32 Dates – Date 8

WARNING: Some parts of the story contains explicit contents. Please make sure that you are 19 and above before proceeding.

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Date 8:

“Do you want me to read you a book?”

“Yeah!” A small group of children exclaimed happily as the older boy sat next to her with a battered copy of “Green Eggs and Ham.” As he continued to read the book, more and more children gathered around him, eager to find out if Sam could successfully persuade his friend into eating the strange plate of food.

Jea smiled at the group of adorable children sitting around Taemin, who was now making silly facial expressions.

‘He’s pretty cute,’ she thought. As she continued to organize the toys, she felt her cellphone vibrate. Excusing herself, she exited the room to answer Joon’s call.

“Yeoboseyo?”

“Yah, Jea, where are you right now?”

“I’m at the daycare center.”

“Why?”

“I’m volunteering. I thought I told you already?”

“…”

“…Yeoboseyo? Yah, don’t hang up on me!”

The dial tone shrieked through the speaker, making her cringe. ‘Someone’s been having a bad day,’ she looked at her cellphone with a raised eyebrow, and walked back into the room to continue sorting out toys.

-Yesterday night-

“Unnie, what do you think of Joon-oppa?”

Joon leaned his ear against the bedroom door, listening carefully to the two girls’ conversations.

“Huh?”

“I mean, you seem to be hanging out with him a lot these days,” In Young explained. “Has he been treating you nicely?”

“I guess so…” She stuttered. He could imagine the blush on Jea’s face as she started to answer. ‘Jea, you’re so cute,’ Joon smiled to himself.

“Then…” In Young paused to think of the right words. “Do you think you want to go out with him?”

“…What?”

“You know… dump Joong Hoon and go out with him.”

“O-of course not!” Jea quickly retorted.”I already have who I want… I don’t need someone like him.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Joon-oppa can be a bit selfish and… demanding,” Jea answered hesitantly. “I need someone mature and comprehensive, but that’s not how he acts around me. He says that he’ll win my heart in 32 dates, but all he’s been doing so far… I don’t know if they even count as legit dates.”

“But what if he worked harder?” In Young emphasized the last two words.”To become someone that unnie likes?”

“…I can’t fall in love with him, no matter what he does.”

-End Flashback-

Jea looked up from her textbook when she felt a gentle nudge on her arm. “Hmm? What’s wrong?”

The little girl next to her didn’t say anything, but pointed to outside the door with her red crayon instead.

“Omo!” Jea fell off her chair when she saw a head poking out from the door. Standing up, she walked over to the man by the door. “Yah! What are you doing here? How did the receptionist even let you in?”

“I have magical powers,” Joon winked and took her hand in his, caressing the back of her hand with his thumb. “Did I make your heart skip a beat?”

“…Yeah, in a bad way,” she rolled her eyes while jerking it away. “If you want to help me, you’d do a better job inside the room, not outside scaring little kids.”

As she led him inside the room, Joon noticed an older boy sitting at the table, coloring in a picture. “Yah Jea, isn’t he too old to be in a daycare?”

“Taemin volunteers here too,” she replied and walked over to Taemin. “Hey, I found a makeshift babysitter. Let’s go finish that errand before the kids decide to imprison you here because they love you too much.”

Taemin nodded and stood up. Joon noticed how Jea was smiling when they were walking out the door, talking about whatever stuff they had to do.

She didn’t smile at him at all today.

With a sigh of defeat Joon turned around from the door and looked at the roomful of crazy, energetic kids. Feeling a small tug on his hands, he looked down to find the girl that was sitting with earlier.

“Yah, what do you want.”

“Oppa, play with me!” She exclaimed with a teapot in her left hand.

His original instinct was to tell her to go away. Then he noticed the little nametag on her pink shirt. It read “Lee Hyojin”.

‘Her name was Hyojin too…’

“Oppa, are you okay?” He snapped back to reality when the small girl tugged on his hand again.

“Oh, I’m fine,” he replied with a smile. “What do you want to do?”

“Noona, I think he really likes you.”

“Haha, really?” Jea laughed while she waited in the elevator with Taemin.

He nodded his head. “Did you see how jealous he got when he saw you talking to me?”

“Nah, that’s just him being him,” her eyes looked down. “He gets jealous at everything.”

They stepped out of the elevator and walked down the hall. Jea stepped into the room expecting some sort of World War, only to find Joon reading a picture book to the circle of children around him, listening intently.

“’I now pronounce you husband and wife,’ the priest had said. The prince and princess were overjoyed as their wedding guests stood up and clapped for them. The loving couple climbed onto the magnificent carriage pulled by four white horses, and waved goodbye to their subjects as they disappeared into the sunset. The little mermaid started to cry. She stumbled to the edge of the cliff, watching the sun fall into the sea. In the end, she couldn’t tell the prince that she loved him; he would never believe that it was she who had saved him from the shipwreck. She thinks of all that she has given up and of all the pain she has suffered, just for the prince, who will never love her back. Desparate, she threw herself into the water, freeing herself from her heart ache and longing for the prince. The end.”

Joon closed the book. “Alright guys, it’s time for you to go! You’re parents are waiting outside,” he pointed to the adults waiting outside the door. He smiled. “I’ll see you next time.”

Soon all the kids had left, even Taemin. Jea returned to her cleaning duties and put all the toys away while Joon continued to fascinate himself with the picture book he was just reading.

He looked up from the book in his hand and motioned for Jea to sit down next to him. “Do you want to listen to how the story ends?”

“The little mermaid jumps off the cliff, doesn’t she?” Jea eyed him skeptically while walking towards him. “That’s what you just said.”

“I lied,” Joon pouted and put the book down, retelling the story’s ending. “As the dark waters slowly engulfed the sun, she heard the sound of a horse galloping in the distance. She turned around; it was the prince. The little mermaid ran towards the prince, ignoring the pain in her feet as if she was stepping on swords. The prince pulled her into a deep embrace.”

Joon put his hands on her shoulders and turned her body to face him. His left hand moved to her face and caressed her rosy cheeks. “‘I never realized how much you love me.’ the prince told her. ‘Nor did I realize the immense pain you had gone through just to be with me. I’ve been too selfish, only wanting to satisfy my own needs and never paying attention to your feelings. I’ll give you everything you ever wanted, and everything you need. I won’t let you down ever again… So wiill you listen to me, just this one time, and let me tell you how much I love you?’”

”…And then what happened?” She could barely whisper. Joon looked into Jea’s watering eyes and slowly leaned in until he was only a few millimeters away.

“The prince kissed her.”

“How?”

“Like this.” He gently pressed his lips against hers. She felt herself trembling as they stayed like that for what seemed like an eternity. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close to him, breathing in her sweet scent. She held on to his shoulders and carefully kissed him back.

Finally he pulled away and brushed away the tears on her face with his thumbs. “And do you know what happened next?”

Jea shook her head as she looked into his mesmerizing brown eyes.

“Do you want me to tell you?”

She nodded.

“She smiled and told him that she loved him too.”

Jea couldn’t help but smile at what he said. Leaning on his chest, she quietly murmured a quiet “I love you, too.”

‘And I promise, I’ll love you better than anyone else. Just wait.’

shoeheadmonster’s note: I would just like to remind everyone again that it is NOT me who made this fic 😀 but the real author’s always informed whenever you guys give comments and compliments about the fic 🙂

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