Ayame fidgeted in her hanbok, her chima was made out of some sort of scratchy material and she wished she was allowed to wear her kimono. But she couldn't because this was supposed to be a Korean wedding and a traditional one at that. She'd been raised in Japan for the most part of her life and even when she had been in Korea, she had never worn their traditional clothing. There had never been an occasion where she needed to. Not until now…
But now, here she was, sitting on a cushion in some stranger's house. Wait, this was no stranger's house, it was her husband's house, well, husband to be really. The thought made her heart clench itself in a tight fist. She suddenly felt as if the floor had disappeared and she was falling, falling, falling…
Ayame was part Korean and part Japanese. Her mother was Korean and her father Japanese. She'd lived most her life in Japan but she was quite fluent in Korea thanks to her mother who insisted she learn the language of her mother tongue. Her father had not argued and instead he'd accepted it openly. He had even encouraged it. Little did she know that both her parents had other plans for her…
She'd been born into a family of nine sisters, herself included. It was rather nice being brought up with so many sisters who helped you a lot. She hadn't met the first six of her sisters because they'd all gone away when she was born but the rest of her sisters were all so nice to her, she never really cared about the older six whom she'd never laid eyes on.
All her sisters were said to possess an enchanting beauty. She had not been excluded in this although all of them were unaware of it at first. Their early lives were filled with household chores, schoolwork, wifely duties and other such things that girls their age did not have to do at all. Their parents thought them not to be too friendly with other girls and they'd been sent to an all-girls school. This made them unfamiliar with boys or men; they just couldn't understand the male species. It was only when they'd reached their teens were they thought all kinds of things about men. The first few weeks of such education had shocked Ayame so much; she wasn't able to sleep peacefully for the following nights. It was then her parents thought her old enough to know their secret or rather their business.
Ayame discovered it first hand when her sister, Jae-yu, who was two years older than her, was given off for a marriage deal her parents made with a Japanese man who needed a wife for his slob of a son. Ayame had been shocked, no horrified with the whole thing, she had refused to speak for months afterwards. She had been fourteen years old then. She knew the truth then; her parents were a bunch of cruel people who bred daughters so they could sell them. It had taken her five years to deal with the whole situation and the same five years to learn how to speak properly again. It was awful.
She knew now that her first six sisters were all sold for marriage and that was why she never saw them again. But her only true regret was that she could save her younger sister Chiyoko, whom she loved dearly. Chiyoko also knew the truth that night she'd left her home.
"Goodbye, sister!" Chiyoko called out, tears streaming down her face.
"I'll never forget you!"
Ayame had wept and replied in broken sobs that she promised never to forget Chiyoko as well.
And suddenly, the door had burst open and a woman with longish dark hair, fell face down right in front of her, followed by Ms Joola whom she'd already met and gotten to know.
She watched the whole thing in surprise and then she was even more surprise to hear the woman speak! What a manly voice! Wait, was this woman a man? Was he her husband to be?
"Ow, mom, that hurts!" he shrieked, "Do you want this beautiful face to have scars?"
And then he lifted his head up while still clutching his nose and looked into her eyes. Ayame stared at him for a second not exactly sure what to think. He was a beautiful man and sure he didn't look like the famous pop star his mother had told her he was (remember the nerdy outfit he's wearing?) but he was still beautiful. He was the most beautiful man she'd ever seen. Part of her felt like screaming "What the hell? He's prettier than I am!" but she steeled herself and reminded herself of her own beauty. After all, Joola said she'd chosen her because she was prettier than her son (at that time Ayame was doubtful of this woman's praises of her son). Maybe Joola was right. Maybe she was prettier than this beautiful feminine looking man.
"Angel…" he muttered in a daze.
That comment instantly made her smile and it made her confidence of herself grew. For a split second, she forgot her doubts and worries of the future and allowed herself the pleasure of his compliment. And then she remembered the situation again and the weight of it all came crashing back down on her small delicate shoulders.
"My name is Ayame Lee," she said, forcing herself to smile. She quickly rearranged her features so her face didn't show the distress her inner self felt. This was part of the skill of being a wife that she'd learned during her upbringing and it was coming in handy.
"You must be Kim Heechul," she said softly, eyes lowering, "It's absolutely a dream to finally meet you, husband!"
The words left her mouth but she felt absolutely nothing when it did. It was like a death sentence for her. She was thrown into this world to be trained to be the perfect little wife for some Korean pop star she'd never even heard of (she doesn't know anything about music accept classical stuff). All her older sisters had gone through it. Now, it was her turn. She felt as if she'd flown out of a bird cage only to be thrown back into another with the large rattling doors slamming shut, imprisoning her in there for life.
This Kim Heechul person…This Korean pop star…Would he treat her right?
The question rang again and again in her head. As it did, she saw her whole world fade into a blur. And again she felt herself falling, falling, falling…