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    TSURT SPELLED BACKWARDS

    By princessofdisaster

    Why do people find it hard to trust others?Why do some of them find I trust you sweeter than I love you?

    What is trust, anyway? And what difference does it make?

    TSURT.

    Light from the fluorescent lamp slightly blinked above our ice princess as she took her late afternoon break from work. The blinds in the room were slightly open, revealing a little of the downtown view below. The sky was in shades of deepviolet to black as the sun set to give way to the evening bliss.

    It was barely a week since she had just told Yuri how much she was in love withher, and luckily for her, Yuri returned it with a kissmore like a bliss that came

    down from heaven. Jessica couldnt help but smile at the thought as she read Sophie Kinsellas Remember Me? book on Yuris bed.

    Amber, the time?

    Oh, uh, ten minutes past six.

    A short-haired girl who was sitting at the foot of Yuris bed in her fitted graphic shirt and baggy pants, blurted out the time in a somewhat monotonous tone. Shethen resumed to plugging her earphones in her ear and listening to songs in hermusic player. Jessica frowned a bit as she watched Amber sway her arms frantically from left to right and nod her head repeatedly.

    Excuse me? Im reading here. Duh.

    W-what? Not again, cuz. Im not even singing the song!

    Jessica smirked. Wait until you sing, and Ill put this book on your sorry mouth before you know it.

    Whatever, Jessica. Im not listening to

    Im serious.

    Amber then stopped waving her hands before the book could get into her mouth. Sh

    e pouted with her shoulders slumped against the bed, and gazed at the surroundings. Where is this Yuri, anyway? she asked.

    Shes my Yuri, Jessica said confidently, her smile beaming at Amber.

    Ew. Okay, where is your Yuri? Amber restated her question. She glanced back at thescreen of her Nintendo DS and started pressing some buttons.

    Jessica then put down the book she was reading and looked at her cousin. She pouted and sighed.

    Well, she is

    All of a sudden, a petite, small-eyed girl in her tank top and comfy short skirts opened the door to the room. Sungmin! Sungmin-oppa is coming! she shouted. Hes coming here in Apkujeong, and we have a date tonight!

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    Jessica let out a deep sigh. Good for you, Sunny, she remarked. Sunny let out a wide smile which almost left her eyes half-closed.

    ===

    Yuri held her umbrella tightly as she waited in a line of people outside the tic

    ket booth. She didnt expect rain in Incheon. Back in Apkujeong, the weather was fine when she left. When she arrived at the place, she stumbled upon a souvenir shop, with her jeans partly drenched in rainwater and her bag soaked wet. She decided to buy a cheap, black umbrella from the shop and left immediately to catchup with the long line of people waiting for their ticket reservations.

    Should I?

    Minutes later, it was her turn in the line. She pulled out her credit card fromher wallet and handed it to the guy at the counter. Her fingers fumbled at the edges of the card as she softly spoke,

    Are there any flights bound for Shanghai, China?

    The guy at the counter smiled.

    Yes.

    ===

    Jessica tapped her fingers incessantly on the table. It had already been an hour, and Yuri had promised her dinner at seven. She had been so impatient, that shedecided to stop reading Sophie Kinsella and literally dragged her poor cousin into one of the sofas in the living room so they could wait there.

    Sunny came out of the bathroom in her bathrobe and with a towel wrapped around her head. She tried to speak to Jessica as she brushed her teeth vigorously, as if she was going to pull out her teeth with the toothbrush,

    Itseve-n. Sunny said. Jessica saw white foam spurt out of Sunnys mouth.

    Y-yeah, Jessica remarked, trying not to laugh at the sight before her. Shes not backfrom Incheon.

    What if she ran away for good? Amber interrupted. She looked up at her cousin, whose eyebrows were then starting to meet halfway.

    What if you ran out of this house for good?! Jessica shouted.

    Keke, is this your house? Amber chuckled.

    Why you

    Mm! Guys! Stthop alreay! Sunny held her toothbrush with her mouth and tried to stopssica from strangling Amber. More white foam flew out of her mouth as she struggled to break them apart.

    Just wait til I get your mom, Amber said, laughing. Jessica was panting, her face an angry red.

    I shouldnt have brought you here, Jessica shot back in between her gasps, I should have left you drowning in boredom with our cousins in Krystals theater play!

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    Ding dong!~

    Beer ge-that, Sunny said. She then rushed to the bathroom to finally spit out the foam remaining in her mouth.

    Jessica jumped out of the sofa and ran towards the door. Taking in a deep breath, she turned the knob and slowly opened the door.

    Suddenly, two girls carrying two, three, or even more, dozens of roses, enteredthe door. One of them, a tall girl which somewhat resembled Yuri in a way, but with softer features, pulled out a small guitar out of her backpack and struggledto hold it properly with her hands.

    Jessica raised an eyebrow. Who the hell are you? she asked.

    Im Taeyeon, and this is Seohyun, my assistant, the girl who was about Sunnys heightspoke. She then gestured to the taller girl beside her. Miss Kwon Yuri asked us to be here. Were her friends.

    Jessica kept her eyebrows raised as the two girls in front of her danced a bit,moving their legs from side to side, as the tall girl, Seohyun, strummed the strings of her guitar. Anyone could tell she was a beginner just by the way she plucked its strings. Nevertheless, she smiled as Taeyeon belted out the lines:

    Please baby baby baby, you are inside meI just want to fill it with a special lovebaby baby baby now youremy pretty girlfriend, I wont be jealous of anyone.

    Jessicas frown turned into a smile as she clapped her hands continuously. The twogirls bowed down and approached the auburn-haired girl. They handed her the bouquets of God-knows-how-many-dozens of roses and a small card.

    Thank you! Thank you very much, Jessica said, Amber, a hand, please? She then turnedto her cousin who seemed to have not paid attention to the little show earlier.

    My hands are full, Amber held her hands up high, her music player on one hand, andher earphones on the other.

    Well, now that Sunny isnt here, Im free to strang

    Okay. Amber went to Jessica and carried half of the bouquets of roses. She then dumped these on the sofa and propped herself carelessly on it, sitting on the flowers. Jessica was about to snap at her cousin again when Taeyeon spoke,

    The card, Miss? The small girl pointed at the card.

    Oh, yeah, Jessica said. She flipped the card open and read it, her eyes focused onthe neat penmanship on the card.

    Will be late, be there at ten. Yuri

    Jessicas smile slowly faded away as she put down the card. Great. She said, her voice apparently a note higher than the usual. She quickly grabbed more of the roses from Seohyun, who was struggling to pick up more of the bouquets on the floorwith a guitar on one hand.

    Tell Yuri, its a thank you, too, Jessica shot back at Taeyeon, And Seowhoever you ayou can always put that guitar down before picking up the bouquets. Seohyun gaveher a confused look, her mouth slightly pursed and her eyebrows wrinkled.

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    Sunny then ran out from her bedroom. She was dressed simply in a yellow shirt with shirring sleeves, a very short pair of shorts, and a matching pair of yellowflats. Her hair was tied up in a bun, with some of her bangs showing above her eyes. Jessica, Yuri told me to let you read this text message,

    I know, Sunny, shes not going to be home until

    Babo, Sunny said, What are you talking about? She then handed Jessica her phone. Jessicas face lighted up a bit when she read the message.

    Kidding, okay? Dinner is ready at the rooftop. Yuri

    My Kkabyul, Jessica said with a smile. She then turned to Taeyeon and Seohyun andshook their hands vigorously. Ah, yes, youre welcome, Miss, Seohyun tried not to wince at Jessica as she pulled free from the handshake. Just tell Yuri unnie were going now. Taeyeon nodded her head to Jessica, who just stared blankly at them, still wearing that smile she had been wearing for seconds.

    Hello, echo, echo, echo!

    Amber shouted, waking Jessica from her subconscious state. Oh, snap! Have you reached the edge of the solar system now?

    After you, Jessica snapped. She then led the two guests out of the room. Thank youvery much, Taeyeon-sshi, Seohyun-sshi. That was sweet of you.

    Taeyeon peeped out of the door as Jessica was starting to close it. Sure, sure, all for Yuri and her girl, she said.

    Amber stood up and headed for the door. Im getting bored making fun of you. I better go back to the hotel.

    ===

    M-miss?

    H-hey,

    Yah! This is not a bedroom, you know!

    Excuse me, but who are you?

    Do you know who I am? Jung Sooyeon, financial journalist!

    That makes us two. Jessica, right?

    How do you know me?

    I think I heard your name during our company orientation. Hi there, officemate.

    You shouldnt be sleeping here at the rooftop. Dont change the subject.

    Kwon Yuri. Also a financial journalist.

    I dont trust you.

    ===

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    Jessica stepped out of the door. In a glance, she saw the stars pinned up against the sky, twinkling endlessly as if they never ran out of light to shine upon the ink black sky. A layer of clouds slowly streamed away from the full moon, which, in all its glamor and magnificence, revealed tiny gray flaws on its surface.Nevertheless, to Jessica, the moon was beautiful.

    Not too far from her, her girlfriend was standing beside a small table laden with food and a bottle of wine. She gestured at Jessica to come over as she walkedslowly to pull out one of the two chairs from the table.

    How is Incheon? Jessica smiled weakly at Yuri. She walked slowly towards the tableand sat down on the chair which Yuri had pulled out for her.

    Uh, its fine, and I already got myself a ticket. Yuri spoke back, also in a weak tone, trying to feel in the same way what Jessica was about to feel at that moment.

    Youre not staying there forever, right?

    I dont know, its a job recommendation from our boss, and

    Babo! What I mean is, you should sit down now. Youre not going to stand there forever and catch a cold, right? Jessica chuckled as she motioned for Yuri to sit down.

    Oh. Right. Keke~ Yuri said. She sat down gently on the table. Even in her jeans and shirt, and with her hair propped up in a slightly messy bun, Yuri looked beautiful to Jessica. Yuri then leaned forward to light up the candles on the table.Jessica stared at Yuri intently, not wanting to take away her gaze at her girlfriend.

    She was, after all, going to miss the sight in front of her.

    Can you stay here with me?

    They spent the rest of the evening eating and chatting about anything under thesun. They occasionally exchanged glances and smiles, and all the sweetest wordsas they talked and played footsies on the table. After what seemed like a century, Jessica finally stood up from the table. Yuri watched as she walked over to the edge of the rooftop and leaned on the cemented barrier that drew a line between the edge and the seemingly infinite abyss of cars and people below. She didntlook down, thoughshe had the usual fear of heights, aside from cucumbers and melons.

    Jessica let out a deep sigh. Its only been a week since she and Yuri were official, but her mind was already swimming, drowning itself in the thoughts of the iceprincess without the black pearl. She felt miserable at the thought.

    A pair of arms held Jessicas waist. Soon, she felt Yuris chin on her neck.

    Its funny, we first met here, Yuri whispered.

    Jessica smiled without looking at Yuri. She then held on to Yuris arms, which were still wrapped around her slim waist. Her head leaned gently on Yuris as her tears started to well up at the corners of her eyes. She choked these tears back, u

    ntil her throat ached.

    Y-yeah, you were so stupid, Jessica said jokingly. I almost had to drag you here in

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    this spot and throw you out to the ground below.

    Yuri leaned in closer to Jessicas ear. Im glad you didnt, she whispered even more, Oerwise

    Yuris hands then spun Jessicas waist until Jessica was standing face to face withher. Yuri then stared at her intently. Jessicas tears started to flow from the co

    rners to the inner folds of her eyelids. She didnt want to cry, not in front of Yuri.

    there was no other way I could have met someone as stupid as me.

    Yah! Kwon Yuri! Jessica tried to laugh. She pounded gently on Yuris shoulders, once, twice, thrice, four times until she was reduced to tears and drowned in her ownsobs. Yuri caught her and tried to stand her up.

    Baby, dont cry, please, Yuri said, pulling her auburn-haired girl in an embrace. Sshh, its going to be okay, Im here. Im still here She rocked Jessica gently as they stood there for a moment, holding each other in a tight hug.

    B-but, but

    You can always ask me to stay.

    I, I

    Then, slowly, Yuri leaned down to cup Jessicas face, whose tears left dried streams on her cheeks. She then pressed her lips against Jessicas, and they soon caught in a passionate kiss for what seemed like an epoch already.

    Heaven knows what happened after that.

    ===

    Ill do anythinganythingjust to make you stay. What must I do?

    Jessica woke up to find her naked body covered up in linen sheets of white and beige. She hated how the bright sunlight peeped out through the blinds of the room and into her eyes. She covered her face with the blanket for a while and closed her eyes. She suddenly reminisced the bliss that they had last nightYuri touching and feeling every part of her, her body giving fervent responses, her mind dazing

    Yuri.

    She suddenly turned only to find an empty space beside her. She leaned closer tothat space and sniffed the lingering scent of the black pearl before realizingthat she was not there.

    Y-yuri?

    There was no response.

    Kwon Yuri? Jessica called out again. And, again, there was not even a faint whisper from Yul.

    Jessica wrapped herself in a blanket before standing up to look for Yuri.

    Sunny? she then called out to Sunny, hoping that a small figure would peep out ofthe living room or the bathroom. Meanwhile, she didnt hope to see a Sunny with wh

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    ite foam on her mouth again. Unfortunately, minutes passed, and Sunny was nowhere to be found in the house.

    Maybe a note on the fridge?

    Jessica headed to the refrigerator and examined it. On the door of the fridge, she found some heating instructions, recipes, daily menus, funny Polaroid picture

    s all the other whatnot she was almost losing hope. Until she found stuck to one corner of the refrigerator, a piece of paper roughly torn out of a notebook, witha note scribbled on it:

    Sica baby,In a meeting at the office.Just stay there. Made bibimyun for you, just reheat in the microwave.Told the boss you had a fever.Cant wait for dinner again with you.

    Jessica smiled as she sat down beside the kitchen counter. However, as she gazedat the scene in front of her, her smile faded away. She never felt this vulnera

    ble and lonely, and it was only just because Yuri was in a meeting.

    What more if you left for good?

    She had to do something.

    Jessica ran back to Yuris room, dressed up in her clothes, and soon walked out ofthe apartment with her phone to her ear.Pick up, Yuri-yah, pick up, Jessica said to herself as Yuris phone rang over the other line.

    Suddenly, the ringing stopped.

    Six rejected calls and more than ten text messages that said, How are you Yuri-yah? later, Jessica looked miserable as she rushed to a party favors shop. She didnteven take the time to greet the guy in front of the counter as she said,

    I need you to do something for me.

    ===

    Cant you keep your phone silent, Yuri-sshi? a tall man in his forties, who was cladin a light blue polo shirt and a black tie, a black cardigan, and a pair of black slacks, asked as he tapped the silver pointer on the table. The other peopleseated along the sides of the long conference table glanced at the black-hairedgirl who was seated at the other edge of the table.

    Oh, yeah, I-Ive had it silent, see, she waved her phone awkwardly in front of the stern boss. Letting out a deep sigh, she managed to go down over her notebook andask the boss a question.

    Uh, sir, I was just wondering, Yuri began to speak, How long am I staying in Shanghai? You see, there are a thousand investors dying to get a promotion of their insurance products and other offers, and I think it would take like, forever to have each of them speak

    The boss again shot a stern look at Yuri. She tried to avoid that gaze. Miss Kwon, we have already prepared a list of the investors which we think would be a goo

    d candidate for our two-week-long investment special. All you have to do is getto the basics. The boss then tapped the pointer back to the white projector screen.

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    A long list appeared before Yuri, and it shocked her. It turned out that their company chose about a hundred insurance companies for the task.

    The boss smirked at her. Well, most of them are located in the outskirts of the city, but you dont need to worry, he said, Well have a correspondent accompany you with the task. Miss Kim, please call him out.

    Yes, sir.

    Minutes of buzzing and unnecessary chatting later, Yuris eyes widened in shock asa tall guy, probably the tallest one around in the room, walked in front of theconference table. He had a pair of small yet fierce-looking eyes, a long, slightly pointed nose, and a small mouth. His strongly carved chin matched his broadshoulders and his lean body frame.

    Ladies and gentlemen, Kwon Yuri, the boss walked beside the guy and let out a small smile, This is our newly-hired correspondent to Shanghai. Why dont you tell us more about yourself?

    The tall guy gave his most handsome smile to the black-haired girl at the end ofthe table.

    Annyeonghaseyo. My name is Ok Taecyeon. He gave Yuri a wink. Please take care of mewell.

    Yuris mouth slightly hung open. Then, she straightened up from her seat.

    N-no, youre not the famous Ok Taecyeon? The financial journalist, author of Whats Wrong with Microfinance in Korea? The stock market journalist? Yuri stuttered withher words. She couldnt help but smile back at the tall guy. Gawd, I loved you works, and your book on microinsurance, I had that on my research list

    Yes, yes, Yuri-sshi, now will you please keep your voice down? the boss led Taecyeon to his seat. You two can talk about things later.

    A few more hours had passed as Yuri kept staring down at her phone. Its screen lit up from time to time, displaying never-ending notifications. Yuri looked worried as messages and missed calls kept coming.

    6 missed calls 10 new messages From: My Sica Baby~

    She wondered if she put something bad on the bibimyun she made for her Sica baby.

    Was it somewhat spicier than the awesome night we had?

    Uh, excuse me, Taecyeon-sshi, Yuri was in a middle of a nice conversation with OkTaecyeon when she finally decided to answer a phone call from Jessica. Emergencycall.

    Taecyeon nodded as Yuri went out of the conference room and pressed the Answer button.

    Sica baby?

    Yep, its me.

    Why are you calling? Did you burn down the house already?

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    No. I loved your bibimyun.

    Is that why you called me?

    Yeah, I think. Hows the meeting?

    Im in the middle of it right now. I cant join you for lunch, so

    Please, come with me to lunch.

    Oh, but this meeting might take long~

    I want to see you, Yuri-yah,

    Oh, okay. Okay. Ill be at the restaurant across the street from this building at twelve. Okay? See you. I love you, Sica baby.Yuri pressed the End button. She leaned against the wall, her shoulders slumped down. She then pressed her temples with her fingers as she looked down to the floor.

    I wonder what shes up to? she asked herself.

    ===

    A pair of aviator shades covered Jessicas eyes as she looked out into the windowof the restaurant, hoping to find a tall, slim, sexy Yuri walk out of the entrance of their office building. She suddenly remembered how Yuri lied about her absence from work, and she was determined not to be seen by any one of her officemates, or worse, her boss.

    Five minutes to twelve, ten minutes time slowly passed as Jessica drummed her fingers on the table. Even though the restaurant was airconditioned, the heat of th

    e sun which shone overhead above the busy downtown streets kept Jessica restlessand irritated. A waiter walked over and asked her in a foghorn voice,

    Your order, Maam?

    LaterIm waiting for someone. Jessica waved her hand briskly, as if telling the waiter to get lost.

    Kwon Yuri, where are you?

    She dialed Yuris number on the phone. It only rang continuously and didnt answer.She had already sent what seemed like thousands of messages saying that she wasalready in the restaurant, waiting for a century for her to come out.

    Minutes more passed.

    Suddenly, she leaned on the window and watched her Yuri talk with a tall, handsome guy. Hes cute, Jessica said to herself.

    Wait. Let me get this straight.

    Kwon Yuri, with a guy?!

    This is SO out of the plan.

    She suddenly found herself sprinting out of the revolving glass door. She didnt mind the cars passing by across the street, the people she was running into, andthe boss who suddenly came out of the building entrance, following Yuri and the

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    tall guy. She was walking very confidently, her vision tunneling towards the tall guy beside her girlfriend.

    The cars honked, angry drivers shouted, and the boss called out

    Miss Jung? Why are you absent from

    WHACK!

    A palm landed on Mr. Tall Guys cheekhard. He stumbled back a bit and winced in pain.

    Yuri, on the other hand, could only stare helplessly at Jessica. Jessicas shadesslightly skewed to reveal her eyes, probably from the force of her slap on the tall guy.

    What on heavens gates is wrong with you?! Yuri shouted at her.

    ===

    Jessica sat back on the car seat as Yuri turned the keys hanging under the steering wheel, switching off the engine of her car. The auburn-haired girl leaned onthe glass window, dazing at the trees, buildings, and sidewalks in front of her. She remembered how the two of them kept silent inside the car as Yuri drove her home. It was the same awkward silence that haunted them when they were still figuring out their feelings for each other.

    What a morning. Yuri spoke, letting out a deep sigh.

    Who was that Jessica started speaking, too.

    Hes a fellow correspondent for my Shanghai trip. A famous journalist I was to work

    with. Nothing else.

    Hes had his eyes feasting on you. Didnt you notice? Jessica continued, still not looking at her girlfriend.

    So? Yuri shot back. Ok Taecyeon is a colleague. Our colleague, though I honestly wanted to have my copy of his book signed personally by him, she removed the keys from under the steering wheel and opened the lock of the door. You shouldnt have slapped him. Not in front of boss.

    Jessica kept silent.

    Jessica closed her eyes for a while. She didnt want to get out of her seat. She felt her face growing hot as she thought of the incident earlier. Luckily for her, the boss was in a better mood, thanks to Ok Taecyeons charm. He told Jessica toshow up tomorrow for work or shed get fired. After that, Yuri and Jessica had arather silent lunch together at the restaurant.

    What about trust, Sica? Yuri finally turned to Jessica. She went to cup her girlfriends face, and then she leaned closer to her. She kissed her on the forehead. Remember what you told me? You told me youd only get drunk with me. I will always say the same for you. I love you, Jessica Jung.

    Jessica then looked at Yuri intently. The face, Im going to miss that.

    Yuri smiled. This face? Or maybe this?

    She then kissed Jessica on the lips.

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    Feeling fine now? Yuri whispered as she broke the kiss. Jessica nodded in reply.

    The auburn-haired girl soon got out of the car and waved at her lover. Ill see youat dinner, then, Jessica said. Yuri again smiled as she brought the car engine back to life. Slowly, the car wheels rolled along the street as the car gleamed under the hot early afternoon sun.

    Please, before you go

    Notice me

    ===

    Yuri spent the rest of the afternoon working on a pile of documents for her upcoming article specials on investment companies in Shanghai. She struggled with the art of multi-taskinglooking at each of the documents, staring at the computer screen, and typing out incessantly the words which only the financial and business world would know

    In Shanghai, many investment companies cater to the interests of the less fortunate population, composed of children, women, andYuri stopped typing.

    Women like Jessica theyre hot if only she would be nice then maybe she could be myn

    Yuris head swam in nostalgia as she remembered how Jessica accidentally read hernotes on microfinance two weeks ago in the library. She smiled to herself and went back to work.

    What the heck is this, Yuri-yah? A tall girl appeared from behind Yuri. She was ca

    rrying a pile of small white cards on one hand, and a box of doughnuts on the other. Do you have a stalker or something?!

    Yuri turned around. Oh, Sooyoung. She then looked at the white cards that Sooyoungwere holding. W-what do I have to do with those?R.S.V.P., I think? Sooyoung struggled to gobble a doughnut from the box. Its from the so-called ice princess. Whos that, your mom?

    Yuri suddenly grabbed each of the cards from the shikshin and stuffed them intoher drawer. Uh, yeah, I guess, Mothers Day, isnt it?

    But its June

    Every day is Mothers Day! Come on, Sooyoung, Yuri chuckled as she tried to give herofficemate a high-five. Whatever, Sooyoung bluntly said as she walked out of Yuriscubicle, munching her doughnuts without a thought.

    W-what is that?!

    Yuri almost jumped at the screaming voice not too far from her. She stood up from her chair and went to where the scream came from.

    The black-haired girl just stood their, her jaws literally dropping to the flooras she saw a group of accordion players lined up together, with a large box placed in the middle. Yuri can tell that a human being can even fit inside the box.

    jeone aldeon naega anya brand new soundsaero wojin nawa hamgge one more round

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    Yuri covered her mouth with her hands as she listened to the loud sound of accordions ringing across the room. She looked at her officematessome were trying notto laugh, others also had their jaws dropping to the floor, while a few were whispering to each other and had their eyebrows raised.

    Whats going on?

    Oh, Taecyeon-sshi, I

    Yuri was surprised to see Taecyeon standing beside her. His forehead wrinkled inconfusion. He then walked to the accordion players, plugging his ears with hispalms, and tried to talk to them.

    Excuse me, but this is a work area

    This is for Miss Kwon Yuri. Sorry, were paid to do this.

    W-what?! Taecyeons eyes seemed to have popped out of his eyeballs. Who gave you the

    p-permission to get here?

    Ice Princess, sir.

    Yuri gasped. She just stared at the awkward scene in front of her as the accordion players kept singing and playing the loud music. Moments later, a long-hairedgirl who was about the same height as Jessica pranced out of the box and started dancing to the song. Hyoyeon, your dancing queen, at your service! she said.

    Whoa! Almost all of the people in the office jumped in surprise.

    WHAT IS THIS?! A voice boomed.

    The boss walked slowly to Yuri and spoke in a firm voice.

    Miss Kwon, care to explain this mess to me?

    ===

    ===

    TRUST.

    Did I do it right? Will you stay now?

    Jessica stood at one corner outside the building, beside Yuris car. It was getting late in the afternoonthe leaves turned orange and red as they flew across the street. Cars were starting to zoom away and honk their horns again, and people were starting to walk out of their workplaces, buzzing and chatting about the daythat they had. Thank God, it was Friday.

    Her face slowly wore a smile as she saw Yuri walk out of the building. After waving her officemates goodbye, the black-haired girl made her way to her car. Shethen saw Jessica.

    Hey, honey, how was Jessica asked with a wide grin on her face.

    We need to talk. Yuri cut her off. She looked intently at the auburn-haired girl i

    n front of her.

    Did you have a bad

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    Whats with you today?! Yuri asked her in a loud voice. Jessica, on the other hand,was taken aback. She gasped as she held on to the collar of her blouse.

    I was just trying to show you how much I care, Jessica answered.

    Youre going overboard, Jessica! Yuri shouted. I know how much you care. But why do t

    his?!

    Yuri pulled out a handful of white cards from her pocket. Whats with these love poems?! And whats with slapping Taecyeon in front of the boss? Whats up with you notbeing able to wait for me for lunch?! And whats with the little show you put upat the office?!

    Jessica remained silent.

    Im going home. Im tired. Yuri sighed. She opened the door of her car, then looked atJessica, who was staring down at the concrete floor. I suppose you can go home by yourself?

    Jessica then kept her eyes on Yuri as they were being driven onto the verge of tears. What should I do then?! What should I do to make you stay?! Jessica blurtedout, her voice cracking like a fragile eggshell being struck out with a fork. Itsthe least I can do, Yuri-yah. Youve always been sweet to me, and now I thought Ihad nothing to do in return. She put her hands in her mouth to suppress her incoming sobs.

    Yuri just stood there, frozen. After letting out a sigh, she put her hands on Jessicas shoulders, grasping them firmly. You didnt need to smother me with all thosestupid things, Sica, she said gently, You know how much you make me happy just bysaying a simple I love you.

    Jessica shoved Yuris hands away from her shoulder. She couldnt take it anymore. She was tired of playing the role of a baby, a damsel, a girl who couldnt do anything in return.

    If I told you, I love you, would it even make you stay here? Jessica said, her tearsstarting to fall down from her eyes, Would it even make a difference?

    Jessica did not anymore expect an answer as Yuri drove away, leaving her sobbingwhere she stood.

    ===

    A week had passed. Yuri continued gathering information for her article specials. However, she didnt have the usual energy and spirit to work with her assignment. She would be leaving for Shanghai the next day, and she didnt want her preparations to be ruined just because she was this uninspired.

    Her thoughts of Jessica, however, had haunted her. She suddenly felt sorry for having left her in the parking lot that day without waiting for a yes or no. But shecouldnt help it. Jessica had practically smothered her that day, and she didnt want to be smothered any further. Her boss had already reprimanded her for that; luckily she succeeded yet again in lying that her mother did it because every daywas Mothers Day for her mom. Well, every day should really be a Mothers Day, right?

    Yet, she badly missed

    Her face,

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    Her touch,

    Her warm embrace,

    Her kisses,

    Her rude punch lines,

    Everything about her.

    She tried to call Jessica back that day, but she didnt answer any of those calls.Her text messages were left piling up in her Sent Items section without any replies from the Ice Princess.

    The next day, and in the following days, Jessica never came to the office. Fromtime to time, she visited Jessicas apartment, only to be greeted by her cousin, Amber.

    Hi, is Jessica there?

    Oh, hey, Yuri-yah. Shes in Seoul right now, shes moving out for work.

    What?

    Heard me right. She asked your boss if she could move in to Korean Gazette.

    W-what the

    Maybe you can talk to her some other time. Shes really busy.

    In spite of those reveries, the black pearl continued to work her butt off in th

    e office that day. People buzzed in and out of the office, answered phone callsand scrapped out faxed letters, and shouted at their assistants mistakes. Everything was a stressful hustle and bustle to Yuri, but she didnt care.

    Tok, tok~

    Yuri turned around to see Taecyeon smiling back at her. Howdy, Miss Kwon Yuri? heasked, trying to peer over the pile of papers that Yuri was reading. Yuri smiledback weakly at the tall figure behind her.

    Stress?

    Y-yeah.

    Hm. I think theres someone bothering you.

    I dont know. Maybe, you? Yuri chuckled. She then went back to the pile of papers onher desk and started to fumble at these. Smiling, Taecyeon snaked out her handin front of Yuri and showed her a book.

    Whatyah, thats mine! How did you get that?

    Yes, its yours. Taecyeon swung the book above Yuri. But I wrote it.

    Yuri swayed her arm frantically over her head, trying to keep the book from blocking her scan on the documents in front of her. Jinja. Im busy here, Taecyeon-sshi.

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    Taecyeon then dropped the book quickly in front of her, causing Yuri to let outa sigh. Okay, he said. He then walked away, humming a tune

    Today is a brighter day, dont worry, be happy

    Yuri shook her head and looked down at the book which flattened down the papers

    she had been reading earlier.

    Omona.

    She was shocked to see Taecyeons signature on the front page of the book, Whats Wrong with Microfinance in Korea?, and a little note:

    To Miss Kwon Yuri,Your wish granted.All thanks to the girl who slapped me in the face that day.

    Ok Taecyeon

    Yuri sank back into her seat as she tried to suppress her tears. It was no use,however, as streams of the warm, salty liquid fell down along her cheeks.

    J-Jung Sooyeon, Yuri let out a whimper.

    ===

    Jessica could smell the sweet aroma of cappuccino as she held the tall tumbler close under her nose. She then turned to face the window at the caf and stared blankly outside. It was early in the morning, but the sky was already becoming more and more overcast as dark, grayish clouds climbed on top of one another, ready to throw out bolts of lightning at anything or anyone who tried to mess up wit

    h nature. Soon, small droplets of rainwater tainted the windows. Outside, some people pulled out their umbrellas and had them hovering above their heads. Couples shared one umbrella each, while others started running to get some shelter.

    Oh, great.

    It had been a week since she caused too many scenarios at what used to be her office. She didnt really know what she had in mind when she asked her former boss aweek ago to have her transferred to Korean Gazette in Seoul. The reason:

    In search of better employment opportunities, she wrote on her resignation papers.As stupid as it sounds, however, the boss easily accepted it, taking into consideration the incidents that happened last week.

    Her resignation was to take effect the next day. By that time, nothing and no one would be left in her cubicle but perhaps some scraps of paper from her paper thresher.

    And perhaps, hours from now, no one would be left in her Yuris cubicle but

    Hello? Jessica? A girl sitting in front of her slowly smiled, her eyes slowly turning into happy crescent shapes. Back to earth now? She waved her hand in front ofJessica.

    Jessica shook her head and realized she had been spacing out. Yah, Tiffany, stop

    it! And pleaseI wish Korea would ban aegyo.The girl smiled even more. As if! Its something everyone here in Korea is trying to do, Jess. She then reached for her cup of cappuccino and stirred it with a smal

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    l plastic stick. When I arrived here yesterday from L.A., even the stewardesses at the entrance of the plane were pulling it all off. Jessica just sighed in reply, returning her gaze to the view outside.

    Anyway, are you sure youre going to Korean Gazette? she asked, I dont think you can make it there, what with the stress, the bosses, the size of cubicles, and, as your childhood friend, Ill be missing your stupid

    Cut it out, please. Jessica mumbled. She put down the tumbler firmly on the tableand looked at Tiffany. Its the only way I can somehow grant her wish.

    Come on, Jung Sooyeon, Tiffany said, Your best friend Kwon Yuri already had her wish granted two weeks ago. What more can she ask of you?

    I dont know, Jessica bit her lip. Maybe, some space?

    Tiffany then looked out into the window. You havent heard from her yet?

    Jessica swung her head sideways.

    No.

    Tiffany then continued, without looking at her childhood friend, You know, Sooyeon-ah, the answer is simple. She wanted you to trust her. Love without trustwell,its not love. Its just plain obsession, or paranoia.

    Jessica nodded in agreement. The mushroom-haired girl in front of her then patted her on the shoulder.

    Maybe that was one thing she needed more from you.

    The auburn-haired girl finally understood. She had been strangling her girlfrien

    d out of the fear of losing her, and instead of succeeding in making her girlfriend stay, she had unintentionally:

    One. Almost robbed Yuri of her chances to become a successful financial journalist.

    Two. Forced Yuri to become a damsel in distress.

    Three. Kept Yuri away from her.

    And damn, did she miss her badly.

    Maybe, an hour or two from that moment she stayed at the caf with Tiffany, Yuriwould be in a plane bound for Shanghai with that beastly Taecyeon. At that point, they would be in the plane, together, drinking champagne and chatting about the possibilities of working out their relationship with each other, leaving herJessica with so many thoughts and words left unsaid

    Shes leaving now, isnt she? Tiffany cut her out from the dazing session.

    Jessica went back to reality. She nodded her head.

    Well?

    What?

    What are you doing here, then?

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    Jessica swayed her head frantically. No, Im not going to do that, if I were you. Shes leaving and thats it. Ive ruined everything, Tiff.

    Tiffany once again wore that eye smile that she had earlier. Dont be so hard on yourself, Jess. A week of not talking or even saying anything to each other is toomuch, at least for a couple like you two.

    But

    Too much things unsaid, can leave you with nothing more.

    Jessica suddenly found herself jumping out of her seat. She ran out of the cafas Tiffany went cheering for her, raising her right fist repeatedly up in the air, shouting at her childhood friend just like the good old days:

    Jessica, hwaiting!

    On the other hand, the auburn-haired girl had already flagged a taxi. She flungher shoulder bag to the street as a taxi stopped at the curb, in front of her.

    Incheon Airport, please.

    ===

    Yuri took a final look at the airport tarmac from the window as she carried a large handbag with her to the airplane. She was definitely going to miss Incheon,Apkujeong, Korea, and well, everything and everyone in it.

    Outside the small window, small trucks that hauled cargo and luggage zoomed to and from under the planes. Fuel trucks and ambulances parked under the shelter ofthe huge building as peopleno doubt, airport staffran in and out of the area in their orange and yellow overalls, with large earmuffs covering their ears. They s

    eemed unaware that, perhaps, the people aboard the large planes under their heads were their lovers who were about to leave them for good.

    The assignment would take Yuri half a year in Shanghai without the one she really loves. She wasnt even able to tell Jessica how much she would miss her ice princess, let alone bid Jessica goodbye.

    Just then, Yuri found herself trapped in a day dream. She watched blankly, her mouth slightly ajar, as some of the airport personnel jumped out of the carts they were driving and struggled to keep a short auburn-haired girl from going underthe plane. Their shouts were muffledthe tunnel from the boarding gate to the airplane was sound proof. Suddenly, a hand patted hard on Yuris shoulder. She was snapped out of her dream.

    Hey, Taecyeon-sshi, Yuri quickly turned to the tall guy beside her, I was just looking at the scenery. Ill be there aboard the plane, just go ahead.

    She saw that Taecyeon was not looking at her, but also outside. His mouth also hung open.

    Missing Korea, too? Yuri asked, still looking at him.

    What theis that, Jessica?

    Yuri swiftly moved her gaze from Taecyeon to the view outside the small window.

    She was not daydreaming.

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    ===

    Let me go! Yah! Im just going to say goodbye to a friend! Jessica screamed and tried to kick away some of the airport personnel in orange and yellow uniforms. However, she felt she was being outnumbered as more and more of them jumped down from their trucks and carts and started hovering towards her. Cold sweat trickled down Jessicas forehead.

    Cant you see, Maam? Going beyond the confines of these orange markings, one of the personnel said, pointing to the markings under the plane, is prohibited. Now, please, you can say goodbye to your friend after she arrives

    But I WANT TO SEE HER NOW! N.O.W! Jessica shouted at the top of her lungs as the men in their overalls grabbed her by the arm. She kicked one of them squarely atthe groin, leaving him wincing in pain as others went to restrain her from hurting others any further.

    Y-Yuri-yah! Yuri-yah! Jessica shouted. I want to talk to you, please! she tilted herhead upwards and looked at the plane. She felt her strength draining as the per

    sonnel slowly pulled her away from the tarmac.

    Security breach at the airport tarmac, over. A guy wearing yellow overalls spoke over his walkie talkie. He then turned to the girl in front of him. How did she even get here?

    Are you sure shes just looking for a friend?

    I dont think so

    The men started to mumble and give each other their speculations about how Jessica was able to walk to the tarmac. Jessica could hear them, but she was so weakfrom the shouting and kicking that she didnt even dare to look up and give them a

    n icy glare.

    I was too late.

    Tears fell from Jessicas eyes as she looked down, twitching her arms and legs a bit to see if she could still fight the force which dragged her farther away fromher one chancethe chance to talk things out with Yuri.

    Excuse me, sir.

    A deep, manly voice caused Jessica and the airport personnel to turn their headstowards the tall, lean guy standing in front of them. His gentle expression failed to cover up his fierce-looking eyes and strongly carved chin. Beside him wasa black-haired girl carrying a large handbag. Her eyes rolled sideways, tryingto avoid Jessicas gaze.

    I believe she was looking for her. Taecyeon stepped aside as Yuri walked slowly towards her ice princess. The airport personnel shook their heads in confusion.

    H-how did you get here, sir? And your flight for Shanghai is

    Emergency exit in the tunnel. I took care of this. The plane can wait. Taecyeon said coolly. He then waved her hand at Yuri and smiled.

    Ill wait for you in the plane. Just dont take too longyou only have five minutes.

    Yuri nodded, and as Taecyeon walked back to the plane, she took Jessica and pulled her into an embrace. The airport personnel scratched their heads and walked a

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    way from the two of them, climbing back to their vehicles and resuming their work.

    Whew, what a day, one of them let out a deep sigh of relief.

    ===

    Yuri didnt say anything as she tightly hugged Jessica, patting her head gently with her one hand and caressing her back with the other. She inhaled the auburn-haired girls sweet strawberry scent as Jessica sobbed on the broad front of her shoulders, struggling to take a deep breath in between her soft whimpers. Yuri could feel the front of her blouse getting wet and warm with Jessicas tears.

    Yuri, Yuri-yah, I-Im s-sorry, Jessica tried to speak. I wasntI wasnt able to trus

    Yuri then lifted Jessicas head and gave her a smile. Its alright, Sica baby, its okay Im here, see? Im sorry I snapped at you. Im sorry I said you were stupid. You werent stupid, Sica I was just too preoccupied

    Yah, are you getting on the plane? We only have

    a guy holding a pair of what lookedlike glowsticks interrupted them.

    One more minute, please? Yuri said. She then looked intently at Jessica and wipedher tears with her thumbs.

    You can always ask me to stay, Sica baby. Just tell me. Yuri then pulled Jessicas face closer to her and kissed her lightly on the lips. She could taste the tearsthat ran down Jessicas mouth as she moved her lips gently. Jessica kissed her back, and they stayed there for a while until,

    One minute is up! the guy shouted. With the unlikely sight in front of him, he slightly covered his eyes with one of the sticks he was holding.

    Yuri quickly broke the kiss. Please, tell me if you want me to stay, she said huskily, resting her forehead on Jessicas.Jessica paused for a while. The guy with the odd-looking sticks was about to signal the plane to being taxi out of the runway when Jessica looked up at Yuris face for the last time. Even with her eyes all red and puffy from crying, she gaveher girlfriend the sweetest smile ever.

    I trust you, Kwon Yuri.

    ===

    Somewhere in the sidewalks of Apkujeong, one late afternoon, two girls in theiroffice attire walked slowly, pausing to give way to the shorter girl, who was talking over the phone. The other girl, who was tall and had long legs that accentuated her slim body, munched down on some patbingsoo that she took out from a store.

    Yah! Amber! Ive got things to do, so please Jessica spoke over her phone, TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!

    Duh, how many times do I have to tell you, my lovely cousin, Amber said over the line, Im here at the public library! Im doing my homework!

    Jessica felt like she was about to throw her phone away. Why youokay, fine! Im goin

    g there, just stay there, okay! Jeez, why did I even have to forget my keys in the house

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    Amber laughed hard. Jessica could hear her sniggers over the line, and she couldtell it was not funny, not at least for her. Suddenly, she felt a chiming soundof keys over the line.

    Babo! I got your keys, Jessica, keke~ Amber chuckled, Better get them here!

    Before she could hear more of Ambers laughter, she quickly pressed the End button o

    f her cellphone. She breathed in the gentle breeze that blew some strands of hair away from her face, then let out a loud sigh as she slowed down her pace alongthe sidewalk. She was determined to calm herself down, for the sake of her cousin. After all, she didnt want Amber to go back to U.S. with a broken nose, or maybe, in a gurney with all the needles stuck to her. The back of her mind smirkedat the thought.

    Whats up with that? Sooyoung said as she stirred her spoon into the cup she was holding. Her patbingsoo melted even in the late afternoon sun, leaving some gelatinfloating at the brim of Sooyoungs cup.

    Nothing, just my stupid cousin. Jessica muttered.

    Well, that surely adds to the stress, Sooyoung chuckled, What more if youre at Korean Gazette by now?

    Jessica smiled weakly. I know, I know, it was all a mistake, she replied, I love myjob.

    Sooyoung then stopped at a signpost which said, BUS STOP. She then waved at Jessica.

    It seems Im staying here to wait for my bus home, the shikshin said, See you again tomorrow morning.

    Okay, bye.

    Soon, Jessica was walking alone, oblivious to the people who were going in the opposite direction, probably headed for home.She gazed at the same old sidewalk where she and Yuri used to walk together during late afternoons. Although the remaining light from the sun shone among the thinned clouds in the sky and warmed her up, it was nothing compared to the warmththat her Kwon Yuri could give her. While the sun can give the warmth that anyone in the world needed, Yuri gave her one that only sheJessica Jungneeded most.

    A year had passed.

    It seemed to Jessica that Yuris assignment in Shanghai turned out to be longer than usual. Sure, she was able to receive an occasional e-mail from her girlfriendfor the first few months, but after that, she didnt hear anything from her anymore. Worse, the six months passed by, but Yuri didnt come home. Jessicas hope was hanging by a thread. The only thing she held on to were the words she told Yuri,

    I trust you.

    The ice princess again sighed when she stood in front of the library. It reminded her of the day when she peeked over Yuris notes on microfinance, and found, crossed out by a thin line,

    if only she would be nice, then maybe she could be my woman.

    Jessica laughed to herself at the ongoing nostalgia in her head. She barely madeout in her mind Yuris confused expression the day she first pecked her on the ch

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    eek and ran away. Then, she shook her head, only to find Amber standing a few meters from her, dangling her keys mischievously.

    YAH! You brat! Come here!

    Jessica ran and chased Amber to the entrance of the library. Just then, she sawa familiar figure walk out of the door, causing her to stop in her tracks. Amber

    handed the stranger at the door the keys and a high five.

    Meanwhile, the stranger looked at the auburn-haired girl and smiled. Her black hair, slightly longer than the usual, flowed smoothly to the gentle breeze as shefixed her eyes on Jessica. It was the gaze that took her breath away. The girlgently threw her arms out and smiled.

    Jessica smiled back at the beautiful stranger in front of her. She sprinted towards the person at the door, her eyes beginning to tear up as she held out her hands, ready to return the girls hug. She didnt need a pair of reading glasses to see who it was.Soon, Jessica found herself in that warmth she was longing for a year.

    It was when she finally learned what trust is.

    the end