Kris pulled his car to a stop in front of Jungah’s apartment.
“Thanks for the ride. Bye.” She turned to go, but he caught her arm. She gave him an inquiring look, “Yes?” “Your present remember?” He reminded.
“Oh. Right.” Jungah glanced to the backseat. “It’s not there.” Kris stated.
She gave him a puzzled look. He glanced up at her building, “Do you mind if I come in for a while?”
Jungah paused then nodded. Kris smiled, “Go up first. I need to get your gift.” “O…kay.” Jungah tilted her head to the side once and got out of the car. She held her presents in her arms and glanced back. Kris was gazing at her with his intense eyes. *I wonder what the gift is.*
Jungah went inside the building, slightly enthralled. She rode the elevator up to her floor and unlocked the door to her residence. She came inside and the lights. Jungah placed her presents on her bed. She came back out to see if anything was out of order. She saw the bags of chips, cup ramen bows, and cushions on the floor. *. Why does he want to trouble me by coming up all of a sudden?*
As quickly as she could, Jungah tidied her place up. She threw the empty chip bags and finished cup ramens into the garbage bag. Jungah placed the cushions back on the couch and fluffed them up a bit. She grabbed air freshener from the bathroom and sprayed it all over. Jungah sniffed the air and cringed as she waved the strong scent away. *Is this too obvious? Damn, I don’t even know why I’m making all this fuss. He’s just going to give me my present and leave. Maybe I should call him and tell him to just give me the gift on Monday.*
Before she could act upon her idea, the doorbell rang.
“!” Jungah jumped high in the air. She pressed her hand over her pounding heart. *Calm the down, Han Jungah. He’s not Zico. He’s not Zico. He’s not Zico. SO WHY THE HELL AM I REACTING THIS WAY?! ARGH!*
Jungah wanted to bury herself into a hole or jump over the balcony to escape this crisis.
The doorbell rang before she could do either of those things.
With a deep breath, Jungah carefully approached the door. She opened the door and dreadfully looked up.
“What took you so long?” Kris asked as he shut the door behind him. He took off his shoes and stepped inside her place.
Suddenly, Kris froze. Jungah immobilized as well. The hair on her back bristled. *…*
Kris sniffed the air once, twice. Slowly, he turned around. She became as rigid as a stone statue. *. I knew I shouldn’t have sprayed that thing.* A wide, knowing smirk spread across his face. “Did you spray the room just for me?”
*Damn him and his sharp senses.* Jungah tried to remain as cool and casual as possible. Yet, she covered it up badly by an overreacting sneer, “Hell no. Why would I do that for someone like you? For your information, my house always smells this nice, got it?!”
Kris held his hands out with an innocent shrug, “I was just asking. No need to react excessively. Sheesh.”
Jungah scowled. “You know what? I don’t need your damn gift so just leave.”
“Rude. I bought it just for you. Will you really reject a man’s courtesy like that?” Kris feigned hurt.
Jungah pinched the bridge of her nose as her eyebrow twitched in irritation. He smirked at her reaction. Sighing in exasperation, she opened her eyes, “Fine. Give me the gift and go.”
“That’s almost as cruel as the first choice. Can’t you even offer me a drink? I’m pretty thirsty…” Kris eyed her.
Jungah narrowed her eyes, “Are you for real?”
“Something else besides water.” He sat down.
*Argh! This guy! I can’t even-* Jungah stormed off. She yanked open her refrigerator and peered inside. *Damn. Where did all the sodas go?* Jungah looked up to see hot chocolate. She straightened up with a sigh. *I guess there is no other choice.*
Minutes later, Jungah stirred two mugs of hot chocolate. She placed them on a tray and balanced it on her good arm. Jungah carried the tray back to the living room. Kris noticed she was having trouble and helped her out right away. “You couldn’ve called for me.”
“No, thanks. I’m trying not to see you as much as possible. So just drink, give me my birthday present, and go.” Jungah sipped her hot chocolate.
“So demanding.” Kris chuckled and sipped his hot chocolate.
It was silent for a while.
Jungah glanced at him. *He has a nice side profile. Wait, what the hell did I just think?* She shook her head.
“What?” He asked.
“Nothing.” Casually, Jungah picked on the lint on her shirt. “So…did you have a good time tonight?”
“Yeah, it was fun getting taunted by your so-called friends. The hot-headed redhead wouldn’t stop insulting me, and the one with the black hair insulted me and ignored me.” Kris sarcastically stated.
Her expression softened. “Were they really that rude to you…?”
He noticed how worried and sorry she looked. Gently, he shook his head, “No, I was just kidding. Your friends were pretty nice actually. They seem to care about you. And Zico was very…hospitable.”
Jungah played with the end of her shirt, “They seem really rude and bad, but they’re not. They put loyalty above all else. Those seven have endured a lot in the past, so they’re a bit messed up. Still, they’re decent people. I wouldn’t trade them for anyone else…” Her gaze shifted upwards, “And Zico…” She shook her head with a small, admiring smile playing on her lips, “He’s a selfless, cheerful bastard. He’s like a giant elf. He likes to make people happy.”
Kris studied her expression as she talked about Zico.
Jungah turned to him. With sincerity from the bottom of her heart, she spoke, “Thank you for coming today.” His gaze softened. “I know you probably had a lot to do today…and I appreciate you taking time off to celebrate my meaningless birthday with me. So yeah…thanks.” Embarrassed, Jungah looked away.
“It’s not meaningless.” Kris said. She looked at him in surprise, “What?” “Your birthday…” He looked straight into her eyes, “It’s not meaningless. I’m glad I came today. I was…happy.” Her heart flip-flopped in her chest. *I was, too.*
Instead of saying that, Jungah looked down in discomfort.
Kris shifted the topic to something else. “I still need to give you your present.”
*Oh, yeah. That’s why he’s here in the first place.* Jungah folded her hands in her lap and gave him a curious look.
This time, Kris was the one who felt nervous. For the first time in his life…he was scared. Scared that she wouldn’t accept his gift…and his heart.
“What is it? It better not be something ed like U-Kwon’s gift, which I will burn after you leave.” Jungah growled at the thought of the lacy lingerie sitting on her bed.
“I assure you that it’s not anything like that.” Kris chuckled.
“Then what is it? Why are you so hesitant?” Jungah demanded. Kris looked into her eyes. Her irritation dissolved when she saw the seriousness in his eyes. “What is it?” Her heart rate started to pick up speed. *Hurry up and spill! You’re making me anxious!*
“From now on, I need you to listen to me well because I mean every single word.” Kris searched her eyes.
Jungah nodded in promise. Kris took a deep breath. Then he pulled out something from his pocket. He held out his enclosed fist.
Jungah gave him a puzzled look, “What is this?”
“Your gift.” *My feelings.* Kris replied.
Jungah held out her hand. Slowly, Kris opened up his fist. There was a light coolness settling on her palm.
Kris pulled away, and Jungah looked down. Her eyes widened at the sterling silver rings on her hand.
They were simple, but the designs were intricate. One had a diamond heart embedded in the middle. The other had angel wings on it. Jungah looked up at him in stunned amazement, “What…?”
“Han Jungah…” Kris shifted his gaze up to her face, “Will you be my girlfriend?”
Her eyes bulged out, and hung wide open. Her entire body was frozen in shock. She couldn’t believe the question he had just asked. *No way…he didn’t…he didn’t just ask me to be his…girlfriend, did he?! No. Impossible. It’s damn impossible-*
“I want you to be mine.” Kris whispered. Her gaze drifted up to his face. She had so many questions, yet she didn’t know what to say. “I wasn’t planning on any of this. I wasn’t planning to meet someone like you. I wasn’t planning to befriend you. I wasn’t planning to…fall in love with you.” Kris rambled. *I was only supposed to finish my business and go back. I couldn’t even complete my assignment because I was distracted by you, and now, I don’t even want to go back to my home.*
Jungah stared at him. Her heart slammed hard and fast against her ribcage. Blood rushed through her ears. It was hard to believe that someone was in love with her.
A hot-tempered, foul-mouthed girl with no manners who was easily irritated by the smallest things.
“Up until now…my life was dark. I had no purpose. I was just living for the sake of living. I didn’t know what happiness was…until I met you.” Kris gazed into her eyes. Suddenly, all of his emotions came pouring out. “You have no idea how much you impacted my life, Han Jungah. You changed me. If you asked my friends back home…they would never describe me this way. Talkative. Playful. Smiling.” He chuckled in embarrassment and bitterness as he rubbed the back of his neck, “I’m usually not like this. This is not who I am. I shouldn’t be so…free like this.” Kris clenched his fist in frustration then looked at her. His grip loosened immediately. “That all changed after you came into my life.”
Jungah seeked his eyes for an ounce of deceit. *If this is just a joke and he’s just playing with my feelings, I’ll kill him.* Yet, she couldn’t find any hint of dishonesty anywhere on his face. He was telling her nothing but the solemn truth.
Gently, Kris took her left hand and placed it over his usual cold hand. “I was cold like this. But after you came into my heart…” The heat created by the touch of their hands spread throughout his body and warmed his heart. He gazed so intently into her that she felt as if he was looking into her soul, “I became warm like this.” Kris leaned closer, and Jungah gazed up at him. His thumb tenderly grazed over her knuckles, and she involuntarily shivered at his touch. “I know.” He softly spoke, “I know you have Zico in your heart. But do you think you can make some room…for me?”
Jungah’s breath caught in . The idea was so unexpected and sudden that she didn’t know what to make of it. *Love someone else other than Zico?* She had never thought of it before. But when Jungah looked into Kris’s eyes, somehow, she knew…it wasn’t impossible.
“I won’t ask you to forget him right away. I’ll be patient. I can wait. Waiting is the best thing that I can do. Just don’t push me away.” Kris begged.
Jungah let her gaze fall to the floor. She had enough- no, more than- experience in the unreciprocated love department. She knew how much it hurt and ached. To have someone pine for her like that was unimaginable.
“I’ve never wanted anything as much as I wanted you.” He whispered.
Her heart stopped at the ten heartfelt words. She could feel his sincerity to the depths of her bones that it almost hurt her.
“I fell in love with you, Han Jungah. I’m in love with you, Han Jungah. I love you…Han Jungah.” Kris repeated. Those repetitive professions of devotion made her knees weaken and everything inside of her melt into new warmth she had never felt before. Yet, on the outside, she wore her standard poker-face.
His heart thudded with trepidation. *Does she not accept me? Is this really impossible? Will she really not give me a chance? Does she think this is a joke? What if she rejects me? What will I do then?* “Jungah…” Kris anxiously searched her face, “Did you hear me?”
Slowly, she nodded. “Then say something. You’re making me nervous. Come on. Say something. Anything!” He pleaded.
Jungah didn’t reply. She didn’t even meet his eyes. Instead, she closed her eyes and stayed as still as a rock. *Can I really love another man besides Zico in my life? Can I move on…and be happy with someone else? And is that other half of me really…this man in front of me?* Jungah searched deep down in her heart.
*. She hates me. I knew it. She won’t ever be able to move on. Why was I so foolish to believe that I could have a happy ending like everyone else?* “Never mind. Forget it. I didn’t mean to push you like this. Keep the gift. It was meant for you.” Kris stood up. He turned to leave, but Jungah grabbed his wrist.
He froze in his tracks. Slowly, he turned around.
Jungah opened her eyes. She turned her head and looked at his long, slender pale hand. Then gently, she slipped something into his ring finger.
*What…?* Kris looked down. His eyes widened at the couple ring on his finger. He stared at her in shock.
Jungah placed her hand back in her lap and slightly tilted her head with a soft gaze, “That’s not fair. You got the angel one. Why is mine only a heart?”
*Wait. Is she…accepting me?* Slowly, Kris sat back down and faced her. “Jungah…”
She played with the other ring on her finger. She didn’t place it on her finger…yet. “I have only one thing to ask before I make up my mind.”
Kris waited unwearyingly. Her eyes softened, “Are you sure it’s me you’re in love with?”
“What?” He whispered, taken aback by the question.
Jungah dropped her gaze and swallowed hard. She wrung her hands in uneasiness. “You know me by now. I have a short temper. I can’t cook. I can’t sew. I can’t even clean. I can’t do aegyo to save my life.” Jungah shook her head, “I can’t be a regular girl-“
“Don’t you get it? Choosing you means I don’t want a regular girl.” Kris growled in frustration. Jungah still didn’t look convinced. Kris softened. *Han Jungah, you idiot. How can someone so bold and brave be so insecure?*
Actions spoke louder than words at time. So instead of explaining, Kris slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her closely against his chest. His touch sent sparks zapping up her arms and legs. He was so close to her that he could see his reflection through her sparkling, brown eyes. His eyes drifted all over her face. He had a hard time picking a favorite feature about her face. He loved every bit of her and wished he had photographic memory to keep her face clearly and closely in his mind all the time.
“I want no one else but you, Han Jungah. I like that you’re not like the rest of the girls out there. You are loveable just the way you are.” Kris leaned closer and breathed against her lips, “So don’t you ever change.” She forgot to breathe for a moment. He glanced down at the ring between her fingers.
“So…” Kris looked back at her face with a tender whisper, “Are you ready to put that on?”
Jungah took a deep breath, looked into his eyes, and nodded. Kris took the ring from her.
It was warm from her touch. Very carefully, he took her right hand and slipped it in her ring finger.
It fit perfectly.
“And if you’re wondering…I have the ring with the wings because it symbolizes protection.” He touched the heart on her ring, “This heart represents us.” He looked into her eyes with a gentle smile, “So it means I would do anything to protect you and our love.” Her heart fluttered with elevating joy. She had never heard such beautiful words in her life.
*Oh great. He’s making me into one of those mushy lovestruck girls I hate so much.* Jungah pulled away with a scowl, “How the hell does this ring fit so perfectly on my finger? You didn’t stalk me or anything, did you? I don’t remember giving you my ring size!”
*Seems like I don’t have to worry about her changing.* “You didn’t.” Kris said.
She gave him a befuddled look. “The worker took the size of my pinky. She said something about if the size of my pinky and the size of your ring finger are the same, then we are meant to be. Back when she said that, I didn’t believe her. But now…” He enclosed his hand around hers and touched the silver ring as he gazed at her, “I do.”
Jungah stared deeply into his eyes. *That sounds like bull…but maybe, just maybe she’s right.*
Kris’s eyes fell onto her lips. He seemed mesmerized by her soft, kissable lips. Her eyes rounded as he came closer and closer. He waited for a second to see if she would say stop.
So he closed his eyes and swept down.
His lips pressed against hers. Her eyes widened. It felt surreal although she was seeing it in front of her eyes. *This is my first kiss. I always thought it would be with Zico. But this is not Zico…this is NOT Zico…he’s not Zico…* Slowly, almost as if she was being hypnotized by the mindblowing kiss, her eyes began to fall close until it entirely shut. *No, he’s not Zico. He’s Kris. The guy who suddenly appeared in my life and unexpectedly swept me off my feet without me knowing. Kris, you thief. You stole my heart from Zico.*
And yet, Jungah didn’t feel one bit of resentment towards him.
In fact, she was glad and even happy. Now, she could finally let go and relax. She would be protected, cared for, and most importantly loved by a man who wasn’t afraid to love her.
They broke apart and locked eyes for a moment before he cupped her face and dove in for another kiss.
Kris cradled her face tenderly almost as if she was the most fragile diamond in the world. The kiss deepened as his tongue delved into .
The attraction between them was undeniable. There was a fire burning in both their hearts that yearned for each other. That fire just grew hotter, stronger, and brighter.
Jungah felt her knees buckle and weaken. She was glad she was sitting down, or she would have pathetically collapsed like the lovesick idiot she was.
Both of them were running out of breaths, but neither was willing nor wanting to break the kiss.
It was the first time Kris and Jungah had felt such thrill and passion, and they wanted to hold onto these unforgettable feelings for as long as they could.