1 city. 2 People. 3 words. And only 6 months of time to say them.
I wake up after two fitful hours of sleep to the sound of music playing the the halls and the voices of girls rattling with each other. Stretching my sore muscles, I look at the clock and realize it’s barely even six o’clock, my alarm not going off for another half an hour. Sighing agitatedly, I swing the covers off of me and go for the bathroom.
“Yes, I’m a bad boy, so I like bad girl.” The music becomes comprehensible once I reach the entryway, stopping short as I listen to the oddly familiar tune.
“I know this song.” I puff out my cheeks and furrow my eyebrows, trying to remember where I’d listened to it before.
2 Years Earlier
My sister, Savannah turns the television higher, taking the opportunity while our parents weren’t home to do the one thing she knew annoyed us all: blast kpop. At the irritable age of fifteen I groan loudly and put a pillow over my ears, the sound somehow penetrating through my closed door and all the pillow fluff. I’d resisted all her attempts to assimilate me into Korean culture, but ever since our father left us my mom seemed hell bent on getting rid of us too and sending us to a boarding school. I didn’t think she’d actually do it though, just rolled my eyes whenever the subject came up.
When it seems she won’t let up I stomp down the stairs, coming right in front of her and tapping my foot impatiently. “Sienna!” She yells, craning her head around me to see the girly boys dancing on TV.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Savannah. Am I blocking your view of gay men?”
“They’re not gay!” She exclaims, swatting her hand out and shoving me aside. “Watch.”
“I’d rather stick needles in my eyes.” I cross my arms, sighing indignantly until she tackles me onto the couch, trapping me under her weight. “What the fu- Get off of me!”
“I will if you watch!” She manages to hold me down while turning the TV higher. A blonde boy comes on the filtered screen, dressed in pinstripes and licking his lips suggestively as the music starts. “That one is Kim Namjoon.” My sister says in a dream like whisper as two more boys enter and bump fists with ‘Kim Namjoon.’ “Those are Jungkook and J-Hope.”
“What kinda name is J-ho-”
“Shut up!” My sister puts more pressure on me, two more boys entering the frame, one with a lollipop and one with the tightest red pants I had ever seen. “That’s V and Jimin. V’s the best.” She says, gesturing to the boy with a small lollipop hanging from his lips. And I didn’t think it was possible but two more boys come on the screen, smacking the other and pointing to a girl that comes swaying across the camera in a short skirt. “That’s Jin and Suga.”
The blonde boy pushes the other back and bursts forward, beginning to rap in a language I can’t even begin to understand, as all the other guys running behind him. The camera spins and turns to the member in a red and black sweater, black hair moving as he walks and sways his head.
My sister laughs at something he sings, totally engrossed in what’s going on as they move. “Omg wait, V’s about to come on.” The camera pans to a wide angle of them in formation, V throwing his lollipop to the ground and saying something in depe english before they break into a choreographed dance. The one in red pants comes forward, smoothing his stupidly parted hair back and sticking his tongue out. I’ve had enough when my sister begins to sing along, stuttering over her words and moving her body along mine.
The one she likes spanks the one in red pants and you’d think my sister had a heart attack as she jumps off me and screams. “VMINNNNNNNN AHHHHHH OHMYGOD.” Like a ninja, I make a mad dash for the stairs, flying up the steps and slamming the door to my room shut and leaning against it, like a murderer was coming to kill me.
Music still blares from downstairs and the neighbors could probably hear Savannah’s squeaks and squeals as the video ends. “Don’t hug him!”She yells furiously. “TAEHYUNG IS MINE.”
I curse, my stomach growling as I realize I didn’t get any food, thinking about whether I should risk the trek back down there. Taking a deep breath, I timidly open my door back up, hearing a newer, slower sound begin to pour from the television speakers.
“Came back for more, didn’t you?” Savannah teases.
I narrow my eyes. “No. I came for food.” I snarl, opening the fridge to get out a bowl of freshly washed grapes. All the boys sit in chairs, clad in little school uniforms and smiling prettily as the camera zooms in. Single shots of each boy show up, and my hands stop moving when one of them smiles dorkily at the camera.
“Which one is that?” I tip my head up at the black haired one, smiling on screen.
My sister turns to me with a small smirk. “That’s Park Jimin. Pretty cute huh?”
I shove a few grapes in my mouth, shaking my head furiously and heading for the stairs as I murmur: “as if.”
Jimin walks in a good twenty minutes late to class on the first day, the atmosphere in the room changing as backs straighten and girls whisper. “Nice of you to join us, Mr. Park. Take a seat and get out your supplies.” I keep my head down, wishing I could disappear into the wall beside me until a shadow falls above me.
“This seat taken?” Jimin’s voice whispers, amusement glittering in his tone.
I shake my head minutely, Jimin happily taking it as invitation to scoot the chair out with the loudest sound possible and plop down. He leans close to my ear and I can practically feel the anger as a tangible being in the room. “You look exhausted.”
The teacher turns to the whiteboard and begins writing down some basic forms of art and how to use them to the best of our ability, attention seemed to be lacking as most of the people’s eyes are on us. On Jimin.
I snort, finally looking him in the face as I raise my eyebrows. “You don’t look much better.”
“Well I did perform in front of thousands of people.” He flicks his hair out of his eyes ceremoniously. “And I went out with this really mean girl-”
The teacher clears her throat, giving us a pointed look before continuing on with her instruction. I straighten up, twirling the pencil between my fingers agilely. “-and she didn’t even want to hug me-” “Shut up.” I seethe, not wanting to get on the teacher’s bad side on the first day of class. “I didn’t get a lot of sleep.”
“Were you up thinking about me?” He leans in closer, and I’m about to punch him and yell at him when the teacher interrupts.
“Is there something you’d like to share with the class Mr. Park? Since you seem to be so talkative this morning…?”
“Oh no, Ma’am. Just telling the new girl not to be nervous on the first day.” He bumps my shoulder as if we’re old friends, giving the teacher a gummy smile as she turns around.
“Well, get acquainted. She’s going to be your partner for the next few months.” “My what?” I finally speak up, looking from Jimin to the teacher as she sighs and addresses the class.
“Since, I’m sure only a select few of you were paying attention I will repeat myself: the person sitting next to you is who you will be partnering up with for the next three months on an art project that requires you to use mediums you find in the outside world.”
I open my mouth and then close it, feeling the intense need to smack the arising grin off of Jimin’s face. “Well, Sienna.” Jimin rubs his hand down my back before patting it with a reassuring smile. “It looks like you’re stuck with me a little bit longer.”