Chapter 2 : Bachelor
Sangwoo's house is common and standard for a bachelor of his age and someone that is moving soon.
The mid-afternoon sun shines through the windows, all stripped of their shades and curtains.
The rays of the sunlight land on the white carpet, all stripped of it's furniture. The only room he says is still furnished is his bedroom, and not much of it.
On my way to the master bathroom, I see it's just a single queen sized mattress on the ground and one lamp. "Everything else is in storage. I'll probably just sell it and buy new stuff when I get back home since shipping furniture is so expensive these days." He explains.
I step onto the tile floor of his bathroom, still dripping wet from earlier while he, also still wet, rifles through his drawers to find suitable clothes.
"Just a sec," He reassures me when I cross my arms, starting to shiver.
He walks in with a bundle of clothes in his arms. "Clothes for me, and clothes for you." He goofily smiles again.
"Thanks," I expect him to leave and dress in the other room or show me a room in which I can get undressed but he doesn't. He begins to undress here in front of me while I stand frozen.
"Aren't you going to..."
The shock ends and I zone back in at his words. "Oh! Yes."
This is the first time I've ever undressed in front of a man. I don't hate this, the way he tries to be subtle about admiring my waist. I can tell he's trying not to come across as a pervert.
I pull the sweats over my legs, and hang my bra over the shower rod, slightly touching him in the process.
There's fog forming on the mirror as if we're both breathing heavily and his bathroom is just small enough that when I'm hanging my things over the shower rod and he's still dressing, I can faintly feel his skin against mine.
My wet hair still drips, as I turn around still silent.
"Sorry, my hair dryer is packed away somewhere." Sangwoo barely says this above a whisper, after he finishes putting his clothes on.
"It's okay." And my eyes land on his pink lips and linger on there for a second too long. I'm facing him and look long enough to see the soft expression on his face. His hand moves to touch mine and grabs it.
Something doesn't feel right.
"You look so cute in my clothes."
I think he senses my uneasiness, following a stranger into his house, getting fully naked in front of him just like that.
"Are you hungry?" He let's go of my hand and walks into the kitchen. "I left some stuff in the pantry just in case."
"Yeah, sure." I should probably get out of here as soon as possible though.
"Let's see," I hear him in the pantry searching. "I've got some ramen and... jam? I don't remember buying jam. Anyway, there's ramen!"
"Ramens cool." I wander into his living room. "No kitchen table though."
The rifling stops. "Oh, I didn't think about that." He chuckles at himself.
He grabs the two plastic containers and smiles all the way to the microwave.
"I was just thinking, Yerin." He speaks from the kitchen. I look at him through the one opening from the living room questioningly.
"We're both moving out to Seoul in the near future, right? Why don't we remain friends? I think I might become attached to you." He cracks a half smile, as if the other half isn't going to come out until I agree and if I decline it'll vanish. I don't want to responsible for the disappearance of Sangwoo's beautiful smile.
"Yeah, sure." His entire face lights up, as the microwave emits a quiet ding signaling the ramen is finished.
What's the harm in remaining friends? I'm not sure if my parents would be okay with it but what they don't know won't kill them.
Sangwoo seems harmless enough. I mean, like he said earlier, all he wanted was a friend on his last day America.
"You sound hesitant." He says, turning his back to me. He sounds angry that there's even a sliver of a chance of me not wanting to be around him.
"Well, I am. We just met, like, four hours ago."
I hear him let out a frustrated sigh and murmur something incoherent.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah!" He faces me with a forced smile. He seems frustrated. "Why don't we meet up in Seoul? I grew up there. I can show you around, take you to my favorite spots." He offers with a courteous grin.
"Sounds great." And this time I don't hesitate to accept his offer.
•| intermission |•
A man and a woman had a bright daughter. They taught her to never talk to strangers or to get into a strangers car. She listened, for the most part but eventually one man broke down her walls.
For all the wrong reasons.
•| intermission |•
After we're finished eating, I help Sangwoo clean up.
We're both standing; silently at the sink working on the dishes, when he finally breaks the silence between us and asks me a question.
"Do you think your school is out of session yet? I can drive you home if you're ready."
I think for a moment and answer him clearly. "Yeah, it's probably over by now." I dry my hands with a towel. "Hopefully my uniform is dry."
He grabs his keys and slips on his shoes at the door. "Should be."
I go back into his bathroom and look around as I pull my clothes from the shower rod, article by article.
As I'm redressing, I can't help but notice a small photo album wedged underneath the sink.
When I pull it out, simply out of curiosity, I find that it's been labeled with tape as a single and subtle word written in black bold marker.
Min Sangwoo doesn't seem like the type to have had a girlfriend or maybe a girl that he's in love with, but I can't tell because he's got a small padlock on the zippers, not allowing me to unzip it either way.
Fuck, now I'm going to be thinking about this all night.
I allow myself to fool around with the little booklet for a few minutes longer. Just so that I'm sure that there's no way to view the private photos that it contains.
Just long enough that Sangwoo begins to call me from the front door. I can hear his keys jingling, ready to drive me home.
"Yerin? You ready to go?" He begins, but I can hear a smirk etch it's way into his voice. "Or are you becoming fond of me?"
He sounds nothing short of cocky with each word, but he's right.
I push the small, not for my eyes, album back into it's orginal place and take an extra few seconds (or maybe it was minutes) giving by the annoyed tone in his voice.
By the time I'm back into the living room, he's already gotten into the car and started it.
"Not very patient, I see." I smile and poke his cheek.
A small part of me wonders if that was weird, but I feel like I've goten close to him during the short few hours that I spent with him, and not at school.
My thoughts are dismissed when he answers my boldness with a slight chuckle. "It's not that I'm impatient,"
"Oh! So I'm just slow-moving?" I continue to play with the man.
He doesn't answer, as we're in my driveway.
Thankfully, my parents aren't home, since they'll be at the school for graduation.
He turns the engine off and I notice just how dark it's gotten, that I can see the frosty air hit the windsheild of his van.
"I don't know why I feel like this. I don't want to let you get out of the car. I want to keep you with me." His voice is barely above a whisper and the words would come across as too intense if not for the blush working it's way across his face.
His words don't phase me in the way that I expected. I'm relived. I had previously thought that maybe, Sangwoo was annoyed by me.
I found that he's just naturally stoic in a way that can be confused with disinterest.
"I strangely feel the same way."
I don't even look at him when I basically agree with his words.
He doesn't say much else, but instead looks at me. Without even thinking about I'm doing, and how it might change things, I lean forward meaning to kiss him.
Him. This man that I don't even know. A total stranger that picked me up at school like a creep, in a black van.
Like a predator. Like a criminal or a monster.
It's a terrible idea. I might regret it. It goes against every thing my amazing (sometimes overbearing) parents have taught me.
To never get into a stranger's car, let alone to initiate a kiss with one in his car but still I lean in because... I want to.
I want to kiss those, pretty pink lips.
His face turns, just as soon as I ghost my lips over his bottom lip.
They land gently on his cheek, but trust and believe that I'm satisfied with just that.
I get embarassed, obviously, and turn my face forward again. Looking away from him, and allowing my dark brown ringlets to cover my already bright red face.
My mind drifts back to his photo album. I was probably right about it being dedicated to a girl. Someone that he loves, or has loved before and maybe still does.
How could I be so stupid?
When I finally work up the courage to say something after what feels like ten or fifteen minutes, I decide that it should be an apology.
"Listen, Sangwoo, I'm... I knew that it wouldn't be a good idea to-"
But I'm cut off by him reassuring me, nervously.
"No! It was my fault."
I discovered earlier on that he is not good in awkward situations.
When I finally look back at him, I find that his face is even redder than mine. This reminds me that he's not much older than I am.
"It was my fault. But...."
I hear his seatbelt being unbuckled and his arm snakes around my waist like a serpent.
He looks me in the eyes, meaningfully. Like I'm the only girl on the planet. Like we're the only people on the planet.
"Haven't your parent's ever told you that you shouldn't kiss strangers?"