The metallic sound of my knocking echoes in the concrete hallway. Yoosung and I have been dating for a couple of months now, but mostly they’re study dates or movies and some cheap hole in the wall for dinner. A couple sessions of heavy petting in my apartment, but more often lately, he’s been running away just when things were getting good. This is actually the first time I’m going to his apartment, and the very first time he’s cooking for me, even though we’re often at least having meals together over the phone at least once a day.
Nothing. I check my phone again. Apartment 753. I have the right place. Unless he mistyped something? I raise my hand to knock again, but when I expect to connect with door, I connect with flesh. Twice. My boyfriend opens the door saying, “I’m sorry, you must not have heard me say I’d be… OW.” Eep! His forehead! Before I knock him a third time, my hands fly to hide my rapidly reddening face.
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to hit you, Yoosung!” I peek again, and he’s chuckling while rubbing his head with his free hand, the other draped up the door as he leaned against it. He’s wearing a dress shirt and tie, tailored slacks that might be the ones he wore to the party, and his hair about the most tamed I think I have ever seen it. I feel woefully underdressed in my cute sweater and skirt.
“Your knuckles are sharp.”
My blush deepens. “I’m sorry!!!”
“Y-you said that,” he stutters. For some reason, he’s blushing too. His hands drop though, one wrapped behind his back and the other extended toward me. “W-would you like to come in though?” All I can do is take his offered hand; it’s chillier than normal. He must be nervous too.
Past the threshold, I lean in for a kiss hello. Unfortunately he thought the same thing, and our timing was off, because somehow I manage to dig his glasses into his face when my nose hits the wrong place. At this point all I can do is laugh. Same for him it seems as we rub our mutually pained faces. “I’m soooo sorry!” I choke through the laughter. I sure hope the rest of the night isn’t like this.
“I think that one was my fault,” he ruefully grins.
Quickly I slip off my shoes and he guides me into the apartment. It’s remarkably clean. Hell, I think it’s cleaner than my place. I’m going to have to fix that. Nice laminate floor, the main room is compact, but efficiently designed. Instead of a dining table, looks like he has a breakfast bar at the kitchen.
That’s when it hits me. “Cheese?” The scent of cheese wafts from the kitchen and fills the space.
His smile broadens. “You said you liked American food. So the menu tonight is steak with mushrooms and a red wine reduction, cheesy potatoes, and a salad.” He’s led me to the breakfast bar and helps me up into the seat.
My eyes widen. “Steak? Wine? How did you… I would have been fine with omurice.” He has a student budget, how could he spend so much? Is he going to be eating cup noodles for the next month? I couldn’t even remotely be okay with that.
His hands wave in front of him as he takes in my look. “Hey! No worries!” his face falls. “I have ways to treat my girlfriend extra special well. The details are secret!”
I reluctantly agree to his explanation; I can’t help it, he is so eager and he put so much thought into this. I’ll leave him alone on that with a little bit of teasing. “You didn’t pimp yourself out for it, did you Yoosung?”
His violet eyes widen and he resembles a puppy that has been caught doing something they shouldn’t have. Disturbing and awkward silence blankets the room. It was intended to be a joke, but it looks like I had hit a little too close to the mark. “Y-Yoosung… you didn’t…”
“NO! No, you have the wrong idea. But… I did take on an odd job. Nothing to worry about. Please believe me!” I breathe a sigh of relief while he panics. Even his panicking I find adorable.
“It’s oKAY, Yoosung,” I giggle. “I believe you. I’m curious, but if it makes you feel better to keep that to yourself I won’t pry anymore.” I shrug and smile, and his face lights up like I had given him some special rare LOLOL item.
He settles into a bit of a starry-eyed goofy lovestruck look that makes me shift in my seat for how intensely he’s looking at me. I’m not sure how long that goes for, but he starts with, “Your smile…” when the smell of the steaks go distinctly carbon sharp and I have to interrupt him.
“Yoosung! The steaks!” He shakes himself out of it with a yelp to see that there’s a small bit of smoke coming from the pan. He pulls it off with a small cuss under his breath, and takes the tongs to pull them out.
They are in fact a bit more charred than I typically would go for. “I should have paid more attention,” he muttered forlornly.
Helping best I can, I toss to him, “Blackened is a cooking style, isn’t it?”
“Maybe? I don’t think it works that way with steaks though,” he shrugs towards me and tilts his head as though to examine the meat from another angle while lifting them with his tongs. “Maybe ketchup will be better for this? I, um, don’t think the red wine will, ah, help.”
“Then I guess we’ll just have to drink the wine instead.” I smile. “It’s okay. I’m sure it’ll still be fine.”
He grumbles, “Seven is not going to let me live this down.”
I arch my eyebrow. “Seven?” is all I ask.
“Aaaaah — you didn’t hear that.”
While he’s to the side of the kitchen range, I reach across the counter to gently grab his tie and guide him toward me. He drops the tongs onto the plate with a clatter, but neither of us care when I press my lips against his to get a taste. His lips are always so soft, and I can tell he’d had a touch of the wine to get a taste, probably before I got here. I had intended to give him a break from the embarrassment with the slow kiss I led him in.
What I got is me readjusting my stance to be a little more comfortable and knocking the open bottle of red wine right onto his dress shirt. It seemed wholly unfair as I let go and we move apart in slow motion. He rights the bottle quick as he can; most of it still seems to be in there. Damage done though, there is a distinctly darker spot on his blue shirt where it soaked up the wine and I find myself praying that it didn’t get his pants too.
“I’ll take care of cleanup. You should get changed and that shirt in the wash asap so it doesn’t stain,” I slide out of my chair and scurry around the counter where he stands not exactly dripping, but certainly trying to not get the wine on anything else. He just nodded and sort of walked awkwardly with his legs spread making sure the fabric didn’t touch anymore of the other fabric.
I hear a dresser drawer open and close and the soft close of a door. Wait, dresser? Out here? I whip my head to look and see there’s a bookshelf cutting off part of the room and a dresser with a TV on top just to the side of what seems to be an alcove. Oh. I guess his bed is behind the bookcase. I didn’t catch at first that this actually is a studio apartment, thinking there was only a main room and the bedroom was off elsewhere.
Absentmindedly, I start cleaning up the wine with a rag that I found, hoping it’s a reasonable enough choice. Doesn’t look like there’s any actually on the cabinets, amazingly. But I find I can’t keep my mind off the fact that there’s a bed. Right there.
And if we’re watching movies or something there’s mostly just one place to go.
I glance back and then hyper focus on cleaning the wine up. Can’t let it stain. Nope. No staining.
I didn’t think about the fact that he would be coming back with the way I bent over to clean.
“_______, did you find the cleaning sup….”
I leave the rag on the floor to bolt upright, smoothing my skirt down my backside. My heart stops. When I spin around, to see the deep vermillion of his face, his mouth hidden behind his hand, I feel my own face heat up. I KNEW I should have worn tights. I didn’t even need blush the rate this night is going. “Ididn’tseeanythingIswear.”
“Onlypeoplewhosawsomethingsaythat,” I blurt right back and slap my own hands over my mouth.
The two of us dorks. Standing there. Embarrassed and awkward. So of course I start to giggle. We are in the midst of a legitimate sitcom level mess of a date so far and I am trying to hold them back. Yoosung’s eyes start to crinkle though, and his shoulders are shaking, and I think he’s trying to not laugh too.
I can only laugh harder.
His eyes shut and he bends in on himself a little and now I can hear myself which mean he can and all I can do is try to not laugh so hard I cry. He straightens up again and pulls me into his arms. We just embrace and laugh until we can get ourselves under control again. The cotton of his t-shirt is super soft against my cheek. His chest is solid and I love the sound of him breathless. I burrow in just a little more to feel that much closer to his racing heart.
Glancing up, I find his lips taking mine in. This kiss is almost like we had never stopped before the wine spilled, but we get to be closer. He’s so warm and I love the support of his arm in the small of my back lifting me just slightly up into him, his other hand tangled lightly in my hair. Whereas before I was in control of the kiss, however, he is very clearly taking the lead this time. I shiver at the feeling of his tongue slowly exploring me and the more I yield, the closer he pulls me.
His heartbeat spikes when the feel of his kiss pulls a squeaky sigh from me. Reluctantly he pulls away. Kiss bruised and unfocused gaze, I feel a part of me tighten at the sight of him looking so delicious. Even the slight haze of his damaged left eye looks almost rugged on him.
“H-hungry?” His voice is lower than I’ve heard before, throaty and rougher and it takes a moment for me to realize what he asked.
“Um?” Damn, I squeaked again.
“D-do you want dinner? The gratin at least should be good.”
I refocus. “Oh. Yeah.” I shake myself clear a bit and we pull apart a bit. “Yeah, we could do that.”
“Could you grab the salad out of the fridge?” I can’t turn away, but I do dumbly nod. He turns to the task of setting up the food and that snaps me out enough to turn to my own task. I hear his shaky slow breath behind me and try to ignore the fluttering that sound bounces through me.
There isn’t much in there, so it’s easy to figure out what I’m intended to get. I grab the dressing too.
He’s already pulled the gratin out and examining the steaks again, cuts away some of the worst burned parts. We quietly get to plating everything; he sits to the left of me on the other stool next to mine at the breakfast bar and holds up a glass of the wine.
I mirror him.
“To date #10,” he smiles. I smile back and clink my glass to his.
“To date #10,” I echo.
He might have drank his glass a little faster than I expected, but it was rather tasty.