A modern Romeo and Juliet type of forbidden romance between Ken X reader with extra angst please!!
This took too long but I hope you like it and I hope it’s angsty enough
Ken x Reader
Angst (bits of fluff)
Word count: 8,934 Warnings: character death, suicide
You’ve never described your life as miserable. You lived a happy childhood with your parents, running around the house hearing their delighted giggles following your clumsy steps and looking into their eyes to find an unlimited amount of love for you and for each other. It’s only been a year since your life had taken a different turn. A year since you forgot what happiness meant and were forced to come face to face with the cruelty of this world. When your mother died, your father did everything he could to fill in her place. He knew his efforts were pointless, for she was irreplaceable, but you never made him feel incompetent. You were thankful that he was there for you, following every step you took until you were able to stand on your own feet, ready to give him back all the love he’d invested in you.
That was when your world crashed. To see your father being dragged away and thrown into prison after being falsely accused of money laundry and drug dealing, you wished you could give up your life and set him free. You knew your father very well. He was a loving person, kind and honest, always praised for his work ethics and friendly behavior. He was the opposite of all the ugly accusations thrown at his face. “All the evidences are against him,” the cruel judge claimed with a harsh tone in his voice as he looked down on you. His stares didn’t weaken you as you yelled: “My father would never do that!” He smirked, and you have thought of that hideous smile every day over the past year. “The money was transferred between two accounts, both are under his name. Denial won’t help!” He concluded his judgment, and you heard the whole world laugh at your miseries.
But they were all wrong. Your father was innocent. A month after he was sentenced to life, a bank employee committed suicide, leaving on his desk a note that carried your father’s salvation. The note stated that he was paid to change the account details from which the money was sent to your father’s account. Your father was framed. He is innocent! You carried the happy news to him only to find that had died in his sleep before he could see the proof of his innocence. You stormed into the judge’s office, ignoring the shocked look on his face.
“My father was innocent! You killed him!”
He jumped from his seat and called the security guards to take you out but you didn’t leave before promising to avenge your father.
“I will never forgive you! I will ruin your life like you ruined mine!”
After your father’s death, you couldn’t stay in that town anymore. Even though he received a very late apology and had his name cleared, you couldn’t stay in a place that had witnessed such injustice. To see all the places he’d taken you to without being able to see him was too much for you to live with. You couldn’t stay at your home when the only voices you heard were the sounds of your weeps. It took you a lot of courage to sell the house, quit your job and leave the town.
It’s been a year since you joined this college. Things didn’t seem bright when you first applied and were asked about the reasons behind your departure. You were afraid that the false accusations that killed your father will follow you to this new place and ruin whatever is left of your life. When your application was approved, regardless of everything you told the management, and you joined, you didn’t expect to feel this welcome. You were still scared of this new experience and having to go through something “new” on your own. However, once you laid your eyes on Jaehwan, you knew nothing of that will matter anymore. He was the first teacher to greet you once you entered the teacher’s room and introduced yourself. He didn’t take his eyes off you and had the sweetest smile on his face as he welcomed you. He offered to show you around campus. He took you to the cafeteria and got you some coffee and then took you to the library, the teachers’ lounge, and even to the parking lot to show you where he usually parks his car so you could park yours next to his. He had the cutest embarrassed smile on his face when you told him you don’t have a car yet.
At first you thought he was the one responsible for showing new teachers around. With that bubbly personality you assumed that they’d assigned him this “breaking the ice” kind of job. But with all the extra care and attention he was showering you with, you were slowly starting to realize it was far from being his job. When he finally asked you out on a date after a couple of months, you were glad your feelings for him weren’t unrequited. You couldn’t resist falling for him. He was funny, cute, sweet and good looking. His little jokes were hilarious and his affectionate gestures were endearing. He got you coffee almost every morning, unless you beat him to the cafeteria and got him coffee first. He moved his desk so you’d sit together when you didn’t have classes and he always offered to help you with photocopying papers, marking exams or preparing for class.
Having him in your life changed it drastically. You no longer cried yourself to sleep. You spent your nights texting him or laughing over the phone at his silly jokes. You felt like he’d brightened your life after a long time spent in the darkness.
But… there was something about him, about the sadness lingering in his eyes. He kept denying it, saying he was born with naturally teary-looking eyes, but something inside you told you he was lying. He came from a well-off family, a loving mother who called him every single day and a father of a prestigious position. His colleagues loved him and his students looked up to him. You couldn’t understand why you always felt like his cheerful facade was hiding a secret only he knew. No matter how many times you asked him if he needed someone to talk to, he always assured you that as long as you’re together, he wouldn’t need anyone else.
One day while you were sitting in your shared office, Jaehwan walked in as he whined:
He sat down on the chair facing your desk and you looked up at him to find the cutest pout on his lips. He’s usually whiny when he’s hungry and he only stops nagging when you feed him. You opened one of the drawers and grabbed him a pack of biscuits. He stared at the pack and then looked up at you as he whined:
“What do I do with this? I’m starving! Feed me!”
You giggled at his puppy face and then looked at the timetable pinned to the board to your right.
“We still have an hour before the exam. I checked already!”
He said before grabbing your purse and going behind your desk to grab your hand.
“Come on, let’s go eat something!”
You got off your seat, unable to control your chuckles as he pulled you behind him toward the cafeteria. A hungry Jaehwan is an uncontrollable Jaehwan.
You sat facing him in the cafeteria as he stuffed his mouth with spaghetti and meat balls. You stole quick glances at your watch, not wanting to be late for your proctoring duty. He put his fork down and said:
“Any plans for the break?”
You shook your head ‘no.’
“Aren’t you going home?”
A lump formed in your throat at the mention of ‘home’ and he instantly reached for your hand on the table and gave it a light squeeze.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you!”
You gave him a tiny nod and then answered:
“It’s okay. And… I don’t have any plans. What about you?”
He studied your face for a couple of seconds as he continued to hold your hand in his before replying:
“Mom called last night. She wants us to have dinner together.”
You almost let out a disappointed ‘oh.’ Of course he’d want to spend his break with his family, you thought to yourself. You haven’t told him much about your family. He only knows that your parents passed away and you had no family left, but this doesn’t mean that you expect him to spend his vacation with you instead of with his parents.
You struggled to hide the disappointed tone in your voice. He let his thumb brush the back of your hand gently and took a few seconds to add:
“Mom wants to meet you.”
You tilted your head to the side and gaped at him. Why would his mother want to see me?
“She says I won’t shut up about how great you are and she wants me to invite you to join us for dinner.”
You fiddled with your fingers and tapped them against the table without giving him an answer. Hundreds of thoughts were floating in your head. How would his mother react when she finds out that your father died in prison? He was innocent, you’d die before letting anyone say otherwise, but would that affect her impression of you? Would that change Jaehwan’s feelings for you? You regretted not having told him everything from the beginning. Having him in your life gave you so much hope and you were afraid you’d lose all that if you told him the truth. You weren’t ashamed of your father, but you knew people could be merciless.
Seeing how distraught you seemed, he held your hands in his and leaned forward to meet your fixed gaze before saying:
“It’s okay if you’re not ready. You can meet her some other time.”
“No no. I’d love to meet her. I’m just… I’m not sure if she’ll like me.”
He smiled as he said:
“Are you kidding? She’ll love you!”
Before you could say anything, he looked at his watch and then said:
“It’s time to go. We need to pick up the exam papers.”
You grabbed your purse and followed him to the control room where he made sure you both were situated in the same exam hall. He said it’s better to have him near you in case anything happened. He was always protective of you, even in situations where you didn’t really need his protection. But you were thankful that you stumbled upon him.
You were done handing students their final exam papers when you saw Jaehwan walk up to you and ask if you have any extra papers.
“I don’t think so. Each has only one copy.”
You said as you opened your envelope to show him that it was empty. He leaned forward as if wanting to look inside the envelope before pecking your cheek lightly. Your cheeks turned bright red as you turned to look at him in confusion.
“Students are watching!”
“I don’t care. Ah, and don’t look at the cute boys at the back.”
You stole a quick glance at the direction of the boys and then said:
“They’re not that cute.”
“I know I’m way cuter but just to be on the safe side.”
He said with a wink. You giggled and hit his arm playfully before turning your attention to the boys whispering at the back. You scolded them lightly and then went back to your position. Turning to look around, you found Jaehwan staring at you. He raised his eyebrows teasingly and then winked at you again. You stuck your tongue out at him and then gave him your back and focused on watching the students and responding to their inquiries.
You pushed a lock of hair behind your ear as you followed Jaehwan into his house with hesitant steps. You dreaded this dinner, this meeting, this night. You had a bad feeling about it. I’ll embarrass myself in front of his parents, they’ll judge me without even hearing the full story, or I’ll simple drop my glass and ruin this expensive carpet. You struggled to get a hold of yourself as you sat down next to him waiting for his mother to come downstairs. He placed his hand on your knee and squeezed it lightly as he gave you a reassuring smile and whispered:
“You’re lucky my dad isn’t here.”
You frowned as you asked:
“You look too scared. He’ll probably assume you killed someone.”
You let out a sigh.
“I’m just nervous.”
He said and looked up when he heard his mother’s voice calling his name. He got off his seat and almost ran in her direction before taking her in his arms. You stood up and looked at them with a smile on your face. He buried his face in the crook of her neck and she rubbed his back with a content smile on her face. He relaxed in her arms. His eyes were closed and he had a beaming smile on his lips as he delved into her warm embrace. It must be difficult for him to live far away from his parents.
His mother patted his back and then kissed his cheek as she said:
“I missed you so much!”
She then pulled out of his arms and looked at you.
“Hello dear, you’re Jaejae’s girlfriend, right?”
You nodded and turned to look at Jaehwan. Jaejae? He smiled shyly and shrugged his shoulders.
“She won’t stop calling me that even though I’m 28 already.”
She pinched his cheeks as she said:
“Because you’ll always be my baby.”
You extended your arm to shake her hand. Instead, she pulled you in her arms and gave you a hug similar to the one she gave her son. It was warm and welcoming, and it helped you get over your nervousness. When she pulled out she had a warm smile on her lips as she addressed you:
“I’ve heard a lot about you. I can see why Jaehwan keeps talking about you all the time.”
You smiled shyly, your cheeks turning a light shade of pink as you exchanged looks with Jaehwan. She smiled and then called one of the maids to serve dinner.
“Let’s continue talking over dinner. My husband won’t be joining us until later tonight, so we can talk comfortably.”
She said and giggled and Jaehwan laughed along as he looked at you.
“My dad is a bit scary.”
“Kind of. He enjoys questioning people. I guess it’s a part of his job.”
You were about to ask him about the nature of his father’s job when his mother addressed you:
“Come sit next to me. There’s a lot I want to ask you about.”
While having dinner with Jaehwan and his mother, you realized that he took a lot after her. The bubbly personality, the cheerful laugh, the silly jokes and the friendly aura were all things he inherited from her. This all gave you hope that she will understand the things you’ve been through.
After dinner, you moved to the living room where you were served tea and dessert. Jaehwan sat next to you and you found his mother looking at the two of you intently.
“I have to say, I’ve never seen my boy happier.”
You exchanged looks with Jaehwan and then turned to look at his mother as you said:
“I’ve never been happier myself.”
Jaehwan smiled widely and wrapped his arm around your shoulder pulling you into his chest. His mother smiled and then looked at her watch before saying:
“Honey, why don’t you show her your room? I asked the maids to put the photo albums on your bed in case you wanted to show her your old photos.”
He let out an embarrassed giggle and then asked:
“I’ll only show her my old photos if I want her to break up with me.”
His mother laughed and you clung to his arm as you said:
“I’d love to see them! I bet you were very cute!”
He got off the couch and pulled you up as he said:
“I’ve always been cute!”
You replied before excusing yourself and going upstairs to his room.
It was very big, with a bed in the middle, a desk to the right and a closet to the left. Beige curtains rolled down the bed frame matching the color of the beige-brown carpet under the bed. A big Chopper stuffed toy rested on his pillow and another one sat on the floor next to his desk. The room smelled like lemongrass, clean and refreshing.
He sat down on the edge of his bed and patted the empty area next to him, asking you to sit down. You approached his bed and sat down next to him. You were nervous, being in his own room, sitting this close to him while his mother waited for you downstairs. Tons of thoughts roamed in your head as an awkward silence prevailed. To break the silence, he grabbed one of the photo albums resting on his nightstand as he said:
“Look at this! I was really cute!”
You smiled as you looked at the photo he was pointing at. There were photos of him holding a watermelon, or pouting for no apparent reason, but the cutest was one he took with his mother. This made you wonder why his father was absent from most of the photos.
He flipped through the rest of the album, occasionally reasserting the fact that he looked very cute as a baby and sometimes asking if you agree. He then stopped at a family photo that was taken a month after he was born and then said:
“There is something I’ve been planning to ask you for a while…”
He paused for a second and then added:
“Would you want to take such a photo with me?”
Your heart was pounding in your chest as you looked at him and noticed his cheeks turning bright red.
You said faintly so he continued:
“Let me say that again.”
He paused again, took a deep breath and then got off his bed and knelt in front of you as he asked:
“Will you marry me?”
The answer to this question was very easy. You’d say yes in a heartbeat. But the secret you’ve been hiding prevented you from giving him the answer he was waiting for.
You stared at him for a couple of seconds. Will he change his mind if I tell him?
You took a deep breath and then said:
“But… there is something I need to tell you.”
He looked at you in concern.
“Do you not like me enough?”
“No! I love you! But there is something you need to know about me.”
He held your hands in his, still kneeling in front of you, and then asked:
“Tell me, what is it?”
He could notice your cheeks turning red and your eyes getting teary. He got up and sat next to you before pulling you in his arms.
“You’re scaring me. Are you missing a toe?”
You giggled as you struggled to stop tears from rolling down your face.
“Would you still marry me?”
He pulled out and looked at before answering:
“I’ll have to think about it.”
You smiled faintly and then continued:
“It’s not about me. It’s about my dad.”
“What about him?”
You stared at him for a few seconds and then said:
“He died in prison.”
You paused, giving him time to react. He didn’t say anything, so you continued:
“He was falsely accused of money laundering but by the time he was proven innocent he was dead. He died of a heart attack in his cell.”
A hot tear found its way down your face. He brushed it off and pulled you in his arms again. He patted your back gently as he said:
“You thought this will make me change my mind? Even if he was proven guilty, it won’t change how I feel about you.”
You tightened your grip around his body and he could feel your body shaking in his arms. He stroked your hair and back as he rocked your body back and forth in an attempt to calm you down. After a couple of minutes you pulled out and looked at him. What have I done to deserve him?
He printed a chaste kiss on your temple and then asked:
“So, will you marry me?”
“I’d love to!”
His mother stared at the ring in your hand with a smile on her face. He had already told her of his plans to propose to you, which is why she suggested that he takes you to his room. She then pulled you in her arms, giving you a prolonged hug before pulling out and saying:
“Congratulations! Please take a good care of my baby.”
You smiled shyly and then said:
Jaehwan wrapped his arm around your shoulder and gave your temple a quick peck. You both turned around when you heard a car park outside the house and saw one of the maids run towards the front door.
“Looks like dad is here.”
Jaehwan said in what felt like a disappointed tone. The atmosphere suddenly changed and Jaehwan exchanged looks with his mother. A strange feeling tugged at your heart. You saw his father walk through the door and hand his briefcase to the maid. The joy filling your heart a few seconds ago suddenly disappeared. Your heart clenched and your grip on Jaehwan’s arm loosened when you realized that his father was the judge who put your father behind bars.
His father stared at you for a couple of seconds before turning to look at his wife. Regardless of your pain, you could tell that Jaehwan was starting to feel uncomfortable as his father continued to ignore him. He looked at you and smiled when you held his hand in yours before saying:
His father glanced at him and then took his suit jacket off before handing it to his wife. He sat on the sofa, crossed his legs and signaled the maid to get him his cigar box. He waited until the maid was back and placed a cigar between his lips before saying:
“It’s good that you still remember me.”
Jaehwan’s face was slowly turning pale and he clenched his fists until his knuckles turned white. His father blew off the smoke before looking at you.
“I see that you’re still as naive. That pathetic profession you chose over your grandfather’s legacy has made you even more gullible.”
Jaehwan’s mother exchanged looks with her son before saying:
“Honey, we haven’t seen him in a while. Can we talk about this later?”
His father put his cigar in the ashtray and then said:
“Who is she?”
You swallowed hard when his father finally acknowledged your presence. Jaehwan was too stressed to notice that you too were turning pale. You were hoping his father won’t recognize you so you can leave this house in peace. Jaehwan tightened his grip on your hands and then said with a firm tone:
“She’s my fiancée”
His father frowned and got off the sofa as he yelled:
“What? Have you gone mad?”
“Why do you care?”
Jaehwan asked as he held his composure, not knowing that the pounding of his heart matched the drumming in your chest. His father’s eyes flashed with anger. He glared at you, and you felt his eyes piercing through your soul. The eyes that never looked upon your father with mercy were about to issue an execution order on you.
“Is this your vengeance? Coming after my son?”
Jaehwan turned to look at you in confusion. You stared at him, lips trembling as you whispered:
“Can we leave?”
“She didn’t tell you, did she?”
His father asked. Jaehwan glared at his father, who added:
“What else do you expect from the daughter of a criminal?”
“My father was not a criminal!”
Jaehwan was starting to put the pieces together as he watched you and his father exchange unreadable stares. Your face was turning bright red and tears were welling up in your eyes.
“What is he talking about?”
“I put her father in prison and she’s sworn to take revenge! Did you really think she’s here because she likes you?”
You were shaking in both anger and despair; afraid he will believe his father’s accusations and turn against you. He looked at you, his eyes looking deeply into yours, trying to find answers.
“Jaehwan I swear I didn’t know! You have to believe me! I didn’t know he’s your father! Please believe me!”
He didn’t say anything as he continued to stare at you. In his head floated hundreds of questions. He’d never doubt you, but the revelation stirred something inside him. It never occurred to him that you, the person he’s madly in love with, would scheme such a devious plan. He still remembered how he approached you, initiated random conversations with you, and asked you out on dates. His own feet led him to you, you couldn’t have possibly planned any of this.
His father took a few steps towards you and grabbed your arm forcefully as he yelled:
“Get out of my house! If he’s stupid enough to believe you then I will have to stop you.”
You let out a yelp when he pushed you back. Jaehwan’s mother ran towards you but he pushed her away as he continued to push you toward the front door. Jaehwan blocked his way and grabbed you out of his father’s hold.
“Get your hands off her!”
“How dare you? I’m trying to save whatever is left of your pathetic life!”
Jaehwan stood like a protective shield between you and his father, much to the shock of the latter, as he said:
“I don’t need you to save my life. Since when do you even care?”
His mother yelled. He looked at her apologetically and then looked at his father before adding:
“You were never here when I really needed you. Why are you acting like you care now?”
You held his hand in yours, trying to calm the shivering in his body. He looked at you and smiled faintly before saying:
“Shall we go?”
“If you leave this house you’re no longer my son!”
His father screamed, but Jaehwan drew a sad smile on his face and turned his back to his father as he walked toward the door.
His mother called after him but his father prevented her from following him. He turned around to look at her and she could see tears welling up in his eyes.
“I’ll come back for you, I promise.”
The drive home was silent, save for your muffled sobs and his inaudible whimpers. Even when your sobs had long ceased, tears were still rolling down his face. You had somehow managed to put the pieces together. Watching him struggle to prevent himself from yelling at his own dad, and remembering how comfortable he seemed before his father’s sudden arrival had tensed him up, you were starting to realize that the constant sadness in his eyes were caused by his father.
You stared at him apologetically, hardly daring to breathe. You didn’t want to offend his inner conflicts and the fire that seemed to be burning his heart. Helplessness tugged at your heart, like being caught in a whirlpool. Tears streamed down his face and his whimpers pierced your heart and you hated feeling incapable.
But you were also scared, not sure what will happen now that he turned out to be the son of the only person you hated on this earth. Is he going to leave me? You were afraid that the reason behind his tears might be the break up he’s probably considering. If he is forced to choose between me and his father, would he choose me?
You turned to look at him to find tears rolling down his cheeks. You loved him enough to consider a break up if it would bring peace to his heart. He meant so much to you that you’d hate to take him away from his family and you’d hate to see him in pain.
“Drop me home please.”
You said in a soft voice, afraid you’ll break down and beg him not to let go of you. It was only with him that you could finally see the light. It was only his smile that brought joy to your heart. To lose all that would definitely pull you back into the darkness of your sorrow, but you’d never want to see him suffering.
His gaze remained fixed on the road in front of him, and you waited impatiently for his answer. You thought the pounding of your heart was loud enough to expose you, but he didn’t seem to hear anything as he said:
“Can’t you… stay with me tonight?”
His request caught you off guard. While you were thinking of the possibility of a break up, he needed to ask you to the shelter to his grieving. You placed your hand on his shoulder and gave it a light squeeze before saying:
“Let’s go home.”
He trudged into his apartment and you followed closely, thinking of a way to soothe his heavy heart. He fell into his bed, and you took the weight off your feet as you sat down next to him. He rested his head on your shoulder. You shifted slightly and hugged his head to your chest and ran your fingers through his hair. He wrapped his arms around your middle and buried his face into your chest.
You stayed like this for a few more minutes, stroking his back and hair. He slowly pulled out of your hold and looked up at you.
“I’m so sorry. I swear I didn’t know.”
You said in a whisper. He rested his hand on your thigh as he said:
“My father… has always been harsh and… aggressive. I left home as soon as I could. But… my mom had to stay. I made sure he was at work every time I went back home to see my mom. It was difficult enough living with him as a child. At least now I had the option of not being around him when I feel pressured.”
You called his name softly. He raised his hands and cupped your face in his palms.
“You’ve given me so much love. When I’m with you I have no worries, no fears, just a tremendous amount of love for you.”
You leaned into his touch and placed your hand on his. He continued:
“I don’t believe any of what my father said. You know why?”
You looked at him, wondering what his reason was.
“Because I was the one who made you fall for me.”
Your face softened and a smile crept into your lips. He smiled back and pulled you into his arms.
“We’ve been through a lot tonight. Let’s just go to bed.”
He lent you one of his t-shirts and his pj pants and left the room so you could change. When you were done he returned to the room and then said as he looked at you:
“I never thought my pajamas would look good on you.”
You pushed a lock of hair behind your ear, a blush creeping into your cheeks. He lay down on his bed and patted the empty spot next to his.
You lay down next to him. He wrapped his arms around your body and pulled you close to him before burying his face into your warm embrace. Your heart skipped a beat when he said in a soft voice:
“Don’t leave me.”
You took his head between your hands and stroked his hair gently before printing a kiss on the top of his head as you said:
“I will never leave you. I love you, Jaehwan. I love you so much, and I can’t live without you.”
He printed a kiss on your shoulder before saying:
“I can’t live without you either. Nobody has ever loved me like you do and I won’t give up on that for the world.”
His words tugged at your heart. He tightened his hold around your body. You pulled the comforter over your bodies and he snuggled down in your hold, seeking comfort and solace.
You woke up the following morning to birds chirping near the window. Jaehwan was still sleeping peacefully next to you. Tracing his nose playfully with the tip of your finger, he stirred and then smiled without opening his eyes. Leaning forward, you pecked his lips. He caught you off guard and wrapped his arms around your body, causing you to lose your balance and fall on top of him. He kissed your cheek and whispered in your ear:
You giggled when his breath tickled your ear before pushing yourself up and getting out of his hold.
You got off bed and he opened his eyes as he said:
“Come back here.”
You shrugged your shoulders before saying:
“I need to go home.”
“Why? Do you not feel comfortable here? With me?”
He asked as he sat up in bed. You sat down next to him and cupped his face as you said:
“Not at all! I just need to go get a few things, like, my toothbrush, my pajama and, you know, stuff like that.”
He smiled, looking at you dotingly as he said:
“Then don’t take too long. I’ll miss you.”
“I’ll be back before you know it. I promise.”
You kissed his temple and got off his bed before heading toward the bathroom. When you came out he was laying on his bed again, eyes closed and arms wrapped around your pillow. The scene warmed up your heart and you had to fight the urge to leave everything and lay down next to him.
You put your clothes on and then grabbed your purse and his car keys. Before leaving you walked back toward the bed and leaned down to print a kiss on his temple. He surprised you when he pulled himself up and locked your lips with his.
“I’ll wait for you.”
While you and Jaehwan spent the night in each other’s arms, forgetting everything about his father’s sudden rage, the latter spent the night looking for you. Jaehwan’s mother didn’t know where her son lived, so his father had to contact his connections until he was finally able to locate you.
He sent his men to wait near Jaehwan’s building. When they saw his car leaving the garage, they called his father who ordered them to follow the car and keep him updated. He was planning to talk to you, get you to leave his son no matter how much it would cost him. He was willing to do everything he can to get you out of Jaehwan’s life. Seeing you with his only son drove him mad. Despite your father’s innocence, he still believed that your relationship with Jaehwan would be a disgrace to the family, and he was going to end this any way possible.
You rested your hands on the steering wheel as you stopped at the red light. Your new sparkly engagement ring caught your eye and a smile found its way into your face. Rolling the ring around your finger, you remembered Jaehwan sleeping in your arms peacefully and realized you’d want to wake up to this every day for the rest of your life. You let out a chuckle when your wild imagination took you further than this point and you imagined him holding a baby girl in his arms giggling as he rubs his nose to her cheek. It warmed up your heart to imagine a happy life with him.
You were too immersed in your thoughts that you didn’t realize the light had turned green a few seconds ago. The drivers behind you horned at you a couple of times, snapping you out of your happy thoughts.
Half way toward your apartment, you realized that a black car was driving behind you. You’d already noticed it few blocks earlier but now that it took every turn you took, it was starting to get suspicious. Your hands on the steering wheel were shaking as you kept looking at the rear-view mirror. You were starting to get nervous the closer the car was getting to yours.
You made a left turn at the next light, even though you should have made a right turn. Your eyes were locked on the car behind you. This was the only thing you could think of, yet the car quickly got into the left lane, preparing to turn. It had to be a coincidence. There was no reason why a car would follow you.
You sped up and got over to the right lane and turned to the right without bothering to signal. The pursuer turned with you as if your car were connected with an invisible string.
Your heart was beating faster now, fear coursing through your veins. You hit the gas and gripped the steering wheel. Anxiety crept up your arms making the hairs stand on end. You placed your foot on the accelerator and merged into traffic in an attempt to lose them.
You reached for your phone and decided to call Jaehwan. He was the only one who could help you out of this. You dialed his number while trying to keep your eyes on the road in front of you. As soon as he picked up, you yelled:
“Jaehwan! A car is following me! I don’t know what to do!”
“What? Where are you?”
He asked in concern.
“I’m on my way home. It’s been following me for more than 15 minutes.”
You said in a whimper.
“Calm down. I’m on my way. Try to stay as calm as possible. Nothing bad will happen. I promise.”
“Hurry. I’m scared.”
A tear rolled down your face when you hung up with him. You were beyond scared, but his voice reassured you.
When you noticed the next traffic light turning yellow, you sped up to catch the yellow light before it changed, planning to leave your pursuers behind at the red light until Jaehwan was here.
You were looking in your rear-view mirror, a victorious smile creeping into your lips when you saw the black car stopping at the red light. Before you could look ahead of you, an SUV pulled out of a parking lot in front of you. Your speeding car swerved to avoid striking the driver’s door. Your eyes widened in shock as you hit the brakes with both feet, trying to stop your car from crashing into the SUV. Your seat belt grabbed your stomach; shock-tears stung your eyes as you jerked the steering wheel to the left. Your tires crunched in the loose gravel at the side of the road. As your car struck the lone tree standing on the side of the road, your air bags exploded into your face. The door crumbled, slamming into your ribcage after crashing into the tree.
As suddenly as it began, everything stopped. You couldn’t breathe. You couldn’t see. Your arms automatically covered your face as the car crashed through the tree and then stopped roaring. Your life flashed across your eyes. Among all these memories, Jaehwan’s smile was the most prominent. Will I survive and see his smile again?
Tears rolled down your face when you couldn’t move your limbs and felt the cold fingertips of death wrap around your neck as you struggled to breathe. You were slowly losing your conscious while screams were getting louder and closer to your blood-covered body.
When Jaehwan arrived to the scene of the accident, his heart was pounding in his chest when he saw the crowd gathering around the car that had crashed into the tree. He got out of the car he borrowed from his neighbor and walked toward the accident with shaky legs, praying that it had nothing to do with you. The closer he got, the clearer the vision was getting. His heart ripped to pieces when he recognized the car and soon he was running like a mad man through the crowd, yelling and crying, much to their shock.
A hand rested on his shoulder and an old man told him you were already on your way to the hospital. He let out a sigh and wiped his tears with the back of his sleeve. The man patted his shoulder and he smiled faintly at him before running toward his car and driving toward the hospital.
Nothing could explain the pain piercing through Jaehwan’s heart as he sat in front of the doctor listening to his presumably comforting words not knowing of the fire igniting his being.
“Don’t lose hope. People remain in a vegetative state for weeks; even months and then they wake up like nothing happened.”
A vegetative state… Like nothing happened? How could he…
Jaehwan thanked him and left the room, dragging his feet behind him as he walked toward your room. She hit her head, they said, her body is in a good condition but… she lost a lot of blood. Whoever hit her, left the scene and she bled a lot until the ambulance was there.
He sat on a chair near your hospital bed, silent tear rolling down his face as he held your hand and stroked your face with his other hand. The life he imagined with you had nothing to do with this cruel reality. He dreamt of a cozy house, two kids running around the place, getting tangled around your legs as you fed them strawberries, and giggling at their faces when you feed Jaehwan the last one. He imagined waking up to you sleeping in his arms, hair disheveled and lips slightly parted as he traces your cheek with the tips of his finger and you brushing his hand off and letting out a whine.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard someone walk into the room. He got off his seat abruptly when he saw his father staring at him.
“What are you doing here? Do you want to make sure your men killed her?”
“What are you talking about? I had nothing to do with this.”
“You had everything to do with it. Your men followed her and then left her to die in the middle of the road!”
His father’s face turned bright red as he yelled back:
“They had nothing to do with the accident. All the witnesses said she was speeding. My men didn’t do anything to her.”
At this implicit confession, Jaehwan took a step toward his father, tears welling up in his eyes as he said:
“So you sent them after her, didn’t you? You told them to make sure it looked like she did it herself. You told them to leave the scene as soon as possible to avoid any accusations. How could you? You ruined her life once but it wasn’t enough, was it?”
His father was now boiling in rage upon seeing his son accuse him of attempting to kill you.
“I didn’t ruin anybody’s life. How dare you call yourself my son when you’re accusing me of killing your pathetic girlfriend?”
At this last comment, Jaehwan exploded:
“I never called myself your son. I always felt suffocated around you. Your piercing stares and your ugly words telling me how competent I am never left my head. Being born your son is a curse.”
His father’s eyes widened in shock. He never imagined the peaceful Jaehwan to explode in his face like this. He lift his hand up to slap it against his son’s face, in an attempt to bring him back to his senses, but Jaehwan interrupted him half way. He grabbed his father’s arm midway as he stared at him:
“Leave. I don’t want to see you ever again.”
Nurses burst into the room upon hearing the two men’s yells. One of them ran to check your condition while the other two were asking Jaehwan and his father to leave. Jaehwan ignored them as he ran back to his seat near you when the pulse machine was beeping.
“Is she okay? What’s happening?”
They ignored his question as one of them left the room to call the doctor. Jaehwan and his father were sent out of the room and soon the doctor arrived, passing by them and walking hurriedly into the room.
A few minutes later he left the room looking for Jaehwan. The latter ran in the doctor’s direction when he saw him walking out of the room with an unreadable expression on his face.
“Is she okay?”
The doctor lifted his head up to look at Jaehwan, who could feel that something was wrong.
He asked, stumbling over his words. His heart was pounding in his chest as he stared at the doctor, waiting for his answer.
“She’s fine. Her body was reacting to the sudden loud noise but she’s okay now. We’ll keep an eye on her to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“Can I see her? Please!”
He begged, completely forgetting that his father hadn’t left the place yet. Before he could enter the room, Jaehwan felt his father’s hand on his shoulder. He turned around, eyes glaring in anger as he said:
“Why are you still here? What do you want?”
“I don’t want to see my only son wasting his life for a girl like her.”
Jaehwan pushed his father’s hand off his shoulder, clenched his fits as he said:
“I am not your son. You can leave now.”
Without waiting another second, Jaehwan turned around and entered the room before closing the door behind him. He took his seat next to your bed, held your hand in his and stroked your face gently as he whispered:
“Did he bother you? He’s gone now, and I’m here. I won’t leave you, so please don’t leave me.”
It has been a month since the accident and nothing has changed ever since. Jaehwan spent his days sitting by your hospital bed, holding your hand in his, crying occasionally and hoping to see any sign of change in your condition. Days passed a not a glimpse of hope was showing, but he remained there, by your bed, stroking your face and talking to you about all the places he wants to take you to, all the things he wants to do when you wake up. The nurses’ sympathetic stares and their concerned questions followed him around all day long, especially when they found him sleeping next to you, holding your body close to his, tears wetting his face and pillow.
Today wasn’t different. He arrived to the hospital at 7 a.m, greeted the nurses on his way to your room and flashed them a fading smile before entering the room and closing the door behind him. As soon as he saw your body lying like he left it yesterday, his smile disappeared and a tear rolled down his face as he walked in your direction. He leaned forward and printed a kiss on your temple and then sat down next to you.
An hour or so later, and while he was telling you of what happened last night when he went home and received a parcel that was sent to him by mistake, he heard a knock on the door. He turned around to find his father accompanied by two doctors and three nurses. He got from his seat abruptly when the nurses walked toward the machines supporting your body.
“What are you doing? Why are you here?”
His father ordered the nurses to unplug the life support machines off your body before addressing his son:
“I’m here to pull you out of this dungeon. She’s dead and you have to stop wasting your life and money on her.”
Jaehwan freaked out when one of the machines started beeping. He ran toward the first nurse and pushed him away from your bed before the other nurses were ordered to grab a hold of him.
“Let me go! Stop! Don’t you dare touch her!”
He looked at one of the doctors:
“Tell them to stop! Who allowed this?”
“We have an order. I’m sorry.”
Jaehwan yelled again as he tried to get out of the nurses’ hold. His heart was ripping to pieces as he saw them cut off all strings of hope linking your motionless body to the cold machines. He looked at his father as he begged:
“Please make them stop!”
“I’m doing this for your own good.”
“You’re killing her!”
“She’s already dead!”
His father yelled in his face and at that, the pulse machine let out its warning beep.
“No! Stop! Please stop! Do something!”
The pulse machine let out its final beep announcing that the heart that had once belonged to him had stopped beating. The nurses let go of him at his father’s signal and he ran towards you. He held your body in his arms and cried his heart out as he called your name non-stop. His father placed his hand on his shoulder but he pushed it away as he lied your body down so carefully before saying:
“You killed her! You killed the only person who cared about me! I will never forgive you!”
His father grabbed him by his shirt collar as he yelled:
“I did it for your own good! Stop wasting your life!”
Jaehwan pushed his father’s arms off his shirt roughly:
“I never needed you! I wish you were dead!”
His father yelled as he slapped his right cheek. One of the doctors had to interfere to stop them from yelling. He placed his hand on the father’s shoulder as he said:
“Please sir, let’s take this somewhere else.”
It’s been a week since the funeral and Jaehwan hadn’t left his room ever since. He spent his days looking at your photos together, and cried himself to sleep at night while holding the shirt you wore the night before the accident. Days were passing very slowly as he struggled to realize that he will never see you again, will never touch you again, will never kiss you again. His whole being was in tremendous pain. Sometimes he’d wake up in the middle of the night looking for you around his apartment. He’d feel the place tightening around him, suffocating him and making him lose his mind.
He woke up this morning, a new feeling of content filling his heart. He opened his cupboard to choose something to wear when a specific shirt caught his eyes. He took the shirt out and the corners of his lips lifted up in a smile. He got dressed, put on your favorite perfume and left the apartment toward the town’s graveyard. He wanted to visit you. He had a lot to tell you. He put his hand in his pocket the closer he got to where he’d find you, a content smile on his face when his hand touched the only thing he thought could release him of his pain.
He sat down in front of the tombstone holding the name of his beloved.
“How have you been? Do you miss me? I miss you so much. Do you remember this shirt?”
He said as he looked down at the shirt he was wearing.
“Do you remember this shirt?”
His smile widened as he added:
“This is the first gift you ever got me. I never told you that I had an identical shirt because I was afraid you’d feel bad about it. But when I went home I threw the other shirt away so every time I wore this one I was sure I was wearing the one you chose for me.”
The smile disappeared and a tear rolled down his cheek. He took the pills out of his pocket and then said:
“I’m sorry it took me too long to visit you. I… I can’t live without you. I’ve been through hell ever since you left me. But it won’t take long until we’re together again.”
He looked at the pills for a couple of seconds and then smiled faintly before saying:
“You miss me, don’t you? We’ll meet very soon.”
He swallowed the pills, closed his eyes and rested his body near the tombstone. The beautiful moments he spent with you went through his head. The first time he met you, the first time he kissed you, the first time he held you in his arms, kissed the top of your head and told you how much you meant to him.
His insides were burning, but he was smiling, knowing he’ll finally leave this cruel world and be with you. A few minutes passed until his agony was over and he could finally see your face smiling at him. His pain and yours were over, nothing could keep you apart again.