129 A Wilful Seed Pt.2

    A knock on the door caused Mayu and Gyuri to peer over their shoulders.

    "Miss Mayu?"

    There, hovering by the door, was the servant boy. Dressed in discoloured clothing, the young lad shifted his gaze from Mayu to Gyuri and back again. "I have a letter for you," he said as he lifted the folded piece of paper in his hand. "I was told a reply is urgently needed."

    Mayu abruptly stood up.

    Gyuri curiously gaped at her.

    "I'm sorry, Gyuri," Mayu blurted, her tone mildly alarmed. "Do you mind watching over Master Namjoon for me? I will be right back."


    "Thank you!" Mayu bolted to the door before Gyuri had time to ask anything more.

    Once both she and the servant boy had disappeared, Gyuri turned her attention back to Namjoon. With Mayu gone, the room suddenly felt much emptier. "I wonder what that was all about," Gyuri mumbled to herself. "I hope it wasn't anything bad..." She scooted closer to Namjoon by occupying Mayu's seat. As Gyuri resumed wiping the sweat from Namjoon's face, a sudden thought came to her: how long has it been since she and Namjoon had been alone together?

    "Don't go thinking about those things now, Subin," Gyuri scolded herself, her cheeks flaming at the thought. "He's just a..." but then, she paused.

    What was he to her?

    Under the glow of the flickering candlelight, Gyuri's eyes traced Namjoon's features, all the while contemplating that very question. The sound of his breathing, while barely audible, was the only thing distracting her from bringing her fanciful thoughts to the fore. And as if the world was conspiring against her, even the shadows teased her by dancing around Namjoon's eyes, nose, lips. Like playful imps, they were provoking her into acknowledging the feelings that she so strongly denied.

    You care for him.

    Gyuri squirmed uncomfortably on her seat.

    "You're so stupid," she berated herself. "Stop thinking about those things." She shook her head fervently to banish such thoughts. "We can't lose focus now. We have to get back home-"


    At the sound of a husky voice, Gyuri almost leapt out of her stool. It was only faint, but she was sure she heard someone speak.

    "...missed you."

    Gyuri let out a sigh of relief upon realising it was Namjoon who had spoken. Geez, you scared the hell out of me. She frowned at Namjoon as she tried to regain her composure. "Master Namjoon..." Gyuri tentatively whispered. "Are you awake?"

    A low groan escaped Namjoon's lips as he shifted in his sleep, his features slowly morphing to one of distress. He cried out, "No... Stop...!"

    Gyuri jumped.

    Alarmed by his shouting, she got up to help him when she noticed that his eyes were still closed.

    Could he be having a bad dream?

    "It's okay, Master Namjoon," Gyuri spoke in what she hoped was a soothing voice. "It's just a dream," she murmured, "everything's alright, you're okay."

    But still, Namjoon's distressed expression remained unchanged.

    Remembering what her dad used to do, Gyuri placed her small hand on top of his, flinching slightly at his feverish temperature. He's still burning up... she thought as she gently dabbed at his brow with her other hand. It will be bad if his fever doesn't go down.

    After a few moments, Namjoon's writhing ceased.

    Gyuri was relieved to see that it had worked. "That's right, Master Namjoon, everything will be okay. You're alright."

    But just as she was about to remove her hand, Namjoon unexpectedly spoke again, "...Please... not leave..." His hand shifted from underneath hers as if he was trying to grab onto something. "I cannot..."

    Gyuri looked down at his slender fingers which were twitching with effort. "It's okay, Master Namjoon. I'm right here."

    But again, Namjoon grew restless. Her words seemed to have lost their effect.

    Unsure of what else to do, Gyuri threaded her hand into his, hoping that it would calm him down. His febrile skin stung her like hot steam and she winced. But instead of letting go, Gyuri squeezed his palm, hoping that it would be enough to reassure him. To her surprise, Namjoon responded by curling his fingers around hers.

    "Master Namjoon?"

    Gyuri glanced up as Namjoon let out a long breath, his expression peaceful once more. Like an innocent child, he slept soundly while their hands remained intertwined. But while Namjoon was lost in blissful slumber, Gyuri, by contrast, became flustered by their connection.

    Maybe she had a fever too.

    "You're unfair, Master Namjoon," Gyuri mumbled as she turned her face away. She looked down at their joined hands, the warmth of his feverish skin blending with hers. "Why are you making it hard for me not to think about you?"

    Despite her reservations, Gyuri stared at Namjoon expectantly as if waiting for him to respond. She knew from the way her heart raced that what feelings she harboured for him were growing despite all her efforts to quash them. Like a wilful seed, they continued to thrive even in the most barren of conditions. And it was only a matter of time before Namjoon found out. After all, even if Gyuri was hesitant to say it out loud, her heart couldn't lie. Even the slightest touch or the merest look was enough to crack her rigid façade.

    It was only Namjoon who had that power over her.

    "I don't want to fall for you," Gyuri confessed, unable to contain her worries. "I can't..." She looked across the room, where a full-length mirror stood in the shadows. Staring back at her was a young woman with a look so vulnerable that she almost didn't recognise herself. "Because if I do, it will only make things harder when I find out a way to get back home." She blinked and her reflection changed- it was someone in a school uniform- her school uniform. "And I must go home. I have to go back to where I belong."

    Gyuri shifted her attention from the mirror to Namjoon and saw that he was still sleeping, her secret confession unheard. She laughed at herself, both in relief and disappointment.

    "What am I doing?" Gyuri scoffed, her voice wavering from nerves. She breathed in and out slowly to steady her palpitating heart. "I'm not normally like this."

    She peeped at Namjoon's angelic face that bore an uncanny resemblance to a sleeping prince. With eyes perfectly fringed by long eyelashes and full lips slightly parted, Gyuri was entranced by his allure. Was this how the prince felt when he stared down at his sleeping beauty?

    "They're worried about you getting close to the Kims."

    Gyuri shook her head and forced herself to lean back. "Ugh," she groaned, "something must be wrong with me." She tore her eyes away from Namjoon as Pho's voice echoed in her head. "I can't..." she mumbled to herself as a wave of guilt washed over her. "Whatever it is I feel for you is wrong." She stared at Namjoon again as the guilt weighed down on her, settling near the pit of her stomach like a hoard of butterflies. Gyuri clutched her abdomen as the fluttering anxiety suddenly grew into a dull ache. She winced as the ache turned into a sharp pain.

    "Could it be...?"

    Gyuri squirmed on her seat, immediately conscious of the fact that a month had passed since her last menstruation. And as if Mother Nature had orchestrated the whole affair, Gyuri was suddenly blessed with the urgent need to relieve herself.

    She glanced back at the door.

    "Where are you, Mayu?" she gritted out as she crossed her legs. Peering back down, Gyuri saw that Namjoon had become agitated again. He fidgeted in his sleep, a visible crease appearing on his forehead. Gyuri stared at their connected hands as she attempted to calculate how long she could endure a full bladder. But as she pinched her legs even closer together, the dreaded possibility of an impending red stain soiling her skirt drifted into her thoughts.

    It was enough to motivate her to make haste for the lavatory.

    "I'm sorry, Master Namjoon," Gyuri clumsily apologised. "I'll be right back-" She stood up quickly and had almost untangled their hands when suddenly, Namjoon grabbed hold of her wrist, simultaneously pulling her back down.

    What happened next caused Gyuri's mind to go blank.

    Entangled in his arms, Gyuri was dumbfounded to find Namjoon's face right in front of hers. The warmth of his touch, his skin, his lips sent a strange tingling sensation coursing through her veins, igniting a foreign flame within her- something that caused her to see fireworks exploding in her mind's eye like white flashes.

    It was like being shocked with electricity.

    With Namjoon's lips pressed against hers, everything for Gyuri seemed to have stopped. Beyond herself and Namjoon, nothing else existed. It was like she was spirited away to a different world; where the wrong seemed right and the right seemed wrong. Where stations and age didn't matter; where she could freely allow herself to love because she knew Namjoon was a man that could be trusted. Gyuri was excited and confused, but most of all, she felt a spark.

    And it was the first time she had ever felt this way.

    "Tzu-lin... she... she did something unforgivable."

    Finally regaining her wits, Gyuri pushed Namjoon away in embarrassment, accidentally striking him in the face. Namjoon fell back on his bed like a ragdoll, his eyes still shut in deep sleep.

    "I- I'm-" Shocked by what had transpired, Gyuri sprinted to the door without a second glance. She decided to worry about apologising later.

    But just as she was about to depart, Namjoon groaned. "Ha...nae."

    Gyuri left before she could listen to anymore.

    When she finally reached the safety of a hidden corner, Gyuri collapsed against the wall, her legs wobbling with fatigue. The faint taste of medicine still lingered in her mouth, bitter and vile but the kiss was sweet.

    Why were his lips so sweet?

    "This is bad," she muttered to herself as she tried to stop a smile from appearing. Gyuri slapped her hands against her cheeks and panicked when she felt how hot they were- she must look like a tomato right now!

    But with the sound of her heart thumping against her chest, Gyuri knew that her flushed face was the least of her problems. For while she denied her heart of the chance to love, Gyuri realised that the feelings she harboured for Namjoon was no longer a wilful seed that she could control.

    That wilful seed was now a flower in full bloom.
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