Less Than a Hundred Days of Summer

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Chapter 22

A proud sign read "Red Rooster". A tacky ruby-red chicken was stuck on top of an otherwise nondescript fast food restaurant. It looked so strange and out of place at the corner of a busy intersection that predictably it drew the eye of the drivers waiting at the light. Tae Soo was not an exception.

"The chicken place?" he murmured not trusting his eyes. It was too unbelievable to be real. He parked.

Tae Soo used to look at the world through the windows of a small place that smelled like chicken, which was always warm and welcoming because Giselle worked there. Today, he was looking into it from outside, memories putting a smile on his face. It was so long ago...

His fingers stroked flowers on the seat beside him. A happy summery bouquet. He pulled them up against the sun, amused at the light playing with the petals and dropping shadows on the dark green leaves. Life could be so beautiful in its simplicity. How did he manage to complicate his so much that whatever thread he pulled to detangle it, it only got tied tighter. Not only his mind, but also his eyes were making fun of him. He probably deserved it. Hallucinating – Tae Soo was tired of laughing at his own uselessness lately – through the glass doors of the restaurant a reflection of Giselle was staring at him. He looked over the side of the bouquet, but the vision was not going away – it was not a mirage, it was not a play of light and shadows, the figure was real.


Giselle found herself driving around the streets of Los Angeles without a destination or a purpose. Lena was a great friend, always finding a way to make her feel better and somehow persuading her that things with Tae Soo would be different for the best this time. Restlessly, she was waiting for something, for a sign or a signal from above about his whereabouts or his intentions. She had to wait patiently, but patience was not her strong suit, especially when it came to her heart. And just when she was ready to make a left turn, following her preprogramed GPS's advice, courtesy of Lena, a sign materialized in front of her from above. Not a metaphorical sign, but the actual "Red Rooster" in all its ugly and tasteless glory.


"You?"

"You?" Giselle was not sure how to react. He was standing in front of her, dressed casually, but fashionably, hair impeccable, skin glowing like he just got out of a spa, and holding a bouquet of flowers... She could not believe what she was seeing. A date? He would not do that, would he? Maybe, flowers were for her and he was planning to surprise her all along... Hired private investigator, found her and followed in secret to the Chicken place... Something did not add up, however.

"Who is this for?" She frowned suspiciously.

"For Angie," he explained readily and joyfully smiled as if it was something to boast about. "I did something to her last night and thought flowers would be necessary to apologize."

Giselle's face contorted in a sarcastic grimace and she huffed, her hands folding across her chest. Lena, who was never wrong, was wrong this time. He spent last night with the slutty assistant, instead of pining for her. Forgetting that they were not in a relationship and she was not supposed to play a role of a jealous girlfriend, she gave him a dirty look and squinting her eyes said with a false smile, "I see. That explains a lot."

"I was late; I had a reading for the movie. I could not get out of it. I left before it ended, but by the time I got to the bookstore, you had already been gone."

Giselle looked at him with restrained emotion. There was no doubt in her mind, that he was being honest, as always. Even his ridiculous explanation about the flowers was the truth. But that was exactly the problem with him. He gave justifications not because he was lying or scheming, on the contrary, he was genuinely trying to do his best in his life: working, acting, being a good son, a good boss, a good man... She was not angry at Tae Soo, but there was something else in her eyes that made him shrink inside. "I'm sure you have a valid excuse."

Tae Soo was not backing away from the confrontation. It was now or never. He would take responsibility and make her listen to him. Because if they continued dancing around the issue... "I know that it's all my fault. All of it." He met her eyes directly, with determined clarity.

"Well, not all of it... Traffic in LA is well known to be a big problem."

"I was not talking about LA."

"And I'm saying that your job is demanding and your life is busy. You will always need to leave."

"I can stay."

"Can or want?"

"Both."

"Is it true?"

"Yes."

"What changed?"

"Nothing and everything."

Now the conversation between them lost any sense, as it was not clear whether they any longer were talking about the past, the present or the future.

Giselle was too busy trying to win the stare down contest to realize that she was the only one playing. The man only fixed his eyes on her, slightly adrift, not oppositional or defiant, but accepting of the visual brunt she was throwing at him as one part of her gaze. But the three remaining parts were not threats, they were rather conflicting – ¼ accusatory, ¼ apologetic and the last quarter unequivocal desire and yearning. Despite how inappropriate it was, Tae Soo allowed a smile to show in the corners of his curiously softened under her attack eyes.

"I hate you, Lee Tae Soo," she raised her voice. "I hate your beautiful eyes that turn my brain into mush, I hate your wonderful lips that can kiss me to oblivion, I hate your tender hands that touch me all the way into my soul. And I hate your comfortable body – it makes me remember how safe and happy I used to feel when you hugged and held me close! I hate you so much!"

Somewhere a sentence ago she started crying and Tae Soo could only watch, disabled by her love driven hatred and astounded at how much he managed to hurt her just by his mere existence.

"Do you want me to leave? Or to stay?" He tried to comfort her, but she slapped his hand away.

"Leave me alone!" she sobbed.

"How can I? What can I do? I know you hate me, I get that. I'm probably the last person you want to see now, but I'm here and I can't walk away from you. I just can't."

She lifted her head. The urge to hit him was overwhelming. Giselle shuddered at the thought that this man, whom she loved to complete madness, drove her to this kind of shocking place. All the internal turbulence halted abruptly to a stop and she raised her clenched fists and lightly poked at his upper arm. Her knuckles barely pushed against the muscle. She tried a few more bounces, which were supposed to resemble punches, just because she had to somehow discharge the tension.

Tae Soo looked at her with deep worry and, goddamn it, LOVE. To him, her little scrapings probably felt like nothing or maybe he would have preferred to be gutted or slapped hard across his cheek to release him from his guilt. Either way, Giselle did not provide any of the sorts.

Slowly and very gently he leaned forward, his arms extended over her back and wrapped her in the most tender of embraces. He held her preciously against his chest, trying to suppress the wild beatings of his heart not to disturb her soft body molding to him. She exhaled sharply, sobs immediately extinguished and felt tranquility washing over, like soothing pacifying of water as if she was submerged under and surrounded by the caressing liquid. LOVE. She felt it again after so many lonely years of missing this singular feeling of BEING LOVED.

Tae Soo was holding his breath. More than anything in the world he wanted to kiss her this second. He knew it would not end well, but he could no longer control himself around her. He lifted her head and pressed his lips against hers, not even moving them. Just to feel her, even if momentarily...

Giselle suddenly jerked away from his arms. "What is it you think you are doing?" She whispered instead of screaming, breathless, not outraged.

Tae Soo only held her dead in his stare before responding. "Would you have dinner with me tonight? A date?"

"No!" Giselle adamantly shook her head. "I won't. Not tonight. It is too fast, it's all too soon. My head is spinning. You are... You are you and I need time to think. No, I need time to adjust to the idea that I can see you and touch you and that I can hear your voice. Don't try to kiss me again!" She warned him, as if he was attacking her.

"I won't, I promise," smiled at her gently Tae Soo. "I just needed to make sure that you are real, too. I'm adjusting myself," he explained awkwardly. "But you seem to be real."

Giselle unconsciously touched her lips. "You too."

Hurriedly she got up without even a goodbye and headed for the exit. Luckily Tae Soo was not making the same mistake twice. She felt her arm grabbed and was spun around to face him. "Give me your number. I will call you. Tonight."

She did not respond.

"No?"

She continued to stare at him intently.

"Tomorrow? Would you like me to call you tomorrow? Unless tonight is better," he mumbled nervously.

"Aish... fine, here's my number... call me tonight... no, make it tomorrow!" Giselle had to exert tremendous amount of self restraint not to squeal in excitement. "Tomorrow then. Here is my number," she cloned her contact over to Tae Soo's phone and quickly turned, as if angry, leaving him all smiley and gleaming happily behind.


Giselle was pacing back and forth in front of Lena. They were behind the locked doors of the kitchen, while Lena's husband innocently was watching TV in the living room.

"He does not even know what he is missing!" Huffed Giselle. "I'm too hot for him to handle! I'm so hot, he would get a 5th degree burn if he actually kissed me," she fisted the stove, pulling hand away. "Ouch! It's hot."

Lena's head was dizzy from the movement in front of her. "There is no such thing as 5th degree burn. 4th is the last stage." She took off the glasses and with a sigh massaged her forehead. With tired voice, she retorted, "He definitely knows what he is missing. He is probably biting his nails right now or climbing the walls or better yet, shivering under icy shower - because of how hot you are."

"He better! He should!"

"What did he do again?" Wondered Lena, rolling her eyes. How annoying this was becoming! They screwed up yet another chance, which was delivered to them on a golden platter.

"He hugged me and then he tried to kiss me and when I pushed him away, he did not bother to force himself on me!"

"You are scaring me now. You sound like your father! When did you turn into 'all man think about sex non-stop' obsessed maniac like him?"

"Lena! You are supposed to be on my side."

"I am. I am on your side. And so is Tae Soo. The guy has always been respectful. He would not jump you in a chicken place, like some cheap date.

"He is classy," wistfully murmured Giselle, rubbing her hand after she stuck it under the running water. "He wanted to see me tonight, but I refused proudly."

"Happy with yourself?"

"No," Giselle plopped on the chair and dropped her head down, the sound of her forehead coming in contact with the table reverberating through the kitchen. "I think I was wrong. I think playing hard to get is stupid. It's not like he did not have ten years to regret."

"Hm," nodded Lena, petting her diluted friend on the head. "I don't know how you even got him to like you in the first place. Maybe, you were smarter when you were younger?"

"Hey!"

"Have some tea. Chamomile. It will calm your nerves."

Giselle shot up and stomped out, then returned with a big smile. She was carrying a bottle of expensive exclusive addition of "Moscow night", the newest brand of Russian vodka. "Ryan is such a nice man. When I said I needed a drink, he gave this to me right away."

Lena mumbled under the breath, "Because he knows you are crazy and he did not want to be bothered when watching football." She looked at the author with reproach and pity. "For a smart woman, you are really dumb, my friend. And don't take it personally. It's a fact."

"I know, isn't it amazing?" Giselle did not bother to deny. She was dumb, dumb when it came to Tae Soo and love. She was smart enough to have figured it out a long time ago.

"Good news is..." Lena was interrupted by a hug.

"Good news is he is still into me. Good news is I love him," Giselle squeezed the life out of the poor woman, who barely had the time to save her glasses from a certain death.


Giselle was reminded about the benefits of being a girlfriend of a rich and famous movie star – lofty accommodations, access to VIP rooms and privately reserved patios for late night romantic liaisons. They had the rooftop terrace all for themselves. Two comfortable loungers were placed next to each other, drinks sparkled in tall Champaign flutes and warm blankets were rolled and discretely placed to the side. Soft twinkling lights illuminated otherwise dark balcony, but were not strong enough to prevent from the nice view of the night sky. Of course, the lights of the city did not allow for a real stargazing, but for LA, this was probably as good as it was going to get.

Tae Soo was unnaturally nervous, shifting in his spot, as if he had never been alone with her before.

Giselle looked at him sideways suspiciously. It could not be that even ten years later he still felt anxious about physical proximity to her. Pride boasted inside her – she still got it and then some.

She was not that young and inexperienced and she was hoping that he was not either. But the innocence and purity with which he regarded her made her tone down her expectations and actually caused anxiety to ruffle her confidence.

She was all ready to coldly fend off his advances, since it was the right thing to do – to make the man sweat and work hard to pursue her. Tae Soo was never a man who tried to drag her to bed, but still... He was a man who would not mind taking it to that level, any man if the opportunity presented itself would, would not he?

Starting to confuse herself, Giselle moved unconsciously away and pulled a throw over her exposed legs. She felt vulnerable and at his mercy – she did not want to seem too easy or too eager, but she also was losing confidence in being wanted and that irresistible to him.

All kinds of doubts crept into her mind – who knows what kind of women he'd been with over the years. Who knows whether he even was that attracted to her any more. She felt self-conscious about the few extra pounds she put on; her waist not snitched as tightly as she wished and her limps were not as slender as when she was in her twenties.

She lowered her eyes, suddenly hoping for their privacy to be invaded by a phone call or an overzealous concierge with a tray of snacks, or maybe, even that annoying Angie who always interrupted them...

"Giselle," his soft voice broke through her thoughts, causing waves of trepidation rise reflectively. The tenderness with which he pronounced each letter in her name touched her and gave her reassurance. If he was anything like he used to be before – she had nothing to worry about. "You realize this is the first time we've been truly alone since..."

"Since Puerto Rico," she finished his sentence, her eyes watering without any apparent reason.

He neared her and leaned closer, daring to gaze into her eyes; he lightly touched her exposed arm just above the edge of the blanket that covered her. "I don't know where to start or what to say. There is so much I wish to tell you."

"Me too. I don't know where to start. And honestly," she gulped, "I'm afraid to even start anything."

"Please. Don't be like that. I'm here and I'm not going anywhere this time. My situation is different. I am different. My life is different. Everything has changed for the better. There is only one thing that remained the same."

"And what is it?" she mumbled losing the ability to think because of his eyes that were swallowing her whole. If he did not kiss her this second, she might die or spontaneously combust from desire into millions of burning fireworks...

"I've missed you every day and every waking hour and I've missed you in my sleep when we were not together in my dreams. For ten years, you've never left my heart, Giselle."

Her breathing was growing erratic and his words also carrying such meaning really were not necessary – she has learned all she needed to learn from his gaze. When will he kiss her? WHEN?

She inadvertently licked her lips, leaving her mouth slightly open.

Tae Soo slowly melted into a smile, his serious eyes momentarily darkened to a lustful shade of mahogany, he recognized that thing she did, her body language giving her away. He fought against teasing her and driving her insane just to test his theory.

He did not allow himself to veer into this direction simply because he felt an obligation to explain himself, to tell her things about the last ten years she deserved to know before he could claim her as his once again. Things like his marriage and divorce and the fact that he had a son. Things that complicated their already complicated past on a completely different level.

While all those thoughts fleeted through his mind, Giselle's face looked more and more pitiful. She was utterly embarrassed. Surely, he had deciphered her expression and ...

"I would like a drink, if you don't mind." She mumbled hoarsely, surprised at the loss of her voice. She attempted to get up, but he held her arm down firmly.

"Giselle, I want this more than anything. Believe me. But you have a right to know everything before we go down that road."

"Tae Soo!" Her impatience had no more restraint. "This is some kind of punishment, right? You are doing this on purpose?"

He chuckled, tenderly running his fingers over her cheek. "Punishment for what? Who am I to inflict any punishment on anyone?"

His lips were brushing past her ear, his breath making her feverish and sending cooling shivers at the same time. "I'm the one who is being punished because I can't allow myself to do this..." And he barely pressed a kiss on her temple.

"And this..." He kissed her forehead tenderly.

"And that..." He traveled down the slope of her nose, pecking the very tip.

"Perhaps, I will be punished if you don't let me..." and he finally touched her mouth. He held breath as he felt her softness against his skin. Tae Soo moved away just enough to look at her. Giselle had her eyes wide open and was immobilized.

"Say something, Giselle, please." He pleaded for permission.

She finally slowly exhaled. "Who am I to dole punishment on you? If I know anything about you, I imagined you punished yourself enough on your own. Kiss me, you fool."

He smiled shyly, the sides of his mouth lifting, little smile rays shooting from the corners of his eyes and his cute dimples flowering. Without any further hesitation, Tae Soo gave her a proper kiss, deserving such long awaited reunion.


Quietly, under the stars they sat, wrapped in a thick blanket.

"You and me - our worlds don't collide. Just like these two stars can never meet."

"Than we create the universe of our own, with our own rules, where all kinds of stars can mingle and hold hands."

"That's why I like you, Taecito, you are such a hopeless romantic," she nuzzled her nose against him, with a soft chuckle. They pressed foreheads together and closed eyes, enjoying this sweet connection.

"I missed you so much, Giselle. I did not know it was possible to feel so.., how do I say it in English? Not whole. Only when my son was born, I felt the same warmth I received from you. That baby was so cute!" His eyes twinkled. But then he caught himself in embarrassment. "Sorry. I did not mean to compare you to an infant or anything..."

"That's OK. I adore little ones."

He approached the topic cautiously. "This does not bother you or makes you angry that I have a son?"

Giselle shook her head. For some reason she felt no jealousy or anger toward a woman, whom he married. Neither did she feel slighted by him having a child with her. It was more like... she was not sure how she would fit in into the picture of his life. She has not told him yet about her own story.

"I was married myself. No children obviously," she chuckled uncomfortably. "It did not mean much. It ended fast."

"You don't owe me any explanations." Tae Soo swallowed hard and looked away.

The fact that she changed her last name gave this fact away long before she admitted it. It was unpleasant for him to think of another man in her life, even if briefly. Did she used to smile at him and call him sweet names that ended in –ito? His mind took him much further and faster, and he had to squeeze his eyes and shake it off. Past belonged in the past.

"Did you..." it was difficult for him to ask, but he felt it was necessary to understand the journey she had traveled to be with him here tonight, "love anyone?"

"Love? No." She answered honestly, shaking her head. "I felt attraction, I was infatuated, and I did like somebody very much so. But it was not love." Tae Soo stared at her intently, hanging onto each word.

"Not like when I stuck my hand under the boiling coffee to stop someone from getting burned," she muttered begrudgingly. He should know the difference! For her love was not an abstract concept – it was all giving and all forgiving, it was caring about another person more so than herself without reservation...

He heard her and Tae Soo's eyes misted suddenly. Her unnecessary heroics in Utuado cottage were a sign of her feelings as he had suspected. They both sacrificed in their own ways for each other.

"You? Your wife, your ex-wife. What kind of person is she? Were you in love with her?" Giselle believed she knew the answer, but still wanted to hear it from his own mouth.

"She was a woman, who was tolerant of my keeping distance. She had financial security and societal standing in exchange for letting me be. We got along at first, but then it became hard for both of us. I tried, but could not love her. I never told her that I did or promised to love her. Living together as a family... I cared for her and felt a lot of affection. We briefly felt much closer when we became parents, but having a child also exposed how little connected us besides him. Long story short – she is married now, happily as far as I know. Lives in New Zealand. I don't get to see my son often." He let out a sigh. "Do you want to see his picture?"

Giselle nodded. The boy was adorable with chubby cheeks and pretty brown eyes. He was dressed very prim in a crisp white shirt with a bow tie. She could not hold her laughter. "He is too yummy, Tae Soo. Your kid is way too cute. I hope I get to meet him soon."

He nodded with much awaited relief. Nothing else stood between them. Otherwise, his life was an open book. He had nothing to hide or be ashamed of.

"I can see you have not changed much," happily reported Giselle.

"Nope. You are still the same also."

"That's a shame! We should have grown up in ten years, and here we are – the same."

He grinned. "Is there anything else you want to ask?"

There was one question that she often asked herself. One question that bothered her over the years. "Why did not you look for me?"

His expression suddenly grew gloomy and he seemed to retreat to a place within that was painful. "Because I promised not to. I already could not keep my promise once, when I said... what I said," he focused his eyes on his hands, long fingers anxiously rubbing each other.

"When is it you did not keep your word?" She looked upset, not understanding.

"When I broke our agreement." Her replied very softly, fidgeting nervously.

"Agreement? What are you talking about?" Giselle raised her voice, getting agitated with his nonsensical explanation and weird expression.

"I told you... the words I was not supposed to. You asked me not to. And I just could not stop myself... And I pushed you to respond... I am sorry." He did not dare to look up at her, his fingers stopped their nervous rambling and he tightly clasped his hands together, waiting for her verdict.

Giselle gasped, a cry of complete befuddlement broke the night. "Stupid!" She hit him lightly on the arm. "How stupid can you be!" She repeated. "Don't you know that I did it to protect us, to protect myself? If you meant it, you should have fought for us, you should have done something!" her voice was cracking now and her hand lay sadly on his arm. "I thought you would know. I believed you would not abandon me... Tae Soo, stupid boy!"

"Giselle?" He looked at her tentatively. "You mean I could have?"

What a sincere fool he was! He never changed, stupid Korean dumbhead!

Giselle opened her mouth to scream at him, but his eyes were filled with genuine remorse, regret so deep it hurt her to see it.

"I'm an idiot," he whispered lowering his head. All these years he thought he did the right thing, he did exactly what she wanted and now he's come to find that she actually did not. Should not he be angry at her? He could not allow himself to even think that way.

"You never pushed me to follow you. You never insisted to wait for you to come back. And I thought that I had to let you go, because I could not fit into your life. You had your dreams, too. Your career was on the upswing. Your mother hated me. I am also an idiot." Admitted Giselle. "I'm the stupid one. Proud, stupid and scared. It's me. Here I am," she made a dramatic gesture laced with sarcasm, but her voice treaded with stifled tears.

They stared at each other, reliving and reviewing the past in their minds. Ten years they have endured without each other. Ten long years of yearning. A decade of loneliness that could have been filled with love and companionship.

Giselle knew it was her fault. It was her idea not to plan the future. At her insistence, Tae Soo's hands were bound... She looked at him apologetically.

Tae Soo chastised himself severely. He was young back then, but that did not excuse his complacency. Yes, there were pressures from his family and career, but as a man he should have stepped up and took initiative. He had the money and freedom, which Giselle did not. He could have offered her the world and instead, she was left on that tiny island... He returned her gaze with his own sincere apology.

As much as there was frustration and regret, there was forgiveness and love.

Tae Soo's lips turned up in a momentary smile and he engulfed her in a warm gaze. Giselle closed her eyes and allowed herself to enjoy this almost forgotten over the years sensation – she used to bask in it so frequently that it became common place.

There was nothing common about feeling loved, she thought. Nothing common about that. She had no reason to deny herself this pleasure.

"I would like to see your room, if you don't mind. I bet you are in some kind of high - end $500 a night suite." She asked trying to sound as casual as possible.

Even if Tae Soo figured out her intentions, he did not show, valiantly guarding her honor. "Yes. I was thinking of asking you over myself."

They descended on the elevator just a few floors down and then walked along the lit passage over to his room in timid silence with tension building between them as an electrical charge that only waited for a way out. It was clear to both of them what her visit meant. They were not kids anymore. They were not dancing around each other, afraid to speak up or show how they felt. Their desire for each other was transparent and had to be entertained.

Tae Soo dipped his hand into his pocket, pulling out a slim key card. It fell to the floor, sliding easily out of his shaky grip. He coughed nervously and bent to pick it up when Giselle inserted her warm hand into his for encouragement.

He pressed the card against the reader and opened the door. Before coming in, he looked at Giselle.

She lifted her eyes at him sweetly and lowered her head on his forearm. With her trustingly leaning onto him, Tae Soo felt that everything was finally falling into place in his life.

He felt strong and sure of himself, turning, he kissed Giselle's hair as she nuzzled against him gently.They walked into the foyer, holding onto each other and waited till the door shut behind.

Tae Soo's hand flipped the switch, lighting up the foyer and a spacious living room. Giselle quickly looked around, but scarcely paid attention to the surroundings, she was not here for the grand tour, she had no interest in the modern décor and architecture. She was here to be next to Tae Soo, to be with him. She pulled back and looked up at him expectantly.

As impatient as he was feeling, Tae Soo found himself unable to make a move. It felt like the moment should have been more special, less... trivial... in a posh LA hotel room, but in his hotel room, nevertheless. He did not want Giselle to feel shameful...

The woman he loved was looking at him in a way that his passion ignited with the kind of fire that burned high and fast and before he crushed his lips into hers, she pressed the light switch off.


Giselle watched Tae Soo sleep peacefully with a relaxed and happy smile dressing his gorgeous face. His long limps were strewed carelessly to the sides and the blanket slid down exposing his toned body for her to admire. His legs reached till the very end of the bed, eliciting a silly laugh out of her – the man was so tall, even a California King bed could barely accommodate his length. She found everything about him adorable and irresistible.

She wondered if she could be any happier at any other given moment in time. Memories of the last night made her body ache pleasantly with a fuzzy and slightly exciting energy bubbling and stirring all over. She was quite astonished at how quickly the barriers of time and past regrets were removed by the touch of Tae Soo's lips, how his fast fingers held the most gentle softness in them whenever they came in contact with her skin. For the first time in their entire time together she daydreamt about the future without putting breaks on her fantasies. She could see it materializing in front of her: marriage, family, a couple of kids, a house in the suburbs of Seoul, her writing in some coffee shop, when the TV comes on and he is smiling down at her from the commercial...

He had asked her to marry him! And she agreed without worry, not even a moment's hesitation, she had no doubts or concerns. Fans – who cares? Paparazzi? They have not met her father! Moving to Korea – she always wanted to visit. And Tae Soo's mother – she will have a chance to get in her good graces, now that she will be dressed properly when he introduces his new bride.


Tae Soo was not sure whether he was dreaming. He even rubbed his eyes and pinched himself, because if it were only a dream, it would be the cruelest joke his mind had played on him yet.

Last night they made love and he asked her to marry him. He remembered every moment with astounding clarity that was ringing inside his soul and keeping his heart on overdrive as soon as his body woken up from slumber.

Giselle did not protest or worried or asked him questions, she accepted, like it was something very casual she heard him say over breakfast. And he still could not believe it. Maybe, he should have made her sign a contract or at least record her saying 'yes', because she was the queen of making things more complicated and difficult and coming up with rules. But this time she did not. There was no talk of rules or conditions or exceptions to any rules or conditions that she might suggest in the future. Ooof, his head was dizzy from even thinking about it.

Giselle was here. In his hotel room. She had not left, rather, not ran away.

She is his bride now!

Tae Soo allowed his face spread into a confident smile with the indentation of dimples on each side, crowned by the sparkling beaming eyes to complete the picture of a man in utter contentment. His Giselle was standing on the balcony, long sleek hair flowing lightly at the touch of the wind. She had a halo of sun around her. Giselle was shining. She was divine in her unfussy morning beauty. Effortless. Unassuming delight of seeing her bathed in soft morning light. Happiness.

She turned suddenly and smiled at him softly, cocking her head slightly. "Tae Soo-ya, did you know that we are catching the tail end of summer together again? We never got to enjoy our less than a hundred days, like we planned."

"Do we have any more days left?" he replied, frowning. Was it a prelude to her causing trouble again?

"The writer in me wants to say – Their heated romance burned brightly through the smoldering season and as the long days of summer came to conclusion, the lovers worried about plunging into the cooler nights of fall and the winds of winter. But then the hope for tender spring and another hot and sunny summer chased any doubts away."

The actor laughed lightly. She did have a way with words. He lazily got out of bed and not bothering with a robe, strode out on the balcony, hugging her from behind. Her hair smelled of sleep and love and he buried his nose in its silky traces inhaling deeply the scent of the future.


The mind blowing make up sex was without a contest the best they ever had in their entire existences. Stars burst and splattered, and the universe danced around them till neither of them had any thoughts left, and could only see reflections of themselves in each other's eyes – reflections of happy and satisfied lovers who were finally in each other's embrace.

"Marry me," said Tae Soo still holding her close.

"I will," she answered with a smile.

It was that simple. It was that easy.



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