Chapter 42 - Above The Surface
Lying in the middle of the spacious bed, Kyuyoung pulled up the covers until only her face peeked out from under the blanket. After taking the prescribed medication, which might have included a sleeping pill, she’d quickly grown tired and fell into a deep slumber. The soft blanket still carried the faint smell of Yoongun; a scent she was slowly getting accustomed with. While his scent would’ve made her nervous before, now it brought her comfort.
Yoongun had convinced Kyuyoung to stay over at his house, expressing concern that Jihyuk might attempt to visit her at her apartment. His apartment would be much safer, he explained, since a security officer was posted in the lobby all day and night, and visitor access was restricted. Kyuyoung didn’t fight him on the matter and quickly packed herself a bag.
Truthfully, she was scared to be alone, and wasn’t sure it was a good idea to remain at her apartment either. Still, she couldn’t quite bring herself to contact Yoonjin, not wanting her friend to see all the cuts and bruises on her body. If Yoongun stopped coming over to accompany her, Kyuyoung planned to check into a hotel. She hadn’t recovered enough to think logically, and desperately needed the comforting presence of another person at her side.
Still woozy and disoriented from the medication and sleep, she heard a door unlocking from the entrance. The sound of a man’s footsteps approaching was followed by the sound of running water. A moment later, Yoongun’s large hand, smelling of soap, rested against Kyuyoung’s forehead.
“You came?” Kyuyoung asked, barely lifting her body.
“Just lie down,” Yoongun soothed, as he was softly pressing down on her shoulder.
“It’s okay. I’ve been sleeping all day.”
“Aren’t you going to have a proper meal?” Yoongun’s question was probably spurred by the half bowl of porridge sitting uneaten on the bedside table.
“I didn’t have much of an appetite,” Kyuyoung explained. She swung her legs off the bed and moved to put her feet on the ground, but was overcome with dizziness. Her body tilted from vertigo. Yoongun quickly moved close to support her, leaning the weight of her body against him, and grabbing hold of her shoulder.
“I’m fine. The medication is just too strong,” Kyuyoung said. The doctor had prescribed a tranquilizer that contained a high dosage sleeping aid, thinking that she suffered greater mental stress than physical shock. As a result, Kyuyoung felt discombobulated, as if her mind and body were separated. She often felt like she was dreaming even whilst wide awake. The drowsiness never receded and she felt trapped in an endless cycle that repeated. Still, Kyuyoung was thankful that the medication gave her respite from thinking too deeply about the incident. Only 24 hours had passed, but the incident felt like a lifetime ago.
Yoongun patted the back of Kyuyoung’s head in response, as she leaned her forehead against his chest. She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly. With her cheek pressed against his chest, Kyuyoung listened to the calm beating of his heart. She was able to relax now. She was slowly accepting that Yoongun Jung had become the person she leaned on to provide comfort and safety.
“Team Leader, have you had dinner yet?”
“I ate something simple.”
“I still have to transfer the statistical observation data from the news.”
“Manager Jung can handle it.”
Every time he spoke, vibrations from his voice reverberated through his body. When it began to feel awkward standing there in his arms, Kyuyoung opened her mouth and quietly muttered, “I want to lie down.”
Yoongun scooped her into his arms and carefully laid her back in bed. Contrary to his callous demeanor, he treated her with great care. Kyuyoung relaxed as her body touched the mattress. Had it not been for the incident, it would be inconceivable that Kyuyoung would ever borrow the bed of a man she wasn’t dating, but she’d long moved past such inhibitions. None of that mattered anymore. All she wanted was to be comfortable. She was at the stage in life where everything she’d endured had resurfaced and she didn’t know where to start to pick up the pieces.
Perhaps Jihyuk’s mother had managed to claw at her mind, and not just the back of her neck. The rationality Kyuyoung had clung to had all but disappeared. Her wounded heart had sunk into the ocean depths and was submerged in complete darkness. The only things that fueled her body now were her feelings of helplessness and extreme exhaustion. Even breathing was now only possible through Yoongun.
Yoongun emerged from his shower and pulled her closer to his side. Surprised by his touch, Kyuyoung felt startled and defenseless. Before she could react, Yoongun wrapped her entire body with the blanket and locked her in an embrace from behind. Completely secured between his strong arms, she was acutely aware of his firm build. His presence was larger than she’d expected.
Kyuyoung tilted her body towards him and they locked eyes. They were close enough to hear each other’s breaths. His black eyes appeared calm, like a deep lake; she couldn’t tell whether he felt any agitation or shock.
“Team Leader,” Kyuyoung said quietly. Yoongun just stared at her without responding. She felt like she was being absorbed into him just by looking at him. She felt her breathing hitch. There was a dull ache in her upper abdomen, and the pressure from her chest made her momentarily unable to breathe.
Yoongun lifted his body up and observed her. His hand reached out for hers, and their fingers intertwined. Encasing her hand in his, he warmed her cold hands as their body temperatures mixed. She felt the pressure each time he added a little more strength to his grip. Kyuyoung wondered if her wrist would break. Suddenly she felt anxious, and with a quiet moan tried to twist herself out of his grasp, but she couldn’t move. Despite her struggling, Yoongun didn’t budge.
The tungsten lamp perched on the bedside table backlist Yoongun, casting a shadow over his face. Kyuyoung was seized with a sudden curiosity as to what kind of facial expression was on Yoongun’s face. The distance between their faces closed, and Kyuyoung felt her dry, chapped lips brush against his for a brief moment.
Suddenly, her breathing became erratic and her chest felt congested. She needed air. Lifting her chin to and desperately taking in breaths, Kyuyoung felt Yoongun’s warm breath enter her mouth, as he locked her lips in his. He carefully sucked and licked them in a teasing manner.
The sensations awakened her body from its slumber, as if rising from the ocean depths to the sea surface. Her free hand snaked behind and wrapped around his head. At the same time, his tongue probed into her mouth and now their saliva mixed as their tongues rubbed against each other. The kiss was deepening and getting more passionate.
Kyuyoung wondered if she’d regret allowing herself to be swept away by the mood. Her careful nature wouldn’t have allowed her to entertain having sex so haphazardly, but now she was desperate and threw all caution to the wind. Even if it was brief, she wanted to indulge in the feeling of holding on to someone.
Yoongun’s large hand softly caressed her waist, then moving upwards, he touched her collarbone, and eventually brought her hand up to his lips and planted a kiss on her wrist. His movements were slow and deliberate, and his touch was gentle, as if he was slowly exploring her entire body. The expression in his eyes remained calm and unwavering, like those of a researcher excitedly awaiting the results of an interesting experiment.