*Chapter Twenty* Loving You Part I

< Part 1 >

Five months later.

En Chan didn't wholeheartedly approve of her mother's remarriage. She simply couldn't imagine that Mr. Ku would be her father. Her late father had been strong and kind and dependable, like a father should. But Mr. Ku seemed more like a friend than a father. Not knowing what to do, she asked Mr. Ku,

“If you had to choose between my mom and being awarded the amateur literature award, which would you choose?”

“How could you even ask something like that? Of course I'd choose your mother.”

“Then you're giving up the award?”

“Poems, I can write and show your mother. I can be satisfied with that.”

“So you're saying you'd choose my mother over the award, right?”

“Right.”

“Wasn't winning that contest the goal of your life for the past twenty years?”

“Man, you really don't approve of me, do ya, kid?”

“When did I say I didn't like you?”

“Are you saying you like me then?”

“Tsk. Shoo....”

The progress of En Chan's operation was good. The hemorrhaging had been external, so she was able to recover much more quickly than first expected. Even so, staying in the hospital had been torture. It had been more so because her mind had been ill at ease.

Her mom and Mr. Ku were married in a small ceremony held at a nearby wedding hall. It was her mother's second wedding, but it was Mr. Ku's first. Her mother, wearing a wedding gown, looked quite beautiful for someone reaching the age of fifty. A nervous Mr. Ku sweated all throughout the ceremony. Only a few close relatives, the Coffee Prince crew, and the market vendors came to the wedding.

“My heart would tremble at your sweet sweet voice—“

En Chan sang the wedding song with En Se. It was her mother's good fortune to be able to wed a bachelor as a widow with two daughters of marriageable age. Not to mention it was her mother who had needed convincing. It'd been five months since their family had moved into Mr. Ku's house after nearly being thrown out into the streets. While En Chan was undergoing post-op rehabilitation, Mr. Ku had been earnestly seeking her mother's love.

The two of them flew off to Jeju Island for their honeymoon. En Chan had already been on the verge of tears in thoughts of her father when her mother burst out crying first, and so she hadn't had a choice but to comfort her. En Chan reassured herself that although in some ways her mother's remarriage was upsetting, there would also be more good things waiting in the future. It would help them financially, and it would lighten the burden on her to act as the head of the family, and they would now be able to discuss En Se and her mom's futures. She didn't know if she would ever be able to bring herself to call Mr. Ku “Father,” but she got a feeling that she would come to rely on him. That was the way it had to be, and that was the way she hoped it would be.

A few days later, En Chan returned to the coffee house after having greeted her mother and her new stepfather, who'd returned for their honeymoon.

“I'm sure there's a lot you have to take care of, I told you to take the day off.”

“There's nothing to take care of.”

After the magazine article, the cafe saw even more customers. There were even people who'd stopped by deliberately just to taste the coffee, so there were days when none of them got a moment's rest. After the damages had been repaired, Coffee Prince had reopened under Mr. Hong's management. Nak Kyun had gone back to school and was only working evenings part-time, and Ha Rim was now living in a basement single and was studying quite diligently to get back into college. Sun Ki, who'd gone missing for months, began coming out to Coffee Prince last month. While En Chan was in the hospital, Han Kyul had said his farewells to the Coffee Prince crew and had gone into Dong Yi Group headquarters.

“Ahjussi, you gonna eat that?”

“Oh, yea, here. Take it.”

En Chan polished off all the leftovers, as she did everyday. These days, she never felt satisfied, no matter how much she ate. When she wasn't eating, she didn't feel hungry, but once she began, she couldn't stop. She may have to get an x-ray taken, to make sure her stomach wasn't harboring a beggar's ghost.

“Nuna.”

“Hmm?”

“En Se asked me to go with her to the audition tomorrow....” Sun Ki trailed off. Nobody knew how Sun Ki had been able to come back to Coffee Prince. All they knew was that Han Kyul was somehow connected to it because all Sun Ki would say was that the sajang had been helped him.

“You're off tomorrow, aren't you?”

En Chan knew why Sun Ki was hesitating. As a man with a past, he was asking her permission to hang out with En Se. She'd been dense to the feelings between her mother and Mr. Ku, but she'd had at least an inkling of the attraction between En Se and Sun Ki. She didn't know it when En Se was simply loitering around the cafe, but once Sun Ki returned to the store, she'd drop in constantly and hang around Sun Ki.

“If you go with her, I'd feel better about it. She pretends to be strong on the outside, but she's actually a pretty fragile kid. You have no idea how nervous she gets before an audition. Take care of her for me, yea?”

“Nuna.....”

“Don't shrink like that every time you see me. I'm ok now. And it's not even like you did it to me or anything. You know, for a guy, you really don't get over things, huh? Forget about it, kid.”

En Chan pat Sun Ki and on the back and went into the lounge to get ready to take off for the night.

“H-hey!”

Nak Kyun and Ha Rim, who'd been changing, jumped in surprise.

“Nuna! What's the matter with you! Try knocking first, yea?”

“Ya, I've seen all there is to see. What's with the sudden shyness, huh?”

En Chan slapped the bare backs of both boys and took out her clothes from the cabinet.

“It isn't the same anymore. You look like a girl now. Your hair's longer and you've lost weight.”

“Yea, you've really lost a lot of weight these days, nuna. But you eat so freakin' much! Where does that all go? Or do you secretly....” Nak Kyun made a retching sound.

“Ya, what am I, crazy? Why in the world would I throw up something as precious as food?”

“Or do you go jogging marathon-style at night under the moon?”

“You're the one who looks like he needs to exercise. There's nothing to see.”

En Chan tapped Ha Rim's side and came out of the lounge. When she came out from changing in the bathroom, the punk from the land of the crows was waiting for her.

“Nuna, ma'am, I'm here to pick you up.”

“Man, you're one annoying kid.”

Even so, En Chan took the helmet the punk held out.

“Ahjussi, I'm heading out.”

“All right. Good work. See you tomorrow.”

En Chan had recently found out that the name of the punk from the land of crows was Hwang Min Yeop. Min Yeop was planning on entering the army once he graduated high school. He said until the day he enlisted, he would take responsibility for her when she came to and went from work. At first she tried to dissuade him, but the kid had a stubborn streak, and there was nothing she could do. It looked like he was unnecessarily burdened by some kind of guilt, but she figured, he'd had it coming, so she'd let it be.

En Chan got onto the back of Min Yeop's motorcycle.

If I can accept Min Yeop's apologetic mind, couldn't he forgive me as well....

Everyone else believed that En Chan was doing fine. To others' views, she did, indeed, look fine. She ate well, she smiled often, and was energetic, like she'd been before. But actually, En Chan had been suffering from insomnia for the past five months. Until the day she left the hospital, En Chan waited for him. He'd been cold and cruel on the phone and wouldn't even pick up her calls anymore, and she'd heard that he was furious in feelings of betrayal, but she'd believed that he would eventually come to see her. But he did not. He couldn't be seen in the coffee house or room S11. He couldn't be found anywhere, as if he'd never existed in this world.

*Chapter Twenty* Loving You Part II

< Part 2 >

It was time for Coffee Prince's employee meeting.

“So what? We're going to raise Coffee Prince to become like Star?”

“Well, it's hard to say it'll grow as big as a worldwide chain, but it looks like he's willing to try out a franchise. He'll be investing, and we'll be providing the Princes' coffee and management know-how.”

“In other words, Coffee Prince Branches 2, 3, and 4? Our sajangnim's doing this, right?”

Han Kyul was still “sajangnim” to them all. En Chan shook her head.

“It's Dong Yi Foods. I'm going to meet the president of that company tonight and hear more about it. You have to come with me, Mr.Hong.”

“All right. But do you really think we can pull it off?”

“I think as long as we don't overdo it, we can. What do you think about opening up the second branch first and see how it goes and decide then whether we should keep expanding or not? The biggest asset our store has is that most of the customers are regulars, so we know them pretty well. Ha Rim always gives customers comments on their tie colors, new hairstyles, things like that, and En Chan hyung's memorized who wants their cup filled up and who wants only half a cup, who wants their coffee extra hot and who wants their coffee just as quickly as possible. There are a lot of people who come here because they find stuff like that comfortable. If there are too many branches, we'll lose our edge. Personally, I'd like to see branches set up in the countrysides. Not in the busy parts of town but in the outskirts, like us here, and small, so that they'll give off the feel of a friendly neighbor.”

“Ya, take Nak Kyun in my stead. Looks like he'd do a better job.”

“I can't, tonight.”

“Today's his girlfriend's birthday.”

“Oh, it's Soo Ae's birthday today, huh?”

En Chan found herself looking at him proudly. After returning to school, Nak Kyun had found a girlfriend. It was unbelievable that he hadn't had one before, but seeing that Nak Kyun had become far softer and more carefree made En Chan realize just how strong the influence of love was.

“Then you meet him by yourself tonight, Chan. When the talks start getting a little more detailed, let's all meet him together and discuss it in earnest.”

“All right. I should be going now. It's Friday and there's probably going to be a lot of traffic.”

“Oh, by the way, En Chan, starting tomorrow, I want you to go and get trained to become a barista.”

“Huh? Me?”

“You're not going to go back to the dojo, right? When we start building the second and third branches we're going to get busy, so you should take advantage of the time you have now to ge trained. I've already signed you up, so start tomorrow. What's the matter?”

“I don't know if I'll be able to do a good job....”

“You'll be fine. You work better under pressure. He said the longer the line of customers were, the faster and more accurately you seemed to work.”

“Who said that?”

“Oh-h... the c-customers did......”

*Chapter Twenty* Loving You Part III

< Part 3 >

Leaves scattered in the chilly wind. The streets had been emptied by the abrupt cold. The air inside the crowded bus was stuffy. En Chan

opened the window slightly and the cold wind that rushed in blew through her hair. A gold earring twinkled on the end of her right ear.

The atmosphere of the jazz cafe Da Soop, where she hadn't been back since she'd worked there part-time, was still as good as ever. There were not a few customers who sat enjoying the slow jazz flowing through the air. When she arrived, Han Sung was already sitting down.

“You're here pretty early. I'm not late am I?”

“There wasn't as much traffic as I thought there would be. Did you eat dinner?”

“With my coworkers. You haven't eaten yet?”

Saying he hadn't had time, Han Sung ordered a steak and En Chan ordered beer.

“You seemed quite surprised to receive my call.”

“Oh... yes. I didn't know you would.”

“About two weeks ago, I met Han Kyul at company headquarters. He entered the company as a regular employee and he's already been promoted to proxy director. He's in the financial department. Did you know that?”

En Chan shook her head and took in a mouthful of beer.

“Actually, this franchise idea was first brought up by him, too. He'd thought it out pretty carefully. He even submitted a marketing plan, and I have to say, it was quite convincing. It might be that he was just smart about it, but it made even me feel that it would be a waste not to consider it.”

The moment Han Kyul's name had come out from Han Sung's mouth, En Chan's heart had begun racing. To tell the truth, she had anticipated hearing news about Han Kyul from Han Sung. But now that he was telling her what she'd wanted to hear, she began to feel more and more depressed. She felt angry and sad that he was doing so well and hadn't once contacted her in all that time.

“Your hair's much longer now,” said Han Sung, looking at the hair that covered En Chan's ears.

“You think so? I'm getting bored because it's not growing fast enough.”

Han Sung leaned back and looked steadily at En Chan. En Chan avoided the uncomfortable gaze and drank her beer.

“Is Han Kyul still acting the same way? Have you tried calling him?”

“No.”

En Chan raised her hand and ordered more beer.

“Take it easy.”

“I'm not going to make a fool of myself like you did, so don't worry.”

“You haven't changed a bit, have you?” Han Sung smiled before returning to his meal. While he finished, En Chan found herself buzzed after her first drink in a while. Han Sung had already learned all about the details of Coffee Prince from the marketing plan that Han Kyul had submitted, so the information En Chan offered was basically supplementary. Han Sung had the deciding authority, but he would have to discuss the details of the plan with his own subordinates.

“And Mr. Hong is in favor of this plan, right?”

“Well, Coffee Prince was Han Kyul's project, wasn't it? Coffee Prince was born through that person. The concepts for interior design, order forms, all of it. If he wants to do it, how can any of us say no? All of us employees owe him so much and we've all fallen for him.”

“Fallen for him?”

“He was like a guardian angel. He appeared just when we were all struggling and helped us all and then vanished into thin air. Of course we've all fallen for him.”

“That's not what Han Kyul says.”

“What does he say? Did he say anything? I mean, he still remembers us?”

“He said that his workers never ceased to stimulate and spur him on.”

“Stimulate? Yea, we did that. Nak Kyun went AWOL in the beginning and then Ha Rim left home, and Sun Ki.... Do you know anything, by the way? How he dealt with Sun Ki's case?”

“No.”

“I suspected as much.”

En Chan let out a sigh and took another sip of her beer.

“He's a mysterious one, that man. I can never tell what he's thinking.”

“Both of you have gotten much thinner. And sharper.”

“He rebelled like crazy, so why did he end up going into the company anyway? Does he like work that much? He probably lives buried in work, huh?”

En Chan, who'd begun to drink more quickly, began to slur her words. She slouched and her eyes clouded over while she began to talk wildly.

“Man, I feel like shit. These days, I remind myself of a bum. I eat and eat and eat and I'm still hungry, and I put clothes on but I feel cold like I'm naked. Man, I'm pathetic. Freakin' pathetic. Like a freakin' idiot. My insides hurts like I drank vodka on an empty stomach. My insides hurts so much....”

En Chan, who'd been grumbling, stopped speaking. It was because she'd seen Han Kyul and Yu Ju walking in the entrance together. Han Sung turned his head and looked at the two of them. Han Kyul's face went rigid

as well. En Chan gripped the bottle she was holding tightly as if to break it.

Han Sung stood up.

“So we end up meeting here.”

En Chan put her elbows on the table and put her head on her palm. She glared at Han Kyul who was walking toward them with a scowl on his face.

“I forgot that the two of you are regulars here. It looks like you were in the middle of talking business, so please, continue.”

Han Kyul turned Yu Ju around and began to walk away when En Chan, who'd been watching him, yelled,

“YA! Choi Han Kyul!”

She stabbed the air with her finger and sprung up from her chair. She teetered but did not fall.

“You, boy am I glad to see YOU! YOU! Who the hell are you! What kind of stingy-ass jerk of a man are you!”

Han Kyul, completely ignoring En Chan, turned to Han Sung and said,

“Looks like she's drunk. You should probably take her outside.”

“Are you drunk, En Chan?”

At Han Sung's question, En Chan shook her head vigorously.

“NO!”

The shaking made her dizzy and she reeled, but she soon found her balance and continued to glare at Han Kyul.

“You were the one who thought I was a guy in the first place. You never asked me if I was really a guy or not. And now you're not even giving me a chance to explai myself? You bastard! Just who the hell do you think you are, huh? HUH? Say something, you twisted, miserable human being!”

Han Kyul looked at her, incredulous, before turning around, as if to say she wasn't worth dealing with, and began to walk away.

Until En Chan said this.

“You tell Ha Rim to come out, but you go in? What a traitor.”

Han Kyul whipped around and walked toward her with a terrifying expression on his face. En Chan flinched inside, but she placed her bets on the excuse that she was drunk, and stood her ground, glaring at him.

“What? Am I wrong?”

En Chan lifted her chin up and began to shoot her words at the cold gaze that looked down at her from so close.

“You pervert cabbage slug! If you're a man, act like one and act your age! How can you be so un-understanding? If your employee's been laid up in a hospital bed with an injury, shouldn't you come by to visit at least once? Even if I'd committed a mortal sin, you should've asked what my reason was for it. Am I wrong, you flea-minded old geezer!”

The customers in the store were looking on with amusement. But now Han Kyul himself was too angry to back away.

“All right. Fine. Try explaining yourself, why don't you? Try explaining the reason why you laughed at me and played around with my mind for months and months. It's probably a damn good one, right? It's not something as stupid as a few hundred bucks, right?!”

“Damn it! Yea! It was as stupid as a few hundred bucks! What are you going to do about it! Must be nice to have so much money, ahjussi. Must be nice to be able to earn money without having to lie to anyone! Was I so wrong? And when the hell did I ever laugh at you or play around with your mind?! I never did that!”

“Never did that? Never pretended to be an honest, flawlessly innocent kid so you could steal my heart away?!”

“When! When! I never did that! I tried to tell you honestly! But I got scared, all right?! I got scared that if I told you, I might lose it all! Why couldn't you help me and figure it out first? You dense moron! How can you know me for three months and not even know? Do you know what that did to my self-respect? Goddamn it! Am I.... am I really not it? You really don't feel anything towards me?”

Suddenly En Chan's face flushed bright red. She felt like she was going to die from humiliation. But she stood her ground. She stood her ground because she thought to herself that if she walked out from here, it would be the end. If she was never going to be able to see him again, she wanted him to tell her straight out right here, right now. She wanted him to tell her if she wasn't, so she could at least wake up....

“What am I, a gay? Why would I feel anything towards a man?”

He'd said it straight out. En Chan felt like someone had struck her with a chair. Wanting him to tell her straight out... apparently that had been a lie. Maybe it was because she was drunk, but the thought that she couldn't let him go rose up from inside of her. She wanted to grab onto him as a friend, at least, or even blood brothers. To think that she'd never see him again made her heart ache so badly she felt like she was going to die. She couldn't live like this anymore. This was too pathetic and heartbreaking and cruel....

“It was better when you were a boy. I wanted to make you my little brother because you were cute. You remember me saying that, right? But what? You're a woman? What would I do with a girl like you? You stop at nothing to get at some money and you stab people in the back. You bitch.”

At Han Kyul's ruthless words En Chan flinched, wounded. But her desperation rose higher than her anger. En Chan bit down on her lip as she lifted her hair to show her ear.

“Th-then let me be your little brother. I still have your mark. Ccan't I be that, at least?”

The tears in her eyes shined and twinkled like the gold earring on her ear. Everyone who'd been watching them froze in silence. Only Han Kyul, who was breathing hard, looked like a living creature. Han Kyul shouted, his eyes more furious than they had been before,

“You think you're the only one who's lost self-respect? You stepped all over my pride! You ripped it to shreds!”

Han Kyul clenched his jaw and growled. When he saw a teardrop fall from En Chan's eyes, he finally exploded.

“How could a male not recognize a female? Do you know how humiliating that is to a man? There are some things men never want to let women see! Goddamn it!”

Han Kyul left. En Chan, who'd gone pale, rubbed her tears away with the back of her hand. She repeated the words he'd just said. Things men never want to let women see? What things? What did I see?

En Chan's self-control crumbled. She was angry and hurting and sad and in despair so she screamed desperately,

“I didn't see anything! I don't even know what you're talking about, so how could I have seen it?!”

And then he reappeared. He quickly walked over to her in big strides.

En Chan flinched in surprise at his roughness and caught her breath. He had come at her so recklessly that she thought that maybe he was going to hit her.

“It's this, stupid,” he said, almost at her nose.

The moment she thought, 'This? What's this?' her head was grabbed and pulled. En Chan realized that she was being kissed. When his tongue came into her mouth, she finally realized what 'this' was as well. En Chan, who'd been frozen, began to melt. Emotions and excitement suffused her as she wrapped her arms around his neck and hung on. A tingle of pleasure ran down her entire body. As if asking for a deeper kiss, En Chan's body began to bend backwards, and Han Kyul pulled her toward him with all his might. When their deep and passionate kiss ended, her lips, still lost in ecstasy, were straining toward his. Even when she belatedly realized that he'd pulled away and opened her eyes, En Chan was still in a daze. Han Kyul was smiling at her. Everyone who'd been watching their deep kiss came out of their trance and burst into applause and cheers.

After Han Kyul had run out pulling En Chan along by her hand, Han Sung and Yu Ju sat in front of each other awkwardly.

“Feels like I've just finished watching a movie.”

“It's a happy ending.”

“Men don't care about stuff like that.”

“What do they care about then?”

“Sex scenes and action.”

“You know, I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever heard you say.”

“Was I really that dry?”

Han Sung gave Yu Ju a rare smile.

“Thank you for helping.”

“Say nothing of it. It's also the owner's obligation to make pay attention to his business partner's emotional health. The lady got drunk quite easily on her own.”

“And Han Kyul got excited quite easily on his own as well. They must be made for each other.”

Han Sun and Yu Ju looked at each other with friendly eyes for the first time in a long time, just like they used to back before they'd been lovers, back when they'd been like brother and sister....

*Epilogue*

<Epilogue>

“And Sun Ki's too busy these days. I think we're going to have to hire some new people.”

[Are you sure it's for real? Can the guy really sing?]

En Chan was talking on the phone on her way to barista training.

“Enough to make you fall in love. Even I would want to give him a recording deal.”

[How could I trust your ear? All guys who live in karaoke bars know how to sing.]

“He made the audition, so what else is there to say? You think the judges were all scarecrows? Why do you think they just gave him the contract fee on the spot like that? You always pick on only me. Psh.”

[Hey, I gotta go. Conference.]

“I gotta go too, I'm at the lecture hall. See ya.”

[Wait. Where were we going to eat lunch again tomorrow? I'll come pick you up.]

“You don't have to do that. It's just a few stops if I take the subway. I'll see you at the entrance.”

[I'm just afraid you're going to be late like last time.]

“Oh, don't complain about ten minutes.”

[12.]

En Chan had already arrived at the lecture hall and Han Kyul had to go into his meeting, but they couldn't hang up. They hid the passionate words they wanted to say to each other and acted mischeivously.

[Ya, I don't want people thinking we're two men on a date, so dress accordingly.]

“In that case you should come wearing a dress, ahjussi.”

[Are you gonna keep on talking back to me? Girls are supposed to be soft-spoken and refined.]

“Maybe I'll gather together all the un-soft-spoken and un-refined girls around and make an anti-cafe against you, ahjussi. Ha, you scared?”

[Turning it into a fan cafe would probably be a piece of cake. I could probably make them turn to my side with a single picture. Hey, I really got to go now. Kissy kissy, Snookums.]

“Hey, I'm still a part of that anti-cafe, all right, Mr. Kinky? I'm hanging up now.”

The two of them giggled to themselves as they hung up and returned to their respective tasks. Han Kyul had risen to the position of head director, and had moved to the accounting department. To a nextgeneration proprietor, these promotions were actually meaningless; nevertheless, Han Kyul was learning the ropes step by step in preparation to take over the company. As long as he had made up his mind to compete with Han Sung for the top, he had no intention of losing. That there was a worthy adversary was beneficial for the company as well.

The next day, En Chan rummaged around in her closet for some time before asking for En Se's help. All that En Chan had in her closet were t-shirts and jeans and oversized jumpers. Other than that, there was only the dress suit that she'd worn for her mother's wedding, but that was appropriate for an amusement park. En Se, having laid out her own clothes in front of her sister, continued to hassle her into choosing quickly. In the end, En Chan put on a flowered blouse and skirt and a feminine jacket. She'd decided to pull out all the stops because she wanted to look pretty for him and also because of what he'd said about two men on a date.

On her one off day every two weeks, En Chan planned to eat dinner with her family. En Chan had been busy with the franchise project, barista training and working in the cafe, and having passed the audition, En Se was also practicing singing and dancing day and night, and wasn't often seen around. And so, they had set apart this day to come together to eat out.

Mom and ahjussi were beginning to look more and more like a real wedded couple. What them care and provide for each other sometimes made

her feel that all her work had been for nothing. It made her feel kind of lonely, but when she thought back to the way she felt when she was with Han Kyul, she could more that understand their feelings. For the first time since her father died, her family sat around at the dinner table, happy and cheerful. They were coming out of the restaurant when En Se said,

“I'm gonna take off. I have an appointment.”

“You're going to go meet Sun Ki? The two of your practice together everyday, and you still have to see him on your off day? You give birth to a daughter and you raise her with your own hand, and all this, for what?”

En Se had provided an opening for En Chan to say,

“M-me too....”

If Mr. Ku hadn't been there, Mom would've had to walk the lonely way back to the house all by herself. She suddenly felt thankful for Mr. Ku.

En Chan ran to the subway station so as not to be late, but she just missed the train. It was all because of this damned flapping skirt. She got on the next train and had three stops to go when it became their designated meeting time. It was obvious that he was going to give her hell for being late again. She took out her cell phone and tried to call him, but it acted up and wouldn't work. She pounded on it and shook it, holding it out in all different directions, but she couldn't get through. To make things even worse, the playground was a sea of people. She sweated up a storm trying to find him in the pulsing crowds.

“Ya!”

En Chan, exhausted, looked at the sneakers that came into view and lifted her head.

“Oh! Finally!”

En Chan took in deep breaths and smiled apologetically, but Han Kyul's angry face didn't loosen up.

“Do you know what time it is?!”

“I'm sorry. Really, I'm really sorry. I was on my way and I missed the train and.... I freakin' ran. Look at me, I'm sweating. My physical strength's not what it used to be. I haven't worked out in a while....”

“Then you should've turned your phone on at least! How long were you going to make me wait in this crowd? You promised and promised that you wouldn't be late! Do you know how much I worried about you?”

“Y-you worried about me? Why would you worry about me? You worried I was going to get into a subway accident or something? I'm fine. I'm fine and I'm here, so please don't be mad.”

“Why'd you turn off your phone.”

“Oh, this stupid phone. It hasn't been working since I was in the subway. This stupid piece of junk...”

En Chan took out her phone from her pocket and was hitting it with the palm of her hand when Han Kyul snatched it away. He then chucked it on the floor.

“What's the point of carrying around a phone that doesn't even work!”

Still dissatisfied, he stomped on the broken phone and ground his heel into it. People walking by gathered 'round to watch him, amused. En Chan, surprised, gave up trying to stop him and simply watched on. She folded her arms across her chest and watched a seething Han Kyul for a while before saying,

“Feel better?”

Han Kyul breathed deeply and said,

“Yea.”

“Then look at me.”

After all the trouble she'd gone through to dress up, running had mussed her up all over. En Chan quickly rearranged her clothes and hair and posed for him.

“Mmmm. The lady has put on a skirt.”

“You finally see me?”

“Isn't it a bit small, though? We need to buy you some clothes.”

En Chan glared at him and he smiled and said,

“You're pretty. Very pretty.”

“Prettier than Miss World?”

“Miss World? Ohhh... Ya, that's been bothering you until now, huh? It's been on your mind for a while.”

Han Kyul chuckled to himself as he poked En Chan's cheek with his finger.

“Hey, I didn't have any fun that time. I don't even remember them.”

“Psh. What do you take me for, an idiot? You were smiling like your lips were going to rip apart and you threw me out into the streets and sped off.”

“I told you, I was already beginning to find you cute back then. Do you know how head-splitting it is to find a boy cute? If you're going to make up for how much you made me suffer, you have to do cute things for me at least 200 more times.”

“Who made who suffer? It's news to me.”

“I'm a master at the poker face. Never showing on our faces what's going on in our insides is our family specialty.”

“Whatever you say, sir. Let's go eat.”

En Chan turned around and headed toward the entrance. Han Kyul, who'd followed behind her, put his arm around her shoulder and pointed with his hand.

“Let's ride that first. I've always wanted to ride it.”

As if nothing had happened, the two of them went inside the amusement park. They mixed into the crowd and got on rides and ate ice cream and walked down flower paths. Sometimes they'd clasp hands, other times he'd have his arm around her, and other times they would simply look at each other....

After exiting the amusement park, they ate dinner at a high observatory restaurant. They sat down side by side on yellow banana shaped leather sofas in the small balcony-like area that jutted out from the rest of the space. They ate dinner and drank wine, looking out at the magnificent scenery from the window.

“Are you going to keep growing your hair out?” asked Han Kyul as he brought his lips to her hair and gave it a kiss. En Chan was resting her head on his shoulder.

“Yea. Why? You don't want me to?”

“It's not that I don't want you to. It's just that it doesn't fit with the Coffee Prince concept. That's a place where princes work.”

“Then you want me to continue to look like a boy?” asked En Chan. Han Kyul nodded without a single moment's hesitation.

“I want you to look like a boy to other men. So they don't move in on you.”

“You worry about the strangest things. There's nothing but women all around me.”

“Don't hang around too much with women either. By the way, you looked really out of shape back there. Let's start working out together starting tomorrow.”

“And how am I supposed to find the time? These days, I wish here were ten of me to go around. You know Chief Bong from Dong Yi Foods? He's

a total tightass. He wants to have conferences every single day. He's already changed the marketing plan several times....”

“You meet Chief Bong every day? Hmm that geezer's got to go. I'll have to change him. Even I can't see you every day, it makes me jealous.”

“Ahjussi, don't overreact.”

“Cut down on the time you work at Coffee Prince. I've been thinking about this for a while now, but I think you should pick new employees and become the manager yourself. That way, you can pay closer attention to the franchise project.”

“Hm..... I'll talk it over with Mr. Hong.”

The two of them leaned against each other, looking at the night scenery. From time to time, Han Kyul would give En Chan's shoulders a tight squeeze. And from time to time, he would lay kisses on her head, her temples, and her cheeks, displaying his affection.

“There's something I'm curious about. Before you found out at the hospital, you really never once suspected? You never wondered to yourself if I was a girl?”

“What do you think?”

“Hmm. Answer 1,” said En Chan, lifting up a finger. “Never. Not even once. Answer 2, maybe just once. Answer 3, maybe in your subconscious, but never thought about it consciously. Why? Because you're a coward. Answer 4, you would've liked for me to have been a girl. Now, which one is it?”

“Hmm... the answer bank is pretty scanty. I especially don't like Answer 3. The answer is, Answer 5.”

“Answer 5?”

“I liked you, even if you were a boy.”

“What? What is that? What the?! Then when you kissed me on Valentine's Day, that wasn't just a prank?”

“I told you. There are some things men never want to let women to see.”

“Oh, right, I've been meaning to ask you. What is that? You didn't want to let me see you kiss me? I didn't have my eyes open when you did.”

“No, it's not that... it's just.... well, it's a type of...... the.....”

“The what?”

“Do you really have to hear the answer?”

“I can't stand being curious.”

“It's.... like sexual arousal.”

En Chan whipped her head around to look at Han Kyul in shock. Han Kyul looked at her as if daring her to say anything and then reached out and put her head back on his shoulder.

“You mean, you thought I was a boy and you felt that? That's why the tongue.....”

“Yea.”

“No way...... pervert cabbage slug!!”

“Yea, I don't know what else to say. But you know, when I think about it, Answer 3 might be right as well. If you were a girl, I would have to kick you out of the store, and I would've had to doubt whether you'd come to like me or my money.”

“You narcissist.”

“Not a narcissist... maybe a coward, like you said?”

“It's late. It's almost midnight.”

“I'll give you an answer bank.”

“Huh? You didn't ask a question, though.”

Han Kyul lifted up a finger in front of En Chan's face and said,

“Answer 1. You sleep with me tonight. Answer 2. You go to Dong Yi Hotel room S11 with me right now. Answer 3. We talk in my bed until the morning. Answer 4. You live with me for the rest of your life.”

After the last sentence, En Chan couldn't say anything for the pounding in her chest. Her heart was racing like a frenzied maniac. She hadn't talked to him about it, but it wasn't as if she hadn't give their future some thought before. The conclusion was always a deep sigh. She'd comforted herself by telling herself to be thankful and satisfied with her present happiness with him. To treat each moment preciously and to love him to her fullest.

“Now, what's your answer?”

With that, Han Kyul held out his cheek.

“What're you doing?”

“Answer me with kisses.”

“People are watching.”

“Hurry up. Or I'm going to feel up your chest.”

En Chan smacked his head with a cushion.

“God, you kinky pervert!”

Han Kyul shook his head and rearranged his mussed up hair before holding out his cheek again. En Chan scowled at him for a while before deciding there was nothing else that could be done. She leaned over

slowly and smacked kisses on his cheek. When she stopped at the third kiss, he turned around.

“Answer 3? What was Answer 3 again?” He asked her, looking disappointed.

“Man, I don't know if I should really answer this lame proposal, but....”

En Chan stretched out her arms and held Han Kyul's head in her hands.

“I'm afraid if I'm not with you, you're going to die of boredom, so I'll do you the favor.”

En Chan smiled as she kissed Han Kyul on his lips. When she pulled away, he abruptly tackled her and En Chan fell backwards onto the sofa. Han Kyul was smiling above the fallen En Chan. He stroked her cheek and said playfully,

“You're awfully snuggly, snookums.”

“Come on, get off! The waitress is watching.”

Han Kyul pressed down on En Chan's shoulder as she tried to get up and lowered his lips.

“Get used to it. I don't care what other people think.”

Should she stop his kiss? But when she closed her eyes, she couldn't see anyone else either. There was nothing that could be done. She had to get used to it. He had said, after all, that it was for the rest of her life.....

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