Word Count: 3,074 (oh my god?)
A childhood love that started innocently at the age of 6, filled with dirt-ridden fingernails, shiny round rocks, dirty creeks, sticky playgrounds, and hot summers that bloomed into an ever-lasting friendship. And your friendship with Tae was… indescribable, it was undeniably perfect, almost like a synchronized routine between the two of you. The way you leaned on each other while laughing over Tae’s bad joke, the way the two of you glanced at each other and just knew when the other was feeling bad, or the way he filled your days with light with just a flash of his cute little smile.
The synchronized dance hadn’t started off smoothly, the two of you had stumbled quite often while growing up. Tae had an abusive father who was a notorious alcoholic while you had the self-confidence of a rat due to an emotionally abusive mother who only expected the best out of you, so it was no surprise when the two of you got together and immediately became best friends. You’d run out to play together the minute the sun would come up, and sadly part ways as the sun went down before starting yet another day together the next day. Everyday was filled with new-found adventures, whether that was imagining there was only the two of you in the whole entire world, or scourging the ground for the prettiest rocks, or leaping into creeks with unbound fear and joy. There was never a boring day for the two of you, it was always filled with laughter especially when Tae was by your side, it made the day pass easier when your parents gave you a hard time.
The days were fine for the both of you, it wasn’t until the sun disappeared for the night and the both of you had to part ways, every evening as the sun waved goodbye from the horizon the two of you tightly clasped your hands together and whispered, you’ll be okay, into each others ears before facing the big bad monsters that weren’t just under your bed.
Every afternoon you were greeted with screams of how disappointing you were as a daughter. You would come home from a day of running around in the hot sun sweaty, covered in dust and dirt with disheveled hair and this managed to piss off your mom everyday. She never was okay with the fact that her daughter was being a child she hated the fact that you were best friends with Tae, she thought he would take advantage of you. Every night was a battle between the two of you, she’d scream at you for not being able to sit still and do nothing but then hate the fact you sat there quietly as she yelled at you. Her veins would bulge out of her neck, face flushing red like the sun setting outside, while you calmly stood in the hallway as the harsh words went in through one ear and out the other. Every night was the same, filled with: you’re worth nothing, you’re absolutely disgusting, no one is going to love a girl like you. I should have gotten rid of you when I had the chance. You had become numb to the words she spat at you, because after a while, you started to believe them. Tae was faced with his father, the big bad wolf that threatened to eat him alive as alcohol fueled his father’s rage. The both of you had mastered the art of silence and quiet acceptance as your parents spat, kicked, and beat the two of you into submission. Neither of you had it easy, but from the outside it looked like two childhood best friends with no cares in the world.
As the two of you went through the struggles of middle school, high school, break-ups and graduation the friendship never withered. The dance between the two of you became more intricate and complicated as you moved through the motions of life. The parents never let up and the only escape available for the two of you was college.
“God Y/N, I am counting down the days till we can move away from this hell hole…” Tae sighed as he leaned back on the rocks near the creek the two of you escaped to when the parents were becoming a pain.
“Tell me about it… We don’t have much left, I’m glad we’re going to the same school though.. Don’t know what I’d do without you,” you softly nudged your best friend with your shoulder and smiled, “It wouldn’t be the same without you there to bring me comfort food and hug me when I have a bad day.”
Tae hummed quietly before examine the creek before you guys, “you remember those days when we’d come here? Just knowing without having to even text each other? We’re going to need one of those spots once we get to school…”
All you could think was, Tae that spot for me is in your arms… But you chose to stay quiet as the two of you took in the serenity of the flowing creek before you. There had been so many afternoons where the two of you would race over and pick at the ground peering at the dusty ground in hopes to find some kind of treasure or leaping into the creek without a second thought and spending hours splashing each other and squealing with joy as the water sparkled in the sunlight. Every afternoon at the creek ended with sun-bathing on your favorite rock as the two of you talked about everything and anything. Nothing was ever was boring with Tae, he knew you and you knew him better than anyone. _______________________________________________________________________
The two of you were inseparable in college , taking classes together, studying together, eating together, falling asleep in each others arms, people started to mistake your relationship, and so did you. The boy you had met 13 years ago was still there, the way his eyes lit up when he saw you, the glimmer in his eye when he was studying for a test, and the soft boyish pout that would appear when he fell asleep after a long day. You were falling in love with your best friend, and you were fearful of what would happen if the kid who had been there for everything vanished in front of your eyes one day.
“Hey Y/N, where’d ya go there…”
Tae had finally awoken from his daily three hour nap after classes and found you blankly staring off into space at your desk.
“Oh, oh nothing, just trying to make a mental to-do list on what I have to do for the upcoming week, finals are starting soon and the stress is starting to pile up..” you twirled your pen around in your hand as you tried to feign normalcy before you felt Tae come up behind you and wrap his arms tightly around you, “Come on, I know you better than that, what were you thinking about…”
“It’s nothing! I’m just.. worried about going home for Thanksgiving break, I had just managed to get a normal sleeping schedule going and relaxing but … you know what happens when I go back home, the nightmares start, which means being up late, but I’ll be fine.”
Tae knew what happened every time you had to go home, unlike other kids who slept better when they were home, the monsters came back to haunt you every time you stepped foot in that god-awful house of yours resulting in late caffeine driven nights filled with Netflix binge watching under the covers. He lightly stroked your head while humming softly in your ear, consoling you silently in the best way he knew how.
“It’ll be okay Y/N, I promise. I’ll be there for you okay?” Tae mumbled this as he lightly kissed you on top of your head before jumping back onto your bed and playing with his phone. He didn’t seem to realize how much that small kiss affected the heat blooming across your face as you scrambled to distract yourself. The two of you spent the majority of the afternoon silently working on homework, the two of you never felt the necessity to always talk, you knew how to comfortably share silence together and greatly appreciated them. Little did both of you know, the two of you were once again, thinking along the same lines.
Tae couldn’t get you out of his head, he’d occasionally glance up at you as he was reading his textbook trying to get himself to focus for his upcoming exam in two days, but he couldn’t stop looking at you as you tried to brush away that stubborn strand of hair that refused to stay behind your ear, remnants from a mistake you had made last winter in getting bangs. He looked at the way your eyebrows scrunched together as you stumbled across a difficult concept in your law textbook, the little nervous tic you had as you chewed on your lips forcing yourself to understand the concepts in front of you, he cherished every little antic about you. He knew them better than anyone else, and with just one glance up you sent him reeling as you flashed your sweet smile of encouragement, “Tae, you need to studdyyy.. why are you blankly staring off in space!” You didn’t seem to realize how much that little whine of yours made him melt before returning back to his textbook, forcing himself to retain any sort of information regarding the human brain. He occasionally would peer up at you and watched as you picked at your hangnails before chucking his eraser at your head, “Hey, stop it. I know you’re stressed but if you don’t want to bleed all over your notes stop picking at it!” You pouted sticking out your tongue before turning back to your textbook sitting on top of your hand, he loved that he knew everything about you so easily and cherished every little quirk of yours, but Tae was scared to push any further.
You could tell Tae was watching you as he attempted to study for his exam and glanced at him through the corner of your eye, as the night went on you could see him slowly rubbing his face against his sweatshirt and occasionally your shoulder, “Taetae, you’re sleepy.. go nap for an hour or two, I’ll wake you up. You got a long night of studying anyway,” you saw Tae slowly get into your bed and smiled sleepily, “Thanks Y/N, don’t know what I’d do without you… just… gimme two hours and then I’ll study..” You saw him slowly close his eyes and succumb to exhaustion before smiling softly at Tae’s boyish charms once again appearing as he fell deeper and deeper into sleep. You couldn’t help yourself, you rested your chin in the palm of your hand as you watched Tae’s breathing get deeper and slower before reaching over and brushing away his hair away from his forehead softly. You loved the fact that the two of you could comfortably spend time together like this without much of a second thought, it started to become a norm for the two of you. You’d come over to each other’s apartments after classes and spend a couple hours goofing off watching tv or catching up on each other’s day, then Tae would take his nap while you did housework or started your assignments, then he’d join you after his nap and the two you of you would make dinner together, washing the dishes together and then getting started on homework before falling asleep in the same bed wrapped in each other’s arms before repeating the same cycle everyday. The two of you never felt the need to go out of your way to spend time with each other because it naturally happened, you guys were drawn to one another. But it had shifted from a friendship to yearning for more, but neither of you were willing to take the leap to something more.
After pulling an all-nighter you felt Tae groan as he jumped into bed after his exam before wrapping his arms around you tightly and mumbled something about wanting to sleep for the rest of his life before falling asleep. You smiled at your sleeping best friends figure before lightly kissing him on the cheek, you felt him pull a soft smile before you got up and started to get ready for your classes. Quickly washing away the sleep from your eyes you put in contacts then started putting on makeup, you heard Tae move around, “Y/N, why do you put on makeup… I think you’re pretty without it too, it doesn’t look very different when you do or don’t have it on…” You shrugged and went to your closet and pulled together an outfit and started stuffing your laptop in your backpack and smiled faintly at Tae before lightly tossing over your shoulder, “go to sleep Tae, I gotta go to class.”
Tae never understood why you woke up every morning to later on makeup that covered those beautiful freckles of yours that scattered across your nose and cheeks almost like sprinkles on a cupcake. He loved to stare at them every morning as your eyelashes gently perched on top of your cheeks before fluttering awake at the piercing sound of your alarm. He loved your flushed cheeks after walking from your classes back to your apartment in the harsh winter weather, the way you’d wiggle your cold toes under his legs seeking any kind of warmth, he had started falling in love with the mundane days he spent with you.
The two of you continued this dance, lightly avoiding the desire the two of you had for each other until one late night of binge-watching.
Stranger Things Season 2 was just starting to get good when you felt Tae remove his arm that had naturally fallen around your shoulder and reach over to turn pause the show, “Y/N, can I ask you something?” He lightly scratched the back of his head, a nervous tick he had when he wasn’t sure of something, before looking up at you with his piercing eyes. You looked at him, studying his face, trying to get a read on what this conversation could possibly be about.
“Do you like me?” you felt yourself stop breathing and your heart beating, racing at the possible answers to this question that you had managed to avoid. You didn’t know how to respond, Tae could start seeing the panic rise in your eyes as you tried to process what could possibly unfold within these next following moments, “Y/N, I just need a yes or a no..”
“Are.. are you seriously asking me?” The question caught the two of you off guard, who woulda thought that this day would come. He lightly nodded his head before peering down at his lap, bracing for the worst but yearning for the best. You carefully cradled his cheek in your hand before forcing him to look up at you before nodding shyly.
Tae broke out his signature boxy smile before squishing your cheeks in his hands, “Is this seriously happening? Do you really want to be with me? You won’t throw me away if we fight too often or once you get bored?” You felt a silence settle in as the two of you tried to wrap your minds around this situation, this was the kind of silence the two of you weren’t used to, it was stifling, uncomfortable. The only sounds you could hear were the honks of the busy street outside your window and the low hum of your heater. You opened your mouth, and uttered the three words Tae had yearned for after all these years, “I love you.”
You woke up the next morning to Tae whispering lightly in your ear, “Morning, love.” his breath fans against your face, making you smile softly and pressed your lips to his.
Your thumb starts to light trail against his sharp jawline down to his chin then up his high nose, before finally opening your eyes to see Tae smiling down at you. He brought his hand up to your face, before you let out a sigh and leaned your cheek into his welcoming palm. Tae couldn’t help himself from smiling brightly, eyes scrunching together as he squeezed your hip lightly. The two of you left kisses anywhere your lips could reach; hands, foreheads, fingertips, noses, neither of you could stop the happiness from overflowing and didn’t care to hide the love you two had for one another anymore.
The two of you spent a majority of the morning resting your foreheads against each other, nose-to-nose and even though your eyes aren’t completely closed you know he’s looking at you with those big puppy dog eyes of his. You flinch when you remember that he could probably see every little freckle and pimple scar littering your face, but you relax in his embrace because you know that with ever glance he’s soaking in every part of you that he loves. That he’s smiling softly as he tries to count the freckles sprinkled across your face, struggling to memorize every detail, so that he can think back to this exact moment when he misses you. With Tae’s long beautiful fingers and legs tangled in yours, you’ve forgotten where your heartbeat begins and his end, completely synchronized, 100% in love, and you know that you’re comfortable here in his embrace, it’s a familiar place, a home you’ve come to build together after 13 years. Once in a while Tae would break away to gently kiss you, molding your smile into his as you giggle his name playfully. He’d forgotten how much he loved to hear you call his name, from the minute you two had met at that creek 13 years ago to this moment now, the way it rolled off your tongue and strengthened his never-ending desire to hear you call his name every night as you kissed his nightmares away, or every afternoon as the two of you struggled through life together. Ever syllable sounded like music, especially orchestrated for him, something soft and quiet but so undeniably loving.