Disclaimer: Kang Shin-woo belongs to the Hong sisters, creators of You're Beautiful.
Technical Notes: In East Asia (i.e., China, Japan, and Korea), White Day (March 14) is a day for guys who received gifts from girls last Valentine's Day to return the favor. I think there's a policy that the guy's White Day gift should be three times as expensive as the Valentine's Day gift that he received, which works for me :)
Author's Note: Thanks to jinx XD for the review! :)
Seoul, March 2012
"I can't believe you still have that!" Ha-neul exclaimed.
"Aha, I was right!" With a triumphant grin, Shin-woo wagged the Valentine's Day card at his girlfriend. "This was from you!"
Had they been in public, speaking loudly or making excessive gestures would not have been an option; but they were having their belated White Day date in the privacy of Ha-neul's house, so they were free to carry on to their heart's content.
"How did you know?" she asked, blushing. "Have you known ever since the sixth grade?"
"No," he admitted. "I only got the idea after you told me that you might have had a crush on me back then."
"Oh. Well, you're right, it was from me." She hit him lightly with a couch cushion. "But you shouldn't laugh. It took guts to buy that and give it to you!"
"I'm not laughing." Smiling, Shin-woo put his arm around her shoulders and Ha-neul snuggled into her boyfriend's embrace, glad that they had this opportunity to spend time together amid their busy schedules. "I remember how shy you were when we were kids, so I'm sure it took a lot of guts."
She nodded. "My mom said girls weren't supposed to be too forward with boys, but I really wanted to give you something for being so nice to me."
"You didn't have to, but I'm glad you did." He chuckled at the memory. "It was the first valentine I ever got that didn't come from my mother."
Ha-neul smiled and took the card from him, opening it to re-read the message she had written there so long ago. How she had agonized over it, once upon a time! "I had a feeling mine was the first."
"And now that it's White Day," Shin-woo told her, "I can finally pay you back. With interest."
With his free hand, he reached for his jacket, which had been tossed over the arm of the couch, and removed the small box he had tucked in one pocket. Inside the box was a fine silver chain, from which dangled a set of small colored gemstone pendants.
Ha-neul gasped. "It's beautiful!" Quickly, she tossed the sixth-grade card onto the coffee table and bundled up her hair, baring her neck. "Put it on me?"
He grinned as he did as his girlfriend asked. "Do you really like it?" he asked, even though it was clear from the delighted surprise on her face that he had chosen well. (Actually, he had asked Coordinator Wang to round up some options for him to avoid the risk of him being seen buying women's jewelry, but the final choice had still been his.)
"I love it," she assured him, glancing down to admire her new necklace.
"Are you sure?" he teased. "You don't want me to take it back and buy you something made of plastic?"
Ha-neul stuck out her tongue at him. "Excuse me," she bantered back. "I know that I often tell you not to spend too much money on me, but I also know that you can't repay twelve years' worth of White Days with plastic. You're evil, Kang Shin-woo."
Shin-woo laughed, glad that she was saying that to him, for once, and leaned over for a kiss. "I know."