Five Years Later
After five long years of exile, they were returning home, although it never truly felt like exile to Yi Jeong since Ga Eul had been there. She had turned their small corner of the world into a home. Halfway through the flight to Korea, Ga Eul had fallen asleep with her head resting on Yi Jeong's shoulder. On the other side of him, their daughter Soo Bin was busy drawing her latest creation—a portrait of the airplane in three dimensions with the three of them inside. Even though she was just a little bit over four years old, the museum staff always had plenty of remarks about how she was going to be a child prodigy, just like him, but Yi Jeong, while sending to her the best art tutors he could afford, had decided not to push her too much in that direction unless it was what she really wanted.
"Is that for Omma?" he whispered over her shoulder.
Soo Bin nodded and selected another colored pencil from the sunflower pouch in her lap.
She had been a surprise.
Only a few weeks after Yi Jeong and Ga Eul arrived in Sweden, Ga Eul found out she was pregnant with Soo Bin. When they first learned the news, Yi Jeong was afraid it might be too much for Ga Eul. After all, she had barely had time to adjust to her new home, and, even though she tried hard to hide it from him, he knew she felt terribly homesick after the honeymoon ended and they both had to take over their new responsibilities. Yet Soo Bin turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The fact that she now had to care for this fragile little life seemed to give Ga Eul more strength and determination to succeed in Sweden. In the early days, the baby gave her someone to occupy herself with since she didn't know English or Swedish well enough at first to get any sort of teaching job, and Yi Jeong wouldn't stand for her taking a menial labor position as much as she insisted that she wouldn't mind doing so for the time being. Taking Soo Bin on outings had opened up another door for her, however, as she always took her camera with her, and, over time, Yi Jeong had convinced Ga Eul to show some of her photography to the art director at the museum he worked at.
It was ironic that their welcome back to Seoul had partly resulted from Ga Eul herself holding an exhibition. Yi Jeong's grandfather, having never quite recovered from the shame of the trial regardless of how few of the charges had stuck, had passed away over a year ago, and now his father had a good bit of control over the museum's affairs.
His father had even reconnected with Il Hyun in the past few years. Il Hyun and Eun Jae had two kids of their own, and Ga Eul liked to joke that being a grandfather had softened him up because now it seemed the only pictures they saw of his father included his grandsons.
Yi Jeong knew better. His father had never been the same since So Ri came back into his life and disappeared again, but the change had all been for the better. Their own relationship had never fully healed itself, but Yi Jeong didn't loathe him the way he used him.
Maybe, in some not-too-distant future, father and son could have a drink together.
The seatbelt light dinged on overhead, and the pilot's voice announced their impending arrival over the intercom.
"Ga Eul-yang?" Yi Jeong whispered.
Her head shifted position, and she mumbled, "Hmm...Sunbae?"
He quirked a smile. After all this time, she still called him Sunbae.
"We're almost there."
Instead of sitting up, she mumbled, her face partially buried in his shoulder, "Do you think we'll hear Jae Kyung calling our names from the other side of the airport?"
Yi Jeong grinned.
"Well, it's not like Woo Bin can exactly handle his own wife."
Woo Bin and Monkey. Now that had definitely been one he did not see coming. Even more than Ji Hoo finding love again with one of his coworkers at the hospital, Yi Jeong had never envisioned any of them ending up with Jae Kyung. Not that he had anything against her exactly. She was a just a bit...excitable.
Still, he couldn't deny that she had a warm heart, and her stubborn spirit had been just what Woo Bin needed to pull himself out of the depression threatening to overwhelm him after the whole Madeleine incident and his disentanglement from his own family. She'd offered him a management position at her father's company shortly after arriving in Korea, and now for the rest of his life Yi Jeong had the pleasure of teasing him about marrying his boss.
"Omma, look what I drew!" Soo Bin pushed her picture into Ga Eul's hands as she slowly sat back up.
"Hmm?...Omo, that's so good. You should show it to your halmoni. We're going to halmoni's house. Remember Halmoni and Harabeoji Chu?"
Soo Bin nodded her head emphatically.
"We're going to have a big party at halmoni's house when we get to Korea, okay? You'll get see all your uncles and aunts. Remember Jan Di? The one who taught you swimming?"
"Mmhm." Ever a bundle of energy, Soo Bin squirmed in her seat as Ga Eul packed her crayons and papers away.
"Hey, hey, hey." Yi Jeong pushed Soo Bin's shoulders back down and leaned down to whisper in her ear, "We're almost there, but we've got to be really still so Omma will buy us ice cream when we land."
For that statement Yi Jeong got an incredulous look from his wife, though Soo Bin was too distracted by the landing instructions now flashing across the screens on the backs of the chairs in front of them.
'Don't tell her that,' Ga Eul mouthed.
"I love you," he mouthed back.
She rolled her eyes and faced the window again. The vast skyscrapers of Seoul had come into view, and she stared out at the modern landscape, pensive.
Yi Jeong poked her shoulder. It took a few times, but she turned to him finally, and mouthed, "What?"
He mouthed back, "Are you ready?"
"What?" she asked.
"I said, 'Are you ready?'" he repeated in a normal voice.
"For that?" She inclined her head toward the window.
Ga Eul tilted her head thoughtfully, letting the question linger for a moment.
Then she smiled.
"I'm the mother of a four year old. I married one of the F4, and I just spent five years living in a foreign country. I can speak three languages, fluently, and I'm having an exhibition at the Woo Sung Museum. I like to think maybe they're not ready for me."
A/N: WOW. This is my last author's note on this story. If you have time and would like to, please leave a review and let me know what you thought of the story as a whole-things you loved, things you hated, things that you wish I'd written more on. I'd really like to know your thoughts as it will help me improve my stories in the future. Thanks in advance!
This started out as a six-chapter short fiction covering one night that Yi Jeong and Ga Eul spent together before he left for Sweden, and it turned into this unbelievable sequel of sorts thanks to YOU GUYS. I never would have continued writing on this without all the interest and support I got from you, so thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who took the time to read and follow and favorite and review my story, and to all of my anonymous readers out there, thanks so much to you too. There are a lot of things you could have been reading (or doing), and you chose to read this, so thank you!
Boys Over Flowers was one of the first K-dramas I watched, during a summer when I was really depressed. A close friend of mine introduced me to them and, of course, I got addicted. I LOVED YJ and GE together since the first time I saw them both in the same scene, and I was so glad my ship paid off. I was in a really dark place mentally and emotionally at that time, and I'm really grateful for all the beautiful SoEul stories other people wrote that cheered me up. This story is my gift back to the community that gave that to me.
It is also the single longest piece of writing I have ever completed—completed, yay!—to date in my life. What I want to do most is write original fiction, and I think I'm ready to do that now.
It's been a pleasure writing for you.