Category: Romance, NC-21, Chaptered
Cast: Cha Eungi, Choi Siwon, Cho Kyuhyun
She later found out that she bought a train ticket to a little town called Hallstat in the west part of Austria as her final destination of her sudden impulse when she decided to leave Paris. By being in this place, at least Eungi still be able to breathe easy in her stressful time from enjoying the beautiful surrounding around her. This place is a perfect place if she wants to heal herself and definitely much safer than Paris for her.
The early weeks were the time when Eungi still hoped Kyuhyun would somehow come and find her in a little town where she’s at right now. She knows she tries her best not to leave any trace or clue for him to track her down but a part of her insisted that Kyuhyun is one of the best stalker she knew and he should be able to find her not long after she’s missing.
If he ever wanted to find her.
Eungi got out of her hotel and looked out for a rental apartment that she can use for months until her permit to stay in the EU ended since she didn’t have enough courage to return to South Korea yet. She kept on checking her phone, waited for a call she knows would never come and some of the time she felt the urge to just leave Hallstatt and returns back to Seoul. At least she knows where he lives and that way she can knock on his door and ask for his explanation. But whenever she’s ready to book a ticket back home, a little voice in her keeps telling her that she shouldn’t be the one that chase after him. After all its him that left her and she needs to remain in this safe place—to safe her own pride and to secure what still remains of her heart.
She’d spent each morning waking up with a bunch of hatred towards Kyuhyun, she can make a full list of what she’s about to say to his face when she meets him one day, but when the night comes Eungi will break into cries because she missed his presence all over again and she found excuses to forgive what he’s done to her and she’d fall asleep in his clothes that she accidentally grabbed when she packed her luggage in a hurry back in Paris to conquer her longing of being with him.
The first months is the moment where Eungi lost herself to the momentary comfort alcohol could give her, she left all of her projects altogether and just hold on to the bottle all day in her rental apartment. This were the time when she couldn’t differentiate night and day since she would start her breakfast with dabs of Vodka and goes back to sleep with a whole bottle of wine in her hands. She doesn’t give a damn anymore to herself, the pain that’s killing her from the inside is enough to trigger awful thoughts for her to end her life at some point and only a tiny part of her conscience—and her debt of life to Siwon that she’s always aware of—that kept her away from doing the stupid thing.
There were times during the night when she would break down and cries her heart out and those time are usually the moment when she missed Kyuhyun the most. Somehow she can’t blame the man completely for leaving her, he was wrong to leave her without notice but it’s not entirely his fault.
Eungi’s aware how much he tried to change to adjust himself to her in their relationship, she knew she hasn’t given her best to him since she’s still torn in between two men and she completely understood if Kyuhyun gave up in the end because he’s too tired to continue to follow her into the shady part of her life. She gave enough reasons for him to leave her but at the same time she wanted to be selfish and blame all this mess on his shoulder.
Because she tried too.
She tried her best to see their future together and she helplessly fell in love with him along the way. Beside the sadness that dominated her heart, anger also came along to complicate the battle in her mind. She’s mad because he gave her a taste of comfort that she needed, mad because she let her guard down and allow him to be a part of her life—a very important part, mad because he didn’t fight harder to stay by her side, and she mostly mad because she still loves him.
Who in the right mind would still lingers in this kind of heartache? Any normal person would have tried their best to move on from the pain instead of reminiscing each sweet moment they shared. Eungi didn’t even have enough courage to erase his pictures from her phone because she’s afraid that it’s the only evidence left of their story and she’s not ready to throw them all out. As angry as she was to him, a little part of her heart still wished for a final gesture from Kyuhyun. She believed herself as a great judge of characters and she wanted to believe that she didn’t misjudge him when she said there’s a big potential in himself and that Kyuhyun is actually a great person stuck in an evil stereotype.
By the second month after he left, Eungi enters the stage of denial, she would find reasons to encourage herself, saying that she didn’t need anyone by her side to make her happy. She found less comfort in alcohol as she began to spent her time watching old movies and old TV shows. She enjoyed this in a way because she could allow herself to cry in the sad scenes she found in the form of entertainment—just to make her felt less pathetic for crying with no reason at all.
The third month was the time when she tried her luck in finding some news about the man that has left her. With her remaining access to her previous campus portal, Eungi checked if Kyuhyun is enrolling in the next semester and whether he’s attending his class well the way he promised her. She felt the rage dominated her heart when she noticed that he actually enrolled and hasn’t missed a class at all in the four early weeks of the new semester. So he could keep that promise to finish his school but couldn’t keep his vow to be by her side, with that thoughts alone, Eungi fell one more time to the comfort of alcohols.
Her permit to stay in EU expires by the fourth month and she had two choices: return to Korea or get out of EU to the nearest country to prolong her permit, she picked the latter option and packed her luggage to Edinburgh in UK. During her early days in the new town, she kept on thinking of how nice it’d be if she could share the beauty of this city with Kyuhyun. With that sentiment in mind, she forgotten her anger over him and begins to bargain to just forgive the man and throw her pride to the trash before she runs to him and beg him to stay.
By December, she had to endure celebrating Christmas all alone—as usual—in a foreign town that has one of the best medieval Christmas scenery. While other people were spending times in their warm houses with their love ones, Eungi chose to walk across the city to stroll in the old town while she can completely absorb the serenity the Christmas carol brought from the old church. The narrow pavement constructed by cold stones was a great property for her to broke down and cried while she fought back the rush of memories that struck her when she saw a Korean couple in the distance that reminded her of how she and Kyuhyun were before he abandoned her. She ended her Christmas night by getting wasted in a pub beneath her rental apartment with a whole bottle of whiskey in her hand.
Six months after he left was the time when she decided to put it all behind her and get her life back on track. She walks around to give her proposal to book publishers across Edinburgh and finally found a purpose of living after one famous book publisher agreed to look at her draft—which she hasn’t touched for months. This is also the time when Eungi received a call from her old campus in Delft, the Netherlands that tells her about the grants she received to continue her post-doctoral studies there. Eungi politely refuse the enrollment for the semester and bargained if she could start next semester instead because she’s currently busy writing a book and still in her long sabbatical—the campus gladly postponed her enrollment and waited for her presence next semester by August 2017.
Her determination to stay strong quivered by February when she noticed the circled number 3 in her calendar. It’s his birthday and all the fortress she made to barricade herself from the memories rush back in with no mercy. Eungi was mad at herself for being so weak and pathetic because she wished the impossible to happen. She still kept their memories safely in her phone and laptop and she doesn’t have enough courage to erase all those. She loved once and her love died while protecting her and she was lucky to be able to loved again after that. Kyuhyun probably was the meanest and cruelest person in her life but she can’t lie to her own heart on how much she still missed his presence and how much she’s dying to curl herself in his arm for the comfort she’s been longing.
Her birthday came a month after that by the eight months of her runaway. She celebrated it the way her father always prepared her birthday for her back then, with a chocolate muffin topped with one tiny candle. Those were the only cake he could afford for her back then, and even when she could afford any cake she wanted these days, Eungi stick to the tradition to remember her beloved father in her every birthday this way. She got out of her rental apartment and bought a chocolate muffin from her favorite bakery in town completed with the candle and quickly went home. She lit the candle, sang happy birthday to herself and closed her eyes shut while she silently made a wish in her heart—she wished for a strength to conquer her loneliness, wished for an ability to forgive him, wished for a second chance with the man she loves, and if she doesn’t deserve a second chance she hoped she’d at least get a closure over his abandonment.
The pace of her life started to return to normal on the ninth month she was alone, she managed to finished her final draft of her book and she started to visit local library again to sink her head in books to counter her lack of activities. Eungi also prepared herself to return to South Korea to take care of all her study documents in EU and to collect all of her diplomas that she left in her home back in Seoul.
Her permit to stay in the UK runs out by May 2017 and she finally set her foot back to Seoul. She stayed for almost two weeks to take care of all her travel documents and spent the whole time being restless from the possibility of meeting with Kyuhyun. She knows she could just find him in his place if she wanted to, she could come and visit the café he usually spent his time in and she still can track down his academic activity from the campus portal too—but she wasn’t ready for a rejection and she didn’t need to have her heart broken all over again when she’s still busy to put the pieces back together.
Eungi spent the last two weeks in Seoul by looking through her window every night, somehow wished that Kyuhyun would drive by and ring her bell since she returned in the same city as he is now. But he never showed up and Eungi was once again let down by her own expectation. She couldn’t move on from him and she hated herself for that, why would she wait for somebody that was so cruel to her? It wasn’t easy for her to move on from Siwon but apparently letting go of her attachment to Kyuhyun was harder for her. She didn’t need any explanation from Siwon when he left and it’s contradictory with Kyuhyun, she had all these questions to asked and she couldn’t put this behind her until she gets the answer she needed.
Eleven months since he left, she had enough things on her hands to distract her from her loneliness. She went back and forth from Edinburgh to the Delft to complete her revision for the book and also to perfect her post-doctoral proposal. She finally able to meet again with her old colleagues she spent her master degree with and it helped her to have some social interaction that she’s needed for quite a while.
When a year passed, she’d hope to be able to let go and move on completely from him yet the truth was harsher for her. She still cared and still curious with whatever he does. Has he got himself a new girlfriend now? How many girls has he slept with after her? Did he have any regret for leaving her? Did he ever look for her at least once? Has he graduated as he promised her?
She found the answer from her last question by checking the campus portal one more time and she had her proud moment when she read his name was listed in the graduates of 2017. At least he managed to keep his own promise to himself—to graduate within a year.
After more than a year she had to live with the fact that she’s been abandoned by him, Eungi started to have some hallucination over his presence. Sometimes she would think that she saw him in her campus in Delft—which was impossible. She would think that she’s being followed but nobody was around when she turned around for a closer look. One day she got very drunk and high in Amsterdam and she couldn’t even remember how she got herself back to her sublet house back in Delft which was two hours’ train ride away from the city center—her friends also couldn’t remember how she gotten home at the time, and she swore that Kyuhyun was the one that took her away from the coffee shop she burnt the joint from and sent her to her home. But then again, she was too wasted and too high to believe in whatever she saw. In the end she accepts the fact that she begins to lose her own sanity from her yearning of seeing him and Eungi took her hallucination as her self-defense to cope with her loneliness instead of as a sign she needed to meet a psychologist.
By November, her book is finally launched and the publisher chose to be extremely sentimental and demanded the published date to be exactly two years after the tragedy and that Eungi had to do her own book reading in the very city she’s been avoiding to come—Paris.
November 13th 2017
Two years has passed since the tragedy that took Siwon away from Eungi and to commemorate this day, she’s now going to launch her book in the very city where the tragedy occurred. Her faith seems to be dragged around into heaven’s joke no matter how many times she swore not to step her foot back to Paris. She’s invited to do a reading of her book in the Shakespeare and Company, a little English book store in the opposite of the Notre Dame next to the Seine.
She asked her publishing assistant to buy a return ticket to Paris on the same day since she doesn’t have any intention to stay longer than her scheduled book reading and she cursed for one last time before she got herself into the train that’ll take her into the city full of bad memories.
Eungi was surprised on how many people actually come to her book reading and book signing, since she never thought people could be so interested in a first person point of view of the tragedy. She spent the whole morning reading the book to her reader chapter to chapter, re-living the bad moment one more time and she couldn’t hold her tears by the time she got into the moment after the chaos that she always dreaded about. She moved her reader by the way she found a strength to continues with her life and how she chose not to waste Siwon’s life by continuing to be a great person she always was.
When she finished reading the book, the interview session is up and it allows some of her readers to ask questions relating to the book. One lady stands up and walks closer to Eungi to asks whether she can give her a hug of encouragement, because she believes Eungi deserves all kind of support everybody around her could give her for facing that kind of trauma. Eungi gladly takes her warm gesture and both ladies are shedding their tears from this moment.
The next question comes from an old man, he asks her on how she’s be able to move on with her life and still do great afterwards, because the tragedy has taken the life of his son and he hardly find any spirit at all to keep on living. Eungi comes closer to the old man and gives him a big hug then cries together with him. She whispers in his ear that the courage she got came from a special person that stood by her during the darkest time, and that what they need to continue living their life is a purpose to not turn the death of their loved ones into vain.
When the questioning session ended, her readers are lining up to get their books signed by her. She receives a lot of warm gesture from her reader and a lot of them encourage her to keep fighting back from her lost, they say the moment any victims gives up is the moment the terrorist won so they should never let that happen. The line gets shorter and shorter as the day started to get dark and her publishing assistant next to her continues keeping track of how many people still left in the bookstore for her to meet.
“Okay, two more people and you can grab dinner then go home.” He whispers to her from the corner of his mouth.
Eungi smiles and whisper back, saying she’s not interested in dinner and just plan to go home at once. She takes the book her reader gives and kindly ask the name to write down in the book before she signed it then gets another encouragement squeeze in her hand. Eungi thanked the lady and continues to greet her last reader in the shop.
Her heart drops when she sees the face she’s been missing this whole time.
Nothing much has changed from his appearance, he’s still as charismatic as she remembered, his eyes still pierce through her soul the way it always has been, his handsome feature are still there even when it’s obscured by his grim expression, and his scent that she loves has took her breath away for a moment. She been dreaming of this moment in the past year, the day when she finally able to see his face again, the day when his presence only a step away from hers. Eungi played this scene thousand times in her imagination and she always has several options of reactions.
In one of her imagination, Eungi dreamt that she would act cool when she meets him. She’ll just pass by as if nothing had happened between them, as if he never broke her heart. In this version of their meeting, Eungi pictured Kyuhyun would chase her until he got a chance to explain his reasons then Eungi would coldly say she’s not interested in his reason, then left.
Another version she has in her mind represents her longing over him. In this dream, Eungi thought of herself as the helpless romantic that would jump onto him and wraps her hand around him—forgetting all the pain he caused her and just take him back to her embrace.
Her third day-dream would be the emotional kind of reunion between them. She imagined Kyuhyun would goes down on his knees while asking for her forgiveness as he explain his reason for leaving her and Eungi will take him back after she scolds him a little bit.
She got several other episodes that she played in her mind for over the year but her reaction today is nothing similar to what she used to imagine.
Eungi takes her time to calm her crazy beating heart while she politely whispers to asks her assistant whether the man in front of them is real or just her imagination, she had enough hallucination of Kyuhyun’s presence around her lately and she needs to make sure that she’s not experiencing one of those moment. Her assistant nods and elbows her arm to get her back to her senses, telling her that she just needs to sign one more book then they both can take a rest.
She takes the book from Kyuhyun’s hand and sign it nonchalantly, her hand is as cold as ice, she can hardly breath and her heart is ready to jump out of her chest anytime soon but her face remains flat and the only sign of her being startled by his presence are only shows from her dilated pupils.
“Thanks for coming, sir. It’s the end session of her book signing.” Her assistant gets up from his seat to shakes Kyuhyun’s hand once he sees Eungi is stoned in her seat. “Miss Eungi, we’re done for today, let me take you to the train station if you don’t want to get the dinner we prepared for you.” He adds looking to Eungi that’s still staring at the man standing in front of her.
She gets up after her assistant taps her shoulder and takes her bag with him, he doesn’t understand what’s going on with his writer but if Eungi is a toy, she decided to stop functioning the moment she saw the man in front of her.
Kyuhyun stands still on his place, he too has been wondering about the day when he finally gathers his courage to see her. What’s happening now is so different from what he thought it’ll be. Kyuhyun was prepared for her wrath, he’s been bracing himself to take her beating and maybe some curses she’s been keeping inside her head for the time he’s been missing. But her cool reaction that he got is more confusing for him and he wasn’t prepared to see her being this calm.
Eungi already walks to the front door of the book store when he got back to his senses to chase after her. He doesn’t know who the British man next to her is, but Kyuhyun’s certain that he’s doesn’t have any kind of special relationship with her so he dares to take her hand and stop her steps.
Eungi turns around and tries her best act to still look cool while her trembling hand that he’s holding doesn’t help her to lie.
“Miss Eungi, shall we?” The assistant points to a car he prepared to take her to the train station.
Kyuhyun’s lips are shaking, he’s trying to find some words to say to her without making himself looks more like a jerk that he already is in her eyes.
She slowly wards off his hand away from hers and continues to take her step towards the car.
“Noona, please stay.” He finally mutters the words he’s been dying to tell her more than a year ago.
Eungi chose to ignore him and continues walking.
Kyuhyun quicken his step to block her way and he surprise himself when he falls down on his knees right in front of her.
“I did wrong noona,” He holds Eungi’s book that he has in his hand tighter to help him hold back his own tears. “I know I was wrong to left you that day, but I swore to you I came back. I came back in the afternoon but you weren’t there anymore. I never got on the plane, I came back for you so please trust me. If you can’t forgive me then please at least believe my words.”
She’s doing whatever she can to restrain herself from shedding her tear, she used to be so ready to scold him and forgive him but why her wrath raises to the surface when she heard him explaining himself. To her, the fact that he returned for her didn’t make things any better—it only confirmed that Kyuhyun really planned to leave her back then.
Eungi takes a deep breath and walk again, leaving him on his knees still. When she’s within reach of the car, Eungi takes one look behind and stares at him in the eyes. She doesn’t know where she got the strength to say the words she utters to him next.
“You always have this insecurity of being less of a man than he was towards me, you’re right Kyuhyun-ssi.” She takes a pause before she finishes her words, “At least when he left me, he didn’t have any other choice.”