Seven year old Woohyun ran over to his father at night. His father had returned from work and was reading the day's newspaper.
"Appa! We have new neighbours!" Woohyun declared loudly. Mr Nam chuckled and ruffled his son's hair. "Yeah. Appa knows. Your umma told me."
Woohyun beamed. He played with his father's large hands while telling him of the day's happenings.
"They have a daughter called Yoomi, Appa." Woohyun continued enthusiastically. "She's quite cute, Appa. Her glasses are too big for her small face. I think I want to be friends with her."
Mr Nam laughed. He was happy that his son was so ready to make new friends and be warm to new people. "That's good, son."
Woohyun's face suddenly fell. "But..." Woohyun puffed his cheeks and looked at himself through the mirror. "Do you think I'm not a worthy friend, Appa?" he asked thoughtfully. "Yoomi didn't seem to want to talk to me. She was rude and she doesn't smile too. Is it because she doesn't want Woohyun as her friend?"
Mr Nam's face hardened. He looked up and met eyes with his wife. Her eyes were sad as they looked back at him.
She had already told him of their new neighbours, Mrs Shin and her daughter Shin Yoomi. Mrs Shin had told her of how Mr Shin had taken all the family's money and had run away without a word, a year ago. Yoomi was so young, but she had to keep changing schools due to her mother's constant changing of jobs.
She was bullied in school because of not having a father, and she had many so-called "friends" that turned out to betray her. She didn't dare to get too close to anybody, because they might be bad, or even worse, if they turn out to be good, she'd have to leave them sooner or later.
"It's not you, Woohyun ah." Mr Nam explained gently. "But Yoomi went through a lot even though she's just the same age as you. Her father left her and she doesn't trust her friends because they betrayed her in the past. If you really want to be her friend, Woohyun ah, I want you to promise me that you will never leave her side. Be a good friend and support her to the end."
Woohyun nodded, his face solemn. "I will Appa. I won't ever leave her!" he said loudly.
Yoomi was sitting at the swings at the playground near their house. There were other kids there playing as well, but they didn't dare approach this sullen looking girl amongst them.
one of the other kids tried to talk to Yoomi, but she lowered her gaze and kept it down. Whatever they said, she wouldn't respond.
Until the other kids were pointing fingers at her and calling her a weird creature.
Yoomi's face was expressionless, but that didn't mean that she didn't feel the hurt when they called her names. She wanted to have a friend too, looking at them play together, she wanted to join them as well. But she couldn't put down that barrier in her heart to trust them for once.
"Why aren't you joining them to play?"
Yoomi looked up in surprise, only to find Woohyun's curious face looking down at her. She blinked and looked away immediately. "None of your business." she mumbled.
Woohyun made a face and ran behind her. With a hard push, Yoomi was sent flying towards the sky. Just as she thought she was going to fly all the way to the clouds, she fell back down.
But not for long. Woohyun gave her another push and she swung higher than before. "AHHH!! Stop it!!" Yoomi screamed, her knuckles white from clutching at the ropes tightly.
Woohyun chuckled and pushed her higher again. "Why? Are you scared?" he teased.
"I-I.." Yoomi reddened, only to scream again when the swing swung higher. "STOP IT NAM WOOHYUN!"
"No." Woohyun declared. "Not until you call me Woohyun Oppa. I'm born on 8 February, and I heard from my mother that you're born on 16 May. I'm older, call me Oppa!"
Yoomi bit her lip. *Oppa? But I've never called anyone Oppa. I don't think that word even rolled off my tongue before.*
The wind brushed across Yoomi's face and her hair whipped round her head insanely. "Just stop it now!" she shrieked.
Woohyun laughed again and cushioned her fall, causing her swing to stop. Yoomi turned around, prepared to yell her lungs out at Woohyun, when he pushed her off the swing. Yoomi blinked and stood there, confused.
Woohyun sent her a grin as he climbed onto the swing himself. Yoomi yelped in surprise as he pulled her onto his lap and tightened his grip round her.
"Hold on to the ropes tight alright?" Woohyun instucted.
"Yah Nam Woohyu-" Yoomi's eyes widened as Woohyun pushed both of them up again. Woohyun laughed again as Yoomi shrieked and she trashed wildly in his arms.
"Yah Yoomi ah if you don't want both of us to fall, just stay still." Woohyun told her with a chuckle. Yoomi bit her lip and stood as still as a rock, closing her eyes.
Woohyun cocked his head and peeked at her. "You're that scared?" he asked gently. He slowed the swing down and rocked them gently.
"Yah." Woohyun nudged her. "Open your eyes."
Yoomi shook her head stubbornly. "I don't want to."
"I'm here, Yoomi ah." Woohyun promised. "I won't leave you like your father did, I'll always be here with you. Oppa won't let you fall, I promise."
Yoomi softened. *This is the first time...someone told me something like that.*
She opened her eyes slowly and saw herself flying up nearer the skies, and going down again. Actually, it wasn't that scary as she thought. Especially when Woohyun's holding her tightly like this.
Woohyun's smile got larger when he heard her whisper.
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