Untitled by: Jekki Kiss

untitled by jekki kiss.JPG

  • a Wonnie fanfic
  • completed

Chapter One

“Jiwon, this is so wrong…”

“What’s wrong with being with the one you love Jihyun?”

Jiwon and I broke away from a very passionate kiss that we just shared. He and I both knew that our actions would get us in severe trouble. But we just didn’t care. This was actually the fourth time that we had escaped together like this.

The beach was our special spot; no one could ever take that away from us. No matter how hard times got, or even if we both were suffering bad times, the calmness of the beach always soothed our troubles.

Sometimes when school was too much for the both of us, we would run here together. Jiwon and I would just talk, hold hands, or embrace each other without exchanging words. Tonight however was a special night… it made a year of us being together. It wasn’t easy to stay together. The whole world was against us. I came from a somewhat rich family, and my parents totally disapproved of Jiwon. They thought that he was nothing more than a thug who was taking away the innocence of their daughter.

Jiwon on the other hand lived in a small home with his mother. His father died when Jiwon was 15 years old. Ever since then, Jiwon moved out of his normal neighborhood into a more residential place. His mother worked so hard to support him, and she often did not have any extra money to afford the things I had.

But I loved Jiwon… And our love proved to be the most important thing of all. Because we were still together and no one made me any happier than he did.

I looked up at the sky as the waves pounded against the sand. Jiwon snuggled closer to me as he took his hand gently into mine.

“What are you thinking about Jihyun?”

“You…Jiwon… you are the only thing that crosses my mind. I just cannot believe how lucky I am. I’m only 17 but I have found my true love already. I have to be the luckiest woman in the world.”

Jiwon pulled me even closer to him as I lay flat on my back. My entire upper body was positioned on Jiwon’s lap as the rest of me lay on the sand. Our hands embraced as we looked into each other’s eyes. This was pure bliss… a love like this truly came once a lifetime. I felt so secure and safe and just… happy at that moment… I closed my eyes and absorbed myself into Jiwon.

When my eyes opened again, Jiwon was still holding me firmly. I looked down at my watch and saw that it was past 12 o’clock.

“Oppa, we need to start heading home. My mom is already going to kill me, let’s not make it any worse ok?”

The two of us finally arose off the sand. Jiwon and I dusted each other as we walked over to his motorcycle. My boyfriend really did love me. He always gave me his helmet to wear and risked his own life. Jiwon raced me back over to my house.

I knew I was in trouble when I finally did arrive at my home. The lights in my house were still turned on and I saw my parents sitting on the living room sofa.

“Jihyun…do you want me to come inside with you?”

“No, please I don’t want them to take their anger out on you. We’ll see each other tomorrow.”

I tiptoed up to Jiwon and planted a soft kiss on his lips and quickly turned away from him. But my arm was held back… I turned to face Jiwon and he pulled me close to him again. He took my head and gently leaned down to kiss me, this time putting more effort and love into it.

“That’s the way we kiss goodbye Jihyun, I love you…” he whispered.

My whole body completely loosened up as I staggered away from Jiwon. I looked back one last time at him before I went to my house.

This time I didn’t even get a chance to open my front door. My mother opened the door and pulled me inside.

“Park Jihyun… you do not know how much trouble you are in!”

“Mother please. Tonight was Jiwon and I’s anniversary. That’s why I stayed out so late.”

“Do you have any idea how worried your mother and I was young lady?”

“I don’t know why. I told the two of you that Jiwon and I were celebrating something special tonight. You always choose to ignore me whenever I talk about him. Can’t you guys tell how much I love him?”

Suddenly I felt a hand glide swiftly across my face. I turned my head down and held my face in pain.

“You listen to me and you listen to me good Jihyun. Your father and I work so hard to support you. We will not let some rat off the street endanger our child! You are never to see him again Jihyun do you hear me?”

But by this time I had already ran upstairs into my room crying… I slammed the door as I laid on my bed thinking about what had just happened. It didn’t matter what anyone did to separate Jiwon and I, we were never going to break up. I loved him too much to lose a year worth of love… it just wasn’t worth it.

Chapter Two

I was probably the only student in my class who didn’t have any friends. There were girls that I spoke to and all, but I wouldn’t really consider them real friends, only acquaintances. At break time, instead of gawking over gayo magazines, I sat in the corner by the window and drew pictures of Jiwon and I.

Many of the girls thought that I was conceited and stuck-up. Jiwon was one of the cutest guys in the entire school, and I was dating him. Wouldn’t you be caught up in him also? Just as I was putting the finishing touches on one of my drawings, I heard a slight tapping against the classroom window. I looked up and saw Jiwon signaling for me to come outside.

All the other girls in the class slowly turned around and looked at me. I grabbed my book bag and ran outside to where Jiwon was.

“Oppa, what are you doing here?”

Jiwon grabbed my hand and pulled me towards the front gates of our school.

“Come on Jihyun, let’s spend the day together. It’s so bright and sunny.”

“But Jiwon, we’re in the middle of a school day. Do you know how much trouble we’ll be in?”

The two of us stopped in our tracks.

“Does it matter if we both get in trouble? We’re together always Jihyun, I have you covered… now let’s go!”

As soon as I felt the fresh air on my face, I felt so energized. I ran to Jiwon’s motorcycle and jumped on the back of it, giggling wildly. Jiwon raced behind me and took his usual seat in the front of the motorcycle.

“I’ve never seen you so happy Jihyun.”

“Shh… let’s just enjoy this day together.”

It’s so hard to explain the feeling of having the wind blow through your hair. It’s like nature’s way of showing you it really is alive. Every single breath of wind rejuvenates your entire body all at the same time. It feels like heaven! Take that feeling and being with Jiwon, and you had a dangerous combination. All my senses were lost completely to this boy.

We rode down to the beach, to our usual secluded spot. But first we stopped at the store to buy some snacks and drinks. Jiwon took a seat down on the beach as I ran back and forth trying to catch the little sand crabs. Just as I was close to catching one, I felt a sting on my foot.

“Ow!”

I fell on the sand holding my foot in pain. Jiwon rushed over to me.

“What happened Jihyun?”

“Hehe, I think one of those little sea crabs got mad and stung me. I’m ok though it just hurt for the first minute or so.”

I could see all the concern in Jiwon’s eyes as I sat on the beach still crouching in pain. Then he did something that surprised me. Jiwon bent down to my side and scooped me up. He actually was carrying me back over to the spot he laid before.

“No more playing around for you Jihyun… from now on I’ll keep you by my side always.”

We just sat there together holding hands and exchanging stories. No matter how many times Jiwon and I spoke… every time I discovered something different about him. He was a never-ending story that had a better chapter each time you read it.

“Jiwon… what are we going to do about the university. Will your mom help you pay the costs?”

Jiwon buried his chin into my shoulder and he hugged me tighter into his arms.

“I really don’t know Jihyun. I want to go to the same university as you, but how can I afford to pay the costs of tuition. Most likely I will have to get a job for the first two years and save up for it.”

The thought of not having my heart with me where ever I went genuinely pained me. If my parents were different, I could have convinced them to help pay Jiwon’s tuition. But they hated him so much. I know they would want nothing more than to not see him attend the same university as me. I lowered my head down and a single tear fell down my cheek.

I pulled myself up and looked Jiwon full in his deep brown eyes.

“Come on Jihyun, don’t cry about this. We’re going to get through anything life throws at us. I promise you, we’ll work past anything. I won’t leave you; I’ll still be here for you even if we don’t attend the same school. Now come on, let’s get going. I don’t want your parents on your case again.”

Jiwon helped me get up and put my shoes back on. We walked slowly back to his motorcycle and assumed the same positions as we did once before. Only this time, I held on to Jiwon even tighter than before. Deep inside of me, I had this feeling that something terrible might happen. Something that could necessarily tear the two of us apart. And this feeling was the only thing that occupied my mind as Jiwon rode me all the way back over to my house.

Suddenly he made a halt. I didn’t even notice that we were at my house already.

“Do you want me to go inside with you?”

Yes please…”

I held on to Jiwon’s hand so hard as if he was going to slip away from me. He turned to me and looked at me with many questions in his eye. Jiwon knew when something was troubling me. The door to my house was open. When the two of us went inside, we saw my parent’s along with Jiwon’s mother sitting on my sofa.

My mother rose out of her seat slowly. “You finally decided to come home…”

Jiwon and I broke apart and quickly dropped to our knees in a bowing position. We held our heads down silently asking for forgiveness.

“You better show respect! How could you do this to me Jiwon? Do you know how embarrassed I was when I had to leave work today? Look at Mrs. Eun… she has to leave work to go down to her son’s school because he’s acting like a fool. Do you even realize what you are doing with your life?”

“I’m sorry mother.”

“Sorry? Sorry Jiwon?”

His mother suddenly burst into tears and she too fell on her knees in front of him.

“Jiwon… do you know how hard it is for me to support this family since your father died? I sacrifice everything for you and this is how you reward me?”

I watched Jiwon’s eyes start to tear up as he tried to hold back his tears. It was then my turn to get it from my parents.

“And you Jihyun… your father and I strive to keep this family running smoothly. We are so happy with what God gave us and you try to destroy this comfort. What goes through your head every time you’re with this young man? I understand the two of you may have grown a fondness towards each other, but this is the time for school and studying not puppy love. The three of us have decided that it is in your best interest to stop seeing each other. I mean it Jihyun you cannot and will not continue this with Jiwon.”

If my head could drop down any further, it would be in my lap. I barely managed to shake my head in agreement. Jiwon’s mother got up off the floor and pulled Jiwon along with her out the door.

As Jiwon was being pulled outside, I looked around and his eyes met mine. I knew those eyes…they were full with sorrow and despair… as if our love was defeated.

Chapter Three

The past week hasn’t been any fun at all. Jiwon and I have been dodging each other in and out of school. I never realized how lonely life could be without the one that you loved. Jiwon was really the only person in my life. And it hurt so much to ignore him and turn away from him.

On Friday afternoon, school had just ended. I was walking through the school gates to go home when Jiwon rode up next to me.

“We’re not broken up you know… just is just some temporary crap that we have to get through to prove to our parents that we can keep apart.”

“Jiwon please… don’t let anyone see you speaking to me. I don’t want anyone to tell my mother.”

“Fine, ok I’ll leave. But I want to be a perfect gentleman first. Can I take you home?”

I just laughed at Jiwon… how could I resist my prince. He got off the motorcycle and walked over to me. Jiwon pulled me close to his body and gave me a long kiss.

“Until we meet again Jihyun…”

How did he expect me to just go home after what had just happened? It had been so long since I felt Jiwon’s lips on mine, and the sweet memory brought me crashing down.

Jiwon got back on his motorcycle and was preparing to ride off when I ran up to him. I hopped on the back of his bike and wrapped my arms around his waist.

“Please don’t leave me Jiwon…”

“Then don’t let go.”

We rode around the city on his bike until Jiwon finally was about a block away from my house. He stopped the motorcycle on the side as I stepped off gently.

“Here’s your helmet back Jiwon.”

“Thanks…”

“I’ll see you tomorrow ok?”

But instead of Jiwon usually pulling me towards him and kissing me, he hugged me tightly.

“I hate this, I really do. I can’t bear to not be with you.”

“I know but… I have to go Jiwon… I love you.”

I pulled away form Jiwon and started running down the next block to my house. My mother would probably be angry that I was coming home late, but I couldn’t risk Jiwon taking me all the way home.

My mother was at the door waiting for me as I turned the corner to go inside. This was really starting to irritate me. Every time I was more than a minute late, she would be waiting for me to come home.

“Hi mom…”

“Get inside.”

She pushed me into the living room roughly as I came tumbling down on the sofa.

“What is wrong with you? Why are you so mad?”

“It’s 6 o’clock and school finishes for you at 3. Why did it take you another three hours to get home?”

“I had to go to the library. I was studying for a test I have in math tomorrow mother. “

“For the sake of argument, I’m going to believe you. But the next time you have to go to the library after school, tell me so I could pick you up.”

After my mother left the living room. I pulled myself together and went upstairs to my room. Every night around this time, my mother started to prepare dinner. I used this advantage to try and sneak a telephone call to Jiwon.

I dialed the phone number as fast as I could and waited patiently for him to pick up the line. When Jiwon finally did answer after the third ring, my heart felt relieved. It felt great to hear his voice on the telephone all over again.

“Hello? Hello?”

“Oppa…”

“Jihyun?”

“Yes of course it’s me. I’m sneaking to call you, so if I hang up in the middle of the conversation don’t call me back ok?”

“Fine…but Jihyun I really need to speak to you. It’s about this hiding thing. I can’t work with this anymore, I need to see you. I go crazy thinking about you, missing you Jihyun… please let me talk with your mother.”

I hated to hear Jiwon begging and suffering like this because of me. But I needed to prove to my mother that I was able to separate myself from Jiwon…even though I couldn’t really do it. If I went back on everything now, my parents would never trust me again.

Jiwon continued speaking to me when my bedroom door suddenly opened. My mother came in threw the door and saw me on the phone.

“Jihyun, dinner is ready. Who are you speaking to?”

“Um me?”

I pointed to the phone and I lowered my head completely.

“This is Saejin on the line. I missed my second period class because I was helping in the office. She’s telling me the lesson and the homework.”

My mother walked over to me.

“I know you missed second period, but it’s ok. I got the homework from the office already for you. So you can just hang up with her now.”

My entire head was pounding I felt so sick. Treating Jiwon like this wasn’t helping the situation any more. I had to hang the phone up with him. After the phone call I was forced to eat dinner wit my parents. They babbled on and on about how happy they were that I was staying away from Jiwon.

But they had to be blind. Only a fool would not be able to tell how distraught I was. I needed Jiwon more than I really had known before. And after dinner, I couldn’t even bear to be around my parents any longer. I walked back up to room, and sat at my desk to do some homework.

After about an hour or so, not even the constant drill of homework could keep my mind occupied. I put my head down at my desk as I dozed off to sleep.

There was a tapping at my window that caused me to stir. When I was awake fully, I got up from my desk and walked over to my window and looked outside. Jiwon was standing in the backyard looking up at me.

“Jihyun, help me up.”

“What are you doing here?” I loudly whispered. “Do you know my parents are home?”

“I don’t care, just help me up.”

I looked around my room for something to help Jiwon climb the third floor window. I finally decided to pull the sheet off my bed and hoist it down to Jiwon.

“Here climb this.”

At first it was a hard task getting him up safely through my window, but when it was accomplished, the success was amazing. Jiwon collapsed into my arms and he made it inside of my room.

“Jihyun… thank you. You need to listen to me. I can’t take this any longer; I need you to come with me tonight. We don’t need anything but each other.”

“Jiwon I can’t leave. I just can’t leave home. I know life is unfair right now, but running away from our troubles won’t solve anything.”

Jiwon pulled away from me and paced my room for a good minute before he came back over to me.

“No, you’re wrong about this one Jihyun. We’re not running away from our problems, this is the solution. If you scared to do this, then I can understand that. But if you just don’t want to go with me, then that’s another story. I took the first step to reuniting us together, now it’s your choice.”

He was so right… this is what we needed to get past this. I walked over to my closet and started pulling out my clothes and a duffel bag.

“Give me five minutes to pack…”

Chapter Four

Between the two of us, we had about $400. It wasn’t much but Jiwon and I weren’t reasoning. The only thing that mattered was the fact that we were together. After riding on Jiwon’s motorcycle for a good half hour, we ended up on the beach as usual.

Jiwon chained his bike to the beach post as we walked down towards the shore.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this.”

“Neither can I but we’re here now aren’t we Jihyun? “

Our relationship was definitely special. Some couples had to go out to fancy restaurants, clubs, or the movies to have fun. But to me, that’s not really enjoying each other’s company. It takes so much more effort to just go out somewhere quiet and appreciate what you have with that person. This is what Jiwon and I had.

“I’m kind of scared, I mean are we just going to spend the night here sleeping on the beach?”

“I don’t know what we’re going to do Jihyun, I really don’t know…”

We tried to keep talking the whole night through and it was going really well until one of us fell asleep. I think it might have been me. All I know is that the next time I opened my eyes, I was snuggled in Jiwon’s arms and it was daybreak.

A sudden rush raced through my whole body. I couldn’t believe that I slept on the beach without even a fear. Minutes after I awoke, Jiwon too started to stir.

“Oh god… I feel great what about you?”

Jiwon looked over at me and I had no choice but to smile. I did feel great; even though my heart was pounding 1000 beats a minute. I grabbed Jiwon’s arm and pulled him up, as we both got on our feet. The two of us stared into each other’s eyes before we equally pulled towards each other to embrace in a kiss.

“Let’s go Jiwon.”

Jiwon and I ran for his motorcycle and he unchained it. We had spent a wonderful night together, but now it was time to enjoy the day ahead of us together in freedom. On the beach boardwalk, Jiwon put me in the front of his bike. He was trying to teach me how to ride. I had to admit, I felt a rush being the one that actually rode the bike and it was great to have Jiwon’s arms wrapped around my waist instead.

Soon after Jiwon assumed his normal spot as the rider of the bike, and took us into town. Around this time of day, the busy downtown area was at its peak. Jiwon and I had to maneuver through the streets just to not get separated. There was this one little store however that caused me to stop.

“Jiwon oppa, look that lady makes little sticker pictures and puts them into a chain.”

“Wow yea… I’ve never seen that before, you wanna try it?”

We ran into the little store like children at a toyshop. The old lady was so happy to have business and a young couple that was so excited about doing this.

“Is there anything that you’d like the picture to say?” asked the lady.

Jiwon and I looked at each other. And we simultaneously said at the same time…

“Young won han sarang.”

After the pictures were taken, we walked out of the store with big smiles. For two people who haven’t showered yet the entire day, the pictures came out pretty good. But we were hungry. We stopped in one of those little mini-mart places that sold ramyun and other little snacks.

Jiwon and I were sitting by the window eating and looking out when I saw something.

“Jiwon!” I grabbed his arm and started shaking him.

“Jihyun what’s wrong?”

He then looked up and outside and saw the same thing I did.

“Oh my god…” Jiwon whispered.

There was my mother and father handing out little flyers to the people who passed the streets. Just as Jiwon and I both looked up, my mother and father looked in and saw the two of us eating.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking Jihyun?”

“Uh huh… RUN!!!”

Jiwon grabbed my hand as we ran out the back entrance of the store. My parents started calling after us, but we were already on the bike speeding away. Never have I held on to Jiwon so tight. This was it I thought… I was going to get it so bad… Just as we thought we had gotten away, I turned back around and saw a car chasing after us. My parent’s car…

“Jiwon, oh my god… Jiwon they’re coming after us. They’re following us. What do we do oppa?”

“I don’t know Jihyun, Jesus… I can’t think. The smartest thing to do would be to stop the bike and go with them. But… no we’ll just keep going.”

The chase continued for another 30 minutes until we hit one intersection. Instead of us going straight, there was a police car there that cut us off in a little alley. Jiwon brought the motorcycle to an abrupt stop suddenly as my parents car closed in on us.

My mother rushed out of the car and came running towards me. She took one hand out and grabbed my hair and slapped me with the other hand.

“You crazy girl! How could you!!!”

Jiwon hopped off the bike and ran up to mother and pulled her hand off of me.

“Don’t you dare touch her again.”

My father came from the side and pulled Jiwon’s hand down.

“Now you listen young man, don’t try anything stupid. It’s your fault that Jihyun behaves this way.”

The police came and took Jiwon away in their car as my parents pulled me and shoved me into their car.

I didn’t even get the chance to look back at Jiwon, but this was the beginning of our goodbye.

Chapter Five

For three days now, I haven’t been in school, haven’t been outside, and haven’t even breathed any real fresh air. I refused to come out of my room. There was no point. There wasn’t any point of even living because of what my parents had done to me.

That night that I was brought back home with them, they told me something that I could never forget.

“Jihyun…” my mother started. “You have severely disappointed your father and I. Do you know how scared and worried we were when we went into your bedroom that night and found that you weren’t there? I can and will not believe how you disobey your parents. Neither will I stand for it any longer. Next Wednesday, you will be flying to America. You’re going to live there with your aunt. I’m sorry but this is the only way to keep you from that Jiwon character.”

After those words were spoken to me, my body just shut down. I felt like my very soul had been stolen from me. I left the house that night and just sat outside crying and crying. And when there weren’t any more tears left, I went back to my room. And I haven’t left it since.

My mom would bring me food and water and leave it outside my door. But every time I felt like I could eat it, the tears just started again and filled me. But tonight, I had the strength to at least make a phone call. I dialed Jiwon’s number and waited for an answer.

“Hello?”

“Jiwon…” my voice barely whispered.

“Oh Jihyun, my Jihyun… are you ok? I haven’t heard from you since they took us away, are you ok now?”

“Oppa… no…”

I started to cry again, even worse than all the other nights combined. Even the soft love of Jiwon’s voice couldn’t soothe this overwhelming pain away. I continued crying on the phone until I could attempt to speak again.

“My parents are sending me to live in America Jiwon. They’re taking me away from you… it’s over Jiwon… everything we fought for is over.”

Jiwon just stayed on the line not saying anything. I was getting no response from him until I heard the soft sniffling coming from the phone line. Seconds after that, the sniffling turned into full-blown tears. Jiwon was crying too on the phone with me. The two of us just cried on the line together, and I hated to hear him in pain and not be able to make it go away. Even though we didn’t say it, it was so obvious our fight was over. Our love had lost.

My bags were packed finally. I honestly didn’t think that I would have everything packed by this Wednesday, but I managed to. The morning sun shone down on my head as I waited outside for my mother to come. My flight was at 8 this morning, but we had to check in for 6:30.

I wasn’t crying, I felt absolutely nothing. All my emotions had been sucked out of me completely. When my mother finally locked up the house, we drove over to the airport. It was a long ride there, not really distance- wise though. It was a long trip because my parents were trying to reconcile with me. But it was too late, I just sat in the back seat silent for the entire time.

When my bags were finally checked in, I sat off to the side by myself. I could feel my parents staring at me. I was no longer the energetic child that yearned to live. My entire self had diminished down to a spirit without a soul, a heart without a love.

“Now boarding flight 722 to Los Angeles, California.”

The loud speaker had announced my flight. I picked up my carry-on bag and started to walk towards the boarding gate. Since the incident with Jiwon, I haven’t seen him since. All I wanted was a chance to see him before I left. My parents hugged me and wished me a good trip, but I was already gone spiritually. I was almost to the gate when I heard someone yelling after me.

“Jihyun, Jihyun!”

I turned around in slow motion. You know those old movies where the girl runs to the guy and they hug each other and just stand there forever? Well, that’s exactly what happened when I saw Jiwon. I dropped everything on the floor and just ran over to him. My parents started to disapprove but we had already locked arms.

“Jihyun, I know you have to go and I barely caught you but… I wanted to give you this.”

Jiwon held his hand out to me and placed a Calla flower in my hand

“I looked everywhere for this flower. And here it is. It’s just for you Jihyun, the calla flower is a very special.”

“Thank you oppa.”

I took the flower from Jiwon and started to tear up again.

“Jihyun your flight is boarding”, my mother called.

“I know. Jiwon I have to go… I- I- love you…”

I tiptoed up to Jiwon’s cheek and kissed him goodbye as I ran towards the gate to board my flight…

Chapter Six

{4 years later…}

“I looked everywhere for this flower. And here it is. It’s just for you Jihyun, the Calla flower is very special.”

My whole body shuddered… I never thought that I would hear those words spoken to me ever again. But now, four years later someone else was speaking the same words that Jiwon had told me four years ago…

That person was now my current boyfriend Kang Sunghoon…

I didn’t realize how special this moment was between him and me. Tomorrow would make our 2-year anniversary, and he was here to take me home. But what was even more important was the flower that he was placing before me. The Calla flower was very hard to find this time of year, and Sunghoon had managed to bring me one.

It didn’t really matter to me that he was giving me this flower, because Sunghoon awoke my feelings for Jiwon all over again. And now I found myself standing here thinking about him. When I moved to California, I attended college. I completed my degree and opened my own flower shop. Sunghoon and I met during my last year of college. He was everything a girl could ask for. Sunghoon was funny, charming, caring, sweet and smart. But he never filled that spot that Jiwon had in my heart.

“Jihyun, are you feeling alright? For a minute there, you looked like you had completely blacked out.”

“I’m ok Sunghoon, I just need some rest.”

I finished closing up the flower shop as Sunghoon lead me outside to his car. On the way home, Sunghoon talked about so many things, but I just couldn’t pay attention.

Since I left Korea, Jiwon and I haven’t kept in touch. I heard however that when I left, he didn’t continue high school. So maybe Jiwon didn’t even make it to college. I had to live with the burden of knowing that his life was ruined because of me.

Only God knew if he still thought about me, or even remembered who I was. But I couldn’t forget, even with the love Sunghoon offered to me.

Sunghoon stopped the car in front of my beach house.

“I really get the feeling that you’re not listening to me Jihyun.”

I snapped out of my trance and reached over to Sunghoon’s hand.

“I’m so sorry Sunghoon, my mind is so preoccupied right now. I am listening to you though.”

Sunghoon got out of the car and walked over to my side and opened the car door for me. He took my hand and led me out as we held hands and walked towards my front porch.

“I can’t wait for tomorrow honey, I have such a big day planned for us.”

“Me too Sunghoon, I know it’s going to be so special.

The cool breeze, from the ocean right across from us, blew the wind softly into my face. I looked up into the sky to try and pull myself together. Jiwon was my past, a very beautiful past, but nonetheless he was no longer here with me. Sunghoon was a young rich successful businessman who loved me and cared for me deeply. I was happy to have him; I needed to appreciate his love.

When I looked down from the sky, Sunghoon pulled me tenderly close to him. He put his hand around my waist, and with the other hand he stroked my cheek. I could feel his mahogany eyes burning deep inside of me. I leaned in closer to Sunghoon and took the initiative to kiss him.

Sunghoon was so surprised because he tightened his hold around me and he put his hand around my neck.

“Jihyun…” he whispered.

I closed my eyes as our kiss developed into something deeper, something more sensual. But suddenly an image crossed my mind. The memory of Jiwon often kissing me like this on the beach rushed inside of me. In my head, I was no longer kissing Sunghoon, I was kissing Jiwon. And it was Jiwon’s tie that I was loosening up instead of Sunghoon’s.

“Jiwon…” I barely muttered under my breath.

Unexpectedly, Sunghoon froze and let me go.

“What’s wrong?”

“Did you just call me Jiwon?”

My face immediately grew flustered and I started to panic.

“Jiwon? Who’s Jiwon? Sunghoon I called you by your name. I’m sorry if I said it so low that you couldn’t really hear me but… that’s what I said. I said Sunghoon.”

He seemed content with the answer because he pulled me back into his arms and nodded his head. From there we walked me inside of my house. But the realization I had that I still loved Jiwon made me think forever this night.

Chapter Seven

I turned lazily over to my side as I felt someone shaking me this Saturday morning.

“Stop…” I whined.

“Stop? Jihyun wake up!”

My ears started to ring as I gingerly opened one eye and saw Jaeduc standing in front of me.

“What are you doing in my room?”

“I would have still been asleep if your lover boy Sunghoon didn’t call and wake me up this morning. It’s not even 9 ‘o’clock yet and he’s already on the phone.”

“Aigo… please speak to him Jaeduc, give me 5 minutes to get myself together.”

I think the reason that Sunghoon and I’s relationship lasted so long was the fact that we shared the same best friend. When Sunghoon and I were both in college, we meet Kim Jaeduc. He was a bright funny character who was easy to love. As a matter of fact, it was Jaeduc who connected me and Sunghoon. After the three of us graduated from college, Jaeduc and I decided to become roommates, and that explains how I dealt with him so early this morning.

Jaeduc waited outside of my room with the phone, I took it form him and retuned back inside of my room.

“Good morning Sunghoon.”

“Good morning to you Jihyun. Happy anniversary dear, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

“Well I don’t want to bother you anymore until tonight. I know you need you rest so you can look beautiful for me. Pick you up at 8 ok?”

The conversation quickly ended after that. But I couldn’t go back to sleep. I got up to look inside of my closet for an outfit to wear tonight. There was this one dress that I had found. It was a white sleeveless dress with a medium v-neck cut. It looked classy enough to wear for tonight but not too over dressed. Before I decided to wear it for sure, I wanted a second opinion.

“Jaeducie! You need to come in here.”

Jaeduc stormed through my doors with one slipper on and the other one off. His hair was sticking way up and he looked like he had just rolled out of bed.

“You and Sunghoon don’t want me to get any rest. It’s not fair Jihyun I need sleep too!”

“If you didn’t spend all night clubbing and looking for girls Jaeduc, then you would have the energy to wake up early this morning.”

Jaeduc plopped down on my bed, consequently pushing me off.

“Go ahead and talk Jihyun I’m listening.”

“What do you think about this dress?”

I moved over to Jaeduc so he could feel the material and look at the dress. He just squinted his eyes a little and put his head back down on my pillow.

“It’s cool, if my girl friend wore it… I would think she looked hot.”

“Hot? I don’t want to look sleazy you know. I want Sunghoon to think I’m sexy yet classy.”

“Classy smassy… he doesn’t care what you wear. He thinks you look good in anything Jihyun, probably even a potato sack… But since you have me up this early, we need to discuss this Korea trip. You know we leave this Monday. I hope you have everything all packed up, because I’m ready to enjoy this vacation!”

I had completely forgot that Jaeduc and I were going to Korea this fall. Originally the three of us were planning to go, but Sunghoon couldn’t get any time off from work. So Jaeduc and I were still planning on going and having some fun.

“Yea I remember, my things are already packed Jaeduc. I just wished Sunghoon could have made it somehow.”

For the rest of the morning and afternoon, Jaeduc and I just spent the day talking about whatever crossed our minds. But around 5 or so, I started to get ready for tonight with Sunghoon. When I was finally done, I was wearing the dress and I put my hair up in a tossed style.

“I must admit Jihyun, you look extra beautiful.”

Just as Jaeduc finished complimenting me, the doorbell rang. I walked over to answer the door and it was Sunghoon. For a moment I had to step back and relish in the appearance of my boyfriend. Sunghoon’s hair was perfectly gelled back into a sophisticated sort of style. And he had on a black suit to coordinate perfectly with my white dress.

Sunghoon out stretched his arm motioning for me to follow him as we walked outside.

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do you two!” Jaeduc yelled.

“You look so gorgeous Jihyun.”

“Your not so bad yourself. What do you have planned for tonight?”

“You’ll see.”

Sunghoon drove us down into the city of LA. We finally stopped and entered this posh little French restaurant. We took our seats as we waited to be served.

“This place is beautiful. Sunghoon, where did you find it?”

“It doesn’t matter, something very important is going to happen to the both of us very soon.”

The waiter finally came over to our table with a small silver tray that he set down on the table. On top of the tray was a little black box that Sunghoon casually picked up.

“Jihyun…”

Sunghoon got up out of his seat and walked over to me. He took my left hand and held it firmly into his. Everything came clear to me. He was planning to propose to me. My head started to hurt and I felt my heart pounding within my chest.

“Jihyun look at me honey. All my life I’ve waited for somebody like you. And now that I’ve found you I never want to let you go. Please Jihyun… please… will you marry me?”

Chapter Eight

“…please Jihyun… please… will you marry me?”

I swallowed hard and looked away from Sunghoon. By now my eyes were starting to tear and I tried to pull them back in. How could I accept his proposal when I thought about another man everyday? Sunghoon deserved a woman who would be fully dedicated to him, not someone as undecided as me.

“I- I can’t…”

Sunghoon limply let go of my hand and his soft eyes pleaded with mine. He got up off his knees and cleared his throat. Sunghoon then took his previous seat that was across from me.

“Can you tell me why? Or is there even an reason?”

“Sunghoon I love you but I’m scared. I want to be sure of this. I didn’t mean to say no so directly. I really want some time to think this through Sunghoon. Please give me some time.”

I could tell that he was about to burst into tears. But Sunghoon remained strong and even had the strength to smile at me.

“If time is what you need honey then I’ll give you time. How about you give me your answer when you come back from Korea ok?”

I nodded my head in agreement as the waiter returned to take our orders.

The rest of the night pretty much dragged on. We both tried to keep it fun and interesting, but I had killed the mood. By 11 I was back home and Sunghoon was on his way over to his house. When I came back home, Jaeduc was sitting on the sofa watching TV.

“Jihyun? Oh hey… I thought I would be alone tonight. Why are you back so early?”

I dropped down into the sofa next to Jaeduc and leaned my head on his shoulder.

“Sunghoon asked me to marry him, and I didn’t give him an answer. I told him I would tell him my decision when I returned from Korea.”

“Hmm I knew he was going to propose to you. But I didn’t tell you anything about it because I was sure that you were going to say yes.”

“You knew all along Jaeduc? Why didn’t you warn me?”

“What’s the real reason you couldn’t answer him Jihyun… be straight with me.”

Jaeduc pushed me gently off of him and faced me. He was my best friend; it would make sense for me to tell him about the entire Jiwon situation.

“Ok Jaeduc you cannot tell anyone what I’m about to tell you right now. Four years ago I was in love with this boy named Eun Jiwon. We were together for a year and I loved him with all my heart and soul. My parents disapproved of the relationship we had, they thought I was too good for him and they banned me from seeing him. But Jiwon and I still continued to see each other, we were in love. One day I ran away with him, I spent a whole night away from home with him. But eventually we were caught and my parents blew up. They sent me to live in America with my aunt just to be separated from Jiwon. I thought I was over him Jaeduc… but lately Jiwon is the only thing that’s been on my mind. And I couldn’t say yes to Sunghoon because of this…”

I closed my eyes because it hurt me so much to tell the tragic story of Jiwon and I’s love. But it felt good to finally get it off of my chest. Jaeduc reached out to me and hugged me.

“Jihyun it’s going to be ok… it’s healthy for you to still be in love with him. You just need to realize that what you two had is way in the past, you need to get over this and enjoy the love that Sunghoon gives you now.”

“I know Jaeduc”, I said through my tears. “It’s just so hard to forget someone you love…”

After Jaeduc and I spoke for another half hour or so, he tucked me into bed. I needed to rest and prepare myself for the vacation that I so desperately needed.

Chapter Nine

“Well we’re here at the airport you guys. Let’s go.”

Sunghoon stopped the car as he and Jaeduc went around to the back to get our luggage. Since Saturday, Sunghoon and I haven’t spoken or seen each other. This was actually the first time that I was seeing him.

“Jihyun are you coming out? We’re almost late for the flight.”

“Oh yea… Jaeduc I’m coming.”

I walked over to Sunghoon who passed me a small bag. Jaeduc started walking towards the airport lounge. He turned around and saw Sunghoon and I still standing behind.

“I’ll you leave you two to finish up, but please hurry you guys!” Jaeduc yelled.

Sunghoon put his arms around my shoulders and looked at me.

“Please don’t forget what I said Jihyun. I’m not pressuring you, you have an entire week to think about my proposal.”

My head dropped, I couldn’t bear to look into his eyes.

“I know Sunghoon, I’m sorry I have to go…”

But before I could finish my sentence, Sunghoon was kissing me deeply as if he was never going to see me again.

“I love you…” he whispered.

Sunghoon then got back inside of his car as I watched him drive away.

My head started to pound as I followed Jaeduc. He was already at the check-in counter when I went inside.

“How did it go Jihyun?”

“Fine just fine…”

We started to walk towards the boarding gate.

“Jihyun come on, please what’s up?”

I burst into tears right in front of him.

“I said nothing is wrong! Please don’t force me to talk about this.”

Jaeduc hugged me as we took our seat on the plane. It was a long ride from California to Korea. I wished that I wouldn’t see Jiwon. Because if I did, I wouldn’t be able to go back to Sunghoon ever.

I looked over at Jaeduc in the seat next to me. After that, I fell asleep shortly.

The next time I awoke, the plane had landed in Korea already. It was very late at night and the sky blazed with so many stars.

“For a minute, I thought you were dead… I was trying to wake you up since we landed here Jihyun.”

“Is our taxi here?”

“Yea come on.”

Jaeduc and I got our luggage from the airport terminal and waited outside for a taxi. When a cab finally arrived, we crammed into the car along with all our suitcases.

“I can’t wait to get to the hotel so we can go to sleep Jaeduc.”

The driver of the taxi took a long time to get us to the hotel. But when we finally arrived, Jaeduc and I hurried to the front desk to get the keys to our room. They had placed up on the seventh floor. We raced to our hotel room and fell back onto the beds.

“Jihyun…”

“Yea Jaeduc?”

“I am so sleepy, I cannot even believe it.”

Jaeduc turned his back to me and he quickly drifted off to sleep. I had a harder time getting to sleep however. Since I slept the entire way over here, I was far from falling asleep anytime soon. To kill some time, I decided to call Sunghoon and tell him that I was in.

His phone rang for quite some time, and just as I was about to hang up the phone, he answered. When Sunghoon did answer he sounded like he was half-asleep.

“Sunghoon… you didn’t even wait up for my call?”

“Oh Jihyun, I knew you were ok. I was so tired, I’m sorry.”

So many thoughts rushed through my head. I wasn’t even gone for a day and it’s like he forgot everything that we had. Every time Sunghoon went on a business trip, even if it was in the same city, I would wait by the phone till he called to see if he was ok. To top it off not only did Sunghoon not wait, he fell asleep as well.

“Well I don’t want to bother your beauty rest. Go back to sleep, I’ll catch you another time ok.”

“Jihyun wait-“

But I had already put the telephone down. I sighed and slouched down deep inside of my bed. This was going to be a long trip…

Chapter Ten

“Rise and shine!”

Jaeduc pulled the curtains wide open as I still slept lazily in the bed. I started to whine and put my head under the pillows to block out the gleaming sunlight.

“Jihyun! We’re in Seoul, Korea, the heart of the city! It’s a bright sunny afternoon, already past 12’oclock, and you want to stay in bed?”

“Yes…” I pleaded miserably.

Jaeduc walked over to me and threw himself on top of me.

“Well that’s not going to happen!”

I tried to push myself up off the bed, but Jaeduc’s crushing weight brought me tumbling back down.

“Now if I let you get up, will you get ready so we can go out Jihyun?”

“Yes, yes please just get off me! You’re crippling me Jaeduc!”

As soon as he eased his weight off my back, I immediately reacted by knocking him over with my pillows. It felt good for the two of us to have a pillow fight. It made me forget about my worries for a while.

“Ok Jihyun seriously let’s get ready I’m dying to see the city again.”

In less than an hour I was set and ready to go. Jaeduc and I rode a bus into the city, and now we were walking around enjoying the view. Actually Jaeduc was getting mad because I kept stopping in every single store.

“Jihyun, oh my god… this store has everything the other 15 had!”

“Shh Ducie, I miss these little stores so bad. All the places to shop in LA are so busy and crowded.”

The two of us entered the shopping mall. And Jaeduc was so happy, because he actually found stores that he was interested in. While he was browsing around, I continued my shopping. In the corner on the first floor was this booth that was set up. It had the nicest clothes that I had ever seen.

I picked up a sweater and saw that it had no price. Not even the shopkeeper was there.

“I can’t believe this, don’t they think somebody would steal from them.” I muttered.

Suddenly the little back door adjacent to the booth opened. I looked up to see the shopkeeper, and consequently I dropped all my bags. The man that owned booth was Jiwon…

I backed away like a scared child. Someone was behind me. I looked back in a frenzy.

“Jihyun are you ok?” Jaeduc’s eyes filled with concern.

Jiwon started to walk towards Jaeduc and me. He took my hand into his and cupped it gently.

“Jihyun…” he whispered.

He took his other hand and slowly stroked my cheek. I closed my eyes tightly to make sure that this wasn’t a dream, because it felt so right.

“Yes?” I barely choked out

Jiwon just held me tightly in his arms.

“Um excuse me…Jihyun? I hate to break up this little reunion, but who is this?”

By this time I was already crying. Jiwon let go of me and faced Jaeduc.

“This is Jiwon. Eun Jiwon meet Kim Jaeduc, Jaeduc meet Jiwon.”

The two of them shook hands but I could sense the tension in Jaeduc’s eyes.

“Jihyun what are you doing here in Korea? I thought you moved away to LA.”

“I did oppa, but I’m here on vacation now for a week. I’ll be leaving this Sunday.”

“Yea? Give me your hotel number so we could hang out some time while you’re here ok? I will give you a call. And if there’s anything you like at my store, just tell me Jihyun… it’s yours.”

I blushed as I gave Jiwon a piece of paper to write my number down. We quickly hugged again and I left with Jaeduc.

“Jihyun, what the hell was that about? You gave him your hotel number; you’re actually going to see him?”

“Jaeduc, Jiwon is my friend and I haven’t seen in over 4 years. I’m not just going to shut him out.”

As we took the bus all the way back to the hotel, Jaeduc didn’t say a word to me. I could tell that he was upset at my choices. But this was the only way to prove to myself that I was over Jiwon.

When we got back to the hotel room, there was a message left by Sunghoon to call him.

“You see Jihyun, Sunghoon loves you. He called all the way over here to speak to you.”

I plopped back down into the bed.

“It didn’t say who the message was for. For all I know, he might be calling to speak to you. Go ahead and call him back Jaeduc, I’m too tired to speak to him.”

Jaeduc shot me a dirty look as he took the cordless phone and went inside the bathroom to call Sunghoon. He may have still been my boyfriend, but I wasn’t going to let him affect me. About 20 minutes after Jaeduc had made the call, he came out of the bathroom.

“Jihyun, someone wants to speak to you.”

“Who is it?”

“I don’t know.”

I took the phone from Jaeduc, expecting it to be Sunghoon, but I was pleasantly surprised.

“What do you want Sunghoon?”

“Sunghoon?” The voice laughed. “Jihyun honey it’s me.”

Honey? My heart froze. It has been so long since I heard Jiwon call me that, and my senses just came crashing down.

“I’m so sorry Jiwon, I thought it was my boyfriend Sunghoon.”

I silently cursed myself. How could I just blurt out that I had a boyfriend so insensitively to Jiwon?

“Oh so Sunghoon’s your boyfriend huh? I kind of thought it was Jaeduc, being the way that he eyed me this afternoon.”

“Yea I saw, I’m sorry about that also. So what’s up?”

“Nothing really. I miss you Jihyun. I’m closed on Wednesday’s, why don’t we meet up tomorrow and hang out?”

“Tomorrow? Yea that sounds really good Jiwon. You know where my hotel is right? Pick me up from there.’

We spoke for about an hour in total. Jaeduc kept pacing the room to see if I was still speaking to Jiwon. Every time I would smile or laugh, Jaeduc would shake his head in disapproval. When I hung up with Jiwon, I felt rejuvenated.

“So you’re finally off with him huh Jihyun?”

I smiled as I pulled the blanket over my head and cuddled into my bed.

“Jaeduc don’t waste your time lecturing me about Jiwon. Now please turn off the lights and sleep well.”

I heard Jaeduc slam the door shut as he stormed outside. It didn’t matter to me how angry or upset he was. I was following my heart, and that’s the only thing that really mattered.

Chapter Eleven

Jaeduc was so surprised. Since we arrived here in Korea, Jaeduc has been waking me up every morning. But not today… I was up early to prepare myself for the day with Jiwon. When Jaeduc did wake up, he saw me already dressed.

“Jihyun, where are you off to?”

I finished combing my hair. As I was done, I turned to Jaeduc.

“I’m just touring the city today, that’s all.”

“So early? And without me? When were you planning on waking me up?”

“I was going to leave you a note Jaeduc… I just feel like being alone today.”

Before I could even finish my statement, there was a knocking on the hotel door.

“I’ll get it”, I cried.

Just as I opened the door, I felt a pair of strong arms envelope me. Jiwon held on to me tightly as I allowed myself to be sucked into his grasp. Since the last time I’ve seen Jiwon, he has developed into quite a man. He was no longer the young, skinny boy that I once knew before. Jiwon had matured into an endearing gentleman.

To complete this tender hug, Jiwon leaned down slightly and placed a kiss on my cheek. I literally gasped and took a step back. For a moment, I forgot that I had Sunghoon, and I forgot that Jaeduc was in the same room as I.

“Jiwon… How – how are you?”

“I am doing really well right now Jihyun. Are you ready to go now?”

I turned back and saw Jaeduc eyeing us suspiciously. He got up out of bed and walked over to us.

“Going somewhere Jihyun?” Jaeduc said sarcastically

My legs felt as if they were going to collapse under me. Here I was trapped between three people. I wanted Jiwon, I loved Sunghoon, and I was lying to my best friend Jaeduc. Things were starting to crash down around me quick, and I didn’t know how to handle it.

“Yea, I’m sorry it must have slipped my mind Jaeduc. Jiwon and I are planning on hanging out today. I’ll see you later ok?”

Just as I was pushing Jiwon out the door to leave, Jaeduc rushed behind me and pulled my arm back.

“Jihyun, I don’t know what the hell you’re doing but-…”

“Jaeduc please.”

I pulled my arm away from Jaeduc as Jiwon waited outside for me.

“So Jihyun, tell me honestly, Jaeduc hates my guts right?”

“No, he doesn’t. He’s just very anti-sociable.”

As Jiwon and I rode the elevator down together, so many thoughts rushed through my mind. I couldn’t believe that the original love of my life was here with me again. And it seemed as though Jiwon was still interested in me. I mean, when he put his arms around me I felt something there. It was the same feeling when we were together four years back. I still loved him deeply, did Jiwon love me?”

We reached the ground level and Jiwon took my hand and lead me outside.

“Ready to see Seoul again Jihyun?”

I nodded my head as I walked toward the bus stop.

“Jihyun where are you going?”

“Huh? What do you mean? I was walking to the bus stop Jiwon.”

Jiwon stopped walking and looked at me. His brown eyes raced with so much amusement. He walked up to me and grabbed my hand again and laughed. He then led me back to where we were standing before.

“Jihyun… I have changed a lot. I’m no longer the little boy you used to be with before. I have a car now.”

He opened the car door for me and leaned against the front.

“Come on get in.”

I couldn’t help but smiling, Jiwon certainly had a way with women.

After we got settled and started to drive, I began thinking. Jiwon and I were quiet; we weren’t talking to each other at all. But I wasn’t angry, and neither was he. It was because we both understood. No words were needed to comminute the way that we felt. Everyone worked hard to separate us and ensure that we wouldn’t have a future together. But fate was on our side, and it united Jiwon and I again four years later. So now as I sat in Jiwon’s car, I couldn’t help but be inspired by this amazing moment.

I found myself staring at Jiwon as he drove.

When Jiwon stopped at an intersection, he turned to me.

“Jihyun, what’s up? How come you keep looking at me?”

I quickly lowered my head and blushed. Jiwon out stretched his hand and lifted my chin up.

“Talk to me, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing at all, it’s just that I -…”

But the light changed and Jiwon’s eyes were on the rode again. We kept driving until Jiwon finally stopped at this little café on the outskirts of Seoul. When we went inside the café, a table was already prepared for us over in the corner. As Jiwon and I took our seats, I noticed that the view overlooked the beach that Jiwon and I always went to- our special spot…

“I thought it would be nice if we could have breakfast together. I know that I had you out of bed early this morning, and I wasn’t sure if you ate or not.”

The waiter came over with a platter of fresh fruits and orange juice. Jiwon took a small plate and placed some peaches and strawberries on it. He then took his fork and fed me some of the peaches on the plate.

“Here, take a bite Jihyun…”

Whatever he told me to do, I wouldn’t have hesitated to do it. I opened my mouth a little as Jiwon fed me the fresh fruit. He then put the fork down and leaned over to me. Jiwon was so close to my face that I could feel him breathing against me. I closed my eyes preparing for what was going to come next. But instead of Jiwon kissing me, he stroked my cheek gently.

“You beauty still hasn’t changed Jihyun…”

I chastised myself for allowing Jiwon to put me in the position that he just had me in. The two of us finished break fast, and after that we were driving again. Instead of being so crazy over Jiwon, I was weary. It scared me half to death that I was so easily willing to throw away my relationship with Sunghoon because of him. I couldn’t allow Jiwon to capture my heart again.

We spent the rest of the day shopping around Seoul. And maybe I over reacted this morning, because Jiwon took extra care not to violate me in any way possible. It was only when it was starting to get dark that Jiwon had an idea that scared me.

“Jihyun, you remember the place that we always used to go to at the beach? You want to go back just for old times sake?”

Of course I remembered our special spot. How could I ever forget, it was so important to me. I couldn’t resist going there again. So instead of even saying anything, I just nodded my head in agreement.

The cool sea breeze hit me against my face when we arrived at the beach. Jiwon parked the car as I walked down to the shore by myself. I looked around, nothing changed at all. The sea was still as beautiful as ever, and the stars glittered with the night sky. Suddenly, I felt a pair of strong arms around me.

“Jihyun, I haven’t been here since you left me.”

I turned around to face Jiwon. And for the first time in four years, our eyes locked and connected together once again. I shook my head and pulled away as I took a seat on the sand.

“I always dreamed about seeing this place again Jiwon. But I never thought I would, and I never thought that I would be with you again. I pretty much lost all hope when I left Korea.”

Jiwon sat down next to me and took my hand into his.

“I never stopped loving you Jihyun. When you left, I even went as far as to see your parents and plead that you return. But when I realized that you weren’t coming back, I lost all faith. I stopped going to school for days at a time, and eventually I stopped going altogether. It was so hard to cope with everything.”

“But Jiwon, even though I was gone physically, you know you still had my heart emotionally. You know I would never stop loving you.”

“I can’t say that I still have you heart Jihyun. I mean, you told me you had a boyfriend named Sunghoon right?”

I let go of Jiwon’s hand. Jiwon took his finger and started to write in the sand.

“You know Jihyun… when you left me, I swear everything got worse. My mother died a year after you left. And I had no choice but to fend on my own. I took some classes at school and then I opened my little clothing shop. Thank god it was enough to support me. But what hurt me even more was the fact that you didn’t even keep in touch, it was like you forgot me…”

“Jiwon, I’m so sorry that you mother died. I didn’t know… and I never forgot you. I- I – just couldn’t call you.”

Jiwon stood up in front of me.

“You couldn’t call? Why is that Jihyun? Wasn’t our love real? Didn’t I promise to love you forever, what about bond we had?”

My eyes started to tear. Jiwon was so right; it was as if I had totally forgotten about him. I got up off the sand and started walking away.

“I’m sorry for everything Jiwon”, I whispered.

I didn’t want him to see me crying like this. But Jiwon spun me around and saw me anyway. He pulled me close to him and forced me to look at him.

“Jihyun look at me, please…honey, I love you.”

Jiwon leaned down as I wrapped my arms around him. We looked at each other for a minute before Jiwon lowered his lips to mine. He was so close to kissing me when I pushed away.

“I can’t, Jiwon, I just can’t.”

I ran down the shore till my heart wanted to explode. By now, I was crying uncontrollably. Jiwon walked up along the side of me.

“Come on Jihyun, you’ve had a rough night, it’s time to go back to the hotel.”

We rode back to my hotel in silence, but this time it wasn’t the same. I felt bad for turning Jiwon down and also stupid. How could I not follow my heart? But then I remembered Sunghoon and his proposal back in LA. I needed to stay true to my boyfriend.

Again Jiwon opened the car door for me.

“Well you’re here. I hope to see you soon. If I don’t see you again Jihyun, take care of yourself.”

Instead of Jiwon kissing me goodnight, he pointed to his cheek motioning for me to kiss his. I pressed my lips against his soft creamy skin.

“Goodnight Jiwon.”

By the time I got back upstairs, Jaeduc was sitting in the hotel room watching TV.

“Finally back huh? Jihyun… you look like you went through hell. Did he hurt you?”

I sat down next to Jaeduc and he put his hand on my forehead.

“I don’t want to talk about this right now.”

“No we have to Jihyun. Something is wrong, seriously wrong. You never ever lied to me before and you did that tonight. You lied to me because of this Jiwon guy. Now I don’t know what he does to you or how it does it but…don’t be silly. You have so much going for you now with Sunghoon, don’t let empty lust drive a relationship over.”

I started to nod off on the sofa. But as I was in between reality and my own sleep, something Jaeduc said stuck in my head. Maybe these emotions for Jiwon indeed were “empty lust”. But how would I ever know?

Chapter Twelve

I tossed and turned all night long. This wasn’t fair. I was the one who blew Jiwon off completely. He was man enough to share his feelings with me, and tell me how he felt. But I in turn backed away. And I was regretting it now…

What would have happened if I allowed that one kiss between us? The truth is I am too scared to discover how far the two of us could go with these feelings we have.

To top things off, my back was aching. The pain I felt was the real reason that I was up early again this morning. Jaeduc was already awake and sitting by the window, when I got up.

“Good morning Jihyun. Going out with Jiwon again?”

I walked over to the table and poured myself a cup of coffee.

“Why did you let me sleep on the sofa all night long? I think that really screwed up my back… it’s killing me now.”

“I’m sorry Jihyun, about your back and all but… I asked you a question and you totally avoided it.”

“Jaeduc I’m going to see him today one last time. And he doesn’t know I’m going to visit him… so that’s that ok?”

After I got up I stormed into the bathroom to take a long hot shower. I really didn’t know what I was going to say when I went to see Jiwon today. Should I tell him I wanted to kiss him and I loved him even more than before? So many questions just flew through my head. There could have even been a chance that Jiwon wasn’t feeling as strong as I did, and maybe I was just terribly mistaken.

As I was drying my hair, something even more important crossed my thoughts.

“Oh my god…” I whispered.

Back home in LA, Sunghoon was waiting for me to give him an answer to his proposal. Since I came here, the whole proposal hasn’t even crossed my mind. I’m just going to say yes. I love Sunghoon already, and this just means taking my love one step further.

I got out of the bathroom, fully dressed and was ready to go.

“Jaeduc, I’ll be back here this afternoon ok?”

And I was on my way to see Jiwon…

It felt totally weird to go back to the spot where I first saw him again. But sure enough, Jiwon was sitting by his little clothing space.

His eyes immediately lit up when he saw me.

“I hope you didn’t come just to look at the clothes.”

My eyes locked on the same sweater that I saw before when I was here. It was a black fitted v-neck lined with rhinestones. I felt the soft material of the sweater as I thought about how nice it would be.

Jiwon picked up the sweater as he got up and walked over to me.

“Jihyun, here… I know you love this. It’s my gift to you.”

“No, Jiwon. I didn’t come here for free gifts or to shop either. I want to talk about what happened between us last night.”

I lowered my head as I began talking to Jiwon. He took a deep breath as he leaned against the railing.

“Go ahead I’m listening.”

“I allowed myself to be put in a position that I had no right being involved in. Jiwon I may care for you, but that gives me no right to act the way I did. I am 22 years old with a boyfriend of two years, and I acted so irresponsibly.”

“Jihyun, stop and let me guess what you’re going to say next. ‘You can’t be with me, but you still love me and I’m sorry if I hurt you’.”

I looked up at Jiwon again and I could see that his face was fixed in a scowl.

“Jiwon you’re not making this any easier for me. I am sorry oppa; I just can’t do this again… I’m sorry but I have to go.”

My feet made me run, but if it were up to my heart I would have stayed. I ran out of the store all the way to the bus through the crowded city streets. When I got on the bus, I took a seat all the way in the back and cried. Many people looked at me, some even stared but I didn’t care any more. Once again I parted with Jiwon and this time it was even harder than before. It never occurred to me that I would have to go through all of this just to stay true to Sunghoon.

When I got off the bus I looked at my watch and saw that it was now 1 o’clock in the afternoon. My hotel room was slightly open as I pushed the door more carefully.

“Hello? Is anyone in here?”

I walked inside and saw nothing out of order, suddenly I felt someone holding on to me. Jaeduc jumped out from sofa and was standing in front of me laughing wildly.

But wait… if Jaeduc was standing in front of me… then he who holding on to me from the back. I turned around and saw Sunghoon!

“Jihyun, I missed you so much!”

Sunghoon was now hugging me from the front, and my whole mind started to race. Oh my God, I thought, this is going to get so hectic for me. Not only do I have to deal with Jiwon, but now Sunghoon is here in Korea also.

“Sunghoon, I thought you couldn’t get any days off to come down here.”

“I couldn’t at first… but then I begged my boss for 4 days off just so I could fly down here to be with you Jihyun. I know we ended our last conversation on a bad note, and I couldn’t wait till Sunday when you came home to solve it.”

He just held on to me and wrapped me even tighter in his arms.

Jaeduc, Sunghoon, and I just spent the rest of the day in our hotel room together. In one aspect, it felt good to have Sunghoon here with me. He provided me with a sense of security and stability, and of course his love. But my thoughts were still placed on Jiwon. Our goodbye was so hard and painful for me.

“Jihyun, are you ok?” Sunghoon asked.

Before I could answer him, we heard a knocking on the hotel door.

“I’ll get it”, I said.

I was opening the door with the expectation that it would be room service or the cleaners. But it was neither. I opened the door and saw Jiwon standing there with a medium sized bag in his hand.

“Are you busy?” he asked.

My face grew pale and white. I could feel myself starting to break out in a sweat.

“I- I…”

I felt like I was going to faint.

“I’m not busy Jiwon, you can come inside.”

Jiwon walked into the hotel room very cautiously and saw Jaeduc and Sunghoon sitting on the sofa. Sunghoon eyed him as he got off his feet.

“Jiwon I want you to meet my boyfriend Sunghoon, Sunghoon this is an old friend.”

The two of them shook hands almost unwittingly. Jiwon still had the medium sized bag in this hand, but now he was looking around the room uncomfortably.

“What you got there?” said Sunghoon in an attempt to be friendly.

“Oh this? Well actually it’s a little gift for Jihyun. Something for her to take back to California since I haven’t seen her in so long.”

Jiwon gave me the bag as I stood there still in shock that the two of them were in the same room together. After a minute or so, there was a growing silence.

“Well Jihyun, have a good trip back home. Nice meeting you Sunghoon. Good to see you again Jaeduc.”

He gave me a short hug and quickly left after that. Sunghoon took my arm and lead me back over to the sofa.

“What a weird guy Jihyun. How come you never mentioned him to me before?”

“He’s no one particularly important Sunghoon.”

I looked up and saw Jaeduc eyeing me. All of a sudden I just felt so sick.

“You guys I hate to ruin this night but I think I’m going to sleep early. I want to catch up on some rest.”

Sunghoon kissed me good night as I went to my bedroom.

There, I sat on the bed with the bag that Jiwon had given me. I pulled out its contents and slowly unwrapped the package. It was the sweater I had wanted! On top of the sweater was a card it read:

Dear Jihyun,

I told you this sweater was a gift to you. I hope you like it and wear it often. The real reason I came back to your hotel room was to not only give you the gift. I missed you Jihyun and I didn’t want us to say goodbye the way we did. I realize you have a boyfriend and I can see you love him very much. But Jihyun, the love I have for you cannot compare to anything that anyone can give you. I always remembered you and each day that we were apart, I learned to love you more. And it was the love that I had for you that kept me going when my mother died. Jihyun, you are everything to me please don’t turn me away…

Jiwon

I held the card against my chest as I slipped down into bed. My heart was aching, how could he put his words so eloquently and precise? I felt the same way but I could never express myself like that. Just as I was putting everything away, I saw another little card. On it was Jiwon’s address and phone number. Deep down inside, I know I should have thrown it away. But I didn’t because I knew that I was probably going to see him again before I left.

Chapter Thirteen

Today was a very special day for me. I had designated this day to see my parents. They were dying to meet Sunghoon. But after they found out that he wasn’t coming to Korea, they were disappointed. Now Sunghoon was here with me, and my parents still didn’t know. Soon it would be a total surprise to them all.

Sunghoon and I got out of bed this morning, ready to go to my parent’s house. He seemed so excited to meet them, and I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious. My mother would surely bring Jiwon’s name into the conversation; she would more than likely compare Sunghoon to Jiwon.

The two of us rode in a cab to my parent’s house on the other side of Seoul. I got the taxi driver to beep the horn just as we pulled up to the front of the house. Just as I was stepping out of the car, my mother ran outside.

“Jihyun ah!”

My mother wrapped her arms around me. When she let me go, her eyes immediately shifted to Sunghoon who was holding my purse in his hands. She walked up to Sunghoon and started patting the jacket of his suit.

“My goodness, Jihyun who is this? Sunghoon? I thought he couldn’t make it to Korea?”

“Mom, this is Sunghoon, he was able to make it here after all.”

Sunghoon took my hand as we walked inside of my house and sat down. It felt weird to be in the same house again that shared so many memories. My father came over and hugged me.

“Jihyun, I’m so happy you’re here.”

The four of us sat and talked, as my mother grilled Sunghoon about everything to his family down to his business. She wanted to make sure he was nothing like Jiwon.

“Well Jihyun, I am quite impressed with the young man you decided to settle down with. He’s the complete opposite of that Jiwon you last dated.”

I shot my mother a dirty look, but she still continued anyway.

“Jiwon was so not for you, he was just a common boy off the street, who probably amounted to nothing at all.”

I wasn’t sitting down any longer on the sofa. My feet had me up as I stood in front of my mother ready to defend Jiwon. Sunghoon just sat back watching the whole spectacle.

“Mother, you do not know what Jiwon ever amounted to. He could be a successful business man for all you know.”

My mother lowered her head; I thought she would surely apologize. But, it just fueled her on her way.

“Jihyun I don’t know why you’re getting so worked up. You have Sunghoon who fits your standards more than Jiwon. And you’re right; he could own his own business. But I find it very hard for him to be that prosperous if he dropped out of high school.”

That was the last straw; I picked up my purse form the sofa. In the process of snatching it up in my fury, the bag fell over. Sunghoon bent down to pick up the contents. He was giving everything back to me when the little card with Jiwon’s name and address fell into his hands.

I looked up at Sunghoon and the same time he looked up at me. Suddenly I knew that all the secrets and hidden feelings for Jiwon were out. Sunghoon grabbed my hand and looked at me sadly

“I’m sorry to the both of you. Mom, dad we have to leave. Please take care of yourself.”

Before my parents could even protest, Sunghoon and I were already outside and walking down the block. He stood in front of me driven by anger.

“Jihyun what the hell is going on?” he yelled. “I tried to keep my cool in there with your parents, but it was so hard for me. Why didn’t you tell me you and Jiwon used to date? And oh my god, god damn it… that day… that day we kissed Jihyun- you called me Jiwon… you called me Jiwon!”

By now Sunghoon was violently shaking me, I couldn’t even disagree with what he was saying because it was all true.

“And what is this card huh? Now he’s giving you his address? Does he expect you to come visit him, well wait till he sees who comes to visit him instead.”

Sunghoon let go of me and started walking briskly down the block. He hailed a taxi, and was about to go inside when I ran up to him.

“Sunghoon, please… where are you going?”

“I’m going to see Jiwon.”

I ran to the other side of the car and got in. Sunghoon turned his entire body away from me; I have never seen him so angry in my entire life.

“Sunghoon please, talk to me.”

I took his hand into mine, but he pulled his hand violently away from mine. The taxi made a sudden halt and announced that we were here. As we were driving into the front yard of Jiwon’s house, his car was coming in also.

Sunghoon ran up to the car as Jiwon was getting out.

First Jiwon looked at me, then he turned back to Sunghoon.

“Hey Sunghoon, nice to see you again.”

Before I could even stop it, Sunghoon had Jiwon pinned up against his garage door.

“You listen to me, I want you to stay the hell away from Jihyun ok? She doesn’t need you, and I don’t appreciate you giving her little cards with your name and address on it. She’s not your little whore, find someone else to screw with ok.”

Jiwon freed himself out of Sunghoon’s grasp. And they eyed ach other with so much hatred. Sunghoon walked up to me and grabbed my hand and started dragging me out of Jiwon’s yard.

“Let’s go Jihyun…”

“No Sunghoon wait! Stop! You’re hurting me let me go!”

Jiwon ran up to Sunghoon and pulled his arm away from mine. Sunghoon turned around and without hesitation; he swung at the unsuspecting Jiwon. Jiwon fell back onto the grass holding his jawbone. I ran over to him and held his head in between my hands.

“Oh my god, Jiwon are you ok?”

“Jihyun let’s go…”

Sunghoon started to pull on my shirt.

“Jiwon speak to me?”

After a couple more seconds of shock Jiwon got up again and knocked Sunghoon to the grass. Jiwon was on top of him while Sunghoon was pinned under him. Jiwon grabbed Sunghoon’s shirt and grinded it between his fingers. While all of this was happening, I was yelling at Jiwon to let Sunghoon go.

“Sunghoon, you are one lucky bastard… the only reason I won’t kick your ass is because I know Jihyun would hate me for it.”

Sunghoon finally had the chance to push Jiwon off of him as he released his grip. The two of them were staggering, barely able to keep their balance, but Sunghoon still had the strength to pull my arm.

“Jihyun we’re leaving…” Sunghoon said breathlessly.

It took all the strength inside of me to do what I was about to do. I pulled my hand away form Sunghoon and stayed in the same spot.

“I can’t go back to the hotel with you Sunghoon.”

He looked as tough he had seen a ghost. He raised his hand up to my hair and started stroking my head. It absolutely pained me to be going through this.

“Jihyun…” Sunghoon’s voice croaked. “Please, don’t do this to me.”

“I can’t go with you Sunghoon… Jiwon needs me now.”

I walked back over to Jiwon and helped him inside of the house. I looked back one last time at Sunghoon. He was still standing there in awe. My eyes closed one last time as I took Jiwon inside of his house…

Chapter Fourteen

“Ow, Jihyun please be careful that hurts like hell.”

I helped ease Jiwon into bed as I laid him upright against the headboard. Now I had the task of getting Jiwon out of his ripped shirt and tending to the jaw that Sunghoon had tried to break. I leaned forward on Jiwon to unbutton his shirt and help him out of it

As Jiwon lay on the bed, I sat in front of him. He stopped me from un-doing the buttons by placing his hand on top of mine. I slightly gasped when our two hands met.

“Jihyun, I appreciate you doing this for me but, it’s ok. I mean Sunghoon is your boyfriend, he needs you now more than I do.”

I pulled my hand away from Jiwon and continued to unbutton the shirt.

“Jiwon, Sunghoon is not the one with a hurt jaw. He threw the first punch, which was totally inappropriate and immature. You are my friend and I want to help you, so please let me…”

Just as I was about to reach the top button of his shirt, Jiwon shifted his body a little and brought himself closer to me. My body completely froze as I felt Jiwon’s body closer to mine.

“I can get that button, it’s ok I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

“Oh hehe, I’m not uncomfortable. I just um- well… while you do that I’ll go get some warm water.”

I flew off the bed as Jiwon looked at me curiously. When I went into Jiwon’s bathroom, I shut the door and stared at myself in the mirror.

“Jihyun,” I said to myself. “what is going on with you? Here’s you chance to spend these last couple of days with Jiwon. Don’t blow it for yourself.”

There was a small bucket on the floor next to Jiwon’s hamper. I filled it halfway with warm water and took a washcloth back to Jiwon’s room. By now Jiwon was sitting upright still in his bed without a shirt on. I stumbled a little as I walked back to his bed and took a seat beside him.

Jiwon watched me as I dipped the cloth in the water and applied it to his jaw. Having his soft skin in my hands again brought shivers to my spine. I just continued to stroke his skin gently. As I let my guard down, Jiwon stopped my hand from stroking his face. He looked into my eyes and pulled me closer to him. Our eyes locked as our lips almost touched.

“Jihyun?” he whispered.

“Yes?”

“I’m going to kiss you, is that ok?”

I nodded my head as Jiwon brought me closer to him. My head or heart didn’t know how long that kiss between us lasted, but it should have last forever. I almost forgot how sweet Jiwon’s kisses were up until that moment. It was as if our lips were made to be together, and that kiss felt like destiny was being fulfilled.

“Jiwon I …”

“Shh don’t say a word.”

He pulled me into his arms and kept me in his warm embrace. It was almost intoxicating to feel his pure flesh against my own.

“Jiwon… I’m so sorry but- Sunghoon asked me to marry him.”

Jiwon bent his head to look at me.

“He did what? Jihyun, when did he ask you to marry him? What was your answer?

“Sunghoon asked me while we were back in California. I told him no Jiwon… because even back then you were always on my mind. I couldn’t say yes to him when I still loved you.”

I moved myself closer to Jiwon. I took his hand into mine; Jiwon’s heart was racing.

“You loved me all along Jihyun?”

I nodded my head.

Jiwon lowered his lips to my neck and slowly started to kiss up the nape of my neck.
He worked his way up until he had reached my own lips. Instead of kissing me right away, Jiwon tenderly took my head into his hands and then kissed me.

I pushed Jiwon down gently back onto the bed. And we continued kissing each other passionately. When I had stopped kissing Jiwon, he continued, slowly reaching for my neck again.

“Am I going too fast for you Jihyun?”

We reversed roles, instead of me being on top of Jiwon, he rolled me onto the bottom. As for his question, I shook my head in reply, the pleasure he was giving me was too much to even fathom.

“Good, I’m glad, because I love you too much to let you go.”

Jiwon shifted again over to my lips. His soft pink lips pressed against mine and pried my mouth open.

Even though I tried with all my power not to lose control to Jiwon, my efforts were fruitless.

I softly moaned into his mouth as he then pulled away from me. Jiwon made me sit up as he slowly eased me out of my shirt.

“Jihyun it’s now or never, are you sure that you want to do this.”

All I could do was push Jiwon back down on the bed in reply. Now I was the one in control, slowly returning those sensuous kisses that he had once given me.

I lowered my body so close to his that my lips were only inches away from his ear.

“Jiwon… I need you…show me that you need me too…make love to me”

Jiwon smiled at me as we shared our love together for the first time. And nothing was going through my head the entire time except the love I felt for Jiwon. He was extra gentle, making sure not to hurt himself or me either. The experience between us was amazing, something that couldn’t even be explained by words… This was our way of sealing our love for each other eternally.

Chapter Fifteen

When the sunshine came in on Jiwon and I this morning, I literally felt energized. But it was the ringing of the telephone that actually woke the two of us up this Friday morning.

Jiwon stretched his body across mine to answer the phone. But first he kissed me good morning and gave me a warm smile.

“Hello?” he asked sleepily.

I could tell it was someone he did not want to speak to by the look on his face.

“Listen, she makes her own choices, I’m here for her as whatever she needs me to be. We’re not going to continue this conversation.”

Jiwon slammed the phone back down as he got out of bed and walked over to the window. I crawled out of bed and wrapped my arms around Jiwon’s waist.

“Oppa, what’s wrong?”

“That was Jaeduc, he says Sunghoon is back at the hotel going crazy. He wants you to come back now.”

I forgot about Sunghoon, even though Jiwon and I spent an incredible night together I still had to own up to the consequences.

“Jiwon, I need you to be there with me. Please?”

He turned me around so I could face him.

“I’ll do anything for you Jihyun.”

The two of us took showers and got ready to maybe face the hardest time in our lives.

When we got back to the hotel, Jiwon and I were scared to open the door. The two of us stood there wondering what would be the outcome. I took the initiative and opened the door and walked inside with Jiwon following behind me.

Jaeduc and Sunghoon were sitting on the sofa waiting for me to come in. They saw that I had Jiwon with me. As I looked around the hotel room, I noticed that all the suitcases had been brought out… Including my suitcase, everything was packed away.

I looked back over at Jiwon.

“It’s ok you can go, I don’t think you want to be here for this.”

“I do…”

Jiwon took a seat behind me as I walked over to Sunghoon.

“Sunghoon, I am so sorry for what happened between us. I-“

Sunghoon got up and walked over to me, He had an evil look in his eye, and up until now he still hadn’t said a word to me.

“You don’t have to say anything Jihyun. As I was walking home yesterday after you left me, I had a lot of time to think about everything. I had so much respect for you and you just threw it all way. I understand that you may still love Jiwon, but what about the two years you had committed to me. Did they mean nothing, or did you just fantasize that you were with Jiwon all the time, like that time you kissed me and said his name.”

My eyes were begging to tear up again. I tried to take Sunghoon’s hand and plead with him, but he just continued his piercing words stabbing me with each thought.

“No Jihyun, you can’t win with me this time. I’m not finished yet. I felt like killing myself when you went off with him last night. It occurred to me that I wasn’t the real person that you wanted; it had been Jiwon all along. So then it came to me, that’s why you didn’t want to marry me. Because of him… because you love him Jihyun….”

By now I was on my knees crying in front of Sunghoon. Everything he said was true and it hurt so much to have him realize this. Jiwon tried to come over to me and comfort me, but I just pushed him away.

“I know you made love with him Jihyun, I can tell you’re completely different now but here’s the crazy apart, I still love you. I still want to be with you, Jihyun… I still want you to marry me.”

He got on his knees next to me. And I realized… Jiwon and I had a magical night and we will always be destined together. But I couldn’t be with him if I was hurting another person in the process. Sunghoon was the person who put up with me through this entire ordeal, he still loved me. I couldn’t just abandon him…

“So Jihyun, I’m asking you to go back to America with Jaeduc and I today. The flight is at 12; we could make it if you say yes. Let’s go back home and start over again please…”

Before I could get up and look at Jiwon, I think he knew that something was wrong. I walked over to him, tear stricken, and placed my hand on his face.

“Jiwon”, I whispered.

Jiwon grabbed my hand as his voice started to shake.

“Oh god Jihyun no…”

“Jiwon please…” I pleaded through my tears.

Jiwon dropped to his knees and hugged the two of my legs; he was now starting to cry also.

“Please Jihyun don’t leave me again, I can’t bear to have you leave me again…”

“But it’s not fair to Sunghoon, I’m his girlfriend Jiwon. We had our chance.”

“We weren’t given a chance, you left me before and everything ended between us.”

“Jihyun you need to hurry so we can go”, Sunghoon shouted.

“Jiwon get up. Look at me, I’m sorry I love you… but this is the way it has to be.”

Jaeduc and Sunghoon started to carry the luggage out of the hotel room.

“I have to go…”

As I was leaving, Jiwon grabbed me again and he wrapped me into his arms and kissed me.

In our kiss I could taste the sweet flavor of his lips mixed with the salty bitter tears.

“Please don’t go, I’m begging you, I can’t live without you…”

But after our kiss ended, I just let go of Jiwon and followed Sunghoon and Jaeduc down to the lobby. Before I left, I turned around one last time and saw Jiwon sitting on the floor in the hotel room. It hurt so much to leave him again, but for now this was the way our love had to be…

Chapter Sixteen

Two slow staggering weeks had passed by since I left Korea. And as much as Sunghoon tried to move on and pretend that everything was ok between us, I just was not feeling the same way. Up to now, I still hadn’t given Sunghoon my answer to his marriage proposal. I guess deep down inside he knew that I was going to say no, and probably didn’t even bother to ask me again.

Even more importantly, my heart, body, mind, and soul yearned for Jiwon. As soon as I came back home to LA, I tried to call Jiwon. But each time I called, an answering machine came on. I knew before when we broke up, that he dropped out of school. At the back of my head was a little thought that maybe he wasn’t going to work either. I didn’t want Jiwon to throw away his life again because of me; I didn’t deserve to have him.

Just as I was about to close up my flower shop, I looked up quickly and glanced at myself. I was wearing the black sweater that Jiwon had given me. My hand naturally went up to my neck to feel the soft material of the sweater, as I stared at myself. I looked away quickly, but my eyes were already starting to water. Jiwon was what I needed to live; he was my reason for waking up every day.

The little bells that I had attached to the door started to ring.

I looked around, and saw that it was Sunghoon. In his hand was a bouquet of a dozen white roses. He walked up to me with a smile on his face and a genuine gleam in his eyes.

“Jihyun, I thought about you all day long.”

Sunghoon put the flowers in my hand, and I couldn’t help but smile.

“I wasn’t expecting you.”

“I know but I kind of wanted to surprise you. There’s a little carnival in the city. Would you maybe want to go?”

I contemplated whether or not I should go. For the past two weeks, all I would do is sit home and sulk over Jiwon. Maybe going out again with Sunghoon would be all I needed to get my life back on track.

“Sure let’s go.”

Sunghoon helped me clean up my shop and soon we were on our way.

I must admit, I was having a great time. The carnival wasn’t crowded at all since it was late in the evening. It was as if Sunghoon and I had the entire event to ourselves. We did all kinds of things, went on rides, visited the fun house, Sunghoon even won a giant teddy bear.

There was this one lady off to the side however. She had a table set up in the corner that she was sitting at. On the table was a sign that read, “Get you palm read today!” The curiosity inside of me erupted. I wanted to see what she had to say.

“Sunghoon look! That lady is a psychic, let’s see what she says about us.”

But instead of Sunghoon running excitedly like I was. He reluctantly followed me.

“I don’t know Jihyun, I mean I’m not too crazy about these psychic people.”

I grabbed his hand and dragged him over to the lady with me.

As we got to her table, she stood up and immediately stared at the two of us.

“Ahh… I see a young couple. Take a seat the two of you, and I will tell you everything you need to know.”

Sunghoon gave me a questioning look. The lady took my hand and stared into my palm.

“I see you are a young woman, in her early twenties right?”

I nodded my head. Sunghoon pushed himself off to the side and snickered.

“Right, right and your name… it begins with a J. I know this because you are beautiful and the letter J reflects beauty. I also see you have a long love line. You line extends to someone, whoever that person is, you must love very much. But I sense that the man you love is not the one you’re with now.”

I pulled my hand away from her and looked at her in sheer awe. Sunghoon turned back around and looked at me then the lady. He got out of the seat and pulled my other hand.

“Jihyun, this is garbage. I can take your hand and tell you any crap also. This lady is a fake.”

But before Sunghoon could get away, the woman grabbed his hand also.

“Don’t go young man. I see something for you also. You are very passionate, caring, and sensual about the woman you love. You will endure and go through anything just to have her… but her heart doesn’t belong to you. I see another young man between you and the woman you love, this is the man she truly loves.”

Sunghoon snatched his hand away from her, and pulled the lady’s hand.

“Who told you to say this?” he screamed. “Who put you up to this damn it, tell me!”

“I’m sorry but I only tell you what I see.”

I pulled Sunghoon away after I paid the woman. My head was pounding, I couldn’t even think. The two of us walked over to a bench on the side of the carnival. Sunghoon never smokes, but at that moment he pulled out a cigarette and started smoking away. I knew he was troubled deeply.

He looked over at me, as if he were analyzing my soul. Sunghoon reached over to me and placed my hand into his.

“Jihyun…”

“Yes?”

“I think it’s best if we go our separate ways.”

I pulled my hand from Sunghoon’s in shock. He was actually breaking up with me? But I couldn’t understand. I mean I thought that we had gotten over the worst part of our relationship. Now, it looked as though it were now beginning.

“But I don’t understand why.”

For the first time in the two years I’ve known Sunghoon, he started to cry. He looked up at me and held my head between his hands.

“I know you don’t love me the way that I love you. And I try to pretend that you do. But every time I look around, I am reminded again that Jiwon is the person you love. I can’t compare to him Jihyun, and it hurts me too much to even try anymore. So it’s easier for me to let you go, even though it breaks me up inside.”

Sunghoon was right. My love for him now was simply the type of love that I would feel for a friend. I couldn’t even try to act as though I loved him the same way.

“I’m sorry…”

I leaned over to Sunghoon and gave him a kiss on his cheek. I then got up and started walking home. The walk would give me some time to think about what had just happened. Not only was Jiwon lost to me, but now I knew how it felt to be left by someone you cared for.

Chapter Seventeen

“It’s like you turned against me Jaeduc.”

I slammed the pitcher of orange juice down on the table, as Jaeduc and I ate breakfast early this Saturday morning.

Jaeduc looked up from his scrambled eggs and gave me a curious stare.

“I’m not against you Jihyun. I’m just so…”

“Just say how you feel.”

He pushed himself from the table and got up. Jaeduc stormed over to the window and just looked out.

“You want to know how I feel Jihyun? Well I’ll tell you. I cannot believe that you would be stupid enough to throw away your relationship with Sunghoon because of Jiwon. Damn it, Jiwon is all the way in Korea. You’ve been back here for almost a month now, and you still haven’t heard anything from him.”

I turned away from Jaeduc. He walked back over to me and got on his knees and knelt down in front of me.

“Jihyun he used you. He doesn’t care about you… Sunghoon does. You screwed up.”

Inside my body, I could feel my anger rising. If there was one thing I couldn’t tolerate, was someone bad mouthing Jiwon.

“You got you story all messed up Jaeduc. Sunghoon was the one who dumped me; he was the one who let me go. I was willing to give up on my feelings for Jiwon and start over with Sunghoon. Jiwon doesn’t call me because I told him not to, I told him that everything was over between him and me. I broke his heart Jaeduc.”

By now I was shaking and trembling so violently. I tried to keep still, but my insides felt as if they were going to explode.

“Oh my god Jihyun, I didn’t know…. Wait Sunghoon broke up with you?”

But I just couldn’t take it anymore. I ran back upstairs to my room to get my jacket. I couldn’t stay in this house any longer. Maybe I would work today just to get my mind off things.

When I was fully dressed, I came charging down the stairs past Jaeduc.

“Jihyun wait, I’m sorry please talk to me.”

“There’s nothing to talk about…”

Just as I was out the door, I saw Sunghoon’s car pulling up in the driveway. I froze at first, but then I concentrated on how I could avoid him. I turned and started to walk in the opposite direction, but Sunghoon had already seen me.

“Jihyun wait!”

I stopped. Sunghoon got out of his car and walked towards me.

“Hey where are you going so early today?”

The anger inside of me suddenly wanted to get out, and Sunghoon was the only person who was there.

“Why did you tell Jaeduc that I broke up with you huh?”

Sunghoon’s smiling face dropped, as his skin turned pale white. He cleared his throat, and his gaze lowered to the ground.

“I didn’t tell him you broke up with me.”

“Oh yea? Well you just made it look like I did. I’m sorry Sunghoon but the way everything is between us is your fault. And I don’t appreciate you trying to make me look like the bad person and you as the helpless victim. I came back to America with you. I ended the love between Jiwon and I for you. I was willing to throw everything away with him and start over for you. And you still have the nerve to make me look bad? You are a selfish man Sunghoon.”

By now Jaeduc was outside watching the whole spectacle between Sunghoon and I. I stormed past Sunghoon. And as I was walking past him, he grabbed my arm and held me back.

“Jihyun…” his voice was on the brink of tears. “I’m so sorry, please give me anot-“

“No, let me go.”

I pulled Sunghoon’s hand off of mine, and continued walking.

On my way over to the flower shop, I felt so stupid. It was good to care about people and it’s also good to want to sacrifice for people. But there comes a time in your life that you must put everything else aside and please yourself. How did I expect to only live my life for another person? It was true, I did love Sunghoon, but Jiwon and I were meant to be together.

I turned down my chance for love, just to make someone else happy. And in the process of doing so, I only hurt myself.

Even working straight through the day at the flower shop didn’t ease my troubles. Many people came in, requesting special bouquets and other flower arrangements, but my mind wasn’t set to it.

Around 6 o’clock or so, I decided that it was time for me to close up the shop. I went to the front of the store first to put up the “I’m sorry, we’re closed” sign. After I did that, I went around to the back to clean up the flowers that were on the ground. In the process of cleaning, I heard the bells on the doors ring.

“I’m sorry, I’ve closed for the night.” I shouted from the back.

But there was no answer. I dried my hands on the apron I wore and went to the front of the store.

I almost dropped dead…

Chapter Eighteen

“Jiwon…” my voice barely stammered.

For a moment in time, I first had to decide if this was real. My sight could have been fooling me. But if I wasn’t mistaken, I could swear that Jiwon was standing in the front door way of my flower shop.

Almost in a trance, I walked toward him with my hand extended out. When we were close to touching each other, Jiwon firmly gripped my hand and pulled me into his arms. We stood there, frozen…locked in each other’s arms…no words still spoken.

Then Jiwon convinced me that this was real, that this love between us had been brought together again for a second time by fate. Jiwon slowly lowered his lips to me, while I trembled with anticipation. Before Jiwon kissed me however, he lifted his head again and looked straight into my eyes.

“Don’t be scared Jihyun…I’m here now…”

I sighed in relief, more of victory. No matter how I tried to escape the true feelings of my heart, they always found a way to remind me of how I really felt.

After I closed my eyes in bliss, Jiwon mimicked the same actions as before. He slowly lowered his lips to mine and captured my mouth. It was the type of kiss that didn’t require any false emotion or pretense, just very soft loving smooth and sensual.

When we finally broke apart, I pulled myself even closer to Jiwon.

“Oppa…I am so happy that you came back to me. Please, let’s never ever leave each other again.”

“Jihyun, I couldn’t leave you behind. You are my reason for living and I need you.”

He and I cleaned up the flower shop and closed it down. I had to figure out what to do next with Jiwon. I couldn’t just leave him in a hotel in some strange town, but I knew that we would have to deal with Jaeduc and Sunghoon.

The two of us walked outside towards the bus stop.

“Jihyun, what’s wrong, is there something on your mind?”

“No, I just um…”

Jiwon stopped me from walking and held me in place. He put one hand on my chin as he lifted up my face towards him.

“You can’t lie to me. Please Jihyun, tell me what’s wrong.”

“Sunghoon broke up with me about a week ago. And before I came to work today, we had a fight, and I guess it’s still in the back of my mind.”

Jiwon just hugged me that was all I really needed. We both looked up and saw that a bus going in the direction of my house was coming.

“Jihyun, let’s just not worry about the little things in life anymore.”

And with that I nodded my head as we boarded the bus.

I guess I wasn’t really thinking about what Sunghoon and Jaeduc would do when I returned with Jiwon. It was a big shock to me, let alone them.

Before Jiwon and I went inside of my beach house, we stood out on the front porch.

“I’m so scared Jiwon. I feel like that day you came home with me after I cut school. It’s déjà vu all over again.

Jiwon just held my hand tightly.

“The difference is this time we can’t and will not be separated from each other. Jihyun, I mean it, we’re going to make it through this one together.”

Something inside of me told me not to be afraid anymore. This was the time to prove my heart and true feelings to the people around me. I pulled my keys out of my pocket and pushed open the door.

Inside, Jaeduc and Sunghoon were sitting in the living room. Sunghoon immediately stood up when he saw me come inside. He rushed towards me.

“Jihyun…” Sunghoon pulled me close to him.

“I am so sorry for everything that happened earlier today.”

But at one point I saw Sunghoon look past me. There, in the front doorway, he saw Jiwon standing there with his bags. Sunghoon let me go as I saw his face turn into one of shock.

He closed is eyes and backed away from the door unto the couch. Jaeduc looked over at the two of us. After staring for a minute or so, he got up and approached me.

“Jihyun look, I apologize for today but… I don’t want Jiwon staying in this house. It’s disrespectful to me and Sunghoon.”

I could feel my anger rising.

“Disrespectful?” I shouted. “How could it be disrespectful Jaeduc? I live in the house also, I help pay the bills and Jiwon is my guest. He can stay here.”

I took Jiwon’s hand and started to lead him upstairs to my room, but Jaeduc jumped in front of me.

“I am not joking Jihyun, he can’t stay here, and I’m serious.”

We stood there, eyes locked on each other.

“Fine, if he can’t stay here, then I won’t either.”

Jiwon and I stormed outside as Sunghoon and Jaeduc both called after us.

We kept walking down to the seashore. When we got tired, Jiwon and I stopped and sat on the sand.

“Everything is just so wrong.”

I leaned my head on Jiwon as we cuddled together.

“Jihyun, I don’t want to disrupt your life.”

“Jiwon, you’re not disrupting anything, I love you, and I won’t let anything tear us apart.”

Jiwon lowered his head and kissed me on the neck. He repeated the same slow motion as I closed my eyes in reverie.

“”I am glad you feel that way Jihyun, because I have something to ask you.”

He reached down inside of his pocket until he pulled out a small black box.

I opened my eyes again, wide this time and watched Jiwon.

“What’s that?” I stammered.

“Jihyun…I came from Korea for one reason. You… I will not go back home until I am sure that you and I belong to each other. Jihyun, please will you be my wife?”

My heart started to pound faster every second. Jiwon picked up my hand and kissed every single one of my fingers, when he came to my ring ringer he opened the box and placed the ring on me.

“Jiwon, I …”

“You don’t have to rush. I know this is a hectic time for the both of us and I would never want to add on to the troubles. Just tell me you love me…”

“I do love you Jiwon.”

“Well that’s all I need to hear.”

That night, we just stayed on the beach together, like we did four years ago. But deep down inside I knew that even though this was so perfect, the worse was yet to come.

Chapter Nineteen

Every year I had a special flower show in my shop. It would be a very well planned out event. Months before the show, I always pre- ordered special imported flowers from all around the world, and I would set up a special exhibit just for them.

Sunghoon always helped me prepare for the show when we were together, but everything was so different now. I had no clue as to whether or not he would want to help me since all that has happened. As Jiwon and I woke up from the beach this Sunday morning, we felt refreshed, but we were covered in sand. The two of us woke up and looked at each other and giggled.

“Hehe look at you Jiwon, you have sand in your hair.”

“Well all of your clothes are covered in sand.”

I took Jiwon’s hand as we walked up the shore to my house. It was already 10 o’clock when the two of us went back inside the beach house. Sunghoon was sitting on the sofa reading the Sunday newspaper.

He looked up from reading the paper and looked at Jiwon and I. I gulped uneasily.

“Jiwon, it’s ok you can go take a shower first.”

“Are you sure your ok?”

“Yea yea I’m great go ahead.”

Jiwon took one of his bags upstairs as I sat down next to Sunghoon.

“Hi…” I whispered.

“Uh huh, hey…”

Sunghoon was trying his best to ignore me. He picked up the magazine that was on the coffee table and leafed through it.

“So you spent the night here? How come?”

“My best friend lives here doesn’t he?”

That hurt… I was hoping that maybe Sunghoon and I could have got past our differences and maybe, just maybe work something out that fit the four of us just fine.

“Sunghoon look, I know you hate me right now but… today is my annual flower show. I was wondering if maybe you would want to-“

“No.” he bluntly answered.

I turned my head around and stared directly at Sunghoon. Had he said no before I could even finish my question? From that point on, I knew that he couldn’t be mature about this at all.

“But Sunghoon oppa, you help me every single year…”

He slammed the magazine down on the table and finally looked at me.

“Don’t you ever call me oppa again Jihyun. Yea I always sued to help you, when we were together… Now we’re not, you have Jiwon now go bother him.”

I just sat in my seat trying to hold back my tears. I couldn’t let Sunghoon see me crying now; I had to be the one who was stronger. My heart was telling me to just leave the living room and go inside my room to cry. But the dark and sometimes evil side of me told me to hit back at Sunghoon and hurt him.

“I will bother Jiwon. As a matter of fact, he asked me to marry him last night. I guess it’s better if he goes to the show with me so we could get ideas on the type of flowers we want at our wedding.”

Sunghoon’s normally dark brown eyes turned a deep deep blue. I don’t know if they changed color because of anger or shock. But, he just sat there locked in time looking at me.

“He asked you to marry him…you turned me down but you said yes to him! Damn you Jihyun!”

Before I could get up Sunghoon had me trapped in his arms. He was shaking me violently and consequently causing my head to hurt.

“Sunghoon stop! I’m sorry, Sunghoon please stop you’re hurting me!”

I continued shouting until Jaeduc rushed downstairs and pulled Sunghoon off of me. Jaeduc held Sunghoon back as I got up and cried in the corner.

“Sunghoon what the hell is wrong with you? What just happened there man?”

Sunghoon pushed Jaeduc away from him as he walked over to me.

“You listen to me Jihyun, you don’t know how much you’re going to miss me, mark my words. I don’t care about you anymore.”

He opened the door and rushed out into his car. I stood there with Jaeduc as Sunghoon drove off.

“What did you do to him?”

By now my hair was a mess, as was my clothes. I could barely talk above a whisper.

“I told Sunghoon that Jiwon proposed to me, and I made it look like I had accepted.”

“You crazy girl…”

I erupted in anger.

“I know! Damn it, I know!!! Just don’t, don’t start on me!”

Just as I was running upstairs, Jiwon was coming downstairs and we bumped into each other.

“Whoa Jihyun you’re in a rush, what’s wrong?”

“Oh Jiwon, nothing at all. I’m going to take a shower then we can go then we can go to my shop ok?”

In another hour or so, I was ready to go to the show. Jiwon and I took a taxi over there. I was so happy, when I got to my store; people were already outside waiting to see my flowers. Jiwon helped me put together a few last minute flower displays. Around 8 or so, I unveiled the tropical flower display. I had ordered those flowers a full 3 months ahead just to have them here tonight. Everyone loved the flowers and admired the show as they took many pictures.

I was talking to another florist in the area when I heard the bells on my door chime. We turned around to see a staggering Sunghoon come through the doors. I excused myself as I went over to him.

“Sunghoon”, I whispered. “What are you doing here?”

“Don’t ask me what I’m doing here!” he yelled.

The music in my shop stopped as everyone turned around the see where all the commotion was coming from. Jiwon came over to me and grabbed my hand slightly.

“Jihyun, is there anything wrong?”

Sunghoon roughly pulled Jiwon’s hand off of mine as he pushed himself into Jiwon’s face. It was only then that I realized that Sunghoon was drunk.

“Take you damn hands off Jihyun! She’s still mine you dumb bastard!”

“Sunghoon please, please don’t do this to me.”

He turned and looked at me as Jiwon tried to pull me away from Sunghoon.

“You abandoning me too? I can’t believe you, are you going to be a whore for him?”

“Ok enough is enough.” Said Jiwon. “You’re going to have to leave now.”

But instead of Sunghoon going with Jiwon quietly, he striked him and hit Jiwon in the face. I immediately rushed over to Jiwon and Sunghoon pulled me back.

“You are coming with me Jihyun.”

“Sunghoon stop! You are embarrassing me!”

The people in my store stared to leave one by one until just the three of us were left. I managed to pull away from Sunghoon as I landed on top of Jiwon, knocking him down also in the process.

Sunghoon grew even angrier and started shouting more curse and swear words. He turned around and started knocking down all the flowers in my shop. As he got over to the special exhibit, I yelled at him to please stop. But it was too late; he had already knocked my flowers over.

There I stood looking at the destroyed display. I faced Sunghoon and let my anger explode.

“II want you out of my life!! How could you do this to me? You ruined one of the most important nights of my life! I hate you Sunghoon, I never want to see you again…”

Sunghoon fell to the floor as the rain started to come down outside. He just sat there holding his head in his hands.

“I fucked up, I completely fucked up…”

He barely picked himself up from the ground as he left my shop and walked outside.

I in turn dropped to the floor crying as Jiwon held me in his arms.

“Jihyun, it’s going to be ok.”

It felt good to cry and have Jiwon hold me. But my ease didn’t last too long. I pulled away from Jiwon when the realization of what had just happened hit me.

“Jiwon? Oh my god I told Sunghoon I hated him…how could I let my anger take control of me. Jiwon, damn it! Sunghoon is out driving in the rain! He’s drunk and upset, oh my god Jiwon I can’t believe I let him out!”

“Oh shit! Jihyun come on we have to find him.”

The two of us scrambled off the floor as we ran outside in the pouring rain to hail a taxi. A taxi came and we both rushed inside it.

“Jihyun but how do we know where he went?”

“There’s only one way out of the street he had to go in this direction. We have to find his car Jiwon, we really have to.”

The taxi drove for almost two blocks now and we still hadn’t seen Sunghoon’s car. It was only when we were about to enter the freeway when we saw his silver Honda Accord twisting on the slippery streets.

“Jiwon! He’s driving with his windows open! Damn it… open the windows, I’m going to lean outside to see if I can get his attention, just hold on to me.”

I risked my life by putting half of my body out the window. But even though I yelled at the top of my lungs, Sunghoon still didn’t respond. We had to close the window as we were approaching the exit for the freeway.

“Jihyun I hope he takes the exit, why isn’t Sunghoon turning? Why isn’t he turning like everyone else is?”

Jiwon was right, Sunghoon had missed the exit and instead of turning he kept driving straight. I was on the edge of my seat. It was only when I heard the crash that I felt like my life had ended.

Chapter Twenty

“Quick! Rush him to the emergency room; he’s suffering intense bleeding. Hook him up to the I V and continue with emergency procedures.”

Jiwon and I ran down the long hospital hallway with the doctor as Sunghoon was being carried into the ER. As we driving, Sunghoon somehow managed to slide off the road and flip the car over. It was a miracle he didn’t die instantly… the police said that the airbags in his car was what kept him alive.

But I don’t know how lucky he really was… Sunghoon was in a coma and his heart rate was only 50 beats a minute, when the usual was 60-100. After Jiwon and I went through questioning as to his motives, we tried to go into the emergency room to see him. The doctor that was tending to him however disagreed.

“Who are you?”

Jiwon and I stopped dead in our tracks.

“I’m Sunghoon’s friend…”

“Friend, I’m sorry only immediate family can come into the room.”

I was growing desperate; I edged closer to the doctor and grabbed the collar of his shirt.

“Family, family? Doctor, I am his family.” I shouted. “I’m more than family, I’m the god damn reason that he is in here now. This is my fault!”

The police came over to pull me away from the doctor as Jiwon dragged me over to the waiting room seats. Before I could even take my seat, I burst into tears immediately.

I always had some strange fear of hospitals. I guess it all started when my grand mother died while I was back in Korea. She was a big part of my life. My grandmother always helped me get through any problems that I might face, she also provided me with this undying love and comfort. I guess you could say she was like Sunghoon… he was my grandmother in the sense of the reassurance that he always had for me. Now as I sat here in the hospital awaiting his condition, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my grandmother’s death.

Jiwon tried to console me, but my tears were like a never-ending waterfall. Not even his touch could soothe my troubles. I felt guilty and ashamed of the fact that Sunghoon was hurt because of me. One of the police officers that had questioned Jiwon and me previously before, came back and sat beside me.

“Can I ask you a couple of more questions Miss Park?”

I nodded my head slightly.

“I couldn’t help but hearing you mention that the reason that Mr. Kang was here is because of you. Can you explain yourself please?”

“I’m sorry… Sunghoon was my boyfriend. We broke up and he didn’t exactly take it well. A lot of aggression was building up between him and I, and tonight… I guess it just went out of control.”

“I see, and one more question Ms. Park… Was Mr. Kang’s family notified of their son’s condition?”

“No… his parents live on the other side of California, it’ll take them 4 hours to fly out here.”

Just as I was finishing my statement, the doctor I was yelling at before came out to Jiwon and I.

“Park Jihyun?”

“Yes?” I jumped up and approached him.

His voice lowered considerably…

“Please come with me…”

We walked over to the side where no one was standing. I looked back and saw Jiwon staring sadly at me. I know he must have felt the same way I did. I mean how was he supposed to comfort me in a time like this?

“Tell me how Sunghoon is doing.”

“He’s in very critical condition Ms. Park. When Sunghoon’s car flipped over, his head crashed against the dashboard and he suffered a concussion immediately. The concussion then worsened and he actually has some internal bleeding inside of his lungs and lower stomach.”

Oh my god…. This was more than I could take at one time… I tried to hold back all the emotions I was feeling inside, the anger, the pain, resentment, hurt and fear… most importantly my fear. I was so afraid of losing Sunghoon ever, but this seemed to becoming a greater reality.

“All I want to know Doctor is if he will survive… please tell me that Sunghoon will get through this.”

“Ms. Park, he’s in a coma now, in order for us to save him he must wake up. If he doesn’t the bleeding will spread and he will die because of it. That chance might not even be able to happen because Sunghoon might not stay awake long enough for us to operate, his body is in a very fragile state right now…”

What they were telling me was basically Sunghoon didn’t have a chance on making it. My heart literally tore in two. All I remembered was feeling warm and blacking out.

The next thing I knew, I was hooked up to an I V. My eyes opened faintly and I looked around the room I was in. Sunghoon was to the left to me still in his coma. To the right of me, Jiwon was sitting on a stool holding my hand.

“Am I dead?” I barely muttered.

Jiwon kissed my hand and I looked even closer in his eyes. Though he tried to hide it, I saw a single tear roll down his cheek.

“No Jihyun, you’re not dead…”

“Is Sunghoon dead?”

“No, no Jihyun but we don’t know if he can pull throu-“

“Don’t say it, just give me some time alone with him please Jiwon… before I faint again…”

As Jiwon left the hospital room, I eased myself out of the hospital bed and sat on the same seat Jiwon was on before.

The man that I was so used to seeing healthy and full of life was now reduced to a deathly ill figure. Sunghoon’s skin was so pale and limp… his eyes drooped down giving the appearance that he had already passed away.

I picked up his hand and held it tightly.

“I hate to see you like this Sunghoon. We always promised each other that if anyone of us were to get sick that we would never leave each other’s side. I can’t leave you… I am such an idiot, I hurt you I put you like this. Sunghoon, please forgive me, I never meant to hurt you. I just wanted to follow my heart, but my heart proved me wrong…”

My head dropped to his side and I sunk my head down into the pillows and cried away. While I was crying, I felt something move slightly.

“Jihyun…” Sunghoon’s voice was a low steady whisper; I could tell he was straining his voice to speak.

“Oh my god! Sunghoon you’re awake, they though you were going to die!”

“Jihyun please listen… I am dying… don’t fool yourself. I can feel the life draining from inside of me. I want you to listen. I love you; I should have acted better than I did. It’s my own fault that I’m dying here now. I don’t blame you Jihyun I still love you with everything. Please, I want you to do something for me… can you do something for me Jihyun?”

I had to swallow my tears and look at Sunghoon; he needed me to be strong now when he wasn’t.

“Yes Sunghoon, anything, I’ll do anything for you.”

“I want you to be happy, marry Jiwon… Jihyun, I can’t force myself to talk much more… please if your happy then I can rest in peace.”

I squeezed Sunghoon hand as I heard the desperate plea in my voice…

“Oppa please, you’re going to wake up and get through this…”
…………………………
The respirator that Sunghoon was hooked up to showing his heartbeats went dead. Panic immediately rushed through my body. I let go of Sunghoon’s hand and got up and rushed outside into the hospital corridor.

“Someone please quick, Sunghoon woke up but his machine went blank… I don’t know what happened.”

The doctors rushed past me in a hurry with resuscitators and all other kinds of gadgets. I felt the dread closing in on me like no tomorrow. Jiwon hurried my side as well.

“He woke up Jihyun? Did he say anything to you?”

But I couldn’t think. I walked in a trance back to Sunghoon’s hotel room as I saw the doctors and nurses trying desperately to revive him.

“1! 2! 3! CLEAR! Ok, no response… Let’s increase the intervals by 2. Nurse make sure that the medicine is flowing clear to his chest, there might still be a chance.”

The head doctor walked over to me with an evil look in his eye.

“He woke up Ms. Park? Why didn’t you call us in immediately? He could have been saved already.”

“No, no he couldn’t be…” I whispered. “Sunghoon spoke to me, he told me he was dying, and he told me he loved me…”

“Well that’s very comforting and all but do you realize-“

Suddenly my anger exploded.

“No! Do you realize what happen? Sunghoon couldn’t pull through, he knew it himself… Now I know what really happened to him because he told me… Damn it; imagine his parent’s reaction. They’re going to fly all the way here and they won’t even get to say goodbye!”

Jiwon tried to comfort me, as I grew more and more hysterical by the minute.

“They won’t even get to say goodbye…” I cried through a million tears.

Say goodbye…

Chapter Twenty-One

“She deserves to know Jaeduc…”

The final funeral was coming to an end. Right now, his parents were being comforted by the many relatives and friends that were there at the funeral mass. From the beginning of this ordeal, I was reluctant to really spend much time with the Kang family.

Even though Sunghoon didn’t blame for his downfall, I knew his parents would. Deep down inside, I still felt guilty for everything. Telling Sunghoon’s parents what really happened would be the hardest thing for me to do at this point in my life.

“Jihyun, if you tell Mrs. Kang everything now, there’s no guarantee that she will understand.”

Jiwon tightened his grip around my waist as the three of us sat outdoors. After a guess greeted Mrs. Kang, she got up and walked over to me slowly. I felt a sense of dread as she eased towards me. I stood up and met her half-way…”

“I’m sorry you guys, I have to do this for myself. “

“Jihyun, please give me a hug.”

She took me into her arms and held me as her own child. As we broke apart, I could see a faint smile on Mrs. Kang’s face.

“I haven’t seen you since we flew over here. How are you dealing with this Jihyun?”

I’m still in shock, I mean the actual realization still hasn’t hit me…”

But almost instantaneously, Mrs. Kang’s face changed.

“You know Jihyun, Sunghoon may have been a young man, but he was very oriented to the future. He had a will, and I reviewed it… You made out pretty well. I mean Sunghoon left his prize car to you but- I don’t know if you would want it since it has been destroyed…”

She lowered her head and began to cry softly into her shirt. I took her had and offered my condolences.

“Jihyun, there’s just one thing that bothers me.”

“Yes Mrs. Kang, what is it?”

“Sunghoon never ever drank, and I find it very hard to believe that he was drunk diving in the rain. Please tell me, I know something must have fueled that reckless behavior.”

It was as if everything came crashing down. I had a duty to tell her why Sunghoon was on the road that night. Had she even known that Sunghoon and I had broken apart?

“Mrs. Kang, Sunghoon and I broke up a month ago. He was very disturbed about the whole thing and I don’t know… I guess it just pushed him over the edge.”

“Pushed him over the edge? Broke up? Park Jihyun, Sunghoon sent me a letter two weeks ago telling me he had proposed to you and you had accepted. How could you two have been broken up?”

I couldn’t hide my surprise. Sunghoon had lied to his family, what was I going to say to even justify everything that had happened.

“I- I, he…” my voice was shaking… “Sunghoon proposed to me and I denied him Mrs. Kang. I couldn’t accept because…”

“Because of what?”

“I’m sorry, I just couldn’t.”

She came closer to me until I could feel her breathing on my face.

“I never liked you… You were never good enough for my son! Now my only child is dead because of you.”

Jaeduc got up and came over when he heard all the commotion. Jiwon came from the side and took my hand as I stood being scolded.

“Mrs. Kang,” Said Jaeduc. “please Sunghoon forgave her and put the blame on himself at his deathbed. Sunghoon doesn’t hate Jihyun, and neither should you.”

I looked at Mrs. Kang one last time.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Kang, I wish you the faith to get over this hard time in your life now… I’m sorry I lost someone I loved too.”

And with that the three of us walked back to the house.

“Where do we all go from here?” said Jiwon.

Jaeduc, Jiwon and I were all sitting at home on the sofa, staring aimlessly into the air. Jaeduc at least had some direction as where to go from this. He would be taking over Sunghoon’s role in his company.

But me…

I had nowhere to go from this. Someone that was very important to me has died and the shock was still there, and it hurt…

“I don’t know… but before my biggest problem was seeing you and Jihyun together… now I feel so stupid for worrying about something so trivial. If Sunghoon could forgive you on his deathbed… then what justifies my reasoning?”

“Oh Jaeduc…” I leaned over to him and hugged him tightly as Jiwon and his eyes actually met for the first time. Instead of the usual tension between the two, there was a genuine kindness shared in both their eyes.”

“If anything good has come out of this possibly at all, I guess it’s the fact that we’ve all been bound together… right guys?”

Jiwon and Jaeduc nodded their heads. After we all tried to make conversation for another 30 minutes or so, we eventually went to bed. This would be the first actual time that Jiwon had actually spent the night in my room.

He went inside of my room and sat on the bed, as I changed into my nightgown. Without saying a word, I jumped into bed and crawled effortlessly over to him. Jiwon outstretched his arms and took me in his warm, loving hold.

I wasn’t going to lie to you… knowing that Jiwon was here to love me made life worth living. And I took advantage of every moment the two of us spend together.

Jiwon kissed the top of my head and I started to drift asleep in his arms.

“Jihyun?”

“Mmm yes Jiwon?”

“Are you ok, can you pull through this?”

My eyes opened wide as I looked up at Jiwon.

“I have no choice but to pull through, I have to be strong for Sunghoon’s sake.”

“Jihyun, please don’t think I’m selfish and cruel but… I would want nothing more than to see you come back home with me as my wife. I have no one in my life but you, you are my reason for living…”

“I love you Jiwon.”

“And I love you too Jihyun.”

I got up fully and took Jiwon’s head into my hands and kissed him lightly.

“We’ll be together dear, we can start a family together…”

I looked deep into Jiwon’s mahogany eyes and saw the hope that made my very own soul want to live. He and I could be together, as husband and wife… as God had meant for it to be… as Sunghoon had willed.

We could be together if we tried… and this time fate wasn’t pulling us apart.

Chapter Twenty- Two

*A year later…*

“Jiwon! Please drive faster. Jaeduc’s flight already landed, and I don’t want to keep him waiting any longer.”

The traffic was terrible during the afternoon in Seoul. Jiwon had a hard time trying to get past the crowds.

He leaned in close to me and kissed me softly on the lips.

“Jihyun please don’t be impatient, you will I would do anything to make you happy.”

Of course I knew, Jiwon had proved himself to me more times that I really needed. And every day was just more of a reassurance of his love to me. After Sunghoon’s death last year, Jiwon and I came back to Korea and married.

Jiwon now had his own clothing store and I set up my flower shop over here. I remembered that Sunghoon’s favorite flower was a Calla lily, and I named the flower shop “Calla” in memory of him.

Today, Jaeduc was returning to Korea to visit Jiwon, and me and we were on our way to pick him up.

30 minutes later we finally managed to arrive at the airport. Sure enough, Jaeduc was sitting on a bench outside with his suitcase. I jumped out of Jiwon’s car and ran towards him.

“Jaeduc!” I yelled.

Jaeduc got up and held his hands open as we hugged each other.

“Jihyun! My god, you look great! I guess life here in Korea has been treating you well.”

“Yes it has, and Jiwon has been too.”

Jiwon walked towards the two of us and smiled faintly at Jaeduc. Jaeduc looked at Jiwon and stepped up to me and took his hand firmly.

“Hey man, how’s it been going?”

“Good Jaeduc, and you? We’re really glad that you could make it out here.”

After Jiwon and Jaeduc talked for a minute or so, Jaeduc turned his attention back over to me.

“Jihyun, let me feel your stomach… has the baby been kicking?”

Oh yea, I forgot to mention that I was four months pregnant. Jiwon and I would be expecting our first child in November.

“Yes, the baby kicks all the time. I can’t wait to see how our child will grow up to be.”

The three of us packed Jaeduc’s things into the car, as we all drove over to my house. I never thought that I would be able to continue with my life, especially back here in Korea. But honestly, everyone had been so supportive. My parents accepted the fact that I loved Jiwon and I was marrying him.

Life also has been very successful; Jiwon and I had our own little house together as well as two businesses. But something that I didn’t expect was the friendship between Jiwon and Jaeduc. They got over their differences, and became quite good friends.

So as we all sat on the sofa this evening after having dinner, I couldn’t help but feel comfort and ease. If anything came out of Sunghoon’s death was this unity between all of us, including Sunghoon.

And as I sat here I felt something that I wasn’t used to feeling… Since Sunghoon’s death I haven’t felt his presence this strongly until this moment. I felt like Sunghoon was here right this minute.

My concentration broke when I heard the doorbell ring.

“I’ll get it you guys, you and Jaeduc have a lot of catching up to do.”

“Are you sure Jihyun, are you sure you don’t want me to answer the doorbell.”

“No Jiwon, it’s ok I said I’ll get it.”

I got up off my seat and opened the door. But no one was there… I looked out and still saw no one. It was only when I looked on the floor that I gasped in shock.

I bent down on my knees and picked up the Calla lily that was on my doorstep. How did it get there? But then my heart made me realize…

“Thank you Sunghoon…” I whispered faintly as I got up and closed the door behind me.

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