When he remembers your name...
I was pretty excited to be here, at Shinhwa High. Well, not exactly the school. But just glad to be in Korea again. I missed everything here. The urban atmosphere, the society and culture of this place. Even the classicism separating the rich from the poor and mockery of the less fortunate. But that was everywhere, right? Well I'm pretty rich so I guess I'm covered in that area. Actually, I'm said to be one of the richest teenagers in America and my family is known everywhere in Korea. I had lived in Korea until I was six years old, then my family moved to New York and now, I've convinced my parents to let me live here and graduate high school.
And you see, this school is a private school. A private school for the elite upperclassmen of society. In fact, maybe 1% of that society was accepted into the school. Although it's not an issue for my parents to pay for the tuition fees or my school supplies or anything like that, I begged them not to enroll me in a private school. I wanted to be in a commoner's environment, where I wouldn't be so harshly judged and easily accepted. And I really had only one reason why I would be judged. Because I'm only part Korean.
And it can kind of show through my appearance. I'm French, Swiss, Korean and American and every bit of that can be seen in my image, so before I started school here, I fixed my eyes a bit. Trust me, I'm not all for plastic surgery but everyone in Korea has had some work done at some point and I only wanted to enhance my Korean image, I didn't take anything away.
So anyways, as I wandered around the school upon entrance, I struggled to find my way around here. The campus was pretty large and much bigger than I thought it was. I was thinking about asking for directions, but I wasn't too sure about the attitudes here. And what if they saw through my looks? I guess I would just stay in the dark as much as possible. Hopefully make a few friends, but only trustworthy ones of course.
I looked at my schedule again, I had to find the pool. That shouldn't be too hard, right? It was inside the building so that was a start. As I entered the school building, I regretted my thoughts. This place looked bigger than outside did. It was grand, and perfected in every way as it's halls were filled with prideful teenagers. I made a random choice and decided to check the right side of the school first and see where that would lead me. To my relief, I found the pool.
I changed quickly into my swimsuit and as I entered to start swimming, I found that I wasn't alone. There was another girl swimming in the pool and she was pretty good, I have to say. I waited for her to finish her lap and take a rest, and I then sat down at the edge dangling my legs and lightly splashing.
"You're a very good swimmer."
She looked up at me, and was immediately stunned. I'm hoping it wasn't because she saw through me. But her anxious laugh and warm smile told me otherwise.
"Thank you. Are you here to swim too?"
"Yes. It's my first day here."
She seemed to completely understand my social situation at the moment and as she sat down beside me, I saw that she was incredibly small and her appearance was unique. She wasn't the prettiest, but she was definitely cute. She sat for a moment thinking and then held out her hand to me.
"I'm Geum Jan Di. I'm new as well."
I gladly shook her hand and smiled at her humorous behavior. She was certainly different than the other girls here. Potential friend? Maybe.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Kim Seohyun."
She seemed to share my gratitude of finding a friend here. Was she an outcast maybe? Maybe some super secret spread about her in the news and she was bullied into the shadows. Not the best logic, but it was a starting theory at least. I studied her for a moment, she was an outcast. She had no friends, and was relieved to find that someone actually knew she existed.
"How long have you been here?"
"A week. And I already hate this school."
"Then why are you here?"
She gave me a distressed look. Long story I'm guessing? Oh well, I had time.
"I'm here on a scholarship. And my parents won't let me go back to my old school. But they can't pay the tuition here."
She leaned in closer and whispered in my ear. Half-jokingly, half-meaningfully.
"I'm a Dry Cleaners' daughter."
I let out a big sigh of understanding. That's why she was so humble and kind. My main reasoning for preferring the company of a Commoner. And besides, it didn't matter to me how much money you made or what family you came from. Of course, many others could argue with me over that opinion.
"Geum Jan Di. You're the first friend I made here and I won't give that up over money."
Her eyes bulged in shock, and her mouth dropped. But then she formed a cheery glow and the relief in her eyes was enough to make me glad as well. But then she turned me with a "One more question" look.
"Kim Seohyun, do you know F4?"
Yes. I had heard of them. Weren't they like the princes of Shinhwa? And they controlled everything here, and when they hated someone, they used a red card and let the rest of the student body handle it. I did my research before I came.
"Yeah. I don't exactly agree with their logic."
"I hate them all. Always thinking they're the best and having everything go their way. But there is one that is different."
Jan Di smiled at that last thought with wandering eyes. She liked one of them? Couldn't blame her, they were pretty gorgeous. But still. I wasn't their fan.
"As long as you don't piss them off, they won't bother you. That's the way I see it."
She looked up at me with a quizzical expression. She pissed them off, didn't she? Followed by the red card. That explained her lack of a social life. I bit my lip which told her that I understood. Both of us had a slight of a guilty look on our faces as we splashed the water, while viewing our reflections.
Later on, Jan Di lead me to an isolated spot on the stairwell outside. Overlooking the campus from the high balcony, I reflected on how I was going to survive high school here. I only had one more year so that shouldn't be too hard, right?
Jan Di started looking around as if she was trying to find something. I watched her, amused at her clumsiness. I decided to joke around and look with her. Although I had no idea what we were looking for.
"Jan Di, what are we looking for?"
"He's not here today. Ji Hoo sunbae."
That name rang a bell. I knew a Ji Hoo when I used to live here. He was always quiet and seemed emotionless at times, but he was a great friend. I that remember he cried when I left. And I promised him we would meet again. But I don't even think he would remember me. It was so long ago and he had his other friends as well.
I didn't realize I had been staring off into space with memories of my childhood coming back. But when I snapped back to reality, I covered my shock with an anxious laugh. If that was the same Ji Hoo, then how would I explain myself to him? Would he even remember a Seohyun? Would he remember how we used to practice the violin together? And cry on each others shoulders when we were sad? Or was he even the same person?
"Seohyun? Seohyun? Are you alright?"
"Oh? Of course. It's just- I knew a Ji Hoo once."
"Oh so then, you must know the F4?"
What the hell did that have to do with the F4? My eyes popped as I questioned Jan Di. Didn't I say I hated them? Or was I not clear enough?
"Jan Di, I hate the F4. Why would I want to know them?"
"Yoon Ji Hoo sunbae is in the F4."
My mouth dropped. Yoon Ji Hoo? In the F4? That didn't make much sense. He was much too kind to be like that. But then again, people change. So he wasn't the Ji Hoo I used to know.
Jan Di insisted on giving me a concerned and confusing look, but I tried my best to keep a straight face. Even if it was him, what business would I have with him? I probably would never even see him.
"Are you alright, Seohyun?"
"Yeah. I'm fine, just a little tired."
"Are you sure? It seems like Ji Hoo is a sensitive subject to you?"
"Uhm, kind of? It's hard to explain."
"Well, why don't you tell Ji Hoo sunbae himself?"
"Tell me what?"
From the corner of my eye, I saw him. It didn't how many years had passed, because I just knew. I quickly turned away and viewed the campus from the balcony instead. I had to remember that he really shouldn't mean much to me now. And if I kept that thought in mind, I would be fine. I listened closely to the conversation behind me.
"Sunbae, this is Kim Seohyun. She's new."
He couldn't get over the name. Could he remember? Could he actually remember? I slowly turned myself around to face him. I could feel my anxiousness seething through and making my thoughts obvious. Ji Hoo studied me for a bit, then turned away only to turn around again.
He did remember. He knew who I was. I tried my best to contain my happiness, but it showed itself through a smile. We just looked at each other for a moment. And that was all I needed. He didn't change. Somehow, he was still the boy I knew.
He was also as glad as I was. I finally let my brightness show and embraced him in a hug. Jan Di was pretty surprised, but also glad.
"I've missed you so much, Seohyun. It's been years."
"I've missed you too. If I had known you were here, I would have let you known."
"All that matters is that you're here. I want you to come and meet my friends though."
Jan Di screamed out, and pulled me to the side. I was a little annoyed at that, but whatever I guess.
"Seohyun, his friends are from the F4. Be careful, please. Don't do anything that will make them hate you. They're not the friendliest people. Well, only Jun Pyo isn't that friendly, but you get my point."
"Please don't worry about me, Jan Di. No matter how terrible they are, I'll be fine. After all, I have you as a friend."
Her bright smile came back and occupied her whole face. I looked down to her and thought she looked so pretty whenever she smiled. She was really truly a beautiful person. I hugged her quickly and turned back to follow Ji Hoo.
Although I was confident they would accept me, I couldn't help but wonder what might happen if I mess up? I just had to keep my head up high and not fall for any tricks.