Author's notes: I initially posted this story back in November 2012 right after "Faith" had ended. Since then I wrote and wrote, making it into something much longer and exciting than I ever predicted.
I'm very excited to share my vision of the future life that Eun Soo and Choi Young are finally free to share.
THIS STORY IS NOT MEANT TO PICK UP WHERE THE FINAL EPISODE OF FAITH HAD LEFT. THEIR REUNION AFTER FIVE YEARS OF SEPARATION IS DESCRIBED IN MY OTHER STORY "WISH UPON A STAR".
There are some references to the things that happened in my previous story (While I Have Been Waiting), which might come as a surprise to those who only watched drama. The most important piece of information - while waiting for Eun Soo, Choi Young received a marriage proposal. King Gongmin to save him from further dealing with women bidding for his hand, created a special secret mandate that Choi Young and Eun Soo had been already a married couple, and therefore, he was unavailable for others.
I HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT REQUEST: PLEASE ALL THE NEW READERS, LEAVE A REVIEW. THERE IS A LOT TIME AS WELL AS MY HEART THAT GOES INTO WRITING. READING YOUR COMMENTS IS THE ONLY AND THE MOST VALUABLE REWARD, JUSTIFYING ALL MY EFFORTS. HOPE TO SEE YOUR RESPONSES.
Please, leave your comments and reviews, let me know if you notice any problems and of course what you think of the story. Have a great time reading!
The two love birds walked into the inn holding hands, blissfully unaware of the ambush awaiting them. Snippets of conversations were heard, "Hey, here is that strange woman who was asking earlier about the king. The general is with her, look." Apparently, a group of Woodalchi remained in the area to deal with border patrol and congregated in the tavern.
The first one to run up was none other than noticeably matured with a more combed hair, but the same uncombed personality, Dae Man. He could not contain himself at the site of the high doctor, exclaiming: "High do…" a hand covered his mouth, muting any further sounds. "Don't. We don't know if it safe. Just act normal," warned Choong Seok, "I'm sure we will have a chance to say hello later".
Dae Man, like an excited kid who was promised a candy if behaved well, tried to act cool. "Hello," he lowered his head slightly, his eyes still beaming with excitement.
"Hi!" Eun Soo, breaking all the rules of etiquette, embraced the guy, making him blush and cower under the disapproving looks from the rest of the crew.
"You can call me noona. An older sister", she said loudly, emphasizing the sister part. Woodalchi seemed to have eased a bit at this strange woman's familiar behavior.
"We are family", she reassured the group.
Choong Seok and Deok Man were smiling uncontrollably. Eun Soo was more restrained with them and only extended a hand for a handshake. "General?" she lifted a brow directing Choi Young to give permission for this daring act. "Offer your greetings", he motioned, realizing he could not stop her from publicly joining hands with the men. The two tall men had to lean forward a bit before stretching hands out as far as possible and shook Eun Soo's hand shyly.
Choi Young took a chance at the quiet to make an official announcement. "This is my wife Yoo Eun Soo. In the future you will see her often," he said curtly. After hearing the story at the training retreat about a woman who conquered the mighty General's heart, everybody was naturally curious. Choi Young absolutely did not like where this was going. "Choong Seok, inform the king that I will be extending my holiday to spend the time with my wife," he stressed 'wife', "to welcome her after a long journey. I will send a note about my location shortly." Choong Seok, like a few other veteran Woodalchi, had his eyes wide open with surprise hearing about the marriage. They were exchanging glances as if asking, "Did you know about it?"
The General grabbed Eun Soo's hand and determined dragged her up the stairs. Only there he stopped away from the prying eyes and asked, "Would you like to stay here for the night and rest? Or would you prefer to go somewhere?" He definitely wanted to make it the most comfortable situation for her.
"Whenever. Whatever. You decide, you make all the decisions, obviously, husband," she scoffed. An irony did not escape him: he did not even have a chance to tell her about the whole 'to save himself for her' marriage debacle.
"I guess you have some explaining to do. I did not expect to be married off without my consent," she pouted looking very convincingly upset. "I did not even get a diamond ring. No engagement party..." Her tirade was stopped when she noticed that her husband looked genuinely distraught. "I'm kidding just kidding. It's not like you never proposed," she gave him a cute smile, "in Choi Young kind of way." She used the deep voice to imitate him, "Will you stay with me? Now and forever?" But her attempt to lighten up the mood only confused him further.
"I knew you wouldn't be pleased. Believe me, I did not have any other choice. This girl, I mean, the bride, what I'm trying to say is I was put in a precarious position." He was embarrassed by the need to explain and disturbed that this conversation started on the wrong foot. "She was from the queen's side, from a family with a high political clout. I swear I would never..." Eun Soo reached out on tippy toes pulling his face toward her to plant a kiss on his lips drowning any further explanation.
"Imja!" He pulled away quickly. "Someone might see."
"We are married, aren't we?" she asked with a sly smile.
Choi Young was well reminded that she wass a handful. "Yes we are. It is official. Can we talk privately, please," dragging her to the end of the gallery, he looked back making sure nobody followed them. "I did not book a room. I can ask the innkeeper now. Just wait here and don't talk to anyone. At least we will have a place to rest and discuss."
He ran downstairs, while Eun Soo was anxiously left with her thoughts. Should I ask about having a wedding? Where are we going to live? She was not as happy as she thought she would be. She never doubted that staying with Choi Young would require an official marriage. They talked about it once briefly before they made love for the first time. But never after that had the word marriage came up. A man she loved completely, who waited for her for five long and lonely years was now her husband. Yet, she wanted a bit more than just an official paper created to safeguard his unavailable status to the world. The more she pondered, the more she felt a lump of hurt form in her throat and tears build up in her eyes. She felt wronged and offended by how such an important event in her life became trivialized. With that realization, a pang of guilt arrived for allowing herself to make Daejang justify himself. It was not his fault and she was misdirecting her frustration. The situation was screwed up. Nothing more, nothing less. Another man would have crumbled under pressure and taken an easy way out. Stupid, selfish woman! She chastised herself. She wiped off her tears, took a deep breath and put on a smile.
Choi Young could barely restrain himself from flying up the stairs. Woodalchi were watching him like hawks and he had to maintain an aloof exterior to avoid talk behind his back. "Imja." He found her at the exact same spot where he left her.
"Honey," she greeted him.
"A havens word, right?" He guessed.
"There are so many more. You'll hear them all soon. That's normal between married couples."
Grateful that she was not biting his head off, Choi Young relaxed. "Here are our sleeping quarters." They sat down, both awkwardly avoiding the elephant in a room.
"Food. How about dinner?"
"Great," Eun Soo perked up. "I can catch up with the guys."
"About that. We first should discuss..."
Eun Soo did not let him finish, "We don't have to discuss anything right now. I leave it up to you completely," she reassured him by placing her small hand on top of his and gently pressing on it, "Really, I don't mind at all".
"Imja, do you know how wonderful you are?" He took her hand, intertwining fingers with hers. "Are you ready to make an appearance as the General's wife?"
"As long as you are the General, I'll be fine."
Rowdy Woodalchi took over the tavern. Food and wine were abound. When the General and his wife came down the stairs, the room quieted and the three musketeers (as Eun Soo secretly named them) Dae Man, Deok Man and Choong Seok readily pushed off a couple of rookies from the benches and cleared the space for the couple. "Innkeeper, more wine here."
Choi Young, leaning close to her ear, "Don't drink too much, please," hurried to pour a cup for Eun Soo, so that she did not attempt it herself.
"Should I toast? To health and happiness!" She raised her cup and the four men followed suit, already under her spell.
Lucky for the newlyweds, they were well protected by their tablemates, and the conversation flew comfortably. Choi Young mostly enjoyed smiling Eun Soo, having fun and chatting with the guys. She asked away about their lives and any news, getting the details from Dae Man about his girlfriend and cheering the other two on their achievements. The General closely monitored Eun Soo's cup, making sure it was never full, so that she did not get too drunk. He inconspicuously added food to her plate and chuckled with pleasure when she sneaked her spoon into his bowl to fish out a piece of meat. For Choi Young this whole scene was like a dream or better, a glimpse, of what to come. Watching her, being next to her, eating with her, talking with her, even drinking with her – this reality still did not fully register with him. He wished to be encapsulated with Eun Soo in a world of no worry, no time travel, no waiting, no separation, an instant on the continuum of pure happiness, lasting eternity.
He escorted tipsy Eun Soo upstairs, making sure she dis not trip. She was giggling and babbling about how sweet the wine was and how great the soup tasted. Kicking the door open, to prevent her from smashing her nose into it, Choi Young finally was able to lift her off the floor and carried his precious cargo directly to bed.
"Honey," she slurred with a dazed smile and pulled him in for a drunken kiss. Possibly the sweetest kiss she ever had.