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I hate books, and anything that’s related. You name it, libraries, book stores, schools, nerds…. Especially, nerds.” – Choi Jin Seon I hated him. But I fell in love with him. When I thought he was a prize from god… When I thought he’d be the one to stay with forever… When I thought he loved me too… Death, pulled us apart.
My entire fault of walking into his peaceful life…and, my total ignorance that believed I could be with someone without as much dilemma… happened to end his and my life on an utterly unexpected note.
“When I thought he was a prize from god… When I thought he’d be the one to stay with forever… When I thought he loved me too… Death, pulled us – Oh give me a break!” He threw the booklet carelessly onto the table. “If this is another sappy love story you can end it right there. I said the genre is comedy not tragedy! Plus, a story starts with a prologue, not an epilogue!” “Please, Mr. Kwan. You gotta pass me on this assessment. If I fail, I gotta kiss my Ferrari goodbye.” “You don’t even have a Ferrari.” He scoffed. “I will, if I pass this assessment.” The teacher stopped and stared his student in the eye, deep in thought. Suddenly, he propped his arms on the table and leaned towards his student with a mischievous grin. “What’s in it for me?” “I’ll let you drive it for a day.” “Deal.” He sat back in his chair. Cleared his throat and laughed heartedly.
The hearty laugh echoed throughout the hallway.
Having been woken up before noon was a crabby start for Choi Jin Seon. Taking her time, she dragged her footsteps down the corridor and into the hall of a dinning room. Half sleepy and half annoyed, she pushed open the door and greeted the cheerful laughter. The dinning table of ten was filled with a man in his fifties, a lady in her twenties. As Jin Seon made her entrance, their laughter quietened. “Why are you still here?” Was the surprised question coming from the head of the table – Mr. Choi, “It’s not very good to be late for the first day of school. Hun.” The maid pulled out a chair as Jin Seon approached the table. She slumped into the chair and rubbed her eyes. “What school?” “Remember our deal?” He pointed to the two girls at the table and then at himself. “If you get your butt to school and graduate, your sister Jin Ae won’t get married.” Jin Seon scoffed. By now she was fully awake. Taking a sip from her glass of milk, she picked up her utensils to begin her meal. “I was only joking when I said that.” She mumbled from a mouth full of sandwich. “Well I wasn’t.” The sincerity in her father’s voice became a warning. She lifted her head and swallowed the food in her mouth. “What do you mean you wasn’t joking?” she frown, a little confused. “How could you depend your lovely Jin Ae’s future on me?” she asked sarcastically, pointing at her sister who was seating opposite her. “Or are you only thinking that I won’t graduate so she’ll get married to that punk anyway. That way, you win both ways.” “No. I want you to graduate, and I believe you can.” “But…” She turned to her sister. “How can you agree to this? I mean, you can’t marry the man you love if I graduate. Are you nuts?” Jin Ae smiled, “I’m with dad. Your education comes before anything.” “Unbelievable.” She shook her head and resumed eating, unaware of the triumphant exchanges between her father and her sister. As the three resumed eating, Jin Seon suddenly laughed. “Guess what?” She smirked. “I’m not going to school.” Her dad and sister looked up at her as if she was crazy. “You know why?” She asked her dad. “Because, our deal was, if I go to school and graduate,
Jin Ae can’t get married. BUT! That’s if I graduate out of Kang Shin Academy.” She leaned forward and patted her dad on the shoulder. “Dad, I’m sorry, but a boys’ school ain’t goona to accept a girl.” She threw her head back and began laughing hysterically. “Oh. Really?”
“Kevin, are you really going to get a Ferrari?” “Which model?” “What colour?” “What year?” “Can I ride in it?” The door to the classroom slid open. Mr. Kwan stepped in and stared down the noise. “Why can’t you guys learn from Tae Hyuk? When I’m not in the classroom, I expect all of you to be working like him. Hear me!” He banged his long wooden rule on the table. A few that sat near by startled with a jump. “Now, I’ll be right back and I expect all of you to be working when I’m back.” He walked out, remembering to slam the door shut. When was the last time you were in a classroom where everyone worked quietly under the circumstances of having no teacher? Can’t remember? That’s right, because it never happens. Everyone turned to the back of the room. “Tae Hyuk!” Kevin stood up and walked towards him. “Please, I beg you to stop being a nerd.” He whispered. “What’s there to write about dude? Can you stop working and just be like us? You making us look bad.” “Whatever.” The guy replied uninterestedly. With his finger trailing the lines of a paragraph, he scribbled a few more notes into his A4 workbook. The door opened again and everyone quickly ran to their seats. Seating up straight and quiet they waited for Mr. Kwan to enter. Jin Seon stepped into the classroom. Half curious, she greeted a room full of boys and no teacher. Cue to her appearance, the boys released their tensed muscles and conversation broke
out again. But in the next second, every eye was staring back at her; except one that was still scribbling away in his books. “Who you after? Cutie.” A boy in the front row winked at her. She flinched at the gesture and looked away. “Kevin, don’t tell me she’s your’s.” Someone shouted at the back of the room. “I’ve never seen her.” He stood up slowly, keeping his eyes on Jin Seon. She frowned with annoyance, the curious stares made her feel like an alien in a science laboratory. “Hey cutie, wanna play cards with us?” “How about oppa buy you some lollies?” “Who’s your daddy!!” As Mr. Kwan passed the corridor, he caught the sight of Jin Seon. “Oh! There you are.” Stepping into the classroom, he was amused by the hungry stares coming from the class of wolves. “You are drooling.” He smacked one on the head. “Alright, be quiet.” Standing on his teaching stage, Mr. Kwan held up his rule ready to smack it on the table for silence, but this time, it was needless. “Introduce yourself.” He smiled at Jin Seon and nodded. Clearing her throat, she took a brief glance around the room. “I’m Choi Jin Seon, your new class mate.” “WHAT?” “Oh~ No! She’s a he! Get away from me! I’m dead straight.” Half the class drowned with disappointment. “What, did you get a sex exchange?!” “Even though it’s a pretty good job, I still rather to date the ugliest girl next door.” “She is a girl you fool!” Mr. Kwan snapped. “God you guys are so stupid. Jin Seon, take a seat…” He trailed off, trying to find a vacant seat in the room. Spotting one next to Tae Hyuk,
he smiled. “HERE!” Kevin stood up and kicked his partner off the seat. “Jin Seon, I’ve got a seat for you!” he wiped the seat with his sleeve and threw the guy’s bag in his face. “Go sit with Tae Hyuk, you might learn something.” “Alright, next to Kevin.” Looking at the fool waving his hand in the middle of the room, Jin Seon rolled her eyes and made her way down the isle. But after all, there isn’t much to complain about for Jin Seon, because Kevin is one of the best looking guys around. “Hi. I’m Cha Min Suk. Call me Kevin.” Jin Seon beamed. “You can call me Jin Seon.” “What if I wanna call you Jinnie?” he winked. “Don’t do that.” She grimaced. “It devalues your charm.” “So you are saying, I should play cool?” he sat up, interested in learning his first lesson on ‘how to turn a girl on’. She chuckled. “Whatever.” “What’s that suppose… ” “Mr. Kevin Cha. I would appreciate it very much if you shut up and let me start my lesson.”
“Psst. Why are you here?” “What do you mean?” “Why is a pretty girl like you in a school of monks?” “Long story.” She hissed back. “I’ll tell you when we have a chance.” He nodded and turned back to his work. Curious as to what kind of people belonged in this place, Jin Seon looked around her, inspecting the guys in the classroom. Under the untagged white blouse, hanging tie, navy blue vest and gray trousers, there wasn’t anyone that was out of the ordinary. Except Kevin who stood out with his looks.
Remembering that someone had no reaction or interest when she initially entered the class, Jin Seon turned to the back of the room and spotted the person sitting in the corner. He was reading from the text book through his black framed glasses. His school uniform was perfectly worn and his hair was styled and un-dyed. “Pfft.” She turned to face the front of the room. “Nerd.” “Huh?” “Nothing.” She smiled sweetly.
“Oh~” Kevin nodded as Jin Seon finished her long story that she promised. “So everything is a deal. Your dad must have some useful sources to get you in an all boys’ school.” Knowing her father, Jin Seon simply smiled. “You wanna put that book in my locker?” Kevin offered, opening his lock and unintendedly spilling a locker full of envelopes onto the floor. “Oops.” He bent down and began picking it up with Jin Seon’s help. “Where are these from?” “Next door.” He pointed towards the exit of the hall, where it led to the grass field and over the fence was the Kang Shin Girl’s High School. “Oppa!” Like a horse had been zapped, a girl sped into the hall and ran towards Kevin and Jin Seon. “Oppa, when are you going to get your Ferrari?” She linked her arms around Kevin’s. “You promised to let me ride in it if I did your assessment for you.” “Yeah. That sappy story you wrote gave me a lot of help.” He said sarcastically, peeling her off him. “Really, you need to stop with soap opera and write some quality stuff. I had to beg my way for a pass.” He shoved the love letters into her hands. The girl just stood there with a sad look on her face. Placing Jin Seon’s text book in his locker, he slammed it shut and lead the way out, leaving the poor girl on the spot with a pile of love letters. “That was slack.” “Trust me, Jin Seon she’s not as innocent as she appears to be. If you know what kind of
person she is, you’d think she deserved it.” He looked back, just to check that she wasn’t following him. “Why do you think such a good looking guy like myself is still single?” She giggled. “Anyways. I would want to give you a ride, but right now, I don't have a car.” He shrugged. “Let’s go catch the bus together.” Without any other way to get home, Jin Seon nodded. “Hey Kevin!” The two of them turned around and found Kevin’s ex-seating partner that he kicked off the seat running towards them. “Did you see Tae Hyuk?” “He’s probably in the library.” He assumed. “Why?” “Oh, give this to him.” He handed Kevin a calculator. “I forgot to return it.” “Alright.” “Oh. By the way, I’m Chu-chu.” He introduced himself to Jin Seon. “Hi, Chu-Chu.” She couldn’t help but giggle at the name. A car beeped at the gates, and the familiarity of the vehicle brought a frown onto Jin Seon’s face. “Is that for you?” She rolled his eyes. “See you tomorrow Kevin. And Chu-Chu.” She waved and walked towards the black sleek car. Opening the door, she greeted a faint fragrance of cologne. “I hope you are not here to blame me because you can’t marry my angle of a sister anymore.” The guy in the driver’s seat chuckled. “So I see you fell for the trap.” She glared at him. “What trap?” “You are not all that smart. Jin Seon. Everything is a set up.” He took out a cigarette and was about to lit it when Jin Seon flicked it out of his mouth and threw it out the window. “Passive smoking is worse than smoking, so if you gonna die, do it on your own.” “Fine. Anyway. Your dad and your sister spent months doing this. When they needed a person
to play the bad fiancé who has to be hated by the sister-in-law, they found me. So don’t hate me.” “So, there’s no marriage in the first place?” “Nop.” “And all this is about me getting my butt back to school and get bored. They are basically torturing me.” “Yep.” “Why are you telling me this?” “Your sister called me a bit.ch this morning. So I decided to turn them in.” he tapped his finger on the steering wheel. “So do you still want to go home or…” “Let’s go to the company.”
“It’s good to have you back again.” Mr. Choi laughed happily. “It’s been a few years. How have you been?” “It’s alright.” “You changed so much. Taller, stronger and more handsome.” He laughed. “I bet you have a bunch of girls chasing your ass around.” The door swang open and stood outside was a enrage girl in her mini-skirt, white blouse and navy blue vest uniform. “I’m not going back to school anymore!” Jin Seon marched towards her father’s table. “Everything is a trap, you cheated.” “What are you talking about?” “My supposed brother-in-law told me everything.” Out of the corner of her eyes, she became aware of the familiar colours that matched her uniform. Turning her head a fraction, her eyes budged.
“N…nerd?” The guy sitting on the chair raised his eyebrows in question. Taking a few steps closer, Jin Seon grabbed his chiselled jaws and tilted his head left and right with a puzzled frown between her brows. Though surprised by her blunt act, he did nothing to stop her. After a quick scan, she folded her arms and studied him from head to toe as he gazed at her with his soft hazel eyes. His shirt was no longer tucked neatly inside his trousers, and the tie that hangs loosely around his half buttoned shirt revealed his chiselled collar bones. Without the black framed glasses to go with his defined features, he looked less intelligent but more attractive. Comparing to the guy she saw earlier, the one sitting in front of her was a nerd turned cool. “Are you checking me out?” Woken by his comment, Jin Seon mentally kicked herself and looked away, humiliated by the smug grin on his face and the mocking ssunshine from her ‘brother-in-law’. “So you two already met in school?” Mr. Choi asked, chuckling quietly to his daughter’s embarrassment. “Yes.” “No.” He raised a brow at the two. “What do you mean no? I’m in your class.” She protested. “I go to an all boys school, how can you be in my class?” She rolled her eyes and sighed. “What, do you have short term memory loss? Or are you just playing dumb.” He ignored her and cast a glance at Mr. Choi. “Well.” Mr. Choi cleared his throat. “Tae Jin is going to be working for me from now on. You’ll have plenty of chance to introduce to each oth-”
“Wait.” Jin Seon interrupted. “You can’t let him work for us.” “Why not?” “He’s a pretend. At school his name is Tae Hyuk, and what is it now?” “Tae Jin.” Tae Jin answered. “Yeah that. How do you know he’s not a spy from our rival?” she asked her dad. “And just now, he’s playing dumb like he doesn't know me.” “Good to have you back Jin.” Sun Woong (the ‘brother-in-law’) smiled, as if there wasn’t any interruptions from Jin Seon. “I’m looking forward to work with you again.” The two shook hands and hugged. Jin Seon, who stood by the side, was confused and annoyed. “Anyways. There’s an arrival at the dock tonight.” Mr. Choi continued. “Tae Jin, I want you to go with Sun Woong.” Tae Jin nodded. “I’m coming too.” “No.” Mr. Choi declined at once. “You are grounded.” She sighed. “What did I do now?” “If you’re not going to school, then you’re grounded.” “Ok, fine. I’ll go to school.” Surprised, he blinked and thought he heard her wrong. “What was that?” “I said, I. Will. Go. To. School.” “And you’ll go to school until you graduate.” He confirmed. “Yeah. Whatever.” “Ok! Good.” He clapped. “Look after her, you two.”
“Why did you decide to come along?” Sun Woong asked in the car. “I remember you hated this kind of business.”
She cast a glance at the back seat and saw Tae Jin looking out the window. “You really want to know?” “Spill it already.” “I’m gonna catch his tail and find out what he’s up to.” She nodded with a mysterious smirk. He chuckled. “Tae Jin is safe. He’s not a spy or whatever. He used to work for us.” “Yeah right.” She agreed sarcastically. “How come I’ve never seen him?” “That’s because he was working for us in Japan.” “But why does he need to change his name?” “Are you talking about me?” Tae Jin interrupted loudly. “No, we are talking about Tae Hyuk.” She beamed mockingly. He rolled his eyes to a side and turned to look out the window again. “See, he’s got nothing to say.”
Sun Woong parked his sleek BMW by the road and waited under the street light. When a ship became visible on the dark horizon, he opened his door and got out with Tae Jin. “Stay in the car and don’t come out no matter what happens.” He ordered and shut the door firmly. Jin Seon looked out the window in the passenger’s seat and watched the two walk along the wooden platform and became a silhouette in the distance. She tapped her fingers on the dash board and looked around to see if there was anything to help her pass time. Tugging his hands inside his pockets, Tae Jin rocked on his heels as he waited for Sun Woong to do the exchange business. The men handed over a book that Sun Woong opened and smiled satisfactorily at. He then pulled out a package inside his jacket pocket and handed over to the man. When both side were satisfied with the completion of the deal, Sun Woong and Tae Jin turned to leave. However, finding themselves encircled in a group of ten other guys, Sun Woong rolled his eyes in annoyance. He turned back to the man standing by the ship, who now had a gun aiming at him.
“A real man keeps to his words.” The man chuckled. “A real man would love his money more than his words.” “Your logic is bullshi.t.” A loud bang woke Jin Seon in her nap. She quickly sat up and looked out the window to see that a fight had broken out on the far side of the dock. Her hands reached out to open the door but she hesitated and sat back. She knew better than to involve herself in unnecessary danger. She is not a coward. She knows that putting herself in danger meant putting Sun Woong or any other person working for her father in danger. It had always been like this. Ever since she was a little girl, she had body guards following anywhere and everywhere she goes. And Sun Woong was one child of a body guard that was responsible for her protection. He followed everywhere she went, and stopped almost anything she thought was fun to do, that led to her hating attitude towards him. She always found it odd. Her dad wasn’t the over protective ones, because Jin Ae didn’t have any body guard around her. She was the trouble maker and Jin Ae was the perfect child, yet, she received more attention than Jin Ae. Adding on to that, Jin Ae was his child whereas Jin Seon is merely a one-year-old adopted girl from the orphanage. She sat back in the seat and resumed her nap that was woken by a gun shot. Tae Jin had a guy by the collar as he punched him in the face and kicking him into the water. Before he could react, another guy had threw his arms around Tae Jin’s neck and began choking him, he backed towards the wall and crashed his opponent against the rough surface, colliding between Tae Jin and the wall, the impact was great enough to break a few ribs. The guy coughed and suffocated before falling unconscious. Sun Woong picked up the package in the shipman’s hand. “If you don’t keep to your words, you don’t keep your money.” He smiled sarcastically and tugged the package back inside his pocket. Adding another kick to the man’s chest, he walked away victoriously. The door opened and Jin Seon opened her eyes. “Here.” Sun Woong tossed the book onto her lap and sat in the driver’s seat. She opened it to find a rectangular hollow in the middle of the book. “I wouldn’t hate books so much if it wasn't a tool for you guys to do the dirty business.”
Sun Woong chuckled and ignited the car. “You are just using it as a excuse.” Seeing Sun Woong was safe and sound, she was not surprised but somewhat disappointed. ‘He never gets touched in a fight.’ She turned to the back seat and caught Tae Jin wiping the corner of his mouth. A bruise was beginning to blemish his flawless skin. She smiled to herself. ‘Goal.’
*Beep Beep* He looked out the window and saw a yellow Ferrari parked at the gates of his apartment. Gulping down the remaining content in his milk carton, he shoved a piece of toast in his mouth and ran out of the door. “Morning.” He mumbled a reply and opened the door to get inside the passenger seat. “Like my baby?” Kevin asked patting his steering wheel. “What happened to your mouth?” “I bumped into the corner of the table.” “Again?” He ssunshineed. “Tae Hyuk, if I didn’t know better, I’d think you fought.” “I don't fight.” He stated bluntly. “Yeah. Nerds don't fight. They read. And drive.” He added and unbuckled his seat belt. “What ‘re you doing?” “You drive.” He opened the door. “I…got a sore foot.” ‘Yeah, whatever. You just suck at driving.’
“What’s this?” Sun Woong ssunshineed behind Jin Seon. “You got admires.” She blinked at the two guys kneeling before her. One had a bouquet of roses in his hands and the other held a teddy bear. “Please go out with me.” The two begged. She scratched her head. “I-” A car horn stopped her. Turning to the gates, she found an eye-catching Ferrari park at the side walk. The window rolled down and Kevin waved through the passenger seat. As she waved back, she caught sight of the driver who was closer to her. The bruise on the corner of his mouth and the black framed glasses put an idea in her mind. She turned back to the two guys on their knees. “I’m taken.” “WHAT?!” Sniffing their tears back, the two hugged each other on the spot and cried a river. “By who?” They asked, pointing to Sun Woong. “Is it him?” “Nah-uh.” She shook her head. “Tae Jin.” Sun Woong raised his brows. “Tae Jin?” The two looked at each other with confusion. ‘That’s right. ‘cuz he doesn’t even exit! Puahaha!!’ Jin Seon smiled ‘angelically’ and thought to herself.
Skipping into the classroom, she paused at the door and looked straight to the back corner of the room. Finding the nerd slumped in his seat and engaging himself in a book with his
headphones on, she wondered towards him and sat next to him. Hoping that he would give himself in, she stared at him and waited. However, he was totally ignorant to her existence. Seeing that plan A had failed, she reached out and pulled his earphone off. He took a quick glance of her under his glasses and went back to his book. “So…how did you get that bruise Tae Jin?” She asked, “Oops. I should call you Tae Hyuk at school shouldn't I?” She beamed. “I bumped myself on the table corner.” “Oh. Really?” She nodded sarcastically. “Mmm…where did you learn how to fight?” “I don't fight.” “So what kind of medication are you on?” She asked, half serious. “Or are you bipolar?” She gasped. He flipped a page and didn't reply. A finger tapped her on the shoulder and she turned around to find the owner of the seat she was in. “Hi Chu Chu.” She got up and gave the seat to him. “Morning Jin Seon.” He smiled. “S’up Tae Hyuk.” “Hey.” He mumbled and flipped the page again. ‘Damn. He reads fast!’ Slowly, she headed back to her seat and stared at him from that direction until Kevin came and asked her what she was doing. “You are interested in Tae Hyuk?” He chuckled. “Well, he does have charms in his own ways. But that guy would rather read his book than date a girl.” She grimaced. “Is he gay?” He laughed out loud. “You should find out.”
Holding her lunch tray, she looked around the cafeteria and spotted the nerd seating by the window. He was looking out into the grass field and his plate of lunch lay untouched on his table. She walked towards him and placed her plate opposite his.
He didn’t welcome her but neither did he reject her company. She sat down and began her meal, taking glances of him every 30 seconds. “Why don't you eat?” “I’m not hungry.” “Then, can I have yours?” She asked, a little hesitant. He pushed his plate towards her. She smiled happily and dug in. “You sure you don’t want anything?” She asked, poking a meatball with her fork. “Have a meatball.” She extended her fork towards him and offered. He looked at the food and shook his head. “C’mon. I feel bad for eating your share.” Seeing his hesitation, she stood up so she could reach his mouth and poked the meatball in his lips. “Now you touched it, you gotta eat it.” She said. “Just eat it. The chef would be angry if we throw it away.” Indecisively, he opened his mouth and catching the chance Jin Seon shoved the meatball in his mouth. Sitting back down, she realised that she has caught on the attention of people that sat around their table. Tae Hyuk cleared his throat uneasily and sat back in his chair to look out the window again.
“So did you find out?” Kevin asked in the hallway. “Find out about what?” “If Tae Hyuk is gay. I saw you two in the cafeteria.” He chuckled. “If I didn't know better, I’d think you two were dating.” She mentally slapped herself. “Maybe he just hasn’t met a girl who’s more interesting than a book, though I don’t see anything good about books myself-” She was cut off by an unfriendly bump in the shoulder. Turning her head to see who was clumsy enough to bump into someone in a not so crowded hallway, she found a
pretty girl staring at her with hater. Her first thought was that someone from next door is jealous of her been around Kevin too much. But… “Get away from Tae Hyuk.” ‘so the nerd has admires too.’ She looked at the girl from head to toe and realised her biggest mistake. She wasn't a she. She’s a he. No. He’s a he. No wait. He looked like a she. The girly looking person that had pretty twinkling eyes, petite nose and rose petal lips with shoulder length hair that tied loosely at the back wore a set of Kang Shin Boys uniform that identified ‘her’ as a him. A pretty boy. “Lee Hong Gi. Get your ass out of here.” Kevin warned. He glared at Jin Seon bitterly. “Tae Hyuk is mine.”
“Tae Hyuk is mine.” It took exactly three seconds for Jin Seon to register his words. When she realized that this pretty boy has a crush on the nerd, she giggled. Hong Gi’s glare softened, replaced with a pair of puzzled gaze. “Why are you laughing?” “Hahaha.” Kevin raised a brow and flicked his gaze between the two.
“Stop laughing! If you are laughing because I like a guy…” “Yah~ how about we make a bet?” She interrupted and placed a hand on his shoulder. “What bet?” “In three days, I bet you, I can make that nerd fall for me.” She grinned. Hong Gi scoffed and rolled his eyes in disbelieve. “This girl has no shame.” She merely shrugged off the comment. “So, is it on?” “It’s on.” He agreed, nodding his head. “But if you don’t, you have to come to school disguised as a boy until you graduate.” “Fine.” “Deal.” “See you in three days.” “Two days and twelve hours.” Lifting his head high and proud, Hong Gi walked off. Jin Seon turned to Kevin, who was chuckling at the amusement he found in the two. “If you are thinking Tae Hyuk is a typical nerd, you better go tell Hong Gi now that the deal is over.” “What’s a typical nerd?” She asked. “Vulnerable as a trapped little mouse and a loser who gets pushed around by everyone.” She scratched her head. “Nah, I just think he’s a nerd who doesn't like to talk.” She beamed. “So what’s your plan?” She raised a brow. “Plan?” He stared at her dumbfounded. While she thought hard for a plan, her cell began to ring. The caller ID read: Bastard-in-Law. “Lee Sun Woong! I told you not to call me at school!” she yelled into the phone.
“If you’d come out on time I wouldn’t have to call you.” “What are you talking about?” “Your enemy-friend’s 18th birthday party…”
Sun Woong lifted his head and laughed. Standing before him was a girl out of her comfort zone. Jin Seon wore a silky strapless white dress that tightened around her waist and puffed out into a mini wedding dress that reached up to her knees, showing off her well toned legs that wobbled on a pair of high heels. She took a few unsteady steps forward and slumped onto the floor. “I cannot walk on these.” She took her white heels off and tossed them at Sun Woong. “Let’s go buy another pair.” He stood up and walked towards her. “There’s half an hour till the party starts.” She reminded him. “Then, borrow a pair off Jin Ae.” “Her heels are higher than these.” “Then don’t go.” He sighed and reached out to help her up. “You didn’t want to go in the first place anyway. I’d rather sit at home watch TV than pretend to be your boyfriend for the night.” Standing up, she straightened out her dress and picked up her heels. “Whatever. Let’s go.”
“Where are your contact lenses?” Kevin called from the bathroom and tugged his head out to see if Tae Hyuk was dressed. “Hurry up and wear your tie.” He lifted up his collar and slipped the silk material around his neck. Walking towards the bathroom, he found Kevin rummaging through his cupboard.
“Put your contacts on.” He pointed blindly at the table while taking out gel and hair spray from the cupboard. “Do your hair and I’ll wait for you in the car.”
Sun Woong parked his car at the hotel’s grand entrance. The door opened for Jin Seon and she stepped out. Before the door closed, she turned back to Sun Woong, who was opening his door to get out. “You can go home and watch your TV.” “Huh?” “The whole world knows you're my brother-in-law. How weird would it be to introduce you as my boyfriend tonight?” “Yah! I don’t like Jin Ae.” The door closed and he watched her lone figure walk into the reception hall and disappear around the corner. Taking his phone out, he dialled a set of numbers and waited for an answer. When an angelic voice answered on the line, he placed the speaker close to his mouth and screamed. “I don't like you!”
He sighed. “I’m sorry Tae Hyuk.” “Tell me why we are here.” He looked out the window and stared at the grand hotel before them. Kevin bit his lips and hesitated. “I set you up with a blind date.” He chuckled and waited for Kevin to continue. “It’s been years and I think you should get a girlfriend before people start to believe whatever rumour Hong Gi is spreading.” “I don’t care.” “But I do!” He got out of the car and dragged Tae Hyuk with him.
[Flashback] “If you were dating a guy and I tell you that he’s bad and don’t date him. What would you do?” She took a few seconds and thought about her answer. “I guess, I’ll take it into consideration.”
“Trust me. He’s not as good as he seems to be.” “Whatever Tammy. You are just jealous. Maybe we should find you a boyfriend.” [Flashback Ended] Jin Seon took a deep breath. Shaking her head lightly to rid off the memories, she nodded for the door man to open the door. Stepping foot into the ballroom, she greeted a strange yet familiar aura as she walked further into the party crowd. People would steal a glance at her then cover their mouth with a glass of champagne as they begin to gossip and some would just smirk at her presence then turn to another direction. In a crowd, she spotted the birthday girl in her glamorous outfit. Jin Seon stopped in her track and smiled lightly. “Happy birthday Chae Ri.” “I’m glad you could make it.” The pretty girl flicked a strand of curl out of her face and stretched out her arms for a birthday hug. “So there’s no presents?” Chae Ri asked as she took a good inspection of Jin Seon. “You look pretty. But I’d expect you to at least bring a birthday present for a friend you haven’t seen for so long.” Jin Seon shrugged. “You’ve got everything you wanted, what more do you need?” Knowing what Jin Seon intended, Chae Ri rolled her eyes to a side and took a sip out of her champagne glass. “I see you’ve gotten rid of your bodyguards.” A girl beside Chae Ri commented. “Are
you sure you won’t get raped?” They giggled. “No need to worry for me, I’m no girl like you who is sl.utty enough to catch that much attention.” She grinned sarcastically. “Help yourself around.” Chae Ri cleared her throat. “I’ll talk to you later.” She flicked her hair and turned her back on Jin Seon. Letting out a sigh, Jin Seon turned on her heels and searched for a place where she could sit and rest her sore foot. The huge doors opened and Kevin made his entrance with Tae Hyuk behind him. The girls that caught onto them giggled and whispered excitedly, wondering who these new faces were. Catching sight of Jin Seon, Kevin waved and walked towards her with the girls watching in surprise. “Sorry we are late.” he apologised. “Tae Hyuk this is Choi Jin Seon.” He introduced as if the two were new to each other. “Why her?” Tae Hyuk asked bluntly ignoring the polite tone Kevin put on. “Why not?” “She thinks I’m gay doesn't she?” “I…” Jin Seon tried to defend. “And she thinks I’m crazy or bipolar. Whatever.” “You are! One minute you are Tae Jin and the next you are the nerd.” “Don't call me nerd.” “Then what do you want me to call you? Tae?” He became uneasy at the name and coughed. “Don't call me anything.” She grinned at his reaction. “What’s wrong with Tae? Or do you prefer Nerd. Either is fine with me.” “Neither is fine with me.” She tilted her head. “Tae the nerd. Nerd the Tae.” She giggled. “Tae the nerd.” “Arh!” he threw his arms up in defeat. “Kevin. There’s no way I’m dating her, even if she’s the last girl alive.” “Hey! That’s offensive.” Jin Seon protested.
“It supposed to be.” He turned his back on her and walked towards the exit with Kevin chasing after him. Jin Seon cringed. Remembering her bet with Hong Gi, she began to regret. “How can I make him fall for me in three days if all I do is annoying the crap out of him?” She whined. “I don't wanna dress up as a boy.” ** “Hey Tae Hyuk you should help her out. The poor girl doesn't even want to be here herself. She has to face her ex-boyfriend with her ex-friend who cheated on her with her boyfriend…” “Whatever. You are confusing me.” ** Lifting her head up, she saw the two exited the ballroom. Slumping her head down, she banged it against the marble table until something soft prevented her head from meeting the cold, solid surface. Opening her eyes, she saw a hand. Her heart leaped in joy, thanking god of giving her another chance. However, when she lifted her head to make a new impression, the smile on her face faded. Chae Ri stood beside her table, hooking her arms around a guy who had his hand on the table. “You okay Jin Seon?” He asked. Looking away with a vivid frown, she nodded. “I’m fine.” “Why? You don’t seem happy to see me again.” He chuckled. “How could she be happy when her date just dumped her here?” Chae Ri whispered, but loud enough to let a few people around them to hear. “Honey. Don’t be slack.” Jin Seon sighed inwardly at the sarcasm in his tone. “Not at all.” “Because I didn’t dump her here.” Surprised, Jin Seon searched in the crowd for that familiar voice. The crowd moved apart, forming a narrow walk way for Tae Hyuk to walk through. “Happy birthday.” He handed a package to Chae Ri. “My clumsy girlfriend left this in the car.”
Hesitantly and with a hint of embarrassment, Chae Ri accepted the present and thanked him. Tae Hyuk walked around the table and took a seat beside Jin Seon. Taking a glance at her, his eyes bulged at the big lump forming on her forehead. “Honey, what did you do?” He asked. The sincerity in his voice made a few girls melt in envious. “Do you have ice?” He asked the waiter. “I’ll get it for you.” “Thanks.” Tae Hyuk turned back to Jin Seon. Taking a gentle hold of her cheeks, he pulled her closer and blew into the red bruise. Shocked by his action, she rolled her eyes left and right to see that everyone was staring at them with admiration. She couldn't help but smile with joy. The waiter came back with a small pack of ice and handed it to Tae Hyuk. He gently placed it on her forehead and held it for her, merely smiled at the engaging audience. Chae Ri cleared her throat and took a seat. “So how long have you two being going out?” Jin Seon opened her mouth, but Tae Hyuk beat her to it. “Two days.” She gasped. “Only two days? Lee Hoon and I have been going out for 2 years.” “I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten sick of you.” Tae Hyuk commented casually, ignoring the shocking gawk displayed on Chae Ri’s face. “So you are saying you get sick of women easily?” She asked. “So how long do you think you and Jin Seon is going to last? A week?” Lee Hoon chuckled. “My kindergarten girlfriend lasted longer than that.” “Really? So you must be cute when you were in kindergarten right?” Tae Hyuk asked, frowning in thought. “But what happened?” Offended, Lee Hoon took a step forward, but Chae Ri stopped him and plastered a smile onto her face. “Enjoy your night. We’ll chat to you later.” She flicked her hair arrogantly and walked off with her boyfriend following.
“Why did you come back?” Jin Seon asked when the crowd decided to resume the party. “I got hungry.” She paused at the blunt answer and remembered her mission of creating a good impression to make the boy fall for her within three days. “I’ll go get you some food?”
Sun Woong opened the door to his small apartment and entered. “Aren’t you supposed to be at some party as someone’s boyfriend?” “I didn’t go to that some party and that someone didn't need a boyfriend.” He slumped onto his couch and laid his head back. “Why are you so drunk?” “How do you tell a girl that you like that you don't like her because she doesn’t like you and so you can’t like her but you cannot not like her but no matter what you do she just doesn't like you so you pretend that you don't like her but everyone thinks you two are a couple, but she just doesn't like you…..” “I think you should shut up and sleep.” “Bu’ I nee’ to pickap Jin Seon.” He slurred. “Leave that to me.” “Thanks. Love you ma…” He chuckled as Sun Woong’s words faded into a rhythmic snore pattern.
“Where the heck is he?” Jin Seon looked from left to right but only to see a few cars drive straight pass her every time added onto her annoyance. Tae Hyuk stood behind her, rocking back and forth, bored by the wait. “Call a cab.” “I could if one would turn up.” She kept her eyes on the empty road waiting for any car to just turn into the street. “Hey.”
“What?” She turned around. To her surprised, it wasn’t Tae Hyuk calling her, but a mob of guys dressed in black. They surrounded her and Tae Hyuk, throwing their baseball bats over their shoulder and jerked their chin in the air. “We were told to bash someone who called our master ugly.” The leader stood out. “So which one of you used this line?” he signalled one of his men who began to read. “Rea-lly? So you must be cut…” “It’s cute you idiot.” The guy sighed and began again. “Really? So you must be cute when you were in kind-er…” “Kin-dergarten.” The leader corrected. “…right? But what happened?” He let out a relieved sigh after his struggling reading session. “Which one of you said that?” The leader asked again. “It’s the guy.” A guy, who was disguised as a waiter earlier in the ballroom, pointed out. In a flash Tae Hyuk grabbed Jin Seon and ran into the deserted street. The mob of guys chased after them, waving their weapons in the air. “Why are we running?” Jin Seon shouted. “You could beat them with your fighting skills can’t you?” “I told you I don’t fight!” “Oh my god! Can you just pause your little game for a second to save our ass? What do you mean you don't fight? I saw you fight with the guys at the dock!” “I tell you again, I don't fight!” Jin Seon looked behind her and saw the guys catching up. Surprised that she hasn’t tripped on those high heels, she pulled them off and chucked them randomly at the mob, striking one in the head and another in the balls. “Yes!” She shot her fist in the air and laughed at the two whinge in pain. “Tell your master that it’s time he learns to accept the brutality of the truth! And whoever calls themselves a master these days?!” BANG! A bright white light flashed before her eyes and she began to stumble on her bare
foot. Tae Hyuk watched her, unsure whether if he should worry or laugh. Worry: the mob is catching up to them. Laugh, because she had struck hard into a metal pole. She tilted to a side and fell lifelessly into his arms.
The bed wobbled as Jin Seon woke in her beauty sleep. With her eyes closed, she yawned and shifted comfortably in the blanket. Rubbing her eyes, she sat up on the bed and shuffled her hair. Looking around her, she found a strange setting. A frown creased between her brows as she tries to recollect her memories. She remembered being chased by a mob of guys and something suddenly hit her head… Immediately, she jumped off the bed and looked around worriedly in search of a mirror. On her left, she found a door and without another thought she reached out to open it. The door flung open, a large bathroom mirror reflected on her, mocking her with messy hair resembling the bird nest. But that wasn’t what she was getting anxious about. She rushed to the mirror and examined her forehead. A big, red lump alerted her. “WAHH!!!!!” You’d think she screamed her lungs out at the flaw, but it wasn’t the bruise that caused her to shriek. Out of the corner of her eyes, she caught the reflection of a man stepping out of the shower. Shocked, he took anything that was nearby and covered himself before dashing out of the room leaving Jin Seon petrified on the spot with the portrait of his well toned body stuck in her mind. The tattoo on his left shoulder put a grin on her face.
‘A nerd with a tattoo?’
“You fainted what am I suppose to do!?” He banged his fist on the door. “Hurry up and come out! We gonna be late for scho-” The door suddenly swang open, nearly causing his fist to hit on Jin Seon’s head. She jutted her chin out at him and looked him up and down with suspicion. “Jang Tae Hyuk. What kind of games are you playing?” Folding her arms together, she inched towards him. He raised a brow and stepped back with each step she advances. “What are you talking about?” She noticed the small bruise on the corner of his eyes and remembered last night. “So you do fight after all? That was from last night wasn’t it? One against 10 yet all you get is a small bruise. Jang Tae Hyuk, wait, I should also call you Jang Tae Jin, why are you play two people?” “Yeah. I saved your ass last night. I think I should get a thanks.” “You could have dropped me off to Sun Woong but no, you chose to bring me here to your place, what are you trying to do?” He stopped her and grabbed her by her shoulder. Placing a palm over her forehead he frowned. “What?” she asked blankly. “You don’t have a fever.” He shook his head. “Why should I be having a fe-” “It must be that lump that’s driving you crazy.” He took a step aside and walked pass her. But she pulled onto his arms and yanked him back. As Tae Hyuk was caught of guard, he fell, pulling Jin Seon down with him. As if in slow motion, they twisted in the air and Jin Seon landed on the bottom with a well fitted man piled heavily above her. In the process of falling, she bumped her head on the edge of the table. She grimaced at the pain and tried to rub her head when she found her arms are stuck. She looked at Tae Hyuk and realised the awkward position they landed in.
Not only was her legs spread wide open but Tae Hyuk’s head was buried in her chest. Her cheeks grew red with embarrassment. “Um…am I interrupting?” They both turned to the door and saw Kevin trying hard to hold in his laughter. Tae Hyuk lifted himself up from the ground and looked away from the two. A hint of humiliation escaped his fake cough. Jin Seon sat up on the ground and rubbed her head. Looking from Tae Hyuk’s backside to Kevin’s mischievous grin, she hid her head in shame. “Um…let’s go to school.” Kevin finally suggested. Turning around hesitantly and still avoiding eye contact with Jin Seon, Tae Hyuk quickly headed to the door without helping her up. “Wait!” She stopped him. “I don’t have school uniform to wear.”
She rolled up the lose sleeves and looked down at the baggy pants, securing the cap to hide her face she followed Kevin and Tae Hyuk into the school yard. With her head down, she failed to notice her surrounding. Someone bumped into her shoulder and she lifted her cap to see Hong Gi smirking at her. “What’s with the uniform?” He eyed her Kang Shi Boy’s outfit from head to toe. “You’ve given up already?” She looked around and found Kevin and Tae Hyuk well in front of her, unnoticed to her encounter with Hong Gi. “No.” she turned back to him. “I stayed over his house last night, things are going great!” She beamed brightly to piss him off. “Really?” He scoffed. “There’s a school assemble tomorrow morning, I’m sure the principle is going to introduce you to the entire school, we’ll see them.” When he turned his back to walk off, she pulled a face at him and quickly ran to catch up with Kevin and Tae Hyuk.
Tae Hyuk lifted his head and found a pile of text books blocking his view. Tugging her head out from behind the books, she beamed at him, but only to have a dull stare in return. “Can you tutor me?” She asked cutely. He rolled his eyes to a side and turned away. “Leave me alone.” “Please~” Pressing her hands together, she begged. “Please. Please.” Tae Hyuk stared at her pleading face and hesitated. “What subject?” “English.” “I suck at English.” He lied at once. “No you don't.” She pulled out a paper. “Your school report says you Aced English every year.” She showed him the report in her hand. ** “So that’s her tactic.” Kevin turned around and found Hong Gi folding his arms, leaning against the door frame, watching Jin Seon with him from a far distance. “How cliché.” He mocked. “At least she’s got a tactic.” Kevin defended. “What’s your plan if she does succeed?” “I don’t need one.” He said confidently and added, “Tae Hyuk isn’t gonna fall for someone as ordinary and stupid as her.”
The pile of books had spread across the long table, taking up 6 people’s seats. Only a few tables were occupied and occasionally one or two people would glide across the book shelf and leave once they’ve found their target. Although the library was an unpopular place to hang out, but at an hour as late as 7 who would want to be stuck in a boring place full of books? Tae Hyuk propped his elbows onto the table. “Another word that means crazy.” He hinted, staring bleakly into space. “And starts with P.”
“Mmm…mad.” He rolled his eyes. “Starts with P.” He emphasised. “PAD!” She jumping out of her chair and shouted excitedly. He sighed irritably and dragged her back down. “It’s psychotic.” He hissed and glanced at the unnecessary attention she had attracted. “Oh~” she nodded. “Psychotic.” “Spell it.” She looked up at her forehead and blinked, “S.” Seeing Tae Hyuk roll his eyes and heave another sigh, she quickly changed her mind. “P…” Having no idea what letter comes next she pursed her lips and slumped her shoulders. Noticing the pout and disappointment growing on Jin Seon, he suddenly felt guilty. “Let’s take a break.” She beamed at the idea. “Let’s play a game!” “Huh!?” He watched as she opened an exercise book and ripped out two pages. Handing one to him she began explaining her little game. “You write a sentence and within each word in that sentence you can leave out a letter and at the end, all the letters left out are to spell a word or say a phrase.” She smiled excitedly, but only to have another dull gaze in return. He sat up and looked at her suspiciously. Becoming conscious under his gaze, she shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “What do you want?” He asked bluntly. She bit her lips, and forced an awkward smile. “I…I need you to fall in love with me.” Though finding her request hilarious and unreasonable, he waited patiently for her to continue.
“I made a bet with Hong Gi. Saying that…” She blushed and lowered her head. “You’ll fall in love with me in three days.” A smile tugged at his lips but he held it back. “Of course I realised it’s impossible, but,” She lifted her head to face him. “Can you just be my boyfriend for a day? Just one day so we can fool Hong Gi. Otherwise, I’d have to dress like a boy for the rest of my school days.” She voice faded at the thought. He took a moment to think as he looked her from head to toe. “What’s in it for me?” “I’ll do anything you want.” Having blurted that out, she remembered the encounter in his room and added, “Anything reasonable.” He chuckled, remembering this morning where a confident girl accused him of having double identity and now she’s turned into a helpless teenager desperately in need of his aid. “I’ll think about it.”
[Knock. Knock] Mr. Choi lifted his head and greeted the person at the door with a broad smile. “You called for me.” “Take a seat Tae Jin.” Tae Jin closed the door behind him and walked towards the sofa that Mr Choi gestured for him to sit. “Tae Jin, what do you think of Jin Seon?” He asked. A puzzled look crowned between Tae Jin’s brows as he tried to predict what’s on Mr. Choi’s mind. The old man chuckled. “No, it’s not what you think.” He laughed and took a small pause. “Jin Seon is not my daughter, but I love her just as much as I love Jin Ae. She’s a big trouble maker and ever since she’s a little kid, I’ve had to pay much more attention to her just in case she gets herself into danger. I know she didn’t come home last night and I couldn’t even sleep.”
“I’m sorry Mr Choi, I went to pick her up for Sun Woong but she already left the hotel when I got there.” Tae Jin explained. He waved it off. “I’m not blaming you. No one can really control her.” He heaved a sigh. “She made a bet with me and now she’s in a boy’s school, I’m very worried about her. Tae Jin, I know you got that same school, could I ask you to look after her for me?”
The street lights hovered across the deserted road. As the two set of foot steps approached, their shadows stretched under the light. Jin Seon stopped in her track and turned to face Tae Hyuk. “I’m here.” She pointed at the mansion behind her. “Thanks for walking me home.” He nodded and took a brief glance at the building behind her. “Bye.” “Don’t forget tomorrow.” She reminded quickly. He nodded and turned on his back to leave. “Don’t forget!” she called after him and gazed at his backside as he descended down the road waving a hand in reply. As his silhouette merged into the darkness, she opened the iron gates and entered.
Tuning a corner and walking ahead with his hands tugged in his pockets, Tae Hyuk became aware that he was being followed. Speeding up his pace, he began to break into a run when a crowd of guys blocked his way ahead. “Where do you think you are going?” Squinting in the dark, he recognised a few familiar faces that he bruised the night before. “What do you guys want?” His asked coldly. “We just want to see what you really got.” The leader stepped forward. “You beat ten by one, I wanna see if you can beat fifty by one.” With that, he placed his thumb and index finger in his mouth and whistled loudly. People began to emerge from the dark and a large circle of men surrounded Tae Hyuk.
“Bash him!” The order was shouted and everyone launched themselves at the fight. [Flashback] “Bash him!” The gang of men enclosed on their target, pinning him against the wall and blowed into his guts, bashed into his face and kicking him to the floor. The boy watched helplessly, with his jaw clenched and fist tightened he blamed himself for being so weak. Tears sipped through his eyes as he glared at the scene with hater. “Whatever you do, I don’t want you to solve problems with your fist. They hit you, you hit them back, and then they hit you again. It’s just gonna go on and on and on.” He hated himself and regretted for not listening to what was told to him. He bashed his fist into the ridged, hard wall and yearned to turn back time. The guy fell to his knees, his body was blood drenched and his face was unrecognisable. When the gang of people left, the boy ran up to the lifeless body lying on the ground. The guy forced a weary smile onto his bruised face as he looked the boy in the eye. “It’s over.” His voice spoke hoarsely. “Everything’s good now. They won’t come back anymore.” He assured. The boy nodded his head with tears wetting his face. “I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!!” [Flashback Ended]
The blush of giggly girls ran pass Jin Seon and hurried excitedly towards the gates. She turned to look behind her and found the neighbouring school’s population had immigrated to Kang Shin Boys. Curious as to what owns their interest, she headed towards a group of ‘electrified’ girls. “Is there some kind of event?” She asked, looking around the place trying to spot something different.
“Kang Shin’s uljjang is coming to school today!” She replied giddily. “Uljjang?” she raised a brow. “Isn’t it…” She pointed towards Hong Gi. “No, not Hong Gi.” She shook her head. “Although he’s cute too.” She said dreamily. Jin Seon chuckled at her. “You know, he never comes to school.” She shook Jin Seon’s hand excitedly, “I heard it’s because he’s in some kind of gang!” she gasp, but not a hint of fear was shown on her happy face. “How sexy!!” “YAH! YAH!” The school gate security shouted through a megaphone. “YOU GIRLS GET OUT OF HERE!!!” He shooed them with a few of his companions. “GO BACK TO YOUR OWN SCHOOL!!” “Geez. How can one guy get them all excited like this?!” The security guard murmured. “So what he never comes to school, there’s another one! And he actually comes everyday!” He picked up the megaphone again, and shouted at the girls. Jin Seon watched as a few girls protested to the security. “Why is she allowed in there?!” They pointed at Jin Seon. “Because she goes to this school!” He picked up the megaphone and shouted into their face. “PISS OFF!!” “Your boyfriend is late today.” Hong Gi said, coming to stand beside Jin Seon amidst all the chaos. She turned on her heels to face him and beamed. “Don’t worry, he will come.”
She turned on her heels to face him and beamed. “Don’t worry, he will come.” The confident smile on Jin Seon’s face had gone missing when she looked around with an anxious frown between her brows. Her palms were beginning to sweat as she squeezed her fingers nervously.
The school of boys began to assemble into neat rows and columns around her. Tipping on her toes, she tried to search for Tae Hyuk amongst them. Tapping his hand on her shoulder, she turned around and greeted Hong Gi with a relieved smile, but soon faded. He chuckled mockingly at her disappointment and steered her towards the very front row. As she walked away with Hong Gi, the few girls who were still gathered at the half-opened school gates began screaming with excitement. At the sudden outburst, Jin Seon turned her head a fraction catching sight of the girls crowding into a small circle, surrounding someone who she couldn’t catch a glimpse of. Heaving a sigh, knowing the mere possibility of Tae Hyuk turning up she slumped wearily and let Hong Gi push her towards a spot in the middle of the front row, right under the stage. After all, Tae Hyuk had every right to ditch her, but a small voice inside Jin Seon trusted him. “Ah. Ah.” A stubby man in his fifties tapped on the microphone. He cleared his throat with a hint of nervousness and spoke into it. “G…Good morning everyone.” The crowd responded with chatter as they continued to muck around, ignorant to his presence. He cleared his throat and tried again. “Ahem! Good morning everyone!” When his acknowledgment failed to reach the students again, Hong Gi and a few guys around him turned and shouted at the group. “Shut the hell up! Old man’s trying to speak up there!” Surprisingly enough, the crowd obeyed their orders willingly and quietened. Though with slight embarrassment, the old man nodded at Hong Gi and thanked the guys with awkwardness. Jin Seon raised a brow at Hong Gi, suddenly curious to what role Hong Gi played in this school. He sneered at her, reading her mind through her inquisitive gaze. “Girls at the gates. Please return to your school right now!” he ordered through the microphone, sounding with slight authority. The assembled crowd turned to watch the commotion. As Jin Seon turned too, she only saw the tall ones’ backside that blocked her view. Slowly, the girls dispersed revealing the person they were crowding around. Murmur broke out at once, adding onto Jin Seon’s desperate attempt to find out who was at the gate. Jumping up and down, she merely caught a few seconds of the silhouette but even if she did have a good chance to look at him, the cap he wore made it impossible to identify him from such a long distance. But the rest of the students knew who he was. “Is that him?” “Yeah.” “Are you sure?” “I thought he got expelled or transferred.”
“Apparently not, but I don’t see why he’s back again. It’s been 6 months and 3 weeks since what happened.” “You actually kept count?” “Shut up.” Having given up, Jin Seon turned to face the front. However, the stunned expression on the teachers’ faces merely aroused her curiosity even more. Catching himself at daze, the stubby man – school principal – snapped his gaze away from the gate. He cleared his throat and straightened his suit before announcing into the microphone. “You guys have probably noticed our new student in the past few days.” He began. One by one, the students all turned and listened, as if there wasn’t any interruption. “I would like to introduce you to Choi Jin Seon.” He gestured at the front row, “Jin Seon, please come up.” Hesitantly, she stepped out of the row and walked around to the stairs leading up to the stage. The assembly of boys behind her oh-ed at her mini-skirt uniform and clapped excitedly. “Hey! I thought we were an all-boys school!” Someone in the crowd shouted. “Yah! Is she a man?!” Laughter broke out at the comment. “No she’s a girl.” The stubby principal confirmed. “I know we are an all-boys school and it must be hard on Jin Seon to cope. So I ask you boys to show her the politeness and respect of a gentleman.” He nodded at Jin Seon as she stood next to him. “Pfft.” Someone in the crowd scoffed. Looking down, Hong Gi smirked at her. “If it’s so hard to cope, then get out.” He challenged, crossing his arms. The stubby man tightened his fist and frowned at Hong Gi, trying hard to communicate to him through his angered eyes. But Hong Gi ignored the old man and continued. “What are you trying to do?” He stepped forward, placing his palms against the stage. “With your mini-skirt…” He trailed off with a mischievous grin. “Aren’t you scared to get raped? “Lee Hong Gi!” The stubby man shouted with rage. Hong Gi ignored him again enjoying the embarrassment he had brought onto Jin Seon as she stood on the stage, being stared at by hundreds of boys as dirty thoughts ran through every each and one of their minds. “Of course!” He spoke up again, snapping the guys out of their thoughts. “A girl like you must have a boyfriend right?” He raised a brow as a smirk tugged at the corner of his lip. “If you don't, I suggest you try to find one. SOON.” The crowd erupted at once as the boys pointed and volunteered. “Yah~ come to oppa! I’ll protect you!!”
“Look at those muscles. I’ll protect you!” Jin Seon glared at the triumphant sneer on Hong Gi’s face, wanting to slap it off. But then again, this is where Tae Hyuk comes in. Like a knight in his shiny armour, he’d save her butt from this evil pretty boy. Only if Tae Hyuk was here. As the teachers gave their poor attempt to quieten down the assembly, someone stepped out from the back. The rows like a domino, muted as he walked pass them and made his way towards the stage. As he stepped on the stairs, everyone paused. Under his cap, a shadow hovered across his features, adding mysteriousness to his appearance. Knowing exactly who he was, Hong Gi stared at every moment he made up the stairs and towards Jin Seon in the middle of the stage. Having a glimpse of his sharp jaw line, she smiled at the familiarity. Glaring at his audience, he threw his arms around her shoulder and pulled her closer to him. “Touch her, I’ll kill you.” Everyone’s jaw dropped. The stubby principal jumped off the stage and pulled Hong Gi away into the building. Jin Seon lifted her head and stared at him. He had lost the black framed glasses and under the shadows of his cap, his features were more defined. Feeling giddy in his tight embrace she giggled, but realising he was just acting, she punched him playfully on the chest. “Jang Tae Hyuk, why don’t you try out for acting?” He looked down at her as a chuckle escaped his soft lips. “I got better things to do. Choi Jin Seon.” A puzzled look replaced her smile. The way he called her name suddenly sounded strange and distant to her. “Tae Hyuk…” “The name is Jang Tae Jin.” Jin Seon stopped. She took a good moment to look at Tae Jin and before she knew it, she laughed. “Tae Hyuk, stop playing around.” “I’m not Tae Hyuk.” He snapped bluntly. She frowned at his denial and pushed his arm off her shoulder. The assembly of people watched as she stood in front of Tae Jin and began unbuttoning his shirt. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t stop her. The crowd gasped.
The stubby man pulled on Hong Gi’s ears as he dragged him into his office. “Yah! Do you know what you just did?” He banged his palms against the table and turned to face Hong Gi. With his hands in his pockets and an as-if-I-give-a-sh1t attitude, Hong Gi strolled over to the chair and sat down. “Appa. First, I was just stating the obvious. What do you expect from a bunch of healthy men?” He shrugged. “Second, why did you even enrol a girl into our school in the first place?” “Stand up.” “What?” “At school, I’m the principal, not ‘appa’!” Hong Gi rolled his eyes and continued to sit at the chair, playing with the pencil tin on his dad’s table. “Choi Jin Seon is not an average girl you can toy with. She’s Choi Dong Ho’s daughter.” An irritated sigh made his son aware of his situation. Hong Gi sat up on in his chair and engaged himself into the explanation. Sure he’s heard of the name Choi Dong Ho, but never did he obtain more than a name to this man who could have such influences on people like he did. “Choi Dong Ho is a man who dominates the jewellery industry in Korea. In the eyes of every ordinary person, he’s just a successful businessman. But he’s just as bad as the mafia’s in Japan. He’s a nice guy, but once you get into his bad book who knows what could happen? And I tell you Lee Hong Gi, leave that girl alone.” He rolled his eyes up and stared at his dad. “What if I don’t?” Knowing his stubborn son, he threw his arms up in defeat. “Do whatever you like, you’ve been warned.” Hong Gi pushed the chair out and stood up. He patted his old man on the shoulder and smiled. “Appa. I know what I’m doing.” The old man simply nodded and turned to look out the window as Hong Gi made his way towards the door. “Oh. By the way.” He stopped and turned back around. “What are you going to do with Jang Tae Jin?” “What can I do?” The man asked rhetorically. “He’s Choi Dong Ho’s man.” Pursing his lips, Hong Gi nodded understandingly and left the room.
She undid the last button and reached up to his collar. Tae Jin stood still, like a mannequin in a clothes shop he did nothing in objection as Jin Seon took off his blouse and revealed him in his white singlet. Knowing what she was looking for, he turned for her. The both side of his shoulders were well toned and untainted with a missing tattoo. Realisation finally drowned on Jin Seon. “Jang Tae Jin?” Walking towards the stage, Kevin narrowed his eyes as he tries to see the guy beside Jin Seon. “Tae Jin.” He said again when he was close enough to recognise the guy under the cap. “Where’s Jang Tae Hyuk?” Jin Seon jumped off the stage and ran towards Kevin. “He’s in the hospital. He told me to come because he suppose to help you-” His sentence stopped in mid as Jin Seon dragged him towards the school gate. “Where’ we going?” “To the hospital.”
Tae Hyuk opened his eyes slowly and the first thing that greeted his sight was a pair of eyes blinking its long lashes at him. He sat up immediately in shock and bumped his forehead with Jin Seon. “What the hell ‘re you doing?!” He sat up, watching her rub her head in pain. “Why are you here?” She lowered her arms and glared at him. “Jang Tae Hyuk, did you have fun watching me like a crazy, insane person?” “What’re you talking about?” He dismissed her anguish tone casually and reached out to the water that was on the bedside table beside him. “When I accused you of having double identity, why didn’t you tell me you had a twin named Jang Tae Jin?” She demanded. Amidst his struggle to reach the table on his left with his right arm, he paused when the name Jang Tae Jin was mentioned. He lowered his arm and sat back, giving up reaching for the glass of water. “I hate explaining stuff. Especially to stupid people.” He added.
“You did not just call me stupid.” “Yes I did. What you gonna do?” She stood up, biting her lips as she thought of a way to release her anger. Without another thought, her fist shot out and slammed against his chest. Tae Hyuk winced and coughed at the pain. Her facial expression softened at his reaction and became worried. She reached out to his blanket and pulled it away, revealing the bandage around Tae Hyuk’s chest and the left arm hidden in a white cast. “What happened to you?” Now that the anger in her had extinguished, she became aware of Tae Hyuk’s condition. His head was wrapped in white gaze with a red patch of blood stain on the right of his forehead. His face was bruised and cut here and there, his chest was bandaged and his arm was broken. “Did you get in a fight?” “No, a bus hit me.” He snapped sarcastically. “Are you okay?” “I was, until you hit me again.” “I’m sorry.” Guilt shone in her eyes. “Who did it?” “Some guy named Lee Hoon.” Kevin walked in and closed the door behind him. “Lee Hoon?! Chae Ri’s boyfriend?! Is this because we called him ugly the other night at their party?” She asked. “I thought we settled it that night.” “Well-” “It’s settled now.” Tae Hyuk interrupted Kevin. “Oh good.” A smile flashed across her frown. “I bet you beat the crap out of them right?” “Pass me the water.”
The setting sun in the afternoon tainted the sky with a pinkish orange hue; go figure. As Tae Hyuk slept soundlessly on his bed, Kevin closed his car magazine and stood up. “Wouldn’t it be good if there’s a TV in here?” He threw the magazine onto the table and poured himself a glass of water. Jin Seon picked up the magazine with boredom and flipped through the content. A knock at the door drew both their attention, they watched as it opened ajar and Hong Gi entered with someone following him. It was Jang Tae Jin. A smile spread across Kevin’s bored expression as he saw Tae Jin walk in with his hand tugged in his pocket.
“Don’t get it wrong.” Tae Jin glanced at Kevin. “I’m not here to visit him. I came to pick her up.” “Me?” Jin Seon raised a brow and pointed at herself. “Let’s go.” Tae Jin mentioned for the door, a hint of irritation in his tone. “Wait.” Hong Gi turned around from Tae Hyuk’s bed, having examined him. “I got unfinished business with her.” He walked towards Jin Seon and grabbed her by her collar. “Let’s go buy you a set of boy’s uniform.” “What?! Why?” Her hands reached up to Hong Gi’s grip and struggled against it. “Let go of her.” Tae Jin ordered, which caught another weird glance from Jin Seon. “Shut up.” Hong Gi snapped, keeping his eyes on Jin Seon. “Remember our deal? No Tae Hyuk then you’re going to a boy from now on.” He began dragging her towards the door. “But you see it too. He’s injured that’s why he didn’t come. Wake him up now and ask him!” “Ask me what?” The four of them turned to the bed. Tae Hyuk’s eyes were caught on Tae Jin for a second before he looked away in denial. He sat up on his bed, looking at Hong Gi and Jin Seon inquiringly. “You’re-” “What size uniform should she wear?” Hong Gi asked, cutting off Jin Seon’s sentence. “Why?” “She’s gonna dress as a boy because she lost the bet.” “What bet?” “The one I told you.” Jin Seon hissed through grinded teeth, hoping he’d catch the flow. But he ignored her. “Why don’t you just cut her hair short?” Tae Hyuk suggested out of the blue. “WHAT!?” “Good idea.” Hong Gi agreed and turned to Jin Seon. “Hair cut or dresses as a boy for a year?” He asked. She glared at him then at Tae Hyuk. “Tell him you are my boyfriend.” She hissed at Tae Hyuk. “What boyfriend?” He asked, bluntly as if having no clue what she’s talking about. “Did you get brain damage?” she looked at his bandaged forehead. “You agreed to it last night.” “I think short hair would look good on you.” He grinned, ignoring her once again. “Hair cut it is!” Hong Gi announced happily. “NO!” She protested. “Now get out of here. I need my rest.” Tae Hyuk tugged himself back in bed and closed his eyes, listening contently to the cheap threats Jin Seon was shouting as she
gets dragged out of the room by Hong Gi.
“I think this one looks better.” Hong Gi pointed to a Victoria-Beckham-hair in the magazine. The hair was short at the back with a diagonal cut that slides down to the front reaching just under her chin. It was a short hair, but it definitely had a girly fling to it. “This one.” Hong Gi decided and showed the large picture to the hairdresser. The short yet stylish guy in his thirties nodded and turned to look at Jin Seon in the mirror. He lifted a bundle of her silk-like long hair that every girl wishes to have and examined her in the mirror. “Are you sure you want it cut this short?” She scoffed helplessly. “Dose it look like I have a choice?” The hairdresser shrugged and began his mission. Sometime later, someone entered the artistry bring with her an arrogant aura that stunk the place. She took a seat before the mirror and waited for her personal stylist to tend to her. “Miss An, how would you like your hair done today?” The man stood behind her and asked. “Do whatever you do well.” She said looking at her fake nails. “I’ve got a party to attend at Trespass tonight.” The club reminded Jin Seon of someone. She took a glance out the corner of her eyes and realised the arrogant girl was no other than An Chae Ri. On cue, Chae Ri turned her head to inspect the place and caught on Jin Seon’s eyes. “Oh. Hi~” She waved with a plastic grin. “Getting a hair cut?” “What else would I be doing?” Chae Ri chuckled. “I thought that long hair was your greatest pride or something. Why are you cutting it?” “Just because.” Hong Gi, sitting on the comfortable waiting couch glanced at the two as they conversed bitterly. Beside him, Tae Jin waited with an irritated scowl. “Oh~ c’mon, did you break up with…” She rolled her eyes at the ceiling as she tried to think of the name. “Tae Hyuk?” “No.” She lied. Nevertheless, they won’t even going out in the first place. Chae Ri sighed pitifully. “I mean I would too since he’s such a weak guy.”
“What are you talking about?” Jin Seon glared at her, offended. “Lee Hoon really thought he was something when he easily beat ten by one. So he went to challenge your boyfriend with his gang. But that Tae Hyuk couldn’t even fight back once.” She giggled purposely then pretended she was sorry with a look in her eyes that was rather mocking than sorry. “Miss An, we need to wash you hair.” Chae Ri stood up from her chair, and wiggled her butt as she made her way to the washing room. Jin Seon turned back to the mirror, her face flushed with anger and confusion. “I bet you beat the crap out of them right?” "Pass me the water." For the rest of the haircut, Jin Seon didn’t talk or look at Chae Ri again. When she left with her ridiculous afro ready to party, Jin Seon took out her phone and called Sun Woong. ‘Hey! Haven’t seen yo-‘ “Sun Woong, you work under my dad right?” ‘Yeah.’ “You are my body guard right?” ‘Yeah.’ “You work for my dad so I’m your boss too right?” ‘Yeah. What’s with all-‘ “So your gang is my gang right?” ‘Yeah. But you were never proud of them.’ “Whatever, I am now. Gather everyone up and meet me at Trespass. 8 o’clock.” “Done!” The hairdresser did his last touch up and placed his palms on either side of Jin Seon’s cheek, presenting her with his proud work. Hong Gi stood up, but before he headed towards Jin Seon, he kicked Tae Jin to wake him from his nap. Jin Seon examined the new girl in the mirror. Surprisingly, she liked it. With a grin playing on her lips, she thanked the hairdresser and told him she’d come back again. Heading out of the artistry, her new hairstyle danced in the soft wind. “Can we go home now?” Tae Jin yawned and stretched as he breathed in a gutful of fresh air. “You can. But I’m going to Trespass.” “Trespass?!” Hong Gi and Tae Jin echoed.
A bunch of guys gathered in the dark, narrow alley. Kicking pebbles and exhaling smokes of carbon dioxide, they waited with a surge of unknown excitement and at the same time, wondered why they were gathered at the alley opposite TresPass. The tip of their cigarettes would occasionally light a red speckle in the darkness as they sucked on the butt and exhaled slowly. Down at the end of the alley, three silhouettes hovered under the dim street lamp making their entrance down the tapered path. The smokers stabbed their unfinished cigarettes against the pavement and stood up to their height. As the three figures continued to approach, oblivious to the fact that there was a gang gathering before their eyes, a few guys stepped forward and blocked their way. “Kid, you might want to get out of here.” He warned with a hoarse voice and looked down at the leader, who also appeared to be the shortest of the three. In the dark with only the moon as a source of light, it was impossible to recognise whether the person was a girl or a guy. The person scoffed, as if mocking the oversized man. The crowd stepped forward, in the manner that expected the three to tug their tails in and run for their life, but they stood firm on grounds and didn’t recoil Sun Woong, hearing the shuffling, opened his eyes. He had been in a nap on the ground for the past half an hour. He rose to his feet and walked towards the crowd. The men parted, making way for him to the front, where the oversized man stood, towering over his opponent. Without the need to see who was standing before him, Sun Woong gave the oversized man a slap across the head. “That’s Choi Jin Seon. You fool.” As if the oversized man didn’t believe Sun Woong, he flicked the lighter alight and shone it in Jin Seon’s face. She flinched at the hot blaze in her face and glanced at the crowd. Immediately, the lighter dropped to the ground and a scattered shuffle was heard in the dark. When Sun Woong picked up the lighter again and lit it for his cigarette, the crowd of man, now lined up against the wall, bowed. “Boss.” Though the title seemed somewhat strange been addressed on a teenage girl, and Jin Seon was in fact not all that impressed by it, she dismissed the thought and greeted the guys with a simple ‘hi’, which added onto the already awkward salutation. “Boss, I’m sorry about calling you a kid.” The oversized man bowed again.
Jin Seon merely stared at him, not understanding the big deal that he saw. A laughter began to choke behind her. She turned around and found Hong Gi laughing dramatically. The crowd stared at him. “What’s funny?” The oversized man asked, lifting from his bow. Hong Gi shook his head as he calmed his laughter. “A boar bowing to a dwarf. Ha ha ha!” A sneer tugged on Tae Jin’s lips as he saw what Hong Gi was talking about. The comparison was significant. Standing next to the strapping man, Jin Seon appeared smaller than she actually was, and compared to the slim body of a 19 year-old girl, the guy seemed even bigger and puffier. The crowd tried hard to hold their laughter. In all embarrassment, Jin Seon jabbed him in the ribs that broke his laughter into a fit of coughing. She turned on her heels and led out of the alley with Sun Woong followed by Tae Jin and Hong Gi with a mob of guys trailing behind. On the street opposite, the neon lights flashed TRESPASS. TresPass. If you are thinking something along the lines of such name suggest its form then you have no idea. The place was entered upon secretive invitations and if one was ever to have the idea of intruding TresPass – they are intruding Hell, and no one would want to intrude Hell. Right? As one of the major and most famous clubs, TresPass is known for its illicit dealings and underground gatherings. Rumour or truth, it was a public secret. The police had long given up trying to look for evidence that’d close down the place and put the owner behind bars, because their one-two-many failures has put more shame on them than they’ve ever bargained for. After all, the ownership of TresPass belonged to a man who could have as much influence on the country as a tornado’s swift impact; as much as his follow colleague, Choi Dong Ho. So put it all in simple terms, TresPass is not a place to mess with. You’d think Choi Jin Seon is oblivious to this simple fact as she barged through the entrance with a group of guys behind her, but she knew better. The bouncer immediately blocked her path, puffing their chest out as if saying “fcuk off”, but only to have the light knocked out of their consciousness the next second when Oversize took control and cleared the path with ease. Leading her way into the club, the heart-thumping music and flashing lights took over her senses. Searching through the ocean of people she spotted the afro that she remembered seeing earlier in the salon. Wherever she is, he’s there. They were on the second floor, aka VIP area. Chae Ri was dancing to the up-beat music with a group of girls and Lee Hoon was slumped on the comfortable sofa watching her movements with a dull expression on his face. Guys and girls crowded beside him.
With a mob of guys behind her, all dressed in black, people turned and gaped as she made her way towards the stairs that lead to second floor. Although curious, they were too drugged-up to stop on the pitch of excitement and care about what on earth is happening, so they all turned back to dancing and shaking their heads to the beat. Stepping onto the stairs, someone stopped her. Jin Seon looked up and found Ray– Lee Hoon’s dog. Upon recognition, he lowered his barrier arm and made way for her. Hong Gi and Tae Jin exchanged curious glances but nevertheless followed her up the stairs. Sun Woong and the guys stopped at the bottom of the stairs and waited, waiting for a signal, if needed. She reached the top of the stairs. The second level was just as big as the ground level with a bar, a dance floor and tables and seats to lounge on. Taking every stride with demanding attention, she made sure the girls stopped dancing to glare at her, the boys dropped their drinks to check her out and more importantly Lee Hoon saw what was coming his way. He stood up with a drunken smile spread across his face. Opening his arms, he welcomed Jin Seon like he would with an old friend. But Jin Seon was no friend, they both knew, everyone knew. She marched towards him and pushed him back down onto the lounge. With a surprised look, and a smirk, he stared at her. Everyone knew who she was, so no one dared to interfere. “What’s up baby?” “Don’t call me baby.” Lee Hoon shrugged. “How do you like it if I round you up, fifty against one?” She stared into his eyes that glistened against the lights. Lee Hoon raised a brow, and chuckled, knowing what she was referring to. “You haven’t changed. Everything’s about fairness huh?” She nodded, having no intention to denial. “Exactly. What you did to him, now you gonna get it back.” She reached down and grabbed his collar. Been pulled by his tie, Lee Hoon stood up on his feet willingly, but he was in no meaning to let Jin Seon drag him down the stairs. “Wait, wait, wait.” He held his hand up in surrender. Jin Seon turned and faced him. “I apologize! I’m sorry for beating your boyfriend’s sorry ass.” A mocking smirk tugged on his lips. With a sudden yank, she pulled him closer. “You did not beat him. You beat him with fifty against one. I’m sure if you fought with him without your fifty-crew you’d be the one laying in the hospital with a broken arm, fractured rib and bruised face.” She narrowed her eyes, “Your apology is not appreciated. But, I would love to see you fighting them alone.” She pointed a finger at the bottom of the stairs, where the group of guys were beginning to bore with the lack of action.
Lee Hoon looked over her shoulder and saw the gang. He chuckled and looked back to her. In the course, his eyes caught on Tae Jin. Confusion crowed between his brows. “Twins?” His brain sure worked faster than Jin Seon’s. Jang Tae Jin simply glared at him. “How about, you fight me for your brother, and see who-” “No.” Tae Jin cut him off. Though irritated by the rudeness, he clenched his jaw and hid his anger with a sneer. “Coward.” “Coward?!” It seemed like Jin Seon was fed up with his crap. She released Lee Hoon by the collar and clenched her fist. With as much force as she could gather, she jabbed the impact into his right cheek, causing him to stumble and fall back into the sofa. “You have no fcuken right to call anyone anything! You are the coward you fcuken jerk!” Though Jin Seon had a frame of any ordinary 19-year old, but been trained in her years of youth she learned to protect herself even without Sun Woong the body guard, just in case there was a case of kidnap. At last, the lessons in karate, judo, boxing, tae kwon do and any other form of martial arts has just paid off. She glared at the defeated man slumped across the sofa. Lee Hoon reached up to the corner of his mouth and dapped at the droplets of blood. The crowd awed and gasped, but yet still no one interfered, except for… “Are you nuts?! What are you doing!?” Chae Ri pushed her out of the way and ran to Lee Hoon. Kneeling before him, she examined the trickle of blood and turned to glare hatefully at Jin Seon. Seeing the two together made all her memories rush back at her – the pain of betrayal, a gash of anger and hate overpowered her. Having remembered the times he told her he loved her, having remembered how foolish she was to have fallen for his face-deep crap, having remembered the tears she shed for this unworthy man, she turned on her heels and headed down the stairs. If there were both an angel and a devil existing within one person, the devil took the better of Jin Seon that night. She glared at Sun Woong with cold, hard eyes when she reached the bottom of the stairs and clenched her jaw. “Kill him.” ** The place erupted with screams and the clashing of glass onto the marble floor filled the music-jammed club. “Kill him.” In her own ways, Jin Seon could be a naive and childish girl who acted without
weighing the consequences. She could burst on the spot from rage and the next minute she could just as much regret it. Half of her conscious wished Lee Hoon would never appear before her eyes ever again. But the other half knew it was a command impossible to accomplish. Nevertheless, Lee Hoon is just as equally powerful as Sun Woong, the club must have been disguised with his gang members anyway. Without thinking much about the order she had sent out and just having a thought of Lee Hoon getting a good blow to his ego, she strayed downtown that was filled with exotic night life. It didn’t take too long before she realised she was been followed, and they were no other than Lee Hong Gi and Jang Tae Jin. She stopped. Almost too sudden that might have caused the two to run into her. Turning around to face them, she rested her hands on her hips. Though the idea of Hong Gi and Tae Jin coming to TresPass with her was pretty random, but she never gave a second thought about it, until now. “Why are you two still following me? No wait, why did you come in the first place?” Hong Gi scratched his head, “I don’t know.” “I have no choice.” Jin Seon stared at Tae Jin for his answer. “I never forced you to come.” She reminded him. He sighed and changed the subject. “Can we go hom –” “Let’s go Karaoke!” As having burst out his random idea, he grabbed onto Jin Seon’s wrist and pulled her through the crowded streets and towards the centre of town. With the same reason as why he followed Jin Seon to TresPass, Tae Jin strayed behind the two, having no idea where it is leading to. Until Hong Gi dragged Jin Seon up a steep and narrow stairway that was lit by a dim blue light, did he lift his head and greet the huge welcoming sign above the entrance that flashed ChuChu Karaoke Box. The young man behind the counter lifted his head as he heard the bell jingle. “Hong Gi!” “Hey Chu!” He stride towards the counter and leaned over. “Busy tonight?” “Same as usual” He looked from Hong Gi to the girl beside him. “Jin Seon! Hi!” With a blank expression, she stared at the guy before her, differentiating the one at school – Kevin’s ex-seat-partner and the one dressed in a casual shirt and jeans with his hair spiked and styled. He looked good, not hot but good enough to get a girl all giddy, it's a shame he’s stuck in a karaoke bar on a Friday night when he could be going out partying though. “You own this place?” she looked around the small lobby, a large plasma TV was playing Shinhwa’s old video clips and a few drink venders stood in a corner beside a
few waiting lounges. “It’s my old man’s. But he’s too old to run it so yeah, you can say I own it.” He beamed, flashing his perfect teeth. “Hey you didn’t tell me you were coming today.” He turned back to Hong Gi. “So I gave your room out.” “It’s alright.” “Room 20 is available, turn the corner.” He laughed. “You know your way.” “Okay. And give us 2 dozen of beers.” ChuChu raised a brow, but nodded anyways. Catching Tae Jin out the corner of his eyes, ChuChu’s smile dimmed as he merely greeted with a “hi” when he passed by to follow Hong Gi into the corridors.
“Dooooooooooo. Dooooooooo.” “Yoh bu se yo? Yoh bu se yo?” *sigh* “Ye (love is pain) to all my broken-hearted-people (come again) one's old a flame, scream my name and I'm so sick of love songs, ye I hate damn love song, memento of ours …” “KOH JID MAL …” Hong Gi rapped drunkenly to the rhythms of Big Bang’s infamous hit song – Lies. Waving his hand and doing all the ghetto movements as he read along the lyrics and stepped on the beats. Slouching herself back onto the sofa, Jin Seon picked up a bottle on the table and tipped it upside down above her opened mouth to find it empty. Launching forward, she searched for an unopened bottle amongst the 30 or so bottles scattered on the table. The beat of the music thumped along her dizziness as she twisted the cap off the beer and emptied the chilled liquor down her throat. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she stood up on the couch as the song reached the chorus and shouted out, “I’M SO SORRY BUT I LOVE YOU …” and slumped back down onto the seat again. Taking a glance at the drunk, Tae Jin took a gulp out of his beer and looked away again, wondering when this is going to end. Suddenly, she slumped over and pushed a microphone into his face. Giggling on the effect of alcohol she breathed in his face, “I’M SO SORRY BUT I LOVE YOU!” He took the microphone out of her hands, but with no intention to sing, placed it back onto the messy table. She pouted but got over it quickly as she slumped into his
lap, laying her head on his thigh. “TaeHyuk? Tae Jin? He he he. I can’t tell the difference.” She pointed at him with a weary finger. “But you know what, you two are better than that jerk.” She scoffed, almost angrily and dropped her arm. Burying her head into his stomach, she laughed. “Don’t you think he deserves to die?” She lifted her head to look Tae Jin in the eyes, for a microsecond, she was sober, before her tired eyelids blinked and opened despairingly. “I did everything because of him. I trusted him.” Tae Jin stared at the girl in his lap, venting about the process of heart-breaking. She had her eyes closed, but she was talking as if she was conscious. Only if he didn’t see her drink those dozens of beers he’d think she was looking for sympathy. But he knew she wasn’t, he knew she was intoxicated by the alcohol. She just had to vent, had to tell someone why she was so cold hearted back at TresPass. “I loved him so much! I even thought we were going to get married!!” She scoffed at her own stupidity. “Even when I knew we were born enemies, but I didn’t give a sh1t! I didn’t care about the hatred my dad and his dad wore. I threw everything away for him! I…I.” Tears sipped through the corner of her eyes and rolled down the side of her face. “It was Chae Ri, me and Tammy. The three of us, we were like sisters…But he destroyed it all.” She shook her head. “I destroyed it all.” [Flashback] It was junior high when the three girls met and became friends. No. More than friends. At first, they were just the ordinary people who you find in the school yards of a high school. Then they became the popular bunch, boys chased around them and girls hated them for being them. But none of the three paid the slightest attention to any of the immaturity. Until one day. A transferred student arrived in their class. His name was Lee Hoon. He was immediately crowned the Uljjang, the Jjang, whatever. He was new, but he wasn’t new to Jin Seon. She had seen him before in her dad’s social gatherings; she knew she was not to go any where close to Lee Hoon. She knew, for a particular reason, her dad and his dad were foes way back in the days and for that, he was her enemy too. But it was fate, although it seemed, the thread of fate that pulled and tied the two together. He was in every class she was in, his locker happened to be next to hers. Sometimes, he just happened to show up in her troubles and solve them before her eyes, and occasionally he would surprise her with a talent she yet has not discovered. Surprisingly and gradually, she fell for him. As phoney and cheesy it sounded, that was the words to their relationship. It all started off smoothly. Everyone saw that the two would end up dating one day,
some day. There weren’t jealousy girls, or envious guys who tries to break up the two, after all, everyone learnt what kind of people they were and knew not to mess with them. But under his influence, she was blinded. She believed every word that came out of his mouth, every action entrusted her love for him. But little did she know then, that those actions, those words were no more than lies and excuses. He was cheating. Tammy, the timid one out of the three, the little sister of the three, knew better as a side-watcher. She knew he was cheating on Jin Seon sometime into their relationship. Although at first, she was not so sure, she kept everything to herself. But when one day, she ran into Lee Hoon and his mistress, she was shocked. Lee Hoon had a girl around his arms; a girl who Tammy thought would never betray and cheat on Jin Seon - a girl who wore pride in the name An Chae Ri. She was threatened to keep the news quiet, not to say a word to Jin Seon. But the little naive girl couldn’t watch Jin Seon suffer and wait for a guy late in the night to celebrate his birthday when he’s partying with Chae Ri but telling her he was running late because of an errand he had to do for his dad. It was all lies. So Tammy decided to spill everything out to Jin Seon. And she did. “Jin Seon, I gotta tell you something.” Tammy approached her timidly. “What?” “Lee Hoon is cheating.” “Huh?” “Lee Hoon is cheating on you with Chae Ri.” “What are you talking about?” Jin Seon scoffed, looking at Tammy as if she was insane. “Trust me. He’s not as good as he seems to be.” “Whatever Tammy. You are just jealous. Maybe we should find you a boyfriend.” She joked. But little did she know, that was the last thing she could ever say to the girl. Been blinded by love and with trust in her other friend, Jin Seon believed nothing Tammy had said and left her. “If you were dating a guy and I tell you that he’s bad and don’t date him. What would you do?” She took a few seconds and thought about her answer. “I guess, I’ll take it into consideration.” But she didn’t. That same night, when Tammy thought she had convinced Chae Ri to confess to Jin Seon, when Tammy asked Jin Seon to meet with Chae Ri so they could talk
everything out, Tammy was kidnapped. Until this day, Jin Seon believes that Lee Hoon had kidnapped her and killed her. But enveloped herself in the entire fault of course because she knew if she had believed Tammy, she wouldn’t need to talk to Chae Ri and wouldn’t have triggered the fire to bring herself to a preventable death. [Flashback Ended] “Kill him.” She mumbled. “Was that too cruel?!” She looked up, her face wetted with tears. “After what he did to Tammy, don’t you think he deserves to die?” The sound track Hong Gi was singing in the background filled the silence between them. It was a soft song. The melody was gentle yet sorrowful. She closed her eyes, allowing the last drop of tears to sip from the corner of her eyes and rest on the side of her nose. Hesitantly at first, he reached out and wiped those tears. He didn’t know why he did it, but he felt a connection. The agony of losing someone, the heartache to see somebody dead and to know, that the person, who has caused it all, was no other than yourself. She drifted into a comfortable sleep. Having confessed everything, she felt a load of weight been lifted from her shoulders. Shifting slightly into a more comfortable position in his laps, her breathing eased as the darkness pulled her in, deeper and deeper.
Hang-over pounded its fist against Jin Seon’s skull, knocking her to consciousness. The dazzling white light greeted her blissfully yet to only receive an agitated scowl in return. She flipped around and pulled anything that was within reach to block out the light, moaning in the annoyance of a headache. She opened her eyes. The darkness under the blanket she had pulled over her head questioned her. She felt the uncomfortable skirt and blouse of her uniform been crunched up due to her twists and turns of a sleep, and her hair smelt like hair-spray and styling wax coming straight out of a salon. She sat up. The blanket fell to her waist and she grimaced at the bright sunlight shining through the veil curtains. An occasional wind blew gently through the thin material. She looked around with parched eyes and heaved a relief when the familiar settings of her own bedroom fell into view. “A young man dropped you off around five this morning.” The maid answered her at the dining table.
Her dad and sister had long gone off to work, or whatever they were up to, because it is right now, mid-afternoon. Jin Seon poked at her medium fried egg and nodded. “Have you been crying? Miss Choi?” The maid looked concerned as she studied Jin Seon in the face. “Your eyes are a little puffy.” Jin Seon shook her head with a blank look. She remembered drinking countless bottles of beer with Hong Gi; remembered singing along songs that made no sense and remembered jumping up and down the couch shouting out, “I’M SO SORRY BUT I LOVE YOU” with insanity, but whatever happened after that…she could not record. “And you were really drunk too.” Jin Seon merely shrugged. “Nice haircut.” The maid commented after an awkward pause and left to let Jin Seon eat her meal, that was too late to be called breakfast. She continued to swirl the yellow egg with no intention to eat it. Propping her elbow on the table, she rested her chin in her palm. Young man? It could only be Tae Jin, Hong Gi was too drunk. Putting the thought aside, she looked down at her hair that no longer reached her chest. “I think short hair would look good on you.” She remembered Tae Hyuk saying, and before she knew it, she found herself asking. “Really?”
“Do I look good, with short hair?” She asked. “Yes or no?” He pursed his lips and tilted his head left and right, examining her in the plain red Tee, a pair of denim jeans and her short hair. She became annoyed when he took too long to think over a one word answer. Frowning, she rested one hand on her hip and leaned all her weight onto the right foot. “No…and yes.” He grinned. “What’s that suppose to mean?” “You don’t look good, but with short hair you do.” She smiled sarcastically, “You’re funny.” Tae Hyuk chuckled and piled himself back onto the soft pillows. As Jin Seon sat back down onto the sofa, he turned his head and looked at her. Is she pouting? “Didn’t you bring some food or anything?” She raised a brow at him. “No.” “Didn’t anyone teach you? When you visit a patient you gotta bring present.”
“I came here to show you what you did to my hair. Not bring you presents.” She glared at him before looking out the window, pissed. Outside, the treetops danced along the afternoon breeze. “I already said you look good with short hair, so why are you angry now?” “Because you had to insult me before telling me I look good.” He grinned. “Get use to it.” She darted her gaze away from the window and stared at him. “I thought you were a nerd. Nerds are supposed to be nice, not like you.” “What’s wrong with me?” “You are big-headed.” She folded her arms and turned her head away. He smirked at her childish reaction and gave in. “Ok. I’ll be nice.” She scoffed. “Whatever.” “I’ll treat you to dinner.” “You are in a hospital bed. What, you gonna treat me to hospital food?” “No. Let’s sneak out.” Tae Hyuk couldn’t swallow one bite of the food the hospital provided; it lacked flavour, a lot. In fact, it had no flavour. He had told Kevin to bring some food for him but it seemed like he had forgotten, or maybe he was just too busy picking up girls with his yellow Ferrari that he disregarded the call. When Jin Seon agreed on the idea to sneak out for dinner, (after all, everyone would give in for food) she helped him dress as his fractured rib and broken arm made the job hard on his own. She pulled the white t-shirt over his head and down his torso, catching a closer, yet not detailed, glance of his tattoo on the back shoulder. Though she was curious about the dark print, she pushed the thought aside and turned to face the wall when he dressed into his jeans. When all was ready, she handed him a cap that he put on to hide the white gauze wrapped around his forehead. She stole a glance at him, realising how much he resembled his twin brother Tae Jin, especially with the cap. After all, the first time Jin Seon met Tae Jin, he was wearing a cap, except his was black and Tae Hyuk’s was white. She tugged her head out of the room and check if there were nurses or doctors in the corridor. When the way was clear, she waved a hand frantically behind her back and Tae Hyuk followed her out, pulling his cap lower to hide his still bruised face. At first advancing carefully down the corridor and then picking up their pace, the two soon broke into a sprint down the hall and ran out of the hospital. Panting and laughing at the five minute thrill that brought them standing on the sidewalk of a busy street. The sun was setting behind the tall buildings of town, casting a warm shadow over the paths. “Let’s go have Japanese cruisine!” “Are you kidding me? I only got 50 bucks on me.” He pulled his hands out of his pocket and revealed a 50 dollar note. “Unless you want me to watch you eat.”
Although it sounded like a good idea to Jin Seon, but she spotted the pathetic hunger in his tone, so she smiled. “Okay, whatever you can afford.”
“Chicken ramen and beef ramen!” The waiter, or should he be called the owner, dressed in white chef uniform, which was stained with yellow spots, called with a Japanese accent from the counter. Jin Seon got up from their table for two; she squeezed through the narrow path between tables and chairs, and reached the counter, picked up the tray and traced her way back to the table. The little eatery hummed with chatter. All ready with his chopsticks, Tae Hyuk picked the bowl with beef meat loaded on the top with sprinkled shallots and placed it in front of him before digging in like a wolf. Jin Seon set her bowl onto the table and sat down, placing the tray onto a table behind her that was unoccupied but was not yet cleaned from the last couple’s meal. She picked up a pair of chopsticks and twirled the noodles around it. Well, at least she got a piece of Japanese cuisine. “Slow down. No one’s fighting with you for it.” She joked, looking at Tae Hyuk who ate hastily as if he was on the run. But he seemed to have troubles gripping the chopstick with his right hand and the slippery noodles occasionally fell out between the sticks. “I haven’t eaten for two days.” “Was the hospital food that bad?” “Worse. And,” he lifted his left arm that was in a cast, “can’t eat with my arm like this.” “You are left-handed?” Surprised, she chuckled. He nodded as if there was no big deal. “Yeah.” “Cool! I never knew anyone that was left handed!” He raised a brow at her, amazed that she found admiration in such a small matter. “Is Jang Tae Jin left-handed too?” Tae Hyuk shook his head and slurped some soup. “Who’s older, you or Tae Jin?” “I am. By two minutes and thirty-something seconds.” He placed the bowl down and grouped another lot of noodles between his chopsticks before lifting them to his mouth. “Damn.” He stopped. “Damn?” “There’s no one to tell you off if you are being bad.” He smirked and resumed eating. “How do you know my parents aren’t there to control me?” She shrugged. “The idea of parents’ control doesn’t come into my mind.”
Another table of three left and a few more people entered the small restaurant. The table behind Jin Seon had already been cleaned up; an old couple sat down and ordered. “Why?” he asked, after swallowing his mouthful of noodles. “As long as I could remember, my mum wasn’t there to scold me if I made trouble. All my dad did was got Sun Woong to protect me and solve my problems. Sometimes, he’d beat some discipline into me but other times, he wouldn’t bother.” “Is Sun Woong like a brother?” She scoffed at the idea and remembered how much she disliked the guy. But just as much as she hated him, she also needed him. Over the years, Sun Woong had become a source of reliability, trustworthiness and care. But she shook her head. No. “He’s a brother-in-law. He’s going to marry my sister someday.” Tae Hyuk merely nodded understandingly and to her surprise, he ordered another bowl of ramen. “Well, fortunately, there isn’t anyone to tell me off if I was being bad.” He continued the subject. “What do you mean? Your parents…” “Me and Tae Jin are orphans.” She stopped and stared at him. An urge of sympathy and sadness wedged between her. “We grew up in an orphanage until sixteen and they kicked us out.” She didn’t interrupt, nor did she know anything to say. “What’s with the look? I didn’t tell you so you can feel sorry for us.” He tried to chuckle, but only sounded like a sad sigh. She shook her head. I was an orphan too. But Jin Seon was lucky to be adopted at an early age before she could live a life with hundreds of other little kids who had lost their parents in one tragic way or another. “But you and Tae Jin seems not all that bonded like you should.” He heaved a sigh and then, silence followed. The clank of china plates and glassware accompanied the humble chattering. Occasionally, the combustion of car engines would zoom down the night street and the loud subwoofer would transfer the music into the crowded eatery if the door was to open for a customer. When Jin Seon felt she had stroke an unhealed wound, she decided to divert the tension to a lighter mood. But Tae Hyuk spoke and changed her mind. “I did something that he couldn’t forgive; he did something that I couldn’t forgive. We both went on the wrong paths and neither of us could turn back now.” She searched for his eyes, but they were hidden under his glasses, in the shadows of his cap. The regret; the agony she found in his tone tugged at something within her. She suddenly understood the pain it brings if one was to linger on the past, make
grieve out of the present through hate and vengeance because we couldn’t forgive and forget, or forget and forgive. We choose to look at what has happened behind us, but missing what’s important in front of us. It reminded her of Tammy and Lee Hoon. Perhaps its time to move on, forget about Lee Hoon, forget about Tammy… She wanted to tell Tae Hyuk her thoughts, but decided not to pull the conversation deeper in this casual family restaurant that was ran by one single man in his forties. A casual eatery and a life-thesis conversation just didn’t go along. Tae Hyuk’s second bowl of ramen arrived and he dug in with just as much appetite as the first. The steaming hot soup fogged his black framed glasses, he looked up and Jin Seon laughed. For the rest of the night, no one tried to touch on another deep subject. As they sneaked back into the hospital sometime after seven o’clock, a bag of Chinese takeaway rested on the table with Kevin fallen asleep on the sofa beside it. The two of them grinned as a wicked, silly thought evoked. After borrowing an eyeliner pencil from one of the nurses, all was heard in Tae Hyuk’s ward were suppressed giggles and secretive whispers. The whole time, Kevin occasionally stirred but never woke to see the two draw on his face. Jin Seon left the room to return the eyeliner to the nurse and Tae Hyuk got back into bed pretending to be asleep but only watching Kevin with one eye just to see when he would wake up. After thanking the nurse for her eyeliner Jin Seon jogged down the hallway, wanting to return to the room soon enough so she won’t miss one bit if Kevin was to wake up. Midway down the corridor, she caught a figure limping away from her; she slowed down and stopped to watch him. One of his legs was fine, but the other walked along a crutch. His arm rhythmically moved forward with the crutch and then he stepped up in a hop. It was clear in his awkward movements that he hasn’t yet gotten use to the crutch. The light sparkled on a bracelet he wore around his free-of-crutch wrist – the right – and it reflected into Jin Seon’s eyes. She recognised it immediately, and in turn it assured the identity of the guy. How could she not recognise the jewellery? It was her very own design, something that was personal and impossible to find a replica in the entire world. It had a pair to it, but the other part had been crushed and burned the moment she found out about his betrayal. She followed him and stopped at his ward when he had entered, oblivious to her trail behind. The name tag on the door read, [ Lee Hoon ]. She hesitated, finding it odd that there wasn’t any body guard watching the door for him, and when she entered, she found it even more unusual to see the ward occupied by Lee Hoon and Lee Hoon himself; no Ray nor An Chae Ri. He turned; surprised that he’s got a visitor. A smile spread across his lips as he saw
Jin Seon standing by the door. “Hey! This is a first.” She examined him: a bruised face [tick] a gauzed forehead [tick] a fractured rib [tick] a fractured leg [tick] “Now, learn your lesson.” She grinned and turned on her heels to leave, but Lee Hoon asked her a question. A query that made her want to pull her hair out and shout at him, made her want to cry, made her want to slap him and also, it made her stay for the moment. “Why do you hate me Jin Seon?” “What?” She turned, slowly, and faced him. “Why do you hate me?” He asked again. She scoffed. “Have you gone nuts?” “Why? Can’t I ask that? We were all good and you just snapped one day and wanted me out.” She blinked, not believing what she was hearing. Of course, she never confronted Lee Hoon that she had found out about him cheating, but wasn’t it obvious enough for him to realise it himself? After Tammy’s confrontation does he seriously think she’s naive enough to keep it quiet for him and Chae Ri. “After what you did, to me, to Tammy, how could you ask that? Where did you get the decency to question me, to ask me what was wrong?” “To- What? Tammy? Does Tammy’s death have something to do with this?” “You know, you are more cold-hearted and two-faced then you appear to be.” She tightened her fist, but this time not because she wanted to punch him but to prevent herself from crying. “Play stupid and fool yourself, because I’m not falling for any more of your crap.” “Jin Seon. We need to talk this out.” “Talk? Talk about what you did to Tammy? Talk about why you cheated on me? You know, if I had the chance, I’d kill you. Make you pay for what you did. I’d kill you. But you know what? You’re lucky. Because I changed my mind today, I’ll spare your goddamn life for as long as you get your face out of mine.” “I don’t know why Tammy is in all this but,” He advanced towards her and reached out to take her shoulder. She slapped his hand away. He stumbled, but didn’t fall. “Honey-” She scoffed at him, “Honey?! You’re pathetic! Did An Chae Ri give you the ditch? Did she dump you is that why you want me back now? What the hell Lee Hoon!? Whatwho do you think I am?”
“Jin Seon, there’s more to it than what meets the eye. Me and Chae Ri there’s more to it than just a relationship. I want to tell you so you could understand, but I can’t tell you. It’ll hurt you more than it’ll hurt anybody, and I don’t want to see you hurt.” You lied to me. You cheated on me. And you killed Tammy, killed my best friend. What else could hurt more than the pain caused by your betrayal? “You know Lee Hoon, I want to believe you, I want to sit down and talk to you, but the thing is, I can’t believe one single word out of you, so what’s the point?” She shook her head helplessly. “Just forget it.” “No. I don’t care if you believe me or not, but I hate leaving things unclear. Me and Chae Ri…” “I don’t want to hear about you and her! I don’t care anymore, it has been years, and I want to forget it! I want to forget and…forgive.” “What did I do, that you just can’t shut up and listen to me for once?!” He demanded, almost angry. “What did you do? You cheated on me! You lied to me and more, you killed Tammy!” He stopped, stunned on the spot. Thousands of thoughts raced through his mind as he was petrified in the split second and stared at the girl with tears brimming in her eyes. He remembered been called to an emergency errand for his dad just a week before Tammy’s death, he wasn’t there when Jin Seon witness the cold corpse of her best friend been found, murdered. Perhaps, if he had told her about his urgent leave all the misunderstood would not be here today. Maybe, she took his absentee from the funeral as a sign of guilt, but he wasn’t even in the country at the time, he didn’t learn about the news until another week later, but by then everything was too late. Jin Seon had snapped, quit school and hid herself at home, ordered not to let anyone near her as she hid in her room. He shook his head. “I didn’t kill her.” She blinked, a trail of tears streamed down her cheeks. “Make me believe you.” “I wasn’t even here when everything happened. I was in Japan for those two weeks. When I came back, I found out Tammy’s dead and you told me everything was over. I couldn’t get any chance to talk to you, you locked everyone out.” “What about Chae Ri? You cheated on me with her didn’t you? After you saw that there wasn’t any chance to get back with me, you publicized your relationship and until this day, you are still dating her.” her voice cracked and more tears stripped down her cheeks. He shook his head. This was the part he couldn’t explain. Not in just a few words, or few sentences. This was the part, if revealed, would hurt Jin Seon more than it’ll hurt anyone else. A shocking past, which Lee Hoon had discovered by chance yet, wants to
hide it for the sake of the girl accusing him of murder. Only if he could bring himself to explain everything to her, perhaps it will clear up some of the misunderstandings. “But I did not kill Tammy. Believe me Jin Seon.” He almost pleaded. “I want to.” She wiped her tears and sniffed. “I really do. But they found your DNA all over Tammy’s corpse. And you know why you are not arrested after all these hard evidence? It’s because your dad hushed everything down with money. So what else is there Lee Hoon? What else haven’t you told me? What’s more to the cold-hearted betrayal Chae Ri and you shared, which killed Tammy?” Her words collapsed on him; he sat down. In all silence, he wanted to tell Jin Seon what has happened, but his mind couldn’t stop suspecting who has framed him into everything. I did not kill Tammy. Who did?” The door opened and shut; Jin Seon had gone.
“What took you so long? Kevin already got up and left.” Tae Hyuk looked up from the table when he heard the door slide open and shut. Jin Seon stood there; she looked like she had just run a marathon, exhausted and pathetic. He chewed slowly on the chow-mein as he studied her drained complexion. Her eyes have somehow lost the glistening as they stared blankly into space. She sat down beside him, engaged in her own thoughts. “I don’t know what’s going on anymore.” She sighed. “I want to believe him, I really do. He says there’s something behind whatever he did; I want to believe that too, when I don’t even know what that something is! I’m so stupid.” Silence; he listened. “All the evidence was against him, everything I saw with my own eyes. But yet, I doubt what I see and still want to believe him. What am I suppose to do?” She turned to him, for the first time, a glint of hope twinkled in her eyes. “Tae Hyuk what would you do?” He resumed eating his cold Chinese take-away, easing the tension and stress that hovered the room. “I don’t know.” He mumbled. “Trust your instincts.” Surprisingly, she laughed. “I didn’t expect you to say something like that.” He merely shrugged and picked up the chopsticks, but dropped them again. He turned to her. “Can you feed me?”
She raised a brow. How random? He lifted his right hand that was sore from its awkward gripping on the chopsticks. She chuckled at him, and nodded. “So, did Kevin see his face?” Jin Seon asked; somehow she felt a little embarrassed as she began to feed the fully-grown man, when it should be the otherway around. “Nah, he was late for a date. So he ran out of here as soon as he woke up.” He slurped up the noodles from the chopsticks in her hand. “How funny it would be.” The two of them chuckled, and then she resumed feeding him. He ate silently, occasionally stealing a mocking glance at her as she too, sucked at using chopsticks. When the noodle box emptied and the sky was glowing pitch black, she collected the rubbish and turned to say bye to Tae Hyuk. “Sometimes you cannot believe what you see; you have to believe what you feel.” He quoted. “Hmm?” She turned at the door. “Read it somewhere from a book.” “Oh.” “There’s a second part to it.” “What is it?” “Can’t remember.” She chuckled. “Bye.” “Next time you come, bring something entertaining.” “Oh.” She closed the door on Tae Hyuk’s side profile, with his eyes closed and his complex sharpened under the dim orange light, he laid on the bed, as if he was in thought. Heaving a sigh, she walked down the corridor towards the elevator. On her way, she passed the lane leading to Lee Hoon’s ward. Still no guard. “Sometimes you cannot believe what you see; you have to believe what you feel.” She mumbled, remembering Tae Hyuk’s words. I’ll believe you, Lee Hoon. For the last time.
The weather was bizarre. In the morning, the sun was forbidden to greet the planet as thick layers of gloomy clouds cuddled the sky, drifting sprinkles of rain. By noon, some parts of the sky has cleared-up, revealing blue patches like the black spots on a cow’s back. And few hours later, just before the bell ran for the end of the day, it began to pour. The chunky clouds have shaded into a dark gray colour, dimming the afternoon into an early evening. The thunder roared as if someone was drumming hard to put a hole into the sky. Everyone ran from shelter to shelter, stepping through deep paddles of rainwater and tried to find cover with their text books above their heads. Sure that
helps when it’s sprinkling, but the rain was literally pouring out of a bucket. Jin Seon had gone to the library to borrow a few books, considering Tae Hyuk’s last advice to bring entertainment she thought books would be great leisure for a nerd. When she exited the library after checking out the books, the deafening thunder startled her. Shoving some of the books into her bag, she was glad Sun Woong had given her an umbrella after he dropped her off this morning. She pushed out the branches and opened the huge orange umbrella. The next thing she saw was a wet Tae Jin standing before her. “I was looking everywhere for you.” He shouted against the rain and thunder. “I was in the library.” She pointed backward. “Sun Woong’s waiting in the car!” “Ok!” He led the way towards the school gates, but Jin Seon chased up to him and offered him shelter under the umbrella. She merely smiled when he looked down to see the source that had stopped the rain was no other than a girl, half a head shorter than him, holding up an umbrella for him in one hand and the other struggling to hold onto some books. A smirk tugged at his lips as he took over the umbrella and sheltered it against the rain, over the both of them. They walked towards the gates, footsteps soaked by the pouring rain. The school yard has now emptied. At the gate, Sun Woong’s black Mercedes waited. As they approached, Tae Jin stopped. He had realised his phone been ringing in his pocket and the sound been submerged by the noisy rain. He answered it, shouted a few times to hear what the other side was saying and then hung up. Before Jin Seon knew it, he shoved her into the black Mercedes and ran off in the direction of the neighbouring girls’ school. “What’s he doing?” She looked out the window and watched his desolate profile disappearing in the mist of downpour rain. Without another thought, she took the large umbrella and jumped out of the car, running into the direction he was at.
“MINHEE!!” He ran, frantically in search of someone called Min Hee. He looked around, squinting against the mist and called the name a few more times, until he spotted her. She was keeling in a pool of muddy water. Her hands feeling the bottom of it the puddle as she, herself, was too, searching. The rain drops on her glasses blurred her vision. He ran up to her and yanked her onto her feet.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” He shouted over the rain. At first, the girl was shocked by the unexpected, but when her sight became focused on the person before her, she smiled with relief. Only if her smile lasted long, but it was wiped as quickly as it had come, replaced with a frown knitting her wet complexion. “I LOST IT! THE NECKALCE YOU GAVE ME. I THINK IT’S IN THERE.” She pointed at the mud-spattered puddle. All the while, Tae Jin looked sullen. Without looking at what she was pointing at, he pulled on her arms, picked up her bag and dragged her towards the gate. Jin Seon finally reached the two. Although they were soaked from head to toe, insideout, she still felt the need to coat the umbrella over them. She, herself was getting wet, but she saw it nothing compared to how drenched Tae Jin and the girl in his arms were. They got into Sun Woong’s car and drove to the Choi’s mansion.
“Have a cup of hot tea and take this.” The maid placed the tea cups on the table, and a few tablets beside the cup. “Thanks.” The maid looked up at Min Hee and smiled. “You’re welcome.” As the maid walked out of the living room, Jin Seon walked in. She nodded and smiled at her and left without another word. Jin Seon took a seat on the sofa opposite Min Hee and smiled. “I’m Choi Jin Seon.” “Jo Min Hee.” She beamed, although a little timid at first. The girl was an eye-candy. She had long wavy hair reaching to her chest (a trait Jin Seon was once proud of), a radiant complexion that glowed with her dimpled smile. Her soft-brown eyes twinkled with each word she spoke, and her petite nose was one of those that wrinkled if she pouted. But she was a nerd. The way her shirt was fastened to the very top button; the old fashioned white socks that reached well above her ankles but way bellow her knees, the thick black-framed
glasses that demanded more attention than her pretty eyes all said she was, no, is smart, you could tell by looking at her and you could almost somehow smell it. “What were you looking for in the rain?” “A necklace, Tae Jin gave me.” On cue, Tae Jin walked in. Having had a hot bath after the cold rain he looked less irritated than he did when he found Min Hee by the muddy puddle. He sat down on the seat between Min Hee and Jin Seon. “Forget about the necklace.” He told Min Hee. “But-” “I’ll buy you another one.” “But Tae Hyuk said that’s the only one in the world.” “I’ll buy you a different one.” “But you said…” “I’m sure there’s a pair to it. When I find it, I’ll get it for you. Okay?” He sounded more like comforting a five-year-old, promising to buy some kind of toy just so she could be quiet and drop the subject. She nodded obediently, without further protest. Jin Seon sat through the little discussion between the two, curious about the piece of necklace that affect Min Hee so much or perhaps it told some sort of story between the two. When it seemed like no one was keen enough to fill her in, she remembered that she too, has a precious piece of jewellery, waiting to be puzzled up and told to the story behind it.
The rain had ceased as sudden as it had began. The cream coloured clouds began to part, allowing the afternoon sunshine to peak through before it could set in the horizon. The scenery swept pass in a blur as the window rolled down to let in a waft of fresh air. Jin Seon closed her eyes as the incoming wind tickled her hair. The car rounded a corner and soon came to a stop. She opened her eyes and came into view with the small entrance of an apartment building. Beside her, the door opened and Min Hee stepped out. She said her thank you and good byes to Sun Woong and Jin Seon, but only cast an unreadable glance at Tae Jin in the front passenger seat. Jin Seon figured it had something to do with the necklace that she lost. She watched as Min Hee walked around the car and ascended the flight of stairs into the apartment unit, walked through the lobby and disappeared behind a corner. The car began to move again. The wind flowing through the open window stirred the silence. Sun Woong had his eyes focused on the road before him, and Tae Jin was
looking out the window; the natural gestures were merely a disguise as they were both engaged in deep thoughts. Jin Seon glanced at the pile of books beside her. She had initially come along to get a lift to the hospital, where she could visit Tae Hyuk, but something had come up. She had received a call from Lee Hoon shortly after they had left, telling her to meet him at TresPass. Any other time, she would’ve refused him at once. But ever since their confrontation in the hospital, Jin Seon was looking for a chance to clear out the confusion in her mind. Who really killed Tammy? What was really going on between Lee Hoon and Chae Ri? She wanted to find out; she was sick of being stuck in the perplexity of it all. When the car pulled to a stop on the opposite side of TresPass, Jin Seon got out and stepped on the wet pavement. She saw, or she thought was an illusion, that Tae Jin’s brows crinkle in concern as he turned from the front seat to look at her. She closed the door behind her and headed across the road, but stopped when Sun Woong called her back. “Take this.” She looked down, under the flashy lights of the busy street the shiny surface of the pistol reflected perilously. She laughed at Sun Woong. “I’m only going in there to talk to him. Not kill him.” She didn’t give Sun Woong a chance to explain, and quickly crossed the road towards TresPass. The club was closed for business. Only one guard was watching the door. When Jin Seon entered, he didn’t stop her, as if he was waiting for her appearance. It was the first time Jin Seon had seen the entire place bathed in illuminating light and was amused by how stolid and unadorned it all appeared to be. She had no time to discover the setting for one she wasn’t interested, and two, the body slumped across the bar was more of a significance than anything else. She strolled over, and took a seat on the stool beside him. Lee Hoon turned, his eyes blinked drowsily as he searched Jin Seon’s face. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think he was drunk. But Lee Hoon was a congenital alcoholic. In Jin Seon’s memory never did he once fall under the influence of alcohol. “What happened to your crew?” she asked, trying to sound casual. Again, Chae Ri and Ray were both absent. “I didn’t kill Tammy.” She was amazed by how quickly he jumped to the subject, as if he was in a rush and wanted to get things sorted out as soon as possible. “I didn’t kill her. It was Chae Ri.”
She scoffed, sardonically. “What’s this? The blame game?” Jin Seon gazed at him, the back of her mind beginning to doubt that he was indeed sober. The hem of the white gauze was visible under his beanie, his eyes was glistening with the enlightened surrounding. His facial injuries were still visible from the brawl few days ago, and he really shouldn’t be drinking since his rib and leg wounds haven’t healed. But she was in no means to interfere with his liquor as he poured another shot into the glass. “I’m not blaming her. It’s just the truth.” He emptied the content down his throat, and continued. “No one kidnapped Tammy. She went to Chae Ri herself, wanting to sort out everything between you and her, and it all happened in an accident. Chae Ri met up with you as if nothing happened, then afterwards, she made it all look like it’s a kidnap and blamed everything on me. Using her parents’ privileges in the doctor field, she got my blood and other specimen taken for my health inspections before I went to Japan and that’s where the DNA all came from on Tammy’s corpse.” He stopped, allowing some time for Jin Seon to comprehend. She grimaced, remembering the message from Tammy asking her to meet with Chae Ri for a confession. It sent a chill down her spine as she grasped the plot now; Chae Ri had sent the message from Tammy’s phone, so as to make Jin Seon think Tammy was still alive, then she would meet up with Jin Seon, talk and then leave to set out the ‘kidnap’. She understood now; and intuitively believed Lee Hoon. She looked up and bit her lip before the next question. “Won’t the two of you dating at the time? Why would she frame you?” Why were you two dating in the first place? She had expected him to deny her; tell her that he wasn’t dating Chae Ri and tell her what was really behind everything. But he answered her question. “I guess, she knew, with my dad’s powers I won’t end up in jail, so she wasn’t afraid on that part.” He paused, trying to put the sophisticated explanation into simple words. “It was like hitting two birds with one stone. She wanted me to stay by her side, so framing me to make it look like I killed Tammy would make you mad, and you’d break up with me, then she’ll have me. Not only she isn’t charged with murder, but she got a boyfriend in the process.” He finished. His recount lacked passion, lacked sympathy, absent of apology and regret and more, he made everything sound so casual, made Chae Ri almost sound innocent of her infernal crime. “I just wanted to get the facts straight.” He poured another shot of Vodka. “I don’t want misunderstandings when I’m gone.” She sat up, impulsively reached out to grip around his wrist. “You haven’t told me everything yet.”
He chuckled, knowing what she meant. He had deliberately avoided this part, purposely answering exactly what she had asked earlier, but there is no escape is there? He gulped down the liquor and turned to her, staring straight into her eyes that gazed at him with anticipation. He smirked, and she read the language; the hope in her eyes obliterated completely. There was no hidden reason. As he watched her face fell in disappointment, he plunged forward and pulled her into his embrace. His heart torn in two fragment, but at least he had released her of some pain. Having looked into Tammy’s death, his sole purpose was to liberate Jin Seon from all the repent and blame she laid herself into. He wanted her to forget about Tammy, forget about Chae Ri, and forget about him. It is also for the same reason, which he had decided not to tell her about his ‘betrayal’; narrate his part of the story. He knows he hasn’t got long to be around her, so why put her into another pit of grief when he’s gone? “I’m not going to be around anymore, so look after yourself.” He stroked her hair. “Why? Where are you going?” “I don’t know. America, France, Italy, Rome. All over the world.” Jin Seon was silent; her arms finally began to move upward. Hesitantly, she wrapped them around his waist. He smiled at her gesture. “Truce?” She nodded. “Take care of yourself too.” “I will.” “When is your flight?” “Sometime tomorrow.” “Is…Chae Ri going too?” “She left to America last Friday.” That’s why she wasn’t here for all these days. “Look after yourself.” He said again. She nodded, and stepped back to release herself from his embrace. She bade him goodbye. He watched her delicate profile merge into the dark corridors of the exit. At least, it all ended on a happy note, at least for Lee Hoon. Flashback The first time he met her was at the social gathering. He had never attended one before, but since his dad is out of the country, from now on, Lee Hoon was the Lee Yong Won in Korea. Lee Yong Won is a man with as much power, status, and men as his perennial rival Choi Dong Ho. The two competed in almost everything; wealth, authority, prominence and venerability. They were less a foe on business, more on personal affairs. Nevertheless, the two hated each other.
On the contrary, their kids fell in love with each other. Surprisingly, both parent didn’t condemn the relationship, but nor did they support it. In a way, they both respected it. At least, that’s what it seemed like to Lee Hoon. Walking in and out of his dad’s office everyday and doing errands like a robot, Lee Hoon found himself most relaxing with Jin Seon. She was like a bottomless well, surprising him with her talents and unintendedly, causing him to fall deeper and deeper into this well. Every relationship has obstacles, but the first hindrance that faced the two kept the rest coming incessantly until their relationship fell apart and shattered. If he could turn back time, he would never let the safe hidden behind the portrait invoke his curiosity. He wouldn’t have opened it and dredged up the most repulsive past that led to the hatred between his dad and Jin Seon’s dad. If he hadn’t discovered everything, he wouldn’t have gone out to drink himself lifeless every night. Avoiding Jin Seon’s calls, stood her up on dates. Then, came the second obstacle. It always appeared that alcohol is a depressant that can have a soporific influence no matter what. But to Lee Hoon, it was up to him. He decides whether if the alcohol can hypnotise him or not. That week, was the first time he got drunk; he wanted to be numb. When he was slumped over a bar in a club, wrangled in his own thoughts, she appeared. All the thoughts and debates seemed to obliterate at once, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her. Only when he opened his eyes the next morning to find An Chae Ri not Choi Jin Seon. On an urgent call, he left to Japan. When he returned, everything was over. Tammy is dead, Jin Seon is gone; oblivious to Chae Ri’s scheme, he thought Jin Seon was just tired of him being a ‘jerk’. At first, he wanted to explain, wanted to conciliate. But after many failed attempts, came the realisation: perhaps it was better left this way. He dated Chae Ri, foolishly believing she could help him forget Jin Seon. But everyday, he wished how he could’ve handled things differently. Everyday, he puts on a pretend facade to fool Jin Seon, to fool himself, to make everyone think he was the bad guy. He was sick of it. He wanted out. And he got what he wanted.
Kevin was pouting, Hong Gi was laughing, Jin Seon and Tae Hyuk were sitting on the bed, trying hard to suppress their laughter, but failed when they doubled over, grabbing their stomach as they burst out hysterically. The room was filled with contentment, all thanks to Kevin’s recount of his date with the prank-face. He had whooshed down the street in his yellow Ferrari, stopped by the police for speeding, and when he thought it was his lucky day that the police didn’t fine him, only did he realise later, that it was out of pity. He arrived at his date, checked himself in the mirror and that’s when he shrieked at his own reflection. Having hastily rubbed the cosmetic off his face, with much pressure, he thought things would be good. But the worst was yet to come when his date burst out laughing at the first sight of him, pointing a lunatic finger at him, shouting out, “monkey ass!” “Monkey ass! Hahaha!” Kevin was ready for revenge. He wasn’t going to let Jin Seon and Tae Hyuk off so easily. As he has prepared earlier, he pulled out two shirts from the shopping bag and tossed them in their faces. It wasn’t long before Kevin was the one laughing with mockery. He stood by the door, with his arms crossed and looked from Jin Seon to Tae Hyuk, then back again. The two of them looked down at their shirts, the bright colours were already an attraction, but what made people stare were those words printed on the front. On Tae Hyuk’s bright pink tee, in block letter, it printed: I LOOK BETTER NAKED On Jin Seon’s dazzling yellow shirt, printed the words: I’M DATING with a arrow pointing away. Kevin opened the door and put his vengeance to practice. He ran down the corridor with Hong Gi and signalled the two to walk out. It was noon; the corridor was filled with visitors and patience, doctors and nurses. As they tried to saunter their way down, people that caught sight of them all whispered and laughed. Girls gazed at Tae Hyuk, murmuring excitedly with each other as they inspected him from head to toe. On the other side of Jin Seon, where the arrow pointed at, all sorts of weird people passed by; a man in his twenties with countless pens stuck in his afro, displaying his hair twice as big as his head, an old guy picking at his nose, another patient who stopped long enough to scratch his bum.
By the time they reached the end of the corridor, they had endured more embarrassment one could suffer in a life time.
Satisfied with his pay-back, Kevin left. His excuse was that Mr Kwong, their homeroom teacher, had asked to borrow the car today; as they had made a deal earlier. He left Jin Seon and Tae Hyuk standing outside the hospital, dumbfounded as they realised there was a long journey home in those ridiculous shirts. Hong Gi, not wanting to be embarrassed, caught a bus and left. The two of them strayed towards town, adapting to the various responses on their shirts from pedestrians passing by. Soon, they grew accustomed to the tempted glances and abrupt bursts of laughter. Instead of heading straight home, Tae Hyuk picked out a patisserie by the busy street and sat down. He ordered a strawberry gateau and that was it. Jin Seon sat down opposite him. He has been discharged from the hospital, the cuts and bruises had vanished from his smooth complex, the only evident left of been hospitalised was his arm wrapped in white band. The doctor said it’ll heal within a week’s time, and meanwhile just give it a rest. The waiter returned with the cake settled in a cute china plate, he placed it down in front of Tae Hyuk and left. Stealing a glance at Jin Seon, he smirked and, to her surprise, he pushed the white plate toward her. “Thank you for the notes and books.” Her cherry-like lips began to curve upward as she glanced from the cake to Tae Hyuk. He sat back in the chair, with his arms folded across his chest, he stared back at her. His eyes, under the glasses, gleamed attentively. Jang Tae Hyuk is a nerd, a ‘bookworm’. Like a book, there’s a surprise and twist about him in every flip of the page. Unless you scrutinize carefully, you won’t be able to decipher the countless lines and paragraphs of complication into simplicity. And once the plot rapt your mind, you’ll refuse to let go of the enthralling content. But unlike a book, he can’t be explicated, analysed or read. “You’re welcome.” She finally said. He watched the entire time as she savoured the piece of French gateau; the rich yet refreshing cream, the tender and sweet sponge, and the aroma of sweet and sour strawberry rousing appetite. She sat quietly and ate, listening to the mutual silence that filled the booth. A soft acoustic melody floated throughout the serene atmosphere, and the bell occasionally tingled for the welcoming of a customer.
“So you got everything sorted out?” It took a few seconds for Jin Seon to realise he was talking about. She had forgotten that the last time they were together, she had been in a tangle of whether to believe Lee Hoon or not. Propping her elbow on the table and tilting the hand holding a fork, she pursed her lips. Her response was no more than a simple nod. But Tae Hyuk seemed to understand that she didn’t want to talk much about it, so he didn’t pursue the subject. She looked out the window, at the cloudless sky, remembering Lee Hoon is going to leave the country today. Everything’s over. For good. She told herself.. Relieved that now she looked at the matter concerning Tammy, Chae Ri and Lee Hoon, she no longer felt the pang of guilt or hatred.
The hubbub of the busy street of town greeted Jin Seon and Tae Hyuk as they stepped out of the patisserie. People walked by through crowds, cars swoosh pass occasionally beeping with irritation. The two of them strolled, shoulder by shoulder, down the street until they came to a cross road. A bunch of people waited for the pedestrian light to flash green, Jin Seon and Tae Hyuk merged in the crowd. The crowd stood in a tight bunch, almost pressed against each other. They waited impatiently. As Jin Seon tried to keep close to Tae Hyuk, someone pushed her from behind. She fell into another person’s arms. The next thing she knew, she was been pulled out of the crowd, away from the cross road, and she wondered where Tae Hyuk was leading her. However, when she looked, been pulled out of the crowd and onto alleyway branched out from a street deserted for construction, she realised the person clutching tightly on her wrist was not Tae Hyuk. She yanked out of his grip immediately. The stranger in a dark suit turned. The ugly scorn on his face told Jin Seon he wasn’t going to be friendly. On natural instinct, she turned and began to run. But the stranger was faster than her, or he read her mind, for he leaped out to block her way. He shot out a fist toward her, and on quick reflex she blocked it and kicked him in the lower abdomen. Taking a leap toward him, she elbowed him in the chest, when he bent over in pain she knocked him unbalanced with a blow to the face. She had the chance to run, but it’s too late now. She had failed to notice another
group of man approaching her from the other end of the narrow street, and now they were few meters away. Two of the five men plunged at her and pinned her against the wall. She struggled and cursed, but failed under the pressure of two stout men. The guy that was leading the group, whom Jin Seon had never seen before, stood out. His companion lined up behind him. He glanced at the guy defeated by Jin Seon and shook his head mockingly. “Kin, I can expla-” With a fierce glance, Kin muted the man. He stepped up to Jin Seon and lifted her chin. Like the rest of the guys, he was dressed in a black suit. His shades pushed up and rested in the nest of his styled hair. His complex was foreign, especially his light hazel coloured eyes that squinted as he peered at Jin Seon, the stud on his brow glittering in the dim. “What do you want?” She spat in irritation and pain. “Your co-operation.” He sneered at her. “Oh wait. You don’t know me do you?” She didn’t reply, but glared at him hatefully. “I’m here on Lee Yong Won’s order.” She knew the name, she knew it well. But she couldn’t think of a reason why… “So you better do what I tell you,” He warned. “Because I can’t promise you what might happen if you don't.” “Fuc.ker, quit talking like you are the boss.” Everyone in the alley turned to the voice. Jin Seon looked pass Kin and watched the silhouette reveal himself. She recognised the voice, although its owner rarely spoke more than a few words. His hands were tugged inside his jeans pockets as he strolled over to Jin Seon. A hood hid his face in the dark; she came to realise it was his way to help people differentiate him from his identical twin, because it helped her. He stopped next to Jin Seon. With some kind of intuition in the presence of his new opponent, the man pinning Jin Seon to the wall retrieved, and set her free. Tae Jin reached out a hand and took a gentle yet firm hold of hers. He turned to Kin, who was watching with wrath in his glare. “Touch her again, I’ll make sure you’ll die in the most painful way imaginable.” Leaving Jin Seon in the mist of confusion, Tae Jin led the way out of the alley, daring the men to stop him, and none did. When the afternoon sunshine bathed over her head, and she was once again on the main stream of town, she spotted the cross road. Tae Jin was leading in that direction, and Jin Seon wondered if Tae Hyuk had realised her been missing.
As they approached, the pedestrian light flashed green. People began to move all at once to cross the road. The light post came into view as the pavement emptied of pedestrians. Someone was leaning against it. His abstract coloured shirt and the block letters printing I LOOK BETTER NAKED caught her eyes. He lifted his head and locked gaze with Jin Seon. Standing away from the post, he decided to approach her. But when his eyes laid on Tae Jin, and the entwined hands between them, he stopped. The expression on his face was inscrutable when Tae Jin strolled passed, pulling Jin Seon across the road, coldly ignoring his presence. On the other side of the street, Sun Woong’s car waited. At the sight of him, Tae Hyuk was wiped out of her mind. She was in a tangle of confusion again; ready to bombard the two with questions: What’s going on? Does Tae Jin know Kin? Why did Lee Yong Won want me? How did Tae Jin know I was there? When the reply to her first question did come, the necessity of the asking the rest was forgotten. “He is dead?” She gasping in disbelief. “Lee Hoon is dead?”
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