Category: Chapter, Angst, NC-21
Main Cast: Kang Seulri & Cho Kyuhyun
Supporting Cast: Ok Taecyeon
Kang Seulri is fighting all kind of pain she feels inside her, the man beside her has shed more tears than he ever did in his life and she can’t keep on watching him hurt himself like that. She has to stay strong and she has to fight the pounding sensation she feels in her head, she has to ignore the sickness she experiences in her stomach and she must keep her eyes open no matter how heavy they are.
She has to show Kyuhyun that she can keep at least one promise to him, that she will be fine, that she will stay awake and aware, she will let him fix what’s broken between them and if she heard him right, she’d happily allow him to create a new life for both of them. The cost of her brighter future lays on her own hand, all she needed to do is to fight the natural urges to close her eyes and collapse. Sound very simple yet really hard to do for her right now.
Kyuhyun has lost his words beside her as his cries takes over what he wanted to say to her. He never felt his heart ache so badly like this, regrets have taken over his emotion and he keeps on thinking what ifs.
What if he stayed with her tonight the way she asked him?
What if he didn’t do his mean act just to intentionally hurt her?
What if he takes his disappointment like a man should and forgive her?
What if he didn’t say those words to her?
Maybe Kang Seulri would lie in his arms in her small yet comfortable bed, maybe they will cry together as a result of their fight the way it always happened for them, maybe she’ll hide her face in the curve of his neck to find her comfort and maybe he’ll be hugging her tight as he showers her with kisses.
He’s aware that wondering over something that was already too late is useless, he should focus on keeping her alert. But he’s just a man with a weak heart and his biggest test comes tonight.
His cry stopped only by the brushes of her fingers on his face, he knows Seulri wants to say a lot of things to him. There are so many things left unsaid between them and he still needs her explanations over her misled life. He said he didn’t care, but tonight he’d rather hear her defenses than let it buried forever in her heart.
“Seulri-ya.” He gasps in between his breath, “Can we start over? Do you want to start over?”
Her gaze dimmed a little but she tried to nod, that’s all she wants. She wants to leave it all behind and get a second chance for her life.
“Let’s start over, ne? I’ll find a way to make it work for both of us.” He kisses her hand, “You can try to get the degree you wanted and I will spare my time to teach you what you need to catch up.”
She squeezes his hand as a sign of agreement.
“We can move to our happy place, I’ll get a job at the local clinic and you can still go on with your study or you can be a stay at home mother and take care of our children, you can do whatever you want and we can go over the details later once you’re recovered. Do you want to do that with me? Can you please give me a chance to make it happen for us?” He continued his sincere plead.
Her tears fall for some more, a mix of happy tears and also pain that battles in her heart.
“But we can only do that.. if..” He catches his breath in between his cries, “If.. you stay here.. with me..”
Seulri wipe another tears that flows from his eyes.
“So..” He hiccups in between, “Let’s fight this.. together.. I won’t go anywhere.. I swear..”
She squeezes his hand three times like she’s been doing in the past minutes.
“I love you too,” He gasped, “I want to spend.. the rest.. of my life with you.. I don’t care about your past.. please.. please stay..”
His pleads interrupted by the sound of the open door, a doctor comes in a hurry and the man quickly grabs Kyuhyun shoulder.
“What’s her state?” His sunbae asks.
Kyuhyun need some times to gather himself as he catches his breath.
“NO TIME TO CRY CHO KYUHYUN! TELL ME HER STATE!”
“Blunt force trauma to the head, open skull fracture. We already hang four units of blood. She had bad MVD when she came in.” Kyuhyun answers quickly, “Lost of verbal skills, right pupil blown and possible bleeding in the brain.”
The remaining doctors in the room gets up to greet the neurosurgeon that just arrive.
His sunbae take put on his head scarf and placed the mini head lamp to help him examines Seulri. “What’s the name of the patient?”
“Kang Seulri.” Kyuhyun answers for her.
“Kang Seulri-ssi, can you listen to me?”
She blinks and squeezes Kyuhyun’s hand that’s still holding hers.
“She can, doctor. Tactical movement still works.” Kyuhyun answers again.
“Good.” He takes his place on top of her head. “Now I will cut you open to fix your brain, I will numb you, but I need you to stay awake so I can continue to check on your senses. Can you do that for me?”
She blinks again.
Kyuhyun and his sunbae look at each other and with a simple nod they are now ready to safe Seulri.
“Somebody pull in the craniotomy tray! We already wasted enough time, she has a chance!” The new doctor hissed behind his surgical mask.
Seulri looked at her wall clock, it’s four o’clock and she knew that on Thursday Kyuhyun usually finished his shift around that hour. She put on a pretty looking outfit and sat patiently on the space next to her rooftop house. While her eyes hunted for the sight of him, her mind wondered what kind of activity that would make her weird obsession over seeing him looked normal. She didn’t want to look like a weird stalker in his eyes yet at the same time she couldn’t refuse not to take a look into his appearance just for a day.
She figured eating ice cream on the stairs looked casual enough and she just pretended to be busy with the ice cream on her hands while her eyes looked around for him. As usual, Cho Kyuhyun got off his car at around four o’clock. He put his head down and dragged himself towards the stairs of their building, to him, the best part of his day was to go home and see her face. He knew she was waiting for him and he liked the little attention she gave him, but that day was different, that day Kyuhyun had the worse day in the history of his residency.
He passed the fourth floor where he lived and continued to climbed the stairs to the rooftop house, glad to see the one he needed just stand-by on the stair cases with ice cream in her hands.
“It’s autumn, Seulri-ya.” He greeted her then took off his coat.
“You were the one that taught me to eat ice cream to match the weather.” She said with a big grin on her face.
He came closer and wrapped her exposed thigh with his coat, “Your outfit I mean, aren’t you cold?”
She shook her head and studied the frown on his face. “Did something happened in the hospital?”
Kyuhyun exhaled loudly and leaned onto the wall next to him, “I lost a patient.”
She took her ice cream away from her mouth, “I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Nah, it’s fine. I mean she’s old and she had last stage of cervical cancer. She had the time of her life and everything.” He looked down then took his seat one step below her.
“But your face looks like hell now oppa.” She finished her ice cream and leaned closer to him, “Do you want me to buy you ice cream to cheer you up?”
He shook his head but scoffed softly, “Can I talk to you instead?”
“Sure.” She placed her hands to frame her own chin.
“So this patient of mine was an old grandma that only had her husband to be beside her. She knew she was dying but begged us the doctors not to tell her husband, because she was afraid that he’d freak out to the news. In the other hand, the husband knew about her condition and begged us the doctors not to tell her the state she was in, because he’s afraid she’ll lost her will to live if she knew she’s dying.”
She curls her eyebrows but let him continued with his story.
“What broke my heart was, when she was struggled with her last breath, her husband just stood beside her and encourage her to go to a better place. When she finally left, we took out any machine that attached to her and the remaining ones were the heart pump, so she was medically dead but her heart still beating because of the machine.”
She nodded and paid closer attention.
“When we turned off the heart pump, her husband slowly took his place next to her and began to manually pumped her heart, so the heart monitor still beeped and not delivered the flat line.” He felt his eyes got hotter to his own story, “I had to took over for him, because he kept on whispering ‘I couldn’t let you die in my hands’. I had to be the person that took over, pumped her heart manually several times before I stopped and called her time of death.” His tears fell from his eyes.
“Oppa.” She braced herself to pat him on his back, “You did your best, don’t’ blame yourself.”
“I know, I just couldn’t place myself in his shoes. Loving someone that deep to the point you couldn’t let her go that easy.” He sobbed. “Oh God, I never been affected by a death of a patient this bad before.”
Seulri had no idea what she should do in a time like this. cheering him about it wouldn’t make things any better, he lost a patient and it affected him even after his shift was over.
“Can I do something to make you feel better oppa?” She finally asked.
Kyuhyun leaned his head on the wall and inhaled deeply, “I don’t know, how much free time you have laying in your hands?”
“Free as a bird.” She replied.
Kyuhyun smirked playfully, “Grab your overnight bag, Seul. Let’s go somewhere.”
“You asked if you can do anything to make me feel better didn’t you? I need an overnight trip.” His face suddenly dominated in a big forced grin, “Don’t let me down.”
“Now!” He got up from his sit and grabbed her hand with his.
Three hours’ car ride and a ferry ride later had brought them to an isolated village they once visited when they were in high school. That was probably the first time Kyuhyun really left everything behind him to ease his mind with someone he’s familiar with. It’s been three months since he met again with Seulri and in the same amount of time he’s been going back and forth with his heart.
One thing they both knew for sure was the fact that he had a girlfriend. Kyuhyun never really mentioned Oh Jinae to Seulri nor tried to introduced both of them but she met her a few times whenever Jinae hang out at his place. Jinae only noticed Seulri as his neighbor and it’s almost like Seulri and Kyuhyun had an unwritten agreement to pretend they don’t know each other that well in front of the poor girl.
Kyuhyun also noticed Seulri got a night job, she told him she had to do her part-time work after class because that’s the only way she could afford her college tuition. He was happy to hear that her life went out well from what she told him, her parents lived back in the town she came from before they moved to Seoul—that explained why she lived alone. When Kyuhyun confronted her about her being in dropout list in their high school Seulri only nodded and approved the news. She went on telling him another lie by saying that she had to redo her last year of high school in a different town because her parents decided to move, therefore she being left behind a year from people her age.
She didn’t like lying to him, but when her options were between telling him the truth with a high risk of him leaving her forever in a bad term and telling him lies that bought her some time to be closer to him, Seulri would always pick the latter option. She missed him too much to risk telling truth.
Another reason why she kept on lying countless lies to him was because Seulri likes the way he looked at her. She couldn’t remember the last time anyone looked at her with such adoration the way he did, because Cho Kyuhyun didn’t fell in love with her face, her body nor her dirty dances—he fell for her soul and it made different impact on the way she received the attention from him.
“I don’t really have any plan after we arrive here.” He walked beside her with both their overnight bags hung on both of his shoulders.
“That’s okay, we can find a place to stay or we can camp on the beach!” She restrained herself from jumping excitingly.
“Camping.” He scoffed then messed with her hair, “How old are you?”
“It’s exiting, don’t you think? Getting out of routine and we can do whatever we want, nobody knew we’re here.” She hesitated before she continued, “Nobody knew we’re here, right? Did you tell oenni?” She referred to Jinae.
Kyuhyun pulled her hand to turned into a guess house he saw in sight, “Let’s stay here for tonight.”
“You’re avoiding my question.” She frowned.
“Nobody knows we’re here, not even Ahra. I turned off my phone anyway.” He nodded. “Why did I make it sound like I’m having an affair with you?” He chuckled to his thoughts.
“We’re not having an affair, you just happened to have a bad day and I had too much free time. I’m just being a good friend to you.” She justified their action.
Kyuhyun knocked on the front door of the guest house, talked a little bit to the owner and not long after were given the key to the available room. He signed Seulri to follow him and she just followed him from behind happily.
“I think in one way or another we are having an affair.” He exhaled and slipped the key into the hole to open their door, “For instance, there’re more available rooms but I only rent one for both of us.”
Seulri’s face blushed seeing the cool expression on his face as he described his vision of an affair. Why Kyuhyun always made her feel like she’s a clueless little girl that needed to be taken care-of yet at the same time made her willing to dedicate her all to him.
“So, we’re having an affair tonight?” She stuttered, “Just one room?”
He pinched her cheek then took her inside, “If you don’t mind.”
“I won’t try to make my way to you, don’t worry about that.” He put their bag on one corner of the room then laid out the rolled bed in the traditional house. “You can sleep here and I’ll sleep in the other end of the room.”
She was stunned with his gentle gesture yet disappointed at the same time, why wouldn’t he want her more the way she longed for him?
“Okay.” she nodded and accepted the defeat.
“You look disappointed.” He grinned and teased her.
“I’m fine.” She took her bag and placed it on top of the rolled bed he just rolled out for her. “We didn’t come this far just to sleep anyway.”
“Any idea what to do?”
“Let’s just round the island, I miss the beach anyway. I can’t remember the last time I have a vacation.” She answered honestly—for once.
Kyuhyun took out his spare coat and give that to Seulri, worried that their walk would take longer than expected as the night went colder.
They walked in silent from the guest house towards the beach, both too occupied with their thoughts and both too confused to begin a conversation.
Although they’ve gotten accustomed of being near each other again, Seulri and Kyuhyun couldn’t ignore the awkwardness that sometime took over during their time together. There was this huge invisible wall in between them that they couldn’t tear down just yet. They were still too careful around each other, avoided intense conversation about what really happened to them, feared they might offence one and another by certain questions, so their talks basically circled around every day routines and casual catch-up.
Seulri pulled the sleeve of his coat and pointed to the wide dry sand on the beach, initiated an idea for them to sit around. Kyuhyun told her to wait while he bought them some drinks and snacks so she led her light steps toward the beach.
Five minutes later he already took his place back beside her completed with the grocery items he just bought. “I don’t know what you want, so I grabbed some water, sodas, and beers.” He put the plastic bag he just got. “And ice cream.”
“Ice cream is good.” She dig into the bag and took out an ice cream.
Kyuhyun grabbed a beer, opened the can and took big gulps of the bitter liquid.
“How do you feel now oppa?” She asked after he finished the first can in no time.
“Better.” He took out one more beer can. “I’m in the middle of nowhere with you, nobody knows we’re here and we’re free, what more could I ask for?” He smirked.
Maybe it would look just like a normal cynical smile he did, but Seulri knew him better than anyone and she knew his words had deeper meaning than just a simple relieve expression.
“Are you okay oppa? I mean, not just for today.” She crossed her arms to hug her bended legs, “You don’t look happy.”
“Are you?” He gulped his beer again then offered the drink to her. “Are you happy Seul?”
His eyes pierce through her soul, Cho Kyuhyun seemed to be tired to walked on the eggshell with her.
“I am.” She smiled and took the beer can from his hand to put it next to her so Kyuhyun wouldn’t drink for more. “You may think I’m bullshitting you, but I really am happy.”
“Why it didn’t seem like that to me?” He shifted his hand to slip her hair behind her ear, his finger brushed her skin softly but it was enough to made her heart beat faster. “To me, it seemed like you’re hiding something or denying something. You don’t seem happy anymore.”
“You’re getting ahead of yourself.” She tried to break the eye contact.
“Well, I think I know how this go.” He clapped his hand, “I’ll tell you why I’m not happy and you can tell me why you’re not happy. An eye for an eye, one bad story in return for another, what do you think? That way we can be miserable together.”
She bit her lips, wasn’t sure if she should agree to his idea that could be her double ended sword.
“I’ll start.” Kyuhyun leaned closer to her to grab the beer can from behind her back, gave Seulri another mini heart attack from having his body so close to hers. “I hate my life now.”
She widened her eyes to his simple confession. In her eyes, Kyuhyun was living the life he dreamed about, with the profession he loved, doing what he’s always been so passionate about and to add into that life, he got a perfect, caring and beautiful girlfriend who’s also a doctor. How could he hate the life he laid out perfectly for him?
“I love being a doctor, but I hate everything that’s going on around that job.” He gulped his beer for some more. “I wanted to be a doctor because I want to help people, but I got stuck into the hospital politics and it’s a real pain in my ass if I’m allowed to describe it that way.”
“How come?” She grabbed the beer can from him and gulped some for herself, “Don’t’ drink too much, we should have a sober conversation.”
Kyuhyun nodded to agree with her, “I was offered an even higher position, which mean more responsibilities and more ass-kissing to the hospital board. Those people that only seek for profit instead of saving people. I hate the fact that we had to do a background check on a patient first, judging their insurance etcetera before we begin helping—I mean that’s not the point I studied hard to save life.”
She turned her position to face him so they can look into each other more comfortably.
“And Jinae,” He clenched his jaw after he said her name, “She’s someone my parents consider as a perfect future daughter-in-law, you know with the same kind family background and everything. My parents thought that they could built the doctors empire they’ve been dreaming about. But she’s—” He hesitated a little before he continued, “She’s boring and predictable. I don’t feel anything when I’m with her and I don’t know how many more times I have to wait for our fire to ignite.”
Seulri didn’t know how to react so she just bit her lips and played with her fingers.
“But they had this plan for me and I should stick to that plan they have. Life sucks for Ahra also.” He added, “She wanted to be a veterinarian, but my parents were against her passion, because why save animals if you’ll be more worthy saving human life?” He added the sarcasm into his sentence.
Seulri didn’t think too much when she lifted her hand to caressed his arms, she just wanted to make him feel better. She didn’t like the look he has on his face right now and she only wanted to erase the weariness from his eyes.
“I’m sorry to hear that oppa.” She whispered.
“Tell me about you, Seul.” He took her hand that’s on his arms to intertwined their fingers together.
“What do you want to know?”
“How’s life to you?” He searched for her eyes.
Seulri sighed and finally decided to at least tell him one truth about her life that he had become clueless about. “I haven’t told you this, but I think I really have to apologize in advance to you.”
He lifted his eyebrow, encouraged her to continue.
“The reason I left.” She swallowed her fear, “life wasn’t so kind to me six years ago, you were in the army and I was alone at the time when I received a bad news. My parents had an accident and I lost oemma that day.”
His heart sunk altogether, his tongue locked as he was frozen in his place not knowing what to say to her.
“I had to helped my father to put a food on the table since then, that’s why I dropped out of school because I tried to juggle two part-time jobs just to make ends meet.” She looked down and avoided his gaze still, “I’m sorry I had to put you behind that time.”
Kyuhyun lifted himself a little bit to sit even closer to Seulri, he wrapped his arms around her body that still looked too thin for him and tugged her into his embrace.
“But I figured it out, so you don’t have to feel bad for me oppa.” She forced her voice to sound more upbeat that it was.
“You could’ve told me.” He said slowly, “I would come around and help you if you have told me.”
“I know, but it was too sudden and I was too overwhelmed with everything. I was only seventeen, I didn’t know what’s best for me and my dad.” She sunk her face on his chest, tried to find the comfort he always offered her. “I’m sorry I took the worst decision for us.”
“And I was busy hating you that time while you’re struggling like that.” He concluded. “I’m sorry Seul.”
She shook her head on his chest, “I would hate me too if I were you.”
“I stopped hating you the day you showed up in my E.R.” He patted her on her back.
Seulri smiled weakly, “I thought I was imagining things when I saw you that day oppa. You have no idea how much I missed you.”
“No, you’re the one that has no idea how much I missed you, Seul.” He followed his instinct he always had when it came to her, he held her even closer as he kissed the top of her head repeatedly. To Kyuhyun those gap years when they were away were nothing, as long as he could hold her in his arm again.
“And I think I’m being a bad girl now oppa.” She whispered in between.
“How come?” He planted a deep kiss on her forehead. “My sweet Seulri would never be able to be bad.”
Her heart clenched painfully to his words and she knew it’s a cue for her to stop revealing her truth. As selfish as it might have looked, Seulri wanted to buy herself more time to be in his embrace while Kyuhyun still think of her as his sweet girl.
“For instance, I let somebody who has a girlfriend hold me like this without having a slight guilt to the poor girl.” She replied with her newfound denial.
Kyuhyun chuckled, instead of pushed her away he enfolded her even closer. “I guess that makes me equally bad. She has the title of being my girlfriend, but you hold my heart in your hands from the first time, Seulri-ya.”
Seulri wrapped her arms around him and braced herself to give him a little peck on his cheek. “Nobody knew we’re here anyway.”
“This is probably the most brilliant idea I’ve had in my life time.” He chuckled, agreeing with her. “Are you happy?” He brushed his thumb over her face before he pinched her scarlet cheek.
“I am now.” She bit her lips and avoid his gaze. “I’m in my happiest place at the moment.”
Kyuhyun could no longer control his action, he was too happy to finally be able to hold her in his arms again. He was overwhelmed with the common understanding they have over their situation and he once again blown away by her innocent and charming way to express her longing over himself.
He ran his hand towards hers, grabbed it tightly to delivered his heart the way they always did, squeezed her hand three times as he gently pressed his lips onto hers.
Any night would always be a good night for them to reminisced their beautiful story that interrupted by the cruel fate along the way, but that night was the perfect night as the recall what they’ve been missing from each other for the past six years of their life.
 Surgical saw to open the skull.