Before I begin, I’m just going to get this out of the way, because otherwise it’s all I am going to hear about if I don’t. So here goes:
I totally broke my dating rule.
There, everyone happy? But when I spoke last, I had no idea I was going to meet anyone like Katie.
I also want to point out that I didn’t jump right in. After the night at the teen hangout, I played it cool for about a week, and it was the toughest week of my life. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t do my homework and my dreams were filled with all kinds of thoughts of her, both good and lets say, not so pure. So I decided I just had to go for it. However, I also decided I had to do the decent thing first and man was I not looking forward to it, nor did I have any idea what I was going to say. Not exactly.
It took me a while but I finally found her at the library.
“Maria. Hey,” I said trying not to sound so nervous.
“Jin! Hi!” Then she hugged me. “Were you looking for me? A couple of people mentioned you were asking about me.”
“Uh, yah I was. I wanted to talk to you about something. I’m not sure how to start. Ummm, okay you and I have been having a little bit of fun together-“
“Yes we have and you know what I was thinking lately? I was thinking you and I could be having more fun. A lot more fun. If you know what I mean….”
Whoa! “Really? No wait,” and I shook my head. Several thoughts and ideas where racing through my head all at once. None of which were good or at all helpful because what she just said was all too tempting and just maybe I could have a little fun with Maria… I shook my head again.
“No, that’s not what I was getting at, although incredibly tempting I will say,” and I looked at the floor. The floor was safe, just keep looking at the floor.
“Then what did you mean?” Maria asked.
Pussy footing around this was getting me into more trouble than being helpful. Time for the band aid approach! Just rip it off.
“Maria, I was hoping we could just be friends. I wanted to tell you first, but I want to date your sister Katie.” Gulp!
She looked at me for a second with this weird facial expression and then I saw realization set in. One, two, three-here it comes.
“WHAT? My SISTER! You want to date my sister? I don’t understand. What is so wrong with me? I’m her identical twin-we look exactly the same-“
“Well, not exactly the same-” I started to say until I was shut up by the new look on her face.
“You JERK! I can’t believe I was planning this special thing with you this weekend.”
Maria laughed. “Your loss too cause Katie is the goodie two shoes of us both. Big time loss! Besides my sister will never go for dating you anyway so you’ll be back. Then we will see if I even take you back!”
Maria must have read my face because I could just see the understanding seep into her mind.
“You’re freaking kidding me. Please tell me you are kidding me! That little boyfriend stealer!
That’s sister loyalty for you I’m telling you.”
“Maria, c’mon. It’s not like we were going steady or anything. I made it pretty clear we were not dating.”
“And yet here you are asking to DATE my sister. Whatever Jin, just go away! I don’t want to look at you right now. But just remember, when my sister turns out to be the prude I know she is, don’t come running back to me!”
Okay, soooo that could have gone better I know, but I did wait a couple of days to call Katie. I didn’t want to wait too long because I figured Maria ran home and stirred up a fight with her but I wanted things to die down too. She said yes when I called to ask her to the movies the next afternoon, so it couldn’t have been that bad.
That night we had a freak snowstorm that dropped about a foot of snow on the ground. It felt really weird when I thought about soon being an adult and I hadn’t any experience with snow. I wondered what it was like, so I went out into the back yard and built my first snow man right next to the pool. It wasn’t all that cold which surprised me, but Mrs Monty said that is what it was like in Monte Vista. I was pretty proud of my masterpiece but even as I finished him, I could see he was starting to melt a bit.
“Smashing time,” I said to him and took a running jump to bring him down. It was a lot of fun!
Later that day, Katie and I had our first date. We went to see some sappy love story thing of her choosing and I spent the entire time sitting next to her nervously wondering if I should hold her hand or put my arm around her shoulder.
When we came out, we spent more time building snowmen together. It had warmed up even more but the snow still stuck to the ground. The snow stayed for about three days and then one morning it was just gone. The day after that we were back into summer temps and doing things like hanging out in the pool. Totally weird!I decided to take the coach’s advice and join the collegiate team. So between school, work, the school team and the collegiate team my day was packed full. Katie and I were together any time I had free, which was pretty well every night after work and until curfew. Sleep became last on my list and I got through school work and maintaining my honor roll pretty well like this every night:
Oh, did I forget to mention chores? Those took me a couple of hours every night after coming home from my date with Katie. Then homework. I wasn’t seeing my bed till about two in the morning and I had to get up at six every morning to get in the shower and eat breakfast. So basically I was functioning on four hours of sleep. Mr Monty told me over and over again how unhappy he was about the state of HIS house and I had better shape up. Mrs Monty came along behind him and secretly told me to ignore her husband, but for my own sake I had better get my priorities straight and let something go. “I know teenagers think they are invincible, but you can’t do it all,” she said and after three weeks of trying to keep it up, I decided she was right. So I quit my job. Katie and soccer were way more important than working at the Pizzeria and luckily I had put away a tidy little savings to get me through till the end of the year. School wasn’t negotiable, but I don’t know, I just felt like I had to finish school with a near perfect average. I can’t explain it but I needed to do it to stick it to my dad. Yes, I know it doesn’t make sense, but it was something I felt I needed to do.
Even though I quit my job, my time was still spread pretty thin and yes my chores did suffer as a result.
But in my defense, Mr Monty was an absolute pig. I mean how hard was it to walk your dirty dish to the dishwasher and stick it in? Instead he made a mess where ever he landed! He did absolutely nothing to clean up after himself in just general tidiness! Mrs Monty was always gone, doing something around the town and I barely tolerated being there unless I absolutely had to, like for sleep. All my interactions with Mr Monty were him yelling about how much of a slob I was and how lazy I had grown up to be. The last straw came when he woke me up at four in the morning because I hadn’t cleaned up his supper dishes from the night before. I was up till one in the morning working on a big school project and I was really ticked to be woken up. Needless to say-I was done.
After school I waited on the front porch of the Monty’s son for him to get home from work. My understanding was that he had arranged for me to be a companion to his mother after his father’s death. I was to keep her company and help her with anything she needed around the house. However I didn’t think the way I was being treated was exactly what he meant. After I greeted him, he invited me into the backyard to talk while he cooked. I began by saying “Mr. Monty I want to discuss the terms of the agreement you set up with my parents. I’m not happy with the arrangement and to be honest I don’t think my parents would have sent me here if they knew the way I was going to be treated. Your father is completely unreasonable and I don’t want to live in a house where I am looked upon like a slave!”
“Whoa, back up Jin. My father is dead. I don’t understand what you are talking about. How can a dead man be unreasonable?”
“Your father may be dead Mr Monty but he is certainly not gone and if I have to suffer one more lecture from that miserable man-“
“STOP! This isn’t the least bit funny Mr. Bell! My father is dead and I don’t appreciate you coming here and talking to me about a man who has been gone for some time now.”
“Are you telling me that you seriously had no idea that your father is still at the house with your mother?”
“My father is DEAD!” he shouted at me.
“Mr Monty, come to the house, tomorrow. It’s Thursday so your mom is usually in for the day. Come to the house and you will see what I mean. But after you do, I want something to be done!” Then I stormed out of his back yard and drove away in my car.
I have to give him credit though. Even with his disbelief and his wondering if he had hired a crazy person to look after his mom, he did show up. Mrs Monty tried to stall him and not let him in the house but when he asked her if there was some reason she wasn’t inviting him in, she had no reason to give him. So she relented. But before she he could follow her, his father appeared in front of him, and I tell you the look on his face is something I won’t forget for a long time!After that the men talked for quite some time, so I left them to give them some privacy. I didn’t know then if anything had been solved on my behalf, but I was hopeful, to say the least.
Everyone at the school was really excited because prom was coming up in two weeks time and everyone was pairing off for the event. Well actually I should say not everyone was excited. Turned out that Jesse was gay, which devastated Jessa like you can just imagine. Caeruleus felt really bad for her and as he had no plans to take a date, he asked her to go as a friend, and she said yes. Jesse also had a date, but it was a boy from another school that no one had met.
When I asked Katie to go to the prom with me, she looked like she was going to cry. “What? What did I do wrong?” I asked her
“Nothing. You did nothing wrong. It’s silly, but I didn’t know if you were going to ask me. That’s all. I mean you are such a popular guy, you could have your pick of girls to go to prom with.”
“Of course I asked you! You are my girlfriend. Who else would I ask?”
“I am?” she asked, and then she finally smiled.
“So is that a yes?”
“Yes,” she replied wiping stray tears from her yes. “Definitely yes. Let’s take a picture. I want to remember this moment forever!”
The night before prom I was home alone and busy studying for my math final. I was deep in concentration when the door bell rang. I considered just ignoring it, but relented. Standing on the front porch was Katie acting all nervous and the hairs on the back of my neck rose in anticipation of what she was going to say. I invited her in.
“Jin. I was thinking. You know how on prom night, there are ….certain expectations. Certain things that guys expect will happen that night?”
To be honest, I had no idea what she was talking about but I played along in hopes that I would figure it out.
“You see, I was thinking that, well it’s just too much pressure…the expectation and all. So maybe we could think about not doing it on prom night.” She gave me this look and finally it sunk it what she was talking about.
“Katie, I had no expectations. I mean, I really don’t know much about prom beyond buy a suit and expect to do some dancing. Which I am awesome at by the way. So no worries okay.”
“No Jin. See, you aren’t understanding me. I was thinking maybe it was something we could do now. Like right now.”
All my brain cells dropped below my belt line in that one instant. But still I managed to say in a forced whisper “Katie, no.”
“It’s okay Jin. I want to. I really, really want to,” and she proceeded to kiss my neck. Oh man that felt so good and this war began in my head. I could hear this voice screaming at me (Yah Jin, Go For It, Woooo hooo!) But still I managed to take her by the shoulders and gently push to get her arms to untwine from around my back. I took three steps back and squeezed my eyes tight, trying to drown out that loud cheering voice in my head.
“Katie…. Noooo. No matter what, it’s not going to happen tonight.”
“But why Jin? I know you want to.”
“Don’t you see? Whether its tonight or prom night, it’s just the same expectation. Just a different night and it wouldn’t be right. Why can’t we just be the couple that doesn’t…do that at prom?” Breathe Jin, just breathe! Shut up voice in my head!
“Oh,” she said then looked at the floor. I was feeling incredibly bad until she started laughing, and laughing hard. “You know what is so funny?” I shook my head at her. “Talk about complete role reversal! Normally it’s the guy trying to seduce while the girl is saying no.” Then she laughed some more.
“Hmmm, while speaking of seducing,” I said while wiggling my eyebrows at her. “Maybe I can convince you to sit down and help me study for our math test.”
“Yes,” she said while her laughter died down. “I can do that.”
“Good, but ah, maybe sit across the table from me. Just to be safe.”
Prom night arrived and when the limo finally picked up all our friends it was packed to the doors. Jesse, after hearing from me about Jessa, decided not the ride with us out of deference to her feelings. She tried really hard to be in the spirit of things, but you could see she just wasn’t really feeling it like the rest of us. We had an awesome time though and I was shocked when I found out I won prom KING! Some cheerleader I didn’t even know won prom queen, which was a little awkward, especially for that prom king and queen slow dance. My winning ticked off a few of the long time popular guys who were all sure they were going to win, but oh well. My crown!
We had our pics taken and I slipped the photographer a couple simoleons to take a few more for us. Katie took a pic of me and Caeruleus on my phone for me.
Prom ended just before 11 and everyone rushed home to make it before curfew, but I just didn’t want my night to be marred by Mr Monty and his hatred towards me. I grabbed a four pack of juice and headed out to the ruins.
It was quiet on the hill with a clear midnight sky full of stars as far as the eye could see. It was a good place to just think and I had been here many times since my arrival in MV, but not since Ally helped to fix my friend problem. It was hard to believe that time had passed the way it did. Now that prom was here, I had two weeks of finals to get through and then school would be over. This life would be over for me. I was right not to let Katie talk me into what she wanted last night. Before I knew it, and if fate choose me, to go my way, I would be heading back to the island in a matter of weeks. Question was, did I still want to? Five months ago, being stuck here, I would have given anything to go back. To not be here. But now, the thought of leaving seemed just as hard. I had made some good friends here, people I would really miss and I knew once I was gone I would never see them again. Five years from now I would just be that guy that everyone said “Remember that guy….I wonder what happened to him.” In ten years I would be lucky if I was even a passing thought in anyone’s mind. This was torture! How did people make these decisions? Make a choice between two things they want, especially when their whole future depending on that one decision!
By the time I had almost finished my last bottle of juice, I knew I wasn’t walking home or anywhere else for that matter. I scooted my butt down onto the ground and laid down to stare at the stars. It reminded me of lying on the beach looking up at the night sky there. I missed my family.
I know what you are thinking. You keep waiting for me to say something about Sun, but I’m not going to. I’m doing my best not to think about her because doing so just hurts too bad and it brings up all kinds of angry feelings towards my father. I needed to make this decision on my own, without any feelings getting in the way. I will give you this though; I do miss Sun, more than I will admit. But I can’t think about her right now because I am trying to prepare myself for the possibility of not having her in my life the way I want. I’m trying to prepare for the what if and so I have been trying to build a life here. No matter what I do, as soon as that phone call comes in, one side of my life is going to come crashing down and it is going to hit hard. Very very hard. No matter how you look at it, it’s all HIS fault. If he had just kept it in his pants when he was in China, we wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. If he hadn’t sent me to France as part of school/life lesson, I wouldn’t have met Sun. If he hadn’t sanctioned me for that love, I wouldn’t be stranded here where I met Katie and saw what life could really be like. Put in this impossible situation where I had to make a choice and suffer the consequences of that choice.
Then again, maybe this was all just the juice talking……
When I woke up the next morning to the birds chirping, I sat up and held my head. I managed to stumble home to stand under the shower head for quite a while so that the juice haze would leave my head. Luckily no one was home so I didn’t need to deal with Mr. Monty feeling the way I was. I dressed in a tank and boxer shorts to allow my body to cool from the heat of the shower but didn’t brush my hair for fear of aggravating the pounding head I was now suffering from. I was just heading into the kitchen to think about food when my phone rang, startling me and doing nothing to help my head. I picked it up quickly before it could ring again.
“Hello,” I croaked.
“Jin, it’s your dad,” then he went nearly silent but I could hear him holding back sobs while trying to get control of himself. My heart began to pound and my stomach began to roll.
“Jin, I’m very sorry son,” he started. No, no! Oh no, the test results. I’m not ready I thought, it’s too soon. Oh please, no!
“It’s your mother son. She went into labour early and….. it…. (sobs) it didn’t go well. It was a hard labour. But (more sobs) she, she didn’t make it Jin.”
“What?” I whispered back. “I don’t understand.”
“She died Jin. I’m sorry son. I..I can’t talk right now.”
“But dad. WAIT!” All I heard was the sound of the click as he hung up.
I stood there in shock with the phone still to my ear, trying to comprehend what I had just been told. My heart was pounding harder than I had ever felt it before and the more I focused on it, the more angry I became. I gripped my phone till I felt pain and my breathing came out in short pants.
When the anger built up so great inside me I couldn’t control it, I threw back my head and screamed
“Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh,” then I whipped my phone at the wall, watching it smash to pieces.
The hatred I had for my father but kept tempered down grew with each breath I took. I felt no ability to cry, no tears would fall from my eyes and I knew from that moment on I would never EVER be the same.
Later I realized I had no idea whether the baby had lived or died.