My first experience of Internet fandom was as a writer of fanfic. I don’t write it much these days, but I sometimes come across a show that I’m unwilling to say goodbye to. Flower Boy Next Door definitely falls into this category—the drama may be over, but its characters are still very much living in my head.
And because one of the greatest pleasures of maintaining this blog is that I get to post whatever the heck I want, here’s a short, fluffy piece of fan fiction about the continuing relationship of FBND’s Dok Mi and Enrique.
(For more of my fanfic, visit my page at fanfiction.net or head over to the only other Kdrama story I’ve written, an epilogue to Coffee Prince.)
“Can we do it now?” Ke-geum’s breath was hot against Dok Mi’s neck, the heat of his body a curtain around her.
“Stop it!” she hissed, elbowing his side.
Dok Mi was a smart girl, and she knew a diversionary tactic when she saw one. Once she would have been paralyzed with fear to be standing in a jam-packed subway car with probably a hundred other people, hurtling through Madrid’s ancient underpinnings at a speed so fast it made her dizzy. But now things were different, and it wasn’t fear that made her heart beat double time, that sent shivers burning down the length of her body. That was all courtesy of Ke-geum, who was pressed far more tightly against her than even rush-hour traffic demanded.
“But I’ve waited so long—hours, centuries, light years.” His lips brushed her ear, raising goosebumps in their wake.
“This is neither the time nor the place, Enrique Geum.”
They’d been at this game all day. Being with Ke-geum again, seeing the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled and hearing his voice right next to her instead of thousands of miles away, had seemed suspiciously like coming home. Dok Mi’s favorite Korean professor once told her that stopping mid-sentence was the trick for taking a break in the middle of writing something. That way, when you came back you fell right into the momentum of what you were saying without having to reconstruct your thoughts from scratch. And that’s exactly what her relationship with Ke-geum felt like—however much time they spent apart, they picked up just where they left off. He was her Ke-geum, and she was his ajumma.
After sleeping through almost her entire flight from Seoul, Dok Mi had arrived in Madrid ready for a day of sightseeing. In the two years they’d been dating long distance, she had only visited Ke-geum in Spain once before, and back then they hadn’t seen much of the city. Or any of it, really, except the inside of his apartment, which was closer to an old-fashioned arcade than someone’s home. This time around she was determined to do things differently.
“I want you in my bed again.” Ke-geum’s whisper was so quiet that Dok Mi could barely make out his words. Involuntarily, she leaned further back against him as she strained to hear. “Last time I couldn’t bear to wash my pillowcases for weeks after you left, because they smelled like your shampoo.”
If his banter really was a diversionary tactic, it was working. They could be back at his apartment in twenty minutes, and in his bed in twenty-one...
Dok Mi steeled herself. There were cathedrals to see. And museums. Ke-geum had even promised her a trip to his favorite bookstore, and she had been preoccupied for days with the thought of seeing signed copies of his book there, maybe under a little sign reading “local author.”
Months ago, when she was still taking baby steps out into the world, it had been another diversionary tactic that had gotten her through her first trip on Seoul’s subway. She had been riding with Dong Hoon and Jung Moon, his funny little girlfriend, to a restaurant they loved on the outskirts of the city. Just as Dok Mi’s chest was tightening and her palms growing sweaty, the first signs of an oncoming panic attack, Jung Moon had piped up: “What’s your favorite kids’ book?” The resulting argument over the relative merits of Anne of Green Gables versus Emily of New Moon had pulled her through that evening.
And now it was becoming increasingly clear that the thought of Ke-geum’s bed would be enough to pull her through opening day at World Cup Stadium. (And that was a good thing—it would have to, sooner or later.) It took a few deep breaths, but Dok Mi was finally able to work up an indignant reply to Ke-geum’s baiting. “There are people watching, you pervert.”
“We’re not in Korea anymore, ajumma. Nobody cares.” He was right, of course. In Spain he was hardly ever recognized as a celebrity, unlike back home. And the train’s other passengers were too busy living their own lives to watch him sweep his hand delicately across her cheek, down her neck, and along her side before twining his fingers together with hers.
When they arrived at their destination, Dok Mi walked out of the subway on wobbly legs.
She kept him out extra late, exacting her revenge. From Almudena cathedral to the Sabatini Gardens to the little open-air cafe down the street from his building, no amount of wheedling would change her mind. Dok Mi had saved up all year for this trip—turning her heat down two more degrees and not buying a single new book all the while—and now she felt giddy at being so anonymous in a big, strange city. Nobody here knew her, or her past, or her problems.
Emerging from the cocoon of her apartment had been hard work for Dok Mi. Even now, more than two years into the exercise, she was prone to panic attacks when confronted with jostling crowds. After work, she preferred to spend her evenings alone, writing or cooking fancy recipes or working on her many freelance projects. Dok Mi guessed she’d always be that way, but now her solitude felt more like a choice than a trap.
In less than a year, Ke-geum’s big project with Sola Studios would be done. The plan had always been that she would stay put until then, when he would return to Korea. But as they traveled through Madrid together, gaping at its huge stone buildings and crowds of spring tourists, Dok Mi began to wonder if she could wait that long. Anywhere Ke-geum was, she was meant to be—laughing at his silly jokes until she was breathless and teary eyed, having conversations with him that lasted for hours and hours, and then being happily silent together for even longer.
When they finally climbed the winding stairs to his apartment, exhausted and hoarse from talking too much, the gravitational pull of his body was the only thing Dok Mi could think about. She was honestly uncertain if she could make it through the night without breaking down and proposing. And based on the Christmas-morning grin on Ke-geum’s face as he ushered her through his front door, Dok Mi suspected he might not mind if she did.
“At last,” Ke-geum crowed with a mock-stern glare in her direction. “Now you have no excuse—we have to do it.”
There was only one answer to that. “Wash up and meet in your room. Five minutes.”
They raced through their preparations for bed, never once losing sight of each other. Dok Mi giggled at the silly little dance Ke-geum did as he brushed his teeth, and he marveled at the stack of thick books she had to unpack before she found her pajamas.
Finally, they stood facing each other across the expanse of his bed. Dok Mi was almost embarrassed by how eager she was—she’d waited so long for this, for the world to shrink down until it was only large enough for the two of them, quiet and alone and more in love than she would have believed possible before she met him.
They came together in the middle of the bed, as always, his lips pressing against her forehead in the most delicate, feather-light of kisses. When he finally pulled away, Ke-geum continued the nighttime ritual they’d developed before he left for Spain. He fluffed up the pillows and propped them against the headboard, angling them just right to support their backs. “Finally, ajumma. Finally,” he bounced next to her, vibrating with the thrill of what was to come.
As Ke-geum settled against her, Dok Mi pulled the little book she’d been guarding all day from where she’d hid it in his nightstand. She was careful not to disturb him—she liked him stretched out against her the way he was, so she could feel his every breath. His arm snaked around her waist, warm and deliciously welcome, before he rested his head on her shoulder.
“It’s not the same when we do it over the phone.” For a second, his embrace was so tight that she couldn’t breathe. But then he released her enough for her to begin.
“Once there was a girl all alone,” Dok Mi read aloud, finally sharing the story she’d been writing for as long as she could remember.
Before Ke-geum had left for Madrid, they’d read book after book cuddled together like this—first Where the Wild Things Are, then A Little Princes, and then The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings series. But for the first time ever, the book she read to him was one she had written herself. Dok Mi couldn’t imagine that her first novel would sell many copies, but it felt good in her hands, solid and substantial, and seeing her name on its front cover always made her blush.
Later, she asked him a drowsy question just before they fell asleep, as tradition demanded. “Is Ke-geum happy?”
He traced the word yes across the base of her spine. “Is ajumma happy?”
He traced the word yes across the base of her spine. “Is ajumma happy?”
“Deliriously. Outrageously. Wildly. Intensely, extravagantly, magnificently.” She replied, not exaggerating one little bit.
“You always say it best, ajumma.”