Jae Kyung’s POV
That day I went to see Jun Pyo, but before going to his room, I sought out his mother so I could greet her.
“Good afternoon.” I bowed respectfully.
“Oh, Jae Kyung! Good afternoon. It’s so good to know you have come to see Jun Pyo.” She hugged me.
“Yes, we went out two days ago, so I’m planning on taking him out on a date again.”
“You’re going out? Where will you be going?”
“Just to visit a friend.”
The temperature in the room seemed to drop a few degrees as tension flashed across Madame Kang’s face, and I suddenly didn’t want to mention Jan Di’s name.
“A good friend of mine who is a clothes designer has just returned from France, and I want to try on all the new season’s dresses she has brought with her!”
“Oh, well there’s no problem then. Have fun, Jae Kyung.”
That was weird. For a moment it seemed to me that, depending on my answer, she might have forbidden me to go out with Jun Pyo… Why?
A maid took me to Jun Pyo’s room. His scowl said he wasn’t happy to see me there. I would have to remind him that I was his fiancée and future wife. Secretary Jung left us alone, and I told Jun Pyo I had come to take him out on a date.
“I’m not in the mood. I don’t want to go. Get out.”
It was clear that Jun Pyo was in a terrible mood. I was about to turn around and leave when I decided to try something.
“Pity, I wanted to go to Jan Di’s house.” That made him react.
“To Jan Di’s house. Last time we ate all her ramen, so I wanted to give her this.” I hadn’t yet had the chance to give her the cell phone I had bought. “Too bad you’re not feeling like being around people. Next time maybe?”
I turned around as if to leave and felt him take my hand.
“Um…well. Since you insist so much, I can go with you.”
He nodded and then told me to let his mother know. When I told him everything was already fixed, I caught the secretive smile that flashed across his face. Grabbing him by the arm, I started dragging him out.
I was smiling on the outside but on the inside I felt my heart clenching, as if I couldn’t breathe. All it took was one mention of Jan Di’s name and his behavior changed drastically.
Jan Di’s POV
Ga Eul, Woo Bin, Yi Jung and Ji Hoo surprised me and my brother the weekend after my confrontation with President Kang. Early in the morning they appeared at my door with a box full of cleaning implements, as well as paint, brushes, and wallpaper.
“What- What’s all this?” I asked.
“This is our gift for your house, Jan Di,” Woo Bin said.
“After that night, this is the least we can do for you.” That was Yi Jung.
They didn’t let me or my brother help as they assigned each other jobs and got down to work. Ji Hoo approached me and gave me a credit card to buy several things he had written down on a list.
“Once you have bought all of this, go to this address and wait for Chef Soon. He will know who you are.”
“No buts. Listen to sunbae, okay?”
Without giving me a chance to answer, he made me turn and go to the stairs.
“Kang Sang, don’t let your sister return until Chef Soon says so, alright?”
“Don’t worry, hyung.”
It was truly an odyssey to come and go with our purchases. When we reached the place we were supposed to meet Chef Soon, I felt as if I were inside of a movie. The restaurant was so luxurious and beautiful. It was still closed, but many of the tables were ready for guests, dressed in their whiter-than-snow mantles and immaculate plates and wine cups. Chef Soon ended up being a kind man. He led us to the kitchens, where he asked us to wait a bit while he prepared things. It was then that the wait turned into something amazing as my brother and I watched how the meats and vegetables were transformed into a true feast. Hours ticked by, and we didn’t notice until Chef told us everything was ready and we were allowed to return.
“Oh, great. Thank you very much. Now we only have to figure out how to carry all of this.”
“Don’t worry, miss. Young masters Yoon, Song, and So took care of everything. All you need to do is go back home.”
Frankly, at that point I would have felt irritated at all the mystery, but I just couldn’t get mad because I found it so funny. Kang San seemed to be feeling the same.
When we arrived home, Ga Eul was waiting for us at the door with a wide smile. She stepped back to let us enter, and for a moment I thought I’d come home to the wrong house.
Surely this place wasn’t my apartment: the windows had white frames, the walls were now covered with cherry blossoms wallpaper, our old television had been replaced with one that was a bit bigger but not too modern, a white wardrobe stood against the wall, and the room was furnished with new chairs and a vanity table. All of it was beautifully arranged, making the small living space look and feel much cozier.
“Noona, look! Our fridge is full!” Since when do we have a fridge?
“Guys… I don’t… Really, I…” I tried to say something but nothing was coming out coherently.
“Oh, Jan Di, don’t start crying on us now,” Yi Jung teased. I answered with a punch to his shoulder.
“Now that’s the Jan Di we know! All this is our housewarming party for you. We spent next to nothing. It was Ji Hoo who took care of all the details,” Woo Bin chimed in.
“It was all done with Ga Eul’s help. I knew you wouldn’t accept anything expensive, so we wandered through the market and bought some secondhand stuff in good condition or that could be easily fixed.” Ji Hoo explained.
“Ji Hoo sunbae was the one who picked out most of the stuff; I just pointed him to the right stores.”
I hugged Ga Eul and thanked them all for the trouble they went through for me. I really didn’t know what I had done to earn such good friends. I hugged Woo Bin and Yi Jung as well, but just as I was about to hug Ji Hoo, someone knocked at the door. When I opened it, several waiters came in with the food I’d watched Chef prepare a short time before. Woo Bin and Ga Eul took out the folding table I just found out I also had, and Yi Jung and Kang San helped the restaurant staff set things up.
“I really don’t know what I’ll do to repay you guys,” I softly muttered to myself. I was sure no one had heard me, but I soon felt a whisper really close to my ear.
“You already know I’m planning on hiring an accountant, Jan Di. Don’t sweat it.” I turned around quickly and saw Ji Hoo smiling broadly at me. It was his dazzling-angelic smile. “I promise I’ll charge you, with interest!” he said in a slightly louder voice as he joined in to help the rest of them.
I felt warm and fuzzy inside. After the verbal battle I’d just had with Jun Pyo’s mother, this all seemed like a dream.
We ate and we drank, chatting and laughing until our sides hurt. The food seemed to keep coming, despite the four men sitting at the table and eating with gusto. Well… three men and Kang San, who, after eating enough to sustain him for a year, soon fell asleep.
Woo Bin and Yi Jung noticed him softly snoring. We all tried to wake him, but he was out cold. Ji Hoo stood up, went to the closet, took out a blanket, and knelt beside Kang San. He didn’t say a word, and I was surprised at how at ease he seemed to be here, as if he was in his own house.
While Ji Hoo covered up Kang San and moved him into a more comfortable position, Ga Eul proposed a game that couldn’t miss in a group like ours. Truth or Dare.
As the words left her mouth, a jubilant Jae Kyung burst through the door, Jun Pyo in her wake.
“Oooh, I love Truth or Dare! I want to play!” she declared, taking a place at the table and pulling Jun Pyo down beside her.
We were all surprised by their visit, but we couldn’t just ask them to leave, so we stored the food and poured some wine, courtesy of the restaurant. Soon, the table was dominated by an empty bottle surrounded by candles. Ga Eul explained the rules of the game, and we agreed that the punishment for not answering or for an incomplete answer would be a kiss on the cheek.
Yi Jung started.
“Ji Hoo, is it possible for you to love someone else besides Seo Hyun?”
The question made me think about Ji Hoo’s future. He was so wonderful, it was only a matter of time until another woman came into his life. He would fall in love again, and then… Would he get married? For some reason I felt a tight knot in my chest when I looked at him. Then I noticed he had raised his head to look at me too. I just smiled at him, trying to ignore my uneasy feeling at the path my thoughts were traveling.
“I would love to,” was Ji Hoo’s answer, but he didn’t say anything concrete, giving no direct answer. So Yi Jung was kissed against his will, laughing along with the rest of us.
“Is it my turn?” Ji Hoo asked. “Okay. Jun Pyo, if the person you love was suffering because of you, would you let her go?”
The heavy question hung in the air. Sudden tension filled the room, deepening when Jun Pyo didn’t answer immediately. I avoided Jae Kyung’s gaze.
“No,” Jun Pyo finally answered. “I wouldn’t let her go. I can’t let her go. I would hold on to her and make her happy. I would never leave her side. And now it’s my turn.”
Silently, I begged him not to choose me.
“My question is for Jan Di.”
Great. I thought with an inward sigh.
He went on. “The promise we made that day on the street, does it still stand?”
I thought about it for a moment, sensing that everyone was on high alert waiting for my answer. It was simple really, but I wish he hadn’t asked something like that in our current situation.
“Not anymore. The person who made the promise and the person who listened to it, they don’t exist anymore.”
Jun Pyo looked stunned and somehow hurt, but that didn’t make my answer less true. I didn’t leave him because of his mother. I left him because he asked me to. Jun Pyo had been the one break my heart; his mother was just an extra irritant. But be that as it may, I had to lighten the mood.
“It’s my turn now, right? I choose Woo Bin sunbae!”
“Tell me, if the F4 were women, which one would you take as your wife?”
The effect was immediate; they all started laughing.
“No. And I mean hell, no. None of them! A stuck-up elitist, a fourth-dimensional alien, and a Casanova? I wouldn’t waste my life with any of them! I’d rather be a nun!”
None of the guys liked his description of them, but all of them got their revenge by kissing Woo Bin in both cheeks. It was a sight to behold… laughter filled the room and echoed off the walls.
“Okay, okay. Sorry, bros. Well, it’s my turn.” He turned to face his target. “Ga Eul-ssi.”
“Eh?” Ga Eul looked surprised.
“Ga Eul, what you told me today at the market—is it true?”
“What are you talking about, Woo Bin?” Yi Jung asked.
“That’s something between Ga Eul and me, Yi Jung,” Woo Bin answered with a smirk. “So?” he demanded.
“Um… yeah, it is true,” she answered with flushed cheeks.
“Perfect! It’s your turn then.”
We all complained about the question because we didn’t know what the answer meant, but neither of the two involved said anything. I would have to interrogate Ga Eul later.
“Jae Kyung unnie, what’s your biggest wish?”
“I don’t think I have one, because it already came true. I always wanted to have a best female friend and suddenly you and Jan Di appeared! I love you both so much!”
I didn’t know about Ga Eul, but I felt moved by her answer.
“Well, I haven’t seen anything fun here,” said Jae Kyung with a mischievous grin, “so I’m going to dare someone… Yoon Ji Hoo!” She pointed at my sunbae.
“Yes?” he calmly responded.
“I dare you to kiss someone.” She was going for the kill.
“What are you saying, monkey?” Jun Pyo looked uncomfortable.
“The dare is that he must kiss someone sitting around this table, but I think we should pick the person randomly. What do you say we combine this game with another one?”
“What are you talking about, unnie?” I asked her.
“Blind little chicken. We will all go outside, surround Ji Hoo, cover his eyes and spin him around for a while. Whoever he touches first will receive the kiss. How does that sound?”
“I don’t want another kiss from Ji Hoo!” said Yi Jung, causing another burst of laughter to ripple around the table.
“That’s why we’ll make him dizzy first… Come on, it will be fun!”
No one could deny Jae Kyung when she got enthusiastic like this, so we went out there and did everything she said. Ji Hoo had his eyes covered and unnie spun him around ten times before releasing him.
“Ready, set, go! Search for the one you’ll kiss!”
Ji Hoo looked completely disoriented, and both Woo Bin and Yi Jung were trying hard not to laugh out loud. Suddenly he seemed a little more stable and began to walk… toward Jae Kyung! Her eyes opened like saucers but then Ji Hoo stopped. He turned around and slowly advanced to where Ga Eul and I were standing. I felt sure he could see because of the certainty of his steps. He stood between the two of us and then reached out his hand to touch… my shoulder.
Woo Bin and Yi Jung started wolf whistling, and Jae Kyung and Ga Eul were both squealing in delight. Ji Hoo took off the blindfold and slowly smiled as he focused his eyes on me.
“Well, I guess I found someone. What should I do now, Jae Kyung-ssi?” he asked, his voice too innocent.
“Yeah, Ji Hoo, kiss her!” Yi Jung hooted.
“Come on bro, give her a good one!” That was Woo Bin, and I didn’t understand a thing because he said it in English.
I could feel my face growing as red as a tomato, and when I looked up I saw Ji Hoo leaning in.
Oh my God! Oh my God! Oh my God! Is he really going to do it?
And why am I not moving?
Finally, I felt his lips touching my forehead, leaving a warm and searing mark.
“Aww, it wasn’t supposed to be like that,” Jae Kyung complained.
“I kissed her, right?” Ji Hoo shrugged.
“Well, well… I guess Ji Hoo will always be a gentleman, right, Woo Bin?”
“Yes, Yi Jung. You got lucky, Jan Di. If it were me, I wouldn’t have been so innocent.” He winked at me.
“Have you ever been innocent?” I mocked.
“I’m leaving,” Jun Pyo suddenly said.
“Why, Jun? We just got here.” Jae Kyung ran to his side.
“I said I’m leaving, so I am. Do whatever you want.” And with that, he stomped down the stairs.
Jae Kyung quickly gathered up her stuff and moved to follow Jun Pyo.
“Jan Di!” she said as she turned to leave, “I have to catch up with Jun, but here. It’s a gift. Now we’ll always be connected! I’ll come soon to visit, okay?”
I was too surprised to refuse her, and after opening the little bag I found a new cellphone. Everyone agreed that it was a useful present, and we all exchanged numbers.
“Well, it is getting late. Jan Di, we hope you liked our housewarming party.”
“Yes, Jan Di. You know you have to call us for stuff like this.”
“Thank you Woo Bin sunbae, Yi Jung sunbae.”
“Anyway, I think Ga Eul needs someone to take her home.” I thought Woo Bin would try again to push her towards Yi Jung, but his next question surprised me. “Would it be okay for me to give you a ride Ga Eul?”
Ga Eul seemed a little shocked, but she agreed. The look on Yi Jung’s face was disbelieving, but he didn’t comment on the unusual turn of events.
After they helped me clean up a bit, my friends left. Ji Hoo was the last one to go, saying good-bye with his usual smile. I went to sleep feeling at ease, remembering the warmness of Ji Hoo’s kiss on my forehead and thinking how things had begun to get better.
I would realize how wrong I was the next morning.
Earlier than I would’ve liked, loud noises woke up me and my brother. We ran out of the house to find a wrecking crew hard at work. Unbelievably, our entire building was being demolished! Although we tried to question the foreman about the reason for it, no one wanted to give us any answers. They averted their eyes from our shocked faces and informed us that we had just a little time left to gather what we could and leave. I packed in a daze, confusion and dismay filling my mind. It hurt to leave the place that my friends had just improved for us with so much care.
But now the real problem was that my brother and I were on the street! The only thing I could think to do was send him to our parents. I called them and explained the situation, and they agreed that this was the only solution to keep Kang San safe. Being older, I would have to stay behind, because even after taking out all the money I had, there was only enough for one ticket. Besides, I still had school to attend. It was heartbreaking for me to let my brother go, but there was no other way. We said our goodbyes, and I stood in the platform long after the train departed…
Kang San was gone and I was alone.
My first instinct was to call Ji Hoo or Ga Eul, but first I decided to go back to my apartment and find whatever I could salvage. All I found was ruins. The workers were already preparing to leave. Once more I tried to find out who was behind all of this, who was responsible for this unannounced demolition, but ended up with no answers. Finally, I gave up and turned to leave. But as I walked through the demolition site, I caught a glimpse of some papers that looked like a contract near a bag. As fast as lightning, I grabbed them and fled from the site. After I was far away and sure that no one was following me, I stopped to examine the papers and felt my jaw go slack. The contractor responsible for this demolition was ‘Shinhwa Corporation’. That woman was capable of anything!
I put the papers in my bag and then wandered aimlessly for a while before a lightbulb suddenly went off in my head. How did I not think of it before? I could sleep in the clinic tonight, and tomorrow I could call my friends to help me find a more long-term place to stay. I dreaded talking to them and telling them all their hard work had disappeared in a flash.
I trudged to the clinic with a battered spirit, my steps growing slower as my energy waned. Just one more block and I would be there. I needed to cross the street and…
…everything turned black.
The next thing I knew, I was lying down on something soft and there was too much light… and someone seemed to be right in front of me…
“Joon Hee unnie?” I whispered.
“Are you awake?”
“Yes… I think. What happened?”
“Something really dangerous. When you crossed the street, a careless driver kept going even though the light was red and he hit you.”
“And how is it that you…”
“I called you at that exact moment. I told Jun Pyo I couldn’t reach you and he gave me your new number. Well, I kind of had to punch him to get it.” She smiled gently. “My personal physician already gave you a checkup. He says you took a strong blow to the head, but there’s no permanent damage to worry about. You’ve been asleep since yesterday.”
“I don’t… I don’t know how to thank you.”
“Come on, Jan Di. I told you to think of me as your big sister! Or did you think those were just mere words?”
I could only give her a weak smile; my head throbbed with pain. She asked what had happened before the accident and I roughly told her I was alone.
“Well, then. Now that you’re alright you have to listen to unnie, you understand? From now on, Jan Di, you are my guest. Until your parents come back you can’t leave this house, okay?”
To argue with her would be futile, I knew. She had the same character as Jae Kyung when she wanted something, so I relented to her insistence for the time being. As I ate breakfast with Joon Hee, she told she was leaving the country for a couple of days. That would be my chance.
After midnight, I gathered all my stuff and slipped out the front gate into the street. I left a note for Joon Hee so that she wouldn’t worry. I felt bad about rejecting her generosity, but I was not willing to stay under the same roof with her mother, much less with Jun Pyo, especially now that he was engaged to Jae Kyung unnie.
I made my way back to the clinic, much more comfortable thanks to the meal and rest I’d had. I was able to drink something hot and sleep. I just needed to hide my things in the small cellar by morning, and then I could ask Ga Eul to take me in for a few days.
The next day I went to the restaurant, quite confident in my plan, but what I found was a devastated Ga Eul. She was in mourning after finding out she had reunited Yi Jung and his first love. I had no heart to ask her for anything. I listened to her all day, her sighs and a sad faces tugging at my heart. Ga Eul truly seemed to be in love.
Unexpectedly, as we were sitting down for a break, each sighing over her own problems, the door opened.
“Welco- Jae Kyung unnie!”
“Hello Jan Di! Hello Ga Eul!”
An alarm suddenly went off in my head and I took Jae Kyung outside.
“Did something happen unnie?”
“You tell me! Today I went to your house, but there was nothing left, not even a trace of the place! What happened?”
“There were… some problems…”
“So? Where are you living now?”
“With Ga Eul. I’m going to stay with her family for now.”
“Oh, I see. You could have stayed with me, too, if you wanted. If you ever need someplace to stay again, Jan Di, don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Thank you, unnie.” I hugged her.
“Well then, I would love some takeout. I want to take Jun something to eat.”
Jae Kyung always showed a radiant smile while talking about Jun Pyo. It only make her look cuter. Somehow I was sure that their relationship would work, even though from time to time my head and my heart still hurt a little.
In the afternoon, I returned to the clinic. It was the perfect place to clear my head and concentrate on something besides my dilemma. It was my dream to be a doctor and what I loved most was to attend to children. That day in particular we treated many of them, and the last one was a baby. Frankly, my soul broke in two each time he cried as we gave him his injections, but it was a necessary pain. Ji Hoo’s grandfather was a great mentor, always helping me by explaining things that you couldn’t find in books.
As usual, before closing I prepared the tea we always drank at the end of the day, chatting a bit before leaving. This time, though, I would have to pretend to go so that I could sneak back in and sleep. When the tea was ready, I knocked on Grandfather’s door before turning the knob to enter.
“Grandfather, can I come in? I have your tea…”
His distressed cry sent my heart racing. I threw open the door and saw grandfather leaning heavily against his desk clenching weakly at his chest.
“Grandfather! What’s happening? What’s wrong with you?”
“I’m fine, fine! I know what I have,” he said, but he was still panting. “You don’t have to worry.” He quickly took his pills.
“No sir, you are not fine. What would have happened if I wasn’t here and this was more serious!?” My fear for the beloved old man overrode my usual deference.
“Fair point…” he conceded.
“You can’t live alone, grandfather.” I stuck out my chin and squared my shoulders, prepared to be stubborn if needed.
“And what are you planning to do about that? Put me in a retirement home?”
“What!? Ow!” he complained. He was still in pain but managed to laugh. “Haha, this girl!”
The gears in my brain worked quickly, and suddenly I found my answer.
Ji Hoo’s POV
I was reading a book when I heard loud steps coming from the front entrance. I glanced at the clock. Who could be visiting at this hour? None of the guys had mentioned coming over.
I stepped toward the entryway and was nearly knocked down by Jan Di boldly sweeping into the house with two bags in tow. She stood before me and let them fall on the floor.
“What happened? What’s all this?”
“Sunbae, by any chance do you have a free room?” she asked, looking up at me through the wispy bangs that had fallen into her face.
Her question was so out of the blue that I reacted before I could stop and think about the reason she was there. I pointed to the room across the living room from mine. She snickered and yelled back toward the entry.
“Come in quickly!” A moment passed, but no one was coming. “Wait for a second,” She told me.
She ran out and returned dragging someone reluctantly behind her.
Someone that ended up being my grandfather.
I swallowed loudly.
Before I could say anything, Jan Di directed him inside the room I had pointed out to her before and carried grandfather’s bag inside.
I couldn’t take it anymore. It was too much, even for Jan Di. This was not the way to be a family again if that’s what she was trying to do. I decided to go out to the patio to cool my head.
After several minutes, Jan Di came out to find me.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked her harshly.
“Grandfather and sunbae, you both need a family. All I did was help you find it.”
“Look, Jan Di. I’m not-“
“-ready for this?” She laughed. She laughed! “Grandfather told me the same thing. How long do you need to prepare your hearts? Don’t you think it’s a bit senseless to keep on waiting? You told me once that it’s impossible to fully know someone, but at least you can know what kind of person they are. The Ji Hoo sunbae that I know really loves and misses his grandfather, despite the years and hurts that have passed. That’s why I think… you should forgive him.”
And then she smiled again.
How was I supposed to fight my own argument? And how could I deny something so logical? I had understood everything Jan Di had said. I just didn’t accept it.
“I’m leaving for now. Good night, sunbae.”
And like that, she was gone.
When I went into my house again, I noticed grandfather was in the kitchen preparing some tea, but I didn’t want to approach him. That would be the final straw that night, so instead I kept my distance and went directly to bed.
The next day when I left my room, the first thing that I saw was that the dining room table had food on it. I looked closely and noticed that every dish was something I had loved as a kid. It was clear that my grandfather had made it. He had even cut the food into the odd shapes he used to make for me.
My chest ached, but I sat down and devoured the whole thing.
I wasn’t sure how to start this new routine with my grandfather, but I would have to figure it out. Of course, Jan Di jumped right into my equation when, in the afternoon, she entered the house running.
“I’m here! Hi, did you sleep well?”
“So early,” I teased her.
“What happened?” Grandfather asked Jan Di as he came out of his room.
“Oh, me? I came so we could go to work together!”
After that, she took us both by the arm and dragged us to my car.
My phobia had been conquered when I drove for Jan Di, but I still avoided being behind the wheel as much as I could. However, as we were about to get into the driver’s seat, she pulled me aside.
“Can you do this, sunbae? We can take a cab if you want.”
Just the fact that she had remembered my fear and was willing to talk to me about it in secret so grandfather wouldn’t notice made me feel safer.
“I can do it. But you have to sit next to me.”
She immediately complied and hopped into the copilot seat, smiling broadly at me. I liked to think it was because she was proud of me, overcoming my fears. The truth was, I felt stronger with her by my side.
That day in the clinic, grandfather was giving free checkups, so the place swarmed with people. While Jan Di gave out tea and checked temperatures and blood pressures, grandfather took care of the complex part of the checkup. I just stood there and took it all in.
There was a moment, however, when she came up to me with the thermometers and a plate and made me take them. Soon I understood it was because she was going to take care of a patient’s son while she had her exam done.
“Sunbae, give them some tea… come on!”
I was really out of my element, but still I approached several ladies who were asking for something warm to drink.
It was then and there that I learned why ajhummas were so scary. All of them kept on saying how handsome I was, asking if I was married and whether I would be interested in becoming their son-in-law. Now that made me laugh. I looked around and saw Jan Di entertaining the baby boy she held in her arms. He laughed and gurgled at her silly faces, and when she dropped the toy she was using to distract him, I picked it up and gave it back to her.
“Look, sunbae. Isn’t he cute?”
“Well of course; he’s hardly five months old.”
“You three look so good together!” one of the ajhummas gushed. “You even look like a family.”
The comment took me by surprise and made both of us blush. If it weren’t for the boy’s mother coming out at that exact second, I don’t know what we would have answered.
I could see that Jan Di was far more than a simple volunteer. She seized every minute she had to study and learn from the patients who came and went. In this place of healing, she was clearly loved by all. Without noticing, I actually started to help and even ended up playing a bit of harmonica to entertain the people. Jan Di caught my gaze from time to time and rewarded me with a smile or a thumbs-up. I couldn’t deny that the afternoon wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected.
It was well into the night when the last patient finally left. Now all that was left to do was clean up.
After that, Jan Di and I stepped outside into the evening chill.
“Thanks for today,” Jan Di said to me. “Once again, you experienced first-time things because of me, right?”
“I truly did.” I smiled down at her and gestured to the car. “Hop in, I’ll take you home.”
“No, thanks. I feel like walking.”
We heard the door and saw Grandfather coming out. Jan Di fell back into her conciliator role when she saw we were uncomfortable.
“Oh, this is heavy!” she said, lifting Grandfather’s suitcase and handing it to me. “Come on, doctor, it’s late.”
“Working hours are over, young lady. You can call me Grandfather again.”
“Of course I will, grandfather. Rest well tonight.” She turned to look at me after helping him get in the car and made an exaggerated signal that I should get in, too.
Despite my efforts to look stern, I ended up smiling at her. I hopped in and started the car. While driving off, I checked the rear-view mirror and could still see her, waving her good-bye.
Jae Kyung’s POV
I was bored. Jun was still in a terrible mood and didn’t want to leave the house, but I decided to go visit him anyway. When I arrived, I noticed bags in the entry and the staff informed me that Jun Pyo’s sister had arrived. At last, I would get to meet Joon Hee! I had always wanted to talk to her, so I went to find her.
One of the rooms I passed spilled out voices into the hall, and I caught Jan Di’s name. I stopped immediately.
Through the small gap left by the slightly open door, I saw Joon Hee and the butler engaged in fervent conversation.
“What do you mean she left!?”
“We couldn’t avoid it, Miss. Apparently, she ran away in the middle of the night and left you this note. We checked her escape with the security tape.”
“My God! What’s that girl thinking by leaving like that? Does she only want me to worry more? I told her to stay here until her parents came back. “
Joon Hee sat down on a love seat and hid her face behind her hands.
“Tell me, butler Lee… Am I imposing things on Jan Di the same way my mother does with us?”
“I don’t think that’s the case, Miss. Your care for Miss Geum’s welfare is sincere.”
“I truly think of her as my sister. I love who she is! It’s thanks to her that Jun Pyo is where he is right now. It’s because of her that all the F4 have managed to grow up and mature. I don’t know why my brother broke up with her. If I could choose, I would rather have Jan Di marrying him; because I know that when it comes to Jae Kyung, he doesn’t-“
I unceremoniously burst into the room and ran to hug her. I really couldn’t stand to hear another word. I didn’t want to… Was everyone against my love for Jun? What was so wrong with me falling in love with the man who was to be my future husband? Even worse, I finally had proof of my suspicions that Jan Di and Jun Pyo had been a couple. Did they love each other still? Did they miss each other terribly?
“Jae Kyung! How long have you been here?”
“I just got here. Did I interrupt something? I’m sorry.”
“No, you didn’t.”
I watched her put the note into a chest on the desk “Well then, my mother must be about to arrive as well, and my brother surely doesn’t know. Excuse me, Jae Kyung. I’ll be right back.”
“Don’t worry,” I told her.
The butler looked my way and made a small curtsey before leaving the study. My curiosity got the best of me and I went to read the note.
Joon Hee unnie:
I’m truly grateful for your offer and, above all, for all the care you gave me after the accident, but I assure you I’m already fine. The last thing I would want to do is to cause any problem with Jun Pyo, as my presence here surely would. I hope you can forgive me.
So, I thought, Jan Di stayed at least one day here.
I didn’t know what to think or how to act. My love for Jun Pyo continued to grow, and I was more desperate than ever to make him fall for me, too. I was sure I could do it. After all, despite his occasional coldness towards me, there were times when we got along just fine and laughed together. I knew he wasn’t indifferent to me… but what could I do?
I went down the stairs after a couple of minutes and was warmly welcomed by president Kang. Jun Pyo still had his I-don’t-care face on, and his sister looked worried. I thought again about what I’d read in Jan Di’s note and an idea came to me.
“Yes, Jae Kyung-ssi?”
“I have a favor to ask of you.”