm really, really sorry... He dropped his hands from her skin and stared at her eyes. It was like seeing her for the first time after eight years. Seo Hyun was wearing that teary-eyed smile as she mumbled those words that he actually knew the meaning hidden to it. Shaking his head, he took the bandage again and mumbled, Stop it, let's just finish you up. Just then, she slowly put a hand under his chin and lifted his face up to make him look at her again, no... I must say it now. I'm so sorry... for what happened. Her tears were slowly streaming down her face so he shook his head but before standing up, he thumbed them away. Let's not talk about it, Yong Hwa walked towards the ref and stopped as if figuring out what to do. He knew why she was saying sorry, what were you doing here anyway? Uhm... Seo Hyun brushed her own tears and took some tissue he also got from the restroom and wiped her tears, I was collecting the documents you asked for. But it's late already, it can wait for tomorrow, he took a pitcher of water and poured some into a glass and handed it to her. Yong Hwa watched as she took a little sip then placed the container by the little table beside the bed. I... I can't sleep so I decided to come here, she finally revealed as he turned away again taking an apple. He grabbed a chair and started munching on it when she bit her lower lip so he chuckled and decided to cut the fruit and handed the other half to her, you just came from school? Awhile back... she answered before taking a bite. The tensed atmosphere suddenly died down as they watched each other chew the apple. Does it still hurt? he placed the fruit by the table and squatting in front of her again, raising her one arm after the other as if inspecting for some hidden injury. At first, she was a bit shocked by the attention, not to mention the electricity that crept her body as his hand touched her skin. But Seo Hyun decided to just let him be and shook her head, the wound no, but I think my bottom would hurt later.

Yeah, I was thinking the same. He took his seat again and retrieved his food while she finished her own. Next time, you leave the door open if you are inside so I would know. Yes, she nodded as she took the glass of water again and took a sip. They were quiet again and his mind suddenly brought him back at the restaurant. He was itching to ask about the other guy. Was he really her boyfriend? If he was, then why does she need to deny him to them? The annoyance came back again so he stood without looking at her and took his keys from his jeans pocket, Maybe I should drive you home... No, I'm okay... she stood but he was quick on his feet that he held on to her arm to help her up. He was overdoing it, she told herself but she just let him guide her out of the room. Those moments of being that close to him should always be cherished. She felt silly with those kinds of thoughts. But it felt good-- having him so close and being skin-to-skin, surely, later she would be cringing at her own craziness. Minutes later, they were inside his car as he drove her back to the apartment. It did not escape Seo Hyun that he did not ask where to anymore, maybe it was his sister who told him that she was still living at her old place. How's your mom? Yong Hwa killed the silence but remained his attention on the road. She lives in Daejon now taking care of halmeoni since Imo got married. Ahhh... he nodded, how about Yoona and Nichkhun and that guy Jin Woon? Uhm, Jin Woon is somewhere in South Africa working. Khun Oppa is married now-- Really? that made him turn to her but quickly focused on his driving, to Yoona I presume. No, she shook her head, to someone else, and Unnie runs her own coffee shop. Huh? Those two who were basically glued to each other did not end up together? Funny, but yeah... some things are not really meant to be. Seo Hyun diverted her gaze outside the window. She doesn't really want to talk about those stuffs that aren't meant to be. Yeah... he whispered, but some things are still worth fighting for, don't you think? She turned to him but he was still fixated on the road. Whatever he mean by that, she could only wonder. It was more of a rhetorical question so she decided not to answer anymore. Whatever it is that was still worth fighting for, she wanted to find out soon. Was he talking about them? But he was the one getting married.

Once again, Jung Yong Hwa was confusing her. He has become the puzzle she would want to solve even if it takes her a lifetime. He has become her mystery that she wanted to find out so bad that sometimes it was frustrating her. Somehow, she was thankful of that quizzical dream she had while Minho was driving her to her apartment as she dozed off. That dream involving him and that sandy feel on her soles with the salty breeze. Because of that dream, she went back to the office since she wanted to induce sleep onto herself and maybe get back where she left off on that dreamy fantasy. She wanted to see that dream again. Unknowingly to her, he was also wondering why he had that weird dream involving her and a white bed. He needed another cold shower. I'm running out of patience 'Cause I can't believe what the hell I'm hearing And speaking of hell, it don't compare to this heat That I am feeling I love you too much, it shows All my emotions go out of control Good for you, bad for me When I can hardly see from the tears that flow Can't forget to breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Before I lose it get composure I am gonna breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Ladies never lose composure Not gonna lie or even try You've got my wheel spinning And I ain't the one to shoot the gun 'Cause that means you will be winning I love you too much, it shows All my emotions go out of control

Good for you, bad for me When I can hardly see from the tears that flow Can't forget to breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Before I lose it get composure I am gonna breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Ladies never lose composure Somebody better hold me back You're lucky, I know how to act So lucky I ain't gonna attack I'm being calm and cool But believe me you, it's taking everything to just breathe Breathe, breathe Can't forget to breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Before I lose it get composure I am gonna breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Ladies never lose composure Can't forget to breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Before I lose it get composure I am gonna breathe slow Count from one to ten with my eyes closed 'Cause ladies take it in and get composure Ladies never lose composure Composure

Chapter 26: Confirmations and Confusions

And never in my whole life Have I heard words as beautiful As when you say my name...
~ say it again (Marie Digby)

For a girl who has only known one real love in her life and has lost it in a very sad manner, Seo Hyun has maintained these long years of hanging on and finding back the same love. That impromptu late Friday night that they spent inside the confines of the office was still confusing her. She could not really tell if she should put anything to it. After dropping her off to her apartment building, he said that there was no need for her to report that next day. She spent the whole weekend cleaning her place and a few hours reading at the coffee shop. Seo Hyun wanted to free her mind with any negative thoughts even for a short while. She hoped that he would be out of the office for that day so that she wouldn't need to feel uncomfortable despite the fact that she still wanted to see him. As she walked along the office and went straight to her place, she stopped the moment she saw the empty corner, where's my table? Director Jung had it moved back last Saturday, Hyo Yeon appeared behind her and tapped her shoulder, appears like our boss can't live a day being far away from you. What does that suppose to mean? she rolled her eyes unable to ponder why he would do such thing. They had agreed that it was for the best. Although, she was able to loosen up to

him for a few hours that night but Seo Hyun could not really tell about the future-especially this immediate one. She could hardly decide what to do next as she stood there looking at the space where her table used to be. If I were you, I would be going in there now, she whispered again puckering her lips towards the closed door, he arrived very early this morning that we had no time for the ritual morning chitchat. Hyo Yeon murmured and chuckled pushing her forward, go, go, go... Seo Hyun-ssi! She stopped just in front of the door and took in some air and released them purposely before knocking softly. Turning her head slightly back, her Unnie was still there with her hands on her waist and has that playful grin so she shook her head. Turning the knob open, she decided to just enter since she could tell that he was on the phone again. She was right and found him talking to someone she presumed related to the problem of the department. So far, he has been doing his job very well and as an employee, she really admired him so much. Taking her seat in silence, she bowed slightly when he turned to her and started fixing her things. What? They still have that legal obligation! His voice was fierce and loud, something that was new to her. The Director really looked mad as he paced back and forth with the receiver on his hand. Seo Hyun made up her mind to just do her work and not question his decision. Besides, it looked like a bad idea this time. I can't believe the Company is not taking any legal actions against them... his voice was a little calmer now as he took his seat and massaged his temple. Yes, yes! Nothing happened but it was a close call, we can't just let that pass. This is business-- She fidgeted on her seat as the sudden raise of his voice would make her more nervous. Her memory was full of his gentle voice and cheery laughter. He did change a lot and if his physical appearance had likewise changed, he would have been a totally different person and there would be no way for her to see any traces of the old him anymore. Mr. Lee, I have an important call to take. I will get back to you later. Seo Hyun watched him by the corner of her eye as he put down the office phone and answered his ringing handphone. She noticed that sudden change of his tone and facial expression as he started talking. Trying to focus on her work, she attempted not to eavesdrop for he was obviously talking to his fiance. I'm here already... yes, now? Okay, but I can only go out for a few hours. There are important things for me to do today. Yes, okay... After the call, Yong Hwa placed his phone back on the table and sorted the papers in front of him as he watched Seo Hyun doing the same then stood up and handed him the

documents he needed to sign. He read them a bit and signed then whispered. Hows your cut? It's okay now, thank you, she replied with one hand guiding him the papers and the other holding on to her hair. Good, he answered without taking his eyes off the papers, what's my schedule for today? Seo Hyun took her notepad and told him what he needed to know as he divided his attention to what she was saying and to the papers on his hand. After finishing, she took the folder from him and was about to leave the room to forward those documents to the secretary. Cancel my appointment this morning, he called out before he forgot and Seo Hyun just nodded before going out. It made her feel annoyed that he was canceling his appointments just because of her. He has so many things to look after to and he was just going to use his time dating. She smirked to herself and listlessly instructed Mrs. Park about the documents. Out of the corner of her eyes, she noticed the woman going in the office that the old woman has to look up to her when she saw her. Who was that? Mrs. Park inquired. Ahhh... Director Jung's-- Girlfriend? she said with eyes wide as Seo Hyun nodded, wow, she's a pretty girl. Anyway, he is handsome and I think they look good together. She almost rolled her eyes instead she just nodded and walked off. Then, she was fighting over the idea of going back to the room or not knowing they've got company. But she decided on the first, besides it was him who moved her back inside so she doesn't care if she would be invading their privacy. Knocking gently, she pushed the door open before she gave an answer and bowed silently at the woman sitting on the couch. Seo Hyun took her own seat as Yong Hwa looked from both of them. Uhm, Shin Hye, you remember Ju Hyun-ssi, right? he said noticing that serious look on the younger girl's eyes and he could not help but to smile. Shin Hye smiled and walked towards him and handed him the magazine. Yeah, of course... who wouldn't? she answered turning to Seo Hyun and smiling a bit before focusing his attention to him, Anyway, I picked out the ring already. It's the simple one, here-- Ahh... Ms. Seo, Yong Hwa signaled for Shin Hye to wait a bit as Seo Hyun walked towards

them with the same blank expression. He absentmindedly pulled one drawer and randomly took a folder and handed to her, can you photocopy these documents? Seo Hyun took it without saying anything or even looking at any of them and started walking towards the stockroom. That attitude did not escape him and he could not really understand that he seemed to be elated with the thought that he was smelling jealousy on her part. Yong Hwa kept an eye on her as she walked out of the room while Shin Hye continued what she was saying. I don't know, I still love this engagement ring. But the wedding ring is supposed to be more beautiful, right? Whatever you want... he muttered not really caring what she was saying until the door shut close on them that even Shin Hye stopped and followed his gaze. You like her, don't you? That was all she needed to say that could finally snatch his attention. He stopped for a while and snickered, what are you talking about? It's pretty obvious, she rolled her eyes, from the way you introduced us and that look you are wearing now, Jung Yong Hwa. Aish! he grabbed the magazine on her hand and started leafing through it but in a swift motion then mumbled, Don't start with me, Shin Hye. She shook her head and smirked taking the chair across him, she's pretty. It's impossible she won't get your attention. Stop it, he said in a warning tone. She could be very persistent so he wanted her to stop now before things got out of hand. Ya! Jung Yong Hwa, don't give me that tone. I know you and I know your women escapades. she stressed but made sure her tone was not loud enough for the other girl to hear them from the other room, why that sudden change? I have never seen you react that way to a girl. Because she is off-limits! Yong Hwa finally said it as Shin Hye has that devilish grin that all he could do was to shake his head in annoyance. Women and their crazy minds. Off-limits? Jung Yong Hwa, is that really you? she almost laughed. She has always loved teasing this kid. Ya! Tone down your voice, will you? he grunted taking a side glance on that closed door. That made her laugh but she bit her lip in a chuckle when he glowered, What made her off-

limits then? Too good for you? Or... or, does she remind you of this girl who took your heart and ran away with it? Yong Hwa turned to her with that look that she has went beyond the line but Shin Hye remained there with her unfaltering expression. He stood taking his coat and putting it on, she's off-limits because she is my assistant. I am here to work, not to flirt. Shin Hye's eyes glistened. There must be something about this girl that made her friend fired up like that. She hid her grin as he started walking out, Ya! Where are you going? To hell... far from your crazy assumptions! he called back and complained to himself, first my sister, then you! Sheez, why am I surrounded with obnoxious women? Wait for me! ~~~ She could not believe the papers she was supposed to be photocopying for him. They were nothing but stacks of scratch papers he kept inside his drawer. So that was just his way to keep her out of the room and have that little privacy with his girlfriend. But the wedding ring is supposed to be more beautiful, right? Seo Hyun attempted to mimic Shin Hyes voice in disgust and could not believe him. She was officially pissed. Why did that woman even have to go to the office? And after his heated phone conversation with someone about work, his tone mellowed down when she called and walked in the office. Like he has some kind of a bipolar disorder, that crazy Jung Yong Hwa. She hated the way that it seemed he was like rubbing it on her face. Clearly, there was no meaning to what he said the other night about 'worth fighting for.' Pushing those annoying tears aside, she could not believe why she needed to cry for him that way. So what if he was getting married? So what if he loved someone else? So what if she still loves him despite of those crazy facts? She hit her chest with a fist and sat on the floor cradling those useless papers in her hand. Jung Yong Hwa doesn't deserve the love she has been saving for him all these years. Suddenly, she stood and decided to file an undertime. The devil may care if he won't agree to it. The emptiness welcomed her back when she went out. So, the love-birds took off without even telling her? She swallowed that lump on her throat and accomplished the form and set it on top of his table. Besides, she would just be useless if her boss wouldn't do his work since he's out dating. The taxi driver smiled widely at her when she gave him an extra tip for aimlessly driving her around before dropping her off The Ninth Street Cafe. Before she could even reach the little white fences, she heard her friend's giggly voice and another one that belonged to a kid.

Seo Hyun trod the walkway as she smiled on that pretty sight by the swing. Yoona was cuddling a boy on her lap with an open newspaper in front of them laughing over some comic strips. Hi... she greeted as the two finally took notice of her. Seo! Yoona looked surprised by the sudden appearance of her friend as Ji Son carelessly turned the page, hey Cake, she's the bestfriend I was talking about. Ji Son glanced up at the girl and smiled, hi! So she's the one obsessed with seat belts? Sorry, he has a good memory today, only today, Yoona laughed as she looked apologetically at Seo Hyun who sat on the little step facing them. yeah, she's the one... Ahhh... yeah, she doesn't really look like six. She's older, the little boy said casually while leafing through the newspaper and looking as if he could understand a thing. Seo Hyun raised a brow on her friend as the latter just bit her lower lip in a suppressed laugh then gently tugged his arm, Cake, why don't you play with your Ji Hwan hyung and Sim Ji nuna inside? But, but... he looked up to her with those puppy eyes and pouted lips, but I wanna play with you and her, he said pointing at Seo Hyun. Ya... we will be talking about boys now, she winked at Seo Hyun who frowned, you don't like that, right? Yeah, he listlessly hopped down from his seat and started on his way then stopped in front of Seo Hyun with a little wave, nice meeting you, Yoona-ssi-bestfriend. They both laughed as Seo Hyun pinched his cheek, the name is Seo Hyun, thank you very much. Ahhh... Seo Hyun-ssi... he mumbled heading towards the door, then turned to them again before finally walking inside, when you're done talking about boys, just call me, okay? Will do, Cake! Yoona called back as the bell clang. Seo Hyun was still under the Cake-spell as she continued to laugh then she deliberately opened up, so Seo, are we ready to talk about boys now? You can say that again... she rolled her eyes as her laughter rested into that soft smile, by the way, who is he? By the way, what brought you here? You're supposed to be in the office. Are we playing dodge-ball here, Unnie? she eyed with suspicion as Yoona snickered,

come on, don't tell me, that kid is your new love interest! Ya! Seo Ju Hyun! she glowered at her then shook her head, no, his dad cannot find a new nanny for him. For now, I decided to let him stay here while his Appa is at work. Wow, I thought you're just operating a cafe here. But now it's a cafe-slash-daycare, she chuckled to herself. It was indeed a good idea to leave that hellish office for a while. The aroma and the atmosphere were therapeutic. She puckered her lips and creased her brows, by the way, that little boy's dad happens to be your.... Seo Hyun stopped for a moment then glowered, is there something you're not telling me? Nothing, Yoona shook her head with a pouted lips, ya, I am just helping the guy. Besides, I like Cake a lot.' Cake is his name? Wait a minute, Cake as in Cake Ajussi and Cake Ajumma? Seo Hyun said with that trace of laughter on her voice as she finally replaced the little boy beside Yoona, I remember that! Yeah, well, I got used to calling him that now, but his name is Ji Son, she nodded darting her eyes towards the door, He got lost one day and wandered here so I took him in until his Appa found him. Ahhh... she nodded then turned to her again, Where's his mother? Yoona shrugged her shoulders and answered, Theyre divorced and she left Ji Son with him. Really? That's weird, she focused her attention on a couple going in the cafe hand-inhand, so you and his father are... We are not anything, Seo Ju Hyun, she rolled her eyes and took her cup that was resting on the side table then batted her lashes, but I must say, he is very good looking... Seo Hyun giggled as she watched that sparkle on her sister's eyes, well then, good luck to you and I hope this good looking Appa and you would end up being something. I don't know, she laughed after sipping her coffee then placed it back gently on the saucer, how about you? Why are you here? I just miss you, Seo Hyun smiled and laced her arms on her sister's. Ya! she playfully shoved her off as Seo Hyun rested her head on her shoulder. Why? Is it wrong for me to miss you? she pouted her lips then smiled when Yoona only gave her a glower.

I'm not buying that... Okay, she fixed her face in a sad smile, he's getting married. What?! Yoona almost pushed her friend away then took her hands, Yong Hwa Oppa is getting married? Say that again, please... she nodded with that faked giggle, the girl is very pretty and she looked like she came from a well-off family. I think she's very friendly and smart. The people in the office said they're a prefect match... Seo... Yoona finally grabbed her friend in a tight embrace then lifted her chin up, do you want to go to the office? She asked as a middle-aged couple took their place on the patio but Seo Hyun shook her head. I'm okay, Unnie... I don't really know what to feel now. Somehow, I got reminded what you said before that it should have been you and Khun Oppa planning that dream wedding. It should have been you sketching a pretty wedding gown; it should have been you picking up your rings; it should have been you thinking of the perfect place to go on your honeymoon. Oh, Seo Hyun.... She was shaking as she reached out to wipe those tears on her Unnie's eyes. Funny, but she could not find her own tears. There was just this deep empty hole in her heart as she looked over at the couple smiling at each other while choosing a coffee to drink together. She has this feeling of home-sickness that she could not understand. She was more melancholic than lonely. She was more regretful than feeling the pain. All she could think of now is how to deal with the day she could no longer have him. Yoona suddenly chuckled, we are so alike. Even our love stories seemed to end the very same way. But Seo, look at the bright side! They are not yet married! Aigoo, Unnie, she shook her head with that silly attempt, we both looked at the bright side too before Khun got hooked and look where we are now! Oh yeah, I forgot, Yoona slumped back on her seat then out of the blue, they looked at each other and started laughing. Without any words, they laughed their hearts out until tears poured helplessly and the couple turned to them, both giving them an encouraging smile. They laughed without knowing why, maybe to mock the pain that they held in their heart. Yoona shook her head trying to stop herself but she couldn't, she wouldn't, as Seo Hyun herself lunged forward holding on to her stomach. That laughter suddenly trickled into soft chuckle until it melted down to a smile as they both wiped their faces. Seo Hyun slapped herself gently as Yoona settled comfortably on her seat. They needed that once in a while, to laugh no matter how much they longed to cry. To

let the laughter forge the loneliness. To excuse themselves for crying because of the pain. Yoona turned to her younger sister with a gentle smile, if he gets married to that girl, it will be his big lose, Seo. She put an arm around the latter's shoulder, and your real prince will come and whisk you away, including that pain. And your memory with him will be clouded by your love for this person meant for you. But what if you badly want that person to be him, she mumbled like a little girl insisting on a doll she wants. We don't defy destiny, Seo, Yoona touched her cheek, we let it take us where we should be... in the end we will know what happiness really means if we let it take over. Seo Hyun directed her gaze towards the open street. She is right; from then on she must try to accept things. Don't defy destiny. It was him who said that some things are worth fighting for but she was not really sure which one to fight for. This girl he chose, she must be the person who will give him that happiness she can never give. She could be the person destiny chose for him and who was she to stop their happiness. Yoona sat up straight that it caught her by surprise so she followed her gaze. And there, she saw that handsome man with a ready smile directed towards them, she smiled herself. Is it him? she whispered but Yoona just gave her a soft tug while the man got closer to them. Hi... Hi... She watched repressing a smile as the two greeted each other with those shy smiles. It was really him since Seo Hyun was reminded by the very same dimples Yoona's Cake has. The desire to cut their eye contact just for a tease was so high but Seo Hyun was more amused waiting for them to realize that they were actually ogling at each other. Just then the door opened and the little boy went flying towards his father. Cake, be careful! Yoona chuckled as Ji Son lunged to his father who later carried him as they laughed. Are we going home already? Ji Son pouted looking very disappointed with the thought then smiled when his father shook his head. No, we're going to eat out... he said then turned to the two girls, why don't you two join us? Eat out? Yoona looked at Seo Hyun and the latter shrugged her shoulder, oh, by the way, this is Seo Hyun, my bestfriend. Uhm, he's Choi Si Won, Ji Son's dad. Hi, nice meeting you, Seo Hyun took his hand for a hand shake and smiled.

Same here... Si Won put his son down, so? Come on... he will be happier if you join us. Right on cue, Cake hopped towards Yoona and rested his clasped hands on her lap with those puppy eyes again, go with us, please? She laughed while touching the boy's hair that was resting by his forehead and looked at Seo Hyun, what do you think, Seo? Hmmm... yeah, it's like a double date, then! she giggled as Yoona glared at her, I'm just kidding, Unnie, besides we never say no to free food before, right? Aigoo, this is the first time I'm getting embarrassed you are my bestfriend. Yoona rolled her eyes as they stood. But, I must warn your girls, it's Lotteria. Kids' place... Si Won declared putting both hands on his waist. Oh! The more reason for us to go! Seo Hyun stood and took Ji Son's hand, let's go! Yoona shook her head as Si Won heartily chuckled. She knew that her friend was just trying to find an excuse to hide her pain and she would be there to hide her. Good thing the two boys were just the distraction both of them needed. Almost an hour and a half has passed, he was finishing his son's bulgalbi burger and she was having her patbingsoo while the two kids-- Seo Hyun and Ji Son, already found the arcade beside the restaurant. Yoona was telling him some funny stories about his son when he suddenly cleared his throat and sipped his drink. You know what he said last night? setting his glass on the side, he watched as she focused on him, he said he wanted to marry you. Yoona almost spitted the liquid she just took in and he chuckled in amusement, really? Si Won nodded with that gentle line of smile, but he is still too young for that thought. I know, I was reading him one of his fairytales and we get to the marrying part and he asked why both of us are not yet married while other boys are married. He is really adorable! she exclaimed then continued, He still does not understand the whole concept of marrying. I decided to start seeing her again. Yoona felt her heart somewhat leaped that the spoon that was about to enter her mouth was left forgotten. She brushed that surprised look and smiled gently, Cake's real mom?

Yeah, he settled in to his seat watching her eat her dessert. Why do you still meet her? she found herself asking without meeting his gaze. The patbingsoo was starting to feel bland on her tastebuds. Because I want Ji Son to have a complete family, he pushed the plate forward and rested his arm on the table, But the rate things are going, maybe she will never be the one to complete that family my son has in his mind. She doesn't understand why she suddenly felt elated with that last phrase but she has to keep that thought to herself and nonchalantly continued, maybe you should meet other women then. Start dating. That made him grin and shook his head, I don't know, I really don't have time for those things. Really? she eyed him with suspicion, you were even able to go out with your ex-wife but you don't have time to date other girls? Si Won laughed at her tone. He was really starting to be charmed by this woman. There were many occasions that he found himself drawn to her. One of which was the night he first saw her cradling his son on her arms. That was the scene that kept replaying on his mind over and over again. Maybe it was something he longed to witness with Hae Won but she can never be that. She can never be that gentle stranger taking in some random kid and being patient with his hyperactiveness. Hae Won can never be this woman that his son prided to be spending happy times with every time he would pick him up after work. Yoona was all there was of what Hae Won could never be. But he must study his feelings before taking any actions. He can never say that marrying Hae Won was a mistake because he will not have Ji Son without her. But he didn't want to act in haste again. Yeah, it's better if you don't marry again... He raised his brows because of that remark as he watched her spooning the remaining food on her bowl, why did you say that? You said you don't have time, she smiled gently, if you remarry while having this lifestyle, I would pity your new wife because she will end up as a nanny not as your wife. He found himself swallowing what ever on his mouth. She has a point. Si Won nodded and lazed on his seat, maybe he should start weighing his priorities. Before, his aim to be successful was rooted from his ambitions but now there was his son. He was now working hard to give him a good life, but he knew that all those material things can ever replace that maternal absence in his life. And if he has to find a wife for himself and a mother for him, he should consider the woman too. Don't get me wrong, Yoona grinned when he remained quiet with what she said, there

was this far-away look on his face that she felt she might have said the words wrong but he smiled. No, you're right... maybe I should really start making myself less busy and give more time to myself than to work. And to your son... Yes, of course, he sighed that it made her laugh softly, Aigoo... maybe I really should start looking for a daycare center for him. Huh? Yoona gaped. Maybe he misunderstood her again. I mean, he needed to socialize with other kids and learn some stuff that I can't teach... She was at lost. She shouldn't have commented about that, maybe she has gone overboard. Besides, his love life doesn't concern her-- shouldn't be her concern. She should only be interested with Ji Son-- just him. Yoona lingered on to his pensive eyes for a moment until she decided that there was no use for it. She has always been an adventurer but considering him as another adventure is a far thought. She was in a very long relationship that she even thought it was for keeps so she must learn from it and must be careful. ~~~ He threw his coat on the sofa, falling on the arm rest, followed by his tie. Shin Hye was in her usual bubbly self that he could not really race to the finish line with that energy. She fitted dress after dress, transferred from every possible designer's shop in her vocabulary to the other, mixed up colors, couldn't pick any design she liked and worst, could not make up her mind right away. And to think she was looking for an after party dress. Yong Hwa wondered how his friend was able to stand her that way. Seo Hyun was never like that before. She knew what she wanted right away. Well, on some occasions, that is. But it was so long time ago so he could not really tell anymore. Does she also ride bike with her new boyfriend? Or call each other almost everyday even though they were together just a few hours ago? Do they eat ice cream, play in the park, do nothing on their one hundredth day or shower together? He just hoped she would not do those things when she's with him. Ha! he chided himself and walk towards the bar. Those thoughts should not have any space on his mind since he has other things to think of. For one, Geun Suk and Shin Hye's upcoming wedding. The two have been planning that for almost three years and he happened to got caught on Shin Hye's trap when he 'inspired' her fianc to enlist in the military before getting married.

It was just a joke that came up one time while they were having their usual Friday-night drinking spree. They were consumed beyond the suggested amount of alcohol that their conversation were mostly about boasting at each other how Korean they were despite being in a foreign land and drinking a Western-made alcohol. Yong Hwa prided on the fact that he was able to complete his more than two years military training and was ready to go on a war for Korea's sake anytime. Geun Suk, who was raised in the US, suddenly fell quiet and put a hand on his shoulder before declaring, As a Korean, I will go back to my mother land and serve the army and marry my Korean girl! Yong Hwa laughed since, well, he was drunk and his friend looked far more wasted than him. The next day, Shin Hye raided him on his apartment spitting curses on how he was trying to steal her boyfriend away from her because of his crazy idea. It took them a good deal of week to convince her of the decision but she was determined to make Yong Hwa pay by planning the wedding with her, in lieu of her boyfriend's absence. His friend could do nothing but to console him that Shin Hye wasn't that bad and he'll get a grip of the whole thing. Geun Suk also said with a wide grin that it would be a sort of training for him in planning a wedding for himself. He just smirked and surrendered. Really, alcohol is the root of all evil. The two decided to keep the wedding a little secret as a surprise to their respective families since they have been bugging them to tie the knot. But the idea that they were arranged to be married to each other way before they really fell in love was unacceptable for them so, for their little revenge, they decided to get married on their own decision. So only he and a few more close friends were helping them out. Since his friend was away on training, which was also his idea, he ended up to chaperoning Shin Hye on her trips to wherever. Those two have a very interestingly funny love story. Since their mothers have been best friends since kindergarten, they promised to marry off their son and daughter so as to make them as a real family but they kept it as a secret and sent the two in almost all classes together. Yong Hwa could not really remember the time when they realized that they were both in love with each other and when they told the family about the relationship, they were all happy that their plan worked. And since the two have the same mindset, they rebelled and even broke up for three minutes. But, as always, love championed and they were now inseparable. It was just only to spite their families that they decided to put off their plans for the wedding and decided to do just that themselves. They even chose Korea when their parents wanted them to have the ceremony in the US. Depositing the glass to the sink, he decided that he was consuming too much alcohol since he went back to Seoul. It was better to take a shower and go to sleep. As he walked towards his bedroom, he turned on only those lamps by his bedside and threw his keys on the table when the glistening object caught his eyes. He took it in his hand and stared at it for a while making the jewelry shine despite the semidarkness. If she was really there, then she would be holding that necklace on her palm or maybe wear it near her heart. If she was there, then he would be holding her now in his

arms and maybe going to bed beside her. If she was there, then maybe she would not have met that other guy. If she was there then he wouldnt be feeling the void. Falling on the side of the bed, he sat and stretched his legs in front of him not leaving his sight off the necklace. He felt the urge to hear her voice again so he took the phone Shin Hye gave him and dialed her number. Smiling to himself, he has been making her voice as his own lullaby by hearing it even for a short while before he drifted to sleep. It only took three rings for her to pick up. She took the phone when it rung, she fell asleep with the book on her hand falling on the floor. The soft tone woke her up. It was her you again. Somehow, she was getting used to that persons call every night. Yoboseyo? she sleepily said then smiled. What did she expect? Of course, the person will not talk again. You cant sleep, right? Feeling silly, she started talking despite that fast beating of her heart and the churning of her stomach, I fell asleep reading, but yeah, Im awake now, she chuckled to herself, hows your day? Mine was a little hmm I dont know how to feel about it. But, I met a new friend and we played at the arcade, hes just six but very smart. His dad said he was just six but he talk like he is thirty six. I skipped work just to play with him, it was really fun. She stretched her legs on the sofa after picking up the book on the floor, by the way, I was reading this book. This is my third time reading it, it was really beautiful. Hmmmm I feel like reading to you my favorite part. She laughed then continued, but if you dont want to listen to it, you can hang up, I would understand After mentally counting to five, she smiled and cleared her throat, oh, it seemed like you want to hear it. Here it goes: "I don't know where you are, but you're living right now somewhere on this earth and one day you and I are going to touch this gate where I'm touching it now. Your hand will touch this very wood, here! Then we'll walk through and we'll be full of a future and a past and we'll be to each other like no one else has ever been. We can't meet now, I don't know why. But some day our questions will be answers and we'll be caught in something so bright . . . and every step I take is one step closer on a bridge we must cross to meet. Before too long? Please?" She closed the book and closed her eyes, then whispered, Its beautiful, right? I guess Im boring you already. Why dont we both go to sleep now? Long day tomorrow. Good night and thanks for calling

Yong Hwa stared at the necklace with a smile on his lips when the line went dead. He would have wanted her to read to him some more, just to hear her voice on the other line. His heart was on the verge of exploding. Her voice on the telephone would always bring back those happy nights of falling asleep with her good night, Oppa... Now, the table is turned. Somehow, those stolen moments of being anonymous reminded him of his own gugumalatte. Oh, how he loved that silly girl... And always will...
The thing about love, is I never saw it coming You kinda crept up and took me by suprise And now there's a voice inside my heart that's got me wondering Is this true? I wanna hear it one more time Move in a little closer Take it to a whisper Get just a litter louder Say it again for me Cause I love the way it feels when you are telling me that I'm the only one who blows your mind Say it again for me It's like the whole world stops to listen when you tell me you're in love Say it again The thing about you is you know just how to get me You talk about us like there's no end in sight The thing about me is that I really wanna let you open the door and walk into my life Move in a little closer Take it to a whisper Get just a litter louder Say it again for me Cause I love the way it feels when you are telling me that I'm the only one who blows your mind Say it again for me It's like the whole world stops to listen when you tell me you're in love And it feels like it's the first time That anybody's ever brought the sun without the rain And never in my whole life Have I heard words as beautiful as when you say my name Say it again for me Cause I love the way it feels when you are telling me that I'm the only one who blows your mind

Say it again for me It's like the whole world stops to listen when you tell me you're in love Say it again When you tell me you're in love Say it again

Chapter 27: To Kiss the Tears

Sometimes what you see is not the truth. It needs faith to see that.
~can you hear me now (lee seung chul) can

The moist on that mirrored wall allow those traces of her fingers to leave their marks as she ran her hand through it. It was a cold morning and she had that sudden urge to phone in sick for work. But she decided it was not a good idea to lie just to stay in bed the whole day. Besides, her boss was enough reason for her to report to work despite all the obvious facts. She sadly fixed the curtain and poured the heated coffee and decided to go out. Any moment from now, he would be walking in the room with the I-need-my-coffee-now

greeting her.

Seo Hyun shook her head with a gentle smile. After six months, she would surely miss that monotonous morning routine. Yes, she has been counting but too afraid to mark her calendar but their days are consumed too fast by that distance. She wondered when was the wedding going to be. By the looks of it, it would be in Korea. It would have been better if they have that in the USless painful.

Locking the 'kiss door', as she dubbed it, she carefully carried his coffee when she almost spilled it upon seeing Shin Hye sitting on his chair.

Hi! the girl chirped swaying softly left-and-right like a little girl, the door was unlocked so I came in when nobody was answering.

Uhm, I'm sorry, Seo Hyun forced a smile as she placed the cup on the table in front of Shin Hye, but the Director is not yet here...

Yeah, it looks like it, she smiled again but Ju Hyun just stood there rubbing her hands together. It was raining but the heater was working well so Shin Hye wondered why the girl looked fidgety, anyway, you are his assistant, right?

Seo Hyun doesn't know what to do, whether to sit or stand, to go back to her desk or not. She eventually decided to remain standing in front of her since she was talking to her, then she replied, yes, Ma'am...

Shin Hye laughed, oh! No need to be formal to me like that! She motioned for her to take her own place so the latter did as she continued, well, is he treating you well? I mean, he's your boss right?

She could not really understand why she was questioning her that way but it was not making her feel comfortable, ah... yes...

Oh, good! I'm just asking since he can be a very, very naughty boy sometimes.

It was dawning on her. This woman was checking on him and the thought doesn't really

appeal to her. Well, she was a woman after all and his fiance. They will be marrying each other soon and here she was technically being always with him for the duration of his working hours. Any woman would feel that way. But Seo Hyun was not liking the implication she was getting from Shin Hye. She is not that kind of woman. Don't worry ma'am, but my relationship with the Director will remain professional...

Shin Hye doesn't really know how to react on that sudden strong statement. One thing's for sure, it was the most hilarious thing she has ever heard but she kept that amusement to herself and stood, well, yeah... of course! Professional. She smiled and took her purse on the table, anyway, I will go now. I was going to surprise him but I ended up being surprised, really.

Seo Hyun gave her a guilty smile. That was just plain stupid of her to say that. What was she thinking? She stood, herself, and bowed, I'm so so---

Oh no! she waved her hand giggling as she walked towards the door, he said he will come so... maybe I can just look for him. Have a nice day!

She stood there totally perplexed with what she just said, babo, Seo Hyun! she stomped and scowled. But it really annoyed her. That woman was acting really like some spoiled brat in a TV drama. What does she think of herself? His bodyguard who should always tail behind him?

Just as she was about to stomp back and throw away his stupid coffee, a soft knock came and Hyo Yeon peered in so she smiled and let her in.

I saw the princess, they playfully named Shin Hye that when they found out her illustrious background.

Yeah, she was looking for her prince, she rolled her eyes and took her seat again as Hyo Yeon found the coffee and started drinking.

But why that face? Are you jealous? Hyo batted her lashes.

Why should I? she muttered while stacking the folders on the table and putting them to

the side.

Then why are you grumbling there and looking so sour?

Who's looking sour? Why should I be jealous? Is he my boyfriend?

Exactly my point! she waved a finger and took the seat in front of Seo Hyun's table. Suddenly, she laughed and the latter gave her a piercing look, I'm sorry, but I was reminded on how the Prince looked when you went with Minho on his welcome party.

How he looked?

Yeah, exactly how you are looking right now. Do you know that he almost drank two bottles of wine right after you left?

Seo Hyun could not really believe what she was hearing since she could still recall the indifference he was wearing that night. She listened attentively as Hyo Yeon was trying her best to vividly describe what happened after she left. It seemed impossible that he would be angry with the thought that she has boyfriend already since he was the one getting married. To think that she also denied right there that she has any romantic relationship with Minho.

So I was really getting more curious especially with the fact that you have known each other back then but here in the office you two don't seem to be your usual selves every time you are with each other. Hyo continued as the younger girl was obviously paying her too much attention, I mean, I see him with other employees. He's really friendly and all and I know you too, but whenever I look at you two together, you look so stiff like both of you are forced to stand or listen or look at each other. Tell me, is there something more than that mere acquaintance thing you posed?

She dropped her gaze into her hand. The need to let go of her emotions was too high that she suddenly closed her eyes and declared, Yes, he used to be my boyfriend.

Oh... my... god... Hyo Yeon mumbled the words with her eyes stark wide open.

Seo Hyun exhaled louder as her shoulders fell, It was eight years ago. He was right when

he said that it was a long story and yes I almost became his sister. It was too late for us to find out that his stepfather was the father who abandoned us. And you know that story already.

Oh my god, Seo Hyun, this is really a surprise. If I don't know you at all, I would be laughing now since this is just too surreal. Really? she put her hands on her shoulder and shook her gently, really? As in really?

Really, as in really... she sadly nodded then smiled, let's just keep this between us.

Of course! she slapped her gently, and oh my, he's getting married and all. But Seo Hyunie, he looked like he's still not over you...

She almost laughed on that one. It was hilarious so she shook her head, oh no, Unnie. By the way he has been treating me, the thought that he's still not over me is just too funny.

Hyo sat on the couch as the younger girl sadly walked behind her and took the one facing her, you both must had it tough. All those revelations of the truth.

Yeah, it was the hardest.

So, who broke up with whom?

Me, it was just too heavy and painful for me to carry. He was my first boyfriend-- she shook her head with that soft sad laugh, the only one I ever had... but it turned out we were wrong for each other.

Aigoo... she placed her hand on her lap, this whole idea of him getting married must be tough on you especially having to deal with this other woman.

I feel sorry for her but she is not really the other girl. she shook her head, There isn't really any other girl here in this story because I no longer belong in his life. I am merely a girl from his past and I hurt him enough to even expect him to treat me well.

Oh, Seo Hyun, listening to you makes me sad.

She chuckled trying to elicit a laugh from her, Why are you sad?

Because it must have been tough being Seo Ju Hyun lately... Hyo Yeon gave her a forced smile, Because I can tell that you are still deeply in love with him.

~~~

The rain was making traveling totally uncomfortable. Tiffany did an abrupt decision again of sending their father back to Korea since she was having a hard time juggling work, her husband, their father and now the baby growing inside her. Yong Hwa did not have any second thoughts of letting him come home since Shin Hye has been offering a good place for him in one of their medical institutions in Seoul. She toured him there before and he was satisfied with the facilities. Maybe he can take his father with him back at the States after six months.

Pushing his wheelchair, he started chatting but the old man remained quiet as if too engrossed, observing the people walking around the airport. But the doctor told them it's better if they would continue talking to him despite his silence or impassiveness. So, I need to let you stay there first since I'm busy with work and I can't really take care of you at home. It's a good place, you'll like--

Who are you again?

Yong Hwa gave him a gentle smile when he looked up to him with that familiar confused expression, I'm Yong Hwa-- Jung Yong Hwa...

Hmmm... I don't know anybody with that name...

He almost laughed but he remained quiet for he was getting used to it.

Where's my daughter? Why didn't she pick me up?

Now, it was only Fany he was remembering. Some days it was only him he knows, other times it was his nuna.

You are her husband, aren't you? Aigooo, I'm so sorry, I have been forgetting things lately...

No, I--

Where's Ju Hyun?

Yong Hwa abruptly stopped walking as he stared and stood rooted among the throng of people before him. Seo Hyun was the daughter he remembered, not his sister.

Why did we stop? Where's your wife?

Uhm... Yong Hwa started walking again and just noticed the porter who was pushing the luggage cart stopped when he did, then mumbled when he remembered his surprising question, She's, uh... she's taking care of the kids?

Ahhhh... is it like that? Oh well, just tell her to visit me there on the place where you're taking me.

Yes, abeoji... he found himself smiling. So, that was how it would go. He just married himself to Seo Ju Hyun. That was a crazy thought but a cute one. It reminded him when his father gave him his blessing to be with Seo Hyun. It was a far away memory now, abeoji, do you really want to talk to Seo-- to Ju Hyun?

Of course! I can't even remember the last time we saw each other.

He chuckled to himself and Yong Hwa felt that pity again. All these years, it has been only her in his mind. Maybe that made the two of them. How this girl affected them both. By looking at Seo Hyun now, he could tell that she has matured a good deal, maybe it was time to reorient her with her roots. Yong Hwa promised himself before that he will do everything just to have this old man get her daughter again. This could be the right time and maybe that was all he could do for both of them.

Yong Hwa prayed that she would have an open mind now to accept her father. He knew

how both of them have suffered because of the past and their presence in each other's lives would make them both complete. Okay then, I will tell her to meet you right away.

Good... he chuckled, but I'm still sorry that I hardly recognized you. Well, my daughter... she's...

He noticed how he was struggling again. That disease was really consuming him and it just broke his heart. It was probably a good idea for him to make Seo Hyun realize that she still needed his father and most especially him, he knew that his abeoji needed no one but his real daughter. He and Fany would always take care of him but it would still be more important for him to be with his Ju Hyun.

He took his phone and dialed Shin Hye's number, Yoboseyo? Ye, we're on our way. Thank you so much... you were there? What? Okay... was my assistant there? Okay... Ending the call, he shook his head. Shin Hye went to the office without him and talked to Seo Hyun who may have put that thought of him marrying his friend. These past days she has been looking pretty detached from him compared to that Friday. Heaving a sigh, he decided to call her instead.

Yoboseyo?

He found himself swallowing before clearing his throat. It was a mystery why her voice on the phone was somewhat giving him that different feel. Ahh... Ju Hyun-ssi...

Uhm... Director Jung?

Ah... I will be there a little later. He stopped as if waiting for her to say something but the other line remained quiet. Maybe I can come this afternoon. Is there a very important appointment I must attend to this morning?

Ahhh... no...

Okay, I--

Ms. Park was here awhile ago. And she was looking for you.

Ahhh, yes, she told me...

Okay...

...

...

...

Director...

Yes?

Is there anything else?

Oh, uh... no... I- I'll be there this afternoon.

Yes.

Okay... see you...

Yes, Director...

Yong Hwa lingered on his phone for a few minutes before realizing that it was him who should end the call so he pushed the button. Seo Hyun sounded very lifeless.

Either way, he has to do what was needed to be done.

~~~

The nervousness she was feeling was slowly dying down when she realized that it was him calling. It was the first time in eight years that he has called her again so she hurriedly saved his number. Did he still memorize it? Slapping her head, she realized that it was of

course on her profile and the handphone he was using was the one given by the Company so her number was obviously there. Did he even realize that it was still the same? She just hoped so.

The rest of the morning seemed too long for her and good thing Hyo Yeon kept her company during lunch. Despite her need to always see him, she knew that she must get used to the idea that one day he would be leaving his post, marry that girl and finally leave her just like what she did to him on that afternoon at the park. It was such a high price to pay and thinking about it often and almost everyday was enough to drive her crazy.

When afternoon came and he wasn't still around, she decided to consume her time filing some documents at the stock room. It was a little warm so she decided to just open the door a bit, besides, it was him who said she should keep it open whenever she was there.

Her leg was cramping already as she slumped on the nearest seat. She needed to put the folders on the upper shelves so was staring at it as if casting a spell for them to just fly there. Just then her phone rang so she took the call and decided to put it in loudspeaker so she can still freely move. Seo Hyun smiled as his voice vibrated in the air.

Busy?

Hmmmm, kinda, she smiled as she took the ladder cradling her phone and three folders in her arm then laying them on the shelves, you?

Not so... I have time to bother you. Is it okay with your boss that we are talking?

It's okay, he's not here, she chuckled as she went down again and got other folders before she stack them neatly in order. When they were all on the empty space, she started sorting them by dates. I'm bored.

Wow great! I just have some jokes with me!

Aigooo, she muttered with a soft laugh then continued with a pretend listless voice, bring them on...

Okay! What do cows do for fun?

What? she giggled since she knew that one but pretended otherwise.

They watch moo-vies.

Seo Hyun held on to the ladder trying not hard not to laugh so loud for him to hear then uttered, But that was lame!

Ya! But you were giggling there, how can it be lame?

Minho's laughing voice made her chuckle to herself as she shook her head, no way! I was not giggling. Besides, if I was giggling it was because your joke was lame!

Aigooo! But I have another one... this is better...

Make sure it is or else I'm gonna drop the call... she warned, stifling a laugh.

Yeah, here it is... knock knock...

Who's there? She was controlling another burst of laughter with his confident voice. The books were almost done but she realized that she missed some dates so she has to go down and get them.

Olive.

Olive who? she was climbing the ladder again.

Olive you very much.

She stopped, trying to process the meaning as one hand rested on the ladder to keep herself safe and the other one on a book, what's the meaning?

You did not understand?

Yeah? she was chuckling already.

Really? Aigooo...

Ya! Just explain it then...

No, I can't explain it! You're supposed to figure it out!

Seo Hyun could not help but to laugh out loud since she could see him on her mind desperately trying to make her understand the joke, but really, it's a hard one!

Aigoo... I have an idea; I will explain it to you this Saturday. Let's drive around somewhere. Maybe smart Ju Hyun would understand it if I say that again in person. What do you think genius Seo Ju Hyun?

~~~

Yong Hwa took off his coat the moment he entered the room expecting to see her on her desk but she was not there. He directed his gaze by the stock room and noticed the door standing ajar and he could hear her faint voice. Was she with someone? That thought made him decide to walk towards it and take a peek.

She was there on the ladder again balancing herself on the step with one hand on the ladder and the other on the shelf fixing something. It was indeed her soft chuckles that he heard and realized that she was talking to someone on her phone that was resting somewhere he could not see. He could not really hear the other line even though it was set on speaker.

Yeah, yeah... stop flattering me, Minho-yah. She laughed again, okay, fine. I'll go with you but I'm not really sure if I can get away from the office since we need to report even on Saturdays... I know... fine, that's why I'm telling you I will make it up to you. Aigoo, stop the drama now it's as if we don't see each other in school.

Resting his back on the wall, he closed his eyes trying to force himself to just walk away because he really doesn't need to listen to them.

Hmmm... can we drop by your house first? I promised your mom I'll bring her the chocolate cake she asked. Okay, thanks... yes... yes... hey, I have to hang up now. He's arriving anytime now, I don't know if I'm allowed to take personal calls. Yes, oh... kay... bye...

Yong Hwa shifted towards the door and found her slowly descending from the steps so he walked away and took his place. True enough, she wasn't supposed to accept private calls like that since she should only focus on her work. Who does she think she is? Some kind of a superwoman doing all those things at the same time? What if she fell off the ladder again while he was away? It was annoying him some more. And she would surely ask him not to go to work that Saturday because of that person. She would be dreaming if she thinks he would give his permission.

Suddenly, he heard her footsteps getting closer, especially that mellow humming. Too happy that she just talked to her boyfriend? He pulled the drawer louder than he should as she walked in with that surprised expression. He spun his chair away from where she stood as she bowed at her.

The agitation could be felt in the entire room as he hardly took notice of her so she decided to just go back to her place and silently did her work, as usual. Maybe he had a fight with his girlfriend that was why he was acting like that. Well, she doesn't really care.

Her heart would skip every time a folder would land loudly on his table. She really could not understand why he was showing her that kind of temper. If he has a problem with his girlfriend, he should vent it out on that Shin Hye-ssi, not to her. The thought was pissing her off as much as it affected him.

Deciding that it would be better to just leave first, she stood and took the reports she needed to discuss with Mrs. Park.

Where are you going?

To Mrs. Park I need to--

Where are the progress reports of the Research team? I have been waiting for that since yesterday.

Actually, I was--

You were what? Slacking while your boss is away?

Seo Hyun could not really understand why he was acting like that as he stood a few steps from her with that look that was scaring her.

What Seo Ju Hyun? All day you were just flirting with your boyfriend?

What?! she snickered as she convinced herself that she heard him right. Flirting with her boyfriend? Her? Who was out of the office the whole morning? Whose girlfriend came and deliberately checked on him? She was clenching her fist already as her heart pounded too hard. I don't know what you're talking about...

Oh come on, Seo Ju Hyun! Why do you have to deny it? He smirked himself watching her nostrils flare. She was getting angrier as he was. The image of that guy holding her was slowly crawling on his brains stems that he could not really control his own anger.

I'm not denying anything! she declared still trying hard to keep herself from pushing him away but she could feel those lumps forming on her throat as she shook her head, I don't know what I did now that's making you say these things to me!

Ha! he muttered with that mocking tone, you know exactly what I'm talking about!

She shut her eyes tight in frustration and inhaled deeply before opening them again. Then, she looked straight into his eyes. With a defeated tone, she smiled sadly at him, I'm so done with all of these...

What? he asked in an exasperated tone but she remained still with that defeated expression.

Im sick of this, Im sick of you. Its better if I quit

Yong Hwa swallowed hard as he watched her turn away with shoulders obviously dropping. Now, she was walking away. Seo Hyun was walking away from him again like she did before. Eight years, it has been eight years but it was all fresh to him.

With clenched fist, he strode and grabbed her arm that her chest hit right on his, and his other hand found its way on her back pulling her closer to him. It must be because he closed his eyes the moment he found her lips that he missed her terrified look. He crushed his mouth into hers, demanding his claims as he could feel her nails digging on his shoulders trying to push him away.

Her head was spinning so fast that she could hardly open her eyes because of the way he was ravaging her. She helplessly stood aghast as he forced her to turn herself to him. The tears came running down her cheeks on her attempt to peel him off her body, moments after she realized what was happening. But, he was so strong and the pounding of her heart was weakening her more. She managed to seal her lips no matter how he tried to unlock them with his that she could no longer feel where it hurt the most. Was it on her lips? Was it on his forceful claim on her body? Or was it her heart, confused and afraid?

Her resistance would never make him to stop his advances, this she realized. Her strength could never equal his. Her heart would always be as weak as her body. Suddenly, her energy waned; her body abruptly went limp as her closed eyes forced the remaining liquids out. She didnt like what was happening between them and neither does he. It was tiring-the whole fighting, the whole crazy situation. Unexpectedly, she stopped struggling, letting her hands fall on her side as her lips parted slowly.

It was her surrender she just gave in to him-- completely.

The moment her grip on him loosened, it dawned on Yong Hwa what was happening. He knew he was forcing himself on her and it was wrong.. But, instead of withdrawing, he gasped for some air as he gently wrapped her on his arms and her lips welcomed him. He moved in gently and slowly, taking her lower lip and letting it linger on his for quite a while. Seo Hyun was responding to him with the same cadence that he could almost hear her tender moaning. Oh, how he missed her flavor! The taste of her lips on his tongue was maddening as his hands traveled from her back like he was tracing her spine with his able

fingers. He led her on in a slow tempo, rediscovering each other from years of separation.

He was rediscovering his Hyu~n.

As the electricity crawled from every direction on her body, she found her own hands wrapped around him as if pinning herself to him. She was lost, totally lost and she never wanted to go back to where she was. All she knew was that moment of blissthe complete silence as air seemed to be kidnapped from her but she didnt really care for she was breathing him in.

It was nothing but utter madness and he was delirious but he didnt want to break free from that moment of complete surrender. It has been years that he has been unconsciously fantasizing her flavor, something that his tongue had searched endlessly in other women. But no one could ever recreate or even get close to her taste. One hand caressed her jaws as if telling her she was doing well as the other traveled carelessly all over her. And that sound, the easy pressure he was giving was being rewarded by that melody on her mouth. Yong Hwa was as breathless as she was.

She was indeed surrendering herself to him and no matter how much he wanted her too, he knew that he needed to stop as the thought of the white bed suddenly flashed in his mind. Carefully, he let his one hand leave the small of her back as the other remained on her cheek thumbing her skin softly.

Seo Hyun opened her eyes when she felt his warm body detached from hers and found herself taking in deliberate breathes of air. She stared deep in his eyes and noticed that mixture of passion and pain she could not really bear herself. He looked exactly how he should disheveled hair, languid eyes, crimson lips and those creases on his dress shirt. Did she cause all of those? Then she noticed that little curve on his swollen lips that must be faking a smile. She let out a deep sigh but her eyes never left his. It was like reading what his thoughts wanted to tell her but there was nothing that could make her see him through.

Slowly, Yong Hwa took a step back before he could lose himself again and do something he might regret in the end. Looking back, he realized her need for him too as she answered his kisses. But he must never take that beyond what they really meant. He hissed touching his lips while her eyes lingered on his, you never change...

Her eyes widened when he said those words. Seo Hyun could not fathom how that gentle smile could bring both pain and joy to her. She knew whatever he would say would never reflect the moment of madness they just shared so she remained standing there, ready to be punished by his words.

...you run away as soon as you see the nearest exit. I hope you're happy that way, Hyu~n... I hope you are happy...

Seo Hyun remained unthawed as he turned to leave. She was supposed to be the one closing that door, she mused, not him. Yong Hwa left her with nothing but hollowed contemplations.

~~~

The empty bottles and broken glasses were scattered on the floor as he stretched his legs in front of him. Despite how many bottles of beer slipped on his left hand, his right could never let go of the jewelry that was hidden inside his palm.

Folding his legs up to his chest again, he hugged them and rested his head on his knee, mumbling softly the words he was shouting awhile back.

Why do you need to kill me this way? Why can't I stop loving you?

Yong Hwa smiled amidst his misty eyes and reached out for the phone

Seo Hyun was curled in a ball as she hugged the bear on her chest. It must have been the aftertaste that was still driving her crazy. She fled a few minutes after he walked out and just fell on her bed the moment she arrived home. The moonbeam slipping through the gaps on the blinds was making her tears glisten in the silence of her room.

Closing her eyes, she choked on her tears and wished her tear duct to dry so that she could rest herself from crying. But no matter what, the way he has affected her was tearing her to pieces.

She forced a smile when her phone blinked and the name flashed on the screen.

Her reprieve.

It's you... she swallowed, I thought you would never call...I...

He closed his eyes and wondered how she looked like as she cradled the phone on her ear.

I'm sad right now... Seo Hyun was fighting back the tears but she didn't want to stop. Wiping the tears away, she continued, I-- I love someone...

He swallowed those lumps on his throat while biting his tongue to stop himself from saying anything.

...but I don't know if I'm allowed to go on loving him.

He found himself clutching the fabric on his chest.

It's just so painful, why do I have to keep on hurting this way?

That was the very same question he was asking himself.

Seo Hyun shook her head feeling so silly since she didn't even know who she was talking to. Laughing nervously she went on; I wish you would talk to me and tell me how stupid I am for feeling this way. I'm so sorry for venting these all on you. I hope you are not sad like me... I hope you are okay... Don't cry like me okay? I promise... I will try to be happy tomorrow.

The cold air enveloped him as her voice trailed away. The phone slowly slipped off his finger falling loudly on the cold floor. He stared at the necklace on his palm. She said that he shouldn't cry like her but he could never stop his own tears-- the same way she could not stop hers.

Is it me? Is it me that you are not allowed to go on loving... Is it me, Hyu~n? Because I still love you, together or apart... don't ever stop loving me for I never did...

Finally, she won.

The wall he built for eight long years came crashing down.
Finally we have to go pass by, right? Beyond memories, have we to erase each other? This deep broken-heart that you gave me. How am I supposed to live with it? Every day I live heartbrokenly with missing you But I don`t regret ever that I loved you. Never When I miss you, I`d like to crazy to miss you Just I cry like this lonely, nobody knows. If that, it`s fine. Don`t forget, dear, don`t forget. I am always with you. I love you. Are you listening to me now? Although you cannot come to me now, it is not yet adieu. I believe you are on the road to me. it just takes time. When I miss you, when I cannot stop missing you Just I cry like this alone, nobody knows. If that, I am fine, Don`t forget, dear, don`t forget it. I am always with you. I love you. Are you listening to me now? Don`t forget, dear, don`t forget it. I am always with you. I love you. Are you listening to me now? Always I`m waiting for you here. If some day you first forget me, Woo~~~ Because I love you, I love more than you. I`ll get all of your tears and loneliness. Don`t cry, dear, Don`t cry. Although this world makes you sad. I love you, dear. Are you listening to me now? This is the best when youre depressed. Sometimes what you see is not the truth. It needs faith to see that. Everybody I`d loved left me. So I have tried to live without anyone. But she makes me greedy eagerly. How am I supposed to do

Chapter 28: Paradox

Everyone is searching for a place That can take away the sorrow and loneliness So for you, that place is here Dont be afraid, dont hesitate anymore Because Ill protect you

~ love in the ice (dbsk) Why do you need to bug me so early in the morning?

Yong Hwa walked towards the other direction as if he was playing tag with Shin Hye. Pain was raking madly on his skull and it was her worst timing ever. He opened the fridge and looked for something to take, aside from the remaining bottle of whiskey he carelessly deposited there after last night.

Really, Yong Hwa, never in my wildest dream have I thought that it was her! I mean, alright, I thought you were just crushing on each other--

Crushing on each other? Spare me! he uttered hopelessly with a piqued tone, Shin Hye, we're not teenagers anymore for that term! And please, will you go home and leave me in peace?

Oh, man! How could you hide such important story from me? she continued, as if she was doing some monologue, Good thing Fany Unnie called...

She called you? he paused for a moment. His sister was at it again-- his glorious divine intervention, what a paradox! Aish! That nosy ajumma! he continued mumbling while squeezing some left-over lemon on a glass then poured in a tablespoonful of honey.

Oh, yeah. Well, she just told me to watch over Seo Hyun while she is still out of the country 'cause knowing you and your susceptibility to violence lately--

Susceptibility to violence? What the hell is wrong with Nuna? he grumbled while gulping his mixture of binge-free concoction. Anyway, this crazy woman in front of him must be elaborating the story.

Yeah, yeah... she waved a hand making him stop talking, and so I got so curious why I needed to watch over your, err, assistant. Shin Hye hopped in the tall stool and rested her chin on her hand, So she told me the whole story and oh, you had such a drama with your... err, assistant.

Stop teasing me... he grunted yet again with a warning tone but regretted looking at her for she was wearing that wicked smile, Go home, Park Shin Hye!

Not until you tell me that you still love your, err, assistant. She sweetly smiled and puckered her lips as he took in the remaining liquid.

Ya, stop it! I'm getting annoyed hearing you call her my err, assistant. He turned and pushed the faucet on and let the pressure of water gushing out clean the glass.

Okay, how do you want me to address her then? Your, err, ex-girlfriend? Or your, err, love?

Yong Hwa turned, keeping a straight face. Seriously, Geun Suk deserved an award. Shut up, go bug someone else! You're annoying and you're pissing me off!

Aigoooo... well then, she tailed behind him when he walked towards the living room fumbling over the TV remote. Lunging on the sofa, Shin Hye watched as Yong Hwa jumped from channel to channel as she unconsciously played with her choker, I have a proposal for you.

I'm telling you, I'm not hearing it, Yong Hwa squeezed his eyes shut before turning off the TV .

Well, it seemed like ex-girlfriend-love-of-your-life-personal-assistant still has her heart for you.

Whatever... he rolled his eyes then focused on her when he realized what she just said, How could you even say that?

I'm a girl too... girls read girls. And she's one easy girl to read. Shin Hye playfully winked, Oh my gosh! I have the perfect idea!

Idea? Oh no you don't, He grimaced and raised his hand in surrender Your idea is not welcome here! And ya, don't ever dare play my sister's side-kick.

Oh come on, we will be doing this for both of you! Shin Hye laughed as she tagged along while he walked towards the open balcony.

What you can do for both of us right now-- he stopped dead on his track and put a finger on her forehead with an evil smile, Is to leave me and Seo Hyun alone...

Yeah, right. Anyway, I'm still going to tell you my plan. She rolled her eyes and snaked her arm on his.

Aish! Stop it, leave me alone, will you? Yong Hwa gently pushed her away and sprinted back to the living room. He badly needed a Shin Hye repellant.

Okay, but still... pouting her lips, she went ahead of him and stopped him from walking further, I think she's jealous of me. I think and I know that you know that she might be assuming that we are a couple and you are the one I will marry. Shin Hye snickered as Yong Hwa appeared to be listening to her-- finally, But we will use that to your advantage. From that we can confirm if she's still in love with you too.

In love with me too? How the hell did you know that I'm still in love with her? He pushed her off his way. The woman must really start a hobby or something.

Stupid question, Jung Yong Hwa. It shows.

Whatever... he slumped on the sofa and remembered the way she cried on the phone after what happened to them. He doesn't really want to see her get hurt again especially because of him so he softly whispered, just leave Seo Hyun alone. I don't need to confirm anything from her.

If you can make me...Merong!!!

The hard-headed woman finally slipped off his apartment and left him with his own misery. He has been thinking about it. Why not just tell her that Shin Hye was nothing but a dear friend to him? What would it make him then if she was not really jealous since she has her own boyfriend? What if he was not the one she was talking about last night?

It couldnt be. He could very well tell by the way she kissed him back. It was still there, the same old feeling he had when he was kissing her before. What if it was just him?

Aish! he groaned out loud. He must push those thoughts aside first and do what was needed to be done so he reached out for his phone and stared at it for a couple of seconds making sure he was not holding the private one.

Besides, this was more important than his raging hormones.

~~~

You know what?

You love me, I know that for a fact...

How did you know?

Silly...

The curtain danced for the wind has been chasing it back and forth, creeping into the open window of her room. Seo Hyun has been watching it for a couple of minutes already after waking up. Funny, but those little scenes seemed to be engraved on her mind and the thought could always bring that silly smile from her. He used to be that hopeless romantic, a practiced charmer, saying all those sappy lines that other girls would love to hear but would always made her cringe before. Somehow, she was missing them now. The way he would look at her as if nobody was around, the tenderness of his voice when he talks to her, his lingering touches on her hand, and, especially the way he would kiss her.

She put a finger on her lips remembering the kiss they just shared yesterday-- has it been yesterday? It seemed like seconds ago. Whatever it meant to him will always remain as a mystery for she can never ask him why he did that. Was it even safe to assume now that he was having second thoughts on his impending marriage? Or it was just another hallucination on her part? But that kiss, it was something she remembered from before. The feeling was obviously there but he was getting married and, to put it simply, he just cheated on Shin Hye through her. Engaged men don't go around kissing other girls-- worst, kissing their exgirlfriends.

Oh... god! she muttered out loud as she untangled the sheets off her body and placed a hand on her face. Stupid Seo Ju Hyun for loving Jung Yong Hwa... aigooo!

The message alert pulled her off from her reverie so she reached for her phone and read the message. She needed confirmation on what she was reading.

'Order me three dozens of pink roses and personally deliver them to the address I will be sending you. Don't be late.'

Just what I need, Director Jung, she complained and threw her phone on the bed as

another message came, probably the address of the place he was talking about. Isn't it clear to him that she just resigned? And after what happened to them just the night before, how could she ever face him again? The thought just made her more furious.

Fine! But this will be the last thing I will do and it's all over!

After almost two hours she found herself inside a taxi clutching those annoying flowers. How could he ever make her deliver those flowers to his girlfriend? He has gone overboard with that request-- no, it was not a request but an order. He did not even buy her flowers when they were together. The sudden thought made her sad, more than angry. This Park Shin Hye must really be a special girl for him. Her shoulders dropped as she put a finger on a tiny petal. Pink roses, three dozens, how romantic it was...

Seo Hyun paid the taxi driver and juggled with the flowers on her hand as she got off the car then she looked up to see the welcome sign. It was a hospital. Is Ms. Park sick? She wondered and just realized that the address he gave was that of a hospital not an apartment building like she thought a while back. Standing tall, she decided to deliver the flowers and go back to the office to file her official resignation. Fine, rub it on my face, Jung Yong Hwa. This will be your last act of torture.

The medical institution seemed classy as the interiors and those people silently hurrying on their way or busy doing their work suggested. She stopped by the information desk to get the right direction and got in the elevator to the floor the man said. She got on to a big lobby and walked across the glassed pathway heading towards an almost empty hall of doors leading to the rooms. If she was right, Ms. Park might be the one she would be delivering the flowers to and made her wonder what happened to her. Finally, she reached the door with the gold numbers hanging on it. Knocking softly, it opened after just a few seconds and she was surprised to see him standing at the threshold looking all sweaty as if he has been doing some physical exercise.

You're here... come in...

Yong Hwa said without giving her any other reaction as he moved to the side and gave her way. She entered the private room, into a small waiting area where she could hear some faint voices from the other door across from where she stood. But she could not really see

the source of those voices. He walked over to her side, held on lightly to her elbow and took the flowers.

Here...

He mumbled as she followed behind, obviously confused on where she was until she stopped by the door to see two nurses-- a man and a woman, and that familiar man on the bed crying out loud. It seemed like she was frozen in sight as the on-going conversation finally became clearer to her.

NO! I DON'T WANT TO DRINK THAT! YOU ARE POISONING ME!

THEY'RE NOT POISON, THEY'RE YOUR MEDICINE!

Yong Hwa shouted back obviously losing patience when he emerged from another corner she did not notice and walked towards the bed. She remained there, winding and unwinding her fingers together, unsure if she should stay or leave as the four people seemed to be in a struggle.

Hey... I'm sorry... Yong Hwa walked towards her and guided her by the elbow again to make her come closer to the bed. This happens a lot of times, don't be scared.

She nodded but she felt so lightheaded as her chest seemed to pound so hard and she could feel herself almost trembling from the sight.

Maybe you should sit first, he said again forcing a smile and wiping the sweat on his forehead, we will be done--

I... I think I should leave, she replied still fixated by the sight over his shoulder as the old man was making that crying sound and the nurses were still convincing him to take the little glass they were holding. Suddenly, the man looked straight to her and went quiet. The room went silent as the two of them stared at each other and she tried hard to stop herself from holding on to the old man's gaze.

She... the man on the bed said as the nurses turned towards them, I want her to give me

that.

Yong Hwa turned to their father, abeoji, she is not a nurse.

THEN I WILL NOT TAKE IT!

He shouted again and Yong Hwa could do nothing but smiled gently at her and shook his head, I'm so sorry if I would be asking too much, but can you?

Her hair seemed to raise on their roots as they locked gazes. It must be the gentlest stare he has ever given her after eight years of separation. Her goosebumps intensified as he touched her arm again, walking her closer to the bed. Seo Hyun was in a trance as she walked along and took the medicine glass from the nurse and slowly offered it to the man on the bed. She was barely breathing as his father took it from her and gulped it carefully, frowning a little until she handed him some pills from the same nurse. He took them in hurriedly and she carefully guided his hand towards the glass of water. The old man, thankfully, stopped looking at her and laid himself down after drinking. Seo Hyun could not really understand what was happening.

Yong Hwa smiled, watching her every careful movement. His plan must be working as her father took his medicines without much effort and has lied down in bed facing the other direction. The nurses excused themselves as Seo Hyun remained standing there with the glass on her hand. He walked to stand beside her and took the glass, thank you. He can be very stubborn and today he has the tick. Seo Hyun turned to him with the same confused expression. Oh, how he wanted to grab her and take him in his arms again. But he needed to get hold of himself. This was something very important for him to just ruin the moment with his own longing.

I... she shut her eyes tight before turning away from the bed, I must leave...

Who are you?

The voice made her shift her gaze back to him and regretted doing so. The old man was looking straight into her eyes as if getting into her very soul.

Yong Hwa smiled gently at him and answered, She's--

And who are you? What are you two doing in my room?

Yong Hwa shook his head suppressing a laugh and sat on his bedside as Seo Hyun remained standing, obviously dazzled by what was happening, I'm Jung Yong Hwa, abeoji... that's the ninth time you asked me that today.

It is? he looked confused as Yong Hwa nodded in confirmation, you're Hwang Suk Min's son, aren't you?

Yes, abeoji... he nodded and looked at Seo Hyun who was slowly looking less tensed.

Ahhh... my dear friend, she is... Hi Jun looked up with that gentle curve in his own lips before looking at him again, how is your mother now?

She died already just like my father, he grinned then looked up to her, that's the ninth time I told him that too.

She did? Aigoo... she was such a nice woman taking care of her daughter and son by herself in that poor condition while fighting that ugly disease...

Yong Hwa's head dropped as he was recalling the past and she noticed how he was holding the man's hand now and caressing it affectionately.

Abeoji, you better sleep now... he smiled again as the man turned to his side. Yong Hwa then stood and faced her. I'm so sorry you have to see him this way...

She shook her head as if telling him that she doesn't really want to hear what he was about to say, I need to go now...

Yong Hwa sadly nodded, he was anticipating that reaction anyway, okay, but can you please arrange the flowers on that vase. He pointed by the window as she looked over the direction where a small table was with a big vase on top.

But he's allergic to flowers, she blurted out without thinking and bit her tongue upon realizing what she said.

You know? it came as a shock to him.

My mom told me...

Oh, yeah... he loves seeing fresh pink roses everyday even though he's allergic to it. He said his wife loves them so he needed to have them in this room in case she comes to visit him.

Seo Hyun swallowed the lumps that were forming in her throat. She suddenly wanted to cry and break down in his arms that moment but she let her emotions stay in check. She didn't want him to see her like that so she shook her head with a sad smile and walked over towards the table. She started arranging the flowers on the vase then covered them again with the transparent plastic and securing the bundle with the same ribbon from the flower shop. She then poked tiny holes so they could still breathe.

He had a few minor heart attacks before so Nuna decided to bring him to the US after I went to military service. While he was there, I think it was two years after I was discharged, he had a major attack and he needed surgery. We thought it was his time but thankfully, he survived but now he has Alzheimer... I don't know but despite his state, I am still thankful that he is still with us.

Her tears were threatening to fall so she needed to look up at the ceiling to stop them before facing him again, I think I'm done now.

Yong Hwa stood and placed his hands inside his pants' pocket then nodded, okay... he watched her walk away and headed towards the door, I'll see you in the office.

That made her stop on her trail and looked at him with the same surprised expression. But I--

By the way, I did not and I will not approve that resignation, Ms. Seo. He gave a sarcastic smile before continuing seriously and holding her gaze into his, I still need you.

She stood there unable to say the rebuttal she has in mind.

I still need you. It weakened her knees.

Anyway, he turned pretending to fix the blanket on his step-father's body, prepare my schedule for today, I'll see you in an hour or so.

~~~

There's still no point in loving him now.

Yoona watched as Seo Hyun seemed to address that thought to the wind with a softened voice, Why not?

Because he's getting married.

That smile she was wearing gave her chills. It must be the wind. How could she be so vulnerable from the way her best friend looked? Especially this way. Those dark circles around her eyes, the mellow movement her fingers were making as they drummed with that invisible music, most of all, that smile that could never betray sadness. Now, Seo Hyun was becoming weak again, no matter how much she wanted to hug her and comfort her, she knew what her friend needed to hear, Getting married... not yet married, Yoona said with conviction then smirked when all she gave her was another sad grin, Get the point?

I'm not like that... shaking her head lightly, she looked up then placed a palm near her brows to protect her eyes from the sun rays escaping from among the leaves of the cherry blossom, Besides, I know how it feels to be left by someone and I don't want to be the reason for another woman to cry.

She has a point there but instead of agreeing she rolled eyes then spoke with much sarcasm, Wow, Seo, you're a saint...

Ignoring that comment, Seo Hyun lightly tapped her cheeks, Aigoo, why am I even saying this? As if he loves me back.

Then what if it's a yes? What if he still loves you?

Seo Hyun was momentarily kidnapped by her sister's question. Something she has been asking herself on her solitary moments. What if she's right? What if he was still in love with her? But all those were nothing but empty questions, more like rhetorical, more like an oasis on a hot, sandy desert. She might be seeing some traces of water but she was too afraid to confirm if it was just an illusion or not, so she dropped her head low, But still...

Aigoo Seo Hyuna... I don't know what to tell you anymore. Before, you don't want to be with him because of your father. Now, it's because of this girl. Do you want Jung Yong Hwa or not? Yoona grimaced when Seo Hyun nodded lifelessly. Honestly, if there was anything near her that she could use to whack her friend's head, she would have grabbed it and seized the moment. But all she could do was to raise her voice a pitch higher just to make sure she was making sense to the younger girl, then you have to do something about it! You can't let him do the first move now, right? You were the one who drove him away, remember?

What can I do? I don't know what to do now! Seo Hyun grumbled in frustration then listlessly let her body fall on the sofa, Aigoo... this is driving me crazy!

Ya... you're the only one driving yourself crazy. Yoona smirked as she watched her younger sister juggle her mind. But, she thought it would be better for her to hear the worst thing from her than from someone else, For once, Seo Hyun, make up your mind...

Seo Hyun straightened up, but her lips were still forming a frown as she rested her chin on her arm. Then suddenly, her phone rang and she stared at the unknown number. Why was she so prone to unknown callers lately? She answered, he-- hello?

Hi, Ju Hyun-ssi! This is Shin Hye... I got your number from Yong Hwa's phonebook. He's kinda busy right now and he could not come with me. And I don't know anyone right now whos free but you, so please? Can you? Can you please come with me? I need to pick up the wedding rings.

Yoona witnessed the sudden change of color in Seo Hyun's face. What now? She asked

herself.

~~~

Park Shin Hye waved at her with a paper bag in hand so she smiled and let her hand fall on her side as she was scanning the display case of necklaces. She looked so happy and excited and it would be a lie if she would say that she was not jealous at all. Seo Hyun smiled to herself and rested her hands behind her back as the other girl walked towards her.

I got it already, Shin Hye raised the bag midway in the air and shook it excitedly. She knew this was torturing the younger girl but she knew it was something that should be learned the hard way, anyway, there's gonna be a beach party after the wedding and I still could not find the perfect dress for it. And, since we're here already, can you help me pick that perfect beach dress for me?

Uhm, I'm not really sure, she hesitated for a moment. It was lunch break-- a while ago, before she called but now she needed to go back to the office even though Yong Hwa was still out in a meeting. Work would be the perfect escape for her, I need to go--

Oh, yeah! Wait a sec... she handed her the small package and took her phone from her bag. Hey, hi! I'm with your assistant right now, I need to buy a dress and you know us girls... she winked as Ju Hyun nervously flipped her hair to the side, what? Wait... Ju Hyun-ssi can you excuse me for a while?

Nodding uncertainly, she watched as Shin Hye walked a few feet from her and it seemed like she was arguing with him on the phone. It was obvious that she was now talking to Yong Hwa and it was making her more uncomfortable. It was indeed stupid of her to agree baby-sitting his fiancee. She fixed her sad expression when Shin Hye walked towards her. What did he say?

Oh, he was angry and all, she smiled totally looking unaffected, anyway, he is always like that. I suddenly feel hungry. Can we eat somewhere first?

Yeah, sure... she smiled and allowed to be led into one of the nearest restaurants they

passed by. She decided to just eat dessert since she had lunch at Yoona's already. It was pretty awkward being with her considering that just last night she was kissing with the girl's boyfriend which was not really a good thought.

So, Ju Hyun... can I call you that?

Yes, of course.

Well then, you can call me Unnie too, since I'm older. Aigoo, I miss my younger sister back home.

Hmmm... are you getting married here in Korea?

Ahh, yeah in Jejudu, to be exact, since my fiance wants it to be there. By the way, do you have a boyfriend?

Ahh, no, I don't have.

Liar... a pretty girl like you doesn't have a boyfriend?

Yes, I'm not joking.

But you had boyfriends before?

Boyfriend. There was this constriction on her chest as she said the word.

Oh, only one? Shin Hye prodded, hiding a smile at the expression Seo Hyun was wearing on her face.

Yeah, but it was such a long time ago.

She watched as the latter's shoulders dropped when she answered her question. It must be agonizing for the younger girl but she needed to do it for them. Especially for Yong Hwa, who has been very accommodating and responsible to her and Geun Suk. Pushing her guilt aside, she gently asked in a voice just above a whisper, Ahhh... so... you are still in love

with him, aren't you?

She chuckled and shook her head, I don't know, it was an outrageous question. If only Shin Hye knew who they were talking about. Besides, it was ages and we may be different people now.

Uhm, you have a point. But don't worry, you will find the right person for you. Look at me, I never thought I will be marrying him, we were quite different in so many ways, pulling a sad face she continued but crossed her fingers under the table, but, I don't know, sometimes it feels like I don't know him. Sometimes, I think he is still in love with his exgirlfriend-- are you okay? Shin Hye suppressed a laugh when Seo Hyun choked on her food so she handed her the nearest glass of water on the table. It seemed like her plan was working quite well.

Uhm yeah... I'm sorry... she wiped the side of her lips as Shin Hye looked at her with a perplexed expression. Wha-- what made you say that?

I don't know, oh well, forget what I said. she stopped for a moment then grinned again, Anyway, if he will cheat on me then I will just leave him. And if we're married already, I won't have any second thought and divorce him right away.

Really? You're not going to fight for him? This woman was quite something, she thought to herself.

Fight for him? Huh? If he loves someone else behind my back then that means he's not really in love with me. If you love someone, no one can ever get in your heart other than that person. It's like after eating a three-course meal, even though you are in front of an appetizing table, you will never be tempted to get another course because you are too full.

She really could not understand how she felt with those kinds of revelations. She sounded like she was not that in love with him. It made her wonder about their story. If that's easy for you to let him go just like that, does that mean to say you're not that in love with him?

Hmmm... good question! I think so... but really, if I'm madly in love with him? Maybe I'm gonna go to war just for him... smiled proudly, by the way, if you happened to talk to him,

please treat this like a girls talk, alright?

Ahh... yes... Seo Hyun let her gaze fall on her almost empty plate. She could say that what she had with Yong Hwa before was just a short memory, more like one season of love, but she could tell that all the right emotions were there. He was deeply in love with her and so was she despite the span of time. But, how come with Shin Hye? Based on her stories, they have known each other for a long time and they became a couple for more than three years now. It was confusing her how they seemed not to be so into each other.

Shin Hye watched her at the corner of her eyes. Seo Hyun might not notice it but she has been playing with the remaining vegetables on her plate. Cutting and sliding some pieces on the plate in a deep thought. But I'm enjoying this whole wedding preparation thingie with Yong Hwa. He's such a darling! The younger girl's expression turned a bit melancholic so she cleared her throat then curved her lips in a slow smile, Anyway, how about you? If you love someone, are you going to fight for him? Okay, let's put another issue here... what if he has someone else but you know for a fact that he still loves you and you love him back. Are you gonna fight for him?

I-- I don't really know how to answer that. She retorted, unable to meet the woman's gaze. It was the most uncomfortable moment between them. How could she tell this woman that she was still in love with the man the latter was soon to marry?

But--

Seo Hyun's phone rang and she was surprised to know that he was calling, Yo-yoboseyo?

Where are you?

She looked up to the woman across her who heaved an obviously disappointed sigh, I'm still with Shin Hye-ssi.

Is she your boss?

Blowing a gust of breathe, she could feel her heart thump listening to his dejected tone No,

but...

You go back to the office immediately. I won't be able to go back to the office today after this meeting since the doctor called me. Just finish the report I asked you to do.

Uhm... yes... she tucked some strands of her behind her ear and turned to the side since she doesn't feel comfortable looking at Shin Hye and talking to him. She sighed quietly and murmured upon realizing that she has disappointed him again, I'm so sorry...

Ahhh, forget it. Just go back to the office now.

His voice mellowed as he said those words and ended the call. Seo Hyun looked at her phone for a couple of seconds before exhaling with a bleak expression. Then she mumbled to her, I'm so sorry but he wants me to--

Aigoo... Jung Yong Hwa, that hard-headed kid. Shin Hye's lips twitched to the side as her eyes rolled in disappointment. She was almost there. The mission was almost a success but he just ruined it. Shaking her head, she fixed an easy smile on the seemingly tensed girl, Alright, I'll drive you back.

~~~

That was quite a long day for her. She massaged her right shoulder as she stood by the pantry looking at the empty mug of banana-apple shake with ma. Jerking her head upwards, she looked at her reflection on the glassed cupboard door. Somehow, he has saved her from a long moment of awkwardness today. Had he he shown himself in the office, she knew she would have difficulty on facing him. Apart from that morning in his step-father's hospital room, she did not see him for the rest of the day.

Although, she already knew his packed schedule for the day-- meetings here and there, Seo Hyun could feel that obvious emptiness of the office without him. Letting out a deep breath, she walked up to her bedroom. She must sleep to avoid too much deliberation with herself. Laying herself to bed, she turned off the lampshade and cradled her phone on her hand.

Her appa looked so different from before. Why does it seem like she has been seeing him in

different phases of her life? Before when she was young, then when she was in her late teens and now that she was an adult. And, how odd could it get that he did not recognize her again on their second meeting. When her mom left for Daejon, she told him to try to work out her feelings for the man. To try to see that regardless of the fact that her father had not been beside her while she was growing up, he is still her father. Her omma also said that she must forgive him before she regrets it. Maybe she did not give it much thought before but seeing him there on the bed with that empty consciousness, with those look of helplessness, she could not help but wonder what kind of daughter she has been all this time.

It was a fact that he left them, it was a fact that she grew up without him around. But it was also a fact that she did not know his side of the story. Why he left them and how come he ended up as the step-father of the man she will go on loving senselessly.

Turning to the other side of the bed without letting her phone off her grasp, she recalled her conversation with Shin Hye. It was indeed a day of revelation for her. What if they were not really in love with each other?

Situation like that could happen. People get married just for the sake of getting married. But why him? Just as she was about to lie on her back, her phone rang and she answered it in an instant.

~~~

Well, she did not really give me a definite answer, and it was all your fault by the way. But yeah, the girl is still in love with you.

Stop it, I told you I don't want to hear anything about it. Yong Hwa turned off his phone and threw it on the sofa. Although it left an obvious smile on his face and he was kinda on a high hearing about what happened, he was still not too happy with the fact that Shin Hye had to make her go through another ordeal.

He wondered how she was doing now. Hopefully, she was not thinking about what she talked about with Shin Hye. Even though Shin Hye assured him that she did not say anything about their engagement he was still uncomfortable about it. Now, he was

worrying about her again.

Yong Hwa found himself blankly staring at the phone beside him. Suddenly, his fingers played with the keys as if they have minds of their own. The ringing, as it was set on speaker, killed the silence in the room. It only took one ring for her to answer.

It's you...

His heart seemed to flinch.

Do you want to hear a story tonight?

He stupidly nodded.

It's a silly story, actually...

Yong Hwa smiled, 'how silly could it be, Hyu~n?'

It's about a prince falling in love with a princess.

He almost forgot to breathe for a second since he knows that story... by heart.

The princess loved the prince too.

'Loved him?' He felt a knot tightening in his stomach.

But the prince was with a monster and the princess was so scared of the monster because he had hurt her before and she was afraid he might hurt her again...

Her voice turned wobbly.

And... and the princess could never forget the pain the monster caused. So she was so scared that the monster was still capable of causing the same pain. She loved the prince but she has to run away because the prince never saw the monster the princess was seeing. All he saw was a gentle father. And the princess--

His back fell on the sofa as he placed an arm on his eyes.

... and the princess had to hide away and watched as the prince took the train. It was so painful as he slowly drifted out of her sight. It felt like being starved to death. It was like her heart was being taken off her chest. More like being deprived of air to breathe. Those kinds of pain.

Yong Hwa swallowed the lumps in his throat.

But the princess waited... she waited for him to come back because the wound of seeing him go was so deep that only the prince could heal it. But, when the prince came back... he was... he was so different and worst, the prince found another princess to love.

He could feel his own tears flowing gently on the side of his face but he did not dare wipe them away.

The princess, she was still wounded, worst the wound has gone deeper... she... she... wanted her prince...aigoooo...

Her voice trailed into gentle sobs until she ended up crying. Her palm must be covering her mouth now, but he could still here those soft hiccups of attempting to stop the tears. Yong Hwa sat up putting both elbows on his lap, covering his face on his own palm as he listened to her tears.

Uhhhh... I- I'm sorry... I'm so sorry for crying. It was a silly story... a really, really silly story b-because the princess still loves the prince...

It was then that he let his hands slipped on his mouth to stop himself from saying anything as he stared at the phone, as if he was right in front of her.

I... I still love him, and it's so pain...ful... already! But I... I can never seem to stop my heart from loving him... I--

The phone went dead. It was him who turned it off. It was too much for him to bear.

ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

Yong Hwa let out a piercing cry as he pulled his hair then slumped on the floor. Why must they go on torturing each other that way? Why can't their love be as simple as the rising and setting of the sun? Why must they love that way?

All questions, he needed answers.

Those freezing hands arent your fault They carry scars from long before Afraid to love someone, You turn your back on the other side of the words Like ice, the embraced heart slowly starts to thaw * For anyone to be loved by someone, Makes life in this world shine If it was me, Id make your heart warm once more With eternal tenderness Even if fates games hurt the heart On the other side of the tears, A single ray of light will swoop down into the darkness We know that this is so As strong as the suffering, we can feel peoples warmth Everyone is searching for a place That can take away the sorrow and loneliness So for you, that place is here Dont be afraid, dont hesitate anymore, because Ill protect you To the point of being painful (my heart) This love is beautiful (dont be afraid) Even if just momentarily (let you know my love) This time is beautiful (you know let you know my love)

CHAPTER 29: HEALING

Tonight will be the night That I will fall for you Over again
~fall for you (secondhand serenade) fall

She folded the newspaper, blowing a soft sigh, as she diverted her gaze towards the open street. Only a few cars whizzed by along the one-way street as constant streams of passersby saunter on the walkways. The image of Ji Son flashed in her mind as her lips curved in a tiny smile. It has been days since she last saw him-- her Cake. Yoona was obviously feeling the gap whenever he was not around. Ignoring her mind's suggestion of phoning his father, she decided to just go back to the office and try to find something that could occupy her mind. A couple of hours later with two cups of coffee, a glass of pineapple juice, and some paper works left unfinished, Yoona stood and decided to take her lunch somewhere else. Somewhere she could let her mind rest from the thought of that little boy who wanted to marry her and his father who was making her feel confused. Somewhere she could probably stop her mind from imagining a future with a father-and-son tandem. Shaking her head, she blew an air of disappointment on her mind's crazy suggestions.

Skipping lunch was tempting moments ago but now food would be her perfect distraction. After instructing Shim Ji, she acknowledged her patrons who were lazying inside the shop and went out to eat somewhere. Just as the door clang closed behind her, she recognized that broad back that was leaning forward looking absorbed on the newspaper in his hands. Manager... Ji Hwan gave her a slight bow that she ended up biting her lower lip and creasing her brows as the boy walked passed her. She would have wanted to remain incognito and his greeting made Si Won turned to where she was standing. With a little smile, she opted to go on walking. Ahhh... Yoona-ssi... Forcing herself to relax, she turned to find him pushing his seat behind to stand, h-hi... Hi... Si Won replied unconsciously massaging his nape and smiling like the way Cake does when he wanted another piece of blueberry cheesecake. Oh, man... she mumbled at the back of her mind, uhm... it's nice to see you here... Yeah... uh-- Where's Cake-- Ji Son, I mean... she grinned as he chuckled softly. He's in the daycare center. Finally? Yeah, finally... I bribed him a Cabi trip this weekend... It made her laugh, alright. Yoona shook her head, uh... lunch break? Coffee break? Kinda... I'm on vacation leave. You are? knowing how workaholic he is, vacation leave is surprising. Yeah, I decided to refurbish his room. It still looks the way it did when he we moved there. Uhm, except for the bigger bed. Ahhh... that's good to hear, she smiled nervously then decided that she needed to get away, I... I think I should be going--

Is it rude if I ask where? he sheepishly smiled. Lunch? she mumbled. Lunch. Hmmm... I think I could use some too. Uh-oh. Do you mind if I tag along? Do you need to prolong this agony? Say yes, you mind Im Yoona! Say that you don't need company! Say anything but not a Uhm... no... I don't really mind. Great! Oh man, this is trouble. Heart trouble... ~~~ When the door suddenly opened, she forced herself not to look as if she has not been anticipating his arrival. Instead she turned her neck slightly sideways and in her formal tone she greeted, Good afternoon, Director Jung. Seo Hyun was to drop her gaze back on the papers sprawled in front of her but she found herself cradling his stare as he walked along her corner with that familiar smile when he greeted her back. A rush of cold blood crept on her body up to her face and she tried to open her mouth but words failed her as she tried to pull her eyes off him. If he stood in front of her for a second she could not really tell but they did lock glances again. Ignoring the thump-thump on her chest, she whisked her mind back to the documents but her eyes would cunningly travel towards him. Yong Hwa was studying the first batch of documents she placed on his in-coming file rack and scribbling his signature or remarks on them then would transfer them to the out-going files. He did this for the next couple of minutes until he cleared his throat and asked for the rest of his schedule. She stood to give him a copy she made moments ago and read the contents marking down his comments in between reading. Afterwards, she walked closer to his table and took the outgoing documents to give to Mrs. Park. She rather moved in haste just to stop her obvious tensed feeling being so near him but before she could fully open the door, he called back softly so she stopped midway and rested her other hand on the doorjamb. Thanks for yesterday... That was all he said with that face that brought back some memories from before. With a slight bow, she pulled the door open and slipped off the room. Resting her back on it, she counted for a while before releasing some pent-up breathes. It was really a bad idea being in his room so she made up excuses just to stay longer outside until she realized that it was time for him to go to another meeting. The gods must be playing with her for she ended up

meeting him by the hallway just outside his office and they did that little dance of walking on each other's way then ended up talking at the same time until he finally stopped to let her pass on the other side. Seo Hyun could not understand if the whole thing should make her smile or scold herself for feeling like a love-sick teenager. Once again, she was alone in the room contemplating over her own revelation the other night. Her eyes were still puffy that even the other employees were prying what happened to her that night. Finally, she said it. Though she was not really planning to say it that moment but maybe she needed that silence to accept that fact and let it out on her conscious mind that she, Seo Ju Hyun is still helplessly in love with him, whether or not he would reciprocate her feelings, it really didnt matter anymore. It felt confusing, however, when the call ended. She might have pushed the button since she was all weak as she lay on her bed and held on to the phone talking to her 'you.' Putting an elbow on the table, Seo Hyun darted her gaze on that empty seat slightly slanted on the side which was a clear indication that he just occupied that seat. She would still get all those butterfly effects she had back then whenever he would walk in the room and take his place inside his office. Mushy as it may sound, but that was probably what she felt when she realized that he has walked into her young heart back then. She clasped her hands together and recalled how her Yo~ng Oppa held it under the table on their first dinner date. She smiled but the ringing of the phone stole her away from her dream train. It was the private phone ringing so she waited until it stopped because she could not really take his personal calls. Suddenly, it rang again that made her heart thumped in an odd way. What if it was an important call? Seo Hyun stood and walked over to it and held out her hand for a second before retracting. Whether or not it was important she should not-It rang again and by an unknown force, she found herself cradling the receiver on her hand. Yo-- She listened as the person introduced himself as a staff of the medical institution. The call ended rather abruptly and she zoned out in a deep empty thought. She stood there for a moment until the busy tone brought her back to her senses. Putting the receiver back, she scrolled on the nearest piece of paper she could grab and walked lifelessly until she found herself running as fast as she could. The taxi-ride felt like consuming her entire life as she prayed that it was not too late-- that she was not too late. Her eyes didn't even falter from looking straight ahead as she could feel those lumps slowly choking her. She doesn't want to cry and she shouldn't be crying but it was a moment when she was totally not in control of her emotions. All she could think about was getting there-- on time. Her legs-- especially her calves, were terribly having cramps by the sudden run she just did. But it did not stop her until she stepped in front of his hospital room. She reached for the knob but it opened before she could and a nurse got out looking like she was hurrying and focused on her with a questioning look.

Are you a family member? Seo Hyun nodded slowly as another two nurses went out so they moved away from the door. Voices were getting louder and orders and questions that she could not understand fill the air in the background. And without waiting for the woman to say another word, she stepped to go inside the room until she read her action and blocked Seo Hyun right away. Agassi, you cannot go in there! But! My father! she blurted out loud trying to push the woman away but she held her arms and with a gentle smile she shook her head. I'm so sorry, the doctors are doing what they can to help him so please, the only thing you can do for him is to wait and pray. With that, the nurse opted to go back to the room and locked it leaving her to wonder what was happening to him. Seo Hyun's mind was really blank and she could feel her whole body quivering. As another man sprinted, she attempted to take a step forward but he was fast enough to close the door that her tears finally found their way out. It felt like being ganged up by all of them. It felt like being fooled by the situation. She felt so helpless that all she could do was to cry and surrender to her tears. Seo Hyun walked to the side as if she was totally lifeless and fell on the ground with her knees bent. Embracing herself, her body felt like involuntarily swaying forward as if making herself stop from crying silently while her eyes never left the sight of that closed room. ~~~ Thankfully, the meeting finished earlier. Yong Hwa has been feeling restless for the couple of minutes inside the conference room that he really could not understand why so he went straight to his office. A rush of sudden cold breeze welcomed him on the emptiness and the unexplained feeling intensified when he saw the bright green sticky note on top of his table with her familiar stroke. Appa As simple as that but he perfectly understood its meaning so he ran off. It only took him a few minutes to get to the hospital and ran as fast as he could up to his stepfathers floor. His mind was painstakingly bringing him back to the night he found him unconscious in his room before his operation; he cried at the first thought that he was gone. Now, he has Seo Hyun to think about too. Yong Hwa knew deep inside that she still loves her father and the abandonment was just her excuse to hate him. Finally, he reached his floorhe almost gasped at the sight of her. There she was squatting on the floor embracing her folded legs and swaying back and forth looking like a lost little girl. His eyes then wandered towards the closed door with all the faint voices inside. Seo Hyun slowly jerked up that their gazes met, his heart tugged when her lips quivered and those tear-stained eyes focused at him as if

begging him to come closer which he did. Yong Hwa found himself sitting on the floor pulling her into him. She cried louder, the tears that she has been trying to stop seemed to flow out of their own will while he cradled her on his chest and rocked softly. Yong Hwa could feel his own heart rapidly throbbing in his chest but he tried to stay calm for her and found himself mumbling under his breath, shhhh... everything's going to be alright... What if... it wouldn't? Yong Hwa closed his eyes when she held on to his shirt and burying herself deeper to him and mumbling those words that he could not even understand anymore. All he could glean was that pain and fear as her body trembled. He was scared and so was she. Too bad it was the worst way for her to find in her heart that deep longing for her father. But that moment Seo Hyun was his own little girl-- his baby, the woman he would go on loving stupidly, don't say that... B-but... she choked again then shook her head clutching his dress shirt way too hard on her closed fist, No... oh... no God please... not yet... Not yet... He could feel his heart crushed as he listened to her gentle pleading. If only he was God, if only he could make things better for her. But he was not, all he could do was to wait with her and hold her that way. All he could do was to shut his eyes, kiss the crown of her head and let himself drown in her scent as he prayed for their father. Feeling the numbness on his legs, he adjusted himself to sit on the floor but he felt her pulling him closer. Don't leave me... oh, please don't leave me... She cried and his heart retracted with that begging, the words he would have wanted to hear from her in a different circumstance. He shook his head and gently bended closer that his lips brushed the side of her ear then reassured her in a soft voice, No I will never leave you, Hyu~n... never... That was a promise he once made on that fine afternoon they made the list, he may have been gone for eight years but his heart never left her. Yong Hwa held her until the nurses came out, one-by-one, looking relieved so he slowly guided her to stand and meet the doctor. How is he? He had a minor attack but his condition has now stabilized. He took a deep sigh of relief and the doctor smiled as he patted Yong Hwas shoulder, Can she see him now? He pressed her hand tight when the older man nodded and bid her gently, go see him Ill talk to Doctor Baek. Seo Hyun looked up to him as if unsure of what to do, go ahead, Ill be there in a minute I promise

Yong Hwa smiled as he watched her walk with careful steps. If he would be there beside her, she might just depend on himbe like another reason not to face her feelings head on. Seo Hyun needed to be alone with her fears for her to be able to deal with them on her own. After the doctor explained his condition, he went to the room and found her sitting by his bedside. He was not sure if she was holding her appas hand but she was sitting close to him. She was silent, just staring at her sleeping father. His lips carved a gentle smile as he walked away and left them. He didnt need to be there. Seo Hyun needed that space and time alone with the person who shadowed her life with pain. She needed to face her own monster. ~~~ Ju Hyuna... this is the way you swing the bat. Watch Appa. Okay... Ahhh... but Appa, that's how I did it! Well... yeah... yeah, but you need to step your foot a little closer, like this. See? Ahhh... And swing your arms... like this... and then... look at the pitcher. I will be the pitcher! Okay, go ran along... okay stop! Hey, you are so far! I can't see you anymore! Hahahaha! Appa! I'm here! Look at me! Look! Seo Hyun felt like she has ran for a mile or so as her eyes opened and was welcomed by that warmth on his smileit made her smile back. Princess, why did you wake up? He tried to lift a hand but failed to do so, Go back to sleep... you look tired. She sat up and rubbed her eyes gently, You recognize me? Oddly, the question sounded funny even for her as her dad chuckled. How couldn't I? You have your mom's eyes. The memory of that answer came sweeping on her mind. He used to say that a lot even though other people would insist that she looked more like him than her. Suddenly, it felt like seeing him in her parents room again whenever he would come home late and her mom would tell her to wake him up. Those were the mornings she loved the most. Of knowing that her daddy went home and would be spending time with themwith her. She would come bouncing and running to him and watch his closed eyes, half-opened mouth,

and that annoying snore her mom used to refer to. She would jump up and down on the bed until he wakes upnever once he got annoyed by her way of waking him. Tears escaped her eyes that she could not stop them, I... I'm so sorry... Appa... Im so sorry Sorry. That word seemed like a lullaby. She felt relieved saying that word as her tears washed her pain. Finally, it felt like her heart was constricting but in a way that it was healing her. She reached out and took his hand and laid it on her cheek. Seo Hyun missed thatshe missed that hand on her face, that voice on her ears. She badly missed his presence. Tears were suffocating her that she could not even stop herself with her body shaking that way and her voice thrilled with emotions as she repeated that word. Aigoo... why are you saying sorry? And why are crying? Aiooo, uri aegi... She felt the gentle pressure from his hand on her cheek so she smiled. Trying to stop her tears with her free hand, she slowly rested his hand back to his stomach and laughed, Im so sorry I- I just missed you, she bit her lips as they quivered again then shook her head, Im really sorry A- Appa. He laughed again but louder this time while shaking his head effortlessly, Aigoo... stop saying sorry. It's okay if you were not able to meet me at the airport. Kids can be handful especially when they are still young, you were like that before, but-- Seo Hyun brushed her tears aside as she looked at him with confusion, kids? Yes, that's why your husband picked me up at the airport. Husband? She was getting more confused especially by the way he seemed too sure of what he was saying. Maybe Yes, your hus--- oh, here he is! My son-in-law! Seo Hyun found herself turning to follow his gaze and her eyes fell on him. Yong Hwa stood by the door with a bouquet of pink roses in hand with that mystifying smile. Her heart skipped a bit when he started walking towards them then stopped midway, slightly lifting his baggage. He must have forgotten for a moment what he was holding then gave her that silly smile before walking towards the other end of the room to deposit the flowers on the vase. Where have you been? she managed to ask but her voice trailed when she realized how obvious her query was. He must have felt her discomfort that he just gave her another sly smile before walking towards them. Abeoji, how are you? You made us worry again. Yong Hwa positioned himself at the edge of his bed as she was sitting on the chair beside him and smiled when he noticed how she

gently withdrew her hand that was resting on her fathers arm. Just some chest pain, but Im okay now. He nodded as the old man attempted to sound energetic, Yeah, I talked to your doctor. He said you better stop thinking too much or moving too much. You are stressing yourself. Aish, those people. How can they tell me how to live my life? Yong Hwa let out a soft laugh tapping his leg lightly, Aigooo... ya... stop it now... He rolled his eyes turning to his daughter that made her giggle a bit, Arasso.... by the way, why didn't you bring the children? I think I haven't met them yet. Ahh he did not expect that as Seo Hyun looked up to him with the same surprised expression so he cleared his throat after giving her a knowing wink, Oh the kids! Well, theyre in school... Oh, I forgot, its school day, isn't it? She watched as he nodded. It seemed like it was dawning on her. Her dad was thinking that they are married. But what made him think that way? Yong Hwa then walked behind her placing both hands on the sides of her arms bending closer to whisper, play along, he only needs to hear happy news. She felt that sudden rush of air when his breathe tingled on the side of her neck that if she wasnt able to contain herself, she would have ended jerking. Seriously, he better not do it again or else How old are they again? Yong Hwa went back to his place but looked straight to her while answering her father, Well, your grandson is eight... eight years old and our little girl is-- She's nine months Seo Hyun cut him and asserted maintaining the eye contact with that impish smile. Eight years and nine monthsthat was how long they were away from each other. Those numbers suddenly appeared like they dont matter at all. Yeah he bobbed his head slowly with eyes transfixed on hers. Until he grinned bigger taking notice of the old mans grandfatherly laugh as she chuckled herself. Aigooo-ya! I must really meet them! Bring them here, okay? That's why you need to get better soon since the children are not allowed here in the hospital. Yong Hwa chided him mildly. Oh... that's the case... he heaved regretfully but turned to Seo Hyun with that hopeful look, But I'm going to live with you?

Yong Hwa puckered his lips when Seo Hyun turned to him so he smiled sheepishly, so, are we going to let him? Of course, Appa... she decided to focus on her father since she was getting more uncomfortable by the way he was holding her gaze, you will live with us... Yong Hwa smiled and bent closer to his step-father and pretended to be whispering, Did you hear that? She just said yes... Laughing out loud, his gaze fell on Yong Hwa's empty fingers, But where's your ring? The question made them look at each other again and he chuckled at how big her eyes suddenly became. He moved closer to lightly tap the older man's hand, Oh, that... Yong Hwa stopped for a moment to glance over her then went on with a gentle smile, well, today is the let's-play-boyfriend-and-girlfriend day so we have to keep the rings in the house. She suppressed a laugh and shook her head. Seo Hyun could not help but feel sorry for her dad with the webs of lies he has been weaving for the past minutes already, but she could not really make him stop. Aside from the feeling of fuzziness those thoughts were creating inside her, she knew that it was helping him somehow since he needed to hear only happy news and maintain a happy thought. With those reasons, she relaxed on her seat letting her back rest comfortably as she listened to his blabbing. Aigooo... that's childish! You should always wear your rings! Yong Hwa winked at Seo Hyun once again that all she could do was to cross her arms on her chest shaking her head. He wanted to give himself a tap on the shoulder for eliciting that kind of response from her. She has been wearing that relaxed smile and her cheeks would turn pinkish whenever he would add icing on the little cake he has been creating. It was a good thing. Finally, he could proudly claim that he was seeing the result of his master plan.He has been waiting for years for this event to happen. He nodded vigorously and laughed when the old man responded with a loud yawn, Arasseoyo... you must sleep now. We will be going back to work too... Oh no! Since you're both here, we should talk more... But, Abeoji, you have to rest... and you don't need to worry since we will always visit you, right... jagiya? Seo Hyun gave him that you're-over-doing-it glare but chuckled when he pouted so she stood and adjusted her dad's blanket, go to rest, Appa... we will just come back. Okay... you must not leave the baby at the daycare for too long, go pick her up now. Yes... she nodded and turned to Yong Hwa as if warning him not to say anything anymore.

Thankfully, he seemed to understand her then again, he raised his brows as an act of defiance but bobbed his head upon seeing her twitch her lips. The feeling was so refreshing as he walked behind her on their way out. That was all he wanted in the first place-- to see them like that, to know that Seo Hyun has forgiven her father and for the latter to gain back the love of his Ju Hyun. He should be contented but Ju Hyuna... His voice halted his train of thought as they both turned to see the old man looking at them with those gentle eyes. How much do you love Appa? Seo Hyun was taken aback by that question for it was more like a forgotten memory. Chilly breeze crawled up to her body especially when she felt Yong Hwa's hand on hers as if helping her out. She looked up to him and gave him a tight-lipped smile when he nodded towards the old man. Taking a step forward, she stretched her arms just the way she would do before, This much... He smiled and closed his eyes as he spoke, I love you more than that, okay? Her heart swelled and she involuntarily let out a sigh as she tried to keep herself on her feet until Yong Hwa held her by the elbow. His hand slipped back to claim her fingers intertwining with his. And with a gentle press, he smiled, ready? Yes... she replied in an undertone. Yong Hwa held her hand until they got into the car. It was almost dark. She hardly noticed the time they stayed inside the hospital. She must have slept for a long time. It was surreal, she felt like being in a dream with that roller coaster of emotion right from accepting that private call to hearing her Appa call her 'princess'. And now, being beside him in that small space of his car as he whistled behind the wheels, seemed like a part of that whirlwind of a dream sequence. Seo Hyun could not help but to watch him from the corner of her eyes. That serenely collected profile unaware of the raging emotions she was currently having. What if she dared to be bold and tell him how much she would want him back in her life? Not just as his assistant, not just the daughter of his step-father, especially not just a friend. What if she would go beyond reason and do what Yoona said about making the first move? You want to say something? Her heart leaped when he blurted that out so she shut her eyes tight then mumbled, I-I... uh... well, thank... you... For what?

For... everything... she continued maintaining a low voice and chiding herself for being so obvious. I mean-- You said Yoona has a coffeeshop, Yong Hwa chuckled to himself since he has been feeling her discomfort, let's go drop by there first... Uh-huh... she managed to answer turning her head back to the road. Just moments later, he parked on an unappealing corner by the roadside that it made her look at him again. Let's go... Seo Hyun got out of the car despite feeling odd when he walked towards a shabby little gift shop. The place housed almost every little trinket imaginable-- packs of stationery, normal looking to weird key chains, mugs of different sizes and shapes, figurines, socks, hankies and even those fancy jewelries carelessly placed among those throngs of other what-nots. Suddenly, he took her hand again as if it was the most normal thing to do and slipped this unassuming ring on her left ring finger. She almost withdrew in surprise but he was holding her firmly. Touching the fancy diamond protruding on it, he grinned, There, perfect. Gently, he let her hand fall on her side and carelessly wore the other one on his own finger and casually walked to the cashier and gave the young girl money. Yong Hwa smiled and motioned for her to come near him when he found her still on the same spot cradling that confused look. He chuckled as Seo Hyun finally reached him so he patted her head lightly, Put it on whenever you visit him. We will never know when he will think of us as a married couple again. With that he walked out of the shop unaffectedly and she has to scold herself for zoning out as she sprinted towards him. The ring on her finger meant nothing but some props for her father's pleasure. Although, it fits perfectly well on her finger, she could not help but to feel melancholic when she recalled one item on their to-do list that mentioned about a couple ring. She unconsciously played with it upon taking her seat on his car. It was nothing, she reminded herself. Without warning, Seo Hyun found him leaning towards her that she has to hold her breath. The distance was almost nonexistent and she could feel his breath into hers. She closed her eyes not really anticipating his next move until she felt his hand on her side and the seatbelt stretched into her body. You forgot your seatbelt again, he whispered keeping a good distance from her face. She swallowed and jerked her head on the side. How could he pull that trick on her again? And how silly for her to forget that stupid seatbelt? And most of all, how stupid of her to think he would really kiss her again? Closing her eyes, she made sure that her head was turned in a right angle that would hide her reddened face from him. Jung Yong Hwa, really!

~~~ Yoona waved as Si Won drove away-- her smile stupidly pasted on her face. After lunch, Si Won insisted that it was tea time and it would be better to enjoy it back at her shop. The uneasy feeling subsided as soon as they started chatting their way to lunch. He was indeed a fascinating person and she did not regret spending that time with him. It was not really a surprise how he seemed to be successful in his field, apart from being too good-looking, he also possessed a sweet tongue-- not literally though. He was a good conversant that she could discuss anything and everything with him. She rested her hands at her back and was about to turn a heel when she noticed that familiar couple walking towards her. If she was still high on the Si Won effect, she could not really tell but the couple appeared to be her bestfriend and her estranged ex-boyfriend. My eyes are deceiving me... she declared as they got closer. No way, they aren't... Yong Hwa chuckled and embraced her as Seo Hyun walked closer towards them with that gentle smile. When the guy released her, she took a step towards her bestfriend and put an arm on her shoulder just as Yong Hwa turned to them. But seriously, this looks like some good old flashback... Unnie, stop it... Seo Hyun disengaged herself from her and walked towards the shop. Yoona turned to Yong Hwa with a what-the-heck-was-that look as the latter shrugged his shoulders, this is a big surprise, Oppa! Yeah, he nodded as Yoona led the way, you've got a nice place here... Thanks! After touring Yong Hwa around, they went outside and joined Seo Hyun who decided to be left alone on one of the tables by the porch. She could feel her friend's awkwardness so she opted to carry the conversation as the guy got contaminated by her bestfriend. So I've heard that you're getting-- A kick under the table stopped her from continuing as Seo Hyun's eyes widened so she cleared her throat and continued sheepishly, getting more handsome. What?! Yong Hwa almost choked on his shake as Seo Hyun shook her head and snickered, where did you hear that? Just from someone... Yoona laughed herself while he was obviously watching her friend sitting quietly. May I know who that someone is? he asked.

She waved her hand animatedly and winked towards Seo Hyun's direction who was looking as if she was not with them, oh, just a buzz I hear around. Anyway, I'm so glad to see you back here... is it for good? It was then she noticed her sister turned a bit but diverted her gaze down when he started to answer. Well, it depends on some people... Some people? Yoona smiled as they were both eying the silent girl, well, you better make up your mind on where you really want to be, Oppa. Life is too short be idling around. I know... he chuckled under his breath. She might still be upset on the seat belt thing he pulled awhile back. But he did not really regret doing that. I've heard about Nichkhun. Uhm... yeah, she smiled as she put down her glass on the table, oh well... if it's not for you... it will never be yours. I and he will never be that. But I can see that you are doing well now... he settled comfortably on his seat as Seo Hyun decided to take a bite of her sweet potato cake, maybe you were not really destined to be together. Yes, you can say that, Yoona nodded, Fate did not agree. So... how about you and... Yong Hwa clasped his hands together and rested his elbow on the table, I'm working on it... Seo Hyun looked up and met his stare but she hurriedly look away. She knew he was playing on her again. Ahhh... good, Yoona nodded watching the two play that little tug-of-war, well... just make sure you both know what you want and do something about it. Don't end up as another used to be... Hmmm... never... She turned to her friend after that implied reassurance, What do you say, Seo? I don't know, just be honest, I guess... she muttered. It has been bothering her mind since they got settled on the car. He was an almost married man and it was not very becoming for him to get too attached to her, especially since they have that undeniable past or even that unspoken feeling. She felt sorry for Shin Hye. No woman deserves that kind of treatment. But on the side, she would have wanted to confront him of why he was still affecting her that way. If there were any meanings to his actions. If she should continue hoping that she still has that place in his heart. Probably, if she was strong enough like the way she was

when she sat beside her father's bed and held his hand. Maybe if she would find the same courage to hold her Yong Oppa's hand and asked him how sure he was in getting married to someone else. Probably, she would. ~~~ The fancy ring glistened on his finger. With the other nights revelation, he was now sure where he stands in her life. After all, he never left. Smiling confidently, he lounged on the couch with legs resting by the armrest. All he needed to do was to let her know that her assumption about him and Shin Hye were all wrong. What could be the best way to break that news to her? He was getting excited with the thought. Should he make an event? He must plan something good, something she deserved. Aigooo Seo Hyunah he muttered out loud as his fingers ran into his hair. Finally, the problem with her father has been settled. Yong Hwa laughed at himself when he realized that he has been thinking of winning her back. He should be celebrating for the success of his plan instead. He regarded that sudden attack as a blessing in disguise and hopefully it wont happen againhe was confident that it wont. Now that she has finally opened herself to her past, it was time for her heart to follow. To let go of her inhibitions and for them to love the way they did before. Yong Hwa was envisioning it already. Suddenly, he remembered something so he hurriedly went to his room. The phone twinkled on and off like some dainty little lights hanging by a Christmas tree and her ring tone brought that potpourri of emotions as Seo Hyun reached for it and cradled on her cool palm. Yoboseyo? I was waiting for your call, do you know that? she sounded as if scolding you but she laughed quietly and went on in a lighter tone, My mother used to say that I should not talk to strangers but up until now I still don't know why I could not stop myself from answering your calls. Sheclimbed up to her bedroom and gently closed the door as if waiting for the person to say something but she knew it never would. I'm getting more curious about you. You know my story... well, almost half of it. But I know none of yours. Life is indeed unfair, isn't it? Pulling her legs up, she reached out and clicked the lamp off and let her eyes get reacquainted with the darkness. Do you remember the prince I told you before? I was with him this afternoon... It felt like being with him again after all those years. I missed that guy. Do you know what he said to me before he left? Seo Hyun found herself smiling with the bittersweet recollection.

Don't worry so much about him thinking that we are married. Maybe tomorrow, he will have a new version of who we are to each other. ...who we are to each other, she continued letting her back carefully fall on the bed, I would want to know who we are to each other. I would want to know who I am to him... A smile formed on his lips as he let out a sigh. You are the girl who stole my heart away... that is you to me Hyu~n. My keeper and... the faint light outside glittered amazingly, my love light... ~~~ He paced back and forth inside his office convincing himself that it was okay allowing Seo Hyun not to go back to the office that afternoon. Besides, it was Saturday. Besides, he was sure that it was him whom she loves. But the thought that she would be going out on a trip with that Minho guy was not really a welcoming thought. No, Seo Hyun was just being nice to him and it would be impossible for that person to steal her from him now or ever. Aish! he mumbled and took a deep breath before sprinting out of the roomshe could still be inside the building. Panting heavily, he groped along those lines of car until he was halted by the sight. Seo Hyun was getting into the car with that obvious smile she was wearing and the other man ran on his side and took the drivers seat. She looked happy.

The best thing 'bout tonight's that we're not fighting Could it be that we have been this way before? I know you don't think that I am trying I know you're wearing thin down to the core But hold your breath Because tonight will be the night That I will fall for you over again Don't make me change my mind Or I won't live to see another day I swear it's true Because a girl like you is impossible to find You're impossible to find This is not what I intended

I always swore to you I'd never fall apart You always thought that I was stronger I may have failed, but I have loved you from the start Oh, but hold your breath Because tonight will be the night That I will fall for you over again Don't make me change my mind Or I won't live to see another day I swear it's true Because a girl like you is impossible to find It's impossible So breathe in so deep Breathe me in, I'm yours to keep And hold on to your words 'cause talk is cheap And remember me tonight when you're asleep Because tonight will be the night That I will fall for you over again Don't make me change my mind Or I won't live to see another day I swear it's true Because a girl like you is impossible to find Tonight will be the night That I will fall for you over again Don't make me change my mind Or I won't live to see another day I swear it's true Because a girl like you is impossible to find You're impossible to find

Chapter 30: CHARADES

over you I'm never over, over you something about you It's just the way you move the way you move me
~back to you (john mayer) back He paced back and forth inside his office convincing himself that it was okay to have allowed Seo Hyun not to go back to the office that afternoon. It was Saturday, anyway. And, he was now confident that it was him she loves. But Seo Hyun going out on a trip with that Minho guy was not really a welcoming thought. No, Seo Hyun was just being nice to him and it would be impossible for that person to steal her from him now or ever. Aish! he mumbled and took a deep breath before sprinting out of the roomshe could still be inside the building. Panting heavily, he groped along the lines of car until he was halted by the sight -- Seo Hyun was getting into the car with a smile while the other man took the drivers seat. She looked happy. Standing akimbo, he shook his head for being such a fool. Perhaps he should get his plan rolling now, or else, that guy might outrun him. ~~~

Plock plock Fascinating, she whispered to herself as the ripples disappeared. Throwing another stone, she watched as it created another set of circles as something bubbled nearby then she smiled at Minhos reflection, sitting beside her, on the water. Why do you love coming here? he broke the silence and noticed that gentle smile settling on her face as the wind seemed to make the calm water move. Theres nothing here not to love, she exhaled as she spoke and hugged herself. The sky was showcasing a different display of mellow colors again as the day was closing. As promised, they spent the whole afternoon with Minho on the wheels driving around with the windows all open with acoustic music blasting from the radio. They dropped by his parents house before she asked to go by the Banpo Bridge. The place was like her sanctuary when she wanted to rest her mind from all the thoughts that had been hovering above her head for the past weeks since Yong Hwa came back. And, Minho was the perfect company. He would just stand or sit beside her without saying anything whenever he would feel like she was not in the mood to discuss her thoughts. Minho-ya she turned to him, thanks Thanks for what? he probed while putting both hands inside his jeans pockets. For this, for spending time with me like this He chuckled. Seo Hyun can be a drama queen sometimes so he shook his head, by the way, have you figured it out? Figure out? Yeah the knock knock? Whaoh, that one? Really, its a hard one. Why dont you just tell me what it meant? She playfully nudged him as he seemed to be slipping into a far away look. It means, I love you Seo Seo Hyun opened her mouth but no words could express her surprise when he said that line again. Did she think that he has completely forgotten about that? MiI-I told you Minho looked at her again with that soft curve on his lips, its nothing new, really, he shook his head and gently touched her arm, that was what the joke meant. But its not really a joke, Seo. Oh, Minho, I know that and Im really

Youre really sorry, he nodded, yeah I know that too and I am just here to wait until you give me a definite answer. Im not rushing, I never rushed you Seo. I just want to reemphasize. Seo Hyun has to shut her eyes tight since her heart was pounding deliriously. Maybe it was wrong to be hanging out with him like this since she might be giving him false hope again. But she didnt want to lose his friendship. Seo Hyun? Uh I You must be reserving that love... Seo Hyun diverted her gaze up into the horizon and felt the thin air brushing her skin. It was not really like reserving it since she-- she didn't really know how to put it, let's not talk about it. Taking his hands, she met his gaze, Minho, we have known each other for years. And all these time, you were always there to hold my hand when I needed someone to hold it. But that is all I could ask for you to hold, my hands... but my heart-- I know I have been competing with someone else. All those times and even now, it is still him. I don't know if I am competing with an image or a past. But whoever he is, he is very lucky to be holding your heart. This doesn't mean that I'm giving up, Seo. She watched him walk away like the clouds in the sky, carefully moving through the wind's dictation. He was right. Someone else already owned her heart and she just could not give it up just yet. ~~~ Jong Yong Hwa is PMS-ing. That was the only thing clear to her as she bent closer to the documents on the table. He seemed like he was back to his old self again-- ignoring her, slamming folders, mumbling to himself and worst of all, not looking at her at all. Seo Hyun sighed, wondering what she did again. Suddenly, the thought dawned on her. What if he-she touched her lips and shook her head. No way, it definitely won't happen again for she won't let it. Maybe if she took things in a different manner, he might loosen up. Yes, she would just ignore that indifference.Besides, she was getting used to it. Standing up, she decided to take her chances and walked towards him. Seo Hyun took the papers he just signed and cleared her throat then uttered under her breath, Uhm, Director, I'm going to visit Appa later. W-Will you be there? Yong Hwa smirked to himself and inaudibly whispered, Why? You don't have a date?

She looked at him as his head was still downcast and waited for him to say it again. Then when he remained quiet, she asked, I-I'm sorry? Nothing... he grimaced while pushing his chair back and stood without looking at her, I don't know if I can go there... cancel my appointments for the rest of the day. Seo Hyun looked at him in surprise as he walked out of the room. So that was it, huh? The Director seriously needed some anger management training for he had been exhibiting symptoms. She shook her head and forced her eyes closed. Perhaps, he has some misunderstanding with Shin Hye-ssi. Perhaps, he left to go to her and pick her up. Aigooo... she heaved a sigh and sank back on her seat. He's out again to meet his fiancee, Seo Hyunah. He would say sorry to her and she would accept it and then they would be spending the rest of the day together. Dine somewhere, walk around the Hanggang... and then... aigooo... Her head fell on the table. She bumped her forehead a couple of times on the hard wood. Seriously, she needed to start accepting that she was just another used-to-be and the kiss they shared the other night was just some spur-of-the-moment chance. Even the way he held her in the hospital was just some gesture of pity and helplessness. Finally, she has resigned to the thought that whatever he was showing or has been showing to her, they mean nothing for they would never change the fact that he was an almostmarried man. After lunch, she tried calling his number but he was not picking up so she decided to just send a message. It would be a good distraction to spend the rest of the day in the hospital since there was nothing much for her to do at the office. Seo Hyun has been spending a couple of hours everyday in the hospital but they never bumped into each other. She could not really say that she was expecting it but she could not deny that fact either. She stopped by Yoona's cafe for lunch and went straight to the hospital. Her dad slightly turned his head up when she walked into the room and placed a finger on his lips signaling for her not to make any sound and pointed at the corner. There she saw Yong Hwa with his body stretched on the sofa with arms crossed on his chest, sleeping like some old log. How long has he been here? she asked in a hushed tone as she stood by his side as her father folded the book he was reading and took off his glasses. He ate lunch here and slept. I don't know what's wrong with him today, did you two fight? If he was there since lunch time then he was not with Shin Hye. Seo Hyun carelessly shook her head as her eyes lingered on him. He looked pitiful, crouched on that sofa, which was far shorter than him that his feet were dangling on the armrest. The room was colder than usual so she went to adjust the temperature and walked back to her fathers bed and helped him when he was trying to reach for the robe hanging by the headboard.

After getting it, her Appa gave it back to her and puckered his lips towards the unconscious person on the couch, put this on him, he must be cold. Seo Hyun nodded and walked towards Yong Hwa. Carefully, she put the robe over his body and tucked it up to his chin making sure her movement won't wake him up. Seo Hyun smiled to herself when he did not even stir. He really looked so manly now as if time had enhanced his features. She lifted her hand up and was so tempted to run her fingers along the contours of his face but she stopped herself midway. Asleep or awake, she shouldn't be doing anything to him. She swallowed hard and shut her eyes tight. Good lord, she needed strength to overcome the temptation laid before her, to test her virtue of self-preservation. You want to kiss him, don't you? Her dad's voice, although toned down, seemed to thunder in the room so she shook her head and snapped in a controlled voice, No! I don't! There's nothing wrong in kissing your husband... Seo Hyun rolled her eyes. Should she or should she not? Turning a heel, she found her father creasing his brows on her and remembered Yong Hwa's reminder that he should not be, in anyway, displeased. And if she won't follow him now, it might cause him to think that she and Yong Hwa were really quarreling and he might get worried and be stressed out unnecessarily. Slowly, she positioned her right hand on the edge of the backrest and balanced her weight on it as her other hand held on to her hair. The scent was teasing her as she moved closer to his face. He looked so serene with eyes closed and face less tensed. If she would move hastily, she might wake him up and finding her stealing a kiss from him would just be the death of her. Gently, she composed herself and noticed that she could actually fake the kiss since her father won't know if she really did kiss him. How would it feel to see this sleeping face for the rest of her life? The realization somehow weakened her and hesitation crept in, but she found herself resting her lips lightly on the side of his lips, inhaling his musky scent in the process. In that quiet moment, as she kissed him with eyes closed, she found herself lingering a little longer than she needed to. She placed a hand on her chest when she withdrew herself from him, afraid that the deliberate act woke him up. Seo Hyun smiled as she straightened and found him stirring a bit but fell into a deeper sleep. Heaving a sigh of relief, she turned to her father and almost laughed out loud when she found him grinning from ear-to-ear with his thumb raised in approval. She shook her head, suddenly shy, as she walked towards him. She could not believe what she just did stole a kiss from him, but it felt good. ~~~

Yoona-ssi! Yoona-ssi! She got on her feet and ran towards the door. Before she could even open it, Ji Son came jumping towards her that she shook her head and squatted in front of him as he thrust his tiny body to hers, oh, Cake! Yoona-ssi, did you miss me? The little boy asked upon releasing her and ruffled his hair playfully, of course, sport! Why did it take you this long to visit Yoona-ssi? Uh, because my Appa let me go to eorinijip, he pouted then grinned when Yoona answered her with a frown, aniyo, I like school. I have many friends already and me and Appa went to Cabi last Saturday but you were not there. Appa promised me he would ask you but Ya, are you bothering Yoona-ssi again? It was the father who appeared by the door with arms folded on his chest. She stood and pulled Ji Son beside her, Cake is never a bother to me, Ji Son Appa. And did you just forget to ask me to go to Cabi with you? Oh that... I was, uh... you might be busy and all. But really, I regretted not asking you. Yeah, Appa said he was sh Ji Son! he reprimanded his son and sheepishly smiled at Yoona, Oh, forget it but next time you will go with us, right? Hmmm... you two just need to ask me, she playfully pinched the little boys cheeks, So, he is mine today? Aigoo, are you throwing me out already? he chuckled as Yoona bit her lips to stop herself from laughing, It's okay... I understand that you like my son more than you like me. Her eyes widened with what he just said especially with that crooked smile he wore. If she was drinking that moment she would have spat it out on his face. She opened her mouth but none came out. To her relief, his son tugged at her softly so she shifted her attention to the little boy. Can I have the blueberry cheesecake now? Ji Son. The commanding voice of Si Won made her laugh as his son pouted at her.

I'm sorry, but can I have my blueberry cheesecake now... please? Yoona giggled then puckered her face as if thinking hard then noticed the little boys frown. She bent in front of him again and enfolded his cheeks on her palms, arasso, little costumer, blueberry cheesecake coming up! Yehey! They watched as he skipped out of her office and pulled a chair nearest the counter. Yoona walked towards the display case and noticed that the Appa was tailing behind her. She pretended to be oblivious of his presence as she prepared his son's food but it was getting uncomfortable so she tilted her head up, Ji Son Appa, can you please take your seat too? But she regretted that action when the latter just stood there with his hands on his pocket, eyeing her mischievously . She laughed and pushed him towards where Ji Son was sitting but he was in the mood to play with her as he made his body stiff. Yoona rolled her eyes while Sim Ji and Ji Hwan chuckled from the side, Ji Sonah, can you please take your dad away? He is bothering me... With that, her little soldier walked towards them and took his father's hand and dragged him to his place. Si Won could do nothing but to laugh. A few minutes later, with only Cake as her company, she decided to laze by her porch swing with her little boyfriend busily sketching something on an old notepad he found in her office. Yoona smiled as she tapped him by the shoulder, hey Cake, are you just going to draw all day and ignore Yoona-ssi here? Ji Son turned to her with sad eyes and sat beside her, Yoona-ssi, I told my dad I want us to marry you. Yoona smiled gently while resting her palm on his cheek, but Cake you are just six and I am too old for you. By the time you reach your marrying age, I would already be an old woman and you would want to have a younger girl beside you then... She almost laughed when the kid did not even blink so she raised her brows signifying that she was waiting for him to say anything. Marry my Appa then. Almost choke at her own saliva while her Cake looked as if his suggestion was the easiest thing to do, bu-- If you marry my Appa, you will be my Omma right? Cake, I--

If you don't want to marry me, then marry my Appa and come live in our house. You can sleep in my bed... but then, his bed is bigger so-- Cake-- Ji Son, Yoona lifted the little boy's chin up so as to make him stop from talking, Cake, people get married if they love each other... Then you should start loving each other now... Breathing heavily, she straightened on her seat. That was the most mystifying thing life has posed on her. If love was as easy as that as reflected on this child's eyes then everything else will come as a tiny pebble on a wide road. How could she explain to his wide-eyed innocence that love was never easy? Ji Sonah... do you love me? Yes, I do... he nodded matter-of-factly. Yoona smiled as the warmth in her heart seemed to intensify, and I love you too. That's why I am always happy whenever you're here with me. And marriage is also like that. Two people must have the same feeling for each other-- same level of feelings. Your dad and I-I can't really say that we have the same level of feelings right now, because, I really don't know how he feels for me. Then, how do you feel about him? I don't know... I don't know yet, Cake... I can't answer that question now. Will you think about it? If you love my Appa? Maybe he loves you too but he is just shy to say that because uh, you like me more than you like him. She laughed at his analysis, Yes, Cake, I will think about it. But can you promise me that you will not ask your dad if he loves me too? That was one thing playing on her mind and she wanted to make it clear. She didn't want him to think otherwise. Okay, Ji Son nodded and offered his pinky which she took gleefully. So we have a deal, Yoona-ssi, you will think about it okay? Because, I really want you to come live with us and be my mommy since you said I can't marry you even if dad said I will grow taller on my next birthday. She laughed then nodded, I will Cake... she doesn't really want to give blind hope to this boy but what could she do? That was the safest she could say since it would surely break his heart if she would say no right away. ~~~ She hated being late and the worst thing that could happen was if he arrived sooner than she did so she rushed towards the lift. Just as it was about to close, Seo Hyun almost jumped towards it and quivered by the thought of getting squeezed between the doors. But

it was not really the worst thing that happened. Instead she found herself sharing the limited space with him. Bowing gently, she turned ahead ignoring the mirrored door in front of them and pretended that she could not see him. And because she was a nervous-wreck, she has forgotten that the coffee in her hand was for the boss standing silently just a step behind her. And because she has forgotten that simple thought, she found herself sipping the content carelessly and just realized that she didn't really drink coffee out of whim when the bitter taste tingled on her taste bud. Seo Hyun just drank his coffee. A sudden shake almost let the liquid escape from its container while she felt his hand on her arm supporting her. There must be something wrong with the elevator. Aish! Yong Hwa mumbled and she found herself abruptly veered towards him. I thought they fixed this already... He said again. She remembered someone told her that one elevator has been malfunctioning for several days already. She remained quiet since she didn't really know what to say but hurriedly took out her phone and dialed Mrs. Parks number. Yobo-- the phone went dead and she turned to him with a sigh. I left mine upstairs, he mumbled and pushed the emergency button, let's wait for help. Okay, she whispered and prayed for help to come the soonest possible time. The Company's VP for Marketing is coming to Korea this weekend, she happened to be the CEO's daughter-in-law so he will be holding a welcome party for her. I need you to be there... with me... Uhm... y-yes Director, she nodded unsure because of that follow up. Odd as it may sound, it was the second time he said that. It's a cocktail party, just tell me if you need anything. Seo Hyun nodded again the realized the way he was looking at her no, it was more like he was observing her. She was about to say something when he suddenly lifted a finger and pointed something. There's something on your hair. Oh, she brushed off whatever it was on her that Yong Hwa was pointing but he shook his head.

Here, let me... Seo Hyun felt a sudden rush when he reached out and gently ran a hand along some strands of her hair. The butterflies fluttered carelessly inside her that she thought the moment seemed to last for a long time. And, as he released his hand off her, their eyes met and that eerie millisecond stopped her breathing as her eyes shifted from his very same pools then to those parted lips but it was not only her, since he was doing the same thing. Suddenly, another jerking erupted from the tiny box that imprisoned them. The movement caused her to mumble in surprise and he moved a step back. I guess, it's working now. Yong Hwa sighed, looking up, since it was the safest part to direct his attention. Uhm... yeah... stupid elevator, she mumbled to herself. ~~~ Yong Hwa swirled his chair back and forth remembering that almost moment inside the elevator. If not for the elevator going back to life, he would have been possessed and do the unthinkable again. Really, it was just an inch and he would have been kissing her like a mad man. And that smell of her hair got stuck on his palm that sneaking it closer to his nose once in a while was enough to remind him of that moment. He swallowed hard, since the woman in question was on her very spot, a few feet away, seemingly busy with all the reports he carelessly asked her to do. It was the best thing to do -- one of them should be crazily busy so as not to get caught in another moment like that. The stillness in the room was killing her as the only sound playing in the air was her senseless typing on the keyboard as if she was doing what he asked her to do. How could she work properly when all she could think of was that muted eyes that was almost an inch from hers during their encounter at the elevator? Not to mention the recurrent memory of the other day when she kissed him secretly. Shaking her head, Seo Hyun told herself to stop thinking about dangerous things like that. She needed to get out of the room if she wanted to live longer since the silence and the awkwardness was killing her. Gathering her courage, she stood, Director, c-can I go to Miss Kim first? I need to check some documents in her possession. Yong Hwa nodded. Thank goodness she found a way to kill his uneasiness, go ahead, you can also complete the report there since most of the references are with her. He uttered keeping a straight expression then stood walking over the mirrored window. They knew that they were both helping each other with that silly excuse. Okay, t-thank you... she bowed, just call me when you need anything.

Ju Hyun-ssi... He found himself calling her back just as she was about to turn knob. Seo Hyun turned and found him still facing the window behind them. Yong Hwa has been battling over the idea for a long time. Was it the right time for him to give her that considering the tension that has been in the air? Then he shook his head. There was no such thing as perfect moment. He exhaled before facing her once again. Yong Hwa found her walking towards him and stopped just a foot from the table that separated them. Seo Hyun was nervous as he could tell from the way she was playing with her fingers. He opened his drawer, took the box out and pushed it forward on the table. She shifted her gaze from him down to the box. It was really something unappealing, a plain and ordinary box but her heart was pounding heavily on her chest. It's for you... he finally said then lifted the thing again and stretched out his arm for her to take it. Seo Hyun slowly moved closer to the table taking the thing from him and lightly brushing her fingers with his. Her stomach churned. The butterflies were back and they were crazily playing inside. Gently, she lifted the lid and blinked twice with what she saw. It was a silver necklace with a dog tag pendant. It reminded her of the gift she gave him back then. She swallowed and felt her heart throbbing in her chest. Slowly, she took it from the box and held it on her palm. The tiny diamonds around the edges of the cubic pendant made it sparkle as they touch the light overhead. Her hands were obviously shaking that she wished they weren't. Then she lifted her head up to look at him again and noticed that gentle smile he was wearing, w-what's this for? Uh... uh, that... he shifted and pretended to pull his chair back in place and carefully sat down, it's from Nuna... yes, she-- well, birthday gift. Seo Hyun's mouth formed an O as she did not know what to say from that answer until her eyes fell on the powdery pink charm bracelet on her wrist. The very same one Fany Unnie sent her for her birthday that year. Exactly the one, she said that would attract 'love'. She smiled. Yong Hwa regretted it though. He shouldn't have said anything at all since it seemed to have blown his cover. Thank you... But, it-- he was about to tell another lie but her eyes settled in a very mellow smile and nodded at him. Thank you still. One day, I would be thanking Unnie for this beautiful gift. I love it so much.

Yong Hwa nodded and watched her leave. He sank on his chair as soon as the door closed. He smiled upon recalling how her face lit up at the sight of it. Finally after eight years, the necklace found its way home. Seo Hyun rested her back on the door and closed her eyes. The box, enclosed on her palms, rested near her pounding heart. It was the sign she has been praying for. Smiling to herself, she took in some air before opening her eyes. Although the future was still uncertain, she wanted to take her chances. To give it a go. She knew the perfect time to take her last shot for him has finally come.
back to you it always comes around back to you I tried to forget you I tried to stay away But it's too late over you I'm never over over you something about you It's just the way you move the way you move me I'm so good at forgetting and I quit every game I've played but forgive me love I can't turn and walk away back to you it always comes around back to you I walk with your shadow I'm sleeping in my bed with your silhouette should have smiled in that picture if it's the last that I'll see of you it's the least that you could not do oh I will leave the light on I'll never give up on you leave the light on for me too back to me I know that it comes back to me doesn't it scare you your will is not as strong as it used to be

Chapter 31: Taking Chances

But in your dreams whatever they be Dream a little, dream of me


~dream a little, dream of me

She has been thinking about what Ji Son told her. It was the only thing that occupied her mind for the longest time for the rest of the days after that. Perhaps, she was really given that time to think things through since the father-and-son have been physically absent from her life during those days. Physically since Cake would call her still everyday but she hasn't heard from the father yet. Maybe he got back with Ji Son's mom, the thought brought a twitch on her chest. It was not a lie that she was starting to feel possessive of that boy and thinking that he might reunite with his own mother made her terribly sad. But she could not tell if the same possessiveness also applied to the father. Sighing, she rested her elbow on the table as her other hand tapped the pen on the wood. Maybe she should get her next cup of decaf. With that thought, she stood and asked Sim Ji to prepare one for her and walked out of the cafe. It was Seo Hyun and her favorite time of the day, when night and day battle for supremacy. Sitting by her swing and watching the sky change colors were the best way to spend that beautiful time. Sim Ji came out with her coffee a little later and she asked her to start turning on the lights since it was getting dark. Most of her patrons were inside the cafe since the chilly late afternoon breeze were piercing but she kept herself warm with her sweater on and with the

coffee she was sipping. Putting back the cup on the saucer, she looked up with a ready smile when she felt that someone was on his way but froze when a familiar smile met hers. Good evening... Si Won walked towards her. Oh, it's you... she found herself standing up, W-where's Ji Son? I left him at home. His smile never left his face as he motioned for her to take her seat again, I decided it's better if he's not here. Yoona's throat felt so dry, it must be the caffeine, uh... y-yeah, maybe Her speech was halted when he slowly offered his hand to hers. Unsure, she took it as he led her to stand again. He was confusing her. I did not bring him because I want to be here not as your Cake's father. Si Won started seriously while gently running his thumb on her soft skin, I am here as a man, Yoona. I words failed to come to her mind like she has lost the capacity to speak. Her heart pounded that she has to put a palm on it. The coffee must be the reason for the palpitations she was feeling. I have been thinking hard when did I start feeling this way towards you. Was it during the time you told me to date another woman? Was it when you said you would pity the woman I would be marrying again? Was it when I hear you laugh at my son's silly antics? Was it when I see you so attentive and protective of him? I can't remember, really. Si Won shook his head nervously, my work helped me to be a man of words. It made me good in talking, but right now I really don't know what to say to you to prove my intentions. Yoona could feel herself shaking but she could not say anything so she decided to remain quiet. His voice was softly playing with the wind and she was feeling euphoric. I could not deny the fact that Ji Son was the one who brought me to you but as I look at you I am more amazed by the woman I am seeing. And now, I realized I fell in love with you when you have your arms wrapped around my son with eyes closed as if he was your own. The very first night I saw the woman who would actually complete me. Before, I wanted the world, I worked hard to get what I want. Then came Ji Son, I worked hard because I want him to have the world with me. I am a greedy person indeed, for when I found you, I started wanting you to be part of the world I would want to get for Ji Son and me. I want you, Im Yoona... I would love it if you would be part of our world more than you do right now. I would love to share my world with you... She raised a hand and rested it on her chest. Her head fell to absentmindedly look at her almost bare feet. Her heart was racing and so was her mind. ~~~

The world seemed to pass them by as Yong Hwa drove smoothly along the highway. After work, she resolved to just drop by the hospital since she has a couple of hours to spare before school. The nurse gave him his medicines and he fell asleep in an instant. Seo Hyun was preparing to leave when Yong Hwa arrived and since he was sleeping already, he invited her for coffee at Yoona's place. They were silent the whole ride but it was not awkward at all. Perhaps it was just her, but the usual feeling of uneasiness being beside him seemed non-existent. There was a moment that she would turn her head towards him only to see his pensive look. He must be focusing on driving so she just shifted her head towards the open window by her side. Yong Hwa noticed that she was not wearing the necklace. He could not deny that he was disappointed for he was looking forward to seeing it adorn her neck. Shaking his head, he decided not to dwell on it much. Maybe one of these days she would be wearing it. But it did not escape him that she was wearing the ring, he forced himself not to smile. Seo Hyun has been playing with it for the past minutes he was driving and by the looks of it, she has been doing it unconsciously. The parking spaces were occupied so he parked a few meters away from the Ninth Street. Seo Hyun quietly got out of the car and walked ahead of him so he decided to just tail along. It has been a pretty scene watching her that way though it sent a melancholic almost nostalgic feel he has always been following her all their lives together, like this. That was the way he chose it to be but it wouldn't hurt for this moment to walk by her side. Yong Hwa was about to catch up when she abruptly stopped on her track. She stood just in front of the small white gate seemingly lost in whatever she was seeing. Finally, Seo Hyun turned back for him to find a tiny smile perched on her lips. It was a gentle curve that he could not really put any words into it as she slowly trailed back towards him and took his wrist slightly tilting her head to the side. Let's go somewhere else... He nodded with confusion especially since she was almost dragging him. But to feel that warmth from her touch left him more speechless and it made him wish that he had parked farther away. Seo Hyun was acting somewhat weird as she got in the car with that secret smile that cast the same curve on his. There must be a good reason for it. Minutes later, they were on this floating cafe by the Banpo Bridge. Faithful to its name, Cafe Sun has the perfect view of the sunset and he could also tell that it also has the same one for sunrise on the other side of the balcony. Yong Hwa took the seat beside her with the Han River in front of them. Easy breeze blew from the river creating a somewhat soft melody. If twilight has a song, they must be hearing it. They remained silent but he could tell that the same gentle curve awhile back never abandoned her lips. He would love to know what causing that radiance as he watched her by the corner of his eyes lazily stirring her cup of tea. Instead of quenching that curiosity, he focused on the bond on her finger, I see you're wearing it...

With a quick twist of her head, she mulled, hmmmm? The ring... Yong Hwa simply stated while gesturing on her hand, you're wearing it... Ah this? I thought he would be thinking that... Seo Hyun stopped, eyes falling back on the cup, she slowly slipped the ring off her finger, I was just another nurse today... He regretted mentioning it for she took it off and deposited inside her bag. Grimacing, he just decided to finish his coffee and drive her to school. The little boy in him got totally vexed by her action. You must be curious why I suddenly asked you to come here instead. It made him cock his head towards her while placing his mug back on the saucer and focused on her solitary musing. She was still looking somewhere in the horizon, probably on that golden bowl ready to disappear for the night. That solemn grin was coaxing him to just let her say it, instead he hid his anxiousness, probably... answering lazily but his mind has a better response he kept to himself. But I'm more curious why you are smiling so prettily that way, Hyun. I saw something beautiful, Seo Hyun started without looking at him, a man on his knees with a box in his hand and my sister standing in front of him with both hands covering her mouth. I could tell that she was starting to cry... Yong Hwa lifted his lashes to confirm his thoughts on her little tale only to be left bedazzled by how striking she suddenly looked. The sun's rays seemed to highlight the glow on her cheeks while most of them settled listlessly on some strands of her hair, mellowly swaying on zephyr's urging. She was beautiful. Seo Hyun has always been so beautiful but seeing her that way tug his heart in an unbelievable way. Not a single word managed to escape his lips. She didn't need to elaborate her story as it was not important anymore. Yong Hwa was captured by the moment mesmerized by her all over again. ~~~ I can't believe you said no! That was all she could say after listening to her story. She sat on the bed with legs crossed and hugged her bear. I know, right? How thrilling it was for him to ask that?!

Do you think Cake knew that he would do that? I don't know, maybe not... and ohhh, I really don't know what to feel right now! This is such a surreal feeling! Seo Hyun giggled at her sister's tone, But you just said no, Unnie! The moment he stood there I think I felt it in my heart that he will propose and it was so scary. It was like seeing Khun all over again rushing me to marry him just to escape his problem... Unnie, Khun and Siwon are two different people, not to mention different situation. Why don't you give him a chance? I am giving him a chance so I had to say no. We did not even go through the dating or even that boyfriend-girlfriend thing instead he wants to jump right to being engaged. You have a point, she pondered. Maybe that was what she would do too, He's just chaining you already. Si Won Oppa doesn't want to let you go anymore. I said it was too fast for me. Although it was silly to suggest it but taking things slow was the most intelligent suggestion I could think of. Because you don't want to totally reject his proposal, she smiled to herself and continued with a livelier tone, Because you like him too! So, is it love now? Funny, but I guess it is. It must be love-at-first sight for me too. Aigooo, I was really hoping you said yes, she pouted and made sure her friend could picture how disappointed she was. Seo, we had this very short time span to meet and up to now we are still getting to know each other. This is totally a 360 degree difference with what I had with Khun Oppa and it felt like new again. I don't want to jump into it too much. He has been in a whirlwind kind of relationship with Ji Son's mother and I don't want that kind to happen to us too. I understand. It was a tough decision, she sighed adjusting the receiver on her other hand. That's why I need to wait awhile... see how things go. Honestly, I am so scared. I thought before if something like this happened I could easily handle it but now that it's right in front of me I just don't know how to react. I don't know, Seo, but the whole thing is still making me nervous. You are just paranoid, Unnie...

Yes, I am so I'm taking this risk and say no.... Seo Hyun smiled sadly when Yoona released a constrained breathe. No matter how much I want to say yes especially for Cake. Ya! Don't tell me you are just doing this for his son. No, no, no, of course not! He is like the major reason I would have agreed, I admit that. But when it comes to this relationship with Si Won, I'm still scared. I have been to a very long relationship and how contrasting it was to his own. I'm just scared we might end up like the past relationships we have had. Stop being scared, you have him now to work things out together. I know... hmmm... how about you? Are you ready to drop the bomb? She just had to shut her eyes for a while with that unexpected query, Do you think I can do it? Ya! You were so good in telling me to stop being scared! Can't you take your own advice for once? Seo Hyun laughed nervously when she realized how ironic she was becoming, I'm sorry, Unnie... Aigoo, Seo Hyun, just do as what we've practiced. You're gonna walk up to him and tell him that you still love him and if he would go on with the wedding, he would be the biggest jerk of all... Aigoo, Unnie, can I really do that? Ya! I have faith in you! May I remind you what you just said the other night? It was your last shot to him. Forget about embarrassing yourself and just be true to how you feel. Aiooo, I told you to be here so that I could take care of your look! Just then she remembered that in a few hours time she would be seeing him in that party. That surely made those chill bumps appeared on her skin. Seo Hyuna, do me a favor. Blow his mind away, will you? Unnie... she sighed then cried in exasperation, I want to do that, exactly that! I wish I could. And you can!

Seo Hyun bobbed her head like Yoona was right in front of her, Alright, I have to hung up now. I have a mind to blow, she laughed quietly as Yoona chuckled. It was time to prepare herself for the party. The whole idea was making her so uneasy but she told herself that it was a matter of life and death now or never event. She would usually take a shower for almost an hour but she seemed to have added another thirty minutes to it. Be it a case of mental absence or she suddenly became overly concerned with her hygiene, she could not really tell. Or was it because her mind was busily picturing scenarios on how she would be 'dropping the bomb'? After some time, with dress on, make-up done and hair fixed, Seo Hyun stood in front of the mirror and inspected herself. Yoona's mom bought them a dress as a farewell gift before flying back to Paris with her new husband. It was too short for her that it ended up being stocked on her closet. Maybe the dress was waiting for a special occasion like this one for her to wear it. The A-line skirt dress skimmed a little above her knee that she was uncomfortable wearing it before. But as Yoona said, she needed to invest on her looks first. She ran her pinky along the sides of her lower lip to make sure everything was in place. She smiled at her reflection and was quite satisfied with how she looked. Finally, she took the necklace from the box and gently put it on. She smiled as she touched the pendant, it was perfect as it seemed to complement the straight neckline of her dress. It would have been bare without it, she nodded to herself and sighed. Seo Ju Hyun, go get him! Aja! ~~~ The party was almost starting as the guests arrived one by one. He hasn't seen his sister yet since she changed the plan of her arrival date again. Yong Hwa arrived earlier because the CEO called for an emergency meeting a few minutes ago in one of the private meeting rooms of the hotel. He looked around inspecting the people that was already present, hoping to see the person he was waiting for. But, it seemed like she was not there yet for he saw Hyo Yeon with the other department heads and managers. Maybe she was not coming. Besides, Seo Hyun doesn't really like attending those kinds of formal events. The mellow music filled the air and the gentle buzzing sound of conversation made the night lively. He sighed in frustration since he has been planning to make that night special for both of them. And, it would really make her happy to see his sister again. Speaking of his Nuna, he was sure that she would be making it a big deal if ever she won't show up. Yong Hwa walked towards Director Shin. He would just grab any distraction that would come along. Seo Hyun was late. She knew it but she did not plan to be. Inhaling deeply then releasing it deliberately, she looked around and noticed that most of the people there belong to the managerial positions. She should look for her Hyo Yeon Unnie since the latter sent her message moments ago

asking if she was still coming. Stopping midway when she reached the main door, she let her eyes wander across the room, only that there was no one else who captured her attention but the man standing on the side talking to another director. She has to let in another breath of air before continuing her walk. Suddenly, her careful steps reversed into an anxious one when she noticed those eyes that finally found her. She has to pretend to be oblivious of it. He laughed at the old man's attempt to make a smart comment about the political scene. Yong Hwa was somehow regretting that he decided to talk to him. Although he respected his ideas, there were some things that he could not really agree about and what was worse was that he could not even express his point. After taking a sip of the champagne, his eyes wandered in boredom but only got caught in that scene. Seo Hyun. She was walking with each step as if barely touching the ground and eyes fixated into something that was not really him. Or so, he thought. One hand innocently playing with that pendant on her chest, she looked as if she was a magazine cut-out. Yong Hwa gulped down the remaining liquid unaware and handed the glass to the old man. He started walking totally inane with what was happening around him. Yong Hwa was possessed. Something stirred inside him and he could clearly hear his own heartbeat. It felt like seeing her all over again for the first time like being transported to that snowy day where she handed him her umbrella or that morning in the radio station when she claimed her price that was him. It was all the same but then again it was all different. The feeling was overwhelming. It must be that little black dress she was wearing that made her milky skin glow. Maybe it was her hair that slightly curtained on the side of her face with those soft waves that somehow gave her face that mystic touch. Maybe it was her subtle make up, her somewhat smoky eyes and those soft pink lips. Perhaps, it was that familiar necklace that decorated her chest. Or maybe, it was her unpretentious way of walking across the room oblivious that she was a scene herself oblivious of the attention that she managed to grab, oblivious of how she just stole him away again. That sight of her left him come undone. That sight of her blew him away. She swallowed when she noticed how his gaze traveled all over her. She walked on pretending not to notice him with another director. Suddenly, she almost gasped when he deliberately handed the wine glass he was holding to the older man and started walking

towards her. Seo Hyun stopped dead on her track when she found herself standing almost three steps from him. I thought you're not coming... Yong Hwa started as soon as they both stood there but all she did was to smile timidly and nodded. You said you need me... she responded under her breath, ...to be here. Uhm, yes. He racked his brain to compose something else but he could not really think straight. I-I think you are as overworked as I am, Seo-- Seo Ju Hyun-ssi. You need to loosen up... Damn. But it was him who needed to loosen up. Ah... yes, thank you for the invitation, D-Director... her cheeks hurt like hell. She could not just fix an ordinary smile. Instead, her nervousness was showing off. Seo Hyun could just wish that her face won't be tomato-red at the moment. He stopped for a while trying to understand her words. Yong Hwa felt like losing his mind somewhere as she tried to smile herself, Yeah, well... uh, enjoy the night and I'll just see you around? Uh, yes... she nodded nervously as her cheeks seemed to burn. Probably, the 'mindblowing' effect must be really working, thank you... Yong Hwa ordered himself to just leave realizing how foolish he must look. Turning a heel, he sighed taking out his phone to check on his sister. Another awkward scene it was, she thought while commanding to breathe normally. It was not easy after all even with that greeting-each-other moment, what more if it was time for her to 'drop the bomb'? Oh my god, what was that all about? Unnie! she heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing Hyo Yeon with that bewildered look. Whew, that was quite a scene! she shook her head and gave her a very wicked grin. Raising a brow, she inquired, What are you talking about? Like duh? You were in the middle of the room and looking at each other like that? I mean, seriously, I must be crazy if I was the only one who noticed how you seemed to eye-rape each other! Hyo Yeon laughed to herself. Unnie! Seo Hyun nervously looked around praying nobody heard her, How can you say such a thing? Okay, fine, don't explain. She rolled her eyes when Hyo Yeon only gave her

another teasing glance. Her making fun of that moment was not funny at all. Hyo Yeon raised a brow then batted her lashes, Yeah, but next time, you two better do it in private okay? I thought you were about to smolder each other... Unnie! That look of astonishment obviously made her laugh out loud, arasso, I was just kidding but Zip it! No more! Seo Hyun chided waving a finger in the air and left her Unnie. It was a good thing though, she must have been a breath of fresh air because her nervousness after that mind-boggling encounter with him somewhat subsided. After almost an hour, the program started and Yong Hwa positioned himself somewhere far from where her group stand but somewhere he could still see her. They have been playing that you-can't-catch-me-looking-at-you game for a few moments already and he could tell that she was still feeling uneasy. He could only wish that the girl could be as brave as the girl he would call every night. The idea of waiting for her to finally let go of her inhibitions was quite tempting but it appeared like he might as well wait for the next blue moon. Now, it was time to introduce his sister. Tiffany made a strict order not to let Seo Hyun know that it was her so he remained quiet and waited for the younger girl's reaction to his sister's 'little surprise'. Seo Hyun was standing at the other side of the hall with Hyo Yeon and the other Department Heads and they seemed to be engrossed in casual conversation. When Tiffany was finally called, he could tell how surprised Seo Hyun looked when all of a sudden she spun around and faced the stage. Fany was still delivering her speech but his attention was focused on Seo Hyun alone. He smiled to himself despite the apparent pity he felt for her. Suddenly, he decided to walk towards her. Her company acknowledged him when he reached them and excused her from them, escorting her on the corner-- Hyo Yeon's repressed smile did not escape his sight. Are you surprised? he started while Seo Hyun remained quiet and absorbed on his sister, I wanted to tell you she doesn't want me to. Maybe she has her reasons. Her attention remained fixated on the stage that she hardly looked at him. If only he could ask her what was on her mind. Yong Hwa just nodded silently placing both hands in his pocket and faced the stage again. When her speech was finished, she went down to the stage and greeted the people on her way to them. Taking a quick look at her, he noticed that she was finally wearing a smile as his sister walked towards them. Seo Hyunie! Fany almost sprinted towards them with arms wide open for her. The younger girl then took a step and accepted her hug, I missed you!

Unnie... me too, Seo Hyun closed her eyes and noticed that distinct Fany smell. How she missed it, I'm so happy to see you... Yong Hwa could not understand what he should feel. Part of him was genuinely happy to see his two girls reuniting but another one was kinda grimacing that Seo Hyun seemed to open-heartedly welcome his sister when the latter obviously has a lot of explaining to do. Look at you! Fany grinned as she studied her from head-to-toe, you are all grown up now and I must say, you're really really beautiful! Oh... thank you, Unnie, she placed both palm on her cheeks, and you too! You have always been so beautiful, especially now. She giggled as Fany frowned, holding on to her bulging stomach, ahhh... look at that, Unnie. I'm so excited to see this little one! It was happening again. The two just forgot about him as they went on chatting like it was just yesterday that they got separated from each other. Thankfully, Fany is a sister not a brother for he would surely start war with a family member. You want something like this too? It made him look from his sister to Seo Hyun and noticed that sudden rush of pink on her cheeks. Seriously, his sister is fueled to start teasing them already so he needed to butt in, Nuna, why did you leave hyung? Oh, last minute plan. I would have canceled my trip too but abeoji, his dad, asked me to be here earlier since I have a few things to do before I go on maternity leave. And, I got worried about daddy, she turned to Seo Hyun, my husband wanted me to be on vacation earlier so I have to finish my work before that. Yeah, you need to rest, Unnie, she nodded and continued to hold her Unnie's hand. By the way, Seo Hyunie, I'm sorry for not telling you about this. I thought you might say no if you would know I'm personally connected to the Kim's. She nodded, it's okay, Unnie. Being in the company is a big help for me and I have learned to love everything about what I do. That's good then, Fany tapped Seo Hyun's hand on hers then shifted her gaze from her to her brother. With a gentle smile she went on, well, look at you two, I really miss this sight. Nuna. Yong Hwa grunted just above a whisper. Tiffany stifling a laugh, Arasso, Yong Hwa-ya.

~~~ She watched as Yong Hwa spun his sister around. Fany laughed as he caught her and gently swayed again whispering something that made her chuckle. It was a beautiful sight to see and thinking about it, it must be her first time to see them that way. Usually, they would be bickering and throwing dagger looks at each other but tonight they were just the normal brother-and-sister in the middle of the dance floor. Speaking of dance, it was nothing but simple slow dance but she could tell her Yong Oppa has grown a right foot instead of having both left. If it was Shin Hye-ssi, you would have cried in envy... Rolling her eyes, Seo Hyun took the glass of virgin margarita offered by Hyo Yeon who stalked beside her, Really, I would, she answered in disgust as the other sneered. But what are you going to do if he asked you to dance with him? Hyo Yeon eyed her with playfulness as Seo Hyun shook her head in defeat and turned to her leaving the sight behind. What is the best way to say no to your boss? She said between breathes. Try to figure it out right away since they're heading this way, Hyo Yeon slightly turned her head behind where the younger girl was standing. Her eyes widened but remained looking at her former boss. If she was kidding, she could just laugh it off later or if she wasn't she wouldn't know what to do. To make matters worse, Hyo Yeon held her by the shoulder to make her turn until she found the two in question walking towards them. She smiled restlessly and decided to just focus her attention to Fany than to him. Ms. Kim, can Director Jung steal Ju Hyun-ssi for a moment? Fany grinned beckoning a commercial model eye-smile. By all means, do take her away, Director. Hyo Yeon answered taking the glass on her hand. 'And please shoot me...' Seo Hyun muttered to herself as Yong Hwa appeared to be bargaining with his sister so she decided make things easier and excused herself to go to the restroom, I-- Ya, you two! Fany finally complained out loud, stop acting like you don't want to hold each other! Nuna! Yong Hwa glowered but she gave him another look. Until Tiffany took his hand and hers and pushed them towards the dance floor.

Moments later, her hands rested awkwardly on his shoulders as his were placed midway between her waist and hips. Seo Hyun tried to let her eyes wander far from his face just to make breathing easier as his strong scent invaded her senses. Yong Hwa was also matching her silence that they slow-danced for a good deal of minutes, wordlessly. It You They said together eliciting a soft laugh from both of them. You go ahead... she said as traces of smile left her lips. No, I guess you went first... he shook his head with that gentle grin. Uhm, no it's okay... you go first, Seo Hyun insisted until she shook her head realizing how they seemed to be going around in circles again, You're a better dancer now. Is that a compliment? he frowned and chuckled when she puckered her lips and nodded, yeah, it seemed like forever, right? The last time we did this was Yong Hwa stopped and that languid expression did not escape her eyes nor her heart which felt like it was being wrenched. She nodded sadly to herself but smiled, letting her focus fall on the floor. It was her fault after all. Whatever they were now was all because she was a coward. Anyway, you looked so happy seeing your Unnie... She bravely look at him again and nodded with the gentleness of his voice. Seo Hyun missed that way of reassuring her. It was like taking her fears away to take her away from sadness, yes, I missed her so much so I'm really happy to see her... Ahhh... chincha? he smiled. Seo Hyun suddenly remembered something and a glint of impishness showed on that tiny curve she wore on her lips, Uhm... I'm so excited that I forgot to thank her for this gift. Yong Hwa's jaw almost dropped as he watched her touch the pendant for a short while then placed back her hand on his shoulder. The necklace-- sh1t, there's no way she's going to mention that to his sister, oh, err, don't worry about it I told her already. She almost laughed by the way his eyes looked so surprised. She loves teasing him that way, But I must thank her personally... He nodded helplessly and made a mental note to himself to make sure to keep the two girls on his sight. But he smiled with that playful tickle of smile she was wearing. Could it be that

she knew that it was from him? Ah, this woman, Yong Hwa complained to himself as that sheepish grin seemed to never leave her lips. But he loved that sight and could never exchange it for anything else since it warmed his heart. It was another moment when he would want to pull her closer instead of keeping that distance, but he could not complain anymore. Suddenly, she fell quiet pursing her lips together like she always does when she's thinking about something. Yong Hwa continued to watch her but he could no longer stop himself so he blurted slowly, You want to ask me something? Huh? Seo Hyun was indeed surprised so she tried to fix a straight face, Uhm, nothing... shaking her head, she felt silly but it was kinda weird that he asked. Was she that transparent or could he still read her like before? No, she could not ask that but, I'm just curious. Curious about what? he noticed that the music has changed and probably her arms were getting numb as they hang on his shoulder so he slowly pulled her closer so that she could relax. The action probably escaped her attention for she did not barge at all. Uhm, I'm just thinking... lately... she found her fingers clasping together by his nape. Seo Hyun felt the discomfort somewhere on her wrist so it was better. She was hoping he didn't mind. Hmmm... Yong Hwa probed when she fell silent after that. You and Shin Hye-ssi... uhm... it was impossible not to look in his eyes. There was this unbelievable sparkle to it that she could not really understand. Yes, what about us? he has to bite his lower lip to stop himself from smiling too wide. Yong Hwa knew where that conversation was heading. He was seriously thinking of the best way to corner her and talk things over with her but it appeared that Seo Hyun was making it easy for him. The words came as she breathe out that it ended like an indistinct tone, Why didn't you take her tonight? Because she's not part of the company... Yong Hwa replied matter-of-factly. Why did you ask? Uh, it's just that she hesitated for a moment then continued with another pent-up breathe, I mean, most of the people here brought their wives or girlfriends. The more reason not to bring her, Yong Hwa smiled. It was his perfect timing, She's not my girlfriend. Or wife, for that matter. She Seo Hyun stopped with astonishment. It was as if his meaning did not come

through her yet. Not for the life of her did she expect that answer. Did they break up? Or he meant Shin Hye was a fiancee, not a girlfriend, But she is your He shook his head with a gentle smile to stop her from continuing, Shin Hye's fiance is a good friend of mine who's serving in the military. I am helping them with the wedding preparations. Right now, they are together somewhere since he was given five days off. Seo Hyun closed her mouth when words failed to come out the moment the truth was processed on her mind. She automatically stopped moving and her hands fell on her side, Oh... so that 's how it is... Yeah, that's how it is... he nodded, sympathetic of those pools that suddenly grew wide open with astonishment. Why Ju Hyun-ssi, all along you thought that All of a sudden, she was dizzy, her dress felt so tight on her chest that it was a little hard to breathe. Struggling for words, she managed to compose but could not help but stutter, Ccan you excuse me for a while I-I need to.. to... Yong Hwa was bewildered as he watched her move across the room sprinting almost running until she disappeared among the throng of people, leaving him alone in the middle of the dance floor. ~~~ Seo Hyun rested both palms on her chest and unconsciously counted the throbbing of her heart. How could she be so stupid to think and to assume that he was getting married? Was there any moment that he deliberately made her feel that way? She should be dropping the bomb, not him, Aigooo... she snorted. Hugging herself, she stared deep into the sky and wondered where the stars hid. It was chilly out there but it was better as she felt like she was being choked back inside. Analyzing the situation was the hardest thing that came into her mind so she decided to Hi... She almost jumped at his sudden appearance behind her, H-hi... That was all she managed to say as he walked closer to her and stood just an inch away. Yong Hwa placed both hands inside his pants pocket and turned to her slightly, Ju Hyunssi, did I say something to upset you? I'm sorry if She shook her head without looking at him. Why did he need to go out and make it harder for her? No, it's me who should say sorry for leaving you there... It's okay... he smiled to himself as Seo Hyun was still focused into that solemn darkness. Clearing his throat, he attempted to make the situation less tensed, wow, it's breezier

here... She puckered her lips and nodded still keeping a straight attention in front of them. Part of her was screaming to start 'dropping the bomb' but another was too skittish with the idea. Not until she has a single thought, she would be doing it. Yong Hwa was watching her silently. Her constant thumbing of her hair to the side, the way her lips pouted slightly, then her gentle caresses on her arm that was telling him she might be feeling the cold those were the scenes that used to be part of his memory and imagination. The sky is beautiful... she broke the silence and her voice blended with the faint music playing in the background. The rhythmic pulsation on her chest was still making her feel weak as the cause of it stood beside her as if muted by the same wonder she was feeling. Suddenly, she felt his hand taking her arm that she was lightly whirled towards him. The warmness of his palm sent both comfort and uneasiness to her cold skin and the tenderness his eyes were wearing was making her dizzy again. Without words he leaned closer slipping his touch from her arm down to her hand as the other settled under her chin to guide her towards him. Gently, as the world went on spinning around them, Yong Hwa laid his lips to hers softly. She closed her eyes and let the magic take over. It was a slow and mellow kiss as if it was just another contact they were too used to doing. The feeling was so right as they lingered on to each others lips with eyes closed and bodies glued together. It was more like a dance as they matched the pace of the music across the hall with the cold night breeze encouraging them to get some warmth from each other. The moon above glimmered and was reflected on the man-made pond nearby where their own reflections were mirrored in broken streams, as the wind blows steadily. It was a perfect night. It was their perfect night.
Stars shining bright above you Night breezes seem to whisper "i love you" Birds singin in the sycamore trees Dream a little dream of me Say nighty-night and kiss me Just hold me tight and tell me youll miss me While Im alone and blue as can be Dream a little dream of me Stars fading but I linger on dear Still craving your kiss Im longin to linger till dawn dear Just saying this Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you

But in your dreams whatever they be Dream a little dream of me Yes, dream a little dream of me

Chapter 32: A Promise to Keep

I've loved you forever, In lifetimes before


~This I Promise You (NSYNC)
Part 1 Seo Hyun put her palms on her chest and unconsciously counted the throbbing of her heart. How could she be so stupid to think and to assume that he was getting married? Was there any moment that he deliberately made her feel that way? She should be dropping the bomb, not him, Aigooo... she snorted. Hugging herself, she stared deep into the sky and wondered where the stars hid. It was chilly out there but it was better as she felt that she was being choked inside. Analyzing the situation was the hardest thing that came into her mind so she decided to

Hi...

She almost jumped at his sudden appearance behind her, H-hi... That was all she managed to say as he walked closer to her and stood just an inch away.

Yong Hwa placed both hands inside his pants pocket and turned to her slightly, Ju Hyunssi, did I say something to upset you? I'm sorry if

She shook her head without looking at him. Why does he need to go out and make it harder for her? No, it's me who should say sorry for leaving you there...

It's okay... he smiled to himself as Seo Hyun stayed focused into the solemn darkness. Clearing his throat, he attempted to make the situation less tensed, wow, it's breezier here...

She puckered her lips and nodded still keeping a straight attention in front of them. Part of her was screaming to start 'dropping the bomb' but another was too skittish with the idea. Not until she has a single thought, she would be doing it.

Yong Hwa was watching her silently. Her constant thumbing of her hair to the side, the way her lips pouted slightly, then her gentle caresses on her arm that was telling him she might be feeling the cold those were the scenes that used to be part of his memory and imagination.

The sky is beautiful... she broke the silence and her voice blended with the faint music playing in the background. The rhythmic pulsation on her chest was still making her feel weak as the cause of it stood beside her as if muted by the same wonder she was feeling. Suddenly, she felt his hand taking her arm that she was lightly whirled towards him. The warmness of his palm sent both comfort and uneasiness to her cold skin and that tenderness his eyes were wearing was making her dizzier than ever.

Without words he leaned closer slipping his touch from her arm down to her hand as the other settled under her chin to guide her towards him. Gently, as the world went on spinning around them, Yong Hwa laid his lips to hers softly. She closed her eyes and let the magic take over. He intertwined his fingers to hers tightening his grip on the process as other hand gently snaked down the small of her back to pull her closer.

It was a slow and mellow kiss as if it was just another contact they were too used to doing. The feeling was so right as they lingered on to each others lips with eyes closed and bodies glued together. It was more like a dance as they matched the pace of the music across the hall with the cold night breeze encouraging them to get warm. The moon above glimmered and reflected on that man-made pond as their own were mirrored in broken streams for the wind was blowing steadily.

It was a perfect night.

It was their perfect night.

Yong Hwa slowly ended the kiss with a one peck on her lips while she opened her eyes still disoriented with what just happened. He smiled as he carefully thumbed the corner of her lips while she wore the same expression. Suddenly, she let out a soft laugh and shook her head when he playfully glowered at her. What? he finally muttered with a little frown but she reached out to touch his lips.

You have pink lips now, Director Jung, she wiped the traces of color off his lips as he continued to watch her silently that it was giving her chills. Just as she was about to get it all done, he started to bend again but she gently pushed him using her forefinger on his lips. He was getting greedy alright so she giggled, No, pink isn't really your color and we don't want more of it on your lips, do we?

He could do nothing but to laugh and run a hand on his hair as she slowly took a step back, arasso, arasso... Why does she need to kill the moment that way? Yong Hwa nodded but took her wrist again to plant one last kiss on her forehead then whispered, I think we should go back before Nuna organizes a search party for us.

Seo Hyun nodded as he held out his hand for her. They walked hand-in-hand back to the hall like how it should always be. As they neared the door, Yong Hwa lightly slipped his hand off hers but linked his pinky on hers that they were more like holding on to a promise. A promise that doesn't really need words to it. A promise that only they could understand despite the silence. He let her hand go and both walked to the opposite direction. He, going towards the other end, while she trailed back to her company but both looking back at each other with that secret smile.

~~~

There were a lot of dancing inside the hall but she resigned on her seat obviously looking bored. Oddly, her brother and Seo Hyun seemed to have disappeared at the same time and it would be good if they were together. The night is beautiful and it was made for lovers. As for her, she could do nothing but to let her eyes wander all around her. It has been a long time since she has been home. Yes, she still considered Korea as her home although they have been living abroad for years. The thought made her miss her husband. If not for that emergency business meeting he needed to attend, he would have been with her now and they would probably be dancing together.

Forcing a smile, she sat up straight and run a hand on her belly. The doctor told her to avoid sad and stressful thoughts. If not for that entry she found on Hyun Joong's journal she wouldn't have known of her step-father's heart attack. At first, he was telling her that it was just a note reminding himself to call the hospital if Yong Hwa wouldn't call him back but after much probing, he finally gave in and told her what happened.

She called her brother right away and was convinced that their dad was okay and it was a bonus to know that Seo Hyun had finally dealt with her problem with her father already. All along, she knew Yong Hwa has been planning something to get her to see her father again. She smiled remembering those two. Things were less complicated for them now. Maybe one of these days she could sit with Seo Hyun and her mom and tell them what she knew. At least, acceptance and forgiveness came from them first and was not forcefully given.

Finally, everything was okay. Fany knew that those two were really meant for each other. She could not really take credit of the fact that they got together because of her but she was dying to give herself a pat for a job well-done. By the looks of it, the two are on their way to happily-ever-after. But all those love thoughts were kinda making her feel sad. If only her own prince charming was beside her then it would be sweeter.

I see you're thinking about me...

The voice made her turn and found her husband standing behind her. Grinning, she motioned for him to take a seat after they shared a kiss, I thought you'll be here next

week! What happened to the business meeting?

It seems like you don't want me here, Hyun Joong snorted so Fany shook her head and drew a soft giggle while planting another kiss on his lips. Rolling his eyes, he continued seriously, I asked hyung to take over. Omma said it was not a good idea making you travel alone in this condition, Hyun Joong touched her cheek with a smile, and, of course, I miss you and our little fetus. Happy now?

Uh-huh! You have a way with words, mister... she pouted and locked her hand on his, and I miss you and so does our little fetus.

He laughed by how his wife mimicked his voice. By the way, where's Yong Hwa?

I was looking for him too, must be out somewhere kissing someone, she winked.

Aigooo... I thought the mission was put on hold while we are still pregnant?

Tiffany giggled and playfully slapped his cheek, well, maybe my little brother is making his own mission relative to mine. She was all hyper again and could not wait to go home.

Ahhh... I see. I really must meet my future sister-in-law.

Yes, you will but for now, I feel like dancing! she stood and took his hand but Hyun Joong pouted, ya, come on! The little fetus wanna dance!

Ya, it was only two hours since I walked out of the airport, he complained, my legs are not really on their best mood right now...

Ya... she made her eyes a little smaller trying her best to look upset, just because I look like a whale you are embarrassed to be seen with me? Don't you dare forget you did this!

I'm not say-- oh heck! Come one, let's just get this over and done with, he listlessly said as Fany kissed her on the cheek. It was really his fault anyway.

~~~

Where have you been? Hyo Yeon pried as the younger girl was wearing that incomprehensible smile, fanning herself gently, you suddenly disappeared. You were just dancing with... wait a minute, tell me the truth!

Unnie, I'm hungry. Can we go get some food now? Seo Hyun said innocently but her Unnie maintained that nosy expression.

Ya! Where did you two go?

Twitching her lips to the side, she knew that she'll never get away if ever she tries to circumvent the issue so she responded in a controlled voice, I guess you will not believe whatever I will say, so yeah, we went out to get some fresh air.

And then what happened?! Come on, tell me! We're team here, right?

She obviously failed as Hyo Yeon's eyes appeared to have brightened more on that attempt, Aigoo, Unnie... nothing happened, we just talked. That's it.

Talk? Hyo Yeon slipped her arm on her and whispered playfully, Like what about?

Hmmm... he told me that Shin Hye-ssi is not his girlfriend, or fiancee for that matter. But his friend's and he is just helping them since he is still in the military. Seo Hyun supplied hoping it would satisfy her. She could never divulge the details especially she, herself, could still not get over the highlight of that encounter. She sighed, That's it.

Oh my gosh! Wow! So you and him are back in each other's arms?

Unnie! Her eyes widened maybe because that was exactly she was wondering awhile ago after they parted but she shook her head indignantly, No, we're not. I don't know, really. I'm just so surprised and I feel very, very stupid that I was crying for all the wrong reasons. Aigooo, Unnie... it was so embarrassing!

But stop thinking about that embarrassing thing! she lectured, You should start thinking about getting back together!

Ottoke! Seo Hyun wanted to cry as she brushed her hands together. Just thinking about it makes her very nervous.

I can still see how much you are into each other. Hyo Yeon nodded softly

Yeah, I guess I never stopped loving him no, I'm sure I never stopped loving him. Maybe I should just walk right into him like right now and tell him that.

Then why don't you? Hyo Yeon suddenly laughed then turned whimsical, no, wait. Since we are just so sure here what he means to you then why not play hard-to-get?

What?

I mean, obviously he was thinking that you were assuming him and Shin Hye but he never corrected you before

Because I never asked. Seo Hyun stated firmly.

But still, he should have laid the cards despite how you were not so friendly with each other before.

Her Hyo Yeon Unnie appeared determined to see her proposal being considered, So you are suggesting...?

Let him woo you again. Wouldn't it feel nice to be like sixteen or eighteen all over again?

Although it was enticing, she was not sure if she was up for that kind of challenge. Besides, why complicate things? With those thoughts, she shook her head and pointed out, But I guess we have wasted a good deal of years already to go on that process.

But of course! But it's not another wasting moment, you know? It's the same as spending time with him again but it's more like reliving how you actually fell in love with him.

Seo Hyun pondered on for a moment. Maybe she was right, it was more a turning point. A

smile escaped her lips so she nodded, but I will not do this just because I want to be wooed but I want to teach him a little lesson for not setting things straight about him and Shin Hye-ssi.

Hyo Yeon raised a closed fist to cheer on her, Yeah! That's the spirit!

She laughed for she just became her friend's choding subject. It was exciting for her too but she shook her head pretending that she was not ecstatic at all. Just as she was about to say something, the older girl puckered her lips forward so she raised her brows in question.

Don't turn. Hyo Yeon advised with constrained voice, He's on his way here. Remember, don't appear like you are crazy about him.

Her eyes widened not only because of what she said but more so because of the the way Hyo Yeon hid a grin that she actually stiffened, Aigoooo... Seo Hyun squinched her eyes tight then fluttered them open when he slightly cleared his throat from behind. She took a step closing her gap with Hyo Yeon and laced her arm on hers as if asking for support.

Hi... Yong Hwa started pretending not to notice her flushed face then slightly acknowledged the shorter girl next to Seo Hyun

Director Jung, Hyo Yeon grinned obviously keeping something as Seo Hyun just timidly gave him a muted smile.

I was just wondering if you have a ride home... he asked in a mildly curt manner. It did not escape him how Manager Kim seemed to tell Seo Hyun something as the two exchanged a smile. They appeared to be keeping a discreet attention on each other but he chose to ignore it.

Seo Hyun finally shook her head but maintained that timid smile, I'm so sorry but I promised Manager Kim that I'll be riding with her.

Ahhh... he muttered dryly fairly unconvinced then turned to Hyo Yeon, Ms. Kim, if it's

Oh, Director I'm so sorry but we need to go somewhere after this. Seo Hyun interjected

for she knew what he will say and tugged her unnie to back her up.

Ahh yes, it's my... cousin's birthday! Hyo Yeon exclaimed with a soft laugh and looked at her again, Yes, my cousin's birthday... we kinda promised her that we will be there, right Ms. Seo?'

Uhm, yes.

Yong Hwa maintained a straight face although feeling discomfited. Your cousin is a girl, I suppose? he blurted out without much thought.

Oh yes... she nodded nervously as her unnie seemed to have lost her power to speak obviously surprised by how random his question was. Seo Hyun stressed further trying to sound enthusiastic, Her cousin is a girl and it's a girl's party!

Oh... placing a hand on his nape, realization suddenly snapped at him so he decided to just make his graceful exit before he embarrassed himself some more, Okay then, so maybe I'll just see you around.

Hmmm... yes... Seo Hyun finally smiled feeling relieved as he started to walk away from them. She heaved deeply but almost laughed when her unnie called back at him.

And I'll see you around too, Director Jung, Hyo Yeon gave her a wink right after Yong Hwa slightly nodded at her then gasped happily, We did it! She giggled when he was far from hearing distance, See that? He is so into you that he even needed to make sure the cousin is a girl.

I know right? He's a really jealous guy.

He is? Hyo Yeon noticed that dreamy-eyed smile Seo Hyun displayed.

Yeah, she turned to her unnie brushing aside those sweet recollections, but I hope he has changed now...

But you like it when he gets jealous, don't you? Hyo Yeon softly asked but snickered when

she puckered her lips and shook her head, stop lying Seo Hyun! You're not good at it!

Fine! Perhaps... a closed smile rested on her lips after her attempt to defy that thought, I do because, unfortunately, I find it really sweet...

And adorable... Hyo Yeon supplied.

Yong Hwa appeared on her vision again as he stood on the other side of the room surrounded by some people. He has his back on her but she could not help but to hold that sight, she bobbed her head slowly keeping that tiny smile, And adorable...

~~~

Si Won stood by the door watching her as she smoothly ran a hand on Ji Son's back and humming softly. When she was sure that the little boy was sleeping deeply, she slipped off his bed and took his gundam plushy that fell on the floor and laid it gently beside him. Yoona sighed crossing her arms to her chest watching Cake sleeping soundly like the little angel that he wasn't just half an hour ago. His father called her while she was on her way home since he was throwing tantrums again because of a toy he failed to get him. After a few minutes of explaining, Ji Son finally accepted her reasons why he shouldn't get such an expensive toy.

Coming out of her reverie, she almost exclaimed in surprised when she felt his body behind her enclosing her in an embrace.

Thank you for coming, he whispered, shoving her hair on the side so he could nuzzle on her neck.

Yoona felt her body quivered and a rush of cold air started from the corner where he laid his lips down to her toes. She shut her eyes and managed to relax before speaking, next time don't make any promises you dont plan to keep. You have a smart kid for a son, you know?

I thought he would forget, Si Won laughed quietly turning her towards him, I don't really like to buy him that Nintendo thing for he will surely get addicted. He is just starting

school.

I know... she said dryly as they walked out of his room closing the door behind them, next time just explain to him he can't have everything he wants.

I guess you should do that, he suggested sitting on the couch and pulling her to him, it seemed like he listens to you more than he does to me.

It's because I talk to him and you don't, she snapped, all you do is to get him everything he wanted. You think indulging him would redeem you for those times you would spend at work and not with him.

I am trying now, can't you see? he met her stare hiding an amusement with that straight face. He just loves it when she plays mother to Ji Son for it reminded him of his own. Yoona stood but he grabbed her by the waist that she landed on his lap. Are we arguing now, Yoona-ssi?

Are we? Yoona giggled while putting her arms by his shoulder, do you want us to fight?

Hmmm... he puckered his lips and playfully shoots a glance up in the ceiling before looking at her again, we can make up now...

Yeah? But we're not yet done with

Yoona squealed when he pinned her down on the couch and showered her face with soft kisses until he lazily stared deep in her eyes. With one gentle move, he claimed her lips and thankful that she responded with the same hunger. The kiss deepened and their hands traveled all over each other. They were getting drowned on each other that the flickering light from the lamp beside them was the sole witness of that special moment. She gently pushed him away and smiled at his sexy languid eyes, I have to go... she whispered.

Si Won nodded listlessly sweeping another soft kiss on her lips that she answered with one on his cheek, but can you stay a little longer?

She rolled her eyes with a half-laugh with that begging tone, I will try next time. But not

tonight, she winked while adjusting herself on his lap.

He was not really intending that kind of thing to happen between them as they promised to keep things slow for a while. Sharing a kiss once in a while has been something they had been doing quite a lot after they decided to be a couple days ago. It was a given fact that they were old enough to do more than the kissing but he vowed to himself not to insist if she said no. Si Won watched as she adjusted her clothes that happened to be carelessly unbuttoned after that close call. After running his hand on his hair, he shoved her hands off and did her buttons.

She watched his every move, too conscious of the fact that she was not as strong as she posed. But Yoona remained there and let his fingertips trace her arm carefully as if carving his own piece of art. That dreamy look he was wearing was dangerously inviting. The fluttering of her heart was so loud as she listened when he started to hum, making her want to fall asleep right there and then. She has forgotten what she said about going home especially when he cocked his head towards her and captured her lips.

Pee time woke him up so he kicked his blanket to the side and climbed down to bed. After doing what he needed to do, he flushed the toilet and clicked off the light before closing the door. Ji Son noticed the faint light by the living room and thought that Yoona-ssi was still talking to his Appa. So she was still in their house? He decided to say hi to her again but the slightly dimmed room made him stop for a while to adjust his sight. After scratching his eyes, he saw both her legs dangling by the armrest of his Appa's reading chair. Maybe he was reading her a story too.

Jison smiled to himself. He should not say hi to her then 'cause maybe she has fallen asleep before his Appa finishes his story to her like he always does when they would have reading time on that chair. Funny, but her feet were swaying up and down and his father must be keeping a quiet voice for he could not hear him at all. Maybe they were scared of waking him up.

He scratched his head after another yawn and decided to go back to bed.

~~~

Good morning...

Seo Hyun looked up to him and gave a small smile, Good morning... Going back to arranging the documents, she moved a little when he took his seat and could feel him still looking at her. It was getting uncomfortable so she walked back to her place.

He simpered. Not long ago, under an open night sky, they shared a kiss that probably established a new chapter in their relationship but it was like Seo Hyun was starting to get so awkward with his presence again. Half-amused, he could not understand if he loves that shy Seo Hyun or it was getting too over-the-top. Must he always be the one to initiate things? Yong Hwa shook his head and instinctively took the container by the table until he noticed something very different.

The sight of him looking strangely at his coffee made her giggle to herself so she cleared her throat and started when he looked at her raising the cup, I think I need to be honest with you too. I can't really make that perfect coffee for you so I sneaked to buy from Unnie and just reheat.

Oh... he looked from the cup then to her until an idea made him grin, it's okay maybe I could teach you then...

You will teach me how to make you coffee? she asked but she was not too comfortable with the idea since his eyes were twinkling oddly and that playful smile should really make her doubtful.

Sure thing, Yong Hwa confirmed but slightly fixed a more serious expression before continuing, besides I'm the one who will benefit from it.

Hmmm... twitching her lips to the side, maybe it was time for her to stop thinking too much and stop over-analyzing his intentions so she nodded, yeah, you have a point.

Well, then Ju Hyun-ssi, let us go to that room over there and start your coffee-making lesson.

You're really serious, Director Jung, she let out a soft laugh as he stood and walked

towards her.

Of course, I am! he bit his lips when she started to laugh louder then coughed, coffeemaking should be taken seriously... it's not a laughing matter.

Okay, I understand... she rolled her eyes up the ceiling and nodded, I'm so sorry....

So shall we? Yong Hwa he held out his hand for her and frowned when she looked unsure but eventually took it.

It felt so good and it felt so right, like they were both transported to eight long years ago where they would be acting like that. She could tell the warmth on his eyes and that glimmer of joy in his smile. She bobbed her head as if she was just forced to do so and stood.

Surprise!

The door swung open and emerged a very pregnant Tiffany smiling so wide like she won the lottery.

Unnie!

Nuna! What are you?

The two exclaimed in surprise but all she did was blink twice and raised a brow, Oh why? Did I interrupt something here?

Don't you know how to knock? Yong Hwa complained in exasperation as his sister made her grand entrance and stood just between them.

Oh, I'm sorry. Fany chimed unabashed. If she has indeed interrupted something, then it was a pity she did not catch them in action. She chuckled to herself and declared, Anyway, I'm here tell you that Ms. Seo is going on an indefinite leave.

What?! They said in unison again but with contrasting intensity.

Should you really speak the same thing together? she asked in delight. Yong Hwa glared as Seo Hyun looked down, her cheeks still glowing pink. Clearing her throat, she continued, Well, I advised Mrs. Park to do her responsibilities first so you don't need to worry about anything, Director Jung.

Nuna, you have no right to do this besides

Fany soothed her hand on her stomach completely ignoring her brother's plea and walked to Seo Hyun's table and took her bag, let's go, Seo Hyunie!

The younger girl could not do anything but to smile at Fany then looked helplessly at Yong Hwa, who was obviously annoyed. Seo Hyun was accidentally caught in between the sibling's tug-of-war. Confused on what to do, she mumbled, Unnie I...

Nuna, you can't just barge in here and make your own decisions! There are more important things to life than shopping, you know?

Yong Hwa-ya, you don't argue with a pregnant woman! Especially if that pregnant woman is your sister! she glared back then turned to Seo Hyun with a smug, let's go?

Oh... she looked at Yong Hwa's resigned expression first then took her bag from Fany, Ookay...

Yay! Let's go shopping! Fany chuckled as she walked out the room holding Seo Hyun by the wrist.

Seo Hyun let herself be dragged out of the room but turned to Yong Hwa with an apologetic smile and mouthed a 'sorry'.

~~~

I'm so happy to know about you and daddy. Fany rested her back on the chair as she watched Seo Hyun carefully eat. Listening to how she feels about him now, made her feel relieved, I know its too late for him to explain his side now and with his condition it's really

impossible so I want to do it for him. I want to talk to Imo again, if that is possible.

I have been wanting to tell her but every time we talk, I could not seem to open it up. The last time they see each other, she did not look good.

Fany reached out to hold her hand, I know and I understand with his condition now, the more we should let her know. Daddy has been looking for her.

Yes, Unnie... she finally smiled but hesitated for awhile, but does it bother you that he is looking for her and not for your mother?

She let out a soft laugh and nodded, but what my mother and him had was nothing compared to what he had with your mom. He still loves her, you know? She winked as Seo Hyun smiled, that's why I really need to talk to both of you so you will understand everything.

Okay, Unnie, I will tell Umma, she replied softly still holding her gaze, thank you and Oppa for being his family when we were not there for him.

Don't mention it. We will never be here without him so we are most thankful to him. She eased on her seat when Seo Hyun did the same, let's talk of something else now. What's your score now?

Score?

Yeah, you and Yong Hwa? she chuckled when her face seemed to turn pale again, aigoo, don't tell me you two are moving slow.

We don't really talk formally about that yet, she feeling really shy talking about it. Besides, that was her own question. She was just happy of what they have right now. It was really like reliving the past and starting all over again.

Why don't you just start where you left off before?

I don't know, Unnie. Maybe we need this kind of pace. Before, it was all in a rush. We met,

we started going out and we became a couple and that event well, thinking about it, our relationship before was nothing but a rush.

And what you have right now is a total opposite, Fany said in deep thought, but you love him still, don't you?

I- Unnie... she complained and it made the older girl laugh, but I hope he does too...

Of course! Silly! she playfully hit Seo Hyun's arm, it's not a question anymore. That guy is crazy about you!

It really made her giggle as she recalled his silly attempt to teach her how to make his coffee. That moment she felt the normalcy like it was how it supposed to be between them. Something she has missed for a million times but she could not really say that she was disappointed when her unnie arrived.

Aww... ahhh! Fany suddenly flinched and held on to her stomach.

Omo! Unnie! Seo Hyun moved to her side unsure of what to do. Are you okay?

Oh... she forced a smile and shut her eyes for a moment, I'm okay, Seo Hyunie... this little boy here always takes me by surprise.

What happened? Seo Hyun was still full of apprehension since her unnie still wore the same expression, do you want me to call somebody?

She relaxed on her seat and waved a hand, No, he just kicked a little harder than he should and I was a bit shocked. Placing the water back to the table, she smiled

It must be hard, she reached out to sooth her own hands on Fany's tummy.

Yeah, it is... but it feels wonderful, she placed her own hand over Seo Hyun that was still resting on her baby bump, Seo Hyunie, I really want you to be my real sister sister-inlaw.

Her Unnie has grown more beautiful. Fany's short hair seemed to flutter every time she moves and the smile she was wearing when she said those words makes her feel so overwhelmed. Seo Hyun enfolded her hands on her and nodded, I would love that too, Unnie.

Soon, right? she winked and patted her hand when Seo Hyun just smiled. She then took her phone, my husband is so late and it's not making me happy anymore.

While they were having dessert, she called her husband to pick them up but a few minutes later Fany was looking restless. Maybe he's on his way here. We can wait up a bit. She tried to pacify her for Fany was wearing that frown.

Fany sighed and dialed, anyway, I'll just call Yong Hwa. By the looks of it, someone's going to sleep on the couch tonight... she winked when Seo Hyun chuckled, You should learn from your Unnie. Don't let your man get away when he did something to displease you.

Ne, algesseubnida, she nodded eagerly. They spent the remaining time talking about Fany and Hyun Joong's love story. She giggled imagining their story as if it was unfolding before her.

So I was attending this event and suddenly he was there again and I had dinner with friends and he was there again. I swear, it was freaking me out!

But that's cute, Unnie! she clapped giggling at her story.

What cute?! And he even drove a taxi because I did't want to ride in his car!

He did that?

Oh yeah, so much for a stalker but yeah, Fany giggled herself as she remembered that night. Hyun Joong got out of his car, hailed a taxi and gave this huge some of money to the driver and told her to get in the cab, I had no choice and I was smiling already. It would be too obvious that I just wanted to be chased if I said no. He said I was going to pay him anyway so I don't need to make a big deal... over... it....

Seo Hyun followed her Unnie's almost squinting eyes as her voice faded until a man walked towards them and pecked a kiss on her forehead.

I'm sorry, I'm late

Ya! could you try to be a little punctual? You always arrive late on every scene! Fany chided him.

But you said

Aw yeah! she laughed then coughed a little until Hyun Joong nodded, by the way, she's Seo Hyun.

Oh, my future sister-in-law?

Hyun Joong extended his hand for a handshake that she accepted shyly. He matches her Unnie very well, that gentle smile and expressive eyes maybe exactly the reason why she's prettier.

I don't remember you having another unmarried brother, hyung? Are you marrying Seo Hyun to someone?

A deep voice brought her out of her reverie that it took her a second to turn to him standing there just a step away from her. Seo Hyun smiled and tucked some wandering strands behind her hair as she sat straight and focused her attention to Fany.

Yong Hwa, you came too? Hyun Joong moved to the other chair closer to his wife to let the younger man sit next to Seo Hyun who remained quiet.

I called him thinking you're not coming already, she pouted glowering at her husband but smiled when he was wearing that exaggerated pout.

So I'm of no use now, Yong Hwa complained shaking his head.

Well, actually, Fany cleared her throat and motioned for Seo Hyun, You can drive Seo

Hyunie home. We're done dating anyway.

Uhm, Unnie, I can just take a taxi, she suggested unsure of what to do as Yong Hwa seemed to wear that playful smile on his lips.

Aigoo, Seo Hyun, do you think I would just let you take a taxi? she rolled her eyes up and puckered her lips towards her brother, You two kids go and play now while I feed my darling here...

Yeah, we have to go, Yong Hwa stood and reached out to take her hand. The abruptness surely took her by surprise that she could not do anything but to stand when he pulled her gently, Hyung, let's meet tomorrow.

Yeah, sure, Hyun Joong nodded and winked at Fany as they watched the two walk out hand in hand.

~~~

Do you really hate me that much?

Hmmm??? she turned to him with eyes widened by that random question then whispered softly with head hanging low, I don't... hate you.

Yong Hwa, trying to catch her reaction, chuckled to himself as he maneuvered the car in a minimum speed, Then why would you rather ride a taxi?

No... i-its, just that... she swallowed organizing her thoughts carefully, That you are my boss and you have been driving

It just so happens that my sister has a higher position than me so I can't just say no to orders, Ms. Seo, he pointed out. If that was her reason for being uncomfortable then he has to rationalize it the same way she does.

Seo Hyun could not win that one so she nodded and looked out of the window, But, one more thing? Can you drop me off at the hospital?

No problem.

It was the same scene in the hospital, her dad was not in the mood again since he just undergone a memory exercise. He was exhausted by too much anxiety to the point that he got agitated by 'too many people' inside his room. Seo Hyun tried to talk to him but he just ignored her and Yong Hwa had to convince her to go for a walk even just for a little while.

They found themselves standing by the railings across the street overlooking the tall institution building in front of them. Yong Hwa draped his coat over her shoulder that she was yanking for a couple of times to get it settled on her body until he finally buttoned it up on her. She mouthed a thank you as they stared at the open street with the constant cars passing along. They were both quiet for a moment until their attention was taken by that middle aged couple obviously having an argument at the other side of the road.

I think the wife caught her husband with another woman... he started wearing that silly grin.

What made you think that way? Seo Hyun looked at him obviously amused by what he said.

He puckered his lips at the couple again, look at them. She looked so mad.

I don't think so, maybe he just forget to buy her flowers or something. She speculated, she doesn't look so mad to me.

Really? Yong Hwa's eyes wandered from her then to the couple, oh well, if he was really cheating, he shouldn't have let himself get caught...

What? she focused her attention to him again with a slight mirth, Really now? So cheating is acceptable to you?

Uh! I-I... he could just kick himself after that realization but his eyes widened some more when she started laughing. Well, I never cheated!

Seo Hyun shook her head controlling herself, Well, I never said anything like that. She smiled crossing her arms on her chest, But that ajussi, just needs to buy her flowers.

That's all he needed to do... he said repeating her tone but it sounded more like a question.

Maybe. Since, I think, it's not as bad as what you assumed, Seo Hyun nodded with lips still curved in delight.

But yeah, they'll be okay...

I believe so too...

The quiet breeze blew when the couple faded from their sight. Yong Hwa rested his hands back at the railing with legs crossed balancing his upper body as he leaned on the cold iron. She, on the other hand, remained motionless but lips pouted slightly in deep thought.

He did not recognize us today.

Yong Hwa turned to her when she started, Yeah, but don't be so sad. He grinned and elbowed her gently when she smirked and raised both brows, In his heart you will always be his Ju Hyun.

That made her smile, he was right. Not because of anything else, but she would rather want her dad to think of them as married couple than to totally forget about them. That would be better, at least, she was his daughter.

One time he was in a bad mood he was so angry because he said I was a killer and he needed to call the police.

Really? she laughed softly while leaning comfortably by the lamp post beside her, but I wish he would remain on his lucid state. It's a sad thing seeing him like this.

I know... the funny old man... he chuckled to himself shooting a glance at the building in front of them as if he could hear him.

Thank you...

For what? Yong Hwa inquired watching her shake her head lightly with eyes closed and that tiny smile warming his heart.

For everything. Answering his gaze, she sighed, For taking care of him and being with him.

No need for that. Besides, I love him. He is my father, the only one I know. He may not be the best but he is still my father.

I'm sorry if I didn't see it that way before.

Hey... stop saying sorry. Yong Hwa tugged her lightly again, Your dad is a great guy although he also has and had shortcomings.

Seo Hyun nodded focusing her attention up in the sky. It was a shame that they were standing on that well-lit corner. She would have wanted to see the stars that moment. At least, he became a good father to his adoptive children. She could not deny the fact that she was a bit jealous of the time he spent with them but it should all be in the past. What is important if the here and now.

That's why I'm torn if I would wish him to be my real father or not.

You could wish for that, you know? She smiled to herself as she rested her stare on his face. He was still looking up somewhere high above with that melancholic expression. She chose to smile with the thought it might cheer his weariness, And I bet he wants you to be his real son too

No... no... he shook his head deliberately cutting her off like she has said the worst thing imaginable. Finally meeting her gaze, Yong Hwa continued with that certainty as he spoke, I wouldn't want him to be my real dad for that would make you my sister. He stopped waiting for her to say something but then again a serene smile settled on his lips, And I never wanted it that way.

Seo Hyun tried to open her mouth for a second and closed it again. She had to swallow a lump from her throat and felt that abrupt pull somewhere she could not really tell where. Was it from her stomach or her chest? Maybe both? The way he was holding her gaze was not helping at all, especially when she followed his eyes as his hand took hers. The warmth from his touch made breathing a challenge.

I miss you, Hyun...

That was all he needed to say to make her feel strangely nauseous.
When the visions around you, Bring tears to your eyes And all that surround you, Are secrets and lies I'll be your strength, I'll give you hope, Keeping your faith when it's gone The one you should call, Was standing here all along.. And I will take You in my arms And hold you right where you belong Till the day my life is through This I promise you This I promise you I've loved you forever, In lifetimes before And I promise you never... Will you hurt anymore I give you my word I give you my heart (give you my heart) This is a battle we've won And with this vow, Forever has now begun... Just close your eyes (close your eyes) Each loving day (each loving day) I know this feeling won't go away (no..) Till the day my life is through This I promise you.. This I promise you.. Over and over I fall (over and over I fall) When I hear you call Without you in my life baby I just wouldn't be living at all... And I will take (I will take you in my arms) You in my arms

And hold you right where you belong (right where you belong) Till the day my life is through This I promise you baby Just close your eyes Each loving day (each loving day) I know this feeling won't go away (no..) Every word I say is true This I promise you Every word I say is true This I promise you Ooh, I promise you...

Part 2 The quiet breeze blew when the couple faded from their sight. Yong Hwa rested his hands back at the railing with legs crossed balancing his upper body as he leaned on the cold iron. She, on the other hand, remained motionless but lips pouted slightly in deep thought. He did not recognize us today. Yong Hwa turned to her when she started, Yeah, but don't be so sad. He grinned and elbowed her gently when she smirked and raised both brows, In his heart you will always be his Ju Hyun. That made her smile, he was right. Not because of the other reason for it, but she would rather want her dad to think of them as a married couple than to totally forget about them. That would be better. At least, he would still remember her as his daughter. One time he was in a bad mood he was so angry because he said I was a killer and he needed to call the police. Really? she laughed softly while leaning comfortably by the lamp post beside her, but I wish he would remain in his lucid state. It's a sad thing seeing him like this. I know... the funny old man... he chuckled to himself shooting a glance at the building in front of them as if he could hear him. Thank you... For what? Yong Hwa inquired watching her shake her head lightly with eyes closed and that tiny smile warming his heart. For everything. Answering his gaze, she sighed, For taking care of him and being with him. No need for that. Besides, I love him. He is my father, the only one I know. He may not be

the best but he is still my father. I'm sorry if I didn't see it that way before. Hey... stop saying sorry. Yong Hwa tugged her lightly again, Your dad is a great guy although he also has and had shortcomings. Seo Hyun nodded focusing her attention up in the sky. It was a shame that they were standing on that well-lit corner. She would have wanted to see the stars that moment. At least, he became a good father to his adoptive children. She could not deny the fact that she was a bit jealous of the time he spent with them but it should all be in the past. What is important is the here and now. That's why I'm torn if I would wish him to be my real father or not. You could wish for that, you know? She smiled to herself as she rested her stare on his face. He was still looking up somewhere high above with that melancholic expression. She chose to smile with the thought it might cheer his weariness, And I bet he wants you to be his real son too No... no... he shook his head deliberately cutting her off like she has said the worst thing imaginable. Finally meeting her gaze, Yong Hwa continued with that certainty as he spoke, I wouldn't want him to be my real dad for that would make you my sister. He stopped waiting for her to say something but then again a serene smile settled on his lips, And I never wanted it that way. Seo Hyun tried to open her mouth for a second and closed it again. She had to swallow a lump from her throat and felt that abrupt pull somewhere she could not really tell where. Was it from her stomach or her chest? Maybe both? The way he was holding her gaze was not helping at all, especially when she followed his eyes as his hand took hers. The warmth from his touch made breathing a challenge. I miss you, Hyun... That was all he needed to say to make her feel strangely nauseous. I It's okay, you don't need to say anything. He squeezed her hand softly as if pacifying her before she could even react, What's important for me right now is that you have acknowledged your father. I hope is he forgiven. She has to look down, close her eyes and calm her nerves. Seo Hyun was actually about to answer him back but she was reminded of her promise to Hyo Yeon. I can still hold it up a little bit, she convinced herself then she looked back at him again after pressing her lids tightly, Yes, and I hope he has forgiven me too. He has suffered the same way I did, the same way mom did. It was like destiny's ugly game setting us all in that mess.

Yeah, all of us suffered and it was all enough. Let's put everything to the past where they should belong. Yong Hwa reached out to tuck some strands of hair behind her ear, letting her hands fall on the side on the process. To the past... Seo Hyun said under her breath when she felt that tingling sensation, as his fingers left her skin, traveled down to her toes making them curl. Thankfully, she was wearing her flat pumps. How about us, Hyun? Should we put 'us' to the past? She fell quiet but her eyes remained on his. Suddenly, he drew a warm curve on his lips as he reached out to slightly thumb her cheek. Seo Hyun felt so fuzzy and dizzy all at the same time, but she has to keep her cool no matter how hard it may seem to be. I still have the list. Yong Hwa withdrew his hand from her face and leaned back on the railings again. The cold pierced through his body for the coat that he was supposed to be wearing was keeping the girl he loves warm. He could never complain. Me too... she smiled but felt the cold air settling on that part where his palm used to be so she needed to rest her own hand there. I realized there are so many things that we weren't able to do... he said casually throwing her a glance once in awhile as they both looked ahead of them. Seo Hyun nodded in contemplation, Hmmm... I noticed that too... Why don't we complete the list? Take it from there... Yong Hwa turned to her with that glint of enthusiasm hidden on that mellow smile. Let's try if we still have that something together... M-maybe... she suppressed smiling herself by trapping some air on her mouth that her cheeks puffed. The mention of the list made her think of what he was already suggesting. Are you hesitating? Is it about your... friend? Yong Hwa gently held on to her elbow to make her turn to him, That guy who would always pick you up. Is he your She shook her head, He is just my friend. But he wants to be more than that, right? You could put it that way... Seo Hyun mumbled dropping her head low for she might give away herself. Reminding herself to remained passive, she allowed him to think whatever it was on his mind about her and Minho. But you can't decide yet... he sighed, maybe we really need to do this. Once and for all. Do you remember those five days where we pretended to be a couple?

How could she forget? Those simple five days had brought her so much memory. Those five days made her discover how it was to feel being special to someone to feel loved and to love for the very first time. Seo Hyun nodded with that beautiful recollection in her mind. Let's do it again and complete the list from there... Yong Hwa proposed. The way she was looking at him with that almost hallowed expression was scaring him. What if she said no? But he must keep his hopes up. Besides, he knows that she loves him too and he should hold on to that thought, Let's see if we still have that chance to be together or if we're better off apart. If we're better off apart. Her stomach churned just with that simple line. Not another eight years. Not another lifetime without him. She could not handle that anymore. The idea formed a lump on her throat that it made her want to cry. I don't want to rush you. His voice softened. Yong Hwa continued with a mellow voice that almost sounded like lulling her to sleep. Finally, her tears were forming by the corners of her eyes that she has to thumb them off and hope he did not notice. But he did for he took her hand off her face and dried her tears with his fingers. You can think about it if you want, he smiled while he ran his fingers on her cheeks trailing those gentle tears, I will give you until tomorrow midnight to decide. Tomorrow midnight? She inquired holding on to his hands that were resting on her jaw. Yeah, unfortunately, Hyun, I'm not as patient as before. If I don't get a response until that time that would mean you have decided for us. He snickered as if mocking her some more, Who knows we are really destined to be just another step-siblings. She frowned. Jung Yong Hwa was so good in torturing her with those words, cutting her deep. Fixing a straight face, herself, she bobbed her head without taking her hands off his, y-yes, okay... Yong Hwa nodded and leaned down to rest his lips on her and with a gentle move, she let him kiss her deeper. It was another lingering kiss, soft and easy as if the world was waiting for them. No rush, no frenzy. If the way she was responding to him was already her answer then he didn't need that waiting moment anymore. But still he needed to confirm it from her, at least, that was all she needed to do decide for them. As sudden as that kiss, he released her but smiled carefully at her questioning eyes. Yong Hwa noticed that her tears were softly streaming down her cheeks again so he wiped them out until only a dew settled on the corner of her left eye. He smiled answering her own,

you know what? I was really looking forward to watching the sunset and sunrise with you... She smiled as her head fell on his chest. Closing her eyes, she listened to his heartbeat. Finally, she felt his arms enfolding her. ~~~ Yoona ran to him as he stood on the path looking at the beautiful structure in front of him. Nichkhun smiled as he watched her. Her hair tied in ponytail and that brown romper she was wearing brought back some memories from before. The years were good to her. She stopped just a step from him, hi, gorgeous... I'm happy you made it... slipping her arms around his waist, Yoona gave him a tight embrace. He pressed his cheek to hers and squeezed her tight on him before releasing gently, I almost brought Sulli along, she started crying when she saw me taking the car key. Why didn't you? Yoona inquired with a pout. The recollection of that little chatterbox made her smile, How's Vicky and the girls? She asked as they took the nearest seat from the little gate. The sun was mellowly peeking among the thick white clouds above. Sulli came down with fever when we were in the plane. He casually said smiling at the teenage boy who placed his cup of coffee in front of them and an apple juice for her. Khun continued when the boy left, We are all dead tired from the flight, Luna was grumpy and thankfully Amber has lost all her energy so she was just sleeping all day. She chuckled imagining his little girls. That was one thing she could say that she envy about him his kids, You should bring Sulli to the doctor and she must not stay close to her sisters for awhile. I know, he nodded then took a sip from his cup, Vicky let me get away for awhile since her mother is watching over the kids. But she wanted to come and see you too, maybe before we leave. You mean, you won't be staying for long? I really want to meet baby Krystal. Oh you will! Khun lounged on his chair, I will bring them here after our trip to Sokcho to see my uncle. Ahhh, Krystal, she reminds me of you. The way she smiles her happy littleself is a heap of sunshine. She is such a pretty baby... Psh! she smirked playfully, that's exactly what you said about Amber, then Luna, then Sulli... Yoona laughed out loud when he glowered, But really, you have beautiful girls, Oppa.

I must be a lucky guy, God has been sending beautiful girls on my way... Yoona has to laugh on that smug he was wearing, Oh, yes you are! Yeah.... I have a secret to tell you... he leaned closer and put his arm on her shoulder, even my first love, she's friggin' beautiful. I know that, right? That's not a secret anymore! She teasingly chastised. Khun rested both arms on the table as a gentle smile settled on his lips, So, who is this guy you mentioned before? Yoona could not help but to smile when he finally mentioned him. You will meet him soon, I don't know if he will come today. She watched as he nodded and fell silent for a moment. He studied her carefully. The way she smiled was telling him what he needed to know but just wants to appease his mind. Besides, Yoona will always be special to him so he probed, Is he taking good care of you? Yes, he does... she nodded without hesitations. Does he make you happy? Uh-huh, she bobbed her head again. His questions sounded like he was her father and the thought almost made her laugh. Good, that's all I want to hear. Khun settled on to his seat. I just can imagine right now when one of your girls tells you that she is in love, she teased but he did not look so happy about it. Yoona reached out to touch his cheek lightly, You're a grown up now. I am? he furrowed his brows playfully. Yes, you're not making any fuss about me dating and all. I guess, I was just over-protective of you... he quipped settling a tender curve then snorted, And maybe jealous? Jealous? she laughed. It's natural! Khun quetched then pouted when the same childish expression did not leave her face. Shaking his head, he went on, yeah, jealous... knowing that you like love someone else now, someone not me. But I know us can never happen now, but I will always love you, deer Yoona.

It made her smile, when he called her that. And I will always love you too Oppa, but we love each other now, right? But not, in love with each other. Yeah, I'm in love with someone now... Me too... He watched that tender smile, that sparkle in her eyes this was the woman he fell in love with for the longest time he could remember. And seeing her that way was easier for him to let her go. Finally, letting her go with everything that they have between them. It was time to finally be true to the woman who gave him beautiful children, to the woman who loves him without reservations despite knowing the truth. To the woman he will go home to. We had a beautiful past and that's the only one I will keep in me... I love you with all my heart, Im Yoona. Yeah, keep on repeating that, Nickhun-ssi, so I won't forget, she kidded then answered his gaze, I love you too, and nobody can ever take that from us now. We love each other and I am happy we are able to say these things without feeling burdened. An impish smile drew on her face creasing her brows, Do you happen to feel burdened? Nah-ah, he shook his head as he leaned forward to take her hand on the small table, No more. How silly I was before to hang on to you. But now I can truly say that I love you without feeling like a jerk because I still want to have you in my life the same way I had you before. We can go on loving each other as friends, right? She laughed softly as he laid his lips on her hands enclosed to his with that silly wink, Now I really believe that destiny and soulmate can be two different people. You will always be my soulmate, Oppa. And you are mine... It was truly a beautiful scene, out on one of those tables they reminisce their past and tried to picture the future. She laughed heartily at his jokes and stories, the twinkle on her eyes spoke her happiness for things are falling into place. But on a corner, a little boy was hidden from their view. He was feeling really really sad and angry because he thought that the woman whom he dreamed of just last night he was calling as 'umma' was looking so happy with that other man. She promised to start loving his Appa, right? Then, why was she letting that other man kiss her hand that way? Is his Yoona-ssi still going to be his umma? Ji Son kicked a leaf on the street and biked away. Grown-ups are really pains in the head. ~~~ Yong Hwa smiled as he peeked inside the private room. She stood by the counter, her back

towards him, obviously busy with the coffee-maker. He paced behind her whistling just to catch her attention but she did not budge at all. If she was doing it on purpose, it wasn't making him happy at all. Leaning by the counter with arms crossed on his chest, he cleared his throat and fixed a serious tone, Where did you learn that? She slightly slanted her gaze to him then focused back on her task, Yoona Unnie gave me a crash course yesterday. Ohhh... he nodded moving to the other side then snorted, Tsk... Waeyo? Seo Hyun finally turned with a wondering expression. I told you I will teach you, shaking his head, he gave her a sardonic smile, Besides, I have this distinct taste that I want in my coffee. Distinct taste, huh? she said going back to what she was doing oblivious of his advances. Yeah, cause it needs particular measurement, Hyun, he moved behind her holding her hand. Thankfully, she realized what he has in mind when one container lid fell on the floor. He picked it up carefully putting it on her hand and letting his touch linger on her skin. They were in that room, anyway, and it was high time for them to put it in good use. Yong Hwa was seriously aiming for a tease, really just a tease, but something was stirring inside him that he could not seem to control anymore. Taking one big breath of air, he moved back and shut his eyes tight and murmured, 'what am I doing?' She was watching him now with that mixture of curiosity and restlessness as the image of what happened or almost happened inside the elevator came rushing in her head. She took a step back herself as if mirroring him, Uhm... maybe... m-maybe you can just te-tell me how He took the lid from her and put it on the counter. Yong Hwa made up his mind, he wanted her that moment. Who was he kidding if he tried to fight the urge? Hyun, I will kiss you right now okay? Please... he grumbled in an almost exasperated tone, Please do not do anything to stop me... Her eyes widened. But it was not news anymore. Swallowing that lump in her throat and unconsciously moistening her lips, she said almost whispering, Uh... oh... o-okay... Yong Hwa advanced forward closing the gap between them. Taking both her hands, he let them rest by his shoulder and positioned his own on the small of her back as he took her lips. He smiled taking his own sweet time on her lips. Heavens must be nodding for the firmness lasted only a few second until she gave in to her own longing as he pulled her

closer to him. Seo Hyun was letting him do what he wanted from her and she was crazily kissing him back. That distinct taste he was talking about was nothing but her. Seo Hyun felt feverish as he splayed her arms by his shoulder and leaned on her slanting her head to give him more access. Right now, she barely cared about her crazy nervous system that was reacting oddly as her chest touched his. His lips were sweet on hers when he prodded for her to let him venture deeper and welcome him inside her. Shivering, she let her hands rest by his arm when he cupped her face with one hand as the other remained on her back pressing her more. She was driving him crazy for it just dawned on him that they were inside the office dangerously inside the office. Labored breaths and crazy pulsations, he knew it was him who needed to be the one to pull away and end it all. But he could not, not yet. Finally, he took quick steps leading her forward totally ignoring the whispers behind his head to stop. Yong Hwa had memorized the room and all its corners, he knew exactly where they should be Knock. Knock. ~~~ All day he could not think of anything but her. They kissed madly, that was for sure. He could not decide if he was to thank the person who knocked on the main door of his office or he should knock him off for disturbing the ultimate turning point that was happening on the 'kiss room'. Yong Hwa laughed at himself. How red she was and her eyes widened when she heard the knocking herself that he decided to finally get out, although he was shaking, himself. A few minutes later, Seo Hyun went out with her face half-flushed so he decided to lighten the mood and joked about it by saying they need to put off the lesson next time. She just answered with an almost raspy 'chongmal.' Lounging on the driver seat, he checked his watch one more time and let out a loud yawn. He took his phone and composed a message. "Where are you? Are you home?" Although he knew the answer to that one, but Yong Hwa was just looking for attention from her. He felt like being young again when he used to seriously wrack his brain for every romantic stuff he could probably do for her. The phone almost flew when it vibrated on his hand. "Class just finished. I'm on my way home. Waeyo?"

As if you don't know, Hyun, he remarked shooting his stare back at her school building. So any moment from now she will be coming out and of course, he would be surprising her with his presence. Yong Hwa decided not to answer her question anymore. It was the night she would be saying 'yes' to his proposal. Hahahaha! he let out a course laugh like a madman. Finally, he focused his attention on the people coming out. There she was smiling and chatting, he found himself drawing the same curve. But then again as the other people moved ahead of them, he realized who she was talking to. His grip tightened on the wheels. They stopped just outside her apartment building and he killed his own engine just a few meters from them. He alighted from the car and ran to her side opening the door for her. Seo Hyun bowed and tucked some strands behind her ear. The guy was telling her something animatedly and she waved both hands shaking her head. They looked happy and he felt like a crap. She was about to turn and go on her way but he suddenly grabbed her by the arm. Shocked as she was, the other guy took a step closer to her and suddenly cupped her cheeks. It was like in a slow motion that he bended down on her until they closed the gap between them. The tall guy had his back on him so he could not really tell but he was sure they were kissing. He cursed to himself as he watched the scene unfolded before his eyes. Yong Hwa regretted of stupidly following them. With clenched fist, he slammed them on the steering wheel and dropped his head on it. After his attempt to stop himself from going out of the car and causing that man's face some damage, he looked up to find her finally standing a few inches away from him. He should be happy that they parted but the smile she was wearing would not let him be. ARRGGGHHHHHH! he cried out loud as he was left hidden inside the car. Seo Hyun finally went on her way turning for a short while to wave at him then disappeared inside the building. The guy went to his car and drove away. Yong Hwa stayed on for a moment. Heaving a breath, he took his other phone and went out of the car. He leaned on the cold metal noticing the light in her room. It was something he used to do before, eight years ago, standing there until her lights went off. Closing his eyes he slowly put the phone near his ear. After a few rings, her voice caressed his senses. Anyeong haseyo... mianheyo. Lately, I have been so happy that I easily fall asleep. I missed your calls but every time I wake up in the middle of the night and look at my phone and see your name, I feel like calling you. I feel like I wanted to share what is in my heart. I

don't know, you have become my breather, it's like talking to myself, it's like listening to my own thoughts. It's like doing those things that I would usually consider crazy doing alone, but with you around... I really don't feel like losing my mind... He almost laughed in mockery. Shifting the phone on his other hand, Yong Hwa watched the faint dancing of the curtain by her open window. Her voice was mellow, almost breathing on each word. It was like tasting her lips one more time. Tonight I stand on a crossroad but I know where I should face... which one should I take because this time I will only follow my heart because it silenced reason already. Even though reason would be on its side, it won't take heed anymore. The heart is stubborn after all. I have to hang up now... I need to go somewhere. The line went dead. His eyes remained on the phone then slowly lifted his gaze back up. Cold breeze swept as he lingered on to that now darkened window. In this dead of the night Hyun? Where are you going?

Chapter 33: One Last Shot

I watch you spin around in your highest heels You are the best one, of the best ones
~stolen (dashboard confessional)

You keep on looking at your phone! Do you want me to confiscate it? Minho animatedly asked as soon as she got out of the car and they stood there. Noooo! she waved her hand, I can never let you do that! Not right now, anyway. Hahaha! he laughed then nodded, playfully fixing a sad face, Alright. I'll go up now, thank you so much for the ride. Seo Hyun was about to turn but she felt his grip on her arm swinging her back to face him. Suddenly, he cupped his cheek and she froze when he closed his eyes and he was about to kiss her. She smiled and hang her head low that his lips rested on her forehead. It was for a second that she felt his kiss and opened her eyes when he let her loose, I'm so sorry... Yeah, Minho smiled. It must be the cruelest thing she ever made him feel but it was him who was causing his own torture. He took one lonely step away from her.

Let's meet tomorrow morning at Yoona's cafe, she solemnly said. Okay, I'll see you then, he nodded, still feeling that pang of pain inside, Run along now, Seo Hyun before I change my mind... I'll see you tomorrow, she ran up the steps then turned to wave at him. Guilt will always haunt her. Guilt of unconsciously making Minho feel that way about her. She just prayed that he would find that right person for him because she would never be that person. Opening the lights, she slumped on the bed holding her phone and wondered what happened for he did not answer after that message. Maybe he got busy about something else and she should not make herself worry too much. She stood and opened a window, the hot air trapped inside for the rest of the day finally dispersed as cooler wind sneaked inside. Letting her back hit the bed once again, she stared at the ceiling recreating the scene in the office. She just had to shut her eyes tight and felt silly. The moment was overpowering her will and she totally lost control and it was so obvious that he was on the same trance. Opening her eyes again, she managed to brush the thought off her mind for awhile as she slanted her head back to look at the clock. It was almost a quarter to ten so she decided to go but her phone abruptly pulled her out of the thought. It was 'you.' Seo Hyun could not help but smile. It's been a long time. Anyeong haseyo... she started as she sat back, Mianheyo. Lately, I have been so happy that I easily fall asleep. I missed your calls but every time I wake up in the middle of the night and look at my phone and see your name, I feel like calling you. I feel like I wanted to share what is in my heart. Her fingertips were tracing those little flowers on her sheets. With a smile, she continued, I don't know, you have become my breather, it's like talking to myself, it's like listening to my own thoughts. It's like doing those things that I would usually consider crazy doing alone, but with you around... I really don't feel like losing my mind... She stopped, throwing a glance on the clock by her bedside. It was almost time. Tonight I stand on a crossroad but I know where I should face... which one should I take because this time I will only follow my heart because it silenced reason already. Even though reason would be on it's side, it won't take heed anymore. The heart is stubborn after all. I have to hang up now... I need to go somewhere. ~~~ What are you? Kissing buddies? Give me a break, Seo! Yoona grunted as she rolled her eyes. Deep inside, she has been screaming her lungs out for her friend. Maybe she was a

big fan of this paring that she could not help herself but she must keep her cool, So you are technically not together yet? Yeah, not yet... officially or anything, she rested her chin on her palms while she balanced the weight of her head on her elbow. She grinned exposing those white teeth obviously excited of her planned event later. Ya... ya... Yoona pronounced with voice toned down and eyes half-squinting to bring a halt to her sister's crazy reverie, Stop dragging things! This is not time for both of you to go slacking with your relationship. You two should even get married the soonest possible time. Tell that to yourself, Unnie... Seo Hyun chuckled ignoring that flushed face. Ya! We are talking about you here... she hit her friend with a pillow then fanned herself with her hands, come on, Seo Hyun, what do you plan to do? Just spend the five days with him, she said dreamily, it's like going to make up for the years we were apart. How mushy! Yoona gave her a sarcastic laugh, and why are you still here? Go get your boyfriend! Seo Hyun laughed then drew a serious face, but I have another thing to tell you. Hmmm? You have so many things that you have been keeping from me? She raised her brows. Aniya! Waving her hands, she sat comfortably on the floor, It's not like that. Let's just say I know how you would react about it so I chose not to tell you soon. Okay, you're making me nervous, tell me now. There's this person that has been calling me. She has been thinking of telling her that but every time they talk she felt like betraying the person. Somehow, she wanted to keep the caller as her secret someone whose existence must remain to her and to that person. If her hunch was correct, then she wanted him to be each other's little secret. But she resolved to tell Yoona, since she was starting to feel uncomfortable with the calls. A person? He or she? Yoona probed when she just shrugged, do you answer the call? Yes... she said in a mellow tone. Sitting on the bed beside her sister, she continued, I have a hunch that it's him. Him? As in Yong Hwa Oppa? What makes you say that?

She nodded, Because I remember the caller started calling me almost the same time when he came back here in Seoul. I don't know Unnie, it must be crazy assumption but when I realized that, I had this comfortable feeling of knowing it was him. Of talking to him despite the fact that he wouldn't talk back. What were you telling him? Everything... all this time, it was my way of telling him how I feel... You mean, you told this caller that you love Yong Oppa? I sorta did... Oh my gahhhhhh! Yoona squealed in delight. But then again, she should be rational so she cleared her throat, But Seo you're still not sure, right? Yeah, I know... but I just can't help it. That's the way I feel. All along it's him. Sometimes I get frustrated like I want to shout at him and tell him that he doesn't need to hide under that phone. Like he can tell me right there that it was him. Then what if it's really him? What are you going to do? I don't know yet if I will feel happy or not. Half of me wants it to be him, but half is doubtful, like it was another lie he created. How does it become a lie? Because, he is leading me on... But it's you who is supplying him of things that he probably knows now. Because not telling is the same as lying, Unnie. Fine... she threw her hands up in the air. Seo Hyun would never let her argument lose to hers, There's a big possibility that it's not him either. Maybe you just put that probability that it was him. What if it's not? I know... she sighed, But, I'm just so drawn to him. One time, I swear I thought I heard him sigh a deep voiced sigh that sounded so familiar it made me nervous. Perhaps that was the moment I started to believe it was him. It was so familiar... something that was only him... You thought, Seo? You're not sure. Yoona muttered. Romantic yes, but not a wise move. You should stop answering the person's calls from now on, Seo. You should know better than talk to a stranger.

What should I do, Unnie? Whether it's him or not... stop answering his calls... or for the last time ask the person. If he won't give you any answer then let it be a sign for you to let go of this so-called breather. Besides, you don't need it anymore since you are about to start with your Yong Oppa all over again. ~~~ Ji Son felt betrayed. Nobody else made him feel like that. The last time something like that happened was in the playground. A girl befriended him just to steal his unopened lollipop. He will never forget the girl's face or even the pretty woman and some rock star who picked her up after that. He did not dare tell his nanny because the old woman might create a scene. Although the girl's father looked friendly with that funny mashimaro smile, her mom looked beautiful but fierce as she started raising her voice on the girl because she soiled her dress. Brushing the thought aside, he felt mad again. Who could that guy be? Should he even tell his Appa what he saw? Maybe not, he might look sad again and he doesn't want to see him look like that again. He will just keep it a secret and maybe ask Yoona-ssi why she did not keep her promise to start loving his Appa. Munching on the remaining chocolate-chip cookie in his hand, he shook his head. It was probably time for him to talk to him. He said before he was happy that he is a boy not a girl because it would be easier to talk about boy things. Maybe it was a boy thing. And if he got sad maybe he should remind him of what he said to him every time he cries, Ji Son, face it like a man and stop crying! After two consecutive yawns, he decided to crawl to bed after tiptoeing to unlock his door. ~~~ His little boy has opened his bedroom door but Si Won found him in deep sleep. When Ji Son came home after school, he went straight to his room and locked himself up. He would usually do that whenever he was in a bad mood so he would just leave a glass of milk and a plate of cookies outside his bedroom. Si Won took the empty glass and plate on the floor and deposited on the sink. Something must have happened in school since he could not really remember if they had a standing argument that day. Maybe during breakfast tomorrow he could try talking to him. Taking the phone, he dialed her number, Hello? Yoona-ssi? Oppa...

He chuckled at her somewhat annoyed tone by the way he addressed her, Hey, love. How's your day? Sorry I wasn't able to drop by. It's okay... hmmm, my day... special, I had a special day. Special day? Without me? Is that good? Si Won frowned but chuckled upon hearing her laughter on the other end of the line. Khun Oppa was here. I told you about it. Yeah, what happened? He sat on his couch. Yoona did tell him about that meeting and even asked him to drop by if he could. It was tempting to be there and meet the other guy but he chose not to. She has told him about them, their past and what can never disappear in her heart. His past relationship must have thought him to be more accepting of those things. Besides, he has his own that she willingly accepted and embraced. We talked, it's like finally having our closure that was long overdue. Hmmm... shifting the phone on the other hand, he nodded as if she was just right in front of him, I'm glad to hear that then... The bathroom door opened so he leaned back and saw Ji Son coming out but he decided to ignore him. The kid was hard to handle when he's on that mood. Yoona? He asked when she did not say anything. You're cool about it, right? Me meeting him and all? He laughed. Of course! He's part of your life, I can't really be an as$ about that. Aigooo... Why? Si Won almost laughed out loud again when she sighed that way. She is such an adorable woman. He was waiting for him to answer again. Yoona seemed to be taking her sweet little time on this conversation. I was hoping you would be jealous. Would it be nicer if you're jealous? Laughing out loud again, he lounged on his seat then cleared his throat. Aish... you women, really. Why? Yoona was suppressing a laugh, that was for sure, so he answered in a serious tone, You tell us men that we don't understand you... he chuckled upon hearing her 'uh-huh' ...and if we try to understand you, you would do a total cartwheel! What's up with that? All I'm saying is that, I'm really happy that you're not jealous but showing a bit of it won't hurt? I guess...

Alright, I'm jealous, he rolled his eyes and let his head fall on the backrest of the chair, ...but just a little because I know that you love me. Over-confidence kills romance, Oppa. There you go again. He complained on her blunt tone. But, yes, I should be, right? Yes, of course! Si Won chuckled the nth time then cleared his throat then sounded a little laid back, So let's get married... Silence followed, but he was expecting it. There you go again... He gritted his teeth as his hand gripped harder on the phone. He needed to take a deep breath before continuing, Kidding, but really I want to marry you. Who knows another kid pops out in the cafe and you would take him or her in then you would meet the dad and Oppa, lightning never strikes the same place twice. It doesn't? It was more of a sarcastic question but it would be safer for him to make it appear like a joke. But anyway, you will meet Khun Oppa, okay? He's gonna come back with his family, maybe you can bring Cake along so he could play with his daughters. Wow, he got a lot of kids? Si Won decided to let it slip that way. Besides, he understands her reasons. Four pretty daughters to be exact! They are the cutest, Oppa! I really envy him. But you have Ji Son now and we're going to make our own pretty daughters soon. Soon? How soon is now? Now is so soon, Oppa, let's plan it well... Yeah, okay... Manager Im. Si Won closed his eyes to imagine her laughing face. She once commented that other people find her laughter hilarious, but he could not really say it like that. It's the most genuine he has ever heard. Speaking of kids, my kid here is pretty weird today. He locked himself in his room and probably cried himself to sleep. OMO! What happened to Jison?

I don't know yet, I will talk to him tomorrow, why don't you have breakfast here, I'll cook. Hmmm... okay... now you got me worried. Did he eat? Yeah, milk and cookies. Only that? Aigoo, Oppa, you should have let him eat dinner food. He locked himself up-- Aish! Why don't you come here right now, let's have midnight dinner or something. We can wake him up, with you here he might eat. Hmmm... okay... Ok great! Drive safely, I'll wait for you... Yep! A crooked smile formed on his lips. ~~~ She watched as her husband put on his pajamas and crawl to bed beside her, Hopefully, the transfer of responsibilities will happen this week or the next. I really want you to stay here with me. Hyun Joong helped her lie in bed comfortably then set the pillow down near her stomach and positioned himself there, I will work on that. Did you talk to Yong Hwa about the construction company? Hmmm... yeah, we discussed it and I guess he met samchon last week already. So he will be transferring to Busan soon? he popped up an elbow and stared at her. Not soon, I told him to fix things with Seo Hyun first before he go to Busan and he told me his plans. Okay, good... he smiled and moved up to plant a kiss on her cheek, and you, pregnant woman, should distance yourself from your brother's love affair first. Let him work things out on his own. I can't help it, those two tend to slack at times so I

Hyun Joong placed a finger on her lips, Stop it, cupid. It's all on them now! Look at us, it was only me who did the planning and executing. Let Yong Hwa do it too, it was enough for you to have them together in one room, not to mention that private room you had made for them. Tiffany laughed, But I still have other plans! Aish! He complained but shook his head when she gave her that puppy-eyes expression again, fine... fine... he muttered in resignation, But, Hwang Mi Young, it should be your last. Okay! she chirped happily and placed a finger on her lips asking for another peck that he generously gave. Thank you so much! If only I'm not so bored here then... Sighing again, he rolled his eyes then snickered, How about I give you a wedding to plan? Would it make you feel less bored? Our wedding?! her eyes brightened then pouted when he gave her a soft nod, I really thought you have forgotten that... How could I? That's why we came back, right? Thank you... thank you so much! No, thank you for saying yes... I will say yes to every opportunity of being married to you, okay? Of course, you have to! Yeah, considering you will shoulder all the financial obligations... Who told you that? It's fifty-fifty this time, baby. We have conjugal property now because of our first marriage. Awww, honey! You are so rude! Chivalry is really dead... tsk... she twitched her lips as her husband heartily chuckled. Why, love? Who killed it? Huh?! She grimaced then mumbled under her breath, Conjugal property, really... Okay! You win, I'll pay again but can we proceed now to our conjugal rights? It was Tiffany's turn to laugh.

~~~ Yong Hwa stood leaning his back on his car watching the world in front of him. The constant flashing of car lights made the permanent ones by the bridge glimmer with such superiority. It was a calm night as wind was barely present. Looking up, he tried to look for the moon but it seemed to be a new moon tonight. New moon. Beginning. Start. He wanted it to be their beginning too. Yong Hwa wanted to start with her all over again. All along, all those years, it was the moment he dreamed of and he wanted nothing but to have her again beside him. A smiled appeared when he remembered her song for him. Seo Hyun did cast a spell on him that he could never love anybody else but her. Then it happened. It was happening. But right now, he didn't know if he should be doing something or be somewhere. He was absentmindedly drumming his fingers on the steel behind him with eyes never leaving the starry sky above him. Yong Hwa stayed outside her apartment building a couple of minutes more after she ended the call telling him she needed to be somewhere but he resigned to the idea that she might have changed her mind. He decided to drive off somewhere else and he found himself at the park the very same place where he asked to be his girlfriend for real on that early morning with the rain chasing them away. Among others, it was the same park where he knelt in front of her asking begging her not to leave him. The place where they started and ended before and why he was there, he didn't know either. Then the scene of her and that guy flashed in his mind no matter how he tried to bury it at the deepest part of his memory. It was impossible for Seo Hyun to let him kiss her considering what just happened in the office hours ago. And, heck, he was not making the whole thing affect his sanity or his rightful place in her life. But it was making him feel like a fool with all that five-day proposal. He should have asked her right there and then to be with him and leave romance to whoever needed it. What if that guy changed her mind? Yong Hwa-ya, stop it. Stop driving yourself crazy. It's not even midnight yet, Hyun~n will be calling you any time soon. Be patient, you punk. Suddenly, his sense of hearing was telling him that his phone was ringing but he remained standing still afraid that his mind was just playing tricks on him. Thinking that he has got nothing to lose anyway, he decided to get his phone inside the car. Yong Hwa smiled. It was not a joke at all, he just missed her call. Just as he was about to

call her back, the phone on his palm rang. Yoboseyo, Hyu~n. Yoboseyo, Yo~ng Oppa... How could it escape him? How long has it been? Eight years? Yes, eight long years since he last heard that intimate name. He could not help but smile. Did you call for a bad news? Bad news and good news... actually. Then let me hear the bad news first so I may sulk for a moment. I can't go to work tomorrow. Huh? Why? I'm going to Daejeon to talk to mom about my father. It's okay... it's not really a bad news. And now, for the good news. About your proposal. Yes, say it right away, Hyun. Yong Hwa grumbled. Let's do it. His eyes widened as he walked closer to the edge of the river, Chongmal? Although he has been expecting that, but hearing it from her still has that special effect. He should try not too sound too enthusiastic about it, That's great! Yes... Okay. When are you coming back from Daejeon? I'll be back tomorrow. Do you want me to drive you? Uhm, no need. I'll take the train. I want to be there alone, Oppa. Okay then, but call me. Yes, I will... By the way, where are you? Yong Hwa was about to ask that question moments ago as he noticed her background. She sounded like being near a road.

Somewhere. That smart-mouth Seo Hyun, he missed that so much. He took a deep breath. There are a lot of somewheres, Hyun. Can you be a little specific? How about you, Oppa? Where are you? Her soft giggles made him smile himself. She was avoiding his question again. Do you remember the park? By the Banpo Bridge? Yeah... Uh... Oppa, you're there right now? As in this moment? Yes, why? Yong Hwa noticed that stunned tone of her voice so he asked again, How about you? Where are you? Oh! Just somewhere. Can you uhm, tell me what you did today? Huh? Seo Hyun suddenly sounded odd, Why? Nothing! Just tell me what you did today! Hyu~n, why so feisty? Arasso! There was this urgency in her voice that he could not really interpret but Yong Hwa managed to set aside any negative thoughts instead drawing a soft laugh, But I think you know what I did today... because I did it with you? Fine, then tell me something else! What do you want to hear? Anything! Just tell me anything right now! Yong laughed imagining her but feeling weird of her tone, Okay, then, let me tell you about the moment when His phone almost slipped off his hand when he catch a glimpse of her sprinting towards him by the corner. Yong Hwa was perplexed astounded by her sudden appearance. Still cradling the thing on his hand, he finally smiled as she stopped just in front of him, Where were you, Hyu~n? I told you, I was somewhere, Oppa. A soft smile welcomed him. Seo Hyun stood there in a white dress with a knitted longsleeved white cardigan, her hair, adorned with the same colored pin, flowing behind her. She looked like an angel catching her breath after that obvious run she just did. He has to

bite his lower lip before mumbling with a smile, Fancy seeing you here... I know... a smile blossomed from her own lips then suddenly, she laughed softly when she realized something, Can we drop the call now? Hmmmm... he puckered his lips shooting a quick look on his side before continuing, I was just being polite. You were the one who called. Oh! Okay, eherm... She rolled her eyes when he gave her his puppy eyes. Yo~ng Oppa, I have to hang up now, I need to talk to someone. She articulated carefully holding back her own amusement. Someone you love? Yong Hwa twitched his lips. Someone very special, she replied with eyes widened as if making her point clearer. How special, Hyu~n? he raised his brows with the same playful expression. But Seo Hyun answered with a tiny glare. Oppa, I'll hang up now because we are sweet talking already. She finally declared dropping the call but holding on to the phone with her both hands near her chest. Moments later, he balanced his weight on the railings that separated the riverside from the park while she stood beside him resting her stomach by the same iron beam. She was lecturing him that his position was not really safe but he would not listen to her again so she kept quiet. He has been bugging her where she was when she called but Seo Hyun decided to keep it to herself. After talking to Yoona, she decided to go to the bridge, a few meters away from the riverbank park. It was the place she chose to call him. The place she would frequent during those nights when she would remember the stupidest mistake she has done in her life. It was where Yoona and Jin Woon found her after that fateful afternoon. The sad place they ended it all would be the perfect place to begin. It was a starry night. The faint lights from the bridge with the constant cars passing was giving them a good view of the picture up there. The feeling was unbelievably serene it was beautiful. Why did you let that person kiss you?! His voice pulled her out of her reverie as she turned to him with a confused look, Kiss? Person? I saw that! he pointed a finger at her and noticed how her eyes suddenly widened in disbelief. He your classmate, I was Yong Hwa bit his tongue when her expression

suddenly softened and a little smile blossomed on her face. The small smile ended to be a big grin, Are you stalking me, Oppa? No... I just... shoot, busted again. He shook his head exasperated and head hung low, I happen to be Seo Hyun laughed fanning herself inhaling that childish expression. He could hardly look at her so she tenderly patted his back, Arasso, Oppa, he kissed me... yes... in the forehead. She gently touched his chin to make him look at her then continued, Jin Woon does that too, you know, and Appa. But it's not like how we A grin finally formed on his own lips as he watched her flushed cheeks and the slight squinting of her eyes. How we what Hyun? No... nothing... she waved a hand again as if shooing his thoughts off the air and her lips were unconsciously making those little actions again. Come on... tell me! Yong Hwa insisted elbowing her gently but Seo Hyun turned and rested her back on the railings instead. She shook her head in defiance, But I don't want to because you know it already! Know it? Yong Hwa hopped down from his respite and stood beside her crossing his arms on his chest when she did the same, I don't know it... Shaking his head he leaned closer to her, Come on tell me... the way we... Eeeeee, Oppa! Seo Hyun pushed him away with brows furrowing as he continued to tease. Ya! What's wrong talking about how you kissed me in the office? He finally snapped. Huh? she rolled her eyes up into the night sky laughing gently, then hissed, Chongmal! I kissed you? Huh? You started it! But you like it, right? he moved closer again. Chongmal... stop this now... Seo Hyun brushed some strands of hair that played on her face when a soft breeze whizzed by. Noooooo....! Because you like kissing me, Hyun~! Eeeeee, stop it! She whined with finality, puckered her lips then abruptly turned to him with arms still linked near her chest. Seo Hyun glowered at him then snapped, You will stop it now or you'll not gonna get another one like that... ever... Yong Hwa swallowed hard then smiled tenderly at her before raising his head up, Wow,

look at the stars! Seo Hyun smiled. That was the way they should be.

We watch the season pull up its own stakes And catch the last weekend of the last week Before the gold and the glimmer have been replaced, Another sun soaked season fades away You have stolen my heart You have stolen my heart Invitation only, grand farewells Crash the best one, of the best ones Clear liquor and cloudy eyed, too early to say goodnight You have stolen my heart You have stolen my heart And from the ballroom floor we are in celebration One good stretch before our hibernation Our dreams assured and we all, will sleep well sleep well You have stolen You have stolen You have stolen my heart I watch you spin around in your highest heels You are the best one, of the best ones We all look like we feel You have stolen my You have stolen my You have stolen my heart

Chapter 34: Snapshots

I wanna be your sky So blue and high And everytime you think of me I wanna blow your mind

~take it from here (justin timberlake)

She brushed off some dust that seemed to settled by her calf and fixed the hem of her skirt. It was a windy and cloudy morning and it looked like it was going to rain a few hours from now. Seo Hyun sat by the porch of the cafe sipping her mildly hot tea as Minho stirred his own quietly. They had been there for almost thirty minutes already. She just said it. She just told him that she could never give her heart to him since it has already been taken by someone years ago.

He stared at her for a couple of seconds with that gloomy smile but he managed to sit up

straight and nodded. Whoever he is, he is such a lucky guy. His gaze dropped back to the cup, with a sigh he went on, So it's time for me to give up the fight that from the very start I don't have the chance to win.

Her heart ached. Somehow she didn't want to see that sad expression from him. Seo Hyun would rather see him get angry at her and tell her those things that she was expecting to hear anyway. The saddest thing she has done was to break his heart. Her Unnie once told her that Jin Woon went away because she broke his heart too and she felt terrible knowing that someone might be feeling the very same thing, Minhoo-ya

No, Seo, there was this warmth in his smile as he shook his head, I just hope I am giving you away to someone who wouldn't make you cry.

Seo Hyun smiled with that as the memory of Yong Hwa kneeling in front of him with tears streaming on his face flashed before her memory. She nodded, Funny, but I was the one who made him cry.

Then he loves you so much.

I believe so, too...

Make sure you introduce us one day.

One of these days. Her attention immersed to the silence of the world around them. It was still early in the morning that only a few people were in the cafe, most of them are inside and only an elderly couple shared the same space with them. Minho-yah, you will find someone else better because I don't deserve the love you can give.

Then, that goes to you, too. You deserve someone's love. Minho lifted his cup to his lips then set it back again with that clearer expression, So, you're going on a vacation with him? Seo Hyun nodded, Wow, he's really special. I did not imagine Seo Ju Hyun to be absent from school just to go out and date.

She laughed, No, I will be absent just a few nights. Besides, I can't miss the test.

Minho nodded. Maybe it was the sign he was waiting for to say yes to the blind date his father has told him before. It was not really his thing but who knows it was the best excuse not to feel too sad about Seo Hyun's rejection.

~~~

Her lids still felt so heavy that she really didn't want to flip them open but the heat piercing on her bare legs reminded her that the sun has been up for a couple of hours. When Yoona did open her eyes, two pools of curious little eyes beaconed at her that she almost jumped in surprise if not for the strong arm that was imprisoning her. O-oppa, she mumbled trying to wake him up or to just make him loosen his grip on her.

Ji Son did not even move nor transfer his gaze to something else as he rested both elbows on the center table in their living room and his chin rested on his hands. It was a peculiar sight after all, something which does not happen everyday so he must make the most out of that moment. When he woke up, he found his father and Yoona-ssi crammed on the sofa with his Appa's hand securing her by the stomach, maybe to make sure she won't fall off. Good morning, he finally mumbled with eyes still pressed on them.

G-good morning, Cake.

Yoona-ssi smiled at him but he could tell that she was shy because her face was turning pinkish. Or was it because the sun rays had entered through the window? His Appa was still snoring softly that it was seriously embarrassing him but he did not say anything. He just wished he woke up soon.

Oppa... Yoona said again squirming gently off his arm until she finally fell out of the couch and landed, bottom first, on the floor. Ouch... She complained and turned when Ji Son giggled behind her. She turned and playfully glared at him, It hurts and it's not funny...

He put both hand on his mouth holding back his laughter. Then she finally smiled at him.

What are we going to do with him? She asked pointing at his snoring father but laughed softly when he just shrugged his shoulder. Let's see. How about we just leave him alone so you and I could grab some breakfast? Yoona smiled wider when her little boy nodded with

much enthusiasm.

Moments later, it was her turn to watch Ji Son as he chewed his food silently. He doesn't look like his usual bubbly self so Yoona was worried. When she went there that night, he was already in deep sleep that Si Won wasn't even able to wake him up so they decided to just let him sleep. But he kept his promise of cooking for her that they ended up too bloated to do other things and just spent the rest of the night on the sofa. Her body was still complaining for that uncomfortable position but she just ignored the feeling. Besides, waking up in that house and seeing them both first thing in the morning energized those butterflies in her stomach.

She set aside those thoughts and focused on the little boy that was still not talking to her, Ji Son-ah, is there something wrong? Your Appa was worried about you last night. He looked up to her for a second and back to his food as if he did not hear anything so she cleared her throat, Hey Cake, you promised Yoona-ssi that you will tell her everything right?

Ji Son nodded and put his spoon on the bowl and focused on her encouraging smile. Softly, he answered, I saw a man kissing Yoona-ssi.

Her eyes widened in disbelief.

What? You saw what?

Ji Son turned to see his Appa standing by the threshold. He bit his tongue for he was looking at him with those scary eyes and Yoona-ssi fell quiet too. I saw a man kissing her. He dropped his head back.

Ji Son I- she tried to say something but she didn't really know what's the right thing to say. Besides, she didn't know what he was talking about.

Ji Son-ah, you know it's bad to lie, right? Si Won stood beside his son but his eyes remained on her who seemed to be as perplexed as he was.

Uh-huh, he nodded gently, He kissed her hand and she was happy...

Yoona heaved a sigh of relief and smiled despite the fact that Si Won was still giving her a cold stare. She focused on the boy instead of his father, Ji Son-ah, me and Seo Hyun Imo have two other good friends. They are your Jin Woon and Nihckhun Samchon. And Nichkhun Samchon came to visit me yesterday. Her gaze finally directed towards the older man, And yes, we did talk and he happened to kiss my hand but it only meant that we love each other... as friends. Yoona emphasized the last word and walked towards the pantry and took a cup, Appa, do you want coffee?

Ji Son felt nervous when his Appa left the kitchen without saying anything to Yoona-ssi. He turned to her with worried face and he could feel his face was twitching funnily like he wanted to cry. She walked to him and kissed his forehead.

Finish your food, I will talk to Appa, okay?

I'm sorry? his lips were quivering already but Yoona-ssi just ruffled his hair and left him on the kitchen.

~~~

Ju Hyun? Is that you? Seo Ju Hyun?

She turned and found a woman quite familiar to her but she could not really tell who she was. De... she bowed and tucked back some strands of hair, Annyeong haseyo...

Nice to see you again!

The older woman chirped in, she looked a few years older than her mother. She must be a neighbor, Nice to see you too.

Aigoo, you must have forgotten about me, haven't you?, she asked holding on to the younger woman's arm.

Ahh, de, I'm so sorry... she bowed again with slight embarrassment.

It's okay, you were so young when you left. I am your housekeeper, I come to your house everyday, remember? Mrs. Yang.

Seo Hyun tried to recall but her childhood past were like a vague memory so she just smiled at her. She was on her way to their apartment when she met her by the hallway.

That house became so sad when you and your mother left.

She started again as they walked along and she wondered why the woman appeared to be going to the same place as she was.

But your father requested me to continue my service and I receive my salary from him every month.

She stopped on her track for a while as she listened to the ajumma.

Before, he would often come here and handed me the payment himself but just a few years back I've heard that he moved to America and lived there with his new family the

It's okay, Mrs. Yang, I know about it, she smiled and saved the woman from further embarrassment. The latter smiled and tapped her hand.

As I was saying, he was always here before just trying his luck if you and your mom would come and visit. Because I was also shocked when I learned about the divorce and you suddenly went away. I wasn't even able to talk to your mother. By the way, how is she?

She's here, but living with halmeoni, she politely replied.

Ahhh really? Anyway, you are going to the house?

Yes...

Ohhh, okay then. Maybe I can come back later. You want to be alone, don't you?

She wanted to say yes but, I-It's actually okay if you are there so

Oh no... she shook her head, When I happen to come the same time as your Appa, he would usually ask me to go back after a few hours. So it's okay, have the whole house to yourself first.

Thank you so much, Mrs. Yang, she bowed at the woman. Somehow, she felt warmth towards her. She definitely was a part of her beautiful childhood.

No problem, she took Seo Hyun's hand and squeezed it gently, send my regards to your mother and if you happen to talk to your Appa, kindly thank him for me.

I will do that and thank you for taking good care of our house. A cold wind seemed to sweep across her when she said 'our house'. For the past years, she only acknowledged it as 'the house in Daejeon.'

You're welcome. Ja... I will be going now and come back later.

Yes, thank you...

Seo Hyun stood as she watched the woman disappeared on a corner. Embracing herself, she started walking towards the door. She stopped for a moment before unlocking it; a soft screech followed as she turned the knob and pushed it open. She looked around the obscure familiarity, her feet dragging her slowly as if she was walking on air. It looked like an old movie, or a long forgotten photograph the whole space.

The entryway oddly felt too small and short for her as she took off her shoes. She walked carefully with fingers running across the wall making herself drift back to the years when she was eight. When life was nothing but games, fun, friends, Umma and Appa. It was weird that even before she could reach the small living room she started to cry. Tears flowing for unknown reason as the silence of the house descended on her was crying along. She stopped and held on to the post that separated the kitchen from the tiny dining area.

Ju Hyun 7

Ju Hyun 7

Ju Hyun 6

With shaking hands, she traced her Appa's hand writing. He said she was really a tall girl. After midnight on her birthday, or whenever he felt like doing it, he would bring her there and 'document' how she has grown over the years. She smiled taking a pen inside her bag and leaned by the post. After marking it by her head she looked back at it and smile, her dad was right, she has really grown.

The living room has that distinct smell to it. Something that if she tried to think hard would make her drift back to those endless nights of playing games on winter nights, TV shows on the mid-afternoons, books on countless of mornings her little family would gather there. Slowly, she slid the door that led to a small balcony where her mom would pack with fresh laundries to dry and chills crawled up again as her vision shifted to those empty pots silently resting on one side of the corner. Shaking her head, she decided to go back inside.

She made her way in her bedroom and opened the window. The sight of her bed made her smile again. It would come in her dreams some nights when they moved to Seoul and even now that she's older. The white sheets and the subtle pink headboard that resembled the fence by her elementary school that was how it looked like. One day, if she would have her own family, she would take it with her.

Opening the closet she took her favorite dress the one her Umma bought for her during her first piano recital. She folded it carefully and set it on the bed. The next thing she got was her Keroro plushy, she could not remember when and how it got to her but it was her favorite. The one she would cradle when lightning and thunder would scare her. She sat on the bed and opened the drawer of the side table that was decorated with fading keroro stickers. Their family album was still there, brushing off some dust, she opened it carefully as if discovering a long forgotten treasure. She smiled as she traced each picture, those happy smiles. She wanted them to be a family again.

The family she longed to put back together deep in her heart. She could not blame anybody for what has happened to them. They say some things fall apart for better things to fall

together. But she pitied her mother, those pains she felt and the years of separation from the only man she loved. And she pitied her father more, for being blamed and for carrying that guilt deep in his heart. Seo Hyun knew that it won't be hard talking to her Umma about her father.

With that thought, she placed the album, dress, a few picture frames, some stuffed toys and other trinkets inside her bag. It was bulky now. Seo Hyun tapped it carefully, she felt like packing for the camp. She used to do that but she would find her mom taking out the 'unnecessary' stuff she packed with her clothes. But now, she would be taking all those things to her new life.

Her past, present and future should be together; just the way they should be.

Seo Hyun laid herself to bed and stared at the ceiling. The serene feeling was really overwhelming. Taking he phone from her jeans' pocket she heaved a sigh before dialing his number. She smiled when it did not take him a second ring to pick up, Yo~ng Oppa...

Hyu~n, are you in Daejeon now?

Yes, at our old apartment.

How was your trip?

It was fine.

Did you meet Imo?

Not yet, I will go there later. I just needed to get some stuff here.

Ahhh... Hyun, are you okay?

Yes, I j-just miss this place.

I know you do. Take care of yourself while I'm not there beside you...

Uh-huh, I must bring you here one time.

Yes, you should. I want to meet little Ju Hyun.

She would love to meet you too, Oppa.

You come home the soonest possible time, okay?

Okay...

I won't keep you now. I'll see you tomorrow?

Yes, see you tomorrow.

You've got a date tomorrow...

So do you... she smiled while wiping the remaining tears on her face. For a moment, she listened to his breathing and closed her eyes. She was in the haven of her past as she listened to her future. It made her feel at home, I can't wait to see you...

Me too. Be safe, okay? And call me when you get back.

Okay... I'll hang up now...

Yes, Hyu~n...

~~~

Yong Hwa took his place across his sister after answering her call. They were having late lunch at her in-law's house but it was only his sister who stayed afterwards since her husband has to take care of business. The residence exuded opulence that Yong Hwa thought how his sister's dream of marrying a prince really did come true. He watched her with obvious delight as she ate with gusto reaching out to wipe some sauce that managed to settle on the side of her lips, Ya, will you eat slowly? You have been eating for almost an hour now. I can't believe my sister has turn into a pig.

Ya! Who are you calling pig? Fany shove his hand and did the wiping herself. Her brother chuckled, What did Hyunie say?

She will talk to her mom about Abeoji. He rested comfortably on his seat as forked the remaining food on his plate.

That's good to hear, she placed her chopstick on the table beside her empty cup of rice, What did Uncle say about the business?

He said I can take over any time but that would mean settling in Busan.

Hmmm... I know that... she studied her brother's face. He has been wearing that solemn expression since he arrived and talked to Hyun Joong about the transfer of his responsibilities. Fany only got to see that genuine smile when he was talking to Seo Hyun on the phone moments ago. So what's your plan about her?

I will talk to her, his gaze dropped on to the plate again. After some contemplation, Yong Hwa looked back at his sister, I want to marry her, Nuna.

She could not help but smile, then marry her, she replied but furrowed her brows finding his somewhat dejected features, Is there something wrong, Yong Hwa?

Nuna, the three of us still share the same father and we cannot just leave that truth aside.

Fany reached out to touch her brother's hand, Yes, we do. But it's not by blood. I understand why you are making this a big deal. She lifted his chin up to make him look at her again. It must be hormones and the whole being-pregnant thing, but tears were forming on each side of her eyes, Daddy has become your father. In your heart, Appa does not exist anymore since he is the only one you grow up with. But Yong Hwa, this is the moment you must remember that he is just our step-father.

But what if that fact would keep her away from me... again...

Aigoo... she smiled and squeezed his hand tighter, Seo Hyun is a smart girl and you must

trust her feelings for you. You have been through a lot for so many years but your love for each other remained the same, even deeper right?

Yong Hwa nodded. The way his sister held his hand and her frequent wiping of her eyes somewhat made him feel like tearing himself.

Then stop worrying now, she said a little livelier and leaned back to her seat taking her glass of milk and raising it carefully, Relax, bro, she's all yours.

He watched his sister refill her cup of rice and started nibbling on the remaining side-dishes on the table. You must stop it now, Nuna, he mumbled with that amusement written on his face especially when she glowered at him. Yong Hwa just remembered what Hyun Joong whispered to him before he left. He must make sure she wouldnt be eating the silverware or the table.

~~~

Yoona crossed her arms on her chest as she leaned on the doorway. He was standing by the balcony staring into the distance, You heard him, he said Khun Oppa kissed my hand... just my hand... she walked closer when he did not move. Come on, don't tell me we're making this a big deal.

I don't know... he shrugged his shoulder as she gently tugged him towards her, When you said you don't want to get married yet. I understood it, I know that I rushed you and I know that I shouldn't be rushing you either. Right now, I really just want to spend my time with you and Ji Son. But I have this feeling that you are staying beside me just because of my son.

Oppa... she smiled gently. At first, she thought he was jealous because of Nichkhun but it appeared like he was jealous of his own son. You are this, and Ji Son is this... meaning, you are different. You both filled this space in my heart but it doesn't mean one of you is getting a bigger part than the other. I love you both in a different way and you both fill my heart in a different way. She almost laughed when a smile formed on his lips so she tiptoed and kiss his lips, resting her arms by his shoulder.

I'm sorry for being immature, he said before pressing his lips back on hers.

Yoona giggled as she brushed some strands by his forehead, I can't believe we are having this conversation. You are such a little boy, Oppa.

You can't blame me, he puckered his lips, Darn it, Yoona. What have you done to me?!

What have you done to me either? she grinned as she kissed him back.

Ji Son put a hand on his face and ran towards his room and shut the door behind him. He decided to sneak at them since he was worried that they might fight and Yoona-ssi might leave them and completely decide not to be his Umma anymore. But when he saw her walking closer to him, he waited and they were talking with very soft voices he could barely understand and the wind from the balcony was even louder than them. So that only meant he shouldn't be worrying about them anymore. That made him smile.

But ewwwwwwww they were kissing and it was so disgusting!

~~~

Seo Hyun sat by her grandmother's kitchen and watched her mom busily cutting vegetables on the counter. She missed that sight sitting by the table as she waited for her mom to finish cooking and eat with her. Her mom's hair looked shorter than she could remember, just a few months when she visited her in Seoul.

Seo Ju Hyun, rather than watching me why don't you help me out here?

Smiling, she stood and walked towards her taking another knife and helped her cut the radish. Even her scent seemed to remind Seo Hyun how much she missed her mother that she found herself unloading her hands with the knife and vegetable to stand behind her mom and snaked her arms by her waist, I miss you, Umma.

Aigoo, my Ju Hyun. Hyun Mi muttered, Don't be like that! I just sliced the onions!

She laughed with her mom but she did not let go instead she held on tighter smelling that

sweaty neck. The smell that brought her so many memories growing up. It was a sweet smell of labor, of being an independent mother bearing on her shoulders the sole responsibility of giving her a good life. Her tears were softly flowing that she has to rest her eyes by her mom's shoulder, Umma, come to Seoul with me.

She turned and wiped her hands before resting them both on her daughter's cheeks, How bad is he? Hyun Mi bit her lips as she tried to control her own tears.

He can't remember me. Not like before, but because his mind wouldn't let him remember me. Mom, it's killing me... tears escaped her lips as her mom grabbed her back to her arms.

Seo Hyun told her about her father's condition minutes ago and she had to excuse herself by cooking lunch. After their meeting eight years ago, she had never imagined meeting him or even seeing him again. She thought she has done enough to convince Ju Hyun to meet him and that was all she ever wanted to do until that moment. She slowly peeled her off her arms and wiped her tears with a tender smile, Okay, we will drive back together to Seoul later. Okay?

Okay... she nodded as she wiped her nose.

Aigoo... look at you! You are eight again! Remember when Yoona called you names? You run to me with the same tears! she laughed softly and embraced her little girl again soothing her back, Hush now, we will meet Appa tomorrow if that would make Ju Hyun happy.

Yes, it'll make her happy, mom, she sniffed, It'll make me very happy, Umma...

~~~

It was almost dusk when they reached Seoul. Thankfully, another aunt agreed to watch over her grandmother while her mom was away. Seo Hyun stood by the pathway across their apartment building. She was constantly checking her phone since he might call again. The recollection of his last message made her smile. He threatened not to bring her what she asked for if she would continue ignoring his calls.

The sight of his car from the distance made her heart thump a bit as she hid her phone in her jeans. Putting both hands by her sweatshirt's pocket, she waited until he finally pulled over before going to where he was. The fact that it was the only time they would be seeing each other must be the reason for her fuzziness. She smiled when she saw him smiling back at her.

He parked by the same corner and waved when he saw her standing just outside the building. Seo Hyun walked towards him when he went out of the car. She was wearing a somewhat buggy yellow hoodie that fell almost a few inches below her waist. Her hair was tied in a careless ponytail that some strands wandered off her face. Her smile reminded him of summer sunshine despite the cold autumn nightfall.

Annyeong haseyo, she slightly bowed and laughed softly when he raised his brow.

Hello, Hyun, he said with almost a whistle. Seo Hyun sent him message moments ago that she was back in their apartment with her mother and asked if he could buy her chicken since she was hungry. Yong Hwa attempted to call her after receiving the message but she did not answer and he made up his mind that it was intentional. Thank you for ignoring my calls, he said bluntly.

She laughed, Aniyo, I did not notice them...

Liar, Yong Hwa glowered but his expression softened when she pouted as if begging for him to let it just pass then nodded. Here, He handed the Goobne take-out box and reveled by the way her eyes lit up and a smile brightened her face.

Wow! she exclaimed in delight, Thank you... Oppa...

No problem, he nodded, Where's your mom?

Upstairs, her eyes wandered from him and up to the building, She's got headache after the drive.

It's nice to know that she's here, Yong Hwa leaned on his car when he realized that she

won't invite him in.

Yeah, she inspected the box in her hand and with a gentle smile she glanced back at him, I will bring her to see Appa tomorrow.

Ahh... yes... he nodded and ran a hand through his hair, And Hyun, I hope you won't forget

Yes, I remember, she unconsciously flipped her head slightly from side to side that her ponytail danced along, It's day one tomorrow.

Yeah, day one... a warm smile settled on his lips as he maintained his gaze to her flushed face. It was getting colder. It would be nice for them to see the first snow fall together, You better go up now. It's getting colder here.

And you drive back too, Yong Oppa, she puckered her lips as if in deep thought then raised the box with a childish grin, Thanks for dinner.

Jashik. What a silly excuse to see me, huh?

She laughed waving her free-hand in the air, Don't be too full of yourself, Oppa!

Yong Hwa laughed out loud as he watched her skipped towards the building then waved when she turned to look back at him.

Goodbye, I'll see you tomorrow!

Bye, Hyun... day one...

Yes, day one! ~~~ Sometimes, sometimes the world gets hard I'm gonna take it from there girl Don't you worry I wanna be your lake or your bay And any problems that you have

I wanna wash 'em away I wanna be your sky so blue and high And everytime you think of me I wanna blow your mind I wanna be your air so sweet and fair So when you feel that you can't breathe Ma, I'll be there I wanna be your answer, all the time When you see how I put your life before mine With no question when all the love feels gone And you can't carry on don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here Just as sure as the sun will shine Every morning, everytime don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here I wanna hold your hands Review all your plans I wanna make sure everyone of your dreams will stand I wanna be your broadway show on review So I can act out how God was when he made you I wanna be your lighthouse when you get lost I'll light a bright and shining path to help you across I wanna be your mother, wait See what I see And when you see that can't nobody hold you like me Cause I love you when all the love feels gone And you can't carry on Don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here Just as sure as the sun will shine Every morning, everytime don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here And when there's no one there to hold And you realize the world is cold Don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here That's what I'm gonna do Just as sure as the sun will shine Every morning, everytime I'm gonna take it from here Give me one reason why we should not be leaving This world is so deceiving, the time is now Let's fly away speeding through the Garden of Eden Where all the sweet breathing of love surrounds When all the love feels gone and you can't carry on Don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here Just as sure as the sun will shine Every morning, everytime Don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here give me one reason Why we should not be leaving this world is so deceiving The time is now lets fly away speeding Through the Garden of Eden

Where all the sweet and breathing of love surrounds When all the love feels gone and you can't carry on Don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here Just as sure as the sun will shine Every morning, everytime don't worry, girl I'm gonna take it from here Love ain't always the way they write in books See there's the good guys and also heartbreak crooks Your hearts the real book just take a look inside 'Cause it's a colorful illustrated guide So there you go don't worry I'll be the one to help you weather the storm I'll be there no matter what time No matter what place you can always count on me I'll take it from here

Day One

The ice cream parlor almost looked deserted if not for the lone crew busily doing something behind the counter and the girl sitting by one of the tables in a corner facing the other direction. The young man was about to say the usual eoseooseyo but Yong Hwa was fast enough to put his finger on his lips and pointed to the girl with a smile. As the crew nodded, he walked behind her intended to give her a shock. He bended down and was ready to hold on to her arm but as he got closer to her hair, her scent distracted him. She flipped the magazine from page to page. Restless and excited were what she was exactly feeling. Heaving a deep sigh, she checked the time on her handphone again until she felt the weight on the crown of her head and his hands by her shoulder. Hi.... he whispered without totally detaching himself from the scent of her hair. Instead, he slipped his hands along her arms and rested them on hers in a back hug. Seo Hyun gently bended to remove herself from him and turned eyeing him with slight discomfort. With that, he sighed loudly eliciting a giggle from her and pulled a seat nearest her, Have you been waiting for long? Not really... she rested her forearm on the table and twitched her lips, But I did finish one bowl of patbingsoo. She said matter-of-factly then continued motioning to the half-full dish in front of her, That's my second one. Yong Hwa chuckled softly by the way she moved her lips and batted her lashes, Okay, I'm sorry I was late. I had to meet your new boss. It's okay, I got your message, she finally smiled, I had to accompany mom to the doctor

too. Huh? Is she sick? he was about to take the dish with half-full of the dessert she just had but withdrew. Not really, maybe just anxious to see Appa that her blood pressure kinda went unstable, she said as she pushed the bowl closer to him. Don't worry, she's fine. The doctor said she just needed to rest and take some medicine. Aigoo, it's good to hear then. We don't one another sick family member, he muttered taking a spoonful of patbingsoo. I know, Seo Hyun nodded and reached out to wipe the side of his lips with her bare fingers. He touched her hand and for a second they lock glances. She suddenly felt like some breeze passed by her nape so she pulled away, A-Anyway, we will go visit Appa tomorrow. Hyu~n! he sat back with obvious amusement. Yong Hwa was so used to her retractions that instead of being disappointed, he would find it charming. Besides, that would be better if time comes that she would finally take the lead. It would surely surprise him. Aigoo... Oppa... I'm sorry, she shook her head clearly embarrassed. She didn't really mean to evade his advances, in fact, it was giving her unbelievable sensations. But the same sensations made her feel terribly uncomfortable that she didn't know how to react on it well. No, Hyun, it's okay... we are just on our day one, right? he assured her and held her hand. I will go on holding your hand until you feel comfortable with me. We may have a few of those moments that we cannot contain ourselves but it won't be always like that. So don't worry, we will take things one step at a time. Why are you like that? she shut her eyes for a moment almost laughing to herself. Like what, Hyun? he chuckled by how she looked frustrated to herself. She rested her chin by the back of her hands and eyed him with hidden enthusiasm, Why do you always say the right things? Because I know what you want to hear... he laughed softly and continued eating her food. They fell quiet but he could feel her gaze so he looked up, Hmmm? I'm just wondering. What did we do on our day one? Yong Hwa placed the spoon on his bowl and gave her a questioning stare, You can't remember?

She shook her head, You can? He was brooding over her question. Both of them never leaving each others eyes as if they wanted to have good answers to each other's queries, If I say no, would you get upset? It's been a long time so no, I won't get upset. I'm not sure if I could remember it correctly but just the snippets of it. Seo Hyun puckered her lips again as if trying to remember herself, So what can you remember? I think we ate in a fastfood restaurant and talk about us and the things we wanted to do for five days. Hmmm... she nodded pondering over it then snapped her fingers, Right! That was what we did. I'm good, he gave her a thumb's up with that proud boyish grin then continued with a serious expression, But this time, Hyun, we will just do the things on the list, okay? Okay, but Oppa. She replied bobbing her head slowly. It was really a creative way for them to spend time together not just the ordinary getting-back. Just last night she took out her own copy of the list and re-read the entries there even though she knew them by heart. But she could not really imagine how to go about with it, Can I ask a favor? Yong Hwa was watching her the whole time she became pensive again. Sometimes he just wanted to get into her head just to make sure he didn't need to worry about anything. When she suddenly said that, he had to stop for a moment when something came into his mind, Hyun, if you are planning to skip some of the things there, my answer is no. Her brows almost met in confusion. That expression he was wearing was too serious telling her that he meant every word he said but she was being kept in the dark. For a moment, Seo Hyun waited for him to tell her what he meant. When it finally hit her, she could not help but laugh, I am not talking about the 'kiss' entries, Oppa. If that's what you are pointing at. You are not? No... I mean, she fanned herself as he looked flushed himself and was giving her an apologetic smile. She forced herself to stop laughing so she cleared her throat before continuing, I want you to do the planning on how to go about with what to do first. Something like that. Yong Hwa felt silly, all of a sudden. Well, she could not really blame him for Seo Hyun has been driving him crazy since the very first day they met. He nodded, feeling relieved.

Alright then... It looks like you made plans already. She smiled warmly to make him feel less embarrassed. He finally earned back that mischievous grin as he nodded, I think so too... They left the ice cream house a few minutes later and walked along Myeongdong since it was still very early and he insisted on buying her a thicker coat. At first, she was whiny about it especially when he wouldn't tell her what he intended to do. Only when they took a taxi up to Mt. Nam that she finally understood the need for it. He was quiet the whole ride as if pondering onto something that even she wasn't allowed to know. And, Seo Hyun let him be. He was thinking about it. The five days that they were to be together should make her totally accept him despite the connection they have. He was determined to make sure that Seo Hyun would willingly want to be with him without hesitations or reservations. But right that moment, he didn't want to plan anything, just to spend every moment with her would probably serve his purpose.

Just do the list. That was exactly he intended to do. They trekked up the remaining distance and he managed to convince her to eat again despite of her complaints of still feeling full. He was feeling the same but he wanted his perfect moment so he insisted. They resolved to share one plateful of japchae with assortments of mandu, sundae and gimbap. Seo Hyun complained the whole time that they were eating for she instead that they could not finish everything and it was a waste of food and money. He, on the other hand, continued to be amused by her and could not help but to imagine of living with his whiny Hyun for the rest of his life. It was not just appealing but an enthralling thought. After eating, they spent the rest of the remaining sunlight walking around to 'burn the excess calories.' She explained in the end that she was not really being whiny and all but she was more concerned of the side effects of over-stuffing. Yong Hwa tried to explain to her that there was no way he was thinking that way but ended up keeping silent and just nodded. After all, she was right and his stomach was really starting to grumble. Moments later and after struggling to zip her up in the new coat he bought, Yong Hwa managed to lead her by the view deck of the tower and they both marveled at the almost congested fence around the area. Locks were everywhere that if they would not look closely and patiently, they would just give up on finding a space for

themselves. Wow, look at these, he mused in amazement as he ran his hands among those lines of locks in different shapes, sizes, colors and what-nots, many hopeless romantics, huh? Just like someone I know, she mumbled bypassing him. Ya... he answered shaking his head and walking beside her, never underestimate the power of these things. Arasso, Oppa! she giggled in amusement and stood in front of a little corner that appeared to be less passed by the other 'romantics' as he called it. Here, we can put our locks here... Yong Hwa nodded in agreement and handed her own piece without furthering their empty talks about the 'romantic' stuff. He watched her slip her lock on that unassuming space and latched it in. When she moved to the side, he gently intertwined his own lock onto hers and clicked it close. Our locks, he smiled softly while she remained fixated by them. She was in a daze but she let her thoughts remain to herself. The sight of two locks secured on that fence with the others surrounding it gave her an overwhelming feeling. The locks served their purpose it gave her hope that her days of wondering are now over. Not just because of the man who locked his key into hers but also with her family. Her mother and her father. It gave her hope that the storm had passed and she was seeing the early morning with the beautiful sun and assuring her of better days to come. There was another lump on her throat but she swallowed it in especially when she felt his soft palm into hers urging her to turn to him. And so she did. And his beautiful smile welcomed her into him. And this is the key, in time I will give this to you. Yong Hwa slipped the object on her palm that they were both holding on it. His eyes remained on her hand as he continued to speak like he was afraid that he would get another sad answer from her. To decide if these locks should stay here and the key to be completely forgotten. Or if some things would still matter to you and keep you away from me. Seo Hyun knew he was referring to their father but she listened for her heart didn't want her to say anything. If she defied its wishes, she would only cry.

He looked at her drawing a tender smile as if begging to give him her everything, Finally, it must be something we should have done before. She shook her head answering his own smile, No... things happened because they were meant to happen. Seo Hyun laid the key to his palm again and urged him to hold it, Oppa, I just want to live everyday. No more turning behind or looking ahead. Can we do that? Live for the moment? Yes... he nodded. Yong Hwa understood what she meant, As long as that moment is with you... I can live with that. That's great to hear, then. She patted his closed fist and withdrew her hand from his. The day was almost done. It was colder up there but her coat secured her and kept her warm. The wind was making some strands of hair play at the back of her head that she just held on to them by her shoulder. The sun, almost gone now, was replaced by those tiny lights that glimmered beneath them and those above shyly peeking away for they were a million light-years from them. The wind and the soft voices of the other people around them kept her company as he was stilled by the very same picture in front of them. Until he spoke, gentle and clear. Did you really go to the train station? Yes, I was there... Then why didn't you go to me? For the same reason we got separated. I understand. I'm so sorry for hurting you. It was not only me. You were hurt too. Perhaps we need those years to make us realize some things. I know... Hyun, I have always been in love with you.

Chapter 35: Lost In You

Now I know that I've known lot of things at all except the fact that I am yours and that you are mine
~your song (parokya) our

She was in a daze but she let her thoughts remain to herself. The sight of two locks secured on that fence with the others surrounding it gave her an overwhelming feeling. The locks served their purpose it gave her hope that her days of wondering are now over. Not just because of the man who locked his key into hers but also with her family. Her mother and her father. It gave her hope that the storm had passed and she was seeing the early morning with the beautiful sun and assuring her of better days to come. There was another lump on her throat but she swallowed it in, especially when she felt his soft palm into hers urging her to turn to him. And so she did. And his beautiful smile welcomed her into him. And this is the key, in time I will give this to you. Yong Hwa slipped the object on her palm that they were both holding on it. His eyes remained on her hand as he continued to speak like he was afraid that he would get another sad answer from her. To decide if these locks should stay here and the key to be completely forgotten. Or if some things would still matter to you and keep you away from me.

Seo Hyun knew he was referring to their father but she listened for her heart didn't want her to say anything. If she defied its wishes, she would only cry. He looked at her drawing a tender smile as if begging to give him her everything, Finally, it must be something we should have done before. She shook her head answering his own smile, No... things happened because they were meant to happen. Seo Hyun laid the key to his palm again and urged him to hold it, Oppa, I just want to live everyday. No more turning behind or looking ahead. Can we do that? Live for the moment? Yes... he nodded. Yong Hwa understood what she meant, As long as that moment is with you... I can live with that. That's great to hear, then. She patted his closed fist and withdrew her hand from his. The day was almost done. It was colder up there but her coat secured her and kept her warm. The wind was making some strands of her hair play at the back of her head that she just held on to them by her shoulder. The sun, almost gone now, was replaced by those tiny lights that glimmered beneath them and those above shyly peeking away for they were a million light-years from them. The wind and the soft voices of the other people around them kept her company as he was stilled by the very same picture in front of them. Until he spoke, gentle and clear. Did you really go to the train station? Yes, I was there... She answered without looking at him instead, let her fingers play with their locks. Yong Hwa continued to watch her afraid to peel his gaze off her face, Then why didn't you go to me? For the same reason we got separated. A smile curled in her lips. There was bit of sadness to it that was perhaps because the pain of the past revisited. He nodded, I understand. Finally, Seo Hyun turned to him seeking his hand and enfolding it to hers, I'm so sorry for hurting you. It was not only me. You were hurt too. He squeezed her hand tight. Perhaps we need those years to make us realize some things, Seo Hyun said under her breath with her heart beating so fast as he looked at her that way.

I know... Hyun, I have always been in love with you.

Day Two Seo Hyun was holding her hand when they reached the hospital. She held it tighter as they got closer to his bed. Hee Jun looked older, far older than his age. There was this twitch that unbelievably pained her chest and suddenly lost her sense of balance. If not for her daughter keeping her on her feet, she would have fallen onto the floor. His weak form was resting peacefully on a big bed with sheets covering half of his torso. The sight of the medical ventilator beside his bed finally gave way for her eyes to water. Mom, are you okay? She asked and Hyun Mi nodded keeping a forced smile while hurriedly wiping her eyes. It must be hard on him, all the years she kept Ju Hyun away from him or even not letting him explain his part of why they ended up as a broken family. Leaning on the bed, she reached out to touch his hand. He was sleeping and she thought it was better that way since she didn't know how to face him yet. Yong Hwa stood behind them silently watching as her mother walked closer to the bed and took his hand. Seo Hyun grabbed the chair and let her sit for awhile but both remained quiet as if too shy to say anything. He could not really understand how to feel seeing the three of them together like that. Somehow he thought must be feeling a little jealous but he scolded himself for being childish. Besides, that was what he wanted all along what everybody wanted all along. After a few seconds, Seo Hyun turned to him with and mouthed a thank you, her misty eyes telling him more than what her lips could say. He made his way towards them, resting his hand by her waist. With a soft tug, he spoke, Hyun, I think we should leave them for awhile. She looked at him and nodded with that melancholic smile that all he wanted to do was to grab her towards him and enveloped her in an embrace. But it was not really a good thing to do. Yong Hwa motioned for her that they needed to leave and gently placed a hand on her mom's shoulder, Imo, we need to get going now. Hyun Mi looked up to Yong Hwa and nodded, Okay, you take care of yourselves... Her daughter bended down to give her a hug and a peck on the cheek. Try not to stay out late. De, Umma, Seo Hyun straightened then nodded kissing her one more time, Take it easy, okay? Yes, she smiled motioning for them to go. When the door closed, Hyun Mi stood and crossed her arms on her chest. Now, it was only her and him again. That moment, she wanted to wake him and ask all those questions she was too scared to ask before. Her tears

finally fell down her cheeks but her hands covered her mouth as if trying not to cry but it was too late. Slowly, she fell on her knees by the foot of his bed crying. Crying but without sound for she didn't want to wake him up nor make him see her tears the pain of the past and the pain of how her pride ruined her family. When Seo Hyun gave up Yong Hwa it was the time she started thinking that she had probably done the greatest mistake of her life when she divorced her husband without listening to what he was trying to tell her before. But right that moment, she didn't know if he would be able to tell her what she needed to know so it was tearing her apart. Hyun Mi gathered herself up and sat back on the chair and listened to his gentle breathing, hi... Hee Yeobo, she laughed quietly at herself. She did not expect herself to be calling him that again. What happened to you? Look at you? I told you to take care of yourself, especially your heart, she spoke as her hand soothed his arm, You have to get better soon so that you can tell me everything you were trying to tell me before. I'm so sorry for turning deaf. I'm so sorry for not listening. I'm so sorry for stealing our daughter away from you... She cried again. That was all she could do. ~~~ Ji Son felt something was wrong with the two adults in front of him. It was really a good thing that they picked him up from the daycare center moments ago together. But when they got to the restaurant beside the arcade and the food had been ordered, though it hasn't arrived yet, they fell quiet. And that was strange, really strange. So he looked at them and they looked at him but no one was speaking. Suddenly, his Yoona-ssi looked at his Appa and he looked at her too. They were mumbling something to each other with eyebrows raised and lips moving so softly as if they were sharing a secret. Finally, his Appa leaned closer to the table and rested his arms on it. He cleared his throat and she had a small smile on her lips so Ji Son did not blink at all waiting for what he was about to say. Just as he was about to talk, the waiter came and brought in their food. His ice cream looked yummy that he completely forgot about that brief moment especially when he started digging in to it. ~~~ Yong Hwa slightly lurched on the sidewalk in front of her and laughed. What the?! Oppppa!!! Seo Hyun grumbled while throwing a gentle fist on his arm. She was taken by surprise of that sudden act but it sure did steal her away from her reverie.

Ya, I was just making you come down to earth, he complained lacing his fingers on hers again and compel her hand to sway along with his, We should set aside sad thoughts for a while, okay? With a slight nod, her free hand held on to his arm and linked their sides closer, I'm a little worried about Umma, she revealed then nodded when he looked at her with brows furrowed, Fine... this is our second day. Maybe I better focus on what you have prepared for today. Of course! he hissed with lips almost forming a boyish pout that elicited another soft laugh from her, Just focus on being happy, yes? Yes! she exclaimed then puckered her lips before continuing, So, what do you have for me today? Hmmm... Yong Hwa looked at her, drawing a face in deep thought, Something from the list? Seo Hyun laughed, That's a very nice clue, Oppa! With that, she did not wait for him to give her a definite answer. Besides, he was good at giving surprises. They made their way on to the main street and she wondered why they did not go to the parking lot. Suddenly, he hailed a taxi. He opened the door for her, Get in... Yong Hwa softly ordered and grinned secretly at her confused expression. After they got settled, he told the driver their destination. Oppa, what happened to your car? Huh? Nothing happened to it. He tried to maintain a clueless expression, Why? Should something happen to it? Aigooo... she sighed knowing he was poking fun at her by the way he was answering, Why are we taking a taxi and heading to the train station? Yong Hwa crossed his arms by his chest and shook his head. Seo Hyu rolled her eyes and laughed when he waved a finger at her telling her that there was no way he was going to tell her, Aish, chincha, Oppa... She crossed her arms to her chest, herself and directed her gaze towards the window. You are just lazy to drive... He laughed out loud then trailed his voice softly, Just wait... She nodded. His jokes were really a good way to distract her off the thoughts of her parents. Seo Hyun has been praying her dad to at least be in his lucid state when he wakes up so he could talk to her mother. Her mind was slowly slipping to a deep thought again

until she felt his head falling on her shoulder as his hand took hers squeezing it lightly, Thank you... You're always saying that. He looked up to her detaching his head from her but chuckled when she pulled it down again, I must thank you, too. You're welcome, she playfully answered. ~~~ Who are you? The vase almost fell on her hand. She was walking back to the window after washing the it by the pantry when she heard his faint voice. Laying down the object down with care, she walked to him, Hello, Hee Jun. I- He was trying to sit up so she rushed to him and helped him up, Careful. Thank you, he said when she placed a pillow by his head. Where's Ju Hyun? Are you a new nurse? Hyun Mi nodded. She didn't really know how to reintroduce herself to him. Ju Hyun went somewhere with Yong Hwa. She fixed the covers before pulling the chair and taking her seat. Ahhh, when are they coming back? I don't know yet. He looked like he was in a calm mood. Her daughter told her that he can sometimes be aggressive and easily gets agitated. I'm glad you came, he said with gentle eyes, Ju Hyun told me there was someone who would see me today. Yeah, She smiled gently. Do you want me to take care of you? As long as you don't lock me up here. They lock you up here? A lump was forming on her throat again. It felt like talking to a kid. Yes, some of those bad people. But Yong Hwa and Ju Hyun play with me. Don't worry, she reached out and soothed his hand, We will ask your doctor if we can go out and walk around.

He directed his gaze on the open window by his bedside, I walk around and do some exercises. They are tiring me. Hyun Mi brushed stood and opened the fridge. It was her excuse to wipe the tears that were flowing. Will you be here later? She turned and found him looking at her. His eyes were melancholic, as if there were a million things he wanted to tell her. She swallowed hard then nodded, Yes, I will be here... Good, I think I need to sleep now. The glass of water in her hand remained untouched for a couple of seconds as she watched him turn to his side. After a few minutes, she listened to his deep breathing. Almost half and hour had passed, she sat by his bedside watching him sleep again. She went to see his doctor and was updated with his condition. He said he would always have chest pains but they were not serious and it was becoming less frequent. Dementia has worsened considering that he was still young for it. She remembered it really run in his family his father suffered the same fate. She shut her eyes tight remembering how he would always joke before that time would come he would not remember her anymore or those things they did together. Her tears flowed more upon recollection that she did promise him that everyday she would remind him of how much they love each other. They were so young then. She knew that she needed to calm herself because she didn't want to get sick. Thinking about his condition made her blood pressure rise that night and Seo Hyun insisted of seeing the doctor. She didn't want to get sick now that she had him back to take care of. But all she wanted was to talk to him again, they could skip on what happened before their ugly past. Hyun Mi just wanted to talk to him again. ~~~ Yoona looked at him but he was focused on his sandwich so he lightly tugged his foot under the table. You tell him now, she said in a soft murmur as Si Won's gaze wandered from the little boy in front of them and back to her. I think it would be better if you tell him, he answered with the same volume. Ji Son has now fixed his stare on them so he cleared his throat and took a bite again. She rolled her eyes and shook her head. She leaned closer to him and said with conviction, He's your son, do it!

He inhaled loudly and tilted his head towards Yoona when he heard her chuckle. Ji Sonah... De... Ji Son hardly blinked while the two were obviously looking as if they have something important to tell him. Ji Son-ah, you remembered we talked about the possibility that Yoona-ssi will live with us, right? De... he nodded. And you said before you like her to be your Umma, right? De... he nodded again crossing his fingers hoping what he was about to say was what he really wanted. And for that to happen, we have to marry her, right? De... he bobbed his head again and noticed how his Yoona-ssi was raising her brows at his father which he didn't seem to notice. And so And so, Ji Son, I'm marrying your Appa if that's okay with you. It was his Yoona-ssi deliberately cutting off his father. A smile formed his lips when he watched the two who looked like they were having some eye-fight. Why? Yoona mumbled resting her chin by the back of her hand. I thought I'm the one who was going to tell him? Si Won complained. To tell him? Next year? Sheez, Oppa, you were beating around the bush! But you know, he is a kid so we need to explain it clearly to him! Can't you see it's Ehem... ehem... he finally pretended to cough with his knuckles on his lips just for emphasis. When the two adults finally looked at him, he placed his hands on the table, So you are getting married? And Yoona-ssi will be my Umma? And you're asking if it's okay with me? Yes, Cake... Yoona smiled after that tiny glare at Ji Son's Appa. Okay. He nodded. It was the first time in his life that he felt like a grown-up, having to

decide something important like that. Alright then, Yoona-ssi, me and Appa are going to marry you. Yoona and Si Won looked at each other with surprise written on their faces. Suddenly, they burst out laughing. Adults, really. Ji Son's face met his palm. ~~~ They took the train and by her estimate, the ride took them less than an hour or so. She was trying to make her tell him where they were going since she was not really familiar of that place. The moment she saw nothing but stretch of rice and corn fields when she looked out of the window, she reckoned that they were already in the countryside. Seo Hyun stopped whining when he lounged on the seat, closed his eyes and started snoring softly. If he was just pretending to be asleep, she could not really tell. Where are we? She asked as soon as they stepped out of the train but Yong Hwa just walked ahead of her whistling softly. It was starting to get in her nerves. She stopped and twitched her lips until he looked back and found her standing still. Seo Hyun could not help but laughed softly when he shook his head and sheepishly went to take her hand. Let's go! He playfully declared. Minutes later, after walking along a never-ending village pathway, they started to turn and turn on alleys after alleys. Seo Hyun was quiet the whole time because he looked so confident until he stopped in front of two almost the same looking entryway, Turn right or turn left? She asked mimicking his voice awhile back but with obvious agitation. I'm... not sure... Yong Hwa scratched his head pointing at the two corners as if doing some math calculations. Putting a hand on his non-existent mustache, he blurted out, I know this place. I used to come here with the boys before. Then how come you're not sure? She complained but with controlled voice. Because it has been years. He replied without looking at her then mumbled like he was talking to himself, I swear it's just here somewhere. It is what, Oppa? There's a good spaghetti house here. Spaghetti house? Her eyes widened, We came all the way here for spaghetti? Yeah? It's the best in Korea, Hyun! He grinned gently elbowing her.

Uh... okay, I guess, Seo Hyun rolled her eyes and gave up. There was no way he was going to be serious anyway. She turned to him and asked earnestly, But make sure we find it. We can't be stuck here for a long time. I know... He nodded and took her hand, Don't worry, we'll find it. They started walking and took the left turn, But you don't know the exact location? Hmmm... kinda.... Aigooo... She heaved but decided not to react further. A few minutes have passed again, but they were just walking. A few cars were passing along and people dressed in work clothing. The place seemed like the commercial part of the town only that it was not really as alive as the ones in Seoul. Some shops were open and some were not. Good thing they ate a full lunch at the train or she would surely collapse in hunger with no restaurant in sight and the random walking exercise they were doing was really making her legs hurt. Now, she wondered more if the restaurant that serves the best spaghetti in Korea really did exist in that little town. Maybe we should ask for direction already. Seo Hyun suggested but he remained silent, Oppa, are you sure it's here? Of course, but... But...? I'm just confused. Confused? We have been walking for like twenty minutes already! She finally grumbled louder when the only person they met on the street disappeared behind them. She was tired and agitated and he was not helping at all, And how are we supposed to go back to the train station? I trust you on that one, Hyun, he gave her another impish smile like a little boy who just did an epic mischief. Me? Seo Hyun pointed at herself and whimpered in submission, Why me? Oppa, we have been turning and turning at every entryway around this area. How could I remember the way back? Yong Hwa finally let out a laugh that he has been keeping for a long while. He only stopped when he noticed that she was on the verge of crying. Taking one step closer to her, he put both hands on her cheeks and spoke gently, Hyun, as long as everybody else speaks Korean, we won't be having any problem. Bended down to peck a kiss on her lips, Trust me, okay?

She puckered her lips but smiled when he kissed her again then mumbled before he parted his lips from hers, Fine, I'm going to keep on trusting you until you bring me to that spaghetti restaurant. Good, Yong Hwa smiled thumbing her soft skin. That made her feel better a little, for she was still tired but it was good enough. More so when he bended to kiss her on the cheek before taking her hand and leading her to yet another entry way proudly declaring a confident 'turn right!' They stopped by an open park around a busy street intersecting a local commercial place. There were shops, restaurants and store wherever they directed their gaze. The park was rather a big one with a garden on the center and two swan topiaries adorned it in place of a fountain. Benches strategically scattered on every corner. There was also a tiny playground where some children were taking advantage of the clear winter day running around with chirpy voices like they have the world for themselves. Yong Hwa looked at her again when they neared one empty seat, Wait for me here. You look tired. No, I'm okay, she vigorously shook her head. Ya, don't insist, holding on to her shoulders, he pushed her gently to sit, I will be back. Don't go wandering again. Seo Hyun puckered her lips as she watched him walk away leaving her there. She let her eyes linger around her. It was a quaint little town. The people looked friendly despite the obvious hard labor going around. If she would be given a choice, she would rather live in a place like that than to fit in to the hassles of city life. Maybe, she could have a small farm house and a humble-sized sweet potato field. Then, she could have a little garden by the backyard where their kids could run around and bask under the summer sun. The thought kindled goosebumps on her arms that she had to sooth them gently. She looked at her watch and noticed that he had been gone for a few minutes. Suddenly, her mind was making crazy assumptions. What if he got lost? Or something wrong happened to him? Her heart started to throb unbelievably fast so she stood. It was reminding her of some things. It was like seeing him disappear on that tiny carousel once again or when he left her in the middle of the street after they talked to the fortune teller. It was making her dizzy. She felt terribly sick. Trust me, okay? Seo Hyun had to close her eyes and let the wind bring his voice to her just to keep herself calm. Besides, she did promise to trust him so she should not let paranoia eat her out of her

wits. Sitting again, she focused on the tiny corner he disappeared into. Something felt fishy so she stood when a woman walked past her. Excuse me? Yes? I'm new here... she bowed politely, May I know what part of the market is that? Oh, that's a flower market and if you go straight along that way, there are good restaurants that serve local delicacies. Really? her smile finally escaped her lips. Thank you so much! She shook her head when it finally dawned on her. The woman left and so did she. Get lost somewhere. That was on the list and he was making her believe that they were really lost. ~~~ He sprinted as he crossed the street despite the obvious absence of vehicles. The set up was perfect and all that was needed to be done was to bring her there. Yong Hwa had his satisfied smile pasted on his lips until he found the seat where he left her empty. Not again. She did not leave again. D@mn, I told her to just stay here! Yong Hwa cursed in a modulated voice as he ran his hand through his hair. Seo Hyun can be so hard-headed at times. Probably, she got scared that he disappeared again. D@mn! Perhaps it was a bad idea to stage an event like that. He could not just lose her Oppa! Here! Yong Hwa turned and found her sitting on one of the benches by the other side of the park directly facing him. The huge topiary was blocking her view from the street so he did not notice her. Seo Hyun was wearing that impish grin as she waved excitedly. So, did you find it? She asked as if nothing happened when he reached her. He smirked as he replied, Yes, I did. And, as far as I can remember, I left you over there. Seo Hyun laughed softly when he pointed towards the other seat. When she went back, a young couple was occupying the bench already so she decided to take the empty one across it. The two left after a few minutes but when she was about to go back there, she caught a glimpse of him crossing the street.

What should I do for you to forgive me? She mumbled pulling off a puppy-eyed look at him. Tsk... the damage is done, he pretended to be upset but eyed her questioningly when she was just batting her lashes. Suddenly, she pulled something out from behind. His face lit up and he could not just hide his smile. Seo Hyun stretched out her arms towards him with three creamy-white tulip buds bundled together with a baby blue ribbon. She pouted some more when he remained fixated on the spot and stood giving him a gentle smile, Can I be forgiven now? Please? He laughed softly shaking his head and taking the flowers, Thank you. You are the first girl who ever gave me flowers. Wow, that means I won't be forgotten? How can you be? he chuckled ruffling her hair gently then put the flowers closer to his nose but glowered again, But still, never ever pull something like that again... Were you scared that I left you? She teased as she took his hand. You just don't have any idea, Hyun, he rolled his eyes while taking her by the hand and led her towards their destination, Don't ever do that again. Ne, algesseubnida! She was humming all the way and it made him chuckle. She was really trying to make him feel better but he remained quiet until they got to the two-storey restaurant. The smell was inviting and Seo Hyun finally realized how hungry she was. The place looked rather peculiar with the booth seats and tables slightly mounted from the floor and there were some abstract wooden sculptures at every interval between the seats. The ambiance was homey yet unconventional. So much for letting her eyes feast on the interiors that she just noticed something at the farthest end of the aisle. She turned to him with the hunch that it was his doing. Yong Hwa just nodded motioning for her to walk ahead, which she did. A table was set for two with a bouquet of pink of roses resting on one side of the table. Seo Hyun stopped just in front of it until he pulled a chair for her and let her sit. We were not really lost, were we? She inquired with seriousness as butterflies crazily fluttered at the pit of her stomach and she was on the verge of tears once again. Yong Hwa shook his head watching her almost dew-laden eyes, No, we were not. I just want this to be perfect.

It is, she nodded with a gentle smile, Thank you. I never imagined this to be perfect. I'm so sorry for complaining a lot. No, that was intentional... his eyes danced with mirth. And I hate you for making me ride in this roller coaster of emotion, she protested while wiping the tears that were slowly running down from her eyes. Yong Hwa smiled and reached out to brush his thumb on her cheeks. All this time, he was really trying hard not to give in and tell her his plan. I'm really sorry... ya, stop crying now... Because of you, I'm crying again, she complained pursing her lips on the process. Then she felt his hand under the table groping for hers so she smiled. On their very first date, he asked if he could hold her hand. That was the very first time a boy asked to do that and she was happy that it was him who held it first and will forever be the one to hold it. For a moment, she let his touch slip off from hers just to intertwine their fingers. Hyun, I have another thing to tell you. Yong Hwa said gently squeezing her hand. Is it something like going down? Going down? This roller coaster I'm in. That something you will tell me. Does it have the same effect of the roller coaster going down? She smiled as it seemed to dawn on him but soon fell in a frown when he bobbed his head. I think so. Can you keep it until later? I want to stay up here... But, Hyun Seo Hyun closed her eyes for awhile before nodding, Okay, say it... We have to move the third day. It's Shin Hye's wedding tomorrow and I will be there with Nuna and Hyung. Really? She completely peeled her fingers off his and rested her hands on her lap. Yong Hwa watched her brooding expression as she turned her attention towards the open window. Soon it will be time for them to go back to Seoul. If only he could slow down time then they could spend the day longer but she had to go to school that evening. The waiter came and took their order but she remained quiet, just giving him little smiles whenever their eyes would meet.

Perhaps she was starting to get greedy because she wasn't really feeling good knowing she won't be seeing him the next day. Seo Hyun didn't want to be like that but she could not stop herself from thinking that way, I'm sorry... she forced a smile, Okay, have fun and come back soon... He chuckled. Despite saying those, she still looked gloomy so he held her hand again, Hey, why don't you just go with me? Tomorrow? she stopped to think then shook her head, I have an important exam tomorrow. I can't. Oh, Yong Hwa sighed with disappointment but grinned when she pursed her lips playfully, Okay, then, let's meet up as soon as I'm back. But it won't be until later in the afternoon after tomorrow. It's okay, just tell me where. Hmmm... how about the amusement park? Amusement park? Okay... I will be there. Okay, great. Let's just meet there. Okay. They started digging in as soon as their food came and he became very playful again the whole time they were eating. He was really planning not to attend the wedding anymore because of her but Geun Suk warned to kill him if he won't go. He was not really moved to fear but Shin Hye seconded the threat, telling him that they would throw his body on the Han River. And if those two decided on a crime, they might actually do it so he had no choice. It proved that it was really 'the best spaghetti in Korea.' Seo Hyun even requested a takeout for her mom. So his efforts really paid-off for they enjoyed that little trip despite being exhausted. The ride back to Seoul was uneventful since he fell asleep while she decided to just study the reading materials she brought with her. It was evening when they reached the hospital and just dropped by for a few minutes before he sent her off to school by bus. Seo Hyun insisted that she could take a taxi after her class but she still found him outside the parking lot. She laughed softly when he complained how his legs hurt and they must not do that kind of wandering again. Yong Hwa started maneuvering the car when another driver skidded past them that he had to abruptly step on to the brake. The fraction of second pushed them both forward and if not for their seatbelts they would have gotten some injury. He turned to her with worried

expression, Are you okay? Yeah, she nodded but was still shaken by what happened, You? Fine too... seriously, some people need to go back to driving school, he muttered to himself while checking the road before finally taking the road She heaved a sigh of relief as she adjusted her seatbealt but something by her feet caught her attention. It must have fallen from somewhere after that close call. Seo Hyun picked it up as the car left the parking space after he made sure that it was safe. It was a handphone but not the one he was using. She looked at him, Whose phone is this? Yong Hwa almost stepped on the break again when he found her curiously looking at something she shouldn't be seeing much less holding. He took it, careful enough not to leave his eyes off the road ahead for a long time and stashed it inside the glovebox, it's Nuna's. He heaved a sigh of relief when she did not seem to dwell on it. The least thing to happen was for her perfect day to be ruined. Or maybe it was a sign for him to tell her about his secret calls. It was another dilemma. Part of him wanted to tell her so bad but another is scared that she might take it negatively. And, considering how well things are going between them, he could not just help but to feel unsure to tell her or not. Hyun... Hmmm? she turned to look at him but his gaze was focused on the road. Uhm, he was still battling with himself if it was the right time to tell her or not. Tomorrow I will call you. Okay. Seo Hyun replied casually. Maybe he should wait a bit for a good opportunity to tell her. Besides, it's not a huge thing.

Chapter 36: And To Be Without You

Now is the right time to say the things left unsaid we can make this work for love
~Only for you (six part invention) Who's phone is this? Yong Hwa almost stepped on the break again when he found her curiously looking at something she shouldn't be seeing, much less holding. He took it, careful enough not to leave his sight from the road for a long time and stashed it inside the glovebox, it's Nuna's. He heaved a sigh of relief when she did not seem to dwell on it. The last thing he wanted to happen was for her perfect day to be ruined. Or maybe it was a sign for him to tell her about his secret calls. It was another dilemma. Part of him wanted to tell her so bad but another is scared that she might take it negatively. And, considering how well things were going between them, he could not just help but to feel unsure whether to tell her or not. Hyun... Hmmm? she turned to look at him but his gaze was focused on the road. Uhm, he was still battling with himself if it was the right time to tell her. Yong Hwa

coughed a little then continued, Tomorrow I will call you. Okay. Seo Hyun replied casually. Maybe he should wait a bit for a good opportunity to tell her. Besides, it's not a huge thing. ~~~ The winter wind was gently kissing their bare faces with its cool sweeping touch. Her friend's weary face made her smile. They were both smitten again, only now, Seo Hyun was with the same man but she was with another. There was this slight jealousy written on the younger girl's face when she said that she had accepted Si Won's proposal so she cleared her throat, But we plan to wed next year. Besides, I want you to do it first. Me? Seo Hyun laughed, It's as if that guy's going to propose to me. I guess he will, she said matter-of-factly, By the looks of him, he surely would. So you better get yourself ready to be Mrs. Yong Hwa Jung. Hmmm... she puckered her lips and got drawn to that thought. They were basically catching up with each other's lives and that possibility of getting married sooner did not escape her thoughts. Probably. She smiled as she moved her head to deny the wind from playing with her hair. There was no way she would be saying no to him or have any second thoughts. Seo, can I ask you something? She turned to her sister as she spoke but her eyes remained on the distance, wrapped in her own deep thoughts, Yes? What is it? Technically speaking, you are step-siblings. Finally, Yoona looked at her and studied her placid expression, That fact did not change at all. She laughed nervously as Seo Hyun's face suddenly went serious, I am not discouraging you or anything. I know, Unnie, she nodded, I've thought about it. I have thought about it for, maybe, eight years. But the fact too that he came back and we still feel the same way keeps me here. I love him and that all that matters to me now. I want my mom and dad to be together again and thinking about what I and Oppa would be if ever my parents remarried really drives me crazy. Yoona laughed, she too was thinking about it. Don't worry, as long as you are not blood relatives then there's no problem, you'll have healthy kids. She joined in her sister's thought and laughed herself.

Come to think of it, my mom's friend, the one who have this huge field of sweet potato we used to visit when we were younger. Do you remember her? Ahhh, the one with triplets! Yeah, that one! She and her husband are distant cousins and they only found out during the wedding. They are? Really? Yeah, like her distant aunt and his mother were even calling each other sister-cousins and then, pyong, they were related by blood. But their children are beautiful! And smart too, the youngest is taking her Masters at Seoul Daehak. Wow! She rested her elbow by the table, That really peeled off the remaining fear in me. So yeah, we all don't need to worry. Besides, I'm excited to see how little Ju Hyun and little Yong Hwa would look like running around here With little Yoona and little Si Won. She supplied and they both laughed. And Ji Son, too... she smiled remembering their 'eldest', By the way, can you stay a little longer? Khun Oppa said they're on their way here. I'm not sure, Unnie, I have to study for the test tonight. Maybe Her phone rang and she stood up, motioning for Yoona that she would take the call. Oppa... We're about to board. Uh-huh, she nodded transferring the phone on her other hand, Is Unnie with you? Yes, also Hyung. I will call you often. Yes, if you're not busy, you call me. Send my love to Shin Hye Unnie... tell her I'm sorry I couldn't come. I will... too bad, you will not see the wedding. My sister is one wedding-freak, she gets excited even by the word. I know, if I could only come. It's okay, on Nuna's wedding for sure you will attend.

I can't miss that one, of course. Hey, I'm sorry. I have to go now... I will call you as soon as we arrive. Okay... be safe... take care... ~~~ Yoona tilted her head and felt a bit dismayed when it was just another customer who was walking towards the coffee shop. When the young man entered, she decided to go and check the stocks on the kitchen. Seo Hyun left a few minutes after the call looking lonelier no matter how she tried to talk her to staying and wait for the kids. She sighed again but stopped just a few steps from the porch and turned to see two little girls running towards her. Amber! Sulli! She bended and waited for the two pig-tailed little girls to reach her and engulf them in her arms. Imo, Imo! I wanna eat chocolate cake and... and... Imo, we brought you gifts from Thailand and I have many new dresses but mommy said I should only Imo, can I go to the restroom now because I need to go and... Yoona's smile did not falter as Amber started pulling her up while Sulli's little palm was on her cheek coercing her to give her attention while she try to show off what she was wearing, Okay, girls, girls, one by one please... But Imo, I need to go now! Amber stomped as she watched her sister twirl around to show her Imo her new dress. She stood and held on to Amber's hand, Okay, let's go Amber. Sulli, why don't we go inside so you can show me that dress? The sun is kinda bright out here for me to see how pretty you are. Oh yeah, cool! Sulli nodded then skipped ahead of them. She giggled at the sight of that little girl then asked as they walked along, Amber, where are your parents and sisters? Daddy parked kinda real far and Sulli and me want to go already and mommy said it was okay but Luna has to stay with them because she kinda isn't feeling really well because she ate a lot grandma's kimbap this morning and Krys doesn't want to walk with us because she wants daddy to carry her She could just kiss her as the little girl went on blabbering. A few minutes later, as she fixed

the second clasp of the brown jumper Amber was wearing and Sulli was singing mellowly on the corner while leafing through a fashion magazine, their parents walked in with the two other little girls. Yoona walked to them and gave Vicky a tight hug sandwiching the little girl on the latter's arms, Unnie!!!! Aigoooo, this must be Krystal! I'm so happy to see you again, Unnie... Yeah, I'm so glad to see you too. Victoria handed her baby to Yoona when she motioned to hold Krystal, This place has never looked as amazing as this since I last came here. Thank you... it's actually under renovation. I want a reading corner for kids. She pointed by the covered nook then focused on the baby in her arms, Hello, little girl, I'm Yoona Imo. You are just the prettiest little baby, aren't you? She cooed as the baby placed a thumb in her mouth and started sucking softly. They sat on the over-sized upholstered banquette she just purchased on the corner she called the family area. She smiled as Luna looked at her then buried her face on her mom's bosom, Is Luna sick, Unnie? She has upset stomach but she said she feels better now. Right, baby? Vicky pushed some hair off her daughter's face and soothed her forehead when the little girl just nodded, But she's still a little cranky because Khun did not let her come here with her sisters. I hope the two did not bother you. They get unruly sometimes. Oh, no... she shook her head as she watched Khun nodding at Amber who was busily choosing cakes in the display case, I wish you could come and visit often. I know, me too, but your Oppa has to work. Amber and Luna have school, and Sulli just started kindergarten then Krystal is getting more playful now that she started walking so it gets a little crazy for me. Even weekend picnics get canceled on short notices. Then you can leave Krystal to me! she kidded that caused Luna to lift her head up and look at her mom, Oh no, I was just joking... They both laughed when she heaved loudly that even made the girl giggle. Moments later, they shared an assortment of cookies and cakes with one family-sized pizza she ordered from a nearby pizza parlor because Amber suddenly craved for it. The kids got to choose their own fruit-flavored milk coolers while she and Nichkhun settled on coffee and hot chocolate for Victoria. I thought we get to meet fiance today? Khun asked while gently wiping off some crumbs on Sulli's face. They'll be here a few minutes from now. Yoona replied adjusting the sleeping Krystal on her lap, He had to attend an emergency meeting but Ji Son might come earlier since his school is just a walk away from here. How old is his son again?

It was her Unnie who asked, Turning seven next month. Ahhh, Amber is just older by three months, she nodded putting down her mug, You're going to get a son while I always want one. Victoria pouted as she turned her attention to his husband who shook his head lightly. Yoona softly laughed watching them exchange sad looks, But you have four beautiful daughters. Besides, you can always have another one. Who knows it's going to be another girl, Khun dejectedly muttered. See? It was him who said not to get pregnant anymore! Vicky laughed and lightly tapped her husband's cheek. Aigoo... you just don't know how hard it is to watch you inside the delivery room. I could not forgive myself for the four times you were there. Aigoo, Oppa... Yoona threw the same gentle voice at him, But those were all worth it. Look at them! I know! His wife smiled with Yoona then her face turned soft, Really, giving birth is the hardest but by the time you hear their little wails, it's like every pain got washed away by that overwhelming happiness... then you get to see their tiny fingers and tiny toes and everything else seemed so small, so pink, so cute and all pretty. Her heart skipped as she listened and saw that face glowing so beautifully then Khun reached out to hold his wife's hand. Yoona wanted to cry not because of the way her exboyfriend was looking at his wife but by that beautiful kind of love sprawled in front of her. She's happy for them and, most especially, happy for him. Khun looked up to meet her gaze and mouthed a silent 'thank you.' Just then, the chime by the door clanged and Ji Son emerged quietly. He stopped for a moment when he noticed that there were a lot of girls inside the cafe until he saw his Yoona-ssi on the side with two other adults and the man looked familiar. One girl in a pink dress smiled and waved at him so he just bowed lightly, he was older than her he noted, then walked towards his Yoona-ssi. Cake! Yoona exclaimed when she noticed the little boy and waited for him to reach them before asking, How was school? Did you come alone? De, he smiled and dropped his bag by the side of the chair where she was sitting. Ji Son, meet your Vicky Imo and Khun Samchon. She said as the little boy bowed courteously at them. Vicky chuckled as she pursed her lips at him and Yoona nodded. Ji Son was giving them a ninety-degree bow. When he stood straight again, she continued, And this is baby Krystal, she's Luna... and the two girls over there, the older one is Amber and

then Sulli. Go to the kitchen first and tell Ji Hwan Hyung what you want to eat then you can play with the girls. De. But is Appa coming? He politely asked. Yes, he will, Yoona nodded, He might be on his way so you can play first before he picks you up. ~~~ In a few minutes, they would be reaching Jejudo in a jet owned by the Kims. He walked towards their cabin and sat across the two as Hyun Joong put down the newspaper he was reading. Yong Hwa took a quick glance at his sleeping sister before turning to focus at him, Hyung, I talked to the agent already. He said the house is just for lease and the whole property cannot be sold. Really? Can't you find any other house there? He folded the paper and placed a small pillow by his shoulder then gently pulled his wife's head to rest on it. There are a few but the location of that one is just perfect. Hyung, can you do something about it? Hmmm, my father is a close friend of the developer. I'll see what I can do but I really cannot promise you anything right now. It's okay. If possible, I want to know the decision before Saturday. I want to do all the possible options to get it before giving up. It means so much to me. That surely made Hyun Joong chuckle but soft enough not to wake his wife up, I know... you looked like a star-crossed lover. I do? Yong Hwa pointed at himself suppressing the same laugh. Oh yes. He nodded then shifted his gaze at Fany, But don't worry. You just don't know what I went through just to seduce your sister. And I don't really want to hear about it, Hyung... he warned playfully. But Nuna is really lucky to have you. Hyun Joong chuckled again, I'm luckier, Yong Hwa. No, I'm just amazed. How can you be so patient with her? I swear, that kept me thinking a good deal! Oh well, I fell in love with her... that's all. He reached and held her hand, And everything else became possible and fell into place.

Wow... Yong Hwa heaved. He felt thankful seeing how this man takes care of the woman he loves, Don't ever get tired of loving her, Hyung. No matter how annoying she gets. No way... He shook his head and laughed softly as if he remembered something, Come to think of it, I love her more when she starts to get annoying. Really? Yong Hwa laughed but bit his lips when she steered, But, I don't want to know how in the world it could happen to you, Hyung. I know... and I plan to marry her in every country we go to. Just imagine the stress it would cause her when she decides to divorce me... he rolled his eyes. Really? You're going to do that? Why not? What could be ruder than talk about someone who is actually sleeping in front of you? Tiffany suddenly mumbled without opening an eye as they both looked at each other then to her. Nuna? Were you awake this whole time? Only when this person here started to chuckle and shake me back to my wakeful state, she answered still with closed eyes. Her husband just slapped his forehead and gave Yong Hwa a see-what-I-mean look. Okay then, Nuna, you can go back to sleep now 'cause I'll go back to my cabin. Just then she opened one eye, Oh, I'm actually liking what you were talking about so you can just continue and pretend I'm still asleep. Hyung Joong finally laughed out loud. ~~~ It started to drizzle so they decided to wheel him back to his room. He was a little disappointed but when he started to feel sleepy, they were able to convince him that it was a good time for him to sleep. Seo Hyun watched her Appa sleep while her mom finished her cold late-lunch food. The doctor told them that he had a slim chance to recover since a part of his brain was affected by his most recent cardiac arrest. But they were still hopeful. She stood and took a seat across her mother, Umma, you can go home first. I'll watch him, you need to rest too. I'm okay... besides, the nurse assigned to him told me he looked for me the last time and got annoyed when I was not here.

Aigooo... She smiled playfully as her mom glowered at her, Aniya, if you don't want to. But I will still stay here. I thought you're on leave so you can spend time with Yong Hwa? she asked before drinking water. He is in Jejudo now with Unnie for their friend's wedding. She propped an elbow on the table and rested her chin at the back of her hand. Oh yeah, he told me about that when he came here just the other day. So it was today, she mumbled pensively then looked at her daughter again, Did you get back together? I guess so, she nodded but smiled when her mom frowned, I haven't said yes to him yet... Aigoo, you shouldn't waste any more time. You're dad's condition is not good. Why don't you start planning your wedding? Umma! she chided softly, The guy isn't even showing signs that he wants to marry me right now. Besides, I need to graduate first. Arasso, Ju Hyun, she dropped her chopstick and took her daughter's hand, I hope you are not having second thoughts about him just because he is your dad's step-son. It's neither of you who are at fault that you are connected this way. You were just mere victims of the circumstance but don't let it stop your heart from being happy. You have my blessings and I'm sure you're dad will give the same. Thank you, Umma... she could not help but wear the same tender smile as her mom's, How lucky can I get to have you as my mother? ~~~ So what do you think of your new friends? Hmmmm... Amber is fun but she is like a little boy. Sulli is too girly, Ji Son replied, And she loves pink too much. Yoona chuckled as she touched the hand of the little boy's father that was resting by her shoulder, Is that bad? Not that it's bad or anything. But I really don't like pink, just my opinion. He flipped another page and started coloring the car, And the one... the one that doesn't talk? What's her name? Luna, she supplied.

Yeah, her... she's just right but I think she doesn't really like me. Yoona finally laughed, Just right? What does that suppose to mean? And why do you think she doesn't like you? Because she did not talk to me and when I say something to her, she would run to her mommy and stay with her and when I don't mind her again, she would go back and play with us but she only talks to her sisters. Maybe she likes you. Si Won chuckled but looked at Yoona when she elbowed him, What? She rolled her eyes as he continued to laugh and rested her elbow by her lap and bended closer to Ji Son who was slumped on the floor busily working on his coloring book, Maybe she's just shy with you and her mom told me that she wasn't feeling good. But still... Ji Son pouted and continued coloring as he spoke, I think she's pretty when she smiles." Dropping his crayon, he looked up to them and pointed out, "Only when she smiles. See? You like her! the father butted in again and got the same tug from Yoona so he complained, Why do you keep on doing that? Because your son is just six and Luna is still a baby herself, she protested softly, So stop building them up and Are you two fighting right now? They were both silenced by that question although Cake remained engrossed on his work. She cleared her throat after darting the boy's father a glare, No, we are not. Ahhh, okay... just tell me so if you are fighting so I can go somewhere when you're done fighting. Si Won laughed as Yoona chuckled herself, And why would you be going somewhere when we're done fighting? Because I'm sure you would be kissing again and I really don't like to see that because it looks gooey and so disgusting. WHAT?!? They stayed by the balcony finishing the remaining wine they shared just the other night. After tucking Ji Son to bed, Si Won insisted for her to stay there for the night since the night workers were renovating the coffee shop. A few days ago, Yoona decided to convert the

attic to her own pad when her apartment seemed to be too big for her to be living alone. He protested for a short moment insisting she could just move in with them but gave up when she threatened of not marrying him if he would start bossing her around. The meeting with Nichkhun was rather uneventful. The kids demanded attention so she and Vicky watched over them and left the two men on one table drinking their coffees. She took a sip and peered at him by the rim of her wine glass, What did you talk about? Huh? Si Woon looked up and met her curious stare, With Nichkhun? Yeah, she poured some more. All of a sudden, she felt nervous of what he would say, What do you think of him? He's a cool guy and you're right, he got his hands full but he looked happy, he answered and chuckled when she glared at him, But he did tell me that he would kill me if made you cry. She laughed at his nonchalant expression as he said that. Yoona was actually expecting for her Khun Oppa to give him a subtle warning. She sat comfortably. She was a bit nervous with that meeting but it seemed that there was no need for her to worry. Anyway, they were all adults. She got lost in her own thoughts when her phone suddenly buzzed and she looked up to him first before answering, Yoboseyo, Oppa? Yoona-ya, we're leaving tomorrow. Really? Why didn't you tell me soon? I'm needed at work and the kids have to go back to school. Aigoo, that was why I was telling Seo to wait for you awhile back. Don't worry, I called her already. Anyway, we will be coming back for winter camp if my schedule allows me to. Okay then... kiss the girls for me, Oppa. Yes, you take care of yourself, Yoona. Now I'm relieved meeting him, I think he really loves you. Ahhh, so you were scrutinizing each other? She chuckled as Si Won raised his brows on her then she smiled gently, But thank you and stop worrying about me, okay? Yes, I have to hang up now, I think I heard little footsteps. Yoona laughed again, Okay, have a safe trip and contact me when you get home. She closed her phone when he hang up and focused on the man across her, They're leaving

tomorrow. That was a very short vacation, he took a sip, Maybe we could visit them too. That was a nice thought. Maybe they could go out of the country with Ji Son some time in the future. ~~~ The wedding after-party ended a bit later than expected. He took off his coat jacket and threw it by the bed and unbuttoned his dress shirt. Yong Hwa was exhausted and his head has been aching the whole evening. He only stayed because Geun Suk was animatedly telling him of his exploits at the camp. Besides, it has been almost two years they haven't seen each other. He took a quick shower after gaining enough strength not to hear her voice for the night. Yong Hwa decided not to call her as part of his pre-event for their third day. He hoped they would have a good weather since it has been raining frequently in Seoul. Laying himself down to bed, he listened to the silence of his suite until he could not take it anymore so he stood and grabbed his phone. He slid the wide mirrored-door open to let the cool wind caress the thin curtain. He smiled reading her name on his phone before finally making his call. Hyunah... Yong Oppa... how was the wedding? Her sleepy voice, mellow and sweet, made him want to fly back to Seoul if it was only possible, It was beautiful. I would want something like that too. Then she chuckled lazily. It was a beautiful sound. What are you doing, Oppa? I can't sleep. I'm at the balcony looking at the stars and imagining to be holding this lovely girl... Oppa, you should sleep. You might miss your flight tomorrow. Yong Hwa laughed softly since she sounded like she was evading what he said again, I wouldn't want to miss it for the world. You really shouldn't. He looked up to see the golden crescent moon peeking behind those thick dark clouds. It was a beautiful evening but it made him want to be with her more. I wish you're here... I wish I'm there too. Weddings give me a fuzzy feel.

Shin Hye was a very beautiful bride. She glowed as she walked down the aisle with flowers all over the floor. She became more beautiful when his friend met her in the middle and held her hand as her face turned all pink. The strong-willed woman looked like a little girl as she could not stop herself from shedding gentle tears that Geun Suk has to laugh and kiss her cheek just to stop her tears from further ruining her make-up. How would Seo Hyun look on their own wedding? The thought made him smile. He would want her to let her hair loose with little flowers carelessly adorning her lovely tresses. Yong Hwa closed his eyes and said under his breath, Don't worry, you're going to get the most beautiful one. I hope so... Wait for me, I'll be home tomorrow. Okay, I'll see you... Okay, let's go sleep now, Hyun. Big day tomorrow. He teased. Big day, huh? You always make it a big day, Oppa... But this one is something different. Really? Can you give me something like a preview? He laughed softly when she giggled, Preview and ruin your perfect day? No way, Miss! Okay, Oppa, but just come home safe... Okay, you hang up now, Hyun... No, Oppa, it's your turn to hang up... He laughed imagining her raising her brows, Are we going to argue about this? Chongmal... okay, I'll do it... good night... Good night... He stared at the dark horizon when the line went dead. Now, it's just him and the faint sound of the splashing waves from the beach somewhere below. Yong Hwa hoped to give her something she will never forget on their third day. Seo Hyun sighed as she lay her phone on her pillow and laid down on her side putting her arms to rest her head. She smiled remembering his promise of a big day. All of a sudden, her phone vibrated that it took her by surprise. She squinted her eyes and had to think twice if she would accept the call. It was her 'you'. She closed her eyes and was silent for a moment before finally speaking

her heart out, It's you... it feels like not talking to you forever. How have you been? Me? I'm happier now. I have a secret to tell you, funny, but there were a few moments when I thought he was you... my prince. But I really don't know now. I just talked to him. It was only for a day but I miss him so bad. It's like being away from him for a long time again. Anyway, I have to hang up now. I hope you had a great day. Be happy tomorrow too... I, I have been waiting all my life For someone like you You, you make me feel like I knew All because of you Gotta make this right now, baby I come and get into your life now, baby I can be all you want me to be When everything's falling, I'll still be here If your feeling is fading, I'll still be waiting for you Only for you Now, now is the right time to say The things left unsaid We, we can make this work for love All because of love I gotta make this right now I come and get into your life now

Day Three
She checked herself by the mirrored wall for the nth time. Turning on the corner, she dabbed her cheeks with blush-on and a light touch of lip-gloss. Thankfully, it was a sunny day. Although a little humid because it just snowed the night before, it was a beautiful day nonetheless. With two tickets in hand, she stood outside the amusement park and waited for him. She was trying to call a few hours back but his phone was unreachable and she assumed that he must be on his way back. It was a regular working day so there were only a few people going in on the park. Besides, it was just an hour after lunch. She balanced her weight on one foot as her limbs were hurting a bit then transferred to the other after a few seconds. Puffing out some air, she checked her handphone if she missed a call or message but there were none, then placed it back again, clearly disappointed. She let her eyes wander for a place to sit when she heard her phone faintly ringing so she hurriedly took it and without checking who it was, she pressed to accept the call, Yoboseyo?

Yoboseyo, Seo Hyunie! The female voice made her look at her phone and realized that it was his sister she was speaking with, Unnie... Hyunie, I have a bad news for you. She could just imagine her Tiffany Unnies downward smile, What is it, Unnie? Our plane did not arrive to pick us up. There was some sort of miscommunication with the pilot. She tried to process what the older woman said before speaking under her breath, I see, she nodded as her gaze fell on the dirt path. But where is he, Unnie? He's with your Hyun Joong Oppa, they are still trying to get another early flight back to Seoul. Most of the flights are fully booked. If that's the case, I think it would be safer if you don't insist on coming back then... Yeah, that was what I was telling them but Yong Hwa is insisting. Anyway, I just called to tell you 'cause I know you are to meet him today. I was trying to call him... Ahhh that's why. He left his stuff here in our suite and a phone has been ringing. Oh, so it's like that. Thank you, Unnie. She smiled wistfully with eyes remained downcast, Hopefully, you can get a ride soon. Yes, I'm so sorry again... I will tell Yong Hwa to call you back as soon as he comes. Okay, Unnie, thank you so much. Okay, bye... Bye... She closed her phone and drew another deep breath and slowly let it out. So much for his big day. It was like her emotion was so way up in the clouds to suddenly drop and fall onto the ground. But it was something that no one could predict so she could not do anything but to go home. She turned to leave while

depositing the useless tickets inside her bag when she suddenly bumped into someone. Seo Hyun was startled as the middle aged man cussed mildly, obviously astounded by the unexpected collision himself. Just then she realized that he was a balloon seller as he tried to hop and salvage what he could still reach but it was really too late. She felt like being pasted on the spot and could do nothing herself but to look at the flying balloons before realizing what she ought to do. She bowed repeatedly, I'm so sorry! I was not watching where I was going. Really! Maybe I can just pay you Aigoo, agassi... The man subtly smiled with eyes fixated up in the sky to his irretrievable items. It confused her but he looked at her with a gentle smile. Why don't we just admire what I lost? Then she understood and focused her attention on those cotton-candy colored balloons. They were so pretty as they seemed to highlight the sky with their colors. They scattered and decorated the same ordinary skyline like little fireflies in a cold dark night. It was really a beautiful sight. Like her lost excitement of not seeing the man she loves, only that the balloons were more visible to the old man. The wind blew them further away from their sight and she felt melancholic. It would be exactly what a little girl would feel seeing her balloons fly away from her. It made her want to cry. Or maybe she wanted to cry because of how disappointed she was. As the colors finally turned like pints of dots up in the clouds, she looked down again and put a hand on her chest. She was still sorry so she decided to get her wallet and pulled out all the cash she has. Just as she was about to give it to the man, she found a very familiar face in front of her holding a lone pink balloon. Her heart trembled as emotions flooded in her, O-Oppa? Hi... big day, huh? She laughed softly noticing his apologetic smile, then squinted her eyes as if examining him, So you have an army of good actors to play in your events? I just want you to see how cool your Yo~ng Oppa can be... he said proudly but she only lowered her gaze more so he laughed and handed her the balloon. I just

want to blow your mind, Seo Hyun. And you just succeeded... she nodded seriously while looking at her new possession then smiled tenderly at him, Thank you so much. It was really beautiful. Yeah, really, it was... Yong Hwa nodded as he finally took her bag and slung it on his shoulder before taking her hand. I would want to give everything to you but it won't really do. She turned to him and nodded, It's okay, Oppa. I don't need all of them. Only this one is enough. Aigooo... he hissed suppressing a laugh and led her towards the open gate, Ka ja!
They spent the rest of the day playing and walking around the park. Soft white cottony snow trickled softly a few hours after and they found themselves sheltered in a tiny gazebo. His eyes lingered on her hands that were letting the feather snow drop on her open palm until he shifted his gaze on her face. There was this mellow silence between them that only the hissing of tender breeze could be heard. Yong Hwa pulled a handkerchief from his backpack, took her hands and gently wiped them dry, You might catch cold and transfer it to me, Hyun. She giggled as she allowed him to do what he was doing. Suddenly, as his left hand held hers, he touched her chin with the other to lift her gaze onto his. His hand has been cooled by her own doing but she shivered not because of his touch but by the way he was looking at her. I have a confession to make... he seriously said then dropped his hand from her face when he finally took her attention. She felt more nervous. Could it be something she was not really prepared to hear? Tell me... The necklace She smiled and detached her hand from his and took the object by her chest hidden under her shirt, This one... is from you? Yong Hwa bit his bottom lip as he nodded with a sly smile. Aigoo... she muttered. Seo Hyun had known it was from him all along but she did not really want to embarrass him so she kept the realization to herself. A grin came wider as he

ran his fingers through his hair. She leaned forward and pecked a kiss on his lips that took him by surprise. Laughing softly, she sat up straight again, From your sister huh? Yong Hwa rolled his eyes as she seemed to tease him. Honestly, he felt incredibly stupid for making up that lame excuse so he complained when she wouldn't stop grinning like a nutcase, You can't really blame me, Hyun... Alright, Oppa, she pursed her lips together and reached to quickly run a hand on his cheek and with a mellowed tone she went on, Thank you... now I know why I always feel how special this is... He finally smiled but when she was about to withdraw her hand from his face, he caught it and brushed his lips into hers. Yong Hwa slipped his hand by her nape to pull her closer so he could kiss her even deeper. Her own hands remained motionless until one crawled to hold on to his arm and another resting by his chest. Her parted lips accepted the depth of his kiss, soft and moist but then she slowly pushed him away when she felt that it would take her a good deal of effort to peel herself off him if she allowed it to go on. We shouldn't be kissing here, Oppa. She said under coarse voice. Hmmm... I know, he lazily smiled and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. He laughed softly at her flushed cheeks but she pouted and sighed so he nodded, I'm sorry... I just love how red you become right after you kiss me. Her eyes widened, I really can't believe you! I kissed you? Chincha, Oppa... she was about to stand but he grabbed her by the arm again to keep her still. He pouted and batted his lashes lightly. No, I'm just joking, Hyun... She nodded and twitched her lips as her right hand held on to the pendant. It reminds me of the dogtag I gave you before... When I asked you to go see me at the train station, I was going to give you that. I wanted to ask you to wait for me after two years so I could make things better for you for us. Seo Hyun's heart hasn't even recovered after their abrupt contact and now it was palpitating so loudly again as she watched his solitary expression, Oppa, I didn't know. I I know, Hyun. And I'm not telling you this because I want you to feel bad about anything, his hands held hers. I am telling you this because I want you to know what happened that day. Maybe it was not really the perfect time to give you the necklace, but the day I gave you that was the perfect moment. Just like everything else, we fell apart because it was not really our time to be together. I love you, Hyun... She swallowed the lump on her throat but it did not help at all. Her heart gave up and tears welled out of her eyes. She hid her face on her hands until he pulled her closer to him and cried on his chest.

Chapter 37: From Here

There will never be any man Could love you just the way that I love you ~ You And I (bee gees / kenney rogers)
When I asked you to go see me at the train station, I was going to give you that. I wanted to tell ask you to wait for me after two years so I could make things better for you for us. Seo Hyun's heart hasn't even recovered after their abrupt contact and now it was palpitating so loudly again as she watched his solitary expression, Oppa, I didn't know. I I know, Hyun. And I'm not telling you this because I want you to feel bad about anything, his hands held hers. I am telling you this because I want you to know what happened that day. Maybe it was not really the perfect time to give you the necklace, but the day I gave you that was the perfect moment. Just like everything else, we fell apart because it was not really our time to be together. I love you, Hyun... She swallowed the lump on her throat but it did not help at all. Her heart gave up and tears welled out of her eyes. She hid her face on her hands until he pulled her closer to him and cried on his chest.

Aigooo... he muttered resting his lips at the crown of her head and soothed her back as if she was a child crying in his arms, Ya... I did not mean to make you cry again. Why do you always have to cry? Seo Hyun grumbled and hit him lightly but with face remained buried by his chest. Ya... ya... he said in between soft laughs as he held on to her arms and gently peeled her off that she has to sit straight again. Yong Hwa run a hand on her skin just to wipe the remaining dampness and cupped her cheeks, Hey, if I tell you my plan tomorrow. Would it make you stop crying? She smiled and bobbed her head as she wiped her nose with the back of her hand, Okay... Does trip-to-see-sunset-and-sunrise ring a bell? He said watching her eyes glowed and a smile formed on her. We're going on a trip? Yeah, so you better pack your bag. Yong Hwa nodded as if he was talking to a little girl. Do you have any question? Ask me anything now while I'm in the mood to answer. Where are we going? Hmmm, that one I can't really answer. Try again. Ya, I thought I can ask anything! Just that one, okay? Come on... How long are we staying there? Only for two days. Tomorrow and the next day. Let's celebrate early Christmas there... since I believe you want to spend that day with your parents. She nodded, But it's not until four more days, Oppa. So you're telling me you want to come back a day before Christmas? he eyed her impishly. Huh? He could not help but to laugh then he deliberately cleared his throat. I mean, you want to be with me longer than two days. She rolled her eyes, Fine, then let's come home on day five!

Yong Hwa chuckled. How he loved teasing her. ~~~ Hyun Joong watched his wife by the corner of his eyes. Her gentle humming come in tune with the snapping of the scissors as she busily cut some magazines for a possible design of her wedding hanbok. He has been thinking about it, maybe he could be hitting two birds with one stone and with that thought, he stood and sat by the edge of the bed. Tiffany looked at him curiously especially when he gently snatched the sharp object in her hand. What do you want, Kim Hyun Joong? she glowered amidst his crooked smile, Are you forgetting how pregnant I am right now? He laughed, not that simple ordinary laugh but a laugh that made his stomach hurt. After moments of trying to contain himself and a few repeated slaps from his wife, he coughed and shook his head, Love, I do sometimes, I mean, always wish that you are not pregnant but, he pursed his lips to avoid bursting in another laughter while she maintained her serious expression, That has nothing to do with what I will tell you. Tiffany grimaced, Then what is it? Deep inside, she was embarrassed but she couldn't make him see that. Whatever he was about to say should be something to lift her mood up. About your plans with Yong Hwa and Seo Hyun, he cleared his throat and tried to relax. If you're about to dissuade me again, you better try another time... Hey... are you still upset? I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to laugh. You were just too adorable. And you laugh at something too adorable? No... I said sorry, didn't I? He pinched her cheek but she just pushed his hand away. Hyun Joong moved closer and shoved the pillow that was getting on his way to embrace his wife but she tried to move only that her body won't let her. That failed attempt finally gave way for a smile to escape her lips that he playfully shuffled her hair. Alright, she nodded reluctantly, What is it? Remember the beach house I was trying to get for a frie OH MY GOSH! Hyun Joong chuckled when Fany clapped her hands on her mouth and her eyes widened. He nodded, confirming the question she needed not to ask anymore, Yes, it was for Yong Hwa and he's taking Seo Hyun there tomorrow. As far as I can remember, the two will be back before Christmas eve.

Oh my god! Really?! she asked again and squealed when he nodded. Yes, he laughed when she flung her arms and kissed him repeatedly. Suddenly, his brows drew together when she abruptly detached herself and her eyes twinkled. It made him mumble, What now? Oh my god! I have the perfect idea! she tapped her hands excitedly at her husband's lap while he narrowed his eyes. She was actually scheming to have the two 'accidentally' trapped in Yong Hwa's apartment but it seemed that circumstance was agreeing with her. Love, you promised! he protested once she squealed again but his wife just knew how to deal with him as she rested her head by his arm and looked at him the way he could never resist. But love, since we don't really need to push through with my plan then we have to do something else... She pouted and let her lashes do what they do best. Tiffany, look at you. He pulled his arm off her and continued, Any time soon, our baby's gonna come out so She snaked her arms to his again and pleaded, Will you let me tell you what I have in mind first? Besides, I promise, this won't be needing too much of my physical energy... please???? Fine, he shot a glance up to the ceiling and decided that it would be better. If he would insist on a no, she might just do a way on whatever she has in mind and it might make things worse so he nodded listlessly, Tell me... Okay, she sat up with face all aglow, Here's the plan... ~~~ Yoona buttoned her coat as she made her way out of the cafe. She needed to check on the books she ordered for her reading corner. The book shop promised that it would be delivered the other day but she has waited until she decided to just go there personally. Midway by the pathwalk, she recognized the woman walking towards the shop with the man she reckoned as the latter's husband. Unnie! She exclaimed as Tiffany got closer to where she stood and she took two steps to finally welcome her in an embrace. Long time no see, Yoona... Fany beamed. She turned to gently pull her husband by her side, This is my husband, Hyun Joong... Hi, he bowed at the younger girl.

It's nice to meet you, Oppa... Yoona smiled and bowed back, I'm so glad that you two could come and visit me. Yeah, I have been meaning to come here with Seo Hyun but, she soothed her hands along her stomach and Yoona giggled. Anyway, Yoona, I hate to come here just because I have a teeny-weeny favor to ask... Her smile slightly disappeared then nodded, Okay, why don't we go inside and have some coffee... Great! Fany replied taking Yoona's hand as they walked in the shop and Hyun Joong followed behind with each hands carrying two paper bags. After they got settled, she asked with interest, Uhm, Unnie, I'm curious and excited about your teeny-weeny favor. What is it? Uhm, it's about your bestfriend and my brother... you know, I'm kinda worried they might be moving too slow she cut herself purposely, By the way, did Seo Hyun tell you about her trip with Yong Hwa? Yoona puckered her lips then nodded upon remembrance, Yeah, she told me about it last night. Her bestfriend has been updating her of the 'five-day' dates with her boyfriend but still she could not really interpret that smile her Fany Unnie was having. That's good then, she nodded approvingly, As I was saying, I'm worrying the two might move too slow so I have this idea since they need our little intervention... she took one paper bag and let Yoona peek inside as Hyun Joong was already putting his hand on his face. Oh my gosh, Unnie! Do you want me to Yeah! I want you to Ya, I think she got the point now, you don't need to elaborate... Hyun Joong rolled his eyes while one hand held on to his wife's arm as if his life defended on it. He wondered why he agreed on that whole charade. Aigooo... Yeobo, Tiffany let her arm slip off his hand but took it and squeezed it tenderly, I told you I can handle this, no need for you to come with me. She was speaking in a voice that reminded him of how she would talk to her tummy when their baby kicked, I'm just making sure you're only doing what we agreed on. Fine... she chuckled while running her hand on his then turned to Yoona, So can you do it?

Uh, wait. I'm not really sure, you know Seo Hyun, I don't think she will agree. See? She did not get it... she scolded her husband, What I mean is, you will just... Hyun Joong decided to reach for the magazine under the glass table and started to get himself busy. He knew her whole plan and thankfully, what she was saying was exactly what they discussed moments ago. It would be better since she didn't need to do anything more. More so, it was way workable than her first plan of kidnapping Seo Hyun and locking her up in his brother-in-law's apartment. It was too ambitious, not to mention, dangerous especially since she decided to be there physically during the staged 'abduction.' That is so hilarious, Unnie! The magazine slightly moved lower when Yoona uttered aloud but his eyes dropped back on it when Fany met his gaze. So, are you in? she asked eagerly. Yoona nodded with the same energy, Yes! Very much on it! Great! Tiffany giggled, And it's the perfect time to call her now. Oh, okay! Yoona replied taking her phone out from her coat and pressed her friend's number. She bit her lower lip when Seo Hyun answered and set the call on speaker, Hi Seo! Where are you? Unnie... at the office... waeyo? I thought you're on leave? Hmmm... I needed to finish some stuff before the new Director holds office. I see, she nodded and noticed how her Unnie's husband seemed to peer in, Are you ready for your winter trip? Hmmm... I think I am but I'm still a little nervous, Unnie No, it's excitement. She winked at Fany then tried to sound serious, By the way, did you pack the things you need? I can go shopping with you... Eh, no need for me to go shopping. I'll just bring what I have. I even put them out already. Put them out? Meaning you haven't packed your luggage yet? Her lips drew a big grin when her Unnie raised a thumb.

Uhm... only the clothes, but I'll do it as soon as I get home. Hmmm, let me help you then. I'll pack your luggage. Yeah? It's okay, Unnie. I can do it. Aish... let me do it. Besides, I-I uh... I'm good at packing? She bit her lip again when Seo Hyun sounded to be giggling and Hyun Joong snorted on his corner. Huh? Really? Since when? Fany's hand was on her mouth that she also could not stop herself from chuckling, Uhm, today? Yoona finally let out a soft laugh, Aigoo, just leave it to me... Okay then, if you insist. And thank you so much! Yeah, thank me... you seriously need to... She grinned wider when Fany raised both thumbs up and Hyun Joong dropped the magazine on his lap. What do you mean? Aigoo... never mind. Just call me before you go home. Sure. Anyway, I need to go buy something before going home. Great then! She ended the call and heaved a sigh of relief as Tiffany clapped in approval. Yoona put her phone down with her smile pasted on her face and giggled some more when the Fany took out one hot red material and held it up. My husband loves this stuff! Fany-ah... so much to his chagrin, Hyun Joong hid his face on one hand and shook his head. ~~~ She watched as the young man in front of her stir his coffee, Hyun Mi could tell how nervous he was. Setting her own cup on the saucer, she handed him the platter of cookies. Thank you... Yong Hwa forced a smile so she chuckled, You have always been too uncomfortable with me, haven't you? She laughed softly when he nodded. Don't be, you are part of my family when you decided to become my daughter's friend... or special friend? Yes, Imo... he nodded. He was exceptionally nervous not only because he has always been afraid that the woman across him could find some flaws and decide that she could not

accept him for her daughter but because of his intention as to why he invited her for breakfast. Yong Hwa, why don't you try to relax a bit, she tried to make him feel at ease, I am just Joo Hyun's mother. Exactly why I cannot relax, Imo, he smiled nervously again as she laughed. Then you are giving me a reason to have second thoughts if you are really right for my daughter. That surely made the young man's eyes widened in disbelief. I want my daughter's boyfriend to be confident of himself. I-I'm sorry, he laughed with her but nervously. Then lounged comfortably on his seat but puffed another breath that it made her smile. Aigoo... so shall we get to the whole point of this breakfast now? She asked half-amused. Ahhh... yes. Yong Hwa nodded, As her mom, I want to ask you first before her... He swallowed when her face turned more serious and rested her forearms on the table, I want to marry your daughter, Imo... Will you let me? A small smile escaped her lips. How nice of this gentleman to ask for her decision first before Seo Hyun's. She must commend Hee Jun for raising a step-son like him, How can you convince me that you are the right one for her when you come to me looking all pale like that? He was starting to get all sweaty, Because I'm the only one who could love your daughter this way, ma'am. His heart drummed on his chest but the way her lips smiled a little wider gave him hope so he continued with all the courage he could muster, I promise you and dad that I will make her happy every day of her life. It's impossible, Yong Hwa, she said firmly, Married life is so much different from courtship. I-I know that, Imo... he stopped to dab his forehead, But... let me try my best to make her happy. Hyun Mi could not help but laugh, she seemed like torturing him so she cleared her throat, Just make sure there won't be any episode of her coming to my house with you following after her and begging her to come home. I promise that it won't happen, Imo, he finally smiled. Just love my Joo Hyun, Jung Yong Hwa... that's all I could ever ask of you. ~~~

That was one of the weirdest call she ever got from Yoona. Out of the blue, she offered to pack her stuff when it was one of her most hated things, next to wrapping gifts. Oh well... she sighed to herself. After all, it was a bad thing to think negatively about someone's kindness so she just continued checking if the reports were done according to Yong Hwa's instructions. She also needed to recheck the items in the stock room and made sure that the Secretary could find everything Director Kim needed. Her leave was due for a month but she decided to report for work for her own peace of mind. Seo Hyun stopped halfway through skimming one document. Plopping her elbows on the table, she rested her chin at the back of her hand and stared at the empty Director's chair in front of her. How time flies so fast that she hardly noticed how long it has been when he sat there for the first time and made her mentally and emotionally unstable. Smiling to herself, she reminisced those days of crazy assumptions that the man she loved all her life has someone else. It was so painful and thankfully, she could finally laugh at her silliness. When he drove her back to her apartment that night, Yong Hwa informed that he would be taking over his father's construction business in Busan. For a moment, she felt nervous and her chest tightened for it meant not seeing him on a regular basis. But then she remembered the trip. She smiled. He has been staging his events for the past three days and maybe it was time to make her own. He deserved it and she was willing to give it all to him. So the fortune teller was indeed right. She has been thinking about it, analyzing all along the readings. It was really her Yong Oppa that brought the biggest effect in her life. For one, it was him who made her realize how much she longed to be her father's daughter. And it was him who proved the old woman's words that she could never forget. ...the stars always align and destiny has a way of going through the barriers. Your future will always intertwine with this person. Her whole life intertwined with his. From their past to the present and, most especially, in the future. ~~~ Sorry, bro, I have to send your sister back home and lock her up there for the day. Hyun Joong took his seat across his brother-in-law. Huh? I thought you don't allow her to go out anymore. Yong Hwa asked when he noticed

how he seemed to be panting. He rested comfortably on his seat and loosened his tie, I accompanied her to meet an old friend. You know your sister, she Drove you crazy again... Yong Hwa supplied. Exactly! he chuckled, Anyway, how long have you been here? I just arrived too. I went to visit dad at the institution. Ahhh... how is he? Still the same, Seo Hyun's mom has been taking care of him. Really? That's good news. Yong Hwa nodded and grinned, Do you have good news for me too, Hyung? I guess I do, he nodded and handed him the brown envelope. Hyun Joong watched as the younger man took out the documents and started smiling wider, I went to see the developer and it seemed that dad talked to him already. He signed the documents even before getting the payment. Hyung, Yong Hwa smiled in disbelief, Thank you so much for this! I don't know how to repay you... Ya... ya... no need for that. Consider that as my Christmas gift for you and probably the pre-wedding gift for both of you? He laughed, Okay, I'll work on that. Tsk, I'm still disappointed that you did not let me pay for it though... Hyung, convincing the developer to sell the property is even a priceless gift. Hyun Joong finally nodded, Just make sure you won't mess anything on this trip, Yong Hwa... Of course! ~~~ Seo Hyun secured the small box in her hand as if her heart was in it. They were reproduced really well as if they came to life on her very hand as she inspected each one.

She smiled in deep satisfaction and excitement. All the man I am You are the reason for me You help me understand I'll be your shelter from the rain that never ends Girl , you've always got a friend in me All the love we had I should've know our love was older than the past Throwing my life away on songs I never heard Just the speaking of a single word I made you die inside but you loved me And don't believe the world No, the world can't give us paradise When you make your love to me Till I just could not see the light As long as I got you As long as you got me As long as we got you and I I won't let you down No better love will be there when you turn around I'll be living for you till the ocean turns to sand There will never be any man Could love you just the way that I love you So don't believe the world No, the world can't give up paradise In the eye within the storm Just when I could not make it through the night As long as I got you As long as you got me As long as we got you and I

Day Four
Seo Hyun sat by her bed. She was cradling the phone and nodding softly as if her mother was just in front of her, De, Umma. You take care too, I don't want you to get sick. Okay, I will call you as soon as we get there. She nodded again until her mom said something so she cried out loud, Umma!!! But secretly, she was laughing to herself. Her mom used to warn her the same thing when they started dating. Only that, now there was that not-until-you're-married phrase. I'll hang up now, mom. I need to check my luggage... de, bye bye! Closing her phone, she placed it on the table by her bed and pulled her luggage. She needed to check if everything was there or figure out what else she needed. Uyah! she

gasped as she turned it over and reached for the zipper. Her mom is really funny, she was meaning to call her despite having told her that night about the trip but a few minutes before she finally took her phone, she called. Half way through unzipping, her phone rang so she left the task and smiled at the caller's name flashing on the screen, Oppa... I'm here... do you want me to go up? She stood and hurriedly zipped her luggage close and pulled it up again as she balanced the phone by her shoulder, No need... I'll be on my way... wait. Okay, Hyun... ~~~ Yong Hwa still kept their destination from her and urged her that she should just sleep. After a few moments of senseless debate, her eyes gave up that she really fell in a deep slumber as if he casted a spell on her. Much to his satisfaction, he drove in silence, glancing at her sleeping form once in awhile. It was their final two days so he wanted her to get all the rest she needed. The drive took almost three hours stopping a few times but he did not hear any complaint from her. Maybe she got used to his events already. Finally, he gently tucked some strands of hair behind her ears and woke her softly, Hyun, we're here. It's time to wake up... The long stretch of sand welcomed her as she looked out of the window with still halfsleeping eyes. She scratched her eyes and squinted further to check on the time until she felt the car was in a full halt. Are you awake now? Yong Hwa asked smiling when she turned to him shaking her head with those sleepy eyes. He killed the engine and unbuckled his seatbelt before reaching for hers, Ya, wake up now. We're here... Where are we? She asked a little disoriented. He did not answer so she slipped out of the car and waited for him to unload their bags. After securing the muffler by her neck, she gently tapped her cheeks as if making sure she was awake. The freezing sea breeze made her shudder that Yong Hwa laughed touching the tip of her nose when he walked past her. She smiled and tailed behind him. Seo Hyun let her eyes wander around her until she noticed that they were walking towards a a white house looking almost similar to the rest of the houses a few good distance away. It was situated on a somewhat man-made tiny hill created just to secure the structure if the waves get higher. A boardwalk from the beach that ends midway by the sea connects to a wooden steps leading to the house. The planks creaked as Yong Hwa dragged her trolley on one hand and his own bag slung by his shoulder and she followed closely, Who's house is this?

A friend of mine. You borrowed? She inquired as they stopped by the main porch and he was fishing for the keys on his pocket. Her gaze transferred on the other end of the porch, a wooden bench that matches the color of the whole house sat silently on the corner facing the open sea. Walking towards it, she sat and was captured by the sight in front of her. Yeah, Yong Hwa finally slid the glass door open. He looked behind him only to see her engrossed at the scene, Come inside... it's too cold out here. He went in when she just nodded without looking at him. Seo Hyun was shivering inside the deep fur coat she was wearing. It was like the wind slithered easily through her thick clothing. She hugged herself when the cold sea breeze blew stronger and she watched the waves splashed along those distant rocks. If only they came on a better weather but she could no longer complain. Just the view from that deck was already captivating. She stood and decided to go in. If the simplicity outside caught her attention, the inside of the house was even more beautiful. The whole floor was donned in complete clean white walls with three posts standing almost in the middle as if making a division between the sitting room, small dining area and an open kitchen. She stepped in to the deep-cream carpeted sitting room, an offwhite upholstered chaise lounge stood adjacent to two padded wicker chairs and a tiny glass table in the center. Mounted on the wall was an electronic fireplace that resembled that of a baker's black furnace that appeared like a mismatch on those modern minimalist interiors. She walked towards the other side of the room and reckoned that he disappeared on that lone closed door. The dining area was set in a corner where a mirrored wall allowed an infinite view of the beach and the sea in front; and the kitchen beside it looked spacious and neat with tiny flower vines that lined to give emphasis to the tiled wall. Seo Hyun turned when the door screeched open and he emerged. This house has only one bedroom. I put our bags inside. There's a big bathroom there but I will just use the one over there, he pointed at the other end, There's also a dirty kitchen and a bathroom at the back. Maybe you should fix your stuff first and get ready for hiking. Hiking? We're going hiking? In this weather? she muttered. Don't worry, I checked the weather over there and they said it's not too cold compared here, he looked at his watch, We still have thirty minutes to spare before sunset. Go get ready. He grinned pushing her towards the open bedroom door. She followed and closed the door behind her and noticed that it was even bigger than she imagined. A queen-sized bed rested on one side directly facing a sliding mirrored-door that opens to a small balcony with the same beach-front view. Sitting at the edge of the bed, she took off her coat and inhaled deeper when the thought of the sole bedroom came into her consciousness. She sighed again brushing off Yoona's naughty suggestions in her mind

and laid her luggage on the bed and carefully unzipping it. Humming softly, she flung the top cover open and found a pink cloth securely covering the contents and a small red envelope tucked on the strap. She smiled taking the neatly folded paper, Hi!!!!! I'm sorry Seo, I was just following orders... Anyway, enjoy!!! -Yoona Unnie Her brows furrowed. Orders? That made her more curious and pulled out the pink clothe that covered her supposed belongings. Seo Hyun gaped in utter astonishment that it took her a few minutes before lifting one piece with her forefinger as if she was holding something filthy. It was the most provocative material she has ever laid eyes on or even touched. Briskly, she raked through it pulling and throwing every object inside the luggage until she found no sign of her clothes and other belongings she tidily prepared just the other night. Alas, she verified her thought that her suitcase was full of and contained nothing but lingerie not the ordinary ones but sheer, colorful, lacy, and sinful. Her heart pounded crazily, so as her head. Never once in her life she imagined to own one like those, much less wear. Her back fell by the bed's headboard and with deliberate breathes, she gazed at what sprawled before her, mercilessly. She wanted to cry. She wanted to kill someone. Yoona! Why didn't she even had second thoughts of her intentions on suddenly volunteering to pack her stuff? And why the heck she even trusted her?! Seo Hyun shut her eyes tight and upon the snap of logic, she took her phone until her hand fell back on her lap when she remembered that the battery has been dead even before they arrived. Unnie!!!!!!!! She cried out loud helplessly and almost kicked her legs on the process. A knock came softly that she hurriedly gathered the detestable materials and buried deep into the luggage, Come in... She lifelessly mumbled and forced to smile when he peeped in. Hyun? What are you doing? We don't have enough time, and I thought you're going to change? He shot his questions as she muffed in her palm one black underwear that she just noticed by her foot, Hmmm... yeah, Seo Hyun tried to maintain a calm expression. I-I'll be there in a moment. Oh, okay... Yong Hwa hesitated when he noticed her almost pale face but thought that it was just because of the weather. He pulled the door closed but deliberately shoving it open to finally caught her in surprise that she almost gasped, Hyun, is there something wrong.

Seo Hyun puffed another air loudly and nodded listlessly, Yes, there is. I have a problem. A big one. She realized that it was better to tell him. Besides, it would save her from making excuses to go shopping out of her whim. She swallowed hard when he finally walked in and joined her on the bed. That made her more uncomfortable. What is it? The face she was wearing scared him but he managed to keep his cool and took his place across her. Where should I start? she muttered directing the question to herself and shook her head with a little smile when he seemed to be getting more worried, Yoona Unnie volunteered to pack my suitcase... Yong Hwa let out a tiny sound encouraging her to go on as he would listen to whatever she has to say. So she went on but with voice fading almost in defeat, But there's nothing in here that I could wear. Huh? How come? I carried it awhile ago, it couldn't be empty, his hand gestured to fling it open but she was fast enough to put her hand on top of it. She closed her eyes before meeting his wondering expression and with serious tone she revealed, Oppa... this luggage contains nothing but lingerie. And seriously, I can't wear them for hiking, right? Yong Hwa's jaw almost dropped then raised his brow as if asking for confirmation so she just nodded. Finally, he erupted into laughter that he tried to keep to himself then asked as if waiting for her to laugh with him, Chongmal? Bless Yoona and her humor, indeed! Yes, she replied but with eyes solemnly focused at him with a fierce warning that none of it was hilarious. He cleared his throat when she looked at him squarely, Well... yeah, you really can't wear them for hiking. Oh, Oppa, please stop laughing you're making it harder for me than it really is, she rolled her eyes but glared again when he bit his lower lip obviously containing his amusement. Alright, I'm sorry, he muttered but with a tiny chuckle. Let's go shopping then. Maybe after, we could figure out what to do with those lingerie. Yeah, and maybe we could think of ways to get back to my bestfriend. Hmmm... about that. Yong Hwa said with much seriousness then grinned playfully, I

think, I could not possibly help you with that one, Hyun. ~~~ They ended up shopping for her clothes the whole time they planned to go hiking. Part of her was relieved since she was not fully convinced of the weather in the area and another regretted missing one reason they went there. Afterwards, they dined in a small cafe and just decided to do the sunset watching in case the weather would allow them the next day. Yong Hwa rested his back by the doorjamb of the bedroom with arms crossed on his chest. He was watching her, with silent amusement, as she sat by the bed taking out her toiletries from the luggage. He chuckled to himself remembering just a few moments ago in the department store where Seo Hyun hastily took a box of undies without even checking the contents and he joked that she didn't really need to buy one since she has a whole luggage of them. As expected, he was silenced by a darting glare. I hope you find something else to do, Oppa... He laughed softly when she spoke without taking her eyes off her task, Nah, I'm just curious about the fate of that luggage. Seo Hyun looked up at him with narrowed eyes, Are you planning to suggest something? She asked pretending to be bemused of his real intentions. How about you? What do you plan to do with it? he met her gaze squarely until she shrugged her shoulders like a form of surrender. He softly laughed walking towards her when she finally drew a tiny smile on her lips. He could not push his luck on that teasing game and he knew that he needed to maintain his self-control for the duration of their vacation. Bending down, Yong Hwa pecked a quick kiss on the crown of head and took a book by her side and motioned to take it with him. He uttered when she smiled, I'll be in the living room if you need me. She sighed taking out the last tube of facial wash she stuffed carelessly at one compartment of the luggage before shutting it close and pushing it deep under the bed. Although, she knew that Yoona was just trying to help but she could not stop herself from feeling somewhat upset. The whole naughtiness has caused them to buy new clothes. After fixing her things, she decided to go out but only found her book by the tiny table on the living room. Pushing the curtains that concealed the misty glass door, she saw him perched on the bench hugging his legs with chin resting by his knees. Seo Hyun slightly slid the door open despite her first instinct to keep herself warm inside, Oppa... come inside... she gently urged and he just nodded upon meeting her gaze. Yong Hwa had to smile to himself when she finally went back inside. He has been thinking

long and hard if it would be the best time to tell her about the secret calls. It was still a mystery for him how he would take that kind of news. Normally, she would think things over and analyze the situation. After all, he had nothing but good intentions. The wind was getting harsher so he pulled his coat up to his neck and went in. Hi... he grinned when Seo Hyun followed him with her sparkling eyes as he walked through the kitchen. He was fixing two mugs of hot chocolate and stealing glances at her on the process. She must have felt it since she would turn up her gaze at him but he would divert his attention on the task at hand. It persisted for a couple of seconds until she could not stop herself but laughed softly shaking her head and dropped back on the book sprawled open by her lap. He walked to her and placed the tray on the table then pushed her gently so he could sit next to her on the chaise. Seo Hyun lifted her feet up and had her back on his so he gently pulled her closer to his chest but she sat up straight again with head moving back that her pony-tailed hair hit his face lightly, Do you have to do that? He grumbled that she has to finally turn slightly towards him and smiled innocently. After a few seconds, he took one mug and deliberately grabbed the book from her and forced her to take it. Hmmm... she mumbled inhaling the aroma from the steam. She leaned closer to him as he took his own mug and drank with her. The warm liquid caressed her throat and seemed to wash off the coldness she was feeling as his own warm palm brushed lightly on her arm. Hyu~n, he mumbled taking in the scent of her hair as her head fell closer to his face. It was nothing but sensual. Albeit her innocence, everything about her was sensual. The very first thought of having her alone in one roof has terribly influenced his subconscious to think of the tempting possibilities, but he tried to ward them off. But her presence and nearness made it impossible. Truly impossible, unless it was her who would make him stop. Maybe if he would move further, she would take her own step back. It would be a sign then that he should stop. With that, he put back his mug on the tray and gently took hers. Yong Hwa was thinking ahead that she would be surprised but she wasn't. Slowly, he pulled her hair band with much care and let his fingers run through the smoothness of her hair. If she would back away, he would too. But she remained still as if curious of what he would do next. Yong Hwa drew her hair to the side and slowly bent to rest his warm lips by the side of her neck. He inhaled her scent some more as her breathing seemed to turn more deliberate with each lingering motion. Her knees weakened despite being spread on the sofa and her toes curled by the tingling sensation. She tried to open her mouth but shut them inadvertently when his warm hand ran from her shoulder down her hand and let his fingers intertwine with hers. He was taking his own sweet time on that delicate area brushing lazy kisses until he felt like consuming all her flavor before resting his lips by her earlobe. Whatever he was doing was surely making

her go crazily dizzy and melt like a butter exposed under the sun. With a slender rush, she turned her face towards him when she could no longer contain herself. Yong Hwa pulled her that her upper body was whirled to him and finally captured her lips. Hungry and cold, he tasted her chocolaty sweetness digging deeper feeling totally deranged like his mind totally left his body and his need has taken over his whole being. But she was a willing victim with hands splayed by his shoulder pulling him deeper as he pulled her. It must be the coldness that they seek each other's warmth as an excuse to their physical demand. It must be that they were taking advantage of being alone. It must be the long awaited union that time kidnapped from them. It was whatever it was and nothing in particular. But then again, it was love. The smoldering emotion and desire of wanting to have the years of longing for each other be given back to them in their own place and time. He wanted and needed her the same way she does. After all, they owed it to each other. His arms found their way behind her to stroke the small of her back drawing and pulling her closer, parting and panting as they clung on each other's lips. He tasted that new flavor on her tongue the winter air cold and strong with wispy yet poignant after taste of sea breeze. Seo Hyun was delirious. He was making her weak like a leaf blown from her branch that she seemed to have lost all her faculties. Her lips trembled on his very touch. They were getting lost on each other, slowly and deeply as the temperature turned colder outside. The daybed creaked and rocked. Suddenly, a rush of logic washed over him when he felt that his hands were finally grasping tightly the hem of her thick jacket and almost midway from pulling it up. Gently, he withdrew his lips from hers gasping for air as his forehead touch hers. With closed eyes he whispered, Hyun, if we don't stop now, I-I might end up molesting you right here more than how I just did... Hmmm... she managed to mumble back but she was not sure herself if it was out of defiance or in agreement to what he said. It was only then that she realized her almost exposed body as the cold touched the bare area so she slowly pulled the fabric down and nodded moving slightly sideways to completely detach her body from his, I'm sorry... II... No, Hyun... his head fell back on the seat but his eyes still shut tight listening to his heart rapped on his chest. Yong Hwa opened his eyes the moment he felt her body moved an inch away from him and grinned at how her seemingly languid eyes look back at him We should talk about something else that would, uhm... not make us smolder each other... Seo Hyun laughed softly resting her head back like him. They were like in a dangerous situation that any moment they would find themselves, as he worded it, molesting each

other. Yeah... she bobbed her head lazily then turned to look at him again, Do you have any suggestion? Ha! he exclaimed grinning like a fool. I don't have any idea at all... This is bad... she shook her head playfully darting her attention on that glow by the fireplace. But it's too early to sleep... she muttered trying to regain a normal breathe. Oh let's not go to that topic yet... he chuckled again and narrowed his eyes when she looked at him questioningly, Hyun, sleep is synonymous to some words... She rolled her eyes when it hit her, Okay then, let's just think for a while. They were quiet for a moment she focused on the flickering light of the electronic fireplace feeling their warmth on her clothed skin, while he, wrapped in his own thoughts, absentmindedly looked at the ceiling. Hyun, as you know, I will be taking over your dad's business in Busan... He pulled the small table forward and rested his feet on it. Yes... they discussed it since it was the reason why he decided to relinquish his position at the CNSD. I think I would be needing your help. Seo Hyun watched his crossed feet swaying gently that she acted upon impulse and put her her own legs forward on the same table. What do you mean, Oppa? Help me run it... He uttered with much seriousness and waited as she appeared to be in deep thought. Anyway, think about it first. Besides, it has been a long time you have worked for CNSD and it would be hard on your part to leave. Seo Hyun nodded bending her legs back keeping them tightly secured on her arms as she rested her chin by the knees. She doesn't really want to make any assumption. Hopefully, the magic question won't pop out soon or her event would be ruined. Once again, they fell on that deep pit of silence. What could be a good topic to talk about after that? Maybe something that should divert the idea. Seo Hyuna... Hmmm? she turned to him with bated breath as he spoke. Thinking about what we went through... it all seemed like a distant memory, Yong Hwa uttered gently as if speaking to himself but tilted his head back to smile at her, You're absence from my life on that duration makes me more thankful of having you back... She closed her eyes and nodded, Pain makes us appreciate happiness...

Hyun, tomorrow is our last day, his head diverted towards her as she slowly opened her eyes. Yes, it is, Seo Hyun felt the tug on her heart until her eyes fell on the closed book. After reaching for it, she lounged comfortably on her seat and opened the page with that tiny fold at the edge. She read softly as if the thoughts came from herself, A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life. ~~~ After a while, they decided to sleep early since they needed to wake up before dawn. Yong Hwa insisted of sleeping in the living room so she helped him clear the place and fix his makeshift bed of layered comforters they found stocked inside the bedroom cabinet. He playfully followed her to the bedroom, pushed her down on the bed and tucked the sheets up to her chin then pecked a kiss on her forehead. Good night, he whispered with an impish grin then continued, Don't come sneaking on me. You wish! she rolled her eyes then giggled before nodding. Okay, good night... Yong Hwa smiled as he run his fingers through her lids to make her close her eyes and gently bended to kiss her subtly on the lips. Sleep tight... I love you, Hyu~n and see you in the morning... Seo Hyun opened her eyes but he pulled himself up and walked away, Yes, Yo~ng Oppa... I'll be seeing you. The light clicked off and she closed her eyes with her fingers resting on her lips. She smiled, of course, he was clueless of her plan tomorrow. He sounded melancholic when he reminded her of something she will never forget. It was almost their last day and he would be expecting for what was a definite yes. Suddenly, the vision of him curled in a ball on that open space which was far colder than her room made her sat up. How could she sleep so peacefully on that comfortably soft bed when he was out there rather cold? Hmmmm... she sighed kicking her blanket and stood. Forcing not to make any sound as she turned the knob and pushed the door open, she walked through the darkness since the lights from the dining room was turned off. Oppa? she called onto the darkness.

Hmmm... Are you sleeping already? I won't be answering you if I am... She giggled with that response, Oppa. What? I think we could fit on that bed... so you could come and join me. Yong Hwa's eyes flared open with the 'join' word. With that, he sat and groped for the lampshade on the the floor, Are you sure with what your talking about? Seo Hyun noticed that glare he has amidst the semi-darkness so she nodded sheepishly, I mean, it's not comfortable sleeping there, right? I just don't want you to complain of back pains tomorrow. Aigoo, Hyun, stop suggesting things... I'm not suggesting anything! she waved her hands to emphasize her point then continued softly, don't worry, I won't take advantage of you... What?! Yong Hwa laughed out loud that he almost held on to his belly for he might die laughing with what she said. He shook his head and uttered as he tried his best to stop chuckling, oh, no! I'm so not worried about that... Then what are you worried about? she pouted then raised her brows when he started grinning again. Yong Hwa cleared his throat before declaring slowly so that she would be able to understand his point and won't insist on her outrageous suggestion, After what happened awhile ago, do you think I could manage to keep my hands to myself, Hyun? He swallowed with trying to be firm then continued, I am most worried about myself... that it's me who might end up taking advantage of you more than I did on the chaise... She pondered on for a second then smiled, don't worry, I trust you... Besides, you managed to stop us, right? So I trust you, Oppa. Trust him? How could she when he could not even trust himself anymore. Yong

Hwa rolled his eyes then covered himself with the blanket before falling down on his bed again, go to sleep, Hyun... let's talk tomorrow... How could she even suggest those things? The past days he has been trying his very best to be the perfect gentleman for her. He wanted to make sure that he will do things on their proper time and he just could not disappoint her father. Yong Hwa knew that it was her very innocent suggestion and she was just thinking about his comfort for saying those things but with their current status and with that very, very distant memory of how her neck tasted, he doesn't know until when he could keep his hands off her. Not to mention that luggage of lingerie mercilessly tucked under the bed. Then, there was silence and screeching of the door and soft shuffle sounds. Seo Hyun must have gone to bed like a good girl she was. Yong Hwa snuggled comfortably on his own self-made bed.
Join her in bed, what an outrageous suggestion! He shut his eyes tight and prayed for dream to take over before he would be tempted to jump straight to that place she was offering. But before he could be on that state, he felt something moving beside him so he opened his eyes and pulled up the covers. To his disappointment or secretly, the lack thereof, there he found his girl lying on her side beside him with her comforter and all smiling sweetly like she has been given the moon. Hyu~n!!! he muttered incredulously and clicked his tongue especially when her thick lashes fluttered and her eyes sparkled in her most gentle smile. Hi, Oppa.... What the-- Seo Hyun reached out and put her forefinger on his lips to shut him up then smiled again tapping the pillow between them, Nobody should cross this line, arachi, Oppa? Aigooo... Hyu~n, he muttered helplessly as he watched her snuggling deeper on her own pillows and closing her eyes. Good night, Oppa... sweet dreams... Yeah, right! Sweet.

Chapter 38: Mine

Let's start from here, lose the past Change our minds, we dont need a finish line Let's take this chance dont think too deep ~Let's Start From Here (Joanna Wang)

It was about half-past midnight. She sat by the same bench on the bus stop waiting for her ride home. Her Min Unnie had called three hours ago asking where she was and was about to pick her up when the latter's mother came to the apartment. She was really fine since it was nothing new, only that it was really late. Suzy just got her first job and it was not very becoming if she decline her boss' request for her to do overtime. They used to go home way past that time when she was still in the University anyway so it was nothing new for her. Most of those times, they were just partying, at least, this time it was for doing her job. She pushed her muffler up some more that it almost hid her chin. It was really cold. Suddenly, a man came in view he was not walking properly and her heart started pounding. He must be drunk or on drugs and something told her that she might be in trouble. She decided to go sit on the other bench. Pretending not to notice, she kept her attention straight ahead as he got closer. Pepper spray. That instantly came to her mind when he passed by the first bench. Suzy held the object inside her bag just in case. Her thoughts came to life when he sat next to her but on the other end of the bench his head hanging low and hands still hidden inside his trench coats pockets. She swallowed hard. The friggin' bus should come now. She didn't want to be on the morning news. Just then she remembered her Unnie so she groped for her phone while her hand was still inside her bag but tried not to make her fright obvious. But she could not find it. She cursed, probably out loud since the person suddenly turned to

her. Suzy froze as her eyes met that of the stranger. With only the light coming from the lone lamp post between the benches, she saw the biggest gleaming eyes she has ever seen on a Korean man. And it confirmed her thoughts that he was drunk pretty much. And to her relief, he looked away. A few minutes have passed but the bus was still no where in sight. Although, she was still nervous but her mind told her he could not probably attack her with that kind of lifelessness he was exhibiting. Just then the stranger moved slowly, not the kind of movement that scared her like when he sat next to her, but the falling movement. And with that, he fell on the bench with his head just a few centimeters from her. A-aju... she hesitated but continued, Ajussi, you can't sleep there. He did not move at all. The cold metal was even slithering through her body that surely it would freeze him if he really sleeps there. With all the courage she could muster and with her unfailing faith to her pepper spray, she pulled his shoulder from the bench and pushed him back on his side. She sighed with her sudden discovery of strength. I'm cold. Her soul almost detached from her body when he spoke just when she was settling back on her own seat. The man has unbelievably deep spooky voice. Suzy swallowed hard unable to decide what to do with his declaration. Miss, can you hug me? Holy macaroni, the person is a pervert! She managed to convince herself but it seemed like she was more curious now than scared. She swallowed hard and the words just escaped her lips, I- ahh... c-can I just hold your hand? Is she crazy? She did not just say what she just said, did she? Yes, she must be crazy and that stranger must be half as crazy as she was for he slowly took one hand off his coat and offered to her without any words. And, her crazy self took his gloved hand and held it. So it was like two people both occupying each corner of one bench and in the middle was there hands. She sighed and convinced herself that she was doing a public service and her mother would be proud of her. And since she was already on that public service thing, she might as well take it to the limit, Ajussi, where do you live? If a taxi stops by, I'll take you home. She waited but he hardly moved, she tilted her head and tried to peek. It wouldn't hurt if she moved a little, right? Besides, she was still holding the spray on her other hand just in case the stranger transformed. Aju I don't want to go home. Take me with you. For a drunken man, this person has a good enunciation and for a lucid person, she has a great hearing but a terrible judgment. Suzy was about to decline and pull her hand from his

when he suddenly tightened his grip and turned to her. His sleepy eyes were mesmerizing and his heart-shaped lips forced her not to look away. Miss... I-I'm nota b-bad purshon, and I pay you His other hand, freed from his coat, fumbled on his pant's pocket to retrieve his wallet and threw it gently in the middle of the bench. With her free hands, she absentmindedly took the object. You can havit for tonight and all the money there ish yours and just let me shtay for the night. The stranger pronounced as she tried hard to inspect the content. There were more cash than she expected, a few cards and a picture. She has the most uncomfortable position that moment for she was holding his hand on her right as her left hand inspected his wallet. Miss... She looked up to him and was about to open her mouth when he suddenly fell again. Ajussi! ~~~ Tiffany sat by the third step of the grand staircase of the Kim's mansion. She sat there clutching her stomach and figuring out if there was that what they call interval of pain as they came. Her face twitched that she has to bite her lip when the pain was unbearable. Suddenly, she wished she had a mother to call. Swallowing a lump on her throat, she felt her tears run through her cheeks. Hyun Joong was fast asleep in their room and she didn't really like to wake him up instead she decided to walk around the house. Her best friend, Jessica whom had the same experience when she had her first baby, even has to spend the whole day at the mall when she was in labor as it was suggested by her OB. She did not really get the whole point. Fany?! Is that you? Love, why are you there? Hyun Joong woke up to find the empty space beside him. He waited for a moment until he realized that the restroom lights were off. She brushed off her tears when she heard his voice behind her so she stood carefully, Uhm... yeah... What are you doing there? Is something wrong? Is it the hormones making you cry again? He asked as he helped her up the steps. That was usually her reason for crying out of the blue. It's not really like she was about to Fany-ah, do you think you might be in labor? They stopped just one more step before they reach the floor. That question gave way for

more tears to come out and in between sobs, she cried, I t-think so... OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! ~~~ Unnie! He's my friend, I could not just leave him to freeze to death on the street, could I? she justified but her Unnie was still unconvinced with her arms crossed in her chest. As far as I can remember, I know all your friends... Min opened the door wider to look at the stanger, And you're making him sleep in your bed? Ya Bae Suzy, have you lost your mind? You're father's going to kill you if he finds out! And he will not find out because we're not telling him and Unnie, I will sleep on the sofa, she smiled trying to make her cousin understand that she has everything under control, Unnie, go to sleep please. I'm just going to make him settle and I'll lock him up here. Pssshhh! Suzy heaved a sigh of relief when she finally left and slammed the door behind her so she turned her attention on him, Ajussi, it's okay now, you can sleep here but tomorrow you have to leave as soon as possible. I did not get anything from your wallet. She felt crazy talking to an almost dead body. Maybe she was really too tired. But it was as weird what her Min Unnie was feeling. She was not really the type who would pick up a stray cat on the street, much less a stray drunk stranger. Gently, she pulled the covers up to his chin. She could just bring that to the laundromat later. Aigooo, Ajussi, I still can't understand why you men drink yourself to death. You're probably in deep trouble as I am now, she monologue-ed while pulling up a leg that fell off her tiny bed, Ajussi, whatever it is, you can do it! Himnae! She felt crazier so she laughed, If only this ajussi could tell me why he is like this then probab Because I'm marrying Bae Sue Ji.... Her jaw dropped. Was she too sleepy that she was hearing things? No, couldn't be, since this ajussi has been wording his thoughts too clearly for a drunk man. He was marrying a certain Bae Sue Ji. And she has been a Bae Sue Ji since birth. How fascinating. ~~~ Day Five

Seo Hyun watched him sleep as she snuggled comfortably on her own pillow. So this is the scene she would be seeing everyday. He looked so calm and cute sleeping there with mouth half-opened with frequent little groans. Both of them, probably, self-conscious of being in the same 'bed' that it seemed like they hardly moved from their places and she noted the pillow, although crashed by his leg, remained in the middle. Only his foot and her thigh actually touched. Yawning, she stood quietly and went to the bedroom. It was still dark outside, she noticed as she passed by the dining room. She could not really tell about the weather but the subtle movement of the waves was suggesting for a calm morning. That was exactly what she needed. After freshening, she changed to a thicker clothing, slipped the box deep in her pants' pocket and went back to the living room. Heaving a sigh when she noticed that he was still in a deep sleep, Seo Hyun laid herself back to her side and decided to wake him up. She touched his nose but he did not move at all. She giggled quietly and tried again with one arm folded under her neck. This time he made a subtle sniffing sound but that was all so she pouted before finally pinching his nose. Yong Hwa grumbled and opened his eyes in annoyance as she laughed. What?! his voice, coarse and irritated, killed the silence and her little chuckles joined it so he complained again before putting a pillow on his face, Hyu~n! Oppa... she said tenderly while trying to get the pillow, Oppa... Hyu~n... Seo Hyun rolled her eyes in exasperation then sat up, tied her hair and started shaking him lightly, Wake up now, you promised we will see sunrise today... She smiled when he took the pillow off his face. Hmmm... let me sleep some more, Hyun... he declared with eyes hardly opening but his lips were drawing a tiny smile before hugging the pillow tight. Oppa! she grumbled again. It's your idea and you're just gonna sleep on me!? Seo Hyun complained but he did not move at all. It started to annoy her, just as she planned an event for him but he would just make it hard for her. Fine! She started to get up but his hand came out of nowhere and took her by the wrist. Another hand grabbed her waist that she landed on his chest, Oppa! Yong Hwa chuckled when she continued to struggle, This is my first time waking up beside you. And thankfully, I survived the whole night not ravaging you, he would have added but kept it to himself. With that, her weight finally pressed on his chest so he ran a finger on her nape, Hyun, I want this everyday... Butterflies danced on the pit of her stomach and she smiled but the feeling of the box in her pocket reminded her of what was needed to be done. Seo Hyun pulled herself up despite

the growing desire to stay where she was. Without giving him a second glance, she stood and fixed her hair, Oppa, we will miss the sunrise if you would go all mushy there... Yong Hwa could do nothing but to laugh by how unaffected she was of what he just said. How could this girl brush off that kind of killer line? He cussed to himself and sat up without leaving his sight off her until she disappeared through that opened door. The cold sea breeze slithered inside the room and pushed him to stand and heed what she said. After washing his face, he went out carrying a comforter. He found her on the bench with legs folded on her body looking onto the remaining darkness. Only a flicker of sun rays, deep orange and some pink and blue streaks, lined the sky on that distant horizon. She looked up to him with that smile and reached out for his hand. He adjusted their fingers to intertwine then struggled to wrap the comforter around her shoulders using his free hand. She laughed when he pouted and put up their hands signifying it was making it impossible for him. Seo Hyun nodded pretending to be too disappointed to let go of his fingers so that he could place the sheet over her. When he finally settled them both inside it, he snaked one arm by her waist and pulled her closer to him. Hyu~n... Hmmm, Oppa? Nothing... She laughed as he chuckled. The sun was slowly consuming that distant foggy atmosphere as the half-calm waters distort its image as it appears. They were quiet, probably because that was the whole point of 'watching the sun rise'. But she was quiet since she was trying so hard to keep her heart still and not to make her mind go crazy and overexcited. But he was quiet for he was weighing his options. Although, he knew that Seo Hyun would forgive him whatever it was that he did but he was still worrying. What if it would be the reason for her to get angry at him? But then again, she might just laugh it off. Yong Hwa closed his eyes and embraced her tighter that she flinched for a moment but settled comfortably on that position. Nestling his face by the arch of her neck, they cuddled on that small bench and let the sun rays kiss the cold wind off their exposed skin while he we warmed her with his own breath. Wow, it's beautiful... she whispered and felt his head moved to look at the spectacle in front of them. He was resting his chin on her shoulder as his arms still locked her into him. It's like having this sunrise for ourselves, isn't it? Uh-huh... he nodded gently causing his chin to rub on her shoulder. Yong Hwa pulled his head up and looked at her, Hyun... Hmmm? she turned to him that the tip of their noses almost touched. She laughed softly

by the realization. Seo Hyun wrinkled her nose when he remained looking at her like he was left speechless or just forgot what he needed to say and shook his head. The wind was brushing tenderly that some loose strands were playing by her face and his own fringes moved carelessly so she reached out and gently touched his forehead. Your friend is so lucky to own this place... Yong Hwa secretly smiled when she looked away. He could just imagine her surprise if he finally give the title to her. It was his last surprise for her. The last event that could signal a brand new start for both of them. Seo Hyun looked so wonderful in the morning with her lazy eyes, cherry cheeks cooled by the breeze and warmed by the early morning sun. Later, he would tell her later that he was her anonymous caller. Oppa... Her voice stopped his train of thought as she adjusted herself to face him and finally separating her body from his for a good few inches. Yes, what is it? A smile blossomed on her lips and as she playfully raised her brows and tilted her head like she wanted him to figure out what she meant. But Yong Hwa puckered his lips and shook his head so she laughed while putting both palm on her cheeks, Oppa, I'm hungry. Make breakfast, please... He laughed as her lashes fluttered through her request. Okay then, come inside and I'll teach you how to make breakfast... Yong Hwa stood and motioned to take the blanket but she wrapped her body tighter to it and shook her head. Come on, Hyun. You can't stay here. It's too cold. I'm okay, Oppa. I still have to see the rest of the sun. She pulled up a smile that could make him just say yes but it seemed he was not taken by it so she pouted, Please, Oppa? I'm so hungry now... Aigooo, Hyu~n! Yong Hwa grumbled still holding on to the sheets, We can still see the sun by the dining... She pouted some more and blinked a few times just as he chuckled. Shrugging his shoulders, he turned and left her alone. Seo Hyun smiled as the door slid closed once more. Tucking the blanket comfortably on her body, she stood and took the steps careful enough not to let the wooden floor screech too much. Good thing she wore her boots as she hopped excitedly down to the sands and left the comforts of the boardwalk. She stood just a few steps away from the water, watching it move through the sands. By the looks of it, the tide would be moving closer and closer to the shore until it reached that boardwalk from the distance. The cold breeze teased her skin and she warned herself that if she stays a little longer she might catch a cold. Turning a bit to catch a glance of him working on that small kitchen, she prayed that he won't make a King's breakfast and hurry down before she get sick.

Yong Hwa shook his head disapprovingly when he noticed that Seo Hyun has wandered off the shore on that freezing morning. After taking out the toasted bread, he decided to do the rest later and make her come inside. With his coat on and muffler in place, he went out and jogged on the path until he stopped just a few steps away from where she was standing. Seo Hyun looked serene and totally engrossed by the view in front of her. By that time, the sun was almost out of the sky that it was starting to burn his sight. As he walked closer, Yong Hwa noticed that her eyes were closed but a tiny smile flicker on her lips. He took off his dogtag and and unhooked the key. Hyun... Finally, she turned but with hands still securing the blanket on her body, Yong Oppa... Yong Hwa stood beside her and carefully took the blanket. He folded it carefully and laid on the sand by their feet. Looking back at her, he smiled, Maybe it's time for me to give you this, handed the key. He did not plan to do that yet but seeing her in deep thoughts that way made him decide to finally let include that to her brooding. I want you to decide if you want us to be together despite the odds. When we go back to Seoul, it's up to you if you want to go to Namsan and reclaim your lock. She was quiet, just looking at the key in her open palm with cheeks almost beet red, if it was because of the weather, he would understand. Suddenly, he felt scared but he could not tell why so he started walking off and totally forgetting to say what else he wanted to tell her. The fright that rooted from the memories of the past. He took careful steps as if the sand could swallow him if he moved in haste. Just then he stopped. Yong Hwa turned to see her back against his. Seo hyun has diverted her attention back to the glowing sun and not to the key. The silence was cutting him deep and watching her focused to something else has brought some pain in his heart. What if it was her way to tell him again that she doesn't want to be with him? Just like that night by the Banpo Park where she spent the whole day with him but broke his heart just before midnight came. His heart suddenly ached. It was something he doesn't want to happen again ever. Taking one step, he was about to turn a heel when a movement from her made him stop. Seo Hyun stretched out her arm and threw the key. He gaped in awe because he did not see that coming and chills crawled up to his body. She remained standing there for a moment when she finally turned and started running towards him. More surprised when she threw her arms on his shoulder and nuzzled her face on his neck. I chose happiness, Oppa... I chose you... Yong Hwa heard her whisper by his neck and so he laughed and pulled her up to her feet. And laughed again. He was feeling utterly crazy. Putting her back to her feet, he cupped her cheeks but she

shoved his hands off. She was acting strange. Her sparkling eyes held his own while she fumbled on her pant's pocket. Just then, Seo Hyun fell on her knees carefully opening a box and smiled. Jung Yong Hwa-ssi, will you marry me? A smile escaped her lips when he looked thrilled, closing and opening his mouth like words fail to come out. He was frozen still and time seemed to tick by with her on bended knees. Are you gonna answer or not? She cried impatiently. Oh, Hyun! I'm supposed to ask that! He grumbled, trying hard not to laugh as he watched her kneeling on the sand with a box held up to him. Two silver rings glittered in front of him and they looked very much familiar. But I beat you to it! she protested again, then glared, Come on, answer me now while I'm still asking you nicely. Giving out another hearty laugh, he nodded acting listless, Yes. His smile finally blossomed in a tender smile. I will marry you, Seo Ju Hyun-ssi... Great! Seo Hyun said like she has been expecting it. She stood, brushed her knee and smiled, Okay, let's get married now. Yong Hwa almost choke on his own saliva that he has to cough once or twice and stop himself from bursting into laughter, What?! Here?! Right now?! You said you want to marry me too so let's get married right here and right now. She muttered eagerly as he reached out to push some locks of hair on her face. Seo Hyun glared when he remained grinning too much amused by her proposal, Ya, oppa, all we need is you and I to get married... but if you don't want then Yong Hwa cupped her cheeks and bent down to silence her with his lips. He kissed her tenderly with a smile forming as he moved his in on her. The tender exchange turned deeper that he could almost feel her gasping for air so he slowly withdrew but stole one more peck on her lips before thumbing her soft cooled skin, You know, Hyun, I would marry you in a heartbeat and if you want to get married right here and right now, then let's get on with it! Her eyes widened with that soft smile. ~~~ He opened his eyes and let his gaze wander around that strange room. But of course, he remembered everything, he was not too wasted that night for him to forget. Scratching his face, he stood and took his coat that was lying on a chair. Minho decided to go outside. Pulling the door carefully, a girl by the table turned to her. She looked surprised as if she was not expecting for him to come out, Good morning...

G-good morning. Suzy pushed back the chair when he walked out of her bedroom. I'm so sorry, Miss... he started while the girl continued to study him curiously that it was starting to get embarrassing on his part. Her thin lips twitched slightly as her brows peeking under those fringes moved. The girl has a pair of curious almond eyes that stared at him in a very odd way, he cleared his throat to somewhat steal her from her reverie, Miss? Ahh... Aju she smiled unable to process her thoughts. Suzy hardly slept, not only because the sofa was not too cozy but what the man blurted out that night. A smile escaped her lips and she felt like whacking her head hard when she realized that she is not the only Bae Sue Ji in Korea. With a renewed energy, she beamed, How was your sleep, Ajussi?! And oh, here's your wallet... she handed it to him and bowed, I did not get anything there... Uhm, I better be going, Minho muttered unsure of what to do. Suddenly, he heard a grumbling sound and by the looks of her, she heard it too. I-I will go now... Why don't you eat breakfast first? She offered. After that realization, she was just too elated. Ahh, thank you but no... I have been too much of a bother Aniyo! she moved to his side and held on to his arm leading him to sit where she was sitting. She took a plate and chopsticks for him then grabbed the seat across him, It's okay... besides, my cousin cooked extra for you before she left for work. The girl started filling the plate in front of him with side dishes and scooped rice for his bowl so he just took the chopstick carefully and ate. Suzy watched him by the corner of her eyes. Ajussi was a very handsome man in broad daylight. Not that he couldn't be handsome at night, but her memory of him during that time was not very pleasant. Whoever this Bae Sue Ji he was marrying is such a lucky girl to have a very handsome husband. She plopped an elbow on the table. Ajussi has a pair of sleepy eyes under those thick flat eyebrows and his well-pointed nose makes him look more handsome. Her gaze traveled down to his full lips, she swallowed. Yes? Ahhh... uh... she scratched her head and diverted her gaze off his mouth, Uhm, I hope you like the food. Yes, Minho could not stop himself from smiling. The girl looked a little surprised every time he talked to her. He took the glass of water and carefully gulped the content then pushed his chair back to stand, I'm so sorry for leaving like this but I think I have been overstaying. he bowed politely as she stood herself, Thank you for letting me stay for the

night and please extend my thanks to your cousin for the delicious breakfast. He started opening his wallet again but Suzy carefully shove it forward shaking her head, Please, if you are planning to pay me, I won't take it. I'm glad that I could help you and I am not expecting something in return. It would be too much rudeness if he would insist so he put his wallet back to his pocket and bowed again, Thank you so much again. I hope time comes that I could repay your kindness. Suzy just nodded and walked him by the door. When Ajussi finally stepped out she waved slightly but he held on to the door. Please don't take in another stranger you see on the street, especially if it's not me. With that, he bowed and smiled. And she was left speechless. ~~~ Seo Hyun was handed him both rings and kept the box back in her pocket. She looked so cute that all he wanted to do was to pull her off the ground and kiss her senselessly again. Devour her on that very beach despite the coldness and despite the possible observers. Yong Hwa felt silly and perverted. With those thoughts placed at the back of his head, he let her do whatever she has on her sleeves. Finally, she faced him. With a tiny wink, she retrieved back the rings and cleared her throat. He could not help but chuckle, she was captivating him all over again. Eherm, Jung Yong Hwa, Seo Hyun adjusted her voice deeper and tried hard not to laugh as his eyes playfully formed an 'O'. When he finally gave her a tender smile, she went on, Do you take Seo Joo Hyun as your wedded wife as the sand, sea and sun are you witnesses, and promise to love her eternally? He chuckled again but coughed when she glared. Yong Hwa nodded, I do... She puckered her lips and raised her brow so he started, Seo Joo Hyun, do you take Jung Yong Hwa as your wedded husband as the cold winter and that white house behind you as your witnesses, and promise to love him forever? Seo Hyun giggled then smiled, Yes, I do... He let out a soft laugh as she motioned for him to put on the ring on her finger then she followed with the other ring. While their hands still held each other, she met his gaze and pronounced gently, By the power vested in me, you, Jung Yong Hwa and me Seo Joo Hyun shall live together as man and woman bound by the same destiny and fate. Bound by the same love. I marry us. You may now kiss me... as your bride... He but his lower lip and slowly tilted his head bending closer to her to seal their random ceremony. Carefully, he laid his lips on hers until she finally captured him to her. They

kissed slowly as if they have the time in their hands and had forgotten that they needed to stay out of the cold. They kissed gently like they own the earth where they were standing still as the tide ebbed and the sun rose to its glorious throne. The slow and gentle kiss turned hurried and hungry like madness has taken over them. Like they now had the reason to kiss that way for nature had stamped and approved their union on that very morning. The start of their day. The start of the rest of their lives together. Seo Hyun pulled away just an inch with eyes wandering from his eyes to his moistened lips, she whispered under her breath, slowly like the words glided on her tongue, Have I told you, Jung Yong Hwa? I love you, Yong Oppa... I love you so much... Yong Hwa smiled as he took her lips again but replied breaking a kiss as he spoke, I love you too, Seo Joo Hyun... ~~~ He rested his forearms on the table as his wife added chocolate syrup on her banana split. It was Tiffany's second serving and the fourth meal she has after he woke up and found her by the stairs crying her eyes out. Both of them thought she was in labor. But it was a false alarm. Her hunger was misconstrued. The doctor warned them that it's always a possibility that the baby comes out earlier or later from the date she mentioned. Hyun Joong knew that he should stop indulging her especially with food since her OB warned that the baby was now bigger than normal and she blamed it on her over-stuffing especially with chocolates and ice creams, Fany-ah, we don't want CS, do we? He found himself saying. His wife looked up to him with a downward smile and eyes almost watery. Her hand held on helplessly a spoon. Sighing sharply, he nodded, It will be our last, baby, okay? Okay, she finally smiled. Tiffany could not understand why she seemed like making the whole over eating or doing things in excess became her little obsession. Could it be that she was just loving the way her husband stops her or attempts to stop her then ends up giving in to her nonetheless? It made her giggle while putting a spoon on her mouth. She looked up to him and spoke, Life has never been good to me. I saw how my parents battled to survive. I saw them passed away too. I saw how my stepfather suffered because of his past. I saw how fate became unkind to my brother at one point. And in my silence, I cried for them. In my silence because I needed to be strong for them... He was left speechless. Although, he knew those stories but by the way his wife was talking was a new experience. For a moment he wanted her to stop and just take her in his arms but she needed to let it out, the more he wanted to hear her thoughts.

I don't know if I could say that I may be the luckiest person in the family but I suffered too. It may not be the same way they did, but I suffered for them. And God must saw my sufferings that He brought me to you... she smiled amidst her tears. I may always do and say annoying stuff, but you are always there, patiently listening, patiently sitting beside me until I get tired of it. I have always wanted a best friend who would be beside me physically and emotionally through everything I go to. And God did not only give me a bestfriend but a husband and a lover and the future daddy of my babies. Thank you, Hyun Joong-ssi... A soft laugh came out as he dabbed her tears and kiss her cheek, It must be the hormones again, baby. But yeah, you're welcome. You, too, are the the best thing that ever happened to me... ~~~ Giving her one last lingering kiss, Yong Hwa pulled away and brushed his thumb on her lower lip, Shall we proceed to the reception now, Hyun Buin? She laughed gently tapping her stomach, I almost forgot how hungry I am... Yong Nampyeon... Let's race back to the house. The loser will do the dishes. Why? That is so unfair! You will surely outrun me! She playfully hit his arm as they walked back to the house. Yong Hwa pouted and pointed, Then you start here and I'll start over there... Okay, fine! Okay, let's race later then. You kissed me too hard and sucked up my energy... Aish, really? Yeah, really... Whatever, Yo~ng... Yes, Hyu~n! By the way, such a fine wedding dress you have. I love it... Yeah, right... you better buy me something more beautiful than this next time... Next time? Ya! You still have to marry me again! Like in a church or something! But we got married already!

Chongmal! Seriously, arasso! You are one demanding wife, Seo Joo Hyun... And you're one infuriating husband, Jung Yong Hwa... ~~~ She checked herself on the restroom mirror before going out. It was so sudden that her parents came to Seoul and told her to meet them in this expensive hotel and her mom made it clear that she better dress up. After randomly meeting a handsome ajussi, she received the call and since she was late for work, she just decided to ask for a leave. Her boss was kind enough to allow her also because they finished one project the night before. She walked by the hallway and felt a little giddy when some male yuppies looked at her and whispered to themselves when she passed by. Of course she prettied herself up. It was a nice feeling dressing up and her new dress really fit her well. Suzy checked her phone and realized that her mom has been calling. After taking a sigh, she turned to one corner going to the private dining room her parents directed her to go. Suddenly, her heart stomped when she noticed that old man. What on earth is happening in this world?! she muttered to herself and forced herself to fake a smile when he called out her name. He has been pursuing her since college. No matter how she tried to be nice to him and tell him 'nicely' that she is so young for him but he has always been persistent. Appearing like her ghost everywhere she goes and it was really freaking her out. Her steps turned unhurried then suddenly, she pivoted to the other direction and bumped into someone. Oooopps!!! The man uttered in surprise and her heart drummed when she looked up to meet those familiar sleepy pools. Suddenly, as the world seemed to spin faster out of control and the old man's voice vibrated on her ear, she lifted herself up in a tiptoe with her hands grasping his coat, she laid her lips on his. Minho was astounded as he stood plastered when the girl clung on his lips with eyes closed. Is she kissing him? Finally, his hands found their way on her arm and carefully tilted his head so she could stand on her feet. It's not like everyday that girls would go randomly kiss him that he lazily answered back. Besides, she smelled so good. Suzy felt ajussi answering back her kiss that her chill bumps invaded her body some more. With enough strength, she pulled away and they both gazed in each other's eyes. Suzy swallowed as he finally recognized her. She opened her mouth and closed again as ajussi looked too stunned to see her, H-hi...

Hi... Minho answered back as if it was the best thing to say. Ms. Bae? Thank goodness the man spoke as he reached him so she had an excuse to look away from him, Uhm, Mr. Seok, annyeong haseyo... she bowed with respect as she could still feel the burning sensation on her cheeks, Ahhh... this is my b-boyfriend, and we have to go now. Take care, Mr. Seok! Suzy bowed again while she snaked her arm on the younger man and pulled him away. After a few rapid steps, she turned back to see the old man looking like a lost sheep until he disappeared in a corner. She finally let go of his arm and repeatedly bowed as she spoke. I'm so sorry, I'm really really sorry. I did not mean to do that! He has always been following me and it's really scaring me already and that was the only thing I could do. I'm really so Suzy stopped when he burst into laughter. With fingers, clasped near her chest, she felt weird witnessing that sudden outburst. I can't believe you... Minho said trying hard to stop his laughter, You take in random strangers and you go around kissing strangers? You're the most amusing woman I have ever met! What? that wasn't really nice to hear. She felt blood rushed through her head. How dare him! Well, excuse me, for your information you are the first random stranger I took in and I don't go around kissing strangers! With that, she turned and stomped ahead. She was so angry. After all she did for him, he would accuse her of going around and kissing strangers?! Suddenly, her quickened steps turned in a slower pace when she realized that it was her fault after all. Why on earth did she kiss Ajussi?! Paboo-ya, Bae Suzy! She hit her head repeatedly. ~~~ Their 'wedding food' consisted of two sunny side up, radish kimchi and mandu they bought the night before, bread and two cups of coffee. Their attempt to plan for their real wedding was frequently disturbed by teases and playful remarks thrown by each other that they ended up with no definite plan at all. Seo Hyun gathered the dishes when they were done eating and deposited them onto the sink. She was about to turn the faucet on when he snaked his arms by her waist and head snuggled by the side of her neck. She almost shivered since it was ticklish so she tried to brush him off, Oppa, we need to get the dishes done first... The dishes can wait, Hyun, he mumbled twirling her around until he placed both of her hands on his shoulders and rested his by her hips, Now is the wedding dance time... Seo

Hyun laughed louder especially when he started humming. When her laughter turned into a small smile, he asked gently, Can you hear that, Hyun? Seo Hyun answered his mellow gaze but quite in confusion, Huh? The clanging of the glass... He grinned impishly especially when she pouted and looking like she was still clueless so Yong Hwa went on, They want us to kiss now... She laughed once again as he did but softer. They? Are you seeing things now? Seo Hyun raised a brow and giggled when he just batted his lashes that she could not help herslef but to peck a kiss on his cheek, Aigooo-yah, my husband has gone crazy... Crazy for you... Cut that out! She complained but with the same trickle of laughs as she hit him lightly, You're mushiness is so overboard, Oppa... Yong Hwa puckered his lips together until her laughter ended into tiny giggles. Then, he went on, But seriously, we need to kiss now... Seo Hyun smiled and bobbed her head before whispering near his lips, Okay, kiss me now, Jung Yong Hwa... And he did, a little too gentle while his arms wrapped by her body and hers rested on his shoulders and hands keeping their faces glued to each other. Yong Hwa led them forward that his back fell on one post. ~~~ She moved to the side when Si Won passed by her carrying one stock of books and laid them on the side. They spend the early morning arranging the reading corner before the coffee shop opened for the day. Most books arrived the day before but there were still some more to be delivered. Yoona decided to purchase more books that she could also sell or rent out to get more profit. She also talked to some people about the possibility of having the cafe as venue for book launches or signings and Si Won pledged to lend her money in case she decides to have the place renovated and extended. Moving to stand beside him, she knelt as he started ripping the paper that was securing the books. Si Won took out each books while she ticked them on her master list suddenly, he turned to where Ji Son was comfortably sitting in a beanie bag leafing through one book, Ya, Ji Sonah, can you please make yourself useful? Give me a raise first. The boy muttered without peeling his attention off the book as Yoona stopped what she was doing and silently laughed at the father. Si Won glared at her for awhile before turning to

his son, What raise? This time Ji Son looked up to his dad that was standing in front of him, You promised me you gonna give me a raise when I get good grades. With a deep sharp sigh, he answered back hands akimbo, Show me those good grades first, you're bragging there. Okay fine! I'll show you but you have to keep your promise like a real man, Appa! Jin Son kicked himself up and walked like a puppet in a string. Ya! Si Won raised a voice but Yoona held on to his arm while suppressing a laugh, Aish! Whose kid are you? Aish chincha... he mumbled to himself and started stacking books on one bookcase. After a soft tug from Yoona, he turned to her seriously, Did you take the wrong kid from the hospital? Yoona laughed and shook her head before squatting on the floor beside her Cake, I think you can answer that. Ya, let's try not to make something like him, okay? Si Won suggested in defeat as he watched the two got busy. But she turned to him with that apologetic smile and pouted. I don't know about you but I love Cake... Then ruffled the kid's head. Ji Son then turned to his father with a big grin, See? Si Won just walked away. ~~~ The rest of the day was spent playing on the beach despite the prickly coldness but they warmed themselves up on the living room after a few hours. Mostly, cuddling and kissing until they both fell asleep on that day bed. He woke up and found himself alone. Probably, she was outside with her book as it has disappeared too by it's place on the center table. He stared at the ceiling. It was the only thing left unsaid and it was probably the time to tell her. Anyway, as he convinced himself, it was not really a big deal. She would understand that it was his only way to 'communicate' with her. Truthfully, it was not his intention to impertinently pry on her thoughts as those were willingly given. With one loud puff of breath, he decided to go out. He was right. Seo Hyun was lazying by the bench with her blanket tightly wrapped around

her as she reads. Smiling just a little, he leaned his arms on the wooden baluster. Yong Hwa watched the waves moved restlessly by the shore, she was sitting on the bench with the same book covering her face. It was now or never, he told himself. Kneeling in front of her, he took the book as she looked at him inquisitively, Hyun, I will get something to drink. Do you want one? She nodded then resumed reading when he left. Seo Hyun put down the book and stared out in the sea. Moments ago, they called her mom and told her about it. She sounded like tearing up and scolded her when she teased. It must be exciting to tell Fany. Her phone rang and stole her out of her reverie so she reached for it. Feeling suddenly nervous as the caller's name flashed on the screen, it took her a few seconds before answering the call. It was 'you.' H-hello? The other line remained quiet but her heart won't stop from throbbing too loud so she finally talked, H-hey, I think I have to tell you something. I'm so sorry but this will be the last time I will be talking to you, I'm so I'm more sorry, Hyun... Seo Hyun stood that the phone almost fell off her hand. Yong Hwa suddenly slid the door open with the phone by his ear. He was giving her an apologetic smile. A lump formed on her throat that she could hardly compose a word on her tongue. She felt dizzy. Half of her was expecting that, right? Then why does she felt suddenly nauseous? It was him who ended the call then walked towards her to take the phone that was still neared on her ear. Yong Hwa could feel her hand tremble and her eyes were somewhat watery. It was the only time he felt terribly nervous, Hyun? I-It's you... the words managed to escape her lips but quite softer. Tears were stinging her eyes, Why? Why did you do that? Why didn't you tell me soon? You had so much time... why just now? Hyun, I he touched her arm but she shoved his hand away. What else are you keeping from me, Oppa? I'm so sorry! I just want to Why do you always love to play me for a fool?! Hyun, it's not my intention I swear, I Suddenly, she shoved him off her way as she ran inside the house and banged the door behind her. Hyun! We are not doing this again!

Chapter 39: And I Belong to You

One love in my young life Took me somewhere I had never been And I want to live again, breathe again In the shelter of his brightly woven love song So long I have wanted love to be Sitting just this near to me Now my waiting heart is free Few are the choices we are given The sands of time pass quickly by One dream of my young life Now stands holding out his hand to me Now I can't help but believe that my whole life will be Spent in one love ~ One Love (The Carpenters)

PART 1
The rest of the day was spent playing on the beach despite the prickly coldness but they warmed themselves up on the living room after a few hours. Mostly, cuddling and kissing until they both fell asleep on that day bed. He woke up and found himself alone. Probably, she was outside with her book as it has disappeared too by it's place on the center table.

He stared at the ceiling. It was the only thing left unsaid and it was probably the time to tell her. Anyway, as he convinced himself, it was not really a big deal. She would understand that it was his only way to 'communicate' with her. Truthfully, it was not his intention to impertinently pry on her thoughts as those were willingly given. With one loud puff of breath, he decided to go out. He was right. Seo Hyun was lazying by the bench with her blanket tightly wrapped around her as she reads. Smiling just a little, he leaned his arms on the wooden baluster. Yong Hwa watched the waves moved restlessly by the shore, she was sitting on the bench with the same book covering her face. It was now or never, he told himself. Kneeling in front of her, he took the book as she looked at him inquisitively, Hyun, I will get something to drink. Do you want one? She nodded then resumed reading when he left. Seo Hyun put down the book and stared out in the sea. Moments ago, they called her mom and told her about it. She sounded like tearing up and scolded her when she teased. It must be exciting to tell Fany. Her phone rang and stole her out of her reverie so she reached for it. Feeling suddenly nervous as the caller's name flashed on the screen, it took her a few seconds before answering the call. It was 'you.' H-hello? The other line remained quiet but her heart won't stop from throbbing too loud so she finally talked, H-hey, I think I have to tell you something. I'm so sorry but this will be the last time I will be talking to you, I'm so I'm more sorry, Hyun... Seo Hyun stood that the phone almost fell off her hand. Yong Hwa suddenly slid the door open with the phone by his ear. He was giving her an apologetic smile. A lump formed on her throat that she could hardly compose a word on her tongue. She felt dizzy. Half of her was expecting that, right? Then why does she felt suddenly nauseous? It was him who ended the call then walked towards her to take the phone that was still neared on her ear. Yong Hwa could feel her hand tremble and her eyes were somewhat watery. It was the only time he felt terribly nervous, Hyun? I-It's you... the words managed to escape her lips but quite softer. Tears were stinging her eyes, Why? Why did you do that? Why didn't you tell me soon? You had so much time... why just now? Hyun, I he touched her arm but she shoved his hand away. What else are you keeping from me, Oppa? I'm so sorry! I just want to Why do you always love to play me for a fool?! Hyun, it's not my intention I swear, I

Suddenly, she shoved him off her way as she ran inside the house and banged the door behind her. Hyun! We are not doing this again! Yong Hwa muttered almost shouting as he followed her inside. That was just the total opposite of how he imagined she would react. After the five days they have spent, he thought that she would take it lightly. Besides, he did that just to hear her voice. He stood by the door and knocked twice, Hyun, please open this and let me explain... He listened but no sound could be heard from inside. Yong Hwa paced back and forth running his fingers through his hair before standing by the door again with face on the cold wood. Seo Hyun, open up please... let's talk. Seo Hyun sat by the foot of the bed with arms wrapped around her folded legs and chin resting on her knees. Although, it was a hunch but she did not let herself believe too much considering everything what she blurted out before. So it was really him and deep inside she feared that fact. She has opened up her heart to whom she believed as a stranger and it was all about him. All those time he has known her heart but still she was led to believe so many things. Besides,he had so many time to tell her the truth but she could not understand why it took him that long. Tears stopped coming but her heart remained pounding on her chest and her brain was still trying to understand that information. Her body remained motionless with her eyes fixated on the tiled floor. She could hear his begging outside but she felt that she might just burst out her anger if she face him that moment. She doesn't really know what to feel. Yong Hwa fell on the floor with back resting on the door. He has been pleading for a couple of minutes but she hasn't answered at all. It would have been better if she would just shout at him or pounce him but not that kind of silent treatment. He knocked his head on the door carefully with helpless pleadings, Hyun, please how can we solve this if you won't talk to me? Come out, let's talk. I know I should have told you a long time but I was just scared. Scared that what is happening now would happen. Hyun, I'm so sorry... He stood and tried to listen again but her silence was really making him slowly lose his patience, Seo Hyunah, open this door. We can't be like this. Not now or not ever. Come on... he pounded his knuckles on the wood and his voice, along with his knocks, echoed through the small space of the beach house. He shut his eyes tight and with sharp intakes of breath he pounded harder, Seo Ju Hyun, I am going to break this door if you don't open up in ten counts. One... two... three... four... five... si A soft knock came from the main door that he has to stop and listened for awhile just to confirm he hasn't gone crazy yet because of her. When he realized that there was indeed a someone knocking, he strode to answer it, Yes? Yong Hwa asked without opening the door. Good evening, Sir. I live next door...

Yong Hwa finally opened up to find a young man securing himself from the cold so he opened the door wider, moved to the side and motioned for the unexpected guest to come in. After closing it, his eyes shifted to the closed bedroom before smiling warmly at his guest and offered his hand, Hi, I'm Yong Hwa... Hello, I am Lee Young Woo. We are having this sort of gathering at our place and my grandmother learned that you just moved in and sent me here to invite you for dinner so we could also formally welcome you to the neighborhood. Ahh, thank you so much... he bowed. Maybe it was the perfect excuse to make her come out. No matter how angry Seo Hyun could probably be, she would be too polite to ignore an invitation like that. He smiled wider, Please take a sit for awhile, I'm going to call my wife. Thank you... As the young man got settled near the fireplace, he walked by the door again and knocked twice, Hyun, our neighbor sent her grandson to invite us for dinner. Please come out so you could meet him too. Yong Hwa waited for a second before continuing, Yeobo, can you please come out? He is waiting for us... Suddenly, the door screeched open and Seo Hyun emerged with a straight face and walked past him. He grinned behind her and followed her to greet Young Woo, Young Woo, this is my wife, Ju Hyun. Hello, ma'am... Hi, just call me nuna, she smiled gently but flipped her hair lightly to the side with a little snicker as she continued, And he is not my husband. Yet... Yong Hwa offered as the younger man looked at his wife with interest and Seo Hyun just glared at his way for a moment, Technically, we are not yet married but engaged. I see... Young Woo smiled without taking any hint of the tension in the room. Anyway, hyung, nuna, can we expect you later? Oh yes, sure! he answered quite eagerly and turned to Seo Hyun, Yes, tell your grandmother thanks for the invitation and we would be going over later... Great! He smiled and bowed, We will be expecting you then. Thank you so much for accepting the invitation and nice meeting you both, Yong Hwa hyung and Ju Hyun nuna... And nice meeting you too, Young Woo, Seo Hyun bowed back with a smile and watched the two boys exchange a friendly hug. She moved back when Young Woo left and the older guy closed the door for him. Turning a heel, she was about to go back to the room when she heard him clear his throat. And I am not your husband, huh? he snickered behind her.

Because technically we are not married Yet, he offered only to be answered by another angry stare from her, Ya, let's talk... I don't want to talk to you right now... she answered back and opened the bedroom door. But we will talk later. Go fix yourself and get ready for dinner, Ju Hyun nuna, he emphasized the last word. He noticed how her face suddenly brightened into a gentle smile when the boy bowed and smiled at her. Not that he was jealous, but he was just annoyed by her sudden change of tone when he talked to him, most especially when she blurted out that they are not married. Wasn't she the one who married them? Yong Hwa scoffed to himself. ~~~ The stroll to get to the Lee's residence was quiet as Seo Hyun walked ahead and Yong Hwa followed closely behind. He decided to remain silent so as not to ruin the mood later. Maybe they both need that little distraction and the time spent on that invitation could probably make her reassess her decision of ignoring him. They reached the house as she moved back for him to do the knocking, the door was opened by another young man and they were invited in. The house was far bigger than their own, like a huge family vacation house. The sudden lively atmosphere was so inviting as the older woman started introducing each and every one inside the room. It was honestly hard to remember every name and attach them with each face that all they could do was to bow and thank them repeatedly. Seo Hyun just noticed how the whole room was occupied with beautiful people of all ages, not to mention, warm and very friendly. The kids were loudly playing as the young adults chattered with the older people while working busily in the kitchen. Soon they were all ushered in the dining room. The chattering went on as food started to pile up on the table and the smell was already making their mouths water. Only a single moment that the happy bustle was silenced when the matriarch led the prayer. She smiled to herself when she noticed the little boys with their heads hanging low and lips mumbled a prayer. And, like being energized again, all of them thanked each other for the food laid in front of them and wished for an enjoyable dinner. The delectable home-cooked meals did not quiet down the family one bit as they started praising each other with this conversation transpiring right after spoons and chopsticks getting into their mouths. Yumi-yah, the Sundubu Jjigae is perfect... Thank you, Abuji. Its not too spicy for you? No, its perfect.

Noona, this is probably your best Galbijjim Aigoo, Seungjo-ah You always exaggerate Auntie, the Japchae is delicious! As usual Ah, Jihyun-ah, I didnt make the Japchae. Your Auntie Yoorim made it this time. I think its better than my Japchae Oh, Unnie! Your so kind. My Japchae will never be better than yours. Then the calmer food-praising was followed by a ruckus: The Mineojeon is so tasty! Look! Youngbae swallowed the whole thing! Oh, crap. Why is he turning red? Yah! Hyunki! Why did you give him a big piece? Oh my God! Is the baby alright? Slap his back, suggested Junghos dad. Youngbae-yah! Yisung said loudly while gently slapping his sons back. *cough* *cough* Yisung-ah, is he alright? asked Hyunkis dad. Yes, Uncle. Hes okay. Aigoo Uncle Seungjo slapped Hyunkis arm. You almost killed the baby! Abuji! Hyunki exclaimed, massaging his arm. Ommaaaaa Appaaaa! Seungki-hyung said theres cockroach in the stew, reported Hyunkis youngest brother, Joonki. Uncle Seungjo turned to the left and pinched Seungkis ear. Ow! I was just kidding! Seungki said, rubbing his ear. Seo Hyun found herself automatically turned to him as she laughed with them. As their eyes met, she saw the same mellow expression he has been wearing the whole evening. She chewed her food carefully and looked away as if getting engrossed on the conversation going around. He focused on his food when she turned away. She was starting that mildang game with

him and it wasn't really appealing. Thankfully, the lively atmosphere was really refreshing and he was hopeful that it could lighten Seo Hyun's mind. Yong Hwa decided that he would never let the day end with her still feeling that anger over that secret phone calls. How do you like the food, Yonghwa-ssi, Joohyun-ssi, Sunmi-ssi, Wonhee-ssi? His train of thought was set aside when the older Lee asked that Seo Hyun and the young women beside them cheerily answered. Everything is really good. I havent had a meal like this in a long while, Yonghwa said. Thank you again for inviting us. No problem. Im glad you like them, Grandpa Lee said. I especially like the Oritang. The girl beside his wife, whom he remembered as Sunmi, chimed in, referring to the slow-cooked duck and vegetables soup. Ah, its my favorite, too, Grandpa Lee agreed. Harabuji, Wonhee-ssi here can make a really good duck dish, Yisung announced to his grandfather. Oh, really? Grandpa Lee said and then looked at Wonhee, maybe you can cook that duck dish for us sometimes. The conversation about the certain duck dish took Seo Hyun's attention as the girls beside her and the younger guys in front of them started looking at each other. They are a bunch of interesting young people since she also noticed some stealing glances going around the dining table. Or maybe she was just trying to occupy her mind with something else. But she really thought a pair or two were in a romantic relationship although they said to be good friends. Ah hehehe I would love to do that, Harabuji, but unfortunately, the kind of duck I use is not in season as of the moment, Wonhee said and Sunmi beside her settled comfortably on her seat like feeling relieved. Oh how unfortunate. But when they are back in season, please, let me taste your duck dish, Grandpa Lee said. Sure, Wonhee said. Then Grandpa Lee shifted his attention to them and asked about their jobs and their families. Most of the time he answered the old man's queries with Seo Hyun nodding or smiling a few times when the questions were asked directly to her. He attempted to reach for her hand under the table but even before he could hold it she placed her forearm on the table. She was really testing his patience.

~~~ Despite being ushered to the living room after the meal, Seo Hyun decided to help clear the tables so he stayed behind but all the while she was obviously ignoring him. Youngwoo and the other boys decided to build a bonfire by the beach and asked them to join. When the boys started going outside carrying blankets, wood, toys, snacks and other stuff, Seo Hyun seemed to tail behind them that he has to hold her arm deliberately and whirled her to him before she could leave the porch. Don't touch me... she said in an undertone as she wiggled to free her arm from his grip but he was unwilling to succumb. Hyun, dont be like this. Arent you ashamed of your behavior? Were newlyweds yet you act as though you barely know me! Dont you think theyre wondering why youre acting the way you are right now? What do you expect me to do, Oppa? Smile and act as if I didnt get hurt by what youve done? Seohyun asked back as she walked away from Yonghwa. Oh, come on! Its not even that big of a deal! Will you stop being so childish and act civilized for the sake of our new friends? Yonghwa commanded. Seohyun whirled around and snapped at her husband. Not a big deal? It was a big deal for me, Oppa! I poured my heart out to you. It might have been just a joke to you. You might have laughed at me for being so nave, but I treated you as a friend I could trust, Oppa. I trusted you Tears finally escaped her eyes that she placed both hands on her face trying to stop them as they come. Yong Hwa closed his eyes and sucked in a few sharp breathes. He caught a glance of the three younger girls behind them so he attempted to close the gap between him and his wife so as to hide her from their view by putting his arms around her. Seo Hyun deliberately shrugged him off that he has to mutter in a controlled voice, Seohyun-ah, youre really testing my patience. Stop it now, will you? We can talk about this later. You can cry later, but for now, will you please get it together? Theyre watching us. Youre starting to embarrass me. If youre embarrassed of me, then I will just leave and go back home, Seohyun snapped. So she was embarrassing him now? That made her even more frustrated. Oh, for crying out loud! Yonghwa said throwing his hands up in the air in exasperation but she just started walking off. All she wanted was to go back to their house and lock herself in the room. She was still figuring out how to go back to Seoul without him and the thought of sneaking in the middle of the night was appealing. His sudden outburst has totally drawn the last straw for them.

Just as Seo Hyun was to take the steps down, Jaewoong came sprinting towards her wearing a tiny smile. She bowed lightly ready to excuse herself but he started. Nuna, hyung, he called from behind her shoulder, We're about to start. Come and join us... Seo Hyun felt his gloved hand touching her elbow so she nodded at Jaewoong, Yes, we'll be on our way... She doesn't want to appear rude to them. Besides, they have been nothing but accommodating and cheery crowd. As she descended down the steps, Yong Hwa was trying to get hold of her arm but she sprinted as if catching up at Jaewoong and thankfully, he resigned to just walking silently behind her. Ji Hyun smiled when she sat beside her and she moved a little bit when he took his place beside her. To keep her mind off the annoying person on her other side, she wondered about the empty space beside Sunmi as the boys gathered on the other side of the circle. Maybe her hunch was right, the stealing glances on the dining table was somewhat not a product of her too much brooding after all. So, my dear congregation, should we start this gathering with a song? Jihyun asked everyone as Seo Hyun lifted her head up to confirm what she heard. Anyway, that must be something this age group really does so she just fell quiet until Jihyun opened her mouth again and started singing with eyes closed, arms held up high, and body swaying from side to side. She could feel Yong Hwa was trying contain his laughter. Kumbay ya, my Lord, Kumbay ya, Kumbay ya, my Lord, Kumbay Jihyuns singing was interrupted when a piece of marshmallow was thrown right into the middle of her forehead. YAH! Jungho yelled at her. You know how much mom hates it when you make fun of religious things! Well, she isnt really here, is she? Jihyun riposted. Im telling Mom and Dad, Jungho told her. Oh, stop being such a tattletale! Jihyun snapped at him. You need to start being more respectful! Jungho scolded his younger sister. You need to stop acting like an old man! Jihyun shouted at him with a scoff. Speaking of respecting religions, at least Im not the one who wanted to ditch my beliefs for a girl. Im not the one who was going to join a cult. Yah! Yah! I didnt do that on purpose! Jungho yelled at Jihyun.

Aish! Jungho-yah, Jihyun-ah, will you two be quiet? Arent you ashamed of yourselves? We have guests here! Youngwoo scolded them and then looked at Yonghwa and Seohyun with an apologetic smile. Theyre our cousins, but they have already been twice removed, Youngwoo told as a joke to maybe to mask his embarrassment. Yonghwa chuckled and assured Youngwoo that it was alright. Yisung handed out long sticks to everyone for roasting marshmallows, and Youngwoo passed the marshmallow bag around. When they were all roasting their marshmallows in the fire, Youngwoo cleared his throat and directed a question to Yonghwa. So, Hyung, how did you manage to win Joohyunnunas heart? Do you mind sharing the beginnings of your love story with us? Yong Hwa smiled taking a quick glance at her before focusing his attention on a twig he must have gotten from the sand, Hmmm, let's see. Ours started like any other love story out there, nothing really fancy. It was also winter, the snow that day was terrible, she saw me and she handed me her umbrella then fled. Love at first sight? It must be that. I did not even get her name so I promised myself the next time I see her I have to know her name. Just her name and I would be fine. he stopped but his hand remained unconsciously making doodles of her name on the sand. And I got the chance, let's just say with a little white lie I managed to get, not only her name but five days to date her... so I took that opportunity to make her like me back as much as I like her... Seo Hyun swallowed. It was so hard to stop her tears but she tried to remain unmoved so she let her attention get drawn by the flickering light from the fire while he went on with their story. In some cases, she would find it embarrassing for him to recount the past but she listened intently like every scene were recreated in her mind. She missed those moments. Then, some things came between us and, probably, it was not our time to be with each other so I gave her up, we gave each other up. Yong Hwa sighed and turned to her. He doesn't really care if she would answer back his stare, Do you believe in 'somethings have to fall apart for better things to fall back together?' That was the exact thing that happened to us, I came back and reclaimed what was mine all along... and it's her... He chuckled to himself, I must be boring you now... Awww, thats gotta be one of the sweetest love stories Ive ever heard, Jihyun remarked. It makes me want to cry marshmallows, she added, biting into her roasted marshmallow.. The kids looked speechless afterwards that he suddenly felt the embarrassment as he could also sense her own when she drew her legs closer up to her body. Thankfully, the atmosphere was revived when Youngwoo killed the sudden silence.

So, what do you guys think? Should we tell ghost stories? Youngwoo asked Wonhee. Aaaahhh! Jungho and Hyunki screamed in unison. Hyung! Jaewoong called to his older brother as though about to plead him not to. Youngwoo chuckled, amused at his brothers and his cousins cowardliness. Did you guys know that the house next to the Goos is HYUNG! Jaewoong shouted at him. haunted? Youngwoo asked, ignoring the pleading tone in Jaewoongs voice. Youngwoo turned to look at a big white house on top of a seaside cliff, around five beach properties away from the Lee mansion. Waaaahhh!!! Hyung! Dont say that. I can clearly see that house from my bedroom! Hyunki said, trying to keep his eyes away from the house on the seaside hill. From mine, too! Jungho agreed. Youngwoo chuckled with great satisfaction. It was so obvious that he wanted to scare his cousins. The family who used to live there was murdered by the fathers mistress. It happened way before we were born, but nobody has lived there ever since. Relatives of the family hire custodians to look after the estate from time to time, but none of them would last long because they claim that the house is frequented by the disembodied spirits of the slaughtered family, Youngwoo continued. Youngwoo glanced around. Jungho and Hyunki were now huddled together. At first, she was giggling to herself at the sudden outburst of the boys. The tough looking kids looked too cute huddled together as Youngwoo turned deaf to their pleadings. But as his story progressed, she found herself slowly moving closer to Yong Hwa just in case something happened. Jihyun let out a bored sigh, Oppa, youve told me this story so many times before Yeah, but Jungho, Hyunki, and Jaewoong havent heard it before, Youngwoo said. We dont want to hear it! the three cowardly Lees said in unison. Then, Youngwoos eyes suddenly shot wide open with surprise and fear. Slowly, he pointed at something behind Seohyun. N-Nuna Theres s-someone standing b-behind y-you AAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! "WAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!"

Seo Hyun could not remember what exactly happened but she found herself jumping on Yong Hwa's back right after everybody seemed to scream and scram to every direction. Her heart was still wildly pounding on her chest as she removed herself away from him especially when he started grinning like a fool. Silly kids, she grumbled to herself as she took her place and let the others complain and give a good scolding at Youngwoo. YAH! Sunmi screamed. Lee Youngwoo! That wasnt funny! Oh yes, it was! Youngwoo and Yisung said in unison. They sat back down with Jihyun, and Jaewoong, as well as Hyunki and Jungho, came walking back to join the rest again around the fire pit. Seohyun still distanced herself from him when she sat down on her blanket as though she had not just jumped on his back moments ago. It seemed like she was firm on her decision of giving him a cold shoulder but then again, he wanted to give Young Woo a pat on the back for the one. But he could not deny that he got the creeps too. Can we do something more fun? Jihyun asked. Like play a game or something? Okay, Youngwoo agreed, As long as its not Super Shots. He glanced at Wonhee. We dont wanna be reminded how Wonhee had sex in a church. But we do! Hyunki and Jungho said, chuckling, and then sat back down on their blanket. They seemed to have already forgotten the fear they experienced a few minutes ago. Y-You had s-sex in a ch-church? Seohyun asked in disbelief as she felt Yong Hwa turned curiously at the younger girl too. That was quite a revelation but when Wonhee didnt reply and just hid her face in her arms, she decided to pretend otherwise. Kids really. We can play Sticks of Truth, Sticks of Dare, Youngwoo said. Oh, cool! I like that game! Jihyun remarked. What is it? Seohyun asked Jihyun in an undertone. Its like Truth or Dare, just done differently. Its something we invented, Jihyun explained. How do we play that, Youngwoo? Sunmi asked. This game is very simple, Youngwoo began. First, we will choose a game overseer. Then, the overseer will ask everyone to close their eyes and pick a stick from the ones that Im going to hold in front of you. Now, the sticks have two different colors. Since one of us will be the overseer, only nine of us will actually play. So were going to use nine sticks. Seven of the sticks will be green and two will be red. If you get green, that means youre safe. If you get red, that means you have to do what the overseer tells you to do. The overseer can

choose to make you answer a question or do a dare. Okay, thats simple enough, Yonghwa said. Lets play it. Okay, Youngwoo said, Im gonna have to go to the house and get the sticks. Youngwoo looked at the others. Hey, can you guys go to the house with me? I need your help. Why do you need assistants, Hyung? Its not like the sticks weigh a ton, Jungho wondered out loud. I need them to bring some things back here, Youngwoo said. When the kids left, he moved a little closer to her but then she moved away too. Blowing out an air loudly, he just decided to get her to talk later when they go back home. Their new friends somewhat brightened her dull expression moments ago and they were also able to calm him down. A few minutes later, the gang went back with the sticks, thermoses and cups that were distributed with hot chocolates. Youngwoo officially started the game and self-declared to be the game overseer. Hyung, dont forget, we have to recite the Truth or Dare pledge before we can start the game, Hyunki reminded Youngwoo. Oh yeah, I forgot, Youngwoo said. Okay everyone, I want you to raise your right hand and repeat after me. He looked at and explained what we were about to do. Basically, he just wanted everybody to make a promise that all things asked to be done should be done. Here we are for the Truth or Dare, We plan to play, our secrets well share. And if we decide to keep our mouths shut, Well take on a challenge right here, on the spot. We will tell our secrets with honesty And do the challenges with bravery. If by chance we ignore the rules, Well be severely punished until we look like fools. When they were done with the pledge, Youngwoo asked them again to close their eyes. Dont peek, he warned. Then started letting them pick their sticks while still on closed eyes. After a few minutes, he declared for them all to open their eyes. Wha??? Yonghwa expressed incredulously, looking at the stick in his hand and then to the stick in Seohyuns hand. Oh, it looks like Yonghwa-hyung and Seohyun-noona got the red sticks, Youngwoo announced. He sat down on his seat and then asked them, So, is it going to be truth or dare?

Her eyes remained on the red object in her hand. She remained quiet as the younger people waited for one of them to answer. Someone cleared his throat, another shifted on the seat, and the fire fluttered as it consumed the logs. Truth. It was him who answered as she lifted her gaze to see him focused on the younger man with that mellow smile. She then looked at the overseer who seemed to be thinking of the question to ask. Seo Hyun placed the stick by her feet and took the mug to consume the remaining contents. Do you agree, Nuna? If it's truth for him, it would be for you too since I would be asking the same question, Youngwoo asked with much seriousness as the others diverted their attention to the couple. He continued when she just bobbed her head slightly, Okay, here's the question: If there is something you want to tell each other right now, what would it be? With head bowed low, she closed her eyes while waiting for him to answer. Seo Hyun knew that there was really no point if she continued treating him that way. She turned only to meet his softened gaze and that tiny smile blossoming on his lips. I will never give you up... not now, not ever, Hyun... She tried to catch her breath as she swallowed those lumps that were forming on her throat. Her eyes became stingy not because of the smoke but by the way he was holding her gaze. It felt like there was no one on that open space but them. Suddenly, her tears freely ran through her cheeks and she shook her head as if denying them to come. As if it could make herself stop crying. Stupid pride has started to crumble down. I-I'm sorry... Seo Hyun managed to pronounce addressing their crowd while wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. Yong Hwa moved closer taking her by the wrist but careful enough as if he was expecting her to brush him off. His gaze then traveled to the others around the circle with an apologetic smile. My wife needs a little time... besides, it would probably be better if I hear her answer in private, he said softly eliciting a smile from some of them. Turning to look at her again, he asked, Hyun, do you want to go home? She nodded while taking one long breath, O-okay... Seo Hyun sniffed and attempted to smile at them, I'm so sorry for being like this... Yong Hwa stood and took one step in front of her and offered his hand. She took it without hesitation as the gang also left their places and walked up to them exchanging hugs and holiday greetings. After graciously thanking and repeatedly apologizing, they excused themselves and started trailing back to their own

house. The wind was getting colder as the waves break into the shore and the moon shone gentleness above them. The lamp posts along the beach gave them a good vision of the way and the faint glow from the porch illuminated the small house. Yong Hwa took a moment before walking by her side and taking her hand. She did not resist instead let her fingers be laced on his. They walk back quietly with him only letting her hand loose for awhile as he unlocked the door.

~~~
One love in my young life Took me somewhere I had never been And I want to live again, breathe again In the shelter of his brightly woven love song So long I have wanted love to be Sitting just this near to me Now my waiting heart is free Few are the choices we are given The sands of time pass quickly by One dream of my young life Now stands holding out his hand to me Now I can't help but believe that my whole life will be Spent in one love ~ One Love (The Carpenters)

PART 2

Seo Hyun sat on the carpeted floor in front of the furnace watching the glimmering of the fake fire. She tied her hair as she felt the heat in front of her. Folding her legs up to her chest, she rested her chin on her knees and felt him walking behind her. She moved to the side to give him way as he fixed his makeshift bed, no words came between them but her eyes followed his every movement. I don't want us to be like this... she found herself saying with arms locking closer to her chin and he turned to her with softened expression. I don't want us to be like this either... he answered back taking his place beside Seo Hyun. For a moment, he looked at her before shifting his gaze at the mellow glow. I despised you. I told myself to despise you. I convinced myself that you never loved me enough because you made me believe you were coming that day but you did not. I never loved anyone that way and this way, Hyun...

Her silent eyes focused on his now as she listened intently. That must be the reason why he treated her coldly at first and he had every right to feel that way. Seo Hyun closed her eyes with a tiny smile perched on her lips. She knew he had so many things to say. But nights got lonelier because no matter how I tried to convince myself, the thoughts of you always visited me in my solitary moments. I foolishly dialed your number but not really expecting that you would have the same one after eight years. But fate has been kinder for me, I guess, Yong Hwa let out a soft laugh, And you answered. Hearing your voice helped a bit and every night, I felt sick and you were my relief. That was the closest thing I had to know your heart. It was then that she stretched her legs and took his hand. Seo Hyun held it and squeezed it lightly as he looked at her with a tiny smile, You should have talked to me... But I was mad at you, he chuckled and Seo Hyun laughed softly. And you were too rude... she twitched her lips and raised her brows. I was? Seo Hyun nodded You were... really... Well, because I really thought you had a boyfriend already... Why?! You made me believe you were engaged to Shin Hye Unnie! I did not! his eyes grew wide as she continued accusing him. Although he knew that it was more like a joke but since it somehow helped relieve the tension that was building after that revelation, he could not help but play along. Yong Hwa then nodded adjusting their hands so it was him who was holding her, When you told me that you still love your prince, I cried. I cried because I was afraid and relieved at the same time. Afraid that you did it again, that slowly you were digging up my buried feelings for you. Afraid that if I gave you my heart, you would be breaking me apart again. Afraid that I would crazily love you all over again. But relieved because all along I didn't want you to fall in love with anybody else. I want you for myself, for me alone... She found herself smiling. Nodding gently, Seo Hyun lifted their hands and let the back of his touch her lips as she closed her eyes. Both of them had been pretending all those times but it felt better hearing those words and she did not regret that she listened. Looking at him again, she smiled gently, But you were my relief too. Secretly, I wanted the person to be you that was why all along I was freely expressing myself. Secretly, I want you to know my heart though I was not sure if it was really you. But you were so angry awhile back...

Because I was terrified. I was scared too... Yong Hwa almost laughed looking as she wore that apologetic smile and reached out to brush his thumb lightly on her chin, But I am glad that we are having this conversation, Hyun. I want us to be honest with each other. No more keeping secrets. If you're mad at me, you tell me... if you want something you tell me and I will do the same... Okay, she smiled and letting go of his hand when she started to yawn. Yong Hwa playfully shook his head so she pouted while wiping the dew off her eye, I'm sleepy... I know... he nodded listlessly and placed one pillow on her corner and another one on his, I believe you want to sleep over... If I'm not taking too much space... she innocently grinned and lay herself on her side of his makeshift bed then grabbed one pillow and put it between them. He rolled his eyes and she giggled. Arasso, Yong Hwa stood then turned on the lamp shade before clicking off the main lights, That bed should be put to good use someday, Hyun... Hmmm... because you don't want to use it so I won't use it too, she giggled as he lay down on his back beside her, If you want, you can sleep there, Oppa. I think I'm more comfortable here... With a quick twist of his head, he surveyed her, Naaahhhh, I like it better here, Hyun... good night... He closed his eyes and turned to his side. Despite the fact that the bed was really appealing if they both would climb into it. He sighed, turning to face the opposite direction. The other night, sleep came to him sooner than expected, maybe because he was exhausted by the drive and the long hours they spent shopping for her clothes. Yong Hwa tucked one arm under his head and waited when she lightly cleared her throat but no other sound came after that. He sighed, long and hard, before turning to face her. Probably it was a good idea to let her go to the room and lock herself up. Seo Hyun was nervous. She had been nervous since yesterday night when she decided to sleep beside him. Nervous but not scared at all. He turned to her only to be welcomed by her dreamy eyes that beacon at him. Swallowing hard, he just gave her a little lazy smile. Oppa, what are you thinking? She asked a few seconds when he continued to study her. I-I.... nevermind, Hyun, Yong Hwa found himself stuttering so he shook his head lightly and commanded, let's go to sleep... But you just said that we should not keep things from each other anymore...

Hyun, what I'm thinking is a little dangerous... Dangerous? Tell me so I can judge how dangerous it is... Are you sure you want to hear it? Yes. I want to kiss you... Seo Hyun chuckled, Like we have been kissing already, Oppa. What could make it dangerous? Because if I kiss you right now, Hyun, I might end up wanting more than a kiss... If you kiss me, it would be dangerous, she repeated pensively then went on, What if I want to kiss you back but I don't think it would be dangerous? Would it change a thing? Do you really want to kiss me? Do you really want to kiss me? Yes... Then do it... Yong Hwa moved and balanced his body closer to hers and laid his lips gently on hers. He lingered on for a moment as the air coming out from her nostrils teased him some more until he urged her to open up for him. He kissed her slowly, unhurried as if weighing their options while her hands climbed up to his nape. Carefully, he raised her up in a sitting position and kissed her deeper as he held on to her arm. He could feel how her body seemed to tremble on his touch and her tiny gasps every time he parted his mouth from hers were overwhelming. It was going to happen, he told himself and gently released her with their nose touching and she was catching her breath, Hyun, this is the danger I was talking about...and I want to go on... The rapid pounding on her chest was caused not only by his kisses but by the way his hand ran through her arm. Whether he knew it or not, that motion was driving her crazy. Seo Hyun nodded, her mind, heart and body suddenly came into that sole decision. She closed her eyes as he pulled her closer, one hand by the small of her back and another holding on to her chin. Are you sure? Yong Hwa mumbled again on her lips. He swallowed when she pulled away and held his gaze languorous and uneasy. Instead of verbalizing her answer, she traced his face with her fingers like it was her first time seeing him up close. Seo Hyun's fingers stopped by his temple then slowly ran down to his cheek until they ended on his lips. Her

eyes followed her hand's movement while he silently watched her. Finally, she withdrew her hand and replaced them with her own lips. The tiny light from the lamp focused on them as they discover each other, acquainting and reacquainting themselves of each others features. Their breathing resonated through the whole room. Her smell, most especially her taste, were enough to make him want some more. Some more of her... some more of her and him. His hands traveled reflexively all over her and intensified his own needs as her own emotions amplified deeper with every kisses and caresses. It was getting colder since he had forgotten to adjust the temperature of the room but it was overlooked and ignored because their body heat was enough to shelter their needs. Bewitched and enthralled, they let passion took them over as the night went on and the moonbeam slithered through the gaps of the blinds by the dining area. There was nothing more to resist or consider. The night was their own to claim each other. Slowly but intensely...

In Rapture...
the only thing that comes between them has finally slipped out of place his hands moved the way his body commanded it on her silken skin and languid breathe he exposed her slowly with mastery crafting in his fingers she, her cunning silence let him show her how magic is created with only the two of them in the drunken silence as the ocean spoke outside without reservations he scanned her slowly careful to break the china in his hand as her own managed to trace his very tangibles quivering... reaching up to cup his hand by her nape, he steadies her slowly pulling what tucked her hair in chignon letting his hand run through the satin threads on his palm, he placed his lips on her awaiting one parting carefully with every pulsations exposed from the fabrics that were guarding their walls crumpled, carelessly piled by an edge of the cool empty floor

he led her down carefully by his haven momentarily pausing to witness the goddess bare before his very eyes recognizing each lines memorizing her curves she, breathless herself of the muted snapshot lids heavy, begging to let him join her moment of enchantment watching the moonbeam in his eyes drowning glory to their own beauty she was taken by him every echo of air every beat on her chest pressing lazy kisses along the lines of her face his touch assured her out of her own weariness until those fingertips started tracing jawlines moving down... lower... tenderly like caressing his forgotten guitar like subjecting her deeper in his song writing his lyrics she his sheet of music sprawled... then, with eyes speaking their sublime words, and beneath the unspoken lines he sought his yearnings and she answered with lips laid back on his guiding his hands through her own silent secret assuring him that his touch could never pain her and darkness would hide them both he dipped on her presence tenderly... shivering... come wincing pain in a treacherous second

screaming thus enough to quiet the breeze blowing from within but slithered to sudden madness leaving the soul in trance as her body arched midway up voice shaken with the same madness that nothing came out but slow, deep, heaving music from her throat her eyes, dew laden, opened up slowly to look at his a smile, an assuring touch and lingering kiss pacified her awe deeper... closer and longer as the icy touch brought shivers but warmed by their breathes the wind was blowing nothing steadily rocking each tendrils in mid-pleasure the crashing of waves enthralled through their naked skin as she pronounced his name on his very tongue restless their own hearts he called her insanely... raking every tender touch and, madly through his own gratifying culmination confounded veins in endless rapture they seek the moment of freedom bodies creating the last friction on those disheveled sheets their finality was nothing but elated fulfillment of those million seconds of separation of those thousand moments of absence of those hundred passing of seasons only that their hearts never left at all only that the beating remained the same maybe stronger maybe strengthened may never be subdued

that was the truth revealed on itself as they lay down side-by-side bodies warmed calming their breathes easing their minds filling the remaining needs tomorrow they are new the very next day is always a promise later may come seeking the very same heat for the night will be colder much colder... as they lay on crumpled sheets... in rapture.

Chapter 40: Forever

You're every line, you're every word, you're everything. ~ Everything (Michael Buble)

Part 1
I can't believe you... Minho said trying hard to stop his laughter, You take in random strangers and you go around kissing strangers? You're the most amusing woman I have ever met! What? that wasn't really nice to hear. She felt blood rushed through her head. How dare him! Well, excuse me, for your information you are the first random stranger I took in and I don't go around kissing strangers! With that, she turned and stomped ahead. She was so angry. After all she did for him, he would accuse her of going around and kissing strangers?! Suddenly, her quickened steps turned in a slower pace when she realized that it was her fault after all. Why on earth did she kiss Ajussi?! Paboo-ya, Bae Suzy! She hit her head repeatedly. But then again she stopped, stomped and declared out loud, I hate that person! Her day would have been lovely for it had been a few weeks ago since she had seen her parents so she was really looking forward to that meeting. Going back to the restroom, she washed her face and stared at herself on the mirror, Okay, forget it happens, Suzy.

Besides, it's not as if you would see him again. Suzy scolded herself but her mind wouldn't rest from reminding her of the crazy act that she pulled. She must focus on the reason why her parents suddenly popped out in Seoul and told her to meet them in this luxurious hotel-restaurant. It was actually their parents' thing the whole luxury and all, but only if there are any special occasions. But she could not really remember any of them celebrating birthday that day, a few days before or a few days from the present. Unconsciously, scratching her head, she just decided to walk faster with the fear of meeting her annoying stalker, much less, that more annoying Ajussi. No matter how handsome he is. Pssh! Bae Suzy, he is not handsome. At. All. Minho chuckled to himself. That was so cute the girl was too cute for words. She must have been scared to death by that stalker that she had that courage to kiss him. He touched his lips as he continued walking. What an eventful day two for him. Just the other day, he had an argument with his father because he suddenly told informed him that he was to be engaged to a certain Bae Sue Ji. It was something expected of his father but he was pissed still since it made his mother aggravated and upset again. Besides, he was led to believe that it was nothing but an ordinary blind date. Because he could not divert his annoyance to something else, he found himself consuming too much alcohol in the ajumma tent he had been frequenting when Seo Hyun officially turned him down. He did not expect that he would find comfort on alcohol and consumed more than how much he intended that he could no longer bring himself home. That was when he collided with that miss. Minho chuckled remembering how Miss dragged him away from her old-man stalker after declaring that he was her boyfriend. What a brave thing to do for a shy looking girl. Fixing his tie and exhaling loudly, he knocked on the private dining room assigned to them. He decided to be there just to quench his curiosity. Just to know what made his father decide that this woman is for him to marry. Bae Sue Ji. He could not understand but the name gave him a different feel. The door was opened by a waiter as another one was serving the food. The laughter and on-going conversation in the room was quieted when he was ushered inside. His parents was sitting by the left side of the table as another couple around the same age as them occupied the other side. Bae Sue Ji, apparently, was yet to make her arrival. Choi Minho, you are late. His father said in a stern tone that he had to bow down to both couples, I'm so sorry.

There was an emergency at the office that I could not come earlier. It's okay, my dear. Go ahead and take your seat. We just arrived too. The woman, with the same gentle smile as his mother, spoke. He carefully dragged the chair beside his mother, Thank you so much and sorry to keep you waiting. Aigooo, Gyeong Won, you never told me how handsome your Minho is! If I did, it would be bragging too much, but I bet Sue Ji is equally stunning. Of course! Took after her mother! Bae Sue Ji Appa said and the room bustled with laughter again. The parents looked okay, hopefully, she would look okay too. It's not that looks mattered to him. The older population continued bragging about their children but he remained quiet, it was weird that the Miss occupied his thoughts more than the Bae Sue Ji he was to meet. When the waiters left, they decided to start eating as the mom was trying to contact her daughter again. A few minutes later, a soft knock came and his father ordered him to open it. After one long blow of air, Minho twisted the knob open only to come face-to-face, again, with someone he did not expect at all. YOU?! They said together with fingers pointing and eyes widened in disbelief. Minho's surprise suddenly melted into a soft chuckle as he placed a hand by his nape and craned his neck. You know each other? It was his mother who suddenly asked that he finally opened the door wider to let her in. Closing it gently, he shook his head secretly as he felt the tug somewhere in his chest. Annyeong haseyo... Suzy bowed despite feeling awfully strange of the situation. And most inportantly, annoyed of his obvious amusement. Well, this is our daughter, Bae Sue Ji, her father introduced her to everybody then turned to Minho who was still standing by the door, Minho, why don't you come and sit beside our Suzy? She unconsciously moved gently on her seat and was still unable to take a glance at him as he took the seat beside hers. Her mind was making crazy assumptions already especially when she remembered what he blurted out on his drunken state. No wonder she was feeling weird about the meeting. No wonder she was feeling weird when he pronounced her real name. All along, she was the Bae Sue Ji he was mentioning. It felt terribly odd. So where did you two meet?

Her mom asked again that she has to force as smile when she noticed that all eyes and ears were on her, especially him, Uh, not really that we know each other, I just bumped into him by the hallway. Bump into me alright, Minho said under gritted teeth. Shut up... she mumbled back never dropping her pretend smile. Kids, kids, before you start whispering sweet nothings there why don't we all enjoy lunch first? Appa! Ya, yeobo, your making our darling blush! Suzy is very pretty indeed! Minho chuckled to himself, obviously amused by the conversation on the table. It seemed that this family is a total opposite to his. They are lively and the parents talk a lot to their daughter. He wondered how her father became a close childhood friend of his. His indifference to this blind date suddenly shifted to curiosity among other things. When desserts were served, the elders murmured among themselves that both of them noticed until her father cleared his throat and spoke. You are both old enough to realize what this meeting is all about. Mr. Bae said in a serious tone then turned to his daughter and Minho with a smile, I am doing this, as well as your father, to make sure both of you will have a good future together. But we are not forcing you to each other. Most of all, we don't want to rush you both. We want you to make the decision since marriage is a lifetime commitment. Right now, get to know each other and be friends. Remember, we are not forcing you. Suzy felt like crying as her head suddenly hang low, she felt that her father, her favorite male specie was giving her away. Her mom held her hand and made her look at her that she has to shake her head as an assurance that she was fine. Minho watched the tender exchange that he instinctively looked at his own mother then shifted his gaze to his father. For a moment, he thought his austere demeanor softened. He peeled his gaze off his parents and looked at Miss' dew-laden eyes. Silly mice played tug-ofwar in his chest. Almost thirty minutes have passed since their parents left them to 'get acquainted' but both of them remained passive and unconsciously played with their foods. They are not forcing us, Minho started without taking his eyes off his plate.

I don't want to marry you as much as you don't want to marry me... she scoffed throwing him a second darting glance before her eyes landed on her lap. He snickered silently, I did not say that. So you mean you want to marry me? Suzy throw another glance at him. I did not say that either, Minho chuckled softly now, But do you want to marry me? Me? Marry you? She pointed at herself and continued jeering, Psh! In your dreams, Ajussi. Minho laughed, he wanted to pinch her cheeks, Okay, I'm sorry... by the way, I have a name and it's Choi Minho. Yeah, you should be sorry. You're conceited, Minho-ssi! she snapped. Minho laughed louder now, her angry expression is cuter than the rest of her facial expressions but he mellowed down and continued, No, I'm sorry for saying what I said after the uh... after that, you know. Me too, I'm sorry for uh, ki thankfully, she bit her lower lip before she could make a fool of herself again, For doing that, you know... what I did... Yeah, that one, he chuckled watching her blush again. You really think I'm conceited? Like it's not very obvious... she rolled her eyes. Really? Well, really I am not. Huh? Like duh? Ya, Bae Sue Ji, it's for me to know and for you to find out. Pshhhh... But can you at least make me prove it to you? How? Saturday. Dinner. I'm not going on a date with you... Like duh? He imitated her tone, Who said it's a date? I'm just buying you dinner to prove to you I am not conceited.

Huh? Where? In this chic restaurant that your parents chose? No, really thank you. Hahahaha, are you trying to be funny? Well, for your information, there is this ajumma tent I really love to go to. It's not classy alright but it's friendlier and the food is to die for. Her mouth suddenly started to water as she remembered steaming hot kimchi chigae and spicy dokkbokki, Saturday you say? Yes, Saturday. I know where to pick you up. ~~~ He stirred. The biting cold he felt on his calf finally made him command his eyes to open and yanked the sheets to hide his exposed skin. His eyes lingered on the sudden brightness of the room until it wandered around. Everything looked new despite not leaving the room at all. The chairs moved back on both corners, the lamp, still lit, hung above their heads and the piles of clothing carelessly shoved on one side. Those traces of what happened the night before probably made the difference. Adjusting himself to lie on his side, Yong Hwa's gaze fell into the body sleeping beside him. The sight made him smile. There she was lying on her stomach but her face was turned towards him. Some strands of hair fell on her face that he could not help himself from slowly pushing them away. Seo Hyun jerked a little as her lips twitched but it did not make him take his hand back, instead he traced her jawlines softly. Hmmm... she tossed and shifted her head to the other side. Yong Hwa chuckled and moved closer that his head rested on her bare shoulder, Good morning... He laughed again when he heard another soft 'hmmm'. Still sleepy? And... tired... She mumbled. Seo Hyun was feeling odd given their current position. She was also terribly nervous that every time her body touched even a bit of his skin under the covers was giving her chills. She breathed in and out, trying to relax, remembering the calmness and memorizing the feeling of familiarity. She reminded herself that it was the start of being deeply intimate with him. She must really get used to it especially since he was moving closer again. Her body tensed like anticipating more until she felt it. He smiled lazily when he heard her mumble. Pressing his lips gently on her skin, he whispered and draped his arm on her waist, Okay, let's sleep again... But instead of doing what he just said, Yong Hwa snaked one hand inside the covers and pulled her closer that his head fitted by the crook of her neck. She smelled like the way she should. A mixture of her shampoo and that of her pillows and sheets. Of something else and

more. Yong Hwa savored them while gently running his hand on her stomach until she brushed his hand off. Seo Hyun had to shut her eyes when she felt those tiny circles he was creating until she could not help herself but complained softly, How can we sleep again when you're doing that? With that, she heard him laugh and relaxed when he enveloped his arm around her that she had to turn and look at him. Then let's not sleep again... Yong Hwa pulled her closer that she finally turned to him smiling with her sleepy eyes. You're getting greedy, Oppa... Seo Hyun said adjusting herself to fit her body on his as he draped the covers on them. She felt his warm breath teasing her shoulder again so she slowly moved a bit, it wouldnt be good if they would start all intimate again so she started to shift the conversation to something else, Oppa, it's Christmas Eve... Oh, is it? Yong Hwa asked lifting his gaze up to her face as she nodded, Oh, it is! He chuckled as she puckered her lips and narrowed her eyes but he went on teasing, So it's almost Christmas, where's my gift? Wow... really now, Oppa? You're really really getting greedy, you know? she quipped then gathered the covers and started to get up. He laughed while watching her took her clothes from the side and wore her coat. Seo Hyun stood without taking another glance and walked off, Hey... ya... come back here. I won't ask for anything more. It's me who should be asking you for a gift. Shifting to lie on his stomach, he propped up both elbows and rested his chin on his arm. She was standing by the sink and started brushing her teeth. Okay, tell me what you want. I will try to get it for you when we get back to Seoul later... Yong Hwa waited for her to finish and answer his question, but once she was done, she slipped inside the bedroom and silently closed the door behind her. He rolled his eyes and clucked his tongue before dropping on the pillows again. Seo Hyun was just too good in brushing him off. She took the opportunity to take a hot shower. It was refreshing despite the tingling coldness whenever the hot water stopped trailing on her skin. Seo Hyun felt really different but not the negative kind of feeling. Smiling to herself, she stepped out of the bath and put on some clean clothes before going out and realized that he had fallen asleep once again. His snores told her so. With that, she put on her coat and slipped out of the room. It was colder than the other day. Her eyes drifted to the bigger house of their new friends, the moment she opened her eyes and saw the red stick, she knew that those kids manipulated the game. A smile escaped her lips as she brushed those strands of hair covering her vision. Seo Hyun hugged herself as the breeze was growing more and more

unkind. Later that day, they would be going back to Seoul and she promised her mom that they would welcome Christmas at the hospital. Just like how they did before. No matter how simple they celebrated it during her childhood, those simple memories were the ones etched deeper in her heart. She must remember to thank him. If not for Yong Hwa, she didn't know if she could ever forgive her father again. If she had remained adamant, then the overflowing happiness and love she was feeling now in her heart would have been non existent. Everything fell into place when she fell in love with him. ~~~ So? Do you think my brother scored a goal or made a home run already? Fany asked while Hyun Joong was unbuckling her seatbelt. After freeing her, he stopped and pinched her nose, Ouch! What was that for, Kim Hyun Joong! It's for your being so dirty early this morning! he chuckled as he opened the door and went out of the car. Hyun Joong opened her side and helped her out, Do you really think Yong Hwa is out there playing some kind of sports? Who knows? she shrugged her shoulders and they started walking towards the institution. But, anyways, I believe they did... with all those nice little lingerie we put Aish! Let's not talk about it, Fany-ah... Arasso! You know what? What? I love teasing you because you are just too adorable!!! she giggled. Aigooya... but thank you, I bet our little fetus would really resemble me. You wish... she rolled her eyes, Anyways, Sica just called. They booked a ticket already! I'm so excited, I really thought she could not make it for our little fetus' grand arrival! She should be here... it's payback time for stealing you away from me for the time she was in labor. Fany laughed. Let's see if you can tell that to her face this time. Yeah, because your best friend is freaky, only her husband can pacify her.

How about me? Can you pacify me? Hyun Joong just bended and pressed his lips on hers until he started kissing her deeper. Finally, he let go as his fingers lightly brushed on her cheek, There. You're pacified. Alright, I shouldn't have asked, Fany muttered as she was still catching her breath and her husband started walking. Even if most of the time he would really let her do the things that she wanted, but there were also moments when he would say 'no' and he really meant 'no'. Probably, she had only been having things her way because she was pregnant and all. Hyun Joong looked back to see her tiny smile and with a soft laugh he spoke, Hey, Mrs. Kim, can you please walk faster? If Mrs. Kim is not this pregnant, I bet she can out-walk you, she answered with a narrowed eyes until her husband walked back to her and placed a hand by her back guiding her carefully, Thank you, Mr. Kim. She giggled as her husband curtsied as they continued walking along the institution's hallway. Love... Hmmm? I'm thinking of telling Imo about daddy's side of the story. He looked down at his wife and laid a kiss by the crown of her hair, Will you be okay, love? Yes, I think it's time for me to do it. Besides, with his condition I don't think he'll be able to explain himself. Fany smiled assuring him then he nodded. She knew that it was only her now that could explain his side. Although, Yong Hwa knew the truth but it had been her that told him about it. It was the day before he had a major attack that Fany found her stepfather inside his brother's bedroom crying. He told her the truth about the family he left, the woman he could not deny loving until the end and most especially, the little girl that he loves more than his life. Fany cried not because he told her that he married her mother out of pity. She cried not because he sheltered them because it was the only way for him to fill the absence of his own child. She cried for him, for his fears, pains and longings. All those years, he kept the guilt in his heart that they all piled up into this ugly ball and affected his health. Too bad, now that everything seemed to fall in its place, he would not understand it, but at least he would feel it. Hopefully, he would. Fany smiled to herself when they reached his door and Seo Hyun's mom opened it. Hyun Mi ushered them inside the room but Fany held her arm and motioned towards the receiving area. The older woman had that quizzical look on her face but Fany placed a palm on her face after they sat beside each other on the couch as Hyun Joong occupied the sofa closer to his wife. Imo... she started but felt suddenly nervous until Hyun Joong placed a hand on her lap.

Fany smiled as she looked at him for a while and nodded. That simple unspoken conversation between them has always amazed her. That's why she loves her husband so much because he is the only one who could understand her even though she won't say or do anything. Fany-ah, is there something you want to tell me? Hyun Mi asked when she seemed to hold on to what she was about to say. Fany nodded and took her hands again, Imo, I believe I am the only one who could explain what happened before. It may not be the exact thing but just what he told me that day. She closed her eyes for a minute as Hyun Mi squeezed her hand gently as if allowing her to go on. Maybe he knew this would happen to him so he told me before hand. Maybe it was really me who should be telling you about it. I am ready to listen, Fany, Hyun Mi smiled to encourage her. She has been waiting for the truth. All those years, she had been preparing herself for the truth. Fany turned to Hyun Joong once again and he smiled the same way Seo Hyun's mom did. As long as he has her beside her, she knew nothing could go wrong. So she started, she told her about this tall man who suddenly appeared in their lives. He was the Santa Claus for her and her brother. When her mother became so sick, it was then that he told her that he was going to be their new father then her mother died and he never left them. He gave them a good life a happy one. Only that time when Yong Hwa told her that Seo Hyun was their step-father's real daughter that she learned about his sad past. It must be the hardest time for them as a family. Yong Hwa took it really hard that he had to let go of the woman he loves because of her connection to his step-father whom he idolizes. It took him a few years to totally forgive him, to accept reality and to realize what he really wanted. Hee Jun told her that he divorced Hyun Mi because that was what she wanted and he gave her time to think and decided to leave for a while. Only to come back in an empty house and her uncle, so angered by the thought that Hee Jun had another family, lied to him that she had married another man, his daughter loved his step-father so much and they moved to another country, totally erasing him in their lives. He took it so bad and the sudden need of her mother to be hospitalized, made him do that abrupt decision to marry her just so she could use his medical benefits from the government. There was no love involve in the marriage. The relationship was for benefits. And she could not deny that it was only for her mother and their benefits. They had an instant father and a provider. But Fany had always felt that her step-father had that sadness he hid inside those laughters and it took so many years for her to find out the truth. Even before she could finish her story, they were both crying that they needed to embrace each other for a long time. Once again, she felt her husband's gentle hand soothing her back as she cried with the older woman. After a while, they let go and both reached out to

wipe each other's tears and laughed and cried again and laughed all over again. You crazy women, Hyun Joong commented as he laughed with them. His wife then turned to him and hugged him tight as he kissed her head and reached out to touch the older woman's hand. There, there, ladies, I hope you're both feeling better now... Hyun Mi laughed. They all did. It was the kind of relieving sudden burst of happiness like all their baggage managed to escape on that single moment of conversation. She felt so light as she finally understood the truth. Both of them had been too foolish to let each other be taken over by pride. But she could no longer change the past instead to promise that she would make the future better for all of them. She was silenced by the sight of Hyun Joong brushing the remaining tears on his wife's face and looking at her meaningfully. These two, they have their own language far greater than the spoken one. They talk in a wordless kind of love and she's happy to see it that way. Hopefully, her daughter would have what they have and even more. Imo... Fany said when she finally managed to, Can we talk about my brother and your daughter now... Oh boy, here we go, Hyun Joong muttered unintentionally loud enough for the two to hear and they both gave him that look then exchanged an amused expression. Don't mind him, Imo, Fany waved her hand lightly as her body shifted back to the older woman, While I still can have things my way, then I have to make better use of it, right? Hyun Mi laughed again especially when Hyun Joong looked apologetically at her, Go ahead, Fany-ah, make use of that privilege. Imo, I'm thinking, I want Yong Hwa to marry Seo Hyun as soon as possible. Should we let them decide on that? Yes, but, you see, dad is not on his best health right now and who knows maybe little Seo Hyun or little Yong Hwa can make a difference. Oh my god, Fany, as Seo Hyun's mother, don't you think I'm the least person for you to be discussing that? She fans herself as Tiffany suddenly looked confused. Yeah, love, this is too awkward, Hyun Joong suddenly felt a sharp tinge of pain on his temple. He was having a headache. Aigoo, I she suddenly forgot her speech, Imo, these two, do you think they could keep their hands off each other? I guess it would be better for them to get married before Hyun Joong has to hold her arm again to make her stop. It was she who devised that whole luggage of lingerie plan and now she was hinting 'unwanted pregnancy'? Sometimes he

could not really understand how his woman's mind work. The headache is getting more intense. Oh my, Tiffany! Hyun Mi realized what she meant and her chest started beating fast. She has a point. Patting her hand lightly, she supplied, Well, your brother talked to me and asked for Ju Hyun's hand but knowing my daughter, I guess she would let him wait until she finished school But, Imo, she could still study while being married to him. There's really no problem with that, she said matter-of -factly and felt her husband's hand slipping off her arm, thankfully, We just want to make sure they stay with each other now before they make a fool out of each other again. Hmmm... you have a point, Hyun Mi mumbled pensively then turned to her again, So what should we do? Okay, here's the plan... Hyun Joong rolled his eyes and just prayed that their little fetus come out the soonest possible time before his wife decides on becoming an emissary to the north. ~~~ Yong Hwa realized that he had fallen asleep again as he opened both eyes and turned to his side but it was empty. He stood gathering the thick blanket for he knew where to find her and he was right. Sliding the door open, he smiled when Seo Hyun turned to her. What are you doing here? It's so cold. He said while draping the blanket over her shoulders. Her nose would turn cherry red if she stayed longer. You said we will go back to Seoul later. Seo Hyun held the edge of the blanket to keep it from falling as he playfully rested his head by her shoulder, I just want to memorize the whole scene... it's so beautiful here... He straightened and placed both his hands inside his pants' pocket. With a secret smile, he stared at the same view where she was focused on. Yong Hwa pinched her nose lightly and only let go when she crinkled her forehead. He laughed softly while saying, Okay, take your time memorizing. Her attention did not leave the scene in front of her. It was colder that morning, the waves were crashing harder and the waters created bubbles along the shoreline. The migratory birds flew by the distance as the sun settled on the horizon. The big house nearby caught her sight. How happy could it be if she could bring all her favorite people to see this beach and this humble house. She sighed for it was just a borrowed moment she had with it. Borrowed moment with so many keepsakes to take with her. Meeting new people, creating more memories with the man she loves and making promises with a beautiful future with

him. It's going to be her most memorable winter of all. The door slid open stealing her away from her reverie. Her Yong Oppa emerged again with that silly smile he would only wear whenever he has something up on his sleeves. Seo Hyun eyed him curiously as he got closer and pecked a kiss on her nose. The warm air coming from his nostrils made her suddenly want a kiss, not that she felt perverted but just to feel the warmth it holds. On second thought, you don't really need to memorize the whole scene, Yong Hwa started as he handed her the brown folder. Seo Hyun's gaze traveled from him then to the paper until he raised his brows signifying for her to just take the paper. He could feel the fast beating in his chest as she slowly took out the title and scanned the content, We can come back whenever you want. She Hyun reread the document for the third time before shooting her question, What's this? Lifting her gaze back at him, she asked again with her hands started to tremble while holding the paper, Y-You... you bought this place? Yes, for you... He declared without hesitation and held her hand that was holding the document. Oh my god... She mumbled softly as she got the confirmation of why her name was on that document. She could feel her eyes starting to get stingy again. It's a gift. Besides, we can no longer let go of this place, right? Seo Hyun could say nothing but bob her head lightly as his hand rested on her cheek and thumbed it softly. Her tears started to flow gently down her cheeks. Ya... ya... he laughed softly as she grumbled in between sobs, You are crying again. You know you make me want to cry to every time you do that? Really? she wiped her nose by the tip of her sleeves, Because of you. You always find a way to make me cry! Seo Hyun hit his arm lightly especially when he chuckled louder, her narrowed eyes softened as she spoke again, But thank you for everything... thank you for the love... thank you for coming back and for never giving up on me... He shook his head and cupped both her cheeks and rubbed her cold nose against his, Thank you too for you were still here to welcome me back to your life and to your heart... To my heart? she wrinkled her nose then smiled as she went on, But you never left, Oppa... ~~~

You're every line, you're every word, you're everything. ~ Everything (Michael Buble)

Part 2
They were singing on top of their lungs as Yong Hwa drove along the countryside. Cars were obviously starting to pile up because of the holiday rush. Thankfully, it stopped snowing and the roads were cleared faster the other night or traffic would have been horrendous. She bobbed her head up and down as he continued singing but she resigned to humming in the end. He promised another trip to the beach house after he fixed everything on his transfer to Busan. As he drove, they were discussing their plans including having the real ceremony right after she finishes grad school. So you're staying with CNSD? Why don't you resign earlier? I can support your remaining years in school, you know? Wow, Director Jung is rich, she giggled catching the second he looked at her and crinkled his nose. Who said I'm spending my money on you, Hyu~n? Yong Hwa chuckled while focusing ahead, You have shares on Appa's business... Aish, chongmal... she muttered pretending to be disappointed but giggled, No, I want to continue working there while I'm still in Seoul. Besides, after two years I'll be moving to Busan with you, right? Of course! But, Oppa, can you tell Unnie to help me get back my old post? I miss my Hyo Unnie and the rest of the staff in her Office, she pouted then pretended to whisper, And, I kinda feel pressured having that bigger position with Director Kim. Ya, hyung is kind. You won't have any problem working for him, he assured her but he chuckled when Seo Hyun held his arm and gently shook it. Taking a quick glance, he laughed out loud with the begging expression she was wearing that he could not do anything but to nod, Arasso, school might be tougher since you're about to finish and I don't want you stressed out too much. But you'll be in Seoul every weekend, you should promise! Of course! How can I not? That's too much suicide not seeing you for five days, Hyun. He chuckled especially when she settled on her seat, And I want you to move in to my apartment. It's time for you to give up your old place.

Seo Hyun laughed that made him turn with a gentle glare, I can't move in with you if we're not yet married. No way, Yong, she playfully waved a finger and laughed some more when he rolled his eyes. Alright, fine... but do so when I transfer to Busan. The apartment is more comfortable and nearer to Appa's institution. Algeso, Yo~ng, she playfully leaned back. Argh! I want to drag the time! Why can't we make it after two years already?! I wanna marry you ASAP! Seo Hyun laughed at his playful release of frustration but felt the warmth on it as a smile rested on his lips, with eyes never leaving the road, That's why I married us. Although, we need to have the real ceremony but in my heart I am already your wife and you are my husband. He smiled some more when her hand rested on his hand while it's gripping the steering wheel, I know, Hyun. Is it foolish of me to regard that as our real wedding? The only bad thing about this is we can't have a baby in this kind of marriage or your mother might kill me. Oh, she will! Definitely! Seo Hyun laughed. ~~~ Hyun Mi gave the old sheets to the nurse after the latter fixed the new on the bed. The younger girl excused herself and she showed him out. Hee Jun was sitting on the wicker chair looking out of the mirrored window as the snow slowly fell outside the veranda. She walked towards him and rested the shawl on his shoulders and sat on the sofa beside his seat, Look, I made this for you... You did? he turned and touched the tip of the shawl. He smiled at her for a moment before shifting his attention back ahead, My wife, she used to give me this every Christmas so I have a lot. Really? Actually that's my Christmas gift for you... she smiled and adjusted the shawl. 'Hee Junah, I'm sorry for I did not listen to you before. I throw away the years we were together just because I was jealous. For that single time I thought you cheated on me and never in my life did I think that you would do that so I broke away. I'm so sorry...' Her mind said but she could not really bring herself to tell him that. She could not say sorry right that moment for he was in his good mood and showing her emotions might make him sad. That was the last thing she would want to make him feel. Why are you crying?

Hee Jun was looking at her with perplexed expression and she just noticed that tears were indeed flowing down her cheeks, Ahhh... aniya... I just remembered something. She brushed the tears aside and smiled, Well, Mr. Seo, I think it's your bedtime already... she started to get up but he suddenly held her hand. No... no.... You must sit here with me. It's the first snow fall, you see? We must watch it together. Hyun Mi laughed and shook her head, It's not the first snow fall... Hee Jun looked at the falling snow before turning to her again, It's not? She shook her head. But it's my first time seeing it so it's still the first. Hyun Mi laughed and sat down beside him again and took his hand massaging it gently. Hee Jun-ah, I cooked mandu-guk for Christmas Eve dinner, do you want to eat now? Okay, he looked at her and nodded, But I wish Ju Hyun is here with us... The glimmer in his eyes made her realize that he was on that episode where he was remembering the truth so she smiled, Hmmm... maybe we should wait for them. She's coming with Yong Hwa later. Who's he? Her husband? Future husband, you will meet him later. Aigooo, my daughter is getting married already. Our little Ju Hyun... Yes, our little Ju Hyun. She squeezed his hand gently. It was a rare moment that his mind would take him to his past, limited only to his remembrance of her and his little girl. He would ask questions repeatedly but end up forgetting in the end. And by that time, Hyun Mi got used to it and somehow felt thankful that he could only remember most of their happy past. You should get better fast so you can walk Ju Hyun to the aisle. I would like that... And she would love that too... Hyun Mi patted his hand as he stared at her with those gentle eyes. This guy that she will marry. Is he good to her? Did he come from a good family? Yes, he does... he grew up with a stepfather that loves him so much.

Ju Hyun must love this boy... Hee Jun sighed deep and his attention focused on their hands, She used to love no one but her Appa... aigoo... Hyun Mi laughed when she remembered that he used to tell her that he would really cry on his daughter's wedding day, Ya, old man! Hajima, we're not really giving away our daughter. Besides, Yong Hwa really loves Ju Hyun and I am sure he's going to take good care of her, so you should stop worrying... That's good then... where is he from again? Busan... your future son-in-law is a Busan namja... Busan... He looked pensive for a moment then blurted out, I have good friends there... I'm sure you do, Hee Jun. Smiling softly, she squeezed his hand. Hyun Mi was about to fix the food she brought when a knock came on the door, I think it's them... Umma!!! Seo Hyun excitedly embraced her mother, the moment they got inside the room. Yong Hwa bowed at her but she pulled him in a tight hug that her daughter got sandwiched between them. Only when Seo Hyun grumbled that she released them and kissed her daughter again, Hey... how was your vacation? It was fun, Mom, Seo Hyun excitedly said as they walked inside the room and she placed her bag on the sofa. Oppa bought the beach house where we stayed. It's beautiful! Really? That's nice... she smiled at Seo Hyun walked over to her father and pecked a kiss on his forehead. Yong Hwa was starting to arrange the food they brought on the table so she walked over to him and helped, She looked so happy. She really enjoyed the time off... Yong Hwa smiled while folding the paper bags. She sat beside her father softly speaking perhaps about their trip, he could not really hear them well but she looked really happy. He thought that his stepfather must be so happy at that moment. It was his dream the only thing he longed for. Thank you for making my daughter happy, Yong Hwa... Her mother's voice stole him away from his thoughts that he looked at the older woman, No eomoni, you don't need to thank me. She makes me happy too, more than I thought possible. Aigooo... she hissed and Yong Hwa chuckled. Suddenly, she remembered what she was thinking awhile back so she led Yong Hwa to where Seo Hyun and her father were sitting. Hyun Mi pulled the other wicker chair closer as the young man sat beside her daughter. She

took Seo Hyun's hand and touched the glistening diamond on the ring she was wearing, So this is the engagement ring? Seo Hyun looked at him for one second before giving her a nod, her eyes seemed to sparkle with her smile. It was the secret they must keep to themselves. That the rings they were wearing on their fingers were the bond that symbolizes their communion with God and nature. She found herself playing with it when her mother released her hand. So, when do you plan on getting married? Hyun Mi asked as the two exchanged another look. We agreed that we would do it after she finished grad school, Yong Hwa answered. What? But that's two years from now. You're going to wait that long? But mom, I wanted this since I was in middle school. Ya, Seo Ju Hyun, look at your father. He is not very healthy. It's time for the two of you to get married the soonest possible time... Yong Hwa turned to Seo Hyun and held her hand, Hyun...? She knew that he only agreed to that decision just because she wanted it. We will talk about it, Umma. Please let us decide on this. Arasso, but I want the two of you to get married soon. Hyun Mi sighed and continued, Remember what I told you before. They spent almost two hours in the institution after their Christmas eve dinner. Her mom prepared their favorite dishes that included japchae, kimchijeon, mandu-guk, mandu, samgyeopsal, bibimbap and kimbap. She also let them drink each a cup of makkoli that she brought from Daejeon and laughed when Seo Hyun almost choke on it that Yong Hwa had to finish everything for her. It must be her best Christmas so far. Years before, she would go to Daejeon and celebrate with her mother's family. Now, she had her father and mother. And Yong Hwa beside her made it even more complete. She smiled resting her head on the car's window. It was the beautifully lighted buildings that caught her attention that seemed to harmonize with the mellow Christmas songs he had been playing. Yong Hwa took a quick glance at her and noticed that tiny smile resting on her face as the lights from the outside reflected on her face. Merry Christmas... he said in a low tone then focused on driving when she turned to him. Merry Christmas, Oppa... Seo Hyun smiled and laughed softly when he started singing along with the English song until he ended up jabbering. Her stomach almost hurt while she

waved for him to just stop singing along and luckily, for her, he did stop but chuckled on. Her mom shooed them out since it was starting to snow heavily again and they might get stranded on the road. Yong Hwa smiled when she got fixated with the view along their way, Hyun, you know, the building just in front of my apartment had set up this projector that at night the building lights up and it looked like its changing shapes. It's far better than what you see. Really? she asked but with eyes remaining on the scene outside the car's window. Yeah, it's so beautiful especially when all the lights in the house are off. It's only for the holidays. Wanna see it? Okay, sure... ~~~ Seo Hyun was feeling lethargic and awfully nervous even before she stepped into his apartment. She could not understand why she did not hesitate one bit when he suggested dropping by his apartment to see 'the lights'. Almost jumping in sudden fright, Yong Hwa laughed out loud as he ushered her by the living room. It was her first time being there and she was left bedazzled by the beauty of his private space. A modern day-bed rested on one corner of the room with a loveseat on the other corner and some lamps laid by the carpeted floor. Yong Hwa shoved the thick curtain aside and revealed the view outside. And he was not lying at all. The building just in front of the wall-to-ceiling mirrored window was lightened so bright that if one would look closely, it was like changing geometrical patterns and shapes in a span of few minutes. It left her in awe that she has to close her mouth. Yong Hwa went to the bar and poured a small amount of red wine onto the glass and tasted a bit before putting some more. Walking towards her, he slowly touched her elbow to make her face him and handed the wine glass, It's red wine... not too strong like the mokkoli. You'll like it. He laughed when she crinkled her nose upon smelling the content then nodded as if convincing her some more until she took a sip. Then another one, then another that she did not leave even a drop for him, Hey... are you trying to get drunk, Hyun? Get drunk? she said then ran her tongue on her lips, taking in the remaining flavors before raising a brow, But you said it's not that strong, Oppa... He chuckled as he retrieved the glass. In moderation... he explained but took the bottle from the bar and sat on the floor while she took the sofa. He was feeling a bit tired so he leaned comfortably by the sofa and poured himself some more. The building was even more beautiful now, maybe they added more graphics to the random show. It's beautiful...

Yong Hwa lifted his head up that it rested on to the edge of her seat and noticed the gentle smile she was wearing. He craned his head a bit that it touched her folded legs resting on the sofa. It's our first Christmas together... Oh yeah it is... Merry Christmas again, Oppa... She looked down on him and smiled playfully cupping both his cheeks then leaned closer to plant a tiny kiss on his forehead. She was about to straightened when he placed a hand just by her nape that her lips moved to his. They kissed softly tasting the wine on each other until she lifted her head up but her thumb stayed on his lips, brushing them gently. Merry Christmas, Hyun... he smiled languidly then went on, Stay here for tonight. Seo Hyun smiled as they shared another upside-down kiss. ~~~ Yong Hwa opened one eye and adjusted his position on the bed to get a better glimpse of her from the open kitchen. He pulled the comforter that ended up to be his blanket for the night to cover his cold lower body. The sun rays that were beaming from the window in front of her made her appear like an apparition. But no, she was no apparition, she was there. The sudden movement made her turn to him so he closed his eyes pretending to be asleep with a matching sleeping groan. He opened his eyes once again when he heard the blender turned on and smiled to himself. She was wearing his dress shirt with an apron clumsily tied on her waist. He better get used to that sight every morning. Something he will never get tired of seeing. After a few moments of figuring out if he would be having some breakfast in bed, he stood and decided to leave the thought behind, especially when she pulled a chair on the dining and settled comfortably with a mug in her hand. He got dressed and fumbled for something on the pocket of his pants that was lying on the floor. She took another sip but her eyes peeked at him by the rim of the mug. He was up to something, she told herself when he walked up to her with that childish grin. Placing her mug down, she rested her forearm on the table as he stood in front of her. The sun rays created those lines of light bright yellow that reflected on the glass table. It was a beautiful Christmas morning and waking up beside him made it more beautiful. Yong Hwa cleared his throat as he rested his hands on top of the table, Hyun, I tried to think of something creative, you know. Something that would sweep you off your feet since your Oppa is one hell of a romantic guy. But seriously, you beat me to it in the first place, he stood up straight and grinned, So let me do it swiftly... let's get married, for real this time. With a priest, minister or anybody.

She giggled for she knew what it was all about and she was not a bit surprised when he opened his palm to reveal another silver ring studded with tiny diamonds all around it. Their 'wedding ring' was far simpler compared to this one. Killer, as she may describe it, and she found herself shaking her head with a soft laugh. What now, Hyun? You don't like it? His brows met as she stood but did not get the ring he has been offering, What? Come on, don't tell me Seo Hyun covered his lips with his in a slow kiss then detached herself when she felt his hand climbing at the small of her back, Yong Hwa-ssi, I thought you'll never ask... Aigoo... he muttered then kissed her crazily that she started laughing and tried to push him away. But he held her tighter MERRY CH Seo Hyun and Yong Hwa jumped away from each other as Tiffany appeared on the doorway looking as stupefied as them with a box tied in a red and green ribbon in one hand. They looked at each other then back at her again until it was her who spoke first. Seo Hyunie? Unnie! I She tried to say something but ended up curling a timid smile as Yong Hwa moved towards his sister. Nuna, how can you just pop out like that?! And did you forget how to use a doorbell? Ya! Is it my fault that up to now you haven't changed your password? I didn't? he looked at Seo Hyun who just shrugged her shoulder with the same cherry red face, Remind me to do that later... But oh this is a surprise... Fany chuckled striding mindlessly across the room and placed the the box on the table and rested both hands on her hips I thought you are still at the beach. She grinned and waved her hand, I was just, you know, trying my luck if you guys are back. Uhm, we came home yesterday and uh, we were at the hospital, Seo Hyun turned to Yong Hwa as if asking for back up. Fany knew it already since she called the younger girl's mother before going over to 'check on her brother.' But she kept it to herself. It did not escape her attention what Seo Hyun was wearing but acted nonchalant about it and started opening the box, I brought chocolate cake, everyone! She declared cheerfully and ignored her brother's disappointed sneering as he left the room to take a shower.

When the door banged close, she turned to Seo Hyun who was now standing beside her and was self-consciously helping her put out the cake, So, did my brother behave himself? She found smiling suddenly became a burden but tried so hard to relax. With one puff of air as she spoke, Seo Hyun nodded, Uh, yeah, unnie... Tiffany dropped the bread knife leaning her waist by the counter and crossed her arms on her chest. She knew she was wearing her evil grin again but she could not really hide her excitement catching the two in action, something which she really loved to witness for a long time now. Clearing her throat, Fany fixed a serious tone, Seo Hyunie, tell me the truth did he? Oh, no, Unnie! Seo Hyun's eyes widened then found herself twirling towards the other direction and pretended to get something. The small flower vase by the counter ended up in her hand. When she realized the object, she put it back slowly and braved herself to meet the older woman's questioning eyes. Seo Hyun ended up regretting for it made her even more nervous. With voice fading, she mumbled, What makes you think that he I would know, Seo Hyunie! she laughed softly tapping her bulging stomach. Then brushed a palm on Seo Hyun's cheek, But oh well, there's really nothing wrong with it since you are both adults but just be careful, you know... Oh my gosh... It finally occurred to her what she meant that intensified her nervousness. All of a sudden, she wanted to cry, Unnie! Umma is going to kill me. You mean you did not Just then, the door opened and Yong Hwa emerged, obviously looking like he did not step inside the bath at all, Fany could not help herself but snapped at her brother as one hand rested by her hips and another just under her baby bump as if it would fall any moment , Ya, Jung Yong Hwa! Why weren't you careful?! What are you ta Yong Hwa's surprised expression traveled from his sister to Seo Hyun but he gaped at the younger girl when it dawned on him Did you tell her?" S-she figured it out... Seo Hyun said in an undertone with worried eyes. Aish! Nuna, go home! What? Are you throwing me out? Yes, I am so throwing you out because you're freaky and you're scaring Seo Hyun! Oppa! It's not th Seo Hyun's mind was moving so fast she could not really focus on anything. All she could thing of was that big possiblity, Oppa, it's not like that I-I... oh gosh, what if I became... See? Nuna, you better go home. I will talk to my wife I mean, Seo Hyun...

You called her what? Fany snickered as the two exchanged surprised looks, Ya! Don't tell me you two got married already!

You're a falling star, you're the get away car. You're the line in the sand when I go too far. You're the swimming pool, on an August day. And you're the perfect thing to say. And you play it coy but it's kinda cute. Ah, when you smile at me you know exactly what you do. Baby don't pretend that you don't know it's true. 'cause you can see it when I look at you. And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times It's you, it's you, you make me sing. You're every line, you're every word, you're everything. You're a carousel, you're a wishing well, And you light me up, when you ring my bell. You're a mystery, you're from outer space, You're every minute of my everyday. And I can't believe, uh that I'm your man, And I get to kiss you baby just because I can. Whatever comes our way, ah we'll see it through, And you know that's what our love can do. And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times It's you, it's you, you make me sing. You're every line, you're every word, you're everything. You're every song, and I sing along. 'Cause you're my everything.

Chapter 41: Complete

God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why Now I do, 'cause God gave me you

~ God Gave Me You (Bryan White)

PART 1
I brought chocolate cake, everyone! She declared cheerfully and ignored her brother's disappointed sneering as he left the room to take a shower.

When the door banged close, she turned to Seo Hyun who was now standing beside her and was self-consciously helping her put out the cake, So, did my brother behave himself?"

She found smiling suddenly became a burden but tried so hard to relax. With one puff of air as she spoke, Seo Hyun nodded, Uh, yeah, unnie...

Tiffany dropped the bread knife leaning her waist by the counter and crossed her arms on her chest. She knew she was wearing her evil grin again but she could not really hide her excitement catching the two in action, something which she really loved to witness for a long time now. Clearing her throat, Fany fixed a serious tone, Seo Hyunie, tell me the truth did he?

Oh, no, Unnie! Seo Hyun's eyes widened then found herself twirling towards the other direction and pretended to get something. The small flower vase by the counter ended up in her hand. When she realized the object, she put it back slowly and braved herself to meet the older woman's questioning eyes. Seo Hyun ended up regretting for it made her even more nervous. With voice fading, she mumbled, What makes you think that he

I would know, Seo Hyunie! she laughed softly tapping her bulging stomach. Then brushed a palm on Seo Hyun's cheek, But oh well, there's really nothing wrong with it since you are both adults but just be careful, you know...

Oh my gosh... It finally occurred to her what she meant that intensified her nervousness. All of a sudden, she wanted to cry, Unnie! Umma is going to kill me.

You mean you did not Just then, the door opened and Yong Hwa emerged, obviously looking like he did not step inside the bath at all, Fany could not help herself but snapped at her brother as one hand rested by her hips and another just under her baby bump as if it would fall any moment , Ya, Jung Yong Hwa! Why weren't you careful?!

What are you ta Yong Hwa's surprised expression traveled from his sister to Seo Hyun but he gaped at the younger girl when it dawned on him Did you tell her?"

S-she figured it out... Seo Hyun said in an undertone with worried eyes.

Aish! Nuna, go home!

What? Are you throwing me out?

Yes, I am so throwing you out because you're freaky and you're scaring Seo Hyun!

Oppa! It's not th Seo Hyun's mind was moving so fast she could not really focus on anything. All she could thing of was that big possibility, Oppa, it's not like that I-I... oh gosh, what if I became...

See? Nuna, you better go home. I will talk to my wife I mean, Seo Hyun...

You called her what? Fany snickered as the two exchanged surprised looks, Ya! Don't tell me you two got married already!

Aish, Nuna, please... just leave. Balked, Yong Hwa raised his hand in surrender especially when Fany just crossed her arm on her chest drummed her fingers on her arms looking exactly like a provoked lioness. Fine!

Seo Hyun's eyes widened and bit her lips. With a small shake of her head, she looked at him begging not to tell her. It's not that she doesn't want his Nuna to know, but she want their 'random marriage' be kept to them. Like a secret that none should know but them. She wants it that way until forever. So once more, with their eyes speaking, she smiled a little then he nodded.

But we are getting married soon. That's all I can tell you now, Nuna. Yong Hwa gave his sister an apologetic smile and noticed that her shoulders finally relaxed, I can never thank you enough for everything that you did for us. Thinking about it, you are the reason why we got back together. You are like the fairygodmother, Nuna, and who knows what you sacrificed for me to get Seo Hyun back. I love you, Seo Hyun loves you too and you know that and we are thankful that you love us both so much that you don't want us to be the same crap we were before when we parted. But please, Nuna, leave this to us... leave everything to us now...

Fany twitched her lips, rolled her eyes, sighed and sighed again until her smile appeared her eye smile lightened her face, Arasso, yaedeul-a, spreading her arms, Ya! What else are you waiting for! Give this pregnant woman some love!

Seo Hyun laughed and ran to her and took her embrace and Yong Hwa sneaked behind his sister that Fany ended up being sandwiched by the two. I love you, Unnie... we love you so

much... and thank you for bringing my prince back.

I love you both... Fany whispered as she pecked a kiss on Seo Hyun's cheek. It was like seeing her efforts paid off paid well. Yong Hwa was right, all along she knew that she doesn't need to go butting in to their relationship. But how Fany wants things to be, Fany makes sure things happen her way. Well, close enough but at least she could finally see that genuine smile from her baby brother's face. All her life that's exactly what she wanted. Yong Hwa is the only family she has, the only one left of by her parents to her. Besides, she promised their mother that she would do everything for him. Her tears streamed down her face, silly Hyun Joong hormones!

It was Yong Hwa who peeled off first and chuckled upon seeing his Nuna's tears, Aigooo, Nuna! Stop crying! They all laughed while Seo Hyun wiped them for her.

When she finally felt composed, Tiffany turned to Yong Hwa again, So, punk, I guess I'm not needed here anymore. She started for the door as he, snaking his arm by Seo Hyun's waist, walked with her. He opened the door for her and the two girls gave each other one last embrace then she was out. You, two, go ahead with your... err... whatever you have been doing before I arrived.

Aigoooo, Seo Hyun sighed as the two chuckled. Fany waved for the last time and Yong Hwa closed the door.

After finally changing the password, he turned to see her sitting by the corner of the sofa unconsciously biting her nails looking totally in deep thought. Yong Hwa took the other end of the seat and for quite a few moments, they were silent. Taking a throw pillow, he gently pushed it to her until she focused on him and drew her lips a tiny smile.

What now? He asked rather jovially as if setting back the mood but she just looked away shrugging that it made him complain out loud, Aish! My sister really!

Seo Hyun laughed softly, shaking her head and throwing back the pillow at him, But we love her, Oppa...

Of course we do but sometimes she overdoes the minding-our-business thing.

She's cute and funny.

Yeah...

Silence again. Yong Hwa knew that she was still thinking about it and he wanted to kick himself for not realizing it earlier. He didn't want her to feel bad because knowing Seo Hyun, it was really a big deal for her. He continued to watch her until he started, Hyun, I think we really need to get married soon.

Me too, she replied without peeling her eyes off her nails.

So what? Let's do it? He reached out and touched her arm until she turned to him.

Seo Hyun puckered her lips then a wider smile blossomed as she nodded, Yeah, let's do it...

This coming summer at the beach.

At the beach?

Not a good idea?

Oh, no! I love it!

Okay great! Let's get married, Hyu~n!

~~~

Two months later...

Seo Hyun brushed her palms together as a nip of spring breeze played all around her. Everything seemed to be growing back to life. Tints and hues are starting to replace the bleak black and white of the past winter as trees are starting to gain back their colors and birds chirping overhead made the surroundingseven more lively. Plopping both elbows on

the table, she sighed letting her eyes wander at the open field. It was really a good day to wander off, or just sit in a bench with a good book to read; probably, get her diary too and scribble her thoughts. Besides, it was Saturday... besides, it was spring. She had more time in her hands and the beautiful weather to consume it with.

Then again, Seo Hyun puckered her lips remembering the time, she still has to meet someone that morning that she could not afford that waiting moment. 'He better arrive soon or I'll leave,' she huffed.

But she smiled. Finally, she was going to meet this girl that remained unnamed for quite a few months already. Minho mentioned before that if he was so sure about the girl he was seeing, that would be the only time he would introduce her to Seo Hyun. So, when he called that morning, she found herself excitedly squealing in delight. He never mentioned it to her, only that she got the hint since he was always in a rush to go home after class and even failing to pick her up from the office sometimes. Yes, Yong Hwa allowed her to ride with Minho to school whenever he was in Busan. Her Oppa had really gotten over the whole jealous thing, the thought made her grin. Besides, Minho was one indispensable friend and it probably became a habit for him to pick her up from the office before class.

Just as she was about to resume reading, Seo Hyun noticed him walking by the corner of her eyes. Raising her gaze up, she then realized that girl was walking just a few steps behind him tugging her skirt to stop the wind from blowing through it. She waved back at Minho and stood as they got closer.

Hi, I'm sorry we're late. She was still sleeping when I got to her place.

He started while gesturing for her to come closer, Seo Hyun noticed how his hand slipped under the girl's arm and for a moment she shoved it off. They look cute together, although the girl appeared not too pleased with him at the moment. It's okay...

This is Bae Suzy, my uhm...

You're girlfriend? She offered without hesitation as the girl looked at her in surprise and started waving her hand in denial.

No! No! No! Aniyo...

Her voice almost faded that she could not help but smile especially when she noticed her reddening cheeks, I'm just kidding. I'm Seo Hyun, Minho's friend. It's nice meeting you, Suzy. I've heard so much about you.

What?! I ne

Seo Hyun giggled after giving Minho that look. Of course, she was lying but she felt there was more to those two than what Minho failed to tell her. Besides, the mere fact that she finally met her spoke more but she knew she needed to keep her thoughts to herself as the two became quiet. Moving forward, she extended her hand towards the younger girl and when Suzy took it, she pulled her gently in an embrace while her eyes fixed on Minho, I'm so glad a good friend of mine has somebody beside him.

Minho lowered his gaze and smiled at her.

Upon releasing Suzy, she squeezed her hands gently, You are lucky to have an Oppa like him. Take care of each other, please? Seo Hyun smiled when Suzy nodded and turned to Minho for awhile. He too nodded and playfully shuffled her hair.

But I hate it when he does that! Suzy grumbled as they both laughed. I'm happy to meet you too Unnie. Come to think of it, you're the first friend he introduced to me, or he doesn't have any other friends?

Ya! What do you think of me? A loner?

Seo Hyun laughed. They spent a few minutes at the park before she excused herself when she realized that she might be late for her other appointment. She was meeting their wedding planner.

~~~

Yoona enfolded her hands on her tepid mug and crossed her legs under the table. There was a beautiful sight in front of her it was like wanting something like that in the near

future. She jerked when he popped out of nowhere and kissed her forehead. Siwon smiled as he was about to aim for her lips but she stopped him just in time and puckered her own towards the direction, Don't. Minors in the audience.

He laughed pulling the chair beside her and took a sip from her mug. His fiancee was still focused on that reading area where a woman was sitting on the carpeted floor, two little girls beside her and a little one walking aimlessly around. Look at them, they remind me of Nichkhun's kids

Yeah... they're so cute. She looked at him for a moment with a curious smile then muttered, I wonder how the mom handles the three.

I know... but, look at her still composed...

They continued to observe them. The mother was now leaning forward trying to reach one book by the bookcase. When she made her choice, she focused back to her kid nearest her then raised her brows. She was speaking mildly but since they were the only ones, the couple could somehow glean what she was saying.

Emsy honey, we don't play with food, come sit here and read this to Umma, she ordered while taking away the plate of muffins helplessly shredded to crumbs by the little girl that finally sat on her lap and wiped her own hands with the tissue. Her hawk-like eyes then transferred to her other daughters, Aigoo, Chloe, come here... please stop wandering around. Qiao Han, get your sister and throw that straw honey, it's dirty. Put that glass down first and get your baby sister, please. Girls, can you please stay still even for one minute? You're driving me crazy. Where is your father when I need him most?

Yeah, she can handle them just fine... Si Won said with a smug then fumbled on his phone as Yoona laughed softly continuously watching them. Awhile back, he mentioned of having a meeting with the clients he brought in the other day in the cafe but she was not there to meet them. They were finally signing a contract for that posh loft condominium. She, too, was waiting for someone. Yoona sighed and stood taking the mug of coffee with her when he took out his notebook.

It was the start of spring, the weather was starting to warm up. That day was no different,

sunshiny and blue skies. Yoona stood and walked to where Ji Hwan stood putting up the newly washed apple green curtains. She was giving her instructions when the chime by the door clanged, Unnie! She called out as Fany and Hyun Joong, who was pushing a stroller, followed by another couple, both blonde but the woman looked Korean. They exchanged hugs then she complained, Unnie! How dare you look so good?! It's like you never gave birth at all!

Aniya! Fany chuckled covering her mouth slightly and eyes almost disappeared with the kind of smile she was wearing, I still have the flabs! She laughed again until the other woman cleared her throat as Hyun Joong tugged her too. Oh! How rude of me! By the way, this is my bestfriend Jessica and her husband, Toby. They're about to go back to Germany so we're showing them around. This is Yoona, Seo Hyunie's bestfriend, she owns this place.

Hi, nice meeting you... Yoona shyly greeted in English as the couple answered back. How long have you been here?

Three days before Taeyeon was born, right? Jessica asked turning to her husband.

Yes, around that time, the couple exchanged confused looks.

Aww! You can speak Korean? Yoona asked in surprise as the two talked in Hangeul.

Very much! he spoke in a confident tone but hardly getting the accent that his wife laughed out loud.

Wow... Jessi, it's not really funny, Fany rolled her eyes.

It's not?

But she laughed again anyway clutching both hands on her stomach that the two guys looked at Yoona apologetically and Fany went on scolding her friend. She chuckled and finally excused herself after showing them to their tables. Costumers seemed to walk in and out now and it made Yoona smile. Thanks to Saturday and the cool weather outside. Walking back to retrieve her phone where Si Won was sitting, he stood talking on his own phone and gestured for her to go with him. The door opened and the familiar couple walked

in that they greeted happily.

This is Mr. Daniel Henney and his wife Katsy. She's my fiance, Im Yoona. Si Won started as they exchanged greetings.

Mr. Henney then asked something about one clause on the contract that the two men took the nearest table but his wife remained with Yoona.

Hi, congratulations to your upcoming wedding! She beamed with vibrancy.

Thank you so much, Unnie... She accepted the older woman's quick embrace, Oppa told me that you are settling down here in Seoul.

Yeah, my husband got appointed to head the Lenovo Group here in Korea, so here we are, Mrs. Henney shrugged then grinned, ...looking for a new home.

I'm glad that you finally decided on that unit. We were eyeing it before only that it was a little far from the cafe and our son's school.

Oh really? I fell in love with that too, the moment I saw it, she animatedly continued then took a quick glance at the two men who were now engrossed in discussion. By the way, you've got yourself a really pretty boy.

Yoona laughed, You too Unnie, Daniel-ssi is very handsome too.

Katsy tilted her head a bit and acted like whispering, But they are luckier having us!

I know! Unnie, you are very funny. Yoona just loves her energy, I hope you could come here often.

I sure would... this place is pretty neat. Don't worry, this housewife will surely find time to visit you everyday. Anyway, I have to go and listen to them or he might make the decision without consulting me!

Oh! Don't let that happen Unnie, nice seeing you again.... She shook her head and finally

realized what she was intending to do a few minutes ago. But then, her phone rang before she could even dial her friend's number. Yoboseyo? Oh, Seo... it's okay, she's not yet here. But Fany Unnie and company are here. Yeah, I will call you then. Okay, just come as soon as you can. She closed her phone and almost bumped into Cake.

Oooopppssss! Sorry Umma!

Jison continued sprinting with that car sound he was trying to make with his friend behind him. She left the two boys at her office moments ago and chuckled at the sight of them with a paper cap on their little heads, arms stretched forward and closed knuckles, Ya... ya, boys, get your snacks from Sim Ji Nuna. And please no running, okay?

De, Umma!

De, Imo!

Yoona giggled as she ruffled the other boy's hair and he gave him one toothy grin just then the three of them looked when a girl called out to the two boys.

Ji Son Oppa! Keirin Oppa!!!!

Qiao Han! Ji Son said, You were absent this morning.

My Papa arrived so me and my mom and my sisters went out with him but he left again to meet my other samchons. That's my mom over there and that's my sister, Emsy, mommy's teaching her how to read cause she dunno yet cause she's five. Qiao Han offered then looked down on the little girl busily biting the sealed cookie plastic, And this one is Chloe she's three but daddy said she's thirty-three I don't know why.

Unnie, open this for me... the little girl shoved the pack to her older sister.

Ewwww!!!! she complained noticing the wet corners but opened it still and handed it to her sister.

The little girl then munched on her first cookie while her eyes darted on magazine display.

Her face lit up, Oh! Key!!! Umma! Umma! It's Key!!! It's Key!!!! Can we buy this, Umma? Please?! It's Key!

Aigooo, Chloe, put it back!

Umma, she has that one already. Emsy looked up to her mom and continued matter-offactly, The one Seung Ri Appa bought.

But he bought that in a different store! she stomped and won't leave the rack. I want this one, Mommy!

Ya, Chloe Lee! You're putting that back or I'm telling your father that we are not watching any concert.

Your sister wants a key... Keirin whispered as they watched the little girl puckered her lips, went to her mom and rested her head on her mother's lap looking like she was still begging.

No, she wants Key on that magazine.

Shinee's Key? Ji Son.

Uh-huh, that key...

Yoona shook her head listening to the kids conversation and chuckled to herself. It was really a different having some kids around, making the environment less tensed and friendly. Opening the door, she decided to get some fresh air, she knew that it would soon get rowdier since her son got more friends to play with. She sat by her swing only to stand again when she noticed the woman she was actually waiting for.

Yoona-ya...

Raine Unnie! Yoona exclaimed in delight and sprinted towards her old friend, It's nice to see you again! How's your trip?

Fine... the older girl said in a sarcastic tone then rolled her eyes, Awful! My flight got delayed since the weather in Manila was pretty bad.

But you're here now! She puckered her lips at her and took her in her arms for a warm embrace. She hoped it would soothe her somehow. Her Raine Unnie is a well-known wedding coordinator in Asia and they met a few years back since she was the one who organized her mother's wedding.

I know right! A smile finally escaped her lips and she playfully hit Yoona's arm, When you called about 'a wedding' I thought it was going to be yours... tsk, I was a bit disappointed.

Yoona laughed, Don't worry, Unnie, the next one after this is mine.

So it's the bestfriend's wedding?

Yeah, she'll be a little late. Got stuck in the traffic. But you met her already, Unnie, she was one of my mom's bridesmaids.

Yeah, the quiet pretty girl... By the way, how about the groom? He's not coming? I need to talk to both of them.

He's in Busan right now but you will meet him soon. She ushered her unnie inside and started discussing about how they imagined Seo Hyun's wedding should be.

~~~

God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why Now I do, 'cause God gave me you

~ God Gave Me You (Bryan White)

PART 2
[Play this while reading]

That summer...

As the sun slowly descends from the sky, they stood in front of the sea face to face, each wearing the same smile, eyes talking until one raises a brow and the other chuckled secretly. The wind was blowing steadily creating this gentle bubbles by the edge of the water as they play in the sand. Nightfall is imminent but the little flower candles delicately placed on seashells scattered all over the beach lit the whole area, along with those rose petals of pink, yellow and red. The sky was now exhibiting its master-crafted display of colors, the one that she loves seeing most.

The minister could not hide his own amusement by this couple good friends of his, since they were more engrossed into each other than to whatever he has been saying. But he went on as the witnesses solemnly listened. Strips of thin clouds lined the horizon like the major attraction for the sun was actually settling down by the other side of the place. He wondered why they chose that time of the day rather than sunrise. But God gave them all a beautiful day.

Yoona felt this overwhelming twitch in her heart seeing her bestfriend her younger sister, baby sister, stand there with the love of her life. She has been fighting those lumps on her throat when she saw her on her wedding dress moments ago. They dreamed of that, even played about it before inside the jungle gym with their dolls as their grooms. They planned for a double wedding before, but thinking about it now, it was better if each of them has their own moment. Only that Seo Hyun's moment came first. She slipped her arm on Si Won's while fighting back the tears and he looked down at her smiling gently then suddenly pecking a kiss on the crown of her head. She chuckled silently when her gaze fell on their little boy, sitting near a big tiki torch beside the arched bamboo altar, as he put a palm on his face shaking his head disapprovingly after his father's display of affection. Pouting gently, Cake looked at the pair of silver rings arranged in pink rose buds on that clam shell. He wonders if he could play later on the beach and probably collect some shells with Luna.

Hyun Joong soothed his baby'sback lightly and smiled when she let out a big sigh. Thankfully, their five month-old baby girl fell in deep slumber after too much begging of her wife for her to go to sleep. Baby Taeyeon, seriously, got her bubbly-ness from her mother. Fany motioned to get their daughter from him but he shook his head, she has been keeping up with this little bundle of energy ever since they arrived at Haeundae. Her wife dolled her up in this Aloha dress that he argued too short and open for her little body fearing she might catch a cold later that night. Only when his wife agreed to have her wrapped in her sarong that Hyun Joong finally agreed to bring her out for the ceremony.

Nickhuns sight almost never left his three little girls sitting near the altar with Yoona's son. Their little girls looked so pretty in their matching baby pink dresses as they were the flower girls. While the unnies managed to stay on their places, with his constant giving-an-eye to Amber and Sulli as they tend to wander off, Krys ended up sitting on his wife's lap as she cried awhile ago since she didn't want to sprinkle the petals from her flower basket. Moreover, Vicky almost walked beside her in the aisle, good thing Ji Son was smart enough and offered to take their youngest. He escorted Krys as they walked down the aisle while Luna held on to her sister's other hand.

Ya, why are you crying? Is this your wedding? Ouch! She elbowed him, harder than she intended and wiped her eyes, after her husband blurted that out. Something weird happened to Shin Hye, after marrying the crazy person beside her, she has been crying to most weddings they have attended. And this one is no different. Besides, it was their best friend's wedding. She still could not believe that Yong Hwa, whom she thought had a habit of dating everything that wears a dress yes, everything including hangers, back in the States -- is now marrying the only girl that made him a crazy fool. But she's happy, very happy to know that Yong Hwa has the ability to smile genuinely and the girl beside him is the reason why.

She's doing it again, he sighed and handed his handkerchief to her. The girl was looking adorably cute again as she wiped her nose. Suzy looked weirdly at him before finally taking what he was offering. He snickered while shaking his head lightly when she turned with eyes narrowed until she focused on the sight by the altar again. When she said that she cries at weddings, he laughed pinching her nose because he did not really believe that until that moment. Minho pretended not to mind her anymore. Lately, they have been spending time with each other, not because their parents wanted it but it so happened that his

curiosity about her was growing that he found himself wanting to get to know her better. He was right after all, he was not really in love with Seo Hyun. If he did, he wouldn't be feeling this kind of serenity all around him. Minho smiled.

Hyun Mi adjusted the shawl on Hee Jun's shoulders. It made him look up at her with a smile. Awhile back, it took a good deal of convincing and an episode of tears from Seo Hyun when they couldn't make him stand by the aisle. Her daughter finally gave in when she told her that what was important was that both her parents are present for the celebration. Yes, it was important for her father to walk her on the aisle but with his condition, they resigned to just remain on their seats. Fany, too, agreed not to walk beside her brother anymore just to balance it. Their Ju Hyun was the most beautiful bride she had ever seen. Her tea-length princess silhouette wedding dress looked perfect on her as its simplicity highlighted her figure. She looked more like a little ballet student on her very own recital. But Seo Ju Hyun was not her baby girl anymore and it was not a simple recital. Her daughter was now a bride.

They stood there barefooted as everybody else watching the other's every movement by the corner of their eyes. The serene atmosphere enveloped the land as the night was dawning and there was no more perfect moment than that time. It was the start of the end of the day and the end always marks a beginning. That was the exact word of Jin Woon before he finally pronounced them as husband and wife before God and before the people they love the most. And when it came to the part where he should be saying the you-may-kiss-thebride, everybody laughed as Yong Hwa twirled her around him and kissed her like it was his first time doing that. Seo Hyun pulled away a few seconds then and slapped him gently with the bouquet of pink tulips in her hand and the laughter went on.

After the ceremony, a cocktail party happened as the chairs and tables were rearranged on the beach and the food fingers and drinks were brought out. It suddenly appeared like some random celebration where people got together and party, but that was the whole idea. Carefree, fun and stress-free gathering for everyone. Even the children seemed to find their place amidst the grown ups and started their own little corner with little pails, and toy trowels to keep them company despite the dimness in some areas of the beach.

Dancing commenced moments later as Jong Hyun did a few sets of songs after being persuaded that all of the attendees bought his newest album, as he was one of Korea's top

hallyu singers. Yong Hwa found a way for his closest friends to be there despite their tight schedules. Even Min Hyuk flew in from Brazil with his model girlfriend. And Jung Shin popped out suddenly from the sky on his private jet, after phoning in two days ago that he could not make it because of a previous appointment.

Most of the guests rented the nearby beach houses along the area but the others checked in the downtown hotels so they could all enjoy the rest of the night. Her parents opted to go back to their own appointed beach house when her father started to cough because of the cold. Their friends, however, remained and the dancing and chattering came in contrast with the silent nature.

She was chatting with Yoona, Jin Woon and Nichkhun catching up with each other. They were amused by the thought that it was only Yong Hwa that could bring them together again like that as a metaphor for the wedding. Seo Hyun was really happy that Jin Woon readily agreed to officiate the ceremony the moment Yoona coaxed him to it. Their friend decided to be a minister after his long stint in the social services, he finally found his calling and they are all proud of what he has become.

Clinking of glass broke the happy commotion as the music was turned in low, everybody finally focused on Fany who was standing by the makeshift stage where the altar was. Good evening once again, ladies and gentlemen, since the night is getting deeper and I know most of the couples here want to take advantage of the romantic scene, the crowd chuckled and her husband scowled silently tapping his tired arm muscles, May I request our bride and groom to take the center stage for the wedding dance. They all applauded as Jin Woon and Nichkhun took Seo Hyun's hand and led her in front where Yong Hwa was brought in by Shin Hye too.

Seo Hyun laughed softly when Yong Hwa pouted his lips begging like a lost puppy when their escorts left them in the middle. She knew the reason why so she took both his hands placed them by her hips and placed her own by his shoulder and whispered as the solemn Pachelbel's Canon D played in the air, Don't worry, Oppa. I'll go easy on you. Yong Hwa laughed as she led him on dancing very, very lightly like he could hardly feel they were dancing at all. The other couples joined in but they were more taken to each other than to their background.

Are you happy, Hyun?

Needless to say... she winked and kissed him on the cheek, How about you? Are you happy?

Never been happier...

Okay, good... she nodded approvingly then sighed loudly that it made him narrow his eyes.

Ya, what was that for?

That? she grinned and brushed away the strands of hair that blew on her face, For all that we have been through? That was the sigh about. I'm relieved to have you, to have this moment... finally.

Yong Hwa nodded pulling her closer that he could almost feel her puffs of breathe, Me too... this is the second-best moment.

Second-best moment?

The first best moment was when you married us, remember?

Oh yeah...

I think we should do that. Every year, come back here on that same day and renew our vows. What do you think?

Good idea.

They sealed the deal with a long and lingering kiss that would have lasted for the night only that their audience started to complain about it, some were even yelling for them to just get a room or something, so they resigned to just dance and laugh.

The night was indeed beautiful and happiness even became an understatement. Love has

always been a journey worth taking and if it's true that only fools rush in, then most of them must be fools.

But then again, love always happens in its perfect time...

Perfect place...

It's always the right here and right now...

The past and the future...

The seen and unseen...

And most of the time,

Love knows no end...

~~~ For all the times I felt cheated, I complained You know how I love to complain For all the wrongs I repeated, though I was to blame I still cursed that rain I didn't have a prayer, didn't have a clue Then out of the blue God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why Now I do, 'cause God gave me you For all the times I wore my self pity like a favorite shirt All wrapped up in that hurt For every glass I saw, I saw half empty

Now it overflows like a river through my soul From every doubt I had, I'm finally free I truly believe God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why Now I do, 'cause God gave me you In your arms I'm someone new With ever tender kiss from you Oh must confess I've been blessed God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why (didn't know why) Now I do (I finally do), 'cause God gave me you (God gave me You) God gave me you ~~~

God gave me you to show me what's real There's more to life than just how I feel And all that I'm worth is right before my eyes And all that I live for though I didn't know why Now I do, 'cause God gave me you

~ God Gave Me You (Bryan White)

PART 3
[Play this while reading]

The moon peeked among those lines of wispy clouds but still illuminated the beach as it was almost in its fullest. Nothing could be heard outside except for the gentle roaring of the waves and the whizzing of the breeze like a gentle rhapsody of the night. The calmness played like the culmination of their wedding as their family and friends left after the celebration.

They were left to have the night for themselves.

The thick curtain almost blinded the entire house from the moonbeam if not for the tiny gap by the side where the clothe ends. Scented candles, prepared by his sister, consumed silently and their soothing fragrance enveloped the house as crumpled sheets and scattered pillows spread on the living room floor again. He once said that they would be putting the bedroom to good use but it happened that the area felt more comfortable and familiar for them. Maybe later that night when they decide to finally rest and sleep, they could climb on the real bed.

Only the sound of their mellowed voice and gentle laughter dominated the room as they were engrossed on a casual conversation, mostly about the highlights of the event and other things that would come out of nowhere. The furnace flickered in front of them as they occupied the chaise now. She leaned her body on his while they were wrapped in the same blanket with both their feet rubbing playfully against each other by the arm rest of the seat.

Yong Hwa kissed her bare shoulder when the sheet carelessly fell with her sudden movement. He chuckled as he impishly blew an air by the crook of her neck and

she flinched, grunting a 'ya!' but it did not stop him, instead he let his hand sooth her arm until she finally shifted sideways and let him kiss her on the lips again.

It was Seo Hyun who pulled away and took his hand holding it gently. Suddenly, a smile blossomed on her lips when she spoke, I have something for you...

Yong Hwa creased his brow as she leaned forward and reached out for her pants lying on one side and retrieved something from the pocket. She slipped down the floor with the covers going with her that he complained so she giggled and pulled him down to sit on the 'bed' they made again in the middle of the living room. He sneaked back inside it while she sat cross-legged and handed him the neatly folded paper.

What is this? he inquired with a curious tone.

Seo Hyun twitched her lips for he was asking something very obvious, A letter.

Letter? Yong Hwa mumbled while starting to unfold it.

Wedding gift. Aish! Just read it! She said again but when he gave another mischievous sneer, she whined eliciting another soft chuckle from him.

After shaking his head as a form of apology and bending down to kiss the tip of her nose, he cleared his throat and acted as if he was ready to read, Eherm...

Ya! Not out loud! she grumbled fanning herself suddenly feeling embarrassed but only to get a wicked grin as her husband started reading with an impish voice.

To: Yo~ng Oppa... he stopped, winked and read, playfully at first but as he went on, his voice seemed to settle as a soothing note to her...

Our love started in day one...

day two...

day three...

day four...

day five...

From there, we started chasing destiny. Despite the odds and ironies of what life had prepared for us, not to mention our every attempt of secretly stealing hearts, we realized that we always have the love deep within. That no matter how we try to deny our feelings, in the end we would find ourselves drawn to each other.

Traces of the past had been nightmares for me for the longest time but when you came along, I was able to breathe. You were my relief and my savior. My hero and my love. The only one I know, the only one I would want to know.

Did I ever tell you that the time we got separated, the memories I held with you were both confirmations and confusions? Those long years I was dead and was only waiting for you to give back the life I lost. And you came back and every moment seeing you were like created to kiss the tears those I cried, day in and day out.

But then again, you came back to me as a paradox, my truth and my lie. You made me happy, at the same time, you stole my happiness away. You were my pain and my healing.

And with all the charades, we started taking chances. We started to see if our love would lead its path, if our love has really no ending, as you've said it before. After all, you also made a vow... a promise to keepthat you would never love another the way that you love me. Do you remember that inside your DJ's booth?

The final five days that final one last shot, you asked from me gave way for the snapshots of my love for you when we were younger came to me as a lovely story. A

story that I knew we would be the only one to continue writing. Every page, as we relived those five days, I was totally lost in you. All along, you are always what I needed and need and to be without you for every single second I would probably die.

But, of course, we will never see it happen again.

Not now, nor ever.

I love you, you are mine as I am yours. And I belong to you without reservations, without doubts. I am counting my every year of happiness... I am living my every day of forever with you who complete me.

I owe you so much, Jung Yong Hwa, I owe you my umma and appa. My childhood that was stolen from me. I owe you those eight years I decided that we should not be together. I owe you each moment of learning more about me, you, love and life...

And finally, I owe you this happiness that I am living right now, with our future little angels... our love will be forever reflected in their eyes.

And if the rest of my life is not enough to repay you, then let me give you my next life and the next after that and the next next after the next until we both cease to exist. Because there's only one you and only one me... that's how it's going to be.

I love you, Jung Yong Hwa...

Thank you for not protecting yourself on that winter day...

Thank you for fooling around that you were a radio program prize...

Thank you for asking to hold my hand under the table...

Thank you for kissing me in my sleep...

Thank you for singing your songs to me...

Thank you for catching falling stars with me...

Thank you for the love everyday...

Thank you, my love...

you are my love light more than I am to you...

Happy wedding day, Oppa! Today is the start of the rest of our lives...

My first and forever love...

From,

Hyu~n

His eyes remained on the paper as her legs curled up and she enveloped them with her arms. Seo Hyun noticed the gentle smile that suddenly settled on his lips. She smiled herself. Reaching out, she touched the back of his hand that was still holding on to the paper that it finally made him stare back at her. Happy Anniversary next year...

Yong Hwa shook his head, chuckled and pull her towards him. He didn't really know what to say as he was still feeling overwhelmed. Wrapping her to him again, he whispered softly, I love you, completely...

There are three things that amaze me no, four things that I don't understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.

~Proverbs 30:18-19~

Epilogue

"When you come closer while smiling for me It feels like all the happiness in this world is mine."

~complete (snsd)

Seo Hyun yawned tapping his little bottom gently her energy was about to wane especially her hand for she felt sleepy, herself. Yong Heun woke up very early again and demanded to be carried. She pretended to be in deep sleep so her husband would take him but he seemed to be pretending to be in deeper sleep than her that, eventually, she took their son out of the bedroom. It was going to be a very hot day again, she warned herself as some sun rays settled on the other side of the bench. The cool sea breeze touched her face and made some strands of her hair splayed that even touched his little face; she laughed when he crinkled his nose. After fixing her hair, she slowly ran a finger on his face but careful not to wake him. His eyes and nose perfectly shaped like his dad, most especially his lips. Her nine-month old little baby looked like his Appa... little Yong Hwa, as she called him sometimes.

Just the other day, they celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary and it was quite memorable since there are four of them now. Before it was only them and Seo-I, who was born a year after they got married. Thankfully, after their brief exploits on their first 'random wedding' and the next day after

that, she did not conceive or she really believed that her mother was going to skin her alive. And now, they have baby Yong. They actually planned to have a baby after she finished school but Seo-I came earlier than expected and they moved the plan for their next baby and good thing, they succeeded on the attempt. Seo Hyun still wanted to work but her family was her top priority so she settled into being a homemaker. Probably, if the kids were older and her husband would agree, she would find a job.

Every year, they would celebrate their anniversary with simplicity. They still believe that being together is a celebration itself. So, the four of them were just lazying inside the house, watching TV in the morning and they let the kids play in the beach when it was not too hot during the afternoon while they stayed under a shade reading a book together. Yong Hwa was supposed to go to work early that morning but he was still sleeping and she wonders if she should wake him or not.

She sighed, noticing one wooden plank by the steps that was needed to be fixed, she always forget to mention that one to him. Seo-I tripped over one afternoon and lost her two front teeth, Seo Hyun became frantic when she wailed almost breathlessly and Yong Heun got scared that her Nuna was crying so he started crying too. She was alone with the kids that time and he was in a site visit that she ended up cradling both their kids until the two fell asleep in tears. Later, she would tell him to hammer that before leaving for work.

After their wedding, Yong Hwa decided to have the beach house renovated and make it bigger after they agreed to live there. Since it was a few minutes drive from his office, it was really more comfortable and it was a plus that they could have the beach for themselves all year long. They moved when their eldest was born and though it was difficult for them being new parents, they managed to get by without her moms help. Besides, her father was not getting any better for them to bother her still.

Umma...

Her train of thought was halted when the sliding door opened and her little girl emerged holding a pack of biscuit. She scratched her eyes wearily while her shoulder length jet black hair danced with the wind. Hey baby... Seo Hyun smiled gesturing for the little girl to come closer to her and she ran a hand on her fringes as the little girl buried her face between the gap of her baby brother's waist and her mom's stomach, Sleepy still?

Seo-I looked up to her mom smiling with two front teeth missing after the accident, Open... showing the biscuit.

Please open... she corrected.

Open please, please, please... she stomped her feet as her brows meet in impatience.

Okay... okay... She smiled balancing her baby boy so that she could still use both hands to open the package. Seo-I finally smiled, stuck out her tongue in expectation and hopped happily when she handed the pack. After putting one in her mouth, she tiptoed to her mom and placed a piece in hers too. Seo Hyun smiled as she took the biscuit but furrowed her brows when her baby she placed a hand under her chin. With her free hand, she removed the remaining food in her mouth and asked, Huh? What? You want your biscuit back?

She shook her head, took the biscuit from her mouth and grinned, Imma catch your crumbs, mommy.

Awww! Okay... but you can't eat your cookie...

Ichukey, you eat first... she muttered seriously then took the pack again when she was convinced that no more crumbs would go out from her ummas lips, This is for baby Yong...

Aigoo... Seo Hyun smiled brushing her fringes to the side again. Seo-I needs a haircut already. Seo-I, how about Appa? Arent we going to give him biscuit?

The little girl only shook her head vigorously, No... no... no for Appa...

Why is that?

Uhm lazy bird no worm catch, Umma...

She laughed remembering one story on her book about the early bird catching the worm for breakfast. After letting her say it correctly, she explained, Oh, okay... but Appa is not lazy, he was working last night...

Uh-huh? She creased her brow but twitched her lips and shook her head, But still no biscuit!

Arasso, little girl... why don't you go in and watch Haechi while I put baby Yong back to bed?

Okay! she ran sliding the door for her and continued talking, Umma, can I play pyuter later?

Only if you're done answering your workbook, Seo-I Unnie...

De!

After putting back her baby in the crib, Seo Hyun decided to wake her husband. She stood akimbo after closing the door when she noticed how deep he must be sleeping considering the time.

He pulled the comforter higher to cover him up to his shoulders and settled deeper into the pillows. His arms seemed to hurt a bit since Seo-I was on her bad mood the whole day and did not want anybody but him. Seo Hyun let him handle their daughter and just like some magic she stopped crying but he ended up carrying her until she fell asleep. Suddenly, he felt the weight beside him and smiled thinking that she was crawling back to bed but he remained still pretending to be asleep. The coldness teased his skin as the blanket was slowly pulled off his skin then she rested her chin on his bare arm softly blowing kisses that it was giving him goosebumps.

Yong Hwa moaned softly and pretended to push her away with a slight movement so as not to make her totally stop. Seo Hyun giggled as she moved up to the side of his ear and whispered playfully, "Yeobo, time to wake up now... we don't want you to be late for work, right?"

"Hmmmm..." he put the pillow on his face with a smile then mumbled, "Let me sleep some more..."

"Ya!" she pulled the pillow and threw it away then saddled herself on him then went on, "Come on, get up now please...."

Yong Hwa peered in with one eye and smiled before closing it again until he felt her soft lips resting into his. He remained still but he could not stop himself from smiling.

She softly patted his cheek before kissing him again, "Please..."

"Ya... do you really want me to wake up for work or for something else?" he mumbled as he opened his eyes and almost laughed at the twinkle in her eyes, "Tell me... what do you want from me, Seo Ju Hyun?"

"Just that..." she pouted again, then smiled, "Okay fine... I'm hungry."

"Ya! You woke me up just for me to cook you breakfast?" he glowered as she nodded innocently while biting her lower lip, "Aigooo, I thought...."

"Ya! You naughty Yong Heun Appa!" She laughed and hit his arm, "Come on, you cook better than me..."

"But I like what you prepare too!"

"Aigoo, we have been married for four years already so stop flattering me!"

"Seriously," he pursed his lips while she glared at him. The he remembered something so he ran a hand on her arm, "okay, I will get up now but we will..." He winked as he continued to run his fingers on his skin until he found the string of her dress and carefully pulling it off.

"Hey! What are you doing now?" she giggled as she tried to push his hand away, "It's so early!"

"Why? It's not against the law for us to do it first thing in the morning, right?"

"Aigoo...." she shook her head then kissed him gently before pulling herself up and holding on the bust area of her dress as it would surely fall off because of his naughty prank, "Ya, feed me first. I can't perform well with an empty stomach."

Yong Hwa could do nothing but to laugh as he watched his wife walked out of the room tying the strings of her dress. But he has something in mind so he sneaked behind her and pulled the string again the one that she just tied, then ran to the nursery and locked it. Seo Hyun squealed as she was about to catch him but the door closed so she exhaled loudly noticing that little girl who left her place in front of the TV to stand by her giggling to herself.

Awww, you like that? She asked as she brushed her hair to the side and kissed her forehead, Go knock and tell Appa Seo-I is hungry... She winked and the little girl giggled again covering her mouth with her hand then walked towards the door as she stood on the side placing a finger on her lips.

Upon closing the door, Yong Hwa was still forcing himself not to make any sound until he noticed the little boy staring wide eyed at him, maybe he was awoken by the sudden noise, Hey, buddy... he smiled as Yong Heun continued to watch him with curiosity so he gently lifted him up. Just as he was about to sit them by Seo-Is bed, he heard a tapping on the door so he snickered, Umma's trying to get even, are we going to let her?

Yong Heun just put all his fingers inside his mouth and smiled wrinkling his brows on the process, so Yong Hwa nodded, Arasso... arasso, be quiet okay? his baby gurgled, Ya! We should be a team here Yong Heunah... don't tell me you're gonna take you're Umma's side. Another tapping came but a little voice resounded from the other side of the white door.

Appa! Appa! Seo-I is hungry! Apppppppppaaaaaa!

He rolled his eyes, sighed and spoke to the little boy who continued to devour his hand, So I guess, we're really not playing anymore. When he opened the door, Seo Hyun lunged at him out of nowhere with all her hair draped on her face. Seo-I laughed happily but Yong Heun's eyes suddenly widened, his lips twitched and he started to bawl.

That was a typical day.

~~~

The afternoon sun rays that settled on her pillows woke her up. With eyes still closed, she groped for the little body beside her but opened them wide when she noticed that Seo I was not beside her anymore so she turned to the other side and adjusted her sight to the sudden brightness reflected by the window near the crib. Yong Heun was not there either, so she sat and was about to stand when she noticed the pink sticky note on the flower vase.

I took the kids for a walk. Come join us

She smiled and opened the drawer putting the note inside. Her husband probably returned that afternoon and slipped inside the house while they were taking their afternoon nap. She took her scarf and combed her hair with her fingers as she left the room walking barefooted. The cool sea breeze welcomed her as it moved across the house through that open door. Her eyes caught the light yellow envelope she forgot to keep on the dining table. Once again, she reread Suzy and Minhos wedding invitation. It was nice to think that the two finally decided to get married after years of repeated break-ups and getting-backtogether. The two really have something very special and she was also excited since it was her daughters first to be a flower girl. Folding the paper and placing it back on the table; she slid the door open and went out.

It was another beautiful summer afternoon. The sea echoes this mellow sound as the pigeons swarming the beach blended in a twilight melody. Seo Hyun smiled by the additional sound she heard nearby as she looked out in the distance by her porch. And when she finally saw them, the sight blew her away. There was this sudden rush of cool air running through her skin while she got drowned on the sight. Yong Hwa carried Yong Heun by his shoulder, holding on to both his hands spreading them like he was teaching their baby how to fly while chasing little Seo-I away. Their children laughed with their giggly voices as their father raised the little boy higher, slipping his tiny body carefully until holding him by the side of waist and playfully swung him like plunging towards the little girl. Seo-I laughed louder putting both her hands inside her mouth as her baby brothers feet almost touched her forehead. The three laughter blended perfectly well with the whizzing sea breeze, she soothed her arm as hairs started rising from their roots.

Just then, she found him looking up at her so she waved gently. He smiled putting the baby by his stroller and pointed at her that the little girl called her out in delight.

Umma! Umma! Come here please, palli!!!

Seo Hyun nodded cradling the two tips of her shawl in her heart, she felt like crying and the thought made her really crazy. There was this overwhelming feeling in her heart. The love seemed to overflow as Yong Hwa started trailing the boardwalk as she took her own steps towards him. Suddenly, she laughed softly when only a few feet parted them. With bare feet, she ran to him as his arms splayed open for her and met her halfway. Her tears streamed down as she buried her face on his chest and felt his arms enfolding her, Thank you

For what, Hyun?

For completing me this way

No, we complete each other

Just then, the little girl wrapped her arms on both her parents. Seo-I loved it when her Appa and Umma would hug each other like that. She smiled when her Appa carried her and she saw that her moms eyes were wet so she reached out and brushed them away. What could have made her mom cry? Was she in pain? Was she sad? Then her Appa bent down and kissed her Umma lightly on the lips

and whispered something. Seo-I wondered what he said for her Umma finally smiled, then laughed softly hitting him on his arm. No, she couldnt be sad. Her Umma was happy. Very happy. And Seo-I was very happy too to have her Umma and Appa beside her, and of course, their baby Yong Heun.

As we pass by a fragrant road in this beautiful season My cautious footsteps pound in my head When you come closer while smiling for me It feels like all the happiness in this world is mine. The late afternoon sun wakes me up And I don't know why but I smile Although it might still be far in the future I don't want it to just be a dream Just one love I hope to walk the same road together with you Good morning Your morning call that wakes me up everyday It feels like a morning we share together You are more sweeter Than the pretty candy you gave to me like in a movie Although as time passes, we may change Let's not let go of our hands Just for love Let's let this be our last love forever I wish for that Your love is just too precious Oh it's true If we just look at each other I want to be by yourself Although as time passes, we may change Let's not let go of our hands Just for love Let's let this be our last love forever I wish for that To make my life complete You make my life

complete

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

~Corinthians 13:7-8

To God be the glory...