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more than friends, less than lovers

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After the eventful dinner, Jipyeong sends her to her apartment. And as usual, Jipyeong insists to walk her up to her front door despite all the hassle to park his car.

Both of them walk in silence and much to Jipyeong's dismay, they reach Injae's flat in a short amount of time.

“Thank you for sending me home.” Injae says when they reached in front of the door. But Jipyeong doesn’t budge or bid her any goodbye.

“Is there anything wrong, Jipyeong-sshi?” 

The man looks up to her, tips of his ears reddened and she can make out the blush on his cheeks despite the poor light of the apartment’s corridor.

“Do you mind if I sleep over?” 

Injae’s eyes pop open. Although they have been sleeping together regularly, they usually schedule it during the weekends, as a means to unwind and release unpent stress from a whole week of busy schedule.

But it’s Tuesday…

As if sensing Injae’s hesitation, Jipyeong quickly adds, “I swear, I just want to sleep. I won’t do anything that you don’t want.” He mumbles the last part, Injae almost missed it. But the darkened blush on his face gives it away.

“I just… I don't want to sleep alone tonight.”

Injae is silent for a few while, seemingly lost in thought and Jipyeong even isn't able to lift his face towards Injae.

“Okay.” She says after a few agonizing minutes and Jipyeong exhales a deep breath that he doesn’t know he is holding. 

“Okay?” He asks, eyes wide.

Injae nods, “Yeah, come in. I’m just thinking if I have spare clothes for you.”

Jipyeong holds back a smile and follows Injae to her flat.

It is his second time to come to Injae’s place after that fateful night, when they first started the agreement. And it brings back memories, he even misses the familiar smell that he has grown into for the past one year.

“Make yourself at home.”

Injae then leaves him in the to her room and goes back with a set of pink satin pyjamas, making Jipyeong dumbfounded. 

“This is what I got from Halmeoni, it is too big for me but it might fit you.” Injae says, holding back her giggles seeing his expression. It is indeed too girly for his taste.

“Beggar cannot choose.” Injae reminds him, making Jipyeong pouts.

Jipyeong takes a bath first and Injae finds him waiting for her, sitting on the corner of the bed, looking unsure despite his heavy eyes. He must have had a long day today.

“What is it now? Don’t you want to sleep over?”

“Yeah, I do. But which side do you want me to sleep on?” 

Injae smiles, this guy is truly too considerate for his own good.

“It’s okay. You can choose the side, I will take the rest.”

Then Jipyeong starts to relax and lays on the bed, finding a comfortable spot to fall asleep.

“Injae-sshi…” He calls when Injae is still doing her skincare routine.

“Hm?”

“I know it’s a bit weird for me to ask,” Although Injae doesn’t turn around to see him, she knows that he is being bashful again.

“I have been wondering about your perfume.”

“Perfume? I don’t use any.” Injae, now intrigued, turns back facing the bed and he is there looking at her with a blush on his cheeks.

“But this particular smell of yours… I don’t mean that it’s not good, in fact it’s a very good smell. And sometimes it lingers in my flat even after you leave…” He trails, but stopping himself when he catches Injae is looking at him.

“Ah… forget it. I must be rambling.” He slides into the cover, trying to bury himself in the embarrassment.

What the heck, Han Jipyeong, you must be crazy!

“Probably, it’s my body lotion.” Injae replies, sliding herself under the bed cover and laying beside him, “I have been using it for so long.”

“Honey and milk, isn’t it?” Jipyeong glances at Injae.

Injae nods, “With a combination of olive oil and some Southeast Asian spices. I got it from the Asian market when I studied in the US. I fell in love and still use it until now.”

“That’s why you always smell so good.” Jipyeong mutters, halfway to the dreamland.

Injae smiles, he must be really out of it.

“Sleep, Han Jipyeong, you need it.”

 

---

 

Jipyeong wakes up early in the morning but he still keeps his eyes closed, wanting to savour the minutes on the bed.

I will wait until Youngsil wakes me up.

But he catches the sniff of Injae’s body lotion and he remembers that he is not sleeping in his own bed. He opens his eyes, hoping to find a sleeping Injae beside him but finds himself alone in the bed and he starts to remember everything that he has said previous night.

No wonder she left the bed as soon as she woke up, he berates himself and drags himself out of the bed.

He finds her sitting in the dining room, enjoying a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. She looks up at him when he appears.

"Good morning."

"Good morning." Jipyeong replies sheepishly, he still can't meet Injae in the eyes.

But fortunately, Injae doesn't seem to mind, too engrossed with reading the newspaper.

"Coffee?" She offers.

"Yes, please." 

She makes a cup for him, one spoon of black coffee with two spoons of white sugar and a little bit of milk, because unlike her, Jipyeong doesn't like Americano. It's too bitter for his taste buds.

"Sorry, I don't prepare any breakfast for you. But feel free to make yourself a toast." Injae says when she places the cup in front of Jipyeong and resumes her reading.

"Sorry about last night."

Injae stops her reading, lowering the newspaper to look at him in the eye.

"What are you sorry for?"

"I was rambling nonsense. I also didn't know why I did it."

"Yeah, I thought you were drunk. But we didn't even drink last night."

No, Jipyeong definitely wasn't drunk. He was totally sober. It's just he wants to be near Injae right now.

Her phone vibrates and she takes a glance at it.

Jipyeong watches her eyes widen in excitement seeing the name pops on the screen. 

"Kim Dongwan is calling me." She says.

"This early in the morning?" Jipyeong frowns. 

Does the guy have any sense to call about business before working hours?

"This might be important." Injae excuses herself and walks a little bit further from the dining room, leaving Jipyeong who is dumbfounded.

What does he need to talk about early in the morning? 

He tiptoes, trying not to make a noise, moving nearer to Injae all while maintaining a respectful space.

He hears them exchanging greetings and he has never heard Injae so excited talking to someone before. 

Does she have feelings for him?

Then, what about us?

Jipyeong is too engrossed with his own thoughts that he doesn't hear Injae coming towards him.

"Jipyeong-sshi, I got the project!" She exclaims, clearly happy that her hard work is paid off. 

"Dongwan oppa said yes and he wants us to start the project immediately!" 

Jipyeong can't help but to smile at her, "Congratulations! I know you will nail it." 

"Thank you for your help too." 

Jipyeong feels his heart flutter seeing her happy smile.

"I just helped to check it out. It's all because of your hard work."

"Still," Injae rebuts, "If it's not your help, he might not agree with the proposal or worse, it will put us into disadvantages."

"So, thank you." 

Both of them are looking at each other in silence for a while, not knowing what to say but not wanting to break the mood. 

Injae is the one who manages to control herself first, "I will make you the toast. How would you like it to be? Sweet or savoury?"

She walks into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator, checking the ingredients.

"I have some bacon and eggs, if you want."

When she doesn't hear his reply, she turns around and finds him standing behind her, a little bit too close to her personal space.

"Jipyeong-sshi?" 

She watches his eyes drop into her lips as he leans closer. Instinctively, she closes her eyes and welcomes his lips on hers.

 

--- 

 

They have kissed numerous times, especially during the night when they meet to satiate the urge. 

But they never kiss outside the bedroom, especially the morning after. 

It exclusively belongs to the couple that spends the night during the weekend in Jipyeong's apartment.

Injae thought her heart would stop beating when they were about to kiss yesterday. But they were saved by his growling stomach and the kiss was forgotten.

But now, Injae can't believe that they are kissing in her kitchen.

At first it's only his lips barely touches hers as if asking for permission. But Injae needs more, more of his lips, more of his touches on her body. He has set her body alight.

So, she kisses him back boldly, running her fingers on his thick hair. And Jipyeong doesn't hold back, moulding their body together.

His hands are everywhere and every time he touches her, it burns. His mouth is hot on her, tongue teasing, she can't even feel the cold seeping on her back from the open refrigerator behind her, where his sturdy body has trapped her.

Jipyeong grabs her waist, lifts her as if she is as light as a feather, kicks the refrigerator close behind him, and sits her down on the dining table with his mouth never leaving hers.

Jipyeong starts to undo her sleep robe and Injae even helps to take it off herself, making Jipyeong chuckles in the middle of their kisses.

"Shut up." She hisses, but then grabbing his cheeks to keep kissing him, earning a smile from Jipyeong. 

He starts to pepper kisses downward, from her jaw, neck, and shoulder, making Injae gasps. 

We shouldn't do this, she muses to herself. 

But his lips make her lose all the rationale.

His fingers toy with the chemise straps and he pulls away his lips slightly from her skin.

"Can I…?" He asks, unsure.

Injae feels herself blushing underneath his heated stares but doesn't want him to stop, so she nods bashfully, earning her a one million dollar smile from him, and let him take her to the bed.

They have done it several times, and every time it gets better than before. He knows how to touch and where to touch to set her aflame.

But today is different. 

Under the warm morning sunlight peeking from the window in Injae’s bedroom, two bodies moving in unison, seeking and giving pleasure to each other.

If the Han Jipyeong during the night they spent together is stunning, Jipyeong who is worshipping her body right now is more breathtaking even with his bed hair and ridiculously frilly pyjamas. 

Injae knows she has fallen deep and there is no way for her to get out of this unscathed. 

She knows she is bound to get hurt one day. Their relationship is doomed from day one.

Jipyeong snuggles her from behind, lacing their fingers together while peppering kisses on the back of her neck, clearly basking in the post orgasm.

But he is unaware of the unshed tears in Injae's eyes.

 

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