R1994: A MOMENT’S CHOICE SIXTH INNING

Sixth Inning

November 17, 2000

9:30 p.m.
Chilbong

“Joon-ah…” Na Jeong said shyly, her lovely eyes looking into mine. “Let’s go home.”

“You mean your home?” Glancing at my wet clothes, I grimaced. “Okay, I think I can borrow a change of clothes from…”

“Not my home,” she said. She dropped her gaze but I saw her bite her lower lip before continuing. “Your home.”

At her response, my heart sped up. My home? I have never had a woman in my apartment, not even my mother. The thought that Na Jeong and I will be by ourselves made me nervous. She was looking at me expectantly, waiting for my answer. She licked her lips and my throat turned dry, I could only nod. Her face broke into the most beautiful smile and looking at her, the noise of the rain and the traffic around us faded and for a minute I forgot where I was. Holding her umbrella with one hand, she loosened her hold on mine for a second before tightly intertwining our fingers together. We walked a few steps but then she stopped suddenly.

“Joon-ah…” she said. “Where is your apartment?”

“Ahh… Just four blocks from here.” I looked at her and wondered if she was as nervous as I was. I took the umbrella from her and led her down the turn to the road that would take us straight to my apartment building.

We walked in silence, but I couldn’t help but sneak glances at her. When she met my gaze I realized that I didn’t have to do that anymore. Now I can look at her all I want. My heart felt full to bursting, and I wondered whether it was possible to even be this happy. I marveled at how life can change in an instant. Just twenty four hours ago I was wallowing in misery, trying to convince myself of all the reasons why Na Jeong and I can’t possibly be together… And now here we were, side by side. Though I still felt a little fearful, her belief in me and in us has provided me with renewed hope that we can make it together. The feelings I have now are just as intense as they were ten months ago, but I think the difference is that we are starting again from at least a more honest place.

After two blocks, we stopped on the sidewalk as the pedestrian light turned red. I felt her eyes on me and I gave her an enquiring look.

“Everything okay?” I asked.

“Yeah… Yeah,” she said absently. “Uhmm…” I heard the hesitation in her voice before she coughed and cleared her throat. “Joon-ah. I don’t want to be a girl right now but I am a girl.” Bemused, I tried to figure out what she was talking about. Of course she’s a girl. Why wouldn’t she want to be one? “So… Just to be clear… We’re like, a couple right?” She looked down, her cheeks reddening. “Like we’re not just going on dates to see where this is going, right? Not that I wouldn’t be okay with that because that tells me you’re at least willing to consider us having a future together, but…”

“Na Jeong-ah,” I interrupted before she got herself all worked up and got me confused. “We are a couple. We’ll go on dates, not because we’re trying this out but because we want to spend time together now and in the future too.” I lifted her chin so I could see her eyes. “I am your boyfriend and you are my girlfriend. Was that clear enough for you?”

She nodded back, her eyes on my lips. The light has turned green again, but we stayed where we stood and just continued looking at each other. The hum of awareness intensified and I felt my heart leap to my throat. Butterflies in my stomach, I felt her hand pull away from mine. She placed it on my chest, as if feeling my heart. If it was possible to perspire in winter and in the rain, I would be sweating bullets now. With my free hand I ran my fingers down the side of her face. She closed her eyes as I touched her, and when she opened her eyes I took in the expectant look in them. I was leaning down to kiss her when I suddenly sneezed.

Moment broken, she frowned at me. We resumed walking, her arm wrapped around my waist and my one of my arms over her shoulder.

“Joon-ah, you should have at least worn a coat,” she scolded. “Why did you have to rush out of the house?”

“I didn’t want to miss you,” I replied. “Yah… Before you get all mad again, can I just remind you that had I not done that we wouldn’t be standing here right now?”

“That’s true…” She conceded, her expression softening. She narrowed her eyes at me. “Why now, though? Why the sudden change of heart?”

“Ahh…” I started, just realizing with all the intensity of the moment earlier, I didn’t really give her an explanation for my erratic behavior. “I finally read your emails.” Arriving right in front of my building we stopped. I was about to tell her that we were here when I turned and saw her studying me with her eyes narrowed.

“What do you mean you finally read them?” she asked, pulling her arm from my waist and stepping back from me. “You mean to tell me you’ve been ignoring them? Here I thought you’ve just not been answering. I don’t know which one I prefer.”

Sensing a misunderstanding brewing, I decided to nip it in the bud. I took a step closer to her and placed her hand in mine. “Jagiya… I meant I just found them all. You’ve been sending them all this time to the wrong email address.”

“What… What did you just call me?” she asked, eyes wide.

“Jagiya…” I stammered, all of a sudden worried that I might have been moving too fast.

“Say it again.” Not quite knowing if I was saying the right thing, I remained silent just in case I wasn’t. “Please,” she added, waiting with a hopeful look. I realized that she wanted me to call her that, and I smiled back.

“Ahh… Jagiya,” I responded back, feeling myself grinning like a fool when it hit me that I have never called anyone that, ever. She grinned back at me and unable to resist, I enfolded her in my arms. At first keeping her arms to her side, she took only a second to wrap her arms around me as well. When we finally pulled apart, she appeared a little embarrassed. She cleared her throat again before she spoke.

“So wait… You found your emails just now? How is that possible that I had the wrong email address? Aish… Haitai that sneaky punk… He must have known I was trying to get it so he hid it from me.”

“Oh… Haitai gave it to you?”

“Well… Not exactly…”

“You didn’t, by any chance, steal it, did you?” When she didn’t respond I tried to adopt a stern voice. “Na Jeong-ah, you know that’s illegal right?” Seeing her trying to avoid looking at me, I decided to stop teasing her before she was convinced I was serious. “Jagiya… Look at me.” She finally lifted her eyes to mine. “It’s okay. I won’t report you.” I winked at her and she gave me a beatific smile.

We went into the elevator, and as we waited to arrive on my floor, I noted her wringing her hands in front of her. Here I was worrying that I was the only one anxious. The adrenaline now wearing off and I started to feel tired.

The elevator door finally opened and I stepped out. I turned and offered her my hand as she walked out. Hands locked together, we walked towards my apartment. I entered my code and held the door open as she hesitantly walked in. Thanking the heavens that I am not normally an untidy person, I watched as she looked around my apartment.

“Wow, Joon-ah… It’s so clean and tidy!” she exclaimed. “This looks better than some hotel rooms.”

I watched her as she trailed her fingers over the furniture. I smiled as she took in the floor to ceiling windows that provided me a view of the city.

“Is this expensive to rent?” she asked.

“No… Uhmm… I bought this with my contract money,” I answered, a little embarrassed. “I really wanted to have something of my own.”

“This is beautiful. Really.” She looked deep in thought before she spoke again. “Joon-ah, I know this might be too soon to ask, but are you still planning on leaving permanently? You mentioned that when you were over at dinner.” She continued looking out the windows.

“Na Jeong-ah, I have to leave by early February tops. I have to go back and finish my contract. But it’s different now. I’ll come back. I won’t stay there. No matter what happens, I’ll come back.”

She turned around then, a smile on her face. I still can’t believe that she’s here. With even more wonder, I can’t believe she’s mine. She took of her coat and rested it on a chair. I saw her rub her hands on her arms and I realized that she must be cold too. I noted her wet hair and feet and scolded myself for being so thoughtless.

I excused myself for a minute and she nodded. Glancing at her on my way to the kitchen, I saw that she had resumed looking around the apartment and was now examining a framed picture of me on the wall. I turned the kettle on and walked to the bathroom to get towels. I went to my bedroom and grabbed a change of clothing. Walking back out to the living room I vaguely thought that I must be more tired than I had previously thought. All those sleepless nights and stress must have caught up to me.

“Na Jeong-ah, here,” I said, offering her a couple of towels. “My bedroom is just right there,” pointing behind me. At her startled expression I chuckled. “I only meant that you can change in my bedroom. I didn’t know what you wanted to change into, but help yourself to anything in the closet. When you’re done just give me your wet clothes so I can start drying them for you.”

She walked towards me and took the towels. As our fingers touched I felt a jolt of electricity go through me and I was reminded again that we were behind closed doors, by ourselves. I pulled my hand away self consciously and watched as a smug smile formed on her face, almost as if she was just realizing that she had an almost instantaneous effect on me.

As she was walking towards the bedroom, I busied myself in the kitchen. “Ne Jeong-ah, do you want some coffee or tea?” I called out to her.

“Tea’s good,” I heard her respond as she closed my bedroom door. All of a sudden it hit me that Sung Na Jeong is in my bedroom. Getting undressed. I felt my body respond at the thought and to keep my mind off any more thoughts of Na Jeong and the state of her clothing, I did what I always did when I’m nervous to calm myself down. I started singing the Korean national anthem in my head.

Within a few minutes the tea was made and I was in control again. I grabbed the remaining towels and the clothes I had put out and made my way to my bathroom. I took off my shirt and dried my hair. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw that my face was flushed. Thinking it must just be from the excitement of the night, I rinsed my face with cool water and had just started drying it when I heard Na Jeong’s voice distantly asking where the laundry room was.

“Na Jeong-ah, I’ll be right there. I’m…” I stopped abruptly when the bathroom door opened and I saw Na Jeong standing there.

Holding her clothing in her hands, her hair was wrapped in a towel, she was barefoot and her face was devoid of any makeup. She was wearing one of my white shirts, entirely too big on her slender frame, and a pair of my sweatpants, rolled up to her knees. She should have looked ridiculous but I thought she looked perfect. I opened my lips a few times to speak but no words would come out. I watched as a blush spread from her face to her neck and realized that I was still standing shellshocked without a shirt. Her mouth opened slightly at her surprise. When our eyes met, I swallowed a curse. Here we go again, I thought. “Until the day when the East Sea’s waters and Mt. Baekdu are dry and worn away, God protect and preserve us. Long live our nation! Three thousand Li of splendid rivers and mountains,filled with Roses of Sharon; Great Korean People, stay true to the Great Korean way.”

*****

November 17, 2000

10:45 p.m.
Na Jeong

Once I closed the Joon’s bedroom door, I leaned myself back against it. My hand went to my chest, where my heart was beating ridiculously fast. I should be cold in my current state but my body felt so warm. I had to rub the goosebumps away earlier when I saw Joon looking at me. It felt like my nerve endings were all alive. I remembered the way he watched me and had to stop myself from giggling like a school girl.

Na Jeong-ah… Stay cool, I reminded myself. How? How can I stay cool when my man is incredibly, insanely hot? My man… Sighing, I acknowledged that I will never get tired of calling him that. And now I’ll never have to stop. See? I told myself. Persistence does pay off. I love Joon so much I would have been perfectly fine waiting for him longer, but I can’t deny how pleased I am that I didn’t have to.

I walked towards the middle of the bedroom and observed with pleasure that Joon is so neat. The bed was made perfectly and when I opened his closet, I was astounded to see everything folded neatly and color coordinated. Lovingly I ran my fingers over his clothes, and over the jerseys that hung in his closet. It looked like he kept all of the jerseys from all the teams he had played for. Who knew he was so sentimental? I realized that there was still so much I had to learn about Joon. That’s okay though because I can spend my whole lifetime getting to know him completely. Settling on a simple white shirt and a pair of his sweatpants, I quickly changed my damp clothes and put them in a neat pile on the table. I rolled up the cuffs of his sweatpants to my knees lest I trip on them and humiliate myself. Worrying about my makeup running all over my face, I tried to look for a mirror but I didn’t find one in Joon’s room, which I thought was crazy. Well, its a good sign I guess… At least my man’s not vain.

Drying my hair with the towel he’d given me, I exited his room with my clothes and looked in my purse for my makeup wipes and cleaned my face. Taking a sip of the tea he’d so thoughtfully made for me, I decided to look for the dryer myself while I waited for him to finish dressing.

“Joon-ah, where’s your laundry room?” I called out, opening one of the linen closets. Unsuccessful I started looking for where it could possibly be when I vaguely heard a response from him from somewhere. I opened the next door and saw Joon standing over the sink shirtless.

His skin looked like the lightest, most lickable shade of caramel I have ever seen, no doubt from playing and training under the sun all these months. I watched entranced as a rivulet of water started making its way from his face down his neck. That lucky water droplet moved ever so swiftly down his neck to his broad chest, also gleaming with moisture. His chest was bare and looked so smooth I had to hold myself back from touching to confirm my theory. I continued to follow the water droplet as it lingered over the muscles on his stomach and then down further until it disappeared into his waistband. I felt a flush creep over my neck and I’m embarrassed to admit I seriously felt like fanning myself right now. My eyes met his and the intense way he was studying me with took my breath away. I opened my mouth slightly to get some air and realized that I was panting. I was so taken off guard that my hands started shaking and I dropped what I was carrying on his feet.

I bent down to pick them up and mumbling an apology as I stood back up, I was mortified to see that my face was now just inches away from the front of his pants. Instinctively I looked more closely. Of course. How can I not? I don’t know how long I stayed the way I was but… I could swear that there was a shift in his pants when Joon brought his hand down and blocked my view before I could examine him further. I stood up quickly to see Joon unable to look at me. He was looking at the wall behind me instead, and appeared to be muttering something to himself under his breath about mountains. Mountains? Why mountains of all things at this time? Feeling a bit confused still, our eyes met and I decided that surely it can’t be safe for both of us to be in such a cramped space. I turned to leave the bathroom and in my haste bumped into the wall instead.

“Na Jeong-ah,” he said, worry in his voice. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” I said absently, not looking back at him. Heart pounding in anticipation and face reddening in humiliation, I sprinted to the living room and put my clothes down on the coffee table. I sat down on the couch and started brushing my hair. I pretended to be unaffected as Joon made his way out of the bathroom, now dressed in a long sleeved shirt and a new set of sweatpants. He stopped at the kitchen to grab the tray with the tea and brought it to the living room. He picked up my clothes from the table and brought them to the farthest door to the right. Within a few seconds, I heard the tumble dryer start and he came into view again. Sitting down a couple of feet from me, I heard him clear his throat.

“Ahh, Na Jeong-ah,” he said. I could swear I heard some nervousness in his voice but I’m too aware of him right now to even turn my face to his. “Should we watch television?”

“Okay,” I answered, my voice strained.

He turned the television on and started flipping the channels until we were watching the news. The silence in the room deafening, I thought about topics that we can talk about.The weather? I thought. No… Talk of the weather will lead to talking about rain where we kissed. Sports? I shook my head… That might lead to us talking about his game and I might blurt out how sexy I think he is playing baseball. Our friends? Absolutely not! Talk of Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin might lead to talks about Samcheonpo, the place, and it might lead to talking about our first kiss, and Binggrae is at his honeymoon, and we know what happens during a honeymoon, so no to that idea as well. I was still thinking when his voice interrupted me.

“Na Jeong-ah…” My hands clammy, I refused to meet his eyes. “… Are you okay?”

“Yeah… Why?” I asked.

“Jagiya, please look at me.” Reluctantly I turned my eyes to his. He leaned over towards my face and expecting to be kissed, I closed my eyes. “Jeong-ah…” He paused and I continued waiting. Just kiss me already! “You have a small bump on your forehead. I think I’ll need to get you some ice.” I opened my eyes swiftly to see his face an inch from mine, his eyes examining my forehead, and his eyebrows drawn in concern. His lips were so close, and impulsively I closed the gap between our lips and pressed a soft kiss on him. I saw his eyes widen in shock before they closed.

I teased his lips with my teeth and my tongue until I gained entry into his mouth. With a swift intake of breath he opened his mouth and his tongue met mine. I moaned and continued to kiss him as his hands pulled me closer. Our positions on the couch prevented me from getting as close as I wanted and frustrated, I shifted my position over him until I was straddling his lap. So much better, I thought to myself as I weaved my arms around his neck. His chest against mine, I couldn’t help but feel pleased that his heart was beating just as fast as mine, if not faster. Even as his mouth continued to move over mine, I noticed that he felt warm as well. No, not warm, he felt unusually hot. Unwillingly, I tore my lips away from his and put my hand on his forehead. I put my ear on his chest and I counted his heart rate silently. I met his gaze, still cloudy with passion and spoke.

“Jagiya… You feel hot and your heart is beating really, really fast,” I said.

“Jeong-ah, of course I feel hot and my heart is beating fast. You’re on top of me and we were just kissing.”

I blinked at him. “No, Jagiya, that’s not what I meant. I meant that I think you have a fever.” Looking down I saw that my thighs were still splayed over his hips and for a second, I was tempted to resume what we were doing. However, my guilty conscience wouldn’t let me. How can I think of myself even in this situation? Reluctantly, I disentangled my legs from him and sat down on my side of the couch. Three feet? No… four feet was a safe distance. “Do you have a thermometer in the house?” I looked over at him and saw that his eyes were closed. “Jagiya?” I asked, and he didn’t respond. Figuring that he had fallen asleep, I stood up and grabbed my phone from my purse.

I hoped as I dialed the boarding house number that Omma would still be up and that she’d be the one to answer the phone. After the fifth ring, I heard someone answer the phone.

“Hello?” I heard Omma’s voice ask.

Breathing a sigh of relief, I spoke. “Omma, it’s me.”

“Na Jeong-ah, where are you? We were expecting you home hours ago.”

“Well… I was at work till late. I had called earlier, didn’t Haitai tell you? Anyway I worked till about an hour and a half ago, but then Joon was there. To make a long story short, I’m with Joon right now and he’s sick so I’m going to stay and take care of him.”

“Na Jeong-ah…” Omma’s voice sounded weird all of a sudden, like she was watching her words carefully. “He does know you’re there right? You didn’t sneak in there while he was asleep, right?”

“OMMA!” I exclaimed, outraged that she would think I was capable of such behavior, even though I was. “Of course he knows I’m here! I’ll be back in the morning to get a change of clothes. Good night.” I hung up the phone before she could warn me of the dangers of staying with a healthy virile young man on my own. Joon is hardly in any condition to be taking advantage of anyone, and even if he wasn’t, he would never do that. Not that I would need that much persuading anyway, I conceded to myself.

Walking back to the couch, I sat down next to him and looked at him in concern. Rifling through my purse, I found a bottle of tablets and took them out. I tried to wake him up and sleepily he opened his eyes.

“Na Jeong-ah, you’re still here?” he asked. I nodded and smiled at him. “I’m sorry I can’t walk you home but I don’t feel good now.” He started dozing off again, and I shook him to keep him awake long enough to try to get him to the bedroom.

“Joon-ah, let’s get you to bed, okay?” I said gently. “I need you to stand up, and I’ll be right here. Just put your arm around me and I’ll help you okay?” He didn’t give me a response but stood up. I placed his arm around my shoulder and led him to his bedroom. Grabbing a glass of water from the kitchen, I had him sit up and take some medicine before he laid down. After wrapping the covers more tightly around him, I padded to the bathroom in search of a washcloth. Finding one, I soaked it in cold water and went back to the bedroom to wipe his face down. I placed it on his forehead and settled myself down next to him. Now exhausted from this very long day, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

*****

November 18, 2000

10:45 a.m.
Na Jeong

I woke up to Joon shivering on the bed. Putting my hand to his forehead, I noted that he still felt hot, although not as hot as last night. Reminding myself to go to the pharmacy to get stronger medication, I quickly took his shirt off, now soaked in sweat and took a fresh shirt from his closet. It was a struggle to get his arms into the holes but I managed to get him dressed without disturbing him overly much.

After I got out of bed, I went to the kitchen and surveyed his cabinets. Aigoo, I thought, what grown man doesn’t have anything in his cupboards but a small bag of rice? Shaking my head I mused that this must be why he’s sick. Well, this and standing in the rain for hours. I opened the refrigerator and was relieved to see a stack of food in it. Recognizing my mother’s containers, I happily pulled out the bag of rice and the large container of cabbage kimchi.

I searched under his counter for a pot, and finding one I placed it on the stovetop. I quickly made some kimchi jigae, in case he woke up and wanted something to eat. While waiting for the stew to be ready, I measured out the rice and water and turned the rice cooker on. I boiled the kettle and fixed him a cup of tea. I went to the laundry room and fished out my clothes from last night and quickly changed in the bathroom. On my way back to the bedroom to check on Joon, I started looking for a piece of paper and pen to write him a note in case he worried about where I was when he woke up. Unable to find them in any of the kitchen drawers, I opened his bedside table drawer. I spotted a notepad and a pen and was pulling them out when I saw the photo underneath. It was a picture of me, taken at Yoon Jin’s wedding. I remember it distinctly because Yoon Jin requested the photographer to take a picture of just me. Not really wanting to cooperate, I pouted for a few minutes then smiled awkwardly until the photographer told me to think of the person I loved. And so I thought of Joon, and the photographer captured my expression perfectly. My eyes looked dreamy, and my lips were turned up slightly, like I was caught daydreaming. I looked at Joon tenderly, lost in sleep. My heart felt so full with love I wanted to just curl up next to him again and wait for him to wake up.

However, I have things to do before coming back, so I quickly wrote him a note after putting the remaining pills along with a glass of water and a cup of tea at his bedside.

Jagiya,

There’s cooked rice and kimchi jigae in the kitchen if you’re hungry. Make sure you take the pills when you wake up, okay? Drink the tea too so you have something else in your stomach.

I’ll be back in a little bit. I love you.

Your Na Jeong

Exiting his building, I took a cab home, figuring that it would get me home quicker so I can get back to Joon faster. Once I arrived at home, I quietly opened the door only to find everyone in the living room.

“Na Jeong-ah, you’re home,” Haitai greeted.

“It’s almost noon and you missed breakfast,” Appa said. “Is Chilbong okay?”

At the mention of Joon’s name, I couldn’t help the rush of pleasure inside my chest. “Yeah, Appa he’ll be okay. I have to go back after I go to the pharmacy. He still has a fever.”

I went to my room before they could ask any more questions. I really would rather reveal to all of them that we were now together, well, together. After grabbing a bag from my closet, I went to the bathroom and got washed up. I pulled my hair into a bun and went back to my room to pack another day’s worth of clothes. I was looking in the cabinets for some health drinks when I heard my father speak.

“Na Jeong-ah, Chilbong knows you’re there, right?” Appa said. Feeling myself balk at what he’s implied, I walked back to the living room.

“AISH… WHY DOES EVERYONE ASK ME IF HE KNOWS I’M THERE? I’M NOT A STALKER!” I shoved the drinks into my bag and took a deep calming breath before continuing. “I wasn’t going to tell you this yet, but Joon and I are together.” When I received no response, I added, “Officially.”

My father burst out laughing and for one second I thought that he was laughing at the television until I looked over and saw that it has been turned off.

“What?” he said, in disbelief. “Chilbong just said two days ago that he was moving to America. And you two barely spoke to each other. And you expect me to believe that you’re his girlfriend?”

Appa was laughing so hard he was holding his stomach. Omma, carrying a sleeping Sook Sook, kept elbowing him to stop. Haitai just kept looking at me with his mouth open.

I lifted my chin as I prepared to leave. “You guys think whatever you want. I have to go back to my sick boyfriend now.”

“Don’t forget your brother’s party tomorrow!” I heard Omma call out as I put my shoes back on and quickly left. I walked a few blocks to the pharmacy before hailing a cab back to Joon’s place. On my way up in the elevator, I thanked God that I was paying attention to him when he was typing in his door code. Once I got to his door, I looked around to make sure no one was watching before typing in “1231”. The lock clicked off and I entered his apartment.

It looked just as I left it. Putting the health drinks in the cabinet, i saw that the food remained untouched. I silently walked into Joon’s room, not wanting to disturb him. He looked like he was still asleep, but his color looked better. I sat down on the side of the bed and looked at his bedside table. The pills were gone, the glass of water empty and the cup of tea has been drank as well. Well that’s something at least. I was getting up to go back to the living room when I saw that he had written something underneath what I wrote on my note.

I love you more.

Shaking my head that his competitive nature was just about as strong as mine, I laid myself down on the bed as he slept. I watched him as he slept, tracing his eyebrows with my finger. I smoothed his hair over his forehead and cupped his cheek in my palm. Not able to resist I placed a chaste kiss on his soft lips. I can lay right here with him for the rest of my life and I would be perfectly happy. As I was pulling away his eyes opened slowly, and as soon as he saw my face he smiled.

“I thought I was dreaming,” he whispered. “You came back.”

“Yeah, I came back,” I responded. “Where else would I be? Being right here, with you, is where I belong.”

“I’m sorry I got sick,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. One minute I was in heaven kissing you and then I passed out.”

“It’s okay.” I scooted closer to him until the length of him under the blanket was touching the length of my body on top of the blanket. “Are you hungry? I made food. Will you eat something? It would make me feel better.”

Joon coughed in his hand before he responded. “Okay… Let me get up.”

“No jagiya… Stay here. I’ll bring it to you. Don’t move,” I ordered him. I got up and quickly fixed a tray with a big bowl of the stew and two smaller bowls of rice, along with two glasses of water. Balancing the tray on my hands, I returned to Joon’s room. He was sitting up in bed and I carefully put down the tray in front of him. I sat myself down next to him and picked up my bowl. He looked like he didn’t have much of an appetite but I watched with relief as he tried to eat some of rice. I was about to eat a spoonful of stew when Joon spoke.

“Na Jeong-ah… Uhmm, who writes an email that just says ‘Hi’?” He asked.

I gave him an embarrassed smile. “I didn’t know how you were going to respond! You left in January and that was in July… I wasn’t going to just say I love you when I haven’t heard from me in months. I thought you would freak out!”

“I liked all of them though… Especially the ones that say you love me and miss me.” As if feeling like he may have revealed too much, he quickly looked away. Aigoo, like a kid, I thought. He’s so cute when he’s embarrassed. “Jagiya, exactly how many days did you visit my mother before she spoke to you?”

I mentally counted the days in my head before I responded. “Hm… Not too many… Maybe five days? No, six.”

“You know my mother told me she would never share that recipe with anyone, except my future wife.”

I almost choked on my rice. Unable to hide my pleasure at this piece of news, I smiled at him. “Really?” I’m trying not to sound too eager, but it’s not working. I looked at Joon with what probably looked like a goofy grin on my face, and I don’t even care. At first he gazed back shyly at me before he broke out with the same goofy grin.

“Jagiya… Ppo ppo!,” I asked as I leaned over towards him with my lips puckered.

“I’m not kissing you while I’m sick.”

“But I kissed you before!” I protested.

“I was asleep. Kissing me while I’m asleep and kissing me while I’m awake are… Two… Completely… Different… Things,” he quipped back, looking at my lips. “If I kiss you I won’t be able to stop, sick or not, so yeah… We can’t kiss until I have my energy back.”

Speechless I could only nod at him. His handsome face looked tired, but he still looked amazing. Even as he sat next to me I was reminded of every kiss we ever shared. I blushed at the memory and he seemed to know exactly what was on my mind. I looked away, trying to hide my thoughts.

Not wanting to push temptation I asked him if he was done eating and I took the tray back to the kitchen to clean up. By the time I got back to the bedroom he was almost asleep again and I kept him up long enough to take more medication before I let him rest.

Later on that day, I made my way back to the bedroom after changing back into his shirt. I took my hair down and seeing him still sleeping, I went under the covers and put my arms around him. I listened to the slow steady rhythm of his heart and fell asleep with a smile on my face.

*****

The next morning…
Chilbong

When I woke up, Na Jeong was all over me. I meant, literally all over me. Her hair was all over my face, her arm draped all over my chest and her long legs entwined with mine. For a few minutes I wondered if I had dreamt the last two days when the memory of Na Jeong straddling me on the couch came back full force. I am definitely feeling better. I glanced at her face, so peaceful in her sleep and felt my heart race.

Trying to decide whether I should get up or stay here like this, I stared at the ceiling to keep me distracted. Her arm shifted down my chest until her hand rested on my lower stomach. Instinctively my abdominal muscles tightened in response and I tried to keep my feelings in check. I closed my eyes and took a few calming breaths. She smelled delicious. Everywhere I’ve been, I have never ever smelled anything that replicated how Na Jeong does.

Watching her sleep, like this, reminded me of the last time I got to do this. I don’t know how it could seem both just like yesterday and a lifetime ago, but it does. In my mind I could see Na Jeong clearly throughout all the years that I’ve loved her. Her every expression was imprinted into my memory. I know what she looked like happy and sad. I know what she looked like angry. I even know what she looked like in love but I never thought the day would come when I would get to see the expression on her face when she was in love with me.

I shifted my position in bed so that I was facing her. Her arm stayed wrapped around me but the change in position made her adjust her leg in her sleep. Na Jeong’s right leg was now over my hip, putting certain body parts in very precariously close proximity. Nervous, I decided that I would just get up and let her sleep, but then when I touched her cheek with my hand, she whispered, “Joon-ah”. My heart squeezed inside me… Not in pain this time, but in pleasure. I will never tire of her saying my name.

Not entirely sure if she was awake or still asleep, I pressed a kiss on her forehead before I tried to get up. As I was about to rise from the bed, I felt her grab my arm. I looked back at her and her eyes, though still sleepy, were open. She gave me a lopsided smile and I just couldn’t resist getting back into the covers with her and hold her for just a few more minutes. I laid on my back and pulled her close, so that her head was on my chest. It was then that I heard her voice.

“Jagiya…” she started, a little hesitant. “Are you… All better now?” She sounded so hopeful I couldn’t help but chuckle.

“Yeah.”

She scooted on the bed until she was laying directly on top of me. Knowing that there were now literally just pieces of clothing between us, I began to hum the national anthem again. I get the feeling I’ll be doing this a lot. When I looked at her, she had her brows drawn in concentration as she started moving on top of me, as if trying to get comfortable. I gritted my teeth as I felt her breasts on my chest, her legs all around me and her core against mine. All the friction she was creating was driving me crazy and I hardened in response. She seemed unaware of what she was doing until I firmly grasped both her arms.

“Na Jeong-ah… Just lay still. Please.”

“Am I hurting you? Am I too heavy?” she asked, looking at me now with concern. “What’s the matter?”

“Jagiya, I’m only a man. All this wiggling you’re doing is messing with my anatomy.” I gave her a pointed look and watched as realization dawned on her. She bit her lip and adjusted herself so that she could feel me more firmly pressed against her stomach. Her mouth opened and then closed again.

“Oh…” she replied, getting pink in the cheeks. “Oh.” She looked so adorably befuddled and I pressed a kiss on her mouth. Her lips were rose petal soft and she leaned her elbows on either side of my head for support. “More. Please.” I was still thinking about how dangerous this situation was when she leaned down. “You owe me,” she whispered, lips hovering over mine. “I saved your life.”

“Yeah, I know.” I said with a smile.

“Who else would have nursed you back to health? The world owes me,” she said in an amused tone.

“I was referring to you saving me from a life of misery, but yeah, that too.” I brushed my fingers over her cheek and saw her eyes fill with emotion.

“Joon-ah…”

My mouth went back on hers and she pressed herself against me. Her eyes stayed open, watching me as I kissed her. Heart pounding I felt her mouth open in surrender and our tongues met gently and tenderly. She closed her eyes and sighed in my mouth. I could have kissed her, I would have kissed her forever like this, but when I felt her nipples harden against my chest, some self control broke and I found myself rolling on top of her as my arms wrapped around her. Her legs instinctively wrapped around my waist, putting her heat directly in contact where I needed it most. Feeling like I was almost to the point of no return, I dragged my lips away from hers. She pouted but opened her eyes anyway.

“Jagiya… If I do something you don’t like or if you feel like we’re going too fast you’ll tell me right?”

She nodded then grabbed the collar of my shirt closer. Her fingers running through my hair, she kept nipping on my lower lip until I gave in. The intensity of our kiss grew as our tongues mated and our hands wandered. I felt her shallow breathing and her heart beating on my chest. I sucked on her lips and I heard her moan. My hands on her hair, I pressed kisses on her face, until her mouth beckoned me back and I was lost. I scattered kisses on her neck, her head moving to one side to allow me greater access. Instead of bolting off the bed when my hand touched the underside of her breast, she only tightened her hold on me. I could feel her trembling, her eyes watching as I nipped on her shoulder. I felt her hand reach between us and then felt the warmth of her fingers making its way up to my chest. I felt her tugging on my hem of my shirt when I heard my phone ring. I tried to ignore it, feeling Na Jeong licking my earlobe but then I realized that I never called my manager back. Shit!

“Jagiya…” I said as I looked at her face. “I have to get that. I’m sorry,” I watched as her eyes opened and her brows furrowed in confusion. I smoothed her brows before giving her a quick peck and got up out of bed. “I’ll be right back.”

I had just pressed the call button when I heard Dong Joon’s voice.

“Joon-ah, you didn’t forget, right? Jin Yi and I are still away and I promised Omma and Coach that you would come to Sook Sook’s birthday party.”

“No… Yeah… I forgot,” I answered, running frustrated fingers through my hair. I shouldn’t have forgotten… His sister is in my bed. Na Jeong is in my bed!

“You can’t miss it. He’s been asking about you since we watched your game.”

“Okay, okay. I’ll definitely be there.”

“You better hurry up then. The party starts in two hours and I’ll bet you don’t have a gift either.”

“Dong Joon-ah, I got it. I’m going.” I hung up the phone and stopped in the kitchen to get a glass of water before going back to the bedroom. As I walked in I saw Na Jeong sitting up, her long hair mussed around her face, her eyes still soft. Her lips looked tender and when she met my eyes, I was really tempted to just join her in bed and lock ourselves in my room all day… And all night. Sighing to myself, I walked over to the bed and sat myself down carefully on the side of it.

“Why are you sitting all the way over there?” she asked, “When I’m right here?” She moved behind me and put her arms around my neck.

“Na Jeong-ah, we have to get up.” I said, as she moved her lips to my neck. “Jagiya.” I was having trouble remembering what I was saying with all her kissing. “We have to go to your house.” I turned around and looked at her. “Your brother’s birthday party, remember? I can’t miss it.”

“We can come a little late. They won’t care,” she whispered as she started tugging on my shirt again.

The temptation too much, I stood up and faced her. “I can’t make a bad first impression.”

“What are you talking about? My brother is turning 5, Joon-ah. I don’t really think he’ll be judgmental,” she teased.

“I’m not talking about Sook Sook. I was referring to your parents.”

“My parents love you. You’ve lived in the house!” she exclaimed. “They talk about you more than they talk about me.”

“It’s different now,” I said, shaking my head at her.

“Why? Why is it different? What happened?”

“Jagiya, we happened.”

“Yeah but…” I knew what she was going to say.

“I’m not going to be sneaking around on dates with you. I respect you and your family too much for that. So, I want to do this right.” Her expression softened before she broke out into a smile. “We’ll sit your parents down tonight and tell them. I want to make sure that they know that I have honorable intentions towards you.”

“Okay.” She got up out of bed and it was only then that I noticed that she was only wearing my shirt. Her long legs were bare and as she stretched, the hem of the shirt rose dangerously high. My mouth was suddenly parched, and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted her to stop or to keep going. She pulled her hair up in a ponytail before looking back at me over her shoulder. She gave me a dazzling smile and I turned away before I changed my mind.

“I’m… I’m gonna take a shower,” I mumbled. Yeah, a cold shower. I grinned in spite of myself shook my head at the strangeness of this whole situation.

An hour and a half later, we were on our way to the boarding house. I kept my left hand on the steering wheel while Na Jeong held my right hand securely in hers. She hasn’t let go of my hand since we left the apartment. She held my hand as we shopped for a present for her little brother. I ended up buying him a model airplane, as Na Jeong mentioned that he really liked planes. I looked over at her as she kept her eyes out the window and I couldn’t help the grin on my face. I tried to keep my mind off kissing her by concentrating on the road.

“Joon-ah… I never told you, right?” she asked. “I have a favorite color now.” Surprised, I glanced back at her. “It’s red. Know why?”

I shook my head no. She waited until I had parked the car before she answered.

“Its because every time I see it I think of love, and it reminded me of you when you were away.” Her eyes met mine and she beckoned me closer. I leaned over as she said, “And you look really, really, really good in red.” She winked at me before giving me a small kiss. “Let’s go.” She gave my hand one last squeeze before opening the car door.

*****

A few hours later…
Chilbong

“WHAT?!?!” Coach looked at me in astonishment. “Are you crazy?”

We were all sitting together eating dinner after the party after Sook Sook has been put to bed. The party had been a success and I was happy that I made it. As soon as Sook Sook saw me, he ran over arms outstretched screaming “Hyung!!!” It caught me by surprise as I haven’t seen him since he was a baby. Na Jeong told me that he was at his friend’s place for the night when I came by the last time. Sook Sook then told me that Omma and Coach talk to him about me all the time and they all watch my games together on television. Then he whispered conspiratorially, “Noona showed me your pictures. She said are my mae hyung.” I looked at Na Jeong, sitting between her parents and Yoon Jin, laughing at something someone said. Our eyes met for a second and I felt so humbled that this beautiful woman now loves me. All I could say in response was, “Really?” Being an only child, I have never had the joy of having a little brother. Talking to him now reminded me of the time when I used to sing him to sleep when he was a baby and I couldn’t wait to spend more time with him.

I coughed at the shock in Coach’s voice and beside me Na Jeong was bristling with indignation. I held her hand comfortingly as I scanned the faces around us. Yoon Jin and Samcheonpo were smiling, while Haitai and Ae Jung kept volleying back and forth between me and Coach.

“No, Coach-nim. I’m not crazy, but Na Jeong and I are together.”

“You’re dating?” Omma asked, concern in her voice. I’m pretty sure she was trying to figure out whether we were in a casual relationship or if it was pretty serious. I shook my head no before I responded.

“No, Omma. We’re not just dating. We’re together.”

Again everybody fell silent. Suddenly Haitai stood up and said, “Congratulations!” before Ae Jung tugged his sleeves and motioned for him to sit back down.

“But Chilbong-ah…” Coach said, throwing glances over to Na Jeong but not meeting her eyes. “Why would you want her?”

“APPA!” Na Jeong yelled beside me. “HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT ABOUT YOUR OWN DAUGHTER? AISH…” She looked like she was about to start slinging food towards her father. “You’re supposed to interrogate him! You’re supposed to say, ‘Are you worthy of my daughter?’ Not the other way around!”

She was about to say something else when I turned to her and asked her to calm down. She gave me a sheepish smile before glaring at her father. I had to shake my head, thinking how nice it was that some things never changed here.

“Chilbong-ah… You can still change your mind. Just look at the way she’s sitting! And look at the way she talks to her own father! That girl has no manners. How are you, a global baseball star, going to show her off? You should date a model or something,” Coach continued.

Fully expecting another outburst from Na Jeong, I was taken by surprise when I looked over at her and she was just frowning into her bowl of rice. She looked lost in thought, and I made a mental note to ask about it later.

“No, Coach. Na Jeong is perfect just the way she is.” I felt some approving glances directed my way and saw Yoon Jin and Omma smiling at me happily.

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Chilbong. It’s a good thing you’re rich because Na Jeong eats a lot.”

“APPA!” Na Jeong said, thoroughly exasperated. “If you say anything else I won’t be your daughter anymore.”

“Aishhh… Who are you threatening now gashina? Is it my fault you eat like a man?” He continued his meal but still kept looking at me and shaking his head.

Thankfully Samcheonpo chose that time to stand up and clear his throat. “We also have news,” he said, dragging Yoon Jin to her feet. “You guys should be the first to know that we’re pregnant.”

Omma and Na Jeong stood up simultaneously and ran over to Yoon Jin to hug her. I heard Coach say his congratulations as I shook Samcheonpo’s hand and Haitai patted him on the back. All table talk after that centered on Yoon Jin and the baby, and I only had to listen, since I know nothing of babies.

Lost in my thoughts, I was relieved that Omma and Coach didn’t voice any disapproval to mine and Na Jeong’s new status, but I wondered if they had any reservations about my leaving again in three months. We’ll all cross that bridge when we get there, I suppose. I’m still a bit nervous about how Na Jeong and I will handle the distance, but I remembered Bing’s advice to not worry about what might or might not happen. I glanced at Na Jeong, also deep in thought, and I wondered whether she was thinking about the same thing.

After dinner, we all watched television for a few minutes before I prepared to leave. I have to start training again in the morning, and it was getting late. I said my goodbyes to Omma and Coach, who now insisted that I call him Appa as well. Not able to help it, I grinned at him as he hugged me.

“Don’t forget, you can still change your mind,” he whispered in my ear.

I felt Na Jeong pull me away from her father and lead me out the front door after grabbing her coat. Once we got outside, we walked hand in hand towards the car. Na Jeong was still unnaturally quiet, but I had a feeling she was thinking so I didn’t press her to talk.

“Joon-ah, about San Francisco,” she said.

“Yeah?” I felt strangely relieved that she’s willing to talk about what will happen in three months now. Best that we have a serious discussion early on as opposed to later.

“Did you have a yellow haired girlfriend?” What? Where did that come from? She pulled her hand away and continued walking ahead of me. I was so surprised that I stopped for a minute, but I quickly caught up with her quickly before speaking again.

“Was that why you’ve been quiet?” I teasingly asked.

She turned around with a fake smile on her face. “You never answered my question. Did you or did you not have a yellow haired girlfriend in San Francisco?”

I had to think about it for a minute before responding when Amanda came to mind. “Ah… I didn’t have a girlfriend but I went out on a date with a blonde woman once. Jagiya, are you… Jealous right now?” She was so serious I didn’t want to make light of it but I couldn’t help myself from feeling pleased. But… “How did you know about that?”

“Why would I be jealous?” she asked. Her voice was calm but her eyes weren’t. “Who wears high heels to a baseball game anyway? ‘Oohhh JJ, your face and your body are soooo hot. Ooohh JJ… You’re so fantastic.’ Why would I be jealous?” She met my gaze as I stood there taken aback. “I sat behind her during your game… I heard everything she said about you. When Appa brought up the whole you should date a model thing, she came to mind. Someone like her is probably who people would expect you to be with. Not me.” Her smile faltered and her lip started trembling. “I really really hate that I’m so sensitive about this,” she said in a small voice. “I’m so stupid sometimes.”

“Jagiya, come here,” I opened my arms and she went into them. I tucked her head under my chin and nuzzled her hair. “Yah… No one’s allowed to talk like that about you, not even you.” I gave a small chuckle. “Don’t ever be ashamed of telling me how you feel. Whatever it is. And don’t ever be afraid of asking me anything… I will always tell you what it is you want to know. I dated in San Francisco, but I didn’t have a girlfriend. Honest.” She looked up at my face. “Want to know why?” She nodded and I smiled at her. “Because no matter how much I denied it then, I still love Sung Na Jeong. Not because she’s beautiful, even though she is. Not because she’s kind, even though she’s that too. Not just because of all those great things, but because of the not so good things too. You are the sum of your parts, and I love them all. No one’s got anything on you. Understand?”

Finally I felt her arms wrap around me too before I heard her voice.

“I wish you still lived here with us,” she said.

“Seeing as I’m your boyfriend now, I don’t even think that would be allowed and that might be a good thing. I’ll never get anything done.” I looked over at the house and thought I saw two heads disappear back behind the curtains. “Jagiya, I have to go.”

“Ok. Let me know you got home safely.” I looked at her upturned face, her eyes closed, and I knew that she wanted a kiss.

I leaned down until my mouth is right by her ear and whispered, “I want nothing more than to kiss you right now like I did this morning, but I think your parents may be watching us. So for now I’ll just hug you goodbye.”

She tightened her hold on me even as I heard her laughing. I kissed the top of her head and pulled away. Getting in my car, I gave her a wave and drove back to my apartment.

As soon as I got home I pulled out my phone and sent her a text.

Jagiya,
I’m home. I’ll call you tomorrow. Have a good night.
I love you.

I brushed my teeth and changed my clothes. As I laid back down on my pillows I smelled a whiff of Na Jeong on my bed. Suddenly barraged by the memory of Na Jeong on top of me this morning I turned onto my stomach and buried my head on my pillow. All the changes that have happened the last few days happened so quickly it still felt surreal. I marveled at how a moment’s choice can really transform a life. If I hadn’t come back to the boarding house New Year’s Eve, none of this would have happened. And then where would I be? I was still pondering this question when I heard my phone vibrate on my table. I lifted it up and read Na Jeong’s message.

I love you more.

I smiled and rested my head on my arms. I looked out my windows and admired the view. It’s good to be home, I thought. Except now home meant wherever Na Jeong was.

*****

November 22, 2000

5:30 p.m.
Na Jeong

It’s been two days since I saw Joon. I know I was with him all weekend, but he has to leave again in less than three months and I’ve become greedy. At least I can acknowledge this about myself. Having been deprived of his company for ten months, I wanted to just spend as much time with him as possible. He calls every day and texts a lot too but it’s not the same. I can’t hold a text and it can’t hold me back. I can’t kiss a phone call and neither can it kiss me back. Though embarrassingly I have kissed my phone before. But only because Joon asked me to!

I sat down on the side of my bed and thought back on the last few days. After the past weekend, I went into work on Monday and saw a plant on my desk. Reading the card, I realized it was from Joon. He sent me a red orchid, said to represent extraordinary wishes for love.

Uri Na Jeong,
I made a wish once, and you made it came true.
Now, together we can make wishes together.
I love you.
Joon

I swear I think I spent the whole day floating on cloud nine. How can I go from a seemingly hopeless situation to being amazingly happy in such a small amount of time? I always heard from people that you know when you’ve found the person you’re supposed to be with, and I know now that it could be true. With Joon, there was a certainty in my life that I never had before. I feel more like myself with him than I ever have with anyone else. Despite my petty jealousies, I could never doubt his love. How did I ever get so lucky all of a sudden?

When I came home after work, Haitai was just leaving to go on a date. Omma and Appa left me a note saying they’ll be gone for a few hours. That leaves me home alone, with no one to keep me company.

I laid down on my bed and wondered what Joon was doing. He was out on a CF promotion yesterday and when I spoke to him when he got home he sounded exhausted. With his training having resumed, he spends the first three hours of the day either running or at the gym. That might account for all the new muscles I spotted when I caught him shirtless.

Unable to control the direction of my thoughts, I touched my lips as I thought of Sunday morning. I’ve always been a very affectionate person, and I’ve always liked kisses. But Joon’s kisses… I felt heat spread from my head down to my toes. I closed my eyes and my fingers traveled the path his lips took… I touched my neck and my collarbone. If that phone didn’t ring, what else could we have done? Omo.

I sat back up. Thinking about how quickly I succumbed to his kisses, I worried briefly if my weakness for his touch made me look over-eager. What if he thinks I’m easy?

You are easy. But only with Joon. It’s not like you go around kissing everyone and climbing onto bed with them. You two are in love. That’s okay, right?

I nodded at my train of thought. That’s true, I conceded. I should take it slow in case he wasn’t ready. I’ll definitely give him some time. But we can still hang out and kiss, right?

Of course you can. Neither of you are teenagers. Surely you can control yourselves.

Even as I was nodding my head, I was pulling my phone out and dialing Joon’s number. He answered after the second ring.

“Jeong-ah, I thought you were working until 6 pm,” I heard him say.

“I finished work early. What are you doing?” I asked. “I’m home by myself.”

“Yeah? You want to go out to eat?”

NO! That’s not what I want. “Ah… Jagiya… I would but my back is hurting. You need to come help me! ” I cringed as the little white lie slipped out of my mouth so easily.

“Do you need to borrow my brace? I’ll bring it over and you can keep it,” he said helpfully.

“Yeah, that’s good,” I responded. “Joon-ah, that’s good, but what I really need is a massage. Remember? The massage you did years ago. It… It really helped.”

“Really? Do you need something from the pharmacy too?” When I said no, he continued. “Okay… Give me a few minutes so I can shower and I’ll be over.”

Mmm, Joon. Shower. I mentally slapped myself for thinking about that now. We’re just going to hang out. I decided to confess my little white lie as soon as he got here. This is ridiculous. Why would I lie?

Uhmm, you wanted to get close to him without looking like you did?

I tsked at myself while looking in my closet for something to wear. I pulled out a dress with a neckline that’s a little lower than what I’m used to. Then I realized that I can’t wear it… I’m supposed to be in pain.

Sighing to myself I realized that now I have to pretend like I’m hurt. This is why lying is bad. In the end I settled on a pair of black yoga pants and my Yonsei University shirt. I wondered if I should put any makeup on, but decided on just lipgloss. I spritzed on some perfume and waited for Joon to come.

*****

November 22, 2000

5:45 p.m.
Chilbong

I stopped by the store to get Na Jeong the newest and best back brace I could find. Stopping at the ddukbokki stall, I picked some up for her too. That girl would never say no to ddukbokki. I’ll take care of her the way she took care of me. I haven’t seen her in 67 hours, 45 minutes and, looking at my watch, 27 seconds. Not that I’m counting.

I’ve tried to make the transition for myself and Na Jeong from being just friends to girlfriend/boyfriend as smooth as possible. I didn’t want to crowd her, so I tried to move along the last couple of days very gently. I called every day, but didn’t insist on meeting up. I answered her texts, but didn’t pressure to see her. I’ve never been anyone’s boyfriend before, and I’m afraid of messing it up. If I asked to see her every time I’ve thought of her, I would be having her move into my apartment. And it’s way too soon for that, isn’t it?

I was so happy when I saw her calling this evening. I had just gotten home, and I was contemplating of visiting the boarding house anyway. When she mentioned that she was home by herself, I thought she would be uncomfortable that we would be there by ourselves so I offered to take her out, but I didn’t realize that her back had been bothering her again. Omma mentioned it when I visited them, but I’ve seen no sign that it was an issue since. I wondered if I can convince her to go see a specialist.

Parking the car in front of the boarding house, I vowed to myself that today will not be another repeat of Sunday. As enjoyable as it was, I don’t want to move too fast and scare her. For me, it may have been six years already, but this is fairly new to her. Or at least, new with me. That weekend had been an exception… We were both coming down from the highest of highs, but now we need to figure out how we will work in real life. Or so I keep reminding myself.

Locking the car I walked up to the boarding house and knocked on the door. I saw her walk over very quickly, then she slowed down and put her hand on her back when she spotted me. Hmm, that’s strange. Na Jeong isn’t usually able to stand up straight when she’s in pain but her posture is perfect. Maybe the pain is not too bad today.

When I entered the house, I could smell a whiff of her perfume as she walked by me. She was wearing a blue shirt with Yonsei University on the center. When she turned around I saw that the back had “Kim” and my number. I felt the urge to kiss her so badly I had to remind myself that we were in her parents’ house. Instead I called her name and awkwardly handed what I brought her instead.

“What’s this?” she asked, looking at them more closely.

“I bought you the newest back brace in the market. This one heats up and everything. They said it’s really effective,” I answered. I watched as she avoided my eyes. “I got you some ddukbokki too.” She looked up at me then, and I was taken aback by how pretty her eyes were today. They seemed even more sparkling than usual. When she bit her lips she drew attention to her mouth, all shiny and pink and I had to clear my throat. She kept on holding my gaze so I walked over to the shelves to distract myself before I forget all my good intentions.

“That’s so thoughtful. Jagiya,” I heard her say from behind me. “Can you… Can you massage my back? It’s been hurting since earlier today.”

“Ahh, okay.”

“Should we do it in my room?” she said. She walked to the kitchen and dropped the ddukbokki off on the counter.

Do what in your room? Oh yeah, massage, Joon, MASSAGE. I followed her into her room and tried not to admire the way her black pants hugged her hips. I can’t believe I’m thinking about other things when she was in pain. I am a terrible person. I berated myself silently when she laid herself down on the floor.

As I kneeled on the floor next to her, I was reminded of the only time I did this. I can’t believe it’s already been six years. I started stretching her legs first, trying not to notice how long her legs were. I felt her watching me as I tried to concentrate on what I was doing. I tried to keep myself from pulling her to me by making small talk.

“Jeong-ah, what did you do today?” I asked, lifting her right leg over her left. I was surprised when I didn’t hear her groan in pain like she did the last time.

“I thought of you.” I looked at her and saw that she was blushing.

“And what did you do yesterday?” I moved to her other side and stretched her other leg over her right.

“I thought of you then, too.”

“Yeah, me too,” I said as I prepared to do the final stretch. I went to her feet and pushed forward as her knees went towards her chest. I straightened her legs out and prepared to do an even longer stretch. “One more time, Jagiya,” I told her.

“Okay,” she replied. “Joon-ah, aren’t you going to ask me what I’ve been thinking about?” I had just pushed her knees up towards her chest when I realized that I was now directly on top of her, with only her knees separating us. “Aren’t you curious to know what I’ve been thinking about?” she repeated.

This was the same exact position that got me in trouble years ago. It was in this same position when I realized I liked her. Now here we were, back here again, and my heart started racing. After this weekend I realized that the national anthem doesn’t work on calming me down when she’s this close. I really need to figure out another way. I couldn’t meet her eyes and took some deep breaths in an attempt to relax. I could feel her eyes on my face. I knew if I looked down we would be in trouble. She would lure me with her eyes and her mouth, and I wouldn’t be able to resist. I was still contemplating this situation when she answered her own question.

“I thought about kissing you. I really really like kissing you,” Na Jeong said, her voice husky. She cleared her throat and continued looking at me. “Joon-ah,” she said as I realized I still had her legs up. I thought she was in pain, when I saw her smile to herself.

“Na Jeong-ah… You’re not in pain are you?” I asked. When she didn’t respond, I should have felt played but I didn’t. Instead, I realized that she needed the physical contact just as much as I did.

I had only planned on giving her a little peck… Just because she was so adorable and I felt so lucky. But as soon as our mouths met, I knew I was done.

*****

November 22, 2000

6:30 p.m.
Na Jeong

“Na Jeong-ah… You’re not in pain are you?” I heard Joon say. My knees were still bent towards my chest and I looked away, unable to respond. Quick, what do I say? I couldn’t possibly admit that I lured him here under false pretenses. He bought me a state of the art back brace for goodness sake. And ddukbokki. I don’t want to lie to him. Or at least, lie to him any more than I already have.

I looked at his face hesitantly, expecting him to be annoyed. Instead he was trying to hide a grin. Omo, why is he so handsome? My heart beating fast, I took in his beautiful eyes, his high cheekbones and his pretty lips. I sighed inwardly. This is too much.

Then, without letting my legs down he kissed me. It was a soft kiss, a gentle kiss… A kiss that was over way too soon. I opened my eyes and saw him looking at me with an unreadable expression in his eyes, like he was trying to make a decision. Then the intensity was back, and he lowered my legs, trailing his fingers down both of them and I felt my heart stop. Then he was on top of me again, his weight pressed against me. He cupped my head off the hard floor with one hand while leaning his other arm down beside my head. As he leaned back down to take my mouth, his eyes stayed focused on me. When his lips finally touched mine, I couldn’t help but moan. How can this feel this good? Every single time?

I felt him all around me, all my nerve endings aware of him. I felt his left hand grasping the back of my head, his fingers just exerting enough pressure to make it feel good. We were connected chest to hip and I could feel his heart racing just as fast as mine was. As I felt his tongue on my lips I ran my fingers through his hair. When I met his tongue with mine, I felt him harden against my stomach and I had to stop myself from giving out a self satisfied sigh. I flexed my hips involuntarily to get closer and I felt his hand move from the floor to my back, pulling me flush against his length. As he sucked on my tongue I desperately pulled on the zip of his sweatshirt. Without lifting his lips off mine he pulled the zipper down and took it off. Now he was just in his shirt.

I wrapped my legs around him and I sighed his name when I felt him between my legs. I felt his mouth on my neck, his tongue marking whatever it touched. His teeth nipped at my neck, causing a brief frisson of pain before his tongue came back and the pleasure intensified. Oh, I thought, forget baseball. This is what Joon was born to do. He pressed his hips more tightly against the apex of my thighs and I wanted to beg him to keep doing it. The friction felt so good, but I wanted more. Skin, I need to feel skin. I felt his fingers on the side of my breast and almost cried when he didn’t touch them. He rubbed through my shirt and in frustration I grabbed the hem of his shirt. He lifted his mouth off my neck and I watched as he took his shirt off. I watched as his muscles flexed as he came down onto my body again and my hands went to his chest. Smooth, warm skin under my fingers, his hardness pressed against me. I felt him cup my breast hesitantly, and I moaned my assent into his mouth, which was back on mine. I sucked on his bottom lip as I felt his thumb leisurely rub my nipple over my shirt. As his hand lowered to the gap between my shirt and my pants, I lifted myself up to kiss his chest. When I felt his fingers on my ribcage, I felt a dampness between my thighs. I was just about to take his nipple in my mouth when he stopped touching me.

Confused I looked up and saw him looking at Sook Sook standing in the doorway with the box of ddukbokki. SHIT! Joon lifted himself off me so fast before I even realized what he was doing. He turned his back to us and grabbed his shirt. He was still putting it back on when I finally realized what was going on. I stood up and approached my brother, who said nothing and just continued to watch us. Just as I was about to explain, Sook Sook spoke.

“Noona,” he said as he look at me innocently “I found dukbokki! Noona, look! I found it on the counter. You said that we cannot eat ddukbokki… That’s what you said, right, Noona?”

“Yeah…” I turned to Joon and saw him zipping up his sweatshirt. “Sook Sook-ah… What do you want most in the world? If you don’t tell Omma and Appa what you saw, Joon Hyung and I will give it to you.” I glared at Joon for him to agree.

“Yeah, Sook Sook-ah, whatever you want,” he finally said. He gave me an awkward smile and I had to stopped myself from throwing myself back in his arms.

I looked down at Sook Sook and saw that he was thinking. “Uhm, I want Joon hyung to come to one of my sleepovers. To show to my friends.”

“Sook-ah… Joon hyung is not an object. You can’t just go…”

“It’s fine,” I heard Joon say. “What else?” He put his arms in front of his chest and waited for my brother’s next request.

“I want ice cream every month!” Sook Sook exclaimed.

“Fine…” I said. “Anything else?”

“Hmm, I think that’s all.” Sook Sook looked at us again. “Is it my birthday gift again? I just had my birthday party.”

Joon walked over to him and bent down to speak to him eye to eye. “Yeah, because you’re a good little boy, you get more presents.” He smiled at Sook Sook and I felt a wave of tenderness inside me as my brother wrapped his small arms around Joon’s neck. He picked him up off the floor and on his way out the door, he kissed my forehead. He took my hand and walked out to the living room.

He was just putting Sook Sook back down on the floor when Omma came from the kitchen and Appa came from the bathroom.

“Chilbong-ah, I thought I saw your car parked outside!” Appa said as he sat down on the couch. He patted the seat next to him and Joon obediently sat. I had to hold back a snicker… My father was just as attached to him as he was to me.

“Chilbong-ah, help me with setting the plates out for dinner. You will be staying right? We’re having it a little early because Sook Sook hasn’t eaten yet either, and he has to go to sleep for school soon.” I watched in amusement as Joon stood up just minutes after he sat down to follow my mother into the kitchen. Sook Sook sat in the seat that Joon vacated and watched television with my father and I went to the kitchen. I sat down and observed as Joon and my mother spoke quietly. He said something and my mother blushed and laughed. I swear, every day I fall more and more in love with him. How can I not love him when he loves the people I love so well?

Omma called Appa and Sook Sook to the table for dinner and we all sat down. Joon took my hand under the table and I smiled at him. He smiled back at me and I turned to see Omma looking at us happily.

“Noona, can we eat ddukbokki now? It’s okay?” Sook Sook asked.

“Uhmm…”

“Why weren’t you allowed ddukbokki?” Joon asked. He turned to me. “I thought you loved ddukbokki.” Puzzled, he shook his head. “Did you change your mind?”

“Ahh…” I wasn’t quite sure how to answer without embarrassing myself so I just ate some kimchi instead.

“Noona saw ddukbokki one time and got mad,” Sook Sook explained. He turned to me before speaking again. “Haitai hyung said it. And then hyung said you cried.” He decisively put his chopsticks down. “I love ddukbokki. I’m glad we can have it again.”

“Chilbong-ah, when did you get here?” Appa said while eating some rice.

Joon looked at his watch before responding. “Uhm, about 45 minutes ago?”

“Noona and Joon Hyung were wrestling,” Sook Sook said. “Joon Hyung didn’t have…” I clamped a hand over his mouth before he could continue.

“Were you two fighting? Is that why you were wrestling?” Omma asked.

“NO!” “Yes,” Joon and I said simultaneously.

“Yes!” “No.”

“Aigoo… You two. Make your minds up,” Appa said, shaking his head at us.

“Ah, Co… Appa… Na Jeongie’s back was hurting so I was doing some stretches with her,” Joon said smoothly.

“Na Jeong-ah… You should get your back looked at. That’s gonna cause problems when you get married,” Appa said calmly. Joon started coughing and I almost threw a chopstick at him.

I sat quietly for the rest of the meal, my mind still on what just happened on my floor. I felt a blush spread over my cheeks but I don’t feel embarrassed. I felt aroused. I felt Joon looking at me and when our eyes met, his darkened and I knew he was thinking about the same exact thing. He cleared his throat and resumed eating. He squeezed my hand under the table once before he started writing characters out on my palm. I stopped eating and tried to figure out what characters he was tracing.

I love you.

Once I figured it out, I smiled at him. Our eyes stayed locked for a few minutes as around me everything disappeared. There was only Joon, his hand on my hand, and it’s all that mattered. Everything I needed was right here, in this hand. My world, my heart, my future. He held them all in his hand, and now more than ever, I knew I made the right choice.

I vaguely heard Appa clear his throat pointedly and with the moment broken, we ate the rest of the meal in silence, not needing to say anything else.

Later on as I walked him to his car, I wondered how long it will be until I see him again. I was about to ask when he spoke.

“Jagiya… Want to go on a date with me?” I turned around in surprise.

“An actual… Official date?” When he nodded, I added, “As a couple?”

“Yeah, Bing and Jin Yi noona are coming back this weekend and they want us to go out with them sometime next week. Maybe Friday. I have some CF promotions to attend this weekend.”

I nodded and smiled as I linked my arm through his.

“Why didn’t you let people eat ddukbokki while I was gone?” he asked quietly.

“I saw ddukbokki and thought of you. Not that I didn’t already. Constantly. I thought I was going crazy. I only ate our ramyun every night for one week.” I saw that he was about to apologize so I put my fingers on his mouth. “Yah… I only told you because you asked.”

“You must have hurt a lot,” he said. “And I had no clue.”

“I didn’t hurt any more than you did. And… I would do it all over again to have what we have now.”

We walked the rest of the way in silence and as he took me in his arms to say goodbye, he whispered, “I think you should start locking your door.” We both started laughing.

“Or, next time, we can just go to your apartment.”

“I think that’s a good idea,” he said. He looked like he wanted to kiss me, but I knew he wouldn’t so I kissed his cheek instead.

“I’ll text when I get home,” he said.

“Okay.” I watched as he sauntered to his car and drove off.

When I returned to the house, Omma and Appa were sitting on the floor, still watching television. Appa waved me over when I sat down on the couch.

“Yah, Na Jeong-ah, do you think Chilbong can get me Jeon Ji Hyun’s autograph?” he asked eagerly.

“Why would he do that? He doesn’t even know her,” I said.

“He’s your boyfriend and you didn’t even know?” Appa looked at me. “Aigoo, we just saw a CF of him with her in Jeju Island.”

“She’s really pretty,” Omma said, chewing a piece of fruit.

“Pretty? Pshhh, our daughter’s pretty… Jeon Ji Hyun is a goddess,” Appa said. He looked at me again. “So, can you ask him?”

I stood up and said, “Appa… If you want it so badly, ask him yourself. Besides, it won’t be worth anything one day. She’s only done one movie… She’s not gonna get more famous. I bet in ten years, she’ll be forgotten.”

I went to my room and closed the door. So was that the CF that’s been keeping him so busy? It doesn’t matter. He loves me. This was just a professional arrangement, right? They probably didn’t even speak that much to each other.

I was still pondering this issue when my phone vibrated with Joon’s message telling me that he’s home. It’s embarrassing to admit how nuts I am about that man. Just thinking about him makes me feel all sorts of giddy. Yes, I thought, next time should definitely be in his apartment. Even now, even after he just left less than an hour ago, I already missed him.

*****

December 1, 2000

7:00 p.m.
Chilbong

The last week had gone by in a blur. After spending the whole weekend in Busan to promote the CF that I filmed in Jeju-do, I finally came home on Monday. I made sure to call Na Jeong every day since that Wednesday and I didn’t just do it for her… I did it for me too. I want nothing more than to spend every minute I have with her, but she has to go to work, and so do I. Time and obligations don’t stop for love unfortunately, and I no longer just worried about my future but hers too.

I’ve been at the boarding house for dinner every night since my return from Busan. It feels like I still lived there sometimes… Except I don’t get to see Na Jeong in the morning. We haven’t spent any time alone together since that time I was there last week, but I am just as happy holding her hand. I try my best not to think about that day, or I wouldn’t be able to function otherwise. All I have to do is close my eyes and I can imagine her mouth on my chest. I’ve taken so many cold showers this past week I’m surprised I still had skin to wash.

Are we moving too fast? I wonder this myself a lot. I’ve never had this sort of relationship before, with anyone. Na Jeong and I never talked about it, but I hoped she knew to tell me if she was uncomfortable. Looking around my bedroom, I hoped that she was ready. I bought some flowers earlier on my run, there’s a bottle of champagne in the fridge and I even went to the store to get some candles.

Nervous now, my hands shook as I buttoned up my shirt. I looped my belt through my slacks and gave myself a once over in the bathroom mirror. Both Na Jeong and I are meeting Dong Joon and Jin Yi noona for dinner tonight then I’ll ask her if she wanted to come home with me. I hope she’ll say yes. It’s okay too if she doesn’t, but I hope she says yes. Even if it’s to cuddle and talk. The weekend she spent here when I was sick had spoiled me, and now I felt her absence so keenly whenever I’m home.

When I came to pick her up, she ran out the door before I could even knock. She threw herself into my arms and it wasn’t until she pulled away that I was able to take a good look at her. Na Jeong has always been lovely, but Na Jeong in love with me could quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in all my life. She left her long hair loose on her shoulders. Her cheeks were flushed with happiness. She put some kind of shadow on her eyes which made them look even bigger. That pair of eyes is just too mesmerizing. There was a twinkle in her eye as she looked at me that I’ve never seen before, not in all the years that I’ve known her. She kept her mouth unpainted except for a sheer layer of that shiny lip gloss that tasted like strawberry whenever I kiss her. That’s become my most favorite taste in the world, and I couldn’t wait to kiss her again. She smiled at me so brightly my heart skipped inside my chest. When she took my hands in both of hers, she was wearing my gloves and she pressed her lips to my palms. This woman is magnificent, and even now I already knew that I was going to spend my whole life loving her.

Even without saying a word, I knew how much she loved me. It showed in everything she did. It showed in the way she looked at me, the way she said my name. I felt it when she touched me and when she kissed me. Not for the first time I was overwhelmed by how much love I could possibly feel for one person.

She chatted about everything on our way to dinner, held my hand and leaned her head on my shoulder. While her head rested on my shoulder, her fragrance was all around me. I love that now I can’t get away from any room in my apartment without being reminded of her. My pillows still smelled like her.

When we got to the restaurant that Dong Joon and Jin Yi Noona selected, they weren’t there yet. Na Jeong and I sat down side by side. I didn’t know if she would be okay with holding hands in public, so I just held her hand under the table. But as soon as my fingers touched hers, she brought her hand on the top of the table and offered me her palm. I placed a kiss on it before interlocking our fingers together. She motioned for me to come closer and when I did, she whispered something in my ear.

“Yah, Kim Jae Joon… Have I told you today how much I love you?” She smiled at me when I shook my head no. “Well, I do.” She brushed a lock of hair off from my forehead, tenderly traced my cheeks with her hands.

“I know. Do you know how much I love you?” I kept my eyes locked on her while I mimicked her movements. I smoothed her hair down, and cupped her face with my free hand. I brushed my thumb over her soft soft lips just as she was about to lick them, inadvertently licking my thumb too. At the contact, I felt my pulse accelerate and my throat dry up. Our gazes held for I don’t know how many charged minutes until I heard someone clear their throat behind me.

“Ahem… Good to see you two have made up,” I heard Dong Joon’s voice say teasingly.

“Dong Joon-ah!” I stood up and hugged him. Looking at him, I know I wouldn’t be here now if he hadn’t talked some sense into me. Na Jeong stood up and gave Bing and Jin Yi noona affectionate hugs before sitting back down.

We listened as Dong Joon and his new wife talked about their honeymoon, and I’m reminded of when I had to do this on my own with Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin. Jin Yi noona said something that made my cousin laugh, and when he looked at her fondly, I looked at Na Jeong too and I think I finally understood what that was like. I felt even more blessed than I ever have in my whole life.

I was wrapping some barbecued pork in a lettuce leaf when I heard Na Jeong’s voice. “Joon-ah…” I turned around to see what she wanted. She opened her mouth and said, “Say AHH…” I opened my mouth and she gently fed me a roll that she had wrapped.

My phone buzzed and I quickly took it out to see who has texted me. It was Jeon Ji Hyun-ssi, we had filmed the CF together in Jeju island and did a few of the promotions together, including the last one held in Busan. She was asking what time will I be reaching the next promotion but before I could reply, Jin Yi Noona started to ask me some questions.

“How long have you two been together?” Jin Yi Noona had just asked when I felt Na Jeong place her hand on my knee under the table. I put my phone on the table and tried to concentrate in answering the question.

“Ahh… Not long ago, Noona,” I stammered out. Why is her hand there now? She’s getting way too close! “Maybe a couple of weeks?”

Jin Yi Noona smiled before answering. “Ah,” she said. “You look like you’ve been together for a really long time… It’s good to see you both so happy. Especially you, Chilbong-ah. Dong Joon told me how different you’ve been since you came home.”

“Yeobo,” Dong Joon said uncomfortably next to her. He turned back to me with an apologetic look.

I would have been bothered about Dong Joon telling his wife all this stuff had Na Jeong not started caressing my inner thigh. I shook my head as she looked so innocent sitting there, but really she’s a devil in disguise. I tried to think of the most unsexy thing I could think of, but that still didn’t work… I hardened involuntarily. Male anatomy makes it very difficult to hide anything. Meanwhile she just kept on with her conversation as if nothing was happening.

As for me it felt like I had gone into auto pilot. The rest of dinner went by in a blur. After dinner, she and I were walking to the car when I felt an absolute, desperate need to kiss her. I took her hand and though she appeared confused for one second, she followed me, her eyes trusting. I led her down a dark alley and as soon as I was sure that there was no one around, I kissed her.

As though she had been expecting it, her arms automatically went around my waist to pull me closer. I held her face in my hands and her lips softened under mine. Her hands went straight under my shirt and I felt her pulse racing as I kissed her neck.

“You’re driving me crazy,” I whispered as I went back to her mouth. “We can’t do this here.” I nipped on her lip and she moaned, her eyes looking intensely into mine. “Go home with me. Please.” I would have begged her if she wanted me to. I would have dropped down on my knees if she asked.

“Yes,” she sighed into my ear as she held my face. “Yes, I’ll go home with you.”

I don’t think I’ve ever driven faster before in all my life. I’m pretty sure I broke some traffic laws. It didn’t help that every time we stopped at a red traffic light Na Jeong would pull me to her and kiss me like her life depended on it. Her hand, which had been stuck to my thigh all dinner, kept creeping closer and closer to my groin as I drove. She’s trying to kill me, I was convinced of it. She’s trying to kill me with her eyes, and her mouth and her hands. Ah… But what an exquisite death it would be. Even now as we exited the parking lot, I had to take my coat off and put it in front of me to hide my arousal.

Na Jeong walked ahead of me and I watched as her hips swayed gracefully from side to side. Her long legs were encased in black tights tucked into heeled boots. She wore a black skirt and a red sweater. She gathered her hair on one side, showing off her graceful neck. I know exactly where I could kiss her on her neck that would make her moan in pleasure. She stood in front of the elevators and impatiently pressed the button multiple times… As if she couldn’t wait to get upstairs too. When I reached her, I looped my arms around her waist and she leaned back into me. She started touching my arms, and with even just that, I thought I would die from the pleasure. Think about something else, I told myself even as our eyes met on the shiny surface of the elevator door. Her eyes were bright, distracted by desire, and mine were focused entirely on her. I was afraid this would be over before we even begin.

As soon as the elevator door opened, we both entered without a word. She stood on one corner of the enclosed space, and knowing that I wouldn’t be able to control myself even with cameras recording our every move, I stood on the opposite side. We both stayed so quiet that I looked at Na Jeong to make sure she was okay. She was looking intensely at the numbers on the elevator as if she was willing for it to go faster. When she realized I was looking at her, she gave me one of her sheepish smiles, like she couldn’t believe I caught her looking as anxious as I was. She gave me a shy smile before she spoke.

“Jagiya…” she said. “Appa’s at a training camp this weekend. Omma and Sook Sook are in Masan, too.” She licked her lips nervously. “That means that I can stay here all night, if you want.”

The elevator finally stopped… It felt like we have been in it for hours when it has only but been a few minutes. I grabbed her hand as I stepped off the elevator and we practically ran to my door. Once there, my hands were shaking so badly that I entered my code wrong twice and Na Jeong pushed me to the side and entered it herself.

Once the doors closed and we were away from any possible prying eyes, our mouths met impatiently, her hands grabbed my head and my hand was on her neck as we tried to take off our shoes without slipping. I tugged my mouth off hers and kneeled down to unzip her boots, and as I took it off, I felt her trembling as my fingers lingered on her feet, on her ankles, on her calves and the back of her knees. She started tugging on my shirt as soon as my lips were back on hers, her nimble fingers unbuttoning it quickly until she was able to feel the skin underneath.

I’m not sure how we found ourselves in the bedroom, but the next time I looked around that’s where we were. I led her to the bed, where she reached for me as soon as she laid down.

She tempted me with soft mouth, her tongue meeting mine passionately. Her hands were everywhere on my chest, as if she was branding everywhere she touched. Hesitantly, I put my hands on her hips, and the skin between her sweater and her skirt beckoned for my touch when she wrapped her arms around my neck. My fingers went to that bare patch of skin and she moaned into my mouth. Her skin was so soft, like the smoothest silk I’ve ever felt and I wondered if it would be just as soft on my tongue. Na Jeong’s mouth was traveling down my neck, licking and sucking all the way to my chest, where she proceeded to continue her sweet torture. When she tentatively touched her tongue to my nipple, I had to put a stop to it. I will never make it through this alive. I rubbed my hardness against the apex of her thighs and her eyes widened in surprise.

“Joon-ah… Do it again… You feel so good.” Driven wild by the sound of my name coming from her lips and listening to her voice laced with desire, I lifted her hips towards mine and thrust again. As I slipped her sweater over her head, our lips broke apart but our gazes did not. I kept my eyes on her bruised lips, her magnificent eyes devouring me. When I finally looked down at what I’ve uncovered, I had to remind myself to breathe. Na Jeong was laying on my bed, her skirt bunched around her waist,her hair like a halo on my pillows. Her top was gone and she was wearing the flimsiest bra that I have ever seen. I could see her hardened nipples through her bra and as I continued to look, Na Jeong started rubbing her thighs restlessly and then she sat up, looking like she wanted to ask me something but couldn’t.

“Jagiya… Tell me what you need.” I said.

*****
Na Jeong

“Joon-ah… Do it again… You feel so good.” This has got to be illegal, I thought crazily as he thrusted his hips against me. I felt his length, hard and insistent, press against the juncture between my thighs. I heard him moan, and hearing him so aroused by me heightened my own enjoyment. He took off my sweater, eyes watching aptly. I shivered as I laid in front of him, almost topless but for a piece of lace.I wanted him to show me how much he wanted me. As if he was reading my mind, he suddenly spoke, his voice low and husky with hunger.

“Jagiya… Tell me what you need.”

“Uhm… Do I have to tell you?” I asked, my cheeks turning red. How should I tell him I want his mouth on my breasts, that I wanted his hands between my thighs to ease this restless feeling that was building up inside me? “Joon-ah… How about I show you instead?”

When he swallowed and nodded, I proceeded to trail my lips all over his chest, hoping that he will get the message. I licked circles around his nipple before taking it in my mouth, sucking gently. I thought I heard him groan my name before I felt his hands on my shoulder, kneading gently.

He laid me down ever so gently, like I was something precious, before he traced my collarbone with his tongue. He cupped my breast over my bra and blew a warm breath over my nipple before he reached behind me and took my bra off. I felt the cold air for a minute before Joon’s weight was pressed down on me again, covering me with his warmth. He rubbed the pad of his thumb over one nipple and then the other, and I thought I was going to die if he didn’t put his mouth on me now. When his warm tongue touched my nipple, it felt so good I wanted to cry, He circled his tongue around it as his other hand cupped my other breast. How amazing, I thought, bells are ringing. My hands on his belt, I bolted up when i realized what the ringing meant. Shit, shit, shit… Bells are ringing. That’s my ringtone for my boss, which meant work is calling me.

“Jagiya, don’t answer that…” I heard Joon say. I went to the living room and grabbed my phone from my purse before returning to the bedroom. Joon was sitting up in bed, still looking delicious without his shirt on, and I was so upset I wanted to cry.

I picked up my sweater and my bra and dialed the office. I sat on the side of the bed and felt Joon approach my back. I smiled as I felt his lips on the back of my neck. I turned to him, ran my fingers through his hair and cupped his cheek in my hand before mouthing “I’m sorry.” I quickly put my clothes back on. My boss answered the phone on the second ring.

“Sung Na Jeong-ssi, I need you to come back to the office right now.”

“I wasn’t told that I would be needed to work late today,” I responded. “Do I have to absolutely go back?”

“Do you remember about the database migration that we are doing today? There’s been some system issue and part of the data has been corrupted and I need a handful of you to come back.” I heard him take a minute before continuing. I looked at Joon, who was looking at me questioningly. “The good thing is, that you get to have one additional day of paid leave if you come in for the next couple of hours. Ms. Sung, I wouldn’t have called if I didn’t need you. The American branch need the data for the customer’s visit at their afternoon, which is in a few hours time, so…”

“I’m coming… I’ll be there in a few minutes. I’m already in Gangnam.” I hung up the phone and stood up. Expecting Joon to be angry, I took a deep breath and looked at him.

“Jagiya…” I started.

“Everything okay?” he asked, patting the seat next to him.

“Yeah, everything’s good, except that I have to go back to work. There are some issues with our system, and they need the data for our American branch tonight, so I have to go.” I braced myself for him to get upset or frustrated. Instead, he just looked at me and then pulled a shirt out of his closet. Putting it on, he asked, “Do you need me to drive you there?”

“You’re… You’re not upset?” I asked. Has he already forgotten what we were doing? How can he not be upset?

“No… It’s work, right? I can’t be mad about that… Besides, we have plenty of time to do whatever we want to do. You also have a life other than just being my girlfriend, Na Jeong-ah,” he said, giving me a little grin. “It’s really okay. Come back when you’re done, if you want. Are you sure you don’t need me to drive you there?”

I narrowed my eyes and shook my head no. Within a few minutes I was out of his building and hailing a cab. I couldn’t help the disappointment I felt inside me when I realized that he was perfectly fine with me just leaving in the middle of what I had planned to be our first time. I wore my very special lingerie, I left my hair down just like he liked… I practically seduced him all throughout dinner, but now he just acted like it wasn’t really a big deal.

He said, we had time… How does he even know that? I could die tomorrow, and he could die tomorrow. And we could both die without never having consummated our relationship! WHAT KIND OF TRAGEDY WOULD THAT BE? A really REALLY big one judging on what almost happened. I don’t know how he manages to make me into someone bold and shameless, but I feel that way whenever he touches me. And he… He always acts so cool and calm. I love that about him, but it also drives me crazy. How he stay so collected when I was practically asking him to take me? Those magazines were lying. They said all I needed to do was this and my man would come begging for me. Joon did not come begging for me! THOSE LIARS!

I was still shaking my head as I was walking back to the office. I will have to remedy this situation. I plan on making sure that I make Joon’s knees weak too, just like he does mine. I will do it all night if I had to. I smiled at myself at the thought that he doesn’t know what’s coming.

Unfortunately my work had other plans. Two hours turned to three then to three and a half, and by the time I got out of office it was the wee hours of the morning. And Joon… He was asleep when I came back to his apartment. I saw that he had lit up some candles. There was a vase of flowers in the bedroom, no doubt from an overeager fan that I didn’t notice before. Not that I noticed anything much before. Going to the kitchen to grab a glass of water before going to bed, I noticed that there was a bottle of champagne chilling in the refrigerator. Is he having a party or something? Does this have anything to do with that Jeon Ji Hyun’s text? I saw it when he put his phone on the table during dinner. THAT Jeon Ji Hyun call MY Joon Oppa! OPPA! Was there something going on?

Nah, it can’t be that. Joon knows me well. Surely he must know that I am not a woman who shares her man with other women. And if he doesn’t, I’m gonna make sure that he does.

*****

December 2, 2000

9:00 am
Chilbong

I woke up to Na Jeong laying next to me again. This is an amazing feeling, because this time she’s here not because I’m sick but because she wants to be. I fell asleep last night while waiting for her to come back. I guess she must have returned late since she didn’t wake me up like I thought she would. I watched her sleep for a few minutes before deciding that staying here in this bed while she was in such close proximity was a very bad idea. So, I got up and decided to go for my morning run instead. Work my physical energy out some other way.

After leaving her a quick note telling her where I was, I put on my hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants and left the apartment. While running, I started thinking back on last night. After what we were doing, I would have expected some hesitation at least… But no, she just left from the apartment like we were just sitting around and watching television or something. I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE JUST LEFT! SHE DIDN’T EVEN KISS ME GOODBYE!

I didn’t want to look like an inconsiderate jerk, so I just pretended that I was totally fine with her leaving. While we were right in the middle of something. While we were right in the middle of something amazingly mind blowing! I stayed hard for an hour after she left. That’s painful. I don’t even think she realizes what an effect she has on me. I don’t know what would happen if she found out that every time she kisses me I lose my head.

There was no way I wouldn’t have looked like a sex maniac if I asked her to stay instead. What was I supposed to say? I’ll support you, so forget your job? That’s not me. Being a professional gives Na Jeong a sense of purpose, a sense of identity… How can I even put myself in between her and that? That’s the same concept as someone asking me to choose between them and baseball. I could never be with anyone that did that, and I know I’m extremely lucky that Na Jeong is not that type of woman.

I can wait… Of course I can wait. A few weeks or months is nothing compared to the time I’ve already waited. Surely I can be a good boyfriend and wait. I chuckled to myself. She certainly makes it very difficult to stick to my plans. If I didn’t know better I’d think she was trying to seduce me. That’s not Na Jeong’s style though.

After my run, I quietly walked back into the apartment just in case she was still sleeping. After a quick peek in the bedroom, though, I didn’t see her. Perplexed, I was still looking for her when I heard her voice coming from the kitchen. It sounded like she was talking on the phone with someone, and I was just about to walk away when something she was said caught my attention.

“Joon? Yeah he’s great,” she said. I smiled at the fond way she always said my name, like it was her most favorite word in the world. She stayed quiet for a few minutes, like she was allowing the person on the other line to speak. “NO, not yet, absolutely not. We have NOT.” Hmm. she must be talking to Yoon Jin. She’s doesn’t usually speak that familiarly with just anyone. “I’m just not ready yet, Yoon Jin. You don’t understand. It’s too soon.” I heard her sigh. “We have time. Of course we do.”

After overhearing her conversation, it all made sense. The casual way she left, why she didn’t wake me up when she got back. Of course… Joon, you’re such an idiot. What have we not done? What else could she not be ready for? What else might be considered too soon? What else do we have time for? What else does she want me to understand? Everything she said just pointed to the fact that she’s not ready to have sex with me.

I swear, sometimes being a man is such hard work. Why can’t women just tell you what they want? Is that so difficult? Of course she wouldn’t tell you, silly. You’re in love, she’s supposed to be ready, right? That’s what people would expect. Maybe she’s embarrassed. I nodded to myself.

Well I can’t have her feeling uncomfortable with me. From this day forward, I will keep my distance. I will always see her when we are around other people. I will refrain from inviting her over here unless there’s someone else here with us. I will be content with holding hands and maybe, cuddling. I won’t kiss her because that’s what gets me in trouble. It’s time to use my 10,000 hour rule philosophy again. It worked on finally winning her heart, and it will get me through this too.

Na Jeong is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am not going to endanger our relationship just because of my needs. With my decision made in my head, I pasted a smile on my face and greeted her good morning. She smiled her gorgeous smile at me and then closed her eyes, as if expecting a kiss. Oh no… We are not doing this again. Not while we’re alone. Not when there’s a flat surface around. Instead of giving her a kiss I settled for something else, I shook her hand. Her eyes flew open and she stared at me.

I know, jagiya, I can be understanding, I thought to myself with a smug smile. You’re going to think I’m the best boyfriend in the world, just you wait.

*****

December 7, 2000

7:00 pm
Na Jeong

Joon is quite possibly the worst boyfriend in the world. Hold on, let me edit that. He’s the stingiest boyfriend in the world. Not with time or affection, not with love and devotion. My main complaint with him is that he’s TOO stingy with kisses. In fact, today marks the 6th day of non kissing. I don’t know what to make of this… Some kind of self-imposed celibacy or what’s not.

It would be totally understandable if we haven’t been seeing each other at all. That’s not even the case. I’ve seen him almost every day. He usually picks me up in the morning and drops me off at work before he does and goes whatever he needed to do for the day, whether it’s training or meeting with his manager, but he’s also insisted on taking Sook Sook to school too, to help out Omma and Appa. More than often he calls me during the day to ask me to meet up for lunch or brings me coffee at work. He is almost always with me at dinner time… Whether we be at my house, Yoon Jin and Samcheonpo’s or Binggrae and Jin Yi’s new apartment. Notice the pattern? We always have chaperones. I never ever spend any more time alone with him. Now tell me, how am I supposed to seduce him if we were never together by ourselves?

He’s been acting strange too. Is he hiding something from me? Every time I ask him indirectly or directly for a kiss, he shakes my hand instead. Seriously. He! Shakes! My! Hand! Really?! Since when has shaking of hands replaced kissing! What in the world is that? Does he have bad breath? Do I have bad breath? I’ve always been one to persevere, but I took Yoon Jin’s suggestion into account too. So I have respected his space. I’m trying to be patient. I really really am. I’m trying to be an understanding girlfriend, but is it too much to want kisses from the man that I love? Well, maybe not just kisses, but maybe other things too? A woman has needs as well. How is it possible that I am with the man of my dreams, and yet I spend all of my time still fantasizing about him? This is totally not right at all. Shouldn’t I have at least seen him naked by now? This is so sad that I have a boyfriend, and yet here I am on the internet searching for pictures of my boyfriend! I was just curious to see if there were any that he didn’t have a shirt on. That’s all. No one is allowed to judge me.

Even as I powered off my laptop, I sighed to myself. Maybe Joon has become religious, and he wants to abstain until we get married? I shook my head, seeing that he had never even been the religious type. My head started hurting thinking about it, and when I saw Joon’s car parking up front, I decided to change my game plan.

A few minutes later, I went out of my bedroom wearing my very revealing red dress, the one that emphasized all my assets. I even put heels on. In the house. I put my makeup on carefully, making sure to put on my red lipstick. My magazines said men love it, and I could use all the help I can get. I was trying to saunter into the living room very casually, but as soon as I noticed that Joon wasn’t even in the house yet, I ran to the door, uncaring that Appa and Omma were watching me. I put my arm up against the doorway and tried to very casually rest my other arm on my hip when Joon finally came into view.

“Jagiya… Are you going out?” he asked, looking at me closely. He perused my dress up and down before coming in. Without even as much as a second glance, he patted my shoulder and greeted Omma and Appa.

“Na Jeong-ah… Why are you dressed like a lounge singer in the middle of winter?” Appa said from behind me. “Aren’t you finding it hard to breathe? Your clothes are so tight and we’re about to have dinner.”

“Na Jeong-ah, I think you look nice,” Omma piped in. I turned around from the doorway to give her a grateful smile and saw that Appa and Joon were already talking about baseball.

I tried to sit down on the couch next to him, but the dress pulled too tight and I was afraid my seams would burst. After awkwardly standing around for a few minutes I was grateful when Omma said dinner was ready. My high heels pinching my toes, I hobbled to the kitchen. I felt a warm hand on my back to keep me steady and almost stumbled I was so surprised. Things have gotten bad when I am so deprived of his touch that a mere hand to my back is getting my engines revved up. I closed my eyes and savored that hand on my back like it was oxygen. This is why I must persevere. I want those hands all over me again, and soon. If he doesn’t offer them up I might have to force him. I cringed at my own train of thoughts… Cheeks reddened I head down to the table and was about to sit down when I heard his voice.

“Na Jeong-ah, turn around,” he whispered. My body warmed up instantly and I swear if I could bottle that husky sexy voice I would. I immediately turn around and faced him and my hands itched to grab him and kiss him right here. In front of everyone. Dinner be damned. But he helped me into a jacket and zipped it up all the way to my neck! Doesn’t he like the dress I am in?

I felt his fingers brush my hair briefly before he sat down. Haitai came bounding into the kitchen minutes later and he did a double take at me before getting in his seat.

“Jeong-ah… I think you look weird today,” Haitai whispered. “What’s with all the heavy makeup for dinner?”

I glared at him in response. “Joon thinks I look pretty. Right, jagiya?” I turned to him and flashed him my best come hither smile. He looked like he was about to smile back when I caught him staring at my lips. Ha! There must be something with the red lipstick theory then… Because now he can’t keep his eyes off my face.

“Jagiya,” he whispered. That voice again… Lord help me. He pointed to his lips. My heart rejoiced… Finally he couldn’t wait either, and I was about to oblige when he said, “You have lipstick on your teeth.”

“WHAT?” I got up out of my seat and ran to the bathroom. Sure enough, there was a red stain on my teeth. Wiping my lipstick off, I suddenly felt like crying. What if… What if he just doesn’t want me anymore? What if he’d sampled the goods and he just didn’t like it and now he doesn’t want more? I looked down on my average sized breasts and wished they were bigger. Suddenly I didn’t feel like eating dinner anymore.

Feeling disheartened, I went back to my room and changed back into a tshirt and sweatpants. I put my hair back in a ponytail. What’s the point in getting dressed up? When he doesn’t even care that I’ve made an effort? It’s not like I’m that yellow haired woman… Who probably walks around in heels all the time, or Jeon Ji Hyun who would still look perfect in a sack. This is a horrible feeling, being able to compare myself to other women he’s been around or dated. How did he do this for so long? It hasn’t even been that long for me, and I’m convinced that I’m going insane. I sat on my bed and couldn’t help but recall my conversation with Yoon Jin last week.

A week before…

“Are you up? Did I wake you?” I rattled to Yoon Jin after she picked up the phone.

“Yeah, I’m up… Morning sickness again,” she replied. “This is so unfair… Why do women have to go through this?” She paused and then spoke again. “What’s the matter though? You don’t usually call at this time of the day. Did something happen between between you and Chilbong?”

“That’s why I’m calling. NOTHING’s happening.” I took a deep breath. “Well actually SOME things are happening. But not enough.”

“Na Jeong-ah, you’re confusing me. Please start from the beginning,” she requested.

And so I told her about how I wanted last night to be our first time and how I had prepared for it. I told her about buying a brand new outfit and my sexy knee high boots and how I spent two hours styling my hair. Then I told him about almost sealing the deal when work called and how Joon reacted, which was really a non-reaction. Yoon Jin listened so quietly I had to ask her if she was still on the other line.

“Na Jeong-ah… What’s the rush anyway? You know you love him and you know he loves you, so what does it matter when you guys actually do it? You guys are planning on being together for a long time, right?” I heard her sigh on the other end of the line. “Don’t be so over-eager… Have you ever heard the expression, ah, which one is it… Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? You don’t want to be the cow that gives all the milk for free, right? Make him work for it.”

If only he would take the damn milk, I thought to myself. “Yoon Jin-ah, it’s not even like that. I just want him. It’s all I can think about and I feel like I want him so badly I’m going crazy. I can’t function and I think it’s a good idea to get all this sexual tension out so we can move forward.” That sounded convincing enough.

“Speaking of moving forward… Have you two talked about how you will do this when he goes back to San Francisco?”

“NO, not yet, absolutely not. We have NOT,” I said a bit forcefully.

“Why not? You will have to talk about it sooner or later.”

“I’m just not ready yet, Yoon Jin-ah. You don’t understand. It’s way too soon.” I sighed into the phone.

“You guys have three months… You have time.”

“We have time. Of course we do.” I thought I heard Joon come into the apartment so I decided to hang up. “I gotta go. I’ll call you later.”

Yoon Jin is right, though, I just need to stop worrying about it. It will happen when it’s the right time. And I should make him work for it, not offer myself up on a platter. I’m so worth it. I am a prize among women! I was still trying to comfort myself with this thought when I went out of my bedroom to see Joon and Appa on their way out.

“Are… Are you leaving?” I said.

“Jagiya, no,” he said, “We’re just going to go play catch. It’s been a long time since we’ve done that.” He smiled at me. “You okay?” I nodded and smiled back. See? He loves me. “Na Jeong-ah, I’m leaving my phone here, okay? I don’t want to miss if Hyung calls. We’re expecting a confirmation from KBS about the interview. If he calls or messages, will you let me know?”

“Yeah, sure,” I responded. “Have a good time with Appa.”

I had only just sat down on the couch when Omma pointed out that Joon’s CF with Jeon Ji Hyun was always on television. I sulkily watched as she got more action on television with my man than I do in real life. His phone vibrating on the table interrupted my reverie. Thinking it was his manager, I picked it up to see a new message.

Should I click it? Why not? He told me to let him know if it was his manager, so I need to know who the sender is, right? My thumb hovered over the button for about a nanosecond before I pressed it. The message was from Misoo, his team manager in Yonsei… Misoo, who is still such good friends with him that she gets invited to his cousin’s wedding… Misoo, the woman he was sitting with while ignoring me. I read the message quickly.

“Chilbong-ah, are you busy tomorrow night? Come over for dinner. I will cook your favourite dish. We have some really important things to talk about. You know where you can find me.”

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? I furiously thought. It’s not enough that I had to work so hard for him to even give me a chance, but now I have all these competition too? Calm down, Na Jeong. It was just an invitation. It doesn’t mean he’ll go, right? It’s not like she asked him for a date, right?

I briskly walked outside just as he was pitching to my father. I walked up to him and handed him his phone. He raised his eyebrow at me, and I told him, “You have a new message.”

I was about to turn away when he touched my shoulder and I saw the concern in his eyes. “Jagiya… Are you sure you’re okay? You look kind of upset…” He looked so worried that I felt myself softening.

“Yeah, I’m okay.” I looked at him hopefully.”Joon-ah, you’ll be here again tomorrow right?”

He thought for a minute before he answered. “Yeah, I should be.” I felt my heart cheer up at his response, until it hit me that he hasn’t even read the text message yet.

“I’m going to bed soon… I’m tired,” I said, unable to meet his eyes. “Will you send me a text to tell me you’re home? You know I worry.” When he nodded I tried to put a bright smile on my face and held out my hand. He took it hesitantly, but then shook it anyway.

“Jagiya…” He started.

“Good night.” I turned around and walked back to the house knowing he was looking at me walking away.

Hours later, even after I’ve received his text that he was home, I laid in bed awake, wondering why he hasn’t shown as much interest. Maybe he realized that the illusion of me was better than the reality of me? I tried to ask my puppy, but he doesn’t speak. I guess we’ll just see what happens tomorrow.

*****

The next night…

Chilbong

“Chilbong-ah, make sure you think about what I asked okay?” Misoo asked as she stood in the doorway with In Sung. “I know you’ve already said you don’t want to sing at any more weddings, but you did really well at Dong Joon’s.”

“Who knew you were so talented?” In Sung asked sarcastically. “And here I thought the only thing you knew how to do was baseball.”

“Yah… If you ask uri Na-Jeongie, she’ll tell you I can do a whole lot of stuff,” I responded with a smile. Yeah she’ll say that I can open a ramyun restaurant or a dry cleaning business. I can be a basketball player, a dancer and even a singer. I had to stop myself from chuckling when I looked up at In Sung staring at me and shaking his head.

“Aigoo, look at you. I knew it, even six years ago, that you were done. Yah… Stop smiling like that, man. You’re gonna make me look bad,” In Sung said. I couldn’t even help it, my smile got even bigger, if that was possible. “It’s good to see you. We’ll have dinner again before you have to go back.” He patted my back affectionately and Misoo offered a hug.

“Bring Na Jeong-ssi next time,” Misoo added. “I’m assuming you will be bringing her as your date for our wedding next year right?”

“Yeah,” I answered. “Of course, who else would I bring? For me, it’s Na Jeong, no matter what.”

After leaving their apartment, I was driving home when I started thinking about Na Jeong. After not seeing her for one night, I already missed her. I’ve been at the house or with her one way or another the last week… I thought it would be like exposure therapy, as in the more I see her, the less her effect would be on me. Instead it’s gotten worse. Now all she had to do was turn her eyes on me and I’m ready to go.

When I walked up to the door last night and she was standing there with a tight little red dress on, and her lips covered in red, I really thought I was gonna pass out. The blood rushed straight from my head to my groin and I literally had to rush to get away from her. Even as Appa was speaking to me, I saw her shimmying herself down on the space next to me from the corner of my eye, and watching her hips move drove me insane! I was relieved when she finally just stayed standing up. I didn’t want Haitai to see her like this. I was afraid that I would became so jealous and punch him if he saw her like that. But I am a gentleman. So I did what gentlemen do. I covered my lady’s assets up so I don’t have to get into a fight over it.

I didn’t really want to miss tonight’s dinner either, since last night Na Jeong looked tired and worried about something. But then again, I thought, maybe we needed some time apart… So we can miss each other, right? Maybe she’s having a hard time adjusting to having a boyfriend again. So I took up Misoo’s invitation for dinner at her and In Sung’s apartment. I know Na Jeong saw the text message… But she said nothing about wanting to go with me, so I didn’t even ask.

As I made the turn into a parking space in front of my apartment building, I hoped that Na Jeong understands that I am doing everything for her. It doesn’t even matter how much this… Waiting is hurting me, as long as she’s happy. Yes, I thought, I will endure anything as long as Na Jeong is happy.

Once I’ve parked, I entered the apartment building and went up the elevator to my floor. I started typing a message to Na Jeong as I walked to my apartment, stopping only to enter my door code. Stepping into my doorway, I pressed the send button on my text message informing her that I had just gotten home and wishing her a good night. So, imagine my surprise when I heard the ring of Na Jeong’s phone somewhere in the apartment after I sent it. Is she here? Alone? How do I resist her now? Taking off my coat, I looked around the apartment for her, seeing her purse and coat sitting on my kitchen counter but not seeing her in the living room. I walked to the bedroom and I thought I saw her sitting on the side of the bed. I turned the overhead lights on and was about to walk over when I heard her speak.

“Don’t come near me, ” she said, sniffling. She hiccuped twice, like she’s been crying. “If you come near me, I’m going to get even more emotional.”

“Jagiya… What’s the matter? Why are you sad? Did something happen?” I thought that something major must have happened if she’s sitting in the dark in my apartment. I stayed where I was, waiting for her to answer my questions, and when she didn’t, I decided to get to the heart of the matter.

“Na Jeong-ah…”

“Joon-ah…” She interrupted. “Do you think I’m a free cow?”

“What?” I wasn’t sure if she was speaking in metaphorical terms. Why are we talking about cows now?

“People say you won’t buy a cow if you’re getting milk for free. But… But…. YOU’VE NEVER EVEN TASTED THE MILK!” She wailed, sounding utterly forlorn. “Don’t you want to sample it first before deciding whether you want the cow?” Okay… I have never once discussed ever buying any cows or the sampling of dairy products with this woman.

Unable to follow her train of thought, I ignored her request and walked to where she sat. Needing to see her face, I knelt down in front of her. Taking both of her hands in mine, I was still racking my mind for the right words to say when I heard her speak again.

“Kim Jae Joon… I swear to God if you shake my hands this time, I will punch you,” she said, her voice low. She pulled her hands out of mine and stood up. I watched, brows drawn, as she stared out the windows, as if thinking.

I need to do something. With the most reassuring voice I can muster, “Jagiya… I’m not interested in any cows or milk, or even cheese.” Apparently that was not the right thing to say, judging from the way she tensed up even more.

“This is the problem,” she said, starting to pace back and forth. I waited for her to elaborate but she didn’t. “You’ve lost your taste for milk.”

I really don’t know what we are talking about. I know people have said that sometimes men and women speak completely different languages, but still. I wish someone would give me a little help here. Treading carefully, I thought about what to say next that might not incite even more wrath.

“Na Jeong-ah… Have you been drinking?” I asked.

“Why would you ask that?” Not slowing down on her pacing, I watched as the dress she was wearing molded itself to her curves whenever she took a step. Jesus… Even in her anger, she was glorious. Her long hair hung behind her back but for a lock of hair that stubbornly clung to the smooth skin exposed by the v on her dress. I don’t blame it, I thought. I would stay there too.

She needs to get out of here. I need her to get out of here before I forget all of my good intentions. I feel like I have tunnel vision and all I could focus on was her. This conversation had thrown me off kilter, and I wondered briefly if she was the crazy one or I was.

When she realized that I hadn’t answered her question, she stopped and looked at me. Hands on hips, her defiant eyes met mine and I was struck by a sense of deja vu. Tension was rolling off her in waves, and damned if I am not turned on by it. I am a very strange person. She cocked her head to one side, her neck illuminated by the city lights behind her, before she repeated herself. “Why would you think that I’ve been drinking?”

“Jagiya,” I gently started. “You’re talking crazy.” When I saw her eyebrows narrow at me, I held both my hands up in surrender. “Don’t get mad. I didn’t say you were crazy, just that you’re talking crazy.”

“Yeah… So what? I’m talking crazy because you’re making me crazy!” She looked away from me. “Yah… Kim Jae Joon… How many women have you got competing for your affections right now?”

“WHAT?” I said, now feeling a spark of annoyance. “What other women?”

“Does that yellow haired bitch still call you?” she asked. “Ooooohhhh JJ you’re so FANTASTIC… I wish you would call me again so we can hang out in my box seats and I can stare at your hot body up close…”

“Amanda? Why are you talking about her?”

“Is that her name?” She stopped and though about it before continuing. “I’m not just talking about her. I saw the text.” When she registered my confusion, she proceeded “From the nation’s goddess. You don’t remember?”

Jeon Ji Hyun-ssi? When did she text me? Oh yeah, last Friday, right before we came back here after dinner. Memories from that night flashed through my head and I had to shift my position to hide my reaction to even just thinking about what we had been doing before she got called in by her job.

“Was that why you were so turned on that night? Because you were thinking about her?” For a second I thought she was going to throw something at me.

“That text was just a courteous message. A professional message.”

Na Jeong walked towards me and I backed away. Palm up, she demanded for me to give her my phone.

“I don’t have it on me. It’s in the kitchen.” Without saying a word, she marched to the kitchen and I had no choice but to follow her.

When she spotted it on the counter, she picked it up and scrolled to the message she was looking for.

“‘Opppaaaa… What time are you coming next time?'” Na Jeong said in a baby voice. I would laugh except that she looked so serious and there were knives around. Seeing my amused expression, she glared at me. “You think this is funny right? Well, I think you’re a player. An asshole player.”

Now I’m mad too. A player? A player? I’ve loved one woman my whole life and I’m a player? “Now wait just a minute…”

“Where were you tonight? Discussing very important things with Misoo I guess.” She resumed her pacing before meeting my eyes. “Well? Did she cook you your favorite dish?” Shaking her head, she continued. “I made your favorite dish. I did,” she muttered more to herself than to me.

“Yes. I went to eat dinner with Misoo and…” I was just about to clarify when she interrupted me.

“I knew it! I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW she was always interested in you. Even six years ago, I saw her watching you. And not just in a professional way.”

“She was our team manager Na Jeong-ah. It’s her job to watch us. Why would you even say that? What the hell would even make you think she was interested in me?” My voice started to rise just as loud as hers, and I couldn’t control my impatience.

“Why wouldn’t she be?” She stopped her pacing and motioned her hand up and down my body frantically. “I mean, LOOK AT YOU!”

“She’s engaged to In Sung! Remember him? He was at the wedding too! And… And you knew me for six years and you weren’t interested,” I muttered beneath my breath.

“Are we back to this again?” She yelled. “Is this what this is about? And for your information, I was always interested. But… This is still part of my test, right? You’re still testing me to see if I really love you?” She crossed her arms in front of her chest and shook her head. “I can’t believe I was perfectly fine waiting forever for you to love me again and I completely fail because I refuse to wait to sleep with you!”

Wait… What? This conversation was moving so fast I don’t quite know what’s going to come out of her mouth. “Jagiya… What test?” She wants to sleep with me? Trying to wrap my head around what she’s alluding to, I continued to watch her with some trepidation, and yes, even growing arousal.

“You’re still punishing me! For taking six years to make up my mind about you. You should’ve just told me you were still undecided! You should have…”

All her assumptions were so off the mark, and thinking now about how much i’ve held back over the past week has made me angry too. Stalking over to where she stood, I didn’t stop until I was looming over her. “I was trying to be a gentleman. I heard you talking to Yoon Jin,” I said quietly. She looked up at me with her eyes, made even greener by the dress she was wearing, and I hardened so quickly even I was surprised. Holding my hand against the wall behind her for support, I said it again. This time louder. “I. Was. Trying. Not. To. Pressure. You.”

“Pressure me?” She sounded genuinely confused. “Why would you need to pressure me? I’m the one who’s been trying to seduce you all this time! You’re all calm and composed… And I’m running around wearing uncomfortable underwear and high heels! And you? No reaction. NO FUCKING REACTION! I want it so badly I’m practically begging you for it. But you don’t give a shit. You don’t even want me!”

With only a few inches now separating us, my mind went blank before I closed the distance between us. I pressed my hips against hers until I knew that she felt how hard I was. “Na Jeong-ah… Does this feel like I don’t want you? Tell me if this feels like I don’t want you.” Eyes wide, she looked at me as understanding dawned on her. “Na Jeong-ah… Make no mistake… Just because I hide it better, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want you every single minute of every single fucking day. You know how my favorite past time is now? I think about all the ways I could make love to you… I obsess about what you’re wearing underneath your clothes… And I wonder about what noises you’ll make when I’m finally inside you.”

She swallowed, her cheeks blushing. Clearing her throat, she finally spoke again. “Show me. Show me what you were thinking about.”

*****

Na Jeong

I know what he’s trying to do. I won’t be fooled. He’s trying to distract me. He thought that standing over me will detract me from speaking up. It’s really not working. Although, licking my lips, he does smell delicious. Edible almost. I looked up at the pulse jumping on his neck and I had the urge to lick him there. I took a deep breath and allowed myself to savor just having him this close to me again. Even as I fought the desire to throw myself at him, I couldn’t help but sigh internally at how his white shirt hugged his chest so well. I’ve really lost the plot now. Looking at him, I noted the tension on his face, while he kept himself a small distance from me still.

“I was trying to be a gentleman. I heard you talking to Yoon Jin,” he said. What were we talking about again? Oh yeah… Him not wanting me. What about my conversation with Yoon Jin? That has nothing to do with this. I was about to point that out when he spoke again, more forcefully this time. “I. Was. Trying. Not. To. Pressure. You.”

Feeling the urge to hit him, I almost laughed. Not pressure me? When has he ever shown me that he was even bothered? Realizing that I should be vocalizing this than thinking it, I said exactly what was on my mind. “Pressure me? Why would you need to pressure me? I’m the one who’s been trying to seduce you all this time! You’re all calm and composed… And I’m running around wearing uncomfortable underwear and high heels! And you? No reaction. NO FUCKING REACTION! I want it so badly I’m practically begging you for it. But you don’t give a shit. You don’t even want me!”

He took one step towards me as my back hit the wall and his hips were flush against mine. “Na Jeong-ah… Does this feel like I don’t want you? Tell me if this feels like I don’t want you.” I felt his arousal against my stomach and felt the butterflies go berserk in my stomach. Would it be wrong for me to touch it? I was pondering this question when I heard his voice again. Low and husky, I had to concentrate to even understand what he was saying. “Na Jeong-ah… Make no mistake… Just because I hide it better, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want you every single minute of every single fucking day. You know how my favorite past time is now? I think about all the ways I could make love to you… I obsess about what you’re wearing underneath your clothes… And I wonder about what noises you’ll make when I’m finally inside you.”

Lord help me, but this man makes my knees weak. My heartbeat accelerated in my chest as I digested what he was saying. He thought about those things? All the time? All this damn time he could have let me in on it. Because I think about that too! This is it… He’s done his final move. It’s time for me to volley back.

I swallowed, feeling my cheeks redden. I cleared my throat, and said, “Show me. Show me what you were thinking about.” Check mate. It’s time for this queen to defeat her king.

His mouth were on mine before I could formulate a plan in my head. His soft lips coupled with the taste of soju registered in my senses. My fingers found the collar of his shirt and unable to open his buttons fast enough, I tugged and vaguely heard the sound of fabric ripping and buttons popping. His hands were on the wall behind me and I struggled to get closer to him. His tongue was in my mouth, and I met his surely, confidently. I moaned from the sensations threatening to overwhelm me even as he continued to suck on my tongue. I arched my back to rub my breasts against his chest, feeling my nipples harden from the contact. My hands wandered from his thick hair to his broad shoulders. When I felt his hand hesitantly cupping one of my breasts, I grasped it more firmly, showing him that I wanted this as much as he did. I swallowed a moan when his thumb circled my nipple as his lips traveled down to my neck. He turned me over and I held my hands to the wall as his mouth continued to lick and suck on my neck. I can’t see him but I felt him all around me. His one hand never lifting from my breast he had his other hand low on my stomach that for one minute I wondered if he was going to touch me there. I closed my eyes as I felt his lips kissed the back of my neck and traveled down my spine. Even through my dress his lips branded me. Needing to feel him too I turned around as he stood up. I met his eyes with mine and saw that he was breathing hard. His arousal was so evident even with his pants on and I itched to touch and feel him.

Seeing what I was looking at, he took my mouth again passionately, and I had to tug mine away so I could taste him. I need to taste him. I stood on tiptoes to kiss his neck, my tongue traveling the path to his chest. I licked and kissed, not stopping until I reached his nipple. I teased and rubbed, my thumb brushing it like he did with mine. I gave his nipple a little nip and smiled when I heard him groan in pleasure. My hands kneaded his back, fingernails digging as I went to cup his taut buttocks. When my tongue landed on his stomach he grasped my arm to pull me up to my feet and then carried me to the bedroom. I kept my arms around his neck as he continued to kiss me.

When he lowered me to the bed, I opened my eyes to see him over me, passion clouding his eyes. Are we ever gonna take our clothes off? I thought to myself. I was about to tug the tie that held my dress closed when I felt his hand stop me. Looking into my eyes, he said, voice low and strained, “Let me do it. I want to undress you.”

I could only nod wordlessly as he pulled the tie open and saw him swallow at the sight that met him. I was wearing my splurge buy, a demi cup red bra and matching underwear that rode low on my hips. His eyes traveled the length of me and though he didn’t touch me, I felt him nonetheless. Before I could ask him to please come back to me, I felt him press his weight on my body. His chest crushing mine, his mouth plundered mine until I was moving my hips restlessly against the hard length of him. I felt him nip my shoulder, then lift himself off of me for a second before he unsnapped the front closure of my bra. Then his hands were on my breasts again, squeezing gently before he took a hardened nipple in his mouth. I felt his tongue licking and sucking even as his other hand continued to cup my other breast. He moved his head to the other side, kissing all the skin in between before taking my other nipple in his mouth. Between my legs, I felt the dampness worsen and embarrassed I hesitated putting my legs around his waist. As if realizing this, he lifted them both to wrap around his waist before he went back to my mouth.

“Does this feel good?” he asked, licking my earlobe gently.

I nodded and he smiled at me. His chest had a sheen of sweat and I wanted to lick him. But first things first, I unbuckled his belt and threw it down the side of the bed. Unbuttoning his pants, I felt him watching me as I lowered it off his waist. Just wearing his boxers now, I could see his arousal more clearly. I was about to touch it when he chuckled before laying me back down.

“Jagiya… Not yet. I won’t last long if you touched me there.”

Expecting him to get back on top of me I laid back and closed my eyes. I waited a few minutes to feel him back on me until I felt his hands taking off my panties. My eyes bolted open and I saw him sitting on his knees between my legs, looking at me as if he was devouring me. Now almost naked on his bed, I felt myself trembling, both with embarrassment and excitement when I realized that my thighs were open and he could see everything. Feeling self conscious, I tried to close them together, but his hands stopped me.

“Jagiya… Don’t close them. You’re beautiful. Let me just look at you for a minute.” I followed his eyes as they worshipped my body. Feeling a sense of womanly power, I touched my own breasts and saw his arousal twitch in response. I had just closed my eyes again when I felt his lips on my inner thighs while his fingers rolled off my stockings. Fully undressed now, I wondered how I couldn’t feel cold at all. My body felt like it was burning up. When I felt his hand on my core, I nearly lifted myself off the bed.

“What… What are you doing?” I stammered. Not taking his eyes off of my center, I saw him lick his lips and my heart pounded uncomfortably. “Joon-ah…”

“Shhh…” he whispered as he lowered his head. “I want to taste you.”

“But… But no one’s ever done this before.”

“I’ve never done it before either. So we’re even.” He grinned at me and though uncertain that this was even allowed, I couldn’t say no. He knew it too. He knew I could deny him nothing when he smiles at me like that. I felt his callused hand on my stomach, guiding me back down and I closed my eyes and tried to ignore the fact that I’m shaking and that Joon is between my legs about to do something I know nothing about.

When I felt a long finger exploring me, I shut my eyes tightly, unprepared for the barrage of sensation. He touched me gently, tenderly like I was a prize to be savored. This is not bad, I thought to myself. This is…. All thoughts flew out of my head the moment I felt his tongue touch the sensitive bud between my legs. He was hesitant at first then more sure as he continued to lap at it and touch it with his fingers. Sparks of pleasure shot up my whole body and I grabbed the sheets for support, needing to hold onto something solid. He pried one of my hands off the sheet and placed it on his head.

“Stay with me, Jeong-ah…” he asked. I nodded back at him. “Does it feel good?” I could only nod again in response.

He broke out another of his devastating smiles and I would have fallen down had I not already been, well, laying down. I watched as his dark head went back between my legs and more confidently this time, resumed what he was doing. He licked the swollen bud and continued his torture as sensation after sensation washed over me. Just when I thought he could do no more, I felt him slip a finger inside me. He knows how wet I am, I thought, panicking. OHMYGOD. I squeezed my eyes shut even as my hips rebelled and started moving to the rhythm of his fingers and his tongue. He slipped another finger in and I thought I was going to shatter. I felt myself getting lost, unable to fight, unwilling to resist the sensation. I felt the pleasure building up, higher and tighter, even as my hands continued to hold onto his head for dear life. Stop… I thought. Don’t stop. I don’t know what I want. My head moved restlessly from side to side, but when I felt him suck, I yelled out his name as release took over. Even as I was still trembling I felt his fingers caressing my legs lovingly and when he rose up above me with a smug smile he kissed the tip of my nose.

“Do you know how sexy it was to hear you call out my name?” He said, looking deep into my eyes.

“Really?” I asked. My voice sounded breathy, even to my ears. I felt like I was a transformed woman.

“I love you so much,” he said, hand brushing the side of my face. Just looking at him, I could already feel the desire building inside me again.

“I love you more,” I said back with a smile. Your turn, I thought. I slipped my hand between us and pulled off what’s left of his clothing. At last, I thought, as my hand circled his smooth hard length. His mouth descended back to mine as I touched him. I could taste myself on his lips and it drove me crazy. I lapped on his tongue as I felt a drop of moisture from the head of his erection. I moved my hand up and down, enjoying his response. His body felt taut with need, his eyes were shut closed as he moved his hips into my hand.

“Jagiya,” I said. He opened his eyes and looked at me questioningly. “Please tell me you have protection.” When he nodded, I breathed a sigh of relief. “Can you put it on? I want to feel you inside me now. Actually no, I need to feel you inside me now.”

He opened his eyes and nodded. He lifted himself off of me and opened his bedside table and pulled out a small foil covered packet. I watched as his hands shakily rolled the condom onto his erection and realized that he was nervous. I looked my fill as his broad shoulders flexed and his abdominal muscles tightened. Even just doing this, he looked so unbelievably sexy. When finally he was positioned on top of me again, I kissed his face tenderly as he watched me.

I felt him lift his hips slightly off of me before he gently slipped his hard length inside me. I tightened around him, my body adjusting to his size slowly. His eyes locked on mine, he thrusted his hips ever so slowly, letting me feel him inch by glorious inch. When he was finally at the hilt, I sighed with pleasure. This felt so right. He’s part of me now. Our bodies joined as one, as it was always meant to be. Feelings of love came over me so quickly I felt tears spring to my eyes. I caressed his cheek with my hand and he kissed the center of my palm.

Then he started moving. I felt his length sliding in and then pulling out, almost until he was completely out. Then he pushed himself in again deeper and deeper still. His hand went behind my back and I wrapped my legs around his waist as he continued to thrust. He held my waist as he sped up, keeping me grounded, making sure that I met his every move. I felt the sensation build up inside me again every time our hips met. He kissed my lips, eyes wide open, watching every one of my reactions, swallowing every sound I make. I grabbed his buttocks closer, enjoying the flexing of the muscles on his back from the exertion. His skin had a sheen of perspiration, his eyes focused on mine. He lowered his mouth to my nipple even as he slid deeper and deeper inside me, and pleasure took over my whole body. I started shaking, my release building up. He continued to move at the same pace, until I dug my fingernails onto his back to urge him faster. He got my point and tucked his head into the crook of my neck as he sped up. My fingers on his hair, I felt the tension in my body build up and I knew that I was close. He slipped a hand between our bodies, and his finger found the nub between my legs. As he stroked that, he continued to fill me and soon as I was crying his name and grabbing him close to me. He put his mouth back on mine as I felt him tense up. I was still contracting around him as he thrust deeply one more time and groaned my name on my lips before he relaxed, finally in my arms.

Even a few minutes later, neither of us spoke. I was tracing circles on his back and he rested his head on my chest.

“Jagiya… I don’t want to… But the condom,” he said… Finally looking at me. He blushed bright red and considering what we were just doing, that struck me as funny and I started laughing.

“What’s so funny?”

“It’s not funny…” I said, planting kisses on his face. “But you’re just so cute and I’m so happy right now.” He gave me a lopsided smile and lifted his body off of me. I felt the loss as soon as he pulled out and I fought the urge to pout and demand that he come back.

Instead I just watched appreciatively as he walked towards the bathroom. That was… Amazing… Breathtaking… Life changing. Joon was such a generous lover, and I can’t believe he’s all mine. I get to have him forever. I felt giddy but then thought about how many girls he practiced with to be this good. Not liking the direction of my thoughts, I chided myself for being this petty. He wasn’t my first, so how can I get mad that I wasn’t his? The thought of him being this intimate with someone else made me angry and as I laid back down I wrapped the covers more tightly around me.

I felt him slip under the covers and position himself behind me. Slipping his arms around my waist, I felt his bare legs touching mine, his front still uncovered by any piece of clothing. He pressed a kiss on my neck and spoke.

“You tired?” he asked. When I shook my head no, he continued. “Do you need to call Omma? She might worry that you’re not home yet.”

I shook my head and answered without looking at him. “Omma, Appa and Sook Sook went to Masan for my cousin’s wedding. They won’t be home until Monday.”

He was still kissing my shoulder when I spoke again. “Joon-ah… How many women have you slept with?” I turned around until I was facing him. “You know how many I’ve been with… And I’ve just done it once. But what about you?” When he looked like he was hesitating to tell me, I reassured him. “I won’t get mad. And I won’t judge you. Just tell me please.”

“Does it really matter?” he asked, brows drawn. “Did I make a mistake? Did I do something you didn’t like?”

“That’s the thing. You were so good. That’s why I’m curious.” I watched as his eyes avoided mine. When I saw that he really didn’t want to tell me, I relented. “Fine… Since you’re obviously not going to…”

“Just you,” he said. Surprised, I met his eyes as he cleared his throat. “Just you. Only you. Always you.”

I wrapped my arms around him even as my mouth opened against his. I was ridiculously pleased to hear that. “But how?” I asked, our mouths only a whisper away from each other. “You were amazing… I mean you knew what to touch…”

“Na Jeong-ah…” He cleared his throat. “I read a lot. Books and magazines. I’ve studied this extensively. You know… Just in case.”

“Videos?”

“Yeah, them too.”

“For how long?” I asked. “How long have you been studying this particular subject?”

“Uhm… Since I met you. You know… Just in case.” Finally he met my gaze. “Can we stop talking about this? I’m embarrassed.”

“Jagiya…” I said, pressing a soft kiss on his lips. “We’re done talking about this.” I pushed him until he was laying on his back and them I climbed over him. I felt him harden instantly. I grabbed a condom from his table and put it on him. I positioned him at my entrance, then met his eyes. “But I didn’t say we were done.” I slowly lowered myself on him while resting my hands on his chest and rode both of us into oblivion.

An hour later, he laid on his side with a satisfied smile on his face and opened his arms. I went into them and rested my head on his chest, noting with pleasure that I can smell my perfume on him. I kept my hand over his heart,its slow and steady rhythm lulling me to sleep.

*****

The next morning…

Chilbong

I pressed a kiss on Na Jeong’s shoulder. Our limbs still tangled together, I watched her sleep for a few minutes. I brushed a stray piece of hair from her face and my heart squeezed inside my chest. She smiled in her sleep and I had to smile back. I’ve only had two hours of sleep from last night’s activities, but I’ve never felt better. I felt like I could conquer the world.

Mind set on making breakfast by the time she woke up, I carefully disentangled myself from her before quietly making my way to the kitchen. I wrapped a towel around my hips and put the kettle to boil. I started the rice and then padded to the bathroom.

Turning the shower on, I waited for a few minutes for the water to warm up. Finally ready, I took the towel off and stepped into the water. While washing my hair, my thoughts strayed back to last night.

Just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get better, they seem to find a way to. How could I have ended up with her? Passionate, earthy, and sensual, she threw her heart and soul into everything she did. I didn’t have any expectations… Hell I didn’t even know it was gonna happen last night, but surely if I did she far exceeded all of them.

Just remembering all the things we did brought the need back full force. I cannot allow myself to think about it… She’s exhausted and so am I. Aren’t I? My erection said otherwise. Chuckling to myself, I tried to will it to calm down, to little success. I started humming the national anthem again and was just about successful when I heard the bathroom door close.

“Jagiya,” I called out. “I’m in the shower.” Thinking she may need to use the toilet, I said, “I’ll be done in a minute so if you want to wait…”

My words stopped when she opened the shower door. She stood there watching me, dressed in my white shirt. She looked me up and down then smiled when she saw my arousal jutting against my stomach. She entered the shower clothed and kissed me on my lips.

“Good morning,” she said, a sleepy smile gracing her face.

“Good morning,” I responded back. She picked up the soap and started lathering her hands. “Jagiya… Do you want me to wash your hair?” I asked.

She seemed to not hear me, so focused was she on the soap, so I was about to ask her again when she looked at my face. “Yeah. You can wash my hair after.”

Momentarily confused, I looked at her with a frown. “After what? I didn’t realize we had plans this morning.”

“Yah… Kim Jae Joon… You may not have plans but I do. We barely made a dent in your life philosophy last night.” She grinned as she started rubbing the soap on my chest. “Don’t you think we should remedy that?”

“My life philosophy?” Her soapy hands traveled lovingly over my shoulders and arms. I watched as she licked her lips when she reached my stomach.

“Turn around,” she ordered and I complied. “You know… Your 10,000 hours rule. We just broke hmmm… Maybe four hours of it last night?” She rubbed the soap over my back and down to my buttocks. As soon as she touched me there, my stomach tightened and I felt the familiar stirring of arousal coming on. She bent down and started washing my legs, her soft hands traveling up and down. Expecting her to get up, I was surprised when I heard her voice again. “Turn around.”

I did as she asked and found her still bent down with her face directly over my groin. Thinking her back may have given out I offered her a hand to help her up, but she ignored it and stayed in the same position. I felt her eyes on me down there, and my erection seemed to get harder the longer she looked at it. She put the soap down and after a few more minutes she put her hands on me and spoke.

“Joon-ah,” she said, her tone wondrous. “It’s so smooth. It’s so smooth so you’d think it would be soft, but it’s hard and smooth. Like velvet.”

“Na Jeong-ah… Uhmm, yeah.” I wasn’t really sure what she was talking about, but I do know that she’s distracting me. I looked down to her face looking at me with a mesmerized look in her eyes and I told myself to calm down. She’s just exploring, I thought. Just like I did last night. I closed my eyes and put my hands against either side of the shower to keep myself steady. I was already thinking about what a bad idea this was when I felt her put my arousal in her mouth.

Shocked, my eyes opened and I looked down. Her mouth warm and wet, I forgot to breathe as I watched her lips travel my length. I saw her tongue peek out as she licked the head.

“Jagiya… what are you doing?” I asked. Her hand at its base, I watched her stroke me before she answered.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” she responded. “I’m returning the favor.”

I grabbed her arms and tried to pull her up when she focused her green eyes on me. “You don’t have to do that…”

“Yah… Joon-ah… I never do anything I don’t want to do. And I know I don’t have to do this. But I want to.” She took a deep breath and looked at what she was holding again. “I love you. I want to please you. But I’m not just doing this for you, but for me too. I want to taste you, too.”

I have never been a religious person, but I so dearly wanted to drop down on my knees right now and thank God or whoever is up there that He blessed me with such a woman. She’s my dream and fantasy come to life.

I felt her watching me with her impossible eyes and I looked down just in time to see her put me back into her mouth. My knees threatening to buckle, I had to put my palms back against the wall.

The sensation of the water and Na Jeong’s mouth doing magic on me made me feel like I am in a surreal world. I felt her lips close tightly around me and her tongue swirling across my length as her hands stroked me up and down. When I felt her tongue hesitantly touch my sac, I knew I was done.

I pulled her to her feet and touched my lips to hers. She opened her mouth and licked my lips. Our tongues met and mated, even as I pulled her closer to me. Remembering that sex in the shower is not a comfortable thing for women, I lifted her legs onto my hips and carried her out of the shower. When I set her gently on the counter, I finally allowed myself to look at her fully.

The water pretty much made whatever clothing Na Jeong wore moot. I can see everything with the wet white fabric clinging to her like skin. Her breasts were fully visible, her nipples hard under my shirt. My eyes traveled lower and her legs spread, I saw that her core glistened with arousal. This woman will be the death of me.

I lowered my hand to stroke her between her legs and her back arched even as she chanted my name. My mouth kissed her neck and kissed its way down her collarbone to her chest. My lips found her nipple and I sucked on it through the wet fabric of my shirt. Needing to see her, I undid three of the buttons. My mouth still on her breast, one hand cupped her other breast while my other hand caressed her ribcage. Shivering now, she moaned when my mouth traveled to her other nipple. Who knew? Her left nipple was more sensitive than her right. I was about to move her to the bed when she pulled a familiar foil packet from the pocket of my shirt. I kissed her abdomen while rolling the condom on.

Finally ready, I watched her face as I joined our bodies together. She felt warm, wet and tight. I wanted to stay inside her forever. Her eyes focused on my face, I held her head tenderly as I started slipping in and out of her. Her breath came in little gasps, and her mouth met mine in a frenzy. Trying to make it last is impossible when she’s digging her nails from one hand down my back and her other hand was on my buttock urging me to go faster, harder and deeper.

When she sobbed my name out, I met her eyes, so full of love for me and felt my body tighten. Still with our eyes locked together, I felt her core contract all around my hardness and I let go and emptied myself in her. Sparks of pleasure shot up from my spine and I could feel the tingling all the way down to my toes. My eyes burned from sweat and I felt myself collapse on top of her.

I stayed on top of her, our bodies still joined, until I felt her heart beat slow down. She was still running her fingers through my hair when I heard her stomach rumble. She rubbed it self consciously but looked at me hopefully. I chuckled and lifted myself off of her.

“Are you hungry?” I asked.

She blushed a pretty pink color before answering. “All the extra activities has made me want to eat more. A woman cannot live on love alone.”

I kissed her forehead. “Neither can a man,” I said with a grin. “What do you want to eat?”

She raised her eyebrows at me suggestively and I knew what she was gonna say before she even said it. “Major Leaguer’s ramyun… Kim Jae Joon’s ramyun… My man’s ramyun.”

“Is that right?” I answered in dialect and she pushed me. “Let me clean up and put some clothes on and I’ll make it for you.”

“No,” she said, shaking her head. “You’re done doing everything on your own.” She took my hand as she climbed down from the counter. “I’ll get dressed too. We’ll make it together.”

*****

Two months later…


Na Jeong

I sat on the living room floor in between Haitai and Ae Jung and Binggrae and Jin Yi. Samcheonpo and Yoon Jin sat on chairs around Omma and Appa. Sook Sook was even allowed to stay up late for tonight.

Putting my brave face on, I wondered as everyone looked at me whether they’re all expecting me to have a breakdown. I won’t. I can’t.

Thinking back on the last two months I realized something. Joon and I were happy. We were so happy… Convinced that we could stay in our little world for a little longer, just the two of us. We were so happy we never saw reality coming… Until we’ve crashed back to the ground. And now I’m left holding the pieces on my own.

2 thoughts on “R1994: A MOMENT’S CHOICE SIXTH INNING

  1. toujourspetite says:

    Well, that was definitely titillating, wasn’t it!
    I was caught off-guard with how the chapter ended though! We went from this high to a sudden low. Funny how NaJeong said that the past two months had felt like a different world for the two of them, because that’s how this chapter felt like for me too, haha. I suppose this means that you have more in store for us rather than just an immediate happy ending, and that we’ll get to explore the full spectrum of NaJeong and Chilbong. I’m glad for that, to be honest 🙂

    (By the way, which time zone are you in? I noticed this chapter go up on Thursday night my time {Toronto EST}… I felt a little spoiled since I was expecting to wait till Friday, hehe)

    • dimsumofallthings says:

      I usually have it up Thursday morning, Australia time. One of my good friends is in Australia and we figured that it’s Friday somewhere. Haha. Plus a lot of the readers on soompi are in Asia, where it’s already Friday within hours.

      Writing this chapter and the first half of seven was really kind of coming out of my comfort zone. I knew Joon and NJ would be sexy but they’re ridiculous. But real life calls and unfortunately they need to know how to make it work in the real world, with real adult problems.

      I’ve yet to tackle CB’s issues and there was a reason why I made sure she was where she needed to be emotionally when they meet again… because CB as lovely as he is, is definitely a damaged man. Hope you like the next inning!

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