After everything, Jo Yi finally felt free for the first time in her life. She was free of the burden her (ex-)husband and (ex-)mother-in-law. She was free of the burden to find her mother. She was free of the burden to bring Bo Ri justice.
She felt free.
No longer a caged bird, she was free to fly.
Ah, but she had her newfound family. She doesn't consider them burdens but rather reasons to stay.
Her biggest reason to stay is Yi Eon. Slowly but surely, he's become irreplaceable to her.
Would she be free without him?
As much faith as she has in herself, she does doubt it.
Smiling, she breaks out of her musings and looks down at the said man napping in her lap. For once, it's not as busy a day as usual today, and everyone's taken full advantage of it to enjoy themselves to the fullest.
Yi Eon looks peaceful in his sleep, the picture of serenity. In these quiet moments, she allows herself to indulge in moments of girlishness, and enthuse about how handsome her partner is (partner because she knows not what else to call him—their relationship remains undefined by typical societal parameters).
With a sigh, her hand falls on his cheek as she slowly traces the jut of his cheekbones. The shade of the tree hides them from the sun's bright rays, but occasionally as they sway in the wind, bursts of shine dance across his skin, painting it almost gold.
Perhaps the caged bird, she was, has finally found a mate.
She's thought often about what bird best suits her personality. Not that there's actual work, save for tailoring these days, but that's mindless and her head moves to such unnecessary questions like these.
As much as she'd like to be something regal and graceful and beautiful, like perhaps a peacock or a pigeon or an exotic bird that flies up to Goryeo in the warmer summer months, she really fits neither of the two categories.
She thinks of the coasts she's visited—the warm golden sand beneath her feet, the gentle and slow ebb of the waves, the neverending coastline and sea that seems to extend on forever as the sun sinks beneath its surface and rises every day.
She thinks of the bird flying across those blue skies, wings stretching out forever as they pull into a powerful flight supported by the huge length of their wingspan.
Perhaps she's an albatross.
It would make sense, she reasons, as her hand down his cheek to the edge of her jaw, slowly moving his parted pink lips, soft to the touch.
After all, they mate for life.
Jo Yi hasn't been searching for her soulmate, choosing to fulfil the roles and duties people shove at her. She's not sure she completely believes in that notion as well.
But perhaps that night at the temple was fated. Perhaps their partnership was fated.
Perhaps he is her mate for life.