"I'm all in baby" was the last thing he had said to her before heading away from her house, he wondered how things had changed so quickly between them and yet it felt like this had been a long time coming. They'd known one another for years, been friends for most of that and in time she had become the single person he reached for first. She was the first one he wanted to talk to in the morning and the last person he wanted to wish goodnight. It was hard to imagine his life without her. 

Watching her rush off to her room he headed out the door and started walking the distance to Han's place, thankfully it wasn't too far. He didn't waste any time as he headed in, grabbed some clothes from the chest of drawers and piled them into his duffel bag before looking around and grabbing his blanket off the bed, he was used to traveling pretty light so it didn't take him long to gather up the essentials. He wasn't really sure what their next few days were going to look like but he felt optimistic, which wasn't something the young star was used to. He wondered if the feeling would last. 

He scrawled a quick note to Han not to expect him home for a few days and then headed out, grabbing his keys and getting into his car. Before long he was pulling up outside the house once again. He got out and checked the state of the car, making sure all the lights were working and none of the tires looked like they were on their last legs, he didn't want to risk breaking down in the middle of the trip.

Knowing the door was unlocked he headed inside just in time to see her coming down the stairs. She looked so much brighter and happier than she did the first time he saw her today and he felt his heart lurch in his chest in response "You look...shimmery" he commented a little bluntly, but the sentiment of what he was thinking was there.

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She loves cheese. More than she should, and Sunmin has probably seen the evidence for it because the last time she was allowed to have mozzarella cheesesticks, she ended up eating more than a dozen in one seating. Which is a lot, for someone with her build. She could feel the blush creeping up again when he said he would make her the food with no hesitation if it would make her happy. How delightful. It feels as if she's slowly starting to fall deeper than she probably should. How did a joke of them hitting it off with each other if they're still single after 20 years get to this?

She wasn't complaining, of course. This was more than she ever thought would happen and god knows how happy she is with it. "Some people who matter... I know Han would be included because he's your brother, the last thing you want is your own flesh and blood to be disappointed in you, especially when you already have a good relationship with them." She bit her lip and cleared her throat shyly and asked "Am I... also one of those people?" It's crazy how shy she's being when she often just talks it out casually with the celestial because they were best friends.

The way he stared at her and how those dark hues slowly shifted into something softer because he looked at her always made her heart beat faster, because if only they were to close that gap even more at some point and... just make something out of it. She grinned when he said it looks like a traditional first date so she held his hand on top of the table "Bold of you to say that after we're sharing a hotel room together... a bed..."

Everything had changed and yet it still felt like almost nothing had changed at all, her hand was on his, but he still felt close to her as he did before. She was still the person he wanted to tell everything to…the one he wanted to call first. All that really changed was that he didn’t need to hold any part of himself back anymore. “Han…never gave up on me…no matter how much I told him it was wasted time…the guy just doesn’t quit” he shook his head slightly “I have to try to be half of the person he thinks I am” he mumbled softly, he supposed that had changed…he wanted to be better…for the people who thought he could be better.

“You’re basically number one on the list” he commented and looked down for a moment before biting his lip and lifting his gaze “I mean if we wanna talk about people who never gave up on me…you had every reason to hate me with how hard I tried to push you away” she never seemed to take it personally though, was she really that thick-skinned “You must have almost run out of patience with me….right?” and yet she still seemed to want to fight off every obstacle he put in the way.

As he looked through the menu he had to think about how ironic such a first date like this was “Well…I guess we didn’t do anything in the order most do…you don’t normally tell someone all your secrets before you even hold their hand” the difference of starting as friends…he knew her, he could make a good guess at the way she would react to things or how she felt “Though I didn’t peg you as one for sleeping together on the first date” he jested knowing her conservative self from the past would be horrified.

Their friendship should've made this feel weird but strangely it doesn't and she likes that. Astraea shouldn't have to feel like she's being awkward around someone she's known for months... Sunmin was someone very important to her and he still is. They just decided to change their status is all. To move to the next level. "You know... You may think you're not half of the person he is, but I feel like you're underestimating yourself a lot, baby... you're a brilliant guy... an amazing person. And I may be biased but if this unicorn couldn't judge you... then who can beat my statement?"

Especially when Astraea is supposedly the one who can see all of himself. "You didn't give up on me either, so count yourself on that." Even though he could probably see it as more to her not giving up on him. "I almost ran out... I think at some point I was ready to give up and just... leave you to it but I couldn't. You're my best friend, and how could I leave you?" It just didn't seem right to do that. Astraea is easily attached but this is not just attachment issues on hand. It was more than that.

When he pointed out how unorthodox their methods have been so far, she could feel her cheeks getting warm. But it was nothing compared to when he finally told her that she slept with him before the first date. That one was the one that made her cover her cheeks in embarrassment "I feel like my past conservative self would be horrified... that I even slept with someone before marriage much less before the first date..." She bit her lip and cleared her throat "But... we didn't really... *sleep* together did we?"

Maybe things should have felt weird, but was it weird to draw closer to the one person you already saw as your first? Maybe things would have been difficult if one of them wanted to cross a line the the other didn’t, but that was always a risk. Did they mean they should never take chances? He chuckled softly “I think I’m always going to be my own worst enemy” he confessed in a soft voice “I want to be better…but I’m the one who knows all the selfish choices I’ve made…” and there were many, he wasn’t a good person back then, he knew that “You and Han…you’re both so giving…it’s the opposite of everything I’ve known”.

How far he had come…there was a time he wouldn’t have dreamed of putting him self out to check on the welfare of someone else, but now here he was “I might not have a big circle of people I care about…but I do know I’d fight for those I do…” he’d fight tooth and nail for them. They were his light, his purpose. “I feel important when you say things like that” he mumbled softly and smiled, he wasn’t sure what he had done to deserve happiness like this, it was something he thought was so far from him that he would never see it.

Seeing the way she blushed he chuckled softly “Oh you were definitely sleeping, even making those cute little snores too” he jested, committed to his easing of the aurazin, they might be something more now, but he still enjoyed playing with his friend, especially at the expense of her conservative self. When the waitress came over he ordered himself the carbonara and a glass of wine before looking up at her, quirking his brow to question if she was going for bolognaise or giving in to mac and cheese.

She titled her head gently and pursed her lips when he said he was always going to be his own enemy, she couldn't even fault that because often time, people tend to be their own enemies because accepting yourself isn't easy. It's hard for her and she's sure it is just as hard if not harder for Sunmin. "Those selfish choices... don't worry... I understand them... as I understand you. You're not the only one who's been dealt with those choices..."

She wanted him to know that she will always be there for him. She won't leave even if she was given the chance to. She wants to stay. For him. "If it makes you feel any better, you can make the selfish choices for me... I'll make the good ones for us." Astraea wanted them to progress as both friends and lovers. To hear that she was one of those people he'd fight tooth and nail for? That's more than enough to make her day.

She covered her mouth in terror when he mentioned she snores in her sleep "Wait... really? Oh my god... I didn't know I snore in my sleep... nobody has ever pointed it out... not even Arcadia..." That was a new thing for the aurazin. "Were you bothered... by those snores?" She normally would've apologised for causing such a disturbance though. It is twice as embarrassing in front of him. She ended up ordering herself bolognaise but did ask if she could have a regular size bite order of mac and cheese. And because she saw he ordered wine, she bit her lip and wondered if she should do the same. "And the same wine as his... thank you."

He looked up at her and nodded a little as though to say he understood that she had been through struggles herself “Sometimes being selfish is the only way to put yourself first” even if you felt like a bad person…even if it plagued you with guilt, you couldn’t fix everything for everyone else. “Sometimes I doubt whether I deserve for others to care for me…when I was so cold” still…he couldn’t punish himself forever right? He would never move forward.

He chuckled at her proposal and nodded “Then…I’ll protect your best interests” they really were opposites at times, he was the type to think for himself first, she was the type to think of everyone else but herself. He shifted a little in the chair to make himself comfortable as he looked around the restaurant for a moment, it was nice. “They were cute baby snores, I swear I didn’t even know what the noise was until I realized you weren’t replying to me” he pressed his lips together.

“Did you remember hitting your head against the car door too?” she was very tired so he was sure she didn’t remember anything about it. “I was just glad you were getting the rest you needed…” he mumbled, maybe snoring was a little embarrassing but it was clear she needed the rest. He raised his brows when she ordered wine too “Bold” he teased softly and reached for her hand over the table “It won’t even come close to my mac and cheese” he teased. “So what’s your favorite Disney character?” he questioned curiously.

He clearly had regrets but what Astraea really likes seeing is that he was wondering if someone cared for him and it's obvious there are. "Han cares for you... and I'm sure even before me and him... someone cared for you. You just didn't see then properly?" She was trying to being positive obviously. Maybe Sunmin was just a bit oblivious. She grinned when he said he would protect her best interest. But him talking about her cute baby snores was not cute... not as cute as she thought it would be.

"Sorry... I must've been pretty tired. I'm glad you find them cute at least..." It was embarrassing but still, if Sunmin found it cute then... it's cute to her too. She shook her head and covered her face with her hands when he mentioned her hitting her head against the car door "Oh my god... I've been embarrassing myself throughout the entire trip you mean..." She just wanted to bury herself in a ditch when thinking about it now.

When he reached for her hand over the table and not under the table, she blushed slightly and realized he wasn't shy whatsoever. He didn't mind at all and she really likes that. She brushed her thumb against his knuckles and tilted her head cutely "We'll see first... I hope you can handle tipsy me again... I'm a lightweight but I really wanted to enjoy..." With him, specifically. "Ariel... I really liked Ariel a lot. I feel like I would... resonate well with her honestly. What about you? Do you have one? Are you a prince material?"

“Maybe” he commented and pressed his lips together “I guess I just wonder how I deserve having someone care about me” he mumbled the words softly, he was probably blind to a lot of people because he was so focused on keeping to himself. If he let more people in, would he have led a different life til now? He had to wonder. “No one ever fought for me…not the way you and Han have” he mumbled softly, it was almost jarring for him honestly.

He smiled to himself “I swear everything you do somehow turns out cute” he grumbled, almost like it was some sort of blessing and curse at the same time “I kept trying to get you to wake up but you were exhausted…” he grinned and nudged her leg playfully under the table “We’re both going to see the more…real parts of each other from here” so they shouldn’t be ashamed right, it wasn’t like he’d never seen her without makeup or she’d never seen him after a long gruelling day at work.

He watched the way her eyes followed his hand as he linked his fingers through hers and gave a soft wistful smile “I think I’m ready to handle everything” he confessed softly, today had only boosted his confidence that liking her was good for him…that maybe he was allowed to reach for happiness. “Ariel huh?” he never really watched many of the movies because he didn’t really have access to them “I like the alien that dressed up as Elvis” Han often had the movies on when Jae was over and he’d caught a few in passing.

"You deserve to have someone care about you... everyone deserves to have someone care for you..." She murmured softly, she wanted him to be true to himself and realize that he doesn't need to change just to have someone care for him. "I'll keep fighting for you... I promise I won't stop." Ever. She couldn't stop blushing because he kept telling her she looks cute in whatever she does. "Stop... you're making me as red as a tomato right now... I swear it's just your favorite pastime right now... to make me blush."

It wasn't as if she hated it. But god knows it was embarrassing. "I want to see more real parts of you... it always feels like it's more..." The way he held her hand made her smile widely as she tilted her head to the side, playing with his hand. "Your hands... my hands... I'm sorry mine is not as soft as it should be... all that working made my hands pretty coarse..." Usually, their hands would need to be soft enough for their boyfriends right?

"Yes Ariel... I love her red hair too... I wonder if I could also have red hair like her one day, do you think I'd look good in red hair?" She has never touched her hair much less bleach or dye it. She twirled her hair with her free hand and hummed softly "Alien dressed up as Elvis... huh, I guess I'm really outdated because I have no idea who he is..." They've been talking a lot so she didn't even realize the waitress came by with their orders. She took a sip of her wine and blinked a few times "Oh wow..."

“If you say so...it must be true” Astra was a good judge of character, even if she was unwilling to give up on trying to fix people, so if she saw good in him, then he was sure she was right. After all, she could see his colors and while she often said she couldn’t read him, he was sure that she could sense things about him. “Then I’ll keep…trying to improve” he had a good life now, he wanted to maintain it at all costs.

He chuckled because she was so easy to tease but the blushing was new, which meant something had changed between them…at least a little. And honestly he quite enjoyed the idea that he was able to make her flustered. Seeing her play with his hand he smiled, gently running his thumb against the back of her hand “Did your mom always insist you needed to keep soft hands?” he wondered where the rationale came from…it seemed like something old-fashioned to him.

He stared at her for a moment trying to imagine what she’d look like with red hair “It’s hard to picture” he murmured softly, he’d always known her to have dark, long and fluffy-looking hair, any change from that would be significant “Have you ever thought about trying to dye it?” he’d considered doing his own a couple of times, but visiting a salon was pretty expensive. Hearing her say she didn’t know who the character was he pulled out his phone and searched for it before pushing it across the table “This guy…he’s pretty cute” he commented and grinned slightly “Misunderstood too” he thanked the waiter for their order and took a sip of his own wine too “You’re right…this place is fancy” he murmured.

"It is true" as if it wasn't enough to affirm it, she would light to enunciate it. She wanted to stroke his hair and tell him it's true because she believes it in and she believes in him. "I'll be here by your side... watching you improve, okay? Take your time... don't worry..." Watching and feeling the way he's playing with her hands, she stared at him and then brought it to his lips and kissed it gently.

When he asked her if it was her mother telling her to keep soft hands "Yeah... sort of... she keeps telling telling that we should always keep our hands soft for our husbands... even society taught me that so... I can't even fault her... she didn't contribute to the whole thing." Astraea loves her mother very much, but the woman can be strict at times and nothing can be said about that.

She had touched her hair a few times because she was picturing it in red "I have... but I don't know how... and I'm afraid to kill my hair if I don't do it properly you know? Will you do it for me?" She teased, of course she wasn't going to pressure him into doing her a favor but... maybe he's good at styling things. The thought of her boyfriend styling her hair was already making her swoon. She toom the phone from him and then look at the phone and back to him a few more times "Hmm reminds me of someone then... misunderstood characters..." She chuckled.

“Okay” he repeated after her, eyes gaze soft and full of expression, like a child who was seeking approval from their senior “I hope to be someone you be proud to call yours…” he was working at being kinder…more thoughtful…to think about how others might perceive him and change how he acted based on it. “How have you always been so…selfless” he questioned in a soft voice.

He bit his lip, he could tell that she pressured herself based on the way the world was when she was brought up and he could often sense the little insecurities she had. He wanted her to know that little things like that wouldn’t change the way he felt “Your hands feel warm in mine…there were many times when I was so cold in my life I would have done anything for the slightest warmth so…it’s enough” he tightened his grip against her as though to show he didn’t want to let go.

He chuckled but raised his brows in surprise when she asked him to do it for him “I mean…I don’t really know that much about it but if you’re set on it…I could learn” for you, he thought afterward, when it came to her he just wanted to take away her worries so he could see more of her smile. He laughed when she compared him to the character “He’s a troublemaker too, he might surprise you” he jested before picking up his fork and trying a bite of his food before pulling a face because oh man it was hot.

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