She laughed a loud, hearty laugh. That was the first time I saw her. I was having lunch with a friend and her laugh was loud enough to cause people to turn and look at her. She was sitting on the table by my friend’s chair and I could easily see her when leaned to the side a little. I paid attention, slightly curious as to what was so funny. She was on her phone, now with a hand over her mouth, struggling hard to keep herself from laughing aloud again. She seemed oblivious to the people around her at the moment and she had started talking with a smile on her face. I thought she was cute, and then I looked at my friend.
“Gong Yoo, You should stay here while you can,” my best friend said in Korean, our native language. “It’s a good chance to explore, gain experience and enjoy yourself.” He leaned back against the back of his chair and tilted his head to look at someone behind me for a split second before focusing on me. “You’re on vacation; you might as well have fun, right?” He dragged his glass of iced tea from the table and took a sip. “Meanwhile, I’ll take care of things and come back and fetch you as soon as I can.”
I shook my head. “What am I supposed to do here? I hardly know anybody. I might as well go back to Korea and work.” Picking up my own glass of iced tea, I twirled it thoughtfully. I was here on vacation because I couldn’t get over Yoon Eun Hye. Ever since I worked with her in the show Coffee Prince two years ago, I couldn’t forget her nor could I even look at another girl. My manager was finding this problematic not just because it was starting to affect my work, but also because Eun Hye was not even interested in me or my feelings. She said it was all work and I was no more than a co-worker to her. It was my fault, really, for falling for her sweet charms and her nice personality before even realizing that she had her career in front of her and at that time, she just wasn’t ready to get distracted from her goals.
“Hey, stop thinking about her, man!” Jo In Sung shook his head disappointedly. “You can’t force someone to like you if they don’t like you, remember that.” He then took a long look at me and said, “Do you want me to bring your sister over?”
I laughed at his outrageous suggestion. “No, I don’t think that’s necessary. Besides, this isn’t her problem, I’ll deal with it on my own.”
“Maybe your manager? An assistant? Anyone?” he inquired a little desperately.
I chuckled before taking a big gulp of my drink. “No, no. I’ll be fine. Like you said, it’s my vacation, might as well enjoy it.” I smiled confidently.
“That’s the Gong Yoo I know.” He reached into his pocket and took out a phone. “I’ll call my manager and tell him I’m leaving in a week then. Hold on,” he said as he stood up and walked away, hastily chatting into the phone. He had a busy schedule and he visited me here in Japan. I’ve only been here a couple of weeks and already I’m finding myself getting bored, probably because I was too preoccupied with useless thoughts of my current situation, of Eun Hye, of everything. Jo In Sung came as soon as he was free and I was glad. Yet I couldn’t help but feel guilty for making him come all the way out here when he had project after project to work on. I watched him as he turned around and scratched his head.
I heard another snicker, distracting me from my thoughts. I looked to the girl earlier, still on the phone, but now she was doodling on the brown napkin on the table with a pen in her free hand. She seemed lost in the conversation not to notice me staring. She was all alone, eating a bagel and an iced cappucino. She didn’t look Japanese and she was talking fluently in English. She shook her head slightly, sighed and then quietly murmured something in Japanese. “Yeah, but that’s all over now.” For a few moments she was quiet, listening to the person on the other line. Her hand stopped doodling. Another big sigh. She was about to say something when Jo In Sung sat down and blocked my view.
He frowned at me, a little puzzled at the expression on my face and looked behind him. He raised his brows and gave me a thumbs up. “Trying to get over Eun Hye? That’s a good start,” he whispered.
“Shut up.” I drank the rest of my iced tea, silently wishing Jo In Sung had not interrupted when he did.