The window blinds made for the invasion of light. A single ray strayed to her face; it contorts in discomfort before she roused from her sleep. She straightened herself, pushing the comforters aside. She tucks a loc behind her ear in confusion. A small smile of realization creeps on her face as she rushed to commence her daily routine. After downing a blue t-shirt, a pair of acid washed jeans and matching blue converse she grabbed her luggage from the corner of the cosy corn yellow guest bedroom and took a last long look. Descending the stairway, the aroma of rich Jamaican blue mountain coffee grasped her attention. She snuck past a working Emily, who was busy preparing breakfast and set her luggage by the door.
‘Good morning to you too Emily’, she smiles warmly entering the pure white very modern kitchen.
‘Oh, Dylan!’ Emily, her brother’s soulmate and fiancé, rushes to meet her setting breakfast on the oak dining table behind Dylan. The smell of bacon, eggs and pancakes filled the air. ‘You must visit us again it’s been fun’, her Canadian accent thickly lacing every word.
‘Will do’, Dylan assured mindlessly wanting nothing more than to munch away at the pancakes tempting her.
‘That a promise?’ she nods in silent agreement facing Adrian descending the stairway. She wastes no time setting down at the table saying a prayer before munching away. After breakfast, she loads her luggage in Adrian’s golden Cadillac XT5.
‘I don’t want you to go yet’, Emily protests Dylan gives her long last hug sharing fits of giggles before being driven to the Montréal-Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport, it wasn’t a long ride as the couple lived in Montréal. She boards her flight to Jamaica a couple hours after exchanging goodbyes with her younger brother. She spent two weeks with her mother as she did with her brother before a tearful goodbye.
‘Don’t deny it’, her mother relays sternly as she boards. Dylan cocks her brow smearing the last of her tears against her cheek. “And don’t forget our little talk ok baby?” Dylan nods, “be careful Leanne”, Dylan places a kiss on her mother’s forehead to soothe her.
“You worry too much for me, for us in your old age”, Dylan smiled at her mother warmly.
“How can I not”, she sighed, and “you two are the only ones I have left.” Then she looked Dylan in the eye, “and you know as well as I, we both have every right to be worried about your safety.”
Dylan frowned slightly, just then her flight number was called on the intercom. “I’m leaving you again mama”, she pulled her mother in for a bone crushing (literally) hug and ran off luggage in tow not forgetting to turn around and blow her a kiss.
She sighs deeply relaxing into her seat. Can you imagine being informed that you have accumulated the maximum vacation days and you need to use them? Or finding you’ve won an all-expense paid trip by your company? All seems fine till transport details are given. The flight attendant snaps her out of her reverie requesting to see her ticket. And behold the issue, Dylan HATES connected flights; they were too much of a drag for being cheaper. In the cluster of the plane, she was just grateful for the window seat as she popped in her earbuds submitting herself to GOT7’s flight log trilogy. She’d roused by discomfort. Waking to the wondering eyes of the other passengers she removed a bud.
There’s turbulence. How ironic.
‘I repeat. Wind over 40 knots and heavy rain caused by a developing storm has forced us to land early to reduce air congestion as other aircrafts-’, Dylan replaced her bud not caring for the rest. She disembarked at the nearest connecting point, South Korean soil, then is pointed to the information desk at the front of the airport. On the way she pulls on a huge navy blue jacket, laughing at the black sky and pouring rain as usually she loves this weather but under the circumstances, it’s depressing and aggravating.
She finds when she reaches the information desk that she is in the Gyeongji-gu Provence and this is the Incheon Airport. Thank God for English words on the signs.
“Could you repeat that please?” she asked hesitantly snapping back to reality when the receptionist says something to her, she throws a dazed look in response.
She lets out a soft huff, which Dylan hears anyway, and repeats herself. “Would you like to make a reservation at a hotel?”
“No thanks”; she said before she could ponder what came over her, “just give me the weather report for the rest of this area.” The receptionist raised an incredulous brow at her (it’s totally warranted Dylan feels the same) but shows her a digital map of the country anyway. She felt a small tug at her consciousness, “what about that area?” she pointed close but not quite at the capital Seoul. The receptionist gave her another pointed look.
“That is Gangnam-gu”, Dylan looked up and met with a warm smile contrasting her earlier behaviour. It went past professional, almost knowing. “That is the only area without rain, ceasing moments before your arrival”, Dylan scoffed internally at the response but requested a charter. “Do you have a feel of your destination?” the receptionist smiled zooming in on the area. Feel; interesting choice of words, at the moment Dylan was drowning in a whirlpool of emotions she didn’t know how to feel anymore.
“Nope just wanna go there”, she replied lightly. The receptionist just smiled and got to work
The sky transitioned a shade lighter as she got closer to her destination. She got out of the taxi, tips the driver and walks the streets of Gangnam-gu her luggage with her all due to a “gut feeling”. Dylan let her eyes roam through it half feels as if she’s searching for something. She notices the glances of the locals, the saturated pavement, the high humidity and the red pigmented sky with an off pink hue.
Her eyes landed on a figure a little above average height. The girl’s lustrous tousled silver caramel hair bounces off her shoulders as she playfully jumps of each step of the building she was exiting, her arms out to balance her lissom figure. Dylan pauses to study her, the striking resemblance caused her to call her best friend’s name under her breath. In that same breath, the girl looked in Dylan’s direction, her greyed cyan eyes locked with Dylan’s smoky edged bronze.
‘Gavi-ann!’ Dylan called hopeful. The figure narrowed her eyes before squealing incoherent greetings, Dylan’s face lit up. Gavi runs across the street without a second thought, Dylan’s smile is flipped on its head as the bus sped their way. ‘WATCH OUT!’ she abandons her luggage grabbing Gavi by the waist hoisting and twirling her out of danger. ‘Are you crazy!?’ Gavi pulled Dylan into a tight hug, tangling her fingers in her friend’s peach mahogany locs. She pulled away to look Dylan over and noticed her shaved side sweep.
‘Dylan it’s been too long’, her eyes crinkled at the sides, ‘what brings you here?’
‘Storm’s got me down’, she motions to her luggage.
‘Got a place to stay?’ Dylan shakes her head, ‘you must stay with me then!’
‘I’ll take you up on that offer’, there’s the strange tug and she soon noticed figures approaching so she leads Gavi to the sidewalk. A joking voice interjects then a black leather jacket, skinny black pants and dark timberlands came into Dylan’s focus. Gavi faced the peach skinned brunette grinning while Dylan looked into those energetically twinkling raven orbs a little more than incredulously.
‘Unnie this is Asher’, Gavi introduced the athletically built titian Dylan had to crane her neck to keep eye contact. She was about to comment when her stomach interjected. She retracted her hand with hot embarrassment while Gavi erupted in laughter, amusing Asher with her calm after Dylan’s silencing glare. ‘We were going out for lunch by the Han River, wanna join?’
‘I will thanks’; they lead the way to a little café not too far from where they had met. It had a very vintage appeal, the warmth inside was inviting contrasting the streets cold. The air was filled with chatter and fries.
‘Aren’t you going to order anything?’ Gavi brings her attention to the waitress then hands her a menu. Dylan nods.
‘Give me a second honey’, she starts, opening the menu to face Gavi, ‘because I can totally understand everything written here’, Gavi cackles at the hungal ridden menu then says something to the waitress who scribbles something down and leaves, ‘what’d you say?’
‘You’d have a burger.’
‘Good girl’, she rewards Gavi petting her gently who now looks a feline under her warm hand.
‘So that’s it’, Asher mutters Dylan snaps her head in his direction she forgot he was there, ‘she’s English’, he addresses Gavi who nods.
‘you don’t say’, Dylan leans in elbows on the table cheeks in palms, ‘what gave it away, the language I’ve been using this whole time or the fact that I’ve been staring at you like you have two heads since you first opened your mouth?’
Gavi pulls her close, ‘these are my friends’, Dylan pauses to notice the other three when one chuckled making her chest constrict oddly the reason is beyond her. A honey hand was pushed into Dylan’s face from a boy in a blue T-shirt and black joggers; she looked from his hand to his sparkling topaz eyes a bit above her own eye level.
‘My name’s Minhyuk’, he announced energetically shaking her hand in a firm grip, and his rose-tinged lips pulled into a broad smile.
‘How’d you know? Hey… I thought you didn’t speak Korean.’
‘I don’t I just remember a little from Gavi back in high school’, she ruffled his hair completely dishevelling his classic 6/4th part. The guy sitting between Asher and Minhyuk, seated facing Gavi, suddenly reaches over to fix Dylan’s hair. ‘You look like a doll!’ she almost screams covering her mouth. Locals were now looking their way.
‘Thank you’, he smiles revealing a set of perfect pearly whites making her feels insecure about her near unnoticeable overbite. His long messy middle parted platinum blond swayed as he sat cascading over his deep jaspers that seem to absorb the light around them, long lashes casting shadows on his pink-tinged porcelain cheeks. He shifted to shake Dylan’s hand but she refused, trying to stop her jaws from going slack due to her disbelief.
‘Like…are you even human?’ he nodded with an amused chuckle, ‘no I don’t think so’, she shrugged.
He set to fix his clothes, when the waitress arrived with the orders, playing with the collar of his black button-down shirt. As the waitress placed the food down her expression matched Dylan’s thoughts ‘is he a celebrity or something?’
‘Kai’s my boyfriend’, Gavi spoke up studying Dylan intently.
‘I figured.’ Dylan nodded. She was always good at reading people and situations and very good at noticing what people rather her not know, whether she mentioned it or not.
Gavi is a little surprised, back in high school Dylan would be quick to scare off any boy and if anyone asked Gavi out Dylan was always there to advise date or dump usually being very dramatic about the whole ordeal. It was surprising to see her accept so calmly, not unheard of, just surprising.
‘Are you wondering how I know?’ Gavi gives a curious nod, ‘you’re marks are the same.’
‘What? I didn’t hear you.’
She looked up from her burger licking her lips then pointing to Kai’s collar Gavi’s eyes followed, ‘that hickey is to discourage girls right?’ she said bluntly with a smile.
Gavi sat silent for a second staring at Dylan with her hand clasped and an indescribable expression. ‘Anyway, you haven’t noticed Han yet have you?’ Dylan internal jeering was cut when Gavi grabbed and yanked her hand, reflexively she yanked it back then vice gripped Gavi’s wrist. Gavi squeaked releasing a cinnamon hand in the process, unknowingly to Dylan the owner of said hand, eyes snapped up from his meal and rested on her. Unmoving.
“Oh baby I’m sorry”, Dylan apologized, moving away from Gavi.
“It’s ok”, she waved her off, “I was forgetful is all, don’t be so considerate”, Gavi brushed her off, nursing her wrist, she turned to the male again, and “anyway this is Han.” Dylan and his eyes made four. Although he wasn’t as tall as Asher, when she realized his gunmetal blue eyes were studying her she could feel herself shrink back from his gaze. She caused him to quirk his lip up.
‘I’m Jason. Han is just a nickname’, he smiled and she nodded. She was made aware of her surroundings once more at the sound of the others finishing their meals and Kai was on his phone. She finished in two bites.
‘What’re you watching?’ Dylan leaned over the table removing a bud. He took it from her then took out the remaining one placing them both in her ears, rewinding the video and handing the phone to her. ‘Are you kidding me!?’ she shrieked.
Gavi peaked curiously over her shoulder. Dylan watched in horror as the Gavi in the video danced rather provocatively with her partner. The Gavi in the video, to Dylan’s utter disappointment, seemed to be having fun. When the climax of the song approached Gavi swayed her hips masterfully matching the beat and her partner’s thrusts. That was the last straw. Han stopped mid-speech and furrowed his brows, Minhyuk stopped laughing.
‘What’s the problem man?’ Minhyuk asked.
‘Did you hear like a … like a rope snapped?’ Han inquired. Minhyuk shook his head.
‘That was the sound of my patience’, Dylan whisper ripping out the earbuds looking to confront Gavi only to notice she’s Missing. Asher and Kai had very amused looks on their faces while Minhyuk and Han were just plain confused. Dylan scans her surroundings; she whips her head to find her outside the café. When their eyes met Gavi sprinted, Dylan in turn bolted out of the café, leaving the guys dumbfounded.
Dylan stormed out of the café, scanning the area for Gavi and when she saw her it became a street chase. Both were pushing past pedestrians and evading motorist but Gavi not being very fast was caught by her jacket. Dylan was sure she had caught her but Gavi’s adrenalin kicked in and she flew out of her jacket. They run up a slope, it’s slippery from the wet grass, Dylan grabs Gavi’s and they both lose balance and wrestle down the slope by the river. They were soon at the bottom but neither was giving up when suddenly they were forcefully separated. Asher was restraining Dylan while Kai was holding Gavi. They exchange smug looks; the cold air whipping Dylan’s toned stomach and upper torso while almost Gavi’s entire bra was visible. Their hair was knotted and decorated with grass, their clothes dishevelled and kneecaps dirty. They laughed it off, only playing.
“Gavi you live in Seodaemun-gu still?” Asher asked after they returned to a more presentable state giggle still on their lips, threatening to bubble past.
“Yah duh”, Gavi cocked her hip to the side sticking out her tongue, “still a Uni student”, she reminded him.
“Yea ok”, he rolled his eyes in response, “I called a friend. Don’t think you’d wanna use public transport with that”, he motions to Dylan’s luggage.
“Really?” Dylan interjected and Asher nodded, “oh my gosh, that’s so cool of you thanks”, she smiled sincerely. The boys seemed to stutter. “What?”
“You’re cute”, Asher laughed and Han threw him a pointed look. Gavi joined the laughter when Dylan tilted her head gazing up at them (so many trees) with a kicked puppy look and pouted.
“I am not cute”, she punctuated each word with a stomp.
“Fine, you win. You’re…playful”, Asher supplied. Dylan nodded happily.
“If she’s like this that means she’s comfortable with you guys. Congrats”, Gavi smiled.
“Don’t talk about me like I’m not here”, the mysterious vibe came as quickly as it left.
“That offer you were telling us about”, Gavi escaped Dylan and Asher laughed. Gavi noticed that fond smile Han had on his face and chose to say nothing about it. On the way home the car ride was silent and Gavi was on her phone. Gavi was checking her messages when her mouth sullenly formed an ‘O’ Dylan was curious but decided not to peek to allow her some privacy.
‘Go press the doorbell’, Gavi suggested swatting Dylan away deciding to deal with her luggage. Dylan knitted her brows but climbed up the beige steps anyway then pressed the cold smooth silver button on the brick red wall adjacent to the wooden door.
‘FINALLY! Do you know how long-’, the door was swung open forcefully. The full figure paused, not expecting to see Dylan. She took a moment to register, ‘oh my god…’
‘Jade!’ Dylan squealed pulling the copper marshmallow into a bear hug. She pulled away and looked into her hooded eyes. ‘I can’t believe it!’ her grin threated to split her face.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘The same as you’, Gavi brought Dylan’s luggage over. Jade ruffles her ivory blue temple undercut then takes Dylan’s luggage into the house. Gavi and Dylan follow suit closing the door behind them. They talked feverishly; it’s been five years after all. Dylan couldn’t believe it Gavi had the house of her dreams a five bedroom, seven bathrooms, large den, living room, dining room, laundry room, kitchen, storage room and studio with a patio out back. She wanted these many rooms for when we visited if we ever visited. Her home was large and modern with rather expensive furniture but was still very cosy.
‘What’s going on?’ a rather sleepy voice called from the top of the stairway looking over. She descended in her purple toy STORY PJs rubbing her eyes. Dylan squealed running up the stairs pulling her into a spinning hug Robin’s eyes widened. Her sleek midnight hair flawlessly falling off her shoulders. Dylan pulled away gently tugging her alabaster wrists looking into her ice blue eyes. They widened more with surprise, ‘Dylan?’ Dylan nodded pulling her back into a hug.
‘It’s been forever, Robin!’
‘You make it seem like we don’t talk anymore’, Jade chuckled then shot a silencing glare at Gavi before she could comment. Gavi folded her lips and avoided her gaze.
‘Yes but… it’s been five years since we’ve met in person’, Dylan squeaked gleefully.
‘Let’s have a mini-reunion then’, Gavi suggested.
‘And do what exactly?’ Jade furrowed her brow.
‘Ooh, movie!’ Robin inputted. The four settled on the sofa with soft drinks and the latest Marvel blockbuster. There were giggling and girlish comments for the hot actors.
‘Um, guys have any of you met your soulmate yet?’ everybody was surprised by Dylan’s comment. ‘What?’ she stared at their awed expressions?
‘Dylan? Miss Independent is wondering about her match made in heaven’, Jade almost cracked a smile.
‘Are you deaf? I asked about you guys’, Dylan laughed. ‘I’m pretty sure I met Gavi’s soulmate today so meeting you guys I became curious.’
‘So she met Kai?’ Robin inquired Dylan nodded.
‘Oi what makes you so sure he’s my soulmate I’ve dated a lot and-’
‘Be quiet stupid. You both have the same bond at least it looked the same from where I was sitting but Robin confirmed it anyway along with the hic-’
‘AYYYYY!’ Gavi interrupted. The others doubled over. ‘Dylan what about you?’
‘Hmmm? What about me?’
‘That was intense staring when you met Han’, Gavi seemed as if she was trying to imply something.
‘No shit his eyes are pretty she’s going to stare’, Jade defended her.
‘Thank you’, Dylan smiled.
‘You weren’t there, fam the staring was intense and do you think I didn’t see those stolen glances’, Gavi chimed.
‘I DID NOT!’ Dylan gasped fake hurt. ‘Robin… Gavi is bullying me talk to her.’
‘I spoke to you.’ Robin replied trying to watch her husband Spiderman she sent everyone into convulsions.
‘But Lanie, have you ever stopped to consider who your soulmate is? This might be a good chance to find out and have someone meaningful in your life.’ Jade advised.
‘HEY! You guys hold a lot of meaning’, Dylan whined.
‘You know she doesn’t mean it that way Lanie’, Gavi nudged her, ‘but you should really think about it.’
‘Don’t want to.’
‘That’s obvious’, Robin commented. Dylan pushed her. ‘Jade’, she whined earning another round of convulsions. No one had noticed the returning rains and with a powerful crack of lighting the power‘s gone, so is the joy.
‘So? What now?’ the moment those words left Dylan’s mouth, everyone, simultaneously received text messages. She raised a brow at the screen then showed the others, ‘anyone knows this number?’ negative but they noted the number and subject was the same so Dylan read the text first. ‘This is actually interesting let’s answer it.’
‘What?’ Robin protest.
‘Not send a reply. Like verbally no harm done right?’ And answer they did, but this time Jade’s phone pinged.
‘Creepy’, Gavi commented.
‘That’s not the worst part’, she reads again, ‘let’s answer verbally can’t hurt right?’ she turns the phone to show a smiley emoji. Suddenly the buzz of electricity returned. Power’s back.
Dylan’s phone vibrated again but she said nothing of the message it wasn’t meant for them, this one was specific to her
“Guys let’s call I a night yea”, she suggested everyone decided that would be best and went up to their respective rooms, Dylan lingered behind. She checked the locks on the doors and window, drawing the curtains when she saw it a black 2007 ford Shelby Mustang with black tinted windows. She stood there narrowing her eyes before drawing the curtain.
Dylan had lost track of the days resting in her room then there was the pull again.
‘Kai!’ Gavi squealed so loudly when she opened the door she could be heard from upstairs. Pulling him down into a kiss, hands snaked around her waist, her hands lost in his hair, the pads of her fingertips lightly brushing his scalp.
‘You guys can stay here but let me pass it’s still raining outside.’ Minhyuk screamed behind Kai. Gavi had chosen to invite the boys over when the rain had calmed somewhat. Gavi nibbled on his bottom lip teasingly then pulled away, hands resting on his wet shirt.
‘Oh right, sorry’, Gavi let them come in. ‘I didn’t think you’d get this wet from walking from the car to the steps though. Let me get some-’
‘Towels’, Dylan smiled walking up to them Robin and Jade followed suit. Jade gave Gavi a look saying she was a hundred per cent done with her shit. Dylan snickers at Jade’s side glance. ‘Here’, she goes up to Han, ‘Jason…right?’ she smiled.
‘Yea’, he smiled back taking the towel. Dylan maintained eye contact she couldn’t afford to break it, ‘thanks’, he held up the towel.
‘No problem my pleasure but…’ she turned to Gavi, ‘the wet clothes.’
‘Don’t worry we have loads of clothes here’, Asher smiled reading her thoughts.
‘Really ain’t that convenient. Which room?’
‘End of the hall next to your room.’ Asher said walking past her. Dylan’s brows furrowed.
‘Uh oh, shoes off now or you’re cleaning! Screw it you’re cleaning anyway!’ Gavi yelled the boys groaned. Dylan was in fits of laughter. She had a point the floors were already wet. The boys went off to change.
‘I know what you mean that was some intense staring’, Jade snickered.
‘Told you’, Gavi chimed.
‘Ok in my defence yes I was staring. I had to maintain eye contact for the life of me’, Dylan admitted.
‘For the life of you?’ Robin inquired.
‘Girl when I came in I glimpsed some grater abs and I wasn’t about to confirm’, Dylan started fanning herself.
‘Thirsty?’ Gavi called.
‘Yep. Definitely.’ The other two agreed.
‘Shut up’, Dylan sang.
‘Dude did you see the way she was staring no doubt about it she’s your soulmate man’, Asher teased Han, ‘even if she ain’t it’s obvious she got the hots for you. She even remembers your real name.’
“Wouldn’t it something if she was his mate though”, Minhyuk jested.
‘All she did was maintain eye contact hyung. Maybe she was just being polite, Han shook him off; ‘she’s not from here so she might have a mate somewhere else.’
‘Did you see a bond mark on her?’ Asher interrogated.
‘Well then my friend your good to go’, Minhyuk added, ‘and it is possible to have a mate halfway around the world.’
‘But rare’, Han countered.
‘Trust me she doesn’t have a mate yet’, Kai inputted.
‘And how do you know that.’
‘You’re talking to the mate of her best friend which apparently is the first male to come within a foot of Gavi that she instantly approved of. Let’s just keep it at I know’, Kai defended himself.
‘Chill your shit fam’, Asher faked seriousness and making a calming gesture with his hands. Kai nudged him smiling.
For the afternoon they spent together they were constantly left alone or paired together and they both got the feeling they were being set up. When the rain eased up completely Gavi let the boys run home. Ten days after they got the text messages airways reopened and the rain stopped. As creepy as it was they said their goodbyes and parted ways. When Dylan got back to Japan it was like home sweet home but she felt a little empty, like she forgot something, like something was missing. She shook it off and resumed what was her normal. One day when she was a work a male came in. He was wearing a black suit and a black hat it covered his eyes, they exchanged greetings but he kept asking rather personal questions that she would not answer.
‘Sir please stop or-’
‘Ms. Kingwood lets be verbal can’t hurt right?’ he tilted the hat up to show his eyes with a smile he looks Italian.
‘It was you?’
‘Not me, but the Familia. They want you back, they’re waiting’
‘No thanks, not interest’, she leaned in and sneered threateningly, the man seemed a bit shaken by the change in demeanor. She never forgot her roots, “I have no interest in coming back”, she growled exuding her dominance.
‘But Ms Kingwood don’t you have someone you want to protect?’ she narrowed her eyes at him then he showed himself out. That was the last of him he never came back. She couldn’t help but think about the mysterious guy. A week passed then two then a month then two. She couldn’t get the whole ordeal out of her head. One day she was called in by her supervisor. She wasn’t nervous only good things come out of being called for her.
‘Ms. Kingwood’, her supervisor shuffled some papers around starting very sternly. She noticed the board was present, now she was nervous. ‘How many years have you been serving with us?’
‘Two and a half and counting mam’, Dylan replied as respectfully as she could keeping a straight posture and hands by her side.
‘How do you view yourself working here?’
‘Honestly’, she smiled unintentionally ‘this job is a dream and I feel like I’m of true use to your establishment.’
‘Ms. Kingwood we’re letting you go’, her supervisor replied blandly.
‘What?’ Dylan felt her heart drop, ‘you’re firing me?’
‘Quite the contrary Ms Kingwood’, a familiar voice spoke up, then she noticed him in the corner of the room the mysterious man in black, ‘think of this as a promotion.’ She turned to face her supervisor again.
‘Dylan next summer you’ll be transferred to our Korean branch there will be a raise of pay and your travelling expenses will be covered but you need to look about housing before we confirm this’, her supervisor explained with a smile.
‘I have living reservations.’
‘Well then congratulations honey’, everyone in the room applauded her. She faced the man in black who slowed clapped.
[Inspired by Lukas Graham “7 Years Old”]