Title: The One
Pairing: het!JongKey (Jonghyun/Gwiboon), Jonghyun/Sunny(SNSD), slight het!OnTae (Onew/Taeyeon)
Rating: NC-17 overall
Genre(s): romance, drama, humor, fluff, smut
Word Count: 13,299 overall
Summary: “But you'll always be my golden boy. And I'm the summer girl that you enjoy. […]
And hope that you will see that I’m the one.
” – Vanessa Carlton (The One)
Gwiboon meets Jonghyun when she’s visiting her grandma; they’re both nine years old and friendship is easy. It’s as they grow up together that things get complicated and their friendship begins to shift into unknown territory.
Written for the 2011 shineebigbang
Gwiboon scuffed the toes of her shoes into the dirt under her feet, hands clasping at the metal chains of the swing that she was perched on. She used to love spending the summer at her grandma’s house, but this year, her ninth summer, she wished that she’d been able to stay at home. Her best friend, Taeyeon, got to spend the summer swimming in the community pool and running around the neighborhood, spying on the boys who lived next door to her. But Gwiboon would miss all of that. She loved her grandmother, she really did, but she wished that she’d be able to at least be with her friends for half of the summer.
In all of the years that she’d come to her grandmother’s town, she was under the impression that there were no kids her age nearby. The house to the left of her grandma’s was inhabited by a family with three teenagers who made way too much noise late at night and the house on the right was owned by a newlywed couple who had just had a baby the summer before.
Climbing from the swing, Gwiboon began to walk toward her grandmother’s house- the park just wasn’t that interesting without Taeyeon. But then she heard a shout from behind her so she turned, watching as a boy jogged toward her from the other side of the playground.
“Who are you?” she asked as soon as he was close enough to hear her. His bright grin crumpled from her accusatory tone.
“Jonghyun,” he told her, pouting a bit, “What’s your name?”
“Gwiboon,” she cautiously replied. She knew never to talk to strangers, but in all of the videos that she’d seen in school about that, they always depicted the stranger as an adult. This boy was definitely not an adult, so she decided that it was probably okay to talk to him.
“Do you live around here?” he asked, his face more curious than hurt now.
“My grandma does,” Gwiboon explained, “I’m here for the summer. I come here every summer.”
“My family just moved here,” Jonghyun told her, reaching down to scratch at a mosquito bite on his leg, “There’s no kids on my street.”
“What street do you live on?”
Jonghyun pointed down the road at a street corner with a yellow house, “That one.”
“My grandma is the street after that,” Gwiboon said, “There’s no kids there either.”
“Are you going to be at the park tomorrow?” he asked, big eyes hopeful.
“Probably,” Gwiboon shrugged. She didn’t really like playing with boys- they got all dirty and liked bugs- but she had nothing else to do anyway.
“Okay,” Jonghyun grinned, his smile wide enough to show the empty spaces from losing his baby teeth and the places where his adult teeth were coming through, “Me too.”
Gwiboon smiled at Jonghyun before she said goodbye, running all the way home because she could. And even though she wasn’t sure about how much she’d like spending time with Jonghyun, she showed up at the park the next day anyway- that afternoon the beginning of their summer together which they spent exploring the neighborhood and making up games on the playground equipment.
It turned out that, even though Gwiboon came home to find that Taeyeon had gotten her ears pierced, she didn’t really feel like she’d missed out on anything.
The following summer, Gwiboon was once again disappointed that she’d be foregoing another three months of freedom with Taeyeon. Her memories from the previous summer were already fading and now that she’d gotten back into the routine of her life and friends at home, she wasn’t eager to leave.
So she spent the first week moping around her grandmother’s house, reading the books she had brought with her and arranging and rearranging her grandmother’s porcelain figurines on the coffee table.
“Boonie,” her grandmother finally said to her when she’d been there for a full week, “I love having you around the house, but why don’t you go out to play? Last year you played with that boy…Jonghyun! Why don’t you go to his house to see if he wants to come out and play?”
So, at her grandmother’s urging, she found herself standing at the door of Jonghyun’s house, knocking and half hoping that he wasn’t home. She’d brought her discman to her grandparents’ house and she wanted to go back and listen to the new H.O.T album.
But then she heard footsteps and Jonghyun’s mom was opening the door, greeting her and immediately calling Jonghyun’s name up the stairs.
The first thing Gwiboon noticed about the boy was that he was a little taller, looking a little like someone had grabbed his arms while another grabbed his ankles and stretched him out. His front teeth had grown in, too big for his mouth. He was in long gym shorts and a t-shirt with some sports team logo on it.
He looked surprised to see her at the door. Gwiboon figured that he was used to boys with muddy knees coming to his house rather than girls in pink ruffled shirts and rubber sandals with silver glitter infused into the plastic. She suddenly felt self-conscious. What if he didn’t want to come out to play with her? What if he didn’t even remember her?
But then he grinned, face lighting up as he jogged down the stairs- jumping down and skipping the last two steps.
“Gwiboonie!” he yelled, running up to the open door.
“Don’t call me that.” She pouted, but found a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth in response to his excitement.
“Get your shoes on,” Jonghyun’s mother told him, steering him back into the house before he could burst out the front door.
He huffed in annoyance, but complied- stuffing his feet into a pair of ratty sneakers and stepping through the threshold to the outdoors, already bounding down the front steps before his mother had even closed the door behind him.
“Wait for me!” Gwiboon complained, sandals thwacking on the hot cement as she fought to keep up with him.
“I found the creepiest house!” Jonghyun called over his shoulder, only slowing his gait slightly, “You have to see it!”
“How far is it?” Gwiboon asked, already feeling sweat gathering on her forehead underneath her bangs.
“Only three blocks,” Jonghyun assured her, practically twitching with excitement.
“You had better slow down and wait for me Kim Jonghyun,” she threatened, glaring with as much force as she could muster when Jonghyun looked over his shoulder at her.
And even though they were the same age, he immediately looked ashamed, stopping and waiting for Gwiboon to fall into step with him. She grinned in triumph, striding confidently down the side walk with Jonghyun matching her pace.
“Have you heard the new H.O.T album?” she asked after a moment only to be met with Jonghyun’s grinning face.
The next moment he had broken out into song, singing their lead single as they walked- loud enough to cause a couple of dogs in the neighborhood to bark.
“What are you doing
?” Gwiboon demanded the second she stepped around the back of Jonghyun’s house, squinting and shading her eyes with her palm.
It was the next summer- Gwiboon had finished fifth grade- and she and Jonghyun had been inseparable for most of the summer, save for the times that Jonghyun had to partake in some sort of family activity or Gwiboon was meant to be home for dinner with her grandparents.
“Butt-skiing!” he exclaimed, grinning proudly.
“…” Gwiboon just stared. The name for whatever the activity was did nothing to make it seem less dumb in her opinion.
“You just put on roller blades, squat down at the top of a grassy hill, and then roll down it!”
“Why is it called butt-skiing
?” Gwiboon asked, uttering the word with distaste.
your butt kind of brushes the ground while you’re going down,” Jonghyun told her as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.
“Why don’t you just rollerblade on the sidewalk?” she questioned, glancing toward the street where she could see a woman walking a little, poufy black dog.
“I dunno,” Jonghyun shrugged, “You can do that too. Wanna try?”
,” Jonghyun begged, putting on his best puppy-dog face.
?” he whined, lower lip stuck out. Gwiboon debated and chose not to tell him that she was pretty sure that eleven year old boys weren’t supposed to pout like that.
“I don’t want to get grass stains on my butt,” she grimaced, “Besides, it looks dumb.”
Jonghyun’s pout grew. Gwiboon sighed.
“Fine,” she relented, relieved when Jonghyun was grinning once more, “But just once
Somehow once turned into twice and then twice into three times- trading off using the one pair of rollerblades between them. Before she knew it, they had begun a butt-skiing tournament in which they were awarded points (by whoever wasn’t going down the hill at that time) for how their performance looked.
Jonghyun was much more generous with the points; therefore, Gwiboon won.
The summer after sixth grade when Gwiboon was twelve, she’d had just about enough of boys. It seemed like junior high made the boys even more loud, obnoxious, and stupid. Truthfully, the girls weren’t much better, but at least she was one of them so she had an idea about how to deal with them.
Unfortunately, the awkward puberty fairy hadn’t skipped over Jonghyun.
When she went to his house on her first full day with her grandma, she was directed out back by his mother only to find him, and five other rowdy boys, throwing rocks over the fence and squishing the neighbor’s flowers.
Apparently they found this hilarious.
Upon announcing her arrival to Jonghyun (followed by a chorus of cat-calls and teasing remarks from his companions) Jonghyun just barely waved, picking up a rather large stone and heaving it over the fence in a display of masculinity.
Gwiboon turned around and left and that was that. For that entire summer and the next one.
Junior high didn’t do anyone any favors and it took any existing friendships between boys and girls and either made them supremely awkward or else just…disconnected. Gwiboon certainly didn’t see the use in hanging around a bunch of idiot boys and Jonghyun most likely wouldn’t have wanted to pore over fashion magazines with her.
So for two years, their friendship disappeared in a way that only kids can accomplish- without any of the nostalgia that sets in with adulthood.
However, the next summer- the summer after eighth grade when they were both fourteen- it seemed that they’d both been through the hell that is junior high and made it out the other side as reasonably decent human beings. Which was why Jonghyun decided to go ring the bell at Gwiboon’s grandmother’s house that summer (with just one boy, Jinki, in tow this time) and why Gwiboon agreed to walk to the closest ice cream shop with them that afternoon.
With their preteens behind them, their friendship was renewed as though the past two years hadn’t even happened. The only differences were that Jonghyun had braces and that Gwiboon (who had hit her growth spurt before Jonghyun did) was at least four inches taller than him, much to his dismay.
But they spent that summer wandering around the town on foot and getting rides to the mall whenever they could get someone to drive them. Jinki hung out with them sometimes (Gwiboon actually quite liked him), but other times, it was just Jonghyun and Gwiboon. It seemed as though everything was back to normal.
Gwiboon’s freshman year was filled with new friends, honors classes, and boys who thought that she was pretty. She went to both formal dances with guys that she was friends with- ones who were part of her group of friends. But she spent many a math class admiring the profile of the boy who sat next to her until he actually opened his mouth and it turned out that he was actually an idiot. She and Taeyeon got their hair dyed over winter break and, while Taeyeon let hers grow out, Gwiboon got it dyed again in March, trying a mahogany hue this time.
By the time summer rolled around again, she felt like so many things had changed even if nothing had really changed at all. Except that the moment that she saw Jonghyun for the first time when he’d arrived on her grandmother’s doorstep, she knew that something most definitely had
Though he was still a bit shorter than her, he’d grown a great deal over the past year- three inches at least. His previously scrawny looking limbs were now toned with sinewy muscles and his shoulders were wider. His jaw was stronger and his bone structure more apparent now that his baby fat had disappeared. To top it all off, he had gotten his braces off and let his previously short and spiky brown hair grow out into a flattering shaggy style that swept gently across his forehead. The short of it was that Jonghyun was extremely attractive- someone whom Gwiboon would have stared at on the street had she passed him, not knowing him previously.
But this was Jonghyun! He wasn’t supposed to be hot. No, he was just the boy that she spent her summers with while she was stranded at her grandmother’s house. That was it. And that would be it. Surely, once she got used to Jonghyun’s more grown up appearance, she wouldn’t even notice anymore.
“My cousin is coming into town next week!” Jonghyun was saying when Gwiboon actually started focusing on the fact that he was talking, “You’ll really like him, I promise. He’s really cool.”
“Yeah?” Gwiboon responded, trying to shake whatever was screwing with her brain. It was just hard to remember that this guy was Jonghyun because he looked so different than the kid that Gwiboon had left last summer.
“Yeah,” Jonghyun grinned, oblivious of the way that Gwiboon was studying him like he was some sort of specimen, “He’s only a year younger than us.”
“I’m excited to meet him!” Gwiboon smiled, meaning it despite her previous distraction, “Want to get ice cream?”
And with that, they were walking along the familiar route to the ice cream shop- the hot sun shining down on them and warming their skin through the fabric of their clothes. Gwiboon made a note to enjoy this weather because it was just going to get hotter- the currently warm air would be muggy and stifling in just a few short weeks when summer had hit its stride.
“So what did you do all year?” Gwiboon asked, hoping that her tone wasn’t accusatory. She was just so damn curious now.
“Homework!” Jonghyun immediately exclaimed, sounding distressed by the fact, “There was so much work
“Yeah, I had a lot to do too,” Gwiboon agreed, but pressed on, “How’s high school been? I mean, besides the homework.”
much fun!” he gushed, turning to her and grinning, “I’ve been hanging out with an awesome group of friends and we ate lunch outside at school when it was warm enough. And in the winter we’d sneak into the practice rooms by the choir room. Oh! I’m in choir too! I mean, my friends all make fun of me because they’re all in sports and stuff, but I got a bunch of solos so it was pretty sweet. And we went to the dances and stuff. Which were kinda boring honestly, but hanging out afterwards was fun because we went to this one girls’ house and she’s got a huge TV in her basement. But I’m glad that summer is here now because I need to relax!”
Gwiboon tried to keep up with Jonghyun’s seemingly endless string of words and she couldn’t help but smile at his enthusiasm. He was definitely still the same boy that she’d known for the past six years. Though she couldn’t help herself from trying to imagine what kind of girl Jonghyun went to the dances with. She knew that she could just ask, but that would be kind of weird. Besides, what did she care? Exactly.
So Gwiboon went on to tell him about her year, wanting to kick herself for how she (accidentally) emphasized the fact that she had dates to both of the dances. But he didn’t seem to notice, only listening and laughing when she told the story of how she and Taeyeon had somehow gotten locked in a stairwell at a rival school when they went to see their school’s basketball team play there.
By the time they had finished their ice cream and were relaxing on a bench in the park, the sun had started to go down and Gwiboon was sure that everything was going to be fine. Because, even if he looked different (read: hot) on the outside, he was still exactly the same. And for that, she was immensely grateful. Somehow, over the years, he’d turned into one of her best friends. Go figure. It seemed like the summer was off to a perfect start and Gwiboon looked forward to the days and weeks ahead- she hadn’t seen Jinki yet, they hadn’t gone anywhere, or stayed up late, sitting in Jonghyun’s backyard. There was so much left to look forward too.
Gwiboon was confident that this summer would be even better than last summer. How could it not be?
“Jinki!” Gwiboon squealed, running over and giving him a big hug, “It’s so good to see you!”
“You too,” Jinki earnestly replied, cheeks pink as he scratched the back of his neck nervously.
“You didn’t give me a hug,” Jonghyun complained, pulling his signature pout.
“What? You want a hug?” Gwiboon teased.
“Maybe,” he challenged, tilting his chin up defiantly.
“Too bad,” she shot back playfully, sticking her tongue out at him.
“Hey!” he protested, moving forward and grabbing her around the waist when she tried to step away.
“Yah!” she squealed, wriggling in his grasp and trying to pull at his hands on her stomach, though she couldn’t help but giggle as he pulled her flush against his chest only to stop when she noted how solid
“You shouldn’t refuse me hugs, Gwiboonie
,” he taunted, finally letting her go.
“I’ve told you a million times not to call me that,” she told him, fixing her hair and trying to regain her composure.
“Well, I’m going to anyway,” Jonghyun said, sticking his tongue out this time.
“Are we still going to lunch…?” Jinki interjected, smiling lightly as he fidgeted.
“Oh yeah,” Jonghyun pulled his eyes away from Gwiboon, “Let’s go. Come on Gwiboonie.”
With Minho’s arrival came the breaking of their normal routine- a fourth person added to the mix. Though still Gwiboon was the only girl. She was used to that of course, having spent several past summers with Jonghyun. But the dynamic of the group certainly changed with the weeklong addition of Minho.
It seemed that, though he was a year younger than Jonghyun was, he liked to one-up him at everything. And Jonghyun hated to stand for it. So everything became a competition between them. Everything.
Who could run faster to the park; who could throw a Frisbee farther; who could swim more laps at the pool; who could make more free throw shots in the basketball hoop behind Jinki’s house; who could drink their milkshake the fastest; who could successfully predict the end of a movie. Literally everything
Gwiboon was so thankful to have Jinki there with them so she’d have someone to sit with her when the two cousins suddenly decided that they each had find out who could climb the highest in the tree in front of Gwiboon’s grandmother’s house. Except they never found out because her grandfather came out and yelled at them to get down before they could finish.
But despite their weird cousin rivalry, Minho was a nice guy- he was a lot of fun to be around, he clearly listened while others were talking, and despite his competitive nature, he had great sportsmanship and always played fair. Gwiboon found that Jonghyun was right- she did like him.
A few days into his stay, Jonghyun had texted Gwiboon and told her to come over because he and Minho were hanging out in his backyard. So she immediately made the quick trip to his house, walking around the side of his house. However, just as she was about to step around the back into the backyard, she heard her name. She knew that she should just keep walking, but she couldn’t help but pause and listen, trying to make out what they were saying about her.
“Is she single?” she heard Minho ask.
“I guess so,” Jonghyun responded.
“You guess?” Minho exclaimed, seeming scandalized by this, “How can you not know something like that?”
“I dunno. Why do you ask anyway?”
“Gwiboon?” Jonghyun paused and Gwiboon assumed that Minho nodded or something, “Yeah, she’s pretty.”
“How can you be so unenthused about her?”
“I’ve just known her forever.”
“Can I ask her out then?”
“No!” Jonghyun responded immediately.
“Alright,” Minho laughed, “Touchy.”
Silence followed and Gwiboon waited for at least ten seconds before she rounded the house and announced her presence, pretending she didn’t notice the look that the cousins exchanged.
In fact, the next couple of weeks- even after Minho left- Gwiboon did a lot of pretending that she didn’t notice things. Like how Jonghyun seemed to stare at her when he thought that she wasn’t looking. Or how she’d occasionally catch Jonghyun and Jinki whispering about something. And since when did boys whisper anyway?
She didn’t want to let on that she’d overheard the conversation between Minho and Jonghyun, but she also didn’t want to allow herself to really believe that Jonghyun was interested in her. Because she really had no proof. When Minho had said that she was hot, Jonghyun seemed surprised to hear such a thing said about her. So it was ridiculous to think that he had feelings for her. Ridiculous.
It’s not like Gwiboon wanted
Jonghyun to have feelings for her. Sure, he was attractive. That much was obvious to anyone with eyes. But that didn’t mean that she wanted to date him or anything. They got along really well and Jonghyun made her laugh. She was extremely comfortable with him and she enjoyed both watching him attempt his and Jinki’s stupid ideas as much as she liked to talk with him as they walked around as the sun set. Still, that didn’t mean that she had feelings for him. It didn’t.
Even though she sometimes felt her heart speed up when he brushed up against her.
“So hot,” Gwiboon lamented, spreading her towel out on a poolside chair.
“Exactly!” Jonghyun grinned, “The perfect day to go swimming!”
“It’s so crowded
though,” she observed, eyes wide as she scanned the community pool filled with children, their parents, random adults, and a good amount of teenagers. It was a miracle in itself that they’d found two chairs to put their stuff on and that was only because they’d practically stalked a couple of twenty-something’s who were sunbathing when they’d come in.
And two chairs meant that Jonghyun and Jinki had to share. But it wasn’t like either of them planned on lying out.
“Do you need Jinki and me to help you put sunscreen on?” Jonghyun teased, wiggling his eyebrows. Jinki flushed and busied himself with putting sunscreen on himself. As close as he and Gwiboon had gotten, he wasn’t comfortable flirting that blatantly (no matter how playful) with any girl.
“No thanks,” Gwiboon wrinkled her nose, making her sunglasses move up on her face, “I put it on myself before I left the house.”
“Well, just let us know when you need to reapply,” he said with a cheesy wink.
Gwiboon scoffed and unbuttoned her jean shorts, carefully stepping out of them and setting them on top of her bag. Then she reached down and pulled her t-shirt off, leaving herself in a bright pink, ruffled bikini. She could feel Jonghyun’s eyes on her, but she disregarded it. He obviously was just used to hanging out with only Jinki. And the fact that her eyes were drawn to his bare torso when he pulled off his t-shirt was just because she wasn’t expecting him to be so toned. He certainly hadn’t been the year before.
“I’m going swimming,” Gwiboon announced, walking gracefully past the two boys to the pool and dipping her foot into the water. It wasn’t cold because the temperature was so hot that day so Gwiboon readied herself to sit on the pool’s edge and slide in. However, before she could lower herself, she felt a hard push on her shoulders and then she was careening forward- falling into the water with a splash.
When Gwiboon emerged, sputtering and pushing wet hair out of her eyes, she could hear Jonghyun’s loud laughter and Jinki’s voice immediately telling her that he hadn’t done it. But even if he said that he had, she knew that it had been Jonghyun.
“Kim Jonghyun!” she screeched, “You’re dead!”
And just when she’d wiped the water from her eyes, more water splashed into her face with Jonghyun’s cannonball into the pool right next to her followed by Jinki’s messy dive.
“You’d better make that up to me,” she yelled, latching onto Jonghyun’s back and attempting to dunk his head under the water.
She didn’t succeed, but at least he bought her an ice cream sandwich when they took a break from swimming to sit under the warm sun. She supposed that he was forgiven for the time being.
The summer continued on smoothly and relatively normally despite the stolen glances and outright denial. In fact, before they knew it, it was August and Gwiboon’s last night before she had to leave.
Jinki was out of town visiting his aunt and uncle so it was just Jonghyun and Gwiboon that evening, walking aimlessly through the town and eventually settling down on a bench in the park as the sun dipped below the horizon.
“I wish you didn’t have to leave tomorrow,” Jonghyun said after a moment of uncharacteristic silence.
“You’re just saying that because me leaving means that school is going to start soon,” Gwiboon teased, glancing at him before she went back to watching the blinks of light of the fireflies in the park before them.
“No really,” he argued earnestly, surprising Gwiboon who expected him to just throw a joke back at her, “I don’t want you to leave.”
Gwiboon looked at him, eyes calculating as she tried to figure out just what he meant- even as she felt her heart speed up in her chest.
“I…don’t want to leave either,” she admitted, unsure of exactly what she was saying- what she may have implied or agreed with. It’s just that Jonghyun’s big eyes were on her and she was having a very difficult time thinking clearly which was a problem that she never had.
“I think…I like hanging out with you more than almost anyone,” he went on, “And…you’re…pretty.”
Jonghyun stopped and cleared his throat, looking down before he raised his head again to look at Gwiboon who felt herself blushing under his gaze. That was another problem that she didn’t usually face.
“I…um…I like you,” he said finally, eyes flicking from her face to the empty park and back again as though he couldn’t quite bring himself to maintain eye contact.
Gwiboon was frozen with her cheeks burning and her heart pounding against her ribcage. As much as she’d wanted to brush off anything she might have been feeling for Jonghyun, it seemed absolutely impossible when he was looking at her like he was- sitting close and waiting for her to say something.
“I…” she began, eyes locking with his and getting stuck so that neither of them could look away.
Then they were both leaning forward and Gwiboon felt like they were in some dumb romantic comedy, but when she felt Jonghyun’s plush lips press into hers, she had a hard time remembering why that was a bad thing.
The kiss was steady- Jonghyun’s lips pressed firmly against hers like he didn’t want her to pull away- and Gwiboon found her hands reaching out and clutching at his biceps as his hands made their way to her head, fingers hesitantly playing with her hair.
The butterflies that had been only lightly fluttering in Gwiboon’s stomach suddenly seemed like they were flapping around uncontrollably as she felt her head go light. She’d been kissed before, but it had just been during games of truth or dare and it hadn’t felt like this- she hadn’t felt like she might float away at any moment like a helium balloon in the wind.
When Jonghyun pulled back, they were both breathless as he stared into her eyes suddenly looking so much older and more mature than he’d looked just five minutes prior. Gwiboon watched as he wet his lips with his tongue and she felt a shiver of want go through her body- fingers flexing on his biceps.
She didn’t know how to say that she wanted more and for once, she felt like she had no control over herself, but it seemed that Jonghyun could read it in her face and in her body language because his lips were back on hers the next second, his fingers in her hair and pressing against her scalp as she found her hands moving up to his shoulders and eventually wrapping around his neck.
The kiss deepened on its own accord, it seemed- their lips parting naturally and their tongues brushing against one another, hesitantly at first, but soon more enthusiastically as though they were trying to work through six years of feelings that they hadn’t even known that they’d had.
When they pulled back for air the next time, both of their chests were heaving as they tried to catch their breath and Gwiboon saw how wide Jonghyun’s pupils had become, guessing that hers looked similar.
“I don’t want you to leave,” he said again, his big, warm hands grasping at her slender arms.
“Me neither,” she replied, voice quiet as though she was afraid that someone else might hear.
But they both knew that she had to, so they spent the rest of the night- until they had to be home- sitting close on the bench, exchanging kisses that didn’t get quite as intense as their second one, and promising to text each other as much as they could over the course of the next school year.
The next morning when Gwiboon got on the train to return home, she acknowledged that it was the first time that she really hadn’t wanted to leave.
At first they texted each other almost constantly- what they ate for dinner, what their plans were that day, what homework they had- but naturally, as the year picked up speed, they had less and less time to spend updating each other. By the time April rolled around, the texts had nearly slowed to a stop. But Gwiboon wasn’t worried- it was only another month and a half until she would be seeing Jonghyun in person so texting each other every hour didn’t seem so necessary, not when they were so close to getting through this time apart.
Of course she had filled Taeyeon in on everything the moment that she had gotten home the August before- the two a squealing mess as Gwiboon described their brief make-out session at the park- and Taeyeon was there to hear Gwiboon’s exclamations of excitement over how soon she would be able to see Jonghyun again, even if it meant leaving her best friend yet again.
As the day that Gwiboon would leave for her grandmother’s approached, she began to text Jonghyun more regularly again- telling him what day and time she was getting there and how she was so excited to see him and Jinki. The day she arrived, she immediately texted him, receiving a response that he and some friends were hanging out in his back yard and that she should head over.
She could feel her heart pounding on the walk there, her hands shaking in excitement even as she chastised herself for acting like a lovesick twelve year old. She knew that, since Jonghyun had people over, nothing would likely happen, so she really had nothing to be nervous about. It would just be an afternoon of enjoying each other’s company and getting back into their regular routine.
Coming around the house, Gwiboon immediately spotted Jonghyun and Jinki who were kicking around a soccer ball with another guy whom she had met before…Donghae, she was pretty sure was his name. However, the presence of a girl she’d never seen sitting on the back steps immediately threw her. For as long as she’d been hanging out with Jonghyun, she’d always been the only girl. Of course, she was probably Donghae’s girlfriend or something. That would make sense.
,” she announced herself when she wasn’t immediately noticed, grinning when Jinki immediately whipped his head around.
“Gwiboon!” he called out, smiling widely and making his way over to give her a hug.
“I missed you!” she exclaimed, sinking into the hold. He gave the best hugs. Except Jonghyun gave amazing hugs too. Speaking of which…
As they pulled away, she looked behind Jinki, expecting that Jonghyun would be right there. Except he wasn’t- still standing where he had been though at least now he was looking at her with a smile on his face.
“Hey Gwiboon!” he greeted, waving. As much as she hated being called Gwiboonie
, she was surprised that he hadn’t called her that. And maybe a little disappointed.
“Hey,” she replied, giving a little wave and feeling awkward around him for the first time ever. Discounting the two years of junior high when they hadn’t hang out at all.
“You remember Donghae, right?” he asked, finally walking over with Donghae behind him.
“Of course,” she assured him, greeting the other boy politely.
,” he said, making his way over to the steps where the girl was now standing, “is Sunny, my girlfriend.”
Gwiboon kind of felt like she’d been punched in the gut- like she’d been punched and then time had frozen. His girlfriend
? She thought she saw Jinki wince out of the corner of her eye, but she could have imagined it.
However, she couldn’t just stand there and stare at the girl. And she didn’t want anyone, especially Jonghyun and this Sunny
chick to know how she was feeling right then, so she immediately put on a polite- forced
- smile and shook the girl’s hand, introducing herself.
There was so much that she wanted to know. How long had they been dating? How did they meet? How did this happen
? And why the fuck
hadn’t Jonghyun told her? But she couldn’t just stand there and demand answers. She had to act like she was okay with it lest she lose face.
Suddenly, she felt like she just wanted to turn around and go home- not even her grandmother’s house. She wanted to go home
. Then she could call Taeyeon and go cry on her bed until she was spent at which point her best friend would put on a horror movie and get her some ice cream and they’d make fun of the main character for continuously walking into dark rooms alone.
But she couldn’t- she was here and she had to deal with this like an adult.
“So, uh, we’re gonna get back to our game…you can sit here and watch with Sunny,” Jonghyun offered. Gwiboon resisted the urge to smack him. Sit there with
Sunny? How much of an idiot was he? Though the fact that he wasn’t making eye contact with her told her that he was just enough of an idiot to do this to her, but not enough of an idiot to be oblivious to what he’d done. Gwiboon was pretty sure there was a word for that. Oh yeah- asshole.
“I’d rather play too,” Gwiboon replied, still pretending that Jonghyun’s actions hadn’t bothered her.
“Really?” he looked surprised. Usually Gwiboon didn’t play with them because they got way too aggressive and competitive, though she had played a few times. But now, she didn’t want to just be another one of Jonghyun’s fan girls who sat and watched him like he was a fucking soccer god. Besides, she was confident that Sunny wouldn’t say she wanted to play now too because the other girl was in a dress. Gwiboon didn’t think she’d ever been so happy to be wearing jean shorts in her life.
“Yes,” she responded, “Who’s on what team?”
“Oh, er…it’s been Jinki and me against Donghae. You can be on his team…”
“Perfect,” she said, sauntering over to the other boy whom she barely knew as Jinki eyed her warily. It was a good thing that she wasn’t meant to be on Jonghyun’s team because elbowing him in the face would probably seem even less sportsman-like if that were the case.
The problem was…Gwiboon wasn’t particularly good at soccer. She wasn’t horrible, but sports just weren’t her thing and for the first time, she regretted not joining the soccer team with Taeyeon when they were kids. It would have been so much fun to just kick Jonghyun’s ass at it. But at least Donghae was effectively doing it with very, very little help from her.
She made a couple of decent passes, but those were when Jinki was guarding her and she somewhat suspected that he was going easy on her. But at least it made her look like a semi-proficient soccer player and for that, she was immensely grateful.
By the time it was dark out and they all split to go home, Gwiboon was absolutely exhausted from having to act nonchalant- from having to be nice to Sunny and from having to not just give in and start hitting Jonghyun. When she finally made it to bed that night, she felt like the life had been sucked out of her. And after exchanging a few texts with Taeyeon as the other girl reassured her, she finally let herself cry- her pillow absorbing both her tears and her sobs until she eventually fell into a restless sleep.
The next day when Jonghyun texted her, she told him that she had to spend time with her grandparents- she just didn’t have it in her to see him again. But the day after that, she had no such excuse and, since she was determined not to let on how hurt she was, she had to accept Jonghyun’s invitation to the mall.
When he pulled up in her driveway, she was relieved to see Jinki in the backseat. However, Sunny’s presence in the passenger seat made her want to be sick. Still, she put on a brave face and tried her best to be pleasant and sociable.
It was hard though- so hard when Sunny kept giggling at all of Jonghyun’s jokes and trying to pick out clothes for him when they wandered into a department store. The worst part was that she was pretty- Gwiboon couldn’t even deny it. And it was impossible not to start comparing the two of them in her head.
Sunny was curvy where she had sharp angles. Sunny’s smile was one of her charms while Gwiboon…she did
smile, just not as much. And where Gwiboon tended to be more of an intimidating kind of beauty, Sunny was the type of girl that put everyone at ease and drew people to her without even realizing. They were very different, obviously, and though Gwiboon was comfortable with herself, Sunny had her second guessing everything.
“This smoothie is so good!” Sunny marveled as they exited the food court, sipping the smoothie that Jonghyun had purchased her, “Do you want some Gwiboon?”
“No thanks,” Gwiboon swiftly declined, trying for a polite smile. The fact that Sunny was a legitimately nice person was also not helping matters. First of all, it meant that she really couldn’t justify the way that she was acting and second, it made it just that much harder to hate her. And Gwiboon just needed to hate her. Hating her was less emotionally taxing than concentrating on her stupid broken heart.
It was obvious that Sunny wasn’t at fault here at all- it was obvious that she had no idea that Jonghyun and Gwiboon had…well they’d had something
last summer. She clearly wasn’t aware that, by dating her, Jonghyun was breaking some sort of unspoken understanding that they’d had. So Gwiboon knew that she couldn’t actually blame her even though she wanted to so badly.
“Let me now if you want a sip later,” Sunny told her, smiling warmly before she passed the cup over to Jonghyun for him to have some.
Gwiboon was sure that Sunny had no idea because there was no way that she’d be being this nice to her. She was not treating Gwiboon like girls treat other girls when they deem them as a threat- she wasn’t treating Gwiboon how Gwiboon was treating her. She was just happily oblivious to all of the hurt that Gwiboon felt when Jonghyun grabbed Sunny’s hand and the tension that seemed to stretch between Gwiboon and Jonghyun.
In fact, if anything, she probably suspected that Jinki and Gwiboon had a thing since Gwiboon practically glued herself to his side, just needing someone- someone
who was on her side. And though she knew that technically, Jinki was Jonghyun’s best friend and not hers, she could tell that he had some sort of idea about what was going on between them and she could tell that he knew she was hurt, even if they’d never talked about it.
But the sight of Sunny holding up yet another shirt against Jonghyun and cooing about how good he looked was enough to make her want to throw the pair of shoes she was holding at them despite Jinki’s calming presence.
Gwiboon continued to regularly hang out with Jonghyun, Sunny, Jinki, and occasionally Donghae even if there were so many times that she just wanted to stay inside and not face anyone. But she had to continue to act like she was okay- like seeing Jonghyun and Sunny together wasn’t breaking her.
When Jonghyun announced that Minho was coming back into town, Gwiboon couldn’t help but feel some relief. It was stupid, but she knew that Minho thought that she was hot and it would be a confidence booster to have someone around whom she knew liked her. Not that it would likely make any difference, but it would be something to reassure herself with when she had to watch as Jonghyun put his arm around Sunny’s shoulders as they sat in front of a movie.
She wanted Jonghyun to be reminded that, although he had someone and she didn’t, it wasn’t like no one wanted
her. She wouldn’t always just be there to follow him around while he flirted with his girlfriend.
“Girlfriend?” Minho said when Jonghyun had introduced Sunny, “I don’t believe it. She’s just your cover so no one will know that you like guys.”
“Fuck off,” Jonghyun muttered, elbowing him even as Sunny giggled behind her hand. Gwiboon snorted, finding herself making eye contact with the other girl and, surprisingly, sharing at smile at Jonghyun’s expense. It was so annoying that she was nice.
“It was a joke, hyung,” Minho defended, chuckling and moving to sit next to Gwiboon at the picnic table in Jonghyun’s backyard.
“Hi Minho,” Gwiboon greeted him, re-crossing her legs and watching as he followed her movement. Hopefully Jonghyun noticed as well.
“Noona,” he nodded his head at her, a smile on his lips.
“Okay, so are we going to get ice cream or what?” Jonghyun jumped in, pulling Minho’s attention from Gwiboon’s face.
“Yes!” Jinki immediately responded, able to sense the awkward tension building, “I’m hungry, so let’s get going!”
And Gwiboon may
have let Minho feed her a spoonful of his ice cream on the way back. He’d insisted after all.
Gwiboon leaned back, grass pressing against her palms, as she squinted into the sun and watched as Jonghyun, Jinki, Donghae and Minho played a game of soccer on the community soccer field. She was sitting out this time- with Sunny- not only because they had an even amount of players this time, but also because she no longer thought that sitting next to Sunny was a worse punishment than running around under the hot sun playing soccer with a bunch of boys. She’d come to find that it was alright when it was just Sunny- Sunny and Jonghyun together
was the problem.
“So is there something going on between you and Minho?” Sunny asked, looking at Gwiboon through her big, round sunglasses. She looked curious, but not accusatory like some girls got when another girl got any attention from the opposite sex. If anything, she just looked afraid that Gwiboon would be mad at her for asking.
“I don’t really know,” Gwiboon said after a moment, readjusting her Ray Bans on her nose. It wasn’t exactly a lie. Because she really had no idea what she was doing with Minho. He was flirting with her and she was…letting him. She knew that she probably shouldn’t let on that she was interested in him when she wasn’t really (despite his undeniable good looks), but it was just so nice to get some
attention as she watched Jonghyun with Sunny. Besides, he was leaving in two days. It’s not like he could have possibly thought that they were going to date seriously.
“He’s hot,” Sunny observed, giggling- her eyes following his tall form as he scored a goal.
“He is,” Gwiboon agreed, watching as he gloated at Jonghyun before he ran back to the other side of the field. Still though, her eyes got stuck on Jonghyun’s broad shoulders and the way his eyebrows furrowed with determination as the action continued.
“You met him before this summer?” she asked, apparently deeming discussing Gwiboon’s love life more interesting than the soccer game going on. Gwiboon had to admit that she didn’t disagree. Though she didn’t think that her love life was really the direction they should take if they were going to start talking.
“Yeah, last summer,” Gwiboon told her, “He was here for a week last summer.”
“Did anything happen then?” she questioned, turning more toward Gwiboon in excitement- obviously hoping for something juicy.
“No,” Gwiboon shook her head, “He just…I overheard him telling Jonghyun that he thought I was hot.”
Honestly, she didn’t know why she told Sunny the truth. Especially since she hadn’t even told Jonghyun that she’d overheard that conversation. She just… was starting to feel sick to her stomach over the fact that she was using Minho, an innocent bystander in all of this, to steal Jonghyun away from Sunny, also an innocent bystander.
“Really? Ah, that’s awesome,” Sunny grinned, “So you know he likes you then.”
“Yeah, I guess I do,” Gwiboon mused, still feeling the guilt settling in her gut, “But please don’t tell Jonghyun what I said! About overhearing that conversation. He doesn’t know I heard them, so…”
“No problem,” Sunny smiled, making Gwiboon feel even more awful than she had before, “I promise I won’t tell him anything.”
Gwiboon managed to skirt Minho’s advances in the two days until he left, doing her best to not give him the wrong idea or offend him. She just decided that she could no longer act like she was the only one who was going to be affected by her actions. It wasn’t fair to anyone else that she was behaving that way. Though it did not make it any easier to watch Jonghyun shoot Sunny his dazzling smile.
But she prevailed, doing her best to put on a brave face until the end. And she had to admit that she was relieved when she got down to the last few days of her stay. Her problems with Jonghyun wouldn’t disappear, but at least they wouldn’t be in front of her face constantly, parading around while she tried to bite her tongue against whatever sarcastic comment she was tempted to make.
As luck would have it, the day before she left she found Jonghyun standing at the door, asking if she wanted to go get coffee. She accepted despite the misgivings she had. What if he wanted to talk about what had happened? Or apologize? Or pity her? Or worse, not even acknowledge anything? She knew that these were all distinct possibilities, but still she shoved her feet into her leather sandals and stepped out into the balmy evening air with the boy who had broken her heart.
“We haven’t gotten as much time to hang out this summer,” he observed after a moment of walking in silence.
Gwiboon hummed in agreement, trying to keep herself in check.
“It’s been fun though,” he said, sounding like he wanted to convince her, “And Jinki really likes hanging out with you.”
“Mmhm,” she replied, not looking over at Jonghyun as he spoke.
“It’s good to see you and Sunny get along,” he went on, sparking anger in Gwiboon’s gut, “She’s really nice, huh?”
“Yes, Jonghyun, she’s nice,” Gwiboon snapped before she could stop herself, “And it’s not like we had much choice but to get along. I mean, I just show up and she’s here
“I-” he started, a slightly wounded look on his face.
“No,” she cut him off, “Listen. Just…you could have at least told
me. I mean, that’s the least
you could have done. Warned me before I got here. Or you could have told me when you actually started dating her so I wasn’t…expecting anything. God
, just a text at least.”
“It was shitty enough that you went and got a girlfriend when you led me to believe that I…that you…whatever. Nevermind.” Gwiboon stopped walking, turning on her heel to walk back home before Jonghyun’s hand wrapped around her wrist and held her back.
“We hadn’t actually…promised anything. You probably had something happen during the year with some guy…”
“No, Jonghyun, I didn’t,” Gwiboon cut him off, venom in her words, “Because I…I thought that…shit.” She looked down at the warm pavement under her feet, trying not to cry. She would not
cry for him. She wouldn’t.
“Oh…I…I didn’t know, I mean…” he trailed off, staring over Gwiboon’s shoulder before his gaze snapped back to her, angry now, “But what the hell was all of that with Minho this summer? Why should I believe you when you act like that around my cousin
? After…after last summer…”
“Oh, but it’s alright for you to just get a girlfriend and not tell me though?” she challenged, eyes hard again.
“That’s…that’s not…he’s my cousin
“Well, don’t worry too much about it. Nothing was even going on for god’s sake.”
“That’s nothing to you? Letting him feed you? Letting him put his arm around you at the movies?” Jonghyun glared at her, hands balling into fists at his sides in frustration.
“Did you ever think that I just did that to make you jealous?” she finally exclaimed, taking a step toward him and watching in satisfaction as he shrank back, “What the fuck did you expect with the way you were just parading Sunny in my face all summer? It was stupid, but…well it happened, okay?”
“No! Not ‘okay!’ I-”
“Too bad because everything’s already fucked up and there’s nothing either of us can do about it now,” she told him, “But how dare
you start dating someone else after what you said to me last summer and then have the balls to yell at me
And with that, she ripped her wrist out of his grasp and turned around, stalking back to her grandparent’s house where she disappeared inside with a slam of the door.Part 2