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in sickness (and in health)

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Byulyi tried to sit still, but can’t help to feel some of her irritation growing over the ticking clock. She was being restless and she knew it, it can’t be helped though. She was sitting sideways on the bench, trying to keep her eyes focusing on the woman beside her, Byulyi got her right arm propped up supporting her head tilting against the wall. Her left hand still holding the phone tightly, ready to dial emergency contact despite the fact that both of them are sitting inside the ER of Seoul Main Hospital.

“It’s probably nothing.”

“You don’t know that.”

Yongsun's sigh got louder hearing the younger woman’s reply. She knows Byulyi would be all over her now (as if it didn’t happen for the past 7 years). “Look, I have this kind of attack all the time. We were eating out in a seafood restaurant, it can’t be helped that there’s one tiny piece of shrimp that I accidentally ate.”

“Should have gotten dinner at Sorrento’s instead. Their garlic bread wouldn’t kill you.”

“I have my inhaler ready, this stuffs happened all the time.”

“This one time I got a day off and I almost kill you.”

“Byul, seriously though no need to take me to the ER.”

“Calling Ms. Kim Yongsun for Dr. Choi, calling-“

“That’s us. Let’s go.” Byulyi stands up, extending her right hand towards the older woman. This is not how she imagined the rest of their evening to go through, Byulyi magically got a day off after a whirlwind of a month trying to close up some deals with the new investors for her little community center. She decided to invite her roommates slash beloved unnie to some nice dinner outside the city. Everything went smooth until Yongsun start coughing heavily and having short breathes. She’s familiar with this of course, but it still fucking kills her to see the other woman getting suffocated like that because of her asthma. What was supposed to be a 20 minutes drives to the hospital turn into a solid 10 minutes thanks to Byulyi frantic driving.

The two women heading to the practitioner room, with Byul’s left hand supporting Yongsun’s lower back while the older woman grumbled about this whole commotion being unnecessary and that she only wants her bed and blanket to spend the night in.

“Please, just one look and if it’s all good you’re getting five-star facilities back in our apartment.”

Yongsun just huffed, still regretting the end of their evening but starts to relent after hearing Byulyi’s pleading. "Fine, but you better hold on to that promise.”

They stepped into the stark white room frowning upon entering, both having aversion to the medical examination room. But soon, those frowned turned into a calming small smile after seeing the friendly face of the general practitioner in charge behind the desk.

“Good evening, Miss Kim Yongsun. So, what do we have here?

“Evening doc, it was just another asthma attack while I’m having dinner. I got my inhaler and I feel fine now but this one-“ Yongsun nudged Byulyi’s arm with her elbow, “-dragged me to hospital, despite my refusal.”

Byulyi just rolled her eyes and softly rubbing her right arm.

“Okay, so do you know what might trigger the attack? Allergy perhaps?”

“Yes. I think the wayward little shrimp got lost into my plate and I’m allergic to seafood.”

The younger woman mumbled her frustration again. “Told you, we should have gone to Sorrento.”

“Byul shush!”

The doctor just chuckled after witnessing the small quarrel in front of her. “Can’t argue with that, Sorrento got a killer garlic bread.”

Byulyi perked up upon hearing that. She made a gesture pointing to the doctor as if she just uttered the best opinion yet. “See Yong! I was right, seriously next week we have to go there.”

The said woman just shakes her head and releases an exasperated sigh. “I hate you.”

“Just to be sure, if you can go to the bed over there I will be with you in a moment to check if anything else is wrong.” The doctor gestured to the place behind the curtain and move to the other side of the room for preparation.

Yongsun stands up and making her way to the bed, but not before giving Byulyi a hard stare as if signaling her to stay put and not follow her like a lost puppy. The younger woman just pouted upon receiving the signal, knowing that if she pushes it, Yongsun’s annoyance would just last longer.

 


 

“Okay, so it’s all good. Perhaps it is an allergic reaction that triggers the asthma.”

“I knew it, that damn little shrimp.”

“Well, I did not see any reason to keep you spending the night in the hospital. You still have your inhaler right?”

Yongsun nodded, gesturing to the little tube she keeps in her front shirt pocket.

“Are you sure? Perhaps she needs further observation?”

The doctor just chuckled hearing the worried remarks from the younger woman. “I don’t think that’s necessary, Miss Kim here would be feeling better by tomorrow morning if she got proper rest. Just don’t let your wife sleep in too late also do restrict her dairy intake for the time being.”

A pregnant silence engulfs the room and all of a sudden Byulyi feels that someone turn on a heater in the middle of July.

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Your wife also has an allergic reaction to dairy products so it will be good to restrict those things in her dietary program.”

Yongsun gaping, opening her mouth, and just close it again, trying to wrap her head hearing the said doctor's remarks. “We’re not that, I mean Byul and I, we are not-“

Byulyi just cuts her off from finishing the sentence. “I will doc, thanks for the help.”

“Anytime. I hope all goes alright, Miss Kim. Get well soon.”

 


 

“Thank god you’re alright. Yonghee will have my ass for poisoning you when she’s away.”

“Accidental poisoning and yes, she will still have your asses for that.”

Byulyi just laughed imagining a furious Yonghee chasing her down around their apartment's block.

“Sooo, the doctor had some interesting remarks.”

“Yeah, I never really thought your dairy allergy was that bad. Perhaps it’s time to lay down some of that Greek yogurt Yong. Find other way to help your ‘toilet’ mechanism.”

“Not that you dork. The other one!”

“That she thought Sorrento was a better place to have dinner?” Byulyi frowned not really catching Yongsun’s direction.

“Byulyi come on! She thought we were married!?”

“Oh that, yeah.”

Yongsun could only raise her eyebrow in response to the younger girl’s remark. “Nothing?”

“What do you expect me to do? It was easier that way, we already got into so much shit with the administration beforehand, and I have to sign 5 documents! You’re in no state to do all of that paperwork!” Byulyi flung her hand explaining the chaos and ruckus while trying to administer Yongsun to the ER this evening. She felt helpless despite knowing the older girl’s habit from A to Z but still went into panicking mode once the attack come again.

They rode in silence after that, only soft melody from the car audio playing modern jazz instrumental they’ve been listening together lately. They are planning to open a music class to introduce the various genre of music in Byulyi’s community center, since they have the perfect background for it both of them decided to tutor the class personally.

Byulyi tapped her fingers on the steering wheel, a familiar habit of her when she’s feeling nervous. “I was scared you know.”

“Oh Byul, sorry I-“

“No, it’s not your fault. I just- I feel like, despite how much I know you, I went into a panic mode and being totally useless when you needed me the most.”

“No, please, don’t say that! We didn’t know, and it’s just another accident, and come on you were amazing! You remember the breathing technique and all that steps that I don’t even know!”

Byulyi just kept silent, putting both of her hands on top of the steering wheel, trying to keep her emotions inside. The older woman just looked at her silently, while moving to grab Byulyi’s right hand, putting a soothing thumb to calm her down. Byulyi was doomed because if there’s only one person in her world that could calm her down instantly, that would be the woman sitting beside her.

“Hey.”

“Hmm?”

“You did great. Thank you, really.”

“Happy to do it although I’d be happier to not doing it ever again.”

“Mind you, if you want to spend the rest of your life with me then you better be prepared. Right, wife?”

Byulyi just chuckled hearing the remarks, she moved her right palm so that the two of them are holding hands tightly.

“Are you proposing to me in the car right now, right after our trip to the ER?”

Yongsun just shrugged. “Not a bad idea. It’s us, we didn’t need anything more.”

“You’re right. It’s just the two of us.”