All the way home, JinHyuk had teased her. First it was innuendo, eyes wide and voice lilting with innocence. “SooHyun I don’t know why you don’t want to have this human sleeping pill by your side. I’ll even sing to you if you want.” That continued until they left the restaurant.
Once they’d played rock, paper, scissors to see who would drive —she won— then he’d driven her as close to distraction as he dared. At a red light, he leaned close to grab his phone charger from the backseat. She’d shifted a little, making room for him, and been startled by a kiss planted on the skin below her ear. An embarrassingly high pitched noise had escaped at that— and she’d flung him a glare, which he ignored. She stripped out of her clothes, tossing the skirt and sweater into the basket with jerky throws, remembering. JinHyuk’s shuffling steps sounded on the other side of the door, and she froze, one hand awkwardly behind her back at the clasp of her bra.
“Are you alright?”
“I can help unzip you, if you want.”
“Kim Jin Hyuk—,”
“I kid, I kid. Relax! You’d think I was going to eat you.”
His steps moved away, and SooHyun felt her face heating. He was terrible. And if her memory was correct, he’d been quite suggestive the last time they’d been alone like this. He’d called her down to the service hallway to kiss her, of all places! SooHyun grumbled to herself, still feeling uncomfortably warm in places she didn’t want to own up to.
When finally she’d changed and wiped her face, she called out to him.
“You can come in now.” She settled herself on the stool in front of her vanity and smiled when he came in, looking around curiously.
“It’s much different when you’re awake, and I’m putting you to bed.”
“I’d think so,” she replied, archly, crossing her arms. “Did you have to bring that up?”
“I brought my drunken girlfriend home safely; it’s a sweet memory for me. And you’re surprisingly—.”
“Don’t say I’m heavy. That would be too cliche,” SooHyun interrupted. JinHyuk rolled his eyes.
“Even if you were heavy, why would it matter? I was going to say strong,” he approached and leaned on the edge of the vanity table. “I guess I should’ve known that though. You nearly knocked me out of bed with just one leg that last night in Havana.”
SooHyun felt her heart skip a beat and she berated herself. All these years without and now suddenly you act like he’s an oasis in a desert. Calm down. She tore herself away from his gaze, though the satisfied look on his face was just as visible in the reflection of the mirror. “I had some motivation if you remember.”
“Well I won’t give you any motivation tonight. I won’t bother you at all, I promise.” At her raised eyebrow, he laughed, ears going red. “I keep my promises, no matter how difficult it gets. No matter how tempting you are.”
Acknowledging that she felt those words settle low in her belly would have been a little embarrassing after all the protests she’d made about him not staying the night. Instead, she smiled a little and busied her hands that ached to pull him down to kiss her by pulling a comb through her hair.
When she was done, she rose and ducked around him to sit on the edge of the bed. “I feel tired enough to sleep without any help tonight. It was such a long day.”
He gazed at her, lips twisted in a pout and she wanted to jump up and squeeze him til he smiled again. The cuteness was a weapon, she knew. Just like that smile. He let the cuteness out when he felt like it, and not a moment before it was needed. SooHyun steeled herself against the power of it and looked away.
“Why was your day so long? Did you think of you and I in Havana all day?” He walked over as he talked and knelt, pulling her slippers off. Her defenses crumpled again, and she shivered despite herself.
“I absolutely did not think of that. Though I did think of you toward the end when your father showed up.” The fingers around her ankle froze, and SooHyun winced.
She hurried on, “It was a nice visit. He came to give me a chance to introduce myself I think. And to let me know that the wine was good. There’s nothing to worry about.” After a long moment, JinHyuk raised his head and smiled.
“I’m glad you talked,” he paused, hands braced on his knees, “I’m sorry if he made you worried.”
“I told you my first impression of him before,” SooHyun replied, “but he’s much cooler than I thought. He reminds me of my dad.” She watched him smile again, and wondered if he knew she could tell when his smiles were real. This one was.
She leaned toward him, hands outstretched, wiggling her fingers until he grasped her hands with his own. “I want to know the people that love you. You don’t have to worry,” she paused a little, “And you don’t have to smile when you’re worried.”
Under her eyes, the smile that had lingered on his lips deepened. “You bring joy in strange ways, roman princess.” The reference was bewildering, but she logged it as another one of JinHyuk’s pronouncements to research when she had a spare moment.
“Well,” he said, cheerfully, and grasped her ankles and lifted them until she had to lay flat on the pillows, “time for me to get to work!"