After Story 9: After Story: Happily Ever After (9)
He looked back at his own past. Even though it had already been a long time, he could still close his eyes and see it vividly in his memories.
Because of how precious his daily life was, the problems thrown by reality that brought him to devastation were shivering cold like the blade of a knife.
Since the start of his wounds had been from daily life, he was no longer able to take in that daily life with a comfortable heart. It was an anxiety that stemmed from his mental scars.
He would oftentimes feel uneasy despite being calm most of the time, and that appeared to be the same for Bom.
How long ago was it that she started having such symptoms? Looking back at how her hair started turning green immediately after their reunion, he noticed that it must have been from the start. That meant Bom had also been suppressing her surging anxiety by acting composed like he did.
Thinking about it like that, he felt a sense of kinship rather than pity.
He opened his mouth.
“You don’t have to be that worried.”
“We won’t fight like before, right?”
“That will never happen.”
“And you don’t like, hate me on the inside or anything?”
“Of course not. Why would I hate you after coming this far?”
“So is everything okay? Are we all happy?”
“Yes. You don’t need to be anxious about anything. Think about all the things we went through to obtain this happiness. Why would we let go of it?”
“Right. That’s right…”
Like a broken dam, her lips shivered and endlessly poured out words.
“Nn. You’re right. I know. I know but… I know there’ll be nothing happening to us and I’m also sure that we will continue living happily but…”
“You don’t sound like it at all.”
“That’s the strange part. Even though everything is definitely making me happy, I keep getting scared and I keep on having these insecure thoughts…”
Her eyelids started to tremble. It was something she had never shown after returning to daily life.
Yu Jitae squinted his eyes.
“Bom. Let’s calm down. Take a deep breath.”
“D, do you not like green hair?”
“What is this about all of a sudden.”
“Does my green hair appear like a symbol of disbelief? Or maybe it doesn’t make me look as pretty?”
She asked while tightly grasping onto her hair but he shook his head in return. Bom was still pretty and the colour was not important.
“Then, you know. Nn. What if I tie it like this? You know how I don’t tie my hair very often.”
Saying that, she suddenly took out the elastic band that was around her wrist and began tying her hair. It was quite rare as she said to see her in a ponytail.
“Do you still not hate me?”
He naturally didn’t hate her. Hairstyle had nothing to do with it.
Over time, Yu Jitae realised that there must be a reason why Bom was feeling so uneasy. There was something – something that made her think to herself that she would be discarded.
“What if I cut my hair?”
“It will suit you.”
“What if it’s very short? Like bob hair?”
“That will also suit you.”
“What about a boyish short cut? What if I look like a boy?”
“It’ll be nice and refreshing.”
“W, what if I shave my hair?”
“Did I go too far…?”
Although they ended it with a light joke, there was uneasiness hanging in her eyes like fruits as she melancholically gazed at him. There was no brainwash now, and her love didn’t seem serious like that of a mental patient. Seeing her do that made her look quite cute, but the topic at hand was most certainly something that required a serious approach.
“It doesn’t matter. Whether you shave your hair or tie it to a pigtail. I might find it funny over time, but I do not think that will be a reason for me to hate you.”
“Do you mean it?”
“What if I can’t have babies?”
For a moment, he thought he heard it wrong but Bom still had a serious and gloomy look on her face as she gazed into his eyes.
Can’t have babies?
“…What was that?”
“Even if I can’t have babies, will you still not hate me?”
“Do you mean you can’t have one right now?”
She turned even gloomier after hearing his question. Drops of tears were budding beneath her eyes.
Tears travelled down her cheeks as soon as she finished her words. She blinked her eyes on repeat as two and three drops of tears fell from her eyes.
He finally realised what that long set of questions at the start was for.
“There’s something I have to confess.”
While controlling her emotions, Bom started composedly confessing about her past. The things that weren’t included when she first talked about her past events during their reunion were starting to be revealed one by one.
A broken conception organ, a body that cannot have babies as well as how she failed upon dozens of attempts.
Yu Jitae felt disordered throughout her speech.
Some wounds were left behind as scars even after being healed and burned one’s skin endlessly, all the way until death.
Beasts had trouble withstanding the sensitive and aching pain of their skin and lived while unendingly licking their scars. And that would become a habit that sticks deeper over time.
Like how countless soldiers live the rest of their life in misfortune after a war.
Bom’s confession was not just representative of her own circ.u.mstances. Yu Jitae was in a similar state. The scenes he often saw in his dreams would show the kids killing each other in the worst forms and kept on instilling an unhappy image in his brain.
In this place were two wounded beasts leaning on each other.
“Will you still, not hate me…?”
However, they were different from the past. Although elements like these tended to become a problem after stacking themselves up, Bom no longer tried to hide her deficits with deceit.
It was time for him to also show his sincerity.
“I need to confess as well.”
There was something he had prepared immediately after coming to his senses, which he had been delaying constantly while waiting for the right opportunity.
Yu Jitae walked up to the nervous and uneasy Bom and took out a small box from his dimensional storage.
How was this supposed to be done? He couldn’t remember it properly but there were a few things he saw, so he got down on one of his knees.
Then, he handed her the box as wonder appeared in the eyes of Bom who had been waiting for him to continue.
The box cracked open.
He remembered how baby Bom used to think there were only black flowers in the world. To explain freedom to that child, Yu Jitae had shown her all sorts of colours.
Because of those memories, this time he prepared a white flower.
“Bom. This is my reply.”
The white flower bud slowly started to blossom.
On the other hand, Bom shrunk her body. It was because she saw a ring that was hiding inside the white flower.
The flower hanging in Yu Jitae’s hand gave off a white radiance of light through the dark night.
“Please marry me.”
Her eyes widened into circles and she covered her mouth to stop her emotions from flooding out.
It wasn’t easy for her to take the ring. Tears constantly fell down her cheeks and her wrists and her hands were therefore very busy.
Her tears still refused to stop so Bom gave a bright smile that bloomed through her tears. The statement that people became happy by smiling might be true – her emotions started bursting out like water through a broken dam as everything started to feel realistic.
Bom gave a very slow nod. She then fully wrapped her trembling hands around his neck as he stayed on one of his knees.
“I’ll be glad to…”
The proposal and the short date they had alone were all over in the blink of an eye. It was time to go back to the cabin.
On the way back, Bom walked while holding onto his hand as her feet trampled on the rustling leaves.
Even though it was late at night, the streets were still bright thanks to the abundant street lamps. People that had no thoughts of diligently staying at their cabins in this campsite were still energetically playing outside with firecrackers.
Suddenly, a group of young kids appeared. They chuckled while running off somewhere by themselves with tiny shoes on their feet.
Bom’s hand holding onto his hand suddenly turned stiff, so he clenched his grip while faintly covering her sight with his other hand.
“What are you looking at? We’re going this way.”
His words made her heart flutter once again.
Even though she was feeling it everyday at every instant, it was times like this that made her feel an immense amount of love that pushed her rationality off into the distance.
That was why Bom couldn’t take her eyes off of his face throughout the way back to the cabin.
It was when they were in the forest nearby. 300 more metres and they would be at the cabin but Bom suddenly halted her feet.
Yu Jitae felt resistance from her hand as he stopped and turned back to her. He stared at her flushed cheeks in puzzlement and opened his mouth.
“What are you…?”
It was then.
As if she resolved herself, Bom lifted her hands and started undoing the hair that was tied behind her hair.
With an indifferent expression and circular eyes, she untied her hair and dishevelled it by running her fingers across.
Her hair that had been slowly returning to green rapidly began to be tainted in darkness like magic.
After changing her hair to pure black, Bom pulled him by his hand and started walking somewhere. She energetically pulled him forward so he obediently followed from behind as Bom glanced around before opening an alternate dimension.
A small room with nothing but one bed revealed itself, and Bom immediately realised that this place was the one she saw in the past using her Eye of Providence…
She didn’t need any more totems.
Bom decided to trust him even more.
When the door of the alternate dimension came to a close, an ambient source of light emerged from the ceiling and brightened up the dark and small room.
Their lips converged. This time, he didn’t avoid her.
Bom let out a moan after getting her neck and collarbones bitten. His lips slowly travelled further down.
When he supported her b.u.m with his powerful arms and raised her up into the air, she instinctively wrapped her arms around his neck.
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Because of the difference in their height, her feet almost never landed on the ground.
The mechanism itself was simple. Taking a deep breath in, she tightened her vocal cords and moved her lips.
It was a tense moment.
Phrase Number 1, ready.
“I. am. Yu Gyeoul.”
It was a bit wonky but she could finally speak! Gyeoul hopped on the spot with a bright smile. She was so happy that she almost flew into the air.
At the same time, all the hard and agonising times that went by due to her inability to speak properly melted like Spring snow. How sad had she been? Her unnis teased her every time, and she couldn’t even talk to Yu Jitae even when there was something she enjoyed.
All she could do was chew on a pacifier to endure through the hardships. Gyeoul wanted to dash out of the door and give a mouthful to Bom, Yeorum and Kaeul who used to tease her all the time.
“Yu Yeorum. is. trash.”
Just like that…!
However, Gyeoul inside the mirror shook her head.
No no no. This is not it.
She was finally able to speak, and she wanted the first target of her speech to be Yu Jitae.
Her plan was to sneak up to him and mumble like always. That was what she had been like until just yesterday, and Yu Jitae would probably hug her without knowing anything.
That would be when she says, ‘Daddy.’ How surprised would he be?
Gyeoul tightened her fists in excitement. This was the day she had been waiting for the whole time.
Now was not the time for this.
Looking at the mirror, she decided to practise to make it the most perfect confession in the world.
“Daddy. I. missed you.”
“Daddy. I. missed you.”
“Daddy. I. missed you…”
After saying it dozens of times to herself, she at last readied herself to say the perfect line.
She placed her hand on the door k.n.o.b leading to the living room, but that was when words that were completely outside her expectations were heard from the other side of the door.
– Dude!!! Yu Jitae’s a daddy nowwww!
It was Yeorum’s shout.
Gyeoul was startled and her hands were frozen stiff.
Yu Jitae, what?
What nonsense was that idiot Yu Yeorum talking about?
She was about to turn the door k.n.o.b while glossing over her words but that was when Kaeul followed suit.
– Hukk, that’s insane…! Ahjussi! You’re a daddy now! A daddy!!
Kaeul yelled while running to the veranda to look for Yu Jitae. Following that were cheers, screams and touched voices. Hearing those cheers and tears, Gyeoul turned stiff yet again.
A thunder was going off in her head.
Gyeoul also knew about the nature of Yu Jitae and Bom’s relationship. She was no longer a kid, and knew the things that were happening between them and was also expecting such a day to arrive but…
Why did it have to be today of all days?
“This. can’t. be…”
Her mind turned dizzy.
Everyone in the living room appeared to be thinking that she was still sleeping, and didn’t even come looking for her. Without going out to the living room, Gyeoul turned around and gazed outside the window.
Resting her chin on her small hands, she organised her thoughts.
Pushing aside the slightly regretful timing, Gyeoul also felt her heart beating fast.
For goodness sake. Yu Jitae’s child? How cute would the baby be?
She shouldn’t be staying holed up in her room by herself, and should go outside and celebrate with everyone else. There was still a lot of time to spend together as well as happy memories to build, so the best option would be to decorate the starting point of a new relationship as happily as possible.
After clearing her throat, Gyeoul turned around. She was about to walk to the living room, but suddenly halted her steps and returned to the window.
Reaching out with her small hands, she grabbed on the hinged window and pulled it to a close. While she was closing the window, her blue eyes flickered through the gap but when the window was fully shut, the inside of the house was no longer visible.
But after another sound of a door being shut, there were more bustling noises resonating from the living room. Most of those sounds were that of laughter.
What was happening inside was no longer something others could see.
However, there was one thing that was certain.
As long as they were together, they would continue living happily ever after.
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