Chapter 1 Finding You
It was my birthday and just like every birthday of my life, I preferred to spend it on my own doing something I like. Sleeping in, watching a movie, and enjoying a pizza would have been one way I would have enjoyed this day. I suppose most people feel like I do. Most of us don’t like the fanfare our loving friends or family want to put us through on the anniversary of our birth. Marking the importance of that day never made sense to me as you really had no choice. But on this day, my 22nd birthday, my best friend, Carly insisted I go out with her. She said she had been invited to a party, someone she didn’t know very well, but her birthday was the same as mine so we should definitely go. Carly said this would be a perfect place to celebrate since all the attention wouldn’t be on me. I wondered how a person born on the same day and year as me would want a birthday party.
“I don’t know her that well, but we went to the same school. You share the same birthday. Don’t you want to meet her?” Carly said that like it would make me change my mind.
“I’m only agreeing to this if you promise not to tell them It’s my birthday.”
“Okay, I promise,” Carly said and nervously chuckled out of nowhere.
I furrowed my brows wondering if this was a fake promise.
“Could Carly be taking me to my own surprise birthday?” I thought. “No, can’t be. She’s not that dumb. She knows I would kill her.”
I was feeling nervous when we arrived, my introverted self not being the kind of person that enjoys being around strangers, especially in a social situation. As we walked in my eyes scanned the cheerful room catching the eyes of the twenty-somethings even recognizing some of the faces from our high school days. I didn’t know them as our school was very large, but the faces certainly seemed familiar.
Carly introduced me to the birthday girl and immediately announced that I was also a “birthday girl,” instantly forgetting her promise of nondisclosure. She looked over at me with wide eyes filled with terror.
“It slipped out,” she managed in a squeaky voice.
In no time, the small group, that I just met, gathered around, and sang happy birthday to the both of us as we stood at the kitchen counter staring at the chocolate cake that bore her name. My cheeks turned pink as the strangers sang to me, eyes glistening from unshed tears that threatening to escape out of sheer embarrassment. I felt like I was honing in on somebody’s party. They all paused mid-song staring at me expectantly in the hopes I would reveal my name. Thankfully Carly added her shirl voice to the pause singing NA-MI loud enough to make me relieved and cringe at the same time. They continued the song as I awkwardly stared at the cake that wasn’t even mine.
After the embarrassing moment, thanks Carly, I caught a pair of amused eyes on me. A very attractive pair of eyes at that. He continued to observe me from across the room. I wanted to look away but I was caught in his gaze like a rabbit caught in a trap. The butterflies danced in my belly as the attractive guy sauntered closer.
“For the birthday girl,” he said handing me a beer in an unexpectedly deep voice. A lazy smirk adorned his beautiful lips as if he could read my mind. “Hi, beautiful. Happy birthday,” he added.
His eyes swept me up and down with an approving look as if I was a pastry on the menu. This spelled trouble as I was equally spellbound by his lanky figure.
“Thank you, I’m Na-mi and you are?”
“Yo-han, nice to meet you.”
Yo-han reached over the cake and plucked a little pink candle that stubbornly refused to go out. He held it in front of my face expectantly as I stared.
“Blow,” he said so close to me that the little candlelight wavered in his hand.
I blew the little stub and was rewarded with the cutest smile on the most adorable human face I had ever seen.
“There you go. I hope you made a wish,” he said with a cute tilt to his head.
At that moment, I certainly wasn’t thinking of my boyfriend who was out of town and hadn’t even bothered to call me and wish me a happy birthday. My boyfriend of two years seemed to pale in comparison to the deliciously sexy boy who was evermore enticing than the chocolate mirror glazed cake in front of me, which would normally have my full attention.
The music got louder and unlike the few parties I’d ever been to, the people started dancing. The birthday girl was pulled to the center of the room and danced while the others watched and cheered. I smiled since I loved to dance and started swaying to the music.
Without warning the handsome stranger took my hand and led me to the dancing couples lost in their own world. Yo-han was a great dancer, with a confident swag that made him even sexier in his snug black jeans.
This awkward night was starting to be one of the most fun I had had in a long time. The small group was fun and the conversations entertaining.
Yo-han offered me another drink, only leaving my side briefly as if he was afraid of another guy talking to me. It made me feel confident but not enough to talk about myself. Still, he had a special charm that made my introverted self feel calm around him.
I sipped my drink and watched Yo-han cutely blushing as his friend Jimin, was describing his amazing piano playing skills as if he needed anything besides his cute face to make me enthralled.
My friend chimes in talking about my ill attempt to play the piano that I quickly gave up on. Yo-han stares at me holding back amusement at my pink cheeks. He picks up the plate holding the tempting boneless wings covered in sauce and waits for me to take one. I had been eyeing the platter but was afraid to have any since I usually got sauce all over my mouth. When I nodded no to him, Yo-han shrugged and poked a nugget with a toothpick opening his mouth wider than necessary. He looked really cute doing it and also managed not to get any sauce on his lips.
“Oh,” I mouthed and proceeded to copy the way he did it.
Yo-han laughed the cutest high-pitched giggle watching me struggle to keep the juicy nugget on the toothpick.
“Here, let me do it,” he said.
He held out the prized nugget on a little stick somehow managing much better than I did. This felt oddly familiar. I opened my mouth obediently to accept the offering. It was more sensual than it sounds as I could not take my eyes off his slightly parted lips showing his sexy mouth to advantage. I, on the other hand, probably looked like a cow chewing on grass.
The soft murmur of conversation in the room did not allow me to notice my friend Carly standing next to us looking slightly shocked at our behavior. With a permanent blush seemingly fixed to my face, I looked over to her. She tilted her head indicating she wanted to speak to me privately.
“I want to go already,” she whined. “Why are you making goo-goo eyes at that guy?”
“He’s nice,” I shrugged like it wasn’t important.
“Can we go now?”
“Okay, let me just say bye to him.”
“Fine,” Carly said with a slight slur.
I walked over to Yo-han to say goodbye, sadly thinking this would be the last time I met this attentive fellow who made me feel like I deserved his attention.
“We’re leaving,” I said to him.
“I hope to see you again sometime,” he said.
I nodded and smiled at the niceties. “Bye.”
“Wait, how about tomorrow?” He looks up expectantly. “Are you busy?”
“Great how does the beach sound?”
“We could take a walk on the beach and then get some lunch. I know a perfect place I have been wanting to try since I moved here. I would love it if you would join me tomorrow.”
“I don’t know if I should. This would be a good time to mention I have a boyfriend.”
“Okay, you can bring your friend if you like, I don’t bite.”
“It’s not just that, I start a new job on Monday and I don’t know if it’s wise to show up with a tan looking like I just came back from Spring break.”
“I promise you won’t get burned. You could wear a hat.”
“Okay, why not.”
Why not indeed, and that’s how I ended up hanging out every day with the enigmatic charmer who stole my heart.
Will you stop time
If this moment passes
As though it hadn’t happened
I’m scared scared scared I’ll lose you
- Butterfly by BTS