Jiyong slammed the door. ‘Jaewon? Sabotage? What a silly analysis,’ He thought irritably, while trying to hold back the pain because he suddenly stood up.
He admitted he felt Jaewon’s game was different from the usual when they had the match with Black Label yesterday. But he also does not want to believe that Jaewon was pretending he’s surrounded by opponents so the ball can be snatched from Jiyong. And not because he doubted Jaewon who in fact his friend.
Jiyong tried to walk as fast as he can until he heard someone running behind him.
“You must be thinking Jiwon is lying, right?”
Jiyong turned, it’s Jaejin, “I just trust my friend.”
“An ass like that? A friend?”
“Don’t call him that!”
“You know, the way he acts every time you want to pass the ball to him is laughable! Even I can act better!”
“Hyung, stop it,” Jiyong said, “Don’t make me punch you.”
“I wanted to show you something interesting,” Jaejin said, “but since you keep on defending Jaewon, let’s just forget about it.”
“Wait.” Jiyong said, “What do you mean?”
“It’s more interesting than Jiwon’s video collection,” he said lightly, “they go to the rooftop and keep bothering me lately.”
Jaejin helped Jiyong walk and said, “I assure you, you’ll see interesting stuff.”
M cafe, Seoul
“Yuki and Jiwon dated?”
“Yuki always said she and Jiwon were not really dating.” Jaejin said reluctantly, “Yuki just said she and Jiwon had blind dates several times before she finally decided to disappear from Jiwon’s life.”
“But Jiwon hyung said that he and Yuki were dating, right?” said Suwon, “And she is also one of the reason Jiwon was so depressed because when Sunghoon disappeared, Yuki also disappeared in Paris. Now you’re saying she’s a member of a phenomenal band in Japan.”
“Well, I think Yuki is the best informant considering she and her music label have a strong information network. Because of that, the media never found out about Yuki’s identity problem.”
“Yeah, but I still don’t like the way her agency run the marketing plan, I’ve protested a few times through Mino, but Yuki never wanted to hear it.”
“Wait, hyung.” Said Suwon suddenly realizing something, “You communicate with Yuki all this time?”
Jaejin sighed and said, “I worked with Yuki in Japan before I moved to Clover, and Lollipop Kiss just debuted. She was pretty professional until she found out Eun Jiwon and I were friends.”
They stayed silent, as if they were waiting for Jaejin to continue his story but Jaejin just sighed and drank his coffee in silence. Danny is still busy with his cell phone and said, “Mino said he’ll try to persuade Yuki, but I don’t think he’s confident.”
“If it’s turned like this, what else can I do?” Jaejin said, “I’m gonna try contacting someone to persuade Yuki as well.”
“Don’t tell me you’re gonna…” Danny said so suddenly after seeing Jaejin’s face.
“Yeah, I will try to contact Hideo.” Jaejin said irritably, “Ill do whatever I can just so Jiwon wouldn’t turn out to be a madman in Saitama.”
Jiwon looked in disbelief. Did he say Yamawaki Yuki?
“Er…hyung, you didn’t hear me wrong. I did say Yamawaki Yuki. The same Yamawaki Yuki you dated in France.”
“Oh.” Jiwon tried hard to calm his heartbeat. His heart hurt the moment he heard Yuki’s name. He opened his mouth, tried to talk but no sound came out.
Mino looked at Jiwon, tried to read Jiwon’s expression then said, “Sorry.”
Jiwon didn’t answer. He just squeezed Mino’s shoulder while mumbled, “No, I’m just …”
“Not expecting that she worked with your cousin.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Mino laughed with relief when he saw Jiwon smiled briefly and said, “She’s a good person.”
“Indeed,” Jiwon said while he stared at the departure board in front of him, “I was haunted by
guilt because I never had chance say sorry to her, all I could think of was go to Korea, and meet Sunghoon but it was too late.”
“Are you still looking for Sunghoon hyung?”
“Of course. Yuki sacrificed her feeling so much so I could meet Sunghoon and tell him the truth. I should not waste Yuki’s sacrifice.”
“My latest clue is that Sunghoon has changed his name and nationality to a Japanese citizen, which is much more difficult.”
“But hyung, you’re in Japan right now! You might run into him in public toilets in Tokyo.”
“Yes, but I need more information.” Jiwon said, “I’m waiting for info from Jaejin or Suwon, in case their informant can give me more info.
Mino opened his phone. There’s a new chat from Danny hyung.
Danny hyung: Are you really sure that's Eun Jiwon? Danny hyung: Please persuade Yuki as you said earlier. Danny hyung: I think Jaejin will call you soon. He will help you persuade Yuki.
Mino glanced at Jiwon who was already busy with one of the magazines. ‘Safe,’ he thought,
Mino could not imagine how shocked Jiwon would be if he only knows that his ex-girlfriend and Sunghoon have a relation, but will Yuki give Jiwon that valuable information?
Jaejin hyung: Mino, this is Jaejin. You haven’t said anything to Yuki right? Mino: I haven’t said anything yet. Jaejin hyung: Good. You'll get some fun news later.
“Well, it’s time to go” Jiwon said as he stood up after they fell silent for a while, “Give me your number or ID, so I’ll treat you sake in Osaka later.”
Mino took the business card from his wallet and handed it to Jiwon, “I’ll wait.”
Jiwon took the business card from Mino’s hand and put it into his coat pocket, “I’m leaving.”
Mino watched as Jiwon rode the escalator and sighed. His head is dizzy. In addition to his lack of sleep, he is also dizzy because Danny and Jaejin are still bombarding him about
Yuki. Fortunately, he and Jiwon aren’t on the same plane, so Mino can freely reply to Danny and Jaejin.
Mino knows how serious the problem is as Jiwon was admitted to a hospital several times just upon hearing of rumors about Sunghoon. He was thinking of replying to Danny and Jaejin as his cell phone vibrated. Multiple messages entered into his phone.
Hideo: You owe me an explanation when we meet in Saitama later, where and how you got to know Jaejin. Hideo: Now you will just follow my orders. Hideo: I told Yuki there are people who need her help. Hideo: Meeting place will be at the usual, Ramen Bar, tomorrow night. Hideo: Just tell her you don’t know the person if Yuki asked who asked for her help. Hideo: Please accompany her because I don’t know what crazy things Yuki will do if she finds out.
Mino stared at his screen with a look of disbelief, but he could do nothing as he thought, “It’s gonna be very long night.”
YG Academy, Rooftop, 1998
“Hyung, you’re lying!”
Jaejin looked at Jiyong and said, “Wait a minute.”
“Hyung, you’ve said the same sentence five times, I cannot wait any longer.”
Jaejin paused, he put his index finger on his lips. Then came the sound of footsteps climbing the stairs. Jaejin pushed Jiyong, trying to hide his body. Jaejin and Jiyong waited in silence until they hear the voices that came with the footsteps.
“So, Jiyong still hasn’t thought of resigning from the basketball team?”
Jaewon shook his head and lowered his head, letting Haneul walk around the rooftop while they talked.
“Jaewon-ah,” said Haneul, “I’m think you really consider Jiyong a friend.”
“No, not at all.”
“But you didn’t do what we agreed against BlackLabel yesterday. Jiyong shouldn’t get the ball but he successfully scored three points.”
“I agreed to your sabotage idea, making Jiyong look unlucky so he would quit or be fired as the basketball team captain, but I never agreed to him getting injured.”
“It’s just a sprain. So he’d think he’s pretty unlucky and wouldn’t want to play basketball anymore.”
“Come on Jaewon! You’re also annoyed with the coach’s attitude. Suddenly making Jiyong as the team captain just because Jiyong’s father helped him when he was going through difficult time.”
“Yeah it’s true I’m pissed, but that doesn’t mean we can injure him! You know what the consequences would be if we get caught hurting a teammate?”
“Jaewon-ah, we only need one more game to prove to everyone that he is not worthy as a captain then you can be the captain.”
“How? To tackle his legs? You’re crazy, his legs will break.”
“I will do everything until he’s not the captain anymore.”
Jaejin turned to Jiyong. His facial expression was hard to guess. His hand gripped Jaejin’s shoulders as Jiyong came out of their hideout, half dragging Jaejin’s body to walk by his side and shout loudly, “So hyung, this project can make us famous, right?”
Jiyong gripped Jaejin’s shoulders very strongly and Jaejin tried hard to look like he’s not in pain and said, “That’s right, we can be followed by girls wherever we go if our project works.”
“Okay, then, I agree. It’s no use to be a basketball player if I’m only famous as an unlucky captain, just because the headmaster chose me to be one.”
Jiyong dragged Jaejin to the door and pretended that he just saw Haneul and Jaewon.
“Oh, what are you doing?”
“What do you think?” Haneul asked harshly, though Jaejin knew he was scared because Jiyong could report his sabotage to the Headmaster.
“Ish, can’t you stop being rude?” Jiyong pretended to be offended, “Oh, while you’re here, can
I leave a message for the coach?”
Haneul just stared at Jiyong in silence, and Jiyong said, “I quit, so you better tell the coach to find a new captain.”
Jiyong walked quickly toward the door, half dragging Jaejin. He knows that his attitude is too kind for Jaewon’s betrayal and his teammates, at least he doesn’t have to do any dirty things to join the Headmaster’s project.
Ramen Bar, Osaka
“Excuse me.” Jiwon said to the waiter at the entrance, “I have an appointment with Takemura
Hideo-san, can you show me where the table is?”
“Oh, please follow me.”
The waiter at the door took Jiwon to the corner of the room through the kitchen, walked past a row of pots of boiling ramen, and climbed to the second floor with a small spiral staircase.
If the atmosphere on the 1st floor is crowded, the atmosphere on the 2nd floor is just the opposite, quiet and provides a comfortable atmosphere. There is only one table on the 2nd floor, and how shocked Jiwon was when he saw Mino and someone he knew very well sat on the table. That person is wearing a black coat, and lowered the hood once Jiwon approached. Her blue eyes still made Jiwon’s heart flutter, even after fifteen years.
The girl smiled awkwardly and nodded her head toward the chair, waiting for Jiwon to sit down.
“Hello, long time no see.” She said awkwardly, trying to smile while Mino sighed silently beside her.
“Yuki-san,” she said, gritting her teeth, “Don’t call me like that.”
“Ah, sorry, old habits.”
“So…what can I help you with?” She said directly, “Hideo said you’re looking for someone I might know.”
“I’m looking for Kang Sunghoon.”
Yuki looked away from Jiwon’s face and onto her ramen bowl, “If you’re looking for Sunghoon, then…”
“I haven’t said anything to him yet, he disappeared before his graduation day.”
“Oh, sorry.” She said simply, “Have any clue?”
“I heard he changed his name and nationality.” Jiwon said, “But it’s still a rumor.”
Yuki looked away from her ramen bowl and looked at Mino. The two stared at each other in silence, as if silently exchanging thoughts.
“It’s difficult,” Yuki said, “I doubt I’ll be able to find Sunghoon’s data.”
“Then can you find me Kang Yoonji’s data?”
Yuki bit her lip and turned to look at Mino again, “I will try to give you a full report as soon as possible.”
“Okay, thank you.”
The three of them fell silent. Mino stood up and Yuki threw him a sharp look.
Mino hastily muttered, “Toilet.”
Mino disappeared down the stairs and left Jiwon and Yuki alone. Jiwon cleared his throat, “So…now you’re doing what you want?”
“Well, yes. I was depressed after you suddenly left for Korea, but that’s the past, I’m okay now.” she said casually.
“You owe me an explanation why you suddenly went home to Japan without leaving me a message. You didn’t leave a number I could call because I owe you an explanation.”
“My heart was really broken and since you came back to Korea, I no longer have a reason to stay in France. And since I know my mother was lying about her divorce with my dad, I thought it was better if I went back to Japan and start a new life with my father and my stepbrother. ”
“But why should you disappear like that?”
“Oh, come on. We didn’t really date in France, remember?” Yuki said cynically, “So what am I tell you?”
“You could have at least not burdened me with my promise.”
Yuki smirked mockingly, “You still remember.”
“Of course I remember.” Jiwon said, “I still feel guilty because I never got to say sorry.”
Yuki fell silent, staring at Jiwon straight and waiting for Jiwon to say something “I’m sorry that I can’t like you like the way I like Kang Sunghoon.”
“What the fuck is that, it’s like being dumped twice.”
Yuki stood up as Mino came back from the toilet and walked towards the table, “Stop all this bullshit,” she reached into her coat pocket, pulled out an identification card and a ticket,
“Wednesday night, Saitama Super Arena, open gate at 6.30 PM, but I suggest you come in at
6.50 PM. I’ll give you the full report after I’m done. ”
Mino looked at Yuki who wore her coat and mask and said, “Dating with Ik….”
“None of your business.” She said, swinging her bag she onto Mino’s stomach, “Tell
Hideo I’m late.”
“Yes.” Mino watched Yuki until she disappeared in the spiral staircase and asked Jiwon,
“What did she said?”
Jiwon sat carefully on the row of chairs on the 2nd floor. The 1st floor is already crowded, and he still cannot believe he is to watch his ex-girlfriend perform. The live performance will start at 7.00 PM. There is still a few minutes remaining before the performance starts.
“Yuu! Don’t push me!”
“Aish! See? Because you insisted on stopping by at the ice cream shop, we’re losing a good spot!”
“Oh, really? Who insisted on stopping by the flower shop because you finally got a backstage pass to meet with Yuki?”
Jiwon began to listen carefully as soon as he heard the man say Yuki’s name.
“Yuu, you really like Yuki huh?”
“Of course, that’s why I wish she wasn’t really dating Shimizu.”
“Is that you who was angry at the forum because there’s a rumor that Yuki dated Korean people back then?”
“Of course not!”
“Good,” the girl said, lowering her voice, “You still remember that you were Korean.”
Jiwon tried to turn around, look back to where the guy named Yuu was sitting, who knows he might be Sunghoon, but Jiwon was late. The lights in the hall turned off, a sign that the performance was about to begin.
‘Maybe this is God’s punishment,’ he thought seriously, as he focused on the stage, ‘I’ve been confusing Yuki’s feeling for so long.’
Jiwon enjoyed the concert, though his heart sometimes hurt when he saw Yuki smie as she sang certain songs. Yuki’s smile made him remember when they were together in France, chasing each other’s dreams, before Jiwon finally realized that his heart could not love Yuki as much as he loved Sunghoon.
“Kaoru! The bracelet!”
“I don’t wear a bracelet!”
“Ishh, you didn’t see? Yuki’s bracelet just broken”
“Yuu! Don’t shout!” Kaoru said, lowering his voice, “What kind of bracelet?”
“Have you forgotten? It’s a bracelets that you usually buy at the temple, and can make your wish come true. That bracelet Yuki has always worn since debut and now the bracelet broke!”
“Yuu,” Kaoru pretended to be patient, “Maybe the bracelet is too old, that’s why it broke.”
“No way, Yuki’s hope will come true today.”
“Yes and maybe Yuki’s hope is Shimizu-san to come and ask her to marry him!”
“Kaoru!” He said loudly, “I will not let that happen!”
Jiwon smiled. This is the first time he has heard a hard-core fan like this guy. His style of speech didn’t show his age at all, and when he’s angry, it’s was very similar to…Kang Sunghoon.
Jiwon looked back, trying to find the person named Yuu. He found that the people behind him stood up, and vaguely he found that there are two empty seats. The person named Yuu has left, and Jiwon thought that Yuu went backstage.
His curiosity with Yuu overcame his guilt towards Yuki. Jiwon got up from his seat, searched for the guard at the exit door and asked, “May I go to the backstage?”
“Can I see the ID?”
Jiwon handed the identification card that Yuki gave two days ago, and waited for the guard to confirm something through his handy talkie.
“Please go straight and down to the ground floor by the stairs, the second door before the emergency exit. Please don’t forget to show your ID to the guard.”
Jiwon nodded. He went to the backstage area as soon as possible. His feelings mixed, half hoping that the man was not Kang Sunghoon, though half of him was hoping that the man was Sunghoon.
Jiwon handed his identification card to the guard at the backstage door and waited for the guard to give him the codes allowing him to enter. A moment later Mino came to the door, as if to pick him up, “Hyung! The performance has not even done yet!”
“It’s okay, it was so hot in the hall and I was thinking of going out for a while and then I remember Yuki gave me a backstage pass.”
“Do you mind waiting a little bit? The performance will be over in a minute or two.”
Jiwon nodded. Mino led him into a small room, opened the door wide and said, “Please wait here, I have to get a cold towel for Yuki.”
Jiwon nodded and tried to look around the corridor. There is no sign that the person named Yuu is here. Jiwon can’t come out of the room and walk around the backstage without Mino, because he just had a backstage pass not an all-access-area card.
“Yuu, I’ve told you many times, it’s useless, the rumor is true.”
“He might come because he wants to cheer on Yuki.”
“Yuu, did you see his ID?” Kaoru said in disbelief, “Of all of Yuki’s guests I’ve seen today, he’s the only one that has an access area card!”
“Hideo says it’s a rumor. And I believe in Hideo.”
“Oh my goodness! Yuu!”
Kaoru sounded desperate and chased Yuu. Jiwon restrained himself and remained silent as he heard Kaoru’s footsteps just pass the hall right in front of his room. Kaoru passed so quickly, Jiwon wasn’t sure if the person is Yoonji or not. Jiwon waited anxiously, now he just wants wo get Yuki’s report.
Yuki came a few minutes later with a towel in her hand and murmured, “Sorry but I cannot stay with you for long.”
“This.” Yuki said while she gave Jiwon an envelope, “I hope this data can help you.”
“It’s more than enough.” Jiwon said as he took the envelope from Yuki’s hand, “Otsukare.”
Yuki smiled which made Jiwon’s heart hurt, “Thank you for coming.”
“I’ll go then.”
Yuki nodded and said, “See you later.”
“I’ll make sure to watch your performance every time I go to Japan.” Jiwon smiled and left the backstage after he waved to Yuki. Mino saw Jiwon as he left the backstage area, and tried to catch up but Yuki stopped him.
“Please, don’t do that…”
“Yuki-san, are you sure?”
“Do you want him to make a fuss here? Did you forget that he could suddenly faint or turn like a crazy person if he knows that the person whom he’s searched for was not far from his waiting room?”
“Fate,” Yuki said, tried to reassure herself, “If fate allows him, he’ll meet the man he’s looking for soon. I’m sure.”
Jiwon opened the envelope carefully. His heart rhythm was messed up as he realized what was written on Yuki’s document.
Name: Nishikawa Kaoru Birth Name: Kang Yoonji Family: Nishikawa Terumi (mother), Nishikawa Yuu (brother) Agency: KM Entertainment