Summary: Sooyoung’s life can be described by knowing just a little about 4 different guys and the four different seasons. Four men representing the seasons of Choi Sooyoung’s life.
They say everything starts in spring. Flowers bloom in spring, animals come out from their hibernation, and even humans seem to want to start anew in this season, and by starting anew, they clean their homes, they clean their lives; hence the term spring cleaning. Spring cleaning is not fun, any kind of cleaning is not fun. One gets dirtied in the process of cleaning, which is kind of ironic, to be honest, but Sooyoung was one of those people who didn’t mind cleaning.
For Choi Sooyoung, a girl who has smiles brighter than the sun, and height way too tall for her age, spring comes in the form of a dimply, tall boy named Choi Siwon.
It was time to break out the cleaning solutions, sweep the dust of the past winter away and fix broken things. Yep, it was time for spring. Seven-year old Choi Sooyoung, was excited as hell for spring cleaning, for her, it meant watching her mother tend to the pretty, new flowers in the garden and help her father in unearthing her old toys and bringing them to the local orphanage as donations.
“Sooyoung-ah,” her mother calls from the garden, and she comes running out of the house.
“Yes, umma?” she asks.
“Your father’s dropping by the orphanage later, have you sorted your things?”
“I’m not yet done,” she replies.
“Then bring out the things you have to sort and do it here, okay? Your father placed the boxes in the car, so you just have to sort them by the garage,” her mother says.
Sooyoung complies with a nod, and goes back inside. A few minutes later, she comes out, arms full of used books and toys. She was on her way to their garage when someone suddenly shouts.
“Hey you!” a boy, Sooyoung squints, calls out to her from the opposite side of the street. She ignores it of course, because she was carrying lots of things, and she really can’t stop to chat; besides, umma always told her that she was not to talk to any strangers. So, she continued on her way, and when she reached the car, she put down her toys on the side, fishing out her father’s keys from her pocket.
Inserting the key was easy, but it was opening the trunk that was hard because it was just too heavy for her. She was about to call her father for help when someone suddenly opens the trunk for her. It was the boy who called out to her.
“Hey, you’re not supposed to be here!” Sooyoung narrowed her eyes, the fact that the boy just helped her was ignored.
The boy, who was taller than her and who had some interesting eyebrows, chuckled at her and shrugged, “I’m new here,” he said, Sooyoung huffed in response. “And I saw that you couldn’t open the trunk so I decided to help you. Umma told me that I should always help people in need,” he earnestly said, shoving his hands into his shorts pockets.
Sooyoung pursed her lips. They had a new neighbour? She didn’t know. “Oh,” was all she could say.
They stood there, Sooyoung silently observing him, and him looking at anywhere but her.
“So...” he started, hand scratching his head, at a loss for what to do.
“I’m Choi Sooyoung,” she says, hand thrust forward towards him. “You are?”
“Choi Siwon,” the boy says, shaking her hands eagerly and a dimpled smile breaking out of his face.
Sooyoung smiles back at him, happy to have made friends with someone new. “Well then, Choi Siwon, help me get my toys in here?”
Siwon only smiles in response, and they proceed to dig into her pile of old toys and books, neatly placing them in the box in her father’s car.
Ever since that spring, Siwon and Sooyoung have been inseparable. Growing up together, going to school together and playing together. Since they are both too tall for their age and have bright personalities, a lot of people thought they were related. At first they were embarrassed whenever they were asked if they were related, but then as time passed by and they grew closer together, they weren’t bothered anymore.
It was their first day in elementary school. For Sooyoung, it meant saying goodbye to her old preparatory school and naptimes; and saying hello to the challenges of being a first-grader. For Siwon, it meant starting anew in a school where he knows no one but Sooyoung, so it wasn’t unusual for them to be seen together.
“Choi Sooyoung?” the teacher calls out, checking the attendance.
“Here!” seven year old Sooyoung says as she raises her hands up without looking in front, intent on beating Siwon, who was seating next to her, in a game of tictactoe. She was O and Siwon was X, and currently, their 3 by 3 grid was a bit too full of X for her liking.
“Choi Siwon?” the teacher calls out next.
“Here,” Siwon says, standing up bowing his head, because he’s been taught to greet older people properly and because he’s just polite like that; Sooyoung takes it as a chance to erase one of Siwon’s X and replace it with her O. She smiles at him a bit too brightly when he sits back down, Siwon doesn’t suspect anything, but he does notice his X’s decrease. He just puts an X on another box.
“I win,” Sooyoyung says, as she draws an O, and crosses out the row she completed. Siwon pouts. Sooyoung’s been winning thrice in a row now.
“You cheated,” Siwon points out, bitter at losing.
“I did not!” Sooyoung indignantly says.
Siwon pouts at her, she only pulls a face at him, he starts chanting cheater under his breath. Sooyoung, in retaliation, starts teasing him with chants of loser.
“Choi Sooyoung, and Choi Siwon,” their teacher suddenly calls their attention and the two break up their mocking, looking at the teacher in askance. “Are you two related?”
Sooyoung blushes in response, shaking her head; while Siwon stutters out a no.
“Oh well,” the teacher shrugs, “I thought you were related,” and with that she moves on to the roll call.
“Are people in this school dumb or did they miss the announcement that we aren’t related in any way?” she asks him one day as they sit under a tree they usually frequent for lunch.
Siwon shrugs, bringing out two lunch packs his mother made for them. He hands one to Sooyoung in exchange for the milkshake she gives him. It’s been their routine for years. They alternately bring each other lunches and milkshakes, today was Siwon’s turn to provide food while Sooyoung was in charge of drinks.
“Why?” Siwon asks. “What did they do now?”
They’re in their last year of elementary and both thought they’re past the point of awkward formalities and honorifics, so it comes as a surprise to him when she suddenly complains about people thinking they were cousins, or siblings. He thought she was okay with it, he was fine with it, and he really didn’t mind what other people think.
“There’s this girl,” Sooyoung starts. “And I don’t like her.”
He nods. Sooyoung wasn’t particularly fond of girls in her class except for the three girls she hangs out with, Yuri,Yoona and Seohyun. “Okay?”
“She likes you,” she deadpans.
“How can you even say that?” Siwon asks her.
“Well,” she says, munching on the sandwich, “I did say I didn’t like her. And, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like me either. It’s no big deal. But then now, she gets all, ‘Oh, Sooyoung-ah!’ at me and starts asking questions about you.”
“Still doesn’t say she likes me,” Siwon shrugs, going back to his sandwich.
“Are you thick?” she scoffs at him. He raises his eyebrows in a comical sort of way. “Of course she likes you. Any girl who asks about a guy like that likes the guy she asks about.”
“Fine, so if she does like me, I don’t see why people thinking of us as related is related to this.”
“You are dumb.”
“Well, let me spell it out for you. She likes you. People think we’re related. She hears what people think. Now she thinks she needs to get to me just so she can get to you.”
“And that’s your problem because?”
“BECAUSE I HATE HER. UGH. Siwon why are you my friend?”
“Because I feed you?”
“Not everyday, you don’t!”
Siwon shrugs. “So this is my problem because?”
“Because she likes you. She doesn’t like me. Who do you think should she go to? Of course you! Not me.”
“So what do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know? Get her off my back? I just can’t stand her.”
He narrows his eyes at her. “Tell her we’re not related then.”
“Too thick to process it. I already told her, she thinks I’m being overly protective of you.”
“Well, tell her we’re going out?” he asks. Sooyoung chokes on her sandwich and Siwon proceeds to thump her on her back.
“Are you kidding me?” she splutters out.
“You hate me right? You want me to get mobbed by girls and you want me to be killed.”
“Why would you be killed?”
“You’re the school’s heartthrob. People, girls specially, will kill to be in my shoes if we really are dating. No, scratch that. They’d kill me if ever I say we’re dating.”
“It’s not like, I’m gonna get you killed,” he shrugs in response. “That’s why I’m here, right? To protect you?”
“You really do hate me!”
“Then what do you want me to do?”
“Tell her we’re not related, Shibrows,” she said as she plucks out the sandwich he was about to bite into from his hands. Siwon looks at her, upset over the fact that he just had his lunch stolen again from him, and resolves to confront the girl who “likes” him and tell her about him and Sooyoung. But then, he can’t help but wonder why Sooyoung would not pretend to go out with him? It’s not like he won’t really protect her from all those kids and those rumors if ever that happens. The last thing he wants to happen to her is for her to get hurt because of him.
You know those kinds of friendships where friends are just so comfortable with each other they can do anything they want? Well, that’s the kind of friendship Siwon and Sooyoung has.
“Don’t kill me,” Siwon says when he sees Sooyoung approach him.
“Okay, chill out,” Sooyoung says as she gets the cup of coffee Siwon’s been drinking from. “I’m only here to smooch off you not murder you.”
He looks at her with this kind-of-kicked-puppy look. “Okay, so uhm Choi Sooyoung,” he starts.
“Yes, Choi Siwon?”
“I kind of did something wrong.”
Sooyoung laughs. Then stares at him and laughs again. “You? Doing something not nice? Okay then, I
guess there’s a time for everybody.”
“I’m being serious, I really did something you would kill me for.”
“I won’t kill you,” Sooyoung confirms and Siwon smiles a bit too weakly for her liking. “Okay, maybe I will kill you if you continue fiddling with your thumb like you just told everyone we were dating so that you can get some girl off your back.”
Siwon gulps and wonders when Sooyoung got so smart. Sooyoung looks at him expectantly, and he considers running away for his dear life. She smiles at him but he knows that she definitely figured it out and that her smile is not one of happiness. “I think, I should go,” he says. “Uhm, Yesung sunbae is looking for me and...”
Everyone around them be damned, that’s what Sooyoung thought at the moment she launched herself at Siwon, as she sits on top of him effectively pinning him to the ground. To others, this would only support the rumor Siwon himself made about them. Sooyoung was pretty sure she heard someone coo at their apparent “sweetness”, she made sure Siwon would regret pretending to be her boyfriend.
“So boyfriend,” Sooyoung mocks Siwon who was nursing a black eye thanks to her of course.
“Yes, Sooyoung?” he asks her, a bit wary of what she wants. Ever since they started pretending to be in a relationship, Sooyoung has been increasingly demanding of him (and it’s only been an hour). She says they have to keep it real. And by keeping it real, it only meant that he had to be so crazily in love with her and practically become his slave.
“You never did tell me why you spread those rumors about us,” she says.
Siwon gulps, he’s been gulping a lot this day. “The nurse told me to rest,” he says dejectedly. “Please, let me rest,” he says pleadingly, “besides, don’t you have to go to class?”
“No, no,” Sooyoung says with a grin. “To play the part of your perfect girlfriend, I, of course with the permission of our lovely school nurse, asked to be excused from classes. You see, a good girlfriend can’t just up and leave her boyfriend in need right?”
“That’s right , my boyfriend. You have me here looking after you!” she says, making kissy faces at him.
“I’d probably suffer more damages when I have you looking over me,” he says, resting on the bed. Sooyoung doesn’t bother helping him.
In their second year of high school, Sooyoung finds herself worthy to be called an actress when they staged their own dramatic breakup on their “second” anniversary.
“Two years,” Sooyoung tearfully says as she looks at Siwon. She was trying her best not to laugh as she watches Siwon look downtrodden, in all honesty, she only thinks Siwon looks constipated; and trust her, she’s seen Siwon constipated. “We had two good years, together right?”
Siwon doesn’t reply. It was in their script. He was not to make any assertions so that they can make him successfully look like a bad person. People were gathering around them, everybody wants to know what’s gonna happen to their year’s “golden couple”.
Siwon walks away, muttering an apology, while mentally patting himself on the back for an act well done. He can hear her sobbing and he reminds himself to invite Sooyoung to the acting classes he’s been attending. They could use an actress like her. He could also hear her long-time friends comfort her. She sounded pathetic, sobbing to her friends like that, but it was okay, she did ask for 1 month free lunch, dinner and snacks in compensation for having her womanly pride crushed (her words not his).
“Yah,” someone taps him on his shoulder. He turns around only to be met with a punch.
“Yuri-ah!” Siwon can hear Yoona scream, another one of Sooyoung’s friends, as she stops Yuri from pummelling him.
“That’s what you get for messing up our girl!” Yuri spats at him as they walk away from him and onto where Seohyun was comforting Sooyoung.
Siwon stands, staring dumbfounded at them. Well, that was certainly not in the script.
“That was fun,” Sooyoung says as she jumps on the sofa where Siwon plastered some cold cut on his face. The punch Yuri gave him did a good number on him she thinks as she pokes the meat slab on his face. Siwon groans underneath and slaps her hands away blindly. “Thanks for this mocha-frap,” she says.
“I was so exhausted from that fake-crying.”
“Poor you,” he says, he gets a punch in the arm in response. “Hey! We’ve broken up, you can stop your physical abuse now!” The only thing Siwon would probably miss in their fake-relationship was Sooyoung’s punches. But who was he kidding? Sooyoung would probably use their fake break-up to abuse him even more.
“We were quite the good actors, right?” she says as she brings her feet up to Siwon’s lap. He doesn’t answer. “I mean, Yuri was so mad, I was honestly surprised that she punched you.”
“Yeah, me too. Thanks to her, I can’t show up my face in school tomorrow, who knows what she got for me?”
“Don’t worry, I told her it would only hurt me if she punches you again. Something about me not wanting to see you hurt.”
“No, thank you,” she says as she lifts off her feet off his lap and proceeds to cuddle next to him. “Now that we’ve officially broken up, and I’m back on the market, maybe, just maybe, I can finally go to Sungmin and ask him for comfort!”
Siwon removes the slab of meat from his face and looks at her incredulously. “What?”
“What do you mean what?”
“I thought you’re gonna be upset or something.”
“Why would I be upset?”
“Because we broke up and you can’t boss me around anymore?”
“Oh, well , yeah that is upsetting. But then, there’s Sungmin. And between you as a slave and Sungmin as a boyfriend, I’d rather choose Sungmin,” she says, shrugging.
“Okay,” Siwon says. Well that was quite a blow to his ego. Sooyoung only buries herself next to him, making herself comfortable. But, if she did genuinely like Sungmin, he wonders when she started liking him. He can’t believe it though, he’s been her best friend for years and they practically know everything about each other, how could he not have noticed if she had a crush on someone? He now feels guilty and selfish, because if he only knew earlier, he wouldn’t have insisted to pretend they were in a relationship just so she can pursue who she really likes. He kind of feels like a douche now. A douche who was selfish but hurt beyond belief. “Sooyoung.”
“Hmm?” she turns to look at him, and she’s inches away from his face, and Siwon just cannot be blamed. He kissed her.
Traditions are traditions and no awkward moments can break them. At least, that was what Sooyoung thought when she came to Siwon’s house two days after their “supposed” break-up and a day after their last day of classes for their second year. Siwon, however, didn’t realize this. Sure he wouldn’t want to break their tradition of helping each other out during spring cleaning, but he thought he doesn’t need a hand in cleaning this year especially if that meant having to face Sooyoung again.
He’s been thinking of what happened over the past two days, and to be honest, he’s quite relieved that Sooyoung wasn’t making her presence felt. Two quiet days he didn’t hear from her, and though he thinks it’s alright and it calms his mind, he can’t deny the fact that he missed her.
“Choi Siwon!” Sooyoung’s voice accompanied with her incessant knocking wakes up the dozing Siwon on the couch (he was up late again because of his movie marathons). Siwon rubs the sleep from his eyes and makes his way to the door, opening it to reveal Sooyoung with her bright smile and long hair tied in a messy bun carrying empty boxes. She shoves the empty boxes in his arms and he wonders what is happening.
“What are you doing here so early?” he asks with a yawn. It was a good thing that his parents were currently out, a second honeymoon they say (when in fact it’s been their 3rd second honeymoon since Siwon turned 13), or else they would have been rudely awakened by Sooyoung’s entrance.
“It’s spring,” she deadpans. “Time to clean!” she says as she pushes him inside the house. “We always do spring cleaning remember?”
Siwon nods dumbly as she follows her into their living room.
“Were you staying up late again watching movies?” Sooyoung asks as she puts the discs in their dvd cases, tsking at him. Siwon kneels beside her and helps her clean the mess he made last night, he can’t help but smile, it was times like these, he thought. “You didn’t invite me over.”
“I thought you were busy,” Siwon says, it was a lame answer, he knew that and Sooyoung knew that too, but he couldn’t say anything more.
“Busy my ass, you’re busy,” she says. “You’re not even picking me up from the coffee house anymore, are you trying to make our break-up realistic enough?” she jokes. Siwon smiles and ruffles her hair.
“I’m sorry,” he says as he stands up and puts the dvds in their dvd cabinet. Sooyoung follows him and helps him arrange the alphabetically.
“That’s okay,” Sooyoung replies with a smile. “I’m just glad you let me in today.”
Siwon nods, he himself was glad he let her in today. He thought that he wouldn’t be able to face her because of something called guilt and having her around would only spell awkwardness, but he was glad that the anticipated weird feelings did not surface.
After almost 12 hours of cleaning, Sooyoung and Siwon finds themselves sprawled on the living room couch, spent and hungry.
“Yah,” Sooyoung says as she nudges Siwon’s face with her feet. Siwon was sitting on the opposite side of the couch, almost ready to doze off when he suddenly feels his face being prodded with Sooyoung’s foot. He cracks open an eye and removes her foott away from his face. “If you don’t come over to my house tomorrow to help me clean, I’ll come by here and trash this place.”
Siwon laughs. “You wouldn’t do that, you’d think it would be a shame to have your color-coordinated arrangements destroyed just because I didn’t help you clean.”
“Try me,” she says, this time with a kick to his side and Siwon mutters an ow. Siwon rubs his side sorely, and looks at her reproachfully. Sooyoung only ignores him. “I didn’t think you’d let me in today.”
Siwon looks at her. She’s always the one to start conversation after all. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry?” she echoes.
“Sorry, for what happened the other day.”
“Oh that,” and Sooyoung’s mind drift off to what happened.
Siwon can’t be blamed. He was a guy and Sooyoung was a girl. He had feelings, and though he wasn’t sure how he actually felt, he was pretty sure that on a 1-to-10 friendship scale of feelings, he was rated 11. So when Sooyoung started talking about how she wasn’t disappointed with their supposed break-up, he couldn’t help but feel just a bit hurt, a bit offended; because he’s not even gonna lie, two years of pretending to be together really does throw some feelings into the mix. He just wasn’t sure how strong his feelings were, but he was aware of their presence.
He cannot be blamed when he thought that this would be the best time to kiss her. Now that they were out of their supposed relationship, he thought that this would be the best time to express his real feelings.
But. He didn’t expect her pushing her palms against his chest, pushing him away from her gently.
“I’m sorry,” she muttered, and just like that, she left Siwon staring at her.
“Why did you do it?” she was curious, she didn’t know why Siwon would kiss her. She once considered the thought that Siwon might like her because she never did know the reason why he would want to pretend to date her, but as soon as the thought crossed her mind, she dismissed it thinking that it was ridiculous. Siwon couldn’t like her, not when he practically knows every single thing about her. He knew about her bad habits, her preference in greasy foods, her love for football and all of her dirty tricks. How could he like someone who’s not perfect when he himself is perfect? Sooyoung didn’t know, so she just assumed that him and her would never happen for real.
Siwon sighed. He knew that this question would come out eventually, and to be honest, he expected it earlier; but then that doesn’t mean that he could still answer it. “Why what?”
“Why did you want to pretend for us to date?” she asked. “You never did tell me. For best friends, we sure don’t tell each other lots of things,” she says, shrugging.
“I don’t know,” he answers a second later. Sooyoung scoffs in response. I don’t want to tell, he thinks as he looks at her.
“Sure you don’t,” she says, but she doesn’t push it. If Siwon was anything, he was a man of reason, she’d know the reason sooner or later.
“How’s Sungmin?” he asks, he really did not want to talk about them, not when he doesn’t know anything, when he’s not sure of anything.
“He’s nice,” she says with a smile. It was the kind of smile she had whenever she would talk about the idols she gushed over, he would know, he witnessed it a lot. “He’s been taking me home ever since we ‘broke up’,” she says it with air quotes.
“That’s good to hear,” he says. “It’s nice to know someone else would take care of you.” But it wasn’t nice that someone else had to take care of her, that’s what he can’t say. He’s taken it upon himself to be forever there for her, but it seems like she doesn’t really need him that much. “He better be taking care of you alright! Does he need someone to orient him on your feeding schedule?” he asks, a smile playing on the corner of his lips.
“Yah, Choi Siwon!” she says as she throws a pillow at him. “That’s not funny!” Siwon only laughs in response. She feels her cheeks burn with embarrassment and then Siwon’s poking at her cheeks. She suddenly remembers their time as a “couple” and she briefly wonders why not.
“But seriously,” Siwon speaks. “I really wish he’s good to you; unlike me who’s just overall a douche to you,” he says with a strained smile. It was true, if he was a good pretend-boyfriend, or a good friend at least, then he would have known when to end their act.
Sooyoung sees him try his best not to frown and not to express his disappointment, but Siwon is not good at concealing his feelings; he never was. She creeps closer to him and lays her head on his shoulder, like they’ve always done, friends or pretend-boyfriend-girlfriend. “Oh come on, Siwon. You’ve been good to me. You’re good to me.”