Jak sighs and blows the hair out of her face. It had been 4 days since Jiyong had caught her giddy and silly in her apartment. When he stayed and even held her hand until she fell asleep, she thought that he might have actually meant what he said about being a long-termer.
She’d had work to occupy her for the last 3 days but now even though she had known it wouldn’t last with him, it still made her sad. Isn’t there a guy out there anywhere that can accept her for the crazy mess she is? She thought she was pretty great, and people tell her she’s pretty; she just doesn’t understand why they all leave. She heads to the dog café to drown her sorrows in doggy love.
She hears the door bell jingle with customers but pays them no attention as she just sits surrounded by the dogs; hugging them. After an hour or so, the door jingled but the footsteps came in her direction and stopped. She can only see converse through the fur; a man’s converse, because she hoped no female’s feet were that big. With her ear buds in and her music on, she simply closes her eyes and hopes that the feet will walk themselves away.
Feeling a shuffle in the dogs, she looks over in time to see Jiyong sit down next to her on the floor.
“Are you trying to tell me that I didn’t pass your test? If you are, you’re going to have to tell me where I failed because I don't know.”
“Failed? You didn’t fail." She shrugs, "I just figured I wasn’t worth it and you’d given up, just like all the others.”
He scoots sideways, facing her. “I’m not like the others and I’ve decided that you aren’t either. I like that."
He tugs on his chin, his elbow resting on his knee. "I haven’t heard from you in 4 days. I thought I’d at least get a “thank you” or “I’m alive” text from you.”
“Thank you for what? I’m supposed to thank you for catching me at my most embarrassing? Okay,” she holds her hand out to shake, “thank you, my lord for witnessing my humiliation. Sorry I didn’t send that in a text.”
He glances at her hand but grabs her by the wrist and pulls her off the dog, closer to him.
“No smart ass. Thank you for the food I sent you, with the note?”
“Food? What food?" She sits up taller, eyes wide and alert. "You sent me food?!?! I didn’t get any food from you!”
He takes out his phone and dials the restaurant. After a few minutes he hangs up and turns to her with a half grin.
“I have good news and bad news, which first?”
“Whichever. If it deals with me not receiving food, it’s all bad news.”
He pushes the hair she was blowing out of her face and moves his hand from her wrist to his hand.
“The restaurant says they DID deliver the food and my note. It was signed for by a Tabitha Reynolds. Roommate I assume?”
Jak’s eyes narrow to slits, “I’ll kill her. She ATE MY FOOD!”
She glares just over his shoulder, then looks back at him. “What did she eat?”
“The food... that you sent me! What did you send that she ate? If it was junk food or like a cake, I swear I will hurt her in her sleep.”
He pats her head slightly, laughing. “Shhh tiger, calm down, I'll buy you more….”
She attempts to speak but he places his finger over her lips,
“Bibimbop. I sent you Bibimbop. You don’t appear to be a flower type of girl and I didn’t like all the junk food wrappers I saw on your counter. I wanted you to have something healthy to eat when you woke up.”
“Aw…” she melts, frowns and gets pouty, “that’s SO sweet. And you’re right, I’m not a flower kind of girl, they die and make you sad. Food? Food you can always win me over with.”
Taking a minute to think her mouth scrunches up as she remembers, “Wait, what’s the good news?”
He lifts her hand and kisses the back of it.
“I didn’t fail.”
His face morphs into a brilliant smile as she gets red and tries to hide her face.
“Also, for the record, I’m beginning to realize that you are worth it. I think there’s a lot more in there that no one knows or sees and I want to be the one who discovers it. I don’t ever want to hear those words out of your mouth again, okay?"
Her eyes look down and away. "Okay?!”
A little smile plays on her lips and she whispers, “okay”.
They sit for another 15 minutes, not talking just enjoying being next to each other and playing with the dogs.
"Hold up, you’re super busy, why are you here? Don’t you have a schedule today?”
He taps the bottom of her chin, “I do, tiny one. I need to head out in another 5 minutes. But there was this pesky, tiny redhead stuck in my head and I couldn’t get her out. For my sanity sake and my members, I took lunch and decided to hunt her down.”
“Oh… and did you find her?” She asks, looking at the ceiling, playing dumb.
He stands and pulls her to her feet. “Happily, yes, I did. But now I have to leave her.” He orders Bibimbop, a couple of fried eggs, and water. Placing her at a table he sets the Bibimbop in front of her with chopsticks.
“Eat. If you didn't eat what I sent, you been eating junk since I saw you last."
He watches her folded it all together and take a mouth full.
"Good. If I don’t call you by 10 tonight, text me? It'll just mean I got busy and forgot to look at a clock.”
She shakes her head no, “You’ll be busy. I’m not going to bother you.”
He gets in her space, his face just inches away.
“I hope there comes a day when you’re an enjoyable, constant bother. Until then,” he thinks a minute, gets it and tries again. “I’m asking you to call me at 10 tonight. It isn’t a bother if I request it right?”
She shrugs her shoulders, “I don’t know, maybe. It feels weird, I don’t do phones. I’ll just stare at it, lose my nerve, throw it to the side and go to bed.”
Rolling his eyes he pulls his phone out, makes a few swipes and puts it away.
“Understood. It’s that ‘awkward’ thing you have right?”
He didn’t even wait for her to respond just stated; “I’ve set an alarm for a break. It'll give me time to call that pesky redhead, so I can wish her a good night. Will she answer?”
She ducks her head, shoving food into her mouth, “Maybe.”
When he doesn’t move she looks up into his bemused face, with a sigh and eye roll she concedes.
“Fine, yes, I’ll answer it. But it’ll still be weird.”
He laughs, “Then it needs to happen more often so it becomes ‘less weird’ and more ‘anticipated’.
He gives her a slight bow, “I’ll call you tonight,” and he walks out the door.