You spent a restless night, falling asleep somewhere in the early morning hours. You surfaced for the day sometime in the early afternoon. Did he know his invitation would tie you up in knots? Leave you tossing and turning thinking about possibilities and fantasizing on things you shouldn’t be? Well, if he did, you were thankful he was picking you up later afternoon. However, you logically realize that he is busy and it is possibly the first chance he will get to have free time. You scrub your face and shake your head, out of a fantasy fangirl world, you need to be a woman in the real one.
Five minutes to 4 o’clock finds your hand on your hotel room door fighting with yourself again. Should you be waiting for him outside the hotel right at 4? Is that going to look like you are too anxious or would it just be common courtesy? This is why you hate dating, too many variables, not enough chances to show your true self if they take something the wrong way at first. You close your eyes, and take a deep breath as your head hits the door. Why not? You decide. It isn’t like this relationship is really going to go anywhere, you are a foreign fan oddity at this time, you know that, so why do you care what he thinks?
You pull open the door, turn to flip off the lights and run right into a hard wall. Hands reach up to steady you and move you back against the closed door. Your startled eyes look up to find laughing ones looking down at you.
“In a hurry?” he asks, smiling full force now, “I like that you run right into my arms.”
You turn your head, biting your lip to try and swallow the words that you know shouldn’t come out. He takes your chin and moves your face back towards his. His other hand cages you in on the other side of the door by your head. You look up only to find him staring at the pull of your lips. You release them and his eyes follow as your tongue nervously comes out to lick them. His eyes come back to yours and your breath hitches as his head descends and his lips touch yours. His lips brushed against yours in more of a sampling than a real kiss. He suddenly pulls back, takes a deep breath staring up at the ceiling. When he looks back at you his smile is back and he holds his hand out for yours.
It takes until the lobby before either of you break the silence.
“I thought you were waiting for me out front?”
“I decided to be a gentleman and come to your door,” he looks sideways over at you, “We both saw how well that worked.”
You grin back at him, “Picking me up at my door or being a gentleman?” you tease.
“Woah, hurtful!” he exclaims hitting himself in the chest.
He tucks you into the passenger seat of his car, then comes around to slide behind the wheel.
“Do I get to ask where we’re going?”
“You can ask,” he teases as he pulls into traffic. He looks over at your feet, “You wear sensible shoes, that’s good.”
You look down at your converse low tops, “I’m a gofer, sensible shoes are all I brought with me.”
“They are good for this outing today as well.”
Every road sign you pass is a blur, you finally see a one you can actually read, “Insadong, is that where we’re going?”
He nods, “Our first stop,” is all he says as he finds somewhere to park and comes around to open the door for you. He takes your hand and heads down one of the streets mobbed with people. No cars are allowed, it is pedestrian only through the numerous shops, street vendors, and multi-level buildings.
People passing are beginning to stare, some with a confused look, others begin pointing.
You tug on his hand, “No face mask?”
He glances around him, “If I need it; I don’t think I will, there are many people.”
You nod, he smiles down and pulls you closer, “Thanks for worrying,” he whispers in your ear. His hot breath sends shivers running down your back and goose bumps to appear on your arms. He isn’t oblivious to his affect. He faces you and starts rubbing your arms as he lightly chuckles. “I do so love your reaction to me,” he states as he leans in for a quick kiss.
You happily spend the next couple of hours wandering around in the flea market of Insadong. So many things you want to purchase yet are too self-conscious to. You don’t want him to feel like he has to buy you anything, maybe when he turns away to look at something you will. Nothing big, you want to be able to put it in your bag since you don’t know what the plans for the rest of the night are. Painted fans sound perfect and when he wanders off a short way to speak to one of the vendors you quickly pick a green one with bamboo. Happy with your purchase and that it is completed before he notices, you wander over to stand next to him. The vendor hands him a small wrapped package that he immediately puts in his pocket.
You now have his attention again, “Have you eaten?”
“Not since I woke up,” you comment. He doesn’t know that that means 2 this afternoon.
“You need to eat, let’s feed you;” and the two of you head off to an authentic little tea house.
You two go strolling back through the street, towards his car, after you’ve eaten. He seems to be taking his time and you wonder if this is the end of the date. It’s still really early and you’ve had fun; you don’t want him to take you back to the hotel yet.
Before he starts his car he turns towards you, “There is still time before the other spot opens. Okay?”
A small smile appears on your face, he isn’t taking you back yet, “Sure.”
Within a few minutes you arrive at Hongdae. Night has begun to fall so the street lights and shop windows are beginning to light up. He leads you over to a gallery, “How about here?” you nod approval.
Interesting paintings, some not so much, galleries are the same anywhere in the world it seems. You find a piece that actually intrigues you, and he lets you stop for a bit. As you stand there trying to figure out what the artist actually painted, you feel something come over your head. You look up to see a small jade Buddha on necklace.
You turn to look at him, “What?”
“Move your hair for me,” he commands and secures the necklace around your neck. You touch it, looking at it in detail.
You turn to him, “Gomabseubnida,” you say and his face lights up that you said thank you in Korean.
“It suits you,” he says, playing with it where it rests just below your neck. He stands there another moment just staring at you, than he pulls a matching Buddha from beneath his shirt. “It suits us.”