Jiyong and Park siblings arrived an hour later. His parents came with them too. They went directly to emergency room. Five minutes waiting in despair, a nurse came out. Dara stood up and walked up to her.
“How is she going? She’s alright, isn’t she?” Dara pestered her with questions.
“I’m sorry, it’s not my authority to inform you about Mrs. Park condition, but please, be sure our doctors inside are trying their best to help her. All we can do is pray for her safety.” She bowed slightly. “Now, if you excuse me.” She left.
Sanghyun stared at Dara with teary eyes. Dara patted his shoulder. “Don’t worry, Hyun-ah. Mom is gonna be alright.” She pulled him into her embrace. “She is tough, there’s no way she can be easily beaten by this.”
Jiyong stared at her. She was clearly trying to sound strong. Jiyong could see the girl who cried in her arms years ago. The quiver in her voice… She’s absolutely the same vulnerable girl trying to hide behind that stubborn petite body. Suddenly Jiyong felt the urge to wrap his arms around her and take over all of her wearies. Of all things in the world he hates the most, it is to see her beautiful eyes get teary. He’s willing to do anything to keep them shining. He doesn’t mind if that means having her looking irritated at him all day long.
No one came out of the door for the next couples of hours. Jiyong’s mother fell asleep on his husband’s arms. Sanghyun spaced out on Jiyong’s right, while on his left, Dara clenched her fists tightly.
Jiyong offered a glass of hot chocolate to Dara. “Here, Nuna. You haven’t eaten anything since the morning.” He turned to his right and offered Sanghyun another glass of hot chocolate. “You too, Sanghyun.”
Sanghyun muttered thanks and finished it in one shot. Dara ignored Jiyong’s hand and didn’t budge at all. Jiyong reached her hands and wrapped them around the plastic glass. “Drink it, Nuna. Aunty won’t like you to be sick.” Jiyong begged softly.
“Nuna, what if… What if Mom can’t make it?” Sanghyun asked in low voice.
“Don’t talk nonsense, Park Sanghyun!” Dara hissed in fury. “Mom is gonna be alright, you heard that nurse said they’re trying their best. Mom will never leave us, you gotta keep that in mind!”
“I was just trying to be realistic, Nuna…” Sanghyun said in the same weak voice. “What if she’s going after Dad…”
“She will not leave us!” Dara yelled frustrated. Her body was terribly shaking.
Jiyong held her hand and patted her back. “Calm down Nuna, calm down…”
Dara shook even more terribly at his soothing.
Minutes later, a doctor with tired face showed up. “Excuse me, are there any of you Mrs. Park’s children?”
Dara stood abruptly. “Yes, we’re her children. How is she doing?”
“Well… she’s awake now.”
Dara let out a relief sigh.
“But…” he hesitated to continue. “Her condition is not good.”
Dara froze. Sanghyun’s jaw dropped.
“What do you mean by her condition is not good?” Jiyong asked on behalf of Park siblings.
“She was hurt very badly and lost too much blood. The worst is her brain is also seriously injured. We have tried our best, but… we can do nothing about it, we’re deeply sorry…” the doctor bowed deeply.
“You… you are kidding, right?” Sanghyun asked in shuddered tone.
“I am so sorry, Sir.” He lowered his head. “Your mother is waiting for you inside, she wants to give her last words to you.”
“This can’t be happening…” she said lowly. Her knees went weak and she collapsed right into Jiyong’s arms.
“This way, please.” The doctor led them entering the emergency room.
Dara had never seen her mother as pale as that. She looked so pale, so sick, so weak, and so… lifeless. Sanghyun kneeled on her right, holding her hand tight. Jiyong brought Dara to her left side.
“My babies…” she spoke out softly and slowly. “Yah, Hyun-ah, don’t cry.” She gripped his hand back. “Be a good man, make a good family, and don’t forget to take care of your sister, okay? Make sure she pursues her own happiness…”
“Mom, why are you talking like this?” Dara cut her.
“I’ll soon leave you two and the world, my dear.”
“No, you’re not! You’re gonna be okay and stay with us! I’m gonna search other doctors to cure you—“
“Sandara, my dear, I know my time is coming. Aren’t you happy I’m gonna meet your father?”
Dara was out of words. Her mother reached for her hands.
“Find a man and be happy, my dear. Promise me. This is my last wish. Please, get married with someone you love.” She held her hands tightly. She then turned to Jiyong who was behind Dara. “Jiyong-ah…” she reached out for his hands too.
“Thank you…” she coughed. “Thank you… for always… be there for Hyun… and Dara…” she started to run out of breath. She clasped Jiyong’s and Dara’s hands together. “Can you… do a favor… for me?”
“Of course Aunty, what is it?”
“Please… Dara…” she had difficulties to speak. Her breaths were shortened and uneven. “Please… please—“ She couldn’t continue her sentence. She never could. The cardiograph had showed a firm static line.
Sanghyun immediately broke into tears. Dara only stared at her mother with blank expression. One, two teardrops rolled down her face, but she didn’t cry. She didn’t utter any word. She didn’t even budge an inch.
The nurses and doctors entered the room. Jiyong and Park siblings were asked to leave the room and take care of the administration. When Jiyong’s parents saw them, they hugged Sanghyun and Dara right away.
“Oh, my dear…” Jiyong’s mother hugged Dara tightly.
Dara patted her back and released herself from her hug. “I’m alright, Aunty. Can you please take care of Sanghyun? I’m going to settle up the administration.” Her voice was expressionless.
“Are you sure you can handle it, dear? Do you want me to come with you?”
Dara shook her head. “I’m fine, Aunty.” She headed to the ground floor. Jiyong watched her as she walked away. That shuddering back…
“Mommy, I’ll accompany Nuna.” He said before he paced up.
Right in front of the elevator, Dara stopped. Her whole body shook terribly. She leaned onto the wall. Mommy had also gone. She sobbed uncontrollably. Just before she was about to fall on her knees, someone caught her.
“You always have me, Nuna. I told you that earlier, didn’t I?” Jiyong said softly.
“Ji-jiyong.” Dara wiped her tears and tried to console her breath. “Why are you here? I can settle the administration by myself.” She released herself from his embrace.
“Aren’t you tired, Nuna?” He looked into her eyes tenderly. “Pretending to be strong all these times, aren’t you tired? Don’t you want to take some rest?”
She looked at him baffled.
“Someone isn’t called strong man for never seen crying nor feeling sad. It’s for being able to carry on his life after that.”
Dara avoided his gaze. Her body started trembling again.
“Do you really hate me so much that you don’t wanna show your true self in front of me, Nuna?” his voice sounded hurt.
She was even more baffled that she looked at him again. There, the playful Jiyong looked very miserable.
“I love you so much, Nuna. Ever since I knew the difference between boys and girls, I have loved you. I have always looked at you only. I know you are disturbed by me clinging on you and you don’t like me acting as your boyfriend, and I thank you because you didn’t forbid me to do that.” He lowered his head and took a deep inhale. “But I think I shouldn’t bother you anymore. I shouldn’t add your burden. I’m so sorry for all things I’ve done to you, Nuna. I will not do them again in the future.” He stared at her gently. “I will stop bothering you, Nuna.” He then turned his back and walked away.
Dara startled. What was that? Why did Jiyong suddenly talk such things? She saw his back slowly disappeared. Not knowing what’s gotten into her, Dara felt her legs snatching her body.
“Yah, Kwon Jiyong!” Dara yelled, stopping his steps. He turned to see her running to him. He looked at her furrowed. “What do you mean by those things?” she asked after catching her breath.
“Well, I was just speaking my mind…”
“You said I’ll always have you, you will not leave me, didn’t you?” she asked.
“Then why did you leave me? You said you will always be by my side, was that lie?” she asked frustrated.
“I will, Nuna, if you want me to.”
“Then why did you leave? Did I ask you to leave?”
“You don’t want me to leave then, Nuna?”
Dara was taken aback. “Well, no. At least not now.”
“Okay. I will not leave you.” Jiyong smiled. His face lightened a bit. “At least until you find a man you love and decide to marry him.” His smile went bitter.
She was at loss of words.
“When that time comes, I can’t stay by your side again, right Nuna? Because it’ll make things difficult for you and him.” He tried to look happy though he’s clearly not.
Dara felt her head aching.
“I don’t want to be your burden anymore, Nuna. So let me know when you have found the right man, I will quickly keep proper distant between us.”
She touched her aching head.
“I don’t wanna him misunderstanding us.”
“Stop it!” she exclaimed.
Jiyong raised one of his eyebrows.
“Why are you saying those things?” she asked weakly.
“Because I love you.” He said firmly.
“If you love me, then why do you want to leave me?”
“Because I don’t want the man you love misunderstands you and me.”
“Why should he?”
“Why?” Jiyong was perplexed. He scratched his head.
“Why should he misunderstand himself?” she asked slowly.
“Eh?” Took him some minutes to fully understand what Dara was trying to say. “What do you—“ his eyes went wide, his jaw dropped.
“Yes. I love you, Kwon Jiyong.” She said as she turned her gazed away. She couldn’t say those words looking at him. She was blushing madly.
“You—what? Can you repeat it, Nuna?” a big grin plastered on his face.
“Yah, don’t make me repeat it—“
He cut her off with his lips on hers. “I love you.” He whispered it sweetly and took her into his arms. “Thank you for finally saying it. You’ve made me waited so long…” he nuzzled his head on her hair. They stayed at the position for some time before Jiyong finally pulled out.
“Oh, we need to settle the administration!”
The two walked hand in hand to the ground floor. When they were in the elevator, Dara suddenly remembered something.
“Your words earlier, when we were in front of the elevator… What do you mean?”
“I don’t know either.” Dara saw his trademark playful self was on his face again. “I just said random things.”
Dara furrowed her eyes, unsatisfied with his answer. The way she stared at him said she demanded for further explanation.
Jiyong scratch his head. “Well… Aunty’s last wish is for you to get married soon. I know no matter how much you don’t want to get married, you will still find a man and get married at the end because it is her last wish. I don’t want you to marry another man, so I know I have to be quick.” His face started to blush. “I have to propose you before you meet another man.”
“That was a proposal?” Dara astonished.
“Well, literally that was only confirming that you love me too. I don’t want to propose you only to be objected. The real proposal is,” he took her hand, “this.” He kneeled in front of her.
“Sandara Park, will you marry me and be my soul mate for the rest of our life?” he asked sincerely.
Dara giggled at him.” You’re proposing me without ring or flowers? You’re so unromantic.” She made a face.
“They will be bought soon after we stepped out of this elevator, my dear Sandara Park, so why don’t you just answer to my proposal?”
“Umm, no ring, no flowers, well…” Dara pretended to be hesitant.
In one swift move, Jiyong pulled Dara so his lips were on hers again.
“I took that as a yes.”
I lost you, Mom, but thank you for giving me a husband.