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.