I scowled at my face in the mirror. This was the worst day of my life.
“Stop pouting.” Luhan sighed as he pulled at my hair. I grunted when I felt another flash of pain to my scalp. Worst day ever.
It was my wedding day.
The day Wu Fan and I would say the vows we never go to, where we'd freely promise to a marriage. I was thankful he'd asked me to marry him again. I was having a ceremony with the man I'd fallen in love with now, not the man I'd been sold to. I should've been excited, which I was. I couldn't wait to stand next to Wu Fan and kiss him. I should be full of butterflies, and I was. The excitement was making me nervous and then excited again. I should be overflowing with joy. But that was not the case.
“OW!” I whined loudly while pulling away from the nimble hands that were working in to my hair. It had been Luhan's bright idea to put plumeria flowers in my hair. At first I'd been unsure about it. I was fine wearing a white suit, after all I was the one that had been asked. But I didn't want to feel like a total girl. But then I'd remembered the one time Wu Fan had brought me home a bouquet of plumerias, and I'd stuck one behind my ear just for fun. The way he'd stared at me that night...
I was regretting that decision now. It hurt. Luhan was not an expert with hair pins. It was a constant tug and pull and twist of my roots.
Worst day ever.
“Stay still.” Luhan huffed with a pin in between his teeth. With a flick of his wrist I felt the roots of my hair being pulled at again, a sharp poke to my head and then the feeling of unbearable tightness. I cringed at the feeling, biting on my bottom lip to keep from screaming.
“What are you doing to him LuLu?” the sound of Yixing waking in could have made me cry. Maybe he would be my savior.
“His hair, which is very difficult let me tell you.” Luhan let go of the piece of hair he'd been twisting and stepped back with a scowl. I heard Yixing chuckling lightly before I saw him come in to the bathroom behind me. With out a word he began to pluck the flowers out of my hair. The moan of relief escaped my lips before I could stop myself. Luhan glared at me with piercing eyes.
“Sorry Lu. It hurt too much.” I pouted at him. He rolled his eyes, but began to help anyways. When my head was clear I instantly rubbed my scalp, enjoying the feeling of no more pain. But Yixing was quick to push my hands away. He told me he was going to cut my hair a bit, clean it up.
Yixing was a very trustworthy person. I trusted him with my son at any time of the day, I trusted him when I needed help, and I trusted him to cut my hair. It always seemed that when I needed help, Yixing showed up. When I was running out while Wu Fan and I were fighting, Yixing had stepped in to stop my angry husband from going after me. When I'd jumped in to the river with out a thought to get my little gem, it was Yixing that Wu Fan had called for help, who'd grabbed me before I'd fallen all the way in. and then there was my Luhan.
He was a very honest person, always saying his thoughts out loud with out a care. I pictured him as a bright flame, burning where he went and letting sparks fly at any moment. He took any task at hand, not always succeeding, but still trying his best. He was Rui's favorite playmate. He was good at playing characters and talking to my Rui on a level I didn't always understand. He was a great friend, someone who didn't have a problem telling me when I was being a brat. The only time of the day when he wasn't full of emotion and spontaneity was in the morning. But other than that he was always full of energy, and yet he kept me grounded and calm when the time came.
And of course Jongdae.
Jongdae was someone who I'd been unsure of at first. He was so playful I thought he was making fun of me. But go figure we'd been through a similar experience, we shared a homeland. He was positive, always smiling and telling me about great things in the world. Small things, but to him they were important. He talked a lot, but I liked it. He laughed louder than anyone else. He enjoyed making fun of people to make them smile and laugh, he was good at being cute and making you love him.
They were my best friends. I loved them all. And they'd all been here with me, supportive and willing to do whatever made me happy.
“Thank you.” I whispered to the two men behind me. Luhan's brow was scrunched in concentration as he continued to take flowers from my hair. Yixing's face was calm as usual, he was gently coating my hair in water so he could begin cutting it.
“For what? Saving you from Luhan?” Yixing smirked. I smiled at his joke, Luhan threatened to shove a flower down his throat.
“No. For being my friends. For...everything.” I meant these words. I was thankful. They'd been nice to me. And as simple as that sounded, it meant everything to me. Luhan grinned widely at me before grabbing my face and planting a big kiss on my cheek.
“We love you too Minseokie~!” he cooed. Yixing didn't kiss me on my cheek, but he did smile at me.
~ ~ ~
“You didn't tell me you could cut hair babe.” Jongdae stared at me wide eyed. He was admiring his lover's work. I glanced in the mirror and my jaw fell.
I'd grown out my hair quite a bit while living in Hawaii. It had grown past my ears actually, becoming long thick strands of black. Now my hair was shorter on the sides, the top half had been trimmed and pushed back. Jongdae had come in with some natural wax Yixing had used to style my hair, and now I saw something familiar in myself. Something I hadn't seen in over four years.
“You copied it.” I muttered. Jongdae threw me a questioning look, as well as Luhan. Yixing was the only one to smirk at me through the mirror. He'd cut my hair exactly the way it had been when I'd first arrived here. The way it was trimmed on the sides was exact, the style of my hair was the exact same.
“Last touch.” Yixing said and held out his hand to Luhan. Three plumerias where placed in Yixing's hand. He quickly fiddled with the stems of the flowers. And then he pinned them neatly behind my right ear. And that was it. I gazed in to the mirror with a smile.
“Thank you.” I said again.
Jongdae squealed in delight as he pulled me up from my seat. He wanted me to get dressed already. I followed him upstairs where Ani was waiting to help me get dressed.
Wu Fan and I had decided to match. The only difference in our outfits was my bow tie versus his tie and my plumerias in my hair versus them being in his breast pocket.
Ani wanted the ceremony to be at her house, so a small table was set up on her pathway in the middle of the wildflowers.
I was quickly dressed, as well as Rui who sported a small black tuxedo that he looked too cute in. when we headed downstairs I was surprised with a lei of plumerias being placed over my head.
“I made it!” Luhan chirped. It meant celebration.
~ ~ ~
I coughed loudly, the pounding to my back was meant to be comforting, but in no way was I calm.
“Just don't fall.” Jongdae whispered to me. He zipped past me, jogging out of Ani's house and down the pathway. I could see them from here. Far down Ani's pathway, among the lavender and dandelions. Ani was standing next to where I'd be soon, holding hands with Rui who was smiling at me. The trio was all dressed in black, standing next to a man who whore white just like me.
He was so much taller than me. He'd pushed his black hair back. With the sun beating down brightly I could see his dark eyes fully as they stared at me. Those eyes. They'd been the first thing I'd noticed about him when he'd looked down at me that first day. He'd uttered a sweet greeting, he was polite and careful with me. He'd loved me before I'd loved him.
I took the first few steps down the porch, settling on the ground with a shaky breath.
His eyes were looking at me. Really looking at me. And I was looking at him.
He held both of my hands in his, while Ani let us state our vows.
I promised to continue loving him, to trust him, to stay with him. I always wanted to be held by him, I always wanted to kiss him, and I assured him I wouldn't be happy anywhere else.
“I'm happy here Wu Fan. I'm happy with you. I love you.”
He promised to keep me safe, to do whatever it took to make me happy.
“You are my flower, and I am your river. I've only ever loved you Minseok. I'll love you for the rest of my life. I'll give you a million plumerias to make you understand that.”
Ani blessed us, she thanked Kane for our love and had us say a short prayer to him. And then she recited something in Chinese that I didn't understand. It was later when we were all seated and eating when Wu Fan whispered what she said in my ear,
“You are my flower. I am your river. Let me give you love and patience so that you may grow. Drift with me downstream, be happy and content my flower for I am your river. You are too beautiful to let go, I will do whatever it takes to let you bloom, because you are my flower and I am your river. And I love you.”
Wu Fan held my face for a moment before he kissed me, his thumb brushed my cheek lovingly, his eyes searched mine for a second. He was looking at me, taking in this moment. I stared up at him, at his deep set brow, his pushed back hair and full lips. I was so in love with him.
His kiss was gentle, his one arm cradled my body, while his hand cradled my face.
He was my everything, he was my husband, my other half.
I was his flower, his plumeria that was deeply in love. I could only bloom near him.
He was my river, my Wailuku. He loved strongly like the current, he loved deeply like the river's depth. So deep your feet couldn't touch the bottom.
~ ~ ~
We had a great dinner cooked by Ani later. She made amazing food, and she even took the time to bake me a pumpkin pie. Wu Fan had ended up eating half of it while I'd helped our son eat his food, but it was the thought that had counted. Luhan took a million pictures with his camera, while Ani spent the meal catering to my little gem.
When Wu Fan and I weren't lost in our own world, Jongdae was busy talking to me quietly about how he and Yixing were planning to take a trip off the island. Yixing wanted to take Jongdae to China, find a small house on the shore where they could relax and live. Yixing and Jongdae both knew how to fish, they'd live that way for awhile. Jongdae was excited to travel with his lover, to just be with him everyday and experiencing new things together.
I thought it was a great idea, although I'd be sad to see my friends go. But they had their own dreams, their own love. I knew Yixing had always wanted to see the land his ancestors had come from.
After the meal was done, Ani ordered that everyone go inside, to leave Wu Fan and I alone for awhile.
The sun was setting by then, I could see the stars starting to sparkle in the navy blue sky.
“Dance with me.” Wu Fan pulled me against him. I didn't even question it, I just smiled and rested my head on his chest. We swayed back and forth through the flowers and under the stars, sharing kisses that were so sweet I thought I'd die. I was so happy then.
It didn't feel like our perfect world could be touched. It felt like there was a small bubble protecting our paradise. No one existed outside of our land. It was just Wu Fan and I, dancing in the field I'd seen in my dreams, under the stars that fascinated my little gem.
And Wu Fan held me, like he was never going to let me go. I never wanted him to let me go.
Minseok closed the journal quietly, a very dark aura rapping around him. The memories were so vivid he could see them right before his eyes. But they were so far away, so far gone it made his heart hurt. If he could just have that day back. Just for a second.
“Do you ever want to leave me?” a sad voice came from behind him. Minseok turned around in his chair. Kris was standing in the hallway, dark eyes on him, silent tears falling down his face.
“I miss that life.” he admitted. He missed that happiness, that bliss, that paradise that couldn't be touched. But it had been interrupted, torn apart in the worst way. Kris's head fell then, at Minseok's words his head fell and his body slid to the floor. He felt defeated. Unwanted. Guilty. He couldn't give Minseok his old life again. He couldn't stop Minseok from wanting it, and that hurt.
“I'm sorry. I'm sorry I can't give you that.” Kris whispered. Minseok crouched down to the floor, holding his husband's face in his hands.
“Don't be. I'm okay here.” Minseok tried to smile. But it didn't reach his eyes.
“But you're not happy. Like you were.” Kris sighed. He pulled away from Minseok, pulled away and looked away. But Minseok grabbed his face again and stared in to his eyes, he searched deeply. All the years they'd lived out here on the shore and he'd never gotten an answer. The name on his lips was old, it was tattered and unsure, but it was full of need and love.
“Wu Fan?” Minseok called. His voice was frail and scared. Immediately Kris met his eyes, a spark of anger and guilt setting them on fire. But Minseok continued, with his fear in one hand, and his need in the other he asked the question he'd asked a very long time ago. It hurt, to not fully trust Kris, to not believe him all the time. Minseok was happy to have him, he still loved him. But it had always been the thing that kept them quiet. It was the one burning question that had been shoved to the back of their lives. With this journal, with Minseok's memories remerging, the question couldn't be left alone anymore.
“Wu Fan, why did you lie to me, and not send the letter?” Minseok asked. Kris stared up at him with regret. He was clutching Minseok's biceps with pain and guilt.
One stupid letter, one stupid lie, and their perfect untouchable paradise had been destroyed.