Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 18

Kyung-Sam dropped Tae-Hyun off at school.
"Ahn young, Noona!" Hyo said from the backseat.
"Bye, Hyo." Tae-Hyun said glumly.
"Goodbye, have a nice day." Kyun-Sam said.
"Bye, Kyung..." Tae-Hyun said in the same sulky tone.
Kyung-Sam grabbed Tae-hyun's jacket sleeve and said, "Hey, what's wrong?"
Tae-Hyun shrugged, "I don't know..."
Kyung-Sam gave her a look and said, "Well, I have to drive Hyo to his school, then I have to go to work, so I have to go. You gonna be okay?"
Tae-Hyun nodded and Kyung said, "Hey, take it easy."
"Yeah..." Tae-Hyun said, watching her brothers drive off.
She turned around and looked at her school.
"Good luck, Min-Jung..." She whispered to herself.

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 17

Tae-Hyun ran home as fast as she could. She got to the front door of her house, unlocked it, and  went inside.
Tae-Hyun stood with her back against the door for a minute, panting and thinking about what had happened.
"Hey, Min-Jung, you finally home?" Kyung-Sam, Tae-Hyun's older brother, said from the kitchen.
"Tae-Hyun!" Tae-Hyun corrected.
Kyung-Sam came into the living room carrying a water bottle and raised an eyebrow at his sister.
"What, did you get a sex change now?" He said.
Tae-Hyun stared at him blankly and Kyung-Sam rolled his eyes.
"I can't believe mom and dad let you come here." He said, "You know less English than Hyo."
Tae-Hyun pouted and said, "They told me I was going to school here four months ago, Kyung."
Kyung-Sam raised up his arms and said, "Shouldn't that be enough time?"
Tae-Hyun sighed heavily and Kyung-Sam said, "Why are you so late, babo?"
"Oh, uh, I-I told the English teacher I would clean up after school..." Tae-Hyun said nervously.
"The Engrish teacher, eh?" Kyung-Sam poked fun at his sister.
Tae-Hyun nodded, swallowing.
"Hey, what's wrong with you?" Kyung-Sam said suspiciously, "You're all red."
Tae-Hyun pursed her lips and said, "N-nothing..."
Kyung-Sam walked over to her and looked closely at her face.
Tae-Hyun avoided her brothers's eyes.
Then, a voice came from the hall, "Noona's home! Noona's home!"
Tae-Hyun's little brother, Hyo, ran at Tae-Hyun, "Noona Noona Noona Noona!!!"
Tae-Hyun caught him and laughed.
"Noona Noona Noona!" Hyo said, snuggling his sister.
"Use your words, Hyo." Tae-Hyun laughed.
"You're home, Min-Jung!" Hyo said, looking at her, "I missed you, Noona."
"I missed you too, Dongsaeng." Tae-Hyun said, kissing Hyo on his chubby cheek.
"So," Kyung-Sam said, sitting down on a chair and crossing his legs, "How long are you going to keep up this Tae-Hyun thing?"
Tae-Hyun put Hyo down and said, "I can't stop now. People will tease me."
Kyung-Sam shrugged, "Yeah, probably. They'll think you're gay."
"Why does everyone keep saying that word?" Tae-Hyun said, exasperated.
Kyung eyed her and said, "Probably because you act like a girl."
"I don't have a problem with gay or anything, I am just sick of that word." Tae-Hyun said, pouting.
"You should get a boyfriend, Noona." Hyo said, beaming at his clever idea.
Tae-Hyun smiled at her little brother and said, messing up his hair, "You are such a cutie!"
"What do you mean you've been hearing that word a lot?" Kyung-Sam said, looking confused and maybe a little concerned.
Tae-Hyun shrugged, "Nothing big. I just have a friend who gets teased a lot for being gay."
Kyung-Sam raised an eyebrow at his sister and said, "You're friend? Really?"
Tae-Hyun nodded and said, "Is something wrong?"
Kyung-Sam shook his head and said honestly, "No, it just surprises me."
Tae-Hyun pursed her lips and said, "Uh, okay..."
"It's just that a lot of kids your age wouldn't really be out with that, you know?" Kyung-Sam said, taking a swig from his water bottle.
"Out?" Tae-Hyun said, confused.
Kyung-Sam rolled his eyes and said, "Jesus, Min-Jung. You've been going to a school in America where people speak English for a month now, haven't you?"
"Yes..." Tae-Hyun said quietly.
"Why don't you know any English?" Kyung-Sam scolded.
"I do know English, Kyung! I just have trouble with some slang words!" Tae-Hyun cried.
"Do we have dumplings?" Hyo said, his eyes sparkling.
Tae-Hyun and Kyung exchanged a grin then looked at their little brother.
"Well, we'll have to check, now won't we?" Kyung-Sam said, picking Hyo up.
They went into the kitchen and Tae-Hyun followed them. She sat down on a stool by the counter and said, "H-hey, Kyung?"
"Hm?" Kyung-Sam said, taking frozen dumplings out of the fridge and turning to Hyo, "Veggie or Kimchi?"
"Veggie." Hyo said, grinning away.
Tae-Hyun bit her lip and said, "Um... My friend, Leo... He, uh..."
Kyung-Sam looked at her.
"He, uh..." Tae-Hyun said, twiddling her fingers nervously, "He kind of found out my secret."
Kyung shrugged, "I don't care."
"Well-" Tae-Hyun said.
"Are you worried he will tell everyone?" Kyung said, tearing open the dumplings and putting them in the steamer.
Tae-Hyun thought about it.
"No, he would never." Tae-Hyun said, "It's just..."
"Just what?" Kyung-Sam said without looking at her, "Just that you like him?"
Tae-Hyun's eyes widened and she stared at her brother.
Kyung-Sam glanced at her for just a second and grinned.
"H... How did you...?" Tae-Hyun said, surprised.
"I was your age once, you know." Kyung-Sam said, still smiling.
Tae-Hyun rolled her eyes and said, "Don't say that like you're ancient. You're three years older than me."
"Whatever." Kyung-Sam said, "The point is that you can't keep this up forever. Especially when you have a crush on your guy friend."
Tae-Hyun pouted and said, "No, i-it's not like that."
"Face it, Tae-Hyun." Kyung-Sam said with a smirk, "You looove him!"
"I-I do not!" Tae-Hyun said, blushing furiously.
Kyung-Sam laughed and opened the dumpling steamer. The steam rose and Hyo put his little face right next to it.
"Dumplings!" Hyo cried with delight.
"Hey!" Kyung-Sam said, "Don't burn your face!"
"Sorry..." Hyo said, moving away about half an inch and staring intensely at the steaming dumplings, "Kamsahamnida, Hyung."
Kyung-Sam ruffled Hyo's hair and Tae-Hyun smiled weakly.
She sighed heavily and said, propping her head up on her fist, "I wish school was as easy as home."
"Yeah..." Kyung-Sam said, "Now go do your homework."
Tae-Hyun smiled and said, "Fine."
She went to her room and smiled as she heard  Hyo's happy cries, "Dumplings! Dumplings! Yummy! Yummy!"
The first thing Tae-Hyun did was go to her room, lock the door, undress, and unwrap her gauze chest binder. Keeping up her disguise was difficult.
Tae-Hyun put her hoodie back on and sighed to herself,

"I wish this was easier..."

Kyung-Sam (Kyuh-ng sahm)
Babo - Fool, idiot.
Noona - What a boy calls a girl older than himself in Korea.
Dongsaeng - What a younger child is called in Korea.
Hyung - What a boy calls a boy older than himself in Korea.
Kamsahamnida - Thank you.

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 16

Leo stared at Chris and his jaw went slack.
"C-Chris," Leo stuttered quietly, "What are you doing here?"
Chris stared at Leo with wide, red eyes. He was looking at Leo like he had been betrayed.
Leo glanced into the English room. Tae-Hyun thought he had left.
Leo turned back to Chris and whispered, "Chris, come on, talk to me. Why are you here?"
Chris stared at Leo and said shakily, "I-I was here for math club... And we got let out late... A-and I was just past here and I heard you guys talking, so I..."
"So you stopped and eavesdropped on us?" Leo hissed.
"Well, sorry." Chris whispered back harshly, "I didn't exactly know you guys were in some secret relationship."
"We're not!" Leo whispered, "It was just... Spur of the moment."
"Well, I'm so sorry that I stopped to listen to you two yack about your lives. If I had known you were gonna eat each other's faces off, then I would've kept walking!" Chris shot back, turning and walking away.
"Chris!" Leo hissed, going after him. He grabbed Chris' sleeve and Chris hit his arm.
"Ow!" Leo said.
Chris turned around and pointed a finger in Leo's face.
"Don't you touch me, Lover Boy." Chris said.
"Lover- You know what?" Leo said, forgetting to be quiet, "You need to let it go! You're pissed because it turns out your crush is a girl and you're pissed at me because I kissed Tae-Hyun! Well, news flash, Princess. That's not my fault and he's my friend too! Think of what was going through my head when I found out he was a girl!"
"Oh, cool, Tae-Hyun's a chick. That means I'm not a fag! Oh, goodie! Now we can make out!" Chris yelled.
Leo hit Chris upside the head and Chris gasped.
"You stupid little punk!" Chris yelled, pulling Leo's hair.
Tae-Hyun ran out of the English room and said, "Chris! Leo!"
Chris and Leo were full-on fist fighting now.
Tae-Hyun ran over to the boys and pulled them apart.
"Guys, stop!" She cried.
"He started it!" Chris said.
Leo scoffed, "Are you kidding? You were being a jerk! You started it!"
"I DON'T CARE WHO STARTED IT!" Tae-Hyun yelled, sounding like her mother.
Leo and Chris were silent.
Still holding onto their sleeves, Tae-Hyun said more gently, "Now... You two are the only people here who know that I am a girl besides my brothers. Please, I really need you two to get along."
Tae-Hyun let go of the boys and stood back from them.
Chris and Leo looked at each other for a while, then they ran at each other again.
Tae-Hyun squeezed herself in between them, facing Leo, and said, "Guys, please!"
The boys stopped fighting and Leo looked at in the eyes, blushing.
Chris bit his lip; Tae-Hyun's back was pressed right against his chest.
"Leo," Tae-Hyun said, "Please, I... I need you to act the same way around me as always, even thought we..."
Chris glared at Leo and Tae-Hyun awkwardly turned around to face Chris.
"Chris," Tae-Hyun said, "Please, don't hate Leo because of me. He cares about you and I know you care about him. You guys are good friends and I want to be your friend too, but I don't want to mess anything up between you guys. Understand?"
Chris nodded and said sincerely, "Yes, I understand."
Tae-Hyun side-stepped out from in between Chris and Leo. She looked at Leo and he said, "Me too."
Tae-Hyun smiled and said, "Good. Now, to prove to me that you mean it..."
Leo and Chris eyed her nervously.
"Hug." Tae-Hyun said, beaming.
Leo and Chris looked at each other and both laughed nervously.
"Hey, I-I don't think that's a good idea, Tae-Hyun." Leo said.
"Yeah, really. I'm not very comfortable with that..." Chris said.
"Oh, sure it is." Tae-Hyun said, smiling more, "Come on, it's not that bad."
Chris and Leo glanced at each other again and Tae-Hyun said, "Go ahead, hug."
The boys awkwardly half-hugged.
Tae-Hyun smiled proudly, "There, wasn't that nice?"
"Ehh..." Chris and Leo said, each taking a step away from the other.
Tae-Hyun sighed and said, "Guys, you guys can't hate each other. Everything needs to be the same as before."
"This is close enough." Chris said, smiling tightly.
Leo nodded in agreement, "Yeah, it wasn't much different before."
Tae-Hyun gave them a suspicious look and said, "I hope you guys know that my secret is in my and your hands only."
"And your brothers'." Leo piped up.
Tae-Hyun nodded and said, "Yes, but that's not the point. The point is it needs to remain between us and in order to do that, we need to act as if nothing happened today."
"So, I have to pretend I didn't kiss you?" Leo said, not trying to hide the disappointment in his voice.
Tae-Hyun stared at him for a long time, but she didn't say anything.
"Okay, you guys ready to put on a smile and pretend you still think I'm a boy?" Tae-Hyun said enthusiastically.
Leo and Chris smiled and nodded.
"Yeah," Leo said, "I'll see you guys later."
"Me too," Chris said, "Bye, Leo. Bye, Tae-Hyun."
"Bye, Chris." Leo and Tae-Hyun said.
So, Chris and Leo went home with the ultimate secret.

Let's play the Which-Guy-Will-Mess-Up-Everything-First game!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 15

Tae-Hyun opened her eyes and stared at Leo.
"When did you figure it out?" She said quietly.
Leo furrowed his brow and said, "Like... Now. I mean, something seemed different about you, like... You were... Weird."
Tae-Hyun gave him an awkward confused look and Leo said, "Well, not weird, but... Confusing. I dunno, you were like me, you know... Cool. But then you were like Chris... I don't really know how to explain it, you were just different."
Tae-Hyun nodded silently.
Leo studied him... Uhh her?
"But why would you want people to think you were a guy?" Leo asked. He put his backpack on the floor and sat down on a desk.
Tae-Hyun looked at him, the smallest bit of pride in... Her eyes.
"Almost completely for experimental purposes." Tae-Hyun explained, sitting down next to Leo on another desk.
Tae-Hyun must have practiced this sentence in English in case she got caught. Leo thought, Those are big words.
"You see," Tae-Hyun said, "My father has always treated my brothers, one nineteen, Kyung-Sam, and one almost seven, Hyo, with more respect than he treated me. He is male supremacist."
"Ah," Leo said, starting to get it.
"He taught them how to hunt, he took them to work..." Tae-Hyun said, looking down at her lap. She sounded sad, "It was almost as if he liked them more than me."
Leo nodded understandingly and listened to Tae-Hyun with undivided attention.
"When I found out I was going to school in America, I thought of a plan." Tae-Hyun sighed, "It was crazy and weird, but I wanted to know..."
Tae-Hyun looked at Leo and said, "What was so great about being a boy."
Leo nodded, anxious to hear the rest of the story.
Tae-Hyun stared straight ahead and said, "I was born Nam Min-Jung, but when I came to America with my brothers, I decided that I would be Nam Tae-Hyun. Maybe if I was a boy, people would like me more. Treat me with some respect for once."
A question poked at Leo's brain and he tried to stop thinking about it, but he had to know.
"So..." Leo said quietly, "Did you...."
Leo's voice trailed off and Tae-Hyun looked at him.
Leo said awkwardly, "Did you.... Get the surgery?"
Tae-Hyun stared at him and started laughing.
Leo looked at Tae-Hyun and said, "What?"
"You!" Tae-Hyun laughed, "You are so funny!"
"I-it's just a question!" Leo said, blushing.
For some reason, he had a harder time talking to Tae-Hyun knowing he was a girl.
"A funny question!" Tae-Hyun laughed, putting a hand over her mouth and holding her side with the other.
Leo couldn't help smiling. Now that he knew the truth, he wasn't afraid to say that Tae-Hyun had a beautiful laugh.
"You know, Tae-Hyun." Leo said, "You would make a really pretty girl."
Tae-Hyun stopped laughing and looked at Leo. A slow, red blush covered her face.
Tae-Hyun shook her head and said, standing up, "N-no, Leo. You don't get it. I can't like you!"
"Are you saying you like me?" Leo said, smirking.
"N-no! I mean, uhg!" Tae-Hyun said, putting her fingers against her temples, "... Look, Leo. I came to Withrow as a boy. I cannot leave as a girl. People will think I am weird."
"Yeah..." Leo said, kind of disappointed.
Tae-Hyun stood in front of Leo and put her hands on his shoulders.
"Leo," She said, "You cannot tell anyone that I am a girl! It will ruin my plan and school for me! Kids will make fun of me!"
"Dude, er, Tae-Hyun." Leo said, "I get it. My best friend's brother is gay. I've watched him get paint balloons chucked at him enough times to know it's probably not that easy. I won't tell anyone."
Tae-Hyun stared at Leo for a minute and said, dazed, "Thank you."
Leo smiled and said, "You're welcome."
Tae-Hyun kept staring at Leo, her hands still on his shoulders.
Leo chuckled and said, "Hey, Tae-Hyun."
"Yes?" Tae-Hyun said.
Leo smiled and said, "Can I like you for one second?"
Tae-Hyun blushed and said, "What do you mean?"
"Can I like you..." Leo said, slowly sliding off the desk, "For just one second?"
Tae-Hyun furrowed her brow and said, "Why would you...?"
Then, Leo kissed her.
Tae-Hyun was surprised for a second, but she kissed him back, putting her arms around his neck. 
Leo put his arms around her waist and tilted his head to side.
Tae-Hyun pulled back and stared at Leo.
They just stood there and stared at each other for a while.
"That was nice..." Leo said slowly.
"Yeah," Tae-Hyun said absent-mindedly. She shook her head and took her hands away from Leo's shoulders.
"Oh no, I shouldn't have let you do that." Tae-Hyun said, stepping back. She covered her face with her hands.
"No, no, no... I am very bad." Tae-Hyun said.
"No, you're not." Leo said, standing up, "I'm sorry."
Tae-Hyun's hands slid from her face and she said, "Oh, gosh, I am bad with this. I need to keep my secret."
"I won't tell anybody." Leo said, smiling at her.
Tae-Hyun smiled at him and said, "Thank you. For not telling, and...."
"Yeah." Leo said, giving her a goofy grin.
Tae-Hyun looked around the room and said, "Ah, I need to clean."
"Should I stay and help?" Leo said.
"No, no." Tae-Hyun said, smiling, "Go home."
Leo smiled back and said, slinging his backpack over his shoulder, "Yeah, I'll see you later."
"Hey," Tae-Hyun said, "Remember, I'm Tae-Hyun. Not Min-Jung. Boy, not girl."
Leo nodded, "Yeah."
He stepped out the door and his face fell.
Leo dropped his backpack on the floor when he found himself face-to-face with someone standing outside the classroom.


Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 14

Leo was in detention again. He didn't really care, it's not like it was new or anything. He was just there because he had missed twelve homework assignments.... No biggie.
Leo came into the Study Hall room and sat down in the back, among the nose pickers, a kid trying to light the sole of his shoe on fire, and a few crying girls that were probably in there for talking too much in class or texting under their desk or something.
Leo set his backpack down, put his feet on his desk, and studied some of the weird stuff on the ceiling. 
A patch of it had burn marks from a light bulb, there were a few things, like gum and other sticky substances, that kids had thrown up there. Some of them were years old and would probably never fall back down.
Kids threw wads of paper at each other, they passed notes, the usual.
At one point the the behavior specialist, who was running detention, fell asleep.
Most of the kids in detention got up and slipped out of the Study Hall room, but Leo didn't follow them. He was thinking. Thinking about his fight with Chris, his wondering if Tae-Hyun was gay... Just thinking... About stuff.

Finally, detention was over. Leo was still there, wandering around the school.
He was about to walk home, be then he heard something coming from the English room.
Leo peeked into the classroom; Tae-Hyun was there.
But he didn't notice Leo. He had earphoes in his ears and the cord went into his pocket. IPod.
Leo watched silently as Tae-Hyun danced around the room, doing very complicated, very specific, moves.
He was mumbling a Korean song to himself.
That kid sure likes those weird girl dances... Leo thought. One reason why Kathy might have been right about him.
Then, Leo felt bad.
'Right about him?' Oh geez... Leo thought, I'm really letting stupid Kathy get to me. Remember, Leo, being gay isn't bad... Remember that... And, if Tae-Hyun was gay, that would be fine.
Tae-Hyun spun around, facing Leo, and his eyes widened.
"Oh my gosh!" Tae-Hyun said. Stumbling and blushing bright red, he yanked the earphones out of his ears and said, "Leo!"
It's so cute how he stumbles over himself like that. Leo thought, Oh God, I can't believe I just thought that.
"Hey, Tae-Hyun." Leo said, "Whats up?"
"Oh, um, I..." Tae-Hyun said, "I told Mr. Sullivan I would help clean his room to make up for being late this morning... I-I just usually listen to music when I work."
Leo nodded, but something was definetly fishy.
"So," Leo said coolly, "How long did it take you to learn that dance?"
Tae-Hyun silently stared at him with wide, scared eyes.
He was hiding something.
"Dont look so scared." Leo laughed.
Tae-Hyun said nothing and, suddenly, a possiblity hit Leo.
Leo furrowed his brow and squinted at Tae-Hyun.
Tae-Hyun looked at him nervously and his shoulders tensed.
"W-what are you doing?" Tae-Hyun said.
Leo stared at Tae-Hyun, trying hard to confirm or not confirm his idea without asking Tae-Hyun.
It makes sense, it answers almost all of my questions... Leo thought, But why the heck would he do that?
Tae-Hyun stared back at Leo and swallowed nervously.
Leo's eyes got a little wider and he said shakily, "Tae-Hyun..."
Tae-Hyun closed his eyes and said, "Yes, Leo?"
What Leo said next could've gotten him beaten up by almost any other guy he knew, but he was so sure that he had to ask.
Leo stared at Tae-Hyun and, shaking, said,

"You're a girl?"

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 13

Tae-Hyun sat outside on a swing on the playground. He was trying hard to sort things out.

Chris had a crush on him. How was Tae-Hyun supposed to react to that?
"You know, you're missing first period." A voice said.
Tae-Hyun looked up. A pretty girl with straight dark red hair and torn up black clothing stood in front of him.
"What?" Tae-Hyun said.
"You're missing first period." The girl said again, "You look like someone who would care about your grades."
Tae-Hyun blinked at her, "Aren't you supposed to be in class too?"
"Well, yeah, technically." The girl said, "But my friends and I aren't like you. We're not nerds. No offense."
Tae-Hyun gave the girl and confused look and the girl said, "We're supposed to skip class. It's our thing. Now, run along."
Tae-Hyun eyed the girl and hesitantly got up, walking toward the school.
The girl shook her head and said, "New kids..."

Tae-Hyun crept down the hall and stood by the wall, a few feet away from the English room.
"Maybe I shouldn't go in." Tae-Hyun said to himself, "Mr. Sullivan might get mad that I'm late."
So, Tae-Hyun stood outside the classroom for at least another fifteen minutes.
After a while, the door opened and Tae-Hyun almost jumped.
Lester opened the door and studied Tae-Hyun's scared expression.
"Hey, 'sup new kid?" Lester said. Whenever there was anyone new at the school, Lester always acted like he was cool until they got to know him.
Tae-Hyun stared at him without saying anything.
Lester furrowed his brow and said, "Are you okay?"
Tae-Hyun swallowed and slowly nodded.
Lester eyed Tae-Hyun and walked past him.
Tae-Hyun watched Lester walk down the hall.
Tae-Hyun peeked through the window the the English room.
Chris noticed him and motioned for him to come in.
Tae-Hyun took a step away from the window and Chris tapped Leo's shoulder, pointing to the window.
Leo looked at Tae-Hyun and smiled broadly. Leo motioned from Tae-Hyun to come in.
Tae-Hyun sighed and quietly opened the door.
The whole class turned to look at him.
"Oh, you're late, Tae-Hyun." Mr. Sullivan said, eyeing Tae-Hyun.
"I know, I'm very sorry." Tae-Hyun said, giving the teacher a quick bow.
Mr. Sullivan smiled tightly and said, "Tae-Hyun, please have a seat next to Leo."
Tae-Hyun nodded and quickly sat down by Leo.
"Hey, are you okay?" Leo said in a low voice.
"Uh, yeah. I'm fine." Tae-Hyun said, brushing some of his hair behind his ear.
Not convinced, Leo gave him a look.
Tae-Hyun smiled and whispered, "I'm okay, really."
Leo smiled weakly and said, "Okay."
As Leo sat next to Tae-Hyun in English class, he tried to focus, but his head was reeling.
What if Tae-Hyun, one of your only real guy friends, is gay, just like Chris?
What if he has a crush on me or Chris?
What if he's straight and Kathy was totally wrong?
What would do to Chris?
Leo shook his head and said to himself, "Don't be stupid, Leo."
"Hm?" Tae-Hyun said.
"Oh, nothing." Leo said, looking down at the table, "Talking to myself."
Leo glanced at Tae-Hyun.
He doesn't look like he's gay, he doesn't talk like he's gay... Leo thought, What do gay Koreans sound like?
It just didn't make sense. Tae-Hyun didn't seem gay at all... But it almost made sense in a way.
Maybe I think that because Tae-Hyun likes Lady Gaga? Leo thought.
But really, being gay would just mean that Tae-Hyun liked guys...


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cool With A "K" PART 23 - CHAPTER 12

Chris and I arrived at the bus stop and spotted Alice.

"Alice," Chris said.
She turned around and said, "Oh, hey, guys."
"Alice," Chris said again, "I'm sorry."
The smile faded from Alice's face and Chris said, "You guys were right, I've been a really bad friend."
Alice shook her head and said, "No, no, you haven't been a bad friend."
She paused and then said, "Well, yeah, you kind of have."
Chris chuckled and Alice said, "It's okay, I forgive you. Thank you for apologizing, Chris."
Chris smiled and hugged his friend.
They split apart and Chris' face fell.
Alice and I exchanged a confused look and Alice said, "Chris?"
Horrified Chris swallowed and said, "I still have to apologize to Leo."
"And Tae-Hyun," I said, "And Kathy..."
Chris gave me a look and I mumbled, "It's true..."
The bus arrived and we got on.

When we got to school, Alice and I had to drag Chris off the bus. Literally.
Each of us had one of his hands and we were trying to pull him off the bus.
"Come on, Chris!" Alice said, "You have to face them and apologize!"
"Apologizing isn't my thing! I'm awful at it!" Chris cried. He grabbed hold of the railing on the bus.
"Dude!" I said, wrapping my arms around his middle, "Let go!"
"NEVER!" Chris yelled.
"GET OFF DAMN IT!!!!" I screamed at him.
"Angie!" Alice said, letting go of Chris' arm.
I stared at my brother, "Geez, Chris. When did you get strong?"
"It kind of just appears when I'm under stress." Chris said, "TAKE THE HINT?"
I gritted my teeth and said, "Chris, get off the damn bus. We're gonna be late for class!"
I looked over my shoulder and said, "Alice! Grab his ankles!"
Alice's cheeks turned bright red.
She swallowed and said, "What?"
"Grab his legs and pull!" I said.
"But what if-"
Alice whimpered and grasped Chris' ankles.
"What... Are you doing?" Chris said in a 'you're idiots' tone.
The bus driver sat in quietly on his seat, playing on a Nintendo DSI and paying no attention to us.
"On the count of three..." I said, "We're going to pull you off the bus."
"Good luck." Chris said, tightening his grip on the railing, "But I'm not going out there."
"One..." I said, "Two... Three!"
Now, here's where I felt bad for Alice... And Chris.
In the process of trying to pull my brother out of the school bus, we did not succeed.
However, we did manage to pants him.
Alice let go of Chris' ankles and blushed, speechless.
Chris took one hand off the railing to face-palm.
"Oh my God..." He said, "Did that really just happen?"
Instead of apologizing like a good sister, I tightened my grip around Chris' middle and yanked him off the bus railing.
Chris screaming at me, his pants around his ankles, I dragged him away from the bus, across the schoolyard, and into the school.
"It's karma, Honey." I said, dragging him to homeroom.
Chris slapped at my arms and said, "Angie, oh my God! LET GO!!!"
"Uh-uh." I said, "Now you finally look like all the other boys."
I laughed at my own joke, but Chris didn't.
Then, someone said from behind us, "Now, that's just offensive."
I turned around, my arms still tight around pantless Chris.
Mouse, Leo, Alice, and Tae-Hyun stood in front of us.
Tae-Hyun's eyes were wide and his face was red. Leo and Alice's expressions were almost identical to his.
Mouse just rolled her eyes and said, "Do you really want to fit in that bad, Chris?"
Kathy and a few other cheerleaders passed by and Kathy stopped walking.
A goofy, delighted grin covered her face.
Kathy looked upward and, clasping her hands together, squealed, "Finally, the day has come. Thank you, God!"
"ANGIE!" Chris shrieked.
I dropped him and he fell to the floor.
Chris scrambled to his feet and quickly pulled his pants up.
"Were those horses on your boxers, Chris?" Leo said, raising an eyebrow and looking a bit disgusted.
"Unicorns." Kathy corrected, staring at Chris.
"You would be looking there, Leo." Mouse said.
Leo closed his eyes and said through clenched teeth, "Mouse, they were pink boxers with rainbow unicorns. Kind of hard to miss."
"Will you guys please stop talking about my underwear?" Chris yelled.
Most of the kids in the hallway turned to stare at us.
Chris was blushing as much as Alice did when she accidentally pantsed him.
"Please, try to take me seriously right now." Chris said.
"Ooh, bad timing, Pal." Mouse said, "It's kind of hard to take a man seriously when you know he's wearing unicorn underpants."
Chris glared at her and said, "Um..."
He looked from Kathy, to Leo, to Tae-Hyun.
Chris walked over to Kathy and said, "Kathy,"
"Yes?" Kathy said, practically drooling.
Chris looked her in the eyes and said, "I'm sorry I was so awful yesterday... And for a long time before that."
"Oh, you're fine." Kathy said, stroking Chris' shirtfront with one finger.
She giggled and said, stroking his chest with one hand, "You are so fine..."
Chris took a step back and said, "Okay, okay.. Umm glad we're good now."
Kathy gave Chris a flirty smile and Chris turned away from her and faced Leo.
"... Leo," Chris said, "I'm.... I'm really sorry. About yesterday, about how I've been acting... I was really unfair yesterday..."
Leo nodded and said, "Yeah, I get it."
Chris nodded back and Leo held out his hand.
"So, we're cool?" Leo said.
Chris nodded and shook Leo's hand, "Yes, we're cool."
There was an awkward moment before the boys let go of each other's hand.
"Hey, Chris." Leo said quietly.
"Hm?" Chris said.
"Thanks for pulling your pants back up before talking to me."
Chris hit Leo on the back and said, "Yep, no problem."
Then, Chris turned to Tae-Hyun.
"Tae-Hyun," Chris said sincerely, "I'm sorry. I treated you different from others and... I treated you unfairly, because..."
Chris blushed and looked at his feet like they were really interesting.
"Um..." Chris said, swallowing and looking at Tae-Hyun, "Because... I really like you. Like, more than... Just... Like."
Chris may have sounded like a kindergartener, but admitting that is a tough thing to do and I was proud of him.
Tae-Hyun stared at Chris like he didn't know how to react.
The interesting part was what happened next. Tae-Hyun blushed and stared silently at Chris.
"I, uh..." Tae-Hyun said, glancing in Leo's direction, then back at Chris, "Um, I.... Uhh..."
Chris nodded and Tae-Hyun was silent.
"I..." Tae-Hyun said, "I have to go."
Then, he turned and ran right down the hall and down the stairs.
Once he was gone, I said, "Alrighty then. I guess that answered my question."
Leo stared bug-eyed in he direction Tae-Hyun had just ran off.
"Leo," I said, "You okay?"
Leo looked at me, wide-eyed.
Mouse propped her arm up on Leo's shoulder and said, "Yeah, it's pretty tough, isn't it?"
"Wha..." Leo said absentmindedly.
"Figuring out that your best friend's a homo." Mouse said, actually laughing at herself.
Then she gestured to Chris and Alice and slapped her knee.
"Damn, I am so great." Mouse said, grinning.
Alice, Leo, and I all glared at her.
"It just doesn't make any sense..." Leo said, "What was that about?"
"I think he likes me." Chris said dopily.
"He's not gay Chris." I said, clenching my teeth.
Mouse looked at me and opened her mouth to say something, but didn't.
"I'm sorry, were you going to make Leo and I squirm by saying Tae-Hyun was gay and then give Chris a wedgie or something?" I said sourly.
Mouse shook her head and said, "He's not gay."
Alice, Chris, Leo, and I all looked at Mouse.
"Leo's right, that wouldn't make any sense." She said, "I know, I was pulling your legs about it earlier, but I think he's just nervous."
Now we were all gawking. Where did that come from.
"What?" Mouse said to me, "Would you take it easily if a girl confessed love to you? What about you, Alice?"
Alice and I looked at each other, not sure how to answer.
"What would you do if I guy said he liked you, Leo?" Mouse said.
Leo sighed and said, "Yeah, I'm sorry. I guess I was assuming too much from Tae-Hyun's reaction to that."
"Me too." Chris said guiltily.
Then he added, crossing his arms, "Now, why are you sticking up for him?"
Mouse shrugged, "None of you losers are smart enough to figure it out on your own."
I rolled my eyes and said, "Guess what, Chris?"
"What-" Chris started to say, but he was interrupted by a loud brriiinnnggggg!!!
"We missed homeroom." Leo said.
Chris fell to his knees and said, "NO!!! MY PERFECT ATTENDANCE RECORD IS RUINED!!!"
I grabbed his shirt and said, "Come on, Buddy, get up. Time for first period."
Chris glumly got up and we went to English.