My Summer in Love by: SeChsKieS Gurl

my summer in love.png

  • a Jiyong & Hoony fanfic
  • completed

PROLOGUE

It was a funny summer. You know…with Sunghoon and all… Looking back in retrospect, I’m kinda glad he’s more of a loud mouth and has more wangja byung spirit in him than I do.

You all realize that he’s a womanizer, still is…but after that one unfortunate summer…I think he has learned his lesson…

Me, I know I did. And I’m glad it wasn’t me my second cousin wanted. Otherwise…I’d be going through hell, in Sunghoon’s shoes…

Don’t get me wrong, Sunghoon is my best friend, of course I wouldn’t taunt him like we used to when we were younger. But still…to this day, I just like to laugh in his face about the great role switch and how he had landed himself in such a messy marriage…

Ahhh….it was funny…and now, time for you to laugh.

CHAPTER 1

“Jiyong, Jiyong! Tell me again! Are your cousins cute?!” Sunghoon shouted, blocking Jiyong’s path.

“Yessssss,” Jiyong hissed. “But I dunno and they’re not my cousins for the fifteenth million time!”

“But you call them your cousins!” Sunghoon protested.

“And I call you hyung! Does that automatically make you my brother?”

Sunghoon stared at Jiyong, not quite sure of how to answer.

“Move it, shrimp. Besides, I dunno how they look like. I haven’t seen them since I was only three months old!”

“Three months?! Wow! You actually opened your eyes and saw them when you were three months?! Aren’t all of them younger than you?” Sunghoon asked dumbly.

Jiyong shook his head in despair. “Look, do me a favor and SHUT UP! It’s bad enough you’re tagging along and now you won’t let me do my shopping. What am I gonna wear when I get there?!”

“Don’t you already have clothes?! You don’t make any sense! Why can’t you go with the clothes you have now?!”

“Does this look give you an impression that I’m my dad’s son?! Do I look professional enough? Do I look like I’m the President of my father’s company? And you! Tell me what do you look like!”

“I look like me! Kang Sunghoonie!” Sunghoon declared. “A fooooine honey!”

“Please, don’t drool all over yourself. I dunno what made me give you that job and not Jiwon.”

“Are you saying I’m not organized?!” Sunghoon shrieked, unaware of his voice level. “So…it has finally come out! You bastard!”

Jiyong moaned. Sunghoon was always difficult, even when they were growing up. “Can we just get moving? You know if you stand there too long, you’re gonna turn into a statue?”

Sunghoon placed his hands on his waist and walked away, heading towards the mall.

“Wangja dul…” Jiyong muttered, hurrying to catch up with Sunghoon.

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

“Oh! Can you believe it?! Jiyong oppa’s gonna be here tomorrow!” Miyoon squealed, dancing around the living room.

“Oh, grow up!” Kiyoon growled with disgust. “What makes you think he would want your horny ass?”

Miyoon halted and turned to her younger sister. “What did you just say?!”

“You’ll never get any. He’ll be too good for the looks of you,” Kiyoon sneered. “Besides, he is coming with his secretary.”

“Oh, be quiet! You’re just jealous because you’re not as fashionable and cute like me! Why don’t you just go kiss it!”

“WHAT?!” Kiyoon shouted. She bolted from the couch, ready to tackle Miyoon. “Now I know I didn’t just hear you say – ”

“Kiss mah aaaahhhhssssssss,” Miyoon drawled, an evil smile plastered on her face.

“You monkey!” Kiyoon lunged at Miyoon, knocking her down to the floor.

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! H-Help! Jiyooooooon!” Miyoon wailed, trying to scratch Kiyoon.

But Kiyoon was too strong. She sat on top of Miyoon and began picking at her sister’s hair, messing up the perfect curls that sat in a pile on her head.

“Get off! Get off, you man!” Miyoon screamed. “AAAAAAHHHHHH! My hair! My hair!”

“Kiyoon! Kiyoon!” Jiyoon shouted, entering the living room. She ran over and dragged her youngest sister off Miyoon, annoyed at the two for fighting again.

“Lemme have her! That monkey ass!” Kiyoon spat, struggling with Jiyoon.

“KIYOON!” Jiyoon yelled at her. “Stop! Miyoon’s your unni, she’s not no next door neighbor!”

“Huh! It’ll be worse if she was, I’ll be sure to kill her and have her running back to Mommeeeeeeeeee,” Kiyoon taunted, making a face at Miyoon.

“Stop it! Why can’t the both of you get along?! Miyoon! You! You’re older, why can’t you just ignore her?! Why can’t you just set an example!? You know she’s not like average girls! This one likes to fight!” Jiyoon shrilled.

“So does that crazy bitch,” Kiyoon murmured, looking up at the ceiling.

By that time, Miyoon was already up on her feet. “Say what?”

Kiyoon continued about, her eyes roaming around the room.

“What did you just say, you transexual?!”

“Are you hard headed?! Did you just hear what I said?! I told you two to stop!!!” Jiyoon screamed on top of her lungs.

“Oh, unni. No need to waste your time with her. She’s just retarded like that. Come, let’s go fix something to eat,” Kiyoon soothed. She led Jiyoon away to the kitchen and stuck her tongue out at Miyoon.

“ARRRRGH! Cho Kiyoon, when Jiyong gets here, you’ll see he’ll want only ME!”

CHAPTER 2

“Jiyong ah…”

“Oma, don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Plus I have Sunghoon with me!”

“That’s why I can’t stop worrying. You two are going to get in trouble…I just know it.”

“Oh, Mom! We’ll be fine! Seriously! We won’t cause any trouble while we’re over there!” Jiyong vowed.

“That’s good. Here’s the address to their home. Now, remember…be courteous to the girls. I don’t want you two to be pulling stunts on them like you’ve been doing to both of your sisters.”

Jiyong sighed. “Of course! I dunno them, why would I do anything to them?”

“That’s beside the point. You two are mischievous little things, still little boys inside those bodies. I’ll never know what you two are up to.”

“Don’t worry, Oma. If anything happens, Sunghoon will be the first one to start it.”

“Hmm…”

Jiyong moved closer to his mother. “I’ll promise you, if we did something to embarrass you, we’ll shave off Sunghoon’s hair. That should be fair enough.”

Mrs. Ko chuckled at the sacrifice, holding her son one last time before the he leaves her. For good.

CHAPTER 3

Sunghoon sprayed himself one last time with his Tommy cologne and placed the bottle in his bag. Smiling contently to himself, he gave a slight nod to his reflection in the mirror and fingered with his hair one final time.

The ride to the airport arrived downstairs, Sunghoon rushed downstairs to open the door to his apartment, a silly grin already on his face.

“Oh, God. You’re beginning to look retarded already,” Jiyong greeted, helping Sunghoon with his luggage.

“Heh…I feel so excited!” Sunghoon squealed like a child, his eyes bright.

“Are you sure it’s not the girls? I hope you won’t act stupid, cuz my mom’s in the car with us.”

“WHAT?!” Sunghoon nearly screamed. “She’s coming with us?!”

Jiyong quickly nodded, a scheme beginning to play in his mind. “Yeah – ”

“You never told me that!” Sunghoon accused, his eyes wild.

“Just c’mon! You act as if my mom would be interested in you!”

“But — ”

“Don’t be shy! You know my mom! She even changed your diaper when we were babies! C’mon!”

Sunghoon reluctantly followed Jiyong out, his hopes sinking. “Man, this is gonna stink.”

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

“Well, I hope you girls go to bed early. Your cousin’s gonna be in tomorrow,” Chaeya informed.

“He’s not our cousin, why do you guys keep saying that?!” Kiyoon demanded.

“Because…well, he’s sorta related to us in a way,” Chaeya’s husband said weakly.

“In what way?” Kiyoon asked.

Jiyoon nudged at her youngest sister.

Kiyoon pushed Jiyoon away. “Well?”

“Why do you want to know so much? I thought you weren’t into boys,” Miyoon sneered.

“You’re right. I’m not into boys, MEN are more of my taste,” Kiyoon retorted.

“You!” Miyoon’s eyes reflected defeat as her face scrunched up with anger.

“That’s enough,” their father said wearily. “Go to bed, so you three can wake up early and go to the airport.”

Miyoon tossed her hair back and stormed off to her room.

“Appa…Oma…” Jiyoon started, toying with her fingers.

“Yes, darling?” Chaeya prompted.

“I…I was wondering…”

“It’s Jaejin, isn’t it?” Chaeya guessed.

Jiyoon nodded. Kiyoon stood by her eldest sister, awaiting the verdict.

Chaeya sighed. “Well?”

Kiyoon squeezed Jiyoon’s arm, hope for her sister rising off the charts.

“Of course. Why don’t you invite him over and we can all have dinner together?”

A smile broke out of Jiyoon as she hugged her mother fiercely. “Thank you, Oma!”

Chaeya chuckled. “You two are always up to something.”

“Not me! That devil is,” Kiyoon answered, pointing upstairs.

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

Sunghoon shifted uncomfortably in his seat, the thought still bothering him.

“Sunghoon.”

Sunghoon looked up. “Huh?”

“My mom’s talking to you,” Jiyong said, his eyes full of warning.

“Oh! I’m sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.”

“It’s okay. I know you’re nervous, but don’t worry. These girls are wonderful. They’re such angels. All three of them.”

“Three?!” Sunghoon hooted. He quickly glanced at Jiyong who had simply shrugged.

“Yes. Jiyoon, Miyoon and Kiyoon. Although I must say, Kiyoon’s quite a handful. She’s the two of you put together. I think she’s the son Chaeya and her husband always wanted, but instead, came out as a girl. Nevertheless, she’s still lovely.”

“Kiyoon?” Sunghoon murmured.

“Yes, she’s the youngest one. Jiyoon, the oldest and Miyoon the second. Miyoon’s a beauty. The last time I saw her, she already had her mind made up to be a model when she grows up. And Jiyoon, so well taught. She’s very shy, but knows so much.”

“Oh…” Sunghoon said softly.

“Sounds like Kiyoon’s trouble,” Jiyong assumed, resting in his seat.

“I dunno about now. Maybe not as troublesome anymore. But I’ve heard quite a lot about her from her mother.”

“Wow…a tomboy. Hey, you think she’ll be up for competition?” Sunghoon asked Jiyong.

“You can be her competition. I’ll just sit back and laugh at you two,” Jiyong replied.

The car entered the airport shortly as Sunghoon continued to chatter the rest of the way. Jiyong nodded occassionally while helping with the bags.

“I can’t believe I’m leaving home!” Sunghoon breathed, taking in the sight of the airport as if for the first time.

“I can’t believe I’m leaving Mommy,” Jiyong said sadly. He reached to hug his mother again, this time, holding on for a long time. “Bye, Oma.”

“Be good. And write. Be sure you keep Sunghoon out of trouble. Make sure he calls home!” Jiyong’s mother instructed, shooting commands one after another.

Jiyong smiled for the first time to her chiding. This’ll probably be the last time he listened to her bickering at him until…until whenever. “Bye, Mom.”

“Bye, honey,” his mother said tearfully.

Jiyong pulled away and wiped away a tear. Sunghoon pounced on Jiyong’s mother next, a sudden wave of sadness washing over him.

“Bye, Ajooma!” Sunghoon wailed. “I’m gonna miss you.”

Feeling as if Sunghoon’s her own, Mrs. Ko hugged her son’s best friend. “Be good. Make sure you call your Oma and Ajooma.”

Sunghoon nodded and squeezed tighter, feeling dreadful for leaving his family. “Bye, Ajooma.” He backed away from Jiyong’s mother and saluted, a sad smile creeping to his face.

Jiyong and Sunghoon started to drift away, trying not to look back at the entrance.

“Well, this is it. Time to test your manhood,” Jiyong said, slapping Sunghoon on the shoulder.

“Hey!” Sunghoon cried, hitting Jiyong back. “That hurted!”

Jiyong laughed and headed to the baggage area. Sunghoon trailed behind, the sudden realization striking him.

“JEEEEEYONG!”

Jiyong froze in his tracks. He quickly spun around to face Sunghoon.

“Your mother!”

Jiyong dropped his luggage and raced back.

“No, no, no! Not that! Not!” Sunghoon grabbed Jiyong’s long arm before Jiyong ran any further. “No! Listen! I meant sumthin else! Listen!”

“What?”

“Your mother! She’s not coming!” Sunghoon yelped happily.

Jiyong moaned. “Oh, God. Is that what you were excited about?”

Sunghoon nodded, the gleam returning to his eyes.

“Jeez, I should really slap you silly. For a minute there, I thought something happened to my mom.”

Sunghoon’s grin widened. “No! I’m sorry I scared you like that! You had me scared! I thought I was gonna go on the trip with your mother coming along!”

“What’s wrong with that?” Jiyong headed for his bags again, Sunghoon running to catch up.

“Nothing! I — ”

“Let’s just hurry and get this done? I really wanna sleep,” Jiyong said, cutting Sunghoon off.

With an amazing pace, they had their luggage checked out and everything had went smoothly. They soon boarded the plane, relaxing yet worrying about the events that are yet to come.

CHAPTER 4

“You think the girls will get along with them fine?” Chaeya asked, fretting over the possibility that differences will occur.

“Of course. They are, afterall, grown up. Jiyoon would probably be too busy with Jaejin, so that’s one you don’t have to worry about,” her mother answered.

“I can always trust Jiyoon. She’s not wild like the other two. I just dunno what to do when those two act up,” Chaeya emphasized, glancing at the stairs.

“Oh…” A soft chuckle. “Just don’t put them in the same room together. But you must admit, life is much more livelier with those two going at it. It’ll be too quiet if they were all like Jiyoon.”

“Oma…I dunno what to do. When it comes to kids, I’m so out of it. I just wished all three were alike!”

“Now, now…one future Doctor Jiyoon’s good enough. We don’t want to bore ourselves to death,” her mother chided. “Besides, what are you worried about? You still have me! I am their grandmother.”

“If only Kiyoon was a boy…”

“Trust me…you know in her next lifetime that will happen. But in the meantime, let’s not wish too much. I think it’s better having her the way how she is. If she was a boy…you’d die young.”

Chaeya agreed. “Oh, Oma…”

“Go rest up. Everything’ll be fine.”

“And Miyoon…”

“Like I said. Everything will be fine.”

CHAPTER 5

It was morning and Jiyong suddenly jolted out of his sleep to find the first rays of dawn beckoning down at him. Beside him, Sunghoon slept on. He tilted his head back to rest on the seat, his mind wandering aimlessly.

“No, no, no, no, no….I’m who you’re looking for. Not him…” Sunghoon murmured in his sleep.

Jiyong snickered as Sunghoon went on mumbling, the words coming out in funny gibberish. He sighed and looked out the window, bats suddenly batting around in his stomach. “Oh, God…”

He glanced at his watch, eager for the plane ride to end. He sighed again and closed his eyes, silently wishing the meeting with the Chos would go well. He tried picturing the three cousins his mother had described to him, Miyoon and Kiyoon the hardest. Jiyoon was easy. His mother had said she was gentle and shy, pretty as a flower. Kiyoon, he saw her with short cropped hair, small eyes with a rugged look. Miyoon, a sexy supermodel with long hair and fancy painted nails.

“Attention all passengers! Please fasten your seat belts, we will be landing shortly. Again, please fasten your selt belts and remain in your seats. We will be landing shortly.”

Jiyong’s eyes snapped open and lifted his head. “Sunghoon, Sunghoon!” He fastened his own seat belt and reached over to help Sunghoon with his. “Sunghoon!” He took Sunghoon by the shoulder and rattled the snoring pig.

“Whaaa?” Sunghoon drawled sleepily with his eyes half open.

“Put on your seat belt. We’re there.”

“There? Where?”

“There. We’re landing soon.”

Sunghoon’s wide awake now. “We’re there?! For real? We’re there?!”

“Don’t go jumping for joy now. Hurry, put it on.”

Sunghoon did as he was told and started to look around the plane.

“Are you always this restless in the morning? I haven’t even had my coffee yet.”

“Trust me. When you have three cuties waiting for you, you’ll bound to be restless.”

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

Kiyoon stirred, the bright beam striking painfully to her eyes. “You…”

“Kiyoon,” Jiyoon called out softly, patting Kiyoon gently. “Kiyoon, time to wake up.”

“No…” Kiyoon answered, hiding under her covers. “No…I don’t wanna eat it. No…”

“Kiyoon,” Jiyoon tried again. “Kiyoon, Jiyong’s waiting for us at the airport.”

“Ji-Jiyong…Yeah…him…he can eat it for me. I don’t want it, Oma…”

“Kiyoon…Jiyong can’t eat it for you if we don’t go pick him up.”

“Yes, he can…We can’t pick him up. He’s too big…too fat…too…Oh, God!” Kiyoon shot up from her bed, coughing her lungs out.

“Kiyoon! Kiyoon, are you alright?!” Jiyoon shouted, reaching for her sister. She pulled Kiyoon back down to her bed, trying to soothe the choking girl.

Kiyoon brought the coughing down a bit, still trying to block out the dream. She nodded vigorously to Jiyoon’s questions, not wanting to worry her sister.

“What happened?” Jiyoon finally asked when Kiyoon simmered.

“Mom was feeding me something nasty. And then it went in my mouth,” Kiyoon said sourly.

“Hmm…how vivid,” Jiyoon murmured. “Hurry, Jiyong’s probably waiting for us.”

Kiyoon sat still, baffled by the statement. “Jiyong? Who’s — ”

“You’re forgetting — ”

“Oh! That faggot!” Kiyoon exclaimed, remembering they had to pick up their ‘cousin.’

“That’s not nice,” Jiyoon chided.

“So? Who said he was nice? I wish he’d marry Miyoon and get outta my life.”

“Life? Why you say that?”

“He takes Miyoon away from here, that way I don’t have to put up with meeting any more unrelated ‘relatives’ and live longer without Miyoon living in the next room.”

“Oh, God,” was all Jiyoon could say. Kiyoon certainly detests her second sister.

“But that’s okay. I’ll just humor everybody in this house and go along with you. Can I sit in the front?”

“Just hurry. I still have to wake Miyoon — ”

“Are you ready yet?! Jeez, I swear you’re slower than Granny!” Miyoon waltzed in Kiyoon’s room unannoucement, strong fragrance accompanying her.

“Oh, God. Did you spend a night with a real skunk?” Kiyoon asked with her nose pinched.

Miyoon nearly stumbled over her feet while making her way to Kiyoon’s bed. She quickly observed Kiyoon’s condition, thinking of a quick come back. “Looks like you had sex with one.”

“Oh, yeah. It was goooooooooooooood, babeeeeeeee,” Kiyoon retorted sarcastically.

Jiyoon stiffled a giggled behind her palm, watching Miyoon turn red as tomato.

“Wanna try?” Kiyoon jeered. “Oops! I guess you wanna save your virginity for JEEEEEEYOOOONNNNGGGG!”

Miyoon held her tightly clenched fists by her sides, not daring to throw one at Kiyoon for Kiyoon was a much better fighter than she was.

“Alright, alright…get up. Stop this nonsence. Miyoon go to the kitchen and start breakfast. Kiyoon, we’ll be downstairs waiting,” Jiyoon said.

“But I don’t wanna eat! Can we eat on the way or when we come home?!”

Kiyoon shook her head pitifully. “I thought you were smarter. Why didn’t you eat extras last night to save the embarassment? I don’t think Jiyong nor his secretary would like to see you scarfing down Mom’s deeeeeleeeeesheeeeyus cooking.”

Miyoon felt the heat rise just as Jiyoon spun around to hold her back.

“Kiyoon, stop it. Everyday, every morning, every night, you two have to be like this. Why can’t you two get along for Jiyong’s sake?”

“Why should I kiss his ass? He’s the one living here. I’m one of the permanent residents here, so why should I do anything for his sake?”

“Kiyoon, stop being difficult.”

“Yeah, grow up,” Miyoon mimicked, her voice a notch squeakier.

“I’m already four inches taller than you, I think you’re the one that needs the milk, not me,” Kiyoon retorted, rolling off her bed. She quickly made her bed and shooed Jiyoon and Miyoon out. “If I catch any of you — ”

“Kiyoon’s a transexual!” Miyoon shrieked with laughter and ran away before Kiyoon could even lift a finger.

“You’re gonna get it. You and your stupid hubby, Ko Jiyong!”

CHAPTER 6

“So, who do you think I should settle for?” Sunghoon whispered, entering the airport.

“Who? Boy, you haven’t even met them yet!” Jiyong exclaimed.

“Hey! I have an idea!”

“So do I!” Jiyong shouted just as enthusiastically. “Why don’t you shut up?!”

Sunghoon ignored the remark. “Why don’t we switch?!”

“What?” Jiyong was confused.

It was seven in the morning and Sunghoon was already planning a scheme that would get them in trouble for at least a good three weeks.

“Sunghoon, it’s too early. Wait till I have my coffee.”

“No!” Sunghoon bellowed. “It’ll be too late! We can’t – “

Right then the three Cho sisters walked in, unaware of Jiyong and Sunghoon waiting nearby for them.

“Sunghoon. Listen to me,” Jiyong muttered. He turned and cupped his best friend’s chin. “As your boss, I’m telling you to keep quiet. Tell me when we get there.”

“But – “ Then his quick eyes caught the three girls. “Hey!”

“Sunghoon,” Jiyong growled.

“No, Jiyong! Look! Three girls!”

Jiyong buried his face into his hands. “Sunghoon, which of the two words in ‘keep quiet’ don’t you understand? Just because you see three girls together don’t mean it’s them.”

“Jiyong!” Sunghoon wailed. “Did your mother say it’s the girls that are coming to get us or what?”

“I dunno. She didn’t tell me anything.”

“Jiyong, I can’t wait till your coffee. I have to tell you,” Sunghoon urged.

“What? Don’t tell you’re gonna tell me sumthin stupid like you have one nut or sumthin.”

“No! Let’s play a trick!”

Jiyong knew it. Sunghoon was being the wonderful magician that he is. “Go on. Is it gonna cost the ass I’m sitting on?”

“No! Yes! I dunno!”

“Well, which is it?”

“Let’s trick the girls and see if they know who’s who.”

Jiyong looked up at Sunghoon incredulously. “Sunghoon, I don’t even know who’s who!”

“I’ll approach the girls and ask if it’s them. We know each other really good, right? So, when they ask a question about me, you’ll know the answer.”

“Wait. You’re gonna be me?” Jiyong asked, finally catching on.

Sunghoon’s million dollar smile.

“God. I hate you. How are you gonna convince my aunt and uncle?”

“I am one of the best actors you know since childhood, right?”

“Is it just for now? Cuz I hope you know – “

“I’ll tell ‘em! Don’t worry.”

“My mom warned me about that,” Jiyong muttered under his breath.

“What?”

“I promised my mom if we get in trouble, the first thing that happens is you’re gonna lose all your hair.”

Sunghoon gasped.

“So…”

Sunghoon quickly considered the question. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Jiyong hesitated to agree with the plan. “I’m not so sure…it’ll be so – “

But Sunghoon dashed off before Jiyong could finish.

“Sunghoon!”

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

“Did Oma tell you how they look like?” Miyoon asked, searching the airport.

“Yeah, like retarded goons,” Kiyoon replied dryly.

Jiyoon dug in her purse and produced a picture. “That’s them.”

Kiyoon and Miyoon peered over Jiyoon’s arms at the picture, taking in the beautifully taken picture. One had hair split in the middle with light streaks and a cheesy smile, the other looking quite girlish with dark hair. Their eyes squinting from the sun, nice sporty t-shirts and wide baggy jeans looked so well blended with the background of the park.

“Ewwww…I was right,” Kiyoon said disgustingly.

“I think they’re cute!” Miyoon squealed.

Sunghoon approached them before they even decided on which step to take. “Excuse me?”

All three pairs of eyes turned to Sunghoon.

“Are you the…the…” Sunghoon quickly searched his memory for the names of the girls.

The three sisters held their breaths waiting for Sunghoon to finish his question.

“Uhmm…” Sunghoon stared at Miyoon, trying to remember one of the mentioned names Mrs. Ko had told him. “Kiyoon!”

Miyoon’s eyes widened as she turned disbelievingly to Kiyoon.

“What?” Kiyoon uttered, unable to believe the stranger had just said her name.

“By any chance one of you – “

“That’s her!” Miyoon quickly answered, pointing at Kiyoon.

“Oh! Hi, I’m Jiyong,” Sunghoon lied easily, flashing his ‘irresistible’ smile. He extended his hand for a handshake, observing Kiyoon intently.

Kiyoon stared openly at Sunghoon’s gay smile and slowly shook his hand. “So…you’re that faggot Jiyong.”

Sunghoon’s smile quickly faded.

“Jiyong oppa!” Miyoon squealed, hurrying over to him. She threw her arms over him. “Oh, I can’t believe you’re finally here!”

Sunghoon numbly nodded, still upset by Kiyoon’s welcome.

“Jiyong,” Jiyoon said.

Sunghoon looked up.

“I’m Jiyoon. Kiyoon’s only playing, she didn’t mean it. You’ll have to get use to her,” Jiyoon consoled, smiling.

Kiyoon snorted.

“I thought there’s the two of you. Where’s the other one?” Jiyoon asked.

“Oh, over there. I’ll get him,” Sunghoon replied. He was getting ready to yell out Jiyong’s name, but caught himself and reluctantly went over to him. “Hey!”

“So?”

“It’s them. And you’re right. Kiyoon’s trouble.”

“Why?” Jiyong asked.

“She thinks you’re a fag.”

“What?!”

“That’s what she said. She said ‘so, you’re that faggot Jiyong.’ That’s you.”

“She actually said that?!” Jiyong nearly shouted.

“Yeah,” Sunghoon whispered.

“Wait…You’re the one that went over there and pretended to be me. So, she thought you were the real Jiyong, not me! I’m Sunghoon now!”

Sunghoon thought about the answer and nodded. “Fine. I’ll be you and you’ll be me. Agreed.”

“No, Sunghoon! We can’t! We have to tell them when we get there. We’ll play it off for now, but we have to tell them when we get there. I feel weird having people think I’m you. All cheesy and smiley. Plus, I’m not used to having people call me Sunghoon.”

“You will. I’m adjusting,” Sunghoon convinced, smiling. “And I’m having fun.”

“No! It can’t be this way. What if my mom finds out?!”

Sunghoon began walking away.

“Sunghoon!” Jiyong called.

But he went on.

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

“Yes, they should be here soon. My daughters have gone out to get them,” Chaeya said into the receiver. “Sure, of course. No problem. I’m sure he’ll be fine here. I’ll have him call you when he settles. Okay, now. Bye.”

“Jiyong’s mom?” Granny guessed, watching her daughter.

Chaeya nodded. “They should be back soon. When did they leave?”

Granny shrugged. “We were all sleeping.”

“Well, it’s almost nine, they should be back.”

Kiyoon honked loudly as she pulled up against the curb by the front of the house.

“They’re home! They’re home!” Chaeya said excitedly. She helped her mother out of her seat and together they hurried to the door.

The lock in the door clicked open and Miyoon was first to appear with Sunghoon and Jiyong behind her. Jiyoon and Kiyoon trailed behind.

“So we’ll go according the plan. I’m Jiyong and you’re Sunghoon. It’ll be like that,” Sunghoon whispered, making a final confirmation.

Jiyong opened his mouth but Sunghoon moved too fast before Jiyong could even utter a word.

“Oma! We’re back! And this is Jiyong oppa!” Miyoon announced, running to her mother.

“Which one?” Chaeya asked, looking back from Sunghoon to Jiyong.

Miyoon hurried over to Sunghoon and pulled him to the front. “This is Jiyong! That’s his secretary, Sunghoon!”

“I think she has made her claim,” Kiyoon said inaudibly to Jiyoon.

Jiyoon agreed.

“Well, we’ve already got your room ready. I hope you two don’t mind sharing rooms,” Chaeya told them.

“No,” Jiyong and Sunghoon chorused.

“Wait a second. You’re Jiyong?” Granny asked, eyeing Jiyong.

Jiyong’s eyes grew wide as he looked over to Sunghoon.

“Aigo! Granny ya! That’s Sunghoon! This is Jiyong oppa! That’s Jiyong’s secretary,” Miyoon said again.

Granny narrowed her eyes in suspicion. She nodded. “Well, how was the ride?”

“Tiring,” Jiyong answered.

“Boring,” Sunghoon replied.

“Well, at least it’s over now. And you two are both fine. That’s good. That’s good.” She sauntered over to Jiyong to pat his hand, searching for a mark on his hand that would prove to her that he’s not Sunghoon. She did the same and patted Sunghoon’s hand, confused with the situation.

“C’mon Jiyong oppa! I’ll show you your room,” Miyoon offered, tugging Sunghoon’s wrist.

Sunghoon ran after Miyoon, Jiyong following close behind.

“Something’s not right,” Granny said aloud to herself once Jiyong and Sunghoon was out of earshot.

“What isn’t?” Jiyoon asked.

“Jiyong has a scar on his hand,” Granny murmured, the look on her face distant.

“Granny?”

Granny looked up at Jiyoon’s concerned face. “But neither of them has one!”

CHAPTER 7

Sunghoon and Jiyong began unpacking right away, eager to settle and rest their aching bodies.

“What do you think?” Jiyong asked, striking up a conversation.

“Kiyoon’s not what I expected,” Sunghoon answered quickly. “She’s actually cute. I’d thought she’d look like a boy, all rough and ugly.”

“Miyoon’s hooked onto you,” Jiyong commented, removing his clothes from his suitcase.

“Nah…not yet, not that I know of.”

“Jiyoon?”

“She’s quiet. Look like a nerd.”

“My ajooma?”

“Nice. That old woman’s good! How’d she know I’m not you?”

Jiyong shrugged. “She’s old. Old people have wisdom.”

Sunghoon shivered. “My butt’s frozen.”

Jiyong laughed. “You haven’t met my ajoshi yet.”

“Ajoshi! Eep! I forgot about him! Is he mean?”

Jiyong shrugged again. “Molla. Never even met the man.”

They heard a series of cheerful cries and assumed it was Mr. Cho coming home.

“Your ajoshi,” Sunghoon said, folding his underwear.

“You mean your ajoshi. I’m Sunghoon now, remember?” Jiyong reminded him playfully.

“Of course I remember, hyuuuung!” Sunghoon retorted just as affectionately.

Jiyong guffawed. “Never thought I’d hear that coming outta you.”

“Surprised, hyuuuuung?”

“Shocked.”

“Let’s go downstairs and see what the excitement’s about,” Sunghoon suggested.

“I’m almost done.”

“C’mon! We’ll do it later! I wanna see what’s going on.”

“Uh-huh, later you’ll ‘be’ in the excitement.”

“Hyung, you’re so pessimistic.”

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

“Daddy, daddy! Jiyong oppa’s here!” Miyoon yelped.

“Shhhh…you’re so loud,” her father said, entering the family living room.

“Daddy! You came home early!” Miyoon continued in her uncontrollable loud voice.

“Appa, I think the doctor spanked her ass too hard and now she’s practically yelling,” Kiyoon remarked, following their father into the living room.

“I’ll spank your ass!” Miyoon fired, glaring at Kiyoon.

“No thanks. I don’t think my butt’s exactly the same as Jiyong’s. It’s not soft to the touch.”

“Appa!” Miyoon whined.

“Alright, alright. Calm down you two.”

Miyoon reeled around and looked up just in time to see Sunghoon and Jiyong come downstairs. “Jiyong!”

Sunghoon smiled. “Hi.”

“Appa! This is Jiyong oppa!” Miyoon introduced, pointing wildly at Sunghoon.

“My, what a handsome man.” To Jiyong, “You’re…”

“Kang Sunghoon, Jiyong’s secretary,” Jiyong answered politely.

“Oh…” Sungshik nodded. He looked at Sunghoon strangely. “Jiyong…you seem to have shrunk.”

“Hmm?”

“When I last saw you with Chaeya’s mother, you were shooting through that roof! What happened?”

“You did? When?” Sunghoon looked over to Jiyong, his eyes silently accusing Jiyong for not mentioning this.

“You probably wouldn’t remember. You were about eight or nine? We came to visit your father and we happened to have seen you.”

“Oh…I have bad memory. Things have always been fuzzy with me,” Sunghoon said hastily, eager to drop the subject.

“Sit down, people! There are seats you know!” Miyoon bellowed.

Kiyoon had already disappeared to the library to be with Jiyoon, not interested in listening to the three catching up on old times.

“Unni! When is Jaejin coming? I wanna play football!”

“I dunno, hon. I just paged him this morning before we left and asked him to stop by anytime before dinner.”

“Whacha reading?” Kiyoon asked, peering over Jiyoon’s shoulder.

Jiyoon held up the thick medical book, letting Kiyoon scan the cover.

“Ek, some dumb book I can’t understand. Unni, why is it that you doctors talk in another language?”

Jiyoon looked perplexed. “Another language?”

“Yeah, you know. Big words we can’t pronounce. I thought Russian names were hard.”

“Oh.” Jiyoon laughed. “That’s a good way to put it. Think of it as Russian names.”

“Nah, it’s harder. It’s like they’re trying to flow in English, but comes out in a retarded jumbo.”

“Oh, Kiyoon.”

The doorbell chimed and Kiyoon stood at attention. “Lee Jaejin! He’s here! Unni, hurry! Your hubby’s here!”

Jiyoon laughed to herself and closed the book. “Kiyoon ah…what am I going to do if my kids turn out to be like you?”

Kiyoon flew out of the library, past Granny’s room and into the living room where her family had gathered to analyze Jiyong and Sunghoon. Miyoon stood stiffly at the door, holding it open while Jaejin made his casual appearance in his t-shirt and jeans.

“Jaejin!” Kiyoon hollered. She ran over to her future brother-in-law and hopped on him for a ride.

“Kiyoon! That’s improper!” her mother scolded.

“That’s okay! Jaejin doesn’t mind!” Kiyoon replied. She slid off his back and hugged him tightly, then pulled him away from staring eyes. She whispered, “When are you gonna ask?”

“Ask what?” Jaejin asked bluntly. It was fun pretending to be stupid, especially when you’re playing with Kiyoon.

“Well, if you won’t, I will!” Kiyoon stalked over to the awaiting crowd. Jiyoon arrived right on time. Taking a deep breath, Kiyoon started to ask, “Ji – “

“Jiyong, how are you?” Jaejin asked instead just as his hand slipped over Kiyoon’s mouth.

Kiyoon glared at Jaejin.

“I-I – ” Jiyong started to answer.

“I’m fine!” Sunghoon piped. “You’re?”

Jaejin removed his hand from Kiyoon’s mouth. “I’m – “

“My brother-in-law!” Kiyoon stated proudly.

“Bro-Bro-Brother-in-law?” Sunghoon stammered.

“Yeah! Ain’t he foine?! He can wrestle too! One time I had him in a headlock and – “

“Kiyoon,” her father said sternly.

“Heh…” Kiyoon uttered sheepishly.

“So…who’s the lucky lady?” Sunghoon asked slowly.

“Certainly ain’t your lovely Miyoon!” Kiyoon sang, winking at Jaejin.

Jiyoon blushed with embarrassment.

“Okay, Kiyoon. You can stop now. Jiyoon’ll turn purple if you go on,” her grandmother chided.

“Purple?!” Kiyoon gasped. “Unni! That can’t happen! Jaejin hasn’t even asked yet!”

“Kiyoon!” her father repeated.

“Hmm…I’m hungry,” Kiyoon said to herself, getting the point. She disappeared to the kitchen.

“Wow,” Sunghoon mumbled.

“That’s our Kiyoon. The stupid crow,” Miyoon told Sunghoon.

“I heard that!” came Kiyoon’s muffled voice.

“So…she’s always like this?” Jiyong asked, curious as to see more of Kiyoon’s behavior.

“You have a brother?” Miyoon suddenly asked.

Jiyong shook his head.

“Then you dunno how it feels like to have a brother disguised as a girl.”

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

Kiyoon slapped the ham onto the slice of bread and another slice of bread over the ham. She squeezed the sandwich flat, the bread sticking to the ham like skin.

She nibbled on her sandwich and went around to look for something to do. She headed out to the yard and decided to sit on the swings.

“IT!” Jaejin screamed, pushing Kiyoon.

“The hell – “ Kiyoon nearly fell to the ground and saved her sandwich from going down. She turned her head several times and spotted Jaejin dancing around like a monkey. “Oh, you are SOOOOO dead!”

Rule number one : Never start anything with Kiyoon while she is eating.

She took another bite of her sandwich and started going after Jaejin. “C’mere!”

Jaejin laughed and dashed off again, Kiyoon hot in pursuit. “DAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!”

“You can run, but you can’t fart!” Kiyoon screamed.

Rule number two : Never fart while you’re in the middle of something. It’ll just slow you down.

“Too late! I just did!” Jaejin yelled, heading for the swings.

Kiyoon chomped off another bite of her sandwich and sped up. Jaejin always messes up at the swings.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! Whachu have!? A Snickers bar compressed in that sandwich?!”

Kiyoon crammed the rest of the sandwich in her mouth and lunged at Jaejin, shooting through the swing, tackling him down to the ground. Panting, she managed to let out, “You’re IT.”

“No,” Jaejin gasped. “I’m the man.”

Kiyoon chortled weakly and stayed on the ground with Jaejin.

“Kiyoon.”

“Hmm?”

“Why are you so hyperactive?”

“I dunno.”

“Hmm.”

“My turn!”

“Hmm…”

“Why can’t I have a brother?”

“Because your mom doesn’t want you to have one?”

“Well, when are you gonna marry Jiyoon? I wanna nephew to play with!”

“Why don’t you play with Miyoon?”

“She’s a pussy. She’s scared of her own shadow!”

“Funny.”

“And Jiyoon’s too serious. Besides, I don’t wanna bother her.”

“So you come and mess with me?”

“You’re the brother I’ve always wanted.”

“I’ll be soon.”

“When?”

“Soon enough.”

CHAPTER 8

“I think something else is going on. Look!” Sunghoon pointed out the window.

Jiyong stood next to Sunghoon and looked out. “I dunno. I doubt it. That girl don’t look like she’s into guys. Even Miyoon said it. I think she’s only spending time with her oppa.”

“Yeah, but like that?! One the grass, laying in each other’s arms is called ‘brotherly love?!’ Uh-uh. That’s not right. I think there’s an affair going on right under Jiyoon’s nose!”

“Oh, would you stop!? You’re forever in people’s business,” Jiyong said gruffly.

“Hey, I’m looking out for them!” Sunghoon said defensively.

“Let’s just finish unpacking so I can rest. I feel so tired.”

Sunghoon agreed and they both continued unpacking.

“Jiyong!” Miyoon stuck her head in through the door. “Jiyong oppa! I got sumthin to show you. C’mon!”

Jiyong and Sunghoon exchanged glances, forgetting for a minute about their role switch. Jiyong went to Miyoon, but Miyoon shook her head.

“I said Jiyong! Not you! You’re his secretary!” Miyoon said loudly.

Then Jiyong remembered. He was Sunghoon, not Jiyong anymore. “Oh, sorry. I thought you said my name.”

“No, I said Jiyong.” To Sunghoon, “C’mon!”

Sunghoon followed Miyoon out, a helpless expression on his face.

When Sunghoon was gone, Jiyong went on unpacking. Glancing at the clock by the side of his bed, he softly whispered, “Bye, Jiyong.”

CHAPTER 9

Night soon fell and dinner was served. As usual, Miyoon hogged all the guys (except Jaejin). Kiyoon sat in between Jiyoon and Jiyong while Miyoon isolated herself at the corner of the table with Sunghoon next to her and Jiyong next to him.

Earlier, Sunghoon had told Jiyong that Miyoon’s super cute and extra sweet. So different from Kiyoon.

Her room was full of stuffed animals, cds, toys, perfume, perfume and MORE perfume. She went on and told him an awful lot about her. Her dreams, her life, other miscellaneous things.

“You know what? I’m glad Jiyong has decided to stay here for the summer. It’ll give me a chance to get to know him better,” Miyoon announced.

Kiyoon leaned over to whisper something in Jiyoon’s ear.

“Oh, Kiyoon!” Jiyoon cried, exasperated.

“No, dear, you don’t want to forget Sunghoon,” Chaeya reminded Miyoon.

“Oh, Kiyoon could entertain him,” Miyoon said lightly.

Kiyoon turned to Jiyong, tapping him on his arm. “Sunghoon. You certainly have my deepest regrets. I don’t have the gadgets to present you a circus, but I do know a clown with TONS of makeup that happens to be sitting two seats away from you. Her name : Smelly Miyoon!”

Jiyong didn’t know whether to laugh or stay expressionless, he gave Kiyoon a small smile before Miyoon went squawking off again.

Other than that exchange, dinner went fairly well. Kiyoon vanished to her room while Miyoon dragged Sunghoon off to another tour of a specific site in the house. Jaejin and Jiyoon strolled to the yard for peace and the adults wandered off to the living room for television entertainment. Jiyong retired to his room, feeling out of place at the moment.

“Oma…I wish I was at home,” Jiyong said miserably.

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

“It’s so beautiful tonight.”

“The stars. They’re glamorous.”

Jaejin held Jiyoon closer, the night enveloping them, young and dark.

“What do you think?” Jiyoon asked.

“Of?”

“My cousin and his secretary.”

“Something’s not right with the two,” Jaejin admitted.

“What’s wrong?”

“The secretary seem so much more…I dunno. Jiyong’s not who I expected, I guess.”

“Whaddo you mean?”

“When I first saw them, I thought Jiyong was the taller one and Sunghoon, the shorter one.”

“Why you think that?”

“One seem so much more serious and the other seems like he’s just a gig.”

“A gig?”

“Yeah. All I know is they’re gonna be in for some trouble.”

“Why?”

“Two reasons.”

Jiyoon waited.

“One, Cho Miyoon and two, Cho Kiyoon.”

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

“So, tell me about yourself! I don’t even know your age!”

“Uh…twenty one. You?”

“Twenty one?!” Miyoon squealed. “I’m twenty!”

“Twenty? You look only eighteen.”

“You look eighteen, too!” Miyoon cried.

“How old’s Kiyoon? Sixteen?”

“Heavens no! She still thinks she’s thirteen! She’s eighteen!”

“Jiyoon?”

“Twenty two. Jaejin, twenty three. Wanna know my parents, too?”

“No, no…that’s fine.”

“So, when’s your birthday?”

“Fe-July. July first,” Sunghoon stuttered.

“July? That’s next month! So, you’ll be twenty two?”

Sunghoon kicked himself mentally for being so careless. He had forgotten that his birthday was several months before Jiyong’s and he had told her his actual age. “Uh…no. Twenty one.”

“Twenty – why twenty one? I thought – “

“I tell people I’m twenty one since, ya know, my birthday’s coming up,” Sunghoon said hastily.

“Oh…” Miyoon said softly, understanding. “So, tell me about your childhood.”

Uh-oh. “Uhmm…I have a sister…an older sister.” Phew. “Her name is Jiyoon – “

“Just like my sister!” Miyoon gasped.

“Yeah, just like your sister. She’s in Migook right now. So, it’s only me and Mom. We just chilling, you know. Then me and Sunghoon came up here.”

“Are you really the president of your father’s company?”

Sunghoon nodded.

“But-But you don’t even act like it!”

“Whaddo you mean?” Sunghoon panicked, he tried to contain himself.

“You’re so fun! Most presidents look so mean and ugly, they don’t even look relaxed! You’re like so different! You just seem to be free and happy.”

Sunghoon felt himself go light with relief. “Well, I don’t like to be serious all the time. Quite frankly, I don’t even like working at the company.” That was the truth. Neither Jiyong nor he like it, it was too tiring and a bore. But it was some GOOOOOOOD money.

Miyoon begged for more and Sunghoon continued telling her Jiyong’s childhood.

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

Knock, knock.

“If your name is Cho Miyoon, DO NOT ENTER!”

“It’s me,” Jiyong said. “Ji-Sunghoon.”

“Sunghoon?” Kiyoon murmured to herself. She got off her bed and opened the door. “What do you want?”

“Is it okay if I chill with you?”

“Chill? Here? Me?”

“Yeah,” Jiyong answered uncomfortably.

“Where’s Jiyong?”

“He’s with your sister.”

“Hmm…come in.” Kiyoon left the door ajar and Jiyong entered.

“I’m not sure you’ll find anything fun in here. I’m very plain, all I have are cds and books…” Kiyoon waved around. “Help yourself to whatever. But touch my closet, you’re dead.”

Jiyong nodded and observed Kiyoon’s room. It wasn’t anything similar to Sunghoon’s description of Miyoon’s room, dolls and toys. Kiyoon’s room’s full of books and cds. A computer sitting on her desk and several Playstation and DreamCast cds mingled with her music cds. A display of awards placed neatly against the far end of the wall and shelves nailed over an oak chest held rows of BIG trophies.

“You’re a ball player?” Jiyong asked casually.

“Hmm…”

“Pretty good.”

“That’s not all. There’s more in the basement and in the library.”

“More?”

“You’ll see. Want candy?”

“Sure.”

“Look in that left drawer. The top one, take all you want.”

Jiyong yanked on the drawer, surprised to see the supply of sweets.

“That’s not the reason why I’m always hyper.”

Jiyong laughed nervously as he reached for the pouch. “So…you like school?”

“Do you?”

Jiyong was surprised by the reply. “Who does?”

“Jiyoon.”

“Oh.”

“I hope you didn’t take Miyoon’s words seriously because I won’t be like her all glued to one guy, giving them my undivided attention.”

“N-No…why would you think that?”

“Guys tend to take Miyoon seriously. She reminds me of Quinn. You ever watch Daria?”

“No, but I know who you’re talking about.”

“Oh, now this is interesting.” Kiyoon lowered her book, turning it face down on her bed. “Rarely people know what I’m talking about. Anyways, once you get to know Miyoon, you’ll realize she’s actually blonde underneath that black hair.”

“Are you two always fighting?”

“It’s something to do.” Kiyoon shrugged. She returned to her book.

“So…old how – “

“Thirteen.”

“Thir – You’re only thirteen?!”

“Plus five.”

“Thirteen…thirteen plus five, eighteen!”

“Are you also the accountant?”

“No, why?”

“I was about to say your math’s bad.”

Jiyong stuffed a Sour Patch Kid in his mouth.

“No need to be embarrassed. You just said you weren’t the accountant. So you’re free of the insult.”

“Can I use your computer?”

“Just don’t go into my files or folders.”

Jiyong dusted the sugar off his hands and went to her desk.

“So…how long are you gonna stay here, again?”

“Second week of September.”

“Oh, God.”

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

Jaejin kissed Jiyoon good night and left for home.

“There goes Jaejin,” Miyoon whispered, watching the red tail lights disappear.

“So, they’re marrying soon?” Sunghoon asked.

“Jiyoon wants to wait till she graduates.”

“Graduate?”

“Medical school. She’s a nurse at the local hospital. She’s studying to become a doctor.”

“What’s Jaejin?”

“A doctor.”

Sunghoon stared at Miyoon.

“He’s still going to school though.”

Sunghoon nodded.

“Let’s go in. It’s getting a tad nippy.”

Sunghoon walked Miyoon back to her room before going to his.

“Good night, Jiyong,” she said sweetly.

“Night.”

“See you in the morning.”

“Yeah.”

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

“You suck!”

“Shut up!”

“Dumb ass! Turn left!”

Jiyong hit the right arrow by accident, the game getting intensifying.

“You dumb ass! YOUR AMERICAN LEFT!!!”

Soon the little game figure crumpled, shattering to a million pieces.

“Game over,” Kiyoon chorused with the announcer.

“Your sister’s right, you are a boy disguised as a girl!”

Kiyoon laughed for the first time since his arrival. “Why you agree?”

“Cuz all your toys aren’t for girls! Look at this! You have more video games than I do!”

Kiyoon laughed again. “You dunno how it is to be me. Although I have two sisters, I very often feel like I’m the only child.”

“Hmm…” Jiyong stood up. “Time to go beddy bye. Sorry if I kept you up.”

“It’s okay. I always stay up later.”

“Well…Good night.”

“Night.”

CHAPTER 10

“I’m gonna marry him!” Miyoon declared, brushing her hair.

“Dream on,” Kiyoon muttered, washing her face.

“Hey, dreams do come true you know.”

“How come mine hasn’t come true yet?”

“Which is?”

“You outta my life?”

Miyoon rolled her eyes.

“Exactly how I feel.” Kiyoon hung her face cloth up to dry and went downstairs for breakfast.

Everybody was already eating away, all except Jiyoon, who had to be at the hospital by eight.

“Morning, Mom, Dad. Granny.” Kiyoon kissed Granny on the cheek before pouring herself a cup of coffee.

Chaeya slapped at Kiyoon’s hand. “Drinking coffee in the morning! Go eat jook!”

“Mom, coffee’s for breakfast, not a midnight snack.”

“Go eat your jook and stop fooling around,” Chaeya ordered.

Kiyoon frowned but sat down anyway. Morning isn’t her favorite time of the day and breakfast isn’t her favorite meal.

“Chaeya…don’t you even know your own children? Kiyoon hates jook. Go cook yourself some ramen, darling,” said Granny.

Kiyoon bowed deeply to her grandmother. “Thank you for saving me once again.”

Granny chuckled as Kiyoon slipped away to the kitchen. Miyoon yawned and smiled brightly as she plopped in a chair next to Sunghoon.

“Sleep well, hon?” Granny asked.

“Wonderful.” Miyoon took the cup of steaming coffee Kiyoon had poured for herself earlier. “Monster Kiyoon?”

“I’m feeling like one too,” Kiyoon said loudly.

Miyoon shrugged and helped herself to plenty of creme and sugar. “It’s a pity Mom won’t let you drink it.”

Silence.

“Guess the monster’s asleep.”

“Why is it you always have to start things right when you wake up? Can’t you see Kiyoon has ignored you?” their father demanded.

“Yeah, unni. See? I even fixed you a bagel!” Kiyoon placed the blueberry bagel spread with strawberry cream before Miyoon.

“Nah-uh. It’s a trick. She’s not this nice.”

“Fine.” Kiyoon reached for half the bagel, getting ready to take a bite.

“Drop it, freak!”

“Unni, make up your mind!”

“Drop it,” Miyoon repeated.

“Catch.” Kiyoon tossed the bagel in the air before walking off to the kitchen again.

Jiyong watched the bagel flipped again and again in the air before Sunghoon caught it safely.

“Oh, thank you! Jiyong oppa, you’re the best!” Miyoon cried. She took the bagel from him and bit into it. Licking the thick pink cream off her lips.

Before anything else happened, Jiyong excused himself before Miyoon exploded. He hurried off to the kitchen, the closest exit through the kitchen. Kiyoon spun around, chopsticks poised in mid-air.

Then came an ear-splitting scream. Miyoon.

Kiyoon giggled and went on scooping her ramen out of the cooking pot.

“What did you do?”

“Burn her bagel then hid the evidence with her favorite color.”

Jiyong laughed.

“What’d you have?”

“Coffee and a sandwich.”

Kiyoon frowned. “No fair. Ramen?”

Jiyong shook his head.

“Don’t worry, I won’t pull anything stupid. Spiced?”

Jiyong shook his head again. “I’m stuffed.”

Kiyoon shrugged. “Suit yourself. How much coffee did you have?”

“Enough.”

“Hmm…I can tell.”

Jiyong retreated back to the dining room, Miyoon in the middle of cursing while Sunghoon tried to soothe her.

“CHO KIYOON!” she screamed.

No answer.

“Where is she?!” Miyoon demanded.

Jiyong shrugged. “In her room?”

Miyoon growled. “After I come home from shopping! She better not be home!”

CHAPTER 11

The day quickly went by and Jiyong was getting used to the excitement. Miyoon had returned home only half an hour ago bearing gifts and presents for Sunghoon. She dragged him upstairs to model off the clothes she had gotten him.

“Don’t be jealous. If I was just as unoccupied as her, I would spoil you too,” Kiyoon said, leaning against the library door.

Jiyong looked away from Kiyoon’s scholastic trophies. “You’re quite a nerd.”

“Ahhh, it’s nothing. You haven’t seen Jiyoon’s yet. Now, those are nice.”

“But all the ones I’ve seen are yours, where’s Jiyoon’s?”

“Over by that wall. She worked real hard for them. She’s the only person in this family I have highest admiration for. Other than Jaejin, but that’ll be later.”

Jiyong nodded and went to look at Jiyoon’s awards. Most of them were from medical school. “Medical?”

“Yeah. She’ll be embarrassed if we hang her stuff from back in the days. So she chose to have her medical stuff hanged.”

“Oh…”

Kiyoon watched Jiyong as he went around the room to look at more trophies. Her sports trophies. “Are you really Kang Sunghoon?” she abruptly asked.

Jiyong felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. “Ye-Yeah…why?”

Kiyoon narrowed her eyes. “Nothing. You look more than a secretary. A secretary looks plain…you look like someone of authority.”

Jiyong let out a nervous laugh. “Really?”

“Very real.”

“Kiyoon ah! Dinner!” Jiyoon called.

“Already?” Jiyong asked, surprised.

“No…she’s asking me to help. They never call me for dinner.” Kiyoon left Jiyong alone and went to help her sister.

“Psssst!”

Jiyong turned to the hiss. Sunghoon was hiding behind the entrance of the library. He held out a crooked finger and motioned for Jiyong to come to him.

“What?” Jiyong approached Sunghoon.

Sunghoon glanced around and dragged Jiyong back to their room.

“What?” Jiyong repeated as Sunghoon closed the door to their room.

“I think I’m in love! I love being you!”

“Oh, God. I’m sorry, Sunghoon. I don’t think I’m born gay.”

“No! I mean I’m in love with Miyoon. She’s so cute! And I love being Jiyong!”

“Oh, God,” Jiyong said again. “What have I done to deserve this?”

“Jiyong, I’m so glad you’re my best friend and that you’ve decided to bring me here! Jiyong, I love you!”

“Like I said, I’m not gay. But thank you for the gratitude.”

“I dunno how you could have not met them! Especially Miyoon!”

“Miyoon only thinks you’re me because you told her your name’s Jiyong and not Sunghoon. If she found who you really are, you’ll be dead. Trust me, I have a feeling Miyoon can’t handle that kind of shock. Plus…don’t you think she seem too eager? The only reason why she’s nice and super cute to you because you’re Jiyong. See? It’s just the name and title that matters to her. Nothing else. You don’t see her being nice to me.”

“That’s because you don’t have the charm,” Sunghoon said, toying with his hair.

“Or maybe she doesn’t like a plain secretary,” Jiyong muttered.

“Are you jealous?”

“No, I’m actually happy. I like the way how things are at the moment.”

“At the moment? Uh-oh, I don’t like the sound of that.”

A knock at the door. “Jiyong?”

“Miyoon,” Jiyong guessed.

Sunghoon went to open the door. “Hi.”

“Jiyong, come on!”

“Where now?”

“Just come!”

And off Sunghoon goes. Jiyong shook his head and fell back on his bed. The sudden dread of going home returned and he wished he was at home.

CHAPTER 12

It was morning again, the same breakfast rountine except Kiyoon wasn’t available.

“Go wake up your dongseng,” Chaeya said to Miyoon.

“She’s gone,” Miyoon mumbled, distracted with the magazine that had come in the mail early in the morning.

“Gone? What do you mean?” Granny asked softly, fear creeping up her spine.

Miyoon shrugged. “She’s already gone when I went to harrass her.”

“Could it be that she went to the library?” her father suggested.

“Appa, the library doesn’t open this early. It’s only eight-forty-five.”

“I have to go now. Can never tell with traffic. Now you be good since your sister’s not home.”

“Good? Appa, I’m always good!”

Her father nodded absentmindedly. “Whichever. I’m leaving.” He hugged his mother-in-law and kissed his wife. He nodded at Jiyong and Sunghoon before leaving.

“Bye, Appa! Drive safely!”

Once breakfast was over Chaeya took her mother out shopping, leaving the three children alone. Immediately Miyoon took up actions and wisked Sunghoon away. Jiyong went upstairs to his room. Downstairs, Miyoon and Sunghoon were dancing away. Even Miyoon had said it, it was early in morning. Too early to be dancing. But they didn’t care. They turned up that entertainment system and danced like maniacs.

Kiyoon wasn’t home, she had left before anybody was up. Probably went with Jiyoon to the hospital. But Jiyong didn’t know. He wasn’t close to anybody in the house. Not like Sunghoon who had Miyoon’s attention right when they saw each other at the airport.

He sighed and wished he had his car with him. He’d be out and away somewhere. As long as it wasn’t someplace where he would be lonely.

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

“Suwon! I swear! You should see them two!”

Suwon nodded. Kiyoon was always exaggerating.

“Suwon ah!”

“I hear you. But that doesn’t mean they’re not nice. You shouldn’t judge them before you know them.”

“Some friend you are,” Kiyoon said grumpily.

“Kiyoon, you came to my house this early in the morning just to tell me what you’ve discovered about them two?”

“Suwon! It’s past nine! It’s not early! Miyoon’s probably having lunch right now!”

Suwon laughed. He can always count on his best friend for laughter. “Okay. What is it you want me to do?”

“Can your mom adopt me?”

There she goes again. “Let’s ask her. I don’t think my hyung would like it though if we suddenly have a younger sister.”

“Well…just say it’s Santy’s early Christmas gift to you.”

“Wanna go out? There’s nothing to do around the house. I think I’ve done all the chores.”

“Let’s go ask,” Kiyoon mimicked.

“Bunghole.”

“Not until the day your mom adopts me.”

CHAPTER 13

“Uhh…Miyoon?”

“What?!” she snapped.

“Do you have…like a car?” Jiyong asked uncomfortably.

“A car? Where you wanna go?”

“Somewhere. I just wanna go out.”

“Do you know your way around?” Miyoon asked haughtily.

“No…but I’m sure I can find my way around.”

“Forget it. You’ll just mess up the car and get lost. Ask Kiyoon to take you on a tour. C’mon Jiyong!”

Jiyong stood in his spot as Miyoon turned up the music again and pulled Sunghoon up to dance. It was a funny sight. Sunghoon can’t even get his butt to wiggle right. Jiyong laughed and left the two crazy wangja and gongju byungs. He went back upstairs to his room and picked up the phone and dialed home.

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

“And she DUNKS!!!” Kiyoon screamed, dunking the basketball.

“ARGH!!! YOU!”

“Haha,” Kiyoon taunted. She tossed the basketball to Suwon and went to rest on the benches.

“You know. You need to work on your nails. Girls like you need a manicure,” Suwon said, dribbling the ball towards her.

Kiyoon held up her hands. “Care to tell me where my nails are?”

“Hmm…you need to eat more jello. Your nails are not growing at normal speed.”

“Ahhhh, shattup! And you need to drink more milk. You’re not growing at all.”

“You getting tired of this?”

“Yeah. Let’s go home and torture Miyoon.”

“Not a good idea.”

“Why?”

“Jiyong’s there.”

“So? I’ll bring him down too! What is he gonna do? Beg me or bribe me not to mess with him? C’mon!”

“Let’s go to the mall. I need new jeans.”

“Darn! You better buy me something, richie.”

“I will.”

“Like what?”

“I’ll buy you a guy with some love.”

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

“Sunghoon’s downstairs partying away.”

“Party? This early?”

“No, he’s just dancing with Miyoon. It’s funny, Oma. He can’t even get his butt to move in the right direction and he’s throwing his hair around like he’s some punk rocker.”

Mrs. Ko laughed at the details. “Why aren’t you downstairs in the fun?”

“Nah…I’m not really into it. Plus, Miyoon doesn’t want me around.”

“Why not?”

“I dunno. She likes Sunghoon. Oma! You should see her! She’s attached to him! Like he’s some wangja or sumthin!”

“What about Kiyoon? Why won’t you talk to her?”

“Mom, she’s nothing but trouble. I don’t really like being near her. And I think she doesn’t like me very much either.”

“What about Jiyoon?”

“She’s already engaged. And she’s working at the hospital.”

Mrs. Ko gasped. “Engaged? When? How old is she?”

“Mom, how old am I? She’s older than me!”

“Oh, my…has it really been that long? I still remember her when she was only a little girl. She was so pretty and smart.”

“Still is. She’s planning on becoming a doctor when her namja chingoo’s already one.”

“Who is he?”

“Some guy. I dunno. Kiyoon seems to like him a lot. They’re like brothers, running around, wrestling and everything.”

“Well…I hope things won’t get too ugly and uneventful for you. You just have to get into things. You’re always so…not involved. Why won’t you just tag along?”

“I wanna go out, but I dunno the area! I even asked Miyoon if I can borrow a car and she just laughed in my face.”

“Uh!”

“My reactions exactly. So I’m like, ‘forget you too.’ I don’t need that kinda shit.”

“Jiyong!”

“Sorry, Oma.”

Mrs. Ko sighed. “I was hoping this wouldn’t happen. What about Sunghoon?”

“He’s having fun. I can’t bear to tear him away from all the excitement,” Jiyong said sarcastically.

“Oh, honey. It’ll get better. Just wait. I know it’s hard at first, but it’ll be alright. I’ll ask Chaeya to ask Kiyoon to take you out or something. How’s that?”

“It’s okay, Oma. You don’t need to. Plus Kiyoon’s always busy,” Jiyong lied. Truth is, he doesn’t know. She always seem preoccupied. “I’ll just stick around the house. Besides, they have a library.”

“Jiyong…you don’t like to read.”

“I know…but I guess it’s time to learn how.”

“Hmm…would you like Oma to come down?”

“No!” Jiyong shouted quickly. Too quickly. “I mean…I don’t want to bother you. You should be resting and not worry about me.”

“That’s the problem. Neither you nor Jiyoon’s near, so the only thing I can do is worry.”

“Sorry, Oma.”

“Don’t be sorry. Be happy and have fun. Oma will call next week.”

“Bye, Mom.”

“Be good. Tell Sunghoon that, too.”

“I will.”

The phone went dead. Jiyong hung up and fell back on his bed. Have fun…two simple words just seem so hard to accomplish.

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

Kiyoon picked up the bag.

“Sold to Cho Kiyoon,” Suwon said loudly.

“No. I’m just looking, you idiot.”

“You and bags. I think that’s a match made in heaven.”

“Speaking of matches. How’s you and you know?”

“Good. Real good.”

“Kicking it, huh?”

“Yeah.”

Kiyoon returned the bag to its place on the shelf and walked away.

“So…when are you like…gonna hook up?” Suwon asked casually.

“Mmm?” Kiyoon pretended not to hear him. She observed a pair of baggy jeans.

“Kiyoon. I’m talking to you.”

“I’m listening.” She continued to fumble through the pile of jeans, trying to avoid the question.

“I said…never mind. You’re not even listening.”

Kiyoon stopped and turned to Suwon. “I am. I just choose not to answer you.”

“Well, that’s all you have to tell me.”

“No, Suwon. I’m not telling you. You’re persistent and you won’t stop until you get an answer. You’ll simmer for now, but when it’s time for me to go home, you won’t get me home until I’ve answered each and every question you have prepared for me. You know, Alexander Graham Bell did have a reason to invent the telephone.”

“I asked you for one answer and you go on with a story. Does this ever end?”

“Suwon…I dunno what to do. I have two buttholes stuck living with me and Sunghoon said they’re not leaving till September. What am I gonna do? You’re always busy working and I don’t want to time up your spare time with…”

“That’s one reason why Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.”

Kiyoon smiled weakly. “Why can’t I be your girlfriend?”

“Because we weren’t meant to be. And we both know deep down inside it’ll never happen because you don’t have feelings for me.”

Kiyoon chuckled. “I think something’s wrong with me. I don’t have feelings for anyone!”

“Let’s just say you’re still a baby and dunno anything about love.”

“That’s good enough. Or…”

“Or what?”

“I’m heartless.”

Suwon thought about it. “Nah…that’s a lizard.”

CHAPTER 14

“Where’s your sister?” Jiyoon demanded, staring down at Miyoon and Seonghooon’s sweaty bodies.

Miyoon shrugged. “She was gone when I went to bug her. I thought she left with you.”

“No! She was still in bed when I went to check on her.”

“Then she must have slipped out.”

“Till now?! Miyoon, it’s almost ten!”

“Ten?!” Sunghoon shrieked. “How long have we been doing this?”

“Too long. You look like a michinom,” Jiyoon commented.

“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! My hair!”

“You should have thought about that when you were sweating,” Jiyoon said dryly.

“I’m gonna shower.” Sunghoon flew up the stairs and immediately started a hot shower.

“You’re telling me Kiyoon’s been gone since seven this morning?!”

“I dunno! I woke up at eight sumthin…she probably left when I got up.”

“Still! That’s gone more than twelve hours and you haven’t even noticed your dongseng’s missing?! What kind of a sister are you!?”

“Like you’re a very good one! All you’ve done is defend and protect her! What have you done for me?! You’re always backing her up! What about me?! So, now I can’t even have fun?!”

Jiyoon felt her anger mark tick off. “I can’t believe you have the nerve! You have any idea how hard it is working more than fourteen hours a day and having to come home and start dinner?! Compared to you, who don’t even have a job or a promising CAREER to worry about, I’m out there breaking my back! Kiyoon may be out of control, but if I don’t look out for her then WHO will?! Tell me! Who? Ever since Kiyoon was three, you wished she was DEAD! You had all the spotlight Kiyoon never had! She’s the one that really needs the attention! NOT YOU! So, you’re mad at me for not supporting you, well, I’m angry at you for NOT LOVING Kiyoon! You have no idea how hard Kiyoon worked for her awards and merits. How HARD she studied just to win some attention and you can’t even give her a little space and words of encouragement?! I can’t believe I have such a selfish sister…And now she’s out God knows where and with who?! You’re in here shaking your monkey ass with a rich millionaire who we don’t even know if he even likes you!?”

Miyoon stood paralyzed, her ears pricking at the hot, harsh words. “Uh – ”

“Don’t even call me ‘unni’ if you don’t respect me. You certainly haven’t earned the right to call me that.”

Miyoon felt her lips quivered as hot, unwanted tears sprung to her eyes.

The front door creaked open and Kiyoon popped out, her eyes wide with alarm. “Uh-oh.”

“Kiyoon! Where have you been?!” Jiyoon demanded.

“Am I in trouble?” Kiyoon asked softly.

“I’ll soon tell Mom to disown you if you don’t tell me where you were and how long you’ve been gone!”

Kiyoon looked over to Miyoon’s guilty state and innocently told Jiyoon, “I was with Suwon all day.”

Jiyoon felt herself drain of anger and worry. “Suwon? When in the – ”

“I went over to his house.”

“How?”

“On my bike.”

“Oh, Kiyoon…”

“What happened?”

“Nothing! When did you leave?”

“Early…you know how it takes when you don’t have a car to get into another town.”
“That’s it! I’m telling Appa to get you a car. I can’t have you disappearing early in the morning and reappear when I’m about to start dinner.”

“Dinner?! You guys haven’t eaten dinner yet?!”

“Ask the ‘Dancing Queen’ she was home all day with Jiyong.”

Kiyoon aimed her eyes at Miyoon again, taking in her messy form. “What happened to you? You two had rough sex with your clothes on?”

“You two better go clean yourselves up and help me start dinner. I’ve already had a bad day and I don’t want you two to make it any worse. Where’s Oma?”

“She and Granny’s watching some drama movie in Granny’s room.”

“Tell Sunghoon that dinner’ll be ready soon. He’s probably dead already by now. Kiyoon, go see if he has turned into a fossil yet.” Jiyoon vanished into the kitchen.

“You damn bitch,” Miyoon cursed.

“What?”

“You heard me.”

“What have I done?! I wasn’t even home the whole day!”

“That’s why you’re the bitch! Jiyoon yelled at me for no reason!” Miyoon bawled.

Kiyoon shook her head as she headed for Jiyong and Sunghoon’s room. Miyoon can be so strange…

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

“Whoa…heated shit.”

A knock. “Sunghoon?”

Jiyong sat up on his bed at the voice. Kiyoon. “Yeah?”

The door opened slightly. “Jiyoon wants to know if you’re still alive.”

Jiyong pranced to the door. “Where were you?”

“Don’t tell me you were concerned too.”

“I’m not. Just curious.”

“I was about to elope, but I suddenly remembered you,” Kiyoon replied dramatically.

“What happened down there? I heard Jiyoon yelling at you.”

“Me? She didn’t yell at me.”

“She didn’t? Then what was that about?”

“Ask your boss. He’s the one that was fooling around with Miyoon.”

Jiyong’s mouth fell open.

“I’m glad you still have your appetite. Jiyoon expects you downstairs scraping your plate clean when dinner is served.” Kiyoon reeled around and hopped to her room.

CHAPTER 15

 The days flew by and it was soon July. The first of July.

“Pssst! Wake up Jiyong jjang!”

Jiyong moaned and turned over in his bed, shaking off the annoying voice. “Lemme sleep.”

“Jiyong!” Sunghoon whispered. “Jiyong! Wake up!”

“What?!”

“Happy Birthday!”

“Wha…”

“Jiyong! Wake up!” Sunghoon whined, jerking on Jiyong’s side. “Wake up! It’s your twenty-first birthday and I’m the only that can wish you the very best birthday! Jiyong!”

Jiyong snored loudly, trying to block out Sunghoon’s cries. Sunghoon climbed in beside Jiyong and slid underneath Jiyong’s blanket. He reached down and pinched Jiyong’s butt hard and with his free hand, tickled Jiyong awake.

“OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!” Jiyong roared. He shot out of his bed and tumbled to the floor, rubbing his rear end. “WHAT’S YOUR PROBLEM!??!!!”

With one end of Jiyong’s coverlet hiding his face, he grinned childishly. “HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!”

“Oh, Sunghoon! Can’t this wait till later?! It’s still early!”

“Jiyong! You’re forgetting we’re not at home!”

Jiyong rubbed his eyes. “Sunghoon, it’s only eight. What do you want?”
“Jiyong…you’re forgetting! You’re Sunghoon! So that means besides me in the house, no one else knows today’s your birthday! No one else is gonna give you presents and throw cake at you! Jiyong!”

“Sunghoon…thank you. But can you wait till I’m fully recharged? You may be bright and cheery, but I’m still hanging over from last night.”

“Fine. You have until ten. But don’t say I didn’t warn you!”

Jiyong nodded as Sunghoon climbed out of his bed and went to his own. Jiyong continued to ease the stinging pain Sunghoon had put in his behind and returned to bed. Sunghoon rambled on until sleep finally claimed him and it was all silent again.

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

Kiyoon yawned. “Yes! July first! One month down and how many more to go?” She jumped out of bed and scratched her head. It was already ten and she made her bed before she ventured off to the bathroom.

“Oooh! Look at this!” Miyoon squealed.

“Mayan…” Kiyoon moaned. Downstairs, a commotion was already brewing. She headed to the bathroom to prepare herself for the remainder of the day when Jiyong collided with her on his way out of the shower. “OOOWWW!”

“Awww…shit!”

Kiyoon clamped her hand over her stinging elbow, grinding down on her teeth. “Good morning to you too.” She rubbed her arm up and down, the pain spreading.

Jiyong patted his chest as the full impact of Kiyoon’s body had slammed into his. He coughed a few times and waved her away. “Yeah. Happy Birthday.”

Idiot, Kiyoon’s mind said. Kiyoon agreed. She hurried in and brushed out the sour taste in her mouth and washed her face. She checked her image in the mirror as she gently stroked her hair with a brush and frowned. “Birthday?” She placed the brush back behind the mirror and changed out of her sleeping attire. Charging down the stairs, she hollered, “Who’s birthday?!”

The happy chatter stopped as all eyes turned to her.

“Why, it’s Jiyong’s, honey,” her mother answered.

“Yeah, are you forgetting today’s Jiyong oppa’s birthday?” Miyoon chimed.

“Birthday?” The tone of Kiyoon’s voice was unpleasant, almost disgusted. “I never knew his birthday, so how could I forget?”

Everybody stood around uncomfortably, tension growing thick by the minute.

“C’mon! For breakfast today, we’re having cake,” said Jaejin, approaching Kiyoon.

“Miyoon baked it?”

“No…I dunno…”

“No, thanks. I don’t want to eat Birthday Boy’s cake when I have no present to exchange.” She ran off to the kitchen in search for coffee.

“Kiyoon!” Jiyoon called.

Sunghoon watched the scene, unable to take in what had happened. Kiyoon hated him! She wasn’t surprised to have found out Jiyong’s birthday was today. She was alarmed.

Jiyong sat in the corner, observing the ordeal. Not only was Kiyoon mad, he was too. He only had one birthday and that was only once a year. Now Sunghoon took on his roll of being the President, he has also taken his birthday! It was so unfair. Sunghoon has two birthdays and he has none…

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

“Kiyoon…what are you doing?”

Kiyoon poured the black coffee into a mug. “Coffee. Finally!”

Granny tsked. “Fine…I didn’t see that. You better drink it fast though. You’ll never know when your mother may come through that door.”

Kiyoon smiled. She loves her grandmother more than she loves her mother. “She won’t. She’s too wrap up with Jiyong.”

“Tell me…”

“What, Granny?” Kiyoon walked over to Granny and helped her to a chair.

“Why is it you hate Jiyong?”

Kiyoon shrugged. “I don’t hate him. Well…I do. I just can’t stand him. He’s so…flakey.”

“Not himself?”

“I dunno how he really is! I never met him!”

“Child…you sometimes remind me of Miyoon.”

“Why?!” Kiyoon shrieked, nearly spilling coffee on herself.

“You both judge people based on looks itself.”

“I DO NOT!”

“You don’t like Jiyong because of money; Miyoon likes him money wise.”

“That’s true. And he acts stupid and gay.”

“There’s more to it than just acts alone.”

“Oh…Granny tell me I’m not gonna be like you when I grow old.”

Granny raised a brow. “Why?”

“Wisdom…you old people know too much.”

Granny laughed as she ruffled Kiyoon’s hair. “Surprises come in small packages.”

“Such as sugar?”

“No. Such as love and you’ll find it in one of those two outside.”

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

“I’m worried about that one in there. I don’t really care when Miyoon gets mad, cause she’ll just mouth it off. But that little rascal in there never lets anything out. I never know whether she’s suffering or not.” Jiyoon stared at the dining room door, the very one she had seen her grandmother gone through.

“It’s okay. She’ll be up and about,” Jaejin reassured her.

“No, that’s part of the act. You dunno her. One year she was trying her absolutely very best to enter the nation-wide writing competition and she got sick that very week when she was studying for her mid-terms. With all that anger and frustration bottled up inside her, that’s what broke her. She can’t handle stress. It kills her. And Oma and Appa don’t know…”

“You should be her mother instead of her sister.”

“I have to go in there.”

“You’re not going anywhere. She’ll come bouncing back in here like a basketball. Watch.”

True to his word, Kiyoon re-entered the living room, bringing Granny along.

“Let’s cut the cake!” Miyoon suggested.

“I’m not eating it if Miyoon baked it. She probably burnt it or put food poisoning in it,” Kiyoon whispered to Granny.

“Oh, you,” Granny chided. “Such a silly thing.”

Sunghoon had cut the cake with Miyoon and walked over to Jiyong with a piece of it. “Happy Birthday,” he murmured as he handed Jiyong the plate.

Jiyong numbly accepted the cake. His birthday cake. “Thanks.”

“I got your present upstairs. Tonight.”

Then he walked off to the center of attention. Kiyoon had left Granny to be with the rest of the celebration and wandered off to her room.

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

“Hey, bum,” Kiyoon muttered.

Suwon stretched in his bed. “What time is it?”

“It’s past ten. Still in the process of dreaming?”

“It was good. You were the star of it.”

“Oh…” Kiyoon said amusingly.

“Yeah, wanna know what happened?”

“Hmm…”

“You sure?”

“Just tell me since it’s still fresh in your head!”

“You really wanna know?”

“Suwon, I’m gonna drag out outside your house naked and make you tell me at the mall.”

“Okay. You were married.”

“Married? To who?”

“It was your wedding day. Well, the three of you. Jiyoon, Miyoon and you.”

“To who?”

“Ready?”

Kiyoon nodded, waiting with anticipation.

“Ko Jiyong.”

“WHAT???!”

“Wait…Miyoon was married to the secretary and Jiyoon married Jaejin.”

“Back dat ass up. I married WHO?!”

“Ko Jiyong.”

“THAT FAGGOT?!”

“Why?”

“How do you how they look like?”

“I don’t.”

“Then – “

“Their faces were blurry. When some dude, the minister…I think his name is Father Kim. Kim Jaeduk pronounced the names, that’s how I knew.”

“Oh…seems like you’ve been working too hard. Either that or you’ve watched too many movies.”

“Wait. There’s more!”

“More?!”

“Yep, I haven’t told you about the kissing and what you guys wore – “

“Suwon…did you actually dream this or you’re thinking in your mind and wishing for this to happen?”

“I really did! You and Jiyong were about to get mushy mushy when the phone rang and poof!”

“Why does it all sound like Suwon’s Fairy Tales?”

“Scoff all you want, it’s the truth. Now be quiet! I gotta tell you want happened!”

Kiyoon sighed as she rolled over onto her stomach. “Go on.”

“Okay, you three couples were at the church. All three guys wearing white tux. And then later when you know after the American marriage and all that, you guys get dress up and go to a shikdang and get knocked out? The guys switched into black and the girls were wearing sumthin like prom dresses. But not as dramatic…you know? Something simple…like an evening dress. You! You’re always different. You had to wear lavender. Sorta like lilac. And your two sisters wore red.”

“Wow…I was wearing a dress?”

“I know…the world’s coming to an end.”

“I know…I married Ko Jiyong. Ha! What a laugh! I’ll never marry that goat. He’s Miyoon’s man. Too rich and fruity for my blood.”

“Wait! Did I tell you – “

“No, please…no more details. It’s already getting too gruesome.”

“Wait! I haven’t told you the highlight of the dream!”

“What?!”

“You two kissed!”

Kiyoon belched as a response sending Suwon on a lecture.

“Now I know why you’ll never marry. You’re too manly.”

“Thanks. I love you, too.”

“So…what’s the big emergency?”

“It’s the goon’s birthday.”

“Your dream hubby?”

“No, he’s your dream hubby. You dreamed of him. Not me.”

“Fine. Kiyoon’s future hubby of my dream. How’s that?”

Kiyoon growled.

“Okay, okay. What about him?”

“I’m just glad that they’re gonna leave soon.”

“You don’t get along with either of them?”

“Well…maybe only the secretary. Been hanging out with him the last couple of days. Miyoon always pushes him aside and Jiyoon thinks he needs to see some sunlight. So…I’m the only tour guide available. He’s pretty cool. Not stupid and dorky like his boss. I wonder how’d he ever ended up working for Jiyong.”

“Man gotta hire a good secretary. So, you two…what’s going on?”

“Nothing. What’s going on with me and you?”

“Nothing.”

“Exactly. That’s where I stand with him,” Kiyoon answered.

“I have a gut feeling that you’re gonna marry that cousin of yours.”

“I have a gut feeling that you’re gonna marry that brother of yours.”

“Laugh all you want. Cuz that’s what I dreamed.”

“Wanna go out?”

“Nah…gotta take my Oma shopping.”

“Er…”

“Sorry.”

“Better be. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Lates.”

Kiyoon hung up slowly, thinking about Suwon’s dream. “If I marry Jiyong for real…Oh my God! I have to stay away from Miyoon and him as much as possible!”

CHAPTER 16

The day was a drag and finally the sun was getting ready to settle. Sensing the wild excitement downstairs was simmering, Kiyoon slipped away downstairs. Out in the yard, she found Jaejin and Jiyoon laughing over something as she approached the swings.

“Kiyoon, we’re going out later for dinner,” Jiyoon informed, watching Kiyoon come towards her.

“Because of Jiyong?”

“Yeah.”

Kiyoon nodded. She plopped on a swing and enjoyed the colorful horizon. It reminded her of how happy her life should be and the way how it is. She sighed as she pushed herself off, slowly and gently at first.

“What did you get Jiyong?” Jaejin asked.

“Nothing,” Kiyoon replied tonelessly.

“Nothing?” Jaejin echoed.

“I’m not Miyoon. Knowing her, she probably already offered herself to marry him before he even gets the chance to reject.”

Jiyoon frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Kiyoon sighed. “Nothing…”

They all sat in silence as Kiyoon’s swing went on squeaking. Then a soft melody danced into Kiyoon’s head…and out her mouth.

Jiyoon hummed along as Kiyoon went on singing, Jaejin bobbed his head to the a cappella and quietly sang the song to himself.

Upstairs Jiyong neared the window to see the three happy family members together on the swings. With his window open, he could faintly hear someone singing softly. He squinted his eyes, trying to figure out who the singer was. He bolted out his room and dashed down the stairs, past Sunghoon and Miyoon who were picking up presents to drop off in his room. He slowly made it to the sliding doors that led to the yard and heard the singing clearly. It was crisp and sweet…not a voice he had ever heard before.

“Yay! Sing another one!” he heard Jaejin plead. “You should forget about giving Jiyong a present! Just sing him the Birthday song and it’ll be all good! I know I wouldn’t mind!”

Jiyong stepped over the threshold to the outside, following the voice that had started singing another song. It was either Jiyoon or Kiyoon and he was weighing it on Jiyoon.

“Awww…look! She’s bashful!” Jaejin teased, laughing.

Darkness was beginning to fall around them and Jiyong continued forward in a trance. It was getting harder to tell who was singing, especially when it was so low and with the swings squeaking. The singing ended shortly and he noticed Kiyoon’s hair flying as the swing came down.

“Kiyoon, be careful!” Jiyoon warned, watching Kiyoon swing higher and higher with worried eyes.

“Aigo…” Kiyoon muttered. She waited till the swing swung her back then slowly raised on leg up on the seat.

Jiyoon watched on, horrified. “Kiyoon! Sit still!”

Jaejin got off his swing and went over to Jiyoon.

“Jaejin, tell her to stop! She’ll hurt herself if she stands on the swing!”

Jaejin hushed Jiyoon and watched as Kiyoon boosted herself up standing on the swing. “She should join the circus.”

Jiyong edged closer just in time to catch the performance.

“Don’t encourage her!” Jiyong heard Jiyoon yell at Jaejin. He turned to the swings and saw why. Kiyoon was almost up in the sky and wasn’t slowing down.

“Jaejin, stop her. Tell her to slow down at least. Something’s gonna happen if she goes on like this. Please, Jaejin. You know how she listens to you the most. Jaejin?”

“I’m flying!” Kiyoon yelped. “Fly, fly! Fly away!” She released her hands on the chains and dove off, really flying off the swing.

Jiyong gasped as he stood frozen, a shiver running up and down his spine.

“KIYOOOON!!!” Jiyoon screamed.

Kiyoon balled herself up and rolled onto the grass, Jaejin already running to catch her.

“KIYOOOOON!!” Jiyoon screamed again, running after Jaejin.

“Kiyoon,” Jaejin whispered as he reached her still body.

Kiyoon tried not to peek and relaxed her body, making herself look naturally unconscious. She heard Jiyoon’s frantic feet scrambling closer and someone else’s following her.

“Kiyoon?” Jaejin whispered again, nudging Kiyoon.

“Told you!” Jiyoon accused, glaring hatefully at Jaejin.

Jaejin stretched his arms out, getting ready to lift Kiyoon up.

“Told me what?” Kiyoon asked, her eyes snapping open.

Jiyong and Jiyoon gasped.

“I knew she was up to her old tricks again!” Jaejin exclaimed.

“Kiyoon!” Jiyoon exploded. “Don’t you ever! EVER!”

“Awww, unni. I love you, too,” Kiyoon said sweetly.

“Kiyoon, are you alright?” Jiyong asked softly.

Kiyoon turned to Jiyong. “Where’d you come from?”

All eyes held the same question as all three of them stared at Jiyong.

“From the back. I heard somebody singing.”

“Oh,” Kiyoon hiccupped.

“Are you alright? Sit up, lemme see,” Jiyoon commanded, helping Kiyoon up.

“Unni, I’m fine. Nothing – ”

“What’s wrong?” Jaejin asked, holding Kiyoon.

Kiyoon winced. “I gotta fart,” she joked.

“Try me,” Jiyoon said seriously. She lifted Kiyoon’s hair and examined her head while Jaejin checked for injuries to the arms and legs.

“Wow, I have two doctors serving me. I feel so lucky.”

“Nothing,” Jaejin reported, stilling supporting Kiyoon.

“Kiyoon, you feel dizzy?”

Kiyoon shook her head, her brain rattling inside.

“Well, I don’t want you walking. You’re probably lying right now, knowing you. Jaejin, carry her inside,” Jiyoon ordered.

“Wow. Unni, can I have breakfast in bed, too?”

“It’s past morning, doofus. You can breakfast in bed when you’re pregnant.”

Kiyoon frowned. “Unni!”

Jiyoon laughed. Kiyoon hates it when people tease her about marriage and children. “That’s what you get for messing with me. Now go on.”

Jaejin picked Kiyoon up easily and headed back in the house.

“Jiyoon nuna.”

“Uh?”

“Was that really Kiyoon singing?” Jiyong asked timidly.

“Isn’t she good? I told her she has a nice voice but she shuts me out. Maybe someone else should tell, maybe that way it’ll sink into her skull.”

Jiyong nodded to himself as Jiyoon disappeared inside the house.

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

The music was on low, their voices soft as they conversated.

“No yuja chingoo?”

“Nope.”

Miyoon sighed. “You dunno how long I’ve looked for the perfect guy. The world just seem so out of them.”

Sunghoon felt a pang of guilt shot through him. “Miyoon – ”

“You dunno how you’ve made me feel complete. I know it’s weird having to call you my cousin, but we’re not really related.”

Sunghoon laid still on Miyoon’s bed as she went on.

“Kiyoon always made fun of me and told every guy that dated me to just ask my hand in marriage. She doesn’t even understand that I’m not easily satisfied. She just thinks as long as a guy has money and looks I’ll marry him and be happy. She’s so wrong. So wrong.”

“So…what exactly do you want in a guy?”

“Someone like you.”

Sunghoon wasn’t sure if he should comment or not. Then Kiyoon’s voice came dancing into his head. The conversation he had overheard, the one with Jiyong a few nights before. “You dunno my sister. Not as well as I do. We may have our differences, but I know her better than my mother does. She’s exactly the way how you see her. Materialistic. The only reason why she’s glued to Jiyong’s because one, he’s our cousin. Two, he’s a multimillionaire or a will be. Three, he’s the President of his father’s company. If he was the secretary and you were Jiyong…she’ll be treating him like shit! And she’ll be singing a different tune. Four, if she marries him, she’ll be Mrs. Ko Jiyong. Five, that not only help her socially, it’ll help her reputation and boosts her mental condition.”

Jiyong scoffed. “Mental condition?”

“She wallows in self-pity.”

“Jiyong?”

Sunghoon jolted back to the present. “Hmm?”

“Are you alright?”

He nodded vehemently. If only she knew, he thought.

Miyoon smiled and rested her head on his chest. Ko-Cho Miyoon…Such four beautiful words… She sighed as the thought crossed her mind.

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

Kiyoon sighed. “Ko-Cho Miyoon…you dunno how long she has been dreaming of that.”

Jiyong shook his head. “How long?”

“Ever since she found out that there was a Jiyong.”

“How long ago was that?”

“Too long.”

Jiyong was glad Sunghoon had come up with the role-switching plan. He didn’t want to get married. And definitely not to Miyoon. He watched Kiyoon as she fell back against her pile of pillows, her hair flowing out beneath her.

“What?”

“Huh?”

“Why you looking at me like that?”

“I’m wondering how it feels like to kiss you,” Jiyong blurted absentmindedly.

Kiyoon’s mouth tumbled open like a mailbox. Jiyong kicked himself mentally, not realizing he had voiced his thought out loud. But he seized his chance and leaned towards Kiyoon, kissing her fully on the mouth.

Kiyoon felt her eyes popping out of her sockets as Jiyong’s lips branded hers. She felt a scream bubble at her throat, but is too petrified to make a sound.

Jiyong pulled away, sensing tension in Kiyoon’s body. He bit his lower lip once he saw her reaction. Which was scary because she had none. She sat frozen in her bed, her eyes unbelievably huge, her lips bright where he had just kissed her. “Kiyoon?”

“Eeeep. I got germs.”

“Kiyoon…I’m – ”

“I’ve been lip raped! Aaaaaahhhhhhh! Jiyoon! Jiyoon! Jaejin!”

“Kiyoon, I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to do that! Really!”

“Kang Sunghoon! Touch me again, you DIE!”

Jiyong nodded, afraid of Kiyoon at the moment.

“Go get me my sister.”

“Kiyoon – ”

“Get her NOW!” she screamed. “And don’t you ever step foot into my room AGAIN!”

Jiyong felt himself tremble slightly as he left Kiyoon. He went downstairs to notify Jiyoon that Kiyoon wanted her and slumped in a chair in the dining room.

“What’s wrong?” Jaejin asked, glancing at Jiyong.

“Shoot me,” Jiyong mumbled, laying his head down on the table.

“Why?”

“I’ve committed a crime.”

“Uh-oh.”

“I lip raped Kiyoon.”

“WHAT?!”

“Shoot me,” Jiyong said again.

“What’s lip – ”

“I kissed her.”

“Ohhh…” Jaejin chortled. “YOU WHAT?!!”

“Stop making me feel guilty. Kill me.”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…you kissed her? Did she beat you up? Lemme see.” Jaejin examined Jiyong and found nothing. “How much damage did you do to her?”

“A lot. Now she hates me.”

Jaejin fell out of his chair laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Jiyong demanded.

“Kiyoon’s not easy to understand. You violated her.”

“No wonder why she yelled at me.”

“That’s it? I thought she’d kill you by now. Guess you have done a lot of damage. You numbed her.”

“Kill me before I change my mind.”

“Did she invent this ‘lip raped’ vocabulary?”

Jiyong nodded.

“Creative. See how cute she is?”

“Jaejin, I need to speak with you,” Jiyoon interrupted.

Jaejin saluted. “Yes, Dr. Cho.”

Jiyoon advoided Jiyong’s curious eyes as Jaejin exited the dining room. “Sunghoon lip raped her?”

“He kissed her.”

“Oh…See, that’s what I didn’t understand. Wait – He kissed her?!”

“You looked shocked.”

“Jaejin, Kiyoon’s no Miyoon! Miyoon loves to liplock, are you forgetting that’s her hobby?! Kiyoon’s hobby’s to make sure every kid on this block gets sent to the hospital at least five times! She also like to make lips come out deformed so no kissing is done before her!”

Jaejin laughed. “And you?”

“What about me?”

“You just accept them from me.” Jaejin pulled Jiyoon close and brushed her lips gently.

“Jaejin, I’m serious.”

“I think it’s great. Jiyong and Miyoon. Sunghoon and Kiyoon.”

“Hold up. Sunghoon and Kiyoon?”

“Why not? I think the kid’s really into her. I mean she hasn’t beated up him. Right?”

“Yet.”

“Oh, Jiyoon. You look out for her too much.”

“That’s Kiyoon. If you don’t look out for her, she’ll start killing people next.”

“You sound more like a mother than your mother.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“When are we getting married so you can mother my babies?”

Jiyoon turned crimison at the question. “Never!”

“Now I see where Kiyoon got her streak of stubborness.”

Jiyoon slapped Jaejin’s shoulder jokingly.

“I feel so lucky,” Jaejin said, looking into Jiyoon’s eyes.

“Why?”

“Cuz…we’re not even married yet and we have a kid already.”

Jiyoon looked confused.

“Kiyoon. That’s our first born.”

Jiyoon laughed. “It does feel like I have a child. I just wish Kiyoon won’t be around to teach our children how to beat up people and climb trees like a monkey.”

“Nah…she won’t be. Cuz she’ll be too busy trying to train her kids how to march up and down the stairs like Army men.”

Jiyoon laughed. “What am I gonna do?”

“Nothing. Like Sunghoon go after her himself.”

“Then it’s gonna be one bloody battle.”

CHAPTER 17

Jiyong had gone up to his room as soon as he heard Jiyoon and Jaejin laughing. They must be making fun of me, he thought. He was surprised to have found Sunghoon in there looking out the window when he had clearly remembered seeing him and Miyoon together downstairs.

“Jiyong…I’m dead.”

“So am I.”

“No…you dunno how dead I am! Miyoon wants to marry me!”

Jiyong had already knew that. Kiyoon had told him a few nights ago. Plus it was so easy, putting two and two together.

“I dunno how to break it to her! I’m not Jiyong! I’m Sunghoon!”

“Don’t. Just go on being Jiyong. I don’t really care.”

“What?”

“Nothing. I’m calling my mom.”

“No, wait. Not until you tell me what’s your situation.”

“What do you mean?”

“You said you were dead too. Why?”

“I raped Kiyoon.”

“YOU WHAT?!”

“I feel so bad now. I mean…I didn’t mean to do it! It just happened!”

“You got horny?! I never knew you liked girls that are cheap imitation of guys!”

“What are you talking about?!”

“So, tell me! Was she really good in bed? Cuz I mean…you did…”

“Oh, God, Sunghoon! Where’d you get that from!?”

“You said you raped her!”

Jiyong gasped. “I did? I meant I ‘lip raped’ her.”

Now it was Sunghoon’s turn to gasp. “You didn’t do it?! You did it with your mouth?!”

“Huh?”

“Did she squeal…like? I mean…you did it all over?”

“What?!” Jiyong shrieked. Sunghoon was getting weird.

“Wow, you have a strange way of having sex. You didn’t – “

“Sunghoon, I kissed her. Where’d you get all that nasty stuff from?”

“Oh!” Sunghoon said sheepishly. “Well, why didn’t you say so. Making me all think you two had…”

“No, Sunghoon. I’m not like that. I don’t bed with every girl I see.”

“Hey! Now you’re making me sound like I do!”

“I never said you did.”

“So, how’s it like?”

“What?”

“Kissing a boy.”

“I dunno. Wanna try?”

“Ewwww! Jiyooooong!”

“Well, you asked how it felt to kiss a boy and I dunno. I’m curious, too. You’re a boy, I’m a boy…”

“Jiyong, I meant the he-she.”

“Sunghoon, Kiyoon’s not a he-she. She’s just tough and what’s that girl you’re hooked onto? A drag?”

“At least she’s normal!”

Jiyong snorted. “How does it feel to kiss a normal drag?”

“I dunno…I never kissed her.”

Jiyong gawked at him.

“Stop it! I’m no endangered specie!”

“I thought – “

“No…I feel guilty. She really thinks I’m you! I can’t kiss her having to know that it’s you she wants and not me! I’m just a stupid secretary.”

“Well…I dunno.”

“What about her?”

“What about her?”

“Well…?”

“Okay, okay…it was short and sweet. She didn’t kiss back, but I had fun. Is that what you want?”

“Wow. You shocked her.”

“I know. I think I zapped her brains out.” Jiyong frowned.

“I felt the same way when she kissed me.”

“Who?!”

“Miyoon, not her.”

“Oh…” Jiyong sighed with relief. Then he realized what he had done. He was afraid that Kiyoon and Sunghoon had hooked up for real! He had never thought he’d be fond of Kiyoon and now he’s worried over the fact that he may never kiss Kiyoon again!

“What am I gonna do?”

“Nothing,” Jiyong said, not aware of himself talking. “Just continue to lead them on until the day we get married.”

CHAPTER 18

“Nooooooooo,” Kiyoon pouted, hiding beneath her blanket. “I’m not coming out.”

“Kiyoon,” Jaejin said in a sing-a-long voice. “If you’re not coming out, I’m not marrying your sister.”

“I don’t care! I have a disease now! Get away from me!”

A disease? How amusing, Jaejin thought. “Well, so do I. I’m sick.”

“I know you are! All guys are sick!”

“But my sickness is different!”

“I know! Sunghoon’s retarded and you have AIDS!”

Jaejin laughed. “Retarded and AIDS? What kind of disease do you have?”

“Cancer! Lip cancer!”

Jaejin roared with laughter. “Lip cancer?”

“It’s not funny! I got it from Sunghoon!”

“I thought Sunghoon’s retarded?”

“He’s retarded and stupid!”

“Now three?”

“I’m no doctor!”

“Wanna know my illness?”

“What!”

“Love sick.”

“Ewwwww…Get away from me!”

“Don’t worry. I’ve only kissed your sister. I don’t think I have lip cancer.”

“Still! Leave me alone!”

“Kiyoon, Jiyoon’s pregnant.”

Kiyoon burrowed out of her blanket. “Say what?”

“Gotcha!” Jaejin winked, tickling Kiyoon.

“Aaaahhhhhh! No fair!” she wailed, giggling.

“So, lemme see your lips. I don’t think your lips are gonna fall off.”

“No, but he took over my job and they look deformed.”

Jaejin cupped Kiyoon’s chin and glanced at her bright pink lips. “Nah…they’re just a little colored. I think it has a fever.”

“My lips are naturally colored like that. I dunno why.”

“That’s good. Your husband can save money on cosmetic items. First accessory : no lipstick.”

Kiyoon’s face scrunched up at the mockery. “Haha.”

“I know what can make the color go away.”

“What?”

“Have Sunghoon poison you again with his lips.”

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!” Kiyoon hid under her blanket again.

“It’ll cool it down.”

“Get away from me!”

“But you better be at dinner!” Jaejin left Kiyoon alone to fight with her emotions. He entered Jiyoon’s room with a smirk on his face.

“What?” she asked eagerly.

“She likes him.”

“What?”

“She doesn’t realize it. I don’t think she even knows it. But it’s there. She’s gonna be his wife before she can even think of lipstick.”

CHAPTER 19

“Oma?”

“Jiyong?”

“Hi, ajooma!” Sunghoon shouted behind Jiyong.

“Can you keep it down? These walls have ears you know,” Jiyong whispered loudly.

“Jiyong?”

“Hi, Mom. How’s things?”

“You having fun?”

“A lot.”

“Where’s Sunghoon?”

“He’s dancing in his underwear.”

“Oh, that boy!”

“Just kidding, Oma. He’s here.”

Sunghoon snatched the receiver from Jiyong. “Hi, ajooma! Ajooma! You can’t believe how much fun I’m having here!”

“Really?”

“Yeah! And you were right about Miyoon! She’s hella cute!”

Jiyong shot a warning glare at Sunghoon, his eyes blazing.

“Well, I’m glad you’re having fun.”

“So am I, ajooma! Here’s Jiyong!” Sunghoon tossed the receiver back to Jiyong and hurried to dress himself for the family outting.

“Happy Birthday,” Mrs. Ko said.

“Thanks Oma.”

“I’m sorry I’m not there to give you a present. How are things?”

“So far so good.”

“Any luck with fun?”

“Oma…”

“Hmm?”

“I did something really bad.”

Silence.

“Oma…” Jiyong looked around and found that Sunghoon had already vanished. He whispered, “I kissed Kiyoon.”

“What? Speak up, I can’t hear you.”

Jiyong raised his voice just a bit. “I kissed Kiyoon.”

“I still can’t hear you.”

Softly, “I kissed Kiyoon.”

Gasp.

“Oma?”

Mrs. Ko recovered from her shock and quickly asked, “You did? What about her?”

“She’s mad at me. I don’t know what to do Oma! I dunno!”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Do you like her?”

“Molla yo! That’s the problem! I dunno if I do! A few weeks ago we were ignoring each other, but said things to each other when neccessary and now! I dunno!”

“And now you kissed her. Are you sure she didn’t kiss you? Did she give you a birthday present?”

It then occured to him that he had never told his mother about the situation he and Sunghoon was in. “No.”

“Well, then maybe that was her gift to you?”

“It wasn’t! She jumped off the swing and I – ”

“Jumped off the swing?! What happened? Why did she jump off the swing? Don’t tell me she’s suicidal!”

“No…No, Oma…I think she just got carried away. You know Kiyoon, she’s always doing something wacky. And then I think she got dizzy and Jaejin had to carry her back to her room and I followed. Jiyoon tucked her in and asked me to stay and make sure she doesn’t leave. Well, not until dinner. So I stayed behind to chill…then Oma! I couldn’t help it! It just happened! I was looking at her and then next thing you know she tells me to get out!”

“You sound so much like a yuja…you know that? You worry too much.”

“But Oma!”

“You’re not sure you’re attracted to Kiyoon?”

“No! Sunghoon’s definitely sure! He knows he has a future with Miyoon and I’m still here trying to figure out whether Kiyoon likes guys or girls!”

“You don’t possibly mean that!”

“No, Oma. I don’t. But I really do want to know if I like her. I think I do…I dunno…I mean…there is no other reason for me to kiss her. It just happened.”

“Could it be that she looked really pretty at the moment?”

“She did. Her medium length hair flowing out beneath her. But…she always looked the same…Aigo! Oma! I’m having a headache!”

“I’m sorry I’m not helping. What are you going to do tonight?”

“I still have to face her tonight when we go out for dinner.”

“Dinner?”

“Birthday.”

“Oh…make sure you dress up nice. I want to see some pictures. And take plenty of Kiyoon! I wanna see how she look like now. Haven’t seen her since she was three!”

“Mom!”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to ask her. Just ask Jiyoon to help, she’ll be glad to do it.

Jiyong agreed and bid his mother well before hanging up.

“Psssst! Birthday wangja!” Sunghoon whispered loudly.

“What?”

“Get in your best looking outfit. We’re going out fishing!”

Jiyong sighed as Sunghoon took off again. “It’s gonna be a long night.”

CHAPTER 20

Dinner went fairly well. Everybody was dressed elegantly and were paired off. Jaejin and Jiyoon, Sunghoon and Miyoon and the unfortunate : Jiyong and Kiyoon. The adults were the usual, the parents and Granny. Jaejin and Jiyoon rushed off to chatter about things that’ve occured at work and Miyoon as always was going on and on about various things. Kiyoon seated herself distantly from Jiyong in case if he was to act up again.

“A toast! Happy Birthday to Jiyong! He’s finally a man!” Kiyoon’s father pronounced, holding up the glass.

Everybody lifted their glasses and drank to it, Kiyoon and Jiyong did so reluctantly.

“Kiyoon, what do you wanna eat?” Jiyoon asked, looking over at her sister. “Sunghoon?”

“Whatever’s fine,” Kiyoon mumbled. “I’m not really hungry.”

“Nothing in particular,” Jiyong answered.

Jiyoon poked Jaejin in the ribs. “I thought you said – ”

“Rome wasn’t built in one day,” was all Jaejin said. He reached over and held onto Jiyoon’s hand.

“But – ”

“Shhhh…you’re ruining the magic. Just let them be. You’ll see.”

Jiyoon nodded before casting her worried eyes elsewhere.

“Like! I have to take you there! It’s so cute there!” Miyoon shrilled, her hands making empty gestures.

Sunghoon’s smile was brighter than ever as Miyoon went on.

Jiyong cleared his throat. Kiyoon looked away before he could even start speaking.

“Kiyoon…”

Silence.

“I – ”

“Jiyoon, I’m gonna use the phone. Be right back,” Kiyoon said stiffly as she pushed her chair back. She hurried to the public phone and dialed Suwon’s number before she knew it.

“Hello?”

“Suwon?”

“Who’s dis?”

“You know who.”

“Oh! Where you at?”

“Some shikdang. This stinks. I wanna go home.”

“I thought it was Jiyong’s birthday?”

“It is and they’re celebrating.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I dunno…”

Suwon, on the other end, frowned. It wasn’t like Kiyoon to talk like that. She’s avoiding questions and complaining too much. Something must’ve happened. “What happened? Do you want me to come?”

Kiyoon thought about the offer. It did sound comforting, but she didn’t want to make a big deal about her internal emotions. “It’s okay. I don’t wanna bother you.”

Should’ve thought of that before you called, Suwon thought. “No. It’s no bother. You sure?”

“Suwon! I – ” Kiyoon broke off, unable to continue.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Suwon…I’ve been kissed by a guy,” Kiyoon confessed, the unwanted guilt returning.

Suwon nearly dropped the phone. “What? I can’t hear you! It’s too noisy!”

Raising her voice a little, she repeated, “I’ve been kissed by a guy!”

Now Suwon dropped his phone for real. “And I thought I heard it wrong!” He quickly picked up his phone. “WHO?!” he hooted, the background noise of the restaurant getting louder.

“Kang Sunghoon…”

“WHO? Speak up, girl! I can’t hear you!”

“KANG SUNGHOON!” Kiyoon yelled.

Whoa. Suwon felt that slap across the face. Kang Sunghoon? The secretary? “You sure?”

“Suwon! It was only me and him in the room! Who else could it be?!”

“Uhh…you kissed him?” Suwon said dumbly.

Suwon infuriated her. “No, Jang Suwon!”

Uh-oh. Last name. “I’m sorry…I think – ”

“You better be! Wanna know what I think? You need some hearing aids and guess who’s not buying them?!” Kiyoon shouted into the phone. She slammed it down and stood before it, anger chewing her up like a granola bar.

“Hello? Yoooohoooo? Kiyoon?” Suwon called out. But it was no use. He knew she had hung up on him. “Oh my God!” The conversation replaying in his mind. “Kiyoon’s virgin lips! Hyung! Hyung! Oh my God, you’re not gonna believe this, hyung!” Suwon screamed as he ran upstairs to tell his brother the news.

“Done?”

Kiyoon looked up at the deep voice, surprised to have found herself still standing in front of the phone. Jiyong kept his cool and waited for a reply.

“No!” Kiyoon picked up the phone again, desperately trying to think of someone to call. Her finger automatically dialed Suwon’s number again, although she tried her very best to stop her finger from dialing and trembling so badly.

Jiyong reached up and pressed down on the hook, disconnecting Kiyoon. With his free hand he took her shaking hand away from the dialing keys.

“What’d you do that for!?” Kiyoon demanded, her eyes seething with hate.

“My turn to use it.” He shoved her away and waited till she was gone, but with no avail. She stayed rooted to the floor.

“Some gentleman you are.” Kiyoon waited for her turn, tapping her foot as impatience grew.

Jiyong stood uncomfortably in front of the phone. Not quite sure of who to call. He had actually wanted to see if Kiyoon was alright, not really wanting to use the phone. But now since he moved her away, she’s staring at him boldly, making him shift uncomfortably from foot to foot. He decided to call his mother since he couldn’t think of anybody to call at the moment. He turned around to Kiyoon. “Could I have some privacy?”

“I’m not up against your neck, listening word for word. Besides, I’m ten feet away from you!”

Oh, had Jiyong wished she was up against his neck, that way he can just look down and peck her on the forehead. He sighed. “Fine.” He turned around and dialed his mother’s number, waiting for her to pick up.

“Yeboseyo?”

“Mommy?”

“Jiyong?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s wrong? Where are you?”

“I’m at dinner. Some fancy restaurant.”

“Oh, nice?”

“Really.” Jiyong had expected to see Kiyoon still growling at him, but was surprised to see she had returned to the table.

“So…any pictures yet?”

“Nope. Not yet, Oma.”

“You sound down.”

“Mom, Kiyoon won’t even talk to me now!”

“Oh, dear. You really do like her, huh?”

“I guess so. I was just thinking of how it’ll be nice if I could go on kissing her forever.”

“Oh!”

“Just joking, Oma. But I did sorta hoped that she’ll forgive me, but by the looks of it, she’s still sour about it…Like I gave her some kind of disease.”

“Kiyoon’s still a child. How old did you say she is?”

“Eighteen.”

“Hmm…she’s still adjusting. I think that was her first kiss?”

“I think so too. She didn’t react to it.”

“She was scared. If you showed her you liked her…”

“No, Mom, one kiss was scary enough for her. If I gave any signs as to even growing fond of her, she’ll move to the next planet or commit suicide.”

“Why do you have to fall for girls that are so play hard to get?”

“Are you saying I should forget about her?”

“You should play hard, too.”

“What?”

“Does she know you’re interested?”

“Kiyoon doesn’t even know anything about crushes.”

“Then good. Make her jealous. Are there a lot of girls at that restaurant?”

Jiyong looked around. “Quite an amount.”

“Then go out there and talk to one. If Kiyoon wants to play the hard way, then you go play with her. Show her you don’t like her and get even at her at her own game.”

“Mom, I don’t think Kiyoon’s playing a game here.”

“I know. But you want her to like you…right?”

“I think so. I dunno what I want.”

“Jiyong…tell Oma straight answers. These are yes or no, no ‘dunno’ questions. Do you like Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure you like Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Then you’re all set. Go after her.”

“Oma…”

“One more thing.”

“Huh?”

“Are you gonna marry her?”

CHAPTER 21

Jiyong took his mother’s and Sunghoon’s advice and went fishing. Amazingly, he caught two beautiful goldfishes.

“You’re cute,” one of the girls said.

“Thanks,” Jiyong mumbled sheepishly.

“What is he doing?!” Jiyoon demanded, tugging on Jaejin’s arm. “That was not part of the game plan!”

Jaejin followed Jiyoon’s gaze and quickly looked over to Kiyoon, who ate her plate of food in silence, avoiding conversations and contact. “Damn,” he muttered.

“What just happened?” Jiyoon whispered.

“C’mon. We’re going for a walk,” Jaejin murmured back. He pushed his chair back and Jiyoon quickly followed and both went over to Kiyoon and rescued her from the her version of ‘living hell.’

Kiyoon was more than gladly to get away from the noise, the people and mostly, Jiyong. “Where are we going?”

“Out. You need to breathe, you were choking on your food,” Jaejin said, silently cursing to himself.

Jiyong watched with curious eyes as the three left, Jiyoon’s arms around Kiyoon, as if comforting her. Oh, no…he thought.

“Hey! What did you say your name was?” a girl asked.

“Uh…Sunghoon.”

“Sunghoon?!” Gasp. “That’s such an adorable name! You’re so handsome!”

Jiyong nodded, his heart sinking. Kiyoon wasn’t there. “Uh…I have to go. My family wants me back at the table?”

“Sure. Make sure you come back later!” the girls chimed.

Jiyong slipped into his chair, which happened to be the next table over and sighed. Oh, Kiyoon…what have you done to me? He watched enviously as Sunghoon’s eyes twinkled at the little secret Miyoon was whispering in his ear. He picked up his chopsticks and began eating away. Afterall, it is his birthday.

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

“Why’s Jaejin so mad?” Kiyoon mouthed, pulling Jiyoon to a halt.

Jiyoon shrugged. “Guess he had a bad day at work.”

“Jiyoon, you two didn’t go to work today. Remember? Jiyong’s birthday?”

Jiyoon slapped herself on the forehead. “Must be stress. You know…sick people and all…”

“That’s not it. Jaejin’s never like this.”

How observant, Jiyoon thought. She pulled Kiyoon to walk again, trailing after Jaejin in the wide city streets.

“Unni…I’m tired. Can we go home?”

Jiyoon looked strangely at Kiyoon before inquiring, “Why? You’re never tired…You don’t go to bed till three in the morning!”

Jaejin stopped once he sensed the two sisters weren’t behind him. “Now what?”

“Give her a piggy. She’s tired.”

“I’m sure I can walk. Just that I feel like sleeping at the moment.” Kiyoon yawned, the heat suddenly unbearable.

Jiyoon placed a cool hand of Kiyoon’s forehead. She glanced at Jaejin, her eyes widening.

“What?” Jaejin said inaudibly.

Jiyoon shook her head as she removed her hand.

“No, unni! Leave it there! That felt good.”

“Kiyoon, we’re taking you home.” Jaejin quickly turned around and headed back to the restaurant. Jiyoon hurried Kiyoon along, making sure they keep up with Jaejin.

“Wait in the car. I’ll be right down.” Jaejin handed Jiyoon the keys to his car and entered the restaurant. He scanned the crowded place and immediately went over to the table he was eating at earlier. “We’re going home first. Kiyoon isn’t feeling well. Jiyoon’s downstairs waiting,” he said in a rush.

“Wait – What? What happened?” Chaeya asked, lowering her chopsticks. Her face baffled.

“Kiyoon. She’s coming down with a fever. We’re bringing her home.”

“A fever?!” Jiyong cried. “A fever in the summer?”

“I’m thinking it has something to do with her studies and all that. She never stops. We’re taking her home.”

“We? Who’s – “

“Jiyoon’s downstairs in my car with her. I just came up here to tell you that. Gotta go.” Jaejin took off before anyone else could question him any further.

“Awww, don’t worry about her. They’re just trying to get some attention. I doubt it she’s even sick!” Miyoon said lightly. She sipped at her tonic.

“I think we should go,” Granny suggested. Whenever Kiyoon’s sick, it was always serious and heavy.

“No! I’m having fun!” Miyoon pouted.

“And you have no concern about your sister’s welfare whatsoever?” her father inquired. “We’re going home.”

Dinner ended soon and they all left for home in two separate cars.

“I dunno why we have to leave at such a petty little thing! I mean, Jaejin and Jiyoon’s with her, so why do we have to end our fun?”

“Miyoon…you wouldn’t like it if everybody else ignored you when you’re sick,” Sunghoon pointed out.

“I don’t! Which is why I think she deserves it!”

“Huh?”

“Nobody cared about me when I was sick, so why should I give a damn about them?”

“Not even me?” Sunghoon asked mildly.

“Except you, honey.” Miyoon smiled.

Jiyong felt himself grow sick. Miyoon was so cold hearted and he was glad Sunghoon was stuck with her.

After thirty minutes, they arrived home and everybody filed upstairs to Kiyoon’s room. All except Miyoon and Jiyong. Jiyong had left for his room and Miyoon stayed in the living room to watch late night sitcoms.

“Kiyoon?” Granny rasped, entering her granddaughter’s room.

“It is SOOOOOOOO hot! Open the windows! Appa! Where is he? He needs to get me an air-conditioner!” Kiyoon bellowed.

“Shhh…Kiyoon, calm down.”

Kiyoon slapped the hands away. “Go away…you’re making me hot! It’s so muggy in here! Where’s my water!?”

Jaejin searched the room for Jiyong. “Where’s Sunghoon?”

Sunghoon nearly stepped forward, but remembered he was Jiyong to them. “I think he’s in his room.”

Jaejin pushed past the worried mob and went down to Jiyong’s room. He threw the door open without knocking and saw Jiyong standing in front of his closet in his boxers.

“KANG SUNGHOON!”

Jiyong jumped out of his skin, unaware Jaejin had the door open. He quickly grabbed a pair of jeans and slipped it on.

Jaejin stalked forward and pushed Jiyong up against the closet door. “What did you do to Kiyoon?”

“Wha-Wha-What are you talking about?” Jiyong stuttered.

“I’m talking about today! Up here in her room! You did not only just kiss her! What did you do, you bastard?!”

Jiyong shoved Jaejin off, going wild at the accusation. “Are you saying I did sumthin to her?! Cuz if you’re saying that then you – “

“What did you do?!”

“NOTHING! It was all a mistake! All I did was just kiss her! One simple kiss!”

“You sure?”

“How am I supposed to know that she’ll have an allergic reaction to me?! She didn’t tell me!”

“Well, she didn’t know!”

“Are you defending her?!”

“Well, she’s gonna be my sister, what’d you expect?!”

Jiyong shook his head in disbelief and slumped against the closet. “Is she alright?”

“She’s hysterical. I think it’s a twenty-four hour virus.”

Jiyong moaned.

“You really like her.”

“No, I don’t,” Jiyong mumbled.

“Don’t lie. It’s so easy reading you. You didn’t even know you liked her till recently. Till today when you kissed her.”

Jiyong hid his face in his hands.

“Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. Just make sure she don’t go bonkers again.”

Jiyong stayed where he was, not wanting to move.

“And…make sure you find out what she’s allergic to. I can’t be with you two on every date, every event.”

CHAPTER 22

Kiyoon soon recovered from her ‘temporary’ discomfort and was up and about. July had quickly went by and so had Suwon’s birthday.

Suwon moved away on short notice, leaving Kiyoon friendless and lonely. It was already August and Kiyoon kept wishing for the days to go by faster.

“My…aren’t you one eager bug.”

Kiyoon turned from her computer screen at the voice. “Oma?”

“Never knew you liked school that much.”

“I don’t. I’m deleting things off my computer.”

“Oh.” A pause. “I see you’re getting happier and happier. May I ask why?”

Kiyoon stared at the screen, unable to meet her mother’s gaze. “They’re leaving.”

“Jiyong and Sunghoon? I thought you enjoyed their company!”

With her eyes still glued to the screen, “No, Oma. You only pretended I liked them. You imagined I got along with them. I never got close to them like Miyoon did.”

“Why not?”

“Why?”

“Kiyoon…”

“Mom…Suwon left. He moved!”

“I know that.”

“Can I move too?”

“You’re overreacting.”

“No, I’m not! Oma, you weren’t there when I’m in trouble. You didn’t give me parental discipline. I had it from Jiyoon and Suwon. And Jaejin. But I never learned anything from you! I’m overreacting? Suwon’s my best friend! My only friend.”

Chaeya sighed. “So what do you want me to do?”

“Make sure that Miyoon marries Jiyong.”

“Why?”

“So I can live longer.”

Chaeya shook her head. Kiyoon was always a bundle. Her and her questions. “What about you and Sunghoon?”

“What about me and him?”

“I thought you two were getting along great.”

“I was beginning to get used to him. Then I dunno…guess he’s not like Suwon.”

“Kiyoon, do you like Suwon?”

Kiyoon sat still, searching for an answer. “I don’t think so, Oma. We were never meant to be.”

“But do you?”

“No…I never pictured Suwon as anything else other than a trusting friend.”

“Then what about Sunghoon?”

“What about him?”

“He seems pretty trusting.”

“Yeah, I thought so too until he kissed me.”

“Kiyoon, it was only a kiss!” Chaeya cried, exasperated.

“I know! And that’s the problem! I don’t want to be kissed!”

“Hmm…” Chaeya observed her daughter, trying to understand her. It was so hard. Understanding Jiyoon and Miyoon was so easy, but when it came down to her last daughter, it’s like trying to put a puzzle together. “You’re afraid.”

“Huh?”

“You’re scared because if Sunghoon kisses you, you might start to like him. You can’t have that kind of problem when you’ve already seen how Miyoon and her boyfriends treat each other.”

“Suppose that if you want. I don’t care.”

“Well, you better start caring!”

Kiyoon looked up at her mother. “Why? Look at Miyoon! She cared too much and how much did it help her? Oma, sometimes I wonder if I was really adopted but I sensed that better half of you cared about me, I decided against that. But really…I’m wondering how much you really know about me.”

“Kiyoon!”

“How old was I when I first got into a fight?”

Chaeya looked around, trying to come up with an answer. “I-I-I dunno! First grade?”

“Five. Jiyoon had scratched me accidentally when she was trying to break us up. I ended up breaking the neighbor’s little boy’s nose. How old was I when I had won the Citywide piano recital contest?”

Chaeya stayed silent.

“Eight. See? You can barely even remember when I’ve done a little something you can be proud of and you say you know me? Yeah, other than my name, age, sex and birthday…what else can you tell me?”

Chaeya started hoarsely. “You…You were only two…I already knew by that age you’d grow up to be a brave woman. You never cried, not a tear. Granny was resting in the afternoon, Jiyoon and Miyoon was with her. Your father was at work…You were watching television. I was preparing dinner…cooking soup.” An intake of breath. “I was too busy cooking and had no idea you had came into the dining room. By that time I started getting ready to prepare the rest of dinner. I had already placed the pot of soup on the table, unaware you were in there. I never even bothered to check up on you. I just assumed you were laughing at the cartoons…” A sniffle. “You were always curious, always wanted to know everything…You somehow managed to get your hand on the pot…”

“And that’s how I got burned,” Kiyoon finished in a whisper. She looked down at her arm, the ugly scar staring back at her.

“When the pot came down, I didn’t hear you scream or cry. You just stood there, frozen. Not sure of what to do. I came running into the dining room and found you there with scalding soup dripping off your arm…I didn’t know what to do at the time and just held you for hours and hours. You didn’t cry…but I guess you didn’t know how. So I cried for you. I was so weak and you were the opposite. I didn’t want to wake Granny up and worry her. We only had one car back then. Your Appa came home and we took you to the hospital. You never flinched once nor had a single tear drop roll down your face.”

Kiyoon watched her mother sob, the rest of the story imprinted on the very scar on her arm. “Then that’s what made you believe I’m strong and independent?”

“Ever since that incident, I knew you weren’t gonna be like Miyoon or Jiyoon. You were the son I’ve always wanted, but instead…you came out as a girl.”

“So my final outcome as a girl disappointed you?”

“No…I have all my hopes in you. I wanted you to marry Jiyong, not Miyoon.”

“Me? Why me?”

“Let’s just say mothers have their reasons…but love can do otherwise.”

“What are you saying?”

“Sunghoon’s not bad.”

“I don’t like him! Final!”

“But…he likes you.”

“So?”

“Why are you avoiding it?”

“Because I’m sure he only thinks he likes me. Ten years down the road, he’ll be glad he didn’t marry me.”

“Don’t be so sure…your Appa almost made the same mistake. Instead he was glad he did marry me.”

“Oma…”

“Hmm?”

“Is it legal for me to marry at such a young age?”

“Why?”

“Because if it isn’t, then I can still live out my final years of freedom before I start giving potty training.”

CHAPTER 23

“The days are going by so fast!” Sunghoon said in awe. “It still feels like my first week here!”

Jiyong agreed. “It’s going by too fast.”

“I’m thinking about staying here.”

“What!?”

“Miyoon wants to get married and settle.”

“But-But you two only met a few months ago!”

“So? Isn’t that long enough?”

“Sunghoon…only spending time with her for three months does not tell you a whole lot about her.”

“No, you mean it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about Kiyoon.”

Jiyong regarded his friend strangely.

“Admit it, Jiyong. You’re all over her. I’ve seen the way how you look at her. You wish you could have her in your arms.”

Jiyong snarled. “At least she’s not money hungry. What will happen if she finds out you’re not me?”

“I’ll tell her when we get married. Like a few weeks later.”

“Wow, Sunghoon! Like that’s gonna help!” Jiyong said sarcastically.

“Hey! You’re just jealous because the both of us are paired off. Me and Miyoon and Jaejin and Jiyoon. You’re sour because you’re not up to Kiyoon’s standards!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Jiyong bellowed. “I may not live up to her standards then what about you?! I’d rather live honestly and not up to her standards than pretend I’m living in the perfect world which doesn’t meet my standards!”

“Do you have any idea what you’ve just said does not make any sense?”

“Whatever. Go do what you want. Just make sure when we go back home, we swap families and i.d. cards.”

“Why are we fighting?”

“Because the real Ko Jiyong isn’t getting what he wants and he has PMS!”

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

The phone sounded loudly and Kiyoon reached to pick it up. “Hello?”

“Chaeya?” a strange voice asked.

“No, who’s this?”

“Oh! Is this Jiyoon?”

“No, who’s this?”

“Kiyoon!”

“Who are you?”

“Jiyong’s mother.”

“Hi, ajooma.”

“Hi, darling. How’s Jiyong?”

“I dunno. Fine, I guess.”

“What’s wrong, darling?”

“Nothing. I’ll go get my mom.”

“No!”

“Huh?”

“Well…since I’m with you, I just wanna chat with you.”

“Uh-huh.”

“How are you and Jiyong getting along?’

“Jiyong? Oh, great!” Kiyoon lied.

“Really?” Mrs. Ko asked hopefully.

“Yeah. He’s a really nice kid. Nice smile.”

“Jiyong told me about your fever, how are you feeling?”

“Great. Thanks, ajooma. Jiyoon’s calling me, I have to go now.”

“Alright. I’ll talk to your Oma.”

Kiyoon left her room and handed the call over to her mother. “It’s Jiyong’s mom.” She hung up her extension and went on reading her book.

“Chaeya?”

“Uh?”

“I’m thinking…”

“What?”

“Maybe I should come by for a surprise.”

Chaeya gasped. “That’s a wonderful idea!”

“Are things well?”

“Very! The kids are happy, of course. I think Jiyong doesn’t want to leave.”

“That’s him when he has too much fun. How are things between him and Kiyoon? She tells me they’re getting along great.”

“Really? I guess…I’m never around to really find much out. I’m always working odd hours.”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Did Jiyong get skinner or fatter? I’m so worried about him.”

“He’s definitely still the same. Very charming and funny.”

“And Sunghoon?”

“He’s kinda quiet and perserved. It’s funny…it seems more like he and Kiyoon are getting along better and Kiyoon and Jiyong.”

Mrs. Ko held onto the phone, the information quite startling. “Really?”

“Yes. Although they don’t talk much, but I sense a fondness between the two. Kiyoon just needs to open up more.”

“Hmm…I hope I’m not visiting at a bad time.”

“No! Come! You must come!”

“I will. I want to see Jiyoon. I haven’t seen her since she was a pretty little girl. She’s all grown up now, I bet.”

“Oh, yes. She’s planning on marrying soon. I think Kiyoon has nagged her long enough and she’s finally giving in.”

Mrs. Ko sighed. “Well, I hope you can help me keep this as a secret.”

“We’ll talk more later.”

“Definitely. I want to see all three of your daughters.”

“Awww…you’ll love them. I promise you.”

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

“I know!” Sunghoon shouted, snapping his fingers.

“What now?”

“We can leave and go back home. I will tell Miyoon that I’ll write to her. That way nothing will go bad.”

“Now…try this : you give her your digits and she’ll ring you up…Who’ll she ask for? Jiyong oppa! Not Sunghoonie.”

“Damn!” Sunghoon cursed at the reminder. “What am I gonna do?”

“Leave. Skip town. Give her a fake number but remember to get hers.”

“She’ll bug me for it.”

“Funny, that’s what I would say about you. Give her your cell number.”

“Oh, no! If I do, I’ll need to cancel it and change my number again.”

“Like you mind.”

“I do!”

“Fine. Just wait a couple of days. There’s only a few more days till September.”

“Five days and one week till September second.”

“So you’re keeping count.”

“That’s when I go to Hell.”

CHAPTER 24

The plan was all set. It was August twenty ninth, Mrs. Ko landed at the airport, awaiting for Chaeya to come and pick her up. They had it all planned out that she would come and surprise her son and then go home with an engagement. Kiyoon was to be her daughter-in-law and she was nervous in a way, meeting the girl Jiyong liked.

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

“Where is Oma going this early in the morning?” Miyoon questioned, watching her mother pull away from the driveway.

“Molla,” Jiyoon replied with a shrug. She handed Jaejin his breakfast and went on to pour Kiyoon her coffee.

“I’m telling! Kiyoon’s not supposed to drink that!”

“Why are you being such a bitch? Don’t you know that pretty girls like you drink it would get wrinkles and look old? Coffee stains on your teeth?” Jiyong retorted.

Miyoon gasped. “For real?”

“Give Kiyoon her coffee.”

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

Chaeya arrived at the airport in forty minutes, the traffic surprisingly light. She entered the airport, searching for her long time friend. Sure enough, there she was. The two women hurried out, both eager to catch up on each other’s life since the last time they’ve seen each other. The ride was cheery and the chatter never ended.

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

“Well, Jiyong oppa. We have to do something memorable together since you’re gonna leave soon,” Miyoon said decisively.

“What do you suggest?” Sunghoon asked, chewing on his biscuit.

“Can I moon you?” Kiyoon asked childishly, sipping at her light colored coffee.

“Moon?”

“Never mind. You probably prefer Miyoon’s ass, since hers’ more fuller and has bouncety-bounce.”

“I’m eating you know,” Jaejin reminded Kiyoon with his mouth full.

“And I’m talking. Can I give you a makeover?”

Jaejin shook his head hard, his hair flying. “The last that happened I looked like a drag!”

“You know you liked it.”

“No. Give Sunghoon one. Maybe he’ll look more suitable to your tastes.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. Don’t talk nasty. I’m not digesting.”

“I think we should go noraebang,” Jiyoon said casually, spreading jam over her bread.

“Yeah!” Jaejin agreed, his eyes lighting up.

“Shopping!” Miyoon cried.

“Miyoon! Find a new hobby. You’ve been doing that ever since you knew how to walk. Didn’t you just go yesterday?” Jaejin asked.

“Swimming?” Jiyong suggested.

“It’ll kill my hair,” Sunghoon was quick to remind Jiyong.

“You have a wig on?!” Kiyoon gasped.

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take this hair piece off if you promise you’ll take off your clothes,” Sunghoon argued.

“What are you, NUTS?! Unni, we have a pervert in the house!”

“Make it two. Jiyong and Kiyoon,” Jaejin corrected. “One wants to see naked body, the other wants to see naked head.”

Kiyoon stuck her tongue out.

“I know! Kiyoon’s favorite game! Truth or Dare!” Miyoon cried excitedly.

“We’re not stranded on an island, you know. Plus, it’s not fun when it’s bright out. I like it better when it’s dark…you know?”

“Damn vampire,” Miyoon muttered, glaring at Kiyoon.

“Well, you better think quick. I’m getting ancient here!” Jiyong said loudly, reading the newspaper.

“Isn’t that Kiyoon’s phrase?” Miyoon raised a brow.

“And so? At least he’s learning from his master. What did your pupil learn?” Kiyoon challenged, eyeing Sunghoon.

“FOOD FIGHT!!!!” Sunghoon screamed, taking the can of whip cream and squirting it at Kiyoon.

“You mother flower!” Kiyoon took her remaining cup of coffee and splashed it at Sunghoon’s face, washing him over with the warm liquid. She jumped off her seat and snatched the paper from Jiyong, rolling it up before she ran after Sunghoon.

“Miyoon! If I don’t come back alive, call 911!!!” Sunghoon yelled as he dashed out to the yard.

“Miyoon! If you don’t hear anything at all, call the morgue!!! Jiyoon! Call the hospital! Sunghoon! Call the funeral home!” Kiyoon barked, chasing after Sunghoon.

“What about me!?!” Jaejin shouted, running to the sliding doors.

“Be prepared to give mouth-to-mouth!”

“Ewww…I hope that boy don’t have lip cancer.”

Everybody laughed as they cleaned up the mess, waiting for Kiyoon and Sunghoon to finish their game of ‘Cat and Mouse.’

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

“We’re almost there!” Chaeya announced.

“You think this is a good idea?”

“Absolutely!”

“Oh, I dunno. I don’t want to embarrass Jiyong. He doesn’t – “

“Nonsense! You’ll get to see the children bond. With them two, things just get livelier.”

“How’s the children?”

“Very good. Your son’s simply charming. Very fine man. You’re so lucky you have a son like him. I can’t even get Kiyoon to act lady-like,” Chaeya complained, driving into the driveway.

“Oh, she’ll grow out of it. Jiyong tells me a lot about her. He said she’s smart and pretty, funny…he said it just seem so impossible to cram all those traits and wits into one person. He completely adores her.”

Once again, Chaeya was confused. She dismissed the confusing thought and guided her friend to the house. She helped with the light luggage and together they strolled up the walkway in the front of the house.

“Ko Jiyong! You stand still, you hear me!?”

The two woman outside froze at the command, unaware of the chaotic situation inside.

“That’s Kiyoon,” Chaeya whispered.

Mrs. Ko nodded, not sure if she should be afraid or alarmed. Had Jiyong offend her? What did he do?

“Ko Jiyong!” Kiyoon bellowed again, this time jumping over the chairs. She had already changed into another outfit and kept after Sunghoon as soon as he came out of the quick shower. “Jiyong! C’mere!”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Sunghoon screamed shrilly, waving his arms like a madman. “Miyoon!”

Jiyong laughed on, the sight hilarious. Kiyoon and Sunghoon could go on all day. Sunghoon pretending to be scared and Kiyoon still persuing him with Jiyong’s morning paper.

“Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do when dey come for you, dumb ass, dumb ass,” Kiyoon sang, changing the words to the ‘Cops’ theme song.

“I’m gonna kill you!” Sunghoon shrieked.

“Not after I give you a big, wet smoochie!” Kiyoon sped up and ran back into the house just as the front door opened.

By accident, Sunghoon screamed Jiyong’s name out loud, forgetting in the moment of fun that he was Jiyong. “JEEEEEEEEEEYOOOOOOOOOOONG!!!!!!!!”

The audience, (Jaejin, Jiyong, Jiyoon and Miyoon) followed the two racers to the kitchen, through the dining room and BAM! To the living room.

“They’re up to their little games again. Kiyoon’s the big bully around here. She’s always picking on people,” Chaeya explained as she unlocked the front door and shoved it open.

“Hiya!!!!” Kiyoon shrilled, imitating Bruce Lee. “I shall moon you!”

Sunghoon’s feet came to an abrupt halt causing Kiyoon to run right into him at the swinging doorway.

“Hey! I caught you! I caught you!” Kiyoon cried gleefully.

Jiyong, being the tallest quickly looked over to the front door and felt his legs go numb. It was rubbery. Simultaneously, he and Kiyoon both cried out, “Oma!”

Both surprised and…dead.

CHAPTER  25

“O-O-Oma!” Sunghoon stammered, hurrying over to Jiyong’s mother as soon as he recovered from his shock. Everybody had filed into the living room, embarrassed to have been found fooling around like little children.

“Oma?” Mrs. Ko cried. She looked over to her “real” son, Jiyong, baffled by Sunghoon’s actions. “Are you alright?” she asked, her hand over Sunghoon’s forehead.

“I’m fine! I’m fine! How are you, Oma? What are you doing here?” Sunghoon asked hastily.

Jiyong moaned. When things are going great, they always have to take an unexpected turn. Now what Sunghoon did really was the unexpected.

He pecked Jiyong’s mother on the cheek as if it was his own mother! Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!

“Sunghoon!” Mrs. Ko gasped. “Jiyong! What’s going on?!”

Jiyong scooted over to hide behind Kiyoon, his mother’s demanding gaze following him. He ducked his head as all eyes turned to him.

“Ajooma!” Miyoon said sweetly, coming to Sunghoon’s rescue. She looped her arm through Mrs. Ko’s. “We haven’t seen each other so long, you still remember me? I’m Miyoon. Jiyong’s girlfriend?”

“Jiyong?!” Another gasp. “Jiyong, I thought you said you liked Kiyoon!”

“WHAT?!” Miyoon shrieked. She turned to Sunghoon. “You bastard!”

“Miyoon! Wait! Lemme explain!” Sunghoon cried.

“Me?” Kiyoon said meekly. She looked somewhat shocked yet disgusted. She glanced at Sunghoon. “I-I-I thought…”

“You must be Kiyoon,” Mrs. Ko assumed, reaching for Kiyoon. “My! You certainly have grown into a pretty flower! You look better in person than in pictures! Hmm…Jiyong certainly has made a fine choice.”

“WHAT?!” Miyoon and Kiyoon hooted in unison. “JIYONG?!”

Jiyoon left Jaejin standing by himself and pushed past the two younger girls. “Ajooma, sit down. We’re confused. Please explain to us what’s going on.”

“Going on? Shouldn’t you five tell me what’s going on? I’m just telling you what Sunghoon and Jiyong reported to me,” Mrs. Ko replied innocently.

“Sunghoon?” Kiyoon prompted, turning around to face Jiyong.

Miyoon marched over to Sunghoon. “Honey! What’s happening?!”

Mrs. Ko took Jiyoon’s advice and seated herself on the family couch, waiting for an explanation. “Jiyong?”

Jiyong looked up at his name, accidentally meeting Kiyoon’s bold stare. “Uh-oh.”

Kiyoon searched Jiyong’s eyes, afraid to guess the truth. “Sunghoon?”

“I-I-I…”

“Jiyong,” his mother said again.

“Jiyong, your mother’s calling you!” Miyoon said, nudging Sunghoon.

Reluctantly, Sunghoon hurried to Mrs. Ko. “Yes…Mom?”

“Sunghoon, stop being funny. Tell Jiyong to c’mere,” she ordered.

“Jiyong?” Jiyoon murmured. She glanced at the ‘real’ Jiyong.

“Sunghoon?” Kiyoon said again softly.

Mrs. Ko pushed Sunghoon aside and stood up. She strode over to Kiyoon and Jiyong, her eyes full of questions and impatience. “Jiyong! What the hell is going on?!” she finally yelled.

Kiyoon nearly fell on her behind. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?!”

“JIYONG!?” Everybody else in the room chorused, except for Sunghoon.

“Oma…” Jiyong started, unable to meet his mother’s piercing gaze.

“What did you two do this time?”

“Oma…what are you doing here?”

Chaeya interrupted. “Calm down. They didn’t do anything. They’re both wonderful children. You’ve clearly mistaken. Jiyong’s over there. This is Sunghoon. Are you alright? I think perhaps it’s the heat – ”

“Chaeya, I gave birth to my own son. Shouldn’t I know who and how he is?”

Silence.

“Jiyong?”

“I knew things weren’t right with these two when I first saw them.”

Everyone turned to Granny’s voice, the old woman shuffling out from her room.

“I remember when I last saw Jiyong, he was seven, he had this scar on his hand. One you said it’ll be permanent. Remember, darling? I asked you about it when I was holding him?”

Mrs. Ko nodded, remembering the day.

“And when I saw him – ” Granny turned to Sunghoon. “I knew instantly he wasn’t the same Jiyong I met many years ago. He didn’t have that scar when he fell off his bike. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even have any scar on either hand.”

Kiyoon reeled around to face Jiyong, her eyes blazing with confusion. Oh, please don’t let Suwon be right and grant my mother’s wish, she prayed silently. She immediately reached for his hands, searching for the mentioned scar.

“It’s on his right hand. The back. It’s very close to his wrist, watch for it closely, cause it’s very light and easy to miss,” Granny instructed. “I thought neither of them were Jiyong, until one day in the kitchen I saw him and Kiyoon together and she had accidentally burned him with the kettle. I helped him apply ice and alcohol, that’s when I saw it. It was so faint…”

Kiyoon peered at Jiyong’s hand and sure enough, she spotted it.

“Told you.”

Kiyoon dropped his hand, shocked at the evidence. “Sunghoon, you – ” she started.

Then Miyoon screamed. A loud deafening scream.

“Shut up! You know you can’t sing, why start now?!” Kiyoon thundered.

Then Miyoon snapped. Hysterical. Whoa.

“Miyoon! Stop it!” Jiyoon hushed, trying to silence her delirious sister.

“I told you she’s retarded,” Kiyoon sneered. “Next she’ll wanna kill Sunghoon for not telling her the truth.”

“Stop it, Kiyoon,” her mother scolded.

Kiyoon drew an invisible line over her lips and stepped back.

“I can’t believe this!” Miyoon wailed over and over again.

Kiyoon stabbed Jiyong’s ribs, whispering, “Forget about being a nut. She can be a drama queen. A dumb one who doesn’t know her lines.”

Jiyong giggled. It was such a comfort being close to Kiyoon. At least she can protect him better than Sunghoon does.

“Ey, Sunghoon,” she whispered.

Jiyong lowered himself to hear Kiyoon better. “What?”

“So…you’re the real Jiyong and not some cheesy secretary?”

Jiyong nodded.

“Wait…so now I have to say the same thing to you the day when I met him.”

Jiyong was confused. “What?”

“Let’s start over.” She held out her hand. “So…you’re that faggot Jiyong.”

Subconsciously, he laughed out loud, not realizing all curious eyes are on him. He quieted himself and muttered a, “Sorry.”

“I can’t believe it!” Miyoon squealed again.

“Let’s start all over,” Jiyoon said. “Everybody sit down!”

Jiyoon helped Granny to her favorite chair and settled with Jaejin when everyone was ready to hear the story.

“Sunghoon?” Chaeya insisted, referring to Jiyong.

“Oma, it’s Jiyong. Cousin Jiyong,” Kiyoon corrected.

Sunghoon had made sure he was far from Miyoon just in case she decided to attack him.

“Uhmm…Sunghoon and I…we were coming here for a vacation and as you…all know…there was a mess up.”

Sunghoon cleared his throat and picked up the story. “At first we only meant to play a trick. We didn’t mean for it to go this far! We’d thought you all could tell the difference. We really wanted to tell all of you, but we just didn’t know how. And…when Miyoon keeps calling Jiyong’s name…” Sunghoon shifted uncomfortably. “I just wanted to tell her I’m not the one she wanted.”

“So…you’re Sunghoon and he’s Jiyong?” Jaejin asked, glancing back and forth.

Slowly, they nodded. Miyoon wailed.

“Oh, no! This can’t be happening! Sunghoonie’s the real Jiyong oppa!” Kiyoon mocked.

Glumly, Miyoon agreed. “All I got was his secretary.”

For once, Kiyoon was serious with her sister. “Sumthin’s wrong with Miyoon. She’s not screaming.”

“Give her a minute to recharge her battery,” Jiyong whispered.

True to his word, Miyoon started pouting. “Aaahhhhaaaaaaaaaa! That is SOOOO unfair! Why does she get everything?!”

Kiyoon quickly jumped to her feet. “Everything?! Listen here, Barbie doll, I never got EVERYTHING! Everything I got was hand-me-downs! You were the gongju! I was never anything! Neither was Jiyoon! You had to have everything your way! What did I have?! Other than the toys and a few other accessories Jiyoon makes for me, I never got ANYTHING! Other than a few things Mom and Dad got me, you had EVERYTHING!”

“But not Jiyong!” Miyoon shrilled.

Kiyoon was baffled. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?”

“Didn’t you listen?! Before ajooma had said anything else, she clearly stated that Jiyong like you! YOU!!! Not me! I got the fake! The FAKE!!!”

“Miyoon…Miyoon, calm down,” Jiyoon interrupted. “This stuff is too much for Kiyoon. She still doesn’t know how it feels like to have a crush.”

“Are you forgetting that Jaejin’s already with you for the rest of your life?! I have to marry him?!” Miyoon shrieked, waving at Sunghoon.

“I won’t marry!” Kiyoon quickly offered, feeling panicked.

Now Kiyoon’s in the spotlight. Miyoon felt her hopes rise. Jiyong was abruptly on his feet.

“Kiyoon,” Jiyoon said breathlessly. “You can’t mess with something as serious as marriage.”

The adults exchanged glances, all the humor in their eyes.

“Besides, Oma and Appa had already – ”

“Already what?!” Kiyoon shouted, cutting Jiyoon off.

“They said, if the both of you fall in love, they’ll…”

“In love?! Who’s in love?! Who said I was in love?!” Kiyoon demanded.

The adults finally burst out laughing.

“What?!”

“You sure you’re not in love?” Jiyoon teased.

“With…Jiyong oppa?” Miyoon added.

Kiyoon pouted, her face scrunched up with defeat. “No! And I will not marry!”

“We won! We won!” Jiyoon whooped. “Kiyoon finally grew up!”

“Haha…guess you’re not so stubborn,” Jiyong chortled, blowing into Kiyoon’s ear.

“Oh, yeah? What makes you think Miyoon will marry Sunghoon? She’s so devoted and dedicated to Jiyong oppa. She did say she like you and would like to be your future wife. I never said anything.”

Jiyong looked over to Miyoon. “Nah. She’s not the real Cho Kiyoon. I’m glad it was only me and Sunghoon that played this trick and not you two. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise what?” Kiyoon challenged.

“I’ll never know who’s the unspoiled Kiyoon,” Jiyong answered with a kiss. “Nor who’s virgin lips I shall deflower.”

EPILOGUE

So there you have it. That’s how I met my wife and married her with my heart’s content.

All three of us had our wedding on the same day and we all dressed alike. The guys in white and the girls in three different bridal gowns. I must say, my Kiyoon looked the most cutest and the most drop dead gorgeous of the sisters.

For the dinner event, we all went out in black tux and Jiyoon and Miyoon had on red while my Kiyoon had to be the oddball that she is and went with light purple. It wasn’t until later she then confided me and told me her mother’s and Suwon’s dream came true. I asked her why and she told me about the conversation she had with her best friend one day and he had said this would happen. And I’m glad it did.

To this day Miyoon’s still sour over the fact that Kiyoon had won the greatest award. The real me. The real Ko Jiyong. She’s upset with the fact that Sunghoon’s only the secretary and not the Cousin Jiyong she had thought she’d hook up with. But her attitude towards me…let’s just say she’s much nicer now and is still envying Kiyoon. Nevertheless, their relationship as sisters has gotten better.

Sunghoon…poor guy. He still wallows in self-pity, wishing that he had married Kiyoon. But I thought otherwise. I actually like the role-switching. You can say he saved my future and himself. Afterall, don’t you agree he and Miyoon are one of a kind?

As for Jaejin and Jiyoon, they moved out two weeks after their marriage. Jiyoon continued her medical studies, but quit her job at the hospital and often came by to visit. Jaejin, now having his own practice, is always busy with the patients. They’ll be expecting their first child sometime soon.

Now for me and Kiyoon, we stayed a good two months at her place before moving home with me. My mother was delighted, of course, and is pestering for a grandson.

Exactly my thoughts. Already?! Mom, Kiyoon’s still Kiyoon, she won’t even let me touch her when we go to bed at night! So where did she get the idea Kiyoon’d be pregnant with a baby, I don’t know. Knowing Kiyoon, she’ll even put up a fight if I tried to kiss her. I know, right? Still?!! She hasn’t grown up a bit, still her childish tomboy ways. Besides, she’s majoring in Creative Writing. She’s decided to become a freelance writer while getting a job as a piano teacher and learning as much as she could about computers. Nerds…who said they’re not cute? I love her.

And so that’s the end of it. I met my love that summer, married her at the end of summer. My kid’ll be born in the summer. That was my summer in love…

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