I always heard people saying every summer has a story, except me. I never had a real wild adventure.
My name is Moon Chae Won, and that year, my summer story began and changed my entire being forever.
I am a weather forecaster. If you ask me whether it’s my dream, well it wasn’t really! But I came to appreciate it. The more I give my job a second thought, the more I found it deeper than a simple and pretty woman introducing today’s weather.
I was a practical woman who thought about every step she should take. I had everything any woman would want: a beautiful face, a nice and stable job and many admirers. Wherever I go, people recognize me as the lovely weather forecaster.
My parents always nag me to go on vacation. That summer, they booked a plane ticket and hotel room for two weeks in Jeju Island. They were so excited sending me out. I resented them for it, but now, I’m so thankful they cared enough for me to send me to what is now my destiny.
I was lonely during the flight, seeing a young couple –probably my age- sitting beside me made me for the first time envious. That woman appeared to have the perfect man except maybe his physics. He had chubby cheeks, permed hair (like ahjummas) and nerdy glasses. But it didn’t matter; as he stood up I noticed his tall feature, his large shoulders and well build abs. (His arms looks great with his sleeves rolled up a little.)
The reason I envied her was the way he cared for her. He made sure she was comfortable, and even sat straight the entire flight so she could lean her head on his shoulder. She slept at ease since he was adjusting her every now and then.
I didn’t realize we arrived; I had given up to sleep. Thanks lord the guy from earlier woke me up; he even helped me pulling down my luggage.
I had a light dinner and immediately went to my room to sleep. I wasn’t expecting much from this trip.
I put on my swimsuit and walked to the beach the very next day. The hotel I stayed in had a wonderful view on it, and the pool was crowded.
It was a peaceful moment, until some kids playing volley-ball dropped their ball on my face. I wanted to kick them one by one. It was a hot day, and they ruined my mood. I figured refreshing myself with cold salty water would help.
I’m not going to lie; I don’t know how to swim, more precisely, I have a fear of watter. I even ran away in my first attempts to enter the freezing water. I finally went in; the water stopped at my thighs and around me were little kids with buoys playing in the water. I was kind of ashamed; my pride pushed me to go further in.
I felt someone pushing me and the rest is mystery to me. I opened my eyes to someone’s lips over mine, his hand over my chest pushing it up and down, the next thing I saw was a well built torso, I must have gazed too long, the minute I lifted my head I saw him blushing.
I should have been embarrassed, but I was more fixing myself. Don’t blame me, we all read since kids that our handsome prince charming saves us somehow.
"Excuse me? What did you say?"
I must be thinking out loud. He blinked his eyes.
"Oh! I … nothing." I stuttered for the first time in my life. It was officially the worst day in my life, but giving it a second thought now, it is the most amazing memory “the first time we met, like really met.”
"Are you okay Miss?"
He helped me up, I nodded still looking down. I felt my cheeks turning red from the heat. Damn you hot summer!
"Maybe I should take you to hospital?" He asked.
He was really nice caring for someone he just met.
"She’s fine! How about putting some cream on my back before I get sunburns?"
I turned around and choked on some salty water I still had down my throat. She was the girl from the flight. I turned around to the man who was tapping on my back. My eyes widened, who could have thought a nerdy guy looks so hot without his nerdy glasses and his stupid perm? And damn that water dripping from his hair making him hotter!
"Oh, you’re the same lady from the flight, right?" He asked and I nodded.
He immediately pulled his hand for a shake.
"I’m Lee Seung Gi, nice to meet you." He bowed a little.
"The pleasure is mine. I’m Moon Chae Won." I bowed back.
We heard a sigh and turned to the woman.
"This is Son Ga In, my girlfriend."
I bowed to her, seizing the moment to pull myself together. She just rolled her eyes then ran to her boyfriend slipping her arm under his and dragging him away.
"I hope we could meet later."
He managed shouting while she gave him a glare.
I was doing some math in my head: when adding +1 to -1 it gives zero! My conclusion: this couple won’t last. At least I hoped so. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not like I have a crush on the guy or something. I just think someone nice (and hot) like him deserves better.
I sat in my hotel room. It was quiet, and I was so bored from loneliness. Seriously what did my parent thought I’d do alone in a foreign place?
I still dressed and took my time making myself pretty. Who knows? Someone could recognize me and I might be in bad attire.
I took a sit on a table next to the glassed wall. I took my time ordering, and sipped some water looking outside. Did I tell you the hotel I stayed in has a beautiful view on the beach?
Dinner would be delicious and boring. I had no appetite eating alone.
"Do you mind if we join you?"
I heard a man’s voice, my pride boosted. I turned and to my surprise…
"Obviously she does! We should sit alone … for some privacy’s sake!"
The woman “Ga In-sshi” said. I nodded with a smile. I felt bad for him, and was satisfied I pissed her off.
Okay, I admit I was really happy seeing him again. He got rid of his glasses, and his hair was messy –no, it wasn’t permed- he looked handsome.
He pulled the chair for her and she sat like the queen owning the world. It’s official, I hate her.
"I already ordered … you should too."
I said the minute they sat down. He smiled to me while she rolled her eyes. He called the waiter, and after scrolling at the menu and asking for “what she likes to eat”, he finally ordered.
"Your face seems familiar."
He remarked as we began eating.
"I’m a weather forecaster; you must have seen me once."
"Who cares what you do?" She mumbled but I clearly heard her.
Seung Gi cleared his throat and smiled awkwardly. How could he support such a person?
"It looks exciting as a job. I always wanted to be a TV reporter or something."
"It looks boring as hell to me." That Ga In was going to receive a slap from me.
"It was boring; I learned how to appreciate it. What do you do in life?"
He chewed his food slowly, swallowed it and smiled. At his sight, I thought he had the greatest job ever.
"He’s just an elementary school teacher."
She scoffed like always, showing she has no interest in our talk.
"It’s great to be around kids, they are adorable."
I tried cheering the mood that was ruined by miss girlfriend.
"It’s really amazing, as an elementary teachers, I feel proud seeing them writing and doing calculation when they knew nothing. I always learn new things from them. Their innocence inspires me to be a better person."
I nodded as he kept talking; indeed, he has the most amazing job ever.
I actually enjoyed our talk a lot, if not for miss ruining it with her continued sighs and scoffs.
I went to bed right after shower. The day was unexpectedly exciting. Looking forward to the next days, I fell asleep.
The next days were boring. So boring I wanted to cry. I was lonely, and the minute I caught a glimpse of Seung Gi and wave my hand for him, his girlfriend dragged him away. She obviously didn’t like me back but I couldn’t care less.
After three days, we actually met. He was happy to see me with his large smile.
"I’m sorry; it might seem incorrect of me to ask this." I blinked, he was confusing me. "Ga In is on her period and she has a horrible stomachache. Should I take her to hospital?"
I laughed secretly at her; the evil duckling got what she deserves. If not for Seung Gi’s sake, I’d leave her rot in pain.
I accompanied him to the pharmacy and made sure he bought the right medicine.
"Make her some herbal tea; also a hot compress would do wonders."
He thanked me, promising me to make it up to me for sure. I smiled and hang onto his word, hoping these upcoming days will be better.
The next two days, I heard nothing from him. I came to meet a group of tourists, a group of four friends here for some holidays. They were nice, and it felt good hanging out with them.
I had a week left. Losing that bitterness of being alone, I wore shorts and large shirt ready for an adventure. I put on trainers, ready to walk down the small forest and climbing some mountains.
I took a deep breath once outside the hotel. The weather was sunny with a fresh air blowing; it was perfect for a walk.
""Do you mind me joining you?"
I was so absorbed in my thoughts; I jumped at the face beside mine. I was so surprised seeing him bending over to my level.
"What are you doing here?" I admit, I panicked thus forgot his question and instead asked one.
"I’m spending my holidays here." He made a thinking face. "I saw you from afar, and since we’re both alone, I figured we could use each other’s company."
He looked so at ease with me, I looked around him; the witch was nowhere to be seen.
"Ga In left, she had work to handle."
He looked uncomfortable; I smiled to suppress the weird atmosphere.
"I wanted to take a walk around, I’d use some company."
I smiled to him inviting him along with me.
It was my first time at Jejudo. He told me he came by often since he loves the beach. He was a total pro in here, showing me around and taking me wherever I wanted to go.
I had exactly 7 days before I depart. After I met Seung Gi, we headed to Geomunoreum Lava Tube System.
Since it was early in the morning, we started with Crater Course: a little walk around nature. We found a guided tour and Seung Gi told me it’s better to see more. From Lava Gorge, Aloreum Observatory, Cave–Charcoal Kiln, Punghyeol Volcanic Bombs to Byeongcham Road and finally Sujikgol. It took us two hours, we continued alone until Summit which took another hour and a half.
He held my hand when I couldn't walk in the slippy cave; he waited whenever I could walk and allowed me to rest.
"It’s lunch time, some sea food suits the day. What do you want to eat?"
He cheered, arriving down the city. I was too tired to think of anything else.
"If you know a near place I won’t say no."
He smiled and led me to a small place, it was near the beach and many fishermen were there working. I put my hand on my nose since the smell was too strong.
"I’m sorry; I didn’t ask whether you would love to eat in such a place."
We were in the corner, and from the look I gave my surroundings, he knew I wasn’t found of the place.
"It’s okay, I hope they have a good menu."
"Their food is the best. "He gave me a thump up.
An ahjumma brought us two servings of abalone’s stew and side dishes. Seung Gi stood up and bowed greeting her. She hugged him and patted his face; I seriously thought she was his mother.
"Who is this lovely lady?" She asked him, I stood and bowed.
"I’m Moon Chae Won, nice to meet you." I blushed and said shyly.
She smiled widely and hugged me too.
"Finally you met a nice girl. She said. Please, don’t let this boy slip out of your hands, he’s a keeper."
I was red and so was Seung Gi, she misunderstood. He explained to her that we’re just friends; she gave us a side look but then just let us enjoy our food.
The food was the best I ever tasted; I asked him whether she’s a relative. I was surprised when he told me he met her in one of his trips in here.
He insisted we should visit the Hallasan National park. I didn’t know what it had so special.
"It’s your first time in Jejudo, you need to experience everything."
We took a cab there. Once there, I frowned seeing people from afar walking. He smiled widely and guided me by the hand to a little office not far away. He left me to chat with a man that he appeared to be close to.
I was terrified when he walked to me with two horses.
"Are you expecting me to ride this?"
"Why? Are you afraid of it?"
He was obviously teasing me. I rolled my eyes and walked away. He totally took me by surprise. He lifted me and put me on the horse, I shouted non-stop. He took my hand and squeezed it lightly, I shut up by miracle.
"Put your feet on the stirrup."
He commended, I gave him a blank face. He took my foot and put it on that metallic triangle shaped thing. He gave me a look to the other foot and I put it in.
"Now hold onto the rein. Loosen up your grip, if you tighten it, it’ll run with you on him."
He scared me, I hold onto the rein with trembling hands. He led the horse and started walking slowly, it was magical. I lost my fears and enjoyed the moment.
"Should we go now?" He asked me, my smile disappeared.
"You mean, I’ll walk with it, what if it somehow starts running? Are you going to take responsibility for my health?"
I shouted at him, his mouth was O shaped, not knowing what to say.
He took the rein from my hand, and put my hands on the horn. He started walking with me on the horse.
The views were great; it was a long walk of more than three hours. I felt bad for him walking because of me.
Once in the hotel, he excused himself. I felt so bad, he must be exhausted.
I wasn’t expecting him to be waiting for me the next day. We went to Udo by boat, and spent the day there. As always he showed me around and I followed through. Who would have thought this trip would turn this amazing?
The day after, was a cultural day. From Jeju National Museum, Jeju Folklore & Natural History Museum, Jeju Folk Village Museum , Jeju Haenyeo Museum and O'Sulloc Museum. Did I leave one out?
You must think it was boring? Well, no! Having Seung Gi telling you history on his own manner made it exciting. He told me he discovered this way, and it makes kids more attentive to his explanation.
"I guess it works for every age!" I cheered him, he was proud.
"I feel so proud when I see the kids achieving good grades."
Our cultural tour continued to the next day. It was funny and interesting this time without Seung Gi’s help. Well seeing him carrying a big Teddy bear that I wanted was a cute sight actually.
Yes you guessed right: the Teddy Bear Museum. Then we headed to the Chocolate Museum, a fiesta to chocolate lovers, we skipped lunch we were full with chocolate.
The last stop was the trick Art Museum. It’s the first museum in Korea to show optical illusion art, and is located in Seogwipo City nearby the Seongeup Folk Village. Exhibitions on walls and floors are rendered in three dimensions. Exhibitions consist of seven themed sections: Parody Zone (showing famous paintings and sculptures), Animal Zone, Jurassic Zone, Aquarium Zone, Egypt Zone, Magic Zone, and Illusion Zone.
Trick art renders two dimensional paintings in three dimensions by creating illusion. Each work looks differently when seen from different angles or spots. Its magic magnifies when seen from camera lenses. We took pictures with various fun poses blending nicely with exhibitions. We also took a couple’s picture, a nice foreigner offered to take it.
"You make a lovely couple."
He couldn’t keep it to himself, I was going to say otherwise, but Seung Gi put his arm around my shoulders and thanked him, I blushed.
Since the Museum also houses a Movie Parody and Dinosaur Adventure Hall, we made sure to watch something.
For dinner he took me to a classic restaurant. It was a change to have Italian food instead of local food.
We took the day after as a rest. But when I walked to the hotel yard near the pool, there I found him, with a Bermuda shorts and sunglasses on a beach chair. I checked myself before I joined him. Oh! I was wearing a red bikini for anyone who wondered!
I blocked the sun that was hitting his face. He must have been asleep, seeing him jumping at my sight. He pulled himself together and offered me a sit.
"I thought you wanted to rest today." I asked him
"That’s what I’m doing." He smiled.
We were silent for quite a long time. I felt kind of awkward, from the glances I stool of him, he wasn’t at all looking at me. I darted my eyes to his body. You may say I’m a , but hey! Won’t you do the same to hot nearby guy?
"Are you enjoying the sight?"
I looked the other way and fanned my face. He arranged his position to sitting.
"Won’t you swim?" He asked standing up.
"N-no, I want to rest." I don’t know how to swim, I wanted to say.
He nodded and walked to the pool. He dived in the water and took some rounds in it. A waiter came to me with a glass of wine.
"It was sent to you miss."
I was fluttered, and my woman pride boosted. A slight piece of me hoped Seung Gi sent it.
"From who?" I asked. He pointed to a direction and following his eyes I saw a handsome but quite old man. He lifted his glass as cheers and I lifted mine bowing to him as a thank you.
Seung Gi came back; he made a face to my unusual happiness.
"You’re happy an ahjusshi flirted with you?"
He had sarcasm in his voice, and I smelled jealousy.
"He’s a good looking ahjusshi."
I answered with the same sarcasm. He frowned and closed his eyes to sleep.
Though we took lunch together, the “ahjusshi” joined us for dinner.
"It’s a pleasure to meet the beautiful Moon Chae Won."
I was surprised he knew my name.
"You don’t know me?" I shook my head. "You crashed my pride."
I lowered my head and apologized.
"I’m Lee Seo Jin."
My jaw dropped, the person sitting beside me is the legendary Lee Seo Jin. A quick introduction, he’s a journalist known in the political section of Seoul’s news. He’s everything a journalist want to be.
"It’s an honor to meet you sunbaenim." I quickly bowed my head. I totally forgot Seung Gi.
We kept talking about our job and it was a good experiment for me. Thinking about it now makes me realize what a great person Seung Gi is. He sat with us and was left out, but still he was very friendly the lasting two days.
We met the next morning; he told me yesterday that we’re going to the beach “Hyeopjae” and prepare myself. We took a cab there.
It was a lovely beach: white stretch of sand running alongside waters. The shallow waters and gently-sloping shoreline makes it the ideal place for beginner swimmers. How could I not understand his purpose before that?
"Today, I’ll teach you how to swim." He said taking off his clothes. I was used to his abs by then.
"I took swimming lessons; I have a phobia of water."
He looked at me confused.
"I’ll try my best to make you trust the water."He winked to me.
"Em?" I blinked my eyes.
"I’ll take it as a challenge, how to approach a kid who has a fear of something and how to cure him! You’ll help me, right?"
He gave me his best puppy eyes; I figured it’s a nice gesture of me to help him. Now, I know he was the one who helped me.
"Just grab my shoulders when you won’t be able to touch the ground, okay?"
"Are you a good swimmer?"
I asked out of concern.
"Yes I am, don’t you remember that I saved you?"
I closed my eyes and stock to his arm.
Water level was getting higher. With the next step, I couldn't find the ground; I jumped to his chest hugging him out of panic. He must have been choked. He raised his hands in the air. When I lifted my eyes, I saw the expression he had. If I didn’t know he had a girlfriend, I could have misunderstood him.
I slowly moved to his back, it felt so good. I give myself permission to move my hands along his chest pretending fixing my position. It was awkward to him.
We left the water once a day, only to have lunch. We decided to have dinner in the beach after witnessing the sunset.
I wasn’t expecting to meet the four foreigners I met earlier. They were two couples, and accepted our offer to join them.
The guys prepared dinner, grilled meat, abalones and fish. While we the girls enjoyed some time.
We made a circle and take turns sharing stories. Since we were sitting by couples, I was next to Seung Gi. We shared some funny then scary stories. I got myself closer to Seung Gi and slipped my hand under his arm, I was scared.
"So how did the two of you meet?" One guy asked.
We first heard the other couple’s story, and then the second shared his. We were the only friend couple in there.
"We met last week, and we’re in a dating contract."
Seung Gi said causing my jaw to drop, he laughed then explained we’re only friends.
"You two make a perfect match, you should date."
We both blushed and laughed awkwardly.
"Seriously, I was so envious when I saw the way he cared for you earlier in the water." One of the girls stated. "You should learn from him." She gave her boyfriend a glare.
"The way you look at each other isn’t a friendly look."
The other finished. They started chanting for us to date.
"Moon Chae Won; will you be my date for those lasting days?"
He put his hand asking for mine. I was taken aback, but went back to reality after realizing the others are waiting for my response.
I nodded, giving him my hand and holding his. In my head thinking I only had a day left but he didn’t know.
The next morning was a surprise to me. He just told me to wear something casual and comfortable shoes. “We’re walking again.” I also noticed a basket he was carrying, a lunch box?
True, we were walking for more than an hour. The views were breathtaking, but I had no idea where we were going.
After a while I heard sound of falling water, I was speechless. I so wanted to go there!
What I’ve seen this whole week won’t stand a chance next to the magnificence of the view I was offered. We walked near the water fall, it was magical and I fell in love with the scene.
We found a calm place, and as expected, he brought a lunch box.
"Who made it? It’s so good." I asked stuffing my mouth, I was starving.
"Me." He was racing me over the food though it was enough to feed ten people.
We fought over some bites here and there. It was a great feeling to be around him. If he wasn’t taken, I would dare making the first move.
We walked again, and this time inside the mountain, behind the water fall. The inside view could beat the outside view. He held my hand helping me walking. Once outside, he let go of it.
We continued our walk, I was so carried away with my emotions, I didn’t see a rock and tripped and fell. As much as it hurt, I was more embarrassed. He cleaned my wound and helped me out. I was struggling while walking; he noticed my pain and get down on his knees.
"What?" I asked.
"Get on; I’ll give you a piggyback."
I rejected but finally given up. We continued our walk.
"How long are you staying?" His voice was so calm.
"For another week."
Yes, call me a liar, but I really wished I had another week.
"Why did you ask?"
"Just ... felt like asking."
He seriously made my heart beating fast for no reason.
"Oh!" I said out of the blue.
"It’ll rain." I just said.
"It’s this sunny, how will it rain?"
He laughed at my remark.
"I’m a weather forecaster, don’t underestimate me!"
I pouted; he laughed and continued his walk.
True to my words, it started raining after half an hour. I was expecting a little rain, but it was seriously raining.
He ran to hide somewhere; it was under a tilted big rock. He put me down my back against the rock and stock to me.
It wasn’t funny but we laughed heartedly, when we stopped, our eyes met. I read desire in his eyes and I’m sure mine reflected the same feeling. He was breathing hardly from carrying me, running and laughing. His breath kept touching my face since we were really close.
He bent down to my level, his face kept getting closer and closer. We were soaked and wet but we liked it. It was right there when he pulled back and looked away.
'Summer is filled with break out the rules, standing apart, ignoring your head, and following your heart.'
I ignored my head that told me he had a girlfriend and went for his lips. His eyes widened but I closed mine. I wasn’t that brave, I pulled back the minute I pressed my lips on his.
This time, he pulled me to him for a long kiss. I closed my eyes enjoying this feeling. I liked him, I’m attracted to him, I won’t see him after today, so why not?