--okay, so that was only partially true since he did plan on ensuring he practiced proper parking, because apparently she lived in a neighborhood where a slightest disturbance in the road meant total blockage of one side of it.
Aside from that, though? Ha.
But he had no time to dwell on such trivial facts. Woo Bin stepped out of the car and, as was his tradition, made certain his hair looked perfect (it did) that his clothes were immaculate (they were), and that he smelled divine (of course). It took him precisely two seconds to realize that this tradition was, in fact, something he practiced before meeting women he had plans to woo - and just as quickly, he ceased all self-tidying actions and marched directly to Ga Eul's door.
He pressed the doorbell. Needing some sort of distraction from another blooming realization that he was actually quite, quite anxious - which made no sense at all - Woo Bin looked up and around, studying the quaint neighborhood he found himself in.
Similar to his own, Ga Eul's neighbors seemed to like keeping to themselves, as there were barely anyone loitering the streets. Unlike his own, however, the houses littering the neighborhood were simple, unadorned - much like Ga Eul's house, which stood in between residences indistinguishable from it.
No wonder it took him a few tries to find it.
Woo Bin pressed the doorbell again. He took a deep breath, exhaled loudly, tucked his hands in his pockets, and waited.
In the empty silence that accompanied his arrival, he could hear the blood roaring in his ears, as well as the loud thumping of his heart, and Woo Bin gritted his teeth because no, he was not nervous, not at all--
It took him another minute to realize he was now pressing the doorbell quite incessantly.
His finger was hovering a mere centimeter from the doorbell when the door it's attached to opened suddenly, making him blink in response. Quickly he pulled his digit back, pretending he was not abusing the doorbell in any way.
Ga Eul stood at the other side of the door, her expression undefinable.
Well, this looked promising already.
"Yo," he said, saluting and smiling at her. No, nothing was amiss, not really. "Ready to go?"
"Woo Bin-Sunbae," she said, cocking her head to one side, "is this your first encounter with a doorbell?"
He shot a look at the seemingly offending piece of equipment. "I--"
"I heard you on the first ring, but you seem to be having fun so I let you press it as much as you want." Ga Eul then grinned at him before stepping out and closing the door behind her.
He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling himself flush and felt foolish for it. "Ah, Ga Eul-yang is being cute," he said, infusing as much insult to it as he could and failing spectacularly at it.
She laughed. "Well I could be right, you know. Don't you have people who open doors for you so you don't have to?"
He gestured towards the driver-less car and grinned. "Not today."
Woo Bin was about to place a hand at her back as his gentlemanly way of guiding her to the vehicle when the door behind them opened again.
"--Song Woo Bin?"
"That's Master Song, to you!"
Both he and Ga Eul turned at the sources of the voices, only to find two middle-aged people coming out of the house and moving towards them. Woo Bin just raised his brows, not knowing what to say. He risked a glance at Ga Eul, only to find her looking highly embarrassed.
"Master Song," the woman said, coming closer to grasp Woo Bin's hands in her own and squeezing them without mercy, "Young Master Song, thank you for what you've done for our Ga Eul--"
"It's... it's a debt, Eomma--" Ga Eul said helplessly, reaching forward to try and untangle her mother's hold on him.
Then her father was clapping Woo Bin on the shoulder and looking at him like he held the key to their future. Woo Bin remembered Ga Eul's words from before - You don't think not being able to study and make something more of myself isn't a sinister fate enough? - and realized, well, maybe he did. "Even if it's a debt, there are some things that can't be repaid. She told us what you did for her, and my family..." Ga Eul's father seemed to blink quickly, now. "--well, thank you."
In the face of such emotions from Ga Eul's family, Woo Bin couldn't help it.
And quickly, before his actions could be misconstrued, Woo Bin turned his hands so that he was holding Ga Eul's mother, not the other way around. "Ga Eul is a good friend of mine," he said warmly, addressing both her parents. "I already told her that I will help her if and when I can. It's not something I'll ever ask repayment for."
"It's a debt," Ga Eul hissed, nudging him.
Woo Bin risked a glance at her again, and to his eternal amusement, found that she was very red at the face. "I told you, it doesn't have to be," he replied, and innocently smiled back at her when she glowered at him.
Ga Eul's mother tsked at her. "Where are your manners?" she scolded. Turning to Woo Bin she said, "You have to excuse my daughter, Young Master Song--"
"--Woo Bin," he automatically corrected, dimpling at her.
"--Woo Bin." It's obvious by the way she regarded him that Ga Eul's mother was charmed. Naturally. "I don't know how we can properly thank you but... But! Perhaps you'd want to come inside for some tea--"
"Or coffee, if that's your preference," her father chimed in.
"Or coffee," her mother affirmed, nodding profusely. "We also have--"
"Appa, Eomma, Woo Bin-Sunbae is a very busy man... we shouldn't intrude too much on his schedule--" On this Ga Eul practically cut off any contact between Woo Bin and her mother and tugged him away from them. "We're leaving now!"
"Ga Eul!" her mother said, sounding shocked by her behavior.
"Next time, then!" her father called out. "Ga Eul! Invite him in next time, you hear me?"
Ga Eul pulled him with her, virtually fleeing from her house.
It was only until they were both inside the confines of his vehicle that she let him go. "Well?" she demanded, breath coming out of her mouth in little puffs.
Woo Bin looked at her oddly. "Well, what?"
"Let's go!" She gestured towards the steering wheel. "Aren't we leaving?"
He made a show of slowly settling into his seat, checking that he was properly wearing his seat belt, that his rear view mirror was set - basically indulging in all the rituals to ensure that they would be traveling safely. Only after a long silence did he glance at her. "What's the rush? I happen to think this is a very nice neighborhood--"
The way Ga Eul looked at him proved that she was anything but.
And for the second time that day, Woo Bin laughed.
The thing was, Woo Bin didn't really have any sort of concrete plans when he pulled out of Ga Eul's neighborhood.
So here he was, driving blindly around, while beside him Ga Eul looked out her window, apparently lost in thought. Looked like she hadn't yet caught on with his apparent lack of foresight.
Time to be honest, then. Woo Bin was about to ask her where she wanted to go when she beat him to talking with a hastily said, "Sunbae, I'm sorry."
She fidgeted in her seat. "Well, that. I'm sure you didn't want to deal with-- with hysterics like that--"
"I told them you were picking me up and that they didn't have to go out because you'll be quick--"
Ah. "Ga Eul." Woo Bin reached out, placed a comforting hand above her own. "It's okay. I didn't mind."
"But--!" Her eyes flew from their enjoined hands towards him. "It's--"
Embarrassing, he thought she meant. He returned his hand to the steering wheel. "I didn't mind," he insisted. "Though maybe I should, since you assumed I didn't want to go in your house."
That caught her unawares. "--Did you?"
"I wasn't invited by the owner," he said casually, side-eyeing her.
Ga Eul turned in her seat to stare at him in growing horror. "But--! You said... you said you'll just come by and pick me up--!"
He shrugged. "Plans can change, Ga Eul-yang. I actually had time for coffee, in case you're wondering."
His pocket was vibrating, he realized. Without missing a beat, he took it out, caught Jun Pyo's name in the screen, then promptly shoved his phone in his pocket again.
Jun Pyo and whatever dramatic complaint he had in mind to share with him could wait, he decided. Some things just need to be savored - like fine wine.
Woo Bin glanced at Ga Eul again. Her mouth was agape, and the look on her face was just--
Well, this looked promising already.
He nudged her chin close. "Careful, there. It's going to get stuck like that. Yi Jung would be most displeased."
His friend's name seemed to have broken whatever trance Ga Eul was in. "I-- I didn't know!" she said. "I just thought-- oh, eomma was right, where are my manners? I'm sorry, I'm sorry--"
"Just follow your father's instructions and invite me in next time - and we'll call it even."
He said the words neutrally enough, and definitely he started the conversation like he was kidding. But the thing was, Woo Bin wasn't even sure if he's still joking around. He wouldn't mind having coffee with her family, but he didn't think he'd miss anything remotely meaningful if he didn't.
Ga Eul seemed to be taking everything he said at face value though, with the way she was regarding him.
He's yet to decide if that was a good thing or not.
"Tomorrow," she said - quite desperately, in fact. "Are you free tomorrow?"
He clucked his tongue. "Ah, but I have meetings tomorrow. Actually today's my only free time until... oh, next month."
He glanced at her again. Finally, finally taking pity on her broken look, Woo Bin chuckled and said, "Yo, relax. I'm not going anywhere, anyway."
Ga Eul looked ready to argue that - then seemingly thought better of it when she clamped her mouth shut. "Okay," she said, breathing slowly. "Okay. Next time, then."
He winked at her.
Ah, so now they had plans for next time.
But, what about this time...?