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Author's Chapter Notes:

Yeah, so....this kind of is a thing now....


Not so sure if I want to include cast pictures at the moment. I just cannot seem to find anyone who fits the images in my mind, so I thought what would be better than to leave the faces of the characters to the readers themselves?

Here comes the beginning. =)


Excuse the errors

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


    " Our son, he's going to make us all very proud!"


    The small yet loud gathering in his family's restaurant rattled the walls as cheers and bottles of alcohol were passed around. Jae Hwa had been accepted into UC Berkeley. He had worked hard in school, being at the top for as long as he could remember. He was already known well around Busan because of his extraordinary academic skills, and when he had received the acceptance letter into an American university, his parents hadn't been shy in bragging to everyone they knew.


    His mother would be at the market buying food for the week, and before you knew it, " You know my son, Jae Hwa right? He will be attending school at a university in The United States! California to be exact."


    Seeing his mother constantly beaming with pride gave Jae Hwa confidence in being able to fulfill his dream, and to meet his parents' expectations. Sometimes it would feel like a burden when doubt tried to rear its head. As he looked around the small restaurant now, he saw nothing but smiles and laughter. His mother and aunts worked hard to prepare a feast that was never ending in his honor. He didn't want to let them down at all, especially seeing how important his own achievement was for everyone else also. He didn't want all of their support to have been in vain. He had to send home letters and pictures, have phone calls where the only thing he had to say was news of his success so that he could hear the same joy that he did now.

     Walking to the front of the party, Jae Hwa cleared his throat.


    " Everyone, I want to say thank you for being here today. Thank you for all of the hard work you've put into raising me, into teaching me many things. Without all that I've received, I'm certain that I could not stand here in this way today."


    " I Love you Jae Hwa!" A zealous friend shouted out. Everyone erupted into laughter as they began to send words of encouragement Jae Hwa's way. He grinned widely into the crowd.


    "Thank you for all of your hard work! Thank you!" Bowing vigorously to everyone in the room, he made his way to his mother and father as they hugged and kissed him with tears.


   " You'll be leaving in just a few days. " Caressing his face, Jae Hwa's mother looked at him adoringly with red rimmed eyes." What will I do when you're gone? My heart, it hurts because I'm sad that my son is leaving me. My only son.... But then, then it bursts with joy because I know you've become a man now. You've done so well all of these years, and I know you're going to accomplish many great things now. Knowing this makes my life a little easier. I worry less for you." Kissing both of his cheeks, his mother wrapped her small yet strong arms around his body tightly.


    " You can't keep crying like this, your face will swell up and I won't be able to recognize you!" Jae Hwa's father stepped to his son, standing at an equal height. He got his looks from his father, while embodying his mother's soft demeanor. His hands that had seen hard work over the years gripped his son's shoulders in a gentle manner. He had held Jae Hwa as a newborn with just as much care.


     " You're going to make this family proud. You already have. Do you realize that?"


   " Yes. That's one thing I can say I am proud of Dad."


   " Always be proud of the hard work you do, always be proud of being the good man that you are. Stay humble, but strong. That's how you get by." The older man's voice became heavy with emotion hidden behind his gruff voice. Feeling the knock of his daughter at his legs, he wiped his eyes of any possible tears as he lifted her into his arms to join in.


    " Oppa, you have to take me to Disney Land. I've seen pictures of it, they have Mickey Mouse there!"


    " Oppa promises to soon. Okay?" Jae Hwa patted her head playfully, but Min Young wanted a more solid promise. Sticking out her pinky finger, she kept a stern face that said she wouldn't forget this transaction.


    " Min Young, Jae Hwa is going to go study really hard in America, and then we will go and visit him." Their mother rubbed her back as she giggled excitedly.


    The joyful group broke out in song as the night burned on. Jae Hwa would be on a plane in just a few days, off to a land that was far away from the home he has always known-the home that has made him into the person that he was today.


    To say he was not afraid would be foolish, but he had a feeling that things were looking up for him.


    Something great waited for his arrival.


        Jae Hwa adjusted the straps on his backpack as he made his way down his dormitory's stair way.


      " How's it going James?" He dapped hands with another student he had become acquainted with. He had been nervous when he had first arrived at the school. He had walked through the crowded halls on moving day amongst all of the chatter of excited freshmen who were ready to embark on the parties and life of college. They were finally away from their parents, and constantly cheered for this fact. Unlike them, Jae Hwa had felt a sense of longing and loneliness being an entire ocean away from his mother and father.


   " It's good man." The words had left with an ease he had finally gained after a couple of months of being reclusive. He had worried his English would be weak, that he wouldn't be able to converse normally with his roommate and classmates. Letters that he had written home were filled with these concerns. After encouraging from his parents and the few friends he had seemed to make, he let go of his inhibitions and began to make this new country like  his new home.


     Pushing the heavy metal door, Jae Hwa felt the warm sun blanket his skin. Shielding his eyes, he looked up to see the clear skies and the passing clouds above him. Glancing at his watch he saw that he would only have half the time to make it to the class that was the furthest away on campus. He picked up a quick pace as he made his way there.



     Walking into the air conditioned building, Jae Hwa smoothed back his disheveled hair with one last look at his watch. He had made good time, as always. The unintentional jog took his breath away, leaving him parched.


    He found the closest water fountain, and guzzled down as much water as he could. When he stood up, he backed into what felt like another much smaller body.


    " Sorry. I didn't see you there." He immediately went to his knee to help the person pick up the papers he had caused to scatter on the tiled floors. His eyes saw long brown arms reach in between his, grabbing things he had missed.


    " No need to apologize. I doubt you have eyes in the back of your head." The young woman before him spoke softly, and with a gleaming smile.


    There was a lump in his throat that made it difficult to swallow, let alone speak anymore. Her eyes had captivated him. He had never seen a pair of eyes that were of such a rich dark brown hue. Handing her the last of her belongings, he happened to graze her fingertips. A heat rushed over him that rivaled the hottest day in summer.


    Quickly turning around, Jae Hwa took another sip from the water fountain out of nervousness.


    "There you go hogging the water again. You know, this is probably the best one on campus." The woman held her notebooks on her hip as she teased him with her head tilted to the side. He saw her from the corner of his eye, and nearly choked on the water from embarrassment.


    He had prepared to apologize again, but couldn't get a word past the itching in his throat. A strong hand hit his back, in what he sure was meant to relieve him.


    " That's what you get." The woman tried to control her laughter, but couldn't help that she had found the red faced guy more than amusing. He stepped to the side, and she had expected him to take off in a run to avoid her. Lisa knew that she made guys nervous sometimes, and was completely okay with some of the jerks that would approach her with unwanted advances running away with their tail between their legs after she rejects them, but with this boy, she hoped that he would stick around just for a moment longer.


     Flipping her high ponytail out of the way, Lisa leaned down to finally have her turn at the fountain. There was a pinch in Jae Hwa's stomach as he watched the cool liquid flow over her dark puckered lips. They wore adorned in a deep red lipstick that was so immaculately applied, it look as if she had been born with lips that wonderful.


    While he ogled her mouth, and the way her throat moved with the water, he missed her narrowed eyes that watched him watching her.


     Rising, Lisa wiped her mouth with the back of her hand, and wiped the corners of her lips. She puckered them with a loud pop that caused Jae Hwa to come back to his senses. He realized he had been caught.


    Was his mouth seriously drying up again?

    " I'm Lisa." Holding out her hand, she waited for another one to meet hers.


    " My name is James." Slowly, he reached out and pressed his palm against hers. His hand covered hers almost entirely. The softness made the roughness in his stand out even more.


      While he was ready to withdraw his hand, Lisa held on tight enough to stop him.


     " Wait, I've seen you before. Are you going in for Professor Taylor?" She pointed to the end of the hallway indicating the room.


    " Yes I-"


    " Oh! Well me too! That's why you seemed familiar. You sit in the very front ...don't you?"


    " I like to be close for the lessons."


    " Mhm." Grabbing him by the elbow, Lisa began dragging his much larger body away. " I can tell you like to be punctual and all, but I believe that today you may have broken that streak. We have at least thirty seconds before class.  He'll lock us out if we aren't there on time, trust me, it's happened to me..."


     Jae Hwa was almost helpless as she took control of him. When they had reached to class, he didn't get to sit in his usual awaiting seat. Instead, he climbed the stairs up to higher rows in the room, and was placed directly in the middle.


    " You can sit with me. Here. I promise you can still learn from here."


     Lisa propped her feet up on to the seat in front of her.


     " It gets lonely at the top sometimes. I can see you sitting all the way at the front, and I wonder if you're just as lonely as I am."  There was a seriousness that laced her words as Jae Hwa watched her speak.


    " Do you mind sitting with me, James?"


    Their eyes were locked together as the rest of the class began to start.  Jae Hwa didn't hear the professor greeting everyone, or all of the other people getting settled around them. All that he did notice was the rise and fall of Lisa's chest, and the pleading in her words.


    "Do I have a choice?" Lisa had a satisfied grin on her face as she turned away, accepting that as his way of saying yes to her invitation.



Chapter End Notes:

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.