Lee Min Ho sighed as he opened the door to his girlfriend’s house, making sure to be quiet because he knew she was probably asleep, it was 1am after all. He had barely closed the door behind him when the pitter-patter of small feet accosted him, he looked down with a smile to see Choco, his dog, running to him excitedly. He smiled and dropped down to his knee to pet Choco while making hushing sounds. “Shhhhhh.” He said as Choco continued to make noise. She finally calmed down and nuzzled his hand. “Did you take care of my woman and make sure she didn’t feel lonely?” He asked Choco while scratching her back.
Choco loved Kim Go Eun, she had taken to her immediately much like her owner, Go Eun always watched her on her days off, claiming that it made her happy and feel less lonely. He sometimes could hear her just talking to Choco while he was in another room, she spoke to her as if she was actual human, it was awfully endearing and put a smile on his face. “Go to bed Choco.” Min Ho whispered to the dog as he got up, and surprisingly the dog ran over to his dog-bed and cuddled into it – unlike at his own apartment where she refused to sleep in her own dog-bed.
He walked past the foyer and into the living room to find that the TV was on, the flickering lights of the scenes changing illuminating a small figure curled into the couch. She was sound asleep, wearing the pullover he had been wearing yesterday with a pair of leggings, her short hair in disarray around her face, her mouth slightly open as she breathed. He still didn’t understand what it was about her that made him feel so at peace, he had been rather glum and tired but looking at her made him instantly feel content.
He knew that she really meant the “I miss you” texts she sent him throughout the day. She had once admitted to wearing his clothes because they smelled like him and made her miss him less – of course she had been rather embarrassed to admit it to him even though it made his heart sing.
Min Ho turned off the TV and picked up the unopened bottle of fresh-pressed juice that was on the coffee table before walking over the fridge to put it back in. He let out a sigh when he noticed the plates of untouched food, all cling-wrapped and presented beautifully. He popped open the dishwasher to find it filled with pots and pans. Her message asking when are you coming home ran through his mind and he felt the guilt overwhelm him. She cooked for him, probably spent most of the day working on it – humming as she danced around the kitchen. He was supposed to be home by 8pm, that’s what he had told her, but the shoot had run late – they wanted to get one scene done but it just wasn’t landing right and everyone thought it would be better to stay and do it right then have to come back another day. He really regretted it now as he stood in her dark apartment washing his hands as he looked at his girlfriend curled up on the couch waiting for him.
He sighed and walked over to the couch, her neck was turned at a weird angle and he knew that if he left her there she’d be dealing with neck pain all day tomorrow. And even though he was tired from a long shoot, his body aching, he still bent down and scooped her up in his arms, one hand on her back while the other went under her knees. He walked them over to her bedroom and placed her on the bed – for once thanking the fact that she didn’t make her bed on some days. He was able to easily slide her under the covers and tuck her in. She didn’t wake, at all. He smiled remembering that she hadn’t gotten much sleep the previous night, insisting on binge-watching a show. He leaned down and placed a soft kiss on her forehead before getting up and walking to the bathroom.
He picked up his toothbrush, a small smile on his face as he saw hers right beside his. It was awfully domestic and made him really giddy. His face wash sat next to hers, he knew his shaving kit and aftershave were in the drawer that housed her tweezers and other contraptions. He walked over to the closet after washing his face and smiled again, she had initially given him one drawer in her closet, but one drawer had become two and then three until he took over a whole section of her closet. She always complained about how many clothes he had – it was partly her fault, she kept stealing them so he brought more. He changed into a pair of pajamas and a t-shirt before walking back into the bedroom. She was still sound asleep, and had turned to face his side of bed.
He lay down next to her and let himself just look at her for a second. Oh, he had missed her today – wished that she could be a part of every show, every advertisement and every shoot he ever did because she made all the bad days bearable. He never thought he’d be here, in love with a woman as amazing as her – someone who made his heart beat and someone who understood him in a way many others didn’t. He wanted it all with her – a wedding, a family, a big house with a yard where their kids could chase Choco. He wanted to come home to her every day, not just on days where their schedules lined up. He wanted the freedom to just visit her at work when he missed her, accompany her on her shoots when their schedules aligned, and just spend whatever time he had with her. But it wasn’t possible while they still tried to keep them a secret.
He moved a bit closer to her, pulling her body into his, sliding his bicep under her head, her head tucking into the crook of his neck as he wrapped his arms around her and breathed her in. The smell of her shampoo mixed in with the smell of his own cologne because of the sweatshirt instantly made him feel calm, he loved it. Her rhythmic breathing against his neck and the weight of her body on his put him to sleep right away after a long day.
It must have only been 3am when he woke up to the feeling of soft fingers on his face. Her fingers moved from his forehead, tracing his eyebrows, down the ridge of his nose before they fluttered over his cheeks and traced his jaw. He waited patiently until she traced her fingers over his lip before he opened his eyes and kissed her finger playfully, she let out a chuckle in surprise.
“You’re home.” She sighed, giving him a lazy smile, her eyes only half open. His heart skipped a beat again, he loved the way she looked at him – like he was her world.
“Hmmmm.” He hummed before moving closer to her and nuzzling her neck, allowing her to wrap her arms around him, her fingers playing with his thick hair. “I am sorry.” He whispered before kissing the base of her neck.
“For what?” She asked sounding confused.
“You spent the day cooking for me and I got home so late.” He whispered.
He could feel her shaking her head as she used her nails to scratch his scalp. “It’s okay, I know how shoots work.” She said, and he knew she meant it but he still couldn’t help but feel guilty.
“I should have tried harder, if I said 8 I should have been back by 8.” He whispered.
She grabbed his face between her hands then, cupping his cheeks and forcing him to look at her before leaning in and gently pecking his lips. “Even though you’re a huge star, I know you can’t be a diva. I knew it was going to be like this sometimes when it all started – we’re both crazy busy and we both know how unpredictable shoots can be. I am not mad or angry, or even sad. It’s okay, you’re here now.” She whispered, her words sharp despite her soft voice.
“I love you.” He whispered giving her the smile he knew she loved, she said she loved the way his eyes seemed to disappear when he smiled at her.
“I love you too.” She replied before fusing her lips with his, in a slow and sweet kiss.
“Did you eat?” He asked as she pulled away.
She shook her head no.
“All right, lets go see what you made then. I am prepared to be amazed.” He teased.
“You will be so amazed…because the only thing you can do is grill meat…and even that is a hit or a miss.” She teased.
“You wound me.” He said dramatically, holding his hand to his heart causing her to snicker.
“Stop being such a Kim Tan.” She said while whacking him lightly.
He gave her a mischievous smile then and he knew she realized what he was going to do but was too late to stop it – he flipped her over and she let out a shriek as her back hit the mattress and he straddled her. Her eyes grew wide and her cheeks grew pink as she looked up at him. He decided to surprise her and rub his nose against hers, giving her an eskimo kiss – to lull her into a false sense of security. And then he used his long fingers to tickle her sensitive stomach. The way she shrieked when he tickled her made him laugh, she laughed as she tried to swat his hands away but he was stronger than she was.
“So weak.” He teased when she tried to squirm away and push him away but failed at both. He continued to tickle her and watched as her face turned red with the exertion.
“Yah! Please stop.” She got out between the short giggles, she shook her head trying to get her hair out her face and he stopped tickling her to reach up and push the soft strands away from the center of her face.
“You’re so mean.” She pouted as he stared down at her, his fingers still working on arranging her hair even though it was already perfect.
“You started it.” He murmured caressing the soft skin of her cheeks, he laughed when her stomach growled. “C’mon, let’s go get you some food before you get hangry and start hitting me.” He said while rolling off of her and getting off the bed. She sighed and got onto her knees before scrambling to his side of the bed and jumping off to stand beside him – how she had so much energy at 3am, he didn’t know.
The two of them walked into the kitchen, the microwave whirring as they warmed up the food, Choco seemed to be glaring at them for waking him up and got up before sauntering over to the coat closet – she had a fascination with sleeping in the closet for some reason.
Min Ho smiled as she went on about her day, telling him who she talked to and what they said while he ate. She did this thing where she would randomly reach over and stuff his face with food if she felt that he wasn’t eating enough before nodding and continuing on with the conversation – getting more and more animated as she talked. He knew he looked like a smitten fool when he watched her, everyone around them commented on it. He was constantly teased for it but he didn’t care.
The food was great and they scarfed it down happily – he made sure to hum appreciatively at everything he tried because her face just lit up when he did. He ate more than he needed to because of that smile but he didn’t mind.
“I missed you.” He sighed, wrapping his arm around her waist from behind as she put the leftovers way.
“Me too.” She sighed melting into his body. “I was so tempted to just go and see you today.” She whispered as she turned in his arms, looking up at him to gauge his reaction. It was her rule – that they wouldn’t travel to each other’s work, although many people on the inside knew about them there was no way to control what got out from a set.
He didn’t say anything, just waited for her to continue because he knew she had more to say, she had that look on her face.
“It’s going to get better when we go public right? We don’t have to hide, we can see each other when we want?” She asked. He nodded, he had wanted that for a long time – the number of times he just drove by where she was before deciding to not tempt fate was beyond count now.
“What are you saying?” He asked looking into her deep brown eyes.
“I am tired of hiding.” She sighed, her hand coming up to clutch the side of his face, he let himself nuzzle it like he wanted to.
“Are you sure? Really sure?” He asked, not wanting to get his hopes up.
“I miss you, so much. All these days that I have to go with just pictures and videos of you suck. I spent all day talking to your picture today like an idiot – and if the world knew about us, nothing would stop me from just coming to see you when I want.” She sighed, repeating his own words back to her, words that he had uttered to her months ago – when she wasn’t ready. He said he’d wait. He just thought he’d be waiting longer.
He was still a little shell-shocked so she wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers finding purchase in the hair at the back of his head. “I am sure.” She said. “I think it’s time for you to make another 4am Instagram post.” She teased with a laugh causing him to snicker.
He once told her that he was just documenting his life, and then very cheesily had added “and you are a huge part of my life.” When she laughed he had gone off about how most women always asked their boyfriends to put them on their Instagram and she didn’t appreciate the effort. She may have kissed him them.
He told his sister that he was “documenting” their time together in subtle ways, getting people on board – or so he claimed - only to be shut down by his sister when she complained about what a headache he was. Her voice was always loud enough for Go Eun to hear even though he rarely put his phone on speaker, they were amusing together.
The picture he had uploaded of the two of them walking off on the dirt path towards the sun had been approved by his sister and the one on the beach as well, although the hand holding was their idea – but then he had posted a picture after shooting finished. The first one had her in the background, sitting on the couch inside while he stood outside the window with his black hat and mask, and the flowers she had put behind his ear as a joke – 4 months after he had admitted having feelings for her, a month and half since they whispered I love you to each other as they walked down the dirt path hand in hand. Then he had posted pictures of himself on the late night walk they stole along the beach the next day, she had taken the blurry pictures he uploaded – she was laughing too much to stop the phone from shaking. Those pictures were nothing compared to the ones on her phone though – in those he had a huge smile on his face, his eyes twinkling as he looked at her – her favourite was the selfie of the two of them with the ocean behind them, his arm wrapped around her as he tried to kiss her while she laughed. It had been the lock screen photo of her personal phone for a while, her face lighting up every time she saw it.
Then there was her birthday that sent the world into a tizzy – he said that if he was normal he would have posted his favourite pictures of her with a huge caption about how much he loves her – he’d even sent her the post he wanted to put up. It made her giddy but she was glad it was for her eyes only. She appreciated the subtle posts – especially since the pictures that followed that first video of her now favourite song were from a late night walk stolen at the end of a perfect day spent with the man she loved. Then there had been the video from that rainy day, from inside his car – she had to scoot her seat all the way back and recline it when he insisted on posting a video so no one saw her. They had been on their way to dinner with his mother. Then there were those two selfies, the first one where he looked shocked because she sent him a picture of her that he really liked and then the second one was him taking a picture to send to her – he really was dramatic like Kim Tan some times. Then there was that Louis Vuitton post – which decidedly had nothing to do with her until she reciprocated, adding fuel to the fire over their healthy Louis Vuitton vs. Chanel rivalry.
“Like what, the walk again?” He laughed remembering the chaos the short video of him just walking caused. It wasn’t baseless – she was beside on the other side of the camera. They habitually stole walks whenever they could, walking hand in hand in the silence before dawn or late at night when the world was asleep – he loved them and she was coming to love them too. They had been laughing about something when he said that he bet he could send the world into a tizzy with just a short video, she had snorted and replied with okay Kim Tan so he had made the video, tilting his head when she tilted hers to show him her laughing face from behind his phone.
She moved out of his hold and pulled him towards the bar stools, he sat as she grabbed his phone from the counter, unlocking it and launching the camera app. She held the camera out to take a selfie, placing a kiss on his cheek and taking a picture as he laughed. It was cut off and the angle was horrible.
“Such short arms.” He teased as he grabbed the camera from her, he wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her close, beaming into the camera as she placed a kiss on his cheek. The second picture was of both of them beaming at the camera, she was standing between his legs as he sat on the stool, his arms wrapped around her and his chin resting on her shoulder.
“I love them…but it’s too much?” She said as she looked through the burst of pictures. He held his hand out and she gave him a confused look but placed her little hand in his large one, intertwining their fingers together before he placed their hands on the white quartz counter and took a picture of them.
“Better?” He asked holding his phone up to her face. She nodded but went back to the second picture they took, they looked deliriously happy and so domestic – him in a long sleeved t-shirt and her in his oversized pullover that everyone would recognize as his – her sofa in the background and the two of them just so close to each other as they beamed at the camera.
“Use this one too.” She said turning the phone around to him. “And send them to me.”
“Are you sure?” He asked, arching his eyebrow. His face didn’t give away any other emotion.
She nodded. And look of pleased surprise on his face made it all the more worth it to her.
“What’s the caption going to be?” She asked with a smile as her own phone dinged on the counter as she received the pictures he sent.
“My woman, back off?” He teased.
She snorted. “That should be my caption, oppa is mine back off.” She teased.
“How about this?” He asked holding up his phone to her, the caption was just a simple emoji of a house. “Home.” He said. “Because home is what you are to me.”
She nodded with a smile and uploaded the same two photos to her Instagram. “We’re going to get in so much trouble for this.” She laughed as she used the same caption. “You ready?”
“I have been ready for a long time.” He whispered and she found herself smiling as she counted down from three. Both of them pressing post as she said it. She let out a loud squeal after as he laughed while shooting off a text message to his sister to let her know.
He received a message back right away, a voice message of her just groaning before yelling really, you had to pick 4am? He rolled his eyes and put the phone down – she knew it was coming.
“And just like that you’re all mine and the world knows it.” He smiled while reaching out for her and pulling her closer again.
“And just like that I am going to have to fight off fangirls.” She teased.
“Channel your inner black-belt Jeong Tae-Eul.” He teased.
“Nah, you should just threaten to behead them all.” She said as he groaned.
“You know you can’t use that word around me.” He sighed as she giggled then squealed as he got up and lifted her off the floor, shuffling the two of them to her room as she screamed at him to put her down while clinging onto him so she didn’t fall. He threw her onto the bed as she gasped.
“That’s not a nice way to treat your woman.” She said sticking her tongue out at him.
“My woman, so does this mean you would say yes if I propose.” He asked arching his eyebrow at her as he stared down at her from the side of the bed, she was laying diagonally on the surface, her hair spread out around her head as she smiled up at him.
“You’ll have to ask and find out.” She said, her eyes shining with mirth. Oh, he had a feeling she’d say yes when he did ask. And he would. Soon.