` Chapter Forty

EunHye's gaze fell on a display of bracelets of a local street vendor, a childish attraction rising towards them. She hesitated, her feet pausing only for a second in walking, casting a quick glance from the corner of her eye towards Danny beside her, wondering if it was worth the bother.

After all, they were only bracelets.

Just as she was about to move onwards, Danny pulled her back, halting her, and smiling slightly like he knew her secret.

A sheepish grin lifted EunHye's lips upwards, knowing that she had been caught. Still, she worried, the fear of wasting Danny's time getting the better of her, "You don't mind, do you? We don't have to stop."

Danny only shook his head and tightened his grip on her hand, steering her back towards the vendor so that EunHye could properly admire the bracelets. Watching her simper in appreciation, he nudged her slightly and scolded her, "You really need to stop worrying so much about pleasing others. What you want is much more important."

Avoiding his gaze and instead, regarding the bracelets with renewed interest, EunHye mumbled softly, "I can't help it."

And she couldn't. Although at times, EunHye found herself more easily expressing the thoughts and opinions that crossed her mind while in the presence of Danny Im, she could never fully manage to escape the binding notions of what others might think and how they might perceive her before acting. Such a trait had grown to be such an integrated quality of hers that even while trying, she could never completely shake herself from it.

Danny knew this as well, and therefore dropped his cause. With time, things would change. People would evolve. EunHye would. He would. And they would. Together. It was all only a matter of time, he knew.

EunHye, oblivious to these thoughts of Danny's, was now selecting a few bracelets from the pile that had caught her eye. As she reached for her wallet, however, Danny quickly brushed her away, taking over the situation at hand,

"How much will that be?"

Rather than bothering to protest, EunHye merely smiled sheepishly and blushed, having already experienced that arguing with Danny over such matters would only be a lost cause.

As the two walked away after thanking the vendor, Danny released his grasp on EunHye's hand and slipped an arm around her shoulders instead, though lifting her arm and fingering the newly bought bracelets falling downwards on her left arm.

"You didn't have to buy them," EunHye chided him, though not because she was ungrateful, "I can buy things for myself sometimes too."

"If my girlfriend wants it, then I'll buy it."

He said it in such a self-assured tone, the newly gained title of EunHye's slipping off his tongue as if it was the most natural thing, when in reality, it had been the first time she'd heard it.

Warmth filled her body, the term resounding in EunHye's mind, "Girlfriend…" she whispered it softly, the awe in which she regarded it reflecting in her tone.

Danny grinned down at her, adoration for EunHye rising for the umpteenth time. He wasn't sure that he would ever be able to get over EunHye's small quirks that brought him smiles, "Yes, girlfriend."

"So you're my boyfriend," EunHye declared.

"Uh huh."

He tried to brush her off, as though the matter was minute and of sparse meaning, but they both knew better than to believe it. Regardless how much Danny Im attempted to deprive their three-day-old relationship of its meaning, he and EunHye both knew the truth.

EunHye caught Danny's eyes, and together they shared a knowing smile, exchanging the notion that Danny had been caught once more. He flushed but to anyone else, looked to have maintained face.

"So where to now?" EunHye asked, deciding to let Danny's attempt slide, though still grinning.

"No rae bang."

EunHye turned to him in surprise, her eyes widening slightly as amusement danced in her eyes, recalling the one other time that they had both went with Song BaekKyung, "You mean you'll actually sing?"

They'd actually already visited this topic before, and after much groveling, EunHye had managed to draw surrender from her boyfriend. But victory was sweet and she planned to milk the cow for all that it was worth.

Glaring playfully, Danny looked away, "You know I already promised that I would."

"Mmhm," she nodded thoughtfully, "You better."

"I think I just changed my mind," Danny informed her after a second's pause, moving away, "I withdraw my promise."

"You can't do that," EunHye said in mock-accusation, though her eyes were laughing, the genuine grin of happiness flirting across her face giving her away.

Danny retreated a few steps back and childishly stuck his tongue out, "I just did." And then he turned and ran off, chuckling softly to himself at the sound of EunHye's startled protests from behind.

"Huh? Hey! Wait!"

"I'm not singing!" he called back, looking over his shoulder at EunHye who was now a quarter of a block away, regarding her with a triumphant grin.

"Yes you are!" she argued stubbornly, silently cursing her legs for not being long enough. With an extra burst of determination, she pushed forward, blindly willing for her body to catch up. The only thing she could see clearly was Danny, running ahead of her, his back for some reason growing more and more distant as the seconds passed by.

Music: 暗夜飛行 - Instrument

Why couldn't she reach him? Why wouldn't he let her? EunHye wasn't sure if it was her who was slowing down or if it was him who was speeding up. All she could logic was the receding backside of Danny Im.

She was panting heavily now, an acute ache growing in her stomach. She stopped. But the world didn't.

She wasn't thinking clearly anymore. She wanted to run after Danny but she couldn't. She opened her mouth to call him back but was unable to. A sharp cry of pain cut her off instead, her body bending forward as she clutched her side in agony.

"EunHye!"

She identified the panic in Danny's tone as he called her name, wished beyond wish that he were coming back, that he could somehow remedy her pain. But everything else, she was unaware of.

"Yoon EunHye!"

She heard his call again, this time louder, so EunHye could only assume that he was drawing nearer. She raised her head to see if he was coming, but was quickly blinded by beams of light, shielding her from seeing anything else. Was it the sun? She hadn't noticed it was that bright outside.

It all happened so fast, that she couldn't really comprehend anything that was going on.

"EunHye!" he was calling again, but EunHye wasn't sure why. He sounded panicked but there seemed to be something else in his tone – a sense of urgency, as though seeing her half-bent over figure while clutching her stomach inferred EunHye's immediate death bed. "EunHye! Move!"

Huh? What was he talking about?

Ignoring the pain in her stomach, her head rose once more, squinting, as she looked past that same beam of blinding light and behind it, saw a driver, saw a car, and then saw herself, stationed right in front of it.

Without even thinking, she began to run, neglecting the stinging throb in her side and knowing that this was her only chance of escape. A car horn was honking and Yoon EunHye was trying, literally running for her life with only a weak hope that she would somehow make it out okay.

"EUNHYE!"

She could see him clearly now, rushing into the streets in attempt to save her. But that wasn't what she wanted. The world couldn't afford to lose Danny Im.

EunHye attempted to smile, to reassure him that she would be okay, but the attempt was fruitless because it had never been easy to convince a person of something you barely believed in yourself.

Everything was in slow motion now.

She could see Danny running towards her, feel the pain in her side throbbing unmercifully, hear the pounding of her heartbeat against her ears, make out the high pitched screech of the car's breaks and the amplifying horn as the car grew closer and closer…

And then it all stopped.

Suddenly she turned deaf to it all, and the only thing she could concentrate on was that last flash of blinding white light, and then it turned black, her body springing backwards as the edge of the car crashed into her side, sending her sprawling on the ground, legs folding beneath her.

She couldn't even feel the pain anymore. She was suddenly numb.

Was she screaming? Was she hurting? Was she breathing?

She didn't know anymore. She didn't know anything anymore.

Danny was at her side in an instant, having been only seconds away from pulling her away when the car made contact.

He swooped down, falling to his knees and clinging EunHye's limp body tightly to his chest.

"EUNHYE!"

He was shaking with fear, yelling but not hearing, looking but not seeing, touching but not feeling. He tried moving her, his hands pushing back her fallen hair, mouth trembling, and tears welling, but his mind could no longer make sense of whose body was still moving, whose voice was speaking, whose heart was still beating.

"Yoon EunHye!"

His cries were desperate, surrendering his entire body whole just to elicit a response from the girl in his arms, "EunHye ah, EunHye, baby. You're going to be okay, do you hear me? I'm so sorry… I'm sorry… so sorry..."

He was murmuring frantically now, hands clenching her uniform jacket into fists as he willed hopelessly for one last chance to cling on. Anything, everything, anything. He just wanted something, some sign of life in her, some reason for hope, some basis to wish.

His voice never stopped, trembles and tears evident as his voice cracked, but Danny paid no notice. He continued to talk, whisper reassurances and words of love, with the hope that she might actually hear, listen, understand.

"I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have ran off like that. I didn't even think. Shit, EunHye, you have to be okay. For me, okay? For me. I'm so fucking sorry—"

His words were cut short, a sharp intake of air clogging his throat as his chest tightened, willing for this not to just be a dream, an oasis. Slowly but surely, two arms unsteadily encircled his waist, languidly creeping upwards to return his embrace.

Was this real? He wasn't just imagining things, was he? No. No way. And if he was, it didn't matter any more. Danny was going to believe it anyways. He would cling to the first chance to believe, the first opportunity to accept that there would be a happy ending to this after all. No, scratch that. There was no ending. There was no ending. This was only the beginning.

"Danny…"

Her voice was raspy as her eyes struggled to flutter open, her pale lips curving upwards into a weak attempt of a smile, "Danny…"

"EunHye!" he was crying now, his tears sliding from his eyes and falling unitarily onto her pale cheeks, but he paid no notice, "EunHye…"

After talking so much, Danny Im found himself strangely at a loss of words to say. Instead, he lifted EunHye's body upwards, hugging her waist tightly, his face burying into her dark brown hair, tears falling silently as he prayed for everything to be okay.

It was okay, she was okay, everything was okay now.

"Danny…" she spoke again, sending Danny's heartbeats into an erratic frenzy once more, "You make me so happy… nuh ah ruh? (Do you know?)"

Danny pressed a chaste kiss to her neck, then responded, his voice tickling her as he spoke against her skin, "I know… nan ah rah… you're going to be okay, baby, you're going to be okay. Just hang in there. Just trust me."

"I know," EunHye spoke softly, "I trust you. So… stop worrying… okay?" Her voice was losing strength, conscious weaving in and out as she fought to hang on.

EunHye attempted to reaffirm her grip around his waist, hands rising, clenching, and then slipping once more. But she was too fatigued to be frustrated, too weak to try once more.

Sirens blared, drawing nearer and nearer until nearing rendering Danny deaf, but slicing through his nightmare-like purgatory, awakening him to the happenings around him all at once.

His head rose, facing reality with fearful eyes, with, for the first time, emotions clearly etched deeply in them, the unclouded fear of losing EunHye evident to any and every stranger passing by.

The back doors of the ambulance burst open like gates to heaven, and seconds after a stretcher came rolling out, men running alongside it, rushing over to Danny and EunHye.

He'd been so withdrawn from the rest of the world that he hadn't realized how traffic had stopped, a crowd had formed, and help had been called. Silently, he thanked God. He hadn't been in the right mind to realize that he alone was not enough to heal EunHye.

"Sir, we need to take her."

Without asking for consent, the men pried EunHye from Danny's arms and snatched her away, resting her body to lie horizontally on the elevated stretcher.

At the loss of her touch, Danny quickly jumped to his feet, hovering over the stretcher and gazing longingly at EunHye's disheveled appearance once more. His insides tore all over again at the sight of her broken state.

"EunHye…" he combed a hand through her hair, the pad of his thumb caressing her soft cheek.

"Sir, we need to take her," a man repeated, gently shoving Danny out of the way.

His attention finally landing elsewhere momentarily, Danny straightened, his eyes darkening with obstinance, "I'm going with her."

But the man agreed with a short nod, and then began to roll the stretcher back to the ambulance, greeting the flashing lights and ear-piercing sounds.

Danny quickly ran behind them, taking a seat next to the stretcher in the back of the ambulance, with only his own hopes that EunHye would be okay.

Paying no heed to anyone else present, Danny took EunHye's hand in his and began to murmur in soft undertones to her once more, whispering softly that she would be okay.

And she would be. She had to be.

After all, she had been happy. He'd made her happy.

She was happy.

EunHye was happy.

And if he'd been able to make that wish of hers come true, then maybe there was a God out there after all. Maybe God would have mercy on them just one last time.

Please let her be happy. I just want EunHye to be happy.

He wished for her happiness.

And he continued to wish, over and over again, hoping that someone, somewhere, would take the time to listen, that they would take the time to make their wishes come true.

"By God," he murmured softly, "Someone help me."