A/N: Well I really do have no excuse for taking forever to get this up, and not just this chapter but every chapter before it as well. I guess I really did forget about it since this was actually a story that I wrote years ago. I want to thank everyone on Fictionpress who supported my fic, who reviewed it, who favorite it, who left me messages urging me to post up the next chapter. Really, I cannot thank you guys enough. I promise that if in the future, I actually decide to write another story, I will update it a lot more often than I have with this one. Thank you everyone.
` Chapter Forty-one
Machines beeping and signaling life, nurses rushing with clipboards pressed to their chests, distance murmurs of visitors conversing, a patient a bed over struggling to continue breathing. As Danny Im waited impatiently by Yoon EunHye's side, he took in these surroundings, re-noticing them all for the umpteenth time since they had arrived.
The doctor had refused to report anything of EunHye's condition without a relative present, but Danny was hoping beyond hope that his intuition of EunHye being fine was correct. All he could do now was stay by her side, hand clasped tightly in hers, wishing for the best.
Resounding footsteps were heard, growing nearer and nearer as they sounded, and life stirred within Danny at the sparse hope that it was the doctor, allowing him a chance to glimpse slightly more information of EunHye's condition. He rose to his feet and turned to the door, eyes glimmering with hope, but was met by the unfamiliar sight of a middle-aged man.
Yet just looking at this stranger, Danny felt a flicker of familiarity course throughout him. The connection that this was EunHye's father clicked instantaneously, and was confirmed after Danny saw a girl who couldn't be much older than himself appear behind him.
So this was Mr. Yoon and his infamous girlfriend.
Danny knew it was rude but he scowled, musing at how tactless of EunHye's father it had been to come consorted by one of EunHye's least favorite people.
"Were you the boy who called me?" Mr. Yoon's eyes rested on Danny, eyes scooping him into speculation, seizing him, quickly generating judgments and assumptions about him so quickly before Danny could even think to redeem himself.
Mutely, he nodded.
"Yoon TaeSuk," the man greeted, drawing closer while still speculating Danny's form.
For a few moments, Danny merely glared, his eyes narrowed and lips drawn tight, still marveling at the audacity of this man to bring his girlfriend.
"EunHye's never mentioned you before," EunHye's father commented.
"We're classmates," Danny said coolly, "She's mentioned you though."
Mr. Yoon looked slightly taken aback, as though unsure of just how to handle that comment. Taking in the partially narrowed, almost glaring dark brown eyes of this teenage boy's expression, his mind began to reel with wonder about what exactly this boy was referring to. Yoon TaeSuk tarried for a moment longer, his eyes swooping Danny Im's form once more, searching for even just a clue of what the boy was thinking. Then he looked behind him, towards his girlfriend who was staring back at Danny Im was innocent, unblinking eyes, and then to Danny once more.
His eyes lingered just a few seconds longer before he jilted his chin sharply and did a u-turn out of the door without uttering a word of explanation. Danny didn't stop to think for a second longer about the man's peculiar actions. Instead, he only clutched EunHye's hand in his tighter, lifting his other hand to cup hers while gazing longingly at her pale face.
He reached an arm forward to smooth her dark brown hair, the pad of his thumb brushing across her cheek as he did so.
His stomach clenched at the sight of her looking so frail, so venerable to anyone as she laid on the hospital bed, her chest rising and falling at a slow, steady rate. Yet at the same time, it was his only reassurance of hope.
He didn't know why he was murmuring her name. The call just seemed to roll off of his tongue, his mind only half-conscious of her name overturning and vibrating in his throat.
EunHye, EunHye, EunHye...
It was all he could think about. She was all he could think about. Oh God, it'd been his entire fault. His entire fault. If only he hadn't run. If only he hadn't let go of her hand. If only he had complied.
His attention snapped back with a start, eyes wide and willing for her to say his name once more. Just once more. Tell me once more that you're okay. Just one more time. Chae bal (please).
Her breathing hitched, released in ragged gasps, her entire body shaking suddenly, convulsing, her gasps turning to coughs, chokes, until she was rasping for air, fighting, struggling to breath as her body regained conscious.
"EunHye!" Danny screamed, galvanized into action at the sight of her grapple with life. Not too many thoughts were passing through his mind, just that he had to save her, he had to help her, he had to cure her. He couldn't let this chance slip.
He was standing, his body clinging to hers as he forced her upright, cradling her as her sharp breaths slowly eased back into the steady breathing pattern from before.
"Shhh," he murmured softly, "Shhh… I'm right here, EunHye. I'm right here, baby."
"Danny," she murmured softly, and for the first time since the accident yesterday, he was able to look into the dark brown pools of her eyes.
For a few seconds, she just stared back, unblinkingly with that blank look in her eyes that made it hard for Danny to decipher what kind of thoughts were going through her mind.
"Who am I?"
Danny started, his eyes widening in surprise first, then fear. The doctors hadn't said anything about this. Come to think of it, they hadn't told him anything at all, refusing to give reports of EunHye's condition without a blood relative present. It had taken everything within Danny to refrain from punching him. If EunHye's life hadn't depended on him, he would have.
Danny's throat was dry, at a loss of words for a few moments before managing a small, guttural, "What?" of disbelief.
This was not happening. No fucking way. Not if he had a say.
But her gaze remained blank, chocolate eyes boring into his, "You're Danny. Who am I?"
He didn't understand it. What had happened? Was it even possible to remember one person but forget yourself? Danny wasn't quite sure how to react. His hands trembled, so he balled them into fists in attempt to remain calm.
After all, maybe it was only temporary.
It didn't make any sense, either. He tried to think back to the day before, taking note if EunHye's head had hit the ground, but wasn't quite sure anymore. All he could see was red. Blood. Car. Red. Himself. EunHye. Red.
A sharp shot of immense shock struck his head at the mere memory, vibrating throughout his mind. Danny cringed, unable to mask the pain.
But then, EunHye's lips twitched, slowly uplifting into a smile, blinding white and filling her face as her eyes shone with amusement. She tried to bite her lip in attempt to stop herself, but failed, and instead, releasing a stifled giggle.
Danny's eyes narrowed, the throbbing of his head immediately halting, as he stared at EunHye, torn between feeling mad or relieved. "What the—"
But EunHye just grinned, front teeth biting down on her lower lip before another giggle escaped, and then another, until she was laughing joyously to herself, her mirthful smile so infectious that Danny caught on as well. Against his will, a smile too played onto his lips as he watched her, though still while he struggled to maintain his scowl.
"Idiot," he chided her, his hand reached to ruffle her hair, to which she promptly ducked and moved away, her laughter dying away but her smile still remaining.
"You should have seen your face," she remarked teasingly, "You actually believed me."
Danny playfully glared, then, without forewarning, tugged her lithe form into his chest, soaking in her scent reminiscent of times before, "You're mean."
EunHye's smile didn't waver as her arms rose to hug him back, though her grip much looser than his, "You don't mean that."
Danny consented, "You're right. I don't."
The couple started at the abrupt interruption of a presence nearby, clearing their throat as to announce his arrival.
Quite reluctantly, Danny released his hold on EunHye's form, though not before he ensured that she was tucked safely back into the thin sheets of the hospital bed, and even then, his hand still held hers.
It was the doctor, and behind him, Mr. Yoon, who this time had forgone the presence of his girlfriend. Danny was much relieved to take note in this, as he knew noting good would have come out of the two interacting with one another.
Danny saw the way in which Mr. Yoon's gaze lingered just a split second longer on his and EunHye's intertwined hands, before flicking to his daughter's face with genuine concern.
"Oh, my EunHye!" he murmured remorsefully, swooping over to the other side of EunHye's bed to get a better look, "What's happened to you? Appa's so sorry."
EunHye smiled back weakly, "It's not your fault, appa (dad)."
"It's good to see that you're awake and well," the doctor announced, entering to slowly join the three, "You had a minor case of appendicitis. Other than that and a few broken ribs, cuts, and bruises, you seem to be fine. From what we gather, the car just narrowly hit you, thus rendering you unconscious. Aside from you awaking, we were quite confident that you'd be back up and running in no time."
Danny breathed a sigh of relief, only half aware that the male on the other side of EunHye was doing the same.
So EunHye was fine. That was good. No, that was great.
As Mr. Yoon stood to converse further with the doctor, Danny turned to his girlfriend and squeezed her hand in excitement, unable to keep the half-grin from his face at a forming thought in mind.
EunHye looked curiously back up at him, her eyes wide with wonder, "What is it?"
"Hurry up and get better soon," he said, "I have someplace to take you."
The two were standing together, wrapped in one another's arms in the familiar, grassy clearing that they hadn't visited in a while. After she had been discharged, Danny immediately whisked EunHye away, insisting that he take her to a secret place. Although she should have known the meaning instantly, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the place he had been referring to was here.
EunHye inhaled the fresh smell of nature, life, home. She hadn't realized just how much she missed it and the peaceful feeling that it brought.
"I like you," EunHye said suddenly, shocking even herself by the straightforwardness of her own words.
But Danny didn't seem too surprised, his grin only widening into a self-assured smirk, "Only like?"
"Love," she amended, her eyes twinkling to match the stars in the night sky, "Danny Im, I love you."
"Hmm," he murmured against her silk, dark brown hair, his arms reaching to push it back and brushing his lips across her exposed neck, breathing the endearment softly back.
Sa… rang… hae.
EunHye laughed softly at his touch, her body squirming to retreat but her arms tightening around his neck as her insides squirmed with unconcealed excitement. Danny never failed to amaze her with the many ways in which he could elicit such blissful responses from her.
As soon as Danny's head lifted to meet the level of her own, EunHye's gaze lowered in embarrassment, as she admitted in a small tone, "I haven't felt this happy in a while."
Her chin between his thumb and forefinger, Danny gently lifted her face and forced her to gaze into his eyes once more, a soft, half-smile gracing his features, "Then I guess you got your wish, huh?"
There was no stopping the simper from spreading across EunHye's face, her heart warming, expanding, opening. "Yeah, I guess so."
But she could say no more, because before she had the chance to speak once more, Danny's lips were on her own, transferring to her all the other unspoken words, thoughts, and emotions that he found himself unable to express in any other way.
And all of a sudden, despite what had happened a day back, a week back, a year back, a lifetime back, everything suddenly felt perfect.
And just for that moment, EunHye allowed herself to believe in it, believe in all those hopes, all those wishes, and all those dreams that Danny worked so hard to provide her.
Her wish. Granted.