He sits up on the couch. "Sss ah!" he yelps. His ribs are hurting. He lifts up his shirt and besides the very chiseled 6-pack is a big purplish, blackish bruise right on his left side of his ribs. He tries to touch it just a bit, "Ahhh!" he yelps again. His puts his shirt down slowly and looks around for a moment. This is definitely not my house, he thinks to himself.
The place he was in was much bigger and nicer than his own. Everything seemed to sparkle. There were all types of electronics and artwork everywhere. The furniture was so white, it made even the clouds in the sky seem like it needed a good cleaning.
"Where am I?" Jinki questions out loud.
He looks down to the coffee table next to the couch he's laying on. There was a note, it said:
Hello, are you up now? I hope you feel better. Please make yourself comfortable, don't move around too much. There should be some aspirin right in front of you. Please take it with the glass of water. You'll feel better. I left some food for you in the dining. Please eat it all! I will be back soon. Don't worry.
Aspirin....Jinki doesn't know really know much about medicine, but he knows that this type of medicine is suppose to take pain away. He sees two pills and a glass of water by the note. He stares at it for about a minute debating whether or not he should take it. Afterall, he is in some strangers place.
He lifts up his shirt again and looks down at the bruise across his ribs. He decides to take the aspirin. He reaches over for it and the little movement he made gave him pain. When he finishes swallowing the pills he slowly gets up and walks around the place for a bit, being amazed by every little thing he sees.
He soon finds a restroom, which he's been wanting to use since he had awaken. The mirror in the bathroom catches his attention. He gets a glimpse of his face. His right cheek is swollen red and there is a mark on his lip where it was busted. He touches his face lightly and flinches a little because of the pain on his cheek. he stares at his reflection thinking, this is what I look like. He's seen himself in reflections before but nothing like this. Not this clearly.
Suddenly he starts seeing himself when he was younger...
Jinki was outside playing with all of the animals. He really loved the animals that his grandparents had. They were the only ones that he actually felt comfortable around. Even when it was time for him to go inside he would sneak and go play with them some more just for a little while, they were his only friends.
He especailly liked the cow that was there. There was only one cow so he felt the cow was lonely and would spend most of his time with him. His grandfather hated when he was outside near the animals. He thought that with Jinki around them, they get sick or somehow die. He also thought Jinki would let some of the animals go. But Jinki never thought of that.
One day, it was getting dark and Jinki was suppose to go inside for dinner. But he wanted to stay out with the cow for a little longer, just a little bit. His grandmother had called him inside to come and eat and Jinki told her he'd be there in a few minutes.
Just a minute later his grandfather storms outside into the barn and goes straight up to Jinki and back hands him right in the face. Jinki had fell to the ground and started tearing up. He grabbed his face tightly and looked at his grandfather angry.
"You got something to say boy?" he said to Jinki.
Jinki looked away and said, "No..."
"Then get your ass in the house like your grandmother said! Now I told you I don't like you hanging around these animals! If I catch you out here again you'll be living with them. Better yet, you'll become their dinner!" Jinki's grandfather threatened him.
As his grandfather stormed back into the house Jinki slowly stood up. He looked at the cow once more and said "I'm sorry." and walked towards the house.
He ran inside and he went straight upstairs to the bathroom to go and clean his face off so his grandmother wouldn't see.
He rans the water in the bathroom sink and took a towel and soaked it with cold water. He pressed the wet cold towel against his lip lightly and wiped all of the blood off. Then he took the same towel and pressed it against his cheek. It was painful. As he stood there he looked at himself in the mirror. He slowly took the towel off his cheek and stared at himself straight in the eye.
He thought about the way his grandfather treated him and wandered if things would get better. All he could do was hope...
---BACK TO THE PRESENT----
After thinking about the past Jinki no longer wants to look at himself in the mirror. He quickly leaves the bathroom and heads into the dining room. There he sees a spot set up with food for him to eat. He sits down and looks at everything. He doesn't think much of it and hurries and eats it quickly. The food was delicious. He hasn't had a real meal in he doesn't even know how long.
When he finished eating all of the food he takes everything into the kitchen and decides to clean all of his dishes. He figured, since this stranger has gone through so much to help him he mine as do something in return, even if its only this little.
He soon felt tired again and decides to go back to the couch to lay down. Quickly falling asleep he starts having a dream. His dream is about a beautiful women in white. She was the most beautiful person he had ever seen in his life. He's not sure why he's dreaming of her.
Soon after he hears a noise in the kitchen and he instantly wakes up. He slowly gets up and makes his way into the kitchen. As he enters, he sees a person but can't make out who it is. He walks a little closer, slowly. From behind she looks like a woman, but still hasn't seen her face. Still walking slowly around the kitchen island he sees her. It's the women he had dreamed of, right in front of his eyes. He's in shock and can't move anymore.
She turns around with a tray in her hand, and not knowing he was standing there she gets a shock and drops everything. This snaps him back to reailty.
"Omo!" she says. "You scared me!" she laughs.
As she bends down to pick up the things she's dropped Jinki quickly tries to help her. Not paying attention, Jinki stares at her with amazement. She IS the most beautiful women he's ever seen. He can't help himself. She then looks up at him. With little hesitation he quickly looks away as if he wasn't looking at her at all.
But she knows he was staring. She smiles at him. They both stand up and she sets the tray on the counter. He stares at her more.
Then asks, "Are you the one who wrote me the note?"
Then he asks, "So you are the one who brought me here?"
"Yes." She says. "Hi, I'm Eun Jung. Ham Eun Jung." She puts out her hand to give him a handshake. "What's your name?"
"Lee Jin Ki." he replies, and grabs her hand. Instantly he gets tingles up his spine. Jinki is nervous. He's never been this nervous in his entire life. He's not sure how to handle this feeling either.
They both stand there with each others hands in the other staring in an awkward silence. She lets go.
"I was going to bring you fresh fruit to eat but as you can see I dropped it all." she laughs.
"Oh, I'm sorry." He apologizes. "I shouldn't have snuck up on you like that."
"No thats okay." she says.
They both stand there awkwardly.
"Well," Eun Jung breaking the silence. "Would you like anything to drink? I'm sure you're thirsty."
"No thank you, I'm fine." Jinki replies.
"Come on, she says, no need to be modest. I'll get you something and you go and sit down." she tells him.
Eunjung brings out a tray with hot tea on it. She sets a cup down for Jinki and fills it up with tea. Then she does the same for herself. She sits down in the chair next to the couch and takes a sip of her hot drink. Jinki stares at her once again. As she sets her cup down she ask Jinki, "So how old are you?"
"Ahm, 22." Jinki says stiffly.
"Ahh, so you are older than me." Eunjung claims as she shakes her head in approval.
"Hmm, really? How old are you?" Jinki asks her.
"I'm only 20. My birthday was a few weeks ago." She replies.
"I see." Jinki says and turns his head away from her.
There was an awkward silence.
"Um, wh-why did you help me and bring me here?" He asks Eunjung.
"Well," she begins. "When I saw thsoe boys messing with you, I couldn't just leave it alone. Would you have rather they beat you until you couldn't walk?"
"No, but...you could have gotten hurt or something trying to help me. What if they went after you?" Jinki tries to tell her.
"No worries. I have a black belt in Taekwondo and I know Judo, I've also taken up some kick-boxing. I can protect myself." Eunjung tells him.
"But still..." Jinki says in concern. He continues, "Why did you bring me here? You don't know who I am. I could be like one of them."
"Well are you?" She asks.
"No, but-" He tries to say before she cut him off.
"Well, then it's settled. Besides, you don't look like you could hurt a fly." Eunjung says.
"That still doesn't answer why you brought me here to your home." he says. "What if your parents come home and see me here? Won't they be worried?" He asked.
"I don't live with my parents." Eunjung replies. "They live in America right now."
"Oh, but you still-"
Eunjung then cuts Jinki off again. "Look, you were passed out. I tried to ask you where you lived but you couldn't hear me. You actually kind of scared me." She tells Jinki
He sits there quietly thinking for a moment.
"You could have taken me to the hospital though." He says.
"I wanted to at first, but its too far away and if I had called an ambulance they would have taken too long to arrive. Who knows what state you'd be in by the time they had gotten here. Plus, my place was literally right there, my first instinct was to get you in a warm place and try to fix you up. So I just brought you here without thinking." Eunjung explains to Jinki. "Besides, my father is a doctor, so I just called him up and asked him what to do. He told me everything and that it sounded like you'd be fine."
They both sit there in silence, awkwardly.
"Can't you just thank me or something? Instead of scolding me for bringing you to a safe place?" She asks him.
"Oh, well....thank you very much for helping me." Jinki replied.
"It's okay." She said with a smile. "I'm sure anyone else would have done the same."
"No...I don't think they would have." He says.
"Why don't you think so?" Eunjung asks confused.
"It's nothing." He replied.
Another awkward moment of silence passes.
Eunjung bites her lips a bit and looks down at her fingers and fidgets.
"Oh!" She says loudly. "Are you hungry? I can make us some food." She tells Jinki.
"Oh, no no no." Jinki replies. "I should go home now. You've done enough. I am fine, thank you."
He stands up quickly and bows to her so he can take his leave. He hurries to the door.
"Wel-well wait!" Eunjung quickly says. "Let me walk you home." She offers.
"No, no thank you. I can manage. You don't need to do that. you should stay here and rest." Jinki tells her.
"No it's no problem. I want to. I need the fresh air anyways." She tries to convince him.
Jinki feels kind of uncomfortable with her offer. However, he has this feeling that no matter how many times he says it, she won't take no for an answer. So he agrees.
"Okay then." He says in an uncomfortable tone of voice.
She quickly grabs her coat in excitment and Jinki just stares. Her smile is so beautiful he thought. She glowed so brightly. He couldn't handle it and had to force himself to look away, he knew this would probably be the last time he saw her so he didn't want to get used to it.
As they set off to Jinki's home, the sun was very bright. He stopped at one point and looked toward sthe sky. Eunjung looked at Jinki and saw hurt in his eyes. He looked so says, even with a smile on his face. It looked like he used his smiles to cover up so many scars. She wanted to do something to help.
"Come on." She says to Jinki as she grabs his arm and starts walking faster.
"Wait, where are we going?" Jinki asks her as he's being pulled.
"Just come on!" Eunjung replies and starts running.
Eunjung takes Jinki to an arcade close by to play videos games. She goes to find her favoirte game, which is Pacman. As she starts playing with excitement. Jinki keeps his eye fixed on the game. He's never played on of these before, she he's amazed at what he sees. He's always wondered what it was like to play when he would see others laughing and having a good time around them; but he never got to try for himself.
"Here, you try." Eunjung says to him.
"I don't know how, I've never played before." Jinki tells her.
"Here, just try it, it's easy. I'll show you." She insists.
She shows him all of the buttons and rules ot the game.
"See that yellow thing right there?" She asks him.
"Yes." He says.
"Well thats you. And all the little dots there you have to eat fast before one of those ugly looking colorful things come and eat you." She explains to him. "The big dots over in the corners are kind of like life savers. Once you eat those, you can go and eat the ugly gumdrop thingys. They try to run away from you, but if you're fast, you can eat a couple of them before they turn back to normal. You have to be quick in this game."
Jinki tries it out. He died instantly in the first few times, but after a while, he starts getting the hang of it. Eunjung and Jinki takes turns at the game for over an hour, smiling and laughing together.
After they finish, the sun starts setting and they begin walking again. As they continue, they approach a Tteokbokki stand. Jinki stops and looks at it. Eunjung notices him and stares at him, wondering what he's doing. She then looks at the Tteokbokki also. Jinki is remincsing about the last time he ate Tteokbokki. It was with his dad not too long before he died. He hasn't had any since.
Eunjung, watching Jinki, has an idea. She goes up to the Tteokbokki ajumma to buy some for them to eat. "Ajummoni, two please." She asks the ajumma.
The Ajumma prepares two small plates of Tteokbeokki and hands her two toothpicks to eat with. Eunjung brings it over to Jinki and tries to hand him one. Jinki looks down and then looks at Eunjung confused.
"Here, eat it." she says.
Hesitant, he takes the plate without saying a word. He didn't even realize she had went and got any. she smiles and looks at him then starts stuffing her face. She makes a cute little face when she eats, like a child. He smiles at her and starts eating the Tteokbokki too. The taste brought him back to his early childhood. The feeling made him warm inside, this makes him happy once again.
They start walking again after they finish. By the time they reach the alley where Jinki resides its dark. Eunjung, looking around, begings to have a worried look on her face. Jinki catches it.
"Don't worry." He says with a grin. "This is where I live."
"Here?" She says with a suprised look.
"Mhm." He nods.
The worried look kind of fades once they reach the door.
"Well." He says. Thank you for yesterday, and today. I haven't laughed like that in years."
He opens the door and begins to enter to hurry away from any awkwardness that would happen. Plus, he wants to hurry and forget about her because he knows he will never see her again. As this happens, Eunjung suddenly grabs his arm to stop him. Jinki stops and becomes very stiff. His eyes widen.
"could...could I come in please, to use your bathroom. I really have to go." Eunjung says.
A sigh of relief flows through Jinki's body.
"Umm, I'm not sure if that's such a good idea. The place I live in isn't as nice and clean as yours." He tries to tell her.
"It doesn't matter. Please, I really have to go." Eunjung says.
Jinki becomes hesitant...."Umm, o-okay I guess. Don't say I didn't warn you."
As they walk up the stairs and into his home Eunjung looks around for a bit. What Jinki said was right, it was nothing like her place, or anyone else at that.
"Do you live here by yourself?" She asks as she slowly looks around.
"Yes." Jinki replied.
"Where is your family then?" She ask asked.
"Um....I don't have family." Jinki told her.
She looks at him without saying anything for a moment.
"I'm sorry." she said to him.
"Its okay, I'm used to having no one around. It's not so bad." Jinki tells her.
He shows her to the restroom. It's not like hers, there isn't even a mirror or a shower of some sort. As she stands there in the bathroom, she doesn't evne have to go anymore. But she just stood there anyways. She tries to turn on the water faucet in the sink but it doesn't work. She wonders how he even uses the bathroom without water running. Out of curiousity, she flushes the toliet to see if it works. It does. So she assumes that the faucet must be broken.
She looks at the bucket sitting next to the sink filled with water. This must be how he washes, she thinks to herself. Eunjung turns around and leans against the sink. She looks up to the ceiling and sees all types of water damage and mold. She instantly starts tearing up. Soon the tears start falling down her face.
Why does a person have to live like this? She question herself. Especially a good person like Jinki-ssi.
"Are you okay in there?" Jinki says as he knocks lightly.
"Um yes." Eunjung exclaims, as she quickly wipes the tears off her face. "Be out in a minute!" She tells him.
She thinks to herself for a moment. No, this can't be like this, it has to change. She opens the door and sees jinki standing in the middle of the room. She smiles at him and begins walking towards him. He smiles back.
"Jinki-ssi." She says
"Yes?" He replied.
"Do you like living her by yourself?" She asked him.
"Um, I guess I'm kind of used to it. It's alright here." He tells her.
She looks around and circles a bit. She walks towards his table and grabs the cup he usually drinks out of. She stares at it for a few seconds, then puts it down. She turns around to Jinki slowly.
"Would you like to come and live at my place?" She bluntly asks.
"What?!" Jinki asks, not sure if he heard her right.
She replies, "Come....live with me Jinki-ssi....."