A/N: Hola! This is a South Korea x Philippines fanfic. This is Part Two. It also contains hints of America/Panama, Hong Kong/Taiwan, Australia/Indonesia, Singapore/Malaysia and England/Colombia. Don't let the OC/Canon pairings deter you too much, ahaha. Enjoy!
Li Xiao’s eyes widened. “Yong Soo... you’d never been asked out by a girl before. What day did she ask you? We should commemorate this moment in a year from now.” Alfred and Mei laughed a little at that comment, while Carmen started cooing, grabbing a now flustered Yong Soo’s cheek.
“Ayy, how innocent! You know, it’s always a good sign when a lady takes the initiative!” Carmen explained, gesturing towards a now red faced Arthur. “If a woman wants something or someone, she should go for it. Waiting for idiot men is not the modern way. Take note, Maria.”
Maria blushed slightly, glancing off to the side. “We’re not all like you, Carmen.”
Arthur frowned a little. “And I’m definitely not one of those idiot men either, for that matter.”
“Take note, Alfred,” Carmen added with a smirk. This definitely brought out a smirk in Arthur as well.
“What?” the American looked up from his burger. He kind of stopped listening again at some point. Li Xiao quickly told Yong Soo to continue before any explanation of Carmen’s comment could be given.
Yong Soo swatted Carmen’s hand away from his cheek. “Maricela’s not really like Carmen either. She’s kind of... one of those adorable types, da-ze!” he grinned, no longer embarrassed about sharing his perspective on her. Carmen tried to interject, arguing that she was an adorable type as well, but was immediately met with expressions that indicated an entirely different opinion. “She’s kind of shy, but really fun once she’s uh... brought out of her shell? Totally into me though, which was probably why she asked to hang out with me. She wanted to go shopping at the markets. And girls hardly ever take guys out shopping, right? Not unless the guy’s um...”
“I’m here!” Yong Soo announced as he jogged over to the entrance of the Daluyon Resort. He made sure to dress up really nicely. After all, he was under the impression that girls would only ever invite a guy out shopping if it was a date! Mei takes Li Xiao shopping all the time and they’re an item. And yes, just that alone was what drew Yong Soo to this conclusion. Not that he minded at all. The chance to date a girl as cute as Maricela seemed exhilarating to him. Definitely something to brag about to the guys when he returned from his vacation!
While he caught his breath, he also eyed her up and down a little. She had her curly dark brown hair mostly down for a change – he was used to seeing it all tied back in a high ponytail – but this time she wore her hair in a half ponytail. To go with that, she was wearing a cute floral dress of multiple colours with short sleeves that went just a little past her knees and some pink sandals. Immediately Yong Soo noticed the only jewellery she was wearing was a cross necklace. Knowing that they were going to go shopping, he made a mental note to pick out a gift for her.
It was a quirk of his that he developed forever ago. Yong Soo was somewhat of a fashionista. He loved picking out outfits for himself, and it got to the point where he’d help his own mother choose clothing and accessories whenever they shopped together. Li Xiao once commented that it was very ‘gay’ of him to be so fashion savvy, something Yong Soo refused to believe. It’s not bad for a guy to enjoy fashion, he believed! Plus the girls love a well-groomed guy, he was absolutely certain of that.
Maricela definitely wasn’t opposed to the effort Yong Soo clearly made. She was used to seeing him in shorts and t-shirts – labels of course, but they suited the practicality required for the previous days. But today was a little different. They weren’t playing around on the beaches or doing tours in bushes or caves. No, it was just a peaceful walk to the nearby markets to do a bit of shopping.
“Kamusta!” Maricela greeted him, a bright smile on her face. “Ready to go?”
“Definitely! Hey, you’re looking great today, Mari!” complimented Yong Soo, holding an arm out to her.
“O-Oh... Thanks...” Maricela replied, not quite meeting his eyes. She hesitated for a moment, but took his arm. They began walking away from the resort together, making their way towards the Sabang fishing village not too far away from them. “By the way... this place we’re headed to... don’t expect a mall complex or anything! It’s small but humble, lots of little stores with a variety of essentials for the locals, and souvenirs for us tourists.”
“Got it!” he nodded, a spring in his step. He was excited, okay? A cute girl on his arm, a bright sunny day, spending money in his wallet and a chance to experience a Filipino township! There was nothing wrong with any of that, not at all. “Say, uh... Maricela?”
“Yes?” her eyes finally met his.
“We’ve both been here for around a week... right?” he asked, receiving a confirming nod in response. “I wanted to know when you were leaving...”
“Um, late Saturday afternoon. We have an evening flight booked, but we have to leave earlier so we can get our luggage checked in and so on... What about you?”
Yong Soo’s eyes widened. That soon? Then again, it wasn’t like he was staying much longer either. But somehow that felt wrong to him. Even though two weeks at a resort was actually quite a lot, it felt like a little amount of time to have with someone like Maricela. At first she seemed shy and hesitant, but over the week, he began seeing different sides to her. He learned about her hardworking practical side, but also her nature loving side, her media fangirl side, her foodie side and so much more. She was fun and interesting and vibrant, and those were the exact qualities of someone Yong Soo knew he’d love spending time with. He felt they were sort of like birds of a feather, something like that. Only two weeks with someone like that? Just two weeks to be with her, and then they go back to their respective lives..?
That wasn’t right. He was going to have to make the most of it. They were. After today, it’ll only be six days left...
“I leave on Sunday morning. Early flight,” he answered her, sounding less enthusiastic than before.
Maricela sensed that Yong Soo wasn’t particularly pleased with her answer. She gave his arm a squeeze. “Well then! It just means the second week has to be really awesome before each of us go back home and then to school again, right?”
“Yeah... this coming week’s got to count more than this one has, da-ze!” And with that comment made, he immediately launched into a new conversational topic. There was no way he was going to linger on the fact that parting was inevitable. It was too soon for that. He glanced down at Maricela’s hand on his arm while he spoke; almost wishing he could take it with his own instead. Too soon as well? Oh man, usually he was much bolder than this. Why did it matter all of a sudden?
Cahaya frowned. Halfway through the two weeks at Daluyon Resort and it’s already a reality that Yong Soo and Maricela would part. Where was the feeling of being swept away, where time wouldn’t matter until it strikes their hearts at the very last moment? Then again, life isn’t always like a drama. If there was one thing that was certain, it was that Cahaya knew all about the drama conventions and where they could correlate with real life.
“So how did you feel, knowing what time you had left there?” she asked, once she sensed a pause in Maricela’s story.
“Eh?” Maricela blinked. She didn’t give Cahaya’s question much thought before answering. “Well, I always knew I had two weeks, right? So I just knew that I wanted them to be lots of fun before I settled back into school.”
Maya leaned back in her chair slightly. “Maricela, I think she means the time left with Yong Soo.”
“...O-Oh.” There was an obvious falter there. Maricela looked down at her lap, her cheeks rosy pink. “Well, you know...” No, they didn’t know and she knew that. “...Um. I guess it um... sort of brought on this feeling of... um... n-not just making sure we both had fun o-on the last week of our vacations... But uh... how do I put it?” She paused for a few moments. Cahaya and Maya were patient though, the former a little moreso. “I guess it wasn’t just um... about the fun. I wanted to make memories that would last. And um... I think it was the same for him..? I mean...”
The other two girls’ eyes widened as Maricela raised an arm, pushing down her sleeve.
“Maricela, can you do me a favour?” Yong Soo asked with a big grin on his face. The two had finally returned to Daluyon Resort and were relaxing on the beach. They had laid out towels to each sit on as they watched the sunset together. With the radiant golds glowing in an otherwise darkening sky, making a perfect glassy reflection in the clear ocean blue, Yong Soo felt he had the perfect backdrop for this moment. Maricela looked to him and he continued, “I want you to close your eyes and hold your arm out in front, da-ze!”
She cocked a brow but didn’t question him at all. So she held the arm closest to him out in front of her, squeezing her eyelids shut. What she could hear was tiny movements of someone brushing across the sand and a rustling of hands delving in shopping bags. Then she felt the cool sensation of what seemed like pebbles strung together brushing up against her skin, being secured around her wrist by two careful hands.
“Can I look now?” she smiled, sensing that Yong Soo had gifted her with something.
“Nah, not yet..!” She could hear the laughter in his voice as he took her hand with his own.
Maricela was pretty sure she was starting to blush now. She knew she was now holding hands with a boy, but she was determined not to sound too flustered. “How about now, Yong Soo?”
“I don’t think so!”
She used her available hand to reach up and swat his shoulder, opening her eyes in the process. He burst out laughing, while she poked her tongue out at him. “Nyeehhh, opened my eyes!”
It took a moment or two for Yong Soo to collect himself, and Maricela found herself giggling a lot as well. But then he shifted a little, lacing their fingers together. “You didn’t wait for me, Mari!”
“You’re not sorry at all!” he laughed again and Maricela nodded in agreement with him. She wasn’t sorry in the slightest. “But now that your eyes are open, have you noticed your wrist yet?” He raised her hand so she could clearly see what he placed around her wrist.
Freshwater pearls. They were indeed a popular source here in Palawan, sold for cheap prices in the markets. Maricela didn’t remember seeing Yong Soo buy any though. He must’ve done it when she wasn’t looking. What’s more, it was the same bracelet she’d been eyeing up! It was three rows of different coloured pearl beads strung together. The bracelet fit her perfectly and she couldn’t help but smile brightly, seeing it on her wrist.
“S-Salamat I... Thank you so much, Yong Soo!” she beamed at him. “I’ll treasure this..!”
His eyes lit up. Oh boy, she likes it! He definitely felt pride at that, especially since he always considered himself good at choosing accessories, even for girls. “You’re welcome! I saw you looking at it... and when you were buying some food, I quickly went and bought it. Plus I think it suits you! It’s colourful, but it’s not too fussy... I could picture you wearing it with all sorts of outfits! Plus we’re in the Philippines – that’s also known as the Pearl of the Orient, right? So I’ve given you pearls from the orient, da-ze! Aren’t I clever?”
It was very much evident that her happy response got him all excited. Whenever Yong Soo got excited about something, he was easily set off on a ramble. But Maricela liked that. It made her happy that her reaction to his gift meant so much to him.
“Yes, very clever,” she grinned. “Hey, do you know any other nicknames for the Philippines?”
“Uh... The other Mexico?” That earned him a shove. “I was kidding, hey! Go on, tell me then!”
“Land of the Morning!” she answered him. “And that’s why I’m a morning person!”
“Is that how it works? Your country of origin’s nicknames determine behaviour?” He gave it some thought. “Hey, South Korea has a similar sounding name. Think it applies to me?”
“What is it?”
“Land of the Morning Calm!”
Maricela immediately made an ‘X’ shape with her arms. “Nope!”
“Not even a little bit?”
“Yong Soo, whenever I see you in the mornings, you always have a bounce in your step and you have a million ideas of what to do throughout the entire day! I don’t think you have much of an afternoon or evening calm either!”
He pouted. “I have a calm side, really!” he insisted, though a little weakly. “It just... it’s there, you gotta look out for it, I have lots of sides to me!”
She laughed, setting her hand back down next to his. “I was just teasing, silly. We’re on vacation; your happy excited moods make perfect sense.”
“Right!” Yong Soo replied. Then the two of them went a bit quiet, noticing that the sun had nearly set fully, soon to be replaced by the night. The Korean gulped a little, knowing that there were still some other things he wanted to say. However, there was a bit of uncertainty in how to bring it up. It wasn’t that urgent, he supposed, not all of it anyway. “...Maricela..? I really hope you’ll treasure that bracelet though... so uh, when you get back home and you look at it... you can think of me!”
The light of the glowing sun reflected against the colourful pearls around Maricela’s wrist as she admired it. Seeing that and hearing Yong Soo’s words made her heart beat quicken somehow. It was the first time a boy who wasn’t related to her had bought jewellery for her. Not just that, but he wanted to be in her thoughts, especially whenever she looked at it. Thinking of Yong Soo... that brought a smile to her face. She found in that moment that it wasn’t that awkward to think of Yong Soo, but rather she wanted to think of him. Having this bracelet as a reminder seemed really nice to her. Of course she intended to remember him, but having these precious stones symbolise that? It meant a lot to her.
“Definitely. Thanks again... Um... I’ll return the favour somehow!”
“You don’t have to. Just...” When she met his eyes, she was surprised at the unusually intense look in his eyes. He was focused on her, solely her. His hand brushed hers gently, but his gaze didn’t leave her face. “Um, Maricela..?”
“Y-Yes..?” Maricela’s voice was rather shy, unsure quite how else to respond. Come to think of it, he was sort of leaning in a bit closer, wasn’t he..?
But before Yong Soo could go any further, the pair could both hear the sound of someone clearing their throat loudly. They both looked up to see Dae Hyun standing over them with arms folded. “If you’re quite done canoodling with your girlfriend, our parents wanted to see the both of us. Right now. Come on.” And with that, he whirled around on his heel and stalked off, leaving his brother and the Filipina in a blushing mess.
“I-I’m not--!!” Maricela cried out uselessly, but Dae Hyun was already out of earshot. Then she panicked a bit. “N-No offense to um..!”
“I got it, I got it! Um... I uh... See you later, Maricela, have a good night, bye!” And with that, Yong Soo took off running after his brother. “I HATE YOU, DAE HYUN..!!”
“What a cockblock,” Li Xiao commented, watching Yong Soo fume over that part of the story. Still, it sounded like overall he’d made good progress with this Maricela girl. Holding hands, giving her a memorable gift and all that... Shame about Dae Hyun though. Li Xiao didn’t actually mind him that much personally, but he also accepted the fact that Yong Soo and Dae Hyun were total opposites. Not the kind that complimented one another, but the kind that kept on clashing. It was sort of a hopeless case really.
“I agree!” Carmen nodded, her arm still around Arthur’s shoulder, even though the British teenager had lost most of his interest long ago. “Did you kick him where the sun doesn’t shine?”
“No,” Yong Soo replied with a sulky tone.
“Oh. Do you want me to?” she offered, almost causing both Alfred and Maria to spit out their drinks. The thought of Carmen kicking Dae Hyun... there was quite the mental image! Mei’s eyes widened, while Arthur made no reaction whatsoever almost as though he was completely used to this sort of behaviour from her. He probably was.
“Yes, but that’s beside the point, da-ze...” He pulled a face. “It gets worse! You know why? Well, I’ll tell you why! Because the next day when I go to see her, she announces that she’s going to do a day trip with her parents visiting another island. But of course, what my parents wanted to see me about was to let me know that the day after Maricela does her day trip, our family was going to do a day trip. So two days in a row and we could barely spend time together, da-ze. Then on Wednesday she said on Thursday she was going to be busy again with her family... And on Saturday she was going to be packing up after lunch... So all I had left was Wednesday, Friday and Saturday morning!”
He huffed loudly, with the rest of the group looking at him rather sympathetically. They glanced at each other briefly, each of them wondering how Yong Soo would approach these last few days. With only two and a half days left, Yong Soo could either give up on trying to woo this girl or he could go all out. Judging by the way Yong Soo was moping over wanting his summer back, it could have really meant one or the other. He could have run out of time and failed, or he had a short lived success.
Li Xiao finally told him to continue with his story. The group was now more attentive, even Arthur, who was oddly curious despite not really knowing Yong Soo as well as Alfred, Mei and Li Xiao did. As for Carmen and Maria, they were just interested to know about a ‘summer romance’ that Alfred told them and Arthur to come and hear about. Maria couldn’t help but feel a little more invested in the story, sensing Maricela to be a bit of a kindred spirit: a girl who can get rather shy at times, along with an overly exuberant guy? Yeah.
Either way, they all wanted to know what Yong Soo would do next.
It was Wednesday morning, and Yong Soo and Maricela started their day with a swim in the pool before breakfast. Both of them were swimming laps, so they weren’t really talking to one another yet. This frustrated Yong Soo like no other. He really wanted to talk to her, and it felt wrong to have her so near yet continually out of reach. Maricela on the other hand was a little nervous. The last time they had a proper conversation, Dae Hyun walked in on them and referred to her as Yong Soo’s girlfriend. Just thinking about it made her heart race and make her words come out in pathetic stutters.
Eventually he just couldn’t take it any longer. He surfaced, waiting for a moment to catch Maricela’s attention. It took a while, but she noticed that Yong Soo had stopped swimming. She resurfaced too, catching her breath after all that exercise.
“Hey Maricela... Um... I wanted to know...” There was a pause. He had the question in mind this entire time: asking her about her daytrip on Monday. For some reason however, the words weren’t escaping his lips and his brain drew a total blank. The Filipina was giving a rather quizzical expression. She wasn’t used to Yong Soo going silent mid sentence like this. “...uh. If you have a boyfriend?!” His cheeks went bright red, realising he blurted out the wrong question. While yes, he was actually curious, he thought it would be far too obvious to ask like that.
“He asked you that?!” Cahaya and Maya cried out in unison. Oh man, this was just getting even better! After all, a guy would only be curious about whether a girl was single or not if he was interested in her, right?
Maricela cupped her reddened cheeks with her hands. “I-It was so sudden too! Like, I had no preparation for that question, none at all..!”
“So... what did you say?” Maya asked, wanting her to continue.
The question took a little time to sink into Maricela’s brain. When it registered and she saw the Korean’s blushing face, she felt her face heating up with embarrassment as well. “...U-Um..!” she wasn’t quite sure how to answer that, even though she knew it. Time to deflect the question, she decided. “W-Why do you ask?”
Why? Oh man, Yong Soo thought, there were so many answers to that.
He hoped the answer was a no.
He hoped he was up for consideration.
He hoped he wasn’t getting attracted to a girl that’s been taken this entire time.
He hoped he was the guy in her thoughts, not someone else.
“You sounded pretty doubtful for a guy who to begin with, was being all ‘Ooh she was totally into me, she grabbed my hand, ooh lala’!” Li Xiao interrupted. Yong Soo threw him a glare. “...So what did you say?”
“Uh... Dae Hyun was wondering.” Yong Soo could have hit himself for that one. What a pathetic lie.
Maricela stared, not sure whether to take this answer seriously or not. “Really? How come?”
“I don’t know.”
“Y-You don’t know?”
Oh god, Yong Soo was running out of excuses fast. “It must be because... um... a school project, da-ze.” Okay, this was getting even more useless.
“W-What kind of school project is this?!”
“...It’s for... uh... this school where... they um... it’s Hogwarts.”
Maricela’s jaw dropped. Okay, the school project thing seemed unbelievable enough, but really now? Did he really expect her to believe that Dae Hyun was a Hogwarts student studying up on whether she had a boyfriend or not?! That was just so ridiculous, she just... burst out laughing, despite the whole embarrassment weighing down on the conversation. “O-Okay, which house is he in?”
Yong Soo blinked. Oh, she’s chosen to humour him instead. “...Slytherin. Because he’s the Draco Malfoy to my Harry Potter, da-ze!”
She couldn’t stop laughing. For some reason, Yong Soo’s managed to turn the situation around from being awkward and embarrassing to incredibly amusing. Still, she wondered if she should answer his question though. After all, if she answered now, it meant she wouldn’t have to answer later. “Well, Draco Malfoy can go write up his project and um... say that Maricela Clara de los Santos does not have a boyfriend.”
“I’d rather Draco go and spend an eternity having awkward hugs with Voldemort, da-ze!”
“Hey! So if you’re Harry Potter,” Alfred began to speak over Yong Soo, “does that mean Maricela’s Ginny?”
Arthur rolled his eyes. “There’s no way Yong Soo can be Harry Potter. He’s far better suited to...” he gave it some thought. “...Gilderoy Lockhart.”
Yong Soo frowned. “Hey! Why am I Lockhart?”
“Because you’re both overenthusiastic idio—”
“Be quiet, Snape,” Carmen poked Arthur’s cheek, grinning. Arthur raised a brow, not quite sure what to make of this comparison just yet.
Maria giggled a little and then turned back to the pouting Korean. “So you managed to ask her about her relationship status. Does that mean you eventually got to asking her out..?”
He stopped pouting. Maria’s question seemed to have brought his lively spirit back. “Towards the beginning of this tale, I had asked Maricela to go to the beach with me at night. Of course I had to follow that up at some point, da-ze!”
And so along came Friday night at the Daluyon Resort. Yong Soo and Maricela ended up spending their Wednesday going scuba-diving with her family. He couldn’t exactly get the alone time he would’ve liked with Maricela’s parents right there, but nonetheless it was still time well spent. Yong Soo found he liked Maricela’s parents. While her father seemed a bit more distant, he seemed to behave rather charmingly towards his wife, who turned out to be quite the mother hen. She kept fussing over Yong Soo and Maricela, making sure they were wearing their scuba diving correctly, making sure they were well fed when they went to have meals together and so on.
Only after dinner and dessert did Yong Soo actually get the chance to ask Maricela if she wanted to go out onto the beach on Friday night. To his surprise, she accepted rather quickly but hey, he definitely wasn’t going to question her judgement on this!
The sun had already set and the glow of the moon was illuminating the starry sky. Yong Soo and Maricela were both in their bathing suits, easily comfortable with the warmth that still remained in the air. His hand was in hers and they walked along in silence. It wasn’t an awkward silence though. They were both feeling rather calm, finally used to each other’s company and the simple act of holding hands. The sounds of chirping birds and gentle waves brushing up against the shore were all they could hear. It was nice, they both thought. And the ocean water that lapped against their skin up to their ankles was cool and refreshing, along with the sea salt smells that they could almost taste on their tongues.
But time was passing and the night was slowly getting darker. Yong Soo knew it was only a matter of time before they would return to their rooms and their final morning together would arrive. He had to do something. Time was running out. He needed this night to mean something.
To his surprise, Maricela was the one to speak first. “It’s crazy how I’m leaving tomorrow, huh?”
“Hm?” Yong Soo blinked, then he nodded fast. “Yeah! It’s pure insanity, I’m telling you! Having you here at this resort has been toooooooons of fun! Like if you could weigh fun, it would weigh like... as much as the whole planet, da-ze!”
“That much?” she grinned, pleased to have heard that.
“More than that!”
“For sure!” Suddenly Yong Soo took off running further into the water, pulling a startled Maricela along by the hand. “I’m really glad I met you!”
The pair stopped running once the water reached just above Maricela’s waist. Then Yong Soo turned to face her, tempting the idea of grabbing her other hand as well. But before he could, she was responding to his earlier comment. “I’m glad I met you as well! It’s been so much fun having someone around that I could relate to. A holiday with a friend is always one of the best kinds of holidays, right?”
“Right!” he agreed. “And yeah, I think we get on great! I mean, how long have we known each other? It feels way longer than that!”
“Sure does, huh? Especially since you’ve told me most of your life story by now, huh?” she giggled.
He shook his head. “No way! There’s still heaps I want you to know about me! And I wanna know heaps more about you too.”
“O-Oh...” she flushed slightly, glancing away from him. “There’s not much time left though...”
Drawing in a quick breath, he reached and grabbed her other hand as well, causing her to look back at him again. “Well, for this holiday, yeah... But it doesn’t have to be the last! We can meet again, right? Somewhere... somehow? I-I want to do that. Do you?” He looked hopeful. Surely she’d want to see him again, right? Or would she think it’s not possible? Oh man, he was making himself into a nervous wreck over this.
Maricela could sense the mood of the conversation. She bit her lip as he spoke, but when he directed that question at her, her brain almost went numb. Yong Soo is such a dreamer, she’s known that since the beginning. He’s optimistic and looks for the positive in everything, always trying to live life to the fullest. But real life wasn’t always that kind, she knew that. Yet at the same time...
“I want to see you again,” she replied, firm in her resolve. There was something that told her that if you find someone right for you, you’d definitely cross the globe for them. No matter the distance, you’d find a way. Maybe it was a teenage girl’s wishful thinking. Maybe it could never work. But it would hurt to never try.
With a cry of delight, Yong Soo scooped Maricela up into his arms and spun her around, her legs thrashing against the water in the process. She laughed, not quite expecting such a joyful reaction. He hugged her tight, still keeping her a bit off the ground. “You mean that? You really mean that?”
“I-I don’t like to be a liar, Yong Soo,” answered Maricela, wrapping her arms around him in return. “Why shouldn’t we meet again?”
What she expected was for him to make another exclamation of happiness. He certainly looked like he was over the moon. But what she didn’t expect was for him to lean up and—
“Whoa. Did he really?!” Maya stared at her in shock. Maricela nodded, unable to summon up a proper response just yet.
Cahaya raised an eyebrow. “...How was it? He didn’t try to...”
“Eh?! No, no..! Um...” Maricela giggled, looking down at her lap. “I-It was nice...”
“Dude! You seriously went in for the kill?” asked Alfred, a look of astonishment adorning his features. “...Did she... uh... return it?”
“She didn’t slap you afterwards, right?” asked Li Xiao, with a raised eyebrow. Mei threw him a look. Honestly, the boys’ intruding questions were ruining the moment. And Maria appeared to be with Mei on this one.
Yong Soo scoffed. “Yes and noooooooo! Why would she slap me? It’s not like I’m bad at it, da-ze! I’m a true master actually!”
“Sooooo,” Carmen began with a huge grin on her face, “was it full of passion then?”
“U-Uh..!” that was the sound of a very flustered Korean. Normally he’d be fairly shameless about admitting things, but with the whole group staring at him, wondering about this... the embarrassment factor just kind of hit him over the head. “Well... It was... It was...” he was at a loss for words, until he eventually babbled off an answer. “...the most passionate of all things passionate, duh! Like, it would outshine anyone else’s! Once in a decade, a lifetime, throughout history! Nothing could ever encompass it, in fact-”
“I think we get the picture, Yong Soo,” Li Xiao cut him off.
Yong Soo kissed her. At first, Maricela had no clue how to react to such an action. Her eyes were wide and she could kind of see that his were closed. Yong Soo on the other hand, he was starting to panic in his mind. She wasn’t responding. Clearly this meant she’s now going to turn around and hate him and that he should throw himself to the sharks before she does it first. With that thought in mind, he began to pull away. But before he could, something was stopping him.
To his surprise, Maricela had reached up to cup his face between her hands. His heart skipped a beat. She was returning his kiss very softly. There were too many thoughts racing through Yong Soo’s mind that he almost forgot what he was doing. Wait, hang on, he was holding her up, he better not drop her, not now!
They each pulled apart from the kiss, and Yong Soo finally set Maricela down again. But it wasn’t long before she embraced him, hiding her face against his chest. If he could see it, he’d see that her expression was dazed and that she’d been sent off into some kind of happy dreamland. Oh man, Yong Soo couldn’t believe what was happening. She’s just too cute! He was grinning widely when he reached out to hug her again tightly. Cloud Nine? He’s beyond that!
“H-Hey... um... Yong Soo..?”
“Does this mean that um... Draco Malfoy should edit that school project of his?”
It took Yong Soo a moment or two to work out what she meant. Upon realising, he burst out laughing and hugged her tighter. “I’d love it if he did, da-ze!”
“...Then... Then he can!”
Yong Soo was so ecstatic that he ended up leaning in to kiss her again.
It was the next morning and Dae Hyun walked into the dining area to find that Yong Soo and Maricela were sitting at a table, concentrating on writing in a notebook each. He wasn’t sure whether to question that or just avoid them, but his curiosity got the better of him.
“Dare I ask what you two are doing?” he asked, pulling up a seat and sitting down.
Yong Soo smirked. Oh boy, here comes his bragging voice. “Me and my giiiiiiiiiirlfriend are swapping contact details!” Wait, so now Yong Soo was calling her his girlfriend? Dae Hyun sighed. If Yong Soo’s got a girlfriend, that means he’s going to be talking nonstop about her for weeks. He gave Maricela another one of his classic judgemental stares.
This time Maricela was completely unfazed by his look. She did however, blush rather deeply when Yong Soo referred to her as his girlfriend. “Um, y-yeah. So um... Yong Soo, I’ve written down my email, my cellphone number, my home phone number, my facebook account name, my skype username, my home address, what else is there..?”
“...Do you have a tumblr?”
“...I’m not telling you.”
“...Fair enough. Well... yeah, I think we got it!” he nodded. The pair closed up their notebooks and exchanged them. “The moment I get home, I’m sending you a postcard, da-ze!”
“I’ll add you on facebook and skype and send you an email too! I’m good at keeping up with my contacts!”
Dae Hyun sighed to himself. He knew Yong Soo would do exactly all of those things too. Yong Soo had a lot of online friends that he communicated with regularly. Mostly friends he met via MMORPGs or something like that. Dae Hyun was never quite as compelled by them the way his brother was.
“Yay!” Maricela clapped her hands together. “I look forward to it.” Then her mother arrived, calling Maricela’s name and telling her to come make a start on packing. “Oh! Alright... Um, Yong Soo... it turns out we have to pack up a little earlier... it’s because of the time we have to check out of our rooms by...”
“Okay! Come see me when you’re done, yeah?” he received a nod in response and then he watched her leave. With a sigh, he turned to his brother. “Oh man, she really does leave today. I’m gonna miss her.”
His brother flinched. Wait, he doesn’t want to be the shoulder to cry on once Maricela’s gone! He wasn’t quite sure what to do or say, though from the outside it appeared as though he was keeping his composure. “...Indeed.”
“I mean, what if being apart from each other ruins everything? What if we can’t keep up what we finally managed to build during the weeks we were here? What if all my efforts were for nothing?!” Yong Soo clutched the notebook containing Maricela’s contact details to his chest. It was really dawning on him that he and Maricela, in just a matter of hours, were going to be far apart from each other. Even Yong Soo wasn’t sure how optimistic he should be from now on. What if some guy back in Maricela’s hometown swept her off her feet? He’s not seeing her in person each day after all...
Dae Hyun frowned at him. “If you think it’s going to all go wrong, you shouldn’t have asked her to be your girlfriend.”
“But Dae Hyuuuuuuun..!!”
“Stop whining. Look, it takes two to make something like a relationship work. You have to make the effort and so does she. Yong Soo, you’re the most annoyingly optimistic person I know. When you set your mind to something, you seem to have a way of making it work out. If it’s meant to be, then you and her will see each other again.”
Yong Soo stared at his brother, almost in disbelief. “That’s... that’s the nicest thing you’ve said to me all year..!”
“...Don’t make a spectacle out of it, I want to forget it, personally,” Dae Hyun replied, looking off to the side with a slight twinge of embarrassment. Still, it seemed to lift his brother’s spirits. That was something at least.
“...Dae Hyun should get a medal for that effort,” Mei suddenly spoke. Everyone turned to look at her. They all expected a line like that to come from Li Xiao, not her. “...What? We all know what he’s like...”
“...Should we make him a medal?” Li Xiao smirked slightly. Carmen burst out laughing, making it clear she wanted to see Dae Hyun’s face should they ever present him with such a medal. Even Arthur had this look as though he was somewhat astonished by Dae Hyun saying those things to Yong Soo. If there was ever a famous sibling pair in the school, it was Yong Soo and Dae Hyun.
“What he said wasn’t medal worthy!” Yong Soo replied, folding his arms. “...Still... it was pretty uplifting. If someone like him thinks I could make it work with Maricela despite our current distance, then well... maybe I can. It still doesn’t change the fact that I want my summer back! It was really awesome...”
Alfred finished off the last of his drink. “I want my summer back too! But hey, you can’t. So what you should do is make the next summer even better, right?” The school bell sounded, indicating the students to head back to their classrooms. “Ah, got class now. Just think on it, kay?”
“Yeah... I will.” The girls thanked Yong Soo for sharing his story, wishing him luck with Maricela – and Carmen throwing in a comment about inviting Maricela to his hometown sometime. Arthur didn’t say anything, but it seemed as though he had similar sentiments, maybe. Li Xiao patted Yong Soo on the shoulder, which was his gesture of showing his support. Alfred gave him a thumbs up and with that, the group left Yong Soo to it to go to their respective classes.
Yong Soo did feel a bit more inspired though. Having talked through the story with his friends, he felt even more confident about his feelings. Yeah, if anyone can make this work, he can! There was no more doubt regarding it. He was hopeful, almost positive that Maricela would feel the same way. She’s a really hardworking girl, she’ll definitely make efforts as well.
This could work.
Maricela could still remember the remember the goodbyes exchanged between her and Yong Soo. Lots of things were said between them. Reflecting over the memories. Funny how it all started from Dae Hyun not wanting to play on the beach, so Yong Soo decided to find someone who would. She wondered a lot about what her vacation may have been like if he hadn’t approached her on that first day at Daluyon Resort. How different would it have been? Would they have interacted later on instead? There was no way of knowing. But she was happy things turned out the way they did. She was definitely going to miss Yong Soo. Even though she has ways of contacting him, it wasn’t going to be the same as experiencing him in person, speaking face to face.
It was rather embarrassing that he kissed her goodbye right in front of her parents though. They were teasing her a lot afterwards, and when they got home and her siblings arrived back from their camp, they found out about Yong Soo right away.
She saw that he immediately added her on facebook, even going as far to make a change to their relationship status. Maricela guessed by the way her two best friends asked her about her holiday, they hadn’t checked facebook yet. But she kind of felt it was better this way. It was nice talking about the memories and letting Cahaya and Maya know exactly what kind of person this Im Yong Soo was. She hoped they’d get to meet him in future, maybe, and that they’d approve.
And everytime she looked down at her wrist and saw the pearl bracelet Yong Soo had gifted her with, she would remember everything.
And then she would smile.