Here’s the thing.
The actual reason why I proposed the deal to Jimin wasn’t to make her fall for me — instead, it was some sort of a last resort that had been in my mind for years to have her get to know me past my reputation, and see me as who I really was without the prying eyes of the people around us.
To put it simply, it was an opportunity that I created to at least, prove myself to her; that I was more than what I was known for, and that I was dead serious when I said I was in love with her.
Yeah, that was all.
...okay, I lied.
Perhaps, I had a minuscule of hope that she would fall for me if we could spend a considerable amount of time alone together without arguing.
However, was just the nasty part of me that had grown so used to getting anything that I want.
More than anything, it was completely fine with me if she doesn’t.
There was nothing more that I could do about it apart from acknowledging my defeat, and hold up my end of the deal as I promised.
For the first few days, well, how do I say this, I guess I had a feeling that it was going to go nowhere.
The extent of hatred that Jimin Yoo harbors against me was beyond my expectations.
One would assume that I had done something unforgivable to her with how hostile she was toward me.
Those deep pools of brown coffee would always look at me with immense spite that would pierce straight into my heart, making me plunge into a world of torment where I would willingly allow myself to be in if that meant I get to be with her even just for a little while.
When we had our first date on the outskirts of the city, I purposely provoked her into agreeing to the bet that I had proposed.
I knew she didn’t know how to ride a go-kart; hell, she didn’t even know how to ride a bicycle, but I kept quiet about it.
I was very well aware that her towering pride wouldn’t let herself appear like a sore loser in front of me.
Ergo, I took advantage of that knowledge.
While it was a fact that it was also my first time riding the small vehicle, I was someone who could learn anything by means of observing how people do it once.
Naturally, she lost.
Truth be told, I am not very fond of watching her lose against me over and over again.
It pained me to see her seem so disappointed in herself.
Then again, I reckon going all out on her was the better choice to make because otherwise, it would be utterly insulting on her part.
The “accidental” reward that I received was planned.
Just a kiss on the cheek?
Hell, that was so lame.
That was not enough.
It had to be on the lips.
Because Taeyeon once told me that it was different; that it was another level of intimacy.
And I wanted myself to be the first person she would share it with.
Expectedly, she would refuse any form of physical contact with me; for that reason, I had to trick her.
Do it the Minjeong Kim way.
I knew she would hate me more for it.
But as I had said, I would never win if I play fair.
I had to be as cunning as possible in order to claim what should be mine.
The end justifies the means.
The following day, I had to allow her to spend time with Rj as a form of assurance that I was being truthful to my word.
It was maddening.
To have to share her with my sister of all people.
The sound of genuine happiness in her voice when she embraced and expressed her gratitude to me was like a foreign object blocking my airway.
I remember vividly how heavy my chest was at that moment; the bitter struggle to push the word 'always' out of my mouth as a response.
It was foolish.
I knew I had it coming.
That day, I came to a realization that I would do anything for Jimin Yoo with pleasure, even if it meant I would suffer an unimaginable pain in the process.
When she asked me for the reason as to why I was helping her, I had to think up a plausible lie to conceal my true intention.
I couldn’t let her know.
Something could go wrong if she knew.
...and I was not comfortable yet to lay myself bare before her eyes.
In due time.
Yeah, in due time.
Our second date, when was it again, ah! Yes, when I brought her to the Lotte World to watch Spirited Away.
That was the day when I inadvertently touched her.
I was supposed to hold onto the partition between us, but I failed to remember that I raised it at the beginning of the movie for us to be near each other; ergo, it landed on her thigh instead.
It was an honest mistake.
I would be lying though if I said I made any attempt to remove it because even though it visibly made her flinch, something about the way her eyes gleamed at the sudden contact had my hand rooted in its place.
...was so easy to read.
This notion was further solidified when she first came across Yizhuo Ning, the secretary of the student council.
She wouldn’t say it out loud.
Oh, she would never.
She probably even had no clue why she was behaving that way in the first place.
However, I had already learned how to pick up on her behavior to deduce that she was jealous, assuming that Yizhuo was a fling.
I was amused.
If she was jealous, then that meant she had feelings for me howsoever, right?
That was the only logical conclusion.
A brilliant one, if I may say so.
Finally, a spark of hope.
I left the coffee shop while suppressing the huge grin that was begging to adorn my usually placid face because of the newly acquired information.
Growing up, not once had I ever allowed my emotions to take over my rationality.
I was confident thereof.
This was put to test when we had lunch with Uchi and Ning; inside that mysterious comfort room of a popular five-star restaurant.
Her intoxicating scent that clouded my mind; her full, plump lips that looked so inviting, tempting me to taste them.
It was so easy to just cross the minimal space separating us and press my lips against hers, and thereupon act nonchalant about it.
But I didn’t.
I took my leave before I lose control over myself.
For the respect I had for her was greater than my worldly desires.
I may be a lot of things, but kissing a woman without their consent was certainly not one of them.
Jimin Yoo, on the other hand, does not know the concept of self-control.
Ogling my abdominal muscles; eagerly touching them with the palm of her hand, even lifting my shirt up to feel them up more...
She made it so difficult for me to restrain myself from doing something I would probably regret later on when she looked at me with those eyes clouded with lust.
I had to stop her to prevent matters from escalating any further.
It appeared like she wasn’t in the right state of mind, anyway.
However, Jimin Yoo seemed to be the personification of temptation because then, she blurted out the words I never imagined to hear from her wearing a suggestive smirk on her lips.
“Why don’t you?”
I almost fell into her trap.
Fortunately, her phone rang loudly throughout the empty kitchen, startling us simultaneously.
The way her expression warped into utter horror the moment she got a hold of herself was so hilarious that I broke out into a fit of laughter.
Suffice to say, I went home that night wondering what could’ve happened if we weren’t interrupted.
I thought it would end there.
I thought there was no way she would lose herself for the second time.
Man, was I so wrong.
Our kiss inside the indoor batting cage was unexpected.
I genuinely just wanted to take her somewhere where she could blow off steam since I had a feeling that she badly needed it judging from the dark, huge bags under her exhausted eyes.
Though, I guess it was because of me this time.
Could you blame me?
Jimin Yoo was damn alluring.
“Kiss me, Minjeong.”
Her soft deep voice, the sultry look on her face — how could I resist?
Furthermore, she gave me her consent.
There was no reason for me to hold back anymore.
So, similar to a withered twig in the dead winter, my last nerve of control snapped.
Jimin Yoo did not disappoint.
The way she responded to my kisses — damn, it didn’t feel like she was inexperienced at all.
This might be hard to believe, but like her, I was inexperienced as well — only relied on my instinct to do wonders.
My flings were just an accessory for the womanizer image that I had to uphold to make myself appear “challenging”.
If Jimin wasn’t in the vicinity, I was always just on my own, chilling inside the council’s office or on the rooftop and mulling over her.
In the wake of that event, I had hope that our relationship would take a turn for the better.
...a foolish assumption.
I brought her to our home to give her the gift that I had been working on for days.
It took me a huge amount of patience and effort to capture every intricate detail of the castle with great precision.
The materials that I used weren’t easy to acquire either.
I almost gave up along the way because of how arduous it was to build.
The only thing that pushed me to finish the miniature was the knowledge that it would make her happy.
It was supposed to go that way.
Unfortunately, I just had to be an and claim her as my girlfriend in front of Rj.
I couldn’t help it.
I was hella jealous!
She never looked at me the way she looked at Rj.
It was full of affection.
Am I not deserving?
“I don’t even like you.”
“I’m not yours, to begin with.”
Ah, her words cut deeper than the knife.
The pain was almost unbearable.
It was so hard to breathe properly.
Jimin Yoo was heartless.
I wanted to retaliate.
To remind her of what transpired yesterday; that it was her who urged me to initiate the kiss, and how she responded with so much fervor.
And now she was saying she doesn’t even like me?
What, she was willing to kiss someone who she had no feelings for?
How ing ridiculous.
It all remained on my head, however.
I had no courage to vocalize it into the air.
I could not bear to say something that might hurt her.
Moreover, I knew I was the one at fault.
The expression she made when she finally saw the miniature castle was enough to take the pain away.
The cuts and burns on my fingers were definitely worth it.
One thing about Jimin Yoo: She could be confusing
On the day of the music club’s training camp, I intentionally didn’t message her to build a certain momentum.
I wanted to surprise her.
It worked, clearly.
The way her eyes widened comically upon seeing me was so priceless.
Have I already mentioned that she gives the best reactions?
This trait of her was my personal comedic relief.
As per our agreement, I refrained myself from talking to her in the presence of our schoolmates; I didn’t even look her way — not even a subtle peek.
It was torture.
To behave as if she was not all I could think about.
I had to remind myself that this was what she wanted.
What puzzled me though, was the intense glare she was giving me while we were having lunch.
Was she mad at me?
Why was she mad?
Did I do something wrong?
I stood up from my seat and slowly made my way toward the comfort room, baiting her into following me.
To my surprise, she took it without hesitation.
“Do you want to be alone with me so much that you followed me here?”
I only said that to annoy her.
It wasn’t meant to be a question that needed an answer at all.
“I hate it when you are ignoring me.”
I stopped, taken aback by the sudden bluntness.
When her words sunk in, I had to stifle an amused chuckle.
Jimin Yoo was really unpredictable.
I was not complaining though.
The fact that she was having this conflicting behavior means her resolve was beginning to crumble.
Her admission to no longer hating me later that day was the cherry on top.
It was only a matter of time now.
This newfound hope, however, was crushed right away the morning after.
Seeing the sunrise on the beach brings back a lot of memories.
It never failed to make me sentimental.
Normally, I would relish those fond memories on my own while watching the sunset the world alight and paint the skies in marigold bit by bit.
This time around, there was Jimin Yoo.
It was almost comforting — to know that I was no longer alone, albeit temporarily, if not for the thoughts that plagued my mind.
She must’ve sensed my inner turmoil as we walked along the shore because then, she broke the silence.
“I want you to know that you can tell me things.”
I was initially hesitant, no longer comfortable opening up to people after the passing of my older sister.
...she made it so easy.
The words were automatically spilling from my lips like clockwork.
And it felt amazing.
To finally have someone I could talk to without restrictions.
It had been so long...
When we reached the stony part of the beach, I noticed how heavy the atmosphere had become because thereof.
It was an unusual situation.
One I wasn’t accustomed to.
So, I reverted back to my usual self.
Only I didn’t take into account how blunt Jimin could be if she wanted to.
“I only said I don’t hate you, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is because I already learned to like you.”
...was this her being oblivious of her own feelings?
Or was it really what she was feeling?
Did I only delude myself into thinking that I had a chance?
“We can be friends though.”
My jaws clenched.
She probably thought she was being funny.
Any logical person would not allow themselves to settle in a platonic relationship with someone they were in love with.
It was absurd.
For the first time since we met for the second time, I voluntarily distanced myself from her for the rest of the day.
I must organize my thoughts.
Allowing her unpredictability to exert influence on the way I think would only lead to a chasm of disarray.
This plan was soon forgotten when I saw that Minwho woman trying to hit on her, and how it was making her uncomfortable.
Possessiveness took over.
Before I knew it, I had Jimin pinned against the door of my room, staring intensely at those sharp, sultry eyes.
“I don’t share what’s mine.”
I was expecting her to say something along the lines of: I’m not yours.
But she really had a way of leaving my mind in ruins.
“That’s rich coming from someone who is a womanizer.”
The way she said it was dripping with jealousy.
This was contradictory to what she had claimed just this morning.
At this point, I was quite certain about the answer to my question.
It was her being oblivious of her own feelings.
I do not know if that was a good thing, but damn...
I could’ve kissed her right then and there.
But I did not.
A part of me wanted her to crave for me.
I figured it would be more fun that way.
Build up the tension.
The magnitude it would create once it exploded would surely be something else.
...I spoke too soon.
Perhaps, I was too self-assured that Rj was too occupied pursuing her passion to make time for everything else that the thought of her taking Jimin on a date never occurred to me.
It was just a chaste kiss on the cheek; not even remotely intimate.
Compared to what we had shared, it was nothing.
This was Ryujin.
The person who had Jimin’s affection.
And seeing as if she seemed to be in the seventh of heaven once she realized what Rj just did submerged me in an ocean of jealousy.
The longer I watch them, the worse the painful clenching underneath my chest gets.
Jimin had never looked at me the way she looked at her.
Haa, this was cruel.
How Rj manage to capture Jimin’s eyes without even doing anything, I would never understand.
Was it the thrill of the chase?
She enjoys the challenge it gives?
If I act uninterested toward her, would she finally look my way?
I was supposed to take her home that day.
That was our routine.
However, it felt like a mortal sin to rob her of the opportunity to be with Rj longer.
Ergo, I gave way.
Anything to see that smile.
That afternoon, I traveled on foot on the way home.
I almost threw in the towel then, assuming I had no more chance was left since Rj finally made a move.
That was until I figured out the reason behind her previous actions.
Rj... was too kind for her own good.
Sometimes, I feel like she was the older sibling between us.
I knew she wanted me to give up.
Probably because in her point of view, the love that I had for Jimin was beginning to destroy me.
I understood her sentiments.
Only I could not even if I wanted to.
I knew it was stupidity, borderline insanity.
But it was easier to withstand than to let her go.
The next day came, I chose to pretend that what I witnessed yesterday was just a product of my imagination to convince Jimin that it did not affect me one bit.
I do not want to show any weakness.
I do not want her to pity me.
Since I had pride to maintain.
Though, I doubt I still do have it intact.
As soon as I arrived in school, the dating rumor of Rj and Jimin was what welcomed me.
Every single student was talking about it, making speculations about how legitimate it was.
The unfairness of it all.
Rj could be with her without limitations.
Whereas I could only be with her behind closed doors.
Perhaps, you could now guess the reason why I broke one of Jimin’s rules.
I shall never let anyone be aware of our involvement with each other...
To hell with it.
Just this once, I wanted to be selfish.
That was the plan.
But when she asked me to never pull that stunt again because she preferred people to know about her and Rj more than us, I could only submit.
Who was I kidding?
I could never go against her; especially when she was giving me that look that was impossible to ignore.
Besides, what transpired later that day in my room was enough to compensate for it.
That kiss... was nothing short of mind-blowing.
The way our lips molded perfectly like one living organism.
How easily she welcome me in ...
Damn, was it so heavenly.
Her heavy-lidded eyes that seemed to want more when I pulled away...
Our relationship improved drastically from then on.
Her strange behavior wherein she acted overly sweet toward me.
The Studio Ghibli date.
How genuinely happy she was as we explore the exhibit.
“This ring will always lead you to me, just like how it led Sophie to Howl.”
“I meant that kiss with everything that I have.”
A quick kiss.
I wasn’t even able to relish the sensation of her lips on mine.
But it was more than enough to make me feel euphoric.
...the cause of my euphoria.
This one was different from the other kisses that we had shared.
Because it was her who kissed me of her own volition this time.
The fleeting hope where Jimin could possibly reciprocate my feelings grew so big I couldn’t control it.
And what happened at my Mother’s birthday celebration...
The violin performance that was dedicated solely to her.
If I could not profess my love for her through words, then I would do it with my music.
In front of a large crowd.
I wanted them to know how irrevocably in love I was with Jimin Yoo.
Our dance in the gazebo...
How right it felt as we move our bodies into our own rhythm.
It was as if we were finally on the same page.
That night, I was the happiest person in that huge venue.
Never in my dreams would I have imagined that she would still choose Rj over me after all this time.
I was a fool.
Perhaps, I really was the villain in her story.
And villains never do get their happy endings.