“I don’t know what I was expecting but you rich kids are more normal than I’d have ever imagined,” the coach’s daughter, Lee Hye Jin said.
She was a girl of average height with an average body but even I had to admit that she was quite pretty. Ki Won had confessed that he’d only befriended her to get her to butter up her father so that he could get back to his antics at his brother’s soccer matches. So apparently, bringing her to our school dance was part of his ploy. Whatever. A pretty face always awoke the ho in him.
I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was something about her that just didn’t sit well with me. She was certainly less stupid than all his previous girlfriends although they both claimed to be ‘just friends.’ He’d only introduced her to our group earlier in the evening and yet she was talking like she was the main speaker at a microphone selling convention. What happened to being shy and demure? Annoying wench.
“You don’t have to sit with me all night,” Han Bi said to me as we watched Ki Won and Hye Jin, and Yun Ah and her First Husband walk to the dance floor. He’d gotten into a ski accident a few days earlier and had sprained his ankle so we’d spent the entire dance on our butts. When I found out about his injury, I asked him to stay home but he insisted on coming to the dance because he didn’t want me to be without a date. If I didn’t get up and move soon, I was sure I was going to add about five kilos to the butt area alone.
“I’m not in the mood to dance anyway, so it’s fine,” I reassured him.
He didn’t look convinced but thankfully, he didn’t press the issue. The one thing I liked about hanging out with him was that it was so comfortable. Even though I wanted to get up and move my limbs a bit, I figured that if he could sacrifice his foot to come with me, I could sacrifice stretching the seams in my pants and spend the evening with him. Besides, I enjoyed listening to him talk about the girl he’d met on his trip.
“You know, I will give you everything,” blasted from the speakers.
I was about to make a comment about it when someone grabbed my arm and yanked me off my chair.
“What the hell?” I yelled before I turned to look at my assailant. “Ji Tae ssi, what are you doing?”
“It’s your favorite song.”
“So?” I said, struggling to escape his grip. “Leave me alone!”
“Lower your voice if you don’t want to cause a scene,” he said as he dragged me to a corner of the dance floor.
I turned around to see how many pairs of eyes were staring at us but only Han Bi was looking with an amused expression on his face.
“I’ll be there to comfort you now, anytime and anywhere,” Ji Tae sang, sounding exactly like Alex of Clazziquai. He’d found a spot on the dance floor he was comfortable with and had put his arms around my waist.
“What are you doing?” I asked certain that my voice betrayed the panic I was feeling.
“Building an ark.”
I frowned. Was I beginning to rub off on him?
"What does it look like I’m doing?” he continued calmly.
I tried to pull his hands off me but they wouldn’t budge. I gave up and looked up at him. “Why are you doing this?” My feet were rooted to the ground even though he was moving to the beat.
“Why are you trying to fight this?” he asked with his piercing-eye thing.
I broke away from his gaze. “Fight what?” My chest was beating out of control.
“This,” he repeated. “You love this song, so why shouldn’t you enjoy it?” He smiled. “We’ll never be apart…” he mouthed along with Alex. “Come on, dance. You know you want to.”
I chortled. If I was going to actually dance at the dance, it made sense that I’d do it to my favorite song.
“Is that how people dance in your hometown? Come on, move your body!” he cajoled.
I swiftly swept the room with my eyes and when I was sure that no one was looking, I rested my head on his shoulder. Why? Because it seemed to make sense- my head was there and so was his shoulder. Plus it was just a song, and we were just dancing, so what the hell?
“So, does this feel weird?” he asked about a minute into our dance.
“Not particularly,” I said simply. It actually felt nice, not that I felt like I was floating in air or anything just as pathetic and puke-inducing but it was comfortable. And it kinda, sorta made sense dancing with him to my favorite song.
“Where are we going?” I said, looking outside of the car window. Our dance had lasted a little longer than I’d planned so when I got back to Han Bi, Yun Ah told me that his chauffeur had arrived and he’d already left. So I’d been stuck with the most reasonable option – hitching a ride home with Ji Tae.
“We’re going to get ice cream,” he said.
I turned to him. “Ice cream? Who said I wanted ice cream?”
“Does the world revolve around you? Hyung and I want some so we are going in,” he said as we drove into the parking lot. “You can stay here if you want.”
“Caramel ice cream with chocolate chips and extra caramel on top,” Ji Tae said, repeating my order. “You’re so predictable it’s not even funny.”
“Coffee ice cream with eh… yeah, air on top,” I said, looking at his bowl. “You’re so boring that I’m already half asleep.”
We both laughed. Mr. Kim had opted to enjoy his ice cream in the car so other than a few other customers, the Eye Scream shop was practically empty.
I noticed that Ji Tae’s eyes were transfixed on my ice cream so I moved it further away from him. “Oppa, you can’t have any,” I said as I covered it with my hands.
“Yeah, like I want to go to the dentist tomorrow,” he said. “I hope you don’t sue me for buying you something that is detrimental to your health.”
I licked the caramel off my spoon. “Hmmm, if this is what dying feels like, bring it on!” I said as the gooey substance took me to La La Land.
I opened my eyes to see Ji Tae holding a heaped spoon out to me. “Let’s exchange. You give me a spoon of your ice cream and I give you a spoon of mine.”
I burst out laughing. “Why would you want something that would kill you?” I asked in mock seriousness.
“I’m sure a little wouldn’t kill me.”
I laughed harder. “No way,” I said, holding my bowl close to my chest. “You can go and order your own.”
He shook his head. “I need to taste it first to see if I like it.”
He was on the brink of salivating that I had to take pity on him. “Okay, give me your spoon.”
“No, it’s okay. I can take it myself.”
“What do you mean by "It’s okay"?” Did I say you had a problem taking it yourself? I just want to make sure you don’t take too much. So Oppa, hand me your spoon!” I repeated.
He gave it to me and said, “So you’re calling me ‘Oppa’ now?”
I stopped what I was doing and looked at him. “Am I?” I hadn’t even noticed.
I scooped some ice cream in his spoon and handed it to him. “You don’t want me to call you that?”
“I suppose it sounds alright,” he said smiling.
“You’re my friend, you’re older than me and you’re a guy, so it’s only right I call you ‘Oppa.’” And if things with us could ever become like it was between Kang Han Bi and I, it would be great. After all, Han Bi and I had initially had our period of weirdness till it morphed into what it now was. I was certain it was going to be the same with Park Ji Tae. Dancing with him was different but I could almost bet that I’d have felt the same thing dancing with anyone else if I had Clazziquai cooing in my ear. Yes, it was definitely all about Clazziquai.
He held his bowl of ice cream out to me. “Do you want any?”
I shook my head. I’d already taken enough from him; maybe it was time for me to balance things out by giving instead. Not that I knew what to give.