Chapter 1: I Am Against This Marriage, Part 1
My life had never been like this.
I wanted to call it weird that my wedding process with JiKyung was going so well. An obscure, 33 year-old actress who grew up in a below-average family getting married to a rich man? How could that possibly go well? Why had no one said anything against it? The unbelievably lucky flow of my recent life was making me anxious, like I was taking a ride on a falling roller coaster.
It had been a few days since JiKyung's mother willingly allowed the marriage, and I was nervous that she would come after me. Bribery, throwing a bucket of water, cheek-slapping, I thought at least one of those things would happen. Yet, nothing went wrong until I was about to meet with his parents.
JiKyung's mother, who sat in front of me, treated me, my dad and my step-mom with a gorgeous smile and friendly attitude. JiKyung's face was without any concern.
Nonchalantly he announced, "We decided that AhJung will come into my house. Everything is almost brand new, so she won't have to buy anything.
Isn't he the one who wants to cancel everything? Why would you say that when you are about to get married to a girl who doesn't bring anything at all, with a below-average background? With increased suspicion, I looked at him with wrathful eyes.
However, when JiKyung made eye contact with me, he just smiled as if to assure me I did not need to be worried about anything. His weather-beaten skin made his white teeth stand out.
"Ay, It's not right," said Jikyung's mother.
I knew it. I swallowed saliva as I prepared to be scolded.
"How can the bride feel fresh when everything is used? Buy everything new besides the house."
"Of course. I'm going to take care of it, mom," JiKyung assured her.
In case he was about to say something unnecessary, I immediately responded to her. "Actually, no. We do not need to receive anything from you. Just ask him to pay."
"What? Of course not, buy everything you want," she insisted.
When I looked at JiKyung with curious eyes, he just shrugged his shoulders. Why does this marriage go this way?
* * *
"Hey, does she know you are gay?" I asked JiKyung. I'd left the meeting with the excuse that I needed to use the bathroom, and caught him.
"Of course not," he said.
"If not, why would she do that? Do you have any issues other than that?"
"What are you talking about? It is just because you are my partner."
"Are you kidding me?"
"I told you. My mom really thinks you are her daughter. That's why she wouldn't deny you."
Yeah, that's why he asked me for this marriage. When he'd proposed, he'd mentioned it. However, even though I was her deceased friend's daughter, it was still not understandable why she would accept our marriage considering my poor background.
"Well, I understand, but why would she allow me to buy stuff with her own money?" I asked.
"It's not a big deal. Why would we ask you to buy stuff for our marriage? I'm not that stingy."
"Buying all new things would cost more than I've made in the last ten years," I said.
"Wow, you just won the lottery! Congrats," he said to me, and put his hand on my shoulder.
His care-free attitude was very annoying, so I punched his shoulder. "I'm not in the mood for this," I snapped.
"What do you want then?" he asked.
"Nothing, nothing! I already feel guilty about not revealing everything to her, and she's giving me too much. It makes me uncomfortable," I explained.
"Well okay, if you'd rather buy stuff for the marriage on your own, I'm just going to give you money," JiKyung said.
"No, I'll pay for it. It will be things we use together," I insisted.
"You have no money though..."
"You are going to give me money as a marriage deposit. I will use that."
"Hm. Why would you..." JiKyung shook his head with facial expression that I didn't understand.
* * *
After we returned to the meeting, we got back to planning.
"We are not that young, so we'd like to get married as soon as possible. Within two to three months, is that okay?" JiKyung asked cautiously while looking at his mom and my parents simultaneously.
In contrast, I looked completely at his mom. It was partially because I'm not on good terms with my dad and step-mom, but even without that, I would have only looked at her anyway. She's the only one who could possibly be against our marriage.
"As soon as possible? Why two to three months, then?" she replied, as if it could be better to get married literally as soon as possible.
"I'm going overseas for the next two months, you know that," JiKyung said.
"Ah...right." JiKyung's mom nodded and turned back to me with a tender smile. "Get married whenever you feel comfortable. Feel free to ask me if you are in need of anything."
Is she my real mom, and that's why she wants to take me as a daughter-in-law? As I started to consider the necessity of a DNA test, I once again felt nervous and defensive. Did I even deserve this? Was it all just blind luck? Right at the moment, the door was thrown open so wildly that I turned around to see who it was.
A man I had never seen before entered the room. He looked around angrily before fixing JiKyung with a cold stare.
"No way. You... why are you here?" JiKyung stuttered with wide eyes.
What's going on, is he a lover? My face flushed with embarrassment.
"You should be in the U.S. now," said JiKyung's mother. "Why are you here? What about school?"
The man fixed JiKyung with an icy stare, before turning to JiKyung's mother. "Mom, are you crazy?" he asked.
Mom? Is this guy JiKyung's only younger brother? He was supposed to be studying in America...but he doesn't look like JiKyung. This man is much taller than him and his skin is a lot paler.
As I was studying his face, the man turned his glare towards me. It felt so aggressive that I cringed. How can eyes be so big without double eyelids?
"I'm against this marriage," the man declared as if he was giving a warning. Then, he yelled to let the whole world know, "I AM DEAD SET AGAINST THIS MARRIAGE."
* * *
I knew it. I knew it! This is my life. Always obstacles.
I thought back to the parent-meeting, biting my thumbnail. I looked outside, but nothing came to my mind at all.
"You are always like that when you're nervous. It hurts," JiKyung said, glancing at me in the passenger seat. He took out some gum from the pocket of his suit after making eye contact. "Chew this instead."
I took the gum from him, but my hand was visibly shaking.
JiKyung looked at my hand in surprise. "It's not a big deal," he said.
"What?" I asked. "Didn't you see his eyes? He looked like he was about to hurt me."
"There's nothing he can do. Everybody else is with us. What can he do? It's a done deal. You don't have to care about just one disagreement," JiKyung answered calmly.
"I don't care about that! He's going to be my family, I'll see him regularly after the marriage." I broke a piece off of the gum in my hand and put it in my mouth, chewing slowly with tearful eyes.
"You are scared, huh? Are you afraid of him that much?" JiKyung chuckled like it was funny.
"Yes, I'm scared! So scared that I am starting to reconsider this marriage."
"I'm gonna tell him not to act that way anymore. Just forget about it," JiKyung assured me.
"Is that even possible? Can you beat him?" I asked.
"We never fought, but probably, yes."
"How do you know?" I was not convinced.
"JiHan has followed me around since he was young. He's crazy, but he never talks back to me. He listens to me more than my mom. Maybe it's a brother complex? Perhaps he doesn't want me to get married."
I remembered when I was in elementary school, JiKyung had put Kaneshan, made by his younger brother, on his chest. I remembered thinking his little brother had put it on him since their dad was deceased. I was a little jealous of their sibling relationship.
"So it's all because he loves his big brother, and you can take care of it, huh?" I asked, still skeptical.
"Yeah. No worries. It's not going to happen again," JiKyung assured me with a determined face. "He is going to like you. You are the girl I like."
"Yeah right, I don't think he could ever like me," I said.
I just hope he doesn't bother me. I bit my nails again. They tasted like gum.
Although it was not a real marriage, it was still two people who were in the same boat. Is that why everything is going so well, even in my life? Unlike me, everything has always been alright for JiKyung throughout his life. Is that why my bad luck doesn't affect this marriage at all?
Three days after the meeting with our parents, JiKyung told me when I came to the airport to see him off, that his brother had surrendered.
"Really? Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yes, yes. So just get ready for the marriage while I'm gone," JiKyung said confidently.
He walked to the exit with a long stride while I tried to keep up with him on my shorter legs.
"We will go wherever you want to go for the honeymoon. Furniture, make-up, dress, do everything at the most expensive place. Don't act like it's a waste. My money is yours. You know that, right?" JiKyung said, standing in front of me at the departure gate. He held my shoulders with his hands. "Out of all the girls not loved by their husbands, you are probably the happiest bride."
Gay and rich. Rich and gay.
I can't be too happy or too sad about this guy with the best and the worst conditions.
"Oh, and here," JiKyung took something out of his pocket to show me. "It's an access card for the apartment. Go live there while I'm gone, I know you feel uncomfortable at your step-mom's house."
At that moment, my mind was literally blown. I grinned from ear to ear.
"Hey Lee JiKyung. You are the best!" I couldn't help jumping with excitement holding the access card.
"Don't have an affair with anybody else until I come back. And don't change your mind, okay? The agreement termination fee is ten times what I'm giving you.
"It would be absurd to change my mind! Don't even worry about it. I haven't had a guy for 33 years of my life, it's not gonna happen in two months."
"You never know," JiKyung said.
"I don't know anything for certain but this: I will not have an affair with anyone. Even when I was in my 20's I didn't." I was certain based on my experiences that I was correct.
JiKyung chuckled and saluted me with his right hand. "I will get going then."
As a friend about to get married, I saluted him back with friendship coming from the bottom of the heart. I stared at JiKyung's silhouette. As he disappeared, I looked at the access card in my hand, feeling satisfied that my duty to walk him to the departure gate was finished.
I didn't normally dance due to concern that people might think I was crazy, but I couldn't stop laughing as I turned around with a smiling face. As soon as I turned around, however, there was somebody right in front of me. They were so close that I stepped back and bowed to them.
"Ah, I'm sorry," I murmured and quietly stepped aside.
Strangely, the opponent stepped aside as well so I was blocked again. It was a bit odd, but I didn't take it too seriously, and moved again. However, the opponent continued to move in front of me.
What is this? I tilted my head to look at the opponent's face. I could barely see them and had to tilt my head way back. As soon as I realized who it was, I tripped over myself with embarrassment.
"Jesus Christ!" I cried out, as I fell over.
He just stared at me without moving. He didn't even look like he was going to help me up, he just kept looking at me angrily. It was the same look he'd given me at the parent meeting three days ago.
As scary as his facial expression was, the embarrassment of having people see me on the ground was stronger than the pain I'd experienced from falling, so I stood back up to face him.
"Uh, when did you come?" I asked curiously, trying to act as if nothing had happened. "Did you come here to say goodbye to JiKyung? He just left."
I was frightened out of my mind but tried not to look like it.
He looked down at me and said with an arrogant tone, "I'm here to say goodbye to you. Can you talk to me for a sec?"