Chapter 10. Yuri : Gladiolus.
The quietness of our house scared me. My heart thumped in my chest because I had been trying to reach Jessica by the phone while driving here but she didn't answer.
“Is my wife at home?” Without preamble, I asked the maid who was hauling the laundry basket across the living area.
“I don't know. Yuri-ssi. I've just came an hour ago from grocery shopping.”
Since the miscarriage, I had personally asked the maid and the cook to come more often to our place, especially when I wasn't at home. Jessica didn't really like having other people around but I had insisted. I wanted more people around her when I couldn't be by her side. I didn't want her to feel alone and helpless again.
I had had never thought that it was me who could be the source of her helplessness. If only I had been more careful at the party, Kangin wouldn't even have a chance to plot such a menacing lie. If only I wasn't such an idiot, Jessica wouldn't be hurt.
“Baby.” I open the door to our room, preparing myself for the worst.
Vases of flowers were on the bedside tables and the vanity. I recognized them as the flowers that should have been the beautiful mark of our seventh anniversary.
“Jess....” I came to bed. Jessica was lying on her side. A stem of green gladiolus was there by the pillow not too far away from the tips of her fingers. She had her blouse, and her jeans on, not her usual sleeping attire. “Baby, are you sleeping?”
I turned her body gently to face me, feeling her arm warm to my touch and somehow felt grateful for the sign of life.
“Hey...” Her eyes fluttered open. “You're home.”
“Yes... I am.” I helped her sat on the bed, somehow losing my ability to form a sentence. I waited with bated breath for her reaction, bracing myself for storm of anger and tears.
“I've missed you.” She wrapped her hands around my neck, pulling me close then gave me a peck on the cheek. “You mean so much to me, Yul.”
Then came another kiss, on my lips, long and sweet.
She sighed slowly after pulling away, turning to pick the gladiolus from the bed. “I'm sorry I have been nothing but a selfish companion through the seven years we've spent as husband and wife.”
She looked up and I knew she was trying to hold back tears. When her eyes fell upon mine again there was this strong determination in them. The kind I had never seen before and it scared the hell out of me.
“I'm willing to let you go, Yul. I understand.”
““I'm sorry I'm not capable of giving you what you want any sooner. I know you'll be a good father to the baby Hara is carrying. Congratulations.”
The sad smile on her face as she caressed my cheek, her glassy eyes, and her choice of words all broke my heart at once. My hands somehow went around her. Never had I ever felt this much of adoration toward someone before. I hugged her tight, still couldn't say anything.
“I have contacted our lawyer. He'll handle everything immediately. We need to keep media out of this so it should be done quietly. We have no prenup signed but I have no demand either so the divorce should go fairly quick.”
“Divorce?” The fact that she even had the thought of getting a divorce shocked me. I held her at arm length, silently questioning her.
“Yes, divorce.” She closed her eyes briefly and I knew how hard it was for her to utter that one word. “You need to marry Hara, Yul. The baby needs you. I can't imagine Hara be with Kangin any longer while she's pregnant. That man is not a good man.”
“Kangin is a bastard alright. He made up this whole thing to frame me and my family.”
“Hara's not pregnant with my child. My mother have just made it clear a few moments ago.”
“She's not? What about the hotel room? The picture?”
“He even showed you picture? That . I should have beat him more, let him meet his death.”
“You beat Kangin?” Jessica's eyes were filled with concern now, her hand went to check my face. “Did you guys get into a fight? Did he hurt you?”
“He didn't get a chance to hurt me. At least not physically.” I sighed. “Mother challenged Hara with DNA Test and she backed down. Kangin was so mad he almost beat her.”
“So, Hara's not pregnant with your child?”
“No. I didn't even touch her. She said herself that I passed out cold that night.”
Jessica stared at me for a while. Then she blinked, once, twice before covering her face with her hands.
“You can ask Hara yourself if you want. She's at my parents' place now.”
“I thought.... I was.... oh my God, Yul.”
I took her into my arms as she cried. Gone was the facade of strong woman that proposed a divorce a while ago. She was back to this fragile Jessica who easily fell into tears. My hands rubbed her back as her shoulders shook. I kissed her temple, I kissed her cheek, trying to comfort my hurting wife.
“I had cried myself to sleep the other night. Thinking that this was the end of us.” She looked up at me, wiping her tears away. “If I hadn't talked to Kahi unnie. If I hadn't told myself to think clearly. I would have...”
She couldn't even finish her sentence, my poor baby.
“Hey.... It's okay now. It's all good.” I hugged her closer “I'm sorry for being so stupid, Jess. If I didn't-”
She silenced me with a kiss, hugging me even tighter. “Let's just... forget about this.”
I lay on the bed, bringing Jessica with me. We faced each other on the bed now, exchanging silence for a moment before she spoke again.
“This has been tiring, hasn't it?”
“I'm sorry you have to go through this stupid drama, baby.” I tucked a strand of hair that had fallen to her face.
“No. I meant these past few months.”
I sighed, knowing exactly what she meant. But I believed that things had turned for the best. A few months ago, Jessica wouldn't have been so calm and collected at the rumors of my infidelity. I knew she would have stormed on me or got extremely depressed it would have been hell to get her happy again. She was a lot more mature now and our relationship had grown into another level. We were both stronger now.
“I want to stay happy from this point forward.” She declared, smiling a little.
“Me too.” I kissed her forehead. “But let's start with a good sleep first. I'm so tired, baby.”
“Let me change my clothes first. I just got back from a long session with Kahi unnie. I smell.”
“I don't care.” I tugged at her hand when she tried to get out of the bed. “Sleep. Now.”
My wife sighed but lay by my side anyway. I rested my hand on her thigh, spooning her as I yawned. “Love you, Jess.”
“Love you more.”
I woke up to an empty bed, feeling significantly relaxed after a long nap. The Gladiolus was still on the bed and I could tell that it was starting to wilt.
Relationship worked like flower too, a great care and constant nurture was needed to keep the bloom. Now that we were at our seven years mark, I knew that the road ahead wouldn't be all easy. But I promised myself that I would give my 110% to this marriage. That I wouldn't let any problems deterred me from loving my wife.
“Hey, Jongkook hyung.” I made a call as I started to divest myself from my clothes. “Have I thanked you for delivering those beautiful flowers to my wife?”
“As a matter of fact, you have. I just received the news from my accountant, the fund for the expansion of my flower farm has arrived safely to the company's account.”
“Hyung, you know that's not what I meant. Your company deserves the fund for such a brilliant business proposal.”
Jongkook just laughed.
“Can I ask one more favor, Hyung? A rather big one this time?”
I entered the bathroom as I arranged a plan with the florist. I would make up for the heartache my wrongdoing had brought to my wife.
Tonight, I'd show her my love in the most beautiful way possible.
“What's cookin'?” I swept Jessicca's long hair aside, kissing her exposed neck while wrapping my hands around her from behind.
“Nothing. I'm trying to follow a recipe from the internet but I think I'm too slow.” She huffed, leaning against my chest. “It's almost dinner time but I barely have the ingredients ready.”
“Let me see.” I reached over for her phone and read the recipe for a while before scanning the counter. “It seems like you already have all the ingredients needed here.”
“Not really. The shrimps haven't been peeled and we don't have white wine.”
“Yeah?” I scratched my head. “Want to buzz the cook? Or eat out?”
She shook her head, biting her lower lips. “I want to cook for you. It has been a while.”
I grinned, letting go of my hold on her then started donning the apron. “Let's be creative and cook together then.”
“You're not any better in the kitchen than me, Yul.”
“I know.” I rolled the sleeves of my sweater up before taking the bowl of shrimps to the sink. “But two kitchen disasters can always team up to create... well.... a bigger disaster.”
She snorted but coming to my side anyway, rolling the sleeves of her polka dot shirt as she went. “Okay, Korean Master chef. Teach me how to peel shrimps, will you?”
“Sure. Piece of cake.” I kissed her cheek before fishing out my phone from the pocket of my khaki pants. “Let me google it first.”
She pouted. I laughed.
After quite some times. We finally started to cook. Jessica handled the shrimp and scallops while I tried my best to conquer the linguine.
“Pasta's ready!” I whooped triumphantly, while draining the Linguine.
“Add olive oil so they won't stick.”
“I know.” I did as Jessica had told me and set the bowl of pasta aside. “Shrimp and scallops done yet?”
“Yep.” She poured the seafood from the pan to a plate. “Help me squeeze some lemon juice on them please.”
“How much? A whole lemon?”
“Just a half.” She answered without looking, busy sauté-ing both the minced shallots and garlic. “Omo! I forgot the wine. We don't have the white wine.”
“What?” I my spot. “Can we just substitute it with water?”
“No. We need something with alcohol. Go find something before the garlic burn. Champagne or anything.”
I ran for the refrigerator. “We have no champagne. Can we google it first? Maybe butter-”
“Hurry! Whatever you have there. Soju! Bring the soju!”
“Right.” I brought two bottles to the counter. “Grape or pomegranate?”
“Grape!” She shook the pan. “Hurry.”
“How much?” I started to pour hesitantly.
“That's enough.” She scrapped the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. “Now add the diced tomatoes.”
I poured the whole content of a glass bowl. “Is the liquid supposed to be that brown?”
“I think it's fine. It doesn't smell like it burnt or something.” Jessica sighed. “Now we wait for it to simmer.”
I read the recipe from her phone again. “Six to eight minutes until the wine, or in our case, Soju is reduced by one-third part.”
“Phew.” Jessia wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. “That was intense.”
“And fun.” I rubbed her cheek to clean the invisible stain. “I love fun.”
She smiled, leaning her cheek against my palm. “While we're waiting let's clean the counter.”
“Nope. The maid can do that.” I inched closer so the tips of our nose almost touched. “I have better idea.”
“Really?” One of her eyebrows rose.
“Really.” I dove in, taking her luscious lips in a deep kiss. The kitchen smelled like grapefruit soju and seafood while my wife smelled sweet and intoxicating. I pressed forward inch by inch until her back hit the refrigerator.
“Hmmm.” She hummed against my lips. “Brilliant idea.”
I grinned, kissing her again. Hands started traveling far to the small of her back to pull her body closer.
“Six minutes.” She warned me as my kisses descended upon her jawline.
“I know. I've set the timer.” My lips went to taste the milky white skin of her neck, at her pulse point. I untied her apron before my fingers went under her shirt, dancing on the smooth expanse of her skin until they met her s.
I squeezed the soft mounds through the satin bra.
She moaned into my ears.
My stomach grumbled.
A mix of my laughter and Jessica's giggle roared in the kitchen. We stopped, looking at each other, then laughed again.
“My poor baby.” After the laughing fit ended, my wife patted my stomach. “You must be so hungry.”
“Famished.” I kissed the tip of her nose. “Not just for food though.”
Jessica just winked at me, walking to counter right when the timer on her phone went off. “Bring the pasta and the seafood mix over please.”
I handed her the requested items, watching as she intently stirred the mixture in the pan. I loved watching her side profile, feasting on the curve of her lips and the pointy tip of her nose with my gaze.
Who was I kidding. I loved watching everything about my wife, from her cute toes to the shine of her hair. I wrapped my hands around her waist, watching her tossed the dish with butter before pouring it into a serving bowl.
“Tadaaa, Mr. and Mrs. Kwon's gourmet seafood scampi.” She turned around with the bowl in her hands. “Let's eat while watching something on the TV. Bring two plates, please.”
“Let's just share.” I picked up the bottles of Soju along with two forks before following Jessica to the living area.
We sat on the lush carpet, leaning on the couch with the bowl of seafood scampi teasing us from its spot on the coffee table. I browsed for a perfect channel to company the great mood and decided to watch a celebrity cooking show.
“Open up.” I bring a twirl of pasta to Jessica's mouth. “Taste your artwork.”
“Our artwork.” She chewed, swallowed then smiled. “It's good. Here, have a taste.” She also fed me the meal.
“Whoa. Just like the one we had in Rome.” I winked at her teasingly. “We should retire and open an Italian restaurant instead.”
“Is that your idea of retirement? Starting another business instead of resting?” She asked after another mouthful of pasta and prawn.
“Nope. My ideal retirement plan will be us, traveling around the world despite the joint-pain, your blurry sight and my bad back.”
“Right. I could really see you climbing mount Everest with gray hair and toothless smile.” She grinned.
“Eyyy, I'll stay fit and handsome. I'll be one of those awesome grandpas that girls love to stay around.” I realized my mistake the second I finished talking. But it was too late to retract my words.
She sighed, gazing away. “Yul.... what if I never get pregnant again? What if I can give you a child? What if I end up deterring you from a chance of being a grandfather?”
“Then I'll still grow old happily with you.” I pulled her into my embrace, caressing her head. “We can always be the grandparents of Jinki's children anyway. We'll be the one who spoil them rotten while Krystal & her husband try their hardest to instill some discipline. It will be fun.”
“If you... ” Tears began to form in her eyes and I hated the sight so much. “If you want to find another woman, I under-”
“If you ever talk about this again. I swear to God I'm not gonna help you in the kitchen anymore.” I poked at her cheek. This was probably the best for both of us, to never bring the subject up ever again. To put the issue behind and pretended that it didn't exist. “So shut up and feed me that delicious pasta, chef Jung. Make sure you get me the shrimp and the scallop this time. I need the protein.”
She smiled, sniffing back her tears and reached for the fork again. She fed me a mouthful the pasta and the seafood.
“I wuf you.” I said while chewing.
“Gross.” She frowned. “Swallow your food before talking.”
“Don't care.” I grinned then chewed again, leaning in for a kiss. “I wuf you, Jwessica Jwung.”
“Yah! Kwon Yuri!”
I laughed, forcing my lips on hers.
“Happy anniversary.” I nudged the door to our bedroom open with my knee, presenting the surprise I had arranged with the help of my florist buddy.
Jessica and I had just finished dinner along with heavy make out session in the living room. Her eyes had been hooded and lustful before but they widen as she spun in my arms, taking in the sight in surprise.
“Oh my... Yul...”
“Happy.” I kissed her cheek. “Seventh.” Her lips. "Anniversary." Then her neck.
There were gladiolus flowers everywhere, white and red petals were all I could see. There were vases of them on the vanity, on the bedside table and by the closet. Soft petals were on the floor, on the bed and there were even artistic wreaths of flowers and leaves hanging from the bedpost and the headrest.
I surely owed Jongkook big time for making such a wonderful arrangement in such short notice.
“Yul...” She took a step forward. “So beautiful.”
“Agreed.” I hugged her from behind, resting my chin on her shoulder. “You're so beautiful, baby.”
“I love you.” She spun around. Her hands clutched at my shoulders. “So much.”
“I love you too.”
--- tbc ---
Author's note : Will there be rainbow after the rain? Will they finally find happiness? Or are there more troubles ahead? Stay tune next week for another chapter and please leave me a comment before you close the page. Thank you.