In honor of Hana Dori Yango and Boys Before Flowers I decided to try my hand at writing what an American adaptation of the story would be like.
This is my first fanfiction so please review and let me know what you think!
Janie Doe held her future in her shaking hands. Smiling broadly she brought the slick envelope to her lips and kissed it gleefully to her family's cheers. They were jumping and pumping their fists in the air, shaking the floor of their small apartment in their joy. But all Janie saw was the letter.
Jane Suzanna Doe, we are pleased to inform you that you are hereby accepted to James Andrews Academy on a full academic scholarship. Congratulations on this bright accomplishment. Please report to …
She had done it, studied for hours and broken her back and won the full ride scholarship to the most pretistigious private high school in New York City. She was finally pulled out of her own thoughts when her petite mother grabbed her by the shoulders with tears in her eyes.
"I'm so proud of you baby."
"Oh ma," but her mother only pulled her into a gripping hug. Janie patted her back and grinned over her shoulder at her siblings. May, the second oldest, was trying not to cry but she was the spitting image of their mother both in looks and personality. The twins, Darren and Jack, were screaming in unison. Even Jimmy in his high chair was clapping and smiling through his nukie.
It made her happy for her family to have something to celebrate, with late bills and shifty tenants they barely got by most months. Janie's after school job helped and the Laundromat did okay but they were all anxious for May to grow up faster so they could do a little better for the young ones.
Getting into JAA wasn't just for her, it was for them too. The education and connections she would get there could lead to a good college and, eventually, a high paying job. Breaking away she smiled, "Let's splurge! I'm gonna go around the corner and buy a carvel cake." The boys cheered and she grabbed her purse as she went out the door.
The hallway was dim, another light bulb had burnt out. She would have to pick up one at the store. Bounding down the stairs she pushed open the metal door and stepped into the street. It was already late but she headed down the street without a second thought. Amir's Corner Market was open 24/7 and Amir, a middle aged Indian man and his son Raj ran a respectable store.
The store was bright as she pushed open the door, knocking into the jingling bells acting as an alarm. Raj was at the counter, face buried in his first year medical school books. Before he looked up she pulled her blue sweatshirt over her mouth and stuck her hand in her pocket imitating a gun.
When he finally got sight of her she tried to look menacing, "This is a stick up scumbag!" She tried to keep a straight face but Ray was already laughing, hands raised by his head.
"Oh please, not me! Try the apartment over the Laundromat, they are loaded!"
"Liar!" The shirt dropped and they both laughed as she walked to the counter. Throwing her long dark braid over her shoulder she leaned on the counter.
"So guess what?" Raj was already back in his book. "What?"
"Pretty soon you won't be the only JAA graduate in the neighborhood." He jerked and looked up.
"No way! Seriously?!" She was nodding and laughing at how his childhood Indian accent always resurfaced from his youth when he was emotional. All smiles he ducked around the counter and gave a familiar brotherly hug. "I'm so proud of you!"
"It's your fault if I fail, I may not be as smart as you." He pulled back white teeth shining under his caramel skin.
"No way, you're smarter." He kept smiling but returned dutifully to his spot behind the counter. "You should celebrate." The accent was gone.
"That's why I'm here. Carvel cake and a light bulb. A true Doe family party." He shook his dark hair and returned to studying. She turned and headed to the familiar back freezer that housed all the frozen foods. In the far corner next to the ice machine the small amount of desserts were sitting and she grabbed the only box without a dent in the corner. Taking the far aisle she grabbed the light bulb pack and returned to the front.
Surprisingly, Raj was waiting for her. "You sure you want to do this?" Janie's pace slowed as she approached the counter.
"What do you mean? I thought you liked it there?" He smirked as she gently placed the small cake and dual pack of light bulbs on the counter.
"I tolerated it little sister, it's a totally different world. People won't care that you're smart, they'll care how much money you have."
"Hm, well they can go fly a kite. I don't care what those rich snobs think of me." She was reaching into her purse but Raj interrupted.
"No Janie," she looked up, he was staring at her concern written on his face. "I've got it, a congratulations present."
"Yeah, yeah. Just promise me you'll keep your head down. Don't go picking fights with every rich bastard you meet." He deposited the items in the small plastic bag and handed it to her. "I'm proud of you, really."
She smiled and started backing up. "Yeah, yeah. I'll see you later bro." She waved from the door and he chuckled before returning to the page of his book.
Walking home his words churned in her head, the rumors about bullying and class warfare at JAA had always been whispered in her public school but she hadn't given it any thought before applying. She needed its pedigree if she was gonna get ahead in this world.
In no way was Janie ashamed of her life, she was proud of her mother and how hard she had worked. Su-wan had been young and beautiful, only 17 when she had met Janie's father, Jim Davies, an American soldier on his tour of duty in South Korea. After he had returned, breaking up with her beforehand, she had learned of her pregnancy. Shunned by her parents for being unmarried and pregnant at 19 she had immigrated in the hope that he would marry her once he knew she was pregnant with their child.
He didn't. That was the last Su-wan had heard of him. Not wanting to return in failure, she found her father's cousin who owned a Laundromat in New York City and he took them in. It should have been the end of her trouble but it was just the start. Su-wan fell in love too easily, she was barely 21 with a two year old Janie, still learning English when she had met Tatsuya Yagami, a Japanese business man. In record time she was once again pregnant and he was gone on the next plane back to Japan.
In the same manner, five years later she met a normal, kind American man named Jon Walters, who should have ended her trouble but only added to them. He not only turned out to be married but a pedophile to boot. Su-wan had almost beat him to death at 5 months pregnant with the twins when she caught him trying to persuade May into a bath. One thing she wasn't was stupid and he was gone as soon as he could hobble down the stairs.
Janie had just turned 16 when she found her mother crying in the bathroom with a positive pregnancy test. The only good that had come from it, besides little Jimmy, was that Janie had persuaded Su-wan to have her tubes tied after giving birth to him. The father was a mystery from a one night stand and Janie knew that with her mother's luck in love no good would come from hunting him down.
Any outsider would think such a life was horrible but Janie loved her mother and loved her siblings. They were happy despite their poverty, and close with their uncle until he fell ill and passed away before Jimmy was born. Thankfully he had left the Laundromat and apartments over it to Su-wan. Aside from their own apartment there were two more above it, a neat four stories. Their tenants were cheap and sporadic at best. Violent and alcoholic at worst.
Janie dreaded those residents because it was her who had to deal with it. While it made her a strong and assured fighter that no one took advantage of her, there was nothing worse than having to face a burly, drunk resident who refused to pay his rent.
Their time had finally come, the Does were going to have their day. Janie pushed open the door next to their Laundromat and ran up the stairs. Everyone had calmed down sitting around the coffee table in the living room that doubled as the eating area. Jake and Darren both perked up, their light brown hair mussed and big dark eyes eager. May, with her silky black bob and wiry frame was carrying a stack of plates from the adjoining kitchen.
"Mom took Jimmy to the boys' room to lay down." May smiled and handed each twin a plate as they oogled Janie's bag.
"I'll check on her, here," she handed May the bag to the boys squeals and peeked into the twins and Jimmy's room. Su-wan was sitting at the foot of Jimmy's crib, hand reaching through the bar gripping his sleeping foot. It took Janie a second to realize her mother had fallen asleep too, dark hair the same cut as May's lying over her face.
Stepping in Janie peeked into Jimmy's crib, he was sleeping too. His hair was the lightest brown and his eyes were the biggest and warm blue. She brushed his curling hair out of his face and crouched in front of her mother.
"Our time has come, Ma." Placing her hands on Su-wan's head and shoulder she gently pushed her to the side so that she was laying down. Despite her 36 years, her mother still looked young. She was a classic Korean beauty, just slightly worn out by the years with faint wrinkles. Leaving her lie, Janie moved back to the door, May and the boys were laughing and toasting with their forks.
"To Janie!" They cheered as they tore into the small ice cream cake.
Yeah, she thought, things are finally going to change.