Friday, April 30, 2010

Thirty Minutes

 Inspired by the recent Mook Interview (thanks Karen (of PSHIC) and friends for the translation, Mee (of PSHIC) for the spazzworthy photos), I wanted to imagine the reasons why Shin Hye was all flustered about the memory of Sukkie drunk in their karaoke cast party. Why the shyness on her and the giddiness on Sukkie? Hmmm...

Thirty Minutes

Thirty Minutes.

That’s what you told Hong Ki. Thirty minutes to make sure no one gets near you and her so you could have her for yourself even just for a short time. Before reality, career, fans, anti-fans, managers and the whole of Hallyu sweep you both away from each other again. Thirty minutes, you begged your favourite dongsaeng. Sing a song, bare your body, do whatever you want, just make sure you keep everyone busy while I talk to her, you explained to him.

“You could take all night, hyung, and they won’t even notice you two missing,” the ever optimistic idol tried to brag but you shook your head. You knew better than to trust Hong Ki with a soju glass. You even had misgivings on asking for his help not because you didn’t trust him enough but you just knew that as soon as Hong Ki reaches for his fourth bottle of beer or his sixth soju glass, he would already be a goner.

But he was the only one you could trust on this one. You could have asked Keunsama, your manager-cum-friend-cum-bodyguard-cum-shadow for his help but bless his Casanova heart, he picked tonight of all nights to watch a play with the current object of his affection. “It’s just a cast party, Keun Suk, where everyone would get teary-eyed while downing sojus and slicing cakes. You can go on your own, man. I’m booked for tonight. It’s my night off from you, pretty boy,” he told you beforehand this morning as he gave you the rundown of activities for the day. You just laughed knowing fully well that he hates cast parties because they are ‘emotionally-charged activities’ as he often says. His macho side just cringes at the sight of anything mushy and emotional that if he had his way, he would absent himself from all your activities that involve tears, doing cutesy stuff and sappy, toe-curling moments like fan meetings and cast parties.

“Dude, attending cast parties with me is part of your job description,” you reminded him, pushing your luck that he would acquiesce because you were counting on him to help you carry out your little plan.

“This is my first day off in three months. Three months, Keun Suk and you didn’t hear anything from me,” he began his guilt-trip tirade that you started to regret even asking the favour.

“Ahrasso. Enjoy your night off, punk,” you relented and quickly hung up, his triumphant laugh echoing in your ears.

That was how Hong Ki came to the rescue. You just wanted to make sure that no one gets wind of you talking to her alone tonight. Not her managers, the crew, the co-actors, the media or the fans. You wanted to protect her and yourself as much as possible. You needed someone to cover you up. And Hong Ki seemed to be the perfect choice to be the look out.
At least until soju or beer gets the better of him.


Your alcohol tolerance is legendary to your friends. Ask Heechul or Hong Ki and they would attest to it. It would take a whole night of drinking to intoxicate you and a harder kind of liquor than soju to make you lose your wits. You know your alcohol limit. You know what you can and cannot do when you’re drunk.

You get bolder. You can do crazy things. You can allow yourself to wear your heart on your sleeves and just deal with yourself later when you’re sober.

She doesn’t know those things about you. At least, not yet.

That’s why you choose this time to talk to her.

Today was your last shooting day for the drama. The last scene was with her and you still feel the familiar pang of sadness you felt earlier when the director shouted ‘Cut!’ for the last time. You would miss the whole cast and crew, that’s for sure.It was the most memorable and funniest project you have ever done so far in your career and it felt sad to part ways and end things abruptly just as when the people you get to work with everyday for the last three months had started to become family to you. But this is the way things are in your world. Projects come and go. People walk in and out of your life. Soon a new project will land in your lap and you will have to work with a different cast and crew again. All of these creative and wonderful people, along with the drama, will just be a beautiful memory to remember once in awhile.

But not her, a voice inside you reminds you yet again. And you grunt in agreement. Absolutely not her. She will never just be a memory. If you have your way, you want her to be a permanent fixture in your life. But exactly how will you do that, you really don’t know.

All you know for now is that you will never let this night ends without her knowing how you feel, and without you losing your sanity and dignity by doing the unthinkable.


She had been busy taking pictures all day, running after every one else -- from the PD to the gaffer to Hong Ki, Yong Hwa, and yes, you—to take a shot in her Polaroid camera. She laughs, skips, hops around the filming area, joking with the production staff but you know she is just hiding her sadness through her smiles, in vain.  You see it in her eyes, those wide, transparent mirrors that allow you to take a peek at her heart. “I will miss this person,” she had shyly admitted, referring to you, during one of those BTS interviews the production had been conducting to document the filming of the drama.  And this time, you feel that what she said then was real. She would really miss you, alright. But knowing her big heart, she would also probably miss the whole staff and crew along with you.

Yet something tells you now, as you follow her with your eyes as she talks with UEE in a corner, that she just might be missing you a lot more if you just hurry up and bare your intentions to her now, right this minute, before you get cold feet and you abandon your plan altogether.

Her eyes are shining as she laughs with UEE while they discuss what song to sing on the karaoke, her short bob softly framing her pretty face. She is so beautiful it sometimes frustrates you that she is still so young. Younger girls have always made you uncomfortable. They are just so innocent, so pure that you are afraid they would easily break like china if you make a mistake.

But Shin Hye has been proving all your myths about younger girls wrong. She is younger than you but she sure can be tough, especially when it comes to work ethics. She is one disciplined girl when it comes to work and your passion and devotion to your craft have been put to shame by her a couple of times already. She is a lot mature than her age. She is no primadonna, never heard her complain about anything during your filming, not even when you were barely sleeping 2-3 hours a day. She reports to work way before her call time, fully prepared, having read the script and memorized her lines. She’s bubbly and friendly. A little ray of sunshine to the cold, bleak, windy filming days you all had to endure for the drama. She has a big heart and an open mind. A beautiful person inside and out. Plus, she bickers with you, a very, very gutsy thing to do for a girl, in your book, at least. And that, you think, is what draws you towards her.

She is sexy when she trades barbs with you. So sexy it tickles your heart.


“I’m gonna head out for a smoke,” you tell Hong Ki and the rest of the hyungs present in the room. Hong Ki nods his tipsy head. He knows that is your cue that his role as a look out has started. Shin Hye just walked out of the room a few moments earlier, probably going to the washroom and you want to seize the chance to follow her out and ask her to talk. It is a little late. Most of the cast, their managers and the filming crew and staff have already gone home. Even Yong Hwa and UEE went ahead to attend their other commitments. All that left behind are Hong Ki, you, Shin Hye, the Hong sisters, the stylist noonas, some guys from the production, and a very drunk PD who has been belting songs in the karaoke for the past hour.

This is the perfect time to talk to her.

“Oppa,” Shin Hye says, a little startled to see you waiting in the hallway leading to where the wash rooms are.

You raise the unlit cigarette stick for her to see. “On my way for a smoke. Wanna join me?”

She locks gaze with you for a second before a smile creeps on her face. “Sure,” she nods, following your lead as you head towards the fire exit at the back of the building.

“You mind if I smoke?” you ask, remembering your manners as you both sit down on the stairs behind the fire exit door.

She shakes her head, laughing silently. “There goes another 11 minutes of your life, oppa.”

Bo?” You light the stick and take a long drag on it.

“Smoking a cigarette reduces your life by 11 minutes, you know. That’s scientifically proven.”

You chuckle. “I’d rather have 11 minutes off my life then than freeze to death right here with you, right now.”

She scrunches her nose. “But it’s bad for your heath. And if you are cold, you shouldn’t have gone out here in the first place.”

You laugh, looking at her under the soft light overhead makes you want to grab and kiss her now before reason takes rein on you. But you restrain yourself. You don’t want to upset her.

“Just one stick for tonight. I promise,” you tell her solemnly, holding her gaze until she looks away, a faint blush on her cheeks visible under the incandescent bulb, obviously flastered.

She looks up, keeping herself busy as silence descends on the both of you. You take a few drags more on your stick, your mind frantically thinking of a smart thing to say.

“There’s a sliver of the moon peeking at us tonight,” she tells you, her finger pointing above.

You look above to admire the crescent moon, thinly veiled by clouds on the night sky. Give me guidance, give me courage, you find yourself asking the heavenly body perched at the sky. It feels ridiculous but you need all the help you can get right now.

You exhale the last smoke from your lungs and flick the cigarette butt away. This is it. If you won’t say the words now you know you will never say it to her ever.

She sits still beside you, her hands cupping her chin. “You really do the craziest things when you are drunk, don’t you, oppa?” she asks, her soft, thin voice cutting through the silence.

You laugh, knowing that she is referring to the stunt you pulled earlier in front of the cast and crew dancing and singing a popular racy song. “I’m not drunk. I just wanted to create a funny memory of me for all of you so I did the ‘Sexyback’ routine. You like it?” you tease her.

She laughs. Her eyes crinkling, full of mirth. “Two thumbs-up! It’s a shame I wasn’t able to record it on video, though. That would have been a hit online!”

You wrap your arms around her neck, giving her a mock head-lock. “Don’t you dare! That would be the death of my career!” you tell her playfully, her soft shrieks and laughter echoing in the deserted street below.

She wiggles her head away from your grasp but your hands are way too strong for her so she begins to plead. “Oppa, let me go now, please. I can’t breathe!” You set her head free but your arm stays on her shoulders as you pull her closer to you. You feel her soft, warm body beneath the layers of clothes she wears and you feel contented and happy. You want her near to you like this. All the time.

“Shin Hye,” you say her name in a whisper, afraid that someone might hear you and steal her away.

She turns her head a little towards you, your faces just barely inches away from each other. You feel the warmth of her breath on your face as she waits for you to speak. She smells of cinnamon and sugar. And you smell of nicotine, you chide yourself. Great.

You search her face, memorizing its features so you will remember how it looks like when you think back of this moment. “Hwang Tae Kyung is very sad to say goodbye to Go Mi Nam,” you mumble awkwardly. “I…I—I think you should know that.”

You witness how her eyes grow solemn and sad. “Go Mi Nam feels the same way, oppa.” She averts her gaze, bowing her head. You can feel her tremble slightly as she speaks the words.

“Tae Kyung wants to let Mi Nam know that he is thankful he has come to know her at this time.She makes him laugh, a lot. She inspires him to do better on his job. He learned a lot from her. And she makes his omma happy.” On normal days, you you will never be caught dead saying this to a girl but right now, as Tae Kyung speaks for you, with a little help from soju and the friendly moon up above, you feel happy and free saying these words to her. They are truly what you feel at the moment.

Her chin dimple greets your words warmly as she grins at you, her eyes telling you the words she can’t seem to say.

“Tae Kyung likes Mi Nam a lot,” you caress her head gently. “He thinks she is beautiful.”

It takes a few lightyears before you hear her speak. “Kamsahamnida, oppa,” she whispers, looking at you for a while before a mischievous glint in her eyes appears. “I mean, that’s what Go Mi Nam would say to Hwang Tae Kyung for the compliment.”

You smile at her warmly, caressing her cheeks with your hands. There is just one more thing to ask and you badly want the answer to this one right away. “Park Shin Hye, someday, when Jang Keun Suk will find the courage to say ‘I like you and I want to be responsible for you from now on’ …. Will you…do you think you can give him a chance?”  

You see her pupils dilate at the recognition of the words. You feel her cheeks grow warm underneath your touch. “Are you drunk, oppa?” she asks tentatively, unsure of the words she just heard.

Ani,” you look at her squarely. “Do I have a chance?” you breathe the words.

You see confusion, awareness and truth dance in her eyes before she mouths the words. “Ne, oppa.”

You kiss her warmly on her right cheek, your cold lips meeting her flushed skin. “Komapta.”

Hong Ki is probably too wasted to bother looking for the both of you now. You don’t even know if the thirty minutes you asked him to give you is already up. But you don’t mind.

No, you  certainly don’t mind at all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Chasing Butterflies

Nope, this is not a fanfic... it's fan poetry. Haha.

Inspired by frogs and damsels in waiting, I wrote this while waiting for a client to arrive (I waited for an hour!) I tried to capture SH's feelings in my FFs.

Chasing Butterflies

She gasps
catching her breath
as silently as she could
careful not to give
her heart away

She pleads
her inner demons
not to spill the secret
that has been lying dormant
for a hundred days

She cares
She breathes
She loves...

With all the sweetness
and darkness of her own heart

But she is afraid
cautious, scared
that the magic
will fade
the minute she opens her eyes

So she pretends
to dream, wish, hope
as she lays still, nervous
jittery and anxious
with breathing uneven, hands shaking
throat dry and goosebumps on her skin

She waits, thirsts, craves
for the kiss

of her

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Get Me to You

To Get Me to You

Shin Hye stares back at the pair of eyes looking at her from across the table. Framed by a pair of glasses, his calm brown eyes look intense and warm, still as gentle as she remembers them to be. Her gaze shifts down below his cheeks and finds the familiar dimples greet her as he gives her a warm smile. She feels embarrassed at being caught off guard gawking. She sips her cup of cappuccino to calm her nerves.

It has been a long time since she last saw him. More than two years, perhaps.

“Do I have something on my face?” Yoon Min Jae asks, obviously teasing her as he self-consciously rubs his head. Old habits never die, Shin Hye muses, noticing his gesture. Min Jae always used to do that when he feels a little awkward or embarrassed.

Shin Hye shakes her head, a little smile on her lips. “Aniyo, oppa. I’m just a little distracted by your crew-cut look,” she teases.

Min Jae bows his head, turning a bit red. “It will grow back to its normal length, you’ll see. I know I look like a big soondae that grew a face right now but every soldier looks like this back in the camp,”he attempts to explain with  a straight face.

Shin Hye bursts out laughing at his retort. Soondae is the least thing she has in mind to describe Min Jae, with or without his normal thick mane of hair framing his boyish, handsome features. She throws him an aghast look, faking annoyance. “If every soldier looks like you then you just might be putting all idols out of business as soon as you get out of military service.”

He snorts, dismissing the compliment. “Making others feel good has always been your charm,” he says, matter-of-factly. “You really didn’t change.”

She smiles at him. He didn’t change a bit, too, she muses. Hearing compliments from others always make him umcomfortable. Always the self-effacing guy who dodges compliments like a soldier dodges bullets in war, Min Jae has really been one who is not comfortable about his boyish, good looks. He has always been shy, quite reserved to people he is not close with and very down-to-earth. The very attributes that made her fall for him.

“Well, you haven’t changed a bit yourself, oppa. They can shave your head off but they certainly didn’t succeed to make you look like an ahjussi.” She remembers that he used to hate hearing others tell him that he looks like a kid.

Expectedly, he grimaces. “Then, should I go back for another two years, then? Just to make sure the wrinkles and the fine lines from all those activities spent under the sun will finally show on my face?”

She laughs heartily. She feels good sitting across from Min Jae right now, hearing him crack a joke, looking at his crooked, silly little smiles, watching his little eyes disappear as he laughs. She missed this guy.

“When did we last see each other, oppa? 2007? 2008?” she asks, wondering out loud. “Time flies so easily.”

Min Jae fixes a steady gaze at her. “The day we broke up. That’s the last time you last saw me.”

December 2007 then, her mind reminds her as memories slowly come surging in.


It was a cold, snowy December afternoon when they both calmly let each other go, with Shin Hye clutching tightly the letter advising Min Jae’s drafting for his mandatory military service on her hands.

They were both sitting on the same spot they are talking now. It was a memory permanently embedded on her mind – the snow delicately falling outside the little café, the smell of cappuccinos and lattes permeating the air, the color of Min Jae’s scarf (brown and gold) and how smooth his hands were as he wrapped hers with his.

They had been dating for merely a year when Min Jae decided to enlist early because he wanted to get his MS over and done with before he pursues his plans to study abroad. Shin Hye understood his reasons but she wished he would understand her misgivings, too. She was in love for the very first time in her life with a guy even her parents approve of. She was happy with everything – her career, her studies, family and friends. She was 18 years old and the world was at her feet. Or so she thought.

But Min Jae had other plans which did not include her.

They met at a local church where Shin Hye’s parents regularly attend mass every Sunday. Min Jae is her older brother’s age and both guys became fast friends because of music. They were in the choir together and as their friendship grew, so was Min Jae’s fascination with his friend’s famous little sister whom he would see regularly at the church. The eldest son of a doctor and an interior designer, he was popular among the parents who always wanted to match him with their daughters and a favourite among the girls. His good looks and his gentle manners endeared him to everyone. Shin Hye was not an exception.

Min Jae, however, had one flaw – he was a dreamer and his dreams were big. He wanted to see the world. He wanted to be a surgeon like his father but he wanted to be the best surgeon in the world. He wanted to reach out to the poor and sick of the world, especially children. He wanted to join medical missions in far-flung places, reach out and treat every wound, every broken leg or bone to the best of his ability. He has a big heart. He loved Shin Hye but he loved his dreams and other people more.

So when the schedule for his draft finally came out, Min Jae did what he thought he knew was best for the both of them – a break-up.

Shin Hye did not have the time to protest as he laid down his life’s plans to her one by one. He wanted to pursue his medical studies abroad immediately after his enlistment then start his medical career doing missions everywhere, as long as there are sick, needy people who need his brand of health care. A noble vision, a commendable spirit to do a great cause – who could argue with that? Her broken heart barely stood a chance, that she perfectly knew as she saw fire in his eyes while he talked to her about his dreams.

“You were born to be a star, Shin Hye,” Min Jae told her that day, a quiet resolve in his voice. “I was born to heal. I will always be grateful that we shared something beautiful like this. But right now, it is best to stop and part right here while I can still let you go.”

Shin Hye cried silently at his words, too numb and hurt to protest. She thought she died that day as she sat there, listening to him talk for probably the last time. She didn’t even know how she got herself home and how she managed to breathe the days and weeks that followed. But she gradually understood. She knew how important his dreams were to him. They were more important than her. And as much as that realization hurt her, she held on to it as a reminder that she should learn to let go of him.

Min Jae loved her, she was certainly sure of that. But it was not enough to make him stay.


Keun Suk’s face deepens into a scowl as he hears her words. “This is a prank, right? Hidden camera?”

Shin Hye smiles at her boyfriend, who is sitting beside her inside his car, innocently. “Oppa, you heard me. I will meet Yoon Min Jae tomorrow for a cup of coffe and catch up on things before he flies off to Vancouver next week. Just a nice, little chit-chat.”

Keun Suk looks at her, without a word. He wants to confirm if her eyes truly reflect what she says. Big, round eyes gawk back at him, clear and honest. He curses under his breath. She is serious, alright.

“A nice, little chit-chat with an ex-boyfriend is never okay with me, Shin Hye. And that’s final.” He silently reminds himself to not blow his top off over the issue. But this girl is seriously testing his patience.

She pouts, brows creased in confusion. “Why not? He was not just my ex. He is a friend of my brother, too. And I really want to see him before he leaves. I might never see him again.”

“Fine, then let’s go see him together,” Keun Suk dares her. “Or better yet, go get your brother and let’s all meet your Mr. Nice Guy together and have a group hug.”

Shin Hye calls his bluff. “That’s fine by me. My present meeting my past. Wow. That’s just every girl’s secret fantasy, oppa. That would definitely be something to look forward to.”

“You really love making a fool out of me, don’t you?” He is getting annoyed by the minute.

“I am not. That’s why I am informing you beforehand. Before photos of me and an unknown guy out on a date start circulating online. Isn’t that fair enough to you, oppa?” She detects the edginess on his voice but she thinks he is just being childish.

“Do whatever you want, Shin Hye. My opinion doesn’t really matter, anyway.” Keun Suk stares blankly ahead, his voice devoid of any emotion. He revs up the engine.

“Don’t be jealous, oppa,” Shin Hye coos.

“I’m not jealous. I’m just annoyed that you keep insisting how much you want to spend time with this guy. He just got back from military service. So? He will be leaving soon to live abroad. So what? I don’t give a damn care. The only thing that bugs me is this – why is my girlfriend so eager to meet up with a guy who broke her heart? So very eager that she doesn’t even care if she is hurting my feelings,” Keun Suk tells her, the faint humming of the car’s aircon punctuating his sentences. “That scares me.”

Shin Hye bows her head in remorse at his words.


“So, this is goodbye then?” Min Jae asks her, handing out his hand for Shin Hye to shake with hers.

“I hope to see you again, oppa,” she smiles at him warmly, her hand still shaking his and vice versa.

She laughs. “Let go now, oppa.”

“You have really forgiven me, have you?” Min Jae asks what he thinks is the obvious. If he had been hesitant at first to contact Shin Hye and see her for one last time before he departs for Canada, all those doubts had been substituted by relief and happiness the moment he saw her glowing face at the café. She is evidently happy and full of life right now. And he was thankful that she didn’t dwell on the awkward moments between them far too long. She is still the same sweet girl he knew.

Shin Hye shakes her head. “There is nothing to forgive, oppa. Everyhting happens for a reason. We ended for a reason.” Him, she thinks to herself.

Kamsamhamnida,” he bows his head slightly. “Whatever that reason is, it is for the best, right?”

“Yes,” Shin Hye agrees.


Shin Hye runs to the waiting black SUV parked at the curb and hops hastily in the passenger seat. “You came quickly,” she pants a little, steadying her breath.

Keun Suk maneuvers the car deftly into the traffic. “Lucky you I was just a few blocks away when you sent me the message.”

She looks at him, studying his profile as he drives and she sighs contentedly. You are definitely worth the heartbreak he caused me, oppa.

He glances at Shin Hye. “What?” he asks innocently at her. After their conversation in the car about Min Jae which ended with him getting emotionally worked up and Shin Hye bowing her head the rest of the long drive home, they never talked about the issue again. Until a few moments ago when he suddenly received a text message from Shin Hye telling him that the scary part is over and asking him to pick her up at the café where she allegedly met her first love again after two years. First love. The term still stings him but he is growing used to it. Everyone has a first. Shin Hye is no exception. He just has to deal with that…or him.

“Oppa,” Shin Hye starts to speak in a small voice. “I…I met him today.” She pauses to wait for his reaction.

He grunts with his eyes on the road, face expressionless.

“We talk about a lot of things. It was great to see him again. He said he wanted to see me because he had to tie up some loose ends in his life before he goes away for good. He apologized for the break up….” Shin Hye pauses again, clearing her throat and making sure that he is still listening to her. “For the break up that he initiated and wanted. And I said there is nothing else to forgive. All has been forgiven now. Everything is in their right place. I am happy now.”

“Are you really happy now?” Keun Suk’s voice is laced with uncertainty. With me?

Shin Hye nods her head vigorously. “I am. Everything happens for a reason, oppa. I believe that. And that break up long ago happened because of a reason. And,” she turns her head to his direction. “And that reason is you.” 

His free hand grasps the one resting on her lap automatically, bringing it close to his lips, peppering her hand with kisses. “You’re mine now,” he whispers quietly, possessively.

She blushes at his words. She never thought belonging to someone make her so crazily happy. “I know,” she replies back.

“So don’t go starting affairs with guys from your past behind my back. Behave. Especially now that I’m currently on tour,” he warns her with a straight face.

“Ya, oppa! You make it sound like I’m really capable of doing that!” she protests indignantly.

“Just saying,” he shrugs off. “You’re always running around like loose cannon, always threatening to scare me off. I might as well have my territory covered and secured. You’ll never know.”

Shin Hye looks at him incredulously, dumbstruck at his twisted logic.

Reason number two why I fell for you? Your twisted sense of humor.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Passenger Seat

The track inspiration is obvious on this one. The idea to write this came to mind when I heard this old, favorite song while I was dining out with a friend. And the fanfic craze that I am, I immediately thought of JGS-PSH and yeah, the infamous SUV that is set to stage its debut in, if i my sources are right, a month or so? I loved writing this because I love intimate moments. Happy Easter, my chingus! 

Passenger Seat

Expensive and unnecessary. That’s what your omma said when you first brought up the subject of buying a new car.

“You already have a car. A foreign-made, expensive car, if you ask me. And it is still working well, right? So why buy another one? Your money doesn’t grow on trees, Keun Suk. Remember that,” she quips, sternly cutting carrots in the kitchen while you hover around her like a kid asking for a toy balloon.

You roll your eyes behind her back for the second time and heave a deflated sigh, loud enough to let her hear it. For her, a car is a car, big or small. She doesn’t know the difference between a Porsche Cayenne and a Hyundai Genesis. Or a sedan and an SUV. And she doesn’t care. As long as it transports her to church or to the supermarket, it is a car by her definition, period. And omma knows best. As always.

“I heard that sigh loud and clear.” The carrots are sliced into cubes, the knife deftly manuevered by her hands. But to your trained ears, each thump of the knife on the board sounds like a ‘no.’

You pour yourself a glass of milk. “Omma, I really need a bigger car this time. I can’t cram all my stuff in that little car anymore. And this is not just a whim. I have been saving for this model since last year. I’ve been working hard. I deserve a reward.”

You hear her cluck her tongue. “But a car that costs more than fifty million won? That is just insanely outrageous! Why not buy a house and lot instead? Or invest in business.”

This conversation is getting futile, you tell yourself as you put back the milk carton in the refrigerator and you walk to her side. “Omma, I know what you’re thinking. I am not wasting away my hard-earned money. You know that. I just need a bigger car. I need it for work and for my hobbies. It’s not a sports car for showing off. It’s an SUV,” you try to explain, putting your arms around her shoulders.

“A what?” she asks, quite confused at the foreign-sounding word.

You give a light chuckle. “It’s a car suited for big boys like me. I’m a big boy now, omma. So just trust me on this. Please,” you try to coo, wanting to appease her and just put a stop to the issue.

It’s her turn to heave a sigh. “Ahrasso. Do whatever you want with your money. Just don’t come crying to me to rescue you when you wake up one morning without a single cent in your bank account!” She threatens, wagging her finger at you.

Triumphant, you plant a kiss on her forehead, thanking her. “You’re the best, Omma! You know that, right?” You hear her grunt as you make your exit swiftly from the kitchen afraid that she would give another one of her tirades.


You count the rings of her phone before she picks up. Three. She has always been constant about that since the very beginning. She lets the phone ring three times before she answers your calls. You don’t know if she really does that to anyone but it’s one of those quirky things you love about her. She is constant, even with her quirkiness. To anyone it may mean nothing but to you, this gives you a feeling of stability. That she will never change towards you --- that she will forever be constant in your life.

“Oppa,” her soft, lyrical voice quickly wakes you up from your reverie.

“Twenty questions,” you tell her immediately, referring to a game you both love to play.

Bo?” she asks, a little perplexed.

“Nineteen questions to go.”

“Arrgghh,” she exclaims softly. “Ok, are we talking about someone?”

“Nope. Next question.”

“A thing?”


“Hmm…a new project?”

You laugh. “No. A project is not a thing. It’s an event,” you correct her.

“Right. A thing, a thing…is it something you want?”

“Yes. You’re getting close,” you egg her on.

“Am I?” she says excitedly.

“Yes. Fourteen questions more.”

“Hey, that’s not fair. You shouldn’t include my last question, oppa!” she protests.

“But you asked a question, right? I answered. That’s included in the game. 13th question, please.”

“Can it be bought?”


You hear her murmur to herself. “It’s something you want that can be bought with money… What do you want, oppa?”

“If I say it now, then you lose the game.”

“Aissh! Ahrasso, ahrasso. Is it expensive?”

“You can say that. It is.”

“Is it small?”


“Aha! If it isn’t small, then it must be big. And the only big thing I know you want so badly right now is… Don’t tell me you finally bought that SUV you’ve been telling me about?”

“That’s another question but I guess I have to answer that one and let you win. Yes, I finally bought it! Finally!”

“Aja! That was quick and easy,” she teases you. You really don’t know why you feel giddy each time you hear her soft voice teasing you. You are not turning into a sappy and wimpy kid now, are you?

“Listen, when I finally have it delivered to me in maybe… uh, let’s see, a few weeks time, would you like to go on a drive with me, out in the countryside, perhaps?” Say yes, please, you grit your teeth in anticipation.

You hear her breathe before she answers, “That would be great, oppa.”


“You like it?” you ask in anticipation as she greets you with a smile, her eyes busily scanning the length of the vehicle parked behind you.

She nods, her eyes glancing back at you. “It definitely suits you. It looks fierce, menacing…but –

“I look menacing to you?” you ask her, a little smile playing on your lips.

Aniya. We are talking about the vehicle, right? It’s cool. It’s big but it sure has attitude. Like you,” she teases, grinning.

You laugh at her audacity to tease you like that, while sharing such close proximity to you. This girl will have to learn that sometimes there are consequences on teasing a grown-up guy like you. Consequences like…you scrap the thought immediately. Stop thinking about her like that when she’s in front of you, man, you berate yourself. Shame on you.

“Come on, hop in and let’s hit the road. Let my new best friend show you how fierce and menacing he can really be,” you tease her back, opening the passenger door for her. You smell a whiff of her hair as she walks past you and fight the urge to turn her around and bury your face into her hair. How can a shampoo smell so darn fine like this?

This is the first time you will be spending a whole day with her, without any one tailing you or any camera watching your every move. Fine, you have been tempted to ask Manager Kim to tag along but only out of habit and you quickly dismissed the thought the minute you realized what a dopey idea it was. This is the first time you will have Shin Hye for yourself and you want it to be special in any possible way. You have waited a month for this and you have pestered your staff and hers to create a free day for the both of you. So that is what exactly you are going to do today -- to make beautiful memories with her. And if that means keeping your hands off her at a decent level and to keep reign on your own feelings while trying to behave nicely which means no groping, no sleazy thoughts and no awkward intimacy unless she allows it, then hell, yes, you will abide all by the above self-imposed rules. Yes sir, you will. May the gods help you.

“So where are we heading, oppa?” the unsuspecting girl of your daydreams ask you.

“Hmm, where ever the road leads us, I guess. Maybe Busan?” you joke. You love how she looks today. Wearing a simple green hoodie jacket, a white shirt and black pants and absolutely no make-up, she looks like the average girl on the street except for that pretty face. That pretty face that has been haunting your every dream these days.

She giggles. “Busan? That far? Are you serious? Her chin dimple dances in the morning sunlight. “That’s okay with me. I love long-drives, anyway.”

“Really? Me, too. I love driving out in the countryside. Away from the city. It gives me peace to see the lush greeneries and the long stretch of road ahead. It soothes me.”

She smiles, nodding her head in agreement. “I know. I feel that, too. It peels away the stress from you, makes you breathe.”

You steal a glance at her and smile. You really share a lot in common and it is fun learning one similarity at a time.


“Shin Hye, do you remember when we first met?” You ask her thirty minutes later, as you drive along the outskirts of Seoul. The windows are down and the breezy air somehow has both lulled you to silence and it is making you drowsy so you pop the first question that comes to your mind just to make a conversation.

She turns to you and straightens up from her slouch. “Etude CF?”

 You shake your head. You don’t really expect her to remember because you both were too young then. But you remember it because you just recently show a clip of the old video online. “Earlier than that,” you give her a hint.

“Have we worked together before that?” she asks, her mind busily searching for an answer, you can tell.

You clutch your heart in a mock gesture of feeling hurt. “Ouch, so you didn’t take note of the very day you first met me? You didn’t write it in your diary? I’m hurt!”

She smirks at your silliness. “I’m sorry, oppa. I only take note of eventful things in my diary.”

You pretend to look hurt some more, pouting. “Come on, try to remember. I couldn’t be that so easy to brush off on first meetings!”

She mimics your pout, forehead creasing. “Awards night? Party?”

You shake your head and sigh in exasperation. “Nonstop 4.”

She tilts her head towards you, a smile plastered on her face. “With MC Mong. That was 2005, right?”

You look at her with accusing eyes. “You knew it. You remember!”

Her hearty laugh fills the interior of the car as you focus on the road ahead, suddenly relieve that she remembers your first meeting, too. “You really love doing this to me, don’t you?”

“What, oppa?” she asks, her voice and face full of innocence.

“Fooling me. Didn’t you know that no one gets away unscathed from teasing Jang Geun Suk?” you threaten her, your mind already listing the possible things you can do to get even with her.

“Oppa, I just learned this from you. Aren’t you proud I’m getting the hang of it? Look, I’m getting better, I can even fool you now.” Her voice is full with mirth.

Aishh, sinchia,” you mutter under your breath. “So, is that the only thing you like about me? You like me because I taught you how to fool and tease people effortlessly?”

You feel her turn a little rigid at your question. Ah, sweet revenge. Nothing can make Shin Hye fluster more than you asking her how she feels about you. She always gets embarrassed about it. And you love it.

“I like you? Says who, oppa? I never said that,” she quips in a small voice, recovering quickly from your question.

You see a small clearing on the road ahead, a couple of meters away and grin. Signaling to turn left, you deftly steer the car towards the shoulder of the road and pull to a complete stop at the clearing. You turn to her, calmly, “So, you were saying that you don’t like me?”

You see her pupils dilate at the realization that you just parked the car in the middle of nowhere, with just the both of you inside a vehicle and with an expression on your face that you know translates to that of a hunter finally cornering his prey. You can’t help but smile at her reaction. Her eyes are panicking but her smile is still teasing you.

“I—I don’t just like you. I like you a lot!” she tells you, trying to redeem herself from an unknown fate in your hands.

You fake a sneer at her, enjoying the moment. “Too late. You crossed the line. You don’t like me, huh? Why don’t we find out ourselves if you really don’t?” You reach out to brush your hand on her jawline down to her chin.

She instinctively turns her face away, shy and embarrassed. “Oppa, we’re on the road,” she protests in her small voice.

You ignore her protest and search her eyes to lock hers with yours. “My car is tinted and we are in the coutryside.” You press the button to close the windows and locks. “There,” you tell her smugly.

She closes her eyes tightly. “I like you, okay? I like you a lot! I even like your mom, too!”

You chuckle. “I don’t believe you. You just spent the last hour making fun of me so I’m not going to be fooled again.”

She puts out her palm to stop you from getting near her. “Oppa, I’m telling the truth. I—I’m your girlf—I mean, we are going out now, right? I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like you,” she licks her lips and bites them nervously.

You are definitely enjoying making her squirm in her seat. But seeing her lick her lips like that just sends you a little over the edge. You are no saint, you remind yourself. And well, she is your girlfriend now, right? You have all the right to – “I had this crazy fan-girl crush on you when we did the CF kiss!” She blurts out thwarting your thoughts which she seems to have read easily.

You smile giddily at her confession. “Fan-girl crush, huh? So you liked the kiss, then?”

She turns crimson at your question but nods, shyly. “I did, yes. Who wouldn’t, right? I mean—

You drown the rest of her words with your lips touching hers. Gently, you cup her face with both of your hands to steady her head. You feel her tremble a little so you softly caress her cheeks with your thumb to soothe her nerves. Her lips slowly relax and yield to your deepening kiss. “Mianhe, I just can’t hold myself any longer,” you whisper between kisses. Her lips taste of cherry and mint. You kiss the tip of her nose and her forehead, prying your attention away from her lips before you lose yourself entirely.

You smooth her hair lovingly, running your fingers through her fine locks. “I like the smell of your hair,” you tell her who is still dazed with her lips a little swollen from your kisses. Ah, how could she sit there beside you like this oblivious of the havoc she is wreaking inside you? She drives you insane and she doesn’t know it.

She looks at you with glazed eyes and a shy smile on her lips. “I always feel this way everytime you kiss me, in that CF, in the drama. I feel disoriented and a little lost.”

You give out a nervous laugh, your heart lurching a little. “But it’s different this time, Shin Hye. This is for real,” you remind her, holding her hand and lacing your fingers with hers.

She holds your gaze tenderly, her heart reflected in her eyes. “I know, oppa. But each of those kisses felt real to me. Just like now.”

Your fingers tightened their grip on hers as she speaks. Shin Hye has never verbalized her feelings towards you until now. She has always been cautious about how she feels. Not even when you were pestering her with your own feelings did she ever articulate her emotions to you. She did say she likes you a lot but she never goes beyond that. Until now. And hearing her describe to you how you make her feel is just so surreal you don’t know how to react.

“I never expected that you would like me back someday,” she continues. “So when you said you do, I needed to make sure that it was for real. I’m sorry I made you wait for a while but it was the only thing I knew to see if you are for real.”

You smile. You never liked waiting but she made you appreciate it, a lot. “That’s one of your charms, you know,” you caress her head gently, “you know how to take reign on me.”

She bows her head to hide her blush.

“But sometimes, there are things that can not wait,” you tell her, “like this.” You claim her lips once again, fervently and possessively. Cherry and mint never tasted so good like this on someone else’s lips.