It had not taken long.
By that same afternoon, he had brought her to the coffee shop two blocks over. As they sat there, hands cupping their respective hot drinks and smiling at each other, he can't help but reflect that it was as if a decade had not passed. She was there, sitting across from him, smiling at him in a way that told him yes, she was shy, but no, it was not awkward, and that she was sincerely glad that she was here with him now.
Glad. He liked that word. It connoted something bone-deep, imperturbable and simple.
A beat, the time it takes for the blink of an eye, and he has taken her left hand, grasping it comfortably with his right, and her smile deepens a bit, her eyes sparkling.
“I missed you, Ah Young.”
She shifts their hands to intertwine their fingers, something that they hadn’t done before, and he is amazed that there is no hesitance, no reluctance.
Ten years passed away in the blink of an eye, and all he can remember is the here and now.
He grins at her, the boyish grin he thought he had lost years ago. Apparently she had just taken it with her, and it returned with her, too.
It took a week of having her all to himself before he finally caved in, and told her, “We should tell the others that you’re back.”
She just smiles at him and says, “They already know. But then I told them not to bother us for a while. We’ll meet them when we’re ready.”
There was a slight pause, before he walked over to where she was reading in the easy chair, her feet tucked beneath her. He crouched down before the chair, in front of her and said, “Let’s go.”
Of course they would tease them. Ten years, but still some people never mature, he grumbles to her, rolling his eyes, and she laughs quietly, gripping the hand that is clasping hers, hidden behind their back.
“Class President, you’re back!” Her friend hops over, and embraces her awkwardly, due to her right hand still being tightly clasped by him behind his back. Her friend laughs, and chides him lightly, “Let go of her a bit!” before turning back to call their other classmates.
He mutters fiercely, “ Never again,” and she squeezes his hand in response.
During the whole reunion, they never let go of each other’s hands.
Three months into, he realizes that they haven’t exactly discussed what they are. He broaches the subject during dinner one evening that she stays over.
“I don't know,” she laughs, and his heart skips a beat, but—“soulmates?”
He leans forward and pecks her on the lips, though there is half a mouthful of rice in his mouth.
She looks at him, surprised, and smiles.
Six months later, and he’s a bundle of nerves, as she introduces him to her parents. He knows he’ll never be the perfect person, but with her at his side, it feels as if he can conquer everything.
After eleven months and twenty-eight days, while she’s asleep, he gathers her into his arms, and proposes into her hair. He feels her stir slightly, and freezes as a pair of sleepy eyes look up at him. A yes is softly grunted at him, before she snuggles deeper into his arms.
Well. That was that.
It was a miracle he could sleep after that.
Years later—he doesn't bother to count now—as they watch their grandchildren frolic around the grass, he squeezes the hand of the girl beside him, and says, “Thank you, Ah Young.” She smiles, and lays her head on his shoulder.