147 More of What? Pt.2

    "But what if... I want more?"

    Gyuri stared at the determined look on Jimin's eyes as she tried to process his words.

    More? More of what?

    The gears in her brain turned as she tried to make sense of the situation, her heart racing as if it already knew. Drawn to his unwavering gaze, Gyuri couldn't focus on anything but Jimin. It was as if every fibre of his being was screaming for her to look at him, overwhelming her with the intense pressure of deciphering the underlying message behind his words. Everything else faded into the background.

    "More?" Gyuri nervously giggled, recoiling from his touch.

    Jimin's eyes flickered as he watched Gyuri pull away.

    "You must be really hungry, huh? If you're asking for more stew when you haven't even touched your bowl yet-" She hastily got up and headed toward the clay pot, desperate to avoid meeting his eye.

    "That is not what I meant."

    With bowl and spoon in hand, Gyuri hesitantly turned. "Then... what did you mean?"

    "It is not the stew that I want more of," Jimin spoke resolutely. He braced himself as he declared, "It is you."

    Gyuri dropped the wooden spoon.

    "I- I know this is hard to believe," Jimin fumbled, suddenly looking unsure of himself. "Even I did not want to accept it at first, but I am tired of denying it. I do not want to run away anymore. I want to face myself, but the only way I can do that is if I face you first." Jimin took a deep breath as he professed, "Gyuri, I am in love with you."

    There was silence.

    Gyuri blinked several times as Jimin's words echoed in her ears. Her heart skipped.

    Chim Chim loves... me?

    The thought was so ludicrous that she didn't know how to react. Tongue-tied and flustered, Gyuri's mind was in disarray as she muddled through her thoughts. She was so caught up in her ruminations that she blurted without thinking, "No."

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    "No?" Jimin's heart sank.

    "No, I don't believe you." Gyuri cast the bowl she had to one side before hurriedly wiping her palms on her skirt. "Quit joking around, Chim Chim. This- this isn't like you."

    "I do not jest." Jimin briskly stood up. "Why would I jest about something like this?"

    Gyuri averted her gaze. "I don't know. I thought maybe- maybe Zeren put you up to this!"

    "He did not." Jimin moved away from the table so that he was standing before her. "No one did."

    "Then what about Mayu?" Gyuri mentioned. "Aren't you interested in her?"

    "What?" Jimin was perplexed. "I am not." He ran a hand through his locks and sighed. "First Zeren and now you. Why does everyone assume I am interested in her?"

    "Because she's a good person," Gyuri replied, "and she's pretty and she's calm and your personalities mesh perfectly."

    "That may be," Jimin considered, "but despite all those merits I do not see her in that light. It was not her who I ended up falling for."

    Gyuri blushed as Jimin stared at her intently. "You're- you're just confused, Chim Chim." She laughed nervously before stepping back to create more distance between them. "It's probably because we shared a traumatic experience that you've misinterpreted your feelings from that time. Yeah, that's it!" Gyuri rambled, "Like when- when you're crossing a rickety bridge and there's someone on the other side. It's common to mistake your fear for attraction, so you're not really in love with me."

    Confused by the latter half of Gyuri's reasoning, Jimin blinked. "What?"

    "You're not really in love with me, Chim Chim," Gyuri repeated, "it's all just a misunderstanding."

    "It is not a misunderstanding," Jimin replied, exasperated, "and I am not confused. Why do you not believe me?"

    "Because you said, 'I love you' so easily." Gyuri balled her fist before looking away. "We didn't get off to a great start when we met. You were cold towards me for a while and we just started to get along as friends." Gyuri's voice shook. "Now you want to be more than friends out of the blue. Everything's just going too fast and it's too much for me to take."

    Not knowing where to look, Gyuri returned to staring at her feet again. She knew that whatever she said would hurt Jimin. Whenever feelings were involved, her mouth would run as if it had a mind of its own, spitting out words that were brutally honest. She never intended to hurt anyone.

    Why do people have to be so complicated?

    "Perhaps you are right."

    Gyuri looked up.

    "From your point of view, I can see now that my sudden confession does appear dubious."

    Gyuri watched as Jimin cautiously approached her.

    "But it was not easy for me to tell you my feelings out loud," Jimin's expression was unreadable. "For the past few months I have been trying to stop myself from thinking about you. In fact," his laugh was humourless, "I do not even know what about you I find attractive."

    Gyuri's face scrunched up in confusion.

    "I mean, you are loud, you are uncultured, and you should have been the last person in this kingdom I would ever develop feelings towards..."

    Gyuri scoffed in protest. "I'm not-"

    "...and yet, here I am," Jimin finished. He smiled, causing Gyuri to hold her tongue. "For some reason, no one else has made me feel the same way you have. Every time I think about you, every time I hear your voice..." Jimin drew closer, closing the space between them again. "You make me feel... happy. I cannot believe you ended up stealing my heart too; you really are a thief."

    Gyuri's cheeks burned.

    "I know we have not known each other for a long time and I know we have only started to get along but you already occupy a large part in here," Jimin slowly reached for her hand and gently placed it on top of his chest.

    Gyuri's eyes widened as she felt his heartbeat. It was a mirror of her own.

    "I understand if my feelings make you uncomfortable," Jimin murmured, folding his hand around hers. "I will even understand if- if you reject me..." He trembled. "But please do not discard my feelings so lightly," he raised his eyes to meet hers, "because despite me standing right in front of you, it has taken all my energy and courage to tell you these words I would not normally say."

    Gyuri searched Jimin's eyes which were earnestly boring into hers. A soft pink glow bloomed on the apples of his cheeks while his ears turned a rosy red. Gyuri had never witnessed this side of Jimin before. His touch, while gentle and warm, was hesitant, almost as if he was unsure of holding onto Gyuri's hand for too long. Before Gyuri could say anything, Jimin suddenly stepped back, his trembling hand finally releasing hers. Gyuri immediately missed the weight of it.

    "I apologise for burdening you with this," he said while forcibly smiling. "I- I should probably leave." Jimin turned on his heel and headed straight for the door.


    Before Jimin could get very far, Gyuri tugged at his sleeve causing him to halt.

    "That's not fair," she complained. Jimin turned to face Gyuri and she saw that his face was flushed like hers. "You- you can't just leave after saying all that. You didn't give me a chance to answer."

    "You... already have an answer for me?"

    Gyuri nodded.

    Jimin gulped as he waited for the response that, little did he know, could change the course of history.

    "Chim Chim, I..."
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