-Do you feel warm now?
Rick asked Lean, who was a bit embarrassed and didn’t know what to reply. Rick noticed that, so he just looked up in the dark sky and said
– Too many stars today, i think we will have warm day tomorrow. My mom used to say when the stars come shining all together, they send all their love to earth and it makes it so warm.
– Do you miss her?
– a lot.
for the next few minutes they just stayed without saying a words just looking at the sky or at the city lights, both lost in their own thoughts.
– Do you want to have a drink with me outside this place?
Rick asked her, feeling that it will be a good reason to take her out of this place, as soon as possible, and not let her speak to other people that might make feel worse.
– I would love to,
– any place in particular you have on your mind?
Lean made an expression on her face like she was making a google search in her head, then replied
– yes, i am actually starving and if you don’t mind, i want to go to the local restaurant, they make best cloud soup.
– i love cloud soup and actually in the weather like this it is the best thing to have. Let’s go.
While leaving the place, Lean got a phone call, she was talking with very quiet tone Rick couldn’t understand who was with her on the other side, then he remembered as well that he came with Jang, so he send him a message that he left and will call him tomorrow.
-when they were getting into his car, he saw her body guards already ready to follow her.
– don’t worry they will keep distance, you wont even notice that they are around.
he looked at Lean and give her a smile instead of any reply.
-ah one more thing. if you don’t mind, can Alex join us for dinner, i have just spoke to him he was asking when i am going to be home, i feel like he is feeling under the weather today.
– not at all, I would love to have his company, please ask him to join us.
– thank you.
Lean press a speed dialer and waited for Alex to pick up, her conversation with Alex was very short
– Cloud soup in 10 min.
Place was very small and very simple, not many people were inside, the owner greeted Lean like he knew her very well, he gave them a good table, no one came and ask for an order, waitress, quickly brought a tea pot with hot tea and cups, she pour tea in their cups and left, then she brought all the side dishes and rice.
– can we have a soju please?
Rick asked lady and looked at Lean who was drinking tea and looking outside the window, waiting for Alex.
– How is his new car? is he enjoying it?
Lean made exhaled and said.
– car is still parked in my building basement parking, new and untouched. Alex is really having a hard time. Dad has forbidden him to drive.
-why? was he in any accidents before?
– well sort off, and Dad is just being over protective. I still can not find time speaking to him, and Alex is getting more upset. Thou he is not showing it to me, i know it very well. I read my brother’s mind like an pen book, my brother’s eyes are never lie, their are his worse enemy. Speaking of Devil.
Alex entered the restaurant and greeted the owner, then greeted Rick and his sister.
– its very cold today, noona, when you said cloud soup, i said myself my Noona is the fairy.I could feel the taste of it in my mouth and suddenly its the only things i wanted to have right at that moment.
Bowls of soup finally arrived and they were enjoying the meal and very simple homelike atmosphere around them. They talk different things, food, drinks, funny school stories, that Alex love to tell.
After the dinner they have decided to walk a bit, thou the weather was cold it was not windy and walk was pretty much enjoyable. They slowly walk by the streets passing by closing shops and cared on the side cars. Suddenly Rick lost the Alex from his visual range and he got a bot worried trying to look for him around.
– Don’t worry!
Lean said while keep on walking and not turning back to look fr her bother, he will come running after us, I know were he is.
– Did he tell you anything?
– no, but every time we come here he can not without stopping by that small shop we passed just now, he is buying kimchi dumplings.
She was right, a minute later, Alex was running after them screaming
– Dumplings! Who wants the best Kimchi Dumplings in Korea !!
Lean looked and Rick and started to laugh, rick couldn’t control himself and started to laugh as well.
– Alex it is not nice to eat that much before going to bed, you will have nigh mares.
Alex was holding a box in his hands and was trying slowly to open it.
– i sleep next room with you, i am not scared and in fact you know night mares are my friends.
Lean stopped and with the serious look on her face, turned to Alex and came very close to him. Alex took a dumpling and quickly put it into his mouth, but then he open his mouth wide and started to jump on one leg. Lean grabbed his chin and pulled it down and then started to blow the air into him opened mouth, she did it for a half minute, till he finally stopped jumping. When Alex finished with the dumpling he put his tongue and make a sound like a dog.
– I think i burned my tongue. But still this thing is the best in Korea.
Lean gave him a slap on his shoulders and said
– you will never learn, every time same story. and i hope it burned nicely, you should watch your tongue. You know what i mean, the thing you said about nigh mares is the last thing i wanna hear from you tonight.
Lean turned Rick to apologize, Rick was having his mouth closed with his hand in order not to laugh hard, he turned around and was trying to stop laughing but he couldn’t. Alex had a huge smile on his face too, Lean smiled, knowing that what Rick has just seen looked that funny to him.
– I am glad we made you laugh
she said, and started to walk again, both men followed her, then Rick picked up his steps and walk with her at the same line.
– this is something i see for the first time.
– this is the reason I call him Monkey.
– I have never seen anyone does this in my life, now thinking of it, it sure helps i guess.
then Alex picked the conversation
– but unfortunately no one knows how to do it. When we were in states, I eat as well dumpling that was so hot i opened my mouth to Tony but he did’t know what i want from him, so he just placed a kimchi in my mouth and turned away…….
When Alex realized that he was talking about Tony it was already too late, the facial expression on his sister’s face already changed, she yet smiled but sadness was written all over her face. Alex shut up and put another dumpling into his mouth and walked fast in front of them.
– Alex it it not polite to show your back to the older to you people.
Lean said this in a way to show him that she is more angry at him for this than for a story about Tony. Alex turned around gave a bow and apologized and stepped back and walked behind his sister and Rick.
for the next two minutes they walk with out talking, then Lean looked at Rick and said
– please be patient with Tina, she is new into all dating game, i know you feel like she is not there for you, but i know if you really want her you will get her.
Rick stopped and asked
– did she said anything to you? because you sound like you have read my mind.
– we are sisters, we talk, and as i told you i know Tina very well and relationship are all the same, specially once that has distance.
Rick said nothing just kept walking.
– I think its time for us to go home. Thank you very much for a lovely evening, if its not you i would be still talking to all this people and had to smile to all the strangers. You are my rescuer, and as a thank you, I would like to invite you to our home tomorrow. I am arranging a pool party for the boys, so you are invited as well.
Alex was so happy to hear that
– please Rick come, we will have fun, i will ask Bong to pick you up and you both can come together, since you don’t know were we live. Please it will be a great honor for me.
– and for me too
Lean said and looked at Rick waiting for an answer.
– I will be happy to. what time is the party?
– at 4, bring your swimming shorts.
– Swimming what? in this weather?
Sister and Brother both got in their car that was slowly following them, with their bodyguards and left.
Rick walked back to his car, with the thought of a good evening he had, he felt very comfortable with both of them more than he was with Tina, but then he thought that it is only a beginning, Tina eventually going to change her mind.
Next morning Rick spend doing some home work with Helen, they went to have lunch to her favorite restaurant and then they went for a fast shopping to get her all the necessary thing for school. Helen never asked much, she was happy to be back to Seoul and live with his brother, two years in Jeju were very boring and she couldn’t make many friends, cause she was afraid people will talk about her, and the rest of her family. Now things were different she was in a good school, has already made friends, all he have to do not to mention any one that she was sister Of Rick, the case was so long ago, people has already forgotten and they of cause forgotten about her brother too, which was sad, but it sure gave her a time to get back to a normal life.
– Are you sure you don’t need anything else? We still have time before i have to leave, may be new cloths?
– I am OK! in fact you bought too many cloths last time, i had no chance to wear them yet.
– OK, then lets have a cappuccino or ice cream.
She said and smile at her brother giving him a hug.
When he was dropping Helen home, he saw Bong car parked near to their building. Bong greeted both of them and Rick introduced young people to each other.
Bong looked at Rick sister and said
– we are in the same school.
– yes you are right i saw you last time with the group of guys at the gates. You are friends of Alex Young
Rick looked at His sister and was a bit surprised
– you know Alex?
– well not know per say, everyone knows Alex Young, he is more popular then Beast this days in our school, since he started to show up in our school at time to time. Well it was nice to meet you Bong, I shall go inside it is cold today, hope you will have fun.
Helen went inside and both guys went back to Rick’s car, they have decided that it will be better if they will use one car. On the way Rick has started conversation, that lead to a new information for him
– its good to know you are schooling, many people like you decide to drop out and just focus on their career.
– Agency has increased my training hours, but i really want to keep up, i want to finish school and not to worry about it latter.
– you are right, before you debut you have time to finish your study, because once you our there, you are only there, you will not have time for anything else.
– Rick, can you give me a good advise?
– advise about what?
– about everything, what do and what not to.
– well i will put it this way, you do your best right now in study and in training, once you are there and if you need me i will be always there to help you with a advise or anything else you need. I promise.
– thanks you Rick, its very nice of you. You know in my life, my best luck is meeting good people. I thank God for it every night before i go to sleep. Good people like Alex and Lean and Tony, May his soul rest in peace. And now you.
– You new Tony through Alex?
– yes, I was supposed to sign with LAT Entertainment.
Rick almost hit the break but managed to control himself.
– what? LAT wanted to sign you?
– almost three years a go i had an audition for LAT, that year i did not make with so sis Alex. This is actually how we met with Alex in the first place.
– Alex auditioned for LAT? LAT is belong to his father.
– I know but this family is nothing but being right about everything. You know what i mean, they have never shown money, and they have never cared about money. Any way, after not getting there, me and Alex has decided to kill the grief with the few bottles of Soju, that night i will never forget, how we both got out brains washed by words of Lean and Tony. I was beaten by Tony and Alex by Lean, the words they were saying were stronger than bat beats. Lean was shouting at Alex for being irresponsible for his doings, that he is not only forgot about his family but as well he dragged me with him. Tony was telling me that if I am already drinking to kill my sorrow then what i am going to do in the future when bigger things will hit me. I can not explain what has happen that night but it sure became a turning point in my life. I have spent that night at their house, Tony personally went to inform my parents and apologized. Lean was nursing us next morning, and then Tony called me and asked us to come back for the second audition to LAT, then Alex didn’t go and i went and i made it, Tony was working on a contract for me himself, but then accident happened and everything was on hold. Weeks later Jang noticed me and got me the contract and i have signed.
– why you didn’t wait?
– i knew me getting into LAT was Tony’s doing and since he was gone I thought they wont need me any more.
– i am sorry to hear that.
– i know me too, but this not all, week after i signed Lean finally called me and asked me to meet her. That day she gave me the contract, she told me that Tony was working on it very carefully, he was making it in a way that i could be training and schooling that the same time, when i saw the contract i was shocked, my schooling my clothing my dorm everything was there, the boy band that was about to be formed just for me to start before i fly solo, the contact was excellent. When i have informed Lean that i have signed with other company already, she was heart broken, she was crying so hard telling me that this was Tony’s project she wanted to finish, she wanted to complete it for him. Alex told me that so many lawyers were hired to study my case, lots of money were offered to my company, but since LAT was fighting for me, they were decided that i worse it and they kept me, and refused all the offers and settlements. Later Lean met me again, she stood in front of me on her knees asking me to forgive her, she said she shouldn’t have let grief to control her, she apologized that she didn’t reach me faster, but yet she still asked to let her to feel the contract missing points, so now she is paying my schooling, she has given me the best trainers and even clothing endorsement.
– What about Alex ?
– Alex has decided to be a Lawyer right after the accident he has changed a lot, he never left his sister’s side, he was studying hard and he was very serious for sometimes, but then slowly he got himself back but yet he is not the same as he was. You know Alex is my tutor and Lean as well, with both of them i got my all subject covered.
Rick was quite for sometimes, he was trying to digest all he learned today and he was nothing but amazed again.
– Oh we reached.
Rick has stopped the car and young man came to open the door for them, they have offered to park hi car.
they have entered the house and Lean with Alex were already waiting for them. Alex was dressed in a swimming shorts and Hawaiian style, Lean was dressed in summer dress with the flower prints on it an she had while flower on her hair, she looked happy and fresh, it felt like they had time traveled, and it was no longer cold Autumn it was very pleasant summer warm that was coming from both of them from the way they smiled.
Lean has welcomed Bong, she smiled at him brightly and place a flower on his neck.
– its been a while you came to this house Bong, i am so happy to see you here. i have prepared for you the est shirt, but don’t tell any one.
– you are always too kind to me Lean.
she smiled at him again and tapped his shoulder.
Alex at the same time was greeting Rick. He has place the flower on him and handed over him a similar shirt he was searing to him. After Rick greeted Lean and gave her a compliments, Alex showed him the place where he could change, and then offered him a house tour later
Lean offered Rick am escort to a venue, she has shown him a direction an they walk toward the long corridor, the corridor was quite long and one side of it was full made of glass, and it gave feeling of walking in the yard, with the great view to a winter garden.
– It’s amazing
He said, still unable to take his eyes off what he saw. He was wondering if he ever be able to have something like this in his life, he was wondering is it is all real and how happy people are living in place like this.
Lean was smiling noticing his wondering eyes.
Rick could hear the noises of the guys while there were approaching the end of the corridor, they have entered a big glass door and he froze there at the entrance for a second looking at the big pool with the tropical garden and real palm trees.
– So this is how rich people live.
Lean smiled and him and said nothing.
Rick has been offered a fruit cocktail drink by the waiter and shown where he can have towels, he has noticed guys were already having fun splashing the water and he saw Bing claiming on top of Alex and making a jump.
– Kids will always be kids specially boys, so by the look on your face I have to say that you can not wait to join those rascal brats and return back to the carless tomes.
Rick looked with the baby smile on his face and handed over to her a glass and jump into the water. He made couple of rounds, spoke to the guys met Alex’s friend and when guys slowly started to move from the water to the table with snack he as well return to Lean.
She handed him a towel and offered a drink, and at the same time Alex has appeared
– Rick, do you know that in this house we are not allowed to drink alcohol till we turn 25, my sister has managed to make this rule stronger the drinking rule of the country.
Lean Looked at Alex with narrowed eyes
– And you are the main reason I have created this rule. You and Bong both only will only benefit out of it.
Rick remember the story Bong told him on the way, and with the smile he commented
– I wish I could have this rule in my family when I was growing up, I bet I would be a much better man by now.
– Thank you for support.
Alex looked at both of them made Tsk tsk ts sound and left, leaving seniors with laughter.
– He is very nice man, and I am sure he will be great one when he will get more older. I feel envy when I look at him, I wish I could be as him at his age, I wish I had sister like you to guide me through the life.
– You are mistaken. In my life this boy has been my lighthouse, somehow he is always the bright light for me in the end of the tunnel. It because he was always so attached to me, I had to be his noona, because he was always with me through all the hardships I have learn how to lean on him, and now he is the major reason of my life. Even in your eyes he is only young boy, in my life he had made an acts that grown man could never do.
Rick was caught in his own thought for a few seconds watching Alex being a young boy enjoying with his friends.
– Rick if you want I can give you a tour I know you might be very interested to see the the whole house after what you saw till now?
– Yes, I would really love to.
They went back through the same corridor and return to the other part of the house , and entered a big dining area with the huge table
– This is our dining area
Leans said pointing at the carpet on the floor, in front of the big projector.
Rick looked at her waiting for more explanation about carpet and what it has to do with dining.
– Our father like to have this traditional family dinners when we all gathered at the table, but every time he call us for dinner, he comes late because of work, and three of us just take our plates and eat here sitting on the carpet watching some movie on projector, because we don’t like to dine at the table without Dad sitting at the tale. Don’t know how it started and when, jbut now thinking of it I am guessing it started with Tina.
– Tina ha?
– Yes ! our always fun loving Tina.
They stepped out from that area that has been separated from the hall with arch and return to the entrance side.
– On this floor we have only dining and my father’s study room, of course kitchen is here as well but today it is area you need to stay away from, I think they are doing all the preparation for dinner now. By the way Kitchen is my favorite part of this house.
– You love to cook?
– I enjoy watching people to food creation in there. And of course the smell of baking bread.
– What about cinema and basketball place and may be even own games arcade?
By saying that Rick thought of a good joke.
– This all on the other side of the house where the pool is.
He looked at her and was waiting till she will start to laugh and act like he was the part of the joke he was saying, but she was very serious.
– Yes, I will show you when we return to the pool
– Cinema and basket ball and arcade ?
– Yes and fully equipped gym
Ricks Jaw dropped down for a second .
– Then why you use the health centre if you have gym at home?
– My trainer is on leave
Lean said it and made it sound like a spoiled daddy’s girl
– And as well I have too much money and o don’t know how else to spend it.
– Ah? I see
Leans laugh and said
– I don’t live in this house, I am having a small apartment near to the office, it is very hectic for me to travel, everyday due to traffic.
– You live alone? And you cook?
– Yes I cook and with time I am getting better with making ramen not over cooked. Alex lives with me
– A, when it comes to ramen I am an expert.
They both laugh at each other comments and walked up on stairs, walking down the corridor Lean told a few funny stories about how they grew up here, and how they used to paint their own room doors, they stop in front of pink door.
– I guess you can tell who is the owner of this room, even standing here I can feel the bright happy aura that comes out from this small key hole, this room was always happy room, I love this room more than my own, you will understand why
She opened the door and they entered inside, the room was like from the fine magazine that advertise furniture and the other staff for princess’s rooms, it was like from the land far far away, like in fairy tales. The huge white bed with the header in a shape of a crown the pink linen and lots of pillows, the rooms was full of staff toys and flowers, big dressing table and pink small sofa in a shape of throne.
– What you say?
Rick had a smile in his eyes, he was happy to see Tina’s rooms, he wanted to start to wonder inside but he hardly hold himself from walking to the middle of the room, he didn’t want to look like an idiot in love going through his girlfriends staff, just for a second he has imagined Tina walking and living in this room, how she was sitting in the sofa an reading or how she was putting her make up in front of the mirror at the dressing table.
– Its so her
This is all he could say.
– You should never tell to Tina that I have let you see this room, I shouldn’t have but since I can feel the way you miss her I wanted to light up your mood a bit.
– Thank you! I make sure this stays with me forever and I shall take this secret with me into the grave.
They share a laugh and left the room, next room was Alex’s it was a bit simple more modern full of books and lots of car models and gadgets, Rick has notices that room was tidy like no one has used it for a long time.
– You are lucky to see it clean and tidy, since Alex is staying with me for a time being,
– I was about to say that his room is too tidy for a man of his age.
– Well you will be surprised when I tell you that Alex is slowly turning into nerd type so recently I have noticed he is getting more responsible, I am happy for his responsibility vibe, it is his nerdy things are a bit strange to observe.
– May be he has reach that stage of his life when he is more clearly see what kind of person he wants to be and how he sees his self in the future?
Lean looked and Rick with suspicious and asked trying to pull a bit of acting
– So you are saying he is seeing himself as a nerd?
– I am guessing you are not fan of it
– No I am not, I want to see Alex a life loving person, I want to see him happy and loved, he has a huge heart and he is very sensitive I am really worried about him, being so attached to me lately I feel like I am in directly, keeping him with me and let him always worry about me, so he has no time for his own things in his life.
Lean suddenly felt that she had said a bit too much, so she quickly turned and made a move toward to the next room. Rick has noticed the situation and said nothing and just followed her. They have stopped in front of the room with the opened doors, Lean looked inside the room and then with the smiling face she turned to Rick and said,
– There is only one person in this house who is not closing the doors behind, and opened doors are always an evidence of the presents of that person.
– I feel like you are talking about some ghosts, is this house hunted, because now I felt like shiver run through my spine.
– Don’t worry, you will have a chance to see that person very soon. Now this is my room so you are free to explore it, I have nothing to hide.
Rick entered the room and it was like a expensive hotel suite he used to stay when he had his times, attached bathroom and it was double size the other two rooms he saw, the other part was behind huge books shelves he looked at the other room but was not sure if it was ok for him to look there.
– That part is my studio, I used to work there, it used to be separate room, one day I returned from school and found my father knocking the wall, with his own hands and 5 workers just standing and watching him do the job, so I knew it was meant to be something special, since he is doing it himself, and this is what I have got.
They were walking in to the other part of the room, Rick could recognize the smell of the painting the smell that gives him painful and the same time happy memories, he missed that smell at times he was looking for this smell. The room was a bit messy, the pain on the floor and few painting on the wall, each of them different each other in a different style, but they all had a one same sign on the right corner KLA. He then saw a big picture on the wall, the picture was black and white, the picture of the girl with the smile working on the sketch, she had straight long black hair that were pinned with pencil, Rick walked toward the wall with the picture like hypnotized, he stopped and without taking his eyes of it said almost whispering
– Kang Lee Ah
He brushed the picture with his hands, Lean was watching him with the question in her mind, she wanted to understand what was in his mind she wanted to know what was he whispering, and why he is whispering her name.
– How you know my real name?
Rick looked at Lean and she has noticed a tear trail on his face, she decided not to show him any emotions and she just walked few steps towards and said.
– Yes my real name is Kang Lee Ah, Lean is the name I got in states, and I have kept it when I have change my family name to Young, so this is how I have become Young Lean, father had adopted me. And this picture was taken by him.
Rick was now looking at Lean and was studying her, her face her hair, her face has changed, and her hair is shorter and colored, but it suited her that way. How he could not recognize her before.
– So will you tell me how you know my real name?
– I guess you don’t remember me, we were at the same school for some time, my mom used to be art teacher at Eastern school.
Lean replied with the shock
– Oh my God! Song Eugene, was your mother?
– Yes, and used to see you in her class after the school hours she used to give you private lessons.
– Yes, I loved your mother, she was my best teacher, I was very sad that I had to leave to states without saying good bye to her, I wrote her few letters, I hope she got them.
– Yes she did, she was very happy to hear from you, she used to always brag about it in front of me, she used to say you were very bright girl and she was hopping you never stop painting.
– I was very sad when I heard that she has passed away, I have visited her graveyard in Jeju, when I came back to Korea. I have learned the best from her, she taught me different love for art, before art was my hobby but after her classes it has become the part of my life.
Lean looked at Rick, she now could noticed that he had his mother’s smile and her smile, for a second, they both returned to the school years, only when they have heard someone s calling for Lean they have return to the present.
End part 5