Two - Fortuitous
Jaejoong fastened up his stride. 7.17 pm. Three more minutes or else he would be claimed as late. The grey Oxford’s heels he bought at a garage sale years before clanking on the floors (polished cement, very de rigour). Regrets swam all over inside him, feeling rather qualms for bathing too long, and even stopped by to entertain the Siberian Husky next door when he knew he had to be quick.
Soon coming to an eye with the restaurant entrance, the medical resident heaved a sigh.
“Reservation for two,” the raven said. “Under Kim Jaejoong.”
“Yes, sir.” Her hands rattled on the reservation screen in front of her, searching for the specific name and table number. “Your companion had been waiting for fifteen minutes,” she informed kindly, not making the situation any better. She grabbed two menus from the cabinet and led him into the restaurant. It was weekend and the place was overhauled with every sorts of people. Still a mystery to Jaejoong on how his companion, as the host called, could get a reservation to such an exclusive place which flocked with elites as they say.
“This way, sir,” the host gestured politely, leading him to much more private section. “Let me help you with this,” she said as she helped him off from the blue trench coat.
Jaejoong was about to sit to where the host had pointed previously when he hesitated. Is this what he really wanted? Or is this what someone else wanted? Maybe, he could turn back then and run away. But is he willingly to break the promise he had made after so long …
And he found himself approaching the table by the window. From a far, the person was tapping on his right foot under the table while eyes darting back and forth to his watch. So he was not the sole soul who was nervous after all.
“Sorry for my tardiness. I’m Kim Jaejoong,” the raven bowed slightly as greeting.
“So it was really you.”
The raven furrowed his brows as he looked right through the eye of the one’s speaking. Surprise is fun, usually. But Jaejoong was not sure how to react to this one.
His date came over and pulled him into the velvety-cushioned seat upon seeing no reaction coming from him, except the gawking part.
Saving Jaejoong from any further embarrassment, the host from before showed up, holding a plate of nachos along with a tray laden with two glasses of water. Those he placed in front of the two men together with a couple of menus before exiting with a bow.
“I’m just as surprised as you are when I read through the file that the company sent earlier. I assumed you hadn’t look up on mine yet?”
Hearing that sent his memories flying back to yesterday. The company did emailed him the info for the date but he was too occupied on arranging his schedule to open the file attachment he was meaning to open beforehand. Thus, he came out here unprepared with whom he was having lunch with. How unethical is that.
“Never mind,” the latter’s lips curled into a small smile. Jaejoong couldn’t guess if he was being sincere or maybe that’s just another wicked smile. “As long as you made yourself here, I’m more than delighted.” And so the raven decided to go for sincere. The latter was not like how he had imagined him before but maybe he’s not that bad after all.
Jaejoong pulled up the menu in front of him and turned it page by page. Eyes darting on every price tags. He couldn’t believe people would actually spend that much money just for a bowl of soup. It’s not that he couldn’t afford, there’s a lot of other things to be thinking about besides food. He felt light-headed just by discerning of it without knowing his date was staring at him, watching every kind of expression he made all along.
“Anything interest you?” He asked, breaking the silence. “This place famous for their salmon. Maybe you want to have a try?”
“So have I heard? I’m not a fussy eater. I’ll take whatever you have,” Jaejoong pushed the menu aside and drank the water a little to sooth his throat.
They placed their orders and the waiter left quickly, attending to another customers afterwards.
Folding his pale hands on the table, Jaejoong probed him, “So why?”
“Blind date,” the medical resident pointed out. His mind pounding with all sorts of thoughts. The person in front of him could have anyone in the world he wishes for yet he’s meeting someone for a lunch, arranged by a matchmaking company.
A lively face with nicely cut brown hair framing, expressive almond eye, a slightly upturned nose and a bright smile with perfect teeth. Let’s not forget the small mole set just on his upper lip. He was certainly the epitome of perfection.
Heaving a sigh, he responded, “Jihye signed me up on the matchmaking company.” At the mention of the au fait name, Jaejoong wrinkled his brows then again he didn’t interrupt and let him continued. “She told me to get a life and find someone to get married to. As I quote from her, ‘you write happy ending, but when are you going to find your own.’ Thus here I am, sitting in front of you, going on a blind date at some fancy place.”
“Yes, Jihye. You know that she’s my lil’ sis right?”
And Jaejoong felt like the world stopped. So everything had been wrong all this while. In point of fact, Jihye wasn’t married to him. What he saw were just a mere sibling’s squabble, not a newlywed’s quarrel that happened every so often. Just stupid thoughts. He hated someone for being judgemental, yet he ended up being one of them.
“What about you?”
“You asked me why I’m here, what about you? What brings you here?”
The raven shook his head and offered a warm smile.
“I— I’m just fulfilling … an old folk’s wish.”
No words were exchanged and yet, both felt as if they had spoken plenty. Although thoughts were pondering Yunho’s mind, he didn’t bother to ask more. After all, it was only their first encounter (or maybe second if the one on grocery store counted). Seeing how things had been smooth as silk so far, the novelist could certainly see a third one coming. Rest assured, plenty of time ahead to get to know each other, he mumbled.
Straightening himself out, Jaejoong cleared his throat and tried figuring out topics to bring out on the table. He was already there, seated and introduced himself, though it wasn’t a pleasing one but it didn’t hurt to enjoy the evening. Any money spent there shouldn’t be wasted.
At once, he settled for something light.
“What’s your favourite thing to do?”
“Favourite thing to do? Like my pastime?”
“Yeah. Don’t you have one?”
“I had one.”
“HAD?! That’s an absurd thing to say. From scale 1 to 10, how ridiculous can you be?”
“Probably 9.9,” Yunho replied sneakily before chuckling, making his eyes scrunched smaller and his chiselled cheekbones jutted higher in between of the bronze skin altogether. What was once a quiet tootle turned into approximately much louder, seeking the attention of upper class patrons.
The young raven literally felt as if he was to shoot by dozen of officious wandering eyes. The feelings were in some way horrid and pretty much uncalled for. The only thing he managed to think of was, –
“Ouch! What was that for?”
Others were unable to notice due to the fancy monochrome embroidered silk tablecloth shielding the pine table top but Jaejoong definitely positive that the latter keenly on rubbing his kicked knee under the table. Guess he did get to put what he learnt in martial arts class for a good use. He should thanked Yoochun later for the pushes.
Before anything escalated even further, the waiter came out just then, bearing the ordered dishes in silver plates. The splendid aroma of spices perceived his lightheaded mind.
Picking up their own set of cutlery, they glanced at each other, speaking almost at the same moment, “Please enjoy your meal,” as if in sync, and ready to savour the delicate dish.
- - -
The night was windy and the cold air seemed to be tailing Jaejoong around just as he set his feet to the paved sidewalk. He gripped onto the side hems of his thin trench coat, praying it was warm enough.
“Thanks for the meal. It was really good.”
“It’s nothing. Thanks for coming, though. I had a great time.”
“But Yunho,” they decided to drop the formalities upon knowing they’re practically same age, both born on February, only to be separated by few days. “Next time, let me pay.”
Yunho felt his chest tightened and the overwhelming fluttering pain flew over his stomach. He peeked over his shoulder, eyeing the raven, knew exactly what those words meant.
- - -