Once the cars were parked, side by side, everybody unloaded the cars and huddled in a circle. They approached the hospital together, Chomee with Jiyong, Susan with Jiyong's parents. The drivers remained in the vehicles, chatting with each other as they wait for further instructions.
As they entered the hospital, the cold air rushed out to greet them. Chomee looked around with her big eyes, the sparkling cleanliness striking her. She felt a shiver course through her, just being in a hospital brings up a wave of guilt. She thought to her mother, sick in a hospital...God knows how far away.
They checked in at the front desk and were sent to the waiting room. The front desk attendants scurried about, each of them recognizing the Ko family. They quickly went to look for the doctor while Chomee went on staring about her.
"Such a bumpkin," Susan muttered disgustingly.
They entered the empty waiting room and all took seats. The married couple together, Chomee and Jiyong, and Susan by herself. They waited in silence, the quietness between them growing tense. Chomee stared out the window to avoid conversations, Susan flipped through the old magazines before her and Mrs. Ko back in her cacoon and Mr. Ko's eyes wandered around as Jiyong played with Chomee's hand.
"Chomee?" Jiyong said meekly.
Chomee jumped slightly. "Huh?"
"Where are we?"
"In the waiting room."
"Where's my parents?"
"They're right here."
Mrs. Ko's mind snapped back to the present and stared at her son. Did she just hear disappointment in his voice?
"Ko Puyin!" a loud voice boomed.
Startled, all eyes turned in the direction of the voice. It was a doctor. Jiyong's doctor.
"Who's that?" Jiyong whispered, tugging on Chomee's fingers.
"A doctor," Chomee murmured, keeping her eyes on the big man in white.
The doctor exchanged a few words and handshakes with Jiyong's parents before turning to the kids. "You must be Jiyong."
Jiyong smiled warily.
"Here's what will happen, since this is the first time a surgery like this is performed — it'll take approximately two hours. Probably longer, but at least two."
"What?!" Jiyong shouted. "How come I wasn't notified of this?!"
Everybody exchanged glances and shrugs, all waiting for the doctor to go on.
"I was never told about this," Jiyong said again, breaking the silence.
"You'll have to undergo two hours of surgery," the doctor repeated.
"Well, what are they gonna do for two hours?" Jiyong asked. "Can Chomee stay with me?"
The doctor raised a brow and turned to Susan. "I'm assuming that's you?"
Chomee chewed her lip, her eyes on Jiyong's mother.
When the doctor didn't get a reply, he shrugged it off. "It's fine. She's not allowed in the operating room though. She can wait in the next room."
"You're not gonna run off, right?" Jiyong asked jokingly.
Chomee managed to force a tight smile upon her lips. "No."
"Good. I'm gonna be alright," Jiyong said more to assure himself than to everybody in the room.
"Come along," the doctor said, leading Jiyong away.
Jiyong, sensing Chomee not following, called out, "C'mon Chomee!"
Chomee hesitated. She reluctantly picked up her feet and shuffled after Jiyong, all eyes on her.
"I thought the other young lady was your..." the doctor started.
"What other lady?" Jiyong inquired.
The doctor turned to Chomee. Chomee made eye contact, signaling to him that Jiyong doesn't know Susan's with them. "Never mind."
"This way." Chomee placed a hand on Jiyong's arm and guided him to the operating room.
"Finally, moving along!" Soowon cried.
"Hey! Where'd Hoonie go?"
"In search for his darling penis," Soowon replied, cracking up.
Miyoung shrieked with laughter.
"See if you can spot them," Soowon managed to say with a sniffle.
Miyoung kept her eyes on her side of the road and scanned the lanes. "Hey..."
"What the hell is that?!" Miyoung shrilled, pointing out the window.
Soowon squinted in the direction of Miyoung's finger. "L-L-Legs?"
"I thought I was losing my mind!"
"What the hell?!"
"It must be Jaejin practicing for the circus."
"We'll see." Soowon sped up, edging closer and closer to Jiyong's friends. Sure enough, they found Seonghoon fully clothed — and Jaeduk's legs in the air.
Seonghoon screamed and ran to hide behind Jiwon.
"Oh, my God," Soowon muttered, pulling over. "Who requested duck legs? They're not exactly on today's menu."
Miyoung giggled. "Where's the giggalo?"
"Behind Jiwon. I'm more interested in Jaeduk's head stand performance. Is the blood flowing to his brain?"
"Brain?" Miyoung echoed blankly. "What brain?"
Soowon hooted with laughter. "Let's go see what's up." He turned off his car and waited for Miyoung.
"They found me!" Seonghoon squealed, squeezing Jiwon's arms.
"The maniacs! The ones that asked for sex!" Seonghoon trembled at the flashback. "Hide me!"
"Where?" Jiwon asked, looking around.
"I mean..where are they?"
"Hey, bitch!" Miyoung bellowed, sneaking up on Seonghoon.
Seonghoon screamed like a bitch, howling like a hoochie. "They found me! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It was a dare! A dare! No sex! Please don't rape me!"
"Why were you prostituting then?" Miyoung demanded in a gruff voice.
"I-I-I-I wasn't!" Seonghoon protested with his eyes still closed.
"Whoa? Who would wanna fuck this boner?" Jiwon chortled. "Soowon's better. Stick with him, girl."
"What?!" Seonghoon eyes popped open. "Soowon's better?!!! What—"
"Hey, baby," Miyoung purred in a husky voice.
Seonghoon squeezed his eyes shut. "Noooooooooooo!"
Miyoung placed a hand on his neck. "How about it? Tonight? I promise I'll fuck REAL hard."
"Man, open your damn pussy eyes! Stupid cunt!" Miyoung growled, slapping Seonghoon upside his head.
"Owww!" Seonghoon cried, rubbing the back of his head. He spun around to find his friend walking away, heading towards the black car. "MIYOUNG?!!!" He stared at the familiar black Honda SI, realizing it was Soowon's car. "What the F—"
Jiwon nudged Seonghoon, cutting him off.
"The hell?!" Seonghoon shrieked. "It-It-It was...THEM!!"
Jiwon raised a brow. "Them what?"
"They-They-They...They're the ones who wanted to have sex!! Miyoung!" Seonghoon wailed. "What the?!!! That's not the van!!"
Soowon looked around sheepishly at the accusation. "Yeah, so?"
"How are we gonna fit?! And dammit! That..That was you!!!!" Seonghoon screamed, tearing his hair out. He screamed again, realizing Miyoung and Soowon had seen him...naked.
Miyoung laughed evily and approached Seonghoon again. "Hey..not bad. Do you parade around the streets like that all the time? What are the hours of your business? Lemme know and I'll come by and holla at cha sometime."
Seonghoon shuddered at the suggestion.
"Pop the hood," Soowon called out to Jiwon. "I bet there's nothing wrong."
Jiwon turned to Soowon.
"Oh, yeah! His brother's a mechanic!" Jaeduk reminded them, letting his feet down. He adjusted his clothes. "Pop it! Maybe Soowon can fix it."
Jiwon glanced at the small Honda parked behind his car and sighed. He popped the hood open and Soowon, along with Jaejin and Jaeduk all gathered around to inspect the engine.
Soowon frowned. "You sure this was at the shop?"
Jiwon narrowed his eyes. "Why?"
"Did you even look under here?"
Jiwon squeezed in with the trio and Miyoung hurried over to join the crowd. Seonghoon leaned on the passenger door, playing with his hair.
"Did you see them open the hood?"
"No. What's wrong?"
"This!" Soowon picked at the piece of bubble gum, disgusted. "Somebody stuck a piece of gum into your damn Beemer!"
"What the FUCK?!" Jiwon bellowed, shoving Jaejin and Jaeduk aside. "When did this happen?!"
"Couldn't have been yesterday. The gum's black and dry. The mechanics obviously chose to miss that one."
"Damn, fuck nuts! Good thing I didn't have to pay."
"There's nothing technically wrong. You gotta get your oil changed."
What?!" Jiwon shrieked. "They were supposed to do that!"
"And," Soowon continued. "Your car needs to be jumped. It's dead."
Seonghoon jumped off the door. "I'll be waiting in the car." He pointed to Soowon's car and hurried off. Miyoung ran after him and shoved him away. She ran to Soowon's Honda as Seonghoon grabbed her by the waist from behind and threw her back.
"You bastard!" she screamed as she landed on her ass. She quickly got up and charged at Seonghoon. She pushed him and he hollered as he hit the seater. "Go in the back!" she yelled and pushed him through the small space.
"Wait! Lemme put the seat down!" Seonghoon wailed.
"No!" Miyoung barked. "Get in there!" She gave him a kick in the ass and he shot forward like a cannon, sprawling across the floor of the car, his feet still hanging out the door.
"Owwww..." he said lifelessly. "Miyoung..my pants. Now I gotta black foot on my ass. My jeans are white, Miyoung..."
She picked up his feet and threw them in, turning Seonghoon into a screwed up pretzel. "Shoulda considered your options."
Seonghoon pulled himself up and patted himself clean. "I did. Jiwon's car's gonna break down again."
"So...you put the gum there!" she accused.
"No, I didn't!" Seonghoon cried, shocked at the accusation. "I said it'll break down again! I didn't say I made it die! Miyoung!"
She slammed the door shut and left Seonghoon in the car by himself and wandered back to the others. Jaeduk came up to her, talking 150 words per minute and Jaejin stood behind them—laughing. Soowon and Jiwon were still arguing whether to jump the car or not.
"That was great! I saw him fly across the backseat! You shoulda let me try!"
Miyoung smiled meekly and went o Jiwon. She pulled her hair back, the heat killing her. "Are we moving along or what? Jiyong's probably home already."
"Jump it!" Soowon growled.
"No," Jiwon said through gritted teeth. "What if that fucks up my car even more?!"
"I'll pay for the damages. My brother'll fix your car."
Jiwon contemplated the idea but Soowon was already moving. Jaejin and Jaeduk helped while Miyoung and Jiwon stood aside and watched.
"Wait, did I even agree to it and you guys are — "
Jaejin cut Jiwon off by climbing into the BMW and started the engine.
Miyoung turned to Jiwon. "What were you saying?"
"You need to keep that boy. If you don't look lock him up, some day, God knows when—I'll turn gay and take him from you."
Miyoung shrieked with laughter and went to Soowon's car. Seonghoon had his face against the window, his hands banging away. She jerked the door open, allowing air into the stuffy vehicle. Seonghoon quickly stuck his head out, inhaling the fresh air.
"Oh, I love you, Miyoung!"
Miyoung stepped into the car and slammed the door shut. Seonghoon leaned back on the seat. "Still love me?"
Seonghoon ignored her.
"So, it's only the two of us now," Miyoung said coyly. "How about it?"
"You're not serious, are you?!" Seonghoon inquired, horrified.
Miyoung turned around. "Of course I'm serious! You think I'm playing with you?!"
Seonghoon gulped. Miyoung's fiesty. She'd rape him before he could even lift a finger. "What about Soowon?"
"What about him?"
"Won't..won't he mind?"
"Mind? Seonghoon, we broke up! It's his idea to pick you up. I never knew he was into threesomes," she said with a frown.
"Threesome!?!" Seonghoon gasped. "Soowon's gay?!"
Miyoung fought to keep from screaming. It was funny. She bit on her lip and watched Seonghoon's face grow from shock to mortification.
"Oh..my..God..W-W-When did this happen? H-H-How?!!!"
"K, we're ready to go!" Soowon announced, pulling the door open. He started the engine and felt the tension in the backseat. "You okay, Hoon?"
Seonghoon couldn't hold back any longer. "Lemme out! Lemme outta here! Why didn't you tell me? Why didn't anyone tell me?!"
Soowon scoffed, glancing at Miyoung. "Tell you what?"
"You're gay!" Seonghoon shouted, shaking the passenger seat.
Soowon stiffened, his eye balls close to falling out. Slowly he asked, "Whaaaaaaa?"
Seonghoon rolled his eyes, exasperated. "You're gay! Why didn't you tell me?!"
Miyoung burst out laughing, tears streaming down her face.
"Who said I was gay?" Soowon demanded, zooming off. He flew past Jiwon's car, enraged. He looked over to Miyoung who was clutching her stomach and laughing with her mouth wide open.
"NO!" Soowon thundered. "You believe her?! Of all people!"
"Well...y-y-you know that girlfriend of yours can be pretty convincing at times," Seonghoon stammered.
"Shut up!" Soowon bellowed, hitting Miyoung's knee and drove off the next exit.
"Wait till I tell Chomee!" Miyoung gurgled, choking slightly. "She's gonna flip!"
"Shut up!" Seonghoon cried, slapping Miyoung's shoulder.
Miyoung simmered, still giggling to herself as Soowon raced with Jiwon down the ramp, nearby traffic honking crazily at them. She saw Jaeduk in the front seat, waving a white box and Jaejin in the back holding onto the headrest of the driver seat.
"Step on it!" Seonghoon gushed, glancing over at Jiwon's car. "Ohmigod! Ohmigod, Ohmigod! Soowon!!!"
Miyoung focused her attention on the wheels, realizing she never noticed till now. "Oh, MY GOD!!!! SOOWON!!!!"
"What?" Soowon said bluntly and kept gunning the gas.
"SOOWON! STOP THE CAR!!!!!" Miyoung screamed, terrified. She kept her eyes on Jiwon's determined face and the rims of his car. They were so close to touching. The cars...
"Why?!!" Soowon shouted.
"No! Don't stop! That'll actually scrape the cars..keep moving!" Seonghoon commanded, his face pale.
"Scrape..." Soowon quickly glanced over. "Holy shit!" His foot quickly eased up on the gas pedal, slowing down at least ten times the speed he was going at. Miyoung and Seonghoon jerked backwards in their seat, yelling as they sunk.
"Aha!" Jiwon sneered, shooting miles ahead. He slowed down as he approached the wide rotary to the hospital. "Told you no punk can beat my shit!"
"Actually...Jiyong beated you—" Jaeduk started to say.
"Ahhhh, shut up!" Jiwon cut in. It was true. Give Jiyong a beat up car and he'll still beat Jiwon anyday. Even if it was a shopping cart and Jiwon'd still lose if he had a racer. "It's not my fault he got long legs."
"And Soowon—" Jaeduk tried again.
"I just kicked his ass."
"Uhhh...actually...I think he slowed down on purpose. Did you see how close your cars were?" Jaejin asked. "He slowed a quarter of a mile down just so you can pass him at the turn back there. If not...we're all gonna be with Jiyong in the same situation as he's in."
JIwon bit his lip and kept quiet. As he pulled up in an empty space, Soowon followed not too far behind. He got out with Jaejin and Jaeduk, all waiting for Soowon to find a parking space. They waited for them at the entrance, Jaeduk walking like a little boy and shaking the little box as if it was a Christmas present. He beamed and smiled.
"Oh, happy day!" he commented. "Hope Jiyong likes this."
Soowon parked his car and got out. Miyoung and Seonghoon were battling with each other. Miyoung pushed Seonghoon back as Seonghoon kept kicking the seat and screaming for Soowon to help. Soowon laughed at the two and left for the hospital entrance.
"Stay in there!" Miyoung yelled and slammed the door shut. She ran after Soowon and rammed right into Jiwon. "Quick! Let's go before he gets out! I couldn't lock him in!" She pulled Jaeduk after her and they hurried to the front desk.
"Damn you..." Seonghoon muttered under his breath. He slammed down the seater and crawled out of the small Honda. He straightened out his clothes and checked out his hair in the mirror before advancing anywhere. "This is what I get for caring. I show a little sympathy and care for you and this is the trouble I have to put up with. Damn you, Ko Jiyong."
With that, Seonghoon yanked a strand of hair straight and head towards the hospital.
Chomee could only wait. She sat on the stool, watching the hands on the clock tick by. It was slow. She hated it. She wanted to climb up on the wall and turn the time forward. She had to hurry home. She didn't necessarily have to. She wanted to.
If only she had left earlier. She could tell Mrs. Ko wanted for her to leave. She could see the hatred in the woman's eyes. Mrs. Ko didn't like anybody. Period.
Chomee sighed and looked around her, bored. Jiyong had said Seonghoon and Miyoung were supposed to come. But they haven't showed up yet. She sighed and kept her eyes on the curtain that hid Jiyong in the operating room. She grew impatient. It was going to be two hours and only half an hour passed. She couldn't wait.
She got up off the stool and left the waiting room. She returned to the main waiting room and quietly entered. Upon her entrance, heads looked up in her direction.
Mrs. Ko the very first.
"What happened?!" Mr. Ko asked, surprised to find Chomee back. "Did something happen?"
Chomee hesitated and shook her head. "No. Nothing happened. I just wanted to come back."
The tension she had felt two seconds ago, lightened. She silently tiptoed to the other end of the room and picked up a magazine. She took a seat by the window and began flipping through the magazine, feeling uncomfortable. She could feel Mrs. Ko's eyes — burning a gigantic hole into her brain.
Susan looked and sighed. She soon stood up and left the room. She couldn't stand sitting for two hours. She retraced her steps and went back outside, the hot sun firing her up a bit. She felt too cold in the waiting room. Especially in the presence of Jiyong's mother. The woman sure does know how to go below zero. She walked towards the garden. Something she had missed when she first arrived the hospital. It was well hidden. Far away from the parking lot.
It surprised her, however. A hospital with a park...in the city? But then she reminded herself she was in Korea. Not America.
She looked up towards the sky, the sky bluest of blues. The clouds were white and fluffy like cotton candy. She approached a pinic bench and threw down her purse. She glanced at her Gucci watch. Only forty minutes passed. She had another lifetime to wait. She stared off into space.
What would happen...if..
Jiyong could see again? If he rejected her? If..If he saw Chomee? If he..
Susan panicked. There were too many if's. She chewed on her lower lip. She had to get rid of Chomee. She had to get rid of her.
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