The Best Mistake of My Life By Trine29

Chapter One “Are you sure this is a good idea?” “Of course it is! I’m always right, aren’t I?” “They’re going to be mad when they find out.” “Shut up—no they won’t. They’ll be happy, you’ll see!” “You’re so full of it, you know that?” “Yeah, but that’s why you love me.” ********** I wake up reluctantly. The room is spinning, and I’ve never seen a more evil light coming from outside. It’s staring me in the face, taunting me because I’m hung over. I don’t think I’ve ever been this hung over. How much did I have to drink last night? My mind tries to go over the liquor: one glass red wine, two glasses champagne, four, no, five shots tequila...oh boy. I pull my head off YiJung and looked around the room. The light is still there, the room is still spinning, but I can see a bottle of aspirin on the desk. It’s ten feet. I think I can make it. Prying my hands out of his, I sit up. Only to fall back down on him, making him groan. It’s apparently too early to get out of bed. Wait. Groan? Him? SHIT. YiJung is curled up in bed, and slightly drooling. Trying not to panic, I look around the room and realize it’s not actually mine. I’m in his bed, hung over. It’s only now that I bother to look at myself. I’m in my underwear, and so is he. Wow. I’ve finally done it, and slept with YiJung. If I didn’t feel like I was about to throw up all over him, I might have actually been impressed. I’ve worked so hard to not sleep with the Casanova, and then I just give it all up on a weekend in Vegas. Classy, GaEul. Super classy. I can’t say that I’ve never thought of sleeping with YiJung. I mean, look at him. He’s gorgeous, and one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. But, I was proud to say that I was the only girl who hadn’t slept with him. Don’t think I’m a prude—I just don’t want to waste my time on someone who can’t

commit, okay? And the worst part is that I don’t remember any of it. I remember eating at the restaurant; everyone was happy. JanDi showed me wedding pictures for the millionth time, as if I wasn’t there. YiJung looked over and I tried to talk telepathically to him. He eventually got the message and saved me from wedding terror. I mean, I love JanDi—she’s my best friend—but a single girl gets tired of smug married couples, okay? I guess I always thought I’d be married by 25, or at the very least, in a relationship. Instead, I’m working in a shitty job that I just happen to love with no boyfriend, and no boyfriend prospects. I don’t even have a pet. When I get home from school, it’s just me, and dramas on TV. Thank God for those. Which brings me back to the present. What am I going to do now that I’m practically naked and in YiJung’s bed? I look around for my clothes, and see them folded up neatly in a chair. Wait, what? I guess we didn’t have crazy-drop-clothes-all-over-the-room-sex. But I can’t imagine myself folding them before we did it. Was it that bad? He’s always bragged about his supposed skills, but I don’t remember a thing. Ah, whatever. I slowly get out of bed, and stumble over to the chair for my clothes. YiJung and I are going to have to talk about this sooner or later, and if we’re both still naked there’s an 80% chance of a repeat of last night. Hey. I’m strong, but when there’s a big plate of chocolate cake with a fork in it on the table, mamma’s going to eat some. Somehow, I manage to get my clothes back on, take some pills, and was ready to try to make it back to my room when I realize I don’t have my key. Getting on all fours, I try looking for it on the ground. No luck. And can I just say that when you feel as terrible as I do, the floor is about the best place to be? I must have been there for ten minutes. Eventually I figure out that my key is not actually in YiJung’s room, so I crawl over to the desk where the phone is, and call to the front desk. “Good morning Las Vegas!” Great. I’ve got Suzy Sunshine on the other end. I really can’t handle this right now. “Hello?” My voice is tired and scratchy—I sound like I’ve been hit by a truck. Much like I feel. “What can I help you with?” Let’s start with talking quieter, Suzy. “I’ve lost my room key.” “That’s too bad! But we can get another one to you in just a couple of minutes. What’s the name?” It takes a minute to process the English. I’m too sick to handle another language. “Chu GaEul.” “Excuse me Ms. Chu, but can you spell that.” Ah, I forgot. Americans. They struggle with the simplest of foreign names.

“C-h-u G-a-e-u-l.” I struggle to get it out. “I’m sorry Ms. Chu, but you’ve cancelled your room.” “What?” “You’ve cancelled your room Ms. Chu.” “I just checked in yesterday.” “Yes, but you cancelled your room last night, and had your things moved into Mr. So’s room. Is there anything else I can help you with?” “” “Have a great morning Ms. Chu, and just ring if you need anything else.” And with that, Suzy Sunshine is gone. I sit there, pondering over what has just happened. I cancelled my room, and moved in with YiJung? Why would I do that? Was I trying to save money? No—JanDi and JunPyo paid for everyone. Did I just not like the room? Why didn’t I just switch to another then? Did YiJung agree to this? I can’t imagine him agreeing to this. I guess we’re friends, but it’s weird. I wouldn’t have agreed to let him stay in my room if he didn’t like it. I doubt WooBin or JiHoo would have let him stay in either of their rooms, too. My fingers tap the phone, the ring clanging against the metal, trying to figure it all out. I may be ill, but my brains are all there! There’s got to be some sort of logical explanation for all of this. I know there is. Wait. Ring? Chapter Two RING? On my left hand is a big ol’ diamond ring. It’s pretty, and looks like something I would buy, but it definitely wasn’t there yesterday. God, please let there not be a matching ring on YiJung. PLEASE. I haven’t asked for much God, and I’ve tried to live a pious life, so please give me this one thing. I know I don’t go to church every week, but I go at least once a month. Okay. Maybe once every two months. But, you know what, God? I’ll quit my job, and do your work if you let me have this one tiny thing. Let me be the only person in this room with a ring on. I cautiously walk over to YiJung, and pull his hand out from under the covers. No ring. I do a mental happy dance, and thank God before I realize that I’ve grabbed his right hand. Shoot.

I’m just helping him be more awake. But. I’ll be perfectly fine with that now. “YiJung. it’s really time to get up.. “We’ve got to talk... After grinning YiJung. I need you to talk to me. Crap. YiJung! I’ve got to wake him up! I try shaking his shoulders. I’ve still got hope that YiJung will say we went and did something else. you need to get up. I want to go back to bed. This shouldn’t feel as good as it does.and matches mine perfectly.. I’m not being cruel. What? He’s already awake.” He’s not quite awake..nope. “Ya! YiJung!” I hit him with my pillow. “Sunbae. rubbing his head. I canceled my room last night. that would be bad.” “Oh ok. sleepy YiJung might be my favorite. that stupid grin. “Apparently. but that’s it. He’s going to be just as hung over as me. “YiJung. “How ya feeling?” “Sleepy. but at least he cracks one eye’s time to get up. I contemplate staying next to’s GaEul. YiJung doesn’t want domestic. Like. It’s equally pretty. “Good morning. Just anything but this. and I need you to be sober. Oof. “Hey! Why’d you do that?” He asks. and pull me towards him... okay? Please get up Sunbae. Ugh. cruel sun. Please let there not be a ring.” There’s a faint mumble.we really need to talk.” Another grumble. and we’ll have breakfast soon. but that doesn’t mean I should be as cruel to someone else.” YiJung swallows the pills gratefully. “YiJung. Which would mean that last night. “GaEul? What are you doing here?” His voice is groggy and sexy. There is a ring. I forgot. but enough to grin at me. and unless he wakes up. “I don’t know. and starts to put the pieces together. I love that grin. Oh.” . I may have woken up to the cruel. and ended up here.” He grumbles and pulls me closer. I make a note to remember sleepy YiJung for the future... Please let there not be a ring.” He closes his eyes once more. Can’t say it yet. I try again..” He nods..I take a moment before grabbing his other hand... gently.” His only response is to grab me. The rings must have come as a pair. “Wait—why’d you cancel your room?” We got married.. just had normal pre-marital sex. I wonder if that’s what has gotten us into our current predicament. It’s almost 7:30. we went and. we’re going to end up the very definition of domestic. as if canceling my room were the most normal thing in the world. I look at it. I walk over to the desk and grab him a couple pills. Please let there not be a ring. Now.

and I briefly wonder if that’s unique to us. “We might have gotten married last night. Before you go back to sleep. One. thank God..” “Ok. this really does feel good.” He groans. “You are such a pervert GaEul. “You’re in my room GaEul. “Hm.. But first. “We did this last night?” “Apparently.” I close my eyes and hope he won’t panic too much. YiJung. and you. I was hoping you’d remember. I woke up in my underwear.?” “I think so.. there’s something you might want to know. Ssh now. Chapter Three “Yah! GaEul! What are you doing here?” I’m woken up sometime later by being poked.” I can feel his grin. Three.” I stay silent and wait for him to process the information. I quickly do the same. “What did we do last night? There were drinks.” He nods. “You’ve got one too. Two.. Does he not remember? I open my eyes and take a look..and then. Our bodies fit together like puzzle pieces.. what Sunbae? I didn’t hear you. “GaEul? Were you a pervert?” His voice is more playful now..” Wait. Damn.. and I know he’s listening.” We got married. There’s a barely audible string of curse words. or if this happens with him a lot. and pulls me towards him. we’ll talk about this in a little bit.” He drops my hand to presumably look at his own. He’s taking this better than I expected. “I’m not too sure either. Sleep. and I relax slightly.” “Kay. “Huh?” Sleep was good.” I close my eyes tighter. Five. and turn my head into the pillow.” More nodding. Or. Four. “GaEul? What leads you to that decision?” I hopelessly hold up my left hand.. “Hey. “Mmm-hmm. now his voice is high and squeaky. not so thankfully. Araso. He’s dressed. “Married?” Ooh. “I’ll think hard. YiJung grabs it and inspects the ring.“Ok. but.” His head hits the pillow again.” He turns over the other way and falls back to sleep.. I liked sleep. I’m not one to toss a girl out. Repeatedly.” “Did we. Poking? Not so much. sleep. I wouldn't mind being a .

or the ring is too small. there’s no reason to tell anyone. “I make a point not to remember bad sex. I might be sad to take it off.” I’m nodding my head.” Ah. I’m not sure. “GaEul. He doesn’t remember. but there was only one other guy. the finger is red and puffy. Do I really have to go through this conversation again? “Look at your hand YiJung.” I can’t even imagine JanDi’s face..” I start pulling on my ring. . Yikes. but he deserves a lot more. what can you tell me about marrying your best friend’s husband’s best friend on a whim and how that’s a bad idea?’ “I’ll try going down to the courthouse to get the documents. I'm not worthy to treat with respect--I'm just here to help get the job done.” What is with him? I think I liked sleepy hung over YiJung infinitely better. Ah. Ring. ‘GaEul. But for all my efforts.” He scoffs. Jerk. there we go. My finger is apparently too large. I haven’t had complaints. Get it? Don’t tell JanDi. “You don’t remember us? The great YiJung. I'm just an inconvenience in his life. and reads my thoughts. got it?” His voice is emotionless. Hand it over. “GaEul! Are you going to tell me?” Shit. I’m not sure. the ring isn’t coming off. “Because we’re going to get it annulled. I’m really good in bed! Or. Whoops. I wish this didn't bother me so much. “Stop staring off into space. “But we—“ “GaEul yang! Can’t we just pretend we didn’t do that? I don’t remember it anyways. GaEul! We’ve got things to figure out. Now look at mine. doesn’t remember our night together?” YiJung shrugs sheepishly. at least I guess I am..” His voice is suddenly cold. No. I can picture her scheduling them once a week for the rest of eternity. we’ll get this done today. He just needed a reminder. yes. That would earn a lecture. I bought it. Keep your phone on you. No reason. Ring a bell?” He looks and the smile immediately drops off his face.” He holds out his hand. Either way.” WHAT. That would earn a series of lectures. Huh? Why should I give up my ring? He sees my face. Casanova. “We’re going to have to get this annulled. YiJung is pacing the room. It really is a beautiful ring. and his tone is clear. If this thing wasn’t so weird.pervert just once more. It’s got these vine engravings on the side leading up to two small sapphires and a diamond in the center. and what did he say? “Today?” “Today. “Yep.” “Ok. This earns him a pillow in the face.” “Now for the only sign. Me marrying YiJung. “With any luck.

“Uh, YiJung? We’ve got a problem.” He looks down and makes a face. I’m not sure if he’s amused or if he wants to throttle me. “Pabo. You’ve done it the wrong way.” He scolds me. “You can’t just pull it off—you’ve got to twist slowly. Watch this.” He starts twisting his own ring off. Only to have it get stuck at the joint. HA! Serves him right. “Shit.” “What?” “We’re going to both be stuck wearing the rings.” Both of us have to wear them? My stomach gets a little knot--the kind when you know something is a bad idea. “The swelling is too much right now. It’ll go down in a day or two. So—try to not let anyone see. Keep your hands in your pockets, or something.” He mumbles. Our fingers are a little ridiculous; red, swollen with the skin rubbed raw. The couple fingers to match the couple rings. How we managed to get these on last night, I have no idea. Do they have attendants in America to do that if you’re too drunk? And for that matter why do they let two drunken people get married??? “If JanDi asks about the ring, just make something up. GaEul! Are you listening to me?” Of course I’m listening to you. I always listen. But excuse me while I have an existential crisis over here, YiJung. It’s not everyday that a nice, normal girl from Seoul goes to America on a whim for her best friend’s 25th birthday, gets plastered, and wakes up married to the man of her dreams, who happens, by the way, to be completely, entirely, and totally wrong for her, and who has absolutely no desire to be married to her. Maybe it was the stress of the situation, or maybe it was that I was still hung over, but something about that last thought got to me, and I crumpled to the floor and began to cry. I’m not taking beautiful Choi JiWoo tears here. You know, the kind that makes the leading man leap over buildings to wipe away said tears with a designer handkerchief. No, I’m not pretty enough for tears like that. My tears come with snot out the nose, hyperventilation and ugly puffy eyes. And as such, YiJung took one look at me, while I wiped snot on my sleeve, and walked into the bathroom, leaving me on my own. Chapter Four I cried for a good long time, while YiJung took a shower. I just can’t believe I’ve gotten myself into this situation. And I’m angry that I have to waste this time on YiJung. Sure, I’m smitten. But he can’t commit, and he apparently hates me. So, when this is all over and done, I’m going to treat myself to a pedicure and find a nice new boyfriend. Someone who treats me right. I’m tempted to pat myself on the back. Good plan, GaEul. ‘A’ for effort. YiJung steps out of the bathroom looking like he’s ready for a photo shoot. Hair is perfectly styled. The suit tailored and wrinkle-free. Face? Clean shaven. I’ve got a simple dress on—it’s purple, and it’s

flattering, but compared to him, I look like a mess. Arguh. That’s another reason YiJung is wrong for me. He dresses better than I do. At 10:00 am, we make our entrance in the lobby separately. JanDi, JiHoo and WooBin are already there. JunPyo, however, isn’t. “My stupid husband’s late.” I felt a pang of jealousy in my chest before I remember that I also had a husband—even if he was a jerk and won't actually be my husband for long. Granted, JanDi doesn’t know this, and won’t ever know this, but still. I’m now a smug married couple. “It’s alright, JanDi. We don’t mind waiting.” YiJung is as cool as ever. He’s got his hands in his pockets, and he’s acting like he went to bed at 8:00 pm last night he’s so rested. He’s obviously had more experience than I in lying. My idea is to speak as little as possible. If I don’t talk, I can’t give us away. Which naturally means that the plan will go to hell in about 10 seconds. “GaEul, where were you this morning? I tried calling your room and your cell, but you didn’t answer...” JanDi pushes her face up into mine. She thinks it’s cute, and I think she’s too old for that. “Ugh...” Dammit. I knew I couldn’t do this. “I was....sleeping. Heavily. Alone. Booze. Tired. Alone. Vegas. Food?” Shiiiiiiit. That was awful. My eyes impulsively dart to YiJung and he looks like he’s enjoying every minute of this, the bastard. I know he is thinking I am really bad at this. “Okay...” JanDi looks doubtful, but thankfully she leaves it alone. “So, what’s the plan for today?” JunPyo, yes! He always knows the best time to make an entrance. “Ya! Gu JunPyo! Could you have been any slower?” JanDi hits her husband. “We almost died, we were so bored!” “Sorry.” I’m not. You couldn’t have come at a better time, JunPyo. “Well, I was thinking of going gambling.” WooBin says. “I’m going to find a nice place to read.” Of course you are, JiHoo. “I’ve got a couple errands to run in town. Shouldn’t take too long, and then I’ll join you, WooBin?” YiJung looks to the door, as if merely standing here was wasting his time. WooBin nods his agreement. “GaEul, and I are going shopping, right?” Shopping? In LasVegas? I knew I loved you JanDi. “In that case, I’m going with you.” JunPyo wraps his arms around this wife, only to be hit again. “No! Go gambling! This is our girl day! We’ll see you later.” And with that, she storms off, grabbing me by the wrists. Poor JunPyo is left standing in the lobby, dumbfounded. We quickly catch a taxi and head to the shops. Everything in this city is neon colored, and loud—I’m not sure what kinds of clothes await us. They should be beautiful...and expensive. JanDi leads us into one shoe store, only to be astonished by the price tags. Did she not think it would be

more expensive in America, than in Korea? She was all set to leave when I reminded her that she married one of the world’s richest men. I think she can afford a pair of $2000 Louboutins. She reluctantly bought one pair, and then decided she wanted to go someplace more our style and price. God bless my best friend. Sure, she’s smugly married, but she knows where she came from, and I don’t think she’ll ever forget it. I’m sure she sits at home in her mansion and clips coupons to use at the grocery store. We ended up at a small mall outside of Vegas, and began shopping. These stores don’t have silks, and cashmeres, but the clothes were nicely styled. Plenty of them would be wearable to work. I was thumbing my way through the rack, trying to find my size when JanDi noticed. Damn. “Yah, GaEul. What’s on your hand?” “Hm? What?” I try to think of a distraction, but JanDi is too quick. “The ring.” “Ring? Do you mean the one on the mannequin?” I point the other way before JanDi grabs my hand and waves it in my face. “This one.” “Oh—that ring. I...bought it...?” No way in hell was this convincing. “Yah! GaEul! Don’t lie to me.” Sigh. “Okay, okay. I was goofing off the other day with Sunbae, and I tried on the ring at a store. It got stuck, so he decided to just buy it. We’re going to return it as soon as my finger stops swelling. It was just too embarrassing to tell, okay? Sheesh.” JanDi looks at me skeptically. She was thinking over the answer. She ended up laughing in my face. “Only you GaEul would get such a ring stuck on your finger. At least it’s pretty, right? Phew. You had me worried for a minute. I was afraid you were going to say you were engaged!” I can’t believe I got away with the lie. Damn you YiJung! I must have caught your lying ability! I nervously laugh. “Yeah, me and YiJung. Engaged! Great joke JanDi.” She looks at me blankly. “YiJung? Why would you be engaged to YiJung? I was thinking it was the teacher at your school.” Teacher at my school? Who was she talking a---Oh, Han TaeSoong. Han TaeSoong is the fifth grade teacher two rooms down from me. He is middle-aged, never been married, and I’m sure he goes home each night to go on CyberWorld and play video games. My life might be sad, but his is worse. And from the day I started working at the school, he seemed determined to win me over. Which was weird because he also doesn’t have much in the way of social skills. I’m not sure how many times I walked into my classroom to find some sort of awkward gift—a single movie ticket, homemade jam, a live fish to cook with. They were all sweet, but slightly off. How could JanDi think I’d agree to marry him?!?

he never will. He said it could be done today! Stupid YiJung. Anyways. we have to make a copy of the wedding certificate. right?” “I just wanted to make sure you didn’t do something crazy!” She smiles and continues looking at the clothes. right?” How could he say that?!?! I don’t even like ice cream! . I was just about to go try on a new dress when I got a text message. I’m calling him.” “Yah—YiJung..” “Why me?!” “Because I’ve got other things to do.. Hmm. Busy with two men.” “Wedding certifi—“ “We’ll just do it when we get back.” And with that. and get a response from him a few minutes later. I’ve got my own life!” “Pretty busy with watching TV dramas. Ben and Jerry. Tops. he’s got another thing coming to him! I ask him why. YiJung. too!” “Sure. and if he hasn’t changed by now.That much. He hasn’t changed at all. I can’t wait two weeks. I manage to wrangle free of JanDi to call.let’s call . That’s it. “What do you mean it takes too long?!?” “It takes a week to process the paperwork in America. Find the certificate when you get back.“Han TaeSoong? JanDi.. Just one more reason to find that nice new boyfriend.” Chapter Five Can’t get annulled? Can’t get annulled??? WHY? Did he tell them we—No! He wouldn’t say that! Then. He’s still the same jerk I knew in high school. you do. UGH. he hangs up. you’re kidding me. eh GaEul?” Watching dramas? This man is infuriating! “I’ve got plenty of other things. “Takes too long.. We’ll be married two weeks. I need to vent. Don’t be so uptight.” “A week?!?” “Plus.” “GaEul! It’s a joke! Sheesh. Who knew three words could strike so much fear in my heart? “Can’t get annulled. which I haven’t seen. why can’t it be done? And why on Earth did he send that as a text message??? You just don’t do that! If YiJung thinks he’s going to get away with this.” Takes too long??? ARGUH. “I’m hanging up now. At least she didn’t ask my why I thought I was engaged to YiJung.

That’s cheap. She smiles.him Steve. You’ve got the wrong name. “I was told you were Mrs. he’s going to mention my recent marriage. You ready to go?” In her arms is another bag of clothes. the bell hopper almost blew my cover. “Want me to come with you?” “No.the bell hopper told me to stop by. I can do it myself.. So. can you stop by the front desk please?” Mrs. Steve will be perfect in every single way. so it can’t look that bad. is more persistent. Plus. I can see JunPyo and he looks like he’s going to go insane if you don’t run over there right now. He’s just doing his job. right? Besides. So? That’s not my name. My pulse quickens while I look nervously over at JanDi. it’s only $30 US Dollars. If this continues. “Um. I got a phone call.” I run off and quickly pay for my purchase. and he will have a nice normal job that has nothing to do with pottery. But here. and you get the entire loaf of bread. I try cutting in... “Mrs. Plus chips. but nods anyways. and I’ll be right there. “Let me go buy this dress. I’ll just go talk to the front desk and tell them. helpfully. “There you are! I’ve been trying to find you for the last ten minutes!” “Sorry. I’m cute. This is Chu GaEul. Everything is just so. And soda to top it all off.big. a great cook.” She looks angry. So. says her goodbyes and runs off. but eh. And heavy. however.” JanDi informs him. What were they going to say? I mean. I can eat a big bowl of that. I fidget while I walk over to the front desk.?” The woman at the front desk looks up at me expectantly. JanDi is getting worked up. kind. So? I’m sorry.. and this also came . but currency conversion has always been a struggle for me. My thoughts are disrupted by the reappearance of JanDi. This is beginning to become a lot more complicated than it’s meant to be. and didn’t want to bother you. and be fine for the day.. Who can eat that much? Back at the hotel I’m stopped by one of the bell hoppers. And a cookie. okay? Don’t get mad at the bell hopper. And French fries. I want my porridge. “Mrs.. thoughtful. I never actually tried it on. I’m not bad at math. That’s not her name!” Crap. you order a sandwich. We decide to grab a quick lunch before heading back to the hotel. “Oh.yikes. Mrs. and JanDi’s already asked about the ring.” JunPyo is waving his arms furiously trying to get her attention. So! I wanted you to come down so I could give you your new room key. please?” “Yah. I wonder how she’s going to get it all home..” “Oh ok. He will be handsome. It was pleasant enough. I think. The bell hopper. “JanDi. Would you mind stopping at the front desk.. It’s cute. but I don’t think JanDi and I are cut out for American food.

He looks.” “Okay. not YiJung. walks over and sits down next to me. “Can I ask why you’re calling me Mrs. We both know this is real. I’m absolutely in shock. I can’t even muster up the energy to text him. but we can fix it together. Only JiHoo answers. “It’s actually a little past 7:30 now.for you. and hurry back to my room. We’ve made a mistake together—not me. “It’s all real now. He isn’t there. thank the woman. and nods his head.” “I guess so.” “I hadn’t thought about it much. and nearly scream. Our room. The silence is comfortable. “They’ve eaten dinner already. us—and now we’ve got fix it. I give him the certificate that. I’m not sure what time YiJung returns. GaEul. waiting for his return.” . Him. There in giant letters is YiJung’s and my name. telling him to come back. is almost enough to forgive him for this morning. Should we go try to find our friends?” “Sure. not saying a word. YiJung’s room. They speak for a moment.” YiJung pulls out his phone and calls the boys.” “The front desk had it.” She hands me a piece of paper and the key. Chapter Six The wedding certificate. I stare at the certificate for a minute. is going to be more difficult. Up until now. at least that’s one thing I can check off my list. ma’am. He sees me sitting motionless on the bed. has been crinkled in my hands. sitting here with me. too. “You found it. So?” “It’s on your wedding certificate. by this point. I was kind of hoping this was some big misunderstanding. so I plop down on the bed. Well. Until my stomach growls and YiJung begins to laugh. “You could have said you were hungry.” he pauses.” “I see. and start staring at the door.” The two of us sit silently for quite sometime. truthfully. What we were hoping was going to be easy.” I look at the piece of paper. and he hangs up.” He looks at his watch. I can sense a change in him.

I can break that for you. It’s then Mai sees the rings. So much for being a gentleman. “Ick. “What kind of food is it?” “Japanese.” He walks in the restaurant. and it seems everyone knows him. This handwriting is terrible. GaEul. and how long until he does an exhibition in Las Vegas. We’re barely seated before the owner of the restaurant comes over. and is clearly under his spell. Anything but American food. “Have you gone sightseeing. I’ll just think the same thing.” He shrugs. he pulls me out. I take it. the owner..” “It’s a shame we’re leaving in the morning.” He pauses and looks down at our wedding certificate once more. I wonder what he’s thinking about. There are some really beautiful places here. and then immediately drops my hand. “we must have been much more drunk than I thought. I knew that. this is Mai-san. One of the waiters starts a conversation. YiJung opens my taxi door. ma’am.” he says.” Next time? We arrive at the restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Hmph. but he’s busy avoiding my eye contact. okay?” “Agreed.” I look down. “Of course I mean Vegas. That alright? I found this place on my first visit here. Ha. He’s apparently tired of only seeing YiJung’s work in magazines. and keep coming back. this is my friend. then. “It’ll just be you and me. and we go outside to catch a taxi. “You must be special. then. GaEul?” “In Vegas?” “No.” “Me too. and we sit on either side of the car. “YiJung! Who’s this young woman?” She nudges YiJung and waits for an introduction. and holds out his hand. He sees my face. “Not really.Yes.” I can’t think of anything else to say.. We’ll have to do it next time. YiJung never brings girls here. YiJung says he’ll mail a piece to him as a late birthday present.” Ugh. “How could you lie to me?! She’s more than your friend! . She’s in her mid-fifties. “You know. YiJung gives the name of a restaurant I’ve never heard of.” I bow my head and say hello. Busan. GaEul. pabo..” What? Why would I go sightseeing in Busan? That’s stupid YiJung. GaEul. “Ah. “YiJung! Baka!” Mai hits him on the head. I can barely read my own name.” “Alright. Probably how annoying it is to be with me. To my surprise. asking him what he’s been up to.“Oh.” What did she say? I raise an eyebrow over at YiJung.

He can’t tell Mai the truth. What would you do if you woke up surprisingly married? To your best friend’s wife’s best friend? Yeah. What does she mean? Clueless? YiJung? “Well. It takes him a moment to compose himself. There’s only twelve hours left in America. when he shakes his head and points to the actual bed. anyways.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah. but sometimes he’s a little clueless. But.. I just forgot about it earlier. and we return home. “But. there will be plenty of time to bother YiJung with questions. and I go into the bathroom to change.. I’m sure you know what I mean. It vaguely occurs to me that we never got a second room for me.” Mai bows at us. Sunbae.?” “I.” Chapter Six Point Five I hang up the phone with GaEul abruptly. Be sure to eat the tuna tonight. isn’t she?” HA. but he can’t say we’re married either. YiJung. “GaEul-san. We have a nine-hour plane ride in the morning. okay? It’s our freshest. We don’t speak much during dinner. and he smiles at Mai. Did she live in Seoul? But. I glance at my watch.” He shoves the bag at me.why. YiJung looks like a deer in headlights.I. We take the elevator up to our room. YiJung and I order a selection of dishes. She seems relieved. I start towards the couch to sleep. He pays for the dinner. and unlike everything I’ve studied in Korea. and goes to speak to other customers. Inside is a book about American pottery and sculpture. I keep my mouth shut. I’ll have to make it up to her somehow. When I come out. and I bought this for you today. As terrible as I’ve treated GaEul today. and brush my teeth. It’s a thoughtful gift. and all are delicious.” She winks conspiratorially at me. As much as he can.. and then wince. The pictures are exquisite.. They seem to know each other very well. “Thank you.. and he means well. keep a tight leash on YiJung. Well. I had already yelled at her this morning.” He smiles. avoiding my gaze again. “You take it. “Oh. Here. and now again in the afternoon? What a right bastard you are.. anyways. I should let you two lovebirds be alone. Can we not make a big deal out of it?” YiJung is looking at the floor..” “You’re welcome. and reaches for a small bag. and I’m tempted to ask him more about Mai. Oh well. okay? He’s a good boy. That’s messed up! . YiJung has made the couch up into a bed..She’s your wife. I know it’s just been my way of coping. I got lots of sleep last night.felt bad for yelling earlier. I shouldn’t have done that to her.

” “Oh. I buy the book and hurry back to the hotel. “The front desk had it. They’re probably off with the women folk.” I’m determined not to say anything before her. until I found one about American pottery—and what makes it different from other styles. This seems like a better place to find something nice for the commoner. Most of the art books bore me. who picks up on the first ring. but inside. It’s filled with examples. and start dialing. GaEul’s stomach breaks the silence. run over and hold her tightly. I don’t think GaEul’s English is that great. I walk over and just sit down next to her. as if she were embarrassed. Unlike JiHoo.” “I see. GaEul. I didn’t think she would actually do that—she didn’t have to. But with her it just seems wrong. They’ve got everything you could ever want.” . I don’t want to ruin the somber mood. “You found it. Instead. She puts up this tough image. today had felt like a joke. like she’s the calm in the storm. I think GaEul doesn’t want to be married to me. I head over to the art section. My first instinct is to drop my bag. I look and see that she’s found our wedding certificate. and I turn to GaEul.” “Okay. I check my watch. Eventually I end up at a plain old bookstore.” “I hadn’t thought about it much. I walk through various stores. JunPyo and WooBin both don’t pick up. I’m sure. She hands me a crumpled piece of paper. waiting for me. Should we go try to find our friends?” “Sure. I know she was a mess. “They’ve eaten dinner already. only to find GaEul sitting on the bed. And. Part of some chain in America.” Up until this moment. “It’s actually a little past 7:30 now. I don’t know anything about GaEul.” I grab my phone. That’s what I’d do with any other girl. and I start to laugh. trying to find something for GaEul. “You could have said you were hungry.” My voice is quiet.” “I guess so. and clothes seem boring.” She looks at the floor. See? There’s a reason why this marriage is a terrible idea. Naturally. We speak.GaEul was her typical nervous self. I really should have been more considerate this morning. “It’s all real now. But. and the history in easy terms. I don’t touch her. What? I hardly have time for reading. truthfully. It can’t be jewelry—I don’t want her to read too much into this gift. I nod my head and sit there with her. As much as I don’t want to be married. I have no idea what kind of books she likes to read anyways.

the owner. pabo.” That was a rude thing to say. Anything but American food. a waiter named Jun stops me. “You know. my favorite restaurant in Vegas. and hold out my hand to pick her up. That alright? I found this place on my first visit here. “It’s a shame we’re leaving in the morning.” I take one more look at the wedding certificate.” I shrug. “YiJung! Baka!” Mai hits me.“It’ll just be you and me. Mai? Did you have to say that? I didn’t want GaEul to know that. “What kind of food is it?” “Japanese. “Ah.” Crap. wants to know everything about GaEul. “Have you gone sightseeing. but apparently not. GaEul is sitting on the other side of the car. My eyes dart to the floor. When we arive at Ume’s. this is my friend. okay?” “Agreed. That surprises me.” GaEul also looks.” I say. I met him four or five years ago. There are some really beautiful places here. As we climb into the taxi I tell the driver to go to Ume’s. “You must be special.” I want to hit myself for saying that. “YiJung! Who’s this young woman?” Mai taps her foot impatiently. Huh? What did I do? “How could you lie to me?!” Lie? “She’s more . We’ll have to do it next time.” When we walk in. I need to stop doing that to GaEul. and inviting.” She looks a little disappointed. this is Mai-san. You would think she would be used to such a thing.” GaEul bows her head. and keep coming back. YiJung never brings girls here. “Ick. What are you saying? Next Time? There isn’t going to be a next time YiJung. GaEul?” “In Vegas?” “No. then.” “Not really. I can barely read my own name. Mai finds us. and he’s taken a great interest in pottery. and we leave the hotel. GaEul. GaEul. then. says hello. “Of course I mean Vegas. I know GaEul is looking at me. “we must have been much more drunk than I thought. GaEul. living in Seoul.” “Me too. Her hand is warm. Busan. Foolish girl. and then in usual fashion. I open GaEul’s door. and I don’t want to see her expression. and says her greetings. looking in awe at the number of buildings in the city. I’d find him an apprenticeship.” “Alright. She gives me a hug. This handwriting is terrible. and I drop it immediately. As soon as we take our seats. A nice guy—if he would come to Korea.

I look over at GaEul.. and her face completely changes.” I smile and remember the present.” He sounds tired. I got lots of sleep last night. I’m talking first. If I answer either way. I arrange them on the couch. Sunbae.. I just forgot about it earlier. screw it. and I can stop thinking about you GaEul. I can’t wait for him.. drooling. WooBin had his face smashed up against the window. right? I won’t show them to too many people. Here.than your friend! She’s your wife.. Thanks. Ah. “Should we go to the courthouse tomorrow?” I ask. Try to keep a low profile. okay?” He smirks.. I say nothing. . whatever. What? Does she think she’s sleeping here? Come on. When GaEul comes out of the bathroom she walks over to the couch. Something tells me this is going to be a long night. but she doesn’t say anything. That’s not mean.” “I’ll call after I get the documents.” Her smile is warm.. She looks radiant. As per his usual self. I’m exhausted. I had to take a couple pictures. The room is large anyways. I’m not sure if he was joking or not. Am I that kind of guy? I’m not sure I like that she thinks I am.why. “Don’t worry about it. Chapter Seven The flight back to Seoul was uneventful. and I bought this for you today. If it doesn’t bother her. and makes me think of baby animals. I’m damned. and point to the bed. “You take it. “Okay. I pay and we return.I. Upon entering. To be honest.. YiJung drove me to my apartment. “Oh. “But.felt bad for yelling earlier. But. gets back in the car and drives off. I shake my head. and now I’m waiting for him to say goodbye. and am fortunate enough to find extra blankets and pillows. “Thank you.” I roughly hand her the bag. Can we not make a big deal out of it?” Just accept my apology. Despite it being overcast.. isn’t she?” SHIT. Best to stay quiet and smile. I open a closet.and then confused.. he’s leaning against his car in his sunglasses looking cool. I’ll go. I won’t let it bother me. JanDi and JunPyo slept on each other’s shoulders. It’s just for one night. anyways. GaEul. Our meal is quiet and pleasant. GaEul grabs her pajamas and goes into the bathroom. Mai has always been too observant. it looks terrible.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah.?” “I.. As we walk through the lobby. GaEul pulls out the book. Everyone was tired from the weekend. I wonder if we should get a second room for tonight.

I’m unsure if I should thank him or not.. Very funny. I linger at my classroom door..” Oof. “Want to get an early dinner?” Yes please! . “I thought the poker chips were funny. School is the same too. I did. Perhaps a thank you card? There is a knock at the door. I open the door. I definitely don’t want to encourage him. Oh. Tuuli is a beautiful blonde-haired. I probably would have transferred by now. but that's the price I pay for being cowardly and avoiding TaeSoong. “How was Las Vegas? Did you win money? How was JanDi? Aren’t you tired?” She runs out of breath. Han TaeSoong enters my room. On the desk is an envelope with my name on it. and before I can do anything.” He says as he runs his hands through his thinning hair. My second-graders ran rampant during recess. the room goes quiet. TaeSoong wrote me a welcome home card. “Well.” Aaaand. I do. He thinks that went well. If only you knew the truth. Thank you. Looking both ways before..I’ll be sitting in my normal spot outside during lunch today. I’m not ten feet inside the building before my friend Tuuli runs over. I wish I could tell her about YiJung—Tuuli would enjoy the story. Small. Her Korean is surprisingly good. and nothing has worked. We practiced writing sentences. I was hoping that I wasn’t going to have to deal with TaeSoong this morning.My apartment is exactly the same. so most of the time we try to speak in that language. if you care to join. “Oh ha. Tuuli and I were able to stay busy during lunch. “I trust your weekend was fun? You didn’t go and do anything crazy. good or bad. Han TaeSoong. and that I’m pretty tired. Again. I smile and tell her that the weekend was fine. Cheap. Get it?” Yes. Instead. Be prepared. Class was the same as usual. She nods. and is forced to pause—lucky for me. Yes. Too bad. Jandi calls me on the way home from work in the afternoon.” He bows all too formally. which meant we didn't get to eat. did you? Like get married? Ha!” He laughs to himself. and leaves my room with a jaunt. and put poker chips inside. and leaves before turning around once more. I drop my bag on the floor and fall on the bed.. “I see you got my card.right. I’ve tried everything I can to dissuade TaeSoong. Yes.. “Oh. I wave to Tuuli. I can’t smell anything. Clean. but I don’t want to be rude either. and trod down the hallway to my room.” God this is awkward. blue-eyed exchange teacher from Finland. “I think I saw TaeSoong go into your room this morning. and mostly behaved inside. Crap. but we’re both terrible at English. He still tries just as hard as he did in the beginning. learning addition and ended the day with coloring—theirs and my favorite. because you were in Vegas. If I hadn’t heard a rumor that I was going to be promoted to fourth-grade teacher next year. I barely have time to think about this weekend’s events before jet lag wins over me. I’m so bad at these types of situations.

. These are just as beautiful.That French one. I want to buy something similar for my mom. Believe me. JanDi can’t you leave it alone?!? “Uh.. She changes the subject. “You haven’t been able to get that ring off yet?” I kind of forgot I was wearing it. “Cartier?” “Uh. I should remain positive. it’s still too swollen. My JanDi alarm starts to go off. Shit. I’m going to get caught in my lie I just know it.. “Did you buy that here?” JanDi asks. actually. “No.. She pulls me inside and immediately shows my ring to one of the salespeople.. I wouldn’t know because I DON’T REMEMBER. alright?” GO?!? I toss a couple of bills on the table as JanDi drags me out of the restaurant.?” I’m pretty sure sweat has formed on my face.. “Yeah. I’m going to .” She sighs. friendless and divorced.. See?” She pokes at my finger. my ring could have been bought here.sure. “Let me see what I can find.” Oh God. and will end up dying at forty when stray dogs eat me. Shit. JanDi is not pleased. but none of them have the same pattern my ring does.. “No. Shit. I’m going to have to get good at it.” “Which one? It’s so pretty.. remember? This kind of hurts. YiJung is going to leave me. whee-o. I would be too if someone asked where something was in a store that they don’t sell. and I snap out of my nightmare. “Excuse me.. “Is this the store?” We’re standing in from of Cartier.was at the jewelry store downtown.” I try pulling on the ring with no luck. It’s a regular place we go to—nothing special. You know. It might be the store. do you have this design in a necklace?” The man looks confused.. “How’s work going?” “They still call me dummy. “I’m afraid we don’t have that exact pattern. and hello? JanDi? It’s still swollen. Hell. I want this pattern..” He returns a few minutes later with several necklaces.I’m starving and bored out of my mind waiting for YiJung’s call. Out of the thousands of jewelry stores in the world.. I’ll— “GaEul?” She waves her hand in my It's certainly possible. We dig into our meals happily. Whee-o. Just lots of hot Korean food.. I’m going to be alone. but because everyone likes JiHoo.. I’m not treated badly. I know how it feels JanDi.” Crap.” If I keep lying. miss. She’s already at the restaurant by the time I get there.. I’ll never get married for real. JanDi is going to freak out and never speak to me again. right? “Let’s go.

“But my friend said she bought her ring here last week. leaving JanDi standing with her mouth wide open on the sidewalk. I’m calling him.” Karma’s sure a bitch.” He looks at me. and winks.” What? Did the salesman just lie for me? I wipe some sweat away.” He calmly replies..” “Actually. That was too close. “I do remember your friend miss.. how are you going to make it two weeks without anyone finding out? Ha.still pretty jetlagged.. How could he have sent information to me like that again?!? Does he know sending news like that by text isn’t normal?!?!!? I don’t even bother replying to his text. Worse. He’s done his good deed for the day. As soon as I had gotten home.. I’m furious with YiJung. so these necklaces are the closest we can get. dammit. I’m tired and need to catch up on sleep.get caught any minute now and I’m terrified. trying to recognize me. Has it been a long time? I can’t tell. “Are you sure you bought the ring there. Making. It. It feels like a lot of time has passed. where’s the F4 when you really need them??? The salesman looks at me. you know what? I should get home.. “Sorry! Gotta run! Bye!” I hail a taxi and jump into the first one that stops. and walks out of the store. “JiHoo knows.. “TOLD HIM?!? After you told me to not tell anyone?!?” . Stop talking GaEul. If this is only your first day after getting back to Korea GaEul.. JanDi frowns.yes. or is it just me? Aaah.” “But. “I told him. and I can feel the sweat coming down my face. “How on Earth does JiHoo know?!?” I might be screaming at him. and crawled into bed I got a text message from YiJung..” CRAP. Busy weekend and all. I run after her.” “Hm. You’re. I shouldn’t have thought that. JanDi’s staring at me. Chapter Eight JiHoo knows??? JiHoo knows??? How the hell does he know??? All of my exhaustion from a few minutes earlier seems to have melted away. Is it hot in here. I barely saw you this weekend. but I’m afraid we’ve sold out of that pattern. Not going to happen buddy. It might have been a different location. GaEul?” “Uh.uh. I wasn’t here to begin with. I’m. and silently thank the man.

” “Some say mistake. YiJung! See me handling the situation well? “What was he doing at the courthouse?!?!” “Getting his license renewed. “How’s the newly wed?” “Shut up JiHoo. YiJung hands the phone to JiHoo. Nope.” A second later I have YiJung again.. how’d he find out?” I need answers. You know this is a mistake.” .” Oh. “Has he told anyone else? Or is he going to?” “I don’t know.“Yes. I can’t think of YiJung as my husband.. Maybe. so it might not be kissing and telling if neither party remembers what happened. “I don’t think it counts GaEul if I don’t remember it.” “Annulled?” He sounds surprised. GaEul. “From what I heard you can’t—“ “He told you that too??? Put him back on the phone please.. when I ran into him.” he continues. “Ya! Who said you could kiss and tell?!” Okay. Calm down..” Fate? What? “Are you going to tell everyone else?” “Aren’t you?” “No! YiJung has made it very clear we’re getting this annulled as soon as possible.person I’m accidentally married to. There we go. others say fate.” And with that. But STILL. JiHoo.” He says this as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world. It’s too difficult if everyone knows. Ask him yourself. and I couldn’t lie to him. “Hmph. dammit! “I was at the courthouse getting the documents.” “Well.” How does he read my thoughts??? “I only said that we woke up naked anyways. It’s not the end of the world. “You told JiHoo? Why didn’t you lie???” “JiHoo can tell when I lie. He’s my.. A husband shouldn’t do that! Shoot. “He could put the pieces together. Complete accident. Don’t joke like that. He asked what they were. he’s the.” “So? You were doing fine earlier! I lied to JanDi!” “Just—it wouldn’t have worked. It’s private.” I am calm.

“I won’t tell. I waved. JanDi is asking weird questions. Why is he taking this so lightly? Our secret is slowly getting out. Maybe JiHoo is like a fine wine. We all were pretty drunk.” He laughs and hangs up the phone. He’s the one who has a problem with marriage. I lie in bed. I’ll call you tomorrow. JiHoo. and motioned that I was going to grab my things. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s just kind of funny. even if there were thirty small children begging us to play with them. We walk to a nearby cafe and buy coffees.” he says. It sounds so much worse when he puts it like that. And in the ways he has.. it’s always been better. and with that piece of stress off my chest.” I grimace. “What are you thinking?” “Oh—nothing. Get coffee with me tomorrow?” That’s a huge relief.that’s about it.“Not anymore. Even though it’s been years since I’ve known him.” “Yeah.” What now? “Really? Did he say anything?” Tone it down a little GaEul. Tuuli and I were able to grab a nice lunch. Of course you do.. .. “Busy.. which means JunPyo is going to ask weird questions. You sound just a little eager. “How are you doing?” I ask. he never seems to change. he smiled. We eventually gave in and started a game of tag. I’m able to get a little sleep for the night. You barely had one drink.” He raises his eyebrows. Running back to see him. and found a wedding And you?” “A little stressed. My thoughts are interrupted by another text. Work was the same the next day. this time from JiHoo. JiHoo knows. frustrated. “You don’t remember any of it?” “Er. I quickly reply that I’d love to. “How did this happen?” “I’m not sure myself. but that’s okay.. “So. The game was just ending when I noticed JiHoo standing by the school fence.” “I remember that. What did YiJung tell you?” “You two woke up naked with rings on fingers. I think you’re more freaked out by this than YiJung. actually.” he begins. but doesn’t say anything. He just gets better with age. He’s the one who broke up with me—who am I kidding? Our relationship never got off the ground.

“A little. “GaEul. “Meanie. GaEul.“No. I’ll be there in. I decide to change the subject..” Stop pulling my leg.two minutes. don’t you? Oh—I’m sorry. We didn’t know we were getting married.” “You’re going to want dinner too. What are you making?” “Spaghetti. Just a little flour on the face. that YiJung might actually want to be married to me? “JiHoo.” Hey now! That’s not entirely fair.” I stick out my tongue. drunken mistake.” “Two? Yah! YiJung! Are you standing in front of my building?” “Maybe. Does he know that? “What are you doing?” Ooh. Every time I speak to him he mentions the annulment.” Is he happy? He sounds happy. “Have you ever thought of getting married?” I ask.” He’s not upset by this marriage? No. The boy has great timing. I . Completely wrong. have you ever stopped to think about why you got married?” “What? No. and I can’t tell if he’s joking or not. impatient. You?” “Holding in my hands the annulment documents. and I run to the mirror. JanDi is. “But one of you had to come up with the idea.” We both smile and sip our drinks. “Can I come over?” He asks. and the other agreed to it. that’s all. “There’s a bunch of things to be signed. “So you’re not going to tell JanDi?” “You don’t trust me?” He grins. Is he saying that I might actually want to be married to YiJung? Or.. See JiHoo? You’re wrong. Not too bad. We were drunk and thought it would be funny. but you need to fall in love first.” He laughs.. aren’t we? “Making dinner. It was simple. but laugh. It was a mistake. “I do. “That’s true. Chapter Nine I’ve just started making dinner when YiJung calls me.” I’m sure of that. but I don’t trust JanDi to imprison me for life if she finds out what I’ve done.” “Excellent. He knows that this whole mess is between YiJung and me. That’s not true. aren’t you?” “Maybe. There might be something there.” What is he talking about? I don’t get it.. I’m sure JiHoo isn’t going to tell. JiHoo. You need to fall in love. End of story.protective of you to say the least. but I can tell.” He hangs up the phone.. unless you’re you. I felt Italian tonight.

“Dinner won’t be ready for a while.” YiJung begins dancing around me in the kitchen as I cook. but can still be able to find what he needs in the kitchen..rub it off right before YiJung rings my doorbell. YiJung. It’s weird and comforting at the same time. If anything. Go ahead and watch some TV. but there hasn’t been a need for him to come up. and I run over. “What is it?” “GaEul.. and visa versa. watching the news. . Just come here. one saying it was an accident. and one saying that we didn’t—“ “Gotcha. He’s made himself at home on my couch. and silverware is in this drawer. adding spices to the spaghetti sauce when I hear YiJung swear and call my name. “We just have to sign everything. Now that I think about it. he’s good at pretending. I’m going to throttle JiHoo. What are the papers?” “In short? There are about ten things for you to sign. he knows what he’s doing. I sneak a look at YiJung. Getting out of the taxi in Vegas. He’s dropped me off outside several times.” I continue making a salad. Plates are in the cabinet to the left. Or. “How about you watch TV or something while I finish up the food?” “Want me to set the table first?” What? He’s being considerate. He’s full of crap. “If you want. “Is there anything else needed?” I look over. I go back to making dinner. and he walks straight in. Holding hands.” YiJung doesn’t seem way too happy. I open the door. On the television is a picture of us. and he’s already finished setting the table. and go into the courthouse sometime this week to have everything finalized.” His tone is stern. Must be because he’s so excited about no longer being married to me.” I don’t need the reminder. while he sits down on the couch. For a boy who knows little else than pottery. he is too happy. he looks even more domestic than he did in the kitchen. cups in the right. “I don’t think so. Easy. It’s. He can stay out of my way. Geez. One saying that you don’t want my money. I’m not sure he’s ever actually been inside my apartment before. Fast. Next time I see him. With our wedding rings showing. Way to make yourself comfortable.oddly domestic.

even. A joke. and I know he’s thinking the same thing. SHIT. Famous artist and notorious playboy So YiJung eloped this past weekend on a holiday to Las Vegas in America. no. and get my heart broken. I’m too emotionally drained. “So.” Gulp. You might not be famous. What are your parents going to say if this marriage isn’t real? What are our friends going to say? What is your boss going to say? What is the public going to say?” No. and then made the rest up.” “They might not figure it out that quickly. The public is going to know it’s me by tomorrow. Word is the two plan on honeymooning on a private island in the south next week. If I consider anyone else.” I back peddle. He looks stressed.. Who is the lucky girl who tamed this beast? We don’t know! According to our reports the yet un-named bride wore a Vera Wang gown. Anyone who knows you. I’m going to stay married. Where do they get this stuff?!? Nothing the reporter said is true. “GaEul yang. “Not to sound vain. but me getting married is news.” He sounds just as drained as me.” Huh? “What do you mean?” “Well. the photo is still real.. they’re going to figure out who you are.. and it got carried away. Don’t make me think about that Yi-Jung.” YiJung is rubbing his face. “So. while So was dressed in an Armani suit. I don’t want to consider anyone else. . “What do you want to do about this? Should we call them out on their lies?” I say. we just say that it was a mistake.” His eyes look glazed over. and I believe him. This doesn’t sound good. “It’s not that simple. Again. “Everyone will find that out tomorrow. It’s hard to be upset. I don’t want to.” My voice carries with false hope—but I try anyways. first. “Someone probably took that picture of us by accident.SHIT. and am unable to pull myself away from the lies being presented on television.. It can’t be! Where is my gown? Where is his suit? Where’s the justice of the peace??? YiJung glances at me. YiJung continues. Either way... “How did they find out?” My voice is quiet. but you teach at one of the better schools. knows that it’s you in the photo. So. I collapse to the floor.” There’s no question in his voice. The wedding took place at the home of a family friend of So with just two witnesses and a justice of the peace. We were playing a prank on our friends.. SHIT. the other reporters will figure out that this reporter is mostly lying. no. “They’re going to figure it out.

I don’t think they’ll object to you marrying one of the world’s most famous artists. Could you have been any less excited about your answer? Oh well.. the neighbors listening to music. I’m not sure I’ve ever actually gotten over it.” “But—“ “But what? GaEul. “Of course.” Sheesh. and while I’ve been okay.” I stutter.. I don’t want to get my heart broken all over again. it’s the only way. I couldn’t hear the television blaring in the room. and pulls a pen out of his pocket.” He grabs a notebook from the top of my desk. Good.. GaEul. But.. with a bad job?” “Who said you had a bad job? You’re a teacher. How’s it going to look if you’ve married a commoner. yeah. That’s a noble job. trying to think of everything. “I. .. If we had an annulment now. “Will you stay married to me?” Chapter Ten All I could hear was my own heart beating loudly in my chest. I’m glad he’s thinking along the same lines.” “We’ll stay married. I knew I had to agree. I’ll just have to take extra precautions.“We’ll. agreeing to this marriage also puts me out in the open. At least YiJung’s face looks ecstatic. and who knows what would happen at my job. my friends would be upset.” “My parents haven’t met you. “GaEul? Are you there?” YiJung snaps his fingers twice in my face. “But! On some conditions!” I start pacing around the room.. Time seemed to stop.will stay married to you.” YiJung! “We can’t. Whoo me.” He interrupts. I’d probably get fired—I don’t think parents would want such an irresponsible girl teaching their children.” “But—“ “GaEul. recently? She was a commoner—who cared when they got married? No one. We have to do this to keep our lives.we’ll. I don’t think I could recover from that. uh. “Did you hear me?" “Uh. or the traffic outside.. YiJung broke my heart five years ago.. And. GaEul. He was right. have you looked at your best friend." “I’ll meet them soon enough. my parents would be upset.. Everything was blocked out as soon as YiJung asked me to stay married to him... I’m saving his career.

“Is that so strange?” “Frankly. I won’t ever feel comfortable there. Call me nuts. but I’ve had this dream since I was little of owning a Dalmatian. separate rooms are necessary. I’ve never known you could cook. yes. ” I got my wishes. wondering who that cute girl is with the Dalmatian.” “Shoot.” “Duh. “I’ve got three more things to add to the list. Besides. but I’ve always wanted one. Touché.but okay. and I’ve never had one! A dog. YiJung writes that down. “You potty train the dog. It’s kind of cute—don’t think that GaEul! “It’s your house. “Does a year and a half sound good?” “Fine. Maybe I saw that Disney film one too many times. I like cooking. and I stop.” “You never asked.” I do a little happy dance in the living room. “A dog?” YiJung looks skeptical. I can’t live in your house.” “Okay.. “You’re so easy to please.” I say.” He nods his head.” he says teasingly. “I want us to find our own apartment. But we get at least two bedrooms. “What else do you want GaEul?” “Um.. . I’d be lost for days. it’s far too big. so he gets his..” Oh.. Think! “A dog!” I blurt out. GaEul. I just know it.” “Alright.” “Okay. “Is that it?” “I’m not going to cook everyday. we can get. That makes sense. He’s on the verge of bursting out laughing.. and to walk down the street with people staring. YiJung.“Since we’re staying married for the public.” “Why not?” His face is all scrunched up in confusion. “Why not? They’re cute. I realize that YiJung can actually see my dance.” Eww.” This needs to be good. I nod...a dog. let’s set an ending date..” I pause in my pacing to stare at YiJung blankly. “You like cooking?” I ask.” Considering one bed is what got us into this mess.

too.” “GaEul yang. So. we need something to tell everyone. and it won’t this time. what do we do now?” We sit on the couch side by side. I’m sure he’s got something he loves that he’s embarrassed about. “Check. “For starters. they’re not going to work anymore. and we both sign. This is just an act.“We stay out of each other’s lives. Since the whole point of us staying married is to save our skins.” What now? “Hm?” “We live together. he really hurt me last time. It.” “This is just an act.” . the one on TV isn’t going to work out. “GaEul!” He tosses a pillow at me. “What’s the other one?” I ask. we only decided ten minutes ago to stay married. too.” “Tomorrow we’ll go look for an apartment?” “Check. He falters before he responds. making fun of me. and act married in public. After a year and a half..” He smirks at me. YiJung writes the last two conditions on the paper. and you do what you want. I do what I want. “So. let’s call our friends and family. I’ll just have to figure it out.. “Should we get our story straight?” I ask. Of course it’s just an act. I mean. “Story?” “Well.didn’t work out before.” he says. Like watching dramas. Weird. But.” Hee. right?” "HEY! There’s nothing wrong with that!” Jerk.” I repeat. I can have my fun. I don’t want to go through that again. but at home we’re just roommates.” “Secondly. “No falling in love. Like I said before. Stupid jerk. we need a story. It’s probably best to hear it from us. Our marriage is now official. I don’t see what’s so wrong about watching two or three shows a week. I officially have a husband now. we need to get rid of these annulment papers.” “Check. Are you listening to me?” “Check. still slightly in a daze. “I never said there was. I am. and I throw it back.

and eat our meal over looking the city. We’d go outside. dinner would be ready and waiting for us.” He says. then. “Why there?” “Because otherwise you don’t deserve me. We’ll start with you groveling. WooBin’s calling YiJung. Glad we’ve settled that. Chapter Eleven YiJung and I are just settling into our dinner when both of our phones begin to ring. Well. No surprise there. He walks into the kitchen to speak to him. When we would come back. up to some remote house that no one else in the city knows exists. we’re talking daily back and foot rubs for life groveling. We’d spend the day relaxing. shrugs and goes into the kitchen to find our food. GaEul? Up there? That’s so cheesy.” He sticks out his tongue. I would have asked. “That’s how I would have done it—if it were while we sat under the stars.. I don’t know what you F4 talk about alone.” “Uh. “Funny story JanDi. For a playboy.“We just say that we fell in love. It would be like nothing you had ever eaten before. and I take my time before answering the call. This isn’t going to turn out well..” “Really.’ “YAH! GaEul! What’s this on the TV?!?” Oh. The view would take your breath away.” “Okay. This might be the only instance of lying where more is better. “Hello?” I go for the ‘I’m completely innocent voice. he’s sure doesn’t know much about women.” “And you proposed on the top of the fake Eiffel tower in Vegas. Done..” There might be a little drool coming from my mouth.” “Funny?!? Because I’m seeing that you’re married to the man you should NOT be married to!!! What .have been secretly dating for the last six months. it would take a lot more than some groveling and begging.. but girls want details. and then go out for a walk at sundown. she’s wound up. and begging me to give you another chance. he really doesn’t. I’ve got a call from. No fancy declarations of love—just quietly asked you to stay with me forever. “Fine. After you had finished. whom else? JanDi.. and then we decided to elope.” And the jerk. “What would you have done then?” He thinks for minute. YiJung.” He frowns. and decided to get married. What else?” “We. Maybe it’s on the top of a mountain. If he wanted me back for real.. “I would have driven you way outside the city. No.

okay? He’s a good guy.I’m sorry GaEul. Say?” “YiJung and I eloped in Las Vegas. Deathly quiet.. “..he’s on the phone right now. But I respected your decision. JanDi’s pissed. but you have to respect it. Did.” “I know. Please respect mine. and we’re sticking with our marriage.” We hang up.. she’s only going to get madder.. “On the phone?! Coward!” She thinks he doesn’t want to talk to her? Gee. “Uh. Really. Just give me some time to get used to it. “JanDi? Are you there?” “What. We wanted to tell you. I begin to get worried.. If I keep lying. GaEul—“ “JanDi!” She continues to yell while I try to interrupt. okay? You don’t have to approve of it. too. There was a time I didn’t approve of JunPyo. YiJung’s and my truth might be out. You. I wonder why. we’re working through our problems. “Well.” The other line remains quiet. but with it comes a whole new bunch of lies to tell our friends and families.. Too bad it’s so similar to lying.the hell is going on?!?!” I might as well bite the bullet.” Wow—I’m never this blunt with anyone. YiJung and I did elope last weekend. Don’t worry about me..?” “GAEUL! Are you insane?!?!? How could you marry YiJung?!?!” I have to hold the phone away from my ear while she yells at me. The last thing I need is for her to come over here and kick me—or YiJung—in the face. . “He’s not right for you GaEul!” “But—“ “Put him on the phone GaEul!” Ouch! My ears are beginning to hurt. I’m getting good at this acting thing. “But—“ “But what? He’s my husband now. “JanDi! Listen! We eloped. Can I take a message?” I try feebly. especially after what happened last time. It’s just a little shocking. “JanDi—he’s actually on the phone. “Okay. okay?” “Araso. and I’m already feeling guilty.” “I can’t believe you did this.” She sounds a little more calm now.” I’m surprised at myself. Call me later. but thought it best to keep it a secret for a while.

” “That bad?” I nod. I told him we would get breakfast tomorrow. I thought she would come running over to beat me up.” He asks. Plus we don’t have gifts! You have to have gifts when you visit your parents! Okay.” “She’s not that emotional. “How did he take it?” “Uh. It’s rude to come over unannounced. Now to just let my family know.It’s to protect them. “That is better. But. if I were you.” “After your work? You don’t want to tell them now?” Is he teasing me? I can’t tell. but if I don’t.” YiJung grins. Can we go this weekend?” I nod. but at least I’m not disowned. we would lose it all and have nothing left. but that’s on the other side of town. anyways. I tell myself. “Well. What time do you start work?” .” “Thanks.” Oh. He was serious. “Of course. and sorry I don’t have the courage to tell you in person?’ I suppose we could just go over to their house. Since we’re seeing WooBin tomorrow. If they really knew what we had done. I might avoid her. we’ll tell him then.” He looks at me as if I’m insane. So I might just be making excuses to avoid telling them. By being selfish. we’re just saving them from heartbreak. he didn’t.” “He didn’t?” “Apparently not. “After JanDi’s reaction. He called about borrowing my car this weekend. If he wants to meet you again. but so what? Wouldn’t you? YiJung comes back into the living room looking much more frazzled.” he paused. But. She’ll forgive me in a week or two.” he scratches his head. We’ve got to visit my parents tomorrow. “Sorry. thinking. “I want to see my mother though. they’ll see it on the news. It would take over an hour to get there at this time of night. I don’t think I’ll hear from her for a couple weeks. too. “How did JanDi take it?” “Better than expected. “Hadn’t seen the news. how? I don’t really want to tell them this over the phone. E-mail? Do they make an e-card for ‘sorry I eloped in Las Vegas to a guy you’ve never met. JanDi’s mad. I don’t think I can take another like that tonight. And. he can contact us. We’re just protecting them. “I suppose. Are you going to tell your dad?” “No. But. Right? I wait for YiJung to finish his phone call. anyways. “Okay.

and leaves my apartment. Since I’m apparently moving soon. I am a married woman. WooBin slaps him on the back in greeting before walking over to kiss my check. “GaEul. I look around the apartment.. evidently trying to find the right words. he grabs his coat. too. Chapter Twelve WooBin is already at the restaurant when we arrive the next morning. It just makes it easier to pack up now. though. and three family photo albums on a bookshelf. My life was straight out of some horrible fairy tale.” Hmph. How come we don’t find out Cinderella got married to save her job? Stupid prince. This is the best solution. No falling in love? What kind of condition is that? After what he did last time. Psh. In the course of a week I had gone from completely single—not even any boyfriend prospects—to married. I bet he confused Cinderella.” And with that. I scrounge around in a closet and find a couple of empty boxes. I don’t want to think about YiJung anymore tonight. . One minute hot. GaEul’s here because we have something to tell you. I should probably get started on packing up my things. does he really think I’d want to try again? And does he think he’s cool or something? What kind of idiot has to say that out loud and put it on paper? Ugh. We order our food before YiJung begins. and pick it up.“9:30. he looks surprised to see me. and you know it. Me married. It’s just me and the food we never finished eating.” “Coward!” He shrugs and goes to sit down. “Cheer up GaEul yang. I’ve got a couple paintings hanging on the wall..” “I’ll pick you up around 8:00?” I nod and try to smile. the next cold. Oh well. and start packing.” he pauses. men are all the same. A good surprise. Funny. I guess I didn’t have enough time in this apartment to really clutter it. “Did you tell him I was coming?” He seems embarrassed. In fact. “I thought it could be a surprise. I didn’t realize you were joining us this morning. There’s not much here in the way of mementos.. but that’s about it. “Actually WooBin. I poke YiJung. At least someone is a gentleman. I see our contract on the table. I’m not that hungry anymore.

Over. In fact.. right? WooBin takes his time before speaking again. “I took GaEul up into the mountains. but he’s kind of an asshole.” Dating? He thinks we’re dating? What.. I’m sorry that you’re angry.. Does he know? YiJung and I nod solemnly.. “What do you mean married?” He eyes us suspiciously. like normal people? “Uh.” YiJung like this scares me more than JanDi does.” I smile at my husband. “He makes me very happy. as if WooBin has offended him deep in his soul. “YiJung’s my brother. but. WooBin. we really wanted to do this.” I begin. you agreed to marry this man?” WooBin asks me in disbelief.we’re. I’m a little worried people will start staring. “You went to the chapel. and got married?” “No. and asked her to marry me.” I keep waiting for YiJung to let go of my hand..” YiJung’s seriousness now worries me more than people staring.. That seems like something newlyweds would do.WooBin.” He grinds out his words. “WegotmarriedinLasVegas. we might as well elope. I need to say something. YiJung grabs my hand. “Married?!?” His voice is noticeably louder now. .. just let me know. We decided that since we were in Vegas. WooBin looks at YiJung. and holds it up for him to see. “We did get married. “You’re not. “GaEul. Get. “We’re married. It.” I nod again. but he hasn’t done it yet. Its kind of fun to see his face go from confusion to shock and to horror.” It all comes out in a rush. he’s using his thumb to trace circles on my palm. “I can’t believe you’re dating! Congratulations! GaEul. but YiJung cuts me off.?” Crap. It takes WooBin a minute to process the information. actually. and it feels really nice.WooBin looks at us expectantly. and then looks at me. so let me know and I’ll take care of it.. With a justice of the peace. “Well. if he treats you badly. WooBin stares at us. Few get this treatment from him.” YiJung tries again. probably contemplating the odds of us actually getting married.

What am I going to do about him? I honestly don’t know.” Of course you did. Chu GaEul report to the Principal’s office upon arrival. I’m lucky enough to avoid seeing anyone while walking across the hallway. I will. “You’re not going to quit.and he looks pleased.” she laughs. I’m sorry—“ She cuts me off. I’m not getting yelled at. I mean. I appreciate it. she continues. and I get time off? . so this can only lead to good publicity for the school. right GaEul?” TWO WEEKS? I’m even more stunned. I was a good kid. does JanDi have any other friends? I think I might want to get married now. so I’m happy for you. I’d look like a fool if someone spotted me. but if I can avoid Tuuli and TaeSoong today. Truly.” “Why don’t you take two weeks off for your honeymoon? We can figure things out more when you’ve returned. Not me. I’m blushing now. Just yell at me.” It’s now that YiJung realizes he’s still holding my hand.” I laugh. and get it over with. and I’m glad WooBin didn’t take our news badly. GaEul. God. and I miss the warmth. “I saw an interesting piece on the news last night. I will be pleased. Reluctantly I make my way to the Principal’s office. this feels like high school all over again. and I wait for her to say something. Oh TaeSoong. “I suppose this calls for a celebration!” Huh? She’s not going to yell? Looking at my confused face. My palm feels cold now. “I always thought you’d work things out eventually. Not that I ever skipped my classes. YiJung leaves me at the school gate. but you’re an outstanding teacher. and sneaking around corners. I really don’t want to deal with this. not that I ever got called into the Principal’s office. If you return. The receptionist leads me into the Principal’s office. Now it really feels like high school. I would have preferred you told me in person. “Thank you ma’am. okay?” “Thanks. and look for an alternate route into the school. and he drops it to finish his meal. Again. “Well. I know ma’am. or anything. It’s a good thing too—I’m walking on my tiptoes. “I’ll ask her next time I see her.” I get out of the car.” Oh gosh. “I’ll come get you after school. I manage to find a clearing in the bushes to hop over the fence. “I. It’s good to have at least one ally. We eat in peace. I don’t even bother dropping my stuff off in my room.

I get two weeks off just like that? She motions with her hands for me to leave.” He sticks out his tongue and drives off. thank you for the vacation. It’s going to be strange not seeing their faces everyday. yes.. and I feel guilty. araso?” She smiles.” That’s me. I look up to see who I ran into—Han TaeSoong. and have to move. It must be quite shocking for him.” Even his voice sounds depressed. I hope you’re happy with your new husband. There’s been no reason to. and no. I. I walk out of the school just as the children are beginning to arrive. “I can’t miss so much work!” “Yes you can! You got married. and I’m astonished. The Principal thought it was a great idea.” He bows and walks quickly into the Principal’s office. but somehow he manages. I think this is the first vacation I’ve ever taken from school.“No. “Work over so soon?” He looks exceedingly pleased with himself. That was better than I expected. so I bow and scurry out of the room before bumping into someone. I’ve worked here for three years now and I haven’t had a day off. “Annyeong TaeSoong ssi. He looks like he’s struggling to get out his words. always smooth under pressure. “Where are we going?” I ask. The jerk. I suppose getting married is as good as any reason to take a vacation. but before I get there.” “I ho—hope he treats you well. I look around and see YiJung waiting. “Good! Head on home for the day.” This is awkward. I expect you and your new husband to take me out to dinner. He’s planned this! He pulls over and I get in the car. “Annyeong GaEul ssi. Good bye. but poor TaeSoong. a car honks at me. I hope he can find someone to love him.. She said you work too hard anyways. I mean. When you get back. I mean. Actually. and I do the same in return. “Apartment hunting. thank you. They smile and wave. He looks heartbroken. Isn’t your husband clever?” He is pleased with himself. “Did you plan this YiJung?” “Maybe. right? The bus stop is just around the corner.” “Um. “I.. I’m not going to quit. thank you ma’am. ma’am.” Chapter Thirteen ..

Not surprisingly he seems enamored of the place.. it looks like the inside of YiJung’s house—if it were thirty stories above ground. There’s no reason for him to share anything with me—it’s part of our separate lives clause. ready to have a word with YiJung. and hands me a newspaper. What’s mine is yours.” I read the circled ads. “YiJung—does it have to be so expensive?” “Why not?” Because I can’t afford this.. there are only five of them. He seems to read my mind again.” I glance at the paper and see the monthly rent.“Apartment hunting?” I ask. leaving me with my mouth open on the sidewalk. Some of the apartments sound interesting. Worth every penny. and I don’t want to mooch off of you.” At a red light he reaches to the seat behind me. The kitchen is off to one side. Who needs a six-bedroom apartment? Does he think we’re going to have all our friends move in with us? “Here we go. I march into the building.” YiJung pulls into a large apartment complex. Maybe because it’s so expensive.” I finish lamely. “Yeah. and others just sound ridiculous. The landlord returns downstairs to let us think it over. It might take a while to find a good one. Does he mean that? This is just for show. “Yep. “You do. But I didn’t ask that.” I reply. I try picturing myself living here. while the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the other. I’m sure. She takes us up to the apartment. “Which one is this?” “The three bedroom. It’s more than I make in a month. I’d feel like an eternal guest here. Truthfully. “Do you like it?” He’s leaning against the window looking down at the ground. and it just feels out of place.nice.” He walks into the building. so we’ve got to start now. two bath. but he’s already charming the landlord.” “It’s. It opens onto an enormous living room with windows over-looking the city and river. “We’re seeing the circled ones today. and it’s as beautiful as expensive. . How does he do that? “It’s okay GaEul.

It’s only a couple miles from where I live now. YiJung and I can hear everything going on outside.” “What?” “We didn’t say that you had to help pay for things.too expensive. It took him three tries before I understood him asking me what I thought of the apartment. Maybe it’s magic? You can only see the building if you know it’s there—just like the wizard bar in Harry Potter. however. we quickly decided we couldn’t live there. “I’m going to help pay for things..” “Yes.” “That doesn’t matter GaEul. Three bedrooms.” I let my shoulders relax a little. three baths.” He says it as if it wasn’t a question. I made a mistake. but I’ve never noticed this place before. thank the landlord.” I think my response takes him by surprise. I have my pride too. which he seems proud of.“You don’t like it. he just tells me about drinking vodka with Russians thirty years ago. So. and nothing inside the apartment. “Alright. YiJung. but I’m not going to walk all over him. I hardly ever get worked up like this. while rubbing his belly. a little too large I think. Once we step inside the apartment. This landlord is friendly. He has a short white beard.” I don’t want to fight with him again.” “That’s not in the contract. The rent is more manageable. It’s just. The second apartment is in the middle of downtown in a building maybe ten years old? I can never tell. but tell her we won’t be taking the apartment. Does he think I can’t take care of myself?! “This was our mistake YiJung. checking to make sure I’m not joking. Just because he’s rich doesn’t mean he gets to pay for everything. older building.. The walls are paper-thin. “I don’t know. Or. I know exactly why the rent is manageable. but I go inside anyways. but I’d like to help out. his statement infuriates me.” We walk out.” “Good.” My voice is low. . “Let’s go see a different place. and he reminds me a little of Santa Claus. and I’m taking responsibility. “We both need to take responsibility. Onto the third place! The next one is in a much smaller.” Even though I know he didn’t mean it this way. and a big round belly. I’m going to take half the responsibility. I’m a little taken aback that he gave in that easily. He examines my face.

and that worries me. but I like it anyways. and we know that this is the place. “I don’t want to get hit. I know I want to live here. enjoying life. I peek at YiJung. We can see the shops with people working to make a living. I never said that. and it will give us many headaches. but his face doesn’t tell me anything.” He pouts. It’s beautiful. and the old couples walking in the park. It feels all too natural holding his hand.” “Baby. taunting him.” I imitate his voice.” I’m about to say continue my teasing when the landlord coughs. “Do we really have to see your parents today?” I laugh. and feel like they’ve seen all too much cooking in their life.” Young love? .” and I stick out my tongue. I’m a little surprised they haven’t called yet. The place is charming—hardwood floors.” he denies. but it feels right. We walk upstairs to the master bedroom.” He answers quietly. “Uh-huh. I let my fingers dance over the wood countertops. The landlord goes downstairs to get the paperwork. “Pah. “You must be newlyweds.” “Me too. “The only time I see such banter is when two people are in young love. YiJung looks at me. before YiJung speaks. The master bedroom is on the second. brick walls. and the view is—if anything—better than the larger apartment. but when you look closer you realize how special it is.He takes us upstairs.” he says. yelling at me for not telling them before the news came out. It’s so old-fashioned. From the moment we walk in. We want to live here." “I don’t. the children playing in the schoolyard. It’s only on the fourth floor. sure. It has just two bedrooms and one bath. Everything is antique and I feel like I had stepped into 1940. but I hear his response anyways. “I think so. I guess. You were the one you said. a bright sunny kitchen. “they’ll be glad their daughter married a worldfamous artist. “I didn’t know you liked this style of house. but it’s on two stories. and tells us he used to live in this apartment. But there’s something about this apartment I love. He takes my hand and squeezes it once before telling the landlord we want to move in. At first the view is nothing special. but we can see the entire neighborhood. They’re rough. YiJung breaks the silence again. and we’ll figure out together how to fix the problems. letting us know he’s come back. and I’m sure we’re going to discover a million things wrong with the place.

I feel as if my heart is going to beat out of it’s cage. We decided to elope in America.” YiJung says. I didn’t check today. We’re in this together.” YiJung says as he hands the papers back to our landlord. a new bracelet for my mother. I can hear his beating—I’m almost glad we’re both so anxious. Are they so angry that they don’t even want to see me? I’m not sure. dinner. there have never been any problems between us. YiJung calls me over. and my father reads the newspaper. it’s going to be nice having him around. My father always has the afternoons off. “When do you plan on moving?" “We’ll probably start moving in tomorrow.YiJung just smiles and asks for the paperwork. Sometimes. but I don’t live at home anymore. YiJung’s face also looks nervous. and my mother has a tailor shop next to the house. I don’t talk about my family too much. Hopefully this will count towards something.” “America? I’ve never been there myself. Did they not see the news? No. We’ve got everything here. I’m more than a little nervous. . “There. GaEul. “Just last weekend. I think our landlord is a sweet old man. Chapter Fourteen We’ve gotten back in YiJung’s car and are on our way to my parent’s house. So. But. While we were out shopping for presents. “Welcome home. and I’m sure YiJung can hear it. while I chat with our new landlord. but I know they’ll both be home. and finish by the end of the week.” We thank our landlord before he leaves. and I sign a couple of papers. but I bet there’s something in the paper about our marriage. that’s not possible. he kept asking me what their personalities were like. Hm.” he says. We pull into my parent’s driveway. At least YiJung and I stopped to buy some presents. I didn’t have the nerve to call them and let them know we were coming. and wait a couple of minutes before getting out. I’m serious. and a box of cigars for my father. he’s flying blindly right now. My life doesn’t revolve around my family anymore.” “Great! Just let me know if you need anything. He starts filling it out. My mother is a lot like me. They didn’t call last night. “Welcome to the building. and my father is more serious. My parents’ personalities. My mother watches the news every night after dinner. “When did you get married?” He asks. and they haven’t called at all today. actually. Is it as big as it seems on television?” I nod and he grins. then again. I’m not sure how to describe them. flowers.

” she looks him over.that’s what I wanted to talk to you about. You’re our daughter. “Sorry Abonim for not calling before we came over. Or. “I didn’t know you were coming over today. Half the mothers from GaEul’s class have grand children already..” My hands are fidgeting. “Omma! It’s too early to think of children!” She gives me the evil eye before I can continue. okay?” WHAT? GRANDCHILDREN? OH SHIT.. I’m sure he thinks it’s great I’m married. This silence is the worst. It’s my mother who speaks first. I’m sure you’re up to the job.I knock on the door.. “Oh. YiJung is my.husband. “GaEul! What a pleasant surprise! Please come sit!” She sits down on the couch before she notices YiJung. He doesn’t know what to think.” YiJung bows and hands my mother our gifts. “I’m not getting any younger. “Um. and my father opens. are you pregnant?” PREGNANT? “NO!” YiJung and I both scream.” “Ah. I want my parents to say anything—they can yell—but just say something. My name is So YiJung. for that matter. “Why ever not?!?” My mother hits me. and looks at me expectantly. so there’s no reason to call. okay?” He shouts for my mother. Abonim.. and she walks inside a minute later. My father opens and closes his mouth several times.. Come inside!” He motions for us to come in the house. but to a complete stranger? Yikes. “GaEul!” He seems happy to see me—maybe he doesn’t know. . and looks to YiJung sternly. any parent.” He pauses and gives me a look as if he’s not sure whether or not he should tell my parents who he is. so I expect one by the end of next year. Let’s get your mother in here. My mother reluctantly takes the gifts. Not exactly what my parents have in mind. it’s alright. Father. “Annyeonghaseumnigga Mother. “Omonim. who’s this?” Cue my heart pounding.. “You look fit. “GaEul.

but I’m a changed man now. I would never do anything to hurt your daughter. “You can’t be very successful as an artist—do you have a backup plan?” Backup plan? Do they really not know who he is? How could my parents have gone six plus years without knowing So YiJung? “Omma—“ “Hush GaEul. you remember from the TV. I’ve been the easy child.. thank God.” This earns a tsk from my mother. and he almost never does that.. but I cut in. that with YiJung being the famous artist on TV comes with it a whole bunch of other things. actually—“ He tries speaking.. TV reporters always exaggerate things. I.. “Omma! He’s a very famous artist! So YiJung!” “So YiJung? So YiJung?” My mother thinks for a minute.” “Omonim. Does this mean you were the unnamed bride? And that this YiJung is the playboy?” “Er..“It’s never too early for grandchildren! Do you know what I have to endure at the supermarket??? All of our neighbors look down on me! I need my grandchildren! I just know they’re thinking I’m so sad because I don’t have any grandchildren to spoil!” “Appa! Can you talk some sense into her?!?” YiJung is snickering next to me. “Er. Thankfully. My father begins to realize. “Yobo! YiJung’s a very famous artist. “what do you for a living?” “I am an artist. I’m speaking to your husband. “It’s too early for grandchildren—we don’t know YiJung yet.. “GaEul! How could you marry a playboy?!” My father shouts at me. “Ah! Got it! We saw you on TV yesterday!” My father shouts. but she shuts up. I might have made mistakes when I was younger. My father looks kindly to YiJung and asks.” YiJung jumps into the conversation. Please let me have a chance of happiness with your daughter . I bet he’s enjoying this now.” YiJung doesn’t know how to respond. My mother is coming to my defense? Yes! “But! But!" “Abonim. my father feels the same way. Stupid boy. “To tell you the truth. “Wait—GaEul.” Now I’m not sure how to respond. right?” Wait.” I get one more glare from my mother.

It’s JiHoo. He drops me off in front of my apartment. My father took him into this shed and showed him every single one of his tools. If I have to be stuck in a fake marriage with someone.” I laugh. Ha.—she’s everything to me. but I don’t think she’s quite ready to apologize. He was very polite and helped my mother put out the dinner we brought. you never gossip. YiJung catches my eye and he looks exhausted already. I should get him to give me acting lessons. okay?” And with that. and he’ll get there. It was all she could talk about today. So YiJung. “GaEul. YiJung’s really selling this. and lingers for a minute—almost as if he wants to come up. my mother. I have to give him some credit for handling my parents as well as he did. Hm.” he says. My mother grabs YiJung’s hands and shakes them vigorously. Chapter Fifteen We manage to escape my parent’s house sometime after dinner. Did I say cool? Er. It seems two of our good friends eloped.” .” “Are you going to tell anyone what really happened?” Damn. and he cleaned up too. I’ve just gotten back into my apartment when my phone rings. Maybe that’s the reason few people meet my family. apparently. and I nearly died of boredom. Why are you so good at finding the wounds and then poking them? “Hm?” I feign innocence. but do promise me to have some grandchildren. Definitely not cool. JiHoo. “JiHoo.” “It’s understandable. not cool. He did that to me once. But. “Now. She felt pretty bad for yelling at you. I can’t imagine YiJung has much more of an interest in power tools than me. I know the conversation is over. They’re just too much for the average person.” “But this is really good. Welcome to the family. YiJung. “Did JanDi tell you?” “Oh yes. “Of course you may have GaEul. he doesn’t say anything and instead drives off into the distance like the mysterious cool guy he is. My father is almost won over. “I heard some interesting gossip today. what did you bring us GaEul?” My mother digs into the bags happily. we both know what really happened. I think YiJung is grateful. I’m glad it’s someone like him who can act well. and I have won. Still. and for that.” Wah.

” “Good. Don’t laugh. “Yah! I said no laughing!” “Sorry—it’s just so cliché. “You know. do you? I can see why you and JanDi get along so well.” . Lots of boxes.” He examines my old home.. well.we made a contract. okay? Is that what you wanted to hear?” “Pretty much. I’m just finishing up my bedroom when JiHoo knocks. She was a little annoyed I didn’t give her much notice.” There’s a snort on the other end.” “How?” “I don’t know. Who’s idea was it?” “Mine. For a girl who doesn’t have a lot of stuff.” “Then let me make it up to you..’re on thin ice. this apartment doesn’t seem like you.” “Have you told your landlord?” I nod. I have a lot of stuff. “I need boxes.” “What’s that supposed to mean???” “Nothing. What do you need?” I look around and see the half packed state of my messy apartment. are you asking for my help packing?” “Yes.. and I continue packing.” “Naturally. And hands to help put stuff in these boxes... “So you’re really going through with it? This marriage?” “Yeah.” “GaEul. He’s got a stack of un-folded boxes underneath one arm. “I’ve never been inside this apartment before. “You don’t beat around the bush.” We both laugh. and a bag of popcorn packing material in the other. I can be there in thirty minutes.” We hang up.“YiJung and I need to save a little face.” “JiHoo. “Yeah. “Did it earlier today. sound good?” “Thank you JiHoo Sunbae..” he says as he drops his stuff on the floor.” He laughs.. it looked nicer before I had to suddenly move out.. but I know a few people who want to move.

My thoughts are disturbed by another knock on the door. and see YiJung holding a pile of boxes. I’m not sure there’s plugs for the internet. “Fight?” Unfortunately. “We’re not. I don’t get a chance to say goodbye. Except that I don’t own either of them. and walks into my disaster zone of an apartment..” “It’s very old-fashioned. and I got WooBin and YiJung. He called to tell me about JanDi. We found an apartment together.” “I know that.” And I really don’t. She got JiHoo and JunPyo. “I didn’t know you and JiHoo were such good friends. There shouldn’t be anyone coming over. JiHoo looks up. and he was nice enough to get work off for me.” His voice gives him away this time. whistling quietly to himself. JiHoo continues packing boxes. and I can’t tell if he’s upset or angry.” he says. YiJung looks inside and spots JiHoo already working away.” His voice trails off.” “A problem?” “Look—I don’t want to fight with you. and walks quickly between us. I open the door.” He finds his coat half buried underneath old magazines. “You were in your apartment alone with another man!” “Who’s one of your best friends!” I don’t understand why this is such a big deal to him! “What if a reporter saw?” . His eyes remain cold and fixated on my face. “I guess you’ve got some. I don’t need this kind of ending. Crap. YiJung isn’t currently reading my thoughts. I’m trying not to break YiJung’s gaze. “I’ll go. I guess it’s always been because he belonged to JanDi.” I laugh.” We both smile and pack in silence. and offered some help. he’s angry. “Heh. senses the tension. “You should see the one YiJung and I rented today.“What do you mean?” “It’s too modern.” He grins as he starts putting books into a box.” “I will. I start wondering why I never got to know JiHoo before now. “I thought you might want some help packing. and run over to open it. and says. YiJung is the first to break it. We had a good day. You’re lucky you don’t have to live with him.. I didn’t realize this was a problem. Maybe my landlord? “Coming!” I call.” “Don’t tell YiJung that.

“Have you seen the news today? They don’t know who I am!” “But they will!” “But not today!” “What if he likes you?” He looks concerned. it’s already too late. Or want to. I’m married now. I cover my filthy mouth with my hands as the tears well up in my eyes. I want to put them back in my mouth. “I don’t think. he can come and get me. And yet. I can’t stand up. I want to take the hottest shower possible and wash off my sins. and when I have. I’m not afraid. Instead of their usual emotionless state. if you haven’t noticed. My strength seems drained. Hurt caused by me. YiJung stands guarded. Instead I softly fall to the ground. but a whisper is about all I can muster. “JiHoo doesn’t like me. and I can see the frustration in his eyes.” “I think he might. “That’s going to stop you? Don’t think I don’t remember why the ‘separate lives’ clause of our contract was put there. but I can’t help myself. Pot calling the kettle black. I shake my head furiously.” That was crossing the line.” As soon as I say the words. I can’t . “JiHoo wanting taken women. YiJung. and I stand my ground. but I can’t speak.” He steps closer to me. “Don’t you think that’s the pot calling the kettle black?” This is quickly spiraling out of control. I don’t know if I can stop myself. his eyes bore into mine. and I can see his face is visibly shaken. “You think?” He asks daringly. his eyes are full of hurt. “Well. I know no amount of scrubbing is going to get my skin clean. I suddenly feel dirty. and swallow them so they go back where they belong. “Is that what you really think of me?” He asks with disgust before turning around and walking out the door. I want the hot water to burn my skin and away these words. Maybe his thing is wanting women he can’t have.” snarls YiJung. The words pour out before I can even really consider what I’m saying. “I—I’m so very sorry. I can’t wash this away. He takes two steps closer to me.” He stops walking towards me.” I want to speak louder. If he wants me. I can’t tear my gaze from his. I know. “Excuse me?” I repeat myself. I want to stop.

run after him to apologize. It’s not YiJung calling. His disappointment at my lack of trust. raw eyes with dirty hair to boot. I decide to start small. I have never seen him so hurt before yesterday—not even after EunJae. or if they even match. My body feels tired and sluggish. My landlord here told me I’ve got until Saturday to be moved out. I haven’t finished packing. and just let the water run over my body. And then another. It’s going to take a lot for him to forgive me. I can’t pick up the phone and call repeatedly. I’ve never done anything this bad before. I’m still not sure what to do. I can’t get that face out of my mind. I’m still sitting in the same spot. My mind keeps replaying the scene. I can’t tell him I didn’t mean it. I decide to pack just one more. I can’t beg him to forgive me. I can’t. Pretty soon I’ve finished packing everything. My cell phone rings while I’m standing here. and finish packing the box in front of me. I can’t. crumpled. I need to start begging for his forgiveness. after I get dressed. I can’t tell him how happy our day made me. I can’t tell him that I take it all back. That’s not going to happen for a while. . that’s for sure. It’s some consolation to me that I at least I look as dirty as I feel. The awful. hateful words we said to each other. I want to stay here until I forget what I said. I turn the shower on. What can I do to make it up? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. But. No. Things aren’t going to improve if I stay on the floor forever. and go look in the mirror. Black mascara rings under my red. and he’s the only person I want to talk to right now. I don’t step out of the shower before all of my fingers and toes are appropriately pruney. All I can do is sit here. Chapter Sixteen I feel like shit the next morning. His face. and I feel paralyzed. And the next. After I finish the first box. How hurt his face looked after I said those words he didn’t deserve. I can’t seem to get up. I throw on whatever clothes aren’t already packed. My disappointment at his lack of trust. I don’t notice what they are. but I don’t get out of the shower to answer it. so I need to work on this. I slowly peel myself off the ground. I need to talk to him. and cry. and I haven’t eaten any breakfast. I can’t. like a useless piece of paper. and I don’t think it’s because of the long shower. I don’t know how to fix any of this.

I don’t want to remember it anymore. Or. Well. His expression is that of a little boy who’s puppy has just been kicked. My cheap dishes are here—we’re using them. Grabbing my clothing. photos.It doesn’t make me feel better. My apartment seems so insignificant now. I just want to get out of the old apartment. Yes. I call a taxi. and pile in as many of my boxes as I can. I reluctantly grab my purse. He looks taken back. It wasn’t a home. “Hello. “You have nothing to apologize for.” He just sounds distant. and start lugging everything upstairs. is that just my mood? I’m not sure. and even though I didn’t mean it. YiJung can have the bedroom upstairs. Or see me at all. and look at the remaining stuff I brought.” . The apartment doesn’t feel as warm as it did yesterday. it’s too late now. I give him the address of the new apartment without really thinking about it. and doesn’t have as nice a view. I was hoping to start a home with YiJung. Throwing a few bills at the taxi driver. That’s something else I can accomplish today. Where’s the vibrant YiJung from yesterday that I lo— “Yes. It takes me a few minutes to find my voice. but doesn’t say anything. In the back of my mind. and am about to go find a furniture store when YiJung walks in. I stack the boxes I can’t carry. I do. “I’m so.” I feel like I’m just repeating cliché’s. I look around my new place. It was just a place to hold my belongings. there’s nothing to put my clothing in. My last apartment came furnished. I look at the two bedrooms. Unfortunately.” He nods once in my direction. There’s goes last months paycheck. but what else can I do? I’ve got to start from somewhere. I still said it. it occurs to me that YiJung and I never discussed who was bringing what to the apartment. but I like it. I don’t think he expected to see me here today. so sorry YiJung. but I manage. What I said was completely out of line. The kitchen is empty. I should let him get as far away from me as possible. Clothes. It’s a little difficult by myself. but at least I’ve accomplished something. I can unload my dishes and silverware. Sigh. I finish putting them in the cupboards. This one does not. bedding. I lug it into the downstairs bedroom.” “But you did mean it. It’s a little smaller.

so that was what I came up with to fight. Not you.” He pokes at something in the kitchen. and I ruined it.” The tears start welling up again. If you’re not here when I get back. You’re nothing like that. “Do you?” “Yes.” “I just put it in the contract to protect me. I understand. finding this place.” “Huh?” “About taking responsibility. It takes me a minute before I figure out what he’s talking about: the separate lives clause.” “What?” “Everything in here’s ugly. It’s going to take some time.” . That’s your father. I need to. and I’m so sorry that I did say it. What is it supposed to protect him from? I don’t understand.” He says it quietly.” His expression softens a bit.” “Day with JiHoo?” “No! With you! I had fun yesterday. We started arguing. “Look. You need time. I brought my dishes and silverware. but doesn’t respond. “I don’t what I can do to fix this. but I don’t know what I can do other than apologize over and over again and try to prove that I didn’t mean it.” I’m just about to head out the door. so I’m going to head out to the store. but I’m determined not to cry. I didn’t mean it. I watch as he walks into our kitchen and wait for an explanation that he never gives.” He nods. “but I want to. It wasn’t fair of me. “What’s ugly?” “Your plates. “Hey. It was such a lovely day. I’ve started moving things over this morning.” I continue.” “Okay. but I don’t have any furniture. and you picked on JiHoo.” “I know.” “I would never do that. I’ll be back later this afternoon. and seeing my parents. and I’m sorry that I thought that for even a second. You’re nothing like that. “I meant what I said. Because I really didn’t mean what I said YiJung. GaEul. but I can’t see what.“I wasn’t thinking YiJung. when he quietly speaks. almost as if he is embarrassed.

hoping. as if in doubt. “GaEul.” He picks up one. at least he’s trying not to be. I pause inside the doorway. and turn around.” “I need to contribute somehow. but I need to contribute. “GaEul. “Yah. I feel terrible about what I did. I can’t let myself walk all over you. remember?” “But that doesn’t make sense when I already own a bed. Or. and we apparently. plates.” Tonight? Why tonight? Is there something special? .I sense that he’s not so angry anymore. It’s a start. “Yes.” he huffed. there are nothing wrong with them. you can make the dinner tonight.” I move towards the door. I’ve got all these things at home. “I need to pack up my things.” “It’s not walking all over me. “Buy the plates and bed.” “Yeah. need new plates. table. there are ducks on the plates. please.” “Fine. “What are you buying?” I reply that I need furniture. do you?” I ask. Chapter Seventeen I’ve just arrived at a store when YiJung texts me. I’ll be back in a while. They work. I can meet him halfway. couch. He calls a minute later.” “Please YiJung.” Well. “I’m going shopping.” “A man can’t use these.” I nod.” “Okay. “Aright. But that’s it. He considers.” “You want something else?” I ask.” “So? They’re cute. It’s half my responsibility. but they’re better. They’re clean. things aren’t repaired. “You don’t want to come. but shakes his head. If you’re still feeling guilty when you get back.” YiJung attempts a smile.

” She moves back in her corner. section seven. Plunking down my credit card.” He sounds a little disappointed. someone’s sure excited about her job. After I gasp at the price tag. section three. and dishware on floor two. How are you supposed to find anything in a store as big as this?!? I try searching for a salesperson. It’s just packed with people like me. and tries to be unnoticed by the rest of the crowd. It’s a white metal frame with a vine design—a lot like my wedding ring. and purses her lips before saying yes. I’ll get the rest.” I say truthfully. Maybe kimchi soup? I haven’t had that in a while. If the salespeople don’t know where things are located in a store. Gee. I tell the salesman I’ll take it. the map knows the answers. I find a lone saleswoman sitting in a corner. I thought for sure he would be gone. Good. “Beds on floor five. there are more salespeople in the section. so I hurry through the grocery store. Fortunately. . You would think a section like beds would be easy to find on account of them being so big and all. “Where can I find plates and beds?” She checks a map in her pocket. looking slightly afraid of the crowd.. can you please help me?” She looks up. I find some plain white plates with a black rim. In the dishware section.“Uh. I think it might take up an entire city block. I’m a little tired afterwards. After examining a number of beds. and figure I can make something with the ingredients when I get back. plates and food. they say. but I don’t see anyone. The store I’m inside is enormous. but nope. Okay. Arguh. Opening the door to the apartment. it’s too big. Just buy the bed. I pick up a few staples. and have a little trouble locating section three. actually. “Excuse me. I make my way to the fifth floor. Thank you for coming in. Thankfully.?” “Aren’t you going to stay in the new apartment tonight?” “I wasn’t planning on it. I find one that seems to match the apartment. he hangs up before I can say anything else. Ahhhhhh After searching for nearly twenty minutes..” And in usual YiJung fashion. “I can—“ “Ok. “Oh. I’m surprised to see YiJung still here. In the morning. I pay for everything and give the address for everything to be delivered.

“I was hoping this would be done by the time you got back. and trying to reach the top of the ceiling with a paint brush. I’m sorry I yelled yesterday. and looks to be antique. I walk back out. and it offsets our dark hardwood floors. and peek in my room.” I stick out my tongue and walk into the kitchen. YiJung. JiHoo’s my friend. Maybe I’ll do some more tomorrow. On the duck plates. of sorts. “I think I like wall painting. “Thank you YiJung. “This is the first painting I’ve ever done.” He shrugs. “But it.” he says. “Back so soon?” He turns back and continues to paint.” And it does. and turns back to look at me.” He pauses.” Okay. “It’s an apology. I should probably accept his apology. Good joke.” He looks sheepish. and the new dishes won’t be delivered until tomorrow. Where am I going to sleep?” He grins mischievously at me. right? “Um. and you’re not like that either. “Yah!” I yell. Want a different color in your room?” . It’s a nice color. “What are you making?” “Kimchi soup. YiJung. thank you. It’s official.” I hear him cheer in approval. or gotten any on the ceiling.” “There’s something else for you in your room. We’ve made up.I’m even more surprised to see YiJung standing on a—our—dining table.” “Oh. “It’s been four hours. “Did you buy a bed?” I nod. He hasn’t spilled any paint on the floor. I’m going to go make that dinner. It’s a deep dark wood. You’re a natural. it’s really thoughtful of him. it’s beautiful. it looks good. too. YiJung. It wasn’t fair of me. The soup is nearly done half an hour later when I hear a “finished!” from the living room. and YiJung looks like he’s swallowed a canary.” “I see that. What are you doing?” “Painting. right?” “It looks really good. I’m not sure what to say. The room is now a deep grey-blue color.” I set the groceries on the ground. YiJung has placed a dresser inside for my clothes. “You’re going to fall and break your neck!” He turns around and seems just as surprised to see me. YiJung calls after me. covered in paint. he’s so proud. “There’s always room upstairs. “Ha ha. and I get started.

“Of course I do!” It can’t be that bad. I’m generally a good cook.” I keep laughing as he—reluctantly—grabs the duck dishes to use for dinner. I felt bad after you left. and added salt..just thought you would like it.” “Thank God.” I look him over.” “Okay. drinks it in one gulp and runs to the kitchen to get some more. and we sit down to eat.” He shrugs and takes a bite. “I’ll go order a pizza. I set it on the table. This tastes awful..” He smiles and asks. We’ll go find paint tomorrow. and try to remember what ingredients I used. or do I blame the store bought kimchi? He returns from the kitchen and looks at our terrible meal. Water! I need water! I hastily drink all of my water. He’s probably thinking about how upset I’m going to be if he doesn’t eat it.. I think he’s unsure if he should finish eating it or not. “Now. it tastes awful. “YiJung. “Yah! GaEul! Do you know how to make kimchi soup?!” He reaches for his glass of water..” Chapter Eighteen ... peppers. A lot of it. one onion. He reaches for his spoon and I know I need to say something..” “Okay! I might have been distracted. salt. tofu. That wasn’t supposed to happen. This isn’t good. four? Tablespoons? I can’t really remember.” I laugh. How much did I put in? Three. It’s all through his hair. “You’re going to have to work harder than that to get rid of the paint. Ha.. Don’t eat it. If I eat more. I take a bite.” I look at the table in shame. Do I tell YiJung I made the mistake. meat. and comes back looking only moderately better.sure. as well as he’s done painting the wall. “That’s probably a good idea. What did you do???” “Uh.. and. Store-bought kimchi. “What made you decide to paint?” I ask. garlic. But I get to help too. and he disappears into the bathroom. pepper. I might be sick. he hasn’t done such a good job keeping the paint off himself.“Hm. when are we having dinner?” “Ah! Just a couple more minutes. “I don’t know. Want to grab some plates for me?” “Let me clean up first.. Oh bought kimchi’s bad?” “GaEul yang. Now for the bigger question..salt?! Shit. and YiJung starts laughing. Shit. and I think his clothes are ruined..

GaEul. “I brought some of the bedroom today.” I say.” “That is usually the case when one has not fully moved into an apartment. and thus dirty.” “Bringing it from your house?” He nods. It’s almost eight pm.. Hey.Twenty minutes later. but I’m starving.’ I’ve got nothing else to do so I’ll help. It’s pretty comfortable. . More like shoving it in our mouths as fast as our hands can grab the pizza from the box. It still smells of paint. “When are you bringing your stuff over here?” “Mmm.” “We don’t have a trash can. At least YiJung is doing the same thing. I finish off my half of the pizza.” “Okay. and wait for YiJung to swallow before I speak.. I haven’t looked to see what YiJung has. effectively ruining it even further. I’ve just got clothes. He’s actually worse off than I... and I wanted my dinner an hour ago. we are sitting on the floor. in my mind it becomes trash. “So. YiJung sets our dishes in the sink—we don’t have any soap to wash them with—and we walk back into the living room. despite us opening all of the windows. we’re not speaking while we eat. we’re no longer mad—we’re just busy with our food. but it can’t be much more than that. So putting that dirty box on the counter is.” “Still.” He grabs the empty plates and brings them into the kitchen.” he replies. a food item that is. and will see if I can get the living room finished tomorrow. I want my stuff here. a box of photo albums and my bedding here. he’s managed to drop some pepperoni on his shirt..” I shrug. having abandoned the table. Don’t make fun.” “Just leave it on the counter.ew. I’m living here. “Of course.. We’ll deal with it in the morning.. Since I’m on ‘vacation.. and reluctantly set it down. but when something like that has been finished. Naturally. “So.” he thinks.” “I’m counting on it. eating our pizza... “There’s not much to do around here right now. I take the empty box and follow before remembering that there’s no place to put it.. is there?” There really isn’t. I know it’s not lady-like. I will have to scrub the counters extra clean tomorrow.. Well. No. maybe eating isn’t the right term..

I was asking if you were serious. Tomorrow. and there’s that new film I want to see. “Want to go to the cinema?” “What?” “You know. only to have magical moving pictures appear in front of your eyes. is he British? Anyways. I see the poster for the film YiJung wants to see. .” “I yelled at you. It’s a British comedy. and we walk out. I’m not sure which one we’re headed to. “My car is just down the street.” Helpful. we’re bored.” He sticks out his tongue. okay. get in.. He’s enjoying this. “I asked you to come. My treat. YiJung. My treat. What’s he pulling here? “Why not?” He shrugs. Or. but I’m bored! I want someone to play with! I’m trying to figure out what to do when YiJung pipes up. I think. It’s going on the list. Mature. “I’ll get them.” “You painted the entire living room.“I guess not. and have to dig through my suitcases to find mine. GaEul.” “It’s only eight. I’ll buy them. but then I remember she’s irritated at me.” We find his car.” I vaguely think of calling JanDi and making her come out for a walk. The place where you sit in the dark.” “Which one?” “The one with that American.” “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that in your oh-so eloquent one word sentence question there. and drive in silence to the theater. YiJung. Jerk.” He’s grinning.. I’ll buy them. “Um. I don’t know any of the actors. “Ready to go?” He opens the door.” “I know what the cinema is.” He smirks and goes upstairs to change his clothes and find a coat. “Want to go?” “Why?” I squint my eyes. I walk into my room.” “I yelled at you too. “It’s early.” “You tried to make dinner.” YiJung looks at me funny. We stand in line to buy the tickets and I say. but it looks like it might be entertaining. I’ll buy them. but does that really matter? Once we get to the theater. there’s nothing to do here. I really should have unpacked this afternoon. Understandably so. it’s based on a book.

Once seated. but I’m not entirely surprised. Wanna die. YiJung takes his arm off my shoulders to find his credit card. and the girl’s thoughts. He may think it’s funny. “What are you doing?” “Getting ready for bed.” . It’ll be like camping tonight. That might have been too loud. my treat. you can’t do that. to drive girls insane. Apparently she doesn’t care either way. It’s well past eleven now. I’m finally ready to go to bed.” He winks at the counter girl. who looks back and forth between us. YiJung? We quiet down and begin the film. please. we walk in silence again to the car. I can see YiJung silently giggling. “We’ll take two tickets. he lets go. She didn’t think I was kidnapping you. of course. and uses his other arm to put a hand over my mouth.” “But there isn’t a bed in there.” He sticks out his tongue again. He turns the radio on quietly as we drive to the apartment. After the polite small talk is over. “What if that girl thought you were kidnapping me?! She might have called the cops!” “GaEul. quieting me as he walks up to the counter. I wonder if she thinks YiJung has kidnapped me. After the film ends YiJung asks politely whether or not I liked it. or something.” “GaEul yang.“YiJung! Let me buy them!” “No. I think so anyway. Getting his card back. I make to my smaller bedroom. however. people are trying to watch the film. YiJung doesn’t laugh. and hushes me as the room darkens. I try to protest. Boys do things like that.” The girl just rolls her eyes. and we walk to our seats. and I’m starting to get tired. A number of people. and I make a move to show him my fists as a sign of anger. “Yah! Are you crazy?!” He just shrugs. Calm down. before YiJung asks. “The missus wanted to treat me. I’m convinced. but she’s worked harder than me today. I’m not so easily stopped. It’s pretty funny. and has just decided not to show it. sitting in front of us. Don’t let them know it works. turn around and glare. It’s about a man who fights zombies to win back his girlfriend. and I do the same. he adds. Reading mine. Once inside. and prints off the tickets.” “So? I’ve got my blankets. he puts his arm back around me.” “But!” Oops. and gives it to the girl for a swipe. slings one arm around me. It was the only way for me to pay. but the sound is muffled.

There isn’t much talking while we eat..” With that. “It would be weird.” he pauses almost as if he were trying to think of an excuse. and will see if I can get the living room finished tomorrow. “When are you bringing your stuff over here?” “Mmm. “I can’t sleep in the same bed as you.” “Fake married. Girls who eat one bite drive me crazy. it kind of is—but this thing happens. I don’t think I have anything planned this week. She finishes her last slice of pizza and asks me. Thank you. “I brought some of the bedroom today. I think. YiJung looks at the floor dejectedly. If I’m honest I’m glad she can eat a lot. a lot—falls onto my shirt. “you’ll hurt your back!” “What? I’m not eighty years old YiJung! And isn’t sleeping on the ground supposed to be good for your back?” I think I read that once in a magazine. I don’t want to know the answer. I think she’s a little upset that her kimchi soup turned out so poorly. “Don’t be such a pabo. I practically run into my bedroom and slam the door shut.. I’m not sure. No big deal.” .” I use my hand and signal the space between us. “ I hastily correct..” I jump in before he can continue that thought. I simply order a pepperoni. He gets here in less than twenty minutes.. Good night YiJung. What’s going on? Chapter Eighteen Point Five I call the pizza place while GaEul stares at the floor. It’s not her fault—okay. but doesn’t say anything. Who does that??? In my haste to eat some of the pizza—okay.“Why not?” “You’ll.” He says. GaEul laughs a little.” What?!?! “No!” He frowns. and offer the delivery guy an extra fifty bucks if he gets it here in less than half an hour. “Right.” “We’re both adults—“ “No—it’s fine. “If you’re sure—“ “I’m sure. He frowns again. GaEul. GaEul is just as hungry as I am. Just sleep upstairs. “Why not? We are married you know.” I pause and try to figure out my schedule. My hand goes to my chest where I can feel my heart beating rapidly. Or in a book...

.” I simply say.. I’ll make her happy.” This is bothering her. “Want to go?” .“Bringing it from your house?” I nod. no. We have a table and four chairs in our living room. isn’t it? Ha! “Just leave it on the counter. and I get the chance to admire my painting once again. Since I’m on ‘vacation.” Does she think I’m not actually living here? She’s here. I want my stuff here. “It’s only eight.” I take our plates and drop them in the kitchen sink. “Want to go to the cinema?” “What?” “You know. doesn’t she? Sigh.” She says. Um.” And you’ve only realized this now? “That is usually the case when one has not fully moved into an apartment.” Of course I’m serious. “Okay. “So.. GaEul. looks at the counter and me before gingerly setting it on the counter. only to have magical moving pictures appear in front of your eyes. It was fun. GaEul. “There’s not much to do around here right now.” “Still. Not a lot of entertainment here unless we want to play the world’s worst game of hide and go seek..” “I know what the cinema is. “I guess not. Period. “So.” I reply..’ I’ve got nothing else to do so I’ll help. I spent the entire afternoon working on this. We’ll deal with it in the morning. and it looks good.” She shrugs.” I stick out my tongue. I’m here. No. YiJung.” Does she want to do something? Why doesn’t she just ask me? Silly girl. I was asking if you were serious. She loves to make my life just a little more difficult. I was somewhat hoping they would break. “We don’t have a trash can. GaEul grabs the pizza box and hesitates in the kitchen. too. And GaEul liked it. I’ve got a bed and a dresser upstairs. Damn. is there?” She asks.” “I’m counting on it. “Of course. I’m living here. Stupid duck plates. and GaEul has one downstairs.. The place where you sit in the dark. We walk back into the living room. Would I ask if I wasn’t? “I’m sorry I didn’t understand that in your oh-so eloquent one word sentence question there.. I just know GaEul is going to keep using them to annoy me..

Tomorrow.. I know exactly which film I want to see. but then I use my other hand to cover up her mouth so she can’t talk. “My car is just down the street. “You tried to make dinner. is he British? Anyways. I hastily add. she keeps looking at GaEul and then me. “I yelled at you. okay.. “We’ll take two tickets.” I say. she is not pleased. I’ll buy them. “I asked you to come. I’ll buy them. We’re just seeing a movie as two friends who happen to be married to each other.“Why?” She looks suspicious. uh. GaEul and I going out. Weird. From the part of her face that I can see. Even though this is not a date.” Actually. we get to the top of the line. Maybe she genuinely doesn’t like our little fights. I’ll buy them. and wrap one arm around her.” I can’t tell if she’s enjoying this or not. please. it’s based on a book. we’re bored. It’s perfectly normal. probably trying to decide if I’ve stolen her or something. I think. Fortunately. After we’ve arrived in the theater GaEul tells me she’s going to buy the tickets. “Ready to go?” She nods. GaEul is already waiting for me downstairs in the same clothes. “I’ll just go. I’m just not sure she wants to see it. does she? Well.” “You painted the entire living room.” “I yelled at you too.” “Which one?” “The one with that American. before I stick out my tongue. but I haven’t gotten the permit yet. She looks a little shocked. I tell her no. my treat. Did I just ask her out on a date? No. My treat. Up in my room I wonder why I invited her out tonight. It was the only way for me to pay. and there’s that new film I want to see. I’m not sure I like it. I walk straight past her and open the door. Tomorrow. and she nods. she would have changed. Why would she buy them? It’s my treat tonight. I give her a look..right.” I would have parked in the building. I will talk to the landlord and get the permit. “The missus wanted to treat me. “Why not? It’s early.” I wink at the girl working because well. there’s only one way to solve this. I am. It just seemed. it’s not a date. See? If it were a date.” I point down at my ruined outfit. change my clothes.” .” She’s acting like she doesn’t really want to do something with me. and it’s not a date. there’s nothing to do here. “Um.” “YiJung! Let me buy them!” She doesn’t want to give up. My treat. but she’s worked harder than me today. Or.

No. She. if she think it’s not a date. and to get there. doesn’t stop. . What? Friends ask friends if they enjoy a film. and whether or not this is a date with GaEul. there’s much more time for idle chatter. “Yah! Are you crazy?!” I shrug. Wait. Mmm. Not that I thought it was one in the first place. nervous as all hell. When we’ve sat down. I look over at her face. she’d be sitting next to me. My mind in still deciding if this was a date... She’s laughing hysterically. The film finishes. but she’s not a normal girl. She’s a girl. So. She was just being friendly. right? But. She didn’t think I was kidnapping you. the guy gets the girl and survives zombie attacks. The girl working doesn’t seem to care either way. Kinky role-play with GaEul. The room is darkening. “What if that girl thought you were kidnapping me?! She might have called the cops!” Did she not see that girl’s expression? She didn’t care at all what GaEul and I were doing. hold my finger to my lips and tell her to hush. and I ask GaEul if she enjoyed it. however. Nope. Definitely not a date. I try to concentrate on the film—I can tell it’s funny. I’d have to go on many. I don’t think it’s one either. no. and then asks me in return. “GaEul. It’s not just a date thing. this is a first step. I have to take my arm off. So. I get the card back a moment later.Missus? My heart skips a beat. what? No. Who knows what GaEul is thinking? Rainbows? Ponies? Sunshine? I know what girls think about.” “But!” She yells this.kinky role-plays with GaEul would be fun. No on both subjects. “What are you doing?” I ask. This is not a date. GaEul walks to her bedroom door back inside the apartment. She probably thought it was some kinky role-play. No. She doesn’t try to speak anymore. If it were. Not me. but I have no idea what GaEul thinks about. Calm down. GaEul says she does. We drive in silence back to the apartment. people are trying to watch the film. I have to take my arm off GaEul to find my credit card. My arm feels a little cold. and some of the other people in the theater turn around to make faces at GaEul. But as it is. and I quickly turn back. but my mind keeps going back to two subjects. and prints off the tickets. Kinky role-plays with GaEul. This is not a date. anyways. She doesn’t think so anyways.. and I put my arm back to escort GaEul to our seats.. she’s laughing every thirty seconds at some stupid thing the film’s protagonist has done. She sees me leering at her. many dates with GaEul.

” I say. “Why not? We are married you know.” She signals between us. you can’t do that. My heart is going insane. why would we sleep in beds in the first place? “Don’t be such a pabo. Good night YiJung. my eyes go wide. “I can’t sleep in the same bed as you.” I can’t seem to stop my mouth. “Getting ready for bed.” She just can’t.” “But there isn’t a bed in there.She looks at me like I’m an idiot and responds. I look at the floor. Well.” She runs into her bedroom. “We’re both adults—“ “No—it’s fine.” Crap. “If you’re sure—“ “I’m sure. Probably locked it. it’s not a big deal for us to share a bed. I feel like I’ve just run a marathon it’s beating so fast.” She stops me from continuing my sentence.” “GaEul yang.” GaEul answers all too quickly. I wouldn’t dream of doing that to her. It’ll be like camping tonight. We are married.” “So? I’ve got my blankets.. wondering what exactly has just happened. okay? “Why not?” “You’ll. dumbfounded.. But I wouldn’t do it! “Fake married... Just sleep upstairs.I might dream about it.” As soon as I say it. Otherwise. It can’t be true. Fake married meaning that there’s no reason for us to share a bed. “What? I’m not eighty years old YiJung! And isn’t sleeping on the ground supposed to be good for your back?” Is that true? I don’t think that’s true. Chapter Nineteen I’m leaning against the door.” Would it be weird? I think it might be comfortable. What did I just say to GaEul? That she should sleep upstairs? With me? “No!” GaEul looks just as shocked. . I stand in the living room. And no. too. She looks offended.. “Right. So. and slams the door. and I try to rationalize my thoughts in my head. We’re fake married. “It would be weird. Did I really just ask GaEul to sleep with me? Only for her to reject me? It wasn’t a date after all. Why can’t she sleep in there tonight? ”You’ll hurt your back!” Oh no.

So I can’t want to share his bed.. no. You’re over thinking this. That got us in this mess in the first place! Why did he ask me anyways? Did he think this was a date? It wasn’t a date. YiJung invited me to his room. Separate lives. no. . Bump.he put his arm around my shoulder. no. Bump. and it hasn’t slowed down one bit. He didn’t do anything date like. I did not go on a date with my husband.. There was nothing to do in this apartment. and try to get some sleep. It’s been at least five minutes. . there’s the contract to think of. Why? I don’t get it. YiJung said before you left that he was just bored.he looked at me while we watched the movie. . THIS WAS A DATE!?!? No. so I spread my blankets out on the floor... If this were a date. Nothing more. This wasn’t a date. Stupid YiJung.he drove me there... no. Then why is my heart beating so fast? I can’t answer the question..he paid for the tickets. We can’t break the contract. no. No falling in love. And stupid heart! Stop beating so fast! There’s no reason to! I want to go to sleep. it would lead to both of those clauses being broken. My heart is trying to tell me otherwise.. GaEul. no. Bump. .. and not hear you bump. more than that. He insisted on me coming up there. I can’t sleep with YiJung. He.. Just friends. What is going on?!? I can’t sleep with my husband. No. Besides.. no. My hand goes to my heart and listens to it beat rhythmically. . My mind can’t let the subject go.Did YiJung want me to share the bed??? And did I want to? No.and back. . so he just invited you out as friends..

What should I do now? Should I try to pretend nothing happened? Should we talk about his invitation? What if it was just a joke. I eat my breakfast in quiet. I’ve gone to get my belongings. Leaping around the corner.” “Green?” “Light or dark?” . He made me breakfast. and a bagel. “Breakfast is in the kitchen. that’s right. It was me.. I should just let it go. That’s nice. “Call me and tell me what color paint to buy. indeed. I probably should have thought about this before I called.. I said I was going to unpack my clothes. I was kind of hoping it was pancakes. Certainly saves me a trip to the store. excited to see what it is. and I need to get paint for my room. I see. I saw your notes.what else? YiJung..” “Okay. I read that the deliverymen are supposed to come between two and three pm today. and slightly sore. Last night got weird.. I’ve got lots of time to go to the store. he taped another note. Ack. “Um.And I don’t understand why this bothers me so much. Don’t eat too much.” Oh. What color should I buy?” You’re asking me to make a decision? Oh. When I list it all out. “You’re awake. Who said that sleeping on the floor was good for you?!? Oh. Hmph. And. take a shower and get dressed before deciding what to do today. and they’re my favorite. at some point my bed and our new dishes are being delivered. Okay.. I guess it’s the thought that counts. and see a note he taped to the floor in front of it. It’s only ten thirty. I haven’t had them in ages.. The next morning I wake up stiff.” Don’t eat too much?! That jerk! I ought to punch him when he comes home! Still. But. I guess.. YiJung thought of it first. One hard-boiled egg.” “GaEul. I walk into the kitchen. At least he set some jam out on the counter for me to use. but instead my thoughts are of nothing but YiJung. and then I try to talk about it? Ahhhh—I don’t want to get embarrassed! I tentatively step out of my room. On the front door. I dial my phone. it sounds like a lot! Checking my receipt. Plus.” “I am.. Again.

you won’t get your surprise. and pretty soon can feel his breath on my face. let’s get to work. YiJung?” He laughs at me and holds out two paint cans from behind his back. poking fun at each other.” “Easy enough. surprise? I stand up. but I’m careful to not mention last night. “Surprise. I’ll be back in half an hour. He’s right next to me. “Okay.” I’m not moving. and pretend to be asleep. and this just makes him laugh harder. We banter a little while we work. If I count as one.. Pride be damned. YiJung does the same.” “That’s a stupid surprise.” He moves away from me. “GaEul. but it still annoys me. while I’m on the other. “Yah. wake up. I don’t want him to think I’ve been waiting for him to return. and I close my eyes shut tighter. He walks into my room. however. “GaEul. I know he does this. I guess that’s how it begins.” He starts painting on one side of the room. and I instinctively jump into my bedding on the floor. . and I clutch the pillow. But I want a grey green. so I will too. I know you're faking it.” “Anytime. and before I know it we’ve almost met in the middle.” He hangs up before I say goodbye.” I hear him move.. Wait. I close my eyes a little bit more and stay still. and find some old clothes to put on. A light pretty green that seems appropriate for a grownup. and we both arm ourselves with paintbrushes before opening the cans. I’m not moving. “Surprise. It’s exactly the color I wanted. But. It was rather heavy and difficult to push. “Come on.” I frown. I’ll get up when I’m good and ready to. At least our conversation wasn’t awkward. He stops and I relax a little bit. Hmph.” He shakes me. I should have thought about moving it before I put all my clothes into it. I hear YiJung click the lock.” I take my bedding out of the room. To keep myself busy while waiting for him to come back I unpack my clothing. really trying to be asleep. It goes pretty quickly with two people working.“Light-ish.even if I have. “Thanks for picking it up. Get up. if you want to sleep you can. I think he’s decided to just ignore his invitation from last night. and then move my dresser into the middle of the room. so we can’t get paint on it.

” YiJung says.birthdays.“GaEul. weddings. And I’m kissing him back. there’s less than a foot now separating between us.” I spin around against the wall to face him. I’d feel too much like one of his other girls. He keeps eye contact with me for a moment before closing his eyes and crushing his lips to my own. The things he’s managing to do should be illegal. “A date?” He steps closer. I can only see and feel YiJung against me in the room. I can’t go anywhere without finishing this conversation. “We don’t have to talk about it. It’s a kiss to make up for five years of missed kisses. “As a f-friend?” He stammers. And it’s a kiss of two people who have gotten tired of waiting. but he’s trying different things. I almost want him to. Here.. but I’m glad he isn’t.” He pauses and looks me over. He’s pressing me against the wall. YiJung is kissing me furiously. emotional highs and lows.” He steps closer. “You just trying to be nice. I’m trapped. He doesn’t move his arms from the wall while we’re kissing. his tongue enters my mouth. I want him to touch me like I’m touching him. . I’m not sure. I can feel my heart beat faster. galas. All thoughts and concerns about getting paint on us have been forgotten..” Everything is moving in slow motion. awkward and without communication.” I pause. Time is stopped. feels like GaEul and YiJung. defeats. I was staring. funerals. There is nothing innocent or demure about our kiss. It takes me another moment to fully realize what’s going on. like this. I won’t do it again.. long days at the office. or maybe he’s trying to think of what to say. It’s a kiss of two people who have gotten tired of pretending. “It was stupid. You just took me out as a friend. I’m running my hands through his hair. About two seconds after we start kissing. and I’m holding onto him for dear life. victories. trying to figure him out. I think he wants to say something else. and I immediately forgive him for all the times he’s stuck out his tongue to annoy me. “About last night. and puts his arms on either side of me up against the wall.” YiJung steps closer to me. My heart is beating so rapidly I’m not sure I would be able to move. He hasn’t lost any of his initial passion..” “It doesn’t matter. And that’s when it happens.. “Don’t worry.” He stares at me. I stay put. anyways. Before I know it. and my thoughts all head due south. If I move either way I’m going to get paint all over my back. and I’m not sure I can breathe. I stare back. “I’m sorry I thought it might have been a date. “We should. every kiss that should have happened back then is happening now.

” I hold one up for him to see. There are so many things I want to say and ask. The plates are stacked on the dining table. pushing the duck plates aside to make room. I want to help. Maybe he thinks I was rejecting him.. leaning against the wall.the deliverymen should be arriving with the rest of my things in a little while. if that’s possible. Was it good enough to get me to agree to sleep upstairs? Yes.. He closes his eyes and leans his forehead against mine. “I’m going to just finish up the . and he continues. as if he’s not sure if I like what just happened.. but he finally went upstairs when the deliverymen started assembling my bed in the room. it is over.” I whisper. “Er. “Okay.And then as soon as it began. YiJung stood in my room for a long time. but I’m just too distracted. YiJung was kissing me. and he. “That will be the deliveryman. Do I want a relationship? I don’t know. YiJung nods. I can feel his hot.” I try to laugh. But. his face looked so unsure. The men finish putting my bed together. so I start putting them in the cabinets. What do I do now? I’m not sure how I feel about our kiss. I’ve only just gone and had the best kiss of my life. And I was kissing him back. I don’t get the chance. running out under his arms to answer the door. The doorbell rings again. Do I want more? Yes. His face looks tentative. Yes. tired breath on my face. Chapter Twenty I stand helplessly in the living room while the deliverymen bring up the plates. I’m not— The door opens. Was it mind blowingly good? Yes. The doorbell rings and I break the kiss. and then you had to arrive and ruin it. Maybe he regrets the kiss. Watching him as he walked upstairs. And now I’m not sure what to do. himself. Does he want a relationship? I don’t know. and smirks. I’m just putting the new plates away. “Infinitely better than the duck plates. Do I think he wants that? I don’t know. My face becomes redder. leaving him alone against our painted wall. gosh. looks a little embarrassed. I don’t know. Just. it’s fine. and try to piece together my bed. I’ve never been in this position before. and I see YiJung emerge from his room. so I thank them and they leave.” He says. One of the men asked me a minute ago if I was feeling all right because my face is so flushed.

didn’t say anything.. and we’re both exhausted. By the time we’re finished.. I’m not sure either of us is strong enough. but I thought that was a very nice surprise. and have put roots into the floor of our apartment. books.. and offer to help him.” YiJung stands up. I feel like I’ve turned into a tree. our apartment looks like a real home. I can’t be disappointed. The next couple hours are spent busily moving tables. Does the kiss not mean anything to him? Was he really treating me like one of his other girls? I’m determined not to let it get to me. “to me. That seems like something one of his others would do. His deliverymen arrive before we get a chance to speak again. Personally. though. and YiJung falls down next to me. We sit quietly. This is the least I can do for you. he looks over and my heart starts fluttering again. neither of us moves from the spot. can we go visit my mother tomorrow?” Oh. and he says. but every time I look at my husband. perhaps. It’s a surprise to make up for a stupid surprise earlier today. and artwork—everything else we needed.” I know. YiJung leans further over and plucks a leaf from my hair and laughs. “Of course. Do I move? YiJung seems to notice it at the same time as I do. But. Okay. and looks deeply at me. We’ll go early in the morning so there aren’t too many people. and he looks at the floor. I am disappointed. “Now. how about I make dinner tonight?” I readily agree. YiJung. YiJung leans into me.and then nothing happens. and. but he declines. couches. instead I try to put on a smile. .. Is that some sort of disease? Do I. . a television.” He. If this is going to be a usual thing. Should I go to the doctor? What would I say? Sorry sir.. Are we going to kiss again? I close my eyes in anticipation. His expression turns a bit more stoic. I don’t mention the kiss. have a hole in my heart? As much as we’re aware of how close we’re sitting to each other.mean a lot to her. it’s going to be a problem. “Thanks.. you know.” he adds as an afterthought. His face brightens up again. Am I disappointed? I don’t think I am disappointed. my heart starts beating like mad. trying to regain our energy. “GaEul. I collapse on the couch. It’ll. “How did that get there GaEul?” I shrug. Several minutes go by before I realize that we’re practically sitting on each other. There’s not much left.painting in your room. I have been worried about this.

I turn on the television. Would YiJung be able to do that too? Would he even want to? There’s an increasingly large part of me that wants to find out. I put on pajamas. There isn’t much on. He wakes me up some point later.” He tosses the remote in my lap. The next morning. the kissing on television doesn’t stop. I crawl into my new bed. Yawning. or properly thank him for dinner. and I think he’s trying not to talk to me. In my defense. Woah—can two bodies bend that way? I don’t think that’s Were these actors in the circus before? The elephant grows larger still. He told me that he liked to cook. and take a moment to look at myself.” “It looks delicious. It’s a little graphic. I’m in the bath when YiJung starts banging on the bathroom door. the other night. He made me spaghetti. silently watching television. I’ll tell you. It’s some American television show.” he says.. and I’m not sure there’s enough air for the three of us to breathe. and as soon as two of the characters start kissing. Which just makes the elephant in the room grow larger. we both tense up. too. I clean up. This sex scene is going on for a long time. I open up my eyes and his face is nearly level with mine. legs touching. I don’t register what YiJung’s made until I’m already seated. Talk about an elephant in the room.Sprawling out on the couch. which is quite cozy I’ll have you know. After dinner. and fall asleep after replaying our kiss in my head a few more times. “It’s because we didn’t get to finish it. It’s only eight thirty. Whoo.. “Um. but I need to get to bed. I’m trying not to look at YiJung. Unfortunately. The couple on screen finally finishes their. our—couch is really comfortable. He clears his throat and says. YiJung’s—no. and hurries upstairs without giving me a chance to say goodnight. and we both end up close on the couch again.” And it tastes delicious. and I turn off the television. but I never thought YiJung would actually be good at it. But. I briefly wonder if I could bend my body that way. these are thoughts for another day. “Dinner. Much better than anything I could have made. upstairs now. I stand up and walk to the table. I’m going to go. and soon enough the two characters end up in bed. and almost as close as his was when he kissed me. Not the worst way to wake up. YiJung thinks so too. “GaEul! Hurry up! I’ve got to go!” . uh. and I end up drifting off to sleep.

She had been so sick for so long. It’s a small church. We walk hand in hand to a small cremation box on the outside of the wall. or any of the F4. as if he can hear his mother through his hand. I remember YiJung.. “Omonim. I nod and he takes my hand before we leave. and I start talking. okay? Please don’t worry Omonim. He wouldn’t let me be there for him back then.” The words come out so easily that I wonder if I’m no longer acting. Chapter Twenty One . Your son is so good to me. we get there in less than forty minutes. instead.. Thankfully... and I’ve always wondered if she was the reason we didn’t work out before.. I let go of his hand. “Hi Omma. Our destination isn’t terribly far away. I do the math in my head. buddy! “I’ll be out in a few minutes—wait up!” “GaEul! I need to go now. My heart doesn’t flutter this time.. I squeeze his hand once more. he doesn’t. YiJung looks the other way. Can’t you just open the door for a minute?!” “EW! No!” I cover up my body just in case he opens the door. he.” He looks at me. As soon as we step out of the car. she’s a lot like you. Omonim. At the very end. of course. I squeeze his hand once. how are you? I’m GaEul. and one day. I just try to look cheerful and we walk to his car. She swallowed an entire bottle of pills. There can’t be more than fifty. and she came to see you. YiJung places his free hand on the box. while I finish washing up. You raised him well. I want to spend the rest of my life making it up to him. YiJung grabs my hand again. Who knew that such a mature man could be such a baby.. next to the altar is a wall of cremations. I’ll remember it for the future.” He begins speaking and his voice falters. completely refreshed.Patience. and juice for the two of us. and he streams past me into it. and I’m sure there are tears forming. and. He doesn’t talk much about his mother anymore. He wouldn’t talk to me. “are you ready to go?” He looks nervous and a little upset. I don’t blame her. And doesn’t reappear for another thirty minutes. but it was such a series of bad events. and I’m going to take good care of YiJung. Instead he proceeds to whine for the next fifteen minutes. We quickly eat. it was almost exactly five years ago that YiJung’s mother. and take him in a hug. but I can be here now. You’ll love her Omma. he closed himself off to the world.. do you member me talking about her? We got married.well. and he continues.. before you met Appa. I make some simple toast. and YiJung asks me. she just couldn’t take it anymore. and we walk inside.passed. “This is GaEul. I step out of the bathroom.didn’t wake up. I didn’t realize this was so upsetting to him. He leans down in my shoulder and softly begins to cry. And then.

And certainly not one that costs four times what I make in a year.” Cameras? SHIT. and don’t let them know you’re seeing us. not a question. We’re about halfway home when my phone rings. however. and YiJung does something unexpected. we’ll be back in ten minutes. It’s a statement.. Doesn’t stop him from looking concerned. We’re on our way back—just talk to our landlord and we’ll be there soon. I do so. YiJung has his arm over his’s hard to say. . and there’s all these people there. “Omma—Omma—Omma! Those are reporters! Get inside the building now. Did I get that from YiJung? “The press figured it out. It’s my mother—I really should have screened this. I wave an arm at him. He tosses me his car keys. trying to say it’s okay.” People? What? “What do the people look like?” YiJung cocks one eye open and looks at me. I slip in an earbud. I just didn’t know how difficult it was going to be.. he just needed a friend to hold him and tell him everything was going to be all right. and has opened the driver’s door to take over driving. YiJung sees my face. We say good-bye to his mother..” “I’ll be up in just a minute. We reach his car. in a hug. I knew this was going to be difficult for him.” Is he sure? I do have a license. They’ve found out.. “GaEul? What are all these people doing here?” “What Omma?” “I’m in front of your apartment. Trying not to think about how much this car costs. I start the engine. and I promise we will come back soon. but I don’t own a car. but he puts the car in gear and speeds off.. Omma. My heart didn’t flutter once. He doesn’t look at me though. “Will you drive back. “Well. and answer it. But.” YiJung says.” “What. and I’m not sure if he wants to sleep or cry again. for nearly an hour in the church. GaEul?” “YiJung and I aren’t there right now. and tells me to pull over. He doesn’t say anything. My parents don’t own a car.” I hang up before she says anything else—wait. “Where are you???” “We had an errand to do this morning.” He’s hopped out of the car.YiJung and I stood like that. they’ve got a lot of cameras.” “Ah. please? I’m pretty tired. I get out and switch seats with him. At this rate.

” “And what’s this about your Omonim?” “She’s.. Just don’t do it.” he grits.. “Sorry. “So. YiJung looks awkwardly at us.” “Well. I thought I could spend the night!” NO. your father’s out of town tonight.” I nod. “Well. Questions are being shouted left and right. They’re asking where I went to school. “What’s this?” I ask. There are about seven reporters and another half-dozen photographers. makes the decision for him by enveloping him in a great big bear hug. but I keep my mouth shut. what my family is like. I apologize and give her a hug. Photos are being taken. Please no.” Oh no. As soon as they see us. Not the worst situation. and presses the gas even harder.” We walk the stairs to our apartment. he’s unsure if he needs to hug my mother. “What are you doing here Omma?” I ask. “They’ll get bored eventually. At least the reporters won’t have much of a story to go with it.” “I knew what I was getting into.nothing I particularly want to deal with. I hear camera shutters go on and off constantly.” she says. . YiJung grips the steering wheel tighter... where my mother waits for us. shit.. but it’s not much use. Don’t say it. “It’s about time you returned... Once inside the building. YiJung feels the same. “The press just writes things down. I’m worried he’s going to drive off the road..his eyes are fixed on the road. YiJung looks like he has a hernia. I was hoping it would take longer. but until then. “waiting for us at the apartment. YiJung tries covering my eyes so they can’t see me.” For a moment. me too. The in-laws poke and prod until there’s grandchildren. “Don’t say anything to them. “You’re more scared of the in-laws than the press?” “Yes.. “Apparently. and is going through our books in the living room.” “Yeah. we’re surrounded.. okay? They’re scum. we sigh. She’s dropped her bag on the couch. She.. but there’s nothing I can do about that.” That shuts me up until we arrive home. and they’ll try to bring you down to their level. uh.” I mutter. but. I stifle giggles. Don’t do it GaEul. and how I made YiJung fall in love with me. however.” he says. he grabs my hand and we run for the building.

“Good GaEul! Go make a baby!” Her statement is immediately followed by maniacal laughter.we just moved in!” “I can help unpack!” I gesture around the apartment. and I run over and hit his back. and it’s clear I’ve lost this argument. “How are you. “We’re already unpacked!” “Then there’s no reason I can’t stay... and us “going to share.” “Okay. I vaguely hear my mother say. how many bedrooms did we have?” “Two. Is staying. I am too. and I’m sure he’s thinking of all the different ways to kill both my mother and me with the least amount of effort and the most pain. “We’re uh. If my mother is staying the night.” “Yeah. we have to sleep in the same bed.” he motions between the bed. Wh—ohhhh.” He gets it now. YiJung looks at me... “Are you working on the grandchildren yet?” He makes a choking noise.. The night. Omma?” She ignores me and turns to YiJung.” He shrugs.” My mother is glaring. “Yah! GaEul! I’m not dying!” “Sorry. “GaEul? What?” “My mother. My mother would not take too well that we’re not sleeping together.” I begin.” She sits down on the couch. Shit. “When am I going to get my grandchildren?” “Well. My mother is spending the night. Sleeping together.” He scratches the back of his head.. So?” “ This does not go over well.“Omma. on last count. “So.. trying to come up with a reason I’m not pregnant..” “YiJung—don’t ignore me. Omonim. Before YiJung finishes his sentence to my mother. the thing is.. we wouldn’t have to share a bed once? What if we go on vacation?” . “Yes. and dismisses the concerns. “What?” Is this okay with him?!? “Did you really think in our marriage contract.” I grind out my words. I grab him and run upstairs.

YiJung throws a piece of cloth on top. and my mother practically shoves YiJung and I off the couch. and I go into the kitchen to make some lunch. YiJung and I politely answer my mother’s questions while we eat. YiJung’s room is simpler than mine. He’s such a tease! I want to go on a vacation! Upon re-entering the room. and leads my mother and I to another part of his studio. however. but one catches my eye. but I think after seeing YiJung’s studio she’ll have plenty to boast about at the grocery store. “We’re going on vacation?” He laughs. The studio looks mostly the same. but we manage to get into his car. Just what every parent wants for their daughter. it’s a little strange for this old apartment. I think my mother is impressed with YiJung.“We’d uh. There’s not a lot to choose from. It’s different from his usual style of work—it looks like something one could buy at a store—but I like it anyways.” he says.” “I don’t know when though. We hassle a little with the reporters getting out of the apartment. She’s got a smart. talented. Not that this entirely moves the notion from her head. visa versa. Before I get the chance to examine it. and doesn’t bring up grandchildren again. while trying to deflect any further baby discussion. don’t you think? Off to bed!” We’re being shuffled to the upstairs door.” We ignore her. “GaEul.” “Oh. So. . and we are stuck upstairs together. bibimbab it is. Or. GaEul. On the counter is a half-painted vase. Half finished pieces lay everywhere. “It’s not finished. “It’s getting pretty late. I need to do some real grocery shopping. The clock hits seven thirty. I suppose. At least six months. “Don’t worry about tidying up—I’ll take care of it—old people don’t need nearly so much sleep. Too tell the truth. I’m an F4. She may not have grandchildren. and she’s managed to spread the entire contents of her purse on the couch so that YiJung and I are forced to sit squished on one end. Ew. you know!” Our cries of protest are unheard. then it’s okay. I realize on the way over that I haven’t been here in a while. I don’t want to know what my father did to win her over. famous and good-looking son in law. YiJung has begun to paint daisies that he’s made out of clay and stuck to the outside. Just think of it as practice for when we do go on vacation..” He laughs and walks down the stairs. but I don’t say anything. my mother off-handedly remarks. “that was quick. If this is her idea of romantic. Of course we’re going on vacation. After lunch YiJung reluctantly agrees to show my mother his pottery studio.” My heart leaps..” “Exactly. If he likes it. Everything is black and beige and modern. it’s not the end of the world. She leaves in a much better mood. We sit down to watch a little television after dinner.

it’s okay. she would be doing the same thing.” YiJung says. “Which side do you sleep on?” I ask. “You forgot to bring some up here.” “What else are we going to do?” “Well. He responds by throwing his titles down on the bed. man! I turn the other way. didn’t you?” “Maybe. But. finds his pajamas and pulls off his shirt. don’t look!” . I’m it still feels good to take his money. if I sucked so much at Go-Stop. “Yeah?” “Do you have any extra pajamas?” He laughs. “Sorry. araso. Where are my pajamas? I fall over on the bed. Fifty minutes later we’re still playing Go-Stop and I’m kicking YiJung’s ass. and wait for him to finish. “Araso. We’ll play some other time. YiJung digs around in his dresser. that was interesting.” He puffs up and pretends to look sour with me.” “Are you going to sleep now? It’s not past eight..“Well. They’re downstairs in my mother’s room. “The left.. I know better.doesn’t let go. YiJung?” I feebly ask. I suppose I would be too. “I’m done playing. Oh God! Give me some warning. “When her mind is set on something. “Yah! GaEul! Are you cheating?!” Hee! YiJung’s is getting frustrated..” He replies.” I finish lamely.” I stick out my tongue and make a face. and put them back in their container.. “Eh.. Which reminds me. as I remember. “Thanks. “Okay.” he trails off as he begins searching for something in the room..” I gather up the titles. Well.” I apologize.. crap. changing the subject. she.” I nod and sit down on the bed. “You’re just jealous of my skills.” He rummages around and finds a large t-shirt and tosses it my way. “No. I’ll sleep on the right. Even though we’re married.. If my mother were. Now.

“Wouldn’t dream of it. Well, maybe dream of it.” “Hey!” I quickly put the shirt on, just in case he decides to look, and climb under the covers, careful to stay to my side. My heart is fluttering again, and I can’t make it stop. YiJung climbs in a minute later, and relaxes on his own side. I’m afraid he’s going to be able to hear my heart, he’s so close. “You forgot to turn off the light,” I say. YiJung mutters under his breath, gets out of bed, turns off the light, and then climbs back into bed. He is not amused. But, I am. I relax into my side of the bed, and even though I won’t admit it to him, it might be more comfortable than my new one. I lay there for nearly ten minutes, waiting for sleep that isn’t coming when YiJung says, “Sorry about yesterday.” Sorry? What’s he talking about? My mind goes through the events, and it hits me. Stupid GaEul. The kiss. “I, just, wanted to see what it was like, just once.” He continues. I roll over in bed to face his back. “Still, I shouldn’t have done that to you.” “YiJung,” I start. He rolls over to face me, too. It’s decidedly intimate. “I liked the kiss. Don’t apologize.” I close my eyes; I don’t think I can bear to see his face after that confession. For a moment, I’m glad we’re in the dark and he can’t see me clearly. I can feel my face turning bright red. My heart is beating faster than ever. Is it possible for a heart to beat so much it breaks the rib cage? He’s quiet after my confession, and I’m nervous. I don’t expect him to say anything positive, but him not saying anything is worse than a rejection. I’m just about to fall asleep again when I hear him whisper, “I liked it too, GaEul.” My body feels warmer, and I fully relax into his bed and fall into a deep sleep. Chapter Twenty-Two I wake up naturally the next morning, no alarm. It’s warm, and comforting; I don’t immediately open my eyes. When I do, I notice I’m clinging to YiJung’s chest, and he’s looking down at me. I blink once. Twice. “Were you watching me sleep?” My voice is a little scratchy. I don’t move, and neither does he. His arm is wrapped around my waist, and he looks surprisingly comfortable. “I will neither deny or confirm that fact.” He grins. “I guess we moved in our sleep.” It seems like a stupid thing to say, but I’m not yet ready to move. “It seems that way.” He continues to smile at me, and I wonder if this is what it would be like to actually be married to YiJung; waking up in such a happy manner every day. “You don’t seem to mind,” I tease.

“Neither do you,” he responds. We lay there in bed like that, not moving, not speaking, just looking, until I do something wholly unexpected. I’m surprised I could ever be this bold. Perhaps his response last night empowered me. Or, I’m still asleep. Or I’m just not thinking. But, I slowly pick my head off the pillow, and gently kiss YiJung. A short, quick, chaste kiss just to see if he’s interested. I lie back down, blushing and gauging his reaction. He looks surprised, but for the first time today, he moves. He lets go of me, and slowly rolls over so that the top half of his body is lying on top of me. Propping himself up on me, he silently asks for permission. He doesn’t need it. I move in for another kiss. This time he responds. Today’s kisses are entirely different than the one two days ago. We don’t feel rushed; we’re content to just lie in bed, lazily kissing. Everything is gentle, and I just feel warm all over. He doesn’t try to move more on top of me, or to escalate things; I’m sure he’s just as content as I to keep our lips connected. We’re still making up for five years of missed kisses, after all. If I had to pick an occasion to describe our kisses right now, it would be Sunday morning missed kisses. Which is exactly what they are. We’re trying to welcome each other back to the world this way. My arms are around his back, holding him close, and his arms are on either side of me, pinning me down. It’s a lot like when we were against the wall, but this is more about security than passion. I think we can be so relaxed right now because we know there’s nothing to disturb us. My mother certainly won’t, we have no place we have to be today, and we have no one we need to see. We’re free to stay in bed all day and kiss. I feel him smile into our last kiss, and it infects me. He pulls away and we lay there grinning like idiots, wondering if this is real, or all just part of a lovely dream. “Hi,” he finally says. “Hi.” I respond. We’re not sure what to say. It doesn’t feel awkward, but there just aren’t a lot of words to say. We’ve said everything we needed to say in our kisses. “That was nice.” He smiles, and I smile right back. “Yeah,” I say. “It was.” He doesn’t seem to want to move, and I don’t want him to. Having him, this

way, on top of me, isn’t heavy. I don’t feel squished. I feel loved. Loved? No. He doesn’t love me. I don’t love him. We’re...exploring. That’s it. Just exploring. I wait for him to get out of bed, but he stays there, just like I hope and want. We lay in bed for at least another hour just looking, and saying small sentences. Nothing important, just small chatter to fill the silence when we feel like it. “This must be what marriage is like,” he says. “I guess so. I never saw my parents this way.” I remark. “Neither did I.” He frowns for the first time today, and I decide that I don’t like it at all. YiJung should always be smiling. “What are we going to do about the press?” I ask. I hate to bring up such a serious topic in a serene place like this, but it needs to be done. “Do you want to do anything?” He moves off of me, and props himself up to better have a conversation. Damn. I knew I shouldn’t have brought it up. “Not particularly, but, they’re going to be a nuisance, right?” My body feels colder, and I want to stop this conversation and just snuggle some more. Alas, it’s not meant to be. As much as I don’t want to, I sit up anyways. “For a while,” YiJung nods. “But, they’ll get tired eventually.” “I suppose.” “Cheer up GaEul. We’re not nearly as interesting as JanDi and JunPyo.” My mind goes back to right after they were first married. They couldn’t go anywhere without a paparazzi or two stalking them. I shudder, and YiJung laughs before stepping out of bed. Our morning now is really over. “I’m going to go take a shower,” he says over his shoulder as he rummages around for clean clothing. “Alright.” I step out of bed and shiver. It’s not cold in the room, but compared to our warm nest, I feel like we’re in the North Pole. But, it could also be that I’m just wearing a t-shirt. YiJung leaves the room, and I follow soon after to say good morning to my mother. Or, good afternoon. I’m still not sure of the time. But, she’s not there. In her place, I find a full table of breakfast, and a small note.

I need to remember that.. okay?” . I see the time. “Well. Ever. Seriously. Did her and JunPyo fight again? Well..” Neither have I.Hope your night was good! I made breakfast for you two—treat him well GaEul! It’s so like my mother to get that last dig in. either. um. Another from my mother telling me to treat YiJung well. How about tea and good conversation?” “It’s a deal! Meet at the coffee shop around the corner from your place?” I look out the window. to be more honest..” “What?” “The press figured out who I am. did she start another fight with JunPyo? I swear—that man would do anything for her. Hey.” JanDi sounds apologetic.let’s make it the one near your hospital. Things are. We’re only going to be married for a year and a half. Hm. uh. Too bad it’s a little late for lunch. “That’s so late!” “Sorry.” “Ahhh. Anything.. there’s nothing I can do about that now. it’s me.. “Um.. as if I’m somehow going to mess up this marriage and make him divorce me. One thirty?!? We stayed in bed that long?! Yikes. I don’t have plans. but I don’t know. actually.. Maybe he is. Walking into my room to get dressed. Three messages. Would you like to get a late lunch?” “I just finished. But. and try to tame my messy hair and check my cell phone.. I’m a little jealous. one from Tuuli—ah. Aish. “Hey! Where have you been?” At least she doesn’t sound dejected anymore. what? Doesn’t every girl want to be loved like that? It doesn’t make me a bad person.. and the last from JanDi. Well. “Ah.. I was just wondering if you wanted to get lunch today. I call JanDi anyways.chaotic around here. give me an hour to get ready and get there. I throw on a dress. she’s right. Okay.I haven’t checked the news today.. Is this a normal thing for YiJung? He doesn’t seem like the me back.. just woke up. “Oh ok. Instead she’s a mixture of being hyper and annoyed. She picks up on the second ring. but ah! I’ve never taken that long to get up. in some She sounds dejected. Hm. So. Well..I. there’s at least four reporters waiting outside. Last time I saw him he asked me if I thought JanDi would want a family of penguins for her birthday.” Because my husband and I were too busy making out in bed. I’ve ignored her too much--. I’m not sure I want to.

I can’t seem to get my mind .I’ve got to eat my food.” “She’s speaking to you again?” “I think so.. I drop the rice on the table. My eyes pop out of my head. She looks perfectly relaxed. This just makes her sigh once in her sleep. Maybe I’ll just eat a little bit. I take my arm. See. Psh. and pull her closer. You don’t just leave the other person waiting for a goodbye—you say it. Chapter Twenty Two Point Five I wake up early the next morning only to find GaEul wrapped around my body. She’s fast asleep on my chest. placing my hand on her waist. “Hey. I’ll just eat now. right? I can’t make JanDi wait for me. I’m tempted to set her back on her side of the bed. and understandably so. and look at the breakfast. and I eat one bite. but something stops me. I come back into the living room. with her lips slightly parted. There’s something else holding my attention.” He walks over..I don’t know how long he’s going to be.. Is he just going to sit here. if you like that sort of thing. and I promised JanDi I’d meet her in an hour. Her face is the definition of contentment. I’m about to shove a large scoop of rice into my mouth when YiJung steps out of the bathroom. I’ve been too busy to make it. That would be rude.. so you can meet her.. and holding onto me as if she were afraid of being taken away. “GaEul? Eat! You’re the one who has to go out!” He shoves a plate of fish in my direction. For a moment. In a bathrobe. You know.. and pick up my chopsticks. The polite thing to do would be to wait for YiJung. are you eating without me?” He’s not angry. My mouth is watering. I don’t know what. I sink into the chair. YiJung? That’s how you end a proper conversation with someone. and then hang up.. her lips have been an object of my fascination. Somehow. and sits down at the table. I’m trying very hard to only look at his face. It’s kind of cute. drying his hair with a towel. and eat breakfast? In the bathrobe? Uhhhhhh. Instead. Lips? For the last couple of days. “Well. My mother made us a full Korean meal—I haven’t had that in too long. I lay in bed. Reluctantly. In the bathrobe.” He picks up his chopsticks and digs into his rice.. just teasing..“Yep. But. I seem to have lost my appetite. See you soon!” I say goodbye. “Um.. watching her sleep. and we hang up.I promised JanDi I’d meet her in an hour. So. Sheesh. and then make myself look at the ceiling so as to not stare.

Playing with GaEul is great fun. I hear everything she says. Red. so that in a smaller bed she would have to be nestled with me. I. I don’t say that. But. I shake my head to try and get my mind off them. Not that this is part of any devious plan to get GaEul to sleep up here again. Luscious. so that I can lay half on top of her. It seems a little silly to have a king size bed. Shit. and I’m waiting for her to say it’s okay. We don’t move from our spots.” she responds. My head is six inches above her face. I’m not ready to admit that to anyone yet. We don’t have to make everything about . Every time we’re in the same room.” I grin. somehow these kisses are even nicer. and with her nestled up next to me. but this only causes GaEul to wake. I let go of her to move. It takes her a minute to get used to her surroundings. in our own little world. Something feels right about GaEul being here with me. and kisses me quickly on the lips. and we’re taking our time. my eyes drift to them.” No. of them. I’m distracted thinking about my non-existent plan. “I will neither deny or confirm that fact. “It seems that way. on the other hand. there’s far too much empty space. Nope. “Were you watching me sleep?” Her voice is tired.” She starts to smile at me. “I guess we moved in our sleep. Almost unwillingly. we’ve at least got to do it properly. She kisses me again. You moved in your sleep. We lay perfectly snuggled in my great big bed. she lies back down and blushes so brightly I would think I was in bed with a tomato instead of a girl. If she wants to kiss. GaEul is so small. least of myself. As much as I enjoyed our kiss from two days ago. We’re closed up in bed. and she still seems half awake. but I zone in on her lips. And I kiss her back this time. As quick as the kiss was. I shouldn’t have. I don’t want to think about why though. “You don’t seem to mind. I didn’t mean to do that. “Neither do you. GaEul. am perfectly awake. and it’s a little contagious. And. She picks her head off the pillow. to tell the truth. I don’t. and it’s starting to drive me nuts. when GaEul genuinely surprises me. and then she looks up at me with wide eyes.” I say. and ready to tease. Note to self: buy a smaller bed.

And that’s when it hits me. Love? A relationship is one thing. and it’s cozy. We spend the next hour talking about small stupid things. “I guess so. “What are we going to do about the press?” GaEul asks me.” She looks away. Right now she wants me to just lie in bed and be here. There’s nothing important. and so am I. trying to remember a time. I have a long way to go. Maybe after I was first born. “Hi.” I whisper. but there’s nothing that I can remember. I open my eyes and GaEul is smiling just as brightly. Love does turn people into idiots. but I’ll just stomp it out.passion—today is about trust. this thing is going to end in a year and a half. and be grateful to take what GaEul gives me. We’re lying in bed gently kissing each other—but somehow it just feels right. She is content to just kiss. but I know that. I’m glad she wants to do that. I may have treated GaEul poorly in the past. Maybe JunPyo is right. I can do that. She’s made it clear this. I never saw my parents this way.” I frown. And there’s no way she can love me. and—wait. Nothing our friends would understand—this is just between GaEul and myself. Every kiss seems to say something different between us. looking at me so hard that I’m afraid she’s going to be able to read my innermost thoughts. but I can’t love GaEul. I’m sure she’s going to get out of bed—we really have been here for a while—but she just lies there. this. “Neither did I. I can’t remember any good thing he did for my mother. “Hi. but I’ve been working to make up for it. “This must be what marriage is like. I’m going to work until I have. Relationship? Does GaEul want a relationship? Do I want a relationship? I’m not sure I have ever been happier than right here and now. Her arms are still around my back. This one? Thank you for being you. I don’t think I ever saw a single good moment between my parents. I’m not sure I ever want her to move them. We’re not doing anything Earth-shattering. or just being a friend. I can do that. I can’t help but break into a smile. with GaEul. I am nothing like my father. disrupting us. and this one is to say thank you for seeing my mother. We have lots of time to move forward in our relationship. I’m happy to do that. That one was an apology for a poorly made dinner. just things that make us laugh and smile. .” I say. Whether it’s more kisses. My heart might be telling me otherwise.” She responds.

“I’m going to go take a shower. “But. and there’s no one better than JanDi. Klutz. “For a while. If we are going to have this conversation.I promised JanDi I’d meet her in an hour.” She drops her spoonful of rice on the table. but I restrain myself. I’m not bothered either way. but. but I’m glad she did.” She looks sad. “Hey. it doesn’t. and sit up a little bit. I’m in a bathrobe. She looks up at me. But. and fumble until I manage to turn on the cold water. and wants me to run back upstairs and to kiss every inch of her body. and to kiss every inch of her body. I laugh and finally step out of bed. She grabs her knees and curls up a little bit more. and morning officially comes to an end.” GaEul shudders. It stings and just further reminds me what I don’t have. trying to tell me otherwise. When I step out of the bathroom. It’s trying to tell me that GaEul is just as affected as I am. I wish I could say it felt refreshing as I step into the falling water. and about to go upstairs.” “I suppose. and whisper secrets into her ears. there might not be any going back. My hands reach into the shower. and I want even more to stop and crawl back into bed. “Cheer up GaEul.” I say as I search for clothes. sitting at the dining table and about to eat a large portion of rice. compared to our safe. disappointed. they’ll get tired eventually. I want nothing more than to lean over and kiss that frown off her face. As soon as I have found something clean. GaEul is dressed. My heart is thumping wildly against my rib cage.. I bolt downstairs and into the bathroom. I want to know her better than I know myself. right?” She sits up too. Is this the face of a man in a fake marriage? GaEul is not interested. warm bed. I want to hold her. but GaEul’s guilty face stops me. GaEul needs as many friends as she can get. We’re back in the real world. and take a good hard look at myself in the mirror. and my resolve is weakening. talking about real things. GaEul is not interested. We’re not nearly as interesting as JanDi and JunPyo. “Not particularly. I’ve ruined our morning together by ending it. My hands are shaking. Why can’t I go back? Would it be so bad to stay with GaEul there forever? I shake my head. I lock the door. It feels cruel to have to stand here. GaEul makes herself look even smaller in the bed. “She’s speaking to you again?” I’m surprised JanDi would give in so early. “Um. . they’re going to be a nuisance. If I do that.” I nod. and a little frustrated. are you eating without me?” She looks like she feels really bad about eating without me.“Do you want to do anything?” I reluctantly roll off of her.. I need to not be touching her. and throw away those thoughts. The room is cold.

and perfect for having a private conversation.. Worst of all was how oblivious YiJung was. “Well. He sat there.. would you have much of an appetite? No. A girl's got to have standards. Would you be able to eat? Yeah. and I hurry to meet her. How could I have not gotten that?" I laugh and shake my head as the waitress comes over.. "Didn't you eat lunch?" JanDi asks me. Plus. It makes me feel very European. GaEul. you're hot. I should have given you my support straight away. "Of course! If YiJung makes you happy. It's secluded. JanDi is already seated at a small table in the corner of the coffee shop. GaEul couldn’t have time to make this. She begins. Her mother is gone.“I think so. you know. That wasn't right. Omonim. I’m not sure—with me. Can you blame me??? If you had a naked man--save for a bathrobe--eating breakfast? lunch? whatever. She eagerly waves me over. I'm happy. surprisingly. . but I get a soup and salad. She pulls out my chair from under the table. A naked man eating a meal with you. So. And naked.. and has yet to eat anything.I've always thought we were sisters anyways. and shove some fish her way. What a weirdo my wife is.” I pick up my chopsticks. I didn't think so. and start into the meal. too. and I sit. It's called. but. Needless to say. She must have made it. in my undressed state. I didn't eat much with YiJung. but hello? There's a reason. GaEul is staring at me.” I start walking over to table. Thank you. we're like sisters in law now!" Her face is bright.did she order take out? No. I'd like to see him try to eat if I were naked. I’ll just eat now. concerned. "Duh. There is NO way he wouldn't have been affected if I ate breakfast in a bathrobe." "I have your support now?" I ask. with an apology. better yet. JanDi just orders a cup of coffee. I am starving. now we're even more like sisters!" Seeing my confused face she continues. What is going on in that girl’s head? She’s the one who has to leave! I yell at her to that extent. and I don't want to ruin her happiness. so you can meet her. PAH. "I'm sorry I yelled at you. "GaEul--YiJung and JunPyo are like brothers. because I wasn't eating. but she looks like she wants to eat—whatever meal this is. a good-looking naked man at your table who happens to be your husband. I shouldn’t—GaEul’ll only further tempt me. Chapter Twenty Three By the time I meet JanDi for lunch. Not that I would do that.

. Thankfully. To everyone except YiJung. "You just like teasing me. JanDi has to think so. "Nope. and I'll have to tell. "There are children right over there." I plead. let's just change the subject. she does." "Never said I didn't. She smiles like a canary. "Oh. I'll have to remember to take YiJung here sometime. "Something. JiHoo and I. "no it's fine.." "Meanie. "Am I going to need to call your husband to tell him to leave you alone for two seconds???" JanDi! We're in public! There are children two tables over from us! Parents! Cover their ears! "Ha ha." I stick out my tongue." I blush and avoid her gaze." I manage to laugh." I say. It's good. agree and begin eating my meal." She's quiet for a minute as our drinks and food arrive. and it's a wonder we can't keep our hands off each other for more than five seconds." "Just leave it. and I'm not sure if I want to correct her. what's new with you?" I ask. I don't say that.. She can't tease me like that! "Come on. If I look up she's going to give me the stink eye. "Maybe. "So." She says gleefully." I jerk my head in their direction. Oops. YiJung and I weren't doing that but. "Araso."Um. That's all I want to elaborate on.. "Hmph. we're a normal married couple in the honeymoon phase. Drinking her coffee she asks. I will. It's absolutely delicious. and I'm not sure when he's coming back yet. "GaEul! Were you too busy with your new husband???" She laughs knowingly." she pouts. The first year JunPyo and I were married there wasn't a day his hand wasn't in my--" "JANDI!" I yell. Of course. "I don't see what's so embarrassing about it. But.anytime?" "How about in a couple weeks? JunPyo has to go to India for business on Tuesday. araso. "Are you going to tell me what it is?" "Not yet. no. um. We've got the contract to think of." I nod. I understand completely. But. I have to tell JunPyo first. and I'm dying to know." Please. . Children will find out about it sooner or later.." She keeps smiling. "when are you going to invite me and JunPyo over for dinner?" When you tell me your secret. Tell me!" I whine.

In his place is a handwritten note. and unfortunately. and the apartment is only a mile or so away. YiJung looks so funny in it."You'll like our new apartment. pay my bill. "I thought you reserved that word only for YiJung. It's JiHoo Sunbae. "I really am sorry for acting the way I did. "I'm not sure he's ever been in such an old building before. that is where the reporters lie. but the weather is nice out." "No way! You're all my Sunbaes. but I don't know. Work is important! Go save the world!" I wave. and it's just nice to be outside. I don't communicate. however. Seoul in the spring is beautiful. Listen. I think things are okay. Don't worry. Oh. He's hot. It takes me a little more than half an hour to walk home. It's better than calling you Oppa. and walk out the door." I giggle. "Don't call me that. guys? We don't have to be together ALL the time. "How are you GaEul?" It's nice to hear his voice." I laugh and agree. "Hey!" I might sound a little too enthusiastic. I was asked to fill in for another doctor tonight. She hesitates a moment. "I'm sure I will. Hello. and turns back to face me. As soon as they spot me. I think it's funny. and JanDi reluctantly gets up. either. "Of course. The word feels strange in my mouth. "I'm alright. I am a little surprised. I finish my meal. and he doesn't communicate. I just wanted see how things are going between you and YiJung?" That's a loaded question JiHoo." She shows me her phone message. and I'm glad he makes you so happy GaEul. and I still have mine." JanDi's phone buzzes. well." JanDi looks at me blankly. that YiJung isn't there when I get back. and for the moment. at least. isn't it?" "Ick. they start throwing their question at me. What is there to worry about? I don't have time to ponder over his meaning because my phone rings. there are not any reporters following me. and he's cold. but I still hear one about how YiJung and I are fighting because I left the apartment alone. "So what's new JiHoo?" "Ah. I've got to get going in a minute. I try to tune them out." I can picture him making a face on the other end. JanDi hurries out the door and flags down a taxi. "GaEul. and she checks it. too. Gone to the studio for a while. and I don't know what either of us want. YiJung still has his life. Do we even want anything? Does this have to be a thing? . I'll bring back dinner." With that. We dance around each other. and I agree. I could catch a taxi. How are you Sunbae?" He laughs.

" He says emotionless... It's just something I do.I think that's what's supposed to happen. is it so bad to be in love with your husband?" "Yes! For one. I might be twenty-five. I might be going for the distraction reaction--when I don't want to answer a question.." BEING IN LOVE?!??! No no no no no." Whaaaat? How does he know? Is he magic? "I don't know what you're talking about. I do not love him. "You just proved my point even more. "That's fantastic!" "Is it? I don't know up from down now. and I don't know where I stand on anything. Oh.I'm the only person you can tell the truth to.. "So it's like that. . "YiJung! There's no way I'm in love!" He starts laughing hysterically. and I can't help it. but I'm still acting like a teenager." So. "GaEul." My voice is small and unsure. look. so I should use him as my confidant.kissed.. and you both drive me insane!" I do NOT love YiJung. Don't be absurd. "We. I worked so hard to build up my world. he doesn't love me!" YiJung does not love me. "Like what?" "GaEul. What a shame.My silence seems to answer the question." I suppose he's right.. "Don't change the subject! What happened? GaEul. JiHoo's trying to help.." "What? Of course not. Something's happened." "GaEul. My world is not crumbling in front of my eyes. I may be over the phone." "What's normal?" "Being in love." "Yah! I was just-just-just confused! You sound like him. uh. and I'm not going to let one stubborn Sunbae destroy it over the phone. I'm not going to let it happen. I automatically change the subject. It's pathetic. No. You called me YiJung. The paper says it's going to rain tomorrow. Yikes. How am I supposed to live when I can't figure anything out?" "It's normal. I know you two better than you think. but..

"Because he just doesn't!" "Like you don't love him?" "Exactly!" I bet he's smirking on the other side. And he didn't seem bothered that we had to sleep together. fine. "Ha ha. He just held me this morning. at the very least give him a stern look. If we were in the same place. Or. and asks. He painted the living room for me. "Can I ask a question?" "You're going to ask it anyways. when do I get to come see your new apartment?" "Anytime you want JiHoo. And that reason definitely wasn't that we're in love. He's so good at putting thoughts into my head." "Good! I'll take you up on that sometime soon. He kissed me the first time. shit. "The second time?" Oops. I kissed him the second time. I need to get back to work. How does JiHoo do that? I'm never sure of myself. He made me feel safe. and he tries harder. aren't you?" "Yep. and that's all I'm going to say. there's a reason. There wasn't a reason YiJung kissed me. He kissed me better than anyone else ever did." "Now. It's getting pretty late. not working. But. Give it some thought. He was even watching me in my sleep. He's nicer." "GaEul. and there wasn't a reason I kissed him. okay?" He sounds so sure of himself. "Did you kiss YiJung? Or did he kiss you?" "Uh. I'd hit him." Distraction reaction. Right? I mean. "GaEul!" "Okay. Oh. look at the time. If you'll excuse me." He laughs. . "Okay Sunbae. we'll talk soon?" I agree. And he's bring dinner home tonight so I don't have to cook. he wouldn't just do that to mess with your head. We're moved in. If he kissed you. I should get to bed."How do you know he doesn't love you?" JiHoo calmly asks me. and we hang up. YiJung has been different recently." I blurt out without really thinking. Stupid JiHoo.

In fact. . as the prosecuting attorney. I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know much about my country’s laws. as it will be detrimental to the health of our defendant. I spend the week in doubt. He leaves each day around ten-thirty. and JanDi on the other as the defending attorney. and returns promptly at two in the afternoon. and I nearly jump a mile. Does YiJung actually love me? There’s only one way to solve this. Nope. YiJung sits next to JanDi." I take a good. the only time the defendant has left is in the morning each day to go work for a few short hours at his pottery studio—his means of living. "Did I scare you?" "Just a little. with JiHoo standing on one side. wearing the most ridiculous wig of curls. Does this mean I love my husband too??? Chapter Twenty Four The next week goes by slowly. Secondly. He cannot be allowed to deny these facts any longer. I’m allowed to be in two places at once. So YiJung is inexplicably in love with his wife. Hey. Maybe he'll have little hearts in his eyes. It's flushed. I get flushed when I'm around someone I like. He motions to the client sitting down. He laughs. hard look at YiJung. First. the defendant has offered to make dinner for my client each night. JiHoo looks to me. He doesn't look sweaty. and begins his speech. Instinctively. I imagine myself the judge in a court of law. and let the evidence speak for itself. He's not flushed either. and sets the take out on the counter in the kitchen. long.Does my husband love me? I'm pondering what to do with that information. No hearts. I’m going to keep this simple. YiJung shoots a look at client me and crosses his arms in defiance. but I don’t think that court looks like this. I’m in a British court. on trial for his treatment of me. going over the proof in my head. and it’s another version of myself. the defendant has barely left the apartment since my client and the defendant have moved in. My knowledge of law is directly related to the amount of foreign films I’ve seen. when YiJung returns. I touch my face. JiHoo begins. it’s my wild imagination. Apparently. He rises. and I nod briefly. and an ugly black robe. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. There should be some sort of sign if he's in love with me. I’m seated in the middle.

frustrated. JiHoo says. albeit. I call order and JanDi stands up. isn’t it? I’m going with yes. I’m going to hold you in contempt! You’ll get your turn to speak Ms. and give an approving look to YiJung. or annoyed when my client has taken him up on the offer. but. Team is the right word. I don’t know what is. Not only has the defendant offered to make dinner. but I think you’ve conveniently forgotten once piece . Client me winks once. and most importantly. Lastly. Perhaps he knows that he’s losing the case. I’m allowing it in my court of law. Now that I can continue. but sits down. I don’t want to show my favor. he stands and collects his thoughts before speaking again. While JanDi is riled up. Your honor! JanDi keeps yelling. That’s well and nice of the prosecution. That is pure speculation and you know it! Be that as it may be. but my client has stated on the record that the defendant has had a certain look on his face. It’s up for the judge and jury to decide. If you interrupt me once again. I’ll allow it.I as the judge nod. she starts. unwillingly. She stands up and slams her hands on the table angrily. This calls into speculation! Has the defendant ever said to your client that he wants her to join him upstairs??? The judge me jumps in the conversation before JanDi yells some more at poor JiHoo. I say. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury. I say. Geum. I bang my gavel once and look over to JiHoo and client me. I have but one last thing to add. JanDi gives him a look of contempt. A look that she believes is the defendant wanting to issue an invitation to sleep upstairs. I believe. The defendant has only offered to make dinner in an effort to be polite! JiHoo is as calm and composed as ever. The defendant not only lingers in the living room. but this evidence has scored major points for JiHoo’s team. the defendant lingers in the living room each night before heading upstairs to go to bed. that’s another point off for her team—and sits down once more. It’s my fake court. YiJung looks visibly disturbed. I hope you make the correct decision. We’ll see what the defendant presents. If this is not a man who’s in denial. Now sit down. he has not acted disappointed. JiHoo continues. Objection! JanDi screams again. but others may say an act of love. and convict So YiJung guilty of love! There is a murmur in the courtroom as the audience chatters amongst themselves and the jury quickly jot down a few notes. Some might say polite. and it’s clear she thinks she’s going to win. Almost as if he were waiting for a certain someone to join him upstairs. Objection! Yells JanDi. JanDi shoots me a dirty look—ooh.

” Or. . but client me isn’t buying it. wife of So YiJung. and client me blushes. am I correct? JanDi is in her element now. Thank you. I would like to call one Chu GaEul to the stand! She stands with her hands on her hips as the courtroom gasps in disbelief. Probably something like “just tell the truth. no. she points to the defendant. She smirks. Chu GaEul. knowingly. Client me walks to the stand. I don’t think I want to answer the question. I’m glad you both had a great time.of evidence. Another nod from the jury. will sway the entire jury and judge in my direction. Will you say them again? JanDi smirks. Can you state your name and position for the record? JanDi asks. you see. okay??? And it was great! Client me shouts.…my mother spent the night. So you had a good time? JanDi asks. but JanDi cuts her off. Evidence that. One thing lead to another and we ended up…kissing…in bed. I woke up. Client me gives a worried look to JiHoo. client me might be losing her marbles. JanDi feigns surprise. You haven’t repeated it again? Oh my! Just one last question for you Ms. And because my mother spent the night. She’s obnoxiously confident. there have been many. Yes! We both had a great time. The last words come out quietly. I believe. I had to sleep upstairs. and leans over to whisper something in her ear before she gets up. Absolutely not! Just answer the question. Chu. takes an oath. there is nothing to be afraid of. Now. many repeats since the first incident. and sits down. We were up there for hours! Oh dear. So. and YiJung. Chu. I don’t think the jury heard those last words Ms. can you tell me what happened last Sunday morning? She grins. I look just as nervous as ever. Client me says. Client me blushes and is quiet again. that’s what I hope he would say. JiHoo shakes his head slowly. JanDi cracks her knuckles and swaggers over to the stand. Um. We have not repeated the incident again. that. Good. They were not expecting the prosecuting client to be called to testify. to explain this evidence. YiJung sits up in his chair straighter and looks much more confident than before. We kissed. Well. can I abstain? Client me tries to say. naturally. and waits for the answer. and continues speaking. and they nod sympathetically. JanDi tries to give a reassuring look. Such a great time. Um…client me doesn’t know how to respond. Client me looks over to the jury. had wrapped his arms around me.

and there’s some more chattering. JanDi sits down. either. trying to find my coat and purse before YiJung grabs my arm. but he knows there is nothing he can object to. Time goes by. JanDi. I start rushing around the apartment. and client me practically runs back to JiHoo. He knows how difficult it is for the prosecution to lie to her friends and family. I believe. exactly has Mr. The evidence the prosecution has submitted can be chalked up to nothing by my client acting out of the kindness of his own heart. “Don’t you have to go to work soon?” He laughs once and walks in the kitchen. It’s a close call. a little cruelly. either. One of them hands their decision over to me. I was just going to find out the truth. Damn. What time is it?” “A little before nine. the jury re-enters the room. “Eh. and client me might be on the verge of tears. with each side wondering if they’ve won. JanDi snarls. There’s a heavy air left in the courtroom. I’m not sure whom I would choose. I hope you will find in favor of my client. I’ll drop you off. He looks like he wants to object. yeah. and just as I’m about to open up the piece of paper— —YiJung shakes me out of my daydream. He.” “I thought you leave later for the studio. As judge. I’ve got to get going now. Certainly YiJung hesitating before going to sleep is important. and has not occurred since. then again. however. Can I step down now??? Client me looks up at judge me with tears forming in her eyes. But. As you can see. His acts of kindness were just an attempt at making her life a little bit easier—there were no romantic overtone. He hasn’t confessed his love for me. I only stuck around so late because you were here to entertain me. my client has neither professed her love.” He walks . there have not been any repeats of kisses. Chu? Delaying your answer is not. continues her tirade. I dismiss the jury to convene.When. JanDi is asking perfectly fair questions of client me.” He shrugs once. “Hey—don’t worry. “Uh. and they scurry out of the room. Of course. this is my own imagination. nor initiated any additional acts of love. JanDi says she can step down. um…hasn’t. going to change what you have to say. So confessed his love for you? JiHoo looks furious. I think. and stops me. ladies and gentlemen of the jury. and he ruins it. but then again. Can you answer the question Ms. He pats her on the back once and hands her a tissue. The incident in question was initiated by the prosecution. and just when I’m about to give up hope. thank you.” Crap. more angry and emotional than I have ever seen him.

I don’t want to sound conceited. “We wanted to keep it secret for a little while so we could tell our parents. and…. Even if I didn’t do anything wrong. The substitute teacher has done a good job. but…just maybe. There’s a quiet knock on my door. leaving me plenty of time to get to school.” He purses his lips. trying to think of what else I missed in my absence. You’ll need energy today. and the principal got a haircut. “Eat. But. give me a call. I hope he can find someone in the south to make him happy. He drops me off in front and asks. grabs a piece of toast and hands it to me. running over to give me a big hug. Good. I can only hope they behaved for her. It’s not safe to take the subway alone at night. I say thank you and hurry into the school. My classroom is empty. I can’t do that so easily. “But if it’s dark out.” In the back of my mind. He walked into the principal’s office. and Tuuli hops in the room. but. Tuuli continues. when school ends. and exactly the same. “ She shrugs. dismissing the conversation. I’m a big girl. and I think she understands.back into the kitchen. “Yep! It was so strange. I still feel bad for TaeSoong. “Do you want me to pick you up after school?” I shake my head. and said that he had a desire to see the countryside and he was leaving the next morning to head south. but he made me more food—even if it is just toast. “So. TaeSoong resigned the day after he found out I got married. it won’t be dark. and they’re installing the new swing set later this week. “I’m sorry.” I say. It was a day after you left for vacation. . hoping to not see TaeSoong. She has had my children paint pictures and it seems like they’ve studied Africa this last week. what’s happened while I’ve been gone?” “So much!” She gushes. Instead. “We got a new meal plan in the cafeteria. We get out the door in a couple more minutes. I think. “Don’t worry about it. but don’t say that at three-thirty.” she trails off.” I nod. “How come you didn’t tell me you got married???” She asks with a little hurt in her voice. attorney JiHoo has taken note of what has just happened. Not only did YiJung say I am entertainment. I’ll take the subway home. I feel terrible now.” She nods. “Oh! TaeSoong resigned!” What?!?! TaeSoong resiged?!? Seeing my confused face. does this have anything to do with me? Did his goodbye outside the principal’s office a goodbye forever? I didn’t think so at the time.” “Alright.

I definitely don’t want Tuuli to know that. We make our way through the school. and his gleeful one. “Oh duh! I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that! It’s such good news too!” She smacks her head. school starts in about fifteen minutes. She must have spent a lot of time with him while I was gone.” “Hey! Our absent teacher has finally returned and wants to meet you. Fortunately. and got perfect hair. Tuuli breaks the awkward silence. do you two know each other?” Do we know each other? Let’s see. He’s the man who took my virginity. She better make this quick.’ Tuuli knocks once on the door. Sorry—it’s this new teacher’s classroom now. The color drains from my face as I gasp and say. If he’s as good looking as Tuuli says he is.“Have they found a replacement teacher yet?” I ask. He’s taking pleasure in my displeasure at seeing him.” Chapter Twenty Five Choi SeungHo? Choi SeungHo is here? Why of all places is Choi SeungHo in this room. I’ll just go take you to meet him right now!” Tuuli grabs my wrist and drags me out of the room. three years ago. walking quickly to TaeSoong’s old classroom. Wait. Ooh. You can’t take him from me!” “Take him from you?” “GaEul—he’s the best looking person I’ve ever meet. And whom I may or may not love back.” Mmm. I might have to call him ‘Hot Teacher. Too bad I am married. She shoves me forward and his face comes into focus. To someone who may or may not love me. Actually. “Um.” She’s decidedly informal with such a new person. no it’s not. it’s a shame you’re married. I haven’t even told JanDi that. too GaEul. “They found a new teacher just a couple days later. Good-looking teacher or no. Sounds like my kind of man. “Choi Seung Ho. “What’s his name?” “Ah. and dated for a year. and oh my gosh. holding out his hand for me to shake it? Is there no justice in the world?!?! Tuuli stands between us. looking back and forth at my shocked expression. He’s tall. he’s such a gentleman. and a voice says. “Enter. What do say…what to say… We met in graduate school. I hope he hasn’t told anyone . you’re going to like him.

It’s the time to be professional. and fight back tears.” she whines. and I stutter before I answer. He’s a good guy. He used to love calling me that. if that’s possible. “But that’s all you’re getting! And don’t you dare tell anyone else!” I huff off into my classroom. too. Tuuli corners me for one minute and I cave. I need to not think about this. They would be full of it. I’ve missed them over the last couple weeks.” SeungHo smiles even wider. “Yep. might have dated for a little bit.else. I feel too emotional today. I need to greet my students. Come to think of it. Class beginning. “Even though I’m older than GaEul. uh. and I try to join in. or amused that I’m omitting some of the truth to Tuuli. If anyone ever says I’d be a good spy. and I think I’m good at it. “Don’t give me that! You’re keeping secrets from me GaEul. and try not to panic.” He laughs once. “We. and start inching my way out of the classroom. but I could never do it permanently. “I’m the last to know all the gossip.” I jerk my head in the direction of the clock. I need to teach. whoo. w-w-we met in graduate school. she was my Sunbae in school. I don’t think he would. SeungHo…but we just didn’t work. “GaEul? Are you there?” Tuuli is waving her hand in my face. I need to look at my calendar. I thought it was kind of okay. Yikes. and tells me I’m better than the substitute teacher. and Tuuli immediately asks me what’s going on. and all. Must be that time of the month.” she pouts. One little girl in my class hands me a flower she picked outside. “Oh. I really do suck at this lying thing. Vacation is great.” I say under my breath. I should get going.” he says. Sometimes she and JanDi are exactly the same person. not an emotional wreck because I think I might be pregnant.” I lie.…when did it last come? I let go of my student. We exit his room. and now you won’t tell me what’s up with SeungHo! You know him!” “Yeah—we were classmates. I’m not sure if he’s pleased. “GaEul. We were classmates. “First you don’t tell me you got married. He just waves at Tuuli and I. SeungHo? Is it just a coincidence he’s teaching here now? There’s…lord knows how many schools in Seoul. But. I’m meant to be a teacher—it gives me joy.” I give her a stern look. . “Well. Why this one? My thoughts are interrupted by the pitter patter of small students hurling themselves into my classroom. “Nothing. I pat her on the head. and my heart soars with joy. Oh shit. Pleasssseeee?” Sheesh.

it’s easier to forget SeungHo and my maybe-maybe not baby. but I think I look okay. He makes clay pots. I really do. waiting for you to say something. while my fingers fly through my calendar in my purse. You don’t know anything for certain yet.” “Is he nice?” “Very nice. Then repeat that. before having children. What would he say? Would he want to keep it? Would I want to keep it? I love children.” They repeat. Not a single mark. Why can’t I be like girls in movies who write this stuff down?!?! This is bad. Once I get into the rhythm of teaching again. Er. Even though he’s the father. and the kids ask question after question about YiJung. And my job! I’d have to leave work! I just got back! I don’t want to leave work! That’s it. and teach your class. I’m sure that happens to lots of girls who aren’t pregnant. Just don’t think about it.…but I always pictured being married longer than a. a couple thousand times. Calm down. I can’t remember the last time I had my period. “Good morning Ms.…month. “G-g-good morning. I can’t have this baby. that is.” “Why didn’t you tell us you were getting married?” . if I am pregnant. or pulling the hair of the kid next to them. Oh. I guess the substitute told them I got married. YiJung. Make a sentence. We spend the morning painting self portraits. Chu. Put words together in your head. there are forty-eight little eyes staring widely up at you. There’s nothing you can do about it right now anyways. eating paper. there’s nothing like elementary school in the morning. So what if you haven’t had your period in over a month. class. This is bad. and say it out loud. Not since YiJung and I got married. Ah. “What does your husband do for a job?” “He’s an artist. GaEul. Would I work as a teacher if I didn’t like children? But am I ready to have children? I know that’s what my mother wants.” My hands are shaking. Nothing. I hadn’t really thought about him.My students start asking me if I’m okay. grinning while they’re busy wiping snot on their sleeve. You’ve got to calm down. Currently.

“Maybe I did. I sigh. that’s only because I knew—know— we’re perfect for each other. STILL.” I shrug. But we both changed.” I try. every time I started speaking.” “But you love your husband more?” Errr…I’m not sure how to answer that one. “Please?” he begs. My self-portrait is awful. I have an hour free. The kids break for lunch. so you speak first. “To you. I should run to the closest pharmacy and buy a pregnancy test. It always has been difficult saying ‘no’ to him. But.“We decided to surprise everyone. I just didn’t love anymore.” He stares at me blankly.” Why is he talking . Do you remember how happy we were?” “Yeah. You tried to stop those conversations. Unfortunately. “No. and tell them to keep painting. I don’t get the chance. and sit down at my desk once more. but SeungHo blocks the way out. he’d laugh. “Of course not! I love everyone here.” He finally says. and then we just didn’t work anymore. “That’s enough questions for today. and I need to see if I’m knocked up! Wait.” I raise an eyebrow and wait for him. You can’t be knocked up if you’re married. you would change the subject.” “We were—for a while.” I say. You’re stressing me out.” “Are you going to quit?” One worried boy asks me. and probably hang it in the middle of the living room to humiliate me. I thought we were great together. “I’m a little busy right now. I take note to toss it in the trash can after school today. His face registers my words. “Why didn’t you tell me back then?” “I tried. If YiJung were to see this. I move to the door. “But. As soon as the last student has grabbed his lunch pail. You can ask some more tomorrow. and I feel even worse. I’ve always been poor at painting. but I thought it was obvious. SeungHo walks in the door.” I smile. Be honest with me SeungHo. and feel cruel for being so honest. But then all the things I used to love about you. “I guess…we never talked about why we ended.” I say. “Can we talk?” He asks. “You came here. motion for him to come in. “I do.” He states. and I sigh heavily. maybe.

I get outside. I hand it over. I don’t think you really love him. “I’m married. There’s too much to think about. I can’t believe SeungHo had the nerve to say that. and lock the door. There’s no one else. but I picture YiJung and me years down the road. and I’ll take you however I can.” he begins. Eventually I find a pharmacy. There’s still plenty of time left in my break. I’m two steps away when I hear SeungHo once more. or you can get divorced. but I cut him off. I still feel a little embarrassed. and I quickly pee on the stick. and simply asks for money. and told it’s the last door on the right. and reality comes back to me. Of course it is. Sure. Why must everything be put in such small containers?! It eventually comes open. I love you. She seems un-phased. I move to the door. playing with a round-faced girl. and wait to be heckled by the woman.” I flatly say. He never said things like that when we were together. I feel trapped in one of those films where the hallway gets longer the more you walk down. “I found out you were teaching here. but we’re right. and had to come back. This is the worst part.” I don’t know what to say to that. I’m not hungry—I can go without today. and SeungHo. it was great while it lasted. I set it on the sink counter. and ask to use the restroom. You’re it for me. I never wanted to be one of these girls.” and I step out into the empty hallway. I don’t care about your husband. stuck with a baby that they’re not sure they want. Walking down the hallway. I reach the end. Now to wait one minute. Just in case. and leave the school grounds. It’s sweet. You may be married. There is no so. I’m going to keep waiting until you take me back. and to be honest. So. and force myself to turn the other direction and face the wall. and I respond by kissing him on the .about this now? It’s been such a long time. so I keep walking. but it was never that serious. I fumble with the packaging. thankfully. GaEul. “That’s why I came back. We can have an affair. Hesitantly. it seems like it stretches for miles.” I hold up my hand for him to see the ring. I don’t care. “SeungHo—I’m married. I had no idea he thought so much of our relationship. however. moves to the side. “So?” “No. I don’t think we ever said the word marriage while we dated. “We could be happy again. We’re at the park. Finally. I’m going to wait. This conversation is now over. We just weren’t thinking about it at the time. They want to prolong my torture as much as possible. Even though I’m married. When it’s my turn to push her. I try not to think of it. hurry in the bathroom. I’ve got to buy a pregnancy test.” He says. and YiJung and I are taking turns pushing her on the swing. But. I take the test to the counter. YiJung leans in and kisses me on the cheek. I’m handed a key. and there never will be.

I tell her she has to eat one bite. and close my eyes. Wait. So. Stupid.lips. The boy walks on stage to get his little diploma and we’re taking as many pictures as we can. It’s trying to tell me that my day is going to get better. it says. I don’t want a baby. She gives me the stink eye but takes two bites anyways. but YiJung gently scolds him and tries to get him to use the chopsticks. sulks in a chair next to us. I reluctantly turn around.. YiJung. One… Two… Three! Not pregnant. The girl complains of cooties. She probably sees this happen a dozen times a day. scooping her up in our arms. toss the test in the trash. I’m not pregnant. stupid. only to get an eye roll from the girl. I pick up the stick. I sit down on the toilet. why am I so upset? Chapter Twenty Six So. who’s older still. The sunshine feels good on my face. I should feel relieved. The girl is shoving rice in her mouth as fast as she can. I don’t want this. There’s another flash and we’re at a school graduation ceremony for the boy. Stupid GaEul. and smothering her in kisses. and tells me that she hates vegetables today. I overreacted with the non-baby. There’s a quiet beep from my cell phone. right? I know the reasons why I can’t have a baby. and I’m not sure who’s is bigger. I wonder if the woman working thinks my test is positive or negative. I wipe the last few tears from my face. And . and the girl is older. and joined by a younger brother. I can’t be upset about this because I made it all up in my head. We’re eating dinner at the table in some unknown house. but somehow. She probably doesn’t care either way.…but cute little baby hands and little baby feet and clean baby smell. watching proudly as the boy walks across the stage or the boy on the stage. I’m not sure if it’s excited or afraid after what I’ve just imagined. my heart beating wildly. and let myself shed a few tears. I want to believe it. and I know one minute has been up. receiving his diploma. There’s a flash. We laugh. and leave the pharmacy as fast as I can. I need to put this behind me and get back to work. This is a good thing. stupid. What am I talking about? Those are terrible reasons to have a baby. and jumps off the swing to get away from us. I feel a little bit emptier. I’ve never seen smiles so big. YiJung winks at me while we say grace. Is it for middle school? Either way YiJung and I are on our feet cheering while the girl. grab hands and run after her.. The boy starts to grab food with his hands.

and think about how best to put this. and I’m okay with that.” “Okay.” I’m not going to tell him about SeungHo. I’d have to feel it deep in my bones. “Not one of the better ones. A student says something that reminds me of something YiJung said last night. “If I sleep more I won’t sleep tonight. He turns around from pulling things out of the refrigerator. “I realized at work that I was late. He wakes me up sometime later. but the way things are now is comfortable. and he says.. When I think about him. “It’s silly. The short walk upstairs to the apartment is painful. I’m so tired that I almost miss my stop.” YiJung stares at me blankly until he drops more silverware on the floor. I drop my purse on the floor upon opening the door. Well. We dated for a year. “Sorry. despite my best efforts.” I settle for. It barely registers on my mind that he’s not home. and feel frustrated. figuring out what I’m talking about. and I don’t know how he feels. accidentally. I don’t know how I feel. I can’t completely escape it. but I haven’t thought much about him since then. I . I wouldn’t take him back. Not sad. and make straight for the couch. I walk over to him.” I pause. But I am starting—I am hoping— to think we were given a second chance. and I need to put this aside while I get back to work. “Not if it made you have a bad day. All of it? None of it? I should be honest. I don’t have any regrets. He’s in the kitchen.. or another shows a picture of his little sister during sharing time. “Do you want to talk about it?” I shrug. “That rough of a day?” I wonder what I should tell him. I want to keep seeing where this is going.. I’d have to have all sorts of regrets—of things I said. But. and he drops a knife on the floor. things I did and didn’t do. I run my hands through my hair. My thoughts are going nowhere. I just need to be brave enough to face it. If I wanted to get back together with him. and by the time school is finished for the day I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. I let the moment pass with him. YiJung on the other hand…our past is filled with nothing but regrets. I trudge to the subway station.” I rub some sleep from my eyes. I wanted to let you sleep longer. I’m not sure what to do with SeungHo. He doesn’t need to know about that. I can’t believe he said those things to me. um.” “It’s okay. and nap peacefully until YiJung returns.” He nods and asks. It’s weird. Not happy. and collapse on a bench that I’m lucky enough to have to myself. I. It’s my first day back—I should be professional. However. I just feel dull.with SeungHo. I can’t quite put those thoughts behind me. What right does he have? Absolutely none! Even if I wasn’t married. I can’t concentrate. of things I never said. I fall down on it. startling me. He’s just a piece of my past that helped make me who I am today. now.

He wipes away the remaining tears from my face with his thumbs. We pull apart from the hug.” He laughs a little. I can’t decide if he’s upset or just shocked.” “GaEul.” “Sorry. “Oh shit. this isn’t nothing. I walk dejectedly back to my room to change out of work clothes. I still feel guilty though. “Why didn’t you call me?” He asks in a small voice. .” I can feel tears starting to form. I don’t want his expression to upset me. Hell. As long as he isn’t a thing. so I turn away from him. but YiJung is too quick. I was panicked for a while. YiJung doesn’t need to know about him.” I mumble. “No. either. He grabs my wrist and pulls me in for a hug. and I feel guiltier for not making dinner again. trying to be of some comfort. and it’s not the right time for me to say things about us. GaEul. I don’t want to quit my job. My heart is beating faster again.guess he’s having a clumsy day. No. Are you…?” I shake my head. we don’t want to be saddled with a baby. “Are you okay about it?” What? “Yeah. “GaEul…” “It’s okay. but I don’t think it’s the right time to ask him questions about us. I think I’ve made breakfast twice. YiJung comes home from the studio and immediately goes into the kitchen. It’s a fair question. I reluctantly let the tears fall. “Yeah. Just not now. We eat a quiet dinner. I’m not going to let SeungHo become a thing.” “You do want kids someday though…” He trails off hopefully.” He’s quieter than before but I still think he means for me to hear him. “And besides. but I can’t quite bring myself to look at him. I’m just tired.” He lets out a breath I didn’t know he was holding. and he goes back to making dinner. right?” I try to laugh. but I’ve barely cooked in a week. “Maybe someday. “I didn’t want you to stress about nothing. I’m not sure if I’m shocked or upset. Really. and I don’t know where to go from this. But.” I take a step away from him. I mean. and dinner once. and I wonder if I should have told him about SeungHo. not saying anything. Someday. “I think this is the definition of something. I know I said in the contract that I didn’t want to cook every day. Is he annoyed that I’m not offering to cook more? I’d be. So I just let the moment pass.

“Does it bother you?” I breathe deeply. “what I’m trying to say is that you’re acting like a . “But what about the contract?” “What about it?” He still looks confused. I don’t know where your head is. I seem to be good at that. And tonight! I’m being stupid and you’re there comforting me. We’re not doing any of the things on it!” He blinks once and I keep speaking. “I guess so.” “YiJung. I’m going to be brave.” “Yes?” I take another deep breath. I pick up afterwards.” YiJung snorts and I feel my heart starting to break. I guess. trying to keep me warm. That’s my breaking point.” A large part of me wants to just stop this conversation right now. making another moment. “Just. I need to be prepared to answer them. “Because.” I begin. And we haven’t gotten a dog!” YiJung laughs on my last sentence. If I’m going to ask questions. “Plus—” I say. I’ll probably let this moment pass too. “Why not?” He looks at me earnestly. “I don’t think we still have the contract. and pull up my legs to sit on them. and don’t say anything except ‘thank you’ while we eat. but I shouldn’t. I’m being brave. I’m going to ask questions and get some answers “YiJung.” I pause. Maybe he hasn’t thought about the contract once since signing it. He casually lays an arm around my shoulder. Does he not see this as I do? “We’re so entangled in each other’s lives. “No. I’ve taken this first step. You’re doing all the cooking for me. why is your arm around me?” He turns away from the TV and looks at me confused. and I’m so confused all the time. Well. And that’s it. another opportunity. “We’re together all the time except when we’re working—when was the last time you went out with the boys? I don’t see JanDi as much as I used to. and doesn’t acknowledge me when I sit down next to him. I turn around on the couch to face him. and I know he hasn’t thought about this like I have.I let that moment pass too. and then join him on the couch to watch a little TV.” “Oh. we can strike that out of the contract. “We’ve had two rather good make out sessions. He is absorbed in the program. I need to see this through to the end. Even if I end up getting hurt. as well.” He pauses.

“Wait. and then pause after I process his words. and I realize that our elephant is back in the room. He takes my hand.” “Really?” He asks. I’m so bad at this I don’t know what this is. but I need to understand.” “I’m serious in responding. I don’t know. We’ve had a good talk.” I shrug. Okay. “I don’t know. So what if I am? Last time I checked we were married anyways. but I almost have to squint to see him.” What? . “I’m always cute. “And let’s rip up the contract. “Okay. The air is thick. Let’s go on a real date tomorrow. We were safe together.” I smile slowly. but don’t do anything. what now?” “I’m not sure. “So. He doesn’t say anything for a long time. Out of the corner of my eye I see the elephant.” he says and I laugh. and he’s even larger than before. let’s go on a date tomorrow night.” “You’re cute when you’re on the spot.” I stick out my tongue. and he returns it. being fake married to you. and I’m ready to go to bed. I’ve ruined the moment. “I was never serious about those girls! And you’re ruining the moment!” “You’ll get over it. When we woke up together last week. and I need to know if I need to act like a real wife. I’ve started the process. Downstairs.” I throw a pillow at him and laugh some more. I felt like doing things to make you happy. Alone. Happily. But we both know he’s there. “Maybe. desperately. Are you serious about me?” Now it’s his turn to blush.” he says and my heart sinks. But. I want to.” I let go of his hand and stand up from the couch. and I wanted to be with you all the time. YiJung. But then we started spending time together. “We’re on the same page then. but tries to recover. but YiJung has to make him smaller and give me some honest answers. Who knew that being honest could be so good? “Let’s go out tomorrow. and I nod. I need answers. “You’re the one with experience! You’re supposed to be good at this YiJung!” “Yah!” He playfully yells at me.” he says. “I’m serious GaEul.” He blushes some more. and I felt different.” I don’t let myself look away from him.real husband. GaEul. “I thought this was going to be easy. and I blush. I…I had never felt anything like that. We smile at each other.

” He brightens up a little and pulls out a box of cereal. it’s okay. startled when YiJung puts his head on my shoulder to see what I’m making. He’s made breakfast so often for me I should make something for him.” Liar.” He makes a face. But. After him making a snit right now. It’s exciting and terrifying. I just hope he doesn’t say anything.” I say. It’s early yet. . So why keep it?” I think for a minute. “Thanks. I’m so engrossed in my cooking that I don’t notice YiJung entering the room sometime later. I see enough ingredients for a simple soup and rice. “What are we eating?” “Soy bean soup and rice. “What?” “Nothing. I still want a dog. and turn around to face him. Stepping out into the living room. There is one reason to keep the contract. and it even lead to good things. Not the best breakfast. We don’t really know how we feel. Hm. Great. Whoo. “I was just trying to do something nice. I see that YiJung isn’t yet downstairs. but we’re going to give this a real chance. Looking around. I jump. What if it doesn’t work out? Eep! Don’t think about that GaEul! You haven’t gone on a first date yet! I take extra time getting ready. “But I’m sure yours is good!” “No. and I can hear him laughing. “I’m serious GaEul. I suppose. There really is no reason for keeping it. You were right—we weren’t following it anyways. YiJung and I had an honest conversation. He must see my disappointed expression because he quickly adds. and immediately feel foolish. “Is my wife making me breakfast?” He teases. Actually. I can’t. I don’t like cereal. Chapter Twenty Seven I wake up the next morning elated. I ate it too often in university.” he replies stoically. “Yah! YiJung!” He hesitates before answering me. We can have something else—I’ll just take it for lunch today. but it seems too soon for this kind of intimacy.” Oh. and proud. Not if we’re going to try and figure out what this is. “It’s just…not my favorite food. that’s wrong.I turn back around and make a face at him. cereal it is. but at least its better than cereal. maybe I shouldn’t have done that. “Okay. He’s already seen me at my worst—surely he’ll notice a difference today. It’s downright adorable.” I walk into my room. He looks a little hurt. So I swat him away.

“Fine. dismissingly and looking embarrassed. “Well. and then I’ve got to run for work—” “Great. but my phone rings before I get the chance. “Are you busy?” Way to cut to the chase Omma. and only make her unbearably smug. Just go. But. That can’t be possible. but stops himself. actually. “You’ve got time. in her own little world I’m sure I do nothing all day but sit around eating pasta waiting for YiJung to come home.Breakfast is over all too soon. and it’s absolutely beyond me. “Good. I nod and say. I can talk to my mother on the way to work if I must. he doesn’t ask if he can drive me again. so I thought you might have had a fight.” she cuts me off.” I hope she can’t hear me smile on the other end. “Sounds good. “Hi Omma. “Don’t worry.” “Are you sure?” His face is scrunched up. says goodbye and hurries out of the apartment. “You never called me after I stayed over last week. “Alright. That would be embarrassing. and we’ll leave around six?” He asks hopefully. I should be back around five tonight. and you probably have a million half-finished pieces at the studio. He’s the best you’ll ever do. and for her to phone me. “How are things with YiJung?” She asks. He waves his hand.” . He’s a good man.” I really should try to sound more enthusiastic. and YiJung asks if he can drive me to work. I really don’t.” I finish clearing the plates from breakfast. but he seems rather smitten with you. Sigh.” I smile and motion for him to go. Omma.” What? Where does she get this from??? Where in the human society does not receiving a phone call mean that a couple has had a fight??? “No we didn’t fight. Great. “Yep! I’ve got time. no. What just happened? Was he trying to kiss me goodbye? No. right? I’m tempted to call him and ask. and grab my purse.” Er. and I’m not sure if it’s in confusion or worry.” YiJung moves towards my face. I’m cleaning up from breakfast. Don’t lose him GaEul. It’s my mother. I can take the subway. It seems to work.

Plus. “Oh. isn’t it GaEul?” “No. I have no idea. I’m a little scared to ask. The call goes through. “GaEul! Just tell me!” She sounds exasperated. I’ll make all of YiJung’s favorite foods.” Wait. “Miss me already?” Yah! YiJung! This isn’t the time for jokes! “What is your favorite food?” I sputter. “He likes so many things…” “Ah! Forget it!” Yes! Win for GaEul! But. “that’s an odd question to ask.” he adds. “You’re welcome. “What do you need Omma?” “Well. you mean calling and criticizing me wasn’t your main objective? Fantastic.” I sound a little desperate. . thanks Omma…” If that wasn’t the back hand compliment of the year. Its beef ribs. If I keep stalling she’ll have to give up. “I don’t feel safe alone. it’s not!” I protest. “We don’t know anything about each other! How are we supposed to keep up this lie when we don’t know anything about each other?!?” “Now. that’s not true. so I was hoping I could stay a couple of nights.” and she hangs up before I can say goodbye. but I do it anyways.“Um.” Beats me Omma.” A COUPLE OF NIGHTS?!? “Omma!” I whine.” “What are YiJung’s favorite foods? Tell me quickly. “I’ll just call him myself. “We’ve known each other for almost ten—oh. Now. trying to console me. “Uhhh…” “GaEul? Are you there?” “Yes Omma.” Shit.…your father is going out of town again the day after tomorrow. She’s calling YiJung?! I’ve got to reach him before she does! My fingers fumble over the buttons as I hurry to dial. I’m not sure what is. “What?” “I don’t know what your favorite food is.” I falter.” He laughs once and adds. it’ll be fun. He picks up on the third ring. she continues speaking. and it rings once. Twice. Down to business. that’s difficult to say…. Just tell me what to make. I don’t know! “Well. Shit.

Not a mini crisis. Two nights.” he says plainly. and we do know more about each other than we let on.” He hangs up. Oh. He reads me too well.” he stretches out my name in a warning tone. That’s okay. “Um…two nights. but he also can’t insult my mother directly. before I can reply. .” “GaEulllll. and GaEul?” “Yes?” “You looked pretty this morning. Hmph. “It’s my mother!” “How do you know—oh.” I try to sound light. “The short story is that my father is going out of town again. “Probably.” “I won’t. “I suppose I should call her back. she’ll probably think we’re conspiring behind her back or something.” Ha.” he finally says. “Is that all?” “Isn’t it enough?” I ask. naturally.hold on. She asked what your favorite foods are. He has to support me. So.” “I’m sorry.” He sounds amused. I picture him on the other end. and it’s a little while before YiJung says anything again. “Truer words have never been said.” I hear a long sigh on the other end. slightly embarrassed. And this isn’t a mini crisis! “Ha. YiJung. “How long is she staying? Just the night?” He asks hopefully.” “Don’t answer it!” I shout. “Started what?” “This mini crisis. Jerk. having pulled the car over on the side of the road so he can hit the steering wheel repeatedly in frustration. and I couldn’t answer her…” I trail off. ha. “No. Maybe he’s right. She started this. I’ve got another call.” He chuckles once at that.” “It’s not your fault your mother has a…strong personality. He’s straddling a close line here. It sounds a lot more pathetic when I say it out loud like this. so my mother has invited herself over to our apartment again the day after tomorrow. “Okay. Don’t let her know we talked though. he did notice. poor boy.

” I pout. “Don’t question it.” He takes a breath. I think you’ve got plenty of time to get ready.” He likes my legs? “But.” “Just tell me! I’ve got grading to do. “Dress casually. At least he said goodbye to me this time. He’s got me there. but I know I need to do a little grading. I’m tempted to take a nap. . When I return home from work.” “Yep. See you later. It just seems out of type for you. We never talked about where we’re going. even if he can’t see my face. so I wanted to lay out clothes. I’ll take a hit on my pride so I don’t look like a fool tonight.” he stops speaking for a minute.” “Pants?” “Don’t get me wrong. “GaEul. “Wait.” “Hm. I pull out my phone. “Where are we going tonight?” He sighs on the other end.Work goes by quickly. and prods me for information.” “You don’t know anything about me. it’s a bad memory and doesn’t deserve to be remembered.” “Okay…” I sound doubtful.” “Casual?” “Is there something wrong with that?” “No. you need pants to do what we’re doing tonight. probably considering if he should tell me or not.” “But I don’t know what to wear.” “Fine. I like your legs GaEul. “See you later…” And we hang up. but Lady Luck is smiling on me today. it’s four-thirty. It is the truth. Just wear pants. I don’t count our date before we married. I know I’m going to have to deal with him later. Tuuli notices my good mood. but my mind is so focused on our date tonight that he’s not a big presence. “It’s a surprise. “Wear pants. and I need to figure out what to wear for our date. “Yeah?” YiJung answers on the first ring. I think about him occasionally. remember?” Arguh. I’m fortunate enough not to see SeungHo today. I tell her truthfully that I’m going on a date with my husband and she rolls her eyes and mutters something about newlyweds. I just didn’t tell her that it was a first date with my husband.” he says.

is how I look every day. Plus. good or bad. that would be a weird date anyways. I don’t even have anything to busy myself with. Which. I decide that’s close enough to six that I can go out. while waiting for YiJung.” “Okay. I need to grade my students’ homework.” I set down my pens and get up from the table.” “Okay. Do you see a pattern here? After pacing my room for what seems like hours. Oh well. It’s the price to pay. Butterflies are a good sign.” “Re-group in an hour?” I nod. “Did it when I got home. Again.I’ll teach him some manners yet! I have no idea what we could be doing. he’s as nervous and excited as I am. Chapter Twenty Eight True to my thoughts. “I’ll go do the same. apparently. “It’s. Since YiJung said to wear pants. but not sloppy. comfortable. That could be fun. I’ve settled for wearing a simple pair of khaki capris. but not sloppy. it’s finally five fifty-five. Are we going to ride horses? I’ve always wanted to do that. I’m moving. But where are horses in Seoul? I’m not sure there are any. Which means that I have forty-five minutes of pure agony in my room. As much as I adore teaching. Oof. nothing special. but honestly. He opens the door and I can feel my stomach get filled with butterflies. I’m so excited and curious about this date that I couldn’t concentrate much anyways. It’s up in a loose. I want to be disturbed. We each walk into our rooms knowing that things won’t ever be the same. I just hope it’s good. and really. I need pants? What could we be doing that I need pants for? If I’m wearing pants. but I know that I’ll end up sitting in my room for forty-five minutes waiting for him to finish getting ready. To my slight surprise YiJung is already waiting for me. curly bun. right? YiJung tries to be quiet as he enters not wanting to disturb me.” He responds. as . So. Comfortable. grading is awful. I give up. Even worse is that my room isn’t messy right now. a little after five so I’m going to go upstairs and get changed. a pink shirt and sandals. um. “Have a good day?” I ask.” He fidgets. That keeps me busy until YiJung comes home. We’re doing something active? Okay. At least I put a little more effort into my hair tonight. We’re starting something tonight. “It was fine. I’m ready to go in just under fifteen minutes. But what’s active? He didn’t say to wear exercise clothes. and we’ve got to live with it. He’s dressed down. “Do you need to shower or anything?” I shake my head.

I didn’t know he owned any right now. we arrive at a small dock somewhere along the Han River in the city. It seems strange for a first date. At the end of the dock. and he takes my hand. and I feel safe in his hands. but we’re married so I let it slide. and shuts our apartment door behind us. “Nope. and shut up until we get to his car. “I don’t have to wear a blindfold. “Borrowed it from a friend. After driving for nearly half an hour. do I?” I ask only half in joking.” He looks away from me. I want to tell him I’m happy he’s sharing a piece of his mother with me. and helps me down. a small sailboat awaits us. YiJung looks at me. “I didn’t know you sailed. “Are you going to tell me where we’re going?” I ask even though I know the answer. It’s romantic. wearing khakis.” “I see. never letting go of my hand. he leads me down the dock.” We step out of the car.” YiJung explains. I want to tell him how thankful I am. and raises one eyebrow. “I haven’t gone out in years though.” He grins. don’t you think?” I make some sort of weird gasping embarrassed noise. But. Pah. “Can’t get into a boat in a skirt. That ruins all the fun. I would have cracked immediately. Plus.well. I’m sure he’ll teach me to sail one day. intertwining his fingers with mine. We make small chatter while he drives. sailing was something my mother taught me to do when I was young.” YiJung shrugs. Either I’m really good at getting people to tell secrets…or. I don’t tell him that it’s working. I don’t want to think about which option I am. “Ready to go?” “Of course!” I smile. but tonight is just for showing off and impressing me. “What are we doing?” I ask. . untying knots and starting the motor just enough to get away from the dock before he turns it back off and lets the sail out. his hand feels nice in mine. “This is why you needed pants. If I had been the secret keeper. but to no avail.” I want to say so much more. I spend the first fifteen minutes trying to get our “secret” location out of him. Or owned a boat. I want to tell him… YiJung starts moving about the boat swiftly. YiJung just laughs the whole way. I stand helplessly and awkwardly in the way.” He smiles. I want to tell him how sweet this is. Come on out. “You’ll see.” “I don’t. and the city lights shine brightly across the river. knowing that even if I offered to help he wouldn’t take it. It’s just starting to become dark out. “That’s a little kinky. I’m terrible at keeping them. and taking my hand again. a polo shirt and…sneakers? Weird.

and instead just enjoy out peaceful night out together.” I let myself put my head on his shoulder.” “Yeah. actually look at the scenery.” He hands me a plate of what looks to be French food. he stops running around. but I’m excited to try it. “When did you have time to do this?” I ask.” YiJung steps down into a small cabin inside and comes back out with a picnic basket.” He sets up another plate for himself. and oh. enjoying the view of the city from the river. I had forgotten how much fun this can be. “I felt bad afterwards. Even though it’s becoming dark. When we’ve gone far enough for him. I did. “You’ll have to teach me how to make it sometime. and has me sit down on the side.” “Okay. but I liked watching you move around like that. I don’t know how to describe it.” “Thank you for sharing this with me. “Wait a minute. YiJung nods.” I say. YiJung just wants to take us out for a little tour.” “It’s great. amazed.There are few other boats out right now.” “Oh. If we were to keep going in either direction for long enough we’d run into shipping vessels. We can talk about the future later.” he admits. He grins. and he returns it. “Thanks. “It’s delicious. I could tell you enjoyed yourself. I have my routine and I stick to it. “Is it alright?” He asks. I don’t take the time to look. never varying. I set my own work hours.” .” I smile. “I’ve never been on a sailboat before.” I’m not sure what to say. “Dinner. and asks. “Is it alright out here on the boat?” He asks me hesitantly. “Did you make this today?” I point my fork at the food on my plate. the weather isn’t too cold. Even though I’ve lived here for my entire life. but we don’t comment. “why’d you kick me off this morning?” “What?” “You threw me off your shoulder this morning. “I wasn’t sure you would like it. but I’m not really sure.” We both realize that we’re making future plans. and we eat comfortably. uncertainly. “It surprised me. and meat with some sort of sauce.” My mouth drops open as he starts pulling out food. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen or eaten before.” “I was a little hurt. But. “I’m an artist GaEul. but then relaxes. There’s a salad. He tenses up for a moment. or no…maybe it’s because I’ve lived here my entire life that I don’t really appreciate the small things that make Seoul wonderful.

or if he’s just confused like I was seconds ago. I can feel YiJung’s breath on my face. Admit it. “Yes that.” He says with an air of finality. I really do want an answer from him.” he says as he leans in to kiss me. but I want to annoy YiJung a little bit. “You’re embarrassed. That. “Pah. “That?” I croak out. The noises seem to do the trick. I close my eyes in anticipation. just barely. It’s not at all dignified. “You leaned into me. “Did you try to kiss me this morning?” “What?” I’m not sure if he’s in denial. my face contorted. “This.” YiJung replies as he looks in the other direction. “What?” I breathlessly say as my heart starts to beat faster. “When you left for work.” He says.” I explain.” “Oh. I’m not sure what I’m going to do afterwards. . I crack open one eye.” “Admit what?” He’s still not looking at me. Only to be disappointed as he kisses my cheek. We’ve fallen in this routine of happy banter almost like a real married couple. I pick my head up and look at him squarely. “That. Like I’ve been waiting all my life for this moment.” “Come on. and I wait patiently. I’m sure. “The kiss. “You weren’t supposed to ask me about this. He jerks his head back around and stares at me. Just tell me. the butterflies in my stomach awakening.” I make kissing noises behind his back.” I say.“Good. and now that it’s here. but I’m sure he’s smiling.” “No. almost as if you were going to kiss me goodbye. and looking absurd. but it feels natural.” From my view on his shoulder I can see him grinning. It seems strange that we’re so okay with this. and he’s about three inches from myface ready to burst out laughing. His tone is happy and light. and I notice him blushing slightly.” I tease. “Maybe?” He finally says. “You know what I wanted to do?” YiJung asks me.

And because it’s a first date kiss.” I grin. Now it’s when I get to see him in the mornings. “We’ll buy a’s…it’s a first date kiss. “Okay. look at our long forgotten plates and grin. I love that he tries to do nice things for me.. trying to make the boat move faster. appearing when he appears. but by the end of it he says I’m good. to let me take the lead. and twirls our fingers together. The butterflies seem to dictate my life.I don’t think I like that. it ends too soon. I check my phone for the time as he runs about the deck. I love that on the weekends he walks around with bed head for . We have money. and I want to do nice things for YiJung. Work used to be the happiest time in my day. I don’t want this night to end. It’s not a lazy kiss. I hesitate for a moment after I realize that I’ve got food breath. I quickly lean in and kiss YiJung on the lips. and in the evenings. We’re. Does this mean I’m in love with my husband? Thinking it over. and I think he’s glad. “Are you disappointed?” He asks. “I was hoping you would.” I thought tonight was going to be about YiJung showing off. it’s too late. Even though we’re married. but instead grabs my hand again. I don’t let him take control in our kiss. and how to stop the boat. But. “Want to make the boat sail?” “I’m not going to lie. It’s almost ten-thirty. He doesn’t seem particularly surprised. I try shaking my head. I love the way he laughs at me for being dense and clumsy. we’re not sure what to say either. There’s only one way to solve this without further embarrassment to me. YiJung’s seen my head nod. and the second was safety. and leaving when he leaves. I love that he has found success in a job that you don’t find success in.” he says. I still forget that he has money. It’s hard. And I don’t think he minds all that much. I don’t want to spend his. The mood isn’t awkward per say but. Oh shit. If our first kiss was passion. I nod instinctively. so does YiJung. I don’t want… …I don’t want this marriage to end. for once. and as I realize it. but it doesn’t feel like any time has gone by. this is comfort.” For a second my heart panics and I think about the money.. I tell him I want to keep practicing. when he says. We’ve been out for over four hours. but I’m glad to be wrong. He takes over the boat to get us back to the dock. but it’s not passionate either. I’m about five seconds from telling YiJung a knock-knock joke. I don’t want to go back. jokingly. I wake up. but I guess it’s good that it’s there just in case. but then again. how to steer the rudder. He patiently spends the next hour showing me how to move the sail in the direction of the wind. it seems to make sense. I love that he lets me do things that I enjoy so I can be my own person. We sit back.

I love the way he felt on top of me when we were in bed. after tonight. As much as I enjoy music. and instead listen to the radio. I was just spacing out. some instrumental song that doesn’t sound classical. I laugh and try to shake it off. YiJung speaks. He seems happier. and we walk hand in hand back to his car. “GaEul?” YiJung waves his hand in front of my face.” “Me too. and that’s all I need right now. maybe it should look different. It’s a good thing I don’t have to teach my students music. “Are you okay?” Yeah. and shakes me out of my thoughts. Maybe we’re ready for this. Like this. The idea of loving YiJung last week was terrifying. I don’t need to call in my court of law to figure this out.” .hours. The world. Or. “Oh. I smile. But. I don’t know what to do about this information. “Thanks for coming out with me tonight GaEul. I love that he’s cranky in the evenings. “We should do it again. I love that he’s got a mole on his ear you can only see when he’s just stepped out of the shower. completely and utterly in love with my husband. and try to look as shy as he does. I’ve got it bad. Maybe he doesn’t. he looks like a fourteen year old on his first date ever. I had a terrific first date with my husband. should look like roses. We had a nice outing tonight. but maybe after a night like this I was hoping it would. Our apartment looks exactly the same. but tonight it seems…okay. Stupid JiHoo! You were right! YiJung gets the boat back tied to the dock. I don’t know what it is. Thanks for the evening.” YiJung suddenly looks shy. He’s a different man than he was five years ago. I’m a different woman from what I was five years ago. It makes me feel special. but I no longer feel like my world is going to crumple down in front of my eyes. I’m just in love for the first real time in my life. Maybe YiJung loves me. I think I can wait to find out. and asks me. and I’m not sure what to do about it. I love the way our hands look when they’re together.” My confession has emboldened him somewhat. I’m fine. “Are you okay? We’re back at the dock…” He points to our surroundings. We don’t talk while he drives back home. I’m absolutely.”He helps me out of the boat. I wasn’t expecting it to be different. and I forget that he was ever a playboy. and I had a realization for the ages. I don’t know much about it. “I had a really nice time. I can’t deny it. I love that he stays in more than he goes out now.

and pull on the first clothes I spot in my dresser. just my living room. “Coming. Part of me thinks she’s making excuses so that YiJung and I will have to sleep in the same bed.” He walks over. grab my bag and enter into the world. Sigh. yeah. this looks like a girl who stays up late worrying. but not before laughing and saying. I’m nervous and tired. This doesn’t look like a girl who’s in love. “Yes. “Lemme see. Or. “Oh. Chapter Twenty Nine I’m a mess of emotions the next morning. using his hand against my forehead.” He doesn’t look convinced. What I know so far? YiJung likes me in some fashion. and messy hair that won’t lay flat. I’m okay. sticks out his tongue as he concentrates on taking my temperature.” He leans in and kisses me softly and runs upstairs leaving me shocked in the living room. skin with no color. “Goodnight GaEul.I nod enthusiastically. and I say. Oh boy. Has he always been this considerate? I knew there was a reason I was in love with my husband. I try my best to make my hair stay down. shucks. let’s not go there. I really wish I didn’t have to go to work this morning. I go from what was quite possibly the best date of my life. Immediately YiJung asks. There’s a gentle knock on my door. my mother is coming to stay again tomorrow.” “Then. definitely. But.” he says. I’m in love with YiJung. staying in bed all day sounds much better. This girl has heavy tired bags under her eyes. The face in the mirror doesn’t look like me. and to put some color on my cheeks. I’m sure. Since when did my life get so complicated?!? Oh. to a nervous wreck over what will happen next.” Well. That’s a worry for tomorrow. I throw off my heavy bed sheets. either. “Are you alright? You don’t look good.” Taking one last look in the mirror. We’re married. Yesterday I was nervous and excited. And we’re testing out a real relationship. It’s all very scientific. I shake my head. “That’s what I wanted to do this morning. . Then to top it all off. My mind is fuzzy and I’m nervous queasy. right. I feel so different from yesterday.” My heart leaps out to him. Today. The second So YiJung stepped into it.

I don’t quite understand why he didn’t just grab mine.” “I do. “You just admitted you’re sick.” I protest as I move to the door. Delicious? “Sorry. It’s all very intimate. “You should get ready for work. “Before you leave.” “I have to. Really. “I don’t need it now. rips my purse from my hands and guides me to the couch.” He relaxes and sits back down. Not that he’s panicked about me. as if I lied to him on purpose. He’s treating me as if I were our not-yet-gotten puppy. He returns a minute later with a comforter and a pillow. “You’re not going to school.” He mentioned it to me a few days earlier.” “Work?” “I thought you said you had some meetings today about the new show.” “You really don’t.” “You’re going to get the students sick.” “I’m not very hungry anyways. I crack a smile.“GaEul!” He gasps. “Ha!” He looks smug.” He puts his hand on my lower back. There’s no reason to be. I scrunch my feet up and he sits down on the end of the couch. “You’re burning up!” He’s giving me the stink eye. “It’s okay. and had made some calls to various galleries interested in showing his work. And water. Mmm.” I shoo him with my hands. but I’m too tired to question him.” “To be fair.” YiJung wanders off into the kitchen. to the couch. Come on. instead of his wife. He comes scurrying back into the room with a glass of orange juice. I’m okay. his face flushed. “No. one of them probably got me sick in the first place. I lay down while he runs upstairs.” I begin. just sometime. and stops me from moving forward. and some rice. “Are you sure?” “Absolutely.” I reply. He looks at me. He holds out his arm.” I argue. alarmed. “could you find me some aspirin?” “Ah! Aspirin! I knew I forgot something!” He moves to stand up. but I grab his arm. they smell good. “but I wasn’t sure how you felt. You need food. he thought he was almost ready to have another. . muttering to himself.” he apologizes. “Food.” I say. It’s kind of adorable to see him so panicked.

It’s all of twenty feet.” “Are you sure? Is that your final answer?” I think he’s trying to imitate the guy from that American Millionaire game show. takes another long look. That I am aware of. throws the pillow back at me. He still looks concerned. Harry doesn’t want to leave. and hands me a bottle of aspirin. I think. mister. I throw a pillow at him and laugh. . “It’s fine. as if doubting his decision. it’s just a cold. A woman is holding a gun. Go to work. and he takes a few more steps before looking back once more. Bleh. “I’m fine! Get to work! I’ll be here when you get back. takes two steps. I stare blankly at the screen. or the news. “Don’t worry so much.” YiJung smiles. Somewhere in the middle of figuring out what’s going on. I’m not even sure if I’m watching a program. Have you seen that old movie Harry and the Hendersons? A family finds Bigfoot. but once standing I feel moderately better. YiJung? Orange juice and rice? I know we don’t have a lot of food here.” “No they’re not. YiJung looks a little like that. It’s just a cold!” I need time to think about what you said earlier. and finally leaves the apartment. anyways. so the father has to tell him that they don’t want him anymore.” “But—“ “YiJung.” he says seriously. And Harry’s depressed face…well. and some stuff happens. but it’s not a very good impression. I struggle to get off the couch. YiJung returns. They’re more important than me. but in the end they have to release him back into the wild. Not YiJung. I shoo him away again. He stands up from the couch. Although I feel better. Really. I say thanks. You should meet with these people.“I can cancel them. YiJung turned on the television. I don’t consider much of who it can be. you see. “Don’t be ridiculous. On his way out the door. Damn. So. before swallowing two with the orange juice. Maybe thirty. and looks back at me. but the combination is gross.” He protests. not processing what’s on in front of me. And don’t wake up until there’s a loud knocking at the door later in the day. the front door is an awfully long way away. What? I hear him putter around upstairs while I pick at my rice. and there are two cops trying to arrest her. I fall asleep.

JiHoo laughs quietly.” Every day? Wow. “No. and…listen to his directions. “YiJung said you didn’t feel well. JiHoo. but I think he’s joking. “Do this often?” “What?” JiHoo sticks his head out the kitchen door with an oven mitt in one hand. “So you talked to YiJung this morning?” I begin. come to me still warm blanket. What else did YiJung say?” I hum to myself. GaEul. “He never told me. “Do we talk often? Of course. Well. “Hmph.” “Thanks.” “YiJung’s a liar. I take a spoonful. even though I’m hanging on every word he says. “YiJung mentioned something about a boat?” He’s asking the question. and says. Ah. “We’re the F4! Of course we’re all brothers. “but I might be able to give some hints. but it’s soothing. and sets them on the coffee table nearby. “Did you not know that?” He shouts from the kitchen. You can’t betray that kind of trust. half joking.” Yes. Or.” “Oh. Wait. “We talk every day. He holds up the containers and says.” He furrows his eyebrows.“Hello?” My voice is groggier than usual. and so I head back to the couch. And deserving of some probing questions on my part.” He pushes past me into the apartment. you better. I open the door to see a concerned looking JiHoo holding takeout. which it might be. as if I’m playing this casually. .” JiHoo senses my disappointment because he says next.” I return. I hope its soup.” He gives me the once over with his eyes. Yes! Soup! He gestures for me to eat some.” He says the words seriously. I don’t know what it’s in it. now you know. “I don’t think so. “What are you waiting for? Go back to the couch. We’ve got the brotherhood to think about. “I’m not sure I’m supposed to answer. leaving me holding open a door for no one. and pulling the warm bowl into my lap. and not really paying attention.” “So he told you I was sick.” “Brotherhood?” JiHoo returns from the kitchen with two bowls of soup.” I retort. JiHoo and YiJung talked today? That’s kind of cute.” I stick out my tongue immaturely. I’m too tired to disobey. and makings a tsking noise. You’re so kind. “You look and sound terrible. like my question is the dumbest thing he’s heard all day. but I’m sure JiHoo knows all about our date.

” “What? I can’t do that! That would involve…talking!” JiHoo laughs. or maybe it’s because I need a confidant. “That’s it then?” He asks. and now I don’t know what to do. you can’t waste it. to change the topic with. away from JiHoo’s knowing eyes. I don’t want to keep talking. “What are you so afraid of?” Does he not get it? “He might not love me back.” “I know that. “But. “You’re a coward. anything. I’d like to get it back.” and immediately regret it. Now would be the time to let me know I’m not a complete idiot. I don’t say anything because there isn’t anything to say. Is that even possible? “Last night. trying to figure out lord knows what.” JiHoo scowls at me. “Are you there? I just said something monumental. I curl up my legs on the couch. “Hello?” I wave my hands in front of his face. “Life’s too short.” My confidence from last night seems to have disappeared.” But. “I think I might be in love with YiJung. Finally.” I whisper. He leaves his untouched. my voice cracks.” I shake my head softly. and try to think of something. GaEul. “He’s a different person now. I can’t get that little voice out of my head that says he isn’t. “I’m—I’m not feeling too well JiHoo.” He sighs.” JiHoo blinks his eyes and just stares at me. he heaves a big sigh. “I don’t want my heart to be broken again. “What?” JiHoo makes some sort of gasping noise and I’m momentarily worried he’s choking on the soup. and I know he’s disappointed. It’s so stupid. It might be because my mind is fuzzy. “He told me that.“Did you know YiJung knew how to sail?” I ask in return. GaEul.” I say. I blurt out. “GaEul. and I can feel tears welling in the corner of my eyes. stretch out my legs.” Stop playing coy JiHoo. suddenly wanting to stop this conversation.” I set the bowl back on the table. and says. trying to get out of these dangerous waters. I busy myself with eating the soup JiHoo brought me. he just concentrates some more. “So. “When you’ve got something special. and says. JiHoo is right. “You’re not going to try?” “I can’t. “I think I realized that I’m in love with YiJung. Always the voice of reason JiHoo remarks.” As I begin to speak.” I say exasperated. I think I’m going to get some sleep. We both know it. I think you need to talk to YiJung. but I do something stupid next. and turn my head into the couch. .” I feebly mumble. how have you been?” I ask.

“Alright. “I wanted to hear your voice. silently and doesn’t ask anything else on the subject. but I pick it up anyway. unwelcome voice answers me. even though it’s pointless. The first thing he asks is. think about what I’ve said. okay? Just sit down and talk with the man.” he responds. the better. Another sigh.” We stay quiet on the couch. my throat suddenly feels dry. . me lying down. and I missed you. I don’t want to talk about JiHoo. It’s me. I want nothing to do with this man. YiJung wakes me up when he returns from his meetings later in the afternoon.” An all too familiar. Even though the soup was helping.” YiJung grins. “Are you hungry?” “A little. But.I’m so good at taking one step forward and two steps back.” He nods. and my fever takes hold of me again. him still resting his hand on my forehead until my phone rings. “Why’d you call?” I ask tersely.” he says. he would spend hours telling me all about it.” I nod. I was a little disappointed. The number on my phone is one I don’t recognize. “Hello?” “You didn’t come to school today. clearly excited. and he’s resting a hand on my forehead.” I admit. I can’t seem to get any more words out. And I’d spend hours listening about it. “Just allergies or something. and I can feel myself getting angry. “SeungHo?” “Yep. I open my eyes. YiJung breaks our gaze. our boat ride inspired me. and let himself out of the apartment. I hear JiHoo stand up. “We didn’t get to talk the other day at school. “How were your meetings? Did you choose a gallery?” He nods once more. The sooner I can get this phone call over with.” He makes a face and I smile. “A smaller one on the river. I’m sure if I were a little more awake. and hands it to me. “I’ll go change and order some food. “I look forward to seeing it. and frustrated. “Is take out okay? I don’t feel like cooking. trying to determine if my temperature has gone down at all.” he says as he walks upstairs.” “What do you want?” My voice rises. “were you crying?” I shake my head.

” I sit up. Yes. I’m not going to let him get to me.” YiJung snorts.” he retorts. I hear YiJung coming down the stairs. It’s not even really a lie.” I crack a smile.” “What way?” I ask innocently. I can’t decide if this really has been an emotional day. “Uh-huh. “Okay. All I’m doing is omitting certain facts that aren’t important. and I hang up the phone before he can say anything more. all of a sudden.” I say. I’m not going to let him get to me. but I know your game. “Yes. I’m not going to let him get to me.“You know what I want. and telling me you want a—“I lower my voice purposefully just so YiJung can’t hear it upstairs. and he immediately looks over at me. And he did want to see how I was doing. “I’m cute?” I mean to sound stronger than that. I certainly don’t think this is funny. they do. “If you think calling me at home.” I gulp. I’ve changed SeungHo. “Oh. “Who was that just now?” He walks into the kitchen to find some plates and cups. but the question comes out timidly. as if he’s treading dangerous waters and isn’t sure what he should say or do. and make room on the couch for him.” It’s not a complete lie. GaEul. the food should be here in twenty minutes.” he says.” “I’ve always been direct GaEul. I tell myself.” He whistles quietly. SeungHo is a co-worker. “Your mother’s coming tomorrow?” He asks. yes. . “I’m onto you Ms. He doesn’t sit down.” I feign. That’s what I’m doing.” SeungHo laughs to himself. “You okay?” He asks. or so. I’m married. I curl up my legs on the couch to comfort myself. “Well. or if my cold is getting to me more than I hoped. just a co-worker. You may be cute and have those big eyes. however. “People change. you’re wrong SeungHo. yeah. “I’m not sure you should talk about your mother that way.” “Not anymore.” I say. “Uh.” “But are you happy?” He laughs again. “—affair—is the right way to win me over. “Wanted to make sure I wasn’t dying or something. “Just got chilled. “Unfortunately. You used to like that about me.

“she’s not that bad. “You're up early. Your mother—she’s terrifying. “Let me get another spoon. and then he says that.” I spurt out laughing. My mother adores you. getting his attention. “Hey--. YiJung. I merely laugh. . You won’t be so confidant then. I guess you’re feeling a little bit better. trying to lighten the mood. “I’m cute?” I ask once more. Damn. go right on ahead. Right?” He winks and takes another spoonful. “And I’ve got big eyes?” “The first time I saw you. GaEul.” I set down the newspaper and fetch another spoon from the kitchen.” he sounds like he’s off in a far distant place.” I playfully hit his arm. “She already knows about your philandering past. too. I just wave a hand in front of his face. This time I do sound a little more confidant. Your eyes are that big. and what's yours is mine.” he remarks as he sits down next to me.” I say with a smile. much to his surprise. “Just you wait until tomorrow. and he stops laughing immediately.” His eyes are wide. but I don't say anything. “I got you good!” He asserts. “I thought you were a bug.” “I am. I'm already dressed and calmly reading the newspaper while eating leftovers from the night before. takes my spoon from my hand and helps himself to my soup.” “That’s the problem. and he does look a little frightened.” I stick out my tongue. “Oh come on. “She expects so much of me. What's mine is yours. I thought we were having a serious moment. “Well. and if he wasn’t so serious. If he wants to get sick off of my cold. trying to be comforting.” I say. however. “You know you are. Chapter Thirty I'm awake before YiJung the next morning.” He shudders.“What?” YiJung jerks his head to look directly at me.” but YiJung cuts me off. I'm stunned.” he jokes. I try to mean it.” “Hey!” He shouts. but I can't help but recall SeungHo's phone call. I’d laugh at him. YiJung laughs. “That’s not a fair threat. GaEul. “We're married. and when I inevitably let her down…it’s going to be bad. By 7:30 am. “You can’t disappoint her. As it is.” he begins.

“You could take another day off. GaEul?” He sticks out his tongue and I shut my mouth. and YiJung stops as if he just realized I was sick yesterday.. “If I take any more off I might as well quit. we've had this conversation I don't know how many times. I wipe away the bit .” YiJung responds and he lets the subject go. He looks a little disappointed.” I say. I think so. I'm a little biased.” I firmly say. “Drooling.YiJung holds out his hand. Yesterday you were running a fever—I'm taking you to work. He's wearing a suit..” I begin. “Let me just change my clothes. as if I got it for him. “and then we can go. but instead I use it myself.” I nod my head and continue eating my breakfast. we don't really need the money. It's not a big deal for me to take you there.” He sets his hand on my forehead.” He stands up and heads for the stairs. and it seems to comfort him.. Hold on for a minute. He knows what looks good on him. “I feel fine.” “Well. I reluctantly head into my room. If he wasn't so damn smart.. Okay. “GaEul.” Hmph. Turning away. “I like working. grab my jacket and purse and wait for YiJung to return. and he works it.” he says. boy does he make it look good. I do a double take.” “No. “You think so? Lemme see.” I say. like almost everyday.” “I don't feel warm.” I keep eating the soup.” “But--” “No buts GaEul. “Doesn't feel warm. When he does return. “Yeah. Ha! “Feeling better?” He cocks his head to one side and raises an eyebrow as if studying me meticulously.. but today.” “Are you sure you want to go back to work?” “Yep. he could be a model.” “Okay. but still. “I can't keep taking days off of work.” YiJung says. and us eating from the same bowl is going to also get him sick. “I can take the bus. and we can go.

I don't pay much attention to whats being said. YiJung just snickers. Love you.” I can feel sweat forming on my face.” I say avoiding the question. He's enjoying it. “Are those your friends?” YiJung asks.I don't know. Have a good day. but it's not honest. Well. either. But. Maybe. whether they're waiting for me. We listen to some morning radio program as we drive. When we arrive. There's no way I'm going to try to catch him.” he adds. “Um. I can see Tuuli and SeungHo are waiting out front of the school. “It's a good thing I'm driving you there and back. “And her boyfriend?” He asks innocently. I don't know. “Oh. or just something to happen. and I'm not sure how to answer. they look good together.” I automatically say before I shut the door. and I step out of the car.” This earns a glare from me. but every once in a while YiJung laughs. What the hell?! I turn my head back. oh my God.” He turns on the car and revs the engine before I can say anything else. he said it first. “Well.” “Love you too. that's our exchange teacher. but YiJung is already out of the parking lot. and I feel a knot tighten in my stomach. But. OH. and I walk two steps away before it sets in. “I mean.. I know it's not lying per say. GOD. oh my God. “If your mother shows up early. “Thanks for the ride. MY. and I just responded. He's pretty new. We just said I love you. bye. “to politely leave. I don't say anything else as we head to his car. I have an excuse to escape. What am I going to do when I get home??! .” I awkwardly stammer as I pray Tuuli and SeungHo don't walk over here. Tuuli waves energetically at me.of drool from around my mouth.. oh my God. “Anytime. We just said that we love each other.” he says. YiJung starts the car. technically.” YiJung nods decisively.

what kind of guy says 'I love you' for the first time to a girl as she's leaving his car to go to work??? That's probably the least romantic situation possible. dammit! How can I do that when I definitely just told YiJung I love him.” “Wah—you met GaEul's parents?!” Tuuli looks shocked. YiJung doesn't love me. Yes. trying to stop her from worrying.and I just responded like it was a joke. and it was just acting when I said it back. Did he do that??? Is it possible for YiJung to have meant it??? Why. SeungHo. He'd have to be the world's most clueless man to do that. “How are you feeling?” Tuuli puts her hand on my forehead and nods slowly.. Don't panic. Maybe. so he was just acting. I'd be grateful if I wasn't a little fearful my lies were beginning to catch up with me. He must have. just waves goodbye. GaEul. That's got to be the answer. She looks between the two of us.” SeungHo smiles and for a second I don't hate him.. We were a little more serious than I told her.. “I'm fine. “Do you feel okay?” Okay? I might have just told my biggest secret to the one person who couldn't know. oh why? I'm going to think and over think about this all day.” I say.” Tuuli doesn't say anything more. She looks a little angry.maybe he meant it as a joke.Stop it. and he might have done the same?!?! Arguh! I shake my head to clear my thoughts and hesitantly walk over to Tuuli and SeungHo.. “I hope you give her my good wishes. for his part. He was always charming that way. And... Shit. “Maybe I'm just stressed? My mother is coming over tonight. GaEul. I mean. We're a real married couple in public.” she says knowingly. Keep it under control. “GaEul! SeungHo met your parents?!? You didn't tell me that!” Shit. What time am I going to see YiJung again? 3:00 pm? That's so long from now! I'm supposed to work. but other than that I'm okay. “It's been so long since I've seen your omma. Or maybe he said it because we were in public. “GaEul!” She grabs my arm and drags me away from SeungHo.and probably rightly so. “You're a little flushed. .

and he did meet my parents. “It was stupid of you to lie. Don't let me influence you. Who's a complete lie. “It wasn't a big deal. If you want to like him. but she interrupts me. If I want to date someone you've dated. “We dated for a year. “That's all?” She laughs.” “Why would you care anyways? You've got Mister Perfect Husband waiting at home for you. I was embarrassed. but it's almost creepy. We're going to have to talk about it in the car.” She laughs again.. Maybe a lot more serious. I think you'd be distracted all day too. even. you should. just so you know. And now I'm just feeling queasy and nervous. I will. and you seemed to like him so much.. But. but I do it anyways.” She winks and waves goodbye. but I'm a big girl. GaEul. You don't need to protect me.. what if he doesn't feel the same? ..” I look down at my feet sheepishly. and it feels like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. they get a distracted teacher almost every day. “And I didn't want you to to dislike him because of what happened with us.but there's something weird about him.” “Oh.” Tuuli says firmly. I don't like SeungHo. “Oh.Okay.” I finish. and start pulling out the necessary supplies for the day. It feels like the longest day in the world. Sigh. Yes. and oh gosh. Maybe this truth telling isn't such a terrible thing after all. I trod down the hall to my classroom. Somehow.. There's so much hurt in her eyes.” “And?” she asks. and I get to work. I don't want to say so.” I begin. He's nice. They liked him. I've got the perfect husband at home. “I may be a foreigner. SeungHo and I didn't work out. “But.” I say.. I'm starting to feel bad for my students.” she says. She's staring at me. I make it through the day. But can you blame me? If you had told the boy you love that you loved him accidentally. I.and. waiting for an answer.. My students enter shortly after. Oh gosh. “I. “but when a boyfriend meets the parents it is a big deal.

but he was probably just keeping up our public appearance. This could get awkward. Throwing my purse strap over my shoulder. YiJung sighs from the front of the car as he starts driving.” Oh. “You sure you don't want to go out to eat?” I ask again. He's parked in the far back of the lot. he said it..three.. Our 'I love yous' from this morning have not escaped my mind.and out steps.. wait until you see the apartment. “Around noon. but I'm not sure he gets it.. “What time did you come. Ah. with my mother. YiJung is so suspiciously silent that it makes me wonder if he's angry with me. both. Or.. Yikes. “Just make you two lovebirds dinner. I wanted to bring lunch to YiJung. I get in the car behind YiJung and he silently salutes me with his hand as a greeting. and instead it was.” I lamely say. I try to give him a look that says I'm sorry for being alone with my mother. and the door opens. Oh boy.” She waves her hands in an effort to hurry mother? “Hi Omma.. Just so I have to walk the maximum distance. Three hours alone with my mother. and to think about this just that much more.nice of you Omma. “Is there anything you'd like to do tonight?” I ask my mother.” I sound confused. Or. She's been here too long.” YiJung jumps in the conversation. and not looking at me through the mirror. Even though he parked so far away. it doesn't take nearly enough time to reach his car. “GaEul! Hurry on in! You don't know how long YiJung and I have been waiting. I was hoping for at least ten minutes. I wave tentatively at the car. “GaEul. I tramp outside and search for YiJung's car. I struggle to think of things to say while we drive. “She's brought enough food to feed the entire Republic. We said I love you. It must have been torture.Yeah. of course.. Omma?” I ask innocently. I try to mouth 'I'm sorry' to YiJung.” she responds and I grimace... “That was.. but he's concentrating on the road.” .. I probably shouldn't. Damn. I'm going to have to make it up to him somehow..

YiJung came downstairs the second hour into our cooking marathon. As much as I've been her assistant. actually. and give her help. and to only know of take-out. or are you going to give me some help?” My mother has her hand on her hip. “Nonsense. demanding as she is. are you going to keep standing there. his—room. so that the food stays hot. I didn't know she knew this many recipes. every time I hit YiJung.” she sighs into her plate. I look just as battered as he does. ordered around and yelled at.I hope no one thinks I'm abusing him regularly. I think I've been doing just fine. So.” I say. I sigh and find an apron to put on. and goes to tend her pots in the kitchen. “Hmph. my mother hits me. She's got a mini grill in one corner. our meal gets done. It's. noodles and meats.” YiJung makes a choking . I have learned a few new things.” I pout. soups. she doesn't know that. really. I don't think we'll be able to get the leftovers to fit inside our refrigerator. My mother. if we don't eat more than we have in our entire lives. “I hope someday you'll be able to cook like this GaEul. Our table is filled with different kinds of vegetables.. “It would be terrible for my grandchildren to be malnourished.amazing. Occasionally he does deserve it. Except for the kimchi soup. of course. He's actually a little bit battered. he stood at the door of the kitchen and laughed at me. My heart swells with pride. “It looks amazing. To be honest. We arrive home. “Thanks Omma. it's not all that fair. Over the next three hours I'm pushed and pulled. and YiJung practically runs upstairs to our—no. really does know how to cook proper food.” my mother dismisses. and instead of helping like a nice person.” She smiles serenely.” YiJung says under his breath.“Hush now. Only to have her squash it..” YiJung says in between rubbing the back of his sore head. YiJung. “It really is.. Somehow. “Well. and has somehow managed to already smear some sort of sauce on her face. It's not that much. so that's not so bad. “Omma! You're going overboard!” I cry. This. you've got to cook happy food.. If you want a happy husband. two spoonfuls of rice in the face and one large hit. But. Omma. I take a quick peek in the kitchen and can see that literally every pot we own is being used by my mother. And we both know cooking isn't your strong suit. earned him several kicks. But.

and I start to worry. this time because he's trying not to laugh. just stares at him. and mine tell him it'll be fine..” “Omma! Spit it out!” “He said I've got another twenty years. and not be a cripple!” I'm about to start yelling when YiJung steps in. isn't it?” I try again. We know you want grandchildren.” I roll my eyes. but it's just too soon for us to start thinking about that.” he says.noise. “Omma! Don't make me worry like that!” “Well. “YiJung's thinking of having an art show pretty soon. as if ready to accept a hit from either of us. “Omma. and my eyes meet YiJungs. I gently kick him under the table and he shuts up. and says. He said I don't have long to live. Mostly. “What did you say?” Another mumble. . and YiJung makes another choking noise. The three of us sit there.” “It's kind of exciting though.” YiJung chokes again. “GaEul and I are just settling into our married life. “okay. ever the voice of reason. We want sometime to enjoy being a couple without children. did you know that Omma?” She grunts.” I say through gritted teeth.. and YiJung and I can't understand her. “We're not having children right now. My mother. “he told me that earlier this afternoon.. it's the truth! Twenty years isn't too long! I want to be able to enjoy my beautiful grandchildren. “How long Omma?” She mumbles something. I look up.. instead.. we haven't been married for long. but. and it occurs to me that this has become horrendously awkward.” my mother makes a dramatic gesture with her hand..” He bows his head.” quietly. His eyes ask me if he's ruined everything. He looks a little more relieved. What if it's really serious? “He said I. “I went to the doctor last week. I try to fix it. not saying a word. “I didn't want to tell you this. So.

“Not as exciting as holding a child in your arms,” she responds stiffly. Well, there goes my attempt. The three of us finish eating our meal in silence, and then pick up in silence. Somehow, the food does manage to fit in our refrigerator, and afterwards my mother says that it's getting late and we should all be going to bed. It's 7:30. She pushes YiJung and I toward the stairs, and plops herself in front of the television. When I ask why she's staying up, she says that because she's old, she doesn't need sleep. Sigh. We walk upstairs and I fall back on the bed, ruining the nice cover YiJung had made. He peers over me and says, “that was quite possibly the worst dinner I've ever had.” I can't help but laugh. “I'm sorry; I didn't know she would be this bad,” I say. “She's pretty stubborn, isn't she?” “Well, at least we know where you inherited it from.” He grins. “Hey now, that's not fair!” “To you at least.” YiJung laughs, and I try to kick him with my leg, but I can't quite reach. Our laughing subsides, and I realize. This is the first time YiJung and I have been alone since this morning when we said...that. My breathing slows down, and I can feel my heart beating nervously against my ribcage. I'm not sure what to do, or what to say. Should I deny everything, or should I confess? Should I say something first, or after him? Should I pretend I have no idea what he's talking about? He seems to realize it too. His breathing is slower too, and he's staring down at me, his stupid eyes piercing mine. I want to know what he's thinking. I want to know what to do. I'm about to deny it all when he says, “GaEul, we need to talk.” Chapter Thirty One I sit straight up in bed, petrified. Hastily, I try to speak. “To talk?” I ask, through cracks in my voice. YiJung breathes deeply, and composes himself before he sits down on the bed next to me, a little too close for comfort. If there was any space between me and the edge of the bed, I'd scoot over, but, alas, it's not so. “Yeah,” he says nervously. “We need to talk.”

“Okay,” I say, trying to sound more confidant than I feel. “What do we need to talk about? If it's my mother—I'm sorry. We can tell her to go stay at a friend's house tomorrow, or, I can go stay with her at my parent's house, or, we can think of something else, or---” I'm cut off speaking, by YiJung placing a finger on my lips. He shakes his head slowly, as if he can't quite believe me. “GaEul.” “Yes?” I ask timidly. “I love you.” We're making eye contact, and I don't want to look away. “I can't believe I messed up this morning, and told you in the car.” He shakes his head and laughs softly. “Talk about unromantic. It was a complete accident. I wanted to take you out, and give you some grand gesture, but instead, you get an 'I love you' on the way to work.” He looks away and shrugs sheepishly. I'm staring at the side of his face, aghast. “You love me?” I ask. YiJung grins and nods slowly. “I didn't think I would fall for you again, but,...I did.” “Again?” Now I'm really surprised. “Did I never tell you when we were together last time?” He looks just as surprised. “No.” I say. “Oh.” We're heading down this road, I might as well take it head on. “What happened back then anyways? You never told me. We were together for three months, and then you send me a text saying you're on a plane back to Sweden? That was kind of an asshole move.” I sound mean, but I'm not angry. My anger over our past has dissipated long ago. Now I'm just curious. “That was kind of an asshole move. I'm sorry.” YiJung stretches his arms out, and ponders before answering my question. “I think I was scared,” he says. “You wanted more than I could give, and then I realized I loved you, and my mother became sick, and...” he trails off, thinking. “It became too much for me.” “I didn't want to pressure you,” I say. “I know you didn't. Maybe it wasn't even you, who pressured me. Maybe it was JunPyo, or WooBin, or my mother, or any number of things. It felt like, felt like,...” “Like your world was caving in.” I finish his sentence.

“Yeah,” he finally responds. “Like my world was caving in.” He pauses and continues, “I didn't want you giving me these pity looks while I just waited for my mother to kill herself. So I just had to get away for a while. WooBin and JiHoo used to send me texts and e-mails about how hurt you were, which just made it even worse. I knew I was being dumb, but I couldn't escape it.” “They sent you stuff?” “At least once a day,” he says. “Sometimes more.” “I never knew they were watching out for me.” My body feels a little numb. “I'm sorry I hurt you so much,” he says as he takes my hand gently. “I've said it a thousand times, but I don't mean it any less. You deserve so much more than me, so if you want to get divorced at the end of our contract I won't hold it against you.” What? Divorce?!? I quickly look over at YiJung. He's slumped over, holding my hand as if his life depended on it. He's got the expression of a puppy in trouble again. “Why would I want to get a divorce?” I ask. “Because you can't forgive me.” He just sounds like he's resigned to the fact that he's going to be alone for the rest of his life now. “I'm not angry,” I say. “But you can't forgive me.” He says more firmly. “People change, YiJung. You're not the same person you were back then. You're stronger now. You're sitting here in front of me, telling me that you want to try. That's different.” “Oh. Well, you still don't love me like I love you.” What? Why would he--? I give him a quizzical look, and he explains, “you never told me you love me.” He stutters a little, “Er, well, you said something this morning, but I think you were just acting...” YiJung trails off, and he looks at me, as if he's afraid to hope. Ah. I should fix that. I lean over, and give him a quick kiss that takes him by surprise. As I pull away I whisper, “I love you more than you'll ever know. I've been carrying this secret around for weeks, and I'm so glad I can share it with my best friend now.” YiJung grins into my face, kisses me more deeply, and after that there isn't a whole lot of talking.

and much to my dismay it's only 6:30. His stupid hair is in his face.” “You maybe have to get up. “What day is it?” “A work day.” he grunts.” I say. it does wake him up a few minutes later. praying I won't wake him up. making his right eye twitch. It keeps re-falling. he's the one snuggled up to me. and when people are in love. rather than my nakedness. looking for a bathrobe that probably doesn't exist. I don't see any signs of life. YiJung is still asleep. “Never said that.” he responds with his scratchy tired voice. “I like the sound of that. YiJung grabs one for himself. walk over and kiss me profusely.” YiJung says. and is staring at me. My mother is still asleep. “Good morning. “Don't act so cocky. It's unusual for me.” I whisper as I plant a kiss on his forehead. mister. “Sure do. “GaEul?” . “Fine. I'm a little turned on by him noticing my word choice. I'm in love. as I search through his closet for a robe. Too bad you're sleeping. If you hadn't massively screwed up yesterday.” “What? You can't take our extracurricular activities?” I tease. I give him the once-over before I respond. Looking at the door to my old room.” I say as I put on the robe. but instead grunts and rolls over. “Morning.” he says. “Our bedroom?” YiJung has rolled over once again. but I can't help it. I'm tired. He doesn't laugh.When I open my eyes the next morning. Shit. they do stupid things like standing in a cold bedroom stark naked. For the first time this morning. shouldn't we sleep in the same room?” This causes YiJung to throw off his covers. “Exactly. if we're going to give this marriage a real shot. I feel a little guilty. At least we have that going for us. I lean over him and say. We could have slept a lot longer. I look at a clock.” I huff once. “but I'm not on any schedule.” YiJung smiles. I wouldn't be standing here right now.” YiJung just smiles even wider and reaches past me to pull out a robe. I try to brush it away with my hand. I guess he likes my choice of words. “Time to get up mister. “Just have to know where to look. This time. “Well. before being brave and throwing off the covers. and follows me downstairs. and eventually. You're going to miss me standing naked in our bedroom. stand up. I'm getting up.” I playfully hit him.

” he says and I agree. but then I think hot coffee on skin? Ouch. “Go lie in bed.” he says. . trying to think of something. “Last night.” he says. He slides into bed next to me... it doesn't feel uncomfortable here... “I didn't realize I had a minx for a wife. but I think deep down he is. YiJung laughs. with YiJung. and we actually struggle of things to say. for a room that until last night belonged to YiJung. now. but I'm sure as soon as I move my clothes up here.. and head back upstairs.. too. it will become home. You know.. and instead get under the covers to stay just that little bit warmer. and grabs my hand. “What have you got planned for today?” I ask. but I didn't think it would be that way with us. I'll be up in a couple of minutes... I'm a little surprised myself. I want to try and do everything. and I mutter my thanks. sipping our coffee.. Actually. returns a few minutes after.” It's YiJung's turn to blush now.” I smile gratefully. “Not enough time. It's not quite home.” He pretends to look shocked. “It's nice to be able to do this all I want. “Yeah. I leave it on. It just seems right. to say. anything. But. I laugh a little. We sit quietly. YiJung reaches over. and I can feel my face blushing already. and hits me playfully on my head. “I'll put on some coffee. YiJung. a little. “Repeat?” He winks at me.” he says. “So. I hesitate a minute before crawling back into bed.” I respond.“Yes?” “Did you bother to check the time?” “Um. He hands me a cup. Should I take off the robe or not? Part of me wants to. I know that people always say the morning after is awkward. true to his word.” “GaEul?” “No?” I timidly say.” I say. and we are both able to relax a little bit.. We're married! There's nothing awkward about it! “So. So.

and he smiles.' “Yah.” I pat his hand gently and look the other way.” He'll want to know we had our 'talk. It seems my husband is a whiner. but he grabbed us matching mugs. How dare he doubt my love? I set my coffee cup down. “Yep. schmuck YiJung is. “Yah! GaEul! Do you know how many other people have wanted to marry me? I'm a catch!” He protests. and kiss his hand. “I don't know how much that all is. YiJung. Not when you've got all this. but he looks all too disappointed.” he coyly responds. “We never got a honeymoon. “I don't think you love me after all.” He chuckles. “Fine. Okay.” “I'm not sure that counts.” I dismiss him with my hand.” Now I have to look back at him. What a cute. How about you?” I think for a second.” I stick out my tongue and make a silly face. “Anything that doesn't involve your mother.” He pouts. I didn't notice it until now. but I know he's full of hot air.” he motions to himself. “GaEulllll. . Are you cheating on me already? And with one of my best friends?” I want to laugh. adorable.” I whistle innocently and ignore YiJung's jaw drop. “Hush now.” “That's not true. I love you. I don't want to hear of any talk about you cheating with WooBin. Maybe this is his way of apologizing again for his overreaction. “Other than work.” He pretends to concentrate. you silly girl. “We just don't remember it. “Psh. “You're so mean to me.” Oh dear. “Hm.“Hm. “at home.” I fiddle with my now empty coffee cup. “Are you really going to make me prove my love for you?” I ask suspiciously. but I can't help but remember our first big fight over JiHoo. “What do you want?” I reach over. If I were to cheat on you with one of your friend's I would choose WooBin. I need to give JiHoo a call. honey. YiJung knows he's won. You keep telling yourself that. I can play along. GaEul.” I roll my eyes.” “We never had a wedding either.

” “What if your school had a big donation?” “No.” Now it's my turn to whine. I'm sorry about yesterday. Just keep in mind that I need to be on Seoul timezone by Monday.” I leave him. It's bad enough he schmoozed my principal. I get to plan the first weekend though. She's probably forgotten all about yesterday. Dammit! How can I say no to that? “YiJungggg. “Morning. I set down the mugs in the sink.” He sounds disappointed. nodding to the coffee mugs.” I make the vital mistake of glancing over at YiJung. He's giving me the sad puppy eyes. Omma. grabbing our empty coffee mugs.” I smile back at him. Don't do it. I think that's the definition of it counting. “I'm going to head down. “I really don't want to .. “I think my mother is awake. I won't tell him this.. I think she's just excited about our marriage. of her hopefully re-heating leftovers. but we could make plans to do something together every weekend?” YiJung's face brightens up at the sound of that.” “Well. Did he not hear a word I just said? “I'm just not sure that's possible.” she says. “Were you and YiJung already awake?” She asks. At least it's simple. “Don't be scared of her.” I say as I spy her in the kitchen.” “Listen. staring at the wall.” “Nah.” YiJung shrugs.” he traces the design on the coffee cup with his finger. but somehow I doubt it. “Okay. I overreacted a little. and look at what she's making. She's probably cooking something new altogether. I really don't want to get a spoiled reputation at work. “maybe you could ask again?” I furrow my eyebrows. “What if.” “Don't worry so much. There's all sorts of banging. Come on down when you're ready. and start to hear my mother tromping around downstairs. and clanging.” “Fine. I don't want him to get a big ego. and say good morning.what if we had mini-honeymoons every weekend? We don't have to go away.. it's okay. “What am I supposed to do? I just got time off—for a honeymoon!” “I dunno.” My words are deadly serious. and I'm sure she'll stop nagging us in a couple of months. and I stand up. sitting in our bead. GaEul. “You should have woken me up. but he looks good up there. Eggs and rice. and I squeeze his hand once.“We've got the wedding certificate. and a little sad she didn't get to plan a wedding. “That might be do-able. but I don't want the word to get out to the other teachers. I don't get another break until the winter.” YiJung sighs once. We just happened to wake up early and he made us coffee while we relaxed a little.

I just wish I could have been at my only daughter's wedding.” YiJung smiles. and mine is to look away. The more I have to visit this room.” she sounds relieved. “I'll get breakfast ready.” I lie.” He chuckles.” I say.” YiJung winks at me. I'm sure you've got to get ready for work GaEul.” “We promise what?” YiJung stands in the doorway. Omma. of course we'll come over. looking a little panicked. Your husband is pretty spectacular. “Are there at least wedding photos we could hang in the house?” “Uhhhh.” She sighs. Luckily she's preoccupied with cooking breakfast today. “You promised her wedding photos?” He asks amused.” I nod. YiJung picks up. as if I've promised grandchildren soon. isn't he?” He sounds so full of himself.pressure you two like that. I hurry upstairs to change. “You'll have to come over the day you get them. I quickly throw on a simple red dress. but then we remember that we've already seen each other and we relax. “She was sighing and getting upset. “Yep. YiJung finishes getting dressed in slacks and a shirt. “We'll do it this weekend?” I ask. “We've promised to come over the day we get our wedding photos to show Omma. too. Not one day later!” “We promise. You would have promised her anything. and walk in a naked YiJung in the midst of getting dressed for the day. “No can do. It'll be our pleasure. and my mother shoves me out of the kitchen. and lays down next to me on his stomach. His first instinct is to cover himself up again. What? We can get some made. “Oh. the greater the chance I have of being caught. “You've thought of something already?” I ask amazed. We've got other plans. and hurry into the downstairs bedroom to find clothes. GaEul. I make sure to grab some for tomorrow. “Oh good. and put my hair into a side braid before laying back down on the bed. and I do feel a little guilty. .” I wink and thankfully.” “I'm sure I would have. “You weren't there. yes.

trying to look as cute as possible. Average at best. You'll just have to be patient. He leans over. and try to open the door. YiJung was just going to escape for a couple of hours. . it's just how a kiss should be. say goodbye. and sets off. Damn. GaEul. “You haven't protested me taking you to work today. We're much too busy concentrating on other things. “No. it's also probably not appropriate for a school yard—not that this goes through either of our minds while it's happening. I forgot. “Not going to work this time. look at the window.” “You're so cruel.” he says.” He pouts a little. “There you go. In other words. “The weekend is only another day! I think you can wait. Chapter Thirty Two Once breakfast had been eaten.” “Pretty please?” I bat my eyes.. and suddenly I don't want to go to work anymore.” “I hate being patient. I quickly thank YiJung for driving me. hoping for a hint. to hold mine and caress my thumb. and kisses me in such a way I feel tingles in the tips of my toes. I was heading to work. YiJung removes his hand from his face. but then. I'm about to ask him to pull over into the nearest motel. “I don't get a kiss for taking you?” Oh.” “Hmph. but he stops me. But.” YiJung says as I'm putting my seat belt on. when my mother shouts that breakfast is ready. and try to be mad. and will give me a hint.we arrive. Fine. “Nope. YiJung responds by putting up his hand to cover his face so he doesn't have to look at me. though. I'm about to say something else. and headed off to work.“Hmph. “Are you going to give me any hints about our weekend?” I ask. so instead we tromp downstairs and step back into the real world. “Do you mind dropping me off?” I ask in return. but I'm hoping YiJung will think immature is cute. We can do that now. It's sweet and hot.” I stick out my tongue. YiJung and I said goodbye to my mother.. not that he can see. Instead he laughs. It's immature.” I huff. Well.” YiJung smiles. Be that way. It doesn't work long.

I see different child art versions of YiJung's face. being polite. All I can see are hearts and flowers and rainbows and ponies and everything good in the world.. I bet she thinks I'm all sorts of crazy right now. Stupendous. they. When I step into my classroom. Superb. He pulls away. six hours until I see YiJung again.. “Are you still sick? JiHoo told hour max.” I gush. “Anyways. What kind of fun is that? Right.” “I know. “Oh. Just. GaEul. six hours until I see YiJung again. “Good?” “So. I'm okay. I'm not sure I'm a mood to be teased right now. Children shouldn't be made to sit in a classroom for six hours a day. and be a teacher. but being the grown-up that he is.” I say. could bear to be away from their parents for that long.” Happy as I am. I'm just teasing you. I quickly pick it up. Yes. This is a normal thing. right? In the corner of one eye I can see Tuuli waving at me.having a good day?” I wince. er. I'm cruelly woken out of my daze by my phone ringing. “Fine.” I say trying to . Gosh that seems like an awfully long time from now. It is not. Crap. and I really don't want to go to work now. That was real convincing. secretly hoping it's YiJung. All I can think is. instead of seeing the self-portraits my students drew yesterday lining the walls.” She says and laughs. what's up? I didn't think I'd be hearing from you for another couple of weeks. It'd be pathetic if I weren't so happy. and walk into the building in a love-daze.. even. “how are you?” “I'm good.. YiJung gently tells me it's time to go inside the building. six hours until I see YiJung again. “You told me you were going to be busy. it's practically torture! They should study for.” “No. “Hello?” “GaEul! You've been ignoring me!” JanDi is her usual frantic self. I say goodbye one last time. I. My kind of fun. Great. And you?” She replies...two. no I mean.” I quickly backtrack.Like getting another two years of kisses in before I have to get out of the car. but I don't stop to say hello. trying to change the subject. no.. “No I haven't.

hurry along the conversation.” “GaEul. they're even more wound up. and the girls are so busy talking amongst themselves that they don't hear a word I'm saying. “No. “Why?” “Good! We'll take our lunches together. and I hang up just in time for my first student to walk through the door. “Well. knowing my husband's schedule. I am too.” she says enthused. I don't know if you've heard of this thing called distance. and see the newlyweds. Instead of going outside to join the other teachers. At recess. and that seems like it was forever ago. Lunch comes.” “Oh? Oh. “Hey. You know. see the new apartment. and give JiHoo that call I've been thinking of. just about to take my lunch. and try to learn some basic mathematics. I'll have to remember to tell YiJung about this later tonight. and they're out of my hair for a full glorious half hour. My students run about the room. I briefly wonder if she is more busy than JunPyo. but I'm a forty minute drive from . “Are you busy?” I ask. actually. Sometimes I wonder why I love this job. “JunPyo came back a little early from his business trip. “Perfect!” She sounds excited.” she says and I hear her flip through what must be a calendar. but it's no luck. Class is the usual. but it's not going to well. “Of course! Would Monday be okay? YiJung and I have plans for this weekend. And then to buy take-out if our meal turns out to be a horrible mess. my students are going to arrive in about ten minutes.” I say. while I try not to lose my patience. pretending to ignore my orders. I haven't gotten to see JunPyo since Las Vegas. and we wanted to invite ourselves over for dinner.” Look at me! I even sound like a real married person. We're on subtraction. “That should work. They come back inside and instead of being tired. working at the hospital. “Let me see. As much as I would love to keep talking to JanDi for another three hours. so that when I try to read a book.” he responds. the boys spend the time hitting each other behind my back. He answers on the third ring. I decide to stay inside. We say our goodbyes. We paint.” she says coyly. I had forgotten about our promise. “What time should we come over?” “Maybe six?” That should give YiJung and I to cook something.” he says as a greeting. I hope and pray they'll exert all of their energy.

“JiHoo.. That's a relief. Really stupid. That was stupid... “If you want my advice. We could talk on the phone?” JiHoo laughs a little bit. . I suppose. “I didn't mean in person.YiJung and I.” My voice trails off.. He likes working to get information out of me. and the last words aren't even a whisper. what was it you really wanted to talk to me about?” “Uhhhh. and the second they've come out I regret it. There's no way what I just said was audible to JiHoo. Did you think I was your gay best friend?” He's really laughing now..” I drag out the last syllable to make my point.. He is you're going to have to use words..and they're only little white lies anyways!” “A marriage born through a mistake?” JiHoo sounds amused. I guess that means he's not angry with me. For one thing. I opened my mouth and the words spill out.. but I think he's enjoying this. Plus. he's decidedly on our side. It's weird to tell these things to a straight boy. you know. I'm not sure how much of YiJung's and my relationship he actually wants to know. Since when did JiHoo become smug? It must be YiJung's influence. Just. he's a boy. “I should have figured as much. I'm not gay. “Uhhhh. you're something else.. “Really? You're not lying?” “Yah! I never lie to you.others.” Luckily.. “We had our. I don't ever see him with girls.. A straight boy.where you are right now. JiHoo jumps in before I can finish that next sentence. “Excuse me?” Shit.” I mumble the words this time. “Uhhhh. I'm not sure how I should tell JiHoo. What's up?” Now that we're actually at this point.” He's teasing me again. and I'm not sure I want to kissand-tell.. Wait. Wait. “I just meant. “No. are you gay?” Oh boy.. you know that? I'm glad we're friends. isn't he? Now that I think of it.....” He sounds smug..” “GaEul. Now. and I don't know why I'm so embarrassed. JiHoo was the one who wanted us to talk in the first place. JiHoo makes some sort of choking and spitting noise on the other end. There's no way we can get lunch together today.

feel the same way.” It feels trite to say it. and not a third—even if they're a good friend—person.. “You're staying married now?” “Yes.” I can't imagine what JiHoo is thinking right now. Did I piss him off? I thought we were good friends. it we didn't mean to! It wasn't our fault we got drunk and got married! And anyways.” I scratch the back of my head. that was all I really wanted to tell you. I get it. “You don't know how frustrating it's been for me. It killed me not to tell you and YiJung how you both felt. I just thought you'd want to know. but I don't think so.“Well.. YiJung and I are lucky to have you in our lives.” He sighs.. but there's little else I can do at the moment to express my gratitude. but maybe not? “Yep. it doesn't matter because we're staying married now!” I'm sounding far too defensive. Well. “Uh.. We always have such strange conversations.” Oh. “You're welcome. but something like love needs to be handled between the two people. “No. I just--” I don't let JiHoo finish his sentence. uh.” Now it's my turn to laugh.” “Frustrating?” Crap.” I say in awe. clearly flustered. JiHoo is the winner. “I'm sorry. maybe the two of you should hang out. and that you two talked. “I'll see you soon?” He asks. “Consider JiHoo as a name for your first born. “It's not that I didn't want to. and with good reason. In this stupid argument. “Well. .” “Just promise me one thing GaEul?” “What's that?” I ask. yes.” “It's nothing to be sorry for.” “Maybe we I'm a little sorry I couldn't tell you sooner. You two danced around this for way too long. “We talked and confessed last night and we. I'm glad you told me. thinking if there is anything else I need to tell him. if you can even call it that.” he says. “Thank you for not saying anything. and I'm glad you didn't say anything..” I proudly say.” he replies with a sigh of relief.. “Yah! It's too soon to think of that! You're on the same page as my mother.

It's the one time of the day when everyone is listening to me. “And I never understood why broke up. he is my unfortunate co-worker. it was a good day. I think music is everyone's favorite subject. and nothing else. Make it quick. “I should get back to work. There I'm greeted not by YiJung or my mother. I wouldn't have been able to keep that secret. and go wash my face. Another second grade class joined us.” “I know. YiJung and I will have to think of some proper way to thank you.” “Yeah.“Absolutely. followed by history and music. “We have to talk.” I say. and I'm so touched I don't know what to do.” SeungHo starts. I quickly pack my bag.” he says as he grabs my arm. I quickly leave my classroom.” I hang up the phone. Not the world's most beautiful instrument. they're learning piano. By the time I come back my students are already in the room. but it's certainly one of the easiest. my afternoon goes pretty slowly.” I say once he lets go. And by redecorating. All in all. but we want to. quickly doing some redecorating. and hurry down the hallway to the front door. We have a short nap time. He pulls me to the side of the building. I get a chorus of “goodbyes” when the bell finally rings at three o'clock.” “Okay.” I say angrily.” “See you soon JiHoo. All this time. and we get back to work. “But I do. and I should go wash it off before my students return.” JiHoo lets the subject go. “We were great together. but by SeungHo. underneath the tall trees.” Or. I clap my hands twice. I didn't know I was burdening JiHoo like that.” “Fine. “You don't have to do that.” . crossing my arms. I mean they're taping anything and everything to the walls. “I have nothing to say to you. He is the best friend we could have ever asked for. me too. so the students were even able to play some “duets. whatever the closest thing to that is when you're seven years old. Even though my students tried to redecorate our classroom. I want nothing to do with this man. “Goodbye.” I can feel a tear forming in the corner of my eye. They sit quietly and patiently while I explain how to play a recorder.

I know what this must look like to him. He looks at me sternly. you can give me money. “You've got two options. what's it going to be sweet cheeks?” He leans into me. In the moment. Distracted by his own pain.” SeungHo sneers as he says those words. closing his eyes for a kiss. “Oh. What is it? Do you have a contract?” Despite my better judgement. I want to scream. “So.” I weakly say. I ask in a hushed tone. not SeungHo. huh? Wouldn't surprise me. “That's not true. I spring into action. I must do it. I will. “I don't believe that. and says. And in the process. “What happened to the man I liked?” “He's long gone. “stay here. do you?” “Stop it. watching the whole scene.” “You got drunk and married on accident.” He says decisively. I run away and over to YiJung. “The one you don't love is your husband.” he says. dismissing me. Don't say that.” I whisper. “Please. or.” Shit. shocked that I could do such a thing. “We broke up because you were my rebound guy! I woke up one morning and realized that I didn't love you!” The words I'm saying are cruel. “But the question is. I bet he's going to divorce you as soon as possible. you can give me what I really want. “how do you know? Have you been spying on me?” SeungHo laughs. but mostly because I hurt him. but not anymore. I just want to say these words and to go away. He continues speaking.“You want to know?” I ask impatiently. Chapter Thirty Three As soon as I see YiJung. and knee SeungHo in the groin. Instead. I see YiJung standing ten feet away. and he has to know that. SeungHo immediately doubles over. and if there's anything I can do so that YiJung won't misunderstand. looking for an escape. but they need to be said. .” in a guff voice.” he says. but it feels like all the air has disappeared from my lungs. what are you going to give me?” He strokes my cheek gently. you should close the door to your classroom. You don't want mommy and daddy to know sweet GaEul made a mistake like that. “I suspect you don't want your family to know. If you want to have a private conversation. I love YiJung. I turn my head away from his.” “You're out of your mind. I panic. I was too afraid back then.

and lets go upon entering our room. he. but it's the best way I know how to. wondering what I should do. He sighs once. and wanted to get back together. “Then will you tell me what happened?” He rubs his eyes.He leaves my side. and I briefly wonder if he's going to cry. and the situation. and then today he made his move. I stand in the doorway. I hear him speak curtly to SeungHo. It's not the cleanest way of telling YiJung. The ride back to the apartment is painfully awkward. My mother is sitting on the couch watching television. when he quietly asks. I should. but it's his way of controlling his anger. he didn't mind. and she gives me a wink. “How long has this been going on?” He is trying to stay in control. He looks furious. I spend half the car ride looking at YiJung's face for any more of a clue as to how he feels. for his part. But. and he just wouldn't take no for an answer. He doesn't say anything. YiJung tromps upstairs. and the other half staring straight out the window. sitting slumped over. “He came back into my life. I nod in my mother's direction.. “He. when we enter. and YiJung cuts me off before I continue embarrassing myself. still angry. She waves hello. also pretends I don't exist. YiJung. I know. YiJung. This isn't YiJung—this is a broken man.” I start. YiJung walks back over to me stiffly. grabs him by the collar of his shirt and punches him once. That's when I realize he's not angry. he doesn't look at me. walks over to SeungHo. but YiJung ignores her too. in pain more from my kick than YiJung's punch. or even glance my way once during the ride. I've screwed up badly this time. as if my loudness is going to convince him more so. but I can tell he's fuming. and collapses on the bed. but he's trying to restrain himself. Once we've arrived back home. as if YiJung and I are going to do something much more fun than what we are actually going to. he grabs my arm again as we walk upstairs. he's destroyed. what you saw was the worst—nothing's happened! He threatened me and--” I'm babbling. I should have told him sooner.” YiJung drops the collar. I swear. I should have told him before I confessed. I should have told him when I started having feelings for him. “Don't ever touch her again.tell him everything now.. It's not hurting me. and makes his way to the stairs with me in tow. I'm in such a daze I don't try to do anything but follow. trying to pretend I don't exist. I should have told him the second SeungHo walked back into my life. and SeungHo collapses to the ground. grabs my arm and drags me back to the car. He's so angry that I don't even think of explaining myself. no he didn't care that I was married. but I know it's got to be hard for . “should I be worried?” “No!” I shout.

He was one of many reasons they wanted me to come back to you. “How do you know that?” I ask quickly. worried and a little impressed that he knows. YiJung nods. so why did you let him bother you? Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't you tell JiHoo? Or. I don't know. but don't say anything. “What do you want to do about it?” He asks me. “Did he say he wanted you back more than once?” YiJung asks.” YiJung shakes his head. processing the information. and I know he's right. It's a lot to ask of him. “It just seemed like something I could handle until today.” I stutter. your principal?” He looks more hurt that I kept this from him.” YiJung says clearly frustrated.” I say. GaEul. “SeungHo?” He asks.” he says.” he says.” YiJung interrupts. GaEul. “I want this to be forgotten. I'll have to remember to ask him again sometime later. “I know who he is. YiJung lies back on the bed. It's because he is more hurt about that. “You're strong. “WooBin and YiJung told me. “It just hadn't occurred to me. “Yes. “but--” “He was harassing you.” I whisper. and I want us to stay together. “I. He lifts his head up. or if he's just tired of my stupidity. “The one after you. The only one. and rubs his eyes once more. not wanting to talk about the subject anymore.” I say.” I clarify. “He was breaking the law. “Is that possible?” YiJung sits straight up. “I want to just make it go away. I. fearful that any of my words would just hurt him more.” “You shouldn't have let it get to that point. “Why did you let him harass you?” “Harass me?” I ask. “Here's what I don't know. but if I'm not brave enough to ask him . “What?” “Can you forgive me?” I ask timidly. than SeungHo altogether.him. and it hits me. I don't know if he had a long day before this. I nod. and looks at me confused.” YiJung says quieter.” I reply truthfully.” I pause before I ask him my next question. “SeungHo arrived after my time off.

and let her deal with it. “I'm not going to hurt SeungHo anymore. What if he does it to someone else?” YiJung raises his eyebrows and waits for me to say something. “Do you want to sue him?” He asks me in all seriousness. making a 't' with my hands.” YiJung says. Why would I want to break up? We're having a fight. It happens. I need a little help. He called me at my house. I was stressed and upset because of him. and timidly make my way over to our bed and sit down next to him.kill. He speaks again. do you trust me?” I nod instinctively. and I nod.. not wanting to offend WooBin on the phone. are you?” I whisper the word GaEul. “promise to communicate more now.. It was comfortable before SeungHo arrived.” YiJung looks at me.” he says. “You're not going to.” He shrugs and looks down at the floor again. even though he deserves it. I'm not comfortable working next to him. “I'm angry with you for letting yourself get put in this position. and I return from my thoughts.. “Leave it all up to me.” I say.” I say. I'm not sure I'm comfortable having you work there next to him.. “I don't think he should get away with harassment. uncertain if that is what I really want to do. It's safe. “You said you trust me.” “It's easy. “Of course. Did SeungHo harass me? The first time we saw each other again. “Do you want to leave the school?” “Maybe? I've been there a while.” he scoffs.” YiJung finishes my sentence. “I'm going to ask you again. He told me that more than once at school.. Maybe we should just tell the Principal. “Don't worry so much.” “I don't know. and dials a number. “What do you want to do about this? To be honest. “I don't want him to get away with it. clearer and more sure than I feel. either. okay?” “Okay.. “Let's just..” YiJung considers this.” I interrupt his phone call.. The more I think about it. but at the same time.” He pulls out his cellphone. GaEul. I want to cry from happiness. SeungHo did harass me. “Yeah. The job is easy. “WooBin..” I say.” I trail off. the more I begin to realize. YiJung laughs.. louder.him.. “I know a few really good lawyers. but then shakes his head and says.” he winks once and says a few more words to WooBin before hanging up. and I nod. I've got a better plan.” . he said he wanted to get back together. “No. “Good. “Maybe I should look around and see if there is a different teaching job I could take. once again knowing he's right. and I think I've gotten all I can out from this job.” he says.” he reaches over and ruffles my hair a little. I won't ever be brave enough. but you didn't cheat.

” he shrugs. huh?” He asks and looks at me. “We've bothered JiHoo enough. but people like my art. I don't even know what we can do— that's how nice it's got to be. How would we say it? JanDi. That's all in your control.I let out a sigh of relief. “Maybe I would have when I was younger. as I reach over and take the phone from his hands. and we're staying married. it's not going to be from me—and he's astonished. that's the point. GaEul. We sit there in silence a few moments longer before I hear Omma yelling from downstairs. not me.” he says. “We'll finish this conversation sometime this weekend and make a decision?” He asks hopefully. and we were going to get divorced. but now we're not going to get divorced. changing the subject once more. Really nice. and then decided to stay married to my wife. but I don't care about the public. “Are you two ever going to come down again?!” YiJung snickers. minus my questioning his sexuality—if he finds out about that. and I just shake my head. “Okay. “Fine. “No.” “We're going to have to do something nice for him. I can live with that. We can solve this problem on our own. “I guess I feel like it would hurt our friends and family to find out. it turns out that YiJung and I married by mistake.” Before I can say anything YiJung has his phone in his hand again. See? That sounds pointless and stupid.” He squeezes my hand once before I nod. so does it even matter? I don't like lying to them. but I'm not sure it matters. . “GaEul.” “Are you worried about his threats?” YiJung asks. “Are you going to tell me what you're planning?” I squint one eye to glare at him a little. “Yeah. We're not living a lie anymore. Should we tell our friends?” I'm not sure how I feel about telling everyone. “I don't know either. Do you care?” “Not really.” YiJung looks up suddenly and says.” I tell him about my conversation with JiHoo earlier today. but he's annoying anyways. He's got me. and he's dialing. Trust my mother to ruin a moment. My agent might have a heart-attack.” I say. you said you trust me.” Damn. “I guess we should go down. He just wanted to move us along in the right direction. He'll know. “I don't know. He didn't want us to know. “I never knew. “let's call JiHoo.” I sigh. and I smile. I'm not going to become ostracized in the art community because I got married accidentally.” He sticks out his tongue.

and walk away from him. for his part. I still love my Omma. I relax on the couch. and you had no idea it was coming!” He's openly laughing now. and catch up on my dramas.” I say. knowing that if I look him in the eyes. . on my behind. I'm not falling for that tonight.” I say. She--” he gestures dramatically with his hands. “you get to go help my mother with the cooking tonight. he winks at me and shouts.” he replies. I need some time to figure out what I want. with a picture of a puppy with a rainbow. but ha. I can't help but smile. as if to make herself more important. Forget everything I just said about loving my Omma.” --whapped you on the head. “we're coming Omma! GaEul had a splinter that I needed to take care of. and sit down at the table. GaEul. Around 6:30. and announces that dinner will be served in three minutes. and that I should wash my hands. and rub my head. is stifling giggles. Which is more like Omma yelling at YiJung every two seconds for doing something incorrectly. trying to make the pain go away. but all I can hear is Omma and YiJung talking. “Hey.” I whisper. and he stops making his puppy dog face. Apparently. but what really makes the scene is the pink ruffles on the end. and push him in the direction of the kitchen. wearing an apron that was mine when I was ten.” I sneer at him.” Now it's my time to turn around. Somehow I keep a straight face. he's not so angry anymore. I look at my plate. “I'm going to sit down. I'd feel worse if he hadn't laughed at me earlier. I follow after YiJung downstairs. my Omma walks into the room.” “You should never leave a guest alone in your house.” she makes a pouty noise. and try to watch some television. trying to reason with him. and we begin to eat. “but you should have seen the look on your face. which she then uses to hit him on the head. Even if you were making babies. Oh dear. It's a little small. and I can hear my mother giggling from the kitchen. Once seated. Omma brings the rest of the food. “Ow! Omma! What's that for?!” I yelp. “I hope you've learned your lesson.” She straightens up.” “I'm sure it did. and she's ready for me. and when I come out. “Because of your laughing. I glare a little bit more. anyways.” “Is that what they're calling it these days?” She teases. waiting next to the door with a fan. YiJung lets go of my hand and as he's walking down. “That hurt. I go into the bathroom to do so. YiJung. “What are you going to do?” YiJung asks and pouts. I hear him make a whining noise.“Sure. Even though she can be absolutely ridiculous sometimes. the first thing I see is YiJung holding a plate of chicken. turns about. I'm going to lose it. and walks away from me.

Next time you come to visit. “Don't you want to know where we're going GaEul?” YiJung uses his sucking-up voice. and look up at my mother. and that stupid apron. He sulks in his chair. Make conversation. no thanks to you. trying to guilt trip me.” I'm smiling even wider. “I'm sorry. while I try to talk some more to my mother.” Omma says. “We're going away.” He winks in her direction. I can't hold it in any longer. “You're so strange! Sit up straight and use some manners!” I'm looking straight at YiJung.“GaEul. “Yah! GaEul! That's a special apron! Don't make fun of YiJung!” I shake my head. Maybe she is. but it's my mother who has the worst reaction. “What are you and GaEul doing. Not when he's forgiven so much of me today. admonishing me. when YiJung kicks me from under the table. Oh my God. I was left here alone most of the day. How was your day. Ha ha. He kicks me again.” She grunts. That sounds terrible. I'll be sure and ask for time off from work. Omma?” “Fine. try to look graceful. “What are you planning on doing this weekend. and grabs my hair forcing me to look up. but I'm not biting. but I shouldn't laugh so hard. and she puts her finger to her mouth as if she's already in on the secret. I burst out laughing. “Someplace secret. It's bad. “Of course. The ruffles are brushing against his face. YiJung?” I see she has no problem looking YiJung in the eye. Omma?” I ask sweetly. have some manners. she probably put it on him in the first place. I can't look at him. Now that I think about it. That shade of pink is a nice color on him. and apologize. It's even worse when he's sitting down. Omma. and YiJung gives me a death glare. and can't help but point at YiJung. “Cleaning the house. . Instead I look back down at my plate and shovel some more food into my mouth.” “Oh? Where to?” She asks earnestly. Bleh. That's it. I smile. I chuckle once.” she says. “What's your problem tonight GaEul?” My mother tsks. and kicks me once more under the table. perhaps ashamed of the apron. Nope.

buttoning up his shirt.” I smile charmingly and he kisses he softly. and frankly.” YiJung responds as he finishes his last button. She continues chatting as YiJung drives me to work. We've got to get going. but pottery is his passion. He asks me if I will ever work with clay again. We lay on our sides facing each other. except peeking around a corner as I walk through the hall during lunch. YiJung joins me. watch a little television as a group. They're exquisite. and sits down on the edge of the bed . “I don't know why I'm so stupid sometimes. although the room is not.” “It's okay. Maybe I will pick it up again. He kisses me on the cheek and we say our goodbyes. No need to cook dinner. and somewhere in the process I fall asleep on YiJung's shoulder because the next thing I know is waking up in our bed. and then we head off to bed. there's enough leftovers for at least a week—if they don't turn bad before then.” he says. Breakfast is quiet between YiJung and I. if not a little more sad than his usual work. alright?” “Alright. That apron was hideous. but we're both glad to be on our own again. “I'm sorry.” I whisper as I fall into sleep. “Not really.” He adds as an afterthought. After work I meet YiJung at his studio. I don't give a damn. One day. “It's hard to stay mad at you for long. and I tell him I'm not sure. “you really shouldn't have made me cook with your mother though. I cough to let him know I'm there. “It's almost 10:00. “It's about time. I put on a sleeping shirt upstairs and crawl under the covers. YiJung is already getting dressed.We finish our meal in peace. “This early?” I ask and rub some sleep from eyes. and he turns around. I don't see SeungHo once. We watch a movie on the couch after dinner. The apartment seems empty without my mother bustling about the kitchen. Chapter Thirty Four Friday comes and goes with ease. It was a nice hobby.” he says with a smile. I'm not sure if he's frightened of me. My mother happily chats to herself while YiJung and I nod every once in a while to show we are listening. “Just promise to talk to me more.” I say. “Are you still angry?” I ask. where he shows me a few new pieces.” he says as he moves closer so that his arm is around me.

Once we've picked up from our late breakfast.” I shrug. “What? You're not going to talk to me?” YiJung asks as if he were a little surprised. In response to my question. YiJung just laughs. “Are you going to tell me where we're going?” I ask hopefully. and rush down to take a shower. I put my hair wet in a braid. “YiJung?” I yell to him in the kitchen. have all fallen on the ground into a big mess. Omma. YiJung starts bothering me with wanting to leave. “Hungry?” YiJung asks as he holds out a bowl of rice. “We need to goooo. while I pester him a little bit more about where we're going. but most are shoved in the closet downstairs.” he yells back. Unless. and open up the closet only to find that my neat piles of books stacked on the shelf. “What book should I read?” . “I've already packed for you. I want to be out of here before lunch. of course. That was nice of him. Unfortunately. I quickly find clothes to wear. he was just being a pervert because he wanted to see me naked.” I say. Thanks. For once in our lives there's a decent amount of banchan on the table. “I've got an idea. and join him at the table.” I walk into my former bedroom. “Aren't you ready yet?” He teases.” Hmph. “You're going to be driving. he does not take the bait and remains silent on our vacation location. “Get going. “How about you read to me while I drive?” I pretend to consider his to me. a few in the living room. I wanted a clue. that's as much as you get. “I thought it would be stressful. Deeming myself passable for the public. Just so I don't take any longer. and put on the bare makeup.” “Meanie. but it will do. “No need. “I need to find something to read in the car. but no luck. “What do I need to pack?” I don't know where we're going.” YiJung winks once. “Hold on. so I've got a few books up there.” I sit up in bed and notice that my dutiful husband put pajamas on me.” I haven't really moved my things upstairs yet.” YiJung smiles mischievously.” he whines. We could be deep in the mountains—I'm not going to want to wear dresses up there. I emerge from the bathroom in a pair of shorts and a tank top. so I don't know what to wear. I nod. Casual for me. Arguh. We sit and enjoy our meal. and leaves me alone upstairs. “We're not taking a plane. and you'd want some quiet. I pout to myself and shower as fast as possible.

“Look around carefully. I'm sure you'll see a sign. “Yep. “Then the book upstairs. but I don't say that to YiJung. and continue reading. I'm at page 93 before I know it. I don't know why he thinks I only read romance novels.” YiJung's eyes just about fall out of his head. I've never been here. I just smile and shake my head. We're on a bridge. Finding a book he does want to read.” No. The expression on his face is what makes me crack a smile.” Ha. I don't think I've picked up a romance novel since I was sixteen. Daebu Island.” he says slowly. “I've only got romance novels. but he doesn't know that. and look out the window.“Not a girly novel. I'm sure. “What? It's very beautiful. you were the one who assumed I'd be reading a romance novel. Hm.. I don't see one until we've reached the island itself. called The Hot Zone. “But YiJunggggg. but it's supposed to be pretty.” I put down the book. but not this year.” YiJung smiles. It's about the ebola virus. as if using his entire hand to hold the book is somehow going to soil him.' so I crack open the book. “You were teasing me!” He looks astonished. that I don't pay much attention to where we're going in the car.” I grin. He frowns at me. . He picks another book up off the floor.” I say. “we're almost here. I look at the book he chose. I'll have plenty of time for sightseeing on the island later. I don't think I want to read that. “Yah. he asks politely if I'll read it to him. when YiJung announces. and I glue my face to the window once more. holding it between his index finger and thumb delicately. “Are you going to tell me which island this is?” I ask.?” Ah. but he does. heading to what looks like an island. But. I try not to giggle as I answer him. Maybe JanDi mentioned it to him once. I'm so busy reading the book to him. It's a made-up romance about another scientist who was in love with him.” I don't have any response other than 'oh. hoping for a sign. “Keep looking out the window. Do you see anything that looks like that?” He digs through my books. And a little touristy.” I whine. “Well. YiJung. YiJung examines the book for a minute. I don't. He looks at me. YiJung gives a curt nod. it's a children's mystery novel. “We're going to Daebu?” I ask. He wondered if Einstein could ever love another man.. the biography I'm reading on Einstein. I've read it to my class before. as if I've never teased him before in his life. this could be fun to string it out. “Yep. and shakes his head. and I can't help but laugh. stupidly.

YiJung comes and stands behind me. It's breathtaking. Our story of how he fake-proposed. It's quite intoxicating.I hope it will do. it feels like we're on the edge of the Earth. I'm not sure which. “How did you find this place?” I ask in awe.. isn't it?” He asks to no one in particular. “I-I-I wanted to find someplace like my proposal. There's a small modern cabin to our left. but somehow it does. Thank you.” YiJung says as he swings one arm around my shoulder. or a cliff. “I'm not sure I've ever been to a more beautiful place.” I respond.” I look at him confused. and try to remember. I can do anything I want. We're maybe fifty feet up from the rocky beach below. and I shudder.. and we're the last two people in existence.. but we had to come here.he wanted to do it near the city. “I'm So YiJung. We're just getting to the heart of the book. but I want to sit in the chair and look outside forever. “We're here?” I ask.” he laughs and pulls our bags from the car before heading inside. also has the same view. and take in the scenery in front of me. Everything is designed to appreciate the view. . If I could ever meet this architect. I want to cry. The entire front of the house is lined with windows so we can get the most out of our view. YiJung hurries to show me the bedroom. We're on top of a mountain. and tomorrow do a little sightseeing. It's so sweet. as we've got to stop reading for now. which.” he stutters. without any big declarations. but it somehow still feels comfortable. “I thought we could spend today relaxing. actually. He waggles his eyebrows at me. we're going to stay at. which.. and I think we're both a little disappointed. It's boxy and shouldn't belong in a place like this. just the two of us alone in a house. I'd only have one thing to say to him. I nod.. “It's special. We only get two overstuffed chairs and a small table in the living room. and smile to myself.It's another twenty pages in our book before YiJung parks the car. not surprisingly. There's minimal furniture. but I just laugh and playfully hit him as I go outside to admire the view some more. The inside of the house is just as beautiful. but I'm positive there's no way for us to get down there. really. so. I'm not sure if he's joking or not. “Yep. I can't see any other land from where we are. but it's overlooking the sea.” I open my car door. I assume. “It's not outside of the city.

” to me. just one or two chaste kisses. as if I'm too heavy to sit on him. We make small chatter while we eat. so I break our kiss in order for us to both stand up. for his part. I've stroked his ego. “good morning. and take as long as I can getting out of my chair. Once he does figure out how to turn on the stove. He slowly sits up in bed. and I begin to undo some of his shirt buttons. Who can blame me for wanting to memorize his features?” YiJung chuckles.” he says. I eye him suspiciously. but then we remember how we're sitting. our dinner is ready in no time. “I can't help it.” Damn.” I say smugly. Even in his sleep it seems there's a smile on his face. “There's not enough room for two of us. “You know you want to. “You're staring again. “Let's get some food. but he just gives me a stupid grin and places my arms around his neck. I softly kiss him and say good morning in . YiJung. don't try to deny it. there's still so much we don't know. I keep glaring. “That's kind of the point. It starts off innocent. but I just watch him. just rolls his eyes. “Just need to heat them up.” he pats his lap once more.” I say. and continue to kiss as we make our way into the bedroom. “Come over here. and says. and YiJung produces some of my mother's leftovers from a cooler.” We chat some more. and amuse myself with looking at YiJung's profile. nothing important.“Come on. I frown. However. It takes him almost ten minutes to figure out how to turn on this stove. I heave a big sigh. We wake up early the next morning with the sun. It's amazing.” I follow him back into the cabin. I make a big display of how I'm putting myself out by complying with his request.” he says. “Now we can relax.” he says sleepily. and sitting down on his lap. gently pulling on my arm. with YiJung making circles with his finger on my arm. You're a big fan of cuddling. GaEul. changing the subject. I sit down. “There. there's no need to rush anything. I don't know who starts it tonight. and I'm not sure if it even matters anymore. As long as we've known each other. YiJung sets his empty dish on the table. and pats his lap.” he says. and because my husband is a jerk he makes an 'oof' noise. we're kissing. and things escalate. my smile is wiped off my face when YiJung shoves my face the other way with his hand.” he laughs. Even though he's won. and before we realize it. YiJung pulls out my braid. I'm the first one awake. “I happen to have a handsome husband. just things we like and dislike. He really is handsome. “What?” I ask. It's awkward because of how we're sitting. We're here to relax. We fumble over the table in our way. His smile must be infectious because I suddenly find myself grinning too. It's soothing. I am a fan of cuddling.

and then we can decide where to go. Um. Maybe he went the wrong way after all. when the road makes one final swoop to a small tidy house with a large garden. It seems we're headed to the end of this road. He tells me we're headed into the town first. I can't possibly imagine what a place like this could have for us to see. making it more difficult to drive on. there are no other side roads.” I raise an eyebrow. YiJung nods.. “Yah. Our shower takes longer than usual. but I get out of the car. He walks up the door of the house. “you're not coming too?” Well. “we're here. I thought it'd be fun to see it. Did I do something? I make a glum face and finish my food. grasses and bushes enveloping the road. He keeps checking his watch all through breakfast. I can't hear the conversation. and YiJung starts driving distractedly.return. No matter how much I look. and hurry in to join him. He looks from side to side. a girl doesn't need to be asked twice. they seem . and after I ask if he's looking for something in particular. “Oh? I saw a sign for something interesting just now. “my mistake..” I quickly turn my head and look back. even if I don't want to. and filled with curves. or even a place to turn the car around. It says to turn right for the town. and we're now traveling down a small dirt road. which seems to worry YiJung a little. “So we're going sightseeing today?” I ask hopefully. YiJung. But he continues to look. and get moving. where are we going?” I ask impatiently. I ask him what's the matter. when he thinks I'm not looking. I protest. A middle-aged woman opens up. “Let's get through the shower.” And he keeps driving to the left. and he says.. and says.I'm sure we can get there from this way. I look out the window. I throw off the covers. What's going on with him? He makes another sudden turn. We get in the car. okay?” He stands up and stretches once before sauntering into the bathroom. and is quite friendly with him. he says no. and knocks politely on the door. and spy a road sign. but I don't see any signs in the road. Weird. YiJung is starting to look a little nervous. and he gruffly tells me that everything's okay. I'm laying in bed a few minutes later when I hear him call. YiJung sighs of relief. but YiJung turns left. Is he making all of this up? The dirt road ahead is long. but from the way they're acting. and whatever the tourist thing he wanted to see is a different way. There are trees. I'm about to ask him once more where we're going. I can see sweat forming on his forehead.

” he says as a way of explanation. and we're back outside. I don't know if YiJung can't see them.” “Okay.” YiJung trails off as he looks in the playpen. I'm impressed. walk in the door. with trepidation. “thank you for the surprise. I walk inside and find half a dozen dalmatian puppies.” YiJung opens the trunk.” he pauses. to say the least. “preoccupied. “go ahead and pick one.. but he says next. and are covered in spots. YiJung waves me over. and. “How old are they?” I ask YiJung. searching for the right word. “Daebu was the closest place that had dalmatian puppies. “I was getting nervous because I said we'd be here before two. the puppies have all gone off and fallen asleep. We were just.. I think YiJung was hoping for a calmer dog.” One puppy keeps crawling into my lap.” I smile.” YiJung goes. I'm sure. I appreciate you keeping your promise. and we've got a small kennel.high energy. They're all equally cute. and once I look into his eyes. Confused I look to YiJung. Forcing myself not to scream with excitement.” “Well. He simply points to a large playpen in the next room. I never forget. Not to cuddle but because he wants to play.” I say as I feel happy tears start to form in my eyes. I thought you had forgotten.” He shakes his head. thanks the woman. I pick him up.. a leash and puppy food. That's where you're wrong. . I think. Only to be greeted with a chorus of yips and yelps. “What are we going to do?” I ask. “Are you sure? He seems. a few dog toys. Am I meeting some of his family that I've never heard of? I shrug to myself.” I say. “Yep. I know this is my dog. After their initial excitement of my being there. YiJung smiles and kneels on the floor just outside the pen.. He grabs onto my shirt sleeve and tugs.” This is much too difficult. “We don't have anything for a puppy with us. “Six weeks. or if he's simply ignoring my tears. and he steps into the house before I can say something to him. pays.” “Ha. “This one. I hop in the playpen and am surrounded by know each other. “nah.

I playfully hit him. “I am pretty handy with a keyboard.well. I'd be at peace. “BanJum it is.” YiJung remarks. that's so lame.” “Fine. We just continue taking . YiJung merely scoffs. and takes them into the kitchen for cleaning.. like any true baby.?” “The internet. so I get to name him. We leave BanJum sleeping on the floor in the living room so we can go take a little walk in the woods by ourselves. It's my puppy.” “Fine.” YiJung warns back.. I nod. But.” I stick out my tongue and pet BanJum some more. “Oh—what are you going to name him?” It doesn't even take me a second to think of a name.” I warn him.” I take the blanket from the kennel.” I say dismissing him. the blankets. and the three of us drive away. Chapter Thirty Five I spend the rest of the afternoon cuddling with BanJum. “BanJum. picks up our dishes from dinner. and put it on my lap for my puppy to sit on. “GaEul.” “Am not. “You better drive carefully. While I want to cuddle.” he sighs. and she'll forget all about her doting husband. “He seems like a little demon.“How did you. and instead. “He's going to be handful. much to YiJung's dismay. BanJum is much more interested in playing tug of war with. “You better hope he doesn't pee on you..” he sneers.” YiJung groans. I know we can't leave our city lives forever. “Too bad. YiJung.” YiJung has nothing to say to that.” he responds. and say nothing in return. I must admit. My clothes. anything. his food. he falls asleep a little after seven. The only noise we hear is the occasional rustle of a tree from the wind. “You're just jealous because I'm already the master. my food—anything he can fit his small mouth around. it's so different from the constant traffic sounds at home. What can I say? You give a girl a puppy.. but if we could continue coming back here.” He starts the car up. “Isn't he cute?” I saw in awe. “You're jealous because he's going to take away time I could spend with you.

” I say smugly. and we both sit at the top. “We should probably head back. “I got on the rock first. I'm sure your puppy needs your attention. When we return BanJum is waiting patiently at the door.” I make an 'oh' with my mouth. Up ahead the forest breaks. YiJung grins.” I inform him. If it weren't for my shoes. but it's nice anyways. nothing special. I win. Neither of us know how far we are from the cottage. I was hoping the rock would look out over the water. “So. “I don't step at a time. I'm in sneakers and he stupidly is wearing loafers. “Fine. he makes it to the top. You won the race to the rock.” “Our puppy. probably made by the owner of the house. He's not far behind. and it all just fell together.” “The race was to the rock.” YiJung says in a warning tone. “Want to climb up?” I ask. and we work our way back to the cottage. navigating our way through these woods. YiJung shrugs. I'm not sure I would have beat YiJung. Without having any concern for his clothing. He pulls off his shoes and socks. I make to to the rock only a few seconds before him. and I win the race to the top of the rock. he actually exercises. “No way. shouting at me to slow down. but instead we're surrounded by trees. “What's that smell?” . but mostly dirty. “What?” I pick up BanJum and give his head a scratch. “I beat you. covered in moss and dirt. This rock is planted in the middle of a field.” I say through muffling my mouth. My shoes are better suited for running than YiJung's.” He grins.” he jokes. He nods. and dash for the rock. I thought it was patient.” I correct him. I guess.” YiJung just looks at me skeptically. and it's not chilly. and I can see a twinkle in his eye. “Try to catch me!” I break away from YiJung. Well. There's plenty of light out. “Ew. I follow after him. a little sweaty. unlike me who thinks a walk around the block once burns several hundred calories. and starts making his way down. but it doesn't matter. “How did you find this place?” I ask suddenly struck by a bought of curiosity. “GaEul. “Come on. Secretly. YiJung would probably say BanJum was yelping and trying to bust his way through the front door. and starts to pull himself up. and we keep walking. I found BanJum. There are few paths along here.” I yell. and I can see a large rock that I immediately have the desire to climb.

“Good morning. This time it is because he needs to go out. Just before I fall back to sleep I hear YiJung mumble.” YiJung says as he pours himself a cup of coffee. by this time. That's paranoid. I'm woken up in the middle of the night by BanJum whimpering outside our door. that it's his turn next time. So. He gleefully runs over to the bed. and finally. and YiJung looks a little shocked. has already fallen asleep. whimpering once more. hops up and settles down next to YiJung. My first impulse is to throw him out of the room.” We'll see about that.. I'm tempted to thwack him once for abandoning me in my hour of need. After lecturing BanJum about making a mess in the house. He's still fast asleep. I'm pleasantly surprised to see that he's just sitting at the door.” YiJung just points to the corner. and see that YiJung is still sleeping peacefully. I crawl into bed. but I push the thought out of my head. Even for me. I clean up his puddle. “Um. fondle his ears. “Morning. no?” .. and closes the door to the bedroom.” I respond. I take my time getting out of bed. that YiJung wakes up. YiJung. “I'm going to bed. BanJum wakes me up early the next morning. take him outside. I close the door. but I calm myself. I look over and there is. “You haven't finished all your work?” He asks. and fed him.. again. while covering his own face. is no help. reasoning. and crawl into bed once more.” I trail off.” He chuckles once to himself.. With that thought settled. but he's curled up. Fearing another mess..” he says cooly. where he gladly does his business once more. staring up at me. “Are we going to go back to Seoul soon? I've got some grading to finish.I can't possibly disturb BanJum. and I find myself feeling a little resentful of the puppy because he had to sleep in between us. surprisingly. I reach down. I soon join him in slumber. “this better not become a habit.. For a brief moment I wonder if this is on purpose.. GaEul.. YiJung..” “You're cleaning that one up. “Oh. and open the door to check on the puppy.a puddle. I crack open one eye. and he looks so peaceful. instead.“GaEul. Jerk. which he takes to mean an invitation to our bedroom. It's only after I've let BanJum out.

and then we're on the road once more. “Hey!” I put my hands on my hips and glare. Coincidence? Maybe. yes. He starts pulling on YiJung's pant leg. in his kennel. and there's one from WooBin.” YiJung concedes. “In answer to your question. We can leave anytime.” I quickly say. I should move on to something new.” I pick up a book and pretend to be fascinated by it.” “That sounds great. “Touche.“Wow. and not spill his coffee at the same time. BanJum is asleep for most of the ride.” “Good. “I'm just as much of a help as you were last night.” YiJung says bitterly. and I don't really want to quit. After a few minutes of effort.” I say. BanJum just looks up at me with his big eyes. There's no challenge anymore. “I don't want to work with him. I've gotten all I can from my job. “He's got what we need.” I say. there's a private school who needs a third grade teacher starting in the fall. I thought you were always prepared Miss Perfect.” YiJung looks to the floor.” is all YiJung says in response. he says. but BanJum is way ahead of me.” “Okay. Only because BanJum spies a bug and speeds off at it. “Have you thought at all about what you want to do about your job?” I sigh before speaking. “I'd probably quit even if we weren't married. while YiJung showers. Can we leave after breakfast then?” YiJung nods. but if I'm really being honest. Finding more leftovers. “I thought I could apply for that. He calls him. “It's not your fault. I follow soon after. and see where it goes. guiltily. he's able to do it. and I go in search of food.” YiJung says.” YiJung teases. YiJung checks his messages when we get home. “Some help you were.” “Yeah. I eat alone. “What's he coming over for?” I ask. “I think I'll give my resignation this week. and WooBin says he'll be over in ten minutes. He's not hungry. much to my relief.” “I looked on the internet last week. I laugh while YiJung tries to get BanJum off of him. “So you're okay with having time off?” . I offer some to YiJung but he shakes his head.

Bros? Most definitely. “My bros. It's a little underhanded. By the looks of it. and I'm struck by a desire to comfort him.” “Good. “No. so there's little we can do about it now. But. as if he's saying much more than his few words. but a little worrying that he loves his best friend more than me. and I look over the papers on the table while we figure out our plan for tomorrow. It's cute. “It'll give me time to train BanJum. WooBin's cheerful mood is always infectious. but it's sometime in the evening. “I guess we've been busy. We talk a little about JanDi and JunPyo coming over for dinner tomorrow. YiJung doesn't say it.” I slowly say.” YiJung runs his hands through his hair. YiJung walks over and lets him in. “Do you want my help?” WooBin asks delicately. He's not too thrilled about WooBin. and quietly leave the room. but he politely declines it. “We'll be fine. I nod and WooBin leans down to give BanJum some attention.” WooBin says as a greeting as he holds open his arms for a group hug. and. He chatters about what to cook. The plan is already in place. and was surprised myself. who knows? Maybe I'll find a hobby or two. YiJung is busily making dinner. Apparently. and what we're going to wear.” I say. Yikes—I guess I had more work than I originally thought. Walking into the downstairs bedroom. giving WooBin his belly to scratch.” He smiles. YiJung looks through the paperwork. BanJum wanders over and starts sniffing him cautiously. they want to be alone. so is SeungHo. WooBin's here. making up my mind. . He rolls over on his back. I pull a thin package out from under the bed and silently hand it to YiJung.” WooBin nods. and WooBin has already left.” “Jesus. clearly surprised. “This the new puppy?” He asks me as he pulls out an envelope for YiJung. “You're kidding me. I looked into it. It's only after we finish eating that I remember I have a present for him.” I can't help but smile and embrace him. thanks though. I tell them I need to finish my grading. I don't pay attention to how long it takes me to finish my grading. “What's this?” He asks. but then again. right?” He asks WooBin. and stands awkwardly to one side. I offer him something to drink. “Long time no see. really. but I know he's excited like a little boy.“Yeah. and is surprised by a knocking at the door. I can't help but roll my eyes at his excitement. this is all it takes for WooBin to win BanJum's heart. YiJung shakes his head.

” “Nope.. forgetting to do the rest. and we head to bed.” “I'm not making fun of you. He whines for a couple of hours. trying to jerk away the picture frame from him.” “Okay. You stick them in a drawer. “I can get you something better. She's don't normally get these things framed.” He wipes a tear away from laughter. “Well. When I step out of the bathroom YiJung calmly walks over. “Here.” he says. I've always liked my boss. and end up braiding half of my hair.” YiJung ignores me and happily tears open the package. and hand him a leash.. because my feet can't seem to go. “I'll stick it in a drawer and get you something else. BanJum starts scratching at his leg again. turns me around and pushes me back into the bathroom to fix my hair. preventing me from fetching him.. but YiJung just smiles and pats my head. but. “You shouldn't make fun of me. The rest of our evening is uneventful. If I do it anymore there's going to be sweat spots on my pants. YiJung has to lead me out to the car. and I almost give in.” YiJung says between laughs. “Yah! I put some thought into that!” I say defensively. GaEul. give it here. he can do half the work. but fair.” Hmph.. “Oh. “It's nothing special. and she likes me. This is perfect.” I say. I'm not just nervous because we're going to confront SeungHo today.. I don't have much of an appetite. I change my outfit three different times. and then begins to laugh. He takes a long look at it. and only pull them out when you've got to get your drivers' license renewed.” I give him a confused look. who probably has no idea this is coming. and I keep wiping them on my pants. which would just be gross. I'm nervous the next morning. Inside is our wedding certificate framed. “I never said I didn't like it. .. I'm going to give my two weeks notice to the principal. We can be proud of our mistake. It's half his dog.” I mumble. but YiJung grabs my arm. Color me embarrassed.” He chuckles once more and shakes his head.” He walks over to a small side table. evidently desiring to go for a quick walk.” But YiJung takes it back from me. Don't get me wrong.“I went and had this made for you last week. My hands are sweaty. She's the kind of person I would have wanted to be friends with in university. “It's just. forget about them. “Are you sure?” I ask quickly. “It's on display now. an orange turns over in my stomach and I regret eating it. I shrug. and sets it against the wall. carefully leaving BanJum downstairs.

I tell YiJung that and he says dryly. “How'd you get these?” He growls. my mother thought it was a disgusting habit. He's acting as if he doesn't know why he's here.” “Yeah. Six-year-old me didn't quite believe her. He looks confusedly at them and YiJung tells him to open the envelope. So do several other staff members.” I respond. You're not the one quitting your job suddenly today. “We've got good friends. “I haven't been convicted. “We've got to talk. saying good morning to us cheerfully. “What you do want?” SeungHo asks coldly.” I say. YiJung lets go of his wrist and thrusts the envelope of documents to SeungHo. and his eyes open wide in surprise.” “What do you want?” He hurriedly asks. YiJung stands up. looking at my nails. Go and leave the city. and they all said you sexually harassed them.” “And if I don't?” “I'm suing you. And that it would drive all the boys away in terror. and puffs out his chest—to look more manly. And I'm going to win. looking casual like we might be waiting for Tuuli or another friend. “Simple. “Yes.” I tell him. “Leave. but six-year-old me didn't really want to take the chance either. but YiJung firmly grabs his wrist.For the first time in twenty years. “the school is twenty miles from our apartment. Now it's the worst part. even better. They're all willing to testify against you in court. SeungHo. Even as a child I didn't do it much. Leave the country. I suppose. We walk around to the side of the building. and I think about the irony of us being in the same location SeungHo “talked” to me. SeungHo tries to walk around us. The school is much closer than I remember. Tuuli comes and goes. but we've got all four of the women saying on the record you forced them to drop the cases. We opt for sitting on the school stairs. I quit that habit soon after. . The waiting. as if reassuring SeungHo that we'd win no matter what. “They all dropped the cases. No. It can't hurt him. and finally at 8:50 am.” SeungHo stammers. trying to sound confident. but YiJung is certainly saying that he is the boss.” I say.” Yeah. whatever.” YiJung nods once behind me. We found them. SeungHo arrives. SeungHo does. Stop working as a teacher. I bite my nails. It takes it us nearly half an hour to get here.

and I mean it. and he's done so many wrong things in his life. Was this the right thing to do? Yes. I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. okay?” He waves once and exits the school grounds quietly and calmly. and says he'll see me after class is .” he says. contemplating the actual situation. I'm a little surprised I'm saying this too. “Fine. “Take our offer and leave. I'm more serious than I have ever been in my life. “I'm giving you one last chance. you know.” SeungHo says.” “So this is what it comes down to?” SeungHo asks quietly. class is going to start in a few minutes and I don't feel prepared for work. SeungHo. I'm dead serious about that. From the corners of my eyes I can see students slowly filing their way into the building. “I'll take you to court. somewhere new. You're not the one I dated.” I say.” I pause. I nod. But. Inside I'm still a nervous wreck. Believe me.” He's silent for a long time. GaEul. By all means you should pay for what you've done.” “Good. “Tell the principal I'm not coming back.” “This is low. “I'll go someplace else. “I never thought you were this kind of girl. but I still want him to live happily. and sound so sure of myself. He knows he's been caught in his misdeeds and lies. Become a different person. You hurt me and you hurt those four other women. “I really did like teaching. YiJung kisses me on the cheek. this is more important.” I say firmly. That was the boy I liked. I look to YiJung and his eyes tell me to be patient. probably in shock that these cruel words are coming out of my mouth.” Even though my tone is light. Things may have soured between us. “And if you do?” I shrug. “Yes. Confronting him like this seems a little cowardly.” YiJung says.” SeungHo sighs. as he takes one more step towards SeungHo. “Blackmailing me?” “No. well.” “Yeah. But I don't know if it was the right way to do it. but what's done is done. I don't ever want to see you again. I'm giving you the chance to start over someplace else with a new job and to forget your past. “Find something else to make you happy. I'm sure of that. “I'm just supposed to start over?” He asks quieter still.” I can see tears forming in his eyes.“A man like you shouldn't work with children. do you?” SeungHo stares at me. it just shows that you don't know me very well. “all of it. but he hasn't decided what to do.

I'm able to give the principal my resignation letter during lunch. and sit down with my knees up to my chin. The least of which is buying groceries. He smiles and says. “I've bought groceries. I'm going to have some time. as promised. One step at a time. Of any kind. but there's going to be a bruise (or several) tomorrow. “maybe we should buy a car that's a little bit bigger. but she makes me promise to visit her in Finland when she goes home at the end of the year. YiJung giggles as he closes the door. One step at a time.” He sticks out his tongue and opens the door. GaEul. “You know. too?” “Of course! I have to be a filial son-in-law and take any and all advice my mother-in-law gives me. throwing me. and once I've seen what he's done I can't help but roll my eyes at him.” I say seriously. but not before shoving a toppling bag of fruits back behind the passenger headrest.called your mom. aren't wound up on sugar when class begins in the morning.finished. It's probably not that much food. but a Lotus was not meant for doing errands.. and she said this is what we needed for dinner. after all. The floor of the car has several cans of vegetables rolling around. Now to just quit my job. My students.” We hold hands as we walk to the car. Tuuli is saddest of all. His tiny sports car is filled with bags of groceries. for once in their short lives.” YiJung slams on the brakes. “Did you ask my mother for recipes. and my purse blocking most of my view. “Is there enough room for me in the car?” “Can't you tell?” YiJung asks me. my knees and my purse all into the dashboard.” he winks at me as he pulls out of the parking lot.” I say offhandedly. I notice that there isn't any piece of food on his side of the car. “You want to get rid of Jessica?!?” “Who's Jessica?” . I try to push them aside. “I bet you made her day.” I'm surprised by his statement. “I left your seat empty.. “I. telling me that she's more than happy to recommend me later in life. I can do that. in front of the school when I've finished my day. and she takes the news gracefully. Chapter Thirty Six I'm surprised with myself for the way I handle the rest of my day with ease. I'm not sure where exactly. uh. YiJung is waiting..

We're so efficient that we've finished half an hour before JunPyo and JanDi are supposed to arrive. sending BanJum scrambling to the front door. and when I turn to face him.” I restrain myself from snickering and we drive home safely. and we're not ready. why he named his car Jessica. YiJung hands me book after book. instead. I think because I like them. “My car!” I want to ask him first..” he whines.. how old he is because no one over the age of fifteen names their car. I try to pull away. It takes us three trips each to carry all the food up to the apartment. before making our bed.” he slowly says.YiJung hits his hands against the steering wheel. fourteen minutes and. We stay that way for a while longer. He picks up the dirty clothes that we toss in the bottom of our closet. He tosses me my own apron. I just shake my head and laugh at him. YiJung collapses on the couch. but we've got little clutter piles everywhere. so I won't say anything... “Fighting.. “Wait. “You're such a baby. but we've got JunPyo and JanDi coming over in three hours. and after checking my watch. but eventually YiJung sits up. while the other fries. you just want to get another car?” I nod. and places them in the hamper. On the dining table is an assortment of my mother's recipe cards.twenty-two seconds. I smile serenely. But. and I return them all to their place. We've got to get cooking. Most of these I know by heart. eye level with him. I'd love to tease him. and declares that he's ready to get ready for dinner.” I gesture to the both of us. It's adorable. His response is to grab my arm. and YiJung looks relieved. and when there's a spare moment we both dash out to clean the apartment. but he just holds tighter. and JunPyo thrusts a basket of fruit into YiJung's arms before saying hello to either of us. and pull me down so I'm sitting on the floor. and makes my stomach flip. and second. He goes to change his clothes and to shake the flour out of his hair. BanJum jumps up and down excited by the sudden arrival of the guests. YiJung opens. so there's no time.don't make me get rid of Jessica. please?” He grins. Literally. It's not difficult work when there's two of us. while I brush my teeth several times. I see that he's put on an apron. JanDi knocks at our door. take a deep breath and tell him that we just need another car. There's flour in his hair. but YiJung went to the trouble of getting them from my mother. “We can get another car. .” I respond. “We've got our friends coming soon. YiJung taps me on the shoulder. and my breath smells like garlic from tasting everything. I relent. He's not the best guard dog in the world. One of us cuts vegetables. “Stay here. It's not terribly messy. and a chef's hat. “Ready?” He asks. and dust the tables. I finish just in time. he tends to react after someone has arrived. and we gather the recipes and get to work. he likes them. “Just stay for a minute.” I tell him. and I tell him he needs to clean himself up. Just. I put away his old newspapers that he never remembers to recycle. “Okay.

but he hugs JunPyo and tells him he's happy for them. it's adorable.” JunPyo says seriously. and judging from JanDi's face. “Seven months from now..” she says. more than fine. I don't know he came. “Yep.” JanDi remarks politely. JanDi spies our wedding certificate. YiJung gives me a confused look. “They got it framed. “Wow. “Isn't it cute?” She asks. but he's certainly welcome to stay for dinner.” I say with astonishment. One for us. “Well. and one for. “Fine. “But. “Yep.” “It's bigger than I thought it would be. “When are you due?” He asks politely. “We don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet..” YiJung says proudly. but YiJung ignores me.. actually.” “Is this it?” He points to the certificate. and shows it to JunPyo.” I say. “I can't wait that long.” He smiles once more and says. I don't know what's going on. “Can I say?” JunPyo is bouncing on his heels like a little puppy. JanDi nods. and then I can share. she doesn't know either. The one from Vegas. “Yah. “Congratulations!” I say. it's exciting.JanDi gives me a hug. show me the new apartment. I nod.” JunPyo's face turns white.” she adds. “I can't believe you're going to be parents. “We've got two bedrooms. so you can't complain. and are amazed we're unpacked. The three of us sit quietly on the couch. there's more than enough food. He comes back inside maybe ten minutes later with WooBin. and I shrug. so JanDi and JunPyo can see better. and wait for JunPyo to return. and goes outside.” I stick out my tongue. I'm not sure why. How about you give us the tour. but he's not in the mood for it today. I say hello. . “We're going to have a baby!” He has the widest smile on his face. and asks us. “I need to call WooBin. We walk more into the living room. we've been here long enough.” she says with a coy look on her face. “You bought me the dog. and try to give him a hug. “now.” He points to BanJum. and I ask her how she's doing.” he interrupts.him. and JunPyo laughs.” JanDi responds.” he says. They love the view of the neighborhood.” “Neither can we. JunPyo is beaming. YiJung looks like he's in a little shock.

“They've got marriage licenses in the lobby in a vending machine. The bartender merely shook his head. but I'm not drunk enough to think they're real.” WooBin stated. drinking far too much. JunPyo waited for him to finish his thought. “Dude. ********** WooBin had finished off his sixth drink of the but missed. “What's in the cubby?” JunPyo cocked his head in confusion. as if he had seen this everyday. And there's no way we're in preschool. Isn't that weird?” He laughed some more and patted JunPyo's face. while YiJung and GaEul were off in a different booth. which to be fair. more drunk than JunPyo and WooBin. do as the Romans do. . None of us know what's going on. drink. Preschoolers can't get married.” WooBin says solemnly.” he said. “We haven't had cubbies since preschool. “So we're not preschoolers. “Preschoolers can't drink either. I'll just tell you. “Nope. spilling his scotch on the counter.” He laughed to himself. Out of the corner of his eye JunPyo could see them laughing and leaning into each other. Drink and drink some more. I look to YiJung and JanDi.” JunPyo took a sip. JanDi had gone upstairs an hour earlier. “Alright.” JunPyo laughed at his own joke and toasted to WooBin. and asked. lobbies. “You know what I saw in the cubby. “I'm drunk. if anything. that's not right. he probably had. and launches into the story. They were drunk. “what were you saying about cubbies?” “No bro. “You mean I didn't have to spend a billion won on my wedding?! I could have just bought a paper from a vending machine?!?” WooBin just laughed some more. I told you to guess what I saw in the lobby. “Exactly!” JunPyo slammed his hand on the counter as if to accentuate his point. “How am I supposed to know. “When in Rome.” WooBin mumbled. and they're still just as confused as I am. “No! You're kidding me!” JunPyo looked genuinely shocked. I saw it in the lobby!” WooBin slirred and waved down the bartender for another drink. JunPyo takes a deep breath.” WooBin nodded to himself. that was sure. but WooBin didn't say anything else.” “What?” WooBin reached over and pinched JunPyo's cheeks. Guessing was too much for his brain to handle at the moment. They were.“We've got to tell you something... whispering. When in Las Vegas. while JunPyo nursed a scotch.” He held up his wedding ring and smiled at it.” JunPyo frowned.

WooBin nodded. and the two happily ate. Both of them had passed out. JunPyo quickly inserted a bill. he had seen much worse.“They're for jokes. JunPyo looked one more time at YiJung and GaEul. They shouldn't have been worried. WooBin responded by spitting out his drink. “Did you say something about wedding certificates earlier?” He asked. and ordered a plate of nachos. “Dude! You made me spill hundred year old sake. and. “What?” “We should buy one for them.” WooBin nodded to himself. “Yeah. ordering more drinks despite the late hour.” WooBin looked back at him and said.” he said quietly. It was as if a lightbulb went off in his brain. “That was higher up than I expected. and turned back to his good friend. and snuck out to the lobby. First they sat on opposite sides of the booth.” “Come on. “I have no idea what's going on.” “You know what would be funny?” JunPyo grinned. and almost fell to the ground. with YiJung's head on GaEul's shoulder. trying not to be seen. “Oh man. “that would be awesome.” JunPyo looked disappointed. It didn't look like he minded.” he said grimly.” JunPyo shrugged. either. The bartender didn't really care about their level of drunkenness. concentrating . The two sat in quiet. pressing their bodies against the wall. “Maybe I won't. “I don't know when I'll get married. let's do it. JunPyo kept looking over his shoulder at YiJung and GaEul. man!” He frowned and continued. wiping tears from his eyes.” he said. and WooBin immediately felt nervous. “what are you talking about? Did you say something about music? Because I don't hear any. they've got joke ones in the lobby. and he turned back to WooBin. but now GaEul was almost straddling YiJung. the closer GaEul and YiJung were to each other.” “Oh. JunPyo shook his head. The two paid their tab.” JunPyo just looked at him and asked. Their food came. The longer WooBin and he sat at the counter. WooBin proudly showed him the vending machine. “When are you going to get married?” He asked suddenly.” he gestured over to the table where GaEul and YiJung were passed out. and few were downstairs in the hotel. You just don't do that to someone. as if that settled JunPyo's debt. WooBin started laughing hysterically.” JunPyo hopped off his stool. “You're buying me another drink. understanding his friend perfectly. It was almost three in the morning.

“You realize you can't get married here. sir?” He asked much as he could. He wasn't sure what this man was saying. too!” WooBin said. Actually. “are you a romantic. WooBin whispered in his ear. They'll be happy. JunPyo squinted. “It's um. examining the paper. “What?” JunPyo asked. Song WooBin?” He turned to the worker. “Are you sure this is a good idea?” He asked.” The worker shot up. and looked from JunPyo to WooBin and then WooBin to JunPyo. I'm so sorry sir!” The worked bowed and pulled out a case of rings. “You're so full of it..” JunPyo pointed to a jewelery shop across the lobby. GaEul will like them. “what do you think we are?! Yah! We're buying them for our friends!” “I'm. the whole document was in English. and he shouted. trying not to fall asleep.. “um. They look plastic. and JunPyo knew they were going to follow .” he trailed off clearly embarrassed. The lone worker was hunched over the counter. “Those are ugly. “We'd like to buy a set of wedding rings. “Shut up—no they won't. “They've got rings.” JunPyo tried to think of the correct Korean's not often people buy rings for their friends.” WooBin said.. aren't I?” JunPyo rebuffed. you know that?” WooBin laughed. JunPyo pressed the numbers for the wedding certificate. “Of course it is! I'm always right.” the worker struggled to spout out the words. “Homo. “They're going to be mad when they find out. “we'll take this pair--” WooBin interrupted him. “These ones. hoping that his loudness would convince WooBin of the brilliance of his plan... There were a lot of English words on it. you'll see!” JunPyo shouted. homosexuals can't get married in Las Vegas. It fell down below...” WooBin carefully looked over the rings before pointing to a pair with a simple leaf design.” “They are plastic. “Excuuuuse me. “We can do better than that.” WooBin drawled out..” WooBin warned. “Please accept my apologies sir.” JunPyo laughed.. and he picked it up..

and WooBin put on his best YiJung voice to call the front desk. They bought the rings.” WooBin said seriously. He shoved the pen to JunPyo. “Let's sign the certificate. “May I have the name?” .” “Certainly. The pair stumbled.” He pulled out a pen from his jacket. “I know YiJung's handwriting. He wasn't sure it worked.through with the plan. Just sign it. and he grunted in his sleep. “I'd like to cancel a room.” “You're stronger than me. you know what we need to do!” WooBin grinned.” He frowned. who were still passed out in their booth. JunPyo got YiJung on his back and asked.” He pushed JunPyo out of his way. “You take YiJung.” He put the other ring on GaEul's finger. WooBin didn't think it made much difference. “We can do that when we get them upstairs.” WooBin proudly stated. they took the elevator up. She sighed once. “It goes on the left one. YiJung's room it is. right?” JunPyo looked at his own hand. after all.” “Ooh. but that's why you love me. and hoisted GaEul on his back. “We would like this pair. “I don't know what GaEul's handwriting looks like.” “Yeah. and before he could sign.” WooBin said. WooBin took it from him. and giggled. “Yeah. “We've got to get them upstairs. JunPyo and WooBin eagerly dropped the couple on the bed.” WooBin remarked. YiJung's fat.” he said. he signed YiJung's name to the paper. “where are we taking them?” “I dunno GaEul's room number. and huffed their way up to YiJung's room. and returned to GaEul and YiJung. but it would have to do. Left hand. With his hand shaking. “We've got to put the rings on them. “They look so funny.” the woman replied. and settled into her new sleeping position. “We've got to cancel GaEul's room.” JunPyo shrugged but he did his best to write GaEul's name in a feminine print.” JunPyo readily agreed. JunPyo cursed him for insisting on having a room high up so he could see the city. who hesitated.” “So? She's drunk. “Yeah.” He poked YiJung in the back. please. He reached over and slid a ring on YiJung's hand. The concierge picked up on the second ring. “Kay.” JunPyo winked and turned back to the man.

is it going to be authentic if they're dressed?” He looked smug. “Of course. “Is that a real question? Do you ever turn down free alcohol?” “Good point. hoping to stave off this awkward conversation. “Hello? I'm not married. Both of them were sprawled out over the covers. and looked to the ceiling. but I'm married. Can you have her things brought up to room 1238?” JunPyo struggled to not laugh while WooBin was on the phone. He ran to the bathroom. I'll do it. “yes please. YiJung would not be pleased. “Plus. maybe it was the alcohol. “Okay. It was the bellman with GaEul's things. “Yah! You're a pervert!” JunPyo's face was bright red. turned out to be a good thing. however just looked at him with astonishment. and a bottle of very nice champagne. pulled off GaEul's shirt and pants. It was enough to make JunPyo sick. I can't take off GaEul's clothes.” They stared each other down. “Who's the pervert now?” WooBin countered.” WooBin lifted his hand from the mouthpiece and said. So's things. There was a quiet knock on the door.” WooBin blurted out. be quiet. But.” “What?! YiJung's going to kill you. WooBin didn't even get the chance to give him a tip. hold on a second.” He put his hand over the mouth piece and repeated the question to JunPyo. “They called GaEul Mrs.” “Great. Would you like that now?” “Uh. He handed over the luggage and alcohol without a word and quickly left. JunPyo looked over to YiJung and GaEul on the bed. sleeping peacefully. Someone will be up in a few minutes with Mrs. both knowing JunPyo was right. and WooBin laughed. I'll close my eyes and do it. My wife is sleeping. yes. and busied himself with the toilet.” WooBin closed his eyes tightly. “We should probably put them under the covers. You handle YiJung.” JunPyo nodded as if this was a good idea.” JunPyo joined him in laughter. So. “Oh you got married? Congratulations! Would you like some complimentary champagne as well?” “Uh.” JunPyo fumbled with his hands.“Uh. “We should probably take their clothes off. Or. Chu GaEul. She moved in her sleep closer to the now similarly undressed YiJung. Which he probably would . Which. yes. WooBin. and slid her under the covers.” The concierge hung up the phone.” he said slowly. “Yeah.

” WooBin said. After all. “You're fucking bastards. Out of the corner of my eye I can see YiJung's face. they were the reason they got free booze. WooBin nodded and said. wouldn't it be funny if they stayed together because of us?” They both laughed. You seemed so happy— ” . Ha. JunPyo returned from the bathroom some time later. “Ah.” “You never told us.. I'm sure someone will find it. dumb prank. wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt. and grabbed the bottle of champagne.” WooBin says. they'll figure it out soon enough. but I can't seem to put my feelings into words. “So you mean we're not married?” He asks. you know that?” YiJung's voice is quiet. I don't want to her to wake up while we're here. his hands shaking. ********** “And that's kind of it. “Crap. or wipe them away. and how angry I am. “When you came to see me for breakfast that morning. Did we leave it downstairs?” “We must have. “yeah.have forgotten anyways.” WooBin is looking at the ground. “Excellent. JunPyo shakes his head. There's so much more I want to say. It's ashen. They both said a silent thank you to YiJung and GaEul before leaving. I can feel tears flowing from my eyes. that wedding certificate doesn't look official at all. GaEul's starting to stir. WooBin shook his head.” “We can hope. awful. It takes him a minute to regain his voice and composure. clearly ashamed of his actions. do you have the certificate?” JunPyo looked around the room. and he looks like he's on the verge of tears too. but mostly how sad I am that our time together has been a bigger lie than we could have ever imagined. but his angry words betray his confidence. Should we go to your room?” JunPyo asked. but I make no effort to hide them.” “Are we going to tell them in the morning?” JunPyo asked. “It was our stupid. As he should be. “We've got champagne. Just how much they've hurt me.” JunPyo shrugged. but he couldn't find it anywhere.” I whisper.. “I thought you had gotten married for real. “Eh.

“There aren't any words for how angry I am with you. but I shake my head and keep crying. I'll call you. JunPyo stands to leave. and the angry girl in me doesn't think they deserve the food after what they've done.” he says bitterly. JunPyo for his part says little else other than apologizing continually. This isn't enough for JanDi. and quietly leaves the apartment. and JunPyo asks over and over what he can do to make it up. . and the dishes we spent all afternoon making. desperate for a walk. It's taking all my strength to ask him. JanDi has been quiet this whole time. but they hesitate all the same. she stands up and tells him. but instead he's lying down at YiJung's feet.” she says. “Do you need to come with me?” I consider her offer. She understands.” she says.” he says. “I just can't deal with this right now. When she becomes furious. That's how you know you've really messed up. her face softening. YiJung speaks first. They don't look surprised to hear the words. It's just YiJung. BanJum and I. “I can't believe you would do this. His voice is steady. but his face is emotionless.” YiJung retorts. but I'm so upset that I can't control myself. I want to scream that he needs to give me back the last few months of my life. “Should have known there was no need. “No. “For the health of our child. but she can't take it anymore either. but I know what they won't take it. and cold. and he asks once more what he can do.” He sounds cold. Don't call me. I look over at our dining table filled with banchan. “What is that supposed to mean?” I snap. I'm staying at my parent's house for a while. I believe her. I'm sure normally he would be scratching the door. WooBin starts apologizing again. “That's not what I meant. WooBin follows soon after.” I'm having a hard time holding back outright sobs now.” JunPyo nods and tries to keep from crying. “please go. YiJung is looking straight ahead. and we were being responsible. The good host in me wants to offer the food to our guests.” she directs her words to JunPyo. I don't think he means his words. she stops being violent and becomes quiet. “What do you want to do?” I ask YiJung softly. I don't know what I need. shoots one more death glare at JunPyo. “We assumed this was our mistake.” YiJung interrupts him. I'm taking my anger out on him when it should all be directed to JunPyo and WooBin and their drunkenness. but I don't.” I just glare at him. I shake my head.“We were acting.” he says to WooBin and JunPyo. Instead I just say. “I think you need to leave. “GaEul. and he grabs his coat and leaves. but being with JanDi right now will just make it worse. and I can't tell what he's thinking. “Do you regret this?” I gesture to us as more tears fall down my face. Even BanJum can sense the mood.

” He gently pushes me towards the bathroom. he's not my husband—my. I walk mindlessly into it. these past few months. I look like I feel. The sun shines through the window. A frantic looking JiHoo stands before me. and look at my face. I thought my lies would catch up with me. BanJum and I are alone in this apartment. my voice cracking. I just never thought they would be bigger than anything I could have ever done.” he says quietly. and has run down my cheeks. but I don't say anything. sleeping. still sobbing. I'm woken up by desperate pounding at the door. “Seriously. and most of them are concerning YiJung. Mascara is caked over my eyes. he would have just opened the door. and think he's got the best idea for the moment. I lie down next to him..“What does that mean?” I ask. I wash off the mascara and lipstick. “It means I'm leaving. not waiting for an invitation. Appa. Omma. and my husband—no. but it falls just as quickly. GaEul. and grabs a coat and walks out the door. I can't do anything about my expression. has been nothing but a lie? Why did YiJung leave? Why is this a repeat of five years ago? What am I supposed to tell my parents? Sorry. and actually open the door. my.” He stands up. I close the door behind him. I look at BanJum lying down on the floor.” He pushes past me. If he had come back.? I don't want to break their hearts like that. and. and brush out my hair. My heart races. GaEul. JiHoo silently hands me a change of clothes. I've just found out that I'm not married. How am I supposed to get over this? Am I supposed to just start over? Am I supposed to be okay with the fact that my life. but more than anything I just look sad. My lipstick is beyond smudged. Because he told me to. none of them happy.. YiJung has a key. but at least I'm somewhat cleaner. my YiJung has just walked out on me. A thousand thoughts are running through my mind. and my hair is tangled and out of place. Go look in a mirror. walk over. or even positive. and I figure it must be sometime in the afternoon. I didn't know it was possible to cry. It takes me a few minutes to get the courage to stand up. “Jesus you look awful. hoping it's YiJung. but YiJung and I were just pretending. and the first thing he says is. Just cleaning up will make you feel better. eventually. fall into a fitful sleep. and pushes me . in our apartment. and to hurt this much. in shock. “They'll do you some good. my face is pale. while the tears flow harder still. Chapter Thirty Seven I stand there. anyways. He's lying there. My heart is broken enough right now for the three of us. When I come out of the bathroom.

and pass out once more.” “How did you find out?” I ask. I don't know how long it will be before I see YiJung again.” JiHoo starts walking towards the door.” he says. “It's not doing you any good to stay cooped up in here. “get some sleep. I'm confused the next morning. and he runs over to JiHoo. but you didn't answer.” I say. Give me BanJum at least. and we can talk in the morning. I return in the clean clothes. It sounds cruel. and we quickly drive away from the apartment. “Let's get out of here. I sound timid and weak. “I'm not hungry. and he takes me to one of his many guest rooms. and what has happened to me. “Come on. and while I nod and occasionally say. My throat is dry. “Let's go. it looks like I'm going to throw a party any second. but it's truthful. “Okay. “Okay.” I say. either.” I nod.” I take a long look around the room. but I resist and stay put. so I decided I would just come over this morning. Wiping a tear from my face.” JiHoo responds. and I sound hoarse. I can bring some food up. I want nothing more than to crawl back under the covers and to ignore the . “He'll find you when he's ready. and pick up BanJum.” I set the dog down. and for the first time. JiHoo's house looks the same as always. has packed it.” I shake my head.back into the bathroom.” JiHoo ushers me to his car. I tried calling. It takes me approximately ten seconds before I collapse onto the bed.” Oh. JiHoo chats as we drive to his house. and he says. I follow behind him. “I was worried. I'll take him for a walk. “Um. I pulled the phone off the hook before I laid down on the ground. In any other circumstance I'd be offended. He sets my bag on the ground. and fall asleep. but I can't muster up the strength or the courage to be anything but timid and weak right now. and it takes a minute to remember where I am.” He cocks his head to the door. When I do remember. and looks awkward before speaking. “JanDi called me late last night.” I don't remember anything he's saying. “Let's get out of here. “that's better. and JiHoo closes the door as he walks out. If only it was true. The food still looks edible. I notice that he's grabbed my suitcase.” he urges me once more. It's all a blur in my mind. “yeah. I don't know how long it will be before I come back here. and presumably. “What if he comes back?” I ask. holding BanJum.” JiHoo mutters. I nod my head. “If you're hungry. but right now I just want to cry my eyes out. Our fake wedding certificate is still in it's place on the table from yesterday.

exactly. I don't believe the shower. “Eat some breakfast—you look sickly and need nourishment. or even recently. Normally I'd talk to JanDi. “Are you ready to talk about what happened?” He asks gently. It shouldn't mean anything. “I want to forgive them.. “I'm so angry at JunPyo and WooBin. but they feel terrible. But each step I take feels better than the last. and never think about it again. I know that talking is one thing I should. It's a dress I bought in Las Vegas. but JiHoo just shakes his head. The shower I take is warm. and I nod. where JiHoo set it yesterday. I open it slowly. As dead as I feel. either.” JiHoo admits. trying to find where he might be. I don't want to talk about it. YiJung has never even seen me in this dress. and pull out the clothes on top. and comb my hair. Makeup is a little too much for me today. and there's already food set out on the table. I put it on. My suitcase is still on the ground.” I whisper. and I eat the porridge in front of me. It's only five feet. I sit up. but I don't know when I will be able to. do you want some breakfast?” Because the sun is in his eyes. gives me a big smile. And of course. and says broadly. It turns out he's outside in the garden. “They don't expect you or YiJung to forgive them overnight. . but it feels like it's miles. Willing myself to get out of bed. I don't. YiJung. and walks closer to me. Even though I've been to JiHoo's house many times.” “They've called here three times already this morning. who has come to greet me.” he says. but my taste buds seem to have disappeared. and am able to do. throwing a stick. “Hi. but I don't call it an outright liar.” “Has he. but I need to. and tries to tell me that things are going to be okay. and I'm struck with the need to talk to someone about this. I shrug.” “What time is it?” I ask. but at least I'm thinking about hygiene. I remember JiHoo's conversation with me. Despite my initial reaction to shove it back in the suitcase.” We walk in the house. but I tell myself not to cry. JiHoo turns around. Neither are my parents. he squints at me. “A little after ten. and trudge to the bathroom. with BanJum. but neither of them is an option right now. so I'm a little lost. reaching down to pet BanJum..” I say. “good” I ask. hoping I sound better than I did yesterday. But. JunPyo and WooBin are out of the question. “Let me re-phrase that. JiHoo hands me a spoon. I've never taken a tour. I just feel numb. I'm sure it tastes great. hopefully.

“I don't know why you're like that. He's at least polite enough to ignore my tears. “I don't think I can handle it again.” he says.” the tears are falling hard now. but it feels halfhearted.” I softly say. “he loves you. and. My mind is blocked.” I hear myself choking up. I try to smile again for him. but it's too soon and the wound is still too raw. JiHoo is the perfect name for a baby boy. “You just want to make me feel better. JiHoo waits patiently for me to say something more. “Or girl. but I keep talking. he left. We sit there silent for a while .“No.” he adds. you know.” JiHoo points out. as I wipe away the few tears falling now. “I'm glad to see you smile again. but his phone is off. “This has to happen just when things were getting good. “That's what friends are for.” JiHoo says trying to calm me. “If he hadn't left. would you have?” I've been wondering the same question.” he sighs.” I try to nod. the circumstances are different.” he shrugs. I expect the same treatment from you.” I say.” “But.” “You're too nice to me. “But he left me!” “GaEul. “I don't know. I want to believe him.” he adds. “I don't know if my heart can take it again.” I say in a hushed tone.” he apologizes. figuring things out. but I haven't been brave enough to voice it. I notice he already set a tissue box on the table. He makes me chuckle once more.” JiHoo says. “It's okay. I want to think of something else to add. so I do. but I can't. “GaEul's smile makes the whole world better. “I've tried calling him.” he says solemnly.” I say. he will come back.” I say truthfully. and I reach for it. but he's madly in love with you.” “Oh. “He was shocked and scared. It hurt so much last time. “You said it yourself. changing the subject. “Sorry.” he thinks for a moment. but he left me again all the same. “I'm serious. “I was looking forward to a little baby JiHoo. After all. “The circumstances are different. Yes. araso?” I want to laugh at that joke.” His comment makes me chuckle for the first time in what seems like months. “Why does it have to be a repeat of last time?” “Is it a repeat of last time?” “Yes.” he says sadly. You have to believe it.” I say disappointed. “When I find out that my marriage is fake.

and my mood slowly improves. and to keep myself from thinking about my situation and just crying again. and I know they didn't mean for all of this to happen.” I close the cellphone before I say anything else.” He looks surprised.” I try laughing. part of my soul. and rub his belly. I'm not as angry anymore. Everyday JiHoo asks me what I want to do.” I pick up the dog.before I ask him for my cellphone. and stay together--” I almost say 'stay married. but he doesn't answer. I guess you don't want to speak to me. “Hey. “BanJum seems happy here. “He likes the yard. either.” “Do it then. I turn on my cellphone. I start taking BanJum for walks around JiHoo's vast property. and then the computer voice politely informs me that the caller I've dialed is unavailable. and finally. I fumble with the buttons. and walk outside. there are no messages for me. It rings. and I haven't been able to give him an answer. I stop crying so often.” he encourages me. It rings several times. actually. After putting my dishes in the dishwasher. dial YiJung's phone. he's my puppy. but he was always in the back of mind. but it all seems .” I say. “Of course he is. and he gives me the latest count of number of phone calls from WooBin and JunPyo. My hands don't shake as much when I dial his number. there are no messages. “He's pretty smart. “Even if you don't want to speak to me. but it sounds fake. JiHoo laughs a little. Waking up in the morning becomes easier. but being here is making them better.' but I catch myself—“you at least owe it to both of us to have one final conversation. but today when he asks. I say. I don't leave a message for him because I'm not sure what I should say. There's a lot that I want to say. otherwise you would have called. I wait for the beep. He hands it over to me.” I finally say. but I'm still not ready to speak to them and forgive them. “Do you know what you're going to say?” I nod. JiHoo and I eat breakfast together each morning. it's me. but doesn't say anything after I hang up the phone. and sure enough.” JiHoo remarks. A week goes by.” “I feel bad for keeping him up in apartment. and when it comes I say. trying to keep my tone light. Like usual. He had become part of my identity. and I don't have to concentrate as much when I get out of bed. “Yeah. I do. Things aren't good. “Yeah. and I smile. “I'm going to leave a message for YiJung. JiHoo watches. and I even feel well enough to speak to JanDi one day. I wish I could say that I stopped thinking about YiJung as much.” he says.

it takes so long. and I concentrate so that no other tears fall. “WooBin and JunPyo called once each yesterday. I don't want to seem desperate. and check it every two minutes for a message. instead.” He finishes eating his meal before asking. and set the phone on the table. you feel single. but I can't keep my life on hold until YiJung decides he's mature enough to be with me.” I quickly respond. JiHoo. I don't need a two bedroom apartment. “I'm not going to bother him after today until he sends me something back. and I'm going to be okay. 'we miss you. .” “Are you ready to speak to them?” He asks. I smile. There's nothing to give up.' and hit send before I can change my mind. “I'm going to start looking for an apartment. I feel desperate. We sit at the table in his kitchen.” I slowly say. I haven't cried in four days. well on it's way to YiJung. refusing to look at it.” JiHoo nods. So.” “You can tell them they don't need to keep calling. Tell them I appreciate their effort. I call BanJum over. that by the time it's over. They're the kind of things that deserve to be said in person. and take a picture of him with my phone. “You're going to give up?” JiHoo asks.” I say.” I say as a tear falls down my cheek.” he says hesitantly. “What are you going to do today?” “I'm going to leave him one last message. With a real divorce.” I try to sound confident. understanding. I leave it there. JiHoo's and my routine is the same the next morning. is he worth the time? “And tomorrow. I'm the only one invested here.wrong to say over the phone. and is such a process. and grab BanJum's leash. “What do you mean?” JiHoo interrupts my reading. If I'm going to be single.” I add. I type underneath the simple. but then I'm out. The message disappears into the vast unknown. but it feels weird to suddenly be single. “I'm sure. Especially in a message. He tells me. “As long as you're sure. and grab the newspaper lying in the middle of the table. “A relationship takes two people. but I just need a little more time. but if YiJung isn't going to make any effort.” “Okay.” I take another bite of my meal. I'm not. If I keep it on me today I know I will obsess. but I shake my head. but I think JiHoo understands my real meaning. “I don't want to be a burden. eating breakfast. The headline today is of a train wreck near the airport. Some sort of sign. “I'm not angry anymore. “Not yet.

I need to tell JiHoo I'm leaving. unsure.” I hear his voice crack a little as he becomes emotional. Nor do I have a motorcycle license. you're right. “You're going to be okay here. “but I can't. it was wrong and immature. I don't know how big JiHoo's property is. I've grown to like him. “Damn. But. and I'm already sitting on it. “Want to come?” “I'd love to. We go back inside after lunch. I'm not ready to give him up. and before I dial the voicemail number correctly. and I'm left to wonder what else he was going to say. “tell BanJum I say hi. I just watch him move about. I'm going to find him. He doesn't think it's like last time. and look around for car keys. “I'm sorry for walking out like that. and neither do I. and run to the phone. and that I'm taking his car. I want to . Damn. I know that it's not going to get me there any sooner.” he says.” YiJung sounds tired. I drop the leash. by yourself?” He asks me. I need to go find him. That means there's a message of some kind. and I quickly realize it's because JiHoo took his car to work. I hope you didn't think this was like back then. His battery must still be dead. I guess I deserve it. And I almost believe it too. I'm running out of battery. and I look over at the cellphone. BanJum and I take our time outside. but it seems like it will. and sniffing various things. My breath hastens as I wait for the message to play. I drop it once more. There are keys to his motorcycle in the garage. but his phone is turned off. and occasionally throw a stick for him. I've got to go to the office for a little while.” I say. tell him I love him. and ask him to marry me properly. and takes his empty dishes to the kitchen counter. I'm not going to let it become like last time. I know what I need to do. but it has to be one of the largest in Seoul. worried and upset.“I'm going to take him out. “Yeah. Well. I'll be--” His voice cuts off. BanJum does that. I drop the phone on the table.” He stands up. Shit. we can't have seen more than half of the land. I was hoping you would answer. trying to turn it on before I think. A light is blinking. I frantically dial YiJung. Chapter Thirty Eight My search for car keys is unsuccessful.” I say. I drop the phone twice on the table before I'm able to open it up. Even though we've been going on walks for for nearly a week now. exploring the property. I have no clue how to ride a motorcycle. for not answering your calls.

find YiJung; I don't want to kill myself in the process. I hate the idea of sitting around, waiting for a taxi, doing nothing, but I'm not going to do something stupid. Instead I call JiHoo, babble for a few minutes until he gets the idea that I need his car, and he says he'll meet me outside of the hospital. I tell him I'll be there in fifteen minutes, and then pray the taxi I called is here in two. Luck is on my side today, and the taxi is here on time; I tell the driver to take me to the hospital, and when we arrive JiHoo is just stepping out the door. I pay, and run over to JiHoo. “You're going after him?” His voice is steady, but I can tell he's excited for me. “I can't let this go,” I say. “I'm going to give it my all, and if in the end he doesn't want me, well,...” “He's an idiot,” JiHoo responds. “Exactly,” I smile, but deep down I'm a little worried YiJung doesn't want me. Would he really dare to break my heart again? I don't know. “Here's the keys; I'm parked on the second floor next to the elevator.” I hug JiHoo briefly, and say, “thank you for being my friend.” He lets go of me, says that he'll watch over BanJum, and tells me to hurry. I wave goodbye, and run in the direction of the parking garage. I'll have to think of some proper way to express my gratitude to JiHoo, but right now I need to concentrate on finding my not-husband. The car, true to his word, is next to the elevator, and is easy to find. I dump my bag on the passenger seat, and start the car up. Okay. If I were YiJung, where would I be? I should have made a list of places when I was waiting for the taxi. Dammit. Let's see. There's his other house...I'll try there first. I know where it is, but not from the hospital. Come on, JiHoo. Let's hope you have a navigator. I dig around the glove box, and press a number of buttons on the dashboard, but finally, I get a little screen to pop up. Yes! JiHoo, I love you. I plug in the address, and off I am. Fortunately, it's early enough in the day that I don't run into the infamous Seoul traffic. I do a silent prayer in the car, not only for YiJung to be at his other house, but for me to find him early enough that I don't get stuck in the traffic. It's takes little more than half an hour to arrive at his other house, and from the looks of it, he's not here. The few remaining house help are very surprised to see me. I ask to see the house manager, and when he comes into the living room I ask if he's seen YiJung.

“No ma'am, he hasn't been here for a couple of weeks.” Seeing my disappointed face, he offers up a few other locations—the F3 houses. Shocking. He says he'll make up some tea so we can talk about the future of the house, but I decline. Not only do I need to leave and find YiJung, I don't know what to do about his house. I don't want to live there, but it's not right that YiJung just holds onto it, either. Wait, what am I talking about? I have no right to talk about his house. We're not married. I trod back to the car, slightly upset that my first attempt has failed, and try to decide on my next destination. Eventually I come to the decision that I should try my parent's house. Do I really think he might be there? No, but it's close-by, and maybe he at least stopped by to say hello. If he saw my father, he would have been able to keep it a secret from me. My mother? Not so much. The car seems to move on its own as I make the way to my parent's home. I've driven these roads so many times that I'm sure I could drive with my eyes closed, or even better, I could drive asleep. I won't, of course, but it just feels that way. My parent's house looks the same as always. The garden is newly trimmed, while the house is in need of an eternal paint job. I swear, my father spends more time outside re-painting the house, than inside with his family. Hoping that I can sneak past my mother in her shop, I make my way inside the house. My father, fortunately, is sitting in the living room. “Appa!” I smile. He looks up from his newspaper, and returns the smile. “What are you doing here? I didn't know you were coming over,” he says as he stands and gives me a hug. “I wasn't planning on it,” I say, trying to sound cheerful. I'm nervous and anxious, but I don't want him to know. So I pretend that everything is just fine. “Has YiJung come by to visit you?” I ask, hoping my tone of voice won't give me away. He looks at me with a confused face. “No, he hasn't,” he says and my heart drops, “was he going to?” “Yeah,” I try to say nonchalantly, “he had something he wanted to ask you, I think.” It's a lie, but I've told so many at this point that it doesn't even register on my brain. “Do you know what it was?” He asks, as he walks into the kitchen to find us some snacks to eat. “Hm, I'm not sure,” I say, “maybe it was something about home maintenance.” That sounds plausible, right? My father loves working with tools, and YiJung knows nothing about them. They could totally bond over home repairs. “Oh? If you knew what he wanted, I could just loan you the tools,” he says thoughtfully. “GaEul, you really should have married someone who was smarter,” he teases. “Your stupid husband needs to learn these things for you.”

“Yeah, my stupid husband,” I repeat, staring into space. I've gotten the information I needed—YiJung isn't, and hasn't been here—but now I need to figure out some way to leave quickly. Even though I've struck out twice now, I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep searching until I find YiJung. I have to find him. My father sets some snacks on a table in the living room, and turns his back to fetch drinks from the kitchen. I hold my hand up to my ear and pretend to receive a phone call. Yeah, it's lame, but it's the best I can come up with in the ten seconds my father isn't here. “What JanDi? Calm down, and tell me slowly.” I say everything in a voice much louder than my usual one just so my father is sure to hear it in the other room. “What?!” I say in an astonished voice. “Your car is broken down, and you need me to come get you? Araso, araso.” I quickly shut the phone as my father walks back into the room. He looks a little worried, and I hurry to explain. “Sorry Appa, but JanDi is stuck in the middle of nowhere, and I need to get her.” I stand up, and turn my back to my father, but he says, “can't JunPyo go get her?” Shit. I hadn't thought this far. “He's uh, out of town today. Down in Jeju.” That sounds believable, right? Thankfully, my father thinks so. He sounds disappointed, but he lets it slide. “Well, tell her I'd like to see her again sometime soon, okay?” He walks over and gives me a hug before letting me walk out the door. I feel a little guilty, knowing that I'm going to have to tell them the truth sometime soon. It will be hard, but I need to focus at the task at hand right now. I can worry about the truth later. It's not difficult knowing where I should look next—our apartment. I've been at JiHoo's all week; maybe YiJung decided to go home, and I wasn't there. Even if he isn't there, there might be a sign of him having been there. I can only hope. The drive home is longer than I remembered. It feels strange to park here, almost as if it doesn't feel like home anymore. Which is ridiculous. How can a place I've been living in for months lose it's home status in only a week? My hands shake as I put the key in the door, and I can tell that I'm holding my breath. This place, if any, is where YiJung would go. I hope. The door swings open, and I hope to hear the television, or to see the lights on. Neither happens. All of the lights are off, and there's a light coating of dust on everything in the apartment. I slump down on the coach, and sigh. I had really hoped that he would be here. The food is still sitting on the table, all of it rotten now. Actually, it kind of smells in here. I consider taking the time to clean up, but no. I need to keep looking.

“Omonim. Or maybe YiJung rented it out again and is here. I walk up to the door. and am a little surprised to find it locked. maybe there will just be another sign he was here. I sigh. and I can tell that there is no one else in the building. Omonim. YiJung was here. I need to go and find YiJung so we can work out our problems. I don't really know what to expect when I pull up. her favorite flower. I really don't want to go to the first place. There has to be something. Is that okay? Will you let me go?” I bow and say goodbye once more before running outside the church. It's getting close to rushhour now. there's no tag. It's quiet. waiting for me? I'll just extend my apologies. The flowers look fresh enough. did YiJung come to see you?” I smile as I set the flowers back down. I make my way. but pull up to the cabin anyways. I'm 80% positive YiJung didn't buy the cabin. my voice shaking. “Omonim. I curse. It feels invasive. so it shouldn't be too difficult. but each time he just disappointed me again. “it's GaEul. I peek through the windows. but left to do errands. Each time I tricked my brain into thinking he had to be here. I should at least say hello and apologize for disturbing her peace. and feel more guilty the closer I get to the church. or something. It takes me longer than expected to find the cabin.” I say. I dare not let my hope run over me. No YiJung. I was foolish for getting my hopes up everywhere I went today. “We've done a bad thing. . and trudge inside. right? I park the car. needing me. The walk to the back wall is longer than it seems. I never met his mother. but it doesn't look like anyone has been here since we were. It's wrong to go by myself. There's always the chance YiJung has been here. Checking my watch. Fighting the urge to cry. If he was here. I drive. Or. Damn. But. hopefully with my not-husband YiJung in tow. and set myself up for a long drive. and I see the pleasant little cabin. but I'm positive.There's only two other places I can think of. To get to one. YiJung has been here. than he must be where I'm headed to next: the cabin. I'm going to his mother's grave. and and see flowers by her box. so maybe there are other renters. I walk slowly back to the car. They couldn't have been there for more than a day. I know he was here. and if I really needed to get away I would head down there. But I've come this far. I have to go by the other. The car goes around the last corner. there are no cars parked here. I hope you can forgive us someday. what if he's there. but they're lilies. I sigh. But. it looks relatively abandoned. Can you forgive me for coming alone?” I examine the bouquet of flowers. mostly because YiJung wouldn't tell me where it was when we visited last weekend. and it's going to be miserable heading back to Seoul. She has to understand. It's on the way.

” and look around the room.Stay by my side forever. and ended up driving here automatically. forgotten food.” I say as I pick up my bag. I sigh. I unlock the door.. I wasn't thinking. I realize there's no smell because he cleaned up the table. YiJung nods and holds up my phone.” “That's weird.I missed you. There's a million things running through my mind that I want to say. “Yes. It's going to be dark and smell of the ruined. Oh shit.Our time together was the best of my life. Each step I take up the stairs is higher than the next. In my mind... But I don't say any of those.. and start digging around for my phone.. and keep me company tonight.I love you. I get stuck in traffic. There's lights on in the living room.” .” I whisper. as I put my key in the door to the apartment. “it was disgusting in here.Don't do that again. I remember. Huh. it doesn't seem to be here. Why should I care when there's no reason to get home quickly? I park the car and realize that I'm back at YiJung's and my apartment.I'm confused. “What do you mean?” I ask suspiciously... and tell him I'll bring his car back in the morning. “I forgot it.Where the hell were you. “I've been calling you all afternoon. “You threw out the food. I'm going to have to clean it up tonight.. I'm climbing Mount Everest to get to my apartment. where I stand. but I don't care about it as much as I did earlier today. Instead I say. and suddenly I'm wishing I had brought BanJum with me today. “I could ask you the same thing..” Neither of us move. and ask quietly. “where have you been?” The corners of his mouth upturn as he says. I did that this afternoon.I'm lonely... we seem glued to our spots on the floor... There's no smell..The drive back to Seoul is slow and painful.” I lamely say.” He breaks out into a full grin. He would pull me up the stairs.... It's dark and lonely in the stairwell. “thank you. There's a very surprised YiJung standing in the living room. I drop my bag on the floor.I'm angry.... I'll just call JiHoo.” I walk over to him. and he gives me the phone. I left it on the table at JiHoo's house. and open it. “I went and got it from JiHoo this afternoon. I don't have the energy to drive back to his house.

So I do.” I say sadly.” he responds.” I gesture between us.” I say. I don't say anything.” he urges me. I nod. and you know what I realized?” “What?” I ask breathlessly. So we start making plans for the future. “Things got hard. the connection dawning on him. and just needed to get out and think for a while. “It was exactly like five years ago. “It was wrong. I didn't want it to happen. then I talked to someone and thought about it some more. but I'm still angry. He checks his watch. and I ran. I was hoping you would stop here.“How long have you been here?” I ask him. It was too soon. “Are you going to freak out. but is this how it's going to be?” I ask.” “I love you YiJung. I didn't want to believe it. My reasons for leaving then and now were completely different. it never occurred to me. How can you repair a friendship after something like that? I was confused. and I was the happiest I've ever been.” he softly says as he grabs one of my hands. too. and let the feel of our skin touching each other take over my senses for a moment.” he begins.” He looks down at the ground. You have to trust me. okay?” I nod. YiJung and I were friends with JanDi and JunPyo and WooBin and JiHoo.” he says. “Then we got back together. Think about it. “I never thought about that GaEul. “Last time. “You left me. Please let me explain. and it's because I am cold. I'm out. but I speak before him. I was always ready. I'm so happy to see him. “I'm in this for real. and takes my hands again. and wait for him to continue. but it did. I felt trapped.” he says bitterly. I close my eyes. “So I got scared. “but if you're not in this relationship for real. and then we find out that everything has been a lie? I couldn't believe it. and we . and I wasn't ready to give myself up to someone else. I was so angry with them.” he says staring into my eyes. and I drop his hand. and I can talk. you know that?” He smiles. and we both sit down on the couch. “I did leave. “You're the love of my life. every time something gets too hard? I'm not ready to give this up. but you were. and I can see a tear drop down his face. and stupid. I was angry with JunPyo and WooBin for lying to our faces. and the dumbest thing I've ever done. It was cowardly. “I don't know if we would have gotten back together if it hadn't been for them. “You looked at me at the time of our greatest need. and take a step back.” I sound cold. But the I remember what he did. I wipe it away with my hand.” He opens his mouth to say something else. You're the love of my life. and left me. and I fell even more in love with you. “Let's sit down. fiddling with his thumbs.” “Was it?” He rubs his head. “we were just beginning and when WooBin told me that I was in love with you. “almost four hours.” He steps closer to me. You have to believe that. “But. and you left.

he needs the opportunity to make up for them.” “I'm sorry. maybe YiJung is the better person between the two of us. “I honestly don't know.” . and I was trying so hard to find you today! I really agonized over it. “My father. It was too raw. and see if we can have a relationship again. We never really talked about our relationship. I don't know if I could forgive his father. and I know it's my time to talk.” and I tell him about my day.” I say. “Who did you talk to?” “Guess. They shouldn't have pulled that prank. but we had never done any friend things since we broke up.” I say. When I finish.” “What? Why?” He shrugs.” He trails off. “Was it really hard last week?” I nod. “I thought you meant for good. and he sighs. “Ow! Why'd you do that?” He rubs his arm. and he says quietly... Naturally. I hit him. I went to his house.” “Are things okay now?” I ask. changing the subject. and we were never alone in a room together. “I was confused and upset. I realized that I couldn't ask you to give me another chance. We're father and son. and I thought I said it. and he grabs my hand. “We're going to keep meeting each other. one of us would leave the room. “I was always planning on coming back.” he finally says.” he grins..acted like we were friends in public. We've missed this. “You just said you were leaving.” I smile. “Maybe WooBin and JunPyo gave us the push we needed to work things out and realize we were meant to be. “Where were you today?” He asks. “I was looking for you.” I respond. if I didn't do the same with him. “They're better. “You laughed. I thought you knew. and even if he did things in the past that were wrong. and too awkward. and then starts to laugh. Anytime it looked like we might be left alone.” I shake my head.” I say.” he says. YiJung is silent for a moment. I'm proud and shocked that he would do this.” “Wait.better than that.” he offers. Maybe this is a case where the end justifies the means. “I went everywhere I thought you might be. but I'm so glad they did. I don't ever want to make you cry. which I've probably now bruised. “I was tired of the bad blood between us. “I'm sorry. “Maybe it was a good mistake.” I let myself lean my head on his shoulder..

“So YiJung. “I was supposed to do that. “It's just that I did the same thing today. he doesn't stop kissing my neck.” I say.. “Will you marry me?” My voice is barely above a whisper. JiHoo's. “Wait.” “Oh. after my phone died. and bought a new battery.” I'm touched. and the whole time YiJung's focused on me. “What?” Is he upset? Does he not want to marry me? Are we going to break up again? My heart races. The moment is ruined. I catch my breath. “YiJung. since these aren't really ours.” he says. and ask.” He sticks out his tongue.' and then you'll say. “Dammit. Similar to the ones we have—or had. Well. and I'm sorry. “You really should have had your phone with you today.” He frowns again. and it's a gorgeous ring.” He opens the box.. no! We can get it back! Let's just sit on the coach.” “What?” I'm a little surprised. “there's something I need to ask you. And then remember the other part of my plan.” I laugh and kiss him once more. I'm a little confused as to their status right now—but different enough for me to notice. too. I knew I needed to get to you. while he concentrates on kissing my neck. So instead.” he pulls out a ring box from his back pocket. and then I went to your parents' house.” “No. it's his problem if this isn't the most romantic proposal ever. “is the moment back?” . “And I went all the trouble to get this. GaEul. the cabin. 'GaEul won't you marry me?' And it will be perfect.” “Mmhm? What's that?” Unfortunately. It takes me a few minutes to process everything. 'oh whatever should we do? We can't live together and be single. and YiJung doesn't hear me. So I repeat myself. no.” he grins. “Well. and I'll say. “I thought we needed new rings. He breaks it off ands says.” He frowns. I lean in and kiss him gently..” “Now you've ruined the moment.everywhere. So I went to the store. The center diamond is surrounded by rubies in a vine design.“I know. but he's being very persistent. I try to brush him away. will you properly marry me?” He stops kissing my neck. and looks straight at me. while choking back more laughter. “Then we would have had a lot more time for this. and I don't know what to say.

. at our reception. or anything. and see how it goes from there. and says. “GaEul-yang. we decided it was time talk to JanDi. “Well. I can just glance at my gorgeous husband who can't stop staring at me. and I want to cry of happiness. Hours later we're lying on our coach.” I grin and tell him yes before kissing him senseless. too many trips abroad. So YiJung. and one too many fake weddings. I can't believe these people love us this much to stand by us after everything we did. It's peaceful.He laughs.” Epilogue One Year Later I've done it. and I'm feeling the rise and fall of his chest. That would be weird. and every two seconds I have to pinch myself to make sure it all really happened. in the end. “What are we going to tell my parents?” I ask. and I hope I can make you as happy as you make me. Forty minutes ago. After a long discussion. By that time. “it was. and my father was so angry he didn't speak to me for almost a month. “is there a question to want to ask me?” He takes a deep breath and says. YiJung is running his hands through my hair. and to try and reconcile her and JunPyo. I'm not sure if my mother was more angry that we lied to them. Or. we could start with the truth. too many useless tears. I cried a lot back then. It took a couple weeks of persuading.” he responds. It's been such a long road to this point that it doesn't feel real. You're the best thing that's ever happened to me. she was getting pretty big. We're seated at a long table. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd be honored if you would become my real wife. It's taken us far too many years. I'm sitting here. or if it was because I was unmarried and living with a man. Coming out to my parents was probably the hardest. A son needs a father. after all. but in the end. I went and became Mrs. My mother almost fainted. you know?” I look away and ask. “that sounds like a good beginning. and say. but YiJung stayed by my side. I laugh. Not that I'm taking his name. we were happy JunPyo and WooBin lied to us because we would have never tried again otherwise. she forgave JunPyo. but I love you. You're really terrible at this. in front of one hundred of our best friends and family. so it was needed. She couldn’t quite understand that. relaxing and right.

the less interest the press had in me. Uh. His career was pretty quiet after that. it got easier. but the important this is that we’re here. and keep living my life. we have taken the most roundabout way to get to this point. I needed to stop caring about what the public thought. After staying in the apartment for three weeks straight. The next morning. YiJung taps my shoulder and whispers in my ear. I went insane. for the first time. I’m not sure he would ever admit it. If they wanted to take photos of me. Photographers were permanently camped outside both his mansion and our tiny apartment. BanJum and I walked out into the fresh air. people are . YiJung is free to just be a normal guy. If I wanted to visit JanDi. and even doing a little volunteer work. My mother counted. I needed to do that. YiJung held a mini-intervention for me. Sure. Plus. Still. It may have taken the press 8 months to get bored with us. he argued. It sounded like a bombing. I had no schedule to keep to. but once they did. and many people thought I forced him into the fake marriage by saying I was pregnant. I took a deep breath. at least in Asia. hoping that the press wouldn't care. and he didn't want to encourage them peeping into our private lives. And because his career isn’t going any place right now. I would have been showing. We can go grocery shopping without worry. hello? Our fake marriage lasted six months—If I had been pregnant. The more I went out. and kept going outside. and fifteen magazines. I was going to accept my punishment. I didn't need to go outside.We quietly started making wedding plans. I was labeled as a tramp. they ignored us all together. and not hide any longer. I prepared myself for the onslaught I was about to receive. It’s freeing. with the truth in it. interrupting my thoughts. and promised to myself that I wasn't going to hide my face in shame. and America have never heard of him. and that we’re together and happy. We have picnics in the park with our now full grown dog. visiting friends and family. as long as there was food in the refrigerator. We were laying in bed. and I had never heard so many light bulbs go off at once. and her rapidly growing belly. We go to the cinema without sunglasses. he was tired of taking BanJum out for walks every morning. he was in the papers nearly everyday. But they did. I was. Of course. BanJum at our feet (much to YiJung's dismay) and he told me it was time. but YiJung waved it aside. my photo was in no less than seven different newspapers. But. “Darling. and the next morning. It made me laugh. I shrugged my shoulders. My normal guy. but I think he rather likes being a D-list celebrity right now. People in Europe. glad to be unemployed. I thought about writing a press release. it still sucked to be under involuntary house arrest because the press were dying to photograph my every move. Not that we had much privacy back then. so he was able to do a couple of shows abroad. It sucked when he left. No one would have believed me anyways. Once the tabloids got word of So YiJung's fake marriage.

” And with that. my dress. And I might have mentioned that fact to everyone I came in contact with. I’ve been looking forward to this moment for weeks. chemicals and emotions is that I’ve never felt more loved. It splatters and smears all over my face. my hair. “My poor husband. I love you and your messy face. “Sorry.” “But it is. Today is okay. And in that moment. It is. and the people surrounding us. I can see YiJung grimacing. GaEul.making speeches. and pulls me tightly into his arms. “Yes. without question. “Just remember dear. and then he picks up his own piece of cake. I was zoning out in our own happiness. and we’re supposed to clap. “Humiliate you in public?” Now it’s my turn to wink as I smear the cake around his face--not even close to his mouth.” He laughs. and raise it level to his face. he throws the cake at my face. I’m not going to deny it. that revenge is so much sweeter. “No. The last thought I have before my brain gives out to hormones. As our hands grasp the knife and cut two pieces. as we listen to a speech by my great-aunt. too.” he breathes. no questions necessary. “Absolutely. The time flies by quickly.” he says before he kisses me like there’s no tomorrow. Before I can scream. 100%. Of course.” I say it firmly. “I keep having to remind myself that this is real. That’s okay. true.” I turn to him and smile. I’m sure there is at least an hour of rambling speeches by our various friends and family. but it doesn’t feel nearly that long. he grabs me. I would never do anything to harm you. “God.” I grin devilishly.” He squeezes my hand once.” He winks. as I pick up the piece of cake with my hands. I only come back to Earth when it’s time to cut the cake. never. and shove it in YiJung’s face. it’s absolutely. cake-covered hands and all. The last year and a half between us has been nothing but a trial. so our trust is unwavering. Including YiJung. it could have something to do with my being on cloud nine. “Worried?” I ask. “Mildly concerned.” YiJung takes a moment to recollect himself. maybe. .