Jungah startled awake. She sat up with a small gasp.
The room was entirely dark except for a small lamp by the TV.
*Where the hell am I?!* Then she remembered.
Kris’s house. *STILL?!* Jungah was about to get up but stopped. She spotted a tall, lean figure hunched over the coffee table. She squinted her eyes and realized it was Kris. He had fallen asleep with his arms over the keyboard of the laptop. Her expression grew tender. *Was he working on the project all this time?*
Quietly, Jungah approached his side. She shifted the laptop towards her and saw the nearly finished project. There were only a couple paragraphs left. Immediately, a wave of guilt overwhelmed her. *This was a partner project, and he did all the work. I just found a few websites. I feel bad.* Her gaze shifted to his sleeping figure. Her heart thumped softly. *He looks different when he sleeps. He isn’t sarcastic, annoying, or evil. He’s just…*
Jungah looked away. She grabbed the blanket and began to put it around his shoulders. At that moment, his eyes shot open. Startled, Jungah froze. They both stared into each other’s eyes. *.* Jungah thought.
Kris’s eyes shifted back to the blanket that was surrounding him. She quickly released it and stood up with an embarrassed clear of . Kris blinked up at her, “What were you doing?”
“Er…” Jungah’s eyes nervously shifted side to side.
“Were you…worried I would catch a cold?” She could hear his smirk in the dark.
“No! I was trying to suffocate you to death!” Jungah hissed.
“Wow. Kill me, and steal the project. After I was so hospitable to you.” Kris smirked and stood up, towering well over him.
Jungah glowered at him. Kris broke the staring contest and glanced at the clock. His eyebrow cocked up in amusement. “Aren’t you late?”
“Late for what?” She spun around and stared at the clock. Her jaw fell open, and her eyes bugged out in shock. *Don’t tell me that’s the real time!*
“I thought you had to leave by 5. It’s 6 now.” Kris stated.
“!” Jungah cursed as she picked up her purse. “You should have woken me up!”
“I didn’t know that was my responsibility as well.” He crossed his arms.
Jungah raced to the door and put her shoes on. “Don’t finish the project. I’ll finish it on Monday morning so just bring the damn laptop to school.” Without a proper farewell, she was gone.
*Yeah, goodbye to you to. Now I’m really curious how I could have fallen in love with such a spiteful girl as you.* Shaking his head, Kris went to take a shower.
Jungah ran as if her life depended on it- no, as if Zico’s life depended on it. Although her lungs burned and her legs felt numb, she kept on running. *Please wait for me, Zico. I’ll be there as soon as possible. Please don’t have given up on me already.* She glanced at her phone but didn’t see any messages. She called him, but he wouldn’t answer either. That sent her into a wild frenzy. *He probably left. He probably gave up on me. He probably went to join his friends.*
Jungah hopped into the bus and prayed to God that Zico would still be waiting for her at his place.
Jungah burst into Zico’s apartment. “ZICO!” She shouted, but there was no answer.
The house was dark also. Her heart sped up in panic. *No, no. He can’t have left. Not without a message. Damn you, Kris! No, it’s not his fault. It’s mine. I shouldn’t have fallen asleep in the beginning! Shoot!* Her shoulders slumped in misery.
Jungah looked up and saw that Zico’s bedroom door was slightly ajar. With a waver of hope, she darted inside, “Zico!” Jungah halted. Her eyes rounded.
Lying down on his stomach on the bed was none other than Zico himself. His eyes were shut, and his breaths came out evenly.
Jungah exhaled in relief. *He was sleeping. No wonder he didn’t answer the door or his phone.*
Jungah placed her bag on the floor. Carefully, she walked towards Zico’s sleeping figure. The sheer sight of him made her heart skip a beat. Jungah sank onto the edge of the bed and watched him sleep. There was nothing but peacefulness on his face. She could see that he was really exhausted though. *Poor Zico. He works so hard for the both of us. He hardly rests, and when he does, he usually spends his time with me. I wish there was something more I could do for him…*
Jungah reached out and her fingers brushed against his soft, brown hair. She placed the back of her fingers against his cheek, and his warmness spread through her and melted her icy heart. *No one could ever make me feel this way but you, Woo Jiho.*
At that moment, Zico’s eyes slowly opened. Jungah froze.
He glanced at her hand on his cheek. Quickly, she pulled away and shot out of the bed. Her cheeks flamed red in mortification. *Crap. Why did he have to wake up right now?*
Zico pushed himself off the bed and sat up.
Jungah stiffened. Her heart thumped nervously in her chest. *What will he say? Will he know that I love him now? What if he asks me what I was doing? What do I answer?*
Zico gazed at Jungah for a brief moment then chuckled. She gave him a baffled look, “W-why are you laughing?” “Babo Jungah. You were about to play a trick on me! You were going to tickle me!” He laughed.
Jungah exhaled in relief. *So he doesn’t know….* She immediately pasted a scowl on her face, “I wasn’t going to tickle you. I was going to slap you!”
“Ouch!” Zico pouted, “So mean!”
“Whatever.” Jungah muttered. She glanced at his stretching figure then softened, “Why didn’t you call me? Or leave to see your friends? It’s almost 7, and you waited for me.”
Zico’s expression grew somber. “I’ll always wait for you, Jungah.” Her heart accelerated. *He’ll always…wait for me?* “Besides,” He looked away with a smile, “I knew you would come. You wouldn’t ditch me without telling me. I’m that much precious to you!” Zico placed his palms under his chin in a ‘V’ form and grinned.
Jungah rolled her eyes, “Right.”
Zico stood up, “Now let’s eat. I’m starving!” He grabbed her shoulders, spun her around, and directed her towards the kitchen. Zico softly gazed at her from behind. *I know you were touching my face. I know why you did that, too. But I don’t want to make you feel awkward or give you false hope.* He all the lights and entered the kitchen. Jungah saw cold chicken and pasta on the table.
“Let me just heat this up.” Zico placed them in the microwave. “Count to 60, Jungie Jungie!”
“There’s already a timer on there.” She pointed. “22.214.171.124.5.” He poked her rib with every number.
“Aish, Zico!” Jungah stepped back and protectively covered her belly. Zico charged at her, “126.96.36.199.10!” Jungah spun around and ran around the table. Zico chased after her, “Come here and fight me like the warrior you are!” Jungah skidded to a stop and raised an eyebrow at him, “Are you sure you want me to fight you?” “Oops…” Zico ran away. Jungah chuckled as she shook her head.
The microwave beeped, signaling the end of the time.
Zico bounced back and took the food out of the microwave. “HOT! HOT! HOT!” He quickly put the dish on the table and pinched his earlobes with a wince. Jungah shook her head, “Clumsy fool.” Humming, Zico brought out the plates, napkins, and sodas. He set them on the table and motioned to the empty seat, “Sit.” Jungah did as told. Zico brought the forks and sat down. “You didn’t eat yet, did you?”
“Er, I was planning to eat with you…so of course I didn’t!” Jungah stated.
Zico grinned, “Such a loyal girl! I love it!” She rolled her eyes. He opened their soda cans and held his out, “Cheers to my lovely Jungie Jungie~ May she always remain pure, perfect, and loyal.”
“Pure?” Jungah raised an eyebrow as she picked up her soda can.
Zico clashed his can against hers, “Cheers!” Jungah chuckled while shaking her head.
Together, they ate the delicious food. Jungah gazed at Zico with warmth. *I wish your friends always go out to eat, and it was always the two of us like this.* “Aren’t you eating? Here. Have a chicken leg.” He put it on her plate.
“Thanks…Zico.” Jungah whispered. He smiled genuinely, “You’re welcome, Jungah. Thank you for not forgetting about me tonight.” *I never do, and I never will.* She thought.
After dinner, Jungah helped Zico cleaned up.
Zico saw her phone on the table and picked it up. He saw his picture on her wallpaper and blinked in surprise. Jungah snatched her phone away in embarrassment, “Don’t just look at other people’s phones without permission!”
“Why do you have my picture on there?” Zico whispered. Jungah remained silent. *.*
Zico softly smiled, “Silly Jungah. You’re supposed to have our picture on there.”
“Well I don’t have any of our picture in my phone.” She grumbled. “That’s easy to solve.” He took her phone and stood next to her.
Zico raised the phone and slung his arm around her neck, “On 3!”
“We’re taking a picture together right now?!” Jungah panicked.
“1!” He began to count. *! I look like crap!* She frantically fixed her hair.
“2! 3!” Zico pressed the button, and the camera captured them. Zico checked the picture and smiled in satisfaction, “I like it. What about you?” He held it out for her to see. Jungah nodded in agreement. “Now this is a picture worthy to be on your wallpaper.” Zico changed her wallpaper and handed her phone back to her. He glanced at the time. “You should be on your way now. Come on. I’ll walk you out.”
Jungah took her bag and followed Zico out of his apartment. “Brr, it’s cold.” He slipped his hood over his head, wrapped his arms around himself, and glanced at her. Zico looked Jungah up and down. “What?” She defensively asked. “Is that all you wore today?” He raised an eyebrow.
“What? It’s warm enough.” Jungah glanced at her thin sweater and polka-dot dress.
“I’ll get you a jacket.” Zico was about to run back up, but Jungah grabbed his arm, “There’s no need. It’s a quick walk home anyways. I’ll see you later.” She walked away.
Zico watched her with a pounding heart. For some reason, his heart was calling louder for her today. He didn’t want her to leave him soon, and he didn’t want to make her go home alone. Zico went with his heart this time and called, “JUNGAH!” She froze and turned around with an inquiring look. “…Do you want me to talk you home?” He asked.
Jungah’s eyes rounded in surprise. Zico hardly offered to walk her home.
“Walk…me…home? Now?” She stuttered. He chuckled as he walked up to her, “Sure. Why not? I’ll just be stuck inside after you leave. I need to walk to walk off all this fat I ate.” Zico patted his tummy. He grinned and nodded, “Let’s go.” He walked forward. Jungah softened. *I get to spend more time with Zico.* She quickly went to catch up with him. He brought up random topics to talk about, and she listened well but answered covertly.
“Jungie Jungie~ Hey, yo, Jungie Jungie~” Zico teasingly elbowed her.
Jungah was about to tell him to stop when a flash of lights blinded them as a horn honked out of nowhere. His eyes widened at the car speeding up the hill. Instinctively, Zico grabbed her arm and yanked her to him. Jungah tripped and stumbled into his body. His arm reflexively coiled around her. The car swiftly passed by, yet neither of them moved. Jungah’s eyes were wide. Her heart raced madly. *I’m…in…Zico’s arms…* The idea made her scream inside her mind like a psychotic fan girl.
Zico’s eyes were wide and round. He was stunned by his own action. He knew he should release her. Yet, he didn’t want to. It wasn’t often that he was able to hold her like this. Slowly, his hand traced down her back. Goosebumps formed on her arms, and she shivered at his gentle touch. His hand rested on her waist for a few seconds. Then finally, he stepped away from her and dropped his arms.
Disappointed, Jungah averted her gaze to the cold ground.
“That was close.” Zico forced a laugh. “You should stick next to the wall.” He walked around her so that he was standing near the open road. “Come on. Let’s go.” Zico started walking.
Jungah paused for a few seconds before following him.
It was silent now. Awkwardness, but mostly disenchantment, blanketed the air.
Zico glanced down at Jungah’s swinging hand. He swallowed hard as his heart yearned achingly for her touch again. *I can’t. I shouldn’t. But I want to so badly. Would she mind? Would she hate me after this? Maybe I can just let my heart win this once.* Slowly, Zico reached out and grasped Jungah’s hand. She halted and stared at him in amazement.
Zico rubbed her hands between his palms, “Aigoo. Your hand is cold, woman! Did you not hear the health news?! Ladies’ hands should always be warm! Tsk, tsk. I should buy you mittens next time.” Still holding her hand, he slipped it into the pocket of his hoodie.
Jungah softly gazed at him. Zico warmly smiled and gave her hand an affectionate squeeze. “Let’s go.” He began walking, and she followed. His hand warmed her entire body. She no longer felt lonely, dejected, and cold. The presence of Zico was enough to complete her.
Jungah gripped his hand. *This will be a moment that I will forever cherish in my heart.*
Zico looked at her and tenderly smiled. *I’m sorry, but I’ll be selfish just for today. Being with you is like walking in heaven. You are my own personal heaven Han Jungah. My happiness depends on you.*
Too soon, they arrived in front of her apartment. Zico and Jungah faced each other, almost bashfully as if they were a new couple. He pulled her hand out of his pocket and placed it back by her side. Slowly, reluctantly, Zico released her hand. Jungah gazed up at him. “Sweet dreams, my Jungie Jungie.” He whispered.
“You, too…Zico.” She said his name, and her heart fluttered.
Zico wanted to hug her. He wanted to caress her face. He wanted to kiss her. Yet, he couldn’t.
*This is the end of my selfishness.* Zico placed his hands in his pockets and walked backwards, “Good night.”
Jungah nodded. After he gave her a sincere smile, he turned and headed home. She sighed in utmost content and went into her apartment. Jungah slipped off her sneakers and treaded into her apartment. She took her purse off and turned it upside down to find her phone. She wanted to see the photo of her and Zico again.
A wad of bills tumbled out. *What the hell is this? Did Zico sneak money into my purse?!* But she realized it was the exact amount she had given Kris for the pizza.
Agitated, Jungah slapped the bills down on her bed and grouchily sighed. *What the hell, you giant bean pole! I gave you the money, but how dare you give it back! Now I didn’t do anything today, but sleep on your damn couch! I feel really useless now.* She gazed at the money resentfully but realized he was just being a sincere gentleman.
*I’ll pay him back by on Monday.* Jungah put the money back in her wallet.