It had been weeks since you and your boyfriend had broken up. You had quickly gotten over him, much to your surprise, but the hardest part of the whole ordeal was the fact that you were now living alone in a foreign country. When your boyfriend of over a year and a half accepted a job offer in Seoul and asked you to join him, you were skeptical at first. After mulling it over, you thought maybe it was time for a new adventure. Everyone warned you that it was a mistake, but your heart wouldn’t let you listen. It wasn’t long after you moved to Seoul that you realized everyone was right. The guy that you thought you knew and loved wasn’t really who you thought he was. It took finding him in bed with another woman to make you realize the truth. After his profuse apologies and trying to make it work, you decided it wasn’t worth it and you ended things with him. Luckily, you had been able to get a job and that was helping to distract you from everything, but when you weren’t at work you were at your apartment alone. There was only one option to battle the loneliness, and that was to get a pet.
After doing some research, you found that there was an animal shelter just a few blocks from your apartment, so one day after work you stopped by. You didn’t know what to expect when you arrived, and you didn’t even know if you would actually get a pet, but as soon as you walked inside you knew you were at the right place. Immediately you saw a number of cute dogs and cats ready for their forever home. You noticed that at the front of the shelter there was a woman around your age. “Hi, I’m Soo Young. How can I help you?” The young woman asked. “Hi I’m Y/N. I’m looking to adopt a pet.” You told her. “What kind of pet are you looking for?” “I’m thinking about getting a cat, but I don’t know what I will want until I see it. As long as it’s friendly and doesn’t mind cuddling, I will be happy.” You said with a laugh. “Okay, well let’s go take a look and see what we can find you.” Soo Young said as she stepped from behind the counter, to start the tour of the shelter.
As you walked along through the shelter you saw lots of cute animals, but didn’t see one that spoke to you (as crazy as that sounded, even to yourself). Just when you were about to give up, you walked past another room of animals. “What’s in there?” “Those are the animals that have been too difficult to find homes for.” “Can I take a look in there?” “Of course,” Soo Young responded. As you entered the room, you noticed that there was another person in the room. “Leo this is Y/N, Y/N this is Leo. Leo volunteers here sometimes.” “Hi Leo, nice to meet you.” You say in greeting. The only response you receive is a brief nod and cool stare from the most handsome guy you had ever seen. Before you can say anything else, he had returned his attention back to the animal he was playing with, as though he hadn’t even noticed you in the room. You continued to walk around the room looking at the animals. As you walked around, you couldn’t help feeling the stare of piercing eyes on the back of your neck. Suddenly, you came across the cutest cat that you had ever seen. He was a tiny orange tabby cat that was missing one eye. “I want to adopt him please.” You told Soo Young. “Are you sure? He has been here for a while and no one has even considered adopting him. We have plenty of cats in perfect condition, why don’t you look at them again.” “No thanks,” you responded. “I want this cat. Even imperfect things need love.” Since Soo Young could tell she wouldn’t be able to talk you into adopting another cat, she got you started on the paper work. After filling out the adoption forms and picking out some cat supplies, you picked up your new friend who you decided to name Simba, and headed home. The trip to the shelter proved to be very successful. Not only did you get a new pet, Soo Young had also invited you to volunteer at the shelter a few times each week if you were available, which you had quickly agreed to.
It didn’t take you and Simba long to bond and before you knew it whenever you were at your apartment, he would be right by your side. You were very happy with Simba and couldn’t wait to start volunteering at the shelter. The Tuesday after you picked Simba up, you went to the shelter for your first volunteer shift. Soo Young had you play with the animals, make sure they were groomed, feed them, and help to clean out their kennels. As the weeks passed, you and Soo Young became good friends. Although you enjoyed your time at the shelter immensely, there was one thing that bothered you. That was the mysterious Leo. You noticed that he was also there on Tuesdays, but he had yet to utter a word to you. You had tried to talk to him several times, but in response you only received cold stares. Honestly, you thought he might have had a problem with you, but he wasn’t much better with Soo Young. Although he barely talked to you two, his demeanor towards the animals was completely different. He was tender and loving with them, and every now and again you would hear the most beautiful voice singing to them. As time passed you couldn’t help but notice that your feelings were growing for the beautiful and mysterious stranger. You had decided that you were going to get closer to Leo and make him talk to you, at least once. One day, when you were alone with Soo Young, you decided to question her about Leo. “Why does Leo never talk?” You asked her. “I don’t know. The owner of the shelter brought him in one day and said that he would be helping out here. I asked the owner why Leo never talks and all he said was that something happened to him but they didn’t know what. He’s good with the animals and likes being here so we don’t really ask any questions.” “Oh, I see.” After that the conversation about Leo ended. Shortly after you had the conversation, that only made you more curious about Leo, you started to head home.
Before you knew what was happening, you felt a hand clamp over your mouth and you were pulled into a dark alleyway. “Give me all of your money and you won’t get hurt.” Came the deep and raspy voice of the scary man who had taken you. As quickly as you were grabbed, you were released when another imposing figure came into the alleyway and started to beat your attacker. You were frozen in fear, unsure of what to do, when you noticed that the person who had come to save you was Leo. Soon you noticed that your attacker lay on the ground unconscious, as Leo was on top of him, unrelenting in his defense of you. Although the person in front of you was not the Leo you knew from the shelter, you knew not to be afraid of him. Eventually, you were able to move from your frozen position of fear to pull Leo off the attacker and call the police. The police arrived quickly after you called. As they escorted the attacker away, you told them what had happened and how Leo had saved you. Shortly after your statement was given, you were allowed to leave. “Thank you for saving me.” You said to Leo. You were hoping for some response, and only got a slight nod in return. You looked down and noticed that Leo’s hands were cut and bruised from his fight with the attacker. “Why, don’t we go back to my apartment so I can take care of your hands. It’s the least I can do since you saved my life.” You told Leo. You could tell he was hesitant to go with you, but you grabbed his arm and led the way.
You entered your apartment and led Leo to the living room. As you went to get your medical supplies to take care of Leo’s hands, you noticed that Simba made a beeline directly to Leo’s lap. “If you don’t want Simba on your lap, feel free to push him off. He loves sitting on people, but if you don’t push him off quick enough, he will be sitting on you for hours.” You say to Leo, as you sit down on the couch and grab one of his hands. As you start to clean the cuts, you hear Leo speak to you for the first time. “No, it’s okay. I miss Simba.” You were taken aback by the sound of his voice, because you had never heard a voice so soft and beautiful. You definitely didn’t expect it to come from him. “What do you mean you miss Simba?” You asked, hoping to keep the conversation flowing. “He was my favorite animal at the shelter. We are a lot alike. I miss him, but I can tell he is in a good home, so I’m happy.” “Well, he obviously misses you too, so you can come by anytime to visit.” You tell Leo. After your brief exchange, you fall into a comfortable silence as you finish cleaning and bandaging Leo’s hands. As you go to put the medical supplies away, you hear the door to your apartment open and close, and you knew that Leo had left.
After that night, Leo still didn’t speak to you at the shelter, but you noticed that he would stick around after his volunteer shift had ended until it was time for you to leave. He never said anything as he watched you leave the shelter, but you could feel his gaze as he followed you home from a close distance to make sure you made it safely. Although most people would have thought it was creepy, you actually found it comforting, especially after the night of your attack. You wished he would actually walk and talk with you, but you knew he wasn’t that comfortable around you yet. On one such night, before you left the shelter, you approached him. “Leo, would you mind walking me home?” “No, I don’t mind” was the only response you received. As you walked along in silence, you wondered how you could get him to open up to you. When you got closer to your apartment, you came up with an idea. “Leo, would you like to come in and play with Simba for awhile?” “Yes,” Leo responded. This soon became a regular occasion for the two of you. He would walk you home, you would let him play with Simba, and soon you started cooking him dinner during his visits.
As the weeks passed by and the summer turned to fall, you and Leo continued to grow closer and you realized that you were in love with him. Although Leo still didn’t talk that much, he did let you in enough for you to see him as the funny, smart, and kind man that he was. You discovered that he was as beautiful on the inside as he was on the outside. Although you didn’t know how Leo felt, you did start to notice how he would stare at you when you weren’t looking, and if you caught him, would look away with a blush on his face. Even Soo Young noticed. “Y/N, I think Leo has a crush on you.” Soo Young would tease you endlessly about it, since she knew how you felt. “Maybe you should tell him how you feel,” she encouraged. “I feel like if I tell him, I will scare him away forever and I don’t want that.” You replied. Sometimes you thought Soo Young might be right, and that you should tell him, since you figured that he would never tell you what he was feeling for you, but you didn’t want to lose his friendship. You had grown to enjoy his company way too much.
One Saturday while you were relaxing at home, you received a text from Leo asking if he could come over. Shortly after responding that he could stop by anytime, you heard a knock on your apartment door. You opened it to find Leo, standing in front of you with the cutest little one-eyed kitten that you had ever seen, not including Simba of course. “Who is this little precious thing?” You asked as you guided Leo into the apartment. “This is Nala. I adopted her from the shelter today.” Leo said in response. As soon as you and Leo sat down in the living room, Nala jumped right out of Leo’s arms and ran towards Simba. Within moments, the two cats were playing as though they had been friends forever. It was not long after their exciting playtime that the two cats curled up on one of your chairs to take a nap. “Well it looks like Simba has a new girlfriend.” You joke as you and Leo watch the two cats sleeping peacefully. As you sit there, you feel the heated stare of Leo on your face. When you turn to him, you hear him start to speak. “Well if Nala is Simba’s girlfriend, maybe you would be willing to be mine.” “What?” you ask. Not really sure if you heard what you thought you did. “I’m in love with you Y/N. I never thought that I would feel this way about anyone. I didn’t think I was capable of love, which is why I never get close to anyone, but I couldn’t help but get close to you. Will you please be my girlfriend?” Leo asks, looking at you with what can only be described as a terrified but hopeful look on his face. “Yes, Leo. I will be your girlfriend. I’m in love with you too.” You respond, as Leo warmly holds your face in his hands and kisses you like you had never been kissed before. As he pulls away from the kiss, you hear him say “thank you for loving imperfect things.”