She looked absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress, and I couldn't wait to make her my bride. Sure, maybe I wasn't supposed to see the bride's dress before the wedding, but I couldn't help but to peek into her dressing room a few times.
"Seunghyun-ah," someone called my name from behind me. I knew who it was without even turning around. Go Hye Mi.
"Ye?" I answered. I was so thankful to her. Hye Mi was the one who encouraged me to propose to Baek Hee, she was the one who set up our whole wedding, and she was the one who kept my secret. She was the only one who knew the secret that changed my life.
"No peeking at the bride before the ceremony! Besides, you need to go and change too, remember? The wedding is in only an hour!" She pushed me lightly into the direction of my dressing room before hurrying back to Baek Hee.
"Wait. Hye Mi-ah," I said, stopping her. She turned around to face me with a questioning look. We hadn't talked about her knowing my secret, but I knew we would have to at some point. She knew it too.
She raised her eyebrows at me. "Ye?"
But now just wasn't the time to talk about it. It would have to be another day. "Thank you." Then I turned and walked to my own dressing room, where Jin Guk and Jason sat, waiting for me.
Jason stood up as soon as he saw me walk into the room. "Lee Seunghyun! Where have you been? Jin Guk and I got scolded because we didn't know where you were." Jason then turned his glare to Jin Guk before sitting back down. "Your crazy wife…"
Jin Guk just chuckled and handed Seunghyun's suit to him. "Here. It's ready."
I smiled at him and took the suit. The two of them just sat there as I stood, waiting for them to leave. I cleared my throat after a few minutes, hoping they would get the hint. I couldn't undress in front of Jin Guk and Jason because they would see the scar on my back from the surgery.
It was a long, permanent, pink scar that traveled from the back of my neck to my hip. I had to lie to Baek Hee and tell her that it had been a scar from when I fell off my bike as a young boy.
Jason noticed me just standing there and grinned. "Ah, you're too shy to undress in front of us?" He clucked his tongue a few times before laughing. "Yah! What are you going to do tonight with Baek Hee then?"
I narrowed my eyes and threw one of the couch pillows at him. "Shut up! Baek Hee's already seen me naked – "
Both Jason and Jin Guk were staring at me now. They jumped up and came up to me. "When did this happen?"
"Why didn't you tell us?"
I ignored them and backed up so that I could start undressing. If they asked about the scar, I would just tell them the same thing that I told Baek Hee. I stripped down to my underwear and began putting my suit on.
Jason and Jin Guk had settled down now, and they weren't paying any attention to me. I quickly finished dressing – and right in time – before Hye Mi walked in.
Jason jumped up and blocked her from entering the room completely. "Yah! How can you just walk in like that? This is the men's dressing room!"
Hye Mi pushed Jason from in front of her, and she checked all of our suits. Then she smiled and checked something off her clipboard. "Great. Honey, you and Jason go and wait for Pil Suk and me by the main door. Seunghyun-ah, you go and wait by the altar with the priest." We all nodded that we understood. "Go!" She yelled when we didn't walk out of the room fast enough.
I walked inside the main room and stood beside the priest, who was opening his Bible. He noticed me fidgeting and smiled. "You nervous?"
"A little," I admitted with a smile of my own. It wasn't the wedding or even the marriage that I was worrying about. It was the fear of Baek Hee hating me if she ever found out about my secret.
The priest just chuckled and went on with setting up his things. "Don't worry. I've known Baek Hee since she was a teenager. Sometimes she's a little misguided, but she's a good girl."
I thought about what he said and nodded. "Yeah, I know. I'm not worried about marrying her. I just don't want to lose her."
The priest then turned to me with a bigger smile. "I've only known you for a while, Seunghyun-ah, but you're a good guy. Baek Hee is happy. I know you two will work through any obstacles that stand in your way."
"Thank you, priest, chincha."
I was sweating, and it was starting to ruin my freshly done makeup. Pil Suk, for the third time, sighed heavily before carefully dabbing at my sweat with a dry towel.
"You have to stop sweating! If Hye Mi sees you ruining your makeup, she'll lose it!" She sighed again, and she turned to the mirror to finish her own makeup. "What are you so nervous about? You look beautiful, the room looks beautiful, and you're marrying the man of your dreams."
I nodded and smiled shakily at her reflection. "You're right. But I can't help it. What if something goes wrong?"
Pil Suk only rolled her eyes. "Like what? Hye Mi made sure everything was perfect. And you already know that if something goes wrong, Hye Mi will go crazy on whoever made a mistake."
We both laughed, knowing that Hye Mi worked her butt off to make everything right. Pil Suk had also let me know that Hye Mi made sure that everything was perfect the night of Seunghyun's proposal as well.
"Which is why nothing will go wrong," Hye Mi added, walking in.
I know it was stupid, but sometimes I still felt a tinge of jealousy. Hye Mi was beautiful. I was the one in the elegant white dress, but Hye Mi – standing in her soft pink, knee-length bridesmaid's dress – made the room light up.
She looked up from her clipboard, putting it down on one of the tables. She studied me for a moment before smiling. I don't know how she knew, but she did. "Don't worry," she said. "Everyone will be looking at you. You look absolutely beautiful."
I wanted to run up to her and hug her. She had gotten so soft since marrying Jin Guk, which made everyone else happy. She was still feisty, but usually she tried to hold it back. I felt like hugging her, thanking her for everything – for the millionth time – but she would have scolded me for messing up my dress and makeup.
Hye Mi glanced at the clock on the wall and grinned. "It's time! Pil Suk, go and stand with Jason. He and Jin Guk are already waiting by the door."
Pil Suk did as she was told, and Hye Mi closed the door behind her. She pulled out three small shopping bags from the wardrobe by the door and came back to me.
"You're almost ready." I was about to ask her what else I needed, but she didn't give me a chance. "First, something old."
Hye Mi pulled a small jewelry case out of one of the bags, and when she opened it, I saw a small, silver barrette. It didn't look old at all; it was very beautiful and shiny.
"That's old?" I asked.
She smiled at me and nodded. "Yeah. I was at an antique shop last week with Jin Suk. Of course, I cleaned it, and I had a jewelry store put in some rhinestones, but it still counts." She pinned it carefully into my hair. "Your dress counts as the new because I'm the one that picked it out for you."
I giggled at her logic and nodded, allowing her to continue.
"Something borrowed," She said as she pulled out a beautiful white veil.
My jaw dropped opened, and, for a moment, I was stunned into silence. "Hye Mi-ah, you said that you couldn't find the right veil – "
"I lied. I wore this one when Jin Guk and I eloped. It didn't match my dress quite right because our wedding was rushed, but I made sure that your dress would match it perfectly. Of course, I'll want it back, but you can borrow it today." She grinned as she pinned it into my hair.
I glanced at the mirror and almost cried. The veil did match my dress perfectly. Not only that, but it also made the barrette look even better. I knew that Hye Mi was doing all this to make up for her own wedding, but I knew that she was also doing it because she wanted me to be happy.
Finally, she reached into the last bag and pulled out another jewelry case. This one was larger than the one that held the barrette. Hye Mi opened it and revealed the beautiful blue earrings that were inside. She didn't say anything this time; she just replaced the earrings I had on with the blue ones.
I wanted to thank her again, to hug her, but I couldn't. I felt tears start to come into my eyes. Hye Mi looked up and frowned. "Baek Hee-yah, I told you not to ruin your makeup." She sighed quietly before smiling again. "And don't say thank you again. I just wanted to make sure that your wedding was perfect." She took my hand and pulled me towards the door. "Now, come on. It's time to start."
The room was completely filled with people I knew, people I didn't really know, and people I wasn't supposed to know – the people that were in Baek Hee, Jin Guk, Jason, Pil Suk…and Sam Dong's class at Kirin Arts High School.
The music started, and I took a deep breath. The priest pat me on the back once and turned his attention towards the door as everyone else in the room had.
The doors opened, and Jason and Pil Suk walked out, just like they did at the rehearsal. I smiled and continued to watch as Jin Guk and Hye Mi came next. They were dressed the same as Jason and Pil Suk, and they were shining brightly, like the happiest couple, as if it were their own wedding.
This was it. Everyone stood up as the traditional music began to play. Hye Mi, Pil Suk, Jason and Jin Guk were now standing at the altar with the priest and me. I stretched my neck a bit, anticipating Baek Hee's arrival.
There she was. She had on a beautiful, white dress that fell to her feet gracefully. The dress showed her figure perfectly while still making her look innocent. She had on sparkling jewelry, and a beautiful white veil that reached her back. She was beautiful. I could almost hear the people in the room gasp at her beauty.
Every step Baek Hee took towards me made my smile bigger, and by the time she was by my side, I just couldn't stop smiling at her. She was smiling back at me, just as big, but she also had tears in her eyes. Not sad tears but happy tears. She was happy, and for that, I was happy.
I hardly paid attention as the priest talked. I didn't even think when I said my vows or when Seunghyun said his. I was too busy staring into his eyes, his familiar eyes.
He's always seemed so familiar to me. As if we had been childhood friends that found each other in adulthood. That was one thing that always made me love him. We were so familiar with each other. The tears kept trying to spill out of my eyes, but I kept holding them back.
I didn't even hear it when the priest told Seunghyun to kiss me. But suddenly, I was in Seunghyun's arms, being kissed passionately. I couldn't hold the tears back any longer. I couldn't hear all of our friends clapping happily for us. I couldn't remember what was happening. I couldn't even feel the floor underneath my feet anymore.
There was only Seunghyun and I, kissing.