“I’m totally good with whatever else you have planned,” you respond. It is easy enough to see when they are smiling behind their face masks but when dark hits, emotions are more difficult to read. You stand there, an inch apart, for another few heartbeats then he looks around, takes your hand, and heads off in a new direction.
You smile when you notice his direction is heading straight for the bookstore. Youngpoong bookstore is all lit up, just like a Barnes and Noble back home. Books are your geek and you’d be happy wandering around in here for at least a couple of hours. Many of your conversations had dealt with books either you or he had read. He didn’t have a whole lot of time to read anymore but still loved the feel of a book in his hand. He admits to sneaking pages in when he can, sometimes he going without sleep. You haven’t really explored Korean literature yet. He has mentioned it once or twice, commenting on a book or two that he had enjoyed while in school. What is it about paper bound and covered in words that sets our imaginations on fire and opens new worlds?
He can see the book love in your eyes and leans over to apologize. “They are closing in a few minutes. I called and had what I wanted put aside so that we could just run in and grab it. I wish you had time to look around.”
You glance over at the line he will need to get in to complete his purchase. “How about, you get in line and I wander around while you wait?” You give your best ‘great idea right?’ smile to which he shakes his head, turns you around and swats your butt. “Get moving,” he commands.
You keep an eye on the front and the line that is slowly moving. By the time you finish snapping pictures of new books by your favorite authors, he is at the head of the line and making his purchase. You wander up to stand beside him as they hand him his bag and receipt. Bag in one hand, your hand in the other; the two of you head back out into the night.
As you reach the river walk he stops, pulls his purchase from the bag and throws the bag away. Reaching into his back pocket he produces a pen, walks over to a bench and proceeds to dedicate it. With idol flourish he puts his pen back, turns and hands the book to you. “For you, to remember tonight .”
Flowers of Fire by Peter Lee, a book of short stories; one of his favorites from school. You go to open the cover, “Can I read it now?” He nods and turns to look at those passing by so that neither of you feel awkward.
I will always look back and be thankful for the last 10 days. No matter the choice you make, I could never regret you. Kim Nam-joon
You will never know how you got so lucky or blessed to not only become friends with these guys but to have met them and been cherished by them. You quietly close the cover, lean over and kiss him on the tiny spot of cheek not covered by mask. He reaches up, removes his mask and puts it in his pocket. He flips his baseball hat backwards, looks down at you and says, “How about you try that again?” With a laugh you lean over to kiss the now exposed cheek. He catches your face before you can pull back and lowers his lips to yours. Unaware that it verbally escaped and wasn’t just in your head you sigh. This is what you wanted, kisses from both of them. Questions only kisses can answer and an end to 2 long weeks frustrations.
Upon hearing your sigh, he pulls back quizzically. You open your eyes to see his question and blush, “That was out loud wasn’t it?” It’s your turn to be embarrassed, as you duck your chin to your chest. He lifts your head back up, “As long as it wasn’t a bad sigh?” You hastily respond, “Oh NO, no, no, god I’m sorry, no.”
“That’s all I needed,” he states, as he pulls you flush against his side and finds your lips once more. You swear he muttered something like, “wonder what other sounds she makes” but that thought leaves as you are delightfully distracted. A passing comment brings you back to reality as he lifts his head, his face blushing red. “Probably not a good idea for here,” he states but aside from the blush, he doesn’t look sorry at all.
Pulling you up from the bench, he puts his face mask back on and the two of you walk arm in arm down the river walk. Ken is waiting in the parking lot, just like last night and for a minute you have to wonder what he thinks about all this. Another short drive back to the hotel, another night sleeping in your clothes; and now more than ever, making decisions that are even harder.
As soon as the door shuts behind Namjoon the next morning, you fall back on the bed staring at the ceiling. Ugh, why do choices have to be so hard? Why can’t you just keep both of them? Yeah, because that’s really legal and fair, you idiot. You throw your arm over your face groaning and generally feeling sorry for yourself. Pity party aside, you need to get packed as you are spending the night at the Bangtan dorm. Hopefully, somewhere during this day you will figure out what you need or more, who you want.