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No Warnings =]
All gussied up, you and Lee arrive at the event, right at the time on the card. When you present your card at the door, a waiter comes over and shows you to the table. The two of you look a little nervous at the twelve chairs and since no one is there yet, wander around to look at the place cards. Eight of the cards state, ‘guest’ which makes you not feel quite so awkward. You had feared you would be sitting with his entire group and their dates, so uncomfortable. You see [HN] and his girlfriends name; one of the other members of his group and you assume his girlfriend.
Unsure of Korean custom but not wanting to offend, the two of you stand by the table until the host of the table arrives. In this case it would be [HN] or his group member. You don't have long to wait, within minutes the room begins filling with people. The celebrities begin walking down the red carpet and getting waylaid by the press.
You recognize his group member when he and his date arrive. After greeting people throughout the room, he comes to the table, and greets those of you standing around it. He stops at you and Lee, says something to you in Korean to which you and Lee just look really confused. He bows and extends a hand to shake,
“I apologize; you are [HN]’s American friends?”
Before you can respond a voice from behind you interrupts,
“Yes; this is [YN] and her friend Lee, correct?”
You turn to see [HN] and his girlfriend standing off to the side. He reaches his own hand over to shake you and Lee’s hands.
“Thank you so much for joining us tonight.”
He introduces everyone around the table, than tells everyone to proceed to sit. Place cards are ignored as you each simply pull out a chair. The men at the table each pull out the chairs for the women, than seat themselves. [HN] ends up sitting between you and his girlfriend.
“Is alright that I sit here? I thought it would be more comfortable for you, most do not speak English.”
“You don’t need to entertain us; you have many guests that deserve your attention.” You motion to his other side where his girlfriend has struck up a conversation with other seat mates. He looks over his shoulder, catches her eye and smiles. Turning back to you he nods as he comments,
“Enjoy yourselves,” and joins in with her conversation.
It isn’t as terribly awkward as it could have been. If Lee hadn’t been there you would have been bored silly since very few spoke English and Korean’s aren’t known for involving strangers in conversation. You discover that the charity event is actually a dinner, with entertainment. The food is delicious and the entertainment outstanding.
At the end of the evening, goodbyes and small talk are made as people wait to be able to leave. You and Lee excuse yourselves, find a side door and escape. Hailing a taxi the two of you laugh and sigh, grateful to be able to slouch in the back of the taxi.
“Wow, I don’t know how they do that for so many hours, multiple days a week! My cheeks positively ache from polite smiling.”
The festivities lasted until after 10, the two of you arrive back at the hotel after 11 pm. You both fall onto the beds and within minutes Lee is snoring. You really wish you were able to fall asleep that fast but you've never been that lucky. Around midnight, while you’re scrolling your social network accounts you receive a text.
[HN]: I wanted to say Thank You again, for joining us tonight. I hope you weren’t too uncomfortable.
YOU: Thank you for inviting us, it was very enjoyable.
[HN]: Good. Also, I didn’t get a chance to tell you that you looked beautiful. You're outfit more than appropriate.
YOU: Lol, thank you again. I'm sure you are busy, I will let you get back to your guest.
[HN]: I have no guest, but if you are that tired, I will let you go.
YOU: You have no guest? But I thought...
[HN]: Thinking is often misleading. Always better to ask than to assume.
YOU: Very true, I apologize.
[HN]: Not necessary. We are saying goodnight then?
YOU: No, we don’t have to.
[HN]: Wonderful. I stopped myself many times tonight and want to say it now.
YOU: Stopped yourself? From what? You seemed to have a great time.
[HN]: Partially it was an act, though it was quite enjoyable. I found myself wanting to lean over and mention things I noticed to you. It was very difficult to not.
His honesty takes you back a little but makes you smile and feel warm inside.
YOU: Oh. Well, I would have liked to have heard those opinions.
[HN]: Would you mind if we video chat? I fear my fingers won’t keep up with my thoughts.
You exchange Kakao Talk information and within a moment, a video call is set up.
“This is much better. Now I can hear the excitement in your voice and see if it shows on your face. Very nice.”
You’ve grabbed a hoodie and moved outside to the terrace so you don’t wake up Lee.
“Is Lee still awake? Would she like to join us?”
“No, she dozed off ten minutes after we got back.”
“Oh, that is unfortunate. I would have liked her opinion also, you can ask her for me later?”
“Sure, I can do that.”
The next hour is filled with laughter about quirky little things each of you noticed regarding either someone at the reception or something in the performance. Comments are made about the choice of music, the menu, and social traits you noticed of those around you.
“Maybe it is a good thing I restrained myself from commenting to you. I fear we would have been kicked out if we had made this much noise.”
“We would not have made this much noise, we are far too polite for that.”
He laughs, “True, true.”
He pauses a minute, looking over at something that you figure must be a clock. You take that as a hint.
“I’d better let you get some sleep, I’m sure you have a schedule tomorrow.”
He nods, “I do. However, I do not wish to say goodnight yet, I enjoy our conversations.”
You have to return his smile; never would you have ever imagined that chatting with him would be so easy or fun. All your expectations of what he would be like; flew out the window that first night he invited you over for dinner.
He gets quiet for a moment and you almost miss it when he says, “I feel I can be me when I talk to you. Thank you.”