I stare blankly at her for a while and then start laughing.
“You almost got me! Guys from my school moving in, as if. I didn’t know you could be this funny mom,” I say and continue laughing. When she doesn’t start laughing and just looks at me with a painful expression my laughter dies out. I realize that she is serious and I run a hand through my long wavy hair.
“When are they moving in?” I ask and she says Saturday. Which is the day after tomorrow. I sigh and she starts apologizing because she didn’t tell me earlier. But I’m not listening. I just turn away from her and leave the kitchen. On the way to the stairs I meet my father and I don’t answer him when he asks a question. I actually don’t even hear the question because all I can think about is how much I hate the fact that I have to live with classmates. It’s going to be a living hell and I will hate every second of it. But even though I’m mad I can’t help but feel a little curious. Who are the guys that are going to move in?
Saturday afternoon I pace restlessly back and forth in my room. The guys can arrive at any second and I don’t know what to do. Who are they? Are they in my class? Is it someone I know well or someone that are like strangers to me? I’m dying from the curiosity but still I don’t want them to come. Whoever they are they will feel like intruders and I don’t want them here. My life is peaceful and I want it to stay that way!
I hear the sound of the doorbell and freeze. They’re here. I run out into the hallway and listen.
“Welcome! Come on inside. Don’t be shy this is your home from now on,” I hear my mother’s voice and she sounds very friendly, “Heejin come down here and say hello!”
I feel my stomach tighten as I walk down the stairs to the living room. I look at the floor while I walk over and stand next to my mom.
“Greet them,” my mother whispers and I press my lips together. I lift my head to greet them but then my jaw drops. The three boys standing in front of me I never imagined to be the ones to move in. The basketball player, the genius and the boxer is standing in my living room while looking at me. Minhyun has a big smile on his face as usual. Aron looks at me as if I’m something he wants to eat. And JR looks like he wants to be anywhere else but here. Three of the most popular boys are going to stay at my house. I think I’m going to have a panic attack.
I feel my mother’s elbow in my ribs and I know she is mad because I haven’t greeted them yet. But I just can’t seem to find the words.
“She is shy,” my mother says apologetically, “but who wouldn’t be in company with such handsome young men?”
“Mom!” I say and feel embarrassed by her. Minhyun’s smile widens and he steps forward. “Hi Heejin, I’m Hwang Minhyun,” he says and reaches out his hand, “I hope we can get along well.”
I smile awkwardly and shake his hand. “And this is Aron Kwak and Kim Jonghyun,” Minhyun says and points at his friends. Aron tilts his head slightly and smirks. I take that as his greeting even though it makes me uncomfortable. JR on the other hand doesn’t even look my way but that doesn’t surprise me. I ignore him and look at Minhyun. My smile becomes friendlier and I tell him my full name.
“Pretty,” he says and I raise an eyebrow, “your name.”
“Oh thank you,” I say and feel shy all of a sudden. “You don’t have to be formal with me. We are the same age you know,” Minhyun says and I nod. “I know. It’s just that.. meeting you is kind of like meeting a celebrity. I feel like I have to be formal,” I say in a subdued voice. Minhyun burst into laughter and shakes his head. “I will take that as a compliment,” he says and I smile shyly.
“Heejin,” my mother’s voice brings me back to the living room and I turn my head to look at her, “why don’t you show them their rooms then I will prepare dinner.”
I nod and ask the guys to follow me upstairs. The first room on the right I assign to Aron, because it’s the room that’s furthest away from mine. The next one I assign to Minhyun and it’s just across from mine. The last room is right next to mine and JR gets it. He enters the room and puts his bag down on the bed. I lean against the doorframe and watch him.
“Do you want something?” he asks without looking at me. “Do you remember me?” I ask and he looks at me out of the corner of his eye. “Should I?” he asks nonchalantly. I feel a little hurt by the fact that he apparently just erased me from his memory three days after our encounter.
“If I say piano does that ring a bell?” I ask and finally he turns to look at me. “Not really,” he says and I sigh. “We met three days ago when I saw you play the piano after school in the music room,” I say and expect him to remember instantly. But it actually takes a few seconds before he realizes what I’m talking about.
“Oh that,” he says indifferently and turns away again, “did you tell anyone?”
“Of course I didn’t!” I say and he turns his head slightly to look at me. “Good, because it would be a shame to break that pretty nose of yours.”
I can’t hide my shocked expression. What did he just say? I don’t get a chance to ask him to say it again because he asks me to leave.
“I have to change my clothes so unless you want to watch..” I already left before he finishes his sentence.
Half an hour later we are all gathered around the table in the kitchen. The atmosphere is a little awkward and I can’t figure out why. But I notice that Minhyun and Aron look at my father out of the corner of their eyes. I can’t help but smile. They are probably very confused because a Swedish person with blond hair and blue eyes is living here. Maybe they have never seen a Scandinavian person in real life before.
“If you’re curious about something just ask,” I say and all heads turn my way. Minhyun clears his throat and asks with a nervous voice. “Is he your real father?”
I chuckle and say yes. “So you are a mixed race?” Aron asks and I nod, “I’m not surprised. Mixed races always turn out beautiful.”
I frown because of the flirty tone in his voice and he smirks before he continues eating.
“Where are you from if I may ask?” Minhyun asks my father in a very formal manner. “I’m born in Sweden but have lived in Canada most of my life before I moved here,” he says and smiles. “So you speak three languages?” Minhyun asks with an amazed expression in his eyes. “Yes and so does Heejin,” my father says and strokes my hair. Minhyun looks at me surprised and Aron raises his head so he also can look at me.
“If you understand what I say then come over here and kiss me,” Aron says in English and I snort. “As if I would kiss you!” I say also in English and Aron smiles very pleased. “You just got a lot more interesting baby doll,” he says and I grimace. “Call me baby doll one more time and you will have to say goodbye to your front teeth!” I growl but Aron’s smile only widens. “Feisty. I like it!”
I’m about to tell him something not very pleasant when my father interrupts our little “fight”.
“Now kids play nicely,” he says and I grind my teeth but otherwise keep my mouth shut.
During the conversations JR hasn’t said anything. He just sits there and acts like we’re not here. Is he planning on ignoring us while he is staying here? But on the other hand I don’t know if I want to speak with him. The conversation we had earlier wasn’t very pleasant and it’s not something I want to do again. But if I could have a normal conversation with him I would love to have a look into that complicated mind of his.
My thoughts are disturbed when my mother suddenly asks a question.
“So what is the reason for each of you coming to live here?” she asks and Minhyun is the first one to answer. “My parents just got divorced so I don’t feel like being around them right now,” he says and I suddenly feel very sorry for him. He always seems so happy but in reality he has problems and concerns too. He just hides his pain behind a smile.
The next one to answer is Aron. “My parents are always busy and I never really see them. It’s boring being at home all alone and I wanted to try living with other people that feel like a family,” he says and without the flirtatious tone in his voice I actually feel like listening to him.
Now everyone looks at JR and waits for his reason. He raises his head and doesn’t look at anyone when he speaks. “My house is far away from school and I’m tired of traveling back and forth,” he says and stands up, “thanks for the food.”
No one gets a chance to say anything before he quickly leaves the kitchen. I look at Minhyun and he shrugs. “He is usually like this. Even though he is rude I hope you will try and understand him,” he says and my parents both nod. I on the other hand am sure that no matter how hard or long I try, I will never understand JR.