Chapter 23

I Is For Irony

The wind blew softly, blowing her troubles away.  Tae Hee settled herself under the tree and closed her eyes.  This park never ceased to calm her.

 

She heard footsteps.  “Yoochun?” She sat up quickly.  A man walking his dog looked strangely at her.  “Oh sorry,” she apologized.

 

It was odd, but she had almost expected him to be here.  To comfort her.  She had gotten so used to it; without him, she felt…empty?

 

This wasn’t supposed to happen.  Not after all that happened; she couldn’t start loving Yoochun.

 

She shivered.  Maybe sitting here wasn’t going to help.

 

 

She rang the doorbell and stepped back.  Her mom would welcome her into her arms, wouldn’t she?

 

 

She stared at the steam rising from her teacup.  “Umma…I don’t know what to do.  I’m so confused.  I used him to make Jaejoong jealous.  And now?  I miss him when he’s not here.  I can’t fall in love with him; I don’t deserve it….”

 

“Maybe, just maybe you should give Yoochun a shot.  It doesn’t matter what you thought of him before, so long as your view of him has changed,” her mom suggested.

 

 

The door closed and Song Ji Hwan came running in.  “You’ll be so proud of me, Tae Hee.  You should have been there.”

 

“What’d you do?” she answered blankly.  She didn’t even have the energy to give him attitude.

 

He beamed proudly.  “I got rid of her like you wanted.”

Tae Hee froze.  “What do you mean?” she asked cautiously.  Did she want to know?

 

“Well, the only way I could get you to accept me was to get rid of her.  And well, I did just that.  She was shopping the other day, and I, well, kind of ran into her.”

 

Tae Hee gasped; she couldn’t breathe.  She hadn’t known he’d take her demand so seriously.  She hadn’t known he was desperate for her forgiveness.  This was all her fault.

 

Her phone rang and she jumped.  Speak of the devil…

 

*****

 

Tae Hee didn’t want to be here.  Anywhere but here.  Throw her into the Han River with cement shoes.  It’d be better than here.  Of all people, why would Lina call her?

 

 

She knocked on the door hesitantly.

 

“Come in…” a muffled voice answered.

 

 

Though she worked as a doctor, the room’s scent smelled strange to her.

 

 

“Hello Tae Hee!” Lina greeted brightly.

 

“How are you feeling?” she asked.  Strictly formalities.

 

 

“Tired.  Trying to fight what was supposed to happen.  I’ve given up.”  She looked up at Tae Hee and beamed.  “But don’t let my emo-ness affect the atmosphere.  You’re probably wondering why I called you here.”  She laughed.  “And perhaps even how I got a hold of your cell phone number.”

 

 

Tae Hee nodded stiffly.  “Is something wrong?”

 

 

“I realize I took Jaejoong from you.  But I’m not going to apologize for that…  Because every human being, no matter what they say, is inherently selfish.  And I knew he was in love with you when I first met him.  And I knew that you probably loved him too.  But despite that, I still fell for him.  And I know it probably angers you, hearing all of this, especially because you were the original girlfriend… so I’m sorry for that.  From what I’ve seen, it looks like you still love him.  Even if you don’t, I’m begging you, please take care of him.

 

 

“I don’t want him to be hurt again.  I’ll do anything for you.  Just, take care of him.  Make sure he doesn’t get hurt.  Comfort him when he needs it…and expose him to more “firsts”.  He’s just like a little kid, even though he claims to hate them.  He’ll forget me soon enough, and you can take back what was originally yours.

 

 

Tae Hee was silent.  “…I don’t understand.”

 

 

“Oh come on Tae Hee.  You’re a doctor; you should get it,” Lina teased.  She laid down on her pillow and looked up at the ceiling.  “Is it really possible to die from a broken heart?”

 

 

“…Lina?  Are you hurting anywhere?  I can go get the doctor to check up on you.”

 

 

“Dr. Kim Tae Hee, right?  My only request.  Take care of him.  And there’s a pile of letters on my bedstand.  Distribute them accordingly, will you?  I don’t want your message to be the only thing that Laura will hear from.  You know my cousin, she’s a little crazy.”

 

 

 

The door slid open and a nurse popped her head in.  “Miss Choi?  It’s time.”

 

“Ok.”  Lina turned her head towards Tae Hee.  “I guess it’s time for you to go.  Please remember what I asked you to do.  You’re the last person I’ll see for the day.”  She sighed.  “Goodbye Tae Hee.”

 

 

 

Walking down the empty hospital hallway, Tae Hee understood finally now. 

 

 

The abnormally calm, peaceful air…

 

 

 

It was the smell of death.

 

 

 

 

 

Tae Hee stopped in her tracks.  She turned around and ran back towards Lina’s room.

 

“No, don’t leave.  You can’t!”  She threw the door open, but the room was already empty.

 

 

The operating theater’s lights were on.  And Tae Hee nearly crumpled to the floor.  “Please…don’t go,” she whispered.

 

 

 

What was wrong with Lina?  How could she do this to her?  Just give up like this?

 

 

 

Nurses and doctors walked in and out of the theater.  With each person, she got more and more anxious.  Brain surgeries were supposed to take some time, but she was still worried.

 

“Please don’t go…”

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