A/N: Part I.//??
“Donghae! Lee Donghae! Answer me! Answer me, you bastard!”
“It’s over, Aerin! Please, get up…Get up.”
Even during such a tumultuous argument, Lee Donghae lifted Lee Aerin off of the ground and withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket to clean her face. He held her flush against his body with one arm wrapped around her waist as she sobbed into his chest. Students had stopped to stare at the couple much to Donghae’s irascibility. Although Lee Aerin lost her splendor in his eyes as a lover, she still aded his life as an ever-present companion. In fact, Aerin had been worth much more to Donghae as a sibling rather than as a lover. Despite Donghae’s attempts to explain this to Aerin in simplistic, easy-to-digest terms, the jilted female would have none of his sweet nothings. Lee Aerin’s heart had been mishandled and Donghae fully accepted the fact that he had selfishly done his best friend an injustice. He desired another woman; one Jessica Jung. She attended his soccer and baseball games with devout punctuality, cooked his lunches and stowed them away clandestinely in his mailbox, and even shot him innocent yet loving text messages every day. Lee Aerin hadn’t neglected Donghae in any way, but her independence paired with her natural aloofness and passive-aggressiveness made her seem unapproachable. Donghae liked to cuddle and be cuddled, kiss and be kissed, love and be loved. Lee Aerin couldn’t give that unconditional vulnerability to him. Donghae didn’t want to relinquish his hold on the female he held in such lofty respects, but he couldn’t prolong his or her heartache any longer. Fortunately for Donghae, Aerin shoved him away while snatching the tear stained handkerchief out of his hand. Dab, dab, dab; she pressed the cloth against her swollen cheeks and eyes and tried to stabilize her erratic breathing.
“Give me an answer, Donghae. I’ll do a ing pirouette out of your life if you just tell me! What have I done wrong?!”
“Aerin, you…you’re…I can’t be the man I want to be to you! It’s not you, it’s me!”
Aerin gaped at Donghae incredulously; how dare he pull out that worn excuse! Her brown eyes narrowed to amber slits as she took an imposing step towards Donghae. “You have some nerve; you can’t settle for just humiliating me in front of our graduating class?! You have to question my intelligence, too?! What kind of bastard are you, Lee Donghae?!”
“…Jessica Jung.” Donghae heard Aerin’s sharp intake of breath and let his head hang. He had to swallow his fear and end the convoluted web he had spun with his own indecisiveness. At the risk of losing his best friend; his sister and the woman he loved...to free her from his shackles, Donghae had to come clean. He slowly raised his head and looked into Aerin’s glowering eyes. He couldn’t run. He couldn’t hide. He could only do. “I’ve been in a relationship with Jessica Jung for two months while we were together.”
Aerin’s countenance changed from infuriated to crestfallen. The students that had congregated around the quarreling duo turned to regard Jessica Jung with spiteful curiosity. The brunette attempted to cover her inflamed cheeks and she avoided eye contact with Donghae even as he desperately sought her out in the crowd. The loneliness weaved around his limbs slowly and he needed the woman who he was sacrificing sixteen years of intransient friendship for. He knew that announcing his relationship to Jessica in such an impromptu way was bound to embarrass the modest young woman, but Donghae needed to end this before he could change his mind and regret his decision. He watched Aerin’s arms fall slack to her sides and could tell from the quaking intakes of breath that she was trying not to lose composure in front of him again. Donghae knew that Aerin wanted to look strong in front of him; she didn’t need to show any more frivolous displays of emotion. In a way, Donghae had given Aerin two important things; her pride and Jessica’s purity. Jessica would be viewed as the third wheel in the relationship; the third wheel that extended its axle and jammed the front wheels of the wagon. Jessica’s “good girl” image would be tarnished for a while, even if she and Donghae did officially confirm their dating rumors publically. Word traveled fast at Seoul National Heart University and even the resident “Silent Icicle” received the condolences of the student body. In the meantime, Aerin would always have the satisfaction of harshly brushing against Donghae’s shoulder as he let her walk away, his head downcast and his eyes misty with impending tears.
• • • • •
Even though Lee Aerin didn’t play a good deal of sports due to her heavy academic workload, she often fled to the baseball fields behind the main academic building of Seoul National Heart in order to rest and reflect. The August day seemed too bright with all circumstances considered. The clouds loftily drifted overhead and cast amorphous shadows over Aerin’s sweltering skin. Not even the swaying of the verdant grass in the rolling breeze could cool Aerin down. Her ire and humiliation burned deep within the pit of her stomach. The young woman always considered herself a rational person who didn’t fall victim to the illogical impertinence of emotions. Aerin had been wrong before. She used to consider Jessica a close friend of hers; a confidant that she shared her successes and her losses with. And Donghae…Donghae had been such an integral part of her life from the moment they met in elementary school. Donghae taught her how to perform her multiplication tables, add and subtract fractions, and kick a soccer ball clear across the field. In middle school, Aerin became Donghae’s tutor when it came to English and science. Donghae took Aerin to the outfields of their middle school and helped her with her batting stance in baseball as well as her kicking form in soccer. The give-and-take brother-and-sister-and-so-much-more relationship carried on until that moment when Donghae uttered those two words that bolstered the weight of the world: “It’s over.”
Aerin wrapped her arms around herself and rocked back and forth on the bleachers overlooking the baseball diamond. All of the bases including the pitcher’s mound had been cleared of all dust and grit. The grass was splendidly manicured; not a stray blade was out of place. Seeing the composed upkeep of the baseball diamond calmed Aerin down to a certain extent. Even if she endured internal turmoil, the tranquility of the setting before her alleviated any external turmoil she may have had. Inhale…exhale…her body temperature slowly began to fall. Inhale—choke.
Dust thickened the air and blotted out the sun. The clouds overhead became dark and billows of sand from the baseball diamond made Aerin’s exposed legs and face gritty. Aerin attempted to open her eyes to see through the shroud but she got dirt in her eyes as soon as she made the futile attempt. The wind slowly tapered off until only a light breeze caressed Aerin’s exposed skin. She rubbed incessantly at her eyes and tried to spit the accumulated sand and dust out of . Aerin didn’t need a mirror to know that the spontaneous sandstorm had made a dusty spectacle out of her. When her eyes and mouth felt sufficiently free of dirt, Aerin slowly stepped off of the bleachers and looked over the baseball diamond.
Everything was in disarray. The bases—pitcher’s mound included—could barely be seen beyond the thick coating of dust that covered them. The embedded footprints of team players years passed were visible to Aerin’s eyes. The only object that had no marks of the storm sat atop the pitcher’s mound. Aerin walked across the grass and reached the baseball diamond, immediately approaching the pitcher’s mound to examine the object on the base. It looked like a journal; white with golden letters on the front that read ‘Cupid’s Log.’ The letters had been written in meticulous calligraphy; not a tail or curve fell out of line with the text. Aerin’s curiosity got the best of her as she opened the log to its first page. The lined paper was blank but the inner corner boasted twelve rules. Making sure to tuck her skirt underneath her bottom as she sat, Aerin began to read the instructions silently to herself.
Whoever’s name you write in this notebook will fall in love with you. The secondary “target” party must have some type of feeling—romantic or otherwise—in order for this notebook to work. Every initial user of this notebook gains a Cupid, an Angel of Love that will unite the user and the person whose name is written in this notebook. Multiple names can be written in this notebook. The nature of a potential relationship must be written and detailed clearly in the notebook, or else the Cupid will assume a relationship of the romantic nature. If the user wants to end a relationship, they can run a line through the name and the type of relationship desired in black pen. Attraction will taper off slowly. In the event that the relationship ends, the person whose name is written in the notebook may develop obsessive tendencies. If the target party is already involved with another, the relationship can be voided if the owner of the notebook writes the name of both the opposite party and their current lover in the notebook and draws a red line through their names. A Cupid will not fall in love with the owner of the notebook. A Cupid will not compromise the status of a relationship for their own gain. A Cupid is not entitled to protect the heart of their humans. A human user cannot write a Cupid’s name in the notebook or else the Cupid will die of heartbreak.
The terms of this notebook are accepted at the moment of physical contact with a human user.
“…hm. Seems interesting.”
“Interesting indeed, but for whom?”
Aerin looked up from the inside cover of the notebook and glanced towards the source of the voice. It had rang from home plate smooth and gentle; a soothing balm for Aerin’s ears. The man standing on home plate wore a creaseless white three piece suit and had jet black hair slightly mussed atop his head. His small eyes paired with his pink lips upturned in a smile held a certain charm and allure. Large white wings had been tucked in towards the spine and the male had a noticeable aura about him. Aerin knew that her expression was less than welcoming; her tongue became dry from it being exposed to the air and her eyes watered in response to the breeze carrying stray dust on its crest. The young creature chuckled and eased into a bow. He tossed his arm over his waist in order to appropriate his ninety-degree curtsy. He followed through and came back up in one fluid motion.
“I see you’ve found my notebook,” the man said with a hand protracted expectantly.
Aerin’s gaze focused on the notebook—more specifically, the rules written within—before ultimately settling on the male before her that seemed to glow. “Would you like me to return it?”
“It’d be rude of me to demand it back. Finders keepers, losers weepers, you know.” Aerin guardedly watched the male as he began to walk the bases. “Your name is Aerin, right? Lee Aerin. And it seems like you’re out of luck in the romance department.”
“And how would you know something like that,” Aerin snapped with the acerbity she was familiar with.
“Read condition number 3 again. It says, and I quote, ‘Every initial user of this notebook gains a Cupid, an Angel of Love that will unite the user and the person whose name is written in this notebook.’ Take a wild guess as to what I am.”
Aerin’s eyebrow rose in curiosity and suspicion. If the male before her spoke the truth, then he would have to be a Cupid. Aerin took art history in the first semester of her freshman year and had seen enough Renaissance cherubs and Cupids to know what one looked like. In the European lens, Cupid and like cherubs were fleshy and pink with plump rosy cheeks and ringlets of spun gold hair framing their baby faces. They usually had small downy wings reminiscent to a newborn duck’s wings. In addition, Cupids and cherubs were usually…. The tall man ambling towards first base broke all classic conventional views of how Cupid or cherubs should appear. He kept his eyes on Aerin at all times, his pink lips eventually settling into a straight line.
“According to the conditions set here, you’re my Cupid.” With an incredible burst of speed and a push from his large angel wings, the man stood on first base with a triumphant smirk on his face. His sudden movement caused an updraft that threatened to lift Aerin’s skirt. The jilted female turned to regard Sunggyu with a glare.
“My name is Sunggyu, and I am your Cupid. As soon as you touched that notebook, we were bound by the conditions outlined in the inner cover. I guess we have first base covered then! What would you say is second base?”
Aerin bit her bottom lip and regarded the notebook in her hand skeptically. She tucked the book underneath her arm and smoothed her hair down with her free hand. Sunggyu began to slowly stroll towards second base with his eyes glued onto Aerin’s pondering form at the pitcher’s mound. “I suppose that I should make sure this journal works.”
“And for that you need?”
Aerin pressed her finger against her bottom lip and murmured, “A test subject?”
Another sudden draft and the sound of unfurling wings catching the updraft found Sunggyu at second base. He nodded at Aerin and allowed a grin to crease his face. He wordlessly goaded Aerin on and started his stroll towards third base. “If you’re my Cupid, you must know my main goal, right?”
“To have a romantic relationship with Lee Donghae; of course I know your business, Lee Aerin.” Sunggyu scoffed and made a flicking motion towards the female’s forehead with his index finger and thumb.
“According to him, he’s in a relationship with Jessica Jung…a girl who I considered a friend.”
“And so, third base would be…” Aerin gave Sunggyu a blank stare that made him stop in place. “Refer to your rules!”
With a detached drawl, Aerin opened her notebook and quickly read the rules over. When she found the provision Sunggyu alluded to, she snapped her fingers. “I have to terminate their relationship. And then I can write Donghae’s name in this notebook and…be his girlfriend again.”
Sunggyu let out a loud holler and unfolded his wings, drifting directly to home plate. He struck a pose as he landed on his feet, holding his hands up to the sky as he tilted his head back and laughed a short yet charming laugh. It sounded like a wind chime; metal melodiously tinkling in the gentle spring breeze. Aerin deemed the atmosphere easy enough to approach the celestial creature that she had apparently made a bond with. According to the rules in the notebook, Aerin had sealed her fate with Sunggyu as soon as she picked up the notebook from the pitcher’s mound. The Cupid visibly tensed as Aerin approached; the physical response a far cry from the smile that effortlessly turned Sunggyu’s pink lips upwards. Aerin noticed that his features seemed even smoother up close. Nevertheless, Aerin extended her hand towards the apprehensive Cupid.
“To our new partnership. Hopefully I’ll get the guy.”
Sunggyu regarded the extended hand with a chuckle before taking Aerin’s hand into his. He brought the back of the female’s hand to his mouth and gently kissed it. The kiss—although chaste—still felt tender and loving against Aerin’s skin. It had to have been Sunggyu’s being an angel of love that the innocent, chivalrous gesture felt so…so…
“Donghae…” Aerin forced her tears back, shutting her eyes tight and letting her head hang. She heard Sunggyu chuckle before a heavy palm settled on the crown on Aerin’s head.
“We have a lot of work to do. But I’m looking forward to working with you.
So, let’s begin, ne?”