But I’ll wear that dress if you wear that tie
And, baby, we’ll dance through the night, ‘cause no one’s got what we got going
Happiness never held on to me
Until you had me see, that together we’re just better off.
The first time she sees it, Deoksun is surprised by the reaction she has.
It’s short and flirty. Perfect for a spring time date, her mind supplies helpfully as she gently touches the fabric. It’s made of delicate silk gathered in a soft tuck around the waist, and held up with the daintiest straps tied around the neckline. The dress reminds her of a dress her older sister Bora once had that she had once coveted in Ssamundong, from a time when they had loved so earnestly and she wants it, from the lemon colored bodice all the way down to the more saturated yellow lace lining the hem.
The voice in her head is telling her not to get it, that she’s past the age of folly and throwing caution to the wind, and Bora’s voice reverberates in her ears - ‘You’re far too old for that,’ Bora chastises her when Deoksun brings her along to see if she could get cajoled into buying the dress – so Deoksun sighs and tries to forget about it entirely. It dances in her memory and in the cool spring evening while Taek and her stroll by the store, she can’t help but impulsively pull him in.
“I’ll wear this dress,” she teases him, while holding it up next to her frame and quickly scans the racks of clothing for something to accessorize Taek with. She glimpses the maroon cloth out of the corner of her eye and she grabs his hand, the bemused smile on his warming her as much as his palm. She attempts to wriggle the soft cloth out with her free hand but she’s not as ambidextrous as she’d like to be (‘as ambidextrous as Taek is,’ her mind whispers traitorously) and she finally winds up giving her dress to Taek and bracing her leg against the counter.
“This,” she grits her teeth and ignores the surrounding raised eyebrows, “will be perfect. And,’ she gives the cloth a final experimental tug and she finds herself on the ground.
“This tie,” Taek picks up the tie, quite readily and looks at it curiously. “doesn’t look any different from the ones I have back home.” He stares at a longer and finally extends a hand down to Deoksun.
Deoksun takes Taek’s hand and dusts off the seat of her pants before pulling him towards the cash register. “I’ll wear that dress and you’ll wear the red tie,” she informs him, weaving in between shoppers. “And we’re both going to do something we’ve never done before.”
She turns to look at Taek, but his hands are already pulling out his wallet. He shrugs and the rush of excitement she feels when he finally wraps his hands around the glossy bag enclosing their purchases makes her heart skip a beat. Taek smiles at her, widely, just as brilliantly as he had for over two decades and she slips her hands into his.
They make it halfway home when he finally speaks up, asking what’s on her mind.
“Do you trust me,” she asks, turning to him, half serious and he shrugs before turning to look out of the window, a secret smile reflected on it. She reaches out and smacks him lightly against his chest and he laughs at her indignation. “Always,” he chuckles at her and she smiles secretively.
“Then follow me.”
It takes her two days to plan everything out. The perks of living closer to their respective jobs – the airport for her, and the baduk club for him, have taken their toll. With her travels, Taek’s matches, family gatherings, birthdays, holidays, festivals, and charity events which she convinced Taek to donate money to, instead of his multiple sunbaes, Deoksun wonders how they find time to even take walks together. She longs for the days when Taek made it home before midnight, where she could be waiting with a hot meal and warm words for him.
She’d been determined to do something special and now, she smiles as she unpacks the clothing and lays it out on the bed. They have the perfect attire to go along with it now, and when she slips into the dress, she still can’t believe all that had changed since that first dress of her childhood.
She’s grown older, wiser, but she still fights for what she believes in and the evidences are clear on her face. There are tiny lines around her lines, miniscule in Taek’s vision but shockingly apparent in her own, but when he teases her for having hawk eye vision compared to the blindness she had lived in during her youth, she can’t help but agree. How else can she explain the actions of Taek that proved his love, from the way she has to lace his shoelaces together upon his requests, to his simple proposal by using a gold turtle?
“Deoksun-ah” he calls, from the other room and she walks in to find him struggling with his tie. The hue of the tie meshes well with his pristine, white shirt and she helps herself to a kiss when she tightens the knot and slides it into place. He smiles against her lips and he returns it so sweetly that her hands struggle to find a part of him to ground her, on his chest. The tie is a wrinkled mess by the time she pulls apart, and she shoos him off to the backyard, adorned with twinkling fairy lights and a stream of soft music from the stereo.
He waits for her at the bottom of the step and holds his hand out; under the illumination of the soft lights, Deoksun swears that she sees why the girls at the club are always cheering him on. They meld together, the swirls of her pastel skirt whipping around them in the soft wind and she can’t help but tease him.
“In spring,” she says as he wraps his arms around her, resting her own over his chest, relishing the feel of his warmth from within. “A young man’s fancy is supposed to turn into love.”
He looks down at her before breaking into a wide smile. “You look like spring,” he says, fingering the fabric around her waist. “And this tie,” he pulls his tie and drops the end over her shoulder, tickling her shoulder.
Deoksun looks down at the contrast between the bare skin of her shoulder, to the dainty straps of her dress, and the strong hue of the vividly red tie he’s draped. “It matches perfectly,” she finishes for him and he nods and rests his cheek against her head and they breath quietly, lost under the silence with each other as anchors.
The music continues to stream out through their open windows and she smiles fondly when it plays Miracle by Kim DongRyul. Her feet move of their own accord, and they’re swaying together under the moon. She can feel the rise and fall of Taek’s chest under her cheek, and she can hear the soft beats of his heart and this night has turned into everything that she had hoped for.
(Except for the small bandage on Taek’s right forearm, but she had told him that she would be in charge of the fairy lights and he just hadn’t listened when she said the nails were too sharp, and no, not there Taek!)
“Do you want to know a secret,” he says, breaking the silence and she looks up at him with curiosity. He leans forward and rests his forehead against hers and she looks deeply into his eyes. “You’ve always looked like spring to me,” Taek cradles her jaw and softly ghosts over her lips with his finger before stealing a kiss.
“Ever since the first time I met you.”
She drops her mouth open in surprise. “Don’t tell me you’ve loved me since we were kids, Taek-ah,” she chides him and he laughs when she huffs at his reaction. He ignores her gestures and gathers her closer into his arms and she sighs deeply before resting her head against his chest, feeling the red on him sliding against her cheek with every breath. “This is nice,” she says and he nods in agreement.
They sway softly until midnight, under the twinkling lights, the man in the red tie and the woman in the lemon-yellow dress, with her heart still skipping the odd beat when she feels the solid length of his body melting into hers. “I love you, Deoksun-ah” he murmurs gently into her ear and she burrows her head into his chest before echoing his words.
“I love you too, Taek-ah.”