It was freezing when I woke up the next morning. I snuggled closer to Jae Joong and pulled the blankets tighter around my shoulders. Thank god I had the sense to put on some socks before I went to bed. The sun light was pouring gently into the room, but since it was winter time and the weather outside didn’t look particularly sunny, it didn’t warm the room. I flipped the blankets open and tiptoed to the windows to draw the curtains shut. When I’d drawn all the curtains, I adjusted the thermostat on the heater, increasing the temperature, before I crawled back into bed.
“What time is it?” Jae Joong mumbled.
“About 8am,” I replied. “I’m going back to sleep.”
“Mm…” he murmured, as he tightened his arms around me.
We woke up at about sometime later, and it was almost 12pm.
“Good morning,” Jae Joong said as he stretched, and he leaned over to kiss me on my forehead.
“I’m still sleepy,” I grumbled, as I covered my face with the blanket.
“It’s the change in the time zones. If you want, just sleep a little longer.”
“But we’ll be wasting the day.”
We had 3 days of sightseeing to cram in, and on the 4th day, we will be flying back to Korea because Jae Joong needed to spend time with his family during the last 3 days of his break.
“The whole point of the holiday is to relax,” he said as he stroked my back. “You don’t have to see everything. We can always come back during our next break.”
“But I want to go somewhere else for our next break,” I said. “I don’t want to come back here.”
“Just sleep for awhile more if you’re still not up to it.”
“Okay,” I yawned. I snuggled back into his arms and closed my eyes.
We were finally out on the narrow streets of Prague at about 2pm. I’d went back to sleep but had woken up about an hour later. We gave up trying to get back to sleep, got dressed, and left the botel. The streets were all paved with cobble stones, and so were the pavements. They were charming to look at, but hell to walk on since they were so uneven.
We found a little café nearby and had a breakfast of croissants, toast and all those continental breakfast foods.
“Are we really going to the zoo?” I asked.
“You don’t want to go?” he asked me as he sipped his juice.
“I don’t mind. You lead the way,” I smiled as I fed him the piece of the croissant which I’d broken off and buttered.
“This is weird… you being so compliant,” he laughed.
“I’m always compliant. You wanna be the man, be the man. I’m just here for a holiday.”
“That’s my girl,” he laughed, and I stuck my tongue out at him.
The zoo was pretty quiet since it was a week day, and it wasn’t the tourist season. We walked through it slowly, taking in the surroundings, stopping at the little pavilions and snack bars littered along the zoo. More than 2 hours later, after walking past the bison, camels, prairie dogs and kiangs (a kind of Asian donkey), we finally came to stand in front of the enclosure for the Przewalski's Horses, that is the horse he’d been trying to describe to me on the first day we arrived in Prague. These horses were a kind of horses what were once domesticated and then escaped back into the wild and reverted back to being wild again. The zoo has so far bred about 200 foals and has even reintroduced some of them back to a natural reserve in the Gobi desert.
“Do I get to take one home?” I asked Jae Joong.
“I’ll ask the keeper later,” he said in a mock serious tone.
“I want that one,” I said as I pointed to one of the horses.
“Okay… let’s go,” he said, as he dragged me away from the enclosure.
“I want it now. I wanna ride it. My feet hurt,” I whined.
“You’re a little crazy, you know?” he said as he tapped me on the head.
“Just a little?” I smiled.
“Yea… just a little,” he said, as he put his arm around me, and we continued to walk down the path past the maras and cassowaries.
“My feet really hurt,” I complained. “My heels are killing me.”
“Chintcha appu?” he asked me. “Aren’t you wearing sneakers?”
“But they still hurt,” I whined.
“Do you want me to carry you?” he asked me.
“You would?” I looked at him, a little astonished.
“Get on my back,” he laughed, as he bent down.
“Yay,” I exclaimed like a child and climbed onto his back.
“Aigoo…” he huffed as he stood up. “You need to lose weight.”
“Yah! I’m thin enough as it is,” I said.
“Who told you that?”
“Everyone… even you. Don’t you remember you told me I needed to eat more when I was sick?” I poked him on the head.
“Yes, I did,” he laughed. “So don’t get any thinner, or the wind will blow you away,” he said.
Jae Joong continued walking slowly down the path as we looked at the animals we passed by. I lay my head on his back and tightened my arms around his neck.
“Jae Joong-ah,” I said as I inhaled the scent of his shampoo.
“Wae?” he replied.
“Opso…” I sighed in contentment.
I felt so blissful where I am now. We were in Prague, just him and I, enjoying the sights, enjoying each other… I didn’t want to go back to Korea, where our real life and the work were there, waiting.
We spent the next 2 days visiting the Prague Castle, which was the largest castle in the world, St. Vitus Cathedral, which was right beside it, the Astronomical Clock, and we even went to check out the Milunić and Gehry's Dancing House. Everything in Prague was old; the streets were old and narrow, the buildings were old and the surfaces discoloured, and despite the existence of some modern buildings, majority of the city was made up of old buildings.
We managed to visit the garden where TVXQ had their photo shoot, and Jae Joong and I were playing tag like a couple of deprived children. It drizzled while we were there and we decided head back to the botel to laze around for a bit.
“I wonder what the guys are doing back home,” I said as I snuggled close to him.
“Eating nice, hot Korean food?” he said.
“I know you miss the food,” I said as I traced my finger around his belly button. He was sitting up shirtless in our bed, while I lay beside him. “We’re going back soon. Don’t get too depressed.”
“I’m fine,” he said. “I’m actually enjoying myself,” he said.
“Good,” I replied.
He slid down in the bed until he was face to face with me, and he cupped my face in his hands and kissed my lips softly, and slowly. When he pulled away, I snuggled against him and buried my face against his chest, and he put his arms around me. As usual, I tucked my feet under his to warm them, and he automatically moved his feet to rub mine, so that they got warm a little faster.
On our last night in Prague, we stood by the river and admired the view of the Prague Castle by night; it was illuminated beautifully, and the lights were reflected in the river.
“We should come back here for our honeymoon,” he said.
“Yea… I’ll be sure to tell my future husband that,” I said, and laughed when Jae Joong glared at me.
“I’m not taking you anywhere ever again,” he said.
“Hajima…” I said in a sweet voice. “I’ll marry you if you promise to bring me here for our honeymoon.”
“Chongmal?” he said.
“All expenses paid?” I said.
“You’re on!” he smiled, and he kissed me.
I watched him as he slept on our flight back, and I thought of our kiss along the river, in the faint glow of the lights from the castle. Even if Jae Joong and I might not be able to be together forever, I will never forget the times we’ve shared together.
When we got back, Jae Joong spent the night at my apartment before leaving for his hometown the next day.
“Will you be alright? Skye’s not back yet,” he said, as I walked out to his car with him.
“He’ll be back tonight. He said he was getting his license from back home, and he’ll drive back to Seoul.”
“Finally, I don’t need to chauffer you guys around anymore,” he said.
“Ahem… you still need to drive me around.”
“Why don’t you get your own license and car?”
“How else can I force you to spend time with me if not for the fact that I don’t have a car?” I smiled.
“So that’s your plot, you cunning woman,” he laughed as he pinched my nose lightly.
“Yah! Don’t do that,” I said as I rubbed my nose irritably.
“You do that to me all the time,” he complained.
“Cos I’m older,” I said.
“Hmmph! You don’t mind mentioning you’re older when it suits you, eh?”
“Cos when I say it, you go all ballistic,” he said, as he made a face at me.
“Cos you’re always making fun of me,” I reasoned.
“Whatever… you’re the queen, you’re the mistress,” he sighed.
“You’d better go now,” I said. “Or it’ll be really late when you reach home.”
“You sure you don’t wanna come?” he asked me. This wasn’t the first time he’s asked me to go home with him, to meet his family.
“I’ve told you the last time… I’m not ready to meet your family.”
“They’ve been asking about you,” he said.
“You told them about me?”
“Hello… I announced our relationship to the public and you kissed me during the awards the other day. Do you think the whole world would miss that?”
“Yes. If they were watching CNN,” I laughed.
“Michoso,” he laughed. “Bottom line is that you and I are not a secret, and my family is dying to meet you.”
“Not now, Jae Joong. I don’t think I can carry the title of Kim Jae Joong’s girlfriend yet. It’s too much of a burden.”
“How about Kim Jae Joong’s woman then?” he said.
“That’s equally bad,” I said as I shook my head.
“Fine… it’s up to you. Not this time then.”
“Go now,” I said as I pushed him into the car.
“See you on Sunday,” he said as pulled me close and kissed me on the lips.
“See you,” I said, and I gave him another hug before he got in the car and closed the door.
I watched his car pull out of the gates before I started walking towards my apartment block. I was still a little bugged about the issue of meeting his family. He’d asked me at least 4 times in the last 6 months, and I’d kept putting it off. Was it wrong of me? Should I meet them? I couldn’t even remember the names of his sisters. He had so many sisters, and it was scary. And now that he’d reunited with his birth mother, there was another whole extended family for me to get to know as well. It just felt taxing to even think about it. It’s not that I didn’t like his family, or that I didn’t like meeting them. I just felt that I couldn’t measure up to the girl they probably have in mind for Jae Joong.
Just as the elevator doors were closing, someone yelled my name and hit the buttons outside to keep the door open.
“Onni!” Hae Rin panted as she walked into the elevator.
“Hae Rin, what brings you here?”
“I was chasing you for the last minute. Didn’t you hear me calling?” she asked me.
“Mian. I guess I was too deep in my thoughts.”
“It’s okay. Erm… Skye called me sometime ago and said that he was on his way. So I thought I’d come and wait for him here. Is that okay with you?”
“Yea… no problem. But how did you know I was home?”
“Skye told me you would be. You arrived yesterday, didn’t you? How was Prague?”
“Heavenly,” I smiled as I thought of the time me and Jae Joong had there.
“I heard that it’s a really beautiful place.”
“It is. But it was raining almost every other day. The rain made it hard for us to get around, so we’d just zip around town and once it rains, we’d go back to the botel to laze around.”
“It’s a hotel on a boat,” I explained as we walked out of the elevator.
“Sorry,” I said as we walked into the apartment. “The place is a little messy. I had to unpack my stuff and Jae Joong’s and he had to repack for his trip back home.”
“It’s fine,” she said as she plopped down on the sofa.
“I’m still a little tired,” I said as I yawned. “I’ll be taking a nap in my room. Do whatever you want for entertainment. Just wake me when Skye gets in.”
“Araso,” she said as she turned on the television.
I walked into my room and threw myself onto my bed. After tossing and turning for about 5 minutes, I managed to fall asleep.