This is story 6 of the Soeul Seven Deadly Sins series on LU.
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Ga Eul sniffs the air, satisfied that her special birthday surprise is going just right. All it needs now is a little more salt. She habitually reaches for the salt on her left, which is where she always leaves it, but ends up reaching for air.
She is confused for a minute, but then her features relax as she realizes one minor detail.
"Oh, right," she whispers to herself, pulling her hand back, "I'm not at home."
Ga Eul looks around Yi Jeong's kitchen and locates the bottle of salt on the neat condiment shelf, and continues to lovingly prepare the birthday surprise.
She hears the bedroom door creak open from behind her, and then the shuffling of feet. Suddenly, there is a soft yawn. (Anyone else could have missed it, but never Ga Eul.)
"Ga Eul-yang?" murmurs a sleepy Yi Jeong, still in his t-shirt and sweatpants combo,"Is that you?"
"Of course it's me!" Ga Eul chirps, reaching for a bowl from the cupboard below the counter, not missing a beat, "Who else would know the password to your apartment?"
She hears Yi Jeong yawn again, and the cute noise he makes as he stretches behind her, followed by more shuffles towards the kitchen counter. "Aside from Jun Pyo, Ji Hoo and Woo Bin... no one else."
Ga Eul turns to give him a playful glare, and he blows her a kiss.
"To what do I owe this visit from you, and so early in the morning at that?"
"I'm making you seaweed soup, silly," she smiles, turning back and stirring the pot before her, "It's something you must have on your birthday."
Just as she continues to stir the soup, a hand reaches over to the side of the stove, and turns it off with a click. Before Ga Eul could respond, the ladle was removed from her hands.
Yi Jeong spins her over to face him, and holds her hands in his. He gazes deeply, sincerely, into her eyes. Ga Eul feels like she was going to faint at any moment.
"That's quite the effort you've made there," he said, love lacing his words, "Thank you. This... really means a lot to me."
Ga Eul smiles, her heart warmed by his appreciation. "This... means a lot to me too, Yi Jeong-ah. Happy birthday."
Yi Jeong leans in to whisper in her ear...
"Ga Eul-yang... Ga Eul-yang..."
The fragrance of seaweed soup tickled Ga Eul's nose, as she snuggled deeper under the warm, comfortable electric pink duvet. She smiled to herself as she continued to watch the scene playing in her head.
"Yi Jeong-ah," the sleeping lass murmured, tossing in her sleep, "Eat more, okay? I cooked enough for the both of us."
Couldn't he say anything else besides my name? Ga Eul wondered to herself, while still treading in dreamland. Suddenly, the image of her with Yi Jeong in the kitchen began to grow fainter, and fainter, and the sleeping Ga Eul furrowed her brow in confusion.
"Yi Jeong-ah? Where are you going, Yi Jeong?" she began to toss beneath the sheets, trying to reach out for him.
A firm, familiar voice snapped Ga Eul out of her dream. Realizing she was now awake, but still refusing to let go of that moment, she tried to pull her warm duvet over her head.
"Just five more minutes..."
Her plea didn't even make it to a minute, when her duvet was mercilessly removed from over her head.
"Yah!" a groggy Ga Eul struggled to open her eyes, "Can't I even just have a few more minutes of... "
As she was about to complete her sentence, the figure before her materialized to reveal the very person in her dream, except he was more sharply dressed. Her eyes widened, she gasped and jerked herself up, and her duvet back over her Hello Kitty pyjama-clad body.
"Y-Yi Jeong sunbae!" she exclaimed, her body now fully awake from the shock, "W-what are you doing here?"
Yi Jeong's handsome self hovered over her, and Ga Eul silently mused at how put together he was in his casual suit, even that early in the morning. "Well," he said, quite matter-of-factly, "I figured that if you weren't going to come make seaweed soup for my birthday.. . I would come over and make us some."
(He paused to sniff the air, visibly delighted at his successful culinary attempt. It also helped that his housekeeper makes fantastic soup. But Ga Eul didn't need to know that.)
"Your birthday?" Confusion clouded her face for a moment, before it finally hit. "OMO!" she yelled, jumping up onto the mattress, "YOUR BIRTHDAY!"
Ga Eul leapt out of bed and automatically went to the dresser, grabbed her brush, and proceeded to brush her hair, half speaking to herself the entire time. Yi Jeong merely looked on, amused.
"I was supposed to be up at 6am to head over to your place by 7am so that I could finish preparing everything by 9am when you woke up but it was so cold today!" she rambled, dragging her brush through her hair, "It was so cold and the bed was so warm and I guess I got lazy and didn't want to wake up... AH why didn't I wake up! Now it's all ruined! It's... "
Yi Jeong managed to stop her in time from ripping out the left section of her hair, and possibly her scalp. He tugged the brush out of her hair, placed it on the table, and gently patted her hair down, while still smiling the entire time.
"I'm sorry," a dejected Ga Eul moaned, refusing to look up, "I'm sorry I ruined your surprise."
Yi Jeong tapped her on the nose. "Don't be silly. You didn't ruin anything. Because technically..." he leaned closer to her ear and whispered, "...you didn't do anything."
Ga Eul's head snapped up, her eyes widening a second time. She dashed back to her bed (almost knocking Yi Jeong in the nose) and dived beneath the covers, whimpering. There was a sigh in the distance, and then footsteps towards her bed. Soon, she felt a pat on her back.
"Okay, okay. You didn't not do anything..." Yi Jeong cooed, smoothing her duvet, and her back. "You did plan to do this, and I'm very thankful, you know that, Ga Eul-yang, so I think I can forgive you. Now, scoot over."
The whimpering lass peeked her head out of the covers. "W-what?" she asked shakily.
Yi Jeong gave her a crooked smile, which soon made way for an unglamorous yawn. He covered his mouth in time and coughed. "Are you really going to leave me standing here like this, when it's sooooo cold?" he shivered for good measure, and gave her his best puppy dog look.
Ga Eul blinked and shifted a little. The boy's eyes twinkled.
"C'mon, scoot," he insisted, making a shooing motion with his hands. When she didn't budge anymore, he nudged her over by getting his entire (fully clothed) self into her bed.
Ga Eul blinked again as Yi Jeong snuggled deeper into the sheets, the scent of his musky cologne enticing her to draw her closer, closer to him... but he beat her to it, by burying his face into her (tangled) hair.
She giggled at the ticklish sensation around her neck, but that soon made way for a sigh. "H-how about the soup? It's going to be cold."
"It can always be heated up again... or you can just make me a new bowl later," he smiled as he looked up at her, a playful glint in his eye. "I'd rather have some warming up on my birthday."
Ga Eul gasped, feeling a blush rise up.
"Cheeky," she whispered, looking away coyly, closing her eyes.
"Just the way you like me," Yi Jeong whispered back, reaching up to kiss her on the forehead.
Her resolve melted, Ga Eul turned and nestled her head comfortably in the crook of Yi Jeong's shoulder, and hugged his waist.
"Happy birthday, Yi Jeong sunbae," her whisper trailing off as she fell back into slumber.
Yi Jeong watched his girl as she fell asleep. He then took her hand in his, and closed his own eyes. Soon, they were off to dreamland together, snuggled up warmly under the electric pink duvet.
(There was nothing more he wanted on his birthday, than to just do nothing with the one who held his heart.)