I woke up earlier than what I originally planned the following day even though it was the weekend.
Since the maids in our house do general cleaning every Saturday, it was impossible to stay asleep to my heart’s content because of the annoying sound of the vacuum cleaner.
I got out of my room to see how long it would take for them to finish so I could go back to sleep only to be surprised when I saw my older sister, Jisoo, holding the hose of the vacuum while she was dancing to a certain tune.
Since when was she home?
“Oh, you’re finally up,” she said once she noticed my presence.
I rubbed the sleep off my eyes.
“Why are you the one doing the household chores? Where are the maids?”
“I made them take the day off.” She momentarily stopped what she’s doing to look at me. “Since I have no work today, I decided it was best to spend the day with my little sister who is probably getting lonely by now since she was all by herself for the whole weekdays.”
“You have no work today?” I yawned. “That’s surprising considering our hospital never lets its employees to have it easy. What made the old hags change their minds?”
“Hey, don’t speak like that about Mom and Dad,” she chastised only to fall on deaf ears because I could not really be bothered. “Anyway, go fix yourself up. We will be going to the mall.”
“What?” I frowned. “I don’t want to. Let’s just watch Netflix or something. Weekends are supposed to be lazy days.”
She regarded me disapprovingly.
“We will go to the mall whether you like or not,” she said with finality, much to my annoyance. “Now, get your moving.”
That was how I found myself strolling around the mall with my sister rambling about her work as if I give even the slightest damn.
That was the reason why I was not on good terms with my parents.
Medicine there, medicine here, medicine everywhere— medicine. Why would I pursue a career I have no interest in? Apparently, because we were a family of Doctors. Screw that.
When I told them I want to pursue music instead, they didn’t take it well and went on about how I have no future in that field.
That was the start of my ongoing cold war with them. Well, it’s not like I was close with them in the first place. They were rarely even home. I doubt they were even aware of my well-being.
They only care about their careers, the embodiment of a pathetic excuse for parents.
“Do you want some coffee?” I heard her say after a while. I looked up and saw a coffee shop right in front of us, bustling with patrons.
Now, this brought back memories.
“As long as you’re paying, why not?”
She rolled her eyes jokingly before pulling me inside the shop.
We settled on the nearest vacant table we could find and since this was her idea, I forced her to be the one to go to the counter to place our orders. That was where she’s good at anyway; talking to people.
While waiting, I fished out my phone to send Aeri a message. That girl usually goes to the mall every Saturday. There was a good chance she was here as well.
Jimin: Where are you?
Jisoo returned right after I shoved my phone back in my pocket with our drinks in both her hands.
“Same old, same old.” I briefly took a sip on my iced americano. Never really a fan of caffeine, but I don’t refuse free drinks.
“By same old, you mean being rude to Minjeong with no acceptable reason?”
The unexpected question had me choking on my drink.
“Am I wrong?” she challenged with a raised eyebrow.
I couldn’t believe this.
It had been, what? Five years? Since the last time she saw Minjeong and she still remembered my resentment towards that devil?
“You’re right. I do hate her. However, you’re wrong about the part that it is with no acceptable reason.”
“Sure, because hating on her because you can’t beat her is an acceptable reason,” she answered, sarcastically.
“Whatever you say.” I resigned. Did that devil brainwash my sister into thinking that she was a good person or something? “Why are we talking about her anyway?”
“Well...” she trailed off as she gazed past me as if she trying to peer over someone behind me. “She’s here.”
“Huh?” I turned, diverting my view to where she was gazing at, and what my eyes had fallen upon had my face scrunching up in distaste.
Why was this girl always seemed to be where I was?
I swear to god, if I hadn’t known any better, I would assume she was a freaking stalker. And she was with a girl! A different girl! Not the one that I saw clinging on her the other day on my way to my classroom. What a womanizer!
“Just pay her no mind—”
“Hey, Minjeong Kim!”
I dropped my face on my palms as I await my impending doom in the form of Minjeong Kim.
As the sound of her footsteps got louder, I could only curse my sister in my head for bringing me into this hell.
“Jisoo?” I heard her say in a surprised tone. Judging by the volume of her voice, I’d say she was standing beside me. “And Jimin...”
And I thought she wouldn’t recognize me if she couldn’t see my face.
“It has been a long time, hasn’t it?” Jisoo said. “Why don’t you take a seat while we catch up? Or you can’t leave your date?”
My head shot up.
Or maybe I shouldn’t have done that.
Because the action caused me to see the devil in all her devil glory, a faint smirk dancing on her lips while staring down at me with amusement in her dark eyes.
I probably looked like an idiot right now, .
“Well, it appears your little sister doesn’t like me very much,” she said lowly, her lower lip jutting out childishly.
What the ?
Was this girl seriously putting on a show right now?
“Don’t mind her.” Jisoo waved her hand dismissively. “You are welcome to join us.”
Oh my god.
I could only roll my eyes in exasperation as Minjeong timidly sat on the chair next to mine, giving me a slight smirk in the process.
“So, how have you been?”
I opted to occupy myself with my drink, their voices blurring in the background, having no plans to involve myself with whatever conversation they'd be having. For sure, it would be about medicine since Minjeong’s family owned a hospital as well, that’s why our families were acquainted.
We’d always be invited to the same party attended only by those families that were in the field of medicine.
That was my curse.
Because through those, I had the misfortune of meeting the devil incarnate.
My thoughts were interrupted when I felt my phone vibrate.
Seemed like Aeri finally replied.
Aeri: In our house. Why?
I guess she was busy.
“Is my sister still giving you a hard time?” Jisoo asked out of nowhere. That had me sending glares towards her way who seemingly had forgotten that I was her sister and she was supposed to be on my side at all times.
“Not at all,” came the devil’s answer as she threw me a side glance. “Your sister has been very good to me. Too good actually that I am beginning to think she is the Mary incarnate.”
Jisoo let out a loud guffaw at the remark.
“Now, that’s something new!”
“She’s a saint in the making,” the devil dared to add.
I involuntarily closed my eyes shut, my lips pressed together firmly to form a thin line.
I knew having her join us was a bad idea.
Nothing good ever comes from involving myself with the devil incarnate. Why do I keep forgetting that?
“Excuse me, I need to use the restroom.”
Oh no, no, no.
I was about to say something, to object, to ask her not to leave me alone with her, but when I opened my eyes, no one was there anymore except for the devil herself looking at me, amused.
God, help me get through this ordeal.
“Jimin Yoo,” she said in a sing-song voice. Her eyebrows wiggling, her usual smirk plastered on her sickeningly pretty face.
“Shut up. Don’t talk to me.”
“Aw, is that how you thank the person who took care of you when you hurt your knees the other day?” She clutched her chest to try to make her pained act more believable.
“As if I asked you to do it. It was you who insisted when I never needed your help.”
A moment of silence.
“Why so cruel, Jimin?”
“That’s what you deserve.”
She eyed me curiously, the light in her eyes dimming as she did so.
“For what? For being in love with you?”
I inhaled sharply.
Instead of giving her a response, I merely returned her gaze.
Studying her face, her features, her perfectly trimmed eyebrows, her jet-black eyes that resembled the black hole, her plump pink lips, anything that would reveal her wicked intentions, but I found nothing.
She was serious.
To be honest, when she wasn’t being annoying, wasn’t being an arrogant motherer, or wasn’t being her devil-self, the hate that I had for her would dissipate into oblivion as if it had never been there in the first place. I would forget that she was the reason why I could never reach the top.
I don’t know why or how but this devil had that kind of power over me.
Must be some kind of voodoo or something.
“Though, I guess your hostility is better than you pretending that I don’t exist.”
I could no longer answer.
I don’t know if I should believe Minjeong and her apparent feelings for me. It just didn’t make any sense. Why would she be in love with someone who did nothing but antagonize her? Not even once had I shown her an ounce of my kindness. It was always me cursing the hell out of her.
And there was also her hobby of collecting women left and right like they were disposable objects. Not a single day would pass that she didn’t have a woman glued to her like a freaking leech.
Was she toying with me again?
What would she get out of this?
And why would I need to believe her anyway?
I shouldn’t be thinking of her, shouldn’t let her affect me in any way.
I shook my head to rid of unnecessary thoughts.
Even if her feelings were real, there was no way I’d date her.
She wasn’t Ryujin.
And she already had feelings for me.
There was no fun in dating someone like her.
Imagine watching a basketball game despite already knowing who was going to win.
No excitement, no thrill, or the fear of your favorite team losing the game.
It was just downright uninteresting.
“You okay there, Yooji? You’ve been kind of out of it.” I looked at my best friend who was holding a mirror, busy putting some color on her face.
“Yeah, was just thinking of some stuff.”
“What kind of stuff?” she pressed on.
I stared at her. Well, there was no harm in telling her, I guess. Maybe she’d be able to provide me pieces of advice on what I should do with the devil incarnate. Or if there was even anything to do to begin with. Aeri was an expert when it comes to things like this.
“It’s just...” I drawled, choosing the next words carefully. “Minjeong has been acting strange lately.”
“What do you mean?” She focused her attention on me with newfound interest.
I grew nervous all of a sudden. I had a feeling that Aeri would say something so controversial if she found out what had been happening with me and Minjeong.
“Ah, nevermind.” I decided to drop the topic for now. “Anyway, let’s go to the library. We have like one hour before our next class.”
“You’re going leave me hanging just like that?” She eyed me in disbelief.
“She’s not important, okay?” I answered, exasperated. “Just let it go, please.”
She raised her hands, sighing in defeat.
“Fine. Go to the library it is.”
I placed an arm around her, squeezing her shoulder lightly as a silent thank you for not pushing the matter further before we made our way to the library.
There were barely any students around, probably because classes were still ongoing. Our section just got lucky because our Instructor wasn’t able to make it for some reason.
We chose a table far away from the librarian.
That menopausal old hag was so sensitive to noises, she wouldn’t allow even minimal sound, and Aeri normally possessed a really loud voice. I was the second-best student in this school. Being kicked out of my favorite place was not very ideal.
Anyway, the term exam was still months away so, I had time to waste. Besides, I had already studied enough for the past months, aced every quiz, and submitted all the pending projects. No upcoming quiz bee nor piano competition either. I was sure I have nothing to worry about. This was like the perfect month to relax.
“So, what are we going to do here?” Aeri asked.
“Read something? I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
“I want to take a nap. I wasn’t able to get enough sleep yesterday since I was watching a really interesting series.”
My jaw dropped.
“Are you kidding me?” I whispered, harshly. “The librarian’s going to kill us if she caught you sleeping!”
“That’s why you’re here to wake me up to prevent that from happening.”
Aeri knew I could never refuse her and she was taking advantage of that fact.
I weakly nodded my head in agreement.
“Just let me get a book first before you go to sleep.”
She beamed at me in response.
I went straight to the nearest bookshelf that housed fictional books wherein the majority of the genre was that of a fantasy, like Twilight, Harry Potter, and stuff.
I grazed my index finger on the spine of the books as I took tentative steps, skimming the titles to see if anything would catch my interest.
Aside from studying, reading was one of the things I enjoy doing. I actually had a mini bookshelf in my room that I bought years ago. I would read when I had nothing better to do at home, or when the summer vacation would come.
I was the type to stay at home even if I was alone most of the time unless Aeri would drag me to come with her someplace.
“Jimin?” Someone softly called.
Oh my god.
This voice, this intoxicating smell, this unique aura. They could only come from that person.
“Fancy seeing you here.”
“Are you stalking me, Minjeong Kim?” I accused without removing my gaze from the books in front of me.
“I am too attractive to be a stalker.”
The conceitedness had me scoffing.
“Oh? Is that why you have the audacity to use women for your own interest? Because you know you are attractive?”
When I didn’t hear an answer right away, I looked over my shoulder to see if she was still there, only to be met by a wicked wide grin.
“Is that jealousy I am hearing, Jimin?” she teased as she stepped forward toward me.
I felt my whole system going haywire.
ing hell, why did I say that?
“J-Jealousy your face!” I stuttered out, stepping backward to put distance between us. “Why would I be jealous? I don’t even like you.”
Her grin grew even wider, her eyes twinkling in delight.
“Of course, you will not admit that you are jealous. Girls never do.” She scooted closer, leveling her face with mine. “I have a suggestion; why don’t you claim me already so I’ll be all yours?”
I gulped, unable to bring myself to speak because of the sudden proximity.
I could smell her perfume, could feel myself getting dizzy because of it.
The heat coming off her body, her warm breathing hitting my face.
A lot of things were happening all at once I was having a difficult time digesting them all.
Her hand reached out to my chin, coaxing me to look at her eyes that looked so mesmerizing right now. It was so, so dark that you’d think it was capable of you in like what black holes do.
“Damn, you are so beautiful.”
My eyes closed by themselves when I saw her slowly leaning in.
I don’t know what I was expecting to come, don’t know why I just stood there like a mannequin, unknowingly giving her the power to do whatever she wanted to me, but when I heard a low chortle instead of something I prefer not to mention, I knew I was played again.
“Don’t worry,” she whispered, almost inaudible. “I will never kiss you without your consent.”
I pushed her with all the strength I had in me, sending her tumbling backward.
“ you and your games!”
I was so angry.
I never felt so humiliated in my life.
And knowing that she was the cause of it... ing god.
“Hey, chill.” She moved to try to hold me, but I slapped her hand away in disgust.
“God, I hate you so much,” I hissed.
, I could feel myself trembling because of so much anger.
She was looking at me as if she wanted to say something, an unreadable look etched on her face.
“Don’t you ever show your face to me again.”
I turned around, marching my way out of the scene as if my life depended on it.
God, that was so ing embarrassing.
Why did I let her do that?
I should’ve pushed her away when I still had the chance.
I’m so stupid.
I was halfway out when I heard her spoke.
“Date me, Jimin.”
I stopped dead in my tracks to look at her incredulously.
“Date me for a month,” she repeated with conviction this time. “And I’ll be out of your life.”
“What the are you saying?”
“I’ll help you with Ryujin,” she followed, her teeth pressed together. “Just date me for a month. That’s all I’m asking.”