Part 1
June 17, 1999


My name is Mina Nam. I'm 19, still very young, but I am dying. Not right now but my life is slowly fading away as I'm writing my story. At this moment I'm sitting at 'our' spot. Mine and Eun Ji Won, the love of my life.

The sun is slowly beginning to set over the lake. I took a glance at my reflection in the water. My outside looks have changed drastically within the past few months, but the water reflected the true me. Inside I'm still the same person.

I have done and given so much for love but never once, have I received it back from Ji Won. There are times that I wanted to tell him everything that I've done for him and make him love me back. But I can't.
Love is not selfish.


So I did what felt right. I keep giving Ji Won my love and I never asked for his love in return. Even though I'll leave this world pretty soon, my love for him will still remain. My story begins when I first met Ji Won six years ago on this one fateful day. It all started out…

Part 2
October 31, 1993


"You better come back here you good for nothing brat!"

I covered my ears with my palms. That was my stepmother calling me. Her voice sounds murderous and I didn't want to face her today. She had slapped and hit me too much already. I'm afraid I can't take it anymore so I hid in my closet.
I peeked through the crack in my closet and saw my stepmom with a really pissed off look on her face. She was holding that stick that I'm always afraid of. I winced thinking about how much it would hurt if she hits me with it again.


I'm just thirteen and whoever said 13 was an unlucky number, they were right. My mom had died when I was just turning ten. Before she died she told me that I was the most beautiful girl in the world and how proud she was to be my mother. She said even though she'll be gone, her love remains with me always.

Tears rolled down my cheeks. 'If you love me mommy, how can you be so selfish to leave me?' So now when I had turn 13 my dad had married Mok Young A, who is my stepmom today. She was a cold-hearted woman who tortured me all day. Any self-esteem I had for myself was shattered and I was living a nightmare.

My closet door suddenly opened.
"There you are you wicked girl!"
My stepmom started cussing at me as she pulled me out and threw me onto the floor. I began to tremble because I knew what was going to happen next.


*Whack whack whack.*

I cried out in pain but I knew that no one is going to hear my cries. I desperately began to gasp for air. My heart was aching again. I couldn't breathe.

"Not again! Don't you see how much you're costing your father and me with your heart problems? If it wasn't for all these medical bills we wouldn't be so poor now!"

I had this heart condition where air would suddenly shut off and I couldn't breathe. The doctors are trying to save me by giving me a respirator and pills, but they're not sure how much longer I'll be able to live. My dad (who was a pathetic excuse for a man) came in.

He looked down at me with sorrowful eyes. He held my stepmom's arm lightly and said, "I think she had enough. You don't want her to have another attack. Calm down and let's have dinner."

"That's why I'm hitting her!" she yelled. "She got detention and stayed after school for an hour. She was supposed to be home to go buy food for dinner and make it. Your daughter is so evil. She wants me to starve or something!"

"I didn't get detention. The teacher wanted to talk to me about-"

But I was cut off by the whack of my stepmom's stick. I cried silently in pain and turned away. I didn't want to look at her.
My dad said, "Well, dinner's just going to be a little late today. Mina, say sorry to your mom."


Despite the pain, I managed to say, "Sorry mom. Please forgive me."

My dad handed me some money. "Here. Go buy food to make mee-yuk-gook tonight." My stepmom's temper simmered down a little as my dad lead her out of my room.

I picked up the money and headed for the store. Mr. Choi, the owner of Choi Food Market, shook his head as I walked in. He knew what kind of hell I was going through. I finished my shopping and checked out.

"That'll be $3.49."

"What?" I asked. "Umm…Mr. Choi. That's impossible. With all this stuff it should be around $15."

"I know Mina." Mr. Choi gave me a sad smile. "The exact price is $14.32. Why don't you keep the change for yourself?"

I opened my mouth in shock. "Mr. Choi…I..I can't do that," I said as I handed him 20.

He only took five. "No. Keep it. I know that stepmom of yours don't give you any money."

I looked up at Mr. Choi with tears in my eyes. Here he was, just a friend reaching out to me. I said thanks and headed for home.

Part 3
I decided to take a shortcut home but as I passed the alley, a hand pulled me in. I was knocked to the ground and a shadow hovered over me. I began to scream but the same hand covered my mouth.


"Shut up or I'll kill you!"

I shut my mouth instantly. I didn't want to die yet. In the moon's reflection I got a good look of my attacker. It was a boy who looked a little bit older than me. His face and clothes were dirty but he had really good features so I could tell he was extremely good-looking. But this was not a time to think about such things.

He held a table knife at my throat and said, "Give me all your money or I'll kill you."

I panicked but I knew what to do. I used the move I wanted to use on my stepmom every time she pinned me down and hit me. I kicked him hard, right into his family jewels. He gasped and fell to the floor, dropping the knife. I picked up my groceries and ran.


I guess you can call me the dumbest person alive. I was afraid I had kicked the boy too hard and permanently damaged him. Besides, since my life is hell already, I didn't want him to go through it too. So I turned back.

When I came back to the alley, the boy was still lying on the floor. He was moaning softly. I lifted him up gently. "Are you okay?" I asked. He shook his head no. "I'm sorry," I said to him. I reached into my pocket and pulled the money Mr. Choi gave me. "If you need money, then here. All I have is ten dollars."

I placed the money in his hand and walked away. He looked at me with this weird expression that I couldn't read. I picked up my groceries and this time I left without turning back. I could tell the boy was watching me as I was walking away…

Part 4

Ji Won stared at the girl who had just walked away.

'She must be the nicest or dumbest person in this world,' he thought.

He began to stand up but had to use the wall for balance. That girl had kicked him a little too hard. Ji Won had just run away from home again. He had run away so many times that the alley was his second home. When he ran away he always stole his parents' money.


They were the richest people in all of Hawaii but they were also the most messed up family. His dad would have a lot of women with him and would betray a friend if it would bring him money.

His mom, on the other hand, was an exact duplicate of his dad. She always had these young men around her and spent money like crazy. His parents were divorced and lived on opposite ends of Hawaii.

'Bitch and bastard,' thought Ji Won.


When he ran away this time, he didn't have the chance to steal any money from his dad. So he had no choice but to rob somebody. When he saw the young girl walking out of the store, she seemed to be the perfect target. But things didn't turn out as planned.

Ji Won kept wondering why the girl gave him the money even though he could have killed her. Ji Won knew he couldn't take the money because she was the first person in his messed up life that was nice to him because she wanted to be, not because she wanted something from him. He wanted to give the money back.

When he gained some of his strength back, he began to chase her…


Part 5

When I came home, I was greeted by the usual words. 'Ugly wretch, wicked girl, freeloader, etc.' but luckily I made it through dinner fine. When dinner ended, my parents went to sleep leaving me with the dishes. I cleaned the table and washed the dishes.
I also took out the trash and then suddenly I felt someone grab me from behind. My attacker turned me around to face him. It was the same boy I met in the alley. I began to panic.
"I gave you all my money already! What more do you want from me?"
He raised a finger to his lips and tried to shush me. I felt one of my attacks coming on. I started to hyperventilate and couldn't breathe. I was beginning to black out.


Ji Won looked at the girl who looked like she was going to die.
"Oh my God! Are you okay?"
This time it was the girl's turn to shake her head no. Then she collapsed in his arms. Ji Won didn't know what to do but he had to save her life. He began to give her mouth to mouth.
"Come on," he whispered to her. "Breathe. Don't die on me."
After a while she began coughing and opened her eyes.


I opened my eyes and saw a blurry object heading towards me. Then I felt something soft pressing against my lips and I felt a gust of air. Then I realized the boy was giving me air. I couldn't believe what was happening. I blushed and gently pushed him away.
"Thank you for saving me. I'm okay now."


The boy turned slightly red. "Uhh…you're welcome. You kinda scared me there."

"Sorry about that. Well, what is it that you want from me?"

"Here." He handed me back the same ten dollars I had given him. I looked up at him.
"No, it's okay. Keep it. I think you need it or you wouldn't have tried to rob me."
He shook his head. "No. I just wanted to borrow it only. I don't take charity. Well, goodbye."


Just as he walked away, I heard his stomach grumble. I bit my tongue so I wouldn't laugh. Since he didn't take charity, I said, "Um, hey. I just made some food and I don't know if it's good or not. I need a guinea pig because I don't want to serve it to my parents if it isn't and besides, you did save my life.

Ji Won looked at her. 'Why is she being so nice to me?' he thought. He knew she was just saying that because she heard him say he doesn't want charity. Ji Won's stomach was growling like crazy. He hasn't eaten for 2 days already and the mention of food was killing him.
"Uh, okay. I guess I'll be your guinea pig since I have nothing to do."
He studied her face as she smiled at him. 'She's pretty,' he thought as he smiled back.

Part 6
I let the boy wait outside as I got some of the leftover mee-yuk-gook for him. He finished it in less than a minute. Then he leaned back and sighed. Out of nowhere, he let out a burp. I had to giggle. He looked at me and smiled.
"Sorry about that."


"It's okay."

I hesitated before I asked him the next question. "Umm…so what's your name?" He glanced at me and then stared at the ground. I could tell he was debating to tell me his real name or not. I didn't want him to feel obligated to telling me his name. "It's okay. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Ji Won looked at her surprised. "No! It isn't that!" he yelled. She stared back at him surprised too. Then he lowered his voice. "I'm sorry. Please don't misunderstand."
She nodded her head slowly and Ji Won can tell that she was confused. Ji Won felt that he could trust her and he wanted her to be his friend.


"My name is Eun Ji Won and you are?"

"Nam Mi-Na, but call me Mina. It's easier to remember."
Then she gave him the sweetest smile. Ji Won felt his heart beat a little faster when she smiled at him. He blushed and looks away.
"So uh, how old are you?"


"13," she replied. "And you Ji Wonee?"

He smiled when she called him that. "I'm 15," he said turning back to look at her.

"15?" I asked in disbelief.

Ji Won nodded.
"Where are your parents oppa? You're too young to be living in the streets."

He shrugged his shoulders. "I can take care of myself." I gave him a doubting look because he was trying to pull that tough guy act on me. "It's okay though," he told me. "I have a family. It's just that things are bad at home so I'm just getting away from it for a while."
'So he ran away,' I figured out.


I could tell that Ji Won was a good person. "Do you have a place to stay tonight?" He shook his head. "How about staying in my room then," I offered.

Ji Won couldn't believe his ears. He stared at Mina. 'Did she just offer him a place to stay?'
"Ji Won?" Mina asked as she waved a hand in front of his face. "Are you okay?"


Ji Won shook his head and snapped out of it. She placed her hand on his knee. "Oppa, I asked if you want to stay in my room for tonight?"
Ji Won was so touched that he felt his heartache. No one had ever cared about him so much but he didn't want to feel as though he owed her. "No thanks."


Mina looked at him with her big sad eyes. "Please oppa? I'm afraid of the dark." Ji Won smiled. He knew she was lying so he would say yes. For the first time in his life, Ji Won felt warm inside because now he is wanted. He let out a sigh.
"Aigo Mina, okay.
You talked me into it. But just for tonight though."
She giggled and nodded.


"Okay."



Part 7

Silently, I led Ji Won into my room. My room was small and luckily, it was far away from my parents so they can't hear much. I let Ji Won have the bed while I take the floor. 'Damn,' I thought. 'Why does the floor have to be so cold and hard?'

Ji Won stared down at Mina who was trying to sleep on the cold stone floor. He picked her up easily and lifted her onto the bed.

"Oppa? What are you doing?" I whispered as my eyes grew wide.

"Do you trust me?" he asked.

I nodded my head slowly.

"Good," he said. "This bed is small but it'll fit both of us."

My eyes grew wider at what Ji Won had just said. But I had just told him that I trust him. I couldn't take my words back so I had no choice but to sleep with him. We both got in my bed and slept side-by-side. I was so nervous, I couldn't sleep. Ji Won, on the other hand, had no problem. He fell asleep instantly.

I turned my head over to look at him. His face was so innocent like an angel when he was sleeping. Who would have thought he was such a devil when he's awake and moving?

An hour had passed and it was 3' in the morning. I still couldn't sleep. Suddenly something weird happen. Ji Won turned his entire body around and did a 360, kicking me.
"Ow!" I cried out but covered my mouth so my parents wouldn't hear me. When he was done, he had this happy look on his face.


At first I thought he was just playing with me but he really did do a 360 in his sleep. Suddenly he reached over and held me tight. My entire body went tense and rigid. I could feel Ji Won's light breathing on my neck.
I don't know why but now that Ji Won was this close (practically laying on top of me) made me feel better. It's probably cause I've never been this close to a person in a long time. Soon I began to fall asleep too…

Part 8
November 1, 1993


Ji Won opened his eyes and found himself laying partially on Mina's body. He blushed and slowly moved away from her. Then he just lay near her watching her sleep.
Suddenly it caught his eyes. The sleeves and pant legs of her pajamas were lifted up and he got a good look at her arms and legs. Dark purple bruises cover her entire body. There were several scars on her legs and arms too. Red lines run across her legs and it made Ji Won wince because it looked so painful.


He didn't want to disturb Mina but he was really curious. She turned over and Ji Won lifted the back of her shirt. It was even worse than her legs. Ji Won opened his mouth lightly in shock and touched her bare back delicately, fearing that he might hurt her. Mina began to stir.

I rubbed my eyes and sat up. I saw Ji Won looking at me with this sad expression on his face. "What's wrong oppa?" I asked.
"Who did this to you?"
Then he lifted the sleeve of my shirt. I opened my mouth in shock. I tried to hide it but I couldn't believe he saw my bruises.


As I tried to answer him, I heard my stepmom's footsteps heading towards my room. "Oppa!" I yelled, turning back to Ji Won, who was rubbing my bruises. "You have to get out of here! My mom is coming!"
Ji Won looked at me surprised but I opened my window for him to climb out. "Climb down this tree. Goodbye Ji Wonee," I said to him with tears in my eyes.


Ji Won remained silent the whole time as he left her room. But he didn't leave though. He sat on the branch of her tree and looked through her window. He couldn't hear what Mina and her mom were talking about but he saw it.
He saw Mina's mom bring out a small wooden stick and whack Mina with it several times. Ji Won couldn't take it anymore. He busted back into Mina's room.

Part 9
I looked up at my stepmother in pain. "I'm sorry mom. I didn't know we're supposed to have guests today."


She glared at me with cold hatred in her eyes. "Mr. Eun, of the Eun Hotel Empire all over Hawaii, is coming to visit us. Your father might get a promotion if we make a good impression! You're supposed to be awake half an hour ago to prepare all of us tea! Now Mr. Eun is down there expecting tea! What am I supposed to do now huh?"

My stepmom began to breathe rapidly as her anger increased. I saw her raise that stick of hers again. I curled myself up hoping the pain would lessen but I know it wouldn't so I prepared myself for the strike…

Ji Won caught the stick just before it would hit Mina. Mina's mother stared at Ji Won in surprise. Mina opened her eyes and stared at Ji Won in shock. He looked down at her.
"Mina, are you okay?"


"Ji Won!" I screamed. "What are you doing here?"

Ji Won looked back at me. "I came to save you from this evil bitch."

My stepmom twisted her face in hate. "I knew you were trouble all this time Mina. How dare you bring this boy home? Wait until I tell your father about this!" Ji Won grabbed my stepmom's arm to stop her.
"You do that and I'll have you fired!"
I stared at Ji Won dumbfounded. 'What is he talking about?'


"What are you talking about you juvenile delinquent?!" snapped my stepmom.

"I mean," said Ji Won glaring at her. "That you're having tea with my father right now and I'll get you and your husband fired if you hit Mina one more time."
I look at Ji Won surprised. 'Ji Won is the heir of the Eun Hotel Empire? His family is the richest in all of Hawaii!'


My stepmom looked at Ji Won doubtfully. "If you're his son, then how come you're so filthy?"
Ji Won gave her a smirk. "I know you want proof. How about all of us go down there to talk to my dad?"
My stepmom looked at him and thought, 'This is the only way for real evidence. He might get us a promotion.' Then she said, "Come on then, boy. Let's go."

Part 10
All three of us came downstairs together. Ji Won had to help me down because my legs were too weak to support me. Ji Won helped me sit on the couch and he faced the strange man before me. Mr. Eun glared at Ji Won.


"Hi dad," said Ji Won.

"Where the hell have you been Ji Won?" shouted Mr. Eun.

My family just watched them yell at each other. Ji Won shrugged his shoulders. "Around." It made Mr. Eun really mad but he never hits Ji Won. He continued yelling. Ji Won didn't really listen and after a while he cut his dad off.
"Look dad, shut up about it already and we'll talk about it at home."


'Dang,' I thought. 'I could never talk to my parents like that.'
Mr. Eun shuts up. "Okay son, we'll talk about it at home."
Then Ji Won gestured his hand at my entire family. "The Nams were nice enough to let me stay at their house. You owe them dad."
Mr. Eun nodded. "Fine. Joon and Young A, you two just got a raise."


My stepmom got so excited. "Thank you Mr. Eun!"

"Come on Ji Won," said Mr. Eun. "Let's go home and have that talk."
Ji Won brushed his dad's hand ff his shoulder. "Later dad. I'll be home in an hour." His father glared at him. Ji Won glared back. "I said one hour."
Mr. Eun knew Ji Won was stubborn. So he agreed. "Fine then. One hour."


After Mr. Eun left Ji Won talked to my parents. "Listen here," he said as he sat down next to me. "I can get you hired and fired just like that." And he snapped his fingers.

"We know, we know," said my stepmom sweetly, pouring Ji Won some tea.

Ji Won didn't drink it. "All I want is for you two to not touch Mina anymore. If I see another bruise on her, you know the consequences." Ji Won held my hand the entire time he spoke with my parents. I felt a strange warmth going through me and I knew that right then and there I was falling in love with Eun Ji Won.

My dad remained quiet while my stepmother talked. "Of course Ji Won."

Ji Won rolled his eyes. "Okay, and I'll make sure you keep your promise." Then Ji Won turned to face me. "Come on, let's go."

"What?" I asked confused.

"Go to my house with me."

"Go go!" said my stepmom pushing me towards Ji Won. "Have fun kids and stay out as long as you like." I knew my stepmom was really ticked off but she was playing it off pretty well.

Part 11
Ji Won continued holding my hand and never once did he let it go. The walk to his house took us 15 minutes and I was enjoying every minute of it. When we reached his house, Ji Won let out a sigh.


"Mina," he said softly. "Just stay quiet and let me do the talking okay?"
I nodded my head and we entered his house. His house was huge! I felt as though I'm a peasant walking through a castle. He even had a few maids and butlers who attended us.
Ji Won led me to his room. It was nice and clean but there were a lot of holes all around his walls. I sat down on his bed as he went into the bathroom to take a quick shower. When he was done, he came out and sat next to me, holding my hand. I really am in love.


"Ji Won, how come your walls have a lot of holes?"

He shrugged his shoulders and I massaged it for him. As he relaxed, he answered me. "Oh, it's cause I fight with my parents a lot so I take it out on the walls." Judging by the holes, I can tell that he was really angry every time he made one.
"Come on," he said. He lifted me up on his back and gave me a piggyback ride downstairs. He smelled so good now that he's clean and fresh.


His dad was waiting for him in the den. I waited outside while Ji Won came into face his dad. Ji Won came in, uninterested in what his dad had to say. "What is it dad?"

"Ji Won, son…this is getting to be very tiring. Every few weeks you would run away, leaving me and your mother worrying about you."

Ji Won smirked. "Sure you're worried. That's why you're out with those hoes and mom's out with those morons. It's because I'm your only son. You're just scared that when grandpa passes away he won't put our family on the will."

His father got angry. "Well do you want it to end up on your uncle's side?" Ji Won gave his dad a look that showed he didn't care. His dad continued talking. "Since I managed to have a son and my brother have no kids, I have the advantage. Son, listen to me. You know you're my heir. All my wealth will be pass down to you."

Ji Won looked at his dad disgusted. "All you care about is money! You don't care about me!" he yelled as he stormed out of the den. Ji Won slammed the door open and grabbed my hand.
"Come on, let's go."

 

 
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