- a Wonnie fanfic
- Sweet Memories Volume II
Jiwon sighed, she seemed a lifetime away but he just can’t stop thinking about her.
Eunjee…the highlights in her hair, the mischievous wink, her wistful smile. Eunjee…
“Eh-hem!” Soju said sharply, breaking the sudden privacy Jiwon was beginning to treasure.
“Eunjee?” Jiwon turned in hopes to find his love standing behind him, a grin stretching from ear to ear, squirming with delight.
“Guess again,” Soju answered. She walked over to his bed and seated herself at the edge of it. “It’s the none other!”
“Soju jjang,” Jiwon finished.
Soju beamed, yet sharing the same remorseful feeling Jiwon was having. She sighed. “It is Christmas vacation, you know.”
Jiwon nodded. “Thanks. I understand your purpose of mentioning it, but…I’m not in the mood.”
“Christmas is only a few days away,” Soju continued.
“No Christmas shopping?”
“Not planning on it.”
“Wut about Eunjee?”
“She can’t…” Jiwon croaked.
“No, no, no…I meant, you’re not gonna get Eunjee anything?”
Jiwon finally looked up at Soju, her words taking effect. “Get her something?”
“Being that her birthday is on Christmas,” Soju reminded him.
“What did you get her?” Jiwon asked instead.
“Something very special.”
Now Soju had his attention. “What?”
She sighed. “Eun Jiwon.”
Soju shook her head. “You still don’t get it.”
“What?!” he shrieked.
Soju laughed. “I’m telling you that’s what I got her. Not calling your name.”
“Oh!” Jiwon leaned back in his chair, thinking about what Soju had said. “Wait! Eun Ji – You got her! Wait! You’re gonna!”
Again, Soju shook her head. “Don’t worry. I won’t kill you. You’ll see. When it’s Christmas day, you’ll see what I’m gonna do. In the meantime, you better go do some Christmas shopping! Sunghoon’s already got you and Eunjee something! Go!”
“You’ll see. I’ll take you to go see her and you can scream her name all you want.”
Jiwon nodded, not quite understanding Soju’s meaning.
“I’m gonna be with Jiyong. If you need anything – ”
“Eunjee,” was all he could say.
Jeeah picked up the studio portrait of her and her best friend, Eunjee. She stared at herself and then gazed at Eunjee’s goofy, yet cheerful expression.
A knock at the door halted her train of thoughts as she placed the picture on her bed. “Come in!”
“Hey, sexy,” Soju greeted, sticking her head in through the door.
“Hi, unni,” Jeeah replied. She moved the photo and placed it on her bureau as Soju, followed by Jiyong, entered.
“What’s – oh!” Soju stared at the big picture, Eunjee’s bright eyes returned the bold stare. “You, too?”
“Jiwon’s reminscing back at home. I just got through talking to him.”
Jiyong, as always, kept out of the conversation. He pulled out the chair from Jeeah’s desk and plopped right on it, not paying any attention to the girls.
“I’ve come to wish you a Merry Christmas,” Soju started. “Of course…if you can or want to…we’re gonna have a fiesta!”
Jeeah offered a weak smile. “Unni…you still manage to be funny. But Christmas is still – ”
“Just wanna letcha know aheada time. Ya know, RSVP?” Soju winked.
“I don’t think I can. Family…”
“It’s okay! It’s okay! Which is why I said ‘if.’ Don’t worry to much about it.”
“Unni,” Jeeah uttered, tears welling up in her eyes.
“Now,” Soju said, patting Jeeah’s chin. “Gimme a smile. It’s a time to be gay!”
“Oh, unni!” Jeeah whimpered. She threw herself in Soju’s embrace, her tears unable to control.
Soju held the smaller girl, rocking her gently as the pain in her heart elevated. With only actions of comfort, Soju slowly smoothed out Jeeah’s hair, whispering, “It’s okay.”
“Welp…” Jiyong said uncomfortably, watching Jeeah rage on a violent bawl, drenching Soju’s jacket. “We’ve come bearing gifts. Hope that’ll cheer you up.”
Jeeah dug her face deeper into Soju’s jacket, her agonized cries muffled by the protection of Soju’s embrace.
“Wow…she’s so happy, she cried even harder!” Jiyong said to himself. “Welp, I’m going out to my car and bring ’em in. Maybe seeing them will make you believe we got ’em.” Jiyong stood up and cast Soju a ‘You’re-the-Man’ look before taking off.
Soju held Jeeah a while longer before Jeeah’s tears had run day. “It’s okay, baby. Let it all out. It’s hard…”
“I’m sorry, unni,” Jeeah mumbled, sniffling.
“Nothing to be sorry about. You’ve held it in long enough. And I’m glad you’ve let some of that out. Now all I’ve got to worry about is Jiwon.”
“What’s wrong with Jiwon oppa?”
“He’s not recovering, that’s what’s wrong. He’s taking the blame…Poor guy.”
“Hahaaaa!” Jiyong announced. He barged into Jeeah’s room with a tall pile of gifts.
Jeeah gasped. “Unni!”
“Don’t open it till Christmas.” Soju patted Jeeah’s arm and wiped off the last remaining tear on Jeeah’s face. “Promise me one thing.”
Jeeah’s wide eyes stared intently at Soju as she waited for Soju’s plead of favor.
“Come and visit Eunjee with me? On Christmas. It won’t take long and I know your parents may not allow it, but…just come? I think she would want to see her best friend and namja chingoo there to wish her a very happy holidays.”
Jeeah nodded vehemently. She chewed on her lower lip to prevent fresh tears from spilling again. Again, she nodded.
“Then we should be going, it’s getting dark. We’ll leave these under the tree. We’ll see ourselves out.” Soju removed two boxes from Jiyong’s grasp and exited Jeeah’s room. Jiyong trailed behind and left Jeeah alone in her room to wallow in her tears again.
Jeeah stared blankly after Jiyong, tears working up to her eyes again. As one tear trickled down her cheek, she whispered, “Eunjee…”
“Hyung!” Jaeduck cried, peering into the studio. “Hyung!”
“What?” Jaejin emerged from his room, his hair in a mess.
“Not you! Where’s Jiwon?”
“Have you tried his room?”
“Good hiding place! Why didn’t I think of it! Hyung! Hyung!”
Jaejin shook his head and retreated back to his room.
“Jaeduck?” Sunghoon asked, not looking up from his paper.
“Are you still writing that song?”
“Hmm…tell me what you think.” Sunghoon handed Jaejin the stack of papers and sprawled out on the floor to stretch. “I’m stuck on the second verse, but what do you think of the rest?”
Jaejin quickly scanned the chicken scratch Sunghoon had produced on paper and pondered on the same problem Sunghoon’s experiencing. The second verse.
“It’s very good, but…the second verse is…outta place.”
Sunghoon let out a long moan. “My back’s killing me and I can’t think of anything to fix it!”
“Stand up and I’ll kick it.”
“No! Not that! I meant the song! I can’t think of anything to fix it! Aigooooo…”
Jaejin stared at the opening line of the second passage, trying to come up with something. “I can’t think of anything either.”
“Argh! Just my luck!”
Distantly they heard the door downstairs open and close, soft voices conversating as they entered.
“Who’s that?” Sunghoon asked abruptly.
Sunghoon hauled himself up and pranced to the door of Jaejin’s room. He threw it open and nearly tumbled down the stairs over his oversized, baggy jeans. “Jiyong! Soju jjang! Where’d you two go?”
“Onna date,” Soju replied dryly.
“Yeah, onna date,” Jiyong echoed.
“Did you get it?!” Suwon shouted, who’d suddenly appeared next to Sunghoon.
“They ran out. Sorry,” Soju apologized. “Plus the ajooma there was being a bitch. She was yappering like Jiyong bit her ass. So, we jetted. Sorry.”
“Oh. It’s okay, no harm done,” Suwon replied. He returned to his room with his head bent low.
“Sorry!” Soju yelled after him.
“Well, I’m going back to my room. I’ll be out when I’m hungry,” Jiyong announced. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and shuffled towards his room.
“Just like Duckie!” Soju jeered, her lip twitching.
“Sunghoon! Sunghoon!” Jiwon bellowed, charging straight at his best friend.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Sunghoon held up his hands to stop Jiwon from ramming into him.
“Take me! Take me now!” Jiwon screamed, shaking Sunghoon violently by the shoulders.
“Hold up!” Soju interrupted. She pried Jiwon’s fingers off Sunghoon before he went on with the commotion. “Jiwon, both me and you know that Sunghoon’s fruity. He may have left some hints of being gay, but he’s NOT! I know he’s NOT! So there’s no way of him to take you – ”
“Sunghoon!” Jiwon hollered. “I need to see her! I need to see her NOOOOWWW!!!!”
Soju felt the floor beneath her give way. “Hurry! Get your car! He’s clearly out of his mind. Go!”
Sunghoon stared frightfully at Jiwon, then turning his gaze to Soju, he bolted out the house without a word.
“We’re going, oppa. Calm down,” Soju murmured.
Jiwon stared blankly into space, his mind far away.
“We’ll be there soon…”
Soju guided him towards the door and out to Sunghoon’s car. Jiwon felt himself shiver uncontrollably as Soju struggled out of her jacket to wrap it around him.
“Soju,” he heard himself say.
“Poor hyung,” Jaeduck crooned.
“What happened?” Jaejin asked, turning to Soju and Sunghoon.
Sunghoon, who was still shaken by the event, sat in the furthest corner of the room.
Soju sighed. “I dunno. He just passed out. When I came back with Jiyong, I was downstairs with Sunghoon at the time. Jiyong went to his room and so it was only me and – ” She turned to glance at Sunghoon, an expressionless, yet shocked look pasted on his face. “Jiwon came running outta his room and at Sunghoon, screaming like a maniac. He was shaking him like Raggedy Andy and saying he had to see Eunjee…We were on our way and he just passed out in the car.”
“Ack!” Jaejin frowned.
“That’s when he,” Soju points at Sunghoon, “went ballastic. He thought…He thought oppa just…” She drew and invisible line across her throat, her tongue hanging out of her mouth.
“Both of them passed out and I had to dump him in the backseat with Jiwon. I was freaked myself.”
“But that was yesterday! And now that we all know Jiwon hyung’s alive, shouldn’t Sunghoon not be like that?!” Jiyong demanded.
“It’s an aftershock. Count on Eunjee for causing it,” Soju answered.
“But the doctor said it’s nothing, right?” Suwon implied.
“They should be fine. Jiwon’s just tired and under a lot of stress. Sunghoon’s…he’s just wack like that.”
Suwon sighed. “And tomorrow’s Christmas…”
Everybody held their breaths, not daring to make the next move.
“He has to get well! He just has to!” Soju finally said, breaking the silence.
“And if he doesn’t?” Jaejin asked.
“Eunjee will be heartbroken.”
Jeeah tossed and turned, unable to stay still. “Eunjee…”
She sat up in her bed, trying to shake off the weight she suddenly felt holding her shoulders down. She wished Soju was with her tonight. Her light laugh, carefree manner helps her relax. But unfortunately, she went home. It was eleven-forty-seven and she was the only one in bed. Her parents and brother along with her aunts and uncles and a houseful of cousins were still downstairs laughing and enjoying the night. She had made up some excuse to be left alone and enjoy the peace by herself and came to realize it wasn’t such a good idea.
Somewhere in the house, the phone rang and she heard her brother screaming into it.
“She’s sleeping! Who? Soju nuna? Sleep – what?! Oh! Oh! Okay! Same to you! Merry Christmas! Good night, nuna! Okay! I will! Bye!”
Jeeah gazed at her digital clock, trying to decide whether to call Soju or not. She was very down and lonesome, without Soju by her side, she wasn’t sure if she could make it through the night.
She slipped out of bed and dressed in her clothes again. She ventured back downstairs, simmering the merriment.
“Jeeah? I thought you were asleep, hon.”
Jeeah forced a smile. “I couldn’t sleep, Oma. Is it okay if I spend the night with Jomi unni?”
“Were we too loud?” one of her aunts asked.
“Oh, no, no! It’s just me. I just…couldn’t settle. You know? It wasn’t you guys.”
“Well…I’m not so sure…but since it’s Christmas…go on ahead! Be careful!” Jeeah’s father warned as he reached inside his pocket for his car key.
“It’s okay, Appa. I’ll just ask Jomi to come and pick me up.”
“At this time!?” Her father glanced at his watch. “We don’t want to bother the girl. Why don’t I take you over?”
As if Soju had heard Jeeah’s prayer, the phone rang.
“Hello?” Jeeah’s brother shouted.
“Your sister, please,” Soju stated promptly.
“For you, nuna. It’s Soju nuna.”
Jeeah accepted the phone and whispered, “Jomi?”
“Are you alright? I had premonitions,” Soju said hastily.
“I guess. I feel depressed.”
“What’s wrong?” Soju inquired, feeling concerned.
“I guess knowing it’ll be Eunjee’s birthday soon just upsets me.”
“You’ll see her soon. Can you?”
“Yeah. Appa and Oma will agree.”
“Are you gonna be up later?”
“Will be the whole night, why?”
“Can I come over?” Jeeah blurted.
“Over in ten minutes.” Click.
Jeeah replaced the receiver back on the cradle and waited for Soju on the back porch. She sent her brother back upstairs to room to collect the Christmas gifts for Soju and everybody else in the house. He and a few cousins marched outside carrying two boxes each.
Just like Soju had promised, she showed up within ten minutes in Jiyong’s car.
“Nuna!” Jeeah’s brother shouted. He left the presents on the bench and flew down the steps to greet Soju. He pounced on her with joy and gave her a bear hug.
“Uhhhhh! You’re squeezing the life outta me! Aaaaahhhhhhh!!!”
“Oops! Sorry,” he said sheepishly. “Merry Christmas Eve, nuna!”
“Merry Christmas. Your present’s waiting for you under the tree.”
“Present?! You already got me one?! Nuna! Nuna!”
“Hurry back inside before you get frostbites,” Jeeah scolded.
Proudly, the little munchkins marched back inside, leaving Jiyong, Soju and Jeeah to deal with the eight neatly wrapped boxes.
“Eight?” Jiyong raised a brow.
“Yesssss,” Soju hissed, jabbing his ribs.
“Oh, eight!” Jiyong smiled, understanding.
Together, they loaded the presents into Jiyong’s car and drove off into the night.
“It’s really sumthin, hyung,” Soowom commented, handing Jaeduck the lyrics to Sunghoon’s song. “But I heard Jaejin say the second verse is messed up.”
“How?” Jaeduck squeaked. He looked down at the paper with Sunghoon’s messy writing. “I think it’s great.”
“Somehow or somewhere they don’t agree,” Suwon answered. “I think it’s fabulous.”
“Hmm…song writers. Go figure.”
“If only he could be normal again and rethink it…too bad…Why did he write this anyway?”
“You’ll have to ask Jaejin hyung.”
The back door of the house burst open as the strong gust of wind rushed Jeeah, Soju and Jiyong in. The piled the gifts on top of another while Jaeduck hurried over to the door and forced it shut.
“Something cooking?” Jeeah asked as she inhaled the warm kitchen air.
“Suwon’s Christmas cake. I was hungry,” Jaeduck replied, a silly grin on his face.
“Don’t give him his present. He’ll just act even dumber and that smile will get irritatingly annoying,” Jiyong whispered softly in Soju’s ear.
“Stuff him with the cake and he’ll be too busy eating to even lift a finger to shred the wrapping papers to pieces,” Soju murmured back.
“Good idea,” Jiyong mouthed. He shook off his coat and pulled off his wet, heavy boots.
Jeeah freed herself of the scarf and earmuffs Eunjee had gotten her the previous year while Soju and Jiyong argued on what to have as a late midnight snack.
“Let’s go,” Soju announced. She left Jiyong with the chore of popping the popcorn and carried Jeeah’s gifts out to the dimly lit living room and placed them all around the beautifully decorated Christmas tree.
“When are we gonna see Eunjee?” Jeeah inquired, settling on a single-person couch.
“Later on tomorrow, probably late afternoon or at night. It’ll be so pretty. The snow, the stars…”
“Soju jjang,” Suwon called from the kitchen.
“Wuddo you think?” Suwon entered the living room and handed Soju Sunghoon’s song.
“Just read it.”
Soju did as she was told and frowned when she finished. “It’s not complete.”
“It’s not?” Suwon and Jaeduck both cried. Jaeduck dashed to Soju’s side. “How? Why?”
“It…It’s missing sumthin. It looks complete, but when you read it…it doesn’t flow. It lacks sumthin.”
“What? Where? How?” Suwon shouted, bombarding Soju with questions.
“Calm down. You’re getting excited like a dumb butthead who thinks he’d just scored.”
Suwon boiled at the remark. “Heh…sorry Soju. Where?”
Soju squinted her eyes and pondered the question. “Mmm…here.” She pointed at the scratched up paragraph which indicated the beginning of the second verse and went on to say, “It’s incomplete. Sunghoon wrote this?”
Instead of an answer, Suwon exploded. “What’s wrong with it?! I think it’s perfectly fine!”
“To your eyes. It’s missing sumthin.”
“It’s a hidden message,” Jaeduck whispered.
“Very good, Duckie. A treat for you!” Soju turned around to give Jaeduck a peck on the cheek.
“May I see it?” Jeeah asked shyly.
“You’ve been warned. Sunghoon’s writing’s attrocious, so please do not blame us when you go blind,” Jiyong joked, walking in on the conversation.
Jeeah smiled. “It’s fine.”
“It is sloppy though,” Soju admitted, handing the younger girl the wrinkled paper.
Jeeah quickly scanned the song and sighed. “It’s beautiful. I don’t think anything’s missing.”
“See!” Suwon cried.
“But it is. It’s not an ordinary song. Can’t you tell?” Soju argued.
“Soju’s right. It’s not,” a voice suddenly said.
Everybody turned to the person that spoke. Jaejin stepped away from the staircase and approached the group.
“Even Sunghoon thinks something is wrong and no one can figure out what. Not even himself.”
“But it’s so lovely! What could be possibly wrong?” Jeeah wondered aloud.
“The beginning of the second verse,” Soju murmured.
“Exactly,” Jaejin said just as softly.
Jeeah quickly reread the paper, still not seeing what Soju and Jaejin meant. “I don’t get it.”
“It’s okay. Don’t worry about it. Sunghoon will figure it out,” Jaeduck assured her.
Jiwon laid still on the bed, the head suffocating.
“Eunjee,” he moaned. In a daze, he saw a flash of her childish face, the eyes young and knowing. The smile…one of a kind.
“Jiwon,” he heard her call out. A giggle. “Jiwon!”
“Eunjee! Eunjee!” It was painful. Eunjee’s beautiful face, her dazzling smile…It was to die for.
Wait. Hyung? That’s not Eunjee. Plus, Eunjee didn’t sound that boyish. The voice came again.
“Hyung!” Sunghoon wailed. “No! Hyung! You can’t go now! Hyung! Hyung!”
Feeling as if everthing’s a blur, Jiwon chose to ignore the feeble cry. Eunjee suddenly appeared again, this time with a sad expression on her face.
“Jiwon,” she said sadly. “I love you, Jiwon. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give just to keep you by my side.”
“Eunjee,” Jiwon called out hoarsely.
“Hyung! No, hyung! You can’t leave me now! Please! Wake up!” Sunghoon whimpered on. He tossed and turned in the bed close to Jiwon, clawing at the thin air. “Eunjeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
Jiwon pressured himself and tried forcing his eyes open, but the weight of it made it impossible. “Help…Eunjee…”
“Welp! It’s time to check up on the two sick love birds,” Jiyong announced, glancing at his watch. He settled the bowl of popcorn and shot right up from the couch. Immediately everyone followed, all worried about Jiwon and Sunghoon.
“What if Jiwon’s fever won’t break?” Soju suddenly asked without realizing she had voiced everyone’s fear.
“Uh…I guess…” Jaejin trailed off.
“Fever?” Jeeah whispered, tugging at Soju’s arm.
“He came down with a fever last night and he’s still burning up.”
Jeeah tightened her grip on Soju’s arm, too frightened to speak.
“Shhh…just come,” Soju consoled.
Jiyong turned the knob to the guest room and gently pushed the door open.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!” Sunghoon howled. “HYUUUUUUUUUUUNNG!!!”
“Sunghoon!” Jiyong and Soju cried in unison as the others rushed inside.
“Sunghoonie!” Soju shouted. She forced his hands free of the thick blanket he had on top of him and began shaking him. “Hoonie!”
“He’s going through a nightmare,” Jaeduck said blandly.
“Can you also guess who’s the star of it?” Soju asked just as tonelessly. “Hoonie! Wake up!”
“Scream in his ear, it always works,” Suwon suggested.
“He’ll just get louder,” Soju implied with exasperation.
“Here.” Jiyong shooed Soju aside and grasp Sunghoon by the shoulder. He shook the terrified boy like a rag doll and yelled on top of his lungs into Sunghoon’s ear.
Miraculously, Sunghoon stopped thrashing around and his eyes flew open.
“Phew…you need a shower. You stank, boy!” Jiyong fanned himself with his hand. “What was the nightmare about? If I hadn’t wake you up, you’ll probably pee in your pants soon!”
Sunghoon panted. He looked over to Jiwon’s bed and belt out a deafening scream.
“Told you he’s wack like that!” Soju shouted over the commotion. “Someone needs to smack him silly!”
“Sunghoon! Sunghoon! Calm down!” Jaejin commanded, rushing to a trembling Sunghoon.
“He-He-He! Hyung ah!” Sunghoon stammered, pointing a shakey finger at Jiwon’s unmoving body.
Soju crossed the room and sat down by Jiwon’s side. She studied his pained feature while he softly murmurs Eunjee’s name. “He’s not dead. We’re not that stupid to put you in the same room with a dying man.”
Sunghoon took large gulps of air before his breathing resumed to its normal pace. “Is-Is he okay?”
“Other than his hearing, he better be!” Jiyong barked, rubbing his ears.
Sunghoon looked at Jiyong apologetically.
“It’s past twelve and he better be!” Soju growled. “And he better be ready to see Eunjee!”
Sunghoon let out a squeaky hiccup. “Eeep! Eunjee! My paper!”
“It’s okay. We still have hours to go before we set out to see her. In the meantime, I suggest we all go to bed,” Jaeduck stated.
“Afterall, that is the only thing Jaeduck knows how to do other than digesting over a thousand different types of food from all over the world,” Suwon joked.
“And let’s not forget, he can get the toilet to function normally,” Jaejin added just as playfully.
“Welp! I think before I go to bed I should should officially say – ”
“Merry Christmas!” Jaeduck shrieked, cutting Soju off.
“And – ”
“Happy Birthday to Eunjee!” Jaeduck shrilled again.
“Surprising. Don’t you agree?” Jaejin winked.
“Thought his brain wouldn’t hold anything else other than names of food,” Soju mocked.
“Didn’t think it would,” Jaeduck agreed. “Can I open my presents now?”
“NO!” Jaejin and Soju bellowed.
“Go to bed. Wake up early,” Jaejin instructed.
“Let’s not also forget, no such word as ‘early’ for Jaeduck,” Suwon reminded them.
“Sleep all day and I’ll take all your presents,” Soju warned Jaeduck.
“Eeeek! Good morning!” Jaeduck shrieked and dashed to his room.
“Get some rest,” Jaejin advised Sunghoon. “See you in the morning.”
“Why is this beginning to sound like a soap to me?” Jiyong asked himself. “Because you live in a house full of retarded children.”
“And you’re the most retarded one I have to mother!” Jaejin retorted.
“Ha! I’m off to bed. Night.” Jiyong strolled out from the guest room, the heaviness of his eyelids unable to bear.
“Night. C’mon Jeeah,” Soju mumbled. She pulled on the girl’s arm and followed Jiyong out.
Suwon, Jaejin and Sunghoon bid each other good night before drifting off into their own rooms to doze till the break of dawn.
“Jiwon!” Eunjee giggled. “Haha! You can’t catch me!”
“Eunjee…” Jiwon moaned. He watched as she ran away from him, her eyes and smile full of life. The beautiful smile…
“C’mon Jiwon! You’re so slow! Hurry!” The smile again.
“Eunjee…” Jiwon croaked. “Don’t leave me…”
Across the room from him, the bed that had been occupied by Sunghoon now stands empty.
Jiwon slowly sat up in bed, groping in the dark for something that can ease the pain he’s feeling. “Eunjee…”
Without Eunjee close by, it was impossible to cure the deep suffering he’s going through internally. Not even Sunghoon or Soju could help make things better.
He slowly let his feet down and stood up, his mind suddenly spinning. He opened up his eyes a bit and slowly padded forward to the door. It was still early he noticed as he gradually descended down the stairs. The clock on the VCR read 2:10 A.M. and the warmth of the house was irritating. He stalked forward and felt his legs weaken. He fell back on a nearby couch and rested his head on the head rest.
In only a few hours, Soju would take him to see his honey. In only a few hours…
Looking over at Jeeah’s angelic feature, Soju quickly balled herself up. It was already past two a.m. and sleep wouldn’t come. She turned over and stared at her closet that hid her gift to Eunjee. She had told Jiwon she had gotten Eunjee the very best gift there was and she did. She had given up her long time crush just so she could see them two happy. Today of last year, they were laughing and celebrating their third year together as a couple. Of course, she was still a tad sour, but she loved the two more than she could think of herself with Jiwon. Plus, she was losing interest. Her attention span for guys were so limited. But for Jiwon…he held on for a good year and a half.
Soju threw back her covers and went to her closet to take out Eunjee’s present. It was Jiwon’s journal. The one he had kept when Eunjee was alive. The one he had spent his whole entire “Eunjee” period writing in. The only one he had ever had.
She opened the cover of the book, remembering the day she had taken him to the gift shop and pressured him to buy a journal book. The very day she had written on the inside cover: Property of Eun Jiwon. DO NOT READ OR TOUCH!!! She smiled at the memory as she ran her fingers over the heart encircling Eun Jiwon & Hwang Eunjee Together 143~012. The very one she had engraved in gold on both the outside and inside cover.
She was giving Eunjee Jiwon’s heart and soul, his life, the truth he has never revealed to anyone. She was tempted to read the entries, stare at the hastily scribbled passages, drink in every word he enscribed. But thinking about the words she had written herself on the cover, she thought otherwise. She respected him. Even loved him and still do. But she wasn’t entitled to rip his heart apart and know all the secrets only Eunjee was to know.
She sighed and turned to the last page Jiwon had written in and took out the loose leaf piece of paper. It was a song he was working on as a gift to Eunjee for today. It was so beautifully written, yet never finished since her unfortunate death.
She swallowed her tears as she began humming the song Jiwon had planned five months ahead of time, softly murmuring the words.
The tears arrived right on cue, streaming down her face as the words began to blur before her. She choked and began sobbing quietly to herself, hugging Jiwon’s journal.
Jiwon lifted his head some time later to find it already two-forty-five. Feeling a bit cooler, he looked about him, trying to recall where he was. He felt his ears prick as he heard rustling of paper. He looked around and found a yellow piece of paper laying not far from a bowl of popcorn on the coffee table.
He reached for the wrinkled paper and squinted at the messy writing, realizing it was a song written in Sunghoon’s writing.
Soju dried the tears from her eyes and sniffled a few times. She folded Jiwon’s song and returned it to its pages of his journal before putting it away.
It’s only three-fourths full, Eunjee. I dunno if that’s much or if there is much, but the book is thick. I dunno if you’ll learn anything about Jiwon…But it’s only Jiwon I can give you.”
With much effort, Jiwon read every single word Sunghoon had carefully chosen. The scratched out phrases, rewritten ones, little funny faces…everything.
Sensing Sunghoon’s distress, Jiwon hunted for a pen. He reread the song, pointing the pen to the paper to guide him through, he found Sunghoon’s problem.
Making a final scratch, hoping it won’t cause a hole, Jiwon cautiously printed the word and scratched out the second line. He wrote over the struck out sentence and smiled contently to himself.
“Perfect,” he purred. He held onto the paper with a smile on his face and drifted off to a peaceful sleep.
“Aigo! Eunjee look at hyung!”
Jiwon sat in the pile of snow Eunjee had just dumped on him, all covered in white.
Eunjee laughed again.
“ARRRRR!” Jiwon growled. He jumped out of the soft whiteness and charged at Eunjee, bringing her down with him in the cold iciness.
Together, they rolled around in snow, giggling like little children until their stomachs knotted with pain. Jiwon scooped up a handful of snow and clapped it to the side of Eunjee’s face.
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! JIWOOOOOOOOON!” she screamed.
Sunghoon laughed harder. Eunjee grabbed some snow and flung it at Jiwon, but in the end, they still kissed.
The Winter Wonderland image suddenly evaporated and Sunghoon whimpered, “Jiwon? Eunjee?”
Abruptly, he shot straight up in his bed. He blinked several times and scanned his room, expecting to find Eunjee and Jiwon hiding in a corner. Startled by the sudden alertness, Sunghoon yanked on the collar of his pajamas and lowered his feet to the floor.
Slipping his feet into his slippers, he soundly flapped across the room and jerked the door open.
Remembering Eunjee’s Christmas gift, he hurried downstairs to find his paper. Glancing at the clock by the stairway, he figured he had all the time he needed.
Jiwon shifted to a more comfortable position on the couch and subconsciously heard himself sigh.
“Perfect,” he murmured, the smile still on his face.
Sunghoon gasped as he stepped off the last step of the staircase. There was no mistake someone had spent the night in the living room. Sunghoon felt his eyes bulging at the sight of the blonde highlighted head.
He approached the still figure, trying to keep his heart from jumping out his throat. He came around the side and felt his jaw hit the floor.
“Hyung! Hyung! What are you doing outta bed?! Hyung, you’r still sick!”
Jiwon moved his head, smiling weakly. “Perfect.”
“What’s perfect? Hyung! Hyung!”
Jiwon dozed off again, finally asleep for the first time in two months. Sunghoon watched his best friend helplessly and hurried back upstairs for a blanket. As he reached over to help Jiwon lay down, he noticed Jiwon was clinging to the paper with his song on it. He took it from Jiwon and covered him with the blanket. Settling in a couch nearby, he quickly tackled the problem awaiting him.
“Because…I love your smile…” Sunghoon breathed. He turned to Jiwon and soon realized it was Jiwon who had edited it. “No wonder why he said it was perfect.”
Soju stirred, the dull sky gray and ugly. Light snow had begun falling and she quickly looked to see if Jeeah had awaken.
Like a baby, Jeeah slept on, her child-like features so beautiful and gentle.
Soju sighed. She glanced at her clock which showed quarter past ten and quietly rose out of bed.
Jaejin looked up from his comic book, deciding it was time to wake everybody up. He tossed his book aside and searched for a shirt. He quickly slipped it on and proceeded to his job.
Soju rinsed her mouth, returning her toothbrush to its place on the rack. She washed her face, feeling refreshed, she went on to wake the whole house up.
Sunghoon gradually lifted his eyelids, blinking rapidly to adjust his vision. “Hyung?”
It was white outside and the snow was still falling. It was Christmas and he was still sleeping the holiday away.
“SOJUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!” he yelled. He quickly darted out the sofa and straight to Soju’s room. “SOJUUUUUUUUUU!!!”
Jeeah rubbed her eyes and peeked under her lashes to catch Sunghoon barging into Soju’s room looking frantic. “Uhmmm…”
“Oh! I’m sorry! Did I wake you?” Sunghoon asked sincerely.
Jeeah stiffled another yawn. “Hmm…”
“Where’s Soju?” Sunghoon demanded.
“Soju?” Jeeah propped herself on an elbow and peered over at Soju’s bed.
“She’s outta bed already,” Sunghoon told her.
“Uhmmmm…try the cupboard…”
“Go back to sleep. I’ll find her.” Sunghoon closed the door and stood before it, trying to figure out where Soju would be.
“AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!” Jaeduck wailed as Soju dragged him out of bed. “Soju ah!”
“Out! Or all your presents are mine!”
“Sojuuuuu,” Jaeduck whined.
“I know I taste good. Now up!” She land a loud sounding smack on his butt and up he flew! “Good. Get dressed. I’m cooking your favorite ‘White Christmas’ breakfast.”
“White powder?” Jaeduck piped.
“Lots of it.”
“Yay!” He quickly scrambled out his room, galloping to the bathroom to prepare himself for the day.
Soju continued down to Suwon’s room, skipping Jaejin’s knowing that he’s always up just about the same time she is. She pounded on Suwon’s door before charging in without permission.
The door flew open and there stood Jaejin on the other end.
“Good morning,” he said with a soft smile.
“Morning,” Soju replied cheerfully.
“Jomi…Seong-Sunghoon’s looking for you,” Jeeah yawned, approaching Soju in Soju’s spare nightie.
“What did he want?”
“Sumthin…” Jeeah mumbled, yawning again.
“Go wake yourself up. I’ll find him,” said Soju. She rushed downstairs and was surprised to find somebody lounging in the living room.
“SOJUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!” Sunghoon yodeled on top of his lungs.
Soju pivoted on her heels and turned her head in the direction of Sunghoon’s voice. “You’re in the mood for vodka already? This early in the morning?”
“Soju! Help me!” Sunghoon pleaded.
“Boy…now you know you need help? Haven’t I told you times and times before you needed that?”
“No, Soju! I need…” He stuffed the paper in Soju’s hands. “Help me rewrite it.”
“Rewrite it? Sunghoon…I can’t think of anything to help you…It’s – ”
“I mean, copy it over. Everything’s there. Just copy it over. You have nice handwriting.”
Soju smoothed out the paper, reading the song again. “Who – Because…I love your smile?”
Soju looked up. “Jiwon? Is that him lying out there?!”
“What is he doing down here? Couldn’t this wait until he gets better? Why did you drag him down here?!”
Sunghoon shook his head. “No…Soju! I didn’t…When I came down this morning he was already down here. I swear…He kept saying it was perfect and then he finally went to sleep like around seven.”
Soju stared in disbelief at the wrinkled paper. Without another word, she stormed over to Jiwon’s snoring body and threw the blanket back.
“Jomi! What are you – ”
“Bring him back upstairs!”
“Jom – ”
“He’s sick dammit! And you want him to sleep onna couch?! Isn’t – ”
A soft sound escaped Jiwon’s lips, cutting Soju off. “Young…won…hee…”
Soju and Sunghoon peered at Jiwon, trying to make out what he was murmuring. As they got closer, they saw the blood trickling from the corner of his mouth.
“JIWON!” Soju screamed.
“OH, MY GOD! HYUUUUNG!!!!”
Jaeduck arrived just in time to catch the chaos. He joined Soju and Sunghoon as they desperately tried to wake Jiwon up.
“NOOOOOOOOO!!!” Sunghoon howled. “You can’t take him! Not now! NOOOOOOOO!!!”
“What’s going on?” Jaeduck asked, baffled by the ordeal.
“Quick! Get me Jiwon’s towel!” Soju commanded. “Make sure it’s HOT!”
Without any question, Jaeduck returned upstairs for Jiwon’s steaming towel and delievered it to Soju.
“No…Eunjee…please don’t do this,” Soju cried. She spread out the scalding towel and placed it on Jiwon’s face, hoping it would help bring him out of his sleep.
“Jee…won…won…heeeee…” Jiwon rasped. “Won…hee…”
“What is hyung saying?” Jaeduck asked innocently, getting frightened by the minute.
“Jee…Eunjee…Soon…Yo-Yo-Young…won…hee…” Jiwon rattled on. “Yak…sok…”
“Yaksok?” Jaeduck echoed. “Promise what?!”
“Help! Get Jaejin! We need to get Jiwon to a hospital!” Sunghoon shouted. “Hurry!”
“Yessss! Go!” Sunghoon screamed.
“Noo…Eun…Eunjee…No-No hos..pital…” Jiwon choked.
“Jiwonie! You can’t! No!” Soju removed the towel, wiping off the blood.
“Fine…Fine! Wait! At least wait until you’ve seen her!” Soju persuaded. “Hold on! Hold on!”
“Now! Soju, now! He has to go now! He can’t wait! Hurry! We have to go now! Nooo…” Sunghoon sobbed.
Afraid of being so close to Death, Jaeduck sped up the stairs to find Jaejin. Before the desperate search has even begun, he bumped into Jiyong, who was rubbing his eye, while heading towards Jaejin’s room.
“Dayam, hyung! Can’t be that excited about Christmas! Wutchu got? A toy fire truck that you wanna show Jaejin?”
“Jiwon! It’s Jiwon!” Jaeduck squealed, grasping Jiyong’s wrists.
“What about Jiwon?”
“Where’s Jaejin?! They need him downstairs! Hurry! Help me find him!” Jaeduck hurried off, on the brink of tears.
Jiyong combed a hand through his hair and sighed. He followed Jaeduck to Jaejin’s room where they found Jaejin making his bed.
“Jaejin!” Jaeduck shrieked, his tears clearly visible.
Jaejin paused, looking up at Jaeduck. “What’s wrong, Duckie? Did Soju take all of your presents for real?”
Jaeduck shook his head violently, sniffling.
Jaejin rushed over, sensing Jaeduck’s deeply upset. “What happened?”
“It’s Jiwon hyung! Sunghoon and Soju’s downstairs yelling at each other and I got scared. I think something happened to Jiwon hyung!”
Jaejin and Jiyong bolted out the room, racing down the stairs, pushing each other to get to Jiwon.
“What happened?” Jiyong demanded, grabbing Soju.
“He’s bleeding! He sounds like he’s…” Soju choked.
“Take him! Take him to the hospital!” Sunghoon begged, pulling on Jaejin’s arm.
“Hospitals are opened today?” Jiyong asked dumbly.
“They have to! Accidents happen any day and anytime! They have open everyday! Take him now! Hurry!”
“So…ju…” Jiwon called out weakly.
Soju gave Jiwon her hand and bit her lip from cursing.
“Jiwon!” Soju gasped.
Soju nodded. “I will. I will. I’ll take you to her now.”
Jiwon smiled lightly. He nodded slightly and fell into a deep sleep.
“Jiwon!” Sunghoon screamed.
“He’s just sleeping. Don’t worry,” Jaejin told Sunghoon. “We’ve got to do this. Hurry, get in your clothes. We’re going to take him to see her now.”
“Where’s Jeeah?!” Soju asked, remembering the girl.
“Probably still snoring. I’ll get her.” Jiyong jogged up the stairs and disappeared down the hallway.
“It’s too soon,” Soju whispered tearfully. “He…No…Eunjee…”
“Whether we want it or not…it’s time,” Jaejin said softly, looking out the window.
Within half an hour, everybody arrived before Eunjee’s resting place, all bearing gifts.
Jeeah weeped openly, her river of tears never ending. She knelt in front Eunjee’s mark and sobbed her heart out.
Jiyong placed his present, which was a necklace he had picked out, resembling the one Eunjee had favored, yet lost when they had all gone to a party. “Happy Birthday.”
Jaejin stepped forward and rested the roses with an enveloped letter next to Jiyong’s chain. His heart heavy with sorrow.
Jaeduck, being a food maniac, brought a basket full of fruits and Suwon’s Christmas cake. With a sigh, he said, “Eunjee…since you’re up there…I dunno if you have good food like I’m having…Just so that it’s Christmas and your birthday, I wish you a Happy Birthday and hope that this will satisfy you.”
Suwon slipped off the keychain he had bought a few years back and slowly set it on top of the basket. “Remember this? We used to laugh about it so much. It was the only one and you were so much in love with it…I hope you’re still loving it…I’ll always…”
Sunghoon reached inside his coat for the wrinkled paper and cute stationery. “Eunjee…I know you and Jomi always traded snail mail and so I asked her to copy this over on her stationery. It’s a song…dedicated to the world’s most perfect couple and I’m submitting to you the rough draft just so you can see I’ve spent quite some time on it…And if it wasn’t for…hyung…”
Soju placed her hand on Sunghoon’s arm, comforting the same agonizing pain she’s feeling. Sunghoon handed her the song as she stepped forward to produce her present.
“Jackie…” A humorless chuckle. “Wow. It’s the first time I’m referring to your American name…I’ve promised to Jiwon…that I would give you the best Christmas gift you’d ever receive. I did. Four years ago, today. I made sure you two hook up and live eternally together…but the eternally part never made it…So, I’m giving you the second best thing. After you left, Jiwon left this too. His heart.” She held out Jiwon’s journal, her eyes feeling wet. “It’s not finished…Nor – wait…finished is not the word. Incomplete. There, it was incomplete…just like him. He felt incomplete…we never knew the truth about his most deepest inner feelings…nobody, nothing except this book.”
Jeeah cried harder, a light howl dancing with the wind.
“I found it in his room while I was dishing out his CDs. I swear – no, vow to you that I didn’t read a single word of his entries. It was very tempting, to explore a man’s mind…someone like Jiwon. Here’s his confidante…hopefully, you’ll find out about things you’ve never known…”
Soju gingerly laid the book with Sunghoon’s song enclosed in the cover on Jaejin’s bundle of roses. She wiped away a tear, her heart feeling hollow and empty. She reached for Jeeah, who was hysterical, and stood up.
Jaejin and Jaeduck had already brought Jiwon from the car, both carrying him with an arm slung around their shoulders.
“Eunjee…” Jiwon whispered hoarsely.
Everybody held their breaths, waiting for Jiwon to go on.
Jiwon smiled. “I love you…Young…won..hee…”
Soju held Jeeah closer to her as she felt Jiwon’s words piercing through her heart. The words…of death.
“Merry…Christmas…” A grunt. “Hap…Hap..py…Birthday…”
Sunghoon came over to join Soju, pulling both girls to him. “Soju…”
“I love him, too,” she breathed.
“Eunjee…One…one thing…I-I-I…lived…so long…for only…one…one thing…”
Sunghoon pressed his cheek to Soju’s forehead, not daring to speak.
Beside Jiwon, Jaeduck started whimpering.
A tear coursed down Jaejin’s cheek.
Jaejin and Jaeduck caught Jiwon as his legs gave way.
“I’ll…go on…because…I love your smile…”