FEW DAYS LATER
Gyeongil Police Station
Looking out through the window in his office, Park Woo jin held his family pictures and thought about the memories he had with his sister years before her accident. He lost his whole family before he was Seventeen. His mother died when he was three. His father re-married upon his request and also died two years after remarrying. He could barely remember what the man looked like asides from the pictures he had of him. His step-mother also died unfortunately after giving birth to Hye jin, his junior sister and he had no choice than to live with their grandmother who also died before Hye jin turned seven. When his grandmother died, he was left alone to take care of Hye jin and that was when he luckily met with the Lee family.
Kim Hae ra, Lee Harry’s mother was a friend of Woo jin’s step-mother and she was the one that helped him take care of Hye jin the very first time she fell sick ever since his grandmother died and since then, he had been very close with the woman and her children. Unfortunately, Hye jin, his last family died in a fire accident at age twelve. Things got worse for Woo jin after Hye jin’s death since his beneficiary, Harry’s mother also died weeks before Hye jin died. However, he was lucky that the woman left him a lot of money to take care of himself and his sister. With the money, Woo jin was able to travel out of the country with the intention of starting his life afresh.
While still in the states, he realized that his only family member that didn’t die a natural death was Hye jin. His mother died of cancer, his father of heart disease, his step-mother during childbirth and his grandmother of old age. However, Hye jin died in a fire accident during a party at the Lee’s family house. If nothing out of the ordinary happened, Hye jin was supposed to still be alive and that was the only death he could not understand. With the intention of finding what happened then, he had changed the course he was taking to become a detective back in his country which was the only means he could think of to find out what happened then.
Sighing, he held a picture of twelve years old Hye jin up. Smiling, he thought about how close he was to his sister then despite the fact that they had different mothers and how she would always whine and cry about how she wished Kim Hae ra was her real mother since she never got the chance to see her own real mother. Woo jin had told her that day that she shouldn’t wish for more from the woman since she was the one practically taking care of them. He also thought about the day Hye jin had promised to do everything possible to repay the woman back when she grows up even if it meant giving all her earnings to her. Woo jin had laughed and told her that all the money she would earn in future coupled with his own earnings wouldn’t be enough to repay the woman back. Hye jin replied by telling him that if all their earnings wouldn’t be enough to repay her, she would become her daughter-in-law by getting married to Harry and take care of her until her old age.
The thought of that made him smile at the picture he was holding.
“Funny girl.” He commented. “You really had big dreams.” He laughed. “If I had known you wouldn’t go home with me that night, I would have allowed you to go on your school trip the previous day. I’m sorry. Park Hye jin, Biane. Oppa was wrong and Oppa is sorry. I miss you, Hye jin. I really do.”
He fought back the tears welling up in his eyes. Just after dropping Hye jin’s picture on his desk, he turned back only to be startled at the presence of Officer Oh Go byul.
“You!” he exclaimed. “When did you get here?”
Sighing, she walked closer to him. “I never knew you had this side. I’ve always thought you were a mean and harsh detective who cares about no one, but now I know you’re just like every other human being I know.” Pausing, she smiled. “Funny girl. You really had big dreams…..you were saying that when I came in. Park Hye jin was her name. I was wondering why you were looking up her records lately and since I didn’t like you, I wanted to tell on you, but now I understand. The girl that died in that fire accident was your sister, Park Hye jin. Sorry for misunderstanding you all this while, Team leader Park Woo jin.”
“Team leader? Me?” he asked since he was still a squad leader.
“Yes! You were promoted this morning. You didn’t know? You’ve not seen the message?”
“Check your phone. I actually came to ask if you’re happy since you’re now the team leader, but I’ll be congratulating you instead. Congratulations, Team leader, please take care of me well!” she exclaimed with a bow.
Just then, the other officers came swooping in.
“Congratulations, Team leader!” They all exclaimed while Woo jin stared at them dumbstruck.
“Where else would you like to go?” came the question.
Smiling, Ji ha held his hand. “Wherever you go, Oppa” She replied beaming with excitement. Just then, she noticed a flower shop. “There!” she pointed. “How about getting me my favorite flower!”
“Of course!” she exclaimed as she pulled him towards the flower shop. Picking up a flower, she fixed it in her hair and turned to look at him. “Oppa, how do I look?”
“Beautiful.” He commented smiling.
“Uhn.” He nodded and adjusted the flower in her hair smiling. “It’s beautiful.” He commented and this time she placed her palms on her cheek.
“Are you blushing?” A voice asked from nowhere. Knowing it wasn’t the guy in front of her that talked, she looked round to see who did. “He was referring to the flower.” The voice continued. “Not you. You look ugly and your face isn’t even bringing the beauty of the flower. Too bad.”
‘Who are you?!” she asked turning back only to find Harry standing behind her.
“Who else?” he asked sarcastically, laughing at her at the same time.
“Ya! What are you! How can you come here and ruin my day! Oppa, what should I do about him?”
“Punch him.” He replied.
“Really? I can?”
“If you badly want to, you can.” He replied.
“Whoa!” she exclaimed as she turned to face Harry, fist clenched. “You don’t know how much I’ve waited for this day to come and now it’s finally here. Prepare to be punched, Harry!”
She was about punching him when she suddenly heard someone call her name.
“Ji ha! Ji ha!”
Sighing in frustration, she turned back to see who called her. “What now!”
“Ji ha! Ji ha!” the person kept on calling her and few seconds later, she was in a pool of water and it was just like she was the only one that witnessed the heavy downpour of rain. Opening her eyes gently, she noticed a standing figure beside her and it was then that she realized that she was lying down on her bed drenched in water while her mother stood beside her with a big bowl in her hand. Knowing her mother just woke her up from the best dream ever, she sat up angrily to face the angry woman that splashed water on her.
“Omma!” she screamed. “Why?! Why did you have to wake me up now?! Why now?! I was just seconds away from punching his face! Why did you have to wake me up!”
“Who?! Who are you talking about!” her mother shouted back angrily. “Who are you punching in the face! Who?! You’re here sleeping like a log and you’re telling me I shouldn’t have woken you up! You crazy girl!”
“Omma! You should have just waited for a few minutes before waking me up! If I had punched him, that would have made my day. I can never get the chance to punch him in real life and now, I don’t think I’ll ever get the chance to do so even in my dream again!”
“Look at this girl!”
“What is the time?”
“Look at it yourself! It’s 6:58am!”
“Two minutes! Just two minutes! You could have woken me up by 7.”
“The last time I woke you up past seven, you yelled at me to wake you up earlier than that next time! Do I look like your alarm clock?!”
“Then who asked you to keep on waking me up?” she asked standing up as she grabbed her toothbrush. “It’s not like I beg you to wake me up every morning.” With that, she walked out of her room.
Immediately she entered the kitchen to get herself a cup and water to brush her teeth, she was startled at the presence of a young boy who sat at the dinning table eating.
“Ya! Hong Do joon!” she exclaimed. “When did you get here?”
“Very early this morning.” He replied smiling. “Noona, did you sleep well?”
“Uhn. I slept well. But…. Noona? How am I your noona? What exactly are you doing here so early in the morning?”
“I came to see you!” he replied cheerfully. “When I saw Ajumma yesterday, she told me you were back at home and I told her I was going to come today.”
“My mum is not an ajumma! Why would you leave your nice house and come over here? You should stop doing that or else you’ll get them worried at home.”
“Don’t worry, Omma and Appa are very busy that they don’t notice when I’m not at home. They hardly worry about me.”
Sighing, Ji ha walked up to him. “But still, you should tell someone at home before you leave. And stop sneaking into other people’s house very early in the morning! Eat quickly and get ready, I’ll drop you off at school before I go to work,”
“No!” he replied sharply.
“No? What are you saying no to?”
“Going to school.”
“Hong Do joon!”
“I’m not going to school again!”
“Ever since Nam Bo ram stopped coming to our school, you’ve not been coming by again and I’ve not been seeing you.”
“They moved already.” She explained. “Bo ram and her parents moved out already. They’re no longer my neighbors, so they don’t live with me anymore, so there’s no reason for me to drop by your school again.”
“Still I’m not going to school.”
“Do joon-ah, is it because of Bo ram?”
“Because of you, noona.”
Just then, Ji ha’s mother came into the kitchen.
“I don’t want to go to school! My parents are rich and I don’t have to find a work to do. I can keep on getting money from them.”
“How can you talk like that as a young boy.” Ji ha’s mother commented as she checked what she was cooking. “What will you be when you grow up then? What will your future be like?”
“I don’t have to worry about that. Ji ha noona is a well paid chef and my parents are rich.”
“I’ll marry her!” he announced.
Ji ha was already brushing her teeth before he talked. Immediately he uttered the statement of getting married to her, she coughed as the toothpaste in her mouth choked her.
“Noona, are you okay?” he asked standing up to pat her back.
“Omma.” Ji ha called still coughing and laughing at the same time. “Did you hear that?”
“I already have a chaebol who wants to marry me. Is it not funny?” She asked laughing hard as she wiped her mouth before turning to face the boy. “Ya! Do joon-ah, what do you know about getting married to someone? You’re just seven and you’re talking about marrying me. Do you know how old I am? I bet you don’t. Do you know how many years it would take you to get to my age? I’m not talking about five years, not even ten or fifteen years.”
“Noona, can’t you wait for me? Till I get to your age?” he talked innocently and gently.
“Wait for you? Are you serious?” laughing, she reached for a mug. “Omma, this boy has gone crazy. Do you think you’ll be the only one growing?”
“You can’t wait?”
“Ya, I can’t remain like this till you grow up.”
Smiling, she held his small hands and knelt down in front of him. “Do you really want to marry me?” she asked and he nodded. “Fine, but there are conditions. No matter how rich you are, if you don’t have a job, I can’t marry you.”
“What if you finish spending your money? What are we going to do? So for you to marry me, you must have a job.”
“Chincha?!” he asked beaming with smile.
“Uhn.” She replied nodding.
“How do I get a job?”
“You want to know?” she asked standing up.
“By going to school.” she replied smiling.
‘Eh?” his face dropped.
Sooni Hawaii Kitchen
Ji ha dropped Do joon that morning with the promise of checking on him some other time before going to work. It wasn’t a very busy day at work that day and although she was used to the fact that Harry was always watching her without doing anything, she felt his absence. He was fond of coming in late but that wasn’t a problem to Ji ha since she would end up doing all the work alone. That very day, he didn’t show up at work. Every twenty minutes, Ji ha would look towards the door waiting for him to come in, but there was no sign of him. After the afternoon course, she gave up on the fact that he would still come. Noticing her indifferent state, Ye jun walked up to her.
“Have you tried calling him?” she asked her.
“Why should I call him? He should have called me if he wasn’t going to come. If we know we’ll miss work, are we not the ones that call Seung ho sunbae to inform him?”
“And if we’re unable to call him, he’ll call us if he notices. Seung ho sunbae is a chief chef in our section and a main chef in section C. I’m sure he would have called Harry straight away if he noticed he is absent, but you’re his direct senior, so call him.”
“Calling him wouldn’t have crossed my mind if you hadn’t told me that. But still, if I want to call him now, I can’t.”
“I don’t have his number.”
“Really? And you two work together?”
“Do you call that working together? I do all the work while he does nothing! Absolutely nothing! It doesn’t even seem like he’s learning anything and I don’t even think he’ll learn how to cook! Do you know where he spent half of his life? Outside the country! What do you think someone like that knows how to do!”
“Just take it easy. I get your point, but just make sure you try calling him. Think of someone you can get his number from and call him.”
Gyeongil Police station
After work that day, Ji ha called her mother to inform her that she wouldn’t be coming home that night. Thereafter, she thought of who she could get Harry’s phone number from and just then, she thought of his hyung, Park Woo jin and hurried to the police station to see him. On getting there, she met one of the officers.
“Excuse me.” She called the lady.
“How can I help you?” the officer asked staring at her closely, and just then, she remembered her as the lady that came the previous week in search of Park Woo jin. “You again?”
“Yes. It’s me.” She replied smiling.
“I guess you’ve come to see Team leader Park again.”
“Team leader? He’s now a team leader? Whoa! Is he around?”
“No. but he’ll be here soon.” She replied.
“Ah. Arasso.” Nodding her head, she looked at the ID card she had on her neck. “Officer Jin Seo woo.” She called her smiling while the officer turned to look at her before turning her ID card backwards.
“You have a nice name.”
“Can I call you unni? Seo woo unni?”
“Wae? Why would you call me that?”
“Well, you look older than I am and besides, I have no one to call that, so, can I?”
Just then, the main door went opened as Woo jin entered with some other detectives.
“Oh! He’s here!” Seo woo told her.
Ji ha hurriedly ran to meet him. She stood in front of him smiling while the other detectives left him standing. Oh Go byul who was standing beside him looked at Ji ha, then turned to look at Woo jin before turning back to look at Ji ha again.
Woo jin stared at her for a very long time like she was someone he knew so well. He had a brief flashback of the last time he talked with Hye jin the previous day before she died. He had gotten her a flower vase of her favorite flower and she had stood in front of him smiling without finding the right words to say for what he did. The way she stood smiling in front of him then was similar to the way Ji ha stood smiling in front of him now, which was why he took her for his sister within that short time. He was about calling her Hye jin when Go byul talked bringing him back to reality.
“Who are you?” she asked her.
“Me?” Ji ha asked. “A friend!”
“Han ji ha sshi.” Woo jin called. “What brings you here?”
“You know her?” Go byul asked.
“Uhn.” He replied before turning to Ji ha. “Is there anything wrong?”
“Nothing much.” She replied quickly. “Can I see you in your office?”
“Sure. This way.”
He directed her towards his new office while Go byul followed behind. Noticing that officer Oh was trailing behind, he turned to look at her, and she turned back quickly and walked up to Officer Jin.
“That lady, do you know her?” she asked officer jin.
“Ani. But this is the second time I’ll be seeing her.”
“Do you think she’s close to Team leader?”
‘I don’t think so. But at the same time, I can’t say. She might be someone he knows well and someone he’s close with and she might also not be, so I can’t say, but Go byul…..” she paused. “When did you start taking interest in Team leader Park. Is he not someone you hate so much?”
Go byul paused and smiled. “Things happen.” She walked away, nodding her head as she walked.
To be continued