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Summary: Four years and continents apart. What keeps Yi Jeong and Ga Eul's hope alive are the letters that they write to each other from time to time…
You'll be the first person I look for… if you haven't found your soul-mate yet
She was already looking forward to his return even before he had left.
For what seemed like the hundredth time, Chu Ga Eul looked at her watch. It was thirty minutes to 2pm. In thirty minutes the man who had stolen her heart by masquerading as Prince Charming was leaving Korea. It hurt to breathe whenever she thought of that. Some part of her heart was crushed by his impending absence.
And that was why she was not at the airport to say good-bye. It was one thing to be strong in front of him and encourage him to pursue his dreams. It was another to do it in front of four other inquisitive pairs of eyes who would be scrutinizing their every move, their every expression. Some things were meant only for Yi Jeong to see. And she was afraid she would finally breakdown.
Wiping away the tears that threatened to escape, Ga Eul sniffed and stared into the fire that was blazing in the kiln. She was here again, here at the same spot where Yi Jeong had given her his promise. It was a strange one, a tentative promise based on the condition that she waited for him. He would wait for her if she could show him she would be there. How like Yi Jeong it was. Still frightened of love and being deserted, but brave enough now to step out if he thought she would be there to catch him.
"But who is going to catch me?" Ga Eul whispered, wrapping her shawl tighter around her shoulders. Could she trust him enough when he was so far away? Was this some kind of test to see if they were soul-mates?
It warmed her to know that she had changed him somehow and she knew that it would remain with him always. In some way, he would always be hers. But would they be together? Love was a strange thing, and sometimes, timing was everything. Ji Hoo and Jan Di were such a classic case of missed chances.
If I meet him, I will never let him go. I would regret it for the rest of my life…
Was it a mistake to let him go? Did this even count as letting him go? Ga Eul sighed. She was second guessing herself again. Yi Jeong sunbae had never been hers to keep in the first place.
She was afraid, in spite of herself. Afraid because like it or not, she had given her heart to him and she was helpless to take it back.
Yi Jeong settled into the comfort of the huge seat, glad that he was the only passenger onboard. Jun Pyo had insisted on sending him to Sweden via his personal plane and Yi Jeong had not been given the chance to say no.
His best friends had all been there to bid him farewell and Geum Jan Di had turned up too. Although he had been initially appalled when Jun Pyo had started pursuing her, he knew now that she was the best thing to have happened to his friend.
And because of her, he had met Ga Eul. For that he would always be grateful.
It hurt that she had not turned up to say good-bye. Never mind that they had spent the last four days leading up to his departure together and that they had agreed to say their farewells in private. They still weren't a couple though. It was a situation that puzzled Woo Bin and vexed Jun Pyo although Ji Hoo understood. And so did Jan Di. All the latter had done was to sweetly warn him to uphold his end of the promise or else she would hunt him down in Sweden.
If you call her first, you'll be her slave…
In fifteen minutes the plane would take off. And if he stared any harder at the phone in his hand, his gaze just might burn a hole in it. "Call, just call me," he muttered. Damn the girl and her pride, he swore privately. Then again, damn his pride.
Oh hell, he was going to do it. He was going to break his golden rule. Where Ga Eul yang was concerned, he had broken enough so he might as well just go all the way.
"Ga Eul yang?"
She sounded surprised yet happy. She had been crying though, he could hear it in her voice. Yi Jeong blinked and there was a sudden lump in his throat.
"I…where are you now?"
"…At the kiln."
He didn't know what to say. Maybe there was no need to say anything. It was enough to know where she was, that she was there on the line with him. After a long silence she finally spoke.
"Sunbae, did Jan Di pass it to you?"
"Yes." It was a plain blue envelope and he had been instructed to open it only when he was in Sweden. "You haven't lost my key, have you?"
He had given her the key to his studio last night. Although Ga Eul usually worked on her pottery in the other studio where Eunjae taught, he thought that she might like being somewhere which reminded her of him and the possibility of them. It was his way of trying to hold on to her but Yi Jeong refused to admit that to himself, let alone anyone else.
"Pabo, of course not."
He was teasing her, trying to distract the both of them. Five more minutes. There was so much to say which they didn't dare to. Silence again.
Yi Jeong cursed softly when he saw the stewardess approaching, her eyes fixed on his phone. Their time was up. "Ga Eul yang, I've got to go. The plane is about to take off."
"Sunbae…" I'll miss you. Come back to me. "Make sure you come back as a great potter. Don't waste the next four years."
"Well, make sure you're a better potter by the time I get back. Work on that wrist."
"You—" she started to retort heatedly when his next words cut hers off.
"Don't forget. If you haven't found your soul-mate by then…" And then he hung up.
Ga Eul stared at the phone in her hand, keenly aware that somewhere out there, Yi Jeong was leaving her. But his words… Her heart was beating so fast. She would try. She would wait.
Yi Jeong exhaled, staring out at the window as the plane lifted smoothly off the ground, aware that somewhere out there, he was leaving her behind. Gently, he touched the envelope on the seat next to him and knew it was a letter. In an age of emails and Skype, only his silly romantic country bumpkin would write a letter.
He couldn't wait to write back.