New Year's Resolution
By Shahar Mystral
Author's Note: This fic was inspired by a combination of things. The first of these being my trip to South Korea, which came as a direct product of the show that this story is based on. All of the locations and traditions are real and I am proud to say, that I went to all locations, bar the Prince Hotel. So this fic is my way of sharing a little of my trip with all the other fans of Boys Over Flowers. The second source of inspiration was being a three month holiday where I alternately worked myself into the ground or was bored out of my mind and thus this fic became my escape. Lastly I would like to thank Nisha, who couldn't make the trip to Korea with me and XXXTrilic, but listened to me explain my idea for this story and made me promise to write it out. This fic is dedicated to you.
The crowd surged up the stairs leading from the subway and the underground shopping centre out onto the night street of Seoul, pulling an excited young waitress along with it.
Ga Eul darted to the side of the entrance, gathering a moments respite from the masses around her. Brushing a strand of dark hair behind her ear and pulling her jacket closer against the frigid temperatures of winter Seoul, she smiled in anticipation of the night festivities ahead as the crowd surged passed.
There was something about New Year's Eve that always managed to build up waves of emotion in her. Be it heartache, joyful anticipation or remorse, it was just an emotional day. Perhaps it was because she was saying good bye to the old year, which had, for the most part, been good to her, Ga Eul always felt that she was saying goodbye to something special. However the promise of the New Year, and the possibilities that it held, always managed to bring an excited smile to her face.
This time of year also gave her the chance to re-affirm her latest painful decision, with a New Year's Resolution. She felt a twinge of heartache at her Resolution, but she knew it was necessary if she was going to move on with her life.
She shook her head, banishing her dark thoughts. It was New Year's, which meant that it would be celebrated with fireworks, food and friends.
A moment passed as Ga Eul scanned her surroundings, looking for the restaurant that her classmates had told was located 'on the right of the Prince Hotel by the Myeong-Dong station exit'.
It wasn't long before she spotted it. The hotel was easily identifiable, with its name in bright lights and expensive cars parked outside. Stepping back into the flow of people, Ga Eul made her way towards it. True to her friend's directions the barbecue restaurant that she was seeking was right where they claimed it would be. As she approached the shop, her friends caught sight of her though the windows and stood and waved.
Ga Eul waved back, smiling before pushing forward the door to the entrance to the shop. The restaurant was delightfully warm after the biting cold outside. The air smelt deliciously of barbecued meats and faintly of kerosene from the grills set in each pine wood table top. Her classmates sat in the far corner of the restaurant next to the windows, no doubt wanting to keep an eye on the comings and goings in the street beyond.
"Ga Eul-shi." Her classmate, Eun Song called out as Ga Eul headed over to the table. "Come sit next to me." She patted the chair to her left, closest to the storefront window.
Her other classmate pouted, drawing Eun Song's attention to her.
"Now now," Eun Song scolded, waving her finger in the air. "You get to sit next to Ga Eul in class and you get to chat to her all the time. It's my turn to have Ga Eul-shi to myself, Shin Young-ah."
Shin Young laughed. "Your logic astounds me sometimes. We are sitting round the same table. It's not like you will be able to stop Ga Eul from interacting with me."
"I know," Eun Song shrugged carelessly, "but it still means that Ga Eul still gets to sit with me."
Ga Eul sighed and rolled her eyes at her friends' behaviour before shrugging out of her jacket and settling next to Eun Song. "Really you two. It's not like you never get to talk to me."
"We don't." Shin Young said. "Not really anyway. You are either working or with you lucky friend."
"My lucky friend?"
"The girl who got to attend Shinwa High."
"Oh Jan Di. I dunno if she considers herself lucky, more like cursed considering how her life had turned upside down since attending the school."
"Now that sounds like you have an interesting update for us." Eun Song said as she waved over the nearby waitress, indicating that they were ready to have their meat cooked for them.
"Well ever since Jun Pyo Sunbae got back from Macau a couple weeks ago, things started falling apart." Ga Eul began as she reached for a piece of kimichi with her chopsticks. 'For her and I both.' She added silently.
Yi Jeong pulled back slightly, breaking a heated kiss, to look down at the woman in his arms. He was in a hotel room of the Prince Hotel with a delightfully attractive young woman, which was nothing unusual in of itself. Nor was the fact that she had been someone that he had met in a nearby club a short while ago. He wasn't even really surprised to realise that he didn't know her name.
What really surprised him was that for the first time in a very long time, he felt that this anonymity was a problem.
"Oppa?" The beauty murmured, her face flushed with desire. "Is something wrong?"
Yi Jeong sighed inwardly. Nothing should be wrong, this evening wasn't any different from countless others that he had experienced over the years. But tonight it grated him that she didn't know his name. Sometimes 'Oppa' was too easy a route for girls – names just didn't matter anymore.
"Can I ask you something?" Yi Jeong asked bitterly as he stared down at her lustful eyes.
"Sure." She said in a sultry voice. "As long as you promise to get back to kissing."
"Why did you choose me?" He said, carefully ignoring the last part.
She laughed softly at the confusion in his voice. "For the same reason you choose me – you're hot." She fluttered her eyelashes as him, smiling coyly. "And I may have a heard a little about your reputation, Casanova." She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him back into her embrace. "Now, no more questions." She whispered just before her lips met his.
Yi Jeong allowed himself to kiss her back, but his mind wasn't in it. Instead it fixed itself on the problem on hand – that he didn't really want to be here in this anonymous girl's arms. When he had left home this evening in an attempt to avoid his mother and father, he had thought that a night like this would be just what he needed to keep his mind off the miseries of life.
Apparently he was wrong. The more time that he spent with this unfamiliar girl, the more uncomfortable he became. Tonight just wasn't working for him.
Yi Jeong reached up and gently disengaged the girl's arms from around his neck and stepped away from her. Reading the irritation and confusion in her dark brown eyes, Yi Jeong apologised, "I'm sorry but I can not. You are very beautiful so I'm sure that you will find someone else." He reached for the door, not waiting for her response. "Good-bye."
The door snicked shut behind him as he moved on.
Yi Jeong stepped into the waiting elevator, selected ground floor and leaned heavily against its walls as the doors slid shut. As the elevator began its descent, he couldn't help but curse at his idiocy. He had left a very willing woman, to spend the rest of New Year's Eve by himself doing – what exactly?
Nothing. All of his F4 friends were busy tonight. Woo Bin was busy with some massive family do/gang intimidation. Ji Hoo was attending a symphony performed by South Korea's National Orchestra. Jun Pyo was the only one who wasn't busy, but he was under house arrest thanks to his 'delightful' mother.
So instead of enjoying New Year's Eve he was left to ponder why he felt so uncomfortable with a woman. Something that no self-respecting Casanova would ever admit to.
'This is Ga Eul's fault.' He thought suddenly as the elevator opened out onto the lobby of the Prince Hotel. Ever since she had accused him of hiding in his bad habits, he had begun wondering if there was some truth to what she had said. The fact that, that day on the steps where she had told him that she was giving up on him, lingered on his mind, probably wasn't helping either. No man liked being rejected, just before he –. He stopped that thought before it had a chance to gnaw unpleasantly on his mind again. Ever since then he had felt closed in and isolated, surrounded by people who didn't give a damn.
'I'm just not happy anymore,' he realised painfully. 'Nothing I've been doing lately has made me feel better.'
Yi Jeong jerked to a halt, half way through the parking lot. Bitingly cold wind teased his hair, but he paid it no notice as he furrowed his brows, thinking furiously.
'I am happy (most of the time) when I am with the F4. Especially since Geum Jan Di arrived and transformed Jun Pyo into a decent person.' He smiled to himself. 'Jan Di really is Wonder Woman for being able to work miracles on Jun Pyo. Too bad I haven't seen much of them lately. Life has just been getting crazy.'
His frown transformed into a bright smile at the next thought. 'And of course along with crazy Jan Di came Chu Ga Eul.' He wouldn't admit to anyone, but when he was with Ga Eul, he felt happier – Except when she was getting under his skin and pretending to know him. 'Although she does come a lot closer to understanding me than anyone else I know.'
A sudden gust of freezing wind down the back of his suit jolted him out of his reverie. Pulling his collar closer to his neck, Yi Jeong glanced round, debating between calling his chauffeur to come pick him up or to just catch a taxi. It was at that moment that he caught sight of a very familiar face. An old adage came to mind – speak of the devil and he (in this case – she) shall appear.
Across the street in clear view, was the reason for his problems – Chu Ga Eul.
She was talking to animatedly with two other girls that he didn't know.
Just watching her sent a rush of emotion through him. One which tightened his chest and made him feel warm, despite the below zero temperature.
As he continued to stare, one of Ga Eul's friends looked out and caught him staring.
A flurry of motion ensured, followed by no doubt a whispered discussion. A short time after the motion had stilled into a controlled pretence of nonchalance and Ga Eul turned her head slowly in his direction. Her eyes widened and her full lips parted in a silent gasp (to him anyway) of surprise as she recognised him.
He smiled broadly and waved at her.
Quickly she turned her head away, untucked her hair from behind her ear and raised a hand to obscure her face from him.
He frowned at her actions. He knew that she had seen him and that he had recognised her. Most girls would be flattered to know that they had attracted his attention, but not Ga Eul. She was like no other woman he knew. Only she would try and hide from him, after she had already been found. A sudden laugh escaped him.
'It's always like this,' he thought as he headed over to the restaurant. 'She runs and I can't help but follow. I want to know why she is running. I want to know why she gave up.'
'I want to get to know her, like she knows me.'
Shin Young was halfway through her story about an old woman attacking a girl for having her legs crossed on the train when Eun Song suddenly interrupted.
"Oh my soul, sorry Shin Young but you guys have to see something."
"There is a gorgeous guy standing outside." She leaned forward, lowering her voice, causing the other two to lean towards her. "And I swear to Buddha that he is staring at us. No no, don't all look at once." She said Ga Eul began to turn, just as Shin Young pushed back her chair to stand up. "One at a time."
Shin Young sighed theatrically, but stayed in her seat, waiting for her cue.
"Ga Eul first." Eun Song directed. "And remember that you need to look casual. Like you are just stretching your neck or something."
Following her friend's advice, Ga Eul slowly turned her head, taking in the scene on the street beyond. Her eyes sorted through the slight human traffic that passed by and fell upon the lone stagnant figure outside. Dressed in a dove grey jacket, a black polo neck and black slacks, she felt his intense stare despite the glass and road between them.
Ga Eul couldn't stop the surprised gasp that escaped her.
It was Yi Jeong Sunbae.
The one person that she didn't want to see.
He smiled and waved at her, sending a flash of panic though her at the same time she felt her face heat up with a blush. Irrationally she tried to hide from him, using her hair and hand as a wall.
"Do you know him?" Eun Song asked, intrigued by her friend's reaction.
Ga Eul nodded, unable to speak. She was still shocked to see him standing there. She could handle him when he appeared in the porridge shop, but this was almost too much. He always showed up when and where she least expected him.
Immediately Shin Young jumped up to catch a glimpse of the handsome man that had been staring at them. "He's leaving." She pouted, her eyes continuing to follow him as he headed up the road. "Maybe we should follow him."
Before Ga Eul could muster an outraged 'No!", Shin Young blurted out, "Oh my god. He's coming in!"
Immediately, Eun Song whipped round to watch as Yi Jeong entered the shop and Ga Eul had to tug Shin Young back into her seat. Ga Eul watched Yi Jeong greet the hostess, wishing that she hadn't looked. If she hadn't then maybe he wouldn't have come inside.
Ga Eul was contemplating ducking under the table, as he approached, his usual charming grin plastered on his face. She hated how he always hid behind that false grin of his. How girls could fall for such an obvious fake smile she didn't know. It was nothing compared to his real one.
"Ga Eul-yang." He greeted her affectionately, a shadow of his real smile ghosting across his face, making her feel anxious and strangely pleased at the same time.
Unhappy with the emotions that he was able to stir within her, she returned his greeting politely, although a little coldly. "Sunbae."
He turned to her friends, smiling at each of them in turn. Ga Eul was horrified to see that they turned into pliable fools at the first sight of his fake charming smile. Ga Eul felt her lip curl, as they fluttered their eyes at him and smiled coyly. It was disgusting, how easily he caught them in his spell.
"May I join you lovely ladies?" He said, his voice low but powerful.
A chorus of "Of course," and "Please sit down" responded before Ga Eul could even utter a single syllable against it. Eun Song even went so far as to pat the seat next to her, the one diagonally across from Ga Eul.
"Thank-you." Yi Jeong said as he sat down, staring pointedly at Ga Eul. Clearly he knew that she hadn't wanted him there and yet he refused to take a hint. The audacity of the rich never failed to astound her. Only they would have the arrogance to invite themselves to a private dinner.
Ga Eul watched in a seething silence as her classmates proceeded to interrogate Yi Jeong.
"What's your name?"
"How old are you?"
"Where do you study?"
"What do you study?"
"How do you know Ga Eul?"
"What are you doing here?"
Ga Eul was silent throughout the entire ten-minute conversation, refusing to take part and determinedly tried to avoid making eye contact with him. Yi Jeong however, was not to be denied. Every time she glanced in his direction, he would glance over and catch her gaze in his.
Even though he was still talking to her friends, Ga Eul couldn't help but read the silent messages he sent her, when he let his guard down ever so slightly. She recognised the loneliness in his eyes and cursed herself for wanting to reach out to him. Instead she repeated her New Year's Resolution to herself and dragged her eyes away.
And when she wasn't watching him, she knew that he was watching her. She felt his gaze when she reached for her glass of SevenUp. She felt his gaze when she closed her eyes and drank deeply, hoping that it would cool the building irritation and longing that his presence was stirring within her.
And she knew he turned in her direction when she licked her lips, catching a stray droplet that lingered on her lips. Perhaps it was because she didn't want him there but never before had she felt so aware of him.
How she was going to keep her New Year's Resolution when the universe conspired against her, she wasn't sure but she knew that she couldn't take much more than this. His presence alone threw her plans into confusion and she could feel her heart wavering. She couldn't help but want to throw it all away, when he sat there, looking like he needed her.
Eventually she could take it no more. When Yi Jeong took control of the conversation and started asking her friends about her, Ga Eul felt her control snap. With more force than she expected, she stood up, pushing her chair back harshly across the floor.
Conversation round the table ceased immediately as her friends stared up at her, a little shocked by her sudden dramatic moment. Yi Jeong, the arrogant man that he was, simply raised an eyebrow, his face blank as he studied her.
Ga Eul couldn't stop the blush that rose to her cheeks at her bad manners. She gave a slight bow in apology. "I'm sorry but I must go.' She smiled at her friends, showing that she was not angry with them. "Thank you for a wonderful evening. I'll settle the bill." They opened their mouths to reject her offer but she cut them off. "It's my treat and my apology for having to leave early. Happy New Year and my best wishes to you both."
Her friends nodded mumbling, "Happy New Years to you too."
To Yi Jeong, she said nothing. She simply nodded before striding over to the counter to pay, her jacket slung over her arm. With quick efficient movements, she paid for their meal, conscious of the silence that she left behind her. Shrugging into her coat and buttoning it, she nodded her thanks to the waiter who pulled open the door for her.
Ga Eul paused, just outside the shop, looking up and down the street, debating what to do. She hadn't planned to leave her classmates' company until well after midnight, but now she would have to find something else to occupy herself with for the remainder of the year (which was just over an hour).
Biting her lip, she tried to remember what New Year's events were scheduled throughout the city. She just hoped she could think of something, otherwise she would have to head home for a lack of anything better to do.
Yi Jeong waited for the sound of the door closing before he rose smoothly from his seat. He smiled politely at Ga Eul's classmates. "Thank you for allowing me to join you this evening, ladies, but I too, must leave. I'll see Ga Eul home, so don't worry about her."
"Thank you." Eun Song said. "I don't know what got into her. She was fine until..." She trailed off, but not before Yi Jeong realised that he had been the one to upset Ga Eul.
Shin Young was quick to cover her friend however. "Until she had the last piece of meat. I think that she ate too much." Yi Jeong could tell that she was lying, but he said nothing.
"Happy New Year." He said standing, to which he received a chorus of "Happy New Year's."
He headed to the door, not surprised to see Ga Eul standing just outside, looking indecisive. He approached her, just in time to see her smile broadly. Clearly she knew what she was going to do for the rest of the night.
"So what's the plan?" Yi Jeong asked, stepping forward so she could see him.
"Fireworks at Cheonggyedam." Ga Eul responded without thinking. She had been so pleased with herself for thinking of this source of entertainment that she hadn't remembered that she didn't want to spend time with Yi Jeong. She clasped her hand in front of her mouth wishing she could take back the words.
Yi Jeong shook his head, as he watched Ga Eul mentally berate herself for blurting out that tiny piece of information. "Good idea." He said, amusement tingeing his voice. "I know the best spot in the city for that. And it's not that far." He grabbed her arm. "It's up this way." He turned and headed up the road, in the opposite direction of the subway.
"Wait." Ga Eul said, pulling her hand out from his. "Who said I'm going with you? I can handle myself."
"You're going to watch fireworks by yourself?" The disbelief was evident in his voice.
"What's wrong with that?" She said defensively.
"Don't you think that it would be more fun with company? Besides I like your plan. It's a good way to celebrate New Year's."
"You don't have to change your plans to suit me. I'm sure that you had other plans." She stumbled over her words, carefully avoiding his first question. She didn't want to admit that she did enjoy his company. When he wanted to, Yi Jeong could make her feel very special. "Aren't there a whole bunch of clubs that you would rather go to or something?"
"I don't have any other plans. I can't think of anything that I would rather do." He replied honestly. "I'd rather spend what remains of this year, watching fireworks, with you."
Ga Eul's throat constricted as she heard the blatant honesty in his voice. She longed to give into him and spend the rest of the evening with him, but her New Year's Resolution held her back.
She was just about to shake her head and leave, when a small voice at the back of her head said: 'It's not the new year's yet. The Resolution doesn't count until next year. Indulge while you still can.'
"Okay." Ga Eul said surprising herself a little and judging by the expression on Yi Jeong's face, he had been expecting some sort of argument from her. "Let's go see the fireworks."
Together they headed up the hill, Yi Jeong leading the way ever so slightly.
"Where are we going?" Ga Eul asked as she adjusted her scarf.
"Namsan Tower." Yi Jeong replied simply. "It's the highest point in Seoul so we will be able to look down at the fireworks that are going off all over the city."
Ga Eul stopped walking. "You aren't proposing that we walk all the way up to Namsan Tower. It's the middle of the night, and there is snow all over the mountain. I am not going to climb any of the paths that lead to the top."
Yi Jeong laughed. "I'm not crazy. Just up this road is the side entrance to the Namsan Cable Car. We'll ride to the top."
"Oh." Ga Eul said as she started walking again. "I didn't know it was there."
"I stumbled onto it accidentally when I went to the Chinese Embassy a few years back. The side entrance right across the road from it. It will be quicker this way, instead of calling my driver to take us to the main entrance which is on the other side of the hill."
They trudged up the hill, each lost in their thoughts until…
"So, tell me something." He said as they passed a guesthouse full of celebrating foreigners. "Why did you try to avoid me earlier?"
"I thought you didn't notice that."
"Oh I noticed it." He said chuckling, "It was hard not to. You made it rather obvious after all, especially with the whole hiding behind your hair and avoiding eye contact."
"So why didn't you leave, if you knew I didn't want you there?" She asked confused.
"You didn't ask me too."
She waited for him to elaborate as they walked. When he continued to say nothing, she asked "As simple as that?"
He nodded, smiling back at her. "I would never force my company on a lady."
"But you knew that I didn't want you there." He nodded again. "Then why did you stay?" She asked, getting frustrated.
"Don't you know that silence is as good as agreement? Just look at the Korean War. It only happened because the Soviet Union refused to vote and so the United Nation's Security Council went to war, despite the USSR not supporting the war." He smirked. "You've got to make it known, otherwise bad things happen."
"You call this a bad thing?"
"Not at all. I think it's a very good thing." He smiled down at her. "I'm enjoying myself. Aren't you?"
Ga Eul lost focus as she pondered her situation. He wasn't being too charming this evening and she would even go so far as to say that he was relaxed around her. And so far he hadn't been nasty to her, at least not yet.
She was just about to reply when, her foot slipped out from under her, as she stepped onto one of the many ice patches that covered the road. Ga Eul flung her arms out, flailing as she desperately sought to keep her balance. She had just enough time to close her eyes in anticipation of a heavy fall when a sudden jerk on her arm, brought her upright.
"You okay?" He asked steadying her.
"Just slipped on a patch of ice." She pulled back from him. "I'm okay." She took half a step away, only to lose her footing again on the same patch of ice.
Immediately he grabbed a hold of her again. "Are you that desperate to avoid me that you want to hurt yourself to avoid me?"
She shook her head silently, realising just how upset he was by the fact that she hadn't wanted to spend time with him.
He reached for her hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm. "I think you should just hold on to my arm then. Otherwise you're going to hurt yourself."
Ga Eul nodded and accepted his proffered arm. She didn't trust herself on the slippery street anymore. "Thank you Sunbae." She murmured.
Yi Jeong smiled at her, relishing how she addressed him. This was why Ga Eul was different – she knew him. She called him Sunbae, which meant that she knew something about him, that he was older and in a year above her. It wasn't much, but it was more than the other girls who routinely flung themselves into his life. He knew without a shadow of a doubt that he had made the right choice in leaving the other girl in the hotel and going into the barbecue restaurant when he had seen her.
Silence fell between them as the incline increased, causing them to focus on catching their breath and maintain their footing on the precarious ice.
They made it to the Cable Car station with minimal fuss, although Ga Eul had nearly slid down the stairs, on the last step. She was in credibly grateful that Y Jeong had been there to pull her to safety.
Holding the door open for Ga Eul, Yi Jeong smiled as she reluctantly let go of him. He wasn't sure what had inspired her sudden change in attitude towards him but he wasn't going to complain. He hadn't seen her so hostile towards him since their first meeting. However he did prefer her vocal anger, rather than the sullen animosity that had been aimed at him at the restaurant.
He followed Ga Eul though the doors, just in time to catch her sigh.
She nodded her head in the direction of the staircase ahead of her. "Just another stair case. I'm starting to wonder if I am going to end up climbing the mountain."
He laughed as he climbed the stairs, with Ga Eul at his side. "I promise you that there are only two more flights of stairs that you have to climb before you reach Namsan Tower. Besides, tonight's not the night to climb the mountain. In spring or autumn maybe, but with all this snow and ice we would end up breaking a limb, trying to."
"Not quite how I want to spend the beginning of the New Year." She replied dryly.
They entered the cable car waiting room, which held the ticket booth and a small kiosk, which sold a variety of drinks and snacks, which filled the room with the delightful scent of freshly popped popcorn. This combined with the warmth of the room eased a lot of the tension that Yi Jeong, hadn't even been aware that he had been feeling, at least until it began to disappear.
He headed over to the ticket booth, where he ordered two return tickets for 15 000 won. He turned back to Ga Eul, pleased to see that she had hung back, allowing him to pay without trying to pay for her ticket. After all it was his idea and he knew that country bumpkins who waited for a career weren't exactly rolling in the cash. Besides it wasn't like he couldn't afford it.
"The lady at the counter says that the next cable car will be here in the next twenty minutes. Apparently we just missed it."
"I didn't even see it go up."
"That's 'cause you were so busy watching your feet."
She rolled her eyes at him. "Of course. I didn't want to slip."
He chuckled and sat down on one of the couches that lined the room. He sat back, resting his head on the top of the couch, closing his eyes as a wash of exhaustion swept through him. Today had been painfully stressful having both parents at home feuding with each other and deepening the wounds that they inflicted on each other.
When Ga Eul didn't sit down next to him, he opened his eyes to catch her staring at him, chewing her bottom lip nervously.
"Aren't you going to sit down?"
"Um, I was just wondering if I should buy us some coffee. No offence but you look like you are going to need some if you want to stay awake until midnight."
"That would be great." He said as he fished in his pockets to find his wallet. "I don't want to fall asleep tonight. I might get my eyebrows whitened."
"That's what you get if you fall asleep. Only old people fall asleep before midnight on New Year's." She grinned down at him, ignoring the bank notes that he held out to her. "Don't worry about the coffee, Sunbae. It's my treat, since you paid for the tickets. I may not be as rich as you, but I can afford a cup of coffee."
Realising that he had hurt her pride, Yi Jeong slipped the notes into his jacket pocket. "Um thanks. I'll wait here then."
She nodded once before she turned away and joined the slight queue at the kiosk counter.
Confident that she would return, Yi Jeong leaned back and closed his eyes, his mind on the country bumpkin who called him Sunbae.
Ga Eul shifted forward in her place in the queue as the uncle two people in front of her collected his drinks and snacks. She snuck a glance back at Yi Jeong, hoping that he wouldn't catch her staring at him. That was the last thing she needed. Already she could feel the tension building between them. The more time she spent with him, the harder it was becoming to resist him. Sometimes she longed for the days when she thought that he was just a bored rich playboy who had a perfect life. It had been so much harder to resist the attraction that had grown between them, since she had come to know him as a human being with his own faults and problems. It made him see so much more real. She had actually thought that she had stood a chance with him.
She need not have worried about him catching her checking on him. He still had his eyes closed and as far as she could tell, he hadn't moved at all.
The next person moved forward and Ga Eul turned away, wondering if he hadn't fallen asleep, despite the bright lights and the noise from the people milling about.
She glanced over again, this time watching for the slight signs that would suggest that he had fallen asleep. Her eyes narrowed as she took in the slow rise and fall of his chest, and the relaxed look that he had on his face.
An evil grin spread across her face. She couldn't believe that he had fallen asleep after their discussion of the consequences of doing so.
She stepped up to the counter, still grinning. "Can I have two cups of coffee and a spoonful of flour please?" She asked the man working behind the counter.
"Flour?" He repeated tilting his head to the side, clearly unsure if he had heard her right.
"A tablespoon please if you have any." She nodded in Yi Jeong's direction. "He's fallen asleep."
The storeowner grinned broadly, understanding immediately what she was planning. He reached back into one of his cupboards and scooped out a spoonful of flour, which he poured into a polystyrene cup. "I'll get your coffee done, while you see to your boyfriend. I'll put your coffee aside until you are done."
She took the cup from him, blushing at the thought that he thought that Yi Jeong was her boyfriend. Deciding it was easier not to try and correct him, she said, "Thank you Ahjussi."
Ga Eul smiled as she approached Yi Jeong; pleased to see that the way he was reclining back on the couch gave her easy access to his eyebrows. However just to be sure that he was truly asleep, she said his name softly, knowing that if he were awake, he would respond. "Yi Jeong Sunbae?"
Ga Eul's smile widened in delightful anticipation. She dipped her fingers into the flour before carefully reaching towards Yi Jeong's face. Ever so gently she brushed her fingers over his eyebrows, whitening them with flour.
As she pulled her fingers away, her eyes lingered on his face. She felt her throat constrict as she took him his fine cheek bones and full lips, which for once weren't marred by his cynical smile or that charming smirk of his.
Shaking herself from her weird thoughts and the feelings that went along with them, Ga Eul pulled back. She returned to the kiosk counter to pay for and collect her coffees, pleased with herself for the prank that she had pulled on Yi Jeong.
"Yi Jeong Sunbae." She said loudly as she sat down next to him, nudging him in the side with her elbow.
He came awake, instantly. He blinked at her with a dazed look on his face, clearly unsure of his location. His white eyebrows crinkled in confusion as he looked at her, as though he was wondering how she got there. He looked so silly with the whitened eyebrows that Ga Eul couldn't help the bright grin that spread across her face. She controlled her laugh with a quick clearing of the throat as she raised the cups up to her face so he could see them clearly, effectively hiding her smile at the same time. "I've got your coffee."
"Oh thanks." He murmured, as he remembered where he was. He reached for the cup before taking a sip. "I needed this. I almost fell asleep." He paused when Ga Eul let out a crack of laughter. "What's so funny?"
She shook her head. "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Shrugging at her unusual behaviour, Yi Jeong took another sip of his coffee. "I'm surprised that you and Jan Di aren't spending time together tonight."
"I could say the same for you." Ga Eul responded.
He looked at her strangely. "Why would I be spending time with Jan Di?"
Ga Eul flushed. "What I meant to say was that I thought that you would be with the F4."
"They've got other plans tonight." He smiled. "We don't spend all our time together. Just most of it."
"Jan Di is busy with her family tonight and I didn't feel like intruding on her family." Ga Eul said simply. "When my classmates found out, they invited me to join them instead. And you? What brought you to this part of Seoul?"
"Nothing in particular." He shrugged carelessly. "It's just where I ended up when my plans for the evening didn't work out like I hope they would." He glanced over at her, smiling slightly. "Not that I am complaining. It's worked out better with just the two of us."
Ga Eul said nothing, his words playing over in her mind. 'Just the two of us.' And for once it really seemed like it was just them. No one was watching them. Yi Jeong wasn't acting. In fact he seemed completely open and relaxed around her. It was a remarkable difference to many of their previous encounters.
'Too bad, it's only for tonight.' She thought sadly. 'I can't forget my promise to myself.'
They had just finished their coffee when a voice over the intercom announced the imminent arrival of the cable car and asked them to make their way up to the boarding room a floor up.
Getting up the two of them quickly fell into step with the small crowd that wound its way up the flight of stairs and into the waiting cable car.
Ga Eul immediately headed to the back of the cable car, knowing that it would offer the best view of the city lights as the car ascended the mountain.
Yi Jeong, who was walking just behind her, moved to stand next to her, when an enthusiastic woman pushed past, taking up the gap next to Ga Eul. Biting down at the irritation that he felt at the inconsiderate woman, he took a deep breath and stood behind Ga Eul.
More and more people moved into the cable car, filling it with an excited mass of people, all jostling one another as each tried to find a space from which to view the night city. As a result, Yi Jeong was pushed closer and closer towards Ga Eul until his chest was just touching her back.
Ga Eul tensed as she felt Yi Jeong press up against her as the cable car filled. His arms came up on either side of her to grasp the railing, steadying himself.
"Sorry." He whispered in her ear. "It's getting a bit full in here and I don't want to squash you."
Words were beyond her and all Ga Eul could do was swallow nervously. She was intensely aware of his body pressed against hers and she couldn't stop the thrill that swept through her at the feel of his warm breath on her ear. Even though she knew that she had a thick coat on which would prevent her from really feeling his body warmth, she still felt warmer for his nearness.
The jolt of the cable car beginning its climb, pressed the two of them closer together. Ga Eul knew she should shift forward and break the contact between them, but when the cable car stabilised, she couldn't bring herself to do so. Besides at that point, the view caught her attention and she was swept into a wonderful world of surrounding warmth and glittering lights.
"Isn't it amazing?" She murmured softly.
Yi Jeong was delightfully surprised when Ga Eul didn't pull away from him, when their bodies touched. He would have sworn that she even went so far as to lean slightly into him, trusting him to keep her steady. A warm feeling spread through him, similar to the one he felt whenever she turned to him for help, only this time it wasn't accompanied with a rush of adrenaline, but rather a sense of rightness.
A sense of rightness that had been missing from his life for a long time.
Ga Eul's soft murmur of amazement, drew him from his happy musings to the view beyond the glass window of the cable car. Seoul was an amazing city at night, with its pillars of stars, its rivers of light and flashes of vivid colours. People often claimed that the brightness of the city lights, limited the starlight from the heavens, but Yi Jeong believed that they were just looking in the wrong direction.
Yi Jeong allowed his gaze to scan the panorama of the city as they were carried above the city. But as amazing as the sight truly was, Yi Jeong's attention was caught by a sight of something far more amazing to him. It was the sight of his and Ga Eul's reflection in the dark glass.
Presented before him was a portrait of himself and Ga Eul. With his arms on either side of her, they looked like they belonged together. And he certainly wouldn't deny that she felt good in his arms. He allowed his gaze to fall on her face, taking in her smile and the way that her eyes crinkled happily as she stared out at the magnificent view.
'Her eyes look so different from my cynical ones,' Yi Jeong thought. Her eyes are open and honest, while mine have learnt to hide the truth.
His eyes darted to his reflection, to see if they were automatically hiding the enjoyment that he felt being with her.
'What the…' his thoughts trailed off as leaned forward to make out his reflection better.
It looked as though his eyebrows had disappeared!
His mind reeled in horror for a moment, before he realised that they were still there. His eyebrows had only been whitened. Ga Eul must have caught him sleeping in the waiting area and dusted his eyebrows with flour, as per tradition. Suddenly her laughter and the grins of the people waiting for the cable car made sense.
"I can't believe that you did this." He said quietly in Ga Eul's ear, as he quickly began dusting off the flour.
She turned in his arms to face him, a soft smile forming on her lip. "Did what?" She asked innocently.
He rolled his eyes. "You know exactly what I'm talking about, you minx."
She shrugged, giving up all pretence of innocence as a full smile blossomed on her face. "You should have known better than to fall asleep on New Year's Eve." She chided him.
"Actually I should have known better than to fall asleep around you."
Ga Eul was acutely aware of just how close they were standing in the cramped cable car. She knew it as she felt her back press up against the hand rail as he stood less than an arm's length away from her. She knew just how close they were, as she felt her body bump against his arm that held onto the rail behind her, causing her heart to pound heavily in her chest.
She watched Yi Jeong brush the flour off his eyebrows, muttering under his breath about her trustworthiness.
He looked back at her, holding her gaze in his. "All clean?"
She stared up at him blankly, feeling every centimetre that held them apart. "Huh?"
Awareness of his power over her, sparked in his eyes as he rephrased his question. "Did I get all the flour off?"
"Oh." Ga Eul quickly shook her head to clear her thoughts, before raising her hand to his face. "You missed a spot." She lightly wiped away the traces of flour from his eyelids and temple. Her fingers fluttered down the side of his face, loving the smoothness of his cheeks.
Her fingers were just heading towards his kissable lips, when reality came rushing back as the cable car docked at the top of Namsan Tower. Shocked by her behaviour, she jerked her hand away, knocking it on the glass behind her, before muttering an embarrassed apology.
Yi Jeong's eyes which had fluttered shut when she had touched him, opened and looked directly into her eyes, locking her in place. Unable to move from the intensity of the gaze that held her, Ga Eul was barely aware of the people around them, exiting the cable car.
All that she was aware of was his nearness and the passion that she could see burning in his eyes.
She was stunned to realise that the passion was for her. She didn't think that it could be possible that he could feel that way for her.
A quiet "Would you please disembark," broke through the spell that had fallen on them, just as Yi Jeong had begun lowering his head to hers.
Ga Eul's face immediately reddened.
Silently Yi Jeong pulled back, lowering his arms allowing Ga Eul to dart past him, wondering once again what it was about her that drew him to her so fiercely.
He turned to follow her, when a piece of graffiti caught his eye.
Goo Jun Pyo Geum Jan Di
"First night together"!
"Ga Eul-yang." He called out quickly, catching her before she stepped off the cable car. "Come see this."
Somewhat hesitantly, Ga Eul returned to his side. "What is it, Sunbae?"
"Look there." He gestured to the writing on the cable car wall.
Her hands flew to her mouth, covering a surprised gasp. She turned to face him, shock clearly displayed on her face. "Do you think it's real?"
He shrugged. "It looks like Jun Pyo's handwriting so I think it is."
The waiting attendant coughed again, clearly wanting them to clear out so the next load of passengers could board.
Ignoring the attendant, Yi Jeong spared one last glance at the graffiti, reached for Ga Eul's arm, tucked it into his and stepped out of the car as though he hadn't needed to be prompted to.
"I can't believe that Jan Di spent a night with Jun Pyo and never told me about it." Ga Eul said. "I thought that she was my friend."
Yi Jeong chuckled at the hurt that he heard in her voice. "I don't think that they actually did anything together. In fact I doubt that Jun Pyo understands that phrase in the same way that you or I would, so Jan Di didn't think it was of major consequence and didn't tell you." He shook his head. "What truly amazes me that he wrote that little message for everyone in the world to see. It's kinda like he is sharing his stupidity with the world." He snorted. "After all, a cable car is hardly a romantic place to spend a night together – at least in the way that his message is suggesting."
Ga Eul's sweet laughter rang in his ears and together they shook their heads as they headed up the final flight of steps to Namsan Tower.
"So tell me," He said as they walked past the base of Namsan Tower, towards the viewing deck that overlooked the Han River. "Have you made any resolutions for next year?"
Ga Eul stiffened ever so slightly at his seemingly innocent question. She nodded once but said nothing. She pulled her arm out of his, and walked the last few steps to the glass barrier that bordered the peak of Mt. Namsan, protecting those upon it from the biting wind and the sheer drop below. She stared blankly out at the city beyond, barely seeing the explosions of colour that erupted along the Cheonggyedam district that bordered the river.
Rather her senses were trained on the man that stood silently behind her. He hadn't moved since she had disengaged herself from him and she kept waiting for him to turn around and leave. As much as she wanted him to, part of her prayed that he wouldn't.
After a few tense moments, she heard him sigh and walk up behind her. He stepped up next to her, sending a rush of relief through her, at the realisation that she hadn't chased him away with the distance she was creating between them.
"What's wrong?" He said after an agonising moment of silence.
"Nothing." She said softly.
"Don't lie to me." He said harshly. He swept a frustrated hand through his hair and when he spoke again, his voice sounded calmer. "All I asked was if you had a New Year's Resolution, and now you've gone and shut me out again."
Yi Jeong studied her closely, noticing how she shied away from him, avoiding his gaze. "Tell me." He pressed. "What is it about your resolution that has you so upset?"
Her continued silence was beginning to irritate him. It was all he could do not to reach out and shake the answer out of her. "How am I supposed to get to know you when you won't let me in?" He asked roughly.
Hearing the anguish in his voice, she finally turned to look at him. Her beautiful dark eyes wide with surprise.
"I just want a chance." He said, wishing he had some way of making her realise just how serious he was about this.
"You had your chance." Ga Eul responded angrily, dashing his hopes. "You want to know what my New Year's Resolution is?" She sucked in a deep breath, trying to quell the anger that swelled in her chest at his words. He had had his chance, over and over again. And each and every time she had been hurt by his callous action and disregard for her feelings.
"My New Year's Resolution is to stay away from you and all your heartache. I just don't know where I stand with you anymore. One minute we get on really well and the next you are shutting me down, because you are too scared to make a commitment. Just having a connection with a woman scares you. You're taking that fear out on me and I am tired of it."
Yi Jeong stared at her as her behaviour this evening began to make sense. He had always known that Ga Eul had had feelings for him, but what surprised him was the depth to which he had hurt her. It was ironic, that on the evening that he had begun to wonder if he had feelings for her that were worth pursuing, she had sworn to deny her feelings for him.
"Ga Eul." He said softly as she began to turn away from him. Reaching for her arm, he halted her. "Can I tell you what my New Year's Resolution is?" He said to her back.
She said nothing, so he took her silence as a sign that she was listening. "My New Year's Resolution is to change all that. I want to make it up to you. But I don't think I can do it on my own."
She turned around slowly. Part of him was aware that people were beginning to count down the seconds left until the New Year, but all he could see was the beautiful woman in front of him with her heart in her eyes.
"Fifteen seconds to go!" Someone in the crowd shouted and people began clustering in small excited groups.
"Please Ga Eul." He said desperately. "Give me another chance. I need you next to me."
The New Year's count down began. "Ten! Nine!"
"You're the only one who truly understands me."
"I've missed you."
"Please don't give upon me yet."
Yi Jeong watched her with his heart in his throat. When she smiled and nodded, he thought that his heart would burst with joy.
That was all the invitation that he needed. Pulling her towards him and into his arms, his lips slanted across hers, seeking the acceptance that he so desperately craved. As his lips moved over hers, he knew that he had made the right decision, when he had left the hotel and joined Ga Eul. Choosing her was the best decision of him life.
"Happy New Year!"
Ga Eul clutched to Yi Jeong as she felt her knees weaken from his passionate response. His lips were cold from the winter air, but they quickly warmed as he moved his lips over hers, sending a jolt of passion racing through her. His pulled her towards him, with a passion that matched his earlier words. He needed her as much as she needed him. That was the last thought that made it into her mind, before her thoughts disappeared as passion overcame her and all that she could think of was the feel of his lips on hers.
They broke apart a short while later, their faces flushed and their breathing erratic. They stared at each other, smiling happily as they tried to catch their breath.
Yi Jeong was the first to get his breath back. He smiled warmly at her, enjoying the feeling of her in his arms. As he stared at her he began to laugh softly.
"What's so funny, Sunbae?" Ga Eul asked, hoping that he wasn't laughing at her kissing skills.
"Nothing really. It's just that it looks like you are going to have to make a new New Year's Resolution, because I'm not going to let you go."
Ga Eul chuckled softly. "You know, I think I have a new one already." She smiled coyly up at him. "My new Resolution is to kiss you again."
Yi Jeong's smile turned devilish. "I think I can help you with that."
He leaned down to kiss her soundly again.
"Happy New Year." He whispered, just before his lips touched hers.
Author's Note: I hope that you enjoyed reading this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. As per usual, constructive criticism welcomed. If you noticed any spelling or grammar errors, please let me know so I can fix them.