|MH| Sunshine: Chapter 6


STORY 1 | STORY 2 | STORY 3 | STORY 4 | STORY 5


SUNSHINE

Chapter 1: Let Go

Chapter 2: Rest

Chapter 3: Damaged

Chapter 4: Afraid to Lose You

Chapter 5: Take Care of Me

Chapter 6: Closure

AUGUST 20, 1998, Thursday

      “Am I still pretty?”

      Stephanie asked Hyuna, Hannah, Haneul, and Yohan tiredly, hoping to feel a little better about her well-being after staying in bed for two days. She really hasn’t paid much attention to herself and focused completely on her baby, even though the little child didn’t do much but sleep, eat, and poop. With bloodshot eyes, eye-bags, and hair that hasn’t been properly washed for a while, Stephanie definitely didn’t look, felt, or smelled that good. She knew she had to clean herself up for the baby.

      “Of course you are!” Yohan said softly hoping not to wake or stir little Eunji who was sleeping in his arms. On the other hand, Hyuna just shuddered at the sight of Stephanie’s mess but didn’t say anything.

      “I think I trust Hyuna’s expressions more than yours, Yohan,” Stephanie chuckled.

      “Hey, I meant what I said, you don’t look that bad,” Yohan said.

      “Are you sure?” Stephanie said and stood in front of him. She looked like a wilted flower that has been trampled on by a passerby.

      Yohan bit his lip and nodded, “Ah… yeah, I guess you do kinda look horrible right now.”

      Hyuna laughed and proceeded to help Stephanie clean herself up. They went to the bathroom, leaving Hannah, Haneul, and Yohan in the bedroom with Eunji.

      “I wonder what it’d be like to have my first child,” Yohan said while softly caressing Eunji’s thin hair.

      “Well how do you feel right now?” Haneul asked.

      “It’s really nice… Eunji is really warm. She’s so small that she only fits one arm. And look at her tiny little hands! Look how vivid details of her finger print are—ah, what an art! Everything is so small. It’s so fascinating!”

      “Do you feel like a dad right now?”

      “Hm, not really. It feels more like I’m an uncle, and I guess I am?” Yohan shrugged and chuckled. “I was really close with her father back then… It just seems fascinating to me how this little thing kind of looks like him and Stephanie both at the same time. And you know they both mean so much to me, right? To be able to be holding my best friends’ child seems like such an honor.”

      “What if it was your baby?”

      “Ahh… I already can’t stop staring at Eunji. Imagine what it would be like if it was my child. I wouldn’t take my eyes off of her… or him. Whatever the chances,” Yohan chuckled.

      “Would you rather have a boy or a girl?” Haneul asked, fluttering her eyes at Yohan. Hannah just sighed and rolled her eyes at the sight of the two. She busied herself with cuddling Charming to get her mind off the both of them.

      “Both would be nice, but I don’t know, I think I’d rather have a boy first. To carry the Kwon name, you know? Because who else would?” Yohan said and Haneul nodded.

      “You look really handsome holding her by the way. You look very husband material,” Haneul snickered and Hannah gagged behind their backs.

      “Do I really? Hahaha, maybe it’s because I just really like kids.”

      Suddenly, Sunny was shouting at the top of her lungs when she entered the gate of the hanok house. “Fany-ah! Fany-ah!”

      “Oh, it’s Sunny!” Hannah excitedly exclaimed as she looked outside the shutters. She stood up and went out to greet Sunny since she really wanted to get out of that room where Haneul and Yohan might soon start talking about their own marriage and their own future children.

      “Hey, how’s Pureum? Finally doing some work?” Hannah asked.

      “Yeah, he’s doing well,” Sunny nodded with a smile but then asked, “Where’s Stephanie?”

      “She’s cleaning herself up,” Hannah said. “Why, what’s the matter?”

      “Stephanie has an unexpected guest,” Sunny sighed.

      “Who?”

      Sunny huffed. “I need to have a word with Stephanie.”

      “Who’s the guest?” Hannah asked again.

      Sunny didn’t answer and came in the house impatiently. She passed the bedroom and saw Yohan and Haneul, smiling and chuckling at each other with Eunji peacefully sleeping. Sunny took a deep sigh at the sight of the both of them and entered the bathroom without warning.

      “Oh god, Sunny! You can’t just barge in like that!” Stephanie screeched, completely naked in front of Sunny. Hyuna laughed hysterically at Sunny cringing at what she saw. Sunny apologized quickly and the sensitive girl taking a bath forgave her.

      “You have a guest by the way,” Sunny said after the little incident flew over their heads.

      “A guest?” Stephanie wondered. “Who? Wait… Oh… Oh no… I totally forgot!”

      Sunny huffed out of frustration and her bangs floated for a second. She felt like scolding her cousin but refrained from doing so understanding how out of order Stephanie’s brain has turned after giving birth. “They’re already at the bottom of the hill waiting. What do you want me to say?”

      “Already? Ugh, I can’t believe I forgot about this!” Stephanie said in frustration. “Stall them from going here for a little while,” she said. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

      Sunny nodded and went out to greet the guests. When she reached the gate, Hannah was peeking out, trying to see who the guests were. Sunny didn’t mind her and came out of the gate quickly. Hannah followed along.

      “So who are they?” Hannah asked as they were going down the hill.

      “Just someone close to Stephanie,” Sunny said.

      “You mean like a family member?” Hannah guessed.

      “No,” Sunny simply said.

      Close to reaching the black Ford SUV, the backseat door opened, and out came a petite girl in a loose white blouse and some blue jeans. Her pale face and uninviting aura gave Hannah a bit of a chill. Hannah also seemed a bit thrown off by the girl’s blonde hair when she definitely looked Korean. Blonde Koreans weren’t exactly a common thing to see. On the other hand, Sunny knew exactly who it was. Jessica Jung, who else could it be?

      The moment she came out of the car, Charming jumped off of Hannah’s arms and ran to Jessica, somehow recognizing who she was. Jessica’s squealed in excitement seeing the dog again and carried him on her arms.

      “Prince Charming!! Did you miss meee?” she smiled and the dog kept licking her face. She laughed at the dog and then calmed it down when she started petting it.

      “Where’s Fany?”  Jessica asked.

      “She’s taking a bath and panicking a little that you’re here,” Sunny chuckled.

      “But I sent her a letter saying I’d come visit her. That letter did not reach her, did it?”

      “It did reach her. She just forgot about it, I guess. Things have been quite hectic around here, especially for her.”

      “What could possibly be so bad that she’d forget I’d visit?” Jessica pouted.

      “She’s just tired,” Sunny laughed. “I’m assuming you still don’t know what had happened. She gave birth already.”

      “Umphhhhwhat!?” Jessica snorted, utterly shocked at what Sunny said. “She already gave birth?! Whaat?!”

      “Yeah, just two days ago, actually.”

      “Oh my g…” Jessica opened the front door and said to her dad, “Dad, Stephanie already gave birth!”

      “What? Oh dear!” Mr. Jung smiled.

      “Would you like to see the baby girl?” Hannah said cheerfully, making Sunny mentally panic when she remembered Yohan and Haneul were with Eunji.

      “It’s a girl? Ahhh!” Jessica squealed excitedly.

      “What’s the baby girl’s name?” Mr. Jung asked as he came out of the car.

      “Maybe Stephanie would like to tell you that herself.”

      “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited!” Jessica smiled brightly. “I thought I wouldn’t see her baby until it’s a year old or something!”

      “Why are we waiting around here, though? Let’s go inside!” Hannah said. Sunny bit her lip and hesitated with what Hannah said, but she had to go along with it. There’s no good excuse to stop them from going in.

      “Oh, this is Hana, by the way,” Sunny said to Jessica as they started walking up slowly to the hanok house. “She’s Stephanie’s cousin from her mother’s side.”

      “Ah, really? Nice to meet you! I’m Jessica!” Jessica smiled warmly, making Hannah forget how cold she looked the first time she saw her. “I’m Stephie’s best friend. What brings you here?”

      “Oh, my sister and I came to adopt Stephanie’s baby,” Hannah said. “Well, actually not me… just my sister, hahah…”

      “Huh?!” Jessica’s nose scrunched up. “Adopt?”

      “Not anymore,” Hannah continued. “Her baby is her baby now for sure.”

      “What are you talking about?” Jessica scoffed, confused at what Hannah said.

      “It’s a long, tiring story,” Sunny said. “We can tell you about that later.”

      When they entered the gate, there Stephanie was at the door of the hanok house, wearing her slippers. As soon as Jessica saw her, she squealed like a dolphin and ran to her best friend. Stephanie was startled, but her pretty eye-smile brightly came to view, overjoyed that her best friend came for a visit.

      Meanwhile, in the bedroom, Yohan who was sitting there with baby Eunji, got startled by the familiar high-pitched scream and wondered if he was hearing things.

      “Who was that?” Yohan said and Haneul looked at the shutters.

      “There’s a guest,” Haneul said and she went out to see who it was. When she took a peak, she saw Jessica’s honey-blonde hair and wondered who it could be. Her face seemed familiar but she couldn’t place where she saw her.

      “Who is it?” Yohan asked. Haneul watched as Stephanie and Jessica laughed together and tried to search her mind of names. Then it clicked: the girl Jessica that used to be in Yohan’s wallet—that’s her. Haneul’s heart sank knowing where they both stood and she felt Jessica’s presence could sway Yohan’s emotions of her. Too shocked and conflicted at seeing Jessica, Haneul was unable to tell him who it was.

      Stephanie noticed Haneul who was speechlessly standing there and she read Haneul like an open book. Stephanie then looked back at Jessica and held her hands.

      “Um, Jessica,” Stephanie said. “I’m really sorry I haven’t contacted you or wrote to you in a while. I’ve just been kind of out of my mind these days.”

      “You look like it too,” Jessica pouted and caressed Stephanie’s cheeks.

      “And I’m sorry about not telling you about a lot of things. Promise me you’ll forgive me?” Stephanie said.

      “Of course, have I ever not forgiven you?” Jessica said, not knowing that Stephanie was preparing her for whom she will see inside the house.

      And so, they all came in the house and into the living room. Haneul stood awkwardly by the sidelines and quietly entered the bedroom, locking her and Yohan in it. She hoped Yohan would not see, but when she turned around, Yohan had already seen a glimpse of who came in the house, and he stood there paralyzed.

      “Why is she… here…?” Yohan breathed.

      “Oppa,” Haneul looked at Yohan in the eye and saw him utterly dazed. “Oppa…”

      Suddenly, the door opened and Sunny came in. She closed the door immediately and said, “Give me Eunji.”

      “Is that Jessica? What the hell is she doing here?” Yohan angrily said.

      “Look, they’ll only be here till the sun goes down. If you don’t want to see her, just stay right here,” Sunny said.

      “Are you expecting me to stay here all day?” Yohan said.

      “Well do you want to go out there and meet her?” Sunny said. “Look, it’s Stephanie’s mistake for not telling all of us and it’s a little too late for you to leave the room now. So give me Eunji and you stay here. I’ll make sure they don’t come in here.”

      Yohan gently passed Eunji to Sunny and Sunny left them alone in the room.

      Haneul glanced at Yuri hopelessly and didn’t know if she should say anything or not. She knew how sensitive Yohan was at the topic of Jessica so having her here would definitely give him a lot of confusing emotions.

      Yohan noticed Haneul worrying about him and held her hand. “Whatever happens, I love you more,” Yohan said. “Remember that.”

***

      As soon as Sunny came out the room with Eunji on hand, Jessica squealed again, but her father held her back from causing a loud ruckus.

      “Oh my god!! She’s so tiny!” Jessica chuckled and covered her mouth, totally in awe of the tiny child.

      “Would you like to hold her?” Stephanie said.

      “Erm… I’d rather not,” Jessica said. “I feel like I’ll do something wrong if I do.”

      “Oh come on,” Stephanie laughed.

      “Let Dad hold her,” Jessica said.

      “Ah, Of course!” Stephanie clapped and Sunny gave Eunji to Mr. Jung. Sunny then called Hyuna and Hannah to the kitchen to prepare some snacks for the guests.

      “Aw, she’s so light,” Mr. Jung said. “How much does she weigh?”

      “About five pounds,” Stephanie said.

      “No wonder! And she’s fine? There are no problems with her?”

      “The physician said she lacks a bit of nutrition, but her organs are working fine. But of course, the physician’s still running tests on her to make sure.”

      “Aigoo, I knew it was dangerous when you don’t eat properly!” Jessica scoffed. “Remember that week when you barely ate?!”

      “Yes, yes, Jessie,” Stephanie chuckled. “I know I should’ve listened to you.”

      “But this is quite a miracle you’ve got here!” Mr. Jung said. “When Jessica was born, she had lots of problems even though we tried so hard to meet the requirements!”

      “I did?”

      “Yes, there were even times when we thought we’d lose our first child.”

      “Why, what was wrong with me?”

      “You were born anemic,” Mr. Jung said. “Even till now you still have that sickness.”

      “Oh, right…” Jessica nodded. “Anyway, what’s her name?”

      “It’s Eunji,” Stephanie smiled.

      “Eunji Hwang or… Eunji Kim?” Jessica asked softly. Jinwon was still alive anyway so Stephanie could totally name Eunji after her father’s last name.

      Stephanie sighed and thought about it. “It’s Hwang. Hwang Eunji.” Jessica didn’t argue with that and understood her decision.

      “So what are your plans? Ever thought about things yet?” Mr. Jung asked.

      “Well, I was planning on going to America in a while but I’m honestly too tired to go anywhere. I think I’ll be staying here and maybe find a job around here and then eventually in Seoul or just anywhere in Korea.”

      “You were planning on going to America?” Jessica said.

      “Ah yeah… actually, I was planning on… giving up the baby to my cousin Sasha because it was hard for me and I was really confused about this parenting thing,” Stephanie said and then softly caressed Eunji’s head. “But I guess I just didn’t have it in me, you know? Eunji is too precious and I can’t believe I just realized when I finally saw her.”

      “It’s only natural that you thought about those things considering what you have gone through,” Mr. Jung said. “But I’m proud that you decided to keep her. You’ll do wonderful in being a mother.”

      “Do you really think so?” Stephanie felt touched hearing those words from Mr. Jung.

      “It’s natural to be clueless when you’re a new parent, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out and mature really well. You’re a smart and loving girl, Stephanie, just like your mother.”

      “Thank you, Mr. Jung…”

      “This is amazing though, I think I’m tearing up,” Mr. Jung said. “This feels like I’m holding my first grandchild or something.”

      “Aww, Dad,” Jessica chuckled and patted her father’s shoulder.

      “Well I am considered a part of the Jung family, too, aren’t I?” Stephanie smiled.

      “Ahh, Haraboji!” Jessica teased.  (haraboji means grandfather)

      “Now I can’t wait till Jessica actually has her own!” Mr. Jung said.

      “Ugh, Dad,” Jessica rolled her eyes. “You say that but whenever a guy I like gets too close, you’re like a hawk and you scare ‘em away! You even scare the guy that I like now.”

      “You like a guy?” Stephanie asked.

      “Oh… what? Did I say that?” Jessica averted her eyes from Stephanie and blushed.

      “Who?” Stephanie snickered.

      “Can we not talk about this,” Jessica covered her face with her hands, feeling herself turn red.

      “It’s Hyungsoo,” Mr. Jung said.

      “Ugh, Dad~! No!” Jessica angrily hit him on his arm and hid again behind her hands. Mr. Jung just laughed.

      “Oh, so you’ve actually developed feelings for him, huh,” Stephanie said as she took glances at the closed bedroom, a little nervous that Yohan could be hearing all of this since the walls of the house weren’t thick enough to block sounds.

      “Well it’s not like I could help it, you know?” Jessica said and turned even redder. “He’s just so funny and sweet… but not like I’d want to make a deeper relationship with him either because I don’t want to. He’s just like a really, really good friend.”

      “That you have a crush on,” Mr. Jung teased and Jessica hit him again. “Stop hitting me!” Mr. Jung said. “I’m holding Eunji right now!”

      “Does Hyungsoo know you have feelings for him?” Stephanie chuckled.

      “How could he? I don’t even know if I have feelings for him!” Jessica huffed and fanned herself. “Can we drop this topic? He’s just a really precious friend and he may have given me little butterflies in my stomach, but I’m not completely sure, okay? Maybe it’s because he’s just there for me, you know? He’s the only close friend I have left there!”

      “Oh, yeah, you’re leaving next Wednesday, aren’t you?”

      “Yeah, and I’m planning on having some fun around Seoul with Hyungsoo this Saturday, and maybe we could meet JooHyun there. I would love if you could come and spend a day or two with us but it seems your hands are full right now. If Yohan was still somewhere near us, I would love if he could come too. But you know… it’s just me and Hyungsoo I guess.”

      Stephanie stared at the closed room once again and sighed. Was Yohan hearing all of this? “What happened between you and Yohan, by the way?” she asked. “You never told me the story.”

      “Oh… we had an argument. I don’t even remember what we exactly both said to each other. All I know it wasn’t pleasant and it seems my brain doesn’t want to recall it ever again. After that, he just left without even saying goodbye. You read about it, didn’t you? Agh… I guess we really were just jerks to each other at that time. I wish I could be friends with him again and drop all those complicated love emotions. I’d give or leave anything for us to be at least friends again. Not just him but JooHyun, too, you know? I just really miss us old gang… Knowing how we all can’t be together anymore just sucks…”

      Stephanie took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Listening to Jessica talk about missing Yohan while Yohan was just near them made her heart ache. She couldn’t take hearing about two best-friends who were just broken apart. She held Jessica’s hands and said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, Jessi…”

      “Tell me what?”

      “Yohan,” Stephanie raised her voice trying to call Yohan to come out and the two Jungs became confused. “I think you have to come out here.”

      Hearing Stephanie call him, Yohan took a deep breath to calm himself down and squeezed Haneul’s hands. He closed his eyes and said, “I guess I have no choice,” Yohan said and Haneul just stayed silent. Yohan then gave Haneul a prolonged kiss. When he withdrew from the kiss, he cupped Haneul’s face and said, “Trust me, okay?”

      “I will, Oppa.”

      When Yohan came out of the room, Jessica lost her breath and Stephanie hung her head low. Jessica and Yohan stared at each other blankly for this was the first time they have seen each other after the fight. They both had no clue what to feel really, and their hearts have already hardened at the sight of each other.

      Mr. Jung took a deep sigh and stood up. While still carrying Eunji, he went to Yohan and gave one heavy pat on his shoulder as to acknowledge him, the boy who once made his daughter happy. Then he went to the kitchen to give the three teenagers some space.

      Yohan then sat on the floor with the two girls and they all just stayed silent for a while. The three of them used to be so comfortable with each other, but now, it seems they could die from the tense air.  Yohan felt his heart about to burst of awkwardness, and Jessica felt confused and betrayed.

      “Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Jessica said to Stephanie while her eyes were fixed on her fingers, purposely avoiding eye contact with the both of them.

      “I’m sorry… I didn’t know how to explain it to you.”

      “Well then explain it to me now,” Jessica said, her voice evidently showing her temper.

      “Don’t start talking to her like that! It’s not her fault,” Yohan said firmly, recognizing the same sensitive girl that would suddenly blow up in any situation. Jessica stared at him and she felt her nose puff up from the emotions starting to flow. How could they just keep something like this from her? She wanted to be a furious but she was unable to take her anger out the two whom she cherished so much. She fixed her eyes back to her fingers and tried to calm herself down.

      “Then why are you here?”

      “To prepare myself for the army.”

      “You could’ve told me before you left.”

      “I had no time to break it to you… especially after that day.”

      Jessica felt a chill in her heart remembering that day again. “I’m sorry about that day… I really am,” Jessica whimpered. “I guess not just that day, but for the past few months…”

      “I’m sorry, too,” Yohan said.

Silence fell once again and a minute or two passed by until Sunny came in with a tray of fried dumplings. She laid it before them and sat with them.

      “I see you guys have met,” Sunny grinned. It amused her so much how all this drama will play out. “Aren’t you ex-lovers or something?”

      “No we were just friends who had an argument. We were never a thing!” Jessica turned red and awkwardly grabbed a fried dumpling but suddenly dropped it because it was too hot. “Ow! Ugh!”

      “Are you alright?!” Yohan said and held her hand. Jessica quickly resisted from his touch and Yohan realized what he suddenly did. He mentally panicked and scooted closer to Stephanie to get farther away from Jessica so that it wouldn’t happen again.

      Sunny picked up chopsticks from the tray and gave it to Jessica. Jessica felt embarrassed that she didn’t pick up the chopsticks on the first place. She gobbled up a fried dumpling trying to swallow the embarrassment away and almost choked. Yohan snickered and Jessica glared at him. Yohan bit his lip and held back his laughter.

      This made Stephanie happy for Yohan and Jessica might actually be in good terms. Even if it’s just simple as either of them laughing at each other’s discomfort like they used to when they were close, it felt good enough for now. She wouldn’t know what to do if two of her best friends weren’t getting along.

      “If you were there all along in the room, could you hear us a while ago?” Jessica asked Yohan and he just nodded.

      “You heard everything?”

      “Yeah…”

Jessica averted her eyes from him and felt embarrassed again remembering all she said.

      “I can still be your friend if you want me to,” Yohan said even though he was still unsure of what he was saying. Deep inside him, he still loved Jessica in a way, but not as much as Haneul. Back then, he used to love Jessica like a lover, but now, after knowing where they both have their affections on, he believed maybe they really could just be friends like the old days. He wondered a lot about this possibility for weeks and thought it wouldn’t be possible. But now that it is, he should clear it all up now. However, if that was to happen, he had to make sure there were certain boundaries established.

      “Really?”

      “You said you would leave anything to be friends with me again, right?” Yohan said and Jessica nodded stiffly.

      “I’ll be friends with you if you drop whatever feelings you had of me before. If we’re going to be friends, we should be nothing more than that,” Yohan said.

      Feeling a little conflicted about the idea, Jessica carefully thought about it, but then slowly agreed with it. “Of course… We’re just friends. That’s what we were anyway right from the very start.”

      “So are you guys good now?” Sunny asked. Yohan and Jessica awkwardly looked at each other and then nodded.

      “I guess we are,” Jessica said and Stephanie smiled, relieved that they would leave all the complications behind.

      “Since you’re leaving next week, do you want me to come with you and Hyungsoo this Saturday to Seoul?” Yohan suddenly said.

      “Um… oh that? O-of course, if that’s alright with you,” Jessica shyly nodded. “That would mean a lot.”

***

      “So…,” Haneul started as the Jungs were being toured around the area, giving them a bit of time to be together alone. “How was it?”

      “Better than I expected,” Yohan said. “So far, this is the clearest my thoughts have ever been. Though it was first awkward, I’m glad she came.”

      “Why?”

      “She gave me something like a closure,” Yohan said. “It seems that all I needed from her was a sorry, and I got it. I can’t believe it was as simple as that… And now I’m over everything. We’re back to being friends somehow.”

      “I’m glad the rainy clouds have been cleared up for you, Oppa,” Haneul said and side-hugged him. “Honestly, I worry about you a lot when you drift off sometimes when you’re with me. I knew it’s because of her and I really couldn’t do much about it but cheer you up as much as I could.”

      “I’m glad you understand me and waited patiently for me,” Yohan said. “You really are like the sky… you’re always there for me even when the rainy clouds come. Though sometimes I can’t see you, you’re still there, waiting for the weather to blow over. Please don’t stop being beside me even when things like this happen again.”

      “Of course, Oppa,” Haneul smiled and Yohan hugged her tight, cherishing her more than anything.

***

      As the sun was soon setting, Sunny, Stephanie, and Jessica sat out the porch to hangout before Jessica leaves.

      “By the way, Sunny, I really thank you,” Jessica said. “I’ve been worrying so much about Stephanie… if it wasn’t you who was taking care of her, I think I would’ve lost my mind and would’ve let her stay with me if it was someone else.”

      “Actually, I should be thanking you, too,” Sunny said. “Since I’m her cousin, it’s understandable that I would take care of her. But I’m glad that your family willingly helped her through the hard years. I mean you just visiting like this for her even when you’re leaving soon means a lot for her and so it means a lot to me too. I’m glad Stephanie has a best friend she can truly depend on.”

      “Aw you guys, and I’m grateful to both of you being all thankful for each other like this,” Stephanie said as she cheerfully hung her arms on both their shoulders. “You guys are like my pillars. I wouldn’t be who I am now if you guys aren’t with me from the very start.”

      “But I swear,” Jessica said as she took off Stephanie’s arm on her, “If you stop caring for Eunji, I will really scold you! Be glad you didn’t tell me in your letters you were going to give her up to your cousins. I really would have slapped some sense into you!”

      “Oh, Jessica,” Stephanie laughed. “You’re cute!”

      “What makes you say that?” Jessica was taken aback.

      “Never stop scolding me for my wrongs. I love you the most when you do that,” Stephanie said.

      “Just you wait for me ‘til I get back from America. I will scold you non-stop!” Jessica said.

      Mr. Jung then came out of the house and patted Jessica’s back. “It’s getting a little late. We should take off now.”

      “Aw…” Jessica whimpered but obeyed her father. The three girls stood up and bid farewell to each other. Jessica and Stephanie squeezed each other tightly for about a minute, for they weren’t sure when they would ever see each other again.

      “Agh… I’m starting to feel really emotional, Tiff,” Jessica sniffed while they were still on each other’s embrace. “What if I never see you again?”

      “Don’t cry! Don’t cry! And don’t believe those useless things! Remember what you said to me back then? We’re sisters, and sisters will never separate, right?” Stephanie said while patting her back. “We didn’t say goodbye to each other the last time so let’s not do it here either.”

      “Ahh… redirecting my words, huh?” Jessica chuckled and she held back her tears. “Just you wait for me, girl. We’ll live under the same roof again, someday.”

      “Of course.”

      They withdrew from each other and Sunny and Jessica hugged too. “It was nice to finally get to talk to you, Sunny. We should also hang out someday.”

      “We should,” Sunny smiled.

      “Would you like to bid Yohan farewell, too?” Stephanie said. Jessica was a bit hesitant but timidly nodded her head. And so, Stephanie called Yohan. When Yohan came out, he took a deep breath and stood in front of Jessica. They stared at each other awkwardly for a moment until Yohan pulled her in for a hug.

      “You’re coming to Seoul Station on Saturday, right?” Jessica asked. “Hyungsoo will be happy to see you again,” she added, trying not to sound as if she was the one who truly wanted Yohan to be there.

      “Yeah, don’t worry. I’ll be there.”

      “So I guess this isn’t really our official goodbye yet,” Jessica said.

      “I guess not.”

And so, the three teenagers bid farewell to the Jungs and stayed a few more minutes to watch the sunset.

       “You know, it’s been raining quite a lot for the past few days but I’m surprised not a drop fell today,” Sunny said.

      “And the sun just set, but this moment feels like the sun has become brighter than it has ever been,” Yohan said.

      “What makes you say that?” Stephanie asked.

      “Don’t you realize something? Two days straight, no one has been depressed. That’s quite a record, isn’t it?” Yohan said.

      “Then the season of Sunny Days must finally be starting,” Sunny giggled.


STORY 6: Stained


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