"These charity balls are always a bore, aren't they?"
Jeno can't say he is surprised to hear that voice behind him, on the contrary, he was expecting it. Glancing over his shoulder, Jeno is greeted to the sight of the woman he has known forever.
None other than Jaemin Na is behind him at the balcony entrance. She looks stunning in her deep purple, backless dress. Her long legs are shown off by the slit going up the dress, and her small waist is accentuated by the tight gold waistband. Her hair is dyed a natural looking dark brown and is thrown up in a tight top-bun, not one baby hair out of place. Jaemin is always like that, perfectly groomed to look her part of being the only daughter to one of the richest fashion designers in Manhattan. Jaemin always has an aura of confidence surrounding her, leaving people in awe everywhere she goes.
She is fucking gorgeous and she knows it.
Jaemin notices his staring but doesn't say anything about it. Instead, she sidles up next to him and leans her back onto the banister. "Mind if I join you?" She asks rhetorically.
"Well since you're already here, I don't see why not." Jeno answers dryly.
Jaemin lets out a small giggle (Jeno never liked when she did that. She has a beautiful laugh; he wishes she would stop holding back to be "ladylike"). "I see your humor hasn't changed."
Jeno shrugs. "You know how the saying goes, "if it isn’t broken, why fix it?""
The brunette raises her perfectly sculpted eyebrow, amusement showing in her chocolate orbs. "Who say it's not broken?"
"Well you laughed, didn't you?"
When it seems that Jaemin isn't going to say anything else for a while, Jeno goes back to staring at the sky. It's cloudy out, making the New York City sky even more lifeless than it usually is. Jeno is surprised that Jaemin isn't walking around in one of her custom-made fur shawls because it is quite chilly. Though summer ended not too long ago, fall seemed to be coming in hard already. Maybe when you're fabulous, you don't get cold as much.
"You know, the announcement will be tonight after dinner." Jaemin mutters, her eyes looking at the bright ballroom full of light a few feet away.
"How could I forget? We've been told about this since before we could even talk." Jeno says.
Jaemin frowns. "Yeah, I was hoping that this whole thing would be forgotten. I never thought it would last this long."
Jeno looks at younger girl like she was crazy. "You really thought our parents would let this go? No, they are too stuck on this "perfect" idea."
"Well, a girl can always hope."
"And where did that get us?"
Jaemin scoffs, "I did not see you coming up with any bright ideas. Oh, except for the time you thought almost pushing me off your grandfather's yacht was a good idea."
"Hey, in my defense, you were being extra annoying that day. I mean, who wears a dress on a boat?" Jeno says stubbornly.
Jaemin just sighs. "How could our parents really think that we are a good match? I mean we're the same age, but I don't see anything else we have in common."
"They were probably expecting for us to start getting along the more time we spent with each other."
"Well that didn't exactly work out."
"So, they separated us for the last few years." Jeno says. While it is true that they knew each other since they were babies, they were separated for some years. Their parents saw that they were not getting along as well as they had hoped (read: either Jeno or Jaemin were going to commit murder very soon) so they decided to give the kids a break. During their second year of high school, Jeno went to a boarding school overseas. Jeno had decided to stay there to finish high school and college as well, he had only come back some months ago. Jeno was less grumpy, sweeter, and so far from the asshole he was when he was a prepubescent 12-year-old. When he came back, his infrequent meetings with Jaemin were at least civil. Jaemin matured as well in their time apart. She was more regal, but she was just as outspoken as she was when she was younger. It was easier to talk to her though since neither of them have the chips on their shoulders they did as kids. However, they have yet to become close.
"Well, I don't know about you," Jaemin starts, "But I don't think I am an closer to falling for you than I was when I threw your phone out that limo-."
"That was a brand-new phone." Jeno huffs.
"-but I can say that the childish things we did when we were younger aren't going to happen anymore. We are grown now. I am a lady now, and as such, I refuse to rough house with a boy. Even if it’s you."
"I guess since you're not a big mouthed little girl, I can't hit you like I used to." Jeno laughs a little at the multiple memories of him and Jaemin scrapping on the ground.
"I am a very opinionated woman, and I am not sorry for being such." Jaemin states, head held high.
"You have been spending too much time with Dongsook."
"That's because Dongsook knows what she's talking about, she has Mark wrapped around her finger. Why can't you be as pliant as him?" Jaemin pouts slightly, and Jeno refuses to call it cute.
"Because I would prefer not to be stomped all over, just my preference."
Jaemin was about to respond, but they were interrupted by someone clearing their throat. It's Renjun, who albeit reluctantly, is friends with the both of them.
"Hey, you two, you're being called for."
Jaemin sighs, but nonetheless straightens up and smooths out the nonexistent wrinkles from her dress. " Well, I guess it is close to that time."
Jeno stands as well, he doesn’t bother to smooth his shirt, even though it did get a little crinkled.
Jeno offers his arm to Jaemin, almost mockingly. "My lady."
Jaemin rolls her eyes playfully, but gingerly puts her hand on the crook of his elbow.
"Thank you, very much kind sir, you are quite the gentleman." Jaemin giggles.
Later that night, after their engagement announcement, Jaemin tries her best to keep he polite smile on. It is hard though, when you're only 22 and you're getting married to someone that you have no romantic feelings for.
"You must be so happy, Jeno is such a fine young man. I would've snatched him up for my own daughter if he weren't already taken."
"Oh yes, Jeno makes me incredibly happy. I still can't believe that he is my fiancé." Jaemin really cannot believe it.
"Then again, Jeno is one lucky man. You are quite the beauty. Make sure Jeno treats you well, okay love?"
Hearing everyone praise Jeno, Jaemin can't hold back the nasty thoughts in her head. She knows Jeno, or the Jeno from before. She finds it hard to believe that he did a complete turnaround like everyone has been telling her. If this new Jeno is anything like his younger self, Jaemin will continue to avoid him like she has the last few years. Her opinion of Jeno Lee will not be changed so easily.
"So, how's the wedding planning going?"
Jaemin is over Dongsook's new townhouse that she recently just moved into with her husband, Mark. Though her and Dongsook are the same age, Dongsook was married two years ago to her husband. Dongsook had a complicated life. She was always known as the wild and out of control girl when they were younger. Her parents had basically disowned her at one point in time. Dongsook looked for any opportunity to leave the city, so when she met Mark, she took the chance to marry him. After the two got married, they moved across the country back to Mark's hometown of Los Angeles. The couple just got back that week and it was the perfect timing. It was weird for Jaemin to not have her best friend to be with all the time. She and Dongsook have been thick as thieves since kindergarten. Not having her best friend with her for her wedding would have been too hard for Jaemin.
"I honestly have no idea what's happening with my own wedding. My mother kind of banned me from doing anything. She said all I have to do is taste cake and try on dresses."
Dongsook's bell-like laughter rang through the room. God, Jaemin missed that sound. "Sounds like your mother. Can you hand me that box next to you?"
Jaemin reaches for the box the other girl asked for, before letting out a whine. "I can't believe I'm actually getting married, I'm only 22. Why do we have to be married?"
"Nana, you know as good as me that the only reason your parents want you to get married is because they want to live out their fantasies through you. Look on the bright side though, at least it's you and not Jisung." Dongsook points out helpfully, or as helpfully as Dongsook can get.
"They better not!" Jaemin fumes, "Jisung is my baby. I refuse to let them to pollute my child."
"Well you're gonna have to take the fall for him then. If you refuse to marry Jeno, they're gonna start looking at Jisung." Dongsook puts her finger on her chin and looks thoughtful for a second. "Actually, I think I heard your dad talking about how it would be a smart business move to merge with the Zhongs."
"Well at least Jisung is already in love with Chenle. I cannot even stand Jeno Lee."
Dongsook sighs, she's heard this only every day since they were five. "Nana, you haven't even taken the time to have a full conversation with him since he got back. And that was months ago. I know you think that Jeno is still that jerk that pushed you into a fountain, but he really has changed. Jeno is actually really nice but you haven't bothered to even try to get to know him. There is a lot worse than Jeno out in the world, Nana. You should at least be glad your parents didn't try to marry you off to some old bastard." Dongsook says bitterly.
Jaemin flinches, she really did not mean to belittle what Dongsook herself had to go through a few years ago. Dongsook doesn't like to talk about it but Jaemin knows how that affected the older girl. Dongsook still doesn't talk to her parents.
"I'm serious Nana, be grateful that you know Jeno, and you can at least trust that he will not try to hurt you. Some of these other pompous pretty boys can't be trusted."
The conversation ends after that, Dongsook going back to folding up clothes. Jaemin doesn't want to step on Dongsook's toes anymore, so she quietly sits on the bed. She doesn't leave until Mark comes home an hour later. Dongsook lights up when she sees him and she throws her arms around him, peppering his face with kisses.
Jaemin imagines herself and Jeno in their places. That won't ever be them, Jaemin is sure.
2 weeks after the engagement party, Jaemin starts dress shopping. Jaemin loves shopping, it is one of her favorite hobbies, but the idea of shopping for a wedding dress just didn't fit right with her. Does Jaemin's mom really think that she is jump on board with this wedding when she sees a perfect dress? Jaemin is not the shallow, but she knows there is no way that she can get out of shopping for her own wedding dress. She might as well come to make sure her grandmother doesn't pick out some hideous abomination.
Jaemin is accompanied by her grandmother, who came all the way from Miami, her mother, Jisung, and of course, Dongsook. Jaemin will forever thankful that her best friend came back to the city. Dongsook is the only one with some taste in this group. Sorry Jisung.
"What about this one?" Dongsook pulls out an off-white mermaid style dress. It's gorgeous, with enough lace to look traditional but also enough rhinestones to appeal to Jaemin's personal style. Jaemin loves it but....
"I don't know, it doesn't fit me." Jaemin complains. They've been at this for the past 2 hours. With one of them showing Jaemin dresses, and Jaemin finding something to complain about it. It physically pains Jaemin to ignore all these designer wedding dresses, but she's doing this for the greater good. Maybe if she takes too long to pick out a dress, her parents are going to have to postpone the wedding, which is better than nothing.
Her mother, evidently, sees exactly what Jaemin is doing. "Na Jaemin, are you telling me that you don't like any of the dresses here?"
"I just want it to be perfect, I only get married once. It has to be perfect." Jaemin lies through her teeth, fooling absolutely none of her entourage. Grandmother at least looks amused.
"Seunghee, maybe we should start again tomorrow. We can go to Kleinfeld's," Dongsook suggests. Dongsook definitely knows what Jaemin is doing but she doesn't say anything.
Seunghee sighs and turns to look at her daughter. "Fine. But Nana, please stop being difficult. I want you to be involved in this process, I'm trying to make sure that you are happy."
Jaemin hums to show she was listening to her mother's nagging, but in reality, she wasn't even paying attention. Of course, her mother thinks that she is doing Jaemin a favor by trying to involve her in dress shopping for a wedding that Jaemin never wanted in the first place.
"It's about time we get ready for dinner anyway."
Dinner? Did Jaemin forget about a family dinner? Or was she supposed to meet the other society snobs to plan for the winter ball?
Her mother must have noticed the confused look on Jaemin's face, because she sighs and shakes her head. "Of course, you forgot. Jeno asked you out for dinner tonight, and you happily agreed."
"I did?" Jaemin asks, confused. She would have remembered that.
"Yes, you did. And I expect you to be on your best behavior, missy." Jaemin's mom usually allows Jaemin to do what she wants, but today might have been a little bit of a reach on Jaemin's part.
Jaemin puffs her cheeks out in annoyance but knows better than to disrespect her mother. "Yes mom."
"Good, now let's head home to get you dressed."
Jeno sits at a private booth at Delmonico's, a restaurant that Jeno despised because of the uptight attitude of the other customers and the waiters, but of course his parents looked for that specifically when they reserved this place. He's been here for 10 minutes, waiting for a certain young brunette to walk through the doors. Jeno isn't too shocked that Jaemin is late, she lives for the dramatics. She probably took too long at the salon or something. It was cute sometimes, but Jeno wishes that she came on time tonight, if only because he can't stand sitting in this place by himself.
After another 5 minutes of waiting Jeno finally sees the Maître D' escorting Jaemin to their table. Jaemin thanks the man politely and takes her seat across from Jeno. She looks ethereal tonight. Her hair is in a ponytail with two pieces hanging around her face to frame it. The blue dress that adorns her body is skintight and Jeno just knows she took a pitstop at Dongsook's because her parents would never allow her to wear that dress at a formal dinner date.
"How are you Nana?" Jeno asks casually. Knowing Jaemin, this will only annoy her.
"I'd be better if I wasn't here." She answers grumpily. "I already had a bad day, seeing your smug face just made it so much worse."
Jeno grins at her, "Now Nana, I thought we agreed that we wouldn't act like brats anymore."
"I am not being a brat, I merely pointed out that I am not happy to be here right now." Jaemin forgoes looking at him for staring at the menu. Jeno doesn't know why she bothers; she's been eating the same risotto since she was 10. He would point that out, but he is not in the mood to deal with arguing with Na Jaemin.
"Well it's not like I exactly volunteered for this," Jeno is just as much of a victim as Jaemin. His father practically threw him out of the penthouse.
Jaemin ignores him and waves a waiter over to their table. Predictably, she orders the Aquarelle Risotto and some creamed spinach. Jeno settles with their classic steak and a bottle of white wine for the both of them. When the waiter leaves with their order, Jaemin finally looks at him.
"Look Jeno, I'm sorry if I am a bit rude. I just-" Jaemin cuts herself off.
Jeno raises an eyebrow, "Just what?
The girl bites on the inside of her lip, obviously deciding what to say exactly. "I am.... scared."
"Scared? Of me?" Jeno knows that he wasn't that kind to Jaemin when they were kids, but in the last few years he thought he had been doing better. Did Jaemin really think he would hurt her now?
"No!" Jaemin says quickly, "I'm not scared of you personally, Jeno."
"So, what, you're scared of getting married to me?"
Jaemin looks unsure of herself, which is a rare for a girl like her. Jaemin is known for being confident and bubbly. Jeno has never seen her look...so vulnerable.
"I-I don't know how to explain it." She starts again. "I just don't think- no- I know that I'm not ready to get married. And let's face it Jeno, we have absolutely nothing in common, heck, I barely know you. What's your favorite color? Are you allergic to anything? When's your birthday?!"
"Nana, calm down!" Jeno tries not to laugh at the girl's ridiculousness. "Relax. We don't have to worry about all of that right now."
This only makes her more frustrated. "Then when, Jeno? When are we supposed to learn about each other? The wedding? On our honeymoon? When exactly should we worry about it?"
Well, if she puts it like that...
"Ok, well. My favorite color is blue, I have allergies, especially to cat fur, and my birthday is April 23."
Jaemin stares at him like he's grown a second head.
Jeno just shrugs, "What? You wanted to get to know me, well let's do it. Tell me about you and I'll tell you about me."
His fiancée looks skeptical. "So what? We just... talk?"
"I mean, we can just sit in silence and worry about this on our honeymoon if you want to."
"No no, let's do it now." Jaemin says, a little bit surer of herself.
So, the spend the next hour talking about themselves: the kind of shows they watch, their favorite holiday, what desserts they liked. Jeno would dare say that it was nice. In all the years that Jeno knew Jaemin, he never had a conversation with her that didn't end with insults or fists. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that Jaemin is lovely to talk to. She is a great conversationalist, albeit still a bit closed off.
After Jeno pays the bill, he walks Jaemin to her limo waiting out front. He ends the night by giving the younger girl his phone number and a promise to take her out for brunch in two days.
All in all, Jeno would say that was a successful first date.
Dongsook tells Jaemin that she is pregnant a week later.
The two best friends went out for a much-needed girl's day out. With the busyness of planning a wedding, and with Dongsook being married and still adjusting to living back in New York, it was harder for the two girls to get together like they did before. It had taken for Jaemin to literally have a meltdown at the flower shop for Dongsook to whisk her away for the weekend. Jaemin was hesitant to stay over when Mark was around but Dongsook informed her that her husband was in Vancouver for a few days. So, they went to Dongsook's home, ate ice cream, and watched chick flicks all day. It was the most fun Jaemin had had in a while. The next day, they hit the boutiques. Jaemin is only a little ashamed of herself for spending enough money to furnish a whole apartment.
They currently were at The Canary, a quaint little cafe they frequented during their school days. While Jaemin enjoyed fancy foods, every once in a while, she could appreciate a pumpkin spiced muffin on a cozy sofa.
Dongsook obviously had something on her mind. As much as Dongsook tried to hide it, Jaemin could see her thoughts wonder off when the other girl thought she wasn't being looked at. It is not unusual for Dongsook to keep secrets, but it is unusual for her not to tell Jaemin.
"Hey, Sook, are you alright?" Jaemin asks, placing her hand on top of her friend's.
Dongsook blinked slowly, which raises red flags in Jaemin's head. Dongsook is quick not only with her tongue but with her reflexes. It's not often she is taken by surprise. "Sorry Nana, I've just been thinking about some things."
"What are you thinking about? You can tell me." Jaemin encourages her.
Dongsook looks like she is contemplating not telling her the truth, but just sighs. "Alright Nana, but you have to promise to keep it a secret. As in tell no one."
"When have you ever known me to be a blabber mouth? You know I will keep your secret, promise." Jaemin is uneasy. There is no telling what Dongsook is getting ready to tell her.
Dongsook leans over the coffee table separating them and motions for the other girl to do so as well. When Jaemin does so, Dongsook cups her ear and whispers:
Jaemin gasps loudly, which earned a panicked look and a shush from Dongsook.
"I'm serious Nana, no one can know, Mark doesn't even know yet."
"You haven't told him?" Jaemin is not an expert on marriage, but that seems like something you should share with your spouse.
Dongsook shakes her head. "I just found out after he left. This isn't something I want to tell him over the phone. And maybe I'm a little scared to tell him."
"Sookie, you know how much Mark loves you. He won't be mad about it."
"But how do I know that he wants a baby? We're both still very young. We just got married two years ago and we just moved here after a year away. I don't think that we're ready for this."
Jaemin could not believe that she was hearing this from Lee Dongsook, the most confident woman Nana has ever had the pleasure to meet. "Dongsook, what are you going on about? Of course, you can do this. You and Mark will raise the baby together and do a great job. Seriously I cannot even imagine Mark not wanting this child."
"Just think about what everyone will say when they find out I'm pregnant. They probably won't even believe that it is Mark's."
"Who cares what they think about you. Sook, you know that you haven't been with anyone since you and Mark got married, and as long as you and he know that it doesn't matter what other people say. They will believe what they want to believe. Don't let other people mess up your relationship. Don't give them that right."
"I know that I'm still looked at as the Upper East Side slut. I don't really care about what people think of me, but I do care about Mark's image. Mark deserves more than me."
"Dongsook, you know that he loves you, right?"
"There are no buts about it. He loves you, that's it. He won't leave you now and not ever. Understand?"
"Gosh Nana. I'm just so scared that one day Mark will wake up and realize that he can do so much better than me."
Jaemin does not understand how Dongsook can doubt herself so much when she is the literal embodiment of perfection. "That will never happen. There is no one better for Mark than you. You guys are so perfect for each other."
Dongsook smiles at her, "I love you so much Nana. I don't know how I ever lived without you."
"Well, you always needed me to be the voice of reason."
"I distinctively remember both of us being very dumb when we were younger, so I don't know what you're talking about."
"We will not talk about our juvenile past anymore."
"Oh, I am so bringing it up at your wedding. Just wait until Jeno finds out about what happened summer before junior year."
Jaemin never bothered to learn anything about Jeno. Even the most basic things she had no clue about. Until recently, it never bothered her. She and Jeno did not like each other for years. In fact, Jaemin can confidently say that he was the bane of her existence. When they were younger, everything Jeno did got on her nerves. The way he snickered with in the corner of rooms along with Choi Bomin when Jaemin would trip over her too long dress, or the way he always went out of his way to make it known that she was not welcome in his clubhouse in the Hamptons, Jeno Lee was not someone she ever wanted to get to know.
Jaemin was happy to see him leave, even happily went along with her mother to see him off. She thought that by Jeno leaving, she would finally be able to live her own life. Before then, her parents told her what to do, where to go, who to see, and who not to see, it was infuriating knowing her parents would never let her date anyone when Jeno was around. But things changed after Jeno left and for those years, Jaemin did a lot. She dated around, even went to prom with Hwang Hyunjin, and her parents never said anything. They even comforted her when those relationships fell apart.
Little did she know that the reason they were so permissive was that Jeno would be coming back. And come back he did. Jaemin didn't even get a notice from her family, she had read about his homecoming on a tabloid newspaper.
Jaemin refuses to say that she threw the biggest tantrum of her life, but she totally did. Her parents had planned this all along. Let her have her freedom, then when Jeno got back, she would once again be locked in this stupid agreement, and this time it was final. Jaemin refused to come to his homecoming party, had even gotten her grandmother to agree to see her for a week. It was petty and bratty, but she didn't care. If her parents wanted to be assholes, she could be one too.
Eventually though, Jaemin had to come back to the city. She still had responsibilities at her mother's atelier, and with the Garden committee. As much as she wanted to move to LA with Dongsook, Jaemin swallowed her pride and went back to Manhattan.
Her first encounter with Jeno was... not what she had expected.
Jeno was a completely different person. Of course, he was older, more mature looking. He had bleached hair that was just starting to show the roots, a sharp jawline, and killer biceps. Objectively, Jaemin always knew her intended was a handsome man but she had never taken a second glance.
His appearance wasn't the only thing to change. His personality seemed to do a complete 180. The arrogant kid that she knew from before was completely gone. When Jeno saw her, he had smiled. He had complimented her. Jaemin was so thrown off, that was not what she had expected from any of this.
Jaemin tried her best to avoid him, she still didn't bother to learn about this new Jeno. People did not just change like that, Jaemin refused to believe that Jeno was as changed as he had everyone else believe. With the two of them being a part of the crowds, it was a task to avoid him. But avoid him she did.
But now, she was freshly graduated, engaged, and very conflicted.
Was this the time that she gave Jeno a chance? What was holding her back? Her parents were not going to end this engagement and Jeno seemed to be fine with it, so who else was she holding back for except herself? Was her stubbornness really worth not talking to her future husband?
'No' Jaemin thinks to herself. 'It's not worth it.'
To: Jeno Lee
hey, i know we just went out last week, but would you be up for another one?
Jaemin hadn't even put her phone down when she got a response from Jeno.
name the date and time and i'll be there xoxo
Jeno likes spending time with Jaemin. When the girl isn't being a complete party pooper, she can actually be pretty fun. The only side of Jaemin that Jeno got to see was the version of her that graced the ballroom at the latest party or the girl that can spend one paycheck on a pair of shoes and a bag. Rarely will you ever see Jaemin Na laid back and relaxed, but once she let loose, there is no stopping her.
Jeno learned that Jaemin enjoyed going to Coney Island. She especially loves the many carnival games and the Ferris wheel on the boardwalk. It was hard for him to keep up with Jaemin's seemingly endless energy, a result of her high caffeine intake that day. Jeno struggled throughout the day with carrying all the stuffed animals Jaemin won and his feet started throbbing after 4 hours of walking around, but he thinks it was all worth it.
Jaemin smiling at him is a feat of itself, but Jaemin smiling her real smile with all her teeth? Yeah, Jeno can get used to seeing that every day.
His feelings for Jaemin Na were virtually nonexistent for the first years that they knew each other. Jaemin was more of a thorn in his side than she was a potential lover. She was like an annoying sister that Jeno could not shake for the life of him. Before Jeno moved, it was like he and Jaemin were always fighting about something. It was a relief when his parents finally had enough of them and decided to send Jeno away.
Things changed after Jeno returned; he and Jaemin both changed. Jeno remembers when he first saw her again. It wasn't some cliche moment when he finally realized that, after all these years, he was actually in love with Jaemin Na. It was more like he was seeing her for the first time, for who she really was and not what image of her Jeno had in his head. Jeno wasn't too proud to admit that Jaemin was enchanting. While she was never an ugly duck, quite contrary in fact, Jeno would never take the time to actually look at her.
And once he started looking at her, he realized that he didn't want to look away.
Jeno had dated quite a few different girls in his teen years, but he never went into those relationships thinking they would last. Those girls were just a way to pass the time, but Jaemin... she isn't like that. Jeno knew that one way or another, he and Jaemin would end up together. And that idea did not bother him like it did when he was younger.
So, while Jeno can't say that he has completely fallen for the younger girl, he thinks he is on the way.
When Jaemin Na smiles at him, Jeno feels like he will never tire of it.
With the wedding closing in, Jaemin is turning into a hormonal, anxious mess. She is either snapping at anyone who dared talk to her or crying over one little mistake someone makes with the decorations. It is completely different than the calm and collected front that she usually puts up.
"I swear Nana, I'm not sure which one of us is pregnant, me or you. You have more mood swings than I do, and that's saying something." Dongsook has a point, without being pregnant, Dongsook's moods swings were weird at best and downright scary at worst, but with her added pregnancy hormones she can be a complete nightmare. By this time Dongsook is already nearing her fourth month of pregnancy. She has a small baby bump, but it is almost impossible to see, which Jaemin thanks God for because her bridesmaid dress was fitted way before she knew she was pregnant.
"Sorry Sook, this is just so stressful. I'm about to be a married woman. How did you even do this?"
Dongsook laughs at her friend's pitiful state, enjoying her adversity a little too much. "Well first off, I had a great maid of honor. And lucky for you, you have an even better maid of honor."
"I don't remember you freaking out this much."
"Oh, believe me, I was so freaking out. Just when I was alone mostly." Jaemin can believe that. As dramatic as Dongsook is, she never liked to appear as anything other than her fun and lively self.
Jaemin sighs. "I don't know Sook, I'm actually really nervous about getting married. What if Jeno wants to leave too, like how Mark took you away? I don't think that I would be able to leave my family."
"First off, I don't think Jeno would want to leave again. Secondly, Mark isn't even from here and was not planning on coming home with a wife, so that argument is not valid."
"Ok, but what if Jeno-?" Dongsook cuts her off with narrowed eyes.
"Nana, stop playing the what if game. We can figure those things out later, it doesn't matter right now."
"Sorry, I'm just really panicking." Jaemin is so anxious, it is a wonder how she has a lip left to chew on.
"You'll be fine. You're going to walk down that aisle with your head held high, looking so gorgeous that you make Jeno Lee drool. Understand?" Dongsook says, grasping the younger girl's shoulders to halt her pacing. "Seriously Nana, everything will be fine. It will be a great wedding and then a great reception, and who knows, maybe a fun honeymoon."
Jaemin chuckles a little. "Thanks, Sookie. How did I live without you?"
"That wasn't living, honey. It was surviving." Dongsook laughs.
The wedding day comes too quickly for what Jaemin is ready for. She hasn't seen Jeno for the past week, and she is lowkey (read: high key) freaking out. She doesn't want to admit it, but over the past few months, her and Jeno became companions for one another, and she wouldn't mind talking to him right now with that soothing voice of his. Honestly, his voice is one of the best things about him.
"Wow, Nana, you are looking so beautiful. Remind me again why I didn't propose to you?" Renjun says as he enters the room, already dressed in his suit and hair combed back in a style.
"Hey Renjun, how's it going out there?" Jaemin asks, not even acknowledging her friend's flirting. Renjun has been her friend since forever, but they have no feelings for each other. Probably because Renjun has had the biggest crush on one of Mark's friends for over a year now.
"Well, all the guests are seated, so we'll be starting up in just a few minutes. Are you ready?"
"In which way, mentally or physically? "
Jaemin lets out a quiet sigh. "Honestly, I do think that I'm ready to get married, but I'm just really nervous. Jeno and I only got to spend a few months getting to know each other, what if we don't work out? The last thing I want is to be divorced before I even turn 25.
"Nana, stop being such a pessimist. This is going to work out, I can feel it." Renjun says, gentle but still firm in the way he spoke. "So, what about the other part, are you finished dressing?"
"Sookie left to go get something, she said she would be back in a sec."
As if on cue, Dongsook comes back to the room. She had finished dressing herself, her floor-length dusty pink dress flowing over her body and her honey toned hair curled over her shoulders. She pulls out a small box from behind her back and presents it to Jaemin. Renjun excuses himself and leaves the girls alone.
"What's this Sook?" The younger girl asks with wide eyes.
"I wanted to give you something really special for this incredibly special day, but I wasn't sure what I could give to you. But yesterday, I thought of the most perfect thing for you."
"What is it?"
Dongsook rolls her eyes fondly. "You have to open it up, silly."
Jaemin shakes the box slightly, trying to make out what was inside of it. When she determines that no, she cannot tell what it is, she takes the top off the box.
The object inside takes Jaemin's breath away.
Inside is the very necklace that Dongsook wore to her own wedding. Jaemin remembers gushing over the diamond necklace on the day of Dongsook's wedding, how she wanted to have one just like it for her own wedding.
"I know this is usually a kind of mother-daughter thing, but I think of you as a sister Jaemin. So.." Dongsook trails off, a light blush dusting her cheeks.
Jaemin looked at the older girl with teary eyes. She couldn't believe that her best friend would do something so special for her.
"I... I'm speechless Sookie! I can't believe how lucky I am for a friend like you!"
"Hey, save those tears 'til after you get hitched," Dongsook sniffs, obviously holding back her own tears.
Jaemin lets out a laugh, but it somehow turned into something more like a choked sob. "I love you so much Dongsook. You're the bestest friend a girl can ever ask for."
"You're welcome Nana, now how out we put it on you so you can get yourself married?" Dongsook beamed at her. She took the necklace out of Jaemin's lithe fingers, unclasped it, and put on Jaemin's neck. The metal felt cold on her neck, but it was absolutely beautiful.
There was a knock on the door that interrupted the girls bonding time. Jaemin's father peaked his head in the room. "Are you ready, darling?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Jaemin says, taking a deep breath, Jaemin blinks away any tears still in her eyes and takes her father's hand. Dongsook squeezes past them to get to her position quickly, hugging Jaemin briefly as she walked past.
Jaemin could feel her legs go weak as she hears the wedding march start to play. She stands behind the doors as she waits for them to be opened for her, god, she is going to puke.
The doors open, slowly revealing the faces of her relatives and friends, basically all of the Upper East Side. She grabs on to her father's arm with an iron grip and they make their way down the aisle. She hears people whispering, probably talking about her untraditional custom-made rose gold wedding dress, and she can already hear her mother and grandmother sniffling.
But she doesn't pay them any attention because her eyes are on the man that is standing at the altar. Jaemin feels her heart skip a beat, did Jeno always look so good in a tux? Her father lets go of her hand and Jaemin almost falls over herself in an attempt to stop her legs from turning to complete jelly.
She doesn't miss the small chuckle that Jeno lets out.
The priest begins his long speech, but Jaemin is too distracted by Jeno's face to really pay attention to what he is saying. Jeno catches her eyes once or twice, but he just smiles looks away again. When she notices that Jeno's lips are moving, she tunes back in.
"-and I promise to always protect in any way I can. And give you my love and attention, I promise to be with you until the end of time Jaemin Na." Jeno finishes by looking into her eyes.
Jaemin flushes when all eyes went on her. "I....I promise to only be loyal to you. And I promise to give you my love and attention. I promise that I will be with you until the end of time Jeno Lee."
The priest smiles at the two, "By the power invested in me, I now declare you husband and wife. You may now kiss."
Jeno, seeing how hesitant the girl is, cups her cheek and gently puts his lips gently over hers. Jaemin feels all the tension melt out of her body. His lips are soft, probably even softer than her own, and she could feel the little butterflies in her stomach.
When the two separate, Jeno flashes her a smile, his eyes somehow smiling even brighter. Jaemin can feel herself smiling right back at Jeno. At her new husband.
And when Jeno takes her hand into his, Jaemin feels herself fall a little bit more.
The wedding bells rang when Jaemin finally thought:
'Maybe I can love Jeno.'