"Let's start again. Us. From the beginning. One more time."
He sees her and it feels like the first time.
Which is enough to make him smile. As if until that point he hadn't memorized the features of her face like one would do with their favourite piece of art. The way her hair gleamed in the sunlight, her face that would tint itself pink at the slightest hint of shyness or anger, the unmistakable 'O' shape her mouth would form when he surprised her with a kiss and the smile that would follow before she reciprocated in kind.
It's been three days, five hours and ten minutes (something he's embarrassed about knowing but not ashamed to admit to himself) since Oh Sol intercepted him during his thorough cleaning routine, one of the last remnants of his old life overrun by his disorder, embracing him and proposing they start over. With the initial shock subsiding, all he could do was kiss her back and pour out every ounce of emotion he'd contained inside himself for the past two years within the span of that kiss, emotions that had threatened to spill out as soon as they came across one another on the street upon his return to Korea. Emotions he had told himself he was okay with stifling for the sake of her comfort, emotions he was convinced he could control even if it meant his heart breaking one little piece at a time during every run in, conversation or thought of the girl who had changed his life in more ways than one.
It wasn't until she pulled back, her lips curving upward and eyes disappearing behind a dazzling grin, when it registered to Seon Kyul that this was real. It wasn't another dream or his imagination telling him Oh Sol was there. It was Oh Sol that he held in his arms, it was Oh Sol that he pulled closer until he could feel the contours of her body align with his, as if a jigsaw piece of a puzzle finally fitting in the space it was meant to occupy. He found himself physically incapable of stopping, kissing her only until he stopped to give her the chance to catch her breath, using the opportunity to pepper her cheeks and forehead with hurried pecks, unwilling to let any moment go by without some sort of contact. It was two years in the making, two years of hard effort, countless pains, and nights of longing that he was attempting to amend. It was a struggle for dominance and balance, both individuals unrelenting and just as determined. He felt her fingernails scratch the nape of his neck ever so slightly, coaxing a moan out of him that died inside the confines of their kiss. It was a movement that made him painfully aware of the eyeful his neighbours would be subject to, him in his pink gloves and comfortable clothes reserved for the walls of his home, her dressed for work and struggling to balance in the heels on her feet, and trash at their feet laying forgotten. He pulled away reluctantly, trying his best to ignore Oh Sol's whimper of annoyance at his sudden departure.
"Let me throw out the trash," Seon Kyul said hurriedly, parting from a flustered Oh Sol with one last peck. He discarded the bags, taking off the gloves that held them and shoving them in his coat pocket before grasping Oh Sol's hand and leading her inside his house. Making his way through the entrance, he turned on the lights and waited for Oh Sol to step inside before locking the door behind them.
"It looks the same." Oh Sol said softly as she entered, removing her shoes and taking a moment to glance around the space. Seon Kyul did the same, taking his coat off and throwing it on the couch, an action that took Oh Sol by surprise.
"I don't know if I'll ever get used to that." she said, gesturing to his action when he looked at her confused. They shared an awkward laugh, still standing a few feet apart, a stark contrast from mere moments ago. Seon Kyul, noticing her nervousness, softened and held out his hand in her direction.
"Come here," he whispered gently, calling her over to where he stood in the living room. She hesitated briefly, eventually crossing the threshold with the familiarity of a person who had spent nights and days there by his side. He held out both hands now, interlacing fingers with his before pulling her in for another kiss, this one softer, more reserved than the one they had shared outside. The initial burst of passion had simmered down, settling into a warm sensation that put him at ease, a feeling of contentment he had yearned for throughout the entirety of Oh Sol's absence in his life.
"I thought of you," Seon Kyul said as they stood face to face. "Every day, every second," he paused to brush away the lone tear forming at the corner of Oh Sol's eye, "It was what gave me strength to keep trying harder, the possibility of seeing you again." he continued, brushing away the lock of hair that made its way to the front of her face and tucking it behind her ear, bending slightly to kiss the spot where her tears had threatened to spill. "I can't believe that you're actually here right now." he admitted. Oh Sol tilted her head towards the couch, prompting him to follow as she sat down, one hand of each still linked to the other.
"I thought of you too," Oh Sol revealed, staring down at her feet. "I thought of the things I said and did, everything I should have said and done instead," she peered up at him, almost ashamed as she spoke again, "Please don't hate me," pausing, she faced him more determinedly releasing his hand to reach up and frame his face using her palms.
"But this time, I'm certain. And, I hope you are too," and, with all the conviction Oh Sol could muster, "Because this is it for me. You." she smiled regretfully, as he stared back in awe, "I'm sorry,"
"For hurting you," Oh Sol kissed his cheek as Seon Kyul closed his eyes,
"For not being there," brushed her lips against his fluttering eyelids,
"And for being a little late." she said teasingly, placing an open mouthed kiss on his neck and embracing him, suddenly shy, laying her head on his chest as she wrapped her arms around his form.
What could he have said to convey what he was feeling? Could words possibly encompass the rapid beats of his heart as its pace quickened, the muscle feeling as if it would burst out of his chest any minute? Quietly, as to not disturb the moment, he pulled her closer, lifting her head so her gaze met his.
Oh Sol sparked something in Seon Kyul that he long thought he'd never be able to recover. A depth of emotion he had felt only around her in his life, one that had immediately recognized her returned presence and reacted in kind. The same emotion that propelled him to kiss her heatedly, with a fever that made his overworked heart feel like it was on fire. One that she perhaps had been holding back until that point, resurfacing as she shifted to position herself comfortably in his lap, hands finding their way to the length of his hair, stroking and pulling at it as the rhythm of the kiss intensified.
"You still have your coat on." Seon Kyul murmured suddenly against her lips, breaking the spell. Oh Sol looked at him annoyed, fighting to maintain her composure as a grin emerged on his face.
"So it is," Oh Sol sighed, getting up from her place in Seon Kyul's lap and ignoring his protests, "Maybe I should head home. Keeping it on was probably for the best." she glanced back at Seon Kyul who had shot out of his seat on the couch at the mention of her leaving.
"Already?" Seon Kyul exclaimed. "I mean," he backtracked, embarrassed at his sudden outburst, "It's not the first time you would be spending the night," he rationalized, "Plus, what happened to being apologetic?" he said accusingly, keeping his tone light.
"Hm," Oh Sol started, having no intention of actually leaving but prolonging the charade a little bit longer, "I guess I could stay." she decided, storing the image of Seon Kyul's almost comical sigh of relief for future teasing purposes, removing her coat and placing it on top of his own lying on the couch.
It's been three days, five hours and ten minutes. He stands in the concert hall, old habits threatening to resurface (the man that brushed against him smelled like he could use a shower, did the usher distributing tickets wash their hands, would the seats inside be sanitized from the previous event that it held, would he catch anything from the hundreds of attendees here tod-) and then,
She appears. He sees her and it feels like the first time. More breathtaking than the most revered painting in the world, art that would put the works of Monet and alike to shame, beaming with the power of the sun. She approaches him and he forgets his surroundings, the bustling of activity, the occasional rustle of his clothes from contact with another patron, any ongoing conversations at the risk of being eavesdropped upon.
"Ready?" she says, reaching up on her tiptoes to give him a brief kiss on his cheek and tucking her arm in his.
"Ready." he affirmed.