K-addict

Cherries by: Julie

cherries.jpg

  • a Sechskies fanfic
  • completed

Part I

Jenny was so excited. Today was the day that JiYun was coming from Korea. Jenny never met her before, but she was to stay at Jenny’s house for a month. Jenny lived in LA and JiYun was coming to get used to America. If Jiyun likes it in LA, she will be moving there for yoo-hak.

Jiyun’s mother is an old childhood friend of Jenny’s mother. And to Jenny, JiYun will be the sister that she never had. Jenny always dreamed of having a sister whom she could talk to about her personal life. All Jenny had were three brothers: James, JaeJin, and Jerry.

She never knew what it was like to have another girl in the house so no wonder she was so excited. Jenny took a final look at JiYun’s future room. She spent the last two weeks decorating it. Jenny put a lot of time and effort, not to mention money, on that room so that JiYun will feel more welcome and comfortable. She painted the walls pink and bought floral bedsheets with pink rose prints. She used the same material for the curtains. She also put a flower wase full of white daisies on JiYun’s desk. She bought a bunch of cute teddy bears to decorate the room even more. She even put up a huge poster of Leonardo DiCaprio on the door because she heard from her mom that JiYun was a huge fan. And for the finishing touches, she put two pinkish-peach candles on the end table and sprayed the room with a floral air-freshener.

“Perfect,” she thought in satisfaction.
“You really are excited, aren’t you?” asked JaeJin, the second oldest of the Lee family, who was a year older than her. He had been observing his sister for some time and enjoyed seeing her so happy.
“Yeah,JaeJin oppa. It’s gonna be so fun with JiYun around. Now I’ll have a sister to talk to!”
“Hey! You always had me to talk to! Guess I’m not good enough for you, huh?” JaeJin joked.
“That’s right!” Jenny said as she stuck out her tongue.
Just then JaeDuc entered the room. JaeDuc had known JaeJin since middle school and they were bestfriends. And to Jenny, he was like a fourth brother.
“Uh-oh, they’re in the PINK ZONE again!” JaeDuc cried.
“Shyaddup!” Jenny yelled. “JiYun’s favorite color happens to be pink!”
Jenny heard her mom’s voice calling from downstairs that it was time to go the airport now to pick up JiYun.

Jenny looked at Jaejin. “Umm.. oppa, is it alright if I go by myself to pick Jiyun up?” She knew that if he goes with her, he’d bring JaeDucee along with him and she was scared that he might embarrass her in front of JiYun because he could be so obnoxious sometimes.
“Yeah, go ahead.” assured JaeJin. He understood her perfectly. “Here, why don’t you take her out to lunch too?” He took out $40 from his wallet and handed it to Jenny.
“Thanks oppa! You’re the best!” She gave him a big hug and kissed him on the cheek. JaeJin was her favorite brother. He treated her so well.
“Hey, don’t I get a kiss too??” demanded JaeDuc
“Yeah, but it’ll cost ya 40 bucks.” Jenny told him.
“Ok, hold on…” said JaeDuc and he burped four times.
“Eew!! Gross JaeDuc-Oppa!!” Jenny sprayed the room with some more air-freshener.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
At the airport…
Jenny took another look at the photo of JiYun that her mom gave her. Jenny had been waiting for a whole hour but there was still no sign of the girl in the picture and she was starting to get worried. She had to do SOMETHING. Then and idea popped into her head. She got out a piece of paper and wrote in bold-lettering the word “Ko Ji Yun” in Korean and held it up high over her head. Immediately, someone camed to her and greeted her. But it wasn’t the same girl in the picture that Jenny held. Instead, it was a tall guy.

“Hi, you must be Jenny Lee.” he said.
Jenny was confused. “Umm.. hi,” she said. “How does he know my name,” she thought.
“I’m Ko Ji Yong,” the tall guy said as he held out his hand. Jenny hesitated to shake it but did so reluctantly.
“I’m sorry, but who are you?” she asked.
“What? You don’t know who I am? Aren’t you here to pick me up?”
“Huh? No, I’m looking for a Ko Ji Yun.”
“Oh! My mom must’ve forgotten to tell you. No wonder you wrote my sister’s name on that piece of paper.” he said.
“Oh, you’re JiYun’s brother?” Duh, she thought. She couldn’t believe that she didn’t make that simple connection. Ko Ji Yong and Ko Ji Yun. They kind of looked alike too.
“So, where’s JiYun?” she asked him.
“Well, you see, my mom didn’t like the idea of her staying at a house filled with guys,” Ji Yong explained, “So there was a change in plans. I’m staying with your family and JiYun will be at someone else’s house that has two daughters.”

Jenny’s heart dropped at this news. She had been looking forward to have a sister for such a long time. Another brother was the last thing she needed. Jenny was silent all the was home. Even when JiYong asked her questions, she would only answer in brief, monosyllabic answers. If she said anything more than that, she was afraid she might start to cry. The more she thought of this situation, the more unfair it seemed. But he kept talking to her and she was just annoyed. She wished that he’d just shut up.

When they arrived home, Jenny ran upstairs. She couldn’t even look at JaeJin who asked her, “What? Back so soon?” She wanted to avoid everyone because she didn’t want anyone to see her crying. She hated it when she cried, but she couldn’t help it. She locked the door behind her and very silently poured her eyes out.

“Great. This is just wonderful!” she kept thinking, as she felt her heart burn from half rage and sadness. She really wanted a sister to talk about girl stuff with. She knew that she was acting like a selfish baby right then, but for some reason, she couldnt stop feeling sorry for herself. When someone has their heart set on something like Jenny did to having a new sister to love, it’s hard to let it go so easily.

She especially had been wanting to talk to JiYun about guys. She couldn’t talk about things like that with her brothers, not even JaeJin. She had been wanting to tell her of Jiwon. Jenny had been seeing this great guy named Eun Jiwon for two weeks now. He’s two years older than her and was already out of high school. All her friends envied Jenny for having such a foine boyfriend. And Jenny had to admit that she was proud of him too.

Jiwon was so sweet and Jenny wished she could play to someone some of the tapes that Jiwon gave her of his singing that he recorded for her. He had a great voice…he was just such a dreamy guy. The thought of him made Jenny feel a little better and decided to page him. And she did, put he didn’t call her back. Jiwon was really forgetful and he sometimes forgot to take his pager with him to places. Jenny understood why he wasn’t calling her back, but it made her sadder and lonlier than ever. The tears flowed from her cheeks and her pillow was starting to feel really soggy. But just then, there was a knock on the door.

“What?!” she yelled. She wished they’d just leave her alone.
It was Jerry, the youngest sibling.
“Nuna, it’s time for dinner.”
“I’m not hungry.”
“But dad sent me for you. He’ll be really mad if you don’t come.”
“I don’t care.”
“But nuna, mom made meh-oon-tang!”
At this, Jenny sat up. No matter how sad she was, she was weak when people bribed her with food. She skipped lunch so she was very hungry.
“Meh-oon-tahng?” she asked.
“Yup!”

At this the door flew open and before Jerry could say anything more, a big wind flew by him and down the stairs. It was so fast he couldnt see who or what it was. When he went back downstairs, there was Jenny sitting at her usual seat in the dining table.

Part II

Jenny silently ate her supper at the dinner table as the rest of the family couldn’t stop asking JiYong questions about his family, his parents, his plans for the future, etc. Jenny tried to eat as quickly as possible because she wanted toget out of there as soon as she could.

“So, JiYong,” Jenny’s mother asked him, “aren’t you excited about starting school in a foreign country?”
“Yeah. I hope I meet some really great friends at this new school. I’m looking forward to it.”
“Well I’ve already asked your counselor to have you enrolled in the same class as Jenny, since you two are the same age.”
Jenny couldn’t believe her mother. “Mom!”
“Well, I didn’t want JiYong to feel awkward there. And it’ll be great for both of you to be in the same class. It’ll give the two of you a chance to get to know each other better.”
“Great, just great!” Jenny mumbled sarcastically.
“Jenny! I thought you wanted a new brother!” her mom scolded.
“I never said I wanted another brother!! I asked for a sister. The LAST thing I’dever ask for is another brother.” Jenny blurted out.
“Now Jenny, that’s enough! Apologize to Jiyong right now!”
“No, that’s all right, ajoomma. I’m not offended or anything. I know that she was looking forward to having a sister. I’m just sorry that things turned out this way.”

Jiyong turned to Jenny and said, “I understand why you’re mad. But I’m sure that after we get to know each other better, we can become friends.”
Jenny thought, “Oh really? He thinks he’s all that, kissing up to my parents, not to mention me. He thinks he knows everything. Understand why I’m mad my @$$…”
“Jal muh-guh ssem-ni-da!” Jenny yelled and ran upstairs to her room.

Thirty minutes later, there was another knock on her door.
“Who is it?”
“Can I come in?” Jaejin asked from outside.
Jenny walked up to the door and unlocked it, letting him enter. Jenny went back to lie down on her bed and JaeJin followed her and sat next to her.
“Jenny, I know you’re upset about this whole mix up…” “Oppa, I know what you’re going to say. That I shouldn’t take my anger out on him and that it’s not his fault. And that he really is a nice guy once I open up my mind, right?”
“If you know it, then why are you acting this way?” “I don’t know. It’s ju>

Transfer interrupted!

angry for some reason. I know it’s not his fault, but I can’t seem to push down all those resentful feelings. I know I’m being really selfish right now… but I can’t help it.”
“Well, maybe when a little more time passes by, you’ll forget all aboutJi Yun and accept JiYong as the good guy that he is.” Jenny was silent as her brother said this.
“Good night then. And try to be more nice to JiYong tomorrow at school and introduce him to your friends, ok?”
“Good night, oppa.”

The next day, Jenny took JiYong to school like she was told to do. Her teacher made JiYong stand up in class and introduce himself. When he finished introducing himself, everyone in the class clapped for him and he went back to his seat. When lunch came, JiYong was the subject of all the girls’ conversation.

“Wow, he really is cute, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, and he dresses nice too.”
“He has the prettiest eyes!”
“Did you hear that he’s staying at Jenny Lee’s house right now?”
“He is??? Jenny is sooo lucky!”
“Jenny, what is it like having such a fine guy living in your own house?” one girl asked.
“Foine??” Jenny asked her. “You all think he’s foine?” She couldn’t help but laugh.
“I don’t know… he kind of looks a little gay to me. Doesn’t he kind of look like a girl?”
“What? Girl, you’re blind,” they told her.

Jenny laughed to herself. She never expected such a reaction to him by her friends at school. She looked at him at the other side of the room laughing and talking to the guys. He seemed to have hit it off with the two good-looking guys of her class, SungHoon and SuWon. They were cracking up about something and were making a lot of noise.
Jenny wondered what could be so funny. She decided to listen to what they were saying.

“She painted your walls PINK?” Suwon asked Jiyong.
“Yup! It’s like a fluff ball in there.”
“Hahahaha!”
“Wow, she must REALLY like meh-oon-tahng or something,” said SungHoon.
“I know, she scarfed everything down in like 3 minutes!”

Jenny realized that they were all laughing about her. Her face turned bright red and she was so hot that it seemed as if steam could come out of her ears.

One of Jenny’s friends noticed her tomato-like complexion and said, “Oh my gosh, Jenny! You look like a cherry! What’s wrong?”
Her friend said this so loudly that the guys heard her and turned around to take a look at Jenny. SungHoon and SuWon got one glimpse of her and burst out into even more laughter.

Jenny wanted to cry. “Damn you JiYong!” she thought, “Why are you making my life so miserable??”

When school ended, Jenny ran out of class. She had her mind set on ditching JiYong so that he’d have to walk home or something. But as she reached her car, there was a guy waiting there for her. It was JiWon and he was carrying a bouquet of roses. Jenny was surprised to see him. He always showed up out of the blue.
“Wow, he really likes to surprise me,” she thought as she approached him.
“Happy two-week anniversary,” JiWon said as he handed her the roses.
“What, two week anniversary?” Jenny frowned. She didn’t know there was such a thing and unfortunately had nothing to give to her boyfriend in return.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Jiwon. I don’t have anything ready to give you.”
Jiwon smiled. “You don’t have to give me anything! I just had this urge to buy you these pretty roses because they reminded me of you.”
Jenny blushed.
“See,” Jiwon said. “Look how the color of them match your cheeks. You’re so beautiful when you blush like that.”
“JiWon, you treat me as if I’m the most beautiful girl in the world or something!”
“Because you are, baby.”
Jenny’s heart was melting as he said this. She was so lucky to have such a wonderful boyfriend.

Suddenly, Jiwon stood upright and looked alarmed at something behind Jenny.
“Who’s that??” he asked.
Jenny looked behind her and saw JiYong standing there, staring at the two. Looking at him made Jenny remember her bad day again and she gave him a dirty look.
“It’s no one,” she told Jiwon.
But Jiyong, seeing that Jenny had finally noticed him there, said, “Umm.. Can you give me the directions to get home? I’ll walk but I’m still not familiar with this place so I might get lost.”
“Ask SungHoon or SuWon or something. I’m busy.”
“….ok. See you later then.”

When he finally left, Jenny looked at JiWon and saw that he didn’t look too happy. She realized it was because of JiYong so she tried to explain.
“He’s staying at our house for awhile because his mother is my mom’s friend..”
But JiWon still had a frown on his face. He didn’t like the idea of another guy living with Jenny.
“How long will he be staying at your house?”
“Only for a month.”
At this, JiWon sneered. He seemed really angry and said that he had to go now. Jenny nodded her head. She felt ashamed. She wished she had a better explanation to give JiWon about JiYong. She didn’t want him to get the wrong idea about them…
But he looked really mad and she wasn’t sure how to say it. She was a little scared. This was the first time she ever saw him so mad, so she let him go without setting things straight.

Jenny hoped JiWon wasn’t really mad at her or anything. If only JiYong wasn’t there, then this wouldn’t have happened. JiYong just ruined her date with JiWon for the day.
“Couldn’t he see that I was busy??” she thought, “Why couldn’t he ask for the directions from somebody else in the first place?” Jenny wanted to scream from frustration. She was so angry, that she drove home going very fast. A cop noticed her and she had to pull over as the cop gave her a speeding ticket.
“This is just great. Yeah, best day of my life!”
Jenny said aloud as she drove slowly the rest of the way home.

Part III

Jenny arrived home in a bad mood. JaeJin asked her what was wrong but she didn’t feel like telling him. She knew she was being silly anyway. Besides, she never told JaeJin about JiWon because JaeJin could be so over-protective sometimes and she was afraid of what he might think…

Jenny ran upstairs to her room and plopped down on her bed. She thought about what happened that day and she wished it wasn’t so fresh on her mind still. She was still thinking about it when the phone rang. She picked it up.

“Hello?”
“Hello, Jenny? It’s me, Yumi.”
Jenny sat up. It was Jenny’s good friend that she knew since she was in kindergarden. They were really close, but for a month or so, Yumi had been so distant and never bothered to call. Jenny was surprised to hear from her.

“Yumi?? Hi!! I’m so glad you finally called!”
“Yeah, I’m sorry for not calling you in such a long time..It’s just that I’ve been going through some problems lately.”
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“….” Jenny heard some soft sniffles from the other end of the line.
“Yumi, are you crying?”
“Jenny…I really needed to talk to you…”
“Tell me what’s wrong. Did anyone hurt you?”
“No, it’s not that…It’s just that these days, my family hasn’t been doing that well. My dad got fired from his job and my mom’s really sick right now because my dad won’t come home. I don’t know what to do…There’s absolutely no money in the house so none of us have eaten since so long..”
“Oh my gosh, Yumi. You should have told me before. I’m going over your house right now. You and your mom must be starving right now!”
“No, don’t! I mean…my mom doesn’t want anyone to know what we’re going through right now…She’ll be so mad if she found out that I told you.”
“Then at least let me meet you. I want to help.”
“I can’t leave my mom.” Yumi whispered.
“Please Yumi, let me help you.”

….”
“Yumi? Are you there?”
“Jenny, I have to go because I think my mom just woke up. I think I’ll have time on Wednesday, we can meet then, ok?”
“Ok, I’ll see you then.” Jenny looked at the Calendar. It was Monday.
“Bye.”

Jenny hung up the phone and opened her drawer. She took out her bank account book. She had been saving up money for a long time now. She had been wanting to buy JaeJin oppa a nice watch for his upcoming birthday, but that would have to wait. She now needed the money to help her friend, Yumi, at a time like this. She couldn’t stand to see her friend going through so much hardship. She HAD to help out.

Jenny felt awfully depressed so she decided to turn on some music. She looked for her ImChangJung cd so that she could listen to it. It always soothed her because he had such a nice voice. But for some reason, the cd wasn’t in the cd stand. She looked for it everywhere but there still wasn’t any sign of it. She thought, “Maybe Jerry borrowed it…”

She opened her door to go see if he did. Just as she opened her door, she could hear music coming from JiYong’s room. She recognized ImChangJung’s voice singing “Byulee Dweyuh.”
Jenny couldn’t believe it! JiYong had taken her cd! That made her so mad, she had to say something to him. She marched to his room and almost broke open his door.

“That’s my cd!!”
“Wha-?” JiYong turned around from his desk.
“What are you doing with my ImChangJung cd??”
“Oh, I was just gonna borrow it for…”
“What? When you borrow something, you have to ASK first you know.”
“Oh, sorry. I didn’t think you’d mind.”
“Well, you were wrong! That’s my favorite cd, so hand it over NOW.”
“Ok, fine.” JiYong marched to his radio and took out the cd hastily.
As he did so, the cd scraped on the side of the radio. He paused…They both looked at the cd in horror. Jenny snatched the cd from his hand and saw that there was a big scratch that streaked down the cd. Her mouth dropped open and her eye balls almost popped out in shock.

“OH MY GOSH!!”
JiYong ran to see the damage. “Oh, sh*t!”
JiYong felt so bad. He started apologizing right away. “I’m so sorry, I promise I’ll buy you a new one…Damn, I’m so clumsy. I’m SOOO sorry..”
Jenny sanpped out of her state of shock and blew up at JiYong. “YOU BETTER BE SORRY, YOU…”

Just then, James, Jenny’s oldest brother, interrupted then.
“Hey you two. Shuttup will ya?”
Jenny looked at her brother. “Oppa! When did you come home?”
James was a sophmore in college. He was a year older than JaeJin.
“I came home an hour ago for summer vacation.”
“Summer vacation already?”
“Yeah. Dinner’s ready so hurry up and come down.”
Jenny remembered JiYong’s earlier conversation with SuWon and SungHoon about her eating a lot. Suddenly, she wasn’t hungry anymore.
“I’m not hungry.” she told him.
“Alright then, come on, JiYong. You’re eating right?”
“Yeah…” JiYong was confused. “What?” he thought, “Jenny’s not eating??”
Jenny saw the confused look on JiYong’s face. She knew exactly what he was thinking and gave him a dirty look. She turned around, stormed into her room and slammed the door behind her.

She looked sadly at the scratched up cd. She tried playing it but the damage was too harsh and the cd was ruined. Jenny wouldn’t be able to buy one either. Her money was going elsewhere…
The truth was, Jenny’s family wasn’t all that rich either. She never received allowance. Instead, she had a job at McDonald’s. But she quit a week ago, after having raised enough money to pay for JaeJin’s watch. She quit because she was embarrassed about working at a hamburger store. She was afraid of what other people might think.

Jenny slowly placed the cd into the trash can. After she did this, the phone rang again.
“Hello?” she asked in a low tone.
“Hi baby. It’s me, JiWon.”
A big smile spread over Jenny’s face. She was so relieved that he called. She was afraid that he might be mad because of JiYong.
“JiWon! I’m so glad you called! I thought you might be mad at me.” “Mad? Why in the world would I be mad? And how could I ever be mad at an angel like you?”
Jenny blushed. “You know… about that one guy you saw at school today..”
“Oh, that! Well, I trust you too much to worry over something like that.”
“Thanks. You’re so good to me.”
“I can’t help it. I can’t stop thinking about you. Your pretty eyes won’t leave my mind.”
“I think about you a lot too.”
“You do? =)”
“Yeah…”
“Wow, thanks. Hey, I wrote a song for you. Do you want to hear it?”
“Ok.”
JiWon sang to her a really pretty song and Jenny melted. She was so lucky to have such a great guy like him. She felt like the most special girl in the world when she talked to him. He really cared for her, Jenny could feel it.

The next day, Jenny had another bad day at school. JiYong had packed her lunch that day and when lunch time came, she saw that he had packed a LOT of food. People started snickering and pointing at her when they saw all of it. Jenny was so embarrassed.
“He must think I’m a real pig,” she thought.

When school was over, Jenny waited for Jaejin to pick her up. She lent her car to him for the day because he needed to use it. She waited patiently. She saw JiYong walking towards her to wait with her. Jenny was still mad about the cd so she ignored him.

“Here.” JiYong said, handing her $10. “This is for that cd.”
“I don’t want your money,” she said, even though she really wished she could take the money.
“No, it’s alright. Just take it.”
“I said i don’t need it ok?”
“Come on, what’s wrong with you. I said I’ll pay for it so just take the money!”
“No! You keep your precious money, cuz I don’t need it, alright?”
“You know what? Fine then! Don’t say later that I didn’t try to make it up to you.”
“Dont worry, I won’t!” Jenny yelled.

Just then, someone honked behind them. Jenny turned around. It was JiWon with a big smile on his face, motioning her to get in his car. Jenny happily waved back at him.
But Jaejin at that moment, finally pulled up in front of Jenny and JiYong. JaeDuc was in the car too.
“Hi!” JaeDuc said. “Sorry we’re late. There was so much traffic, you know.” He had a bigger smile on his face. JaeDuc and Jaejin didn’t see Jiwon in the back.

“Hi oppa!” Jenny said. She wanted to go with JiWon because he seemed eager to talk to her.
“Umm, oppa. You guys can go ahead without me because I made plans to go out with my friend.”
JiYong gave her a look as she said this.
“Ok,” JaeJin said. “Just don’t come home too late, all right?”
“Ok, bye!” Jenny waited for them to drive off. Then she skipped happily to JiWon and got in his car.

“I have a surprise for you today,” he said.
“What is it?”
“JJa-JJan!” he said as he took out a roll of carnival tickets.
“There’s this one carnival I want to take you to. I thought it would be fun. You know, riding the ferris wheel, going through the house of mirrors…What d’ya say?”
“I’d love to!!” Jenny exclaimed. And they drove off, both so happy.

When Jenny came home some hours later, she found something pink lying outside of JiYong’s room. She went to take a closer look and saw that it was the floral bedsheets and curtains that she bought for JiYun’s (now JiYong’s) room. She spent a fortune on those things and he was about to throw it away??
She flung open the door. She saw JiYong in trousers, repainting the room green. Jenny’s mouth dropped open. She spent hours painting that room pink and couldn’t believe what he was doing.

“What are you doing??” she demanded to know.
“What does it look like?” he snapped at her.
“Do you have any idea about how much time I spent on that room? Geez, all that time and money…Now it’s all gone!”
“How was I supposed to stay in a PINK room so long? I’m a guy, you know!”
“You’re not going to stay here FOREVER, couldn’t you have waited?!”
“Well, I’m sorry for ruining your masterpiece, but if it’ll make you happy, I’ll paint it pink again before I go!”
“Forget it! Ugh!!” she marched into her room and she slammed her door shut simultaneously as JiYong slammed his.
“Who does he think he is…” she mumbled.

Jenny looked at the calendar. She was going to meet Yumi the next day and she was planning to give her the money. She saw JaeJin’s birthdate circled in bold black marker. She was sad that she had to spend the money that she had been planning to spend on him. But she had no choice.
“Maybe I should get another job…” she thought.

Just then, the phone rang. It was JiWon.
“Did you have fun today?” he asked.
“Yeah. Thank you for taking me there, it was great.”
“It was only fun because we were together.”
Jenny’s smiled.
“Can I tell you something really important?” JiWon asked. “Yeah, what is it?”
“I really like you a lot.”
Jenny’s heart started pounding fast.

“In fact, I think I’m falling in love.”
Jenny felt the same way. “Me too,” she said.
“Really? This is great! I have to see you again. Can we meet tomorrow?”
“Yeah, lets do that.”
“Ok, then I’ll see you tomorrow then. I love you,” he said.
“I love you too.”

Jenny hung up the phone. She bit her lips to try to stop smiling so hard. She never felt this way before. She was so excited, they were in love! Wow…She could hardly wait to see him again tomorrow. But she suddenly remembered her plans that she made with Yumi, it was tomorrow too! But she couldn’t cancel either of them.
“Oh well, I’ll just have to meet them both,” she thought as she dosed off to sleep.

The next day wasn’t so great at school either. Ever since JiYong appeared in her life, Jenny had been miserable in class. Something bad has been happening every single day.
That day, Jiyong accidentally took her notebook instead of his, and Jenny took his. When they both realized this, they exchanged them in class. But unfortunately, the teacher caught them and assumed that they had been copying each other’s homework and assigned them even more homework. Both JiYong and Jenny were bitter about this, convinced that it was each other’s fault.

After school, Jenny ditched JiYong again, partly because she wanted to. But mostly because she had plans to meet Yumi and JiWon. She ran out of class when he wasn’t looking.
Jenny walked into the restaurant. She saw Yumi waiting for her and she did look wretched. She looked so thin and weak from hunger. Jenny sat down at the table and examined her. “Poor Yumi,” she thought.

“I’m glad you showed up.” Jenny told her.
Yumi smiled weakly. “Thanks for wanting to help me,” she said.
Jenny smiled warmly. “Let’s order something to eat,” She opened the menu to order.
Jenny was also very hungry. She hadn’t been eating a lot these days because she didn’t like how JiYong thought she was such a pig. When the food came, the two girls scarfed it down like two wolves. When they were finished, they felt so much better. Yumi now had enough strength to laugh and joke with her good friend. Yumi was really pretty when she smiled.

Jenny took out an envelope after they were finished. She had previously taken out all her money from the bank so that she can give it to her needy friend. She passed Yumi the envelope. When she did this, Yumi’s eyes filled with happy tears.

“You didn’t have to…” Yumi managed to choke out.
“Yumi, you know I’ll always be there for you when you need help.”
“Thank you so much…”
Jenny gently patted her on her back.
“How will I ever repay you…” Yumi cried.
“Shh… forget it. You’re repaying me right now for showing me how much you appreciate it.”
“Oh Jenny! What would I have ever done without you?”
“It’s ok, don’t cry. Shh…”
Yumi wiped away her tears and smiled at her friend.

Just then, JiWon came into the restaurant. Jenny, seeing him, waved in his direction. He came to sit next to her, joining the two friends.
“Hi honey,” he said as he gave her a kiss on her cheek.
“Hi,” Jenny smiled and held his hand. “This is my friend Yumi,” she introduced. Turning to Yumi, “And this is JiWon.”
“Hi,” they both said.
They also said, “Nice to meet you,” simultaneously. Yumi flashed her pretty smile at this. JiWon smiled too.

“Did you eat already?” Jenny asked him.
“Umm.. no, in fact, I’m starving!”
“Then order something to eat because me and Yumi already ate.”
His order came and he ate it as the three talked and joked around. But in the middle of this, Jenny got a page. She went to use the phone to see who it was. It was JaeJin telling Jenny to come home right away, because it was really important. Jenny went back to their table and told the two that she had to go.

“So soon?” JiWon asked sadly.
“I’m so sorry about this…” she said as she waved goodbye.
“JiWon, can you take Yumi home?” Jenny asked.
“Sure, baby. I’ll call you.”
“Ok. Bye guys,” And she left.

Part IV

Jenny pulled up in her driveway. JaeJin said that there was something important that he had to tell her so she was rushing herself. She wondered what it could possibly be. She was worried that it might be something serious because her brother’s voice sounded urgent.

Jenny stepped out of her car and found that JaeJin and JaeDuc had been waiting for her outside. Now she knew it was something urgent. Her heart started pounding.

“Oppa, I came home as soon as I could. What’s wrong? Is anyone hurt??” she asked.
“Where have you been all this time?” asked JaeJin.
“What? Who cares?” Jenny was getting impatient. “Tell me what hapened!”
“Don’t try to hide it,” said JaeDuc. “We know what you’ve been up to these past few days.”
“What? What are you guys talking about? What was the emergency that you called me here for?” she asked.
“The emergency is you,” said JaeDuc. “What? What are you talking about?” demanded Jenny. “The two of you aren’t making any sense.”

JaeJin had a real sad expression on his face.
“Jenny, we know that you have been dating Eun JiWon these days,” he said.
“What? How did you know that?” she asked.
“Never mind that,” said JaeDuc. “Your brother and I don’t want you seeing him anymore.”
“WHAT??” Jenny couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “THIS is the emergency that you guys called me for?”
JaeJin looked at Jenny with pain. “Jenny, this guy, Eun JiWon, is not good for you. And besides, he’s too old..”
“Jiwon is only two years older than me!” shouted Jenny. “And how could you say that he isn’t good for me? Do you know him? Have you even ever met him?”
“No,” JaeJin admitted, “but I have a bad feeling about him.”

Jenny wanted to cry. She couldn’t believe how unfair he was being. He had absolutely no right to be saying any of this. She stared at her brother in disbelief.
“Jenny,” JaeDuc said, “promise us that you’ll never see this guy again.”
“What?? I’m not promising either of you anything!”
She couldn’t handle it anymore. This was making her sick. She ran inside.
“They have no right…” she kept repeating in her mind as she scrambled up the stairs to her room.

She wondered how in the world they could have possible found out that she was seeing JiWon. Who could have possibly told them? Then she remembered that JiYong knew about her relationship with JiWon. She wished she had been more careful around him too. She never imagined that he would go and tell her brother about it!

When she reached her room, she saw JiYong in there. As soon as she opened the door, he jumped in surprise. It looked as if he’d been snooping around. He looked incredibly embarrassed and tried to explain.
“I was just… um…”

Jenny didn’t want to hear any of it. She grabbed her pillow and threw it at him.
“GET OUT!” she shouted. She was sick of dealing with him. She locked the door behind her and kneeled at the side of her bed, sobbing. Her head felt like it would explode. She couldn’t believe her brother and JaeDuc and JiYong. No one understood how she felt. She was so frustrated.

The only person she could count on was JiWon. She wished she never left him at that restaurant. If only she was still there, she’d still be so happy right now…She wished he was by her side because she really needed someone to talk to. She grabbed the phone and dialed JiWon’s pager number. Just listening to his voicemail comforted her. She decided to leave him a message.

“JiWon, it’s me, Jenny. I’m home right now, but I wish I was with you. I miss you already and it’s only been 15 minutes since I saw you last. I guess I really do love you. And the best part is that I know that you love me back. Bye, call me back.”

She hung up the phone and went to sit on her desk. She wanted to write JiWon a love letter too. Now that everyone told her that she shouldn’t see JiWon without any real reason why not, she wanted to see him more. But on her desk, there was something there. It was an opened book, something that looked real familiar. She saw that it was her diary. Someone had been reading it!!

“Oh my gosh!” she thought. All her secrets were written in her diary and just the thought of someone else reading it gave her the chills.

Just then, she remembered that JiYong had been snooping around in her room a few minutes ago! Her mouth dropped open. “Of course! So it was him who read my diary!”
She couldn’t believe it. This made her soooo mad! She HAD to do something about it. She stormed into JiYong’s room and flung the door open. But when she did, she quickly shut the door again. Her face blushed red from embarrassment. JiYong had been dressing.

Jenny blushed as she repictured his surprised expression as he froze when he saw her. She bit her lip. She wanted to tell him off but she didn’t want to re-open his door because it would be too awkward. So she walked back to her own room.
“Oh well, she’ll just tell him off tomorrow.”

The next day, she went to school alone. She managed to ditch JiYong that morning so that he’d have to walk to school. She could not forgive him for reading her diary. That was just going way too far.
At school, she saw JiYong staring at her. He had a disappointed look on his face. “What is he so disappointed about?” Jenny thought. “Does he think that I was actually going to give him a ride to school after violating my privacy?” She gave him a dirty look back.
“Wait till we get home,” she thought, “then I’ll really show you how I feel..”

When school ended, Jenny was a little disappointed that JiWon wasn’t waiting for her today. But it was alright, since she needed to go home right away anyway, so that she could put JiYong straight and teach him a lesson.
Jenny got home and waited for JiYong to arrive. It would take him awhile since he was walking. She sat patiently in his room, looking around. She wondered whether or not he kept a diary. But she soon shook this thought out of her head. She was deteremined not to stoop to his level.

JiYong finally arrived home and was apparently surprised when he saw her waiting in his room. He looked like he wanted to say something so Jenny waited for him to spit it out.
“So, I guess you saw it, huh?” he looked really embarrassed.
“You bet I saw it!” Jenny yelled fiercely at him. JiYong was taken aback. This was not the reaction he had been expecting.
“How could you do something like that?” Jenny asked him.
“I didn’t know you’d be so offended by it..” he said.
“What?? How could I possibly be NOT offended? You violated my privacy!” she yelled.
Jiyong looked confused. “Wait, what are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m talking about! And another thing, you had no right to tell my brother about my relationship with Jiwon.”
“What? I never…”
“Don’t even deny it!” she snapped.
JiYong started to get mad too. “Even if I did, which I didn’t, your brother would have found out about it sooner or later!” he yelled.
“How do you know that?”
“And besides, if you think he’s such a great guy, then what’s wrong with your brother knowing about him anyway?”
“Because…” she didn’t know how to explain why she didn’t want JaeJin to know about it.
“See, even you know, deep down, that Eun JiWon is not a good person!”
“Take that back! JiWon is the most caring guy I know and if anyone is not a good person, it’s you!”

Jiyong’s face color changed when she said this. He looked really mad.
“I wasn’t going to tell you this but now I really do want to hurt you,” he began. “Eun JiWon is the biggest player in town and everyone knows it!”
“WHAT? How could you accuse him of such a thing??”
“He’s known for lying to girls to get them. And he loses interest FAST.”
“How could you say that?? What proof do you have?”
“My friend SungHoon is a good friend of his and he knows JiWon well, much better than you do!”
“You know what? You are such an asshole and I can’t believe you’re telling me all this bull-sh*t!” Jenny screamed.
“Well, you are the biggest BIT*H I’ve ever met!” JiYong yelled back.
“What?? I can’t believe you just called me that!!”
“So it’s ok for you to call me an asshole but it’s so wrong for me to call you a bitch?? You’ve treated me like crap since the day I arrived here and you’ve made my stay here so miserable! Does it give you pleasure to hurt me???” he asked.
“What? You got things mixed up, YOU made MY life miserable ever since you arrived!”

JiYong puffed in disbelief. “You are the most selfish girl I’ve ever met! All you ever think about is how YOU feel. Don’t you ever stop to think that you might be hurting someone else??”
“You can’t say that about me, you don’t even know me!”
“You don’t know ME but that didn’t stop you from forming an opinion of me!”

Jenny had nothing to say. All she could do was glare at him. She could feel tears coming up on the corners of her eyes. The last thing she wanted was for JiYong to see her crying so she marched off to her own room before that could happen. She slammed her door as JiYong also slammed his.

Part V

The next day, after school, Jenny couldn’t stop thinking about the fight that she had with JiYong. She couldn’t believe he had the nerve to say those things to her! Not only did he insult her like crazy, but he also told her all those lies about JiWon. If there’s anything that Jenny can’t stand is when someone bad mouths a person that she cares about.
Jenny really liked JiWon…he was so good to her. All those things JiYong said about him made her really mad. Jenny was so frustrated that she had to talk to somebody.

But there was no one to talk to except for JiWon himself. So she decided to call him. She picked up the phone and started dialing his pager number…But she hung up the phone right away.
She didn’t know what she would say to him. She couldn’t tell him that everyone she knew doesn’t like him. No, he didn’t deserve that. So Jenny really didn’t anyone to talk to afterall. But she didn’t want to be alone so she went downstairs.
She found JaeJin cleaning up the house while JaeDuc was helping him with the dishes. Jenny went and sat on the couch and waited for JaeJin to finish vaccuming. When he did, he made four turkey sandwhiches for himself, JaeDuc, Jenny, and JiYong. When he finished making them, he told Jenny to go call JiYong down to join them.

“I don’t want to,” she said.
“Oh come on Jenny,” JaeJin said. “You aren’t still mad at me about what I said to you the other day, are ya?”
Jenny just gave him a playful dirty look. No matter what happened, she could never really be mad at him. She laughed when JaeJin gave her a playful-dirty look back.

“I’ll go call JiYong to come,” said JaeDuc as he got up to go.
“Wait, don’t!” Jenny stopped him.
“I don’t want him to be around…I got into an argument with him yesterday and I’m not on good terms with him right now.”
“What was it about?” JaeDuc asked.
“Oh, nothing. I’m just mad because he said that JiWon-” Jenny stopped short and bit her lip.
She forgot that they didn’t like JiWon either. JaeJin stood up.
“Don’t tell me you’re still seeing that guy!” he said.
“Oppa, but I-”
Didn’t we tell you to stay away from him?” JaeDuc interrupted.

Jenny was tired of this. She stood and shouted, “Now wait a minute, you two. You can’t make me break up with him because I really like him. Besides, neither of you met him before so you can’t assume that he’s a bad guy. In fact, he’s the sweetest guy I know. He treats me very well and he really cares about me…And I really care about him too.”
JaeJin and JaeDuc were silent. There was an awkward pause. But JaeJin soon broke the silence and told her, “Ok, I’ll leave it to you to choose what you want to do. But as soon as I hear that he’s hurt you in any way, I’m gonna kick his a*s!”
“Yeah, so you can tell this JiWon that he better watch out,” Jaeduc added.

Jenny smirked at them.
“Don’t worry, that will never happen,” She gave both of them a kiss their cheeks and ran up the stairs to her room. Jenny took out her calendar and stared at the date circled in dark bold marker. JaeJin’s birthday was coming soon and she really had to find a way to raise money again. She really didn’t want a job at McDonald’s again…She hated it there. She considered other possible jobs. She needed one fast. But sitting around just daydreaming about it would lead to nowhere, so she got up and took out her car keys. She needed to go start filling out some applications.

Jenny came home very tired. She applied to more than ten different places. She crossed her fingers and hoped that one will call soon.

The next day, Jenny took JiYong to school. It was really awkward and neither of them said a word the whole way. Both were still very mad at each other and could not forget about the other night’s little fight.
They were both so mad in fact, that even in class, they still sat quietly. People started wondering what was wrong. SungHoon and SuWon were especially confused. JiYong was usually a very outgoing guy, but today, he was being so yam-jun-heh. They wondered what could possibly be wrong.

“Hey JiYong,” SuWon asked, “what’s wrong, are you having a bad day today?”
“Yeah… sort of,” JiYong answered him.
“You can tell us your problems, you know,” SungHoon told him. “That’s what friends are there for.”
JiYong didn’t feel like saying anything, but they kept bothering him about it, so he said, “Why don’t you two go ask Jenny, she can tell you.” Sunghoon and Suwon went on to Jenny.

“JiYong said that you’d tell us what was wrong with the two of you,” said SuWon.
“Well, why doesn’t HE tell you himself?” Jenny shouted.
“I don’t think he feels like talking about it,” said SungHoon.
Jenny roled her eyes. She was about to send the two away, when she remembered what JiYong had said during their fight when she asked what his proof was for knowing what kind of guy JiWon really was.

“Um… Sunghoon,” Jenny started.
“Yeah?”
“JiYong tells me that you know Eun JiWon well, is this true?”
“Yeah, we used to go to the same school.”
“Oh…”

Ok, so far JiYong wasn’t lying. Jenny decided to ask him more. “Can you tell me what kind of guy he is?”
SungHoon thought about how to answer nicely, but he had to tell the truth in the end. “Jenny, I know that you’ve been seeing him these past few weeks. He told me.”
“He did?” Jenny was really curious now.
“Yeah. Well, he’s my friend and everything but I gotta say that I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to be seeing him.”
“Why not?”
“Well, you see, he’s kind of a player. I should know cuz I know about all his other relationships that he’s had before…I just don’t want you to get hurt like the others.”
“Oh…” Jenny nodded. “I see.”
‘So JiYong wasn’t lying afterall,’ she thought to herself. But she still wasn’t sure if she should believe them. JiWon seemed like such a great guy and she really liked him. He seemed like he really cared for her.

After school, Jenny went home and went into her room. She was thinking about what SungHoon had told her when she got a call. She answered it and found that it was Burger King. They wanted her to come for an interview for the job. Burger King wasn’t exactly the place she imagined herself working at, afterall it wasn’t THAT different from McDonald’s, but she really needed this job for the upcoming birthday, so she was happy they called her so fast.

Jenny drove down to Burger King and walked inside. She went up to one of the workers and said she was there for that job interview. She went inside and the manager asked her a few questions. After she waited awhile, they told her that she was hired and she’ll start working tomorrow.

“That was easy,” she thought as she got up to leave. Just then the door opened and a couple walked inside. Jenny looked and saw that it was JiWon and Yumi!! Jenny didn’t want them to see her and she quickly hid behind a wall. She watched as they ordered their food to go and walk out with JiWon’s arm around Yumi’s shoulder. Jenny went to get a closer look as the two got into his car. Right before they drove off, she saw JiWon giving Yumi a kiss as Yumi flashed him one of her beautiful smiles. Jenny watched all of this in horror. She couldn’t believe what she just saw. She just stared out the window, stupified, with her jaw locked open. Then, she felt the hot tears climbing their way up to her eyes. It felt like she couldn’t breathe and she tried gasping for air.

“No, this can’t be happening,” she said out loud. She burst through the door and ran, crying, to her car. She cried all the way home. She was still crying as she got home and managed to stumble her way up the stairs to her room. There, she wailed in grief. Soon, JaeJin, JaeDuc, and JiYong barged into her room and demanded to know what was the matter. Jenny didn’t want to tell them, but knew that they wouldn’t leave her alone until she told them.

“I..I saw…(gasp) JiWon with…Yumi….”
“What?!” Jaejin said.
“They were…they were…kissing.”
JaeJin almost exploded with anger as Jenny said this. “WHERE IS HE? I’M GONNA GET THIS MF! JENNY, GIVE ME HIS PHONE NUMBER!”
“Why, what are you gonna do?” she asked in terror.
“JUST GIVE ME HIS DAMN NUMBER!”
“I only have his pager number…”
“I can get his number,” JiYong said. JaeJin looked at JiYong and the two left the room. JaeDuc stayed behind to comfort Jenny. He didn’t want to leave her there alone. She was going through so much pain right now…He tried talking to her.

“What did we say about him? I told you to stay away from him…” JaeDuc couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“I know, I know,” Jenny said sadly. “I’m sorry for not listening. I just…I didn’t know…How could he…?”
“Shh…it’s ok now. Everything is gonna be all right.”

Jenny nodded.
“It’s a good thing I found out about you and JiWon so soon,” Jaeduc said. “And I know it was wrong of me to read your diary but…”
Jenny stood up. “You’re the one who read my diary??”
“Oh, yeah. That was me. I’m sorry about that…”
Jenny couldn’t believe it. All this time, she assumed that it was JiYong! Just then, JaeJin walked in. “JaeDuc, let’s go. We found him.”
“Ok.”
“Wait oppa!” Jenny shouted alarmed. “What are you going to do? I’m all right, really! Don’t do this!” She tugged on his JaeJin’s arm. JaeJin looked Jenny straight in the eye. He looked so determined that it frightened Jenny.
JaeJin turned around and said, “I have to.” With that, he and JaeDuc left.

Part VI

Jenny paced up and down her room, frantically wondering what was happening to Jiwon. She never dreamed that Jaejin would actually go and kick his ass. She thought that he was only kidding when he told her that he would. She desperately hoped that no one would get hurt from this. Even though JiWon went and cheated on her with Yumi, her best friend, she couldn’t bear the thought of him being hurt. She was so scared. She knew that Jaejin was really strong and she imagined the worst.

Jenny thought and thought about this mess that she was in. She was getting a little dizzy so she went to her desk chair and sat down. She didn’t know what to do. She felt so helpless just sitting there. So she began to look for something to do so that she can calm down a little.

Jenny opened her desk. To her surprise, there was something strange inside. It was a present which was labeled “To Jenny.”
“How did this get here?” she wondered as she tore the wrapping paper.
When she finished unwrapping it, she found that it was a brand new ImChangJung cd. There was a letter attached to it. It read:
Dear Jenny,
I hope you don’t mind that I bought you this new cd to replace the one I ruined. I’m really sorry about that. I should have been more careful with it. And I’m sorry that I didn’t ask permission to use it too. I was hoping that we could be good friends, but I went and made things worse. I hope you don’t get offended or anything that I bought you this cd, afterall, I owed it to you. I know that you and I haven’t been getting along and everything… But I really wish we could start over and pretend that we just met again so that we could be better friends. I’m hoping you feel the same way too… But it’s ok if you’re still mad at me. I understand. If you DO feel the same way, tell me so tomorrow at school, ok? Ok, then. Bye.

Part VII

A few hours later, as Jenny walked pass Jiyong’s room to get to her own, she saw his packed bags lying outside his door. The sight of the luggage gave her a weird feeling. But she didn’t know exactly what she was feeling. She just bit her lip as she stared at the lifeless things that were giving her such a curious affect. As she stood there staring, Jiyong came out of his room and looked surprised to see her there. For a split second, their eyes met. But Jenny quickly turned away and raced to her room. She wished she didn’t act so dumb around him. But something inside of her just couldn’t look into his eyes. She punched her pillow in frustration.

The next day, Jenny came back from her job at Burger King and was very tired. She almost crawled her way up the stairs to get to her room. She even had to hold on to the hallway walls to keep her balance as she slowly found her way to her room. But as she passed Jiyong’s room, a funky smell was coming out of it. It kind of smelled like paint. She saw that his door was wide open so she looked inside. Jiyong was standing there, in overalls, with a paint roller in his hand. He was painting the room back pink.

Jenny’s mouth opened in hurt surprise. She remembered that one day when they were fighting, Jiyong had promised that he would paint the room back to pink before he left. For some reason, it pained her to see him do it. She wanted to tell him that he didn’t have to do it… She opened her mouth but no words came out. She felt faint and fell down to her knees. She literally crawled the rest of the way to her room. She hated herself by this point. It was all her fault that Jiyong was going back to Korea. She never even gave him a chance because she was being so selfish. She wished she could tell him not to go back to Korea. She prayed to God to give her one more chance to get to know him better. She was finally letting herself admit that Jiyong really was a good guy.

As Jenny sat there on the floor of her room, she heard her mom’s voice calling her to come downstairs. Jenny gathered all her strength and stood. She examined herself in the mirror and staightened out her hair. Jenny knew that Jiyong’s mom would be there too.

Jenny carefully walked downstairs to find her mom and Jiyong’s mom waiting for her as expected. The two ladies motioned her to come sit with them.

“Wow, you really do take after your mother…” said Mrs. Ko. “Look at her big eyes! It feels like I’m looking at your mother 20 years ago!”
“She doesn’t look ALL that much like me,” Mrs. Lee said. “She’s got her father’s smile!”
The two ladies smiled and laughed in this manner for a few minutes.

“So, Jenny,” Mrs. Ko began, “how have you been getting along with my son?”
Jenny thought hard about this question and came to the conclusion that it would be more appropriate to lie. “Very well.”
Mrs. Ko smiled. “Good.” But her smile quickly turned into a frown. “But I can’t understand why he doesn’t like it here so much. I was sure that he’d love it here. His sister, Jiyun, just can’t get enough of America.”
“Well, maybe he found school here difficult…” Mrs. Lee suggested. She didn’t want it to seem like maybe her family didn’t treat him well enough.
“But he always did so well in English in his school back in Seoul. I just don’t understand.” Mrs. Ko sipped her coffee in dismay. “Maybe he found it hard to find new friends here. Jenny, you should know, right? Did Jiyong make any friends here?”
“Yes, in fact, he made two really good friends.” Jenny answered.
“Then what could it possibly be that is bothering him so much?”
Jenny bit her lip. She knew exactly what, it was herself.

“Well, whatever it is, I guess it doesn’t matter anymore,” Mrs. Ko said, “since he’ll be going back home with me… But I just wish he could have just one last look around so that he won’t leave with such a bad feeling about here.”
“I know! Jenny can give him a tour around LA tomorrow, before he goes,” Jenny’s mom said, “There are so many things he still hasn’t seen, I’m sure he’d love that.”
“That would be wonderful! If it isn’t too much trouble, Jenny. Will you do that for me?” asked Mrs. Ko.
Jenny opened her mouth to reject but stopped herself. She didn’t know why she was so quick to say no. It was such a harmless favor that she was asking her to do. “Of course I will. I’m sure he’d like that very much.”

Besides, she thought to herself, this is her chance to patch things up with him. And if she takes JaeJin oppa and JaeDuc oppa along too, it won’t be so awkward. Jenny excused herself and went up the stairs to her brother’s room to tell him to plan out where to go for tomorrow. He knew more about where everything was better than her.

The next day, the four of them drove around everywhere in LA, showing Jiyong the coolest places that they knew. As Jenny predicted, it wasn’t in the least bit awkward since JaeDuc kept fooling around and making everyone laugh. Jenny was glad that she was here with these three guys because she really was enjoying herself.

At noon, the four of them stopped at an ice cream shop because the day was getting a little hot. Each of them ordered a different flavor of ice cream. JaeDuc was the first one to finish his ice cream and soon went around trying to taste everyone else’s flavor. After having tasted everyone’s ice cream, he decided that he liked Jaejin’s the best. He took his spoon and took a big scoop of Jaejin’s ice cream. This meant more than half of his ice cream.

“Hey man!” Jae jin cried out as he looked at what was left of his ice cream. Jaeduc gulped down Jaejin’s ice cream and picked up his spoon for some more.
“What are you doing??” Jaejin demanded to know. “How come you don’t take anyone else’s ice cream, huh??”
“Cuz… you’re my bestest buddie.” JaeDuc gave Jaejin the biggest childish smile that he could manage.
“How come you only call me your ‘bestest buddie’ at times like this?” Jaejin asked.
“What are you talking about…. I always…….” Jaeduc tried to make excuses as he tried to sneek his spoon into Jaejin’s cup.
“Aish!!” Jaejin said as he pushed JaeDuc’s head away.

JaeDuc frowned, unhappily sucking on his spoon. But the frown quickly disappeared and a sly look came over his face. He got closer to Jaejin’s ice cream and ….
“AHH-CHOOO!!!” he sneezed directly into the cup.
JaeJin digustedly pulled away and handed his ice cream over to JaeDuc. “Here, all yours!” Jae jin said.

Jenny and Jiyong laughed at the two. JaeDuc could be so silly! As they were laughing, Jenny glanced at Jiyong as his laughing eyes sparkled in the sunlight. Jenny blushed. She never noticed before how beautiful his eyes were. And when Jenny blushes, she really turns red.

“WOW, Jenny! Look at your face, its as red as a cherry!!” JaeDuc observed. “Did you find me suddenly so handsome or something??” He playfully lifted his eyebrows twice.
“Oot gee go eet neh!” Jenny said as she quickly ate the rest of her ice cream to cool down.

Part VIII

When night time fell, the group went to eat at a nice restaurant. When they were finished, they went outside.
“Jiyong and Jenny wait here, me and Jaeduc will go get the car.” said Jaejin. The restaurant was very crowded so they had to park very far away.

As Jenny and Jiyong were waiting, it became kind of awkward again. Jiyong looked around the place. He was trying to find something to say.
“So, umm…. Today was fun, wasn’t it?….” Jiyong managed to say. But when he turned around to look at her, he found that she was no longer there. “What the~ Where did she go off to?” Jiyong started looking for Jenny.

Jenny was just in a building near by. It was a jewelry store. She was staring at the watch section. She gasped at the sparkling gold. One of the watches stood out from the rest. It was perfect for Jaejin!! She delicately touched the glass that was separating her from the watch with the tips of her fingers.

“Umm… excuse me,” Jenny asked the clerk, “How much is this watch over here?”
“That one’s $550. Would you like to see it?”
“No, that’s okay.” Jenny looked unhappily at the beautiful watch. JaeJin’s birthday was coming around soon but she only saved up $250. “A few weeks more…” Jenny counted with her fingers the days that it would take for her to save up the rest of the money. She sighed in frustration.

“Hehe..” someone laughed goofily behind Jenny as she stared at the watch. Jenny turned around to see who it was. To her surprise, it was a very tall and chubby guy smiling at her.
“Y-you like that watch, don’t you? Hehe…” the big guy asked shyly.
“Umm… yeah.”
“I was just wondering…” he began again, scratching his head, “W-what’s your name?”
“….Jenny.” she told him reluctantly.
“Hehe, that’s a pretty name! My name is Richard!” he held out his hand eagerly. Jenny slowly lifted her hand to shake it. But before she could, Richard said, “Wait hold on…” as he wiped off all the sweat from it, leaving a wet spot on his shirt.
This grossed out Jenny and she said, “Umm, I’m sorry but I have to go.” And she headed for the door.
“Wait!” cried out Richard and ran after her as fast as he could with all his blubber visibly jiggling under his thin shirt.

Jenny wasn’t running, so he quickly caught up to her.
“Did anyone ever tell you,” he panted from the short exercise, “that you have the prettiest eyes that I ever saw, I mean they ever saw?”
“I really do have to go…” Jenny said as she tried to get away from him.
“Wait, hold on! Umm, hehe….I was just wondering if you could be like my girlfriend or something…hehe…” Richard was sweating from all the excitement.

“No!…I mean, I gotta go now…” and once again, Jenny tried to rid herself of this guy.
“Wait! Jenny! Come back! I want to be your boyfriend!”
“I already have a boyfriend!!” Jenny yelled out.
Richard paused for a second. But he was familiar with this excuse and knew that she might be lying. He ran after her again and when he caught up to her, he said, “I don’t believe you.”

Jenny was now at the spot where she and Jiyong were formerly waiting for their ride. But she found that Jiyong was no longer waiting there as she had been expecting. She frantically looked about. She didn’t know what to do.

“I don’t believe you,” said Richard again. “I-I think your so pretty…” the big guy reached his hand out to hold Jenny’s small hand that seemed as if it was three times smaller. This scared Jenny and she took a step back. Richard thought that she might run away again so he quickly grabbed her wrist. Jenny screamed.

“Get your hands off of her!!” someone’s voice from behind called out.
Jenny and Richard turned their head towards the new comer. Jenny breathed out in relief when she saw who it was.

“Jiyong!! Help me!” she cried out. Jiyong walked up to them and snatched Jenny’s wrist away from Richard.
“Who are YOU??” Richard demanded to know.
“Me? I’m… I’m Jenny’s boyfriend.” Jiyong lied. Jenny looked at Jiyong in surprise and Jiyong winked at her to get her to play along with what he said. But Richard saw this wink that Jiyong tried to sneak at Jenny.
“Yeah, right! I know your not her boyfriend so leave us alone! I saw her first!!” Richard said.
“I’m not lying, I AM her boyfriend, alright?” Jiyong told him and nudged Jenny to confirm his claim.
“Yeah, he IS my boyfriend so please go away and leave us alone!!” said Jenny.

Jenny and Jiyong pretended to walk away to somewhere else, even though they were already at the spot that they were supposed to be. Jiyong pulled Jenny into an alley.

“Did we lose him?” asked Jenny anxiously. Jiyong looked fully alert around for the chubby guy. But Richard was still not convinced that they were telling the truth and he had followed them to the alley.

“Whew~ Thanks for saving me out there, Jiyo-..” Jenny began to say. But before she could finish, Jiyong suddenly pulled Jenny close to him and kissed her. Richard watched this in disappointment.
“Maybe they really were a couple…” He frowned and kicked an empty coke can as he walked away.

Jiyong pulled away from Jenny. “Haha! Yes!! That guy finally went away. I knew that would convince him!!” He laughed in delight at his small victory. Jenny was in a state of shock. She hadn’t expected Jiyong to kiss her so suddenly like that. She stared, dazed, at Jiyong’s face.

“Heehee, I think he’s really gone. That was a good idea,wasn’t……. it….” Jiyong stopped short from his blabbing. He realized that Jenny was staring at him. Jenny was looking straight into Jiyong’s eyes. And when Jiyong looked back at her, Jenny’s heart started to pound. She leaned a little closer to Jiyong. Seeing this, Jiyong also started leaning closer. Their lips met for the second time and they stood there, in that small alley, kissing.

When they were done, both of them were speachless. They just stood there, dumbfounded. Neither of them expected this to happen. It was a surprise for them both. Jiyong smiled, then Jenny giggled. Suddenly, everything seemed to be so funny. Jiyong burst into laughter, and Jenny joined him. This whole incident was hilarious. But not only the fact that they happened to run into a strange guy like Richard, but Jiyong and Jenny were laughin at all the times they argued and yelled at each other.

When they calmed down, Jiyong said, “Look, I’m sorry I called you a bitch that one day.”
“No, no! I’m the one who called you an ass-hole first. And I’m really sorry that I accused you of reading my diary. I found out it was JaeDuc oppa who did.” Jenny explained.
“Oh! Is that what you thought I did? Haha! I was wondering what that was all about,” Jiyong said. “Well, you probably thought that becuase i was snooping around in your room that one day. Hehe, sorry about that.”
“Your sorry?? I should be the one to apologize. I found the letter… and the cd. I never thanked you for it.” Jenny said, embarrassed.
It was Jiyong’s turn to be embarrassed. “No, I owed it to you…”
Jenny smiled at Jiyong because it was so cute to see him embarrassed. Jiyong, seeing Jenny smile at him, beamed right back at her.

“HEY! There you guys are!!” cried JaeJin’s voice from behind them. “Geez, we were looking EVERYWHERE for you!”
Jenny and Jiyong looked at Jaejin, and then at each other. “Oops,” they said together. They had totally forgotten about Jaejin and Jaeduc. “Sorry.”
“Hey, you found them?” asked Jaeduc as he caught up to Jaejin. “Good, let’s go!” And the four of them got into the car.

At their house, Jenny got ready for bed. But before she went to sleep, she went out into the hallway and headed for Jaejin’s room and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” Jaejin said.
Jenny opened the door and went inside. “I just came to say goodnight, oppa.” she whispered, seeing that the lights were already turned off.
Jaejin smiled at her, “Good night.”
Jenny leaned over to him and kissed his cheek.

Jenny closed Jaejin’s door behind her and walked back down the hallway. Right before she opened the door to her room, she saw Jiyong coming up the stairs. He had gone to the kitchen to get a glass of water. When they saw each other, both of them smiled.

“Good night, Jenny.” Jiyong said smoothly.
“Good night.” Jenny bit her lip to keep from smiling too hard as she watched Jiyong enter back into his room.
She couldn’t believe that she had only recently realized how foine he was. She turned her head to go back into her own room, but she caught a glimpse of something in the corner of her eyes. She turned around again to see what it was. She saw that it was Jiyong’s packed baggages. Her heart sunk as she remembered that tomorrow, Jiyong was leaving for Korea. She walked up to Jiyong’s door to knock and ask him if he would stay. But she stopped herself. It was Jiyong’s own choice to leave and besides, this must be her punishment for treating him so badly at first. She decided to let Jiyong do whatever he chooses. And she turned around, heavy-hearted, towards her own room.

The next morning, Jenny woke up from so much noise. She went to the bathroom to wash her face and went downstairs to find out whats going on.
When she reached the bottom step, she heard Mrs. Ko’s voice complaining loudly. “First he wants to do this, then he wants to do that! My goodness! He’s giving me such a headache. It’s so hard to know what he wants since he’s always changing his mind..”
“Oh, don’t worry. It’s because he’s still young. That’s how kids are.” Jenny’s mother assured her.
“Well, anyway, I must be leaving now so I won’t miss my flight.” said Mrs. Ko.
Jenny went to the two ladies.
“Would you like me to take you to the airport?” she offered.
“No, honey. That’s all right. I already called a cab.”
“Are you sure you don’t want Jenny to take you instead?” asked Mrs. Lee.
“No, I’ll be fine. Really. Besides, Jenny needs to stay here to help Jiyong unpack.”
Jenny started when she said this. “You mean he’s staying??”
“He sure is. What did you kids do yesterday? He seemed to have had so much fun. Or atleast enough to make him want to stay…” said Mrs. Ko.
Jenny blushed as she remembered their kiss.

“Well, there’s my cab. Goodbye then.” she said as she held on to her friend, Mrs. Lee’s hand.
“I hope you have a safe trip.” said Jenny’s mother. “Call me when you arrive.”
“Ahn-young-hee ga-seh-yo.” bowed Jenny.
“Okay, bye!!”
They waved good bye.

When she was no longer in sight, Jenny happily ran upstairs. She was headed straight to Jiyong’s room. She went and burst open his door. Jiyong, who had been unpacking, stood up when he saw Jenny smiling happily at him.

“You’re staying?!”
“How could I leave?” he said, smiling back warmly.
Jenny ran into his arms.

Epilogue

As Jenny and Jiyong were happily wrapped up in each other’s arms, someone opened he Lee family’s mailbox and slipped in an envelope. It was addressed to “JENNY LEE” and the envelope contained a love letter.
Jenny’s mother heard the mailbox open and close. She went to see who or what caused the noise. But no one could be seen. She opened the mailbox and found the letter for her daughter. She sighed. Even though it was none of her business, she wished she knew who it was that kept sending her daughter these letters. They have been dropped off mysteriously in the mailbox in this fashion for the last six years or so. But she shrugged it off because she knew from the day that Jenny was born that many boys will take interest in her. Afterall, her daughter was the most beautiful girl that she ever saw. And she didn’t feel this way just because she was her daughter…

Mrs. Lee went upstairs to her daughter’s room to place the letter on its owner’s desk. “Being beautiful is a sin, I tell you!” she mumbled and wished her daughter didn’t look so much like herself.

ChErRiEs II by: Julie
Part I

Mrs. Lee paced around the living room. Someone had not done the dishes as they were supposed to. She looked at the clock. It was getting a little late.
“Where did JaeJin go off to??” she asked out loud furiously. She looked around and found that the living room was a mess!

Just then, Jenny skipped her way down the stairs.
“Hi mom!” she said with so much liveliness.
“Oh, Jenny! How’s my favorite daughter doing?” she asked.
“I’m your ONLY daughter,” Jenny reminded her.
“Well, it doesn’t matter, your still my favorite,” Mrs. Lee went over to her and kissed Jenny on her forehead. Jenny smiled back at her mother. But she could see that something was bothering her.

“What’s the matter? Why do you look so worried?” she asked her mother.
“It’s your brother Jaejin. Do you know where he could be?? He left the house without doing the dishes and just look at the living room! It needs a vacuuming.”
“I’ll do it, mom,” offered Jenny as she started to walk towards the kitchen.
“No, no. You don’t lay a finger on the dish washer soap. It’ll just absolutely ruin your pretty hands!!” said Mrs. Lee, pulling her back to the living room.
“Oh, mom! You’ve got to stop babying me!” she cried.
“What are you talking about? I don’t baby you!” Mrs. Lee said, “Besides, you looked like you were going to go somewhere right now.”
“Oh yeah! I was going to go buy something. Jiyong is waiting outside for me,” remembered Jenny.
“Okay, you don’t want to keep him waiting now!”
“Bye, umma.” With that, Jenny left with Jiyong.

Mrs. Lee continued her pacing. She looked and looked again at the clock. “Where is that boy??” she mumbled.
Just then, Jaejin walked inside the house. As soon as he saw Mrs. Lee, his head drooped. He knew he was in for it now.

“Where have you been?!” yelled Mrs. Lee.
“Umm, JaeDuc and I were…” he began.
“You two were out practicing dancing again, weren’t you??” she asked, “How many times have I told you not to waste your time on something like that?”
“Jeh song hab nee da, um muh nee,” said Jaejin.
The truth was, Jaejin had come home late because his friends from his dance group, Quicksilver, had thrown him a party. And he couldn’t just leave his own party. It was July 13th that day.

“You didn’t even do the dishes!! And look at all the muhn jee in here. Now hurry up and clean this place up before Jenny and Jiyong get back. What is Jiyong going to think if he sees our family living like pigs? He’ll go right to his mother and tell her. Oh, this is such a disgrace. I can’t have his mother thinking badly of us, no! Do you know how rich she is??”
“Jal-mot heh sseum nee da,” JaeJin apologized again and went to the kitchen to do the dishes. He could hear his mother in the living room still complaining out loud.
“She is so lucky… She got to marry such a rich husband. And look at me. Living like this with a pennyless husband! Why am I so cursed, what did I ever do wrong to deserve this??”

After Jaejin finished his chores, he went upstairs to his room. He opened his backpack and started taking out his things. He first took out new socks and underwear that JaeDuc had given him. JaeJin chuckled to himself. JaeDuc, his best friend, can be so funny! Next, he took out a brand new art set. This will come in handy, Jaejin loved to draw. Finally, he took out brand new manhwa-cheks. He couldn’t wait to read these. He opened the first one and right away, it was so funny.

After reading a few of the comic books, he heard his mom from downstairs calling everyone to dinner. He closed his book and got up to go.
They were eating boolgogee for dinner. For some reason, Jenny was as red as a cherry again. But this time, it was because she was really mad.
“I wanted to eat mee-yuk-gook today,” she said.
“Really?” her mother said, “Then you should have told me. Oh well, we’ll just have to eat that tomorrow.”
“No, not tomorrow. Why can’t we have it today?” she demanded.
Jenny glanced at Jaejin. Jaejin just stared down into his rice bowl.
“Well, since we already started eating…” Mrs. Lee started to say.
But Jenny interrupted her, “Don’t you get it? Doesn’t anyone know?? It’s-” but Jenny was also interrupted.
“So, Jiyong,” said JaeJin, “Where did you take Jenny today?” “Oh… umm… We went to go buy some white paint. Jenny and I are going to paint my room white tomorrow,” Jiyong answered.
“That’s a good idea!” said Mrs. Lee, “But are you sure you don’t want to get it professionally done? I can hire a painter if you’d like.”
“That’s alright,” said Jiyong, “Jenny and I thought it might be fun to paint it together.”
Mrs. Lee smiled warmly, “Okay, then. If that’s what you want.” She loved to see him and Jenny get along so well. She hoped the best for the two.

Jenny was silent for the rest of the dinner, occasionally glancing at her brother, Jaejin. She tried her best to keep calm. At that moment, she resented her family. Even Jaejin for being so dumb.
“Why can’t he just tell them?” thought Jenny to herself.

After dinner, Jaejin went back up to his room. Jenny followed right behind him.
“Oppa…I don’t understand..Aren’t you mad at all?” she questioned.
“Mad? Of coure not,” reassured Jaejin with a smile on his face. “I’d rather have them not remember. I don’t like all the attention. I was trying to avoid it. Besides, I don’t even like mee-yuk-gook. I like boolgogee much better.”
This answer still didn’t satisfy Jenny and she eyed him with half anger and half sadness.
“I swear! I purposely didn’t remind them. You know how I hate getting fussed over about,” Jaejin tried again to convince his sister.

Jenny frowned in disbelief. But she shrugged her shoulders. There was nothing she could do about it if he was going to be that stubborn. She sighed and tried to let go her anger. Then she smiled again. All this time, she had been hiding something in back of her. She took it out then and placed it in Jaejin’s hands.
“Happy Birthday oppa!!” Jenny kissed Jaejin on the cheek and ran out of his room and closed the door.

Jaejin smirked. Jenny was so cute when she acted like such a little kid. He looked at the small box that she gave him and wondered what it could be. He happily tore the wrapping paper and opened the box. His mouth dropped open in surprise. Inside the box was a gold watch. He took it out of the box and placed it on his wrist.
“This must have cost her a fortune!” he thought to himself.

Jenny was now in her own room smiling to herself. She tried to imagine Jaejin’s face when he saw the watch. Jenny knew that he’d love it. She had borrowed Jiyong’s money to pay for some of it because she didn’t have enough money yet. But she was planning to pay Jiyong back because she wanted the watch to be entirely from her. She counted the days she had left for her to raise enough money. She cried out in joy to find that she only had a few more days to go. She hated working at Burger King. She couldn’t wait to quit.

She got up and went to her desk. There, she found an envelope addressed to “JENNY LEE.” She picked it up and examined it carefully. But she already knew exactly what was to be found inside the envelope. It was just another love letter from the same secret lover. She had been getting these same letters since she was in the sixth grade. She recognized the handwriting right away. She opened the envelope and took out the letter and read it.

Dear Jenny,
I write another letter to you in hope that one day, you will love me as much as I love you. I see your beautiful face always so cheerful and happy. And that makes me also very happy and cheerful. But when you are sad, it seems to me like the entire world is dark and gloomy. I tell you this because I want you to always smile your beautiful smile. And I wish to God that your heart will never hurt like mine when I realize that you are not mine. Instead, you belong to someone else. But that doesn’t stop me from loving you as much as I do. So always be smiling because I’ll always watch over you.
Love,
Your Secret Lover

Jenny folded back the paper and put it back into the envelope and put it away. She hoped that Jiyong will never find these letters that she always gets. Jiyong and Jenny were now a couple. So Jenny decided that she should hide these love letters just in case so that he would never find out about them. The last thing she wanted was for Jiyong to get mad or jealous over things like this.

Jenny sighed. She wondered who this mystery man could possibly be. She tried to picture him. She first pictured a tall, dark, and handsome guy. Then she imagined a short, fat, and ugly boy. She shook these thoughts out of her head.
“I shouldn’t daydream about this guy anymore…” she thought to herself, starting to feel a little guilty. She had Jiyong now…

Part II

“Would you like fries with that?” asked Jenny to the last customer of the evening.
“No, that’s alright.”
“Ok, that’ll be $3.89.”
He paid her and she gave the man his change, forcing a smile to form on her face. Even this was difficult for Jenny. Her body was aching from the day’s work. She still wore the forced smile on her face, as she watched the costumer walk out the door. When she saw that he was gone, she sighed of relief.<
“At last!” she cried out as she searched for somewhere that she might be able to sit and rest.
But one of her co-workers came to her and handed her a sponge. Now it was time to scrub the tables. She slowly lifted up her heavy body and reached for the dreaded sponge. As she got up, all the blood either rush into her brain or rushed out, she couldn’t tell which. But she felt so faint and dizzy.

“Are you all right?” asked one of the workers.
“Yeah, I’m okay,” replied Jenny, breathlessly.
Jenny gathered all her strength to do this one last job. As she was scrubbing the tables with her remaining strength, it started pouring outside. Jenny paused and closed her eyes to listen to the rain fall. It was so soothing to listen to. And she went right back to work.

When she was done, she said good-bye to all the workers and put on that fake smile that was so difficult, and walked out of Burger King. She took a deep breath of the wet air but immediately started coughing. She couldn’t stop coughing! She reached out to hold on to a pole and waited for the sudden fit to end. When it did, she squinted her eys to find her car in the parking lot. She looked and looked again, but she couldn’t find her car. Then she suddenly remembered that she had lent her car to her little brother, Jerry. He had told her that he wouldn’t be able to pick her up after work, and she had reassured him that it was okay. She figured she’d walk home or something.

She looked around in horror. The pouring rain seemed to have gotten worse. The loud beating of the rain drops on the ground seemed to have penetrated into Jenny’s brain, as it too started to pound loudly. She held her head in hopes of relieving the headache and took her first step out onto the rain. She had to face it, the only way home would be to walk through the violent storm.

Jenny walked on as the rain continued to pour. Jenny could hardly lift her eyelids, she was squinting so hard to try to keep the rain from getting into her eyes. And the ground was extremely slippery as she walked through the flooded sidewalk. Her headache didn’t let her be careful of where she stepped and she soon slipped. Her hand let go of her forehead to keep her balance. And she trudged on.

Her fingers were turning icy cold. She was afraid that they mind go numb in all this wetness. Even though her fingers were as cold as ice, and she knew very well that the day was absolutely freezing, but she herself wasn’t that cold. In fact, she was incredibly hot. She touched her face and found she had a fever. Then, her coughing fit came back and she paused in the middle of the street to rid of her coughs. It was so difficult for her to even breathe because her nose was stuffed. She coughed and coughed. It seemed to have no end.

When her coughing fit finally seemed to be over, she tried to regain her balance to walk on. But as soon as she took another step, the world seemed to spin around and around. Jenny could no longer keep her balance as her knees gave up. She tried with all her might to stay standing, but her knees kept wobbling and shaking. And she tried to take another step, but she slipped and fell into the water. She tried again, this time with all the strength that she could possibly gather, she stood up. But all the blood seemed to rush into or out of her brain again and she felt incredibly faint. The faintness gave way and Jenny fell unconscience into the rushing flood.

But as she fell, she vaguely realized that the fall didn’t hurt at all. In fact, it seemed something had caught her fall. Or was it someone? And right before she absolutely fainted, she thought that she felt herself in somebody’s arms. In fact, it seemed to her, even though it was blurry, that that someone had a navy blue head…?

Jenny was lying, still unconscience, in her bead as her mother watched over her in worry. She held her daughter’s hand and prayed to God that she’ll be all right. Tears of pain streamed down her face as she weaped for her daughter’s sake.

As Mrs. Lee sat there, weaping and whining, Jaejin silently walked in with a bowl of ice water and a wet towel. He wet the towel, strained the water back out, and placed it on Jenny’s forehead. She was burning from fever.

Now, the father of the house, Mr. Lee, came into Jenny’s bedroom. He watched, in sorrow, his daughter lying there so limp. He went over to his weaping wife and put his hands on her shoulders to try to comfort her. Then he gently led her away into their own bedroom.

Now, Jaejin pulled up a chair to Jenny’s bedside. He held her cold hand and tried to warm it with his own body warmth. As he did this, Jiyong walked inside. He looked at the two siblings, wishing there was something he could do to help.

“Will she be all right?” he helplessly asked Jaejin.
“Yeah, she’ll be okay,” said Jaejin with a reassuring smile, “Her body might be weak, but she’s got a strong spirit and she’ll never let go.”
He was saying this more to himself then to Jiyong.
“You should go to bed, Jiyong,” said Jaejin, “You must be tired from today. I know that you didn’t get any sleep the night before. You were studying, right?”
Jiyong nodded, and seeing that there was nothing he could do to help, retired to his own bed.

But only after a few minutes passed when Jiyong had left, JaeDuc burst into the room and quickly kneeled by Jenny’s side. He was dripping wet from the rain.
“I came here as fast as I could when I heard that she was unconscience,” he told Jaejin.
“How did this happen??” he desperately asked.
“She got caught in the rain when she was walking home,” explained Jaejin.
“She must’ve fainted out on the streets.”
“Then how did she come home?” asked Jaeduc.
“I don’t know. Some guy knocked on our door and ran away. When my mom opened the door to see who it was, she found Jenny lying on the doorstep, unconscience.”
“Thank God someone saved her!” Jaeduc said.
Jaejin nodded in agreement.

Jaeduc knelt next to Jenny’s body and watched her lie there, so lifeless. The thought of Jenny never being able to wake up again, gave such a spine-chilling terror to Jaeduc. He gulped and closed his eyes. He could feel the hot tears coming up into his eyes. He tried hard to repress these tears, but it was no use. He silently wept for Jenny.

The next morning, Jaejin went downstairs to get another wet towel for Jenny. When he entered her room, he was surprised to see Jenny’s eyes open. She looked really tired, but nevertheless she was awake and she gave her brother a weak smile.

“Your awake!” he cried out in joy.
Jenny nodded and tried to say something, but her throat was so dry.
“W-water…” she whispered.
“I’ll go get a glass,” said Jaeduc who was standing at the door. He had slept over for the night.

When everyone found out that Jenny was awake, the whole family tightly packed together into Jenny’s room. Her mother was ever so relieved that she was okay. She had imagined the worst. Now that Mrs. Lee’s worries were aside, she went to the next important question: who’s fault was it?

“Why were you walking home on a night like that??” she demanded to know from her daughter.
“I…lent the car….to Jerry….” Jenny said with her scratchy voice.
Mrs. Lee’s head turned toward her youngest son who scratched his head in guilt and tried to laugh innocently.
“Jerry!” the mother of the house began.
“Well, I needed the car, mom!” he tried to defend himself.
Mrs. Lee stared thoughtfully at him. “I’ve had enough! I think it’s time we bought you a car of your own,” she concluded.
“Yes!!!” Jerry exclaimed in joy.
“Wait!..But mom…. Jaejin oppa still.. doesn’t have a car….” Jenny pointed out.
“No, no!” Jaejin said right away, “It’s alright, I don’t really need a car anyway. Jerry needs one much more than me…He has to go to all those classes and things like that..”

Jenny panted in frustration. Why must Jaejin act so selfless all the time? Why couldn’t he for once demand something for his own personal gain? Why must he always put others before himself?

“Let’s let Jenny get some rest now,” said Mr. Lee as he got up.
“Yeah, let’s go,” agreed Jaejin.
Everyone, one by one, left Jenny to herself. Jenny sighed. She wished she could do something to change Jaejin’s attitude. She hated to see him get neglected all the time. But she shook these thoughts out of her head. She was afraid it might give her a headache.

Instead, she started to think of the small and blurry glimpse of the guy who saved her in the rain. He was wearing the same navy blue handkerchief over his face that she was so familiar with. The handkerchief covered most of his face, so Jenny never got to see who this guy really was. The truth was, ever since she was in the sixth grade, whenever she was in trouble, this same guy wearing the handkerchief on his head, saved her. He’d always seem to just show up at the right time. True, this is very strange. But Jenny thought nothing of it since it has been happening since so long ago that she had gotten used to being protected by this mysterious guy, even expecting it. Not that she wasn’t thankful. She thanked God as much as she could for sending her such a gaurdian. And she loved being carried by this guy. It always felt so safe in his arms…

Part III

Jaejin was at the dance studio (the little room where his dance group QuickSilver practiced). He was sweating from head to toe from dancing for hours on end. There was no music playing, but he kept dancing. He practiced all his moves and wanted to perfect all the dances that he was working on. This he did to relieve stress. When he was dancing, he didn’t have to think about the rest of the world. As far as he was concerned, his dancing was the only thing that existed during that time. He didn’t want to think of anything else. All he could do was dance and dance and dance….Even though his body was tired as hell, he wouldn’t stop. Even when JaeDuc walked into the studio, Jaejin took no notice of him. Or rather, he didn’t notice him there at all.

“Yah! Lee Jae Jin! Haven’t you had enough?” asked JaeDuc.
“Huh? What? Oh, when did you get here?” Jaejin asked, giving JaeDuc a quick glance as he continued his dancing.
Jaeduc knew that something must be bothering Jaejin because he always danced like this when there was something wrong. But he thought it would be best not to ask him. Instead, Jaeduc went to get a cup of water for his friend.

When JaeDuc gave it to him, Jaejin took it and drank it down fast, gulping for air when he was done. Jaejin sat down on the floor for a minute, trying to catch his breath. When his breathing became a little steady, he lied down on the floor and closed his eyes because it stung when the sweat reached them.

“Hey, hurry up and go take a shower… Gawd, you stink!” Jaeduc cried, plugging his nose.
“What are you talking about?” Jaejin asked, fanning himself by waving his shirt and wiping off the sweat off his forehead.
“BBallee ga, eema!” Jaeduc said, kicking Jaejin on his side for him to get up.
Jaejin lifted the collar of his shirt to his nose to smell it and coughed in suffocation.
“Ok, ok, I’ll go!” said Jaejin as he picked himself back up on his feet.

In the shower room, Jaejin turned on the water and got in. He just stood in there, as the steaming hot water splashed on his head. He looked at the watch that was fixed on his wrist. From the day he got it, he hadn’t ever taken it off for a second… not even in the shower. He couldn’t bring himself to stop staring at this watch that Jenny had given him…This thing seemed to be giving him so much pain. Jaejin had recently found out that Jenny had been working at Burger King. He couldn’t help but blame himself for Jenny’s sickness…He felt like it was all his fault that his sister had collapsed in the rain and was now lying sick in bed. He had a feeling that the only reason Jenny got this job at Burger King was because of this watch. This pained him because Jenny had always been so weak and and her body was unsuitable for working like that…

JaeDuc waited for Jaejin to finish showering. He turned the radio on and put it on a station that was playing a slow song. He listened to the song and chuckled to himself. He still remembered clearly the day that he met Jaejin. It was when the both of them were in the 7th grade…

Jaeduc was still at school, even though school had ended. He was playing soccer with a couple of his buddies. The ball was kicked to Jaeduc and seeing that no one was near him, he stopped the ball and placed his foot over it. He had been practicing his kick for a long time now. He felt confident about making the goal from where he was, even though he happened to be very far from the goal. He took a couple of steps back to give him room to run and charge at the ball. Then, he went forward and kicked it with all his might. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t go into the goal like he planned. Instead, it went out of bounds and his friends yelled at him to go fetch the it.

Jaeduc ran after the ball, embarrassed at his failure, with all the boys yelling behind him to hurry up. He had kicked the ball so far that it took him awhile to find it. When he realized it had landed in the bushes, he quickly went to pick it up.

Now, there happened to be an elementary school not far off from Jaeduc’s middle school. And at that moment, there were many kids who were walking home. Jaeduc picked up his ball and watched a few of the kids pass by him. He chuckled at the size of them, they seemed so much shorter than he was. JaeDuc started heading back to the soccer field where all his friends were, occasionally staring at the kids that walked by. But then, Jaeduc stopped. One of the kids stood out from the rest. It was a girl who didn’t look as young as the others. She walked past him, innocently unaware that someone was watching her. Jaeduc couldn’t keep his eyes off the girl. She was the prettiest thing that he ever saw. Jaeduc just stared at the girl, stupefied. But soon, she turned at a corner and was no longer in sight.

Jaeduc stood in awe. Then he remembered his soccer game and looked down at the ball in his hands. He took a step towards the soccer field to continue the game, but stopped himself. He couldn’t stop thinking of that pretty girl and wanted to see her again. He wanted to go after her and maybe ask for her name, at least. He looked towards the soccer field and thought of his game. But soon, Jaeduc decided. He didn’t care about the soccer game anymore. Besides, he would play it again tomorrow probably. And with the ball still in his hands, he set off towards the direction of where the girl had gone.

Jaeduc sooned spotted the girl again. He carefully followed maybe 15 paces behind her, making sure that she never layed an eye on him. He wanted to go to her and ask what her name was or something. But he couldn’t bring up enough courage to. He just stupidly followed behind her. Soon, the girl reached a house, which seemed like her own. She took out a key, unlocked the door and went in. Jaeduc waited near the house, still stupefied. He could still see her pretty little face even though she was no longer in sight. Then he suddenly got really mad at himself. Why hadn’t he even said ‘hi’ to her?? He felt like such a idiot, standing outside of the girls house, feeling like he was in love, without even knowing her name.

He was so frustrated with himself, in fact, that he took the ball and kicked it as hard as he could at a street lamp across the street. The ball hit the street lamp and bounced right back at him. When the ball reached him again, he hit it with his head and the ball went staight up and came back down, landing in his hands.

After Jaeduc did this, someone from behind started clapping. Jaeduc turned around to see who it was. It was a boy, looking around his age.
“That was pretty good,” said the newcomer, “Do you play soccer a lot?”
“Uh… yeah,” Jaeduc replied.
“Do you play any other sports?”
“Um, I play baseball and basketball too.”
“What grade are you in?”
“7th.”
“Hey, me too. I don’t think we go to the same school because I never saw you around. You must go to XXX Middle School.” “Yeah, I do,” said Jaeduc.
“Oh, cause I go to OOO Middle School,” smiled the boy.
“What’s your name?” asked Jaeduc.
“I’m Lee JaeJin. What’s yours?”
“Kim JaeDuc,”
“Have you ever tried dancing before?” asked Jaejin.
“No…Why?”
“Oh, because I bet you’d be good at it if you learned.”
“Really?”
“Yeah! I could teach you some moves, if you want.”
“Sure.”
“Ok, then come to my house.”
“All right, where do you live?” asked Jaeduc.
“Right here,” Jaejin said as he walked up to the house that they were standing in front of.
Jaeduc’s mouth dropped open, “You live HERE?!?” exclaimed Jaeduc looking at him in surprise.
This was the same house that the pretty girl had walked into. “Then they must be siblings…” he thought to himself.
“Yeah, c’mon.,” said Jaejin as he led Jaeduc inside.

Part IV

A few days later…

Jenny was tired of staying in her room all day like this. It was so boring…Her mother wouldn’t let her go outside. She looked out the window and desparately wished to be someplace other than her room. It was such a pretty day…

She didn’t feel all that sick anymore. Sure, she still coughed now and then. But her having to stay in the room like this was too much. Jiyong was gone to summer school and her little brother Jerry was out with his friends. And Jaejin… she didn’t know where he was, but he wasn’t home. She guessed that he was probably practicing dancing or something. That’s what he’s always doing. The only one home was her mother, making sure that she stays in bed no matter what.

Jenny sighed in boredom. She decided to call a friend so that she won’t be so bored. She picked up the phone and dialed…

“Hello?” the voice from the other end of the line asked.
“Christene? Hi, it’s me, Jenny.”
“Oh, hi Jenny!”
“Hi…I just called because I was bored.”
“I’m bored too. You wanna go out or something?” asked Christene.
“I can’t,” Jenny explained, “My mom won’t let me go out because I’ve got a cold.”
“Really? Is it serious?”
“No, not really…”
“Then you shouldn’t have to stay home!”
“I know…I REALLY want to go somewhere,” said Jenny.
“Then let’s go! Who cares what your mom says…You’re 18 now. You “hould make your own decisions.”
“You’re right. I don’t care what my mom says, I’ll just sneak out.”
“Ok, come to my house then, I’ll be waiting for you.”
“K, bye.”
“Bye.”

After she hung up the phone, Jenny went to the door and peered out. She could hear the shower running somewhere and figured that her mom was in the shower. ‘This is my chance,’ Jenny thought. And she tip toed her way through the hall and down the stairs. She opened and closed the front door as slightly as she could and bolted for Christene’s house. She had to walk there because if she turned on the engine of her car, her mom was bound to hear it.

Christene drove her and Jenny to a restaurant. Jenny had been eating jook for days and she was sick of it. She needed some real food. But as they were eating, Christene suddenly got a page. She took out her pager and looked at it.

“Oh, it’s my boyfriend,” she said. “He left a voice mail so I’ll be right back, ok?”
“Ok,” said Jenny as she happily ate her meal.
A few minutes later, Christene came back to there table but didn’t sit down. Instead, she grabbed her purse and put it on. “I gotta go, Jen,” said Christene. “My boyfriend needs me right now.”
“You’re going right now?!” Jenny asked.
“Yeah, I HAVE to..I’m sorry. I promise I’ll make it up to you next time,” Christene gave Jenny a hug and went to go pay for the food.

Jenny sat there, watching her friend leave. Suddenly she felt incredibly lonely. She thought about Jiyong and wished that he’d page her too. Then she remembered. In her haste to get out of her house, she had forgotten to take her pager with her. She wondered if she brought it, would she get a page from Jiyong? She frowned and wished he was with her now.

Jenny wasn’t hungry anymore so she got up to leave. She put a few bucks on the table for tip and she walked out the restaurant. When she was outside, she just remembered! Christene was her ride and she had left!! Jenny forgot this because she usually had the car with her. Christene must’ve forgotten too that Jenny hadn’t brought her car this time.

“Oh well,” Jenny shrugged her shoulders. She’ll just have to walk home again. She seemed to be doing a lot of that these days. And she set off.
After she had walked a few blocks, Jenny got this weird feeling that someone was following her. She stopped walking and turned around. But there was no one there, so she went right back on her way. But it still felt like someone was following her, so she checked again. There was no one. Jenny wondered if she was just imagining things. She continued walking.

But now, she could hear definite foot steps behind her. It seemed to be getting closer and closer. Jenny got scared. She kind of didn’t want to turn around this time, in fear of what she might see. She just hurried on her way. But soon, she couldn’t stand it anymore and looked back one more time. But this time, she saw a glimpse of someone quickly hide behind a wall.

Jenny turned pale. Her heart seemed to have skipped a beat. But afterwards, her heart was pounding from fear. She did next what her instincts told her to do, she ran for her life.
Jenny ran and ran, but she could hear the pounding of the man’s footsteps running after her. She looked back occasionally while she ran and saw that the man looked around 40 years old. He had such a scary look on his face that it made Jenny shake in fear from head to toe. But after running for awhile, Jenny soon tripped over a crack on the sidewalk and fell. As the man came closer and closer, the blood in Jenny’s face drained out and she froze. She couldn’t seem to pick herself back up. Now the man was only a split second away from her and Jenny didn’t know what else to do but cover her eyes and scream as loud as she could.

But as she did this, she heard a something that sounded like an object hitting another object. And after this noise came a groan of pain. Jenny peeped from her fingers to see what was going on and wondering why the man hadn’t reached her yet. She caught a glimpse of the man on the floor with his hands covering his face. But before she could see much, someone grabbed her hand and dragged her away. Jenny saw that it was the guy with the blue handkerchief covering his head and half his face as the two ran, hand in hand, or rather, hand on wrist. After running awhile, they stopped behind a building where they were hidden and at a safe distance. The two were panting for breath.

After they caught their breath, the guy carefully peeped out to check to see if the man was still there.
“He’s gone,” he said in a muffled voice.
Jenny exhaled in relief, and looked up at the guy to start thanking him. But before she said anything, he started talking first.
“What are you doing out like this??” he blurted out. “You’re supposed to be at home, or else your cold will get even worse. Don’t you see that??”
Jenny blushed in embarrassment. She knew that she shouldn’t be out like this too. “I know, I know, but……” Jenny stopped herself, “Wait a minute,” she eyed him suspiciously. “How did you know I was sick?”
“…Because…. of that day in the rain…” he said, realizing what big a mistake he had made.
“Who are you, anyway?” Jenny took a step towards him to get a closer look. But a car honk sounded behind them. Jenny turned around to see who it was.

“There you are Jenny!” Christene called out from her car. “I was looking everywhere for you! I’m so sorry! I totally forgot that you didn’t have a ride home.”
A big smile of relief came over Jenny’s face. She was so glad that Christene had come back for her. She was such a good friend. Jenny turned back to face the guy in the handkerchief, but he was no longer there. She looked around to try to see where he had gone.

“Hey, Jenny! What are you doing? Hurry up and get in the car girl!” said Christene.
Jenny relunctantly walked over to the car, “Where could he have gone off to?” she wondered.

Jenny got home and tip-toed her way back up the stairs up to her room. Her mom was in the kitchen, fixing her daughter some more jook. It seems that she hadn’t noticed her daughter was gone. Everything was back to normal and Jenny was glad that she didn’t get in trouble.
A little while later, Jenny’s mom knocked on her door.
“Come in,” said Jenny.
Her mom walked in, carrying a tray with the jook.
“I’m not hungry, mom,” Jenny said.
“That’s just too bad. You HAVE to eat something in order to get well again.”
Jenny wished she could tell her mother that she already ate, but she knew that she couldn’t. So she forced herself to swallow the food.

When she was halfway done, she was too full to take in any more.
“No more!” she said. “I’m sooo full!!”
“Ok, then. You don’t have to finish,” said her mom as she got up to leave with the tray.
“Oh, by the way, you got another letter,” her mother said, handing her a sealed envelope addressed to ‘JENNY LEE.’

When her mom left, Jenny opened the envelope and took out the letter. It read:

Dear Jenny,
I can’t get you out of my head so I had to write you another letter. I’m sorry, I hope you aren’t annoyed too much by me. I just can’t help it. I couldn’t sleep last night because the thought of you being sick makes me so sad. I wish there was something I could do, but I know that there is nothing. All I could do it pray that you can get well soon. I wish I could protect you from all harmful things, including viruses. But I can’t. I feel so helpless, sitting here, writing this letter. I just wish that I could do something to help…It pains me so much to know that you are in pain. I just hope that your sickness will go away soon.
Love,
Your Secret Lover

Jenny stared at the handwriting. “How does he know that I’m sick?” she wondered. She felt like the whole world knew or something. First, the guy in the handkerchief knows, and now, this guy knows too?!
And then a thought occurred to her. “Wait a minute…Could these two guys be the same person??…… Of course!”
She couldn’t believe she hadn’t made this connection before. She started to get these letters when she was in the sixth grade. And the the guy in the blue handkercheif started to save her from things since she was in the sixth grade…
She smiled at her discovery, “I can’t believe I didn’t figure it out till now!”

Part V

*NOTE* The guy in the handkerchief: I decided to add this note because I realized that this might be difficult for some people to visualize. When I say that he has a handkerchief over his head, covering most of his face, I mean that he has his handkerchief like that of how H.O.T had it on. Remember during their Wolf and Sheep stage, how Moon HeeJun and Jang WooHyuk came out w/the handkerchiefs covering preactically their whole head? That’s what I mean. And I’m sorry for jocking this off of H.O.T in a Jekki story, but I once saw Jekki do this also. So I hope you understand now. ^_^
A few days later

Jenny had walked to the near by liquor store to buy herself some slurpee on the hot day. She was all well again, so her mother was actually letting her do things like this. But she made her quit her job at Burger King when she found out. Mrs. Lee claimed that it was a “disgrace” to the family. But Jenny didn’t mind quitting because recently, her uncle had given her a lot of money for her graduation. Now she had enough to pay Jiyong back for her brother’s watch.

Jenny walked home with the slurpee in one hand and a hotdog in the other. The sun was directly over her head and the day seemed incredibly bright. Jenny started wishing she had brought her sunglasses out with her.

As her house soon came into view, Jenny decided to stop for a minute and take a bite out of her hotdog. She put as much chili that she could fit, so the delicious smell was beckoning her to taste it. It was so good that she took another bite. Then another, and another. Soon, she had finished the whole thing, right in the middle of the street.

She took a big and satisfying gulp of the slurpee, and looked up towards her house. To her pleasant surprise, she saw JaeDuc walking over to her house. She decided to wave and call to him that she was right behind him. But she stopped herself when she saw him acting a little strange.

Jaeduc tiptoed his way towards the house. He constantly looked to his right, then to his left, to make sure that no one was watching. When he saw that the coast was clear, or so he thought, he slyly took out something from his pocket and shoved it in the mailbox. Then he ran away as fast as he could, never looking back.

Jenny was confused. “What was that all about??” she wondered to herself. She quickly walked over to her mailbox and reached her hand inside. She took out a sealed white envelope. It was addressed to “JENNY LEE.”

Jenny turned pale. She couldn’t believe what she just saw. She clutched the envelope in a state of shock. For six years, she had been getting these love letters, and she had always daydreamed about who this “Secret Lover” could possibly be. Her lips trembled. Suddenly, she didn’t want to open the letter.
“This can’t be true!” she said aloud to herself. “I..I..How could this happen?!”

She opened the front door of her house and ran up the stairs. JaeJin saw her and tried to say hi. But she didn’t even look at him. Her face had turned bright red and she was trying to avoid eye contact with him. She just stared at the ground as the entered her room. Jenny put the sealed envelope on her desk. She didn’t want to open it because she knew exactly what was inside. Jaeduc was like a brother to Jenny and she never thought of him in any different way. This was too weird for her, she really didn’t know what to do!

Jaejin watched his sister slam the door in his face.
“I wonder what’s bothering her…?”
And then a thought occurred to him. “What if she’s getting bugged by guys again?!” He knew from experience that Jenny only got THAT embarrassed, enough not to be able to have eye contact, when there was a guy involved. This frustrated him a LOT. He went to Jenny’s door to knock on it. But he didn’t because he was afraid that she might get mad at him for butting in. “After all, I’m only her brother…” he thought to himself.

Jaejin headed downstairs to the living room and saw that the dishes were piled high.
“Ugh!” he grimaced. He hated doing the dishes, but he knew that he had to. “This is not right for a guy like myself to always be doing these things!” he thought helplessly to himself. But deep down, he knew that he shouldn’t complain so he picked up the gloves and put them on.

As he did the dishes, his mind kept wandering about Jenny. He was starting to get really curious about what or who made her act that way?? He wished that guys would stop bothering her like they did. All her life, guys had been all over his little sister, so he couldn’t help but be overprotective. And he knew well that Jenny was beautiful. Even if she didn’t try at all, her natural beauty was always excessively flowing. Especially from her beautiful eyes.

Jaejin started to remember all those times he had to save her from those guys that just refused to leave the poor girl alone. Even when she was very young, it was like that. He especially remembered this one time…

Jenny was walking home in tears. Jaejin saw her and quickly ran over to her.
“Whats wrong, Jenny??” he demanded to know.
“Nothing…” she said as she stared at the floor. Jaejin knew well what this meant.
“Is it that one kid who kept calling you ‘frog eyes’?” he asked. “I always suspected he had a crush on you!!”
“No, it’s not that..” Jenny trailed off. She walked away because she didn’t know how she would tell him such a thing like this….

The next day, after school, Jaejin walked towards Jenny’s elementary school to walk her home. He felt weird as he passed by all the little girls staring and pointing at him. They giggled and smiled and blushed at him. He frowned. He didn’t like all this attention, so he hurried on his way.

On his way, something caught his attention. He was overhearing a conversation.
“Hehe, hey pretty girl…” some boy’s voice said. “Won’t you tell us your name?”
“Yeah, c’mon! I swear, we don’t bite!” said another.
“Get away from me!” a girl’s voice said very meekly.

This alarmed Jaejin. He knew that voice well, it was Jenny! He tried to find where these voices were coming from.

“Awww, give us a chance…” said the boy again.
“Don’t touch me!” Jenny said passionately.
“Why, you little!” said the boy. This was followed by a slapping noise and Jenny’s cry of pain.

After desparately trying to locate this conversation, Jaejin finally found them. There was a group of three guys surrounding Jenny, who was now lying on the ground after they hit her. Jaejin recognized the guys from his own middle school. They were all older than he was, not to mention bigger in size. But Jaejin didn’t care. He was furious!!

Jaejin picked up a thick wooden stick from the ground and snuck up behind the three guys. He chose the biggest of them all and whacked him on the side with all his might. The big guy fell to his knees as he cried out in pain. The other two guys turned around in surprise. Jaejin had broken the stick so he threw the little stubb of what was left of it on the ground.

“Get him!!” cried the biggest one that was still kneeling and grabbing his side. The two other guys started closing up on Jaejin. Jaejin looked around for any more wooden sticks that he can use, but he found none. Soon, the two guys had cornered Jaejin. And one of the guys swung at him. But Jaejin ducked and his fist landed on the brick wall behind him.

“Owww!!” the guy cried out.
Jaejin took this chance to kick the other guy. After he did this, Jaejin swung and punched him too. When Jaejin saw that the guy who had punched the wall had recoverd from his pain, Jaejin quickly pushed him on the other guy and ran away. He ran towards Jenny, who was still lying on the ground. She had fainted after they hit her.

But now the biggest guy was up again. Jaejin hesitated. He started to feel scared and his heart began to pound. With all his might, Jaejin swung at the big guy and puched him in his stomach. But the guy didn’t move at all. It didn’t seem to have hurt him in the least bit.

The big guy grinned. This was the part he liked the best. He slowly brought his arm back to swing his mighty fist at Jaejin.

But before the big guy knew it, Jaejin had picked up another wooden board off the floor and slammed it into his knees.

“Aahhh!!!!” the big guy cried out.

Jaejin took this chance and quickly grabbed Jenny and picked her up. With her in his arms, he ran as fast as he could away from those guys. When he saw that they were no longer in sight, he laid Jenny down on the ground to catch his breath. He wiped his sweat off and sighed in relief. “WHEW!!!”

Jaejin stared at Jenny lying on the floor. She was always getting into trouble like this…Jaejin wished that he could always be there to protect her… The world was so dangerous for such a pretty and helpless girl to live in.

Jaejin vowed to himself that from that day on, he’ll always protect his sister from things like this. Even if it meant that he had to follow her around wherever she went…

Jaejin was in the 7th grade when this happened. And after this incident, he got into many fist fights with those three guys. And after awhile, Jaejin started getting good at fighting, much to Jenny’s dissapointment. She hated it when occasionally, Jaejin would come home with a black eye or a bloody nose. Once he even came home with his arm bleeding from what looked like a knife slash. Jenny always worried about the safety of her brother. She had no clue that it was because of her he’d get into fights. Jaejin never told Jenny of that incident that never seemed to leave his mind…

Part VI

The next day
Jenny couldn’t stop thinking about Jaeduc. All these years, he had been treating her like his own little sister. If he really was in love with her, then why did he never show it? Why has he kept this to himself all this time, she wondered.

She held the sealed envelope carrying the letter in her hand. For some reason, she didn’t want to open it. But her curiousity outweighed this feeling, so she carefully tore open the seal.

Dear Jenny,
I couldn’t stop thinking about you again… You are on my mind every hour of the day. I wish you knew how much I really care about you. To me, you are everything, since the first time I ever saw you. I sometimes wish that I was brave enough to tell you in person my feelings for you. But when I see you walk by, I get too nervous. I wish one day, though, you will love me as much as I love you.
Love,
Your Secret Lover

As Jenny finished up reading the letter, Jiyong walked into Jenny’s room. Seeing him, Jenny quickly shoved the letter back into the envelope and tried to hide it from him. Jiyong noticed this and eyed her suspiciously.

“What are you hiding under there?” he asked.
“Huh, what? Oh nothing… It’s just my….It’s a letter from a friend,” she tried to explain and smiled innocently.
“Then why are you hiding it from me?”
“I’m not- Uh… you see, it’s kind of private,” she said.
“Oh…”
“Hey, how come you never knock when you come in here??” Jenny tried to change the subject.
“What? But I’m your boyfriend, I don’t have to knock!!” said Jiyong.
“What??” Jenny couldn’t believe he just said that. “Yes you DO have to knock! What if I was changing or something??”
“So, you’ve seen ME changing before, why can’t I see YOU??” he asked.

Jiyong was joking around but Jenny didn’t find anything funny.
“I’m SERIOUS. Knock before you come in here next time, ok?” she told him.
“What do you have that’s so big of a secret, that you can’t tell me, anyway?” asked Jiyong.
“Nothing, ok?!”

There was an uncomfortable silence.
“You know, Jenny, I hate how you keep everything to yourself,” said Jiyong. “I’m your boyfriend now, but it still seems like we’re total strangers or something..”
Jenny stayed quiet.
“We never even talk to each other…” Jiyong continued. “I’m not even sure you still like me…”
Jenny didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t sure if she still liked him either. It seemed like they got together at a time when she wasn’t so sure of her feelings. She thought she loved him, but he was right… They acted like total strangers sometimes.
“… Do you still like ME?” asked Jenny meekly.
Now it was Jiyong’s turn to stay silent. He didn’t know how to answer either. He thought that he really liked her a lot. But sometimes, she could be so cold towards him that he’d get so confused.

Jenny understood why Jiyong was silent. And even though he didn’t answer her in words, she knew perfectly well what he meant.
“…I think that we shouldn’t be together anymore,” she said.
“Yeah, me too,” said Jiyong.
“In the beginning, I hated you. And later, when I started to see that you weren’t the horrible monster that I pictured you to be, I guess I mixed up my feelings and thought I was in love…” she said.
“Yeah, when I first saw you, I thought you were the prettiest girl I ever saw,” said Jiyong.
Jenny blushed.
“But later, I thought you were a total brat. And when you started changing and showing a little interest in me, I couldn’t resist, I guess..” he told her.
Jenny nodded. Now, everything seemed perfectly clear. She liked how they were being totally honest with each other.

“So we’re not together anymore, right?” asked Jenny.
“I guess not,” shrugged Jiyong with a smile. Jenny smiled back.
“NOW will you tell me what you’re hiding under there?” asked Jiyong.
“No! This is still very private. Meh-rong!” Jenny stuck out her tongue. “Besides, you didn’t knock before you came in so I’m mad at you,” she joked.
“Fine then!” Jiyong walked out and closed the door behind him. Then he knocked on the door.
“Who is it?” Jenny asked.
“It’s Jiyong, your ex,” said Jiyong. “Can I come in?”
“No! Don’t come in! I’m changing!!” Jenny joked.
Jiyong stuck his head in and made a funny face. Jenny laughed and threw a stuffed animal at him. To avoid getting hit, he closed the door.

Jenny chuckled. She liked him a lot better now that they weren’t together anymore. She felt a lot more comfortable now.

There was another knock on the door.
“Don’t come in! I’m still changing!” Jenny yelled out.
“Oh, ok,” said the person outside the door. But it wasn’t Jiyong like Jenny thought. It was Jaejin. Jenny quickly got up and opened the door and found him going back down the stairs.

“Wait! Oppa!! I was just kidding,” Jenny called out to him.
Jaejin frowned, “Nice scense of humor.”
Jenny laughed. “Shuttup! My dream is to become a comedian one day!”
Jaejin made a motion like he was skiing.
“What are you doing??” Jenny asked him.
“I’m skiing!”
“What? Why?” asked Jenny.
“Nuh moo sullung heh suh!!!” Jaejin answered.
Jenny laughed. He could be so silly sometimes.
“Here,” said Jaejin handing her an envelope. “It’s from Jaeduc.”
Jenny took it and saw that it was addressed to “JENNY LEE.”
“He told you to give this to me?!” asked Jenny alarmed.
“No, but he left it in the mailbox and I saw him running away,” said Jaejin. “I was like, ‘Dang, I guess that boy needs to pee or something!!’”
Jenny laughed nervously and slipped back into her room.

Jaejin curiously watched her go. He wondered why she was being so secretive lately..He didn’t want to butt in so he reluctantly left. “After all, I’m only her brother…” he kept thinking.

Jaejin stepped out of the airport and took a deep breath of the air. It seemed so much clearer than the air back at home in Pusan, Korea. He was seven years old.

The nice man next to him smiled and walked him over to the parking lot. He opened his car door and Jaejin climbed in.
“You’re gonna like it here in America,” said the man.
Jaejin nodded politely, but he doubted very much that he would like this place. He already missed his home so much already. He had to leave all his friends behind. He missed his mother too. He wished she never got into that car accident…He wished she were with him now.

The man noticed Jaejin was crying so he tried his best to comfort him.
“Your mother is in a better place now. And she’s watching over you now to make sure you’re safe.”
Jaejin didn’t reply. He heard this lecture more than 100 times already. Everyone acted like they cared so much. But he knew no one would ever understand. “Even if this man DID once know mom, it’s not as if he’s my dad or anything..”” he thought to himself.

They soon pulled up into the driveway. The man led him inside the two story home. He showed Jaejin where his new room was and Jaejin was delighted when he saw is big bed. (He didn’t have a bed back at home.) He went to go jump on the soft cushions of the bed. He was having so much fun, forgetting about how much he didn’t like coming to America.

But his fun didn’t last long. Someone grabbed him by the waist and picked him up off the bed. Jaejin was surprised by this and turned around to see who it was. It was a lady that looked very angry.

“It’s not polite to jump on beds, young man!” she scolded him.
“You’ll break the whole piece of furniture and not to mention create a lot of dust…”
“Honey, give the little guy a break,” said the man that brought Jaejin to the house.
“Why?” asked the woman. “Why should I give him a break. He’s about to live here for the rest of his life and WE who are perfect strangers to the little rascal has to take care of him!! WE who are always struggling because of financial difficulties. WE who already have three children of our own to take care of. I mean, I just don’t understand why he wasn’t sent to his relatives…I….” said the lady.

“He has no known relatives…” said the man.
“I know, you told me…” The lady looked like she was almost in tears.
Jaejin saw this and took a tissue from the tissue box and handed it to her. The woman snatched it from him and gave him a dirty look.
“Mommie!” cried a voice from outside his room. “I’m home from school!”
A little girl came skipping into Jaejin’s room. She had a cute little dress on and her hair was in neat braids. She had huge eyes and a little button nose.

Jaejin looked at the little girl in awe. She was the prettiest girl he ever saw. She looked so sweet too. When she saw the newcomer, she smiled warmly at him and asked, “Who are you?” in the sweetest voice Jaejin ever heard.

“I’m Jaejin,” he said shyly.
“Hi, Jaejin. I’m Jenny,” she said as she held out her hand for him to shake. Jaejin nervously took the hand and shook it.

The woman was watching this and got alarmed. She recently had been getting recurring nightmares about her daughter marrying an orphan when she grew up. Her daughter, Jenny was the most important person to this woman. And even though they weren’t so rich themselves, one thing she wanted for her daughter was for her to get married into a very rich family. She couldn’t stand the thought of her daughter and this little boy ever having those kinds of feelings for each other. She had to act quick.

“Jenny,” the woman said hastily, “This is your brother.”
“My brother?” asked Jenny in awe.
Jaejin and the man also were very surprised.
“Honey, what are you doing?” asked the man. The woman gave him a nudge in the stomach and whispered, “I’ll explain later.”

“This,” said the woman, bending down towards the two kids, “Is your brother, Lee JaeJin. He just came from Korea. He was living with your aunt, but he’ll be living with us from now on.”

Jaejin was confused. He couldn’t figure out what was going on. He was going to protest and tell Jenny that he really wasn’t her brother, but the woman interrupted him and gave him a stern look.

“Wow, you’re my brother?” asked Jenny.
Jaejin looked at the woman who looked nervously back at him.
“Yeah, I’m glad we finally met,” said Jaejin sadly. He vaguely understood why he had to lie to this beautiful angel.
br> “Oh well,” Jaejin thought to himself. “Atleast this way, I can always be close to her. And at least I know that she will love me, even though it’s not the same way that I love her…” 

Part VII

Jenny nervously opened the envelope containing the love letter. She never thought of JaeDuc as more than her brother before. He had always been so kind to her and was such a joker… She liked him so much…. But did she like him in that way? She couldn’t figure out her feelings.

All this time, she had been dreaming of this guy who sent her these love letters. She imagined them meeting one day and falling in love. What he wrote in the letters were always so sweet and caring. Jenny also thought of all the times that this guy saved her from danger. She felt like she owed him her life. But this isn’t some mysterious guy that she didn’t know anymore. “It was JaeDuc all this time…” she said to herself.

She unfolded the letter and read it.

Dear Jenny,
If you only loved me like I love you, then my heart wouldn’t ache like this. It feels like someone’s taking my heart and crumpling it up. I hate waking up everday, knowing that you’re not mine. And I don’t know why I’m so dumb…. I wish I had enough courage to just tell you that “I love you” in person. But I can’t. I keep thinking, “What if she doesn’t feel anything for me? What if she turns me down?” If that does happen, I don’t know what I’d do. My heart’s being crumpled now, but atleast it’s not being broken.
Love,
Your Secret Lover

Jenny didn’t know what to think anymore. She had no idea that JaeDuc loved her THAT much. Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling of guilt penetrated her body.
“For six years, JaeDuc had been writing these love letters and saving me from danger,” she thought out loud. “And I never ever showed any interest towards him in that way… No wonder he feels like his heart is being crumpled up.”
She became sad, as if she felt all of Jaeduc’s sorrow and frustration. She didn’t want to make him feel sad anymore….

The next day

Jenny got up in the morning and looked at the clock. It was already noon. She had been up late last night because she couldn’t stop thinking about Jaeduc. After she washed up, she went downstairs where she found the three guys (Jaejin, JiYong, and JaeDuc) eating some ramyun. At the sight of JaeDuc, Jenny’s heart suddenly started to pound.

“Jenny! You’re finally up,” said Jaejin.
“Yah, jahm-kkoo-ruhghee,” said Jiyong, “Come here and eat with us. JaeDuc hyung made us some ramyun.”
“But I wish I didn’t let him,” said Jaejin. “The ramyun is too bboo-ruh-ssuh.”
“If you don’t like it, I’ll eat it all,” said JaeDuc.

Jenny went and sat down at the table between Jiyong and Jaejin. She chose this seat because she was too nervous to be too close to Jaeduc. But she found herself face to face with him since he was directly across from her.

JaeDuc stood up and got a bowl and some chopsticks. He piled a heap full of ramyun and gave it to Jenny.
“Thanks,” she said and ate the ramyun slowly. Jaejin was right, it was boo-ruh-ssuh.
“Didn’t I make it good?” asked Jaeduc.
Jenny didn’t know how to answer.
“See!” said JaeJin. “It’s so gross that she’s speechless.”
“Muh?” Jaeduc asked.
“What?” said Jiyong. “I think it’s good. Better than your’s, hyung!” he told Jaejin.
“I know!” said JaeDuc. “As a punishment for insulting my cooking, you have to do the dishes.”
“Naw, man! I’m not doing the dishes! You do it,” said Jaejin.
At the mention of dishes, Jiyong said, “Oops, gotta run. Thanx for the meal.” And he ran up the stairs.
“Hey, wait for me!” said Jaejin. But Jaeduc blocked his way.

“I’ll do the dishes,” said Jenny. The two guys looked surprised at Jenny.
“No, it’s alright. I’ll do the dishes,” said Jaejin.
“No, no. I’ll do it,” said Jaeduc.
“Ok,” said Jaejin and he bolted for his room.
“Eesh,” said Jaeduc, “He’s supposed to say ‘No, I’ll do it.’”

“It’s all right,” said Jenny. “I can do the dishes.”
Jaeduc looked at her and said, “Then we’ll BOTH do the dishes. You can help me.”
Jenny couldn’t refuse.
“I’ll soap and you rinse,” he said.

After they were done with the dishes (which they did in complete silence), JaeDuc thanked Jenny.
“What? You don’t have to thank me, I should thank YOU,” she said. JaeDuc just stared back at Jenny. He couldn’t help but stare at her, because she had the most beautiful eyes. Jenny just stared back at him. It seemed to her like she could read his mind now. The look that he was giving her was so loving and caring…

Jenny’s hand reached out towards Jaeduc’s hand. She gently folded her fingers over his. JaeDuc’s heart started beating. “What is she doing??” he thought to himself.

Jenny wanted to tell JaeDuc that she knew who her secret lover was. She opened her mouth to say it. But just then, Jiyong came down the stairs.
“Hey, are you two done with the-” Jiyong stopped short when he saw that they were holding hands.
Jaeduc turned his head towards him. And as if he just remembered something, he quickly took his hand away from Jenny’s and tried to say something.
“I’m sorry, I was just….” But he didn’t know what to say. He just walked over to the door and opened it to leave.
“I… I’m sorry, I gotta go,” and he left.

“Wait!” she said, but it was too late. “Why is he leaving so quickly?” she said out loud.
“I think that he thinks we’re still together,” said Jiyong.
Jenny looked at Jiyong. He was right.
“Mind telling me what’s going on between you two?” he asked with a friendly voice. Jenny didn’t know how to explain. She just gave Jiyong a confused look.
“I don’t know, I just…….” she said.
Jiyong laughed, “It’s ok, just tell me later.” He went back up the stairs to his room.

The next day, more like…the next night

Jenny was walking to the parking lot of the mall. Suddenly, a big guy ran by her, knocking her down on accident as he did. He didn’t bother to give any apologies because he was in a big hurry.

Seeing her on the ground, the guy with the handkerchief ran over to her to helped her up.
“Are you ok?” he asked.
“Yeah, I’m fine. Nothing happened,” Jenny said.
“That’s good,” he said. He felt ridiculous. He saw that there was no need for him to come over to her. He was often very paranoid, so he acted on instinct to go over to Jenny, no matter how big, or small, the danger threatened to be.
“I guess I’ll be leaving now…” he said. “You brought your car, right?”
Jenny nodded and he began to leave.

“Wait!” she said calling out to him. “I never thanked you for all those times you’ve saved me. I owe you so much…”
“No. You owe me nothing,” he said and turned to leave again.
“Hold on!” Jenny grabbed his hand and made him face her. “Why are you always running away? Why did you run away like that yesterday?”
The guy in the handkerchief stayed silent.

“I….understand….I know who you are,” Jenny said.
The guy became alarmed. “You do??” he asked, “Since when??”
“I found out a few days ago.”
“I’m sorry Jenny, I guess I should have told you before, who I am…”
“It’s ok,” she said. “Shhhh…”
Jenny leaned closer to the guy. The guy froze. He didn’t know what to do. His conscience was telling him that he should run away right now. But his heart didn’t let him. He found himself gently leaning towards her too.

Jenny’s lips pressed softly against his. He kissed her back so tenderly and so lovingly. Jenny wanted to stay in his arms forever.

Jenny pulled away softly and reached for his handkerchief. She figured, “He doesn’t need this anymore.”
But the guy backed off firmly when he saw that she was reaching for his handkerchief.

“I…. I gotta go….” he said. He turned around and ran away as fast as he could.
“Wait!” Jenny called after him. “Don’t go!”
But he was out of her sight already.

Part VIII

A week passed and Jenny didn’t see a trace of JaeDuc. It seemed as if he was trying to avoid her or something. Jenny thought about the look on his face when she held his hand. And their kiss had been so tender… Jenny really wanted to see him again. But he hadn’t come over to her house since that day. And Jenny couldn’t bring herself to call him because she thought it would be best if she let him think or whatever it is that he’s doing right now.

Jiyong came into the kitchen where Jenny was.
“What are you doing?” he asked her.
“Just fixing myself a sandwich,” she answered. “Want one?”
“Yeah, I’m hungry,” he said. “Man! Good thing your mom goes to work everyday. She’d freak out if she saw her little gongju cooking!”
Jenny nodded. Her mom WOULD freak out. But Jenny really liked to cook sometimes. It was kind of fun, especially since she never got the chance to do it.

“Hey, where’s Jaejin hyung anyway?” asked Jiyong. “I haven’t seen him around in awhile. I miss his cooking. Yum.”
“He’s probably at his dance studio. He’s been practicing a lot lately.”
“Yeah, probably,” said Jiyong. “And I bet JaeDuc hyung is with him. I haven’t seen him around in a whole week.”
Jenny started at the mention of JaeDuc, “Yeah, he’s probably dancing too.”

Jiyong noticed Jenny’s face change color.
“JaeDuc hyung is sometimes so shy when it comes to girls,” he said. “I bet he’s avoiding you, isn’t he?”
“What? No, of course not! Why would he do that?” Jenny tried to act dumb.
“Oh come on, you can tell me! I know that you two have been… um.. interested in each other lately.”

Jenny eyed Jiyong. But Jiyong looked back at her with so much friendliness that Jenny felt that she could tell him what she was feeling.
“Well, I guess you could say that we’ve been ‘interested’ in each other,” she admitted.
“Now the truth comes out!” Jiyong sat upright to hear all the juicy details.
Jenny smirked at his eagerness.

“Well, you see…JaeDuc oppa has…uh…..has been giving me these love letters.”
“LOVE LETTERS??” Jiyong was about to crack up. “Never knew he was such a ladies man.”
“He’s been giving them to me since I was in sixth grade.”
“Woa! It’s even more serious than I thought.”
Jenny punched Jiyong on the arm. “Will you stop? I’m serious here!”
“Ouch! Ok, ok…Yeah, he was in love with you for six years, and?”
“Well, I only recently found out it was him who was sending me these letters. And not only did he send me love letters, but whenever I was in trouble…I know this is gonna sound strange, but-he would rescue me.”
Jiyong nodded in contemplation.
“He’d put himself in danger to save me everytime…”
“So he wrote you secret love letters AND he protected you from harm? Geez, he’s got it bad for you!!”
“Well, I thought he loved me too..”
“But?”
“But, you know how you said that he probably thinks that you and me are still together?”
“Yeah,”
“Well, I really think that’s true. You see, we kissed a few nights back…”
“Woa! now it’s starting to get good.”
Jenny gave him a look that seemed to be saying, “Kka bool jee ma.”
“ANYWAY, right after we kissed, he ran away. And he’s been avoiding me ever since.”
“You really like him too, don’t you?” asked Jiyong.
“Yeah. His letters are so sweet…And I feel like I owe him my life, he has saved me so many times…I want to repay him… with my love.” Jenny stared off into space thinking of all those times that he saved her. She remembered how he kissed her back that night. It was with all his heart.

JaeJin and JaeDuc were taking a break from their dance practice. Both of them were drenched in sweat. They sat on the floor, taking in big breaths of air, and gulping down the water from the water bottles.

One of the other Quicksilver members looked at the clock. It was 9:00 at night.
“I think I’m gonna go home. My mom’s been nagging at me for coming home so late this past week.”
“Yeah, me too,” said the other member. They both grabbed their stuff and left.

But Jaejin and Jaeduc didn’t move. They have been going home around one or two everyday and they were planning to do the same tonight. They both had so much on their minds. And their only way to cope with the stress was to dance.

But Jaejin was feeling a little guilty towards his bestfriend. They had known each other for six years now, but they still kept so much from each other.

“I have something that I gotta tell you,” said Jaejin.
“Yeah, I have to tell you something too,” replied Jaeduc.
“You first,” said Jaejin.
“No, you go first,” said JaeDuc, convinced that his news was the more shocking.
Jaejin shook his head, wiping off his sweat, “You.”

The two of them each grapped another water bottle and gulped it down. JaeDuc cleared his throat. “I’m in love with Jenny,” he said.
But at the same time, Jaejin blurted, “I’m not Jenny’s brother.”
The two looked at each other in shock. “WHAT?!” they shouted simultaneously.

“What do you mean your not Jenny’s brother??” Jaeduc asked.
“I mean, I’m not related to her in any way.”
Jaeduc was in complete shock. “Then how come you call each other brother and sister?”
“Jenny doesn’t know that I’m not her brother,” said Jaejin. “I’m the only one in the family that’s not related to the rest. The only people who know are her parents and myself.”
“How did this happen, I mean…Why are you living with total strangers then?? And why are you lying to Jenny that you’re her brother??”
“When my real mom died, I had nowhere else to go,” said Jaejin. “And for some reason, Jenny’s mom wanted everyone to think that I’m just a long lost son or something. I’m not really sure why.” Jaejin told him.

Jaeduc thought about it. It DID sometimes seem as if something was wrong in the Lee household. He noticed before how neglected Jaejin was. He was always the one to cook and do the chores. And Mrs. Lee never bought him a much needed car, even though she bought everyone else a car. No wonder Jaejin said, after they graduated from high school, that he didn’t want to college. It was probably because Mrs. Lee didn’t want to spend money on his education.

“So that’s my secret. You can’t tell anybody about this. Especially Jenny.”
“Ok, I won’t.” said JaeDuc.

“Now explain to me your secret. What? You’re in love with Jenny??” asked Jaejin.
“Yeah,” Jaeduc said. “Remember the first time we met?”
“Who, you and me??”
“Yeah. You know how I was in front of your house?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, it was because I followed Jenny home that day.” Jaeduc admitted.
“…So you had a crush on her since way back then?”
“Yeah. And I’ve been writing her these love letters. I think she recently found out that it was me who sent them to her.”
Jaejin remembered that day when he gave Jenny the letter saying that it was from Jaeduc.

“I think she likes me back.” said JaeDuc.
Jaejin’s lip twitched slightly.
“But I thought she was still with Jiyong.”
“…They broke up.” said Jaejin.
“They did??” asked Jaeduc happily. “Now all I need is your permission to date her. But since you’re really not her brother, I don’t need you’re permission.” He chuckled.
Jaejin stayed silent.

JaeDuc patted Jaijin’s back. “Let’s go home! I feel a lot better.”
“You go first. I think I’ll stay and practice some more.”
“Ok, see you tomorrow.” JaeDuc left and accidentally turned off the lights. He was so happy that he forgot little things such as that.
Jaejin sat alone in the darkness. The only light was the from the street lamp that shone through the window. The light beam gleamed through the dark room. At the end of the beam, Jaejin’s hand supported his heavy body as he sat on the floor. On his wrist, his watch twinkled from the light.

Part IX

Jenny opened her closet. There was absolutely nothing to wear!
“Hurry up Jenny!!” called Jiyong from the hallway. Jiyong had been wanting to introduce Jenny to his new girlfriend, YoungHi.
“Wait, hold on!” Jenny yelled back.
“What’s taking you so long?!” asked Jiyong, peering inside Jenny’s room.
“I don’t know what to wear,” said Jenny.
“Just wear anything!”
“But I really don’t have anything at all!”

Jiyong barged into her room in frustration. He looked in her closet to choose an outfit for her. ‘Girls can be so picky!’ he thought to himself.
But when he swung the closet door wide open, his eyes almost popped out. The closet was completely empty! From no where, a tumbleweed passed by.

“Heh, you’re right. You really don’t have anything to wear,” said Jiyong.
Jenny quickly closed the closet door in embarrassment, “I’ll just borrow something from Jaejin oppa.”

Jenny opened the door to Jaejin’s room. She walked over to his closet and took out one of his shirts and put it on. She went to her room where Jiyong was. At the sight of her, Jiyong burst into laughter. She looked absolutely ridiculous in JaeJin’s humongous shirt.

“You know what?” suggested Jiyong, trying to control his laughter, “Let’s go shopping real quick before we go.”
Jenny pouted unhappily as her face reddened, “I only have three bucks.”
“I’ll buy you something,” said Jiyong.
Jenny hesitated. Even though she wanted to accept his offer, she didn’t know if she should.
“Umm, it’s alright. I’ll just meet YoungHi another day,” she said sadly.
But Jiyong grabbed her wrist and dragged her out, “Come on!”

Jiyong tugged on many shopping bags that seemed to be overwhelmingly heavy. Jenny felt incredibly guilty. Jiyong had bought every single outfit that Jenny tried on.
“I swear, I’ll pay you back once I have some money, ok?” she told him.
“No, that’s all right. My mom recently sent me a grip of money. I’m loaded right now so tell me if you want anything else.”
Jenny frowned and looked at the outfit she had on that moment. It was the only one she was going to ask Jiyong to buy for her. But he went and practically bought the whole store. Jenny didn’t know how she was going to pay him back.

Jiyong’s pager started ringing.
“Oh. That must be YoungHi. Dang! It’s already 3:30! I told her we’d be there by 3:00!”
“Go call her, she must be worried right now,” said Jenny.
“Ok, I’ll be right back, ok?” Jiyong crossed the street to go find a pay phone. He took all the shopping bags with him.

Jenny stood alone on the street sidewalk. She turned around and faced the store window that was behind her. She looked at her reflection and thought to herself, ‘I wonder if Jaeduc oppa would like me in this outfit.’ She smiled at the thought of him and twirled herself in front her reflection. Suddenly, something inside the store caught her eye. She went inside.

She grabbed a navy blue handkerchief that was displayed on the counter. She saw the price sign that said it was $3.00. Jenny had to buy it. It reminded her of Jaeduc oppa so much. She slightly laughed to herself and took out her wallet.

Jenny walked out of the store happily. She played with the handkerchief, wrapping it around her head and around her arm. She decided to cross the street to find Jiyong, still playing with her new handkerchief.

As she was crossing the street, she heard a long honk of a car. Jenny looked up and saw a car speeding towards her. She froze at the sight of the car. Her legs seemed to be stuck in the asphalt. She couldn’t even manage to scream. She just stared, horrified, knowing that she was going to be hit.

But before she knew it, someone pushed her out of the way with so much force. She went tumbling on the ground, but she was safely out of the way. But everything wasn’t so safe as she hoped. Jenny heard a shrill scream.

Jenny picked herself up and rushed over to the crowd.
“Call the ambulence!!” someone shouted.
Jenny pushed her way through. When she saw who it was, lying unconscience on the ground, she screamed, “JAE DUC OPPA!!” She rushed to the side of the guy in the navy blue handkerchief. Tears streamed down her face.

“Wake up, oppa!” she shook his body helplessly.
Jiyong pushed his way through the crowd. When he saw who the center of the attention, he quickly kneeled next to Jenny and held her hand tight.
Jenny wailed, “OPPA!!”

When the ambulence came, the men pushed their way through and came to the spot where he was lying. Jiyong helped them put the body on the stretch bed. Jenny got up and followed them, still pouring out with tears.

One of the ambulence men reached for the handkerchief and pulled it off. At that moment, Jenny’s heart seemed to stop. All the blood rushed out of her face. She stared in shock at the uncovered face with her jaw locked open. Chills ran throughout her entire body as the tears stopped flowing on her tear-streaken face. She couldn’t breathe.

The face under the handkerchief wasn’t Jaeduc’s, as Jenny thought. It was JaeJin.

Part X

Jenny’s face was as still as stone as she stared off into space while waiting in the hospital lounge. The only motion that was made was the everflowing drops of tears that fell from her painful eyes.
“JaeJin oppa…” she repeated over and over to herself in her state of shock.

Jiyong came to sit next to her. He brought with him a cup of water and handed it to Jenny. But she didn’t seem to notice. She just stared blankly into space. Jiyong didn’t know what to do. He put the cup down and tucked Jenny’s hair behind her ears for her. Jiyong wished he could do something to comfort the poor girl.

At that moment, Jaeduc came to them. He had been talking to the doctor. When seeing him, Jiyong stood up.
“What did he tell you? Is Jaejin hyung all right??”
“Yeah, he’s still alive, thank God,” said Jaeduc. “His skull was a little fractured, but nothing serious. The doctor says he’ll be fine in no time. But he’s not sure when he’ll wake up from his coma.”
Jiyong nodded.
“Is Mr. and Mrs. Lee here?” asked Jaeduc.
“I called and Mr. Lee’s on his way here,” said Jiyong.

“…Jaejin oppa…” murmured Jenny.
The two guys looked at Jenny sadly.
“She’s been like that the whole time,” said Jiyong. “Hyung, see if you can snap her out of it. I’m gonna go call to see if Jerry’s home yet. Do you think I should call James hyung too?” (note: Jerry and James are Jenny’s siblings. Jerry = 1 year younger than Jenny, James = 1 yr older than Jaejin. James is in college so he’s not home much.)
“Yeah, try calling his apartment too,” answered Jaeduc.

After Jiyong left, Jaeduc tried to comfort Jenny.
“It’s all right, Jenny. Jaejin’s ok. He’s doing good and the doctor says he’ll be up in no time.”
Jenny turned around and faced Jaeduc. She gave a wild, almost hysterical, look and started vomiting on the floor of the hospital. Jaeduc jumped up and patted her back. Some janitors came and cleaned the mess up. Jenny was led to the bathroom by a nurse. When she came back, Jaeduc handed her a cup of water.

Jenny took it and drank it up.
“I kissed him,” Jenny managed to spit the words out.
“What??” asked Jaeduc. He didn’t know what Jenny was talking about.
“I kissed my own brother! I mean, we REALLY kissed. I thought it was you, but it wasn’t you at all. It was my own brother!!”
“Woah, slow down,” Jaeduc tried to understand what the heck she was saying. “You kissed him thinking it was me??”
“He had his face covered up, so I thought it was you!!” Jenny covered her face with her hands and started sobbing.

Jaeduc understood why Jenny was so shocked now. She still thought Jaejin was her brother. Jaeduc knew that he had to tell her. If he didn’t, she might go insane. =P

“There’s something that you don’t know, Jenny,” Jaeduc said.
Jenny still sat with her hands covering her face.
“Jaejin isn’t your brother.”

The whole world seem to stop at that instant as Jaeduc said those words. Jenny froze and chills ran throughout her whole body. She lifted her face and stared wide-eyed at Jaeduc.
“What?!!!” she exclaimed under her breath.
“He’s not related to you in any way. Your parents had three children, not four.”
Jenny stared at Jaeduc. Her eyelids never blinking.
His real mother died when he was young,” continued Jaeduc. “He had no where else to go, so he was sent here to your family. Ever since then, they’ve been lying to everyone that he was just a long lost son to your parents.”

Just then, Mr. Lee walked up to them.
“I came here as fast as I could,” he said. “What happened, is everything all right?”
Jenny stared at her dad wildly.

“Jae…Jaejin oppa is not my brother??” she asked him.
Mr. Lee looked at Jaeduc, knowing that he must have told her just then. He knew that Jaejin would tell someone about this some day or another. And he knew that the day would come when Jenny would find out the truth, despite his wife’s plans to keep everything hushed. There was no way to avoid it.

“Can I talk to her alone?” Mr. Lee asked Jaeduc.
“Yeah, of course,” said Jaeduc and he turned to leave them.

When he was gone, Mr. Lee began telling Jenny everything.
“When I was young, I had this girlfriend. Her name was Jo Soojin. We were high school sweet hearts, I guess you could say. Actually, we knew each other since we were 5 years old. She was living in the same neighborhood.
Well, we grew up together and eventually, we fell in love with each other. But her family was a mess. There were bad rumors going around about her mother. And her father died while he was drinking and driving. Some years later, Soojin’s mother committed suicide.
“I wanted to marry Soojin. But my parents were against it, knowing Soojin’s family background. When she found out that my parents wouldn’t consent to our marriage, she got… depressed I guess. She got drunk and found herself pregnant one night. She didn’t have one clue of who the the father of her baby was.
“Soojin ran away to Pusan with her baby. I looked for her everywhere, not knowing she left Seoul. I soon gave up and married your mother, whom my parents introduced me to. I never heard from Soojin again.
Years later, after I moved to America with my own family, I got a letter in the mail one day, telling me of Soojin’s death. She got in a car accident, just like her own father. Her son was seven years old back then. They didn’t know who else to contact, except for me. Soojin had been…” Mr. Lee voice started to get shaky. “She had been watching me all those years and keeping track of where I was and how I was living. She even had the address of our home in America. That’s all she had kept in her address book. So that was why the people contacted only me.”

“They didn’t know what to do with her son. They were about to send him to an orphanage, but I couldn’t let that happen. I had to do one last thing for Soojin. Her life was plagued by nothing but misfortune. I couldn’t let the same happen to her son. So I had him sent to live with us. Your mother was, of course, very against it. She worried that people might start talking…About how the illegitimate son of her husband’s old girlfriend was living with us. So your mother wanted everyone to think that Jaejin was really our son.”

Jenny listened to all of this in horror.
“Jenny,” said her father, taking her hand. “I want you to understand that your mother and I didn’t mean any harm by saying Jaejin was your brother. We want everything to go back to normal. I hope this won’t change anything…”

Jenny pulled her hand away from her father. Her heart felt like it was being crushed.
“It was all a lie then. Jaejin’s not my brother?” she broke out in tears. “You were lying to me all this time. Anything else you want to tell me? Are you sure I have no long lost twin around?? Or am I an illegitimate daughter of mom’s boyfriend?” Jenny was hysterical.

“Jenny, calm down–”
“No! I won’t calm down! I can’t! How can you expect me to?!?! Gawd,I can’t handle this! This…this is not happening,” tears streamed down her face as she ran out of the building.
“Jenny!” her father called after her.

Jenny ran to the parking lot, still bawling. She found her car and unlocked the doors. She got in and started the engine.
She drove home as fast as she could. She ran up the stairs to her room and took out a big suitcase. She quickly stuffed it with a few clothes and other belongings, and ran out of the house. She passed by her car and went to the end of the street and waited for the bus.
“I can’t stay here anymore,” she thought to herself. “I can’t handle this.”

The bus soon came. Jenny’s heart started pounding as she stepped inside. She had no idea where this bus would go.

Part XI

Mrs. Lee thrashed open the door to Jaejin’s hospital room. Everybody in there stared wide-eyed at the lady who looked as if she’d gone mad.

“Honey~ What is it? Is anything wrong?” asked her husband.
Mrs. Lee ran over to Jaejin’s unconscience body and took hold of his shirt.
“You!! Where is she??? Where did you hide her??!!!” she cried at Jaejin.
Mr. Lee pulled her away from him.
“What’s the matter? Why are you doing this??” he asked as Jaeduc and Jiyong helped hold her down.
“Let go of me!!” she sobbed. “My daughter… my poor daughter…. Where is she you bastard!!” Her cries could be heard throughout the whole building.
“Yuh bo, calm down…” Mr. Lee tried to hush her shrill screeches.
“She’s gone… (sob) She… she left.”

“Who, Jenny?” asked her husband.
At the sound of her name, the wretched mother sobbed even louder. Jiyong and Jaeduc stood up alarmed. They gave each other an apprehensive look and picked up their coats.
“We’ll be back.” Jiyong told the adults and they both left.

~~*~~

Jenny stepped out of the bus and walked towards the direction of a near by neighborhood. She soon came to a house and rang the door bell. Clearing her throat, she thought of what she should tell her “friend.” Should she tell her everything? Could she trust her to keep her secrets? Jenny wished she didn’t have to face this girl again. But there was no where else to go for her, and she knew that no one would ever find Jenny here. Atleast not for awhile.

“Who is it?” someone called from the inside.
“It’s me.” Jenny cleared her throat. “Jenny Lee.”
There was a pause. But after a few seconds, the door was opened. The girl eyed Jenny with a half worried, half confused look.
“Hey, Jenny…” she said. “Long time no see.”
“Hi Yumi.” said Jenny with a forced smile. “Well, aren’t you gonna invite me in?”
Yumi opened the door wider for Jenny and she walked inside.
(note: Yumi is a character from CHERRIES I.)

~~*~~
The next day, Jiyong and Jaeduc returned to thehospital. When they entered Jaejin’s hospital room again, they found no one there, except for Jaejin himself, who was still lying unconscience.
Just then, a nurse walked in.

“Nurse, can you tell us where the parents of this patient went?” asked Jaeduc.
“Well, Mrs. Lee had to be taken to another room and put to bed because she was so hysterical. She’s in room B103 if you’d like to go see her. Mr. Lee is also in there with her.” she answered.
“Thanks.” said Jaeduc.

“Hyung, do you think we should go tell them what we saw?” asked Jiyong.
“No, I think they already know.”

Just then, Jaejin stirred a little.
“Mm..mmm” he goaned.
“He’s awake!” shouted Jaeduc.

“Where am I?” he asked.
“You’re in the hospital, hyung.” said Jiyong. “You got hit by a car.”

Jaejin tried to sit up. “Ahh!” he suddenly held his head. His head was hurting like crazy. Jaejin felt something rough. He felt around it and found that there was a bandage wrapped around his head.

“Woa~ Did I crack my skull or something?? Cause that’s what it feels like..”
“Umm… kind of.” said Jaeduc. “It’s a little fractured.”

Jaejin lied back down in his bed.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“Only about two days.”
“…….” Jaejin looked around at all the tubing that was connected to him.

The nurse, who still happened to be there, said, “I’ll go tell the others that you’re awake.”
Jiyong and Jaeduc gave each other a worried look, but it was too late to stop her.

A few minutes later, Mrs. Lee sprung open the door again. She looked a lot more paler than before. Her eyes were bloodshot and it was gruesome to look at the wretched lady.

“Uh… A-a jooma,” said Jiyong. “Jaejin hyung’s not really feeling that well yet….”
Mrs. Lee turned to look at Jiyong. Her eyes watered and she gasped. “My daughter…”
she said in a shaky voice. Tears gushed out of her eyes and she ran out.

“What’s going on?” asked Jaejin. “Did anything happen to Jenny??”
“Do you think we should tell him?” Jiyong asked Jaeduc.
“Tell me what?? What is it???”
“No, I don’t think we should…” said Jaeduc.
“What!! You better… oww!!” Jaejin grabbed his pounding head as he tried to get up.
“Stay still!!” said Jiyong.
“You aren’t well enough yet.” said Jaeduc.

They both helped Jaejin back to a restful position.
Jaejin sighed in frustration. “If there’s anything wrong with Jenny…. I want to know.”
“…………………”
“I have a right to know… I’m her br~…..” Jaejin stopped himself. He just remembered how he got into the accident. He had his navy blue handkerchief on….
He sat upright, keeping all the pain to himself.

“She knows, doesn’t she?” he asked them sternly.
“I had to tell her…” said Jaeduc. “And Mr. Lee provided the rest of the details.”
Jaejin nodded. There was no avoiding it. After all, it was his own fault. He should have run away that night when he had the chance… That night of the kiss…..

“How is she? Is she sick in bed? Is she in the hospital too?” asked Jaejin sadly.
Jaeduc gave Jiyong a nervous look. “Not exactly.”
“Then…?”
“She…. she ran away.”
Jaejin looked sharply at them.

“We went to her room and found that she took one of the luggage bags, along with most of her clothes…. and other things…”
Jaejin pushed the blanket off of him and sat at the edge of his bed. He grabbed all the tubes and pulled them all off.
“What are you doing, hyung??”
“I need to… I need to find her.” He tried to stand up. But as soon as he did, he fell to the floor from his ailing body.

“You can’t leave! You’re too weak!!” said Jaeduc.
“Besides, we already looked everywhere for her. She’s nowhere to be found.” said Jiyong.
Jaejin’s eyes stung as he felt the tears slowly creeping up and threatening to spill over.
Trying to repress the tears, he looked up and took a deep breath. “I’ve got to find her….”

Part XII

“Umm… do you want anything to drink or something?” asked Yumi.
“No, that’s all right.” said Jenny.
Yumi began shifting uncomfortably around on the sofa. She’s strangely calm…she mused. Yumi had expected Jenny to be very angry with her if they ever did meet again. But Jenny just sat still without another word.
I know she wants SOMETHING…Yumi thought to herself. She looks kinda… disturbed.

“Yumi…” Jenny broke the silence.
Yumi jumped from the sudden change of mood. “Yes?”
Oh no, here it comes…
“Yumi, I know you’re probably wondering what I’m doing here so I’ll just tell you straight out.” said Jenny.
“Wait! I know what you want,” Yumi interrupted. “And I promise that I’ll pay you back as soon as possible.”
“What?~ No, that’s…”
“Don’t be mad, PLEASE!! I’m so sorry for lying to you!! I can pay you back, I swear.
In fact, I’ll go find the money right now!” Yumi got up and went to go fetch her telephone book.
“Wait! Yumi, I don’t think……”
“I promise to get the money back for you, ok?” she called out to her.

Jenny sat in confusion. She didn’t know what she was talking about. All she could do was sit there and listen to Yumi as she picked up the phone and started dialing.

“Hello?” asked Yumi with a much weaker voice.
“Annie? This is Yumi….. Yeah…. uh huh…. Well, I don’t want to talk about it…… Ok, but only cause I can trust you. You see, my family’s been doing a little bad lately…”
Yumi’s voice started shaking and tears streamed down her face. “I know….. My dad got fired, and my mom….. (sob) We haven’t eaten for days….. yeah……… I don’t know if I should br telling you this…… Ok, how about tomorrow then?….. uh huh…… Ok, I’ll see you there, Bye…. thank you so much…”
*click*

Jenny stared at Yumi, stupefied. She watched as Yumi’s eyes returned back to normal, without a trace of any tears left on them. She just came back happily and smiled at Jenny.
“I’ll have your money back by tomorrow.” she told Jenny.

“My money??” asked Jenny. Now she remembered how Yumi told her the same thing maybe a month ago, and how Jenny had given her nearly $500.

“Yeah…. Look, I’m REAL sorry I lied to you about that…”
“You mean, that was a lie??” asked Jenny.
Yumi stared wide-eyed at Jenny, realizing that this was not what she had come for.
“Wait, you didn’t know about that??”
Jenny huffed. This was more than she ever expected.
“Than why were you so mad at me all this time if you didn’t know about it??” asked Yumi.
“I was mad about Jiwon!!!” shouted Jenny. She couldn’t believe it. She had known Yumi all her life, but she never knew that this was the type of person she really was.
“Oh…. THAT.” Yumi looked embarrassed. “I had NO idea you found out about THAT.”

Jenny closed her eyes and pressed her lips tightly together.
“Look, all of that is in the past now…” She tried to stay calm. She had bigger concerns than this. “I came because I need a place to stay for a while.”
“Umm, ok.. Whatever you want.” Yumi was too scared to ask what was wrong. She felt that she had said enough wrong things for the day.
“And DON’T tell ANYONE that I’m staying here, ok?” begged Jenny.
“Yeah, of course not…” She didn’t want to question Jenny.

Yumi got up to leave the awkward mess that she made.
“Yumi, I’m serious. Even if police question you, even if my parents come… Even if my….oppa comes…” Jenny’s voice trailed off.
“I won’t.” said Yumi.

The next morning, Jenny woke up and looked at the clock. It was around 12:00 pm.
“Yumi~” she called out. But no one answered, so she figured that she wasn’t home.
Jenny just sat on the couch, wrapped in Yumi’s blankets. She stared off into space, just thinking of all the horrible things that had happened. Tears slowly slid down her cheeks, but she didn’t bother to wipe them off. Her father’s words were ringing in her head.
“They were about to send him to the orphanage…. I had him sent to us…”
Then Jaeduc’s voice started echoing too. “He’s not your brother…. He’s not related to you in any way….. Your parents had three children, not four.”
Then the haunting voices seemed to surround her.
“…not your brother… send him to the orphanage…. not related in anyway…orphanage….. not your brother….”

Jenny plugged her ears and screamed. “NOOOOOO!!!!!”
Just then, Yumi entered the house with an envelope. Seeing Jenny kneeling with her ears covered, she rushed over to Jenny.
“Jenny snap out of it!!!”
Jenny held on tightly to Yumi. “Oppa~” She sobbed. “Oppa, no!!” She whispered between her soft cries.

A little later, after Jenny somewhat calmed down, Yumi came into the living room, carrying a cup of warm milk.
“Here.” she said, handing it to her.
“Thanks.”

Yumi wondered what could have possibly happened to her friend. She looked so wretched and hopeless. But her guilt still didn’t let her ask Jenny what was wrong. Something told her that she didn’t deserve to hear Jenny’s secrets. She was not a person to be trusted.

Yumi picked up her envelope and handed it to Jenny.
“Here. There’s $500 in there. I think that’s just about enough to pay you back.”
“I don’t want it.” Jenny’s weak, scratchy voice made Yumi shake in an overwhelming sense of guilt.
“No, PLEASE take it. If you don’t, I.. I think I’ll just die!!!”
Jenny stayed silent.
“If this is the one last thing I could ever do for you, PLEASE accept it. I’ll go crazy if you don’t!!”
Jenny heart started pounding as she stared at the money. If I take that money…. Then I can…. I can…. Jenny’s shaking hand reached for the envelope….

~*~*~*~*~*~
A few days later, Jaejin was allowed to check out of the hospital. Jaeduc and Jiyong came to see him out. As they rode the taxi back home, Jaejin stared off into space in deep thought.

“Take me to the studio.” he said.
“The dance studio??” asked Jaeduc. “Why do you want to stay there??”
Jaejin stayed silent. He didn’t want to tell them that he couldn’t go to the house anymore. He didn’t belong there.

The three of them soon arrived at the studio. Jiyong went to the fridge and took out three water bottles for each of them. They sat on the floor, sipping the water.
Jiyong decided to break the silence.
“Hey, did you hear about Sunghoon and Jiwon? Some guy discovered them at a no-rae-bang and asked them if they wanted to be gasoos. Isn’t that strange? I think they already left to Korea to start. And Suwon’s gonna try out to become a gasoo too.”
“That’s not that strange,” said Jaeduc. “Someone asked me and Jaejin to become gasoos too.”
“Really?? When??” asked Jiyong.
“Once when we were backdancing for a group.” Jaeduc answered.
“So what happened?”
“We didn’t go, of course.” said Jaeduc.
“WHY NOT??” asked Jiyong. “If I had the chance to become a gasoo, I’d take it.”

“I didn’t want to leave America.” said Jaejin. I couldn’t leave Jenny. He thought to himself.

Silence penetrated the studio once again as each sipped their bottle of water. All three of them were thinking the same thing; they were thinking about Jenny. They still had no idea where she could be… or even if she was safe or not…..

Suddenly, Jaejin looked up. A thought occurred to him.

“Do you think Jenny might be staying with Jiwon??” he asked the two.
“Hyung, didn’t you here me?” said Jiyong. “Jiwon left for Korea long ago. He and Sunghoon are gonna become gasoos.”
“Oh…..”

This idea led each of their thoughts to the same direction.
“Yumi!!!” they all shouted in unison.

*
There was a knock on Yumi’s door. She opened it and saw Jiyong, Jaeduc, and Jaejin all standing at her doorstep, staring at her. Her heart started to pound because she knew exactly what they all came for.

“You’re too late.” she said. Even though she promised Jenny that she wouldn’t tell anyone where she went, she was worried about her safety, so she decided that it would be better to just tell them anyway. “She left to Korea two days ago with a one-way ticket.”
*

Jaejin and Jaeduc entered an office.
“We’re here for the try-outs.” said Jaeduc to the receptionist.
They didn’t have enough money to buy tickets to go to Korea so they decided to take a chance at going for free.
A man entered the office and instantly recognised the two young men.
“Hey! Aren’t you two from that backdancing group ‘Quicksilver’?”
“Yeah, that’s us.” said Jaejin.
“Well, I’m glad to see you decided to take up the offer!” said the man, patting each of them on the back. “I know Daesung needs three more guys for their new group, you two will be perfect for it!!”
“They need THREE more guys?” asked Jaeduc.
“Yup.”
Jaejin and Jaeduc looked at each other.

“Jiyong!!”

Part VIII

(one year later, in Korea)

“Jaejin!” called out Jiwon. “Come eat some chips.”

Jaejin wiped off the sweat that trickled down his forehead.
“No, I think I’ll dance some more…”

Jaejin didn’t feel like doing anything else but dancing. He seemed to just keep going, never stopping for a rest.

The manager hyung came into the 6kies dance studio. He was holding a box of fan mail. Jiwon, Sunghoon, Suwon, Jiyong, and Jaeduc surrounded the box and started rumaging around for their own mail.

“Yah, Lee Jaejin!” yelled the manager hyung. “Don’t you want to see some of your mail? You got TONS.”
Jaejin didn’t answer.

“What’s with him?” asked Suwon.
“Leave him alone. Everyone’s entitled to a little birthday blues.” said the manager.
The manager went out again to go get another box full of gifts for Jaejin. His birthday was tomorrow.

Jaeduc sadly looked at his bestfriend dancing away. Jaejin never had “birthday blues” before. He knew that his birthday never made him act like this… There was something else on both of their minds… It was Jenny.

Jaejin attempted to do a flip, but his balance was off and he slipped. To break his fall, he pushed forth his hands as he went crashing on the floor. Their was a cracking noise.

Jaejin stared in horror at his watch. The band had broken apart.
“SHIT!!”

The other Jekki members looked up from their mail.
“What’s wrong, hyung?” asked Sunghoon.
“…….”

The other five members gathered aroun Jaejin to see what was the matter. Jaejin was frantically trying to fix the damaged watch. Jiwon snatched the watch from him and tried to fix it too. Then Jaeduc took it and examined it.

“Oh well, it’s just a watch. You can buy another one.” he said.
Jaejin took the watch back in his hands. “I have to get it fixed…”
Jiyong recognized the watch. It was the one that Jenny bought for him last summer.
“Yeah…. That can should be easy to fix…” said Jiyong, trying to signal to Jaejin that he knew who gave him the watch.
“No, I think it would cost less to just buy another one.” said Sunghoon.
“Yeah, and I’ll bet manager hyung can buy a new one for your birthday if you ask.” said Suwon.
Jaejin just shook his head and headed towards the door.

The rest of the Jekki members watched Jaejin leave the yun-seub-shil. It was like watching a gray cloud go away, yet leaving a little bit of the dullness behind, leaving the other people feeling a little gray as well.
“I know what can cheer him up!” said Suwon with a big grin. “Let’s take him out to a night club to celebrate his birthday tomorrow night.”
“Yeah, that sounds fun,” the others chimed in.
“Ok, let’s make it a surprise then.” said Jiwon.

Jaejin opened the door to the room where he was staying. He didn’t bother turning on the lights. With a deep sigh, he lay down on the floor, facing the ceiling, and clutched his wrecked watch in his fist tightly. Tears started to fill his eyes. Shutting them abruptly, a loose tear drop slipped down his temple.

“Oppa…” an angel’s voice cried out to him.
Jaejin heart skipped a beat. He jumped up on his feet and looked around. There was no one there.
Suddenly, he could hear her giggles echo throughout the walls.

“Who’s there??” shouted Jaejin. “…….Jenny?”
“Behind you, silly.”
Jaejin turned his body around. Jaejin squinted his eyes, straining to see her. It was dark, but he could see the outlines of her body. He wanted to turn on the lights, but he couldn’t bring himself to move away from her, afraid that she might disappear.

“Jenny…….” he whispered when his eyes met hers. Her whole face seemed to light up the room.
“Oppa,” she murmered. “Why do you always run away?”
“What? What are you talking about?” asked Jaejin.
“You don’t need this any more.” Jenny said as she reached for Jaejin’s head, taking off the navy blue handkerchief.
“That’s funny,” Jaejin thought to himself. “I don’t remember putting that on…”

As Jenny took off the handkerchief, the world around Jaejin seemed to change. He suddenly found himself in the parking lot of a mall, facing Jenny.
“Jenny, where have you been?” asked Jaejin. “I’ve been looking all over for you!!”
“I know…” she said.
“I was so worried. Yumi told me you came to Korea, but I was beginning to think that maybe you didn’t. I couldn’t find you anywhere.”
“It’s ok… shhhh……”

Jaejin’s heart started to pound. He looked horrofied as Jenny started leaning closer to him again. Jaejin didn’t want to make the same mistake mistake as last time, so he tried with all his might to run away. But his feet were stuck in the asphalt. He could feel his body leaning closer to hers again too.

And their lips met, again. It was the same sensation as last time, the same tenderness and love…. Except, this time, it was longer. Time seemed to have ceased to matter. The only two people in the world were them two, as their souls touched each other in what seemed like not much less than magic. Nothing else mattered, nothing at all…. And, after a while, he felt Jenny pull softly away from him.
“You don’t need this anymore.” she said again, taking off his handkerchief for the 2nd time.

But then Jenny looked scared. “Wait!! DON’T GO!!” she screamed.
Jaejin was confused. It didn’t seem like he moved one step. Yet, he was so far away from her all of the sudden.
“DON’T GO!!” He could hear her voice calling him back.
“JAE DUC OPPA!!!!” Jenny’s voice screamed. Chills ran down Jaejin’s whole body. He was now lying down in the middle of the street, and a crowd of people were staring down at him, including Jenny and Jiyong.
“Oppa, wake up…” Jenny sobbed.
He tried to tell her that he WAS awake. But she kept telling him to wake up.
“Wake up…” she said.
Then, Jaejin felt someone taking off his handkerchief for the 3rd time. Chills ran throughout his body again when he saw the horrofied look on Jenny’s face.
“Wake up….”
Jaejin couldn’t stand to see her look at him like that.
“Wake up!”
Jaejin closed his eyes, trying to shut away the image of Jenny looking at him that way.
“Wake up Jaejin!!”
Jaejin opened his eyes again.

“Yah, Jaejin!! Wake up!” said Jaeduc.
Jaejin sat up. He was back in his room.
“You must have been dreaming.” said Jaeduc. “You’re sweating like crazy!”
“A dream…..of course….” Jaejin mumbled to himself. “Funny, I don’t remember falling asleep”
“Well, most people don’t.” said Jaeduc. “So, what were you dreaming about? Did you win the lottery? Did you find some gold? Was I in it? Were you flying? Or were you falling?”
“…………..I was falling.” said Jaejin as he wiped the sweat off his face with a towel.

Part XIV

(the next night)

“Hyung, hurry up!” yelped Suwon. “He’s coming.”
Jiwon put on his cap and cleared his voice, while sitting in the driver’s seat of his car. Jaeduc hid behind a wall as he watched intently, waiting for Jaejin and Sunghoon to pass by. Jiyong put on his shades and sat in the front seat.

As Jaejin and Sunghoon were passing by, Suwon shouted, “Now!!” and opened the door to the car. Jaeduc popped out from his hiding spot and shoved Jaejin into the car.
Sunghoon cried out, “Help! What are you doing??”
Jiwon cleared his throat again and started speaking in a faked voice.

“Just shuttup and get in the car if you don’t wanna die.”

=) Jiyong wanted to burst out in laughter when Jiwon said this. He tried to keep his face straight.
“Let’s get outta here before the police comes.” said Suwon who also talked with his voice very much deeper than normal. Jiyong let out a little giggle, “kmmk.”
Jaeduc had his faced covered up with a mask and had on a hat. He bowed before he opened the door of the car. “Hyung-neem,” he said with a fake voice. “Don’t you think it would be better to kill them off right now instead of waiting for later?” But no matter how much he tried to hide his voice, you could still detect that high pitched, little-boy sounding voice that was so much his trademark. It was so funny that Jiyong was having a difficult time trying to keep the laughter inside of him from escaping.

“I think so too. Let’s just kill the other one now and this one later.” said Jiwon.
“Who me??” asked Sunghoon. “No, no, please! Don’t you know who we are? We’re from that awesome group, SechsKies. We’re stars! You can’t kill us!”
“What Shekki?” asked Jiwon. “You’re from that group??” He shook his head in dismay.
“Kill him boys.” he said with a wave of his hand. Suwon pretended to stab him and Jaeduc helped Suwon carry the body into the trunk of the car.

“Now you,” Jiwon said, pointing at Jaejin, “If you keep you’re mouth shut, maybe I’ll let you live five minutes longer.”
“Any last words before you die??” asked Jiyong.
“………..”
“Puhahaha! I thought so.”

Jaejin’s head drooped onto Suwon’s shoulder.
“What the~”
Everbdy gathered around to examine him. They saw that Jaejin was fast asleep.

“Aww man! He was sleeping all this time!” said Jiyong.
“What? Aish, jjaa~shik…” said Jiwon taking off his cap.
“Chamna!” said Jaeduc. “We put on this show for nothing!!”
At this moment, Jaejin started snoring. Everybody burst out laughing.

“He must’ve been tired! He was tossing and turning all night yesterday.”
“Hyung!” Suwon shook Jaejin, “Wake up!!”

“Huh? Wha~?” Jaejin woke up and looked around.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!” They all shouted at him.
“Hope you’re not too sleepy cuz we’re taking you out drinking tonight.” said Suwon.
“Right now?” said Jaejin. He didn’t really feel up to it. All he cared for at the moment was some more sleep.
“Yes, now. Let’s go before the night’s over.”

They arrived at a bar and got out of the car. Jaejin stretched his limbs so that he wouldn’t feel so drowsy. After all, his friends were taking him out on his birthday so he should be a little more lively for them.

“Hey, where’s Sunghoon?” asked Jiyong.
“Oh shit!” Jiwon just remembered. “He’s still in the trunk!”
They quickly went over to the trunk and opened it. He too was fast asleep inside.
“Yah, wake up Kang Sunghoon.” said Suwon. “We’re here.”
“Five more minutes.” Sunghoon mumbled.
Jaejin laughed out loud. He stooped over Sunghoon and pulled him up by his shirt.
“Yah, it’s my birthday, wake up!” he said to him.
“Ah, hyung… Oh yeah. Let’s go then.”
“We’re already here.”

They entered the night club and a waittress led them to a table. Everybody inside started staring and pointing at them. “Look over there, that’s SechsKies,” they all whispered to each other. “Let’s go get an autograph.”

Jiwon ordered beer for the whole group. “Let’s all drink our hearts out tonight. All our stress is in the bottles.” He said as he poured the first bottle into a cup for Jaejin. Jaejin smiled and drank some of the beer. He felt like having some alcohol that night too. Too much has been on his mind lately. He wished he could just forget about everything~ if that were possible.

He put the cup down and listened to all of the other members talking.

From behind him, Jaejin heard a tray falling and the sound of glasses shattering to a million pieces. He turned his head slightly toward the commotion. He saw one of the waitresses kneeling on the floor, picking up her mess. Her face was covered by her hair that fell in front of it.
“What have you done??” someone asked the poor girl. “You clumsy girl! Can’t you do anything right?”
“Jeh song hab nee da.” the girl mumbled.
“Hurry up and clean this mess!” they shouted at her.

“Ey, Jaejin.” said Jaeduc. “Let’s show these people our dance floor skillz..”
Jaejin faced his table again. He saw that all of them were standing up, getting ready to go to the dance floor. Jaejin reluctantly got up too, as the rest dragged him out there. He felt the loud music pounding inside him. His body just moved along with the beat…

When the night was over, Jiwon drove everybody back home. Jaejin and Jaeduc were pooped as they entered their little room in the 3rd floor of the building. The two instantly fell asleep…

“Jenny…” Jaejin mumbled quietly in his sleep.

He was having another dream…….

“You don’t need this anymore.” Jenny smiled at him, taking off his handkerchief.

It was the same dream as last time. except, in the last part, he heard the sound of glass shattering to a million pieces on the floor.

“Jeh song hab nee da.” Jenny said.
Jenny looked up from picking up the pieces of glass.
“Oppa, I’m so clumsy, huh?”

Jaejin shook his head. He wanted to go help her pick the pieces up. But he couldn’t go to her for some reason. He ran on and on towards her direction. But he never seemed to reach her, even though she seemed to be right in front of him.

Th sound of the glasses shattering screamed in his ear.
“Jeh song hab nee da.” Jenny repeated.
“What have you done? You clumsy girl!!” someone was shouting at her.

“Jeh song hab nee da.” Jenny repeated again.

Jaejin woke up panting.
“THAT WAS HER!!” he yelled out, breaking the silence of the night.

“What the~…” Jaeduc rolled around in his blanket to take a look at Jaejin.
“Yah, can you shuttup? I’m trying to sleep here.”

Jaejin got up and dressed himself.

“Where are you going?” asked the sleepy Jaeduc.
Jaejin didn’t answer. His heart was racing…. “That was her, I know it!” he thought as he remembered the waitress at the night club. She had long hair, covering her face… She must’ve grown her hair, Jaejin thought. He walked out the door and accidentally slammed it shut from excitement.

“Damn it~!” whined Jaeduc, bothered by the loud bang of the door. But when Jaejin was definately out of sight, Jaeduc sat up and smiled sadly.
“That’s right, now go to her.” Jaeduc was doing a good deed, but damn, why did it have to hurt so much?? He took out a cigarrette and lit it. He had known that Jenny had been working there for some time now. And that’s why Jaeduc wanted to take him there for his birthday… All those nights Jaejin would mumble Jenny’s name… Jaeduc was in deep thought.
“I love Jenny too, but I you need her more…” Jaeduc huffed sadly. “Lucky bastard…”

It was early in the morning. Jaejin looked at his wrist, expecting to see a watch. But then, he remembered that he broke it. An overwhelming sense of guilt penetrated through his whole body. “What is she gonna say when she finds out I broke it?” he thought to himself.

Jaejin got into a taxi.
“* * * nightclub, please,” he said to the driver.

He arrived to the same place that the members of 6kies had taken him last night for his birthday. “Yup, this is the right place.” He got out of the cab and paid the driver.

His heart was pounding as he walked inside. The place was just getting ready to open as the waitresses and waitors unflipped the chairs that were placed on top of the tables. Jaejin desparately tried to look for that long-haired waitress. Every time a long-haired waitress passed him by, his heart started pounding. But never did he see her face. After awhile, dissappointment began to plague his heart, as he began to think that maybe that girl wasn’t Jenny….

By this time, many of the waitress started noticing him and realizing that he was Lee Jaejin from the famous group, SechsKies. One of them were even brave enough to come over to him and ask him if he needed anything.

“Uh… yeah, I’m looking for Lee Jenny. Do you know if she works here?”
“Lee Jenny? No, I don’t think there’s anyone named Lee Jenny that works here.” she said sweetly. “Oh, by the way, I know that it’s kind of late, but you’re Lee Jaejin from 6kies, aren’t you?”

Jaejin forced a smile out. “Yeah, that’s me.”
“Can I have an autograph?” she asked. “My name’s Yoo Sora.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jaejin said politely as he took the pen and paper.

When the deed was done, Jaejin decided to ask more questions. He wasn’t about to give up that easily.

“I was here last night, and there was a waitress with long hair who broke some glasses… Can I talk to her?”

“Oh, you know her??” the waitress asked. “Yah! SuHyun-ah! Kim SuHyun!” she called out.
Someone who was mopping the floor looked up. “Kim SuHyun? Didn’t you hear? She quit this morning.”
“WHAT? She did? Why?” asked Sora.
“I’m not sure, but she came this morning to tell the boss that she was quitting.”
“Do you know where she lives or where she went?” asked Jaejin.
“She didn’t say.”

Jaejin left the night club with a heavy heart. It probably wasn’t her anyway… He thought sadly.

Part XV

* Rewinding to the day of Jaejin’s birthday..*

Jenny walked into the cd store. She checked everyday to see if the next issue of MusicLife came out. To her pleasant surprise, there it was, sitting on the counter. She smiled happily and went to go purchase it.

She skipped home to her little dingy room that she was renting. She went inside and flipped through the magazine and went straight to the Jekki section. Her eyes filled with tears as she saw all their pictures, especially Jiyong’s and Jaeduc’s. And of course, her Jaejin oppa. It pained her to look at them, but it made her happy too. To see them doing so well and looking so happy. It was all she needed to know.

Jenny took out a pair of scissors and began to cut out the pictures of them. Then she went and also took out and album. She pasted the new pictures of her Jekkie and sighed in satisfaction when she was done. She flipped throught the pages of the album.. She had been collecting pictures of them ever since they first debuted. Tears of longing fell down her cheek. When she first ran away from home, she was so sad that she wouldn’t be able to ever see them again. But when she found out that they had become singers, she was so glad that she can watch them from afar.

Jenny turned on the television and flipped channels to see if any gayo shows were on. Inki Gayo 50 was on and she watched eagerly waiting for Jekki to come out. She knew they would because they almost always came on these days because they were competing for number one for their new song *RoadFighter*. When it was their turn to perform, Jenny squealed in joy, as her grin reached from ear to ear. She watched them dancing…. Yes, that’s what oppa loved to do…. she thought as the tears poured from her eyes. She was so proud of him…

Jenny reached into her pocket and took out her blue handkerchief that she had bought that day when she went shopping. That day of the car accident…. She stared at the navy blue cloth with pain. Jenny never failed to take this thing every where she went. She placed the handkerchief against her cheek…. “Happy birthday oppa..” she mumbled.

Jenny sighed… Looking at the clock, she realized it was time to go to work.

Night time fell and Jenny was still working. She didn’t get off till late because she worked at a nightclub. She had been working there for a couple of months now, but it still was kind of difficult for her.

That night, all the waitresses were so excited. Jenny wondered what was going on but she didn’t pay much attention to all the excitement. Her mind was elsewhere… She was wondering how her oppa was spending his birthday today.

“Yah, Kim SuHyun!” another waitress called her from behind. “Did you hear? That one group SechsKies is here.”

Jenny’s heart plunged. “HERE?!”
“Yeah! Can you believe it? Let’s go get autographs!”
Jenny was speechless.
“Look, they’re over there.” Jenny looked towards that direction, and sure enough, they were there, all six of them. Jenny started trembling, trying hard to repress her tears.

“Wow, you’re a bigger fan than I thought.” said the other waitress. “Then here,” she handed Jenny her tray that held a couple of beers. “You can take these to them.” She said, giving her a wink.
“No, no, I……”
“Not another word. =)” she said, giving her another wink.

Jenny looked nervously at the tray that she was holding. Trying hard not to tremble so roughly, she took a step towards their table. Her hands were all wet from sweat, and she gripped the tray tighter, afraid it might slip.

“Maybe they won’t recognise me…” She thought to herself. “After all, I-I changed a lot…(?) I grew out my hair…..” She was trying to encourage herself to go up to them.

But she gave up. “Who am I kidding, of COURSE they’d recognise me. I can’t go over there!”

Jenny’s boss was walking by and noticed Jenny just standing still with a tray of beer in her hands. “What the heck is she doing??” She walked up to Jenny and lightly tapped her on her shoulder. This surprised Jenny a great deal and the tray of beer slipped away from her sweaty hands. And the glass of the beer bottles shattered into a million pieces. The blood drained out of Jenny’s face as she realized what a commotion she had just caused and she quickly knelt down and hid her face with her hair, hoping that Jekki wouldn’t notice.

“What have you done??” Jenny’s boss exclaimed. “You clumsy girl! Can’t you do anything right?”
“Jeh song hab nee da.” said Jenny.
“Hurry up and clean this mess!” Her boss marched off with a huff.

Jenny stole a peep through her hair to look at Jekkie. She saw Jaejin’s head turned slightly toward her and Jenny stooped her head even further to make sure he didn’t see her.

After Jenny finished picking up all the broken pieces of glass, she hurriedly hid so that Jekki wouldn’t be able to spot her. But she saw that they weren’t at their table anymore. Instead, they were all dancing out on the dance floor. She watched Jaejin dance away. His body moving as if it were water. It flowed freely with the rythmn of the music… Tears slipped out of Jenny’s eyes as she watched him proudly.

“Yah, SuHyun- ah..” the same waitress as before came up to her. “Are you crying?”
Jenny quickly wiped the tears away. “No, there’s just something in my eye…”
“You’re sad that the boss yelled at you, huh?”
“…………………….”
“Don’t think about it so much. You know how that lady is….”
Jenny nodded unable to speak.
“Cheer up, ok?”
“Uh, huh…. Look,” Jenny stopped her. “Sora unnie…. thanx so much for everything…”
Sora smiled sweetly and patted Jenny’s head.
“Anytime, kid.”

Jenny went home after the long day’s work. She couldn’t stop thinking about what happened that day. “He was so close to me..” Jenny thought. “I-I mean they..” She bit her lip. Ever since the day that she found out the truth about Jaejin, she wasn’t able to think of anything else.

Reaching into her pocket, she once again took out her folded handkerchief and put it to her cheek. “Oppa…. You dance so well…”
She laughed inspite of herself… She knew that she couldn’t ever see him again. “Oppa… I can’t…….. I just can’t go back…”

She put the handkerchief away and wiped her tears. She got up and reached into the closet to take out some suitcases.

“I can’t stay here anymore… Today was a close call. This place is too close to….. them.”
She packed her clothes. “In the morning, I’ll leave…”
The next morning, Jenny took her suitcases and waited for the bus to her work. She had to tell them that she was quitting.

The bus finally arrived and Jenny got off. She walked heavy-heartedly toward that nightclub. “I have to do this..” she said to herself.

When the deed was done, Jenny walked out of the club and slowly headed toward the bus stop. She decided to take one last look at that nightclub, a place that she’ll never be able to see again.

Sighing heavily, she turned around again. But something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. She saw Jaejin coming out of a taxi! Jenny quickly turned around and began to run…

Part XVI

Jenny was fast asleep on the train headed south. She awoke abruptly when she sensed the train stop.
“This is my stop.” She stretched her arms and yawned. “This is his homeland…”

Jenny always wanted to see how his homeland looked. Pusan…. she could almost smell the sea air already.

Jenny walked aimlessly through town, not knowing where exactly she was headed. She didn’t really know why she decided to come to this unfamiliar place. It just felt like the something she would like to do….

Arriving at the beach, she took a deep breath of the salty sea air. She looked off into the vast ocean.. It looked as if it reached to infinity… The beach.. it gave her such a warm feeling..

Jenny sat on the warm sand. She opened her suitcase and took out the album (the one with all the pictures of Jekki). She calmly flipped through the pages. When she came to a certain picture- of Jaejin- she stopped flipping. He had a deep grin on his face that made Jenny want to smile with him. She recognised that silly smile of his, he always used to get it whenever she would kiss him on the cheek.

“I can’t ever go back…” she said, as if she was talking to Jaejin. “I can’t….” she repeated as she touched his picture. “Oppa, you understand right?”

Jenny looked up at the horizon. A sudden urge to swim overwhelmed her.
“You wanna go for a swim?” she asked the handkerchief that was tied around her wrist, and smiled. “I thought you would…”

Jenny joyfully took off her shoes. She ran towards the water, leaving the open album and her luggage behind. The water was warm and it felt good all around her body. She laughed because she remembered a time when she swam in a beach as warm as this. It was back at home in California…. It’s strange how beaches make you feel as if nothing in the world matter anymore, isn’t it? You can almost see your whole life painted infront of you. And no matter how bad your life may have been, you still feel so satisfied.

All Jenny wanted to do at that moment was swim.. She was headed towards the horizon, never looking back.. But after awhile, her limbs got incredibly tired.. She thought of heading back. A sense of doom penetrated her when she saw how far away from the shore she had come. It suddenly became difficult for her to keep affloat. But since she came this far, going further wouldn’t hurt, she thought. At that moment, nothing mattered to her any longer. She just kept on swimming towards the horizon…….

SechsKies were getting ready for their trip to Pusan because they were scheduled to perform there. In the airplane, as Jiyong was reading the newspaper, he spotted an interesting article.

“Woa, look!” he exclaimed. “One of our fans tried to commit suicide in Pusan last week.”
“What?” asked Jiwon, amused.
“No kidding!”
They all gathered around Jiyong as he read the article aloud.

“A girl was found trying to commit suicide in the XXX beach. Luckily, she was saved by a local fisherman when he spotted her while on his boat. She was said to have been seen wandering aimlessly around town that afternoon, with a suitcase in hand. Officials believe that she was obsessed with the famous singing dance group, Sechskies. They found an album filled with pictures of them, as well as tapes of their performances in her bag. It is believed that she tried to commit suicide because of the teenage superstar’s latest movie called “Seventeen.’s” alledged kissing scenes by the lead singer KangSungHoon and the rapper/dancer KimJaeDuc because her collection of pictures contained many photos of clips of the movie. Townspeople are calling it the “Jekkie Syndrome” much like that of the “SeoTaji Syndrome” of 1996. The girl has still not been identified as she refuses to give her name.”

“Dang~ She tried to commit SUICIDE??” asked Suwon, amazed.

“Poor girl…” Jaejin shook his head in pity.

“Hey, I got an idea.” said Sunghoon. “Since we’re going to Pusan, why don’t we go visit the girl in the hospital.”
“Yeah, I think that would be cool.” said Jiwon. “I’ll go ask maager hyung if that’s aiight with him.”

After their performance, Jekki went to the hospital that the girl was staying at. Jiwon went to the counter and asked the nurse where the girl was. A camera was following them so that this good deed that they were doing could be publicized.

“She’s in room 201.” said the nurse.

All of them were carrying flowers and gifts for the poor girl.
“I’m sure she’d really love it that you came.” said the nurse, hoping to get filmed in the camera. “She refuses to talk to anyone around here. All she does is cry all day long and she barely eats anything at all.”

Jekki headed toward room 201. When they arrived, they knocked on the door. No one answered, but Jiwon opened the door anyway. They saw a girl covered up with blankets on the bed. It looked as if she was asleep.

“Should we wake her?” asked Jiyong.
“Maybe we should just let her sleep..” said Sunghoon.
The camera crew looked annoyed. They weren’t planning on waiting all day. Jiwon noticed their impatience and said, “Uh, I think we should just wake her up.”

Jaeduc nodded and kneeled by the side of the bed. He put his hand on the girls shoulder and said, “Wake up~ Me and Sunghoon are real sorry about the kissing scenes in the movie. It was only acting, it meant nothing at all.” he explained to the sleepy girl.

“Jaeduc oppa~?” the girl mumbled half asleep.
“Yeah, all of us Sechs kies are here. Surprise!”

“Oppa, just let me sleep for five more minutes.” said the girl in an all-too-familiar voice that sent ice cold chills down Jaejin’s spine.

Jaeduc’s face too turned stone white.
“J-Jenny….?” he asked under his breath.

Her face was still covered in the blankets, but her hands were showing. She was clutching a navy blue handkerchief in her hand….

“Jenny!” yelled Jaejin.

At this, Jenny woke up. It was weird, she wondered if she was dreaming. She thought she heard Jaeduc call her name. And now Jaejin was calling her?

“Jenny.” Jaejin said again.
Jenny now lay paralyzed in her bed. “It can’t be…” she thought. “No, this is a dream.”

Jaejin stormed over to Jenny’s bed and pulled back the covers. Jaejin’s eyes widened when he saw Jenny laying there, trembling like a frightened puppy.
Jaejin grabbed Jenny’s wrist and pulled her up in a sitting position.

Jiwon motioned for the camera people to stop filming and led everyone out. Jiyong, Jaeduc, and Jaejin remained.

“It was you then, wasn’t it? At the nightclub..” Jaejin stammered when he saw her long hair. “Y-You look good with long hair..” he choked out, not knowing what else to say.

Jenny was ashamed. Jaejin had lost a lot of weight and she could see it on his stressed face. She had caused so much worries.

“Jenny, we’re soo glad we’ve finally found you.” said Jaeduc.
“Yeah, we looked EVERYWHERE.” said Jiyong.

Jenny shook her head. “I’m not the same person anymore, I can’t go back- ever.” she said as boldly as she could manage.

“Why??” Jaejin asked as calmly as he could. “Why are you running away?”
“Because- Because…..” Jenny felt strange, as if she forgot the reason.
“Because all of you lied to me.” she said when she finally remembered. But she immediately regretted saying it. It sounded so childish, the way it came out. “I’m mad because of a lie?” she thought to herself in disbelief. She suddenly felt incredibly foolish.

Jaejin tried to understand her feelings.
“You’re right.” he said. “We should have never lied to you, I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.”

Jenny felt ashamed. It was like he was apologizing for her wrongs. She saw how immature she was. During her whole stay in Korea, she tried not to think about the pains of her past, so she didn’t really think about why she felt she had to stay away from everyone. So what if Jaejin wasn’t my real brother…… It’s not his fault.

“Just promise us that you’ll never try to do something that stupid again.” said Jaejin.
“What were thinking, trying to commit suicide? Don’t you know that if I ever found you dead, I’d kill myself??” Jaejin sounded almost angry.

Jenny’s face flushed as he said this.. “I-I’m sorry…” she stammered. Her heart was beating fast for some reason.
“Oppa…” Jenny felt strange calling him that now. “J-Jaejin oppa… I’m sorry.”

“Just promise me that you’ll never ever try anything like that again.”
“………………………..”
“Jenny, if you promise me this one thing, then…..” Jaejin didn’t want to say it, but, “then I’ll go. I’ll leave you alone. If that’s what it takes… if that’s what you want…..”

“…………………..I-I promise.” Jenny said.
Jaejin nodded. He got up to leave. Jaeduc and Jiyong were no longer in the room, like he thought. They left, who knows when. Neither of them noticed.

Jaejin headed towards the door. When he got to it, he grabbed the door knob, but he didn’t have enough strength to turn it.

In a rush, Jaejin turned around again. He ran over to Jenny’s bedside.
“No! I won’t leave. I’ll never leave you again. Never!” Jenny stared at him blankly.
“I can’t leave you… I… love you.”

Jenny continued to stare at him…
Jaejin realized he had just maken a mistake. He got up to leave again.
“No, I-I’ll leave… I’m sorry.”
Once again he headed slowly towards the door.

Jenny expected him to come back again, but Jaejin actually opened the door this time. And Jenny devastatingly watched him walk out. The room was suddenly so bare without him. Everything was gloomy. Jenny felt so doomed, all alone… without Jaejin.

“Come back…” she pleaded silently.. “Tears flowed down her cheeks and she wiped them with her handkerchief. “Come back Jaejin oppa… I can’t live without you… I love you too…..”

It was weird. It was the first time she ever said these words, even to herself, after she found out the truth…… “I love you.” she said again. “Don’t leave….”

Jenny got out of bed and ran to the door. She flung it open. All of Jekki turned around surprised. Jaejin was the most surprised of all.

“Jaejin oppa…” Jenny said, still standing in the doorway. “Don’t leave. Please, don’t leave. I’m sorry I ran away. I won’t ever run away again..”

Jaejin was too shocked to say anything.

“I promise I won’t ever try to do anything stupid again. But please, don’t leave me……… I love you.”

There was a pause as she said this.

Jaejin slowly walked up to her. His heart was bursting from happiness. He held out his arms for her to hug him.

Jenny ran to him, but instead of hugging him, she kissed him.

Everyone cheered around them.

“I love you.” Jenny repeated.

Jaejin was shocked. He never expected anything like this.
“Jenny….”
Jenny smiled. “Oppa, I love you.” she said again.

Jaejin looked into her eyes… He stayed silent for a long time. But he now understood. “I love you too.” he choked out. His voice shaked and tears threatened to spill.

He took out his watch. Since the band was broken, he had attached it to a chain to wear as a necklace. He put it around Jenny’s neck. Jenny swallowed gulps of air as he fastened the chain. Tears of joy streaked her face.
“Thankyou..” she whispered in his ears.

The two of them stood there in each other’s arms…………………

To Keep You Forever by: Jaymes

to keep you forever.JPG

  • a Hoony fanfic
  • completed

Chapter 1
“Being a German agent isn’t what it used to be. Life used to be full of some grace and elegance. But the war has ended that. I have to say there’s nothing I hate more about Thailand than the stinky hot weather, especially when you’re in the middle of a world war,” I complained.

“Well, Yeon In, as soon as we get this stinking war over with, you’ll have all the treasures of the Orient,” he was trying to butter me up with his German accent. He knew I was a sucker for strong jaws and foreign accents.

Actually I’m not even German, I’m Korean. Redriech and I studied criminology back in the Royal University of Berlin four years before Redriech was ordered into the German intelligence and I couldn’t bare to see him go off to war without me. Neither of us believed in the German cause, after all, didn’t Hitler, our fearless Chancellor despise all races except the German one? All I wanted to do was to be with the love of my life, and he felt the same.

“When will the commander give us our orders,” I asked as I leaned on his shoulder.

“Soon. You mustn’t worry about me,” Redriech always could read my mind. I would never let him go on his own missions. Besides, it was I who taught him Tae Kwon Do. He taught me boxing.

“I know, but isn’t it the duty of a wife to worry about her husband,” I asked playfully. Redriech grinned.

“The bleach is coming out of your hair,” he remarked.

“Ya. I’ll have to find some peroxide.”

“No, I like your black hair better. I like having the thought of having caught an exotic fish,” he joked as he ran his fingers through my locks of platinum hair.

“Who caught who,” I joked.

When we arrived at our underground headquarters (American spies were everywhere and so we had no choice but to go underground), everyone seemed to be in a frenzy.

Apparently the headquarters had been under raid for the last week, and had been lucky enough to have captured the American spies leading the raid. Obviously we had to move and start all over.

As for our mission, that had to be executed as soon as possible, before the documents were burn.

We couldn’t leave any important documents behind. When Redriech and I were lead into the commander’s office, he was just interrogating one of the spies.

“God damn it man! Do you or do u not wish to live?! Tell me where the F#$%ing Hell is your headquarters!” We heard the commander shouting in Thai. The commander was obviously upset.

His anger and frustration was evident in the bruises on the prisoner’s face.

“Commander Redkoff?” Redriech asked, informing the commander of our presence. Redriech dispised violence. The commander seemed surprised and fearful as he looked around to see us.

“General Von Borge. Frau Von Borge,” he said as he quickly saluted us.

“What seems to be the problem,” asked Redriech.

“This Thai man was captured trying to escape the company that attacked us, sir. I’m trying to ask him to release the location of the American headquarters, sir!” The German army must have sent him before he could finish training, he was such a nervous man, even his little Hitler mustache look-alike twitched with irritation.

“Private, please escort Frau Von Borge to the secretary’s office.”

“But, Sir,” I began to protest. Although he knew quite well that I myself have had to torture prisoners, he still protected me from seeing his methods of persuasion. Redriech only had to give me a stern look, and of course I obeyed. I hated myself for that the most. Whatever he wanted, I was willing to crawl on my knees to get it for him. I guess that’s what people call love.

As I waited in the secretary’s office I could hear the screams of the prisoner. This one must have a been a strong one. Redriech is notorious for his persuasive nature. Everyone was hurrying to burn and destroy documents, as well as packing up more important ones. I felt so alone, so hopeless.

This war would never end, I thought. I didn’t want to think about all the crimes I had committed against humanity, or all the death and suffering outside the dirt walls of the headquarters. So I tried to recall the first time I met Redriech. Suddenly, all the shouting and screams stopped. The door opened and Redriech walked out shaking the prisoner’s hand. Once again, victory for General Von Borge, I thought with a grin. He turned around and grinned at me.

When we moved into the second underground headquarters (there was always another one for back up), our new orders were already waiting for us. So the Commander, the officers, Redriech,and I held a meeting in Redriech’s new office.

“NO! I said no! I will not allow it!” Redriech shouted.

“General, these orders come from headquarters in Berlin. You have no jurisdiction…”

“Heir Stregoff, would you allow your wife into a whore house,” Redriech asked with great conviction. The lieutenant remained silent.

“Certainly not,” answered Commander Frederick, “But we are at war sir. Your wife is not above the cause of Greater Germany.’

“Commander, what rank are you,” Redriech asked with fire in his eyes and arrogance in his tone. I knew I had no choice but to follow the orders, not for my sake but for Redriech’s. Many officers and soldiers respect him not just because he has shown a natural sense for command, but also because he is the son of a great general. And for those reasons he was commanded to be a general in the intelligence headquarters. As his wife, it was my duty to see that his career only aspire into greatness. I couldn’t let him down. So, I stood up, and conjured up all my strength. And with the most serious tone of voice, I said, “General it is my duty and privilege to fulfill the mission assigned to me by the great nation of Germany.”

Redriech was about to protest, but he knew that I was just as stubborn as he. There was no way I would let him talk me out of this one, and he knew it.

So reluctantly, fearfully, and painfully, he gave me my orders. “Frau Von Borge, you are here by ordered to be stripped of uniform and to take the disguise of a prostitute in the vicinity of Hong Dang Fah(the Red Sky Room). Your mission is to penetrate the American commanding officer, Kang Sung Hoon and the American headquarters located at his estate in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Use all means of persuasion of which you, a woman, have the power of accomplishing!”

Chapter 2
“Ah ha! I win again!”
“Sheadup Eun Ji Won! If you weren’t my best friend and the best fortune hunter, I’d smack you across the face.”

There he was, the shorter of the two men at the poker table, surrounded by beautiful women. So this is the loser, I thought to myself. Redriech had said to use my feminine charm, only problem is, I’ve never even attempted to use my female charm on ANY guy before. Redriech and I had been long time friends before he decided to make his move, and ask me out. All that training for this, a mermaid ball gown and red lipstick. But I had no choice, I wasn’t doing this for me, this was for Redriech. So, I summoned up all my courage and swayed my hips toward Sung Hoon’s table.

“Come on Sung Hoon, you lost, you have to drink up.”

“Yea, drink up,” chirped one of the Thai hookers sitting on Sung Hoon’s lap.

“Eh? Sunisa, you bad girl; you just wanna get me drunk so you can sleep with me and steal all my money huh,” asked Sung Hoon, obviously already drunk. Sunisa giggled, as Sung Hoon pinched her cheeks. “Oh Sung Hoon, you’re so bad.”

I had to turn around pretending to throw up- it was just too disgusting for me. God, I can’t believe I have to seduce this imbecile. I had to get a drink before I tried to make my move. I had no choice but to continue with the mission. I was closely guarded by two other agents, disguised as my clients. Three days into the mission, I was just scoping out the situation. Getting the info about the vicinity, as well as the frequent American clients. Sung Hoon, was obviously one of these fortune hunter playboys.

I couldn’t believe he was a commanding officer in the American secret intelligence. If this was a sample of the American competence, then the war would end soon. Sung Hoon was nothing more than an Asian drunkard, with his intelligence tied to the split inbetween his pants. How could the Americans BEGIN to believe they could hold down the war in the East? I almost laughed aloud thinking this to myself. Then I heard a loud crash, Sung Hoon had fallen off his chair, and landed on the floor- drooling and giggling loudly. This was my chance, I didn’t have to sleep with the guy, just make him think we did. So I made my move.

“Tai Tai (OMIGOD)! Nai Kang Ka (Mr. Kang)! Tur pen arai reu plaow kah (Are you all right or not),” I asked in a nasal, feminine voice. He looked up from his giggles. His mouth dropped open, like a codfish. I faked a really BIG smile, hoping it was authentic looking enuf, and sweetly inviting as well. After all, it was all part of my disguise.

I helped him to his feet as his open mouth quickly turned into a huge colgate grin.

“So, ugh, ugh, ugh -hiccup!- What’s your name -hiccup!-,” he asked falling to the floor again.

“Soi Fawn (Beautiful Rain),” I answered timidly, as he held me tightly in his arms. God, at times like these I wonder what Redriech could be doing- going on a secret mission without me, perhaps.

But I had to put these thoughts aside for the moment. I needed to concentrate on the matter at hand, the dope, Kang Sung Hoon.

“Ow (Dang)! Such a pretty name, just like it’s owner,’ he said with an equally saccharine voice through his giggles. Then I giggle, I almost died right there. I was acting sooooo detestably, but what could I do, this was for Redriech.

So I led him into my room and there I gave him more wine, hoping he would be so drunk I could question him. But when I did question him, his answers made no sense.

~~~ 20 questions later ~~~

“So you’re an American,” I asked casually.

“Ya, I’m 100% Yankee, hee hee.”

“Oh, so great! You fly the big planes to bomb Japanese camps,” I asked trying to veil the questions.

“Hee hee, ya I fly on Japanese plamps.”

I was beginning to see this was going no where. I sighed deeply frustrated and angry with myself for having gotten into this mess. Sung Hoon seemed to sense my irritation, and handed me a glass of wine. I gladly accepted– I needed something to calm down my nerves, no thanks to him.

The next thing I knew it was morning, and I felt a draft. Then, as I stretched, I realized I wasn’t home in my own bed. I looked down….. and ,to my horror, I found myself naked, covered only with a blanket. Then I felt someone beside me stir. I braced myself for the worst nightmare I could possibly imagine. Slowly I turned to my head to my side………

“AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!”

“Kang Sung Hoon Sir! Huh……. Oi I’m not in high school anymore,” Sung Hoon said as he rubbed his eyes.

Chapter 3
“OMIGOD! How did I end up here?!” Sung Hoon had just realized he was not in high school, I assume he had been dreaming of high school. He seemed shocked to find himself in my room, naked.

“Ah!” I had sat up and wrapped myself in the blanket- leaving Sung Hoon to cover himself with only his pillow.

Sung Hoon blushed, as I screamed in surprise to see him in his birthday suit. “Uh, sorry,’ he said as he scratched his head.

“Alright look, let’s just forget this happened ok, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you.”

“So that’s how you ladies of the night handle it?”

“What do you mean? Shouldn’t you know,” I asked raising my eyebrow.

“Ugh…. actually, I’ve never been with a woman before,” he said timidly as his shoulders shrank down.

I couldn’t believe it! Last night, he was scandously flirting with other women– what a liar! A virgin my FOOT! He must have sensed my disblief, maybe it was my raised eyebrow, or the cold frown.

“I can swear on a stack of Bibles,” he exclaimed, raising his left hand and placing his right hand over his heart. I had to chuckle at his earnesty. He must have been please to see me smile, because a huge grin gleamed from his face.

From that moment, and while we got dressed, I told him my life story. How I was sexually abused by my stepfather at age 12. I had run away from home, the mountains east of Chiang Mai. How I was forced into the entertainment trade at age 16, never allowed to return home, or seek freedom.

Of course I made him close his eyes all as I dressed. Then, to my surprise, he made me do the same. Here we were, both adults acting like high school freshmen losing their virginity. It was actually quite ridiculous.

“What’s so funny? Are you peeking,” Sung Hoon asked suspicously.

“No I’m not I shouted.” I know this is a blunt question but, how old are you,” I inquired.

“Who me? I’m 26, why? How old are you,” he asked in between zipping his pants, and fixing his belt.

“Oh, I’m 26, too.”

“Liar.”

“Why would I lie, I’ve got nothing to hide,” I said crossing my fingers behind my back. Only that I’m a spy, I said to myself.

“Oh sure that’s why you’re crossing your fingers behind your back, and your toes in your shoes,”

He said laughing. Gosh, I thought, how did he know, he was in the bathroom. Then he laughed outloud as he saw the puzzled look on my face. “Ready,” he asked.

“For what?”

“Well aren’t you gonna atleast show me the way out? Unless…. you want me to stay.”

“You can’t afford to.”

“Which reminds me, where exactly can I get my reciept– you know just in case I want a refund or exchange,” he joked.

I rolled my eyes, which made him laugh. “Just give me the money, if they don’t get the money I’m the one who’ll get a beating,” I said playfully as I opened my hand in front of him. But SungHoon’s smile faded as I uttered those words.

“They beat you?”

“Yea, just every once in a while to remind us who’s boss.” Of course I was being sarcastic, but Sung Hoon didn’t take it very lightly. He suddenly grabbed me (which gave me a slight pang of fear) and began to lift up my shirt.

“What are you doing,” I demanded.

“How can you take this so lightly? Have they beaten you lately,” he asked in a most serious tone.

“Oh no, I was just kidding,” trying to hide my moment of panic. Sung Hoon on the other hand sighed, almost as if he was relieved. This deeply distrubed me, I hadn’t expected him to act so differently the morning after; and even more so when he was sober.

He hadn’t let go of me as I walked him to the front doors. But as soon as I turned my back he shouted hello to the owner, the Thai man Redriech had bribed to keep loyalty to us. I watched from the grand stair case as Sung Hoon and the owner talked. I couldn’t hear, but I was fearful the man would give me away.

But, to my surprise, he and Sung Hoon just laughed and shook hands. Then Sung Hoon left, after blowing me a kiss. I blew one back, even though inside I was utterly disgusted.

“Well, you must be happy,” the owner asked me from the foot of the stair case.

“What are you talking about,” I had no idea what he was yapping about.

“Your mission, it’s over, I just sold you to that fool over there.”

I lost balance suddenly and almost fell off the stairs. “SOLD?! Do you have any idea….”

“I’m sorry, tell your buddies to get out while your at it. I’m a businessman, too, you know. I’m not stupid enough to walk away from $2 million baht!”

I almost choked on my saliva. “$2 MILLION BAHT! He bought me for $2 MILLION….”

“Ya, get your things and wait for his limo driver. That’s exactly what you wanted isn’t it,” the dirty man asked.

It WAS what we wanted– to penetrate the American intelligence headquarters. I was appalled, how could he just BUY ME! He didn’t even consult me! What an arrogant, self-righteous,pompous…. ooooo I could kill him! I would have called him more names in my mind, but one of my German agents, broke my train of thought as he prepared to report to Redriech of our success. REDRIECH! How could I EVER face him after ~~~ shudders ~~~.

Suddenly it felt like a symphony of anvils landed on my head. How could I report to my HUSBAND, that I had used my “female charms” to penetrate the enemy? O GOD forgive me!

Then I began to panic, I had just been bought. What the hell did that mean? What was I supposed to do now? O merciful heaven, what was I to do now.

“Frau Von Borge, the General commands that you proceed with the mission,” reported the agent after he finished talking over the phone.

“Ya, understood. Did the commander have any else to say to me? Why didn’t he give me the orders himself?”

“The General said he was preoccupied with more important matters at the moment,” a cold reply that struck me deeply; I was just too scared, at the moment, to really let it sink in.

“Madame Sai Fon?” Sung Hoon offered his hand as I stepped out of the limousine, and onto the drive way of his estate. “Welcome home.”

Chapter 4
~note: sorry but in the last chapter I typed the name of the main character as Sai Fon, but
actually it was supposed to say Soi Fawn. Sorry for any confusion and any fobbiness on
my prt. ~ jaymes

I was about to ask why he had called me “Madame” and not “Mademoiselle,” but luckily
for me, I quickly remembered who I was “pretending” to be. No mountain person,
especially a prostitute would EVER know how to speak French. Actually, I don’t know
how to speak French, but I do know the difference between a “Madame” and a
“Mademoiselle.”

As I looked up to the exquisite roof tops I was astounded at the beauty of the Thai roof
top. I had expected a playboy mansion in the latest fashion. But Sung Hoon’s house was
an absolutely the opposite. It was incredible. Like most Thai houses, it was held up on
large planks of wood, to avoid the monsoon seasons- when the rain wouldn’t stop
pouring.

The land surrounding it was everything exotic and tropical, it was as if the modern city
was built around this one lush green spot, kept solely for conserving natural beauty. The
mahogany walls were engraved with intricate scenes of Thai history. The roof tops seem
to glow with golden dragons overhead.

When we entered the house I was even more amazed to see Sung Hoon’s impeccable
taste. There were hardly glass windows, only open spaces covered with panels of carved
Chinese art. Huge Ching Dynasty vases; Han Dynasty portraits of Generals and their
concubines hung on walls; and the rooms were drowned with white and purple orchids
hanging from decorated pots.

Sung Hoon seemed pleased that I was gawking, with admiration, at everything I saw. He
smiled at me as he took my bags from me and showed me to my room.

“Well how do you like it here,” he asked with a brilliant smile.

“It’s not anything I expected, that’s for sure,” I answered as he walked towards me.

“Well I hope that means you like it cuz it’s yours,” he announced. An announcement that
almost sent me a heart attack. Fearful he would try to put the moves on me, I stepped
backwards. After all, I was already married. The night before was one that I would
NEVER be able to live with. I knew sooner or later I would have to explain myself to
Redriech- most likely as soon as I could report to him.

Sung Hoon didn’t seem to get my message of retreat, as he walked right up to me and
reached for my hands. We were against the wall now– I guess I took more than just a
“couple” of steps backwards–. Then he stroked my hair and sighed.

“Look, I know you care for me as much as you care for your other clients. Which is: not
at all, to say to the least,” he said, looking only at my hands. “I’m not like every other guy
though, I was taught to uphold honor, even after death. I didn’t guard myself that night;
and you definitely don’t need to get pregnant without anyone to support you or the baby.
Besides, I don’t want them to beat you because of my indiscretion.”

Then, as if I was in a horrible nightmare, he pulled out a small, velvet, heart shape box. As he opened the box to reveal a 3 carat diamond solitaire surrounded by two bands of
rubies, he whispered, “I’ve never loved anyone, because no one has ever loved me. So I
don’t expect you to love me, or take me seriously when I say that can easily play the part
of a loving husband.”

I was shocked beyond imagination. FIRST, he takes advantage of me when I’m drunk,
making me guilty of infidelity. SECOND, he BUYS ME; as if I were a piece of cake you
could just pick out at the baker! AND THIRD, he doesn’t even ASK me to marry him–
he TELLS me I HAVE to marry him– not because he loves me, but because it would put
a dent in his “clean” record? Not only that he even openly admits to NOT loving me!

“Look here, I’m not some charity case that you picked up. I know what I’m worth. OK so
maybe I AM just an dirty woman– no HOOKER, that doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of
love,” I shouted, pulling away my hands from this lips. I was just about to storm outta of
the entire estate, forgetting the real reason I had actually agreed to go live with Sung
Hoon in the first place. I was steaming with rage. Who was he to act so “mercifully,” so
“benevolently” to this poor hooker? I wasn’t a hooker! I was one of Germany’s TOP
secret agents. And not only that, I was ALREADY married to the one of the most highly
respected Generals of the Intelligence Operations in Germany. I couldn’t take another
moment of insults from this pompous gigolo.

Unfortunately I never even made it the door, Sung Hoon was much quicker than I.

“Aow(Dang). Mai ow nah (don’t be like that),” he said ever so softly, holding my hands
again.

“Don’t think of it that way. I didn’t necessarily BUY you ok? It’s just that you’re my first,
and I feel responsible for you.” I gave him a look of irritation. “You ARE worth more
than others, you’ve suffered enough for it, trust me I know, my mother was a
concubine….” his voice trailed, almost cracking with tears. He looked away. “She didn’t
ask my father for pity, just responsibility for me. She didn’t get it until after went crazy
and burned herself to death,” he explained as he allowed beads of tears fall from his
twinkling eyes.

I was almost so touched enough to forget where I was, my mission, just so that I could
comfort him. But, reality bit me just before I could give him my sympathy. I pulled away
from his embrace.

“Pretend love isn’t the same as true love, Sung Hoonie,” I explained with a whisper.

“True love, so is that what you want,” he asked, quickly changing the mood. “Well then,
how’s about you use me until you find Mr. True Love,” he asked with a mischievous grin.
I laughed at his little waddle and big grin. But in my mind I was telling myself, “I have
found him, Redriech.”

What could I do though? I was instructed by my “True Love” to penetrate the American
CIA Headquarters. Which definitely meant mapping out the estate for a possible raid. So I agreed to marrying him. After all, I thought, I’m not really Soi Fawn Rathaisunie, I’m
Frau Yeon In Von Borge (Mrs. Yeon In Von Borge), a legal citizen of Germany, making
it unlawful to be married with a fraudulent identity. No problem, I thought; it would only
be a matter of weeks before I found out the American, and most likely the Allied Powers’,
defenses in South East Asia. Then I could return to my beloved Redriech, giving him even
more prestige and respectability for my duties to him as a wife and a German agent.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“Have you news Agent Von Borge,” Redriech asked over the phone.

I was using the pay phone at the market, too many days had passed since I had actually
talked to Redriech, and now that there were no agents with me, I could report to him
personally.

“I’m in. Redriech……. I….. forgive me….”

“Agent Von Borge, we are at war. I have put aside all inferior feelings that would hold
back our operation. I am well aware of your situation and the conditions to which you
have embarked upon, and Germany appreciates all your sacrifices for the greater cause,”

Redriech cut short my explanation. I had planned to tell him the whole truth, to explain
myself. But, he obviously wouldn’t allow me that opportunity. His cold answer silenced
me. I was too hurt that he seemed so indifferent to my feelings. He didn’t seem worried
about me at all, which is something I have never felt from him before. Redriech may be
reserved, hide his true feelings, but I felt so distant from him, now.

“Agent Von Borge? Yeon In,” I heard him ask. “I’m counting on you, don’t let me down.
Right now you are Germany’s instrument to victory.” Then he spoke to me in Korean (he
had insisted on learning it when we first met), “I just wanna get this over with.” His way
of saying he didn’t want to see me suffering any longer. It was always the little things he
said that strengthened my complete love and trust in him.

Several months would pass before I could actually begin to make an extensive report of
ALL off Sung Hoon’s estate. I never knew how huge it was. Everyday I would take a
walk around the gardens, keeping a record of possible raid routes to his estate from the
mountainous walls surrounding it to the mansion itself. All the while I could only talk to
my Redriech over the phone, or through letters passed to me in the market (letters which I destroyed before I got to SungHoon’s estate). I missed Redriech more than any words
could every express, but I had no choice but to press on with the mission.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Plu-ehk! I had gotten sick over the months of my stay with Sung Hoon. We slept in
separate beds, even though we were married, and we had that one night before our pseudo marriage. I was throwing up EVERY morning, which wore me out so bad I couldn’t get up in the morning sometimes.

“Tai lah(dang it)! That’s it I’m calling for a doctor,” declared Sung Hoon.

“No… I’m fine, my stomach’s just not wanting to be nice to me that’s all,” I didn’t want to
bother with doctors for something so trivial.

“Heck nah, I’m not gonna stand by anymore and let you lay around all lazy,” he joked.

“We need you to be up and about, earn your food.” I laughed at his sullungness. Finally I
had to agree, he was always coaxing me into doing something, that reminds me of
Redriech sometimes, and his persuasive ways.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
When the doctor was finally finished giving me a shot, Sung Hoon eagerly asked what was wrong with me. Then doctor smiled, and asked that Sung Hoon step outside. Sung Hoon became irritated.
“NO! I don’t wanna leave. Why should I leave,” he demanded, angrily. “I’m her husband
and I have a right to know why my wife is sick. There’s no need for secrecy here, I here to take care of her, shoot.”

“Sung Hoon,” I said weakly, “listen to the doctor, just stay outside….” But before I could
finish he cut me short.

“Noooooooo,” he pouted. “You want me to go crazy outside while he talks to you inside
your room?”

“Fine, fine, doctor please just tell US what’s wrong with me then.”

“WELL, it’s not very polite of me to say so here in front of both of you. But since you
both insist on it……. Mrs. Kang, you might want to start making little booties.”

Chapter 5
“Booties,” I asked.

“Yes,” replied the doctor.

Sung Hoon and I exchanged puzzled looks. Why would I need small little socks for
babies? Then we looked at the doctor, who, in turn, rolled his eyes at us. As if we knew
what the hell he was yapping about.

“Chai (yes)! You know for little babies,” he replied with a big smile.

“Yea, we know but………..” then it hit me, why I had been so sick these last THREE
months.

“O, so she needs to keep her feet warm. But why so small,” asked Sung Hoon pressing his
index finger against his lower lip. Then after a min, he fell straight to the floor.

“SUNG HOON!?” I sat up to see if he was all right. Sung Hoon had just realized that we
were going to have a baby, and evidently fainted on the spot. I had to get out of bed and
make sure he hadn’t hit something on his way down to the floor.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“BABY?!” Sung Hoon was hysterical when he finally awoke from his unconsciousness.
He scanned the room and when he found me he grabbed my hands. “We’re gonna….
omigod…. I’m gonna be a dddddd..addy?!” And with that he almost fainted again.

“O no, not this time,” I didn’t want to watch him faint again. And this is the
“commanding” officer of the CIA operations in Thailand? Psht, I thought to myself.

Why was God so unfair? Here I am, the wife of a COMPETENT General, and I’m stuck
with this idiot’s baby. Lord, if you have any mercy in your backbone, PLEASE, PLEASE
let the baby be like me. All these thoughts filled my head and heart with raging hate for
Sung Hoon. If only I hadn’t been caught off my guard, then I wouldn’t be in this mess.
Life was now over for me. Redriech would never accept this baby. Why would he accept
the son of our enemy? My heart shattered into a million pieces. I glared at Sung Hoon,
with his huge grin. This was my enemy, the father of my baby. I hate you, Kang Sung
Hoon.

After I got Sung Hoon to get off his natural high, I returned to my bed and fell asleep.
Slipping into a deep slumber, only to suffer a horrible nightmare. The American spies had sent out the whereabouts of the big Japanese camp in Chaing Mai. Now, the Bombers
would be out here for blood, Japanese and German blood.

I was running, frightened beyond immagination. I could feel my head swell with blood.
Redriech! Where was Redriech? It was so foggy, so dense that I couldn’t find him the
mist. I called out for him, I tried so hard to find him. But I couldn’t. God damn it I just
couldn’t find him. Then, I saw “him,” Sung Hoon. He was running towards me in slow
motion, the next thing I knew he suddenly changed gears into normal speed, and grabbed my arm.

“Why are we running,” I asked him.

“Because, the evil Germans are out to get us. We have to run, or we’ll lose each other,”
he said without even glancing at me.

BOOM! Then without warning, I saw Sung Hoon slowly to the ground.
“SUNG HOON!” I screamed.

He was covered in so much blood. It was all over him. My heart began to flood with fear
and pain, as I watched him try to say something to me. But he was in so much pain he
couldn’t utter a sound. Holding him in my arms, I could feel his pain rush through my
veins and stab at my heart. NO! He can’t die. Not my Sung Hoonie. Then I heard
Redriech– I could hear him calling me from the distance.

“Redriech,” I called out to him. Over and over I called out to him. Then a figured walked
towards me and Sung Hoon’s body. It was Redriech! His face was dark with anger. I
knew he was angry with me.

“Redriech? Go ahead, just kill me. I’ve done you a great wrong,” I begged as he raised his
pistol to my head. I closed my eyes tightly, awaiting my death, but he didn’t fire. Opening
my eyes, I saw him standing over me– his hands trembling. He seemed so hurt, so much
agony written all over his beautiful face. I had done all this to and for him. My mission
was for him, it was never for me.

“Shoot!” commanded him. So he lifted the pistol and fired a single shot. But not at me.

Suddenly, Sung Hoon’s body jerked upward, as if he had just been stung by a sudden
blow. Redriech had not shot me, but Sung Hoon!

“Fawn, Fawn!”

“Wha… SUNG HOONIE! Your alive!” I clung onto him as hard as I could. I couldn’t let
my dream go, if this was dream. He wasn’t dead. If he had to die in my dreams, then the
only thing I could do was to hold onto my him in my dream.
“Hey, hey,” he whispered softly. I had taken him by surprise, but his raised arms quickly
moved to comfort me. “It’s ok. It was just a dream. See, your dorko Sung Hoon is still
alive.”

I wouldn’t believe him at first, so I had to look at his face– make sure it was him. I
hugged him, and pressed my cheek against his chest– make sure he was real.

I began to cry; not because I was glad to see him alive, but because I knew that this wasn’t going to last forever. It wasn’t a nightmare, it was the future. The German government would never let him go, never. I must find a way to spare his life; he was the father of my child. I had a duty to him, just as I have a duty to my Redriech.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Dear Sir,
By the time you have read this letter, I will have met my parents in heaven, or hell– which ever one that my family is in is ok with me. Although I am dead, I have served you, my friend, with all methods humanly possible. I have but one last request of you. That is to help my baby daughter and my wife to escape Thailand. The Japanese have yet to take Singapore, so they can land safely there. Before they can sail to Africa, and then onward to the United States. I know it is inconcievable for a mere servant to ask his master to risk it all for his servant. Master Sung Hoon, I have given you my life, I know that you will repay me in this lifetime and not in the next.
Your humble servant and friend, Chai.

“Sung Hoon?”

“Aow(oh), Fawn. Go back to sleep.”

“I can’t. U know, I realize now that this is your baby because it’s been buggin me all
night,” I joked but Sung Hoon didn’t laugh. He was preoccupied with a letter, written in
what seemed to be dark red ink. “What is it,” I asked.

“It’s my missing servant, Chai. They found his body floating in the river,” Sung Hoon
replied holding up the piece of paper. “He left me a note. Apparently, he was working for
the American’s as a spy. The note was written in his blood. Evidently, German spies
tortured him into saying that I was the commanding officer of the CIA. And now, they’ve
gotten a spy into our house.” SungHoon, in frustration, crumpled the note and threw it
across the room . I could feel the blood flowing in my veins freeze. What if he knew,
would he kill me and his baby right here? I picked up the note and read it’s contents. I was relieved to find that the end only read:

P.S. A spy has penetrated your estate, get out ASAP.

“You can read English?”

Oh no, I’m busted. “Uh…. no, but it’s not a crime to look is it?”

Sung Hoon smiled. “If they jailed you, I’d bust you out no matter what crime you
committed,” he said with a sheepish grin.

“Lucky me,” I replied sarcastically. Inside I was saying, “Whew! He doesn’t suspect me.”

Then he explained the letter to me. All this time, he realized that my Thai was too formal
to be from the mountains, as I had claimed to be. I guess that’s why he’s a “City Boy!”I
smiled to myself at this joke.

“What,” Sung Hoon asked suspiciously.

“Hm, o nothing.”

“Ya, ya, ya,” he smiled at me. Then I turned to go to my bedroom, when ,suddenly, he
grabbed my hand. Sung Hoon got up from the table and stroked my hair. He smiled
sheepishly at my puzzled expression, but his smile faded.

“Are you happy with me,” he asked out of the blue.

I was surprised by the abrupt question. “What do you mean ‘with you’?”

“I mean,” he began as he pulled me onto his lap, “are you happy living here with me. Are
you happy that you’re having my baby, and not someone else’s baby?”

I didn’t want to tell him the truth. I didn’t want to say, “No, I hate you for giving me more
stress on this mission. Redriech will banish me from his life forever.” But I didn’t feel like
lying to him, either.

“Sung Hoon, I’ve never once thought that we were married for love. You said so
yourself.”

“Oh,” this was a scary answer coming from him. Usually he would tease me after having
answered his questions. This time he was silent after I answered him. This disturbed me. In that split second he seemed to have built a brick wall between us.

“Oi,” I twinged with pain.

“What, is something wrong,” Sung Hoon asked with fear in his eyes.

“Nothing, it’s just that your baby wants to come out. He’s been kicking me all day.”

“Can I see,” he asked with twinkling, puppy dog eyes.

I took his hand and put it on my swollen belly. Sung Hoon’s smile seemed to get larger
with every kick. He was so happy to be a father. I wished with all my heart that he was
Redriech. That it was Redriech who was happy to be the father of our child. Sung Hoon
laid his cheek against my belly and smiled.

“I love you,” he said to the baby. Then, he turned his head up to face me. His huge brown
eyes met with mine, and he said to me, “Fawn, I’m happy with you.”

Chapter 6
Sung Hoon’s words sent my head spinning. I couldn’t believe what he was telling me.
We’re enemies, I thought. This play has gone far enough. I was already pregnant, what
more did I need to do to keep my true identity on the down low? Besides, it was Sung
Hoon, himself, who had profess that he didn’t love me. That he only married me out of
guilt and duty.

“What do you mean,” I asked as my temper began to rise beyond my head.

“I mean, that life my life has changed because of you,” he replied. “Before you, I only had
to worry about me. Sure, I didn’t do all the crazy things most people think I have. But,
now that I have you, I have what money hasn’t bought me, happiness. I’m not gonna say
that I love you, don’t worry. I know you don’t love me. It’s just that, well….. you make
me happy. That’s all.”

I don’t know why, but his words struck my heart like a torpedo. Beads of tears streamed
down my face. No one has ever touched my heart in such a way before, not even
Redriech. Oh sure, Redriech would shower me with tender, loving, affection; but he’s
never told me that my mere presence made him happy.

“Did I say something wrong, Fawn?”

I couldn’t answer. How could I? What was I supposed to say? Was I supposed to say:
yes, everything you say is wrong; or yes, you jerk, you’ve ruined my life with Redriech; or yes, I hate you for getting me pregnant; or yes, you make me happy, too? I couldn’t tell
him anything, because everything that I should say would kill my mission. Everything in
my mind was a dead give away.

“Sung Hoonie….. I’ve been trained to make men happy, remember,” I tried to strengthen
my role.

“Ya, I know. But the past is the past. No matter what you past, or ur future is, you’re here
with me right now; and that’s all that matters to me.” Then he smiled at me, kissed me
good night, and headed to his room.

“Fawn ah, I don’t expect you to love me back.”

I looked at the floor. How can you do this to me?! Don’t you know that “I” am the
German spy in your house. “I” am the one who has turned in the plans of attack on your
house. Sung Hoon, you idiot. why did I have to care about you? So what if your the father
of my child! It’s too late– I’ve already sent the blue prints of your estate to Redriech, my
true husband………. God, forgive me.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
We were now in Bangkok, on a business trip. Sung Hoon had yet another mansion in
Bangkok. There was to be a BIG celebration for the birthday of Buddha tonight, and so I
was still in the kitchen packing some snacks for us, as if tonight would be just like any
other night. But it wouldn’t be. Tonight would be the night Redriech and our men would
raid Sung Hoon’s house, and take any important documents. Eight full months had passed, and yet it seemed as though no matter how hard we tried to tail him, or try entering the house, our efforts were fruitless. They had waited for this particular day, when we’d be out of the house to break in. Redriech had ordered me present to not be at the house to protect me and the baby from harm.

Strangely, I didn’t think Sung Hoon had ANYTHING in the house. I should know, I’ve
been searching through EVERYTHING for the past eight months! Then there is the issue
of Sung Hoon’s character. He was NOTHING like what I expected of a COMMANDING
officer. The man fainted at the news of his baby for Christ’s sake! He NEVER spoke
against the war. In fact, the only reason he was in Thailand was to make a profit off the
war! He sold weapons to rebel Thai forces against the Japanese. And when was
the last time anyone EVER heard of a CIA agent using a “Rose Plantation Owner” as a
cover? He was definitely an American citizen, I read his certificate. However nothing
seemed to add up. I had a horrible, gut feeling that Chai, Sung Hoon’s servant had lied to
us,for sure. If that were true, all our efforts would have been for nothing; and the REAL
CIA agent would be roaming out there somewhere, laughing at us perhaps.

I packed a lot of food. Hey we may be raiding the house tonight, and arresting Sung
Hoon, but this baby is craving food, and I’m not about to deny the little devil anything.
Suddenly, the baby gave me a hard kick. So hard, I feel to my knees.

“Oi, what’s wrong with you tonight,” I asked my baby. I wish this thing would come out
already. Aish maybe it was all these thoughts. Maybe my baby could sense my thoughts,
and was punishing me for it.

“Fawn? You ok, what’s wrong,” Sung Hoon asked as he walked in, and finding me on my
knees. Just looking at his sincere face made me shiver. Oi, Sung Hoon, so many things I
want to tell you. I wish I could just tell you everything. Help you escape tonight, before
Redriech comes to get us.

“No. I’m fine. It’s just that your baby is bitching at me for not feeding him, yet.”

“Hm,” he smiled. Then, without warning, his smile quickly faded. Sung Hoon grabbed my
arm and lead me to his bedroom. I became frightened something was up, something that
might ruin Redriech’s raid.

“Sung Hoon what are you doing,” I asked as he locked the door. My face was whitened
by fear that he might be drunk.

“Fawn,” he whispered. “Listen, I’ve asked my friend, Ji Won, to get Chai’s wife and baby
outta here tonight. When we get to the river, stay close to me. Ji Won’s a commanding
officer of the CIA in Thailand, so there might be Germans following us around…”

“WHAT?! But I thought… didn’t Chai say that you were the commanding officer,” I cut
him before he could finish telling me the plan.

“What,” he asked, confusion written all over his face.

“The letter. Didn’t Chai say that you were the…..”

“No,” he answered before I could finish. “I’m the guy who sells the CIA guns. Ji Won is
the guy who works for me. He gets me the connections in the CIA. That’s why Chai told
those fucken bastards that I was the commanding officer. I don’t have diddley on the CIA
stuff, Ji Won does.” Then he went on telling me the plan., but I didn’t hear a word.

I couldn’t hear anything. My mind was overwhelmed with confusion, and panic. ALL
THIS FOR NOTHING! I WAS PREGNANT FOR NOTHING! JI WON?! JI WON?!
FUCKEN SHIT IT WAS JI WON?! The room seemed to be spinning like crazy. It
seemed like my heart was pounding faster and faster, until I lost my balance fell to my
knees. Luckily, Sung Hoon caught me before I could hit the floor.

“FAWN, are you all right?”

“Ya, I just…. I just…. Sung Hoon, I’m not what you think I am,” I need to tell him the
truth. This would be his only chance to escape Redriech. I couldn’t let Redriech arrest and torture him. He knew NOTHING about the CIA. How could I have been so STOOPID?!
Of course Sung Hoon wasn’t a CIA agent, he was such a dunce! Worst of all, he was a
dunce who loved me. But, there was no time for that, I had to get him out tonight. This is
his only chance to escape, I have to tell him everything. Tell him to leave me, and go with
Chai’s family to Singapore– escape Redriech.

“Fawn,” Sung Hoon didn’t seem to want to listen to me. “Listen, whatever you did, I
don’t care! We HAVE to get Chai’s family outta here with Ji Won. He’s leaving on the
boat TONIGHT! And I want YOU to leave with them…….”

“NO!” I shouted in protest as I released myself from his grasp. If anyone was to stay
behind, it would be me. “Sung Hoon, listen to me. YOU have to leave with Ji Won. The
Germans are gonna…….”

“Fawn, I don’t’ wanna hear it! I don’t care what the hell Germans want from me or Ji
Won,” he shouted, cutting me before I could tell him Redriech was only minutes away.

“Fawn, listen. LISTEN!” Sung Hoon grabbed my shoulders firmly, getting my full
attention.

“Fawn, I love you. If you stay here, you’ll die with me. I know you don’t love me. But, I
am BEGGING you to at least love my baby. I know you don’t want it because it’s mine,
but that’s all I ask of you. I already packed your things, so don’t.”

“You planned this, didn’t you?!” I shouted angrily.

“Yes! Months ago!”

I looked at him in shock. MONTHS? How did he know? What ELSE did he already
know? I had never seen him act like this before. He was so focused, and determined to get me out. He was acting like….. like… a commanding officer. I couldn’t speak, all I could do was look at him– confusion beaming from my eyes.

Sung Hoon didn’t wait for me to protest again. He opened the door, and rushed to get my
things from my room. He came out with a suit case. He and Ji Won had already prepared
other things, in trunks, on the boat. This night, Thailand was to announce it had signed a
treaty with Japan as well as declare war on the U.S. An action putting American Spies like
Ji Won, an officer, in danger . Sung Hoon would stay on to continue the smuggling of
weapons into the mountains, or so he thought.

I had to find a way to make him leave before Redriech got him. So I decided I would
knock him out at the docks, and put him on the boat when the time came to board. I,
would have to stay behind. After all, I wasn’t his wife, I was Redriech’s wife.
Not a day goes by that I remind myself that I am not Mrs. Kang Soi Fawn; I am Frau
Yeon In Von Borge. Sorry, Redriech, but this mission was mistake, and I can’t let you
hurt Sung Hoon for having a back up plan just in case one of his associates got caught.
Sung Hoon had been willing to take the heat, to save his friends, his business, and the CIA by sacrificing himself. How, then could I let him down?
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“Sung Hoon, you made it. Thank God.” Ji Won was worried that we’d had been captured.
Chai’s wife and baby were already on the boat waiting for me.

“Come on Fawn,” Ji Won said, extending his hand to me. I realized this was it, my one
chance to save Sung Hoon. There’s no turning back now. My heart ached to see him go.
More than anything, at that moment, I wanted to go with him, but I knew I couldn’t. This
was his escape, not mine. I knew that he had packed valuable gold and jewels somewhere in the trunks, so he’d be all right. Besides, he had bank accounts all over the world.

“All right”, I said to myself. “This is it.” I prepared myself to knock him unconscious,
believing Ji Won would have to take him as I ran off.

“HI YA!” Sung Hoon had been looking at Ji Won, so I quickly threw him over my
shoulder, and knocked him out with a single blow.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING,” Ji Won shouted. He rushed to Sung Hoon, who was laying
on the foot of the stairs toward the ship.

“You haven’t got any time,” I explained to Ji Won. “The Germans are out to get Sung
Hoon, tonight. We didn’t know that you were the real guy we were after. Get Sung Hoon
and Chai’s family outta here before it’s too late.”

“We? Your…”

“Yes; Ji Won, I’M your enemy. Now get Sung Hoon on the FREAKIN BOAT!” With that
Ji Won obeyed and put Sung Hoon’s arm around his shoulders.

“YEON IN!”

“Omigod, it’s Redriech. THEY’RE HERE! HURRY, JI WON!” I pushed him onto the
stairs in a frantic attempt to get them on the ship, but it was too late. The agents grabbed
Sung Hoon’s back and tackled Ji Won. I couldn’t stop them, my swollen belly was too
much weight for me to bust my Tae Kwan Do moves. Desperately, I tried to get the
agents off of Ji Won. I wasn’t careful enough; and without warning, an agent pushed me
back, causing me to land on my side with a big thump. But I didn’t have time to realize
how painful the fall was. I had to save Ji Won, he was the only one who could help Chai’s
family escape. He had already sacrificed so much for Sung Hoon and me.

Although I couldn’t kick the agents, I still could knock them out with my fists. Ji Won
was about to receive a blow from an agent, when I quickly WHACKED the agent’s neck
with my hand– instantly knocking him out. That was good enough for Ji Won. He
struggled his way free, and was about grab for Sung Hoon, when one of the Thai
American agents on the ship rushed to pull his commanding officer American agent tightly held on , and dragged Ji Won onto the boat, just as the engine started and the boat sped off.

“SUNG HOON! FAWN! NOOOOOOO!”

Chapter 7
“Good work Agent Von Borge,” Redriech patted me on the back, as he and the other
agents carried Sung Hoon off to our underground headquarters. “These are those little
words that I had suffered all this time for?” I asked myself. Those five words that should
have filled my heart with utter joy and immense pride. Five little words, that now only
meant betraying Sung Hoon. He had not boarded the boat, as planned. Ji Won had been
forced to leave without him, and that only meant death for Sung Hoon.

Death. The word caused my blood to turn cold. My heart began to pound faster and
louder with every breath. How far could I let this go on? Sung Hoon is the father of my
child, but Redriech is my life. Without Redriech, I have no meaning. He is everything to
me. SO WHY THE HELL am I worried about Sung Hoon?! He’s nothing to me. A
scapegoat in our mission for the greater good of Germany. All my life I wanted to belong
to this country, to make Redriech a part of history. These were my goals in life, I didn’t
need anything or anyone else. Hadn’t I suffered enough to get Redriech, to just all of
sudden leave him for Sung Hoon? Leave for Sung Hoon?! PU HA! HELL NO! Why in
the hell did I EVEN ask myself that?! I didn’t get disowned by my parents, have other
Germans spit at Redriech, lose my Korean citizenship, for nothing. Everything I have
ever done is for Redriech; even getting pregnant with Sung Hoon’s baby. That was a
mishap from the mission, but I am willing to suffer it all for Redriech, because he’s
suffered the same, and for what……… for me. I love him. Yes, I love Redriech. So why am
I here in the car WITH REDRIECH, and worried like crazy about Sung Hoon?
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
“Sir the other car is going wild,” Commander Redkoff reported from the front seat.

“What?” Redriech and I both turned our heads to look at the car tailgating us. Sung Hoon
must have gained consciousness, and realized the Germans had captured him. My heart
beat fast with fear and guilt.

The car looked as if it would topple on its side. Sung Hoon and the driver, Commander
Frederick, were struggling for the wheel. Turning the car left then right, smashing into
peddler carts along the sidewalks. Our driver pulled to the side, seeing that the car behind us was accelerating up to our car way too close for comfort. The car sped right past us, leaving a cloud of steam from the balding tires. Finally, Sung Hoon knocked Commander Frederick out with a hard blow to his head. The car tilted and landed on it’s left side. Sparks furiously flew everywhere as the car kept on sliding down the street. Finally, it slid to the VERY edge of the river, and almost tipped off into the river. There was a squeak with every little inch that the car was tipping off the edge, it looked like a really scary see-saw. Luckily the back was too heavy for the front and the see-sawing finally ended– must have been all the ammunition in the trunk.

After the car finally stopped, we rushed to save the other agents and seize Sung Hoon,
before he could escape. Even though I was eight months pregnant, I, somehow, reached
Sung Hoon before anyone else.

“Sung Hoon?! Sung Hoon…..” I tried desperately to find him under the heap of agents.
Finally I found him crumpled up in the corner of the car. Thank god he was still breathing, but his arms and legs were covered in blood. Using every bit of strength in me, I pulled him out and held his head up close to me so he could breathe properly. He was still unconscious, my only concern was that he was alive.

“Yeon In, come on…. before the car blows up,” Redriech commanded. I didn’t have time
to think about what the situation must have looked like, all I cared about was getting Sung Hoon out of the area. Redriech helped me up and we walked towards the bridge. Luckily, the car didn’t blow up, so our presence didn’t cause much of a scene. Everyone was at the other end of the river, in the city. We had rushed into the forest, we’d have to walk to the head quarters now, or so I thought.

Redriech, it would seem was restless. He knew that the ship which had sailed off was
probably on it’s way to Singapore; and would more than likely reestablish connections to
the US through Malaysia; making our entire mission an absolute failure. Redriech was
reasonably upset by this defeat. Sung Hoon had gained consciousness now, but was still
too weak to walk on his own. So he leaned on me, as we walked on to headquarters. All
the while, I couldn’t face him.

The only reason he was caught was because of me. If I had never accepted this STUPID
mission, he would have been tailed and taken care of earlier. Now, not only was his
business over, all his possessions forfeit, but his life was in danger. And I was to blame for all of it! Was it betrayal, though? I married Redriech first, he was my first love, my first kiss, my true husband under the eyes of God. I know now, there’s hell to pay for my sins, and I’m that in this war I am losing party to this war.

Redriech suddenly grabbed Sung Hoon’s arm and thrust him against the trees.

“Sung Hoon!” I rushed to help him up, but Redriech caught me before I could reach him.
“Redriech, you don’t understand…..”

“Yeon In, stay back,” he commanded. I wanted to obey, it was my duty to obey my
commanding officer, but my legs wouldn’t budge. Blood flooded my heart, and it began to beat loudly. I was so scared that he would kill Sung Hoon right there. My mouth wouldn’t open to say yes, or no– I just stood there telling Redriech, “No,” with my eyes.

“That’s an ORDER Agent Von Borge!” With that, I backed away in fear and heartache.
Redriech kicked Sung Hoon’s side causing him to spit blood into Redriech’s face.

“UGH!” Redriech moved back and wiped his face. Then his face darkened with hate.

“Well, Mr. Kang, you’ve just cost me my ENTIRE mission…..”

“Good,” Sung Hoon muttered under his smirk. That only angered Redriech who swung
and punched Sung Hoon’s face. At that I leaped to resucue Sung Hoon. He was so
helpless, how could Redriech bully him like this? He isn’t even the one who caused
Redriech’s defeat. Sung Hoon was just the voluntary scapegoat, the guy to take the fall
for the CIA. Who told Redriech to be so stupid as to believe Chai?

“Stop,” I shouted as I put my arms around Sung Hoon, shielding him from Redriech’s
wrath. I was facing Redriech, as I held Sung Hoon tightly. “He’s not the one we want.
He’s not the commander…….”

“Yeon In get out of the way!”

“NO! I can’t let you hurt him, he’s not…..” I was trying to explain everything. Give him Ji
Won’s name, the location of the rebels, but he just wouldn’t let me talk.

“So, now your protecting HIM?!” Redriech shouted in frustration. “O, I see. You can’t
bare to see your LOVER in pain,” he asked in a low, mocking tone of voice.

“That’s not it…… He’s not……..”

“Your supposed to be MY WIFE? HA! Look at you! No wonder you wanted to go on
this mission so bad, you cheating slut. I thought I could depend on you, trust you to do
the job right. All you do is save his agents, and destroy my mission. Did you really think
you could play me?! Huh?! Well?!” Redriech asked, throwing his arms in the air.

His words sent my head spinning. All my efforts, all my suffering for HIM! And this is
how it ends? I couldn’t believe it. I CHEATED ON HIM? Suddenly fulfilling a mission
makes me a SLUT? My heart bled tears thicker than blood. I, who had sacrificed even
myself for HIS sake, was now in the wrong. All this time, he was lying to me, telling me
that he didn’t care about my being pregnant. That the war was not ours, that our love
would never be cut by ANYTHING. Liar. You fucken liar.

“Redriech, I will not let you harm him, he’s innocent……” I said in a low voice, contempt
for him started to fill my mind.

“Innocent? Is that your excuse, you adulterous whore? How many innocent men have you seduced and killed for information. You, the supposedly top German agent, is telling me that I should spare your lover’s life because he’s so stupid and blind that he doesn’t know SHIT about the CIA? ARE YOU BLIND? You, his wife, of all people should have
KNOWN that he was SELLING weapons to the CIA. Did you really think that he is a
millionaire because he raises the best roses in the world? Come on Yeon In. How blind can you be? Is this the best product of the Royal University of Berlin,” Redriech reorted
mockingly, as he turned to his comrades who all laughed.

My face darkened with hate and contempt for all the monsters I saw before me. And now, I saw them for who they where. These people, for whom I had held in so high esteem, were nothing more than what I had run away from. They were all narrow-minded, self- righteous SOBs, who preyed off others, claiming that it was for the cause of the good, but it wasn’t true. They only filled their pockets with the blood money of others. They believed in only one cause, themselves. Oh sure they were cultured and highly educated, but that had done nothing to make them respectable human beings. At that moment, I discovered what kind of man I had married, merciless.

All my memories of our love was nothing more than my own fabrication of the truth. All
his words from that moment to the day we first met, suddenly became a solved puzzle. I
was nothing more than a trophy, an exotic fish he had captured. All the suffering we went through was nothing more than a challenge he could brag about with his friends. And his affection and loving little ways, nothing but games, tricks he could brag about to his friends; how his smooth ways could keep me forever in check . All these revelations only made my heart harden with hate towards the man I once believed I loved. I know now that no one has EVER loved me as much as Sung Hoon. To him, I wasn’t a trophy he had bought at the local brothel, I was his wife. It was gonna be a cold day in hell, before I let Redriech touch a hair on Sung Hoon’s head. I didn’t budge. I didn’t speak. I stood firmly in my place, defying Redriech.

“Yeon In, get out of the way. He IS our man. Don’t be blinded by your feelings for him. I
know that you love Germany too much to betray her for America.” Redriech, being the sly ass that he was, knew me inside out. But, he DIDN’T know that Sung Hoon wasn’t our
man. Redriech didn’t realize that Ji Won was the man we’d been after ALL this time. But,
Redriech wouldn’t listen. No, I’m not gonna betray Sung Hoon this time. Maybe I can’t
take back all the wrong things I have done to you, Sung Hoon, but this time I know who I
love, you. And, never again will I betray you.

“Yeon In, I’m am asking you to get out of the way, husband to wife. I don’t want to have
to detain you for disobeying a direct order…..”

“Then do it! I’m not your wife. If all I am to you is a cheating whore, then our marriage
never existed.” I shouted back in defiance. Redriech seemed surprised. I NEVER raised
my voice to him before. I never told him “no” or denied him anything, even forgiveness.
My words seemed to have struck his heart because his expression wasn’t one of irritation, but more of hurt.

“Frau Von Borge, please, Sung Hoon is far from innocent,” Commander Redkoff tried to
intervene.

“How do you know,” I asked bitterly. “Have you slept in his bed, ate of his food, lived in
his house? You’re right about one thing Redriech, as HIS wife, I have learned a lot about
his activities. Yes, he is the middle man for guns to the rebels, but to believe him to be the
commanding officer of the CIA is laughable!”

“Hey,” Sung Hoon moaned weakly, having been insulted.

“Sorry,” I apologized stiffly. He was so badly beaten and tired, he had been leaning against at tree.

“Yeon In, I will have no more of this, get out of the way so that we can detain the
prisoner and interrogate him for information. I don’t care who he is anymore, all I know is that he has information, and that’s what we here to do, get information at all costs,”
Redriech said, as if I had no sense of duty. But I didn’t budge. I was surrounded by the
agents now, with no hope for escape. I couldn’t do anything, but stand there, ready to
protect us both. I wasn’t asking them to not ask, just not beat him to death. But even
that, it would seem, was not acceptable. Redriech grabbed my arm, trying to pry me from
my hold on Sung Hoon. The other men tried to do the same, but I wouldn’t let go of my
hold. Finally, Heir Stragoff pulled me away from Sung Hoon and swung me to the ground.

“YOU FOOL! BE CAREFUL!” Redriech shouted at Stragoff angrily, then gave him a
black eye for having swung me. Redriech rushed to my side and held me up. Making sure
nothing was wrong with the baby.

Sung Hoon struggled against the other agents in vain– he was still too weak from the car
crash to fight. I cried out to them, ordering them to stop, but they wouldn’t listen. Blow
after blow, they punched and kicked him until he had ceased to struggle, or move. I
wanted get up and rush to save him, but I couldn’t move, it was too painful. My stomach
suddenly blazed with unimaginable pain, and my eyes shot open with fear. My baby.

Chapter 8 (Final)
The pain from my abdomen was unbearable. It was as if someone had driven a steel toe
boot into my back, and left it there to dangle. My once soft, swollen belly was now as hard as stone. I wanted to move, hold the place that hurt, but it was so painful that I couldn’t even move my arms. The worst feeling, however; did not come from my back but from in between my legs. I could feel a warm liquid rushing down my legs. In my mind, I was praying that it only be water and not blood. But when I looked at my hand to see what color the liquid was, to my horror, it was blood.

“Sung Hoon,” I cried out. Our baby. Dear Lord, please don’t take my baby without me, I
prayed silently. How unfair heaven was to have brought our family together for only such a short time. My true love, would not only lose his life, but now his only child as well. God, I asked myself, how can you be so cruel?! My tears turned to blood as I cried and moaned in pain.

“Yeon In,” I heard Redriech call my name. He had laid my head on his lap as he held my
hand. His tears dropped from his face and feel onto mine. “Yeon In. God forgive me, I’m
so sorry…..So sorry.” He kept repeating his regret as he held my blood stained hand.
I was still angry at him, but he was so sincere, and I didn’t have the strength to push him
aside, anyways; so I let him hold me. I had never seen him cry so hard, except for the day
that he had found me beaten and bruised from my father’s whip. And I knew he would
never cry unless his heart could no longer hide the pain that raged on inside of him. My
love for him had died when he had hurt me with his words of contempt and hate for me. I felt so used, so betrayed. I had suffered all this for him and him alone, only to have him
dismiss my devotion as an act of adultery. My heart filled with hate and love for this man, my husband, Redriech.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
The last thing I could remember was Sung Hoon’s face covered in blood, as I awoke to
find myself in a hospital bed. Fear raced through my head, where was I and what had
happened to my Sung Hoon?

“Yeon In,” Redriech called from the door way. I didn’t want to look at him. Because of
him, I lost everything dear to me- Sung Hoon…. my baby. With that thought, my heart
filled with great loss and I began to cry. “Yeon In,” he whispered again as I turned my
head away from him.

“Honey, I’m sorry. I never mean to say those words. It’s just that…. I hate him, if I had
never let you on this mission, you’d have my son and not his.”

“Son,” I turned to him. “it was a boy?” Why did it have to be a son? A son to carry Sung
Hoon’s legacy, his last name.

“Yes, Sung Hoon’s a very lucky man to have such a beautiful son, as beautiful as his
wife.”

“What do you mean,” I asked as my heart began to pound with excitement. Did he mean
Sung Hoon was alive? I hoped with all my heart he had, somehow, miraculously escaped
Redriech’s claws.

Redriech looked away. “Yes, Yeon In, your husband lives. But, not for long. I’ve been
ordered to execute him.”

“Sung Hoon’s alive,” I whispered with a smile. He’s alive to see his son. Oh, my Sung
Hoon…. this will be our last kiss goodnight. I won’t let you down this time, I’ll love you
forever. My heart raced with joy as I resolved to commit suicide next to him in prison,
with our son.

“Redriech let me see him one more time, at least let me show him our son.” I was so
happy, I didn’t notice how my joy tormented Redriech so. His eyes filled with tears as he
tried several times to utter something to me.

“Yeon Inie ah,” he said finally.

“It’s Soi Fawn,” I corrected him abruptly. But he only looked at the floor.

“Yeon Inie ah, You really love him don’t you?”

“Why wouldn’t I love him? You said so yourself,” I darted at him. My words sent a
piercing harpoon through his heart that caused him to shudder.

“Yeon In, you’re not going to forgive me are you?”

“What do you think,” I asked dryly. I looked away from his tear stained face.

“So all my suffering was for nothing then? All the beatings from your father, all the
discrimination I suffered for you…..”

“You’ve suffered,” I asked in disbelief. “So now YOU’RE the one who’s suffered great
animosities for ME?! What the HELL do you know about SUFFERING?!” My hands
began to shake with hate for him. How could he twist this all around, had he NO
CONSCIENCE or any kind?

“I who have suffered more than ANY INTELLIGENT WOMAN IN HER RIGHT MIND
would have suffered for who? No, not for herself but for her SO-CALLED husband. A
self righteous bastard…. I was only a pawn in your quest for success, wasn’t’ I?!”

“What are you talking about? I LOVE YOU! I did all this for you! You wanted to go on
this mission, you….” Redriech tried to speak, but I cut him off before he could point his
finger at me anymore.

“Love?! PUHA! LOVE? If you call love using me for ur own purpose and then blame me
for suffering for your future as a general, love then I take it back!”

“Yeon In, I never wanted to be a general, and you know that. I know I was wrong to have
said all those things the other night, but I was… I was jealous ok?!” He got up from the
side of the bed, and turned away from me. “We’ve never argued before. You’ve changed
so much. You’re not the sweet and innocent girl I love.”

“YOU ASSHOLE! I HATE YOU! I DEVOTED MYSELF TO YOU! I risked my life for
you, everything I have ever done was for you and you alone! How can you put this all on
me? I was so blind not to see that you didn’t give a rat’s ass about me,” I shouted through
my burning tears. He just couldn’t see it, all that I had done for him. All my suffering for
him. He just couldn’t see it. I was sick of arguing with him, he was so blind. “I don’t want
to argue with you anymore, just let me take my son to see Sung Hoon.”

“Yeon In,” suddenly he rushed to my bedside and grabbed my hand. “I don’t want to lose
you now or ever. I don’t care if you love him, or if he is the father or ur baby. I married
you because I love you, not because I could use you for whatever u think it is I’m using u
for. This mission was a mistake, one that drove me crazy to think about u with HIM. But
don’t you see that? I’m crazy because of you.” He held onto my hand tightly as his tears
dropped onto my fingers.

“Liar,” I said in a low, and cold voice. My heart had died that night he had showed me his
true self. It was too late, nothing he said or did would ever make me go back to him. Then
it hit me, why would Sung Hoon forgive me? If I can’t forgive Redriech, what makes me
so sure Sung Hoon would ever forgive me? Suddenly my heart began to despair and I
grabbed it as pain pierced through my chest.

“Yeon In?!”

“I’m fine. Just…. just go away, Redriech. I hate you.”

“Fine, I know you only want to see HIM. But just remember that when he calls you names worse than me, and he tells you he hates you for your lies; I’ll be there to make sure he understands it’s all my fault. I know you love him, just promise me you won’t kill yourself when you get to see him,” he pleaded on his knees. You’ve lied to me so many times, I thought to myself. Why shouldn’t I lie to him now? So I nodded in agreement, even though my plans were to disobey him.

“No, Yeon In, I’m serious. If he really loved you, he’d forgive you.” Damn you Redriech,
I shouted in my head. He’s right though– if I really loved him, I would forgive him, too.

“But what if it just hurts too much,” I asked sincerely.

“When you really love someone, you don’t see anything but their virtues. I know that
now. Love hurts, no,” he asked me.

“Yes, very much so. ”
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Before Redriech opened the door, he warned me of my time limit. There was no way he’d
let me kill myself. And I knew he was right. Sung Hoon’s son needed to live out his life
for his father. And I needed to live out my love and punishment for Sung Hoon.

The newborn baby was all bundled up in blue sheets. I just hope that he loves you as much as I do, I said to him in silence. I began to fear that Sung Hoon would kill me the moment he laid eyes on me. Why wouldn’t he kill me? I would have. But everything was too late, just like me, always too late to live, to love. Now was my last chance to tell him just how much I loved him, my true love, Sung Hoon.

The door creaked open, and I began to take deeper breaths. My knees trembled with fear, and anticipation.

“Fawn!” Sung Hoon grabbed me and hugged me tightly. He could always melt my fears
away so easily. But, I had not anticipated his total acceptance of me. He did TRULY love
me, no matter what I did.

“Sung Hoon,” I fell to my knees overwhelmed with regret and sorrow. “I’m so sorry. I…
I….. just…..”

“Sh. Don’t let the tears fall anymore. Let this be the last time we cry, ok,” he said as he
helped me up. Then he realized there was something strange in my arms. “AH! Is it….. my
baby?”

“Our baby, Sung Hoon,” I corrected him smiling. “Our baby.”

“You mean, you don’t mind that it’s mine and not your real husband’s baby?”

“Sung Hoon, you are my real husband,” I replied.

“No,” he said looking away. “You love him, I know you do. I could see it in your eyes all
those times you let me get close to you. I can never take his place. And now, it would
seem that this play we live has come to a happy ending. You can go back to being…….”

“Sung Hoon, please don’t,” I pressed my finger against his lips. “I love you. Yes, I’ll
always love Redriech, but, you see, he’s my first love. How do you forget that? Have you
forgotten your first love? And don’t lie and say it’s me.”

“I guess you’re right,” he chuckled. I leaned against his shoulder as he held our son.

“Well, what did you name him?”

“Oh my gosh, I totally forgot about a name. I didn’t even prepare one!” I looked at him in
dismay.

“Why dont’ we call him Hee Mahng (Hope) then? He’s my hope for a world without hate.
Some paradise that doesn’t make enemies out of lovers.” Sung Hoon looked at me then he looked at his son and watched a tear fall onto Hee Mahng’s face. My heart shattered like broken glass. If I had never gone on this mission, he wouldn’t be here. How could he love me?

“Sung Hoon,” suddenly an odd thought occurred to me. “What did you mean when you
said that you had known about Redriech’s plans to raid your house months before hand?”

“O that,” he began as he wiped away the tears. “Well remember when Chai left me that
note? ~ I shook my head yes~ Well at the end it said, ASAP meaning A Surprise Attack
Planned– not as soon as possible. because he would have said get out OTD- On The
Double. We used to make up abbreviations when we were small. Chai was half brother,
but my father never married his mother. Instead he raped my mother, and married her for money. She went crazy and killed herself. I ran away when I was 16 and then I found Chai by luck and bought his sister out slavery. After that he pledged to be my servant. Then there was Eun Ji Won. Ji Won had run into a lot of trouble when I first met him, he was in great debt to some warlords in China before the war. We used the Red Sky Room to meet up with the rebels and sell them weapons. The hookers, you see, were the rebels spies. Ji Won was trying to buy his girlfriend back from slave traders, that’s why he was in debt, and she was there at the Red Sky Room. So when I helped pay for her freedom, in full, he said he owed me his life. I told him my dislike for hookers, my father always had some laying about the house, so Ji Won protected me from the others who would try to bed me. I guess he was too busy that night that we…. well you know….. we….. you know…..”

“Sung Hoon, don’t you hate me? I was… no, I AM the German spy that destroyed your
life,” I looked longingly into his eyes. I had to know why, why did he love me still. “Why
don’t you lash out at me with anger?”

“Fawn… I always knew it was you.” .

“How….” utterly shocked and surprised by his answer, I began to cry even harder than
before.

“When Chai asked me to send his wife to Singapore. Chai doesn’t have a wife. That was
his sister, she was pregnant from one of her clients….”

“That’s why you said you didn’t care what my past or my future was, wasn’t it?”

“Yes,” he replied holding my hand as well as the baby. “I loved you from the day you
walked into my house. I saw you standing there, as if in a dream. You looked like you
belonged in a missing piece of the painting. I knew you would never love me, how could
you, a man who had bought you out of duty. Because he totally understood the duties of
honor and responsibility. Our marriage has always been, to me, the best thing to have ever happened to me. I loved you because you made me happy. All I had to do was think about you and I would smile for hours. How could I be angry with you? When I realized it was you the Germans had sent, I could do nothing but cry at night. How do you not forgive the only good thing in your sad life?”

“Yeon In? Time’s up,” Redriech called from behind the door’s opening. I knew He didn’t
want to look into the prison cell to see me cry for Sung Hoon.

“Fawn, listen to me,” Sung Hoon became excited all of sudden and he held onto my hand.

“Just a minute, Redriech, don’t worry, I won’t do anything stupid,” I reassured Redriech
as I listened to what would be Sung Hoon’s last words to me.

“A while back I wrote to my buddies, who helps get me the guns, pirates known as the
VierKies (4kies). They’ll be waiting for you on the docks tomorrow at 9 am. Don’t
worry, they’re like brothers to me so they’ll take care of you. The leader is Lee Jae Jin, he
and the others – Go Ji Yong, Kim Jae Duc, and Jang Su Won- are all good guys. Promise
me you’ll take Hee Mahng and leave this place for good….”

“NO! I WON’T LEAVE YOU! Not when I FINALLY realize how much I love you. I
can’t go on without you!” I couldn’t hold it any longer. My emotions got the better of me
and I fell to my knees. I couldn’t bare to let him go. I held onto his leg and cried my heart
out. I couldn’t leave knowing that he would be executed because of me.

“Yeon In,” surprised that he called me by my real name I looked into his eyes. “It was fate
that brought us together, not some stupid mistake mission. You are my soul mate, I knew
it the first time I saw your face, because that was the last I saw of my heart.”

“Why, Sung Hoon?! Why force me away when I can’t go on without you?”

“Because I won’t be here for long, at least this way I can keep you forever, in another
place other than in my heart.” At those words a tear fell from my eyes and dropped into
his hands. I laid my last kiss on his lips and then his hands, where my tear had fallen so that he could keep my kiss in his heart and in his hands.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Although it was 9 in the morning, the sun had run away, or so it would seem. I had
decided to leave Redriech and follow Sung Hoon’s wishes. I didn’t leave because I hated
Redriech, but because my whole heart and soul was Sung Hoon’s from the first moment
we met. I have always devoted myself to the one I loved, this time, the one I love devoted
himself to me.

As the boat pulled away into the horizon, I looked at Bangkok for the last time ever. This
had been my dreamland, and Sung Hoon, my dream lover. As I looked on a tear dropped
from my eyes and fell onto my Hee Mahng. Suddenly, Hee Mahng awoke and began to
cry. I could hear a shot ring from the mountains, and I knew Sung Hoon was watching
over our boat.

I could see Sung Hoon’s face in the red sky, and I whispered to him, “Sung Hoon, I’ll
keep you forever, too.”

Birthday Blues by: SHforever

bday blues.jpg

  • a Suwon & Jaejin short story
  • completed

No one remembered what day it was today. It was like every other day, with my parents buried in their newspapers at the breakfast table, each in their own little worlds. They didnt say anything to me as they both left for work.

Jiyong called to make sure I was coming over later. He wanted me to see the new car that his father had bought him for his birthday, which was two weeks ago. No one ever forgot about him no, not Mr. Rich and Popular. Everyone at school had turned up for his big bash, overshadowing anything I ever had or ever would.

Okay, so I was slightly bitter. Was it asking too much that I get the spotlight one day a year? Just because I was on the quiet side didnt mean that I was invisible, did it? I was tired of always being in the background, taken for granted.

I didnt go over to Jiyongs. I went to a bar instead, and got drunk. There, I propositioned a male prostitute.

I usually dont do guys, he said matter-of-factly.

Usually? I repeated.

Yeah, well, if the price is right He shrugged, leaning back on the vinyl seat.

I took out of my pocket the money I had withdrawn from the bank earlier on. It was the money I had been saving towards a car. Nothing new and fancy, like Jiyongs without a doubt was, but my daddy wasnt a rich businessman who was going to hand me everything on a silver platter.

He eyed the money, hesitating for the briefest moment before taking it. After all, he was in the business for profit, not pleasure. I gulped down the last of my drink before getting up.

I had trouble focusing my eyes and stumbled over my own feet. His arms went around me, steadying me.

You must have a lot to be sorrowful for today, he commented dryly, leading me out.

Yeah, I do, I slurred. Its my birthday.

**********

We went to a hotel at his direction. He told me his name was Jaejin. I told him mine was Jiyong.

He was very good at his job. I watched as he did a strip-tease for me, moving his muscular body erotically to the music that flowed from the stereo. He stripped down to his boxers, but didnt take them off. He knelt in front of me instead, pulling down my pants to give me a blowjob.

After he was done, I zipped up my pants and got ready to leave. With his rates, that was all I could afford.

Wait, he called after me, making me pause.

I lifted my eyebrows at him, waiting.

Since its your birthday, how about a freebie?

Surprised, but not unwilling, I returned to him. I had no sexual experience, but he had enough for the both of us. It was pure ecstasy as he expertly touched me in the right spots and made me feel unimaginably good. No wonder he charged so much he really knew what he was doing.

I woke up at the crack of dawn the next morning, my head aching and my body sore. I picked up my clothes from the floor and dressed quickly, planning to leave before he awoke. But spotting his wallet, I was overcome by curiosity. I flipped it open, searching for his drivers license.

Huh what do you know his name really was Jaejin. Why he would tell me his real name was a complete mystery. He was only a year older than me, too a fact which shocked me. It was hard to believe that such a young person could seem so mature and independent.

Thoughtfully, I snapped the wallet back shut and placed it on the nightstand. Then, I stood there, just drinking in his sleeping figure, wanting to remember every detail. He was smiling slightly as he rolled over and hugged the spot where I had laid just minutes before. He looked so pure and innocent like that untouched by the world.

What drove him to sell his body for money? He was worth more than that. I felt slightly ashamed at how spoiled I had been acting about a forgotten birthday, when my life was pretty good in most other aspects. It was funny the lessons you learned in life they came from the strangest sources.

Here was a complete stranger who would be considered dirty or amoral by the decent people. But he saw another human being in pain and made me feel better, asking for nothing in return. He could have let me go without any qualms to his conscience, but he didnt. Its hard to find altruism like that in this world, where everyone is too busy taking care of his own needs.

He had no idea of the impact he had on me.

I leaned over and breathed in his sweet scent, closing my eyes. I felt warmth radiating from him as he continued to sleep, so peaceful and calm. Smiling, I moved closer until I was nuzzling his baby-soft skin with my own cheek.

Thank you, Lee Jaejin, I whispered, stroking his dark hair. Youve made this the best birthday ever.

I kissed him lightly, careful not to wake him, then left. I staggered home and was trying unsuccessfully to unlock my door when it flung open on its own.

Where were you, Suwon? I was worried sick. I brushed past Jiyong without a word and headed straight for bed. He followed me, sitting on the edge of my bed.

You were gone all night! And without telling anyone! he continued. I took a closer look at him. His eyes were bloodshot and he did look fatigued.

Sorry, Jiyong, I yawned, relenting. I just needed some time for myself.

You were supposed to come over, he accused, folding his arms across his chest.

Ill see your car some other time. Just go away, I mumbled. I still had a hangover, and all I wanted to do was sleep it off.

I dont care about that, you dummy. I had a surprise birthday party planned for you!

You did?

Yes I did you really think I would forget about your birthday? Chi and I even hired a stripper for you, too, he said excitedly.

Mustve been real fun.

You could show a bit more enthusiasm. She was pretty hot.

Im sure she was.

You wouldve had the best time. That is, if you had just come, he griped, rapidly switching between eagerness and whining. I smiled to myself, recalling my own night.

I bought all of your favorite food, including that cake you like with the miniature fruits. I had to drive two hours to get that. And I blew up so many balloons, I thought I was going to die from asphyxiation. Hey, you missed Jaeduk hyung break-dancing with his Quiksilver group. It was so cool. Oh, and Jiwon and Sunghoon got into yet another argument about who was more of the lady-killer, he chattered on, filling me in.

And Jiwon got so mad when the girl they both hit on chose Sunghoon that he picked him up and chucked him into the pool. Then, he realized that he had lent Sunghoon his silk shirt, which was ruined by the water. That was pretty funny. And then hey, Suwon Jiyong noticed how quiet I was and shook me slightly.

Suwon, are you listening to me?

I didnt answer. I was already half-way to dreamland.

~The End~

Deep Feelings by: susan aka SuWon’s GrL

deep feelings.jpg

  • a Suwon short story
  • completed

Chapter 1

It was the first day at the high school and all the upper classmen were parking their cars and walking into the school. Some were hanging out at the parking lot and talking about their summer break and how much fun they had. Some were quickly going into the school and finding out what classes they had. SuWon and JiYong were coming out of JiYong’s jet black car and getting ready to go into the school. SuWon tightly held on to the straps of his backpack as he took a deep breath of the fresh September air. SuWon and JiYong were friends in the high school. SuWon followed JiYong into the school and suddenly paused as he saw a familar silver car pull up into it’s parking lot. JiYong turned around and noticed it too. SuWon just stood there watching as his long-time crush came out of the passenger seat of the car.

“Oh….it’s EunJin again..isn’t it??” asked JiYong as he watched beside SuWon. SuWon slowly nodded and sighed. JiYong smiled, “Why won’t you ask her out??” SuWon shook his head, “I can’t….she’s just too popular and too good for me…”

“It’s only the first day of school~! Try getting to know her this year and if she’s not the one, go check out the other girls…there’s plently of them this year~! Including the lower classgirls….hehe~!” winked JiYong. Then suddenly, a tall, tan guy came out of the driver’s seat of the silver car. He checked himself out on the window as it showed his reflection. Then he turn towards EunJin.

“EunJin….c’mon….” said JiWon, EunJin’s older and protective bro. He walked up to EunJin and both walked into the school together. JiYong and SuWon quickly looked away as JiWon and EunJin walked past them and walked into the school. Everyone knew who JiWon was. He was espeically popular among the lower classmen girls. He was tall, handsome, tan, strong, tough and very protective over his little sister EunJin. SuWon’s shyness around EunJin wasn’t the only thing that kept him away from EunJin, it was her older bro JiWon too. She never got a chance to go out on a real date with a guy and the guys that try to ask her out in the past, get tested by JiWon.

“C’mon…let’s go inside….” said JiYong as he placed his hand on SuWon’s shoulder and both walked into the school.

SuWon and JiYong were at their lockers and looking at their schedules and organizing their locker, which they had since Freshmen. JiYong was smiling and saying hi to his friends and other students, espiecally the girls. SuWon just concetrated on his schedule and was busy with his locker. Suddenly, SuWon felt a hand slam on his shoulders. His made SuWon jump up and drop all his notebooks.

“Hahaha~! Sorry man~!” laughed SungHoon who was the one that scared SuWon. SuWon sighed and started to pick up his books. SungHoon giggled and then turned towards JiYong, “Hey JiYong..how was your summer??” JiYong smiled, “Alright…went to Korea and hung out at the city…you know, the usual~!” SungHoon nodded, “I see…” and then turned down to SuWon who was picking up his notebooks,

“So what did you do this summer??” SuWon looked up at SungHoon, “Just hung out…” SungHoon bend down, “What do you mean hung out?”

“Hey man, stop tesing him,” said JiYong as he helped SuWon with his notebooks and handed it to him as SuWon stood up. SungHoon smiled, “Just asking…” Then EunJin walked down the hall and SungHoon and SuWon paused and stared at her.

“Damn….she’s getting prettier and prettier every year….” said SungHoon. SuWon nodded in agreement. JiYong laughed, “SungHoon….you came to this school last year~!”

“So? Well, my goal this year is to get to know the beautiful EunJin…” smiled SungHoon as he stared at EunJin while she was opening her locker.

“Good luck~! Try getting pass him….” said JiYong as he quickly pointed to JiWon hanging out at the water fountain with his friend and follower, JaeDuc.

“I’ll handle him…” said SungHoon as he walked towards EunJin.

“I can’t watch….” said JiYong as he turned his face. SuWon just watched and wanted to see what happened. SungHoon walked to EunJin and smiled but before SungHoon could say hi and get EunJin’s attention, JiWon and JaeDuc came right in front of him.

“Hi….what’s your name??” asked JiWon. SungHoon just stood there unable to speak, “Ummm…SungHoON~!” JiWon and JaeDuc smiled at each other as they heard SungHoon’s voice squeak as he said his name.

“So where you going??” asked JaeDuc. SungHoon looked around and felt sweat coming on his forehead.

“Oppa….what’s going on??” asked a voice from behind JiWon and JaeDuc. JaeDuc and JiWon stepped aside and smiled at EunJin. SungHoon sighed and looked at EunJin. EunJin smiled, “Is my oppa causing any trouble??” SungHoon looked at JiWon who gave a cold look at SungHoon, “No…no trouble at all~!” EunJin turned to face her brother who was smiling at EunJin.

“Good….you’re SungHoon….rite??” asked EunJin. SungHoon smiled and nodded, “Yeah…and you’re EunJin.” EunJin smiled and nodded. JiWon and JaeDuc stayed close behind EunJin and listening to their little chat.

“RING~!!!”

“Well, I’ll see you around…okay, SungHoon?? Nice to meet you~!” said EunJin as she walked away. SungHoon smiled and waved, “Okay~! Nice to meet you too~!” and watched EunJin walk away. Then suddenly, JiWon placed his arm around SungHoon and putting all his weight on SungHoon’s shoulder.

“Just one rule, SungHoon….don’t hurt her….hurt her, you get hurt ten times as much….” explained JiWon.

“Yeah~! Ten times as much~!” repeated JaeDuc. SungHoon quickly nodded and ran away as JiWon let go.

SuWon watched everything and so did JiYong. SungHoon quickly ran to JiYong and SuWon.

“Whoa…you survived~!” said JiYong. SungHoon smiled, “I think this is going to be a great year….” and walked away to class. SuWon just stood there staring down at the floor. JiYong noitced and sighed, “I’m sorry man…I guess I don’t understand how much you like her….” SuWon sighed, “Whatever…”

“SuWon….how long have you had this crush on EunJin??” asked JiYong. SuWon smiled, “Since 2nd grade….I can remember the first time I saw her like yesterday….I was sitting across from her and I was always way too shy. She was so cute….and very popular among the girls in the classroom….”

“Damn….that’s a long time…” said JiYong. SuWon nodded, “Yeah….I know…but I love her so much…” JiYong’s eyebrow went up, “Love?? Whoa there….are you sure??” SuWon sadly nodded and walked away. JiYong watched SuWon walk away sadly and felt really bad for him.

“Man….SuWon, I never knew you felt so strong towards EunJin….I’ll help you….” said JiYong to himself as he walked to catch up with SuWon.

Chapter 2

EunJin sat at the lunch table the next day, JiWon didn’t have the same lunch shift but JaeDuc did and sat with EunJin. Eunjin sighed as JaeDuc smiled at her and sat next to her.

“Hey EunJin….” said JaeDuc. EunJin smiled, “Hey JaeDuc….” EunJin slowly ate her food and thought sadly. She was tired of her oppa being so protective. They never argued once and he never ever yelled at her. They got along so well and he treated her like a princess but it seemed as if EunJin was being punished somehow by her oppa.

“Hey EunJin~! I didn’t see you all day~!” said a familar voice from behind. EunJin turned around and smiled as she walked up to her best friend JaeJin and hugged him. JaeDuc knew JaeJin too and said hi. JaeJin’s family were really close friends with EunJin’s and JiWon’s so JiWon didn’t have any trouble with JaeJin being with EunJin. Everyone that knew JaeJin loved him as a family and friend.

“How was your summer??” asked EunJin.

“Okay….I had fun…until I had to go to Korea with my family…had to stick with them the whole time….” explained JaeJin. EunJin nodded, “That’s too bad….I had worse…” JaeJin sat down next to EunJin, “What do you mean??” EunJin didn’t answer and looked at JaeDuc quickly and sighed. JaeJin knew and stood up,

“C’mon….wanna walk around??” EunJin knew his idea and smiled, “Sure….”

“I’ll take care of her, JaeDuc….” said JaeJin as he walked away with EunJin. When EunJin and JaeJin got far away from JaeDuc, JaeJin faced EunJin, “What’s wrong?? You look gloomy…” EunJin sighed sadly, “It’s JiWon oppa…..”

“Oh….” said JaeJin. He knew about the over-protective thing.

“Oppa has been so protective that it’s driving my crazy~! I never went on a date alone with a guy~! He always has to be right there when I’m talking to a guy…uhhggg~!” explained EunJin. JaeJin nodded, “I see….but you have to understand JiWon, he’s your older brother….”

“I know…but this has gone way far…” said EunJin.

A couple of yards away from JaeJin and EunJin, SungHoon was sitting at his lunch table with SuWon and a couple friends. SungHoon saw EunJin and JaeJin.

“Hey, is she going out with JaeJin??” asked SungHoon. SuWon sighed, “No….they’re best friends….didn’t you know that last year??” SungHoon shook his head, “No…well, I’m gonna say hi…” SungHoon walked up to EunJin and JaeJin. JaeJin saw SungHoon and smiled at EunJin. EunJin noticed, “What??” and turned around.

“Hey EunJin~!” smiled SungHoon. EunJin smiled and waved, “Hey SungHoon~!”

SuWon watched SungHoon talking to EunJin and JaeJin. He was so jealous of SungHoon. He only knew her since last year and is talking with her while SuWon never talked to EunJin and knew her since 2nd grade. JiYong came running to the lunch table and sat with SuWon.

“Hey SuWon….” said JiYong as he was out of breath.

“JiYong…you don’t have this lunch shift…what are you doing here??” asked SuWon.

“Made a deal with the gym teacher on letting me skip the class for today and come to the cafeteria….” explained JiYong.

“Lemme guess…you ran a lap around the track….” said SuWon. JiYong shook his head, “No….even worse…but that doesn’t matter….I’m here for a reason~!” SuWon looked at JiYong, “What reason??”

“Well, I see that SungHoon is talking with EunJin,” pointed JiYong. SuWon nodded sadly, “Well…yeah whatever….”

“Well?? Well, I have an idea…you wanna get to know EunJin and talk to her….rite??” said JiYong. SuWon nodded, “Yeah…of course~!” JiYong continued, “And you want SungHoon out of the way cause he likes EunJin too…..” SuWon nodded, “Yeah….go on~!”

“Well, I figured that you have to quit being shy and go up to EunJin and talk to her~! But make sure JaeJin is with her…not JaeDuc or JiWon and-” said JiYong but SuWon interupted him, “No…I can’t do that~! You know me…I’m way too shy~! No….forget about that~!”

“Well, what other way is there to get to know EunJin??” asked JiYong. SuWon sat there and thought to himself. He looked around and saw SungHoon still talking to EunJin. Then he turned and saw JiYong saying hi to some of the girls that walked past.

“I got it~!” said SuWon as he snapped. JiYong looked at SuWon, “What??” SuWon sighed, “Well, I hope this will work but JiYong, you’re not shy…you’re good with talking to girls and getting to know them….so my idea is that I want you to get to know EunJin and be friends with her…then you introduce me and help me get to know her…connections~!” JiYong looked at SuWon, “You’re kidding…..rite??” SuWon sighed, “You’re right…..this won’t work…”

“No….no…SuWon, I’d do it and I love to be friends with EunJin but I never tried because of JiWon…you know….over-protective~!” explained JiYong. SuWon thought for a while and thought of all the things he knew about what JiWon looked for in a guy for EunJin.

“There’s only one way….” said SuWon.

“What??” asked JiYong.

“You have to make EunJin really happy and do something really nice…..or you’ll have to save her life somehow….” explained SuWon. JiYong sighed, “Alright….I’ll do it….for you, SuWon. Anything it take you to get EunJin….”

Chapter 3

JiYong sat behind EunJin in History class and tried to get her attention. JiYong looked at EunJin and thought on how he should get her attention. But before JiYong can figure out something, the bell rang and the class was over.

“What??” said JiYong to himself as he took his books and walked out of the classroom. JiYong tried to follow EunJin but the crowd was so big and he lost sight of her, “Damn….” JiYong kept walking down the hall and went to the water fountain to get a drink. As he placed his head down, EunJin’s head bumped into his.

“Ouch~!” said JiYong as he rubbed his forehead and gasped as he saw EunJin rubbing her forehead.

“I’m so sorry…” said EunJin. JiYong smiled, “No….I’m sorry…here…you can drink first….” EunJin thanked JiYong and took a drink but while EunJin was drinking, someone ran into EunJin and knocked her over. JiYong caught EunJin before hitting the ground.

“Whoa…..are you okay??” asked JiYong. EunJin nodded, “Yeah….thanks for catching me…” JiYong smiled, “No problem~!”

“Hey you~!!” said a voice behind JiYong. EunJin sighed, “Great….here comes oppa and his sidekick Duck~!” JiYong gasped and quickly helped EunJin up and was about to walk away but he felt a strong hand grabbing his shoulder.

“Oppa…leave him alone..please…” said EunJin. JiWon looked at JiYong and then at EunJin, “He’s not hurting you or anything??” EunJin shook her head, “No…he caught me when this person knocked me down by accident…” JiWon let go of JiYong, “Oh okay….” EunJin sighed and smiled at JiYong, “So….you’re JiYong….rite??” JiYong smiled and was surpirsed how she knew everyone’s name, “Yeah…and of course…you must be EunJin…” EunJin smiled and nodded, “Yeah…” JiYong saw in the corner of his eye JiWon and JaeDuc standing behind him and watching him like a hawk. JiYong took a deep breath.

“Can I walk to the next class with you??” JiYong quickly asked.

“Sure~!” smiled EunJin and started to walk with JiYong and JiWon and JaeDuc were about to follow. EunJin turned around, “Oppa….please…I’ll be fine…” JiWon sighed, “Alright…but make sure to tell me if he hurts you anyway…” EunJin smiled, “Don’t worry about it, oppa….” and kept on walking with JiYong.

“So….how was your summer??” asked EunJin.

“Went to Korea and hung out in the city….” explained JiYong. EunJin’s eyes widen, “Really?? Korea?? I wanted to visit during the summer but I was busy with other things…” JiYong nodded, “I see….so…I see that you know a friend named SungHoon??” EunJin nodded, “Ah yes….SungHoon….yeah, I talked with him a couple times…” JiYong nodded, “So you like him??” EunJin looked at JiYong and smiled, “Well, as I friend….he’s really not my type but yea….I like him..”

“I see….” nodded JiYong and then he saw SuWon at his locker, “EunJin….I want you to meet a friend of mine…” SuWon was putting his books in his locker and then felt a tap on his shoulder. He turned around and saw JiYong.

“Hey JiYong…” and then he saw EunJin standing next to him. SuWon’s heart skipped a beat and he felt his face grow hot.

“EunJin….this is my friend-” said JiYong but EunJin interupted him, “SuWon….yes, I know you….since elementary…” SuWon couldn’t breath and couldn’t talk. JiYong noticed how red SuWon looked and how nervous and excited he was. He tried to help SuWon relax, “Ummm…so EunJin…” he tried to think what to say.

“Yes??” smiled EunJin. JiYong quickly looked at SuWon who was looking away from EunJin and was bright red.

“Relax, SuWon….” whispered JiYong. SuWon couldn’t talk and all he did was shook his head. JiYong looked at EunJin who was looking around. He was afriad that she was getting tired of waiting.

“What do you want me to say??” whispered JiYong. SuWon took a deep breaths, “Ask her if she’s free this weekend, “quickly said SuWon. JiYong looked at him, “You sure??” SuWon quickly nodded. JiYong shugged, “Okay…” JiYong faced EunJin, “EunJin…” EunJin turned to JiYong and smiled, “Yeah??”

“Are you free….” said JiYong while glancing at SuWon who was motioning him to go on, “Are you free this…” EunJin interupted him, “Are you trying to ask me out??” JiYong eyes slightly widen and looked at SuWon and giving him a face saying ‘it’s suppose to be you to ask her out’ but SuWon motioned JiYong to say yes and go. JiYong didn’t know what to say.

“RING~!!!”

“Oh….I’m late….” mumbled EunJin to herself. JiYong was being rushed and quickly said, “Yeah….” EunJin looked at JiYong, “Ummm..sure…I like to go out…this weekend??” JiYong didn’t know what to do and just nodded.

“Okay….great….I’ll see you guys around….bye,” said EunJin and walked away. When EunJin was out of sight, SuWon almost fainted, “Oh god…she’s so pretty up close~!”

“SuWon, you were suppose to ask her out~! Why me??” explained JiYong.

“JiYong….just get to know her more…please….I’m just too shy….I’m not ready….” explained SuWon. JiYong shook his head, “SuWon….what if she thinks I like her…huh??” SuWon sighed, “JiYong…please…just act like a friend towards her…I’m sure she’ll get the point…”

“Fine…but after this date….YOU have to ask her out….and tell her how you feel….okay??” said JiYong. SuWon nodded, “Fine…I will…but go this weekend and tell me what she’s like….”

Chapter 4

JiYong stood in front of his mirror looking at himself. SuWon was sitting on the chair watching. Tonight was night that JiYong was going out with EunJin for SuWon.

“Are you sure you don’t want to go??” asked JiYong as he fixed his hair. SuWon shook his head, “I can’t….I might throw up on her or something because of nervousness….I can’t…” JiYong sighed, “Well, you have to talk to her someday~!”

“I will…but just go tonight…pleeze??” asked SuWon.

“Alright…..only tonight…” said JiYong. Then JiYong took his keys and got ready to leave. SuWon stood up and smiled, “Well, I hope you have fun…don’t try to have fun too much…” JiYong tried to smile, “Oh~! I’ll enjoy it….for you…” SuWon smiled, “Thanx man…..” JiYong smiled and left the house and into his car to pick up EunJin.

EunJin was looking at herself in her mirror and JiWon was standing at the doorway.

“So you’re going on a date with JiYong??” asked JiWon.

“Yup….and oppa….please don’t do anything stupid….” explained EunJin.

“I won’t…but what if he’s an asshole…” said JiWon. EunJin turned around facing JiWon and sighed, “Then it’s none of your business…I’m old enough to make my own deisions….”

JiWon nodded, “Alright…but I’m your older brother and I’m just worried about you….” EunJin walked up to JiWon, “I know…but I’m growing up, oppa….and if i’m in trouble…I’ll go to you…”

“Alright….but what about tonight…” said JiWon.

“Oppa….I’ll be fine….” smiled EunJin as she walked away and down the stairs. JiWon sighed and followed EunJin downstairs. Then the doorbell rang.

“Oh….I think it’s JiYong~!” said EunJin as she went to the door and opened it. JiYong smiled as he stood there, “Hey EunJin…” and then his smile faded away as he saw JiWon behind.

“Umm…hey JiWon….” mumbled JiYong nervously.

“Oppa…I’ll be fine…” said EunJin. JiWon smiled at EunJin with worried eyes and then looked at JiYong as if warning him not to hurt EunJin anyway. JiYong gulped and wanted to run away.

“Ummm…ready EunJin??” asked JiYong. EunJin smiled, “Yeah….let’s go…” and walked out with JiYong. JiWon watched EunJin and JiYong going into the car. He felt worried and loved his little sister a lot. He promised himself that if JiYong hurts EunJin once, JiYong will pay for it…

JiYong and EunJin were walking around the town and talking. JiYong tried to learn about EunJin as much as possible for SuWon. JiYong didn’t like EunJin like SuWon did. He only liked her as a friend. She is pretty but not my type, thought JiYong. EunJin in the other hand liked JiYong and thought he was a great guy. He was the first guy to ask her out and not run away from her oppa. EunJin and JiYong went into a cafe and sat down to talk. SungHoon was a couple tables away from them and saw EunJin and JiYong.

“What the hell?? Isn’t that JiYong and EunJin??” said SungHoon to himself as he saw them talking in a little table of their own.

“May be they’re on a date,” said one of SungHoon’s friends. SungHoon shook his head, “But how?? With her monster brother, how did JiYong get pass him??” No one answered. SungHoon shrugged, “Well, I’m going to take a little visit and say hello….” and stood up. He walked over to the table pretending to pass it and then faced EunJin and JiYong.

“EunJin~! What are you doing here??” smiled SungHoon pretending to be surpirsed. EunJin smiled, “Hey SungHoon….I’m hanging out with JiYong…” SungHoon looked at JiYong who tried to smile and waved, “Hey SungHoon…”

“Well, I hope you two have fun….gotta go…..bye~!” said SungHoon as he walked away. EunJin and JiYong waved. As SungHoon walked away, he thought about how JiYong got a date with EunJin. He planned to talk to him later. He didn’t know that JiYong liked EunJin too.

“Well, JiYong’s not gonna win this one…” mubmled SungHoon to himself as he glanced back at EunJin and JiYong who were busy talking.

After the whole date, JiYong drove EunJin to her house. EunJin had a great time and thanked JiYong. JiYong smiled, “No problem…I had a great time too…” JiYong drove up to EunJin’s driveway and stopped the car. Both got out of the car and walked up to EunJin’s door. JiYong and EunJin stood there silently.

“Well, good night….” said JiYong while looking away. EunJin smiled, “Good night, JiYong….” and slowly went up to JiYong to give him a kiss on a cheek. JiYong just stood there and didn’t see EunJin going up to him to give him a kiss on the cheek. He turned his head to see what EunJin was doing and suddenly felt his lips against EunJin’s. JiYong’s eyes widened but then closed when he felt the softness of her lips against his. But then he thought about SuWon. I can’t do this, thought JiYong. Both slowly pulled away from each other. EunJin was blushing and JiYong stood there.

“Umm….well, good night….” said EunJin as she walked into the house. JiYong stood there and waved, “Bye….” and watched EunJin enter the house. JiYong went back to his car and thought about what just happened.

“I kissed her…..no, she kissed me….that’s even worse~!” said JiYong to himself as he started his car. EunJin entered her house and found JiWon on the couch and on the phone.

“Hey I gotta go…talk to you later….” said JiWon and hung up. He went up to EunJin, “So how was it??” EunJin smiled, “We kissed…I’ve never been so happy in my life~!” JiWon just stared at EunJin, “Kissed??”

“Oh oppa…I’m happy~! Doesn’t that count??” explained EunJin as she went up to her room.

“Kissed??” repeated JiWon with a frown on his face.

Chapter 5

SuWon and JiYong were hanging out at SuWon’s house and talked about the little date that JiYong had with EunJin. JiYong didn’t tell SuWon about the kiss…

“So…how did she look??” asked SuWon. JiYong sighed, “Fine…she looked fine….”

“So….what you guys talk about??” asked SuWon. JiYong shugged, “Just what kind of things she likes-” SuWon interupted him, “Did she talk about me??” JiYong looked at SuWon, “No….why would she??” SuWon shugged, “I dunno…you know…” JiYong sighed, “I’m sorry man…I had a nice time with her…now it’s your turn to ask her out….”

“I dunno, JiYong….I’m still a little nervous…” explained SuWon.

“SuWon…she’s a really nice girl…I’m sure she won’t turn you down~!” said JiYong.

“But her brother….” mumbled SuWon. JiYong sighed, “SuWon….I was scared of her brother too but he didn’t stop me from going on a date with her….”

“Becuse you’re brave~! I’m just a little wimp….” said SuWon. JiYong stood up and picked up the portable phone and tossed it on SuWon’s lap, “Call her….” SuWon quickly shook his head, “I-I can’t~!” JiYong sighed and took out a piece of paper from his wallet and gave it to SuWon, “Call her…” SuWon shook his head. JiYong felt frustrated. He didn’t go out with EunJin for no reason and didn’t kissed her for no reason. He didn’t want EunJin to feel attracted to him. He knew that EunJin was the one that kissed him.

“Call her,” demanded JiYong. SuWon still shook his head. JiYong took the phone and started to dial and quickly gave it to SuWon once he heard a ring. SuWon tried to pull away but JiYong held him back from running away and kept the phone up to his ear. SuWon heard a couple rings.

“She’s not home…” said SuWon as she tried to run away but then heard soemone answer,

“Hello??” SuWon gulped and took a deep breath, “Umm…hello….is…EunJin there??” JiYong smiled as he heard SuWon’s shaky voice and saw how red his face was. SuWon’s heart was beating fast and his stomach felt as if it was in knots.

“Yes this is EunJin…who’s this, please??” said EunJin. SuWon felt sweat from his forehead and gave a pleading face to JiYong to let him talk to her. JiYong shook his head no.

“Ummm…this is SuWoN~!” said SuWon with a squeaky voice at the end. JiYong couldn’t stop smiling. SuWon took deep breaths and knew he made a fool out of himself.

“Hey SuWon~! What’s up??” said EunJin.

“I-I’m fine….I-I was just wondering if you-you….wanna go out this…ummm…you know….just hang out??” said SuWon. JiYong started to giggle as he heard SuWon’s shaky and nervous voice.

“Sure….I like to go hang out sometime…” answered EunJin. SuWon’s heart beated fast as he heard that answer, “Oh-Oh…when?” SuWon heard EunJin giggle in the other line, “I dunno…whenever you want….is anybody else coming??”

“Yes…JiYong can come~!” quickly said SuWon who didn’t think and wanted his friend to be there. JiYong shook his head and whispered, “SuWon~! It’s only suppose to be you and EunJin~! A date~! Not a hanging out thing~!”

“Great~! What about tomarrow night??” asked EunJin.

“Yeah….okay…” said SuWon and said bye to EunJin. When he hung up the phone, JiYong was sitting there with his arms crossed.

“SuWon….why did you say I was going to come….wasn’t this suppose to be a date with you and EunJin??” said JiYong.

“JiYong….please be there~! What if I make a fool out of myself??” said SuWon. JiYong sighed and didn’t answer.

EunJin hung up the phone and smiled to herself as she layed on her bed and sighed. She couldn’t believe that JiYong kissed her on the lips. She was just going to give him a friendly kiss on the cheek but he turned around and kissed her on the lips. It was so nice, thought EunJin. Then tomarrow she was going to meet JiYong and his friend SuWon. She would love to get to know SuWon and see JiYong again.

“EunJin….” said a voice from the doorway. EunJin sat up and saw her brother at the doorway, “Yeah oppa??”

“JaeJin’s here….he’s downstairs eating away our food….just want to let you know…” smiled JiWon. EunJin walked out of her room and thanked her brother. JiWon noticed how happy EunJin has been since that date with JiYong. May be JiYong’s a nice kid….treated EunJin nicely, thought JiWon as he followed EunJin downstairs. EunJin found JaeJin eating fruit in the kitchen.

“Hey JaeJin~!” smiled EunJin and gave a hello hug. JaeJin was chewing and smiled, “Hey *munch* Eun *munch* Jin~!” EunJin giggled and saw down with JaeJin at the kitchen table. JaeJin swallowed and smiled, “So, what did you do during the weekend??” EunJin smiled, “Went out on a date….”

“With SungHoon??” asked JaeJin. EunJin shook her head, “No….JiYong….he asked me at school and I had to say yes…he was so nice~! I had a great night~!” JaeJin’s eyes went wide, “JiYong?? KoJiYong??” EunJin nodded, “Yeah….and…” EunJin went closer to JaeJin and whispered, “we kissed….” JaeJin looked at EunJin’s face and saw a big smile from ear to ear. He couldn’t believe that JiYong asked EunJin out. He knew JiYong and he always thought that EunJin wasn’t JiYong’s type and that his best friend SuWon had a crush on EunJin. Well, I guess things change, thought JaeJin as he continued eating.

Chapter 6

SungHoon drove to EunJin’s driveway and noticed that JiWon was home and so was someone else. SungHoon took a deep breath and got out of the car and walked up to the door. He rang the doorbell and the door opened. JaeJin saw SungHoon.

“Hey SungHoon….one sec…..EunJin~!!” said JaeJin. EunJin came walking in and saw SungHoon. She smiled, “Hey SungHoon~! What are you doing here??” SungHoon had his hand behind his back and rocked back and forth, “You wanna go out and have lunch??” EunJin looked at JaeJin who was motioning her to go and then looked back at SungHoon, “Sure~!” SungHoon smiled as EunJin put her shoes on and walked out with SungHoon.

“JaeJin…..tell oppa that I went somewhere with a friend….and I’ll be fine…okay??” said EunJin. JaeJin smiled, “Okay….i will…”

SungHoon and EunJin went to get lunch in town and sat there talking to each other. They finally finshed and decided to walk around the town.

“That was so nice of you to buy me lunch….but I should pay you…” said EunJin as she got her money out from her bag. SungHoon shook his head, “No….I was happy to pay for you…”

“Are you sure??” asked EunJin. SungHoon held EunJin’s hand with the money and gently placed it back into the bag. EunJin smiled, “Thanks….you’re so nice….” SungHoon didn’t let go of EunJin’s hand as she put her money away. EunJin looked into SungHoon as he smiled and looked into her eyes. EunJin tried to looked away but SungHoon got closer and closer to her until their lips touched. EunJin gasped softly as she felt SungHoon’s lips against her’s. SungHoon felt the softness of EunJin’s lips and enjoyed it. EunJin slightly pulled away and was surpirsed by the kiss. I can’t do this….I feel like I’m betraying JiYong, thought EunJin. SungHoon saw EunJin’s worried face and offered her to take her home.

EunJin sat there on the couch and hugging a pillow. She couldn’t stop thinking about the kiss SungHoon gave to her. She touched her lips and couldn’t stop thinking. She knew SungHoon liked her but she didn’t feel the same and didn’t want to hurt SungHoon’s feelings. EunJin sighed, “What am I going to do??”

“Do what??” asked a voice from behind. EunJin turned around and saw JiWon standing there, “Oh nothing, oppa…” JiWon walked over to EunJin and sat down next to her, “Well, something is wrong from the look of your face…” EunJin smiled, “I’m fine oppa….really~!”

“Oh okay…but if anything’s bothering yo-” said JiWon but EunJin quickly interupted him, “Don’t worry, oppa….I’m fine…” JiWon smiled and placed his hand on top of EunJin’s head, “Alright….” and then walked away. EunJin looked at the clock and noticed that she had to get ready for JiYong and SuWon.

“Please~! Lemme come~!” said SungHoon as he sat there in front of JiYong and SuWon. SungHoon, JiYong and SuWon were at SuWon’s house and getting ready to pick up EunJin. SungHoon found out about it when he invited himself at SuWon’s and saw JiYong and SuWon getting ready to go somewhere.

“No~! You can’t~!” said JiYong.

“Why?? The reason I came here was that I was bored….why can’t I come with you guys?? I won’t cause trouble…” explained SungHoon. JiYong looked at SuWon, “So, what do you think?? Should we take him??” SuWon looked at SungHoon who was giving him a pleading face and puppy eyes. SuWon sighed,

“Fine…he could come…” JiYong looked at SuWon, “Why?? It’s suppose to be you to be with you-know-who…..”

“Don’t worry JiYong….I’m sure SungHoon will cause no trouble….rite??” said SuWon as he glanced at SungHoon. SungHoon quickly nodded and the three guys went into JiYong’s car.

SungHoon sat there in JiYong’s car and noticed that they weren’t driving towards the town. SungHoon stuck his head between the driver’s seat and passenger.

“Where we going??” asked SungHoon.

“To pick up EunJin….she’s coming….” explained JiYong.

“Oh…okay….” said SungHoon and sat back smiling a little. SuWon looked at the mirror and saw SungHoon smiling. They got to EunJin’s house and everyone got off the car. They walked up to the door and rang the doorbell. EunJin quickly opened the door and ran to JiYong’s car before the guys can say hi. The three guys exchanged glances and went back to JiYong’s car. EunJin sat in the passenger seat and motioned the guys to hurry up.

“Hurry up, guys~! My brother’s gonns kill me if he sees you guys~!” said EunJin. The guys hurried up and JiYong quickly drove the car out of the driveway. EunJin smiled at JiYong when they were back on the road. JiYong glanced at EunJin and smiled.

“So….how are you??” asked JiYong. EunJin smiled, “I’m fine….” SuWon and SungHoon looked at EunJin and sighed. They saw how pretty she looked and nice she was. EunJin smiled at JiYong and then looked back at the backseats.

“Hey SuWon….hey SungHoon~!” said EunJin. SungHoon smiled, “Hey EunJin….” EunJin tired to smile and then looked at SuWon who was blushing and smiling. EunJin smiled.

They got to town and hung out on the streets. The four talked but SuWon stayed quiet most of the time. SungHoon talked a lot with EunJin but JiYong tried to ruin that and tried to make SuWon and EunJin talk but so far, it wasn’t working. EunJin was so into talking to JiYong that he couldn’t think of a way to get SuWon into it. JiYong was walking beside EunJin wihle she was talking. SuWon and SungHoon walked behind.

“Isn’t she fine??” whispered SungHoon. SuWon looked at SungHoon and blushed, “Yeah…..of course….” SungHoon smiled, “You know….I kissed her…well, I mean we kissed….” SuWon’s smile faded away and looked away, “Oh I see….”

“Don’t worry SuWon~! You’ll find another girl~!” said SungHoon. SuWon didn’t want to listen. He didn’t want to believe that SungHoon and EunJin kissed. It wasn’t true. It can’t be true but SuWon couldn’t take that out of his mind and felt a little heart broken. JiYong was walking there and listening to EunJin. He quickly glanced back and saw SuWon looking down and SungHoon smiling at him. JiYong sighed and looked around the streets and found some pretty girls walking pass them.

“Anyway….I remember when my oppa,” said EunJin who was talking to JiYong but puased when JiYong was looking at the other girls that were walking pass by. He was waving at smiling at them. EunJin saw the girls giggle as JiYong smiled and said hi. EunJin quickly stopped talking and looked down. She felt a little betrayed and knew that JiYong didn’t felt the same what like how she feels towards him. She felt a little heart broken. SungHoon saw this and smiled as he saw JiYong smiling and looking at other girls while EunJin just walked and looking down.

“Great….” mumbled SungHoon to himself. The four stopped at a cafe and went inside to take a little break. They got a table and sat down. EunJin and SuWon were quiet and felt sad. JiYong didn’t know any of this.

“Well, I gotta call someone…I’ll be back….okay??” said JiYong but then he saw SungHoon about to talk to EunJin.

“SungHoon~!” called JiYong. SungHoon looked at him, “What??”

“Aren’t you suppose to order the drinks for us??” asked JiYong trying to get SuWon and EunJin alone.

“Why?? We can get waiters~!” said SungHoon. JiYong sighed and pulled SungHoon out of his seat and dragged him away.

“What?? Stop it, man~!” said SungHoon but JiYong didn’t listen and got him away from the table. EunJin and SuWon sat there alone and both were quiet. SuWon shyly looked up at EunJin who was looking down at the table. EunJin looked at SuWon and made eye contact but SuWon shyly gasped and looked away. This made EunJin smile.

“So SuWon….” said EunJin. SuWon looked up as his heart skipped a beat when he heard EunJin say his name, “Yeah??” EunJin smiled, “I haven’t talked to you for the longest time….we’ve known each other since 2nd grade…so..let’s talk~!” SuWon blushed and felt his stomach go into knots. He couldn’t talk and couldn’t get the words out. EunJin noticed his nervous face and his red face.

“SuWon……close your eyes….” said EunJin. SuWon nodded and slowly closed his eyes. Then he felt a softness around his hands. It was warm and soft as a silk. It made him relax and clam down. “Are you okay now??” asked EunJin. SuWon nodded, “Yeah….” and opened his eyes. He saw that EunJin was holding his hands and trying to make him comfortable. SuWon did feel comfortable and smiled at EunJin. Then suddenly, SungHoon came sliding and sat next to EunJin. SuWon’s smile faded away when he saw SungHoon putting his arm around EunJin.

“So what do you want to drink??” asked SungHoon. EunJin tried to smile, “It doesn’t matter….” then she saw JiYong standing at the other side of the cafe flirting with a girl. EunJin’s smile faded away and sighed, “Yeah….anything is fine….” SuWon saw EunJin’s sad face when she saw JiYong flirting with girls. He gasped softly and felt crushed. He knew now that EunJin liked JiYong.

Chapter 7

SuWon and JiYong were in front of JiYong’s locker hanging out. SuWon didn’t talk to JiYong much and thought about that time when he saw EunJin’s sad face when she saw JiYong firting with other girls. JiYong finally noticed SuWon’s worried face.

“SuWon…..you haven’t talked the whole time….what’s wrong??” asked JiYong. SuWon cleared his thoat and took a deep breath, “JiYong…what did you and EunJin exactly do on your first date??”

“Nothing…..just hung out and talked….” lied JiYong. SuWon looked into JiYong’s eyes and knew he was lying. JiYong sighed, “You wanna know the truth?” SuWon nodded, “Tell me everything….” JiYong looked down and sighed, “Okay…..I don’t know how to explain this but we kissed….that’s all…..kissed….” SuWon sighed sadly, “Oh…..so you like her too…..huh?” JiYong shook his head, “No….that’s the worse part….she kissed me….” SuWon quickly looked up at JiYong, “Kissed you??” JiYong nodded sadly and didn’t want to hurt SuWon. SuWon looked away and felt heart broken and confused. He didn’t understand. EunJin kissed both JiYong and SungHoon.

“I guess I’m not her type….” said SuWon sadly. JiYong looked at SuWon and felt bad, “SuWon…..you liked her since 2nd grade….you have to go on….”

“I mean…” continued SuWon and ignoring what JiYong said, “she likes you and SungHoon…but not me…” JIYong’s eyebrow went up, “SungHoon??”

“Yeah….he told me he kissed her….” explained SuWon sadly.

“SuWon…EunJin told me that SungHoon wasn’t her type and only liked him as a friend….” explained JiYong. SuWon shook his head, “You know what?? I doesn’t matter now cause she likes you and only you….” Then SuWon walked away.

“SuWon~! Wait…..” but SuWon already left and JiYong stood there alone in front of his locker. SuWon kept on walking and felt his eyes go watery. He actually loved EunJin….since 2nd grade….the very first time he saw her was the most wonderful sight in the whole world to SuWon. SuWon wiped a tear form his cheek and didn’t want anyone to see him cry like a baby. But this wasn’t a baby thing….it was heart broken and confusion. SuWon went to his locker and turned to another hallway. He paused when he saw EunJin standing there with SungHoon and both were talking. SuWon looked away and kept walking.

“SuWon…..what’s wrong??” asked EunJin when she saw SuWon’s sad face. SuWon jsut kept on walking ignoring EunJin. “Leave him alone….he’ll be fine~!” said SungHoon. SuWon quickly looked at SungHoon and EunJin. EunJin gasped softly as he saw SuWon’s sad face and watery eyes. SungHoon also was surpirsed. Then SuWon looked away and kept on walking. “SuWon….” called out EunJin but SuWon already left. SungHoon looked down and felt bad. He really wanted to know what was wrong with SuWon.

At lunch, EunJin sat there with JaeJin and she just looked at her food. She didn’t feel hungry or anything. JaeJin got worried about EunJin. “EunJin…..eat…..what’s wrong??” asked JaeJin. EunJin sighed sadly, “I dunno….I feel all weird inside…..” “Weird?? Like what weird??” asked JaeJin. EunJin sighed, “I dunno….remember when I told you about me and JiYong?? Well, I thought he really liked me when he kissed me…but now I see him flirting with other girls and stuff….I really like him though but I don’t think he feels the same way…I feel sorta heart broken….even though we only went on one date….”

JaeJin sighed, “Oh EunJin….I’m sorry…” EunJin tried to smile, “It’s okay….and also, remember SungHoon??” JaeJin nodded and EunJin continued, “Well, he kissed me and now I know that he likes me but I only like him as a friend and nothing more…..but I don’t want to hurt his feelings and he’s making me confused…” JaeDuc was behind EunJin and JaeJin the whole time and heard the whole story about JiYong and SungHoon. He quickly got up and left the cafeteria to tell JiWon.

JiWon was walking down the hall with JaeDuc behind him. He was going towards the cafeteria and wanted a little talk with JiYong and SungHoon. EunJin and JaeJin saw JiWon and JaeDuc walking in and walking towards JiYong and SungHoon. “Oh shit…..I think JaeDuc heard you~!” said JaeJin.

“No….no~!” said EunJin as she walked up to JiWon and JaeDuc to stop them. JiWon grabbed JiYong and SungHoon, “You listen here….I heard you hurt my sister~!”

“What?? I-I didn’t~! What are you talking about??” said SungHoon with fear in his eyes. “You….you’re driving my sister crazy with your little tricks~!” said JiWon and then he turned to JiYong, “You broke my sister’s heart…” JIYong shook his head, “What?? What are you talking about??”

“Now you guys have to pay~!” said JaeDuc from behind. SuWon stood there and watched JiWon talking to JiYong and SungHoon. Threating them and telling them what they did. Then he saw EunJin coming through the crowd and trying to stop this nonsense. “Now…you have to pay…” said JiWon as he lifted up his knuckles, preparing to punch JiYong. “Stop~!!” screamed EunJin. Eveyone looked at EunJin who was standing there with a frustrated face, “Stop oppa~! Stop it right now~!!”

“They hurt-” said JiWon but EunJin interupted him, “I don’t want to hear that bullshit~!!” Everyone was shocked by the loud voice from EunJin. The EunJin who was always nice and innocent. “Oppa….let them go….now…..” said EunJin. JiWon let go of JiYong and SungHoon. EunJin had watery eyes now, “The person that hurt me the most was you, oppa…” JiWon looked down and felt guilty.

“I’m growing up….can’t you see?? I can handle myself now….I-I just want you to leave me alone….just-just stay away from me….Fine, you heard that I like JiYong and felt sad that he didn’t feel the same but you know what?? I can get over him….I’m old enough to make that decision…Also, I know you heard that SungHoon liked me more than a friend and I only like him as a friend and he was confusing me but I’m mature enought to tell him how I feel…Oppa….please….understand….” SungHoon looked down and felt a little sad that he finally found out that EunJin only liked him as a friend. JiYong felt a little bad about making EunJin sad and JiWon felt really guilty. He finally know that he was putting EunJin through hell.

“Oppa….I just want you to stay away….things are really bad now….and let me handle it…” said EunJin. “EunJin….you have to understand that I-I love you…..you’re my little sister….my blood….I can’t help it~!” expained JiWon. “Well, now you’ll have to help it…” said EunJin with a tear coming down her cheek. JiWon sighed, “EunJin…” “No….I don’t want to hear it…..” said EunJin and then she walked away. JiWon looked down at JiYong and SungHoon and then at all the people that were watching them.

“Fuck this….” said JiWon as he stormed out of the cafeteria. JiYong and SungHoon sat there on the floor where JiWon dropped them and they both felt bad. SuWon felt the worst. He was the one that made JiYong go out with EunJin, he was the one that didn’t tell SungHoon that he loved her, he was the one that was too shy to do anything since 2nd grade. 2nd grade~! It was all his fault.

Chapter 8

EunJin sat on her bed crying. She was confused and frustrated. Everything was happening too fast. Way too fast. JiWon was downstairs and she hasn’t talked to him since that day where she finally told him how she really felt. JaeJin tired to comfort his best friend. He sat there with EunJin.

“Shhh…..don’t cry, EunJin….” said JaeJin as he hugged her and tried to comfort her. “I don’t know what’s going on…..I’m so confused….” said EunJin. “Well, EunJin….I think you’re going too fast….” explained JaeJin. EunJin looked up at JaeJin and wiped her tear away, “What do you mean??” “Well, you were actually going out with JiYong and SungHoon at pratically the same time…” explained JaeJin.

JaeJin did made a point and EunJin was actually going out with both guys. “May be….may be I need to take a break….take my time….” said EunJin. JaeJin nodded, “Yeah….I think that’s the best way….” EunJin smiled, “Thanks JaeJin….you’re a great pal…”

SuWon was sitting at his desk and thinking deeply. He didn’t talk with SungHoon or JiYong since that day at the cafeteria. SuWon took a deep breath. It was time for him to tell EunJin how he really felt about her.

The next day at school was a rainy day. EunJin still hasn’t talked to JiWon and he has been leaving her alone even though he drove her to school. EunJin felt a little guilty but also felt a little happy that JiWon is leaving her alone. JiWon and EunJin walked out of the school to go home. SuWon was standing near the door waiting for EunJin. He finally saw her coming out.

“EunJin??” said SuWon shyly. EunJin turned and saw SuWon standing in the rain, “SuWon….you’re getting wet….” SuWon smiled and blushed, “Ummm…..can I talk to you for a sec??” SuWon noticed that his voice was shaky.

“Sure….” said EunJin and looked back at her brother but JiWon just looked at her and left her alone. SuWon and EunJin walked a couple of feet away from JiWon. SuWon took a deep breath, “Ummm….EunJin??”

“Yeah??” said EunJin. SuWon’s heart started to beat fast as he saw EunJin’s face under the rain with her wet hair, “Umm….this is really hard for me to explain this….but….I-I was the one that ruined everything….” explained SuWon.

“What?? I don’t understand….” said EunJin. SuWon sighed and took another deep breath, “EunJin….I-I love you….I loved you ever since the first time I saw you…..2nd grade….when I saw you….I felt like I was in heaven….I couldn’t think of other girls except you….you were the only one in my mind for all these years….I’ve tried to tell you but I-I was too shy and a wimp….EunJin, I want to give you my whole world to you….and if I can’t…..I’ll die trying….” EunJin stood there shocked and speechless hearing the sweetest words coming out of a guy’s mouth. She felt her eyes get watery and looked at SuWon with his face smooth, cute skin wet and his short dark hair wet with each drop dripping through the dark strains. SuWon noticed EunJin’s eyes get watery even though it was rainy.

EunJin felt a tear coming down her cheek, “SuWon….this is going to be the hardest thing in the world….but…I-I can’t be with you…” SuWon felt a sharp pain in his heart and felt a lump in his thoat. He wanted to cry out and scream why but he stood there listening to EunJin. EunJin continued, “Things went by so fast….with JiYong and SungHoon….and now with my oppa….it’s too much SuWon….too much…..please understand….I need to take time for myself….” SuWon nodded slowly and watched EunJin run to her brother and into their silver car. SuWon felt tears coming down his cheek. All these years of loving only one girl and the only thing he gets back is a broken heart and tears filled with sadness. SuWon stood in the rain for a while and cried. Cried like a baby that lost his mother and in the middle of nowhere. But agian, this was no baby thing…it was a heart shredded into pieces.

EunJin sat in the passenger seat while JiWon drove. She was looking out into the rainy outside and felt tears coming down her cheek. She felt so bad for SuWon….but she felt nothing for SuWon….only gulit of hurting him.

Chapter 9

SuWon sat at the cafe with SungHoon and JiYong. Both guys soon forgot about the EunJin thingy but they noticed SuWon’s gloomy personality. SuWon didn’t tell JiYong or SungHoon about EunJin rejecting him and breaking his heart. “SuWon…..anything wrong??” asked JiYong. SuWon only shook his head.

“C’mon man…..talk….you haven’t talk for a long time…I’m forgetting how you sound like now,” said SungHoon. SuWon just looked at SungHoon and looked away. JiYon got concerned, “SuWon….what’s wrong??” SuWon just ignored him and looked away. JiYong and SungHoon exchanged glances and didn’t understand.

“If it’s about the EunJin-” said SungHoon but SuWon quickly interputed, “No….” and that was the only thing he said. JiYong and SungHoon noticed SuWon’s soft and tired voice. Something was going on and they wanted to find out.

“Then…if it’s not about EunJin, then what is it??” asked JIYong. SuWon just stood up and walked out the door. He stood outside. JiYong and SungHoon followed him.

“SuWon…..what’s going on??” asked SungHoon. SuWon kept on walking away from SungHoon ad JiYong.

“What the hell’s wrong with him?” whispered SungHoon into JiYong’s ear. JiYong shugged, “I dunno…” The two guys went up to SuWon and tried to stop him. JiYong grabbed SuWon’s shoulder to stop him but SuWon just swung his arm to get him off. JiYong just stood there.

“What the hell’s wrong with you??” demanded JiYong. SuWon turned around, “None of your damn business….now leave me alone~!” JiYong and SungHoon stood there and watched SuWon walk away. They didn’t understand what was going on.

EunJin sat at her window in her room hugging her pillow tightly. She couldn’t sleep and couldn’t go to school. Sometimes she cried during the night because of all the things going on. She now actually missed her brother’s attention. She even started to hang out with JaeDuc at school but it was no use…it still didn’t get her close to her brother again. EunJin cried and cried, JiWon passed her room and saw her cry. He wanted to comfort her but she wanted him to leave her alone. If she really wants that, then fine….she will be left alone. JiWon sighed sadly as he watched his little sister cry. He didn’t know why she was crying. He didn’t understand a thing. JiWon sighed and slowly walked away. He went downstairs and sat on the couch. “Oh god, EunJin……wish I could fix all your problems…” mumbled JiWon to himself.

At school, EunJin sat there at her table with JaeJin and JaeDuc. She looked at her food and felt sick. She couldn’t eat this junk. JaeJin and JaeDuc looked at each other and got worried.

“EunJin….you haven’t eaten for a while….eat now…” said JaeJin EunJin just shook her head and turned away from the food. She looked at the other side of the cafeteria and saw SuWon staring down at the floor. From where she sat, EunJin can see bags under SuWon’s eyes and the sadness written all over his face and body. Then she saw JiYong and SungHoon eating and talking as if nothing happened. She sort of got angry at them and got upset that they didn’t care what was going on. But then again, may be they didn’t find out everything yet….may be they didn’t understand how hurt and stressed EunJin was. EunJin sighed sadly and put her head down on the table.

“EunJin….are you okay??” asked JaeDuc. EunJin shook her head, “No….I feel really sick….I’m going to the nurse….”

“Lemme come with you…” said JaeJin as he stood up and walked with EunJin and to the nurse. JaeJin and EunJin were walking down the hall and walking to the nurse. EunJin felt tired and all messed up inside. Her eye lids were getting heavy and she was seeing all blur.

“JaeJin….” she softly mumbled. JaeJin looked at EunJin and caught her as she lost her balance and tripped a little.

“Are you sure you can walk??” asked JaeJin. EunJin nodded and got back to her feet. She walked slowly down the hallway and still saw blur and her eyes couldn’t stay open. Then everything was dizzy. Side to side, up and down, everything spinning. EunJin felt so dizzy and tired that she fainted in the middle of the hallway.

“EunJin~!!” said JaeJin as he went beside EunJin who was laying there.

Chapter 10

Everything was black. Black as night. EunJin could hear voice far away. Mumbles and whispers. EunJin slowly opened her eyes and saw her brother, JaeJin and JaeDuc.

“Where am I?” asked EunJin.

“At the hospital…” said her brother. That was actually the first time he talked to her since that day. EunJin looked around and found herself in the bed with a hospital gown, “What happened??”

“You fainted in the hallway at school..” explained JaeJin.

“You weren’t getting enough sleep and weren’t eating….” said JiWon. EunJin sighed. Her oppa was right. She was getting little sleep and refused to eat.

“Well, at least you got gifts~! Look~!” said JaeDuc as he pointed to the gifts on the table. EunJin smiled as she saw the little mountain of gifts and cards. She didn’t know so many people cared about her. Then, one of the gifts caught her attention. It was a dozen red rosees with a white little teddy bear holding a small, plastic dozen roses in the middle.

“I wanna look at that one…..the dozen roses…..” said EunJin JiWon walked over and picked it up, “There’s a card here but it’s sealed so I don’t know who’s it from….” EunJin took the roses and took the card. She opened the card and read it:

‘Dear EunJin,

I hope you feel better soon. You may be surprise but it’s me, SuWon. I still feel heart broken but way inside the only thing I want in the world is you to be happy. Are you happy?? I hope you are because when you’re sad and gloomy, it crushes me to see you cry. EunJin, I may not be the best looking guy or the bravest but I will tell you one thing…..EunJin, if I had a flower for every time I thought and cared about you, I’d be walking in the garden forever. I’ll always love you even though you may not give that love back to me. I still think you’re the most beautiful and perfect girl in the whole entire univerise.

Love, SuWon’

EunJin felt tears in her eyes as he finshed reading the letter. It was the sweetst thing in the world. She looked up at JiWon, JaeDuc and JaeJin.

“When can I get out of the hospital??” asked EunJin. SuWon walked through the streets of the town and sighed to himself as he thought about EunJin. He hoped that EunJin liked the get-well gift he sent her.

“SuWon~!” said a voice from behind. SuWon turned around and saw JiYong and SungHoon running to him.

“Hey, SuWon….where you going??” asked JiYong. SuWon shugged, “Visiting EunJin….”

“Oh…can we come??” asked SungHoon.

“Sure…whatever…” said SuWon. The three guys walked down the street and walked towards the hospital. SuWon tooka deep breath as he saw the hospital building across the street.

“Well, read to cross??” asked SungHoon as he looked left to right. SuWon led the way as JiYong and SungHoon followed him crossing the street. Suddenly, a truck came up from a corner and turned into the street where SuWon, JiYong and SungHoon was crossing.

“BEEP~!!!” SuWon, JIYong and SungHoon looked and saw the huge truck trying to stop but before they can scream and get out of the way, the truck driver was finally able stop but felt a rush of fear all over his body as he felt a bump in front of the truck.

“Oh god~!!!” screamed one of the guys.

Chapter 11

EunJin was finally able to go back home after getting checked out by the doctor. JiWon smiled at EunJin and was glad she was okay. He placed his arm around EunJin’s shoulder.

“Wanna go and eat something??” asked JiWon.

“Sure…but I gotta see SuWon…” said EunJin as she took the gift from SuWon and walked out of her room. All of the sudden, a streacher came in the emergency room. Everything happened all at once. EunJin, JiWon, JaeJin and JaeDuc moved out of the way for the emergency. When the streacher past EunJin, she saw the patient. Those eyes looking up at her….those innocent eyes she recognized under the rain.

“Oh my god~!!!” she screamed as she dropped the gift from SuWon. JiWon looked at EunJin to see what was wrong but SungHoon and JiYong came running in with blood on their clothes. JiWon looked and saw the two guys, “What happened??” EunJin ran to the streacher but the doctors and nurses were wokring and didn’t let anyone inside the emgency room. EunJin placed her hand on the little window on the door and watched helplessly as the doctors and nurses tried to help SuWon. SungHoon and JiYong started to cry and explained everything to JiWon, JaeJin and JaeDuc.

“We were walking down the street when all of the sudden, a truck came up and it hit SuWon before it stopped…” explained SungHoon with tears streaming down his face.

“We tried to help him but there was blood everywhere….oh god…oh god…” explained JiYong as he paaced back and forth with tears coming down. All SuWon could see was the bright light in the emergency room and doctors and nurses everywhere. He felt sharp pains all over the body but he didn’t care…it was so painful that his body already got used to it. He felt his own blood and cried sliently to himself. He didn’t want to die. He was too young.

“Oh god…..” cried SuWon.

“It’s gonna be alright….” said one of the nurses who tried to comfort SuWon. The doctors and nurses were able to get SuWon in stable condition but he was placed in intensive care. EunJin, JiWon, JaeJin, JaeDuc, JiYong and SungHoon decided to visit him. As they walked in, they found SuWon laying on the bed with tubes up his nose and needles stuck in his arms to give him blood and fluid. EunJin couldn’t stop her tears as they ran down her cheeks. She held SuWon’s hand tight.

“SuWon….SuWon, it’s me…..EunJin…..” said EunJin. SuWon slowly opened his eyes and saw EunJin with JiYong, SungHoon, JiYong, JaeJin and JaeDuc behind her. EunJin placed SuWon’s hand up to her cheek, “Oh SuWon….I’m so sorry…..” SuWon touched EunJin’s face as she held his hand and slowly SuWon touched her tears and tried to wipe them away. EunJin bend down and went up to SuWon.

“Oh SuWon…..I-I don’t know how to explain this but that letter you sent me….it was so beautiful….so sweet….It finally solved my problems….” explained EunJin. SuWon looked at EunJin wating for an answer.

“It made me realize that I love you, SuWon…..I love you so much….” cried EunJin. SuWon smiled and touched EunJin’s cheek. EunJin closeed her eyes and felt SuWon’s soft hands against her cheek. Then SuWon tried to get closer to EunJin but EunJin held him back.

“Don’t move SuWon…..” said EunJin but she knew what SuWon wanted. She went closer to SuWon until their lips touched. SuWon felt her lips soft like silk but gentle like an angel’s wing. EunJin felt this strong feeling going through her body as he kissed SuWon. At the same time, SuWon and EunJin remembered everything that happened in the past. The first time SuWon saw EunJin in 2nd grade. She was sitting across from him and he felt like he was in heaven when he first saw her. EunJin remember his shy face and how it always blushed. As they gently pulled away, SuWon breath deeply and he felt tears coming down his cheek. Something was going on.

“What’s happening~!!” said EunJin as he held JiWon’s hand.

“I’ll get the doctor, ” said JiYong as he ran out the door. SuWon couldn’t breath and felt weak. The doctor and nurses started to come into the room. EunJin ran up to SuWon’s bedside.

“I-I love you, EunJin…..I’ll be waiting for you in heaven….” weakly mumbled SuWon. EunJin shook her head, “No…no…you’re not leaving……” SuWon weakly nodded and whispered, “I love you….” then all he saw was black.

“Nooooo~!” screamed EunJin, “I love you~!!” but JiWon pulled her away as the doctors and nurses tried to get SuWon back to life…..

Chapter 12

EunJin stood on top of the hill staring into the lake at the bottom. EunJin sighed and tooka deep breath of the fresh morning air. JiWon slowly walked up behind EunJin and placed his hand on her shoulder.

“Are you okay??” asked JiWon. EunJin nodded, “I guess…” JiWon and EunJin both walked back to the car. JiWon sat on the driver’s seat and smiled at EunJin who was smiling at JiWon.

“So….you wanna go now??” asked JiWon. EunJin smiled, “Yea….” JiWon drove up to a driveway and EunJin quickly got out of the car and walked up to the door. She quickly opened door and smiled as she walked up to JiYong and SungHoon.

“Hey EunJin…..how are you??” asked JiYong. EunJin smiled, ” Fine….”

“Good~!” smiled SungHoon.

“EunJin…” said a voice behind EunJin. EunJin recognized the voice and smiled as she turned around and went up to JaeJin and hugged him.

“Hey EunJin….” smiled JaeJin. Then JaeDuc came up behind JaeJin and waved to EunJin, “Hey EunJin~!” EunJin smiled and greeted everyone.

“EunJin….” said a familar voice. EunJin turned around and saw SuWon smiling at her. She went up to SuWon and placed her arms around his neck.

“Hey…..how are you??” asked SuWon as he leaned on his crutches. EunJin smiled, “Fine….but now I’m great after seeing you~!” SuWon blushed and smiled shyly. EunJin smiled and went up to SuWon and gently placed her lips against SuWon’s. SuWon felt warm chills as he felt the softness of EunJin’s lips. They slowly pulled away and SuWon looked into EunJin’s eyes.

“I love you, EunJin….” smiled SuWon. EunJin blushed shyly, “I love you too SuWon….” Then they slowly went closer to each other again and kissed.

THE END

My Summer in Love by: SeChsKieS Gurl

my summer in love.png

  • a Jiyong & Hoony fanfic
  • completed

PROLOGUE

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiyoon continued about, her eyes roaming around the room.

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER 2

“Jiyong ah…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Hmm…”

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

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

CHAPTER 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But — ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“In what way?” Kiyoon asked.

Jiyoon nudged at her youngest sister.

Kiyoon pushed Jiyoon away. “Well?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, darling?” Chaeya prompted.

“I…I was wondering…”

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

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

Chaeya sighed. “Well?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sunghoon.”

Sunghoon looked up. “Huh?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Kiyoon?” Sunghoon murmured.

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

“Oh…” Sunghoon said softly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Bye, honey,” his mother said tearfully.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“JEEEEEYONG!”

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

“Your mother!”

Jiyong dropped his luggage and raced back.

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

“What?”

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

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

Sunghoon nodded, the gleam returning to his eyes.

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

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

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

“Nothing! I — ”

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

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

CHAPTER 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

“If only Kiyoon was a boy…”

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

Chaeya agreed. “Oh, Oma…”

“Go rest up. Everything’ll be fine.”

“And Miyoon…”

“Like I said. Everything will be fine.”

CHAPTER 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Put on your seat belt. We’re there.”

“There? Where?”

“There. We’re landing soon.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You’re forgetting — ”

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

“That’s not nice,” Jiyoon chided.

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

“Life? Why you say that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Kiyoon, stop being difficult.”

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER 6

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

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

“Hey! I have an idea!”

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

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

“What?” Jiyong was confused.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sunghoon,” Jiyong growled.

“No, Jiyong! Look! Three girls!”

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

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

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

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

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

“No! Let’s play a trick!”

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

“No! Yes! I dunno!”

“Well, which is it?”

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

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

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

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

Sunghoon’s million dollar smile.

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

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

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

“I’ll tell ‘em! Don’t worry.”

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

“What?”

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

Sunghoon gasped.

“So…”

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

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

But Sunghoon dashed off before Jiyong could finish.

“Sunghoon!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All three pairs of eyes turned to Sunghoon.

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

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

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

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

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

“By any chance one of you – “

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

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

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

Sunghoon’s smile quickly faded.

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

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

“Jiyong,” Jiyoon said.

Sunghoon looked up.

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

Kiyoon snorted.

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

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

“So?”

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

“Why?” Jiyong asked.

“She thinks you’re a fag.”

“What?!”

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

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

“Yeah,” Sunghoon whispered.

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

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

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

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

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

Sunghoon began walking away.

“Sunghoon!” Jiyong called.

But he went on.

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

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

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

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

Granny shrugged. “We were all sleeping.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jiyoon agreed.

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

“No,” Jiyong and Sunghoon chorused.

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

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

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

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

“Tiring,” Jiyong answered.

“Boring,” Sunghoon replied.

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

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

Sunghoon ran after Miyoon, Jiyong following close behind.

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

“What isn’t?” Jiyoon asked.

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

“Granny?”

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

CHAPTER 7

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

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

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

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

“Nah…not yet, not that I know of.”

“Jiyoon?”

“She’s quiet. Look like a nerd.”

“My ajooma?”

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

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

Sunghoon shivered. “My butt’s frozen.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Surprised, hyuuuuung?”

“Shocked.”

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

“I’m almost done.”

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

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

“Hyung, you’re so pessimistic.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Appa!” Miyoon whined.

“Alright, alright. Calm down you two.”

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

Sunghoon smiled. “Hi.”

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

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

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

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

“Hmm?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jiyoon looked perplexed. “Another language?”

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

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

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

“Oh, Kiyoon.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kiyoon glared at Jaejin.

“I-I – ” Jiyong started to answer.

“I’m fine!” Sunghoon piped. “You’re?”

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

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

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

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

“Kiyoon,” her father said sternly.

“Heh…” Kiyoon uttered sheepishly.

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

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

Jiyoon blushed with embarrassment.

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

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

“Kiyoon!” her father repeated.

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

“Wow,” Sunghoon mumbled.

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

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

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

“You have a brother?” Miyoon suddenly asked.

Jiyong shook his head.

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

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

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

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

“IT!” Jaejin screamed, pushing Kiyoon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No,” Jaejin gasped. “I’m the man.”

Kiyoon chortled weakly and stayed on the ground with Jaejin.

“Kiyoon.”

“Hmm?”

“Why are you so hyperactive?”

“I dunno.”

“Hmm.”

“My turn!”

“Hmm…”

“Why can’t I have a brother?”

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

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

“Why don’t you play with Miyoon?”

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

“Funny.”

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

“So you come and mess with me?”

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

“I’ll be soon.”

“When?”

“Soon enough.”

CHAPTER 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunghoon agreed and they both continued unpacking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CHAPTER 9

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh, Kiyoon!” Jiyoon cried, exasperated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s so beautiful tonight.”

“The stars. They’re glamorous.”

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

“What do you think?” Jiyoon asked.

“Of?”

“My cousin and his secretary.”

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

“What’s wrong?”

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

“Whaddo you mean?”

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

“Why you think that?”

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

“A gig?”

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

“Why?”

“Two reasons.”

Jiyoon waited.

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

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

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

“Uh…twenty one. You?”

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

“Twenty? You look only eighteen.”

“You look eighteen, too!” Miyoon cried.

“How old’s Kiyoon? Sixteen?”

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

“Jiyoon?”

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

“No, no…that’s fine.”

“So, when’s your birthday?”

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

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

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

“Twenty – why twenty one? I thought – “

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

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

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

“Just like my sister!” Miyoon gasped.

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

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

Sunghoon nodded.

“But-But you don’t even act like it!”

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

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

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

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

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

Knock, knock.

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

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

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

“Is it okay if I chill with you?”

“Chill? Here? Me?”

“Yeah,” Jiyong answered uncomfortably.

“Where’s Jiyong?”

“He’s with your sister.”

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

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

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

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

“Hmm…”

“Pretty good.”

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

“More?”

“You’ll see. Want candy?”

“Sure.”

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

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

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

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

“Do you?”

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

“Jiyoon.”

“Oh.”

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

“N-No…why would you think that?”

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

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

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

“Are you two always fighting?”

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

“So…old how – “

“Thirteen.”

“Thir – You’re only thirteen?!”

“Plus five.”

“Thirteen…thirteen plus five, eighteen!”

“Are you also the accountant?”

“No, why?”

“I was about to say your math’s bad.”

Jiyong stuffed a Sour Patch Kid in his mouth.

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

“Can I use your computer?”

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

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

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

“Second week of September.”

“Oh, God.”

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

Jaejin kissed Jiyoon good night and left for home.

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

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

“Jiyoon wants to wait till she graduates.”

“Graduate?”

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

“What’s Jaejin?”

“A doctor.”

Sunghoon stared at Miyoon.

“He’s still going to school though.”

Sunghoon nodded.

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

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

“Good night, Jiyong,” she said sweetly.

“Night.”

“See you in the morning.”

“Yeah.”

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

“You suck!”

“Shut up!”

“Dumb ass! Turn left!”

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

“You dumb ass! YOUR AMERICAN LEFT!!!”

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

“Game over,” Kiyoon chorused with the announcer.

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s okay. I always stay up later.”

“Well…Good night.”

“Night.”

CHAPTER 10

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

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

“Hey, dreams do come true you know.”

“How come mine hasn’t come true yet?”

“Which is?”

“You outta my life?”

Miyoon rolled her eyes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sleep well, hon?” Granny asked.

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

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

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

Silence.

“Guess the monster’s asleep.”

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

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

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

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

“Drop it, freak!”

“Unni, make up your mind!”

“Drop it,” Miyoon repeated.

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

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

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

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

Then came an ear-splitting scream. Miyoon.

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

“What did you do?”

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

Jiyong laughed.

“What’d you have?”

“Coffee and a sandwich.”

Kiyoon frowned. “No fair. Ramen?”

Jiyong shook his head.

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

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

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

“Enough.”

“Hmm…I can tell.”

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

“CHO KIYOON!” she screamed.

No answer.

“Where is she?!” Miyoon demanded.

Jiyong shrugged. “In her room?”

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

CHAPTER 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oh…”

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

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

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

Jiyong let out a nervous laugh. “Really?”

“Very real.”

“Kiyoon ah! Dinner!” Jiyoon called.

“Already?” Jiyong asked, surprised.

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

“Psssst!”

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

“What?” Jiyong approached Sunghoon.

Sunghoon glanced around and dragged Jiyong back to their room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Are you jealous?”

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

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

A knock at the door. “Jiyong?”

“Miyoon,” Jiyong guessed.

Sunghoon went to open the door. “Hi.”

“Jiyong, come on!”

“Where now?”

“Just come!”

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

CHAPTER 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Good? Appa, I’m always good!”

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

“Bye, Appa! Drive safely!”

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

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

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

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

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

Suwon nodded. Kiyoon was always exaggerating.

“Suwon ah!”

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

“Some friend you are,” Kiyoon said grumpily.

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

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

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

“Can your mom adopt me?”

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

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

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

“Let’s go ask,” Kiyoon mimicked.

“Bunghole.”

“Not until the day your mom adopts me.”

CHAPTER 13

“Uhh…Miyoon?”

“What?!” she snapped.

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

“A car? Where you wanna go?”

“Somewhere. I just wanna go out.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ARGH!!! YOU!”

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

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

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

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

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

“You getting tired of this?”

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

“Not a good idea.”

“Why?”

“Jiyong’s there.”

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

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

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

“I will.”

“Like what?”

“I’ll buy you a guy with some love.”

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

“Sunghoon’s downstairs partying away.”

“Party? This early?”

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

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

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

“Why not?”

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

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

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

“What about Jiyoon?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Who is he?”

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

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

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

“Uh!”

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

“Jiyong!”

“Sorry, Oma.”

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

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

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

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

“Jiyong…you don’t like to read.”

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

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

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

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

“Sorry, Oma.”

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

“Bye, Mom.”

“Be good. Tell Sunghoon that, too.”

“I will.”

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

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

Kiyoon picked up the bag.

“Sold to Cho Kiyoon,” Suwon said loudly.

“No. I’m just looking, you idiot.”

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

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

“Good. Real good.”

“Kicking it, huh?”

“Yeah.”

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

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

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

“Kiyoon. I’m talking to you.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“That’s good enough. Or…”

“Or what?”

“I’m heartless.”

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

CHAPTER 14

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

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

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

“Then she must have slipped out.”

“Till now?! Miyoon, it’s almost ten!”

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

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

“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! My hair!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Am I in trouble?” Kiyoon asked softly.

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

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

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

“I went over to his house.”

“How?”

“On my bike.”

“Oh, Kiyoon…”

“What happened?”

“Nothing! When did you leave?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You damn bitch,” Miyoon cursed.

“What?”

“You heard me.”

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

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

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

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

“Whoa…heated shit.”

A knock. “Sunghoon?”

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

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

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

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

“I’m not. Just curious.”

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

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

“Me? She didn’t yell at me.”

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

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

Jiyong’s mouth fell open.

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

CHAPTER 15

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

“Pssst! Wake up Jiyong jjang!”

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

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

“What?!”

“Happy Birthday!”

“Wha…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Oooh! Look at this!” Miyoon squealed.

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

“Awww…shit!”

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

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

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

The happy chatter stopped as all eyes turned to her.

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

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

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

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

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

“Miyoon baked it?”

“No…I dunno…”

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

“Kiyoon!” Jiyoon called.

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

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

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

“Kiyoon…what are you doing?”

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

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

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

“Tell me…”

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

“Why is it you hate Jiyong?”

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

“Not himself?”

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

“Child…you sometimes remind me of Miyoon.”

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

“You both judge people based on looks itself.”

“I DO NOT!”

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

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

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

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

Granny raised a brow. “Why?”

“Wisdom…you old people know too much.”

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

“Such as sugar?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I have to go in there.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I got your present upstairs. Tonight.”

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

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

“Hey, bum,” Kiyoon muttered.

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

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

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

“Oh…” Kiyoon said amusingly.

“Yeah, wanna know what happened?”

“Hmm…”

“You sure?”

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

“You really wanna know?”

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

“Okay. You were married.”

“Married? To who?”

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

“To who?”

“Ready?”

Kiyoon nodded, waiting with anticipation.

“Ko Jiyong.”

“WHAT???!”

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

“Back dat ass up. I married WHO?!”

“Ko Jiyong.”

“THAT FAGGOT?!”

“Why?”

“How do you how they look like?”

“I don’t.”

“Then – “

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

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

“Wait. There’s more!”

“More?!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Wow…I was wearing a dress?”

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

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

“Wait! Did I tell you – “

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

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

“What?!”

“You two kissed!”

Kiyoon belched as a response sending Suwon on a lecture.

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

“Thanks. I love you, too.”

“So…what’s the big emergency?”

“It’s the goon’s birthday.”

“Your dream hubby?”

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

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

Kiyoon growled.

“Okay, okay. What about him?”

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

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

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

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

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

“Nothing.”

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

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

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

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

“Wanna go out?”

“Nah…gotta take my Oma shopping.”

“Er…”

“Sorry.”

“Better be. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Lates.”

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

CHAPTER 16

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

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

“Because of Jiyong?”

“Yeah.”

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

“What did you get Jiyong?” Jaejin asked.

“Nothing,” Kiyoon replied tonelessly.

“Nothing?” Jaejin echoed.

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

Jiyoon frowned. “What’s wrong?”

Kiyoon sighed. “Nothing…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaejin got off his swing and went over to Jiyoon.

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

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

Jiyong edged closer just in time to catch the performance.

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

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

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

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

“KIYOOOON!!!” Jiyoon screamed.

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

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

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

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

“Kiyoon?” Jaejin whispered again, nudging Kiyoon.

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

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

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

Jiyong and Jiyoon gasped.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“From the back. I heard somebody singing.”

“Oh,” Kiyoon hiccupped.

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

“Unni, I’m fine. Nothing – ”

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

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

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

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

“Nothing,” Jaejin reported, stilling supporting Kiyoon.

“Kiyoon, you feel dizzy?”

Kiyoon shook her head, her brain rattling inside.

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

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

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

Kiyoon frowned. “Unni!”

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

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

“Jiyoon nuna.”

“Uh?”

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

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

Jiyong nodded to himself as Jiyoon disappeared inside the house.

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

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

“No yuja chingoo?”

“Nope.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Someone like you.”

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

Jiyong scoffed. “Mental condition?”

“She wallows in self-pity.”

“Jiyong?”

Sunghoon jolted back to the present. “Hmm?”

“Are you alright?”

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

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

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

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

Jiyong shook his head. “How long?”

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

“How long ago was that?”

“Too long.”

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

“What?”

“Huh?”

“Why you looking at me like that?”

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

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

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

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

“Eeeep. I got germs.”

“Kiyoon…I’m – ”

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

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

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

Jiyong nodded, afraid of Kiyoon at the moment.

“Go get me my sister.”

“Kiyoon – ”

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

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

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

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

“Why?”

“I’ve committed a crime.”

“Uh-oh.”

“I lip raped Kiyoon.”

“WHAT?!”

“Shoot me,” Jiyong said again.

“What’s lip – ”

“I kissed her.”

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

“Stop making me feel guilty. Kill me.”

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

“A lot. Now she hates me.”

Jaejin fell out of his chair laughing.

“What’s so funny?” Jiyong demanded.

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

“No wonder why she yelled at me.”

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

“Kill me before I change my mind.”

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

Jiyong nodded.

“Creative. See how cute she is?”

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

Jaejin saluted. “Yes, Dr. Cho.”

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

“He kissed her.”

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

“You looked shocked.”

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

Jaejin laughed. “And you?”

“What about me?”

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

“Jaejin, I’m serious.”

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

“Hold up. Sunghoon and Kiyoon?”

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

“Yet.”

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

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

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

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

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

Jiyoon turned crimison at the question. “Never!”

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

Jiyoon slapped Jaejin’s shoulder jokingly.

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

“Why?”

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

Jiyoon looked confused.

“Kiyoon. That’s our first born.”

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

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

Jiyoon laughed. “What am I gonna do?”

“Nothing. Like Sunghoon go after her himself.”

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

CHAPTER 17

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

“Jiyong…I’m dead.”

“So am I.”

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

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

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

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

“What?”

“Nothing. I’m calling my mom.”

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

“What do you mean?”

“You said you were dead too. Why?”

“I raped Kiyoon.”

“YOU WHAT?!”

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

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

“What are you talking about?!”

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

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

“You said you raped her!”

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

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

“Huh?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I never said you did.”

“So, how’s it like?”

“What?”

“Kissing a boy.”

“I dunno. Wanna try?”

“Ewwww! Jiyooooong!”

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

“Jiyong, I meant the he-she.”

“Sunghoon, Kiyoon’s not a he-she. She’s just tough and what’s that girl you’re hooked onto? A drag?”

“At least she’s normal!”

Jiyong snorted. “How does it feel to kiss a normal drag?”

“I dunno…I never kissed her.”

Jiyong gawked at him.

“Stop it! I’m no endangered specie!”

“I thought – “

“No…I feel guilty. She really thinks I’m you! I can’t kiss her having to know that it’s you she wants and not me! I’m just a stupid secretary.”

“Well…I dunno.”

“What about her?”

“What about her?”

“Well…?”

“Okay, okay…it was short and sweet. She didn’t kiss back, but I had fun. Is that what you want?”

“Wow. You shocked her.”

“I know. I think I zapped her brains out.” Jiyong frowned.

“I felt the same way when she kissed me.”

“Who?!”

“Miyoon, not her.”

“Oh…” Jiyong sighed with relief. Then he realized what he had done. He was afraid that Kiyoon and Sunghoon had hooked up for real! He had never thought he’d be fond of Kiyoon and now he’s worried over the fact that he may never kiss Kiyoon again!

“What am I gonna do?”

“Nothing,” Jiyong said, not aware of himself talking. “Just continue to lead them on until the day we get married.”

CHAPTER 18

“Nooooooooo,” Kiyoon pouted, hiding beneath her blanket. “I’m not coming out.”

“Kiyoon,” Jaejin said in a sing-a-long voice. “If you’re not coming out, I’m not marrying your sister.”

“I don’t care! I have a disease now! Get away from me!”

A disease? How amusing, Jaejin thought. “Well, so do I. I’m sick.”

“I know you are! All guys are sick!”

“But my sickness is different!”

“I know! Sunghoon’s retarded and you have AIDS!”

Jaejin laughed. “Retarded and AIDS? What kind of disease do you have?”

“Cancer! Lip cancer!”

Jaejin roared with laughter. “Lip cancer?”

“It’s not funny! I got it from Sunghoon!”

“I thought Sunghoon’s retarded?”

“He’s retarded and stupid!”

“Now three?”

“I’m no doctor!”

“Wanna know my illness?”

“What!”

“Love sick.”

“Ewwwww…Get away from me!”

“Don’t worry. I’ve only kissed your sister. I don’t think I have lip cancer.”

“Still! Leave me alone!”

“Kiyoon, Jiyoon’s pregnant.”

Kiyoon burrowed out of her blanket. “Say what?”

“Gotcha!” Jaejin winked, tickling Kiyoon.

“Aaaahhhhhh! No fair!” she wailed, giggling.

“So, lemme see your lips. I don’t think your lips are gonna fall off.”

“No, but he took over my job and they look deformed.”

Jaejin cupped Kiyoon’s chin and glanced at her bright pink lips. “Nah…they’re just a little colored. I think it has a fever.”

“My lips are naturally colored like that. I dunno why.”

“That’s good. Your husband can save money on cosmetic items. First accessory : no lipstick.”

Kiyoon’s face scrunched up at the mockery. “Haha.”

“I know what can make the color go away.”

“What?”

“Have Sunghoon poison you again with his lips.”

“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!” Kiyoon hid under her blanket again.

“It’ll cool it down.”

“Get away from me!”

“But you better be at dinner!” Jaejin left Kiyoon alone to fight with her emotions. He entered Jiyoon’s room with a smirk on his face.

“What?” she asked eagerly.

“She likes him.”

“What?”

“She doesn’t realize it. I don’t think she even knows it. But it’s there. She’s gonna be his wife before she can even think of lipstick.”

CHAPTER 19

“Oma?”

“Jiyong?”

“Hi, ajooma!” Sunghoon shouted behind Jiyong.

“Can you keep it down? These walls have ears you know,” Jiyong whispered loudly.

“Jiyong?”

“Hi, Mom. How’s things?”

“You having fun?”

“A lot.”

“Where’s Sunghoon?”

“He’s dancing in his underwear.”

“Oh, that boy!”

“Just kidding, Oma. He’s here.”

Sunghoon snatched the receiver from Jiyong. “Hi, ajooma! Ajooma! You can’t believe how much fun I’m having here!”

“Really?”

“Yeah! And you were right about Miyoon! She’s hella cute!”

Jiyong shot a warning glare at Sunghoon, his eyes blazing.

“Well, I’m glad you’re having fun.”

“So am I, ajooma! Here’s Jiyong!” Sunghoon tossed the receiver back to Jiyong and hurried to dress himself for the family outting.

“Happy Birthday,” Mrs. Ko said.

“Thanks Oma.”

“I’m sorry I’m not there to give you a present. How are things?”

“So far so good.”

“Any luck with fun?”

“Oma…”

“Hmm?”

“I did something really bad.”

Silence.

“Oma…” Jiyong looked around and found that Sunghoon had already vanished. He whispered, “I kissed Kiyoon.”

“What? Speak up, I can’t hear you.”

Jiyong raised his voice just a bit. “I kissed Kiyoon.”

“I still can’t hear you.”

Softly, “I kissed Kiyoon.”

Gasp.

“Oma?”

Mrs. Ko recovered from her shock and quickly asked, “You did? What about her?”

“She’s mad at me. I don’t know what to do Oma! I dunno!”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Do you like her?”

“Molla yo! That’s the problem! I dunno if I do! A few weeks ago we were ignoring each other, but said things to each other when neccessary and now! I dunno!”

“And now you kissed her. Are you sure she didn’t kiss you? Did she give you a birthday present?”

It then occured to him that he had never told his mother about the situation he and Sunghoon was in. “No.”

“Well, then maybe that was her gift to you?”

“It wasn’t! She jumped off the swing and I – ”

“Jumped off the swing?! What happened? Why did she jump off the swing? Don’t tell me she’s suicidal!”

“No…No, Oma…I think she just got carried away. You know Kiyoon, she’s always doing something wacky. And then I think she got dizzy and Jaejin had to carry her back to her room and I followed. Jiyoon tucked her in and asked me to stay and make sure she doesn’t leave. Well, not until dinner. So I stayed behind to chill…then Oma! I couldn’t help it! It just happened! I was looking at her and then next thing you know she tells me to get out!”

“You sound so much like a yuja…you know that? You worry too much.”

“But Oma!”

“You’re not sure you’re attracted to Kiyoon?”

“No! Sunghoon’s definitely sure! He knows he has a future with Miyoon and I’m still here trying to figure out whether Kiyoon likes guys or girls!”

“You don’t possibly mean that!”

“No, Oma. I don’t. But I really do want to know if I like her. I think I do…I dunno…I mean…there is no other reason for me to kiss her. It just happened.”

“Could it be that she looked really pretty at the moment?”

“She did. Her medium length hair flowing out beneath her. But…she always looked the same…Aigo! Oma! I’m having a headache!”

“I’m sorry I’m not helping. What are you going to do tonight?”

“I still have to face her tonight when we go out for dinner.”

“Dinner?”

“Birthday.”

“Oh…make sure you dress up nice. I want to see some pictures. And take plenty of Kiyoon! I wanna see how she look like now. Haven’t seen her since she was three!”

“Mom!”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to ask her. Just ask Jiyoon to help, she’ll be glad to do it.

Jiyong agreed and bid his mother well before hanging up.

“Psssst! Birthday wangja!” Sunghoon whispered loudly.

“What?”

“Get in your best looking outfit. We’re going out fishing!”

Jiyong sighed as Sunghoon took off again. “It’s gonna be a long night.”

CHAPTER 20

Dinner went fairly well. Everybody was dressed elegantly and were paired off. Jaejin and Jiyoon, Sunghoon and Miyoon and the unfortunate : Jiyong and Kiyoon. The adults were the usual, the parents and Granny. Jaejin and Jiyoon rushed off to chatter about things that’ve occured at work and Miyoon as always was going on and on about various things. Kiyoon seated herself distantly from Jiyong in case if he was to act up again.

“A toast! Happy Birthday to Jiyong! He’s finally a man!” Kiyoon’s father pronounced, holding up the glass.

Everybody lifted their glasses and drank to it, Kiyoon and Jiyong did so reluctantly.

“Kiyoon, what do you wanna eat?” Jiyoon asked, looking over at her sister. “Sunghoon?”

“Whatever’s fine,” Kiyoon mumbled. “I’m not really hungry.”

“Nothing in particular,” Jiyong answered.

Jiyoon poked Jaejin in the ribs. “I thought you said – ”

“Rome wasn’t built in one day,” was all Jaejin said. He reached over and held onto Jiyoon’s hand.

“But – ”

“Shhhh…you’re ruining the magic. Just let them be. You’ll see.”

Jiyoon nodded before casting her worried eyes elsewhere.

“Like! I have to take you there! It’s so cute there!” Miyoon shrilled, her hands making empty gestures.

Sunghoon’s smile was brighter than ever as Miyoon went on.

Jiyong cleared his throat. Kiyoon looked away before he could even start speaking.

“Kiyoon…”

Silence.

“I – ”

“Jiyoon, I’m gonna use the phone. Be right back,” Kiyoon said stiffly as she pushed her chair back. She hurried to the public phone and dialed Suwon’s number before she knew it.

“Hello?”

“Suwon?”

“Who’s dis?”

“You know who.”

“Oh! Where you at?”

“Some shikdang. This stinks. I wanna go home.”

“I thought it was Jiyong’s birthday?”

“It is and they’re celebrating.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I dunno…”

Suwon, on the other end, frowned. It wasn’t like Kiyoon to talk like that. She’s avoiding questions and complaining too much. Something must’ve happened. “What happened? Do you want me to come?”

Kiyoon thought about the offer. It did sound comforting, but she didn’t want to make a big deal about her internal emotions. “It’s okay. I don’t wanna bother you.”

Should’ve thought of that before you called, Suwon thought. “No. It’s no bother. You sure?”

“Suwon! I – ” Kiyoon broke off, unable to continue.

“What? What’s wrong?”

“Suwon…I’ve been kissed by a guy,” Kiyoon confessed, the unwanted guilt returning.

Suwon nearly dropped the phone. “What? I can’t hear you! It’s too noisy!”

Raising her voice a little, she repeated, “I’ve been kissed by a guy!”

Now Suwon dropped his phone for real. “And I thought I heard it wrong!” He quickly picked up his phone. “WHO?!” he hooted, the background noise of the restaurant getting louder.

“Kang Sunghoon…”

“WHO? Speak up, girl! I can’t hear you!”

“KANG SUNGHOON!” Kiyoon yelled.

Whoa. Suwon felt that slap across the face. Kang Sunghoon? The secretary? “You sure?”

“Suwon! It was only me and him in the room! Who else could it be?!”

“Uhh…you kissed him?” Suwon said dumbly.

Suwon infuriated her. “No, Jang Suwon!”

Uh-oh. Last name. “I’m sorry…I think – ”

“You better be! Wanna know what I think? You need some hearing aids and guess who’s not buying them?!” Kiyoon shouted into the phone. She slammed it down and stood before it, anger chewing her up like a granola bar.

“Hello? Yoooohoooo? Kiyoon?” Suwon called out. But it was no use. He knew she had hung up on him. “Oh my God!” The conversation replaying in his mind. “Kiyoon’s virgin lips! Hyung! Hyung! Oh my God, you’re not gonna believe this, hyung!” Suwon screamed as he ran upstairs to tell his brother the news.

“Done?”

Kiyoon looked up at the deep voice, surprised to have found herself still standing in front of the phone. Jiyong kept his cool and waited for a reply.

“No!” Kiyoon picked up the phone again, desperately trying to think of someone to call. Her finger automatically dialed Suwon’s number again, although she tried her very best to stop her finger from dialing and trembling so badly.

Jiyong reached up and pressed down on the hook, disconnecting Kiyoon. With his free hand he took her shaking hand away from the dialing keys.

“What’d you do that for!?” Kiyoon demanded, her eyes seething with hate.

“My turn to use it.” He shoved her away and waited till she was gone, but with no avail. She stayed rooted to the floor.

“Some gentleman you are.” Kiyoon waited for her turn, tapping her foot as impatience grew.

Jiyong stood uncomfortably in front of the phone. Not quite sure of who to call. He had actually wanted to see if Kiyoon was alright, not really wanting to use the phone. But now since he moved her away, she’s staring at him boldly, making him shift uncomfortably from foot to foot. He decided to call his mother since he couldn’t think of anybody to call at the moment. He turned around to Kiyoon. “Could I have some privacy?”

“I’m not up against your neck, listening word for word. Besides, I’m ten feet away from you!”

Oh, had Jiyong wished she was up against his neck, that way he can just look down and peck her on the forehead. He sighed. “Fine.” He turned around and dialed his mother’s number, waiting for her to pick up.

“Yeboseyo?”

“Mommy?”

“Jiyong?”

“Yeah.”

“What’s wrong? Where are you?”

“I’m at dinner. Some fancy restaurant.”

“Oh, nice?”

“Really.” Jiyong had expected to see Kiyoon still growling at him, but was surprised to see she had returned to the table.

“So…any pictures yet?”

“Nope. Not yet, Oma.”

“You sound down.”

“Mom, Kiyoon won’t even talk to me now!”

“Oh, dear. You really do like her, huh?”

“I guess so. I was just thinking of how it’ll be nice if I could go on kissing her forever.”

“Oh!”

“Just joking, Oma. But I did sorta hoped that she’ll forgive me, but by the looks of it, she’s still sour about it…Like I gave her some kind of disease.”

“Kiyoon’s still a child. How old did you say she is?”

“Eighteen.”

“Hmm…she’s still adjusting. I think that was her first kiss?”

“I think so too. She didn’t react to it.”

“She was scared. If you showed her you liked her…”

“No, Mom, one kiss was scary enough for her. If I gave any signs as to even growing fond of her, she’ll move to the next planet or commit suicide.”

“Why do you have to fall for girls that are so play hard to get?”

“Are you saying I should forget about her?”

“You should play hard, too.”

“What?”

“Does she know you’re interested?”

“Kiyoon doesn’t even know anything about crushes.”

“Then good. Make her jealous. Are there a lot of girls at that restaurant?”

Jiyong looked around. “Quite an amount.”

“Then go out there and talk to one. If Kiyoon wants to play the hard way, then you go play with her. Show her you don’t like her and get even at her at her own game.”

“Mom, I don’t think Kiyoon’s playing a game here.”

“I know. But you want her to like you…right?”

“I think so. I dunno what I want.”

“Jiyong…tell Oma straight answers. These are yes or no, no ‘dunno’ questions. Do you like Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Do you want Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure you like Kiyoon?”

“Yes.”

“Then you’re all set. Go after her.”

“Oma…”

“One more thing.”

“Huh?”

“Are you gonna marry her?”

CHAPTER 21

Jiyong took his mother’s and Sunghoon’s advice and went fishing. Amazingly, he caught two beautiful goldfishes.

“You’re cute,” one of the girls said.

“Thanks,” Jiyong mumbled sheepishly.

“What is he doing?!” Jiyoon demanded, tugging on Jaejin’s arm. “That was not part of the game plan!”

Jaejin followed Jiyoon’s gaze and quickly looked over to Kiyoon, who ate her plate of food in silence, avoiding conversations and contact. “Damn,” he muttered.

“What just happened?” Jiyoon whispered.

“C’mon. We’re going for a walk,” Jaejin murmured back. He pushed his chair back and Jiyoon quickly followed and both went over to Kiyoon and rescued her from the her version of ‘living hell.’

Kiyoon was more than gladly to get away from the noise, the people and mostly, Jiyong. “Where are we going?”

“Out. You need to breathe, you were choking on your food,” Jaejin said, silently cursing to himself.

Jiyong watched with curious eyes as the three left, Jiyoon’s arms around Kiyoon, as if comforting her. Oh, no…he thought.

“Hey! What did you say your name was?” a girl asked.

“Uh…Sunghoon.”

“Sunghoon?!” Gasp. “That’s such an adorable name! You’re so handsome!”

Jiyong nodded, his heart sinking. Kiyoon wasn’t there. “Uh…I have to go. My family wants me back at the table?”

“Sure. Make sure you come back later!” the girls chimed.

Jiyong slipped into his chair, which happened to be the next table over and sighed. Oh, Kiyoon…what have you done to me? He watched enviously as Sunghoon’s eyes twinkled at the little secret Miyoon was whispering in his ear. He picked up his chopsticks and began eating away. Afterall, it is his birthday.

====================

“Why’s Jaejin so mad?” Kiyoon mouthed, pulling Jiyoon to a halt.

Jiyoon shrugged. “Guess he had a bad day at work.”

“Jiyoon, you two didn’t go to work today. Remember? Jiyong’s birthday?”

Jiyoon slapped herself on the forehead. “Must be stress. You know…sick people and all…”

“That’s not it. Jaejin’s never like this.”

How observant, Jiyoon thought. She pulled Kiyoon to walk again, trailing after Jaejin in the wide city streets.

“Unni…I’m tired. Can we go home?”

Jiyoon looked strangely at Kiyoon before inquiring, “Why? You’re never tired…You don’t go to bed till three in the morning!”

Jaejin stopped once he sensed the two sisters weren’t behind him. “Now what?”

“Give her a piggy. She’s tired.”

“I’m sure I can walk. Just that I feel like sleeping at the moment.” Kiyoon yawned, the heat suddenly unbearable.

Jiyoon placed a cool hand of Kiyoon’s forehead. She glanced at Jaejin, her eyes widening.

“What?” Jaejin said inaudibly.

Jiyoon shook her head as she removed her hand.

“No, unni! Leave it there! That felt good.”

“Kiyoon, we’re taking you home.” Jaejin quickly turned around and headed back to the restaurant. Jiyoon hurried Kiyoon along, making sure they keep up with Jaejin.

“Wait in the car. I’ll be right down.” Jaejin handed Jiyoon the keys to his car and entered the restaurant. He scanned the crowded place and immediately went over to the table he was eating at earlier. “We’re going home first. Kiyoon isn’t feeling well. Jiyoon’s downstairs waiting,” he said in a rush.

“Wait – What? What happened?” Chaeya asked, lowering her chopsticks. Her face baffled.

“Kiyoon. She’s coming down with a fever. We’re bringing her home.”

“A fever?!” Jiyong cried. “A fever in the summer?”

“I’m thinking it has something to do with her studies and all that. She never stops. We’re taking her home.”

“We? Who’s – “

“Jiyoon’s downstairs in my car with her. I just came up here to tell you that. Gotta go.” Jaejin took off before anyone else could question him any further.

“Awww, don’t worry about her. They’re just trying to get some attention. I doubt it she’s even sick!” Miyoon said lightly. She sipped at her tonic.

“I think we should go,” Granny suggested. Whenever Kiyoon’s sick, it was always serious and heavy.

“No! I’m having fun!” Miyoon pouted.

“And you have no concern about your sister’s welfare whatsoever?” her father inquired. “We’re going home.”

Dinner ended soon and they all left for home in two separate cars.

“I dunno why we have to leave at such a petty little thing! I mean, Jaejin and Jiyoon’s with her, so why do we have to end our fun?”

“Miyoon…you wouldn’t like it if everybody else ignored you when you’re sick,” Sunghoon pointed out.

“I don’t! Which is why I think she deserves it!”

“Huh?”

“Nobody cared about me when I was sick, so why should I give a damn about them?”

“Not even me?” Sunghoon asked mildly.

“Except you, honey.” Miyoon smiled.

Jiyong felt himself grow sick. Miyoon was so cold hearted and he was glad Sunghoon was stuck with her.

After thirty minutes, they arrived home and everybody filed upstairs to Kiyoon’s room. All except Miyoon and Jiyong. Jiyong had left for his room and Miyoon stayed in the living room to watch late night sitcoms.

“Kiyoon?” Granny rasped, entering her granddaughter’s room.

“It is SOOOOOOOO hot! Open the windows! Appa! Where is he? He needs to get me an air-conditioner!” Kiyoon bellowed.

“Shhh…Kiyoon, calm down.”

Kiyoon slapped the hands away. “Go away…you’re making me hot! It’s so muggy in here! Where’s my water!?”

Jaejin searched the room for Jiyong. “Where’s Sunghoon?”

Sunghoon nearly stepped forward, but remembered he was Jiyong to them. “I think he’s in his room.”

Jaejin pushed past the worried mob and went down to Jiyong’s room. He threw the door open without knocking and saw Jiyong standing in front of his closet in his boxers.

“KANG SUNGHOON!”

Jiyong jumped out of his skin, unaware Jaejin had the door open. He quickly grabbed a pair of jeans and slipped it on.

Jaejin stalked forward and pushed Jiyong up against the closet door. “What did you do to Kiyoon?”

“Wha-Wha-What are you talking about?” Jiyong stuttered.

“I’m talking about today! Up here in her room! You did not only just kiss her! What did you do, you bastard?!”

Jiyong shoved Jaejin off, going wild at the accusation. “Are you saying I did sumthin to her?! Cuz if you’re saying that then you – “

“What did you do?!”

“NOTHING! It was all a mistake! All I did was just kiss her! One simple kiss!”

“You sure?”

“How am I supposed to know that she’ll have an allergic reaction to me?! She didn’t tell me!”

“Well, she didn’t know!”

“Are you defending her?!”

“Well, she’s gonna be my sister, what’d you expect?!”

Jiyong shook his head in disbelief and slumped against the closet. “Is she alright?”

“She’s hysterical. I think it’s a twenty-four hour virus.”

Jiyong moaned.

“You really like her.”

“No, I don’t,” Jiyong mumbled.

“Don’t lie. It’s so easy reading you. You didn’t even know you liked her till recently. Till today when you kissed her.”

Jiyong hid his face in his hands.

“Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. Just make sure she don’t go bonkers again.”

Jiyong stayed where he was, not wanting to move.

“And…make sure you find out what she’s allergic to. I can’t be with you two on every date, every event.”

CHAPTER 22

Kiyoon soon recovered from her ‘temporary’ discomfort and was up and about. July had quickly went by and so had Suwon’s birthday.

Suwon moved away on short notice, leaving Kiyoon friendless and lonely. It was already August and Kiyoon kept wishing for the days to go by faster.

“My…aren’t you one eager bug.”

Kiyoon turned from her computer screen at the voice. “Oma?”

“Never knew you liked school that much.”

“I don’t. I’m deleting things off my computer.”

“Oh.” A pause. “I see you’re getting happier and happier. May I ask why?”

Kiyoon stared at the screen, unable to meet her mother’s gaze. “They’re leaving.”

“Jiyong and Sunghoon? I thought you enjoyed their company!”

With her eyes still glued to the screen, “No, Oma. You only pretended I liked them. You imagined I got along with them. I never got close to them like Miyoon did.”

“Why not?”

“Why?”

“Kiyoon…”

“Mom…Suwon left. He moved!”

“I know that.”

“Can I move too?”

“You’re overreacting.”

“No, I’m not! Oma, you weren’t there when I’m in trouble. You didn’t give me parental discipline. I had it from Jiyoon and Suwon. And Jaejin. But I never learned anything from you! I’m overreacting? Suwon’s my best friend! My only friend.”

Chaeya sighed. “So what do you want me to do?”

“Make sure that Miyoon marries Jiyong.”

“Why?”

“So I can live longer.”

Chaeya shook her head. Kiyoon was always a bundle. Her and her questions. “What about you and Sunghoon?”

“What about me and him?”

“I thought you two were getting along great.”

“I was beginning to get used to him. Then I dunno…guess he’s not like Suwon.”

“Kiyoon, do you like Suwon?”

Kiyoon sat still, searching for an answer. “I don’t think so, Oma. We were never meant to be.”

“But do you?”

“No…I never pictured Suwon as anything else other than a trusting friend.”

“Then what about Sunghoon?”

“What about him?”

“He seems pretty trusting.”

“Yeah, I thought so too until he kissed me.”

“Kiyoon, it was only a kiss!” Chaeya cried, exasperated.

“I know! And that’s the problem! I don’t want to be kissed!”

“Hmm…” Chaeya observed her daughter, trying to understand her. It was so hard. Understanding Jiyoon and Miyoon was so easy, but when it came down to her last daughter, it’s like trying to put a puzzle together. “You’re afraid.”

“Huh?”

“You’re scared because if Sunghoon kisses you, you might start to like him. You can’t have that kind of problem when you’ve already seen how Miyoon and her boyfriends treat each other.”

“Suppose that if you want. I don’t care.”

“Well, you better start caring!”

Kiyoon looked up at her mother. “Why? Look at Miyoon! She cared too much and how much did it help her? Oma, sometimes I wonder if I was really adopted but I sensed that better half of you cared about me, I decided against that. But really…I’m wondering how much you really know about me.”

“Kiyoon!”

“How old was I when I first got into a fight?”

Chaeya looked around, trying to come up with an answer. “I-I-I dunno! First grade?”

“Five. Jiyoon had scratched me accidentally when she was trying to break us up. I ended up breaking the neighbor’s little boy’s nose. How old was I when I had won the Citywide piano recital contest?”

Chaeya stayed silent.

“Eight. See? You can barely even remember when I’ve done a little something you can be proud of and you say you know me? Yeah, other than my name, age, sex and birthday…what else can you tell me?”

Chaeya started hoarsely. “You…You were only two…I already knew by that age you’d grow up to be a brave woman. You never cried, not a tear. Granny was resting in the afternoon, Jiyoon and Miyoon was with her. Your father was at work…You were watching television. I was preparing dinner…cooking soup.” An intake of breath. “I was too busy cooking and had no idea you had came into the dining room. By that time I started getting ready to prepare the rest of dinner. I had already placed the pot of soup on the table, unaware you were in there. I never even bothered to check up on you. I just assumed you were laughing at the cartoons…” A sniffle. “You were always curious, always wanted to know everything…You somehow managed to get your hand on the pot…”

“And that’s how I got burned,” Kiyoon finished in a whisper. She looked down at her arm, the ugly scar staring back at her.

“When the pot came down, I didn’t hear you scream or cry. You just stood there, frozen. Not sure of what to do. I came running into the dining room and found you there with scalding soup dripping off your arm…I didn’t know what to do at the time and just held you for hours and hours. You didn’t cry…but I guess you didn’t know how. So I cried for you. I was so weak and you were the opposite. I didn’t want to wake Granny up and worry her. We only had one car back then. Your Appa came home and we took you to the hospital. You never flinched once nor had a single tear drop roll down your face.”

Kiyoon watched her mother sob, the rest of the story imprinted on the very scar on her arm. “Then that’s what made you believe I’m strong and independent?”

“Ever since that incident, I knew you weren’t gonna be like Miyoon or Jiyoon. You were the son I’ve always wanted, but instead…you came out as a girl.”

“So my final outcome as a girl disappointed you?”

“No…I have all my hopes in you. I wanted you to marry Jiyong, not Miyoon.”

“Me? Why me?”

“Let’s just say mothers have their reasons…but love can do otherwise.”

“What are you saying?”

“Sunghoon’s not bad.”

“I don’t like him! Final!”

“But…he likes you.”

“So?”

“Why are you avoiding it?”

“Because I’m sure he only thinks he likes me. Ten years down the road, he’ll be glad he didn’t marry me.”

“Don’t be so sure…your Appa almost made the same mistake. Instead he was glad he did marry me.”

“Oma…”

“Hmm?”

“Is it legal for me to marry at such a young age?”

“Why?”

“Because if it isn’t, then I can still live out my final years of freedom before I start giving potty training.”

CHAPTER 23

“The days are going by so fast!” Sunghoon said in awe. “It still feels like my first week here!”

Jiyong agreed. “It’s going by too fast.”

“I’m thinking about staying here.”

“What!?”

“Miyoon wants to get married and settle.”

“But-But you two only met a few months ago!”

“So? Isn’t that long enough?”

“Sunghoon…only spending time with her for three months does not tell you a whole lot about her.”

“No, you mean it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about Kiyoon.”

Jiyong regarded his friend strangely.

“Admit it, Jiyong. You’re all over her. I’ve seen the way how you look at her. You wish you could have her in your arms.”

Jiyong snarled. “At least she’s not money hungry. What will happen if she finds out you’re not me?”

“I’ll tell her when we get married. Like a few weeks later.”

“Wow, Sunghoon! Like that’s gonna help!” Jiyong said sarcastically.

“Hey! You’re just jealous because the both of us are paired off. Me and Miyoon and Jaejin and Jiyoon. You’re sour because you’re not up to Kiyoon’s standards!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Jiyong bellowed. “I may not live up to her standards then what about you?! I’d rather live honestly and not up to her standards than pretend I’m living in the perfect world which doesn’t meet my standards!”

“Do you have any idea what you’ve just said does not make any sense?”

“Whatever. Go do what you want. Just make sure when we go back home, we swap families and i.d. cards.”

“Why are we fighting?”

“Because the real Ko Jiyong isn’t getting what he wants and he has PMS!”

====================

The phone sounded loudly and Kiyoon reached to pick it up. “Hello?”

“Chaeya?” a strange voice asked.

“No, who’s this?”

“Oh! Is this Jiyoon?”

“No, who’s this?”

“Kiyoon!”

“Who are you?”

“Jiyong’s mother.”

“Hi, ajooma.”

“Hi, darling. How’s Jiyong?”

“I dunno. Fine, I guess.”

“What’s wrong, darling?”

“Nothing. I’ll go get my mom.”

“No!”

“Huh?”

“Well…since I’m with you, I just wanna chat with you.”

“Uh-huh.”

“How are you and Jiyong getting along?’

“Jiyong? Oh, great!” Kiyoon lied.

“Really?” Mrs. Ko asked hopefully.

“Yeah. He’s a really nice kid. Nice smile.”

“Jiyong told me about your fever, how are you feeling?”

“Great. Thanks, ajooma. Jiyoon’s calling me, I have to go now.”

“Alright. I’ll talk to your Oma.”

Kiyoon left her room and handed the call over to her mother. “It’s Jiyong’s mom.” She hung up her extension and went on reading her book.

“Chaeya?”

“Uh?”

“I’m thinking…”

“What?”

“Maybe I should come by for a surprise.”

Chaeya gasped. “That’s a wonderful idea!”

“Are things well?”

“Very! The kids are happy, of course. I think Jiyong doesn’t want to leave.”

“That’s him when he has too much fun. How are things between him and Kiyoon? She tells me they’re getting along great.”

“Really? I guess…I’m never around to really find much out. I’m always working odd hours.”

Mrs. Ko laughed. “Did Jiyong get skinner or fatter? I’m so worried about him.”

“He’s definitely still the same. Very charming and funny.”

“And Sunghoon?”

“He’s kinda quiet and perserved. It’s funny…it seems more like he and Kiyoon are getting along better and Kiyoon and Jiyong.”

Mrs. Ko held onto the phone, the information quite startling. “Really?”

“Yes. Although they don’t talk much, but I sense a fondness between the two. Kiyoon just needs to open up more.”

“Hmm…I hope I’m not visiting at a bad time.”

“No! Come! You must come!”

“I will. I want to see Jiyoon. I haven’t seen her since she was a pretty little girl. She’s all grown up now, I bet.”

“Oh, yes. She’s planning on marrying soon. I think Kiyoon has nagged her long enough and she’s finally giving in.”

Mrs. Ko sighed. “Well, I hope you can help me keep this as a secret.”

“We’ll talk more later.”

“Definitely. I want to see all three of your daughters.”

“Awww…you’ll love them. I promise you.”

====================

“I know!” Sunghoon shouted, snapping his fingers.

“What now?”

“We can leave and go back home. I will tell Miyoon that I’ll write to her. That way nothing will go bad.”

“Now…try this : you give her your digits and she’ll ring you up…Who’ll she ask for? Jiyong oppa! Not Sunghoonie.”

“Damn!” Sunghoon cursed at the reminder. “What am I gonna do?”

“Leave. Skip town. Give her a fake number but remember to get hers.”

“She’ll bug me for it.”

“Funny, that’s what I would say about you. Give her your cell number.”

“Oh, no! If I do, I’ll need to cancel it and change my number again.”

“Like you mind.”

“I do!”

“Fine. Just wait a couple of days. There’s only a few more days till September.”

“Five days and one week till September second.”

“So you’re keeping count.”

“That’s when I go to Hell.”

CHAPTER 24

The plan was all set. It was August twenty ninth, Mrs. Ko landed at the airport, awaiting for Chaeya to come and pick her up. They had it all planned out that she would come and surprise her son and then go home with an engagement. Kiyoon was to be her daughter-in-law and she was nervous in a way, meeting the girl Jiyong liked.

====================

“Where is Oma going this early in the morning?” Miyoon questioned, watching her mother pull away from the driveway.

“Molla,” Jiyoon replied with a shrug. She handed Jaejin his breakfast and went on to pour Kiyoon her coffee.

“I’m telling! Kiyoon’s not supposed to drink that!”

“Why are you being such a bitch? Don’t you know that pretty girls like you drink it would get wrinkles and look old? Coffee stains on your teeth?” Jiyong retorted.

Miyoon gasped. “For real?”

“Give Kiyoon her coffee.”

====================

Chaeya arrived at the airport in forty minutes, the traffic surprisingly light. She entered the airport, searching for her long time friend. Sure enough, there she was. The two women hurried out, both eager to catch up on each other’s life since the last time they’ve seen each other. The ride was cheery and the chatter never ended.

====================

“Well, Jiyong oppa. We have to do something memorable together since you’re gonna leave soon,” Miyoon said decisively.

“What do you suggest?” Sunghoon asked, chewing on his biscuit.

“Can I moon you?” Kiyoon asked childishly, sipping at her light colored coffee.

“Moon?”

“Never mind. You probably prefer Miyoon’s ass, since hers’ more fuller and has bouncety-bounce.”

“I’m eating you know,” Jaejin reminded Kiyoon with his mouth full.

“And I’m talking. Can I give you a makeover?”

Jaejin shook his head hard, his hair flying. “The last that happened I looked like a drag!”

“You know you liked it.”

“No. Give Sunghoon one. Maybe he’ll look more suitable to your tastes.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. Don’t talk nasty. I’m not digesting.”

“I think we should go noraebang,” Jiyoon said casually, spreading jam over her bread.

“Yeah!” Jaejin agreed, his eyes lighting up.

“Shopping!” Miyoon cried.

“Miyoon! Find a new hobby. You’ve been doing that ever since you knew how to walk. Didn’t you just go yesterday?” Jaejin asked.

“Swimming?” Jiyong suggested.

“It’ll kill my hair,” Sunghoon was quick to remind Jiyong.

“You have a wig on?!” Kiyoon gasped.

“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take this hair piece off if you promise you’ll take off your clothes,” Sunghoon argued.

“What are you, NUTS?! Unni, we have a pervert in the house!”

“Make it two. Jiyong and Kiyoon,” Jaejin corrected. “One wants to see naked body, the other wants to see naked head.”

Kiyoon stuck her tongue out.

“I know! Kiyoon’s favorite game! Truth or Dare!” Miyoon cried excitedly.

“We’re not stranded on an island, you know. Plus, it’s not fun when it’s bright out. I like it better when it’s dark…you know?”

“Damn vampire,” Miyoon muttered, glaring at Kiyoon.

“Well, you better think quick. I’m getting ancient here!” Jiyong said loudly, reading the newspaper.

“Isn’t that Kiyoon’s phrase?” Miyoon raised a brow.

“And so? At least he’s learning from his master. What did your pupil learn?” Kiyoon challenged, eyeing Sunghoon.

“FOOD FIGHT!!!!” Sunghoon screamed, taking the can of whip cream and squirting it at Kiyoon.

“You mother flower!” Kiyoon took her remaining cup of coffee and splashed it at Sunghoon’s face, washing him over with the warm liquid. She jumped off her seat and snatched the paper from Jiyong, rolling it up before she ran after Sunghoon.

“Miyoon! If I don’t come back alive, call 911!!!” Sunghoon yelled as he dashed out to the yard.

“Miyoon! If you don’t hear anything at all, call the morgue!!! Jiyoon! Call the hospital! Sunghoon! Call the funeral home!” Kiyoon barked, chasing after Sunghoon.

“What about me!?!” Jaejin shouted, running to the sliding doors.

“Be prepared to give mouth-to-mouth!”

“Ewww…I hope that boy don’t have lip cancer.”

Everybody laughed as they cleaned up the mess, waiting for Kiyoon and Sunghoon to finish their game of ‘Cat and Mouse.’

====================

“We’re almost there!” Chaeya announced.

“You think this is a good idea?”

“Absolutely!”

“Oh, I dunno. I don’t want to embarrass Jiyong. He doesn’t – “

“Nonsense! You’ll get to see the children bond. With them two, things just get livelier.”

“How’s the children?”

“Very good. Your son’s simply charming. Very fine man. You’re so lucky you have a son like him. I can’t even get Kiyoon to act lady-like,” Chaeya complained, driving into the driveway.

“Oh, she’ll grow out of it. Jiyong tells me a lot about her. He said she’s smart and pretty, funny…he said it just seem so impossible to cram all those traits and wits into one person. He completely adores her.”

Once again, Chaeya was confused. She dismissed the confusing thought and guided her friend to the house. She helped with the light luggage and together they strolled up the walkway in the front of the house.

“Ko Jiyong! You stand still, you hear me!?”

The two woman outside froze at the command, unaware of the chaotic situation inside.

“That’s Kiyoon,” Chaeya whispered.

Mrs. Ko nodded, not sure if she should be afraid or alarmed. Had Jiyong offend her? What did he do?

“Ko Jiyong!” Kiyoon bellowed again, this time jumping over the chairs. She had already changed into another outfit and kept after Sunghoon as soon as he came out of the quick shower. “Jiyong! C’mere!”

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Sunghoon screamed shrilly, waving his arms like a madman. “Miyoon!”

Jiyong laughed on, the sight hilarious. Kiyoon and Sunghoon could go on all day. Sunghoon pretending to be scared and Kiyoon still persuing him with Jiyong’s morning paper.

“Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do when dey come for you, dumb ass, dumb ass,” Kiyoon sang, changing the words to the ‘Cops’ theme song.

“I’m gonna kill you!” Sunghoon shrieked.

“Not after I give you a big, wet smoochie!” Kiyoon sped up and ran back into the house just as the front door opened.

By accident, Sunghoon screamed Jiyong’s name out loud, forgetting in the moment of fun that he was Jiyong. “JEEEEEEEEEEYOOOOOOOOOOONG!!!!!!!!”

The audience, (Jaejin, Jiyong, Jiyoon and Miyoon) followed the two racers to the kitchen, through the dining room and BAM! To the living room.

“They’re up to their little games again. Kiyoon’s the big bully around here. She’s always picking on people,” Chaeya explained as she unlocked the front door and shoved it open.

“Hiya!!!!” Kiyoon shrilled, imitating Bruce Lee. “I shall moon you!”

Sunghoon’s feet came to an abrupt halt causing Kiyoon to run right into him at the swinging doorway.

“Hey! I caught you! I caught you!” Kiyoon cried gleefully.

Jiyong, being the tallest quickly looked over to the front door and felt his legs go numb. It was rubbery. Simultaneously, he and Kiyoon both cried out, “Oma!”

Both surprised and…dead.

CHAPTER  25

“O-O-Oma!” Sunghoon stammered, hurrying over to Jiyong’s mother as soon as he recovered from his shock. Everybody had filed into the living room, embarrassed to have been found fooling around like little children.

“Oma?” Mrs. Ko cried. She looked over to her “real” son, Jiyong, baffled by Sunghoon’s actions. “Are you alright?” she asked, her hand over Sunghoon’s forehead.

“I’m fine! I’m fine! How are you, Oma? What are you doing here?” Sunghoon asked hastily.

Jiyong moaned. When things are going great, they always have to take an unexpected turn. Now what Sunghoon did really was the unexpected.

He pecked Jiyong’s mother on the cheek as if it was his own mother! Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!

“Sunghoon!” Mrs. Ko gasped. “Jiyong! What’s going on?!”

Jiyong scooted over to hide behind Kiyoon, his mother’s demanding gaze following him. He ducked his head as all eyes turned to him.

“Ajooma!” Miyoon said sweetly, coming to Sunghoon’s rescue. She looped her arm through Mrs. Ko’s. “We haven’t seen each other so long, you still remember me? I’m Miyoon. Jiyong’s girlfriend?”

“Jiyong?!” Another gasp. “Jiyong, I thought you said you liked Kiyoon!”

“WHAT?!” Miyoon shrieked. She turned to Sunghoon. “You bastard!”

“Miyoon! Wait! Lemme explain!” Sunghoon cried.

“Me?” Kiyoon said meekly. She looked somewhat shocked yet disgusted. She glanced at Sunghoon. “I-I-I thought…”

“You must be Kiyoon,” Mrs. Ko assumed, reaching for Kiyoon. “My! You certainly have grown into a pretty flower! You look better in person than in pictures! Hmm…Jiyong certainly has made a fine choice.”

“WHAT?!” Miyoon and Kiyoon hooted in unison. “JIYONG?!”

Jiyoon left Jaejin standing by himself and pushed past the two younger girls. “Ajooma, sit down. We’re confused. Please explain to us what’s going on.”

“Going on? Shouldn’t you five tell me what’s going on? I’m just telling you what Sunghoon and Jiyong reported to me,” Mrs. Ko replied innocently.

“Sunghoon?” Kiyoon prompted, turning around to face Jiyong.

Miyoon marched over to Sunghoon. “Honey! What’s happening?!”

Mrs. Ko took Jiyoon’s advice and seated herself on the family couch, waiting for an explanation. “Jiyong?”

Jiyong looked up at his name, accidentally meeting Kiyoon’s bold stare. “Uh-oh.”

Kiyoon searched Jiyong’s eyes, afraid to guess the truth. “Sunghoon?”

“I-I-I…”

“Jiyong,” his mother said again.

“Jiyong, your mother’s calling you!” Miyoon said, nudging Sunghoon.

Reluctantly, Sunghoon hurried to Mrs. Ko. “Yes…Mom?”

“Sunghoon, stop being funny. Tell Jiyong to c’mere,” she ordered.

“Jiyong?” Jiyoon murmured. She glanced at the ‘real’ Jiyong.

“Sunghoon?” Kiyoon said again softly.

Mrs. Ko pushed Sunghoon aside and stood up. She strode over to Kiyoon and Jiyong, her eyes full of questions and impatience. “Jiyong! What the hell is going on?!” she finally yelled.

Kiyoon nearly fell on her behind. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?!”

“JIYONG!?” Everybody else in the room chorused, except for Sunghoon.

“Oma…” Jiyong started, unable to meet his mother’s piercing gaze.

“What did you two do this time?”

“Oma…what are you doing here?”

Chaeya interrupted. “Calm down. They didn’t do anything. They’re both wonderful children. You’ve clearly mistaken. Jiyong’s over there. This is Sunghoon. Are you alright? I think perhaps it’s the heat – ”

“Chaeya, I gave birth to my own son. Shouldn’t I know who and how he is?”

Silence.

“Jiyong?”

“I knew things weren’t right with these two when I first saw them.”

Everyone turned to Granny’s voice, the old woman shuffling out from her room.

“I remember when I last saw Jiyong, he was seven, he had this scar on his hand. One you said it’ll be permanent. Remember, darling? I asked you about it when I was holding him?”

Mrs. Ko nodded, remembering the day.

“And when I saw him – ” Granny turned to Sunghoon. “I knew instantly he wasn’t the same Jiyong I met many years ago. He didn’t have that scar when he fell off his bike. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even have any scar on either hand.”

Kiyoon reeled around to face Jiyong, her eyes blazing with confusion. Oh, please don’t let Suwon be right and grant my mother’s wish, she prayed silently. She immediately reached for his hands, searching for the mentioned scar.

“It’s on his right hand. The back. It’s very close to his wrist, watch for it closely, cause it’s very light and easy to miss,” Granny instructed. “I thought neither of them were Jiyong, until one day in the kitchen I saw him and Kiyoon together and she had accidentally burned him with the kettle. I helped him apply ice and alcohol, that’s when I saw it. It was so faint…”

Kiyoon peered at Jiyong’s hand and sure enough, she spotted it.

“Told you.”

Kiyoon dropped his hand, shocked at the evidence. “Sunghoon, you – ” she started.

Then Miyoon screamed. A loud deafening scream.

“Shut up! You know you can’t sing, why start now?!” Kiyoon thundered.

Then Miyoon snapped. Hysterical. Whoa.

“Miyoon! Stop it!” Jiyoon hushed, trying to silence her delirious sister.

“I told you she’s retarded,” Kiyoon sneered. “Next she’ll wanna kill Sunghoon for not telling her the truth.”

“Stop it, Kiyoon,” her mother scolded.

Kiyoon drew an invisible line over her lips and stepped back.

“I can’t believe this!” Miyoon wailed over and over again.

Kiyoon stabbed Jiyong’s ribs, whispering, “Forget about being a nut. She can be a drama queen. A dumb one who doesn’t know her lines.”

Jiyong giggled. It was such a comfort being close to Kiyoon. At least she can protect him better than Sunghoon does.

“Ey, Sunghoon,” she whispered.

Jiyong lowered himself to hear Kiyoon better. “What?”

“So…you’re the real Jiyong and not some cheesy secretary?”

Jiyong nodded.

“Wait…so now I have to say the same thing to you the day when I met him.”

Jiyong was confused. “What?”

“Let’s start over.” She held out her hand. “So…you’re that faggot Jiyong.”

Subconsciously, he laughed out loud, not realizing all curious eyes are on him. He quieted himself and muttered a, “Sorry.”

“I can’t believe it!” Miyoon squealed again.

“Let’s start all over,” Jiyoon said. “Everybody sit down!”

Jiyoon helped Granny to her favorite chair and settled with Jaejin when everyone was ready to hear the story.

“Sunghoon?” Chaeya insisted, referring to Jiyong.

“Oma, it’s Jiyong. Cousin Jiyong,” Kiyoon corrected.

Sunghoon had made sure he was far from Miyoon just in case she decided to attack him.

“Uhmm…Sunghoon and I…we were coming here for a vacation and as you…all know…there was a mess up.”

Sunghoon cleared his throat and picked up the story. “At first we only meant to play a trick. We didn’t mean for it to go this far! We’d thought you all could tell the difference. We really wanted to tell all of you, but we just didn’t know how. And…when Miyoon keeps calling Jiyong’s name…” Sunghoon shifted uncomfortably. “I just wanted to tell her I’m not the one she wanted.”

“So…you’re Sunghoon and he’s Jiyong?” Jaejin asked, glancing back and forth.

Slowly, they nodded. Miyoon wailed.

“Oh, no! This can’t be happening! Sunghoonie’s the real Jiyong oppa!” Kiyoon mocked.

Glumly, Miyoon agreed. “All I got was his secretary.”

For once, Kiyoon was serious with her sister. “Sumthin’s wrong with Miyoon. She’s not screaming.”

“Give her a minute to recharge her battery,” Jiyong whispered.

True to his word, Miyoon started pouting. “Aaahhhhaaaaaaaaaa! That is SOOOO unfair! Why does she get everything?!”

Kiyoon quickly jumped to her feet. “Everything?! Listen here, Barbie doll, I never got EVERYTHING! Everything I got was hand-me-downs! You were the gongju! I was never anything! Neither was Jiyoon! You had to have everything your way! What did I have?! Other than the toys and a few other accessories Jiyoon makes for me, I never got ANYTHING! Other than a few things Mom and Dad got me, you had EVERYTHING!”

“But not Jiyong!” Miyoon shrilled.

Kiyoon was baffled. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?”

“Didn’t you listen?! Before ajooma had said anything else, she clearly stated that Jiyong like you! YOU!!! Not me! I got the fake! The FAKE!!!”

“Miyoon…Miyoon, calm down,” Jiyoon interrupted. “This stuff is too much for Kiyoon. She still doesn’t know how it feels like to have a crush.”

“Are you forgetting that Jaejin’s already with you for the rest of your life?! I have to marry him?!” Miyoon shrieked, waving at Sunghoon.

“I won’t marry!” Kiyoon quickly offered, feeling panicked.

Now Kiyoon’s in the spotlight. Miyoon felt her hopes rise. Jiyong was abruptly on his feet.

“Kiyoon,” Jiyoon said breathlessly. “You can’t mess with something as serious as marriage.”

The adults exchanged glances, all the humor in their eyes.

“Besides, Oma and Appa had already – ”

“Already what?!” Kiyoon shouted, cutting Jiyoon off.

“They said, if the both of you fall in love, they’ll…”

“In love?! Who’s in love?! Who said I was in love?!” Kiyoon demanded.

The adults finally burst out laughing.

“What?!”

“You sure you’re not in love?” Jiyoon teased.

“With…Jiyong oppa?” Miyoon added.

Kiyoon pouted, her face scrunched up with defeat. “No! And I will not marry!”

“We won! We won!” Jiyoon whooped. “Kiyoon finally grew up!”

“Haha…guess you’re not so stubborn,” Jiyong chortled, blowing into Kiyoon’s ear.

“Oh, yeah? What makes you think Miyoon will marry Sunghoon? She’s so devoted and dedicated to Jiyong oppa. She did say she like you and would like to be your future wife. I never said anything.”

Jiyong looked over to Miyoon. “Nah. She’s not the real Cho Kiyoon. I’m glad it was only me and Sunghoon that played this trick and not you two. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise what?” Kiyoon challenged.

“I’ll never know who’s the unspoiled Kiyoon,” Jiyong answered with a kiss. “Nor who’s virgin lips I shall deflower.”

EPILOGUE

So there you have it. That’s how I met my wife and married her with my heart’s content.

All three of us had our wedding on the same day and we all dressed alike. The guys in white and the girls in three different bridal gowns. I must say, my Kiyoon looked the most cutest and the most drop dead gorgeous of the sisters.

For the dinner event, we all went out in black tux and Jiyoon and Miyoon had on red while my Kiyoon had to be the oddball that she is and went with light purple. It wasn’t until later she then confided me and told me her mother’s and Suwon’s dream came true. I asked her why and she told me about the conversation she had with her best friend one day and he had said this would happen. And I’m glad it did.

To this day Miyoon’s still sour over the fact that Kiyoon had won the greatest award. The real me. The real Ko Jiyong. She’s upset with the fact that Sunghoon’s only the secretary and not the Cousin Jiyong she had thought she’d hook up with. But her attitude towards me…let’s just say she’s much nicer now and is still envying Kiyoon. Nevertheless, their relationship as sisters has gotten better.

Sunghoon…poor guy. He still wallows in self-pity, wishing that he had married Kiyoon. But I thought otherwise. I actually like the role-switching. You can say he saved my future and himself. Afterall, don’t you agree he and Miyoon are one of a kind?

As for Jaejin and Jiyoon, they moved out two weeks after their marriage. Jiyoon continued her medical studies, but quit her job at the hospital and often came by to visit. Jaejin, now having his own practice, is always busy with the patients. They’ll be expecting their first child sometime soon.

Now for me and Kiyoon, we stayed a good two months at her place before moving home with me. My mother was delighted, of course, and is pestering for a grandson.

Exactly my thoughts. Already?! Mom, Kiyoon’s still Kiyoon, she won’t even let me touch her when we go to bed at night! So where did she get the idea Kiyoon’d be pregnant with a baby, I don’t know. Knowing Kiyoon, she’ll even put up a fight if I tried to kiss her. I know, right? Still?!! She hasn’t grown up a bit, still her childish tomboy ways. Besides, she’s majoring in Creative Writing. She’s decided to become a freelance writer while getting a job as a piano teacher and learning as much as she could about computers. Nerds…who said they’re not cute? I love her.

And so that’s the end of it. I met my love that summer, married her at the end of summer. My kid’ll be born in the summer. That was my summer in love…

Sentiment by xerces

sentiment.JPG

  • a Jiyong short story
  • completed

This is either from 2002 or 2003 … can’t remember. Must remember to date my documents from now on, because the access information that comes with them are not really that accurate once you start transferring.

Anyway, super super short story that is of my very typical writing style.
*

I viewed Ji Yong as an extension. Kind of like an additive to someone that I already knew.

That someone was a childhood friend whom I had lost contact with since secondary school. The day I ran into her again after so many years, Ji Yong had been the only other person around.

It had snowed, that day. He was draped in black from head to toe, with the exception of a grey scarf, which hung loosely around his neck. Classy, I thought to myself. I liked that scarf and his trench coat.

Nina introduced him as her boyfriend and that was precisely how I came to know him, Nina’s boyfriend. Rarely do I see them apart, as she was the kind of girl who needed constant love and attention from those she loved. Our friendship sustained under the circumstances that I had been too lazy to make new friends, and because she was around, we kept in touch.

Very little similarities existed between us, Nina and me. But she liked me for whatever reasons, and often invited me to join her and her friends on outings for fun. I usually decline.

Bits of enjoyment do come with the times that I attend one of Nina’s events. She had silly friends that frequently became my objects of ridicule and laughter, in secret of course, I was all about manners. I liked to sit alone and listen to their conversations from a distance, and sometimes they speak of something of my interest, sometimes not.

People who knew me had nothing nice to say about my bad habit, of course, and I was frequently criticized for my boundless standards and what someone had described as nasty arrogance. Regardless, I’ve never failed to maintain approval from the few close people in my life, and thus went about disparaging whomever I felt like.

Perhaps Ji Yong had been, at times, classified with the rest, but for the most part, separate from the others. Extension, as I had called him, even if Nina was the one with attachment problems because, to me he was only the boyfriend of a friend. But then, often do I witness his solitude amongst a busy party, as he tends to stand out. While Nina enjoyed fluttering from one conversation to another, he chose instead to help himself to a chilled bottle of wine and made company with the stars from an adjacent balcony.

Rather romantic, I would say, even if it were just he and his wine. There was something unique about the way his hair fluttered in the wind just like any other hair, I suppose, but it was quite a pretty picture. And I happen to like people who can enjoy time by themselves.

”Look,” Nina crept up beside me with a magazine in her hands. “Doesn’t he remind you of the model in this perfume ad?”

I took a glimpse of the photograph and then at her boyfriend.

”Very,” I laughed. “Very nice.”

”They all tell me that he’s a good catch,” she put the magazine aside and smiled. “But, sometimes I don’t think he really cares.”
“Cares?? I arched an eyebrow. “Isn’t it good enough that he’s eye candy?”

”Oh , he’s more than just that,” she played with a curl in her hair. “There also intelligence, grace, talent , money.”

”That’s the whole package there,” I smiled, even though I felt as if there was something missing from her answer. “The perfect match for you.”

”Which reminds me,” she changed the subject abruptly. “You really ought to smile more often. It just kind of lightens up things.”

”So you’re not the first person to tell me,” I said to her. “Maybe you don’t understand, but there’s not much worth smiling about these days.”

”Maybe you don’t believe me,” she replied. “But I sometimes understand.”

That night was the last time I saw the two of them together. Due to plans of going overseas, I spent much time dealing with international officials and saw little of no one else. Nina called a few times to invite me to the movies and once to tell me that she and Ji Yong were having issues.

”Everything he does for me is out of courtesy,” she wept. I don’t feel as if I have any importance in his life.”

”If you don’t want to give him up,” I advised although had absolutely no idea of what to say. “Give him some time, and maybe he’ll snap out of it.”

I never found out what happened between the picture perfect couple, but ironically, the next time I saw Ji Yong was on the American Valentine’s Day shortly before I had to leave home. I inquired, of course, the whereabouts of my friend, but he only looked at me for a long time without any reply.

”What are you doing out here in the snow?” he inquired some while later, after I finally understood that it was perhaps not a good time to talk to him about his girlfriend.

”Waiting for class to start,” I replied. “There’s a long time to pass.”

”Not cold?”

”No, not anymore.”

He smiled and looked away into some far distance where I was unable to detect. I left him to his own thoughts and returned to something that I had been working on before he came, looking up only every once in a while to keep track time from the clock on the tower. As I scribbled away in the company of his silence, a part of his shadow blanketed over my body as if to remind me of his existence. Glancing up at him out of some sort of curiosity, I realized that, he had somehow become rather tempting for the eye.

And thus I stared.

”How forgiving of a person is Nina?” he broke the silence.

”It would have to depend on the situation,” I pondered a bit before answering the question.

”True,” he nodded, and then turned to me. “How forgiving of a person are you?”

”Well” I smiled. “It would have to depend on the person.”

”Would it?”

He suddenly leaned towards me and brushed my lips with a gentle kiss.

I somehow managed to sit through process of his action with sheer composure, but couldn’t bring myself to voice an opinion after he broke away.

”I’m glad that I know of you,” he spoke softly before taking his leave. “Although not sooner.”

Know of me.

I didn’t know what he meant by those words, and to add on to the complication, his kiss. And as much as I wanted to know, time didn’t seem to permit. While one past occurrence has occupied my mind, another that I perhaps should have known about had entered my reflections without any prior warning.

I spent my last day at the school tying up some administrative loose ends in the transfer office, and, as for the rest of my time on campus, wondering if I抎 run into anyone that I had wanted to see.

Ji Yong had been one of those people but unfortunately I had told no one of my departure, and the day ended peacefully.

It was nothing more or less than what I had expected.

Mi An Hae Yo by: Sechskies Lover

IMG_1921.JPG

  • a Jiyong fanfic
  • completed

Chapter 1

Jin rolled over to the side of her bed and gasped. “Shit!” she screamed. She was late for work. She quickly washed up and threw on some clothes. As she tugged on her nylons, they tore. “Shit.” She grabbed another pair and pulled them on. She ran outside of her apartment building and hopped aboard a taxi. As she fumbled through her purse for her makeup and ended up spilling everything out. “Sorry, sorry,” she told the taxi driver. “Shit,” she mumbled. She gathered all her cosmetics and popped the lid off her lipstick, but there was nothing left but a flat stub. She hastily scribbled in her planner “buy new lipstick.” Finally, she grabbed a shiny pink eye pencil and started lining her eyes with it.

KACHUNK. “Sorry Miss, speed bump,” apologized the taxi driver.

Jin gritted her teeth at her reflection. A pink line was smeared all the way across her eyelid. She tried rubbing it off with a tissue, but it just smeared it more. She finally gave up and threw her compact in her new leather Gucci purse.

“We’re here, Miss!” Jin paid the driver and in her haste of getting out, she stepped into a big mud puddle and splashed mud all over her nicely pressed skirt. She managed to refrain from screaming out loud like a mad woman. She rushed into the Korean Globe building.

“Miss Lee, late again, I see!”

Jin winced. “I’m sorry, Mr. Cho. I got caught in traffic.”

The editor-in-chief frowned disapprovingly. “Well, Miss Lee. You know the rules. Last one in takes coffee orders.”

Jin nodded meekly. “Yes sir.” She quickly took down everyone’s orders and ran towards the coffee room.

Jin’s friend Yuri tagged along. “What happened to you?” asked Yuri, looking at Jin’s appearance.

Jin rolled her eyes. “I’m just having one of those days,” she sighed.

Yuri nodded with understanding. “Oh, I know.. There was this one day..” she babbled.

Jin wasn’t even listening to a thing Yuri was saying. She was having such a crappy day she couldn’t think straight. After the two of them finally finished making the coffee, they carried the cups on plastic trays back to the main work room. Everyone hounded them for their daily dose of caffeine. Jin felt someone pinch her arm.

“You look a fright.”

Jin hit him with her tray. “Shut up Sunghoon.”

Sunghoon giggled in a silly manner. “What happened to you?”

“Why do I get the feeling I’m going to be asked that a lot today?” Sunghoon grinned. “I guess you could say this is one of those days,” said Jin.

Sunghoon put his arm around her slyly. “Well, since you’ve been having a bad day, I’ve got a surprise for you. The most handsome man in Seoul will take you out to dinner tomorrow night.”

Jin stared at his handsome face. “Really? That’s great Sunghoon, but I’d much rather go out with you if you’re free.”

Sunghoon removed his arm. “I’m hurt.”

Jin nudged Sunghoon’s head with her fist. “You know I’m kidding, what time?”

Sunghoon smiled. “Well, I’ve got an appointment after work so how about we meet at our favorite dduk bboki stand at seven?”

Jin nodded. “Okay.”

“Miss Lee!”

Jin pretended to gag. “Yes, Mr. Cho!” she responded sweetly. “I’ll see you Saturday,” she whispered. Her best friends at work were Yuri and Sunghoon. Work wouldn’t have been as fun without them around. She walked towards Mr. Cho. “Yes?”

He thrust a paper into her hands. “Here’s your next assignment.”

Jin read the paper. “Interview Ko Ji Yong on his upcoming movie and different works. Mr. Cho, I’m not trying to get out of doing work or anything, but I’ve heard Sunghoon is childhood friends with him. Why don’t you ask him to do the story?”

Mr. Cho grunted. “Miss Lee, the newspaper business is a serious business. When you are given an assignment, you are expected to do it.”

“But–”

“And furthermore,” interrupted Mr. Cho. “If you ever want to an editor, you must be able to handle your responsibilities. Understood?”

Jin bit her lip. Her dream was to become editor of the paper and he knew it. “Yes sir,” she replied.

He patted her back. “Good. I set up your interview for this evening. All the details are on the paper.”

“Why tonight?” asked Jin. “Mr. Cho, I haven’t been having the best day,” she protested.

Mr. Cho made a zipping motion with his finger. “Responsibility, Miss Lee.”

Jin let out a sigh.

Chapter 2

Jin rubbed the temples on the sides of her head. She was experiencing the worst migraine. She let out a breath of relief as she clocked out. She waved goodbye to Yuri and turned to walk out the door. She jumped as someone grabbed her arm.

“Stop scaring me Sunghoon or I’m going to kick your @$$!” hissed Jin.

Sunghoon held up his arms in self defense. “Hey, don’t get all uptight.” He hissed like a cat and bared his claw.

Jin had to smile at that. “Okay, what?”

“Just reminding you about tomorrow night!” He made the cutest smile possible.

Jin rolled her eyes. “Of course, wouldn’t miss it for the world. See you later.” She gave him a quick hug and as she stepped outside the door, CRACK. Jin fell to the ground like a ton of bricks. As she picked herself up, she felt like crying. “My $100 shoes!” she wailed. Her heel had snapped right off. “Stupid piece of junk.”

Sunghoon, on the other hand, was cracking up like there was no tomorrow. Jin decided to pound him later and caught a taxi. By the time she had gotten home, she had broken a nail, scratched the buckle on her new purse, and stepped in somebody’s chewing gum. She bit her tongue from cursing out loud as she hobbled into her apartment. She angrily kicked her battered shoes off and changed her mud spotted clothes. It was two hours until her meeting with Mr.Ko.

RING RING

“Hello?”

“Miss Lee?”

“Hello, Mr. Cho,” sighed Jin in exasperation.

“Now remember Jin, you need to make him feel comfortable and you must be polite. I’ve heard he likes fine alcohol, so why don’t you buy him a bottle of wine on your way there? Also…”

“All right!” interrupted Jin. “FYI, I was on my way to the toilet so if there’s nothing else for you to say, I’m kind of in a hurry!” She clicked the phone off and threw it on the floor. This was not the best day…

Jin cradled the bottle of fine wine in her left arm and entered the elevator of the large apartment building. After she reached the floor, she pressed the doorbell to his apartment.

“Hi, you must be the reporter from the Korean Globe. Come on in,” said Jiyong cordially.

Jin did a double take. He was even more handsome in person. “Oh, thank you,” responded Jin. She gave him the wine. “I thought you might enjoy that.”

“Why, thanks.” He led her to the kitchen. “Sit down.” He patted the seat next to him. As she conducted the interview, he popped open the bottle and poured it into two glasses.

“Oh, I don’t drink,” said Jin.

“Oh sorry,” apologized Jiyong. He looked embarassed.

‘Be polite..’ Jin could hear Mr. Cho saying. “Actually, why don’t you pour me some?” She didn’t want to be rude, but more than anything, she wanted a stress reliever. Maybe some alcohol would take away some of the crapiness to her day. After she finished the interview, the bottle was empty. Jin felt so much more relaxed. “Hey Mr. Ko.. Do you have any scotch?” she called out.

Jiyong laughed loosely. “Yup!” He took out a bottle and poured some of the strong liquor into Jin’s glass and his. He swallowed the drink with satisfaction.

After Jin drank some, she made a terrible expression but straightened it out. “You know, I thought you liked fine alcohol!” accused Jin. She giggled, and then hiccupped.

Jiyong laughed at Jin’s hiccup, but hiccupped himself. “Oh, I just like alcohol in general!” He poured himself some more scotch. Jin finished her glass and held it out.

“Fill er’ up!”

Jin rolled over on her side and tried opening her eyes, but she couldn’t. She felt like there were a hundred hammers beating her head. As her eyes struggled to open, she caught a glimpse of the clock which read 10 AM. She breathed a sigh of relief, thankful it was Saturday, her vacation day for that week. She shivered and pulled more of the covers over her. She tossed the covers off her, but immediately pulled them back on again.

‘Why am I naked?’ she thought. She never slept naked. She thought it was disgusting habit and never indulged in it. ‘Wait a minute. This doesn’t even look like my room.’ Jin turned to her other side and gasped. As Jiyong’s eyes opened, she belted out the loudest scream imagineable.

Chapter 3

Jin shrieked uncontrollably and jumped out of the bed like a rabbit, holding the covers around her.

Jiyong grabbed a pillow and covered himself with it. “Oh shit,” he muttered. Jin just kept screaming like a lunatic. “Would you shut up?!” yelled Jiyong after a few minutes. Jin stopped. “And give me a blanket! If you didn’t notice, I’m kinda buck naked!” Jin tossed him a sheet and he wrapped it around his body.

“Oh my lawd, what happened?” cried Jin hysterically. Her eyes grew round. “Did you put something in my drink?”

Jiyong rolled his eyes. “Look, I may sometimes play a jerk in the movies, but I’m not that bad.” Jin continued to look at him suspiciously. “Go take a blood test if you’re so worried.”

“Oh lawd,” repeated Jin. “I think I’m gonna..” She bolted to the toilet. She felt someone patting her back soon and she stopped after a minute. She flushed the toilet and quickly rinsed out her mouth.

“Are you okay?” asked Jiyong, standing behind her. He had put on a pair of pants.

Jin shook her head. “Do you think I would be all right?!” She pushed him out of the bathroom. “Would you please give me my clothes? I’ll change and get out of here.” He handed Jin her clothes and she shut the door on him. She sank to the floor and buried her face in her hands. What was she going to do?

Jin opened the door to her apartment and collapsed to the floor. As the minutes passed by, she felt tears rolling down her cheeks. She hadn’t wanted her first time to be like this. Something produced from a drunken stupor. She had wanted it to be special and intimate. She wrapped her arms around herself and trembled, allowing the tears to fall. She crawled to her room and sobbed. She picked up a picture and held it in her hand. “I’m sorry Mom,” she said to it. Tears dropped from her eyes to the picture and she wiped them off. She climbed up into her bed and closed her eyes, hoping when she woke up, this nightmare would be over.

THE NEXT DAY…

Jin solemnly walked into the news room and sat at her desk. She turned on her computer to write her story. She sat at her desk, staring at her computer. She couldn’t concentrate on what to write, especially about Ko Jiyong.

“So Miss Lee, we’re on time, I see!”

Jin turned around in her chair and acknowledged Mr. Cho. She really wasn’t in the mood for his wise cracks. “Yes, Mr. Cho.” Surprisingly, he nodded and walked away without saying anything else. A few minutes later, she saw Sunghoon in the distance. As he walked by, she expected him to stop and talk to her but he just passed her by. Jin frowned. She was hurt that he would ignore her. She got up out of her seat and stopped him. “Sunghoon, what’s up?” asked Jin.

Sunghoon’s face was set seriously. “I’m busy Jin, I’ll talk to you later.” He tried brushing past her, but she grabbed his elbow.

“What’s wrong, Sunghoon?” She looked at him with a concerned expression.

His eyes dropped to the floor. “You could have at least called,” he said. Jin was still confused. “I thought we had a dinner date. I understand if you were busy but…”

Jin touched his shoulder. “I’m sorry, Sunghoon. I totally forgot. It was just a really crazy day. You understand, right?”

Sunghoon nodded. “I’ll see you later.” He walked away. Jin sighed. She knew he was still mad at her but she would talk to him later. She had other things to worry about.

TIME PASSES…

It had been a few weeks since the incident and Jin was doing much better. Her little fight with Sunghoon was resolved and her job was going better than ever. She had finally forgiven herself on the whole thing with Jiyong. Right now, she was meeting Sunghoon and Yuri for dinner. Of course, Sunghoon had made her pay since she had stood him up before.

“Hey Jin, aren’t you going to eat your dduk bboki?” asked Sunghoon.

Jin stuck her tongue out at him. “I will, so don’t try and steal mine or I’ll pound you,” she threatened. She brought the dduk bboki up to her mouth, but set it back down again.

“What’s wrong, Jin? Does it not taste good?” asked Yuri. She stole a piece of Jin’s dduk bboki and stuck it in her own mouth. “It tastes all right.”

Jin tried eating it again but she was forced to set it down. She felt really queasy. “Um, actually you guys, I’m not really that hungry. Actually, I’ve got a bad stomach ache. You guys finish it up.” She paid the lady and got up.

“Where are you going?” asked Sunghoon.

Jin smiled. “I think I’d better get home and take some medicine before I get more sick. I’ll see you later.” She waved goodbye to her friends and hurried home.

“Please stay white, please stay white,” begged Jin desperately. She waited for the moment. She gasped in horror as the applicator turned blue. The applicator dropped from her hand to the floor. After she got over her initial shock, she patted her stomach and said, “So, how are you doing in there?”

Chapter 4

Jin twiddled her fingers on the table impatiently, waiting for Jiyong to come. She had called him and asked to meet him at her apartment. DING DONG

Jin ran to the door and opened it. “Hi Jiyong.”

He walked inside and sat down at the couch. “Could you make this quick? I’ve got to leave for a shooting of my movie soon.”

Jin frowned. ‘Well hello to you too,’ she thought sarcastically. “Jiyong, um, I have to tell you something. Um.” Jiyong glanced at his watch. “You remember that one night?” she asked subtly.

Jiyong turned his eyes to her. “What about it?” he asked tentatively.

Jin dropped her eyes to the floor. “Well um.. I’m.. Well, we’re… Uh…” She whipped out the applicator and threw it to him.

“What’s this?” he inquired. He paused. “Isn’t this a pregnancy test?”

Jin nodded.

“It’s blue.”

Jin nodded again.

“If it’s blue, that means…” His eyes went wide. “Oh shit.”

Jin took a deep breath. “Well, I suppose you can pay child support every month and…”

“Wait a second,” Jiyong cut her off. “You mean you’re actually thinking of HAVING this baby?”

“Well, what do you mean by that? It is mine, you know,” pointed out Jin.

“Do your parents know?”

Jin’s eyes grew sad. “Um, my dad abandoned me when I was two and my mom died a year ago.”

Jiyong set his face seriously. “Abort it,” he ordered shortly.

Jin’s eyes narrowed at him. “Never. I can’t kill my child!” she objected.

Jiyong put his hand through his hair. “Listen, there isn’t any other way. If the public ever finds out about this, my reputation will be over! They’ll just think I’m some irresponsible idiot!” He stood to leave. “Look, I’ll check up on you later.” He went out the door and slammed it shut.

Jin fell to the ground in despair. She knew he wouldn’t be happy with the news, but she didn’t expect him to order an abortion. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t… DING DONG.

“The door’s open,” called out Jin weakly.

“Jin!” squealed Yuri. She gave Jin a bag. “I got you some medicine.” She frowned. “What are you doing on the floor?” she asked. Yuri knelt down beside Jin. “What’s wrong?”

Jin burst into tears and wrapped her arms around Yuri. “Yuri, what am I going to do?” she bawled.

Yuri patted Jin’s back. “What’s wrong, Jin? Does your stomach hurt a lot?” Jin shook her head and told Yuri the whole story. Yuri gasped. “Are you kidding? Jin!” She hugged her friend tightly and cried with her.

“Yuri…what am I going to do?” cried Jin. “I feel so alone..”

Jin was now all alone in her apartment. “Mom, what am I supposed to do?” she asked the picture in her hands. RING RING. Jin grabbed the phone. “Hello?”

“Jin?”

“Jiyong?”

“Jin… Do you want to come over to my apartment?” asked Jiyong in a tired voice. “I..I have something to tell you.”

“Okay, I’m on my way.”

As Jin walked through the door, she noticed a middle aged woman sitting at the kitchen table. She bowed respectfully to the woman and sat down across from her and Jiyong.

“Just in case you were wondering, I’m Jiyong’s mother,” informed the woman.

Jin nodded. “Nice to meet you, m’aam.” She darted a glance at Jiyong, wondering what was going on.

“I just wanted you to be here because I wanted to discuss wedding preparations.”

Jin’s eyes grew round. “Wedding preparations?”

Chapter 5

“Yes, wedding preparations,” said Mrs. Ko. “Is something wrong?”

Jin tried keeping her patience. “Well, try switching places, Mrs. Ko. Would you like to marry your son if you were in my shoes?” she asked. “Considering you know everything.”

“Listen Miss Lee, I know what happened. I know that nothing you did was anyone’s fault. It was just a fluke, an accident.” Jin looked at Mrs. Ko expectantly. “Well, you are going to have the baby, am I correct?”

Jin nodded. “I don’t believe in abortions,” she stated firmly.

“Well like you don’t believe in abortions, I believe that a man must be responsible for his child.” Mrs. Ko hesitated for a moment. “Think about the child, at least. You’ve read those stories, haven’t you? About those juvenile delinquents with no father figure? It’s terrible, it really is. You may not want to think about this, but this child could turn out like one of those.”

Jin bit her lip and thought of a response. “Well, I’ll do my best as a mother and hopefully, nothing like that will happen.”

Mrs. Ko sighed. :”I really didn’t want to bring this up but..” Jin waited. “I hear you are quite a reporter and writer for the Korean Globe.”

Jin nodded slowly. “What about it?”

“You love your job, do you not?” asked Mrs. Ko. Jin nodded. “Well, suppose the truth were to get out about this baby and how it came to be. Even though Jiyong would not have a good name, time would heal everything. As for you..”

Jin arched an eyebrow. “What?”

“Irresponsible. They would see you as an incompetent, irresponsible woman. Your career would be trashed, as well as your reputation. Do you get me?”

Jin swallowed and rose from her chair. “Are you threatening me?” she snapped.

Mrs. Ko smiled smugly. “Why don’t you decide that for yourself?” she asked. Jin was so angry she couldn’t speak. She looked to Jiyong for help but he just sat there, looking at the floor. “Also, think of the child.. If not for you, for the child.”

Jin kept her tears of frustration in. “I’m going to leave and pretend I didn’t hear a word.” She turned to leave.

“You’d better decide before your stomach shows,” called out Mrs. Ko. Jin just kept walking straight out the door.

Jin sat on her bed and rubbed her stomach. “Hey you… Would you rather live with me alone or with me and your dad?” she asked. She sighed. She had to make a decision. She grabbed her phone and dialed. “Hello? Jiyong? Tell your mom to put up a wedding date.”

“How’s this? How’s that look?” asked Mrs. Ko.

Jin smoothed the light pink dress. “It’s fine, I suppose,” said Jin.

Mrs. Ko gasped. “Fine? It’s perfect! You look beautiful in it!”

Jin smiled faintly. “Thank you.”

“This will be perfect for the engagement ceremony.”

Jin stared at her reflection in the powder room. Her hair was freshly curled with white flowers woven through it and her makeup was perfectly applied. She put her white gloves on and practiced smiling at the mirror.

Mrs. Ko opened the door to the powder room and put her hands on Jin’s shoulder. “Now remember, don’t be nervous!” She smoothed some wrinkles out of Jin’s dress. “The ceremony’s starting. Go on out!” Jin obeyed and found Jiyong standing outside the powder room. He held out his arm. Jin took it and followed him out to the room. After the ceremony was over, a bunch of reporters gathered in front of the couple.

“Mr. Ko, how did you and Miss Lee meet?” asked a reporter. Camera flashes blinked everywhere and Jin couldn’t help shielding her eyes.

“Jin came to a party I was having and we met there,” answered Jiyong smoothly. Jin laughed to herself. ‘He’s such a good liar. No wonder he’s an actor,’ she thought.

“Miss Lee, what was your first impression of Mr. Ko?” called out another reporter.

Jin smiled brightly. “It was love at first sight,” she replied happily. Jiyong smiled at her and she smiled back.

“How about a kiss for the cameras?” yelled someone. Jin and Jiyong froze. Neither of them expected this.

Jiyong regained his composure. “Oh come on, don’t embarass us,” he said. Still, the reporters wheedled for a kiss. Jin smiled at the cameras, hoping they would just forget about everything. Finally, Jiyong leaned over and touched his lips to her forehead.

The reporters groaned. “You call that a kiss?”

Jiyong laughed good naturedly. “Well, that’s all you get for today. Now, if you’ll excuse us.” He took Jin’s arm and led her outside the building.

As Jin opened the door to her house, she dropped her purse and prepared to lie on the couch. She had spent half the day trying to get rid of reporters. She had no idea how annoying they could be, even though she was one. As she walked in front of her couch, she yelped.

“Damn Sunghoon, how’d you get in here?” screamed Jin.

Sunghoon’s expression was grim. He shoved a newspaper in her face. “What is the meaning of this?” he demanded. The headline read ‘Ko Jiyong sets wedding plans.’ There was a picture of Jiyong kissing Jin’s forehead.

“It’s pretty self explanatory,” said Jin. She turned to go to her room. “I’m going to go to sleep now. I’m really tired.” Sunghoon grabbed her arm.

“Since when did you date Jiyong, huh? From what I know, you didn’t even know him until Mr. Cho gave you that one story.”

Jin kept her eyes on the floor. “Well, you were wrong.”

“How could you do this to me?” he whispered. Jin froze. “How could you? I mean.. I thought you knew.”

“Knew what?”

“That I.. love you.” Jin tried to go but he held on tight. “I’ve loved you ever since.. I don’t remember.. But I know I love you now and I can’t let you go to Jiyong. Not until you give me a chance.”

Jin held in her tears. “Sunghoon, I’m really not in the mood for this.”

Sunghoon paused. “Why Jiyong? My friend.. I..” He pulled Jin close to him and held her.

Jin pushed away. “Don’t do this to me, Sunghoon!” she shouted. “Don’t! I can’t handle any more of this!”

Sunghoon’s eyes filled with tears. “Jin, please!” he begged.

Jin wiped away a falling tear. “Please just go right now,” she pled. “I just want to be alone.” She left Sunghoon and locked the door to her room.

Chapter 6

Jin stared at the showcase of glittering diamonds. The glare almost blinded her. “Now pick one, Jin. Money is no object,” said Mrs. Ko.

Jin browsed some more before saying, “Where’s Jiyong? Is he coming?”

Mrs. Ko shook her head. “He’s still shooting his movie. But he would say the same thing. Now go on, choose,” she urged.

Jin pointed at one. “That one,” she said in a dull voice.

Mrs. Ko glanced at it and shook her head vigorously. “That tiny thing?” she asked incredulously.

Jin shrugged her shoulders. “I guess I really don’t know about this sort of thing.” But then, something caught her eye. “How about that one?” It was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. It was a huge 2.5 carat diamond with little diamonds surrounding it on a platinum ring.

Mrs. Ko nodded. “Now you’re talking.” She handed her credit card to the lady.

Jin emerged from her dressing room, wearing her wedding dress. All the guests oohed and ahed. Jin sat down in a chair as she waited for the ceremony to begin. She had spent the whole morning smiling at cameras and answering questions. As she was getting her hair done, a video camera from SBS had followed her and interviewed her there! She was about to go insane. Now as she was sitting in her powder room, she was thanking about 400 people for their congratulations. Some of them were people she knew, but most were just random strangers or celebrities she had never even met. When Ko So Young had congratulated her, Jin normally would have gone crazy. But she didn’t for two reasons: one, she wasn’t exactly happy enough to do so and two: she wasn’t Lee Jin anymore. She was going to be the wife of a famous superstar and needed to keep her cool.

Later, Jin started to feel claustorphobic so she had everyone leave her room, leaving her by herself. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK

Jin scowled. “I’m sorry, I’d like to be alone right now!” she called out.

Yuri poked her head in. “Are you sure?”

Jin’s face brightened slightly, but not much. “Come in.”

Yuri entered the room and sat in a chair in front of Jin, facing her. “Jin, are you sure you want to do this?” she asked.

Jin forced a smile. “I’m fine with it Yuri, really I am. Anyway, I feel like I kind of have to… because you know..”

Yuri nodded solemnly. “All right, it’s your life. But remember I’m always here for you.” She flipped Jin’s veil over her face and straightened out her dress. “Well, if it makes you feel any better, you make a beautiful bride.” Jin looked down at her long sleeveless satin dress. Yuri hugged Jin tightly. “Be happy.. And remember I’m only a phone call away if anything happens.” She pulled away from Jin; they both had tears in their eyes. Yuri pulled away and wiped away her tears. “Now come on, they’re all waiting for you.” She helped Jin out of her chair and carried her long train and veil for her.

“The bride!” announced the MC.

Jin took a deep breath and walked out on to the long carpet. She heard cameras flashing and people whispering, but she kept her eyes straight ahead. “Almost there, don’t trip,” she told herself. Her eyes darted to her left and met with Sunghoon’s eyes. He was wearing a tight, yet sad smile. She moved her eyes to the front and stepped up beside Jiyong. Vows were exchanged and the couple bowed to each other, then to the guests. Then Jiyong took Jin’s hand and walked to the reception room.

“Now, time for the toast!” announced the MC. He held up his glass of champagne. “Now, this couple..”

Jin panicked as the MC went off into a long spiel. Toast? Champagne? She couldn’t have alcohol! “Pssst!” hissed someone.

Jin turned around to see Yuri. “What?”

“Give me your glass!” Jin handed Yuri her glass of champagne and Yuri gave Jin a different glass with the same color liquid. “It’s apple cider,” Yuri whispered.

“Thanks.”

“Now, everyone please bring up their glass to celebrate this wonderful couple’s marriage!” The MC raised his glass.

Jin and Jiyong linked their arms for a love shot while everyone else clinked their glasses. After the toast, everyone visited with each other, talking and gabbing.

Sunghoon walked up to the couple’s table. “Congratulations you guys.” He shook Jiyong’s hand.

Jiyong smiled. “Thanks Sunghoon.” Jin remained silent. She couldn’t bear to look at his face. She heard his footsteps as he walked away. Jin finally looked up to see his back. Suddenly, he glanced back at her table and gave Jin a smile.. A smile that said ‘I’m okay now.. I’ll accept it.’ Jin was going to get up and talk to him but the MC stopped her.

“Now everyone, it’s that special time where we see the couple share a kiss!” Everyone clapped and cheered.

“Kiss, kiss, kiss!” everyone chanted.

Jin closed her eyes while Jiyong leaned over and kissed her cheek. Everyone booed. “Oh come on now, you can do better than that!” said the MC. Jiyong hesitated. “We’re waiting!” sang the MC. Finally, Jiyong put his hand on the side of Jin’s neck and craned his neck to meet her lips. Their lips touched for about three seconds until Jiyong pulled away. The crowd seemed to be satisfied and cheered. Jin, on the other hand, turned around and let out a sigh. ‘It’s over.. I’m actually married,’ she thought.

Chapter 7

“Flight 348 to Cheju will be landing shortly. Please keep your seat belts on until the sign goes off.”

Jin stretched out her arms in her plush and comfortable first class seat. She had taken a short nap and felt more refreshed. “Jiyong?” Jin looked beside her and saw Jiyong sleeping. She nudged him slightly. “We’re here.” He remained sleeping. She nudged him harder. “We’re here,” she said loudly.

He groaned and opened his eyes. “Mmm.. I’m so tired.”

Jin looked over at him and smoothed down the top of his head. He looked at her strangely. “Sorry, but you had a total cowlick,” she explained.

He rubbed his eyes. “Thank you passengers for choosing Korean Airlines. You may now leave the plane and we wish you a pleasant stay.” Jiyong got up and took the bags out of the compartment. Jin followed him out to the airport. The second they were out of the terminal, it was photographers and fans galore.

“JIYONG JJANG!!” screamed the fans. Jin was terrified.

“Mr. Ko, Mrs. Ko, look this way!” Jin turned to the voice and blinked. *FLASH*

She felt Jiyong pinching her arm lightly. “Smile,” he mumbled while looking at the cameras. Jin flashed a small smile. “Bigger,” commanded Jiyong. Jin smiled so big she thought her lips would rip. “Good,” commended Jiyong. He waved to the fans and they shrieked with delight.

“Jin unnie! Unnie! Over here!” Jin heard someone scream over everyone. She smiled to the voice and *FLASH* They managed to collect their luggage while security guards held the fans back. Jiyong waved suavely to his fans before leaving the airport. He pinched her arm again.

“Ouch,” cried Jin.

“Smile and wave,” he muttered through his smile. Jin obeyed.

‘What have I gotten myself into?’ she thought.

‘Don’t open this until you’re alone, okay?’ ordered Yuri.

Jin looked at Yuri suspiciously. ‘Why not?’

Yuri rolled her eyes. ‘Just trust me, okay?’

Jin stared at the gift box Yuri had given her. She flipped open the lid and blushed a bit. It was a long, satin slip. She opened the card that had come with it. ‘Jin, this is for your honeymoon. You always told me you wanted to wear something special for it. I don’t know if you’ll like it, but here it is.’ She threw it back into the box and sighed. She wanted to wear something special when she married the person she LOVED. She threw on a pair of pajamas and stepped out of the bathroom.

“Jiyong, I’m going to bed!” said Jin. She looked around. The room was empty. She glanced at the clock. 12 AM. Where was he?

THUD. Jin shot up in her bed. “Who’s there?” she called out in the darkness. She looked at the clock. 3:30 AM. “Who is it?” she repeated. Trembling, she flipped on the light. There, she saw Jiyong sprawled out on the floor. She ran over to him and knelt down beside him. “Jiyong, are you okay?” she asked frantically. “Oh no, do I need to call an ambulance?” She heard him mumbling something. “What was that?” She turned him over so he was lying on his back. She almost fell backwards from the alcohol in his breath.

“I’m sorry…”

Jin leaned in closer so she could hear better.

“But Mom…I don’t want to marry her…” Jin sighed.

“This marriage is going to take a lot of work,” she whispered to herself.

Jin gathered her things and took one last look at her apartment. She couldn’t believe this whole story. It was like a bad dream she couldn’t wake up out of. At the honeymoon, Jin and Jiyong had put up a pretty good front publicly, going to places together, holding hands and all that. Of course, Jin had gone almost insane in the process, having to deal with the annoying reporters and photographers. But now she had to prepare herself for a whole new life.. A whole new life as Mrs.Jin Ko.

Jin smiled happily as she entered the Korean Globe building. It was good to know that one thing hadn’t changed. She was glad to get back to her work. When she came walking through the main room, she prepared herself for another one of Mr. Cho’s lectures concerning the importance of punctuality. “Hello Mrs.Ko,” was all he said.

Jin frowned. “Are you in a good mood today, Mr. Cho?” asked Jin. “I’m twenty minutes late and you haven’t said anything.”

He glanced at his watch. “Really? I didn’t even notice. Well, just don’t do it next time,” he scolded.

Jin grew suspicious but walked to her desk. “Hey Mr. Cho, do you have an assignment for me?” called out Jin.

“Oh, why don’t you take a break on this issue. You must be tired,” said Mr. Cho. He smiled at her.

Jin stomped her foot. “Okay, what is going on here?”

Mr. Cho looked at her. “Why, what do you mean, Mrs. Ko?”

Jin scowled at him. “You know exactly what I mean. Why are you acting so differently towards me now?” she inquired.

He laughed. “Why, I know nothing of the sort. Why don’t you just sit and relax.”

Jin narrowed her eyes in suspicion. “Does this have anything to do with the fact that I’m Mrs. Ko now, instead of plain old Miss Lee?”

Mr. Cho’s eyes darted left and right. “Why of course not. Now, Mrs. Ko..”

Jin cut him off. “Tell me the truth,” she demanded.

Mr. Cho hesitated. “Well, Mr. Ko and his mother do happen to be large sponsors of the paper and..”

Jin let out a scream of frustration. She knew Mr. Cho, along with the rest of the staff would never treat her the same. She didn’t want to use Jiyong’s influence this way. There was only one thing left to do. “Well in that case,” said Jin. “I quit.” She wrote up a resignation form and set it on Mr. Cho’s desk.

Chapter 8

Jin grabbed a little gadget she had bought for the baby. It was a small microphone attached to a speaker. She set the speaker on her stomach and spoke into the microphone. “Hello? Hey there.. This is your mommy speaking. How are you doing in there? I want to see you, baby. I’ll see you in about six months, okay? I love you, baby.” She set the microphone and speaker beside her on the couch. RING RING

“Hello, Ko residence,” answered Jin.

“Jin, where’d you go today?”

“Jiyong? Well, I went out to the baekhwajum to get some groceries. Why?” asked Jin.

“Is that ALL you got?” asked Jiyong in an irritated voice.

Jin thought for a moment. “Well, I got something for the baby..” Jiyong let out a deep breath of frustration. “What?” asked Jin. “Did I do something wrong?”

“Well nothing, except now all of Korea knows you’re pregnant!” exclaimed Jiyong.

“So what?” snapped Jin. “And don’t yell, the baby might hear.”

“Well, they know that you’re three months pregnant, and you know what? We only got married a couple weeks ago.” Jin gasped. “That’s right. Now everyone thinks we got married just because of the baby.”

“But we did, didn’t we?”

“Yes, but we don’t want all the people to think that,” pointed out Jiyong sarcastically. “How could you do something so stupid?”

“I didn’t even think about it.. I just..”

“Listen, I’m going into a press conference this afternoon about that at the Royal Hotel at 3. Be there.” He hung up.

“We’re very ashamed of what we did and we hope everyone will forgive us. But we did get married because we love each other. The baby just sped up the process.”

“Mrs. Ko, do you have anything else to say to the public?” asked a reporter.

Jin stepped up to the microphone. “I’m sorry. Hopefully, this won’t affect the love that they had for Jiyong and we hope the public will be able to understand.” She left the conference room.

Jin sat on the couch and put the speaker to her stomach. “Hey baby. How about I play some music for you?” She walked to the piano and took a seat on the bench. Now, she was five months pregnant. Her stomach had started to bulge a little, but it wasn’t that noticeable. She placed her fingers on the ivory keys and played some soothing melodies. She closed her eyes and grew lost in the music. The piano had always been her best friend who she could go to at all times. DING DONG

Jin answered the door. “Hi Jiyong.”

He brushed past her. “Hi,” he muttered.

“How are you?” she asked. “Did you eat the lunch I packed for you?”

He took the plastic box out of his bag and tossed it on the kitchen table. “Sorry, I didn’t have time to eat.”

Jin forced a smile. “Well, you must be hungry. I’ll make something for you.” She walked to the stove.

“Would you stop it?” snapped Jiyong.

Jin was startled. “Stop what?” she asked.

“Stop acting so.. concerned about me!” he shouted. “The only reason we married each other is because of the baby! Nothing else!”

“Stop shouting. The baby will hear. It’s not good for the baby to hear bad things,” said Jin.

He rolled his eyes and lowered his voice. “Listen, I may be forced to live with you and act civil to you, but that’s it. After that, I live my life, and you live your life. Okay?” He stalked to his bedroom. “I just came to change clothes. I’ve got a CF commercial to shoot.”

Jin sighed. She was trying so hard to make this work. As she heard Jiyong leave the apartment, she stared at the untouched plastic box. Why did she even try?

So that was how it was. For the next month, neither of the two said a word to each other unless absolutely necessary. They slept in different rooms, Jiyong was always out, and they would never concern each other with their business. Until one day..

Jiyong stretched his legs out on the coffee table and yawned. Jin bit her tongue. She hated it when people put their feet on tables. Then he proceeded to take a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it with his lighter. Jin clenched her fists as he breathed out rings of smoke. Finally, she couldn’t stand it. She stomped over to where he was sitting, snatched the cigarette out of his mouth, and threw it in the trash can. Then she opened the windows to air out the smoke.

“What’s your problem?” inquired Jiyong.

“My problem is, that you’re smoking. And I’m pregnant. I don’t want the baby to..”

Jiyong cut her off. “Oh please, a little smoke never hurt anyone.” He reached for another cigarette but Jin was too quick for him. It went straight to the trash can. “Would you stop that? That’s really annoying me,” snapped Jiyong in an irritated voice.

“Well, your smoking is annoying me, too!” snapped back Jin. “Don’t you even care about the baby’s health?” She could feel a mood swing coming on.

He stood up off the couch and stared straight into her eyes. “Listen,” he said in a menacing tone. “This is my apartment. If you don’t like what I do, then leave. I don’t need you here!” he yelled.

Jin slapped him across the face. Jiyong stood there for a few seconds in numb shock then he swung his arm at her and sent a stinging slap across her face. Jin managed to hold in her tears. Then she looked at Jiyong’s face. “If you want me out, it’s as good as done.” She walked out the door.

DING DONG

Sunghoon scurried to the door and opened it. He gasped. “Jin?”

Chapter 9

“Can I come in?” asked Jin. She shivered from the cold.

He motioned for her to enter and closed the door behind her. Sunghoon watched as Jin walked to his couch and sat down on it with tears spilling down her cheeks. He sighed. “Jin, what’s wrong?” He sat down beside her.

Jin sniffed and wiped a tear away. “C-c-can I have a tissue?” she blubbered.

Sunghoon handed her the kleenex box and she blew her nose. “Jin, talk to me,” he said.

Jin leaned her head on Sunghoon’s shoulder. Sunghoon remained silent as he listened to her cry. He felt so helpless. He had never seen Jin cry and he didn’t know how to handle it. After a few minutes, Jin spoke. “Sunghoon,” she whispered. “Am I a bad person?” she choked out through tears.

Sunghoon took a hold of her shoulders and faced her. “Jin, you are one of the most sweetest and funniest people I know. What makes you say that?”

Another tear trickled down Jin’s cheek and Sunghoon wiped it away with his thumb. “I guess in a different life, I must have been a terrible person because I’m going through so much shit right now. Sunghoon, I’m trying so hard. Why doesn’t he try to understand?” she sobbed.

Sunghoon sighed. “I don’t know, Jin. Jiyong can sometimes be a cold person. He’s not a bad person… He’s just a little rough around the edges,” answered Sunghoon. “Just give it some time, Jin. It’ll be okay.”

Jin shook her head. “He slapped me!” she shouted. She faced Sunghoon and gave him a hopeful smile. “I know, Sunghoon. I know how you feel about me. I want a divorce, Sunghoon. Maybe we can..”

Sunghoon interrupted her. “Jin, you can’t. You’ve been married three months. Every couple goes through their hard times at first, but it’ll get better. Don’t give up. I know you, you’re not a quitter. And the slap.. Jiyong just does some things without thinking.. Just like we all do.”

Jin looked away. “Is it because of the baby? Is that it?”

Sunghoon shook his head. “No, Jin. More than anything, I would love to just steal you away and raise the baby, but I can’t. You’re Jiyong’s wife now.”

Jin got a crazy look in her eyes. “Sunghoon, let’s run away! If we go to some far away country, no one could find us and..”

Sunghoon grabbed Jin’s shoulders and shook her. “Snap out of it, Jin!” he yelled. “You’re six months pregnant with Jiyong’s baby! You’re married to one of the most famous movie stars in Korea! Stop trying to sway me!”

Jin settled down and started crying again. “Oh lawd, I think I’m having one of my moodswings,” she cried.

Sunghoon wore a tiny smile. “Stay out here. I’ll get you something to drink.”

Jin held his arm. “Sunghoon, at least let me stay here until tomorrow. You know, tomorrow’s the 21st.. I don’t want to spend my birthday with him,” she begged.

Sunghoon just smiled and walked into the kitchen.

“Here.” Sunghoon set a glass of orange juice in front of Jin.

Jin took the glass in her hand and sipped. “What took you so long?”

“Oh.. I couldn’t find any clean glasses,” spat out Sunghoon.

“Oh,” said Jin. Sunghoon kept looking at his watch. “Are you expecting someone?” asked Jin.

Sunghoon shook his head vigorously. “No, of course not! I mean.. why would I?” DING DONG. “Huh, who could that be?” He jumped out of his seat and opened the door. “Oh hi! Come in!”

Jin’s mouth dropped. “Come on, Jin. Let’s go home.”

Jin crossed her arms. “No.”

Jiyong tapped his foot. “Listen, you can’t stay here forever. Let’s go. The car’s running.”

Jin glared at Sunghoon. “You called him, didn’t you?” she accused.

Sunghoon looked the other direction. “Why no.. Wherever did you get that idea?” He yawned widely. “Well, I’m going up to bed. See you guys later.”

Jiyong stayed silent for a few moments then mumbled, “I’m sorry.”

Jin’s ears perked up. “What was that you said?”

“I’m sorry,” repeated Jiyong louder. “Now can we go?”

Jin hid a little smile. “Well, I guess I’ll be big about this and forgive you.” She followed him outside. Suddenly, she felt something heavy on her shoulders. She stared at the coat. “What’s this for?” she asked.

“It’s cold outside. I wouldn’t want you to get sick.” Jin grinned. “I mean, because if you get sick, the baby would get sick,” added Jiyong quickly. Jin’s grin faded and she got into the car.

DING DONG

Jin walked quickly to the door. “Yes?”

The man handed her a package. “For Mrs. Ko. Sign here please.” She scribbled her name and took the long box. “What is it?”

The man shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. I just deliver. Have a nice day!” He waved to her and descended down the stairs.

Jin stared at the box for a while and lifted the lid off the box. She gasped with excitement. Twenty five long stemmed roses filled the box. She picked up the card and read it.

“Happy 25th birthday. Jiyong.” She frowned. How did he know it was her birthday? Why did he even care? Well whatever. They smelled really good. RING RING “Hello?”

“Jin? This is Yuri. Happy birthday! I’ll buy you lunch, okay?”

Jin smiled. “Sure, I’ll be right there.”

Yuri’s mouth dropped. “Really? He sent you roses? How romantic!”

Jin frowned. “How did he know? Why would he care?”

Yuri nudged Jin’s forehead with her fist. “Babo, who cares how he found out? All that matters is that he cared enough to do something about it. You get it? I think he actually likes you now. Probably from living with you so long and from you being so nice to him.”

A spark of hope lit in Jin. “Really? Do you think so?”

Yuri nodded. “I’m sure of it.”

Jin jumped out of her bed as she heard the door creak open. “Hi Jiyong,” she greeted.

He nodded at her. “Hi. What are you doing still up?” It was 3 AM.

“I couldn’t sleep. Are you almost done with the movie?” she asked.

“Um yeah, last shooting’s tomorrow. Well, I’m going to bed.” He headed towards his room.

“Thanks for the roses!” Jin called out.

Jiyong turned around. “Um yeah.. It was nothing.”

Jin sighed. If what Yuri had said was true, why couldn’t she tell?

Chapter 10

Jin ignored the people’s expressions at her as she walked through the department store. She still had some odds and ends to buy for the baby. It was only 13 days until the due date which was July 14. Her stomach was full grown by now and was quite a sight. She checked the price tag on a stroller.

“Hello, Mrs. Ko, can I help you with anything?”

Jin was startled and she took a step back from the salesman. “Um, that’s all right. Just browsing,” said Jin. After browsing some more, she picked out a stroller along with a Winnie the Pooh mobile.

“Will that be all?” asked the salesman cheerfully.

Jin nodded.

“Oh, Mrs. Ko! Will you be getting your husband something in our department store too? It’s his birthday today,” informed the salesman.

Jin’s eyes grew wide. This was news to her. “Oh, well. Maybe I should.” She took the escalator down to the men’s department.

Jiyong trudged into the apartment with his usual ‘i’m mad at the world’ expression. Jin winced. She didn’t know whether approaching him would be the wisest decision, but she did anyway.

“Hey Jiyong,” she started. He stopped and looked at her. “Happy birthday.” She thrust a wrapped package into his hands.

When he saw it, his face lit up. “How’d you know..” He cleared his throat and put on a more serious expression. “I mean, how’d you know I liked chocolates?” He tore at the plastic covering and stuffed two in his mouth.

Jin restrained from chuckling at his excitement. “I remember reading it somewhere. I know you haven’t had time to buy any, so I got you some. Happy birthday.”

“You want one?” he asked with his mouth full. He waved a milk chocolate in her face.

Jin nodded and reached for it, but he held it back. “Hey!” protested Jin. “It’s not nice to tease me with chocolate.”

“Open,” he instructed. Jin blushed. “Open,” he repeated. She opened her mouth and he fed it to her. She closed her eyes in pure bliss as the sweet chocolate melted in her mouth.

“Thanks,” she said after swallowing.

Jiyong stuck another one in his mouth. “You’re welcome. Oops.” Spit trickled down his chin.

Jin burst out laughing. “OMG, you drooled!”

Jiyong wiped his mouth. “I did not,” he denied.

“You TOTALLY drooled!” accused Jin. Her giggles were unstoppable.

He rolled his eyes. “Fine, laugh.” He grinned as he walked to his room. Jin smiled. It was the first time she had seen him with a genuine smile.

Jin clapped with the rest of the audience as the movie ended. She was at the premiere of Jiyong’s new movie. As the credits rolled, Jiyong grabbed Jin’s hand. “Stay low,” he whispered. “Or they’ll mob us.” The two of them crouched until they reached the exit and quickly entered the car. Jiyong swore. “Hurry get in, they’ve spotted us!”

“I’m going as fast as I can!” hissed Jin. She slammed her car door shut and Jiyong zoomed away.

“That was close,” said Jiyong. “Are you okay?” he asked.

Jin turned quickly to Jiyong. “Jiyong, go straight to the hospital.”

He grew concerned. “What? Do you ache?”

Jin shook her head. “Jiyong, I think I’m going to have the baby so step on it.”

Jiyong’s eyes widened and he applied more pressure to the gas pedal.

“Mrs. Ko, we will go straight to the delivery room. Your contractions haven’t started yet, but they should soon. Just relax and do as I tell you, all right?”

Jin nodded as she was wheeled away. “Yes Dr. Ryu.”

“Mr. Ko, will you be coming?” asked Dr. Ryu.

Jiyong held up his gloved hands and mask, implicating he was going. “I’m ready when you are.”

The doctor nodded. “All right, we’re here. Mr. Ko, why don’t you just stay here until her contractions start? If anything happens, call me or one of the nurses. We’ll be right outside.”

“All right, thank you.” Jiyong sat by Jin’s bed while everyone left the room. “How are you doing?” asked Jiyong.

Jin didn’t answer.

“Is something wrong?”

Jin’s eyes were full of fear. “I’m scared, Jiyong. I really am. What if the baby isn’t healthy? What if something goes wrong?” she said frantically.

Jiyong placed his hand on her’s and squeezed it reassuringly. “Don’t think like that. Everything will turn out fine. Just focus on having the baby. We’ll worry about other things later.”

Jin put her other hand on top of Jiyong’s. “Thank you Jiyong.”

“Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Ko. It’s a girl.” The doctor carefully placed the bundled up baby in Jin’s arms.

Jiyong and Jin smiled at their bundle of joy. “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” said Jin.

Jiyong nodded in agreement. “She is. What will we call her?”

“Yoon Mi. Ko Yoon Mi,” answered Jin. “Yoonmi yah.. Say hello to mommy and daddy.” The baby’s eyes fluttered open for a while then closed again.

“She’s perfect,” said Jiyong.

Chapter 11

“She’s gotten so big in the past few months,” commented Jin. “Look, she’s getting chubby cheeks!” Yoonmi, unaware of what Jin was talking about just yawned.

Yuri grinned. “She’s a cutie. Does that outfit I bought fit her?”

Jin nodded. “It’s perfect. I’ll put it on her and come out to visit you sometime.”

Yuri paused. “So, how are you and Jiyong getting along?” she asked.

Jin sighed. “I really don’t know. We haven’t fought, yet we’re not really communicating. It was better than before but.. I wish I could reach him somehow,” she replied.

“Just give it some time. I’m sure everything will turn out fine,” said Yuri.

Jin let out a deep breath. She had already waited so long…

“Hey Yoonmi! Say hello to Uncle Sunghoonie!” Sunghoon grinned at the baby and made funny faces.

Jin slapped Sunghoon on the arm. “Stop that! You might scare her.”

He gave Jin a look of death. “Meanie.”

Jin smiled. “Thanks for the teddy bear, Sunghoon. I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.” She walked to Yoonmi’s room and set her and the bear down in the crib.

“So, how have you been? You and Jiyong getting along?” asked Sunghoon once they reached the couch.

Jin shrugged her shoulders. “I guess you could say we’re getting along. We don’t fight. But then again, we’re not couple of the month either,” she answered.

Sunghoon’s face turned serious. “You know, Jin. Jiyong really loves you. He just doesn’t show it. That’s just the way he is. He doesn’t know how,” said Sunghoon.

“How do you know?”

“I just do. Whenever I talk to him, the way he says your name, the way he smiles when you get brought up. I can just tell.” Sunghoon took a sip of his juice. “Just wait, Jin. I know you’ve waited a long time, but he’ll come out. You’ll see.”

“Good night, Yoonmi,” cooed Jin. She pulled a blanket over the 4 month old baby. She walked out into the kitchen as she heard the door open. “Jiyong, is that you?” called out Jin.

Jiyong stumbled into the apartment. “Jin… It’s cold.. Can you turn up the heat?” His teeth chattered.

Jin walked to the thermostat. “I have it cranked up all the way to 72.”

His eyes started drooping. “Jin.. Can you help me to my room? I..” He fell forward and Jin caught him.

“Jiyong!” she cried. She touched his forehead. “You’re burning up! What have you been doing all day?”

“I..I had a scene in the snow for a commercial.. It took 26 takes..” he stuttered. Jin helped him down into his bed and gave him some dry clothes. “Change into those. I’ll go get some medicine.”

Jin touched his forehead and breathed a sigh of relief. After he had taken some medicine, his fever had lowered. Jin placed a damp wash cloth on his forehead and stood to leave. Jiyong gripped her wrist

“Oh! You’re awake,” said Jin in surprise.

He looked at Jin intently. “Please… don’t go,” he whispered.

“Jiyong, you’re going to be just fine,” reassured Jin. “Just go back to sleep.”

His eyes closed and Jin soon heard his soft snores. As she watched him sleep, she smiled. He was so handsome. She put her hand back on his forehead and moved it down, stroking his face. She leaned in closer and kissed his forehead. “Good night Jiyong.”

Jin opened the lid to the pot. She breathed in a deep breath of the tasty aroma coming from the soup. “Mmmm.”

“What are you cooking?”

Jin yelped with surprise and turned around to see Jiyong standing right behind her. “Oh, um. Just some miyuk gook,” she answered while turning around.

Jiyong leaned forward and sniffed. “Yum.”

Jin waited, expecting him to move but he didn’t. He just stayed right behind her. She felt his hot breath on her neck. “Um.. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll give you some..” She reached for a bowl and he moved. “So um.. are you going to shoot something today?” she asked, fumbling with the ladle.

Jiyong sat at the table. “Well, I have a photo shoot and an interview with a magazine but that’s it. I’ll be home early.”

Jin set the bowl of soup in front of him. “Oh.. Good.. Well um, I’m going to go check on Yoonmi.” She turned to leave.

“Um, Jin?”

Jin spun around. “Yes?”

“You didn’t give me a spoon.”

“Oh, sorry.” She pulled open a drawer and found a spoon for him. “Here you go.”

“Thanks.” She heard him slurping it up. Jin walked into Yoonmi’s room and leaned against the wall, fanning herself. Why was she blushing? It was the same old Jiyong.. Same old jerky Jiyong.. Right?

Chapter 12

Jin walked, hearing the gravel crunch beneath her feet. She was at a bank, the bank her mother had worked at. There were many people there, crowding around a scene. Jin squinted to see better. She saw someone holding a gun.. to her mother’s head.

“Mom!” she screamed.

“Nobody move or I’ll shoot the brains out of her!” threatened the gunman. “Don’t come close!” Jin saw his bulging bag.. Probably bulging with money.

“Mom!” she screeched. Her mother just stood still, trembling with fear. Jin ran to the gunman and tried pushing him away but her hand just went right through him. It was like she was invisible. Suddenly, a policeman pulled the trigger on his gun, then the gunman pulled his trigger. Jin watched in horror as her mother fell to the ground.

Jin bolted upright and let out a scream. She gasped breaths of air and broke down emotionally. “Mom,” she sobbed. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there..” Tears streamed down her face.

The door opened. “What’s going on? I heard a scream,” mumbled Jiyong. He brandished a metal pan. When he saw Jin crying on her bed, he walked to her and sat down on the bed. “What’s wrong? Did you have a bad dream?” he asked. Jin didn’t answer. She just kept crying. Jiyong let out a sigh and held her in his arms. Jin buried her face in his chest. He rubbed her back. “It’s okay, Jin. You’re awake now,” he said, trying to soothe her.

Jin pulled away for a second. “C-c-could you just stay here with me.. Just for tonight? I-i’m just scared.. If I have another nightmare,” she blubbered.

Jiyong nodded, brought her towards him, and wrapped his arms around her. “Don’t worry, everything will be fine..”

Jiyong stretched his arms and yawned. It was 8 o’clock and he needed to get up. He glanced at Jin who was lying next to him and smiled. He was just noticing now how beautiful she was. He put his hand on her cheek and brushed some hair out of her face. He leaned in closer and kissed her cheek. His eyes widened as he saw her flinch but he heard her even breathing again. He looked at the clock again and laid back down. Then he inched closer to Jin and held her in his arms. It was a great feeling.. Holding the person you loved..

Jin opened her eyes and almost jumped. Jiyong was holding her close to him. She stayed still for a while then shook Jiyong. “Jiyong, don’t you need to get up?” she whispered.

He stirred then stayed still. “Just another minute.” His hold around her grew tighter and he held her against him.

“Come on, stop playing around. I need to check on the baby.” She struggled to move but his hold didn’t break. “Stop that!” she giggled.

“Come on now.. Don’t spoil the moment,” he said huskily. She felt him kiss her softly on her ear. He moved down to her chin and neck.

Jin froze for a moment then slapped him on the arm. “Stop that! Now get up and go to work. You’ll be late.” She rolled out of the bed and walked to Yoonmi’s room. After she fed her and changed her, she walked to the bathroom and washed up. Then she went out to the kitchen. Jiyong was putting on his shoes. “Are you leaving now?” she asked.

He nodded. “You were right. I am late.” He came up to her and snaked an arm around her small waist. “Now how about a goodbye kiss for your sweetheart?”

Jin rolled her eyes and pecked him on the cheek. “You are such a goof.”

He released Jin reluctantly and grinned. “Next time, it’s here.” He pointed to his lips.

Jin pushed him outside the door. “Go!” She smiled and waved to him. “See you tonight.” When she saw him leave, she closed the door and leaned against it, sighing with happiness.

Jiyong burst through the door with his mother and ran to Jin. “Come on, let’s go.”

Jin jumped. “Go where?” she asked in a startled voice.

“You’ll see, follow me.” He grabbed her hand.

Jin bowed to Mrs. Ko. “What are you doing here, Mrs. Ko?” she asked politely.

“I’m here to watch Yoonmi.”

Jin looked at Jiyong with a confused expression. “What’s going on?” she asked.

Jiyong pulled her. “Come on now.” He grabbed Jin’s coat and helped her put it on. “Let’s go! Bye Mom, we’ll be back in a few hours!”

“Have fun!” She waved to Jiyong and Jin who were heading out the door.

Jin bowed to Mrs. Ko again as Jiyong pulled her out the door.

“What are we doing here?” asked Jin.

“I wanted to take you out on a date. We’ve never been on one and I thought this would be a good place to start,” answered Jiyong. He took her hand and walked with her through the shijang. “Pick out what you like and I’ll buy it for you.”

Jin smiled. She had always wanted to come with her husband/boyfriend to one of these places. “Why don’t you pick out something for me?” she suggested. “I’d rather wear something you like.”

“I can live with that.” As they strolled through the building, he stopped at a stand and picked up a soft pink sweater. “How’s this?” He held it up against her.

Jin smiled. “I like it.” Jiyong took out his wallet and paid for it. Jin took Jiyong’s hand again and whispered in his ear. “Thanks.”

Jiyong smiled back and stopped at another stand. “Do you like these?” He pointed to the hair accessories. He pointed to a sparkly hair clip. “Excuse me, can we see this one?” he asked the girl.

The girl did a double take. “Hey aren’t you.. Ko Jiyong?”

Jiyong grinned through his tinted glasses. “Sorry, I get that a lot though.”

“Oh sorry,” she muttered. She removed the clip and gave it to Jiyong.

Jiyong held the clip against Jin’s hair. “That’s pretty, do you like it?” he asked.

Jin nodded. Jiyong paid for that, too and they walked through the rest of the building together.

As the couple was walking down the street, Jin stopped. “What?” asked Jiyong. “Do you see someone you know?”

“Jiyong, we have to go in there,” said Jin. She pointed to a sticker picture booth place. She pulled him into one and she fixed her hair. After she picked a border, she pressed the button. Jiyong leaned in closer and touched his head to Jin’s.

“After I count to three, smile! You get four pictures!” the perky voice from the machine said. The couple grinned in the first three pictures but in the last one, Jiyong kissed Jin’s cheek.

Jin punched Jiyong’s shoulder. “Dork,” she said. Jiyong chuckled and picked up the pictures out of the slot. They both stuck one on their cell phones and took a taxi home.

“Is she asleep?” whispered Jiyong.

Jin nodded. “She’s snoring.” She sat down beside Jiyong on the bed. “Well, I guess I’ll go to sleep too.” She stared awkwardly at Jiyong. “Are you going to sleep here?” she asked tentatively.

He laughed. “Yes, I am your husband!” Jin blushed.

“Well it’s just that.. you know..” She glanced at him, then looked away again.

Jiyong smiled and inched closer to her. He put his arm around her and Jin felt his lips on her cheek, then her neck, and her shoulder. He kissed her forehead gently and combed his hand through her hair. He stared intently into her eyes then held her face in his hands. Slowly, he leaned in closer and pressed his lips against her’s, softly at first. Gradually, the kiss grew more demanding as his lips moved against her’s. Jin cooperated willingly and linked her arms around his neck. He moved down to her neck for a while then back to her lips again. Their kisses grew more passionate throughout the night…

Chapter 13

Jin rolled to her side and reluctantly pulled the covers off her. She heard Yoonmi crying. “Mommy’s coming,” she croaked.

Jiyong pinned her back down on the bed. “No she’s not,” he challenged. He put his arm on her and pulled her closer to him.

“Jiyong, let go. Yoonmi’s crying,” said Jin.

Jiyong let go. “Fine,” he said grumpily. He turned around to his other side.

Jin poked him. “Are you mad?” she asked. He didn’t answer. “Jiyong,” she said in a whiny voice. “You’re mad, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I’ll never forgive you.”

Jin leaned over and kissed his cheek.

“Okay, I forgive you.” Jin smiled and went to Yoonmi.

RING RING

Jin wiped the sweat off her brow and turned off the vacuum. She walked to the phone and answered it. “Hello?”

“Hello Mrs. Ko? Just a reminder for you to come to your check up today at Dr. Ryu’s.”

“Oh all right. Thank you. What time was it again?”

“Two o’clock,” answered the secretary.

“Thank you.”

Dr. Ryu removed his stethoscope and scribbled something on his clipboard. “Well, everything seems fine but why don’t you come in tomorrow again?”

Jin was alarmed. “Why?” she asked.

Dr. Ryu waved his hand nonchalantly. “Oh, I just noticed something in the examination. It’s probably nothing but it’s common procedure to have a follow up. Don’t worry too much about it,” he said.

Jin put on her coat. “Thank you, Doctor.”

He nodded and smiled at Yoonmi. “Hello. How are you doing?” he asked.

Yoonmi beamed at the doctor and he shook his head. “She’s a cutie. How old is she now?”

“Six months,” replied Jin.

“Well, why don’t you go home and just relax. Don’t worry too much about what I said, all right?” He waved goodbye and Jin left the office.

“So what did you do today?” asked Jiyong curiously as he sat next to her on the couch.

“Oh nothing much,” answered Jin. She didn’t want to worry Jiyong about the appointment. “Did you eat?” she asked.

He nodded.”How about you?”

Jin shook her head. “Do you want to buy me something?” she asked.

Jiyong smiled and picked up the phone. “Let me call my mom to come watch Yoonmi and we’ll go out to a pojangmacha.” He dialed the number and talk for a minute. He hung up the phone. “She’ll be here in a minute.”

Jin leaned against his shoulder. “You’re a great husband.”

Jiyong sighed. “Thanks for saying that, but I’m really not.”

Jin looked at Jiyong. “Why do you say that?”

“I mean, look at how I treated you before. You tried so hard to get along with me and all I did was..” Jin put her fingers to his lips.

“That’s okay, Jiyong. All you need to do now is be a good husband and father from now on. Okay?”

Tears welled up in Jiyong’s eyes and he pulled Jin close to him. “Thanks Jin.. Thanks for never giving up on me.”

Jin took a deep breath and entered Dr. Ryu’s office. “I’m here.”

He smiled. “Sit down.” He finished the examination. “You know, technically I’m not supposed to give you the results until tomorrow, but I can give them to you in a few hours. Do you want to come back later?” he asked.

Jin nodded nervously. “Um, sure. I’ll be back.” She pushed the stroller out and decided to do some errands before coming back.

Jin opened the door to the office and sat down. “Is it ready?” she asked. He nodded silently. “What is it? Is something wrong?”

His face was grim. “Mrs. Ko, this is the worst part of my job.”

Jin’s stomach dropped. “What is it? It’s not serious, is it? Is it?”

“Mrs. Ko, you have cancer,” he stated simply.

Chapter 14

Jin was stunned. “What did you say?”

His eyes fell. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Ko.”

She swallowed hard. “What kind of cancer is it?” she asked after a long pause.

“AML, or Acute Myeloid Leukemia.”

Jin’s head started spinning. “No, this must be some type of mistake. I’ve always been so healthy. You made a mistake. You must have,” she said, trying to convince herself.

The doctor shook his head. “Mrs.Ko, calm down.”

Something inside Jin snapped. “Calm down?!” she yelled. “YOU CAN’T TELL ME I HAVE A FATAL DISEASE WHEN EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE IS FINALLY GOING RIGHT!”

“Mrs. Ko, calm down!” ordered Dr. Ryu.

Jin took deep breaths and held her hands to keep them from shaking. “How can I get well?” she asked.

“Mrs. Ko, we will try to do everything we can to find a bone marrow match to your’s. Do you have any relatives?”

Jin thought for a moment. “I have an aunt and uncle with a few cousins.”

Dr. Ryu nodded. “Have them come in and we’ll test them.”

Jin wrung her hands nervously as she awaited Dr. Ryu’s call. RING RING She jumped and grabbed the phone. “Hello?”

“Mrs. Ko? This is Dr. Ryu.”

“Yes, how is it? What are the results?” she inquired.

He sighed. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Ko. Do you have any more relatives?”

“No.”

“Well, we’ll try our best to find another donor. Come down here and we’ll give you some shots you’re supposed to give yourself once a day. After that, all we can do is wait. All right?”

Jin nodded numbly. “All right..”

Jin lay awake in her bed. She couldn’t sleep. Yoonmi was sleeping and Jiyong would be coming in late so the house was dead silent yet she was wide awake. She was so scared. She stared at the clock. It was 4 AM. She pulled the covers over her head. This was ridiculous. She needed to get some sleep. When Jin heard the front door open,she didn’t move. She couldn’t face Jiyong right now.

“Jin? Are you sleeping?” He flipped on the light. “You’re wide awake. Good. Come on out to the living room. I’ve got a surprise for you.”

Jin turned around in the bed and groaned. “Not now, Jiyong. I want to sleep.”

He grabbed her arms and pulled her out of the bed. “Come on now. As long as you’re awake..” He led her out to the living room and sat her down on the couch. She watched him as he turned on the stereo. He stood in front of her as the first chords of the soft ballad played. A few seconds later, he smiled and helped her stand out of the couch.

“Jiyong, what’s going on?” Jin whispered.

Jiyong hugged her around the waist and lifted her arms to go around his neck. As the introduction ended, they swayed to the slow music and Jiyong started to sing. “Geu dae neun..na man ae yuh in ee yuh…” Jin knew this song. It was Kim Gun Mo’s ‘Mi An Hae Yo.’ She listened to Jiyong’s voice as he apologized for all the wrong he had done in the relationship through the song. “Na reul yong suh hal soo eet nah yo. Mi An Hae Yo..” Tears welled up in Jin’s eyes as Jiyong expressed his remorse and love for her. Soon, one by one, the tears fell and she started weeping silently. “Ah jik doe mot da han mal..geu dael..sarang hae yo.” After a few seconds, the song ended. “I love you Jin,” he said. “Sarang hae..” The tears continued to fall from Jin’s face.

Jiyong started to pull away but Jin held on tightly. “Please Jiyong..Could we please stay like this for a while?” she managed to say.

Jiyong held her around the waist and put his hand through her hair. “Jin, I’m sorry..” He kissed her hair. “I’m sorry. Would you forgive me?”

Jin sniffled and faced him. She kissed him lightly on the mouth. “There’s nothing to forgive, Jiyong.”

Jiyong pulled her close again and held her. “I love you, Jin.”

“I love you too, Jiyong.”

Time passed and the phone remained silent. Jin was still holding on, taking the shots when necessary but no blood marrow donor had been found yet. Only Jin and the doctor know about her disease.

“Do you want me to help you?” asked Jiyong.

Jin shook her head and rinsed the sudsy plate she was holding. “No, it’s only a few. I can do it myself.” She reached for a cup, but she missed it. She squinted her eyes. Was her vision going bad? Everything was looking blurry. She vigorously shook her head to clear it up and grabbed the cup. After she rinsed out the cup, she reached out to open the cupboard but missed it again. She grew dizzy and stumbled to the side. The cup crashed to the floor.

Jiyong turned his head and saw Jin leaning against the counter with her hand on her head. He walked to her. “Are you okay?” he asked in a concerned voice.

Jin nodded weakly. “I’ve had this headache all morning.. I think I’ll go take some pain reliever..” She took a step towards the bathroom.

“Do you want me to get it for you?” he offered.

Jin shook her head. “No, I’ll get it.” She slammed the door shut to the bathroom and locked it. Blindly, she pulled open the medicine cabinet and took out her tin box of syringes. After she finished inserting the needle, she stumbled to the bedroom and collapsed on to the bed. How much longer?

Chapter 15

“Jiyong,” said Jin.

Jiyong turned his head. “Yeah?” he answered.

“Um, I have something to tell you.”

He smiled. “Me too,” he said.

“Oh, what?” asked Jin. “You go first.”

“Oh well, it wasn’t that important but I was just thinking about Yoonmi. She’s just a baby now but soon she’ll grow up and get married and everything. Maybe even become a movie star or something like me. Even though it seems so far away, time moves so fast.. I’m just glad that I won’t need to watch her grow up alone, that I’ll have you by my side. As long as I have you with me, growing old with me, I think I’ll be able to do anything. It’s just comforting to know, don’t you think?” Jin swallowed. “Sorry, you said you had something to say and I’m all babbling. Go ahead.”

“Oh it’s I.. I just saw Yoonmi do the cutest thing yesterday and..”

Jiyong beamed. “Oh, what was it?”

Jin grew flustered. “Oh, it was.. She.. Um.. Gee, you know what? I forgot.” She snapped her fingers.

Jiyong laughed. “Don’t tell me you’re getting early memory loss.” He glanced at the clock. “Oh, I’ve got to go. I’ll see you later.” He kissed her cheek and ran out the door.

Jin sighed. “I really should tell him…”

“YEOW!”

Jin came running into the kitchen. “What, what happened?” she asked frantically.

Jiyong winced with pain. “Oh, it’s nothing. I just cut myself with a knife,” he answered.

“Stay right here. I’ll go get something for it.” She rushed to the bathroom to grab a band aid and some ointment from the medicine cabinet. She carefully cleaned the cut and applied some ointment. “How did you cut yourself?”

“I was peeling an apple,” he replied.

Jin gave him a look. “You really should be more careful,” she pointed out. She wrapped the band aid around his finger.”There, good as new. Now, an old fashioned remedy.” Jiyong looked at her expectantly and she kissed his finger.

“Oh, you know what? I think I cut myself on the lip too,” he joked.

Jin rolled her eyes and hit him on the forehead. “Nice try.”

“Oh come on,” he wheedled. “Be a sport.” He closed his eyes and Jin kissed him tenderly.

Jin glanced at her watch. “Oh, I’ve got to go to Yuri’s. I promised I would take Yoonmi out to visit. I’ll just be gone a couple hours.” She grabbed Yoonmi, kissed Jiyong on his cheek and left.

Jiyong wrinkled his face in disgust as the band aid started to peel off his finger. “Yuck.” He tore off the gross band aid and walked to the bathroom to get a fresh one. He opened the medicine cabinet and searched for the box of band aids. He found it and applied a fresh one but didn’t leave the bathroom. Behind the band aid box, he discovered a rectangular tin box. “Wonder what this is,” he said to himself. He popped open the lid to find a bunch of syringes. He had no idea what they were so he decided to take them to the pharmacy and find out..

Jin fumbled for her keys in her purse and brought them out. She aimed for the keyhole, but kept missing. She was growing dizzy again. She thrust the key towards the keyhole but the door opened. There was a fuzzy image in front of her. She blinked hard to see clearer.

“Jiyong, you’re still home?” She tried forcing herself to walk straight, but she would tip to the side every now and then.

“Do you have another headache?” he asked.

Jin nodded. “I’d better go take some more pain reliever.” She walked towards the bathroom.

“Why don’t you just take these?” He tossed a tin box on to the coffee table.

Jin’s eyes grew wide. “Jiyong, how did you….”

“Is that what really matters?” he snapped irritably.

Jin hung her head. “I’m sorry Jiyong. I meant to tell you..”

“So why didn’t you?” He glared at her fiercely.

Jin lifted her head and met his eyes. “I didn’t want to hurt you. Things in our relationship were finally going right and I didn’t want to bring hardships on it. You were so happy and..”

Jiyong cut her off. “Just forget about it,” he growled. He stalked off to his old bedroom and slammed the door. Jin followed him and saw him leaning his forehead against the wall. He turned his head to her and scowled. “Can’t you get the hint? I really don’t want to see you right now.”

Jin approached him. “Jiyong, I’m sorry. I know I should’ve said something..” She touched his shoulder.

Jiyong turned around, forcing her hand to drop. “Why now?!” he shouted. “Right when I realize how much I need you and love you, you have to go and get a disease!” He turned back around again, leaning against the wall with his back towards Jin. Tears formed in his eyes. “How could you not tell me?” he whispered.

A tear dropped from Jin’s eye and she put her hands on Jiyong’s shoulders. “I’m sorry,” she apologized. “I’m sorry.” She leaned against his back and rested her cheek on it. Her tears soaked through his shirt. “Please don’t hate me. I need you so much,” she sobbed.

Jiyong’s body shook from his silent weeping and he couldn’t stand it anymore. He turned around and took Jin in his arms. He allowed his tears to fall freely. He sniffled and kissed Jin on the top of her head. “I love you so much, Jin. Don’t worry. You’re going to live. We’ve come too far for you to die now.”

RING RING

Jiyong dove for the phone and answered it. “Hello?” he said breathlessly. Jin stood by Jiyong, twiddling her fingers anxiously. “Yes? Right now? All right.” Jiyong hung up the phone.

“What is it?” asked Jin nervously.

“The doctor says to bring you to the hospital right away. Says it’s urgent.” He helped Jin with her coat and put the baby in the stroller.

Jin grew worried. What was going to happen?

Chapter 16

“Mr. Ko, Mrs. Ko,” greeted Dr. Ryu. He shook Jiyong’s and Jin’s hand. “Have a seat, please.”

The couple sat. “What is it, doctor?” asked Jin. She felt Jiyong grasp her hand. “Has something gone wrong?”

The doctor shook his head. “No, actually, I have good news.” A spark of hope lit in Jin. “We found someone with a blood marrow similar to your’s.”

Tears of happiness glistened in Jin’s eyes. “OMG, Jiyong!” She looked at him with delight.

But the doctor’s expression remained serious. “Mrs. Ko, I’m afraid to say your happiness is premature.” Jin’s smile faded.

“What do you mean by that, doctor?” querried Jiyong.

“Although there is a chance for the surgery to be successful, there is a chance that it could be unsuccessful too. And…” He hesitated.

“What doctor, is there more?” asked Jiyong.

“There’s a chance Mrs. Ko could die during the surgery too,” finished Dr. Ryu solemnly.

Jin felt like her stomach had just plummeted straight down to her feet. “What..what is the chance of me surviving?” she asked.

“Mrs. Ko, you have a thirty percent chance of the surgery being successful. It would be higher but the donor’s blood marrow is not exact with your’s even though it is similar.”

Jin swallowed a lump in her throat. “What if.. I don’t go through the surgery?”

Dr. Ryu let out a deep sigh. “Then you can undergo chemotherapy and radiation here. It will extend your life but I can’t guarantee it will save it.”

Jin tried keeping her tears in. “So you’re saying that I have a seventy percent of dying with surgery and almost a hundred percent without it. Is that correct?”

Dr. Ryu nodded silently.

Jin and Jiyong exchanged glances. “It’s up to you,” stated Jiyong. Jin’s face crumpled as she saw Yoonmi in her stroller, sleeping as if she had no cares in the world. Jiyong held Jin to him. “Jin, do what you want. I won’t blame you for anything,” he whispered.

Jin pulled away from Jiyong and wiped her tears away. She stared straight into the doctor’s eyes and nodded. “When can I check in for surgery?”

“You know what, you really are a jerk,” stated Yuri as she looked at Jin in her hospital bed.

Sunghoon nodded. “I can’t say I disagree,” he said.

Jin smiled weakly. “I’m sorry, guys. I just didn’t want to trouble anyone then. But you guys are here now.”

Sunghoon and Yuri came to opposite sides of Jin’s bed and sat. “You have to come through this, all right? For Jiyong, for Yoonmi, for me, for Yuri.. For everyone who cares about you,” said Sunghoon.

Yuri’s eyes sparkled with tears. “I love you, Jin. Don’t leave me, okay?” Sunghoon kept his tears in. Jin held out her arms and her friends came into them.

“Don’t worry guys. I’ll be all right. You’ll see.”

KNOCK KNOCK

“Come in,” called out Jin.

Jiyong poked his head through the door. “Hi.”

Jin smiled. “Hi.”

“I brought some people who want to see you.” He came in holding Yoonmi. Also came Mrs. Ko, his mother.

“Hi dear,” greeted Mrs. Ko. She sat at Jin’s bed side and held her hand.

“Hello Uh muh nee,” said Jin with a smile. “I’m sorry you have to see me like this.”

Mrs. Ko slapped Jin’s hand lightly. “Now, that’s a lot of nonsense. All you need to do now is to get well, all right?” She smiled at Jin.

Jin smiled back. “I will,” she replied.

Jiyong came to Jin’s other side, holding Yoonmi. “Yoonmi, say hi to mommy.” He took Yoonmi’s hand and shook it at Jin.

Jin laughed. “Hi Yoonmi.” Yoonmi beamed at Jin happily and jumped up and down.

Mrs. Ko took Yoonmi from Jiyong. “I’ll take her now. Don’t worry. I’ll take good care of her.” She squeezed Jin’s hand and left the room.

“Jiyong, I’ll make it, won’t I?” asked Jin fearfully.

Jiyong sighed. “What makes you even say that? Of course you will.”

Jin shook her head. “I could not make it, though. I have a seventy percent chance of dying.. Jiyong, if I don’t make it, I want you to do something for me.”

“Stop talking like that! Stop it!” shouted Jiyong. Tears streamed down his face. “You’re going to make it, you are!” he argued.

Jin felt a tear trickle down her cheek and she touched Jiyong’s cheek. With her thumb, she gently wiped away his tear. “Take care of Yoonmi.. Also, go on without me. Don’t stay alone. All right?” she whispered.

Jiyong shook his head. “I can’t do that. You can’t tell me to do that!”

More tears fell down Jin’s cheeks. “Please..”

Jiyong nodded silently. “Okay, I promise.” Jiyong bent down and pressed his lips against Jin’s. ‘She’s going to make it.. she will,’ thought Jiyong determinedly.

“Mrs. Ko, it’s time for your surgery.”

Jin nodded and Jiyong followed the nurses and doctors as they wheeled Jin’s cart away. He held on to Jin’s hand. “Mr. Ko, you need to go. No one is allowed into the operating room except doctors and nurses,” said a nurse.

Jiyong ignored her and gripped Jin’s hand. “Jin, I love you. Sarang hae.”

Jin smiled. “I love you too.” Tears glistened in her eyes.

A tear drop ran down Jiyong’s face. “I love you, Jin! I love you!” As she was pushed through the operating room, Jiyong was forced to drop his hand. He fell to the floor on his knees. “Please God,” he whispered. “Help her to make it..”

Silently, Jiyong solemnly placed fresh flowers at the grave. After paying his respects, he stood and left the graveyard.

EPILOGUE…

Jiyong came through the door of his apartment. “Where were you?”

“Oh I was at jang mo neem’s grave. It is choosuk, you know,” answered Jiyong.

Jin ran to him and put her arms around his neck. “Have I ever told you how much I love you?” she asked.

He held her around the waist. “No, how much?”

Jin smiled and kissed him. “That much.”

Jiyong laughed and spun her around. “Where’s Yoonmi?” he asked.

Jin pulled him to Yoonmi’s room. Jiyong gasped with excitement as he saw Yoonmi waddling towards him. “I know, isn’t that great? She took her first steps this afternoon.”

Jiyong scooped Yoonmi up in his arms and kissed her all over her face. Yoonmi giggled happily. Jiyong felt like the happiest man in the world, being with the two most beautiful girls he knew.

“Mrs. Ko! You’re late again!” bellowed Mr. Cho.

Jin grinned. “Sorry, Mr. Cho. Traffic.” She laughed at her own lame excuse.

Mr. Cho rolled his eyes. “Just get to work. Your assignment’s on your desk.”

“Hmmm, Mr. Cho’s in a brutal mood, I see,” commented Sunghoon, reading Jin’s assignment.

Jin snatched the paper away and read it. “Damn it. An editorial and a sports story?”

“Jin!!!” hollered Yuri. She came running to Jin’s desk. “We’re all still meeting for dinner today, right?”

Jin laughed. “Right, Yuri. Don’t get too excited.”

Sunghoon grinned and put his arms around his two friends. He looked to Jin. “So, you’re paying right?” Jin slapped Sunghoon on the arm.

“Hey, I had that first!” Jin hit Sunghoon’s chopstick with her’s and scooped up the piece of galbi.

Sunghoon stuck his tongue out at her. “Pig.”

“You guys fighting again?” Jin and Sunghoon looked behind them to see Jiyong walking towards the table. “Hey, sorry I’m late.” He sat down beside Jin and kissed her cheek.

“Yuck! Get a room!” Sunghoon wrinkled his face with disgust and exchanged glances with Yuri.

“Where’s Yoonmi?” asked Jin.

“She’s with my mom,” answered Jiyong. “So, you guys ate everything already?” He looked at the practically empty grill.

Sunghoon smiled sheepishly. “Don’t worry, there’s more coming,” he reassured.

“There it comes!” Yuri said. She waved the waiter who was carrying the meat over to their table. Everyone licked their chops as the meat sizzled on the grill. “So Jin, how have you been feeling lately?” asked Yuri.

Jin smiled and thought for a moment. She looked in front to see her two best friends and to her left to see her husband. She thought of her precious daughter at home with her loving grandmother. “I feel like…the most happiest woman on earth.”

“Group hug!” called out Sunghoon. He stood up in his seat. Everyone else remained seated. “Oh come on you guys!” Everyone else slowly stood up and they all hugged each other. “Awwww,” said Sunghoon.

“Dork,” remarked everyone in unison. Sunghoon stuck his tongue out at all of them.

Jin laughed. She really did feel like the most happiest woman on earth.

Forever’s First Day by Lia

forevers first day.jpg

  • a JyongWon (Jiyong x Jiwon) short story
  • completed

I know whats best for you son.

Really? If you know, why are you doing this to me. Whats best for me? Tell me! This? Marrying someone I dont even know? Such a good parent you are dad. He stroll down the path of his lovers house at a leisurely pace. Each time he relishes the feel of it. That thing, that longing, the feel of his own smile as he got closer to the house, knowing whenever he opens the door, his lover will be there. Smiling, waiting for him eagerly, trying not to loose his patient.

Hyung Youve come.

He stood there, suddenly feeling numb. The sweetness of his lovers voice conquering his body, giving him the chills. You. Youre just too beautiful for me. Do I worth it? Do I worth the love youre giving me? Maybe I was. But not again. You do know dont you? Youre everything for me. You worth every single liquid I spilled. Tears, blood, everything, Ill do anything for you. If only youll let me.

Hyung, want some?

The hand that suddenly appears before him, grabbing his attention, offering him the strawberries that pile neatly in the bowl. He look up to see the face he love. More beautiful than anything. Nothing can describe his lovers charm for him. Even if you spend the rest of your life searching the right word in the Webster. No, hes just too perfect for words, to fair for the earth, too innocent too be alive. I know what I feel for you. Clearer than the best crystal. You know that love means nothing when you didnt need that person. Needing maybe has a bigger meaning than love. When you love someone, the feeling of needs will grow naturally. That need is what makes love survive. I love you, thats why I wanna live with you, forever together, forever needing each other, forever staring at your delicate smile, your absent-minded eyes, forever knowing youre thinking of me.

You didnt hear a single thing Ive said dont you?

His lovers pouting lips makes him smile. Yes, he didnt heard a single thing his lovers just blab. But he listens to his lovers heart. Something thats more important than any words. Something, the hidden meaning off all his lovers words. It always there. It never leave.

Is it matter?

It brought him life to see his lover smile.

No, hyung. I know youre to lost inside me.

That cute smile. Always pops out everytime youre trying to make me blush, and it always works. I cant stand it anymore. Its no use to show me your happy face, the face I never even once seen sad before. But now, I want you to be sad. To cry for me with me.

Lets die together.

His lovers face seems quite surprise. But there are some hints that telling him, his lover knew, sooner or later, that words will comes out from his mouth. Everything that had happened, and that will happen. Maybe, for them, maybe. Its the best way to be forever.

So?

He look at his lovers eyes. Full of hope, wishing, pleading, and maybe demanding. He waits. If only his lover would nod.

Yes, hyung. Ill die for you. If it makes you happy. If it will chase all your problems away. Tomorrow, will be our forevers first day.

~~~***~~~

He sneak into his fathers library that night. Taking two guns he knew his father always kept inside his drawer. Tomorrow his lover said.

Yes, tomorrow. Is our forevers first day.

He stand in front off his lovers house. This is it. For all his life, for all his sake. Today, they will decide it together. He walk into the warm room. The warmth his lover always gave him. Today

Hyung Youve come.

The same words. Everyday. But its different today. He sense something else in the way his lover said those words. Coz for the first time since theyre together, theres sadness in his lovers voice.

Youre ready?

Im always ready for you always forever until the end of whenever.

He seated his lover onto the couch, giving themselves one last embrace, one last pleasure, before they start their new beginning.

I love you.

He handed one of the guns to his lover. His lover took it and smile fairly to him. So innocent, too innocent for this world. Almost as if the world is not worth to be lived by him. The kissed again, for the last time as they point the gun to each others heart. The heart. A shot in the heart. Shows how much their hearts bleed. How much theyre hurt. It merely took a second. Just a second, and its over as the sound of a gunshot blasting. Covering the dreadful room

~~~***~~~

He close his eyes no its not happening. He opens his eyes, just to see the love of his life. Fall onto him. His head lying lifeless, buried deep in his chest. Just a second, and he finally realize what just happened.

No His voice dampened by his shockness, Why no youre not doing this to me. No

He fell quiet when something drops to the grown, brushing his feet softly, as if telling him to look at it. He look down, still didnt let his lover go. A piece of paper lay peacefully beside his feet. Fell from his lovers lifeless hand. Trembling with fear. With questions, he pick the paper up and open it carefully, afraid of it, as if his life is depend on it. But yet, his life is depend on it

Dear JiYong,

So I guess Im dead right?! Please dont cry, even though I really want to see you cry. Call me mean, but I really want to. So I can hold you deeper into me. But even if you cry now, I cant ever hold you again. Please forgive your cruel hyung for leaving like this.

You know I love you right? I know you do. Thats why I have to go. I cant marry her JiYong. I dont love her. Hell, I dont even know who she is. Everything went wrong for us JiYong. My father found out about us and he wants me to be as far from you as possible. What else he could do but to get me married? Im sorry JiYong. But Im leaving you.

Maybe you feel that Im such a selfish scumbag right?! Maybe youre right. I cant let you die JiYong. Yesterday, when I ask you do die with me, you said yes, that youll die for me if itll get all my troubles away. Its enough for me JiYong. To know that you love me like that. But I cant let you die. I love you too much to let you die. I wanna die, and I realize that I cant drag you with me. My gun is empty, and theres only one bullet in yours. Dont think to kill yourself JiYong. Do you know eventhough you kill yourself we still wont be together. Well go to a different place. We wont meet each other. Coz we died in a different way. I dont want that to happen JiYong. This is the only way for us to be together. Me, beside you always, and you, living your happy life. You said that today will be our forevers first day. And so let it be.

I love you! And thats all that matter now. Live believing in it. Find another one like me. Who can love you entirely, completely, and who wont leave you. Thats when Ill leave you.

But now let this be our forevers first day!

Love forever,

Eun JiWon

Always Number One by: kOnGNaHmOoL

always no 1.JPG

  • a J-Walk short story
  • completed

“Focus, Jaeduk! Focus!”

Jiwon watched Jaeduk aiming the target in the air, throwing punches and then quickly retreating his fists. Rivers of warm sweat trickled down Jaeduk’s face as he continued to move side to side, pretending to dodge the imaginary opponent’s hits.

He was tired and wanted nothing more than to stop, but he trusted Jiwon and went on with his training. No one could be the best without working hard. He let his gloved fists shoot out again and again. They made quiet whizzing noises when they cut through the still silence of the room.

“Okay, Jaeduk. That’s enough.” Jaeduk obviously didn’t hear because he didn’t stop. He gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes.

“Hello? Jaeduk? I said you could stop.”

Jiwon got up in front of him and waved his arms.

“Hello? Jaedu”

Jiwon fell to the floor. Jaeduk suddenly stopped after realizing what he had done.

“Hyung! Oh my God! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to hit you. I didn’t even see you.”

A groan came from the limp body as Jiwon got up rubbing the side of his head.

“It’s okay. After all these years in boxing I should know not to get in front of someone throwing punches. I’m okay.”

Jaeduk’s lip began to quiver. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to”

Tears and sweat dripped off of Jaeduk’s chin.

“It’s okay, Jaeduk. I told you already. I’m fine. Stop crying.”

Jaeduk rubbed his eyes with the back of his boxing gloves.

“You did a lot today. Go home and come in the morning.” Jiwon got up and slowly made his way to the door.

Jaeduk pulled off his gloves with his teeth and laid down on the floor. He sighed. He didn’t realize how sore he was until now.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, hyung,” he called out.

“Yea. Tomorrow.”

Jiwon grabbed his coat and exited the dark room.

Jaeduk tried to keep as still as possible, his chest only rising to breathe.

He ran his fingers through his drenched hair.

“Number one Number one Always be number one” he murmured as he slowly closed his eyes.

*

Suwon looked at the clock for what seemed to be the hundredth time. Where could he be? He promised He paced back and forth until he caught his reflection in the mirror. Suwon ran his fingers down his clothes. He smoothed out the wrinkles in his shirt.

Here he was all prepared for his date. A few strands of hair fell out of his slicked back hair.

Suwon picked at it and tried to comb it back. It refused to stay.

“Humph. Fine, be that way, hair. I look good anyway.”

He smiled at his reflection and tugged a little at the collar of his shirt.

The bird in the clock came out and cooed eleven times.

It was eleven o’clock and his date still wasn’t home. He groaned a little.

“I guess he forgot again.”

With a sigh Suwon began to pull out his tucked in shirt and unbutton it. He sat down on the floor and took off his socks.

“What a waste. I bought all this stuff”

He headed toward the fridge and pulled out the strawberry ice cream. Sitting on the kitchen floor, he dug his spoon into the creamy pinkness.

“It’s not like I was expecting him to remember anyway. I knew he was going to forget again.”

*

The blue light from the television greeted Jaeduk as soon as he stepped into the apartment. Everything else was black except the TV.

“Suwon?”

No answer came. He rubbed his eyes and little and yawned. He shouldn’t have had that drink at the tiny street bar after training. It was bad for him to be drinking.

“Suwon?”

Still no answer came. Jaeduk took off his shoes and headed toward the living room. He saw Suwon asleep on the couch, his shirt unbuttoned and his hair in disarray. Jaeduk couldn’t help smiling at the sight.

“So sweet. He’s all dressed up” Jaeduk’s smile disappeared. “Shit! I forgot again!”

How could he have forgotten again? This was the fifth time. He began shaking Suwon awake.

“Suwon? Suwon, wake up.”

(groan)

“Suwon. Suwon, wake up. Come on.”

A sleepy Suwon yawned and slowly opened his eyes.

“Jaeduk?”

“Yea, it’s me.”

Good. He didn’t seem that mad.

“Jaeduk, is that you?”

“Uh-huh.”

Suwon’s face turned smug.

“I’m not talking to you.” He turned over and faced the other direction.

“Suwon” (whine, whine)

“No! You go sleep in the room by yourself. I’m staying out here,” he said defiantly.

“Wonnah I’m sorry. I didn’t mean”

Suwon got up and faced Jaeduk.

“Wait a minute. What am I talking about? YOU sleep out here. I’m going to bed.”

With that he stormed into the bedroom and slammed the door. Jaeduk stood alone partly in shock and partly in confusion. Suwon had never been so angry before.

A few seconds later a pillow came flying out the door.

“You drool on your pillow and it stinks so it’s going to stay out with you!”

Suwon yelled from behind the door.

Jaeduk didn’t know what to say. Now he was a little irritated.

“I do not drool!” he called back, “Yo’ mamma drools!”

When no reply came, Jaeduk made his way to couch. He sighed. Suwon was really mad this time. He turned off the television and laid alone in the dark.

Alone. If Suwon wasn’t mad Jaeduk would probably have curled up in his arms right now. He stared at the ceiling.

<sniffle>

What was this?

<sniffle, sniffle>

Suwon crying?

Jaeduk heard muffled cries from behind closed door. What had he done? He walked up to the door and knocked. He only heard more crying from behind the door. It was unlocked so he walked in.

“Suwonah?”

<sniffle>

Jaeduk’s eyes still hadn’t adjusted to the dark so he felt his way around the room. He ran into the bed and felt Suwon huddled up on top.

“I didn’t mean to forget today, Suwon. I’m really sorry. I finished training really late, too. Are you really mad?”

<sniffle>

“Suwon?”

<sniffle> “It’s not just that<sniffle>”

“What is it then, Wonnie?”

“It’s”

<sniffle, sniffle>

“What is it? Tell me.”

Jaeduk placed his hand on Suwon’s back gently.

“It’s” Suwon’s sniffles kept interfering.

Jaeduk waited patiently.

“It’s My mommy doesn’t drool!” Suwon blurted, “She doesn’t”

Suwon began wailing. Biting his lips to keep in his laughter, Jaeduk put his arms around his love.

“I know I’m sorry, baby.”

Jaeduk pulled Suwon and himself under the covers of the bed. He wrapped his arms around him, waiting for Suwon’s cries to silence.

“Suwon Tomorrow I won’t forget. We have a date, okay?”

“I don’t really care if you forget or not, Dukie. I understand.”

“Yea, but nothing is more important to me than you.”

“And nothing is more important to me than you, too. Tomorrow morning I’m going to go to my parents and tell them about you.”

Jaeduk was silent for a moment.

“Really?”

“Yea. Kim Jaeduk, you’re my number one.”

Suwon sat up and looked down at Jaeduk. He couldn’t resist him. The double folds in his eyes, the sweet Pusan accent. He was so beautiful. He took off his unbuttoned shirt and unzipped his pants. Getting the idea, Jaeduk peeled off his clothes, too.

“You sure you want to do this again? We did it yesterday, too. And the day before. And the day before that. And that. And that. And that”

Suwon placed his hand over Jaeduk’s mouth and nodded.

“Everyday,” he whispered as he began to run his hands down Jaeduk’s chest.

He nipped at his nipples and licked the skin on Jaeduk’s washboard stomach.

It tasted salty from the unwashed sweat from practice earlier. But this is what Suwon liked. Jaeduk’s bittersweet flavor.

Locking lips, Suwon let his hands roam freely around Jaeduk’s body. Jaeduk’s own hands gripped his butt tightly.

Their bodies had adapted to each other’s shapes, accepting the other one.

When their lips unlocked, Suwon gave Jaeduk’s penis a slight squeeze.

“I love you, Jaeduk.” Suwon always said it and always waited for Jaeduk to say it too before he entered his body.

“I love you, too”

*

Jiwon waited impatiently at the lonely ring in the gym. It was already noon.

Jaeduk always began his training at five. The door flew open.

“Sorry, hyung. I got a little caught up with things last night and”

“Jaeduk, you should stop trying to please Suwon so much during your training,” Jiwon said quietly.

“What?”

Jiwon cleared his voice. “I mean you should stop seeing Suwon altogether when your training as much as you are now.”

Jaeduk’s eyes widened in surprise. And then he looked at Jiwon somewhat offended.

“I can handle it, hyung.”

“Jaeduk”

“You just don’t understand.”

“Jaeduk, if anyone else knows about your relationship, do you know what it could do to your career? Do you have any idea what kind of shit you can get into? That guy you have a match with next week, if he hears you’re going to have to kiss this all good bye. You’ve worked so hard, why are you throwing it away?”

“I love Suwon. You don’t understand anything. None of you, nothing.” Jaeduk threw down his duffel bag.

He began to run out of the room. Jiwon followed and grabbed a hold of his arm.

“Jaeduk, look at me. No, look at me,” his eyes focused in on Jaeduk’s, “I understand completely. It’s you that doesn’t understand. Here, look at this.” Jiwon threw his wallet in Jaeduk’s face. When he opened it, he found a picture of Jiwon hyung a few years earlier. It was a newspaper clipping.

“Isn’t this when you boxed?”

Jiwon nodded.

Jaeduk looked at the next picture.

“Sunghoon?”

He saw the next picture. It showed Sunghoon smiling and Jiwon wearing an apron, kissing Sunghoon on the cheek.

“Hyung, you’re?”

Another picture fell out. It was done much like a family picture. Jiwon, Sunghoon, Ppo Ppo (Sunghoon’s white dog), and a little girl Jaeduk had never seen before.

“Who’s this?”

Jiwon sighed. “Jaeduk, I gave up this boxing for Sunghoon. And that girl.

That’s Sarah. We hired a birthmother and got her through artificial insemination. She’s Sunghoon’s girl. Pretty, huh?”

Jaeduk looked back at him in disbelief.

“I guess all I’m saying is,” Jiwon’s voice became barely a whisper, “Be prepared to give it all up if you have to. If you know you’re not going to be willing to give up everything for Suwon, then end it now.”

“Hyung”

“If you love him”

“Hyung, I love him. I love Jang Suwon.” Jaeduk said with confidence “And I love boxing, too. I’m not going to give up either one”

Jiwon sighed as Jaeduk left the room after telling him he was leaving to see Suwon. “You don’t know, Jaeduk You really don’t”

*

“You fucking queer! I sent you to college and you come back telling me what?

That you’re a queer? That you like guys That you love who? What’s that son of a bitch’s name?”

Mr. Jang sent a fierce blow to Suwon’s head with the back of his hand. Suwon winced in pain.

“There is no way for you to come out of this alive today. You you are a disgrace. You don’t deserve to even live. To breathe.”

Suwon lowered his eyes and stared at the floor.

“Jaeduk,” he thought, “Jaeduk, what am I going to do?”

He lifted his eyes. “If I love him, there’s no need for me to be ashamed.”

“Ahbuji I love him”

“What?”

Mr. Jang lifted his hand and to hit Suwon again. This time Suwon couldn’t hold it in. He fell to the floor.

Across the room he saw his older brother staring at him.

*

“Thank you for coming!”

Jaeduk smiled at the girl and walked out of the store holding pink roses in hand. They were Suwon’s favorite flowers. He paused for a moment to take in their sweet scent.

“Just like my Wonnie.”

He couldn’t wait to see Suwon. He hoped the visit he had with his parents had gone well.

“Hey, Kim Jaeduk.” Suwon’s brother stepped out from an alley.

“Huh? Oh hi.”

This was unexpected. Why would Suwon’s brother want to come see him.

“Hey queer, are you the one that fucked up my brother? Let me ask you, did you two fuck yet?”

Jaeduk slowly began to back away.

“What’s wrong? Aren’t you some big shot boxer? Why don’t you come over here and kick my ass?”

Suwon’s brother pulled out a gun and twirled it around his finger.

“Huh what’s wrong Jaeduk? You don’t really think you can make Suwon like you, do you?”

“Suwon loves me,” Jaeduk stated firmly.

“What? Say anything like that again and I swear I’ll fuckin’ kill you.” Jaeduk stepped closer.

“Suwon loves me.”

“You if you”

“Suwon loves me. I love – .”

It felt like fire burning right through him, turning his flesh and bones to dust.

The pink roses fell to the ground. Jaeduk dropped to his knees and placed his hand on his chest where blood was flowing from. He looked down at himself.

And then he looked up. Suwon’s brother glared back at him with eyes full of hatred.

“Suwon loves me,” Jaeduk whispered, “I love Suwon”

He raised the gun again and aimed for Jaeduk’s forehead. The full moon was shining over the two of them, illuminating the black sky. Slowly he pulled the trigger

“-swallow those tears,
I’ve caused too much pain.
You and I both know,
This world won’t let us live.
You know and I know,
Heaven is where we’ll meet again.”
– j. chun

Pain by: SHforever

pain.jpg

  • a JaeSuJin (Jaeduck x Suwon x Jaejin) short story
  • completed

The death of a loved one that’s the worst kind of pain there is. At least that’s what it felt like when Jaejin told me about Jaeduck. He looked so bad for me, burdened by the fact that he brought me such sad news.

I collapsed into his waiting arms, crying buckets of tears. Why? I asked him, not really expecting an answer.

Why my sweet Duckie? He had so much to live for.

He could only watch me helplessly, unable to share the depth of my sorrow. I think he was surprised at how strongly I reacted. Jaeduck had been his best friend, but he had been my lover, an undeniable part of me. I turned to Jaejin for comfort during the next few months, when I was emotionally unstable and empty inside.

All I allowed myself to feel was an overwhelming sense of grief.

Even worse was the guilt I felt from never saying good-bye. I hadn’t gone to the wake at Jaejin’s insistence, because he had thought it would be too stressful for me. It had seemed a good idea at the time, but it haunted me late at nights, making me jerk awake from nightmares, covered in cold sweat and crying out his name.

There wasn’t even a grave to visit and symbolically say good-bye to. He was cremated, his ashes scattered all across the ocean. Jaejin told me he would have wanted me to go on with my life, and find happiness. Many times, he opened his mouth, wanting to find the magic words that would take away the hurt. But he never could.

I watched dully as he broke down in tears when I remained unresponsive to his pleadings to eat, go out, do something, anything, to get over my loss. He was suffering, too, as my already thin body grew more and more emaciated and I lost the will to live. I felt bad for him, but I couldn’t muster up enough strength to even care.

All I had was my pain.

But eventually, I learned to cope, and deal with my feelings. I gained back some of the weight I had lost and got my life back on track. I moved out of the apartment we had shared and had Jaejin get rid of all but a few of his belongings, which held special memories for me. I no longer burst into tears whenever I saw an old picture of Duckie and me, or when I revisited places we used to frequent. I was surviving. Life was going to go on despite his absence.

Then, over a year later, I saw a ghost from my past.

He didn’t see me he was too engrossed in the figure beside him. The two were laughing, with their arms wrapped around each other. Jaeduck twisted his body and craned his neck to stare up at the other boy, his eyes sparkling with happiness.

That smile used to be for me, my heart didn’t shatter. It was ground up into powdery dust and blown away. The pain I felt now was a hundred times worse than the pain I felt when I had believed him dead. Even though losing him to death was horrible, it was better than losing him to someone else. A hateful expression stole across my face, and I fervently wished that he had died.

I wanted to run up to him and demand to know why he had lied to me all this time. I wanted to ask him how he could be so happy and light-hearted when I had been wallowing in misery without him.

I wanted to kick the other boy, and bash his face in until it was no longer so pretty. I wanted him to feel as bad as I did no, a million times worse than I did. For the first time since his *death*, I felt something other than depression. I felt blinding rage and a thirst for revenge.

I didn’t confront them. Instead, I went home, and marched straight into the bathroom. I removed a razor blade and rolled up the sleeves of my shirt. One clean stroke and the thin skin parted, bright red blood appearing miraculously on my pale wrist. The flow increased steadily, the stinging matching the hurt in my heart. I took the blade in my other hand, wincing at the pain. The silvery metal glinted above my untouched wrist, poised to strike.

My heart was pounding, just like my front door.

Suwon! Open up! I know you’re in there! Jaejin yelled. Jaeduck told me you saw him today!

I closed my eyes, trapping my tears.

Listen, I know it was wrong to lie to you, but Jaeduck didn’t know how to tell you he was in love with someone else. He didn’t want to hurt you but he can’t help how he feels. He only lied to protect you, hoping you’d go on with your life if you knew for certain that the two of you could never be.

Ha that was a laugh. He wanted to spare my feelings by making me think he was dead?

Please, open the door, Jaejin pleaded.

I swallowed hard, feeling bitter. Jaeduck and me, me and Jaeduck that was how it was supposed to me. The only way it could be. Jaeduck had been right if I had known from the beginning that he had left me for another man, I probably would have continued to pine for him and never love again, harboring a desperate hope that he would return to me, someday.

I recalled how happy he looked with the other boy. And I had thought he had been happy with me. Tears burned behind my eyelids. I couldn’t take it anymore. Letting loose a wail, I slashed my other wrist.

Fuck!! It sounded like he was throwing himself at the door now.

I leaned forward and gazed at my reflection, putting my hands on the solid pane to steady myself. Streaks of red splattered and slowly made its way down the glass. My eyes were so sunken in, so dark. I looked as if I were already dead. Truthfully, I had died thirteen months ago, when Jaeduck-and-Suwon had died. Only half of a whole, I wasn’t strong enough to continue living by myself.

Sighing, I smeared my blood across the mirror to cover my face, not wanting to look at myself any longer.

Then, I made my way to the bedroom and took out the framed picture I still kept in the nightstand drawer.

Jaeduck was grinning in that way I used to love, his eyes squinting and his long lashes upturned. I was smiling, too, my eyes crinkled, both of us glowing with life.

I hugged it to my chest as I lay back on my bed. I didn’t want to hate him anymore. I wanted to die as I had lived loving him. I forgive you, Jaeduckkie, my love.

Jaejin rushed in, pulling up short when he saw me bleeding quite profusely and waiting peacefully for the end.

Oh my god, he whispered. Suwon, I’m so sorry. I should have told you the truth.

He came next to me and gathered me into his arms. If I hadn’t been so damn selfish, I wouldn’t have gone along with it I knew it was a stupid idea. His tears rained down on me, mixing with my own.

Jaejin, promise me something, I croaked.

Anything, he sobbed, burying his face in my chest. He seemed oblivious to the slick blood that smudged all over him.

Don’t blame yourself for this. It’s not your fault. Go on with your life, and find someone to love. But don’t place all of yourself into that person, it’s not worth it. My breath was coming in shorter gasps.

It’s good to love, but there is such a thing as loving too much Jaejin looked at me straight in the eye. You can’t die, Suwon you can’t. I need you my lingering strength left me and I closed my eyes once again, waiting for the inevitable. How very ironic, that Jaejin was the one with me at my life’s end, not Jaeduck, the only man I had ever loved. But it had always been like that Jaejin had always been there for me, without my having to ask.

I love you! Don’t leave me! Jaejin cried, shaking my limp body.

My heart stopped beating. Then, all the pain I had felt just went away.

~The End~