#1 Fan by: SHforever

#1 fan

  • a EunKang fanfic
  • completed

Chapter 1

Oh yeah, that’s it baby…move that sexy body…show me more, you hot stuff…

Lee Hyori, undeniably the most gorgeous senior in school, was singing and dancing in front of her mirror, clad only in a loose shirt, nothing more. Her long, shapely legs were teasing me, the hem of the shirt just barely covering everything.

Damn, that girl was fine…

“Hyung! What are you doing over there by the fence?”

Startled by the shout, I lost my balance and tripped over my feet, falling hard on my butt.

Shit…not him again.

“Quiet…!” I hissed, rubbing my aching bottom. Ignoring him, I turned back and peeked over.

She didn’t seem to have heard anything, and she was now brushing her hair.

Awww…perfection.

“Hey what are you looking at…? Hey, that’s Hyori noona…what are you doing just staring at her for?”

“Sunghoon, you’re such a kid…you don’t know anything…” I said with an air of superiority, turning to face him after Hyori disappeared from view.

Sunghoon snickered. “Hmph, whatever, you’re only two years older than me.”

“Yeah, but that makes a big difference…you don’t know anything about love.”

He gave me a hurt look. “Hyung, of course I do…I love YOU, don’t I?”

Sheesh…I should never have brought up the subject. Did I mention that this kid thought he was madly in love with me? I don’t know why he picked me, of all people, but he was always following me around and declaring his love for me in the most embarrassing situations. Like that time when I was asking this cute girl Jinee out on a date…

I rolled my eyes, knowing it wouldn’t do any good to try to get him to change his mind.

“So, hyung, what are you going to do today?” He looked at me with an eager expression, leaning close to me.

I shoved his face away from mine and started to walk away. “I don’t know, but don’t follow me,” I called back.

He followed anyway…loser, didn’t he have anything better to do? Apparently not.

I strolled very casually, walking a few feet in front of him. Then, when I turned the corner, I ran for my life. I didn’t stop running until 20 blocks passed by, then looking back, I saw I had lost him. He was an enthusiastic kid, but he was not very athletic.

Whistling happily, my hands shoved inside my pocket, I counted myself lucky this time for having escaped Kang Sunghoon’s company.

**********

I wandered around aimlessly for hours before daring to head back. As I was walking past an alley, I heard voices.

“Give us all of your money now or else…”

I wanted to walk on by, but aigo, I’m too much of a nice guy. I stepped into the fight.

There were three guys surrounding a boy who was already dripping blood from his nose. I grew angry. Sure, the boy was taller, but he was so pale and skinny, and he was outnumbered.

“You, punkasses, leave him alone.”

“What’s it to you?” The ringleader sneered. Without answering, I started to beat the crap out of all three of them until they had the sense enough to run. Bunch of wannabe kkangpaes, so pathetic. I turned to leave but the boy reached out and grabbed my arm.

“Wait, I want to thank you,” he said, when I looked at him questioningly.

“My name is Ko Jiyong. Thanks for helping me out…uh…”

“Jiwon. Eun Jiwon…” I replied. He smiled charmingly at me.

“Well Jiwonee hyung, how bout I buy you some ttokbokgee?” My stomach gurgled, reminding me how hungry I was.

Jiyong laughed. “I’ll buy you some soondae, too.” He slung his arm casually around me and led me to a nearby pojangmacha. We got to talking and I found out that he had just recently moved, and was going to be a freshman at my school.

“Just watch out for Sunghoon. That kid’s a leech,” I warned him as we were walking back. He lived pretty close to my house, actually, just at the end of the block.

“Haha, he can’t be that bad, hyung.”

“You’re right, he’s worse.”

We were at my house before I knew it, and I turned around to open the door. I realized

Jiyong was still hanging around, toeing the ground while ducking his long neck. Was I supposed to do something now? Shake his hand or something?

“Uh…”

“Hyung, could I ask a favor of you?”

“Sure…”

“Can you…”

Suddenly, a dark shadow jumped at us, yelling, “Hyung!” in a loud, familiar voice.

“What were you doing all this time?” he asked, looking suspiciously at Jiyong. “And who’s he?”

“He’s a friend of mine, Jiyong,” I replied easily, smiling at Jiyong.

Sunghoon continued to glare at Jiyong. Then, surprisingly, he broke into a smile.

“Hi, I’m Sunghoon, and I love Jiwonee hyung with all of my heart…and I know he’ll admit he loves me too one day. I love him more than anyone else ever can.”

Jiyong looked surprised and somewhat shocked. “Uh…o-k-ayy, good for you…I guess…uh, well see you tomorrow hyung.” He started to back away, with that who-isthis-psycho look I’ve become very familiar with.

“Wait…what did you want to ask me?” I called out to his rapidly retreating figure.

“Oh, it was nothing. Bye!” Came the hasty reply. Damn, another potential friend chased away. I was about to blow up but I couldn’t really get mad when I saw Sunghoon’s sweet, innocent smile. I know he didn’t mean to be such an annoying pest. I wasn’t in the mood to be very nice to him either, though.

“Go home, Sunghoon.” I said quietly, and walked inside my house.

 

Chapter 2

Okay, be cool, Jiwon, you know you look good…

I took a deep breath and walked up to Hyori, smoothing down my shirt nervously. She looked up as I neared her and flashed her killer smile at me.

“Hey Hyori, what’s up?” I asked, trying to keep my voice from cracking.

“Nothin much…” she said, continuing to smile at me.

Okay, that went real well…I tried to wrack my poor little brain for something else to say.

“Umm…so, uh, umm…are you with someone right now?” I blurted out the first thing that came to mind. Ack! I can’t believe I actually asked her that.

“Nooo…why do you ask?”

“Oh, no reason…just cause…but that’s good that you don’t have a boyfriend…what I mean is…umm…cause I don’t have one either…a girlfriend I mean…not a boyfriend…cause that would be kinda weird if I had a boyfriend…me being a guy and all…not that there’s anything wrong with guys liking guys…” I blabbed on, not knowing how to stop myself.

She burst out into laughter, wiping the tears from her eyes. “You’re too cute, Jiwon!”

I turned red at her compliment, glad she had stopped me before things got even worse.

“Cute enough to buy you lunch?” I asked, giving her what I hoped was a sexy smile.

“Hmm…let me think about it…” she said teasingly, pretending to consider it.

“Okay!” I smiled, and slung my arm casually around her shoulder.

We got some food and sat across from each other in the cafeteria. I stabbed my food nervously while gathering up my courage.

“So, you busy tonight?” I asked casually, as if it didn’t really matter if she was or not.

“No, not really…” Was it just my imagination or was she smiling flirtatiously at me?

“Then would you like to go to a movie with me?” I held my breath while waiting for her answer.

She opened her mouth.

“I…”

“Hyung!” Oh no! Not now! Go away, Sunghoon!

“Oh, hi Hyori noona.” He plopped himself down, uninvited I might add, next to me.

“Hi Sunghoon,” Hyori replied, her expression unreadable.

“Hey, hyung, I just wanted to apologize for last night. I shouldn’t have gotten jealous of

Jiyong…after all, I know that you’ll always love ME best…”

I cringed as Hyori shot me a strange look. I furiously shook my head at her, indicating that the I had no idea what the kid was talking about..

“Uh, Sunghoon, we were in the middle of something. Do you mind?” I was really,

REALLY fighting my impulse to strangle him to death…after all, I didn’t want my dream girl to think I was some sort of abusive guy.

He looked at me blankly, then slid his gaze toward Hyori. “Oh, go ahead with what you were saying…I’ll wait…” He remained sitting and started to eat, patiently chewing his food.

“We need some privacy,” I clarified, giving him a meaningful look.

He gave me his puppy-dog look. “But hyung, you shouldn’t keep anything from me…we should have an open relationship…”

“RELATIONSHIP?! WHAT RELATIONSHIP?! WE ARE NOT TOGETHER!” I exploded as I shot up, knocking over my chair in the process. There was deadly silence as every pair of eyes turned and riveted on me. Then, snickerings and whispers filled the room and the noise level returned to its normal state.

I turned crimson as I righted the chair and shrank into it, wishing I could just disappear.

“Hyori, this kid is crazy…I don’t even know him…” I said in a lowered voice.

“Oh, look at the time! I gotta go meet someone.” She interrupted, getting up to leave.

I grabbed her wrist. “Wait, you haven’t answered my question yet!”

She looked down at me with an incredulous expression on her face. Her brown eyes looked sympathetic as she softly said, “I’m sorry, Jiwon, I think you already know the answer.”

I was totally crushed as I watched her diminishing figure. I knew for sure now that I would have to kill Sunghoon. No, death was too good for him…it had to be long, painful torture.

“Kang Sunghoon…” I hissed, slowly turning around to face him. But he had already guessed my intentions and had scampered out of his chair. In one millisecond, he was halfway out of the cafeteria, turning back only to wave at me.

“Why me?” I moaned, burying my head in my hands.

“Because you’re a loser…”

I looked up to see who would dare say such a thing to me. Probably someone with a death wish.

“Shut up, Duckee, it’s not funny,” I snapped, feeling irritated. Hmph…some best friend.

He wasn’t even bothering to conceal his laughter.

“Sure it is…” I smacked the back of his head, HARD.

“Hey, that hurt…is it my fault you’re so sexy? I mean, man, people just can’t resist you!” he teased. I smacked him even harder. Babo, he doesn’t know when to shut up.

“Ouch! Okay, okay, I’ll stop. Just stop hitting me. Killing my fun…” he grumbled. He dug into Sunghoon and Hyori’s abandoned, barely touched plates.

“Yum, yum…there’s nothing quite as delicious as free food…” he said gleefully, shoveling in food. Disgusting…I wonder what kind of girl would put up with a pig like this…kinda fascinating how such a small guy could eat so much, though…

“Jaeduck, I was THIS close to getting a date with Hyori,” I said glumly.

He stopped eating and turned to face me, looking serious for once. “You want to know what I think, Jiwon?” I nodded.

“I think you should stop thinking about Hyori…I mean, it’s never going to work…”

I stared at him horrified as he continued.

“…she’s so pretty, sexy, popular, not to mention talented, and you…well, just look at you…you’re a burnt-looking, too skinny, not even tall guy with obvious mental problems, learning deficiency, questionable sexual orientation…”

“Haha, very funny,” I snapped as he cracked up, unable to maintain his serious expression and tone.

Here I had thought he was actually going to say something intelligent. But, what was I thinking, this is Kim Jaeduck we’re talking about. Nothing intelligent has come out of his mouth in the ten years I’ve known him, and probably never will.

“You should just go for Hoony…you guys would make a real cute couple,” he choked out, his face red from laughter.

Glaring at him, I got up and stomped out of there. How did I get stuck with such a bastard of a best friend? Grr…not to mention Sunghoon, following me like a puppy dog.

Well, despite them,

I’ll get Hyori, I vowed. Just wait and see…

 

Chapter 3

It continued like that for a while, with me trying to get closer to Hyori and Sunghoon innocently thwarting my efforts by popping up at the most inconvenient moment. I was pondering on how to get Hyori alone but it was hopeless…the only place we saw each other was at school, when there were lots of people around.

I saw Jiyong’s tall, lanky frame come toward me. “Hi hyung,” he said, waving when he saw that he had caught my attention.

“Hi Jiyong,” I responded listlessly.

“What’s wrong?”

“I have a problem…” I trailed off.

“What kind of a problem?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Let me guess, does it have something to do with Lee Hyori?” he asked knowingly.

I blushed. Was it that obvious? “Yeah,” I admitted. “Every time I try to ask her out, Sunghoon jumps in.”

“Hmmm…that’s quite a dilemma…maybe you should try a different tactic…”

“What are you talking about Jiyong?” I perked up. Maybe Jiyong knew a solution to my problem.

“Instead of chasing Hyori noona, let her chase you.”

I fell back into my depressed state. “What do you think I’ve been trying to do the past few years? It doesn’t work. She won’t come to me…maybe I’m ugly or something.”

“Hahahahaha…that’s funny, hyung. Everyone knows you’re the best-looking guy around…”

I felt slightly better hearing this, but tried not to show it…

“Oh really? Who is this everyone?”

“All the freshmen think you’re the coolest!” he enthused, unaware of my falling face.

Freshmen…that’s just what I need…more freshmen thinking they’re in love with me…

“You should really check out this one site,” he continued, scribbling it down on a piece of paper and handing it to me. I shoved it in my pocket without even looking. “Or better yet, come to Mickey’s fan club meeting! That’s where I was heading before I saw you.”

“What? What’s joining a kids’ club going to do?” I asked, utterly confused. Maybe

Jiyong’s more immature than I thought…chi…spending an afternoon with a cartoon mouse…

Jiyong just laughed as he hauled me to my feet and dragged me with him. I protested all the way, saying I had other things to do, but man, that guy’s stronger than you’d think.

“Here we are,” he said, stopping abruptly. Unfortunately, my body kept going and I bumped into Jiyong, and knocking him over.

I finally noticed our surroundings as I was helping him up, and in my surprise, I let go.

He fell back on his butt to the ground, howling in pain.

“Hey, this is SUNGHOON’s house!”

“No shit, hyung,” Jiyong growled, picking himself up and dusting the back of his pants.

“Well, what are we doing here?”

“We’re here for the fan club meeting…YOUR fan club meeting,” he said smilingly.

I was taken aback. “What are you talking about?”

“Gee, you’re really out of it, hyung…Sunghoon, aka Mickey, started a fan club in your honor a while ago…it’s all about you…”

“And you’re in it?” I must’ve read this guy all wrong. I had actually thought of him as a normal human being, a friend even. But he was a raving lunatic just like Sunghoon…

“I’m not only a member, I’m co-founder, and thus VP of the club,” he stated proudly, puffing out his chest.

“Wh…why would you start a club like that?” I asked, backing slightly away from him. I

looked him over, wondering if I could outrun him…maybe if I had a head start…a

REALLY big head start…

He took a few steps closer to me, leaning over confidentially. “You really want to know, hyung?” he whispered, uncomfortably close to me. I could feel his hot breath on my neck.

I swallowed the lump in my throat and squeezed my eyes shut. I’ve never felt this nervous in my whole life…

“It’s because…I’m in love…” I could almost feel his soft lips on my earlobes, that’s how close he was…

“…with the most perfect being on Earth…you want to know who that is..?” My breaths were ragged gasps now.

“It’s y…” My knees buckled and my legs gave out. I sank to the ground.

“Hey, are you okay, hyung?” Jiyong’s concerned face hovered over me. He put his arms around me for support, and helped me up. I stood unsteadily, feeling dizzy at the scent of his cologne.

“I’m alright now,” I said after a moment. I gently pried myself out of his grip. He held the worried expression and I smiled to show him I was fine. He smiled back.

“You really had me worried there for a sec, hyung…geez.”

Yeah, easy for you to say…you weren’t the one who nearly had a heart attack.

“Faked ya out…” I said weakly. Jiyong’s face went cloudy as he studied me with a shocked expression.

“You mean that was all an act?” He jumped at me and wrestled me down, getting me into a headlock. Still pinning me, he marched me straight into the house, down the hall, and into the living room, where my fans awaited me…

 

Chapter 4

“You’re late,” Sunghoon said when we stepped into the room. Then, his eyes widened as he saw me and his face broke out into a happy grin.

“I brought a special guest, everyone…the one and only Eun Jiwon!” Jiyong shoved me so that I stumbled into the room.

Everyone started to clap and cheer.

“Uh…hi…” I gave a little wave, not sure what to do.

“Here, you could sit here, oppa,” one pretty girl said, scooting slightly and patting the vacant space beside her.

“NO!” Sunghoon barked. Everyone stared at him.

“What I mean is, he should sit up with Jiyong and me…Suwon, get up,” he commanded to the person sitting next to him. The boy hurriedly left his seat and took a place on the floor.

I stood still, not moving. Impatient, Jiyong scooped me up by the collar of my shirt and dragged me to the couch, then pushed me down into it.

“Okay, now that we’re here, the meeting can get started,” Jiyong said pleasantly.

“Hey, that’s my job! Ahem, now that the VP is here, we can get started,” Sunghoon said authoritatively.

“That’s pretty much what I said!” Jiyong complained.

“Yeah, so what? I’m the president.”

“Hey, can you guys get on with this thing? This thing’s going to take forever,” I snapped, putting an end to their bickering.

They glared at each other for a second, then dropped their gazes to the floor.

Sunghoon cleared his throat. “Well, today, let’s all share why we’re all in this club. I started it because I think Jiwonee hyung is the best-looking, toughest hyung around.”

“I agreed to help Sunghoon start up this club because Jiwonee hyung saved my life.

He’s a really good fighter,” Jiyong contributed.

“Jiwonee oppa’s so cute and muhshisuh.”

“I like his hair,” one girl giggled.

“His smile!” another one threw in.

“Uhhh…I only joined because I’m in love with SungHoony oppa.”

“Yuri, that’s not what you’re supposed to say. This is about Jiwon hyung,” Sunghoon patiently explained. “Kids,” he scoffed, rolling his eyes.

I had to roll my eyes too. This young girl had an adoring gaze on her face that was very familiar to me.

“Isn’t she pretty, hyung?” Jiyong whispered in my ear. I nodded absently.

The meeting went pretty much like this. It was pretty embarrassing, actually, to have so much praises lavished on me.

Afterwards, everyone had punch and cookies and started mingling. I saw Sunghoon making his way over to me, but that one girl, Yuri, intercepted him and started to chat away to him. I couldn’t help but feel kind of sorry for him. He had a pained expression as she blabbed away, probably about boring girl stuff.

“Jiwon oppa, hi!” The girl who had offered a seat earlier on came up to me, smiling brightly at me. I don’t know what it was about her, but she gave off the feeling that she didn’t have much going on upstairs, if you know what I mean.

“My name’s Lee Jin…I was wondering, are you and Sunghoon oppa really going together?

Because that’s such a shame if you are…”

Yup, I was right. She was a total airhead.

“No, we are not ‘going together.’ I don’t know why you would think that,” I said through gritted teeth.

“Oh, okay, then. Can I kiss you?” Without waiting for an answer, she pressed her lips on my own.

“Wow, oppa. You’re a good kisser,” she said breathlessly as she pulled away. Man, what was with these young kids nowadays? They were so bold and shameless.

“You wanna go out sometime?” She peered up at me, brushing back a lock of hair.

“I’m kind of seeing somebody,” I mumbled, trying to brush her off. Well, hopefully, I would be.

Soon.

She refused to take the hint. “Really? With who?”

“Hyori,” I said without thinking.

“Lee Hyori? The senior? That’s funny…I’m pretty sure she’s going out with my brother now. Youprobably know him—

Jaejin.”

Oh no…not Jaejin, the school’s notorious player. I stood dumbly after hearing this news.

“So anyway, oppa, come pick me up around seven tonight, okay? Here’s my address.”

She scribbled it down on a piece of paper and folded it into my hands. Winking, she walked off.

How did I get into this mess?

“What did Jin want?” Jiyong asked curiously as he approached me.

“We have a date for tonight,” I answered, still a bit dazed.

A jealous expression crossed his face. “I bet girls throw themselves at you all the time,” he commented.

I shrugged, embarrassed. “Not really.”

He stared at me for the longest time. “Just don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, hyung,” he finally said.

 

Chapter 5

I stood in front of the closet, unsure of what to wear. I finally decided on slacks and a

buttondown shirt. That ought to cover it. To be truthful, this was my first date. I’ve lways been hoping that Hyori and I would get together, so I’ve never really thought much about other girls, much less gone out with them.

“Mom! I’m taking the new car!” I yelled as I walked out the door.

“Just be careful with it!” she yelled back.

I admired the car briefly before getting in. Silver, sleek, it was absolutely gorgeous. If only it was mine, but I had wrecked my last car driving out of the garage and plowing into another car on the street so my parents were paranoid about letting me even borrow it. The accident was totally not my fault.

How was I supposed to pay attention to the road when I had caught a glimpse of Hyori in a bikini, walking into her house?

Just remembering her scantily clad figure was enough to make me drool.

Stop it, Jiwon. She’s with Jaejin now. The brother of the girl I’m going to pick up.

I smoothed back my hair as I walked up to her doorway. Nervously, I rang the doorbell.

An instant later, the door opened.

“She’s still getting ready.” Jaejin ushered me inside.

We sat down on the couch and eyed each other warily.

“So…” I trailed off, not sure what to say.

Silence fell over both of us again. I took this time to study my opponent. I guess he was a good looking guy, with nice, clean features. Definitely not ‘burnt-looking’ like myself. I could tell he was muscular, too.

He must’ve caught me staring a bit too hard and long at him. He gave me a strange look as I blushed and turned away.

Great, he probably thinks I’m gay. If he didn’t already.

Luckily, Jin chose that moment to emerge, looking pretty good in a skimpy dress.

“Sorry for making you wait,” she said, smiling at me.

“It’s fine…just fine.” I stared down at my feet, not wanting Jaejin to catch me ogling his baby sister.

“Aren’t you going to tell me how nice I look?” she pouted.

“You look great.” That’s right, keep looking at your shoes. Hmm…is that a spot of dirt?

She didn’t notice how I was avoiding looking at her. Giggling, she took my arm and dragged me outside, waving at her brother.

“Be back home by midnight!” he called after us. I caught the evil look he gave me and understood the unspoken ‘or else.’

Well, he didn’t need to worry. The only girl for me was Hyori. I was only going out with Jin because I couldn’t figure out a way to get out of it. But then, maybe he would beat me up for playing around with her feelings.

“Wow, nice car.”

“Isn’t it though?” I cleared my throat as I started driving. “So, where are we going?”

She considered her options for a minute. “How about a nightclub?” she suggested.

**********

The date was a disaster. The club was too dark and noisy, and we had to scream at each other to be heard. Not that it mattered—Jin had already talked my ear off on the way there, going on and on about the importance of facials and the difference between different brands of makeup, or some other irrelevant thing. No wonder she looked good,

I never knew anyone as obsessed with her looks as she was. She probably spent more time grooming her hair than Sunghoon did, which I had thought an impossibility.

We danced, but it was so crowded and hot that soon, I had to beg for a break. Then, she had the bright idea of drinking and in her giggly, drunken state, she started to paw at my clothes.

“Don’t you find me attractive at all?” she whined when I avoided her sloppy kisses and held her back.

My silence infuriated her and she stomped off, soon finding someone more willing to accept her advances. I watched her as she draped herself all over another guy on the dance floor.

Disgusted, I left, welcoming the fresh air that greeted me.

Driving back home, I wondered if I should’ve left Jin back there by herself. I mean, what if she got hurt or something? I didn’t like her, but I didn’t want to be a total jerk or anything. Besides, wouldn’t Jaejin kill me if anything happened to her?

I was so distracted by my thoughts that I drove right into the garage door.

“Oh, crap!” My parents were going to murder me.

Sunghoon appeared as I stood helplessly, staring at the once perfect car. The paint job was scratched and there was a dent in the front bender.

“You are one bad driver, hyung,” he commented, surveying the damage.

Yeah, I know that already.

“In fact, you’re the worst driver I know.”

I stared wordlessly at him.

“They should take away your license and not let you within a foot of a car…”

I forced a smile on my face. “Sunghoon, I’m going to give you to the count of three to get the hell out of here.”

“One…Two…” He scampered off like a bunny, hopping over the fence dividing our houses.

My attention went back to the car. I was dead.

 

Chapter 6

“This sucks!” I was stuck in my room on a Saturday afternoon, grounded for getting into another car accident. It hadn’t been as bad as my parents made it seem. With a paint job and some minor bodywork, the car looked good as new.

I stared at my computer screen. I had been playing Solitaire for the past two hours, and

I was over a thousand dollars in debt. Click, click…my hand was sore from playing.

“Sweetie, you should empty your pockets before putting your clothes in the laundry hamper,” my mother entered my room, scolding me. She dropped some random items on my desk next to me and left.

A bill, some coins, keys, stick of gum…I sorted through the junk before I came to a crumpled up piece of paper. I smoothed it out.

Jiyong’s precise handwriting greeted me: http://www.jiwonsaranghae.com.

Well, I’ve got nothing better to do. Mentally shrugging, I connected to the Internet and typed in the address.

My high school picture popped up next to the menu. I chose the icon marked forum and clicked on the most recent messages:

-is it just me or does jiwonnie oppa seem a bit gay? no offense, i love him. (wondering)

-Yeah, I know, he does act fruity at times. (jiwon is mine)

-yupyup my thoughts exactly (QT pie)

-I know for a fact that he’s gay. (Jinniepoo)

-How do you know? (shygyrl)

-I just do, okay? Just trust me on this (Jinniepoo)

-wutevers. *rolls eyes* (angie)

-you think he has something going on with Duckie oppa? he’s cute too. ^^ (lemon-lime)

-how can you guys say that? he is soooooooo not gay. You guys are craziee and mean to even think that. hmph.

(jiwonz 1004)

-did you see the picture of jiwon and sunghoon oppa with their arms around each other?

it was just so kyoote! *sigh*

Hoony oppa ish adorable. (gLaSsRoSe)

-jiwon’s cuter. (dduckboggi)

-no he’s not. *melong* (gLaSsRoSe)

-yes he is. (dduckboggi)

-nononononononono! SungHoon forever!! (gLaSsRoSe)

-jiwon jjang!!! (dduckboggi)

It went on and on. I couldn’t believe how obsessive some of these people sounded. I guess it should’ve creeped me out, but for some reason, I was flattered and amused by it instead. To think, almost everyone at school thought I was interested in guys. I admit,

I am rather affectionate toward my guy buddies, but ewww, I don’t like them in THAT way. It was so ridiculous, it was funny.

I returned to the main menu and clicked on pictures this time. I regretted it instantly as I saw a baby picture of me in the bathtub. Naked. How embarrassing.

“Mom!”

She ran back into the room.

“What? What is it?” she asked anxiously.

“Just look at this.” I gestured toward the enlarged picture on the screen. To my chagrin, she started to chuckle, shaking her head.

“Well, aren’t you outraged? Someone posted this for everyone to see.”

She was calm. A bit too calm. “I know, honey. Sunghoon asked me if he could borrow some of your pictures and I said yes.”

I should’ve known. She adores Sunghoon as if he was her real son. Actually, she treats him better than she treats me, her own flesh and blood. She believes he’s a perfect angel.

“Don’t blow things out of proportion, Jiwon,” she scolded when I continued to glower at her.

“It’s just a picture.

Everyone has baby pictures like that.”

Yeah, but it’s not on display for the whole world, is it, Mom?

“But, Mom…”

Dismissing my objections with a casual wave of her hand, she returned to the housework, leaving me alone once again.

The other pictures weren’t so bad. But I had never seen many of the pictures before.

They must’ve been following me around secretly or something. I hadn’t even realized anyone was taking my pictures. Then, my eyes landed on the picture of me and Sunghoon, taken years ago.

That was back then…when we had actually been pretty close. I felt a twinge of nostalgia staring at the picture. He was in yellow…he always looked good in yellow…and we were both grinning crazily. We had just gotten off a log ride at Lotte World and we were soaked, Sunghoon’s normally perfectly styled hair damp and sticking to his face in funny clumps.

How did we get so distant? As neighbors, with our mothers as close friends, we had grown up together, and I had known Sunghoon even longer than I had known Jaeduck. I even have vivid memories of Sunghoon in diapers, toddling toward me so we could go the playground. He had always been a happy, cooing baby, unlike some, my mother liked to pointedly remind me.

I had taken care of him through the years like a good hyung, putting him ahead of everyone else. But eventually, I had grown up, and got into other things beside him.

Suddenly, girls had seemed a lot more interesting, especially a certain girl that had moved in next door. And Jaeduck and I got into the basketball team and often had practice afterschool.

Sunghoon had grown clingy as I had less and less time for him. Then, he told me he loved me.

That had probably been the final blow to our deteriorating friendship. I had not handled it well, to say the least. It wasn’t that I was homophobic, but the fact that he liked ME, that was what upsetted me. Now, two years later, I wondered if there was a way to salvage our old relationship. It wouldn’t be the same, but there was no reason why I couldn’t be civil to him, when we were both mature adults (or close to it, anyway). The next time I saw him, I would talk to him and find out what’s been going on in his life, instead of telling him to get lost.

Feeling satisfied with my decision, I moved my mouse to the section titled fics. The first one shocked me to my very core. My eyes kept reading even as my brain protested. My heart was pounding like crazy and my breaths came in shorter gasps. I reached the end and fearing the worst, I checked the author. Mickey…

With trembling fingers, I pressed a button and the monitor went dark.

 

Chapter 7

Slowly, slowly we moved closer until out lips met…

Sweat glistened on our bodies as we moved together rhythmically…

Lines from the story ran through my mind, disturbing me. It was well written but the content was so…unconventional.

The window slid open and Sunghoon climbed into my room, grinning at me.

“Hi, hyung. I came to visit you during your imprisonment.”

He realized how flustered I became at his arrival.

“Hey, what’s the matter?” he questioned, looking puzzled. “You aren’t mad because I came in without knocking, are you?” He often visited me in that fashion, although not as much now as he used to.

“No, I’m not mad,” I began slowly, careful not to look at him directly. My cheeks burned as I recalled the steamy bedroom scene he had written.

“Then what is it?” He put a hand softly on my shoulder.

I jerked reflexively, and he backed off, a hurt expression on his face.

“Hyung, it pains me to see you so upset.”

Knowing the answer, I still had to ask. “Why?”

“You know…because I love you.” He turned shy, shuffling his feet awkwardly.

“No you don’t. You can’t.”

He raised his face, a stubborn expression on his face. “Yes, I can. And I do.”

“You’re young…you don’t know what love means,” I reasoned. He just had to see that his infatuation with me was silly and a waste of time.

“Age has nothing to do with it. You claim to be in love Hyori noona and you’ve only spoken to her a handful of times.

Now, I’ve known you my entire life, and I know you almost as well as I know myself. So when I say I love you, I mean it.

Don’t say it’s just a crush or a phase…that just belittles me and my feelings towards you, saying it’s not real.”

I’ve never seen this side of him before, so serious and mature. His voice was deadly calm as he continued. “You treat me like a little kid, but I’ve grown up, too, hyung. I know myself well enough by now to know that what I feel for you is something special, that’ll endure forever. Is it that hard to believe that I love you, just because I’m a guy?

Would it be easier if I was a girl?

Would you believe me then?”

He broke off suddenly, bowing his head. Wispy bangs hooded his eyes, so that I could no longer see his expression. A slender white hand traveled up to wipe at his eyes. Was he crying?

“Sunghoon-ah…” Now it was my turn to comfort him. He hugged me fiercely, burying his face into my chest. My shirt grew damp as he cried freely, sobs escaping his lips.

“I’m sorry, hyung,” he said when his tears subsided. “I don’t know what came over me.”

I took the end of my shirt and dabbed at his eyes. They were red and slightly puffy, but amazingly clear. If the eyes were mirrors of the soul, then Sunghoon had the purest heart I knew.

“No, I’m the one who’s sorry.” I wanted to apologize for everything…for abandoning him, for being so distant, for not understanding, even now.

His eyes shone brightly and a small smile touched his lips, telling me he understood.

“I wish there was something I could do,” I said apologetically.

“There is.”

“What?”

He grinned mischievously. “Kiss me.”

I groaned. “Sunghoon, you don’t expect me to really kiss you, do you?”

He shrugged. “No harm in asking, hyung.”

“What’s with you young kids, trying to take advantage of poor Jiwon, huh?” I said, only halfjokingly.

“What? Who’s been trying to take advantage of you?” His ears perked up and he became the familiar, possessive Sunghoon.

“Well…Jin for one…and, uh…Jiyong,” I stated, blushing at the second name.

Sunghoon collapsed onto my bed, tears falling from his eyes once again, but this time from uncontrollable laughter.

“What?” I snapped, annoyed by his reaction.

“Jiyong…and you…?” he gasped out. “That’s just too funny!” His laughter grated on my nerves.

“What’s so funny about that?” He recovered from his fit of hysterics and sat up, that stupid smile still plastered on his face.

“It’s just that Jiyong is the most girl-crazy guy I’ve ever known,” he explained. Seeing my skeptical look, he continued,

“I’m serious, hyung. The only way I got him to help me with my club is because I promised him

Yuri would be in it.”

He couldn’t be lying to me, could he? “You know what the first thing out of his mouth was after we became friends? He asked me to introduce him to all the pretty girls…he’s a total nalari.”

“Huh…really?” I wondered if I had somehow read all the signals wrong. I had been pretty sure

Jiyong had been coming onto me on several occasions…

“Don’t worry, Jiwonnie hyung. I still love you.”

“Don’t say that,” I was quick to say, almost out of habit.

He scowled. “I can’t help how I feel, but if it upsets you that much, I won’t say it. But that won’t change how I feel about you. Hyung, don’t you know I would do anything for you?

I would give up my life for you…”

He shot me a look of mixed melancholy, wistfulness, and faint hope before he left the same way he came in. His parting words echoed through my mind.

 

Chapter 8

Two weeks later, I found myself at the supermarket, shopping for food. My parents were going away on a trip and I had to feed myself for three days. As I was contemplating between two different kinds of cup ramyun, I felt like I was being watched. I looked up to see a familiar figure who glanced away as soon as he was caught staring.

I walked over to him, trying to place a name with that face.

“Hi. Suwon, is it?” I said in a congenial tone, smiling.

He froze like a frightened deer.

“Uh…h…hi,” he stuttered. His timidness was kind of cute, and I felt a wicked urge to tease the younger boy.

“So, you’re in my fan club, huh,” I continued in that same friendly tone. He blanched.

“Does that mean you find me attractive as well?”

“What? No!” His eyes bugged out, his mouth hanging open in surprise, he looked quite comical.

Holding in my laughter, I tried to look as mean as I could. I frowned at him. “So you think

I’m ugly.”

“No! That’s not what I meant at all,” he protested.

“Make up your mind, do you like me or not?” I snapped.

“No. I mean, yes. I mean, yes I think you’re good looking, but no, I don’t like you.”

“Really? You think I’m good looking?” I feigned amazement. “I think you’re cute too.”

He looked so pitifully embarrassed that I couldn’t keep it up anymore. I let my tough guy act slip and started to laugh.

“Relax. I was just playing with ya.” His relief was so evident I startled to chuckle once again.

“You’re so mean, hyung.”

“Then why are you in my fan club?” I retorted, sticking my tongue out at him.

“Oh…that…well, um…” He had that tortured look again. How could a boy turn red so easily, by mere words?

“Well, I’m kind of shy so I have trouble making friends. So my mom told me to get involved in things, especially things with girls…so yeah…that’s why.”

I nodded understandingly. “Makes sense,” I admitted. From what I saw, dozens of girls and only three guys…not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

I was about to go and pay for my stuff when I saw Jiyong and Jin enter the store. “Oh, shit,” I swore under my breath, ducking down. Suwon gave me a curious look.

“Hyung, what are you doing?”

“Don’t look at me. Just pretend to be shopping,” I whispered.

“I AM shopping, in case you haven’t noticed.”

“Then, go on with it. I don’t want Jin to see me.”

“Why?”

“Because…” I hissed.

“Uh huh…” he waited expectantly, unwilling to let the issue drop.

I sighed. I often felt the need to sigh around freshmen. “Because I ditched Jin on our date and I’ve been avoiding her since. I think she hates me.”

“I bet she doesn’t. DO YOU, JIN?” he suddenly raised his voice, almost shouting. I gave him a murderous look as he looked smugly at me.

“We’re even now, hyung,” he smirked as Jin came over, Jiyong trailing after her.

Jin looked extremely ruffled. “Hello there, Jiwon…long time no see.”

Sheepishly, I got up off my hands and knees, brushing myself off. “Hi, guys. I was just tying my shoelaces.”

“You’re wearing sandals,” Jiyong pointed out. I pretended not to hear him.

“What are you doing here?” I asked them.

“Just shopping for some snacks,” Jiyong replied. Jin continued to glare at me, making me feel like pond scum. Less than that, even.

“Listen, about that night…”

“I don’t want to hear your excuses. Besides, I hooked up with the most perfect guy after you left,” she said haughtily.

Jiyong stared at the two of us, finally aware of the tension between us.

“It’s because I’m gay,” I blurted out, letting my mouth talk before thinking again, damnit.

Jin’s disgust was replaced by surprise. All three of them stood gawking at me.

“Yup, see, I’m shopping right now with my honey bunny,” I cooed, putting my arm around Suwon. I don’t know what came over me. I’m usually such a sane person. Jin narrowed her eyes in suspicion, recovering from her initial shock.

Suwon didn’t say anything to contradict me, probably being too scared or too embarrassed to do so. I made the most of the situation and gave him a loud smack on the cheek. There, that ought to convince her.

“I knew it! No straight guy can resist me.” Jin’s bruised ego healed, she smiled at me, reassured in her ability to entice men once again.

Jiyong, on the other hand, looked thoughtful. Just as he opened his mouth to say something, Jin grabbed his arm and dragged him into another aisle, waving cheerfully at us.

“Sorry about that, but it was the only way I could get her to leave me alone.”

“I don’t see why you had to use me,” he sulked. “Now, Jin’ll tell all of her friends and I’ll never get any girls.”

“Sorry,” I repeated. “Here, let me buy that for you.” I grabbed his basket, filled with some chips and soda.

“It’s the least you could do,” he agreed.

 

Chapter 9

“Don’t touch the car.” Those were my father’s last words before he drove away with mom. I walked inside after they disappeared from view and flopped down on the couch, intending to vegetate for a few hours. I turned on the TV and sat back.

*Ring Ring*

I picked up the phone. “Hel—”

“Jiwon, you lying bastard!” A shrill voice yelled into my ear.

“Jin?”

“Yeah, it’s me! You freakin’ liar! I talked to Suwon just now and he told me you guys aren’t dating.”

“Oh, he did? Um…I don’t know why he denies our love for each other…must be shy about it,” I concluded lamely.

I could practically see her rolling her eyes. “Just drop the act.”

“Okay, so I’m not gay,” I admitted. “I didn’t know what else to do. You were so mad about everything. I feared for my life.”

Still sounding pissed, but no longer about to murder me, she declared, “You owe me a favor for lying and generally being such a dick.”

“Fine,” I was quick to agree. Anything to placate her. Girls were scary when angered.

They seemed to hold grudges till the end of time, and they never, ever forgot a wrong committed against them.

“You have to go out with me tomorrow night.”

That was not what I had expected her to say.

“Wait, I thought you already met your perfect match at the nightclub.”

There was a pause, then some muffled sounds.

“Jin?”

“Yeah, I’m still here. I just made him up.”

“Huh?”

“I was totally humiliated and I wanted you to be jealous so I made the guy up, okay?”

She sounded really annoyed.

“Oh. Wait, I still don’t get it. Why would you want to go out with me again if you think I’m such a jerk?”

“I want another shot at you. If you gave me a fair chance, I’m sure I can make you like me,” she said determinedly.

Oh gawd, she was still stuck on that. She was even more persistent than Sunghoon at his worst.

“So we’re on for tomorrow, right?”

“But—”

“We’ll be double-dating with my brother and his date.” I paused in mid-protest.

“Hyori?”

“Yup.” This complicated matters. I wanted to see her, of course, but did I really want to see her getting all kissy-faced with another guy?

“Anyway, pick me up at six thirty, okay?” she confirmed.

I agreed and we hung up.

A car…I needed a car…

**********

I know my dad told me not to use the car, but this was an emergency. It needed to be washed and waxed though. The next day, I started up the car and pulled out of the driveway, checking both sides of the street several times beforehand.

I wasn’t taking any chances.

“Hey, hyung! Where are you going?” Sunghoon ran up.

“To the carwash. Wanna come with?” I offered cheerfully. He beamed and got in.

“So, I haven’t seen you around lately,” I said conversationally. To think about it, I haven’t seen him since that night when he had visited me in my bedroom. He was so much a part of my life that it felt odd not talking to him for even a few seconds every day. I missed our daily interaction, although he often exasperated me.

“I’ve seen you…I just didn’t come over because I didn’t want to be a bother.” I wished for the annoying Hoony back…he was easier to deal with than this new, sensitive

Sunghoon I was seeing.

“You’re not a bother…” I said uncomfortably.

“No need to lie, hyung. I know I am.” He said this so matter-of-factly, accepting his role.

I didn’t know what to say, and he didn’t seem to feel very talkative either. So we drove in silence. Neither of us spoke again until we were coming back, and almost home.

I snuck a peek at him. He was staring out the window at the passing scenery. Well, I was older. I guess I should make the first move. “Look, I’ve been doing some thinking.

And I miss our old friendship.”

“I do, too.” His voice was soft.

“So how about another go at it?”

He turned around to face me, giving me his trademark grin. “I knew you loved me, hyung!” he cried, throwing his arms around me exuberantly.

“Hey, watch it!” I yelled, craning my neck to see over his head. I saw a pole looming closer and I stomped down on the brakes. Too late. We both went flying as the car jerked to a stop upon impact.

“Oww…” Dazedly, I opened my eyes and touched the sore spot on my forehead. Blood came on my hands from the cut, but that was the only injury. Sunghoon had a bump forming on the side of his head, but it also looked minor.

Miraculously, we were both relatively untouched.

Unfortunately, the car wasn’t so lucky. It was barely recognizable.

“Fuck, look what you made me do,” I cursed, kicking the tire. “My parents are going to ground me for life. They specifically told me not to use the car.”

“I’m sorry,” he said in a small voice, looking regretful. Usually, that would soften me up, but I was too mad for it to work this time.

“Sorry,” I sneered. “You’re sorry…gee, I guess that makes it all better then, doesn’t it.”

He looked like he was about to burst into tears, making me feel even worse. Feeling guilty and angry at myself for being such a pushover, I took it out on the him.

“Go ahead and cry, you little baby. It’s not like you’re the one who has to pay for this shit.”

Tears fell down his face as he fled from me. I had never felt more rotten in my entire life.

“Sunghoon!” I cried, running after him. It was too late. He vanished into his house. The door shut with finality.

“You’re such an asshole, Jiwon,” I told myself. I sat down on the curb, dejected. I felt like crying myself.

 

Chapter 10

I pushed the car down the remainder of the block and into my garage. I would take care of it tomorrow. I was exhausted, both physically and mentally. Although it was the middle of the afternoon, I went straight to bed.

The next thing I knew, the phone was ringing shrilly, waking me from my slumber.

Wiping the drool off of my mouth, I picked it up.

“Hewwo,” I mumbled sleepily.

“Where are you, Eun Jiwon?” Jin demanded to know.

I sat up quickly, checking my alarm clock. 7:32.

“Sorry, I overslept.” I frantically searched for my shoes before noticing I had never taken them off. “I’ll be right over.”

Then I recalled the events of the afternoon and I smacked my forehead. “Oh damn!” I cried, both from the pain of my cut, which I had forgotten about, and from the realization that I had no car.

“I have no car, Jin.” I pulled the phone away from my ear, waiting for her to screech at me.

“Hold on a sec.” She covered the phone with her hand, apparently, for I couldn’t make out her muffled conversation with someone else. It sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. Her brother, maybe?

“Can we come over to your house, then?”

Well, I had the house to myself. “Sure.”

**********

I had barely enough time to take a shower, splash on some cologne and generally make myself presentable before the doorbell rang. I took the stairs three at a time and opened the door.

“Hey, come on in.”

We went to the living room and sat around the coffee table.

“What should we do?” Jaejin asked, draping his arm on Hyori’s shoulder.

“Let’s play a game of truth or dare,” Jin suggested, a bit too enthusiastically. I was immediately on guard.

But what could I do? The others agreed to it and I didn’t have a better idea.

Hyori got to ask first. “Jin, who do you think is better looking? Your brother or Jiwon?”

“That’s too easy, unni. My brother, of course! Jiwonnie oppa is too skinny and dark. And he’s a really sucky dancer, too.”

I glowered silently at her. A sucky dancer? Me? Look who’s talking. She just gave me an innocent look, folding her hands together in her lap.

“My turn! I choose…” She looked at each of us in turn, pretending to consider her options.

“…Jiwon,” she finished. Big surprise…I wonder what she has in store.

“Oppa, truth or dare?” I tried to outguess her. Did she want me to say dare so she could make me do something degrading, or did she want me to pick truth and make me reveal something horrible from my past, like the time the seat of my pants ripped and I wasn’t wearing anything underneath?

“Well, hurry up,” she urged.

“Truth.” She grinned triumphantly and I knew I had made the wrong choice.

“Do you like anyone in this room?” she purred.

My eyes darted to Hyori, then to Jaejin, who was looking at me with that stony look on his face, as always.

“Well?”

“No.” I wanted to confess my true feelings to Hyori, but not this way, not with her boyfriend here.

“You lied!” Jin cried. “The penalty is a double dare.”

“What? I never heard of that rule,” I sputtered. “Besides, you can’t prove I lied.”

“Who thinks he lied?” she asked. Three hands shot up. I was outvoted once again.

Jin had a calculating look on her face. “You have to kiss that person now.”

I nervously tapped my fingers together as they all waited. Was I brave enough to kiss Hyori? No, I wasn’t. So I guess that just left Jin. I shuddered at the thought. Of course, there was always Jaejin…

I seriously considered kissing him. He was just as good-looking as his sister, if not more so.

Probably had a better personality, too. Wait, what was I thinking? I shook my head, clearing it.

“I refuse. You can’t make me,” I said petulantly, feeling myself pout.

“You have to. Those are the rules of the game.” Jin looked mad that I wasn’t going along with her little plot to shred me of my dignity. Whatever I had left, anyway.

“I’d like to see you try.” I crossed my arms across my chest, daring her.

Accepting my challenge, she got up, grabbing the letter opener on the table. Man, what a psycho chick. Luckily for me,

Hyori grabbed her by the arm, preventing her from attacking me as I shrank back in fear.

“Jin, let me talk to you for a sec,” she said. She pulled a very unwilling Jin out of the room.

Jaejin and I eyed each other.

I started to sweat. Insanity runs in families, don’t they? The silence was freaking me out.

He suddenly smiled. “Isn’t my little sister so cute?”

Yeah, like a barracuda.

I was saved from answering when Hyori and a much calmer Jin returned.

“Jin told me what the problem was.” Hyori tossed back her long hair as she sat back

down, pulling Jin with her. “You want to change dates, right? We could, if you want.”

“Yeah, I give up. I guess you were right about him liking you-know-who,” Jin muttered.

Hyori smiled. “You know, the feeling is mutual. That’s why Jaejin and I weren’t working out.”

I glanced wonderingly at Jaejin. What did he think about this? To my surprise, he nodded encouragingly. “I don’t mind, really,” he coaxed, seeing my hesitation.

“Okay,” I agreed, still a bit reluctant. The three of them exchanged secretive smiles.

Then, Jaejin got up from his seat beside Hyori. He came around and sat down next to me, slipping an arm around my waist.

“Now this is more like it,” he declared.

 

Chapter 11

“Wha–?” I blinked in confusion as Jaejin playfully pinched my side.

“Hey, cut that out,” I was horrified to hear myself giggle uncontrollably, in a very un-like me way. I slapped his hand away. “What’s wrong with you?”

“We should have done this from the beginning, huh?” Jaejin laid his head on my shoulder, fluttering his lashes at me.

This was very different from the tough expressionless Jaejin I knew.

“I told you he liked you, Jaejinnie.”

“This isn’t what I meant!” I slid a bit down the couch, away from him.

He slid after me, sitting even closer. “You can’t escape me that easily~!” he sang. He started to blow into my ear, tickling me. I fought back another giggle and leaned as far away from him as I could.

“You said you wanted to change dates, so we did. What’s the matter?” Hyori asked innocently, picking up Jin’s hand and threading their fingers together.

“I meant that it should be…” I stopped myself from finishing my thought. Me and Hyori and Jaejin and Jin? That didn’t make any sense…Jaejin and Jin were siblings!

“Umm…could we change back?” I asked sheepishly.

“No,” Jin stated flatly. “I like Hyori unni better than you.”

“I like you, too, my cute little donseng.” Hyori pinched one of Jin’s cheeks and they rubbed their noses together in an Eskimo kiss.

“Aww…that’s so cute.” Jaejin smiled proudly at the sight of his former girlfriend and little sister acting so tenderly toward each other.

“Here, Jin, have some grapes.” Hyori picked up the basket of fruit on the table and started to feed it to Jin, one by one.

The plump round grapes disappeared down Jin’s throat, her lips brushing Hyori’s fingers with each one. Jin started to take some grapes herself and feed it to Hyori. Those luscious lips carefully mouthed each grape, grazing Jin’s long fingertips and lingering a bit longer than necessary. They stared into each other’s eyes the whole time, too mesmerized by each other to pay attention to anyone else.

This couldn’t be happening. Why did this kind of stuff always happen to me?

I had little time to concentrate on them, as I had a more urgent problem to deal with.

Jaejin traced his hand down my jawline, forcing me to turn, facing him. His eyes burned into my own, mere inches from my own. My whole face flushing bright red, I shifted my gaze down, only to see his hand creeping toward my lap. I jumped up.

“Wh…what are you doing?”

“What do you think? I’m seducing you?” Oh gawd. The school’s biggest player was hitting on me.

My eyes darted back to the girls. They had finished eating and Jin was now brushing back Hyori’s long bangs away from her face, tucking it behind her ear. A weird thing to be feeling in a situation like this, but I was incredibly jealous of her.

How many times had I itched to touch those silken tresses…

“Hey, oppa, we should share more, huh?” Jin giggled, still toying with Hyori’s hair. She leaned over to brush back the hair on the other side, pressing herself onto Hyori. Their breasts flattened on each other and Hyori leaned back, closing her eyes and releasing a contented moan. She ran her tongue gently over her lips, making them glisten. One hand lazily ran up and down Jin’s back.

“Yeah…sharing is caring.” Jaejin yanked on my arm, and I lost my balance and toppled on my back into his lap. His hands quickly unbuttoned my shirt as I was still dazed from trying to absorb each new amazing turn of events.

“You have the cutest cheeks, you know that?” His fingers gently ran over them. “And the prettiest lips.” They moved down and caressed them lightly. His face loomed closer, his hands pulling me toward him by my collar.

I simultaneously squirmed out of my shirt and twisted my body away from his. I landed with a thump on the floor, my arms flailing wildly. Jaejin was still gripping my now-empty shirt, leaving me exposed. My boxers were pretty much in view, my baggy pants hanging low on my hips.

“Shit! Get away from me!” I skidded a bit as I scrambled out of reach. I moved a bit too slowly, because he managed to grab the end of my pants. I kept moving, momentum causing me to slip right out of my pants.

“Playing hard to get, huh? I just love that.” He laughed evilly.

We circled in a game of cat and mouse around the couch, him fully dressed and me only in my boxers and socks. Then

Jaejin vaulted over and landed on top of me.

“Gotcha!” Jaejin pinned me underneath his own body, panting hard. I felt so helpless.

People may see me as tough and able to fight myself out of anything, but the predicament I was in was totally new to me. Should I hit him? He was trying to fuck me, not kill me. At this point, I preferred the latter.

In one fluid motion, he stripped off his shirt, exposing a well-toned body.

“Get a room,” Jin said sarcastically, watching him straddling me on the floor. Her arms were wrapped possessively around Hyori’s slender neck as she sat in her lap, in an elevated position.

She laid her head on top of Hyori’s and gave me a smug look, her eyes taunting me.

Look who got her in the end, they seemed to be saying.

“You know, that’s a good idea,” he said, in reply to Jin’s comment. “Let’s go upstairs.”

He got up and before I could run again, he picked me up. His hand accidentally brushed my organ as I struggled. Shocked, I stopped resisting, feeling the warmth traveling all over my body.

He hefted me into a more secure embrace.

“You’re so light. You’re even lighter than Hyori,” he teased, heading for the stairs. I struggled but his grip was like a vise.

“Wait, stop!” We halted at the bottom step, turning back. Thank you, Jin. You don’t hate me after all.

She stood up slowly, smiling sweetly at us. “Can we come and watch?”

How could a face look so angelic belong to such an evil person?

Jaejin smiled back. “Sure. Why not?

 

Chapter 12

“Yay! This is going to be so much fun!” Jin squealed, clapping her hands excitedly.

This was so unreal, yet it was happening, and in my own house, too.

I opened my mouth to scream but all that came out was a tiny little eep. I wanted my mommy and daddy.

“Don’t worry, Jiwon,” Hyori soothed, patting my cheek affectionately. “Jaejin is a perfect lover.

It’ll hardly hurt at all.”

We reached the top of the stairs.

“And if you’re worried because you’re a virgin, well, you don’t have to do anything. Just kick back and let him do all the work.”

We were at my bedroom door.

Jaejin paused and stared down at me. “Are you ready, gorgeous?”

“No,” I croaked, my throat very dry and hoarse.

It was as if I hadn’t said a word. Still carrying me, he kicked open the door.

Panicking, I suddenly swung out my fist and hit him hard in the face. He dropped me, his hands flying to his eye. I got up and shot into the room, slamming it after me.

I tugged on the heavy dresser, intending to use it as a barricade. Suddenly, I became aware that I was not alone.

“Jiyong! Help me, Jaejin’s gone crazy.” To my surprise Jiyong burst out laughing.

Giggles erupted from all over, and girls suddenly appeared, climbing out of the closet, crawling out from under the bed, and stepping out from behind the drapes.

“Surprise!!” they yelled simultaneously. I stumbled back, startled. I turned in confusion to see Jaejin, Hyori, and Jin, doubled up in the doorway cracking up. A bruise was forming on Jaejin’s left eye, but he was laughing hysterically.

“The look on your face…priceless…” Jaejinin gasped out, slapping his knee.

“We gotcha good, hyung!” Jiyong threw himself on me, nearly collapsing from laughter.

“Man, you are a prankster’s dream.” More girls appeared from the hallway, along with

Suwon.

“I thought I would die from trying to keep a straight face,” Hyori giggled.

“Nice boxers, oppa.”

Slowly, as I realized I’ve been duped, my face clouded over. I shoved Jiyong off of me and stormed out of the room, knocking over Suwon on the way.

“Gee, you think we went too far?” I heard one of them say.

Out on the porch, I stewed angrily. Damn, why was I the butt of all the jokes? Why couldn’t those kids just leave me the hell alone? But more than that, I was angry at how weak I acted.

Why hadn’t I fought off Jaejin more effectively? Was there some small part of me that actually wanted to have sex with him? No, I couldn’t have…I was straight, damnit. But if that was true, how come I was such a passive victim? I could’ve stopped him if I had really wanted to, couldn’t I? The thought nagged me.

Leaning on the porch railing, I lowered my head into my hands. I heard a slight rustle.

Without lifting my head, I glanced up. Sunghoon was staring at me, unaware that I saw him. At that moment, he seemed so far away, the fence between us a wide chasm we couldn’t cross.

He reminded me of myself, pining for someone he couldn’t have. And it seemed we both had given up. We were so much alike. He followed me around like I followed Hyori around. And he had his own little stalker in Yuri, too. A small smile touched my lips as I pictured us walking in a line a few meters apart: Hyori, me, Sunghoon, and Yuri, each oblivious to the one behind us, focused solely on the one in front.

Sunghoon watched me silently, then turned away without a word.

“Hey, Sunghoon!” I called out. He stopped, whirling around.

I beckoned and he walked over, nervously chewing on his fingernails. “Y…you aren’t mad at me, hyung?”

I gazed at him blankly. “For what?”

“The car,” he said meekly, bowing his head.

I tousled his hair playfully. “Oh that…it was my fault, too. If I hadn’t been speeding so much, I would’ve had plenty of time to stop.”

He treated me to his famous smiles, literally beaming with happiness. “Not the hair, hyung,” he said, but without a trace of irritation.

“Of course. Sorry.” I started to fix the damage I had caused.

“It’s okay.”

“No…I mean…sorry…for everything.”

“I know what you meant,” he said softly, catching my hand and pulling it away from his hair. He didn’t let go.

“You always did know me, better than I know myself,” I joked, slightly uneasy at the serious atmosphere.

A smile spread across his face and his face warmed. “Hyung, what are you doing?

You’re going to catch a cold!”

I grew red, realizing I was still almost naked. Chuckling, Sunghoon took off his jacket and wrapped it around me.

“Hey, hyung, I’m having a party tomorrow evening…just a little one you know, with all my friends, but it would mean a lot if you came. If you can’t, it’s fine but, it’d be great if you could, it’s kinda important to me,” he blabbed.

I shushed him by putting a finger to his lips. “I’ll be there,” I promised.

“Really?!” His eyes sparkled.

“Yaksok.” I linked my pinky with his and stamped it.

“You better not forget, hyung.” He skipped off.

I smiled at his disappearing figure, hugging his jacket closer to me. It smelled just like him.

“Jiwon?” A hesitant voice called me.

“Hyori.” I turned and nodded coolly at her.

“Listen, I’m sorry about the joke we played. It’s just that when my dongseng Jin asked me, I couldn’t refuse. You understand, don’t you?” she pleaded, putting a hand on my arm.

I stepped back, continuing to glare at her.

She sighed. “Jiwon, I really like you. I thought you were cute the first time I met you, but you never came over to talk. I was so happy when you finally talked to me in school, but you seemed taken. Now I know you’re not.”

“Really? You liked me all this time?”

“Yes.” She stepped closer and this time, I didn’t move away. She grew bolder and took my hands in hers, lifting them up and kissing them.

“But what about Jaejin?”

“We only went out once, and only because Jin insisted on hooking us up. He’s going out with my friend Juhyun now.”

“I’m tired of waiting for you to ask me out. So I’ll ask you. Eun Jiwon, will you go out with me?” she asked, gazing up at me from lowered lashes.

For so long, I’ve been waiting for this moment. “Yeah.” I leaned over and kissed her soft lips, tasting her. “But it has to be tomorrow because I’ll be grounded for years once my parents get back.”

“It’s a date, then.”

 

Chapter 13

“There, how does that look?” Hyori displayed her cell phone, newly decorated with a sticker picture we had just taken.

“You came out great. But I look funny.”

“I think you look really pretty,” she giggled, looking at the picture. In it, I was wearing a bright green wig with bangs and pigtails.

“You have to stick one on your cell, too.”

“It’s broken.”

“So? You could still stick it on,” she countered.

She handed me another one as I took my phone out. I hesitated, thumbing over the picture of Sunghoon and me that was already on it. She glanced at me curiously, wondering why I paused.

I couldn’t make myself peel off the old sticker. Instead, I carefully stuck the one of Hyori and me over it, covering it completely. It didn’t make me feel much better. I felt so odd doing it, like I was betraying Sunghoon somehow.

“Wasn’t it a great day?” she asked, linking her arms with mine. “I had so much fun.”

“Yeah…too bad it’s over. My parents are going to lock me up as soon as I get home,” I said glumly.

“Then don’t go home,” she suggested impulsively. “Let’s just stay out all night. You can’t get in more trouble than you’re already in. For all we know, we might not be able to get together after this.”

“Okay!”

**********

By the time we came out of the nightclub, it was close to four in the morning and it was raining.

Laughing, we both ducked under my jacket and hailed a cab. We snuggled together in silence as we rode home. She actually started to doze and I had to nudge her awake when we arrived home.

“I had a great time, Jiwon,” she said as we stood around on her front porch. She ran her fingers through my hair, pressing her warm body close to mine. I kissed her. The kiss deepened.

“I really gotta go now,” she said, breaking away.

“I’ll call you.” I waited to make sure she was in safely before walking over to my house.

Sunghoon was pacing by the wall, oblivious to the raindrops falling all over him. Despite the rain, he waited in the freezing cold, holding a bouquet of red roses in his hands.

When he spotted me, he ran over. “Hy…hyung…th…there you are,” he said through chattering teeth.

“Oh shit. What do you think you’re doing out here at this time of night?” I tugged him over to my bedroom window and helped him in, climbing in after.

“How long have you been out there?” I asked, incredulous. I started to take off my wet clothes.

“Only about five hours,” he said. He fumbled with his wet clothing, struggling to get it off.

“Are you crazy?! You’re going to catch pneumonia or something. Sighing, I abandoned my own task and started to help him. His fingers were stiff, numb from the cold. I pushed him onto my bed and went into the bathroom. Grabbing a towel, I came back to him and started to rub his chest vigorously with it. Color came back to his skin and he stopped shivering.

I crouched down and started to dry his calf. “Sunghoon, you could’ve just called.”

“I tried, but it wouldn’t go through.”

“Oh yeah, it’s broken. Well, you can’t keep doing–” He suddenly moaned, and I realized how far up his leg my hands had strayed. The tips of my fingers were actually inside the bottom of his boxers, and I could see his arousal, growing bigger by the second.

I snatched my hand away and blushed, looking away. “You should probably take those off too…and uh, dry yourself there.”

He blushed too, taking the towel from me. I went back to the bathroom to give him some privacy and changed into my pajamas. He cleared his throat from the other room.

“Hyung…”

“Yeah?”

“Are you going to give me something to wear or should I just stand here naked?”

I felt myself redden even more. “Just grab anything you see.”

“…Okay, I’m dressed now.”

I stood by the doorframe uncertainly. He was drinking me in with such intensity, I felt extremely uncomfortable.

“I have to sleep so you better go home now, Sunghoon.”

He gazed at me sadly. “Alright, hyung. I just wanted to see you.”

There was something in the way he said it, so final. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would’ve topped him and probed further. But I didn’t. I just went to bed.

My sleep was disturbed by nightmares, though. I kept dreaming that Sunghoon had died. I couldn’t stop crying. I kept repeating, “I’m sorry,” over and over again, but it was too late, he was gone.

 

Chapter 14

“Jiwon!”

“I’m not sleeping,” I bolted up in my desk, flipping the pages of my textbook busily. The teacher gave me a disgusted look, rapping my head with his ruler. I’ve been falling asleep all day.

“Please do try to stay upright.”

Yawning, I propped myself up with one arm, trying to pay attention. The teacher droned on and on…zzzzzzz.

At lunchtime, I staked out a spot on the grass and fell asleep on my back.

“…looks…ett…tired…may…let…sleep…”

“…kick him…” Broken bits of conversation slowly brought me back to consciousness.

I opened one eye. Jiyong and Jin were standing there, arguing about whether to wake me or not, apparently. I quickly shut it, but too late…Jiyong had already seen me.

“Hyung! I can’t believe you didn’t come to Sunghoon’s yesterday.”

“Yeah, I thought even you would drag your sorry ass over.”

“It was his own party but he didn’t do anything but sit in a corner and stare at the clock.

He kept saying, ‘Jiyong, he promised he would come…he promised…where is he? Why isn’t he here?’ ” Jiyong mimicked.

“He did?” I blinked in surprise, sitting up. “But what’s the big deal? It’s just a party. It wasn’t his birthday or anything.”

Jiyong’s jaw dropped open. “It may very well be the last time you’re going to see him.

And you didn’t come to his farewell party…hyung, you know how much he adores you.”

“His what?”

“His plane is probably taking off as we speak…you know, for Hawaii. I would have gone to the airport with him if I didn’t have a test today.”

I rolled my eyes. “Please, you guys have to do better than that to trick me again.”

“It’s true,” Jin insisted.

“Right…”

“Hyung, seriously…his parents sent him away because they didn’t like how obsessive he was of you. Because he was always following you around or doing fanclub stuff, his grades were dropping. And he was forced to drop the club because his parents found out he had been wasting his time writing these stories…”

I gave him a skeptical look.

“Think about it…why do you think he wasn’t at your house Saturday with the rest of us?

He had already quit.”Doubt started to creep into me. They stared at me intently, waiting for me to say something. I forced a smile despite the growing pit in my stomach.

“You almost got me. You guys should be professional actors.” Jiyong started to protest more but I refused to listen, hurrying away from them.

It couldn’t be true…Sunghoon would never leave me. But just to make sure…

I hurried to the window spot in the cafeteria he always liked to eat in. It was empty.

Okay, he’s probably helping the teacher with grading and stuff…yeah, that has to be it.

He wasn’t there either.

I dropped all pretense of skepticism and ran all the way home. My lungs were on fire, but all I could think of was finding him.

I pounded on his door, but no one answered. Quickly, I hopped over to my own house and burst into my room, half expecting him to be sitting there grinning, pleased to have tricked me into thinking he was gone.

An empty room greeted me.

I sank down on the floor, the sinking feeling in my stomach growing larger and heavier.

My eyes slowly focused on an object and my hands reached for it.

I brought the bouquet of roses closer to my face. The buds were still wet with raindrops, leaving them especially fragrant.

There was a letter underneath. I hadn’t noticed it before. With trembling fingers, I tore it open, wanting to stop myself, but unable to.

Dear Jiwon,

I’m writing this letter as I wait for you to show up. Jiyong just came over to tell me to forget about you…it’s been three hours. But you promised, so I’m waiting still. I’m going to study abroad, hyung. I bet you’re real happy, huh? No more Kang SungHoony to tag around and bother you. I’ll really miss you, and even now, I can’t get you out of my head.

Where are you, hyung? What could be keeping you? Why would you make a promise you couldn’t keep? I guess going away is the best for both of us, as it is becoming painfully clear you don’t even care about me as a friend. I just wish you knew how much I loved you. What are you doing right now, hyung? Are you even thinking about me? Do you even remember little ole me anymore? I guess not…well, I’m tired of people looking at me funny so I think I’ll go wait at your place now.

Love,

Sunghoon

“Sunghoon, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. Please come back.”

But it was too late. He was already gone.

 

Chapter 15

Life continued without him. I started going steady with Hyori and we were labeled the school’s most perfect couple.

Under Jiyong’s leadership, my fan club turned into his own personal dating service.

Things were so quiet without Sunghoon around. Peaceful. Nice. Really.

“He’s been gone two months. You can admit it now. You miss having him around.”

I looked down at the open notebook, which had suddenly become fascinating.

“Jiwon, listen to me. You’ll never get over him if you deny your feelings.”

“What are you talking about?” I mumbled, starting to doodle in the margins.

“You know very well that I’m talking about Sunghoon. Stop being stubborn.” Jaeduck gripped my hand, which had started moving frantically at the mention of that name.

I met his eyes squarely. “I’m very happy. I’m going out with Hyori, my grades are good enough for college, and those damn kids leave me alone now. What more could I want?”

His expression turned angry. “Fine. Be like that. But if you don’t miss him, how do you explain that?” He gestured to my notebook. I blinked in surprise to see what I had absently been writing.

‘Kang Sunghoon’ ‘Hoony’ ‘Sweet Hoon’ and other variations of the person that despite his leaving wouldn’t leave my mind. Jaeduck was right. I was obsessed.

“Jaeduck, things were left so badly between us. The last thing I told him was to go home because I wanted to sleep.

Right after I broke my promise…” I broke off, crying. Embarrassed, I turned away.

Jaeduck didn’t rush me or force me to talk. He just gave me a sympathetic squeeze of the hand while I composed myself.

“He must’ve felt awful…I pretty much abandoned him. I wish I could turn back the past and change things.”

“Did you try to reach him?”

“I asked Jiyong but he said Sunghoon asked him not to tell me anything. So I went to his parents but they told me I’d just distract him when he’s trying to get focused on his future. They pretty much told me to fuck off.”

“Well, then you can’t do anything about it then,” Jaeduck replied philosophically. “All you can do is learn from your mistake. Don’t torture yourself with ‘I should’ves’…that won’t help you. You have to just get on with your life. Try to live in a way you won’t regret later on.”

“Jaeduck, do you think that he still likes me, after all I’ve put him through?”

He didn’t hesitate for a second. “Yeah, I do. His love for you was really strong. He loved you despite your flaws, or maybe he loved your flaws, too, because they also defined who you are.”

“You think I’ll see him again?” I asked hopefully.

Jaeduck sighed. “Truthfully, no.” My heart fell with a thud.

“Let me ask you something. Are you really happy with Hyori?”

“Of course. She’s the girl I’ve been dreaming about for three years.”

“Yeah…but people change.”

**********

We wrapped up studying and Jaeduck left. Hyori came over and we started talking about the future.

“What I really want to do is become a model. Or maybe an actress.”

“You could probably do that easily.”

“Thanks. How about you, Jiwon? What do you want?”

“I want…” I paused. What did I want? I wasn’t sure anymore. “I don’t know,” I replied, half truthfully.

I knew, but I didn’t want to admit it, even to myself.

“Come on, you must have a dream.”

“I don’t,” I insisted. “Nothing that’s obtainable anyway.” I kissed her to shut her up and we started to make out.

“You know, I should really be thankful to that kid, Sunghoon.”

I gave a start at that name.

“If it wasn’t for him, I doubt we would have ever gotten together.”

I tried not to look too flustered as I asked, “What are you talking about?”

“Sunghoon came up to me one day, out of the blue, and started telling me how much you liked me. I always thought you were cute but kinda flaky, always hanging out with younger kids and acting really strange at times. But he argued so convincingly for you that I decided to give you a chance.”

I sat, absorbing this fact.

“I heard he got sent away though…I think for getting into a car accident when he doesn’t even have a license.”

“What?!” Thinking about it, I never did get in trouble with my parents.

“Yeah, I don’t even think it was his car, which made it even worse. Who knows?” She shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m just sorry that we waited so long to get together. Now, after graduation…what’s going to happen to our relationship?”

We fell into silence. To my surprise, I wasn’t too upset about the possibility of dissolving our relationship. Is this what I’ve been struggling to get all these years? A lukewarm feeling and mild attachment?

“Jiwon, we may go our separate ways but I’m going to try to make it work. If we really love each other, we’ll make it work. But no matter what, I want you to be my first.”

I stared at her. “You mean…?”

“Yeah…Jiwon, make love to me.” She pulled off her shirt, and took my hand, pressing it to her breast. I flipped back her long hair and kissed the smooth neck. Slipping the bra straps off, I moved down to cover her bared shoulder. Her hands tugged on my pants and frantically, we both stripped each other, our lips and hands all over each other.

I gazed down at her naked bronze body, full of shapely curves. She was as sexually appealing as ever, but I felt somewhat hesitant.

“Hurry, Jiwon, I’m coming.”

This was it. Me and my dream girl…

Live with no regrets…

 

Chapter 16

I walked into the dim café, slipping my shades off. I scanned the room casually. Would they recognize me now? Better question, would I recognize them?

I spotted a tall figure and started to walk towards him. “Jiyong?”

He stood up smiling. He had matured and grown even better-looking than I remembered. He won’t have to chase females…he probably has to beat them off now.

“Hyung, I’m so glad you came.” He gestured to the young man at his side. “You remember

Suwon.”

I shook hands with them as I slid into the booth across from them. They were sitting awfully close.

“What do you want?”

“Hyung, why do you assume that there’s some ulterior motive? We just want to talk,” Jiyong protested.

“Sure, after six years of no contact, you call and ask me to meet you, just so we can talk,” I said skeptically.

Jiyong sipped his drink. “Yup.”

Suwon picked up the same cup and drank out of it too. I couldn’t see, but I suspected that they were holding hands under the table. Call it a hunch.

“Stop lying to me. Really. Why am I here?”

“Well,” Suwon relented. “We’re actually waiting for a fourth person.”

“Someone from high school, in fact,” Jiyong added.

I knew this wasn’t any innocent visit! “It’s Jin, isn’t it? Well, I’m glad to have seen you guys but I have to get going.” I hurriedly escaped, ignoring their pleadings to stay.

It seemed they weren’t tired poking fun at me after all. I was busily thinking of how closely I had avoided an encounter with her to pay attention to where I was going. I knocked into someone as I rushed across the street.

“Sorry, I wasn’t looking.” I helped the person up, then did a double take. “Sunghoon?” I whispered, disbelieving my eyes.

He was taller, tanner, and dressed in a crisp business suit, but there was no mistaking his eyes.

They were the same beautiful brown eyes, so large and luminous.

He looked just as shocked to see me, dropping his briefcase on the ground.

“J…Jiwon…”

We stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity.

“What are you doing here?” I finally asked.

“I live here.”

“Oh.” Then why didn’t you come find me? I wanted to scream.

“How was Hawaii?” I asked feebly, wondering what more I could say.

“It was nice. I met a lot of friends.” He wasn’t offering me much to work with. This was very different from the talkative, bubbly Sunghoon. Still, faced with him, I felt like he was more the same than ever, deep inside.

Fearing the answer but needing to know, I asked him, “Anyone special?”

He turned away. “I don’t think you have a right to ask me that.”

“Sunghoon…” My cell phone rang, cutting me off. I impatiently flipped it on. “Hello?”

“Hyung, come back. It’s not Jin. It’s–”

“Sunghoon,” I finished for him.

“Yeah, how did you know?”

“I’m standing with him right now.” I wanted to kill Jiyong for throwing me into this situation unprepared, yet I wanted to thank him for bringing Sunghoon back into my life.

“Good luck, then. Don’t blow it this time,” he advised before hanging up.

Sunghoon was staring at my hand, making me self-conscious. “You still have that sticker picture of us,” he said in an oddly flat tone. “I remember when I put it on for you, you were so embarrassed and kept on trying to hide it from all your friends.”

I swallowed hard, wondering what was going through his mind. My thumb unconsciously stroked the treasured square.

“Yeah, I guess I did. For a little while, I put another one on top of it, but even then I couldn’t get myself to tear it off. It was always there, although hidden. But it felt so strange, keeping it buried underneath. It was like I was suffocating a part of me. So I peeled the other one off, and it felt like such a relief, having it out on display once again.

I found out I really like it after all.

Always have, but just too stupid to realize it.”

For a moment, it looked like I had touched him. Then his expression turned cold. “You should take it off, hyung. When you put the other one on, it was…scarred, for lack of a better word.”

He took the phone from me. “See, when peeling the other picture off, parts of our picture went off with it. It’s ruined. Forever.” He dropped the phone back into my hands.

“Sunghoon, why do you sound so hard? You didn’t use to be like this,” I pleaded.

“I grew up,” he said simply. “The dreams I once had were too unrealistic. You can’t be successful in the business world by having emotions control you. You have to be in control, all the time.” He glanced at his watch. “I have to be getting back to the office.”

He picked up his briefcase and hailed a cab.

“Sunghoon, wait,” I cried desperately. I did the only thing I could think off. “I love you.”

His eyes were moist but his expression never changed. “Good-bye, Jiwon.”

 

Chapter 17

“More.” I held out my shotglass.

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

“More!” I said insistently.

Jaeduck sighed but poured some more soju out. I drank it down and gestured for him to pour more, coughing as I did so.

I couldn’t even drink myself into a stupor. My pain was as sharp as ever.

“He left me, Jaeduck. He left me again.”

“I know, Jiwon. I know.”

“If he loves me so damn much, how come he keeps leaving me? I told him I love him…what more does he want?”

“Sometimes, people are idiots. You love him, but you rejected him in the past,” he pointed out helpfully.

I glared at him. “He gave you plenty of chances but you were too busy chasing a dream to face the truth—that you were in love with him.”

“You’re right, Duckie…this time I know what it feels like being on the receiving end. I don’t deserve him.” I grew despondent, thinking about how I had lost him again.

“You’re missing my point. You can’t give up now. You’ve admitted your true feelings to yourself, and you’ve confessed your love to him. Now, you have to prove your sincerity to him.”

“How do I do that? He doesn’t even want to see me again.”

“Find out where he works, then accidentally bump into him. Ask him out for coffee, just for old times sake, and then woo him with your dazzling charms.”

“Okay, I’ll do it. Where’s my cell phone? I have to call Jiyong.”

**********

I spotted him coming out of the building across the street. Casually sticking my hands in my pocket, I walked toward him, my eyes zeroed in on him behind my shades.

“Hey, watch it, moron!” I jumped back onto the curb as a car honked at me. Sheesh, this wasn’t going to work. Why do I always listen to Jaeduck’s stupid ideas?

I waited for the signal to change, then hurried across. Great, now where was he? I looked around, wishing I didn’t feel so conspicuous. The trenchcoat was probably a bad idea.

I wandered around, wondering where he had disappeared to. Then I spotted him. He was purchasing some flowers.

Then, whistling happily, he went inside a restaurant. I waited for a minute before entering.

He was alone. This was the perfect time. “Come on, Jiwon,” I encouraged myself. “Don’t back out now.”

Before I could do anything, a pretty woman came up to him and he stood up to meet her. I stood by heart-broken as they hugged and kissed, and he handed the flowers to her. They sat down across from each other, holding hands and smiling. So this is how it feels seeing the love of your life with someone else.

I wanted to leave, but my feet wouldn’t obey. They carried me over to them.

“Sunghoon! Sweetie. I’m so glad to see you!” They both look up startled as I slid in next to Sunghoon.

I pecked him on the cheek and casually slung an arm around him. “Who’s this, honey?”

I asked in a sickeningly sweet voice.

The woman had a confused look on her face. “Sunghoon, who is this?” she asked, withdrawing her hand from his.

I smirked. “You mean you haven’t told her about us? We’re dating, and very much in love.”

She was absolutely shocked. “Um…I’m sorry. I didn’t know he was already seeing someone,” she murmured, getting up to leave.

“No, wait! I don’t know this guy. Really. He’s just delirious.”

“Sunghoon, you don’t have to lie to me. If you’re taken, oh well.” She gave him a disgusted look as she left.

I smiled innocently as he glared at me. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Nothing, snookems.” I laid my head on his shoulder. “Aren’t you glad we’re back together?”

“Back together? BACK TOGETHER?!” he seethed. “We were never together in the first place!”

He stormed out of there, brushing back his hair angrily.

“He’s so cute when he’s angry, isn’t he?” I asked out loud, hurrying out after him.

 

Chapter 18

“Sunghoon, wait!” He was flagging down a taxi.

“Where are you going?”

“I was supposed to have a nice dinner with my girlfriend but I’m going to go home and eat ramyun now, no thanks to you.”

I clung to him. “No, no. He doesn’t want a taxi.” I waved the driver off.

“Let me take you home, Hoony.”

“No,” he snapped, trying to signal another one. I yanked him back hard. He gave up and let me drag him to my car.

“It’s yellow,” he commented.

“Yup. It reminded me of you so I bought it.”

“It looks really tacky, hyung.”

I shrugged, not letting him get to me. I flipped on some music.

“This music’s horrible,” he complained. I gritted my teeth as I shut it off.

“Why’d you turn it off?” he asked immediately.

I counted to ten silently. “Let’s talk instead. Can we go out tomorrow?”

“No. I’m busy.”

“Come on, Sunghoon. Give me a chance,” I pleaded. “You can’t still be mad at me.”

He remained silent, staring out the side window. I took this as a good sign. At least he didn’t reject me outright.

“How about we go to that place by the beach. And we can go play at the arcade afterwards.

Remember how I won you that stuffed penguin when we were kids?” I coaxed.

He tried hard but I saw a glimmer of a smile on his face from his reflection.

“I spent all my money but I finally managed to win it.”

“I told you I should’ve taken a shot. I bet I could’ve gotten it on the first try.”

“But you were too short,” I protested. “You could barely even see over the ring-toss table.”

He grinned widely. “I still have that him,” he confessed. “I used to sleep with Little Jiwon every night.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Used to?”

He blushed. “I’m 22 years old. I can’t sleep with dolls anymore.”

“You know, you can sleep with the real thing now,” I said suggestively, reaching over and squeezing his thigh. He jumped at my touch, snapping out of his reverie.

“Stop! Let me out now,” he demanded, all traces of softness gone. His face was cold again, and he held himself rigidly, not allowing that sunny smile to surface. In punishing me, he was squelching his most beautiful feature.

“No. I’m not letting you go until you agree to go out with me.”

“You can’t make me and I’ll never agree so you just let me go, Eun Jiwon.”

Instead of replying, I gunned down on the accelerator.

“Jiwon, stop!” Sunghoon gripped hard on the door, turning ashen white.

“That’s not what I want to hear.” My jaw was set in determination. “If you’re not going to give me a chance, what’s the point of going on? At least we can die together.” I narrowly missed hitting a car.

“You’re kidding. You’re not going to crash.” I smiled crazily at him, and took my hands off the wheel.

“Look. No hands!” He lunged and took the wheel himself.

“Hyung. You’re acting insane.”

“You’re telling me,” I laughed.

“Okay.”

I was surprised to hear him actually agree. “What?”

“Yes, I’ll go out with you. Just stop,” he pleaded.

“You promise?”

“Yes, I promise.”

“Good. Cause we’re at your home.” I skidded to a stop. He fumbled with the door, looking ill.

“The door’s locked.” His fingers found the latch and he got out unsteadily.

“Hey, hyung. How did you know where I live anyway?”

“You can thank Jiyong. Don’t forget our date tomorrow~~!” He smiled weakly at me.

 

Chapter 19

Clink clink clink. People from the next table shot me dirty looks and I dropped my knife and spoon, which I had been tapping together.

I checked my watch. Sunghoon was supposed to be here twenty minutes ago. He had called saying he was held up at the office and that he would just meet me here. I shouldn’t have trusted him to show up. Still I couldn’t just leave.

“Would you like to order now?” I shook my head, anxiously staring at the entrance, willing him to appear.

An hour later found me muttering, “Where the hell is he? He should be here by now,” while worrying that he had gotten into some sort of accident. What if he had fallen into a big hole and couldn’t get out? Okay, so that probably wasn’t the case but what if he was hurt?

I couldn’t just sit still so I got out of there. So many happy couples laughing, enjoying themselves on the boardwalk. I felt a twinge of jealousy and bitterness. Sunghoon was probably out there, being one of those happy couples right now, while I waited around like a loser for him.

Feeling depressed and alone, I stepped into a sticker picture booth. I inserted the money and took my picture, frowning in each shot. When it developed, I chose the worst possible picture.

“So much for everlasting love,” I muttered as I ripped the old one off my cell phone and placed the new one on. I don’t know why I was torturing myself like this.

Stuffing my phone back into my pocket, I wandered around, feeling lost.

“Would you like to play a game, sir?” I looked up, smiling half-heartedly.

“Sure, why not?” I pulled out a bill and took the rings. One. Little Hoony, sweetly sucking his thumb as he offered me a lick of his lollipop. Two. Adolescent Sunghoon grinning as he devised new ways to annoy and torture me in the name of love. Three.

The mature young man he had now become, so strong and handsome.

“Better luck next time,” she told me as the last one failed to meet its mark.

“Yeah, next time,” I repeated vaguely, turning away. What was I thinking, trying to force him to like me. I should just move on with my life, like he had.

“Wouldn’t you like to try again?”

“No…it’s not worth it. I probably won’t make it anyway.” I walked away, thinking hard to myself.

“Won’t make it,” I muttered under my breath. “But shouldn’t I try anyway, as long as there’s the slightest bit of hope?” I hurried back. “Three more rings, please.”

The attendant chuckled. “Back so soon?”

I smiled back. “Yup.” I lost again, but didn’t let it deter me. “Once more,” I said. My confidence started to falter as I kept spending money but kept on losing. I swear, those things are rigged.

“Last hope, baby,” I whispered to myself. I was totally broke now. “Damn!” I cursed as I missed. It seemed like such a bad omen.

The lady gave me a sympathetic look as she handed me a stuffed blue mouse. “I’ve never seen a man so determined to win a kiddie game before. Here, why don’t you just take this. Think of it as a consolation prize.”

“But I don’t want a–”

She shooed me away, starting to call out to potential customers.

“Great, what am I going to do with this?”

“You shouldn’t have wasted all your money, hyung,” Sunghoon said quietly.

He came. He actually came.

I whirled around to see him, standing right behind me. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough. I should’ve stepped in and stopped you.”

“But you didn’t.”

“I thought that maybe, just maybe, you would make it. I was rooting for you.”

There was a moment of silence. “I thought you weren’t going to show,” I said softly.

“I wasn’t. But then I remembered how it feels when promises are broken.”

I looked down shame-faced. He gently lifted my chin so that I was facing him.

“Hyung, I’m not trying to hurt you and I’m not holding a grudge. Really. But you have to stop following me.”

“Why? Don’t you still love me?”

He looked helplessly at his feet, one hand raking back his hair as he tried to form his thoughts.

That familiar habit brought a smile to my face, despite the gravity of the situation.

“I finally managed to deal with your rejection. If you hurt me again, I don’t know if I can handle it. It’s better if we forget each other.”

“No one’s going to get hurt. Not this time. I promise.” This time, I was the one to lift his face, his beautiful, tear-stained face. “I love you, Kang Sunghoon.” I closed my eyes and kissed him, softly at first but more passionately. He made no move to break out of our embrace and kissed back hungrily. Wrapped in each other’s arms, it was a moment of perfect bliss.

 

Epilogue

We made love in a secluded part of the beach, the night air chilling our bare skin. It was the sweetest thing I’ve ever had to experience, and I was glad I saved my virginity for him, my one true love, rather than giving in to temptation all those years ago.

Lying on our backs, our limbs tangled, I saw him smile, that brilliant, day-brightening smile. “You should smile more often, Sunghoon. You’re so beautiful when you do.”

“I think I will from now on,” he said. “I won’t be able to help smiling.”

I rolled over on top of him, kissing his smooth neck. “Hoony, I’m your number one fan.”

He gently fingered my hair. “No, Jiwon.”

“No?” I questioned.

“I want us to be equals.” His arms tightened around me, and our bodies blended into one once again. Even after we pulled apart, our hearts were still connected, forever.

~The End~

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