04

Months pass by, and I’m standing here with a glass of champagne in my right hand. I’m the only one at Sohee’s wedding because I don’t know anyone at all. Junghoon can’t take any more days off of work, and I half understand that. I think that Junghoon is just trying to ignore his own problems. 

Now, the only faces I recognize are of Junghoon’s family’s. None of them really care about me, except for Minjun and Sohee. They are the only two that specifically searched for my presence and greeted me. Sohee can’t stay to talk because she has to go off and entertain other guests. Minjun tries his best to keep me company by making small talk, but the two of us know how awkward this situation is. Eventually, Minjun’s mother drags him away to talk to their extended family, and all I can do is drink alcohol and eat hor d’oeurves.

“Ah! I’m so sorry!” A girl around my height crashes into me and falls onto her bottom.

I try my best not to be angry, and so I crack a polite smile and extend my hand. “It’s okay,” I tell her. “Are you all right?”

“Ah!” she squeals again. This time, one hand covers her gaping jaw while the other points at me. 

“Y-y-you’re Junghoon’s fiancée, right?” She accepts my hand to get up on her feet. “D-d-d-do you r-r-r-remember me?” her cheeks fluster pretty badly as she asks me that question.

I stare at her face for a minute. I think I know her, but I’m not entirely sure. Just as I’m about to tell her no, a man marches from behind her. In a stern tone, he hollers, “Yeah! Nam Leia! What did I say about running off like a little girl? Look what you’ve done now! You’ve—“

“It’s not my fault!” the girl grumbles and folds her arms. “That blonde guy over there said that there was going to be a fire drill in a minute, so I didn’t want to hear that noise! That’s why I was running.”

“And you believed my stupid younger brother?” 

“What?” the girl shouts and directs her finger at a faraway figure. “That . . . that blonde dude is your brother? But you two look nothing alike!”

“Same father. Different mother. Got it?”

“B-b-b-but . . .he looks so foreign and so good!”

The man slams his palm against his forehead. “Oh god. Please don’t tell me you checked him out.”

“I did . . . say that he could be a movie star,” the girl mumbles with her head low. “I mean . . . that doesn’t count as checking someone out right?”

The man tugs the girl’s cheeks and grumbles, “Yes . . . that does count, stupid. Seriously, stop checking out other guys. You’re like a perverted ajusshi.”

“Wh-wh-what? I am nah a perveeted a-aju-sh-shi!”

Letting her go, he mutters, “Then what? What do you want to be?”

She puckers her lips and looks up to the ceiling. “Mm . . . I think . . . I want to be a sexy lady in the future.”

“You’ve already finished growing,” he corrects her. “I think it’s a bit late to be wishing that.”

“No! A girl can dream!” she refutes admanatly.

“Right, right.” Then, he dares, “Try a sexy move right here then. Let’s see how far you are off from your dream.”

“Wh-wh-what? No!”

“Oh, so I guess I am right. You really can’t be—“

Out of the blue, this girl hugs her body firmly to squeeze her breasts together to form a shallow cleavage. She even juts out her butt, lifts her neck higher, pouts her lips together and keeps her eyes closed. “What do you think?” she poses. “Sexy enough?”

I’m not really sure what this man is doing, but he inches towards her, instructing, “All right. Keep your eyes closed so I can figure out what score to give you.”

“Fine.”

The man might be Minjun bends forward and presses his lips gently on hers. The girl’s eyes bulge out and although she is struggling to pull away, he keeps her in place with his grip on her arms. With his lips still resting on hers, he smiles widely. Then, he backs away, leaving her completely red in the face. He turns towards me and gives me an emotionless nod, but his ears don’t lie. They’re dyed in a deep shade of pink. He’s slightly embarrassed about his behaviour. As he drags this girl away from me, I suddenly remember this man’s face and voice now. It’s not Minjun; it’s the other twin, Yeonjun. Yeonjun seems so different than that time. He was so robotic then that I had no idea that it was possible for him to behave this way. No wonder he feels mortified for me to see his other side, but then again, I have seen him with that girl on the streets before. I thought they were a cute couple. Seeing them makes me feel old. Junghoon and I don’t argue or tease each other like that. We’re sort of like waves rocking steadily back and forth. No surprises at all.
Junghoon really has interesting siblings, I think as I take another sip of champagne. I feel my phone vibrate now. It must be a text, and so I open up my Alexander McQueen clutch to find my phone. Junghoon writes: “Just back from a jog and eating breakfast. You doing okay?”

I take a snapshot of Sohee and the groom. I take another picture of Yeonjun and that little girl. I also snap one of Minjun with some of the guests. Finally, I manage to catch Kyungsoo yawning in his seat. I send all of these photos to Junghoon, and then I reply, “I’m all right. A bit bored, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.”

“That’s good,” Junghoon types back. “The venue looks nice. Sohee has always liked the colour pink.”

“Yeah,” I text. “Sohee really did a good job with picking a rose themed wedding. She looks like a princess too, and she looks happy.” Because Junghoon isn’t typing anything back, I add, “Are you all right over there?”

“Sorry,” Junghoon apologizes. “I was just doing the dishes. Yeah, I’m okay.”

“Feeling lonely?”

“I’ll be okay.”

“You know, I can pass off a message to Sohee if you want. Send a video clip or something. I’m sure she’d want to see it.”

“I’ll see. I’ve got to take a shower then go to work. Talk to you later?”

“Yes, see you soon.”

“Oh . . . and a kiss?” I giggle and send an emoticon of lips to him. Junghoon, then, leaves me with this message: “I love you too.”

I smile to myself and finish off the glass of champagne. I head to my table, finding myself seated beside Yeonjun’s girlfriend. She’s a pretty cute girl. I can tell why Yeonjun likes her. In fact, I think he really love her. He wipes bits of sauce from her lips with a napkin even though he keeps complaining. He tells her to try out this dish from the buffet table if it’s good, and he even lets her have a bite of it first. I can see that she loves him too. She can stand his constant nagging and teasing. She might not be as careful as him, but when a relative criticizes Yeonjun, this girl immediately defends him. She too tells him to try a bite of her meal if it’s good. From the way they look at each other, I know how they feel for each other and that makes me smile.

“Unnie,” she calls out to me. “Is it . . . okay to call you that?” I nod and grin. She lets out a sigh of relief. 
“I’m so sorry about earlier! I didn’t get a chance to apologize for what happened, but stupid Yeonjun interrupted me. Anyhow, I’m Nam Leia!”

“Nice to meet you, Leia and your boyfriend, Yeonjun.” I nod once more.

Leia stammers, “N-n-n-no . . . we’re not like that. Well, okay, we kind of are, but . . . it’s sort of complicated. It’s a long story, but—“

Yeonjun, who left for dessert, swings by with a plate, uttering, “We are together. In fact, we’re engaged, isn’t that right, Leia?”

I don’t really understand what is happening, but I still congratulate, “That’s nice to hear. Congratulations! When do you plan on having the wedding then?”

Leia goes on blabbering, “Well, we are sort of on hold about a wedding. That’s rather far. Aha.”

“Oh, I see.”

Before Leia can respond, Yeonjun suddenly points out, “Leia! Why do you have . . . slices of cake beside your pasta, steak, potato, lamb, and salad?”

“Don’t you know that’s how I eat?” Leia argues. “I like having sweet and salty flavours together.”

“Yuck,” Yeonjun mutters.

“What? It’s good!”

There the two go again, arguing. I won’t say that I admire them. I don’t think I can stand bickering every day, yet somehow, they work like that. It’s not as if they hate each other’s guts. They’re just . . . opposites, and I guess in this case, opposites do attract. Junghoon and I are kind of opposites, but we talk very calmly at each other. I suppose you might argue that there’s no spark or love between us. However, I like to think that it’s just not in our personalities to express the extremes of emotions. I like our peace and quietude. I like how we can sit on the couch together for hours without uttering a word, and it won’t even feel awkward. I like how even when we’re on the phone, we don’t have to talk at all. We can mind our own businesses and enjoy each other’s company in silence.

Ah, Junghoon, I think I kind of do miss you right now.

I feel my phone vibrate again, and I check for a new message. Junghoon does send a video clip over. I excuse myself to the washroom and watch it first. I just hope Junghoon doesn’t say some harsh words to his family. 

I’m in a bathroom stall right now by myself. I hit the play button and I see him recording himself. He coughs at first before stating, “Hi. Sorry I’m in my . . .” He look down at himself and mutters, “Gym clothes, but . . . I thought I’d say what was on my mind. I know . . . Sohee . . . that I haven’t been a great brother, and I can’t say that I feel bad for doing that. I just . . .” Junghoon has his hands on his hips while his eyes glance to his left at the fridge. “It’s hard, you know? It’s hard to accept it, and I can’t guarantee that I will in the future, but umm . . . I’ll try.” I think I hear Junghoon choke up when I see him place his palm under his chin. Looking at the cell phone now, he utters, “I hope you have a nice wedding, Sohee. You deserve it, and Jikyung sent me a photo of you. You look beautiful today. Sorry it had to be this way and that I couldn’t make it. I hope you can make it to ours.” Junghoon waves, saying, “Bye for now.”

The video ends, and immediately, I give him a call. I don’t care if it’s long distance right now. I just want him to know how I feel.

“Hello?” Junghoon picks up.

“Hey, it’s me,” I answer. “I saw your video, but I haven’t shown it to her yet. I just wanted to say that you did the right thing and that I’m glad you’re trying.”
 
“It’s nothing really.”
 
“I . . .”

“Yeah?”

“I love you too, Junghoon,” I mumble quietly.

“What?” I hear him chuckle. “What’s the special occasion?”

“Nothing,” I tell him with an unintentional smile. “Just felt like saying it.”

“All right, Jikyung. If you say so . . .”

“You know, Junghoon,” I suddenly utter.

“What?”

“Sometimes . . . I think we’re too happy together, and I get nervous. Happiness is short lived.”

“But?”
 
“How’d you know I was going to have a ‘but’?”

Junghoon lightly cackles before replying, “Because I know you well.”

“But not too well because you can’t finish my sentence.”

“Oh, I actually think I can.”

“Really? Enlighten me then.”

Junghoon declares in a stable tone, “But you want to enjoy it for as long as you can, and maybe . . . we can be the exception.”

“I think the latter half of your sentence is your opinion,” I correct him.

“You’re right. It is my opinion. I thought I’d add it in to convince you that we’ll be all right.” Before I can argue, he adds, “I know you’re going to ask why, so I’m just going to say that I have a feeling that everything will be fine. Don’t get overwhelmed with the all wedding thing, and don’t try to compare us with other couples. We’re good the way we are.” I don’t answer him because I feel choked up by too many emotions. I’m midway to crying, and Junghoon senses that something is wrong, so he asks, “Jikyung? You still on the line?”

“Y-y-yeah.”

“You about to cry?”

“Y-y-yeah,” I silently admit.

“You still want me on the line then?” Because I don’t say a word, Junghoon murmurs, “All right. I’ll stay with you for a few more minutes. Then I really have to go to work.”

We don’t talk at all during those minutes. I can hear his breaths. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. It feels nice having him by my side like this. I close my eyes and picture that we’re sitting on a soft couch together. I have a warm cup of hot chocolate in my hands while he drinks his barley tea. We’re not watching TV. We’re looking out from our house at the forest. Trees go on for miles and the sky is particularly blue. I lean my head on his shoulder; I can feel his fingers resting on my arm. I really . . .

“Hey, Jikyung. I’m sorry, but I’ve got to run,” Junghoon interrupts my thoughts.
 
“It’s fine. Go to work.”

“Skype in the morning for you tomorrow?”

“Sure. Sounds good.”

“Bye then.”

“By—“

“Oh, and I miss you.”

That’s the end of our phone conversation. I wipe a tear off my eye and pretend to flush the toilet. I wash my hands diligently before leaving the washroom. The wedding reception continues, and there are games. We laugh all together. Each family member shares some story about the couple. There are photos of their childhood flashing by. It’s a pretty typical wedding, so I don’t want to cause any interruptions.

Fortunately, Sohee comes over to each table and I play her the video. Sohee instantly sobs and sobs. “C-c-c-can you send this to me?” Sohee stutters through her tears. “Th-th-this is the f-f-first time oppa has s-s-s-said anything to me in years.”

“Sure,” I agree. “I can send you a copy.”

Sohee then hugs me even when I’m still in my seat. “Thank you,” she whispers in my ear. “Thank you. Please . . . bring him happiness, okay?  

“I will,” I promise her. “I’ll do my best.” 

So, Junghoon . . . I hope you do your best too.
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