Kris pulled over in front of an upscale restaurant. He got out and handed the keys to the worker.
Warily, Jungah stepped out and looked up at the fancy restaurant. *What the hell are we doing at such a pricey place?*
The worker went to park his car.
Jungah shifted her gaze back down to Kris. “Why are we here?”
“Why else? To eat.” Kris headed to the entrance. He swung open the door and nodded, “Come on.”
Jungah glanced around then cautiously entered the expensive restaurant. Everything was so glamorous in there. There was a mini water fountain in the middle in the shape of a cupid. Waiters and waitresses in impeccable black and white attire walked about. One waiter came over with a low, respectful bow, “Welcome to La Bella. How many?”
“Two.” Kris answered. “This way, please.” The waiter led them to one of the many empty tables in the back.
“This will be your table.” He motioned. The waiter was about to pull her chair back for her, but Kris stopped him, “I’ll do it for her.” The waiter bowed and stepped back. He placed the menus on the table and left.
Kris pulled back the chair. Jungah raised an eyebrow, “I have arms, you know.”
“It’s common courtesy for a gentleman to pull your chair out. Sit.” Kris nodded to the open chair.
Jungah took a deep breath. Without a choice, she sank into the chair, and he pushed the seat back in for her.
Kris sat in front of her and took the menu. “Do you like pasta?” “I hardly eat it.” Jungah stated.
“Well now you’ll like it. This restaurant is known for their pasta.” Kris stated as he looked through the menu. Jungah gave him another curious, probing look. He caught her questioning stare and blinked at her, “What?” “You’re from China, aren’t you?” She asked.
“Yes.” Kris warily answered. “Then how do you know all these places in Korea that I don’t?” Jungah asked.
*I thought she was going to ask something else.* Kris thought in relief. He smirked, “Easy. Because I’m outgoing.”
Jungah rolled her eyes, “Forget I even expected a serious answer from you.”
Kris shook his head as his lips curved upwards.
Jungah snatched the menu and looked through it. Her eyebrows furrowed at the unfamiliar names. *How the hell am I supposed to pick from all these bizarre names?*
The waiter came back, “Have you decided yet?”
“I’ll have the Pasta al Salmone.” Kris shut the menu and handed it to him. Kris shifted his gaze to you, “What about you?” *Why the hell did we have to come to a pasta place? I don’t know what’s good or not! Damn.* Jungah thought. Kris noticed the perplexity on her face. He looked up at the waiter, “She’ll have the Seafood Alfredo.” The waiter bowed and walked off.
Jungah stared at Kris, “Why did you order for me?! You don’t even know what I like!”
“Trust me. You’ll like it. If you don’t, I owe you another dish of pasta.” Kris said.
Jungah rolled her eyes. *He’s starting his tactics again.* She took a sip of ice water and looked around the place. She couldn’t imagine coming to such a place with Zico. Their meals were never fancy like this, and she liked it that way. She was never suited for such red carpet elegance crap.
“So, Han Jungah, what is your dream?” Kris asked, out of the blue.
“My dream?” She asked in confusion. He nodded, “You must have something you want to fulfill in the future.”
Jungah gave him a small, bemused smirk as she shook her head, “I really don’t have anything I want to…fulfill.”
“You don’t have any goals?” He questioned. *Who is he? The school counselor?* “All I want to do is finish high school.” She replied.
“And then?” Kris gazed at her. He wanted to know more about her. Her past. Her present. Her future.
Jungah lightly shrugged, “I don’t know.” “Won’t you go to college?” Kris asked.
Her eyes fell onto the table and softened. *I know Zico is saving up for my college. I don’t want to keep burdening him though.* “I think I’ll get a job first.”
Before he could interrogate her more, the food came.
“Enjoy your meal.” The waiter bowed and left.
Jungah stared at the creamy pasta in front of her. “Try it. You’ll like it.” Kris stated.
*How does he know that? Damn. I hate how he acts like he knows everything about me.* Jungah picked up the fork and twirled the pasta around it. She placed the food in and regretted right away because he was right. The appetizing pasta melted in .
Kris smirked, “I was right, right?” Jungah’s expression flattened, and she sipped her water without a reply. When they finished lunch and came back to the car, it was past 4 p.m.
“Do you want to go up there?” Kris pointed to the Namsan Tower.
Jungah glanced at the time. “I don’t know if we’ll make it back in time.
“Come on. You don’t have to really go exactly at 5, do you?” Kris asked. She didn’t reply. Smirking, he rested his wrists on the steering wheel and cocked his head to the side. “You’re like Cinderella, except your curfew isn’t at midnight but at 5.”
“I don’t have a curfew.” Jungah scowled. “I’m curious. What is so special about 5 p.m.?” Kris inquired.
*Zico.* “Nothing you have to know. I just have to be somewhere by then, all right?” Jungah snapped.
“Would it kill you if you were a bit late? Wherever you have to go, I’ll drop you off so you won’t be late.” He offered. She remained quiet in thought. “Remember…you still owe me that coffee~” Kris reminded. “You told me I don’t owe you coffee anymore.” Jungah pointed out.
He shrugged, “I changed my mind.” *You can’t do that, loser.* She rolled her eyes then sighed, “Fine. I guess we can go. As long as you don’t use that stupid coffee excuse ever again.”
Kris grinned, “I cross my heart and promise.” He started the car and drove off.
Half an hour later, they arrived on top of the famous Namsan Tower. There were many couples writing confessions of love on their padlocks and locking it onto the chain. “Do you want to write one, too?” Kris asked. “With you? No, thanks.” Jungah picked up a random padlock and read the cheesy message on it. *I wonder how many people’s love stories come true up here. How many love lives really do last? Do they all give up at one point?*
Kris lightly shrugged, “It doesn’t have to be with me. And it doesn’t have to be about love. It could be about whatever you want it to be.”
*Whatever I want it to be? Does unrequited love count?* Jungah slowly nodded.
Kris gave her a small smile, “I’ll be right back.” Minutes later, he came back with two padlocks.
Jungah took the sharpie and blue padlock and went to write her message in the corner where no one would be able to see her declaration. Kris watched her as she glanced around then write something on the padlock. Her eyes were set in deep concentration, and she was biting her lip almost nervously as if someone would see her confession.
*I think I know what she’ll write about. Or rather…who.* Kris took his own marker and wrote down something on the padlock as well. They locked their padlocks on opposite ends of the chain. Guardedly eyeing each other, they met in the center.
Kris glanced at her lock hanging on the end. *Please don’t ask me what I wrote.* Jungah hoped.
He glanced down at her, and her palms became clammy. By the way she was fidgeting, he knew it would make her uncomfortable for him to ask her what she wrote. “Want to get something to drink in the lobby?” He softly asked. She sighed in relief. Jungah looked up at him, gave him a small, grateful smile, and nodded, “Yeah. No coffee though.”
“No coffee.” Kris promised. He slipped his hand into hers and led her to the elevator.
Jungah glanced at her hand in his. It felt different from holding Zico’s hand. Yet, it didn’t feel bad at all. In fact, she was getting used to it. It was becoming more natural to be close to Kris like this. She studied his handsome side profile and wondered. *You’re the first person I opened up to since Zico.*
The doors opened, and they entered the elevator.
Jungah looked at her padlock to make sure it was safe. She remembered every word she had written onto that lock of hope. ‘I’ll always be there for you, even if you won’t be there for me, Woo Jiho.’
Kris looked down at Jungah with tender eyes. There was only word he had put on the padlock.