1 Prologue

"I love you," he says as a small cloud of breath forms in front of his mouth. His ears matched the scarlet scarf he has worn around his neck while his eyes darted from her to the ground and back to her. Her hands felt small being held in his and as he spoke, his grip tightened. He looked like he had more to say but was struggling on which to say first that he ends up with a frustrated groan, running his fingers through his brown disheveled hair.

However, hearing only those three words was enough to have her heart beating erratically. Blood rushed to her cheeks as tears pooled in her eyes. After everything that has happened, she was also at the point where she couldn't fool herself any longer.

She loves him too.

In fact, even back in high school, she had always had these special feelings for him and she didn't understand what it was nor why she feels that way -- but now she does. Under that cold and sharp gazes and words coming out of him, she knew there was more to it. She had always known that underneath the facade was a warm and thoughtful guy.

"I love you too," she says softly as she slowly raises the chin of the man in front of her.

Their eyes locked on each other as if they were the only people left on earth. His eyes that were once filled with confusion and frustration were now replaced with surprise and then followed by a gentle smile. She felt his fingers weave their way into hers as he took one step closer, while his other hand slowly approached and touched her cheek. She leaned into his touch as she closed her eyes, putting her free hand over his. With her eyes closed, she had missed the pain that showed in his eyes as tears rolled down his cheek.

Oblivious to his state, she was engrossed with the calm she has felt in his presence. In fact, this was not the first time his presence had this effect on her, but this moment right here has been the calmest she's ever been.

Suddenly, a cold yet soft sensation pressed against her lips. Her eyes fluttered open from the surprise as his face was millimeters away from hers. The shock was short-lived as the sensation lit a fire within her, letting herself be consumed by it. She responded to his kiss, her grip on his hand tightening as she pulls him even closer.

As they pull apart, they were both out of breath but their eyes have never left each other's gazes. No words were said out loud but their eyes spoke plenty. The emotions they have bottled up for so long have now overflowed.

"I-- Achoo!" she sneezed before she could start her sentence which only made him chuckle. He lets go of her hand as he untangles his scarf before gently wrapping it over her neck and it almost covered half of her face.

"Let's get you home," he says and she could only nod in response, burying herself more into his warmth and scent. He reached out his hand but hesitated for a moment, thinking over whether he should take her hand or not. He got his answer as she grabbed it in his moments of doubts before giving him her signature smile. The kind of smile she had always shown him no matter what front he puts up, the kind of smile that was able to warm up his stone-cold heart, and the kind of smile he vowed to protect forever: her genuine smile.

"Is this okay?" She finds herself asking as she stares at their hands, not having the heart to look into his eyes. He found it cute, letting out a small chuckle before intertwining their fingers together and putting it inside the pocket of his coat.

Their walk to her home was silent, each of them occupied by their own thoughts. Her smiles were hidden under the warm scarlet scarf that was wrapped around her neck, thinking about how happy she was things turned out the way they did after everything that has happened between them.

"Uhm," she broke the silence which broke the train of thoughts going through his mind. He stopped walking as he shifted his gaze towards her, giving his full attention. Every time he does this, she couldn't help but feel treasured that she couldn't stop the blood rushing to her face. "Well... we're here."

"Oh," he blurted out, not realizing that they were already standing in front of her house. "I didn't notice, sorry." he chuckles before letting her go and motioning her to go inside.

"D.do you want something warm to drink? I can fix you a cup of coffee." She offers as she fiddled with her fingers that felt lonely at the absence of his.

"Maybe next time," he says as a soft smile appeared on his lips.

"Okay. Take care on your way home" she nods and gives him a small wave before she turns her back and walked up the steps to their front porch.

"Hana!" he suddenly calls out, stopping her from her tracks and turning back to face him. "Uhm," he looked like he was taken aback by his own impulsiveness as he places one hand on his nape, looking unsure of what to say. She patiently waited, her expression silently urging him to continue. "Well, if you were going to choose between your happiness or your mom's, what would you-- no. You'd choose your mom's, right?"

The question that came out of the blue had her smiling confusedly. "Well, of course. What's this about?" she says, going down the steps and walking towards him.

"Of course, you would." He says, nodding to himself before giving you the same soft smile just moments ago but this time it felt different. Despite his lips smiling, his eyes looked sad.

Why did he look like he had lost?