The knock came five minutes before the agreed upon to meet. Tong was coming to pick you up and take you back to his place so the two of you could have guaranteed privacy for your talk.
You open the door, to see a nervous but dimpled smile. He pulls a rose from behind his back and presents it to you with a kiss on the cheek.
“I’m early, I’m sorry. I was anxious to see you.”
You blush and hold the rose up to your nose.
He’s rocking back and forth on his feet, “Do you still need a minute or are you ready to go?”
You reach over and grab your bag. “I’m good, let's go.”
He smiles again as he takes your hand and tucks it in his arm; guiding you to his car. With you tucked safely inside, he stops for a minute before he turns the ignition.
“Is something wrong?” you query.
“I’m trying to decide if it’d be too forward…”
“If what would be too forward?” You ask as you turn fully to him in your seat.
He turns to you, “To ask for a better hello.”
You look at him and how embarrassed he seems to be to have ask that question. A devious smile appears on your face as you reach across and grab his head, pulling it to yours. It's all the permission he needs, as a week’s worth of only Skype phone call frustration is released.
Lord this man can kiss.
You’re still trying to hold back, afraid that you'll actually break down and purr like a stroked cat.
After a few good minutes the two of you separate and laugh.
“Well,” you lick your lips, “Hello.”
He sits back in his seat and lets out a breath. He turns his head to look at you, a look of pure want in his eyes.
“With Hello’s like that, we’ll never get to Goodbye’s.”
You laugh out right, “Is that a bad thing?”
He turns back towards the steering wheel and starts the car with a groan.
“Noona, I have to focus on driving now. Stop adding to the thoughts already going through my brain or we won’t get there in one piece.”
You turn back to stare out the front windshield. You suck your lips in and pretend to zip and lock them. However, you can’t resist, and you drop the pretend key down your top.
“You’re going to pay for that,” he mutters as the car revs to life and takes off down the street.
When you arrive at his place, he takes the time to give you a tour and offer you a drink. You figure he’s giving himself something to do. Nerves about the upcoming discussion? Trying to keep his hands to himself? Probably a little bit of both.
You sit down with your drink and pat the seat next to you.
“Tong..” he turns with a twitch and raised eyebrow.
You pat the seat next you, “Please come sit down. You’re beginning to make me nervous.”
He smiles and gives a slight bow, “I’m sorry.”
He sits down and takes your hand in his, “Now, what did you wish to speak to me about.”
You take a deep breath and decide to just plunge in, there’s no other way to do this.
“Well, you know that when I arrived here, I didn’t have a date set for my return ticket.”
He nods, his smile dimming just a little, he thumb beginning to stroke the back of your hand.
“Well, last week, when everything blew up; I arranged for my flight home. It’s too late to change my ticket and it’s non-refundable.”
He’s still staring straight into your eyes. “When is your flight Noona?”
“Tomorrow night, directly after the concert.”
You don’t want to see the hurt or disappointment in his eyes, so you turn away to stare at the wall. His hand comes up and turns your face back to his.
“Would you change your ticket if you could?”
The look of hope in his eyes, gives you a glimmer of hope in your soul.
“Don’t you mean, am I still interested in pursuing a relationship with you?”
“I mean, if your ticket were refundable would you be staying?”
You reach up to cup his cheek, “Yes. To all questions asked and unasked.”
He turns his head and kisses your palm, stands up and heads over to a desk in the corner.
“How much was your ticket?”
Confused, you just look at him.
“Noona, how much money will you lose if you don’t get on that plane?”
You let out a sigh, “Enough that it made me decide I had to use it. Why?”
He pulls a checkbook from the drawer, scribbles something; rips a check out and places it in your hand.
You sit numbly and stare at the blank check made out in your name.
“You don’t have to tell me how much, you can just fill it in and deposit it whenever you need.”
You go to hand it back, “I can’t take this. It’s too much.”
He folds it into your hand and closes your hand around it.
“[YN]-ah, a chance for the two of us to have a relationship is worth more to me than any amount you could write on that check. After the concert, my schedule minimizes; I was looking forward to actually spending time with you, not an image of you on a computer. Tell me, what are we worth to you?”