jung jaehyun. | repetition.
summary. sick and tired of reminding you to care for yourself, jaehyun decides to teach you a lesson. after all, repetition is key and he’s not going to stop until the message has sank in on paper and skin.
pairing. y/n x nct’s jaehyun.
genre. established relationship!au, college!au
word count. 4k.
warnings. explicit smut, swearing, unprotected sex (wrap before you tap pls), dom!jaehyun, sub!femreader, slight cumplay, bondage, spanking, praise kink, clit play, oral fixation? (idk jae finger fucks y/n’s mouth), foreplay (both receiving), dirty talk, degradation (receiving), choking, throat-fucking, rough play, little plot, in general, this is straight smut; dni if this is not for you :)
“BABE?” JAEHYUN CALLS out from the other room. It takes you several seconds to reply.
You hear his feet pad into the main room in the apartment, a creak of wood signifying he’s leaning against the doorway. When he doesn’t make a sound after a moment or so, you look up from your work and see Jaehyun’s disappointed face, arms crossed as he watches you.
Instantly, you know what he’s mad about.
“I have two more pages.”
“I don’t care. You haven’t moved from that spot in hours, I can tell.”
You don’t answer because you know it’s true. You’re particularly self-destructive around finals week and Jaehyun knows that well, dating you for well into 2 years now.
“Sometimes I feel like your mother, you know that?” Jaehyun raises an eyebrow as he heads towards you, twisting the stool chair you’re sitting on to stand between your legs. Reluctantly, you take your fingers off your laptop’s keyboard, a little pissed you’ve stopped your good pace.
“No one told you to be my mom.” You sheepishly smile, trying to ease off his annoyance.
Jae sighs, caressing the outside of your bare thighs. “I act like your mom because I care about you.” The seed of shame grows in your stomach. You feel like a child.
“When’s the last time you’ve eaten?”
“It’s 9 P.M.”
“Well... my lunchtime is different from yours. And I’ve had a bunch of snacks.”
“You do realize it’s me you’re talking to, right?”
You huff. “Look, I’m so close to finishing this paper. As soon as I’m done, I’ll eat.”
“It takes around five minutes minimum to eat a full meal Y/N, you can spare the time.”
“I’m so close, Jae. So close to finishing. Another hour or so, max.”
Jaehyun’s expression changes to stone-cold as he licks at his right canine and you suddenly feel like you’ve really fucked up. He’s broken your trance of concentration already and now he’s truly mad too.
“We’ve had this conversation many times now,” You nod as he tilts your chin up, “Why don’t you ever listen, huh?”
“I do listen—”
“You listen to everything except for when it comes to taking care of yourself.”
You bite your lip, realizing you’re wasting time here. “Let’s talk about this later, please.”
Turning away from his hold, you reread your last sentence and continue typing, ignoring Jaehyun’s silent fuming. You can feel his presence on your back but try to ignore it in favor of finishing this, eating, and then resolving this petty argument with Jaehyun.
Your efforts become fruitless when he lifts your laptop out of reach and slaps a piece of blank paper down in front of you. Jaehyun also roughly grabs a pen off from the side and you twist to look up at him in anger.
“Seriously, Jae? This is petty, I have work to do.”
He tilts his head to tick you off. “So is not answering me directly.”
He at least has the decency to make sure your work is saved before placing it on the couch. You get up to go grab it but Jaehyun stops you by placing his arms on the countertop, caging you in.
“Just give up for a second. Grab the pen and write down what I tell you to.”
“Jae, this isn’t the time, it’s due in—”
“Do it.” His voice is sharp and loud, telling you not to mess with him. You shift in your seat, cursing yourself for liking his demanding behavior.
Picking up the pen, you await his words. His breath tickles your ear as he leans over you.
“A good girl eats her dinner.”
A shiver runs down your spine at the words, warmth growing on your cheeks. When you don’t do as he says, Jaehyun grabs your jaw roughly, forcing you to look into his eyes.
“I said… Do it.”
Biting your lip, you quickly turn around and scrawl out the embarrassing words on the paper. It’s messy from your usual handwriting and Jaehyun catches it.
You obey and focus on each letter, making the sentence perfect on the page.
“That’s better.” You await more instructions but none come. Twisting around, you connect gazes.
“What’s your color?”
Now, he wanted to ask that? He already knew you were too invested now. The word “green” is on the tip of your tongue, the wetness between the apex of your thighs screaming at you to get dicked down right now. Your monkey brain does have some decency to remind you of your paper though.
You stall. “... It’s due soon.”
Jaehyun closes his eyes in annoyance, thick brows pinched. “I don’t give a fuck about the paper Y/N.”
When he opens his eyes once more, the molten desire in them makes up your mind. “I want to teach you a lesson. And after that, you’re eating.” Jaehyun says matter-of-factly.
Swallowing roughly, Jaehyun raises a mocking eyebrow. “Now, what’s your color? No matter whether or not you’re in the mood, you’re fucking eating.”
Might as well have fun if you’ve decided you’re not finishing this paper tonight.
Jaehyun smirks and leans over you once more, spreading your legs for his hands to roam. His fingers are icy cold compared to your hot skin, excited for what’s to come.
“Continue writing that phrase down for me. After all, repetition is key, isn’t it? That’s what your professor tells you?” Jaehyun’s gravelly voice drips from his lips, printing the words down the side of your neck.
You try your best to focus on writing but all of your senses are on overload as Jaehyun roams your body, your (his) shirt riding up as he touches your hot skin. Eventually, the pads of his fingers touch your wetness through your underwear, making you jerk on the stool.
His fingers play, pressing into you. “So wet for me. Just from a few words? How pathetic.”
You moan in surprise when Jaehyun pinches your clit through the fabric, sending a shock of pleasure throughout your body.
“Who told you to stop writing, huh? Can’t you do anything right?” His words send shame flowing in your veins and you hastily continue.
He forces your head to turn after you finish another perfect line, pressing your mouths together insistently. Jaehyun’s tongue brushes your top lip, a gasp opening your mouth to invite him further. He dominates quickly, biting the tip of your red muscle and licking the back of your teeth.
Moaning, you turn to face him but Jaehyun resists the movement, biting your bottom lip hard and disconnecting your lips. You trail after his mouth involuntarily and he chuckles.
Jaehyun grabs another pen from the side, leaning on the side of your head to look down at your heaving body. You can tell what he’s writing near the apex of your thighs by the way he purposefully presses the ink onto your skin.
He continues inking the filthy words on you as his other hand explores, occasionally squeezing a breast whenever he deems your handwriting sloppy. Jaehyun chooses the spot behind your ear a perfect place for a hickey and it takes your breath away, never knowing how sensitive it was until now.
Your grip on the pen tightens, ink trailing off. Even Jaehyun can’t scold you now, too occupied with painting the skin on your neck blue. Your fingers desperately seek to touch the hard planes of his chest, to pull at the drawstrings of his sweatpants, anything at this point.
You seek your request immediately, gasping out, “Can I touch you? Please, Jae?”
He draws away from your collar, slowly backing up to look at your side profile. “You want to touch me, baby?”
Nodding harshly, his hand feels your pulse as it wraps your neck prettily. His tongue runs slowly over his lower lip, voice calm.
“How about you read what I wrote on you then?”
Shivering at the thought of saying it aloud, you tilt your chin higher, defying nonverbally. Jaehyun cocks his head, a pleased smile growing on his face.
“What? You can’t do it, baby? Too embarrassing?”
Your cheeks are getting warmer and warmer as he continues to stare in amusement and you grow more and more frustrated.
You whisper despite the way your shared apartment has no one else in it besides you two. “I can’t say that aloud.”
“And why not? Everyone knows it.”
He chuckles, grabbing at your hips to spin the stool and tug you closer to him. “Do it, baby. And you can touch me all you want.”
Jaehyun’s eyes catch the way your fingers pull at the hem of his shirt, squeezing your wrists in a warning. You stop but wonder how much you can push. Or maybe… not back down at all.
You’re already in enough trouble as it is. What’s to do with adding more?
Shaking your head, you decide that’s enough as an answer. His voice is too calm, thumb pushing under your jaw to look you properly in the eyes. “No?”
You can’t help but look down, another bad thing to do because Jaehyun laughs. It’s out of place in this context; a shiver runs down your spine. “Oh, you make things fun, baby.”
And then you’re being dragged off your seat, pushed front-first into the back of the couch where you’re mockingly looking down at your laptop, the document app still open and displaying your paper. Fuck’s sake.
Gathering your hands behind your back, Jaehyun roughly pulls the edge of your shirt up, finger playing with the waistband of your panties. He pulls it higher up, watching you whine as it doesn’t stimulate anything you need to be stimulated.
“Please, Jae. I want—”
“You’re not in any place to be begging, darling. You just lay here face down, and take what I give you, got it?” Jaehyun makes a point to tap on the laptop’s screen, lighting it up since it’s dim from no use. “You know what actually? How ‘bout you continue your paper, baby? That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”
You don’t realize you swore at him under your breath until Jaehyun leans imperceptibly closer, hand at your neck squeezing once.
The calloused palm baring your wrists clasp tighter, making you wince.
“I didn’t ask politely. Repeat what you just said.”
“I didn’t mean it—”
He doesn’t say anything, chest lifting from your back. You exhale shakily, a little scared to look back and see what he’s doing. All of Jaehyun’s hands are off of you suddenly and getting self-conscious, you’re about to just fuck it and turn around when you hear a zip of cord friction against cotton.
Taking the hands that had disobediently left your back, Jaehyun pushes your head down, gathering your wrists and tying them together with… the drawstring of his sweatpants.
This is not what you meant earlier when you said you wanted to pull at them two minutes ago.
“That alright?” Jaehyun asks, brushing your hair to the side and pulling at the knot to make sure they weren’t too tight.
You mumble a yes and your boyfriend curls a piece of hair behind your ear. He gets closer once more, hips nestled against your ass. Desperately fighting the urge to press back into the bulge you can clearly feel, you instead try to steady your shaky breathing.
“Count for me, will you baby?”
A sharp, burning sting on your ass makes your head whip around in shock, lips being bitten to avoid satisfying Jaehyun with a sound.
Because of no drawstring holding up his sweats anymore, Jaehyun’s V and the trail of hair aren’t hidden by the band of his pants. Your hands automatically clench in pain and desire to rake your fingernails through that trail.
“I said… count.” He accentuates with another spank and you hiss, “Don’t make me add more onto 10.”
“10? No no, that’s 11 then—”
“Please, keep on running that mouth then, brat. I’ll add more on with pleasure.”
Clamping your mouth shut in frustration, you seethe past clenched teeth, “Two.”
“One.” He corrects and you close your eyes in preparation.
Another spank and your body jerks, pressing further into the couch.
“Two.” You manage to whimper out.
Two hits are given in succession and a moan tumbles out. You’re ashamed and can feel the grin on Jae’s lips behind you.
On the seventh, your body slackens, teeth ground into oblivion. When the smallest wail escapes you this time around, Jae asks again.
You catch your breath and sniffle, tears pricking your eyes a little. “Green. It’s green.”
He pets your head with his dominant hand, fingers pinching at the nape of your neck just as his non-dominant finds its way pushing your underwear to the side, circling your clit.
You moan in delight, Jaehyun’s words forcing your body to wriggle.
He ends the spanking quicker, the last three slaps delivered fast and sharp to your ass. Your cheeks burn and you itch to soothe it but Jaehyun does it instead, brushing lightly on your now bruised skin. Flinching at his touch, he stops.
Yanking your hips away from the back of the couch by taking a forearm, he bends to drag your panties down your legs, making a point to blow hot air against you. Mewling at the sensation, it takes everything within you to not grind back into your boyfriend’s face.
Pulling your shirt up until it’s high up above your breasts, he pinches your nipples in appreciation, lips pecking your shoulder blades and down your spine.
“You did so well, baby. Took that punishment like such a good girl.”
His hand comes back like a lost necklace you found, the other dragging down your stomach to tease your clit once more. You want to sob, the teases never-ending.
“Jae, I’ll be good now. I’ll eat dinner on time, I promise! Please just do something, please.”
“You finally learned your lesson, huh?”
Nodding frantically, you could care less about preserving self-respect now. You can feel your wetness running down your thighs. You need something, anything.
“Alright. You’ve earned it, darling.” Jaehyun bites your earlobe, middle finger easing slowly into you. A high-pitched noise leaves you, clenching and fluttering around his digit to keep it in there.
Jae groans, nails momentarily digging into your throat. You can’t help pushing back, his pointer finger brushing against your clit. You open your mouth to spew out more pleas but Jaehyun beats you to it, fucking his finger in and out like it was his job.
Head lolling backward to settle on his shoulder, moans spew out steadily from your raw, bitten lips. Jaehyun drinks up the noises, adding a second finger when he feels like it. He can tell you’re getting close so the fingers slow, curling up to press into that spot that makes you see stars. You hardly register what Jae says next.
“Read what I wrote on you and I’ll make you cum tonight. Deal?”
Whining noisily, you grind against his hand and Jae stills them completely.
“I’ll leave you like this, Y/N. All needy and desperate on this couch. You can fucking watch me jerk off as you stay tied, kneeling on the floor at my feet.”
Groaning, you’re embarrassed before you’ve even said anything. You knew that Jaehyun would go through with his stubborn threat if you really didn’t.
You take a deep breath and wonder whether or not you should break your resolve.
Taking too long, Jaehyun’s fingers leave you. Clenching around nothing, your legs shake in protest. He makes a point to turn you around, grabbing your forearm and going around the couch to make you kneel before him.
Jaehyun looks delectable, black hair falling into his eyeline, still slightly wet from his earlier shower after work. Pulling his sweats a little down his thighs, your mouth is dry as his hand tightly grips himself, jerking once. You make a sound of discontentment, wishing your hands were free to roam.
From the back of his T-shirt, Jaehyun lifts the other arm to yank off the offending clothing. You ache and pulse, whining at the sight of his chiseled stomach. Oh, how you want to explore.
Rough fingers tangle in your hair to pull you closer to his crotch. “Say it, baby. Last warning.”
“What does it say?”
“I-I’m a fucktoy…”
Occupied hand still stuffed his pants, his other brushes your bottom lip, your naturally inviting mouth allowing his thumb to hook at your row of teeth.
Around his thumb, you mumble, “Yours, Jaehyun. Only you.”
“That true, baby?”
Closing your eyes, you nod, suck on the digit once and let it go. Jae’s thumb presses on your tongue laid flat in your mouth.
He groans loudly, low eyes lock on your closed lips as you suck hard. Jae adds two fingers, fucking your mouth like he owns it.
“That’s my girl. I bet you’d let me do anything to your pretty body, huh?”
Your chest gets hot, heart beating fast. Considering how much you love and trust the man you were currently kneeling for,Jaehyun was not too far off.
“Can I put your mouth to good use, baby?”
You nod rapidly, wanting nothing more than to please him. He inhales sharply at your excitement, sitting down and pulling your body between his thighs.
The sweats are taken off all the way and you suck a hickey on his thigh in impatience. Breathing hotly on him, Jaehyun shakes in anticipation.
All of his fingers tangle in your messy hair, slowly easing you towards him. Tongue out lewdly, Jae halts your movements just before his tip which is laid on his soft stomach.
A thumb brushes baby hairs from your sweaty forehead, dark eyes searching your wide ones.
“I want to be rough. Very rough. Is that okay, baby?”
“Yes. Yes, please.”
“You pinch my ankle if it’s too much, alright?”
Swearing once more, he pets your head and lets you suckle on his tip. Careful of your teeth, you swirl your tongue around his cock and it earns rewarding high whines, all airy. The tip of your wet muscle presses into the underside of his head and Jaehyun pants like a dog above you, hips lifting from the couch.
Insistently, his hands press you down further on his length. Your gag reflex kicks in, stomach spasming emptily. Trying your best to suction and brush your tongue down the large vein of his cock, you clench your thumb tightly to get rid of the feeling.
Wanting to perform well for him, the gags die out and Jaehyun moans deep above you, beginning to pump your throat slowly. Moaning at the sensation yourself, the vibration it sends down Jaehyun’s length forces a shudder to wrack his body.
His abdomen clenches as his hooded eyes stare into your bleary ones.
“Fuck, you’re so good to me baby. So fucking good.” Jaehyun accentuates himself by thrusting your hot mouth faster.
Choking on his cock, he thrives off your attention, getting off on your garbled noises of pleasure. Pulling you off when he gets close, you gasp for air, coughing and pressing your cheek onto his thigh again.
Taking a minute to calm down, Jaehyun inquires; “You okay, darling?”
His thumbs brush away the trails of tears on your cheeks softly. You whisper a weak yes and he bends down, pressing a kiss to your forehead before pecking your lips. Giving chase, his tongue slips into the cavern of your warm mouth for a split second. You miss it with every fiber of your being, whining noisily.
Then he gets behind you, scooching you closer to the couch so you can bend over, chest pressed against the seat cushions. Jaehyun kneels behind you.
His large palm grasps into the cord of the drawstring, pulling it tight around the irritated skin of your wrists as the other rubs his cock between your wet folds. You can’t help the high and pleasured noises escaping your throat as Jaehyun’s dick runs up and down, fucking himself into the tight space of your clasped thighs.
As soon as he’s wet enough with your arousal, Jaehyun presses into you. You’re soundless as his girth stretches you but your mouth is wide open, more desire seeping past his intrusion. Clenching around him tight, Jae groans, gripping onto your hip tightly.
Swearing under his breath, he reaches down to kiss your cheek. “You’re perfect, you know that?”
Grinning, you mutter, “Green.”
Jaehyun sets a steady pace, pleased exhales running down your bare back. He buries himself to the hilt each thrust, making you breathless.
“You feel so fucking good.” He moans, hand coming to squeeze at your throat once more. The small amount of oxygen coming through makes the wetness between your connection drip down further.
Whining a yes, a hand locks into your hair and then he’s going, pumping into you at a quick pace. Eyes rolling, you try to push back in tandem but it’s hard and you decide to take what Jaehyun gives, slacking to lean back.
As he looks down at your coupling, his eyes trail the dirty words on your skin. Grabbing your thighs to force them apart, he grips the meat of them tight.
“Oh, I bet your professor would love to see this.” He teases breathlessly. You shove your head into the cushions in mortification, imagining your 45-year-old professor watch you climb down the stairs with a skirt on and see those words peeking through.
Jaehyun can tell the comment had affected you because you’re tight and tense, hiding your expressions from him. He laughs, your neck taught as he pulls at your hair to force your face up.
“Oh, you want him to see it, huh? D’you want that? You want your professor to know how much of a cockwhore you are for me?”
The shake of your head doesn’t convince him enough and Jaehyun growls in your ear, tone playful and breathless. “Show your professor tomorrow baby. Flaunt yourself in a skirt and widen those thighs. Show him you’re all mine.”
You tremble hard, mewling loud when the pad of his fingers find your clit, rubbing figure eights. Scared at how fast your orgasm is approaching, you’re gasping and moving your hands up as far down as you can touch Jae’s abdomen.
“Take. What I give you. With gratitude.”
Louder slaps of skin shut you up, his tight grip on your throat grasping your forearm instead. Warning him of your quickly approaching orgasm, you clench tight, muscles locked up as Jaehyun keeps snapping his hips into yours.
A particularly hard thrust has you floating, the delicious high causing white in your closed vision and hearing muted. Meek noises climb from the bottom of your raw throat, all raspy and small. When you come back down, oversensitivity kicks in and you’re begging for Jaehyun to cum.
You readily offer him moans of encouragement and clench down. Groaning low, he presses himself into you. Jaehyun empties around your pulsating walls, gripping the base of his cock as he leaves you full of his cum. Slacking against Jae’s hold, he’s the only thing keeping your hips up as your knees fail you.
You already know without looking behind you that his eyes are zero in on your hole, a dripping mess that has his essence escaping. You feel beaten and tired, not understanding his fascination with it but let him watch freely in fascination.
When his finger brings his cum back up to push into you, you feebly whine.
“Sorry, babe.” Jaehyun kisses your right ass cheek, still inflamed and agitated.
“I’m scared to sit, Jae.” You confess, half-humored and half-concerned. Jaehyun chuckles, pulling up his sweats and untying your wrists. Rubbing at the skin once it’s gone, he gently places you in his lap once he plants himself on the couch, careful of your bum.
You melt into his chest as he brushes your hair with his fingers. Humming in satisfaction, a few minutes pass by in relative quiet, disrupted with worried questions if he was too harsh. You say no to all and are about to get up to clean yourself when your stomach growls… loudly.
Jaehyun looks at you knowingly and you purse your lips. An annoying smirk curls the corner of his mouth.
“Does my good girl want to eat dinner?”
You go to slap Jae’s bare chest in retaliation but he catches your wrist quickly.
“Nice try, darling. I think you should keep doing your lines as you eat though. It looks like you need more repetition for it to sink in.”
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Our Kids Talk about Us
Title: Our Kids Talk about Us
Part Two: Let's Talk about Our Kids
Pairing: Jaehyun x You
Genre: single parents au, angst, fluff, romance, smut
Warnings: mentions of death, unprotected sex
Word Count: 10k
Summary: After his beloved wife's death, Jaehyun still wears his wedding ring to keep women away from him. When your kids become friends and his daughter starts to move on, he suddenly finds himself being the one stuck in the past. (x)
Jaehyun always wanted to be a young father.
What he never wanted to be was a young widower.
Yet, he found himself standing in front of his wife's grave at only 24 years of age, their young daughter in his hand, trying to suppress the tears that threatened to come out after all the attendees had left.
The cool autumn wind whipped the dripping rain across his face as he made sure the umbrella was protecting his three-year-old girl from the weather. When Jaehyun looked at her, her tiny head hidden in the dark raincoat, she raised her gaze to face her father as well.
“Mommy is lying here, daddy?” she asked him again.
She was still too young to understand what death let alone pneumonia meant. Why they had to visit her mom at this huge concrete building with only people in white walking around. Why her mom hadn’t been able to speak to her lately. And why they had to stop seeing her in this huge building altogether, even though she wasn’t at home either.
Why her mom would never come back home to them.
“Yes, dear.” Jaehyun softly brushed with his thumb over his daughter’s small hand. “She’s lying here.”
“And when will she come back, daddy?”
Biting his lower lip, Jaehyun shook his head as tears burnt behind his eyes. “I… don’t know.”
“But isn’t she cold?”
The little girl let go of his hand and walked out of the umbrella’s shelter closer to the grave.
“When she’s lying here, she’s cold!” she complained. “It’s raining and mommy always feels cold! Did you bring her a jacket, daddy? She has to stay warm until she comes back!”
Little Byeol wasn’t able to understand why her daddy suddenly sank on his knees, right here in the dirt.
She suddenly heard him cry after he had let the umbrella fall to his side, his palms now covering his face. Yet, she didn’t miss the sound of pure mourning. She didn’t need to understand the situation to know that her father was utterly sad, and that it had something to do with her mommy.
“Don’t cry, daddy.” Byeol approached her father and tried to wrap her tiny arms around him.
After her attempts had failed, Jaehyun wrapped his hands around her body instead and pressed her against him, embracing her tightly and kind of desperately. For the first time, he really showed his feelings in front of his daughter. He had been keeping up a facade of feigned strength for too long, he couldn’t cope with it anymore.
Jaehyun had lost his wife and Byeol had lost her mother.
Life would never be the same again for the two of them.
Six-year-old Byeol stood in front of the elementary school’s door with a pair of black biker shorts, an oversized shirt of a very well known sports brand and a red backpack that she had been using since kindergarten and was kind of embarrassed of.
But Byeol was not amused on her first day of elementary school only because of her old backpack.
She was seeing all these girls her age with their long hair twisted and twirled to fun styles with colorful headbands and clips as well as dresses in all colours the rainbow had to offer while Byeol was presenting herself in her usual clothing and short hair.
Byeol hated elementary school already.
“You must be Jeong Byeol,” the teacher greeted her. “Come with me, your class is right there.”
Byeol got seated next to a girl that didn’t differ much from the colorfully dressed ones she had encountered in the schoolyard, but she was quick to sort her into the category of stuck up people like the girls who were side-eying her so judgily just because of her outfit.
“Hello, I’m Jeni.”
What she hadn’t expected was to get addressed by the exact same girl she had just thought badly of. Now, Byeol had a bad conscience.
“Hello, I’m Byeol.”
Jeni’s eyes wandered over Byeol’s equipment that she had just pulled out. A simple pencil case with only a pencil and an eraser in it. Swiftly, Jeni had moved her fully equipped case into her seatmate’s direction.
“You can use my colors too if you want!”
“Oh… thank you.”
Byeol wasn’t ashamed of the fact that Jeni had directly noticed that her equipment lacked completeness, but thankful for her awareness. It was just that her father had promised to buy everything for her, but didn’t make it on time in the end.
“I like your hair clips!” Byeol complimented Jeni.
“And I like your shorts, they look so comfy in comparison to this dress!” Jeni then fiddled with her hair. “Here!”
Byeol’s hair only reached her chin, but Jeni was able to pull a long streak back and fix it with a pink butterfly clip.
“You look so cute!”
From that moment on, the two became best friends.
“I don’t care how much work you have left!” you shouted into your phone. “Today is your daughter’s first day of elementary school and she had expected you to be here, yet you weren’t!”
“Babe, please calm down!”
“I’m not your babe, asshole!” A few passerbyers turned around to look at you as you made your way to the elementary school, but you didn’t care. “Don’t you know that your friend Haneul uploaded your last night together on instagram? I saw everything! So if working so hard means whoring around, drinking until dawn and oversleeping your daughter’s first day of school, then you’ll never have to see her again, good riddance!”
You rolled your eyes and put your phone back into your purse as you angrily arrived by the school’s gate. Clutching your fingers around the door handle, you pulled it into your direction, but the door remained closed. You pulled on it again, this time a bit harder, but the door wouldn’t open.
“This cannot be!” you yelled and pulled on the handle again, reaching new levels of aggressivity. “What a shitty day!”
“You have to push it.”
Turning aside, you encountered the kind eyes of a man around your age, dressed in formal pants and a white button up, staring at you rather puzzled.
“You have to pull down the handle and then push it. See?”
When he laid his own hand on the door handle, you could see a golden ring adorning his finger. Almost the exact same ring, only a bit thinner and more fragile, could also be found on your hand.
“Oh thank god!” you let out, relieved as he opened the gate for you, and it didn’t slip by you that his gaze fell upon your ring as well. “I thought I was seeing things!”
You passed through the gate before him, but he followed suit and fell into your step in the schoolyard as you slowed down purposely.
“I’m Y/N!” you introduced yourself. “My daughter had her first day today.”
“I’m Jaehyun, and same. I had to drop her off very quickly this morning as I was supposed to be at work by 9. I wasn’t able to equip her with everything that she needs in time which was why she was a bit sour this morning. But hopefully, I can make up for that now.” Jaehyun held up a bag on which the logo of a very popular convenience store was printed on. “She said she wanted some stuff with… cartoons on it? Something with Pororo or so. I don’t know.”
“May I have a look?” you asked, and he nodded.
As you took the bag into your hands, you noticed that he brought a pack of crayons with cars on them.
“That was all they had that came close to cartoons. How am I supposed to know what Pororo is?”
You chuckled. “It’s an animated series about a penguin and his group of friends.”
“I’m a horrible father!”
Somehow, he sounded so disappointed in himself even though he tried to come forward with irony, and you could hear in his voice that this rooted deeper than just not knowing what Pororo was. You wondered whether this was usually the mother’s job and he had only been assigned to it because she currently didn’t have time or was abroad. But you thought that was no biggy.
“There is a stationary store just right down the street, they have Pororo stuff,” you recommended.
“You, Y/N, are my hero!”
This time, you both laughed as you joined the other parents in front of the building who were waiting to pick up their kids. Only a short moment later, the entry door opened and outside stormed a bunch of happy children.
Your daughter stood in front of you with the brightest smile on her face. With pride, you patted her head. “How did your first day go, Jeni?”
“Amazing, mommy! I made a new friend, her name is Byeol!”
“That’s amazing, dear!”
You and Jaehyun had quickly lost sight of each other, but you were sure you would see each other again.
Byeol looked into the bathroom mirror and inspected her hair. She had unclasped the butterfly clip the day before because she felt insecure as it was something so new to her. But today, she felt confident enough to wear it.
“How do I look, mommy?” Byeol asked and waited. “Thank you, mommy.”
With a smile, she hopped from the stool and entered the kitchen where her father had already prepared the breakfast table.
Three bowls and three spoons as usual.
“Which cereal does your mom want for breakfast today, Byeol?”
“Today, choco krispies, daddy.”
Jaehyun filled one bowl with choco krispies and the other two with fruit loops as it was his and his daughter’s all time favorite.
As they sat down together, he noticed the pink butterfly clip in his daughter’s hair. “Where did you get that from?”
“It’s from my friend Jeni, the girl I told you about yesterday. She gifted it to me.”
“Ah, I remember. It’s cute.”
Jaehyun wondered whether such hair clips were what all girls her age were now wearing.
Between his job, chores and his child, he barely had time for himself let alone to get updated with everything a little girl could be interested in nowadays. Probably also because he didn’t hold much interest in keeping up to date with fashion, hair and all this stuff, which was why his daughter was usually wearing what he came across when running errands.
Now that Byeol was growing up, interacting with other girls and developing interests in female stuff, Jaehyun wondered whether he had to change his way of thinking. He just didn’t know where to start as they lacked a female part in their family.
With much care, he put the Pororo crayons on the table, and immediately, his daughter’s eyes lightened up.
“That’s Pororo! And the newest crayons on top of that! Thank you so much, daddy!” Shifting around, she talked to the other, in Jaehyun’s eyes, empty chair, “Look, mommy!”
She reached for the crayon package and put it into her backpack, but not without giving her father a tight before that he returned with the same love and passion.
Jaehyun was aware that he lacked a lot of things as a single parent.
The summarized things mentioned above were only the tip of the iceberg. But Byeol had grown up knowing she was different from all the others with only having her father at such a young age, yet she had never held it against him when she had noticed things such as not having the newest clothes as she knew that he always gave his best.
She was a very humble and down to earth person, despite her young age.
But Byeol had her own mechanism to cope with mother’s death that had been extracted with time.
When one day, she had started to tell him things about her deceased mother, Jaehyun let it slip, assuming it was just a phase. Not much later, when she started demanding a plate for her mother during dinner and talked to her whenever she felt safe, Jaehyun knew that was when she needed help. But the therapist was at her wit’s end after a few months and only told him that one day, all imaginary friends would vanish.
But this wasn’t a random imaginary friend. This was her mother she imagined talking to, eating with and sleeping with.
A part of her life.
“And your wife never picks her up?” a mother asked Jaehyun.
He was sick and tired of this question that accompanied him since Byeol’s time in kindergarten. Even leaving on his wedding ring didn’t save him from those nosy, equally single and married women who wanted to check on his true relationship status after not having encountered Byeol’s mother.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t interested in dating again. He was just stuck, and his ring prevented him from moving on. He just couldn’t just yet.
“She’s busy,” Jaehyun shrugged it off and walked away from the woman the moment he spotted a familiar face at the other side of the yard. “Thank god,” he only thought.
“Yes. I love you too,” you chatted into your phone as you hung up and turned around to find Jaehyun standing right in front of you. “Hi,” you greeted him.
“Hey. I hope I didn’t interrupt you.” He assumed that you had talked to your husband which was why he quickly regretted having walked up to you. Who else would you confess your love to anyway? He should have been more considerate of women, even though he hadn’t intensively interacted with one in so long.
With you, even though you had only gotten to know each other, he didn’t feel pressured to run away, because clearly, you were happily married, so there was no temptation that could possibly lure him to do things he regretted later on.
“No worries, the conversation was already over.”
“So, then maybe you can help me with something?”
“Those… things…” Jaehyun raised his arms and touched his hair. “Those colorful clips in different shapes little girls wear in their hair. Where do you mothers get them from? Are there certain shops that have always passed by me?”
This time, you didn’t chuckle but were quite confused. If he was married, wouldn’t the mother usually bring stuff for the daughter or go shopping with her? He looked so seriously helpless that you were not sure whether he was joking.
You didn’t know anything about Jaehyun’s life circumstances. His wife could be abroad or working at most times. They could even live in separation and it would still be none of your business.
You only saw a father who was struggling providing his daughter the stuff she was fancying, and you were more than willing to help him.
“Okay, Jaehyun. Do you have an hour to spare tomorrow before we pick up our kids?”
“In COEX mall.”
The bell rang and short moments later, the kids stormed out. You spotted Jeni at the other side of the yard.
“There’s my daughter. See you tomorrow, Jaehyun!”
As you reached your daughter, she was already wearing that look on her face. You knew exactly what that look meant. She got that from her father.
“What is that you want, Jeni?”
“So, I told you about my new friend Byeol, right, mommy?”
You laughed. “Every day since you two met.”
“I invited her to play at my house today, because she doesn’t have the newest barbies. Can she, mommy? Pretty please?”
You patted your daughter’s head. “Where is she? I should talk to her parents first.”
If Jeni had made new friends, you wouldn’t want to spoil that experience for her.
She hadn’t had it easy in kindergarten ever since her begetter left town after she was born. While all the other children’s parents came in pairs, Byeol had always come with her mother only, and that made her a target.
To protect your daughter from mockery and more isolation, you decided to buy a fake wedding ring that should also shield you from the judgy eyes of the parents, to avoid the stigma of being a single parent.
“She already went to ask her dad. See? There she is!”
From the corner of your eyes, in the crowd of the parents and children, you perceived Jaehyun leaving the school, but you didn’t quite see the little girl that was supposed to be with him, even though you were curious about what his daughter looked like.
“Jeni, my daddy said yes! Hello Y/N.”
A little girl just as small as your own daughter, suddenly popped up in front of you. She bowed deeply at you and wore a rather shy look.
“That’s Byeol, mommy!”
“Nice to meet you, Byeol. Your daddy agreed, yes?”
“Yes. Here is his number in case you need it as he had to leave already.” She gave you a piece of paper. “He’ll pick me up at 7 later. I gave him your address as well.”
“Wow, you girls have planned this out so thoroughly! Then let’s go!”
You lived in a house with your parents who were helping you with the upbringing of your daughter. You owed everything to them as you surely wouldn’t have been able to finish your university degree in law without their help while a baby was on its way.
“Mom, we’re home! Jeni, show Byeol your room!”
“Sure! Come with me, Byeol!”
“Did you bring what I asked you for?” your mother questioned when you entered the kitchen.
You stopped in your tracks, realization kicking in. “I’m so sorry, mom! We finished talking, I said I love you, and then Jaehyun walked up to me, and… I just forgot!”
Your mother laughed. “No worries. I think I can cook that recipe without peppers. Who’s Jaehyun? Someone who finally piqued your interest?”
You rolled your eyes, but grinned. “He’s married, mom, and he’s a dad from Jeni’s elementary school. Besides… no one wants a single mom.”
“That’s nonsense, Y/N, and you know it.”
Tired of being on the verge of leading this discussion again, you said goodbye to her, left the kitchen and stepped into the living room where you flopped down on your chair in front of the desk and started working again.
Before dinner, the girls called you upstairs to play dress up with, and you couldn’t say no.
“Let’s see what we have here,” you muttered to yourself as you opened your makeup case and immediately, Byeol’s eyes were fixated on the many colours in the palette.
“Whoa!” she exclaimed. “What’s that?”
“Makeup,” you explained nonchalantly. “Haven’t you seen this with your mom yet?”
“My mommy isn’t… alive.”
You froze. In the way your daughter continued fiddling with the makeup brushes, you figured that this wasn’t news to her. But you were taken by surprise and didn’t quite know how to properly react.
“But that’s okay, because my mommy is still with me,” Byeol continued. “She’s sitting on Jeni’s bed, see?”
Byeol pointed at the other side of the room, and from the tone she used while speaking, you knew that she was being dead serious. So you decided that you would react as she was wishing for: totally normal.
“Ah yes. Nice to meet you, Byeol’s mom. Does your mom also want a bit of makeup, Byeol?”
She shook her head. “No, but she likes to watch.”
You dipped the brush that you had picked up into pink powder and gently tinted Byeol’s cheek on each side of her face. She was looking at you with big eyes while you smiled at her during the process.
“You are really beautiful.”
“Thank you, Byeol.” Cheekily, you tapped the brush on her nose and she let out a chuckle. “You are even more beautiful.”
“My daddy always says I look like my mom.”
“And your mom is really beautiful as well.”
Jaehyun stood in front of the house, inspecting it from the ground floor to the roof. It was quite a contrast to the apartment building in which he was living with his daughter, and he had thought quite a lot about moving, but he wasn’t able to yet financially.
After having rung the bell, he waited patiently until the door opened in front of him and a familiar face peeked out from the inside.
“Y/N! You’re Jeni’s mom?”
“And you’re Byeol’s father, Jaehyun? What a coincidence!”
Now, it dawned on you.
Byeol seemed out of touch with the world of girls her age just like you, because your wife was dead. And there were certain things fathers couldn’t teach or show their daughters, no matter how hard they tried. Some things were only left to moms.
“Daddy!” Byeol came running out of the living room and greeted her father by the door. “I quickly put on my shoes and then we can go!”
“So… you’re still up for tomorrow?” you asked Jaehyun.
“Of course,” he confirmed. “Byeol has been talking nonstop about Jeni since their first day, by the way.”
“Same applies to Jeni. These two really found each other, it seems. It’s funny that, out of all the people, we started talking to each other as well.”
Since your daughters had quickly become friends, it didn’t wonder you much why you had felt a connection to each other from the very first moment as well.
When Byeol and Jaehyun were sitting inside his car shortly after, she couldn’t stop blabbering about how her day went. Jaehyun had never seen her so excited before. It had also been the first time that she had been invited over to someone’s house.
“Jeni has so many dolls and we played with all of them, daddy! And then, her mommy came up to us and helped us dress up as princesses! She even allowed us to use her lipstick, but we cleaned it off before dinner already. That was cooked by her granny, by the way! She lives with her mommy and her grandparents there and someone is always home. They made kimbap!”
“I’m happy that you had so much fun, Byeol. Did your mommy have fun too?”
That was a usual question Jaehyun asked as he knew her imaginary mother accompanied Byeol everywhere, and he didn’t want to make her feel as though he disregarded her own coping mechanisms.
But Byeol kept quiet.
“Dear? Is everything okay?”
“I… forgot her,” she only brought out.
“What?” Jaehyun was confused.
“I forgot her. I forgot mommy! She accompanied me to Jeni’s house, but I forgot her there! That never happened before!”
Even though Jaehyun couldn’t see her from the driver’s seat, he could hear how her voice became unstable, shakier, until she started crying.
“Okay, honey, no worries, I’ll drive back to Jeni’s house and we’ll get your mommy, alright?”
In the rear window, Jaehyun saw her nodding and took the next U-turn back.
Byeol had had so much fun that she had simply forgotten about her imaginary mother. She was afraid that one day, she would forget about her entirely and that on that day, she would simply disappear.
That could never happen.
“Please, don’t ask,” Jaehyun told you when you opened your door.
“Mommy!” Byeol stormed past you into the house and you were left alone with Jaehyun by the door.
“I know,” you confessed. “She told me today.”
The way he suddenly changed to behaving so uncomfortably indicated to you that this was a highly sensitive topic to him that he didn’t want to discuss with you in passing.
Everyone needed their own time to cope with grief, and Jaehyun clearly wasn’t out of his phase and over his wife’s death yet.
The ring on his finger was proof enough to you.
“What’s this even?” Jaehyun asked the week after as you came to a halt in front of a children’s clothing store in the mall.
Somehow, your schedule to follow through with your shopping trip hadn’t matched up the planned day, so you rescheduled to the week after when Byeol was at your place again and your mother volunteered to take care of her and Jeni after school.
But the short interactions between Jaehyun and you before picking up your daughters had remained on the days where it was your turn. And somehow, you started to look forward to them.
“That’s a tutu.”
“Do elementary school girls wear something like this?”
“Only to ballett and if they want to be special. Now come in, we want to buy a few hair clips for Byeol.”
Jaehyun was quite impressed and simultaneously intimidated by the stuff they were offering to children nowadays. He was a rather practical person, which was why he had never paid much attention to colours or cuts, but he now knew that these things became important to his daughter, so he wanted to change his way of thinking.
Jaehyun was also very relieved that you hadn’t broached the topic of his deceased wife yet. Whether it rooted from your sympathetic nature or no care attitude, he was thankful for your discretion one way or another.
“What’s your daughter’s favorite colour?”
“It’s…” Jaehyun paused. “I… don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? Which colour does she use the most when painting? What shirt colour does she like to wear the most?”
“I rarely see her paintings. And I only bring her clothes I find while grocery shopping or so. Whatever is cheap and practical since children grow out of clothes fast and get them dirty all the time.”
“Is it bad?” He sounded worried, but you immediately shook your head.
“If it works for you, you shouldn’t worry about that.”
“I’m only worried that it’s… not enough. And she knows that I cannot provide her more, because I’m just… a father. Not a mother. Or both in one person, even though I try my best to do so.”
“That’s okay, Jaehyun,” you told him as you wandered through the aisles. “You don’t have to fulfill both roles. But you also shouldn’t just overlook your daughter’s desires. Even if she doesn’t voice them out yet, try to pay attention to random things she drops. I’m sure you’ll make her even happier like that.”
Your words sounded very comforting to him, so he smiled while he followed you through the aisles.
In the end, you chose a light blue skirt with volants, a cute, white blouse and a pack of colorful clips as well as a new backpack for Byeol. You had recommended Jaehyun to choose neutral colours first as you find the typical pink way too over the top in case this wasn’t Byeol’s taste.
From the way he nervously held onto the steering wheel while driving to your house, you could see that Jaehyun was quite tense.
“Don’t worry about it, I’m sure Byeol will like it.” And carefully, you added. “And her mom as well.”
“Do you think it’s alarming?” he then asked you, apparently having decided to want another person’s insight, that’s how much he trusted you already. “For her to have an imaginary friend. I mean… she barely doesn’t remember her mother herself, mostly from photos. Yet, she often talks to her, takes her everywhere and treats her like a real person which made her a target in kindergarten.”
“If she’s a target now, I’m sure Jeni will handle the bullies. In our house, we treat her and her mother as everyone else, we’ve adapted to it. And no, it’s not alarming. It’s just her way of coping. When growing up, imaginary friends vanish. Until then, no one should disregard her feelings and always take her seriously. That’s very important.”
“That’s what the therapist said as well.” Jaehyun breathed out audibly. “I’m just afraid that it will break her heart when one day, it happens that she realizes her mother disappeared.”
You didn’t know what to answer to that as he was most likely right.
“What… happened?” you then brought over to ask. A question that had been on your tongue for way too long, but you just felt that the timing was right now. “To your wife, I mean.”
“Pneumonia. She succumbed to the chronical illness after a long battle in the hospital. Byeol was only three years old.”
“My condolences. I’m sorry about that. It wasn’t easy on you as a single father with a young daughter, I assume.”
“Thank you. And no. My parents don’t live in the same city and I work as much as I can to make ends meet. Sometimes, it’s very hard, yet I try to provide Byeol everything she needs. But even I cannot grasp everything.”
For you, who had experienced her parents’ full support throughout everything, you couldn’t fathom the ups and downs Jaehyun had been put through. Nobody could hold it against him that he made mistakes. Everyone did.
“If you ever need help, I’m here, okay?”
He only nodded, yet you still felt that he wholeheartedly accepted your offer.
Jaehyun didn’t have many friends as he didn’t have much time left for himself, and most of his acquaintances were still in their party and single life phase. Having someone with the same routine and time schedule as him, for the first time since his wife’s death, he felt that he was being truly understood.
“She was an absolute planned child though,” Jaehyun explained. “If I had known, I would still have gotten her.”
“And nothing else matters in the end,” you added.
That your own child was the result of a drunk college night with your now ex boyfriend who had left you, you kept to yourself. That was what your ring was for.
In the end, you thought that for Jaehyun, it didn’t matter anyway as he was still very much married to his deceased wife, even in his thoughts. Just like his daughter.
They hadn’t let go of her yet.
“We’re back!” you then announced when you and Jaehyun walked into your house. “Byeol, your daddy is here! And he has a present for you!”
Byeol and Jeni came running down the stairs where Jaehyun was already waiting, with a bag in his hands.
“What is it, daddy?”
Byeol reached out her hands and he handed the bag over to her. “Just a little something for you.”
With hasty fingers, she opened the bag and suddenly, a bright smile mixed with surprise spread all over her face. “What’s that, daddy?” Byeol pulled out a set of clothing that had never been in her belongings before. And on top of that, a brand new backpack.
“Well…” Jaehyun got on his knees to face her. “I just thought you wanted more clothes girls your age wear. You have also grown out of your old backpack. And if you dig a little deeper, you will also find a few hair clips.”
‘“Thank you, daddy!” Without inspecting the presents further, Byeol dropped everything and instantly jumped into her father’s arms. “I love you so much, daddy!”
“Admittedly, Y/N helped me pick them out and told me what girls like. She was really awesome, so next time, your father won’t only come home with shorts and tees.”
“Thank you, Y/N!” Byeol also gave you a tight hug that you returned. “Can I try them on now, daddy?”
The two girls disappeared upstairs again and Jaehyun followed you to the living room where you sat down and chatted until it was time for the dinner your mother had prepared and you had invited the Jeong family to.
What Jaehyun noticed though was that there were a lot of photos put up - of you and Jeni and the family of course, a typical grandparents thing. But in none of these pictures did he spot a male person around your age. A quick look at your finger assured him that you were married nonetheless.
But where was your husband that you always said “I love you” to over the phone? Was he living abroad? Jaehyun couldn’t bring it over himself to ask though.
“Your mom can sit here,” you said as everyone came together for dinner.
You brought a stool close to the dining table where you had already prepared a place setting for Byeol’s imaginary mother.
“Thank you, Y/N!” Byeol said happily and from the corner of your eyes, you felt Jaehyun smiling at you as well.
And it somehow gave you pleasant goose gumps.
After elementary school, your two children had talked you into visiting the playground together, so you and Jaehyun were waiting by the ice cream truck while Jeni and Byeol discovered the monkey bars.
“How was she?” you asked Jaehyun. “Your wife. Only if I may ask! You don’t have to answer if it makes you uncomfortable, you know.”
“We’ve gotten together in high school,” Jaehyun told you as you moved forward in the queue. “She was my first girlfriend. I loved her very much and Byeol completed our happiness. We saved up to buy a house together and probably move to the countryside. She loved the countryside. Overall, she was a very laid-back and calm person. Byeol probably has her personality from her. And her features as well.”
The way he spoke so fondly of her made you like his wife as well. Not the slightest trace of sadness resonated in his voice. It was like a happy memory he liked to think about every now and then.
“I think I would have liked her very much.”
“I think she would have liked you as well.”
As you got your ice cream, you seated yourselves on a bench where a group of mothers from the elementary school just happened to pass by. One of them was the woman who had tried to hit on Jaehyun in the beginning.
When she spotted you two, she directly checked you out from head to toe. Jaehyun knew what it must have looked like. You two were here with children and happened to both wear rings. She didn’t quite like what she saw, but Jaehyun wasn’t interested in clearing up the situation. This was exactly what the ring was for and the fact that you were also wearing one was only convenient to him.
“What is it?” you asked as Jaehyun suddenly stared at you.
“Chocolate is your favorite flavor you said?”
“You cannot overlook that.”
“What do you mean?”
He laughed. “If you always look like this while eating chocolate ice cream, the baby wipes should be for you, not for Jeni.”
“Hey!” you defended yourself playfully. “That’s not true!”
The next thing Jaehyun felt was something cold in his face that then turned sticky. You laughed light-heartedly upon discovering his lips that were smeared with chocolate ice cream after you had smashed it into his face.
His shocked expression but then got quickly replaced with cheekiness. “Just you wait!”
You stood up and tried to run away, but Jaehyun was quick in holding you in place by your arm.
“Noooo!” you yelled, but it was too late as you already had his sticky vanilla ice cream all in your face.
To the other parents, you must have looked like crazy people. Or a couple totally in love.
“Mommy, what are you doing?”
It was only when your children stood in front of you that you both calmed down.
“Oh, we were just having an ice cream war,” you explained and Jaehyun laughed.
“Daddy, can we participate in the ice cream war?”
“Next time, honey. Our ice cream is all gone and look at us now!”
“I’ll go to the bathroom to clean myself up,” you announced.
“I have to go to the bathroom too,” Byeol said.
Jaehyun nodded. “Okay dear, I’ll take you there.”
“I want to go with Y/N,” she protested vehemently.
A look at you, and you confirmed that it was okay for you to go with his daughter. “Come with me, Byeol.”
“Can you buy me ice cream, Jaehyun?” Jeni then asked as you went away with Byeol.
“Sure. What’s your favorite flavor?”
She raised her hand and grabbed Jaehyun’s. Pleasantly surprised, he squeezed it. “Just like your mother, huh. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s your father’s favorite flavour too.”
It was a nonchalant assumption that he dropped by passing without even quite realizing the background, but Jeni just shrugged.
“I don’t know what his favorite flavor is,” she stated dryly.
Jaehyun assumed that he was not the only one that came from a broken family, but that you were also carrying around quite a baggage you hadn’t been ready to talk about yet.
“What’s your favorite flavor, Jaehyun?”
“That’s something I can remember.”
“Why don’t you go out with Byeol’s father?” your mother asked you when you gave yourself a last check in your mirror. “This Jaehyun guy is exceptionally handsome. Even I, as an old woman, can see it.”
“Because…” You closed your clutch. “He’s not over his wife's death yet. And he doesn’t know that I’m actually not married. I want to leave it like that.”
“So you do like him.”
“Please, mom! He’s still wearing his wedding ring. That says it all, right?”
“Those are only excuses you push towards him. What about you?”
You flattened your satin blouse and brushed the last lints from your skirt. “Mom, not now again.”
“Byeol said her daddy only wears the ring, because otherwise, different women would visit them. And Byeol doesn’t like this. So to prevent this, Jaehyun wears it.”
“Jeni!” You turned around. “What are you even talking about? And you should be in bed already!”
Your daughter jumped down the stairs into your direction. “But it’s true! There was a time, where Byeol saw different women entering and leaving their home, and she didn’t want it to happen anymore. So her father said ok, the ring would keep them away. And then her mommy came back. Do you think those women were witches or ghosts, mommy? Or why does the ring keep them away?”
“Alright, dear.” Your mother picked up Jeni from the ground. “I’ll bring you to bed.”
“But Byeol really likes you, mommy! That’s surely why the ring doesn't work with you!”
You gave your daughter a kiss on her forehead. “Goodnight, dear.”
The whole ride in the taxi to the bar where you would meet your date, you thought about Jeni’s words. It didn’t take you long to get to the gist of what she was trying to say through her imaginative string of thoughts:
Jaehyun wore his ring because he didn’t want women to come close to him since his daughter was still trying to cope with her mother’s death. Whether it was also convenient to him, whether he wanted this too or only did it for his daughter’s sake, you didn’t know.
Throughout your entire date, you couldn’t stop thinking about this.
“You don’t seem like you’re having much fun,” your date judged after a while.
“I’m sorry, my thoughts were just with my daughter who-”
You closed your hands over your mouth.
“You have children?”
This was your first date in years that your friend had arranged for you and you messed it up. Your motto was to open up about your family situation only later, to check out first how the guy’s opinion on family and children was, and now you blew it.
“Man, if I had known about this… A single mom...”
But lucky you, you only thought when you saw how his reaction unfolded. A guy who couldn’t handle your daughter definitely wasn’t worthy of your time as you only came in a pack.
“Yeah, I have a beautiful six year old daughter,” you declared. “And I’ll now go back to her as you’re only a waste of time. Good riddance.”
Except that you didn’t go home, but found yourself in front of Jaehyun’s apartment building instead. You had been here so often before to drop off Jeni, so why were you nervous now all of a sudden?
You rang the bell and didn’t expect Jaehyun to answer in the first place as it was already past midnight, even though Byeol was with her grandparents in Incheon for the weekend. But he did.
You had already opened your mouth again to explain to him why you were here, but Jaehyun didn’t ask. Wordless, he let you in. When you reached the right floor, he was already peeking out of his door.
“Did something happen?” he asked when you entered his flat.
Dressed only in pajama shorts and a white t-shirt, you followed him to the couch in the living room. You had visited him almost weekly, but without the childish laughter of your children around you, it suddenly dawned on you that this was the apartment of a single man, and that you were alone with him in here.
“I brought wine.” You held the bottle up in the air.
“Okay, something did happen. Tell me about it.”
Jaehyun seated himself next to you with two glasses as you opened the bottle and filled the glasses almost to the very top.
“Why is it that single moms have to live with such a stigma?” you whined and took the first sip at the same time as Jaehyun. “The mothers in kindergarten, now in elementary school… Even men avoid me as soon as I confess that I’m a single mom. That’s just not fair.”
“Wait…” Jaehyun had problems following you. “What do you mean that you’re a single mom?”
“I’m a single mom.”
“But you’re wearing a-” He tilted his head to where your ring was supposed to be, but then noticed that it wasn’t in its usual place. The finger was empty. “Your ring…”
“It’s a fake ring.”
“And Jeni’s father?” Jaehyun knew that this question was probably worded a bit clumsily, but he needed to know right now. Suddenly, it somehow all fell together, even what Jeni had said to him by the playground.
“Was my ex boyfriend from university. In comparison to Byeol, Jeni wasn’t a planned child. The father was just as shocked as me and left not too long after. They still see each other sometimes, but she doesn’t quite see him as a father figure and he’s not really interested in being one either.”
“So you’ve never been married and still are not.”
You were puzzled why, out of all the things you just confessed, he was focusing only on the fact that you weren’t taken, and had never been. But then again… Jaehyun was a father himself. If someone wouldn’t judge you, then it was him.
“I’m sorry that I made you think I was married,” you apologized. “I just thought it wasn’t… relevant.”
“Why shouldn’t it be?” he asked.
“Because…” You didn’t know whether it was the first effects of the wine, but you suddenly started sweating in nervousness. Why even?
Why even? Was also a question Jaehyun asked himself.
The revealed fact shouldn’t stir something inside him. Honestly, it should be absolutely irrelevant to him. You were the mother of his daughter’s best friend. Yet, this new information lifted a veil from his eyes and it was like, for the very first time in so long, he was able to see clearly again.
And what he saw was a woman he had so much fun with, provided him with necessary tips for his daughter’s upbringing and didn’t judge him as a single father.
But above all, also a woman who suddenly had become desirable to him.
“Because,” Jaehyun whispered your words in repeat as he slid closer to you, and you didn’t withdraw. “It was the only thing that held me back from doing this.”
You hadn’t kissed someone in such a long time. You didn’t know how it felt anymore to kiss a man. But when Jaehyun kissed you, it was like you had been dead this entire time and were only brought back to life now.
Always, you had only been a mother. By daytime, you were a mother. In everyone else’s eyes, you were a mother. For once, you wanted to be a woman, and Jaehyun made you feel like a woman at this very moment.
You wrapped your legs around his waist, and without having to part your lips, Jaehyun grabbed you by your buttocks and arose from the couch. He found the way into his bedroom with only one eye open where he gently placed you onto the mattress.
Jaehyun’s lips didn’t stay on yours for too much longer. They were caressing the side of your neck shortly after, and you let out soft mewls as they wandered even further down to your cleavage. Every inch of your body that he passed by was burning and craved to be touched only for a bit longer.
Your fingers entangled in his hair as Jaehyun undid your blouse and out sprung your breasts that you hadn’t hidden in a bra today. Licking over his lips, he took them into his hands and squeezed the mounds that felt so full in his warm palms. The way his fingers then played with your nipples made you squeeze your thighs together and angle your back into his direction.
Whether it was because he was so good at touching the right spots or because your body had gotten so sensitive with the lack of attention, you didn’t know. But you sensed that Jaehyun was on the same page as you felt his erection pressing between your thighs as he laid himself on top of you.
Opening your blouse fully, you helped him get rid of it, then of his own t-shirt. But instead of falling back on the bed, you turned Jaehyun around so that he was the one lying down now.
“What?” he only wondered when you tugged on the waistband of his pajama pants. And then, he grinned and gladly let you do so.
His erection slapped back against his navel as you pulled down his pants, and he helped you strip it from his feet so that he was lying naked in front of you.
While Jaehyun was still anticipating what was about to come next, you seated yourself on his lower hip with his length in between your opening. Bending down, you kissed him on his lips first, but when his grip entangled in your hair in a spur of passion, you trailed your kisses down along his prominent chest until you reached his navel with your mouth.
Jaehyun’s dick twitched against your entrance, and you too now couldn’t await your full joining anymore. Still dressed in your skirt - which Jaehyun found utterly sexy beyond words - he helped you lift yourself up by your thighs and directed you to his tip on which he then slowly let you sink down on.
You grimaced at the pain with which he passed through your opening, a sharp and burning grind that was usual to experience when you hadn’t been with someone in so long, but to your dismay, Jaehyun could directly look into his face and the pain didn’t pass by him as well.
He stretched out his hand and placed it on your cheek. “Everything alright? We can stop if it hurts.”
You shook your head and placed your own hand on top of his. “I’m getting used to it.”
“Take it slow.”
You felt Jaehyun’s thumb softly brush over your skin and somehow, it added something so lovingly to this act that it made your heart flutter.
Cautiously, when you thought you had adjusted to his length, you began moving. Jaehyun was throbbing heavily inside you, and you weren’t able to remember that this position hit you so deeply. You felt his thickness intensely when you moved your hips in circular motions, gyrating them against his.
To get a steady hold, you put your hands on his chest as you gently rolled your hips against his pelvis, feeling him reach parts inside of you that pleasured you sweetly. Aspiring to chase after this pleasure, you changed your motions and decided to lift your hips and slam them back down on him again.
The first time you did this, you both moaned and Jaehyun buried his fingers deep into your ass cheeks. You threw your head back in satisfaction as you repeated the motion until you were screaming so loudly that you couldn’t hear Jaehyun and your slaps against his body anymore.
Sweat ran down your neck as it took you much strength. It collected in your cleavage between your breasts and rolled down your stomach until it disappeared in your skirt. You were so close to cumming, but you had totally run out of breath, and that was Jaehyun’s cue.
“My turn now?”
Being only able to nod, he flipped you around onto your stomach. Pulling your skirt up to reveal the full sight of your bum to him, Jaehyun gave you a hard slap against your cheek that made you scream but simultaneously crave for more.
Collection your hands by your back, he took them into his and pushed himself inside you from behind. Holding you by your arms and having brought up your hips to meet his angle better, he mercilessly and kind of desperately rammed into you with a steady rhythm so fast that you gave up counting how many pushes it took for him to bring you over the edge.
Your face was buried in the pillow, sliding along the sheets whenever he moved back and forth, but to let him hear what he did to you, you turned your face aside and screamed from the top of your lungs the moment your orgasm hit you like a wave a desert.
That was exactly how you felt. A moment two contrasts so great hitting each other, the joining was beyond words. You swore that you saw stars that moment.
Jaehyun came in long spurts all over the sheets only shortly after you while still holding onto you tightly.
He had slept with many women after his wife’s death to move past this tragedy, but none had ever made him feel the way you did. Suddenly, you weren’t just Jeni’s mother for him anymore. He wanted to take you again and again as he had seemingly forgotten how not only passionate and fun, but also enjoyable sex could be again.
Jaehyun had only felt this way with his wife.
And suddenly, he felt so guilty - for having actual feelings again. Even though he had seen it coming at some point, now that he truly felt it again, it scared him that he was actually moving on by himself.
He wasn’t sure anymore whether he was ready.
The ring on his finger felt like it had burnt itself into his skin.
When you woke up the next morning, Jaehyun wasn’t lying next to you anymore.
Looking out of the window, you noted that it was already shortly before midday. You quickly collected your clothes that had been thrown to the bed’s side, dressed yourself and walked into the living where Jaehyun had already tidied up everything from last night.
“Good morning,” you greeted him.
“Morning,” he greeted back and approached you. Not wanting to make it awkward, he came straight to the point. “Last night was a mistake.”
You froze, totally bewildered. “What?”
“When my wife died… around two years after, I tried dating again. I knew she wanted it that way, for me to move on and continue living. But it scared Byeol to see other women here apart from her mom. That’s when she started imagining her. We’re both stuck and I cannot leave her behind. I know my feelings for my wife will never change, and I also know that I cannot live in the past forever. For now though, I must. For Byeol.”
“Okay.” You agreed. “This, I understand.”
What Jaehyun didn’t tell you was that he was scared. Of falling again. Of loving again. How was it possible that his wife had been his true love when he started to feel the same with another person again?
He couldn’t wrap his head around it.
“I cannot start dating again before Byeol moves on herself. I’m sorry.”
Somehow, this had gotten extremely awkward for you as it felt like a direct rejection, even though you hadn’t even approached him that way. Even though now, you desperately wanted to.
That’s when you knew you had to leave. Abruptly, you turned around, shifting your back to him. “I’m sorry, it was a bad idea to come here, to do this.”
“I-” Jaehyun stuttered. “Even though I want to. I’m just… not there yet.”
You only let out a saddened, “I’m sorry, I won’t only be your bed bunny, Jaehyun.”
“Y/N, I didn’t mean it like that!”
But you were already out of the door.
You still didn’t speak to Jaehyun, not even when he dropped Byeol off for a sleepover the weekend after. Instead of picking Jeni up yourself from elementary school, you sent your mom and closed the door in front of Jaehyun’s nose with only a “goodbye” whenever he came around.
“My father is so sad lately,” you then heard Byeol whisper when you came up the stairs to Jeni’s room later that night.
Wanting to listen, you stopped by the door.
“I hear him constantly speaking to your mom on the phone, but she doesn’t seem to answer.” You vaguely remembered that you hadn’t opened any of Jaehyun’s voice messages yet. “Do you think they could have gotten into an argument?”
“Is it because of the ring that he is wearing? The one that makes women go away?”
“I don’t think so! It only makes bad women go away. Your mommy is a good woman. I want her to be around me and my daddy. He is much happier with her. But she seems like she doesn’t want to be with him anymore lately. That makes me sad.”
“Yeah, me too,” you listened to your daughter’s soft voice. “I like your dad too, but he rarely stays now.”
It caused you a bad conscience that you were listening to such an intimate talk, so you decided to interrupt the two of them.
“Hey girls. Ready for bed yet?”
You walked over to your daughter’s bed and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Then kneeling next to the mattress on the ground, you gave Byeol a gentle kiss on her forehead. An urge made you stroke her cheek and hair.
“Y/N,” Byeol then spoke to you. “My daddy is much happier when you’re around. Can you please make him happy again? He’s so sad lately, because you’re not there anymore.”
“Byeol… there are many things children don’t understand that’s happening between adults. It’s... not that easy sometimes.”
You couldn’t be mad at Jaehyun. If it was your daughter, you would’ve done the same, you now totally understood why he had to draw a line. After Byeol’s words, you were also able to look through his facade to come to the conclusion that old feelings towards his wife were also still in the cards.
But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t feeling something for you.
He just wasn’t there yet.
And that was totally fine, you wouldn’t hold it against him anymore. When the timing and your feelings were right, you would get your chance again.
“How do you like the new clothes I bought for you?” Jaehyun asked Byeol. “Ready for the park?”
She was wearing a bright yellow dress and a straw hat. Jaehyun knew that he was only making progress with her as he had gotten help from you, and it saddened him very much that you were still mad at him. Justifiably.
He didn’t regret the night. Admittedly, he wanted to experience more. But it was true that his daughter came first. And his own wellbeing after such a tragedy had struck, he needed to come clear with himself first. If anyone would understand, then it was you. His many voice messages to you told you exactly that.
And if Jaehyun had looked at his phone that afternoon, he would have also seen that you had listened to all of them and were trying to reach out to him again after weeks of radio silence. But he didn’t yet.
“Daddy, I don’t think I want to go to the park today.”
“So? Where to then?”
“I want to visit mommy.”
“But she’s here right now, right?”
Byeol stared at you. “I want to visit mommy’s grave.”
She had never used this wording before which was why Jaehyun was kind of perplexed, but he took her there nonetheless. Together, they visited the grave only on his wife’s death day since Byeol had her imaginary friend.
Alone, he came here much more often, but his visits had shortened. In the beginning, he had talked to her the entire day. Then, during the second year, he stood there for an hour. In the third, Jaehyun brought flowers and left after ten minutes. Now, he was so occupied with many things that he only found a few minutes to spare.
After arriving by the cemetery, Jaehyun and Byeol stood in front of his deceased wife’s grave on a warm summer afternoon - a great contrast to the day of her funeral.
“Mommy says that she won’t be around here that often anymore, daddy.”
Jaehyun let his gaze fall upon his daughter whose hand he was holding. “What?”
“Mommy has gotten very busy and cannot accompany me everywhere anymore. She will remain here. When we want to talk to her, we can come here. She always senses when one of us is coming, so she’ll descend here and listen to us. But she cannot follow me around anymore, daddy.”
Jaehyun didn’t know what to say. He had expected the moment his daughter let go of her mother would be linked to tears and much screaming when realization hit. Or that she’d suddenly stop mentioning her, having her vinish little by little.
But instead, his daughter opened up to him here and now that she was letting go.
And moving on.
“Mommy wants us both to be happy, daddy. She doesn’t want to be in the way.”
“Oh dear…” Jaehyun sank to his knees and cupped his daughter’s face. “Your mommy is never in the way. She knows that we love her deeply and will always continue loving her, no matter what happens and who’ll enter our lives. Your mommy will always be a part of it.”
At once, Byeol slung her arms around her father and started crying. “I-I don’t... want mommy to dis- dis… appear.”
With much compassion, Jaehyun hugged her back. “She won’t ever disappear. She'll always be here. See?” Tenderly, he pushed her backwards and pointed at her heart. With her fist, Byeol rubbed over her eyes. “In your heart. In mine. And in everyone else’s she was a part of.”
“C-can… can we visit her often?” she sobbed.
“As often as you want.”
“Can… can Y/N be with us instead of mommy?”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t want Y/N to be invisible to everyone else like my mommy. But you now treat her like she’s invisible. And one day, she’ll disappear too. Like mommy. I don’t want that.”
“Oh dear…” Jaehyun smiled slightly and wiped his daughter’s tears away. “This time, I won’t make someone you love disappear. I promise.”
Again, Byeol fell into Jaehyun’s arms.
Where she had been the one comforting him during the funeral, he was the one comforting her now three years later. She cried her eyes out as she was letting go of her beloved mother.
And that was totally fine. Everyone needed their own time to grieve, their own way to grieve. And then, they could move on.
Jaehyun felt his wife smiling at them from above.
He wasn’t stuck anymore.
And one day, when the timing was right and your feelings on the same page, he could imagine putting down his old wedding ring and turning the fake one on your finger into a real one.
2K notes · View notes
Pairing: Jaehyun / You
Genre: one shot, childhood friends to enemies to lovers!au, arranged marriage!au
Warnings: dirty talk, oral (f. receiving), fingering, unprotected sex, multiple orgasms, overstimulation
Word count: 20.9k
Summary: You hate him. He hates you. But you’re arranged to one another. The universe really works in mysterious ways, doesn’t it?
It’s a Tuesday afternoon and Jung Jaehyun—an environmental lawyer—is slumped against his office chair, his gaze up at the ceiling, his lips slightly parted as the shock in his system still refuses to wane. All he could remember from the meeting with his father are the words marriage, wedding, contract, deal, merger. He’s not even sure if it came in that order. This is a lot to process and usually, he’s good at handling information, easily registering key dates, facts, arguments and laws in his head.
Okay, let’s set the scene straight. So he’s going to get hitched to you—would it really be that bad? Sure, there had been bad blood between the two of you but that was in high school. He hasn’t seen you in years so maybe there is a hopeful prospect to this situation. It could actually become a time to rekindle your friendship. This could be a reunion or a reconnection, if you will.
Deciding to bring out his phone, he decides to search you up on Instagram. Finding you easily, he browses your profile. Your feed is simple and clean. He focuses on the ones with you in it and my God, did you grow up to be a beautiful woman. You’ve always been pretty to him but the current adult version of you is hot. You put all those girls that Jaehyun fucks to shame, the name of the one he took to bed two nights ago already gone in his head.
He clicks on your most recent post. Wearing a long gown in silver, you’re posing with a glass of champagne in one hand, your clutch purse on the other. Fuck. You’re dripping of elegance, of sex and just the sight of your bare thigh from the slit of your gown is enough to make him groan involuntarily, teeth gnawing on the inside of his lower lip. Since he’s already in this arrangement, he might as well begin this reunion by being the first to reach out, clicking the follow button before sliding into your DMs.
_jjh: u look good 🔥
It takes about eight seconds before ellipses are dancing around on the chatbox. Two more before he receives your reply.
yn.03: who tf are you??
Jaehyun feels the edges of his mouth twitch for a smile as he types his response.
_jjh: your future husband
“What do you mean I’m marrying Jung Jaehyun, dad?”
“It means you’re marrying him,” your father just nods and confirms calmly, expression stoic as always.
Jung Jaehyun is a name that you haven’t heard in years and so to hear it falling from your father’s mouth was surprising and definitely unexpected, even more so when the word marriage succeeded it. You’re perfectly knowledgeable that eventually you’re going to be affianced to someone because of traditions but the atrocious and revolting thing about all this is the man your parents chose.
Every information they heralded in the span of seconds overwhelmed you, had you landing back down on your chair, elbows on your desk, hands on your forehead. Honestly, you are so close to pulling all your hair out. When you look up to meet your parents’ expectant gazes, you ask them again as to why you’re marrying Jaehyun. And once again, you’re met with the reason your father provided earlier. A deal. A contract. The merging of companies. The establishment of law firms. The exchange of million dollars between parties.
Sighing, you screw your eyes shut and shake your head. This has to be a fucking nightmare that you’re having because there is no way this is happening. There is no way that this is the reality you’re living in now.
Your mother, ever so soft and gentle, regards you with a concerned look. “I know you’re upset, dear—”
“Upset?” you chime, half-laughing at the incredulity of it all. Standing up, you emphatically pronounce your feelings. “I’m not upset, mom. I’m more than upset. I mean, I know I’m going to be promised to someone but I just can’t believe you chose him.”
She flits her gaze between you and your father before holding your hand. “Honey, we have a good relationship with the Jungs. And besides, isn’t it better to marry someone you’re familiar with rather than a stranger?”
“I would much rather be married to a complete stranger than to him.”
“Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad,” she offers, optimism coating her voice. “Maybe this can be an opportunity to patch things up with him again, rebuild your friendship.”
With your firm resolve, you insist, “There’s nothing to rebuild. God, mom, this is just—”
Your father’s voice is loud when he abruptly snaps, prompting you and your mother to turn to him.
“You’re going to marry Jaehyun whether you like it or not.”
With him leaving the room and your mother following shortly after embracing you and bidding you goodbye, you’re now left in your office. With your future cut out for you.
People say that hate is a strong word—a powerful, impactful verb. They say it's a strong word because society tends to use its opposite word more and throws it more often than hate. Society tends to lean towards being more polite and less offensive. To use the word hate means that you really detest something. And you've always been told to save that word for such instances and not just sputter it carelessly because hate contains a passionate feeling of negativity. So perhaps hate is not the right word to use when it came to Jung Jaehyun. You know what, scratch that. It is. There's no point in even sugar coating it because it really is how you feel for him. You hate him. You hate that you're promised to him for marriage even more.
Enraged, you snatch your phone on the desk, opening your earlier conversation with him. When you received the first message, you thought that this person was some random creep on the internet who’s fifty years old and probably bald. That was until you managed to view his display name and browse his Instagram profile briefly. Before you could even type a reply to his last message, your parents came in and dropped the news to you like a bomb. And now that everything has been officially confirmed, you realize that he is real. This really is Jaehyun.
Jaehyun, who was once your best friend. Jaehyun, who was once the constant in your life. Jaehyun, whose friendship you were once thankful for. Once upon a time, you two were inseparable. The best of friends. That was until junior year of high school. The bond between you two, the mutual respect and admiration for each other dissipated slowly into smithereens until it turned into bitterness and contempt for one another, turning you into strangers with history.
Rapidly, you’re typing up your response and reviving the conversation back, the speed of your fingers becoming directly related to the level of your infuriation.
yn.03: i’m not marrying you, jaehyun.
_jjh: i don’t think you have a choice, sweetheart.
yn.03: don’t call me that.
_jjh: do you prefer wifey?
yn.03: GAG ME.
_jjh: oh? didn’t know that you’re a freaky one too. i’ll make sure to remember that ;)
yn.03: fuck off
_jjh: lol i forgot how cute you are whenever you get riled up
_jjh: anyways see u tomorrow, sweetheart
Jaehyun is currently alone in the elevator, waiting for it to reach the eighth floor. With his hands in his pockets, he gazes up at the blinking red arrows ascending on the screen. There’s not a lot going on in his head except for all those particular photos that grabbed his attention when he was scrolling through your Instagram last night. There’s that one image of you from five months ago wearing a grey sweatshirt coupled with ripped jeans, looking very girlfriend material. There’s also that one of you wearing a yellow off-shoulder dress from three weeks ago. God, with a pretty face like that, he’s sure you—
The doors sliding open interrupts his reverie. Stepping out of the lift, he makes his way to his father’s office, making sure to politely nod and smile at the people working in their cubicles. When he enters the Chief Attorney’s room, he’s surprised to find that you’re there already, sitting on one of the chairs, fingers idly tapping on the desk as you wait for your own father, his father and of course, him.
These are the first words you utter, not even bothering to look at him when he enters the office. You haven’t seen each other in years and his tardiness is the first thing you comment on. But then again, considering your relationship and your distasteful feelings for each other, he’s not really expecting cordiality from you. Nevertheless, here you are, in all your glory, wearing a black pencil skirt and a collared white blouse. Oh, and you have got to be kidding him. Two of your buttons are undone.
Once he occupies the seat adjacent to you, he takes a gloss over you. It’s hard not to stare at your legs, at the exposed skin of your chest and collarbones. His dick is obviously happy about the sight of you as he feels it twitch. He grits his teeth and bites down on the inside of his lip to tame the arousal threatening to flare up.
“I’m not late,” he deadpans, taking a peek at his wristwatch then back at you. “You’re just early.”
Unfazed, you take a quick glance at his swept back, gel-filled, slick locks. “Nice hair. What did you do? Swim here?”
What a great reunion so far. He lets out a scoff. “It’s good to know that I’ll have such a supportive and loving wife.”
Rolling your eyes at the way he emphasized the last word, you fold your arms, feeling your irritation boil inside. When an inflammable silence brews thickly in the air, you evade his observant stare at you and distract yourself by scanning the room again, zooming on the details. It’s similar to your father’s office where there’s a wooden desk in the middle, files on top of each other, a picture frame perched beside the computer monitor, a couch in the corner of the room and a bookshelf that has those hefty law books.
Jaehyun sighs loudly, a petulant expression drawn on his face. “You know, the thought of marriage never even crossed my mind before all of this.”
This draws your stare back at him. “I couldn’t imagine anybody wanting to marry you.”
“And you think there’s a man out there who’d be willing to marry you?” he huffs a humorless laugh as he retaliates.
“You think there’s a woman who would want to marry a pants-wetter like you?” you pipe back with your first bullet of the day, completely unrelenting now that you’re provoked.
“Hey,” he yelps in defence. “I was ten!” God, you really might just be the hottest girl that Jaehyun despises. “And, if I remember correctly, aren’t you the one who cheated on our math exam because you copied off from my answers?”
Alright, that’s it. If you’re going down, you’re taking him with you. “Oh, yeah? Aren’t you the one who threw a fit and cried all day when you learned that Santa isn’t real?” you goad.
He leans forward, piercing his stare on your face as he ticks his head sideways. “Aren’t you the one who threw up on the teacup ride in Disneyland?”
“Hey, I had food poisoning,” you argue pointedly. “It’s not like I did that on purpose.”
“Whatever,” he dismisses. “You were disgusting.”
God, this guy is an abomination and to think that you’ll be settling down with him and that you’ll be tied down to him for the rest of your days is just unbelievable. “I fucking hate you.”
“The feeling’s mutual, sweetheart.”
When you wince at the term of endearment, a self-satisfied smirk crosses his lips and you swear you’ve never wanted to choke a guy so bad.
Unfolding your arms, you look at him challengingly. “You wanna talk about disgusting? Alright,” you nod. “Didn’t you shit your pants while waiting for the dentist? I’d say that’s pretty disgusting, wouldn’t you?”
Jaehyun falls silent as he reclines back on his chair. With a tight jaw, he glares at you, indignation steaming out of his nostrils. You, 1. Jaehyun, 0.
Smirking, you ask derisively, leaning forwards threateningly. “What’s the matter, Jung? Cat got your tongue?”
Jaehyun flips you off with a livid face.
“Nice,” you snort. “It’s like we’re still in high school.”
After his childish rebut, his sulkiness continues to loom over his face. “You know, I can’t believe they’re actually making me marry you. I’d rather be married to a goat,” he remarks bitterly.
You quirk a brow up. “Huh. I feel sorry for the goat. Having to deal with fuckin’ Pampers.”
“Why, you little—”
The sound of Jaehyun’s father clearing his throat stops him from uttering his explosive jab at you. Both of you turn to face the patriarchs of your family who are standing side by side, holding out some papers in their hands which you assume are the contracts since this is what the agenda is for today’s meeting. They approach the two of you and automatically, you’re both standing up with Jaehyun proceeding to courteously greet and shake your father’s hand, you with his.
After the formal greetings, they lay the papers out on the desk, explaining the contents, guiding you on where to sign. It’s basically a legally binding contract stating that you are agreeing to be married to each other. This marriage, they tell you, will look good on paper and will be good for their companies’ future. Your father specifically talked about the timeline and how the wedding will be six months from now to make way for the transition of the merger.
Law firms bearing your names will be built and spread out across the country, with Jaehyun leading and managing it. He’s bequeathed with two responsibilities and already, his stomach churns, shoulders sagging. His father is essentially making him take over an empire. All this time, he’s been preparing his son for something greater, something bigger. And this was it. Questions have started to swarm in Jaehyun’s head as he listens to them talk. He thinks about his own capabilities, fretting about whether he’s ready for this kind of duty.
Your fathers also said that it is imperative to be convincing once you’re both wedded to each other. Not only do you have to marry him, you also have to go through the ordeal of pretending to be happy and in love with him once you’ve tied the knot. You have to build a façade, show them that your combination is good enough, that you’re working together harmoniously. It’s better, they advise, to be sure and to steer out from any issues or hearsays that could come up. It is essential to persuade the people around you, even though right now, it’s harder to convince yourself to make up and reconcile with him.
Throughout the whole discussion and their speeches, you don’t look at Jaehyun, finding yourself lost in your thoughts, wallowed by the feelings of resentment and detestation caused by this stupid tradition. The universe, you think, truly works in mysterious ways. It could play tricks on you and fuck with you. Put you into a horrible situation that makes you feel like you’ve hit fifty feet below rock bottom.
You’ve always dreamt of marrying for love but in this world, that kind of marriage isn’t an option. The notion of choice is non-existent. You’ve always thought that whoever it is that you’re going to be betrothed to, you would’ve learned to love them eventually.
Let’s take your parents as an example. They were promised to each other. They were complete strangers who had to marry each other. And afterwards, they learned to love each other as they got to know one another. It was like dating in reverse. Now, here they are. Still happily married and in love even after all these years together. They’ve always served as inspirations for you. They were a guide, the ones that ignited that spark of hope inside you and made you think that someday, maybe you can have that too when your time comes. Now, you’re not sure at all if you can even have that. Because it’s Jaehyun.
There really is no way out to this. Fuck. How are you going to love each other when you can’t even stand being in a room with him? How are you going to build a bond with your future husband and pretend that you’re in a marital bliss with him when already, you’re both miserable about having been coupled together through this arrangement?
This will change and affect every single thing in your life. You could already envision it—you’ll both live under the same roof, you’ll do most things together, attend events and overlook the whole company. Your life with him would just be one huge obligation and that’s it. You and him would have to pretend to be the perfect husband and wife outside and when it’s time to return in the private sphere of home, it’ll just be the same. The rift between you would continue to divide you as you do your own things and live your own private lives separately without incorporating one another to your personal circles.
Perhaps Oscar Wilde really made a point when he said that one of marriage’s charm is that it will make a life of deception. The thought brings about a dull ache into the marrow of your bones because there’d be no love in this marriage, only duty. Marriage, you believe, should always have love, friendship—a bond. It should mean that two people are connected, not separated. Instead, this one is all fragmented from the very beginning. He’s going to treat this—you—as an obligation, as work. You might as well do the same and comply.
Swallowing your pride and emotions until the taste in your tongue turns bile and all your nerves are wired to only have bitterness in them, you sign the papers. That’s all it took for the deal to be sealed, for your choices to be decided for you and for your future to be written out on your behalf.
With your fathers leaving the room, you figure there’s no reason to stay here any longer. Standing up from your seat, you sigh exasperatedly and make your way to the door. If you’re being honest, you have no energy left. All you want to do is get out of here, scream inside your car, pour yourself a glass of wine when you get home and scream again just to feel cathartic.
“Hey, wait,” Jaehyun says, catching your elbow, his voice all gentle now. “Look, I know we both hate this arrangement but for the sake of our families, can we please set our personal problems aside?”
Crossing your arms, you blink up at him, considering.
“How about this,” he bargains when you don’t answer. “If I don’t win your heart in a month, then fine. We can call off the whole thing.”
You scoff. “Good luck in convincing my dad and your dad.”
“Hey, I can come up with something. I’m a pretty charming guy, you know,” he assures, a smile growing on the corners of his lips. It almost earned him a snort had you not controlled yourself. “I persuade people for a living.”
Raising a quizzical brow, you ask, “What are you proposing?”
“Four weeks,” Jaehyun offers confidently. “Four weeks to take you out on dates. And after that, you can decide if you want to go through this marriage with me.”
For a second, you deliberate. What he’s suggesting is not a bad idea. Remembering your mother’s optimistic words about how you can use this to patch things up with him, you suppose that you could give it a chance. And if it doesn’t work, then you trust him to stay true to his word.
Maybe this arrangement does have a silver lining despite it being murky at face value. Maybe change is what you need. A change in mindset, in outlook. Maybe you do need to start burying the past behind you and try to approach Jaehyun differently.
“Okay,” you say, conceding. “Four weeks, Jung. Four weeks.”
He nods as he extends his palm out. You shake it firmly, sealing the deal.
For the first week of your agreement with Jaehyun, you go bowling.
It’s early afternoon when you get there, the place heaving with people. There’s a family in one lane, a couple in the far right and some young teenagers to the left. The smell of greasy pizza and donuts wafts heavily in the air from the snack bar as you and Jaehyun sit down and put on your bowling shoes.
Taking your designated lane, he starts to key in your names on the screen. You decide to warm up, grabbing an orange ball, slipping your fingers in the holes and aiming ahead before surging forward and letting the ball roll off your hand. It had a good start before it veered off to the side halfway through the path, only hitting one pin on the farthest right side.
“To be fair, I haven’t played in ages so…” you reason, shrugging nonchalantly.
“That’s okay,” he nods, goes to grab a pink ball from the rack and begins to angle it chest level, moving slightly as he stays in the middle. When he launches forward, it’s with a sure speed, bending his body, his right foot curving backwards as he swings his hand and lets the ball go. With the right amount of force and velocity, Jaehyun hits a strike on his first try, effortlessly knocking all the pins down.
“What the fuck?” You cross your arms, expression stupefied. “Are you like a pro or something?”
Giggling gingerly, he shakes his head. At your next bowl, the ball actually swerves off to the side halfway through the lane, rolling in the gutter. Jaehyun once again reassures you that these things happen and that you just need to keep on practicing.
Groaning in frustration, you pout. “Hey, is this why you chose bowling as our first date?” you say, hands on your hips as you arch a brow. “So you could make me feel bad about my skills?”
“I suggested bowling,” he counters with a smile, taking another ball and going beside you, “so I can teach you. It’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.”
“Easy for you to say,” you huff. “You probably scored one fifty in one go before.”
“Two eighty,” he reveals at the same time as the combination of noises from kids and the raucous of balls rolling and hitting pins increases in volume.
“Two eighty?” you repeat with a gasp, unsure if you even heard it right. “Who does that? Just say you’re a pro and go, Jung.”
He grins, slightly shaking his head to spread out his stubborn strands away from his forehead. “I’m not a pro,” he stresses. “Pros score like three hundred and that’s fucking hard to achieve.”
Shooting him a pointed, critical look, he steps to your side, transfers the dark green bowling ball to you. He positions himself behind you, holding your shoulders. “Keep your posture relaxed and straight.”
Nodding, you straighten your back even more. When his breath hovers at the side of your face, your pulse in your wrists vibrates, making you gulp as you urge your brain to concentrate on the lesson. He runs his palm on your arms and you follow its trajectory. “Make sure you keep your gaze ahead on the target.”
When you nod determinedly, Jaehyun continues. “Then when you’re about to bowl, lower your shoulders slightly.” He demonstrates the stance step by step. “Bend down a little and keep your hand under the ball.”
“Like this?” you ask, facing him as you follow his instructions.
“Yep,” he says, popping the ‘P’ sound. “And then when you walk forward, slightly bend your knee like this,” he guides, displaying the exact posture. “As you let the ball go, put your right foot backwards. Got it?”
“I think so.”
He implores, “Okay, you try it.”
Taking all of his words in, you begin to keep your eyes ahead as Jaehyun steps back to give you space. When you’re confident in your position, you finally stride ahead, making sure you don’t overstep on the line, bending slightly and slanting your foot backwards as you swing your hand and let the ball go. Compared to your previous attempts, you knock five pins in the front this time.
“Nice,” he shoots a proud grin your way, high-fiving you. “See? It’s pretty easy, right?”
Returning with an exhilarated nod, you sit down and watch Jaehyun as he goes for his turn, again beating the rest of the pins down cleanly. When he proposes for a real game after that round, you two start to get competitive. With your newfound confidence, you end up scoring high, catching up to him. You were on a roll, even scoring a spare.
“You’re still so competitive,” Jaehyun comments while he flickers his eyes up at the score then back at you.
“I’m not as bad compared to you,” you counter, watching a ball roll back to the rack. “Remember when you didn’t talk to Sicheng for forty-eight hours after he beat you in badminton?”
“Hey, in my defence, I just turned thirteen then,” he protests. “I blame it on the teenage hormones.”
“That’s your defence?”
For your last bowl, you scored a nine. In the end, Jaehyun emerged victorious with a score of one seventy-four. You weren’t far behind, scoring a one thirty. You’re actually quite surprised at the result—you’ve never bowled a score this high before. When you were a teenager, the highest you achieved was a ninety. This isn’t a loss to you. If anything, you saw it as a win. A win in your skills.
After returning your bowling sneakers, he turns to face you with an offer. “You wanna go and get something to eat?”
“Sure. My treat.”
“Y/N, I can—”
“No, Jae,” you insist. “You paid for bowling so food’s mine.”
“But I’m the guy. I should be paying.”
“Jaehyun, it’s fine,” you assure him. “Just let me get it, okay?”
He relents, nodding. “Okay. Thanks.”
As a creative director for an influential brand, you don’t have any problem with spending. You’re not destitute, thank goodness. During first dates, you would allow the guy to pay but there’s no reason for him to just cover everything when you can also offer to pay and treat.
After roaming around the food bar, you both opted to have something light, settling for ice cream.
“Um, I think I’ll have the green tea ice cream,” Jaehyun decides after skimming through the menu board.
“You haven’t changed at all,” you comment, smiling. Whenever there’d be an ice cream truck that would stop outside your school in the afternoon, he would always ask for this specific flavor, never changing his order. Even in high school, it remained the same.
He mutely chuckles in an oddly shy manner, rubbing the back of his head as he keeps his scarlet lips pursed, a tinge of vermillion gracing the pores of his cheeks.
“Are you blushing? Gross,” you tease waggishly, nudging the side of his body slightly.
He rolls his eyes, bumping you back gently. “Shut up.”
Laughing, you step forward when the girl behind the counter calls for you. Jaehyun watches you articulate your orders in and you send an amiable smile to the girl, thanking her when she hands you his order first. He feels his heart clench in his chest as he accepts it from you, the smallest amount of contact from your fingers sending a shiver to his spine. There really are some things—and some feelings—from high school that hasn’t changed.
When a harsh buzzing sound from your phone interrupts your peaceful and deep slumber, you reach out for the device on your nightstand and willed yourself to open your heavy lids, squinting to read who’s incessantly calling you.
Vision all bleary, you unlock your phone and answer with a throaty voice. “Hello?”
A familiar voice from the other line chirps a good morning and once your conscious registered who it is, you grunt.
“Do you know what time it is, Jung?” you complain, eyes wandering round to the balcony in your room, only to see that it’s still dark outside.
“It’s time for you to wake up and get ready because I’m picking you up in fifteen minutes for our second date,” Jaehyun responds, sounding spright.
“I sincerely hope you’re kidding,” you say, releasing a long exhale as you turn to the side again to check the time on your digital clock perched on your nightstand. “It’s five o’clock.”
“Yes, I am aware of that. But I promise this will be worth it. Now hurry up and get your ass out of bed. We don’t wanna miss it.”
Jesus fuck, this guy really is serious. A date at five in the morning. If this was a normal situation where you’re not at all linked together, you would’ve sputtered profanities at him, hung up the phone and then go back to sleep.
Drawling out a long, excruciating moan, you finally push the covers down after he hung up the phone. You don’t even know if you’re fully cognizant when you make your way to the bathroom and do your essential morning routine of washing your face and brushing your teeth. After putting on a pair of jeans and a shirt, you make sure to grab a cardigan to cover you up. You contemplate whether to put on some light makeup but in the end, you forego it, just taking a small bag and shoving your necessities in.
When you emerge out to finally face the dim world outside, you see Jaehyun leaning against his car door, wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans, a smile gracing his face when he meets your eyes. “Morning, sleepyhead.”
Covering your mouth as you yawn instinctively, you narrow your stare at him afterwards, exhaustion still lingering in your bones, preventing you from feeling energized to start the day. It’s barely light outside and the chilly morning air just makes you sleepier as you desperately long for the comfort and warmth of your own bed.
“This better be good,” you say.
He laughs at your attempt to be threatening. “It will be.”
Finally going in the passenger seat, you buckle yourself up, Jaehyun doing the same before turning the engine on. When you’re both on the road, you lean your head back and groan, only making your date’s grin bigger. He’d be bluffing if he said that he didn’t find your groggy and frowny self in the morning endearing and cute.
“So where exactly are we going?”
“You’ll see,” he says with a teasing smirk.
When you return with a pout and a questioning expression, he could only react with a chuckle. You’re comforted in always knowing the specifics and it makes him want to defy that by not disclosing details. Besides, where’s the fun in revealing it to you immediately? He, for one, wants to see your reaction once you get there.
Leaning your elbow on the windowsill and resting your head on your palm as you take in the view that you pass by, you can’t help but shake your head, stifling your idiotic smile upon the realization that you really are on a road trip with him at five in the morning.
With one hand on the steering wheel, he coasts through the highway smoothly and easily since only a few people are travelling at this time of day. Whatever he’s got planned for you, it’s safe to say that you’re definitely intrigued.
For Jaehyun, this is a special day because he’s never taken any other girl out to this place. In the course of his dating experience, he’s never really found the right one to take. Come to think of it, he finds that he likes your company a lot. He always feels so invigorated whenever he’s with you. There’s familiarity with you and there’s a kind of simplicity with your personality that puts his heart to ease. Whereas with his exes, he felt exhausted since it always seemed to be about them. He pondered about the reasons why he felt that way with his former lovers and deduced that perhaps they only dated him because of his wealth and status.
With his last girlfriend—Rachel—he felt as though he was just someone in the background, a flower that she could display, a bit of decoration for her life. She rarely made an effort to get to know him and connect with him on a deeper level. It felt like it was always him chasing and wanting her. She grew too comfortable with that fact, liked knowing that Jaehyun was a pawn in her little games. In the end, he caught her fucking someone else in her car.
His last relationship resulted in his hesitation to commit, in his reckless, lascivious lifestyle of fucking with no strings attached since at the end of the day, he’s still a young man with needs. He worked hard so he can play hard on the side—this was how he lived before doomsday came to him. He knew he was going to be married to someone one day; he just never expected that the person his parents chose for him was you. But now that you are here in his life, now that you’re back in his world after a long time, he realizes that perhaps being arranged to you had been a blessing rather than a curse. He definitely brands it as good karma now.
Ever since your bowling date, he couldn’t get you out of his head. After that day, you texted each other nonstop. Sometimes, when he’s having his lunch break at work, he’d find himself randomly smiling at the thought of you, proceeding to bring out his phone to reread all your conversations. There’s still the occasional bickering between you but then again, he feels like it’s almost inherent to do that because of where you two started before all of this.
There’s that one where he sent you a screenshot of a tweet that he saw about whales, the conversation quickly escalating into the topic of global warming and ecosystems. And then you replied with a fact that you thought was right but really, you were in the wrong.
Jaehyun [10:58 pm]: …actually it’s Australia that’s managing it. The EPBC act 1999 is responsible for the protection of national and international flora and fauna, including the great barrier reef. get ur facts straight
Y/N [10:59 pm]: lol why u maddd
Jaehyun [11:00 pm]: not mad bro, just educating you.
Y/N [11:00 pm]: go off i guess
Whenever he takes a glance at you, occasionally asking if you feel comfortable with the temperature, you keep on reassuring him, finding that warmth had started to travel from your palms to your cheeks. Maybe it’s not just from heat that emits from the heater.
“Stop that,” you protest when you finally feel like you’re about to implode from his stare.
“You keep on looking at me like that.”
Averting his eyes away from yours, he stares at the road, tongue swirling round on his cheek to contain his giggle. As he steps on the gas and accelerates, it dawns on him that the place he’s taking you is one that’s actually special to him. It’s where he usually goes whenever he wants to feel relaxed, whenever he just wants to ease off all the stress, all the tension and negativity in his head. It’s his safe space and he wants you in it. He wants to make you feel how healing it is once you’ve entered the place. He hopes that you could see one of the things that he appreciates and that you’ll be able to feel something positive.
After a few minutes, Jaehyun makes a quick stop to a convenience store, tells you that he’s just going to buy some coffee and snacks for you both. It doesn’t take long before he steps out with a bag of food. Accepting gratefully when he passes it over to you, you bring out one of the crisps and start munching happily, sharing the bag with him.
Carefully and securely perching your cups on the holder, Jaehyun learns how you like your coffee and how your smile and mood exponentially increases once you take the first sip, with you proclaiming that you can finally function for the day. While you eat contently, moaning in satisfaction from having your first meal of the day, Jaehyun drives once again, completely rejuvenated, humming softly to the music playing on the radio.
The conversation between you falls naturally and easily, with you learning more about the kind of person Jaehyun is now. He revealed that he graduated law school with honors, told you how he had to work twice as hard because he didn’t want to disappoint his father.
Ever since high school, Jaehyun had always regarded him as his role model, admitted to you that one of his biggest fears is failing him. He’s always been a filial son—something you’ve always admired about him. And ever since you were kids, Jaehyun has always been hardworking. He was someone who was full of dreams and ambitions so to hear that he thrived during his university days didn’t come as a surprise to you.
While he told you all about this, you found yourself admiring his candidness and how easy it was for him to open up to you, reminiscent of how he was in high school where you two shared your secrets to one another. It made you think about how he’s really allowing himself to welcome this change, to give this whole thing a chance. This Jaehyun is so different from that person in high school who always pushed your buttons and did everything to irk you and rile up your nerves, from that person who you heard sputter those words about you.
Aside from serious, personal topics, you also learned about the simple things that were equally important because it’s what weaves him whole—like his love for coffee, Money Heist and IKEA meatballs. When he talked about them, you noticed how his eyes gleamed and how the whiskers on his cheeks became more profound whenever he grinned.
Throughout the whole journey, there had been nothing but laughter and smiles with him. Your heart feels comfortable like this. It’s easy, natural and the chemistry is all familiar because it’s with him. If this was another man, you don’t think you’d get this kind of feeling. It makes you think that maybe your mother is right about how it’s better to have a future husband who you already know.
After a few more minutes of driving, he finally enters the area and parks the car.
“A nature reserve?” you ask while reading the sign.
With the sky gradually lighting up, you waste no time to enter the area together, preparing yourself for what you can assume would be a long hike. Eyes surveying your surroundings, you can’t help but stare in awe. Encircled by trees, with a faint light seeping through the branches and the sound of birds chirping and greeting you two, you look at Jaehyun with a smile in your lips. The feeling that bubbles in your chest is inexplicable and persevering.
As you continue to walk with him, you don’t miss the way his pinky finger grazes with yours and the way sparks makes it way to your spine. You don’t miss the way he looks at you with soft eyes before winding his fingers with yours as though he is asking for permission. When your fingers embrace his, he receives his answer.
Hand in hand, the trek becomes easy, short and tireless. He turns to look at you. “You still mad at me for waking you up?”
Biting down on your lip and smiling, you shake your head. He chuckles and playfully pinches your scrunched up nose just like how he used to in high school whenever you make this expression.
After reaching the end of an uphill path, he stops and finally tells you that you’re both here. Mouth agape, you could barely blink at the captivating sight in front of you. It’s a meadow of tulips—a field of colorful, beautiful tulips all lined up in full bloom.
“Oh my God, Jaehyun, this is…” You’re at a loss for words, your breath completely sucked out from your lungs. Walking forward, you start to admire the myriad of flowers up close. “It’s beautiful out here,” you tell him.
He silently nods and follows behind, crouching down to caress a yellow tulip, taking a whiff. “I took you here because I know they’re your favorite.”
Your heart dangerously lurches in your chest. “You remember,” you say, surprised, as you squat down and touch the closest flower, its pink petal soft and smooth against your palm.
For a moment, you let yourself recall that day where you professed your love for tulips. It was one of your first memories with Jaehyun as a child.
During a coloring activity in kindergarten, your attention was fixated on a page full of flowers, your brows creased in concentration, the tip of your tongue swirling round on the corner of your lip. Jaehyun, with his peachy cheeks and his bowl cut, came up to sit beside you, diligently helped you in filling your page with colors as you told him that you liked those flowers, pointed to them and said that they are called tulips. He repeated the word after you, testing it on his tongue and you found it beautiful how it rolled off naturally on his lips.
“When it comes to you, I remember everything,” he says when your eyes meet, your pulse racing.
With warm cheeks, you stand up, deciding to walk further, going deeper in the field. Jaehyun follows and makes sure to stride beside you, keeping up with your leisure pace. The silence with him feels comfortable as the flowers in the field waltzes against the breezy wind. Above you, shadows of birds start to fly while the morning sky gradually starts to display a marvellous canvas of pastel blue with streaks of orange.
“I always go here in my spare time,” he reveals. Taking a relaxed inhale, he pushes his fringe back, only for it to fall back into place. “I like how it makes me feel calm because some days, I feel like I just need to shut all the noise down and this place definitely takes my mind away from that space.”
This place truly induces feelings of calmness and relaxation with its tranquillity and its fresh air. For the first time in ages, you didn’t seek for the chaotic, busy metropolitan that you’re used to. For the first time, you let yourself be one with nature.
Adding on to his words, you confess your own sentiments. “Sometimes, it can be overwhelming and you just feel like you need to take a step back and breathe.”
Turning his head to drop his gaze at you, a wistful smile glazes his lips. “Exactly,” he says, bending down and grabbing a tulip from its lower stem.
“Jaehyun, what are you doing? Are you allowed to pick flowers here?”
Your questions don’t deter him because he’s scrupulously plucking it in one swift motion, doing the same to the one beside it before standing up again, now with two pink tulips in his hand.
“Technically, you’re not allowed to pick flowers from this reserve but it’s fine,” he says with finesse. When he sees your lips part in shock and your worried expression at his revelation, he just laughs. “Nobody’s around anyway.”
Arching a brow, you can’t help but feel an onslaught of chuckles escaping out your throat. “Aren’t you an environmental lawyer? Shouldn’t you be an advocate for taking care of nature?”
“Well, I am taking care of nature.”
“I don’t think picking flowers counts,” you say dryly.
“I’m taking care of it because by picking these, I know that they’ll be in great hands when I give it to you,” he reasons, stretching out his hand at the same time to offer you the flowers.
Smiling foolishly at his intention and at the gesture, you hold it and lower your head slightly to take a smell, feeling something blossoming in the depths of your chest as though there’s a seed that’s been planted in there and a variety of inexplicable feelings have started to grow and flourish. Since when did he become such a romantic? Was he always like this? Is this what he’s like with his old flames?
“You really are a lawyer.”
This earns you a smile. “Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being daring and impulsive,” he says, putting his hands in the back pockets of his jeans. “I mean, isn’t that what life is all about? Being adventurous and taking risks?”
Nodding, you watch the skyline in front of you as Jaehyun brings out his phone to check the time. It’s quarter to six. Just the right time to catch the sunrise in this perfect spot. Minutes pass by peacefully as you both observe how the sun ascends slowly and gracefully, its light brightly dispersing everywhere, kissing every surface it can land on.
When Jaehyun takes a passing glance at you, he sees the way your eyes are embracing the whole view and how the edges of your mouth are curled upwards as you release relaxed exhalations. He sees the way you radiate beauty against this light, the way your lashes touch your skin. He watches you and feels his heart soar at the same time, realizing that he’s finally found another view that’s more beautiful than the sunrise, a sight that he’d want to adore and praise for every day of his life.
When you catch him staring at you, a faint hue of pink glosses on his cheeks. “Thank you,” you say with sincere eyes.
“For taking me here,” you tell him.
He returns with a nod, delighted that you came to appreciate this place. Looking ahead again, you take a mental snapshot of the astonishing spectacle in your head.
“God, it’s so beautiful,” you breathe, completely enchanted and gravitated by nature’s moment of romantic change, feeling as though your heart is also being saturated with a new combination of colors.
With Jaehyun’s stare still lingering on your features, he could only let out his honest thoughts. “It really is.”
Leaning your head on his shoulder while keeping the tulips close to your chest, he shifts closer and wraps his arm around your waist. For a while, you just breathe together, admiring one of nature’s most intimate moments ever. It doesn’t take long before the world is bathed in yellow, bounded in broad daylight.
Jaehyun fishes for his phone and decides to document the scene, thumbing on his screen to let it focus before taking a few shots.
“God, please, no,” you lift your head, groaning.
His lips are curved upwards into a child-like smile. “Darling?”
Cringing, you shake your head.
When you feign a gagging expression, he laughs. You think it’s repulsive. He thinks it’s entertaining.
When you don’t show any reaction and just bite down on the skin of your lip, he grins. “I knew it. You like to be pampered and spoiled.”
When you smack his arm playfully in defence, he just continues to let out kittenish giggles.
“Do you wanna take a photo together?” you finally drop the question you’ve been meaning to ask him after a few moments of quietness, your voice coming out soft.
His eyes widen before he nods. “Yes. Absolutely.”
Pressing the button for the front camera, he wraps his arm around your shoulder and angles his phone upwards. Counting down, he takes a couple of pictures as you pose together, your grins toothy as the first light of the morning soaks your skins, putting an incandescent glow to you both.
With the distant gleam shining on the world, signifying a promising start, you realize that this truly is the dawn of a new day.
Once you’re both back on the road again, it is with high spirits. As he drives smoothly and safely, he turns to you, asking with a tentative tone, “Is it okay if we stop somewhere first?”
“Sure,” you nod and he smiles, reaching out to slightly turn up the volume of the radio.
When you recognize the song playing, certain memories flood back in your conscious. Looking at him, you’re sure that he’s thinking of the same one because he’s already singing along, his honey-like voice filling the car.
Fingers tapping the steering wheel to the beat of this Paramore classic, he starts to reminisce. “I still remember the day you introduced them to me.”
“During sports day, right?”
It was during middle school when you and Jaehyun were sitting on the side of the track field, minding your business and being in your own world while your other classmates were occupied in watching the relay race, intensely cheering and shouting. With your iPod, you shared your earphones with him and listened to the band together.
Grinning, he nods. When he resumes to sing, you decide to join him, both carefree and excited as you jam your hearts out to songs from your pubescent years.
“A dog rescue center?”
“I volunteered here when I was an undergrad,” he reveals—much to your surprise—as he parks the car. When you both step out, he goes to open the trunk and grabs a red gift bag.
Wind chimes tinkle musically when you enter the building. You’re greeted by a curly haired woman from behind the reception, her eyes lighting up.
“Oh my goodness, Jaehyun—hi! What a lovely surprise!” She clasps her palms together, making her way to stand in front of you two, welcoming the younger man with a motherly embrace.
“Hi, Mrs. Davis,” he politely greets back. “How’ve you been?”
“Oh, well, I’ve been extra busy these days. Loads of people are adopting our puppies. What about you? How’s work?”
“It’s been hectic recently,” Jaehyun admits but makes no indication in his expressions that he’s pressured or exhausted. Turning to you, he introduces, “Oh, uh, Mrs. Davis, I’d like you to meet Y/N.”
The older woman jovially grins as she shakes your hand and greets you warmly. “Hi, Y/N. I’m Sally. I’m the one who runs this animal shelter.”
Returning the gesture, you smile sociably. “Hi, it’s so nice to meet you.”
She flits her gaze between you two and asks hospitably, “Would you kids like some coffee or tea? Or maybe some biscuits?”
Shaking your head with a mannerly smile, you utter, “I’m okay, thank you.”
She asks, brow slightly rising, “Jaehyun?”
“I’m also good, thanks,” he says genially, waving his hands in refusal.
“Alright. Let me go and get Maisie then. I’m sure she’ll be so pleased to see you.”
When you’re both alone in the lobby, he tells you that Maisie is Mrs. Davis’ daughter. They grew close while he volunteered here and it warmed your heart when he said that they’re like family to him.
A voice excitedly calls Jaehyun’s name, grabbing both of your attention. When you turn around, you see a little girl with an overflowing amount of energy bolting quickly.
“Hi, Maisie,” he greets when she’s in front of him. He bends down to her height, squeezing her into a hug.
The girl with the pigtails, wearing a yellow dress with a ribbon in the middle grins enormously when he raises his palm for a high five. With a sunny disposition, she goes for it, their palms making a loud slap before she giggles in sync with Jaehyun.
“Did you miss me?” he asks, his gaze soft as he squishes her cheek affectionately.
Maisie nods, her lips jutted out in a pout, the baby fat in her cheeks making her look so precious and wholesome.
Jaehyun holds out the gift bag and waves it in front of her. “I have something for you.”
The little girl’s mouth shapes into an O as a gasp erupts out of her. She embraces the gift bag, clinging onto it and swaying it, making him chuckle before he earnestly wishes her a happy birthday.
With eager hands, she’s instantly unravelling her present, exclaims gleefully once she finds a jacket. Sliding it out from the bag, she raises it up and clutches it into her chest, hopping like a bunny. “It’s green!”
It’s her favorite color and seeing her smooth and touch the cotton material of the item makes Jaehyun smile satisfactorily. “You wanna try it on?”
Bobbing her head yes, he helps her as he holds the jacket while she slips her arms in. She twirls cutely once she’s wearing it over her dress, the outerwear perfectly fitting her frame.
“You look very nice, sweetie.”
“Thank you, Jaehyun,” she beams widely.
Her innocence makes your heart swell with nostalgia, missing your childhood years and how it’s so simple and carefree back then. Observing them, you couldn’t help but grin too, the sight tugging on your heartstrings in the best possible way. Jaehyun being excellent with kids is so refreshing to see. Most of the guys you dated in the past were awkward and stiff when they met your nieces, nephews or little cousins but Jaehyun is different—he’s natural and patient.
“You’re welcome, kiddo,” he says, bopping her button nose. “Oh, by the way. Maisie, this is Y/N.”
Stooping down, you wave at her. “Hi, Maisie. Happy birthday,” you greet.
She smiles adorably. “Thank you, Y/N.”
“How old are you today?”
“I’m seven,” she punctuates proudly and confidently, showing you through her fingers. “Are you Jaehyun’s girlfriend?”
Flustered, you stumble awkwardly, “Oh, uh…”
Technically, you’re not his girlfriend—you’re more than that. If you were to look at it objectively, keeping the facts straight, you are his fiancée. You’re an engaged couple going on dates so yes, you are a couple who are entangled with one another through this dating phase. It’s complicated, really.
The apple of his cheeks flushing with crimson, he clears his throat before answering for you. “She’s a… friend.”
“But she’s a girl and she’s your friend so wouldn’t she be your girlfriend?”
Scrunching his nose and gnawing down on his lower lip as though to contain a grin, Jaehyun impishly ruffles the top of her hair. “I guess you’re right,” he says, nodding. “Y/N is my girlfriend.”
Your insides begin to flutter and your face feels like it’s aflame, the thumping of your heart deafening your ears.
“You’re so pretty, Y/N,” she says, her eyes curving first before a smile descends on her lips after observing you in wonderment.
“Thank you, Maisie. I think you’re very pretty, too,” you tell her, thoughtfully pushing some of her strands away so it doesn’t block and poke her eye.
She turns to him. “Jaehyun, do you think Y/N is pretty?”
He spends his time staring at you as though he is in a daze. And when he gets back to her question, he nods, his eyes and lips smiling. “I think she’s the prettiest woman in the world.”
Before you can even manage to take a gulp to tame the stirring commotion of the butterflies in your belly, Maisie is already reaching for Jaehyun’s hand and yours, zealously pulling you both inside the building, presumably to the area where the dogs are. You pass by a hallway with empty cages until she opens a door and you’re taken to the back garden where a couple of dogs are flurrying about, excitedly barking and crowding when they see the three of you enter.
Instinctively gasping in surprise at the sight of dogs jumping, you grin and tend to a brown Labrador, gently stroking its fluffy head. Jaehyun bends down and pets a Terrier that stayed near his foot. “Hey, buddy,” he says, opening up his palm, the white canine obeying immediately and placing its paw on his hand. The lines of his dimples expands as he shakes the dog’s hand.
“His name is Snoopy,” Maisie informs beside you, patting the Labrador’s back softly, causing him to sit down, enjoying the attention placed on him. “He’s four years old.”
“Hi, Snoopy,” you coo, your heart turning into mush when he lifts his head up and looks at you, his tongue protruding out. Leaning, you embrace Snoopy, feeling like you could cry out of your bliss from being surrounded by these dogs.
Maisie tugs your shirt, offering to introduce you to the other pups and you let her, standing up and going further in the backyard. You whip your head, looking over your shoulder at Jaehyun who just grins at you, shooting a thumbs up while he plays with the Terrier that seems to have taken a liking to him.
The docile Snoopy follows you and Maisie as you meet the other dogs—there’s an energetic Cocker Spaniel named Goose, Rover, the black French bulldog and a tiny brown Chihuahua called Lily. Maisie plays with them happily, letting the dogs lick her cheeks as she chortles exuberantly.
Sitting down on the grass and crossing your legs, you let Lily settle down on your lap while you pet her quietly. Beside you, the bubbly little girl tells you all about the dogs, listing all their unique traits like how Rover has a little splodge of white on his chin or how Goose immediately falls asleep when a blanket is thrown over him.
Still near the entrance, Jaehyun stands up and crosses his arms, watching you bond with Maisie, giggling together as you let her show you the tricks that Goose can do. Copying her, you cheer and clap fervently when he submits to your command, proceeding to reward the dog with your praises and adoration, peppering him with your soft petting and some belly rubs.
As he looks at you, he realizes that one of his favorite things about you is your smile and laugh. It reminds him of the good memories he had with you in high school and how he didn’t mind looking like an absolute fool in front of your other classmates if it meant that you’d get to laugh.
Maisie’s mom comes to stand beside Jaehyun, watching you two become surrounded by the dogs, your glee filling you to the brim. “She makes you happy, doesn’t she?”
Feeling as though his heart is about to escape his chest and run towards you, he nods, eyes not prying away from the sight of you grinning and laughing heartily. “Yeah. She does.”
Jaehyun doesn’t blame you for being completely overtaken by your exhaustion on the journey back home. It has been an eventful day, after all, with the early start and everything. Lowering the volume of the radio down, he makes sure to drive in a steady and comfortable way while you sleep.
“Y/N?” he says once he stops the car outside your place.
When you don’t flinch, only responding with your soft and even breathing, he tries again, leaning a bit forward, placing his hand on your shoulder. “Princess?”
Slowly blinking into full consciousness, you lift your head up, only to see Jaehyun’s face so close to you, his warm breath fanning the side of your neck.
“We’re here,” he says, almost coming out as a whisper before reclining back to his seat, breaking the contact away.
“Oh, uh, right,” you mumble, trying to get your bearings straight.
Taking your bag and unbuckling your seatbelt, you step out from the car, with Jaehyun walking you to your front door.
“So, I’ll see you on the third date?” he asks, rubbing the back of his head, making him look boyish.
“I feel like it’s always you bringing me to places,” you tell him, an idea striking you. “How about I pick where we’re going for the next date?”
“Sounds good to me.”
When he’s back in his car, Jaehyun takes his phone out. He views the photos from this morning, smiling as he selects his favorite one and sets it as his new lock screen.
Y/N [8:43 pm]: do you like basketball?
Jaehyun [8:45 pm]: it’s my favorite sport
Jaehyun [8:46 pm]: as a matter of fact, you’re talking to a basketball star - michael JAEdan
Y/N [8:47 pm]: lmao ur such a dork
Y/N [8:47 pm]: anyways for our next date we’re going to a basketball game
Jaehyun [8:48 pm]: SERIOUSLY?? oh my god, i could kiss you right now
Jaehyun [8:49 pm]: bet ur smiling rn ;)
Y/N [8:51 pm]: get outttt
Jaehyun [8:52 pm]: hahaha
If you were in a movie right now, you’d definitely be in a romcom. With matching hats, you and Jaehyun are seated in the middle of the stadium, cozied up against each other like those leads in chick flicks. (He insisted at the entrance in buying you a purple cap so you could match with him.)
“Hey, thanks for this,” he says, tucking a strand of hair gently to the back of your ear.
Your breath hitching for a second, you shoot him a smile, knowing what he means.
“Seriously, this is the best date ever,” he carries on. “I mean, I’m here with a girl that I like and I’m watching my favorite team play at the same time—man, I feel like I won the lottery.”
Shaking your head to control your lips from stretching into a foolish smile, you feel your cheeks heat up uncontrollably. Jaehyun grins and takes the opportunity to hold your hand, interlacing your fingers together as you continue on watching this intense ball game.
Your knowledge in basketball isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. Sure, you know about three-point shots, lay-ups and blocking but there’s still a lot of rules you don’t understand even when you watch it unfold in real time.
“Wait, so why does that guy get to shoot?” you ask, pointing ahead to the player of the opposing team.
“He committed a foul so he gets a free throw,” Jaehyun informs. He enlightens you with all the rules of basketball and the positions of players while you listen and nod attentively, trying to watch the game at the same time.
When the point guard shoots a score, the game continues, with them constantly running and passing the ball while blocking each other and defending. The crowd of avid fanatics are shouting feverishly when someone attempts to shoot from a far angle. And when they miss, the opponent grabs the ball and runs to the side of their court.
You actually understand what’s going on now, enjoying the power and the passion of it and looking up at the time they have before it runs out and they have to make a buzzer beater. Your eyes following the player who currently has the ball, you shout ‘travelling’ before anyone else.
“That’s my girl! Michael Jaedan taught her that!” he shouts, clapping his hands as he stands up, making you laugh.
The referee blows the whistle and calls a foul, gestures with his hand. Once he’s seated again, Jaehyun looks at you with the biggest smile, dimples and the canines on his teeth all on display as he spins your cap backwards before wrapping his arm around your shoulder. This feels comfortable, natural. He feels like he could be a constant.
Inching closer to him, you rest your head on his shoulder, nose almost touching his neck. He smells of lavender, reminiscent of the warmth and coziness of a home. The realization makes you sm—
You yelp when the guy sitting on your right bumps his elbow on the food perched on the arm of his seat, spilling it on your lap. Standing up quickly, you gaze down, your jeans now stained with yellow and red from the sauces of his hotdog.
“Shit,” you mutter under your breath, looking at the man afterwards.
He meets your gaze and snorts before tending to the other lads that he’s with. “Fuck off, bitch.”
“Hey,” Jaehyun rises from his seat. “What did you just call her?”
Taking a sharp swallow, you hold his hand and slightly block him from moving forward and doing something. “Jae, just leave it. Let’s just go.”
With a tensed jaw, he eventually caves and nods at your insistence.
The bastard laughs with his friends as they watch you pass before them. “Man’s fuckin’ whipped by his bitch,” he remarks.
“Oh, hell no,” Jaehyun says, swivelling back and swinging his fist forward for one powerful jab, the man’s head lolling back, his nose bleeding in the aftermath. “You better watch your fucking mouth or your face isn’t the only thing I’m gonna break, asshole. Come on, Y/N.”
Passing the length of the aisle until you’re climbing back down the steps, you run hand in hand until you’re both outside.
In front of the venue, you’re both breathless from sprinting, with you leaning back against a wall. Jaehyun faces you, running his hand through his hair. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that. It’s just—I couldn’t let him talk to you like that,” he explains apologetically.
When you regard him with a knowing and reassuring smile, he couldn’t help but break into laughter too, watching you cackle freely, throwing your head back. The guy’s face when Jaehyun struck that punch was just so hilarious when it flashed through your mind again—he really wasn’t expecting it at all. Now, you’re not one to condone violence like this but you just can’t contain your laughter in. You both ran out of that place as though you were outlaws and rebels and it had adrenaline surging through your veins, making you feel infinitely alive, wild and audacious.
When the hilarity ebbs down, you look at each other, your chests rising and falling as a momentary silence embraces you two. His gaze roams between your eyes and lips and before you can even take your next blink, Jaehyun steps forward and places a peck on your cheek.
With your lips parted and your heartbeat thudding quickly, your eyes widen, a sudden rush coursing through your nerve wires. “Jae!”
He chortles cheekily and starts to back away and run while you chase him.
“Come here, you kiss stealer!” you holler, quickening your speed.
Jaehyun’s laughter ripples through his chest as he dashes to the parking lot with light steps, slowing down to let you catch up to him. When he twists round, you almost bump into him had you not stopped yourself. He pulls you closer to him, his hands wrapping around your waist, resting his palms on your back while he drinks all of your features in. The tips of your noses almost brushing, you swiftly press a smooch to his cheek.
“Now we’re even,” you tell him, holding the last word before breaking away from his embrace. While you walk to his car, your grin reaches your ears and your heart does cartwheels in your chest.
Jaehyun [10:50 pm]:
Jaehyun [10:50 pm]: thank you for today. goodnight :)
For date number four, which happened to be in the same week as date number three, Jaehyun texted you an address and asked you to meet him there.
After walking around downtown, you arrive in front of a building a few minutes just after three. Craning your neck upwards, you stare at the towering building, wondering why Jaehyun chose this exact location. From the looks of it, it’s a typical, corporate building designed to have offices in it.
When there’s a gentle tap on your shoulder, you turn around and see him. He’s dressed down in blue jeans, a hazel-colored jacket thrown over his white shirt, looking devastatingly handsome with his brown locks slightly parted. “Hey,” he greets.
“Hey,” you echo, smiling at him. “So where are we going today?”
“We’re going to my favorite café,” Jaehyun reveals, pushing the door open for you, letting you enter first like the gentleman that he is.
“There’s a café here?” you ask, brows wrinkled as you follow him to the elevator.
“Yeah. There’s also a bookstore here,” he says, pressing the highest floor button before the door slides close.
When you reach your destination, you pass by a long hallway before you see a glass door. Inside, there are wooden tables and chairs, with people sitting and having coffee. The walls are splashed in warm tones. Some leafy plants are situated in the middle, adding to the organic and natural aura of the shop. There’s also a space outside where people can opt to sit down and have their drinks, the balcony railing the only thing separating them from the view. With a high altitude, the city skyline is visible. Once again, astonishment laces your expression as you enter the place, wondering how Jaehyun came to know about this space.
“I love the vibes of this place the most,” he says while queueing up with you.
“It’s nice,” you tell him, scanning your gaze around, seeing how the consumers all have a smile on their faces, expressions and body language relaxed.
“Hey, you wanna share a cake?” he offers as you turn back to face him.
“Sure,” you say, eyes travelling up to the menu board, looking at the selection of their cakes.
“You can pick,” he nods at you, advancing forward when the person in front of you moves. “And don’t worry about paying, princess. It’s all on me,” he adds, smoothly dropping a wink.
Returning with a grateful grin, you check the board again, humming thoughtfully. “Should we go for a cheesecake?” you suggest.
Once you’re both at the till, he lets you recite your coffee order first before he takes his turn, adding the cheesecake afterwards. After he finishes paying and gets his receipt, you make your way to the side to grab a few napkins and some confectionary and cutleries before heading to a vacant table just in the middle.
When you’re both sat down, you finally let yourself observe this place properly. It’s definitely refreshing and youthful, with its decorations and all. From the abstract, colorful paintings placed on the walls to the hanging plants on the ceiling down to the pretty flower vases on each table, you can see why Jaehyun loves the chilled atmosphere of this café.
It doesn’t take long before a server comes to deliver your coffees and your cake. Jaehyun decided on an iced latte while you went for a flat white. After you both express your gratitude, you take out your phone from your pocket and open your camera.
He watches you take a snap of the scrumptious dessert as he drinks his iced coffee. Levelling your camera up, you face him. “Hey. Look at me for a sec.”
He quirks a brow up once he sees your phone’s position, quickly catching on. “Am I going on your Instagram?”
With a sheepish smile, your thumb hovers on the screen, adjusting the brightness so he’s not overshadowed by the light from behind him. “Don’t sound so surprised.”
Jaehyun flashes his dimpled grin at you. “I’m just honored.”
“As you should be,” you giggle before finally taking a few photos. Jaehyun looks at the camera and gives a few poses, bringing up his cup to his lips. He peers his eyes to the side for a candid shot. “That’s good,” you announce, dropping your phone back down once you’re satisfied.
“I like that one,” he points to the second one as you show him the strings of images, following your fingers as it swipes to the right.
You nod, smiling as you lean back on your chair and open Instagram. Selecting the photo, you decide to go for a simple, witty caption before tagging his username and hitting the post button.
This prompts him to bring out his own phone, opening the app and viewing your post. With the edges of his lips twitching upwards, Jaehyun keys in a comment: you’re welcome, brew-tiful ☺️
Lifting your head up after seeing the reply, you look at him with a grin. “Punny.”
He laughs before permanently putting his device away and grabbing a fork, slicing a small bit of the cheesecake and having the first taste.
“How is it?” you venture while getting your own cutlery and cutting yourself a piece.
He moans in satisfaction, chewing endearingly as he nods. “It’s so good.”
After shoving a forkful of the cheesecake with graham crackers in the bottom layer in your mouth, you automatically release a pleasured hum. The rich and light cream filling melts perfectly in your tongue while the crusty bottom layer is crumbly and has that maillard-y flavor that adds to the sweetness.
Minutes pass by comfortably, with you and him talking about your days over coffee and food. Stories are exchanged and smiles are sent to each other whenever you meet each other’s eyes and you couldn’t ignore the way your heart flutters within your chest, the way warmth would travel to your face and would stay there.
“We should play a game,” Jaehyun suggests before finishing off his iced latte.
“What do you have in mind?”
He licks his lips. “Twenty questions.”
Gently shaking his cup and playing with the ice cubes in it, he tips his head to nod at you. “You go first.”
Leaning forward, you rest your chin on your palm. “Would you rather time travel to the past or to the future?”
“Wow. You’re really going for it,” Jaehyun remarks with a light chuckle as he places his cup back on the table.
“Of course,” you smile. It’s a question you often think about and you’re interested in knowing what he has to say.
His bottom lip slightly juts out for a contemplative pout. “Go back to the past,” he returns resolutely, folding his arms.
“Really? You don’t want to see if we have flying cars or robots as presidents?” you ask invitingly, mouth moulding into a frisky smile.
“Nope,” Jaehyun shakes his head. “I want to keep the mystery alive.”
It’s interesting how his answer contradicts with yours. Since the future holds a lot of possibilities and contains the unknown and the uncertain, you’d much rather see and visit it to sate your curiosity and have some of your questions answered.
“Fair enough. Your turn,” you nod back.
Jaehyun studies your expression for a moment before he drops his first question. “What are your views on arranged marriages?”
This, you are not expecting. It’s not how you feel about being in an arranged marriage with him, but how you feel about the whole tradition in general.
“I think I’ve always regarded it as a negative thing because of the lack of choice,” you tell him after a pregnant pause. “But over time, I learned how to weigh the positives along with the negatives,” you continue, reclining back on your chair. “Arranged marriages means that you get to learn about your partner as you go along. It’s just like dating—the only difference is that label.”
Jaehyun regards you with a neutral expression, blinking as he listens attentively. He watches you as your gaze falls to your palms.
“My parents were arranged too,” you say, looking back up at him, “and all I can think about whenever I see them is that love takes time. It doesn’t come easily but it does come eventually. It made me realize that love takes work. It takes two people to make a marriage and a partnership work.”
“It’s like being in a team,” he muses pensively.
“Exactly,” you agree. “As players, you’re both different but you’re working towards the same goal. And I guess that’s one of the keys for a long-lasting relationship.”
“But then, being in love and being married is different,” he says after a few seconds as though he is in a trance, ingesting your words in.
“That’s right,” you nod. “They are different. But maybe that’s why people are put into arranged marriages. So you can eventually combine those two.”
He flashes a small smile. “Your turn.”
“Friendship or love?”
His brows crease, scratching the back of his head. “Ah, that’s hard.”
“Doesn’t have to be,” you shrug.
“Love,” Jaehyun articulates softly, his eyes pressed on yours.
Your insides flutter when he flicks his gaze between your eyes and lips. Swallowing awkwardly, you offer an accepting nod at his answer.
When it’s his turn, he taps his chin as he hums thoughtfully. “Do you see yourself having kids in the future?”
“Yes,” you confirm with a nod. When it’s your turn, you decide to take a different route, keeping it easy, light and playful just to toy with him. “Would you rather have bananas for fingers or bananas for toes?”
“What?” Jaehyun breaks into a laugh, the light of dusk from outside kissing his skin, making him luminesce. If the golden hour of the day is a person, it’d be him. “What would that even look like?”
“You literally have bananas as your fingers or toes.”
He opens his palms up and observes his fingers, his laughter vibrating louder through his chest as he mentally registers the shocking image. You watch him as an irrepressible smile shapes on your lips.
In the end, you spend two hours getting to know one another through the questions you would fire. While the direction of your questions so far is philosophical, deep and serious, meant to permeate his mind, his is all about the now and the future. The practicality of it is meant to get to know you, to consider you as he asks about your idea of a perfect vacation or your pet peeves.
You laugh together and share things with each other as though the world outside and around you don’t exist, as though it’s high school all over again and the only thing that mattered was your friendship with him. And the more you get to know these little pieces of him, the thinner the line between love and hate becomes.
Y/N [7:05 pm]: so. what have you got planned for our last date?
Jaehyun [7:10 pm]: you can pick this time
Y/N [7:15 pm]: hm. okay.
Y/N [7:20 pm]: there’s this new space museum that just opened. you wanna go and check it out tomorrow? :)
Jaehyun [7:30 pm]: sure
Jaehyun [8:00 am]: hey. can we take a rain check? i have a hearing all afternoon.
Y/N [8:10 am]: okay. are you free tomorrow?
Jaehyun [9:30 am]: yup. we can go tomorrow.
Y/N [9:42 am]: cool! good luck on your hearing.
Jaehyun [10:27 am]: hey, y/n. i’m sorry but can we reschedule again? this japanese client wants to go over his case with me tonight.
Y/N [10:42 am]: fine. reschedule for when?
Jaehyun [11:40 am]: thursday?
Y/N [11:50 am]: okay.
It’s now the fourth week. There’s two days left before the deal ends. Before it officially becomes a month ever since your first meeting with him, since you signed the contracts with him and took on his proposal to let him win your heart.
It’s Wednesday evening and you’re sitting down on your couch while absentmindedly staring at your TV which has the news on. You chug the remainder of your soda and set the can back down on the surface before you decide to grab something from the drawer underneath the table. Taking out a photo album consisting of your memories, you begin to brace yourself before embarking on a trip down to memory lane.
Your childhood pictures with Jaehyun are pasted in the first few pages. Your eyes land on that photo of you two in your Halloween costumes. Six-year-old Jaehyun went as a vampire while you dressed up as a witch. You remember how your mothers eagerly took a hundred pictures that night. Feeling the sides of your lips curve up nostalgically, you flip to the next page. There’s a jump shot image of a much older version of you and Jaehyun. It was when your geography class went on a one-day excursion to the seaside and you recall how he made everyone laugh when he started imitating a seagull.
Your gaze then drops on a photo of you that Jaehyun took in freshman year. You posed with your medal after you had just won a debate competition. Next to it is a photo of you two on the same day. He’d gotten much taller during that time and the height difference had become apparent as he placed himself on your back and nestled his chin on your head while he grinned at the camera.
When you turned over to the next page, an object suddenly slides down, creating a slight thud on the floor. Gazing down at the dropped item, you pick it up, surprise washing over you as you realize what it is. It’s your friendship bracelet with Jaehyun. The summer before high school officially commenced, you remember hanging out with him at his house and the next thing you know, you were crafting bracelets together.
Putting the photo album to the side, you lean back on the sofa and stare at the bracelet made with purple and blue strings, thumb rotating the bead with a yellow star drawn on it. Screwing your eyes shut, you breathe slowly, finally letting yourself remember the exact moment during high school where everything went wrong between you and Jaehyun, where your hatred for him originated.
During that day, you had been waiting for Jaehyun at the school gate so you can walk home together. It had been over ten minutes and there was still no sight of him, your worry and impatience heightening. When you saw Calum coming out of the front entrance, you decided to go up to him to ask for his whereabouts.
He lifted his head up when you stood in front of him, removing one of his earphones. “Hey, Y/N. What’s up?”
“Have you seen Jaehyun?”
“Yeah. He’s in the locker room,” he revealed.
“Oh, okay. Thanks,” you said, running back inside.
Making your way to the right and passing a long hallway of classrooms, you finally entered the boys’ locker room. Walking to the far end in the hopes of finding Jaehyun, you came to a stop when you heard voices.
“Dude, Kate is hot,” someone voiced out. It was Dylan, you recognized. If he was there, you were sure that the other members of his posse would be present. You found it odd as to why Jaehyun was there with them since he didn’t normally hang out with those guys.
“Yeah, but have you seen Taylor’s ass?” Luke contested. “I’d bang her a thousand times before I’d bang Kate.”
Dylan pointed, “I don’t think Kate would want to bother coming to the formal with a date though. She always goes on about how she doesn’t need a man in her life and all that feminist shit.”
Carter hummed. “Okay, so I guess I won’t ask Kate to the formal. What about Y/N?”
Your grip on the blue binder that you were carrying tightened as your eyes widened and your pulse accelerated after you heard your name.
“Oh, man,” Dylan said emphatically. “Y/N is stunning.”
“She has this whole girl next door thing going on for her and it’s super fucking hot, if you ask me,” Luke pronounced. “If I were to rank all four of them, I’d actually put Y/N on top.”
“Really? You think she’s hotter than Hannah?” Dylan questioned.
“Fuck yeah. She’s ten times hotter than her.”
“Let’s ask Jaehyun.” Dylan suggested. “Hey, Jae. Do you think Y/N’s hotter than Hannah?”
“I…” Jaehyun spoke for the first time. “Uh...”
Luke tittered. “He’d probably think so since he’s head over heels for his best friend.”
Dylan laughed. “Right.”
“I’m not,” Jaehyun said abruptly. “I don’t like Y/N like that. She’s not even my ideal type.”
“Really?” Carter asked.
“Yeah, she’s not the kind of girl I would date,” Jaehyun added. “Hannah,” he stated. “Hannah’s hotter than Y/N.”
“So you’d rather fuck Hannah?”
“Yeah. Definitely,” Jaehyun affirmed.
And that was it. That was the breaking point.
After hearing Jaehyun spew those words, you quietly slipped out and sprinted to the girls’ bathroom, going inside a cubicle to cry. Earlier that day, during lunch time, Taylor had mentioned that Jaehyun only saw you as a friend and how if he was interested in you, then he would’ve asked you out already. Now, you got your confirmation. He only saw you as a friend and he didn’t feel that way about you.
The walls felt suffocating as you sobbed, the air oppressive and asphyxiating as you desperately tried to push away those exact words out of your conscious. It proved impossible to do so because those words had been so strong and overpowering. They kicked you down until you felt like you were shrinking smaller into something meaningless and worthless. With shaky hands and a clogged nose, you wiped your tears exasperatedly, controlled your breathing and convinced yourself to get your shit together. Taking out your phone, you called your mom and asked her to pick you up. When you refused to tell her about what happened with Jaehyun, she took the hint and just left it.
Fluttering your eyes open and bringing yourself back into the now, you take your phone out to look at your latest conversation with Jaehyun.
Jaehyun [6:15 pm]: hey. i’m so sorry to do this again but work’s been crazy and i have to attend a conference all day tomorrow. can we go another time?
Y/N [6:20 pm]: seriously?
This is the third time he’s cancelled on you. He hasn’t even replied to your message. The first time he called it off, you understood. But to cancel on you three times in a row—he’s certainly sending a message to you.
You try to think for a logical explanation for the suddenness of his actions. What, so Jaehyun’s just going to stop and not finish the deal? Are you just meant to get the hint? Are you not good enough for him? Not attractive enough? Did it dawn on him that you’ll never fit his ideal type? That he can’t actually learn to like you? Is he letting your relationship go back to square one where you’re both dichotomized again?
He offered you four weeks to take you out on dates. He’s the one who said so himself that life is all about taking risks. Both of you took a chance and started fresh, buried your animosities for each other for this deal.
Jung Jaehyun asked for four weeks and he better give you four weeks. You’re not having this silent treatment. Not after he made you smile and laugh. Not after he made your heart flutter, made you feel like you’re important and treated you with respect and affection. He can’t just kiss you like that and suddenly act as though you’re a stranger to him.
After sending a quick text to your mother asking for his address, you skedaddle to your bedroom to get dressed. You’re barely thinking as you hastily slip on some jeans and a shirt. Grabbing your phone and keys, you head outside to your car. Once you receive a reply, you key it in quickly on your satnav.
When you arrive at his apartment complex after a ten-minute drive, you make your way to the elevator, pressing the fifth-floor button. Immediately finding his unit, you press on the doorbell.
With your arms folded, your foot taps the floor impatiently. After a few moments, Jaehyun opens the door, eyes widening slightly when he sees you. “Y/N,” he says, swallowing subtly. “What are you doing here?”
“What is going on with you?” you go straight to the point and ask, uncrossing your arms as you glare at him. “Why are you avoiding me?”
“You take me out on dates and then you suddenly disappear on me. You barely talked to me after our last date.” Making your way inside his apartment, you demand, “Explain yourself, Jung.”
Heaving a sigh, he closes his door and faces you. “I…” he starts, voice low as he runs a hand through his hair. “Look, I really was swamped with work when I cancelled on you. As for not talking to you… well, I… okay, I know it’s not the smartest move but I only did that because I didn’t want our last date to happen. I didn’t want the deal to end just yet.”
“What? Are you crazy?” you yell. “Aren’t you the one who asked me for four weeks?”
“That’s the thing,” he punctuates, desperation embracing his features and his register. “I know I brought the whole thing up but the more time I spent with you, the more I realized that I need more than four weeks.”
When you stare at him with a befuddled expression, he presses on, trying to make you understand his intentions. “I need more time to think and plan because I was scared that you weren’t feeling anything for me. I… I didn’t want you to decide just yet.”
Blinking, you take all of his words in. Folding your arms, you iterate with a raised brow, “You don’t want me to give you a decision so what, you’re just not gonna give me the chance to decide at all? You’re just gonna push me away?”
“I…” he says, stopping to take a sigh. “Okay, I know I don’t have it all worked out but I wanted you to see that I’m not just an obligation. I wanted you to see that I can be your choice for this marriage. I wanted you to choose me because I’ve already chosen you. It’s always been you, Y/N. Ever since high school.”
The hammering of your heart within your chest is deafening and palpable as he talks about the past and the present. It’s as though you can taste an amalgamation of bitter and sweet.
His gaze descends to the floor for a second, shaking his head as he tries to compose and articulate his consequent words properly. “I just,” he pauses. “I needed more time for you to see the real me. To make you see that I’m not just that person you painted in your head. I can be everything that you want me to be, everything that you need me to be. I wanna prove to you that I can be someone that you deserve.”
At your silence, Jaehyun gnaws on his bottom lip before he lets out his feelings. “I also used to think that being in an arranged marriage meant that choice and freedom would be stripped away from us but after spending time with you, I realized that we actually do have a choice. We have a choice to get to know one another, to fall in love and stay in love.”
With the steadfastness and the certainty of his words combined with the congregation of feelings that surges and sizzles inside you, you can barely blink and breathe in the process. It’s all overwhelming and the room feels crushing.
“Why did you say that I’m not your ideal type?” you burst out from the depths of your chest, bitterness edging on your voice. It’s about time you confront him about past wounds.
“What?” he asks, taken aback by your question.
“In the locker room. You said you didn’t like me and that I’m not the type of girl you’d date,” you remind him. Ever since the contract signing, all you could think about whenever you looked at him was that exact moment and his exact words.
Jaehyun blinks at you, stunned as he finally remembers the day you’re pinpointing to. “I—you heard that?”
Gritting your teeth, you nod, “I came to the locker room that day looking for you.”
When everything dawns on him clearly, his mouth gapes. It makes sense now as to why after that day, you stopped talking to him and pushed him away. Eventually, Jaehyun got the message and stopped trying. He spent his time resenting you after that and did everything he can to compete with you, argue with you and wind you up all while loving you.
“So that’s why you hated me?”
“Kind of hard not to after hearing all those things,” you say morosely.
“I only said that because I was mad at you,” Jaehyun reveals, the words coming out in one succession.
“I got upset because you said that there’ll never be a chance for us to become more than friends. You said you didn’t like me and that I’d be the last person you’d date,” he discloses, expression all crestfallen as he recalls the certain memory.
Blinking up at him, your brows start to crease, staggered at his revelation. “What? When did I say that?”
“While you were talking to Kate and Taylor during lunch. I asked Taylor to find out what you thought about me. She told me everything.”
Kate and Taylor were your girl friends from high school. The former was the frank, sharp-mouthed one, the authoritative type who would not hesitate to tell the latter to break up with the guy she’s dating as an advice. Both of them had experiences in getting dressed up, they were used to being approached and asked out. Back then, you really didn’t care about relationships but sometimes, you couldn’t help but feel left out because you didn’t have any experience at all. It was difficult to listen to them talk about their adventures while you didn’t even have anything to boast about when it came to boys and dating.
The day that Jaehyun is referring to was the same day that your friendship with him fell apart. You remember sitting outside during lunch since it was a nice day. Kate was sat across you on the wooden bench table, eating her ham sandwich, with a book in front of her. Carefully, you held your own chicken wrap up and started to take a bite.
After a few minutes, Taylor suddenly came to join you, plopped down beside Kate and set her bag down. She had a scowl on her lips as she groaned.
Kate looked up from her book. “What’s wrong, Tay?”
“Boys are so stupid,” she declared with a frown.
Kate chuckled. “I couldn’t agree more.”
You nodded, giggling as you chewed quietly.
Finally, Taylor spilled her news. “Johnny totally blew me off after our first date.”
Brows creasing, you inquired, “Johnny? Isn’t he a senior?”
“I didn’t know you went out with him?” you told her as surprise started to settle on your features.
“Yeah. We started texting after I met him at a house party. I honestly thought he was one of the good guys. Turns out he’s just like all of them. They would say they’ll call and then the next thing you know, they’re seeing another girl,” she grumbled. “Ugh. Can you believe? It’s like every guy at our high school is a player.”
“Hey, that’s not true,” Kate argued. “There are some good guys in this school.”
She cocked a brow up and crossed her arms. “Yeah? Like who?”
“Well,” Kate tapped her chin as she deliberated. “Just to name a few, there’s Jaehyun and Sicheng.”
At the mention of your best friend’s name, you couldn’t help but feel your heart suddenly jump in your chest. It was true. Jaehyun was one of the good guys. He wasn’t the type to treat girls like toys and attend those house parties that his peers went to. He preferred hanging out indoors, playing video games and watching movies with either you or Sicheng.
Taylor just hummed impassively while Kate suddenly pressed her gaze on you. “Hey,” she called, snapping you back into reality. “Jaehyun’s your best friend, right?”
“Yeah,” you nodded.
Taylor posed a curious question to continue the topic at hand. “Have you ever wondered if he likes you as more than a friend?”
Blinking dazedly, you stuttered as you responded. “Um, I… I don’t know. I guess I’ve never really thought about it.”
That was a lie because you have thought about it. A lot, actually. During that point in time, you recently began wondering whether Jaehyun sees you as more than a friend. Because sometimes, you couldn’t help but assume that there were feelings beneath all of his kind-hearted and gentlemanly actions towards you.
Once, during freshman year, he let you wear his jacket while you two walked home. When it started chucking it down heavily, you hurriedly brought out your umbrella from your bag.
“Where’s yours?” you turned to Jaehyun when you saw him emptyhanded.
He scooted closer to your side once you opened it up and shielded himself from the downpour. “I forgot it at home,” he admitted, taking it from you so he can hold it up for the two of you.
“Fuck, it’s cold,” you muttered and embraced yourself, shivering.
“Hold this for a sec,” he said, passing the umbrella to you temporarily as he unzipped his black hoodie. “Wear this,” he offered, leaving him with just his short-sleeved polo shirt on.
When you put his jacket on, the scent of his cologne lingered around, made your senses fuzzy as you came to a conclusion that his perfume had to be one of those strong ones, one that dads usually wore. Normally, you didn’t like those kinds of fragrances since it was too extreme but oddly, on him, you did.
And once, during sophomore year, Jaehyun made your heart skip a beat when he placed the same hoodie on your lap to cover your legs.
It was during the rehearsal for a school play. While everyone took a fifteen-minute break, you decided to sit on the floor, just by the left side of the stage. You brought out your iPod so you could listen and learn the song you had to perform and while you were focused, you hadn’t noticed when Jaehyun suddenly appeared beside you and gently dropped his jacket on your lap.
“What are you doing?” you asked as you took off your earphones, looking at him confusedly.
He scanned his surroundings before he returned his reprimanding stare on you. “Do you want pervs to see?” was what he quipped back, bobbing his head down to the direction of your skirt.
Jaehyun always looked out for you, he’d always been so caring towards you and it made you question. It often made you think about those particular days whenever you lied down on your bed at night. It made you think about the way his Adam’s apple would bob down after your gazes met, the way he would stare at your lips for a second before going back to your eyes and the way his warm touch made your breath come up to a standstill.
In your head, you laid out all the facts. You were his best friend and you happened to be a girl. Maybe he really didn’t see you that way because he already drew a line between the two of you. Besides, how could Jaehyun see you in a different light when you’re… you, his best friend ever since he was five?
Taylor started to braid her locks. “He probably only sees you as a friend, y’know,” she remarked.
Lowering your food down, you placed it back on your lunch box, suddenly losing appetite. The small slices of strawberries on your smaller container didn’t seem appealing anymore, the flatbread and chicken turned stale in your tongue.
Were you really just his friend or did he see you as someone who can be more than that? Have you been seeing his kindness towards you and thinking it was infatuation?
“Why would he…” you started before you cleared your throat. “What would make you think that?”
When she finished styling her hair, she looked at you squarely. “Well, because if he’s interested in you, he would’ve asked you out already. And besides, it’s too risky to date a best friend. When you break up, it’ll get messy and you’ll lose your friendship. So you either choose friendship or love.”
“It doesn’t have to end that way though if two people really love each other,” you said after you mulled over her words.
“True,” Kate agreed.
“Y/N,” Taylor crossed her arms and examined your sudden change in expression before asking bluntly, “do you like Jaehyun?”
At the unexpected question, you were rendered wordless, face heating up and pupils dilating.
Kate pointed out in addition, “Come to think of it, you guys do spend a lot of time together.”
“Right?” Taylor nodded at Kate, wiggling up her brows. “And I always see you staring at him.”
“Uh, I…” you murmured gauchely, words drying out in your throat.
Taylor giggled softly and nudged Kate’s arm. “Oh, no. Our Y/N is in the friendzone. Having an unrequited love with her best friend.”
“Aww,” Kate cooed softly.
“Jaehyun chose friendship with you but you chose love with him,” Taylor goaded. “That’s gotta be awkward.” You knew they were doing this on purpose, trying to incite something.
“No!” you blurted tersely, wanting for them to just drop the topic and move on quickly. “Guys, I don’t like Jaehyun, okay?”
“You sure?” Taylor asked.
“Yeah,” you said. “And even if he likes me, there would never be a chance for us to become more than friends because I won’t let that happen. Believe me, he’d be the last person I would date.”
“Huh. Okay then.” Taylor shrugged coolly and ended the conversation, fishing out an apple from her bag. Kate just nodded and went back to reading her book while you lowered your gaze on your unfinished food, finding it difficult to swallow afterwards.
After the memory flickered back in your mind, you wrinkle your brows and shake your head in frustration. Jaehyun just stares at you, confusion bleeding on his face.
“Oh my God,” you say after taking a mighty huff. Vouching again for confirmation, you ask, “That’s why you said all those things in the locker room?”
He nods, brows melting down in regret.
“I only said that because Kate and Taylor were teasing me. They said that I was in the friendzone with you so I snapped. I was all confused and I just wanted them to stop talking about it so I shut them down quickly. But you… you really thought that I never liked you?”
“I…” he says as though he’s still in a daze after his realizations. “Fuck. I’m so sorry. I was just so upset that day but I swear, I didn’t mean all those things I said about you in the locker room. I didn’t know you were there and I… God,” he places his palm on his head, expression apologetic. “Y/N, I’m so sorry.”
“So… you liked me back then?”
“Much more than like,” Jaehyun says, stepping forward to catch your hands, lacing his fingers with yours. “I was in love with you.”
He nods, thumb rubbing the back of your palm. “I was madly in love with you,” he says, lips curling up slightly.
Holding his shoulders, you grumble, lips pouting. “But you were such an ass to me. You always pissed me off.”
He chuckles, all beautiful and bright as he caresses your cheek. “I only did that so you can notice me and talk to me.”
Shaking your head in disbelief, you roll out a soft laugh. “God, we’ve been so fucking stupid.”
So all throughout those years in high school, you both felt the same way for each other. And because of those events, the mutual affection and infatuation between you turned into mutual hatred and disdain.
“We really have, haven’t we?” Jaehyun lets out a chuckle to join you.
Encasing your arms around his neck, your fingers start to softly thread on the back of his head. “I can’t believe that all this time, I loved you and you loved me.”
“You… you love me?”
Nodding, you press your forehead against his and breathe with him. “Of course, I love you, Jung,” you laugh. “I’ve loved you ever since you imitated that seagull.”
Exhaling a soft giggle, his palms snake around your spine. He pulls back slightly so he can take a good look at you. “So, do you still need that last date to decide or…” he says, drawling out the last word before his tongue swirls on his bottom lip.
“Or…” you start with a provocative lilt, gaze flitting between his mouth and eyes.
Before you can even blink, the gap is closed and his lips are crashing into yours just like how the wave finally hits the shore, letting you both feel enraptured in the aftermath. Sparks of desire explode in the pits of your stomach as you wind your fingers on the back of his head, savoring the feel of his pillowy lips on yours. Slanting your head, he gladly opens your mouth, tongue exploring the caverns as he swallows your moans, claiming it as his own. The kiss is hot, all tongues and teeth, filled with need and want. Only when you’re both out of breath do you break away and he doesn’t waste another second to fixate his lips on the side of your neck.
Your breathing is jarred when he walks you back to his kitchen, mind all fuzzy and lips only emitting soft moans when he squeezes your ass. Your back hits a cold, hard surface and Jaehyun is quickly hoisting you up on the mini bar. Burying his nose just below your chin, he groans, “Shit, how do you always smell so good?”
“Lancôme,” you manage to utter, a gasp immediately being pulled out of your throat when he nips at the skin. He is quick to soothe the area with his tongue and you cup his face, dipping down again to kiss him, teeth tugging on his bottom lip.
His solid hands slither underneath your shirt, feeling up your back, fingers hovering on the clasp of your bra. You pull back to help him yank it upwards until you’re half naked in front of him. “Fuck,” he inhales sharply as he stares at you hungrily, “you’re a work of art.”
Lunging forward, he sucks on the base of your throat, tongue travelling on your jawline, hands cupping your breasts, pads of his thumbs tweaking circles on your pebbled nipples through your bra. When you moan softly at the sensation, he smirks, placing kisses on your collarbone, mouth suctioning roughly on the skin.
“Jaehyun,” you breathe when his hands are rubbing on your thighs and his lips are on the shell of your ear. Hearing his name tumble out of your lips while your hands are all over each other is like music to his ears. Your voice alone could dangerously make him come in his pants.
“God, do you know how hard I was after you kissed me?” he rasps, the tips of his fingernails motioning teasingly on your stomach, your arms breaking out with gooseflesh. He faces you, eyes hooded with darkness as he says in admittance, “I jerked myself off twice that night.”
This time, you’re making the first move while he stays still and breathes all of your visual in. You decide to pepper his jaw with slow kisses, hands palming the expanse of his broad chest, voyaging down to his crotch. Against your touch, he feels huge and hard. Lowering your voice, you ghost over the shell of his ear. “What did you think about when you touched yourself?”
“I thought about,” he draws a sharp intake of breath when you wrap your legs around his waist and pull him to you, your lips assaulting the place where neck meets shoulders, “your hand stroking my cock.”
Tending to the noticeable dent in his sweatpants, you begin fondling his clothed erection. “Mmmh,” you hum. “What else?”
All the blood is running down to the tip of his extremities and he grits his teeth. Fuck, you’re really good at this. What more when you suck him off? God, you’re probably amazing at giving head with the way you’re working on his cock with your hand right now. “Your mouth wrapped around me as you take me in deep,” he groans with a grit to his voice, his breathing ragged. “Thought about your pussy, so wet and warm that my cock could just slide in easily. Thought about how pretty you’d look with my cum all over your face, your body.”
Your core pools with more heat, arousal increasing tenfold at his revelation, flaring wildly in your stomach. Pulling back to look at him, you demand, “Tell me what you want from me. Tell me what gets you off.”
“I usually like to fuck hard and rough,” he growls, holding your thighs and squeezing them, lips going on the skin under your jaw. “I like it when I hear you scream my name, when you make a mess on the sheets. I like seeing my marks on you.” His tongue trails a line to your ear, playfully tugging on the lobe as he groans needily. “I want you to feel my cock buried deep inside you, want to see my cum dripping down your pussy while you’re all sore.”
Hissing harshly, your core vibrates with need and you decide you can’t wait any longer. “I want you to fuck me now,” you punctuate sharply and determinedly, a broken exhale escaping your mouth. “You can come wherever you want.”
Wetting his lips, he steps back and darkens. “Go to the bedroom and take your clothes off,” he nods upwards. Obliging, you hop off the counter, unclasping your bra on the way and tossing it to the side once you’re in his room. You wiggle yourself out of your jeans, sitting on the edge of his bed. Fingers on the bands of your panties, Jaehyun manages to quickly enter and tower over you, stopping your hands, “Let me do that.”
Sliding down your underwear in one motion, he discards the article impatiently, hurling it to the side. Scooting to the headboard, you lie down and he crawls forward, a devilish smirk splayed on his lips. “So, so pretty,” he praises, placing kisses on your inner thighs, his hot breath looming on your entrance.
“Jae, please,” you whine as though you’re about to go insane, desperation coating your expression. He chuckles darkly at the fact that you sound like the world’s mellowest porn star right now.
“Such a needy little thing,” he says, large hands pinning your thighs down and spreading you apart. The sight of your sopping core is enough to make his dick twitch in his pants, needing for some friction. “Fuck,” he grunts, register all low and deep. “This all for me, baby?”
When you give a nod, his lips curl up for a satisfied smirk before his fingers are finally on your sex, collecting your slick juices and sucking on his digits for a taste. Diving in, his nose is in your cunt, tongue exploring you. He licks a bold stripe of your folds and your breath staggers in rhythm as he laps on your pussy. Sporadically, he looks up at you, watching you writhe underneath him, feeling satisfied at the low moans coming out of your swollen lips. It encourages him to experiment with his ministrations, speeding and slowing while his tongue is submerged inside you, thumbing on your clit.
The coil in your stomach tightens, your toes curling, thigh muscles tautening the more Jaehyun eats you out. Your fingers are on his roots, pulling it tightly as your walls flutter around him. At the skills of his fingers and tongue on your clit, you’re rendered a whimpering mess. God, he could just listen to your moans all night long and he could just go down on you every single day. With your eyes fluttered shut, your teeth biting down on your bottom lip and your hips desperately moving up, you look absolutely exquisite right now. He knew you’d look this way while he devoured you, he often fantasized about this image, imagined that you’d be sweet and he’s right.
“You taste as good as you look,” Jaehyun mutters, looking up at you as he massages your mound, finger pumping into you, curling and hitting your sweet spots. His lips are glistening with your juices when he makes eye contact with you. The saliva from his mouth trickling down to your pussy makes you feel more aroused, your walls clenching on his digit as heat travels everywhere on your skin.
Licking his lips clean, it’s then that he decides to tend to his own wants. He needs to fuck you now; his length is dying to be deep inside you. Withdrawing his finger from your sex, he sits up on the bed and you whine frustratingly at the loss of friction to your pussy. He discards everything—his shirt, sweats and his Calvin Klein boxers—until he’s all bare in front of you, cock slapping on his abdomen. His tip is angry red and leaking with his arousal. He pumps his length to prep himself, thumb flicking on the head to spread his pre-cum out. His palms are on the side of your head to steady himself and he goes to attack your lips. Sharing a heated, filthy kiss and exchanging breaths, he angles himself, his tip sliding up and down your slit to collect your dampness.
Easily, he glides in, the intrusion stretching your walls out deliciously. A gasp is automatically careened off of you as you arch your back. “Shit, you’re big—wait,” you grab onto his shoulders.
Jaehyun lets you adjust, presses a kiss to your cheek before mumbling huskily to your ear, “Breathe for me, yeah?” When you do exhale and relax your muscles, he lauds you, pushing another inch in. He encourages you all the way as he sinks himself further, leaving the both of you moaning and gasping in pleasure until he finally bottoms out, perfectly seated inside you.
He pulls out, only the tip left inside your pussy before he begins thrusting, setting a slow pace before he jerks himself towards your center with calculated lunges. “Ah, fuck, you’re so tight,” he groans against the flesh of your shoulder, relishing in the way your pussy keeps on taking him every time he enters.
With a hard and brutal force, the combination of your moans is lewd, your breasts bouncing as he holds your thighs up for a better angle. Wrapping your legs around his back, Jaehyun rams into you vigorously. The room starts to feel stuffy, your head becoming light as the onslaught of pleasure travels quickly to every part of your body, a wildfire spreading through your nerves.
His nose nestled on the side of your neck as he sucks harshly for hickeys, your fingers find purchase on his back, nails digging on his skin, scratching hardly the more he drives powerfully into your cunt. “Jae,” you say softly, holding his shoulders to gather his attention.
Lifting his head, he faces you, pausing as he breathes heavily. “Is it too much?”
“No,” you tell him. “Can I ride you?”
With eyes blown wide in lust, he’s eagerly nodding. “Shit, yeah,” he says, voice dropping another tenor as he flips position, lying back on the bed, sitting up against the headboard. “C’mere, baby,” he taps his thighs and you sit yourself on his lap, taking a deep breath to prepare yourself before sinking into his cock.
With you in a straddled position, he guides you, hands secured on your waist as you grind on his length. Holding his shoulders, you set your own pace, your breathy, dulcet moans rolling off your parted lips. Starting off slow and steady as you relish in the sensation and in the sight of your bodies merging together, he takes the opportunity to launch his lips on your hardened bud, his tongue laving on it while his free hand cups your other breast, his thumb and index finger flicking on the nipple, eliciting a gasp out of you. He makes sure to alternate between breasts, wrapping your buds with his hot tongue and sucking intently.
Stimulated, you’re starting to feel greedier, hungrier as you chase your climax. Your pace quickens and you’re bouncing down on his cock, unendingly moaning. “Fuck, you look so good. Can’t get enough of you,” Jaehyun groans. He swipes some strands of your hair that have stuck on your skin away to the side. “Think about you riding me all the time.”
His palms slide up from your hips to your hot cheeks, cupping them and pulling your lips in to meet with his, drinking all your moans wholeheartedly. With this palpitating and melting kiss and the way his hands squeeze your breasts, fingers playing with your buds, your high is practically tactile, threatening to flood you.
Squeaking your moans out, your walls clench greedily on his cock and you’re tipping over the edge. “Fuck, I’m so… close… God...” you choke out your pleasure.
He holds your ass, squeezing them as he pushes you deeper onto him. “Come for me, princess,” he commands titillatingly, looking at your expression, all intoxicated by your lust. “Bet you’re fucking pretty when you come,” he says near your ear when you lean for an embrace, riding him like there’s no tomorrow.
“Jae, I’m gonna—fuck,” you screech out, your pants all strangled in rhythm. Everything in you snaps and your entire body shudders as you reach your peak. Throwing your head back and screwing your eyes shut, all you see is white. Your pace slowing down as you come down from your high, your head rests on his shoulder.
It takes you a few moments to recover and catch air into your lungs, your breathing evening out eventually. When you open your eyes and lift your head up, the smile you send him is lopsided. Dropping your lips to his for a languid kiss, he buckles his hips up and thrusts in your pussy, making you realize that he hasn’t climaxed yet. Encouraging him, you’re raking your fingers through his hair as you kiss the jut of his jaw. “Come inside me. Wanna feel you in me,” you tell him sultrily. You’re on the pill so you’re good.
He flips you over until you’re lying on the bed and he’s on top again. With a new angle, he’s rutting his hips into yours with a purpose. The slaps are sharp, powerful and lecherous, your chests brushing together with every pound of his cock. Jaehyun’s lips find your collarbone, leaving wet kisses on the skin and possessively carving marks on it, releasing it with a long pop every time.
He’s fucking you like a madman, revelling in the way your walls keep on contracting around him insatiably, in the way your breasts jump up, in the purple bruises that starts to appear from the iron-clad grip he has on your hips.
The familiar coiling sensation in your stomach is reignited again as he sinfully thrusts into you over and over. With loud moans, he decides to capture your lips for a kiss, his hand snaking downwards to knead on your swelled nub. “Jaehyun, I’m…” you cry out when he breaks the kiss and his lips are latching on the lobe of your ear. While you’re on the precipice of your orgasm, his thumb circles on your clit, pressing on it as ripples of your pleasure jump out from your lips.
“That’s it, baby,” he coaxes, the gruffness of his voice vibrating on your skin. “Come for me again like a good girl.”
You’re unable to suppress it any longer, your second orgasm washing all over you, a stronger force than the first one. Your voice is broken, panting heavily as you reach your bliss. Grabbing your legs and placing it over his shoulders, he fucks you through it, hitting your g-spot, your low whimpers driving him faster to his climax.
While the overstimulation has your eyes watering, Jaehyun, on the other, is teetering on the edge of his release. Your pussy has such a tight grip on his cock and he knows he’s not going to last long. “I’m gonna fill you up so bad, princess,” he hisses lowly. “Gonna show you how fucking crazy you make me,” he groans, speeding his pace up. “I’m all yours from now on—completely and truly yours.”
Breathily, he sputters his profanities and moans as one hard thrust proves to be his undoing. His hips stuttering, he empties his load inside you, coating your walls with hot spurts of white. With faltered breaths, he grunts gutturally in his pleasure, his mind and body buzzing as his thrusts turn sloppier and slower. You milk him for every last drop of his seed and his body finally collapses on top of you when he’s finished, his cock falling limp and soft inside you.
With a euphoric grin, he drops a quick peck to your lips before pulling out and settling beside you. The combination of your fluids leaks out your folds, making a mess on his sheets. Wrapping his arm around your waist, he buries his nose in your hair. “I love you,” he murmurs with a smile.
With eyes closed, your heart swells at the fact that this guy is the one you’re spending the rest of your life with. Jaehyun is your best friend, the love of your life and your soulmate all in one and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than here beside him. “I love you, too,” you say, wholly delighted. “Now let me go so I can pee.”
Jaehyun laughs heartedly, releasing you as he watches you walk to his bathroom. He puts on his boxers and sweatpants back and takes something out from the drawer of his nightstand before he collects his shirt, kindly offering it to you when you return to the bedroom. Wearing only your underwear and his shirt to bed, you snuggle and cling back up to him, resting your head on his chest as he wraps his arm around you.
At that middle ground between falling asleep and staying awake, he holds your hand, raises it up with his, languorously playing by weaving your fingers together. You can’t help but giggle with him as you watch them twine together perfectly. He brings your hand closer to his lips, placing sweet kisses on each knuckle before he fishes for something in the pocket of his sweats.
Sitting up straight, Jaehyun faces you with the symbol of his unconditional love and promise nestled between his fingers. “I know it’s already been arranged and everything but let me do this properly,” he begins before he takes a deep inhale. “Y/N, will you marry me?”
Heart hammering right out of your chest, the rhythm of your breathing pauses before you’re widely grinning and answering with a million nods, your heart bursting and melting at the same time. “Yes.”
The word slips out of your lips effortlessly as you repeat it over and over and he never thought that a three-letter word could make him this happy. Hearing it fall from your lips fills him with pure joy, feeling like he’s reached the apex of happiness. Cupping his face, you kiss him tenderly and sweetly, pressure all gentle with the both of you smiling against it. After you pull back, you let him slip the beautiful ring on your finger where it’d find its new home.
When you take a second to look at your hand, your lips curve upwards as you realize that maybe having your choices picked out for you by your parents isn’t that bad. Before, the future used to be terrifying. It had been this giant, ambiguous, abstract-shaped thing filled with unknowns and uncertainties which induced a great amount of fear on you. It’s still that to you but now, you’re less afraid. Now, you’re more confident to take a risk, knowing that you won’t regret it because you’re with Jaehyun.
Everything is less frightening because you know that you’ll always have each other’s backs, you’ll hold each other’s hand and you’ll go through everything together. With him, you’re at ease. And through him, you learned how to be hopeful, how to be emboldened.
The universe, you think, truly works in mysterious ways. It can toy with you but it can also present you with surprises such as bringing a certain person back into your life—a person who was already meant for you ever since the beginning, even before your names are written on a contract, even before you’re promised to one another.
When you fall asleep beside Jaehyun, you have a smile painted on your lips and a contented heart because you know that the future written out for the two of you is so, so bright.
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