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You immediately close the door, release the chain and open it again.
“[HN]? What are you doing here?”
“May I come in?”
You nod, “Sorry, where are my manners?” You step back and allow him into the room. Lee sits up from reading, staring in shock.
He gives her a warm smile, “Lee. Nice to see you again, how are you?”
She picks up her stuff, “I’m good thanks. But I think I’ll leave you two alone to chat.”
He waves her back to where she was.
“There is no need. I have rented a room here as well, if [YN] will join me, we can chat there.”
You look between Lee and [HN], it really isn’t fair to make Lee leave the room but you would like her there just in case you need moral support.
“Can I change first?” You look down at your cut of sweat pants and baggy t-shirt.
He looks you up and down; “You’re fine as you are, but if it makes you more comfortable.”
You quickly grab a pair of jeans and escape to the bathroom. You need a minute to collect yourself; you really don’t care what you have on. Why is he here? Your first inclination when you opened the door and saw him standing there; was to throw yourself into his arms. Memories of him holding you came achingly back as he walked past you into the room and his scent wafted around you. Lord, give me strength you pray as you pull on your jeans and pull your shirt back to tie up. Glancing in the mirror you brush through your hair and throw chap-stick on. You shrug, best not to put make-up on in case you’re crying it off in the next thirty minutes. You open the door and grab your key from the TV stand,
He holds his hand out and you slip yours into it.
“Good to see you again Lee, I’ll try not to keep her too long.”
He gives her a slight bow and pulls you behind him out the door. Lee gives you a thumbs up and tentative smile.
It’s never been awkward between the two of you, until now. Once in the elevator you can’t stand the silence anymore. You look down at your still joined hands and up to his profile.
“I thought you meant you would call tonight; I didn't expect you to drive down here.”
He turns to look at you, “I didn’t expect you to be on the other side of the country when I returned either.”
You aren't sure how to respond to that, so you change the subject. “So, do you have business here this weekend? What did you want to talk to me about?”
He reaches over and puts a finger against your lips, “Just wait.”
His eyes lock onto yours as the elevator beeps at his floor. He rubs his finger against your lips as he removes it; turns and pulls you down the hall to his room. You precede him into the room and wander over to the window to look out at the night lights. You don’t have to turn around to know that he’s silently come up behind you.
“Did you find my note?”
“Yeah. Lee packed it up before we left. I’m sorry that I didn’t see it before last night.”
“And so you thought I had left without a word.” He shakes his head, “And Eun told you I was talking to her each night also?”
You simply nod, “As it should be.”
“[YN]-ah, please look at me when we’re talking.”
As you turn to look at him, he runs a hand through his hair and lets out a sigh. At the look on your face he reaches out to cup your cheek, “I seem to be doing everything wrong lately. I am sorry for that.”
You put your hand on his and remove it from your face. TAKEN, HE’S TAKEN your brain keeps screaming while your heart just wants to lean into his hand. Instead you shake your head and shrug.
“What have you done wrong? You have nothing to apologize to me for.”
He looks down into your eyes, “You’re lying to me, and to yourself.”
You lick your lips and bite the bottom one, “What did you need to speak to me about? I’m sure you have a schedule tomorrow in town, you didn’t drive all this way just to talk to me.”
His eyes burn into yours; “I would cross a boiling ocean for you. Yes, I did drive all this way just to talk to you. This conversation is important to me, I want to see you and be with you, for your reaction.”
Your eyes open wide and your breath hitches, “Did someone die? You’re making this sound like a matter of life and death.” You nervously laugh, “Surely it isn’t?”
“That all depends on your reaction I guess.” He moves away to stand over by the nightstand. “Is Chad still bothering you?”
You wander over to sit on the edge of the bed. “Thankfully no, my phone has been blissfully quiet for the last week.”
As soon as the words come out of your mouth you realize he can take that about him also. You glance guiltily over at him; catching him turning his head back from you to the item he’s playing with on the nightstand.
“I’m sorry, that came out the wrong way. I simply meant from Chad.” He nods but doesn’t turn around.
“You are correct nonetheless, on both accounts.” He turns and faces you, “And how are you feeling about Chad? Regretting breaking up with him? Are you still angry with him?”
You have to laugh, the thought that you’d want Chad back when your ideal man is standing in front of you, is ludicrous.
“If I’d had half a brain before I left and not been so fixated on the details of the trip, I would have picked up on the signs earlier. As it is I guess a small part of me already knew.” You shrug and frown, “Honestly, good riddance to bad rubbish. I have more important things to think and worry about.”
“Like the list on your paper?” He says quietly, almost to himself.
You sit up straight and take in a deep breath; this is what you were afraid of. You give a small smile and nod, “Amongst other things.”
“So your lists weren’t about Chad?”
You stand up and face him, “Just ask [HN], quit beating around the bush. Last week we were talking about anything and everything, holding nothing back from each other. Did you finding that list change all that?”
He nods, “You’re right, I am, I suppose afraid to ask the question.” He laughs at himself, “Not very manly of me is it?” He looks back into your eyes, “Who was on your mind [YN] when you were doodling?”
You smile a sad smile, “Does it matter? Most of the questions were already answered before I wrote the questions. Foolish imaginings and thoughts about someone I can never have. If that’s what you drove all the way down here for, I’m sorry.”
You start to walk towards the door but he grabs your arm.
“[YN]-ah. I meant what I said in my note about having similar thoughts and questions. About you.” He pauses a minute, still with a grip on your arm. You haven’t turned back to him yet, you’re waiting for the other shoe to fall.
“Tell me, was I the man on your mind when you made that list? Was I the cause of your tears that night?”
He may as well know. IF there is to be any saving of this relationship, whatever it is, you need to be honest with one another.
“Yes [HN], you are the man I want, but cannot have.”
As you try to pull free and move to the door, he pulls you back against him and crushes his mouth to yours.