SECHSKIES – ANOTHER LIGHT ‘웃어줘(SMILE)’

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09/09 [news] “SS501 Gathering” From Kim HyunJoong to Heo YoungSaeng… Gathering for 10th Anniversary in Japan

Quainte501

Credits : http://m.entertain.naver.com/read?oid=076&aid=0003148365 + (English Translation) xiaochu @ Quainte501.wordpress.com

REPOST WITH FULL CREDITS ONLY

Group SS501 reunited.

On 9-Sep, Heo YoungSaeng shared in his personal Instagram with the message “Japan Debut 10th Anniversary Party. Thank you to members too. Thank you to staffs too. Thank you to fans too. It was great memories even though it was embarrassing watching those old videos. Thank you.”

In the photo that he posted shows SS501 members together. Besides Kim HyungJun who is currently on military service, Heo YoungSaeng, Park JungMin, Kim KyuJong and Kim HyunJoong, who is under much controversy, were in the photo. With bright smiles, they celebrated their 10th year of debut in Japan.

SS501 debuted in 2005 and released a number of albums, and were popular in both Korea and Japan. In 2016, Heo YoungSaeng, Kim KyuJong and Kim HyungJun made a unit called Double S 301 and had activities.

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[ARTICLE] Piece of May/June 1997 Article

90skies archive

Because of your busy schedule, who us the one who is most likely to sleep due to lack of sleep?

Jae Jin: Me! (Oh, he [volunteered] himself!)
Ji Yong: Sung Hoon sleeps a lot though…
Sung Hoon: *Can’t stay still* When it comes to sleeping, it’s no doubt to be Ji Won-hyung
Ji Won: What do you mean! I’m the one who doesn’t sleep the most! (The atmosphere became strange, didn’t it?)
Sung Hoon: Ji Won-hyung doesn’t normally sleep much but when he does, he sleeps for a long time. When we were in Hawaii, there was a time where he did not eat or go to the restroom. (Now that he accepts it, Ji Won is feeling awkward and laughs)

Out of the 6 of you, who is the one with the most prowess?
Su Won: Ji Won-hyung. Always the last to enter the van~
Ji Won: As the…

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Untitled by: ginvodka part 2

untitled by ginvodka.jpg

PART 16

THE BLACK DEATH

The Black Death arrived in Europe by sea in October 1347 when 12 Genoese trading ships docked at the Sicilian port of Messina after a long journey through the Black Sea. The people who gathered on the docks to greet the ships were met with a horrifying surprise: Most of the sailors aboard the ships were dead, and those who were still alive were gravely ill. They were overcome with fever, unable to keep food down and delirious from pain. Strangest of all, they were covered in mysterious black boils that oozed blood and pus and gave their illness its name: the “Black Death.” The Sicilian authorities hastily ordered the fleet of “death ships” out of the harbour, but it was too late: Over the next five years, the mysterious Black Death would kill more than 20 million people in Europe–almost one-third of the continent’s population.

Because they did not understand the biology of the disease, many people believed that the Black Death was a kind of divine punishment – retribution for sins against God such as greed, blasphemy, heresy, fornication and worldliness. By this logic, the only way to overcome the plague was to win God’s forgiveness. Some people believed that the way to do this was to purge their communities of heretics and other troublemakers – so, for example, many thousands of Jews were massacred in 1348 and 1349.

– HISTORY.com –

==============================

Jiwon has been away, traveling around for more than a decade when he heard about the plague breakout. Although it was three or four centuries ago when plague hit their county, people had always said it may reoccur in areas that have long remained silent. Without second thought, he headed back to the tribe. He may be a victim of the KANGs’ mistake, but over the years they have become his family. Even he does not stays with them, they would always make sure he is in good condition and never hesitate to do whatever they can when he needs help.

He can’t believe his own eyes. The place where it used to be jolly with the crowd of villagers had become a ghost town; all merchants are closed, no one is on the streets, the ground infested with lush weeds. The disease spread in a frightening speed, people are forced to quarantine any of their infected family members in the house. They will paint a red cross on the door to warn the others of the plight. No one was allowed to go near. The plague doctor or nurse who is on duty the day will visit the plague victims to check on their condition and send them food. The atmosphere was so intense, the only noises that may break the silence were the victims’ moan and the collectors who go around picking up dead bodies with a cart to send them to the mass burial pit. “Bring out your dead!” they cried.

He wandered around the town for a while to observe the situation then took off to the village where the tribe located. It was another disaster there. There were human and animal corpses scattering around, emitting unpleasant odour. The collector clearly doesn’t visit the village as often. He went door to door in searching for any villager, but it seems the tribe had moved away. He then looked around for any trace of signs that they left behind to track their location. That was when he heard something from the other end. At first he thought it was some pest running around, but he soon decided to go check it out as the faint noise sounded too regular.

==============================

It all started with swells that appear in the groin, armpits and neck. Then it developed to flu-like symptoms – fever and chills, cough, headache, muscle pain. Eventually he suffers diarrhoea, vomiting and coughing out bloody sputum. The physician makes daily visit to check on his condition and give him medication. He feeds on the potions prepared by the tribe too, but no witch craft can cure a deadly disease like plague, as they do not know the exact cause of it. Everyone else left the tribe, they’re moving into the mountains to avoid from the breakout. His mother however, sent off her daughter and stayed back to take care of him. It wasn’t until when he became affected with gangrene that the physician forced her to leave. “His body is rotting, there is no way he can survive,” he told her. She insisted to stay for her son, but the physician forcefully dragged her away, “you still have a daughter to look after!” he said, sending her to reunite with the tribe and warning them not to allow her to return to the village.

No one step foot to the village after that day. His body became extremely weak, he was so drowsy, he lost count of the days. He dragged his slump body outside the house, laying below a leaking pipe for source of water. He thought he would die there, but someone came… He was awaken by the noise; the noise of doors banging, the noise of things scattering on the ground. He saw a shadow walking in and out of cottages as if he is searching for someone or something. ‘He probably thinks I’m one of the dead bodies,’ he thought. He wanted to call out for help, but his throat was dry and tight he couldn’t make a sound. He used all his energy to move his index finger, tapping against the pipe beside – One… Two… Three… Four… Five…

==============================

He was 14 years old when he first met Jiwon. The latter saved him from the hands of Death. He didn’t remember exactly how because he passed out, but Jiwon fed him something. He must have brought along something really effective towards plague, he saved his life. His mother cried tears of joy the day they reunited. She held tight to her son and Jiwon’s hand on each side for the whole night, showing her gratitude. Everyone was grateful to Jiwon that he returned to the tribe when they needed him the most.

Despite having different personalities and their ‘age gap’, the both of them clicked immediately because they shared similar interests. Within a month, they have become best friends who can rely upon each other, understanding each other so well that one doesn’t even need to voice out his thoughts but the other person would know what is in his mind.

Little did he know, there was this man figure who he used to follow around wherever he goes when he was still unbalanced on his feet learning to walk; the ‘big brother’ who is always cautious of the surrounding for a wobbling ‘object’ that would roam towards him unexpectedly.

“I’m glad I found you,” he grinned when Jiwon storied him their past encounter and how clumsy he was as a toddler.

“I was the one who found you, remember?” Jiwon referred to the incident which he saved him.

He hugged Jiwon tight around his waist only to think to himself of how lucky he is to have met Jiwon. “Fate brought us together,” he said as he inhaled Jiwon’s unique scent.

Being one of the KANGs, he did not inherit the family’s talent; his power wasn’t all that strong. In fact no matter how well he studied or memorised the spells, they never work out as how they are supposed to be when he performs them. He can’t even cast a circle of protection properly. But the thing he regrets the most is that his senses are so poor, he didn’t realise Jiwon’s true identity until that day…

 

His Gaze by: ILYNAUICHEONSA/koiniji_00

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G1: I don’t care if I was being way too obvious. I just want to stare and stare and stare at him as long as I want. But then he looked back at me and smiled. And I felt so elated that a smile broke out on my face. But I do not want to be more obvious so I told him to look back at the audience, to look back at our fans and he did, still with a smile on his face. I, too, looked at the fans but only for a moment. I’d rather stare at him, sorry fans. Though I know they have captured our moment already. I still don’t care though. It is more convenient for me because I can search for it and looked back at the moment again and again and again. I won’t get tired of it. I know everytime I’d watch it, I could feel the wonderful sensation that I felt that time. I am thankful for the fans instead. I am thankful for them for capturing the moment. I’ll give them more moments so I hope they would pair us always. Always!

SH: I knew he was looking at me so I looked back at him and I felt so wonderfully beautiful with how he was looking at me—the look in his eyes that says I am the only one, you are so beautiful my love, that I smiled so wide at him, hoping my smile could convey how happy I am at the moment. And it did. I made him smile. I love seeing him smiling widely. And I felt so good at myself for making him smile that I continue on smiling. But then he gestured the fans and I remembered we were not alone. It’s always like this when I look at him, I would always forget everything around us. I’m glad he gestured the fans though I’m pretty sure it’s too late already. I am pretty sure they have captured the moment already. I don’t care though. I even feel glad and thankful for them, especially the fans that always pair us both. I know them. They might be happier than me right now.

Still Fallin’ by: ILYNAUICHEONSA aka koiniji_00

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Genre: Fluff
Author’s note: An attempt on an EunKang/JionHoon songfic again. Hahaha. This is a ‘Still Fallin songfic. Still Fallin sung by Hunter Hayes. Listen to it! It’s a nice song~

He is the most important person to him. He is the only one he notices and he is the only one he keeps on observing. Even after all this times, after all those years they have known each other, he can still keep him mesmerized, anticipate, he can still keep him on the edge somehow. But he sometimes doesn’t like what he discovers. Just like when he discovered how he keeps on smiling even when he is hurting. How he keeps everything within instead of relying to him. He feels guilty, he feels hurt. But at the same time he admires him more. It’s just that, he just wishes he would rely on him more often too.

They have been together for years already and everyday with him still is exciting. Their days are always filled with smiles and laughter. Every day is still full of surprises, like it hasn’t been years since they have known each other. After all this time he had think he would be used to the pull of his heart when it comes to Sunghoon, but no, it stillmakes him nervous, he still gravitates toward him, his gravity, his Sunghoon. Alone or with other people, he still reaches for his hand because he needs it. His kisses still lights a fire within him. He still longs for him even when they are just in a room together with a group of people.

After everything that they have been through, Sunghoon is still laughing with him, they are still making memories, they are still together, also, he is still a fool for Sunghoon and there are a million reasons why he is a fool for the younger.

After every late night drive they have, after every I love you, I miss you, and all the kisses and lovemaking, he is still the only one that he wants.

After every sunrise holding him, all his dreams are still all about him and his future with him. Every day and every minute, he is still and always will be falling for him.

To the One I Almost Loved by: koiniji_00

To the One I Almost Loved.jpg

A High School AU
Genre: Angst
Rating: G

“To the one I almost loved,
I hope you are doing well.
Hey, I hope you are doing your best.
Those times we haves shared,
The conversations we have together,
Those odd times when you sit beside me,
Are all precious to me.
The little things, like borrowing notes
And sharing papers are all noted by me
How I would glance at you sometimes,
And how I hope you would do the same.
How I hope you have me in your eyes,
In your mind, and how I hope
I am slowly crawling into your heart.
Sadly, I can only wish for those things.
Now, let me say this, I like you.
You caught my attention.
You lit up a fire within me.
You made me aware on how I should treat myself.
I became conscious on things,
I finally know how to draw a line.
I like you,
You became the fuel of my heart,
You became the reason of my smile and happiness.
This is a confession, a love letter for you.
I like you, you know.
Be well on your life,
The one I almost love.”

Sunghoon watched as they walked passed him.

Jiwon and his girlfriend, he wished for their happiness.

Inside his room, the sealed letter was unsealed,

He read it again,

And burned it.

Pattaya Escape by: koiniji_00

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WARNING: contains mature content

A thrust. A groan. A moan.

“Is it good, Sunghoonie?”

Another deep thrust and a groan from Jiwon made Sunghoon arched his back, made him moan. Sunghoon lays flat on his stomach with Jiwon above him. They have missed each other after not seeing the other for two weeks because of work.

Earlier that day

Jiwon arrived at the airport secretly hoping even in an international airport, nobody would recognize him, and hastily went out to look for a taxi. Sunghoon called him beforehand that he is not in Seoul and that he is on a vacation, in other words “I’m in Thailand, follow me.“ so he booked a ticket and leaved Suwon with a bye. The younger only raised a brow at him before rolling his eyes and shaking his head with a laugh when he visited his room to say bye. “Typical Suwon” he muttered and leaved the younger’s room.

Sunghoon did not forget to tell him the name of the hotel he has been staying, thankfully, so he went there immediately, eager to see the younger. The weather is good so Sunghoon might be out as of the moment, he can surprise the younger with his arrival then, he thought. But it seems he was the one who got surprised. He knows he really should not be feeling this way, there are many reasons on why he is seeing them laughing, but he cannot help it. Jealousy seeps through his veins as he saw Sunghoon talking to a younger guy with a smile on his face. Why does Sunghoon needs to smile while talking, anyway? But he needs to stay calm and not let jealousy win, he tried talking to himself but thoughts just keeps on invading his mind. Why does he have to be younger? Am I going to lose him to a younger guy? Hell, no! I am more manly and handsome and –

“Oh!”

Sunghoon’s surprised voice took him back from talking to his self. He looked back to see him already looking at him with a big smile on his face. See that, ha! I won!

“Hyung! You are already here!” Sunghoon greeted him, still smiling. “Meet my new friend, Renz.” He said in English. With jealousy acting up again, he only greeted this Renz guy with a nod and a small smile.

“Where is your room? Should I choose another room or should I choose your room?” he talked to Sunghoon, fully ignoring Sunghoon’s new friend.

“Of course my room!” That statement seemed to satisfy him and he looked at Renz with a smug face. He then excused himself “well then, I’m tired, Sunghoonie. Let’s go. “ he added in English, “Nice meeting you, Renz.” He then proceeded on putting his right arm to Sunghoon’s waist.

At first, Sunghoon didn’t say anything about it so he thought the younger didn’t notice his jealousy but he was wrong. As soon as they were inside Sunghoon’s room, the younger had asked him if he was jealous.

“No, I’m not. Why would I?” he answered. Sunghoon just laughed at him. “I was not, really really.”

“Yes, I know, you were not. By the way, Renz know some –“

“No.” he cut Sunghoon’s words and answered him immediately.

“But”

“I said no.”

“Let me finish my sentence first, hyung. I said, he told me a waterpark where we can go to have some fun.” Sunghoon said, his eyebrows narrowing, looking at him suspiciously then he laughed, hard. “I cannot believe you!”

“No , I’m not jealous okay!” Jiwon pretended to sulk.

“Alright, alright, you weren’t jealous.” Sunghoon chuckled. He went beside the older, kissed him on the lips softly and said, “I only have my eyes on you and my heart is only for you.”

“I said I was not jealous” Jiwon said but he was smiling from ear to ear.

Their whole afternoon was full of fun. They went and played at the water park. Went to a café and eat afterwards. It’s a worthy vacation. It made them very happy. Times like this they wished they can just be together always but no, they have other responsibilities to attend to. They are just happy for the vacation they were given.

They went back at the hotel full of smiles and laughter. They saw Renz at the lobby and they thanked him for telling them about the water park. Jiwon was the one who thanked him and Sunghoon was just beside him, smiling at the sight of Jiwon thanking Renz. As a way of saying, good job to Jiwon, he put a hand at the small of his back, Jiwon looked at him with a grin.

After having their dinner at their room, they were sitting side by side, with wine on their hands, they were whispering sweet words to each other when Jiwon leaned in and kissed Sunghoon, softly.

“I miss you.” He said to the younger softly while looking intently at the younger’s eyes.

Sunghoon in return, kiss him on the lips softly too. “I miss you too.”

Then as if they are each other’s center, they gravitated towards each other and meet each other’s eager mouth. Jiwon licked Sunghoon’s lower lip, asking the younger for an entrance. Opening up, Sunghoon let him in. Their tongues met in a dance that they were fully familiar. They separated to catch their breath and to put down the glasses of wine on the table. In sync, they stood up and leaned forward together for another round of fiery kisses. This time around, they not only have their mouths in action but also their hands. They are embracing each other, pulling each other towards them as if there’s still a space between them. Instantly, their hands roamed downwards and they separated to ease the other with their clothing. As soon as they were only on their boxers, they went back on kissing each other. They found their way to the bed blindly. Their hunger for each other showed when they couldn’t get away from each other. They are both desperate to feel the other. So in no time, Jiwon flipped Sunghoon and entered Sunghoon from behind, the younger screaming at the pleasure.

“Sorry, was I too hard?” Jiwon asked, stopping his ministration to Sunghoon’s hole.

“Don’t pull away. Just, just continue.” Sunghoon said, panting. Jiwon continued and waited for the younger’s say if it’s okay to move already, though he is dying to move. “Move”

And with that, Jiwon moved, slowly at first but then he couldn’t stop himself from deep thrusting Sunghoon’s hole. Hearing Sunghoon’s moan fuels him to thrust more deeply.

A thrust. A groan. A moan.

“Is it good, Sunghoonie?”

Another deep thrust and a groan from Jiwon made Sunghoon arched his back, made him moan.

“More, Jiwon” The younger eagerly said, craning his neck to look at Jiwon.

“As you wish” replied the older with a thrust.

They kept at it till dawn breaks.

Living Under A Shadow by Izam

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  • a Wonnie fanfic
  • completed

NOTE: Don’t worry folks, this isn’t a gay fic like my other one. I never knew NGB could cause such a turbulent motion. Sorry. 

Living Under A Shadow….
Chapter 1
I woke up to the disturbing sounds coming from my parents’ room. All the yelling and shouting. The sounds of hostility and hate. Cursing.
I could hear my parents arguing with each other, shouting out obscene words. Turning our once quiet and peaceful household into a battlefield.
I never knew you could put so many cussing words into one sentence. At least not until my parents had started their daily battle much like this one.
Why? They used to adore each other so much. We were a big happy family. But now, things changed. My parents were constantly grasping at each other’s throat. What went wrong????
Sitting up, I brought my knees towards my chest and made myself invisible. Still, the unbearable sounds continued to flow into my ears.
I wished that I was deaf, impaired, and unable to hear. So I wouldn’t have to deal with any of this. But the harder I tried to block it out, the louder it seemed to get.
I could hear my mother cry while my father continued to throw his despicable words at her. For a moment, I almost wanted to scream.
Stop! Just STOP IT!!!!
I wanted to stop this madness so it wouldn’t go on any further. I wanted to do something about it. But I was a coward. I only cry at situations like this, because it frightened me.
My mouth trembled as tears filled my eyes. I began to sob quietly as my bitter tears tumbled down my tangled face.
“Ju Yong-ah….” Yoo Jin slipped out of her bed and came over to my side. She wrapped her warm arms around me and gave me a hug.
“Shuuuu…Everything is going to be okay, Ju Yong. Unnie is here.”
She whispered to me and stroked my hair with her delicate fingers. She was trying to soothe me, to ease things out.
I looked up at her, the same exact face of mine glanced down at me. It was almost as if I was looking into a mirror.
As long as I could remember, she was the only one who could bring me serenity. I could feel the tranquility being passed down from her body into mine….slowly calming me down. Composing me back to one piece.
She rocked me back and forth in her arms like nurturing a baby. She was telling me that everything would be all right.
I wanted to believe her, I really did. Because I knew I could trust my unnie. She would never lie to me. But my tears would not stop falling.
My visions were getting so blurry at this point that I could barely see but the salty tears continued to roll out from the corner of my glassy eyes. Seemed like they weren’t going to stop.
“Don’t cry, Ju Yong. I know exactly what you are going through….We are twins, remember? We can feel each other’s pain. It’s a gift given to us from above that made us truly connected as flesh and blood. So when you tear, my eyes get watery. When you are suffering, I feel miserable. So stop your crying. Do it for your unnie. Smile for me, just once. Please?”
She gently brushed my tears away with her thumbs as she ran them onto
my jaded face. Her touch was soothing and mesmerizing.
My daunted eyes continued to linger on her angelic face. Those same features of mine. I was thirst for comfort and consolation from her. Searching for them. Simply because I was astounded….in a vague state of mind.
I caressed her cheeks with my shivering hands….a gentle touch….A gesture of fondness.
My tear-streaked face elevated as I pressed my lips onto her luscious ones….those fleshy and muscular folds of tissue that surrounded her mouth were brushed lightly against mine. She lightly squeezed my hand in respond and our fingers locked together….My once frigid body was transformed into a heated one. As warmth twirled around us……..foaming…layer by layer.
I was no longer the frightened girl. Because I had my unnie by my side….protecting me from harms. She would make everything all right….
When I pulled away, I bit myself on the lip, almost choking onto my own tears as I swallowed them.
“Ok, unnie….I……….I won’t cry anymore. I’ll do it just for you ….”
My trembling voice almost cracked in my throat. But I still managed to get the words out because I knew she didn’t like to see me in tears.
Sniffling, I held my tears back. I had to do it for my unnie….my guardian angle who was constantly watching over me.
I threw my arms around her and buried my mournful face into her neck. I felt
so safe now. I wasn’t in the frightened and terrorized stage anymore. This was my shelter.
And it was all because of her. Because of someone who represented the other
side of me.
I loved and adored her so much. I would be so lost without her. She was my
guiding light….She lead the way and I followed…We had a strong bond between us that could never be broken….
Dear Yoo Jin….my other self….
********************
Chapter 2
My twin sister Yoo Jin was 2 min. older than I was.
She was everything I wanted to be. She was popular, active and outgoing. Everyone just enjoyed being around her. Wherever she goes, the Sunshine followed. Smiling faces gathered around her in a circle and she stood in the middle with her dignified and elegant self. Like a female marble statue on display as people admired her delicate beauty.
Sometimes I wondered that if she was an angel sent down from above to bring happiness into other’s lives. She was so perfect in every way that it sometimes appeared to be unrealistic. It was like reading through a fairy tale…
Everyone just adored her. And I was left there on the side, unnoticed. A dark shadow. It made no difference whether I existed or not. .
I had to admit that this all sometimes saddened me, but I loved my unnie too much to be jealous. I could never hate her for anything. Because I was the most important person in her life. She couldn’t live without me and I couldn’t survive without her.
********************
It’s amazing how humans are created, isn’t it? So many of us and we are all so different…. Just like my unnie and I.
With our similar physical beings as exceptions, our personalities were so different.
Unlike Yoo Jin, I was the quiet and shy type. I get nervous when there were a lot of people around me, because they made me feel trapped and uneasy. So I stayed away from the crowds. I didn’t like to be noticed or seen. I rather live my life in a low profile and peaceful way. Be a non-existent.
I was always so unsure of myself and of the things that I do. I always thought that I might mess up other people’s lives or have a great affect on my surroundings….. I didn’t want others to discover my true self, because I knew they would be disappointed to find that I was nothing like my unnie. I was full of faults and mistakes.
The only thing similar between the my unnie and I was probably our physical
features….Our faces. But Yoo Jin was still more beautiful than I could ever be. I knew I could never be like her. Sometimes I ask myself: Why can’t you be more like your unnie? Don’t you want to be loved and adored too????
Of course, I didn’t come up with an answer….I didn’t think there was one.
********************
I woke up the next morning and I was immediately greeted by Yoo Jin’s soft and pleasant voice.
“Hey, you are finally awake…..sleepy head!!!!”
She flashed me a sweet smile.
********************
Yoo Jin had the tendency to expect the best possible outcome out of any situation, unlike me. I always expected the worst out of things. I always thought that the sky above was going to fall down on us any minute. I take the gloomiest possible view of a situation. I believed that the evil in this world outweighed the good. Kind of sad, actually….To be so gray. Hanging between black and white. But like I said before, we were completely different from each other. I was born this way and nothing could change that. Perhaps, God gave her all the positive aspects and I was left with the rest….which was nothing……..
But I had no one to blame and I shouldn’t hold anyone responsible for this….I should be happy with the way that I am.
Everyone had some sort of a goodness inside them, I just didn’t discover mine yet.
It was just a matter of fate and destiny. To make us the way that we were. To tell you the truth, it didn’t really bother me. It was just that I wished I could be more like Yoo Jin, that was all.
********************
I turned to her and my stiff face softened. I rubbed my eyes with my hands.
“I’m sorry, unnie. You didn’t get a good night sleep and it was all because of me. I shouldn’t have been such a baby….I apologize.”
“It’s quite all right, Ju Yong. I couldn’t sleep anyway….I had too many things on my mind.”
She admitted, her smile suddenly died on her lips.
I knew she was faking it. She was just pretending that none of this bothered her. But deep inside, she was just as depressed as I was. Dispirited and disheartened. Because of our family situation. And on top of that, her boyfriend for the past 2 years was leaving her tomorrow. He had to go back to Korea. Another place that was far far away.
“Unnie……..What are you going to do?”
Clinging onto my pillow, I asked her timidly. I wasn’t even sure if I should even mention his name.
She knew exactly whom I was talking about. How could she not? Her sad eyes wandered around the room and locked onto the sunlight that flooded in from the window. Although it was bright and sunny out side, within her heart it was as dark as ever.
“I don’t know, Ju Yong. I don’t want him to leave me but I can’t stop him.”
There was a heaviness in my heart and I felt sorry for her. Because I knew besides me, she cared about him the most.
“Well, if you 2 really love each other that much, then the distance shouldn’t be able to keep you 2 apart. Right?”
She turned to me and our astounded visions met. Her woeful eyes were telling me that she wish she knew the answer……..
********************
Yoo Jin was only 14 when she first met Ji Won and they had been together ever since. She told me that she had already found her true love and that he was her one and only. They belonged with each other…A match made in heaven.
I totally understood how she felt. Eun Ji Won was the handsomest boy that I had ever seen….His attractive intelligence. His fine and well-defined features. Especially his dark eyes….So deep and mysterious.
Once you look into them, you’ll drown into his glassy visions. They had the ability to hypnotize you, to draw you closer and closer. So you could no longer control yourself. Instead, he was the one that governed your every movement……..Taking over your body and soul…. Your mind…. ….
I could hear my own heart pounding quickly whenever he was around me….I get sweaty and nervous. My body just refused to function properly and my mind would turn into a mess….I would feel dizzy and weak….My arms and legs would go insensible and numb.
His entire being was like a jigsaw puzzle that was waiting to be solved….And I wish I had the pieces.
Whenever our eyes met, I would immediately look away for escape because I knew he could easily see through me with those perceptive eyes of his. My heart was completely transparent next to his existence….
Ji Won and I never really talked. He was never that much of a talker. He was an introvert, much like myself.
So Yoo Jin was the only one who knew the REAL Eun Ji Won under the cold exterior. She was the only one who knew what he was all about….Because he opened himself up to her willingly….so she could learn all about him. Infinitely……..
I wish I could get to know him too but that was impossible. His frosty appearance just blocked me away. I get discouraged so I automatically backed away from him.
I could never think of a thing to say to him when we were alone….Although I had so much to tell him. My mind just goes blank….and empty.
I had no idea why I acted that way around him. He was in love with my twin for heaven’s sake. But I couldn’t help the strange way I feel….so I was confused as ever.
Sometimes I wondered if it was because I was attracted to him? Or it was just because the consciousness of my twin sister and I tend to overlap with one another? I was having the similar feelings about him because my sister liked him too? I wasn’t sure.
But I knew what I was feeling wasn’t right. Ji Won already had his eyes set upon Yoo Jin and she was the only one for him. Only Yoo Jin was allowed to read his thoughts, feel his touch, and stay within his caring embrace….
He admired and adored her. His eyes were full of affection when she was near him. So soft….Studying her every movement, memorizing everything that she does….full of focus and concentration.
But when she wasn’t around, he was cold and silent. Solid and stiff. Vacant. Only Yoo Jin could change that, to fill him in. Only she could bring out that other side of him….that was so rarely seen.
********************
Yoo Jin didn’t want to talk about Ji Won anymore so I dropped this topic. After we had both changed into our regular clothes, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it, unnie.”
I volunteered. She nodded and I rushed out of the room.
No one was downstairs. The door of my parents’ bedroom was shut tight. They were both off to work already I suppose.
When I pulled the front glass door open, a tall and dark figure appeared before my eyes. It was him.
Instantly, my face flashed a crimson red just like I always did whenever I get close to him. Eun Ji Won. He greeted me with that deep voice of his….
“Hi, Ju Yong. Sorry to bother you so early in the morning. Is Yoo Jin here?”
His sharp eyes scanned around as he stood by the doorway. It was no doubt in my mind that he was searching for that one special person. Which obviously was not me.
Yoo Jin came to us and she was surprised to see Ji Won here so early in the morning. Immediately, her sad face broke into a smile. She was glad that he was here even though it was totally unexpected.
“Ji Won? What are you doing here so early????”
Ji Won saw her and he smiled. The same charming smile that only could be seen when Yoo Jin was around him.
Reaching out, he seized Yoo Jin by her shoulders and gathered her into his warm embrace. His moist lips were already in her hair.
“Change of plans. I’m leaving tonight instead of tomorrow. That’s why I came so early, so I can spend more time with you before I go.”
Dumbfounded by the door like an idiot, my eyes behold. It was such a strange feeling to see them so close together.
“Why do you have to leave so soon????”
I heard my sister say….those sad words….
Ji Won brushed his luscious lips onto her ear and whispered into it.
“My parents wanted to leave as soon as possible. I’m sorry….I don’t want to leave so soon either….”
I could feel my body tingling when Ji Won kissed her. The sensation was cloudy and mild. For a moment, I thought I would melt…..
Ji Won looked up and my eyes fell upon his. But those dark forests suddenly dimmed before me. Was it because he wasn’t interested in me?
This saddened me because I knew for a fact that I meant nothing to him….absolutely nothing.
They left the house together. I peered out the window as Ji Won’s car sped away.
Standing in the dark shadow, I covered my face in my hands to hide my tears. I knew I would never see him again. He was never coming back into our lives.
And that was when it all suddenly hit me…. At that very moment, I realized something….Something that I never could figure out until now. It all seemed clear that I, So Ju Yong….didn’t want him to leave my sight either.
How ironic and absurd this was….
Because I was….I was in love with him. I was in love with a person who rarely noticed my blurry existence.
And he….was in love with my sister. My twin.
********************
Chapter 3
I did a lot of thinking after they left. About things….I wanted to figure myself out because of the bizarre feelings that I was having. For some reason, I felt like I was being unfaithful to my sister and that I had betrayed her.
********************
Still, I could only give them my best blessings because they really did belong together in my opinion. But it still bothered me a little when I see the 2 of them together….To see Yoo Jin in the arms of the man that I adored. I had to admit that it was a weird feeling….Sometimes even I get a little confused.
I felt like I was seeing things or something…hallucinating. I wondered if I was seeing myself with Ji Won. And that I was Yoo Jin, you know? This was so complicated.
It was sort of like….Yoo Jin was the only one existed and I was only her shadow. If she stood under the Sun, I would appear below her feet….the dark and unnoticeable figure….Symmetry. What a disturbing thought.
But I couldn’t hate or despise Yoo Jin because Ji Won was the one that made the decision to become hers. I had no right to get mad or upset. I still loved my unnie no matter what and I wished her the best.
********************
I never told Yoo Jin about what I was feeling. And now, I came to the realization that I had a crush on Ji Won. And that I love him. I couldn’t help the way I feel. But still, some things were better being kept as secrets.
My secret.
I’ll just let the 2 of them be then….although another part of me wanted to go to Ji Won so badly….I told myself that I had to move on. Maybe one day, someone else would come and replace the space Ji Won had in my heart.
********************
[Later that night….]
I was studying for an exam in my room. I was trying to figure out a math problem but I just couldn’t seem concentrate. My mind was jammed.
[Sine and cosine…..Tangent and limits….Probabilities….Ji Won and Yoo Jin. Ji Won and Yoo Jin……..ARGH!]
I tossed the mechanical pencil aside as an act to vent my frustration.
“Damn it, Ju Yong! You are being a fool. Stop thinking about him!”
With my mind made up, I picked up my pencil again and forced myself to study the formulas and numbers in front of me.
Then all of a sudden, I heard the front door shut loudly and it caught my attention. That must be Yoo Jin. I glanced down at my watch. 11:00 PM.
[That’s strange. Isn’t Ji Won’s flight departing at 11:30PM? She was supposed to go to the airport with him. How come she’s home already????]
I heard running footsteps coming up the stairs as Yoo Jin stormed into our room. I turned around and found a tear-streaked girl before me. Yoo Jin was crying. Those clear droplets of liquid streamed down her cheeks….
At that moment, different possibilities of what happened went through my mind. Something was definitely wrong.
“What happened, unnie?”
“I……..Ji Won and I….We..broke up…”
Her voice was trembling as her tears tumbled down her chin….
I gasped because I didn’t understand.
“WHAT? How did it happen????”
“I was the one that broke it off with him, Ju Yong….”
With a deep sigh escaping her lips, she eased down onto her own bed and dropped her hands to her laps. Her eyes, deep pools of grief and hopelessness, fixed on mine.
“Why, unnie? Don’t you love him????”
“I do. That’s why I did it. Because I don’t want him to wait for me on the other side. I’m not worth it. He deserves someone better….someone who will be there for him when he needs her. Which is something I can no longer do. Not when I’m all the way over here. I’m letting him go, Ju Yong….So he can go find that other special person who will love him and take care of him for me.”
Struggling to control her churning emotions, she wrapped the blanket around herself for comfort and let her tears slowly stained the wool material.
I didn’t know what to say to her to make her feel better. She must loved him a lot to be able to sacrifice her own affection for him.
As her sobs filled the room, she continued to spill her heart out to me.
“I ran home because I couldn’t stand the look in his eyes. After I told him that I wanted to 2 of us to be apart, he just stood there like a rock, Ju Yong. I could tell he was shocked at first….because he didn’t think I would do this to him. He wasn’t mentally prepared……He wasn’t comprehending what I was saying. But still, he didn’t say a word to me. Not one word. I expected for him to yell at me, or at least say something back to me. Call me names or do whatever he wanted to let his anger out. I wanted for him to hate me. Because that was the only way for me to feel less guilty for what I was doing to him. But he was silent. And then his expression changed. I could see the look of hatred and betrayal in his glassy eyes….They were so lovely and gentle but now, they are crushed and soiled by me……… My heart crumbled, Ju Yong. Split into tiny pieces. God! I’m so sorry……..But I had to do it, because I love him too much to keep him. And I don’t think he’ll ever understand why I turned away from him….Estranged and alienated myself from his affection.”
I stood up and climbed in next to her, I laid a gentle hand on her trembling shoulder. I wanted to be there for her, just like how she was always there for me when I needed someone. Yoo Jin rested her head on my small shoulder and sobbed.
“We stood there for a long time without any exchanges of words….He was asking me to take him back with those eyes of his. Trying to change my mind. But I didn’t………I had to do this for his sake. I had to let him go. I pretended that this had no affect on me but I was torn inside. I stood in front of him with a passionless and unfeeling mask on. But I was dying within….He looked saddened, because he saw no reaction from me. I had put on a good show. I had lied to him. In the end, his lips parted slightly and this one word came out. The one simple word that says so much. Why? He asked…..He wanted to know the reason. I could see the look of agony on his face and I was crushed. I didn’t know what to tell him because I was out of words. He was making it so hard for me……..I wanted to tell him that I was sorry. I really did….But I didn’t. I want him to hate me for what I was doing to him. So he’ll completely forget about me and move on…..”
“Unnie-ah….”
With my own heart wrenching, I placed my hand over hers and I could feel it shivering against mine.
The thought of Ji Won leaving this place with a shattered heart….Tears filled my vision and stained my lashes. But I held them back so Yoo Jin wouldn’t see them. Because I had no reason to cry since there wasn’t a relationship between Ji Won and I. I didn’t want her to find out that I liked him too. But I wondered if I was shedding tears because I felt sorry for my unnie? Or for Ji Won? I had no idea.
Ji Won’s somber face flashed in front of my eyes at that moment….He must be devastated…Yoo Jin’s decision was so sudden. There was no way he could accept it. It exploded in front of him like a time bomb and he was left alone with scars all over his body….scars that would take an eternity to heal.
“I wanted to let Ji Won go and I did….But why does it still hurts so much, Ju Yong????”
Yoo Jin looked up with her feverish eyes and asked me, her voice pleading. Leaning over, I drew the woman into my arms…
“Unnie-ah. I’m sure Ji Won will understand, maybe not now….but he will someday.”
As I stroked her damp and tangled hair, Yoo Jin let out a low moan….a desperate cry that brought more tears to my eyes.
“I hope you are right, Ju Yong….I really do….”
Squeezing her weary eyes shut………she let her tears ran….I stayed by her side for the rest of the night and let her agonies soaked through my body.
********************
After awhile, Yoo Jin drifted into sleep. She was tired and exhausted by her own grief.
Looking down at my watch, it was 1:30 AM already. Ji Won should be gone by now….and we would never see him again. He vanished before us with a fractured heart that needed time to heal.
Glancing down at Yoo Jin, I heard her murmur Ji Won’s name in her sleep….I think she was dreaming about him already…
[……..Ji Won-ah….Did you know this was hard on me too? That you had to leave us behind like this???? Did you know that my twin sister and I both love you????]
********************
Chapter 4 – SIGNS OF DEATH.
[2 months later….]
Yoo Jin didn’t talk about Ji Won anymore. I knew she was still suffering inside but I guess she didn’t want to bother other’s with her problem…..which included me.
So she never mentioned his name ever again. Not to anyone. Although she still goes back and flips through the photo album that was full of memories and pictures of the two of them….when no one was looking.
Poor thing….If he didn’t have to move back to Korea, then the two of them would probably still be together.
I guess things can’t always turn out the way you want them to be. There are always obstacles in the way….Some may overcome them and some may not. Yoo Jin and Ji Won couldn’t cross them. So they had to split up.
It’s a way of life I suppose. To accept the unforeseen, something that has no definite shape or structure. Just like how I had learned to accept the fact that Ji Won and I could never be and never would be.
But I couldn’t help myself from thinking about him every now and then…..The image of him was still vivid and fresh in my mind. The way he moves, the way he talks, the way he smiles. I wanted to forget about him, I really did. I knew I had to erase him from my memory.
However, the more I tried to forget….the deeper his image was imprinted into my mind.
********************
Yoo Jin had been acting really strange lately and I had no idea why. She was always staring off into space….Her eyes were so sad and dim looking. No longer bright.
I rarely saw her smile anymore. Which was also very unusual. She was troubled, distant and aloof. She was losing herself. Gradually changing before me. I didn’t know why this was happening.
[She’s hiding something from me, isn’t she?]
I could hear her cry in the middle of the night. As she buried her face into the pillow under her so no one would know. But I knew it all along. I could feel it within me….even if she was on the other side of the dimension, I still knew it. She was tormented and distraught by something. Something that everyone was afraid of.
I wanted to ask her but I didn’t. Because I figured, if she wanted to tell me when she was ready….then she would. I would wait for her to come around. However, all this waiting was killing me. I was getting worried about her.
********************
One day, when I came home from my piano lesson, I went inside our room and I saw her all curled up in the corner of her bed….frightened. It was the same sight I had been seeing so much lately. [She’s doing it again. DAMN IT.]
I couldn’t stand it any longer. She was not the same Yoo Jin I used to know. [WHAT IS GOING ON?] I decided to ask her what was on her mind. I had to know.
I sat down next to her with my questioning eyes and before I could even speak, she took my hands. She knew what I was thinking even though no words were exchanged between us. She knew I wanted an answer from her today and she was willing to give it to me.
“I had been having these nightmares lately. Scary ones….That’s why I had been acting this way. I’m sorry but I couldn’t help myself………….I had another one last night, Ju Yong. And it was the worst nightmare that I had ever had….I’m so intimidated……..I don’t know what do to.”
“Nightmares?…..What was it, unnie?”
I asked her. I could see the horror in her eyes. She was terrified, like she just saw something gruesome and terrible.
“I had a dream that our parents were separated and so were you and I.”
She immediately broke down into tears right after the word, separated slipped out of her mouth. I could see the dread in her glassy eyes.
“A divorce, unnie?”
The relationship between our parents had gotten worse lately. My father had stopped coming home. We had no idea where he was. [Is this what she had been dreaming about?]
Yoo Jin shook her head.
“Perhaps. But that was not the reason why you and I were parted forever. It was something much worse. Something out of the ordinary. Something we cannot prevent from happening.”
[What?] I didn’t understand where this conversation was going. Something wasn’t right. What was she trying to tell me????
“What do you mean?”
I asked her. Disturbing thoughts came to me at that moment….I wondered what this all meant.
“I mean….I was no longer among the living, Ju Yong. I was dead. I’m going to die soon….my dream told me so….I can sense death coming for me….”
Sobbing, she squeezed my hands with her own.
Unable to comprehend her words, I knitted my brows in confusion.
“Death? No. Don’t say that, unnie. You are not going to die on me. We are going to grow old together…and we are both going to have that other special someone in our lives to fall in love and to form a family with….It had always been our dream ever since we were little. Remember????”
“Yes, I do remember…….But, I don’t think that is going to happen. That dream was a sign….A sign that was send down from above. I’m scared………I don’t want to die, Ju Yong!!!!”
Low utterance turned into intense yelling. Her voice was crazed and shaky. Hysterically, tears clouded her eyes as they continue to flow. Going out of control. She was losing it and she looked like a timorous child. A crying angel.
Seizing her by her shoulders, I shouted at her angrily. For the first time in my life, I was furious for something she was doing…..She was turning insane and I wanted to stop her.
“DAMN IT! Stop it, unnie! Don’t say that….You know how much I love you!!!! I can’t bear to see you vanish before me. That was just a dream…….it doesn’t mean anything. This is all none sense. NONE SENSE, you hear me???? Pull yourself together!!!”
Yoo Jin’s anguished eyes widened at my sudden words because she had never seen me in rage before. But she still believed that her dream would come true….and that it was just a matter of time. Moaning weakly, she couldn’t say a word back to me.
“Stop acting this way, Yoo Jin. This isn’t like you. You were never like this.”
Frowning deeply, I stroked her cheeks with my fingers. Caressing the daunted girl with my warmth. Leaning over, I kissed her tears away with my warm lips……..the bitter taste of them encountered my mouth. [Is this what tears taste like? How awful….]
Pulling away, my gaze fell upon her dispirited visions. Her eyes lingered on mine for a moment and she ran her quivering fingers into my hair….Loving the feel of my soft strands as she stroked them. She was looking for composure and I wanted to give it to her….
Reaching out, I traced the crooked lines of her similar features with my own hands like a blind person. Her eyes, her nose, her mouth. I relished her smooth and creamy cleavage. To me, she was still so stunningly beautiful at a sensual moment like this.
We stayed like that for awhile as our hands fumbled on each other. It was the infatuated form of affection as we caressed one another without a word. Because there was no need for it. At an intimate moment like this, silence was our only company.
“I hope you are right, Ju Yong.”
Wiping her tears away, she paused for a moment and was full of uncertainty. I knew she wanted to tell me something else but she swallowed the words back. She wasn’t sure if she should go on.
So I waited patiently. Giving her time to say what was on her mind.
After awhile, she finally found the courage she needed for her to go on.
“But….can you promise me one thing?”
“Anything for you, Yoo Jin. Anything….”
I would do anything for my unnie. I would even die for her if she wanted me to.
“If I do leave you behind….”
“Unnie….You are NOT leaving me behind.”
I quickly cut her off before she could finish. Because I didn’t want to hear that word again. I demanded for her to quit. Hearing that word so much….I was starting to be convinced that her dream would come true…I didn’t want that.
“Ju Yong….just listen to me, all right? Please?….”
She begged me with those lustrous eyes of hers.
I couldn’t say no to my beloved Yoo Jin unnie. I just couldn’t. Although I had a feeling that I wouldn’t like what she was about to tell me, I nodded unwillingly. As uneasiness filled my heart, I waited to hear her request.
She held my face up within her hands so I couldn’t look away….and then, these frightening and shocking words flowed into my ears.
“If I……..If I do leave this earth….Will you carry my name, Ju Yong? Will you be………me? That way, we’ll always be together…..and no one can ever pull us apart………”
My bewildered eyes were shot wide at her insane words. Like lightening had just struck me and that I had fallen down into a bottomless pit…..Lost. She had just told me something that I wasn’t expecting and couldn’t accept.
[What the………What kind of a request is that? She wants me to be Yoo Jin? Instead of Ju Yong, myself????]
I was too overwhelmed to speak. I couldn’t articulate at that moment. My voice suddenly disappeared on me so I had none. I was totally speechless.
Yoo Jin closed her eyes for a moment, wishing there were some way to make me understand.
“Please….I’m begging you. Do it for me….Do it for your unnie. That way, my soul and spirit will always be with you….”
My face was numb and arctic at that point. I had no idea how I should react to this. NO IDEA.
I didn’t know what to say. [She said her soul and spirit will always be with me???? ALWAYS????]
[But we are too different….TOO DIFFERENT. I can’t accomplish this task….It’s too difficult. I can’t handle it……..I can’t.]
Yoo Jin saw the stunned expression on my face and she knew what I was thinking. Breaking into another sob, she let out a low and mournful sound. She knew she had failed….and that I wasn’t going to agree.
“Ju Yong-ah….I know this is a lot to ask, but……It’s my last request. My last dying wish……”
Her tears landed onto my hand and I could feel it burning into my soul. I was crushed to see her like this. I couldn’t refuse my unnie….she was the most important person in my life. I had to say yes.
“I………..I will do it, unnie. I will….”
Tears exploded out of my sockets when I finally gave in for Yoo Jin. Silently, I asked myself if I was doing the right thing by agreeing. And that I wasn’t getting myself into something that I couldn’t handle.
Of course, I received no answer. I wondered what awaits me in the future.
Pleased, Yoo Jin let out a blissful cry of happiness and towed me into her embrace…..Hugging me tight. I thought I saw the tears of joy in her eyes.
They tumbled down her cheeks and landed onto mine….Like raindrops falling down from above. Angel tears, small and shiny crystals. It tickled a little as the droplets touched my skin and mixed in with my own sadness.
But the disturbing thought slipped through my mind at that very moment….The thought of Yoo Jin dead. I wanted to believe that dream wasn’t true. But another part of me was telling me that it was going to happen. And that soon, Yoo Jin would have to go back to the place where she had came from…..Go back to heaven. A mysterious place above us that we didn’t know much about.
I quickly shook that thought away and blocked it out. I refused to let it get to me.
[Because you are not leaving me, unnie….You are not going to die. I won’t let that happen…….]
********************

Chapter 5 – Death of Yoo Jin.
3 months passed, my father still didn’t come home. During this time, my mother had suddenly aged so much. There were wrinkles on her face and bags under her eyes that weren’t there before. She was withering, fading away like a dying flower. All day long, she hides inside her room and cries. Shedding those tears of agony.
The mournful air filled our surroundings and I prayed to God that it would all go away soon. Because I didn’t want to see my mother live her days in despair.
********************
Yoo Jin decided to drop by flower shop to purchase some roses for mother….to cheer her up. What a thoughtful gesture….
I agreed to her idea. Maybe it would bring smile back to mother’s face for once…
Standing in the kitchen, I was fixing to prepare our lunch. I was making my unnie’s favorite dish today. She should be back anytime now.
~Ring~ Ring~
The phone in the quiet and peaceful kitchen suddenly rang. Not knowing whom it would be, I answered it.
“Hello?”
A voice replied coldly from the other side.
“Get you mother on the phone.”
Instantly, I froze at the familiar and bitter voice. It was my father.
“NOW!!!!”
He yelled at me with that loud and manly voice of his. Like an idiot who wasn’t able to move, my feet were glued to the ground below me and my mind was filled with shock.
[Why is he calling us all of a sudden? I thought he wasn’t planning on contacting us at all. Should I let her answer?]
My mother came into the kitchen and she saw me holding the cordless in my numb hand.
“Ju Yong? Who is it?”
She asked. The shocking expression remained on my face and she didn’t understand my odd behavior.
“It’s…..it’s for you, mother…”
Swallowing down the lump in my throat, I handed her the phone.
Glancing down at it briefly with her horrifying eyes, I think she knew who was on the other line. It was the man that had left her stranded.
In a timid manner, she brought it close to her nervous ear.
“Ye…….yes?”
The mumbling sounds came out from the receiver. I had no idea what the man said to my mother but her creamy colored face suddenly lost its original color and was replaced by the paleness that wasn’t there before.
With tears brimming her eyes, a look of hatred and disbelief could be seen from her.
“You lied to us all this time!!!! I HATE YOU!!!!”
I heard my mother scream with a twisted face. With a wave of hatred threatening to overwhelm her, she was turning psychotic before me. Going insane.
It turned out that my father wanted a divorce with her so he could marry his new lover who he had been cheating on my mother with.
The phone fell out of the woman’s hand and instantly she rushed out the door. She was going on a rampage as she vanished from our house.
“Wait!!!! Come back!!!!”
I cried out after her. I was afraid that she might do something crazy to harm herself since obviously my father had just told her something that she couldn’t handle, something that she didn’t want to hear. She had just lost her mind and I knew it.
I quickly exited the house after her and I saw her getting into the car as she sped away. [Where is she going????]
I hopped into my own sedan and chased after her. Beads of sweat tumbled down my face at this intense moment.
********************
My mother was driving extremely fast and crazy in front of me. She was going 70 on the small road that was full of twists and turns.
My car almost spun out of control in the process of the chase but I kept going. I had to put a stop to this madness before someone gets hurt.
I didn’t know why but my 6th sense was telling me that things were going to turn out harrowing…..extremely frightening and upsetting in the end if I didn’t catch up with her soon. My heart told me so.
Not knowing what awaits me, I continued to speed forward.
********************
[At the same time….]
Yoo Jin strolled down the sidewalk holding a cluster of roses in her hands. Humming to herself, she brought them close to her face and sniffed it. Ahh..The wonderful fragrance.
“Mom is going to love it….”
With a smile that danced on her lips, she crossed the street without a second thought. She had no idea that this same road would lead to her death.
Suddenly, she heard a loud and clear screeching sound as it cuts through the open space. It was the sound of a car going out of control.
Yoo Jin turned towards the direction where the distinct noise had came from and the view of a black vehicle appeared out of nowhere like a ghost….as the monster dashed towards the girl at an incredible speed…….fast as lightening….
It was waiting to take her away……waiting to haunt her down…….to run her over so she would be out of its way.
She froze and the vehicle lurked at her at an unbelievable speed. The distance between the 2 was cut shorter and shorter…
Yoo Jin knew it was going to hit her and she attempted to run. But her legs would not budge. They refused to move. They didn’t function in the way she wanted them to. The girl was trapped and there was no way out. She was doomed with death aiming its way at her as a target.
There was no time to react. She didn’t even have time to scream for her precious life. The driver stepped down onto the brakes but it was already too late.
The car hit Yoo Jin head on and sent her body flying into the sky. The blood exploded out of her body and splashed onto the windshield…..like a tomato being thrown against the glass as the red juice splat out of it.
The flowers fell out of her hands and the cluster was tossed into the thin air along with her body.
The rose petals were immediately torn off the sepals as the red pieces filled the air at that moment….like drops of blood that was fluttering….Red rain…. It created an amazing but also troublesome view….Leaving a storm of crimson around her.
Yoo Jin knew this day would come….She was destined to die. Someone had been sending her death signals through her dream….Telling her that she would be extinct soon….so she would no longer exist in the living form.
So that dream WAS true. Wasn’t it????
It all happened so fast….In the matter of seconds. She wasn’t prepared for this….She never was.
Her entire life flashed in front of her eyes at that moment. The people that she loved. She didn’t want to die and leave any of us behind this way…..without saying goodbye….
There were so many thing that she didn’t get to do….so many places that she hadn’t been to….and so many people that she didn’t get a chance to meet yet. But death was already on its way….It could not wait any longer….
Her small body came crashing down onto the hard pavement below….plunged forcefully onto the road.
Landing on her frail back, Yoo Jin heard her own neck popping as the crisp and brittle sound flow into her own bleeding ears.
Her fragile skull was crushed…..and her mouth was forced open as the blood ejected out of the only outlet available for the abundant flow….
Her spinal chord immediately snapped in half and she laid there crumbled in an odd position with her lower body thrusts over to the side…
Blood covered the ground below her as they expelled out of her nostrils and mouth……Her entire form was surfaced in the vital fluid of life….
Her source of energy drained out as dark ruby ate away her pale face. Changing its color…Staining the remains of her body…..Wetting her long and silky strands and changed them into a damp and dark color…Then smearing onto the area beneath the girl like ketchup.
There was large gash on the back of her head and a portion of her brain was hanging out for all to see. The brain juice ran….flowing out like a river…..
The driver ran out of the car screaming and rushed to Yoo Jin’s side. When the murderer saw the face of my unnie, she let out a uproarious shriek….howling through the distance….Yanking her own hair in a maniacal fashion…..
Because she, my mother….had just killed her own daughter………Which was Yoo Jin….my twin sister.
“No….no…no……no…NOOOOOOO!!!! WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!?!!?”
********************
Sharp pain ran down my spine and my brain suddenly twitched with pain…..severe psychological strain. Like someone was trying to tell me something by making me suffer….
“OUCH!!!!”
Flinching, I cried out in my guttural voice….wishing for the pain to go away.
When it did, I felt something warm slipping out from my nose. I quickly wiped it away and I found blood on my hands. My nose was bleeding.
“What the hell?”
Snatching a tissue out of the tissue box in the passenger seat, I wiped my nose again….but this time, I found nothing. It was no longer bleeding….Weird.
Then all of a sudden, the muscles on my left thigh started to contract involuntary……all by itself. Giving me a cramp that caused me an enormous deal of pain.
“AWWW!!!!”
I cried out and my body went stiff. With my face straining, a strange force was pulling onto my muscles. Jerking them hard….
My car almost hit the curb because I could no longer concentrate on the road before me. Grasping onto the steering wheel, I quickly guided the vehicle back to its original course.
“No no no! Don’t do this to me now….I have to get to my mother!!!!”
Working my jaws to keep the pain at ease, it all instantly went away. My body slowly returned to its relaxed format and the pain was no more….
[Yoo Jin unnie? Did something happen to you???? Was that you trying to tell me something?]
********************
Still attempting to follow my mother’s car, I turned into the same street where the incident had occurred.
That was when I saw her car abandoned in the middle of the street with its hood popped open. There were smoke coming out from the engine and the front bumper had a huge dent in it….Blood was poured all over the windshield and the black car was completely red……Like it had just came out of a blood bath……..
[WHAT HAPPENED????]
Horrible thoughts came to my mind as I pulled over and stepped out. I saw a group of people gathering around on the other end of the street. Something must have happened. I hurried over and pushed my way into the circle.
My blood ran cold. There my unnie was….covered in the crimson. I barely recognized her because her body was spreading in a humanly impossible position….Like a toy which you could bend its arms and legs in any direction or angle you wanted to.
The smell of rotten meat attacked me as it rushed into my nose. It was the smell of death.
I saw half of her brain hanging out and I clamped my hand over my mouth in trauma. Because I knew if I didn’t, the contents of my stomach would be discharged in a gush.
She looked so hideous in my eyes at this point that it made a direct contrast with her previous exquisite form. An angel had transformed into something despicable….something ungodly and indecent……..lewd and obscene.
Like a mannequin being abandoned on the side of the road because its exterior was no longer in its original perfect condition….no longer presentable to the public’s critical eyes…….Because she was fragmented……….no longer complete.
In a state of shock, my mother was on her knees next to my unnie…. She didn’t even notice all these people cluttering around them. She was too stunned to see anything else.
Rocking herself back and forth, she buried her teary face within her bloody hands. The blood of my unnie’s…
“Oh my God………oh my God……OH MY GOD……….”
I heard the woman repeat that sentence over and over again like a broken record.
The rose petals slowly drifted down from above like feathers and landed within the pool of blood below….as they floated within it……..gathering around Yoo Jin’s lifeless form. They wanted to accompany the girl so she wouldn’t die alone.
Yoo Jin’s eyes were wide open as she gazed up into nothingness. She saw nothing before her except total darkness. Because her body no longer functioned, her spirit was no longer there. She was gone. To a place where no one could ever reach her again….Not even I.
It was like watching a horror film…….the blood and the gore laid before me. Nauseated, I had the urge to vomit as the sour and bitter liquid formed within my trembling lips.
Yoo Jin was no longer….She was terminated. Dead……….deceased.
I rubbed my widened eyes with the back of my hands to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. After I removed them, the same image was still there in front of me.
So it was all true…..That dream WAS a sign. It was MEANT to happen…
[Un…….unnie???? Is that really……….You??????????]
I felt dizzy as my insides twist into knots….millions of dead knots. I couldn’t, and wouldn’t accept what happened.
Slowly, tears filled my wild eyes. Squeezing them shut, the bloody scene slowly vanished before me as the anguished tears rolled down my cheeks……
[You are dreaming, Ju Yong….This is all a dream. Yes……..this never happened. Yoo Jin isn’t dead. She didn’t desert you and leave you behind. Your unnie is home waiting for you at this very moment…..And as soon as you wake up……Everything will remain the same. Exactly the same…]
[Your twin sister still existed on this planet….along with you……..]
My knees felt weak and I collapsed onto the floor. Someone had drained out all of my energy so I had nothing left to go on.
But I still had to get to my unnie. I had to. So we could be together again….
Crawling on the soak pavement, I dragged my body towards her slowly. Using my arms to transport myself to my destination.
I could hear the people around us mumbling to each other.
“What is she doing? Oh my God….Look! The 2 of them have the same faces. They are twins?”
“I suppose so. Isn’t it sad? One of them is dead and the other one is left behind. Life is so cruel….”
[No. Yoo Jin isn’t dead!!!! She isn’t DEAD!!!!]
My mind screamed and tears clouded my view. I didn’t want to hear it anymore. I wanted to shut their filthy mouth.
I ignored them and made my way to Yoo Jin’s side. Her warm and fresh blood stained my clothes and made its way onto my skin….But I didn’t care.
Reaching out, I took her hand in mine….To my surprise, it was so cold…
“No….Unnie. Get up. It’s me! Ju Yong!!!! I’m here. Stop messing with me. I know you are alive…….Don’t just lay there! GET UP!!!!”
I cried out to her….desperately wanting to hear an answer. But there was no respond. She just laid there without a motion as she peer up into the sunny sky above her with her empty eyes.
“No!!!! You can’t do this to me, unnie!!!! I said it’ll never happen and it won’t!!!! You are not DEAD!!!!!!!! I won’t let you!!!!”
I was yelling now but there was still no reply. At this point, I was still in deep denial….
[Why isn’t she answering? I know she can hear me!!!!]
Silence danced around us as death crept its way out. Taking Yoo Jin along with it. That was when I realized at that moment that this wasn’t a dream. The truth finally hit me.
This person that laid before me with the exact same face……..was dead. My beloved Yoo Jin unnie went back to the place where she had came from. The heaven above.
I had just lost the other part of me….my other self. It was something that I could never gain back.
My body went limp and I buried my teary face next to Yoo Jin’s bloody one.
“No……Unnie……..This isn’t…happening…”
I let out a long and mournful wail of cry. I was still unable to understand why this happened.
********************
Chapter 6 – CARRYING OUT MY PROMISE TO YOO JIN
[At the funeral service….]
Yoo Jin rested peacefully inside her casket with her eyes closed. She was empty….no longer alive. A shell…..with life missing from it.
Wails of cry were all around me and I wished that I had no skill of hearing.
My father didn’t even bother to show up at the funeral and I would never forgive the man for that. He was part of the cause of this mishap and he didn’t even have the decency to come say goodbye to his own daughter. How could he?
Mother had her hands rested tensely in her lap as she clenched the handkerchief that was soaked with her tears. She was crying hysterically because her own daughter had died under her very own hands. It was something a mother could never accept.
“I’m so sorry, Yoo Jin. So sorry….”
I heard my mother say as she begged for forgiveness. The grief in her voice crushed my heart.
[My unnie is really gone. GONE FOREVER.]
I stood numbly next to the casket and glanced down at Yoo Jin as I admired her familiar face for the last time. I was still in denial. I still couldn’t accept the fact that my beloved Yoo Jin unnie was really gone.
For a moment, I felt like I was watching myself dying and that I was attending my very own funeral.
[Why can’t they take my life instead? Why did they have to take hers???? She was so young. She’s only 16. She had a long life ahead of her but now…she is no more.]
[ What did she ever do wrong do deserve this kind of a cruel punishment???? Is there no other way to prevent this mishap from happening?]
I had so many questions but I couldn’t find answers to any of them.
It was such an odd feeling. I had lost the other part of me. The part that had made me complete. Now, I was forever handicapped. I could never be the same again. Something important was missing from my life and I just couldn’t find myself the strength to go on.
I stared at my unnie and the truth finally closed in on me. Yoo Jin was so still, her skin so horribly pallid.
“Why, unnie? Why is this happening?….Who should I blame????”
I asked her inaudibly. This time, I was not expecting a reply.
Tears escaped from the corners of my eyes when I embraced the casket with my arms. If felt so cold against my shivering fingers.
Leaning over, I brushed my trembling lips onto Yoo Jin’s. It was our last kiss before we officially part.
The moment we touched, her lips were so cold. For the first time in my life, she wasn’t responding. There was no movement.
My heart ached as I backed away and took another glimpse at her. Then with a sad smile, I whispered to her in a language only she would understand.
“Remember my promise to you, unnie? Remember???? I’ll be you from now on. I’ll be Yoo Jin just like you asked me to. That way….we can still be together…….forever. Just like you always wanted….”
********************
My parents did get a divorce after that and I stayed with my mom.
She wanted to move back to Korea because of the terrible memories here in the States. I didn’t want to leave Yoo Jin behind so she went back alone. It was probably better that way because I was out of her sight.
Whenever she saw me, she also saw Yoo Jin. I was a constant reminder to her and it made it hard for the woman to forget what happened.
A life was taken away and it could never be brought back.
********************
I moved to another state after my mother left for Korea and I go by the name Yoo Jin.
I tried to do the things that unnie used to do. I even tried to alter my personality. But I knew that wasn’t the real me. It was so difficult for me to pretend to be someone that I wasn’t. Yoo Jin and I could never be the same. I could never take her place. On the outside, I was Yoo Jin. But on the inside, I was still the same Ju Yong. Still that quiet and shy girl.
It didn’t matter though. The people here didn’t know the difference between Yoo Jin and I. I had lied and told them that Ju Yong was the one that had died and not Yoo Jin so I could go on with my promise to unnie.
So here I was….A fraud walking around in Yoo Jin’s shell. Deceiving others with my lies. But I had made a promise to my beloved unnie and I was determined to keep it.
That was when I realized that I was living my days under Yoo Jin’s shadow.
********************
[1 year later….]
It was a normal day at the high school I attended. People here knew me as Yoo Jin and not Ju Yong. To them, Ju Yong died a long time ago and I was left alone in this world.
Whenever I hear people call my name, which was Yoo Jin….I would pause for a second before I turn around. Because I still get a little confused here and there.
Sometimes I tend to forget that I was supposed to be playing the role of Yoo Jin, and not Ju Yong. Constantly, I was shoved back and forth between the 2.
I wasn’t sure who I really was anymore. Who am I? I think I had just lost track of myself.
“Yoo Jin!!!! Yoo hoo!!!! Can you hear me????”
Seung Eun waved her hands in front of my face to get my attention. Just like always, I had just drifted away into my thoughts again.
“Huh? Oh…. Sorry. I was just thinking about something, that’s all.”
I gave her an apologetic smile as I put my books away into my locker.
In annoyance, Seung Eun rolled her eyes.
“Gosh, girl! It always takes me so long to get your attention. Whenever I call your name, I always have to say it more than once. It’s like you didn’t even know I was talking to you or something….Is there another Yoo Jin?”
She teased me with her sarcastic words……which I didn’t find to be very amusing.
It was just a harmless remark but they sounded so harsh to my ears….Difficult to bear. I couldn’t laugh about it.
[Another Yoo Jin? There is only one Yoo Jin, Seung Eun. And she is dead….I’m just here living her life for her, don’t you know that?]
I gave Seung Eun a deadly stare because she had just told me something that I didn’t want to hear.
The mischievous girl still had no idea of what I was going through or how much I was suffering inside. She looked confused and she didn’t understand why I couldn’t take a joke.
But I couldn’t blame her. I could only blame death…It took my unnie away from me.
Softening my eyes, I quickly forced a smile onto my face.
“I’m….I’m sorry. I’ll start to pay more attention from now on…….”
“Good. You almost got me there….for awhile I thought you were looking kind of irritated by my words!!!! You sure know how to fool people, don’t you?”
Playfully, she gave me a light punch on my arm.
I had no idea why but every word she said sounded like a burden to my ears. They were so hard for me to digest. It was like she knew I was a fraud and that she wanted me to admit it.
“Seung Eun-ah. Can we talk about something else?”
I snapped and slammed the locker shut with a loud bang. With ire holding me down tightly in its grip, I tried my best to maintain my calm self.
I think I did a good job because she didn’t seem to notice. She was still her usual cheery and goofy self.
“Sure! Hey….did you hear about the new guy that just transferred into our school today?”
She pulled me closer whispered in a secretive fashion. Quickly, her eyes scanned her surroundings to make sure no one would hear her.
“Yeah….actually, I did. He came from Korea right?”
I wasn’t really interested in what she was saying but I pressed on because I liked her as a friend. She was sweet and kind…….kind of like Yoo Jin.
“I think so….Have you seen him yet?”
Her eyes brightened when she talked about him, a dreamy look was already on her face.
Well, ever since this morning, I heard people talking about the new guy. I mean, it was not a big deal. New students come and go. But this time, it was different. I heard rumors that this guy was very attractive. All the girls were talking and having fantasies about him already. He was pretty well known even though I hadn’t seen him yet myself.
“No….I haven’t seen him. Have you?”
Seung Eun batted an eye at me and giggled.
“Yeah! You don’t know what you are missing. He is so fine~! Drool almost slipped out of my mouth when I saw him this morning….”
I smiled. She was so cute. I figured it was my turn to make fun of her just for the hell of it.
“Really? How UNLIKE you to drool over a guy. HAA HAA!”
That did the job. She pouted her lips and gave me a dirty look. I guess she didn’t like to be teased either.
“What’s his name anyway?”
I quickly switched the subject so she wouldn’t get upset. And of course, she wasn’t.
“His name?”
She scratched her head and thought about it for a brief moment.
After a long pause, these 3 words then came out of Seung Eun’s mouth. The ones I didn’t expect to hear.
“I think his name was Eun Ji Won…..or something like that.”
Instantly, I froze at that name and my face paled. In a state of shock, my books fell out of my hands. With my eyes wide, I felt like my heartbeat had literally stopped and that time had stopped ticking around us.
I had just heard the name of the person that I wasn’t expecting to see ever again.
[No….He can’t be Ji Won……..She’s lying. He’s still in Korea. He had to be!!!! We are NOT suppose to meet up again….Not with the fact that Yoo Jin was dead and gone…….and that I am now playing her role because of the promise!!!!]
I was out of words. My face paled and strained. For a moment I felt nauseated and sick to my stomach.
“Yoo Jin?….YOO JIN????”
Seung Eun’s eyebrows rose like question marks and she called my name repeatedly.
I quickly pulled myself back together and opened my daunted eyes again. I bend down and picked up my books one by one. Seung Eun helped me gathered them.
“You looked like you just swallowed a bug or something. What’s wrong with you?”
Her eyes were full of questions when they locked onto mine.
Eventually, I found myself the strength to steady the rhythm of my heartbeat.
“I’m……I’m sorry. What did you say the guy’s name….was?”
I asked her again as I held the books close to my chest. My heart was pounding hard against them at a quick pace.
Seung Eun opened her mouth to answer but another male voice came and interrupted us.
“She said, Eun Ji Won.”
Gasping, I could recognize that voice that boomed into my ears from anywhere. It was the voice that I used to hear so much. The mesmerizing voice that I wasn’t expecting to hear ever again.
I spun around and there he was. The mysterious man’s image came into my astounded view.
Immediately, my jaws dropped wide open simply because I was stunned. The shock of what was happening was numbing my mind.
The tall figure gazed deeply into my wide eyes and greeted me with a smile.
“Long time no see, Yoo Jin….”
I was out of words as tears filled my eyes.
[He…..He called me Yoo Jin………He couldn’t tell that I wasn’t her????]
********************
Chapter 7 – LIVING A LIFE FULL OF LIES….
My body went limp and I slumped against the pile of metal lockers behind me. I could almost feel the coldness of them as they encountered the fissures of my spine. But the actual chill was coming from within my soul.
Past scenes of Ji Won and Yoo Jin together gleamed before me in a quick flash. I saw them together, smiling and laughing, hugging and kissing, loving and adoring one another….Taking delight and pleasure in something that I, So Ju Yong had never had.
I didn’t belong in those pictures back then. And now, I still didn’t. Because my name was Ju Yong, not Yoo Jin. She was his girl and I wasn’t.
But even Ji Won couldn’t tell I wasn’t her. I couldn’t believe it. I had pulled it off, even before him.
I felt like a complete falsifier….My image was entirely a big lie…
I didn’t know things would turn out this way when I made the promise to Yoo Jin. I thought she would never leave me behind so I made the agreement with her because I didn’t think I would have to carry out the promise.
However, her dream DID come true. Death DID come and take her away from me. Leaving me all by myself. Separating us forever. Now, I felt so alone without her….SO ALONE.
[Why, unnie? Look at what happened!!!! Ji Won came back. What am I suppose to do now???? Tell me!!!!]
Tears were floating in my eyes and I tried to hold them back. But I couldn’t. I was too weak. I was never a strong person like Yoo Jin and never would be. We were born as 2 completely different souls and nothing could ever change that.
Miseries continued to well my eyes and they must have escaped because I could feel them on my cheeks. That was when Ji Won’s smiled faded away and his confounded eyes fell upon mine. He was confused and he didn’t seem to understand why I seemed upset to see him. He still had no idea what I was going through….and probably never would.
I had to admit that I missed him so much. I wanted to see him again. I wanted to hear his smooth yet masculine voice, to look into his dark yet gentle eyes, to see his light but heart warming smile.
I couldn’t ask for much because I wasn’t in the right position. I just wanted to be around him again. As long as I could peek at him from afar was more than enough.
And now, he did come back to me just like I always wanted. He did step back into my life. But I was living under someone’s shadow. Yoo Jin’s shadow. So what now?
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t break my promise to unnie. But I didn’t want to lie to Ji Won either and pretend to be someone that I wasn’t. That wouldn’t be right. That would only make me into a fraud, a deceit. I couldn’t hurt him like that. I was sure that Yoo Jin wouldn’t want to hurt him a second time either. After all, we both loved him….
I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t her. I had to do it before this situation gets any more complicated than it already was. I wanted to tell him that Yoo Jin was the one that had died, and that this girl before him was Ju Yong….Her twin. The person he didn’t and wasn’t suppose to have any feelings for……The person who was living in a world of lies…because of the promise she made to her beloved sister.
But nothing came out. My mouth was sewed shut and it refuse to part. My throat was burning and going dry….I couldn’t find my own voice anymore. I had lost it….it was no longer a part of me.
Ji Won came closer and I panicked. I could see the fondness and infatuation in his eyes. That ones that always danced in those dark forests when unnie was near him. He wanted to comfort his Yoo Jin so she wouldn’t shed anymore of her precious tears. [But I’m not her, damn it! I’m Ju Yong!!!!]
My voice never came back so my words were never spoken. He never heard what I was meant to tell him….which was EVERYTHING.
I wanted to get away but my stiff and insensible legs were mired in mud. Glued to the ground below me. An unknown magnetic field had pinned me down so I couldn’t escape.
I was horrified. My skin felt tense and uptight. I quivered like a timid child and was extremely afraid of what may come next.
Sealing my agonizing eyes, I prayed in silence. I begged for him to understand so he wouldn’t come any closer. He was stirring the part of me that I thought had already died when he left…..but now it was alive again. It was igniting, burning like the flame.
[Please, Ji Won….get away from me. I’m not the person you are looking for…and I never will be.]
But Ji Won didn’t seem to hear my silent screams. He wasn’t about to let his Yoo Jin go now. He did it once and he completely regretted it. And now, fate decided to sent her back to him, to give him another chance. He was overjoyed and ecstatic to see her again. To see the girl he adored.
The image of Yoo Jin in tears crushed his heart, so he had to comfort her….To take her sorrows away. He had to be there for her….Just like he always did in the past….
Before I could open my eyes, I felt a pair of strong arms slipping around me and I fell into someone’s embrace. Heat was then transported into my trembling body, composing me, calming me down. His arms enfolded around me and towed my entire body towards him. I felt the soft material of the cashmere sweater against my face as he buried me into his broad chest. It was a place where I had never been before…the place that I longed for. It was like a dream come true. I could hear his steady heartbeat as it pounded against mine. The sound was sweet and melodious.
His moist breath soaked into my hair…like invisible fingers as it stroked my soft strands one by one.
“It’s all right, Yoo Jin….I’m here……..”
Ji Won said to me in a tender whisper. His mesmerizing voice was solacing me, melting me away, and relieving my pain….So I didn’t have to suffer anymore…
I felt so protected here….and I was sensible again. I was no longer numb and anesthetized. He had shredded my defenses away, so I would accept him.
“I’m never letting you go again. Not this time. I’m here to stay, Yoo Jin. And you are not leaving me again.”
He brushed his compassionate lips onto my ear and moaned lightly. I felt that we were the only 2 in this world and I was the only one who could hear him. But when I heard my unnie’s name, it stung. I didn’t want him to love me as Yoo Jin. I wanted him to love me as Ju Yong.
[No…..Don’t call me Yoo Jin….Ji Won. I am NOT her………Don’t you know that?]
More tears filled my eyes and I couldn’t prevent them. I still couldn’t find myself the strength to speak. I could only sob my heart out within his arms, with his body so close to mine……
********************

Chapter 8 – Be A Heartbreaker.
Ji Won sat me free from his embrace and let me out from under his wings. He leaned in and I felt his bangs in my teary eyes when our foreheads touched.
“I can’t stay right now. But I’ll come find you later….Wait for me, ok?”
Before I could say anything, he left me. He didn’t say how he was going to find me or where to meet him. He just vanished before me like a shadow.
Paralyzed in place with a tear streaked face, I could still feel his radiance. The light that I desired for but could never get close to. [But isn’t this wrong? Or is it?] I had no idea. [What would you do if you were I, Yoo Jin? Would you let Ji Won walk back into your life again?]
I looked around me and I found the entire hallway empty. Seung Eun was missing. She probably left already.
I wondered if anyone saw Ji Won and I together. [God, I can’t go through with this. I’m too weak. How am I going to face him from now on???? Can I really play along and pretend to be someone that I wasn’t?]
I roamed around the almost empty building….drifting down the hall like a ghost. I saw a few unfamiliar faces on the way, those were the people that I didn’t know and never met. Those were the people that I didn’t have to lie to and be a fraud in front of.
I watched as they passed me with innocent smiles on their faces…..For a moment, I was tempted to go up to them and introduce myself. I wanted to tell them that I was Ju Yong….So Ju Yong and not Yoo Jin. I wanted to tell them about everything because by keeping this all inside was already killing me. Eating me away…
But I couldn’t. They would never understand. Ju Yong didn’t exist anymore. I didn’t exist anymore. When Yoo Jin died, Ju Yong had disappeared in her place so Yoo Jin could live again.
I massaged my sore eyes as I lingered like a lost person who was trying to find a way out of this place. A way out of everything.
When I turned at the corner, a male figure suddenly blocked my path like a ghostly apparition. He caught my eyes and I looked up. It was Jae Jin.
I stopped dead at my track and stared at him with puffy eyes. But I found a pair of sharp and needle-like eyes glaring at me in return. I never knew his friendly face could turn so displeasing. [Why is he looking at me like that?]
“What’s wrong, Jae Jin?”
I asked him, I wondered what made the sudden change.
He didn’t answer. He took me by the arms and before I realized it, he was dragging me out of the double glass doors near by.
As soon as the door closed behind us, he spun around and shot me another one of his malicious look. I was a little intimidated because he towered over me like a huge, angry cloud.
“I saw everything, Yoo Jin. What were you and the new guy doing back in the hall?”
I gasped. [Jae Jin saw us?]
“……………………….”
I gave him nothing except a long pause. I hated being frightened and my mind was totally blank as I stared at him.
“Who is he?”
His eyes were as hot as the midday sun when he went on with his many questions….The ones that I found hard to respond to.
My neck was starting to sting and I could hardly manage without visibly cringing.
“He was just a……..a friend of mine from awhile back.”
With my nervous eyes shifting to avoid his, I lied. It was another one of my many lies. [When will I ever tell the truth????]
“A friend?”
In suspicion, Jae Jin slid his hands into his pockets and studied my face.
“Yes, Jae Jin. A FRIEND. Why are you making a big deal out of it?”
Despite my effort to control my fear, my voice was still shaking.
“………………”
This time, he was the one who didn’t respond. His brown eyes collapsed as he stared at the ground below us like a simpleton. Then I thought I saw his lips part and it seemed like he wanted to tell me something. But he quickly sealed them up again and swallowed his words back….
“Jae Jin? What is it???? Is something wrong?”
I gathered the courage to ask him. I hoped that by listening to him talk out his worries, I was in some small measure easing his burden.
Jae Jin looked up then and my chocolate brown fell upon his. They were such deep bronze. He jerked his hands out of his pockets and captured mine in 1 quick motion. Then something came into his eyes that had me holding my breath when he told me how he felt about me.
“I like you…..”
********************
Shocked, I stood and stared. For a second, I thought I had heard him wrong. But the forlorn expression he had on his face made my heart sank and told me he did tell me those things. [He likes me? I always thought he was just a good friend of mine. Why is everything happening today?]
Startled, I backed away but made no attempt to leave. At least not yet.
“You…..do?”
I vaguely heard myself say.
Jae Jin dragged a hand over his face and back into his hair. This time, his eyes were soft as clouds and they were dancing on mine.
“Yeah, you heard me. I didn’t realize it until I saw you and the new guy together….I was jealous, damn it. Isn’t is obvious????”
[Jae Jin was….jealous? He had feelings for me?]
“I see you more as a friend, Yoo Jin. Will you…like, go out with me?”
After moments of silence, he finally asked me. His voice was soft, yet surprisingly sad at the same time.
I had never felt this vulnerable in all my days and now my mind wasn’t getting any clearer. I tried not to stiffen my body before I could find me the words I needed. Then I must have said something because all of a sudden, I heard a voice that sounded like mine.
“Jae Jin….I can’t. My heart is already set for someone else.”
God, I couldn’t believe I actually said it. I was regretting it as soon as my lips fell apart. [What the hell were you thinking, Ju Yong? Your heart is already set for someone else? WHO???? Ji Won was never yours in the beginning.]
I watched the painful look on his face. I could almost felt his deep and unbearable pain of rejection as if they were my own. Then before I could tell him I was sorry, another one of his flares filled his eyes as he looked beyond me.
“Well, Yoo Jin….You can tell your FRIEND to stop stealing glances at us by now….”
I didn’t know what he meant. As I whirled around, I found Ji Won standing at the other side of the doors. He had been watching us the entire time. He too, had a disapproving look on his charming face….It was the first one I had ever seen from him in years.
Neither of us moved. The air around us grew stuffy and muggy. Ji Won casually pushed the door open. He walked up to us and his breezy voice joined our company. But he wasn’t smiling.
“I had been looking all over for you, Yoo Jin. Come, let’s go.”
His face was straight and acute. His expression didn’t give me a guess as to what he was thinking. I couldn’t tell if he was upset or not. That was when I noticed that I still couldn’t see through the mysterious man before me….Not even through Yoo Jin’s shell. The thought saddened me.
[What are you thinking right now, Ji Won???? Why can’t I see you?]
I stared at Ji Won for what felt like an eternity, and there was such possessiveness in his stare, a look of ownership that I couldn’t understand. Jae Jin suddenly stood up next to us with a sour face and Ji Won gave Jae Jin a light nod. Without exchanges of words, Jae Jin did the same in return. But I could feel the tension building between them as Jae Jin glared at him with prickly and unfriendly eyes.
Ji Won remained placid and he gently guided me out the door. When we reached the end of the hall, his arm settled on my shoulders and he hauled me up against his side.
“Whoever that was, he is not going to come in between us.”
I felt his whisper on my cheek as he leaned closer.
I shuddered at his words, my own face turned pallid and colorless.
[Us???? We are not an ‘us’. Because I am not the real Yoo Jin.]
Slowly, I turned to face him. I looked up at his strong, darkly shadowed jaw. His eyes, those deep pools of gold were so beautiful that it hurts for me to look into them. But I had made up my mind then….to tell the truth. I couldn’t let this go on. I was afraid to see his reaction but I still had to do it for my sake and for his own. I couldn’t stay with him, it wouldn’t be right. Putting on a braveness that I didn’t really feel, I inhaled deeply to prepare myself.
“Ji Won…I….”
I didn’t know why I stopped in mid-sentence. Perhaps I was having doubts? Or it was because Ji Won was capturing my soul again with his tender gaze? Either way, I still couldn’t allow myself to be captivated this way. I told myself to go on with the truth.
“We broke up when you left. And we still are. What made you think…that we are still an ‘us’?”
In one quick motion, Ji Won loosened his grip on me. He stepped back, his eyes were wide and stunned. I could see his profile. His teeth were clenched.
“So….We are not….together anymore?”
He was speaking in a harsh, strained voice, obviously trying to keep his tone down.
A breath caught in my throat and my chest felt crammed. It wasn’t a pleasant feeling.
Indeed, his reaction wasn’t at all a surprise but it was still hard to witness it. Part of the reason why I couldn’t take him back was because I loved him too much. Had he no idea????
[….Should I go on? Should I shatter his heart for the 2nd time????]
I fell into an ominous silence. I was so confused….
********************

Chapter 9 – Finding Out The Truth.
Ji Won’s world had just ended; everything that was familiar and safe was being snatched away.
“Yoo Jin, what are you saying?
I heard him say. His sullen eyes lingered on mine.
[No. I can’t let him change my mind…….]
I exhaled deeply, feeling a great sadness…. I figured the faster I get this over with….the easier it would be for everyone.
“Listen to me, Ji Won. I just…..can’t be with you right now..”
The words came from my mouth as if from the mouth of another person. Words I hardly knew were inside me until they came pouring out.
Ji Won had a look of disbelief on his face. I could tell he was trying to remain calm but he was having a difficult time dealing with my words….
“…..Why?”
He asked me for a reason. Just like what he did to Yoo Jin when she first broke it off with him 1 year ago. This all seemed awfully familiar….Too familiar.
[Why does history have to repeat itself? Do I really have to do this again?]
“Why, Yoo Jin? You didn’t give me a reason the first time….and I think I deserve one now. Tell me…..”
Ji Won stepped closer. Frustration could be heard from him. It crushed me to hear him speak like that.
But I just couldn’t bring myself to lie to him anymore. Should I tell him now? So soon????
I studied him…..His handsome face had turned into a grave one. Was it all because of me?
I could feel my heart bruising. Shattering into small particles…..My own eyes stung with unshed tears. Dear God, give me strength. I had to tell him. Lying wasn’t right……Especially to the person you cared about.
I swallowed down my last drop of bravery and I finally found myself the courage to confront him. To tell him about EVERYTHING…
“Ji Won…..It’s be….because…….Ju Yong….I……I….”
I tried. I really tried. However, only broken syllables came out of my trembling lips instead of a complete sentence. I just couldn’t say it….I didn’t know how to. Why wasn’t my voice functioning properly? They just wouldn’t come out the way I wanted them to……
Ji Won stared at me in puzzlement. I wasn’t making any sense to him….He only heard the word Ju Yong. And that was it…
“Yoo Jin-ah….I know about Ju Yong’s death. I heard. Is that the reason?”
I gazed up at him, my eyes misted with more tears.
[Ju Yong’s death? No. That’s not what I was trying to tell him….]
He had misinterpreted my stutters. Misunderstood my broken words. His hands slipped higher and higher….until he was cupping up my face with them. His eyes softened a little….he was still seeing me as his Yoo Jin in them.
Ironically, Ji Won thought Ju Yong’s death was the true obstacle that was getting in the way between Yoo Jin and he. But that was far from the truth. Because it WASN’T the truth.
I knew he had took me the wrong way….I must clear things up with him before it was too late. [Damn it! I had to tell him that I’m Ju Yong!!!!]
“No! Ji Won. You don’t understand. Ju Yong didn’t die….Yoo Jin and I……..We……we…”
Why couldn’t I just say it? Why? What’s keeping me from revealing it all????? Was it because I didn’t want him to stop loving me? Could it be????
[Damn it! Just tell him, Ju Yong! Tell him about the promise you made to your unnie. Tell him about how the 2 of you switched roles!!!! You can’t keep lying to him!!!! You know it isn’t right!!!!]
My mind screamed at that very moment of inner struggling. Ji Won was still confused and his eyes were gentle on me.
“Yoo Jin? What’s wrong with you? This isn’t like you. You’ve changed. I don’t think I know you anymore. Am I losing you?”
[WHAT? He said I was….different? I AM DIFFERENT! Because I am NOT ‘ HER’!!!!]
I didn’t know how to go on anymore. I had lost my strength to confess….I just wanted to escape from him for now so I wouldn’t have to deal with this. I was too powerless..I must get away….
“I…I just need some time…Away. From you……..to…figure myself out.”
That was my last phrase for the day. Which was actually the truth. Because I did need some time away to think……..To figure everything out. I wanted to know if I could really let him go like this….Because he may never want to see me again after the truth was out. Or would he? But wasn’t Yoo Jin the one he loved….? And not me?
Ji Won wasn’t convinced and he didn’t say a word. He stroked my cheeks and I saw his lashes fall like light feathers. This was hard on both of us. Wasn’t it?
But what was there to do???? If I could just spat everything out….but being the frail and weak individual that I was, I just couldn’t do it. This was wounding me so severely….Damaging my spirit.
I backed away but Ji Won tilted my chin back until I was forced to look into his eyes. They suddenly felt like sharp daggers that were stabbing me. Causing me to bleed internally.
He observed my expression in detail. Trying to find out what was hidden under my veiled shell……He knew I was hiding something. He could see right though me.
“What’s there to figure out? You don’t feel affectionate towards me anymore….Is that it?”
I could see the veins expanding like snakes in his eyes. He was slightly irritated and it was making a direct contrast with his grievous he was. I could feel the atmosphere around us darkened. Draping over us ike a shadow.
[Of course I still cared about you, Ji Won. I always did….it’s just that the position that I’m in right now is in the way. I want you to love me as Ju Yong and not as Yoo Jin’s shadow. Don’t you know?]
I didn’t respond and anger rose from Ji Won’s deep throat. Like a serpent poisoning, eating away his sense. Flame arisen from his round eyes and I could feel myself burning into ashes before him.
“Why aren’t you answering me, Yoo Jin?….I see. So you really don’t care about me anymore, huh?”
He sounded bitter now. A sudden frown crossed his face. He was smothering me with his accusations, his many questions.
Ji Won kept me against him as he jerked me closer. I was about to burst into tears because his actions were just as ruthless as his eyes.
“Let go, Ji Won….Please…….”
I protested.
Ignorance was all I received from him.
“No. I told you that I’m never letting you go again….”
His voice was full of order and necessity. My breasts flattened against his chest and I found him staring longingly at my mouth. I became self-conscious then and wet my lips.
His eyebrows were knitting as he leaned lower and closer. His moist breath was already crawling its way up my face. I realized that he wanted to kiss me and I flinched. [I can’t let him to this. I can’t…..]
I turned away to avoid his lusting lips but his hand was already there waiting for me. I was trapped and I wanted to cry….
“Don’t…..please..”
I begged him to stop but he didn’t listen. He was too upset to hear anything else. He just wanted to change my mind…To change Yoo Jin’s mind with his own sensual way.
My eyes widened as he came closer….I could smell his cologne and his soft exhalation as they swung by my lashes like a smooth current. I couldn’t move….He was hypnotizing me under his control…
[If I let him kiss me….then I would be committing a sin, wouldn’t I?]
I let out a startled cry and agonizing tears tumbled down my cheeks like raindrops. I wanted to die.
When we were just about to touch….A moment of mystery and suspense, Ji Won suddenly came to a unexpected halt. He drew back and the look in his eyes turned peculiar and mystic. It was almost as if he were suddenly seeing the person before him for the first time in his life….staring at a total stranger.
That was when I heard these shocking words from him. The ones I didn’t expect to hear….They were strong enough to murder, to slaughter me.
“Liar. Who are you? You are not Yoo Jin….You can’t be.”
********************

Chapter 10
“You are not Yoo Jin….You are………..Ju Yong.”

My mouth dropped open in terror. I felt like someone had just slapped me in the face….hard.
[He knew?]
We stared at each other for a long time. Silence became an addition to the tension that was filling the atmosphere. My tears continued to fall like a stormy blizzard.
I knew this day would come. I knew it all along. He would tear my lie apart.
But I didn’t know it would be this aching…this stinging. The look of betrayal that was projected from Ji Won’s eyes….Was the look that I couldn’t endure….
Ji Won was indeed shocked at his new discovery….Which was the ENTIRE truth.
The person who represented the other side of his Yoo Jin had lied to him .
‘I’ had lied to him.
His face twisted and my heart crumbled along with it. Ji Won glowered at me and his eyes were filled with madness. I was the cause.
“I cannot believe you, Ju Yong. Why are you lying to me? You think I wouldn’t find out?”
He growled. His voice had dropped an octave. I watched him and I felt like I was falling….it was an endless fall.
“I…………I……”
I was tongue-tied and out of words. I couldn’t think of a word to say to him. I felt like a guilty criminal that was being questioned by the highest order as I stood clumsily before the arbiter, which was Ji Won.
The contagious insensibility was infecting my nucleus….making me numb. I could only grieve within. I prayed that he would be able to hear my apologies and understand my reasons. I wished that he would understand that I didn’t mean to hurt him this way.
[Why don’t you just kill me now, Ji Won? Go ahead….I won’t stop you. I had suffered enough from this inner struggling and I don’t want this to go on.]
I closed my eyes in despair as muteness lurked at us from the darkness.
“Answer me, Ju Yong….I’m waiting.”
Ji Won’s cold voice came again. It was arctic enough to turn anyone into ice. He expected an explanation from me. The one that I couldn’t find myself the strength to tell…
“What are you doing? Let her go.”
Another unfriendly voice cut in and broke the intense moment. We both turned and Jae Jin’s deranged face came into our view…..
Ji Won’s hateful eyes narrowed into 2 dark slits.
“It’s you again.”
He hissed.
The 2 exchanged dirty looks. I stood between then. Seemed like I was always caught in the middle of something. Even now…
Ji Won neglected Jae Jin’s existence and his eyes were on me again. He wanted to find out more because he knew there was more to this story.
He gazed down at me with his hazily eyes….And I glanced up with my weary ones. I felt so low and diluted. Full of shame. I had lied to him. But if he only knew the reason….[Will he understand if I tell him?]
Jae Jin came over to stand in front of me. I quickly hid behind my savior like a timid child….using him as a shield to block Ji Won’s malicious eyes away so he couldn’t attack me with them…
“Are you ok, Yoo Jin?”
Jae Jin took a side-glance at me and asked in his concerning voice. I nodded.
But I knew I wasn’t ok. How could I be? I had just wounded the person that I cared so much about. I had wounded Ji Won.
As soon as Jae Jin mentioned my false name, Ji Won’s perceptions flashed a shade of crimson red. He was evidently enraged to hear someone else referring to me as Yoo Jin. He knew I wasn’t her…
I tugged onto Jae Jin’s sleeve for a feeling of protection. I let out a weak utterance when my tears restrained my voice……censoring my skill of speech.
Yes. I was to blame for all….I was the one at fault….Guilty. Right? I wasn’t sure….I wanted to evaporate at that moment…. Diffusing into the sky. So none of this could torment me anymore….
Jae Jin tossed Ji Won another spiteful look….The glare that could kill. He was silently ordering Ji Won to retire from this scene.
But Ji Won stood as solid as a rock. A look of nausea washed over his face and he was totally disgusted at his new discovery. All this time, he thought I was his girlfriend, the person he adored….but it had turned out that I wasn’t. So where was Yoo Jin?….Where was she????
Was she…..Dead?
Circumstances were starting to connect….to link together. Forming a complete picture before him…filling in this unsolvable puzzle.
It was all so clear to him now….As to who was the one lying in the cold soil below…It was the person who he wanted to see but could never see again. His Yoo Jin was the one that had died. Gone for an eternity. It was a fact that he had just learned but could not accept. He would rather deny it….and pretend this was all a horrible nightmare. A nightmare that he wanted to wake up from but couldn’t…
I saw him fell back a little, almost falling. His hands clutched into firm fists as the veins popped up from his skin surface. Rage was poisoning him from within. Sense of betrayal was contaminating his brain.
Ji Won bit himself on the lip so hard that I thought I saw blood slipping through his teeth. He looked plagued….he seemed ill. Tears filled his bewildered eyes as they shimmered before me like novas. Diffusing light that I couldn’t look into.
It was so disturbing to see that. I knew he was about to cry. But he batted his damp lashes and held them back with great effort. He was unwilling to let them fall so quickly.
“No…….Yoo Jin isn’t dead. She….She is NOT dead…”
His traumatizing voice was so heartbreaking…I felt like a glass that was shattered with a hammer. I couldn’t stand seeing him like this….It was too painful and frightening…..
Ji Won seemed so feeble. He turned from an adolescence to a fainthearted child. The child that I wanted to take into my arms and embrace….so I could serene and compose him.
My miseries and regrets had grown larger…Expanding like a deadly disease. Eating away my facial traits….attacking my liable self.
I wanted tell him how sorry I was. About how terrible I felt inside….I wanted to beg for forgiveness that I probably wouldn’t receive. But my lips were still glued together and wouldn’t unzip. No matter how hard I tried to part them….they were shut tight.
Ji Won suddenly seemed so far away….He was out of my reach….The distance between us was infinite….This invisible scar had wounded us both.
I wanted to go to him so badly…..To shorten the gap that had torn the road before us apart. I knew he would push me away but deep in my heart, I still loved him so….
[Do you have any idea how much pain this is inflicting onto us both, Ji Won? Don’t you know that you are not the only one who is suffering?]
Before I realized it, my legs had started to move by themselves and took me closer to him. They were already taking action without my permission. I felt like a puppet that was being controlled by the puppet master. Which was my inner soul.
But Jae Jin’s arms slipped around me and prevented me from going further. Ji Won was the one who made me cry and he didn’t want to see anymore of it.
Ji Won glared at us with his flaming eyes. He didn’t want to have anything else to do with me.
“Get out of my face, you fraud. I don’t want to see you again….EVER.”
He roared, his voice was hostile and vicious.
I froze and stopped breathing. Ji Won wasn’t screaming or yelling, but those sharp and hateful words had hurt me just the same. Was there no other way to end this?
Before I could find myself the time to react, Ji Won had already ran away from us. For the second time in my life, he was disappearing out of my view.
“Ji Won! Wait!!!!…..I….I can explain!!!!”
I cried out to his fading figure. But instead, he ran even faster…He vanished from the hallway like a storm.
“Ji Won….please…come back………”
I got down on my knees and wept. My sadness flowed like an endless hurricane….
Jae Jin knelt down next to me and gathered me into his arms. He didn’t understand my behavior. Although he had witnessed the entire emotional display between Ji Won and I, he still had no idea what was going on.
He only gave me his shoulders and let me cry against them.
********************

Chapter 11
My mind was restless….I had no idea how long I cried. It felt like forever….and perhaps that’s how long it was….
Slowly, Jae Jin held me at an arm’s length with a look of tortured confusion. For a moment, he looked completely disoriented. He knew I wasn’t telling him the truth about Ji Won.
“He isn’t just a FRIEND, is he ?”
I heard him say the words as if they pained him.
I looked up but didn’t answer him.
“He said she isn’t dead. Who isn’t dead, Yoo Jin? What was he talking about?”
He pressed on with a patience that I found maddeningly condescending.
With my face still teary, I stared at him. The look in Jae Jin’s eyes bordered on desperation. But it was there for only a moment, gone so quickly that I doubted whether it had ever been there at all. Now, they were filled with such gentleness that I felt something melt inside me….defeating me.
I inhaled a deep breath, sucking the air in and transformed it into another form of strength. That was it. I couldn’t keep it all inside anymore….I had to tell someone before I explode. I needed to let it out. I had to tell him my story. The tale that was about to be told for the first time in my life…..
“Ji Won….he was talking about my sister that had died.” I said uncertainly. How else could I put it?
Jae Jin looked puzzled. His eyes elevated a little but they were still glued to mine.
“Your sister is Ju Yong, right?”
I shook my head. He was wrong….Everyone was wrong.
“No, Jae Jin. Yoo Jin was the one that had died in that horrible accident…….She was the one that was killed by my mother. The person you see before you, which is I……Am Ju Yong. Yoo Jin’s twin.”
I heard Jae Jin let out a gasp and he seemed overwhelmed by the truth.
“What? You are Ju Yong???? Wait a minute, I thought you are Yoo Jin. I don’t understand this. What are you saying????”
He sounded incredulous. Who wouldn’t be?
After I explained the promise between Yoo Jin and I to him, it was silence for a few seconds. Then he began to speak, but it was as if the emotion were strangling him.
“…..So what does Ji Won got to do with this?”
He asked me. The plot was thickening and he was trying to sort out the tangled strands.
I felt lost, vulnerable, sad, and alone when I heard Ji Won’s name. I could feel tears coming into attack again like a powerful enemy.
“Ji Won…” I said, feeling a mixture of awe and hollowness inside, “he was Yoo Jin’s boyfriend.”
********************
I needed to be unruffled. I needed to have someone forgive me, tell me that it wasn’t my fault. I wanted to hear Jae Jin say, you are not the one to blame. I needed to be understood…my voice needed to be heard.
But he didn’t say a word. Not one word.
My whole body shook as if it were going to come apart. I felt the tears rolling down my cheeks and didn’t bother to stop them. Jae Jin reached out and tried to wipe them away with his finger, as if by doing so he could somehow erase the hurt. But nothing would ease my sorrows because the pain had already punctured deeply into my heart.
“Jae Jin, I feel so guilty for lying….But I made a promise to my unni. She was the most important person in this world to me…Do you understand?”
I cried. I was almost desperate at this point to hear him say something….anything. But still, he didn’t.
I felt ashamed. Why wouldn’t I be? I had been a fraud just like Ji Won said that I was. Wasn’t I? Even Jae Jin couldn’t understand my reasons, so who else would?
I hid my face in my palms and squeezed my eyes closed. Before I realized it, I had already made myself invisible.
********************
For the next few weeks, Ji Won had kept his word. Although we both attended the same school, it didn’t necessary mean that we had to be acquainted with one another.
On all encounters, he acted like he didn’t even know me and that I was only a total stranger. I was still the same Ju Yong that never existed in his eyes.
Everyday I staggered through the maze of halls, desperately searching for a way out. I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere and today it was no different.
I was putting some stuff into my locker and I saw Ji Won heading my way again. My eyes followed him instantly but he didn’t even look at me.
My heart sank whenever that happened. I should get used to it by now but I don’t think I ever would. The pain still hurts the same. [Is that how it’s going to be from now on????]
As usual, Ji Won was surrounded by a group of people. His popularity had grown and girls constantly followed him around. He was smiling down upon Rina, a pretty girl that most guys were dying to go out with.
There was laughter and along the hallway, squeals and shouts of mock outrage. But I didn’t hear them. All I could hear was my own heart breaking apart.
I kept watching them with sad eyes. Every move he made, every laugh he gave. I couldn’t hear what they are saying to each other but Ji Won looked like he was having a good time. Rina too, looked more beautiful than ever as she gazed up at him with a sweet face. Tears burned around the rims of my eyes and I grimaced to keep them back. All of a sudden, my face felt hot and red.
I don’t know how to describe the feeling but it was almost as if a rattlesnake had just bitten me and made me bleed. The poison was spreading throughout my system and there was no way of stopping it. I found myself glaring at them with my hateful eyes, while fury rose from within like fire.
In front of me people floated in and out and I saw the look of alarm on their faces. I must have looked as sick as I felt. I wanted to break Rina and Ji Won apart. I wanted to have him smile for me, and not for her…….That was when I realized that I…..
I was jealous.
“Eh! Yoo Jin!!!! What’s up????”
Seung Eun suddenly appeared beside me again. Damn, I had lost myself for the countless time.
I turned to face her and I found myself feeling relieved that Ji Won was out of my view. But then again, I was beginning to miss him already. That sent me back to square one.
[What the hell is wrong with you? He hates you and that is how it’s going to be….Get over it, Ju Yong.] I told myself….. [He can talk to any girls he wanted to. I have no right to get upset.]
I smiled ostentatiously at Seung Eun but I felt bitter inside. Sometimes I think I’m getting better and better at being pretentious…I felt more like a sinner. [When can I really be myself???? Never????]
Seung Eun knew I was watching Ji Won the entire time. She crossed her arms and gave me a squarely look.
“Man, I just don’t get you. I thought you and Ji Won knew each other. How come you 2 never talked again???? You 2 act like total strangers or something.”
My eyes withered….2 total strangers. Yes, and it was going to remain that way.
“….Please, let’s talk about something else, ok?”
I said quietly, feeling an intense anger rising inside me. I really didn’t feel like talking about him anymore….I knew if we didn’t drop this topic, I was going to lose it.
Seung Eun frowned and I felt her hand on my shoulder. It was warm….almost as warm as Ji Won’s.
“Sorry to get you upset. I didn’t mean to….”
My glassy eyes shifted and they fell upon her young and fresh face that showed concern. I began to wonder: Would she understand if I tell her about how my life had gone all wrong?
She went on and asked me about my plans for the 4 day holiday that was coming up the following week.
“I’m so looking forward to it. We get to relax for once, thank heavens.”
She said with kind eyes.
I sighed. Yes, time to relax. Seung Eun’s right. I needed some time ‘off’ to be myself.
I was planning to go visit Yoo Jin’s grave during those 4 days. I hadn’t seen her for so long and I missed my unni. I had so much to tell her….So much. She was the only person who could understand me.
“I’m going back home to visit someone.”
I told her, carefully not revealing who that ‘someone’ was.
My visions swam back to where Ji Won was standing again. He was still there with the same group of people. I watched him from afar, while burned inside with strong resentment.
When he began to notice my eyes roaming on him, he looked up and took a brief glimpse at me. That was when the pleasant smile disappeared from him very quickly. On his handsome face, I saw a scowl that could set a fire blazing.
I was convinced then that he hated me. His expression said no other.
Instantly, I turned away and shut my locker. As it slammed closed, so did my heart.
********************
Chapter 12
I couldn’t sleep that night. Too many thoughts were collided together in my brain and they were giving me a throbbing headache. The guilt was too overwhelming and I couldn’t stand it anymore.
I wanted to tell Ji Won my reasons for lying. I think I at least deserved to be heard. I couldn’t let him hate me without knowing the real reason behind this, could I? He wasn’t being fair. Things weren’t supposed to be like this.
Yes. Maybe if I tell him about the promise I made with Yoo Jin, then he would forgive me….This was my last chance. I had to find a way. I had to explain myself to him. He didn’t have to believe me, but I needed to be heard. Otherwise, I couldn’t live with myself.
********************
I called the travel agency the next day and purchased 2 plane tickets to LA for March 4th. One for Ji Won and one for myself.
I wanted to tell Ji Won about my trip so he could have a chance to see Yoo Jin. It was my own way of making things up with him. I was sure he missed her just as much as I did. Right? Wouldn’t Yoo Jin want to see him too?
But he didn’t want to have anything else to do with me. So how am I going to get across this tough obstacle????
Still not sure about how I was going to tell him, I slept with that thought in mind.
I had to tell him about everything, including my visit to Yoo Jin’s grave. Then the rest all depends on him.
Whether he wanted to believe me about the promise I couldn’t break….Whether he wanted to come and see Yoo Jin with me or not…was his choice and not mine.
********************
I went to school the following day and I handed Seung Eun a thick envelope. I told her to give it to Ji Won for me as a favor.
She stared at the envelope and gave me a strange look.
“You want me to give this to him? Will he even open it and see what’s inside????”
I shook my head. Honestly, I was wondering the same thing she was. Would he even look at it? I wasn’t sure myself.
“Well, it’s going to be a chance I have to take….”
I told her.
********************
Chapter 13 – The Trip to Nowhere.
Ji Won took out his books when he got into the library and the package Seung Eun gave him accidentally fell out. It landed onto the ground and caught his eyes again. Screaming for his attention.
He picked it up and placed it on the table. On the outside, it said: To Ji Won. Written in Ju Yong’s handwriting. God, even their handwritings were similar….
Ji Won twirled the pen in his fingers as he browsed over the package. The flat envelope itself was thick but it didn’t look like it had anything inside besides maybe a few sheets of paper. Letters maybe?
He touched the object with his fingertips and he could feel the roughness of it when he came across its surface.
This was all very simple, right? Because all he had to do was to unseal it. Then he would find out what it contained…..But the only thing was, should he open it? Or just ignore it????
He drew his hands back and hesitated because he wasn’t sure if he should. Maybe he should hear Ju Yong out….maybe she had a reasonable explanation. So many maybes….So many possibilities.
However, something was still there in the way….A voice inside him told him that she didn’t deserve a 2nd chance.
********************
Seung Eun called to inform me about her success. I was relieved to hear the good news.
But I wondered if Ji Won would even bother to look at it. Maybe he had thrown it away already? I prayed to God that he wouldn’t….because I wanted for him to hear me out so I could beg for his pardon and forgiveness. It was something that I desperately needed…..
********************
I walked back into my room and saw the pile of papers piled up inside my trashcan. They were all from last night….
I wrote Ji Won an apology letter yesterday and it took me forever. I kept throwing my letters away, thinking that it wasn’t good enough. Either that, or I had accidentally let my tears fall and had it stained the piece of white paper….leaving my tear mark there. I didn’t want him to see that….
I still remember what I wrote to him….I told him about everything. And about seeing Yoo Jin again.
********************
Ji Won, it’s me….Ju Yong. You don’t have to believe the things that I am about to tell you, but I still have to try. I know you probably hate me right now….But I still had to explain myself to you. You didn’t give me a chance to say what I had to say and this is the only way for you to hear me out. Please understand that I didn’t mean to lie….
Before Yoo Jin died, she made me promise her that I would carry her name once she leaves me behind because she knew death was on its way…..coming after her with sharp claws. I loved my unni too much to part from her, so I agreed. That way, the 2 of us will always be together no matter what.
Then death came. I was traumatized when I saw dead body. Her prediction did come true. She did DIE. She did LEAVE me behind. Don’t you see, Ji Won? So I became Yoo Jin after that. I was living under her shadow. I was no longer Ju Yong, myself….That way, my unni’s soul will be forever with me………
Then you came along, I was extremely shocked to see you. Couldn’t you tell how stunned I was when you appeared????
Believe me, I tried to tell you the truth so many times. I tried to tell you that I wasn’t Yoo Jin. I had a lot of inner struggling….It was so hard for me to be in a situation like this. Did you even know that? You were not the only one who suffered….I did too.
But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it….I was such a coward and I’m sorry for that. I didn’t mean to lie to you or to anyone else. It’s just that I couldn’t break the promise.
I was heart broken when you told me you never wanted to see me again. I knew it was my fault all along and that I had hurt you so severely. I could have prevented this by telling you the truth from the start, instead of waiting for you to find out on your own….which you did. Still, I’m so sorry for everything, Ji Won. I really am….Please…..please don’t hate me.
I’m sure you know by now that Yoo Jin was the one that had died and not I. And I know how much you love her….That’s why I had attached along with this letter a plane ticket……..for you to see her again.
I was planning to go see my unni on March 4th and I thought you might want to go see her too. You miss her, don’t you? I know I do. So please consider, I’m sure she wants to see you too….Come with me. Please, for Yoo Jin’s sake. I promise you, after that….I’ll never bother you again. I’ll be completely out of your life. I just wanted to give you guys a chance to see each other again…..is it too much to ask? Do you understand where I am coming from, and how I feel about this entire ordeal? I hope so….I really do.
Lastly, please accept my apology. You don’t know how I live my days thinking that you hated me. God, this is so hard for me to say….This letter is the hardest thing I have to write.
I guess I’ll end it right here then. I can’t think of anything else to tell you.
Sincerely yours,
So Ju Yong.
********************
I think I was doing the right thing. For his sake and Yoo Jin’s……..Right?
********************
[The following day….]
Nothing had changed between us. Ji Won still ignored me as usual….Was he still angry with me for what I had done???? Am I not forgiven????
3 more days then it’s March 4th. Soon, I would get to see my unni who I missed terribly. But at the same time, it also seemed like the end of the world to me……..A time bomb that would explode in my face on that destined date. Why? Because I was almost convinced that Ji Won didn’t read the letter.
It was either that, or he didn’t consider my words as true. He still had that bitter look on his face whenever I was near….He was still holding ‘it’ against me.
Why???? I was telling him what really happened. The entire truth! Why wouldn’t he believe me? What do I have to do to make him understand???? Do I have to dig my heart out and show it to him????
********************
[March 3rd, 1999]
Tomorrow is the day. I couldn’t believe how fast this week had went by….
I paced back and forth inside my room like a crazed person. No matter how hard I tried to calm myself, I couldn’t.
Would Ji Won come tomorrow???? I wasn’t sure. Maybe he would, maybe he wouldn’t.
I had no idea what to think right now. God, this was killing me.
********************
I had insomnia that night again. No matter how tired and exhausted I was, I just couldn’t sleep. I even took some sleeping pills but they didn’t work.
I laid in my bed and stared at the ceiling above me….The boring plane. It was pure yet simple. Why couldn’t my life be like that?
[Ji Won….He isn’t going to come tomorrow, is he?]
I was such a fool….I thought everything would be okay again. Who was I kidding???? Myself????
[You are so naïve, Ju Yong. You had already sinned, don’t you know????]
I turned and buried my face into the pillow, my tears stained it for the remaining night. They soaked through the white pillow case and saturated into my broken being.
I couldn’t help myself. I just felt like crying.
********************
[March 4th….Airport]
I sat by the terminal alone, waiting for them to open the double doors so I could board my flight to LA
10 more minutes.
My nervous eyes searched for Ji Won’s image throughout the crowds that gathered around me….waiting for him to show up. I did a double-take at all the guys that carried slight resemblance with Ji Won….But in the end, none of them turned out to be him.
[Please come, tell me you would come……]
Still, there was no sight of him anywhere. I sank into my chair and slowly shut my eyes. I had so little hope left. God, I felt like crying again….It was a distasteful and sour feeling.
I couldn’t believe that I actually thought this could work. It was no doubt in my mind that I had failed miserably.
I heard the announcements from the speakers above me and it was telling us it was time to board the flight. I reluctantly unsealed my optics and picked up my carry-on luggage.
I headed towards the gate and gave the flight attendant my ticket. She browsed over it, torn the stub away and handed it back to me. It was time to board the plane.
I turned around for the last time before moving on, just to see if Ji Won would show up at the last minute. I still had that much hope left……..As pathetic as it may seem.
That was when I saw a guy with a black trench coat on heading my way from afar. Like a shadow, he came sauntering down the hallway in a calm and uninterrupted matter, the sunray shined onto his figure from the window…. He was dark and handsome, his face was smooth and oddly sensuous, the features elongated, black eyes hidden behind his sunglasses.
I could hear my heart beat skipping at an uneven speed as he got closer.
[Ji Won, is that you????]
I think it was because I wanted to see him so badly, so I was hallucinating….Yeah, that must be it. That couldn’t possibly be him….
I gently rubbed my sore eyes to make sure….And when I removed my hands, the guy was already standing in front of me. He slowly took off his disguise and puts it into his pocket. Slowly, I looked up. A glimpse was I needed to see.
It WAS him…..IT WAS HIM. He came after all.
Ji Won didn’t say a word to me and his face was expressionless. His incisive eyes were so dark and cloudy, I couldn’t see through them.
I was still an oblivion to him, wasn’t I? Which meant that I was nothing. I was someone he had already forgotten…or perhaps didn’t want to have anymore contact with.
We walked down the narrow path together….My arm almost touched his. My inside was aching at the irony of it all because this seemed so absurd. I almost wanted to laugh about it but my eyes were teary.
We were still 2 individuals that were isolated. On 2 separate roads that would never cross. The infinite distance was formed between us…..tearing me away from him. [Is this really how it’s going to be?]
As usual, Ji Won didn’t even look at me…..It was the same thing all over again. My apologies didn’t bring up any changes….He still hated me.
My bitter lips trembled and I could feel the miseries and woes reaching out to for me. I opened my arms and welcomed them because they were the only existences that I was familiar with. Darkness took over my guiding light….and I was forever lost.
Ji Won and I were so close to each other right now….yet we were also so far apart. I knew at the very moment that…..
It was really over between us.
********************

Chapter 14 – Forgiveness.
The plane continued to climb into a higher altitude and I could see the clouds zooming right on by like cotton candies. Little angel puffs…
I leaned against the window and I saw Yoo Jin staring back at me…my own reflection strangely disappeared.
[Yoo Jin, I’m bringing Ji Won to you…. Please wait for me…. ]
I pressed my right palm onto the smooth surface and traced the outline of her image with my fingers. Unni did the same thing as she followed my movement from the other side, not daring to skip out on her own.
I knew that I was invisible. I had always been unseen. I’m not in the mirror some mornings, and sometimes I failed to appear until sunrise….
Had my life been a dream? I asked Yoo Jin. Do I dream with my eyes open? There was a gloomy face in the window now. It was almost identical as mine I think….
From the reflection, I could see Ji Won’s pair of scarred eyes watching. It was the same wooden and vacant look. Painfully, I let my lashes fall and so I would see nothing. I wanted to relieve these long and bizarre hours that lay ahead.
Go to sleep, Ju Yong…. It was the only thing to do to kill this intense period of time. I couldn’t stand the stillness between us. I rather not deal with it….
I didn’t get much rest these past few days and it was finally starting to get to me. My body couldn’t handle all the exhaustion…….Before I knew it, I was somewhere far away. The only place where there was no such thing as a ‘shadow’….and that I could truly be my innocent self.
********************
When I woke up from my lingering trance, I realized that I had fallen asleep with my head resting on Ji Won’s shoulder. Why didn’t he say something?
Embarrassed, I immediately flinched and pulled myself away from him.
“I’m sorry, I…..I didn’t know.” I said to him while I avoided his hazel gaze.
Ji Won glimpsed at me briefly, still showing no signs of emotions. When he does look, it was only towards me and not at me.
Had Yoo Jin gone, come back, remain still, then it would all be over. Then none of this would have happened. But destiny had to take her away….and leave me in a situation like this……..
Didn’t he know what he was doing to me? By being a total mystery? At least give me a sign….A frown, a glare, a smile….anything! So I know what he was thinking!!!! But no….he gave me nothing except oblivion.
I began to wonder which was more deafening, the silence he gave me or the mysterious air itself. Frustrated at his absent presence, I thrust my focus back towards the window again and closed my aching eyes. But this time, I was wide-awake….
********************
We arrived at the hotel and checked in. 2 separate rooms of course. It was already pretty late by the time we got there so I told him we could go in the afternoon. He nodded and went to his room. I was beginning to forget what he sounded like since he hadn’t said a word to me during the trip. Sighing deeply, I entered my own room and shut the door behind me. Surprisingly, it was 3:00AM already.
I plopped down onto the bed. I could hear the sounds of the footsteps coming and going outside the door. Some seemed certain, others more hesitant. Some were hurried, while others made slow progress, a way of savoring the moment.
Which ones were Ji Won’s? Or none of them were his at all????
I tilted my face to the side and saw the telephone screaming for my attention. The empty surroundings felt too lonely at this point so I grabbed the receiver and brought it close to my ear. Using my finger, I dialed mother’s number.
The phone rang 5 times before she picked up.
“Hello?”
“Mom, it’s me….” I missed hearing her voice.
“Ju Yong, dear. Haven’t speak to you in a long time……..How is everything?”
I found myself stammering as soon as she asked me that question….The common question, which I found hard to answer.
“Mom……I…”
I came to an involuntary pause. I wanted to tell her that everything was going so wrong for me. Terrible….Because they really were. But how do I start? She didn’t even know about the promise I made with Yoo Jin.
I swallowed the words back into my mouth again instead of letting them out.
“Nothing, mom. Everything is fine….I’m in LA now, visiting unni’s grave.”
“………………”
Nothing came out from the other side as soon as I mentioned Yoo Jin. I had accidentally uncovered my mother’s eternal scar again. I heard a small stirring sound….The woman was perhaps in tears…….
There was a long hesitation pause before she spoke again. Her voice was shaky, almost bringing tears into my own eyes.
“Ju Yong, be careful…okay?”
“Sure. I…..I will……”
Having nothing else to say, I hung up the phone. Silence came to join me again and my shadow danced crazily around the room. I glanced down at my watch, 3:20AM.
Feeling even more miserable than before, I grabbed my coat and headed out the door, into the cold winter morning. I drifted hastily out the lobby in my dark coat. Yoo Jin was still waiting for me out there. I couldn’t wait….I wanted to go see her now.
********************
As the taxi driver drove, I stared out the window. Outside, the grave streets waited, mist hovering, the soft breath of the wind twirled….
The road climbed towards the near, somber gray clouds. We were on the road to darkness. Not the sadly familiar dark of night, but in the special way that light itself can be pressed out of life. My life….
At the destination, I gazed up solemnly and watched the stars, which had now become very bright in the wide, ebony expanse of sky.
I wasn’t alone….there were others here mourning over their beloved ones. I studied the faces of those grieving. Some were wiping away tears, others seemed to be making a supreme effort to retain composure. I think that all of them, down deep,….wanted to cry out in desperation against whatever unfairness had brought upon them. But by doing so, perhaps things would only worsen. All they could do was hope. Because without that, without keeping on, they had nothing. Just like how I had nothing.
I knelt down before Yoo Jin’s tombstone. I began to speak….hoping that she would be able to hear me.
“Unni….Do you have any idea what I had been going through????”
I cried and let everything out….I told her about my encounter with Ji Won and about how he hated me for lying to him. I told her about my miseries and woes….since she was the only one who would understand.
I found myself in tears as they soaked through the dry soil below….Life felt so cold and I felt to blame. Toxin had crawled in like a worm and rotten my skin. That was the misery I was going to have to face.
The cold wind hissed through the distance….The moonlight was harsh and made all it touched seemed brittle.
I hid my face within my palms and wept freely like a child. Letting my agonies shed…washing my sorrows away…
********************
I had no idea how long I was there….but I didn’t want to leave my unni. I wanted to stay with her for a little bit longer. Just a little bit longer….
The sky remained dark for awhile, until a hit of Eastern light painted the edges and the sun’s red rim peered above the clouds. Eliminating the darkness.
Morning was arriving. Taking over the loneliest time of day…My loneliest hours.
My legs were feeling numb now and I wiped my tears away. I looked around and found myself alone again at this resting-place. I was the only one left….Even those that mourned had decided to leave me.
“Unni….Why aren’t you answering me? Did you not hear my cries?”
I asked her again in my straining voice….expecting an answer……
Suddenly, I felt a strong hand on my tensed shoulder. It clutched, the long fingers clasped onto my flesh. I yelped and jerked up my teary face. Stunned, I found Ji Won’s pair of brown eyes glancing down at me…
[Had he been there listening to what I was saying to Yoo Jin?]
Astonished to see him, I abruptly towed myself up from the ground below…I was startled at his sudden appearance….But my weak legs wouldn’t respond and Ji Won caught me in his arms to avoid the fall.
“Are you alright?”
He asked me. His voice was sincere in a way….
I broke myself free from his grasp and looked away.
“Yes, I’m…..fine..”
But was I really fine though? I wasn’t sure….
Ji Won shifted his sad eyes to Yoo Jin’s tombstone.
“So this where Yoo Jin rests….”
He sounded extremely sad when he said those words.
“…………………..”
Without replying, I nodded.
He knelt down next to me and laid a dozen of carnations before her. The petals fluttered lightly in the wind….and some of them were torn off the sepals and went soaring into sky.
I should leave the 2 of them alone, I decided. I attempted to get up again because I knew didn’t belong in this picture….
But Ji Won didn’t want me to leave. He seized me by shoulders and pulled me down next to him, softening my fall by bracing his arms around my waist. His hold was like iron, and I could barely move at all.
“You don’t have to leave, Ju Yong. Do you even know the reason why I came here with you in the first place?”
He whispered to me….his warm breath swung past my damp cheeks, drying my tears……..
[The reason? Because he wanted to see his Yoo Jin, right? What else could it be? Wasn’t it over between us? ]
Ji Won saw how confused I was and his face softened even more. His eyes were now sympathetic and full of compassion. The sunray continued to break through the clouds above us, lightening up the death earth…..Our shadows overlapped one another’s…..
He moved closer as he brushed a lock of my hair back over my shoulder. The tender action sent a shiver down my arms. [Why is he treating me with such gentleness now?]
Before I could react to his sudden change, Ji Won lifted me into his arms and he dropped his chin to rest on top of my head. That was when I heard him whispered something that brought tears into both of our eyes.
“Because I had already forgiven you…….”
********************

Chapter 15 – Breaking the Promise.
My face paled slightly and I glanced up at him. [He had already forgiven me? Could it be true????]
Ji Won looked deep into my eyes as he spoke. His voice warm and comforting….
“Ju Yong, I forgive you….I understand your reasons. But….you don’t have to be Yoo Jin to keep her by your side.”
Ji Won took my hand and pressed it onto his heart. I could feel it pounding under my palm….The steady beat.
“Don’t you see? You can still be yourself and keep Yoo Jin in here.”
He squeezed my hand tightly and clasped onto my fingers…….forming a firm and warm grasp.
“Keep your unni within your heart, Ju Yong. That’s what I’m going to do from now on. She will live in our hearts forever and ever. Never be forgotten….”
My face screwed up in an expression that clearly reflected the fear that threatened to overwhelm me. I was uncertain of what I just heard…
[I don’t have to be Yoo Jin anymore? As long as I store her in my heart, my unni will never be forgotten?]
Instantly, my eyes brimmed with more tears. New and old ones.
“Ji Won…….I know what you are trying to say. But what about the promise I made with Yoo Jin? I can’t break it, can I?”
My question silenced Ji Won for a long time.
Yes, the promise was still there in the way. I was still Yoo Jin shadow….A dark figure that appears below her feet when the Sun came. Sadly, Ji Won shifted his drab gaze back to Yoo Jin’s tombstone again.
[My life was still clouded over. When can I start living my life as myself? Must I remain a deceit?]
Feeling heart broken with everything that had gone wrong in my life, I did my best to be strong and not cry, but failed as more tears welled up in my eyes. Tragically, I clamped them shut, unwilling to let Ji Won witness my inner struggling.
Ji Won sensed my severe agony, he torn his eyes away from the gray stone and shifted them back to me. At that moment, I felt a light and gentle squeeze on my hand that was still pressed against his heart.
“Ju Yong….I’m sorry for everything. Is there anything I can do?”
He asked me, a sincere and gentle look was on his face…….
I looked up at him and saw those brown and mellow eyes. They burned deeply into mine as if he wanted to soothe me, to heal my pain. I wanted to throw myself into his arms at that moment and hide from the rest of the world. Only within his embrace, was the only safe place to be. But I couldn’t. I knew he only loved Yoo Jin. He only loved the person who I tried to be but couldn’t. Had he no idea how I feel about him?
Saddened at the thought, I lost control of my tears. They began to cascade onto my cheeks.
Ji Won brushed my tears away but I cringed and shrunk back. I didn’t want him to touch me. Every movement he made, every contact we had…was drawing me closer to him. I couldn’t let that happen…
Like 2 lost souls that were trying to find their way to sereneness, a gust of wind immediately attacked us at that moment and a trail of gray smoke followed through. It appeared and interrupted our moment.
Slowly, a blurry image suddenly began to form from the thick haze. An outline….a figure of a young girl floating in the thin air could soon be seen before us. Her now gradually visible presence appeared to be transparent and I could see right through her body….[What is going on?]
********************
Fascinated and frightened at the same time, I squinted my eyes to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Her blurry face was being threaded at this moment. Being sketched out and defined……My eyes grew wider and wider at the clarity of her. My mouth dropped at the unusual phenomena.
It was Yoo Jin. IT WAS MY UNNI!!!!
At the moment in which my eyes took in the scene seemed to stretch on forever as a series of snapshots were etched into my memory….The scene of her lying on the cold cement road with blood everywhere—her clothes were covered with it. Her white dress was no longer its pure color but a dark, and muddy maroon. The display of my unni being dead was laid out before me. In slow motion.
********************
Confused, Ji Won glanced from one face to the other, searching for differences between the ghost figure and I. There seemed to be none. We both had the same black and straight hair….The same dark brown eyes…and the same oval shaped face. The spirit was a carbon copy of me. It had to be Yoo Jin.
The look of puzzlement came into my eyes, the dazed expression appeared on my pale face. For a long moment, Ji Won and I stared at each other in horror…the sunlight glowed brightly through Yoo Jin’s ghostly form.
Trembled in fear, I slowly spoke as my voice quavered…….speaking to the spirit that came from the other side. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy…and that this was all true.
“Unni? Is that really you????”
Feebly, I crawled forward and reached out to her, uttering in tears. But instead, my hands went right through her body….All I touched was pure air and nothing else.
Startled at the frightening sight, Ji Won grabbed a hold of me and I fell back into his arms. A vague queasiness filled our minds. He couldn’t believe what was happening either and we were both stunned at the scene.
The peaceful and placid girl gazed down at us. Her facial expression barely showed any sort of emotions. She unsealed her colorless lips and her small voice vibrated before me……It echoed across the distance and made large ripples onto the grass near by.
“Yes, it’s me. I’m sorry for everything, Ju Yong. I had made you suffer. I shouldn’t have asked you to keep the promise. That’s why I came……To set you free from my shadow. So you can be yourself again. I will no longer be your burden….”
We both gasped. It was really Yoo Jin’s spirit. But it couldn’t have been……Yoo Jin is dead. She’s DEAD!!!!
Like an appalled girl, tears splashed all over my face and scattered aimlessly…Ji Won’s towed me closer into his embrace and held me tightly. Protecting me from this ghostly apparition that seemed so illusive and fictitious.
“Are you saying you are breaking the promise?”
Ji Won’s eyes narrowed into tiny slits and he found himself the courage to speak to the person he once loved. The imaginary specter of his Yoo Jin….
Softly, Yoo Jin nodded and her crystalline eyes lingered on Ji Won’s for a brief moment……..
Her last word rang in my ears….forever planted into my mind. She’s setting me free? Letting me out of her shadow?
Sad, yet overjoyed at the same time…tears began to spread again.
“Unni…”
My indistinctly low tones were almost inaudible. It choked off, then died within my throat.
Yoo Jin gave me a subtle smile. A sign telling me that she was glad everything will be all right.
Then the merciless wind came again and send her hair strands flying into the mists. Her form began to ripple like the sea waves. It was time for her to go.
Throwing her head back as her hair fell upon her shoulders, Yoo Jin closed her eyes with her arms spread out to the enigmatic atmosphere above. Her image began to distort before us….Fading away. [Is she leaving?]
“Wait, where are you going???? Do you have any idea how much I missed you all this time???? You can’t leave yet….I have so much I want to tell you!”
Ji Won panicked and he cried out to her. He finally found her yet she had to leave him. He wouldn’t allow it.
Yoo Jin gazed longingly at him and shook her head. It was impossible for her to stay. After all, she was no longer a part of this world. She didn’t exist anymore…..
“I’m sorry. I can’t stay….You must go on without me, Ji Won. Find someone else who will always be there for you. Let her love you…….”
She gave us a faintly smile. A mild yet powerful one. While a look of sadness began to flow out of her eyes like a river stream…..
“I know what you 2 had been going through… All this time, I was watching over you…But I must be going now. ‘They’ are waiting for me to go join ‘them’. Take care of yourselves, Ju Yong and Ji Won. I wish you 2 the best….I’ll always miss you.”
With that as her last words, she closed her eyes and diffused into the mists. She had disappeared. All that was left of her became nothing. Her presence vanished before our very eyes….
********************
Chapter 16
The almost formless, barely visible apparition disappeared….Yoo Jin was gone.
The wind picked up and appeared in the fabric of the mist. The fog seemed to be thickening
like the cold breath of the living dead.
Ji Won’s arms wrapped protectively around my shoulders and I pressed close to him. As my body trembled against his, he brought his lips toward my ear and whispered…
“Everything is going to be okay, Ju Yong….Remember what Yoo Jin said to you? You don’t have to live your life as someone else anymore.”
His voice lingered around me. Along with his soothing presence. Choking back the sob that formed in my throat, I moved closer to him.
Ji Won was right. I was finally free….I can be myself from now on. Yoo Jin broke the promise and released me from my miseries and woes.
But……was it really that simple? To just let things go back to the way they were?
I had no idea how….I had already lost myself. I don’t quite remember who Ju Yong really was anymore. [Who AM I????]
I felt like an actress, who had lost herself within the character she played. As Ju Yong fades away into the dark shadows, the pretender comes to life…..My life.
********************
On our way back to the hotel, deadly silence filled the atmosphere. I nearly collapsed as we made our way across the almost empty lobby. But Ji Won carefully guided me through the hall…..
Finally, I was safe in my room again. And as soon as Ji Won closed the door behind him, my knees gave out and I crashed onto the floor beneath my feet….
For a long time, I couldn’t move and I remained where I was. Tears soaked the rug below and I let them shed…
********************
Sighing for the billionth time, Ji Won switched off the television set in his room and rolled over. Checking the alarm clock on the nightstand, he realized that it was 10:30 PM.
That scene from earlier at the graveyard flashed in front of his eyes again. He still couldn’t get over what happened….Yoo Jin’s spirit and Ju Yong’s teary self. For some unusual reason he felt trapped, stuck between 2 girls with the same faces but different personalities.
And now one of them was dead and the other one was a walking zombie. Is there anything he could do to put things back together? At least make things easier to bear for Ju Yong who was obvious torn and disturbed?
Not in the mood to sleep, he picked up the horror novel he had been using to put himself to sleep for the past month and began reading. Although he wasn’t really comprehending what his eyes were scanning, he figured it could put his thoughts off for awhile at least….
He read a few lines but he was immediately distracted by the muffled sound that seemed to be taking over the silence that once filled his room. Putting his book down, he searched for the direction it came from.
He listened for a moment and went to the door that separated his room from Ju Yong’s.
Pressing his ear against the wooden door, the sound came again. This time, he recognized it. It was the sound of Ju Yong crying. The heartbreaking sounds……
Unconsciously, his brows knitted together and a frown was formed. He hadn’t seen the girl smile once ever since he came back into her life. Her eyes are always teary….and the grievous air hung around her. She was crying earlier in front of Yoo Jin’s tombstone and now she’s crying again. Why must she do this to herself????
Slowly, he opened the door that connected his room with Ju Yong’s and slipped into the other side. Her room was dark and cold, but from the glow of the moonlight flooding in, he could see Ju Yong, curled up tightly in her bed…..like a frightened little girl.
His frown deepened a bit and he walked over to her bedside. Not wanting to scare her, he eased himself down onto the bed itself and laid his hand gently on her shoulder.
“Ju Yong….Are you all right????”
Surprised, Ju Yong rolled over onto her back and stared up at his concerning face through moist eyes….
“Ji Won? I’m sorry. Did I wake you up????”
Ji Won forced a small smile and assured her that she didn’t.
“Of course not. What’s wrong????”
Ju Yong looked away and batted her damp lashes. An ineffective way of holding back the rest of her woes…
“I was just feeling a little lonely……….I realized that…I shouldn’t have..brought you all the way here. I’m sorry…….for all the troubles…”
Her involuntary pauses broke and she choked back a sob. One that was powerful enough to shatter anyone’s heart. Including Ji Won’s.
Ji Won knew there was something else she wanted to tell him if only her voice would allow her……Why couldn’t she just say it?
Ju Yong had been keeping everything inside her for too long and he could tell she’s getting tired and exhausted. If she didn’t let them out soon….she would have an emotional break down. Just like now…
He spread his arms out and gathered the teary girl into his embrace, stroking her hair as a mild gesture….
“It’s not a bother at all, Ju Yong. I wanted to come. We both saw Yoo Jin like we wished we would, didn’t we?”
When Ju Yong heard Yoo Jin’s name, she stiffened slightly and pulled away. Her eyes dropped and shifted hastily to avoid his questioning eye, her voice tinged with uncertainty as she spoke.
“We did….but……….”
“But what? What is it???? You HAVE to tell me….”
His voice was demanding now. Meaning no compromise. [Why is she still acting this way? What else could be bothering her now? Isn’t she free? From all burdens????]
Outside, the clouds began to cover half of the moon’s façade and darkened the room a bit more. Ji Won took her hands and held them tight….Feeling the coldness of the them as his fingers enclosed around them…
Ju Yong’s drab eyes raised slowly and unwillingly met up with his again…
“But…..I don’t know who I really am anymore…Ji Won. Don’t you understand?……….Who is Ju Yong?………..Who am I????”
Her voice quavered as her eyes filled with more sudden tears….
Ji Won sat next to her, trying to sort out the fragments of sentences he just heard….He finally understood now. No wonder the girl was having such a difficult time dealing with this. Because she didn’t know who she really was anymore. She had lost her true essence that she could no longer find……..
He wanted to help her….He couldn’t let this go on. It was not only hurting the girl, it was causing him pain too to see her like this.
Ji Won leaned over and pulled her close again. His arms wrapped around her as a sheltering coat…..
“I’ll tell you the Ju Yong I know……The Ju Yong I know is a sweet girl who is willing to sacrifice her own self to make someone else happy. To make your own unni happy…..”
His voice was gentle, but filled with emotions,
“And that, is the greatest quality of all. Something you can’t find anywhere else….”
Ju Yong stared up at him, her eyes now wider than ever…..His words sounded like a piece of soothing music to her ears. Something that could take all of her agonies away. Was he telling her the truth????
“………Ji Won…………..I….don’t know what to say….”
Ji Won pressed a finger over her lips to stop the flow of broken words.
“Then don’t. I’m only telling you what I see….You are a wonderful person, Ju Yong. Remember that….”
They stared at each other for a few more minutes….Ji Won’s eyes were more mollifying than ever. So soft and caring….They were putting her broken pieces back together so she could move on again.
Before, Yoo Jin was the only one who could bring her tranquility and composure but now, Ji Won had acquired the same kind of power.
Slowly, Ju Yong had calmed down under his steady gaze. Growing extremely tired and worn out, her painful sobs began to die away and faded into the background…
The moonlight sudden brightened again and made its way onto her face….Defining it before him. Her mysterious eyes shimmered like stars…….Giving off an unsteady light….Melting his heart with an unknown force.
All of a sudden, Ji Won wanted to capture them. To keep them as his own possession….It was a strange and peculiar feeling that he had never felt before.
Perhaps this inner feeling was hidden within him so well and was finally released? What did it all mean????
At this moment, Yoo Jin’s voice suddenly drifted into his mind….
“You must go on without me, Ji Won. Find someone else who will always be there for you. Let her love you…….”
Not realizing what he was doing, he brushed his fingers onto Ju Yong’s cheeks and caressed them. Tracing the crooked lines with his fingertips. The girl cringed a little but she didn’t back away. He was warming her cold body up with his gentle and mesmerizing touch. Shredding her defenses away…hypnotizing her.
She let out a long and moist breath and whispered to him. Telling him that she needed him…..
“Ji Won….Don’t leave me please……..”
Those simple words finally broken Ji Won’s last restraint to hold himself back. He could no longer control the unknown outburst that was taking over his mind and soul…
Ju Yong’s tears abated for a moment as his burning lips met up with her sad eyes. He kissed away the rest of her sorrows that he couldn’t endure….He wanted to take her grief and sadness away. So she could smile again…
She laid still in the darkness as he searched for her lips in the dark. And when he found them, he clung onto them and gave her their first intimate kiss.
It was all so unexpected and sensual…He pressed his body tightly against hers as her taste filled his desiring mouth….At this moment, he couldn’t hold himself back any longer.
When he undressed her as his hands fumbled onto her clothes, she flinched a little but didn’t resist….because they both felt right with what was about to come next. Neither of them wanted to stop this miraculous moment.
She had never been this close to him and she didn’t want him to let go. For the first time in her life, she was going to give her most precious possession to him and he would make sure he was there to receive it.
Within the mystical darkness, 2 admirable figures became one like magic….Their breaths grew fast and steady together as their sweats melted with one another’s.
His kisses were falling quickly like shooting stars as he planted them all over her body…..Leaving temporary marks on her that proved to the world she was his now.
She panted breathlessly as he fondled and conquered her. A pleasurable yet excruciating sensation…
Ju Yong never expected it would be this painful but she didn’t dare to make a sound. Instead, she closed her eyes and bit herself on the lip sharply to ease the moments of torturous discomfort.
She wanted to let him take over her. Even if it sometimes caused her great suffering…
His actions were telling her that he wanted her….he craved for her. And she let him have her…Because after all, she still loves him. But she wasn’t sure if he felt the same way….

********************
[NOTE: The begining was a song of Faye Wong’s]
Within your heart, there is someone else.
I’m just a shadow.
Can’t explain what I mean.
There isn’t a reason.
Can’t see where I stand.
It’s just a mess.
Keep repeating this kind of kinship.
Using the same formula.
History keeps repeating itself.
Trying to control all of my actions.
So I’ll become the way you want me to be.
Someone who is not my true self.
Once it starts, how is it going to end????
Chapter 17
When the bright shaft of sunlight began to pour in from the window, I opened my eyes with the unpleasant sensation of not knowing where I was. For a moment I just lay there, stomach down, across the bed, paralyzed by fright until I slowly remembered the events that had taken place in this room….
Ji Won’s breath, his lips….his body filling mine….
He was still asleep. I sat beside him for a long time, stroking his hair as I watched the way it fell from my fingers onto the pillow. His breathing was even and soft, his face peaceful and serene. When I thought I saw a smile from him, I knew I was in love again.
Beyond my control, I was falling into Ji Won’s web very quickly. Even being in love with him all that time hadn’t prepared me for what it would be like to be his lover. I had imagined it numerous times, but now it came true. It seemed impossible that I had felt all those things, done all those things.
Even hours before, I had been certain that Ji Won was completely out of my life. Now, here he was….lingering in his dream with his body so close to mine.
But when I thought of unni, a feeling of guilt gave me a moment of regret and hesitation. [Had I committed a sin? An unforgivable one?]
I closed my eyes then and I could almost hear Yoo Jin now. With tears in her voice, she was silently blaming me for what I did.
“How could you, Ju Yong? How could you do this to me????”
My heart sank. Her words went through my mind so quickly that it stunned me. Before I knew it, grief was dancing in my eyes.
[God, unni….what have I done????]
Realizing it, I wanted to weep, for I could never fix the mistake that had been made.
********************
Ju Yong slowly slipped out of bed, pulling on her bathrobe as she moved restlessly to the open window. Outside, a thin layer of fog was drifting in. A gentle swirl of mist eddied around the treetops, blurring their forms just enough to give them an eerie, ghostly look.
Was Yoo Jin watching them from out there?????
The wind picked up and whistled through trees, the pines tossed back and forth like grieving children. She took her time admiring the outside world….her heart was dark and drizzly.
She felt a warm presence behind her as Ji Won slipped his arms around her. He too, was awake and came to join her. But Ju Yong didn’t turn to face him, she didn’t need to. She simply savored the sweet moment….Everything she had ever wanted was within the circle of his arms.
“What are you looking at?”
He held her against him, his lips roaming on her shoulder.
Ju Yong closed her eyes and sighed. A deep and long release of breath. It took awhile before she heard another voice. It was a voice barely above a whisper, a weak voice that didn’t sound like her own.
“Ji Won, she’s watching us out there. Yoo Jin. She’s watching us……..”
She told him, feeling a great deal of sorrow.
Ji Won torn his eyes away and shifted his gaze towards the outside world. There was nothing but haze out there….The fog covered everything in sight…
Perhaps Yoo Jin was creeping within the dimness?
Slowly, Ju Yong came face to face with Ji Won. He still didn’t speak, just looked at her with those soft eyes that brightened her world. It would be her choice, she told herself. If she was trapped, it was her own longings, her own dreams that held her down as Ji Won’s prisoner.
She stepped back and took a ragged breath. Tears seemed useless now but she felt them coming. This was still a mistake. A huge mistake.
“Look at these hands, Ji Won. Look at them. They are soaked with sins. Our sins. “
Her hands were trembling as she looked down at them. For a second she thought she saw blood on them.
“We had betrayed Yoo Jin last night. How can I ever live with myself after what we did?”
Ji Won didn’t respond. He stood there with an ashen face. His eyes were so dark and intense now, Ju Yong had to lift a hand to his cheek to soothe.
“We have to pretend that none of this ever happened, Ji Won. We can’t go on like this….”
A look of disbelieve came and shook him. It was all so sudden. His expression changed. There was a trace of fear, confusion, then a flood of anger.
Ji Won stared at her, bewildered and aching. He wanted to keep Ju Yong by his side. It had nothing to do with the fact that she’s Yoo Jin’s shadow, it was because she is Ju Yong….Herself.
Love is a strange thing. You may feel it today, but lose it all tomorrow. It took him a long time to figure himself out and when he finally did, she was going to leave him.
He lost his first love and now he was losing his second. Why?
He wanted to asked her to stay. He didn’t want to part from her. After all, they were ‘one’ now, weren’t they? Yoo Jin was in the past and they had to move on. But why was her shadow still hovering over their lives?
Ji Won gathered Ju Yong into his embrace again as her body pressed close against his masculine and solid strength. Her skin brushed his and it brought him a pain so deep and dark it cursed through him.
“Ju Yong…. “ He whispered, his voice low and gentle as ever but it wasn’t calm. “You know I can’t just forget about what happened. It doesn’t work that way. I want to stay with you. You have no one else to rely on and I want to be there for you. Let me…..Let me take care of you.”
Ju Yong’s eyes were brimmed with tears now and Ji Won could feel his heart twitching as they rolled down her cheeks. Closing her eyes as if this act could protect her from all harms and peril, she broke herself free.
“No. I had been walking down this road on my own and I’m going to keep it that way. I don’t need anyone else. Not even you.”
A lie. She knew she was speaking against her heart but she just doesn’t see how this could work. Ever since Ji Won had stepped into Ju Yong’s view, she had been wanting him….asking for him. But guilt was in the way….the shadow was still in the way. No matter how hard she tried to thread her way across from them, they were still there. Must she never get what she wanted? Not even a simple wish as to be loved by someone like Ji Won????
Her breath was sobbing out now and she turned back to the window. Her tears glittered under the sun that was breaking its way out of the clouds…Washing away the shadow that stood beneath her feet.
Ji Won watched her. He wanted her like he had never wanted before. He took a deep breath and reached out again. But he stopped himself before his fingers touched her back.
“Ju Yong,” He said, reluctant to leave her behind because of fate.
“I want to protect you, to help you. I know you are not as strong as you pretend to be. You are lonely and miserable. I can see it from you. You can’t hide your feelings from me. Don’t do this….I’m begging you. Instead of feeling great unhappiness, don’t you want to change your life around?”
Ju Yong felt sour now. Her eyes were still locked onto the sky that was turning orange. She didn’t want to look at him….she feared that if she saw the pain in his pools of brown, the brown she fell lost in countless times, she would change her mind and take him back again.
“Change things around? It’ll never happen. In my life, things were NEVER right from the start.”
Chapter 18
[2 months later.]
I didn’t want to think about Ji Won anymore. I told myself that I have to erase him from my mind. I became extremely eager to find someone else who would take his place in my heart. I had to search for him, whoever he was.
When Jae Jin asked me to be his date to his senior prom, I gladly accepted his invitation without a second thought. Why not? Ji Won was going with Rina, so why should I go without a date?
I couldn’t help feeling bitter when I thought about Ji Won and Rina going to the prom together. I think I was still jealous. I know I shouldn’t be….but I was.
********************
Now, with the strains of music drifting out to fill the warm evening with a gentle melody, Ju Yong began to relax. A vague smile danced around on her lips.
Her eyes swept the room quickly, checking the decorations that were put up.
The place was already half filled when Jae Jin and she arrived. Now, she watched in fascination when the figures drifted across the floor.
“May I have this dance, Madame????”
Jae Jin, looking princely and splendid in his suit, bowed down to her politely and gave her a warm and sweet smile. Ju Yong nodded shyly and gave him her hand.
Jae Jin guided her towards the dance floor as they whirled their way into the crowd. Slipping his arm around her slim waist, he pulled her closer as the 2 moved gracefully to the rhythm of the ballad that the band was playing.
Ju Yong’s silver dress glittered brilliantly, catching every ray of light the chandeliers emitted from above, refreshing them into a rainbow that seemed to shimmer around her.
Her raven black strands fell lightly against her pale shoulders, and her face was dabbed with the lightest touch of make up which she didn’t really need. To Jae Jin, Ju Yong was already perfect.
Pressing himself against her, he leaned closer and lets out a deep exhale. When his moist breath swung past her, Ju Yong’s cheeks suddenly flushed a shade of pink.
“I’m glad you came with me tonight, Ju Yong. You have no idea how much this means to me. To have you here in my arms….”
Ju Yong’s eyes lingered on Jae Jin’s for a long time. Those eyes of his were nothing like Ji Won’s….but they were kind eyes of warmth and generosity.
She knew Jae Jin liked her. He told her so….But she wasn’t sure if she felt the same way because deep in her heart, there was someone else. His shadow cast over her like a dark cloud….
[You must forget about ‘him’, Ju Yong….You two don’t belong together.] A voice echoed loudly through her ears. It was her mind speaking against her heart.
Lowering her eyes for a brief second to disburden the thought, she lifted them again. This time, something else came into her view and made her smile froze on her lips.
Her body stiffened and her face paled when 2 dark figures drifted across the edges of her vision. They were slow, barely visible at first….but still caught her attention. She wished she never saw them, but she still did.
Ju Yong’s eyes, which were bright and glassy a moment ago, were now dim and expressionless. At first, Jae Jin thought they were fixed on him. But then, he realized that she wasn’t really looking at him at all. Rather, she seemed to be gazing beyond him, as if seeing right through him.
Jae Jin’s confounded eyes immediately followed hers. Turning away, he saw Ji Won and his date from the corner of his eyes.
Ji Won and Rina were standing at an isolated corner. The people around them seemed oblivious as he slipped his arms around her and tilted her face up to fill her with his lips.
The kiss lasted a long time. Almost too long.
At that very moment, Jae Jin could feel Ju Yong’s figure straining against his own. Tightening like a violin string.
He torn his angry eyes away then and pulled her slender form closer. Working his jaws, he remained composed and calm. But in the dark, one of his hand was curled into a solid and furious fist.
[You are mine, Ju Yong….not even Ji Won can take you away from me.]
********************
5 minutes later, as the last chord of the sullen music died away, babble of voices rose once more around Ju Yong.
Remained frozen in place, she continued to spy onto the 2 figures from afar, watching every one of their movements with her eyes.
Unwillingly, Rina backed away from Ji Won as their lips fell apart. He was smiling at her as he ran a finger down her arm.
Ju Yong’s heart twinges with pain and she quickly casts her eyes down. All of the emotions that she had kept hidden so well, suddenly poured back into her again. Deep inside, she still wanted to go to Ji Won. To be near his radiance….
Before her mind began to crumble, she slipped out of Jae Jin’s arms.
“Jae Jin….I……..I don’t feel very good. Is it ok if I go outside for some fresh air?”
Jae Jin studied her face. He knew exactly what was on her mind. [It’s always about Ji Won, isn’t it?]
Fine. He didn’t want to dance with a ghost that had no soul.
“Sure….Come back when you feel better.”
His voice was flat as he released them from his throat.
********************
Trembling, Ju Yong hurried across the floor. And soon, she was out the door. With hot tears already streaming down her cheeks, she didn’t seem to notice that another dark figure had followed her. Approaching her from behind….

********************
Chapter 19
“You were jealous, weren’t you?”
A voice strained to a breaking point between extremes of anger and frustration made Ju Yong stop dead at her track. She wiped her tears away, spun around, staring at the person. Staring at Eun Ji Won.
“I wasn’t jealous.” She quickly denied it without emotion.
Ji Won watched her eyes that shimmered beneath the moonlight. Those spheres of night that he had kissed when they made love together in that small, yet private space.
God, how he wanted to believe that she wasn’t jealous. How he wanted to believe her lies. He knew that if he kept pursuing her, he would bring her pain. He would make things harder and more difficult for her to bear. But how could he let her go once he realized that she did care about him? He couldn’t. His heart wouldn’t let him. He couldn’t release her. He had to keep chasing the chance.
“You were. I knew you would get upset. That means you care about me. Stop denying it, Ju Yong. Do you have any idea how much I want to be with you right now?” He asked pleadingly, trying to trap her. “Why can’t we be together? What’s keeping you away from me?”
Ju Yong’s heart submerged into a deep ocean. Those words of his….I want to be with you….. She felt as if she had been transported out of her body and into another time and place. The mysterious region where there’s no such thing as a shadow. Before she quite knew what was happening, tears clung to the long dark lashes that ringed her eyes.
“Nothing…..Nothing is keep me away from you. I just can’t be with you because you are Yoo Jin’s, not mine.”
How he wished that Ju Yong wouldn’t mention that name. How he wished that she would just let her unni be free. Ji Won’s face looked haggard and paled. Stuffiness was expanding in his chest.
“Ju Yong….I know that Yoo Jin and I had a history together. I did love her….but that’s back then. That’s in the past. She’s buried in my heart, treasured in my memory box. We are in the present now. So I’m nobody’s.” He said, his voice steady yet sadder than any cry of grief.
“Unless you want me to be yours, otherwise I’m still nobody’s.”
Ju Yong gazed at Ji Won with a pained expression that she couldn’t hide. Like a black knight that came to save the princess, he was in his ebony suit that complimented his fine image. His bangs casts a dark shadow over his eyes, his face tender and gentle as ever.
How she wanted to touch him….how she wanted to throw herself into those strong and comforting arms.
She remembered what it felt like when he stroked her face with his fingers, as if trying to trace her likeness in his memory. She remembered their night of tender reconciliation, of whispered names and promises. Wasn’t that something she always wanted? Wasn’t that something she always prayed to receive?
The weariness around them must have affected the weather. All of a sudden, she felt something wet on her cheek. It wasn’t her tears, she realized. It was rain. Icy cold rain that froze her emotions.
They stood there like two mannequins, the soft drizzle sprinkled over their lashes. Ju Yong had never felt so exhausted in her entire life. She was exhausted both physically and emotionally. Ji Won and Yoo Jin were both weighing her down….made it hard for her to move. One was her beloved unni, the other was the man she loved. Which one was more important? Should she follow her heart? Would she ever come up with an answer????
Ji Won waited for her to speak. Silence felt ageless. The thunder struck from the sky then, and sent ripples across the earth. Soon, a thunderstorm would arrive. They both felt it.
But there was nothing left to say. They had said all they could. Some things cannot be expressed with words.
They stayed there, staring at each other across the darkness, until Ji Won finally backed away, turned, and walked swiftly and silently away.
********************
Jae Jin didn’t know what was taking Ju Yong so long to come back inside. When he noticed that Rina was left alone and Ji Won was nowhere in sight, he began to worry.
********************
After Ji Won left her, Ju Yong knew she had truly shattered both of their hearts. Her eyes must have rolled up, because all of a sudden, she was staring at the sky. It was jet black and rain beat down onto her skin like sharp daggers.
She felt so cold and numb….Her legs buckled as if someone had smashed her knees in and made her collapse. Too tired to move, she laid there with tears and raindrops covering her cheeks.
Then she heard running footsteps, it got closer and closer….Someone lifted her up from below and she stared up into a concerned face of Jae Jin’s.
“Ju Yong! Are you okay?”
Jae Jin cried out on a gasp. Her body felt like a huge chunk of ice in his arms.
“I….”
Ju Yong’s colorless lips trembled and she never finished the sentence. The rest instantly turned into a blur as she closed her eyes.

********************
Like I said before when I posted the gay fic., if this chapter offends you, I’m sorry. It’s just a fic. If you have something to say, go ahead. I’m all ears.
But please understand where Ju Yong was coming from. I mean, what would YOU do if you were here? Would you do things different? Thanks for reading.
Chapter 20
[At the hospital.]
Jae Jin was worried sick about Ju Yong’s condition.
“How is she, doctor?”
The doctor looked into Jae Jin’s concerning eyes.
“She’s fine now. She was just stirred emotionally. Her body was too frail to fight against any sort of disturbance but she will be okay. You should really make sure she takes well care of herself. After all, she’s living for two now.” He advised wisely.
Jae Jin gasped at man’s words and his face turned ashen.
“Ju Yong’s living for two? I don’t understand. What do you mean?”
The doctor looked surprised that Jae Jin had no clue what he was talking about.
“You didn’t know? She’s two months pregnant.”
“WHAT?”
Jae Jin stared at the man speechless for a moment, too stunned to even move.
Ju Yong’s pregnant? PREGNANT???? For the longest time, he couldn’t speak, he couldn’t think. He could hardly believe the events that had taken place.
********************
A hand brushed Ju Yong’s hair. She sensed it and she used all of her strength to open her eyes. When she did, she saw Jae Jin. His eyes looked old, red and puffy from lack of sleep, clouded with grief.
“Jae Jin? Where are we?”
“We are in a hospital.” He told her, trying to keep his calm.
“Hospital? Why???? Am I sick????” She asked him, she was a little disturbed by the odd look on his face.
“No.” He said hollowly, “it’s not that.” He looked down at her with an expression of such gentleness it made her heart ache.
“Then what is it?” Ju Yong pressed on, her insides twisting, not quite sure she was up for a bombshell revelation. If she wasn’t sick, then what was she doing here?
Jae Jin’s brows furrowed. He wasn’t sure he could go on with this, but she would find out the truth sooner or later. So why not now? Slowly, he stood up and walked to the window, his back to her. He pulled back the curtain and stood there for a long time.
“Ju Yong….” He exhaled deeply, feeling extremely sad…. “You are two months pregnant.”
********************
Ju Yong froze, the color on her face drained, a wave of nausea washed over her. Of all the shocking news she had received in her life, this one was by far the most devastating.
She pressed her fists onto the sides of her head and fought to keep her head from spinning. She couldn’t believe she was pregnant. The thought of another life growing inside her body terrified her.
Jae Jin let go of the curtain and turned back to her. His face was stoic, but not the tortured expression in his eyes.
“Who’s the father?” He asked her, “who’s the baby’s father????”
Perhaps it was the despair in his voice that reached down deep to where Ju Yong had tried to hide herself. For a moment she closed her eyes, held them shut, wishing with all her heart that she were dead. She didn’t feel anything anymore. She lay there, paralyzed and too tired to speak.
Weakly, she let her head fall back and stared up at the ceiling. She felt tears overflow her eyes and roll down her cheeks, all the frustration and exhaustion building inside her.
Jae Jin wasn’t about to let it go. He continued to stare at her with huge, angry eyes.
“Ji Won is the father, isn’t he?” He demanded for an answer.
The air around them grew stuffy and tense. Ju Yong’s lips trembled. She let the tears come as they stumbled over her explanations. How could she tell him? How could she tell him that she slept with Ji Won? If wasn’t supposed to happen and this baby wasn’t supposed to exist in the first place.
Jae Jin walked over, caught her arms and pulled her close. Then his hands slipped up and cupped her sad face to keep her eyes on his.
“Ju Yong….Tell me it isn’t true.” He stiffened a little, his eyes filled with a mix of expectancy and vulnerability. “Please….oh dear God tell me I’m wrong.”
Ju Yong saw tears from him and she couldn’t get her breath. She was not only hurting Ji Won, she was hurting Jae Jin too. It took her a long time before she could find the words she need to tell him. Her voice was barely a whisper, barely a breath in the darkness.
“You are not wrong. Ji Won did give me this baby….”
It wasn’t easy. She thought it would be since her emotions were so numb. She didn’t look at him when she told the story. She hoped that by revealing her secret, the shames of fears, she would be freed from them. But when she was done, she only felt worse.
Jae Jin stared at her. The thought of Ji Won’s body filling hers made his mind scream. It stung to think that her heart was stolen. The same heart that he tried so hard to held onto. He felt like a fool.
“So it’s true. I’m not anything to you.” He muttered bitterly as he rose from his seat and whirled around. He couldn’t accept this and didn’t want to.
“Wait…..” Ju Yong called out to him, her desperate cry pulled him back. Jae Jin stopped but he didn’t turn to face her.
Ju Yong knew how he must have felt. Her chest felt crammed and she wanted to cry. Must she hurt everyone around her including herself? Before she realized it, tears were already blinding her.
“I know I’m hurting you, Jae Jin. I’m sorry. But you are special to me. Only in a different way. You understand, don’t you?”
Jae Jin didn’t answer. He stood there for a few seconds more before he silently walked out the door and slammed it behind him.
********************
Ju Yong felt awful when the nurse came in to check up on her. When she asked the nurse if she could see the doctor, the nurse’s face quickly turned to one of concern.
“What is it? You don’t feel well?”
Ju Yong shook her head, her own eyes shifted down onto her still flat stomach as she watched the baby that wasn’t completely formed yet.
After thinking about it long and hard, she had already made up her mind. How could she keep the baby that wasn’t meant to come to this world? She was never prepared for this and she couldn’t afford to hurt another human soul. Her own baby’s soul….
She told herself that she couldn’t and shouldn’t. She had ruined enough lives. It was time to put it all to a stop.
Finally, almost reluctantly, she turned to face the nurse again.
“It’s not that.” She said feebly, her heart felt heavier than ever, “I have decided that I don’t want to keep the baby. I ….I want an abortion.”

********************
Chapter 21
Seung Eun found out that I was in the hospital and she came to see me. That was when I decided to tell her about everything. She listened to my story with a serious face.
“I had no idea you were going through so much….” She told me, I thought I saw tears in her eyes.
When I went on and told her about the baby, she begged me to think twice about the abortion.
“You shouldn’t make a decision like that in such a short period of time, Ju Yong.”
She looked deep into my eyes, “I think at least you should let Ji Won know about the baby first. I mean, he IS the father.”
I stared at her but didn’t answer. How could I make her understand my reason for not wanting this baby?
What different would it make if I let Ji Won know about it? He wasn’t going to be a part of my life and I couldn’t bear to bring a baby into this world without a father. The frightening past of how Yoo Jin died because of my father still haunted me. So I had to do everything in my power to prevent something like that from happening again.
Termination of pregnancy. This was the only way.
********************
After Seung Eun left the hospital, she tried to contact Ji Won. She thought that maybe he could change Ju Yong’s mind about things. She felt very strongly that Ju Yong was making a huge mistake.
But how? Seung Eun had no way of reaching Ji Won. In school, she tried to look for him but she couldn’t find him. Did he not come to school today?
After class, she spotted Ji Yong in the hall and she decided to ask him since he was a close friend of Ji Won’s. That was when she heard the shocking news from the 5’11 blond.
“Ji Won?” Ji Yong said to her with a frown, “you didn’t know about it? He withdrew from the school already. He’s moving back to Korea.”
********************
Chapter 22
Now, Ju Yong stayed in bed and she was too tired to move. Her entire body aches and the pain seemed to come from within her own heart.
Another human being had just been taken out of her body. The thought of how cruel the ugly the process was made her want to cry. Her tears shed and they were endless.
She felt like a murderer and when she stared down at her hands, she saw blood. Her own child’s blood.
Did she really made the right decision? She asked herself. She wasn’t sure now because she was beginning to have doubts.
But it’s too late. Everything’s too late. A part of herself was gone.
********************
I went back home alone. My eyes were surprisingly dry. In my room, I sat like a dummy in front of the vanity mirror and saw Yoo Jin sitting across from me.
Very slowly, I lifted my hand and touched her face.
“Unni….Did you know that I am now a murderer????”
She didn’t answer my question. With a cold face, she only stared at me from the looking glass.
My heart felt heavy then and I wanted to cry again. But ironically, I had no more tears left to shed.
I cast my eyes down and suddenly spotted the knife on the table. It was the same knife that I used to cut the apple a few minutes ago.
Now, the sweet fruit still sat inside the bowl, never eaten. The color of the flesh was turning yellow.
For a brief moment, I stared at knife and had one of those morbid thoughts about what it would feel like to slash my wrists.
It must be painful, I figured. Real painful.
But could anything else beat the pain I felt inside me now? No. Absolutely nothing.
I picked it up, staring at the blade that glinted in the moonlight that poured in from the window. It was a beautiful light….almost too charming.
I moved the blade over the skin of my wrist now and it felt so icy cold. If I twisted the knife just a little, then jerked hard on it….An image of blood filled my mind, crimson spurting from my own arteries….
[Why not?] I asked myself the question silently, letting my thoughts drift over the answer.
[If I were dead, I wouldn’t have to worry about anything anymore. I would be freed from all abuses.] Suddenly, I felt lost. The thought of death had never sounded so tempting and promising.
I held the knife in my right hand, my eyes fixing on the shining blade. I knew it would hurt. It would hurt badly. But it wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as I’d been hurting most of my life.
Yoo Jin continued to watch me from the mirror in silence. She knew what I was going to do but she didn’t try to stop me.
“Do it, Ju Yong.” The voice in my head demanded, “Hurry and get it over with.”
Yoo Jin continued to stare, still not saying a word to me.
With an odd smile on my face, my hand began to tighten on the handle. “Ju Yong,” I tell myself, “it was time to put all that pain to a stop. Your unni is waiting in heaven for you….”
I watched in slow motion as I slashed the blade across my left wrist in one quick motion.
Instantly, a geyser of blood spurted from my wrist, and I quickly transferred the knife to my left hand.
Seconds later, another red geyser spouted from my right wrist. Now, both of them were bloody. It was so easy.
I closed my eyes and waited for the pain to come in. I waited and waited. But for some strange reason, I felt nothing. There was no pain at all during the process and still none after. But there was a lot of blood…. even more than I thought there would be.
Chapter 23
Crimson.
I watched myself bleed, my visions filled with dark rivers, the image of Ji Won flashed in front of my numb eyes. When I thought about him, when I thought about how wonderful it was when I gave myself to him, the first spasm of deep and excruciating pain immediately stabbed through my heart.
I began to wonder: Will I ever see him again? Probably not. I remembered how angry he seemed when he walked away from me that night. Again, when another ripple of pain slashed through me, I felt tears in my eyes.
But what did it matter? What, really, did anything matter?
After all I couldn’t even remember having been really happy, not a single day of my life. So wherever I was going, it couldn’t be any worse than it was here.
I never should have been born at all. I should have been something else, something that doesn’t feel any pain.
Slowly, I laid down onto the bed and closed my eyes. That last thing I remembered hearing before shut down was my baby’s cry and Yoo Jin’s voice that filled the room.
********************
[Epilogue]
Ju Yong’s body was discovered 2 days later. She had been dead for more than 24 hours by the time Jae Jin and Seung Eun found her.
She was lying on her left side, her hair spread out on the pillow, a peaceful smile curved around her lips, her eyes sealed softly.
Terrified, Seung Eun clamped a hand over her mouth that was threatening to scream as she slumped against the wall, her body felt weak.
“Ju Yong?” She echoed, voice trembled, “No……”
The distraught girl covered her face with her hands and began to cry. She was stunned and she couldn’t believe that her friend had died. As she wept, her dying sobs stabbed through Jae Jin’s heart like a sharp dagger.
Jae Jin, still trying to piece it all together in his mind, felt himself turning numb as he stared at the dead girl lying in a pool of dry blood.
********************
When Ju Yong was officially announced dead, Ji Won was already in another country. He just stepped off the plane and he carefully threaded his way through the cluster of people. He left the U.S. and now he was in his homeland, Korea. It was a sudden decision but it was something he had to do.
How could he stay after all that had happened? What was the point of staying when Ju Yong made it clear to him that she didn’t want to be with him?
Ju Yong wanted release, didn’t she? That’s exactly what he was going to give her. He will be completely out of her sight. She was extremely miserable when he walked back into her life so now he was stepping out of it.
It was no doubt in his mind that he loved Yoo Jin and Ju Yong both. But he knew that he loved Ju Yong more than anything in this world. He never told anyone….but after a long period of inner struggling and thinking, he realized that he only had his heart set out for Ju Yong.
Still, he told himself to forget about her. In his heart, there was a memory box for Yoo Jin. Now, he had to create another one for Ju Yong. It’s going to take some time to heal the pain….probably for the rest of his life. But he knew that he had to try for Ju Yong’s sake. He wanted the girl to be happy and in order to do that, he had to leave her against his will.
********************
[1 year later.]
Ji Won stood in front of Yoo Jin’s grave with a heavy heart. When he discovered a new tombstone next to it, he was shocked. With his eyes wide, he read the name engraved on the stone as if it were in a different language.
Those big, black, unemotional words. So Ju Yong. 1982 – 1999
[Ju Yong is….dead????]
It took him a long time before his brain registered. When it finally did, everything crashed onto him at once and he felt his stomach turn into knots. All of a sudden, his mind was jammed with pictures of her dead, blood painted her body.
How? Was it really possible that Ju Yong had died? That he was never going to see her beautiful face, so different from Yoo Jin’s, yet so much the same, again?
An image of Ju Yong came into his mind, a quiet image of her as she so often was, alone.
He shouldn’t have left her. Why didn’t he stay? Why wasn’t he there for her when she needed him? The thought of how lonesome she must have felt all her of life even until her death, brought tears into his eyes.
On the edge of an emotional break down, he felt himself sink as he fell down onto his knees as if the news had drained the strength from his muscles.
It was impossible. The whole thing was a mistake. He wouldn’t and couldn’t accept it.
After they became a part of each other’s, after he whispered love words and promises to her, her life still was taken away.
Why? Why did this happen? Was it his fault? Was everything his fault?
“No!” Ji Won screamed with a twisted face, tears rushed down his cheeks. “This can’t happen again. It just can’t be!!!!”
Crying, the man felt that he was to blame because he had stepped into 2 lovely sisters’ lives. If he never appeared, then things wouldn’t turn out this way.
Still screaming, he pounded his angry fists onto the ground until his knuckles began to bleed. But the pain was oblivious. Nothing beats the twisting torture he felt inside his heart.
********************
“Ji Won….”
A dark shadow watched Ji Won from afar with a broken heart, tears floated in her own eyes. How she wanted to tell him she wished that things would be different. How she wanted to tell him about their baby that died. How she wanted to tell him that she was sorry for everything she had ever done. But it was too late. Even if she tried to speak, he couldn’t hear her. Nobody could hear her.
“Come on, Ju Yong. We have to go now.”
Yoo Jin suddenly appeared and whispered softly to the dark shadow.
The dark shadow wiped her tears away and watched Ji Won for a few seconds more. He was still there, crying into the night as if something valuable of his had just been taken away. God, how she wished she was deaf. How she wished she was blind. Ji Won was crying because of her, he was shedding those precious tears for her. For the first time in her life, she came to the realization that he really did love her. How could she be so blind? Why didn’t she realize any of this before?
After moments of silence, Yoo Jin’s voice came again and the dark shadow felt a hand on her shoulder.
“Ju Yong. Let it go. We’ll meet him again.”
With her eyes still blurred with tears, the dark shadow reluctantly turned and followed Yoo Jin. They hovered into the sky and the wind came and wiped them away. Seconds later, they both disappeared into the darkness of the night.

END

No Going Back by Izam

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  • a LeaMak fanfic
  • completed

Author’s note: Just to be considerate. I’m saying this ahead of time. This is a ‘gay’ Sechs Kies fic. So if you are not comfortable enough with the idea, then I suggest for you to stop reading.

********************

[No Going Back.] – (Part 1)

Six Crystals.

The night was still young and glamorous here.

Within the 2 story building, the aroma of all sorts of cologne, hair gel, mousse were accompanied by heavy gray smoke that filled the air.

Billion rays of light blasted out from the ceiling and at every dark corner, the hidden speakers blared loudly in everyone’s ears.

[On the first floor….]

There were couples; groups of people dancing the night away as if only sweating could tear them away from the ugliness of the outside world.

[On the second floor….]

That’s where the club members hang out. It was a place for them to engage in private conversations without interruption. The soundproof walls blocked out all the noises from below and instead, slow and soothing music flowed into the dim atmosphere.

The customers that usually come here are either club members, or guests that the members had brought with them. Although females are perfectly welcome into this secluded part of town, they automatically retreat once they noticed all the male figures that filled the domain.

********************

Moments later, the doors of the elevator slide open and a dark and tanned young man stepped out of it.

Dressed in all black, his outfit gave his brown eyes a mystical touch and complimented his virile face that lacked obvious emotions.

The slick young man remained stood and his sharp eyes scanned around the place. Immediately, he spotted the group of guys that were already there waiting for him as usual.

Prying his bangs away from his lashes, he drifted towards them.

“Yo, Ji Won….You are finally here, man. Jae Jin was about to go crazy without you, you know….”

Arriving at the same old table, it was Jae Duc who greeted Ji Won with his tease. With the same old smirk on his face, he was holding a cigarette in one hand and rubbing the other onto the thigh of a new face who Ji Won didn’t recognize. It was a face that represented pure genuineness and innocence.

Jae Duc laid his head on the young man’s shoulder and his fingers were stroking the boy’s flawless cheeks that had turned crimson at his touch.

It was clear to Ji Won that the new boy hadn’t been in this circle for long. Perhaps it was his first time here at a place that was full of men….A place full of nothing but men.

Ji Won eased down next to Jae Jin like a soft breeze and gave Jae Duc a foul glare. His eyes were burning as if daring Jae Duc to challenge his words.

“Tsk…tsk. Kim Jae Duc….Why do you always go for the ones that are underage? Don’t you know that there is a law against that? A law that prevents perverts like you from harming young innocents?…..I bet this boy is still unfamiliar with how things work around here, huh? Aren’t you going to introduce us?”

Jae Duc’s smile froze and died on his lips. Fuming in agitation, his sharp eyes that were smoldering in anger clashed in with Ji Won’s like a storm.

“Humph!!!! This is Jang Su Won. And for your information, he is 18 already….all right?”

He shouted back and spat….every syllable that escaped his lips sounded like sour grapes that were acidic.

********************

Ji Won never did like Jae Duc much. He still remembers how much Jae Duc drooled over him when he first entered this realm. After being ignored on a daily basis, Jae Duc eventually gave up and moved onto another.

And now, watching Jae Duc lusting over a new face in the same way, he just couldn’t wipe the look of disgust off his face.

“Ha! So you have Su Won for the night and what about tomorrow? Another fresh face?”

Ji Won made a nasty snicker and his prickly eyes pierced fiercely into Jae Duc’s. When he spoke, his voice rose and fell in a strange singsong, as if he were speaking to an infant.

Indeed. Despite Jae Duc’s good looks and powerful breaking skills that charmed many others, he had a terrible reputation around here. The man simply loved new faces because old ones bore him. So he was constantly hunting for different ones. And once he’s done with them….he tosses them aside like throwing away a piece of useless trash. Which was something Ji Won never approved of….

********************

Eun Ji Won was different from Jae Duc. He carried on a darker and mysterious look that attracted many others. He was never that much of a talker and he rarely shows his emotions. Like an unbreakable piece of ice, he was like an enigma….A puzzling, ambiguous and inexplicable piece of maze that was waiting to be solved. Many found him fascinating and appealing but most of them failed when they attempted to get close to him. The man was full of spikes….once you touch him, you’ll bleed.

Within and outside the sphere, there were many admirers that were dying to go out with Ji Won. He didn’t have to search for a companion. But instead of welcoming them into his arms, he turned them all down. He didn’t want to take advantage of the situation because he didn’t want to become another Kim Jae Duc.

He was still searching for that special someone. That one person who he will feel compatible and comfortable with. When he met Jae Jin, his quest came to a stop….

********************

Lee Jae Jin. The man with a calm and placid exterior. His appearance wasn’t exactly handsome and good-looking. But his elegant and fine demeanor, along with his mature and charming personality had won many hearts. Ever since Ji Won came into the circle, the two of them had been together ever since.

Even until this day, Jae Jin still wasn’t sure that if Ji Won really cared for him. To him, Ji Won seemed transparent and crystalline. Like liquid that could easily slipped through his fingers. Ji Won was himself….a person who belonged to no other. For the longest time, terror haunted Jae Jin and he had a feeling that he couldn’t hold onto the man for long.

But Ji Won didn’t lay an eye on anyone else….He invited Jae Jin into his world with open arms and Jae Jin discarded all of his disturbing thoughts and gladly accepted Ji Won’s offer.

As long as Jae Jin could still hold onto Ji Won, that was all he asked for.

********************

Jang Su Won. He hadn’t said a word ever since Ji Won showed up and his large and curious eyes were constantly exploring his surroundings. His expression on his smooth face was odd and uncomfortable.

When Jae Duc was using his hands to feel around Su Won body, Su Won didn’t really resist. But it was obvious that he was very uneasy and was too embarrassed to say anything.

After Ji Won had exposed what Jae Duc was trying to hide, Jae Duc’s face paled as the colors drained from his straining cheeks. Working his jaws in fury, he jerked his hands away from Su Won and picked up his glass. Bringing the rim of it towards his lips, he gulped the freezing liquid down his throat as a way to vent his anger that had erupted.

Freed from Jae Duc’s grasp for the time being, a look of relief could been seen from Su Won as he leaned back against the sofa. Ji Won wanted to laugh at the bizarreness of it all but Jae Jin silenced him with a look.

The 2 of them could always communicate without speaking out loud and this was one of those times when words weren’t needed.

Jae Jin wrapped his arms around Ji Won’s shoulders and pulled him closer with a sudden jerk. Ji Won shifted his gaze and their eyes eventually met up. It was the same pair of eyes that glanced back at him….the concerning and caring eyes that were always there for him for the past 2 years.

A warm feeling filled his heart and Ji Won’s pursed up lips fell into a delightful smile.

As for Jae Duc, his prickly glare still hung from his eyes and his face was still bright red and filled with ire that wouldn’t go away.

********************

Silence fell over the 4 like a piece of deafening music and Jae Jin thought he should at least say something to the new boy to break the tenseness that seemed to overwhelm the young man. He knows exactly how Su Won must have felt now and he felt sympathetic towards him.

“Su Won….How did you find out about ‘this’ place?”

Carefully, Jae Jin torn his eyes away from Ji Won’s and glanced over at Su Won’s direction.

With this sort of bare question, Su Won could feel his back going stiff and he wasn’t very comfortable with answering. Even if he had decided to live the rest of his life this way….it still seemed dishonorable and obscene.

He lifted his head and looked up. The look of shame filled his eyes….He hesitated for a moment before he made his reply. And when he spoke, his soft voice was low and almost inaudible….

“I….I met Jae Duc a little while back in Pusan. Because of the new school I’m attending, I moved here about a week ago. Jae Duc is the one who brought me ‘here’….”

He answered. He had no idea that he unintentionally emphasized on the word: here. Taking a sip from the alcohol that laid before him, he sank lower into his seat like a humiliated child that had just revealed his deepest and darkest secret.

Ji Won listened in silence. This all seemed so familiar to his eyes….Thinking about his hidden past and looking at Su Won, a deep sigh escaped his lips. He knew that after today….another immoral tale was about to begin.

A tale that not many are willing to listen. If they did, most of them probably wouldn’t even understand if it were told.

Why? Because people like ‘them’ are not accepted in the outside world….The ugliness of it all are simply too frightening for others to comprehend.

So in this realm, they will always remain secluded….parted from the rest of acceptable clique.

********************

[No Going Back] – (Part 2)

Kang Sung Hoon brushed his brown antenna bangs away from his cheeks and approached Jae Duc’s table. Sung Hoon was one of the waiters here and since the guys came here so often, he knows all three of them by names.

“Ji Won….Where have you been these days???? Did you know that Jae Jin had been here waiting for you to show up every single night?”

Sung Hoon had the same toothy grin on his face when he greeted his guests.

As if the words were distasteful to Ji Won’s ears, the warm colors on his face faded away and an irritated one had replaced it.

He knows that Jae Jin had a lot of love and affection to offer. But he wasn’t sure if he was ready for them.

So Ji Won hated it when something like this happens….It was one of those times when he felt like he was the cause and that all the burdens of blame were on him.

“I thought I told you not to wait for me, Lee Jae Jin. I never made you any PROMISES that I will come. Why don’t you just listen?….”

When he turned to Jae Jin, a flick of fire came into his eyes and his voice had dropped down to a furious hiss. Low and dangerous….

Jae Jin’s eyes are hurtful now. He knows exactly what Ji Won is thinking. It was the same old feeling that crept furtively around the edges of their minds, the feeling that their being had been engulfed in their entire life….

Like germs, their hands were covered with it….and it would NEVER come off no matter what happens.

It was guilt. Nothing but guilt.

Sung Hoon watched them with confused eyes and he could sense an altercation coming.

“Wow….Calm down, you 2. No need to fight….How about this? The drinks are on me tonight. What do you say?”

Sung Hoon patted both of them on their backs and broke the odd silence. Magically, his attempt to put out the fire worked.

Slowly, the furtive look was gone from Ji Won’s face but his brows furrowed deeply. Jae Jin only vacillated for a moment, and then stifled a sigh. He knows that if they keep this up, it would only mean a fight with Ji Won later. And if that happens, it would be stupid and pointless….

“Fine. Get us the usual, Sung Hoon….”

Jae Jin crossed his arms and finally spat as he bit himself on the lip bitterly.

Relieved that the situation had toned down a bit, Sung Hoon nodded in understanding and scurried away.

********************

Ji Won couldn’t stand the questioning look in Jae Jin’s eyes that seemed to be intensifying every passing second….

Inside, he could feel the dam he had built around his anger begin to crumble under Jae Jin’s saddening gaze.

The ire, the simmering fury that had threatened to overwhelm him only a few minutes before….was gone. And now, guiltiness had replaced it.

[God. Why must you do this to yourself, Lee Jae Jin? Why must you center your life on me? I’m not worth it…..Not worth it at all.]

Turning away, Ji Won noticed Su Won’s pair of dazed eyes glued to his movements. Like a child that’s fascinated with a foreign object, Su Won was watching him, studying him, observing the man that he was unfamiliar with but clearly interested in. Full of adoration and admiration…..

Ji Won felt uneasy then…….Because Su Won reminded him too much of his old self…..TOO MUCH.

It was the same old Eun Ji Won that he had lost a long time ago…..The old Eun Ji Won that was still innocent, pure, uncontaminated, and uncorrupted….

Now, Su Won was about to become one of them….Su Won was about to lose his young and simple soul.

Once you go on this path, there is no going back. No matter where you turn, the result is still going to be the same. It this what all of them are bound to become? Is there no other ending to this story?

********************

Jae Duc watched the enigmatic interaction that was going on between Ji Won and Su Won in silence. When he realized what was really happening, his lips pursed up tight and his jaws locked automatically.

He knows that when being compared to Ji Won, he seemed like nothing…..Insignificant.

It was a fact that he had recognized a long time ago but still couldn’t accept until this day.

The truth is, there were plenty new faces for Jae Duc to hunt….He didn’t have to fight Ji Won for this one. But if he couldn’t have Su Won, then he is not going to let Ji Won claim his prize so easily either.

At that moment, Jae Duc’s head swam and his brain calculated….He decided that it would be fun to see Jae Jin and Ji Won tear each other’s eyes out. With Su Won in the middle….his plan should work perfectly.

He wanted to see Jae Jin lose his gentleness……..He wanted to see Ji Won lose his temper.

[Haa haa! It should be fun to watch] Jae Duc thought to himself with a grin….

It should be nothing but pure amusement.

********************

Turning to Su Won, Jae Duc’s lips instantly curled into a mocking smile. His voice was as relentless as his eyes.

“Su Won….I’m going downstairs to have some fun. So I’ll just let Ji Won and Jae Jin take care of you for the rest of the night….I’m sure you can learn a couple of tricks or two from this lovely couple. Isn’t that right, Ji Won?”

Jae Duc’s sudden interruption snapped Su Won and Ji Won out of their trance.

Full of suspicion, Ji Won threw his head up and his eyes met squarely with Jae Duc’s.

[How odd] Ji Won thought to himself. [Jae Duc is suddenly abandoning his little friend that he was just drooling all over a few minutes ago. What changed his mind?]

Suddenly, Ji Won couldn’t tell what was going on around him anymore. He had lost track of things.

“Go ahead, Jae Duc. Ji Won and I will make sure Su Won goes home safely later.”

It was Jae Jin who spoke this time as he ended the conversation. The peacefulness in his voice sounded so unusual and strange….it was almost as if he were faking it.

Snarling through clenched teeth, Jae Duc didn’t want to look like a fool for sticking around. Obvious, he didn’t belong here anymore.

A dark shadow fell upon Jae Duc’s face as he rose from his seat. Madness held him down tightly in its grip and his veins had already popped up starkly from his skin like snakes. He picked up the glass and gulped the rest of the intoxicating drink down his throat. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he gave Ji Won one last burning look before he slammed the glass back down onto the table. Doing his best to put the feelings of jealously that rose unbidden from somewhere in the deep recesses of his mind, Jae Duc walked away.

Su Won was then left behind as he sat rigidly…

********************
[No Going Back] – (Part 3) Ji Won’s Dark Past
All 3 of them knew that by the end of the night, the conclusion of this tale wouldn’t be too pleasing. It was obvious.
Although none of them had any idea what was going to happen next, this story still had to move on.
********************
“Tell us about your life story, Su Won. I want to hear it.”
Jae Jin stroked his dark and silky hair with his hand. His eyes were softer than ever as he spoke.
Su Won braced himself for a moment and shook his head. His hands were folded in his lap and there was an oddly blank look on his face. Like he was afraid that the longer he stayed, the further he would sank into his fear….His fear to face his new soul.
“My life story? Doesn’t everyone here have a past that they rather not discuss?”
Su Won replied. The last word flicked from his lips like a whip as it slashed onto Jae Jin’s and Ji Won’s heart.
It’s true. Everyone had a past. They all had a secret affair that they wanted to hide from others.
Numbness began to spread across Ji Won’s body and he closed his eyes to ease the feeling. When he did that, the old memories gleamed before his eyes like projector film.
Suddenly, Ji Won was sent back through time and he had to relive his past. The past that he had kept buried deeply in the back of his mind….
********************
The Eun’s were a poor family. Ji Won was the younger one out of the 2 children. As long as he could remember, his parents were constantly fussing and fighting over the subject of money.
Sometimes, the entire family would go on days without food in their stomachs because they had no income. Those long and unbearable days of hunger kept him awake at night when he tried to relinquish himself to the darkness of fate that began to close in around him. But no matter how hard he tried, the reality was still there and sleep would not come.
When Ji Won entered junior high, his father couldn’t take it anymore so he walked out on them. Leaving them behind with debts that they could never pay off.
After that, both children had to work to support the family because obviously the mother couldn’t do it alone. And because of the large amount of money they owed, the weight upon the kids’ shoulders only got heavier as the days went by.
From that point on, Ji Won’s childhood was filled with nothing but pure misery. Because of that, the boy had almost forgotten how to smile….how to laugh.
The sky seemed gray and cloudy….the sunshine could never break through.
********************
When Ji Won entered high school, due to his excellent academic records, a private boarding school had accepted him.
At first, Ji Won was proud of himself. He could see that all of his hard work had paid off.
Then reality hits him again. The financial situation had gotten so terrible for his family at that time that Ji Won decided to quit going to school all together so he could help out his family by working full-time. To him, putting food onto the table was more important than anything else.
But his older brother insisted to have Ji Won continue his education that himself never completed. He didn’t want to see Ji Won live the rest of his life in regrets.
So the older boy worked his butt off….3 jobs at a time to pay for Ji Won’s tuition. So Ji Won wouldn’t have to worry about money problems and instead, he could concentrate more on his schoolwork.
Ji Won admired his brother for all the things that he had done and all the sacrifices that he had made. Since their father was gone, Ji Won felt that his brother was the only one he could look up to and rely on. As long as his brother was around, Ji Won was not afraid of anything. Because he knows that there will always be wings there protecting him from harms. His brother’s wings were his shelter….A place where he could run to when he needed help and guidance.
Then things changed quickly. His brother suddenly fell in love with a girl and decided to get married. His wedding day struck Ji Won like unexpected lightening and left him scarred.
His brother made him promises that he would always be there for him. The promises that were stars in Ji Won’s dreamy sky. And now, they are broken, they left the world dark and lonely and made him distrustful of everything he was ever told.
Ji Won cried his eyes out the night of the wedding and his tears of sorrow wouldn’t stop falling. He had lost his brother forever….He had lost the person he loved the most in this entire world to another. Which was a girl.
He didn’t understand why his brother would choose a girl over him. Wasn’t he important enough?
His suppressed feelings were lashed out then and that was when Ji Won noticed his ‘abnormal behavior’. He suddenly realized what his ‘agonies’ meant.
It was a strange emotion that Ji Won never thought he would ever experience.
It meant that….He was not only deeply in love with his brother, he had fallen in love with a man.
********************
When Ji Won became a sophomore, a new student came into his class. His name was Ko Ji Yong and his princely looking face had many girls fallen head over heels for him.
Although Ji Yong’s academic records basically sucked, since he was failing all of his classes and was constantly on probation, he was still very popular among the girls.
But the strange thing was, whenever girls flirted with him, Ji Yong usually just ignored them. He wouldn’t even smile or talk to them.
********************
In class, there were no assigned seats but Ji Yong always made sure he gets to sit next to Ji Won. He would even write Ji Won little notes about nothing in particular when the teacher wasn’t looking….Completely neglecting the fact that if he gets caught, it only meant one more trip to the principle’s office. The place where he practically visited everyday.
Then gradually, the 2 of them became close friends. They talked about everything.
Ji Yong even told Ji Won a lot of personal things that he sworn were never told to anyone else.
“I trust you that’s why I’m telling you this, Ji Won.”
He said with a sweet smile.
********************
Unlike Ji Won, Ji Yong was born in an extremely wealthy upper class family as the only child. However, he was never close to his parents….he rarely saw them at all. His father was always out on countless business meetings and trips…His mother on the other hand, was always out spending money that the father had brought home. Buying, purchasing things that they didn’t really need.
Born within such an environment, Ji Yong never lacked any material things. Whatever he wanted, he always get it. Money wasn’t a problem at all.
But Ji Yong didn’t feel loved. His parents barely spent any time with him. The house was always empty and only the nanny and the butler were there to accompany him, along with numerous servants that Ji Yong couldn’t even name.
So Ji Yong’s childhood was filled with nothing but pure loneliness. No one really cared about him. And the people that his parents hired to look out after him…..were only doing it because it was their job. Because they were PAID to do so….
Craving for attention, Ji Yong turned to smoking, drinking, even drugs. He didn’t do well academically and he was constantly expelled from school for fights that he purposely started.
Ji Yong wasn’t stupid. He knew deep in his heart that what he was doing wasn’t right. But it was his own way of begging for his parents to notice his existence. His own way to win his parents focus.
However, instead of giving their only son the love and care that were unlimited and free….His parents tried to solve the problem with cash.
They send him from one psychiatrist to another, hoping to improve his behavior by getting him so-called professional help.
When that didn’t work, they decided to switch schools. So they flew Ji Yong from this boarding school to the other….like passing an unwanted orphan from one foster home into another.
Ji Yong felt unwanted. He hated his parents for that. Why couldn’t they see past his act of frustration? Why couldn’t they just sit down and try to talk to him about it?
All he wanted was to be loved. Why couldn’t they just give him that?
********************
Ji Won felt sympathetic after hearing Ji Yong’s story. He finally understood Ji Yong’s dark side….With no more secrets between them, the 2 were brought closer together.
********************
One weekend, when most students parted from the school to go home and visit their family, Ji Yong and Ji Won were the only ones left on the 2nd floor of the dormitory.
Ji Won didn’t want to go home and face his brother that he had grew apart from…And Ji Yong didn’t want to return to the empty house. So they stayed….
After dinner was over, the 2 of them headed towards the boy’s shower to take their baths.
As the warm water shot down from the showerhead above, the steam began to fill the air and the sweet aroma of the soap met it halfway.
Ji Won stood there for a moment and let himself drown in the rain. As the liquid sprinkled onto his tanned skin, he felt refreshed….renewed even.
Then suddenly, he heard footsteps running towards his stall and before he could turn around, Ji Yong barged in and jerked the curtains open.
“Ji Yong?”
Ji Won gasped out of surprise.
There Ji Yong was….wet and naked. He was crying as tears streamed down his pale cheeks…..like tiny little crystals as they shone before Ji Won’s eyes.
Choking onto his own wrenching sobs, Ji Yong cried out to Ji Won and told the boy that he couldn’t stand it anymore. He always craved for his parents attention…Especially his father’s. But in return, he received none from the man.
Then he turned to his mother, which changed nothing at all. She was only a none existent. A person he saw randomly at times but couldn’t reach out to.
Because of that, Ji Yong’s mind became unbalanced. He was afraid, scared to be alone….
Now, he only desired for another boy who understood him to love him in all those ways. And that boy was Ji Won.
With glistened eyes, Ji Yong wept endlessly and his desperate cries came to a shock to Ji Won’s ears.
Stunned, Ji Won remained frozen in place and before his mind could find him the right words to say, Ji Yong stepped up and threw himself against Ji Won who was also bare. And that was when their bodies came into direct contact for the first time.
Ji Won’s eyes shot wide and his mouth gaped open at the shuddering sensation. Ji Yong’s silky skin brushed lightly against his and he felt hypnotized at the touch.
Lost of words, Ji Won’s hands trembled as his fingers came upon Ji Yong’s smooth back as his arms wrapped around his friend.
Ji Yong’s sobs echoed in his ears as the water continued to bathe them. As their breaths twirled together in mid-air, that became Ji Won’s first physical encounter with another.
********************
After that, the 2 of them grew apart. A great gap had came between them and neither of them could figure out what really happened in the shower that night.
Wasn’t it dirty and wrong? Wasn’t it corrupted and sinful? But at the same time, it felt right. Or did it?
From that point, they avoided each other and acted like total strangers when they see each other. Neither of them could look into the other’s eyes.
Why? They had no idea. All they knew was that they were both confused….Perhaps full of regrets.
Then finals came and Ji Won decided to push all this aside and concentrate on his schoolwork.
But Ji Yong on the other hand, had only gotten worse as he headed further down the road to destruction. He became involved in numerous gang activities and he accidentally shot one of their rivals with a gun and committed murder.
Ji Won found out and he couldn’t believe it was happening. Was it his fault? Was he the reason that drove Ji Yong up to this?
He tried to contact Ji Yong but he couldn’t find him no matter what he did. Ji Won was then later notified that Ji Yong was found guilty in court for his crime.
Before Ji Yong went into jail, he wrote Ji Won a letter. It was a short and straight forward one.
*********************
Ji Won….
Our first time will be our last, I will always remember it.
Please don’t feel responsible for what happened. I brought this entirely upon myself and I only have myself to blame.
Don’t come looking for me, I don’t want to be your burden. Move on without me. I know you will do well in the future and I wish you the best.
Ko Ji Yong
********************
After that, Ji Yong disappeared and the 2 had lost contact with each other ever since.
********************
[No Going Back]- (Part 4)
Ji Won did try to forget about his past, but it wasn’t easy. The harder he tried to forget, the deeper the scar seemed to get.
Thinking about each and every time his heart had been ripped out of one world and carried off to another, not once did he overcome his sadness. Each time someone left Ji Won, they took a little bit of something from him. First it was his brother who left him for a woman, then it was Ji Yong who deserted him and faded into the darkness.
Why? He loved them both but was also abandoned by both.
Ji Won began to fear there would be nothing left to take away to a new place. He only had so much love to give. He was fragile….almost empty. Losing his strength. Like a piece of thin glass that could shatter any minute if there were any impact at all.
********************
Su Won gazed over at Ji Won with gentle eyes as he listened to Ji Won’s tale in dead silence.
“That was such a beautiful story….”
He finally said.
Instantly, Ji Won lifted his head up and looked at Su Won as if there were some spiritual meaning to the boy’s words.
“No. It wasn’t a story, Su Won. It was a past that I’m trying to walk away from….”
He emphasized.
“I understand. As for me, I don’t even have a ‘past’. I’m still living under my shadow and can’t walk away from it. That’s why I came here. I came here to start my own ‘past’.”
Su Won admitted wistfully with his head down in defeat. When he heard himself revealing his own secret, it nearly brought tears to his own eyes. He could almost feel them now, rising against the floodgates, threatening to overflow and send torrents down his cheeks.
********************
Biting himself on the lip, Ji Won saw his old self being reflected on Su Won….Once again, those painful past drowned him for the countless time and he was long lost within his memories.
Closing his eyes in agony, he saw faces then. He saw his father, his brother, and lastly….he saw Ji Yong. He was still the same handsome boy with the sweet smile.
Ji Won didn’t even notice the tears that were clouding his eyes until Jae Jin’s arms came hovering from above like a protective coat. Suddenly, he felt the Jae Jin’s soft lips on his dampened lids as the tears were being kissed away.
“Ji Won. Let the past go. Just let it go….”
As if he wanted to take on some of Ji Won’s pain, Jae Jin whispered softly into Ji Won’s ear as he embraced the sobbing man in his arms. He didn’t seem to notice Ji Won flinching in resistance in the process.
“It’s easy for you to say, but hard for me to do.”
Reluctantly, Ji Won fluttered his eyelids open and pushed Jae Jin away as if Jae Jin’s touch had burned his skin.
When he did that, Jae Jin had a strange look in his eyes, one that Ji Won had never seen before. His face was stern, angry, full of disappointment, but he also looked hurt, in some deep emotional pain.
He couldn’t understand Ji Won’s behavior and the poignant expression on his face only darkened some more.
At that moment, Ji Won could feel his heart sank. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t swallow, he couldn’t breathe.
He hated himself for doing this to Jae Jin. During these 2 years, Jae Jin had been so patient and loving and understanding. But now, Ji Won could very well drive him away.
Jae Jin would suddenly let go and leave him dangling, wandering, searching for his identity again. When will Ji Won ever find it?
********************
Being the gentleman that he usually was, Jae Jin said nothing about Ji Won’s rejection. The only thing he did was to fix his eyes on Ji Won with such fury and frustration, that it made Ji Won look away.
Afraid that he would lose his composure soon, Jae Jin suddenly slapped his hand onto the table and nearly knocked all the drinks over. Shocked, Ji Won and Su Won jumped in their seats.
“Excuse me, I have to go make a phone call.”
Jae Jin said icily. The cold and bitter tone in his voice froze Ji Won’s heart.
The moment Jae Jin rose from his seat, panic welled deeply inside Ji Won and he wanted to ask the man to stay. But those words never parted from his sealed lips. Because no matter what he says now, it would never erase what was happening between them.
How stupid and foolish. Ji Won had hurt the one person who loved him the most in this world.
Afraid to utter a sound, Ji Won could only watch Jae Jin’s back disappear to the other side of the dimension with eyes of remorse.
********************
The clock struck 12 then. A lot of people around them were already gone except for a few that stayed.
Su Won shifted uncomfortably in his seat, as if reluctant to speak. He lowered his gaze to his glass and then looked up at Ji Won again.
“Have you 2 know each other for long?” He asked.
Not catching the purpose behind the question, Ji Won nodded and turned.
“About 2 years.”
He said. Their eyes met and locked for the countless time.
“Only him and no one else?”
Su Won gathered all of his courage and pressed on. But this time, his face flashed in red and his voice was as tiny as a bird.
Ji Won stared at the pure face long and hard for a second. The face that reminded him of his old self.
At that peculiar moment, the blackness of the night danced around him, seemed to close in on him, and the unseeing feeling blossomed inside him.
For some unknown reason, Ji Won was suddenly struck with the desire to cradle Su Won in his embrace and let his tears that had been buried deeply escape. This bizarre feeling came so unexpectedly and Ji Won didn’t know how to handle it.
He only shook his head in the end and smiled again, tenderly.
“What do you expect me to tell you?”
There was a long pause.
“I…..I don’t really know.”
With his head down, Su Won admitted with trembling lips.
Then it was silence between them again. Ji Won took a long gulp of his scotch and soda, as if to fortify himself.
“Well, it was just Jae Jin and I these past 2 years. But until this day, I still don’t know who or what I really want…..”
He confessed as he leaned forward and folded his hands on the table.
Su Won’s back went stiff and he felt as if a lead lump had gotten stuck in his chest. Sitting up straight, he swallowed hard. He could hear the desperation in Ji Won’s voice. It was the same lack of fulfillment that he had always felt in his heart.
Before neither of them could say anything else, Sung Hoon suddenly appeared with a note in his hand.
“Ji Won. Jae Jin left you this note. I asked him why he’s leaving without you and he only said that something important had came up and he had to go.”
“What!!??? He left????”
Stunned, Ji Won shot out of his seat and exclaimed as if the news had struck him as thunder.
“Yeah….He left. Here, take this.”
Sung Hoon shrugged and placed the note next to Ji Won’s drink.
Ji Won remained paralyzed for a moment. He couldn’t think, he couldn’t move, he couldn’t speak. His mind was jammed with all sorts of confusion.
Su Won could see the moisture in Ji Won’s eyes as the man pressed his palm against his pounding heart and fell back into the chair like a soft paper doll, his gray face even more ashen.
Jae Jin left? Why? Ji Won didn’t understand.
Still unable to recover from his shock, Ji Won unfolded the piece of paper with his trembling hands and unwillingly, his wide eyes scanned over the neat handwriting.
********************
Ji Won, it’s over between us and I’m leaving.
I know you didn’t belong to me during these 2 years and you still don’t. I have no right to tie you down. Especially after what I saw here tonight, I am convinced that this is all for the best. I can tell from the look in your eyes that you already found the ‘one’ who you are really looking for. His name is Jang Su Won, isn’t it?
Although tears are already traveling down my cheeks while I write this, I know I shouldn’t be sad to part from you. Because I didn’t really lose you since I never owned you, right?
So just go. Flap your wings and fly high in the sky. I only want the best for you and this is it.
Goodbye, forever….
Lee Jae Jin
********************
Ji Won’s lips trembled as he sat there numbly holding the piece of thin paper in his hands.
He was still in denial….refusing to believe what was happening.
Was he hypnotized? Was this only a dream?
But deep in his heart, he knew it was all true. Jae Jin, the one person who he thought would never leave him, had left him. Ji Won had chased him away after all.
Su Won could see the water crystals glistening in Ji Won’s eyes and he had some idea of what was going on.
“What is it?”
He asked, still in aghast.
Ji Won bit himself on the lip and made no reply. Tears flooded his eyes but he kept them trapped. He was determined not to cry….at last not yet.
********************
A thin layer of fog was drifting from the sea and no more than a gentle swirl of mist eddied around the treetops.
When Ji Won and Su Won emerged from the glass doors, the night seemed darker than ever out there. The big eye of the moon climbed its way up the starry sky. It gave off light radiance from above that made Ji Won and Su Won felt so brittle under its touch.
“Every story has to end.”
Ji Won peered up into the sky and inhaled deeply through his nose following by a deep sigh. It depressed Su Won to hear the quaver in his voice.
“Let’s just go, ok?”
Su Won’s whispered softly. His strong arm slid protectively around Ji Won’s shoulder.
When Su Won drew him closer into the warm embrace, Ji Won somehow felt a little better as he closed his eyes and let Su Won’s steady heartbeat block away the loneliness he felt inside.
********************

Note: The following might be offending to some. So Izam apologizes ahead of time.
[No Going Back] – (Part 5)
Inside Ji Won’s room, Su Won’s hands fumbled as he unbuttoned his own shirt. He was willing to give himself away tonight….
Seconds later, the white cotton material slipped off Su Won’s shoulders like a feather and slowly, his broad and masculine chest was revealed.
Under the moonlight that flooded in from the window, it gave Su Won’s skin a smooth and glossy touch.
Ji Won was unable to look and he cowered at the edge of the bed with his face buried in his hands. He was afraid of what was going to come next……Extremely afraid.
Indeed, he couldn’t deny the fact that there was a cryptic chemistry between them. It had been a long time since a man made him feel like the way Su Won had made him feel. But he wasn’t sure if he was ready for this. Su Won was too beautiful, too enigmatic and too untouchable.
When Su Won ducked beneath the sheet and slipped closer to Ji Won, his body heat radiated and made Ji Won flinch in dismay.
“Ji Won? What is it? Did I do something wrong?”
Su Won whispered, his voice soft and very intimate.
“No. But….this is difficult for me. You’ve got to believe that…I know that this is your first time and I don’t want to force you.”
Ji Won stammered and his hands dropped to his lap in slow motion. But with his head down, he was still averting Su Won’s questioning eyes.
“You didn’t force me, Ji Won. I want to be here….”
Su Won leaned over and grabbed Ji Won’s wrist by force. He turned it over and kissed the place where the pulse throbbed just beneath the pale flesh as he planted his hot mouth onto his partner’s skin.
It was no doubt in his mind that he didn’t need to think about this. He was willing to be Ji Won’s other half.
When Su Won’s lips brushed up upon Ji Won’s tanned skin, it sent an electric shock through Ji Won that rendered him completely flustered. The physical contact was brief but it made his heart flip-flop on its own.
Unconsciously, Ji Won began to wonder what it would be like to have Su Won hold him in his arms, to feel the curve of the man’s sensual lips as they covered his…..
The atmosphere in the room seemed to close in on him and made his heart pound. At that moment, Ji Won knew it could only mean one thing. He was falling in love with Su Won……Falling in very quickly.
But still, there was that nagging question at the back of his mind: Was this really the right thing to do?
Ji Won didn’t want to admit it, because if it didn’t work out, he would have to face the disappointment of failure all over again. In his whole life, he couldn’t seem to escape from the sense of failing…..
“I….I can’t. I’m afraid that I’ll end up hurting you. You still have a chance to live a normal life, Su Won….I don’t want you to end up like me.”
Ji Won strained and eventually lifted his sad eyes. When their visions touched, Su Won saw a pain in Ji Won’s dark forests that he couldn’t identify.
“Ji Won. In this world, besides the love between a woman and a man, there are still other kinds of affection and bond. Kinds like ours. We are not doing anything wrong….”
Su Won explained. Impulsively, he reached out and stroked Ji Won’s thick and raven hair with his fingers….letting the soft strands slip through the tips time after time.
Ji Won could feel his own eyes burning with tears now but he held them back. He pursed his lips up bitterly and was determined not to let his sorrow take over.
“I know. We are all the same….just because we express our infatuations in a different way, it doesn’t make us any less of a human being. But sometimes I wonder if it weren’t for our broken past….we wouldn’t turn out this way.”
As soon those words rolled out of Ji Won’s lips, the scene of his father walking out of his life, the scene of his brother leaving him for another woman, and the last letter he received from Ji Yong……Suddenly, they replayed in Ji Won’s mind. Repeating over and over.
Watching the expression on Ji Won’s handsome face turning from grievous to poignant, Su Won instantly took Ji Won’s arm and pulled him close to comfort him. Ji Won felt weak then and he leaned against Su Won’s body…taking a sensual pleasure in Su Won’s warm and virile strength…..Using the delight to compensate for his pain.
“Why must we be tortured? All we ever wanted was to be loved. Is that so much to ask????”
Su Won began to wonder out loud. Asking the same question that lingered in Ji Won’s mind. Those words stung….Because even until this day, neither of them had came up with an answer.
Odd silence fell upon the 2 and tears were threatening to escape Ji Won’s lids. He could almost feel them now, ready to burst out of his floodgates.
“I don’t know, Su Won….Maybe our desire and wish is only a dream? A fantasy? A bubble that didn’t really exist? We are chasing after something that probably didn’t belong to us. We are like little children who are trying to reach for the stars in the sky….Thinking that one day maybe we will catch it.”
Finally, Ji Won breathed deeply with miseries shedding….tumbling down his cheeks in drops. It crushed Su Won to see that. He couldn’t bear it. Reaching out, he grabbed the man by the shoulders and towed him closer….Engulfing the man into his embrace…..
When Ji Won closed his tiring eyes, he felt Su Won’s tender lips on his wet lashes as the boy traced a line of marvelous kisses down to his mouth. This time, Ji Won was no longer cringing inside and he made no signs of resistance.
He too, had decided to let himself go and be completed. His heart was telling him that Su Won was the only one who could fill up the emptiness he felt inside.
As if they had practiced this numerous times, they laid in bed together, their mouths gently exploring each other’s unspoken words. Very slowly, Su Won’s tongue pushed between Ji Won’s parting lips and without speaking, Su Won told the man more about the way he felt than any words he could have spoken.
It was an intense moment of suspense when Su Won climbed his way down Ji Won’s dark and muscular chest. Leaving his flaming breath as marks when he wandered about.
Shuddering, Ji Won moaned and unconsciously made a weak show of protest at first. But then he sighed and his arms wrapped around Su Won’s neck….his hands kneading Su Won’s sweat-damp hair.
Although Su Won had never done this before, he was expertly speaking the language of ecstasy. He needed no experience, no practice. His fondness and passion, his desire and craving to claim Ji Won was showing him the steps. Telling him what and how to do it….
When Su Won’s affectionate lips continued to work his way down to the abyss, his breath grew deep and heavy, soft and moist….He could hear the satisfying evidence of his efficacy as Ji Won groaned and squirmed beneath him like a helpless victim.
As Su Won fondled and grazed Ji Won with his caress, electric shocks fired throughout Ji Won’s body and boiling blood shot up his brain like a bullet. Gradually, Ji Won grew rigid and then waken as his back arched on its own….Pleasant feeling washed over him and he uttered a delighted cry when he finally reached his crisis.
********************
When it was over, they broke apart and Su Won rolled over to lie beside Ji Won. Both spent and satiated, they embraced each other and kissed gently.
There was no denying that something special had happened between them. Something beautiful, something wonderful. Su Won was sure that Ji Won had felt it, too.
Smiling sweetly, Su Won snuggled closer to Ji Won’s chest to feel his partner’s heart rising and falling in a steady rhythm. That was when Ji Won heard Su Won’s mild whisper….
“I love you….”
Gasping for a moment, Ji Won almost couldn’t and didn’t believe his ears. Su Won had said the 3 magic words. This was the exact scene Ji Won had been waiting for all his life….And now it was finally being played out.
Slowly, Ji Won’s eyes swayed and fell upon Su Won’s. When he gazed deeply into them, he saw that they were glassy….almost sad. But still innocent and pure as ever………
Ji Won could feel his own face breaking into a smile and looking dazed, he wanted to tell Su Won the same thing in the only way he knew how….
********************
Su Won watched with curious eyes as Ji Won’s sweaty body came hovering from above like a human coat. It appeared that the role between them had changed. Su Won was no longer the one in control.
“What are you doing?”
He asked with a sound of surprise in his voice as their figures lay pressed tightly together again.
“Instead of saying those 3 words back to you, I’m going to show you how I really feel about you…..”
Ji Won told him, his voice lower than ever.
Su Won was physically exhausted then but his insides were still churning. When he made no signs of rebel, Ji Won leaned in and their forehead touched….His damp hair gently slipped down and brushed against Su Won’s tender cheeks like strings of silk
“All right. Go ahead, Ji Won. ‘Show’ me…..”
As the ticklish sensation began to spread, Su Won’s lips curved into another reserved smile and he murmured deeply and closed his eyes.
For the remaining night, he let Ji Won’s delicate flesh fill his own again and again.
********************
[No Going Back] – (Part 6)
On the sidewalk in front of the Six Crystals, Ji Won and Su Won stood and necked like teenagers until not even their happiness and passion could stave off the cold.
“I still have to clean up after the ruins I left behind. You understand, don’t you?”
Pulling away, Ji Won’s black eyes were glinting under the moonlight. They were sad and apologetic eyes.
Smiling softly, Su Won nodded and leaned against Ji Won, taking a sensual pleasure in Ji Won’s warm, masculine strength so it would momentarily chase away the later night chill.
Su Won knew why they were here in the first place. Ji Won had explained it to him on their way here. Ji Won felt horrible about how things ended with Ji Yong…. Therefore, he wanted see Jae Jin for the last time so he could put a closure to things. He couldn’t use Jae Jin’s note as a tool for conclusion.
Still haunted by the pang of guilt, Ji Won threw his arms around Su Won as he give the man a passionate yet reassuring kiss and hugged him tightly to the warmth of his chest. Su Won blushed and finally relented; kissing Ji Won on the cleft of his chin with a smile, and Ji Won leaned over to kiss him again, more deeply this time….
********************
Six Crystals.
The night was still the same. The air filled with different mixes of strange aromas and whispers. On the outside, the real world and its colors, sounds and scenery all seemed somehow smaller and faded. But in here, it was as if you had been transported out of your body and into another time and place. For the space of a couple of hours, you live in a world far more intense, far more real than the one that waited for you outside.
Jae Duc. Still the same old Kim Jae Duc. He had another young and fresh face with him tonight. Giggling within Jae Duc’s arms, the boy was still exploring this unfamiliar realm with his large and fascinated eyes.
Surprised to see Ji Won appearing into the seat across from him, Jae Jin’s eyes narrowed as he brought the cigarette close to his mouth and inhaled so hard that the orange ring moved visibly towards the filter.
“Jae Jin. This is the last time I’ll ever see you. From now on, I don’t think I’ll come here anymore.”
With his hands folded on the table, Ji Won told him hollowly. He felt guilty even as the thought flashed through his mind.
To Jae Jin, Ji Won’s voice sounded so distant and the words came from his mouth sounded as if they were from someone else’s. They were the words Jae Jin hardly knew existed until they came pouring out of Ji Won’s lips.
In Jae Jin’s mind, it was no doubt that he thought their romance was so promising, so perfect, so fated. But deep in his heart, he knew that by letting Ji Won go was the right thing to do. That was the reason behind the note he wrote with trembling hands. So why was he still second-guessing himself? Was it because he was still unwilling to give Ji Won up?
Still staring at Ji Won, Jae Jin exhaled the smoke deeply, feeling a great deal of sadness.
“I understand…..”
He finally mumbled softly. He had no idea that the poignant expression on his face had already belied his words.
Ji Won saw the look of tortured confusion on Jae Jin’s serene face and he almost regretted coming here. Maybe he should just leave things the way they were instead of trying to put an end to this tale. But thinking about how Ji Yong’s life was destroyed because of him, he just couldn’t bring himself to turn away. He still had to explain things to Jae Jin.
“It started here at the Six Crystals, but it will also end here. I was searching, looking for the affection I longed for and now I found it.”
Ji Won managed to say while he chewed his lip. But his breath was suddenly caught when he saw the devastation that flashed on Jae Jin’s pale face. On hesitate, Ji Won wasn’t sure if he could go on with this, but he had gone so far already….
Gazing into Jae Jin’s dark universe that was painted with sorrow, Ji Won could feel his heart ache when he continued.
“Jae Jin, I didn’t mean to hurt you….I have to admit that we ‘did’ have something special. But I also can’t deny the fact that if I stayed with you, I will be causing the both of us pain. Because we both know that my heart isn’t in it.”
Listening to those unfamiliar words, Jae Jin stiffened a little in his chair, his eyes filled with an endearing mix of expectancy and vulnerability. Indeed, his insides were twisting into knots as he spoke.
“Yes. I didn’t want to face the truth but I guess I have to now. When we were together, you still insisted on coming here….You never told me why but I knew it was because I wasn’t the one you were looking for. Now this day had finally came, you still have to leave me. So, Su Won was the one after all. He was the only one who could help you find your old self…..and make you complete.”
“Right. Su Won was searching too but he grew tired of lingering endlessly. Now that we finally found each other, we don’t want to come here anymore. We don’t need to hide in the darkness, we don’t need to seal our presence. Six Crystals may be a place for temporary escape from the harshness of the outside world. But if we keep coming here, we are still denying who we really are….”
Ji Won explained, his own stirring emotions were strangling him already.
Jae Jin didn’t say a word for a long time and he only drew deeply from the cigarette and measured Ji Won’s reaction through a blue haze of smoke. Watching the handsome face from across, Jae Jin felt Ji Won’s pain, anguish and desperation as keenly as if they were his own. If was clear to him that Ji Won was lost, sad, and alone before but now, the man seemed to have found the answers to his questions that would fulfill him. The answers that Jae Jin himself couldn’t provide.
After what felt like an eternity, Jae Jin leaned forward and crushed the cigarette into the ashtray on the table. He told himself that he had to accept that no matter what happened, he couldn’t alter what was happening between them.
“I agree, Ji Won. I think you have completed this piece of puzzle. Once we are down this road….there is no going back.”
Jae Jin finally concluded as he smiled. A smile that was obviously forced and seemed fake as ever. But deeply within, he was bleeding. Bleeding badly.
********************
(Epilogue.)
On Ji Won’s way out, a group of men emerged from the doorway and one of them abruptly caught his eyes. He was a tall and slim looking young man who had a soft and charming face….the face that resembled Ji Yong’s.
For a moment, Ji Won remained rooted to the spot and he fell into disbelief. Ji Yong????
Wheeling around, he shouted out to the figure….His voice full of incredulity.
“Wait!!!! Ji Yong????”
As if Ji Won’s desperate cry were oblivious, the man ignored him and didn’t even bother to turn. Instead, he disappeared into the crowds along with his friends as the darkness engulfed their beings.
Why? They finally met up again but why wouldn’t Ji Yong answer him????
The old memories flooded into Ji Won’s brain then and he wanted to go after Ji Yong. He couldn’t help feeling an aching nostalgia over the good times they shared together. It seemed so long ago but he still hadn’t forgotten. He finally found Ji Yong and he couldn’t lose him again. Maybe there was something he could have done to help him….Maybe they could still work something out.
But then another voice echoed in his ears….telling him that it wasn’t Ji Yong and that his eyes had tricked him. Besides, Ji Yong was part of his past….the past that he had to let go.
********************
The glass doors slammed shut behind him and Ji Won stepped out into the night. The soft breeze slowly greeted him and for some reason, Ji Won felt revived as the wind brushed against his skin.
Was it the feeling of ‘rebirth’? He wasn’t sure. But it if was, then he finally understood what the word meant.
Under the street light, Ji Won could see that there was a firm and solid figure standing there waiting for him. As the dim ray of light touched the person’s face, it was delicate and fine as a piece of glass. A smooth glass that no one was allowed to touch but himself.
It was the person who Ji Won was looking for….the person who he had finally found after years of intense searching.
Very slowly, a smile began to dance on Ji Won’s lips and he walked towards the figure with warm and opened arms.

[THE END]