Five

Love, Hate, Repeat

 


13th December 2019

 

-Or the day after Kim Yae Na’s entire world fell apart right before her eyes.

 

Yelling, lots of it. They were ringing in her ears, incessant and so loud. Yae Na opened one eye, then the other as she clutched her head. Bright morning sunlight was greeting her, and her mind, slowly, adjusted to her new surrounding. Her dogs were barking again. She was in her room again, she was in her bed. Kim Yae Na felt like she’d woken up from a cruel, cruel dream. Hurriedly, she reached for her phone again. Her hands were trembling, her head so heavy. The time was barely past seven in the morning, and the date was-

 

12th December, 2019

 

-Or the day that Kim Yae Na decided to make a sacrifice.

 

It had happened again, the loop had continued. She had come back to square one; despite all her good efforts, Yae Na had come back to right where it started.

 

This time around, she was rather calm and composed. She knew what was happening now; living the same day again and again and again. Sung Gyu was still alive, a murderer was still on loose. Outside her room, in her kitchen was a strange mean cat hissing at her two dogs from the counter top. It was winter outside, the time still barely past seven. Everything was calm. It was 12th of December 2019 again.

 

For a moment, Yae Na remained in her bed, trying to recollect her thoughts. She wasn’t sure how exactly the time loop worked, and what needed to be done for her to get out of it. She’d imagined she’d done everything right the previous day. She avoided the call, she changed little details of the morning, she avoided the cat scratch, hence the ER.

 

But still, she had to watch, from a very close distance, close but too far away to reach, as the love of her life was swallowed by a raging fire, taking his life.

 

The shock was still a fresh wound in her heart, and as all large, festering fresh wounds would, it had made her numb. She couldn’t cry, she couldn’t even feel pain. She could only recall that moment again and again in her mind; how the jeep pulled in from the wrong direction, how it blocked the lorry’s way from escaping, how Sung Gyu, unknowingly so sacrificed himself to save another life.

 

Yae Na was certain, he hadn’t done that with the intention of dying. It must have been impulsive, badly calculated, and he certainly was not realizing what the consequences would be. Yae Na was certain that he’d only intended to block the lorry’s way. Everything that happened afterwards was just cruel, unfair coincidence, a sick and vicious twist of fate. Sung Gyu would have never done that to her. But prompted by his desire to save her and many more women like her, he’d given his life to it.

 

They’re all someone’s Yae Na’ Yae Na recalled Howon’s exact words in her mind. That’s exactly the kind of thing that the Sung Gyu she knew and loved would say. Driving into block an escaping criminal was just exactly the kind of thing that he would do. When she come to think of it now, no matter what she did, she wouldn’t have stopped him from doing that. But only…

 

She covered her face with both her hands in realization.

 

The very first time line, the first snow. In her second and certainly the third timeline, the accident happened in the time of first snow of the year, whereas in their very first time line, by the time of first snow, he was only leaving the cafe after their break up. The accident didn’t happen at that time. Only their break up happened, only their marriage ended, but she did, certainly, save his life.

 

So did that mean then, in order to save Sung Gyu’s life, to keep him from going away from her forever, she had to break up with him? End their marriage?

 

End of a marriage in return of a life?

 

Yae Na felt bile rising up . How cruel, how revolting. God truly wasn’t so kind to her then. God was just vicious.

 

With a deep breath, she climbed out of bed and looked at her phone again. Yae Na would decide later how the rest of the day would roll out. For now, she would get the easier parts of the day out of her way.

 

She still couldn’t be too sure, no matter how many times it had happened. So she opened different apps to check the day again and again to clarify. In her Kakao inbox with Sung Gyu, the same message remained, fresh as new. It certainly was new. When she come to think of it, in this reality, he had sent it just hours ago. He must have returned home, exhausted and heavy hearted because of a case that was taking all his good energy away, and with the hopes of searching for comfort from her he must have sent that message, just as he always did. Yae Na realized then, that, all the other times, she never got to reply to it. She would make that slightest difference this time around. She would reply to him, although the fit-on, and even the wedding, felt to be million years away.

 

Good morning, I fell asleep yesterday. The fit on was fine. Did you eat?’

 

Yae Na left her phone on the nightstand and climbed up on her feet. The dogs were still barking. She had a cat to chase away, and much to her chagrin, a wound to acquire. Yae Na was going to follow the timeline as exactly as it was the first time. She would do everything as she did on the very first 12th of December, she would break up, call the marriage off and see how things would change this time around.

 

She allowed everything from that morning to follow the exact same sequence as the very first twelfth of December. She let the nasty cat scratch her, she picked up Lisa’s call and told her that the nasty cat had scratched her. She had Lisa to treat it, she vented her frustrations of her wedding, her laws and about Sung Gyu as much she remembered how she’d done the first time. Although it probably wasn’t exactly accurate, the sequence of the major events weren’t deviated from the original timeline. She went to class, gave the kids their homework, warned them about their nearing test and left school on a half-day leave. She came to the hair appointment on time, sat in the same plush chair and Sung Jong went-

 

Miss Bride-to-be, What would you like for your hair today?”

 

And she went-

 

What would look good, Sung Jong-Ssi?”

 

And he went- Well…Lets keep the length. Some long bangs and straightening would look great on you” While he dramatically played with her hair. F or the next few minutes he snipped and snapped and her hair fell like a dry rain by his feet. Yae Na looked at the message that she’d sent which still had no response. Unlike the last time, she couldn’t even get mad at him, for Yae Na now knew exactly what was going on in his life.

 

Did Sung Gyu oppa come around recently?” She asked him at some point, to which he replied

 

Sung Gyu Hyung? No, not really...although I called him a while back, he said he was busy and we couldn’t really talk”

 

And their conversations fell through at that point while he did her hair away.

 

 

With freshly straightened hair and new bangs, she went to the florist, determined to follow the same sequence even though that meant she had to listen to her mother in law’s senseless complaints. This time around, even as she went on her with her rather silly explanation, Yae Na couldn’t even begin to get upset. She already knew what flower it was, so what her mother in law say didn’t really matter. Yet, she went with that original choice of minimal flowers and more silk and lightening decor. As evening approached, however, she was beginning to lose her mind.

 

Breaking up the last time wasn’t as difficult as it was to stage it. The first time, she had all the intention to do so, fired and wired up by everything that preceded to ultimately end their marriage, This time around, however, it was particularly difficult, for she did not, by any means, want to break up with him. Yae Na loved Sung Gyu beyond words and above all Yae Na knew why Sung Gyu had been disengaged, distracted, staying away. It broke her heart, not wanting to leave him at exactly the time he wanted comfort the most. But she also knew what she had to do. It was the only way, perhaps, to break the cycle and save his life. Even if they break up tonight, they could probably get back together again. They have done that once or twice before; and as painful as fall-outs in a relationship could be, she’d rather face a breakup that lose the man she loved forever.

 

But when she first called Sung Gyu (the call that would get screened) Yae Na didn’t know what to tell him. She had no anger now, certainly no resentment. The only frustration she would have right now was this evening and how the day would go. Yae Na was certain, the moment she’d hear his voice, after last night’s events, she wouldn’t be able to hold back.

 

She had to go forth with it, still, for, if the call ended on a positive note, she knew by experience, things wouldn’t go the right way. It had to be a call filled of anger, a call driven towards dispute. Yae Na was no actress, of course. But what else could she do?

 

Sung Gyu picked up the second time she called him.

 

Yae Na, I’m in the middle of work, what is it?”

 

For a second, she was in a complete daze. No matter how many times she lived trough this, Yae Na had had him dying on her too many times now that whenever she’d hear his voice, well and alive, destroys a large part of her. She didn’t want to let him go, not this way, not ever.

 

Yae Na closed her eyes and pulled herself together.

 

Are you free tonight?”

 

There was a beat of silence, and Yae Na gripped the steering wheel, hard.

 

Free tonight?” Sung Gyu’s voice filled in the quietness in a skeptical tone. “Yae Na, tonight is difficult, it will be difficult for a while and you know that-,”

 

Please” She muttered to him pleadingly, trying her best to keep her voice from breaking. “Lets have dinner tonight”

 

It was quiet for a second, and this time she heard it quite clearly, him telling in the background ‘give me a second’. There was the usual mingle of the police station that she recognised now, then the sound of his hurried footsteps.

 

What is it? Is everything okay?”

 

Yae Na took a deep breath and closed her eyes. What his voice was doing to her. She wanted to see him again, bury her face against his chest and listen to the beating of his heart, to reassure herself that this wasn’t real, none of it was.

 

You know I don’t have a lot of time-,” Sung Gyu’s voice cut into her thoughts.

 

Tonight, I’ll tell you tonight” Yae Na ventured out through an unmistakable sob.

 

Okay” He let out a heavy sigh. “Where do I come to?”

 

I’ll come there. I’ll come to you-,”

 

No” He exclaimed in the same fervor that he did before. Although it had baffled her the last time, she knew now why he didn’t want her to come to him. He took a sharp breath.

 

Just...just be there at the cafe next to Sung Jong’s...I’ll come”

 

Okay” Yae Na whispered, closing her eyes. “I’ll come”

 

 

 

The evening was quite bright yet chilly as she parked the car by the cafe next to Sung Jong's; a small, cozy, brightly lit place which didn’t exactly have the vibes for a possible, cruel break up. The two of them have visited the cafe together and they also knew the Barista who used to work back then. If it was in different, much friendlier circumstances, the two of them would have had a nice comfortable evening together, perhaps watch the snow together later in the night as well. But Yae Na knew that was just wishful thinking. Sung Gyu wouldn’t come if not for the anguish in Yae Na’s voice during the call. Had she sounded cheerful, or simply how she’d usually sound, he’d tell her that he’d call her later and eventually, how the night could go, he wouldn’t call at all. And she was too afraid to let the night go any differently from the very first time, lest it led on a different direction as the previous two nights did.

 

Yae Na had to make up her mind.

 

The wait of three hours felt like three years for her. She imagined, during that time he would return from Haebangchon, go to the Yongsan station, and since she wouldn’t be going there today he would probably be working with Howon, trying to track doctor Yoon’s whereabouts until he received the call from the forensics lab. He would be going there then, and his time at the lab would approximate to one and a half hours, she guessed. Tonight, having heard the anguish of her voice, just like he’d done the very first time, Sung Gyu wouldn’t go to Noksapyeong. He would come to her instead.

 

With that flicker of hope in her heart, Yae Na waited and waited and waited, however long it would take. People came and went, the entrance door opening and closing again as Yae Na lifted her head hopefully, wondering if it was him. Outside the vast glass panel, the street was still quite busy for a cold winter evening. Sky gradually turned from blue to Grey to lavender as night slowly fell. It felt like years had passed before the entrance door shrilled again, and Sung Gyu emerged, tired and disheveled before he headed towards her.

 

He was in the same dark suit she’d seen him in for the past few days; she was tired of seeing it for all the good reasons, yet he was still breathtaking for her. His hair was a mess, around his eyes were creases of sleeplessness and exhaustion. For a moment, all Yae Na wanted to do was leap forward and hold him in her arms.

 

Yet, with her lips pressed tight, brows in a frown, she held her place. She was there to break up with him, and she might as well act the part now.

 

Hey, Sorry I’m late” He said as he slipped into the chair opposite hers. He then scanned the empty table which had nothing but the complimentary glass of water on it. “Didn’t you have anything while you waited?”

 

Yae Na continued to keep her lips tightened, continued to look away. It was getting quite difficult for her; the concern in his voice, the mere sound of his words. Having him dying on her on and on two times straight, seeing him like this was too overwhelming for her.

 

I don’t have long so I wouldn’t have anything. What should I get for you? A coffee?”

 

Yae Na pursed her lips. Her eyes were already welled up, blurring her vision. And before she could even stop herself, she was sobbing. She had started crying again, which was certainly not a good start.

 

Sung Gyu was quiet for a moment, but it was certain that he’d seen her sudden emotional outburst. Yae Na sobbed hard, wiping her eyes with the back of her sleeve. As she set her hand hand down on the table, then, she felt his cold fingers wrapping around her wrist. It was the arm that was bandaged after the cat attack. Out of all the times where the cat attack did happen, this had to be the first where he was seeing it.

 

Yae Na…” He called her, his voice so warm, so tender, and his fingers slowly ran across the bandaged wound. And that did it for her, he set the flood gates open again, but this time, it wasn’t the same as the other. Yae Na started to cry harder, her whimpers quiet yet her chest tightening, all the frustrations from the past three days coming at her like a storm.

 

Yae Na...oh, Yae Na, sweetheart…”

 

Sung Gyu was still holding her hand as he climbed up and came around the table towards her. She was still crying, harder and harder. She found comfort again, only when he moved closer and hugged her against his waist.

 

Ssh….now, now, it’s okay...it’s okay”

 

It wasn’t okay. Yae Na wanted to tell him, and she would have too, if what she’d gone through made any sense. Nothing was okay, everything was a mess. Her life was in a standstill as she went through the same day again and again. She felt cursed, miserable, having to see him dying twice when there was nothing she could do about it. Right now, all Yae Na could do was cry, nothing more.

 

Yae Na wasn’t sure how long she cried for, but she did remember how he comforted her at that time. He pulled a chair closer to her, sat beside her and held her for the longest time, and Yae Na cried into his shoulder, breaking into endless sobs again and again. His jacket was stained of her tears, yet in her breath was that sweet scent of him that was gave her the comfort she needed. He was still here, she continued to remind herself. Right here with me, holding me. He was still here.

 

He kissed her on her head, ran his hand though her hair and even examined the wound, gently running his fingers upon it, all the while not asking her anything at all until she was calm enough to respond. She took a while, still. Yae Na didn’t imagine she’d held in so much until she’d broken apart. Once she did gain her composure, Sung Gyu ordered her sweet chamomile tea, and held her hand the entire time until she was ready to speak again.

 

Yae Na had a sip of her tea while it was still warm, its pleasant scent filling her nostrils, making her feel calm again.

 

Are you better now?” Sung Gyu asked her as he tenderly pushed stray strands of hair off her face.

 

Yae Na quietly nodded, staring at the steam of her tea.

 

Do you think you’ll be able to tell me what happened?”

 

As he was asking this he was also rubbing her fingers of the injured hand, which made her smile. Sung Gyu was just like his mother, sometimes, imagining the worst case scenario.

 

This?” She asked, lifting her hand.

 

Hm” He nodded, and she could see, by the corner of her eyes, that he was cautiously gazing at her. “It’s-its not what I thing it is, is it?”

 

Yae Na did see that the wound was on a questionable place on her wrist but she didn’t think that far. Yet, it was understandable. The first thing she’d done upon seeing him was breaking into tears and on top of it all she had a bandaged wrist. What else could he have thought?

 

Yae Na shook her head. “It’s not what you think”

 

Okay” He let out a sigh of relief. “What happened then?”

 

It’s a long story…” Yae Na said before she could stop herself. She had come here to break up with him tonight, but what she really wanted to do was tell him everything, whether he would believe her or not. What’s the worst that could happen? He simply would not believe her. At least, it would keep him longer, perhaps longer past the time of first snow.

 

Sung Gyu seemed to contemplate it for a second. “Is there a shorter version?”

 

The way he worded it, despite its sense, cracked her up. Yae Na leaned against his shoulder and closed her eyes. His hand lifted to her head then, caressing her gently, and her breathing became even, head felt lighter.

 

Sung Gyu’s phone suddenly started to ring. Yae Na opened her eyes. It was him, she’s sure. Its right about time now. Doctor Yoon’s on the run.

 

Sung Gyu, much to her surprise, then, picked up the phone, glanced at the display and let it vibrate on the table, Howon’s name flashing on the screen. Yae Na looked at it, then up at him who, without a doubt, was in the predicament of choosing between her and work.

 

Right now, Yae Na would give anything to make him pick her. Any other time, she would have been fine, absolutely fine. But not tonight.

 

Please don’t…” She whispered, grasping onto his hand.

 

Sweetheart” He muttered, meeting her gaze. “It’s work, and it’s important”

 

And Yae Na, too, understood this. She thought about it for a second as Howon’s name blinked and blinked and blinked.

 

But you can’t leave me…” She mumbled to him. Please. She added in her mind. I’m doing this for you.

 

Okay” Sung Gyu finally gave in, and Yae Na moved away, giving him room as he picked up the phone.

 

She could hear Howon’s voice, although quite lowly, from the phone. Their conversation would go differently now, since Yae Na wasn’t in Howon’s car, she was in Sung Gyu’s arms.

 

Is that so?” Sung Gyu answered, uncertainty in his voice. “Get all the checkpoints to track him down, Howon”

 

Doctor Yoon was on the run now, and Sung Gyu was right there, with her.

 

Yes, yes I have it…” He glanced over at her and Yae Na quickly looked away, pretending to know nothing about it. “We were right” Sung Gyu now replied an octave lower. “Fentanyl in the system, ten times the dosage”

 

Recalling everything that Howon had told her, Yae Na’s stomach began to turn. She swallowed her tea, trying not to listen anymore to the call, allowing the sweet, warm beverage sooth the burn in her heart.

 

Me? I’m having an emergency. I’ll come in later tonight”

 

It’s Yae Na….yes, yeah she’s with me. Yes, she’ll be fine”

 

A heavy sigh then, and he pressed his fingers on his brows. “Okay, tell me how it goes”

 

The call ended with no farewells but a grim expression on his face. Yae Na could only imagine how his frustration must be. To be so close to the end but so far away. Would he leave now, Yae Na was certain, he’d end up making the same rash decision that he had the last two times. And she couldn’t let that happen again.

 

Was it Howon?” Yae Na asked him, just to appear interested despite knowing everything, beginning to end.

 

Yes it was”

 

Is it still about that case?”

 

She still had to play the part of being innocent, oblivious. For Yae Na, it wasn’t easy, but Sung Gyu was distracted that he wasn’t exactly noticing it that she knew.

 

It was about the case” He replied distractedly and returned to examine her hand. “What happened here? How did you get it?” He skillfully changed the topic

 

A cat scratched me, a stray cat” Yae Na responded sincerely.

 

A cat?” Sung Gyu reiterated as if for clarification.

 

Yeah, a nasty cat who sneaked into the house and…” Yae Na, as briefly as she could, told him about the cat and the dogs and Lisa treating the wound, all the while as he held her hand. He nodded, nodded and nodded, yet he wasn’t convinced.

 

Shouldn’t you get the shots for that?” He asked at the end of her account.

 

Would tomorrow be too late for that?” She asked him. Yae Na wasn’t sure if there will even be a tomorrow, seeing how warped her time had become. But she could hope.

 

Hopefully you wouldn’t be growling like a cat by then”

 

Yae Na laughed, and he only smiled at her as he closely scanned her face.

 

I’m guessing it’s not the only thing that’s bothering you” Sung Gyu asked her gently in the end and entwined his fingers with hers. “Is it...is it the wedding, Yae Na?”

 

A bit” She muttered, followed by a quiet sob.

 

Then what else?”

 

His voice so gentle, so patient, that for a second she contemplated telling him everything.

 

Yet, as she couldn’t tell him all in detail, since, even if she did he wouldn’t understand, she tried to tell him in the best way she could.

 

I just can’t...” She replied.

 

You can’t what…?”

 

She pressed her lips together and remained quiet.

 

Okay” Sung Gyu let out a heavy sigh. “Looks like you’ve had a rough day, so why don’t we just go home and-,”

 

No!” Yae Na exclaimed, perhaps quite too loudly than she imagined that it immediately quietened him out of surprise.

 

Yae Na-,”

 

But she wasn’t going to stop there. She wasn’t about to lose Sung Gyu a third time. “If I go home, you will go back oppa, and if you go back…” in her mind, she added as she trailed off. You will die

 

I can’t just not go back, there’s a criminal out there and I can’t just sit and wait” He replied as patiently as he could.

 

That’s what the police is for!” Yae Na replied, her voice rough, unyielding. “That’s what Howon is for. And all these days I hardly ever saw you because all you’ve been doing is work”

 

Sung Gyu gave her a grave look. “Is that what you’re upset about?”

 

Isn’t that enough to be upset about?”

 

He stared at her for a couple of minutes and sighed. “Jesus, Yae Na-,”

 

I know its important for you” Yae Na continued tearfully. “But this-,” She gestured between them. “This is important for me, you’re important for me!”

 

You do see that things would get difficult at some point, don’t you?” He asked her, his voice grave, resilient. “And as much as this” He gestured between them, “Is important, so is my occupation for me”

 

That’s not all there for life, Oppa” She sighed.

 

Maybe so” He went on, not budging once. “But right now, that is all there for my life. It’s all I’ve worked so hard for, and I’ve come so close, Yae Na, so damn close, and if I wouldn’t-,”

 

Even if that puts your life at risk?” Yae Na pushed on, recalling that moment when his jeep flipped, the tires turned, the moment her whole world fell apart.

 

Sung Gyu seemed to take a second to mull it over, and replied. “If that’s what it takes”

 

Yae Na remembered Howon’s words very clearly. It wasn’t all about his occupation or responsibility. If anything, it was the way that he’d seen the victims in his perspective, the way that he’d thought as far as it could have been her, Yae Na too that would lie cold and dead on a bench in the forensic lab, taken by a monster for doing no wrong but simply existing. And Yae Na understood him too. At least she tried to. But every time the image of his jeep swallowed in flames appeared in her mind, every time she recalled Howon’s voice, the pain, the remorse, the way that it had stabbed and twisted in her heart, it killed her time and time again. Of course, right now even though Sung Gyu was speaking his mind out, he didn’t know, he really didn’t know. If only he knew what she’d had to live through for the past two days, dying million times inside.

 

Sung Gyu oppa...I had a bad dream” Yae Na finally told him. It was the only way that she could convey it to him, to make him understand how it would be like for her.

 

Sung Gyu remained quiet, for Yae Na had had so many dreams before; about her parents, the accident that took their lives, so he understood.

 

I saw you...and you were-you were chasing this criminal and you make a very bad decision and I…” She couldn’t help falling apart yet again, pressing her palms upon her eyes. “It killed me even then, even though its a dream, the thought of even losing you, it killed me….do you know what it feels like?”

 

Sung Gyu pursed his lips, his eyes cold and distant, his lips unsmiling. For a moment, Yae Na wondered how the warmth and affection he’d given her had suddenly dissolved, leaving this cold, terrifying version of him. “I know exactly what it feels like” He told her then, and she could see how his lower lip trembled. He was holding in so much. “Because every day, I see another dead girl. Every day, I’m terrified that it’s-,” He paused at that point and took a deep breath. “they don’t stop Yae Na. These killers, they never do, unless we stop them”

 

But I don’t…” She whispered, her voice shaking. “I don’t want to lose you”

 

He gazed back at her, then, his eyes glistening, with anger and resentment and everything that he struggled to put into words, he only gazed back at her.

 

Sung Gyu’s phone rang again, vibrating against the wooden table on and on like a beaconing. This time, he didn’t stop. His face was grim as he picked it up and turned away.

 

Okay…” Sung Gyu muttered, and by the tone of his voice, Yae Na could almost guess what it could be. “Just...just search all over Jung Gu, inform all the local police stations...we can’t let him get away”

 

Doctor Yoon. She realized, as Sung Gyu finally put down the phone. She looked outside the glass panel, and she could see it, clearly well. The first snow had begun to fall, and tonight, Sung Gyu was still with her.

 

I’ve got to go” He told her, finally getting up on his feet. “And Yae Na, please go home now. Have dinner, go to sleep. We’ll talk again when you feel better”

 

Yae Na was hardly hearing him at that point. She reached out to his hand, her eyes still set on the falling snow, an indescribable amount of relief easing into her heart. Yae Na could finally breath again.

 

It’s the first snow” She whispered, mostly to herself. It felt like the first snow had more significance than it initially did. Now its a sign of loss, a sign of life.

 

Yae Na” Sung Gyu called yet again, and she finally turned back to him. She knew she shouldn’t be smiling right now. But success would always make one smile.

 

Did you lose him?” She asked before she could even stop herself.

 

Did I lose who?”

 

That man” Yae Na replied, realizing what she’d done wrong. “The-the-”

 

Yes we did” Sung Gyu sighed, and it was evident he was livid when he took his hand away from hers. “He got away, thanks to you. And I don’t think it’s something to be so happy about”

 

 

Despite what he said, however, Yae Na was, quite wrongly so, happy about the turn that it took. At least they were able to evade the car chase, which would have changed everything. At least she had him with her at the time of the first snow. As bad as she felt about letting a criminal go on lose, letting Sung Gyu do what he would have done wasn’t the answer. They’d find him, somehow. People who do wrong would always be punished for what they’ve done. What was important was that Yae Na finally, after two days of trying, had managed to save his life.

 

She was in quite a good mood even after she returned home. Of course, there was a gnawing feeling inside her, a flicker of anxiety over how the rest of the day would be, and if that was really the end of the time loop. She had this strong feeling that she may have solved the puzzle, gotten out of the time loop. Her quest was to save her fiance and save her marriage, was it not? Was it not what god expected her to achieve?

 

She returned home to her two excited dogs who trailed after her wherever she went across the house. Yae Na was too exhilarated that her stomach churned even at the thought of food. So she cleaned up, the heaters and switched the lights off. Although she hit the bed early, sleep just wasn’t coming to her. She realized, she was just afraid that, if she’d close her eyes now, she’d open them yet again to the very same nightmare. So Yae Na spent half the night, tossing and turning on the bed, just thinking. She thought about herself, her life and the strange turn of events that had brought her here and how? And why? Then she thought about how none of these questions had answers. Then she thought about Sung Gyu, about their wedding and how there wouldn’t even be one if she lived in the time loop forever.

 

What if she had to keep saving Sung Gyu’s life again and again and again for the rest of her life? How could she stop this miserable curse? Or had she already, by saving both her marriage and Sung Gyu tonight? Was her marriage even saved? With what happened today, would Sung Gyu even want to marry her anymore?

 

Through and through her endless thoughts, sleep eventually came to her. Hours had passed and it was so deep into the night then, perhaps even into the next day. Her eyes were drooping, her mind oscillating between consciousness and unconsciousness, as she finally fell in peace. In a distant, however, Yae Na heard a familiar sound. She’d initially thought it was just in her mind, the sound of her apartment unlocking, the two beeps, the sound of her lock coming off and the two beeps again when it closed. Then there were footsteps, footsteps of someone who walked heavily, carrying the weight of the world. They were closer and closer, followed by the excited sound of dog paws across the linoleum. The sound was in her room then, and in her bare consciousness she heard the rustle of clothes and tinkle of a belt. Yae Na finally fluttered open her eyes, narrowing them as her sight blurred. It took a while for her to register what she was seeing. Who, rather. It was Sung Gyu’s tall, lean silhouette standing in the dark of her room, his coat and jacket undone, laid on top of her own clothes piled on a chair as he stood there, quietly unbuckling his belt.

 

Oppa?” Yae Na croaked out, her voice heavy with sleep.

 

Sung Gyu paused what he was doing and looked over at her. “Did I wake you?”

 

Yae Na sat up, supporting herself with her elbows. She shook her head. “What are you doing here?”

 

Nothing” Sung Gyu shook his head and approached her bed. The entire world had fallen asleep by that time. And when Sung Gyu came to her and sat on the bed to her left, Yae Na wondered if she was still in a dream. “I just wanted to apologize”

 

Apologize?” Yae Na blinked, confused.

 

For tonight” He sighed, reached out and fixed her hair. “I’m really sorry, Yae Na...I was being rather insensitive weren’t I?”

 

It’s okay” Yae Na muttered in response, taking the hand that was on her face in her own.

 

It isn’t” Sung Gyu shook his head. “I shouldn’t have said certain things…” He chewed his lower lip. “I just wasn’t thinking through. I must have been very impulsive”

 

Impulsive is something you seem to do often now” Yae Na replied sleepily, recalling the events of the past two days.

 

Don’t I?” Sung Gyu laughed nervously, entangling their fingers together.

 

Hm” Yae Na nodded agreeingly, which made him laugh. Silence ensued afterwards, during which Sung Gyu gazed down their hands resting on her lap, their fingers entwined. He rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb.

 

Yae Na, are you mad at me?” He wanted to know.

 

I’m livid” Yae Na replied despite exactly how she felt. If she was to be completely honest, there was not a flicker of anger in her heart towards him. She was happy, indescribably so, to have him here in her home, on her bed, holding her hand.

 

You are” Sung Gyu repeated raising his brows and slowly, he removed the covers off her. Yae Na’s heart picked up pace, watching him as he reached over and the lamp on her side table. The dull yellow light soon eliminated the entire room, its shine reflecting in his eyes, making them appear very, very brown. He moved closer to her, and she could see a small, playful smile on his lips.

 

Then...what can I do to make it up to you, Kim Yae Na?” He whispered, making her hairs rise up, and the hand that held hers slowly moved upwards as he pressed them down together beside her head. Yae Na’s mind was empty, her heart stopped beating. For the first time in days, Yae Na was acutely aware of her surrounding, the sound of the clocks, the howl of the wind, Sung Gyu’s warmth, Sung Gyu’s eyes, Sung Gyu’s touch, Sung Gyu’s smile.

 

Yae Na took a shallow breath, then another as he moved closer and closer towards her. She didn’t close her eyes, she couldn’t. This was never in any of their previous timelines, And so, she wanted to see it all.

 

It was her who moved first as time seemed to go too slow for her. She slid both her arms around his neck, buried her fingers in his hair, and then he kissed her. Slow and tender in the beginning, he was almost unsure, questioning her quietly, testing her. She hadn’t closed her eyes even then, nor had he. She could see the brown of his eyes so well like small pools of amber, so beautiful, so close. He nipped and tugged at her lips, showering her with small, sensual butterfly kisses. When she moved her hand down his waist, feeling his warm skin over his shirt, Sung Gyu slowly climbed upon the bed, straddling her, and cradled her head in his arms.

 

Are you still mad at me?” He asked pulling away from her lips at one point, his voice merely a whisper and breathless.

 

I am” Yae Na whispered, tracing the shape of his lips.

 

Then I guess I have no choice” He whispered back, smiling, before he buried his face in her neck. Yae Na closed her eyes, massaging his scalp with her fingers, encouraging him more and more. He kissed her, down her neck, on her collarbones, along her jaw and downwards, all the while as his hand fondled her s. He didn’t say a word after then, not even as she fumbled with his shirt, not even as his clothes came undone. He wasn’t saying a word when he undressed her, when he laid her down and kissed her softly, tenderly, lovingly, his fingers feeling her, his lips tasting her skin. As the night grew darker and as the whole world was painted in a fine layer of white outside, Sung Gyu told her that he loved her, many, many times, and showed her that he did in all the right ways he knew.


 

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