It was Saturday night, and Jungah was at Zico’s apartment.
It was a weekly tradition. Every Saturday night, if Zico was home, she would go over to his place for dinner.
Jungah stood against the kitchen counter with her arms crossed. She watched Block B pull out napkins, beer, and other plastic utensils from cupboards and drawers. A sweet hip hop song was playing in the air.
“Ow, !” U-Kwon burned his finger on the stove and wagged his finger furiously. “We already ordered pizza. I don’t know why you’re cooking fried rice.” B-Bomb shook his head. “Because I want to, all right? I can’t go a meal without Korean food. K pride, got it?” U-Kwon hummed along to the song as he cooked.
“Want to help him, Jungah? Aww, I forgot. The Bull has no cooking skills whatsoever.” Kyung groaned.
Jungah raised her foot and kicked him in the .
Kyung crashed into the refrigerator, “Damn! The Bull struck me with her horns!”
“Shut up, Park Kyung, before I kick you in the front, too.” Jungah threatened with a cocked eyebrow. Kyung covered his private area and skittered off sideways like a crab. Jungah shook her head as she tried to hide her smile.
Zico came into the kitchen wearing a black and silver jacket. His hood was pulled over his head, and he was holding empty soda cans and beer to throw away. Zico sang along to the song. His voice was low, husky, and made Jungah’s heart flutter ten times faster.
Zico met eyes with her and sang closely to her. He moved his head side-to-side in a silly manner.
Jungah turned her head, “Stop it.”
Zico continued to mock her as he sang in her face.
“Seriously, shut up.” She shoved him in the chest lightly.
Zico laughed as he went to throw the cans into the recycle bin. This time, Jungah couldn’t hide her smile.
“I should go out for Superstar K or something. Man, I’m good.” Zico snapped his fingers. “Someone thinks way too highly of himself.” Jungah snorted. “Don’t worry. I’ll still remember you when I become a hip-hop star.” He winked. She rolled her eyes, but her lips had curved upwards.
“ZICO HYUNG! WE NEED YOUR WALLET!” P.O. hollered.
“I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS! IT’S RUNNING LATE! WHY DON’T YOU ASK YOUR WALLET TO HELP YOU INSTEAD?” Zico called back.
“HYUNG!” P.O. roared. “Fine, fine. Aish.” Zico pulled out his black wallet and left the kitchen. He paid the delivery boy, thanked him, and shut the door.
“Come get your pizza!” Taeil called. U-Kwon placed his rice on the plate and gleefully walked towards the living room. “Come on, Bull.” Kyung nodded at her. Jungah strode towards him, and he ran away instantly.
“Come, Jungie~ Jungie~” Zico waved her over. Jungah shot Kyung a scornful look then walked towards Zico. He patted the space on the couch next to him, and she sat down.
“Food!” P.O. opened the pizza box and greedily pulled one out. Zico slapped his hand, and P.O.’s pizza dropped back into the box. “Ow, hyung! What was that for?!” He complained. “Did you even wash your hands?” Zico scrutinized him, “Do you know how much bacteria there is? Do you want to get sick and die? Go wash your hands first.”
P.O. pouted but got up and went to wash his hands.
“Dang. Look at Dr. Phil here.” Taeil chortled. “Isn’t Dr. Phil a psychologist? Fail, man, fail.” Kyung shook his head. Everyone laughed. Zico looked towards Jungah and peered at her, “Did you wash your hands?” She raised an eyebrow, “Did you?”
Zico paused then grinned, “Good point. Let’s go wash our hands.” He pulled her up by the elbow and dragged her to the bathroom. P.O. came out of the bathroom and went to eat. Zico lightly pushed her towards his sink and the hot water. Jungah ran her fingers through the warm water. Zico squirted liquid hand soap onto her palms, and she rubbed them together. Zico began to wash his hands also and many suds appeared on his large hands. “I feel like we’re in Kindergarten.”
“You’re way too big to be a Kindergarten.” Jungah remarked.
“Hey, hey! Don’t be so mean! TEACHER! JUNGIE-JUNGIE CALLED ME FAT!” Zico waved his arm in the air.
Jungah rolled her eyes and shook her head as she placed her foamy hands back under the faucet to rinse off the soap, “Fool.” Zico placed his hands underneath the faucet also. “Don’t hog all the water.” Jungah scowled. Zico grinned at her. He sprinkled water into her face.
“YAH! AISH! ZICO!” Jungah yelped. Zico continued to splash her with water and burst into laughter. Jungah wiped her cheek with her shoulder and narrowed her eyes at him. *Oh yeah?* She cupped her hands together and filled them with water. Then she threw the water at him. Zico sputtered in shock as water dripped off his face.
Jungah smirked, “That’s why you don’t mess with me. You get paid back twice.”
“And if you mess with me, you get triple the consequences. Come here!” Zico grabbed her and splashed her with water. Jungah shrieked as the cold water dripped down her face and soaked her sweater. “WOO JIHO!” She struggled and fought back.
Zico’s hood had fallen off his head now, and they were both soaked to the bone.
Jungah squirmed out of his grasp and tried to run away but ended up slipping on the wet tiles. Zico’s eyes widened when he saw her falling back. He quickly caught her by the waist and reflexively pressed her against his broad chest. Jungah’s eyes rounded at the quick action. She shifted her gaze upwards to see Zico’s face just inches away, and her eyes widened even more. Her hands were pressed against his strongly beating chest. Her heart was also racing in the same fast pace. Zico stared back down at her. There was no joke on his face for once. He seemed just as mesmerized as she was.
*I’m not imagining things, right? Zico’s heart is also speeding up, right? It’s not just only me?* Jungah swallowed hard.
The moment was broken by P.O. entering the bathroom. Zico and Jungah quickly stepped away from each other. Tactless P.O. munched on his pizza, “Hyungs said to hurry up, or the pizzas will be all gone.”
“Oh. Araso.” Zico nodded. P.O. left, leaving Jungah and Zico drowning in the awkward atmosphere.
“We should…go…” Jungah turned towards the door.
“Jungah, wait.” Zico grabbed her wrist.
She froze. Her heart beat rapidly in her chest. A flicker of hope ignited in her heart. *Maybe he’ll tell me that he feels the same way for me. Maybe he’ll tell me that he doesn’t want this moment to end as much as I do. Maybe he’ll tell me that loves me as a girl.* Slowly, Jungah turned around and looked into his eyes.
Zico searched her expectant eyes for a few seconds then smiled gently, “You need a new shirt.”
*A new shirt…?* Jungah looked down at her soaked sweater. Her pink bra was visible through the thin material. Jungah quickly crossed her arms over her chest while her ears tinged pink.
“Follow me.” Zico walked past her.
Jungah was mortified. Not so much because of her noticeable bra, but because he hadn’t stopped her for the reason she had wanted him to stop her. *My wishful thinking. What the hell is wrong with you Han Jungah?! Of course Zico doesn’t feel the same way for you. There are a million girls more beautiful and lady-like than you. Don’t be stupid. If Zico is in love with you, he is the idiot.*
Disheartened, Jungah went into Zico’s bedroom. He tossed her one of his black shirts. “Change and come back out. I’ll save you some pizza.” Zico left and shut the door behind him. He leaned against the door and touched his forehead. The sight of Jungah so exposed and vulnerable had made his heart shake madly with desire. Zico shook his head. *Get a grip of yourself, Woo Jiho. She is off-limits. In no way can your love story with her happen.* With a dejected sigh, he walked away.
Jungah gazed at his shirt in her hands. *Even if I was exposed, do you not feel anything for me? Do you not feel embarrassed, ashamed, or even…pleased? Do you really see me as a dongsaeng, and that’s all?* She shook her head as she pulled her wet sweater off. Jungah slipped Zico’s size over her. It was too big for her petite frame, but she loved how it enveloped her warmly. Jungah pinched the shirt, held it up towards her nose, and took a sniff. It smelled like mint and cinnamon. Like Zico. *What the hell am I doing? Am I that desperate for him that I’m smelling his ? Since when did I become a psychotic ? Ugh. I disgust myself sometimes.*
Jungah took a deep breath and left the room.
U-Kwon spotted her, “Oh! New shirt? Why? What happened?”
“Water fight.” Zico snickered and patted the seat next to him, “Come and eat.” Jungah sat down and ate her cold pizza.
“Beer?” B-Bomb held a can out. Jungah shook her head.
“Damn. Mary here.” Kyung jabbed a thumb towards her. She kicked his side, and he choked on his food.
“Ha! Good one!” Zico held out his fist. Jungah gave him the smallest of smiles and lightly bumped his fist.
After dinner, the boys drank beer, played video games, and/or lazily lay back. Jungah headed out to the small patio and looked beyond the luminous city. She took a deep breath and felt peace at once. She thought about school, Zico, and Kris. Jungah blinked in shock. *Wait. Why is that bothersome giant in my head? Why am I thinking of him?* She anxiously bit her thumbnail, a bad habit of hers.
Someone came over and whisked her fingers away from her lips. Jungah looked up to see Zico.
“Don’t do that, Jungie Jungie! Do you know how much bacteria are in your fingers? You didn’t even wash your hands after pizza!”
Jungah rolled her eyes, “Okay, OCD. And for your information, I did wash my hands after pizza. You were just too busy talking on the phone to your mafia boss to notice.” She yanked her hand away and crossed her arms on the railing.
Zico smiled at her with both affection and admiration. *That’s my Han Jungah. Fierce, but honest.* He rested his arms on the iron railing also, “How was school this week?”
“Why bother to even ask? You know how BS is. You’ve been there once.” She muttered.
“Indeed, and I’m proud to add that I was the kingka. All the girls loved me. I was freaking popular and worshipped by everyone. Muah!” He pretended to blow a kiss.
Jungah gave him a queer look, “Okay…god.” Zico laughed. He sidled closer to her and nudged her elbow, “Anything interesting happen lately? Tell me all the gossip. I feel like I’m so out of it.”
Jungah shrugged, “There’s nothing interesting to tell. One got pregnant and was expelled. Two jerks got caught smoking pot in the girl’s restroom. Mr. Shin was caught ing another junior in the closet.” “Same ol’, same ol’.” Zico nodded.
“And…there’s a new exchange student.” She replied. “Oh, really?” He blinked at her.
“He’s from China…and he had the nerve to sit next to me.” Jungah crossly muttered.
Zico laughed, “Aww, poor him. He walked right into an ambush. Be easy on him, Jungah. You’ll scare him right back to China.” She rolled her eyes. He elbowed her, “Hey, hey. Tell me more about this guy. Did anything interesting happen?”
Jungah studied his eyes. She knew what he wanted to know, and it disappointed her.
“He asked me out, Zico. And I said yes.” Jungah said.
His eyes rounded, “Really?!” Her eyes dimmed, and she softly whispered, “That’s what you wanted to hear. Wasn’t it?” His face fell. “Jungah-“ She didn’t give him a chance to explain and went inside.
Zico hung back for a while then went inside. Jungah was already coming out of his room with her still damp sweater.
“Leaving already?” Kyung asked. Jungah left without a word. “Yeah, goodbye to you, too.” B-Bomb snorted.
Zico softly gazed at the door with a guilty heart. *There is only so much pushing she can take. I’m sorry, Jungah. I’m so sorry.*
A blast of cold air hit Jungah, and she deeply inhaled as much of it as she could. Her heart was constricted into intricate knots, and a deep cut was embedded into her heart. Knowing that Zico would never reciprocate her feelings, but instead push her further away without ever knowing how much she was in love with him made her heart shatter into a thousand sharp pieces. Jungah ran down the street with tears blurring her vision. She stopped next to a pojangmacha to take big gulps of breath.
Three drunken males spotted her. They snickered and pointed at her.
“Hey, pretty girl. What are you doing out here all alone?” One of them asked. “Come and play with oppas. We’ll treat you real good~” Another smirked.
Jungah gritted her teeth and clenched her fists as a tear slipped down her cheek. “Leave me alone.”
“Aww, don’t be so harsh. You hurt oppa’s feelings.” The boys broke into untamed laughter. One of them had the audacity to sling his arm around her neck, “Come with oppa, okay?”
Something in Jungah snapped. “I TOLD YOU TO LEAVE ME ALONE!” She slammed her fist into his nose. “URGH!” He stumbled back and landed on the cement floor.
“What the hell?!” His friends ran towards her. Adrenaline rushed through her veins, and her eyes flashed in rage. *Come at me. I needed to vent my anger out in one way anyways.*
One of them lunged for her. She dodged him and kicked him in the back. Then she grabbed the other one by the shoulder and rammed her knee into his groin. Groaning, he knelt onto the ground.
“Get the hell out of my sight! NOW!” Jungah screamed.
“Let’s go!” “Psychotic !” The males ran away before they could get her again.
Jungah snatched her dirtied sweater off the floor. In the middle of the empty, dark open street, she yanked off Zico’s shirt and put her sweater back on. Jungah clutched tightly onto Zico’s shirt and raised it over the trash. Yet, she couldn’t bring herself to let go of it. Her bottom lip quivered, and she had to bite down on it hard so that it would stop shaking. Tears ran down her face, and she choked back a sob. *GODDAMIT! No matter what I ing do, no matter how much he pushes me away, I can’t seem to let him go! Damn you, Woo Jiho! I wish you had never come into my life!*
Jungah crumbled onto the floor and bawled loudly. She looked down at his shirt in her hand and squeezed tightly. *Why is letting go of you so hard when I know in my heart that you’ll never be mine?* She drew her knees into her chest and buried her face into his shirt. *I hate that you came into my life and are controlling my feelings like this. But what I hate even more is the thought of repeating my life without you in it. What have you done to me, Woo Jiho?*