pg-13 | romance, slice-of-life | 4 174 words
a/n: first of all, I'd dedicate this to kirakirashahida, eternal_hopes and of course Abby because you guys are amazing in so many, unique ways. love y'all! and yeah, this was quite a word vomit really because feels for this otp are everywhere. (board this ship!) and sorry if the ending's kind of rushed, life's gotten pretty hectic nowadays. nonetheless, enjoy!
Junho dropped his sling bag onto the worn-out couch as soon as he arrived at his house. He wondered why his father didn’t even bother to buy a brand new, classy set of sofa with all the money he had on his hands but instead poured it all on his new wife, but then Junho told himself to why bother.
Suddenly, Mr Lee came out from the kitchen. “You’re back early today.” Speak of the devil, Junho thought. Truth was, he was angry and frustrated at his father with a deep passion. He could never get over the fact that his dad left his mother all alone to rot to death back in Ilsan and ran away to Seoul to start a completely new life, making him suffer alone as a little kid in the process.
“Why do you even bother?” he scoffed, picking up his bag because suddenly he didn’t have the heart to sit at the living room. He didn’t even want to look at his father, let alone his face. “Just have fun with your new… wife.”
Startled, Mr Lee rubbed his temples to ease out the dizziness he was having. “Now, Junho, I thought we have talked about this before…”
Junho began to walk up the stairs, avoiding his father who was coming over to him. “Sorry, dad. I just… feel too hurt to even talk to you.” His hands curled up tightly that his father could notice the knuckles turning white.
He was startled when he saw a womanly figure stopping in front of him, coming from upstairs. “Is there anything wrong, Junho?” Mr Lee’s wife asked Junho cautiously, careful so that Junho won’t suddenly raise his anger at her.
Nevertheless, he couldn’t stop being angry at her even though he knew she wasn’t really at fault. “You, Mrs Kim. You’re something wrong here.” He hissed angrily before continuing his way to his bedroom. Door locked, closing himself from the outside world that he hated so much that it pained his heart every single time.
Mrs Kim ran over to Mr Lee and hugged him, tears coming out from her and soaked him, wondering when will Junho ever open his heart or even accept her and ultimately his own father. Or, perhaps, he will never will.
The second option seemed permanent.
Plates crashed down in the middle of the restaurant, and suddenly every eye was on her on that day. It wasn’t really her mistake; the other waiter didn’t see where he was walking. (He walked away nonchalantly, making it seemed like it was all her fault. That jerk.)
Hurriedly, she apologized and began to pick up the pieces of porcelain off the floor with her bare, tired hands, some shards cut her and she noticed the sharp pain that eventually led to blood slowly oozing out. But still, she continued on with her work.
“Hey you! Couldn’t you, for at least a day, work properly like any other workers here?” the manager raised his voice at Suji as soon as she went back to the kitchen, voice as sharp and hurting as the shards of porcelain in her hands. She kept being silent, not knowing what to say or whatnot.
Minyoung quickly came beside her and took all the pieces of plates and dumped into the plastic bag in her hands. “Just go home. I’ll settle this for you,” she whispered at Suji as soon as she noticed the cuts on her hands. “Sir, let her go home for the rest of the day. Temperature’s high.” Minyoung told the manager and so he did without much question.
Suji stopped by a pharmacy and bought some plasters to seal the pain. At least for the moment. She went straight back home. Hands and her heart and pride hurting with every step she was taking.
Home wasn’t really a good idea either. She went to the kitchen, only to see her parents standing face-to-face, disagreeing over something. As per usual. She didn’t know what she could do, not that it was a new thing. It happened almost every day, and it scared the hell out of her because occasionally, the disagreeing grew into fights, slowly becoming big ones that stressed (scared) her out.
With that, she climbed upstairs to her room and shut herself from the stress she was going through. Tears came out without her inviting them to do so, sobs muffled by the pillow she was holding onto; pain went unnoticed by the world.
Junho came out from the fast food joint with a meal for two. Tonight, he really felt like he wanted to meet her. He missed her so much. Life caught on them so much that they didn’t have time to be with each other even. He leaned against the door of his (dad’s) black, old but still doable car as he fished out his phone and dialled the number he memorised by heart. “Hey. Are you free tonight?” his voice ringed through the phone as soon as Suji picked up her phone.
She stopped crying as soon as she heard his voice. Her favourite voice. “I do… but sorry, I’m not in the mood right now.” She told him straightforwardly, no hidden messages for him to guess because he’s rather slow with them.
“Are you alright? Do I need to come over?”
“No need, I think.” He heard her voice, all in pain. The conversation ended with a click, in a short and swift movement. Without hesitating, he climbed into his car and drove straight to her house. She was never like this, and the anger inside of him was building up and ready to explode. To whom he was mad at was unexplainable, though.
Her phone vibrated, signalling that a message was coming in. In all honesty, she didn’t want to talk to anyone for the rest of the night. She felt fragile, confused, mad, everything. Today wasn’t going well. Her boss got angry at her for messing up the orders for the day, friends never picked up their phones when she needed someone to talk to, her parents were fighting over something ridiculous and her brother being a total pain. But still, she checked her phone and was surprised to see that he told her to come out to her room’s balcony. And she did.
She noticed him, standing below on the lawn, eyes never leaving her but they were serious. “I want to talk to you.”
“I don’t want to go out from my room. I need some time to myself.”
“And let your thoughts ruin you? I won’t let that happen.” He said before suddenly, the both of them heard plates crashing and breaking coming from the kitchen downstairs.
He figured soon enough that she’s in need of a getaway from all the shit she was going through. It’s summer. Summer was meant for all good things a youth should be getting and having. Summer’s a kaleidoscope of bright colours meant to bring life to what was of a monochromatic soul of a teenager with buckets of free time. And with that, he had an idea.
With a tender smile on his face, he got down on his knees, eyes never leaving her for a single moment. “Princess Suji, today I’m the bad prince and I’m taking you away for the rest of the summer to where no one will find you.”
She scoffed, hands lingering on the wooden frame of the balcony, black hair framing her face when she was looking down at him. “After hearing that, do you think I would be able to?”
“You don’t think I can do wonders?”
She looked behind, hesitating even though her heart leaped with excitement with the offer of breaking the rules. What’s the point of following them when it ended up with you getting hurt? “Wait in your car.” She smiled at him as she went back inside and packed up just a bit in her small backpack. She sneaked out from her house and climbed into his car without any hesitation.
The both of them stared at each other, sore eyes wanting an escape and hearts waiting for moments to be healed. Young-filled hearts that never thought of anything but their own happiness.
Their road trip began just like that.
It was a rocky start. She didn’t talk much; quiet ever since she climbed into the car. He was meaning to hold her hand, covering them with his and to tell her that everything will be alright and he was and will always be there for her. But, she pulled away at the slightest touch, body all curled up but not facing him. He pulled over at a rest station and parked slightly far from where most people park their cars.
“You can scream if you want. I can guarantee you that no one can hear you,” He said as he pulled her seat backwards so she could lie down and did the same thing to himself. “I can wait. We can eat the burgers afterwards.”
Silence resumed like when they were moving. Suji suddenly turned around to face him, grabbing his hand in the process. She plunged her face into his neck, crying like she had never cried before. In return, he rubbed her hands, giving them warmth and being her solace, overall.
She cried to sleep on that night, and as soon after that, he did as well.
“What do you want to do for the rest of the trip?” he asked her as he stuffed himself with the Korean pancakes at the diner for breakfast. She was sitting, facing him, and eating egg rolls. She looked up at him, eyes twinkling with excitement. “We can’t just sit in the car, after all.”
She looked down again at her egg rolls, readjusting their positions on the plate. “Be happy,” she said without any hesitation. She picked up the largest egg roll she had and placed them slowly on his plate. “I want to be happy for the rest of the trip.” She gave him the first, genuine smile for the trip, signalling a hope for him. A hope that this trip would work out for them.
He had a pretty good feeling that it would.
And so he did.
How he treated her in ways she never expected nor experienced herself. How he gladly intertwined their hands together, hands fitting each other like they were meant to be, like they themselves were meant to be. How he particularly, secretly knew that she loved it when he brushed off the stray hair away from her forehead when she didn’t realized it. How she loved it when he stole kisses on her cheeks, and her cheeks would turn into shades of fading pink, feeling a burn of sensation she never felt before.
But most of all, she loved how he would run after her when he realized she didn’t pick up his calls nor replied to his messages, enveloping her in a heart-warming embrace as if he knew it was all she could ever need when she’s down in the dumps. How he let her seat between his knees, her back against his chest, arms all wrapped up together. His warmth against hers, how perfect it was. All while she told him stories that broke her heart and ruined her strong-willed demeanour. In return, he planted kisses on her head, reassuring her with words that instantly patched up her heart. It was all “Don’t worry, you have me,” or even “Don’t worry ‘cause I’ll break their bones for messing with you,” to “It’s going to be okay because you have me and I love you.”
It was as if the trip was a fresh beginning for them, an eye-opener for a realer and sincere relationship that neither of them expected that it could be. He learnt all her secrets and she understood him deeper.
Two hearts beat in the same pattern. And she never felt happier before.
They were lounging at the beach somewhere down south, her back against his chest as per usual. She brought his fingers in front, playing with them under the shine of the sun. It was their favourite, comfortable way to relax with each other. The intimacy secured her heart, giving her a sense of protection. It was as if he would be there always, guiding her from any wrong ways and protecting her from any harm.
“How did you fall in love with a nobody like me?” she suddenly asked him because curiosity ruins trust as easy as tearing petals apart.
His hands dropped, wondering why in the world she would ask him such question. But still, he smiled to himself. “Truthfully, I don’t even know. But trust me. It wasn’t because of some dares or anything. When I first saw you, I was already a goner. I liked you because I liked you. I fell in love with you because I fell in love with you,” he nuzzled his nose into her hair before patting her head like she was a little kid. “And you have to trust me on this, alright?”
Touched with the answer, she pulled him up and dragged him to the crystal-blue ocean that lied just before them. “I don’t want to cry again for the rest of the trip so let’s have fun, okay?”
All of a sudden, he lifted her up bridal-style as he smiled in victory at her. “Okay, no problem with that.” He said before suddenly picking up his steps and ran in between the waves. She held onto him tightly, fearing that she would fall because he was crazily carrying her along the sea, laughing her heads off.
Suddenly, he missed a step that brought them down onto the sand, waves hitting them ever so gently. She was on top of him, her face on his chest. She moved a bit so that her eyes were above his. “You know what? I am loving it already.”
Junho pressed the button on the radio, the station played some melancholic song that he instantly recognized. Almost instantly, his heart dropped. He cursed silently on why, on so many days, the station decided to play that song today or was it under the cruel little thing called fate. Nonetheless, it was not a good day for him.
“Are we stopping anywhere?” Suji asked him as she changed the station. His head snapped in her direction, glaring at her before changing it back. As much as he hated it, he still wanted to listen to that song. “Why are we listening to this old song?” she asked nonchalantly before changing it again.
He hit the brake abruptly, stunning them both. “It’s not some stupid, old song, alright!” he shouted all of a sudden, taking her aback by surprise. “Damn it. It’s not only you who have troubles on your own, alright?” he said as he slammed his hands on the steering wheel, fists balled after that.
She stared at him, wondering what had triggered his emotions on that day. She was scared. She had never seen him like that. “Junho, are you okay?”
“Do I look like I am?” his voice hissed before he sighed.
Her hand found the courage to take his hand into hers, fingers interlocking. “We can talk about it, okay?”
His hand pulled away instantly, his voice as cold as ice. “Let’s just… continue driving.” He said numbly before starting the engines, continuing the drive and making her confused all over again. Tears were threatening to come out from her eyes but she brushed it off.
He saw a fairly-looking club when they first arrived at the random, unknown town. He parked further down and stopped. “I’m going to take a drink. You can come in if you want, although I don’t think you would be able to.”
She got out as well and stopped him before he could enter. “Don’t do that to yourself. You know, if I can talk, why can’t you?” she held his wrist as strong as she could. “Don’t freaking punish yourself.”
He turned around and towered over her, intimidating her with his glare. “Oh yeah? Why don’t you do that to yourself?” he pulled his wrist hastily before marching into the club.
She wiped her tears before they could even flow down her cheeks before entering the club as well.
She saw him, sitting near the drink counter as a bottle of soju was given to him. He drank it in just a few gulps before asking for more. She quickly ran over, taking the new bottle from his hand. “Stop it, Junho. Please, is there anything I could do?”
He pushed away her hand from the bottle; the force was too strong that she fell down as well. “Yeah. Can you please go away?” his voice raised in anger yet she knew he was already drunk. Suddenly, a guy came to help her get up before punching Junho in his face.
“Sorry sir but that’s not a good way to treat a young, pretty lady like her,” he told him before pulling Suji away from the scene. He brought her to the back door that was across from the drink counter. “Miss, are you alright? Are you hurt?” he asked as he suddenly took her arm and stroked it creepily. He brought her closely to him, and this scared her out.
“Don’t touch me,” she said, voice sounded nervous even though she was glaring at him. “Just let me go back to my boyfriend.”
His eyes grew wide open, mouth hung open in disbelief. “He’s your boyfriend?” he laughed and then she finally knew that he was drunk too. “No, dear, I could be a better boyfriend than him. Just trust me, pretty lady,” He said before grabbing her into his arms, hugging her as his arm trailed on her leg. “You should’ve worn something more… meagre.” He suddenly covered her mouth before she could even scream.
He pulled her towards the back alley after they exited the club, pushing her against the wall. She pushed him away with all her might, screaming and shouting even though she had a feeling that no one could hear her. “Go away, you freak!” her throat was hurting because all she could even think was to cry. She was slapped so hard in return, falling down while in the process. That’s it. That’s her end.
She noticed another blurry figure pushing the guy away and pushed him against the wall before her eyes closed, death seemed liked the safest option she only had.
Suji woke up on a bed, walls covered in run-down wallpaper and there was an old TV right in front of the bed. She pulled away the blankets that covered her and noticed that she was still in her clothes.
“Had a nice sleep?” a familiar voice came from her right. She turned around and saw him. Lee Junho. And she couldn’t be happier. She jumped to him, hugging him as he rubbed her back. “Before you could even ask – no, that bastard didn’t do anything to you.”
She pulled away from him as she studied his face. She noticed the torn lip, cuts on his cheeks and the bruises on his face and even on the arms. “I’m so, so sorry.” She said, her voice breaking as she placed her hands on his cheeks.
“Don’t,” he stopped her as he brought her hands away from his face. “I am sorry. Let’s just spend the rest of the day here, okay?” he said before he climbed into the bed as well.
The both of them stared at the ceiling; they both are at the furthest end on each side of the bed. “Yesterday was my mum’s birthday,” he admitted as he suddenly felt drowsy. “When I was little, she used to sing me that song to sleep. Nobody sang me that song after she died. In all honesty, it was hard falling asleep since then.”
She turned to face him before softly singing the bits of the song that she knew, in hopes that it would lessen the fact that he missed his mother. He felt asleep soon after that, heart longed for his mother but at that moment, he felt happy that Suji was there. Even though they were two completely different women, at that particular moment, they reminded him what love was all about.
On that noon, after their nap, he told her about how his dad left him and his mother behind when he found out that his mother was dying. Junho waited and waited but he never returned, even after she died.
When he was older, he finally met his father when police caught Junho stealing some food from a store. He was all excited that he had a new home, a chance to start anew, only to find that his dad had a new wife hidden in store. His trust broke easily on that die.
“Promise me that you’ll learn to forgive your father and accept your stepmother, even if it’s baby steps.”
“It’s going to be hard…” he looked at her, eyes meeting hers and he smiled faintly. “But, for you, I promise.”
In the evening, she told him what happened at home, how her parents were not happy anymore and she told him that she didn’t want that to happen to herself. How life wasn’t giving her a chance to even breathe and live easily.
“Promise me that you’ll never have those thoughts again because I won’t do that to you. And even if you’ll end up marrying another guy later, don’t let what happened to your parents happen to you, okay?”
“I promise,” she nodded as she traced patterns on his hand. “And I will, Junho. I will. Just so you know, I hope that the lucky guy will be you.”
They saw a sign at a random town, telling them that there was a country party happening on that night. So they rented a motel room and wore the nicest clothes that they had. It was a simple party, really. There’s a local band playing normal, typical teenagers-friendly songs and no fancy and expensive food and whatnot. And they liked that.
When they started to play a rather romantic number, he held out his hand, offering her to dance with him for the night. “You know, I’m still the bad prince.”
“No, you aren’t bad,” she giggled before gladly slipping her hand into his. “But I am still your princess for the night.” They made their way over to the dance area and began to dance, her hands on his shoulders and his hands on her waist. Their eyes never broke their contact, enjoying their special, little moment of their own. And for once, they were in their own, little world where no one could disturb them and their peacefulness; being with each other.
Junho and Suji fumbled with the keys of their room, heads clouded between reality and fantasy. They had too much drink, perhaps a little bit too much. Without changing, they went straight to the bed and just lied down right next to each other, savouring their time together.
“Do you think my parents would scream their heads off when they find out I went drinking?” she asked him with a fit of giggles, lying sideways to face him.
He sat up, laughing as well at the insanity of the things that they’ve done so far. “They would already scream just because you bravely went out for a trip without their permission.”
“Who cares? I have you, right?” she asked as he intertwined his hands with her.
Slowly, he pulled her up so she’s sitting up as well, their hands never breaking apart before slowly kisses her lips clumsily; the taste of the infamous soju lingered on her lips. He could feel her smiling and he did as well. “You do, sweetheart. You do.”
“I love you.”
“I thought I’ve told you a thousand times before. But, yeah, I have a bad memory so I love you too.” He continued their kiss, mind shutting out any sort of unwanted problems because what now was now, and now they were just two young adults madly in love with each other.
Suji wished that this moment would be infinite, never-ending and everlasting. No heartbreaks, no worries, no hesitation. That night, she slept with no black holes accompanying her to sleep. His arms protected her from nightmares that she always dreamed of and provided her the warmth of happiness she was looking for all these time. And it’s alright.
They made their way back to Seoul, with hopes that they would not face anymore hard and bad days. But even if they did, she would just find him and he would just find her, and they believe that everything would turn out alright, just like that.