Chapter 4 : Beauty
Once the plane touches down in Seoul, we both agree to meet at a regular cafe.
He set my phone's GPS to find the café for when I finish handling my school housing arrangements. In the meantime, I think he went to an audition but he decided to go quite abruptly and it didn't seem like he really wanted to go there to begin with. Almost like he knew he wouldn't pass the audition.
That was at least five hours ago, give or take a few minutes.
I've taken care of my responsibilities. I called my mother first though. She and my father aren't the slightest bit angry at me for skipping out on then like that, just a bit annoyed with me. I'm sure they'll get over it soon.
Of course, when they asked why; I didn't tell them it's because of a guy I met as a stranger and ran away from home with.
All of that aside, we made it Seoul safely. This is a personal dream of mine that I've been dead set on achieving for years now. My mother is Korean and my father is Caucasian but I don't even speak Korean fluently.
I stare at my surroundings, nuzzling my cheeks further into the maroon knit infinity scarf capturing a brief moment of warmth and defense against the cold and chilly air and look around in an awed view of the beautiful people whom surround me. My phone lets me know that I'm already there, or technically a few feet past it.
"Yerin!" I hear a deep voice behind me, only to turn around and see my friend waving me from the glass doors of Blind Alley.
I don't speak but turn back around, blushing at the fact that I actually almost got lost; even with the GPS on my phone, clutched between my ice cold fingers.
"Fuck, it's freezing out there." He notes that, clearly been inside this heated building for more than a while.
I take in my surroundings, and of the smells of freshly brewed coffee, the fully-stocked bookshelves and the subtle Lana Del Rey (maybe the Korean version of her) filling my ears swiftly and with welcome.
The in-scents burning on the table invade my nostrils, and for a brief moment block the strong coffee smell, preventing me from listening to Sangwoo as he tells me about his audition.
"So, this is your aesthetic?" He chuckles, with the ability to bring me out of my much enjoyed daze.
"How did you know?" I ask, as if it's not really that obvious but I was staring at the koi fountain the whole time, wishing I were a fish. It's pretty clear.
"This is just my favorite shop too." And for a second Sangwoo blushes. I've only ever known his tough exterior, but I'm the only one (currently) that he's let in this far.
He can be somewhat cold sometimes, granted I can be annoying, but he has more cold moments than warm moments. Despite the warm moments we spend together, moments like this, I still feel close to him.
His eyes hold a certain glimmer hinting that he's really glad that we share more in common, and that traveling together brought that to light.
I'm not going to question anything else. No matter the questions I've had lately and the actions he took to meet me, to kiss me, to get me here.
"Yeah, I used to come in here like everyday before I moved." His eyes get a faraway look to them, as he runs a hand through his jet black hair.
I can't help but find him more aesthetic than the café itself. There's always a light pink tint to his cheeks (at least when I'm around him) and a slight glaze to his doe eyes. He seems a bit sullen all of the time, like when we first meet up to hang out. It takes him some time to get into this mood, happy and somewhat cheerful.
I mean, he goes through lots of changes though. Like once we first touched down his mind shifted. He became all business. That's what he seemed to only think about. The audition, the need to become successful and produce his own music. I can not relate to his passion for his music. I've always been missing that creativity. The only reason I'm becoming a doctor is because that's what my parents raised me to become, and it's just another thing I won't question.
A cynical question nags at the back of my mind, one that I shouldn't neglect like the rest, no matter how rude it'll sound.
"What were you doing in Canada to begin with?"
If he grew up here, and had business here, what was so important in Ontario?
I try to ask him this without seeming too nosy or anything, but I feel like it backfired.
A certain expression crosses him, like a mix of a scowl and a grimace but with a tinge of anger. I've pissed him off.
He takes a few seconds and inhales, brushes his dark strands away from his eyes, then shoots me a daring look.
That's another thing about Sangwoo. He's easily pissed off. One of the main things we talked about was how much he'd want his friends to understand is that he's got a temper. It's a really short one at that but he's doing his best. I can tell.
"Nothing serious, there's just," Sangwoo interrupts himself just to look through the window, at a passerby. A sexy young female, wearing flashy (yet almost nonexistent) clothes and she's winking at him. This I only see through my peripheral view, but it makes me sick to think of him being attracted to girls like that. The ones with no morals, who don't share his interests in music but neither do I.
I've only known him for a short time, but I know Sangwoo invests his everything into the music industry. That girl that passed him? She's not special.
"There's plenty of sights to see." He winks at me as well.
That same sick feeling comes back.
•| intermission |•
Once upon a time, a smart girl thought highly of a man she trusted. He was her poison and she was his dream come true.
His dream was to find someone clueless enough to poison.
•| intermission |•
"It's almost five thirty." Sangwoo squeezes my hand just a bit tighter, heating me up.
He smiles at me again. Something he's been subjecting me to for quite some time, even in the short few hours we've spent here.
"You don't have to check in at the dorms until like what? Nine?" He doesn't look at me but instead focuses his attention on a similar thing to earlier.
Instead of an actual girl, a store with nude women in the windows. Pictures of them. Completely naked. This seems to completely take him away from me. His attention. His presence. He's focused on these naked girls.
I feel his grip on my hand loosen drastically and his speed decreases, completely focused on this porn.
I mean the store that's hosting these vulgar images is clearly an adult video store.
Min Sangwoo likes porn.
I'd never thought of him like that but clearly investing my trust in a stranger is turning out badly.
I allow my jealousy to pull him along the sidewalk without really saying much else.
Maybe he wouldn't be interested in me anyway. I'm not fully Korean. He's been paying more attention to his own nationality.
It doesn't take an idiot to discover his ideal type, but it's not really a big deal anyway. I'm fine with it.
He's just my friend. I don't think I'd ever want that to change.
"Yerin? Baby girl, don't walk so fast." His words cause my heart to leap and beat rapidly.
I still can't stop the slight tear dip down the curve of my cheek. I'm fine but...
The crowded streets of Seoul are nowhere to have an emotional episode so I pull myself together and force myself to get out of my feelings.
A terrible feeling pools in the pit of my stomach and my checks heat up so much, I'm sure they'll engulf me in flames any minute here.
"Yerin, what's the matter with you? Did I do something wrong?"
I stay looking away from him and don't bother to answer his question; even though it's not fair since he didn't do anything wrong. Not intentionally, so I can't become distant towards him.
The icy breeze nips at the back of my neck, almost as if to say; stop being a bitch and talk to him.
When I do turn around, Sangwoo's arms stretch out to squeeze me in a tight hold. The hug immediately warms me up and kills the chills and shivers that I was previously cursed with.
I hum as I nuzzle my face into his pale skin.
His body temperature seems to be naturally low so when it comes to who's heating who up, I'm the one working.
"Fuck," He growls in my ear. "Your hair smells so nice."
I can't help but let out a flurry of giggles. Why is Min Sangwoo so damn cute?
I think back to that girl he gawked at. She'll never see him the way I do.
I knew him first.
I'm the only one he ever let in. Let in to see the real him.
And as far as I can tell the real him is art.