Jiyong took his mother’s and Seonghoon’s advice and went fishing. Amazingly, he caught two beautiful goldfishes.
“You’re cute,” one of the girls said.
“Thanks,” Jiyong mumbled sheepishly.
“What is he doing?!” Jiyoon demanded, tugging on Jaejin’s arm. “That was not part of the game plan!”
Jaejin followed Jiyoon’s gaze and quickly looked over to Kiyoon, who ate her plate of food in silence, avoiding conversations and contact. “Damn,” he muttered.
“What just happened?” Jiyoon whispered.
“C’mon. We’re going for a walk,” Jaejin murmured back. He pushed his chair back and Jiyoon quickly followed and both went over to Kiyoon and rescued her from the her version of ‘living hell.’
Kiyoon was more than gladly to get away from the noise, the people and mostly, Jiyong. “Where are we going?”
“Out. You need to breathe, you were choking on your food,” Jaejin said, silently cursing to himself.
Jiyong watched with curious eyes as the three left, Jiyoon’s arms around Kiyoon, as if comforting her. Oh, no...he thought.
“Hey! What did you say your name was?” a girl asked.
“Seonghoon?!” Gasp. “That’s such an adorable name! You’re so handsome!”
Jiyong nodded, his heart sinking. Kiyoon wasn’t there. “Uh...I have to go. My family wants me back at the table?”
“Sure. Make sure you come back later!” the girls chimed.
Jiyong slipped into his chair, which happened to be the next table over and sighed. Oh, Kiyoon...what have you done to me? He watched enviously as Seonghoon’s eyes twinkled at the little secret Miyoon was whispering in his ear. He picked up his chopsticks and began eating away. Afterall, it is his birthday.
“Why’s Jaejin so mad?” Kiyoon mouthed, pulling Jiyoon to a halt.
Jiyoon shrugged. “Guess he had a bad day at work.”
“Jiyoon, you two didn’t go to work today. Remember? Jiyong’s birthday?”
Jiyoon slapped herself on the forehead. “Must be stress. You know...sick people and all...”
“That’s not it. Jaejin’s never like this.”
How observant, Jiyoon thought. She pulled Kiyoon to walk again, trailing after Jaejin in the wide city streets.
“Unni...I’m tired. Can we go home?”
Jiyoon looked strangely at Kiyoon before inquiring, “Why? You’re never tired...You don’t go to bed till three in the morning!”
Jaejin stopped once he sensed the two sisters weren’t behind him. “Now what?”
“Give her a piggy. She’s tired.”
“I’m sure I can walk. Just that I feel like sleeping at the moment.” Kiyoon yawned, the heat suddenly unbearable.
Jiyoon placed a cool hand of Kiyoon’s forehead. She glanced at Jaejin, her eyes widening.
“What?” Jaejin said inaudibly.
Jiyoon shook her head as she removed her hand.
“No, unni! Leave it there! That felt good.”
“Kiyoon, we’re taking you home.” Jaejin quickly turned around and headed back to the restaurant. Jiyoon hurried Kiyoon along, making sure they keep up with Jaejin.
“Wait in the car. I’ll be right down.” Jaejin handed Jiyoon the keys to his car and entered the restaurant. He scanned the crowded place and immediately went over to the table he was eating at earlier. “We’re going home first. Kiyoon isn’t feeling well. Jiyoon’s downstairs waiting,” he said in a rush.
“Wait - What? What happened?” Chaeya asked, lowering her chopsticks. Her face baffled.
“Kiyoon. She’s coming down with a fever. We’re bringing her home.”
“A fever?!” Jiyong cried. “A fever in the summer?”
“I’m thinking it has something to do with her studies and all that. She never stops. We’re taking her home.”
“We? Who’s - “
“Jiyoon’s downstairs in my car with her. I just came up here to tell you that. Gotta go.” Jaejin took off before anyone else could question him any further.
“Awww, don’t worry about her. They’re just trying to get some attention. I doubt it she’s even sick!” Miyoon said lightly. She sipped at her tonic.
“I think we should go,” Granny suggested. Whenever Kiyoon’s sick, it was always serious and heavy.
“No! I’m having fun!” Miyoon pouted.
“And you have no concern about your sister’s welfare whatsoever?” her father inquired. “We’re going home.”
Dinner ended soon and they all left for home in two separate cars.
“I dunno why we have to leave at such a petty little thing! I mean, Jaejin and Jiyoon’s with her, so why do we have to end our fun?”
“Miyoon...you wouldn’t like it if everybody else ignored you when you’re sick,” Seonghoon pointed out.
“I don’t! Which is why I think she deserves it!”
“Nobody cared about me when I was sick, so why should I give a damn about them?”
“Not even me?” Seonghoon asked mildly.
“Except you, honey.” Miyoon smiled.
Jiyong felt himself grow sick. Miyoon was so cold hearted and he was glad Seonghoon was stuck with her.
After thirty minutes, they arrived home and everybody filed upstairs to Kiyoon’s room. All except Miyoon and Jiyong. Jiyong had left for his room and Miyoon stayed in the living room to watch late night sitcoms.
“Kiyoon?” Granny rasped, entering her granddaughter’s room.
“It is SOOOOOOOO hot! Open the windows! Appa! Where is he? He needs to get me an air-conditioner!” Kiyoon bellowed.
“Shhh...Kiyoon, calm down.”
Kiyoon slapped the hands away. “Go away...you’re making me hot! It’s so muggy in here! Where’s my water!?”
Jaejin searched the room for Jiyong. “Where’s Seonghoon?”
Seonghoon nearly stepped forward, but remembered he was Jiyong to them. “I think he’s in his room.”
Jaejin pushed past the worried mob and went down to Jiyong’s room. He threw the door open without knocking and saw Jiyong standing in front of his closet in his boxers.
Jiyong jumped out of his skin, unaware Jaejin had the door open. He quickly grabbed a pair of jeans and slipped it on.
Jaejin stalked forward and pushed Jiyong up against the closet door. “What did you do to Kiyoon?”
“Wha-Wha-What are you talking about?” Jiyong stuttered.
“I’m talking about today! Up here in her room! You did not only just kiss her! What did you do, you bastard?!”
Jiyong shoved Jaejin off, going wild at the accusation. “Are you saying I did sumthin to her?! Cuz if you’re saying that then you - “
“What did you do?!”
“NOTHING! It was all a mistake! All I did was just kiss her! One simple kiss!”
“How am I supposed to know that she’ll have an allergic reaction to me?! She didn’t tell me!”
“Well, she didn’t know!”
“Are you defending her?!”
“Well, she’s gonna be my sister, what’d you expect?!”
Jiyong shook his head in disbelief and slumped against the closet. “Is she alright?”
“She’s hysterical. I think it’s a twenty-four hour virus.”
“You really like her.”
“No, I don’t,” Jiyong mumbled.
“Don’t lie. It’s so easy reading you. You didn’t even know you liked her till recently. Till today when you kissed her.”
Jiyong hid his face in his hands.
“Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. Just make sure she don’t go bonkers again.”
Jiyong stayed where he was, not wanting to move.
“And...make sure you find out what she’s allergic to. I can’t be with you two on every date, every event.”
:: Chapter 22 ::
Kiyoon soon recovered from her ‘temporary’ discomfort and was up and about. July had quickly went by and so had Soowon’s birthday.
Soowon moved away on short notice, leaving Kiyoon friendless and lonely. It was already August and Kiyoon kept wishing for the days to go by faster.
“My...aren’t you one eager bug.”
Kiyoon turned from her computer screen at the voice. “Oma?”
“Never knew you liked school that much.”
“I don’t. I’m deleting things off my computer.”
“Oh.” A pause. “I see you’re getting happier and happier. May I ask why?”
Kiyoon stared at the screen, unable to meet her mother’s gaze. “They’re leaving.”
“Jiyong and Seonghoon? I thought you enjoyed their company!”
With her eyes still glued to the screen, “No, Oma. You only pretended I liked them. You imagined I got along with them. I never got close to them like Miyoon did.”
“Mom...Soowon left. He moved!”
“I know that.”
“Can I move too?”
“No, I’m not! Oma, you weren’t there when I’m in trouble. You didn’t give me parental discipline. I had it from Jiyoon and Soowon. And Jaejin. But I never learned anything from you! I’m overreacting? Soowon’s my best friend! My only friend.”
Chaeya sighed. “So what do you want me to do?”
“Make sure that Miyoon marries Jiyong.”
“So I can live longer.”
Chaeya shook her head. Kiyoon was always a bundle. Her and her questions. “What about you and Seonghoon?”
“What about me and him?”
“I thought you two were getting along great.”
“I was beginning to get used to him. Then I dunno...guess he’s not like Soowon.”
“Kiyoon, do you like Soowon?”
Kiyoon sat still, searching for an answer. “I don’t think so, Oma. We were never meant to be.”
“But do you?”
"No...I never pictured Soowon as anything else other than a trusting friend.”
“Then what about Seonghoon?”
“What about him?”
“He seems pretty trusting.”
“Yeah, I thought so too until he kissed me.”
“Kiyoon, it was only a kiss!” Chaeya cried, exasperated.
“I know! And that’s the problem! I don’t want to be kissed!”
“Hmm...” Chaeya observed her daughter, trying to understand her. It was so hard. Understanding Jiyoon and Miyoon was so easy, but when it came down to her last daughter, it’s like trying to put a puzzle together. “You’re afraid.”
“You’re scared because if Seonghoon kisses you, you might start to like him. You can’t have that kind of problem when you’ve already seen how Miyoon and her boyfriends treat each other.”
“Suppose that if you want. I don’t care.”
“Well, you better start caring!”
Kiyoon looked up at her mother. “Why? Look at Miyoon! She cared too much and how much did it help her? Oma, sometimes I wonder if I was really adopted but I sensed that better half of you cared about me, I decided against that. But really...I’m wondering how much you really know about me.”
“How old was I when I first got into a fight?”
Chaeya looked around, trying to come up with an answer. “I-I-I dunno! First grade?”
“Five. Jiyoon had scratched me accidentally when she was trying to break us up. I ended up breaking the neighbor’s little boy’s nose. How old was I when I had won the Citywide piano recital contest?”
Chaeya stayed silent.
“Eight. See? You can barely even remember when I’ve done a little something you can be proud of and you say you know me? Yeah, other than my name, age, sex and birthday...what else can you tell me?”
Chaeya started hoarsely. “You...You were only two...I already knew by that age you’d grow up to be a brave woman. You never cried, not a tear. Granny was resting in the afternoon, Jiyoon and Miyoon was with her. Your father was at work...You were watching television. I was preparing dinner...cooking soup.” An intake of breath. “I was too busy cooking and had no idea you had came into the dining room. By that time I started getting ready to prepare the rest of dinner. I had already placed the pot of soup on the table, unaware you were in there. I never even bothered to check up on you. I just assumed you were laughing at the cartoons...” A sniffle. “You were always curious, always wanted to know everything...You somehow managed to get your hand on the pot...”
“And that’s how I got burned,” Kiyoon finished in a whisper. She looked down at her arm, the ugly scar staring back at her.
“When the pot came down, I didn’t hear you scream or cry. You just stood there, frozen. Not sure of what to do. I came running into the dining room and found you there with scalding soup dripping off your arm...I didn’t know what to do at the time and just held you for hours and hours. You didn’t cry...but I guess you didn’t know how. So I cried for you. I was so weak and you were the opposite. I didn’t want to wake Granny up and worry her. We only had one car back then. Your Appa came home and we took you to the hospital. You never flinched once nor had a single tear drop roll down your face.”
Kiyoon watched her mother sob, the rest of the story imprinted on the very scar on her arm. “Then that’s what made you believe I’m strong and independent?”
“Ever since that incident, I knew you weren’t gonna be like Miyoon or Jiyoon. You were the son I’ve always wanted, but instead...you came out as a girl.”
“So my final outcome as a girl disappointed you?”
“No...I have all my hopes in you. I wanted you to marry Jiyong, not Miyoon.”
“Me? Why me?”
“Let’s just say mothers have their reasons...but love can do otherwise.”
“What are you saying?”
“Seonghoon’s not bad.”
“I don’t like him! Final!”
“But...he likes you.”
“Why are you avoiding it?”
“Because I’m sure he only thinks he likes me. Ten years down the road, he’ll be glad he didn’t marry me.”
“Don’t be so sure...your Appa almost made the same mistake. Instead he was glad he did marry me.”
“Is it legal for me to marry at such a young age?”
“Because if it isn’t, then I can still live out my final years of freedom before I start giving potty training.”
:: Chapter 23 ::
“The days are going by so fast!” Seonghoon said in awe. “It still feels like my first week here!”
Jiyong agreed. “It’s going by too fast.”
“I’m thinking about staying here.”
“Miyoon wants to get married and settle.”
“But-But you two only met a few months ago!”
“So? Isn’t that long enough?”
“Seonghoon...only spending time with her for three months does not tell you a whole lot about her.”
“No, you mean it doesn’t tell you a whole lot about Kiyoon.”
Jiyong regarded his friend strangely.
“Admit it, Jiyong. You’re all over her. I’ve seen the way how you look at her. You wish you could have her in your arms.”
Jiyong snarled. “At least she’s not money hungry. What will happen if she finds out you’re not me?”
“I’ll tell her when we get married. Like a few weeks later.”
“Wow, Seonghoon! Like that’s gonna help!” Jiyong said sarcastically.
“Hey! You’re just jealous because the both of us are paired off. Me and Miyoon and Jaejin and Jiyoon. You’re sour because you’re not up to Kiyoon’s standards!”
“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Jiyong bellowed. “I may not live up to her standards then what about you?! I’d rather live honestly and not up to her standards than pretend I’m living in the perfect world which doesn’t meet my standards!”
“Do you have any idea what you’ve just said does not make any sense?”
“Whatever. Go do what you want. Just make sure when we go back home, we swap families and i.d. cards.”
“Why are we fighting?”
“Because the real Ko Jiyong isn’t getting what he wants and he has PMS!”
The phone sounded loudly and Kiyoon reached to pick it up. “Hello?”
“Chaeya?” a strange voice asked.
“No, who’s this?”
“Oh! Is this Jiyoon?”
“No, who’s this?”
“Who are you?”
“Hi, darling. How’s Jiyong?”
“I dunno. Fine, I guess.”
“What’s wrong, darling?”
“Nothing. I’ll go get my mom.”
“Well...since I’m with you, I just wanna chat with you.”
“How are you and Jiyong getting along?’
“Jiyong? Oh, great!” Kiyoon lied.
“Really?” Mrs. Ko asked hopefully.
“Yeah. He’s a really nice kid. Nice smile.”
“Jiyong told me about your fever, how are you feeling?”
“Great. Thanks, ajooma. Jiyoon’s calling me, I have to go now.”
“Alright. I’ll talk to your Oma.”
Kiyoon left her room and handed the call over to her mother. “It’s Jiyong’s mom.” She hung up her extension and went on reading her book.
“Maybe I should come by for a surprise.”
Chaeya gasped. “That’s a wonderful idea!”
“Are things well?”
“Very! The kids are happy, of course. I think Jiyong doesn’t want to leave.”
“That’s him when he has too much fun. How are things between him and Kiyoon? She tells me they’re getting along great.”
“Really? I guess...I’m never around to really find much out. I’m always working odd hours.”
Mrs. Ko laughed. “Did Jiyong get skinner or fatter? I’m so worried about him.”
“He’s definitely still the same. Very charming and funny.”
“He’s kinda quiet and perserved. It’s funny...it seems more like he and Kiyoon are getting along better and Kiyoon and Jiyong.”
Mrs. Ko held onto the phone, the information quite startling. “Really?”
“Yes. Although they don’t talk much, but I sense a fondness between the two. Kiyoon just needs to open up more.”
“Hmm...I hope I’m not visiting at a bad time.”
“No! Come! You must come!”
“I will. I want to see Jiyoon. I haven’t seen her since she was a pretty little girl. She’s all grown up now, I bet.”
“Oh, yes. She’s planning on marrying soon. I think Kiyoon has nagged her long enough and she’s finally giving in.”
Mrs. Ko sighed. “Well, I hope you can help me keep this as a secret.”
“We’ll talk more later.”
“Definitely. I want to see all three of your daughters.”
“Awww...you’ll love them. I promise you.”
“I know!” Seonghoon shouted, snapping his fingers.
“We can leave and go back home. I will tell Miyoon that I’ll write to her. That way nothing will go bad.”
“Now...try this : you give her your digits and she’ll ring you up...Who’ll she ask for? Jiyong oppa! Not Seonghoonie.”
“Damn!” Seonghoon cursed at the reminder. “What am I gonna do?”
“Leave. Skip town. Give her a fake number but remember to get hers.”
“She’ll bug me for it.”
“Funny, that’s what I would say about you. Give her your cell number.”
“Oh, no! If I do, I’ll need to cancel it and change my number again.”
“Like you mind.”
“Fine. Just wait a couple of days. There’s only a few more days till September.”
“Five days and one week till September second.”
“So you’re keeping count.”
“That’s when I go to Hell.”
:: Chapter 24 ::
The plan was all set. It was August twenty ninth, Mrs. Ko landed at the airport, awaiting for Chaeya to come and pick her up. They had it all planned out that she would come and surprise her son and then go home with an engagement. Kiyoon was to be her daughter-in-law and she was nervous in a way, meeting the girl Jiyong liked.
“Where is Oma going this early in the morning?” Miyoon questioned, watching her mother pull away from the driveway.
“Molla,” Jiyoon replied with a shrug. She handed Jaejin his breakfast and went on to pour Kiyoon her coffee.
“I’m telling! Kiyoon’s not supposed to drink that!”
“Why are you being such a bitch? Don’t you know that pretty girls like you drink it would get wrinkles and look old? Coffee stains on your teeth?” Jiyong retorted.
Miyoon gasped. “For real?”
“Give Kiyoon her coffee.”
Chaeya arrived at the airport in forty minutes, the traffic surprisingly light. She entered the airport, searching for her long time friend. Sure enough, there she was. The two women hurried out, both eager to catch up on each other’s life since the last time they’ve seen each other. The ride was cheery and the chatter never ended.
“Well, Jiyong oppa. We have to do something memorable together since you’re gonna leave soon,” Miyoon said decisively.
“What do you suggest?” Seonghoon asked, chewing on his biscuit.
“Can I moon you?” Kiyoon asked childishly, sipping at her light colored coffee.
“Never mind. You probably prefer Miyoon’s ass, since hers’ more fuller and has bouncety-bounce.”
“I’m eating you know,” Jaejin reminded Kiyoon with his mouth full.
“And I’m talking. Can I give you a makeover?”
Jaejin shook his head hard, his hair flying. “The last that happened I looked like a drag!”
“You know you liked it.”
“No. Give Seonghoon one. Maybe he’ll look more suitable to your tastes.”
“Never mind. Don’t talk nasty. I’m not digesting.”
“I think we should go noraebang,” Jiyoon said casually, spreading jam over her bread.
“Yeah!” Jaejin agreed, his eyes lighting up.
“Shopping!” Miyoon cried.
“Miyoon! Find a new hobby. You’ve been doing that ever since you knew how to walk. Didn’t you just go yesterday?” Jaejin asked.
“Swimming?” Jiyong suggested.
“It’ll kill my hair,” Seonghoon was quick to remind Jiyong.
“You have a wig on?!” Kiyoon gasped.
“I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take this hair piece off if you promise you’ll take off your clothes,” Seonghoon argued.
“What are you, NUTS?! Unni, we have a pervert in the house!”
“Make it two. Jiyong and Kiyoon,” Jaejin corrected. “One wants to see naked body, the other wants to see naked head.”
Kiyoon stuck her tongue out.
“I know! Kiyoon’s favorite game! Truth or Dare!” Miyoon cried excitedly.
“We’re not stranded on an island, you know. Plus, it’s not fun when it’s bright out. I like it better when it’s dark...you know?”
“Damn vampire,” Miyoon muttered, glaring at Kiyoon.
“Well, you better think quick. I’m getting ancient here!” Jiyong said loudly, reading the newspaper.
“Isn’t that Kiyoon’s phrase?” Miyoon raised a brow.
“And so? At least he’s learning from his master. What did your pupil learn?” Kiyoon challenged, eyeing Seonghoon.
“FOOD FIGHT!!!!” Seonghoon screamed, taking the can of whip cream and squirting it at Kiyoon.
“You mother flower!” Kiyoon took her remaining cup of coffee and splashed it at Seonghoon’s face, washing him over with the warm liquid. She jumped off her seat and snatched the paper from Jiyong, rolling it up before she ran after Seonghoon.
“Miyoon! If I don’t come back alive, call 911!!!” Seonghoon yelled as he dashed out to the yard.
“Miyoon! If you don’t hear anything at all, call the morgue!!! Jiyoon! Call the hospital! Seonghoon! Call the funeral home!” Kiyoon barked, chasing after Seonghoon.
“What about me!?!” Jaejin shouted, running to the sliding doors.
“Be prepared to give mouth-to-mouth!”
“Ewww...I hope that boy don’t have lip cancer.”
Everybody laughed as they cleaned up the mess, waiting for Kiyoon and Seonghoon to finish their game of ‘Cat and Mouse.’
“We’re almost there!” Chaeya announced.
“You think this is a good idea?”
“Oh, I dunno. I don’t want to embarrass Jiyong. He doesn’t - “
“Nonsense! You’ll get to see the children bond. With them two, things just get livelier.”
“How’s the children?”
“Very good. Your son’s simply charming. Very fine man. You’re so lucky you have a son like him. I can’t even get Kiyoon to act lady-like,” Chaeya complained, driving into the driveway.
“Oh, she’ll grow out of it. Jiyong tells me a lot about her. He said she’s smart and pretty, funny...he said it just seem so impossible to cram all those traits and wits into one person. He completely adores her.”
Once again, Chaeya was confused. She dismissed the confusing thought and guided her friend to the house. She helped with the light luggage and together they strolled up the walkway in the front of the house.
“Ko Jiyong! You stand still, you hear me!?”
The two woman outside froze at the command, unaware of the chaotic situation inside.
“That’s Kiyoon,” Chaeya whispered.
Mrs. Ko nodded, not sure if she should be afraid or alarmed. Had Jiyong offend her? What did he do?
“Ko Jiyong!” Kiyoon bellowed again, this time jumping over the chairs. She had already changed into another outfit and kept after Seonghoon as soon as he came out of the quick shower. “Jiyong! C’mere!”
“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!” Seonghoon screamed shrilly, waving his arms like a madman. “Miyoon!”
Jiyong laughed on, the sight hilarious. Kiyoon and Seonghoon could go on all day. Seonghoon pretending to be scared and Kiyoon still persuing him with Jiyong’s morning paper.
“Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do? Whacha gonna do when dey come for you, dumb ass, dumb ass,” Kiyoon sang, changing the words to the ‘Cops’ theme song.
“I’m gonna kill you!” Seonghoon shrieked.
“Not after I give you a big, wet smoochie!” Kiyoon sped up and ran back into the house just as the front door opened.
By accident, Seonghoon screamed Jiyong’s name out loud, forgetting in the moment of fun that he was Jiyong. “JEEEEEEEEEEYOOOOOOOOOOONG!!!!!!!!”
The audience, (Jaejin, Jiyong, Jiyoon and Miyoon) followed the two racers to the kitchen, through the dining room and BAM! To the living room.
“They’re up to their little games again. Kiyoon’s the big bully around here. She’s always picking on people,” Chaeya explained as she unlocked the front door and shoved it open.
“Hiya!!!!” Kiyoon shrilled, imitating Bruce Lee. “I shall moon you!”
Seonghoon’s feet came to an abrupt halt causing Kiyoon to run right into him at the swinging doorway.
“Hey! I caught you! I caught you!” Kiyoon cried gleefully.
Jiyong, being the tallest quickly looked over to the front door and felt his legs go numb. It was rubbery. Simultaneously, he and Kiyoon both cried out, “Oma!”
Both surprised and...dead.
:: Chapter 25 ::
“O-O-Oma!” Seonghoon stammered, hurrying over to Jiyong’s mother as soon as he recovered from his shock. Everybody had filed into the living room, embarrassed to have been found fooling around like little children.
“Oma?” Mrs. Ko cried. She looked over to her “real” son, Jiyong, baffled by Seonghoon’s actions. “Are you alright?” she asked, her hand over Seonghoon’s forehead.
“I’m fine! I’m fine! How are you, Oma? What are you doing here?” Seonghoon asked hastily.
Jiyong moaned. When things are going great, they always have to take an unexpected turn. Now what Seonghoon did really was the unexpected.
He pecked Jiyong’s mother on the cheek as if it was his own mother! Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!
“Seonghoon!” Mrs. Ko gasped. “Jiyong! What’s going on?!”
Jiyong scooted over to hide behind Kiyoon, his mother’s demanding gaze following him. He ducked his head as all eyes turned to him.
“Ajooma!” Miyoon said sweetly, coming to Seonghoon’s rescue. She looped her arm through Mrs. Ko’s. “We haven’t seen each other so long, you still remember me? I’m Miyoon. Jiyong’s girlfriend?”
“Jiyong?!” Another gasp. “Jiyong, I thought you said you liked Kiyoon!”
“WHAT?!” Miyoon shrieked. She turned to Seonghoon. “You bastard!”
“Miyoon! Wait! Lemme explain!” Seonghoon cried.
“Me?” Kiyoon said meekly. She looked somewhat shocked yet disgusted. She glanced at Seonghoon. “I-I-I thought...”
“You must be Kiyoon,” Mrs. Ko assumed, reaching for Kiyoon. “My! You certainly have grown into a pretty flower! You look better in person than in pictures! Hmm...Jiyong certainly has made a fine choice.”
“WHAT?!” Miyoon and Kiyoon hooted in unison. “JIYONG?!”
Jiyoon left Jaejin standing by himself and pushed past the two younger girls. “Ajooma, sit down. We’re confused. Please explain to us what’s going on.”
“Going on? Shouldn’t you five tell me what’s going on? I’m just telling you what Seonghoon and Jiyong reported to me,” Mrs. Ko replied innocently.
“Seonghoon?” Kiyoon prompted, turning around to face Jiyong.
Miyoon marched over to Seonghoon. “Honey! What’s happening?!”
Mrs. Ko took Jiyoon’s advice and seated herself on the family couch, waiting for an explanation. “Jiyong?”
Jiyong looked up at his name, accidentally meeting Kiyoon’s bold stare. “Uh-oh.”
Kiyoon searched Jiyong’s eyes, afraid to guess the truth. “Seonghoon?”
“Jiyong,” his mother said again.
“Jiyong, your mother’s calling you!” Miyoon said, nudging Seonghoon.
Reluctantly, Seonghoon hurried to Mrs. Ko. “Yes...Mom?”
“Seonghoon, stop being funny. Tell Jiyong to c’mere,” she ordered.
“Jiyong?” Jiyoon murmured. She glanced at the ‘real’ Jiyong.
“Seonghoon?” Kiyoon said again softly.
Mrs. Ko pushed Seonghoon aside and stood up. She strode over to Kiyoon and Jiyong, her eyes full of questions and impatience. “Jiyong! What the hell is going on?!” she finally yelled.
Kiyoon nearly fell on her behind. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?!”
“JIYONG!?” Everybody else in the room chorused, except for Seonghoon.
“Oma...” Jiyong started, unable to meet his mother’s piercing gaze.
“What did you two do this time?”
“Oma...what are you doing here?”
Chaeya interrupted. “Calm down. They didn’t do anything. They’re both wonderful children. You’ve clearly mistaken. Jiyong’s over there. This is Seonghoon. Are you alright? I think perhaps it’s the heat - ”
“Chaeya, I gave birth to my own son. Shouldn’t I know who and how he is?”
“I knew things weren’t right with these two when I first saw them.”
Everyone turned to Granny’s voice, the old woman shuffling out from her room.
“I remember when I last saw Jiyong, he was seven, he had this scar on his hand. One you said it’ll be permanent. Remember, darling? I asked you about it when I was holding him?”
Mrs. Ko nodded, remembering the day.
“And when I saw him - ” Granny turned to Seonghoon. “I knew instantly he wasn’t the same Jiyong I met many years ago. He didn’t have that scar when he fell off his bike. As a matter of fact, he didn’t even have any scar on either hand.”
Kiyoon reeled around to face Jiyong, her eyes blazing with confusion. Oh, please don’t let Soowon be right and grant my mother’s wish, she prayed silently. She immediately reached for his hands, searching for the mentioned scar.
“It’s on his right hand. The back. It’s very close to his wrist, watch for it closely, cause it’s very light and easy to miss,” Granny instructed. “I thought neither of them were Jiyong, until one day in the kitchen I saw him and Kiyoon together and she had accidentally burned him with the kettle. I helped him apply ice and alcohol, that’s when I saw it. It was so faint...”
Kiyoon peered at Jiyong’s hand and sure enough, she spotted it.
Kiyoon dropped his hand, shocked at the evidence. “Seonghoon, you - ” she started.
Then Miyoon screamed. A loud deafening scream.
“Shut up! You know you can’t sing, why start now?!” Kiyoon thundered.
Then Miyoon snapped. Hysterical. Whoa.
“Miyoon! Stop it!” Jiyoon hushed, trying to silence her delirious sister.
“I told you she’s retarded,” Kiyoon sneered. “Next she’ll wanna kill Seonghoon for not telling her the truth.”
“Stop it, Kiyoon,” her mother scolded.
Kiyoon drew an invisible line over her lips and stepped back.
“I can’t believe this!” Miyoon wailed over and over again.
Kiyoon stabbed Jiyong’s ribs, whispering, “Forget about being a nut. She can be a drama queen. A dumb one who doesn’t know her lines.”
Jiyong giggled. It was such a comfort being close to Kiyoon. At least she can protect him better than Seonghoon does.
“Ey, Seonghoon,” she whispered.
Jiyong lowered himself to hear Kiyoon better. “What?”
“So...you’re the real Jiyong and not some cheesy secretary?”
“Wait...so now I have to say the same thing to you the day when I met him.”
Jiyong was confused. “What?”
“Let’s start over.” She held out her hand. “So...you’re that faggot Jiyong.”
Subconsciously, he laughed out loud, not realizing all curious eyes are on him. He quieted himself and muttered a, “Sorry.”
“I can’t believe it!” Miyoon squealed again.
“Let’s start all over,” Jiyoon said. “Everybody sit down!”
Jiyoon helped Granny to her favorite chair and settled with Jaejin when everyone was ready to hear the story.
“Seonghoon?” Chaeya insisted, referring to Jiyong.
“Oma, it’s Jiyong. Cousin Jiyong,” Kiyoon corrected.
Seonghoon had made sure he was far from Miyoon just in case she decided to attack him.
“Uhmm...Seonghoon and I...we were coming here for a vacation and as you...all know...there was a mess up.”
Seonghoon cleared his throat and picked up the story. “At first we only meant to play a trick. We didn’t mean for it to go this far! We’d thought you all could tell the difference. We really wanted to tell all of you, but we just didn’t know how. And...when Miyoon keeps calling Jiyong’s name...” Seonghoon shifted uncomfortably. “I just wanted to tell her I’m not the one she wanted.”
“So...you’re Seonghoon and he’s Jiyong?” Jaejin asked, glancing back and forth.
Slowly, they nodded. Miyoon wailed.
“Oh, no! This can’t be happening! Seonghoonie’s the real Jiyong oppa!” Kiyoon mocked.
Glumly, Miyoon agreed. “All I got was his secretary.”
For once, Kiyoon was serious with her sister. “Sumthin’s wrong with Miyoon. She’s not screaming.”
“Give her a minute to recharge her battery,” Jiyong whispered.
True to his word, Miyoon started pouting. “Aaahhhhaaaaaaaaaa! That is SOOOO unfair! Why does she get everything?!”
Kiyoon quickly jumped to her feet. “Everything?! Listen here, Barbie doll, I never got EVERYTHING! Everything I got was hand-me-downs! You were the gongju! I was never anything! Neither was Jiyoon! You had to have everything your way! What did I have?! Other than the toys and a few other accessories Jiyoon makes for me, I never got ANYTHING! Other than a few things Mom and Dad got me, you had EVERYTHING!”
“But not Jiyong!” Miyoon shrilled.
Kiyoon was baffled. “Ji-Ji-Jiyong?”
“Didn’t you listen?! Before ajooma had said anything else, she clearly stated that Jiyong like you! YOU!!! Not me! I got the fake! The FAKE!!!”
“Miyoon...Miyoon, calm down,” Jiyoon interrupted. “This stuff is too much for Kiyoon. She still doesn’t know how it feels like to have a crush.”
“Are you forgetting that Jaejin’s already with you for the rest of your life?! I have to marry him?!” Miyoon shrieked, waving at Seonghoon.
“I won’t marry!” Kiyoon quickly offered, feeling panicked.
Now Kiyoon’s in the spotlight. Miyoon felt her hopes rise. Jiyong was abruptly on his feet.
“Kiyoon,” Jiyoon said breathlessly. “You can’t mess with something as serious as marriage.”
The adults exchanged glances, all the humor in their eyes.
“Besides, Oma and Appa had already - ”
“Already what?!” Kiyoon shouted, cutting Jiyoon off.
“They said, if the both of you fall in love, they’ll...”
“In love?! Who’s in love?! Who said I was in love?!” Kiyoon demanded.
The adults finally burst out laughing.
“You sure you’re not in love?” Jiyoon teased.
“With...Jiyong oppa?” Miyoon added.
Kiyoon pouted, her face scrunched up with defeat. “No! And I will not marry!”
“We won! We won!” Jiyoon whooped. “Kiyoon finally grew up!”
“Haha...guess you’re not so stubborn,” Jiyong chortled, blowing into Kiyoon’s ear.
“Oh, yeah? What makes you think Miyoon will marry Seonghoon? She’s so devoted and dedicated to Jiyong oppa. She did say she like you and would like to be your future wife. I never said anything.”
Jiyong looked over to Miyoon. “Nah. She’s not the real Cho Kiyoon. I’m glad it was only me and Seonghoon that played this trick and not you two. Otherwise...”
“Otherwise what?” Kiyoon challenged.
“I’ll never know who’s the unspoiled Kiyoon,” Jiyong answered with a kiss. “Nor who’s virgin lips I shall deflower.”
:: Epilogue ::
So there you have it. That’s how I met my wife and married her with my heart’s content.
All three of us had our wedding on the same day and we all dressed alike. The guys in white and the girls in three different bridal gowns. I must say, my Kiyoon looked the most cutest and the most drop dead gorgeous of the sisters.
For the dinner event, we all went out in black tux and Jiyoon and Miyoon had on red while my Kiyoon had to be the oddball that she is and went with light purple. It wasn’t until later she then confided me and told me her mother’s and Soowon’s dream came true. I asked her why and she told me about the conversation she had with her best friend one day and he had said this would happen. And I’m glad it did.
To this day Miyoon’s still sour over the fact that Kiyoon had won the greatest award. The real me. The real Ko Jiyong. She’s upset with the fact that Seonghoon’s only the secretary and not the Cousin Jiyong she had thought she’d hook up with. But her attitude towards me...let’s just say she’s much nicer now and is still envying Kiyoon. Nevertheless, their relationship as sisters has gotten better.
Seonghoon...poor guy. He still wallows in self-pity, wishing that he had married Kiyoon. But I thought otherwise. I actually like the role-switching. You can say he saved my future and himself. Afterall, don’t you agree he and Miyoon are one of a kind?
As for Jaejin and Jiyoon, they moved out two weeks after their marriage. Jiyoon continued her medical studies, but quit her job at the hospital and often came by to visit. Jaejin, now having his own practice, is always busy with the patients. They’ll be expecting their first child sometime soon.
Now for me and Kiyoon, we stayed a good two months at her place before moving home with me. My mother was delighted, of course, and is pestering for a grandson.
Exactly my thoughts. Already?! Mom, Kiyoon’s still Kiyoon, she won’t even let me touch her when we go to bed at night! So where did she get the idea Kiyoon’d be pregnant with a baby, I don’t know. Knowing Kiyoon, she’ll even put up a fight if I tried to kiss her. I know, right? Still?!! She hasn’t grown up a bit, still her childish tomboy ways. Besides, she’s majoring in Creative Writing. She’s decided to become a freelance writer while getting a job as a piano teacher and learning as much as she could about computers. Nerds...who said they’re not cute? I love her.
And so that’s the end of it. I met my love that summer, married her at the end of summer. My kid’ll be born in the summer. That was my summer in love...
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