In a little while, everyone became full, and there was more talk than eating.
Zico and Kyung exchanged glances. Furtively, they got up and headed to the kitchen.
Jungah glanced at Kris, “How was the food?” “It was fine.” He answered.
“Yeah, good thing there wasn’t chicken feet, right?” Jungah remarked.
Kris raised an eyebrow, “Really? You’ll pull that card on me?”
She smirked. Chuckling, he shook his head.
Suddenly, all the lights went out. “What the-“ Jungah looked up.
A bright light shone from the kitchen. She squinted her eyes to see what it was.
All of a sudden, the room filled with the song ‘Happy Birthday’. *Oh my God…* Her eyes widened at the large heart-shaped chocolate cake heading towards her. Nineteen white candles decorated the cake.
Zico sang the loudest as he walked her way with the birthday cake. Kris saw Jungah’s stunned expression and shining eyes. He softly smiled and lightly clapped along.
“Happy Birthday to you~ WOO!” Block B cheered.
P.O. blew loudly on the party blower. Silly strings fell all over her.
“Make a wish, and blow out all the candles!” Kyung hollered.
Jungah pulled the silly strings off her hair. She looked up at the eight faces surrounding her. She became elated with joy. *This is perfect. I’m spending my birthday with the people who I care about the most.*
“Hurry up, will you?” Jaehyo impatiently asked.
“Take your time, Jungah. You still have to make your wish.” Zico whispered.
Jungah took a deep breath. She stared into his eyes. However, at the last second, her eyes automatically shifted towards Kris. Heart fluttering, she faced the cake and blew the candles out.
The lights turned back on, and Zico set the cake on the table. “Here, cut the cake.” He held out the plastic knife.
“Oh !” U-Kwon ducked behind the couch, “Jungah has a knife! Back away, people!”
Everyone laughed. Jungah shook her head with a smile, “I’ll let it pass just this once.” She had a hard time cutting the cake nicely with her left hand.
“Damn. So messy.” Jaehyo shook his head.
“Well then I’ll gladly break your right hand for you so that you can try slicing the cake with your left hand! Let’s see how perfect you can cut it then!” Jungah snapped.
Zico chuckled, “Chill, Jungah.” She snorted impatiently while trying to cut the cake into equal pieces.
An arm wrapped around from her hand and a cold hand slipped over her left hand. She glanced over her shoulder to see Kris’s face just inches away. His eyes were focused on the cake. She could feel the heat of his skin next to her face. “I’ll help you.” Kris guided her hand to cut the cake into neat, equal pieces.
Jaehyo and Kyung glanced at each other. Both of them eyed Zico, wondering if he would react. Yet, he did nothing but spread out the paper plates.
Jungah felt her cheeks grow warm at Kris’s closeness. For once, she wasn’t considering what Zico would think about this moment. Instead, she was more preoccupied with her heart’s reaction. Her heart rate sped up triple its rate. Her pulse pounded in her ears, and she swallowed hard.
“There.” Kris pulled away.
Relief flooded through her along with a different, unexpected emotion. *Disappointment?* Jungah shook her head. She started to put the cake pieces on the plate with the help of Taeil and P.O.
P.O. was about to take a bite of his cake, but Zico slapped his head. “Ow!” P.O. choked.
Zico shot him a look, “Birthday girl first!”
Jungah handed a piece of cake to Kris and took one for herself. She took a bite of her cake. It melted sweetly in .
“Now can I eat my cake?” P.O. asked. “Yes.” Zico answered, and everyone laughed.
“It’s time for presents!” Taeil clapped.
“Oh, . I forgot to get one!” U-Kwon slapped his forehead. He opened one eye and peeked at Jungah, who remained impassive. “I said…I FORGOT TO GET YOU A PRESENT!” U-Kwon spoke rather loudly. “What do you want me to do about it?” Jungah shrugged.
*Damn. It doesn’t work.* U-Kwon snapped his fingers.
B-Bomb snickered, “You are SO going to get your kicked when she gets her cast off.”
“Mine first!” P.O. held out his box. Jungah blinked at him. He shook the gift in her face, “Open it, Jungah. It’s from P.O. oppa.” She paused, put her fork down, and took the box.
“You didn’t have to get me anything. None of you did.” Jungah said.
“That’s what you say every year, but what do we do? We buy you gifts anyways. So just open your damn gift. I want to know if P.O.’s gift is better than mine.” B-Bomb urged.
Jungah tore off the sky blue wrapping paper and opened up the box. Inside were two pink, heart-shaped teacups. She raised an eyebrow at him. *Really? Does he really think of me as some girly girl that has time to make tea and drink them in such cutesy cups?*
“They’re cute, huh? I bought a set for myself, too, but they are blue.” P.O. beamed.
Jungah closed the box, “Thanks, P.O…you always get the most random gifts for me. I appreciate it though.”
“In other words, she hates your gift!” B-Bomb pumped his fist, “Yes! My gift is still number 1!”
“Here you go, Jungah. Happy Birthday.” Taeil handed her a small box. Inside was a pair of heart-shaped pink and white stud earrings. *Why is everyone getting me pink this year? Pink is my least favorite color.* Jungah thought. Taeil put one earring to her ear and smiled, “I have good taste. Wear it for something special.” He patted her knee and went back to his spot.
B-Bomb held out his gift, “From me.”
Jungah opened the box to reveal a strangely exquisite blue perfume bottle.
“I heard it’s the exact same thing that Beyonce wears.” B-Bomb nodded.
“Great. Thanks, B-Bomb.” Jungah put the gift aside.
“That’s it?!” He yelped. “I get the best present ever, and all you can say is that?! Next year, all you’re getting is coal!”
Jungah chuckled. “Move aside because the best gift is actually here.” U-Kwon came over and placed a pink and black striped box on her lap. He gave her a smirk, “Happy Birthday, Jungah. You knew I got you something, huh?”
“You always act as if you don’t, but you always do. So yes, I supposed you did.” Jungah opened the box. Her eyes narrowed at the sight of revealing black lingerie. She held the lacy brra up by the end of her fingertips and arched an eyebrow up. “Seriously, U-Kwon?”
“OHMYGOD!” Block B cracked up. Kris turned red in the ears. He didn’t know why he was embarrassed instead. *Why the hell would he give her such a gift?*
U-Kwon shrugged, “At least I didn’t get you pink.”
“How did you know her size anyways?” Taeil asked.
“I asked the store clerk for the smallest size since Jungah is a bit lacking in the womanly department, if you know what I mean.” U-Kwon guffawed.
Jungah slammed the box shut with red ears and a fierce glare. She lifted up the box to slam him on the head with it.
“Whoa, whoa there!” Zico, Kyung, and B-Bomb held her back. U-Kwon quickly scrambled off. When he was far away, he made a face, “You’re welcome.” Jungah rolled her eyes and tossed his gift next to the others.
“Here, Jungah.” Kyung held out a large box. He lightly ruffled her hair with an adorable grin, “Happy 19th birthday.”
Jungah gave him a curious look. *I’m starting to get suspicious of boxes now.* She opened up his gift. Inside was a pretty pair of lavender flats. “I was going to get you heels, but I thought you would kill me with them, so I got you something safe.” Kyung chuckled.
“It’s really pretty.” Zico smiled and touched the material. “You should wear them now, Jungah.”
“Later.” She shut the box. Kyung looked disappointed.
Jungah quickly explained, “Because I don’t want to waste them.” Kyung looked at her. “Besides, I’m not wearing the right clothes. I need to wear this with something more…girly.” Jungah looked at him with a genuinely warm smile, “Thanks, Kyung oppa. I appreciate it.”
“YOU HEARD THAT?! SHE CALLED ME OPPA!” Kyung waved his arms in the air.
“You get her a cheap pair of flats. She calls you oppa. I get her a perfume that Beyonce wears for more than a couple hundred dollars. She says ‘thank you B-BOMB’. What an unfair life.” B-Bomb sulked.
“My gift is not cheap! I got it from a designer brand, too!” Kyung pointed out.
While they bickered, a long, rectangular box landed on her lap. Jungah looked up to see Jaehyo reclining against the seat with his arms crossed. “I wasn’t going to get you anything, but considering you got me something for my birthday last year, I reckoned I should do the same out of mere courtesy. So don’t complain that I didn’t get you anything for your birthday.”
“I’m not the complaining type.” Jungah muttered.
“Open it, Jungah! Let’s see what Jaehyo hyung got you!” Zico excitedly said.
Jungah opened the box. Her eyes rounded at the gold Dolce and Gabbana wallet. Curious, Kris peered over her to see what the gift was.
“Whoa!” U-Kwon pointed, “That thing is hella expensive!”
“Where’d you get that wallet, Jaehyo?!” B-Bomb demanded.
“I bought it, of course.” He rolled his eyes.
“Wow, Jungah. You’re so lucky.” Zico gave Jaehyo a grateful smile. Jaehyo looked away with a snort, “It’s nothing. I just picked the first thing I saw at the mall.”
Jungah rolled her eyes. *He just had to add that unnecessary comment in there.* Zico patted her shoulder in comfort, “Jaehyo hyung is just joking.”
“Zico, give her your gift.” Kyung said.
“Man, I should not have gone after Jaehyo hyung.” Zico chuckled. He came around the couch and held out a small, square box. Jungah gave him a curious look as she took the gift. Zico held her gaze for a moment as he affectionately whispered, “Happy Birthday, Han Jungah.” Her eyes softened.
Kris squirmed in discomfort. He didn’t like the intimacy between the two.
Carefully, Jungah opened the box. Her eyes glistened at the four-leaf clover pendant necklace.
“What did he get you?!” Block B curiously asked. Jungah turned the necklace towards them.
“Wahhh~” Taeil and Kyung admired.
“I figured you need luck on your side.” Zico chuckled. He got on one knee in front of her. “Let me put it on for you.” Zico took the necklace from the box. Then he leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Jungah.
Kris stiffened. His jaw remained set and rigid.
Zico clasped the necklace around her neck and pulled back. Jungah looked at the beautiful pendant hanging around her long neck.
Zico fixed the four leaf clover and smiled, “Aigoo~ so pretty. You make any jewelry shine, Jungie Jungie~”
Kris glanced between Jungah and Zico. *Is that what a stepbrother says to his stepsister?*
“Thanks…Zico.” Jungah appreciatively whispered. “You’re welcome, Jungah.” Zico ruffled her hair and stood back up.
U-Kwon turned to Kris, “What about you, exchange kid? You got Jungah anything?”
*I’m not a kid any more than you are.* Kris thought. “It’s in the car.” He turned his head and gazed at Jungah. “I’ll give it to you later.” He promised.
Jungah nodded. *He got me a gift, too? I wonder what it is…*