"Hee Soo yah," Yun Ah called from behind me.
We were at the Final Curtain event and our large group consisted of Hyun Su (who was looking quite cute) and his date, Eun Jung and her man, two of Eun Jung's friends, Han Bi, Yun Ah and of course, me. A few minutes earlier, Yun Ah had excused herself to get a drink.
I turned around to find Yun Ah beaming at me. "Oh My God!" I yelled on seeing the girl standing next her. "Hye Rin!" I hugged her tightly before we proceeded to jump and scream like banshees. When we were both out of breath, we stopped and disentangled from one another. "What are you doing here?"
Hye Rin, Yun Ah and I had shared an apartment for the first two years of college. When she moved to Hong Kong shortly after we graduated, we'd lost touch.
"Yun Ah, you bit.ch, I can't believe you kept this from me!" I hit her then went back to drinking in the sight of Hye Rin. As always, she was looking lovely. But then again, she always did. As far as I was concerned, even though she wore her hair short and couldn't care less about fashion, she was damn near close to the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen. Her big bright eyes, pert nose, rosy, full lips and slim figure were looking better than ever.
"What are you doing in town?" I asked, still in disbelief that she was actually there.
She shrugged. "I moved back. And oh, before I forget, TADA!" she yelled right as she lifted her left hand to reveal a huge diamond on her ring finger. She reached behind her and pulled the tall man I hadn't even noticed was there. "Meet my fiancé."
On seeing my reaction, Yun Ah doubled over. But no one could blame me for being shocked. Back in school, in contrast to what one would expect, she'd been the biggest man-hater to roam the planet. Every single date she went on ended up as a horror story that we decided that she sabotaged them. But now she was engaged? The world surely never ceased to amaze.
After chatting with her for almost ten minutes and not hearing a word from her fiancé, I finally figured out why she'd fallen for him – he was obviously mute.
"So how are the wedding plans coming along?" I asked Hye Rin.
She rolled her eyes. "Why don't you ask my mother? She's pretty much planning it and when I told her that my wedding was about me, she laughed. But," she said, giggling, "I'm sure your mother will be worse."
And that killed the mood.
After we'd poured a few drinks down our systems, the mood lifted and we were all dancing in circle. Well, most of us were while Hyun Su was engulfed in spasms.
"Lalalala…" blasted from the speakers.
"OH MY GOD!" I ran across to grab both Yun Ah and Hye Rin. "Hey, do you remember our routine?" I said, laughing.
Unfortunately, back in college, all the studying started screwing with our brains to the point that we were all obsessed with Se7en. It got so bad that even Hye Rin declared that Se7en was the only Korean man she could consider marrying.
"Sing it for me say…" I sang right before I started doing the routine.
Hye Rin shook her head. "I hate it when you drink. Aren't we too old to be disgracing our families in public?"
"No," Eun Jung interjected. "You're at the right age. Go ahead, dance for us," she encouraged in between giggles.
Even though I knew she was making fun of us, I wanted to show off my skills. We'd spent so much time perfecting our routine but had always been too shy to do it in public. It was about time we unleashed our talent to the world. Who knew, maybe we'd be discovered.
"I know nunmullo jichin apeun nemame…"
I pulled both of my friends and forced them to do it and after a few memory-loss induced missteps, we were performing for our laughing friends.
About a minute into our show, it was time for the Yun Ah-created booty-shake and when we turned around to give our audience a full view of our butts, I found Ji Tae and his friends watching and laughing at us.
My heart skipped a bit. Instead of continuing with our dance, I ran over to him and hugged him. "Oppa, you came!" I grabbed his hand and pulled him to the rest of the group. "Everyone, I'll like you to meet my friend, Park Ji Tae. Doesn't he have the cutest eyes?" I asked them through giggles as I stretched my hand up to touch them.
He caught my hand and looked at me curiously. "Are you okay?"
"Duh!" I was so happy to see him that I did a little dance. All I could think of was that he'd wanted to hang out with me and he was finally here. I'd looked for him as soon as I paid the hefty 75,000 Won ticket and just before Hye Rin showed up, I'd pretty much decided that he was an ass who loved to type lies on MSN. But apparently, I was wrong because he was standing next to me. Yee Haw! "So how are you?" I sang to the melody of the song.
He looked at Yun Ah. "Is she okay?"
Yun Ah rolled her eyes and made a hand gesture implying that I was drunk.
I shook my head. "I'm not drunk, I'm just happy," I announced to anyone within a 20-mile radius. "Oh, Yun Ah and Hye Rin, come, come, let's show Oppa our dance routine."
"I'm so glad you came!" I said as I hugged Ji Tae's side. After hanging out with the group for a few minutes, my stomach rumbled so I informed them that I was taking Ji Tae with me to get some food.
He pushed me off him with his arm. "Why don't you go and get something to eat? The plates are over there," he said, pointing to the other end of the buffet table.
I frowned. "Forget you then." I walked over and picked a paper plate. I looked at the huge spread and when I couldn't decide on what to take, I took a little of everything.
"Are you really going to eat all that?" Ji Tae asked with his eyes fixed on my mounting plate.
I laughed. "If I don't finish it all will you help me?" I asked with a wink.
He chuckled. "Alright, then." He reached across and took my hand. "Let's find a table."
His hand felt wide and big over mine and even though it really wasn't that much bigger than mine, I felt quite petite. Like Thumbelina. "Are you honestly holding me?" I looked up at him and batted my eyes.
"Yes," he said, glancing back at me as he led us to a table. "Do you have a problem with it?"
I shook my head. "No. But it's so cute. Awwww."
He laughed and shook his head.
Soon after, we were seated at a table. Most of the other partygoers had long since finished eating and were mingling or dancing so other than a few other arguably less attractive people at nearby tables, we were pretty much alone.
I took a bite of the chicken. "Oh my God! This is so good!" I wasn't sure what it had been spiced with but I could definitely taste some curry. I picked another piece with my fork and put it up to him. "Oppa, take this. It's divine."
"It's okay, just eat your food," he said, pushing my hand away.
I shook my head. Did he honestly want to miss out on the best chicken ever made? "Just taste it. I swear, you're going to have like five orgasms right now. It's that good." I picked up another piece with my other hand and gobbled it up.
"Okay, then. I just hope it's not like your grandmother's oxtail soup," he said before opening his mouth wide to let me feed him
"I told you that you'd like it," I said satisfactorily a moment later after watching the impressed reaction on his face.
After chewing it, he stared at me for a few moments then laughed. "Do you know that this is my first time of seeing you drunk?"
"I'm happy, not drunk," I corrected him. It may not mean much to some but there was a clear distinction.
He laughed some more. "Okay, this is my first time of seeing you happy like this. Hmm...," he said, stroking his chin. "I bet I can make you do anything I wanted right now…."
I backed away from him. "I won't have sex with you!" I declared. Men were so dirty minded.
He hissed. "Who said anything about sex? But are you saying that you'll never have sex with me?"
I picked my fork up. "Never say never."
He put the glass in his hand down and turned to me. "So you're saying that you might have sex with me?"
I swallowed a forkful of rice then shrugged. "It depends. How much are you willing to pay?"
He raised his brow. "I'll have to pay?"
"You're asking too many questions. And don't look at me like that. I'm not a prostitute but if you offer me 10 billion Won, I might consider it." Sex was sex but money sure was money.
He picked his napkin up and wiped his mouth. He narrowed his eyes. "Well, I don't have 10 billion Won," he said as a slow smile crept on his face, "but what if I gave you everything I make for the rest of my life?"
"And how much will that be?" Graphic artists weren't exactly doctors.
He knitted his brows at he did the mental calculation. "I don't know."
His entire income for the next 40 years? It couldn't be that bad. "And will it be like one of those lottery things where I can take a lump sum now," I asked hopefully, "or will it be in installments?"
"Installments, obviously. But you'll be guaranteed this money for as long as you live."
"And all I have to do is have sex with you once?"
He laughed. "Not once. Quite often, actually."
I shook my head in disgust. "This sounds like a sucky deal." I pushed his head with my finger. "I'm talking about quick cash here, darling. What about your trust fund? Why don't you just hand that over to me?"
"How do you know I have anything in it?"
"Because knowing you, you haven't touched it. Well, you might have used it to pay off your school loans once you got old enough to touch it but other than that...."
"I had no student loans – my father paid my tuition."
His dad…? Whatever, I had more important things to think about. "Anyway, hand over that trust fund to me."
"So you want my trust fund for just one night with you?"
"It'll be a night you never forget," I said in a sultry voice. "It'll be one night of mind blowing, toe curling, eyes blinding, heart stopping, windows shattering sex with moi."
He laughed. "You guarantee all that?"
"Well, you'll have to pay first… and sorry, no refunds."
About forty-five minutes later, after my belly was filled and time had passed, I was slightly embarrased and back to my normal self.
"So I'm still trying to figure out if I like you better like this or in your previous state," Ji Tae said as soon as he returned from the bar with a beer for himself and an orange juice for me.
I frowned. "So are you saying that you prefer to see me sad?"
"Not sad. But I'm wondering if alcohol-induced happiness is preferable."
I rubbed my tummy. "I can't believe I ate so much. I am so stuffed."
He grabbed my hand. "So let's dance it off."
I groaned as I got off my chair. "I don't think I can move," I said, following him to the dance floor without much coaxing. The truth was I really wanted to work at least 400 calories off before I got back home.
When he found some space we could dance in, he turned around to face me. "Okay, teach me your dance routine."
I titled my head and looked at in him annoyed disbelief. "Why are you making fun of me? I thought you promised to forget what you saw tonight."
His head fell back as he cackled like a hyena. And not a cute one, either. He placed his finger over his lips. "Your secret's safe with me but you can still teach me," he said when he finally regained his sanity. He took my hand and swung it. "Please."
How could I deny a man with such puppy-dog eyes? Heck, I'd even kiss a lion if he looked at me like that. About five minutes into my teaching him and him messing up on purpose, he placed his hands on my waist.
I looked up at him. "This isn't part of the routine."
He shrugged. "So?"
"So," I repeated, putting my hands on his waist, "does it look like we can dance like this? We look like two idiots confused about how to do the foxtrot."
"But if I pull you in like this," he said, elbowing my arms away and doing just that, "we can dance like this."
I smiled. Okay, the butterflies in my tummy were on the move. Why did my chest all rubbed up against his feel so damn good? And it didn't help that the scent of his aftershave was playing games with my mind.
I looked up at him even though I tried to avoid his eyes. "Are you saying that you no longer want to learn our routine? If you're good, you can come on tour with us."
He chuckled. "No. This is fine."
I was about to wrap my arms around him and sway to the music when I felt someone tap my shoulder. I turned my head around and found myself staring into the eyes of Rab.itch.
I could practically hear the sound of glass shattering all around me. Argh, sh.it.
"Excuse me?" she said impatiently.
Before she could say anything else, I pushed Ji Tae's hands off my waist and walked away.
Even though it felt like an eternity, I couldn't have been walking for up to a minute, trying to maneuver myself around all the dancing couples when I felt someone grab me from behind. I turned around. "What?"
Ji Tae reached for my hand but I moved it away. "Come on, let's dance," he said.
"Don't worry about it." Was he crazy? Hadn't his girlfriend already returned to claim her property?
Annoyed, he said, "Come on, let's go back."
He grabbed my hand but I pulled it back. "Isn't Tae Hee waiting for you?"
He shrugged. "So what? I don't care about that."
My mouth fell open in disbelief. He didn't care about that? What the fu.ck was wrong with the men of today? He was just going to leave her alone? I glared at him in disgust. It wasn't too long ago when he was yelling at me on her behalf.
He scratched his head. "The thing is…"
I wasn't even interested in hearing it. If anything, I was mad at myself for having so much fun with a guy I knew wasn't available. A guy who was an ass. Why did I get myself into such stupid situations? "Look, I was already getting bored with you so it's a good thing that she showed up. Go back to her."
The expression on his face darkened. "You were bored?" he repeated.
I shrugged. "Yeah. It got old really quickly. I've been meaning to dance with Hyun Su so let me go and find him. So why don't you just turn around and mosey on over to your woman?"
He hissed and shook his head in what appeared to be pity. "I guess I shouldn't be surprised. You are Kim Hee Soo, after all. New year, same sh.it, huh?"
I rolled my eyes. "Looks that way, doesn't it?" I turned around and walked away. He could kiss my ass for all I cared.
"I can't believe it's the New Year already!" As it happened at most New Year's Eve celebrations, once the clock struck twelve, the crowd dispersed. Since Yun Ah claimed that I was too 'happy' to drive home, she and Han Bi made me ride with them.
"ARGH! It's a new year!" I yelled.
"Which means in less than a month, you'll be 26," Yun Ah said evilly.
I slapped the back of her head from the backseat. "Is there a reason you're reminding me? Oh my God, I've officially gone past the quarter-century mark!" It was time to invest in some botox.
"At least, you have a career," she said, nursing the back of her head. "I'm still teaching kindergarten while I wait for mine to start."
"And whose fault is that?" She'd received quite a few offers playing second fiddle in CFs but since she still lived in the 1950s and believed that the stage was superior to television, she'd refused them all.
"By the time I finally get to act, I'll be playing evil stepmother roles. I am just so old!"
"Can you girls shut up? How am I supposed to feel?" Han Bi inquired from the driver's seat.
"Why are you asking us, Oppa? Shouldn't a man of your considerable your age know how to feel?" I reached into my purse to find my cell phone. "I bet I have no messages because I'm so old that no one loves me," I whined.
And I was right - life sucked. It got even more depressing when I saw that I'd only received one message which just happened to be a "Happy New Year" text from Ji Tae. Great, the day had only begun and I'd already started receiving generic mass text messages. Argh. What a year to look forward to.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Please forgive all typos.