A/N: The title of the chapter says it all :))
JFK International Airport
Sunghyun and Hyorin were in the arrival hall of John F. Kennedy International Airport. They had been there since 7:00pm. Woohyun’s flight would be landing at twenty past 8:00 in the evening. They were at the airport earlier than expected since Sunggyu dropped them off after their meeting at HQ.
As they waited for their son, they couldn’t help but recall their conversation.
Giving out a long breath, they called their son. And Woohyun answered their call only after a few rings.
“Hey mom, dad.”
“How is my very handsome baby boy?”
They chuckled as they saw him pouting. Woohyun didn’t want to be called a baby anymore. But as a mother, Hyorin always told him that he would always be their baby.
The time had come to ask for their son's response after catching up on their lives.
“Woohyun-ah, do you have an answer for us now?” Hyorin asked softly.
“Mom, dad… I’m still having a hard time deciding. But can I ask you something?” They nodded.
“How can I legally reside and work there?"
It was a question they had anticipated. Woohyun was smart like Sunghyun. They knew the moment that they asked him if he could live with them, he researched all the hows in his mind.
The couple looked at each other and laid out all the options they could come up with. And as soon as they gave him the last option, as they assumed, Woohyun got mad.
“Are you out of your mind mom, dad? I’m not going to marry anyone just to get a green card. In case you forgot, I have a girlfriend.” Fire was spit from their son’s mouth.
Neither of them wanted to get into an argument, so they tried to maintain their composure. Sunghyun and Woohyun both had the same temperament, so his husband knew that their son’s reaction was normal.
“Listen son.” Sunghyun tried to have Woohyun stop going ballistic. “The last option isn’t definite ok? That was why we’re asking you and talking to you. We can negotiate and compromise and make decision together. It would be the faster but if you don’t want it, then we’ll think of another feasible option.”
“Let me think this through dad. The fastest option you were suggesting, please get it off the table first. For now, let’s end this call because it’s giving me a headache.”
The couple said goodbye with a little disappointment. However, they did understand their son.
End of Flashback
After that call, they had a talk with Sunggyu and he was the one who gave them another option to give their son.
Uncle, aunt, just bring him here as a tourist. He can stay here for 90 days, right? If he liked it here, maybe he would agree in your last option before he leave for Korea again. As for work, of course, he cannot work here legally. But he can either take his work here or we could make him work at the firm. We need an IT in audit department. He could also work remotely. The pay would be under the table but we’ll try to get him a working visa. But as far as I knew, working visa would be hard for his profession since as per labor law here, we need to prove that no one can be hired here locally. You also knew that uncle, right? Marrying American citizen would still be the fastest though.
The next time they spoke with Woohyun, when his head had cooled down, they presented the idea. They didn’t know what had happened but their son already had an answer for them even before they told him the fourth option. It was amazing how Woohyun had the same idea as Sunggyu but still, marrying a citizen was not an option for him.
Hyorin checked the arrival board and noticed that Woohyun's flight would be delayed by another 30 minutes. Her husband fished his phone from his pocket to inform their driver of the delay. Since they were dropped-off to the airport, their driver just followed them there.
Woohyun was fixing his things and getting ready for landing. His flight would land thirty minutes later than the expected arrival time but he wanted to fix all his belongings so he could leave the plane fast. After, he pushed the button at the armrest of his seat and have it set into reclined position. It was his first time traveling in first class and he loved how comfortable it was.
As he closed his eyes, he leaned his body on his seat. There was still a feeling of apprehension inside him but there was also excitement brewing inside him. After everything, he took a leap of faith. He would be landing in the land of the free. It wasn’t an easy decision but he thought that if he didn't try it, he would always wonder and ask what ifs in the future.
According to his agreement and compromise with his parents, he would stay for 90 days and look for any opportunities that presented themselves. If there were none, he would return home. He didn’t resign from work but applied for a leave of absence for 3 months. He would still work remotely from time-to-time but he wasn’t required. Luck was on his side because his company allowed him. He reasoned that since he started, he never took any personal time off from work and he even put in more overtime than he needed to. His manager was kind enough to grant him vacation. He would still be paid because he had accumulated enough leave credits for working for more than a year.
With regards to his girlfriend, Yejin, they had a huge fight but they settled everything before he left.
Yejin was already at the restaurant when Woohyun arrived. Her bright smile made his mood livelier. Ever since the night he talked to his parents, his irritation has never subsided. How could his parents think of marrying him off to someone he had no idea of? He knew that some people do that and he wasn’t judging them but he didn’t want to do the same. Moreover, he had a girlfriend who would get hurt.
Or so he thought.
As soon as he took a seat in front of her, she bombarded him with questions about his conversation with his parents. There was excitement in her eyes and he could feel that she was expecting a positive response. He had to calm her down from her excitement and tell her that they needed to eat first because they might starve if he started the storytelling.
When they were done. He told her everything he and his parents talked about. And he never expected her reaction and opinion.
“Honey, you should take it.”
“What?!” The whole restaurant’s attention was on him. He lowered his voice and continued. “Why would I? You are just as crazy as my parents Yejin. I’m not planning to marry anyone just to have a green card, okay? I would rather live here.”
“Woohyun, it’s just for two years. I don’t mind. Really. You can file a divorce after and then we could start our year-long preparation for our wedding. It’s just the right amount of time. Once we are married, I can join you in the US. We would live there.”
He was getting more and more pissed and annoyed. How can the important people around him play with his future? He never expected that his own girlfriend would agree on something preposterous.
“Hon, you might be marrying an old spinster or bachelor who just wanted company. And maybe that person needed money that’s why she or he would want to marry someone who’s only after a green card.”
“Do you think I’m only after a piece of ID that states I am not an illegal alien? Is that how low you think of me?”
Woohyun called the attention of the waiter to ask for their bill. He paid for their meal and ran out of the place. Yejin followed him and pulled his hand.
“Woohyun, why are you getting angry? Am I not allowed to give my thoughts about it? If that would be the way we could secure our future, then what’s wrong with doing the best we can to achieve it?”
He didn’t want to open his mouth but he just didn’t care anymore. “That’s the problem Yejin. The future you are always talking about. You are planning everything for us without asking me.”
“So, you never wanted a future with me? You don’t want to marry me?” His girlfriend was also getting angry with the tone of her voice.
At that moment, he forgot that they were standing on the street with people looking at them.
“I never said I didn’t intend to marry you. You wanted to get married 3 years from now and I don’t know if I would be ready by that time to settle down. I also have goals for myself not just you. You've already planned all the things you want to do in your life, including moving to the US. You are making me a ticket to fulfill your dreams. But did you even ask what my plans were?" He snapped indignantly.
Yejin’s voice was louder than his. “Is that wrong? What’s wrong with my plans? As you can see it always includes you because that’s how much I love you and how much I want a future with you.”
“There’s nothing wrong with your plans. I’m just saying, don’t plan my life for me.”
He left his girlfriend and walked to his car. Instead of following him, he saw her calling for a cab. He hit the steering wheel of his car angrily and ruffled his hair in frustration.
Woohyun drove off and returned home angrier than he was.
After another week, he and Yejin were still not talking. In the end, he came to a decision that he told his parents. They compromised and came up with a sounder option.
His parents booked his round-trip flight for 90 days while he completed the visa waiver form online. He filed for his vacation and in just two weeks, he was bound to leave Seoul.
He couldn’t just leave without talking to his girlfriend. Therefore, he called her and talked about his decision. She accepted it and they both apologized to each other. They never broke up. They decided to go through the uncertainty of a long-distance relationship for 3 months and would just see what would happen next.
End of Flashback
Woohyun opened his eyes as soon as the announcement of landing was broadcast. He positioned his seat in the normal position and prepared for landing.
After a while…
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to JFK International Airport. Local time is 9:00 in the evening and the outside temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. On behalf of Korean Airlines and the entire crew, I’d like to thank you for joining us on this trip and we are looking forward to seeing you on board again in the near future. Have a nice evening!”
A characteristic he loved about flying first class was that they would always be first at everything. From boarding the aircraft to exiting it, to getting luggage on the conveyor belt. So fast and so convenient.
After he passed the long line at immigration and got his bags, he immediately saw his parents upon his exit at the arrival door. His mother ran to him and hugged him tight while his father gave him a bear hug.
“Welcome to America, son.”
“Thank you, dad, mom. I missed both of you.” They walked to the waiting van outside and his father was the one who loaded his luggage at the back of the vehicle.
“Awww… we missed you more and your sister.” His mom said. “We’ll bring her here on her school break.”
“So, where are we going now? Are we heading home?”
Home. He didn’t know why, but he never felt fear. When he saw his parents, he felt the longing feeling inside him satisfied, and he felt at home.
“Aren’t you tired from your 14 hour flight? We can eat dinner before we head home. Our house is an hour drive from here.”
Woohyun smiled at his father. “Not that tired, dad. I slept a bit on the plane but not too much so my body clock would adjust right away.
“Ok. We’ll eat first before heading home. What do you want to eat?”
His parents laughed at him before saying how he researched the best-known food in NY.
The next day, Woohyun woke up a bit late. He heard a clunking sound outside his room and the smell of food that made his stomach grumble and his mouth water. He looked at the digital clock on his b