Shin-Ae was making her way down the street minding her own business, the racket of the busy city was reduced to white noise in her ears. Why is late afternoon never peaceful? She was thinking of returning home when a flash of blond caught her attention. She gazed up and her eyes widened before she stopped in her tracks..
The tall male’s breath almost caught in his throat. He’d recognize those red eyes anywhere. He turned around to fully regard her. “Yoo..Shin-Ae?”
The aforementioned female turned on her heel, an eye crinkling smile on her face. “Dieter!” Both parties met each other halfway in a warm hug. “It’s been so long. How have you been?” She pulled back, looking up at him.
He'd grown considerably taller since the last time she saw him six years ago. Maybe four..five inches? His blond hair was as short as ever but his face filled out. Gone were his cheeks that still held a bit of baby fat. They were turned in for a slimmer face with a more pronounced jawline.
"I'm great! I never would have thought I would have run into you." His azure optics ran over her person. The brunette looked exactly the same, save for her hair being a bit longer and a more mature air about her.
"Are you busy right now?" The blond asked.
"No, I'm not. I was just out for a walk around the city." She replied nonchalantly.
"Do you want to maybe go somewhere to catch up?" He brought a hand up to his neck and rubbed it in nervousness.
Huh. So he still did that.
"Sure!" She smiled.
"Please accept my feelings!" The teenager exclaimed as he presented a yellow tulip to the female. His hands which held the flower slightly shook, revealing his nervousness.
Shin-Ae was taken aback by the confession. This blond kid from class..liked her? What should she say? Yes? No..? The brunette pulled a curled fist to her chest, hesitant with her reply. She took a calming breath.
The boy raised his head at the brunette's silence. He took notice of her apprehensiveness. Was she thinking of a way to reject him appropriately? Did he make her uncomfortable? His broad shoulders slumped in defeat, standing straighter. "I'm sor-"
"Can we start off as friends first? See how it goes?" Shin-Ae finally found her voice.
Dieter smiled as the words left her mouth. "Yes, I'd like that very much."
"Do you still keep in touch with Soushi and Yeong-Gi?" Shin-Ae queried as she brought the mug containing hot chocolate to her lips.
"No, I lost contact with them around the same time I did with you." His eyes held a twinkle of sadness at the revelation.
"Oh." She looked at him and took another sip of her warm beverage. "What are you doing with yourself these days?"
"I opened up my own dojo back home. So I teach kids judo now." He smiled.
"Wow! That's great, Dieter!" Shin-Ae gave a toothy smile.
"Thank you. What about yourself?"
"I'm going through my second year of law school right now." She revealed.
"You actually went through with it. I'm happy for you. Do your best." The German cheered.
The young couple walked along the bank of the lake, pinkie fingers interlocked tightly, basking in the tranquility of the scenery. "It's already been a year." Shin-Ae chuckled. "Who would have thought?"
"I didn't know what to expect when I decided to confess to you back then. I was kind of waiting for a flat out rejection." Her scratched his cheek. "But Yeong-Gi and Soushi pushed me to do it or else I might have regretted it. Now I'm grateful for all their nagging."
"Not gonna lie, I have Maya and Rika to thank as well. They kept pestering me to get put myself out there to see if I could get a boyfriend and here we are." She wrapped her arms around his middle in a hug to which the taller male returned the gesture.
"I love you." Dieter blurted out, causing the female's eye's to widen in shock.
"So, what brings you back to Asia?" The brunette leaned forward in her seat, left hand resting over the other on the circular table, looking attentively at the male.
"Oh." He blinked. "I'm here on vacation with my wife." He supplied.
Shin-Ae squeezed her hand in reflex at the information.
Of course he's married. Why wouldn't he be?
"Congratulations. How long have you been married?"
"Thank you, I met her back in Germany, we got married eight months ago."
"Are you happy?" She forced a smile.
God, why did she ask that. Of course he's happy.
"Yea." He nodded his head. "Yes I am." He confirmed twice as though he needed to convince himself. "I'm happy. I should be extending my congratulations to you as well." His eyes focused on the gold band that hugged itself on the fourth finger from her thumb. "Who's the lucky guy?"
He squeezed his hands together in a bruising grip beneath the table.
"Kousuke. You know him."
Dieter nodded his head and folded his lips together.
"We did it Dieter!! Haha can you believe it?" She ran up and hugged the male after the graduation ceremony.
"Yea..I'm proud of us." He gave a smile that didn't touch quite reach his eyes.
"What's wrong? We should be happy! We're high school graduates!!"
"Yes, but I have some saddening news." He pulled the academic cap from his head.
Shin-Ae tilted her head in confusion. "What is it?"
"My family is moving back to Germany..and I'm leaving with them." The seventeen year-old sadly informed.
"What? When are you leaving? Why are you just now telling me this?" Shin-Ae bombarded.
"They just told me last night. We're to return in two weeks. I don't want to leave you." He gathered her hands in his. "I really don't.."
"I don't want you to leave either! God, this is all so sudden." She shuffled closer to the male and rested her forehead on his chest.
"Do we have to break up?" She asked in a small voice.
Shin-Ae glanced outside, taking notice of the darkening sky.
Was it getting that late already?
"Let's exchange contact information." Shin-Ae proposed.
"I was just about to ask you for yours." Dieter beamed as he slipped his phone out of his pocket and exchanged it for Shin-Ae's.
The blond typed his number into her smartphone and saved it under his name.
Upon getting back their respective devices Dieter glanced at the newest contact, Shin-Ae.
Nostalgia is a bitch.
"Please don't cry. You're making it harder on me." The German held both of her hands in a comforting grip, whether it was for him or her..that wasn't important..
"I'm sorry, okay? It's just that the only person I care about besides my father and Min-Hyuk is leaving me and I don't know how to deal with it."
"We'll keep in touch with one another. Try to talk everyday. It won't be the same as if we are in person but it's better than nothing, right?"
Shin-Ae looked up at the blonde, her amarinth eyes, glazed with unshed tears.. "I love you."
Dieter leaned down and placed a kiss to to her lips. "I love you too."
"Dieter, we have to get to our gate!" His sister called.
"I'm coming, Leah!" He replied and glanced back down to Shin-Ae.
"That's my cue to leave." His voice felt strained.
Shin-Ae nodded silently. Dieter reluctantly released her hands and turned away from her, heading to the plane that was taking him back home.
The pair walked out of the cafe and into the cold evening breeze.
"It was great catching up with you, Dieter!" Shin-Ae smiled as they embraced one another one last time before their departure.
Maybe if he didn't have to move..
"Yea. Stay safe on your way home, okay?" Shin-Ae nodded to him as she buried her nose in her scarf, hiding her frown. She waved a goodbye and walked in the opposite direction down the street.
Maybe if they hadn't been so young..
Dieter looked on as Shin-Ae disappeared within the sea of people and then glanced at the ring he had around his finger.
Maybe in another lifetime..