Chapter 8

EXILE

Yugyeom is physically present for his tutoring session, but his mind is elsewhere. Seeing Yeojin knocking on his door early in the morning stirred many emotions in Yugyeom. He knew Yeojin through Bambam. Kanika and Yeojin used to visit Bambam during long weekends as they were studying in Zurich. Yugyeom knew the girls for past 6 years.

Yeojin had a warm and docile personality. All of Yeojin’s cousins treated her like a princess,  but Yeojin was far from spoiled. She was respectful to everyone she came across, with a shy smile on her face. She was sensitive to people’s wants and needs, and at times people exploited her naivety. Nikki was the constant barrier who kept the harsh world away from Yeojin.

Yugyeom witnessed Yeojin’s transformation from a pretty teenager to a beautiful young woman. She was elegant in her style and classy in her taste. She has soft rosy lips, with big sparkling eyes full of life, and a straight, delicate nose. She is slender in built and her appearance screamed innocence and vulnerability. She is cute in a girl-next-door type of way.

Yeojin and Yugyeom are similar in certain ways, both are reserved, they cared for their loved ones and they believed in finding happiness in little things in life.

Yeojin had puppy eyes for Yugyeom  since they were teens. Her feelings only grew for him, and she confessed to Yugyeom 3 years ago. Yugyeom always had a soft spot for Yeojin. He liked her all along, but he never acted on it. At some point he thought the thin line between like and love for Yeojin blurred. There was a time he wanted to accept her feelings, but circumstances changed and when Yeojin confessed her feelings of love towards him, he couldn't reciprocate them.

Yeojin loves Yugyeom more than he’ll ever know, and Yugyeom loves her more than he’ll ever show. That is the tragedy of their beings. Bambam and Nikki were the only ones who knew of Yeojin’s affection for Yugyeom. Yeojin pleaded with them not to tell her brother or cousins.

Yugyeom, finished with his tutoring, is back at his place. When he entered the hall, he sees Yeojin sleeping on the couch curled into a little ball. She looked sweet and defenseless. Yugyeom din’t have the heart to wake her up, but he needs to get her to the airport and get her on the earliest flight to Zurich.

Yugyeom walked closer to the couch and called for Yeojin softly. She moved in her sleep but was not fully awake; he patted her on her shoulder lightly, this woke up Yeojin.

“Yeojin, sorry to wake you up, I guess you must be tired, but we need to leave for the airport,” Yugyeom stated .

“Yugi, what time is it now?” Yeojin asked, slightly feeling dazed.

“It’s 7:20 AM,” Yugyeom replied.

“Yugi it’s not been an hour since I am here, I want to talk to you. Please don’t ask me to leave, it’s not my intention to startle you with my unannounced presence,” Yeojin stated with tear-filled eyes looking at him who gaze was on her but his thoughts seemed preoccupied.

Yugyeom could feel the torment in her voice. It broke his heart to see the girl he liked in such distress and sorrow. Yugyeom is aware he is the reason behind this angel’s grief. God must have made his heart out of stone not to surrender to this pure soul. Yeojin never faltered in her love for Yugyeom for the past 6 years. Yugyeom was her first love, sadly she is alone in her love and it only left her in pain.

She never demanded Yugyeom to reciprocate her feelings. She was mindful not to make him uncomfortable, when they were in the same setting. Her affection is a constant even after Yugyeom dismissing her feelings. She waited on the sidelines, hoping one day she would become someone significant in his life.

Yugyeom felt like a heartless bastard to disregard her feelings. He is aware that she set up a façade that Yugyeom’s indifference towards her din’t torment her. She never whined to Bambam or Nikki, either regarding the same. She made sure Bambam’s friendship with Yugyeom is not strained because of her predicament.

“Yugi, please say something, tell me I don’t have to leave right away,” Yeojin pleaded softly.

“Yeojina, you know I can’t let you stay. I don’t want you to be in trouble with your family. Your actions have consequences for not just you, but also for Bambam and Nikki. Did you think about them before you flew here?” Yugyeom stated, he knew his words were harsh, but he had to make sure she doesn’t get in trouble with her family for this little stunt.

Guilt consumed Yeojin at Yugyeom’s words. Head hung low, she replied with tears falling down her cheeks, “I am sorry, I am being selfish. I do not intend to get anyone in trouble, I just wanted to see you and talk to you before I run out of the chances to see you, I am graduating in few months and I will go back to Seoul Yugi. I am worried that our paths may not cross or you would avoid the direction I am in,” she stated with hurt in her voice. “I am sorry to ruin your day, I will hire a cab to get to the airport, I will take my leave, you take care,” she said.

“Yeojin I want to take you to the airport, let me do it please. I will be at peace if I know that you are safe and back on a plane to Zurich,” Yugyeom stated. “Do you have a return ticket booked?” Yugyeom enquired.

Yeojin informed him she din’t have a return ticket, they checked for the earliest flights and availability of seats. They found a British Airways flight flying from London City Airport to Zurich. It is roughly 2 hour drive from the place Yugyeom lived. They started their journey to the airport in silence.

“Call me once you land in Zurich and please don’t do this again. I want you to be safe and happy,” Yugyeom stated.

Yeojin nodded her head in agreement with tears flowing down her cheeks. She is here to pour her heart out to Yugyeom, he din’t give her a chance to share her heart. The sense of rejection stung her deep.

“Yeojina, you are smart, caring and beautiful, you are precious to everyone in your family, you shouldn’t cry over a guy like me. You shouldn’t waste your love on someone who doesn’t reciprocate your affection,” Yugyeom stated, trying to convince her he is not worth her affection and tears.

“Yugi, I am surrounded by people that love me, I don’t mind sharing my love with someone who can’t love me back. I have enough love for both of us, and I can wait for a lifetime for you to acknowledge my feelings for you,” Yeojin replied with a newfound confidence in her voice.

Her answer rendered Yugyeom speechless. She is never this forward with her feelings and her stance, she din’t hold back with her thoughts this time.

“Yugi, I know I am being brazen, but hear me out for once, we both are drowning under the waves of words we aren’t saying. I wish you’d look at me like the way I look at you. I wish you’d love me the way I love you,” Yeojin stated softly, staring at the window.

“I am worried that I may lose the chance to share my love with you, I am worried that I may never be someone significant in your life. I am scared thinking there will be a day when our paths cross, and you might treat me as a stranger, I had tried loving you less but that hurts just the same,” Yeojin stated with hurt evident in her expression.

“I just want a kiss. A kiss accepting I am yours with heart and soul, a kiss to tell me, you trust your lips against mine, to prove to me I can still see the world with my eyes closed. A kiss to remind me actions truly do speak louder than words,” Yeojin whispered, looking at Yugyeom with tears in her eyes.

Time stood still for a moment. Yeojin’s confession pierced through his heart, crumbling his resolve. He was adamant on denying his love for her. He acknowledged his feelings for Yeojin ran deeper than he gave them credit for. He drove the car to the side lane, halted the vehicle and turned the emergency blinkers on.

He removed their seat belts, his eyes fixed on Yeojin’s face. He swiftly picked her up from the passenger seat and placed her on his lap. He placed a hand on her waist, and his other hand went on her neck, bending her neck to kiss her on her delicate lips.

He kissed her intensely; he wanted her to believe that he belongs to her, and he loves her with all his heart. He needed to convey he was sorry to put her through such agony.

Startled by the intensity of the situation, it took Yeojin a moment to realize what was happening. Her heart raced once it dawned on her that Yugyeom is reciprocating her feelings and she welcomed his kiss.

It seemed like an eternity the lovers were embraced in a warm void insulated from reality, as the moment slowly dissolved they gradually noticed the passing cars. Yeojin snuggled into Yugyeom stating in a soft coy tone “I wish this moment lasted longer,… maybe forever”.

Yugyeom is overwhelmed, no longer in control, as his emotions had taken over. His feelings out weighed his logical mind as he smelled the sweet perfume. He had found the happiness he had denied himself and his angel. The only honest thing he could say was, “I love you, I have always loved you. I am sorry that I have put you through hell,”. He wanted to explain his stoic attitude to Yeojin apologize for the pain he inflicted on her as he let her heart bleed. Some emotions are so complex that it cannot be translated to words.

His eyes are filled with tears, he is not sure if it was due to happiness or uncertainty of his place in Yeojin’s future. He doubted if his presence in Yeojin’s life will put her through tough times.

“Yeojina, I promise you I will never let go when things turn grim. I can’t promise you it is all sunshine and rainbows from here on. We will face obstacles going forward, but I will do everything in my capacity to be by your side for the rest of our lives,” Yugyeom promised.

“Yugi, you can’t comprehend how happy you have made me today. I trust you. I trust your promise and I also promise that no matter what happens I will not leave your side,” Yeojin replied with tears in her eyes and a warm smile on her face.

“I want you to keep this between us. I trust Bambam and Kanika, we can let them know of our relationship. I want you to concentrate on your education, also don’t give any reason for your family to suspect your actions,” Yugyeom stated.

“I will be careful, don’t worry about me. Let’s get going, I have a flight to catch and this is a memorable visit for me and I hope the farewell will be equally meaningful,” Yeojin replied with a cheeky grin.

Yugyeom drove Yeojin to the airport and before they parted ways, he gave her a warm hug and an affectionate kiss on her forehead. They din’t know farewells can be this hard, but they promised each other to visit as often as possible. With heavy hearts they finally parted ways, anxious about the future and hopes of staying together for life.

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