“You want a date.” Yi Jeong said after sitting down on the table. He didn’t even bother to look at her when he opened his workshop’s door and step inside.
“We had two dates so far… isn’t it enough?”
“Those were fake dates.” Ga Eul was very hesitant, she sensed his dark mood. Anyway she was there now and there was no turning back at that point. Her teacher was right, she had to be brave if she didn’t want to regret it later. She thought about it for a long time after their second fake date, and found herself wanting for more. Faking was useless now, she knew she liked him. Why deny it? The worst that could happen was be rejected, and she was prepared for that.
“And you didn’t like them, even if they were fake? We went out and had fun. What more do you want?”
Yi Jeong was looking at her now. His glare was cold and dangerous, and Ga Eul had to tell herself that he would never hurt her, or she would have stepped back istinctively.
Be brave Ga Eul!
“I want the real thing. No more pretence. No more going out for revenge or for our friends… just you and me, sunbae.”
“Ga Eul yang, what makes you think I want to date you?” that glare was even colder now. If Yi Jeong was angry before, now he was clearly furious. “An act is an act, didn’t I tell you before?”
Ga Eul swallowed and took a deep breath, before bursting out her – hopefully – best shot. “Because I know you like me, as much as I like you.”
Before Yi Jeong could have any reaction save a blank stare in her direction, she pressed. “You are always gentle with me. You help me. You saved me on the mountain, and stayed with me the whole night when Jan Di was missing in the snow. On our second date, I saw how you were staring at me, when you thought I was distracted. You’re just afraid, sunbae. Please, let me get rid of your fear.”
There was silence, for long moments, while Yi Jeong was trying to form a coherent thought. Did he like her? Did he? Sure, he was gentle and all, but it was just because Ga Eul was a nice girl and he didn’t have any reason to not treat her well. Most of all, he didn’t want to like her. It was like suicide, a called disaster.
He would only suffer.
“I’m sorry, but I think you misunderstood me.” he firmly said. “You’re just Jan Di’s friend, and Jan Di was Jun Pyo’s girlfriend. That’s all. No feelings there, just kindness.”
Ga Eul had the word “liar” on the tip of her tongue, but she refrained to speak it aloud, it would only make matters worse. She knew he was afraid, she knew it wasn’t just kindness. Now the problem was making him see that, and making him angry even more than he already was, wasn’t a good idea.
“You just have a crush, Ga Eul yang. Nothing serious. I played Knight in Shining Armor to you, and like the damsel you are, you want to reward me with your love. That’s all.”
Now, that made her angry. Did he really think she was such a child? Ok, she wasn’t rational about liking him: there were a million reasons why she shouldn’t and not one in his favour, but hey, love is never rational.
“That is unfair, sunbae. I may believe in soulmates and all, but I’m not a silly child who runs after fairytales. Why don’t you just give us a chance? It’s not like you can’t get away if you really want to.”
He closed the art magazine in front of him and sighed, struggling to keep control and not just throw her and her stubborness out of his door. Why was she keeping on asking? Couldn’t she see that was not the right evening? Didn’t she know what happened to him, to his hand, to his life? How could she dare to force her presence on him and blabber nonsense about love and chances?
“You don’t want to date me. Trust me. I’m not the nice guy you want to think I am.”
“Let me judge that by myself. What do you have to loose?”
My sanity maybe? My heart, my mind, my whole life if you manage to make me fall for you?
“You’re not thinking straight. You know who I am, you know what I do.”
Yi Jeong knew he had to be cruel if he wanted her to understand. And no, he wasn’t sorry at all. She called for it. If she really wanted to keep thinking of him as her White Knight, she had to pay the price for her illusion. His jaw tightened as he kept speaking.
“I flirt with girls, they are fascinated by my smile and my money. I make them laugh and have a good time and then I bring them to a room and they give me a good time. If the sex was good, I may call them some other time to repeat the experience, if not they never see me again. We use each other, and that’s the end of it. Now, I’m Knightly enough for your taste, Ga Eul yang?”
She stayed silent for a while, clearly shaken by his blunt words. She could feel she was starting to have misty eyes and she didn’t want him to notice. He already believed she was a weak little child, no reason to confirm that opinion.
Come on, Ga Eul, you didn’t endure all this just to run away crying now. Fight till the end!
“We could be different. They are random girls, someone you don’t know. We have been friends until now, we have done things together.”
“Ah, that’s it then…” Yi Jeong smiled cruelly. “You think you’re different. You think you’re better than them.”
“That’s low even for you, sunbae.” she complained with narrow eyes.
“Good then. You’re starting to understand I can be low. Now, stick to that new dawn realization, and go away, if you know what’s best for you.”
He looked at her and saw her smiling. An amused smile. Unbelievable.
“Tsk, tsk… Yi Jeong sunbae, you’re starting to run out of tricks up your sleeves. That’s really the best you can do, to get rid of a girl?”
He slowly rose from his chair, glaring at her.
“Ga Eul yang, you’re pressing your luck. This isn’t the right evening to push my patience.”
“Then accept my dare. Date me. If it doesn’t work, we’ll stop seeing each other and you’ll never hear from me again.”
“You will cry in the end.”
“That’s my risk. It’s not you would feel bad about it, right?”
“You’re right. I wouldn’t feel bad at all.” he kept glaring at her with cold eyes, then he took a step in her direction while she istinctively backed off to stay away for him. This didn’t surprise him, despite her courage he knew Ga Eul was a shy girl who wasn’t at ease with too close physical proximity.
He wickedly smiled, while pushing her to the wall and putting his arms on either side of her.
“Let’s play then. You want to date me, to make me fall for you. Try it.”
“You have to be willing to play along, though.” Ga Eul said, trying to keep her voice steady. She couldn’t take her eyes off his, as they were chained to each other.
“Oh I will. But I must warn you, I will play a game of my own too.”
“You want to change me, to show me you’re different from those other girls. I will try to prove the opposite. To show you’re exactly the same.”
Silence. She swallowed, a glint of pride in her eyes.
“That’s not fair. You are already deciding you can’t change. How can I compete if you’re not willing to give me a chance?”
“These are the rules of the game. You want to date me? Pick them. Not brave enough? You know where the exit is.”
That was it. She pushed his arms away and proudly stared at him, her lips pressed in a thin line.
“Fine. Let’s play sunbae. I’ll show you you’re wrong.”
Another cruel smile. “You’ll beg me on your knees not to leave you, when this is over.”
“We’ll see who begs first. See you tomorrow, Yi Jeong sunbae.”
“See you tomorrow, Ga Eul yang.”
She left his workshop, her head high, her spine straight. She wasn’t going to bow down to him.
He folded his arms, not angry anymore, but excited for the turn of events of that evening.
You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, my little white angel. I’ll see you fall down in hell with me, before we end this. I will rip your wings off, feather by feather. Be ready to cry, for I will not spare you.