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.


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