I’d really given up thinking that I was going to get anything from Jumin. I wanted so much to pretend that it didn’t bother me. I wanted it to not bother me. I don’t know why I expected anything in the first place. But alas, the hopeless romantic in me was just a little put out by the fact that he hadn’t even said anything to me. He’d told me that he’d be gone from the 13th until the 15th, and that it was a business trip I didn’t need to accompany him on. There’d been no mention of the holiday at all.
Part of me wondered if he remembered that it was Valentine’s Day. I can’t imagine he’d ever paid much mind to it before. So I tried to put it out of my mind and not worry about it. I’d gotten three days in the office without him adding (too much) new work to my pile. I’d finally gotten caught up. That should be present enough. But it wasn’t, and I could tell that even if he wasn’t going to say anything, Saeyoung wasn’t terribly impressed with Jumin either.
That was the other thing. I didn’t want Saeyoung to think that I wasn’t appreciative of what he’d done for me. I’d gotten an absolutely perfect Valentine’s Day dinner and dessert from him, and an amazingly thoughtful necklace. It was everything I could have dreamed of. And still, there was this piece of me that felt that I hadn’t gotten enough, apparently.
I felt like such an ungrateful bitch. Saeyoung assured me that I wasn’t, but it was hard to believe.
So when Jumin ducked out into my portion of the office to ask me to stay late almost a week later, I had absolutely no idea why he’d be in need of me after hours. Normally if he just wanted a night out with me, he’d say that. But this sounded like business. Very odd.
Once we’d made it down to the car and Mr. Kim was driving us off, I finally looked at him. “Where are we going?”
“Not too far. It will be easier for you to see than for me to describe.”
“…okay.” Vague answers. Even more unusual for Jumin, and significantly less helpful. I sighed and leaned back in the car seat, closing my eyes. “How was your trip? I don’t remember if I asked.”
“You did not, and it was uneventful. It went entirely as expected, and was the success we predicted.” I could feel him shrug. “That is one of the primary reasons I did not see reason for you to come. It would have been a great deal of sitting and listening to tedious nonsense. I did not want to inflict that on you.”
“Even the gentleman.” I smiled softly, and felt him take my hand in his, our fingers interlacing. The time the three of us–Jumin, Saeyoung, and I–all together seemed to have given Jumin a bit more confidence that Saeyoung wasn’t going to take off his head if he was affectionate with me. It made everything much more comfortable, even if the boys were still finding their balance in it all.
Who knew, my past relationships would have actually prepared me for something like this. Except this time, I knew what not to do. I knew how to do it right–theoretically.
He entertained me with stories of his trip–and from the sounds of it, it had been exactly as boring as he’d warned me so I was more than happy I hadn’t gone–until finally I felt the car stop. I didn’t recognize the neighborhood, but it was significantly more…middle class than I expected of anywhere Jumin would voluntarily go. It was still upper-middle, so reminiscent of some of the houses back in Salisbury, but not quite the West End. “Jumin?”
“Ah, we’re here.” He got out of the car, and I knew better by now than to try and get out before he’d gotten the door for me. Entirely unnecessary, but if it made him feel better, I wasn’t going to argue.
“Yeah, but where is here, exactly?” I looked around. It was a gorgeous neighborhood, with a good-sized yard from what I could see, a balcony looking out over the front, and what was probably a two-car garage to the side.
He gestured toward the house. “Come look.”
“Are we allowed in?” But the door was unlocked, and Jumin walked in with confidence, so I followed. Inside was even nicer. Crisp clean white kitchen, large living room with a fireplace, an even more beautiful yard than I’d expected, and an amazing view out toward the mountains. “Jumin, it’s beautiful, but I’m still lost.”
I turned around to see him holding a pair of keys, which he held out to me. “Here.”
“Wh…what?” I stepped toward him.
“It’s yours. Or rather, it’s ours. It’s about time I moved out of the penthouse, anyway. If I’m going to make myself a new person…stop living the life of a secluded bachelor, then perhaps the first option is to move out from the same building I work in.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Somehow, Saeyoung buying me the cottage was an entirely different feeling. He’d gotten me–us, I suppose–a getaway, somewhere we could go to be away. Jumin…had bought a home. For both of us. Even if he knew that I wouldn’t be here all the time, he wanted somewhere we could be at “home” together, and not have it be the penthouse. Not be caught up in past memories, not being right on top of C&R. I started to tear up. “Jumin…”
“I know it’s not the same as if we were an exclusive couple, and I don’t expect this to be your primary residence. But it will be mine. And just as you did at the penthouse…you will always have a home here. That might have been my home…but this will be ours.”
I ran over to him, wrapping my arms around him in a tight hug. “Oh my god, Jumin… Thank you…”
“Happy Valentine’s Day. I apologize that it’s so delayed, but there had been issues with some kind of regulation… I’m not entirely sure, but it pushed everything back. I should have been able to take you here as soon as I returned from my trip. But when that didn’t pan out, I didn’t want to attempt to put together some half-hearted attempt at a present just to fill the space. I…I was afraid you’d think I’d forgotten.”
“Well…” I coughed, pulling back to look at him. “I did, kinda. I was joking with Saeyoung that your present was that I’d gotten three days in the office without you there. But…I don’t know. I know relationships aren’t really something you’re used to, and Valentine’s Day is one you really wouldn’t have a lot of experience with…”
Anything I was going to say after that was cut off by Jumin catching my lips in a firm kiss, hand at the back of my neck. Startled, it took me a moment to relax, but I surrendered to the embrace, threading my fingers into his hair. It was so rare, these intense moments of honest passion from the businessman. Even now, his norm was to be more subdued with his affection, a slow burn that satisfied all the same, but it didn’t quite have the same abrupt fire that so much of my relationship with Saeyoung had.
I liked the balance, honestly. It made the quiet moments with Saeyoung–and the wild moments with Jumin–all the more treasured.
It was a long moment before he let me pull back, tingling from the sensation and breathless. “I have waited all my life for an occasion like this,” he said, voice little more than a rumble in his chest. “For a woman…a person…I could truly devote myself to. Someone I trusted enough to love…and pray they loved me in return. I may have taught myself how to subdue emotion, but I have never rid myself of it. You showed me…that it does not need to be useless, something to be dismissed and considered irrational. You have opened up a world to me where I can have both an emotional and a rational reaction to something…and have them both be acceptable. It broke my heart to leave you on the 14th, and I was only able to manage it because I knew that Saeyoung would not leave you be that day. So this is my Valentine’s Day for you, my angel. A commitment…a promise, to you from myself. A promise that I am working to be a better man, a commitment to building a home with you, whatever that may entail. A symbol of the depth to which I am willing to go to make that happen.” There was a beat, and I met his grey eyes with my own. “I love you, Rion. No power on earth or in heaven will ever change that, and no demon in hell would dare try.”
I just wrapped my arms around him, burying my face in his shoulder. “It’s perfect. I don’t care that it’s late. I love it. I love you.” I felt his hands gently trace up and down my back. “Can we decorate it together?”
“I’d be quite disappointed if you didn’t want to share that with me.” I could hear the faint smile he got edge onto his lips, and when I pulled back to kiss those same lips, I was right. “I did get you a bracelet, if the house didn’t meet your satisfaction.”
I barked out a laugh. “Do I still get both?”
“I suppose, if you insist.”