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Five years after that night
[ * ]
A finger found its way to your cheek.
"Hey!" You swapped at it, glaring at Jooyeon. "What do you want?"
She shook her head and smiled. "You looked so focused I was tempted to distract you."
"If I don't finish this in time, it means that you'll be a bouquet-less bride, Jooyeon." You waved a pair of scissors threateningly (but carefully) at her. "So leave me be and go - I don't know - do whatever a bride-to-be is supposed to do!"
"I've already done everything!" She sighed. "Or more like, you've done everything for me! I'm the most satisfied and prepared bride in the world - all thanks to you." She pulled you into a hug, despite your complaints.
"I'm serious Jooyeon, do you want your rose bouquet or not? I can destroy it now if you want me to."
"You're cranky. Did Joon not call?" She let you go, allowing you to continue - yet, her words halted your work on the bouquet.
"Explains." She pursed her lips upon seeing your dejected face. "Don't look like that. Aren't you the one who always tells me if it was meant to be, it would have been?"
"I know." You whispered, putting the scissors down. Your hands were shaking too much to hold them properly. "That doesn't mean I don't miss him." You sighed. "Has G.O mentioned anything about him recently?"
"Nope. I think he keeps in contact with you more frequently than he does with my fiancé."
"He hardly ever calls, though!"
"So imagine G.O - I think he's only talked to him, four times since he left?"
"That's almost like once every year since he left!"
"Exactly. So stop mulling, getting a call from Joon every month is considered a miracle."
"A miracle, huh. I want one."
"To do what?"
"I want to meet my soulmate. Settle down. Stop missing Joon. Have my own person to care for."
"It'll happen." Jooyeon hugged you. "I promise."
[ * ]
"You look beautiful." You whispered to Jooyeon, resisting the urge to scoop her up into a hug and twirl her around the small room. Sure, you had already seen her in her wedding dress - but today was the day - she was practically glowing with an ethereal light.
"Thanks." She stammered in reply. Of course, it was only natural to be anxious.
"I'm really happy for you, you know?" You passed her the bouquet you had worked on the night before.
"Thank you. I know, and thank you so much, I - stop making me tear up! Not before I walk down the aisle!"
Giggling, you ushered her out of the room and towards the main hall of the church, waiting for the cue to walk in. "Do you think you'll be able to make it down the aisle calmly?" You teased.
A smirk you did not expect to see formed on Jooyeon's face. "I think you should ask yourself that question." She pointed into the hall.
Your lips parted involuntarily as you looked towards the direction she pointed at. Butterflies burst into your stomach, and you grabbed onto Jooyeon in case you fell. Breathing became difficult for a moment.
When you finally felt less like fainting, you took another look - just to make sure your eyes were not playing tricks on you.
[ * ]
"I now pronounce you: husband and wife."
As cheers and screams erupted through the hall, you stood awkwardly at the side of the kissing couple - deciding whether or not to look at Joon.
Throughout the ceremony, you had sneaked countless peeks at him - each time finding it difficult to breath. You had not seen him for five whole years after he left to pursue his dancing career, and he had stopped calling your two months ago - now that he was in the same room as you were - you could not help but find it surreal.
It seemed like you were the only one finding it so, because every time you looked at him - a charming grin would flash across his face.
Did he become more handsome? Was it even humanly possible to become more gorgeous than he already was?
Every once in awhile, he would do a little wave at your direction - surprisingly unnoticed by others. It made you blush and feel like tipping over, but another part of you wanted to cry out in rage and frustration.
How dare he leave you hanging for two months and not tell you about his coming back?! How dare he still stand there and charm you with his smile?!
When it was time to adjourn, the couple went down the aisle first. You were supposed to follow - with one of the bestmen. Seung Ho, Cheon Doong and Mir were there too - and you wanted to be paired with them so badly, but Joon stepped up before you could plan the next course of action.
"Hello there." He greeted, looping his arm around yours. "It's been awhile."
A witty reply presented itself in your head, but your lips would not move to voice them. Instead, you let Joon lead you down the aisle, behind the married couple, and stare at him blankly.
"Am I that mesmerizing that you can't speak?" He chuckled, unsure.
You glared daggers at him. "You wish."
He chuckled again. "We almost out of the church. Do you want to hold on, or let go?"
"Is - is this a trick question?" Would letting go mean that you would wake up from a dream?
"No. It's just choosing between Jooyeon and me." He flashed you another grin.
"Ditch your bridesmaid duties, or ditch me."
"I..." You looked towards Jooyeon who was walking down the stairs with G.O. She turned around for the briefest moment and winked at you, motioning for you to leave. "It's okay." She mouthed - and continued descending the steps with her husband.
"Come on." Joon urged, his tone a mix of happy and impatient. Such a child he still was, after all these years.
You stumbled as he pulled you along, through the crowd, through the corridors of the church, to the car park, into his car, along windy roads - you could not even register anything anymore except for the feel of his hand on yours.
He was finally back.
[ * ]
When Joon finally pulled over, your senses had still not fully been restored. Your seatbelt was loosened and your chair was inclined before you could protest - and you found yourself between Joon and the chair.
"Wake up, princess." He teased. "How long are you planning to ignore me?"
"I - I wasn't ignoring you, Joon." You fought the blush that was rising to your cheeks. "I'm just a bit, well, very surprised. You didn't tell me ... after all."
"It is meant to be a surprise." He sighed. "Although I guess now, it probably turned out for the worse, unlike I had imagined. What's wrong with girls?" He pouted.
"What's wrong? You, Mr. Lee Joon. You keep someone hanging for a good two months, and come back without a word!" You wanted to look angry, or at least annoyed - but with him still leaning over you, all you could muster was a half-frown.
"But that is part of the surprise!" Joon retorted in disbelief.
"You certainly need more lessons in giving surprises, Mr. Casanova." You rolled your eyes.
"I lost touch." He mused. "I've laid off flirting for almost five years! What? Don't look at me so skeptically. I speak nothing but the truth!" He protested at your look of doubt.
"You seemed pretty smooth dragging me from the wedding all the way out here to this ... wherever we are?" You peered out the window from the low angle you were at - but there were no familiar landmarks in sight.
"That's because I've been imagining this scene in my head over and over again. Mental practice kinda makes perfect too." He smiled sheepishly. "You don't know how much I've been thinking about you."
"Tell me, then." You whispered, curious and excited.
Not expecting the need to elaborate, Joon pondered for awhile before answering. "Well, I've already planned out what I want to do with you for the entire week that I'm spending back here."
"You're leaving after?" You wondered if he heard your heart shatter. It was so cruel, coming back without notice - only to leave again.
"I already turned down a few performances to come back. If I'm not going to work, who's going to feed me?" He laughed, then without warning, leaned down to place a fast kiss on your lips.
Staring at him in shock, you bit your lip.
"What?" He demanded, suddenly looking away. You were sure his cheeks were turning red.
"What was that for?"
"I missed you. Is it wrong to kiss someone you miss?"
"Yes if that person isn't your girl friend, Joon."
His lips parted and then closed, as if he wanted to say something but decided against it.
"That being said, I do miss you too, Joon." You confessed, feeling your face growing hotter. Five years worth of feelings - if you did not say anything now - they would have to be bottled forever. "I can't believe you left so soon after we met, I felt it was kind of unfair."
Joon moved to recline his seat as well, laying on it and turning to look at you - as if he was a child waiting to hear a story. "That's nice to hear." He said with a grin. "At least I wasn't the only one thinking like that."
"Then why did you leave?"
"Do you remember telling me about soulmates?"
Choking suddenly, you nodded. "You mean that night when you woke me up for the umpteenth time and tried to make out with me?"
Joon flashed you another sheepish grin. "You were pretty irresistible in those cute pajamas. It's not like I did anything anyway - you were lecturing me about all that 'will only do it with my soulmate' thing."
You reached over to pinch Joon's arms, embarrassed at him bringing up your 'soulmate lecture' - as he called it. "What was I supposed to do? Let you have your way with me and walk away the next day as if nothing happened? You weren't being serious anyway."
"How would you know?"
"I don't - but you said to stop you if you tried anything funny!"
"That I did."
"So, yes. Stop bringing it up. It's embarrassing."
"You always mentioning my belief that there is someone out there specially for everyone. You know, soulmates."
"You say that, but that's the reason I left." Joon lay on his back, looking at the ceiling of the car. "After your whole soulmate talk, I wanted to see if your theory really existed."
"What do you mean?"
Getting up to lean over you again, Joon grinned. "What do you mean what do I mean? I meant that, since you said soulmates are people who are meant for each other - and since you were searching for one - I wanted to see if I was your soulmate."
"Joon, it's not just about leaving someone and coming back years later to see if they're still available. I can't believe you left me to test that out."
"Then what is it? If it's not being miles apart from someone, but still missing that person dearly - even if there are hotter and richer girls right in front of me, then what is it?
If it's not making effort to keep in contact with that one girl as opposed to me previously sleeping with a different girl every night, then what is it?
"If it's not -" Joon sounded angry, frustrated, depressed, stressed - almost every negative emotion you could think of. "If it's not admitting to myself that I've fallen for you during that trip, then what, what in the world is it?"
Tears pooled in your eyes when Joon confessed that he had fallen for you.
Fallen for you. Did that mean he loved you? Or was he just hopelessly smitten?
Regardless, you knew it meant so much more to him than to you. For someone who had never wanted to settle down with a girl, to actually keep one in his heart for five long years was not a normal feat.
"Joon, I..." You were speechless. Dumbfounded. In shock. Flattered. What were you supposed to do now?
"Come with me." He did not want to wait for you to find your words. "Come with me to America. I know it's selfish. I know you already have a life here. But I need you with me. Be with me, I'll take care of you, I promise!"
At that moment, you realized how different the Joon who leaned over you was compared to the one you first met. His tone brought about an earnest feeling - if you had felt it before, it definitely did not exist in such generous amounts back then. The look in his eyes - there was no act in them - just pure, raw emotions.
"T-this is pretty sudden, Joon."
"Aren't you the one who believes in soulmates? Or are you still unconvinced that you have met yours, and that he's right here in front of you?"
"I believe, Joon! But you're right - I still don't know. We've only known each other for a week - that and through five years of phone calls -"
"I know you enough to want to spend the rest of my life with you. Don't you.... don't you want me at all?"
"It's not that Joon." You pulled him into a hug, he looked so distressed it pained you. "It's just that everything's happening really fast, everything's popping up - I need time to think."
"You don't have time to." He whispered, followed by a choked sob.
"What? Why?" You pat his back, hoping to relax him.
"I only have three months left to live."
Your heart seemed to stop beating at his words. "You're kidding." He struggled and released himself from your embrace, his sorrowful eyes staring into yours. "So please, at least - be with me for until I have to leave the world behind. Come with me."
The tears that pooled at your eyes now ran freely down your face.
"Why are you crying?" He chuckled bitterly. "You're such a child. You forever emotional - and I love that about you so much."
“Children… when in front of what they really want, they don’t hesitate. If they lose it, they know they’ll start crying. And I'm going to lose you soon, aren't I?”
"You get to have me during my last three months."
"Yes. Okay, I will, I'll go with you to America."
The smile that appeared on Joon's face created a whirlwind of emotions inside you. Why did he come back now only to leave you awhile later? Who decided all these? Why was fate being cruel?
Grabbing his coat, you sobbed uncontrollably into it - not caring if your makeup was running, or if his coat would be stained. Joon stroked your hair, hushing you and whispering words of comfort into your ear. "It's alright," he said "I was just kidding."
Like someone stepped on the break paddles to your tears, you looked at him. "Excuse me?"
"I was just kidding about the three months left to live part." He tried to suppress a grin.
"Does that mean you have six months left to live? Or were not going to die soon, at all?"
"Why do you want me to die soon?"
"Lee Joon! I can't believe you! Whatever in the world did you lie for?" If you were not so emotionally wrecked, you would have been choking him by now.
"I lied for love." This time he did not bother resisting the urge to grin. "You said yes as soon as you knew you only had that much time left to spend with me. You obviously want me. Why would you want to wait another few days, weeks, months, years to find out if I'm truly your soulmate?"
And for once, you had no witty remark to his question. You did not even bother thinking of one.
He was right.
Why were you waiting?
What were you waiting for?
"So I'll take your word for it! We're going back to America together - now to call Seung Ho and tell him everything's gone as planned."
"Wait, what do you mean?" You placed your hand on his mobile phone when he fished it out of his pocket. "What's gone as planned?"
"You agreeing to go back with me. We'll get married end of this week, we'll fly back, we can spend a few days at home - in bed, and I'll resume my hectic schedule while you get used to live there!" Joon declared, moving his mobile phone away from your grasp.
"I didn't agree to marry you yet, Joon!" You were losing your mind, if anything.
"Why would you wait to marry me?" He pouted, taking you aback. Stop acting so adorable and throwing me off guard!
"I'm not prepared, Joon - one thing at a time, please!"
"I know." He stuck his tongue out. "I was just kiddin - ouch! Stop, stop! Don't pinch, ow! I'm sorry! Forgive, forgive!" Making sure that a bruise would be left on his arm, you let him go.
"Enough jokes for today, Joon." You warned. "Or America would be a no go."
"Yes, my dear and lovely soulmate. No more jokes for today." He rubbed the spot where you pinched him.
"So... what now?" You asked, suddenly finding the events in his car somewhat awkward - to be happening in a car, of all places.
"There's one more place I want to bring you to." He said, turning the keys to start the engine.
Inclining your seat, you asked him where.
"You'll know when we get there." He smiled. "You need to start trusting in me more. Who doesn't trust their soulmate?"
"Stop abusing that term, Joon."
"Sorry." He grinned. "Well, if you really want to know - I'm bringing you home to meet my parents. And before you start freaking out again - it's because I want to introduce you as my girlfriend. They're beginning to think I plan to be a bachelor for all eternity. I want them to be less worried."
"I wasn't going to freak out." You pouted.
"Just in case. Then, after that - I was wondering if you would like to go for a cruise?"
"Yup, the very same one we went to before. It's in town this week."
"Can we even make it on board in time?"
"Yes, I've even booked a room. What do you say?"
Joon smiled in response, then reached to hold your hand. "Thank you."
"For letting me reach the end of my wild goose chase." Giggling at his usage of terms, you asked him what goose he was chasing after.
"I wanted a place to go home to. A person to belong to. I've denied myself of it for so long - as even though it might seem abrupt to you, I've thought about it for a long time, and I don't mind going home to you."
"I'm glad you feel that way." You leaned over to kiss him. "I was just thinking yesterday to forget about you and move on."
"I'm glad you didn't, then." He leaned over to kiss you again. "Because I really do love you."
[ * ]
A soulmate is believed by some that one person out there who can enrich your life in a way that no one else can. Sometimes, in hopes of finding that person - we miss what's right in front of our eyes.
Sometimes, we might miss a chance to love someone who needs us more than that someone out there whom we have not met.
Sometimes, a soulmate is just someone who's been by your side - who realizes a bit later that you mean so much more to him than he thought you did.
Sometimes, it's just the person you love - who loves you in return.
[ END ]
Thank you all for reading!
I didn't expect this story to have as many readers when I first had the urge to write it!
/blames Boys Over Flowers forever
I got emotional writing the last part (haha such a sucker) - I think I really love this story, despite the original plan to only keep it as a 5-chapter story, I had to write this one last chapter.
I hope it made your day a bit better, if not a lot!
I can never say this enough, but thank you all so, so, very much for your continuous support, and for reading my whimsical typings!