171209 The 20th Anniversary Concert Tour in Gwangju
Then vs Now: Ichon-dong Boys
Before Sunghoon moved to Hawaii, he lived in Dongbu Ichon-dong. Jiyong was one of his childhood friends- they went to same elementary and middle school together. When Sunghoon came back to Korea to become a singer, Jiyong asked Sunghoon if he could join.
Here’s my newest version of -Sechs Kies Stories- Volume V: SungHoon’s Story.
I really hope all of you enjoyed my other stories. I think they are pretty silly, but I personally like To You I Love because it’s my favorite song from 6Kies 2nd album (#15). ^_^ This one’s also from the same album, (#18).
Kind of like To You I Love but oh well… ^_^ I hope you like this one as well!
[ BahnPo, Seoul, 1985]
“AHHHHHH!! Get away from me!” exclaimed Sunghoon as he ran as fast as he could. A girl was chasing behind him.
“Give me my shoe back, you dork!”
“No~no~no~!!!” Sunghoon was trying to escape from this monstrous girl but it was no use. She was bigger than him and she had longer legs. She finally grabbed his shirt and knocked him down, trying to snatch her shoe back.
Jiyong sighted this outrageous scene and rushed over.
“PaikDaNa, stop it!! You too, Sunghoon! You guys are acting like idiots!!” yelled Jiyong. He gave an evil look to Dana which made her release Sunghoon.
At this opportunity, Sunghoon slammed Dana’s head w/ her shoe he was holding.
“KangSungHoon!!!” screamed Dana. Sunghoon stuck his tongue out at her and started running away again. When she was about to chase after him, Jiyong quickly seized her and grabbed her wrist.
“No!” said Jiyong firmly. Dana stared at the ground. Tears started forming in her eyes. She spoke, “How come you always take his side?? I thought you were my best friend…”
“I am your best friend,” said Jiyong. “But so’s Sunghoon. I can’t always let you hit him like you always do.”
“But he’s the one who started it!” protested Dana. “He always makes fun of me cuz I don’t live in a two-story house like he does. He always brags about his toys and how I dress like a bum. He’s a stupid moron and I hate him, I hate him, I hate him!!”
She pushed Jiyong out of her way and walked away. Jiyong looked at her and sighed. He then saw from other direction his noona, Yoori. She was a 7 year-old girl, 1 year older than him and she babysat for Sunghoon, Dana, and Suwon.
“Did Sunghoon and Dana fight again?” asked Yoori to Jiyong kindly.
“Yeah~ I dunno what to do anymore. I just wanna be friends with both,” replied Jiyong with whiny voice.
“You can’t help it, they’ve been fighting ever since they knew each other.
It’s okay, Jiyong,” comforted Yoori as she patted his head.
“Dana’s pretty~” said Jiyong shyly. Yoori smiled.
“Oh, you like her?”
“No, no!” objected Jiyong. “I just don’t know why Sunghoon keeps on hating her. I can never hit a pretty girl like Dana….”
[12 years later]
“STOP FIGHTING, pleeeeeeeease!!!!!” Suwon literally had to split his two friends apart in order to stop the quarrel.
Dana and Sunghoon stood still, glaring at each other fiercely. Suwon sighed hard.
“It was his fault, KangSungHoon you spoiled brat!” yelled Dana. Sunghoon
stuck his tongue out and replied, “Shut up, you uncute tomboy!”
“Both of you, SHUT UP!” screamed Suwon. Dana and Sunghoon froze when they heard him scream.
“It’s nobody’s fault. I must use the line from ‘Armageddon,’ by Liv Tyler.
”I know and understand that you two are naturally handicapped by your immaturity~, but it’s about time to be a little more nice to each other, okay?”
“NO!” yelled both Dana and Sunghoon. “JangSuWon, you’re never on my side!” said both of them simultaneously. Then Dana walked away.
Sunghoon stared at Suwon for 2 seconds. Suwon started becoming really nervous.
‘Why is he looking at me like that?’ he thought to himself. Then Sunghoon walked past him, as he whispered in Suwon’s ear,
“You keep away from her, JangSuWon.”
[Hallway conversations among girls]
“KangSungHoon aka Mickey (or Rickey, whatevs): Cute, popular, handsome, sweet, kind, etc…. I soooooo wanna go out with him!”
“NO Way! He has like 10 million girls waiting in line for him. Did you see his new girlfriend? She’s alright.”
“What?! He has a new girlfriend? Already?”
“Haven’t you heard? He switches like every week!”
The girls hushed when they saw Jiyong and Sunghoon walking by. Jiyong chuckled and hit Sunghoon with his elbow.
“They are talking about you again, Sunghoon.”
“Of course! I’m only the most popular guy at this school, ye know,” replied Sunghoon sarcastically, “don’t they have better things to do?”
“Well, it’s true though… you do go out with 10 million different girls each week just to make what’s-her-name jealous…” said Jiyong as he smiled.
“Be quiet! You’re not supposed to say that!” responded Sunghoon furiously, “the whole school’s gonna make fun of me when they find out….”
“Well, you are the one who threatens Dana all the time that you’d reveal that you guys are married!” replied Jiyong as he kept on smiling.
Sunghoon stuttered as he tried to find something to say.
‘”Bu..but I do that so I can stop her from dating other guys!”
“Oh, so it’s okay for you to go out with 10 thousand girls and she can’t date other guys? Your maturity level is at a 0, you know… uhhhh!” screamed Jiyong as Sunghoon punched him in the stomach jokingly, but hard.
“Just be quiet, GoJiYong.”
[Wedding March]: ~Dum dum duh dum~ Dum dum duh dum~
‘I now pronounce KangSungHoon and Paik DaNa as husband and wife…’
“AHHHHHHHH!!!’ screamed Dana on top of her lungs as she woke up. “NOOOOOO!!!”
Relieved to realize that it was only a dream, Dana let out a sigh.
“Why am I having this recurring nightmare??? I am NOT married to that despicable, inconsiderate, conceited jerk!!”
But no matter how much Dana tried to deny it everyday, she was a lawfully wedded wife of Sunghoon, living in his house. How it all happened still angered her greatly. At the same time, it saddened her as well.
“Come in~” said Dana restlessly.
The door opened and Sunghoon popped in; he was still in his pajamas.
“I thought I heard you screaming,” said Sunghoon, somewhat concerned.
“You heard right. I had a nightmare…. about YOU!!!” replied Dana with spite in her voice.
“Gee, nice way of saying good morning, Dana. Your tongue is a malicious thing,” commented Sunghoon.
“So~ how many dates do you have today, Mr. Playboy?” asked Dana sarcastically.
“Only 2. What are you doing today? You don’t have to study so much now that our college entrance exams are over. You can probably get into Korea University with no doubt,” said Sunghoon.
“Just because we are seniors doesn’t mean we can’t slack off though. Well, as an answer to your question, I’m hanging out with Suwon today,” answered Dana.
Sunghoon, at that moment, seemed quite shocked.
“With… Suwon…. alone???”
Dana rolled her eyes at him.
“Yeah, just me and Suwon. Got a problem with that?”
“Of course I have a problem with that! You can’t hang out with Suwon alone! Bring some of your girl friends along or something, but not just you and Suwon,” ordered Sunghoon.
“No! We are supposed to go see the movie ‘Promise’ today. You know how long I waited for that?!” Dana refused to listen to Sunghoon.
“Then go see it with someone else, but not Suwon alone,” said Sunghoon firmly.
“Hey, it’s not fair. I let you stop me so far, but today I’m going out with whoever I want. Besides, Suwon’s your closest friend and you know him as well as you know Jiyong! So why are you stopping me?”
“I don’t care. Take Jiyong then.”
“He doesn’t like romantic movies!”
“And I suppose Suwon does?” said Sunghoon sarcastically.
“I don’t know, but at least he wants to go see it with me! Don’t do this to me, Sunghoon. You are going out with 2 different girls today, ones I probably don’t even know, but why aren’t you letting me go out with Suwon?”
“For reasons I don’t wanna tell you…. anyway, I’m giving you 3 options. One, you’re taking your girl friends along, two, you go with Jiyong, or three, you just stay home.”
“SHUT UP!!” yelled Dana furiously as she threw her pillow at him, “YOU STUPID MORON!! You think you can control my life just because….”
Dana was interrupted when Sunghoon started yelling out for his parents.
“MOM! DAD!! Look what Dana’s gonna do today…”
“OKAY OKAY!!” shouted Dana as she stopped him, “I…. I’ll just stay home and be a couch potato. Happy now?!”
“Finally! Why didn’t you say so in first place?” said Sunghoon as he grinned.
“Just don’t tell your mom and dad. Please,” begged Dana.
“Don’t worry, I won’t,” promised Sunghoon.
[Jiyong’s house, couple hours later]
Jiyong went to pick up the phone. It was Dana.
“Hey, Dana! I thought you were out with Suwon today!” said Jiyong, surprised.
“No! Sunghoon didn’t let me go! Jiyong~ I’m so bored! You wanna come over?” whined Dana.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Did he threaten you that he’d tell his parents if you were out with Suwon?”
“YES!! My social life is dead because of him! I wanted to go see ‘Promise’ for months now! You don’t wanna go see it with me, do you?” said Dana.
“Sorry, buddy. I’m hanging out with Jaejin and Jaeduc today,” replied Jiyong apologetically.
“Can you take me along then?” asked Dana in a sweet voice. Jiyong could never resist that voice. But not this time, he thought.
“I’m reeeaaaallly sorry. As much as I’d like to, Sunghoon would murder me if I did. Oh, they’re here now! Gotta go, talk to you later!” said Jiyong as he hung up the phone.
Dana stared at the receiver, and hung it up. Tears started to come out of her eyes. She wanted to break out completely but she was stopped by the sound of doorbell.
She wiped her tears and went to open the door. Surprisingly, there stood Suwon, with a beautiful bouquet of yellow roses.
“Suwon! What are you doing here?”
“To convince you if you still wanted to go see the movie. I’m guessing no one’s home except you, right? Here, this is for you,” replied Suwon, smiling.
Dana loved the way he smiled. Even though the smiling feature was Sunghoon’s trademark, Dana personally thought Sunghoon’s smile was disgusting.
Instead, she found warmth and kindness in Suwon’s sweet smile. She took the bouquet and smelled it.
“I’d love to, but like I told you earlier, I probably shouldn’t. I don’t want Sunghoon’s parents to find out… I’m really sorry, Suwon,” apologized Dana. But she desperately wanted to go out with Suwon.
“It’s all right,” said Suwon, dissappointed, “it’s not the first time this happened anyway. I miss the old days. We could do anything together ever since we were little, until you were sold into this ridiculous marriage to Sunghoon last year….”
“Please, don’t remind me of that. Everyday is a like a hell for me. Do you wanna come in?” offered Dana.
“No, I probably shouldn’t. Sunghoon probably would choke me to death if I ever went near you. Hope you like the roses,” said Suwon.
“Thanks, I love it. I’m very sorry… I just don’t know what to do…” said Dana as she started crying, “I was looking forward to today all week long, to spend the day with you and go see the movie… but I can’t now… and I’m so disappointed…. I’m sorry, Suwon.”
Suwon did not know what to say or do to comfort her. He hated to see her sad, but he knew that it wasn’t his place to make her feel better.
“Wait for few minutes, okay? I’m gonna go get ready,” said Dana as she stopped crying.
“What for?” asked Suwon. He was surprised.
“For the movie, of course,” replied Dana as she went in.
Leaving Suwon shocked in front of the house, Dana went inside, went upstairs and put the bouquet on her bed and got dressed nicely. She was thinking to herself,
‘No way I’m gonna listen to you today, KangSungHoon! I can do whatever I want…’
She then went back out and started dragging Suwon’s arm.
“Come on, we are gonna miss the beginning!” said Dana cheerfully.
Jiyong was acquainted with Jaejin and Jaeduc about a year ago, through his sister Yoori. Jaejin, Jaeduc and Yoori all were freshmen at the same college.
Yoori and Jaejin were both art majors and Jaeduc was in acting.
Soon Jaejin and Jaeduc met Sunghoon, Suwon, and Dana as well. Jaeduc, at first, was particularly interested in Dana but after he found out about Sunghoon and Dana, his interest ceased to live. Jaejin and Jaeduc also met Sunghoon’s cousin, EunJiWon, who was a year older than them. JiWon was like their mentor, sort of, because he liked dancing as much as they did.
[At the cafe]
“Hey, Jiyong, so how’s Dana doing?” asked Jaeduc in his heavy Pusan sa-too-ri. He tried so hard but it never went away, so he just decided to keep it.
“Why, do you still have a crush on her?” grinned Jaejin as he poked Jaeduc.
Jaeduc frowned. “No~ just asking! I wouldn’t have an affair with a married woman, you know…” replied Jaeduc.
“Poor Dana~ she was supposed to hang out with Suwon today but Sunghoon didn’t let her,” answered Jiyong.
“If I were her, I’d just run away and never come back!” said Jaejin.
“But you know it’s not so easy for her to do that. Especially considering what Sunghoon’s parents did for her mom….” Jiyong trailed off at the end of his sentence.
“It’s sad. Everytime I hear how Dana got married, it makes me feel as if I’m watching a melodrama or something. So tell me again, Jiyong,” requested Jaeduc.
“Gosh, it seems like you’re enjoying the story more than you should be, hyung! I miss the old days where I just stopped Sunghoon and Dana from beating the crap out of each other. But now I can’t do that because Sunghoon’s her ‘husband’ and I have no right to stop him,” sighed Jiyong as he spoke, “and I can’t do anything to make her happy even though I’m her best friend…”
“Why is Sunghoon so touchy about Suwon?” asked Jaejin, “I thought they were pretty close.”
“That was before. Suwon used to tell Sunghoon about how he liked Dana since childhood, but it turned out that Sunghoon was engaged to Dana before they were born. I didn’t even know that until Dana’s mom passed away last year.
So now Sunghoon wants to keep her away from Suwon. I guess they are rivals,” said Jiyong.
“How about YOU,” said Jaeduc as he tapped Jiyong’s shoulder, “didn’t YOU used to like her too?”
Jiyong’s face turned red instantly.
“She was my first crush, that’s all!” Jiyong defended himself.
“And now she’s just a really good friend,” continued Jiyong. Jaejin and Jaeduc looked at each other and grinned.
“No really…. I dunno about Suwon, but I sure don’t like her as a girl anymore,” said Jiyong. And he was telling the truth.
“Okay, we believe you. I still don’t understand Sunghoon. Does he like her, or does he not like her? And if he does, why is he screwing around with other girls?” commented Jaejin.
“He likes her,” replied Jiyong, “just doesn’t show it, that’s all.”
[On the street]
“Hohoho! Mickey, you’re so cute! Where’d you get your hair done?? I think it looks really adorable!”
A girl was flirting with Sunghoon out on the street. They were on their way to see the movie, ‘Promise,’ upon the girl’s request.
“Thanks for liking my hair,” said Sunghoon as he smiled. Indeed, his hair was his pride.
“Oh my god! You are soooo cute when you smile!” she squealed, “why don’t you consider going steady with me, Mickey?”
“Uhh…. no thanks. You know I’m not allowed to, right?” said Sunghoon.
“Why not?! The *rule* doesn’t say you can’t! By the way, where did you get your name from?” the girl asked.
“Oh, it’s a nickname my wife… I mean, a friend gave me. She says I look like a Mickey mouse when I smile,” replied Sunghoon.
‘In reality, she hates Mickey mouse and she said I should be called a Mickey Rat instead…. but I probably don’t have to tell you that,’ thought Sunghoon to himself.
“I’ve been waiting for months to see this movie,” said the girl.
‘So did Dana,’ thought Sunghoon again. Then he looked around as the girl linked her arm to his. His eyes grew huge when he saw the person who wasn’t supposed to be there in front of the theater.
‘Suwon! What is he doing here with her?’
Sunghoon wanted to rush over to them and punch Suwon but unfortunately, he couldn’t. Soon his eyes met with Dana’s.
“Uh-oh….” said Dana as she stared at Sunghoon.
“What’s wrong?” asked Suwon as Dana grabbed his arm, motioning him to turn around and face where she’s looking at.
Suwon turned around and gasped.
“Oh shit! What’s he doing here? He’s looking right at us!” whispered Suwon.
“Relax, I’ll take care of it when I get home. Or do you not wanna see the movie and just leave?” Dana whispered back.
“I think we better get outta here,” replied Suwon slowly, “ready?”
Sunghoon was giving her an evil look, so fierce and scary that it was enough to frighten both Suwon and Dana. The girl next to him still had her arm linked to Sunghoon’s, but was looking somewhere else.
“Okay, I’m ready,” replied Dana, “1,2,3!!! Run!!!!!!”
Dana dragged Suwon’s arm and started running as fast as she could.
Sunghoon started yelling at them.
“Where the hell are you guys going??”
He then tried to run after them but by then, the girl next to him was looking at him strangely, and so did the other people on the street.
“Fuck!” mouthed Sunghoon as he continued to stare at the direction they went.
Suwon and Dana ran and ran hand in hand until they reached the Starbucks Cafe.
They went in, and were relieved to find Jiyong and others there. Jiyong stood up as soon as he saw them.
“What… what are you guys doing here??!!” querried Jiyong.
“No, the question should be, what are you guys doing here TOGETHER??” joked Jaeduc.
“Shut up, Jaeduggie hyung!” said Suwon as he panted. He was running out of breath.
“No mood for a joke,” continued Suwon, “I was out with her and we met Sunghoon and his date…. he looked at us as if he was gonna kill us or something.”
“So you guys just ditched and came here?!” shocked, Jaejin joined. Jaeduc giggled as he pointed at Dana and Suwon,
“Hey, hey, you guys are holding hands.”
The two immediately blushed and detached their hands from each other.
“What am I gonna do, Jiyong?” asked Dana in a worrying voice. Jiyong shrugged.
“Well, just cross your fingers and hope that Sunghoon won’t tell his parents, that’s all I can say. Sorry, Dana,” replied Jiyong.
“Hi, Jaeduc oppa, Jaejin oppa, haven’t seen you guys in a while,” said Dana.
“Not so good with your husband??” joked Jaeduc as he laughed. But he stopped when he saw Dana frowning.
“Sorry. Just trying to cheer you up, that’s all,” said Jaeduc. Jaejin smacked him on his head and said, “Watch what you say, dork! So what are you gonna do when you get home? Have a giant fight with Sunghoon? Do you guys still fist fight?”
“No, we stopped that like 5 or 6 years ago. But words do more damage, I think,” replied Dana.
“I’ll walk you home, Dana,” offered Jiyong as he put his coat on, “I’ll see what I can do to help you.”
[Around 7o’ clock]
Jiyong and Dana walked slowly as they closely approached Sunghoon’s house.
Dana shuddered in cold. Jiyong patted her back and comforted her.
“Don’t worry. Everything will be alright.”
“I hope so. What if Mother and Father get mad at me?” said Dana.
“They wouldn’t, since they adore you so much, even more than they like their own son,” replied Jiyong.
“That’s what makes it even more difficult for me. I don’t wanna disappoint them, but I just can’t get along with Sunghoon very well.”
“It’ll be fine,” said Jiyong as he opened the house door. Everything was completely dark.
“No one’s home? Sunghoon’s not back yet,” said Dana as she turned on the light and headed upstairs.
When she opened her room door, she found complete darkness in there as well.
She turned on the light.
“AHHHHH!!” screamed Dana. Jiyong rushed over to her.
“What are you doing in my room? You scared me, Sunghoon!” yelled Dana.
Jiyong sighed of relief.
“I want you to go home, Jiyong. I’ll see you tomorrow at school,” said Sunghoon.
Jiyong looked unsure as to whether he should leave them alone or not.
Sunghoon reassured him. ”Don’t worry, I’m not gonna do anything to her. You trust me, right?”
Jiyong looked at Dana this time. Dana seemed somewhat worried, but she smiled and motioned him to leave.
“That girl I saw you with… she seemed pretty alright,” said Dana carefully.
Sunghoon kept silence, and finally began speaking. “How dare you,” he said in a low voice, “hang out with Suwon when I told you not to?!”
“Don’t even go there, Mr.,” refuted Dana, “you can’t control my life just because we are ‘legally’ married. I’m not even dating Suwon! Why is it okay for you to go out with whole bunch of other girls when I can’t even go to the movies with a friend?!”
“Because Suwon’s not just a ‘friend’!!” yelled Sunghoon furiously. “He likes you!! Didn’t you notice?? He wants to be your boyfriend!”
“Nonsense,” said Dana as she stared at him, “I know him better and he does not like me in such a way. And so what if he did? What about all the other girls chasing after you? You can’t refuse them so you go off dating them every single day, but why can’t I have fun with a friend I’ve known for 18 years? You’re not making any sense, Sunghoon.”
” A guy doesn’t just give you a bouquet of roses because he likes you as a friend!” said Sunghoon as he sighed.
When Sunghoon mentioned roses, Dana realized that they were gone.
“What did you do with my flowers??” questioned Dana.
“I threw them away. I don’t want Suwon to ever come near you,” responded Sunghoon coldly.
“IDIOT!” shouted Dana as she grabbed a pillow and threw it at him. “Who told you to do that??!!”
“I can do whatever I want in this house,” said Sunghoon.
“I HATE YOU!! I DESPISE YOU!! I can’t stand a minute of you, KangSungHoon! I wish you’d go to hell!”
Dana was on a verge of crying, going hysterical with her anger. She decided to let it all out tonight, by yelling furiously at Sunghoon and throwing pillows at him.
“Stop,” reacted Sunghoon very quietly to her yelling.
“You moron!! You insensitive, inconsiderate, despicable jerk!”
“Stop it,” said Sunghoon once again very quietly.
“Go to hell, you fuckin’ playboy…. ”
Dana was made shut when he slapped her across the face.
“I TOLD YOU TO STOP IT!!” shouted Sunghoon on top of his lungs.
Her face was down. Tears started rolling on her cheek, and onto the floor.
Realizing what he had done, Sunghoon stared at the hand he slapped her with. He then looked at her. Her long hair was covering her face, but he could see that she was crying.
“Hey, I’m… I’m sorry…. I didn’t mean to…. are you okay?? I just…” Sunghoon stepped up to her as he tried to apologize, but she turned around and stormed out of the room, and out of the house.
“Damn!!” said Sunghoon as he collapsed onto Dana’s bed.
Suwon went to open the door. To his surprise, there stood Dana, sobbing like a deer that was about to be run over.
“Suwon…. you live too far. Took me 2 hours to walk here.”
“Dana?? What’s the matter?? Come in!”
Dana went into the house. Suwon didn’t know what to do or say. He only knew that she had a fight with Sunghoon, this time, a big one. He realized that she probably wasn’t supposed to be with Suwon, but he led her into his room anyhow.
The two sat on a sofa, keeping quiet for a long time. Suwon finally broke the silence.
“Do you want some coffee or something? Here, I’ll go get some,” Suwon stood up but was pulled back down when Dana grabbed his shirt.
“Don’t leave me alone…. please….” whispered Dana, still crying silently.
“What happened??” asked Suwon carefully. But he expected no answer from her.
Indeed, she didn’t reply.
“… You don’t havta tell me if you don’t want…” said Suwon quietly, “but just don’t cry. I can’t stand it when you cry. It pains me too much.”
Dana wiped her tears away with her sleeve.
“I wish I weren’t born at all,” began Dana, “cuz if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have to go through this hell.”
“Don’t say that,” objected Suwon, “what would Jiyong and I do without you?”
“I hate my mom. Why did she have to do that? Wasn’t it enough that she left me and died, making me an orphan, but she had to bind me to this engagement thingy I’ve never even heard of until she died….. to a person I hated the most as I grew up. Suwon, I can’t stand him. Sunghoon…. he hates me. He thinks of destroying my life and how he can chain me in his house so he can see me suffer…. he’s a sadomasochist!”
“He’s not. He doesn’t hate you either. I know why he wants me to stay away from you. I totally understand him.”
Dana stared at Suwon puzzlingly.
“Why…??” she asked.
“Because I like you…..”
Dana’s shock when she heard that was overcome when she felt the soft lips against hers. She was drawn deeply into the kiss. Even though her conscience told her that she shouldn’t be doing this, her feelings acted past that. It was a sweet, yet very atrocious kiss Suwon was giving her… he was supposed to be only a friend. If she admitted that he liked her, she would be agreeing to Sunghoon’s statement….
“Sorry… didn’t mean to do that, but it seemed appropriate,” said Suwon shyly. “Feel any better??”
“No,” replied Dana bitter-sweetly, “made me feel worse. You shouldn’t feel that way about me. It only makes it harder for me.”
“I always dreamed of being the first one to kiss you,” continued Suwon, “but I couldn’t be the one. I almost died at your wedding last year when the minister said ‘you may kiss the bride now’ and Sunghoon did….. my heart was broken over two things…. one for losing you and the other for losing him as a friend… cuz I knew that I couldn’t stay friends with him anymore the day he got married to you.”
“……….” Dana remained silent. Suwon continued.
“So I was really happy when I moved here last year. I couldn’t bear to live next to Sunghoon, where I could see you through the window every morning when I woke up, trying to reach out for someone I couldn’t have. I tried transferring to another school as well but it didn’t work out. So I’m still stuck with you and Sunghoon.”
“I wanna divorce him,” said Dana. Suwon started laughing. Dana glared at him weirdly.
“I’m not joking, I’m serious Suwon!”
“I know, I know,” replied Suwon, ” but I didn’t expect to hear such thing from an 18 year old. Usually people in the mid-thirties say that, you know…”
“I wish I could get away… if it weren’t for his parents….”
“You shouldn’t be here, Dana. You should go back. You’ll grow attached to Sunghoon. It sounds impossible, but he likes you and you like him too, even though you may not realize it.”
“No way in the hell am I gonna like him. I curse him everyday!”
“You don’t admit it but you like him more than you like me. It just adds more pain to me, I guess. But it’s true.”
“So how’s Jaejin doing?” asked Yoori as she came and massaged her little brother’s shoulders.
“Ah~ that feels good. You’re the best, noona! Why, you like Jaejin hyung? I think you guys make a good couple,” teased Jiyong.
“Don’t kid like that. I’m more interested in Sunghoon’s cousin,” said Yoori jokingly.
“Hey, Jiwonee hyung’s da bomb! He’s so awesome, did you ever get to see him dance??”
“Yeah, yeah. By the way, Jaeduc called me couple minutes ago and told me something about the chaos between Sunghoon and Dana… is everything alright?”
“Umm… I guess. Sunghoon’s a weirdo. He goes out with all those girls to make Dana jealous, but he doesn’t let her go anywhere.”
“I know, I never understood that either. Maybe there’s a reason behind it…”
~Ding dong Ding dong~
“Jiyong, could you get the door please??”
Jiyong went to get the door and was surprised to find Sunghoon, breathing heavily.
“Wh… what’s going on?? Why are you here so late??” asked Jiyong in suspicion.
“Is… is Dana here??” Sunghoon asked in panick.
“Dana?? Why would she be here?? Did something happen between you two? I thought you said…”
“She’s been gone for 4 hours… I called all her friends and asked them but they said she wasn’t there…. I called to see if she was here but someone was on the phone.”
“My noona was talking to Jaeduc….”
Yoori offered Sunghoon to come in. She looked concerned.
“No, Sunghoon, Dana didn’t come at all,” mentioned Yoori.
“What did you do to her? Is she all right?” querried Jiyong in a desperate manner.
Sunghoon hesitated to speak for a moment, but he did nevertheless.
“I… I lost my temper and accidently hit her….”
“You WHAT???!!!!” exclaimed Yoori and Jiyong simultaneously.
“And she ran out of the house… like many hours ago… and I got really worried and I started looking for her but…” Sunghoon trailed off at the end as he sighed and dug his head in his hands.
“I KNEW I shouldn’t have left when you kicked me out of your house earlier!! How dare you hit her!! KangSungHoon you….” Jiyong stood up and tried to grab Sunghoon by his collar but Yoori stopped him.
“Shush, Jiyong. Sunghoon, you shouldn’t have done that. Sure, you could beat her up when you guys were little, but ….”
“I know, Yoori noona… I realize that. I don’t know why I did that. I got so jealous when I saw Suwon at the theater with her…. and I got angry that she didn’t stay home when I told her to… but I don’t know why I hit her. I really didn’t mean to. God…. what if something happened to her?? I’m gonna kill myself if she’s hurt…”
“It’s really late and dark out there, so we should probably go look for her,” suggested Jiyong, calming down a little, “have you tried Suwon’s??”
“You think she’s there??!!” said Sunghoon as he stood up, “what is she thinking, trying to spend the night at his house or something??”
“Hey now. Don’t get all angry and imaginative,” said Jiyong, “it’s only a possibility. Suwon lives at least an hour away from here so we don’t know if she went there or not.”
“I’ll go call him right now,” Yoori went to go get the phone and started dialing.
Yoori shook her head as she hung up the phone.
“No one’s answering. Look, I think you should go home and wait for her. I’ll call you if I hear anything from her, how’s that??”
“Yeah, I think you should do that, Sunghoon,” agreed Jiyong.
“It’s past midnight, Dana. You should go home,” said Suwon as he unwrapped his arm from her shoulder.
“Can I spend the night here?? I’m too tired to walk home,” requested Dana in her sweet voice as she looked at Suwon.
“Then you should probably call Sunghoon and tell him that you’re all right at least….”
“I don’t need to do that. He’s not gonna worry about me,” answered Dana carelessly. Suwon shook his head in a disagreement.
“By now he’s probably worried to death about you. What about his parents then??”
“They’re out of town tonite, they won’t be back until I get home from school tomorrow.”
“Dana,” began Suwon in a serious demeanor. He looked deeply into her eyes, as if he had a really important message to convey through her.
“Listen. If you stay here, I’m afraid that I won’t be able to… umm…. stay away from you. Do you see what I’m saying??”
“No,” replied Dana naively. “What are you saying??”
Suwon sighed. “Never mind. I’ll drive you home now. Come on.”
When Dana finally got home, it was around 3 o’ clock in the morning.
‘Shoot, I only have 3 hours until I have to get up for school,’ she thought to herself as she went upstairs to her room. Without turning on the light, she fell onto her bed.
“Ahhh~” she sighed as she tried to fall asleep. Suddenly, she felt an arm above her stomach. She rustled and was about to scream… but she heard an whisper in her ear.
‘Mickey Rat??’ Dana whispered back. He was laying on his stomach right next to her.
‘Where were you?’
‘First I think you should let go of me and go back to your room.’
Sunghoon continued to whisper. He sounded exhausted. It almost seemed as if he was talking in his sleep.
‘I’m really tired and I don’t wanna go downstairs.’
‘Fine then. I’ll sleep in your room,’ whispered Dana coldly. But she couldn’t move. Sunghoon was holding onto her too strongly.
‘Remember what you did to me earlier. Now let me go.’
‘I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that. We’ll talk about it more later. Right now just let me rest like this. I’ve been waiting for you all night outside and I couldn’t sleep until now’
‘He waited for me?’ thought Dana to herself. ‘What for, I wonder. I guess Suwonee’s right. Wait… no way…. why would this jerk wait for me? He hates me… or does he not? I’m confused. Should I ask?? God, I’m so sleepy!’
A midst of that thought, she was slowly beginning to doze off as well. Even though it felt weird, she felt comfortable as well. Her voice began to grow weak.
‘You are on the same bed with me. It feels gross.’
‘So what? We slept on the same bed ever since we were born, remember?’
‘That was then. It’s different now.’
‘Oh, and don’t call me a Mickey Rat. You know I hate that name.’
‘ Mickey Rat, rat, rat….. ‘
‘Can I sing you a lullaby?’
‘~ I will be your dream I will be your wish I will be your fantasy; I will be your hope I will be your love be everything that you need; I will love you more with every breath Truly Madly Deeply do~’
‘You have a nice singing voice Sunghoon……..’
‘When did you notice that….??’
‘I sing for you, Dana…….cuz I like you……….’
“Hmm….. answer the phone, Dana…..” mumbled Sunghoon who was sleeping next to her.
Dana reached out for the phone in her sleep and picked it up.
“DANA!!!!!!! YOU’RE HOME!!!”
“Oh….. is it you, Jiyong?????” Dana continued to mumble, still not awake.
“What’re you still doing home?? You sick or something???”
“What time is it……..???????”
“It’s past 3rd period, dork!”
“Oh, then it’s only 10….. 10 o’clock!!!! WE ARE LATE!!!!” exclaimed Dana as she slammed the phone down and popped up.
“WHAT!!!” exclaimed Sunghoon as he fully woke up. “Oh my god oh my god oh my god!! My parents would kill me if they find out that I ditched school today!”
“Hurry up and get outta bed then!” rushed Dana as she gathered things into her backpack.
Sunghoon stood on his two feet but suddenly felt really dizzy. His face was really pale and he felt as if the whole world in front of him was spinning.
The next thing he remembered was fainting on the floor, getting unconscious.
[couple hours later]
‘Uhhhhhhhhhh……… I didn’t even drink last night. Why am I having a feel of hangover??’ thought Sunghoon to himself as he opened his eyes. The ceiling seemed to be spinning around, but he recovered in seconds. He realized that he was still in Dana’s bed. He also noticed that there was a wet towel on his forehead.
‘What is this thing?’ thought Sunghoon as he grabbed the towel and sat up.
His head was hurting too much. Out of nowhere he heard a familiar voice.
“Wake up time, Mr.”
“Ick!” gasped Sunghoon as he turned to his right. There he saw Dana, sitting on her rocking chair, holding a book as if she had just been reading.
She was looking right at him as if he was a pathetic dog or something.
“Wh… what in the world am I doing in here?” querried Sunghoon as he blinked his big eyes.
“You slept here last night,” replied Dana apathetically.
“Oh…. that’s right. I remember now….” said Sunghoon restlessly.
Dana continued really fast.
“And we both slept in this morning so we missed the first 3 periods and Jiyong called and he woke me up and said that we were late so we got up and I was putting my stuff in the backpack and you were getting outta bed and you fainted and I couldn’t carry you back in to your room because you were too heavy so I just tucked you in my bed and it looked like you had a cold so I went to the drugstore and got some medicine and I also put that towel on your forehead so the fever would go away.”
“That was a long sentence without a single comma,” joked Sunghoon.
“I missed school because of you. Thanks a lot,” said Dana sarcastically.
“Well, you have to stay home and take care of me when I’m sick, that’s what a wife has to do,” replied Sunghoon weakly. He was feeling really ill. “Besides, I got sick because of you.”
“Who told you to wait for me outside the house in the middle of chilly night in December??” said Dana spitefully.
“Cuz I got worried. I couldn’t sleep until you came back. Listen, I’m sorry that I hit you. I didn’t mean to do that,” apologized Sunghoon in his humblest manner.
“Apology not accepted. We’ll talk about it more when I get home from school,” said Dana as she got up, “and please go back to your room whenever you feel better. It makes me sick to see you in my bed.”
“…Wait.. you’re leaving me alone in the house??? But I’m a patient!!” whined Sunghoon.
“I see that you’re whining, so that must mean that you’re not very ill,” responded Dana coldly. Sunghoon quickly pulled her by the sleeve.
“What are you doing?? I have to go to school!” protested Dana.
“Please don’t leave me alone…. stay with me…” said Sunghoon, his voice getting softer and softer.
“Sunghoon…??” Dana was held back by his strange behavior.
“Don’t go away…. what can I do to make you stay with me?? Is school more important than me??”
She felt like answering ‘yeah’ but she refrained. Instead, she sat on the edge of her bed, facing Sunghoon. He looked so innocent with his big eyes blinking.
“Don’t ever scare me like that again, Dana. I thought something happened to you last night. Do you know how worried I was??”
‘You’re the one who started it,’ thought Dana to herself but she didn’t say anything. She kept on listening.
Sunghoon held her hand in his. His hand was warm with fever. He continued to speak in a weak voice.
“I am jealous of Suwon because you like him. That’s why I got so upset when you defended him last night. He’s been liking you ever since we were little and I was afraid that he’ll take you away from me…. even though you belong to me…. no one can have you except me. Not even Suwon and Jiyong, no matter how close they are to me….. cuz you are mine…”
Dana was surprised to hear Sunghoon’s confession, rather abrupt and confusing.
“Look, Sunghoon, I don’t belong to anyone. If my mom didn’t say that she wanted to see me in a wedding dress before she died, I shouldn’t even be in this house,” said Dana.
“So what are you saying, you’re gonna break this marriage and run away or something?? We were engaged anyway before we were even born, so we were gonna get married sooner or later,” explained Sunghoon.
“I’m sure I could’ve prevented us getting married somehow, if my mom didn’t pass away last year. But no~~~, she just had to wreck my life in the middle of my junior year in high school by having me walk down the aisle. Have you ever heard of a 17 year-old getting married??? Huh?? I thought the family engagement thing didn’t exist in our age,” argued Dana.
“I’m sure you would’ve felt differently about this whole issue if you were dealing with Suwon, and not me,” said Sunghoon weakly, but with some spite in his voice.
“Drop Suwon! He’s just a friend!” cried Dana as she tried to stand up, but she was pulled back down by Sunghoon as he grabbed her by her sleeve.
“Yeah right. I bet you were at Suwon’s last night. Isn’t that true??” questioned Sunghoon. Dana blushed because she could neither deny him nor answer him.
“You are lucky that I’m sick today,” said Sunghoon, “so I’m too tired to argue with you. Why do you dislike me so much??”
“Because you are a two-faced hypocrite who always threatens me that you’ll tell your parents if I even went near Suwon, when you date so many girls everyday,” answered Dana.
“It’s because if I don’t do that, you’re gonna run away from me. I meant to tell you later but the reason I date different girls everyday is because I work at a dating agency,” replied Sunghoon.
“You WHAT????!!!!!!!!!” exclaimed Dana as she detached her hand from his, “isn’t that like a prostitution???!!!!”
“…. I tried finding a job elsewhere but no one wanted me. So I had to get a job there. It’s not as weird as you think, Dana. All I do is just be a date for a dateless woman for one day and get paid for it.”
“You pathetic idiot,” scolded Dana, “you are corrupted! How could you be working there??!! You’re only 18! You’re still in high school!!”
“Don’t yell at me. I’m a patient, and I have a terrible migraine,” said Sunghoon. Dana quieted down, and began speaking again.
“So you let all those women get all over you?? Don’t they like… umm… kiss you and stufff??? You’re so dirty, KangSungHoon!! What’s in your brain??”
“Hey, don’t assume things too much. We’ve held hands, but that was as far as I went. I usually bailed out when they tried to do something more than that.”
“You brainless idiot, why are you doing that anyway??”
Sunghoon replied. “….. For you.”
“Hey, Suwon,” said Jiyong as he tapped Suwon’s shoulder. They started walking down the hallway together.
“Is Dana here today?” asked Suwon. Jiyong shook his head.
“Nope. Wasn’t she over at your house yesterday??”
“Yeah, but I drove her back. Maybe she was too tired or something,” said Suwon.
“By the way, Suwon, when are you gonna tell her that you’re leaving next week??” asked Jiyong.
“I planned to tell her yesterday when we were out; that’s why I insisted on going out with her yesterday even though I knew I shouldn’t…. and then there was this chaos with Sunghoon. Now I think I probably shouldn’t tell her. I’m sure Sunghoon would be happy to find out that I’m moving to America though…” replied Suwon.
“…For… ME?????” querried Dana, awfully puzzled by Sunghoon’s answer.
“Of course I have to have a valid reason for working at a place like that,” responded Sunghoon, “otherwise I wouldn’t be working there. You know how annoying it is to go out with different girls every single day, especially when I don’t even know them?? And look at the things I do… we go to movies, so that means if I had 3 dates and all of them wanted to watch the same movie, I’d be watching the same movie 3 times a day! And then we go eat; that’s why I got so fat in the past 5 months or so because I eat so much… and then we go to karaoke and of course I have to sing there…..”
“No wonder you have such a nice singing voice,” commented Dana, amazed.
“Oh, sorry. I got carried away with a little explanation there; so you wanna know why I do it, did you say?”
Dana nodded. Sunghoon went on.
“I saw this really cool necklace I wanted to give you for our one-year anniversary coming up soon, but it’s like hell of a lot of money and my parents probably wouldn’t give me money to buy it so I had to start working.”
“You don’t have to do that!” said Dana.
“But I want to. I want to make you happy.”
Dana began to feel extremely touched. And all this time, she’s been misunderstanding him, thinking that he hated her and such….
“I couldn’t stand it when you called me a fuckin’ playboy last night… you didn’t even know a jack about why I was doing it….” said Sunghoon.
“I…I’m sorry. I really didn’t know. How considerate of you…. and the whole time I thought you were just being mean to me….” replied Dana.
“It really got to me yesterday morning when you told me that you were gonna go out with Suwon. I was thinking, gee, I worked my butt off for the past few months to please you and all you’re thinking of is eloping with Suwon….”
“Suwon’s just a friend, like I said. Does Jiyong know that you’re doing this??” asked Dana.
“Not really. He just thinks I’m being weird. I didn’t think I had to tell him,” answered Sunghoon.
“I think you should quit your job. I don’t need that necklace or whatever. I don’t even like wearing jewelries, you know….And next time, I want you to tell me about these things, okay? You sometimes act so brainless, I just don’t know what to do with you, Sunghoon.”
“So am I forgiven now??” said Sunghoon cutely. Dana blushed and replied.
“I… I guess so… just don’t hit me again next time, alright??”
“I won’t, I swear. Now can you sit by me and feed me that anti-flu medicine?? I feel like my brain’s gonna explode or something.”
“Fine, fine. You whiner. Serves you right that you caught cold.”
[One week later, at the Airport]
“I hope you die in a plane crash, JangSuWon,” said Dana as she gave him an evil look.
“Hey, don’t say that. I didn’t mean to hide it from you, but I didn’t think I could handle telling you that I was leaving….” said Suwon.
“If it weren’t for Jiyong, I wouldn’t have even known. How could you not tell me?? I might not see you for a long time and you just tried to leave like that?”
“I’m sorry…… is Sunghoon coming by the way?” asked Suwon.
“I don’t know if he wants to,” answered Dana. Suwon looked disappointed.
Jiyong comforted him.
“S’all right, man.”
“Yeah, as long as we are here~” agreed Jaeduc.
“I’m glad things are going okay between you and Sunghoon,” said Suwon to Dana. Dana’s eyes seemed to sparkle with tears.
“I’ll miss you, Suwon… a lot… write to me, okay?” requested Dana. Suwon shook his head in a disagreement.
“I’m leaving so I can start over, Dana. If I write to you, how do you expect me to forget you??”
~All passengers for the Flight 405 to Los Angeles should be aboard….~
When the announcement called for Suwon’s departure, Jaejin started gathering Suwon’s stuff.
“Time to leave, buddy,” said Jaejin. Suwon nodded.
“Bye Yoori noona. Thanks for everything,” said Suwon as he embraced her.
“Goodbye, sweetie. I’ll never forget you,” replied Yoori as she hugged him back.
“Bye, Jaejinee hyung, Jaeduggie hyung, and please say bye to Jiwonee hyung for me since he’s not here… and Dana….. take care, alright??”
Suwon leaned over to kiss her on her cheek. He then started walking towards the departure gate.
Suwon turned around when he heard the familiar voice of an old friend.
“Sunghoon..???” mouthed Suwon in a disbelief.
Sunghoon walked up to Suwon, and punched him lightly in his face.
“You coward,” said Sunghoon, “why are you leaving?? If you leave, you think you can avoid everything, huh?”
Suwon remained silent. He knew that Sunghoon didn’t mean any of the things he was saying. He could see that Sunghoon was just trying to hide the sadness.
He was glad to see that.
“I won’t miss you at all, JangSuWon, so have a nice life there and never come back!” said Sunghoon resentfully.
“I will miss you a lot,” responded Suwon, “take care of Dana, okay? Don’t fight too often.”
Suwon then offered a handshake. Sunghoon stared at him for a few seconds and shook Suwon’s hand.
Sunghoon kept on staring at Suwon’s back as Suwon turned around and headed towards the gate, until he completely disapperared out of sight.
Sunghoon then turned around and walked towards where the rest of the crowd was.
“Aww… that was a touching scene, Sunghoon,” teased Jaeduc.
“Shut up, hyung,” replied Sunghoon as he wiped his eyes.
“Oh my god! Am I seeing a teardrop??” Yoori teased as well.
“Noona~ not you too! Why would I cry for that jerk??” said Sunghoon.
But everyone knew that Sunghoon was feeling dejected. They all began to think about Suwon and Sunghoon’s twisted friendship since last year.
~BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP~
“Hello? Did you page me??”
When Sunghoon heard the voice of Jiwon from the other line, he was extremely glad.
“Jiwonee hyung~ I paged you three times earlier! Where were you? I thought you got kidnapped in Hawaii or something!”
“Oh, I was out.”
“What, dancing the night away at the club??” joked Sunghoon.
“Shush, don’t you even go there, Sunghoon. I’ll be in deep shit if my parents find out. Don’t you dare tell aunt and uncle about me, either,” warned Jiwon.
“Oh, don’t worry. I won’t tell my parents. I just called to say thanks,” said Sunghoon.
“Ho~ so my plan worked?? Did Dana believe you??” asked Jiwon joyfully.
“Yeah~ she was sooo touched! I thought she was gonna cry or something. How did you know that it was gonna work??”
“Well… as a pro at dating, I happened to know that most girls are touched when the guys wanna do something for them. Especially knowing Dana, she wouldn’t expect you to work so you can buy a necklace for her….” said Jiwon.
“Well, that was the only way to truly Tame the Shrew like her, ye know… now she listens to me and stays home on Sundays and cooks for me and stuff…” said Sunghoon slyly.
“Wait, so how are you gonna afford to buy the necklace? I thought you were saving all your money for the ski set!” said Jiwon.
“I’m not buying the necklace. She’s allergic to jewelries, she said. So no worries,” answered Sunghoon as he grinned.
“You bastard~” teased Jiwon as he smiled, “I feel sorry for poor Dana.
She probably thinks you like her or something…”
“Hell no! Why would I ever like her?? She’s not even that pretty, and she always wants to fight me and stuff…”
“So is it a happy ending story now, Mickey Rat?? I hate happy endings, you know…”
“Shut up! Don’t call me that! And if you don’t like happy endings, get your own wife and create some sad stories, hyung!”
“Haha~ I gotta hang up now. I’ll call you when I come to Seoul in couple weeks, okay? Remember, no telling on me to my parents or your parents about me!” said Jiwon.
“No prob. Later, hyung~” assured Sunghoon as they both hung up.
Jiwon whistled as he got dressed and ready to go dance at the club. He was a DJ at a club in Hawaii, and he was employed full time there. He abandoned all his studies because of his work; he knew that his parents would drag him back to Korea if they ever found out. But he liked music more than anything else in the whole world… he wasn’t interested in studying business, like he was expected to since he was the direct heir of Eun industry in Korea.
He remembered about a week ago when his cousin, Sunghoon called him, sobbing hysterically, and told him, ‘Hyung~ Dana ran away because I did something mean to her! I can’t find her anywhere~ what do I do??? I’m gonna kill myself if something happened to her!!’
“Yeah right, Sunghoon,” said Jiwon to himself as he started his car, “you know you like her.”
Part XII: Epilogue
December 18, 1998
Today is the one year anniversary of my wedding. Around this time last year, I couldn’t believe that I was getting sold into this ridiculous marriage to the tomboy, PaikDaNa. But when I saw her at her mom’s funeral a week later, she couldn’t even cry because she was too sad… it was then I knew that I had to protect her and love her for the rest of my life.
When is she gonna ever realize that I truly like her? It’s so hard to win her heart. I’m glad Suwon left, even though I miss him like crazy. I wanted to tell him a lot of things before he left, but I guess I can’t now. Dana probably still likes him. Stupid Suwon, why did he have to take her heart along with him, even when he left? A homewrecker. I hope he never comes back to Korea. Oh, what am I saying? Back to Dana. Now she’s just keeping this relationship because she is grateful to my parents for taking care of her mom right before she passed away. I hope there comes a day when she finally decides to stay in this marriage of her own volition. Yeah, that’d be awesome. Whoopeee~! It’s snowing outside!
Jaejin, Jaeduc, and Jiyong closed Sunghoon’s diary as they started giggling. “Heeheehee~ it sounds like a second grader wrote it!” commented Jaejin.
“I know~ when is he gonna grow??” agreed Jaeduc. All three of them exclaimed simultaneously.
“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!”
“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………
“Kang Sung Hoon Sir! Huh……. Oi I’m not in high school anymore,” Sung Hoon said as he rubbed his eyes.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
~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
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
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
“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
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
“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
“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.”
“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
“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
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!
“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
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.
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.
“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
“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.”
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
“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
“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.”
“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.
“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!”
“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
“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
“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 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.
“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…
“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
“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
“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
“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.”
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.
“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!”
“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.”
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.
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 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.
Jiyong froze in his tracks. He quickly spun around to face Sunghoon.
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!”
“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.
“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.”
“Like I said. Everything will be fine.”
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. 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!”
“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.
“I promised my mom if we get in trouble, the first thing that happens is you’re gonna lose all your hair.”
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.
“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.
“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!”
“It’s them. And you’re right. Kiyoon’s trouble.”
“Why?” Jiyong asked.
“She thinks you’re a fag.”
“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.
“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 looked up at Jiyoon’s concerned face. “But neither of them has one!”
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.”
“She’s quiet. Look like a nerd.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“Why are you so hyperactive?”
“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!”
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“My cousin and his secretary.”
“Something’s not right with the two,” Jaejin admitted.
“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.”
“Yeah. All I know is they’re gonna be in for some trouble.”
“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!”
“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?”
“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.
“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.
“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.
“That’s not all. There’s more in the basement and in the library.”
“You’ll see. Want candy?”
“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?”
Jiyong was surprised by the reply. “Who does?”
“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 – “
“Thir – You’re only thirteen?!”
“Thirteen…thirteen plus five, eighteen!”
“Are you also the accountant?”
“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.”
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.”
“Medical school. She’s a nurse at the local hospital. She’s studying to become a doctor.”
Sunghoon stared at Miyoon.
“He’s still going to school though.”
“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.
“See you in the morning.”
“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.”
“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?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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?”
“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.
“Where is she?!” Miyoon demanded.
Jiyong shrugged. “In her room?”
Miyoon growled. “After I come home from shopping! She better not be home!”
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.”
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?”
“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.
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!”
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.
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.
“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.
“Not until the day your mom adopts me.”
“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.
“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.”
“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’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.”
“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.”
“My reactions exactly. So I’m like, ‘forget you too.’ I don’t need that kinda shit.”
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.”
“Don’t be sorry. Be happy and have fun. Oma will call next week.”
“Be good. Tell Sunghoon that, too.”
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?”
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…”
Suwon thought about it. “Nah…that’s a lizard.”
“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.”
“On my bike.”
“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.
“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…
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.
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!”
“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!”
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, 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.”
“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.”
“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?”
“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.”
Kiyoon nodded, waiting with anticipation.
“Wait…Miyoon was married to the secretary and Jiyoon married Jaejin.”
“Back dat ass up. I married WHO?!”
“How do you how they look like?”
“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!”
“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!”
“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?”
“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?”
“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.”
“Better be. I’ll talk to you later.”
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!”
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?”
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.
“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?”
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.”
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?”
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.
“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.
“I’ve committed a crime.”
“I lip raped Kiyoon.”
“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?”
“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?”
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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.”
“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?!”
“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?”
“Kissing a boy.”
“I dunno. Wanna try?”
“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.”
“What about her?”
“What about her?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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!”
“I’m no doctor!”
“Wanna know my illness?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Hi, ajooma!” Sunghoon shouted behind Jiyong.
“Can you keep it down? These walls have ears you know,” Jiyong whispered loudly.
“Hi, Mom. How’s things?”
“You having fun?”
“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!”
“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.
“I’m sorry I’m not there to give you a present. How are things?”
“So far so good.”
“Any luck with fun?”
“I did something really bad.”
“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.”
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.”
“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.”
“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!”
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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
“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.”
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.
“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.
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.
“What’s wrong? Where are you?”
“I’m at dinner. Some fancy restaurant.”
“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.”
“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?”
“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.”
“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?”
“Do you want Kiyoon?”
“Are you sure you like Kiyoon?”
“Then you’re all set. Go after her.”
“One more thing.”
“Are you gonna marry her?”
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.
“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!”
“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.
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!”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“Mom…Suwon left. He moved!”
“I know that.”
“Can I move too?”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“Is it legal for me to marry at such a young age?”
“Because if it isn’t, then I can still live out my final years of freedom before I start giving potty training.”
“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.”
“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?”
“Who are you?”
“Hi, darling. How’s Jiyong?”
“I dunno. Fine, I guess.”
“What’s wrong, darling?”
“Nothing. I’ll go get my mom.”
“Well…since I’m with you, I just wanna chat with you.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
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.
“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.”
“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?”
“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.
“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?”
“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?”
“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.
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?”
“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.
“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.”
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…
We were all taken by surprise when the car before us decided to come to a stop in the middle of going at least forty-five miles per hour. Good thing that Ji Won had been able to brake in time for us not to crash into it.
“Damn!” Jae Duc had been asleep in the back when this all happened. He wasn’t wearing his seat belt at the time, so when the car jerked to a halt he fell forward and smashed his face into the back of the driver’s seat.
I sat up a bit straighter and tried to get a better view of what had happened up ahead. Seemed like there was an accident.
“Just our luck,” Ji Won let out a groan. “To be almost home and stuck in the middle of the traffic.”
He was right. We were only a couple of miles away from home. I wonder how long it would take for the traffic to clear. Right now it looked like no one was going anywhere.
“Maybe we should get out of the car and walk home,” Jae Duc suggested hopefully while rubbing his nose. But the rest of us were nowhere near being in the good mood he was in.
“Sure ~ be my guest,” Ji Won mumbled sarcastically. I just leaned back and closed my eyes.
“I wonder what happened though,” Jae Duc’s voice came on again after a few minutes. “But – you okay, Sung Hoon? Didn’t hit anything, did you?”
“No,” I shook my head and opened my eyes. “I’m just tired – and car sick…” which was really strange, because I usually don’t get carsick. Maybe I’m just too tired. The final exams were over with for me as of this afternoon – thank goodness. It had been such an awful week for me – studying so hard for those horrifying double E classes – and camping out at Ji Won’s place so he could help me with the math. Jae Duc, on the other hand, had a pretty nice time while the rest of us were struggling to survive finals – he never has to study for anything ~ that brainy ass.
“Well, here’s your chance to rest up a bit, because I think we’re going to be stuck here for awhile,” he said warily as a swarm of police cars approached with their sirens on to the max. How annoying.
I closed my eyes again and leaned my head against the window. Like he said, I might as well get some rest. But how ironic though, because the only reason I tried to stay awake during the ride is to keep Ji Won accompany so he won’t fall asleep himself and crash and kill us all. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but just last month when Hyori was driving home she fell asleep at the wheel and the car toppled into a ditch. She suffered from a head concussion and almost broke her neck or something.
But anyway … even though we didn’t get into an accident, someone did, apparently, and now we’re stuck in the middle of the road.
About ten minutes later the car moved about a yard. I shifted restlessly in my seat.
“What, you can’t sleep?” Ji Won asked me. He was impatiently tapping to the beat of the loud music coming from the Jeep next to us.
“I dunno, this headache is really bothering me. I feel like throwing up…”
“You need to get some fresh air – and maybe some 7UP or Sprite would help,” Jae Duc said from the back. That sounded like a good idea. I looked out the window next to me. I could just get out the car and cross the street – there was a convenient store not too far ahead. It’s just that the area was crowded with the police and paramedics. Obviously someone had gotten injured – but what was taking so long?
“You guys want anything to drink?” I asked before taking off.
“What ~ you really are going? Get me a coke,” Ji Won replied, still tapping impatiently to the beat of that awful music.
“I want some sparkling water,” Jae Duc told me.
“Okay,” I got out of the car and headed groggily in the direction of the convenient store.
I’m not sure whether it was the fresh air or a psychological effect, but not too long after my headache was slowly going away. I was still a bit light-headed though … nearly tripped on my own shoelace. I stopped in the middle of the street to bend down and retie it.
“Get off the road, kid!” I heard someone yell. Who was he talking to? I looked up.
Suddenly I realized that the accident had cleared and the cars were beginning to move again. The ambulance and the police cars were no where to be seen. How did that happen so fast?
People on the road began to honk at me. I quickly stood up and scrambled onto the sidewalk.
I panicked as my eyes scanned the running cars in the streets. Where was my ride now? I decided to forget about the drinks and started to run back towards the direction I had come from.
While I was running, someone had came out of nowhere and crashed into me from the side – hard. The person had been running so fast that I was knocked a good several feet off the sidewalk and back into the street, into the way of huge blue van.
I froze in place. I was gonna get hit.
Lucky for me, the van made a sharp curve and swiveled right past me, missing my body with only a short short distance. I was so numb from the shock though, that I nearly had to crawl my way back onto the safety of the sidewalk. It took me a good while before my mind could function properly again.
As for the person who had knocked into me – it was a girl — I had knocked her down onto the ground. She probably witnessed the whole truck incident and therefore looked almost as pale and scared as I did at the time. I frowned. This was all her fault.
Come to think of it, if it wasn’t for me … it would have been her in the street … and who knows, the truck might have hit her after all. Nevertheless, I went up to her and offered her my hand, although my legs still slightly quivered.
“Hey … are you okay?” I noticed that my voice quivered too.
The girl still had her eyes fixed on the spot in the street where the accident would have happened if the van had hit me. I realized that she was shaking all over as little drops of perspiration appeared on her forehead. She was in more of a shock than I was.
“Calm down,” I knelt down next to her. “It’s okay now … are you okay?”
Slowly she directed her eyes to me. After a long pause –
“Yes, I’m fine now. Thank you very much.”
Thank me very much for what? Asking if she was okay or taking her place in front of that van?
But I was a gentleman and offered her my hand again. This time she took it without hesitating.
“I’m really glad that I bumped into you, otherwise –“ She didn’t get to finish her sentence, because Ji Won chose that time to pull up in his car.
“Where the hell have you been?” He yelled through his windows. “We’ve been looking everywhere for you, come on!”
I let go of the girl’s hand and trotted towards the car. The traffic was getting heavy again, and as if my mind was affected by it, my headache came back to me.
“Ugh…” I placed a hand on my forehead and got inside the car.
“What were you doing?” Jae Duc asked me.
“I was helping that girl…” I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples lightly. Everything was beginning to look a little blurry. Maybe my contacts need to be cleaned too. Suddenly I remembered that I totally forgot to get them the drinks.
“Hey, sorry about the drinks, but I didn’t get them,” I said. For some reason, however, my voice came out of my mouth sounding slurred and unclear.
“I forgot the drinks,” I tried to articulate more clearly this time. No reaction from any of them.
When I opened my eyes, I saw that Ji Won was throwing me strange looks amidst trying to concentrate on the road.
“What drinks?” Jae Duc poked his head up to the front and asked me.
“The drinks that you guys asked me to get you…” I was confused.
“We didn’t ask you to get us drinks.”
“You did too!” Then what the heck was I doing out of the car? I stared ahead. We were in my neighborhood now.
“The kid’s been dreaming, apparently,” Ji Won said to Jae Duc. He always likes to call me kid.
“No, you’ve got to be kidding, I –“
“Since when did we ever asked you to get anything for us? You were asleep the whole time that we waited for the traffic to clear.”
I swallowed hard. But that was too real to be a dream. “How long did it take to clear?”
“About thirty minutes.”
They didn’t look like they were joking. So I had been dreaming? Really? The girl and the truck and the drinks and the accident … no, there had been an accident.
“It’s okay, Sung Hoon,” Jae Duc patted me on the back. “We all talk in our sleep sometimes.”
Which reminds me … “What did I say? Was it something stupid?”
“Ah … ahem,” he stiffened a giggle. Yeah, he giggles.
“What did I say, Jae Duc?” Hopefully it wasn’t anything too embarrassing, but Jae Duc wasn’t saying.
“Hyung! Tell me what I said? What did I say?”
“You … puhahahahah ~”
At that moment Ji Won parked precisely before my house. “Okay kid, you’re home.”
What a relief! Finally home for a nice long break after a long semester at school, but – Jae Duc was still laughing in the back seat.
“What the f –“ I turned around and glared at him.
“Heeheehee,” he was still laughing. Ji Won let out a sigh.
“I’ll tell you what you said … you said – Oh Hyori, come to me, please don’t leave me baby ~” and with that he cracked up on the steering wheel. I huffed and got out of the car. What a bunch of lunatics.
“Hahaha,” I could still hear them laugh while getting my stuff from the trunk. Especially Ji Won. He’s so loud.
“What a gullible kid…” he was saying. I slammed the trunk close.
“Okay thanks a bunch for the ride, hyung…” I yelled at him. “I suppose you guys have better places to go now huh –”
Jae Duc rolled down the window and stuck his head out the car. “Normally we’d crash with ya — but Ji Won here has a girlfriend to attend to now –“
“Yeah, yeah ~” Of course. Who doesn’t know Ji Won’s pretty little girlfriend? Well actually she’s kinda tall.
“Okay – laterz, kid,” Ji Won waved. “Tell your parents that I said hi – we said hi.”
“Okay hyung,” I replied. “Tell YY that I said hi too ~” YY was Ji Won’s little – I mean, tall girlfriend.
They drove off, leaving a heap of dust smoke behind.
My impression of returning home didn’t exactly match what was going on. In fact, impressions never really resemble realities in general, at least not for me.
I had wished for someone to be home to open the door for me when I returned. After all, after a semester of hard work, I should be able to deserve at least that much, no? But instead I had to fish the keys out of my pocket and let myself in. No one was home at this time of the day … no one’s ever home at any time of the day! My parents were such freakin’ workaholics.
Not like I really had much to complain about anyway, because if anything, I had at least a happy family. People come up with all sorts of problems when there are workaholics in the family, like how one spouse might be bitter and kids didn’t get enough attention or so and such, but that’s not what happens in my family. My parents didn’t mind at all that there seemed to be so little personal time to spend with each other. I guess they’re just weird.
“I’m home!” I called out into our empty living room. Of course I didn’t expect an answer, but hey, what the heck.
I shoved my luggage into the front hall and left it there wile I went about exploring my home. Noticed that I’ve been doing some quite pointless things since I’ve gotten back? There was this theory saying how one’s true self reveals when in their home domain. So what did that say about me?
This was one of those times when I wish I were Jae Duc. Guess what happens every time he goes home – he doesn’t go very often, by the way. His mother always greets him at the door, and then – dishes of home cooked food awaits for him in the kitchen. And then after that food, his entire family – mother, father, little sis and little bro – all go out for a movie and then maybe even bowling afterwards.
A single green apple sat on top of the counter in the kitchen. I took the lonely fruit back into the living room and sat down on the couch.
… even Ji Won, whose family was actually very far away – had someone to go to right now. I suppose that his girlfriend could be considered close to being “family.” He sees her in school almost everyday too, I think.
Come to think of it, I had a girlfriend too, once upon a time.
I took a bite of the apple and chewed it thoughtfully. It was crunchy and … sour.
She was … a very long time ago, that girlfriend of mine. And she supposedly left me because I didn’t spend enough time with her.
“You’re so self-absorbed, Sung Hoon,” she told me. “If you’re like this now, imagine how it will be in the future!”
She had a point. I wouldn’t even skip a day of work to celebrate her birthday with her. What I believed was that I should work as many hours as I could so I would have enough money by the end of the night to get her the ring that she had really wanted.
But when she said that to me … I was so disappointed in her that I decided that it was best for me to let go. I didn’t spend every single day afterwards regretting what I did, but I really wished that I had handled the situation differently. If so, maybe we would still be together.
Well, too late to say that now. I finished the last bit of that sour green apple and tossed the core into the trash.
I was so bored.
Anyway … I suddenly remembered that dream I had while we were on the road. That was a random random dream — and I didn’t even realize that I had fallen asleep. I closed my eyes and tried to remember it. I could still vaguely sense the shakiness in my legs when thinking about that blue van.
It was a strange feeling … sort of a numb … I stood up and stepped around the living room to get rid of the feeling. And for some odd reason I couldn’t stop myself from walking –
I walked straight out of the house and down the sidewalk…
Pretty soon I was out of the neighborhood…
Eventually on the road too…
And ended up heading towards the area where my dream took place.
What the hell?
Stop stop stop … I told myself. Stop stop stop… I looked down at my feet and told myself. And then because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going –
“Hey—“ I bumped into someone on the way.
“Sorry – what … you again?”
I looked up and met the surprised gaze of the girl of my dream, literally.
“Shouldn’t I be the one saying that, why are you always getting in my way?” I asked her just as demandingly. What an AWFUL coincidence.
I noticed that her eyes were red and there were wet streaks running down her cheeks. She wasn’t crying because she ran into me again, was she? I’m sure that I wasn’t that bad.
She turned around and looked back at where she came out from – it was a coffee shop.
“I don’t know what you’re doing here,” she then told me. “But leave, leave now – Sung Hoon honey!”
Sung Hoon honey?
“Sung Hoon honey!” she said again … and came over and gave me a tight hug so tight that my eyes cringed shut with pain.
And when I opened them…
“Ma ~ what are you doing here?” I blurted out, seeing that my mother stood right before me. My mother burst out in silvery laughter.
“Why are you sleeping on the couch, dear? And how long have you been home?”
Sleeping on the couch? Of course – I had fallen asleep again … and … aww man, dreaming of her twice in a row – talk about freaky. I broke out in a fit of cold sweat.
“What’s wrong?” my mother asked me.
“No – nothing. I mean I’m fine,” I resumed to normal behavior and stood up to return my mother the hug. “Hi Ma, I missed you.”
“I missed you too,” she patted me on the back – hard. “So, how long are you going to stay this time?”
I coughed a little. “Um … like a week or two or three…”
She gave me a strange look. “Well okay, it’s up to you. I’ve taken like a week or so off too.”
“Really? Are you serious?” Now that was something new, her taking any time off from work.
“Yes, there’s a new person in training here … so I requested some time off since you’re back home and all.”
I couldn’t help but put a huge smile on my face. It felt good to know that my mother values me enough to take a whole week off just for me. Eheheheheh.
“So – you’re gonna stay home and cook right? You’re going to cook for me right?” I kept on asking.
Ah … it felt good to be home (just in case I hadn’t mentioned it before). It really did. Bad thing was that she made me go to bed right after shower – which was only nine o’clock at night, and my father wasn’t even home yet!
“It’s your normal bedtime, dear~” said my mother.
Nine o’clock was my normal bedtime when I was back in elementary school. It’s just that they stopped coming home from work before I go to bed so I guess she always figured that I would go to bed at nine o’clock. And do we know how to count here – how long has it been since my elementary school days?
I told her reluctantly that I wanted to stay up until my father comes home to say hi … I had done it reluctantly because guys usually don’t stay up late just to say hi to their fathers – ya know? Anyway, there was another reason (of why I didn’t want to go to sleep).
That girl I kept on dreaming of. Was she some kind of psychotic dream stalker or something? Nevertheless I went to bed as I was told. Believe or not, as much as I slept today during the day I was still very tired, and also not feeling very well either. But I knew what was coming…
I was going down that same street again, supposedly getting something from the drug store. It was probably around the same that I always go there, about early – mid afternoon. The weather was extremely chilly. When I reached the drug store, I had already forgotten what I was supposed to buy. I ended up walking around inside, trying to remember what I needed to get, but still came out of it empty handed.
The coffee shop where I ran into that girl was right next door. I stopped by and peered inside its glass windows.
To my surprise, she was in there again, sitting with a dude dressed in khakis. I’m not sure if I was judging correctly, but those two looked like a couple to me. A couple that had been arguing, because she looked like she was crying again.
That was what she was doing that last I saw her…
She suddenly stood up from her seat and walked quickly out of the shop. Khaki boy stood up too but didn’t follow her.
Was this a break-up scene that I just witnessed? She stumbled a bit when coming down the steps of the coffee shop.
“Hey you again –“ I called out to her from aside. “Are you okay?”
Her eyes widened before she looked up at me. “Why … why are you here again?” Tears were still streaming down from her face.
“That’s what I want to know…” I replied. “Are you alright?” I gave the khaki boy inside the store another glance – he was looking back at us with confusion on his face.
She turned to look at him too, and wiped the moisture on her face away with her hands. “I … let’s go somewhere else, I don’t want to stay here anymore.”
So … that was a break-up scene I saw. Poor girl, she must be the dumpee.
Without speaking, we started to walk down the street. I had no idea of what to do but stare down at my shoes for awhile – what was I doing with her? But I when I looked up at her I saw that her cheeks were streaked with tears. I put an arm around her shoulders.
I was once a dumpee too.
Whenever I decided that it was a bad idea to have gotten angry over that comment she made about me … she was already going with someone else. She didn’t even tell me – I found out when I saw her at a dance with him.
I went stag that night – first time in my life going to a dance without a date. Everyone found out then that Kang Sung Hoon had been dumped by what’s-her-face. I hadn’t dated anyone since then.
It’s not worth it.
When I’ve done so much just to give my heart out … it’s not worth for it to be broken over and over again.
“It wasn’t my fault, Sung Hoon,” my ex-girlfriend defended herself. “You should have never had let go of me so easily – you made me feel like I wasn’t important to you at all.”
But it wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like that.
I had thought that I loved her.
“Don’t cry…” I told the girl next to me. “Not worth to be crying over someone like that.”
“That doesn’t help,” was her reply. “ You know that feelings stay even though the other person has stopped caring for you.”
Well, that was true. I won’t deny it.
“Uh … let’s talk about something else … you need to get over it anyway,” I wanted to change the subject. “My name is Sung Hoon.”
“…I’m Shin Ji.”
“Nice to finally know your name, after running into you for so many times,” we stopped at the park next to an elementary school.
“Yes, it is,” she sat down on a swing. “Can you tell me why I always see you before the coffee shop? Were you following me?” She had beaten me to the question.
“Of course I wasn’t following you, I still have no idea of who you are!”
“I’m Shin Ji.”
I shook my head. “That I know, but…” she looked at me curiously. “Are you real?”
She frowned. “What is that supposed to mean – of course I’m real … I do exist in real life, if that’s what you mean.”
“So you know that we’re both dreaming, don’t you?”
She looked down sadly.
“And you know what I’ve figured out –“ I continued. “This your dream, not mine – I have no control over it what-so-ever…so you tell me, what am I doing here?”
Her head bowed even lower. “I don’t know why you’re here.”
This was getting nowhere. “It’s okay … just a dream right? No big deal.”
She looked at me and smiled – a rather sad smile, for some reason.
“Yeah, it’s no big deal … it’s just a dream,” her face was beginning to blur. I knew I must get going.
“Ah, you’re leaving?” so she noticed too.
“Yes…” I replied as she gradually disappeared from sight.
“…I’ll see you next time,” was the last thing I heard her say.
I woke up with the most hideous cough.
“Looks like you’ve come down with something,” my father came into my room to see me before he left for the work. “I had your mother put some chicken soup on the stove – should be ready in a couple of hours. Rest up kid,” he patted my head. Gee – this was worse than Ji Won – not only does he call me kid, he treats me like one too. But then considering that he IS my father…
“Okay Pa ~ see ya later,” I managed to get the sentence out of my mouth in between coughs, but I was too restless to rest up that day. I hated to stay in bed and rest whenever I wasn’t tired — so boring. So I went out shopping with my mother. She had agreed to get me some new winter clothing. We drove past by the area where the accident had happened the previous day. I was really surprised that they hadn’t cleaned up the place totally – I thought Ji Won had said that it took about thirty minutes to clear.
“That was a horrible accident yesterday,” my mother said as she observed the mess. “See how they sectioned off that section of the street? I heard there were at least five cars involved.”
“We came across the accident on the way home,” I told her. “But couldn’t see what was going on – we weren’t close enough to it.”
“Well, that’s a relief. Ji Won’s a good driver, isn’t he?”
“When he’s awake he is.”
My mother threw me a side-glance. “Well that’s good to hear.”
I was exhausted by the time we got back from shopping. My mother had bought me almost an entire new wardrobe – I was beyond happy. My cough, however had gotten worse over the course of just a couple of hours.
“Chicken soup is on the stove,” she told me as she shuffled through the cabinets inside the kitchen.
“And where is that cough medicine I bought last month…”
“I told you to rest up,” my father was giving me that I-told-you-so lecture. And then I was sent to bed after a steamy hot shower. This time it was only eight o’clock.
* * *
“Hi…” Shin Ji greeted me as she was walking out of the coffee shop. This time she wasn’t crying … but she still looked a little upset. “Are you okay? You look a little pale.”
“I’m sick,” I blurted.
She looked even more surprised. “Then what are you doing here?” She asked as if I had a choice of where to be. Didn’t we already go through this last night?
“That’s what I want to know,” my throat was so from coughing so much, and my voice was beginning to sound a little coarse.
“I told you that I didn’t know,” she had little sympathy for me. “You make it sound like it’s my fault that you’re here or something.”
“Well that’s what I think,” I told her bluntly. “At least you have the choice of – going inside for coffee – I can’t go anywhere but stand out here and wait for you.”
Shin Ji just stared at me with this really doubtful expression on her face. I wondered what she was thinking. At that moment khaki boy stepped out of the shop too.
“Shin Ji!” he called her. She turned around long enough to give him a short glance and then turned back to me.
“How long have you been standing out here?”
“About an hour.”
The doubtful look from her eyes gradually disappeared; replacing it was a sheen of gentleness. “You must be freezing,” she unraveled the scarf around her neck and placed it around my neck. I glanced at khaki boy uncertainly.
Although I knew that was probably just an act to get him jealous on her part, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of warmth wash over me. It’s been awhile since an unrelated girl had shown me any sign of care
“Let’s get you somewhere warmer,” she told me without giving khaki boy another look.
I wonder where she had meant by “somewhere warmer,” but I followed her anyway. Like I said, I have no choice of what to do in these dreams. It was a rather strange feeling, actually – not being able to make my own decisions. I didn’t feel like I was forced to do anything, such as waiting for her outside the coffee shop – but for some reason I just did. I really wanted to go inside and get some heat – but for some reason I didn’t.
I pulled off the scarf. “Here you go.”
She looked at me “Aren’t you cold?”
I let out a sigh. “You wanted him to see that scene, didn’t you?” I was referring to khaki boy. “And he saw it, so now you can have your scarf back.”
“No, leave it on,” she told me. “I know that you’re cold, Sung Hoon … and perhaps this is the most that I can do for you.”
I stopped walking. “What do you mean?”
“I mean that –“ she looked away to the side. “ – that maybe you’re right. You’re here because of me, because this is my dream. But I can’t seem to leave you out of it … I don’t know how. So I can at least try to keep you warm, can’t I? And besides, you’re sick already.” She started to walk again.
“Well, you’ll have to do much better than that,” I caught up with her.
“Now what do you mean?”
“How about treating me to some hot chocolate and crème cake? At a coffee shop other than the one you just came from, preferably,” I sniffled.
And for the first time since I’ve met her, I saw her smile.
It was a rather nice smile.
* * *
“Hmmm … 39. 64° C,” my mother held up the thermometer up to the light to get a better reading. “What did you do yesterday? We weren’t out shopping for that long.”
Feeling as miserable as ever, I shrank deeper under my blankets.
The vacation wasn’t exactly going the way I had planned for it to be. This was my third day home and instead of relaxing and having fun with my friends and family I’ve had to stay home and attend to my illness.
“So you can’t come out tonight? Ji Yong’s in town too – and we were thinking about going to the movies after YY gets off work. We even found you guys dates,” Ji Won called later and told me all about his plans.
“Dates? You mean for Jae Duc – Ji Yong has Nina,” I argued.
“Oh, you didn’t know that they broke up? Ji Yong dumped her –“
“He did? How come – Nina’s such a nice person,” I immediately thought of Shin Ji. What was wrong with guys these days, dumping their perfectly fine girlfriends.
“It’s hard to explain – anyway, so you can’t come?”
“Hack * wheeze * cough * — does it sound like I should go out?”
“Haha, okay then,” he didn’t sound very sorry to hear that I was sick. What a loser of a friend. “That’s too bad, I hope you feel better.” And then he added, “What a waste of that date we found you, man she’s hot!”
“I don’t need a date,” I huffed.
“Of course you don’t,” he laughed again. “You need Hyori,” he laughed even harder.
“How many times do I have to tell you, I don’t – cough * — like Hyori!” I hung up on him.
I wondered what was wrong with Ji Won – you think he would be a little more mature since he’s older and all – but it was just the opposite. And lately he’s been getting more and more shallow by the day.
And Ji Yong … he and Nina broke up? They’ve been going out ever since high school. We all thought that they might get married someday, too. We all thought they were the perfect couple. But Ji Won didn’t sound at all like there was anything wrong with the break-up … maybe he knew of something that I didn’t.
“You should be lucky that you’re not in a relationship right now,” Shin Ji told me as we were taking a walk in the park. I didn’t have to wait long that day – she came out of the coffee shop sooner than I expected her to.
The first thing she did when she saw me was to take off her scarf and wrap it around my neck.
“Why don’t you ever remember to wear something to keep yourself warm,” she complained.
I just shook my head and laughed, at the same time wondering about khaki boy. He was watching us from the window.
“Relationships can get messy, so people should stay away from them,” she concluded.
“According to your theory, then no one should get into a relationship, no one should get married and have kids, and after about a century the human race will become extinct.”
Shin Ji burst out into gentle laughter. She had been laughing and smiling a lot more lately.
“I still have a lot of feelings for him, Sung Hoon,” she said more seriously, a moment later. “Even though he wants to break up with me – I still like him. And I may even love him. Sung Hoon, what should I do?”
Her lines sounded extremely familiar to me. Who was it that had said something similar?
She looked at me, her eyes pleading for an answer, as if I really know what’s the best for her.
“I … I don’t know,” feeling a bit uncomfortable all of the sudden, I looked away from her eyes.
“I don’t want to let go,” she said.
Letting go … I wondered if she had a choice. If khaki boy wasn’t willing to continue the relationship, what was it that she could do about it? But I didn’t want to pour cold water on her. As pessimistic as she sounded, I knew she still had a lot of hope in her mind.
* * *
The conditions of my flu – I guess that’s what it was – improved very slowly for the next couple of days. I slept and ate (although I had no appetite whatsoever, but of course my mother made me) and slept and ate and barely went outside my room.
My parents told me that the guys had been over a couple of times to see how I was doing, but I was too burnt out by my fever to notice that anyone was there. The entire time I was in bed I had felt dizzy, nauseous, achy, and whatever symptoms that were associated with the flu.
Even in my dreams I felt like I was dying.
“Sung Hoon!” Shin Ji exclaimed as I lost my balance and fell to the ground. It felt as if the energy had been drained from my legs. “Sung Hoon, are you okay?”
People who were passing by turned their heads to watch us, but no one really offered a hand to help.
Shin Ji struggled to help me up by herself. She was a bit on the petite side, however, so it was rather difficult for her to move me very far.
“Shin Ji…” I managed to say although the slightest move of any muscle would hurt my already aching body. “It’s alright, just let me sit here for awhile…”
“Okay,” she sat down next to me and leaned my body against her own. We sat there in the middle of the sidewalk like that for awhile. “Sung Hoon – you’re burning.” So my fever was still running. That medicine didn’t work at all. I must tell my mother to get a different brand next time.
“But I feel cold,” I closed my eyes and puffed out short breaths. It was getting harder and harder for me to breath, too. “Very, very cold…”
She took off her jacket and placed it over my body.
“Why did you do that … you’re going to be cold too.”
She put her arms around me and held me closer to her. Strangely I could feel her body heat through the layers of clothing we were both wearing.
“It’s alright, don’t worry about me,” she said, resting her head on top of mine. “I’m about as good as dead, anyway.”
I was in the middle of falling asleep – falling asleep in my dream, funny huh – when I found what she had said extremely queer.
“What does that mean?” I asked her immediately.
“I’m as good as dead … without him…”
I closed my eyes again. It’s been days since I last saw her cry, coming out form the coffee shop – I thought she had gotten over him, a little bit if not a lot. Apparently I’ve been wrong. He really did mean that much to her.
“Forget that dumb jerk … he’s not worth your time. You have me,” I attempted to crack a joke, but in reality I understood that I had already fallen for her.
“Heheh, I know,” she laughed, but then replied in a more serious tone. “I know, but I can’t help it.”
I didn’t know why I was trying to persuade her to forget him; not like I could forget my ex-girlfriend right away either, back then.
“Have you ever been heart broken before, Sung Hoon?” she seemed to be able to read my mind. Of course, this was her dream.
“How did you deal with it – how did you forget her?”
I opened my eyes and smiled at Shin Ji. Forget her? “How do you know that I’ve forgotten her already? Maybe I’m still in love with her.”
Shin Ji smiled back at me. “I know that you have. How did you do it?”
“It takes time, Shin Ji…”
“How long did it take you?”
“A very long time … “ I was slowly falling asleep again when I felt something cold hit my face gently.
“Ah … snow…” I opened my eyes and looked up into the sky. It was finally cold enough for it to snow … and now I must … I must get some rest now…
“Sung Hoon, Sung Hoon!” Shin Ji started to panic for some reason. I looked at her strangely. Her eyes were swelling up with tear again … why?
“Don’t cry … Shin Ji … what did he do to you to make you cry … hmm…”
The tears dripped from her eyes and fell on my face. I reached my hand out and tried to wipe it away … but for some reason I couldn’t touch her.
“What are you talking about … Sung Hoon, no, don’t go to sleep, you can’t go to sleep…”
Oh … I get it … she was crying for me now.
All this time that she’s been crying for him … now she’s finally crying for me…
“No!” she started to shake my body, but my eyelids were so heavy that I didn’t think I could keep them open for the world.
“Sung Hoon … I’m so sorry…” my eyes closed amidst of her sobs.
* * *
She was of course no longer with me when I woke up. I was wearing what I figured to be a hospital gown sitting lying in what I figured to be a hospital bed inside what I figured to be a hospital room. In other words, I had become a hospital patient.
I flipped open the covers and attempted to get out of bed. What happened instead was that I fell from the bed and making a loud crash.
Also, my arm was also stuck to an IV tube at the time but I didn’t know. So … when I fell I brought the entire set up of whatever fluid they had been injecting into me came crashing on top of me, making a loud racket. A nurse rushed inside at once.
“Oh, you’re awake!” she came over and helped me get back into bed. “Stay there and don’t move,” she told me. “I’m going to get the doctor and your parents.”
It turned out that I fell unconscious from a fever that went over 41° C and my parents had rushed me to the hospital. I had been unconscious for nearly 36 hours. It wasn’t just the simple flu that I had caught – it was the death flu, they told me. Personally I’ve never heard of that … but just the name of it sounded bad enough.
I couldn’t wait to get out of the hospital; it wasn’t a specifically pleasant place to be.
* * *
“Hold the elevator!” Someone called as I was ready to go downstairs for checkout. I pressed the open button as quickly as I could. The doors of the elevator reopened and a guy about my age stepped in.
“Thanks,” he said to me. I gave him a slight nod. As we rode down I had a funny feeling that the he was watching me. I had wanted to take a better look at him, but we were standing at an odd angle and I couldn’t turn around to see him without making it obvious. When the doors finally opened again on the ground floor, however, I took a quick glance of him before we went off our separate ways. He did look a bit familiar too me. Where had I seen him before?
“Are you all ready to go?” my parents asked me. I nodded.
“Your mother made a lot of your favorite dishes,” my father told me while we were in the car. “They’re all ready for you to dig in when you get home.”
Too busy trying to remember where I had seen that person in the elevator, I only give my father a murmured response.
“Careful here,” I heard my mother say to my father. “This was where that accident was last time.”
The accident that we came across on our way home almost two weeks ago.
I looked off to the side. There was that coffee shop where I always met up with Shin Ji after she talked to her boyfriend.
The guy inside the elevator was khaki boy. I didn’t recognize him right away because he wasn’t wearing khakis at the time.
What was he doing in the hospital?
Some vague ideas popped into my head. I shifted in my seat uncomfortably at the thoughts.
“How did the accident happen?” I hadn’t paid any attention to the news at all this past week.
“A van hit a girl while she was crossing the street … it didn’t brake in time and caused the other cars behind it to crash as well.”
A van hit a girl.
A van hit a girl.
A van hit a girl.
A van, almost hit me, in the dream.
That van, would have hit a girl, if it hadn’t been me.
The first thing I did when I got home was to dig through our newspaper pile for that day’s paper. I yanked it out of the pile and searched the front page. It should have been big news, locally, at least. I couldn’t find it though…
I pulled out the paper from the day after.
Mass Accident On … the headlines read. That was it. My eyes scanned down the page.
A 20 year old girl, later identified as Park Shin Ji, was hit yesterday after at the corner of … by a large blue van…
“Sung Hoon,” my mother came out of the kitchen and called me. “Do you want to eat now? The food is ready.”
I shook my head. “I … don’t have much appetite right now,” I tossed the paper back into the pile, and stood up. “I think I want to take a nap.”
She probably said something else after that, but I was too preoccupied to hear what she was saying. I simply went to bedroom and closed the door.
Shin Ji … I needed an explanation.
* * *
I was on my way to the coffee shop when something happened up ahead.
I heard the sharp screech of a car trying to brake, and then a loud scream of a girl.
Next came a loud crash, and a long honk, another loud crash, and more loud crashes.
Other people started to scream.
I ran as fast as I could to the scene. I wanted to know what happened.
“Excuse me,” I said, trying to push through the crowd of people. I wanted to see what had happened.
The first thing I saw was a mess of cars, all smashed together. The people inside the cars who were still conscious struggled to get out. My eyes wandered to the front of the mess.
A girl lay still at the fore wheels of the blue van.
Some people were telling me to stay away, but I walked up to her anyway.
Blood was quickly draining from her body out onto the pavement around her. Soon the bottoms of my shoes were soaked with her blood, too.
I looked closely at her face.
I know this girl, I thought.
Police came to clear the crowd away. They pulled me aside.
Not too far away, I spotted Ji Won’s car down the road.
He was tapping impatiently to the beat of some annoying music played by the jeep next to us while Jae Duc chatted with him from the back seat.
And I was there, too. I was sleeping soundly in the passenger’s seat.
“You found out,” said a voice behind me. I turned around to find Shin Ji watching the accident just steps behind me.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” I asked her.
She shrugged. “What difference would it have made?” She gestured for me to follow her down the sidewalk as we always did. We looked like two people taking a walk down the street on an ordinary day. The accident was left behind.
“I’m glad to see that you’re okay,” she said out of relevance. “I was worried that something would happen to you after that night.”
“I ended up in the hospital.”
“Well, you woke up, didn’t you?”
Yes, at least I woke up. But she…didn’t.
“In my dream, normally you would see me come out of the coffee shop … that’s because … that’s all I ever dreamed about since the accident.”
I looked at her.
“Through my dreams I attempt to change the course of past – remember the first time I met you? Instead of me, you were the one that was hit – or almost hit,” she looked away almost shamefully. “And then, the truth altered little by little every time after that – there was no accident at all. I was still alive and well.”
As much as the truth had been changed in the dreams, the accident still happened in reality. But there was a little twist to that.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she was reading my mind again. “For some reason my dreams directly affected your health. You knew that your flu got worse because you were wandering around with me in the cold. But you did it anyway. So apparently you had no control.”
I didn’t say anything. What was she getting at?
“So now … I’m going to stop dreaming,” she also stopped walking. Suddenly I realized that we were standing before the coffee shop again. The accident had already cleared, and the cars were moving along smoothly in the streets … or had there been no accident at all to begin with?
“I’ve decided to wake up,” she said. Khaki boy was now standing at the entrance of the coffee shop. He watched us with a grin on his face. “He had agreed to take me back … if I wake up.”
She was … still alive.
I was too stunned to know how to react.
After all that had happened between us … was this the final result?
To see that someone I’ve come to care much for … walk away with someone else … again…
“Is this the last time that I’m going to see you?”
There was a long, long pause.
“…yes, we’re marking an end to our dreams as we speak. You will no longer see me after this. Even if you do…” she slowly bowed her head as her voice trailed away.
“Even if I do … what would happen?” I reached out and lifted her chin.
“Nothing. Because I am asking you to forget me right now.” Tears rolled around in her eyes.
“How can you ask me to do that?” I questioned. It took me that long to finally find someone that could be special to me after all this time – and she’s asking me to forget her?
“Because I will not remember you after I wake up … there’s no use for either of us to keep this memory – do you understand?”
Meaning that … the only way for us to keep in touch was through her dreams. But that was about to end very soon.
If she wakes up … she’ll still have him, at least.
She turned out to be another person that I have to let go.
“Are you not going to say something … Sung Hoon?”
I shook my head and started to walk away.
“Sung Hoon!” she chased after me.
“What else can I say?” I snapped bitterly. “To ask you to stay in your coma so you could be with me – this is your life, Shin Ji, isn’t it? I guess I could always find another girl –“
“Sung Hoon,” she hung on tightly to my arm, tears rapidly rolling down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry…”
I cupped her chin in my hands and brought her lips to mine.
And then there was no more of Shin Ji.
* * *
I suppose I did try hard to do what she had told me to do. After all, a dream is a dream, and no matter what happened in the dream, when the dream is over, life will go on.
I recovered magically after that last encounter with Shin Ji – which was something that I couldn’t understand. What did my illness have to do with her — dream and reality shouldn’t mix. Perhaps I would never find out.
And Shin Ji – I kept on telling myself – was just a dream. If she couldn’t become a part of my life, there was no point in keeping remembering her.
I returned back to school with Ji Won and Jae Duc within a couple of days and started a new semester of school. Everything went about normally just as how it used to … Jae Duc still never had to study for anything and Ji Won still made fun of me about Hyori. Really, I wonder where he even got the idea.
“Hey Sung Hoon –“ YY came up to me after a tae-kwon-do session at the gym one afternoon. “You want to have dinner with us today?” She meant eating with Ji Won, Jae Duc, and Jae Jin over at their apartment.
“Um, it’s alright, I don’t think I can stand any more of Jae Jin’s cooking,” the last I went over Jae Jin cooked and over-cooked everything on the plate.
“Oh…” YY tried to think of something else to say. “Well, Ji Won said that he can cook for you, if you want.”
Pause. And then she said, “We’re really worried about you, Sung Hoon … you haven’t been yourself since break … you don’t even defend yourself when Ji Won makes fun of you.”
I gave her a grateful smile. I understand that they’re all my friends and they care about me … but I just didn’t feel up to it.
“It’s alright… tell him thanks anyway,” I waved her goodbye and left the gym. But still, it was nice to know that someone cared.
I stopped by the water fountain for a drink of water. What a workout I had … really made me thirsty.
“Where are you going this time?”
*Choke * ~ I spat out a mouthful of water. For a moment there I thought I was hearing things. I turned around to see whom that voice belonged to.
It was just some girl talking on the pay phone next to me. I turned back around to finish my drink of water.
“So you can’t pick me up … okay…”
I shook my head and turned around again. I couldn’t have been mistaken. I stood there and waited until the girl turned around enough for me to see what she looked like.
I drew in a breath.
“I see, I see. Sure … maybe next time then…” she was still saying.
It was that same face.
“Bye,” she was about to hang up the phone when she caught me staring at her. She looked back at me curiously with wide eyes, as if she was seeing me for the very first time.
It was the same set of eyes.
Please forget me … Shin Ji had asked me. But did she really think I could do that?
“Um … I’m sorry, for taking so long,” she apologized to me, thinking that I needed to use the phone.
“No, it’s alright. I didn’t need to use it,” I replied, giving her a smile.
“Oh,” she returned to me a confused smile.
Shin Ji hadn’t lied to me … she really didn’t remember me, but…
I suddenly realized that I’ve gone through weeks of misery for nothing.
“I just find you familiar, that’s all,” I told her.
“You do? What is your name?” she asked me.
So what if she doesn’t remember me at all…
“My name is Kang Sung Hoon. Are you Park Shin Ji?”
I will give her the time to get to know me – all over again.
“How did you know – I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before. This is my first semester here at the university.”
It’s not like I didn’t have the time.
I smiled. “I must be psychic then ~”
“Well, you must tell me about it some times,” she placed the receiver back onto the hook and proceeded to leave. There’s my first opportunity.
“How about now?”
This time, I refuse to let her go.
“Huh?” She looked at me blankly
“What I meant was … would you like to join me for dinner?”
“Well…” Shin Ji took a look at her watch. “I guess so … plans were canceled for tonight away.”
This was good start.
“Let’s get going then,” I said. She nodded and followed me out of the gym. It felt so much like the past, with her walking beside me down the street.
She had been wrong about one thing, though.
The end hasn’t been market yet.
The dreams – no, our dreams, shall be endless.
“Let me out!” screamed a terrified eight year old Sunghoon. He was trapped in total darkness with four walls closing in on him. Tears streamed down his cheeks as he remembered what had happen.
He was playing hide and seek with two boys from his school. Their names were Eun Jiwon and Chu Tae Won. Sunghoon was so happy when they invited him to join them. In school Sunghoon was the most popular kid because his aunt was the famous actress Jung Yeh Ja but when all the excitement about her was over, he was lonely all over again.
In real life, Sunghoon doesn’t have any friends because all the other kids assumed he was too good to play with them.
“Okay,” said Jiwon. “I”ll seek and you guys hide. 10…15…20…25…”
Sunghoon jumped with excitement and started running to find a place to hide. He saw a refrigerator near his house.
He wondered where it came from but then didn’t care because it would make a great hiding place. Sunghoon hid for a while and then he heard Jiwon’s and Tae Won’s voices. He wondered what was going on and then he heard a noise.
“I hope you like it in there Sunghoon!”
‘What?’ thought Sunghoon. He tried to push open the door but it wouldn’t budge. He felt trap and started to gasp for air. He pounded on the door and screamed, “Let me out you guys!”
Jiwon just laughed. “Why don’t you ask your aunt Yeh Ja to help you? Act like you’re better than us just because she is famous.”
Sunghoon’s heart sank. He couldn’t believe it. He thought Jiwon and Tae Won were his friends but they had tricked him. He began to cry. “I don’t act like I’m better. Please let me out.”
Tae Won began to laugh. “This will teach you to mess with us.” Then he and Jiwon left.
In the dark Sunghoon sat and curled himself into a little ball. He was terrified. He was scared of the dark and worse, he was afraid of being alone. Then he heard a knocking.
A little girly voice called out, “Is someone in there?”
Sunghoon stood up and banged his fists against the door. “Hurry up and let me out!”
He heard the noise of wood sliding and the door suddenly opened. Just as he saw light coming he pushed his way out.
He bent over and began breathing fast because he almost ran out of air when he was inside the refrigerator. Then a pair of Mary Janes came into his view. When he looked up he saw a pair of big brown eyes staring back at him. It was a little girl in pig tails that saved him.
They looked at each other for a while and didn’t say anything. Then the girl looked down and kicked her foot into the dirt.
“Umm…what were you doing in my fridge?”
Sunghoon looked at her and then he turned away and ran into his house, leaving the little girl staring after him.
‘Huh? What just happened here?’ Kyung Hee thought. “Aye! I’ll never understand boys!” she screamed out loud. She was watching Sunghoon as he ran into the house next door.
“What don’t you understand sweetie?” her grandpa asked as he came out the front porch to look for her.
“Oh nothing grampie.”
He waved for Kyung Hee to come sit with him on the porch swing. She walked over to him and sat on his lap.
“Do you like it here?”
She nodded her head. “Ah huh. I get to be with you all the time but I’m still mad at mommy and daddy for leaving me.” She frowned and crossed her arms.
Her grandpa let out a little laugh. “Silly girl, your parents are geologists. They have to travel around the world. They can’t take you with them because you have school. Besides they’ll send you presents.”
Kyung Hee’s eyes got wide. “Presents? A lot?”
She clapped her hands. “Yay!”
Back at home Sunghoon buried his face into his pillow and cried. Then he heard a knock on his door.
Sunghoon quickly wiped his nose on his sleeve.
“Yes? Come in.”
Then his mother came in. “What’s wrong honey? Why are you crying?”
He shook his head. “Oh it’s nothing mommy.”
His mom looked around his room. “Where are your friends?”
Sunghoon tried his best not to cry. “They….they went home.” His mom hugged him. “Oh, you’re sad that they had to go home so early?” Sunghoon held onto his mom tighter and didn’t answer. His mom thought for a while.
“Hey I know. A new family just moved in next door. An old man and a little girl.
You can go play with her. Do you want to?”
Kyung Hee stopped putting her toys away and looked up at the front door. ‘Hmm…I wonder who it could be?’
“Kyung Hee! Answer the door!”
When she opened the door she saw a pretty lady and the boy she helped earlier. “Hi!” She grabbed Sunghoon’s hand.
“Are you okay?” Sunghoon just looked at her and didn’t answer.
“Oh you two already met?”
“Not really. I don’t even know his name.”
“I see. You can call me Mrs. Kang and this is my boy Sunghoon.
Is your grandfather home?”
“Ah huh. My name is So Kyung Hee. Come in.”
Kyung Hee closed the door behind them. Then she ran upstairs to get her grandpa. Then the grandpa told her, “Why don’t you and Sunghoon go outside while Mrs. Kang and I have a talk?” “Okay grampie. Come on Sunghoon,” she said as she pulled him out of the house with her.
When they got outside Kyung Hee felt a hard shove behind her back. She fell on the grass but something there cut her leg and made her bleed. She looked up and saw Sunghoon glaring at her with the coldest eyes she has ever seen.
‘Don’t pretend you want to be my friend,’ thought Sunghoon. He was going to make Kyung Hee pay for what Jiwon and Tae Won did to him.
“Why did you push me?”
“I hate ugly girls! And you are really damn oogly!”
Kyung Hee opened her mouth in shock. She began to cry. Sung H felt bad but he was still mad at what those guys did to him so he wasn’t going to stop.
“What? Oh, are you crying? You are such a baby!”
That made Kyung Hee instantly stop. She stood up. “I’m not a baby!”
“Yes you are!” Sunghoon yelled back.
Then he yanked on one of her braids and pulled the ivory ribbon out. “Ow!” She yanked back her hair and then replied,
“You’re the baby! Who was crying inside my fridge huh?” That made Sunghoon really mad. He pushed her hard. She fell down and cried really loud. Her grandpa and Mrs. Kang ran out.
“What happened Kyung Hee?”
Kyung Hee pointed her finger at Sunghoon. She began to sob again. “He…he-”
“I accidentally made her fall,” cut in Sunghoon.
Kyung Hee looked up at Sunghoon in shock. ‘That liar!’ she thought. “I’m sorry,” said Sunghoon as he began to bawl.
He looked at Kyung Hee with his puppyish eyes.
“I didn’t mean to make you fall.”
Mrs. Kang held Sunghoon. “I know you didn’t mean to make Kyung Hee fall.”
Then her grandpa asked, “Are you okay Kyung Hee?”
Kyung Hee looked up and saw Sunghoon’s lips move. “Baby,” he said loud enough just for her to hear. Kyung Hee bit her lip. “I’m okay grampie. It was an accident.”
“I’m sorry Mr. So but I have to be home and prepare dinner for my husband.
It was a pleasure meeting you. Bye Kyung Hee!”
“Bye,” said Sunghoon and he gave Kyung Hee a wave. Kyung Hee watched them as they left. Then she saw Sunghoon turn around and giver her a little smirk. She glared back at him.
‘It’s war. I’m going to hurt you one of these days Kang Sunghoon,’ she promised herself.
This was the beginning of a NOT so beautiful friendship…
Five years later…
During these years Sunghoon and Kyung Hee went to school together everyday. Kyung Hee was the target of Sunghoon’s tortures every single day. He would call her names and hit her. He would push her around in school but in front of adults, he would act like he was her best friend. It was a nightmare for Kyung Hee because Sunghoon requested to have every single class with her and he was her partner in every single project. What’s worse was Sunghoon became the most popular boy in school so she couldn’t get anyone on her side to help her avoid him. Also during this time, Sunghoon met Kim Jaeduck and Lee Jaejin. It took them a while before Sunghoon would trust them. Eventually they became Sunghoon’s best friends as they hang out together more often. He let them in on the fun of teasing Kyung Hee but he would never let them physically harm her. And so it begins…Junior High…
Kyung Hee glanced up and saw a blurry object headed her way. Before she could block it, it hit her right smack on the head and gave her a bruise. “Ow!” she yelled and began to rub the spot where it hit her head. Sunghoon began to walk towards her. He was the one who threw the football.
“Aww…did it hurt?”
Kyung Hee glared at him but he just smiled at her. She clenched her teeth and answered, “No.” Right behind Sunghoon was Jaeduck and Jaejin. They were laughing.
“Hope you didn’t make her cry man!” said Jaejin.
Jaeduck shook his head. “Naw…her head has too many bones in it.”
“Maybe that’s why they call her ‘BoneHead!'” yelled Sunghoon.
All three of them started busting out laughing and gave each other high-fives. Kyung Hee stood up.
“You idiots! There are no bones in the head!
You don’t know anything! No wonder all of you are so dumb to make that stupid joke.
I hope all three of you fail and repeat eighth grade!”
Jaejin looked at her. “Aww…you don’t mean that Kyung Hee.
Cuz that means you’ll graduate before Sunghoon.”
“Yeah,” added Jaeduck. “You don’t want to leave your Sunghooney, do you?”
Kyung Hee’s face turned red. “Shut up Jaejin and Jaeduck! Kang Sunghoon is nothing of mine!” She points a finger at Sunghoon. “I hate you!”
Sunghoon just gave her a smile and said, “No you don’t.”
“Ahhh!” she screamed and then stomped off to class.
‘Those jerks,’ Kyung Hee thought. ‘Damn you Sunghoon. Act like you’re King of the school. I hope you get kicked off your throne Your Majesty!’ She began to imagine herself choking Sunghoon and she wasn’t watching where she was going. Then she felt herself bump into someone.
“Ow!” said a voice.
“Oh my gosh. I’m so sorry. I wasn’t watching where I was going.
Here let me help you up.”
Kyung Hee bent down to help the guy up. She noticed he had a long neck and really beautiful eyes. Then she cursed herself for staring at him. He was cute!
“Sorry about that.”
He gave her a really sweet smile. “By the way, my name is Ko Jiyong. And you are?”
“I’m So Kyung Hee. Nice to meet you Jiyong oppa.
Are you new here?”
“Yeah. First day.”
“Let me see your schedule.”
Kyung Hee looked at the list Jiyong gave her. “Hey you take Tae Kwon Doe?”
“Yeah. I’m the Junior Champion back at my old school.
So do we have any classes together?”
“Really? That’s tight! Hmm…we have four classes together.”
‘He has four out of six classes with me,’ she thought. ‘Damn and that monster Sunghoon has all six with me. Maybe Jiyong will be the only guy here who won’t listen to Sunghoon and pick on me. Who knows? He might even kick Sunghoon’s butt in Tae Kwon Doe!’ Just the thought of Sunghoon getting beat up made Kyung Hee yelled out, “Yay!” Jiyong looked at her surprised. “Why are you so happy?”
“Oh nothing. Come on Jiyong oppa.
Let me take you to your first class with me.”
Sunghoon tapped his foot impatiently against his desk. ‘Where the hell is Kyung Hee? She should have been back here before me and the others.’ He sent Jaeduck and Jaejin to go out and find her. He began to worry but then he heard Kyung Hee’s voice. He watched her talking to a strange guy. They both sat down in a corner and then that guy handed Kyung Hee back her back pack. ‘This does not look good,’ thought Sunghoon.
Kyung Hee looked over at Jiyong’s shoulder and saw Sunghoon looking at them. ‘Eat your heart out Sunghoon.’ Jiyong had been so sweet to her. ‘I wish Jiyong was my older brother,’ she thought. ‘That way he can protect me from that animal Sunghoon.’ And just then Sunghoon walked up to them.
“Hi. I’m Kang Sunghoon the school’s representative. And you are?” he looked at Jiyong.
Jiyong started to analyze Sunghoon. ‘So this is the guy who’s picking on Kyung Hee.’ Then Kyung Hee’s words came back to him.
Sigh…Jiyong looked at Kyung Hee. “What’s the sigh for?” She looked down at the floor.
“Come on Kyung Hee. If you called me oppa, that means you can tell me anything.”
“Well…I’m afraid I’m going to get beaten up today.”
“Huh? What do you mean?”
Kyung Hee lifted up the sleeve of her uniform. “Take a look at this.” Jiyong glanced at her arms. Both of them had dark purple bruises. “And this too,” she added and pointed to her head. There was also a dark purple bruise there. Jiyong looked at her in shock.
“Who did this to you?”
“A psycho by the name of Kang Sunghoon.”
“Why? Doesn’t he know guys aren’t supposed to hit girls?”
Kyung Hee glanced up at Jiyong. “Human guys don’t hit girls. Kang Sunghoon is an animal.” She sighed again. “But it’s okay…I’m used to it by now.” Jiyong squeezed her shoulder.
“Well stop getting use to it. This torture is going to end today.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, I’m going to teach this Sunghoon guy a lesson.”
Kyung Hee grabbed Jiyong and hugged him. “Really?” He nodded. “Yay!” she screamed. “You can do it in P.E. today.
His Highness is the champion here but not anymore now that you’re here Jiyong oppa..” Jiyong gave her a smile and nodded.
“Let’s get to class before we’re late.”
Jiyong looked at Sunghoon who had just approached him. “I’m Ko Jiyong. And I know who you are.”
Sunghoon looked at Kyung Hee. ‘Must have told him about me,’ he thought. Sunghoon shrugged his shoulders. “Fame spreads.”
Jiyong looked at him. ‘Kyung Hee was right. That conceited bastard!”
Sunghoon let out a fake cough. “Excuse me, Mr. Ko. I believe you’re in my seat.” Jiyong gave him a look.
“I don’t think so.”
Sunghoon gave Jiyong a glare that could freeze an entire ocean. Just then Jaejin and Jaeduck came in. Sunghoon waved for them to come over. “Hey guys come over here and meet my new friend.” Jaejin and Jaeduck walked over.
“Hey guys,” said Sunghoon. “This is Ko Jiyong. Apparently, he doesn’t know where he’s sitting.”
Jaeduck gave a little smirk. “Aww…he’s new Sunghoon. He don’t know that he’s sitting in your place.”
Jaejin nodded and told Jiyong, “You better move boy. You’re sitting with my friend’s wife.”
Kyung Hee opened her mouth in shock. “He’s lying!” Jiyong looked at all of them. He could tell that Sunghoon and the other two were lying. He turned around to face Sunghoon.
“No I don’t want to move. I like sitting here.”
Sunghoon was ticked but didn’t say anything. He had to stop Jaejin and Jaeduck from fronting Jiyong. Sunghoon just gave a fake smile and said, “I’ll see how long you will like sitting there.” Then he and the boys left.
Kyung Hee let out a sigh of relief. “Thanks Jiyong oppa. Everyday that Sunghoon and his buddies will sit next to me so they could torture me. But now that you’re here, they can’t do it anymore.”
“It’s nothing,” said Jiyong. “I’ll try my best to stop him from torturing you.”
~Ring~ It was the last bell of the day.
“Come on Jiyong oppa! Time for P.E.!”
Kyung Hee and Jiyong walked to the gym together. When they looked up they saw the janitor fixing the ceiling. Kyung Hee walked up to him. “What are you doing Mr. Seo?”
“Just fixing the ceiling fans Kyung Hee.
These things are sharp and could cut somebody up!
You two kids better get to class now. I have a lot to work to do today.”
Kyung Hee and Jiyong waved bye to Mr. Seo. Then they both went their own separate ways to the locker rooms to change for class.
Sunghoon sat down on the mat and waited for Kyung Hee and Jiyong to both come out. Jaejin sat down next to him while Jaeduck had another class to go to.
“So you gonna kick the crap outta the new guy Sunghoon?”
“Yeah. That’ll teach him to mess with me.”
Jaejin scrached his head. “Dude, I don’t get it. The only thing he did was sit next to Kyung Hee. So why you tripping for? You in love with her or something?”
Sugn Hoon glared at him. “Hell no! I don’t like her. I just don’t want anyone messing with my stuff alright?
“Okay okay. Chill. Hey here they come.”
Jiyong found a place to sit on the mat while Kyung Hee sat next to him. A guy from their P.E. class named Jang Suwon shouted out,
“Hey Kyung Hee! You dump Sugn Hoon for the new guy?”
She yelled back, “Shut up dork!”
Everyone in class, including Jiyong and Sunghoon stared at her. Kyung Hee just looked away and pretended not to notice. Then she leaned over and whispered in Jiyong’s ear. “Kick Sunghoon’s butt hard.”
Sunghoon looked at Kyung Hee leaning near Jiyong. ‘Damn you Kyung Hee. Is it so terrible to be known as my girlfriend?’ he thought fuming. ‘You’re going down pretty boy.’ He glared at Jiyong who was also glaring at him back.
The whistle blew and class began. Sensei Shim called roll and made everyone sat down.
“Alright now you spineless wimps. Let’s see what you’ve learned these past few weeks. Class will begin with a match.
Who are my volunteers?”
Sunghoon raised his hand. “I will Sensei.”
“Ah…Sunghoon, my number one student. Who else?
Hmm…how about Kyung Hee?”
Kyung Hee shook her head so hard that her hair fell out of her ponytail. Sunghoon rolled his eyes. “Not today Sensei. How about Jiyong?”
Sensei Shim looked at Jiyong. “Are you the new boy Ko Jiyong?”
“Yes Sensei,” answered Jiyong.
Sensei Shim rubbed his chin. “Hmm…I don’t know Sunghoon. It might not be fair for Jiyong to fight against an advanced student like you.” Jiyong stood up. “It’s okay. I learned Tae Kwon Doe back at my old school too.”
“Really?” asked Sensei Shim. “Then this should be a good match. Alright everybody. In your places.”
Jiyong and Sunghoon got in their fighting stances. ‘I’m going to wipe that smile off your face,’ thought Jiyong. ‘You’re going down punk,’ Sunghoon thought back.
Sunghoon moved forward. ‘I’m going to punch him so hard-‘ but before he knew it, he had fallen down on his back. He was surprised. “How? What?” Jiyong had sweep kicked him and made Sunghoon fall.
“Winner Ko Jiyong!”
“Yay!” shouted Kyung Hee. She ran up and hugged Jiyong. “You were great! You took him down in less than five seconds!”
“Wait a second!” yelled Sunghoon.
“There are three rounds in a match. It ain’t over yet!”
“Oh yeah,” said the Sensei.
“Hold on everyone. We have two more rounds left.”
Sunghoon looked over at where Kyung Hee was sitting. She was massaging Jiyong’s shoulders. He opened his mouth in shock. ‘That traitor!’ he thought to himself. ‘She’s on the enemy’s side!’ His images of choking Kyung Hee was interrupted by Jaejin calling him.
“What is it Jaejin?”
“The new guy Jiyong is pretty good but by the way he fights, I know you can beat him. Just don’t underestimate him and don’t let your guard down. You can win.”
Sunghoon slapped Jaejin on the back. “Thanks hyung. I was kind of spacing out there.” Jaejin nodded and understood. ‘You’ll see that I’m the better guy Kyung Hee,’ Sunghoon mentally tried to tell her.
“You were great Jiyong oppa!” Kyung Hee said excitedly.
“Thanks. Umm…Kyung Hee?”
“You sure Sunghoon is the best fighter here? He didn’t seem to last very long.”
Kyung Hee nodded her head. “He is the best fighter here. I think he didn’t last long because you’re so much better than him.
“Maybe,” said Jiyong with doubt.
“Okay Round Two!” yelled Sensei Shim as he pulled his arm down. “Fight!” Sunghoon and Jiyong got into their positions. Jiyong let out a punch but Sunghoon caught his arm and flipped him over. During that time Sunghoon whispered in Jiyong’s ear, “You stay away from my Kyung Hee.” Jiyong fell down surprised at what he had just heard.
“Winner Kang Sunghoon!” yelled Sensei Shim as he held up Sunghoon’s arm.
Kyung Hee opened her mouth in shock. ‘That bastard Sunghoon won!’ She began to tear away at her gi with her teeth.
Sunghoon saw her looking at him. He crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out at her. ‘That jerk is so immature!’
“Wait Sensei!” she yelled. “Three rounds remember? One more to go!”
Sensei Shim called for attention. “Okay you losers watching on the sidelines. We have one more round.”
Sunghoon walked up to Kyung Hee. “Don’t worry about it. Get ready to kiss my feet when I win Kyung Hee honey.”
“Get bent and die Kang Sunghoon.”
Sunghoon flashed her one of his trademark smiles and went back to take his place. Then he heard Kyung Hee yell out, “You can do it Jiyong oppa!”
‘Jiyong oppa?’ thought Sunghoon. ‘She never called me oppa!’ Sunghoon knew that he couldn’t lose his concentration or he’ll lose for sure. ‘Win the match first and deal with it later.”
‘Wow’ thought Jiyong. ‘Sunghoon is good. Hmm…I wonder if he’ll be my friend if he does end up beating me. He don’t hate Kyung Hee. I think he might even be in love with her! Heh heh…well well..Mr. Tough Guy must be thinking about Kisado.’ Besides, I haven’t met a good match like this in a long time.”
“Round Three. Fight!”
This time Sunghoon let out a punch and Jiyong caught his arm. He flipped Sunghoon over but he didn’t fall down.
Sunghoon twisted his body back so he fell upright. He sent out a round house kick and knocked Jiyong down. ‘Victory is mine.’ Sunghoon smiled.
“Winner is Kang Sunghoon!” yelled Sensei Shim. “You were excellent too Jiyong” he said as he helped Jiyong up. Jiyong looked at Sunghoon and smiled. “You were great. You should show me your moves sometimes.” Sunghoon looked at Jiyong surprised. He didn’t expect Jiyong to say that. Jiyong extended out his hand. “Truce? Except don’t pick on my dongsang Kyung Hee anymore okay?”
‘Dongsang?’ thought Sunghoon. ‘That means there’s nothing going on between them. I guess this Jiyong guy ain’t so bad after all.’ He shook Jiyong’s hand.
Kyung Hee couldn’t believe her eyes. Both of them are shaking hands and acting like each other’s buddy! She ran up to Jiyong’s side. “Why are you being friends with this jock strap?” Jiyong placed a hand on her shoulder.
“Come on Kyung Hee. Let’s all be friends.”
Then Jaejin had to add his two cents in. “Yeah. Isn’t that why you came up here Kyung Hee? To give Sunghoon his victory kiss?” She looked over at Sunghoon who was giving her this stupid smile and he was shaking his eyebrows up and down. She brushed off Jiyong’s hand.
“No! And I hate you too Jiyong!” Then she stomped off.
As Kyung Hee walked by the gym door, her hair got caught in the door’s hinges. ‘Oh great,’ she thought. ‘It’s not like I’m not embarrassed enough already and now this. I bet they’re all laughing now.’ She began to tug at her hair to pull it loose. However, unsuspecting by anyone, just above Kyung Hee’s head was a loose fan’s sharp blade. And it was about to fall.
It all just happened so fast.
Something instinctly made Sunghoon look up. There it was. Just a few more cracks and the heavy twirling fan would fall. Right onto an unsuspecting Kyung Hee. Sunghoon felt as though time had stopped and everything had frozen in place. But time did not stop. And he was moving.
Images flashed before Sunghoon’s eyes. Kyung Hee would be crushed and killed. Then there will be no more Kyung Hee. How lonely and empty his life would be.
When Kyung Hee turned around to see if anyone was laughing, she saw Sunghoon’s cocky smiling face end in a face of horror. She began to wonder what he was doing. There he was running as fast as he could towards her. It was so fast. She heard a loud crash and felt her body slam against the wall. She blacked out for a second before she realized what was happening. Too close. That was way way too close. Sunghoon felt his heart beat so loud that it was pounding in his ears. When he grabbed Kyung Hee he didn’t stop running until he made it outside the gym and the wall stopped him. It took him a second to realize that his lips were pressed against something soft. He opened his eyes. ‘Oh my GOD!’ His eyes got even wider. ‘I’m kissing Kyung Hee! She’s gonna kill me!’ He began to think really fast. ‘I’ll just close my eyes and pretend like I know nothing.’
It took a while but Kyung Hee finally came back to her senses. She felt something pressed against her entire body. ‘Oh my gosh! Sunghoon is kissing me!’ She pushed him off of her. “You pervert!” she yelled as she balled her fists up until her knuckles turn white. Then there was that look on Sunghoon’s face again.
Kyung Hee knew something was wrong. Her hand slowly felt the back of her head. Her long hair was gone. The front was still long but the back was severed all the way up to her shoulders. She was in shock. “How could you do this to me?” she cried out. Sunghoon shrugged his shoulders.
‘I can’t believe I said that!’ Too late. Sunghoon saw Kyung Hee turn even angrier. Then he felt a painful slap across his cheek. He turned his head back just in time to see her run away. Then slowly, he went over to the gym doors to pick up what was left of Kyung Hee’s hair. Slowly his tears fell upon the shiny black hair he was holding.
Sunghoon was hurting and it wasn’t from the slap. It was a different kind of pain.
Kyung Hee didn’t stop running until she made it home. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. ‘That jerk kissed me!’ she repeated to herself over and over. ‘That was my first kiss too! It was supposed to be for the guy of my dreams. Not a walking nightmare like Sunghoon!’ “Why does Kang Sunghoon hate me so much?” she asked herself out loud. “What did I ever do to him?”
Kyung Hee touched the back of her head. Her hair really is gone.
Five more years later….
During this time changes both happen for Kyung Hee and Sunghoon. (*They’re 18 and in high school)
Kyung Hee became more distant towards everyone. Everybody assumed it was because of her hair. She was no longer the sociable, bubbly girlie but now she became a silent aggressive jock. She traded in her baby tees, hair bows, skirts, and platforms for sweatshirts, baseball caps, tennis shoes, and baggy jeans. She would hang out with the nerds and jocks and just about anybody except for the popular girls (who are all stuck up). No one dared to mess with Kyung Hee though. She developed a reputation for herself as a fighter when she managed to beat up the biggest girl bully in school. Kyung Hee is a really small and skinny person but no one could really tell underneath all of her clothes (so she seems bulky).
Jaejin and Jaeduck stopped teasing Kyung Hee as time passed too. They’ve gotten more mature and dated around too.
Kyung Hee still talks to Jiyong but she had stopped calling him oppa.
Ever since that incident, Sunghoon knew that Kyung Hee had changed. He had toned down on picking on her but he didn’t stop. He knew it was the only way and excuse he had if he wanted to talk to her. When he entered high school, he brought along his popularity and good looks with him. Sunghoon became every girl’s dream guy. Well-built body, styling hair, seductive eyes, and a killer smile. He dated every girl that every guy in his school want to date.
But sadly no matter how many girls he dated, they all mean nothing to him. He was never able to tell Kyung Hee how he really felt about her so he planned on keeping it silent forever.
Kyung Hee looked up and caught the ball that was aimed towards her.
Sunghoon started jumping around and yelling,
“For the honor of football, Kyung Hee is She-Man!”
“Go back into the cave where you crawled from Porcupine,” she snapped back, referring to his hair. She threw the ball back at him.
‘Porcupine? It took me an hour to get my hair like this!’ Sunghoon thought. ‘Damn why does her words have to get on my nerves so much. No one else can ever do that!’ “Aww…you grouchy because everytime you look at me you know you can only look but can’t touch?”
“Puh-lease…If I touch you I might get a disease.”
“Poor Kyung Hee. Gonna die a single, lonely old nun.”
Kyung Hee gave him a secretive smile. “Just because I don’t date around like you do doesn’t mean anything. And beside….how do you know I’m single?” Sunghoon looked at her. ‘Is she dating someone I don’t know?’ He was about to ask but just then Shin Chun Ok (Sunghoon’s latest girlfriend) walked up and interrupted their disses.
She ran up to squeeze him. Sunghoon rolled his eyes. ‘Damn Chun Ok. Why did she have to be here? She’s so annoying!’ But he gave her a smile anyways.
“So what are you doing here?”
“I want you to take a look at my dress!”
It was a tight little black V-neck dress that showed plenty. And Chun Ok was a little chubby too.
Sunghoon really didn’t care anyways. He planned to break up with her soon. Kyung Hee was watching them the whole time. She rolled her eyes. Chun Ok caught Kyung Hee watching them. She began to talk to Kyung Hee in her fake sugary voice.
“I know what you’re thinking. But sorry this dress doesn’t come in a large.”
Kyung Hee gave her a fake smile. “No but your mouth sure does.” Then she walked away. Chun Ok rolled her eyes behind Kyung Hee’s back. “Whatever.” Sunghoon glared at her. He didn’t like it when other people made fun of Kyung Hee just because she dressed like a guy.
“You didn’t have to say that you know.”
Chun Ok stomped her feet. “Why do you always take her side?” she whined.
Sunghoon just walked away.
Sunghoon waited for Kyung Hee after school but didn’t see her so he decided to drop by her house. She wasn’t home but her grandpa was.
“Sunghoon! Long time no see! Come in.”
“Hi Grandpa So. Is Kyung Hee home?”
“No. She told me she’s going out with her boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend? Who is he?”
Grandpa So gave him a little smile. “Sunghoon. You’re old now. Don’t be teasing an old man. You and Kyung Hee still pretending to hate each other while you both know that you both have a burning attraction.”
“Attraction?! Hell NO!”
Grandpa So just smiled. “Okay I’ll just play along. She’ll be home later. The sooner you meet up with her the sooner you’ll see her.” Sunghoon smiled and shook his head. Grandpa So always wanted him and Kyung Hee to be together.
“Okay. Good bye Grandpa So.”
[8 hours later…]
Sunghoon banged on the So’s front door. Grandpa So answered it. “Is Kyung Hee home?”
Grandpa So yawned. “No. Where is she?”
“I don’t know! I wasn’t with her.”
“It’s okay Sunghoon. She’s a big girl now. She can take care of herself.”
“It’s late. It’s past midnight right now. Aren’t you worried? What kind of grandfather are you?”
“Kyung Hee’s been out this late for the past two months. Why are you so worried?”
Sunghoon blushed. “I’m not worried.” Grandpa So yawned some more. “You can wait here if you want.” “No. I”ll go out and look for her,” said Sunghoon. Then he left.
Sunghoon began to walk down the street. He sat on the curb and waited. Ten minutes later he saw Kyung Hee walking up the path with a dreamy look on her face. He was so happy to see her but he was also very mad. He ran up to her.
“What is wrong with you? What is a girl like you doing out so late on a school night?”
Kyung Hee looked at him surprised. “None of your business.” Then she began walking home. He followed her. Sunghoon knew he couldn’t ask but the thought of Kyung Hee with another guy was tearing at him inside.
“Well your grandpa was worried.”
“I can take care of myself.”
They made it home together in silence. Kyung Hee came home and closed the door. Sunghoon watched her go in and saw the door as a sign. ‘She has shut me out of her life forever.
A couple more weeks had pass. With Sunghoon’s popularity, he used everyone he could to find out who Kyung Hee was dating. But it was no use. No one was able to find out. He broke up with Chun Ok and she knew it was because of Kyung Hee too. She was mad but wasn’t able to do anything to Kyung Hee because she was threatened by Sunghoon.
Also she was afraid of Kyung Hee too. Not knowing who Kyung Hee was dating was bothering Sunghoon so much he couldn’t sleep. There was only one thing left for him to do. Spy on her…
It was 11 p.m. Kyung Hee had left her house and took a taxi. Sunghoon began to follow her silently in his car. It took twenty minutes but then Sunghoon saw Kyung Hee get off at a park. He parked his car away from her view and got out of his car. He snuck up to a bush nearby and watched her. Then he saw her run up to a strange guy he has never seen before. ‘I wonder who he is.’ Then Sunghoon began to analyze Kyung Hee. ‘Figured she wouldn’t dress up. Not even for a date.’ “Miss Tomboy.”
Kyung Hee ran up to hug her boyfriend.
“I miss you. I also have something to tell you.”
“I miss you too.”
Jiwon held her. He tried to stroke her hair but like always, it was tucked inside that stupid baseball cap. Kyung Hee looked at him. He didn’t seem to happy to see her. “Is something wrong?” she asked. Jiwon nodded and told her to sit down. He held both of her hands.
“Is there something you want to say Kyung Hee?”
“You go first Jiwon.”
“It’s us. I don’t think it’s working out.”
“Well…we’re not compatible.”
“What do you mean? We like the same things.”
Jiwon gave an exasperated sigh. “We like the same things that guy buddies should like. Not like couples. I thought I’d get over it but you’re really not attractive.”
“What?!” she asked in surprise.
“I mean look at you Kyung Hee. I mean sure you’re pretty, I think But I can’t tell from your hat covering half your face. I don’t even know how long your hair is! And you dress like a guy!” and he continued listing her bad qualities….
Sunghoon looked at Kyung Hee from where he was sitting. He could tell she was trying her best not to cry. Her feelings weren’t hurt but her pride was. ‘Jiwon…hmm…he looks and sounds familiar…’ he thought. Sunghoon chewed on his lip for a while and then it hit him. ‘He’s that stupid kid that locked me in the refrigerator!’
Sunghoon felt anger rising inside him as he looked at Jiwon. As he was listening, he began to realize Jiwon was putting Kyung Hee down as he was breaking up with her. ‘Don’t you dare hurt Kyung Hee like that.’ Sunghoon came out from where he hid.
“You understand don’t you Kyung Hee?”
Jiwon looked at her. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. She was about to answer but then her eyes widened when she saw Sunghoon walking up to them. ‘Oh no! He’s going to make fun of me because I just got dumped.’
Sunghoon ran up to Kyung Hee and hugged her hard. Then he spun her around.
“Gosh I miss you!”
“Huh? Who are you calling hon-”
Sunghoon got Kyung Hee in a head lock and closed her mouth just in time. He looked over at Jiwon who was looking at them both in shock. “Who the hell are you?” asked Sunghoon.
“I’m Eun Jiwon. And who are you? Why are you calling my girlfriend honey?”
“I’m Kang Sunghoon and you got it wrong pal.
Kyung Hee is my girlfriend.”
Kyung Hee looked at Sunghoon. ‘What is he doing?’ Then she realized she was still in a head lock. “Let go! Your armpit smells!” Sunghoon twisted her away and whispered, “You want me to help you from being embarrassed or not?” She nodded her head. “Then stop dissing me!” Then Sunghoon turned them both around to face Jiwon. He gave Jiwon his famous smile.
“Oh so you’re the guy Kyung Hee tells me that’s a lousy kisser.”
Just to prove his point, Sunghoon bent over to kiss Kyung Hee. The kiss came out awkward and he ended up kissing her nose instead.
Jiwon gave them both cold glares. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about but I just dumped Kyung Hee so you can have her.”
Sunghoon let out a loud fake laugh. He faced Kyung Hee. “Honey you’re so sweet. You didn’t want this loser to feel bad so you let him think that he’s dumping you.”
‘Thank you,’ she thought silently. She smiled and nodded. “I had to dear.”
Jiwon looked at them in disgust. “Hope you two are very happy together!” Then he left.
Kyung Hee sat down on the bench. ‘God…I hope she’s not gonna cry,’ prayed Sunghoon as he sat down next to her.
“Go ahead and laugh.”
“I know you want to. Now is the perfect time to make fun of me.”
Sunghoon wanted so bad to put his arms around her and let her cry on his shoulders.
“Naww…not in the mood tonight. I’ll save it for some other time.”
Then suddenly Kyung Hee began to cry.
“You’re not crying over that jerk are you?”
“Why do you care?” she yelled at him.
“I…I don’t care except I think you’re wasting your tears.”
Sunghoon felt his heart breaking as he saw Kyung Hee cry. ‘He’s not worth it,’ he thought but he kept those words to himself. ‘She’ll never cry over me.’
“No. I’m not crying over him.”
“No really. I’m not.”
“Then why are you crying?”
Sunghoon felt a bubble of hope rise inside him. Kyung Hee let out a sigh. “My parents are going to come visit me tomorrow and they want to meet my boyfriend.” Sunghoon looked at her.
“So…what are you gonna do now that Mr. Wonderful is gone?”
“I don’t know. Gosh I’m such a loser.”
Sunghoon let out a fake sigh. “Well…I can pretend that I’m your boyfriend.”
Kyung Hee looked at him surprised. “You’ll help me?” ‘Maybe Sunghoon isn’t so bad after all. I guess he can be really sweet sometimes.’
Just looking into Kyung Hee’s big warm brown eyes wanted to make him tell her all of his feelings. But he couldn’t. “Yeah. It’s Be Kind To Geek Week.”
Kyung Hee stood up. “I don’t need your help you conceited snob! I’ll just ask Jiyong!” Then he ran off. “Damn!” Sunghoon cursed himself.
“Why did I have to say that?” he asked himself. But he received no answer.
Kyung Hee hugged her parents as they came inside the house. “We miss you so much.” “I miss you too.” Then Grandpa So came out and they all had tea while they talked. After a while the subject of her boyfriend came up. Her mother asked her,
“So Kyung Hee dear, where is that boyfriend you have always been talking about?”
Kyung Hee glanced at the clock. It was 7:30. ‘Damn Jiyong is half an hour late! Jiyong, why aren’t you here yet?’ It seemed to be an answer because just then the front door bell rang. She jumped up and ran for the door.
“I’ll get it! It must be him.”
She opened the door. “I’m so glad you’re hereù” but she was cut off by her scream. It was not Jiyong but that thing Kang Sunghoon. He was holding flowers and he leaned over to hug her. “I miss you too honey!” he said really loud for everyone to hear. Kyung Hee blocked the door but he made it inside her house anyways.
“Hi Mr. and Mrs. So. Hello Grandpa So. I’ve heard so much about you from Kyung Hee. My name is Kang Sunghoon.” He shook hands with all of Kyung Hee’s parents. The parents nodded their heads in approval. The grandpa just smiled.
He knew what was going on. He didn’t say anything because his wish for Kyung Hee to be with Sunghoon is going to come true.
“So you must be the boyfriend Kyung Hee is always talking about.”
“I think so. Kyung Hee is the best thing that ever happened to me. I can see she got all her good qualities from her family.”
Kyung Hee rolled her eyes while she listened to Sunghoon’s political speech. ‘He must be the world’s best liar!’ But her parents were pleased. They like Sunghoon. But then her mother asked, “Do you know the young boy who lives next door?” ‘Oh no,’ thought Kyung Hee.
Sunghoon raised an eyebrow. “Umm…kinda. Why Mrs. So?”
“Kyung Hee mentions that boy too. She said he was an annoying pest but we haven’t gotten the chance to meet him yet. So I just want to see if you know him too.”
‘Annoying pest?’ he thought. ‘I’ll let that one slide.’ “I do know him Mrs. So but he’s not an annoying pest. It’s just that a long time ago…Kyung Hee wanted to date him but she could NOT so she has a grudge against him.” Kyung Hee opened her mouth but quickly shut it. She need Sunghoon’s help so she couldn’t say anything. Her mother asked, “Is that true dear?”
Kyung Hee gritted her teeth. “Yes it is mommy.”
Sunghoon smiled. They sat down and talked. Hours past and it was getting late and he had to go home.
“Well it was a pleasure meeting you Mr. and Mrs. So. Good night.”
“Good night Sunghoon.”
“I’ll walk him home,” said Kyung Hee.
Just as they got out the door Kyung Hee slammed Sunghoon against the wall.
“What the hell are you doing here? Where is Jiyong?”
Sunghoon smiled and said, “Is this how you treat your boyfriend?”
“Jiyong couldn’t make it so I decided to help him out.”
“Oh no. My parents are staying for two weeks! Jiyong can’t pretend to be my boyfriend then.”
Sunghoon gave out a sigh. “Well, I guess I’ll torture myself for a few weeks and pretend to be your boyfriend. Kyung Hee looked at him suspiciously. “How do I know you didn’t do anything to Jiyong to take his place?” Sunghoon was stunned. He hadn’t thought about Kyung Hee thinking that. Truth was, he had to beg Jiyong to let him take his place.
But Sunghoon played it smoothly. “Yeah right. Look at you Kyung Hee. Only an idiot would date you. What makes you think that I would do this if it wasn’t for a buddy?”
Kyung Hee looked at him with doubt. But then Sunghoon continued talking. “Besides, this means you have to be nice to me or your parents will find out the truth.” It seemed like blackmail to her.
“Oh I’ll be nice to you alright,” she said as she raised her fist. But just then her dad opened the door and she dropped her fist immediately. “That’s so cute. You don’t want to say goodbye to Sunghoon? Stay out with him then. It’s just ten but be home by midnight. There’s school tomorrow.”
“Thanks Mr. So,” said Sunghoon and he pulled Kyung Hee away before she could answer. “I’ll have her back by midnight.” He took her hand and led her to the park.
“Okay. Here are the rules if you want me to be your boyfriend.”
“Rules? Puh-leaze! I don’t want to date you!”
“Oh yeah? Tell that to your parents then.”
That made Kyung Hee shut up. She listened as Sunghoon went on.
“First of all, I have good taste. My girlfriends will be wearing dresses and smell good. And you look like a guy! And you smellù” Sunghoon took a whiff of her. “Eww! You smell like a guy too!”
Kyung Hee took a smell herself. “Do not!”
“Do too! Second rule. When we kiss you have to promise to let go because I know you can’t help yourself and you’ll end up gluing yourself to me.”
Kyung Hee gave him a disgusted look. “Gross! That’s my rule! No kissing!”
Sunghoon cocked an eyebrow. “Won’t it look weird if you never kiss your boyfriend?”
Kyung Hee shuddered form the thought of kissing Sunghoon. “The things I do just to please my parents.
“Hey I’m the one who’s sacrificing. Now I have to go two weeks without dating any girl. I’m supposed to be with a beauty and not a beast.”
Kyung Hee sighed. “Alright. Then go ahead. Kiss me.”
“You heard me. Remember when you kissed me in front of Jiwon? You were aiming for my mouth weren’t you? But you missed and hit my nose. I guess we have to practice.”
Sunghoon swallowed. He always imagined what it would be like to kiss Kyung Hee but he didn’t really think he was going to have that chance. “Well at least take off your cap so I know I’m kissing a girl.” Kyung Hee took her cap off.
Long strands of hair fell down past her shoulders and down her back. Sunghoon ran his hand through her hair. “Hey your hair grew back!”
“Why do you always keep it up in a cap then?”
“Oh I don’t know. May be because I have a fear that a psycho would chop it off.”
Sunghoon pulled his hand away. “Look it was an accident. Besides, it was five years ago. Can’t you forget and move on already?”
“How would you feel if I cut your hair?”
“It’s different because my hair is nice while yours is nappy,” he said.
“Oh yeah? Could have fooled me.
I thought your hair was a dead animal with all those spikes.”
“So are we gonna kiss or not?” he asked.
Kyung Hee sighed. “If you only would stop making fun of me.”
“Okay I guess I have to stop for now since I’m your boyfriend.” Then she slowly closed her eyes. Sunghoon looked at her. Her innocent face reminded him of all the good times they had together. Well actually, good for him, nightmare for her. But there she was standing very close to him. Eyes closed, her long hair swaying. Then he bent forward to kiss her.
And there it was. Magic and fireworks.
It was a feeling he couldn’t describe. He never felt this way when he kissed a girl before. And he knew it too because he had kissed a lot before. Kyung Hee wrapped her arms around Sunghoon’s neck. ‘Hmm…I never felt like this when I kiss Jiwon. I could kiss Sunghoon forever. Wait a minute….what the hell am I thinking?’ Kyung Hee broke the kiss off.
“Okay that’s enough practice.” She put her cap back on because she knew her face was turning red. Sunghoon was kind of disappointed that it had to end so soon.
“Uh, yeah. Come on Kyung Hee. I’ll walk you home.”
[School, the Next Day]
Sunghoon stopped by Kyung Hee’s locker. He forgot to discuss with her if they were going to pretend to be a couple in school or not. ‘I hope so. Maybe I’ll get to kiss her again,’ he thought with a smile. Then he saw Jiwon walking up to him. “What are you doing here?” Jiwon gave him a smirk. “I transferred here. I just want to know for sure if you and Kyung Hee have been dating.”
Sunghoon began to sweat. ‘Uh oh.’ “Of course we have and it’s been for a long time too.” Jiwon gave him a look that showed Sunghoon that he didn’t believe a word he said. “Oh really? Then let me ask someone.” Jiwon grabbed Suwon as he was walking by. “Hey you. Who is So Kyung Hee’s boyfriend?”
Sunghoon looked at Suwon. “Oh that’s easy! It’s Kang Sunghoon.”
“Yeah,” said Suwon. “They’ve been together forever. They’re like a married couple!” Jiwon let Suwon go. “See?” said Sunghoon with a cocky smile. “So what?” Jiwon snapped back. “She acts and looks like a guy anyways.”
Sunghoon and Jiwon turned around to see who was calling Sunghoon. Both of them did a double take. It was Kyung Hee and she looked damn fine. Her hair was put up but strands fell down layering her face. She was wearing a light blue slip dress that emphasized her great figure and matching platforms. The school’s tomboy had just turned into the school’s prom queen. She looked like an angel. Sunghoon couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Neither could Jiwon.
“Sunghoon!” She went up and kissed him on the cheek. “Are you waiting for me?”
Sunghoon finally snapped out of it. “Uh…yeah.” Then he leaned over to give her a real kiss. ‘I can kiss her anytime I want to now that she’s my girlfriend,’ he thought. Heh heh. Kyung Hee turned around. “Oh hi Jiwon. What are you doing here?” Jiwon looked at her awkwardly. “Um…hi Kyung Hee. I just transferred here. You sure look pretty today.”
Kyung Hee gave him a smile. “Thanks. Well nice seeing you. Sunghoon and I have to go to class now. Bye..” Sunghoon wrapped his arm around her waist and led her to class, leaving Jiwon looking after them.
As they entered the door, Jaejin and Jaeduck ran up to Sunghoon. But then they saw Kyung Hee. Jaejin gave her a little smile. “Hi. I’m Lee Jaejin. I’m single and ready to mingle. And you are?” Kyung Hee rolled her eyes. Then it was Jaeduck’s turn. “Can I check your dress to see if you were made in heaven?”
“It’s me Kyung Hee. And those were the lamest lines I’ve ever heard.”
Jaejin and Jaeduck opened their mouths in shock. “No way!” yelled Jaejin. “But you’re a girl!”
“I’ve always been a girl!”
“You know what Kyung Hee? I’ve always had a crush on you,” Jaeduck said to her sweetly. “Back off guys,” said Sunghoon. “She’s my girl.” Jaeduck pouted his lips. “Damn it figures.”
Then Jiwon came in. ‘Damn,’ he thought. ‘She never looked this good before.’ He wanted her back an he always gets his way…
The next two weeks went by fast. Sunghoon acted like the perfect boyfriend. He treated her nice and was always there by her side with flowers. Her parents like him a lot. Before Sunghoon knew it, his dating charade with Kyung Hee was over and so was school. Her parents stayed until their graduation and then afterwards they took a plane back to the U.S. Then entire graduated class decided to go on a campout because it will be the last time they will see each other since everyone is going their separate way to college.
[The Camping Trip]
Everyone was sitting around the campfire and talking. Chun Ok had sat herself between Sunghoon and Kyung Hee. Jiwon was watching Kyung Hee the whole time. Jaeduck was telling a scary story about a psycho killer in the woods.
“He goes around chopping of peoples’ heads and he especially likes girls. Heh heh…”
Jaejin threw a stick at him. “That’s a stupid story Duc-ee.”
Jiyong threw in more wood into the fire. “But I heard it’s true though.”
Suwon widened his eyes. “For real?”
Sunghoon laughed. “Oh come on. It’s a bunch of bull. Even if it is for real, he’ll just be after the girls.” He gave Kyung Hee a supposedly scary face but it turned out so goofy she ended up laughing. Chun Ok grabbed onto Sunghoon though. “Sunghoonee! I’m scared. Hold me.”
Sunghoon was taken by surprise. He tried to pry Chun Ok off of him but she held on tight. Kyung Hee glared at them both. ‘That Casanova. Just because every time he smiles his eyes would light up and his hair is so soft he thinks he’s-‘ Kyung Hee stopped herself. ‘What am I thinking? It sounds like I want him or something.’ She stood up. “Excuse me but I think I’ll got for a walk.” Then she left.
Jiwon stood up too. “I think I’ll take a walk too.”
That alarmed Sunghoon. ‘He is not going to take a walk with my Kyung Hee.’ He ended up having to force Chun Ok off of him and ran where he saw Kyung Hee disappeared. Chun Ok was mad. “Kang Sunghoon, you come back here!”
Everyone at the campfire started giggling.
[Somewhere in the woods]
Kyung Hee looked all around her. ‘It figures. Sunghoon wouldn’t come after me,’ she thought sadly. ‘I mean why would he?’ Then she heard a voice. “Kyung Hee!” She smiled and turned around. It was only Jiwon. Her face fell. “Oh hi Jiwon.”
He sat down on a rock next to her. “Aren’t you going to come back to take Sunghoon away from the Chun Ok girl?”
She shook her head. “No…I guess they’re mean to be together.” Jiwon looked at her. “Kind of like you and me?” Kyung Hee scooted herself away as her eyes widened. “Uh, Jiwon. It’s over between us.” Jiwon grabbed her hands. “But you can give me a second chance!” She pulled her hands away. Then Jiwon asked her, “Remember what you told me what you wished for a long time ago?”
“You said you wanted to find your first true love and be with him forever.” Kyung Hee stood still. She did say that. Jiwon was her first love. But then she thought of Sunghoon. Or is it Sunghoon? “I don’t know!” she yelled as she took off running. Jiwon smiled. ‘She’s coming back to me.’
As Jiwon walked back to camp he heard a voice calling for Kyung Hee. He recognized Sunghoon’s voice. In the middle of the road Jiwon looked down. He saw a huge hole that was about ten feet deep. Jiwon gave an evil smile. He had a plan. He began to rustle the leaves near the hole.
Sunghoon heard a noise. ‘Is it Kyung Hee?’ “Kyung Hee is that you?” No answer. “Come out come out wherever you are.” The leaves continue to rustle. ‘What if she’s hurt and couldn’t answer?’ Sunghoon started to walk towards the noise and ended up falling into the trap. It was so cold and dark in there. Sunghoon began to panic.
Jiwon came out from where he was hiding. “Hey Sunghoon. Looking for something?”
Sunghoon looked up and saw Jiwon’s face. “Damn you Eun Jiwon! Get me out!” Jiwon just smiled. “This all seems so familiar. You know, it took me a while but then I remembered. Didn’t I do this to you before ten years ago?”
Sunghoon started to tremble. Because of what Jiwon did to him, he had a fear of the dark and being trapped alone.
But he wasn’t going to show it. Sunghoon glared at Jiwon. “So what? I don’t give a damn. Just get me out!”
Jiwon laughed. “I guess history repeats itself when you mess with me or anything of mine. This time I mean Kyung Hee. She is my girlfriend and I want you out of the way. And I guess this solves my problem.”
“Kyung Hee don’t like you! She’s with me.”
“Oh really? Didn’t seem like it when your ex held you like that. I guess you can’t let your first love go and I think you know that I’m Kyung Hee’s first. She’ll come back to me.”
Sunghoon sat down on the cold ground. Kyung Hee did say that before. ‘Is she going to go back to him?’ As he was thinking, Jiwon had left already. Sunghoon looked up. “Hey!” His worst nightmare had came back and this time Kyung Hee was not there to save him. He was stuck here all alone in the dark. “Kyung Hee…where are you?”
After a while Kyung Hee headed back to camp. She took out her flashlight to shine her way back on the main path.
[Down in the pit]
Sunghoon looked up and saw a beam of light. He stood up. “Help!”
Kyung Hee looked around. ‘Was someone calling for help?’ “Hello? Is someone out there?”
Kyung Hee ran to where the voice came from. She saw Sunghoon jumping up and down in a hole. “Sunghoon! What are you doing down there?”
“I fell in. Help me out!”
“Okay.” She placed her flashlight on the ground. Then she reached over and tried to pull Sunghoon up but he was too heavy for her. “I can’t”
“What do you mean you can’t? Use those puny muscles you have!”
“You’re too heavy! Let me go back to camp for help.”
“Hell no! What if you leave me here?”
“What? I’m not like that!”
“How do I know?”
“Sunghoon. Let go!”
Sunghoon ended up pulling Kyung Hee into the pit with him. She landed on top of him. She got up and started yelling at him. “You selfish jerk! Now we’re both stuck down here!” Sunghoon backed up against the wall. Then he started yelling. “Damn! Not again! Why me? Why does it have to be so dark?” Kyung Hee looked at him. “You’re afraid of the dark?”
“Yeah! You got a problem?”
Kyung Hee looked at him surprised. “No.” She started to look at the real Kang Sunghoon for the first time in a long time. The smart-aleck tough guy was gone. And there he was. The innocent and vulnerable Sunghoon she first fell in love with when she was eight. But she still hasn’t realized it yet….
Sunghoon started to gasp for air. That scared Kyung Hee. “Sunghoon….are you okay?” He shook his head. Then suddenly, he leaned over and hugged her hard. He buried his face into her neck and didn’t let go. Kyung Hee stood still. She didn’t know what to do. “Sunghoon…are you okay?” Still no answer.
She continued to hold him as he shivered in her arms. She ran her fingers through his hair and whispered in his ear like he was a little child that needed comforting. Sunghoon began to breathe easier and calmed down. Then he realized he was holding onto Kyung Hee a little too hard. He let go, his face blushing. “Uh, sorry about that. I didn’t mean to.”
Sunghoon gazed at Kyung Hee from the light that the moon shone on her. Her eyes were closed. She was like a sleeping angel. She looked like it too with her raven hair flowing down her back, her little white dress, and she was so naturally beautiful that she didn’t need makeup.
Sunghoon began to lean forward to kiss her but then suddenly she opened her eyes. He pulled back instantly, his cheeks turning red.
‘Crap! Did she know what I was about to do?’
Kyung Hee patted him on the shoulder. “Hey Sunghoon…”
“Look. There’s a full moon out tonight.”
Sunghoon looked up at the sky. The moon was full and bright. Then he looked over at Kyung Hee, who was smiling. Then she asked him, “Do you remember when we were ten, we saw the moon’s reflection on the lake? You told me the moon was a ball so I would go in and get it.”
Sunghoon smiled when he reminisced about his childhood past. It had been a happy one ever since he met Kyung Hee. “Yeah. You went into the lake and started to get the moon ball. And you kept asking me why the ball would disappear everytime you came near it. You were so stupid!” He started laughing. Kyung Hee gave him a look.
That made him stop laughing. But then she gave him a little smile to show that she wasn’t mad and it made him feel better.
“Yeah because of your dumb lies I almost ended up drowning.”
“Yeah…I had to jump in and save you. I was so worried.”
Kyung Hee looked at him. “Were you?”
Sunghoon faced her. He was gazing directly into her eyes. He always thought the best part about Kyung Hee were her eyes. They were big, innocent, and honest. Every time he looks back, he always remember them as the first thing he saw when he met her. “Yeah kinda. I mean if you ended up drowning then I have no one else to pick on.”
Kyung Hee looked down and smiled. She knew what Sunghoon really meant though. They continued talking about their past and before they knew it, they both fell asleep on each other’s shoulders.
It was morning when Jiwon woke up. He went over to Kyung Hee’s tent but she wasn’t there. He patted Chun Ok on the shoulder. “Hey Chun Ok. Do you know where Kyung Hee is?” Chun Ok rolled her eyes. “That girl hasn’t been back all night and neither was Sunghoon. She must haveù”
Jiwon left before she could finish talking. “Ahh!” she screamed because no one ever listened to her.
Jiwon called the others so they can help look for Kyung Hee but he had the feeling she was with Sunghoon. He took them to the place where Sunghoon had fell. Sure enough, there they both were. Kyung Hee was leaning against Sunghoon asleep. Jiwon was mad. “Hey!” The yell woke up Sunghoon and Kyung Hee up. They glanced up to see what it was.
Sunghoon stood up. “Hey you guys, help us out!” Jaeduck started laughing as he pulled Sunghoon up. “Ooo…Sunghoonee…what were you and Miss Kyung Hee doing down there all night?”
Everyone else except Jiwon laughed. “Shut up Duc-ee” said Sunghoon. Then he leaned over to help Kyung Hee up.
“Let’s go home,” Sunghoon said to the others.
It was evening by the time Sunghoon got home. He was exhausted so he took a shower and headed straight for bed.
He looked over at Kyung Hee’s room, who was exactly across from his. Her lights were out so she must be asleep. Sunghoon sat down on his desk and began writing in his journal. He had kept one ever since he was ten and he wrote in it whenever something came up. When he finished his entry, he turned off his lights and went to sleep too.
It was eleven at night when Sunghoon woke up. It was dark out but he couldn’t sleep anymore so headed downstairs to look for something to eat. His mom was in the kitchen.
“Hi Sunghoonee.” She walked over to kiss him on the forehead. “How was camping?”
“It was fun.”
He sat down at the table with his mom. She touched his hair and let out a sigh. “What’s wrong mommy?” He began eating his noodles.
“Nothing son. It’s just that you’re all grown up and going to be off to college soon.”
“Don’t worry mommy. It’s only a couple of hours from here. I’ll be back to visit you and dad often.”
His mom smiled. “I know. Can you believe it? You and Kyung Hee know each other for ten years now and in just two more days it will be the last time you’ll ever see each other.” Sunghoon choked on his food.
“Oh didn’t you know? Kyung Hee came over an hour ago and made those noodles for us. She told me she’s leaving for the U.S. with her boyfriend in just 2 more days.”
“Yes. A boy from your class. I think his name is Jiwon.”
Sunghoon stopped eating. ‘So Kyung Hee is going to go back to Jiwon.’ His mom looked at his unfinished food.
“Something wrong dear?” Sunghoon shook his head. “No mommy. I’m full. I think I’ll go to my room.”
Sunghoon leaned over his bedroom window. He saw Kyung Hee changing her clothes. Just then she glanced over and saw Sunghoon watching her. She threw a shirt at him. “What do you think you’re doing you Peeping Tom?” He blocked her shirt. “Can you come over?” Kyung Hee looked at him. ‘He looks so sad.’ She nodded. “Okay.”
Sunghoon pulled her across from her house and into his room. She sat down and started to look around. She never had been in Sunghoon’s room before but he was always in hers. “Well what do you want to talk about?” Sunghoon looked at her with sad eyes. “Umm…is it true you’re going to the U.S. in two days?”
“Oh you heard about it already?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Why do you care anyways?”
Sunghoon got mad. “Why do you always assume that if there’s something involving you that I don’t care?” Sunghoon started to front her as she backed up into a corner. She was shocked. She never saw Sunghoon this mad before.
“Because you never seemed to care before.” Sunghoon grabbed her wrists and held them up. “Well you know what? I DO care.” He began to let her go. “It’s just that you don’t care about me enough to realize it.” He sat down on his bed.
Kyung Hee sat down next to him. “Sunghoon…what’s wrong?”
“Please tell me.” Sunghoon looked at Kyung Hee. His mind kept telling him that this will be the last time he will ever see her. ‘It’s now or never.’ Sunghoon took a deep breath and told her exactly how he felt.
“I love you.”
Kyung Hee stood up in shock. “What?!”
Sunghoon stood up with her. “I love you.” Kyung Hee couldn’t believe her ears. “Wait…do you know what you’re saying?” He nodded his head. “Yes and I do mean it. I love you So Kyung Hee.” She moved away from him.
“Do you know what you’re saying? I’m going to leave Korea in just two more days with Jiwon. I’m planning to be with him forever.”
Sunghoon nodded his head sadly. “I know. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”
Kyung Hee sighed in relief. “It’s okay.” But then it hit Sunghoon. “NO!”
Kyung Hee looked at him surprised. “What do you mean ‘No'”?
He looked at her directly. “Why should I be sorry for saying that I love you? It’s the truth!”
Kyung Hee backed up again and then she began to cry. Sunghoon tried to move near her to comfort her but she pushed him away. “No! After all this time you say that you love me?” He looked at her sadly.
Kyung Hee looked at him through her tears. “I’m sorry Sunghoon. I want to be with the one I love.”
Sunghoon looked at her back. “But do you really love him?” She paused. She thought about it and couldn’t find the answer herself. So she didn’t answer and looked away.
Sunghoon thought that was the answer. “It’s okay because if I do truly love you then all I can wish for is for you to be happy.” He leaned over to hold her shoulders and kissed her on the forehead. “Goodbye.”
Kyung Hee looked at him as he walked away. “Sunghoon…wait.”
He felt hope go through him. “Yes?”
“Is it okay if I take something of yours as a memory?”
That flicker of hope instantly died. He bowed his head down. “Go ahead. Take anything you want.” Then he left his room and Kyung Hee left too. Sunghoon didn’t know it but his journal was gone.
“Boarding Flight Number 637! All passengers please come aboard at this time.”
Kyung Hee looked out the window of her airplane seat, looking at Korea for the last time. Jiwon sat down next to her.
He held her hand and gave her a little smile. “Don’t worry sweetie. It’ll be okay just as long as we’re together.” Kyung Hee gave him a weak smile and nodded. Jiwon looked at her carefully.
“You sure are pretty today. Remember back then when you were so much like a guy? I mean I couldn’t believe that I had dated you back then.”
Kyung Hee was taken aback. ‘Does look always have to matter?’ she thought. She sighed and didn’t listen to Jiwon as he continued talking. She pulled out of her handbag the book she took from Sunghoon. She didn’t know exactly what it was except that it had Sunghoon’s name on it.
She opened it up. ‘Oh my gosh! I took his journal!’ She closed the book instantly. Her curiosity got the best of her. She opened it up. The book was held in place by something. She took it out and saw the it was a little bundle strand of hair tied together by an ivory ribbon. She realized it was her hair and the ribbon was the same one Sunghoon took from her when he pulled on her pigtails.
Tears fell down her face as she held onto her hair. ‘Sunghoon…you had loved me so long ago?’ She began reading his entries.
Too close. I can’t believe it. It had all happened so fast that I didn’t have time to think. I would have lost Kyung Hee if I hadn’t seen that fan falling. If it did fall and kill Kyung Hee…what would become of me? She’ll be gone forever, leaving me in this cruel and lonely world. You would have thought that I would have told her that I loved her right then because I came so close to losing her. But I didn’t. When I pushed her out of the way in time, I also chopped off her beautiful long hair. I know it was her prized possession. I said something really stupid and now she hates me forever.
Why must I always hurt the one I love the most?
Kyung Hee paused in shock. After all these years, she had blamed Sunghoon for cutting off her hair when all he did was risk his own life to save hers. More tears slipped down her face as she continued reading.
Ha Ha! Hey, today I was teasing Kyung Hee in the cafeteria again. She was so mad. She hated it when I called her Macho Man. Is it my fault she looks so much like a guy? Hmm…but underneath all that she was the still same So Kyung Hee that I love. It’s so hard telling her how I feel cuz every time we talk, we end up arguing or dissing each other about something. It’s Valentine’s Day today and I don’t even have the guts to give her the dozen roses I have right here. I hope she’s not out with some other guy though…
Kyung Hee let out a little laugh. It figured Sunghoon would write something like that. She flipped the book all the way to the last entry.
I love camping. Yesterday I was out camping with everyone and the most important of all, Kyung Hee. That stupid jerk Jiwon made me fall into a pit but like always, Kyung Hee was there for me. I don’t know what to do without her. We talked about our past together and of course, she reminded me of how I tortured her. Underneath the moonlight, she looked so pretty. I began to realize that my childhood happiness was all because of her. She didn’t laugh at me when he found out my fear. And you know what? Since Kyung Hee was down in that dark hole with me I’m not afraid of the dark anymore. But I’m still afraid to admit to Kyung Hee that I love her. What if she rejects me? All I know is that I can’t live without her….
Kyung Hee shut the journal. She began to do some thinking of her own. She looked over at Jiwon, who was sleeping.
Then she realized it. All her tears and happiness were all because of Sunghoon. He was the only one who was able to make her laugh or cry. She knew right then she couldn’t leave.
“Flight 637 is prepared for take-off.”
Sunghoon watched the plane for Flight 637 take off. He walked away form the fence when the plane was no longer seen. Tears fell down his cheeks as he started to head home. ‘It’s over.’ Sunghoon got into his car. He leaned against his seat and sighed. ‘If we were meant to be together, then Kyung Hee will show up right now.’
Sunghoon sat up instantly. He recognized that voice. “Kyung Hee? Can’t be!” He looked up and saw her running towards him. He was so happy he couldn’t speak. He got out of his car right away and ran towards her. She ended up in his arms. He spun her around. He gently placed her down and said, “I don’t get it! Your plane left already! I mean how?”
Kyung Hee smiled. “I got off the plane before it took off. Jiwon wasn’t exactly happy about it but it’s okay.” Sunghoon looked at her shyly. “But I thought you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you fell in love with first?”
Kyung Hee gazed into the face of the person she knew she wanted to see every day. She leaned over to kiss him. Then she whispered, “It was you all along.”
~*:: The End ::*~
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