Friday, December 31, 2010

Finding A Bridge: My Name Is Kim Sam Soon sequel

Disclaimer: I do not own My Name Is Kim Sam Soon nor am I affilated with the show in any way. I do not own any of the canon characters in this story.

Note: This story was completed in July 2006 but the dates have been changed for scrolling purposes.

I feel so guilty.

Yes, Dad, I feel guilty.

How sad is it that I don’t think of you as often as I used to?

I don’t think that I miss you less and I am sure I don’t love you less but I hate that I think of you less. Does that make any sense?

Is this what loving someone means? Does it mean I need you less? That I can’t be Daddy’s little girl anymore? That I don’t need you to feel safe anymore?

But I am happy, Dad. I am very happy. And I know that you’re happy for me. And that makes me even happier.

But yet I am sad. Because I get to see you less. And then I am I glad. Because I get to see him more. Am I crazy?

I really love him Daddy. Really! Like really, really, really! I just thought I’d throw that in.

And I love you too, so I hope you understand.

"You! Wake up,” Sam Soon said, shaking Jin Hun.

“Hey, leave me alone. You barely let me sleep last night,” he grumbled.

“And yet, I am up. Get up. The boss can’t keep getting late to work, you know.”

“I’m not the boss – only the boss’s son.”

“Excuse, excuses,” she teased. “Honey, it’s time to wake up,” she cooed, caressing his arm.

He groaned. “You keep doing that and you’re going to have to get in here with me,” he warned.
She smiled, getting off his bed.


In a bathrobe with his hair still wet, Jin Hun walked into the kitchen to see Sam Soon sitting at the island, drinking coffee. “So what’s for breakfast?” he asked.

She rolled her eyes. “You tell me.”


“Isn’t that how you got me to spend an extra night? You promised to make me breakfast. If I’d gone home, do you think I’d be trying to fill my belly with coffee?”

Jin Hun walked past her and headed for the fridge. “Again, if you’d let me sleep, I’d have woken up earlier.”

She rolled her eyes. “So where’s my breakfast? And I don’t want leftovers.”

He gave her a sidelong glance. “Tomorrow?”

She looked up at him. “Huh?”

He smiled. “Spend one more night and I promise to make something for you tomorrow.”

She frowned at him, picked up her phone then dialed a number. “Hey Unnie, do you have any breakfast over there? What?” She slid off the stool. “We aren’t opening till 1 today, right? So I am not late. Relax, I’ll be there,” she said as she walked into the bedroom.

A few minutes later, she emerged with her overnight bag.

“Why are you taking that with you?” he asked, pointing at the bag. “What about breakfast?”

Sam Soon stood and leaned on one leg. “How long have you known me?”

“A little over two years…?” he asked, slightly confused.

“And do you think I am stupid?” she continued as she resumed walking to the door.

“What are you talking about now?” He followed her.

“Do you think I am going to fall for that breakfast line again?”

“You fell for it yesterday,” he said, laughing.

She turned around. “No, Honey, I didn’t fall for it – I wanted to stay. But I am sure my mother misses me. I want to go home today. Is that okay, Sam Shik?” she asked, as she reached for his face.

“Do I have a choice?” He was sulking.

“No,” she said then kissed him. “Talk to you later.”

2 years later...

“Unnie,” Sam Soon called as she mixed up some batter. “How do you break up with someone you love?”

Thursday, December 30, 2010


“What do you mean, ‘break up?’” Yi Young asked from behind the computer.

“How many definitions do you know of?”

“I see.”

“What do you see?” Sam Soon asked.

“You really don’t want my help, right? 'Cos if you did, you wouldn’t be so rude, don’t you think?”


“So who are you trying to break up with?”

Sam Soon shook her head. “Who else?”

Still typing, her sister replied, “I know it can’t be Sam Shik so I honestly don’t know.”

“Unnie, I am serious.”
Yi Young stopped typing and turned to her. “Are we going back to this again?”

“Listen. I am 34 years old and I am not getting any closer to getting married. No matter how nice I am, his mother hates me and she isn’t going to change her mind.”

“So after all these years you are just going to give up?”

“Are you listening to me? I am 34 years old! Never married. No kids!”

“I don’t have any children either,” her sister pointed out.

“But by this time next month, you’d be on marriage number 2. And maybe this time next year you’d already have a child and I’ll still be here waiting for a miracle.”

Yi Young sighed. “Have you spoken to Sam Shik about this?” She got up and walked over to her sister.

“What do you think?”

“Well, if you’re sure you want to break up, I am sure the man on Table 7 will gladly take his place,” her sister teased.

Sam Soon rolled her eyes. “Is Mr. Lee here again?”

“What do you think? In the past year has your favorite customer failed to show up on any Monday, Wednesday or Friday?”

Sam Soon giggled. “Well, there’s always a first time.”

Yi Young stood next to her sister and stared at Mr. Lee from behind the counter. “He really isn’t bad looking for a man his age, you know…,” she said, stroking her chin. “In fact,” she reached for her sister’s phone that was laying on the counter. “Why don’t you call Sam Shik right now and break up with him? And while you do that, I’ll go and get Mr. Lee. What do you say?”

Sam Soon rolled her eyes but didn’t respond.

“Aunty! Aunty!” Mi Joo screamed as she ran into the store. Jin Hun walked in a few seconds later.

“What?” Sam Soon asked, coming out from behind the counter.

“Uncle says I can’t have any pastries today!”

Sam Soon hugged her. “Why would he say a ridiculous thing like that? I already have a piece of strawberry shortcake waiting for you.”

“That’s what I told him but he said I am getting fat.”

Sam Soon stepped back and made a huge show of looking her over. “I don’t see it. You are beautiful.”

“Aunty, I don’t even care if I get fat. I don’t mind being like you.”

Sam Soon burst out laughing. She turned to Jin Hun. “What have you been telling her?” she asked in a low voice, pulling him aside.

“Hey,” he said sheepishly. “I care about her health.”

“So are you saying that I am not healthy?”

“This is not about you. It’s about her.”

“But it’s about me too, since I am fat and you don’t want her to be. So are you saying that I am not healthy?”

“I like you the way you are.”

“But you don’t want her to be like me,” she said, trying her best to hide a smile. Sometimes, arguing with him was so much fun. And at that moment, looking into his eyes, she wondered how she could have even considered ending things with him.

“But Sam Soon, she’s not you,” he said earnestly. “I like her the way she is. Is that wrong?”

“But you think that if she gains weight she won’t be healthy. So do you think I am unhealthy?”

He groaned. “Listen, Soonie, I don’t want to fight.”

She chuckled. “Alright, just say you love me and I’ll forgive you.”

“What did I do wrong? Why should I be forgiven?”

“Just say you love me and I will forget that you called me unhealthy.” She ran her fingers on his left cheek.

“Just know that I am not saying this because I admit to any wrongdoing. I am saying it because it’s true.”

She put her hand down and stared at him for a few seconds. “I am waiting.”

He rolled his eyes then kissed her on the side of her mouth. “I love you,” he grumbled. “Happy now?”

Taking his arm, she pulled him back to Mi Joo. “Honey, Uncle and I had a talk and I think he’s right. How about you only have pastries about once a week? It’s really not healthy to eat so much sweet food.”

Later that evening…

“So you’re saying you’re not coming over tonight?” Jin Hun asked as they waited for the waitress to return with his credit card.

“Why would I? Do I live there?”

Jin Hun reached over and took her hand. “But my apartment misses you when you’re gone.”
“Really? Well, you know what to do to get me there permanently.”

He took his hand back and turned away.

“Cat caught your tongue?” she asked, standing up.

“Listen, Soonie.” He grabbed hand. “We just need to be patient.”

“Really?” She slapped his hand off. “How long are we waiting for, Jin Hun? Are we waiting till your mother dies? Because she’s as strong as an ox and I really don’t want to wait till I’m 70 to get married!” Without another glance, she turned around and walked out of the restaurant

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Jin Hun ran after her and caught her at the door. “Where do you think you are going?”

She turned around and eyed him up and down. “I know you aren’t trying that shit now.” She stepped out of the restaurant and started walking towards the bus stop.

Jin Hun looked at her and then back at the restaurant. “Where’s the freaking waitress!” he shouted at no one in particular. Just as he was deciding to leave his credit card behind, he heard the waitress call to him.

Shortly after, he caught up with Sam Soon and grabbed her hand. “Where are you going to? My car is in the parking lot.”

“So what?”

“So let’s go,” he said, pulling her.

“Let go of my hand.” She stopped and looked at him. “Listen, just let go of my hand. I don’t want a ride. I want to take the bus.”

He sighed. “Then I’ll take the bus with you.”

Not saying anything, Sam Soon turned back around and started walking.

Jin Hun hated feeling so helpless. Of course he wanted to marry Sam Soon. In fact, when he thought about it, even though he didn’t know it at the time, he felt that he wanted to marry her the day he heard her crying in the men’s bathroom. And if he could control his mother, he would make her accept Sam Soon. But he couldn’t. Even though Sam Soon said he was imagining things, he knew his mother was starting to come around. Even though she acted like she wasn’t affected, he could tell that she was starting to like her… well, he hoped she was.

He’d toyed around with just having a court wedding without her consent but he couldn’t do that to her. He was her only living son and he didn’t think he could break her heart that way. Even though he missed the restaurant, he’d returned to the hotel to please her and discovered that he really loved working there. He’d hoped that it would soften her heart but it was almost four years and nothing had changed. It was frustrating but there was nothing he could do about it.

When they arrived at the bus stop, they stood in silence for a few minutes.

“So do you think the buses are still running?” he asked her. When she didn’t reply he said, “Because if they aren’t, I think it would be better for me to take my car – that way, I can drop you off right at your door.”
When she still didn’t respond, he said, “I wonder if this is a good neighborhood. If I come back here tomorrow, do you think my car would still be here? I hope it doesn’t get stolen.”

“So why don’t you just go back?” she asked.

“Because I can’t leave you when you’re like this.”

She glanced at him. “I’m a big girl – I can take care of myself.”

She looked back and stared at him.

“What?” he asked.

She sighed. “You know what? Let’s just go back. Can you drop me off at my] home?” she asked far too politely.

Jin Hun pretended that didn’t sting and nodded.

They’d driven in silence for about ten minutes when Sam Soon said, “You do realize that nothing’s going to change, right?”

“What do you mean?” Jin Hun asked reluctantly.

“Your mother hates me.”

“No, she doesn’t. And no, I am not waiting for her to die. I can’t believe you said that.”

Sam Soon didn’t respond. She knew it was a lousy thing to say but deep down inside, she really didn’t see any other way.

“Don’t worry, Soonie, things will change.”

“Yeah, right. You are never going to stand up to her. She’s never going to change her mind. And we are always going to be like this.”

“Stop saying that.”

“It’s true. Speaking of which… do you know who I ran into the other day?”


“Remember that nice man I was match made with? The one I went out with a few times?”
He grunted. “Yes. And?”

“I saw him at the mall with his wife and son– he looked about 2 years old. They seemed very happy.”


“I’m just saying.”

“What are you saying?”

“You know…”


“I don’t know…,” she started in a small voice, “that could have been me.”

Jin Hun slapped the dashboard, took a sharp right then pulled over.

“Are you crazy? Are you trying to kill us?” Sam Soon yelled as she slapped his shoulder.

“No, I think that’s what you’re trying to do. What do you mean, “That could have been you?” What is that supposed to mean? Tell me!”

Sam Soon turned away from him and looked out of the window. “Calm down for goodness sake.”

“How do you expect me to be calm when you say something like that? Look at me when I am talking to you!”

She spun around to face him. “You’d better stop yelling at me! And I am just being honest. Things would have been easier if things were different. I mean… I am sick of this.”

“Are things so bad with me?” His voice was shaking.

“Listen,” she could feel her eyes getting wet, “you know I love you. But I am just so tired.” She felt a tear fall down her right cheek. “I used to think that loving you would be enough, but I really don’t think it is.”

Jin Hun looked away from her and just stared at the stirring wheel.

“Are you still taking me home or should I get out and walk?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” he replied then started the car.

When they finally pulled in front of her house, he said, “Are you still coming over tomorrow?”

“Why wouldn’t I?” Sam Soon said as she opened the car door. “Mi Joo expects me, doesn’t she?”

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It was 12:15pm and Jin Hun had been calling Sam Soon’s phone for almost two hours with no response. Fighting with her was hardly uncommon but last night’s fight just seemed different. He’d barely slept and almost felt like his life was a scratched CD because all he could hear was Sam Soon’s voice saying, “I used to think that loving you would be enough, but I really don’t think it is,” over and over.

What was that supposed to mean? She wasn’t giving up on them, was she? Not that he would even let that happen. But the thought of her feeling so miserable with him literally turned his stomach. He had been unable to keep any of his breakfast down and he just hoped that she’d show up smiling, kiss him and everything will be fine. But the fact that she hadn’t taken any of his calls and there were only 5 minutes left before she was officially very late scared him shitless. He really didn’t know what he would do if she walked out of his life.

“Have you finally ended it with her?” He heard his mother say from behind him.

“What?” He glanced at her.

“You and Sam Soon. She’s not here. Have you finally ended it with her?” his mother said right before she sat on the couch.

He turned around to face her. “No. Why would I do that?”

She scoffed. “How old is she now? Thirty-eight?”

He rolled his eyes. “She’s thirty-four.”

His mother shrugged. “What difference does that make? She’s still too old.”

“I’m thirty-one.”

“Exactly. Now is the time for you to seriously start looking for a suitable wife.”

He folded his arms. “Why would I look for something I have already found?”

His mother shook her head with mock pity. “Hasn’t this gone on long enough? You actually think I will ever let Sam Soon bear a son for this family?”


“Do you honestly think she can raise the kind of son this family needs? Listen, do yourself a favor and break up with her because I am never going to accept her, okay? I thought that was quite clear but apparently I was wrong.”


“Good afternoon, Mother,” Sam Soon’s voice interrupted him.

Jin Hun turned sharply around to look at her. There were beads of sweat on her forehead.

“I’m so sorry I am late,” she continued as she tried to catch her breath. “I took the train to get here faster but they started having signal problems. I’m sorry about that. I brought a few things from the shop,” she said, holding up the bag. “I’ll take them to the kitchen,” she finished, smiling.

Jin Hun studied her face to try to figure out if she’d overhead anything. He followed her. “How did you get in?”

Sam Soon looked at him suspiciously. “Didn’t you ask me to come? I should have waited outside?”

“No, that’s not what I meant... I was just wondering… you know, I mean like… since I didn’t hear the doorbell.”

She searched his eyes. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, yes,” he said dismissively. He tried his best to appear cool. “Was the door open?”

She looked back at the bag she brought with her. “I think Mi Joo was waiting for me because she opened the door before I could ring the bell.”

“Ah… I see,” he said, finally exhaling. “So why didn’t you answer your phone? You know I hate it when you don’t answer it.”

“Look, I’ve had a bad day, okay? I’m really not in the mood for this. I forgot my phone at home. I am sorry I didn’t call you to tell you I was running late. I didn’t realize I didn’t have it on me till I got on the train.”

“Okay. That’s fine… I’d thought… because you… yesterday… but yeah, it’s not a big deal.”

Sam Soon looked up at him. “Are you sure everything is alright?”

“Yes,” he replied, hoping his smile reached his eyes. “It is now that you’re here.”

“Good. Since I am here to celebrate Mi Joo’s birthday, could you scram so that I can get to work? I am sure there are quite a few things to do before her friends start arriving so… buh-bye!”


After the party, Sam Soon was helping to clear the kitchen when Jin Hun’s mother walked into the kitchen and signaled at the maid to leave.

“You need to stop bringing all these things around here,” she said when they were alone.

“What, Mother?” she asked cheerily.

“All these cookies and cakes. Maybe you’re not paying attention but Mi Joo has started to gain weight and it’s because you bring so much food with you.”

“But Mother, I only brought this much for the party.”

“So what?” She shook her head. “I don’t like the kind of influence you are having on my granddaughter. There are no fat people in my family and none on Jin Hun’s father’s side so I know it’s not genetic. Maybe you think it’s okay to be fat, but I don’t think so.”


“Just stop it, okay?”

Not knowing what else to do, Sam Soon nodded.

“And you really don’t need to come around so much – it confuses things.”

Sam Soon’s eyes grew to the size saucers. In all the years she'd interracted with Jin Hun's mother, she'd never spoken to her in such a manner. “Pardon?”

“For example, you really didn’t need to come here today.”

Sam Soon struggled to keep the smile on her face. “But Mother, I came because it’s Mi Joo’s birthday.”

“I understand that but we could have done well without you. Don’t you think?”

Sam Soon lowered her eyes. “Yes, Mother.”

“And one more thing… don’t you think it’s time for you release Jin Hun?”

She'd mentally prepared herself for a confrontation like this but apparently, she hadn't prepared enough. “P-P-Pardon?”

“Look, I think you are a nice woman --I really do. But you are not right for my son. Jin Hun is sentimental and I can see that he won’t be the one to let you go, so you are going to have to do it. I know you say you love him, but I am sure you can love someone who is more suited for you. Wouldn’t it be better that way? And that way, everyone will be happy. The woman who marries my son is going to have to help him take over this hotel one day and I don’t think you can do it. It’s nothing against you, okay? So just let him go so that we can all move on with our lives.”

Monday, December 27, 2010


“Why are you so quiet?” Jin Hun asked on the drive to Sam Soon’s place.

“Do I always have to talk?” she said without looking at him.

Jin Hun sighed. It was turning out to be weirdest day in the history of their relationship. “Is everything alright?”


“Are you sure?”

She scowled at him. “If I say ‘no’, what will you do?”

Jin Hun was silent for a minute as he tried to ignore the pound in his chest. Earlier on, he’d thought she didn’t overhear his mother but now he wasn’t so sure. “Tell me what the matter is.”

She just looked at him.

“Come on, tell me. How can we deal with this if you don’t tell me?”

“What if it’s not your problem?”

“If it’s your problem, it’s mine, too. I thought that was pretty obvious.”

She snickered. “Yeah right.”

“Did something happen?” Tell me you didn’t hear anything, please say you didn’t hear anything, he thought.

Sam Soon rested her elbows on her lap and put her head in her palms. “I’m just tired. Can you just drive?”

“Okay.” Jin Hun looked at her- her back sunken in as if in surrender- and just wanted to reach out and touch her. But in the few years they’d been together, he understood that there were some times she just needed some space. But lately, he’d begun to fear that she’d need so much space that she wouldn’t want to be with him anymore.

About ten minutes later, with her head leaning against the window, Sam Soon started, “Your mother…”

Jin Hun’s felt a lump in his throat. “What about her…?”

She let out a short laugh. “She…wow… she… ”

“She... what?”

“Ah… forget it.”

“No, I am not going to forget it. Just say it.” He put his foot on the brake and started to slow down.

“Hey, don’t pullover. I was just going to say that she looked nice.”

“Do you think I am stupid? Why are you lying?”

“Are you deaf? Don’t pullover! We are almost at my place.”

Jin Hun complied and kept driving. “Did you hear my Mom say anything?” he asked in the calmest of voices.

“No. Just drop it.” She reached for the radio dial. “I wonder what’s on the FM station now.”

“Thanks for the ride,” Sam Soon said as she stepped out of Jin Hun’s car. She’d wanted to tell him everything his mother had said, but wouldn’t that have been like admitting defeat? She’d unequivocally been told that she would never marry him but she was scared that vocalizing it would only make it true. Maybe after a good night’s rest, she’d be able to collect her thoughts.

Jin Hun stepped out of the car.

“Hey, what are you doing?”

He rolled his eyes. “Can’t I give my girlfriend a hug and kiss?”

She shook her head and smiled. She’d have a good night’s rest and figure out what to do the next day, so surely, a hug couldn’t hurt, right?

She watched him walk over from his side of the car and let herself feel his warm embrace. She nestled her head in his chest and allowed herself to drink in his scent. Was she really supposed to just give all this up? He was whispering something to her but she wasn’t paying attention –all she wanted to do was enjoy the feel of his breath on her nape.

He stepped back a little, and with one hand now resting on her hand, he used the other to lift her chin to make her look into his eyes. “You’re going to tell me what’s bothering you tomorrow. Okay?”

She chuckled. “Whatever.”

“I’m serious,” he said, sounding it.

After kissing her in such a way that would only make it more difficult for her to fall asleep later that night, he got back into his car and drove off.

Still smiling, Sam Soon walked into her living room to see it filled with all sorts of shopping bags and boxes.

“Hey, Sam Soon,” her mother said, gesturing for her to join her and Yi Young. “Come and see your sister’s dowry. Doesn’t everything look great?”

And just like that, her mood was killed.

Mi Joo grinned as she walked out of her school compound.

“Hey!” Sam Soon hugged her. Was it her imagination or had Mi Joo actually gained some weight? Either way, she was going to make sure she stopped getting blamed for it. She patted Mi Joo’s face. “How was school?”

“Fine. Oh, I am hungry,” she said, rubbing her belly. “I can’t wait till we get to your shop – I am going to eat so much.”

Sam Soon shook her head. “Well, you are going to have to wait because we are walking today.”

Mi Joo’s face fell. “Walking?”

Sam Soon nodded.

“The whole way?”

Sam Soon nodded again.

Mi Joo groaned. “Why? My legs are going to ache me.”

Sam Soon took her arm. “Don’t worry; I’ll massage them for you.”

“Where are you? Mi Joo needs to go home,” Sam Soon said into the phone.

“Yeah, that’s what I am calling about,” Jin Hun replied.

“So hurry up,” she said as she walked further behind the counter. “Come and take her. She’s hungry.”

“Is this some kind of joke? Don’t you have food over there?”

“Look, I’ve given her some fruit but she needs to go home for dinner.”

“Then give her something else. Anyway, something came up and I won’t be able to leave here till really late.” He sounded frustrated.

“What happened? Are you okay?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine – I’ll tell you all about it later. But could you take her home?”

“Ehm… why?” She’d decided not to tell him about her conversation with his mother but she was also trying to abide by her wishes. She was sure that seeing her there would only serve to further anger his mother.

“I just told you. I won’t be able to leave here till late.”

“Can’t you get your mother’s chauffeur to come and pick her?”

“No. Just do this for me, okay? I’ve been thinking about what you said and I think we need to show how important you are to the family.”

What more could she show? “Has your mother said anything to you?”

He hesitated. “No. I just think it’s time we show them what you mean to us.”

“Whatever.” She paused. “Is there really an emergency at the hotel?”

“What? Of course there is! You think I made this up?”

“I don’t know. You want to show that I am a good unpaid nanny, right?”

“Stop that. So will you please take her home?”

Sam Soon found herself agreeing to it. And when she dropped Mi Joo off, she was very relieved to discover that her grandmother wasn’t home.

Three Months Later

“Don’t you think the teacher sounds funny?” Sam Soon asked her classmate.

He laughed. “Doesn’t English always sound funny?”

She chuckled. “Yes, but he sounds worse. I think he doesn’t know what he’s teaching us. I’m sure they wouldn’t understand him in England.”

They were still laughing when she heard someone call her name. She turned around to see who it was.

“Mr. Lee.” It was odd seeing him outside of her shop. In fact, he looked different… less like a customer.

Her classmate excused himself and left them alone.

“What are you doing here?” she continued.

He smiled at her. “I am taking the Advanced English class,” he said, pointing at an emptying classroom.

“Cool. I’m taking the Level 2 class,” she replied, pointing at hers. “Why are you taking such a hard class?”

“My parents just moved to America so I’m just brushing up on my English for when I visit them.”

“I see.” They stood in awkward silence for a moment. “That’s great.”

“Yeah.” He shrugged. “Ehm… Miss Kim, you look really nice today.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Jin Hun,” his mother said, walking into his office. “Let’s go out for lunch.”

He looked up from his computer. “I’m really busy today – I’m going to have something delivered.”

His mother stepped aside and let Eunsoo walk in. She was about 5’5, petite in build with long, dark hair that fell to the middle of her back. Her parents were long time family friends who owned a successful chain of clothing stores. When Jin Hun saw her on her first day of work, he had to admit that she’d really blossomed over the course of her studies in New York.

“Eunsoo has completed a very successful month here. Let’s go out and celebrate,” his mother said in the cheery tone she used when speaking to both of them.

Jin Hun glared at his mother and she stared back.

“Boss, I think he’s really busy – we can go out later.” Eunsoo said, observing the interraction between them.

Breaking from Jin Hun’s gaze, his mother turned to Eunsoo. “Yes, that’s a good idea,” she said, nodding slowly, “he can take you to dinner tonight.”

“I’ll be busy tonight,” Jin Hun said before looking back at his computer. He was used to his mother setting him up on dates and trying to push numerous women on him but hiring Eunsoo really took the cake. He’d tried his best to play it cool and just ignore them but it was getting increasingly more difficult with his mother always hovering and making suggestions. But the worst part was he had to be cold to Eunsoo who really didn’t deserve it especially as he’d realized that she was actually a smart girl who just got caught in their parents’ scheming. And it didn’t help that she was also generally pleasant… something that Sam Soon hadn’t been in the last couple of weeks.

“Oppa, don’t worry, we can reschedule. I still have to pick your brain about your experiences running your own restaurant.” She was smiling like she was oblivious to his rejection.

“Look at her – she’s always willing to learn new things,” his mother said proudly. “Aren’t you glad we hired her?”

He glanced at Eunsoo who had the good grace to look embarrassed. “Sure, Mom,” he said.

“Good. So why don’t you kids get together for dinner tomorrow?”

Jin Hun rolled his eyes. “I’ll be busy then. Eunsoo, I’ll let you know when I’m free. Now I have to get back to work -enjoy your lunch.”

“So what’s the story with the ring?” Mr. Lee asked Sam Soon as they walked to his car.

“What do you mean?” Ever since their initial meeting, he’d been giving her a ride home after every English class. It had been awkward at first but she’d begun to enjoy his company. He was an architect who worked a few blocks away from her pastry shop and he always loved to rave about how much he enjoyed her desserts. His wife had died of breast cancer a few years earlier and now that his parents had moved, he was raising his daughter alone. She couldn’t really put her finger on the reasons, but their conversations usually left her with a smile on her face. It wasn’t that he said particularly insightful or humorous things but he seemed really kind and mature. And she appreciated being around someone like that.

“It’s just that ever since I met you, you’ve had that on your finger. Is that supposed to be some sort of deterrent to keep men away?”

She smiled sadly. “You could say that.”

Mr. Lee opened her door. “You have something against men? Or just relationships?”

“No and No. I have a boyfriend – it’s a couple ring.”

Mr. Lee didn’t look the least bit surprised. “I thought so. So how come you haven’t mentioned him?”

She shrugged.

“Is everything fine?”

“I guess so.”

“You guess so? Any plans to get married?” He started the car.

“I don’t know.”

He furrowed his brows. “Meaning?”

She sighed. “How about I start from the beginning?” she said right before she shared all the gory details with him. When she finished, she said, “So what do you think?”

“Well… can I be honest?” he asked, watching the road.

Sam Soon’s heart raced. How come those words were usually followed by unpleasant ones? She braced herself. “Of course.”

“And you wouldn’t be offended?”


“Didn’t you say your sister also had a problem getting married because it was your brother-in-law’s first marriage and his parents didn’t want him marrying a divorcee?”


“And they got married a few months ago?”


“So there you have it.”

Sam Soon was confused. “Have what? Are you are saying that I should wait?”

He smiled. “I am not going to tell you what to do with your life but… let me put it this way: your sister’s husband put his foot down and now they are married. If your boyfriend wants to marry you, he’d make it clear to his family and they’d have no choice but to accept you. And as you can see from what happened with your sister, there’s really no reason it should take four years.”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


“Hey, ready to go?” Mr. Lee said the moment Sam Soon walked out of her class.

“Oh,” she smiled at him, “you were waiting? I’m not going home right now.” She walked up to him.

“No? Where are you going?”

“Oh, it’s my Dad’s birthday so I am taking my mother to dinner.”

They started walking out of the building. “Ah… no wonder you looked a little dressed up.”

Sam Soon shrugged and looked down at her clothes. “You think this is fine?”

“Of course. Where are you going? Is it an expensive place?”

“Yeah… I’ve never been there before. My mom picked it and said I should dress nicely.” She rolled her eyes. “Parents…”


Sam Soon walked into the restaurant to see her mother sitting at the bar. “Omma, you should have gotten a table.”

“Oh,” her mother said, smiling widely at her, “how are you doing today, my dearest daughter? You look pretty.”

Sam Soon raised her brow. “Huh?”

Her mother’s smile was still unusually wide. “I’d like you to meet Mr. Ha Jin Mo.” She took her daughter’s hand and pulled her to the man sitting next to her.

Sam Soon waved at him unsurely. “Nice to meet you.”

“Your daughter is even more beautiful than you described,” he said.

Her mother looked at her. “Alright, Sam Soon, I will see you at home.” She got off the stool.
At that moment, a waitress approached to inform them that their table was ready. “After you, Sam Soon,” Mr. Ha said.

She laughed nervously. “Why don’t you go ahead? I’ll meet you in a minute.” She rushed after her mother who was already heading towards the door. “Omma,” she said when she caught up with her. “What’s going on?”

Her mother stopped and looked at her. “Mr. Ha is a nice man. Why don’t you have dinner with him?” she brushed off some lint from her daughter’s skirt.

Sam Soon couldn’t believe what was happening. “Omma, what’s this?”

“I just want you to see what else is out there. You think I want you living with me forever?” she said seriously.

Sam Soon sighed and looked away. Damn. Now even her mother was getting fed up.

“So don’t keep him waiting. Jin Mo has just come back from living in China for five years. I think you two might have some things in common – tell him about your stay in France.”


“I’ll just have the chicken salad.” Sam Soon returned the menu to the waitress.

“That’s all you’re eating?” Jin Mo asked.

Sam Soon nodded.

“Oh, now you are making me feel bad for ordering all that food.”

She chuckled. “No… don’t feel bad at all. The salad will fill me up.”

He nodded knowingly. “I understand – that’s how you keep such a fantastic figure.”

She just smiled. If someone had told her that losing 12kg would also mean that she’d get unwarranted comments from strange men, she might have thought twice about it. Unwarranted compliments and constant hunger. God, she was hungry! And now she had to watch this man devour all that food while she pretended to be satisfied by what wouldn’t even fill up a bird.

She could feel his gaze on her so she looked at him. “My mother says you were in China.”

“Yes, I was running a manufacturing plant.” He kept leering at her.

“Oh. Are you an engineer?”

“Yes. Wow, you have really pretty eyes… a beautiful nose and such nice skin. How come a woman that looks like you isn’t married?”

Sam soon sighed and pretended she couldn’t feel her skin crawl. Crap, it was going to be a long night. “Well…”

Sam Soon got into the elevator at Sam Shik’s hotel and pressed the button for his floor. She realized that her impatience was putting a strain on their relationship so she’d decided that she was going to make an effort to be a good girlfriend. After all, the point was to push him towards getting his mother to agree and not to push him away from her.

She got off the elevator and headed to his office, smiling at the employees she recognized.

“Is Mr. Hyun in?” she asked his secretary.

“Yes. But he’s in with Miss Park Eunsoo.”

“Ah… I’ll wait here then,” she said, putting the lunchbox on the coffee table. “Isn’t it lunch time?”

“Yes, but I think the meeting will soon be over.”

Sam Soon got comfortable on the couch. For some reason, hearing that girl’s name really irritated her. Maybe if she didn’t know that his mother wanted her as a daughter-in-law, she would like her. Or maybe if she didn’t hang around so god-damn much. Or… maybe, just maybe if she didn’t smile all the damn time. Yeah, and it wouldn’t hurt if she was a lot less pretty. She knew it was going to be hard to play ‘great girlfriend’ because could already feel her conviction slipping.

“Yes, Oppa, I will look over the figures again but I think I am right. We really need to look at this seriously,” Eunsoo said, stepping out of the office.

Sam Soon stood up.

“I will. But right now let’s just have--” Jin Hun stopped speaking when he saw Sam Soon. “Hold on for a second,” he said to Eunsoo. “Hey Sam Soon, what are you doing here?”

Sam Soon lifted the bag. “I brought lunch.”

Jin Hun looked apologetically at Eunsoo. “I’m sorry; it looks like I am going to have to take a rain check. How about tomorrow? We can look over the figures again.”

Eunsoo smiled. “It’s not a problem at all. Hello, Sam Soon unnie.”

Sam Soon smiled back at her then walked towards them. “Hi. I’m sorry about this. I will be sure not to show up tomorrow. Take care.”

Jin Hun walked in to the office with Sam Soon then shut the door behind him. He loosened his tie. “You could have pretended that you cared I previously had plans,” he joked.

But Sam Soon wasn’t having it. “Sorry?”

“You know, you were supposed to say, ‘Oh, you had lunch plans? I’m sorry. You guys should go, I’ll see you later.’ Then Eunsoo would have said, ‘No, don’t worry…’ blah blah. You get the drift.”

“Whatever,” Sam Soon said, unpacking the lunch. “I am not in the mood to play games.”

Jin Hun looked at the food. “You brought fruit salad? Good… I am in the mood for something refreshing.”

“It’s not for you.”

“You only brought lunch for yourself?”

“No, Silly. The fruit is for me – everything else is for you.”

Jin Hun sighed then plopped on the couch. “When are you going to stop all this nonsense? Or are you trying to become a skeleton?”

“Stop it – everyone likes my new figure.” She swayed her hips.

“Not everyone. Mi Joo now hates going over to your shop. She says all you do is make her exercise and never give her anything good to eat. You’ve become ridiculous.”

“I’m ridiculous?” She laughed sarcastically. “You know what’s ridiculous? The fact that I have to literally starve myself so that your mother can accept me!”

“God, we are back to your favorite topic again. I’m surprised that wasn’t the first thing out of your mouth. Instead of saying, ‘Hello,’ why don’t you just say, ‘Marriage’?” That way we don’t have to waste our time on the small talk!”

“Shut the hell up!”

“And don’t blame my mother –she never told you to lose weight!”

“Well, I have to stop giving her reasons to hate me. And you know what? I don’t feel like fighting today so I am going back to the shop.” Then in English, she added, “Have a good day, Mister.”

“Stop,” Jin Hun grabbed her hand, “sit and eat. I don’t want to fight either. Let’s just have a pleasant lunch for once.”

Sam Soon looked at him hesitantly.

“Look, I am sorry. So can you please sit so we can eat?”


When Sam Soon was packing up the empty lunch bowls she said, “Just so you know, I went on a date.”

Jin Hun who’d been walking over to his desk stopped in his tracks. “What do you mean?”

“What did it sound like? I went on a date.”

“When? With who? Lee Tae Young?”

She looked at him incredulously. “Why would you say such a thing?”

“Then who?”

She could see his face getting redder so she looked away. “My mom set me up with an engineer.”

He looked shocked. “Your mother?”

“Yes,” she nodded. “She said she wanted me to meet other men.”

“Unbelievable,” he said under his breath. He leaned against his desk to steady himself.

Sam Soon put the lunchbox in her bag. She’d tried not to resort to theatrics like this but he really hadn’t left her with much choice. And Mr. Lee was right – if he really loved her, there’s no reason it should take so long. She looked at him. “So now you know,” she finished with a flourish.

“And how was it? How was your date?” he demanded.

She shrugged. “It was alright. But I did learn one thing.”

“What would that be?”

She gave him a tight smile. “You are not the only man in the world for me. If I am not engaged by my 35th birthday, we are through.”

Monday, December 20, 2010


“What did you say?” Jin Hun was sure his ears were playing tricks on him.

“You heard me.” Sam Soon walked to the door.

He quickly ran ahead and placed his back on the door, blocking her.

She stood back and watched him. “Are you going to let me through?”

“What’s the matter with you? What did you just say to me?” Were they on Candid Camera? It was some sort of joke, right? Did she just threaten him? Is this what four years of their relationship had boiled down to?

“Let me through,” she said, pushing him. “I need to get back to my shop.”

Jin Hun didn’t budge. “Not until we talk about this!” He could feel his blood pressure skyrocketing.

“There’s nothing to discuss. If we haven’t set a wedding date by my birthday, it’s over.”

He banged his head on the door. “So basically, you are giving me a few months to convince my mother?”

“I have given you years, Jin Hun, YEARS! How many more do you want?”

“Wow…. So you are willing to throw what we have away?”

“What do we have?” she replied spitefully. “What is it we have that you can’t even get this simple thing done? Four years ago you promised my mother that you’d convince your mom and we are exactly where we were back then. If you can’t do it, forget about us.” She shoved him. “Just let me get through! Sam Shik, I want to leave!”

He stepped aside. “You know something?”

She gave him a sidelong look. “What?”

“Why don’t we just end it now?”

“Wh-what did you just say?”

“I said, LET’S END THIS NOW!”.

She inhaled. “Are you serious?” she asked in a shaky voice.

“What do you think? How dare you give me an ultimatum, Sam Soon? How dare you?”
Nervously, she looked around the office. “This is interesting.” She looked back at the door. “Are you going to let me leave?”

“Am I in your way? Leave if you want. There’s obviously nothing keeping you here. You have so many men interested in you now, right? If all you care about is getting married then go and marry one of them!”

She narrowed her eyes. “So you’re serious about is?”

“Of course! Why should we wait a few months to break up? If you think you will be better off without me, go! GO NOW!”


“I’m leaving early. Reschedule all my appointments,” Jin Hun said to his secretary as left his office. Who was he fooling? He couldn’t get any work done when all he could think about was what had happened less than an hour earlier. What in the world had happened? What had he been thinking? Why did she have to say those things? And why had he?

He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He had to call her and tell her he was only kidding. That there was no way he meant any of the things he’d said. Surely, she had to know that. He dialed her number but all he got was her voicemail.

Before he knew it, he found himself running to his car.

“I’m sorry, Sam Soon. I never meant what I said today. I was so hurt that you said such a thing that I didn’t even know what I was saying. Please, forgive me. I love you and I want to marry you. I am sure you know that. You know I will give everything up for you. Even if my mother doesn’t approve, we will get married,” Jin Hun said as he pulled to her store.

“I’m sorry, Sam Soon, I never…” He kept practicing his speech as he walked to her store.

He took a deep breath and opened the door. The waitress didn’t notice him enter so he kept walking. He was glad that Yi Young wasn’t around because he didn’t want to have to deal with any interruptions.

He was just a few steps from the counter when he heard a male voice say, “…so let’s go.”

Jin Hun tensed up but kept walking.

“But the shop isn’t closing yet,” he heard Sam Soon say.

In a split second, Jin Hun found himself behind the counter, staring at Sam Soon and Lee Tae Young. “Wow, it really didn’t take long, did it?”

Sam Soon looked up at him. “Sam Shik…” she started breathlessly, “what are you doing here?”

Jin Hun laughed. He’d never felt so stupid in all his life. “Exactly. What am I doing here? But a more important question is, what is he doing here?”

“He just came to buy something.”

Jin Hun laughed harder. “Isn’t he on the wrong side of the counter? When--”

“Hey,” Mr. Lee interrupted, “don’t talk to her like that.”

“This is getting funnier,” he said to the ceiling. Then he looked at Mr. Lee. “Who are you to tell me how I can talk to her? No, I really want to know. Who the hell are you?”


“Calm down. I’m only back here because I could see that she was barely holding herself together,” Mr. Lee replied.

“And how is that any of yo--”

“Hun, please, stop it,” Sam Soon begged. “He was just being nice.”

“Nice? This is what you call nice? You know something? I’m out of here. I must have been crazy to come here,” he said shaking his head. He gave her a long, hard look then walked out of the store.

Sam Soon didn’t even understand what had just happened. Confused, she looked at Tae Young, begging him for answers.

“What… What...” She could feel herself hyperventilating. “Oh my God! What... I have to go after him,” she said before she sprinted out of her store.

“Sam Shik! Sam Shik!” she screamed. She caught up with him before he reached his car. “Are you just going to leave like that?”

He looked at her scornfully. She’d never seen him so angry.

She grabbed his hand. “Please, don’t go.”

He pulled her hand off his then folded his arms. “So is that your other option? Is that the reason you threatened me today? If we are not engaged by your 35th birthday, you are going to him?” he spat.

“Of course not. He has nothing to do with this.”

“No. So what are you saying? That you’ll really leave me if we don’t get engaged soon?”

What was she to do? Lie? “No…”

“So are you saying that what you said today was a mistake?”

She loved him but she couldn’t back down now. If she backed down, he’d keep dragging his feet and they’d never get anywhere. So she decided to stall. “Is that why you came over? To ask me that?”

“Actually, no. But I’ll blame that on temporary insanity.” He waved his hands for emphasis. “But now I am genuinely interested. What you said today, was that a mistake?”

She looked away. “No…”

“And you are trying to tell me that it’s not because of another man? If you didn’t think you could get better than me, you wouldn’t even think about giving up on us.”

She bit her lip. Could she tell him that she was only threatening him with the hope that it would give him an incentive to speed things up? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? She looked away.

He moved his head so that he was looking directly at her. “I am very disappointed in you, Sam Soon. I am really disappointed to know that you think you can live without me when I know that I can’t live without you.” With that, he got into his car and drove off.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Jin Hun stared at the documents on his desk. Since he had to answer to his mother, he really didn’t have the option of skipping work whenever it suited him. But it would probably have been better if he did because for the past week, he hadn’t been able to comprehend a word of anything he’d read.

He really didn’t know what to do. What options did he have? No matter what he did, he’d have to hurt someone. The question was, “Whose pain would be easier to live with?”

His mother barged into his office. “Is this what you call professionalism?”

He looked up from his desk at who, at that moment, was the last person in the world he wanted to see. “What?” He saw Eunsoo walk in then shut the door the behind her. He tried to communicate with her with his eyes but she looked away.

“Are you a professional? Are you a man? I thought you’d finally grown up but it looks like I was wrong!” his mother shouted.

He sighed. Damn, it was going to be one of those days. “Ms. President, what are you talking about?” He really could do without all this stress.

His mother threw some files on his desk. “Have you seen these?”

He picked up the folders and looked at them. They were the documents Eunsoo had spoken to him about in the previous week. He looked up at her and nodded.

“And?” his mother asked furiously.

“And I am still looking at them.”

His mother sat on his couch. “Really? Didn’t Eunsoo show them to you last week? She said that you said you were going to get back with her the next day but since it was taking you so long to ‘look at them’ she came to me.”

Jin Hun shot Eunsoo a look. What was she playing at? Once again, Eunsoo looked away. “Okay,” he said, flipping one of them open. “You want me to look at them now?”

“Why? There’s no need – she was right. Mr. Shim has been embezzling funds from this hotel and if Eunsoo hadn’t caught this so quickly, we would probably have ended up bankrupt. I can’t believe you were so careless!”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes!” His mother pointed at his desk. “If you had bothered to look at those files you’d see it all in there. Do you even take your job seriously?”

He sighed. “Is it my job to look over the books? Isn’t that what the accountant should do?” And considering his mother had personally recruited and supported Mr. Shim, shouldn’t she be taking some of the blame?

“But you are supposed to oversee everything that’s going on. And if you had been paying more attention to our accountant, he wouldn’t have been able to get away with it for this long.”

“Since you are the president, shouldn’t you be overseeing me?”

His mother got really furious. “Look here. It’s bad enough that you didn’t catch Mr. Shim, but after Eunsoo brought this up with you, you should have researched it.”

“I’ve been busy,” he grumbled. Her screams were already giving him a headache.

“Busy doing what? If Eunsoo wasn’t--”

Argh. He couldn’t take it anymore. “Mom, do you want to offer Eunsoo my job? Is that what all this is about? If so, let me know quickly so I can pack my things and leave.”

“How… How dare--”

“And since we are talking about me leaving, just so you know – I am going to marry Kim Sam Soon very soon – with or without your approval.”

It was the first time Jin Hun had seen his mother stunned into silence. He looked at his watch – it was 11:30. He got up and picked his jacket off the coat rack. “I’ll be taking a long lunch. See you later,” he said, leaving the two women in his office.

“Hey, it’s me. Can you come out now?” Jin Hun was sitting in his car which was parked outside Sam Soon’s shop.

“I’m busy – as you know, it gets really busy here at lunch time.”

“But haven’t you already baked what’s needed?”

He heard her sigh. “Yes. But I might need to help out. How about later this evening?”

“You don’t have English class?”

“Oh, shit. I forgot. Alright, I’ll come out for a little while. When will you be here?”

“I’m already here. Just come out.”

A few moments later, Sam Soon emerged with her phone still in her hand. Even though weight loss was supposed to make people look better, to his surprise, Jin Hun preferred her the way she used to be. Maybe it was because she just looked different… like a less happy version of her former self.

She gave him a half smile. “Long time, no see.”

He couldn’t return her smile. It hurt him to hear her utter such an emotionless line to him.

“I guess it’s only been a week so it’s really not that long,” she continued, obviously uncomfortable.

He tried his best to perk up. “I’ve got news for you.”


“I told my mother we were getting married.”

She rolled her eyes. “I thought you’d told her that many times before. What’s so different now?”

“I told her that I was getting married very soon, with or without her approval. So maybe after your class we can go to your mother and set a wedding date.”

She darted her eyes around and he could see tears welling up in her eyes.

“Is that so?” she asked. “You still want to marry me?”

He quickly moved closer to her and took her hands. “Of course. I want us to be a family.”

She looked directly into his eyes. “And what about all that stuff about being disappointed? When you didn’t call me…” She was visibly shaking.

He put his arms around her. “Forget about all that. I love you.”

By the time they separated, she was no longer hiding her tears.

“So what did you tell her?” She wiped her cheek with her apron.

“I just told her that we are going to get married whether she likes it or not.”

“And if she never approves?”

He caressed her upper arm. “Then too bad for her. We’ll get married anyway. Sam Soon, let’s get married really soon.”

She smiled widely but it slowly faded from her face. Then she nodded as if she'd just realized something. “So that’s all it took?” She shook his hand off her.

Jin Hun studied her face. What was she thinking? “What do you mean?”

“All you had to do was tell her you’re marrying me anyway? Which means that you could have done this last year? That you could have done it two years ago? You mean that we could have been holding our first child right now? And we’ve wasted all this time because…?” She looked at him expectantly.

“Sam Soon…”

She averted her eyes. “Gosh.” She stubbed the ground with her shoe.

Jin Hun’s heart started beating fast. This was not the reaction he’d expected. “What difference does it make? We are getting married now.”

“Funny. You know what I am thinking? It makes a hell of a lot of difference.”

“Calm down, Sam Soon.”

“I’m calm, Jin Hun. Very calm. But you know something? I don’t think I can marry you.”


She sucked her teeth. “No. Actually, I am sure I cannot marry you.”


“I did all I could for us. I haven’t had a good meal in about three months just because I wanted your mother to like me. I am taking bloody English lessons so that she can think I am worthy of the Hyun family!!” She looked at him in disgust. “‘It looks like it’s going to rain.’ ‘Can you tell me how to get to Trafalgar Square?’ ‘The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plane’,” she said in English. “Do you think that was fun for me?”


“And all you had to do was put your foot down? So basically, in the future, the only way I can get you to do what is right is to threaten to leave? I have to basically go out of my mind for months before you do anything? And you call yourself a man?”

“Sam Soon, stop it!”

She kept nodding. “I see how it is. Yes… yes, I love you, but it’s no big deal. No, it’s really not. You’re only human after all – I can get over you,” she said more to herself than to him. Then she looked him dead in the eye. “But there’s one thing I am sure of and it’s that there’s no way I am going to marry a man like you!

A few months later…

“So should I give you your present now or later?” Lee Tae Young asked Sam Soon.

She looked up at her boyfriend. “It’s not naughty, right?” she asked coyly.

He frowned. “Of course not,” he replied, missing the joke. “Why would I get you something like that for your birthday?”

She shrugged. “Whatever. Then you can just give it to me now and I can open it with all the rest.”

“Hmm… well, the present comes with a question so it might be better for you to open it in private.”

Sam Soon’s heart jumped to her throat. “Wh--”

“Sam Soon,” her sister’s voice interrupted, “you’ve got a visitor.”

Sam Soon started to leave when Tae Young held her back.

“It’s a party so just let her in,” Tae Young shouted.

“Ehm, Sam Soon, could you please come?” her sister insisted.

Sam Soon smiled at him, hoping that the smile really did come off as apologetic. He’d spoken about marriage a few times so she knew what her present was but she hadn’t expected for it to come so soon so she hadn’t prepared a response to it. She caressed his cheek. “Why don’t you go and join everyone else? I’ll be right back.”

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Sam Soon smoothed her skirt as she walked to the door. Marriage, she thought. As someone who’d just turned 35 and never been married, shouldn’t she be jumping at the prospect of finally tying the knot? And Tae Young really was a nice man so why was she hesitating?

She was still trying to gather her thoughts when she looked through the open door and saw Jin Hun standing on the other side of it.

She tried her best to not look surprised and plastered a smile on her face. “Hey, Sam – er, I mean, Jin Hun, come on in,” she said, gesturing for him to enter the house. “What are you doing out there? Come and join the party.” She chided herself for sounding unrealistically cheerful.

He frowned. “I didn’t come for a party, I came to see you. Why don’t you come out for a second?”

“Ehm….” Him and her alone? She needed to come up with a good excuse as soon as possible. She pointed at the living room. “I don’t want to leave my guests…”

“They’ll be fine. Please come?” he pleaded.

Sam Soon took a deep breath in and went to him. Other than one or two times after they’d broken up, she’d hardly seen him. Since they lived and worked in the same city, she’d expected to run into him from time to time but he seemed to have dropped off the face of the earth. She’d even found excuses to walk by his hotel, telling herself that she wasn’t doing it to catch a glimpse of him and yet she never saw him. It had been difficult, but she fought the urge to call him just to make sure he was alright. But standing there, looking at her, he looked pretty damn good. His hair was a little shorter and his complexion looked healthy. His body even looked more toned. She didn’t know why but she was slightly upset that their break up had done such good things for his looks.

“So what do you want to talk about?” she asked, shutting the door behind her.

“You look good.”

She smiled. “Thanks,” she said, rubbing her hips self consciously. “I think I’ve gained a few kilos.”

“Well, that’s a good thing –you were getting too skinny.”

She looked around. “So what did you want to talk to me about?”

“Oh,” he said, handing an envelope to her, “I got you something for your birthday. Happy Birthday, Sam Soon.”

“You didn’t have to.”

He nodded. “Well, I’m so used to getting you something… it felt weird not to.”

She opened the envelope and pulled some cards out. She looked up to him. “Two tickets to Hong Kong?”

“Yeah, I thought of you while I was there – I think you can finally get to practice your English on real people.”

She didn’t know how to feel. “I really can’t accept this, Jin Hun…”

“What’s this ‘Jin Hun’ business? Just call me Sam Shik.”


“It just sounds wrong coming from you.”

She laughed. “But isn’t that your name?”

“Not when I am with you.”

She looked away. Why was her mouth getting dry? He was no longer part of her life so he had no right to affect her in any way. “This is ridiculous. Your name--”


“Okay, SAM SHIK. Happy now?” She held the envelope out to him. “I can’t accept this – it’s too much.”

He didn’t move an inch. “You don’t want all your English classes to go to waste, do you? You can’t truly understand a language if you’re not around it. So just go with your Mom.”

She smiled uncertainly. “I might be going to America to see Tae Young’s parents. I can practice English over there.”

“Oh,” he mouthed.


The entire mood had turned awkward with both of them looking at everything but each other.

“So,” she continued. “You were in Hong Kong?”

He looked at her. “Yeah,” he said, nodding. “I kind of went on a tour of Asia.”

“Really? How was it?”

“It was great… good, you know… it was nice.” He shrugged.

“For how long?”

“About five months.”

“Cool. But that’s a long time. Your mother was fine with it?”

He shrugged again. “I don’t know – I just left. I probably don’t have a job anymore.”


“Yeah,” he said, nodding.

“When did you get back?”


Interesting, she thought. She looked back at her house. “I think they’ll be looking for me now. Do you want to come in? I’m sure my sister and Mom would like to see you.”

“There’s no need -I already spoke to Noonim. So… Lee Tae Young is here?”

She nodded.

“You’re now with him?”

She nodded again. “He’s been there for me, you know?”

“Okay. I better leave now,” he said, slowly turning around.

“Wait.” She held the envelope up. “I really can’t accept this.”

He looked at it. “I can’t take that back,” he said expressionlessly. “It’s yours. Please keep it. Or you can give it to your sister and her husband. Or Lee Tae Young. Do whatever you want with it but I can’t take it back.”

“Ji—Sam Shik….”


She nodded. “Okay. Thank you so much for the gift. Have a nice day and welcome back.”


“Want to come out?” Tae Young asked from the other end of the phone line.

Sam Soon repositioned herself on the swing. “My mother wants me to help her with the garden. How about another day?”

“You’re always so busy these days – I never get to see you.”

“I’m sorry,” was all that she muster. Tae Young was really a nice man but lately, it hadn’t been comfortable being with him. She’d told him that she would think about his proposal and he’d promised to give her all the time she needed to answer him but every time they were together, that question seemed to hang over their heads. He wasn’t saying or doing anything but she couldn’t help but feel the pressure. Damn, she thought, why do these things always have to be so difficult?

“You said you are gardening, right?”


“So you might need a man around. Why don’t I come over and help?”

“Why don’t I ask my Mom first?” She hated lying to him but she knew she’d be calling him back in a few minutes to say her mother refused his help.

“There’s no need to ask her –don’t you know that she loves me?” He chuckled.

That wasn’t exactly true but she didn’t mind playing along. “We--” The doorbell rang, interrupting her. “Hold on – let me see who’s at the door.”

She walked to the gate and looked through the peephole. “Hey, I’ll call you back,” she said, hanging up.

She took a deep breath in and opened the gate. “Good Afternoon, President Na.”

Friday, December 17, 2010


“Hello Auntie!” Mi Joo said, popping out from behind her grandmother.

“Mi Joo!” Sam Soon smiled. She hadn’t realized how much she’d missed her till she saw her standing there. Was it her imagination or had Mi Joo’s breasts grown?

“You’re looking well,” President Na observed. “Can we come in?”

Sam Soon bowed to her. What exactly did this woman want? “Sure,” she said, nervously stepping aside. “Please come in.” She shut the gate behind her then led them to the house.

“Sam Soonie, who was that?” her mother called from her bedroom.

“Mom, we’ve got guests.”

“Oh? Who?” Her mother walked out of her room.

The two older women bowed to each other. “Good Afternoon, President Na.”

“Good Afternoon, Mrs. Park.”

Everyone stood in silence for about a minute.

“Please sit,” Sam Soon said. When they did, she offered some refreshments. President Na started to shake her head then stopped. “Okay. Water will be fine. What about you, Mi Joo? What would you like?” she asked, looking at her.

“Auntie, can I have orange juice?”

Sam Soon walked back to the kitchen to get the drinks. Her mother was close behind her.
“Did you know she was coming?” her mother whispered.

She shook her head then pulled out a tray.

“So what are they doing here?”

“I don’t know. Omma, go back – we can’t leave them alone.”

Her mother shook her head vehemently. “Why? What am I going to say to the woman that rejected my daughter?”

“I will join you in a minute,” she said, bringing out the drinks. “Please go back.”

Her mother reluctantly left the kitchen.

Okay, so what was going on? A million different thoughts were going through her mind so Sam Soon tried her best to calm down as she served the drinks.

“So is there something we could help you with?” her mother asked.

President Na chuckled nervously. “Mi Joo wanted to come.”

Sam Soon and her mother looked at each other. Huh?

“Mi Joo keeps talking about how much she misses her Auntie, always trying to bribe the driver to drop her at your shop after school so I finally had to give in.”

“Really?” Sam Soon’s mother asked.

President Na nodded. “Of course... You know what we do for the love of our children…. We try to protect them in every way. Sometimes we have to deny them things for their own benefit. But there are a few times we later determine that maybe this thing they want is actually not bad. So we give in.”

Sam Soon’s mother nodded. “That is true.”

President Na smiled. “But we are only human. What’s important is that our children realize that we only do these things because we care about them,” she said, patting Mi Joo’s hair. “That’s why I brought Mi Joo. I think she thinks I am too old,” she said, laughing. “It makes sense, you know… she’s known Sam Soon for a few years now so she’s grown attached to her. It’s good for young girls to be close to older women they can rely on. And I realize that Sam Soon really takes care of her,” she said, smiling at Mi Joo. Then she looked up at Sam Soon. “If you are not too busy and can spare some time, would it be alright for Mi Joo to visit you from time to time?”

Sam Soon was completely confused. She couldn’t digest what was going on. What exactly did this mean? She nodded at President Na. “Yes. I miss her too.”

Mi Joo jumped up and hugged her grandma. “Thank you, Harmoni.”

President Na stood up. “Okay then. Mi Joo, the driver will pick you up in a few hours.”

“Oh… she’s staying over now?” Sam Soon asked. What? She needed some time alone to go through what had just happened.

President Na looked at her. “Oh, do you have plans?”

“No… but--”

“Yes, let her stay,” Sam Soon’s mother said cheerfully.

“Good. I will see you sometime, Sam Soon.”

After President Na left, Sam Soon said, “So Mi Joo, you miss me? I thought you hated being with me because I made you exercise and didn’t give you good food.”

Mi Joo looked surprised. “No. No. Who told you that?”

Sam Soon frowned. “Who do you think?”

“Oh… well….” She started turning red. “Oh, did I forget to tell you? I like exercise now,” she said, obviously lying. “So, yeah, let’s go to the gym.”


“Sam Soon. Sam Soon unnie!”

Sam Soon came out from behind the counter to see Hee Jin and Henry beaming at her.

“Hey, what are you guys doing here?”

“I told you,” Hee Jin said to Henry. “I knew it was her shop when I saw ‘Samsuni’ written on it.”

“Wow. How have you guys been? What are you doing here?” Sam Soon was surprised by how pleased she was to see Hee Jin looking healthy. Whoever came up with the phrase that “time healed all wounds” wasn’t a complete idiot.

“I was feeling a little hungry so we decided to come here. Hi, Yi Young unnie,” Hee Jin said, waving at her. She waved back at them from behind the computer.

Hee Jin looked around the shop. “Jin Hun wasn’t exaggerating – you’re really doing well.”

Sam Soon felt herself stiffen. She hadn’t realized that they still kept in contact. “So what are you doing back in Seoul? Are you on vacation?”

Hee Jin and Henry looked at one another. “Have you forgotten about our wedding?” Henry asked in heavily-accented Korean. It was obvious he’d been taking lessons.

“What wedding?”

Their eyes expanded. “Ours. Who else’s?”

“You’re getting married?”

They nodded.

“To each other?”

Hee Jin cracked up. “How can you not know? I sent Jin Hun an invitation last month and when Henry spoke to him yesterday, he assured us he would be there. Didn’t he tell you?”

Sam Soon looked away. “Ehm, well….” She looked back to see Hee Jin starting at her finger.

“You guys are still together, right?” she asked slowly.

“Oh, forget about that,” she said with fake cheer. “What would you guys like to order? It’s on the house.”

Neither Henry nor Hee Jin looked impressed. “You’re going to come, aren’t you?” Henry asked.

Sam Soon thought about it for a second then looked at them and laughed. “Of course I’ll be there. I just knew you were going to end up together. Come, come, sit down and tell me how all of this happened.”

“Alright, let me get this straight,” Tae Young said from across the table. “Hee Jin is Jin Hun’s ex-girlfriend?”


“And when she returned after many years, he dumped you for her?”

Sam Soon slapped him lightly on his hand. “No. He didn’t dump me, we weren’t really together.”

Tae Young rolled his eyes. “Yeah. Whatever. Then this very indecisive Jin Hun turned around and dumped her for you?”

“Jin Hun isn’t indecisive – he was young then. This was like five years ago!”

“Sure. So now you want us to go to her wedding?”

Sam Soon nodded. “Exactly. You want me to draw you a picture to explain this further?”

“Funny.” Then his expression turned serious. “So… have you given any more thought to my proposal?”

Sam Soon looked into his eyes. He’d been waiting patiently for over a week so she knew she had little time to come to a decision. Sam Soon reached into her bag and brought out the ring box.

He smiled. “You’ve been carrying it around?”

She shrugged. She didn’t want to tell him that it was just coincidental that she just happened to be using the bag that she’d initially kept the ring in. “It looks expensive – I wouldn’t want to lose it.”

“So?” he asked. “Have you thought about it?”

She breathed in. “You’re a nice man….”


“You have a good job. You’re not bad looking. You have a child so I know you’re not impotent…”

“What?” He was taken aback.

“Hey, relax, I’m just kidding.”

“But I am not. This is a serious matter.”

“I know.” She looked at him. He was someone she could marry, wasn’t he? She handed him the box. “Why don’t you put it on my finger so that I can see how it feels?”

She watched him excitedly take the ring out and placed it on her finger. Why did she suddenly wish he’d made a crack about how fat her fingers were? Then she looked at her hands. I guess they are not as fat as they used to be, she thought.

But they are getting fatter. Maybe I should get on a diet. Oh Gosh, I am going to see Sam Shik on Saturday! Maybe he wouldn’t come. No, he won’t be there. But he promised Hee Jin. God! It’s over between us, why am I thinking of this when a nice man is proposing to me? She looked at Tae Young and thought about how great he’d been to her just after she’d broken up with Sam Shik. Besides, it was time for her to get married. Now that I have decided to be with you, I have to be with you and only you. I shall think of you and only you, Tae Young. You’re the most mature man I have ever been with. You’ll make a great husband. Yes, you’ll be a great husband.

“So what do you say?” he asked.

She looked at her fingers again. It really was a pretty ring – it was a diamond studded platinum band with a princess cut stone. “Why don’t you leave it there? It looks nice.” She’d always thought her answer to this question would be ‘Yes’ but she couldn’t bring herself to say it. She smiled up at him, hoping he couldn’t see how nervous she was.

He pulled her into his arms and hugged her. “Really?”

Have I done the right thing? “Really.”

Thursday, December 16, 2010


“Hi,” Eunsoo said from the other side of the doorway.

“What are you doing here?” he asked her. He was getting dressed and wasn’t expecting any visitors.

“Aren’t you going to a wedding?” she asked. She followed him into his apartment.


“So, don’t you need a date?”

He looked at her. Why wouldn’t his mother just give up? And why was Eunsoo playing along? “No, I don’t. I suppose my mother told you to come.”

She walked around and looked his apartment. “This is really nice. You have a great eye.”

“Thanks. But I hired an interior decorator,” he said, putting his jacket on.

“Well, you have a good eye for interior decorators,” she said, smiling.

He groaned. He really didn’t have time for this. “Look. I know you don’t want to be here so why don’t you just go home?”

She gave him a sidelong look. “Who says I don’t want to go? Can’t you see me dressed? I heard your ex-girlfriend was from a rich family so we’ll probably be able to make some good business contacts.”

“Not really - I’ll probably know all the people there.”

“Well, I won’t. Since I was out of the country for a while, I am sure there are quite a few people I haven’t met.”

He narrowed his eyes. “I should have known that this was just business for you.”

She chuckled. “Why would you think it’s anything else?”


Jin Hun walked out of the wedding hall to get some fresh air. Eunsoo hadn’t been kidding when she said she was attending the wedding for business because for most of the reception, she’d pretty much talked to everyone but him. Other than a few casual conversations, he really hadn’t said much to anyone outside of the bride and groom.

“Unnie, what’s your point?”

He looked to the left and saw Sam Soon with her back to him, talking on the phone. He started to turn around till he saw something gleam on her finger. Jin Hun legs immediately welded to the ground when he realized what it was. He was still staring at her finger when she hung up, turned around and saw him.

“Hey!” Sam Soon screamed, holding her chest. “Oh my God, you scared me!”

He snapped out of his daze and fought to find his composure. She was already engaged? She was ALREADY engaged?

“Hey, you, I am talking to you! Don’t stand behind a woman like that. My heart almost left my chest,” she continued, panting and laughing. She was about to playfully hit him when she stopped her hand midway. Then her expression turned serious and she looked away.

“I’m sorry about that,” Jin Hun said. “I just came out for some air.”

“Oh…I guess it’s a little stuffy in there.” They stood in silence for a few moments then she said, “I guess, I’d better get back in.”

She started to leave when Jin Hun held her hand. It was obvious that they’d keep running into each other and even though they’d broken up, it still hurt him to see how uncomfortable they had become around each other. But on the other hand, she’d just gotten engaged to someone else and he really didn’t want to be around her just then. What had their entire relationship meant to her that in a split second, she was already engaged to someone else? Did she ever love him? Was marriage all she’d ever wanted from him? Angry, he let go of her hand.

Sam Soon stared at him then stood back with her arms folded. “What the hell was that?”

Jin Hun looked at her. “What?”

“You grab me then leave me. Is everything okay up there?” She pointed at his head.

“Forget it. I made a mistake.”

“Yes, you did. You don’t go around grabbing women for no reason. You might get hit someday.”

He rolled his eyes. “You were leaving. Weren’t you about to leave?”

She looked him up and down. “Sam Shik, I think you need help.” Then she burst into a fit of hysterics.

He stared at her in a state of complete confusion. “What’s so funny?”

“You,” she said, still laughing. Then she pointed at something on his chest. “And what the hell is that?”

He picked it up. “You don’t know what a camera looks like?”

She laughed harder. “But what are you doing with it?”

“I started using it a lot on my trip. I’ve decided it’s a great way of capturing memories.”

“Is that so? So you’re now a photographer?” She was still laughing.

He was slightly offended that she wasn’t taking him seriously. “I’m actually quite good, you know. You should come over and take a look at my photographs sometime,” he blurted out before he realized what he was saying.

“Okay,” she said, clamming up.

What was wrong with him? Why did he say that? “Oh,” he said, desperately wanting to change the subject, “Mi Joo said my mother finally took her to your place.”

Sam Soon looked surprised. “You knew about that?”

He nodded. “Ever since I got back, my mom has been trying to make me take her to you but I refused.”

“You refused?”

“Yes. Why should I make things easy for her? If she wanted something from you, she should ask you herself.”

“Oh,” she said, sounding relieved.

Jin Hun decided not read anything into her reaction.

“So about the photographs,” she continued, “I’ll be seeing Mi Joo on Wednesday so maybe we can stop by and take a look at them?”

“Oh, you don’t have to.”

“No… I want to see these new amazing photos you’ve taken,” she said, chuckling again. “And I am sure Mi Joo would like to see them too… or has she seen them already?”

“No, not yet.”

“Good. So I’ll see you on Wednesday.”


“So what time are you guys coming? I’ve got the darkroom ready,” Jin Hun said the moment she answered the phone.

“Yes, about that – I was about to call you. I think there was a mix up or something, because when I went to her school, the driver was already there so won’t be able to make it.” She looked through the window of the moving bus.

“Oh,” he said, sounding disappointed.

“Is it okay for us to come another day?”

“Sure…” he replied unenthusiastically. “Or we can just forget about it.”

“No….” Now she felt bad. Was it her fault that the driver showed up? If she had known, she wouldn’t have wasted her time going to Mi Joo’s school in the first place. “I’m sure you’re busy today, we’ll just make sure we plan better next time.”

“Yes, of course,” he replied coldly.

God, why didn’t she just send the driver away? She cleared her throat. “I can come now, if you like. Mi Joo can take a look at them another time.”

“It’s not necessary – you can see them later.”

“No, if it’s not too much trouble, I’ll like to see them today. Is that fine?”

He hesitated then said, “Sure.”


Sam Soon stood in front of the door she hadn’t seen in months. As she rang the doorbell, she wondered if his access code was still the same as her ATM password. She looked at the cake and wine in her hands. What the hell was she thinking? When it finally hit her that she’d just agreed to be alone with him in his apartment, she’d panicked. But now, she wondered if she’d brought too much or too little. What message am I sending? she asked herself.

Jin Hun opened the door and let her in.

“Here,” she said, handing the cake and wine to him. “I didn’t know what to bring. I know you don’t like sweet things that much but I figured that it’ll be good to have something when Mi Joo is around.”

He thanked her then took them from her.

She stood and looked around, shuffling her weight from leg to leg. “It still looks the same,” she observed.

He raised a brow. “You were expecting it to be different?”

“Not really.” She was just making conversation – why did he have to be so difficult?

They stared at each other for a moment.

“So… the photos…” Sam Soon said.

“Okay, follow me,” he said, leading her to the spare bedroom.

It was the typical darkroom with hanging photos and photographic materials lying all around. He switched on the photo-safe light so that she could take a look at some of the photographs. Without touching anything, she walked around, looking at them.

A few minutes later, she said, “Sam Shik, I love you and all but I think you need to call your mother and get your job back,” she dead panned.

He blinked hard. “You what? W-What did you say?”

She laughed. “You honestly weren’t considering a career in photography, were you?” When he didn’t say anything, she continued. “No offence, but these aren’t really that good – they just look like average photographs. Okay, I don’t really have an eye for photography but these don’t really strike me as anything special. But they are good enough… I guess.”

He frowned. “You are right – you don’t have an eye for photography.”

She chuckled then looked around the room and shivered exaggeratedly. “Alright, I’ve had enough -this room is giving me the creeps. Why don’t we step out and you can show me all the already developed photographs you took on your trip?” Then she patted her stomach. “I am hungry – do you have anything to eat?”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


“Looks like it was fun,” Sam Soon said, chewing on the last of the take-out that Jin Hun had ordered. “Nice photos… maybe you do have a career in photography,” she teased.

He got off the couch and headed for the kitchen, then turned around. “So I guess we are friends now, right?”
Friends. Were they ever friends? But she’d really enjoyed spending the evening with him so why not? She shrugged. “I suppose so.”

“Good. Mi Joo needs a dress for her end-of-term party and I’ve been given the task of buying it with her. I was thinking that it would be good to get a woman’s perspective on it.”

She pouted. “I see how it is… You are trying to use me.” She got off the couch. “I should have known.”
“No. But you know how sneaky Mi Joo has become. I’ll end up getting the wrong thing.”

She shook her head. “Aren’t you ashamed of being manipulated by someone who isn’t even half your age? As her uncle--”

She was interrupted mid-sentence by her ringing phone. She picked it up and looked at the caller id. After taking a deep breath in, she flipped it open.

“Hi… what’s going on?” she said into it. She readjusted herself so that she wasn’t facing the kitchen.

“Nothing,” Tae Young said from the other end of the line, “I just wanted to hear your voice… I haven’t heard from you all day. How was your day?”

“It was fine.” She glanced at the Jin Hun and caught him staring at her.

“Have you had dinner?” Tae Young continued.

“Yes. Hey, I’ll call you back in a few minutes….”

“Wait, why? Where are you?”

“I’ll call you back.” Feeling Jin Hun’s eyes boring into her was making her squirm. “I’ll--”

“Kim Sam Soon, where are you?!” he demanded

“I’m at Sam Sh…, I mean, Jin Hun’s place.” When he didn’t say anything, she continued, “I’ll call you in a few minutes.”

“Why are you there? Oh, you went with Mi Joo, right?”


“Okay, okay,” he said in a calmer voice. “Before you leave, let me say hello to her…. Hello? Hello? Sam Soon, can you hear me? Let me say hello to Mi Joo.”

Sam Soon swallowed to clear her throat. “Tae Young, she isn’t here.”


“I’ll call you back,” she said, hanging up. She picked up her bag and started to leave. “Hey, Jin Hun, thanks so much for dinner. About the dress, I can come with you on Sunday. Is that okay?”

He stepped out of the kitchen. “I see. You talk to your boyfriend and suddenly, I’m “Jin Hun” again.”

She ignored his last statement. “So, I’ll see you on Sunday,” she said, walking to the door. She heard his footsteps behind her so she picked up her pace. When she got to the door and turned the knob, his hand shot out of nowhere and kept it shut. She turned around and was met his face a few inches from hers.

“Jin Hun, what are you doing?” she asked, looking away. Her heartbeats were going at double rate.

“I thought I told you not to call me that.”

Without turning around, she felt for the doorknob. “I have to go now –he’s waiting for my call.”

“Then let him wait,” he whispered in her ear.

She looked into his eyes. “What’s your problem?” And why was he still using the cologne she got him?

“I just have one question: what’s so special about him?”


“Why marry him and not me?”

She rolled her eyes. Earlier in the day, if she’d known that this was how they would end the evening, she wouldn’t have come. “I thought we were friends. Is this a question you ask a friend?”

“Why will you marry him and not me? Just tell me. Do you love him?”

Sam Soon eyed him. What did love have to do with anything? He’d claimed to love her and yet for over four years had refused to fight for her. Irritated, she hissed, turned around and started struggling with the door but it wouldn’t budge. She didn’t know what he’d eaten on his travels but he appeared to have some newly acquired strength. She spun back to face him. “Look, let me get--” Her words were cut short by his lips.

Even though he wasn’t holding her, his body was pressed against hers, imprisoning her. His lips was all over hers, planting her with kisses that were almost entirely filled with anger and frustration. She struggled to escape but he wouldn’t let her move. Then he slowed his pace and started kissing her softly and when she felt herself closing her eyes and starting to respond, he stopped.

“You still love me – why are you with him?” he asked, breathless, his lips barely a few inches from hers.

What the hell did he think he was doing? She pushed him off her. “Don’t you ever do that to me again!” Her heart was beating so rapidly that she could almost feel it in her throat. “Don’t you ever do that to me again!” she screamed. What kind of woman would she be if she ran back to him? When she turned back to the door, his hand was still on it, keeping it shut. She didn’t have to say anything more before he took it off. She unlocked the door and without glancing back she said, “And forget about shopping with me on Sunday.”

“So how come you went to English class, today? I thought you were quitting?” Tae Young asked from across the table.

The waitress picked up their menus and left.

“I decided that I might as well get to Advanced Level, just like you did,” she said, smiling at him. And it made no sense to stop learning English just because she was no longer seeing Jin Hun. In fact, she was certain it had nothing to do with him; after all, she had still been taking English classes months after they broke up. Yes, it had nothing to do with him or his mother – that was all in the past.

He nodded in approval. “That’s good. Level IV is great but like I said, why not see it all the way through?”


A few minutes later, when they were having dessert, Tae Young cleared his throat and said, “I don’t how to bring this up, but I don’t think you should be seeing Hyun Jin Hun so much anymore.”

She groaned. “I already explained to you what happened last time.”

“I know. But I think the fact that you see Mi Joo so much might make things difficult for you.”

She put a forkful of her dessert in her mouth. “Don’t worry, it won’t.”

“I’m not so sure about that. I think you should stop seeing Mi Joo,” he said before he took a sip of his coffee.

“What?” Her fork fell and clanged on her plate. “You want me to stop seeing a child just because you are uncomfortable?”

He put his mug down. “This is not about me – it’s about you. I am thinking about you.”

“Really? Then how come I didn’t think of it first? Shouldn’t I be the person thinking of myself most?”

“Because you aren’t thinking clearly.”

“How do you know? Are you in my head? How do you know what I am thinking?”

“Please, calm down.”

Some of the other patrons at the restaurant had begun to look at them.

“I am calm. Don’t I look calm? I just don’t think this is fair on Mi Joo. For over 4 years, I’ve been the closest thing to a mother-figure that she’s had and you want me to just cut her off?”

“You didn’t seem to have a problem with it till President Na visited you,” he said, matter-of-factly. “After the way she treated you, I don’t understand why you’re still seeking her approval.”

His tone was beginning to piss her off. It amazed her that no matter what he said, he didn’t seem to move one hair on his head. “What are you talking about? This is not about her – it’s about Mi Joo!”

“Really? Then why are you taking up English classes again?”

“Didn’t we just talk about it? Didn’t you just agree with my reasons? Or was that a dream?”

“It’s hard for me to believe you when you are mixed up with Hyun Jin Hun again. Have you forgotten that I know all about you two? And I saw how devastated you were when things ended with you? Sometimes, I wonder if you really care about me.”

“What exactly are you trying to say?”

“Why can’t you just stop seeing him?”

“I already told you that I am not. I only see Mi Joo. If you want to break our engagement, just say so. You don’t have to start accusing me of things.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m just so tired. Just tired of worrying,” he said, his face finally betraying a trace of emotion.

Sam Soon reached out and touched his hand “About me? Why are you worried about me? I already told—”

“Not about you. It’s my Mom…”

Oh. “She’s sick again?”

“Just a few aches and pains but my father is scared that she might be relapsing again.”

Sam Soon kept caressing his hand. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure it’s nothing.”


Jin Hun sat at his desk and looked around his office. It had been nice to get away but he’d really missed his job. When he asked to come back to work, his mother had told him that he’d been demoted because, “Vice Presidents can’t just leave when they want to,” but since his old office looked exactly as he’d left it, he was pretty sure she’d been bluffing.

He was logging on to his computer when his secretary buzzed him.


“Miss Park Eunsoo is here to see you.”

Was she his new boss? “Let her in.”

A few minutes later, in a slim fitting but professional suit, she walked into his office. “Welcome back,” she said, beaming at him.

“Thank you,” he said, looking up at her. He noticed that her new haircut made her look even prettier. “So what did my mother send you here to do?”

She shook her head then sat down on his couch. “Why do you always think your Mom is behind everything?”

He chuckled. “Because she is.”

“I’m not some kind of puppet, you know? I control my own life and do what I want. Your mother doesn’t pull my strings and make me do whatever she likes.”

“You don’t say.”

“I am serious, Oppa. For instance, your mother didn’t ask me to be here.”

He folded his arms. “No? Then why are you here?”

She tucked her hair behind her ear. “You’ve been away for a while. I just wanted to update you on what’s been happening here. What’s the point of having a Vice President who isn’t up to speed?”

Jin Hun studied her. What was her deal?

When the doorbell rang, Sam Soon picked up her bag. “Mom, I’m leaving now, I’ll see you later,” she said as she walked out of the house.

Even though she’d told Jin Hun that she wouldn’t be going shopping with him, Mi Joo had called and begged her, assuring her that they’d go alone. She opened the gate and saw Mi Joo standing next to Jin Hun’s parked car.

“Hey,” she said, waving at Mi Joo to come to her. When she did, Sam Soon asked, “What’s he doing here?”

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


A/N: Mcleen, thanks for reading and commenting!!

“Is he just dropping you off?” Sam Soon asked.

Mi Joo shook her head. “No, he’s coming with us.”

“How come?” she asked, frowning.

“Auntie, I need someone to pay for the dress -that’s why he had to come,” she said innocently.

“I could have paid for it.”

“Why? It’s not like we are related or anything,” she said, pouting. “Why should you buy me a dress? If you mar--”

“You could have brought cash,” Sam Soon interrupted. Mi Joo was really turning into something else.

“I didn’t know how much it would cost. And I already asked him to come. I couldn’t just uninvite him.” she said, pouting.

“But you told me that we were going alone.”

“I know,” she said, looking downward. “Sorry. I really wanted you to come.”

Sam Soon grimaced at Mi Joo then asked, “Do you have some paper and a pen?”

Mi Joo looked around and said, “I don’t think so.”

“Okay, get into the car – I’ll be right back.” Sam Soon ran back to the house and came back with a folded piece of paper. She slipped into the back seat with Mi Joo.

“Someone should come and sit up here – I’m not your driver, you know?” Jin Hun said from the driver’s seat.
Mi Joo didn’t budge. Instead, she stared at Sam Soon.

Sam Soon looked back at her. “What are you looking at? You’d better go up there.”

“Isn’t it unsafe for kids to sit in the front seat?” she asked.

“Are you kidding me? Don’t you normally fight to sit in front? And you’re not a kid. So go!”

Mi Joo grudgingly opened the car door and switched seats. Shortly after Jin Hun turned the engine on, Sam Soon tapped Mi Joo’s shoulder. “Hey, give that to your uncle.” She handed her the sheet of paper.

“If you want to give something to me, give it to me yourself,” Jin Hun said without looking back.

“You’re driving, Mister; I don’t want you to look back and get into an accident,” she said in the sweetest of voices.

Jin Hun took the piece of paper from Mi Joo. “What’s this?” he asked, waving it around.

“Could you please stop by that address before we go to the mall?” Sam Soon replied.


She sighed. “We need to pick someone up.”


Why did she feel like a witness at a murder trial? “Soo Hyun.”

“Who’s that?” he asked.

Sam Soon looked at the rear view mirror and saw Jin Hun’s eyes staring back at her. “Tae Young’s daughter.”

For a few moments, the only sounds that could be heard in the car were coming from the engine.

“But I didn’t know she was coming with us!” Mi Joo said.

“I guess the day is just filled with surprises,” Sam Soon countered.


“Tae Young didn’t seem happy,” Jin Hun said to Sam Soon as they walked behind the two preteens. “I guess he didn’t expect to see me,” he said with a smirk.

“Hello? I didn’t expect to see you either.”

“I guess you have some explaining to do,” he mocked.

Sam Soon ignored his tone. If he was going to be annoying, she wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of knowing that it was getting to her. “What is there to explain?”

“What do you think? If I were in his shoes and saw my fiancĂ© going out with the guy she loves, I’d be pretty pissed.”

“G-G-Guy she what? What the hell are you saying?” she asked, turning to him.

He shrugged. “You’re the one that keeps going on and on about your age you’re the one delaying things. If you want to get married today, I’d go to the court with you.”

Sam Soon slowed her pace. “Why can’t you just shut up?” She glanced at Soo Hyun and continued in a lowered voice, “Why would I marry you? Are we engaged? Look at my finger- did you put this ring on it?”

“Of course not – I have better taste,” he said wryly.

“Is this what you have to say? Is that why you asked Mi Joo to lie to me?”

He groaned. “Sam Soon, this might be a huge surprise to you but the world doesn’t revolve around you. I didn’t tell Mi Joo anything –I’m simply here to buy a dress.”

“Even after I explicitly said I wasn’t going to come?”

“And you’re here anyway. You seem to be confused these days – can’t stick to a plan?”

“ARGH! Are you just trying to get on my nerves?”

“Why would I do that?”

Sam Soon scowled and just stared at him. One of these days she was going to have to stab him.

Chuckling to himself, Jin Hun grabbed her hand and pulled her. “Hurry up so that we can catch up with them.”


“Aunty,” Lee Soo Hyun said, pulling Sam Soon into a store, “do you like any of these?” she asked, pointing at some wedding gowns.

Sam Soon felt herself get red. She glanced at Jin Hun then started, “Uhm, actu--”

“We’re here to buy my dress,” Mi Joo rudely interrupted. “Why are we looking at those?”

“I love weddings, don’t you?” Soo Hyun said dreamily. “Aunty,” she said, clapping her hands, “let’s try some of these on!”

“Let’s find your dress first.” Sam Soon took her hand and tried to steer her out of the store.

But Soo Hyun resisted. “Aunty, just one! Okay two. Please! Please!”

“Soo Hyun, I’m sure your Aunty is already tired of trying on wedding gowns. Let’s get your dress first, okay?” Jin Hun offered.

Soo Hyun reluctantly complied.

About thirty minutes later, when the girls were trying on the dresses they’d picked, Jin Hun said to Sam Soon, “I bet this is your first time seeing a wedding gown since you got engaged. Right?”

“How is that your business?”

“You’re in such a rush to get married and now that you’re engaged, you haven’t even set a date? Haven’t tried on a dress? Haven’t sent out invitations? I thought that was all women dreamed about. Why is it different with you? Perhaps because it's the wrong man?”

“Will you be happy when you receive an invite?”

He laughed. “And when would that be? In the year 2024? It’s just odd that someone who was so obsessed with getting married hasn’t even started planning yet.”

“I haven’t met his parents yet. Have you forgotten that? Besides, life doesn’t always follow a certain path, Mr. Hyun Jin Hun. I dated you for over four years and never got engaged but in less than 6 months with Tae Young, I’m already engaged. See? Things don’t always happen a certain way. Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she said shoving him aside, “I am sure the girls would like me to see what they’ve tried on.


“Tae Young is here,” Yi Young said, awaking Sam Soon from her daydream. She stepped out from behind the counter and smiled at him as he walked through the door. She’d expected him to say something about her going shopping with Jin Hun, but he hadn’t said a word. From the expression on his face that day, she knew he was pretty annoyed but she wondered if he’d gotten over it or was just being passive aggressive.
She stood by the counter, waiting for him to approach her but instead, he sat on a table with who she guessed was a co-worker.

Sam Soon stared at him, hoping to catch his eye but he appeared to be purposely avoiding her.

Sam Soon gestured for her sister to join her in the kitchen. “Do you think he’s still angry about Sunday?”

A bored Yi Young shrugged.

“Should I go over and say something?”

Yi Young shrugged again.

Sam Soon lightly slapped her shoulder. “Unnie, you are being of no help at all.”

“Sorry, but what do you want me to say?”

Sam Soon frowned. “Come on, you’re the married one here -I'll like to be like you soon. I need your advice. Should I apologize?”

Yi Young raised her brow. “For?”

“I don’t know. He must be pretty mad to come in and not say anything to me.” She picked up her phone. “Should I call him?”

“I don’t know why you’re so bothered. This might be the perfect opportunity for you to escape.”

“Escape what?”

Yi Young rolled her eyes. “What do you think?”

Sam Soon wasn’t about to have this conversation with her again. Yi Young always seemed to prefer the opposite of whatever was going on in her life. At the tail end of her relationship with Jin Hun, she’d encouraged her to stand her ground. When she was depressed about their break-up, she’d encouraged her to date someone new. Now she was saying about Tae Young.

“But he must be particularly cruel to come in here and not say a word, though,” Yi Young said, thoughtfully. “If he is trying to avoid you, why bother coming to the shop at all? Instead, he’s making it pretty obvious that he’s ignoring you. Doesn’t seem very mature to me.” She shook her head sadly.

Sam Soon looked at her. Yi Young sure knew how to be a bi.tch at the worst times.

“Anyway, I’m going back. I’ll see you whenever,” Yi Young finished gleefully.

About 15 minutes later, Sam Soon heard Tae Young call her. She turned the corner to see him beaming at her.

“Good afternoon, Miss Kim Sam Soon,” his friend said, bowing to her.

She bowed back.

“My name is Mr. Hwang Woon-kyu. Mr. Lee has been boasting about the pastries at this shop for such a long time that when I came into town, I just had to try some.” He handed her a card. Yi Young ran over to them.

Both sisters looked at the card – it had the name of a popular packaged food company on it. They looked at each other and then back to the man.

“My company has just created a new frozen desserts and snacks department and I am very interested in working with you. Tae Young said that you also sell over the internet? In that case, could I order some samples to be delivered to the main branch?”


A week after meeting Mr. Hwang, Sam Soon hadn’t heard from his company so she'd come down from her high and it was back to business as usual. In the past few months, a few customers had come to her shop specifically asking for a particular pastry they’d bought in Siheung so Sam Soon was going there to see what all the fuss was about. She was walking to the bus stop when her phone rang. She picked it up and looked at the caller id.

“Hello Honey, we’re not supposed to meet today, are we?”

“No,” Mi Joo said from the other end.

“Is everything okay?” She saw her bus approach. “Hey, I’ll call you back in a minute.”

“Wait!” Mi Joo shouted.


“It’s Uncle!”

“What about him?” Was that panic she felt?

“He’s at the hospital.”

“What?” Sam Soon felt her knees shake.

“Aunty, he’s at the hospital!”

As soon as Sam Soon found out which hospital she was talking about, she hailed a cab