Category: Chapter, Angst, NC-21
Main Cast: Kang Seulri & Cho Kyuhyun
Supporting Cast: Ok Taecyeon
The neurosurgeon and the rest of the doctors are preparing the devices they need to operate on her head. The interns help to put half-circle aluminum frame to anchor her head and keep it steady while the doctor opens her up. Traditionally the doctors would operate on her based on the CT-scan result, but in Seulri’s case, the longer they wait, the more worrying her brain hemorrhage would be so this time the neurosurgeon has to go blind on her.
They took out the breathing tube in her mouth and changed her airway from the long pipe inserted through her nose. The breathing tube in her mouth could prevent her from speaking while the neurosurgeon will try to wake up her senses and one of the things he needs to check is her verbal skills that still a problem at the moment.
Seulri is in pain still since not all of her body are being sedated, she begins to feel piercing pain on the side of her waist and on her chest when the doctors try to lift her upper body part to positioned her in an angle to easy the access for the neurosurgeon. She ignores the unnecessary pain because Kyuhyun told her that the main problem is her head wound, her sight begins to get blurry and she worries that the more she waits, the worse her other senses would get.
“Kang Seulri-ssi, I’m about to begin the operation.” He stands next to Kyuhyun that’s still holding her hand.
Seulri replies by squeezing his hand and let Kyuhyun be her messenger.
“Doctor Cho here will be responsible in keeping your senses alert.” He taps his hand on Kyuhyun’s shoulder. “First I will take care of your bleeding; after I remove some clotting I will stimulate all of your senses one by one by injecting several solutions into your brain. You won’t feel a thing I promise, but you must follow my lead. If I ask you to wiggle your finger, you have to do that. If I ask you to speak, you also have to try to do that. Do you understand?”
Seulri blinks one more time.
“Good.” He smiles at her. “Just look at my colleague here, he’ll stay beside you through the whole process.”
Kyuhyun gives his sunbae a little nod and the operation soon begins.
She felt at ease at first as she fills her head with the happy thoughts: that she’ll survive this hit, she’ll recover; Kyuhyun will stay by her side as he said he will. But her happy thoughts quickly interrupted by the sound of heavy machinery that rumbles only inches away from her left ear.
She widens her eyes and look at Kyuhyun in fear, she knows what this is, the new doctor is cutting into her skull at the moment and amazingly she didn’t feel anything—no matter how gruesome the image portrays in her he imagination.
“Seulri-ya, just look at me.” Kyuhyun talks to her, noticing the new fear in her eyes, “I will distract you from all of that, ne?”
She rubs her fingers softly on his palm and Kyuhyun does the same thing on her hand.
“Let’s focus on one thing, your recovery.” He lifts her hand to give it a kiss, “Once you recovered, we’ll do our runaway together, you can pick any place that you like, we will start over and we’ll live happily ever after. How’s that sound to you?”
She feels her tears fall from her eyes as she tries to smile to his words.
“We’ll do it one step at the time, but apparently this is the first step to our future together. You have to get through this first, okay?”
She holds his hand tighter.
As his sunbae goes deeper into her brain, Kyuhyun noticed something is changing from her face.
“Doctor, her right eye gets droopy.” He informs in alert, knowing it’s not a good sign.
“The bleeding is bigger than I thought, I have to quickly finish this or else she’ll have a stroke.” He hissed behind his surgical mask. “SUCTION!”
She shifted briefly in her sleep, glued her back to the warmth she felt behind her as Kyuhyun embraced her from her back. He ran his fingers playfully across her left arm, traced her soft skin from the top of her shoulder, made his way down towards her elbow then linked his fingers in between hers once her reached her hand. He squeezed her hand three times before he lifted his body a little bit to give her a morning kiss on her naked shoulder.
She squeezed his hand back but refused to let go the comfortable warmth she felt on her back, she only turned her head to glance from her shoulder and let him climbed on top of her.
“Wake up, sleepy head.” He made himself comfortable as he spread her legs and positioned himself in between.
Seulri smiled shyly but her hand run through his hair, “I thought you said you won’t try to make your way with me.”
He giggled, “You know that’s impossible.” He lowered his head and used his nose to trace her long neck while his hand grazed her hip. “You have this irresistible charm for me.”
She placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed him to laid on his back, placed her head on top of his chest and enjoyed the sound of his beating heart.
Kyuhyun pulled the blanket closer to cover her exposed body and used his fingers to make twirls on her back. “I miss this.” He said.
“Me lying naked next to you?”
He chuckled and kissed the top of her head, “No, I miss lying comfortably like this with the person I love, waking up next to you, how long it has been since we last do this huh? The naked part is an added bonus.”
“Perv.” She pinched his hip.
Seulri lifted her body and used her elbow to support her body, she lifted her fingers to trace some marks on his skin that she never saw before.
“Why are you frowning like that Seulri-ya?”
“What happened to you?” She pointed the first scar she saw on his left hand.
“Got that when I accidentally scratched my skin with a sharp stone in the army.” He explained, and pointed to another scar on his top arm, “This I got from the army also, we were practicing to handle hostage situation when one of my troop accidentally broke a window and I fell on top of it.”
She grimaced, “Did it hurt?”
“Nah, it healed.” He slipped her hair behind her ear. “Besides, it looked cool, don’t you think? Make me look manlier.”
Seulri laughed to his silly statement, “You know what make you look even manlier now?”
She ran her hand to his arm and gave him a firm grip, “This look manlier than I remember, I mean seeing your veins tighten up last night as you support yourself on top of me—that was really turning me on. Don’t even get me started on how sexy your wide shoulder looked like from my point of view.” She grinned with a playful dirty look in her eyes.
“Omo, what happened to my innocent girl? Where did you learn to talk dirty like that?” He pinched her cheek but enjoyed the attention she gave him.
“And this.” She moved her hand to caressed his chin, “I don’t remember you grew this much hair back then.”
“I usually shave every morning, it’s a weird hobby of mine.” He agreed to that part of his changes, “I’ll shave later before we have breakfast.”
Seulri smiled widely and pucker her lips to give him a peck on his lips. She then placed her head back onto his chest with her arms hugged around him tightly.
“Oppa, is this a dream?” She whispered. “If it is, I don’t want to wake up. If I can stop the time, it’ll be here and now.”
In some ways Kyuhyun understood what she meant. They went overboard last night as they let their hunger over each other consumed them, they forgot everything behind them and took comfort in each other’s embrace, acted as if they’re the only people occupied the world and nothing could tear them apart. But they both know that reality waited for them by the end of their trip, he must return to his girlfriend and she had to get back to her life.
“I’ll figure something out, Seul.” He said out of the sudden.
“To make this works” He kissed her again, “I’ll take responsibility to end things with Jinae, but maybe I might have to ask you to give me some time, because things are a bit complicated between me and her.”
She smiled, slightly felt happy but burdened at the same time. “Now I really feel like your secret affair.”
“I’m sorry.” He said shortly.
Seulri didn’t want to push him about that decision because a little voice in her head still told her that she doesn’t deserve the man in her arms—at least not until he knew the whole ugly truth about her.
“She’s a girl that my parent chose for me, our parents are good friends and both parties seemed to be very delighted when we started dating.” Kyuhyun explained, misunderstood her silent as a sign of disappointment. “We met during med school and she had repeatedly confessed to me. It was a year ago, she came to my home during chuseok, charmed my parents and before I knew it, my mom started to talk about her so much, mom encouraged me to man up and be a good man to her. I was too tired to listen to my mom’s constant whining so in the end I asked her out.”
“Perfect daughter-in-law material, I suppose?” She concluded.
“But I don’t feel what I feel towards you.” He lifted their bodies to sit on the rolled bed, lifted her body with him then gently put her on his lap. “I mean, the spark we had, the expectation, the fireworks, it just never happened. I never even touched her more than a simple goodnight kiss that I did out of modesty.”
She rounded her hand to his shoulder and leaned on him, suddenly found her voice to speak out her mind. “You don’t have to explain to me, oppa. I mean I was the one that vanished from your life and now I’m the one that just suddenly showed up. From any point of view, I’m the wrong one here. You look good with her and she seemed like a great woman for you, I don’t want to wreck a relationship that you build with her.”
He smirked, “Why? You don’t want to be with me? Do you have anyone else now?”
He delivered his best flat expression while his heart was aching inside. A part of him couldn’t believe that Seulri would be the first one to talk sense, a part of him slightly agreed with her and yet another part of him really hurt by her smooth rejection.
Seulri pinched his chin then lifted his face to give him a quick kiss. “I told you, my all is yours and it’ll always be like that. It’s just that we have six years of gap and we have to fill each other on what happened during those times. I might have changed and so do you.” She put her head down, searched for the remaining courage she had left to argue with him without revealing her truth. “We need time to get to know each other again, only when we both can accept our changes in those gap years then I believe our love had stood the test of time.“
“Why don’t we talk about that now?”
Her face tightens, she tried to look calm in front of him while her brain worked as fast as it could to find believable excuses.
“Seul? What’s bothering you?” He whispered.
“A lot of things, things I’m not proud of.” She hesitated. “Can we talk about this later? It’s been a long time since I feel this light and happy, I don’t want to talk about that depressing time I had without you.”
He was ready to argue, because he had been waiting long enough to embrace her this way again. He had spent the last six years in his life focusing on something else just to ignore his yearning towards her, he had become a man that let his mother played him like a puppet in her own matchmaking show, he had turned into the cold being he is today.
Kang Seulri was the one that could break it all for him, she could take him into the time machine and they could be the lovers they should be, she could’ve be the person that brought the sun back into his dimmed life yet she continuously frustrated him by her secretive manner.
Kyuhyun opened his mouth, the words he wanted to say to her was right at the tip of his tongue, the words he always rehearsed in his head just in case one day he met her again. He needed to confront her, he needed clear answer, he needed them to fight like crazy to let go of their anger before they forgive each other. But the look in her eyes stopped his well-thought action, Seulri plead with her gloomy look, he could tell that she’s nervous and that she didn’t like the prospect of their arguments if the talk continued.
“We will talk about it one day, I promise.” She brushed his face with her thumb, “This morning is a beautiful morning, we just spent a wonderful night together and I want to keep it that way in my memory. Please, can we talk about that some other time?”
He nodded, “Fine, you’re right. Let’s embrace the moment that we have now.”
She took him closer in her arms to hug him tighter, “I love you so much oppa. I need you to know that and to always remember that.”
He rounded his arms around her waist then sink his nose to breathe the scent of her, “I love you too Seulri-ya.”
They spent another night in their happy place, acted like they’re a couple of teenagers that’s madly in love, left all the real world they knew behind them and for a fragment of time they let themselves live in the land of denial.
Kang Seulri never let her hands off him, she would have clung onto him, leaned on him, gave him kisses whenever she felt like it, and continuously whispered how she felt for him. She was happy, she was free and she was in love—the emotion she thought she’d never experienced after her downfall. Kyuhyun enjoyed every little attention she gave him, let himself get back into the silly teenage version he was when they were younger and mirrored her actions of affection.
When their short gateway ended the following dawn, Kyuhyun and Seulri returned to Seoul with smile on their faces and heavier guilt in their hearts. He rounded his arm around her shoulder on the way from the guest house to the ferry dock, he rounded his arm around her waist during the crossing and he held her hand all the way from the bay back to the city. They’d be lying if they didn’t fear what waited in front of them, Seulri’s hand got colder the closer they get to their building and Kyuhyun’s heartbeat got faster along the way for a reason he didn’t understand.
“Oppa, drop me in the convenience store near our building.” She pointed to the store she meant.
“Let’s go together, I’ll find a place to park.” He still didn’t want to let go of her.
“Ey, I just need to buy some bread and milk. It’ll take more time for you to park than me to shop.” She grinned. “Do you want me to grab you anything?”
He calculated the distance between the store and their building and he knew Seulri was right. It’s so nearby, he could park his car while she shopped and they can have a late brunch together later.
“Fine, you shop I’ll put the car in the parking lot.” He nodded, “I want ramyeon, let’s have ramyeon for our super late breakfast.”
“Okay.” She took off her seatbelt and prepared to get out of the car as he pulled over. “Wait for me at home.” She smiled sweetly before she took off.
“Oh, and don’t forget that shrimp snack that I like.” He shouts before she closed the door.
Seulri gave him her thumb up as an ‘okay’ and got herself into the little store.
She grabbed the things she needed and items he asked her to buy for them as she hummed happily in between the aisle. Her mind wandered to the kind of ramyeon she should make for him and what kind of side dishes she had left for them to complete their meal, to her the past two days she spent with him had drawn the very clear image of what she wanted their life to be. And this morning she still felt like they were playing house, where he’s the husband waited at home as she prepared the meal onto the table, just like how she always pictured her life with him would be like since they were young.
She took her light steps into their home, honestly just couldn’t wait to wrap her arms around him again. She’s addicted to him, Cho Kyuhyun had become her drugs ever since he confessed to her in the park nine years ago. He had become someone she relied to, he had become her brother, her best friend and her lover, Kyuhyun had become her mantra whenever she encountered hardship in life and he sure was one of the reason she still fought her urges to end her life that strike her every now and then.
She was at the corner of their building when she felt like somebody just threw ice cold water on her face, her smile vanished and the familiar pain she felt from her disgrace took over one more time. Seemed like her sudden impulse to stop on the shop did both of them favor.
From a short distance she could observe and heard clearly the conversation that took place in front of their building. She recognized those people, the young beautiful lady was his girlfriend that looked at him with such worries in her eyes, next to her stood his little sister that argued with him with intense curiosity in her eyes, and one older lady stood with stern face next to them, someone Seulri recognized as his mother.
She hid herself behind the lamp post, tried to make herself smaller in between the gap. She bet the atmosphere would be more awkward if she walked nonchalantly towards them right now, his mother knew her and she had a feeling the lady wouldn’t like the fact that Kyuhyun lived in the same place with his ex-girlfriend. Seulri held her breath as she listened to their conversation not too far away.
“You could’ve called!” Jinae raised her voice a little, with Ahra beside her still patting her shoulder. “I was worried sick, I never saw you so mad for a loss of a patient before oppa, I thought you got drunk somewhere and got yourself in trouble.”
“I’m fine.” He replied coldly, “I was affected by it and I took my time to calm down, don’t be a drama queen over it.”
“Kyuhyun-a!” Her mother joined. “She was looking for you for two days, called everyone she knew and almost called the police to find you. Show her a little bit of heart.”
“See? Drama.” He proved his point. “I’m a grown up man, I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t cause any harm.”
“But still—“ His mother became the voice for Jinae since the poor girl had started crying.
“She’s not my wife yet!” He glared at her with anger. “I don’t have to report to anyone on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do.”
“OH MY GOD, CHO KYUHYUN! WHAT HAS GOING ON TO YOU?” His mother shrieked.
She took a deep breath then lower her voice, tried her best to stay calm in front of her stubborn son. “Seriously Kyuhyun-a, what’s going on? You avoid my calls and your father’s calls, you missed out on family dinners, you forgotten your dates with Jinae, gone missing for two days and please tell me that you don’t forget the family meeting we have to attend today.”
Kyuhyun’s heart sunk to her words. Family meeting, he totally forgotten about that. His subconscious mind refused the idea of a sturdier relationship with Jinae, yet their parents kept on talking about taking what they have to the next step. That day supposed to be their first family meeting to talk about it, to talk about the bright future of the two families, the talk he would love to run from.
He was about to argue but his mother started pulling his hand into his home, “Go get yourself ready now! We have to be at her parent’s place for lunch! Stop embarrassing me!”
“Stop controlling me!” He warded off her hand away from him.
A sharp slap on his face made everything quiet for seconds.
“You better get yourself together Cho Kyuhyun.” His mother hissed, “I don’t care the reason behind your ridiculous behavior and I don’t have time to deal with your whining. You need to grow up and take responsibility for once, and the one in front of you is Jinae.”
He’s still too shock to reply, in all twenty-seven years of his life it was the first time his mother laid her hand on him.
“I’m sorry.” She walked closer to her son, “I had to do that. You seemed lost and it’s time for you to return to your place. Let’s not take it any further, go inside, change and groom up a bit. This will be a serious family meeting.”
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath, turned on his stand a little while he calmed himself. Kyuhyun bit his lips and finally open his eyes, ready to be the loser he always thought he was when it comes to his mother.
Only then he noticed a pair of weary looking eyes peeped from behind a lamp post.
He wanted to punch himself just by looking at the agonizing pain she failed to hide. Kang Seulri smiled at weakly at him, nodded to encourage him to do the right thing, and then she turned around and walked away from her corner. He wanted to run to her, wanted to hold her and tell her to stay, he wanted his family to acknowledge her return, he wanted to tell them that Seulri was the one he wanted to be by his side.
But he just froze in his place.
Seulri didn’t look back, she just kept on walking and let her foot led her to wherever they took her. Familiar pain crawled back into her heart, she was so upbeat earlier but now she just felt so powerless. She dropped herself in the bench by the bus stop nearby, counted 1 to 10 repeatedly over and over again to manage her breathing, grabbed her own skirt tightly to deliver her anger. She thought she’d feel better if she could channel her emotion into tears, but no matter how hard she tried to cry her mind refused to shed more tears for her miserable life.
She never felt this furious before and she didn’t know how to handle her own emotion. It’s not anger towards Kyuhyun that she felt inside, but towards herself.
If only she didn’t go that far to save the remaining family she had, if only their separation was caused only by some childish cause, if only she still had a dab of pride left in her, Seulri was sure she’d dare to show up in front of Kyuhyun’s family. She knew she would gladly take back what’s hers and she’ll live that happily ever after life they both used to dream about.
But she’s just a woman that sold her pride and body in return for money.
That morning Seulri didn’t only have her heart being crushed unintentionally by the love of her life, she also got a wake-up call of how further apart their worlds actually were. They were no longer high school kids, they both now grown-ups that already claimed their place in the world—and her place was nowhere near his.