This time Ji-Seong woke up first; the memory of how it ended the first time he spent the night with Sa rang was still vivid.
The man wasn’t superstitious, but Ji-Seong wanted to be ready for all eventuality.
He stared at her while she slept; her breaths were tiny like one of a child. Images of the night came back. With Sa-rang’s condition, he tried to be gentle.
Sex was not the same when one of the two was ill; the gestures and duration were different.
The other one’s comfort primed above everything. Performance no longer mattered, but it was all about care. People forget, even Ji-Seong had forgotten sex was not just quenching desires or demonstrating love. The whole act was about caring.
Ji-Seong hoped he was careful enough; he regularly asked if she was alright, maybe too much.
The young man was worried about Sa-rang and for her. An irresistible desire which Ji Seong refrained from caressing her hair overwhelmed him as he watched her sleep.
With Sa rang, things always turned out this way. She drove and pushed Ji-Seong to go ahead of himself.
From the beginning, she beckoned him the same way.
Their story was older than Sa-rang could imagine, Ji-Seong thought while she remembered bob-haired Sa rang who apologized to a 12-year-old.
“If only you knew,” Ji-Seong muttered. The sentence was full of meaning.
Ji-Seong got up and went to make coffee; he opened the fridge only to regret it as it was as bare as a tree in winter.
Sa-rang did not eat unless she was reminded, and she complained about stomach aches. A competent and meticulous doctor in the blocks, Sa rang in life was careless. The woman did not even pretend to preserve her health as she followed through with her suicide mission. Suicide, that’s how Ji-Seong saw the woman’s reckless attitude, it stressed Ji-Seong, but he avoided sharing his worries with her as Sa rang would push away.
Sa rang woke up with a pounding heart; what had she done?
There were no regrets, but she felt guilty of having used the young man’s lust for her, and now reality was hitting hard.
For Sa rang, the night was part of the ultimate pleasures she allowed herself, but what did it represent for Ji-Seong?
The memories of the man’s sleepover were sweet; she covered her eyes, embarrassed by her visions of them. Ji-Seong was gentle; the night made her think of two awkward teenagers making love for the first time.
Tender gestures, soft kisses, and caresses plenty, Sa-rang could feel his hands on her. He was something, which made the woman wonder if he was like this with other women, with other clients.
No wonder he was the star knight, who would not pay for such attention? Sa rang thought.
This was another barrier that wedged between them. Ji-Seong was not hers; he was Silent Knight’s. She was just a woman amongst so many for the man.
Before her rationality got the best of her, she got out of bed and slide on her silver silk robe.
The smell of coffee called her; this meant Ji-Seong was still there.
The time to face up had arrived; seeing him was not the problem; the question was what to say or do?
“Ah, you are awake? I was going to bring you coffee in bed,” Ji-Seong said while standing with a tray in her bedroom door frame. Sa rang, smiled, and slid back in bed.
“What are you waiting for? Bring it on.”
Ji-Seong walked to the bed, where he posed the tray and sat beside her.
“Of course,” Ji-Seong replied with a beaming smile.
Sa rang stared at him. Even with his ruffled hair and morning swollen eyes, he looked sweet.
“What is it?”
“Nothing,” Sa rang replied, taking a sip of her expresso.
“I bet you are wondering what to do now? Do you want to throw me out? If it’s the case, I can leave.”
Sa rang remained silent; the truth was she did not know whether she desired him to leave or to stay.
“Ji-Seong, it’s just.”
“You want to do the teacher act?”
“Please, listen,” Sa rang said, closing her eyes a second to organize her thoughts.
Ji-Seong blinked, startled by the new tone of voice she used, never had the man heard in Sa-Rang’s mouth such a low pinched voice which resembled one of a plea. It made Ji-Seong pay more attention to what she said.
“Ji-Seong, it’s not reasonable, not just because I’m a teacher, but I’m dying, Ji-Seong, in a week, a month, maybe three, I won’t be here, do you understand? There’s no future in this.”
“Do I have a say?”
Sa rang sunk back on her pillow, “go ahead.”
“I’m a grown man, and I want to be with you. We’ve already had this conversation, and I haven’t changed my mind.”
“Ji-Seong, you can’t; you have your life. You have Silent Knight and other duties to attend to.”
“So Silent Knight is the bottom line for you? I do what I please if that’s the problem. If you don’t want to name what’s going on between us, say I’m still your Knight. As of now, I grant you the exclusivity of me. Let’s make it a contract where you enjoy my company, and I’m yours.
“Let me cater for you,” the man said, taking one of her hands in his.
Sa rang, lifted an eyebrow.
“Of course, it’s free of charge, “Ji-Seong winked.
“Sshh, Sa rang, accept it. It’s not every day Knight Apollo offers full service.”
“It’s my private package for you, madame.”
To say her heart burst would be a euphemism. Ji-Seong made the temperature rise to the point Sa rang was tempted to fan herself; instead, she finished her coffee and snuck back down under the covers.
Ji-Seong followed, and they faced each other under the sheets.
“We’ve got to be at the hospital.”
“We’ve still got time, relax,” Ji-Seong said, sliding a strand of her hair behind her ears.
Sa-Rang felt as if they were floating adrift on a lifeboat, alone in the middle of the sea, just the two of them.
“Are you sure about this, Ji-Seong?”
“I know what I’m doing, let me do this, let me care of you, Sa rang, rest on me till the end.”