What was it about this girl that made him want to coax a smile out of her? Yi Jung wondered. And once he did succeed in doing so--because he would, he had never failed yet at accomplishing anything he put his mind towards--would he then grow tired of her and move on?
He wasn't sure. And he didn't really want to examine the nature of his interest too closely, either. Let it just be whatever it was. Him. Her. Under the dark sky, surrounded by the warm air that was like an embrace, exhilarated by scents that were both foreign and familiar at once.
He was not immune to beauty. The other members of F4 liked to tease him with the label of 'cold-blooded Casanova', which was something of a misappellation in Yi Jung's mind. It wasn't that he didn't feel. (How, after all, could an artist create without feeling?) It was just that he prided himself on his control over it, which in his mind at least made a very sharp contrast between himself and his father. He might be the son of that aging lothario, but they were not the same...
Yi Jung realized that Ga Eul was gazing up at him with some trepidation written across her features, and he quickly pursued his earlier question. "I need an answer, Ga Eul yang. Tell me what I want to hear."
Her lips tightened in that adorable almost-pout she made when something vexed her, and she said with a flash of spirit, "How could I possibly know what you want to hear?"
Yi Jung, distracted by her mouth, thought suddenly about kissing it. He quickly tried to think about something, anything else, but the impulse remained firmly lodged in his head.
He said a few inaudible bad words.
"What?" Ga Eul asked, frowning.
"Nothing. Why haven't you answered me yet?"
"Sunbae..." Ga Eul seemed to be collecting her thoughts with an effort. "I don't think it would be a good idea."
"Because--we shouldn't pretend something that's not real. When we go back to Korea, you aren't going to come see me at work, are you? And I'm not going to go to your studio..." She blushed adorably.
He cocked an eyebrow, intrigued by this. "I just asked for a dance, Ga Eul yang. I didn't ask you to marry me."
Her cheeks further deepened in color, and she glanced away in confusion. "Well...that's how it starts, I mean."
He laughed out loud at this. "What would a country girl like you know about those sorts of things?"
"I may be a country girl, but I'm not an idiot!" Ga Eul retorted, clearly insulted by this light-hearted question.
"Of course you're not an idiot," Yi Jung soothed, thinking, although I might be, for continuing to have this conversation with you..."All right then...Ga Eul sshi--if you are so worldly, then why haven't you found your soulmate yet? Hm?"
"One doesn't LOOK for one's soulmate," she replied loftily. "They're just...there." Her voice faded away as she met his eyes. Abruptly, the sense of playfulness in their banter died. Yi Jung cursed the moonlight for making her look so damn alluring, and cursed himself because he knew he was losing the battle with his self-discipline this time.
"Just there," she repeated, in a whisper, though it seemed as if she were only saying it because both of them felt the silence was too charged.
"Ya!" The shout made both of them actually start a little, it was so unexpected. Jun Pyo's jovial tone had never been more unwelcome, Yi Jung thought, wincing as the mood was immediately broken and Ga Eul, who had been very close, jumped a couple of steps back.
"What are you two doing here?" F4's leader demanded, still jovial with a touch of fake-threatening implication mixed in. He had come about halfway down the pier without either of them noticing.
Ga Eul ducked her head and looked far too embarrassed to respond, so Yi Jung said smoothly, sliding hands in pockets, "Admiring the view."
"The view?" Jun Pyo glanced around. "It's night." He gave Ga Eul a knowing grin, which she didn't see because she was avoiding looking at either of them. "Is this fella stalking you again Ga Eul? Want me to report him to Jan Di?"
"I...I should go back," Ga Eul stammered. "It's getting late."
"It certainly is," Jun Pyo said affably, with a parental air.
The young men watched as she gave a cursory bow of the head to excuse herself to both of them and then hurried away.
"Thanks a lot," Yi Jung said. "Your timing was great."
"What? Timing?" Jun Pyo chuckled in disbelief. "You saying you were just about to...Now that I think about it, you two were standing awfully close. Rascal."
Yi Jung knocked his friend's shoulder punch away, but more out of mild frustration than real anger. "Now she's going to make sure I'm not alone with her again."
"Love will find a way," Jun Pyo offered solemnly.
"You really ought to shut up."
Jun Pyo eyed him for a moment, trying to determine to what extent he was serious.
Yi Jung added, feeling a touch of guilt, "Besides, who said anything about love?"
"OK--anyway, never mind." They were silent for a few moments and then Jun Pyo said, "I just came down to let you know we're taking off tomorrow."
"Back home," Yi Jung said. Ga Eul's words echoed in his mind: When we go back to Korea, you aren't going to come see me at work, are you?
Aren't I? I think I am...