A Case of You
Steve‘s eyes scanned the crowd that gathered inside the shopping mall. The majority of the people standing around were mere spectators. He quickly spotted the two fighters from the tournament who were scheduled to fight.
The two young women stood out amongst the crowd of people in their brightly coloured costumes. The tournament official made a sign that the fight would begin in a few minutes, and the two women tightened their laces. The younger competitor focused on tightening the loose strings of her neon pink sneakers, the other on the straps of her…top. The sparkling string bikini top the older woman wore gathered the most onlookers, and there were wagers amongst members of the crowd whether her top would remain in place.
Steve wasn’t there to watch the competition…
“Checking out the competition?” he asked congenially as he placed his hand on Hwoarang‘s shoulder.
“Not you again.” Hwoarang replied without even looking in his direction.
“C’mon, you know you missed me.” Steve teased as he lightly pushed Hwoarang’s shoulder.
The other man did not reply, but instead turned and walked away.
Steve easily found him amongst the crowd. Hwoarang was leaning against a wall with his arms crossed at his chest, staring directly at him with an unreadable expression on his face. Steve quickly shifted through the crowd and managed to find an empty space next to the aloof Korean.
“What are you doing?”
“Watching the fight.” Steve replied in a matter of fact manner.
“Do you have to stand next to me?” Hwoarang asked as he raised a suspicious eyebrow.
“Where else would I stand?” Steve countered innocently as he showed his most charming grin.
“Mae chut dah.” Hwoarang said as he shook his head.
“I’m disappointed; I was expecting you to reply with something a little bit cleverer than that.” Steve taunted.
A slight smile appeared on the Korean’s face. “Crazy. You‘re crazy.”
“I am.” Steve agreed.
Hwoarang sighed and turned his attention to the fight. The expression on his face and his body language made it clear that the conversation had ended.
Steve leaned back against the wall and tried to watch the two girls pummel each other.
Every so often he would cast a sideways glance at Hwoarang, who had a very apathetic expression on his face. The Korean’s eyes followed the fight, their unusual reddish hue even more apparent in the bright lighting of the mall.
“Want to get out of here?” Hwoarang spoke suddenly, taking Steve by surprise.
“You heard me.” Hwoarang replied curtly.
Steve decided not to push his luck. Over the past few days he had made somewhat of a sport following the red-haired fighter, and although the other man appeared to appreciate the company, this was the first time that the Korean actually encouraged him to follow.
“Anywhere but here.” Hwoarang shrugged as he moved away from the wall.
“You really don’t remember a thing, do you?” Steve asked as they walked down the street.
“Look, what ever happened that night…” Hwoarang sighed as he kicked a flier lying on the ground.
“I’m not talking about that.” he stretched his left arm out in front of him.
Hwoarang looked up and stared. He didn’t recognize him, after all this time, he didn’t recognize him until he saw the scar on his arm. The person who had that scar was thinner, less muscular, and had pale skin. The person he knew with that scar had shorter, darker hair, yet the dark blue eyes were the same as the ones in his memories. This stranger bore the mark of the one person he thought he’d never see again, someone he had fallen in love with years before.
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