Kris and Jungah entered the clearing in the forest. A smooth dirt path between the tall, colorful trees led them down into a world without troubles, fear, or anxiety. Peace seemed to envelop them into an unrealistic world. Time ceased to exist. Other people and other problems drifted out of their minds.
In this magnificent forest, it was just the two of them.
Jungah walked down the path as she admired the trees. The nature was serene and quiet. It gave her an opportunity to rest her thoughts and relax without the anxious thoughts of Zico and her impending future.
She didn’t know what she would do after high school next. She couldn’t rely on Zico forever.
If it was up to her, she would start working now.
But Zico would be mad at her, and she didn’t want to do anything to upset him.
Kris vigilantly watched Jungah’s every move. Everything she did made his heart skip a beat. She looked like a fallen angel with her long, dark hair, and pale, milky skin. There was no annoyance on her face, and for once, she wasn’t scowling. He admired her from afar. *She’s the most beautiful girl I have ever met.*
“So,” He attempted to make easy conversation, “What did you learn in school? Is there something I missed?”
“Pardon me, but you’ve obviously mistaken me as someone that gives a about school. Since when do you see me paying attention?” Jungah snorted.
*Good point.* Kris thought.
Jungah stopped and stared at the cherry blossom over her. She reached out and touched the petal very softly. Her eyes grew warm and bright. She had never seen such a beautiful thing up close. Kris glanced down and saw that she was balancing on her tippy-toes. He easily reached up and lowered the branch to her height. Jungah stood back flat on her feet and looked up at him. She raised an eyebrow accusingly, “Are you showing off that you’re taller than me?*
Kris rolled his eyes. *Do something nice for this girl, and she thinks you’re showing off.* He shook his head, “Can’t you just appreciate my kindness?”
“Kindness, my .” Jungah scoffed. Yet, she took a closer peek at the blossom.
“Did you notice that I was gone for the rest of the week?” Kris asked.
*Yes.* “Hell no. I was too busy with school stuff.” Jungah snapped.
His eyebrow rose up, “I thought you said you don’t pay attention in school.”
*Busted!* She thought. “Then I was too busy with my, er, damn ipod.” Her cheeks flamed up, and she hoped he wouldn’t notice.
However, Kris had keen eyes, and he could see through her. *I think you’re getting attached to me as well.* The thought pleased him. Kris plucked the blossom off the tree.
“Hey-“ Jungah protested, but stopped when he slipped the flower into her hair. She stared up at him in wonder.
“The flower compliments you well.” Kris lightly smirked.
Jungah stared at him. *Zico said a similar thing…except it was the opposite.* “You compliment the flower well.”
Jungah quickly looked away and reached up to take the flower out of her hair.
Kris quickly caught her hand. She gave him a curious look. He gazed at her with softness. “Just keep it on. It looks…nice.”
“The flower or me?” Jungah growled.
“…Both.” Kris sincerely said.
Surprise crossed her face. She hadn’t expected him to say that.
Kris started walking forward. After Jungah had collected her thoughts, she caught up with him.
“So…” She peered up at him, “What were you doing this week that made you miss school?”
He smirked, “So you did notice.”
Jungah frowned, “Forget it. I don’t care anyways.”
“Are you sure?” Kris questioned.
“Of course I’m sure!” She snapped, but there was a pool of doubt in the bottom of her stomach. After a while, Jungah couldn’t contain her curiosity and asked, “Were you sick?”
“I don’t get sick easily.” Kris replied.
“Then homework?” She asked. “Yeah, right.” He scoffed.
“Then what is it?” Jungah asked. Kris casually shrugged, “I had some family business to take care of.”
Jungah studied his tall, sturdy figure with suspicion.
Kris halted and turned his gaze to her. “Why are you staring at me that way?”
“You know…you don’t seem like a high school student. And it’s not just because of your abnormally gargantuan height either.” Jungah stated. He froze as she looked him up and down and cocked her head in inspection. “There’s something about you that’s different from other high school kids…I think you’re hiding something.”
*.* Kris thought. He tried to maintain his cool. “If I’m not a high school kid, why would I be in high school then?”
Jungah shrugged, “Beats me. That’s what is so mysterious about you.”
After a pause, Kris asked, “What do I look like then?”
Jungah scrutinized him some more. His shoulders tensed. Eventually, she gave up with a wave of her hand, “Just some unusually tall guy with a for high school girls.” *That just may be right.* He tried not to laugh at how ironic that sounded.
Jungah shrugged as she blinked at him, “At least you’re not some drug dealer who is only posed as a high school kid to sell drugs to innocent bystanders.”
Kris became rigid. All the color left his face as his heart dropped like a rock.
*A nasty drug dealer like Zico.* Jungah thought as she walked away.
Kris’s heart thumped in dread as he watched her walk away. *She was only kidding, right? Is she onto me? . This isn’t good.*
Jungah glanced back at him, “Aren’t you coming?”
His heart slowed down. *Calm down, Kris. She was only kidding. But damn, that was a good guess. She went right for the bull’s eye.* Shaking his head, he followed her.
Jungah stumbled on a tree root. Kris quickly caught her arm before she could fall.
“These aren’t the best shoes for a hike…” She glanced down at her lofty wedges.
“Not really.” Kris agreed. Jungah shifted her gaze upwards to meet eyes with him. It was the first time seeing his eyes up so close. *They’re a really pretty color. Wait. What the hell! Did I just compliment his eyes?!* She cleared as stepped away from him.
Kris gave her a puzzling look.
Jungah glanced around for any distraction. She finally found a small clearing and pointed, “Look. It’s the beach.” They walked over there together. A white fence blocked them from walking down the cliff and onto the warm, brown sand. Jungah crossed her arms and rested them on top of the fence.
Kris leaned against it also.
The sea breeze ruffled past them. The wind swirled Jungah’s long, black hair gracefully around her neck. She stretched her long neck upwards and gazed beyond the waters. She hadn’t felt such peace in a long time. Kris turned his attention to her. “Can I ask you something?”
“You can ask, but I may not answer.” Jungah replied.
*Smart girl.* Kris asked anyways, “Why do you love your stepbrother?”
Jungah became rigid. She lowered her gaze slightly and softly spoke, “He’s not my stepbrother…anymore.”
“Okay then. Why are you in love with…what’s his name again?” Kris asked.
“His name is Woo Jiho. But close friends and I call him Zico.” Jungah answered.
“So why do you love Zico? What do you like about him that makes you attracted to him?” Kris interrogated. He genuinely wanted to know.
“Pfft,” Jungah rolled her eyes, “There’s nothing attractive about him. He’s goofy. He likes cute things. He never loses his temper. He never takes anything seriously. He likes to joke too much. He likes milk shakes like a little kid, and he still believes in Santa Claus.” She could go on and on.
Kris studied her lit-up face. Jungah was listing the ‘bad’ qualities about Zico, but he could tell those are the traits she actually admired.
Jungah took a deep breath as gentleness washed over her eyes. Just the thought of Zico made her heart flutter. “He’s…incredible.”
Kris’s expression softened.
Jungah looked at the ground with a chuckle as she kicked the dirt at her feet, “I still remember the first time I met him…He was immature from day one.”