When Jungah came to school on Monday, Kris wasn’t at school.
Mr. Kim arrived in the room, and he still wasn’t here.
Jungah glanced sideways at the empty seat next to her. *Where is this fool? He always comes to school.*
One girl turned around in her seat and whispered, “Where’s your boyfriend today? He’s ditching without you?”
Jungah narrowed her eyes and nodded at the chalkboard, “Talk to me again, and I’ll rip your mouth off.”
The girl made a face and turned forward.
Jungah glanced at Kris’s seat again. *Seriously, where is he?*
It was time for PE. The coach made everyone partner up again. However, this time, Jungah didn’t have anyone offer to be partners with her. She stood alone and stretched by herself. A hollow feeling of emptiness spread in her heart. *What the hell. I never mind being alone, so why do I feel so freaking awkward right now? This heat is getting to me.* She shook her head.
Lunchtime came, and Jungah locked herself in the auditorium. She listened to music and played games on her phone. Once in a while, she would look up and around her vicinity. Without even knowing, she had begun searching for Kris.
Jungah grew disgusted with herself. *What the hell. Get a grip, Han Jungah. He’s not your damn boyfriend. He’s not even your friend. Since when have you relied so much on him? You don’t depend on anyone, got it? Quit searching for him.* She yanked her earphones off and left the room.
School ended, and Jungah dragged herself home.
Midway, a horn honked in front of her. Jungah looked up to see a recognizable black car.
Zico smiled at her from the driver seat and wiggled two fingers towards him.
Surprised, Jungah walked over and went over to his side of the car. She bent down and spoke, “What are you doing here?”
“Picking you up, what else?” Zico nodded at the passenger seat, “Get in.”
Jungah went around the front of the car and entered the other side of the car. She shut the door and clipped her seatbelt on. “Don’t you have work today?” “Later.” Zico reversed the car, made a quick u-turn, and headed towards her house. “How was school today?”
“Typical Monday.” Jungah shrugged. *Minus Wu Fan.*
“Ah, bad day then.” Zico chuckled. With his eyes on the road, he reached back and pulled out her white cardigan, “You left this at my place on Saturday.”
“Oh. Thanks.” Jungah accepted it. Zico glanced at her, “You okay? You seem distracted.”
Jungah shook the thoughts of Kris out of her mind. “I’m fine.”
“Mmm…you need to be energized. To Shakeland we go!” Zico made another u-turn and sped off. Jungah raised an eyebrow, “There’s such a thing as Shakeland?” “Don’t judge. They have the BEST shakes ever.” Zico grinned. Jungah rolled her eyes, but her lips quirked upwards.
He parked his car next to the brick building, and they both came out.
Zico pulled open the glass door, and Jungah entered the cute, pink-and-green shake place. Zico followed suit and was right behind her. “Welcome to Shakeland!” The worker cheerfully greeted. Zico smiled back. He looked up at the menu board, “What do you want, Jungie Jungie~?”
“I don’t know. I’ve never been here.” She grumbled.
Zico chuckled, “Silly Jungie Jungie. You have eyes.” He placed his hands on her shoulders and led her to the counter. He lightly cupped her chin and tilted her face upwards. A shock of electricity zipped down her body at his gentle touch. Zico pointed, “Pick whatever sounds good to you.” *Fuzzy Berry? Rocking Strawberry? Wild Swirl Vanilla? Why such lame names?* Jungah wondered.
“What would you like?” The worker asked.
“I’ll get the Slushy Peach with extra whipped cream.” Zico beamed at Jungah, “What about you?”
“I don’t know…” She stared at the strange names.
“It’s okay. I can choose for you. I know what you like…mmm…Rockalicious Road with extra chocolate chips!” Zico said. Jungah turned crimson. *Such an embarrassing name. How can he shamelessly blurt that out?*
“No problem.” The worker rang it up, and Zico paid. She thanked him with a chuckle at Jungah, “Your boyfriend is very cheerful. You must be happy to have such an attentive boyfriend.” Zico’s eyes widened, and he stared at Jungah. Jungah gawked at the girl with her lips parted. *Boyfriend?* She grew stunned.
Zico cleared his throat and softly smiled, “I’m not her boyfriend. I’m her…friend.”
“Oh! I’m so sorry! I didn’t know that!” The worker bowed, mortified.
Jungah scowled and walked to the table.
“It’s all right.” Zico took the number and followed her to the round, wooden table.
“Don’t you have work? Do you have time to order stupid shakes at a crazy place?” Jungah sneered. “I always have time for you. At least…I try to.” Zico said. Jungah’s face fell. *How can I keep resenting him when he says things like this? He works hard for me, and we both know that. So why can’t I just shut my mouth, and go along with the program?*
“Your shakes are out.” The worker called.
“Already?!” Zico walked away. Jungah stood up and crossed her arms.
“Thanks.” Zico took the torn wrappers off the tops of the straws and tossed them away. He handed Jungah her shake and opened the door. Jungah left the shop, and Zico came out. “Take a sip. Tell me it’s not the best shake ever.”
Jungah carefully took a sip. The chocolate shake was rich, sweet, and melted right in . She looked up at him, and he eagerly stared at her. “It’s not the best shake ever.” Jungah said with a straight face.
“Lie!” Zico pointed accusingly.
She bit her bottom lip in order not to burst out into laughter. He grinned, “Get in.”
They went into the car, and Zico turned the engine on. He looked up and stiffened. *. Not good.*
Jungah noticed the panic on his expression. “Wae?”
Zico unbuckled his seatbelt, “Lie low.”
“Muh?” Jungah grew confused. He placed his hand on the back of her neck and pushed her head down so that the passenger seat seemed empty.
“What’s going on?!” Jungah hissed. “Stay here, and don’t come out.” Zico quietly murmured with his gaze steadily on the familiar men. He left the car and walked towards them with a cool, casual smile, “Hey, hyungnims.”
“Yo, Zico.” Deep voices spoke. Jungah stiffened. *Is it those guys? The ones from the drug trade?*
Jungah heard inaudible chatter then loud laughter.
“You come here alone?” One of the guys looked towards the car.
Zico turned rigid, but his expression remained the same. “Yeah, my friends are at home. Speaking of them, I should go. They’re waiting for me.” All right. Call me later. Tell Cho to contact me, too. We still have some unfinished business.” The other guy spoke. Zico nodded and shook hands with them, “Will do. Later.” He went back to the car, and the men went in the other direction.
“Can I get up now?” Jungah asked. “Yeah, you’re good.” Zico turned the engine on.
Jungah straightened up and exhaled. She turned her head and gazed at Zico. He softly gazed back at her, “This is why I can’t take you around too much. Let’s go home. Drink your shake.”
All Jungah could do was nod and sip the shake. Suddenly, it didn’t taste sweet anymore.
Zico dropped Jungah off at home. “I’ll call you. Be good, Jungie Jungie.” Zico waved.
Jungah waved, “Be safe.”
Zico gave her another smile and drove off.
In fifteen minutes, he arrived at his own apartment. Kyung was already there. “Yo!” He waved his arm.
Zico nodded back. Kyung’s eyes widened, “No way! You went to Shakeland without me!”
“I went with Jungah.” Zico replied. Kyung blinked then exploded into laughter, “I can just imagine her face when she walked into there.” Zico smiled wearily as he slipped his jacket off. Kyung stopped laughing and looked at him in concern, “What’s wrong? Did something happen? Did Jungah say something?”
Zico shook his head, “Jungah didn’t do anything. It’s just…I met the hyungs from Vipers when I was with her.”
“No way!” Kyung’s eyes bugged out, “So what happened?! Did they see her?!”
Zico shook his head, “No. I was lucky to hide her before they did.”
Kyung sighed in relief, “Man, it would have turned ugly then.”
Zico nodded in agreement. Kyung looked at his best friend and softened. “But, I’m sure nothing bad would have happened.” *That’s not true.* Zico went into his room. Kyung followed him, “Zico…I was thinking…why don’t you have Jungah move in with you?”
Zico stiffened. Kyung listed all the advantages, “There’s an extra bedroom here. You wouldn’t have to worry about Jungah every day then. You could take care of her better and see her more often-“
“No.” Zico rejected on the spot. Kyung’s face fell, “Zico-“
He spun around, “You don’t think I thought about that a hundred times? You don’t think I want her near me? Every single minute, Kyung, I’m going insane. I want to see her so badly that it hurts. It takes me every ounce of my will power not to stride over to her house and bring her back here by my side where she belongs. I have to put on a fake smile just to appear normal, but frankly, I’m not.”
It was quiet for several seconds then Kyung quietly spoke, “Then why fight it?” Zico looked at him.
Kyung stared back, “If you love Jungah so much, Zico, why do you keep fighting against your heart? Do what you want. Bring her here. Live with her. Tell her you’re in love with her. Don’t be a coward, and keep running away.”
“You’re right.” Zico whispered, “I am a coward.” He looked into Kyung’s eyes, “But I can’t do anything about it.”
“I do. And it’s over for Jungah. She’ll be in more danger than I can imagine, and I don’t have the confidence to protect her against my world.” Zico looked away, “I can’t let her live here. I can’t be with her as much as I want to. I do, and I’ll expose her. I want the best for Jungah. I only want the brightest, warmest, happiest things for her. I don’t need to drag her to hell with me, too. Me suffering is enough.”
“Woo Jiho.” Kyung was pained to hear his best friend in torment. “But you love her…”
“Sometimes…love is not enough.” Zico gave him a small, sad smile. “I can’t love her, Kyung. There are so many reasons why I can’t. You know the biggest problem.”
“But it’s over now. That doesn’t count anymore-“
“It does.” He stubbornly refuted. “I promised. I promised only to look after her as an oppa. I intend to keep that no matter what.” Zico locked himself in the bathroom.
Kyung sighed. *What a fool. In the end, he’s just hurting himself and Jungah. Anyone can see that they’re deeply in love. I hate Romeo & Juliet. The ending for both characters are not happy. In the end, they were both doomed because of their love. I really hope that's not Zico's and Jungah's ending.*