All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
"Tell us how you've changed in this new year, Seol-hwa." A group of ladies sat around in a circle, with cozy pillows, journals, and small pocket bibles around them.
"How have I changed?" Warm patient eyes belonging to Kim Chun-ja looked at her as she thought about her question. It was Confession Tuesday which meant that every woman had to come clean about one thing. It could be about anything, good or bad. Long as they shared it. Somehow, thank God, she'd been skipped as the conversation had erupted into a sort of New Year's Resolution lane. But, now on front street, she was sweating.
"I've stopped hoeing." She started and if you didn't know why that was celebrated with claps and sounds of joy then you were in the wrong place. Smiling at the support and jubilation, she felt her cheeks grow warm.
"Um... yeah so I don't have the desire to do that anymore. I still struggle with masturbation but I guess that's lessening too in frequency."
"We're so proud of you, Seol-hwa. It took me years until I finally was set free from self-gratification."
"What made you stop?" Another woman asked now, a newer face to the group.
"I think a misconception in the Christian walk is that well masturbation isn't in the bible so it isn't bad. Touching yourself is better than going out there and having a bunch of sex, right? I thought the same thing once." Everyone was quiet as the woman, Ahnjong, continued.
"One night, I'd been out with a guy I really liked and I came home really hot and heavy. I could not stop fantasizing about him.. what I wanted to do with him. I fell into my normal routine, you know. The desire to pleasure myself was so intense but that night, for some reason, my fingers never made it down there. Not all the way, anyway. I couldn't move them from my stomach."
"The Holy Spirit," The attractive woman smiled, nodded in agreement.
"I remember it like it was yesterday. I heard the voice of God come into my ear. He told me one simple thing. He said that my body was not mine to touch and bring pleasure to. That right and privilege alone, he said, belonged to my husband."
"God is amazing!" She heard Ahnjong's words and received them, running them over in her mind.
"He reminded me of 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
"Can I read it in another version, eonnie?"
"In the Message Bible, it says this: There's more to sex than mere skin on skin. Sex is as much spiritual mystery as physical fact. As written in Scripture, "The two become one." Since we want to become spiritually one with the Master, we must not pursue the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever—the kind of sex that can never "become one." Her eyes lifted from her hands up to the girl who read. This... this was what Eun-woo meant.
"...There is a sense in which sexual sins are different from all others. In sexual sin we violate the sacredness of our own bodies, these bodies that were made for God-given and God-modeled love, for "becoming one" with another." This...was what he meant by how important it was... to remain pure in mind and heart... and body. It was possible to prostitute even yourself.
"...Or didn't you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don't you see that you can't live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body." It all made so much sense now... why she always felt like... like she needed more... wanted more. Why the sex never fulfilled her...why it always left her even more lonely and unsatisfied. Taking a shaky breath, she gripped her fingers together, tighter.
"God owns every part of me... even the parts of me that he created to experience God-given and God-modeled love to one man."
"That's it, Seol-hwa. Your body is a temple of dwelling for God. And also, for the one person, He will give you as a mate."
"Did this help you?" Giving a small smile, she nodded.
"Yeah, it did. Thank you."
"How else have you changed this year, Seol-hwa?" Licking her lips, she took a brave breath.
"Love..I think... um...I think falling in love has changed me..."
"Love with God or with someone?"
"You've done a good work here, Eun-woo."
"Thank you, sir. It means so much to hear you say that." Dressed now in formal black clergy robes, he followed his spiritual mentor, Apostle Park Jin-pyo into the empty sanctuary.
"Ministry is lifelong and it can be hard. It can be a war of pleasing people versus pleasing God."
"Yes, sir." The older man stopped and took a look around with a smile on his face.
"As servants of God we do as He directs, leads and guides. But, what happens when we need to be uplifted? What happens when our humanity is at stake?" He lifted his eyes upward.
"Continue to root out the rot here, Eun-woo. This place has been established and given to you not by us but by the Almighty." Bowing his head, he remained so as the man finally turned towards him.
"How old are you now?"
"I'll be 27 this year, sunbae."
"Ah, not quite yet in your prime yet. That won't come until you reach thirty. You'll have time yet."
"Will we be graced with a Lady of the House, here?" Will you take a wife? Cheeks hot, he opened his mouth to reply but the doors to the sanctuary opened, interrupting their conversation.
"Oh shi-shoot... Um... sorry."
"I'll come back later,"
"No need," The young man seemed to sprout wings and fly over to the young woman, who apologized.
"I'm really early but... I um... I wasn't sure if you wanted to grab some coffee before service..."
"Sure." Lifting guilty eyes upward, hers fell away from his face and turned onto him.
"And who is this lovely little lady?" Forgetting for a moment he was even there, the young man grew red in the face.
"Ah, sunbae-nim... this is Seol-hwa, one of our members."
"It's nice to meet you," She greeted in Korean, bowing her head politely.
"Likewise. What has brought you to South Korea?"
"I apologize for interrupting you two."
"No apology needed. I'll return another time, Eun-woo."
"Of course, sunbae. Thank you for coming." As he passed them, he leaned in to say something in parting.
"It is not good for man to be alone, Pastor Byun. He that findeth a wife findeth a good thing and obtaineth favor of the Lord."
"So, I think you'll be proud of me."
"What'd you do?" Watching him lift a cup of coffee to his mouth, she dipped a piece of Pajeon in a mild yet flavorful dipping sauce.
"I threw out all my dildos." At that, his cup paused.
"What brought that about?" Chewing now, he gave her a moment before she answered.
"We got to talking about masturbation and stuff on Tuesday."
"And we were talking about the bible verse where it says that your body doesn't belong to you but is a temple to and belongs to God." At that, he smiled.
"Knowing me, you know that that was a HUGE move. But...yeah... I want... I want a God-given and God-modeled love like it said." Putting down his coffee, his smile couldn't help but grow bigger.
"If that is the desire of your heart Bry, then I believe that God will give it to you." Her cheeks were a bit red but she cleared her throat, dipping another piece into the sauce.
"I'm very proud of you, sweetheart. Very very proud."
"T-thanks." The two of them grew quiet but it was comfortable.
"Get a haircut?" A hand flew up to his now short strands.
"Ah, yeah. Figured it was time."
"Looks good on you, pretty boy."
"Thank you." Glancing down at his watch, he took a big sip.
"We gotta head back." Stuffing her mouth with one last piece of pancake, she got up. Coming behind her, he grabbed her coat and helped her into it.
She enjoyed spending time with him. Truth be told, she wanted to spend every waking moment with him if she could. Lifting a towel to wipe the sweat from her face, she zipped up her light neon jacket and headed to the pay phone. Pulling a phone card from her pocket, she dialed the operator. The second gift he'd given her over Christmas had been an International phone card with a whopping $300 dollars on it. She'd cried like a baby.
"How may I direct your call?"
"One moment, please." There was a click and then another dial tone.
"Please dial your number. When you are finished with the call, please enter your phone card information. Thank you." Dialing her mother's number, she waited for a little bit until she picked up.
"Briony!" The mere sound of her voice always made her want to cry but this time, she didn't blubber like she did the first time she'd called her a couple days after Christmas.
"How are you?"
"When we gon see you this year, Cayenne? It's been three years."
"Thanksgiving, hopefully Ma."
"How's the money lookin'?"
"Right now it's good... tryna keep it that way... hope it don't start acting funny." Her mother grumbled in agreement.
"Well what Momma?"
"Are you happy there, chocolate pie?" Smiling, she chewed her lip and glanced behind her, glad to see she didn't have a line waiting behind her.
"I wasn't... at first."
"Um...n-not quite sure what changed. I'm just.... in a better place now." The silence now seemed to span on for an eternity before her mother spoke again.
"Who is he?"
"Why there gotta be a he Ma?"
"Don't try to fool me, Cayenne. You don messed around out there and fell in love huh?" She sounded like she was smiling, which in turn made her smile albeit a pouty smile.
"I don't know what it is... I can't quite call it love yet."
"You scared." She gripped the phone.
"It's okay to be scared. Love is a scary thing. But it's also a wonderful thing when had with the right person." She was quiet, eyes downcast as she played with the spiral phone cord.
"Who is he?"
"H-his name is Eun-woo."
"What does Eun-woo do?"
"He's um... he's a pastor." More silence.
"My prayers been answered. Thank you Jesus." That made her suck in a breath and her eyebrows knitted together.
"What you mean you prayed for this? Momma, what-"
"Girl, the prayers of the righteous are never forsaken. I did. I asked God to bring a man into your life that feared Him, a good man who had God's heart and His character... a man who would know how to treat you." No fucking wa-
"Thank you Jesus," Now her mother started crying and it made her tear up.
"I just... I just didn't know that you would have to leave me to find him. All the way 'cross the world, My God..."
"Bring him with you when you come home."
"Call me when y'all get y'all tickets together." She hung up suddenly, leaving her standing there shell-shocked. What... what just happened? What was happening? Slowly lowering the phone, she placed it back on the hook, completely forgetting to pay for the call. What the hell was happening?
Water sluiced in the tub as a hand slowly helped the woman, dressed in white, into the pool. The pews were full today, as the rumor of her re-baptism spread from far and wide. There were many many new faces in the audience.
"...In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you will be baptized with fire and water." Taking a deep breath, slowly the woman was dipped underwater. After a second or two, she was lifted up. Applause rippled through the sanctuary and many cheered in celebration. Placing a towel around her, Pastor Byun smiled so wide and big that it looked like it hurt. He whispered something against her ear and hugged her, soon letting her go.
"Heaven has received our Seol-hwa once again! Let us pray that her faith endures like a burning fire. May it never run out."
Feet ascended up the stairs. The other voices had gone down. Coming up to the last step, eyes took in the curvacious woman standing outside of the pastoral office. For a moment, while in obscurity, he let his eyes roam her. It was simple enough. A coffee-colored brown tee shirt and blue jeans. Her hair still appeared damp but it had been slicked back into a big puff. In her small ears were braided golden hoops, modest and appropriate in size to the rest of her outfit. The jeans she wore weren't anything special. But the particular way they accentuated the large curves of her hips and the roundness of her backside fascinated him.
"Looking for someone?" At his question, the dark woman turned towards him.
"Ah, yes. Has Pastor Byun gone home for the day? I wanted to go over the small assignment he gave me."
"I'm sure I can help you. Come," Smiling at her, he opened the door to his office, stepping aside to let her in.
"What does it mean to be a virtuous woman?"
"Righteous and upright."
"Right-thinking and moral." It had been about fifteen or so minutes since they'd entered the office, she sat down and he paced.
"Where does it talk about the virtuous woman?"
"In Proverbs 31."
"Good. Where else?"
"Hm.." Now, he stopped circling and stopped, right behind her.
"Do you wish to be a wife one day, Seol-hwa?" She took her time answering, trying to find words to place her all-over-the-place emotions.
"Yeah... I think so."
"It is good to know all the virtues of what it means to be a good Christian wife."
"Yes, sir." His bible was placed down on top of the desk now, right above hers. She sucked in a breath as he leaned down over her, hands pressed flat against the desk surface.
"Some virtues are not discussed in the Word of God."
"I imagine people would be upset or denounce the faith. But, they are just as important." She felt a chill go through her body as he lifted his hands up from the desk.
"A virtuous woman should never reject her husband's need for intimacy. It's not proper to deny him what she should willingly give him." His breath now hushed against her ear.
"This is a part of your curriculum, Seol-hwa. Pay close attention." Her breath started to file out of her nose heavier and her stomach twisted sharply.
"A virtuous woman should be mindful of how she dresses in front of other men. A careless and shameless woman will not please God." She didn't respond, her hands tightly grasped in her lap.
"A virtuous woman should not, under any circumstances, bare her breasts to another man but her husband." She gasped as he grabbed hold of hers and squeezed them, pulling her back to sit up straight in the chair.
"They are there for his pleasure alone. His alone to fondle..." At once, she ripped his hands away from her and pushed him.
"Don't touch me!" The older man grinned now, straightening up his robes.
"How fucking dare you!"
"Is this how you act with Byun Eun-woo?"
"Do you come to his office and let him touch you in between services?"
"The fuck are you talking about?"
"I've heard you lift your skirt on Sundays, bend over, and let him have his way with you. Why then should I not be allowed the same thing?"
"You're... you're no Man of God...you're.... you're a devil in disguise..." He chuckled, expression growing dark.
"They say you are a whore. That any man who meets you will fall into your bottomless hole and be devoured." Lifting her hand, she slapped him good and hard across the face. So hard her palm burned. He, though, only grinned.
"Rumors are quite a nasty thing, Seol-hwa. Rumors will, in fact, lead to his ruin. And it will be your fault."
"When Eun-woo finds out what you've done, you'll never be allowed back here."
"That's if he believes you, my dear." At that, she stiffened.
"That's if anyone believes you. It will be your word against mine." Straightening up, he cleared his throat.
"I hope you found your lesson today to be... enlightening. You are dismissed."
She held it in... held it all in as he stood up there beside him like a fake priest, a fake mentor. Held it in as they continued to spend time together outside of the church walls. That hadn't changed. She'd held it in one night... instead of the truth coming out... something else came forward. Let's go on a date. It was sudden and rushed and she still couldn't believe she'd even uttered it. But... more than that, she couldn't believe that he actually agreed. Maybe she felt guilty. Maybe she felt stupid for letting her guard down. Maybe the smallest part of her believed him... that no one would believe her.
He sat in his car, fingers tight around the steering wheel. He'd been here in the parking lot for about fifteen minutes...early...but nervous as hell. He hadn't managed to will himself to leave the safety of his vehicle yet. Glancing out of the windshield up towards her door, he felt his heart pound against his chest. You're dreaming again, Byun. But it wasn't a dream... She'd really asked him out... and he'd really agreed. There was no thought behind it. The word 'okay' flew out of his mouth quicker than a second and now he sat hiding in his car like a wimp. You got this, Byun.
Closing his eyes, he took a long deep breath. It was gonna be okay. His nerves would settle, possibly over a drink or two. His hands would stop sweating, hopefully. It's just Briony. Gathering up the courage, he plucked his keys from the ignition and opened the door. Practicing his breathing all the way up the stairs, he swallowed down the rest of his nerves before lifting a hand to knock on her door. This is it. Mere moments felt like years before the door finally opened and she appeared at the entrance. It was at that moment that he knew. He was royally fucked.
"You look like you're gonna pee yourself."
"You gonna take your shoes off or just keep standing there?" He hadn't moved since the door closed behind him. Like a statue, he stood in the exact same spot for almost ten minutes. Watching her in the kitchen.
"You're making me feel weird, Eun-woo. Seriously."
"Sorry. I don't mean to."
"Take your shoes off. Get comfy. Do anything other than just stare at me. Please." Eyes glanced up from her pot at him as he knelt, finally taking off his shoes. Placing them neatly by the front door, he cleared his throat and rustled his short bangs.
"You want a drink? You need a drink." Going over to the fridge, she poured some wine, an expensive one she'd splurged on.
"Yeah, that's cool." Bringing it into the living room, she handed him the glass.
"Mmhm, drink all of it. I can see your nerves."
"I don't know why I'm so nervous." He said, taking a sip or four.
"Maybe it's cause we're not together right now as friends?" There. Yeah.
"I think you're right."
"I probably shouldn't have just blurted it out like that. I probably shocked the shit out of you."
"A little bit, yeah." The two of them shared a mutually nervous laugh and he released the rest of them with a breath, relaxing back into the couch.
"You look amazing."
"Really fucking amazing." Biting down into her lip, she stirred the bulgogi she had working in the pan. She'd kept it simple... at least simple to her. A little black dress sat nice and snug against her body, hugging everything her momma gave her. He hadn't stopped looking at her yet, eyes currently glancing at the neckline of said dress. It was considerably more conservative than anything she'd ever worn but provided just enough cleavage to leave the man sitting on her couch drooling.
Lifting the wine glass to his mouth again, his gaze drifted down the length of her dress. It came to her ankles. A super high slit on one side revealed an entire smooth umber leg. With slide-on heels on her feet, her small slim ankles were bare, and to add another layer of both tease and coverage, she wore a light pink shrug, loose enough that it hung down around her elbows.
"You look really fucking amazing too there, pretty boy." He wore a fitted white shirt and a pair of blue denim jeans. Those buff ass arms of his were on display and the way his muscles bulged and rippled as he lifted up his wine glass made her knees shaky. Placing it down onto her table, he slowly stood up and started to come towards her, making her heart and stomach do somersaults.
"I shouldn't drink anymore." Hands sliding across her waist, he sighed, pressing his nose against her neck.
"I'm already tipsy. What kind of wine was that?"
"Something expensive. You know the expensive shit gets you drunk faster."
"Hm." He hugged her close.
"You smell good, Bry."
"Sure that's not the food you're smelling?"
"Positive." She enjoyed his proximity, his body heat, and his cologne. Lips against her neck, softly kissing, warm slow breath.
"What took you so long?" He asked against her, eyes watching her hands as they flipped the burners off.
"What took you so long?" She countered, now scooping rice into a small bowl.
"I was scared." He answered honestly.
"I was too." The bowl now flipped, left a nice neat scoop of rice, perfectly shaped. Gathering the bulgogi she pressed down into and filled the center until the rich sauce dripped over the sides.
"Right where we both belong now though, hm?" Smiling, she accepted one last tiny peck against her neck before he let go of her.
"No more wine, I take it?"
"No, sweetheart. Water if you have it."
"Sure," Soon, she joined him on the couch, food in hand.
Sounds of smooth jazz permeated her apartment, the sweet yet urgent horns communicating beautifully with one another. The wine made her hot so she'd taken off her shrug, shoulders bare. Her heels, too, she'd kicked off. Closing her eyes, she pressed her cheek against his chest, tightening her hold on his hand. Dancing in small circles, the two of them seemed to be in their own little world, the anxiety from earlier in the evening like it never happened. Feeling just right, pressed just right. The hand against her back made her smile to herself.
She'd never tell him but she loved how small he made her feel. She felt wrapped up in his bigness and his warmth. His masculine energy made her feel safe and little. Only separating so she could put another record on, some oldies from the twenties and thirties, there they were wrapped up in each other again. Smiling as he lifted her arms to wrap around his neck, she didn't even try to stop it... the slow soft way their lips met. Full of good food and wine, it seemed like the only thing missing was dessert. The tartness of the grapes from the wine and the salty-sweetness of soy and teriyaki on his lips suited her just fine.
His palms slipped down and across her shoulders, one such brave soul choosing to venture further down her back. By now, their kisses had grown deeper, a slight clash of their tongues and sucking lips before they wetly separated. Panting against his mouth, she tried but couldn't escape him, his teeth digging into her bottom lip, and there again, his mouth pulled her back out into the deep. She felt that single brave hand of his grab a palmful of her ass and lift her up off of the ground. They didn't have far to go until her bottom met the couch cushion, her body now too far away... his body too far away. Reaching up, she pulled him by his shirt in until he fit nice and snugly against her. One of her thighs gently lifted upward to curl itself around his hip.
For a moment, the two of them stared into each other's eyes, breath heavy. His kiss now against her neck wasn't soft and gentle, no, it was hungry and his teeth sought to claim, his lips sucked her just enough to mark and the reality that she'd have hickeys tomorrow sent a rush of excitement into her panties. Rationality was leaving out of the window now as her back turned to press back against the couch. Hovering over her now, he lowered his head to give a light kiss against the small hard points that were her aroused nipples, now straining against her dress. Lowering a hand, he laid his palm against her, wanting her to feel his heavy warm weight.
"Eun-woo..." She didn't recognize her own voice, it sounded breathless and soft...even shaky. At once as if realizing what he was doing... what they were doing, he removed his hand away from her breast, as if she had burned him. He quickly untangled himself from around her.
"I'm... I'm sorry..." He didn't say anything else and she hadn't found it in her to move yet, watching from the couch as he began to put on his shoes. Breathing heavily, he put on his coat and without a word, left suddenly, shutting the door behind him. The heat of embarrassment now drifted into her body where once rich, hot, mindless pleasure had been. Maybe it was the records still playing in the background. Maybe it had been the wine. But whatever it was, it left her a sobbing mess as she began to cry.
Running anxious fingers through his hair, he sat at his desk, head buried into the palms of his hands.
"Aren't you supposed to be downstairs, preparing for your sermon?" Looking up into the smiling face of Apostle Park, he straightened up immediately.
"You look troubled. What's wrong?"
"Nothing... I'm fine. Just meditat-"
"Don't lie to me." Folding like a pack of cards, he sighed heavily.
"Sunbae-nim... have you ever... had a moment where you... almost backslid?"
"Of course I have." Swallowing at that information, the younger man steepled his fingers, eyes distant.
"What happened, if I may ask?"
"I... had a moment of weakness recently. A moment where I almost let my flesh rule me."
"Care to explain a little more?"
"I almost slept with a woman...someone I've known for some time now...I've developed romantic feelings towards her."
"I do what I can but....I cannot help the severity of my attraction to her. I...strongly desire to be with her.. in a very physical way."
"Do you only hold physical attraction to her?"
"No. No, she's much much more important to me than just a body."
"Is she a Christian?"
"Yes... she's a born-again Christian."
"Ah, so she is in her infancy."
"You must be very careful with her. She's fragile right now."
"Yes, sir. I know."
"Is she virtuous? Does she behave as a Christian woman should?"
"She's growing... and she is learning how to be."
"I don't feel as though in this present state I am fit to preach. I... I cannot stand in front of the people and pretend as if I didn't just... just try to..."
"We are all human beings, Eun-woo. We all have moments of weakness."
"How have you dealt with yours?"
"I remind myself of Romans 8:1; There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." The young man hung his head.
"Take time to reconnect with the Spirit, Eun-woo. It's okay to sit yourself down. It doesn't make you a weak man or a weak servant of God. Sometimes, we just need to recharge and refocus."
"And the guilt that comes along with it? What do I do with that?"
"Give it to the Almighty Father."
"If this woman is going to continue to serve as a source of temptation to you then perhaps it would be best to disconnect and sever ties with her." At that, he gulped.
"I will deliver today's sermon. But I will remind you of who you are. You are a minister unto the Lord. In being so, our Great and Good God will not send you someone who will cause you to stray from the path of righteousness. She will be aligned to your purpose and understand your identity in Christ. She will respect, honor and abide by it."
"You're allowed to have your moments. You are not allowed, however, to wallow in them." The man gently clapped his shoulder.
"Let's go. The people need to hear the voice of God."
He spotted her in her usual spot all the way in the back. Smoothing his robes, he rose from his seat, eyes finding her now standing up. The floodgates had opened and people began to crowd them as they left the stage.
"Apostle Park, that was a powerful sermon!"
"To God be the Glory,"
"Pastor Byun, when we be hearing you preach? It's been a while,"
"Soon." His eyes lifted from the people talking, heart slamming into his throat as he watched her leave.
"Ah, excuse me. Thank you." Pushing away the hands, he hurried to the doors. Giving them a firm push, he found her now walking mid-parking lot. Heading to the bus.
"Briony!" She ignored him and kept going.
"Briony Cayenne!" That got her to stop. He pushed past the staring eyes and whispering mouths of those who had started to file to their cars.
"We need to talk." He said, finally making it behind her.
"Don't do that. Come on,"
"No, you come on." She'd started walking again but he grabbed her arm.
"Let go of m-" The e didn't come out of her mouth and her eyes appeared strange now as they looked past him.
"Seol-hwa, right? I believe we met before." She didn't say anything, her entire face going dead. He turned to see Apostle Park behind them, a friendly smile on his face. When had he followed him?
"Nice to meet you again. I'm Apostle Park." The action of him outstretching his hand made her back away sharply and the way she ripped her arm free from his hand made him flinch.
"I gotta get my bus," She said abruptly, now clutching her purse to her chest. Turning away, he slowly let his eyes fall away from her back to him.
"Is that her?" Jaw clenched, he didn't have to verbally answer and the older man slapped him across the back.
"She carries a promiscuous spirit, Eun-woo. Be careful around her." Turning his eyes now to find her gone, he clenched his fingers together into fists. What the hell was that about?
No. Leave me alone.
Habits were funny. It didn't take much or take a lot to trigger them. The click of heels echoed through night streets and neon lights. Old habits died hard, didn't they? Just like that, at the snap of a finger, she re-entered the door she'd closed for a little while.
Getting out of the car, she heard the engine start and the car drive away. That was quick. Easy. He didn't even wanna go all the way. A quick little blowjob before he went home to the wife and kids. A little touching on her pussy, barely got her wet but that was okay. Shimmying, she pulled her dress down back over her thighs. This dress seemed to be the hot ticket to scoring big tonight.
A spicy latex number, brown on brown goodness that made her look like she'd been dipped in Hershey's milk chocolate. Combined with the way her hips looked, she promised an OD of sweetness. Reaching in her purse, she pulled out a tube of her favorite lip gloss, classic clear with a sparkle of glitter. Touching up her lips, she looked both ways before crossing the street.
Striking the punching bag, he felt sweat drip down his back. Again. Harder and duck. Again and block. His blows were rough and aggressive... angry. Striking the bag one last time, he panted harshly, kneeling to pick up his water bottle.
"Damn, man. You okay? You're beating the shit out of that bag."
"The bag says different." He grunted his indifference and lifted the bottle to his mouth to take a drink.
"You gonna get in the ring again?" Before he could answer, he choked on his water and coughed.
"Yeah, yeah I'm good. I'll be right back."
"Where the hell are you going?" Leaving his water bottle, he watched him bolt out of the doors, running after a girl that walked further up the street. Hm.
"Briony." Freezing, she came to a stop. Instant irritation.
"So, now you're stalking me?"
"What are you doing out here?"
"Minding my business." Turning, she faced the man she'd been actively and deliberately avoiding for weeks.
"You're clearly not." Her anger was seething and it was biting.
"Why haven't you called me?"
"I don't need a fucking reason. Because. " She watched his eyes slip down her body and a humorless grin came to her mouth.
"You haven't learned your lesson have you, pretty boy?" Now, their eyes met.
"You wanna fuck me then pay the price. 131 thousand won. If not, get lost." She went to turn around but he beat her to it, grabbing her arm.
"Ow! Let go of me!" Protesting, she tried to yank her arm away but he simply knelt and threw her over his shoulder like she was a rag doll.
"Put me down, you asshole!" She hissed but it was no good and soon the two of them went their merry little way into the bowels of an empty alleyway.
"Get your fucking hands off of me! Argh! Put... me DOWN." Finally, her feet met solid ground and he got a nice hard smack across the cheek in return. He didn't speak yet, gaze hot-blooded and fervent.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He asked, his voice uncharacteristically rough.
"I finally came to my fucking senses, that's what."
"What are you talking about?"
"I remembered why the church is so full of shit." He clenched his jaw, eyes confused and angry at the same time.
"YOU fucking happened."
"For God's sake, talk to me, Briony!"
"I am talking to you."
"No, you're not." Scoffing, she rolled her eyes and turned her face to the side.
"You're impossible. I tell you to leave me alone and you stalk me. You're a piece of fucking work, Byun Eun-woo."
"Instead of running away from me, in all this time you've been out here doing God knows what, we could've talked about what upset you... we could have worked through it."
"Yeah, well, running is what I'm good at."
"Well, that shit stops today," Her eyes grew incredulous.
"I've sacrificed my energy, my time, and my heart into you and this whatever the hell this is. I'll be damned if I let you run." His raspy words caused her breath to falter. She'd never heard him curse more than once or twice, and it made her withdraw little by little. She'd never seen him so angry. He drew closer and she further until she had nowhere to go, now trapped inside of his arms.
"I crossed a line and overstepped a boundary that never should have been crossed that night. I know I did. It's been eating me alive ever since." She closed her eyes, leaning her head back to press against the wall.
"I'm angry at myself for letting myself get to that point..."
"You did nothing wrong." At that, his gaze finally softened some. His breath began to slow.
"What happened... it was consensual... I wanted it to happen..." He sighed as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. The anger now was starting to leave his shoulders, his arms, his eyes.
"You're not your father, Eun-woo." He wasn't looking at her now, and she could see that he was shaking.
"I still want it to happen..." Her voice was barely there now and the explosive anger she'd once felt now had fallen flat. It was all a ruse; it was all a disguise to mask the sweeping emotions she tried to bury.
"I still... I still want us to happen,"
"Then why do you do this? Why do you keep pushing me away?"
"Because...I...I don't... know any other way to protect myself..." At that, he lifted his head.
"The thought of you not being there to protect me... it scares me... so..so I run."
"Why would I not be there to protect you?" Her eyes had started to fill with tears now and she caved under the touch of his palm now against her cheek. Lifting it slightly, he made her look at him. His eyes asked... pleading with her for the truth... for an explanation she had no other choice but to offer up.
"You convinced me to return to the church. It's because of you that I made such progress..." He was quiet, intent on hearing his answer.
"I have so much stacked against me here... I'm a woman. I'm black." Sucking in a breath, she squeezed her eyes shut now as his hands released the prison she'd been in.
"I'm a foreigner." His hands now took hold of hers.
"The police really aren't on my side as a black female foreigner. If I didn't have you to vouch for me then I'd be screwed."
"Why would you need the police, Bry?" Her mouth opened and closed and she warred with saying it...
"He... he violated me..." At that, he grew still.
"M-M-Mr. Park..." A cold chill traveled through his body and he for a moment felt numb.
"My mentor?" He needed clarification. Immediately.
"Yeah..." For the first time, he didn't look at her, now turning his eyes upward toward the sky above them. Now, it made sense. Why she'd acted so strange that day.
"What did he do?"
"It can't be changed. It happened. I'll move on."
"That's not what I asked you." Leaning closer, he made her look at him, both of his palms having taken hold of her face. His voice was careful and gentle now.
"What did he do, Briony?"
"He touched me somewhere I did not give him permission to..." The breath she released was full of fear. She didn't want to tell him... because she didn't want to be the blame for anything that might happen. He had a life here... she... she was just passing through.
"Where, sweetheart? Tell me." She lifted a hand of her own and lightly pressed it against her chest. Closing his eyes, he swallowed so hard she heard it.
"We were in your office. I... I went to see you... to go over that assignment you gave me but he was there...and he told me he would go over it with me."
"He started talking about weird stuff like how women should never say no if her husband wants sex and how they should always be submissive..." His nostrils flared again.
"Before I knew it, he had touched me. He called me a whore, said that I seduced you..." She sniffled, tears now dripping down from her face.
"He said that it would be my fault if rumors about us continued, that they might end your career..." Lifting her hands, she pressed her hands to her face. His hands came up to lightly grip her hair and he pressed a kiss against her forehead. The action of it made her embrace him, burying herself now against his chest. His eyes once again found the sky.
"Fora moment... I hated God all over again. Once a hoe always a hoe, right?"
"No, that's not true," His voice soothed her and she soon sniffled against him.
"None of this is your fault. None of it, hm?" Taking a deep breath, she slowly nodded her head.
"You trusted him as a Leader. You trusted him as a Man of God and he violated that trust. He abused it for his own personal lusts. His actions do not reflect God or His true servants whatsoever. Please hear me when I say that." Quiet, she felt his lips against her forehead.
"You're so very precious to me, Briony... You're so much more to me than your body..." She finally lifted up, welcoming the press of his thumbs against her cheeks.
"I want to keep the wolves away from you so they wouldn't hurt you anymore." He took in a big breath.
"Promise me that you won't keep something like that from me again." Her chin trembled but she found a voice to speak.
"I have to know these things so that I can protect you, hm?"
"That's my girl,"
All eyes had been on her when they finally entered back into the training center. All eyes had been on their entangled fingers.
"I'll just grab my water bottle, okay?"
"'kay," As he approached his forgotten bottle, he felt Kyung approach him.
"Who's the hottie?"
"My girlfriend," His eyes nearly popped out of his head and his mouth gaped open.
"You're full of shit. No, she's not."
"You asked. Now, stop undressing her before I punch your teeth down your throat." At that, the younger man's Adam's apple bobbed.
"Where'd you meet a foreigner like that?"
"None of your business,"
"Hyung... come on... don't be selfish. I wanna hot black girlfriend too."
"Get lost," Protesting as he started to walk away, he folded his arms.
"Oh, I'll be back in the ring next week to kick your ass."
"Hyung!" Fingers now entwined again, they began to waltz out of the center like a happy couple, his jacket conveniently tied now around her waist to shield the amazing view of her ass.
"How's this look?" His eyes lifted up from the comic he'd been reading on her couch. Smiling, he put the comic down.
"You look gorgeous, sweetheart." Tasteful and modest, she wore a red floral dress, tailored of course, and a short sleeve white undershirt. A pair of her Chucks and that dainty pearl necklace to top it off. She'd left her earrings minimal, plain Sterling silver studs, and her face bare, except for her trademark clear glossy lips, complete with sparkle.
"All right, well, I'm ready then. I go get my purse."
"I'll be here," Smiling as she went back to her bed, he stood up.
"Breakfast this morning?"
"Nah, I'll save my appetite for later."
"Yeah cause you payin." Chuckling, he opened the door to let her out.
"Give me those," He teased, taking her keys from her. Locking the door, he slipped them into his pocket for safekeeping.
"Come on, I'm tryna get the best seat in the back. That pew goes quick."
"Why don't you ever try to venture up more?"
"Cause. I don't feel like it. I like bein by the door." Her hand pulled his arm against her and she slowed him a little until they walked slower now to the car.
"How'd it go?" He eyed the car up ahead.
"I handled it."
"Can you meet me in my office for a moment? I know you're about to go,"
"Sure." Both men were quiet as they traveled up the stairs and into the hallway. Retrieving his keys, he unlocked the door.
"Please, come in." He'd waited until the man got far enough into the room before shutting the door and locking it.
"You should really consider an assistant to help you navigate your duties," He didn't say anything, just stared at him... just cracked his knuckles. In the silence, the older man turned, the noise alerting him.
"Seol-hwa. What did you do to her?"
"She told me everything. How you assaulted her in my office." His friendly smile started to fade from his face.
"You thought I wouldn't believe her. Right?"
"With all due respect, Eun-woo, she's not the type of girl I'd get involved with. I'm aware that you... like her. As men of the faith, we must do well to control our flesh."
"Men like you? Men whose hands just accidentally happen to be places where they shouldn't?"
"She told you I assaulted her. Ha. The Jezebel in her has deceived you."
"How many other girls did you molest in here, sunbae?"
"How dare you."
"I... I really respected you. I looked up to you like a father figure. But now, you disgust me. Men in power, such as yourself, taking advantage of women in their infancy in Christ... it makes me sick."
"I'd be very careful how you continue to proceed with this conversation, Byun Eun-woo." He wanted to punch his lights out, wanted to put him in a chokehold until he turned blue.
"Seol-hwa is pure. Her spirit is of the greatest virtue, as are the other newly born women I are honored to have in my congregation. Not only is it our duty as Shepherds to lead and guide the pure-hearted sheep, but it is our duty as men to protect our weaker counterparts."
"You stand there and attempt to make your emotionalism theological dogma but at the end of the day, you have lusted after her too. Don't dare lie to me." At that, his face grew red.
"You've entertained the thought of bending her over your desk, haven't you? Imagined spreading those fat thighs of hers."
"Shut your mouth." He hissed, eyes now dark and furious.
"While you sat here, studying your little sermons, how much more arousing would it have been to glance down and see her thick lips wrapped around your cock?" Without much warning, he swung on him, a left hook to the jaw, that knocked the breath out of him. He fell to the floor, blood seeping out from his lips. Spitting, a tooth or two came flying out and he grinned, teeth now bloody.
"We are all God's children... but she... she is just a fat black whore seeking to be fucked. Wake up, Eun-woo. Smell the roses." He visibly shook now, hands in tight fists, eyes looking nowhere in particular.
"You never would have been able to make her a pastor's wife. You know that and I know that." Smirking, the man laughed.
"No one in Seoul would have accepted her as their First Lady." He heard him spit again and grunt as he lifted up onto his arms.
"This assault will cost you, my boy."
"I don't want any of it. Your affiliation, your connections, I want nothing. I completely sever all ties with you as of today." The man slowly got up and lifted a sleeve to his mouth.
"I give everything back to you willingly. Take it all. Your name, your money, everything. I don't fucking want it." Looking at his smirking face made him think dangerous thoughts, thoughts of taking his head and smashing it against his desk... so... so he turned away from him. Asked God for the strength not to kill him where he stood.
"Leave the premises immediately. If you won't, I will have the police drag you out."
"Did you turn the cameras off and rock his shit?" Grinning, he flexed the fingers of his free hand.
"No. That wasn't necessary." She sucked her teeth.
"Hell yeah it was necessary. Shoulda ended his ass."
"He's now under investigation."
"What about the church? Wasn't it backed by his money?"
"The church will be fine, Bry. Don't worry."
"You're my man. I have to worry." Now at the car, he opened her door. Watching as she slipped inside, he quietly shut the door and soon joined her in the driver's seat.
"After service today, let's do something spontaneous today, hm?"
She didn't mind it. Actually, should she tell it honest, she loved it. When he'd tell her to change with a gentle overprotective gaze. It wasn't like he dictated or controlled what she wore every day. It was far from it, actually. She was her own person before him and damn sure would be after him... But, she guessed what she loved most, even more than the explanations why. Kinda short, Bry. I'm liable to get into a fight if someone looks at you wrong. It really got her going. Maybe a jacket for your arms, sweetheart? It'll be cold later. She appreciated it... felt like his little princess and he, her prince charming, was looking out for her...keeping her put together and in alignment with God. Most women would have a problem with it... but...she enjoyed the lessons they'd have on weekends about what real submission looked like.
"People think that submission is just a surrendering of power during sex or about control. There are levels of submission that are not just skin deep." They sat on his floor, his long legs stretched out comfortably, slightly opened to allow her body space to sit. Leaning back against his chest, she glanced down at the book he read from.
"Submission is about trust, not control. It has nothing to do with displays of abusive dominance. It's about honor. Love and respect."
"Wow." Smiling against her, he continued,
"Men and women both submit to one another, in a relationship. Leading, guiding, and serving. The sign of wisdom and maturity in a God-filled relationship is when you and your significant other can, in fact, serve one another. Making oneself lower, in postures of receiving, listening, learning, and doing is representative of Jesus' self-giving to His disciples."
"Most notably, we've heard of Ephesians 5, where Paul writes, 'Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.' Regrettably, this passage of scripture is one of the most gravely distorted in the Bible, used to assert that men are to be the dominant partner and women are to follow orders, and adhere to their desires."
"Most don't pay attention or study in depth what Paul writes pertaining to the husbands. In verses 25-28 in the Amplified Bible, it states, 'Husbands, love your wives [seek the highest good for her and surround her with a caring, unselfish love], just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless. Even so husbands should and are morally obligated to love their own wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself."
"That's good, baby."
"Ultimately, Paul gives these clear instructions to the husband and to the wife: Be filled with the Spirit. Sing to each other in song and make music from your heart to one another. Give thanks to God. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. This is the physical evidence of the Holy Spirit working and being active in our lives."
"Submission is an act of joyful service, seeking and granting forgiveness, setting aside pride, our faults, and acknowledging weaknesses. It's not something we as humans will always do but, should we be mindful and consciously strive toward what is right, what is holy and give grace, we will deepen our relationship with God respectively, and keep Him head over our relationship."
Heart thrashing around her chest like a yo-yo she picked up the phone and dialed her mother. On the fourth ring, she answered.
"You get your ticket?"
"Yes ma'am. I got it."
"Been a couple months since we last talked, you still with your mister?" Smiling, she glanced over at him as he finished washing the dishes from dinner, rinsing them under water.
"Yep. I asked him this morning."
"He got a ticket then?"
"Yes, ma'am he does." Her mother giggled like a kid.
"Lawd Jesus I'm excited to meet him."
"Momma if you want, you wanna say hi? He's right here."
"Yes!" Her mother's excitement was contagious and she grinned, slightly pulling the phone down.
"Um... my mom wants to say hi." He immediately looked nervous. The meeting with his mom and father didn't go that well and for that, he currently wasn't talking to them. Swallowing, he dried his hands and cleared his throat. Taking the phone, he inhaled sharply before speaking.
"Is this Eun-woo?"
"Yes, it is."
"Ooh, you speak really good English."
"Thank you. I studied in the UK for about eight years so I hope it doesn't sound too British."
"Thank you, ma'am."
"How long have you been dating my daughter?" Grinning as she made a silly face, listening in on the conversation from the bootleg apartment-supplied phone that miraculously decided to work today.
"Almost two full years."
"Do you love her?" Looking up to see her eyes stabbing darts into him, he felt his cheeks grow red.
"Yes, ma'am. I love her very much." His response made her blush.
"I hoped when she first mentioned you that you were for real... that you weren't in it for anything other than genuine love. She's had relationships past that have really hurt her... they weren't in it for the long haul. Half of them didn't even go to church."
"She told me you're a pastor?"
"Yes ma'am. I lead services now at a church but I'm looking to own my own building."
"That's amazing! God will provide."
"I believe that as well,"
"Well, Cayenne has told me you're quite the looker." She just progressively grew redder and redder as time passed and his grin grew deeper.
"Mmhm. Said you're tall and built like Arnold Schwarzenegger." At that, he bust out laughing.
"I'm nowhere near as big as he is but... that's a first. I'll... be sure to thank her for the compliment."
"I can't wait to see you, Eun-woo."
"It'll be an honor to meet you Ms. Miller."
"Bye, ma'am." All three of them hung up. Lifting his eyebrows, he crossed his arms.
"Arnold Schwarzenegger, huh?"
"Shut up. Don't start."
"Don't try to weasel past me," He teased, gently grabbing her as she tried to scurry past into the kitchen.
"Let it go, okay? I don't even know why Momma told you all my business..."
"What else did you tell her?"
"I told her you preach real good and know the bible front and back ways. Now, I said don't start."
Were she to confess it right, confess it all then she would have to say that she was glad that she'd moved to Korea. She never would have met him... never would have fallen in love with him. Divine timing and Divine seasons. Everything happened the way it did for a reason. It came as a really low blow to him when his parents disowned him... all because he wanted to marry a black girl. It hurt her to see him hurt. But, she'd protect him just the same as he protected her. She'd tear a bitch up for her man. Even if that bitch was his own momma.
It didn't matter much anyway because later that year, with the expiration date of her work visa approaching, the two of them flew to the States, met her Momma and all the rest of her family. Her momma fell in love with him at first sight, gushing about how cute he was. Her daddy took some time and a couple more visits before he really warmed up to him. She knew he would have rather seen her with a black guy but, hey, God had dealt out these cards and she wasn't bout to re-arrange them.
Her sisters made fun of him, joking that she caught the tail end of a crawfish and brought him home. Jokes on them cause she almost too proudly told them he didn't have a crawfish. He had a nice big lobster tail. That shut them up and shut them jokes up too. It was funny how things seemed to change now that she had a man. Her family was still toxic as fuck but they didn't seem to bring up her weight anymore, not when they could clearly see how this one man loved every single bit of it. Her uncles tried to give him hell but he stuck it out, and gave it back just like they dished it. Obviously, his Korean-ness bothered them, well everybody but her momma. She damn near called him her son-in-law from the first time they talked on the phone.
That Thanksgiving, they ate real good, drank real good, and danced all night long. He got his honorary Black Card when jumping in to do the Electric and Cha Cha Slide, dripping with so much swagger it actually shocked her. To further assert his newfound 'Blackness', he went out the back and smoked a cigar with 'em, chopping it up real good with 'em.
She'd never known him to smoke before and never saw him do it again. That night, though, he was just feeling the vibes and having fun. And she dug it. From that point, he was no longer just the Korean boy. He was E or E-Dog to the unc's. The two of them had clean fun under the watchful gaze of her daddy, hands kept to themselves and so did lips.
Divine timing and Divine season. They flew back out for Christmas and that time, they stayed until the new year. By then, her visa had expired. And by then, Byun Eun-woo...Byun Eun-woo had proposed.
His hands would not stop shaking. God, he felt like he was gonna throw up. Taking an anxiety-filled breath, he waited as the door opened and she stepped out of the house. A light-washed denim jacket. Cute floral pattern dress, a little bit above the knee. She wore comfortable shoes, her favorite pair of Chucks. She had her hair in braids, courtesy of one of her sisters, and had the strands pulled up into a bun.
"You look like you swallowed a fish." She teased, hugging him.
"I feel like I swallowed a fish," Laughing, she lifted up on her tiptoes and pressed a light kiss against his mouth.
"Loosen up, pretty boy. You'll make me nervous." Pulling away from him, she grabbed his hand and began to tug him towards their borrowed ride for the evening, again courtesy of one of her sisters.
"What you think bout an amusement park tonight? Too kidd-ish?"
"Hm-uhm. I love coasters."
"Okay, good then. Figure we ride some rides and eat funnel cake and just have a blast."
"That sounds good."
"I haven't been to one since I was 14. Oh my God, can you imagine me on a Merry-Go-Round?" She laughed to herself, fingers entwined with his. But, she noticed that he was walking a bit slower than she was and she almost fully pulled his arm. She turned suddenly to see him glancing down at her butt which just so happened to wiggle a little when she walked.
"You distracted by somethin, baby?"
"Just a little bit yeah." His cheeks grew pink but he didn't pull them eyes away from her ass yet. She liked that. Homeboy was zoned in. Smushing his cheeks, she finally pulled his gaze upward. Lightly kissing his smushed up lips, she grinned.
"Focus." At that, she let go of him.
"Come on, the earlier we get there the less of a line we gonna be in."
Screams of terror. Scream-laughs of fun. Music box music and old attractions from old times. The smell of coneys, popcorn and the almost nauseating sweetness of cotton candy. Her stomach dropped as they took a drop, screaming like she was gonna die. Their hands were tight together, bruising tight. She'd never heard him laugh like this, loud, open, and uninhibited. If they weren't in the middle of hell, she'd actually laugh back. Finally, the ride evened out but her stomach still did flips and flops down to her feet.
"You okay, sweetheart?" He asked, laughter cutting in through his voice as the safety bars were lifted.
"No, the fuck I'm not..." Climbing out, he helped her up and out, pulling her pouting little form against him.
"I'm proud of you, Bry. You did it scared."
"And almost fucking died!" Chuckling, he lifted her face and kissed her forehead.
"My brave girl," Cheeks on red, she playfully pushed him back.
"Just for that, we're going on the kiddie dragon ride. Let's go, mister."
"Kiddie-dragon ride? You're not serious, right?"
"Dead serious, move it."
"Do I look like I can fit on a kid ride?" He asked, grinning as she began to push him in the direction of the kiddie rides.
"We bout to find out, aren't we?" Another round of laughter all around for the folks and sure enough, through people and the slight tang of beer, they made it to the kiddie ride.
"Two...tickets please." The operator said, gawking up at him.
"Uh... sir, I don't think you're small enough to fit."
"He'll pull his legs in real good, right baby?" She said, handing him the tickets.
"We're locked and loaded, already." Picking the furthest seat, she got in first, now her turn to grin as he stared down incredulously at the tiny ass gold and green painted seat.
"I'm not getting in."
"Oh, yes you are. I almost die on a ride you like, you gon tuck your balls in on this one. Sit." Reaching for his hand, she pulled him in. It was the funniest thing ever in life, how he had to sit to even attempt to get in on the bench. He barely got his legs in and the safety bar now squeezed his lower abdomen.
"This is uncomfortable as hell, Briony."
"Yeah but you love me anyway." With ease, she pushed back his hair from his forehead.
"One go-round and then we're done."
By the end of the night, through pouts, huffing breath, and powdered sugar from funnel cake on their mouths and noses, they eventually made it to the Ferris wheel, the last ride of the night. With more than enough space in here to stretch out his daddy long legs, to his relief. As the car started to move, she gripped his hand tightly.
"You're really scared of heights, huh?" He asked, watching as she nervously licked her lips, watching the ground get further and further away.
"When'd that fear originate?"
"I don't know... as a kid I guess." Pulling her closer, he gently wrapped arms around her, smiling as she laid her head against his chest.
"Being high up sometimes isn't too bad. Staying up high and never coming down is the problem."
"You're speaking in riddles again," He smiled against her.
"Are you brave enough to look over?"
"Over where? Outside this thing? Hell nah."
"It's really pretty, Come on, Bry.." She pulled away and huffed.
"Jesus, you're pushy."
"Hey, what. Get off me." Grinning as she pushed him away from her, she reached down to grip her jacket closed.
"It's cold as hell up here."
"I would give you my jacket but you're being the biggest brat." Her tongue sticking out at him made him laugh.
"Unbelievable. The way you treat me is unbelievable."
"Yeah yeah, hand over the jacket and quit playin'." Smirking, he sighed in defeat and lifted to peel his much warmer, much bigger jacket off. Scooching closer, he placed it around her shoulders. She breathed a sigh of relief as his warmth eased the chill from her skin. Eyes opening as they shifted a little bit, she opened her eyes to find him even closer, her back pressed against the side of the car. The drop was starting and it brought a rush of wind that made the scent of his cologne smack her in the face. She inhaled it like a drug... inhaled him like an addict as their eyes locked. Her neck grew warm as he lowered his forehead to rest against her shoulder. The mechanical click and turn and soon they were ascending again.
"I don't want to leave." His hands that gripped his jacket closed left her and palms now pressed flat against the seat. They had talked about it... she'd cried about it, away from him of course, and he'd been insanely clingy in the days of past... not that she minded though.
"I don't want you to leave either...but you have to." Her arms now lifted to wrap around him, hug him closer. Lifting his head a little, his gaze did so many things to her all at once. Aroused her. Made her sad. Shy. Glancing down at her lips, that trademark blush of his lit his cheeks up and he pulled away from her altogether.
"Do you think we're built for it? Long distance?"
"I mean... we really don't have any other choice." He wasn't too happy at that response but let it be, allowing her hand to take one of his own.
"You've squared everything away with your hagwon? Your apartment complex? Maybe you should come just to be safe everything is secure."
"I did all of that before we left for Thanksgiving. I told them I wouldn't be back."
"Just like that, huh?"
"Yeah. Those racist bastards lost a good ass teacher." Snorting, he glanced over at her, expression humored.
"I damn sure won't miss those badass kids."
"They're not going to miss you either."
"Good then. Tuh." A tiny laugh trickled up from his chest and it made her smile.
"Besides, it'd take the rest of this whole year to wait to be re-approved for my visa now. I shoulda done it last year if I was really serious about it."
"I don't want you to feel like you have to pack up your entire life, just to be with me Eun-woo. You can't leave your congregation hanging. You've gotta life there."
"A life that would be, embarrassingly, empty without you." Her gaze dropped, cheeks flushed. Well then. Tell me how you really feel. The ride suddenly stopped. Fingers entwined and they got off, getting lost in the crowd of laughter, screams, carnival music, and bright flashing neon lights.
"Let's get married." If her head could have twisted around like a doll it would have.
"That's not the response I was expecting you to have,"
"You just threw it out there like that... shit. How else am I supposed to respond?" He grinned as their feet led them past the cotton candy stand toward the parking lot. Growing closer to the car, he stopped suddenly, pulling her to a halt.
"Okay then, let's try this a different way," She felt like she was on Candid Camera and at any moment, a film crew was going to pop up amongst the other people now starting to leave and walk by them. But, watching him lower onto a knee sent her heart nearly out through her chest. It became real. She could tell he was nervous but he reached his hand down into his pocket and pulled out a sparkly lil ring.
"Briony Cayenne...I want you to marry me." Her entire body went still and she wasn't even sure she was breathing. It was all too much. The way he held her hand, the way he looked up at her... the ring staring at her.
"Say yes!" Some miscellaneous voice shouted, making her jump. When had there gathered a small crowd? The hell?
"Don't let them pressure you. Answer me honestly," She tried to open her mouth and speak but instead, her eyes started to grow teary. It took her a minute but she finally gathered up enough vocal cords to reply.
"...I-I...I'll...marry you." It was like he didn't hear her. At least, he didn't move... didn't do anything but look up at her with those now wide puppy-dog eyes, like he didn't believe she'd actually agree. She smiled and gathered his face in her hands. Leaning down to press their foreheads together, she spoke quietly.
"Will you marry me, Byun Eun-woo? Will you let me be your wife?" Without another second wasted, he closed the distance between their mouths, the force of his kiss knocking the breath out of her.
"Yes," He breathed against her lips, drowning out the roar of applause and cheering. She allowed herself to smile big and bright, just how she felt, right before their lips met again, and again, sweet joy-filled words not spoken. It was okay to admit it... it was okay to confess it, to herself of course, that she loved him, that fateful and irrevocable meeting in Itaewon the reason... the why...and now because of. It was okay now, to let the love inside of her threatening to overtake her to finally have its way.