“You understand now, don’t you?” Kris put his hand on Luhan’s shoulder. “I do. Are you really sure about leaving?” “It’s what’s best. You were right when you said all ties must be cut. The wolf is from my side of the family. I’ll keep my distance if it means she will be safe. You will keep your promise to me, won’t you?” Luhan bowed his head to his pack leader, “I will. I’ll do my best in looking after her. I’ll look after the pack, too. You have my word.” “I’ll be in China for the next year or so. If anything changes or goes wrong, you just let me know. I’ll be there.” “Thank you, Kris.” Panic. All she could remember was panic. Heart racing, she opened her eyes, her lungs gasping in air on their own for the first time in days. She choked from the tube in her throat, causing her to pull it out herself before the doctor made it in to do it for her. “You’re awake!” The doctor rushed in with two nurses already at her side to assist her with taking out the breathing tube. “Careful, Marianne. I don’t want you to injure yourself. This is your first time breathing on your own in six days. Take it easy.” She couldn’t understand why she felt so anxious. The doctor wanted her to take it easy? How could she? She was just…Wait…What was happening before this moment? “What happened?” Her weak and dry voice managed to croak out, making her cough more. “You were in a car accident. You have been in a coma for almost a full week.” The doctor frowned in shame from the lie he knew he had to tell. “What is the last you remember?” She held her head in pain from trying to remember anything, “I don’t know…” After test after test and when she was finally discharged from the hospital a few days later, she knew she felt someone else’s presence watching her the second she walked off the hospital steps. Turning her gaze to look across the street from her, she saw him. His blonde hair, his pale skin, his handsome face, his brown eyes looking right at her. He seemed like he wanted to bolt right across the street to get to her, but he kept himself from doing so with all the will power he had. He had made a promise to her, to Kris, to Sandra, and to himself. A truck driving past in between them broke her focus of him. He didn’t make a move and allowed her to continue making her way down her side of the street. She had looked at him like he was a complete stranger. The Miyoung who knew him, he knew now, she really was gone. And deep down he hated he had to do everything in his power to keep it that way. It was the only way to keep her away from the wolf side of her universe. As long as he did that, Jinwoo wouldn’t be able to find her. As long as he did that, she would be safe. Her safety was all he wanted, even if it meant she would never be able to know how he truly felt for her. _____
“Just pick one already, Marianne!” Marianne whined to herself. She held the black dress by the hanger and put it in front of her at the mirror. Groaning, she switched and put the white one that was in her other hand up to herself instead. Stomping her feet in annoyance, she whined again, “This isn’t working! Why is this so hard?” Marianne put both dresses down on her bed and put her hands on her hips, staring at both of them to decide which one she was going to wear. Why was this so complicated? She was only going out to dinner with Chanyeol, at least that’s what his cousin Yixing told her they were going to be doing. It was only Chanyeol. Why should she be so nervous like this? It’s only Chanyeol, she kept telling herself, it’s only Yeolie. “Okay. I’m going to settle this once and for all!” Marianne looked at both the dresses on her bed and raised her pointer finger, taking a deep breath. “Eenie meenie miney moe…” Meanwhile, Chanyeol was with his brothers, Baekhyun and Chen. The second he told them he asked Marianne out for a date, they were so ecstatic and insisted on helping him prepare for the date since Chanyeol did need the pointers. He had no idea what he was doing. “All right, Yeol, this is what’s going down tonight.” Baekhyun helped put a light gray blazer on his giant brother. “You’re taking the lady out for dinner. This means you must be formal, eat correctly, and do not beg other people for their food. You also have to pay for it. Dad will give you some money.” “How do I eat correctly?” Chanyeol asked curiously, looking at himself in the mirror. “Well apparently it’s not throwing caution to the wind and diving your face onto the plate. I had to learn that the hard way.” Chen sighed. “Use the chopsticks and spoon, or fork if you’re going somewhere real fancy or foreign.” “Don’t forget how to ask her how her day was!” “But I see her everyday. I just saw her earlier at her job before Yixing came and brought me here.” “Okay then don’t ask her how her day was.” Baekhyun then blew his hair out of his eyes in irritation. “If worst comes to worst, talk about the weather.” “Don’t you ever let it come to that, brother.” Chen put his hands on Chanyeol’s shoulders in anxiousness. “Are you sure I look okay?” “Yeah, looks great. Now off you go.” Baekhyun took Chanyeol’s hand and brought him to the door. Chanyeol was wearing black jeans, black dress shows, white V-neck, and a light gray blazer. Even his hair was done, straightened and trained over to the right side, revealing his forehead. “My boy is all grown up.” Suho looked up at his son. “I’m so proud of you.” “What about us?” Baekhyun gestured to Chen and himself. “Meh, you two still have a long way to go.” “Figures.” Baekhyun grumbled. “Come on, Chen, let’s go drink out of the toilet.” “Here’s a hundred dollars. You go show that girl a good time. Be respectful, don’t stay out too late, and-” “I think I got it, dad.” “Okay. I’m just so happy you already found your one true mate. I can only hope you two will have much more time then your mother and I had.” Suho quickly pushed away the memory. “Oh don’t let me spoil the mood. Go on, have fun.” “Thanks, dad. I will.” Chanyeol put the money in his jean pocket and hurried out the door to walk to Marianne’s house. “I’ve missed that boy.” Suho’s blissful smile faded quickly when he went to go find his other children. “Baek and Chen! How many times do I have to tell you to stop drinking out of the toilet?!” While on the way to Marianne, Chanyeol paused his merry steps when he spotted a florist shop. He remembered the drama he watched and the male lead buying the girl flowers to express his affection. He did want to do everything right, especially since this was his first try at anything like this. Pulling out some of the money Suho gave him, he went into the shop and bought Marianne a bouquet of red roses. He smelled the roses as he hopped up the steps to Marianne’s floor. He would’ve taken the elevator, but the excited yet nervous feeling in his gut had him going crazy, making going up the stairs the only way to burn it off. Once he made it to the right floor, he sniffed until he found that familiar vanilla scent. Since he was told he had to be formal, he knocked on Marianne’s door and waited for her answer. “You could just come in. You live here too, you know.” He heard Marianne’s voice call out to him from the other side of the closed door. “I know. I just want to do everything right.” He called back, unable to remove the smile he had on his face, or the erratic beating of his heart. “If you say so.” Marianne opened the door, making Chanyeol’s eyes widen and his jaw drop. There she was. She had chosen to wear a pink blush long sleeved romper dress with rose gold sparkles around the waist. She wore matching rose gold heels that had the straps braiding over her feet and up around her ankles. Her mid-neck length black hair was even curled with a baby pink barrette with rhinestones pinned at the side. She noticed his dumbfounded expression and looked at him in confusion, “What? Do I look okay?” All Chanyeol could think to do was close his mouth just to swallow a huge gulp then let it fall open again. He had always thought she was the most beautiful girl he would ever see in his life. He just had no idea she could possibly get even prettier. He was at a loss for words. He could stand here and admire her beauty the entire night. “Are those for me?” Marianne noticed the bouquet of roses in his hand. Attempting to break out of his trance, he nodded his head and handed them to her. “Oh…Yeah. I got them for you.” He finally found words to say and looked down so he could hide the pink heading for his cheeks. “Thank you.” Marianne took the flowers and put them in a vase on her kitchen counter. He had gotten her flowers. This really was a date. Now she could really feel her heart beginning to pound. She was going on a date with Chanyeol. It was supposed to be only Chanyeol, now it’s Chanyeol. Did that make sense? Gathering herself, she went to meet him again at the door so they could finally leave. “Are you ready?” “Hmm?” Chanyeol looked up from the floor then down at her face since she was small. “Yeah. Yeah, I’m ready.” “Okay, then let’s go.” The two left the apartment complex and took a taxi down to the restaurant Suho had made reservations for. At the table, he remembered the pointers Baekhyun and Chen had given him about how to eat and behave in a place like this. He picked what he wanted off the menu and did not dunk his face into it when it arrived. He did have trouble with the chopsticks since this was his first time using them ever, which had Marianne teaching him how to use them. “Just rest the bottom one on your middle finger, and move the top on with your index finger. Like this.” Marianne proceeded to demonstrate by picking up a little of one of the side dishes. Watching carefully, he attempted the same action, thrilled when he actually succeeded. “See? Easy.” “Thank you.” Chanyeol then proceeded to stuff his cheeks with all the delicious food. “So, um, how’s the weather?” Marianne couldn’t help but let out a giggle at his question, “You’re asking me about the weather?” “Yeah.” Chanyeol felt himself blush again, “I’m sorry. I just don’t know what else to talk about.” “Well, we could start by saying more about each other.” Marianne grabbed a napkin and leaned over the table to wipe his mouth. “Do you want to start?” “I don’t know.” Chanyeol shrugged, “I mean, you already know everything there is to know about me.” “That’s true.” “Exactly. So why don’t you tell me more about your life? I’ve known you for most of mine, and yet I still feel like I don’t know that much about you.” “What do you know about me?” “Just what I remember you telling me whenever you were sad at night. Now I’m not sure if you were really telling me or you were just thinking out loud, thinking I couldn’t understand. I could, though. I really could.” Chanyeol frowned a little, “I know you have a Korean mom in the States, or something like that. I heard you on the phone with her a few times. The last time was on your birthday.” “Anything else?” “Your dad is from China, but he died.” “Yeah. I don’t really remember him very well. I can’t really remember much of anything of my past. There’s bits and pieces I remember sometimes, but I often question if they’re real or if my mind is just making them up.” “Why can’t you remember? I mean, I know why my own memory is a little fuzzy. I was just a puppy and it was a really scary time for me.” “I was in a really bad car accident a few years ago. At least, that’s what the doctor told me when I woke up. I got my head hurt so bad that I was in a coma for a little while, and I guess that’s what damaged my long term memory. So when I woke up, it was like almost my entire life was erased.” “Is that why you said you wished something would happen in your life to help you figure yourself out?” Chanyeol asked, making Marianne look up at him in surprise. “You remember that?” “How could I forget?” He chuckled and licked his lips nervously. He wasn’t sure why, but he couldn’t resist the feeling. It was right. He reached his hand over and took hers in his own to hold. Marianne looked at their hands together, remembering the last time he did it which was on their way to the coffee shop. He said it seemed like the thing to do. Was this another one of those times? “Seemed like the thing to do?” She asked. His answer was simply a hummed yes and a single nod of his head. On their way home from the restaurant, she felt okay with holding his hand the entire time. It did feel right. It was comforting and warm, just like Chanyeol himself. Along the way, Marianne spotted a couple of crane machine games across the street. Chanyeol couldn’t understand why she suddenly became so giddy. “Yeolie, look!” She pointed to the machine that was filled with stuffed animals. “Let’s go win one!” Gripping his hand tighter, she ran across the street, pulling him along. He looked at the machine in confusion once they reached it. How exactly was he supposed to get one of those stuffed animals out of there? They were all locked inside a glass box. “Here, you just put two of these coins in.” Marianne put the money into his palm. “And you hold onto this joystick to move the crane and then you use that to grab one of those toys in there.” “Okay.” Chanyeol put the money into the slot, starting up the machine. “Which one do I get?” “It doesn’t matter, whichever you want.” “Okay.” Chanyeol grabbed onto the joystick and tried to go for the duck, but it slipped on the last second so he couldn’t get it. “I lost.” “It’s okay. Just try again.” Marianne handed him some more change. This time he went for a different animal, determined to grab it and get it to the drop on time. Marianne cheered him on when he did manage to grab the toy and start bringing it over to the drop slot. He managed to do it, making her cheer more. “You did it! These things are usually so hard, but you did so good! What did you get?” Chanyeol lifted up a stuffed beagle puppy and held it beside his face and smiled, “What do you think?” “Aww, he looks just like you.” To make her laugh more, he held the puppy toy in front of his face and started singing a very familiar tune. “Marianne loves me yes she does. She gives me all the lovings and hugs. And she also brings me food. And I eat it all, oh yes I do!” “You really are my Yeolie, aren’t you.” Marianne giggled, looking up at him with blissful eyes. She couldn’t believe he actually remembered that dumb song she would sing to him. Chanyeol giggled and happily handed the stuffed beagle puppy to her. “It’s for me?” “Hmm.” He hummed so she took the stuffed puppy from him, holding it close. “Thank you.” “Shall we?” Chanyeol held his hand out to her once again, and she didn’t hesitate to gladly take it into her own so they could begin walking home again. “So, Marianne. I have a question. What exactly is China?” They made their way down the street, talking about anything with each other, whether it was memories of Chanyeol as a puppy, or antics with Sandra and Luhan, or memories Marianne had of when she lived in China during her middle school years. Her mind felt so clear when she was with him. His cheerful aura seemed to just rub off on her, making her happy along with him no matter what the situation was. He seemed a lot more comfortable with making conversation now. She had no idea he could be so enthusiastically talkative. “Thanks for being with me tonight.” He smiled sweetly, gently tightening his hand around her. “It’s no problem.” She smiled back up at him, just realizing she was suddenly nervous about looking at him. She quickly averted her eyes to her feet. Was she imagining things, or was Chanyeol even more handsome tonight than usual? Was it his clothes? His hair? What was so different? Who would’ve thought that her little beagle would eventually transform into the most tall and handsome man she’s ever seen? He was nervous too. Looking down at her and how beautiful she looked, he remembered another scene in that drama he watched. That scene of when the male lead put his lips to the girl he loved to express his affection. He had already realized he wanted to do the same thing. Only now, he was realizing he wanted to do that same thing right now in this very moment. How should he do it? Should he ask? Should he just swoop her into his arms? Does she want to kiss him too? Would she reject his affection? There was only one way to find out. When she wasn’t paying attention, he leaned down as they walked to kiss her. Just when his lips where about to touch her soft pink cheek, she stopped and turned to face him, making him freeze, and having them close enough to touch noses. The streetlamp they were now standing directly under was enough to illuminate around them, making it so they could both see the detailed iris of their eyes. Marianne could see what he was trying to do. He was trying to kiss her, now here they both were standing in silence staring at each other, unsure of what to do next. Their atmosphere was so different now. It was tense, filling them with anxiousness, yet it felt so safe and warm. It was right. She looked down at their hands still together then back at his handsome face. Nervously, he put his free hand on her cheek while staring back at her. It was then she felt something extremely peculiar. Not only could she feel her own heart racing, but she could hear his too. It was erratic like hers, showing he was just as nervous as she was. “What seems like the thing to do now?” Her voice came out as almost a gentle whisper. She knew now that she wanted him to kiss her. All she wanted right now was for Chanyeol to kiss her. “I don’t know.” Chanyeol whispered back, “This.” Slowly, he leaned in and closed the gap between them. His lips touching hers had to be the most extraordinary feeling he had ever experienced. Her lips were full and soft, as were his. Their lips molded so perfectly together, making his heart feel like it could flutter away up into the night sky and to the stars. The way he felt for her was so strong, he had no idea what word to use to describe it and say it the right way to her. He pulled away so he could give a gentle kiss to her forehead then rest his own against it, his eyes closed along with hers. He said the only thing he could think to say, “I only want you.” “And I you, Park Chanyeol.” Her soft words gave him comfort in letting him know she felt the same way for him. It was true. She was the only one he wanted and ever will want. He was the only one she wanted and the only one she will ever want. She knew that now. That was why he got lost in the woods. That was why it had to be her who took him home. They were meant to be. Luhan watched the scene unfold in front him from across the street. All the guys told him not to do it; to not follow them. But he had to. He had to see it for himself. She was happy. For the first time in so long, his Miyoung was truly happy. Not able to take watching any longer, he went off, sending a message to Sandra. When he made it down two streets and turned the corner, Sandra was there to greet him. He didn’t tell her in his message what had happened, but she could tell something occurred to make him look so depressed. Not saying a word, he turned around and made his way to the curb to sit, Sandra following right behind him. Sitting at his side, she put her hand on his shoulder for comfort. “What happened?” Sandra finally broke the silence. “She’s happy with him. He’s who she really wants to be with.” Luhan rested his arms on his knees, bowing his head in sadness and shame. He didn’t have to say, Sandra already knew exactly who he was talking about. “I’m sorry, Luhan.” Sandra sighed. “I already knew she could never be mine. I knew it from day one when I met her. If she was my true mate, she would’ve been mine a long time ago. And since I knew we would never be, I knew I could never tell her how I really felt. Miyoung…She’s happy. I want to be happy for her, but I can’t. Not right now.” Luhan raised his head to look at Sandra at his side, “Does that make me selfish?” “I think that’s just what makes you human.” “Yeah. Sometimes I really hate that half of me.” “So what will you do now? Will you disappear?” “Of course not.” Luhan shook his head, “I can’t. Jinwoo is still out there. Her memory could still come back. I made a promise I would keep her safe no matter what. You did too.” “I’m happy I did. Even if you decided to give up, just know that I wouldn’t. Miyoung ended up becoming my best friend. There’s not a day I regret listening to you and stopping at nothing to save her that night. I don’t care if you and I have to bicker every day to keep that secret. It’s fun and I’m not going anywhere.” Luhan stared into her eyes the entire time she spoke. It was true. Sandra could’ve backed out and left any time she wanted. She stayed because she cared. She was a real friend to not only Miyoung, but to him as well. It was then he found himself reaching to hold her hand. “Thanks for always being there.” He gave a small smile. “And don’t worry about me. I understand that she is with her true mate now. So eventually, I’m sure I’ll find a way to let her go.” “My hope is with you.” Sandra replied, them both going silent for a few moments, making Sandra then awkwardly cough and pull her hand away. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” “Yeah. See you tomorrow.” The two stood then parted ways. Sandra walked down the street on her way home to her apartment complex which was only a mile away from Marianne’s. Her steps slowed, since she got the feeling like she was being watched. Why did she feel so uneasy? She had no idea. Who could possibly be following her? She knew it wasn’t Luhan, and Marianne wouldn’t sneak up on her and she was with Chanyeol. Stopping completely, she looked around only to see no one in the black night. She shook away the paranoia and went to continue walking. Suddenly, someone was right in front of her, making it so she bumped face first into him. Looking up, she saw someone who she had never seen before. However, upon closer inspection, she could see the scratch scars on his face and his evil grin along with a group of his own right behind him. “Oh yes.” Jinwoo stepped closer, “You’ll definitely do.” Without even having time to blink, another of Jinwoo’s pack appeared behind her, being sure to put a hand over her mouth to silence her screams.
Organic cherry preserves...Right… With the toasted uhm, like a whole wheat, it was really delicious…Very jammy… Well, upstairs - i mean, well there’s no food in opps, but there was just a moment… uhum… when we were eating, just a quick…Well… Yeah, goodbye, good day… Goodbye.