Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
Non-AU. 1, 330 words.
If you can't make your mind up
We'll never get started
And I don't wanna wind up
Being parted, broken-hearted
When did she realize that he was the one?
Her sister asks her the question one fateful day, innocent and curious at the same time. Her own gaze was on her nephew and upon registering the question, her eyes wandered elsewhere, tongue void of a ready answer. A blank spot on the wall, the distracting floral print of her mother’s dress, her sister’s pretty hairband. But the other’s sharp eyes don’t miss the uncharacteristic stalling, odd for someone like her who answers on instinct.
“Ah, maybe the moment you started to learn his bad habits,” Goeun teases, much to Bom’s chagrin, and the rest of the afternoon, she retaliates by ensuring that her older sister gets into as much trouble as she possibly can.
Except they are well into their (almost) thirties now so her actions have less of an impact on no one except Julian.
She finds herself mulling over the question on the way home, apparently so lost in her thoughts that her manager is the second person to receive a (quicker) tongue lashing after he points out that she hasn’t whined for him to take a break at the closest rest stop. So she makes up for her blunder by forcing him to stop at every subsequent one before they arrive at the apartment building.
Petty revenge, thy name is Park Bom.
Once she’s bidden him goodbye and on her way up, the train of thoughts continue in her head. If she regards it seriously, it’s a good question. After more than a year, she’s stopped keeping count of the number of times he’s sought her for attention and affection first. The number of times he’s sent her gifts during special occasions and the times when there were none. The number of little love notes he scribbles sometimes when he “felt like it”.
The walk to their apartment door is shorter than she remembers, blinking when she realizes that she’s in front of the wood and her arm is up for her to key the passcode. The dogs don’t greet her when she enters the warm apartment and she finds it only mildly strange. Either they’re asleep or he’s home earlier than he mentioned.
Where was she again? Yes, gestures. But first.
She shuts the door quietly behind her and tiptoes in, peeking into the cozy lounge area, and sure enough, there he is. The sight of him causes her to smile softly, and when she catches Yeoreum napping next to him, she almost squeals in delight. It’s an adorable contrast to his serious work demeanor, earphones plugged in and all. The fond smile plays on her lips as she makes her way to the kitchen. Quiet or not, she doubts he’ll notice her return until much later.
Even before he became hers, she wasn’t a stranger to the gossip involving him. Choi Seunghyun’s unjustly good looks were and remain, rightly so, a hot topic amongst everyone. Anyone. She’s heard the company’s new help gushing over how extremely handsome he is in person. Little things that make her feel proud to have him.
Sometimes though, on some days, the little things spark her insecurity. No one means any harm when they speak about cosmetic surgery and Seunghyun will match well with someone who’s as naturally beautiful as he is within her earshot. She’s grateful he doesn’t ask too many questions when she snuggles up to him after, in their home.
Then again, his inability to pay attention to his surroundings irks her as well. She’s certain (99%, mind you) that she made too much noise unpacking the food her mother dutifully packed for them but she doesn’t see the top half of his head poking out to investigate the source. It’s enough to rile her up yet she knows she’ll only feel guilty when he fixes his lost, dumbfounded stare on her after tearing his attention away from whatever he had been working on.
No, she has to be more understanding than that. He’s in the zone and doesn’t she hate it when she’s bothered during those times too? Right.
The bath she runs is the perfect temperature – not too hot or too cold – and the glass of wine in her hand tastes equally perfect. She pats herself on the back for picking one up without his help and for the fact that she’s purposefully facing the door in the event he unknowingly enters the bathroom.
That would grab his attention.
And maybe it was his wide-eyed purity that endeared her. How he managed to look incredibly surprised during certain moments of their time together, after every surprise, at every shocking story she told him whether it was fabricated or not. An actor he was but a liar he was not (she’s very sure of it). It’s charming too when he gets embarrassed after. She remembers how the tips of his ears redden first, and darkest, before his face follows.
Even the mere thought makes her giggle, her own toes curling and pressing against the tub.
But back to gestures, and that reminds her of the touching letter he wrote to her for their anniversary. A single page yet it moved her to tears when she privately read it, far away from his prying gaze. He wasn’t, still isn’t, good with tears, she recalls, a pang of guilt hitting her when the memory of a particular day flashes across.
She doesn’t think of it anymore, doesn’t like reminding herself that it was the day they came close to losing each other.
She does think of how strong he actually is even though he denies it when asked. Conquering a fear is never easy and she knows that, at some point, she admired how firmly he stood despite not fully understanding a situation. It’s a lot more than what her shallow bravery could manage then, especially when she thinks about how badly her words must have hurt him. And he barely shed a tear even though she could see them forming.
The sudden dip in her thoughts annoys her, waving an impatient hand around as though she could chase them away. Right at the exact moment, the door opens and her arm freezes in mid-swat.
He wears the shock on his features like a glove, mostly because of how ridiculously handsome he still looks (utterly unfair), and she has to practically fight to look as surprised instead of smug.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were home,” his voice echoes around the bathroom, rough enough to send a chill down her spine, similar to the tone he has after waking up. His extra-long gaze on her as he walks towards the tub is anything but shy, and she allows herself to freely feel the smugness.
“I’ve been for a while, just didn’t want to disturb you,” she recites with a small smile, raising the glass slightly. He chuckles in response and she’s positive he doesn’t completely buy her excuse. Altruism is hardly her strongest point.
He nears her enough to drop a kiss to her forehead, which soothes any leftover irritation she had over his avid concentration. But he ruins it all in the next moment as he snatches the wine glass away, abrupt and childish, and takes a long sip of the dark red liquid. She relishes in the sight of him choking on the wine, hoping that it was her shrieking protest that caused it.
“It’s actually really good. I’m impressed,” he grins at her after he swallows, dabbing at the side of his mouth with the back of his hand. The compliment mollifies her very slightly and he knows it because after the next beat, she feels his wine-stained lips on hers and her giddy smile from before is back. The look in his eyes is soft and sans the carefree gleam, then he quietly makes his way out of the bathroom.
Maybe it’s how he knows the precise way to calm her excitable nerves.