“Aish! No! To the right! Aw, Park Kyung, I’ll kill you!” U-Kwon desperately jabbed the video game controller as he gritted his teeth.
“ YOU!” U-Kwon threw the controller.
“YES!” Kyung cheered, “Pawned, baby.”
“My turn.” B-Bomb stole the controller and sank down in U-Kwon’s spot next to Kyung.
The door burst open. “Whoa!” All the guys jumped up, startled, and stared at the door.
“Uh-oh. Here comes the bull.” Kyung teased.
“Where’s Zico?” Jungah asked.
“Hello to you, too.” B-Bomb raised an eyebrow.
“Where. Is. Zico?” She glared his way.
U-Kwon guzzled his soda and knocked to the main bedroom, “In the bedroom.”
Jungah stormed off. “Watch out, Zico! The bull is charging towards you!” Kyung howled. “ you!” Jungah hissed.
The three immature boys cracked up like a pack of wild hyenas.
Jungah burst into Zico’s bedroom without bothering to knock. She irritably looked around the room. *Where is that idiot?!* Jungah stopped when she saw a picture by his bed. She stepped closer and picked up the picture frame. It was a picture of Jungah and him months after they had met. She was twelve, and he had been fifteen. His arms were around her, and he was beaming at the camera. His smile was sunny and brightly, contrasting to Jungah’s poker-face. Her eyebrows were slightly pinched together, and she was staring up at the camera as if it was an annoying fly.
Even back then, she had had a temper.
Her lips slightly curved upwards. *What the hell was he so damn happy about? He never loses his damn smile.*
A feeling of affection and admiration stirred in her stomach and made her heart flutter with butterflies. Someone appeared from behind and took the picture from her.
Jungah snapped out of her flashback and spun around.
Zico placed the picture frame carefully back on his bedside, “Even then, you had quite a temper, huh? Always scowling, always frowning.” He chuckled.
Jungah softened. It was like he could read her mind. Zico knew her like the back of his hand. It was hard to keep a poker-face around him when it didn’t even work.
Zico grinned at her, “But it all changed after I came into your life! I brought the sunshine into your cloudy life, and now you’re as happy as a baby duckling floating on a lily pad!”
“Right.” Jungah scowled and crossed her arms as she shook her head. *That simile didn’t even make any sense.*
“See? Always scowling. You need to change that bad habit of yours, Jungie Jungie~ or you’ll end up with wrinkles by the age of twenty-five.” Zico clucked his tongue.
“That’s my concern, not yours.” Jungah growled.
“But I don’t like wrinkly women.” He pouted. She rolled her eyes, “You’re such a loser, Zico.”
Zico light-heartedly laughed, “Am I, really? Hmm…” He walked over to the drawer and dug through it for his extra cell phone batteries.
“Aren’t you interested in why I came storming into your room like the bull that Kyung calls me?” Jungah tilted her head.
“I think I already know why, Jungie~ Jungie~” Zico said, clearly distracted.
“Good.” Jungah walked up to him, grabbed his big wrist, and slapped the envelope in his open palm, “Then take it back.”
Zico turned his head. Now his full attention was on her.
“I don’t need so much goddamn money. Who the hell knows what you did to get me that.” Jungah stepped back and shook her head, “I’m not accepting it.”
“I didn’t kill anyone, if that’s what you’re asking.” He said, amused. “No, you didn’t, but you sold E and whatever else kills people, for that.” She shot him a look.
Zico didn’t deny it this time. “Why are you doing this, Zico? You don’t even like to do drugs! So why do you sell them?!” Jungah hissed. Zico softly studied her eyes. *Because it actually makes a living. I can provide for you, and for my friends. Unlike the other jobs I took, I can actually support and protect you with this job.*
“Our lives are already screwed over as it is. Quit screwing yourself even more.” Jungah scowled.
“I’m offended. You think I’m a screw-over.” Zico pretended to cry.
“Stop that!” Jungah hissed, “Stop joking around! You always joke around when we’re having a serious conversation!”
Zico softly smiled, “You’re the one who is having a serious conversation, Jungie.” Jungah looked away huffily. He lightly elbowed her, “Hey, lighten up. Life doesn’t have to be so serious. You’re way too young to act so seriously. Go out. Have fun. Smile.” She didn’t answer.
Zico took the money and slipped it into her hand. Jungah yanked away and opened to refute. Zico firmly squeezed the money into her palm and looked into her eyes, “Don’t reject my courtesy. It really isn’t much. I’m not giving you as much as you deserve.”
Jungah tried to twist away, “You already do too much for me, Zico-“
Zico didn’t release her, “Please, Jungah.” She stopped struggling when she heard the plea in his voice. Jungah drifted her gaze upwards towards his face that was shadowed in concern. “I would feel much better if you took this money. I’m not there for you as much as I should be. Knowing that you at least have this would greatly comfort me. So please. Accept it. For me.” Zico begged.
After a pause, her hand became limp in his.
Zico affecionately smiled and brushed her hair away from her eyes, “That’s my Han Jungah.” She looked away with a flushed expression that unsuccessfully hid her embarrassment. “Whatever. This is it. Don’t give me any more allowance. I don’t need that much money.”
“Sure, you do, Jungie Jungie~ If you’re going to go out, and be a girl!” Zico grinned.
“Questioning my uality. Nice. You sure know how to make a girl feel better.” She snorted. He laughed, “You know that’s now what I meant! I mean go shopping! Buy new clothes! Get some heels! Look at you. Wearing all these dark, baggy clothes. I’ll tell you a secret. Guys don’t like it when girls wear those kinds of tomboyish clothes. You’ll never get a date that way. I think you should buy a dress, and go out on a date with a guy that appreciates your new wardrobe.” Zico winked.
Jungah’s face fell. Her heart squeezed in pain. *He wants me to go out on a date. He wants me…to be with another man.* Her gaze averted to the floor, and she tried hard to swallow the appearing lump in .
Zico’s face fell. He knew he had hit a sore spot. Zico opened his mouth to appease her, “Jungah, I-“
“Yo, Zico. Cho called. He has work for us. Let’s go.” Jaehyo appeared by the doorway and glance at Jungah. “I’m coming, hyung. Wait in the car first.” Zico said. Jaehyo glanced once more at Jungah and left with a shake of his head.
“Well…I guess Jaehyo hyung is crossed out on the list of your possible dates. He’s secretly intimidated by you. Don’t tell him I told you that.” Zico chuckled, trying to ease the tension. But the dark pit had already been dug in her stomach. Here, I have something for you.” Zico tried to distract her. He walked back to his drawer, pulled out something, and walked over to her. Zico took her wrist, held it out, and clasped a pink and silver watch around it.
Slowly, Jungah looked up at him. Her eyes were soft, chocolate brown orbs that peered into his soul.
Zico softly smiled, “You left this at my house the other night. How dare you. I bought this for you, too. You clumsy girl.” He lightly flicked her forehead. Jungah didn’t even swat his hand away.
“Zico, come on! Bye, Bull!” Kyung hollered.
“I have to go.” Zico whispered. “Lock the door on your way out, all right?”
Jungah silently nodded. “See you, Jungie Jungie~” He tenderly ruffled her hair and left.
After a short pause, Jungah followed him towards the front door. She lingered back as she watched him slip his red and black jacket on and go. Jungah leaned against the wall with a depressed sigh, “Zico, you really are an idiot. I don’t want to date other guys. How can I when in my eyes, you’re the only one I see? I only want to be with you. No one else. When will you see me as Han Jungah, a girl?”
Zico hopped into the passenger seat and shut the door, “Drive, U-Kwon!”
U-Kwon stuck his lollipop into his mouth, nodded, and backed out of the parking lot.
Zico happily drummed his fingers against the leather seat.
Jaehyo saw that and shook his head, “I don’t understand what you can be so damn happy about.”
“There are a lot of things, hyung. The sun is out. The trees are green. We have work to do and money to make! Hi-ho. Hi-ho. It’s off to work we go!” Zico hummed along to the song from Snow White.
Jaehyo rolled his eyes, “Hippie freak.” P.O. and Taeil laughed.
Jaehyo crossed his arms with a sour expression, “And besides, who cares if you make bank. You give all your earnings to that girl anyways.”
“Hyung.” Kyung shot him a warning look. Zico wouldn’t like anyone talking about her that way.
Zico remained cool and calm though. He was already used to Jaehyo heckling him about Jungah. It wasn’t that he really hated her. It was because he cared about Zico, and didn’t understand how anyone with such a bad temper could mean so much to him. “She has a name, hyung. And it’s a pretty one, too. Han Jungah.” Zico grinned with a wink.
“Whatever. Like I give a .” Jaehyo leaned forward and gravely looked at him, “I’m serious. You give all of the money that you earn to her. You pay for her rent and bills. You give her allowance. And if that’s not enough, you’re setting aside a savings account in her name so that she’ll be able to go to college. You think she’ll even make it into one?”
Zico became quiet. Everyone tensed. Once Zico exploded, which was rare, but damaging, no one could stop him. “Hyung,” Zico spoke in a low voice, “I appreciate the fact that you’re worrying about me. But,” He looked at Jaehyo with darkened, solemn eyes, “Don’t underestimate Jungah. She is a smart girl. You don’t see her the way I do. She has so much potential. I know she has a temper, but that’s not all she is. I’m not asking for you to like her, but please have the decency to respect her, at least around her and me.”
Jaehyo turned speechless. Then with an exhale of frustration, he leaned against the window and looked out at the bright, glaring sun.
Zico faced forward and looked out at the passing scenery. He could picture Jungah’s crestfallen face back there, and his heart clenched in pain. Zico shut his eyes, placed a hand over his eyes, and squeezed his temples*Jungah, mianhae. I shouldn’t have pushed you like that, but you need to realize there are better guys out there. I’m not the one for you. Somewhere, out there, is the perfect guy that’s just right for you. I’m sorry that I can’t be him.*