This comes at an inopportune time. As you have gotten older, you have noticed that you are much more emotional when it happens. Your period used to be just cramps, but now it can drastically change how you act, especially around others. Venue hunting for the wedding has now become a game of “Don’t cry in front of anyone.”
Today, it’s a beautiful place outside the city, but it doesn’t feel like the right place for Mina. Neither she nor Mingi is a countryside kind of person. The scenic nature landscape for their wedding doesn’t fit who they are. You have already mentioned this before they booked an appointment to tour the venue, but Mina really wanted to see it because it looks like one of those aesthetic weddings on Pinterest. Her special day shouldn’t pander to the desires of the internet. That would take away the special part.
For you, though, it would be perfect. It’s rustic with a touch of modern. The large paned windows overlooking the woodsy fields would be breathtaking during the golden hour. The crystal chandeliers give the room a more elegant feel, and the white pews would look beautiful decorated with flowers and ribbon as a personalized touch. The only thing you can’t imagine is the person at the end of the aisle.
With a sigh, you continue to enviously look through a portfolio of photos of previous weddings. Two of Mina’s bridesmaids, Sejeong and Yujin, have joined in on the occasion. Sejeong was a teaching assistant for one of Mina’s classes and quickly became fond of Mina, similar to your relationship with her. Sejeong is closer to your age yet is more of an adult than you, in your own opinion. She received her Masters, got a job offer before even graduating, and is currently dating a VP of a large accounting firm. Unlike you, she has her life together.
On the other hand, Yujin is the complete opposite. She is one of Mina’s younger cousins. You haven’t spent much time with her since you moved out for college, but she seems to be the same outgoing, naive, and blunt person you remember from childhood. Though no longer a kid, she still acts like one, and it kind of gets on your nerves.
“None of these weddings look like something Mina would want,” Sejeong comments as she flips through a different portfolio.
“Right? I told her to look somewhere downtown. This is too farmhouse chic,” you say in agreement, shifting more weight to your forearms propped up on the table.
Yujin chimes in, but you don’t pay attention due to your phone vibrating in your jeans. Without looking at the sender, you open the text notification.
You look hot like that.
You glance up from the table to find him watching you across the room, eyes undressing you. When he notices he has your attention, he blows you a subtle kiss to which you respond with a quick flash of your middle finger.
Now look who’s being creepy
That’s a weird way of spelling thank you.
I’ll block your number.
You peer up at him as he receives the message and see his eyes dart in your direction. He gives you a look of disbelief before typing out a response.
No! We’ll need to talk about wedding stuff!
And yet you text me that I’m hot…
Fine, I take back the compliment.
Good. I don’t want it.
You still look hot though.
After reading the message, you roll your eyes and shove your phone back into your jeans. You can hear San’s snickering nearing behind you. He dawdles up next to you and peeks at the photos.
“That’ll be us one day,” he teases, pointing at one of the pictures of a bride and groom.
“I guess we all have unrealistic dream weddings,” you respond without missing a beat, making Sejeong and Yujin laugh. You turn the page unbothered by his presence. It takes him a minute to recover before flipping that stupid switch.
“Then tell me about yours, and I’ll make sure it happens,” he muses, one of his eyebrows raising.
“Mine doesn’t involve you,” you quip and finally look up from the pictures.
He holds your gaze for a few seconds, studying your eyes with a faint grin. Being this close-up reminds you how handsome he is, and you hate it. As you open your mouth to say something, a cramp surges in your abdomen, and you wince. It doesn’t go unnoticed by San.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I just feel kind of sick to my stomach,” you lie with the first thing that comes to your head.
“You know sugar can fix that.”
You give him a weird look, and he leans onto the table with his lips puckered and eyes closed. A part of you wonders how shocked he would be if you actually kissed him, but you stick with flicking his forehead, causing him to yelp.
“We’re going to look at the balcony,” Mina stops to inform the four of you before following the venue employee to the large glass double doors.
“We’re going to finish looking at these pictures,” Sejeong calls after her. The pages turn faster as she and Yujin hurry.
Your phone vibrates in your pocket after you start walking to the doors, and you prepare yourself for another flirty text from San. The contact name that is displayed on the screen makes you stop in your tracks. It feels like you have been into a void and are all alone. Your head is pounding and feels heavy. Memories flood your mind of the person who has texted you.
About a year ago, you gave a dating app a chance. Several flirty conversations occurred, but one piqued your interest the most. Mark was nice and funny and matched well with your personality. In person, he was charming and more attractive than in his pictures. You felt that he was a keeper, but two months of “dates” that consisted of going to bars and then back to his place encouraged you to finally ask what your relationship was. His answer was that he didn’t want anything serious, just a friend with benefits. The damage had been done, and he quickly demoted you to just a friend.
You’ve only talked a few times since then, him hitting you up for a booty call only to ghost you again. Though you are ready to settle down in a steady relationship, you can’t resist being the center of his affection just one more time. You hold on with false hope that he eventually wants a serious relationship. With each hook-up, you promise yourself it will be the last time. It’s been a couple months since your last rendezvous. A simple ‘hey’ has more power over you than it should.
Coming back down to earth, you sense something lurking behind you, but before you turn around, a finger pokes either side of your ribs, making you squeal from how it tickles. San has a satisfied grin when you look behind you.
“You almost made me drop my phone!” You yell as he continues on his way to his and Mingi’s college friend, Yunho.
“You’re so lucky. San is, like, obsessed with you,” Yujin says catching up to you.
“He just does to annoy me. It’s not what you think,” you correct her.
“I want him to flirt with me, but he doesn’t even really acknowledge that I’m here.”
“Think of that as a blessing. He’ll use you and throw you away like a tissue.”
“I wouldn’t mind it being a one-time thing,” she sighs, longingly watching him walk with Yunho to the balcony doors.
You don’t want her to get hurt once she realizes that he exclusively has one-time things, but if she really wants to, who are you to stand in her way?
“Flirt with him first then, I guess,” you suggest, heading to the balcony as well.
The outdoor area is massive, hanging over the short cliff on stilts, with a view over the woods to the lake on the other side. You lean over the fence a little to see how far down the ground is from the balcony. Before you can stand straight again, a pair of hands suddenly grab your shoulders, effectively scaring the out of you as you grip harder on the wooden railing. Finding San as the culprit isn’t surprising.
“Oh, my god! I hate you! Stop doing that!” You yell holding a hand over your heart.
He only laughs, “I couldn’t help it.”
“I almost died!”
“I would have caught you.”
“No, from a heart attack, you !” You push at his shoulder, but his grin only grows. He catches your wrist before you fully retract your hand and pulls you under his arm.
“Oh, you’re fine,” he contends, giving you a tight half hug.
“You are the bane of my existence,” you mutter as you allow him to playfully rock you from side to side. His sweater is soft against your cheek, and his cologne fills your senses. It’s comforting, and you kind of like it.
Yujin glowers at the two of you, burning in jealousy. Her fascination with him is beyond you. You don’t recall wanting to be used by a boy at her age. Then again, you sort of do that now with Mark… Maybe you’re both fools.
“I don’t know what has gotten into you two, but you need to be quieter,” Mina warns you and San as the venue staff member guides your group back inside.
To be honest, you don’t know either. San has made you feel like a little kid again with his pestering antics today. You might be enjoying it a little bit. Maybe because it’s different from his that leaves you a flustered mess.
Following Mina to the front of the grand hall, someone taps on your shoulder, and