- a EunKang short story
- from The Official EunKang Thread SechsKies Eun Ji Won & Kang Sung Hoon
It has been weeks since Jiwon has seen or talked to Sunghoon. He misses his baby so much.
Sunghoon has been busy working on his 4th album. He should be too. But his brain and hearts just not cooperating.
They’ve both been busy since the disbandment. Releasing albums every year and secretly dating has not been easy. Before the disbandment being together all the time is normal. But since the disbandment, they’d have to be careful. They cannot always be seen together. Going out has been a privilege. Missing Sunghoon so much makes him wish they didn’t disband at all.
Jiwon needs a distraction from his loneliness.
As if fate reached out a hand Jiwon’s phone suddenly rang.
“Hello? Hoon-ah! You don’t know how much I miss you just now!”
“Hyung, I think I felt it that’s why I had the urge to go to your house…”
“You’re coming here?!” Jiwon’s face lit up like a Christmas tree.
“Yup I’m already outside.” Sunghoon said with a laugh.
“Wait I’m gonna open the door!!!!”
Jiwon can’t stop himself from hugging Sunghoon tight as soon as he opened the door.
“Sunghoon! My baby! I miss you so much!” Raining kisses on Sunghoon’s face.
Sunghoon feels guilty he hasn’t been able to at least call Jiwon. He’s been dead tired everyday since the release date of the album is near. When he got a break today, he immediately decided to go to Jiwon’s.
“I’m so sorry I’ve been so busy hyung.” Sunghoon apologized with a sweet long kiss.
Jiwon pulled Sunghoon closer deepening the kiss. Sunghoon pulled away to Jiwon’s disappointment.
“Hyung wait you have a guest.”
“Someone’s outside?!” Jiwon quickly going to the door.
Sunghoon laughed at Jiwon’s reaction. “Relax hyung. Just stay on the couch. Keep your back to the door. I’ll ask your guest to come in.”
“Close your eyes hyung! No peeking!” As Sunghoon ushered in Jiwon’s guest. “Ok hyung open your eyes!”
Right before Jiwon is…well…a Sunghoon puppy!
“Hoon-ah! It’s you!” Jiwon said while laughing.
Sunghoon can only laugh at Jiwon’s delighted reaction. “I was passing by a pet shop when I saw him. And since we rarely saw each other because I’ve been so busy – sorry again!” Sunghoon punctuated with a kiss, “I thought of getting him so maybe you’d miss me less.” Again another kiss.
“This shaggy hair is your concept for this comeback right?” Jiwon asked as he took the puppy from Sunghoon. “You have the same hair!” Jiwon said while kissing the puppy.
“What are we going to name you little guy?” Jiwon cooed as he kissed and cuddled the puppy.
“Hyung you do know the real Sunghoon is right here right?” Sunghoon said with a pout.
“Awwwh….is my Hoony jealous of little Hoony?” Jiwon said as he let go of the puppy to hug Sunghoon. “That’s it! I’ll call you little Hoony!”
D – 41
Sunghoon snapped his fingers, as if he was calling something and shortly after, a thick book just dropped from thin air onto his open hand and he murmured, “I have to check the eighteenth chapter for an event like this…”
“Hey, white hair, don’t ignore me. You haven’t answered my question and now you just snapped your fingers and said something in unidentified language. Are you calling your friends?”
Sunghoon froze. Jiwon really can see him. He had no choice but to sit in mid-air and said, “Is Jiwon-ssi curious about me?”
Sunghoon pointed to the clock near him, “Isn’t it about time for work at the bar?”
“Aishhh, how do you know I’m working at a bar?” Jiwon asked, half irritated, half curious, “I know I have to go to the bar now, but my curiosity overcame my guilt because…”
“Stop.” Sunghoon said sharply, “Don’t say anything for now, I don’t want Seunghyun or Seungyoon to suddenly come here and record your deeds and disturb us”
“Seungyoon? Seunghyun? Us?” Jiwon said, “What’s really happening?”
“Jiwon-ssi, you should be getting ready to go to the bar, I promise to tell you who I am and why I’m following you in a few days and I hope Seungyoon and Seunghyun aren’t wandering around us.”
Jiwon closed his open mouth, he was trying to stop himself from asking further questions. He looked puzzled for a while and finally asked, “All right, can I ask one thing first?”
“Are you a ghost?”
“Of course not. Please get ready Eun Jiwon-ssi, you will be late.”
Jiwon glimpsed a black shadow beside the white hair again. Although the white hair had told him to pretend not to notice his presence, Jiwon unconsciously kept glancing at the place where the white hair sat.
“Jiwon-ssi, can you help me clean the table?”
Seungyoon watched Jiwon, waited for him to come out of the pantry and asked, “Is this just my feeling or Jiwon has been looking at us?”
“Of course not. It’s just your feeling,” Sunghoon said nonchalantly as he flipped through the pages of the book he held.
“Oh,” Seungyoon sneered, “Sunghoon, the angel of death who has the name of The Deathberry, is now reading the basic rules of heaven. Are you making plans to take Eun Jiwon’s life without breaking the rules?”
“Seungyoon-ah, if you came here to disturb my job instead of doing your duty as a good deeds recorder, you better get going.” Sunghoon said as he was frustrated by not finding what he wanted, “unless you want to help me.”
Seungyoon looked at Sunghoon seriously and said slowly, “I’m not sure.”
“Okay, no problem if you don’t want to help.” Sunghoon said flatly and then snapped his fingers. The book on his lap disappeared and was replaced with a leather-cover book that was no less thick than the previous book and he murmured quietly, “I cannot remember where I read that rare case thing.”
Sunghoon snapped his fingers again, he mumbled uncertainly and then he replaced the book on his lap with another book. Sunghoon snapped his fingers one more time, and the book on his lap was replaced by another.
“What are you looking for?”
“Did you decide to help?” Sunghoon asked while he opened the fourth book.
“Maybe. I’m curious because you’re reading the old books…The law of the heavens, the law of the earth, the book of angels prohibition…what the hell are you looking for?”
“The law that controls the rare case events, as I recall, there are some rare cases that aren’t controlled in the law. Yuka doesn’t want to help me because it is common for the angels on earth to memorize all the laws.”
“Well, Yuka isn’t wrong.”
“She always pretends to forget that I’m an executor, the least angelic angel, so it’s only natural that I hate anything administrative like these.”
“But you’ve been moved to the heaven since 10 years ago so…”
“You want to help me or not?”
“Err fine. I’ll help you.”
“Can you tell me where I can find the case about a man who suddenly saw the angel of death?”
“You are looking for that case?” Seungyoon snapped his fingers, and a thin book floated in front of Sunghoon, “You have to re-read the category of rare case events later if you still want to be an angel of death.”
“Yes…and whatever…I’d rather be an executor.”
“You have to find it in the investigation division library, not in the law division library,” Seungyoon said while he was writing, “Uh, why did you suddenly look for the rare case events? Did something happen?”
“Based on cases that have occurred over the last two centuries, the investigation division decided that the incident where humans can see an angel of death cannot be categorized as a rare case event…okay, I’m safe.”
“Ya…ya…ya…read it until the conclusion, stupid Sunghoon…”
“However, if a human who sees an angel of death is a human outside the target of the angel of death or whoever classified as listed below, the angel of death in charge needs to immediately assign the assignment letter to the special division. I already said it safe, smart-ass. ”
“Wait…so who just saw you?”
“Who do you think?”
“Do you have any other references?”
“Answer my question first.”
“Yep, he can see me.” Sunghoon said flatly.
Seungyoon snapped his fingers, and a stack of books floated in front of Sunghoon, “So I guess now your plan is a mess, isn’t it?”
“My plan was rejected by Yuka. I forgot that the female idol was an exception case, so I can do anything, as long as her soul can go back to heaven. Eun Jiwon isn’t a special person so I cannot use the same plan as the female idol.” Sunghoon said, “May I borrow this?”
“Of course, so what are you doing now?”
“I’m planning to tell him the truth, but I have to consult with the investigation division and the law division.” Sunghoon said, “You know, I’m afraid my plan will be changed again just because I’m breaking some of the laws of the earth.”
“Wow…This is not the Sunghoon I know before.”
Sunghoon smiled and called another book onto his lap, “Thank you for helping me, Seungyoon.”
Seungyoon widened his eyes in disbelief, he was so aware of the books that Sunghoon borrowed, “What exactly are you planning for an ordinary human like Jiwon?”
“Se-cret, well, since you’ve finished your job here, you’d better get going.”
Seungyoon realized that Sunghoon was casting him out subtly, mumbled, “Well, good night Sunghoon.”
Seoul Bus Terminal, 11:40 PM
“Sunghoon-ssi, can you stop flying around like that?”
“Eh?” Sunghoon bit his lip, “If Jiwon-ssi doesn’t like it, I guess it’ll be better if I do this,” Sunghoon snapped his fingers, and covered himself with white smoke for a split second and appeared in front of Jiwon with all-white clothes, “I should have disguised myself as a human since we left the bar.”
“You know, the people we met on the way thought you’re a madman because you were talking to yourself.”
“Aren’t you the one that started the problem? You asked me on the way here why I live like this.”
Sunghoon smiled, “I’m sorry, I need to know the stories of your life before you go back to the heaven.”
Jiwon and Sunghoon went to the counter. Jiwon approached the counter and asked, “Is there an empty seat for the last bus to Mokpo?”
“How many people?”
“Two.” Jiwon said while handing over the money.
“The bus will be leaving in about 15 minutes, and this is the change. Thank you and good night.”
Sunghoon slightly grabbed Jiwon’s hand, led him to the platform, “You just planned to pay for my ticket, right?”
“Um, I don’t think angels have any human money.”
“Jiwon-ssi, the angel’s power is almost unlimited, if it’s just money, that’s a small matter.” Sunghoon said, “For the moment, please stop being nice until we get out from Seoul.”
“I don’t want Seungyoon to come here and mess up my plan.”
It’s been three times since Seungyoon name was mentioned by Sunghoon, and for some reason Jiwon wasn’t happy with it. There’s a spark of hatred sticking out when he hears Sunghoon mention the name.
F BAR, 1 HOUR AGO
Jiwon returned to the pantry where he usually does his work, and looked around, searched for the white hair for a while, until he finally looked up and found Sunghoon flying near the ceiling.
“Hey you,” Jiwon called and startled Sunghoon, as if he was unaware that Jiwon returned to the pantry, “Can we talk now?”
Sunghoon snapped his fingers, and made the glasses he wore disappear in an instant and said, “Of course.”
Sunghoon flew down from the ceiling, and Indian sat mid-air.
“Can you sit normally? Like on a chair?” Jiwon asked.
Sunghoon snapped his fingers again and a chair appeared just across the table, and Sunghoon sat down.
Jiwon took a deep breath before asking, “Who are you? And what’s your purpose for coming here?”
“Before I answer, promise me that everything we talk about will be our secrets alone.”
Jiwon nodded quickly, “I promise.”
Sunghoon paused for a moment and said, “I, Sunghoon, the angel of death is in charge of taking your life.”
Jiwon was startled with Sunghoon’s words, but he didn’t want to show Sunghoon he was startled. Jiwon bowed his head for a moment and looked at Sunghoon, “I…aish…well…” Jiwon lost his words. He failed to calm himself and he opened his mouth again, “So finally, I’ll die, right?”
Jiwon’s mind raged. Jaejin was still in a coma, Jaeduk who must divide his time between his duty at the police station and caring for Jaejin, and a biological mother he had never visited since he decided to handle a big corruption case filled his head. Jiwon closed his eyes for a moment to calm down before asking, “Aren’t you going to tell me how many more days before I die?”
Sunghoon gasped. He looked surprised for a split second before smiling, “That’s a forbidden question, I can only tell you that you’ll die soon.”
“There must be a lot of things you want to do before you die, don’t you Jiwon-ssi?”
Jiwon’s expression was very difficult to guess, but Sunghoon understood it. Sometimes, knowing that death is approaching, doesn’t make all the misunderstandings that happened to be resolved just like that. Jiwon stared at the clock behind Sunghoon and sighed.
Jiwon shook his head and smiled. “Nothing.”
“Please don’t lie.” Sunghoon said seriously, “Even though you’re lying to an angel of death, it doesn’t mean you can get away from the angel who records bad deeds.”
Jiwon suddenly remembered something when Sunghoon mentioned the angels of bad deed recorder and asked, “So the black shadow that was next to you when I cleaned up the soju bottles was an angel who recorded the bad deeds?”
“Oh! You can see Seungyoon?”
“Just a glimpse, blond hair and all black.”
Jiwon read Sunghoon’s expression. Sunghoon looked surprised for a split second before he disappeared for a few seconds and re-appeared in the chair.
“Ah, I’m sorry, there’s a call from the heaven, did you want to ask me something?”
“That black shadow, is he an angel who record bad deeds?”
“No, he’s a good deeds recorder.” Sunghoon looked around, as if he wanted to confirm something, “Jiwon-ssi, you have some last wishes before you go? As long as it doesn’t violate the law of the earth or the law of heaven, I will help you.”
“For now, I can only think of one thing.”
“I want to see my mother.”
As the bus left Seoul, the landscape that was filled with skyscrapers has been replaced with a sky full of stars. He stared blankly at the street and exhaled heavily.
“Can I talk to you, Jiwon-ssi?”
Jiwon slightly jumped. He forgot that Sunghoon had been sitting next to him and turned to him, “Yes…of course.”
“Are you sure you’re okay? You look weird since you told me your life story on our way to the bus station.”
“I think I’m okay, but I also think that I’m in a state that’s not okay. Maybe I’m still surprised that you’re an angel of death and I’m going to die.”
Sunghoon closed the book he was reading, and stared at Jiwon, “You know, as long as I’ve been an angel of death, you’re the first man that did not go crazy after knowing you’re going to die any minute.”
“Ever since I was accepted in the police department, I was always ready for death. Death is a common thing for a policeman like me.”
Jiwon realized that Sunghoon was anxious, “Sunghoon-ssi, rather than being worried about my current situation, isn’t it better if you’re worried about yourself? I’m not sure if seeing angels and angel’s books are a good sign.”
“It’s alright,” Sunghoon replied quickly, “Jiwon-ssi don’t worry, I’ve contacted the investigation team and asked them to check this out so I’ll stay with you until you see your mother.”
Jiwon looked intrigued as soon as Sunghoon said the investigation team, but realized that Sunghoon will not answer him if he asked about it. Jiwon said, “You better go back to heaven and settle this abnormality, Sunghoon-ssi, I promise I will not tell all of this to my mother.”
Sunghoon smiled and patted Jiwon’s shoulder gently, “I’ll stay with you until you meet your mother.
A roll of paper flew down from somewhere to the front of Sunghoon. Sunghoon took it carefully and opened it. Jiwon didn’t know what was written on it, though he could see the paper. But somehow Sunghoon seemed to be pleased with the paper, “You should believe me, Jiwon-ssi. There’s nothing to worry about.”
Sunghoon removed the earrings on his left ear carefully and put them in his pocket before saying, “Please take a rest Jiwon-ssi, I’ll wake you up once we get to Mokpo.”
Jiwon understood Sunghoon’s subtle way of ending their conversation. Jiwon turned towards the window and closed his eyes, trying to fall asleep. Too many things beyond logic happen today.
“Do you want me to accompany you as a human or as an angel?”
“May I ask you to accompany me as a human being?”
Sunghoon nodded, “Of course.”
“Then can you stop calling me Jiwon-ssi? Just call me Jiwon.”
“My mother and I haven’t communicated for about 7 years. She would love to see me have other friends than Jaeduk and Jaejin, and she will….”
Jiwon lost his words as he turned right. An elderly woman was carrying a garbage bag out of a 24-hour restaurant. Sunghoon guessed that the old lady was Jiwon’s mother because the old lady looked at Jiwon and said, “Adeul….”
Jiwon nodded awkwardly and said, “Eomma, how are you?”
Jiwon’s mom realized that Jiwon hasn’t come alone, gave a brief nod to Sunghoon who bowed at her, “Aigoo…come in. Let’s not talk outside like this.”
Jiwon picked up the trash bag that his mother carried and dumped it in the trash can and followed Sunghoon and his mother into the restaurant. There were only two customers that morning, and Jiwon’s mother told Sunghoon to sit at the closest table to the kitchen.
“You must be hungry, right? Please wait a minute, let me make something.”
Jiwon and Sunghoon waited in silence until Jiwon’s mother came to their table carrying two bowls of meat soup. Jiwon’s mother sat on the other side of Sunghoon’s chair and asked, “So what’s your name? I didn’t know Jiwon has many friends. Jaeduk and Jaejin are the only ones who wants to be his friend.”
“My name is Sunghoon Jiwon helped me a lot during my rehabilitation.”
“I was greatly depressed before and I dared to crash myself onto the front of a speeding bus. It was Jiwon who helped me and accompanied me during my surgery until after the rehabilitation period. I came here to apologize because it was me who made Jiwon unable to visit you in the last few years,” Sunghoon said while he was bowing deeply.
“Are you healthy now, son?”
Sunghoon nodded and surprised Jiwon a bit because Sunghoon lied easily and somehow made his mother believe the story. Jiwon stole a glance at his mother, her eyes now filled with tears, and stroked Sunghoon’s hand, “Thank goodness. Sunghoon, come on, please eat while it’s still warm.”
Jiwon’s mother got up and returned to the kitchen leaving Jiwon and Sunghoon on the table.
“I didn’t think angels would tell a lie, Sunghoon.”
“For some cases, it doesn’t matter, and luckily, your case allows me to lie.” Sunghoon took he soup into his mouth and chewed the meat quickly while Jiwon stayed silent, “Instead of taking care of my business, you should take care of your own business. Please clear the misunderstandings of the past 7 years.”
“You don’t need to tell me anyway, I have every intent of doing that, it’s just that your story has a big impact and my mom gets very emotional. It’s a little difficult for me to say good-bye to her.”
Sunghoon ate his soup in one gulp, (Jiwon also didn’t realize that Sunghoon was eating so fast) then said, “I’ll go out for a while so you can say good-bye.”
“Please tell her,” Sunghoon shrugged his head toward the kitchen, “that I went out to smoke, okay?”
Jiwon savored his meat soup after Sunghoon left. He hasn’t tasted his mother’s cooking for a long time. Sipping his soup slowly, hoping that his brain and tongue can remember the taste of his mother’s cooking before he die.
“Where’s Sunghoon?” Jiwon’s mother asked as she brought a tray containing two large cups.
It was silent until Jiwon finally put his spoon on the table, “How can you make a soup that taste never changed for seven years?”
“Well, who do you think paid your tuition fees so you can be accepted into the police academy by selling hangover soup for 24 hours?”
Jiwon chuckled softly and looked at the wrinkle on his mother’s face. Realizing that her only child was watching her face, Jiwon’s mother said, “Is there something on my face?”
“I just realized I never bought mother skin care, Mother’s wrinkles are everywhere.”
“If you come all the way from Seoul just to lecture about wrinkles, you better go home.” Jiwon’s mother said, feeling irritated. Seeing Jiwon suddenly silent and looking outside the window, Jiwon’s mother tries to open the conversation, “I heard Jaejin’s still not awake from the coma?”
Jiwon took a deep breath, and said, “Jaeduk often calls Mom then.”
“Since you decided to terminate the communication with Mom 7 years ago, Jaeduk and Jaejin are calling Mother every day, convincing me my only child is perfectly healthy.” Jiwon boldly looked at his mother, waited until his mother continued her sentence, “Sometimes Mom feels that Moms biological child is not you, but Jaeduk and Jaejin.”
“Sorry, if I cannot be as good as Jaejin and Jaeduk, and sorry because I’m your son.”
“What are you talking about? Even if you have a bad attitude, you’re still my son!”
Jiwon smiled for a moment before saying, “So are you going to forgive me?”
“Because you don’t go home and talk to Mother for 7 years? Anyway, Jaeduk already told me the whole problem, and I’m sure you’re not a foolish kid, so stop blaming yourself, son. What’s happening to Jaejin is not 100% your fault.”
“If I hadn’t insisted on continuing the case, Jaejin would still be on regular patrol on the outskirts of Seoul instead of sleeping at the hospital.”
“Jiwon-ah, you’ve done your best for the case, what happened to Jaejin is inevitable. Its fate.”
“Fate?” Jiwon said quietly.
“Yes, fate. Isn’t fate that brought you together with Sunghoon so that you’d finally want to see me after 7 years?”
Jiwon threw again his eyes out the window. His mother continued, “What happened to Sunghoon must be because of your unbearable habit to help other people, isn’t it?”
“Jiwon-ah, how many years do you think I’ve known you? Mom is very familiar with your habits, including your weird way of thinking about to terminate the communication so that I will not be a corrupt hostess when you decide to continue the corruption case. Rather than apologizing to me, it’s better to apologize to Jaeduk and Jaejin because I’m sure they’re not like me who can understand your strange way of thinking.”
“Speaking of strange thinking, I know this attitude of yours…are you planning to go for a long time without contacting Mom, Jaeduk and Jaejin? You want to go with Sunghoon and solve his problem?”
“That…” Jiwon rose from his chair and hugged his mother tightly. His emotions overflowed and he unknowingly cried, “Eomma, mianhae…”
“Jeongmal mianhae, I have never been really loyal to you, and now I have to leave you alone…”
“What are you talking about?” Jiwon’s mom said as she let go of Jiwon’s embrace, “You’ll only accompany Sunghoon for a while, right?”
Jiwon wiped the tears on his cheeks and said, “That’s right.”
“Don’t talk nonsense, you’re make me worried, promise me, once Jaejin wakes up, please all of you come together here without worrying about anything.”
“Well, I promise.” Jiwon’s chest suddenly ached as he said his promise, “I’m sorry eomma, because right now Sunghoon needs me more than Mom or Jaejin and Jaeduk.”
“I understand, go pick up Sunghoon, I’m afraid he’ll do something strange if he is left alone too long.”
Jiwon gasped when he realized he was at the beach. He’s even more astonished when he found Sunghoon sitting cross-legged facing the rising sun. Sunghoon seems to realize Jiwon was behind him because he turned back, with a cigarette in his mouth. Sunghoon took a long drag on his cigarette, blew smoke from his mouth and said, “Is it over?”
Jiwon didn’t answer Sunghoon’s question. He stood next to Sunghoon, looking at the rosy tinge that appeared from the eastern horizon. All of his regret filled his mind now. Was he able to send his mother enough money until he died? Can he see Jaejin getting up from his coma? Will Jaejin forgive him? Can he explain everything about the big case to Jaeduk? Can he leave his mother to Jaeduk?
“Will I see the sun rise here with Jaeduk and Jaejin before I die?”
“Eh?” Sunghoon rose from his seat and turned to Jiwon. He saw Jiwon was crying, and muttered, “Jiwon…”
“How many days…how many days left until I die? How many days…”
Jiwon sobbed softly and Sunghoon pitied him. Sunghoon unknowingly hugged Jiwon, patted his back slowly. Sunghoon’s guess wasn’t entirely wrong. Even a human like Jiwon cannot stay calm as he realizes his time is getting closer.
D – 40
Jiwon and Sunghoon returned to Seoul via the last bus from Mokpo. Nothing happened during their stay at Mokpo, other than when Jiwon asked, “Can you let me go around alone until lunchtime?”
And of course Sunghoon granted Jiwon’s request. Sunghoon kept an eye on Jiwon from afar without Jiwon being aware of it. The letter he received last night was a request for an investigation of Jiwon. And from all the rare cases ever investigated, Sunghoon had never found a human case that could see an angel other than an angel of death and he was fortunate enough that he can to be part of the investigation team (they already knew very well that Sunghoon had such a great power as an executor) allowing him to use his powers of about 10% in case Jiwon suddenly does something dangerous.
Jiwon was silent until they arrive at Jiwon’s house at 4 am. Occasionally turning around, as if he wanted to make sure Sunghoon is still around him. Sunghoon was bored, because Jiwon decided to go to sleep for three hours before his part time job. He opted to read the old investigative reports of rare cases while taking down notes on his parchment.
Sunghoon didn’t realize how many hours passed because he was busy reading until he realized that Jiwon was sitting across from him and saying his morning prayer.
Sunghoon was groping his left ear, as if he was making sure that he was wearing his earrings again, and suddenly Seungyoon came, and strangled his neck hard, making several books stacked on the table fall, scattered on the floor.
“I thought you were pretty smart, Sunghoon.”
“What…what do you mean, Seungyoon?” Sunghoon asked breathlessly. Seungyoon’s nails stuck on his neck skin, and Sunghoon began to feel the pain.
“You want Jiwon to be your and the investigation team’s experiment object, aren’t you? You’re trying to be a knight, trying to grant his last wish…” Seungyoon stuck his nails deeper, making Sunghoon cough and out of breath as Sunghoon’s hand tightly grabbed Seungyoon’s hand, wishing Seungyoon to release him but it’s useless, “But actually you’re doing a little experiment on him, wishing he could…”
Jiwon cannot believe what he is seeing now. He had just finished his morning prayer and when he opened his eyes, the black shadow he had seen before at the bar, now became clear. The black shadow was a male figure, about the same height as Sunghoon, dressed in black and has blond hair. The creature was strangling Sunghoon’s neck and from his nails that’s piercing Sunghoon’s neck skin, there was a disgusting black spot forming which Jiwon thought that was poison.
Trying not to make a sound when he got up from the chair, Jiwon stretched his hand out toward the creature’s shoulder, while shouting, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING, FUCKING CREATURE!”
Sunghoon, realizing Seungyoon was surprised from Jiwon’s shout broke away from Seungyoon’s stranglehold, and quickly changed his position, now Jiwon’s hand grabbed Sunghoon’s left hand, which was trying to hold Jiwon and grab his shoulder.
Sunghoon, gasping for air from Seungyoon’s strangulation said, “Heaven business, I have to go.”
Without waiting for Jiwon’s answer, Seungyoon and Sunghoon’s body was covered in white smoke and disappeared.
Seungyoon opened his eyes slowly. Sunghoon brought him back to the heaven so suddenly and now both he and Sunghoon were lying down in front of the main building of the investigation division. Seungyoon looked to his right, where Sunghoon laid.
“What do you want to happen with you bringing me here, huh?”
No answer. But instead, Seungyoon heard Sunghoon moaning in pain and gasping for breath. Seungyoon softened his voice, once he felt something was wrong with Sunghoon.
“Hey…Sunghoon, what happened?”
Seungyoon crawled toward Sunghoon and shrieked with surprised when he saw Sunghoon’s left hand full of bruises and bad smell emanating from a disgusting looking wound, “Yah! Sunghoon-ah! Sunghoon-ah! Hang on Sunghoon!!”
- a EunKang fic
- from WordPress
People always said that another day will lead you to another life.
Another day and another life.
What a cliché.
Sunghoon always laugh whenever he hears humans talk about future matters. There are times when humans are too pessimistic, but there are also times when humans are too optimistic. And it was so wonderful to see how disappointed they were when their hopes were flung to the ground.
“You know Yuka, humans are the most ridiculous creatures I’ve met. Other than angels who record those good deeds.”
“So whose life are you taking in the next 49 days? A corruptor? A criminal? A wealthy philanthropist? An idol? A teacher whom everyone respects?”
“An ordinary person. An ex-convict, the most boring type because I already know the kind of face I’ll put on when I take his life.”
“Well for me, taking a human’s life is a duty, but for humans, death is a way to end their boring adventure in the world.”
“Well whatever. Do you want me to remind you of the rules before you leave or do you want me to just say good-bye?”
“I choose the second one.”
“Well, enjoy your duty and have a nice day with…”
He prefers other angels to call him Deathberry.
It sounds dark, scary, horrible, but it had a pleasant impression.
Still fresh in his memory, when he was assigned to replace Bolt as an angel of death.
Heaven was enraged.
How can an angel of death have a god-like face? His skin is pale like porcelain, his lips pink, his handsome face like sculpture combined with his silver white hair.
All angels doubted whether he could do his job properly and quickly with that face.
The heavens was enraged again because he easily completed his task with level S difficulty.
His first task was to take the life of a female idol that many people love because of her generosity.
Even though its already time for the female idol to pass, the angels can’t take her life that easily because a lot of people were praying for her to live long. If an angel forcibly takes her life the angel can lose his power. But Sunghoon completed his task on time and without any difficulties.
“Don’t judge the book by its cover.” Sunghoon said back then, while returning his assignment letter to Yuka, “An angel of death must know how to take a life.”
And here he is now, with his new task. He must take the life of an ex-convict named Eun Jiwon after 49 days.
“Gotcha.” Sunghoon said excitedly, once he recognized his target and began to follow Jiwon carefully, “A predictable person.”
Eun Jiwon, his target, now turned quickly into a narrow alley. He sped his pace which made Sunghoon use his power so he can follow Jiwon closely.
“Black hoodie, narrow alley, hurriedly running, and an ex-convict.” Sunghoon muttered, he was aware of Jiwon’s suspicious movements. And now, his mind was fixed on several things. “Illegal goods transaction, drugs sale, information exchange from the black market…oh really…he is someone who is very predictable and I wouldn’t be surprised if I meet…”
“Hi Sunghoon.” A glimpse of a black shadow appeared not far from where Jiwon stood, carrying a thick white book and waved kindly at him.
“Seungyoon, why are you here?” Sunghoon asked in surprise, acknowledging Seungyoon’s presence.
“What do you think? I’m on duty of course, recording the good deeds of Eun Jiwon.” Seungyoon said smoothly while he was writing something in his book, “Do you think Seunghyun will be here, writing down his bad deeds?”
“Don’t judge the book by its cover.” Seungyoon said half-mockingly, “Eun Jiwon likes to feed stray dogs in this district. Every day.”
“Oh…” Sunghoon said slowly as he looked away from Seungyoon toward Jiwon who was bending over, making sure all dogs were there to eat.
Seungyoon still smiling, looked at Sunghoon and Jiwon alternately. It took him three minutes before he finally realized why Sunghoon was suddenly in the human world and trailing Eun Jiwon. Seungyoon said, “Ah…so…are you in charge of taking Eun Jiwon’s life?”
Seungyoon sighed for a moment, “I don’t know if I can say a forbidden thing but I don’t want Eun Jiwon to die just yet.”
Sunghoon looked at Seungyoon and said, “Well…It’s strange to hear you say something cliché like that.”
“But that’s the truth, and I’m afraid that I can’t tell you the details. You know, the taboo of angels who record the human deeds”
“And you know, it’s one of those stupid things in Heaven. Good deeds don’t affect the angel of death and prevents them from taking his life.” Sunghoon said flatly.
Seungyoon laughed flatly and said, “Only you, the cold-hearted angel of death can take the lives of good people easily.”
“Bolt is stupid, he has to give up his precious power just for someone whom other people say is good.”
Seungyoon paused for a moment and asked, “I know it’s a taboo thing, but I’m sure you’ll answer this stupid question. Will you use the same trick when you took the life of the female idol on Eun Jiwon?”
“Yep, I’ll get him to see me, and with a bit of this and that, I’ll take his life with ease.”
“Are you sure that it will work smoothly?”
“50:50. Sometimes humans are difficult to guess.” Sunghoon said, as he was preparing to follow Jiwon, who’s finished feeding the stray dogs, “Let’s end this conversation for now, I’ll go first.”
Seungyoon watched Jiwon walking down the narrow alley and said, “Well, we’ll see.”
D – 47
“Can’t this guy do something interesting?” Sunghoon said, “His routine is wake up, cook, feed the dogs, read books in the library, work in pc room, work as mall security, work as a dishwasher in bars, feed the dogs, cook and sleep.”
Sunghoon watched Jiwon who has finished reading his book in the library and prepared to leave for his part time job. He had intended to use his power as soon as he saw and recognized his target, but Sunghoon changed his mind once he realized how boring the man named Eun Jiwon was.
Sunghoon was in the corner of the room, observing Jiwon who was cleaning the room in silence or occasionally tidying up the newly used PC. It’s so boring until he saw Seungyoon pop up in the middle of the room.
“Busy day, Seungyoon?”
“There’s a charity event in the district and I’m a bit overwhelmed by it.” Seungyoon replied while he was busy writing, “Have you decided when to start your plan?”
“I changed my mind, he wasn’t attractive at all. I just needed to be near him until the day he dies.” Sunghoon said wearily, “By the way, are you sure that you came here to work? A PC room is where people do bad deeds.”
“Of course, I came to record the good deeds done by the people in this district.”
“So you mean Eun Jiwon is doing good deeds?”
“Exactly. You think Seunghyun should be here?”
Sunghoon shrugged his head towards one of the customers who had just cursed loudly and said, “Don’t you think Seunghyun should stay here, recording the bad deeds?”
“He’s bored, he’s off to record bad deeds somewhere else.” Seungyoon said. Seungyoon looked closely at Sunghoon before saying, “I just realized you didn’t bring Eun Jiwon’s memoirs.”
“I did it on purpose. And I don’t need it anyway, his life is so flat.” Sunghoon said and yawned, “So what kind of goodness is he doing in this place?”
“Aren’t you an angel of death? You should know that you can’t ask a question like that” said Seunghyun who had just appeared suddenly beside Seungyoon.
“I know.” Sunghoon replied coldly.
“Instead of asking me or Seungyoon, or just blindly guessing, wouldn’t it be a little quicker if you read his memoirs?” Seunghyun asked.
“His memoirs is very thick, I don’t like reading thick books.”
Seunghyun and Seungyoon looked at each other, they didn’t think the best angel of death in heaven can be so careless.
“I’m just going to warn you, I hope you don’t regret it because that can be careless.” Seunghyun said.
“Are you threatening me or you’re scarring me? Or do you have other intentions?”
“Oh, come on, Bolt, the angel who once said he was a cold-hearted angel of death, in fact couldn’t do anything when he was finally assigned to take the life of the female idol.”
Sunghoon snorted and laughed, “Bolt was just careless.”
“Exactly. It’s like what you’re doing right now.” Seunghyun replied impatiently.
“I’m glad you’re worried about me, but you don’t have to, I can do my job well.”
Seunghyun shook his head firmly and looked at Seungyoon, “We’ll see in the next couple of days. I bet he’ll be a total mess.”
Sunghoon massaged his forehead. He just picked up Eun Jiwon’s memoirs and frankly, he didn’t understand why such a man chose to live in a hard way.
Sunghoon was still trailing Jiwon the next couple of days, figuring out what Jiwon does, Seungyoon and Seunghyun’s reminder of Bolt’s tragic case was all in his mind.
Jiwon sat still, unflinching on his desk, his eyes closed. Sunghoon watched silently when Seungyoon suddenly appeared next to the closet, and immediately wrote on his book.
“Hello, Sunghoon.” Seungyoon said without stopping from his writing, “Busy?”
“Of course not, he just sat there on his desk after he ate his breakfast and now you suddenly appear, writing down his good deeds.”
Seungyoon laughed mockingly, “You cannot guess why I came here even though he just kept quiet?”
“Wha…” Sunghoon clapped his hand hardly, and said, “He’s praying?”
Jiwon who had been sitting quietly suddenly startled, as if there was something that bothered him. He watched every corner of his house carefully, before closing his eyes again, continuing his prayers.
“What is he prays for?”
“Ya, you know the prohibition right? Moreover you’ve brought his memoirs, so why do you still ask me?”
“I want to understand all the problems faster. I only have 45 days left and I still have no plans.”
“My advice, stop following Jiwon and start reading his memoirs.
“I just read his memoirs until he was about 10 years old and frankly I didn’t understand anything. So I just decided to read and follow him at the same time.”
“Good luck, then.” Seungyoon said as he closed his book, “My business here is over, bye.”
Jiwon got up from his chair as soon as he finished his prayer. Jiwon picked up the black hoodie and stepped out of the house.
Sunghoon had thought Jiwon would repeat his usual routine, but his predictions were wrong. Jiwon was walking towards one of the famous hospitals, and wore his hood once he arrived at the main lobby of the hospital. Trying to be invisible, Jiwon tried to disappear in the crowd. He quickly turned at one of the wards.
Sunghoon read the name plate on the door of the patient’s room before following Jiwon inside, “Lee Jaejin…I’ve seen his name in Jiwon’s memoirs, but I forgot when Jiwon and Jaejin met.”
Sunghoon reminded himself to immediately read Jiwon’s memoirs once Jiwon gets back from the hospital. He chose to stay by Jaejin’s bedside, watching over Jiwon who was crying silently.
“Jaejin-ah…mianhae. If I can go back through time…I’ll prepare my plan better.”
The man named Jaejin stayed silent, not responding to Jiwon’s words, only the sound of ‘beep’ which came from a nearby machine can be heard. Jiwon held Jaejin’s hand carefully, trying not to hit the IV.
Jiwon rubbed Jaejin’s arm carefully, as if he was trying to reassuring Jaejin and himself that it’ll be all right. Sunghoon just observed Jiwon who was crying in silence, until Seunghyun walked through the wall suddenly.
“Hello, Sunghoon.” he said kindly, “Have you finished reading his memoirs?”
“Not yet, but…”
Seunghyun’s expression changed. There was disappointment on his face, “I don’t think you fully understand the definition of careless, Sunghoon.”
“I’m thinking up a plan…”
“Plan,” Seunghyun scorned. He started to write something in his book and made Sunghoon shriek.
“What are you doing?!”
“Don’t you know I’m an angel who record the bad deeds?”
“Yes, I know, but whom are you writing down the bad deeds?”
“I thought you knew the prohibition, Sunghoon, the angel of death shouldn’t interfere with the angel who is recording the good and bad deeds, especially when it comes to…”
“The man whom the angel of death will take his life. I still have the contents of Chapter 4 memorized, thank you.”
“So it’s obvious, right, to whom I’m writing down the bad deeds?”
“You’ve got his memoirs, and I know that all your questions will be answered if you read the book.”
“I know… but I just want everything done faster.”
Seunghyun wrote in silence, and said, “Just stay in this room about five minutes after Eun Jiwon leaves and you’ll know the answer.”
Sunghoon paused. Seunghyun’s idea was not bad. When Jiwon walked out of the patient’s room, he stayed there, faithfully waiting for anything, something to happen. Soon, Jaejin’s bedroom door opened again, someone with long eyelashes sighed, disappointed and sat down next to Jaejin’s bed and said, “Jiwon hyung is still the same as ever. He lied to everyone, said he’s fine, even though we both know, Jiwon hyung has never been alright, so you have to get up soon, Jaejin, we have to clean up Eun Jiwon’s name.”
The man grabbed Jaejin’s hand and said his prayer silently. Before Seungyoon came back and nagged him again, Sunghoon chose to go home. He has a plan now.
D – 41
It has been a few days since Jiwon felt something creepy around him. Sometimes he saw a glimpse of a shadow of a man dressed in white, sitting across from his desk, watching him from the corner of the room, whether he is at home or the PC room.
The shadow grew clearer as days passed, unlike a few days ago when he first saw the shadow. This morning, he tried to keep calm because the shadow was clearly visible now. Jiwon was not sure whether it was a ghost or a human-like creature, but it is clear that seeing it wasn’t a good sign.
Jiwon tried to ignore the creature, who was looking at him sharply. He closed his eyes, praying for Jaejin’s healing, praying for Jaeduk’s health, and for the first time Jiwon prayed for himself.
He begged God to protect him from any bad intentions from the creature.
He opened his eyes, and saw the creature wasn’t looking at him anymore. Jiwon breathed a sigh of relief and used this opportunity to get out of the house, to his workplace, half wishing that the creature wouldn’t follow him.
Unfortunately his hopes vanished because once he got to the PC room, the creature was waiting for him at the corner of the room. Jiwon tried to look at the creature briefly and he was surprised that the creature wasn’t entirely frightening. His face was handsome like a sculpture.
But still, Jiwon thought to himself, even if he is handsome, he wasn’t human. Jiwon focused on his work until finally he heard the creature mention his name.
Jiwon quietly glanced over to where the creature was standing, and vaguely listened to the creature talking, “Eun Jiwon is a complicated man! Even you visit him every two hours!”
Jiwon narrowed his eyes, trying to find out if any other creature was after him, but he can’t see anything. He could only catch a glimpse of a black shadow that stood not far from where the handsome creature was standing. Jiwon understood now, something he couldn’t see was after him.
Jiwon quickened his pace. The creature was still following him wherever he goes and although Jiwon knew this can’t be accepted by logic, at least he wanted to know why the creature was following him.
Jiwon closed his door and looked around for the creature. Jiwon found the creature sitting on the fridge, staring at him
Jiwon gathered his courage, and looked straight into the creature’s eyes. They looked at each other until the creature started to feel strange, he turned left and right, as if he wanted to find out if Jiwon was really looking at him, and Jiwon said, “I know you’re sitting on my fridge, and you’ve been following me all day long. What do you want?”
The creature was startled and gently pointed at his nose and said, “Me?”
“Yes, I’m asking you, I can see you and I want to know why you’ve following me all day.”
“Can you really see me?”
“Do I look like lying?”
Jaeduk curled up his fingers when he heard Jiwon say “Saranghae.” Jaeduk chuckled when Jiwon finally ended his call and said, “Woah…uri Jiwonnie has changed.”
“Satisfied?” Jiwon asked when he returned the phone to Jaeduk, “Please tell the others that I’m fine.”
Jaeduk nodded, “Should we go back?”
“I’ll drive you to Duck Bar first.”
Jiwon’s House, 1998
“So, the first song is Road Fighter…”
“And the second song is Come to Me Baby.” Sunghoon continued, “Well, the song is not bad, but I don’t like that there are so many empty sections on Road Fighter.”
“It’s not empty, I just have to fill it with rap to make it a whole song.”
“Hyung, do you already have an idea? I saw you write something when we were both listening to the song.”
“I have to hear it several times to make the rap match the feel of the song.”
“Hmm…” Sunghoon said, “I think I can divide everyone’s part today, but I may be wrong. It’s hard to do line distribution without me knowing the others voice characteristics.”
“I’ll do my best to write the rap section too.” Sunghoon said.
“Did you bring a Walkman?” Jiwon asked.
Sunghoon nodded and took the Walkman from his bag.
“Since you said that you don’t like Road Fighter, I hope you’d help me write the rap for the other songs.”
“With pleasure.” Sunghoon said while a smile.
Both of them put on their headphones and focused on their work, not making any noise. Jiwon was focused too much on the rap section of Road Fighter he didn’t realize Sunghoon was calling him.
“Hyung. Jiwon hyung.” Sunghoon patted Jiwon’s shoulder and called him again, “Jiwon hyung.”
Jiwon looked to his side and took off his headphones hurriedly, “Wae?”
“Sorry if I bothered you, but…I finished writing the rap part.” Sunghoon said, showing his paper to Jiwon, “I want you to review the rap if that’s okay.”
“Oh?” Jiwon said in surprise. “You’re so fast…”
Sunghoon shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don’t know if it fits the song or not.”
Jiwon took the headphones from Sunghoon’s hand, “Let’s see.”
Jiwon played Come To Me Baby and sang his rap quietly. He wrote off a few sentences from what Sunghoon made, and wrote his review on the paper, “Not bad.”
“The real meaning doesn’t come out” Jiwon said as he removed his headphones, “The rap is flowing, synchronizing with the lyrics, but I think it sounds boring. Please don’t be offended.”
“No, I’m not. Since it’s the first time I wrote rap.”
“Sometimes rap is not related with the content of the song itself. Sometimes it looks like it has two totally different meanings, but actually it’s still related. Or if you want to make it easy, just write your feelings.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, if you feel the same way as the song. What do you feel? What do you want to say?”
“Ah ~~ okay I understand.” Sunghoon excitedly said, “I’ll fix it now.”
Jiwon watched Sunghoon who was busy with his paper and Walkman for a moment before he went back to his rap writing again. He didn’t know how many times he repeated Road Fighter until he’s finished writing the rap for it. Jiwon took his headphones off excitedly and said, “Sunghoon-ah, I…”
Sunghoon fell asleep. His face on the table. Jiwon shifted his chair carefully and tapped Sunghoon’s shoulder several times, “Sunghoon-ah, let’s get up.”
No reaction. Jiwon shook Sunghoon gently and called him again, “Sunghoon-ah. Let’s get up.”
‘He is fast asleep,’ Jiwon thought. Jiwon has no choice but to carry Sunghoon to the bed. Jiwon lifted Sunghoon cautiously bridal style to the bed and slowly laid him on it. Trying not to wake him up, Jiwon covered Sunghoon with the blanket.
Seeing Sunghoon’s sleeping face, Jiwon smiled and said, “Well, let’s called it a night Sunghoon-ah.”
Jiwon laid down beside Sunghoon, and closed his eyes. It was an eventless night until he felt something different and woke up. He and Sunghoon were hugging each other tightly.
Nishikawa family house
“Oppa! I’m home ~”
“Eung ~ I’ll open the door.” Sunghoon answered through the intercom. After what happened the past few days between him and Jiwon, Sunghoon decided to tell her everything that happened over the phone. Either Yoonji already knew something or Yoonji is like Jiwon, doesn’t like listening to long explanations. But he was quite happy when Yoonji decided to go home even if she was busy making her album.
“Oppa! I’m glad you finally met Jiwon oppa again.” Yoonji said hastily, hugging Sunghoon as soon as Sunghoon opened the door.
“Yeah… Finally, my prayer came true after 15 years…” Sunghoon said, patting Yoonji’s back slowly before releasing her.
Sunghoon realized there’s someone standing behind Yoonji, and for some reason, he looked familiar, “You…”
“Ah sorry…” Yoonji said after realizing Sunghoon recognized the person behind her. “He insisted on coming with me, he said there was something he needed to say.”
“Ah…yes please come in.”
Sunghoon invited him in towards the living room and served hot coffee. “So what do you want to tell me?”
“First, let me introduce myself, I’m Song Mino, Yuki-san’s personal manager as well as a lyricist and composer for Yoonji noona’s upcoming album,” Mino said, “Ah, I’m Korean so we can converse in Korean.” he continued hastily after seeing Sunghoon’s astonished face.
“Ah…That’s why I think I’ve seen you somewhere, can I help you with something?”
“It’s…about my cousin, Eun Jiwon,” Mino said slowly, “I want to apologize to hyung because I’ve been hiding something from hyung all this time.”
Sunghoon tried hard not to widen his eyes when he realized Mino is Jiwon’s cousin. He looked at Mino who was now bowed deeply and said, “I don’t understand.”
“Hideo-san and Yuki-san also offer their apology to Sunghoon hyung. The three of us are really sorry.”
“Did something happen?”
“Hyung and noona’s adoptive mother, Terumi Nishikawa-san once made an absurd agreement with Hideo-san when Yoonji noona insisted on continuing her career as a singer at Hideo-san’s agency. She appealed to Hideo-san to hide the true identity of hyung and noona as Korean-Japanese. Also wished for Jiwon hyung, Jaejin hyung, Jaeduk hyung and Suwon hyung to never find any information about hyung and noona.”
“Wait, if it’s about hiding our identity as Koreans, we know about that because Mama told us, but I never knew Mama hid Sunghoon oppa from his friends.” said Yoonji.
“But why did Mama go that far?”
“Hideo-san doesn’t know anything about it either, so he thought it must have something to do with the Nishikawa family.” Mino continued.
“Why are you telling us now?”
“The agreement between Hideo-san and Terumi Nishikawa-san ends when Terumi Nishikawa’s will is read in front of the entire Nishikawa family which will happen in two months, but Sunghoon hyung and Jiwon hyung met before the will is read, so Hideo-san thought the agreement is void and he sent here. ”
“I understand if Hideo felt guilty, but why do you and Yuki feel guilty too?”
“Because of this.” Mino said while his hand reached into his pocket, getting a photo, “Hyung do you still remember this?”
Sunghoon took the photo from Mino, “It’s…the photo that Mama showed me when I insisted on staying in Korea until Jiwon hyung comes back from Paris, right?”
“Hyung doesn’t realize who the woman sitting next to Jiwon hyung is?”
“How can!?” Yoonji yelled in disbelief.
“Until this moment, she’s still hoping Hideo-san will give her permission to come over and explain everything she knows about the stupid agreement. But she has to go to Belgium for a personal schedule this afternoon and it cannot be delayed.” Mino took a deep breath, “About the relationship between Yuki and Jiwon hyung, only they can answer it.”
“Okay.” Sunghoon said slowly, “Yuki owes me an explanation when she gets back from Belgium later…So what do you want to explain to me?”
“Jiwon hyung and Yuki-san are the people I really care about. Both of them treat me like their own younger brother and…” Mino took a deep breath, “It’s hard to stay calm and work hard in Japan, knowing Jiwon hyung’s admitted into a hospital because of a rumor that hyung was staying in China…”
“At that time, I was just an ordinary staff member, until Yuki-san saw the potential in me. She promoted me to be her personal manager. As I transferred my personal items from the staff room to Yuki-san’s studio, she saw my photo with Jiwon hyung. Yuki-san asked what my relationship with Jiwon hyung is.”
“Yuki-san was surprised when she found out I’m Jiwon hyung cousin. She was shocked when I told her about Jiwon hyung’s condition since his return to Korea, when he had to get intensive treatment due to severe depression, and when Jiwon hyung lost his Mercedes Benz just to get information which turns out to be false. Yuki-san just listened to my story until I was done speaking.”
“Yuki-san just said she knew Jiwon-hyung and promised me she will do her best to help Jiwon hyung find clues about Sunghoon hyung. Later, I found out Yuki-san was persuading Hideo-san to help Jiwon hyung. Hideo-san insisted he didn’t want to help Jiwon hyung until Yuki-san threatened him she will leave KM Ent.”
“I and Yuki-san were summoned to his office and he explained about the agreement. He was willing to help Jiwon hyung and he promised to contact someone he knew to help Jiwon hyung about Sunghoon hyung’s whereabouts.”
“Hyung, do you know Danny hyung?”
Sunghoon nodded briefly, and Mino continued his story, “He’s the one Hideo-san contacted, and I still don’t understand how they know each other, but Hideo-san said Danny hyung was the right person because Danny hyung probably knows the reason Terumi Nishikawa-san wants hyung to move to Japan hurriedly.”
“All of us can only pray that Jiwon hyung will contact Danny hyung as soon as possible. When Jaejin hyung joined one of Lollipop Kiss projects as a photographer, I tried to get information from Jaejin hyung whether Jiwon hyung has asked help from Danny hyung or not. It turns out Jiwon hyung still has a grudge at Danny hyung because of the boyband project, so Jiwon hyung won’t ask Danny hyung for help. ”
Mino sighed again, he was trying to stay strong, “And if we are to tell Jaejin hyung, Terumi Nishikawa-san will reveal the secret that Yuki is French-Japanese and that Takemura’s family has inherited dirty business and of their information network which is incredibly powerful.”
“With a threat like that, we can only give in. Even if Yuki-san and Hideo-san were ready to throw everything away just to cancel the stupid agreement, it’s still too risky. I’m the selfish one here, I convinced Yuki-san and Hideo-san that the three of us knew nothing about Sunghoon hyung’s whereabouts. The three of us had to act as if Hideo-san had never told me and Yuki-san anything about the stupid agreement. I wasn’t ready to see Yuki-san and Hideo-san lose their dreams just when Lollipop Kiss’s name started to be known. So please forgive me hyung. ”
Sunghoon took a deep breath, tried to understand Mino’s story. Yoonji calmed Mino down by rubbing Mino’s arms, she stared warmly at her older brother and said, “At least, we’ve found the missing pieces of the puzzle, haven’t we?”
Sunghoon nodded, “I always thought Mama will use Nishikawa family name for dirty things like this, but I didn’t think Mama would have gone this far. Mino, it’s okay. Please don’t feel guilty anymore. The important thing is me and Jiwon hyung have met.”
“Jiwon hyung isn’t the type of person who likes to listen to long explanations over the phone, so I hope hyung can explain everything when you meet him later.”
“Yeah, I know. He said he wants us to meet and I have to explain everything. He doesn’t like us talking about it over the phone.”
“This.” Mino said handing over a bundle of documents, “If Jiwon hyung still doesn’t believe what Terumi Nishikawa-san did in her attempt to hide Sunghoon hyung in Japan, just give him this. Hideo-san gave all the evidence he has to hyung. I also recorded all we’ve talked about today, so don’t worry, I’ll do what I can to make Jiwon hyung believe. ”
“Thanks, I’ll read the document later.”
“Can’t hyung start reading now?”
“Sunghoon hyung and Jiwon hyung will definitely meet in the near future, I’m sure.”
“I cannot say it now, but it’s time for Jiwon hyung’s love story to end happily”
“So in the end you run away.” Jaejin said while he was exhaling his cigarette smoke. “I cannot believe that in two weeks you decide to fly to Germany, not to Japan.”
“I’m not running away,” Jiwon said irritably as he light his cigarette, “It’s what my job demands.”
“Job demands,” Jaejin scoffed, “Maybe you want to pretend you’re being a professional but we all know you’re running away.”
“Oh shut up.”
“How long do you plan to keep going on like this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Being a workaholic.” Jaejin took a long drag on his cigarette and exhaled it slowly, “You worked really hard because you needed money and opportunities to travel around the world to search for Sunghoon, but isn’t it pointless now since you’ve found Sunghoon?”
“I don’t know. I still don’t understand why I feel I need to keep myself busy. Maybe my heart’s still not ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“To accept the fact that I have found Sunghoon normal, with a healthy body and mind.”
“Shouldn’t you be grateful?”
“I should be.” Jiwon exhaled out his cigarette smoke, “But somehow I feel betrayed.”
Jiwon took a long drag on his cigarette and exhaled it out before continuing, “I thought he’d be just as depressed as I am, I thought his life would be just as messed up as mine, but I was wrong. How can he be so calm and live, not even trying to find me? How can you call that love? ”
“Sunghoon must have his reasons.”
“I know, but I feel it isn’t fair.” Jiwon said staring at the sky hopelessly, “I cannot look at Sunghoon the same way after finding him so normal.”
“At least you should be grateful, that Sunghoon is alive.” Jaejin said seriously, “What if after all your struggles, all you got was his grave?”
“That’s why I’m uncomfortable about this. I know I have to adapt quickly to the situation, but my heart still cannot accept that it’s not what I expected.”
“Life is sometimes not fair. Well, if you want to adapt quickly, think this is your karma because you were late to realize your feelings for Sunghoon. Or because you made Yuki confused because of your attitude in France.”
“I will try.”
“You have to adapt quickly, Jiwon.”
“I have good news for you after my business in Belgium is over.” Jaejin said, “I hope you’ll look forward to it.”
“I hope so too.”
YG Academy, 1998
“Hyung, seriously, nothing happened when I slept over at your house?”
“Hn? Kang Sunghoon don’t you get tired of asking that almost every day?”
“I’m wondering when I woke up the next day I was at the mattress and then hyung has been ignoring me since then.”
“I’m not ignoring you!”
“Hyung is ignoring me!”
Sunghoon pouted his lips and said, “Okay I believe you’re not ignoring me, but why is hyung acting weird?”
“I’m not acting weird!”
“CAN YOU PLEASE STOP SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER?” Jiyong shouted frustrated.
“You guys,” Jiyong said as he pulled at Jiwon and Sunghoon’s hands, leading them out of the room, “Settle your business now because tomorrow morning is the evaluation and you’re still fighting over what happened at Jiwon hyung’s house two weeks ago!”
“Jiyong-ah we don’t…”
Jiyong slammed the door before Sunghoon was able to finish his sentence. Sunghoon turned to Jiwon and said, “Hyung, you know, Jiyong is right, it’s been two weeks and I cannot focus on vocal or dance training.”
“Just because you woke up on the bed the next morning?”
Sunghoon nodded, “Because it’s impossible for hyung to carry me to the bed.”
“I carried you to the bed.”
“Hyung carried me to the bed!?” Sunghoon asked in surprise, “And hyung ignored me just because hyung carried me to the bed? Am I that heavy?”
“Aish…It’s not because of that…”
“Well, did I do something to hyung during my sleep?”
“Did we do that?”
“Aren’t you busy, Sayaka?” Sunghoon asked roughly.
Sayaka hastily nodded as she realized the change in Sunghoon’s tone, “Then I’ll go first, bye,” Sayaka bowed briefly to Jiwon.
“Nishikawa-san, I’d like to buy daifuku, is there another cake you recommend?”
“Dango and mochi are delicious, but sakuramochi is also delicious.”
Jiwon thought for a moment, “Okay, I’ll buy for take away.”
Jiwon turned back to the counter, leaving Sunghoon.
‘Why should Sayaka come at a time like this?’
He should have been able to predict the worst.
Jiwon glanced briefly to his right, towards Sunghoon, who was busy with his cell phone. Jiwon sighed, and decided to walk around the park by himself. Seeing the ring on Sunghoon’s finger made him sad.
Jiwon blinked his eyes and a tear fell on the camera he was holding. Jiwon hurriedly wiped his camera, and immediately focused his camera to some corner of the park that he felt quite interesting, then ran to a hidden spot. His last defenses collapsed, his tears wouldn’t stop. For the first time since Sunghoon left him, he cried.
Me : Sayaka. For the first time in my life I hate you so much. Sayaka : Eh? Sayaka : The survey failed because I hugged you in public?
Sunghoon sighed and resisted from throwing his cell phone. The incident at the cake shop wasn’t entirely Sayaka’s fault. It was his fault because he didn’t tell Sayaka and Yoonji about Jiwon. Sunghoon ruffled his hair in frustration and replied to Sayaka message.
Me: The representative from Clover who came here to survey my house was my first love, 15 years ago. The one who made me commit that I didn't want to marry anyone unless with him. Sayaka: WHY ARE YOU JUST TELLING ME NOW? Sayaka: WHERE HE IS NOW?
Sunghoon snorted. There’s no point in continuing the conversation with Sayaka right now. Especially if Eun Jiwon still doesn’t recognize him.
Park near Jiwon’s House, 1998
Sunghoon nodded his head sympathetically once Jiwon finished his story, “So basically, Jiwon hyung shouldn’t be an artist, right?”
Jiwon tried hard not to roll his eyes. Sometimes people who are a genius in one field, is usually stupid in other fields. Like Sunghoon for example, “It’s not like that, boy.”
“Eh? But that’s what hyung said…”
“I just don’t want to become a marketer, not just as an artist, football player, Geologist, Olympiad or chef.”
“Ah…I understand now.”
Jiwon sighed. He thought that it was useless to share his story with Sunghoon. Sunghoon doesn’t even understand where the problem lies. But strangely, Jiwon was relieved, feeling the burden he always carried since childhood lightened.
“But…isn’t what Jiwon hyung doing right now makes things more complicated?” Sunghoon asked as he tilted his head, trying to analyze Jiwon’s problem, “Hyung said, since childhood, hyung has been trained to become a professional marketer, and now hyung joined the Headmasters project, will it not make your father angry?”
“That’s my aunt’s business, I still don’t know what my aunt said about the project that my dad approved of my aunt’s decision to include me in her project.”
“At least, hyung has an aunt that understands hyung’s problem.” Sunghoon got up from the bench, “We have to hurry up, you need to make the rap parts of two songs.”
Jiwon smiled and patted Sunghoon on the shoulder, “Thank you for listening to me, boy. You are the first to listen to my complaints other than my aunt.”
“No problem.” Sunghoon said as he turned the other way, his face red when Jiwon smiled at him. “You can talk to me any time.”
It feels awkward.
Especially when Jiwon tapped him on the shoulder and smiled kindly at him when he finished his walk around the park. Jiwon tried to make conversation a few times, asking about tourist attractions in Saitama, but for some reason Sunghoon was too lazy to answer.
When they arrived at the shopping center, Sunghoon chose to wait for Jiwon at the cafe. So much memories of them together is playing like a movie in his head…walking with arms around each other after school, him listening to Jiwon complaining about his unreasonable house rules, when Sunghoon did not qualify as an Olympic participant…all these made his chest ache so much.
Sunghoon sighed. Tonight is Jiwon’s last night at his house. He should make sure to explain the reason he left Korea and changed his identity.
“Eh?” Sunghoon said, “It’s finished, Jiwon-san?”
“Yep, lots of places I can recommend for prospective clients to visit” Jiwon said shortly, “Ah, I forgot to tell you. Today we will have karaage for dinner, so you don’t have to prepare dinner later.”
“Don’t worry, I bought a lot of karaage.” Jiwon said misunderstanding Sunghoon’s disappointed face.
“Actually I was planning to make you kimchi jjigae tonight, but if you already bought karaage, then tomorrow’s breakfast menu is kimchi jjigae.”
“You can cook kimchi jjigae?” Jiwon asked, his eyes lit up when Sunghoon said his favorite food, “That’s my favorite food.”
“Yeah, that’s the only Korean food I can cook. Are we going home now?”
Jiwon nodded. Sunghoon’s mind was blank on their way back to the Nishikawa house, he was unable to think at all. He managed to bring his car back to the house safely, although Jiwon had to remind him several times he was moving too slow.
“Nishikawa-san, do you mind if I start the interview process after dinner?” Jiwon asked when they arrived in front of Nishikawa’s house.
Sunghoon shook his head, “Eung, let me get the rice, and prepare the table first.”
Either Sunghoon felt it or time really went faster than usual. The form filling and interview process was completed within 30 minutes. Even as Jiwon tidied up the interview form and some files afterwards, Sunghoon still couldn’t believe that all Jiwon’s dealings with him was over. He just has tomorrow morning as a last chance to talk with Jiwon.
“Ah…Nishikawa-san, since the interview process is over, maybe I’ll leave earlier tomorrow.”
“I might leave after breakfast.”
“Aren’t you taking the 1 o’clock train to Haneda?”
“I need to meet someone while I have time.”
Sunghoon stumbled, “Ah…that’s fine.”
“Then good night Nishikawa-san.”
“Good night Jiwon-san.”
“Smells delicious.” Jiwon said suddenly, as he carried his suitcase down from the second floor towards the kitchen, “It smells like the one my aunt makes.”
“Ah…really?” Sunghoon replied uncomfortably, he was afraid Jiwon would notice he was absent mindedly stirring the pot. His mind was screwed up and he didn’t get any sleep at all. And he almost cut his finger because he was so scared this would be his last chance to see Jiwon.
“I’m serious, Nishikawa-san, do I sound like I’m lying?”
Jiwon chuckled and made Sunghoon’s heart hurt. His laugh reminded Sunghoon of the times he and Jiwon argued over Batman and Spiderman, and it always ends with Jiwon’s laughter because they’ve just wasted their time for nothing.
Sunghoon sighed before turning his body from stove to the table, and brought Jiwon breakfast.
He placed the tray of Jiwon’s breakfast carefully and then carried a tray for himself.
“Itadakimasu…” Sunghoon said softly. He glanced at Jiwon who had already started eating his kimchi jjigae. There’s no change of expression in Jiwon’s face. Sunghoon finally ate his kimchi jjigae, giving up since he still doesn’t remember him.
Jiwon muttered several times, ‘delicious’ in Korean and made Sunghoon work hard not to sigh loudly or take a deep breath. Seeing Jiwon like this made him loose his appetite. Sunghoon blinked his eyes several times but his eyes just couldn’t stop his tears from falling.
Sunghoon slammed his chopsticks on the table and said loudly in Korean, “Hyung, do you really not remember me?”
Seeing Jiwon’s reaction, Sunghoon finally understood. Jiwon was just pretending he forgot the happiness he once shared with a guy named Kang Sunghoon.
Sunghoon shifted his chair hard and hurriedly ran to his room, pulled a large box from under his bed, and returned to the dining room. Sunghoon abruptly placed the box on the table, right in front of Jiwon, and began to hastily take out the items.
“Hyung doesn’t remember me at all? Alright, I’ll make hyung remember me,” he said loudly, ignoring the tears flowing down his cheeks.
Sunghoon pulled a photograph from the album and said, “This is our photo for the festival posters,” Sunghoon said, holding the photo tightly in front of Jiwon’s face before he threw it with the other photo albums on the floor.
“This,” Sunghoon said as he pulled at a keychain, “you gave it to me shortly after I sulked and didn’t want to talk to you because you prefer to play with Myeonghoon hyung at the arcade rather than accompanying me to class,” Sunghoon said as he threw keychain.
“Nishikawa-san, stop it, I don’t understand.” Jiwon said as he got up from his chair, trying to stop Sunghoon from throwing the objects from the box all over the room, but it was useless. Sunghoon was already clutching a jeans vest.
“This is the jeans vest that you wore when we performed. You hid this from your fans just because I said it was your best outfit.” Sunghoon threw the vest he held and took the monkey doll, “This, you give me as an apology because you can’t win a Pikachu doll at the school festival.”
“This,” Sunghoon said while he was holding a blue handkerchief, “You give me because I forgot to bring a towel during practice session.”
“This,” Sunghoon said, holding up a few books, “You give me so I can practice enough to prepare for my Olympic test.”
“This,” Jiwon realized the change in Sunghoon’s voice tone. The tone grew more and more quiet. His voice was shaking, a signal he was holding back tears. “You gave it to me because I didn’t have an umbrella when we got back from practice session.”
“This, this, this and this,” Sunghoon said, throwing items all at once, “You gave me just because I said I’m too lazy to buy new stationery.”
“This.” Sunghoon threw a bracelet.
“This.” Sunghoon threw a Batman figurine to the floor and hit Jiwon’s right foot, but Jiwon didn’t make a sound.
“This.” Sunghoon threw a replica of the Power Ranger’s sword and touched Jiwon’s hand, “You give it just because I said I never had a toy and accessories”
“And last,” Sunghoon stammered as he picked up a bottle of perfume, his hands was ready to throw the bottle, “The exact same perfume that you use, you gave it to me because you’re going to France.”
Jiwon managed to hold Sunghoon’s hand holding the perfume bottle, but Sunghoon tried to pull his hand and shouted, “Why are you stopping me? You don’t remembered me right? I’m still talking!”
Jiwon tightened his grip, and said softly, “Sunghoon-ah.”
Sunghoon was still trying to release himself from Jiwon’s grip as Jiwon softly said, “Sunghoon-ah.”
“Sunghoon-ah, stop it. I…I remember everything.” Jiwon said quietly as he took the bottle from Sunghoon’s hand and placed it on the table, “I remember everything Kang Sunghoon.”
Sunghoon stood still and cried loudly as Jiwon said he remembered him. Jiwon reached out his hand, was about to pull Sunghoon’s body in his arms, but Jiwon stopped. Hugging Sunghoon will make things more difficult.
Jiwon stood as close as possible to Sunghoon, until he can feel Sunghoon’s body heat. His shoulders were trembling, indicating that Sunghoon hasn’t stopped crying.
Sunghoon was aware Jiwon was standing right in front of him, approximately separated by 20 cm, and Sunghoon slowly reached out, and pulled Jiwon into his arms. Jiwon closed his eyes as Sunghoon hugged him and finally Jiwon’s defenses collapsed. Jiwon cried and returned Sunghoon’s hug.
They were crying and hugging in silence. No wounds in their hearts will be healed today, but for now a hug is enough.
Sunghoon and Jiwon sat next to each other. Neither one of them made a sound. Jiwon took a deep breath before saying, “I’m sorry.”
Sunghoon still looked down at his toes and Jiwon has no choice but to continue his words.
“I’m sorry, honestly I knew that Kang Sunghoon had changed his name with Nishikawa Yuu, just before I got here, but I chose to pretend that I didn’t know.”
“Why?” Sunghoon asked softly, he still didn’t dare to look at Jiwon.
“You must have a reason why you moved from Korea all of a sudden without informing us and then you changed your name and nationality so you couldn’t be tracked by us…especially me.” Jiwon said, “And I pretend not to know your new identity as a respect for your reasons.”
“What do you mean?”
“I always thought of you as a special person. I thought you’d share your burden with me. I thought you’re sad because you have to fight alone in Korea without me during your third grade. I thought you were sad so you planned your move to Japan quietly without talk to me. You even lived peacefully for 15 years without going crazy to meet me and without trying to contact me. Didn’t you ever think that I would be a regular marketer, moving from one company to another company just to find a person named Kang Sunghoon?”
Jiwon stared at the ceiling. He was trying to steady his heart before saying, “It took me 15 years to realize that now is the right time to give up.”
Jiwon sighed, “Thank you for being the one who made my youth a bit colorful.”
“Hyung, wait, I…I don’t understand.”
“Kang Sunghoon, there’s nothing I need to explain again, it’s all clear, I choose to stop loving you, Can’t you just forget me?”
“Hyung, please listen to my explanation.”
“There’s nothing I need to hear. You moved to Japan and you didn’t even look for me, that was enough proof that I’m the only one who’s always fighting for our love.”
There was a faint sound of cars arriving in front of Nishikawa’s house and Jiwon stood up, switching his sandals with shoes. Jiwon cleared his throat before saying, “Before I leave, let me congratulate you.”
Sunghoon finally looked away from his toes and stared at Jiwon, startled.
Jiwon pointed to Sunghoon’s left hand, “Congratulations, your fiancée is very beautiful. Don’t bother to invite me when you get married, because I certainly wouldn’t want to come.”
“Hyung, wait, it’s a misunderstanding!” Sunghoon said hastily as he got up and held onto Jiwon’s hand, “You must hear my explanation.”
“Sunghoon-ah, I have to go.”
“Hyung, please, listen to me.”
“Sunghoon, listen, you’ve chosen to be happy with your fiancée, so it’s your turn to see me happy by forgetting you.”
Jiwon removed Sunghoon’s hand and said, “The survey results will come out next week. Thank you for your attention.”
Jiwon went out and closed the door without even looking back. He could hear Sunghoon’s voice calling him through the door, and his sobs as he walked across the yard to the gate, but he tried not to look back. It’s time to look for his own happiness.
Jiwon opened his eyes suddenly. If previously he always woke up as they started the project, this time he always woke up because he hears Sunghoon’s voice calling to him.
When I was sleeping early in the morning The sunshine is smiling so brightly unlike my heart Even when everything outside of the window is moving busily My heart keeps on getting stiff
It’s been three days since he’s back in Korea. But he still choose to finish all his work at home. He hasn’t been able to answer any questions from Suwon and Jaejin about what happened in Saitama.
Jiwon grabbed his cell phone and checked some work emails. Once he finished checking it, he switched off his phone again. Trying to avoid Suwon, Jaejin, Jaeduck and even Jiyong who are constantly searching for him once he arrived back home. And for three days now, he returned to his parent’s home, emptying his apartment in Yeouido so that Suwon or Jaejin could not fetch him by force.
I heard about you from someone The sigh that stopped for a while was a deep again I keep falling in our memories like a habit I'm standing alone on the ground with my hand grabbing yours I will send you away but there is one thing left Everything is broken and only the wound remains The reason for life seems to have disappeared at the moment you threw me away If time can be played.
Jiwon sighed. The documents that Yuki gave had a big impact on him, unlike the rumors from Jaejin or Suwon. Documents about Sunghoon’s changed name and nationality application were promptly filed after he moved to Japan and a recommendation from YG Academy that Sunghoon used to enter Tokyo University, making him convinced that from the beginning Sunghoon only considered him a sunbae. Nothing else.
But why is it the longer he thought about it, the stronger the memory of his school life goes through his mind? As if to remind him that meeting Sunghoon was the biggest mistake of his life.
Let's not meet. Now let's not face each other. Again, never again
Jiwon steadied his heart once more. He got out of bed and opened the closet door. He took out the exact same box as Sunghoon showed him three days ago.
When the door of the closet is opened unintentionally Your scene from that season still remains there Your feet that touched everything remains like pictures The memories keep on haunting me.
Park, a week before Jiwon’s departure to France, 1999
“Hyung. What if we make a time capsule?”
“Good idea, but unfortunately I don’t know where to bury the time capsule, and I’m afraid the time capsule will be broken.”
“But I want to share something special with you before you leave for Paris.”
“Sunghoon-ah, what if we buy two identical boxes, then you can fill them with items that make you remember me, and I’ll fill them with items that make me remember you. We won’t bury the boxes, just keep the box on a safe place and when we meet again, we’ll bring the box and you must explain to me why you picked those things.”
Sunghoon pouted his lips then nodded in agreement, “Okay!”
When I opened my eyes because the alarm is heard I heard your voice when I was half asleep When I draw you who is far from my side Your familiar face is still bury
“Sunghoon-ah, Stop it I…I remember everything.”
Sunghoon opened his eyes slowly. Jiwon’s words has been ringing in his ears for the last 3 days. His guilt was adding up because he hasn’t had time to explain why he moved to Japan and change his name and nationality, plus Jiwon misunderstood the ring that he was wearing with Sayaka.
Sunghoon grabbed his cell phone, sent out some instructions for his co-workers. It has been three days since he decided to take a break because his heart wasn’t at ease when he heard that Eun Jiwon had disappeared.
Sunghoon was still half-disbelieving because the night after Jiwon returned to Korea, he got a message from Jaejin that Jiwon can’t be reached, and his apartment is empty. Even so, his work was done on time, including sending Sunghoon’s survey form to Jaejin.
Me: Still no word hyung? JJ: Yep. Aish...but he just sent me an email! He asked if I could survey a pension in Belgium. Bastard! Suwon: He gave you permission to leave, but he still disappears? It's really amazing that Eun Jiwon! I'll ask him to pay me three times as soon as he gets back to the office! Jaeduck: Have you tried to ask his aunt or his parents? JJ: Suwon and I call his mom every 6 hours. His mother also hasn't been able to contact Jiwon. Jiyong: Her aunt doesn't know anything. Since Jiwon worked at Clover, he rarely contacted his aunt. Me: So…what can I do? JJ: Suwon and I can't look for him today. I have a lot of work to do before I go to Belgium. Jiyong: I can look for him after 9 pm. There is a meeting with the auditors today. Jaeduck: Looks like I'm the only one who can look for him today. Don't worry about it Sunghoon. I'm sure I will find him.
“Eomma, I will go out for a while.”
“I don’t know. If Jaejin and Suwon call or come here, please tell them that I’m not here.”
“Eomma, seriously, I’m okay, I just want to be alone for a while, okay?”
Jiwon’s mother sighed and let her youngest son walk out of the house, carrying a large box of which she doesn’t know the contents.
Jiwon closed the door of the house, and opened the door to his car, put the box in the passenger seat before entering the driver’s door, and ran his car slowly. He went around the places where he and Sunghoon often spend time together, and he wants to feel nostalgic before he threw the box away as well as all his memories with Sunghoon, forever.
I want to go back to that time. Even if I do not have anything to say I'll forget it. Even if you hold onto my heart again We can not be in love. We should not love too much Let's not meet, now let's not face each other Again, never again Let's not face each other even in dreams Again, never again
Jaeduck recognized the figure who sat on the swing, a large box lying on the ground not far from the swing. Jaeduck walked as quietly as possible, trying not to make a sound, until he finally sat on the empty swing and said, “Hisashiburi, Jiwon-kun.”
Jiwon quickly turned his head towards Jaeduck as he greeted Jiwon and laughed heartily when he saw Jaeduck next to him, “Yokshi, uri Dukchael.”
“Next time if you want to forbid someone from fetching you by force, please say it specifically.” Jaeduck said with a smile, “Since you told your mother to tell a lie to Jaejin and Suwon, then your mother would tell the truth to me or Jiyong.”
Jiwon snorted and moved his swing in silence. Jaeduck glanced at Jiwon and said, “When will you go back to work? Jaejin will go to Belgium on Friday afternoon, he can’t cover up your task if he is to leave on Friday.”
“I’ll back on Friday.”
Jaeduck nodded as a sign he agreed with Jiwon’s words. He paused for a moment before saying cautiously, “What will you do with the time capsule?”
“I want to throw it away.”
“I don’t know.” Jiwon said, “Just…throwing away something that I can’t keep anymore.”
“Jiwon-ah, something happened when you and Sunghoon met, right?”
“Nothing serious, I just…I just…I’m not predicting that the thing I’m afraid of comes true.”
“Did you hear Sunghoon’s explanation?”
Jiwon shook his head, “I don’t want to hurt anyone anymore, I want Sunghoon to be happy as well as me.”
“Jiwon-ah, please don’t think that you’re the only one who was sad with all of this, that’s selfish.”
Jiwon looked down, “I’m not selfish.”
“You think you’re the one sad because Sunghoon disappeared? Don’t you think me and Jaejin are sad? You think Suwon and Jiyong aren’t feeling sad? You think Sunghoon is really happy to leave us just like that?”
“Jiwon-ah, we all are annoyed and sad that Sunghoon chose to keep his move to Japan a secret and disappear for 15 years. We also understand that you are feeling more upset and sad because Sunghoon is a special person for you. But please, don’t forget that you are also a special person for Sunghoon.“
“Jiwon-ah, please stop loving yourself too much. Sunghoon did all of this because he knows that you love yourself more than you love him. He was afraid that you will be hurt more if you know the real problem, and Sunghoon has no other way than to explain everything to you now, after 15 years for all these misunderstandings to end.”
Jaeduck took a breath, “Please learn to listen to your heart, it may be painful to hear the truth, but I guarantee 100%, you won’t regret it if you listen.”
Jiwon looked at Jaeduck and said, “Maybe it’s true that I’m selfish and I love myself too much so I went back to Korea without hearing his explanation. I’m afraid that he was really engaged with that woman and I’m afraid that he really forgot about me after he moved to Japan.”
“Jiwon-ah, if he forgot you, why would he still have the time capsule? If he really wants to forget you, he should have throw away his time capsule once he moved to Japan.”
“The time capsule is a proof that he still hopes to see you again and explain it all. I’m sure he has a good reason why he’s still living in Japan and chose to disappear for 15 years.”
Jaeduck stared at a silent Jiwon as the sunset, “Jiwon-ah, Sunghoon deserves to have a second chance. Give Sunghoon a chance to fix everything.”
Jiwon smiled, looking at Jaeduck who continued his sentence, “Also a second chance for yourself, you should have a chance to listen to all of Sunghoon’s explanations.”
“I will try.”
“When do you want to try it? I don’t want to hear your regret because you kept on putting it off.”
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s been three days since Sunghoon took time off because he wasn’t at ease to hear the news that his Jiwonnie hyung has disappeared.” Jaeduck said calmly, “Instead of telling Suwon, Jiyong and Jaejin that you’re okay, you better call Sunghoon first. He must be the first person to know that you’re all right.”
Jaeduck searched for his cell phone in his pocket and handed it to Jiwon, “Please use my phone.”
“I’ll call him later.”
“And then I’ll hear the news that Sunghoon still doesn’t know about your situation? No, Jiwon-ah, you must contact him now.”
Jiwon grabbed Jaeduck’s phone and got up from the swing.
“Where are you going Jiwon? You should call him here, in front of me.”
Jiwon sniffed and chuckled, “Ne, uri Dukchael,” Jiwon pressed the green button on Jaeduck’s cellphone screen, and waited until Sunghoon picked up his phone.
“Hyung? You found him? Is he all right?” Sunghoon asked frantically.
“Sunghoon-ah, it’s me. Your only one Jiwon hyung.”
Sunghoon paused for a moment, before answering, “Thank God, you are okay,” then Sunghoon was crying.
Jiwon waited until Sunghoon stopped crying and said, “Sunghoon-ah, let’s make a new beginning, a new start for us. I lied to you back then. I didn’t give up on our feelings and I won’t give up.”
The burst of happiness swelled in Sunghoon’s chest, Sunghoon cried again silently and sobbed softly. Jiwon waited for a little reply from Sunghoon before continuing, “Sunghoon-ah Saranghae.”
“Forgot? Have we met before, Nishikawa-san?”
Sunghoon was dumbfounded. Jiwon said it calmly, but for Sunghoon, Jiwon seemed to have said it in a sarcastic tone. Is it possible that Jiwon lost his memory shortly after he decided to disappear like what often happens in most Korean dramas?
Sunghoon ignored Jiwon. Bad thoughts about Jiwon’s attitude was attempting to enter his mind. Sunghoon closed his eyes, trying to shake off those bad thoughts, but it was useless. Even his 160 IQ could not help.
“Nishikawa-san? Are you okay? You look pale.”
“Ah..ya..I’m…” Sunghoon stammered. Jiwon must have a reason he forgot about him. Sunghoon chose to steady his heart. If Jiwon chose to remove Sunghoon from his mind, and decided to forget him, then Sunghoon will do the same, “I’m fine, don’t worry.”
Sunghoon moved for Jiwon to enter. Sunghoon placed a pair of white slippers by the entryway and said, “Please use it while you’re at home.”
“Yes, thank you.” Jiwon said as he took off his shoes and put on slippers. Jiwon looked around and said, “Do you live alone?”
“Actually I live with my sister, except if she’s on a project, she cannot go home for weeks.” Sunghoon explained, “But don’t worry, I’m sure I can handle all the homestay needs.”
“Oh, well, you don’t mind showing me where I’m going to sleep? It happens to be a long day for me, so I want to get some rest.”
“Of course, come with me.”
Sunghoon led Jiwon up the stairs to the second floor located opposite the kitchen.
“You don’t mind if I start my survey process tomorrow morning after breakfast?”
“Of course not.” Sunghoon replied with a friendly smile and pointing the closest room, “This is your room. The toilet is at the end of this hallway, and the bathroom is at the hallway downstairs. Do you want me to prepare warm water for your bath or make dinner?”
“No thanks, I will unpack my suitcase first and then wash my face before going to sleep.”
“Okay then, good night Jiwon-san.”
“Good night Nishikawa-san.”
Jiwon closed the door and took a deep steadying breath. His heartbeat was a mess, contrary to his coldness towards Sunghoon just now. Really, he couldn’t resist the urge to pull Sunghoon in his arms, and inhale as much as he can of his sweet scent. He barely changed in the past 15 years, his mysterious black eye is still the same, except his Korean is too stiff and sounds strange.
Jiwon tries to calm down. He needs to be ready for when he leaves Nishikawa’s home later and for his confession before saying good-bye to Sunghoon.
On the other hand, Sunghoon was out of breath. He was tired of pretending and staying calm while Jiwon just stood there and acted cold. He realized that it wasn’t his right to demand Jiwon to behave the same as he had 15 years ago, as if he had never disappeared, but Jiwon’s attitude made him feel worse.
Sunghoon’s legs suddenly felt weak, and Sunghoon could only sit on the stairs.
What happened to Jiwon that he chose to act cold like that?
YG Academy, 1998
“So…the Headmaster asked for both of us to join this small project?” Jaeduck asked after Jiwon explained about the project.
“In a manner of speaking, yes” Jaejin said, “but I think she has other reasons.”
“What do you mean?” Suwon asked.
“Each of us has a weird background. Jiwon hyung, the Headmaster’s nephew who always skip Math lessons. Sunghoon always blows up the laboratory every two weeks. Jaejin hyung, labeled the grumpiest guy in second grade and draws topless, and I’m the unlucky captain,” Jiyong replied.
“Eh, so she didn’t choose Sunghoon randomly?” Jiwon asked.
“Danny and I think the Headmaster was thinking of an effective way to stop Sunghoon from blow up the lab every two weeks, since you know, laboratory equipment is not cheap.” Jaejin explained, “She’s pretending about choosing Sunghoon randomly, but she’s already chosen us from the beginning.”
“If it so, I have no choice but to join,” Jaeduck said, “She certainly doesn’t like the cooking club room right next to the library.”
Jiwon looked at Suwon, “How about you?”
“I don’t think she likes it when I buy all of the curry buns in the cafeteria. I’m not the only one who thinks curry buns taste so good so it must be her favorite buns.”
Jiwon glanced at his watch. The break is almost over. “Since we do not have enough time to go to the Headmaster now, I hope you don’t mind gathering at the stairs to the headroom as soon as the last class is over.”
All five members nodded in agreement and waited for Jiwon’s next instruction. It’s so odd, because Jaejin and Jaeduck are both on second grade as Jiwon, but Jaejin and Jaeduck are so obedient to Jiwon, it’s as if Jiwon is older than them.
“What are you all waiting for? Please go back to your classrooms, see you in a few hours.”
Jiwon, Jaejin and Jaeduck get up and walked to their classroom on the third floor, while Jiyong, Suwon and Sunghoon split up in the western corridor.
Jiwon cannot wait for the last class to and start their little project. At first he hesitated because the project sounds stupid and unreasonable, but as time goes by and at first glance he sees the character of the other five members, Jiwon feels that their project is not as bad as he thinks (apart from Sunghoon who sometimes still behaves outside his expectations).
“Yes!” Jiwon said loudly and then hurriedly walked out of the classroom, past a long hallway to the stairs on the 2nd floor and he was surprised that the other five members were waiting for him there.
“Jaeduck and I decided to skip the last lesson and come here earl, we’re surprised the three boys were already here.”
“You guys skipped class?” Jiwon asked.
“Jiyong is still sprained, so there’s no point in attending sports class. Suwon’s class was cancelled, because Choi Songsaenim suddenly had a meeting with the School Committee,” Jaejin replied, “While Sunghoon was allowed by Shin Songsaenim to not take chemistry today. ”
“Well, whatever. You can skip class today but I will not be responsible if you skip class again for project reasons.”
“Hyung, are we going to meet the Headmaster now?” Jiyong asked.
“Yeah.” Jiwon said steadily, “Let’s go.”
Sunghoon woke from his sleep suddenly. His breath was wheezing. He tried to sit up and regulate his breath. Since when has he dreamt about something that happened many years ago and yet feels so real? And, he dreamed of the times when their boyband project started. Could this be a punishment for disappearing from Jiwon’s presence?
Sunghoon turned on his cell phone, and checked emails from the lab, in case he has to go check his co-worker’s work. By accident, his eyes saw a confirmation email from Clover. He decided to read it more carefully, who knows it can explain why Eun Jiwon is coming today. His heart ached when he realized who sent him the email.
The third member of their boyband project.
Sunghoon sighed heavily. He should have read the email from Clover carefully. He was too happy, because the application of his homestay provider was approved, so he didn’t read the contents of the email carefully.
Why should he and Jiwon meet in this way?
Sunghoon held the side of his head. His head is aching because he woke up suddenly, and because his brain is thinking too hard as to how Lee Jaejin is connected to Clover. Sunghoon massaged his forehead and looked at the clock in front of him. 7 o’clock in the morning. It’s time to get up and prepare breakfast. He got up from the bed, rushed to take a shower before preparing breakfast.
He was stirring his miso soup when he heard Jiwon’s room door open. Sunghoon tried to stay focused on his miso soup, trying his best to ignore the sound of Jiwon’s footsteps climbed down the stairs. Sunghoon let out a sigh of relief as he heard the sound of the bathroom door closing. At least he could put a tray of Jiwon’s breakfast on the table in peace. While waiting for Jiwon to finish bathing, Sunghoon turned on the music player on his cell phone hoping his heartbeat would stop beating too fast.
“Oh.” Jiwon exclaimed in surprise, as he came out of the bathroom and found Sunghoon waiting for him at the dining room.
“Did the sound of this music startle you?”
“I just didn’t think Nishikawa-san like songs like these.”
“I just like Lollipop Kiss,” Sunghoon replied, gesturing Jiwon to sit down, “They help me to think clearly.”
Jiwon nodded, “That’s the magic of music. Is this for me?”
“Yes, do you mind if we have miso soup and fried tofu for breakfast?”
“Of course, thanks for the food.” Jiwon said and began to eat. They ate in silence for 10 minutes until Jiwon finally took out some files from the bag he was carrying.
“Um…I want to apologize first, because I will do the survey in an easy going manner, unlike most survey officers in general,” he said as he opened a green file folder, “But I guarantee the contents of the survey is still relevant.”
“That’s okay, it’ll make me more relaxed.” Sunghoon said as he rose from his chair, “Let me get rid of these trays and plates.”
Jiwon nodded and let Sunghoon to pick up his tray. He watched Sunghoon put a tray of dishes and dirty bowl on the sink and start writing on paper.
“Please fill it out.” Jiwon said as he shoved some sheets of paper towards Sunghoon, “Please ask if you have any questions.”
Sunghoon sat down and took the papers from Jiwon’s hand, “Okay.”
“I would have to ask you some questions too. Please answer them honestly and, once again, I’m sorry, I must return to Korea as soon as I can. My flight was changed a few hours earlier and I have to do the survey and interview at the same time.”
“No problem,” Sunghoon said as he filled out his survey form, “I’m used to multi-tasking.”
“The first question, are you ready to be a one-day guide for homestay guests?”
“Depends. If they ask me to be a one-day guide at least a week before they arrive, I’m ready.”
“The second question, are you ready for…?”
“I’m ready for what?” Sunghoon asked as he pressed the red button on his cell phone screen, and returned to filling the survey form quietly, as if his cell phone wasn’t vibrating.
“Are you sure you won’t answer the phone?”
“It’s my day off, I have the right to ignore the phone unless it’s an emergency.”
“Well, I repeat then, are you ready for…?”
Sunghoon’s cell phone vibrated again. Jiwon looked at Sunghoon hesitantly and asked, “Are you sure you won’t answer the phone?”
“But I think it’s an emergency,” Jiwon said just as his phone rang again, “You better take the call.”
Sunghoon stared at his cell phone, and finally asked Jiwon, “You won’t mind if I take this call?”
Jiwon shook his head, and let Sunghoon take his call.
“Didn’t you tell me that you can handle everything while I’m being surveyed?”
“Exploded? Are you sure?”
“Yeah, you’re right, make sure no one enter the laboratory until I and the investigation team arrive.”
Sunghoon sighed, “Jiwon-san, sorry it seems I cannot continue the interview.”
“Its okay, I understand, you have more important matters than this interview process.”
“No, it can’t end like this,” Sunghoon said anxiously. “We need to finish the interview today so your schedule won’t be ruin tomorrow.”
“Nishikawa-san, it’s okay, I’ll tell my boss to change back my flight to the original one.”
“Oh no.” Sunghoon said, shaking his head firmly, “I might fail to become a homestay provider if you act like that.”
Sunghoon remained silent for a moment, a sign that he was thinking hard. He looked away from the survey sheet and looked at Jiwon seriously, “Do you have other places to visit tomorrow?”
“Tomorrow I have to visit the Saitama railway museum, the shopping center near the station and the park near city center, and then I take the train to Haneda at one o’clock.”
“Fortunately, Saitama railway museum and the laboratory where I work is at the same direction, what if I drop you off at the Saitama railway museum, and once I finish my work at the laboratory I will pick you up and we can go to the shopping center and the park together?”
“I don’t want to bother you, really. Your job is more important.”
“Oh, I cannot, please stop,” Sunghoon said quickly. “The survey and interview is very important to your work, so we have to think of a win-win solution.”
Jiwon looked thoughtful for a few minutes and finally nodded in agreement. “All right, I agree.”
“Okay, after you change your clothes, please wait for me at the front gate, we have to hurry.”
YG Academy, 1998
“I hope you can use the time to practice until the end of June.” said the Headmaster, handing over a small bag, “There’s a song and a dance practice tutorial.”
Jiwon got the bag and said, “No training room facilities?”
“You can use the student council room until the school festival, the student council activities will be moved to the inactive cooking club room.”
“Won’t Songsaenim evaluate the results of our practice?” Jaejin asked.
“Every two weeks, Yang Songsaenim will evaluate you, and I sincerely hope that you are independent in practicing alone.”
The six nodded and looked at Jiwon, hinting at him to end the conversation.
“Then please excuse us, Ma’am.” Jiwon said. The six of them came out of the Headmaster’s room and when they reached the ground floor, Jiwon said, “What if we gather at my house tomorrow afternoon?”
“Good idea,” said Jaeduck. “I hope the dance practice tutorial is not difficult, so tomorrow we can practice the dance part.”
“Wait, Jaeduck-ssi,” Jaejin said, “I heard that you’re a former street dancer around DDM Plaza?”
Jaeduck nodded enthusiastically, “Yep, you’re right.”
“Don’t you remember Quicksilver?”
“Oh, are you a member of the famous Quicksilver?” Jaeduck asked.
Jaejin murmured, “Well, yes, what if you and I practice at the Quicksilver studio today, so tomorrow we can teach the others the dance.”
“Okay, Jiwon-ssi,” Jaeduck said, patting Jiwon on the shoulder, “Please don’t forget to send us your address.”
Jiwon turned back to look at Suwon, Jiyong and Sunghoon, “Then you all just go home, don’t forget to gather at my house tomorrow afternoon.”
Suwon and Jiyong nodded in agreement and turned to the left corridor, while Sunghoon stayed beside Jiwon, and said, “Hyung, can I borrow the lyrics and the song?”
“I want to learn it, of course.” Sunghoon said, “I have to teach Suwon and Jiyong, because they cannot sing properly, so I want to learn it tonight, then tomorrow we can focus on the dance and each other’s singing parts.”
“You can’t do that” Jiwon said, “I have to finish the rap part tonight, Jaeduck and Jaejin are focused on dance, I cannot ask them to do the rap part too.”
“What if I stay at your place tonight?”
Jiwon was busy writing in his pocketbook when Sunghoon finally arrived at the cafe near the railway museum. Sunghoon swallowed his saliva, trying to get rid of his nervousness, as he pulled a chair out of Jiwon’s table and greeted, “Had a nice sightseeing?”
“Ngg?” Jiwon mutters as he was still writing, “Oh Nishikawa-san! Your work is over?”
Sunghoon nodded and smiled, “Thanks to your prayer, there’s no serious damage. The test kit that we always use had a little error, but the rest is okay. ”
“Thank goodness,” Jiwon said, “By the way, Nishikawa-san, can you recommend a good food stall or restaurant in this area? A place Saitama people would always recommend?”
“I love some sweets from the traditional cake shop on the T-junction. Do you want to try it?”
“Yes.” Jiwon said, “Let me finish my notes first”
Sunghoon waited for Jiwon to pack up his bag and once he got up from his chair he led Jiwon out of the cafe.
“Nice weather, right, Nishikawa-san?”
1998, on the way to Jiwon’s house
“Nice weather, right, Sunghoon?”
“Ne?” Sunghoon asked in amazement, “Like this? Good?”
“Kang Sunghoon, you spend too much time in the lab. You should try a leisure walk in the afternoon or see the sunset, so you’d be a little relaxed.”
“How can I relax if my life is so stressful?”
“Hey boy, you’re not the only one who lives miserably.”
“Don’t hyung hate math?”
“Tch ~” Jiwon said loudly, “I don’t think anyone knows the reason I skip math.”
Sunghoon looked at Jiwon when he suddenly dropped his head and said, “Hyung?”
“Did I offend you?”
“Nope, not at all.”
“Hyung, you won’t be able to get the rap done properly, especially if you have severe problems that you bear alone.”
Jiwon stared at Sunghoon who steadily held his arm, “Hyung, come with me for a minute.”
If Jiwon had the power to stop time, then he will stop it right at this moment.
The moment when Sunghoon firmly held his left hand, helped Jiwon to walk through the crowd of people at the entrance.
The moment that made Jiwon feel nostalgic to 15 years ago, when they walked together for the first time.
“Jiwon-san,” he said softly as Sunghoon and Jiwon finally arrived in front of the cake display, “The cake shop is always crowded like this.”
“It’s okay,” his chest ached slightly as Sunghoon let go of his hand, “It’s a sign that the traditional cake here is really good.”
Sunghoon was looking at the rows of cakes on display and then turned back as he wanted to ask something, “Jiwon-san….”
Sunghoon turned to the left, to the direction of the girl’s voice that called Sunghoon by his Japanese name.
And for Jiwon, the next seconds were very slow, especially as the woman ran towards Sunghoon and pulled Sunghoon to hug him. Sunghoon hastily broke away from her hug, and Jiwon realized there’s something shining on Sunghoon’s ring finger.
“Sayaka, stop it.”
“Aren’t you supposed to stay home because someone is surveying your house?”
Jiwon finally understood the awkward situation, and extended his right hand towards the woman named Sayaka, “Good afternoon, I am Eun Jiwon, Clover Travel Agent representative who came to survey Nishikawa-san’s house. I asked him to take me to a delicious traditional cake shop in Saitama. You don’t mind, right? ”
“Ah…” said the woman awkwardly, “I’m Honda Sayaka, of course I don’t mind.”
Jiwon looked at Sayaka’s left hand, and his guess was right. Something shinning, identical to Sunghoon’s, circled on the ring finger of the woman named Sayaka.
Jiwon tried to keep smiling, though his heart is breaking.
His greatest fear has come true.
Jiwon tried to stay calm after reading Yuki’s document. His heart was pounding. He realized he could have met Yoonji backstage. Not to mention the feeling of regret because he preferred to read documents at the hotel not as Yuki gave it to him.
‘If I was impatient, I could have already met Sunghoon,’ he regretted, clutching the paper in his hand.
“But Eun Jiwon, if you met Sunghoon, it will be more troublesome for Yuki,” he said aloud to himself, “It’s enough that Yuki always gets hurt because you always put Sunghoon first.”
Jiwon grabbed his cell phone, thinking whether he should tell Jaejin and Suwon or not. Knowing Jaejin and Suwon’s reaction makes him think twice in calling them but they need to know Sunghoon’s whereabouts. Jiwon finally decided to call Jaejin before he went to sleep.
“Jaejin-ah.” Jiwon said as soon as Jaejin said hello, “I thought I was going to die.”
“Wae? You haven’t said anything since you arrived in Sapporo, I don’t even know if you met my informant, Hideo Takemura.”
“As Myeongsoo hyung predicted, Sunghoon really changed his name and nationality. That’s why his data is not registered at the Korean Embassy, then I went to Osaka, I met your informant, you know who I met in Osaka?”
“Of course not.” Jaejin said a lie. He knows exactly who Jiwon met in Osaka. It’s not time to be honest with Jiwon in this situation.
“Yuki.” he said bitterly, though he hurriedly added, “And, thank goodness she was fine after she disappeared in France. Now she’s become a bassist of a famous band. I asked her for Sunghoon’s data, she said she cannot search for Sunghoon’s data, but she can find Yoonji’s data.”
“She said she would give me her data after her live performance was over. But as her live performance started, I heard two people talk like the way Sunghoon and Yoonji talk. I followed them to the backstage, but I lost them. I think they passed by Yuki’s waiting room while I was waiting there, but I’m not sure. I opened the document from Yuki at my hotel room,” Jiwon sighed slowly, “It turns out that my guess is right, the person I follow backstage is Sunghoon and Yoonji.”
Jaejin held his breath. Mino hasn’t said anything about the almost accidental encounter between Jiwon and Sunghoon today. Jaejin tried to remind himself to contact Mino as soon as possible and said, “What are you going to do now?”
“I don’t know.”
There was a long silence until Jaejin finally said, “Do you feel a bit better? You should get some sleep. We have a lot of work to do.”
“You are right.” Jiwon said with a sigh, “Hopefully I can sleep well tonight.”
YG Academy, 1998
“Jiwon hyung, I’m sorry …” Sunghoon lost the rest of his sentence. His eyes widened as he realized Jiyong and Jiwon were sitting side by side, laughing over a comic book while Jaejin was busy drawing.
“Err, hyung!” Sunghoon said as he raised his voice, “Aren’t we supposed to meet the Headmaster?”
Jiwon looked away from the comic book to Sunghoon’s face, “Eh?”
“Don’t we have to meet the headmaster whenever a new member joins us?” Sunghoon said a little sarcastically, “Unless he’s not here as a member.”
“Yah, Kang Sunghoon. Please don’t be so harsh” Jiyong said, “I’m here as a new member of the project.”
“Then why are we not going to the Headmaster?”
“Whoops, I think someone is jealous.” Jiyong said cheerfully as he closed his comic book, “Hyung, are we going now?”
“Good idea, Jaejin, come on!”
“Yah! Ko Jiyong what do you mean with jea …”
Jiyong suddenly embraced Sunghoon’s shoulder and whispered in his ear, “You know, you looked really ugly when you walked in.”
“What are you two doing?” Jiwon asked, “Let’s hurry!”
Jiyong half pushed Sunghoon toward the door and embraced him closely even after they went down to the second floor. Sunghoon tried his best to free himself from Jiyong’s embrace but it’s useless. In the end Sunghoon gave up, but he made sure to stomp his feet hard, hoping Jiwon would realize that he is not comfortable with Jiyong.
“Jiyong-ah.” Jiwon said suddenly after they arrived on the second floor, “You and Jaejin go first, I have a little business with Sunghoon.”
“Jiyong and I will be waiting at the end of the corridor, so you and Sunghoon can finish your business in the toilet.”
Jiyong smiled and waved his hand towards Jiwon and Sunghoon, then followed Jaejin to the end of the corridor. Once Jiyong’s back was turned, Sunghoon cursing softly, “Disgusting.”
Jiwon seemed to hear Sunghoon’s curse, because the next second Jiwon changed his tone to more slowly, “Sunghoon-ah.”
Sunghoon didn’t answer, but went into the toilet, leaned against the wall and stared at the floor waiting for Jiwon to say something.
“You don’t like Jiyong to join the project?”
“I just don’t like his attitude, that’s all.” Sunghoon said still staring at the floor, “Moreover, yesterday he was calling hyung cunning and very cheeky but now he acts like you’re best of friends.”
“He’s just trying to fix his mistake because he misunderstood me yesterday.”
“Whatever.” Sunghoon said, “I don’t care.”
“If you try to defend him in front of me, we’d better stop this stupid talk because I still don’t care.”
Jiwon stared at Sunghoon who just looked away from the floor to the ceiling and said, “I don’t mean that.”
“Whatever, I will be nice as long as he’s not being so annoying in front of me.”
Sunghoon came out of the toilet as soon as he finished his sentence and Jiwon cannot do anything but follow.
‘Can’t this little boy be nice? He doesn’t want to work with Jaejin because he’s scared. Now he doesn’t want to work with Jiyong just because of Jiyong’s attitude. Does he think he is the only one affected by this project? ‘
Jiwon scratched his head and followed Sunghoon and patted his shoulder, “Our conversation is not over yet.”
Sunghoon shrugged and said, “I don’t think I have anything to say.”
“But you haven’t listened to me, boy.”
Sunghoon glared at Jiwon, “What if I don’t want to listen?”
“You forgot about the recommendation letter?” Jiwon said threateningly, “So please remind yourself to be cooperative until the project is over if you still want the recommendation letter.”
Sunghoon stared at Jiwon in disbelief and says, “Did Hyung just threatened me?”
“Well, as you say, I’ll be cooperative, just to remind you you’re not the only wealthy family who set the rules here, hyung.” Sunghoon turned and followed Jaejin to the front corridor, leaving Jiwon behind.
Jiwon sighed. He knew he shouldn’t have threatened Sunghoon like that, but there was no other way to make him cooperate until the project was over.
As the four of them entered the headmaster’s room, they jumped in surprise as the Headmaster greeted them, clapped her hand loudly and said, “It’s amazing … there are only two people left until you can focus on this project.”
“Two persons?” Jiwon asked.
“To speed things up, I’ll divide you into two small groups, Jiwon, Jaejin, you should look for Kim Jaeduk, Sunghoon-Jiyong, you should look for Jang Suwon.” said the headmaster, giving them two photographs.
“Me and Jiyong?”
“You didn’t hear me wrong Kang Sunghoon-ssi. Now, instead of wasting your time here, you better look for those two guys.” she said, hinting for the four to immediately get out of the room.
“Okay, please excuse us.” Jiwon said signaling for the others to follow him and closed the door of the headmaster’s room.
“Well, the rule is clear I guess, don’t use violence.” Jiwon said as they walked towards the stairs. “See you in the student council room later in the afternoon, whatever the outcome.”
Jiwon and Jaejin turned back to the 3rd floor. Jiyong waited until Jiwon and Jaejin’s footsteps are no longer heard and then he turned to Sunghoon and said, “Glad to be working with you, Sunghoon.”
Duck Bar, Seoul
“Danny Ahn,” said Jaejin, “Are you sure there’s nothing you hid from us besides Terumi Nishikawa?”
Danny looked at Jaejin and Jaeduk sitting in front of him, and murmured, “With no Jiyong or Suwon here, it means you know something, right Lee Jaejin?”
“The problem will be even more complicated if the two emotional boys are here, and I want to ask you directly without violence.”
“Why did you shut up about Sunghoon’s whereabouts?”
“Good question.” Danny said casually, “The first thing you need to know is that Mino has known about Sunghoon’s whereabouts since he worked under Hideo and Yuki. Second, Yuki has also known from Mino about Jiwon’s situation since she and Sunghoon disappeared from Jiwon’s life. Mino could have told all the things he knew to Jiwon, but Mino couldn’t say Sunghoon’s whereabouts to Jiwon without Hideo and Yuki’s permission, even though he knows that Jiwon is desperately looking for Sunghoon.”
“So, are you deliberately provoking Yuki to invite Jiwon to her live performances and get Jiwon and Sunghoon to accidentally meet?”
Danny raised an eyebrow and said, “Instead of luring Yuki to invite Jiwon, wouldn’t it make more sense if I make them meet in Osaka, and tell Jiwon that Nishikawa Yuu is an informant who can tell him about Sunghoon’s whereabouts?”
Jaejin swift his eyes from Danny eyes to the window, and made Jaeduk say, “Danny’s right.”
“So, Jiwon and Sunghoon both being at the Saitama Super Arena yesterday was purely coincidental?”
“I doubt it.” said Danny casually, “I suspect Yuki pretended to forget that she invited Jiwon and deliberately gave Sunghoon backstage pass.”
“So Yuki already knows that Nishikawa Yuu is Kang Sunghoon?”
“I guess so. But Yuki will never be able to tell Jiwon if Sunghoon is in Japan, and is always around Yuki, following her wherever Lollipop Kiss performs. ”
“Did Yoonji know that Yuki and Jiwon were dating?” Jaeduk asked.
Danny shakes his head, “No, Yuki is very closed about her personal life and Yoonji is just her co-worker, so Yuki and Yoonji would just be talking about work. No more than that.”
“Jaeduk, please don’t change the topic so suddenly.” Jaejin interrupted while holding his breath, “You said Yuki would never be able to tell Jiwon about Sunghoon, but why didn’t Yuki tell Yoonji that Jiwon was almost crazy looking for her brother?”
“Yuki is not a type of person who interferes with someone’s business, she always thinks that if Jiwon is destined to meet Sunghoon someday, they will meet.” said Danny bored, “Though I’m sure she cannot bear to tell Yoonji, either.”
“So, in the end Yuki knows Yoonji and Sunghoon’s past, plus she also knows from Mino that Jiwon is almost crazy in Korea because he never found Kang Sunghoon’s whereabouts?” Jaeduk asked
“Shit, my head is dizzy.” said Jaejin, “Yuki makes it more complicated.”
“Jaejin-ah, Yuki could have told Jiwon, but as I said before, she’ll never be able to tell Jiwon.”
“Yuki cannot contact Jiwon in secret without being caught by Hideo, and Yuki and Yoonji have issues related to their personal identity because they are not 100% Japanese. They’re both half Japanese, and they can lose their jobs anytime once their identity is revealed to the public.” Danny said with a bitter smile, “Japanese people still racists. Some Japanese don’t like when non-Japanese people are more successful than Japanese people in their country, so Hideo desperately hides Yuki’s true identity and Yuki also desperately hides Yoonji’s identity.”
“But … didn’t Yuki give the document about Yoonji’s true identity to Jiwon, in the end?” Jaeduk asked.
“It’s true, because Japanese people have changed their old stereotype, they are much more open to non-Japanese now, the situation is so severe the past 5 years.” Danny said smoothly, “Moreover with the death of Terumi Nishikawa, I’m sure Yoonji and Sunghoon are more relax now about their identity.”
“The final question though is not very important.” said Jaejin who is still trying to understand Danny’s answer, “What’s your relationship to Hideo Takemura?”
“Friends, maybe. You know, as people who have a strong information network, is it not strange that we’re friends?”
Jaeduk laughed hollowly, “You should ask Hideo, not Danny.”
Jiwon wiped the sweat on his forehead. There was only one more place to go before heading to Nishikawa’s house. He should finish his job as quickly as possible and head to Nishikawa’s house as fast as he can. Jiwon had read Yuki’s documents repeatedly, until he memorized the point and comma from each sentence. His head was almost dizzy as he realized that Nishikawa’s house he had to survey was Sunghoon’s house. Not to mention the fact that Jiwon will stay for the next two days, making sure that Sunghoon’s family is really ready with the homestay process later on.
‘What should I do, for God’s sake,’ Jiwon said, ‘I don’t even know what to say when he opens the door.’
Jiwon felt anxious. He was already standing in the queue to get into a ramen restaurant in Saitama. Just counting down until it’s time to walk to Nishikawa’s house.
YG Academy, 1998
Sunghoon walked, tried to leave Jiyong behind him. But in vain because Jiyong shouted, “Are you upset because you’re paired up with annoying people like me?”
Sunghoon turned to face Jiyong, “Of course.”
“You’re not annoyed at me because of Jiwon hyung right?”
“Of course not, Jiwon hyung and I are just a co-workers on this project.”
“Oh? But why did your face turn upset when you saw me and Jiwon hyung being friendly?”
“That’s because you called him playing dirty yesterday and suddenly you’re pretending to be friendly today.”
“Because of that?” Jiyong asked, “I was thinking because you and Jiwon hyung have a special relationship.”
“Are you crazy?” Sunghoon said loudly.
“Well, because the misunderstandings between us are gone,” Jiyong said, pretending not to hear Sunghoon, “I hope you can help me. My voice is not so good as a boyband member.”
“Just as long as you’re not being annoying.”
“Okay.” he said casually, “Suwon is usually in the cafeteria, and it’s a good idea to check the cafeteria first.”
Sunghoon tried to speak in a softer tone, not like the way he spoke to Jiyong earlier, “Do you know Suwon?”
“The girls in my class always talks about him. I was thinking because he’s handsome, but it’s because he knows where we can eat at place that’s cheap.” Jiyong said as he came down the stairs, “But he’s really handsome too.”
The cafeteria is overcrowded as they enter the cafeteria just at the break time. Jiyong who’s tall, stuck out his head, searched for Suwon among the crowd of other student at the counter and in the dining area.
“Damn, the timings aren’t right.” Jiyong said, “But what can we do? Let’s wait here, in case he’s still queuing for food.”
“Oy!” Jaejin shouted as he saw Jiyong and Sunghoon sitting on the empty bench, “You guys are not looking for Suwon?”
“As far as I know, he’s often seen in the cafeteria when he’s bored.” Jiyong said when Jaejin approached. He pulled a chair next to him, gesturing Jaejin and Jiwon to sit down, “Then what did hyung do?”
“Jiwon is too hungry, so after we made it to the 3rd floor, this bastard said his stomach is hungry, so we’re here.”
“Hey, I can die of starvation.” Jiwon said defensively, “I need to eat first.”
Jiwon turned away, waited in line with the other kids. While Jiyong still stuck out his head, looking for Suwon, followed by Jaejin who also stuck out his head while mumbling, “Who knows Jaeduk is here too.”
The three of them were busy searching for Suwon and Jaeduk among the other students who were lining up for food. About five minutes later Jiwon returned with bread in his mouth and a large plastic bag of melon bread in his right hand. He mutters vaguely, “Jaeduk and Suwon are helping cafeteria staff”
Jiwon swallowed his bread and said, “Jaeduk and Suwon are helping the cafeteria staff, they promise to come here once the cafeteria is rather quiet.”
Jiwon put the plastic bag on the table and says, “You guys, let’s eat.”
Jaejin picks a melon bread in the plastic, shared it with Jiyong and Sunghoon, then the four ate in silence until finally two students came to their table and asked, “So, what can help you with?”
Jiwon sighed once more before finally making up his mind to press the Nishikawa’s home intercom button. The house is large, so it is worthy of being used for homestay. Plus Nishikawa’s house is the only Japanese-style house in the area.
Jiwon pressed the intercom button again, because there was no answer. Jiwon waited for almost three minutes until finally a man’s voice answered him through the intercom, “With Nishikawa, can I help you?”
“Excuse me, I am from Clover Travel Agent, I came to survey your house. Is Nishikawa Yuu there?”
“Ah, yes, I’m Nishikawa Yuu. Please wait a little bit while I open the door.”
Jiwon took a deep breath. Trying to calm down and made up his mind to do the most unreasonable act after a long wait of 15 years.
Sunghoon finally opened the door and was startled when he saw Jiwon standing at his door and smiling helplessly, “Good afternoon, I’m Eun Jiwon from Clover Travel Agent, I’m sorry that I cannot come in time.”
Sunghoon blinked his eyes several times and said softly in Korean, “Ji-jiwon hyung ..” His voice trembled, signaling that he can barely believe he’s seeing Jiwon in front of him.
“Have you forgotten me hyung?” he asked in panic as he saw Jiwon’s expression.
“Forget?” Jiwon asked, “Have we met before, Nishikawa-san?”
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
“B-but, we still don’t know if the Nishikawa who will meet Jiwon hyung tomorrow is the same Nishikawa who may have relations with Sunghoon.” said Suwon quickly as he realized the drastic change of expression on Jaejin’s face.
“Indeed,” Jaejin said softly while massaging his temple, “There are many people named Nishikawa.”
They silently looked at each other. There are unfounded concerns that arose which made them speechless.
YG Academy, 1997
Jiwon waited for Jaejin to get the camcorder from his bag, and said, “It’s hard to realize it if you’ve only seen it from a video match with HIGHGRND.”
“Realize?” Sunghoon asked curiously.
“Realize that he’s not as bad as the rumors you’re talking about.” Jiwon said while he got the camcorder from Jaejin, “And I think Danny realizes it, too.”
“Not so bad?” Jaejin asked, “Wait, let me guess.”
Jaejin and Sunghoon watched Jiyong’s movements just before he lost the ball and both shrieked with joy, “Sabotage!”
“Eung~,” Jiwon muttered. He was still busy with Jaejin’s camcorder, “I have to keep an eye on the game until it’s over.”
Sunghoon and Jaejin continuously whispered, “Hyung, you see player number eight? He just elbowed Jiyong!” Jiwon does not care about the game or with Sunghoon or Jaejin’s whispers. He’s only thought is why Jiyong does not feel any weird treatment from his teammate-friends.
“OH! PLAYER NUMBER EIGHT SUCKS!” Sunghoon shouted against the “WOOO” that came behind him, then Jiyong finally fell over because he could not keep his ball.
“You recorded it?” Jaejin asked loudly as he covered his ears with his hands. Jiwon nodded.
Just a few minutes before the whistle sounds and finally Jiyong waved at the basketball team coach, begging for time out.
“It seems so painful,” Jaejin said, “I assume he will be taken to the clinic.”
Jiwon is still watching the basketball game from the corner of the gymnasium and he is not so surprised to see Jiyong already in the stretcher, being taken off of the court.
“This is why I don’t like sports, people can easily be injured.” Sunghoon said suddenly.
“So you’d rather blow up the laboratory every two weeks?” Jiwon asked looking at Sunghoon.
“Good point.” Sunghoon replied with a big smile in his face, “By the way, are we going to keep watching the game until it’s finished? Jiyong has already been taken out of the court.”
“Emm,” Jiwon thought for a moment, “I guess I’ll stay here, watching number 8, Jaejin…”
“May I spy on Jiyong in the clinic?”
Sunghoon stared at Jiwon, an indication that he is uncomfortable with Jaejin’s question, and Jiwon said, “As you please. If you can, please find his weakness too, so we can persuade him tomorrow.”
“Okay,” Jaejin turned back and slipped into the back of the crowd and disappeared. Jiwon turned to Sunghoon who was let out a sigh and asked, “Why?”
“I think he wants to paint Jiyong lying in a school clinic.”
“It’s so scary, even if I’m just imagining it.” Sunghoon said with a shudder, “So, what should I do?”
“Please tell Danny that we need all of basketball match videos and I will cut the sabotage parts tonight.”
“Are you going to cut off all the sabotage parts by yourself?”
“Of course not.”
“Danny will help me tonight.” Jiwon said lightly.
“Jiwon, do you want to kill me?” Danny sighed when he finally finished cutting the sabotage parts from the basketball team match videos at Jiwon’s house.
“Then why did you sleep while I was busy editing videos?”
“You participated in my aunt’s project and made me sleep less.”
“Oh my goodness,” Danny said and slamming his body into the bed, “Are you still angry about that?”
“Not still, but always. Even for a hundred years later.”
“Even though you’ll need my help sometime in the future?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ll know, someday.”
“About Nishikawa,” Suwon said slowly, waiting for Jaejin to look away from his computer.
“Somehow I felt that Nishikawa also has a relation with Danny hyung.”
“Danny? Ahn Danny? The former leader of the student council back then?”
“I mean, when Jiwon hyung looked for Sunghoon, he always asked about Sunghoon’s whereabouts from Sunghoon’s classmates, chemistry club members, YG staff and YG school teachers, but has he ever tried to ask Danny hyung?”
Jaejin paused for a long time, trying to remember something, “Looks like Jiwon did not ask Danny. Why?”
“Danny hyung has a strong information network. Don’t you remember how he can have such an accurate information to trap us all to participate in the boyband project?”
“Yes…I remember when he told Sunghoon about my topless painting habit. But I make sure no one is around me when I paint.”
Suwon bit his lower lip, a sign that he was seriously thinking. “I’ll try to call Danny hyung, maybe he has clear and accurate information than what we know about Nishikawa.”
YG Academy, 1997
“Excuse me,” Sunghoon said politely while knocking on the 1-F class door, “Can I talk to Ko Jiyong?”
Jiyong shifted his eyes from the comic and stared at the smiling Sunghoon who waved his hand, “May I talk to you for a minute?”
Jiyong got up from his chair, half dragging his sprained leg, and half reluctantly because Sunghoon walked too fast.
“Oi!” he said loudly as Sunghoon disappeared in the next corridor, “Can you walk more slowly?”
Sunghoon turned around and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m too excited. Do you need my help?”
“No, thanks,” Jiyong said, “Can we just talk here?”
“Well,” Sunghoon said, “If we talk here, Jiwon hyung’s all-night effort will be in vain.”
“Then, where are we going?”
“The student council room.” he said lightly, “Since the student council room is still far away, I think I should help you walk.”
Sunghoon turned around and helped Jiyong walk to the student council room and knocked on the door with his left hand, “Hyung! It’s me!”
There was a squeak of chairs sound from the room and a click sound before the door opened.
Jiyong is a little surprised to see the grumpiest person in second year, smiling at him.
“Hyung, rather than smile, will you help us in?”
“Oh,” Jaejin said slowly and helped Jiyong in. He put Jiyong in the nearest chair to the television, and said, “Please wait a moment, Jiwon is still working on the question”
“Eh? Sunghoon has not said anything to you?”
Jiyong shook his head and said, “He just kept quiet after getting me from classroom.”
“Damn. I’ll punish him in the training session later.”
“Training?” Jiyong asked quickly, “Can hyung explain what kind of training?”
“You can ask Jiwon later.” He smiled and turned away, went back to the corner of the room and began to dance with a certain movement. Sunghoon is nowhere to be seen and Jiyong can only sigh.
“YAH, KANG SUNG HOON!”
“You know that I’m afraid!”
“OH MY GOODNESS!” said the first voice that Jiyong guessed was a boy named Jiwon, “SO YOU ARE MORE BRAVE TO EXPLODE THE LABORATORY RATHER THAN EXPLAINING THE DETAIL SO WE CAN JUST ASK HIM STRAIGHT TO THE POINT?”
It seems they are continuing their talks in silence, because Jiyong cannot hear anything else.
About two minutes later, the small door to the student council data room burst open and Jiyong could see clearly, that Jiwon is still upset. He sat down next to Jiyong, and played a basketball match video on the television.
“So I think I should introduce myself first. I’m Jiwon, one year older than you, and I’m acting as the leader here. The one who picked you up was Sunghoon, and the one who opened the door, Jaejin, is one year older than you too.” Jiwon said smoothly, “Before we go any further, I want you to watch this video until the end.”
Jiyong nodded. It just a video compilation of a basketball match, but it focused on him and…
“Realizing something?” Jiwon asked slowly, “Player number eight sabotages you so it looks like you’re an unlucky captain.”
“Wait, there’s no way Jaewon would cheat like that.”
“But that’s the truth,” Jiwon said, “I’ve checked the video of the match during your middle school year, and it will disprove the rumor that you’re an unlucky captain.”
“Then what do you want?”
“Quit the basketball team and join our project.”
Jiyong stood up suddenly from the chair and stared at Jiwon sharply, “That’s a dirty way to recruit project members.”
M cafe, Seoul
“Well, well, well, for someone who was very private during school, I admit you’ve changed a lot, Jaejin-ah.”
Jaejin tried hard to smile but failed. His face was even stiffer and the person in front of him laughed, “Anyway, I’m sure you still hate me, just like Jiwon.”
“Actually, it’s not like that,” Suwon interrupted, “The reason we met you was not to discuss the boyband project.”
Danny tried to sit properly now and his expression got serious, “What do you mean?”
“We’re looking for Sunghoon.”
Danny lost his words, “What’s wrong with Kang Sunghoon?”
“You don’t know either?” Jaejin asked quickly.
“I only know that Sunghoon is moving directly to Japan, even before the graduation ceremony so…”
“Wait, you just said Sunghoon moved to Japan?” Jaejin asked, “As Jiwon remembers, Sunghoon says he wants to go to France shortly after graduation.”
“It’s impossible. In Sunghoon’s recommendation letter, it was clearly written Tokyo University,” Danny said.
“Wait, wait,” Suwon interrupted as Danny opened his mouth. “So as far as Danny hyung knows, Sunghoon is moving to Japan because he’s got a recommendation letter to Tokyo University, right?”
Danny nodded, “That’s why I wonder why people fussed over Jiwon searching for Sunghoon everywhere and made all YG Academy’s staff crazy. When all he needed to do was fly to Japan to meet Sunghoon.”
“The thing is, Sunghoon never told us about Japan,“ Jaejin explained. “He always said he would go to France after graduation day. The school staff also said Sunghoon went to France.”
Danny paused for a while. He looked confused for a moment and drank his coffee. Suwon bit his lip, looked at Danny and said, “Hyung, this is my guess, but I really hope my guess is wrong,” Suwon sighed, “Does all of this have any relation with Terumi Nishikawa?”
Danny raised his eyebrow, and said, “How much do you know about Terumi Nishikawa?”
“Danny, you’re hiding something aren’t you?” Jaejin asked, “Because you kept silent, Jiwon never slept well from the day Sunghoon graduated until now.”
“It’s true,” Suwon defended, “Jiwon has been treated because he has been dreaming of the same thing for the past 5 years and it drove him crazy. He has also been treated for a week after being deceived by someone who said that Sunghoon is in Guilin.”
Danny sighed, muttering softly, “It’s complicated, I cannot tell it at once.”
“Just say what you need to say then. Suwon and I are running out of the time. Jiwon could be in Saitama anytime now and meet a member of the Nishikawa family, just to go crazy because it turns out Sunghoon is really hidden under the protection of Nishikawa’s.”
“Where is Jiwon now?” Danny asked, “But, I think before I tell you, you have to tell me too.”
“Jiwon hyung is in Sapporo. Since last month, Jaejin hyung and I told Jiwon hyung to go to Japan as soon as possible because my girlfriend and Jaejin’s cousin saw someone similar to Sunghoon at Saitama Station. Fortunately, we have a homestay project plan meeting in some place in Japan. And Saitama is the last place that Jiwon hyung will go to.”
“And Jiwon plans to meet Myeonghoon’s brother, so he can ask about Korean people who live in Saitama through the Korean Embassy.”
“Well, we’re late,” Danny said. He was massaging his temple, “I never knew Jiwon was that depressed.”
“Obviously, we must know the relation between Terumi Nishikawa and the Nishikawa who will meet Jiwon hyung this weekend, and I’m afraid I can’t find any more details than that Nishikawa Terumi has a special relation with Sunghoon’s family.”
They fell silent. Danny sipped his coffee in silence and said, “Actually, I can help you, but I’m not sure this person will help you.”
“I mean, she might be able to help you find information in an unnatural way, but like I said before, I’m not sure she would help.”
“No, of course not. I don’t like the barbarian way.” Danny said, “Do you remember Sunghoon’s sister’s name?”
“Kang Yoonji?” Jaejin asked back.
“Don’t you remember that Yoonji is a former trainee at DSP?”
“You mean, maybe in Japan, Yoonji became a singer?”
Danny nodded, “I’ll get someone to help persuade people I know to find Yoonji’s whereabouts.”
“Are you sure? We don’t have much time.”
“I’m sure. 100%. He is our trump card and I’m sure Jiwon never noticed him.”
L cafe, Sapporo
“I’m sorry, but I’ve checked it many times in the database, there’s no Kang Sunghoon.”
Jiwon can’t say anything. His head is really dizzy now. Suwon and Jaejin insisted Sunghoon is in Japan, but the database said otherwise. He doesn’t know who else he can trust.
“Jiwon-ah, listen, there are still some possibilities.” Myeongsoo said, “There’s a chance Sunghoon changed his name.”
“But if he changed his name, wouldn’t his real name be listed in the database?”
“It’s another story if he is also changing his nationality.”
“Ah. You’re right.”
Myeongsoo looked at Jiwon’s face, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay hyung, really, it’s okay,” Jiwon said, “It’s my fault for not thinking about that possibility,” Jiwon finished the coffee in his cup and stood up, “I must go now. I have to meet our homestay partners soon.”
“Ah, you’re right,” Myeongsoo said then followed Jiwon to stand up.
“Hyung, I’m really grateful. You’ve given up your vacation time to help me, so don’t feel guilty,”
Myeongsoo patted Jiwon on the back, “I’ll ask for my friend’s help, in case they have the data.”
Jiwon nodded and said, “Good afternoon then.”
Jiwon rushes out of the cafe. His feelings were mixed, the more he felt that he was getting closer to Sunghoon, the more the facts proved that he would not be able to find Sunghoon. His work was completed before he met Myeongsoo, so he still had plenty of time before leaving for Osaka. Jiwon lost his appetite for everything, to eat lunch or a leisurely walk around Sapporo.
He chose to go to the airport instead, choosing to spend his time in the waiting room. Jiwon was looking through some magazine in the shelf when someone greeted him.
“Oh hyung!!!” he said hysterically as he hugged Jiwon, “Don’t you know how much I miss you?”
“I could be killed if I went to Japan and met my cousin who turned into an underground rapper.”
“Hey hyung, I just obeyed Aunt Park’s words,” Mino said as he adjusted his hat, ”After all this really fits my dream. So I don’t really mind being a little busy with my part-time job, after our family chose to stop supporting me.”
“Don’t tell me you’re still working on that construction company.”
“Of course not. Because I often go to studios and watch live performances of the bands I like, I was hired as a Lollipop Kiss staff.”
“You don’t know? Aish.” Mino said, stunned in disbelief, “Lollipop Kiss has never debuted under a major label yet, but they’re always in top 10 albums in Rechokoku and Tower Record chart whenever they released an album.”
“Some promoters in Korea had asked Lollipop Kiss to hold a live performance at several music festivals, but Yuki always said it was not a perfect time to hold a live performance outside Japan, although Lollipop Kiss’ popularity surpassed several bands popularity that debuted under major label.”
“Wait. You said Yuki?”
“Yes, Yuki. Yamawaki Yuki, Lollipop Kiss’ bassist.”
M Cafe, Seoul
“So, Mino accidentally met Jiwon hyung just now?”
“YAH! Don’t make me repeat the same sentence for the fifteenth time!” Danny roared in frustration. “Just check my phone if you don’t believe me!”
“Aish, my head hurts! Jiwon hyung still hasn’t told me and Jaejin hyung about the result of his meeting with Myeonghoon hyung’s brother!”
“Never mind, once he arrives in Osaka, I’m sure Jiwon will call us,” Jaejin said, “By the way, I don’t know who the informant was.”
“The one who should be persuaded by Song Mino to help us.”
“Oh. She is the bassist of the most phenomenal rock band in Japan. Her name is Yamawaki Yuki.” “Hyung!” Suwon said suddenly, “Yamawaki Yuki is…”
“Do you know Yuki?”
“Well, we don’t know her personally,” Jaejin said bitterly, “but we know that she is Jiwon’s exgirlfriend when he studied in France.”