[V/Jihyun Kim X Reader]
Every day he saw her waiting there at the bench. Sometimes she would be standing. Her sun dress flowing in the wind, as if the lace or fabric had been lighter than air, catching even the smallest breeze. Her hair dancing about her face. His eye sight was poor, but he could see her tangled hair dancing. He could smell the perfume of her shampoo carried in the wind as he approached her. Other times she would be huddled together on the bench as she sat. Her knees clenched closely as she held her heavy coat to her frame in the cold wind.
It was the same as when he first met her. The droplets of rain fell hard, each splash on the pavement demanded your hearing. V could hardly believe someone had been caught so off guard by the storm. Her hands went from wiping her ever-dampening hair to her arms, to her soaked cloth clinging to her frame. He remembered thinking how beautiful and natural she looked. How helpless. How, in that moment, he saw someone in need of his help, even if his sight was less than superb. Her bangs and hair clung to her face and she smiled to him. The smile that he had grown to look forward to for weeks to come.
“Please, share my umbrella?” he asked of her as he held it above her shivering frame.
It was the first thing he ever said to her. The first words ever spoken between them as they stood there at the bus stop. Her careful nod and slight smile pierced through him in that instant. Her gratitude. Had he ever been so thankful for his eyesight before?
In his mind he could remember every detail of her. Her face. Her makeup and the way the strands of hair clung messily to her face from the rain like thin vines on a beautiful sculpture. The sound of the droplets on the umbrella and the feel of wetness as the bottoms of his jeans began to soak water and creep up his shins. It didn’t matter, as long as she was dry and comfortable.
“Thank you,” she spoke in soft syllables through the heavy rain.
Her voice had been like a symphony to the backdrop of the rain pattering. Her smile the beams of sunlight in the clouds of rain. It was a gift to see her before him.
When the bus approached and she nodded in gratitude before entering, he felt a heaviness in his chest. Such grace and beauty lost to him now because he hadn’t the courage, nor the strength, to ask her for any more than she had already bestowed upon him. Only a warm smile and a slight giggle from her as he sheltered her from the rain.
The next day it was drizzling lightly as he approached the bench. His sight limited to the bus. And…as if a sign from above, he saw her looking back to him with that same sweet smile. It would insight the tightness in his chest once more. She recognized him? Even with his blurry vision he could never mistake her for another.
“Hello, V!” she would smile and exclaim every time.
Always the same cheerful greeting. It always elicited his heart to work overtime in his chest. He wanted to know more about her. Wanted her to know more about him.
“Call me Jihyun, remember,” he laughed and smiled.
“Oh! Of course, I’m so sorry,” she would laugh and cover her face in embarrassment.
He loved that about her. And without another thought his umbrella would be covering her and sheltering her from the spring rain.
“You don’t take the same route as I do, yet you’re always here at the same time,” she says casually, “why do you take the bus? Your clothes….ah! I’m sorry, is that rude?”
The way she gets flustered turns his cheeks red. He didn’t think he was dressed so richly? Maybe only compared to Jumin…
“It’s not rude,” he chuckled, “my eye sight…” he let his voice trail off.
“I know,” she replied.
Delicate fingertips pressed against his cheeks and shocked him more than he had anticipated. The feeling of her warm fingertips on his skin made his heart leap and his body feel warmth in the growing cold.
“Is that why you…ride public transport?” she had asked.
“Mostly, yes,” he found himself admitting.
It is true. He can still see alright, enough to get around daily life. But he can not drive. Public transport is his means of traveling. He doesn’t wish to be like his friend Jumin, spending money on personal drivers and cars. Figures from afar appear as blurs, but not her.
Perhaps it was the way she smelled. Or sounded.
He could hear her rustling and know it was her. Her delicate hands moving through her bag to find her chapstick. Or her sunglasses. Or phone. He could tell her apart from anyone else in the world. it would start off as if she had forgotten the thing completely. Frantic and manic were her hands in the pockets and crevices of her bag. Eventually, the all-too-familiar sigh would escape her when she found what she was looking for. Maybe others could not pick it up, but he could. He heard and watched her pop the cap from her chapstick in the summer and rub it against her full lips. She wasn’t aware of how bad his sight had been. But she was more aware than most.
Most good days, when he met her at the bench, they would talk about themselves. If she was carrying bags, she would explain what she purchased for him. Even if it was trivial, he found himself enthralled in her explanations.
“Shoes for the beach. You know my old ones always gave me trouble,” she laughed and he agreed since he had known as well, “and this new dress. I don’t know how well it will look. Maybe for a lunch with friends…”
She held the dress up to herself and he felt almost bad for imagining her in it. Perhaps on a moonlit night. She would be waiting as he approached from a street corner. She would be smiling, only for him, in that dress. He’d buy her dinner and wine. They would share her favorite dessert and she would tell him all about her day. He would listen intently. He cared. For a moment he had to remind himself of where he was.
“It’s a beautiful dress for you,” he remarked.
“Why, thank you,” she replied and stuffed the items back in her bag with red cheeks.
One day she was showing him what she had purchased, when she noticed how aloof he seemed, though he was trying his hardest not to show it.
“Your eyesight,” she spoke softly, “it’s getting worse…isn’t it…”
Why was he choking back his words? Was it the slight drizzling rain clouding his eyes, or his own tears as he held his umbrella over what he hoped was her frame. If he could do anything in this world, it was to keep her from being cold…and wet. Somehow, she knew. Just by the way he had acted, for he hadn’t said a word about how he was doing.
He felt a soft hand on his own free one. It was hers. Without thinking twice he smiled and let her lead him. He could even hear her smile in her voice.
“Sunglasses…not that I’ll be needing them anytime soon, don’t you agree? I feel like a fool for believing the weatherman,” she laughed and held her forehead against his own as she did so, while still guiding his hand around her bag.
Was she not put off by his ailment? It was one of the first times he could say he hadn’t felt like an outsider. Someone who needed to be asked to be accepted. She had grabbed his hand…
She had grabbed his hand…and from then on, she continued to do so.
Some days, he didn’t need it. Some days, the sun shone bright and still would be out-shined by her radiance. Her smile and aura as he approached the bench would radiate his core. Whether she was heading to work, meeting friends or shopping, she looked beautiful and full of hope to him. She filled him with her warmth even on the coldest of days.
It wasn’t since Rika that he had felt this way about another human being. And even thinking about her inner beauty, could he say he even felt this way about Rika? No. This person who had accepted him as who he was, even with his sight as it happened to be. This person who asked nothing from him other than conversation as they waited for the bus to take them to their destinations.
When he had fallen in love with her, who could say? But he was sure she felt the same way. Her subtle touches to his hands and arm when they met. The way she leaned in close to explain things to him.
“It is cold…but I do appreciate the rain,” she said one day to him after he had placed his jacket over her. “It gives life to the flowers around us, the plants…Life would cease to exist without the rain. I think we should appreciate it. Don’t you agree?” she asked him.
Of course he did. His hands held her shoulders tightly as he explained so. How badly he wanted to ask her to dinner in that moment. Maybe just to a cup of coffee. To ask her everything about herself. Did she garden? What was her favorite film? Did she enjoy music?
He could sense a lot about her just in the time they spent together. She was selfless. She only went shopping when it meant it was needed. If it was for meeting friends, or perhaps something she didn’t have before. He liked that about her. She was observant.
“The bus has been a little late…fourth time this week…I hope the driver isn’t feeling ill,” she had mentioned one day.
“What’s so funny?” she smiled and put her hand on his forearm playfully, “ I really am worried!”
“Only you would be worried about the driver when your ride is late…I just…find it charming,” he admitted to her.
When he was late, or struggling to make it to the bench, he found her at his side, helping carry his things and hold him steady.
One particularly rainy day, her bus arrived on schedule. It was the familiar slosh of the flowing gutters as it pulled close to the curb for her. The all-too-familar squeak of the door hinges as it swung opened for her. But she did not move. She did not enter. Her hand lay wrapped on his forearm, which held his umbrella sturdy to protect her the best he could from the elements.
“I’m not going in today,” she spoke coyly as the door shut and the sound of the bus driving down the road faded once again in the distance.
He couldn’t hold back his smile much longer. Her touch soothed him. Her delicate hands he had grown to fall in love with. And the sweetness in her voice like warm honey coating his soul.
“We can’t waste the day,” he found himself replying, “how about I take you to lunch…and then maybe dinner?”
“Nothing could make me happier, Jihyun,” she pulled her body in close to his as she spoke.
He could feel her steps in sync with his own. This wasn’t the first time he had taken her out. Not even the twentieth time…her feet and hands, her voice, her steps and the pitter patter they made next to his own feet…the way she walked was all too familiar.
Yes…this day was like many others he had come to share with her. And yet…he felt in his pocket, that hardness in the shape of a box. The velvet case with a ring inside.
It may have come to be a familiar day for them. But today, he would ask her to be his wife.