Your heart stopped when his words hit the air and dissolved into silence. You could feel it drop just before it returned only to beat erratically and much faster than it usually did. You felt it swell inside your chest, and soon there was a lump in your throat that didn’t allow you to speak. “I love you,” you repeated in your head. As the silence continued Doojoon looked at you more closely, taking note of every detail of your face and expression.
Tears rose up into your eyes as you stared at him. Immediately he grew concerned, your name falling from his lips as he placed his hands gently on your arms. “I didn’t mean to… upset you…” he paused, unsure of what to say or why you were starting to cry. Although he looked worried, you couldn’t ignore that fact that he also looked extremely uncomfortable. This probably wasn’t what he was expecting to happen. You blamed your hormones.
“No one’s ever said that to me before…” you mumbled, your voice quiet. His eyebrows immediately turned up, his face gentle as he reached up and wiped the tears off your cheeks. “I’m sorry…”
He pulled you against him, holding your head to his shoulder. “You don’t have to apologize,” his voice was reassuring, and you were sure he was just elated that he wasn’t directly the reason there were tears on your cheeks. “In fact, I like being the first,” he laughed lightly. He always had a knack of rambling and saying weird things in situations that put him in an interesting position. “And I think I’d like to be the last too.”
The words seemed to come out of nowhere, and you had absolutely no idea how to respond. He was always on some sort of mental train that no one else could manage to follow, and he just spit out whatever he wanted to. He never realized that no one else could follow his thoughts. I love you. You had no idea how to react and the silence was lingering longer than it should have. Had you heard that right?
“Nope, that’s fine. Whatever. Put myself out on a limb, okay.” His sarcastic tone was attempting to come out in a joking manner, but you had a feeling he was genuinely hurt underneath. His voice brought you back to reality when you realized it was your turn to say something.
“No! No! I’m sorry!” you wailed, pawing your hands at him. “I was just caught off guard!” He continued to turn himself away from you, crossing his arms in a mock pout; though you couldn’t fight the feeling that he was genuinely sulking in this childish way. He continued to argue with short answers, claiming that the moment had passed. When he refused to look at you even when you pulled at his arms you dropped your attempts and joking with him and paused. You waited a few moments so he knew you were genuine in your response. “Hyunseung. I’m sorry, I was just surprised.” He didn’t turn. “Try it again, I’ll be ready this time.” Still no response, so you used your best pleading tone. “Say it again.”
He turned his head just slightly so you could see the corner of his eye. He narrowed his vision, as if weighing the situation. He gave an over-dramatic sigh as he began again. “I lo—”
“I love you!” you pounced; nearly screaming it to make sure you overpowered him, clinging to his arm in the return of your playful mood. Immediately his face lit up in laughter falling back against the couch. “I love you!” You smiled again, unable to keep the laughter out of your voice. He traced your face with his eyes and moved his head forward just enough to place his lips to yours.
The two of you were simply talking as you usually did at the end of the day, catching up on the things you missed in each other’s everyday lives while you were apart. You were just finishing the end of one of your stories filled with the odd things that inevitably occurred in your daily life when Junhyung started laughing softly to himself. You gave him an inquisitive look, knowing that he would soon tell you what he was thinking if you kept it up.
“I would say I think I’m in danger of falling in love with you,” he chuckled, shaking his head as he closed his eyes. “But I’m pretty sure I’m well past that point.” You could feel yourself nearly choke on the air you were attempting to breathe. He kept his eyes closed before he turned his gaze onto you, his eyelids lifting lazily. “I love you,” he smiled, his eyes softening as they traced over your face. You knew your expression had gone blank with surprise as you stared at him, possibly gaping.
He didn’t look shaken from your lack of response. “I don’t expect you to say it back,” he almost snickered, like he knew you would feel very put on the spot by this. “I just figured you should probably know.” He grinned, placing his fingers beneath your chin. “So don’t you dare break up with me,” despite the importance of his words his eyes sparkled when they bore into yours. “Or I’m afraid you’ll break my heart.”
You were still choked by everything that was going on, but he tilted his head and pressed his lips to yours gently. The contact pulled you back to reality enough that you could speak once he released you long enough to catch your breath. “As if I would ever do that,” you smiled, your lips only turning up further when you saw his reaction. “Although you have to admit… you could probably write a hit song out of it.”
He smirked, wrapping his arms firmly around you and pressing you to his chest. “Not worth it,” he grinned, burying his face in your hair and kissing the top of your head.
You were quite sure you didn’t deserve this kind of torture. You knew you shouldn’t have allowed him to know all the spots you were ticklish; and although you would never admit it, you liked it just the smallest amount. At first he just started poking you in the side, smiling and watching your reaction out of the corner of his eye. It didn’t take long for his antics to escalate. Your limbs had minds of their own in your attempt to dissuade him from continuing.
You screamed at him to stop, though it was difficult to take seriously when you were giggling so hard your words were barely decipherable. When he finally came to a stop you were breathing heavily, trying to regain your breath. He stared at you for the longest time, a smile on his face as he fell back on the couch. You refused to break your eye contact with him first, so you simply grinned back, finding it impossible to get your breathing back to normal with him looking at you like that.
“I love you,” he smiled. The way he said it was so casual, as if it was perfectly normal or an obvious statement of truth like the sky was blue or he liked ramen. You continued to stare but his smile didn’t falter. You felt yourself frown, and only then did he begin to look concerned. You lifted yourself from your spot opposite him on the couch to sit up, never breaking eye contact with him.
With your gazes still locked, you leaned forward to crawl over him until your entire body was straddled over his. You narrowed your eyes. He gulped, feeling almost like prey. Feeling lazy, you lowered your body onto his; lying directly on top of him, chest to chest, hip to hip, face dangerously close to face. He couldn’t bear the silence or your intent gaze any longer. “Yes?” he finally asked, voice choked a little.
You narrowed your eyes even further, tracing them back and forth over his face. “That was real, right?” you muttered, still trying to assess his validity. “I’m not imagining things?” He chuckled a little, looking a little more relaxed now, assuring you it was real. “Say it again,” you commanded. “Just to be sure.”
A crooked smile quickly overshadowed the crease in his brow as he tried to suppress a laugh. “I love you.” You smiled, unrestrainedly and as brightly as you were sure you ever had. You wanted to say it back to him directly, but your lips had other plans as they had already pressed themselves firmly to his.
You sat opposite Kikwang in the coffee shop, stirring your drink with one of the stir sticks you grabbed. It was dark outside already, but there was never a bad time for this. You warmed your hands on the cup in front of you, smiling contentedly. Despite the fact that Kikwang seemed a bit uncomfortable, this night was perfect. It was odd though, it was like how he acted when he first asked you out: a little shy and a lot uncertain.
All of a sudden three words burst out of his mouth, though in the rush they had leaving his lips it seemed to slur together into one. “Iloveyou.” You blinked at him, eyes as wide as they could be without actually falling out of your head. He looked exhausted though a bit relieved once they were out in the open.
Then his face fell. “I’m sorry,” he looked down, laughing awkwardly to cover up his obvious embarrassment. You could see the blush rise in his cheeks as he rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants. “I shouldn’t have said that…” he chuckled again.
You were still too stunned into silence to say anything back. “I promised myself I’d tell you today… I was going to for the longest time and then I finally just…” he scratched the back of his head and refused to remove his eyes from his drink. “I guess I just blurted it out…” he chuckled again uncomfortably.
You felt your smile grow little by little during his explanation. “Kikwang…” you mumbled gently, reaching across the table and grabbing a hold of his hand. He looked up at you, stunned almost by the touch. Your eyebrows pulled together affectionately. “You shouldn’t have to plan these things,” you smiled in an attempt at a reassuring way. “It should just sort of… happen. It’s emotional, not something you plan out.”
He stared down into his lap again, looking like a child that had just been reprimanded. You felt bad now that you had said it, and you gave his hand a tight squeeze. “But for what it’s worth,” you began again, unable to fight the smile in your voice. “I love you too.”
Dongwoon entered the room, determination written on every inch of his face. It was like he had had the most glorious epiphany. One minute it simply hit him, and there was no way he was going to keep silent about it. He inhaled deeply, the corners of his mouth twitching upward as he traced the back of your head over the couch. It was bursting inside him, and he wasn’t going to hold it back any longer. “I love you.”
You gave him no response, not even a twitch of a finger. He stared at you, his heart instantly falling in his chest. This wasn’t the reaction he had seen in his head. This is not how he expected this to go in the least. Immediately the worst went through his head. Did you not love him? Did he scare you off now completely, possibly saying it too soon? Were you planning on breaking up with him? Interested in someone else?
“I—” his voice faltered, unsure of how to proceed. “I, uh…” his eyes darted across the floor, a nervous habit. “Please… say something.” He moved closer to you, hesitant to see if you gave him any reaction. “If there’s something…” he didn’t know which direction his mouth was taking him, but it certainly wasn’t the same place his mind was going. Instead he followed his feet to a chair beside the couch you were perched on. Your hair fell over your face so he couldn’t see your expression, but your hands were still moving furiously over the page you were scribbling on. He pleaded again, calling your name and begging you to at least look at him.
Your head shot up and you met his gaze, pushing your hair back over your ears. “I’m sorry,” you looked at him with innocent eyes, pulling the buds out of your ears and hitting the pause button on your iPod. “Did you say something?”