Our break had begun… I stood in the lobby of my apartment building, waiting for Jae Joong and Yoo Chun. Yoo Chun had volunteered to send Jae Joong and me to the airport. Skye and Shoei had both left for their homes yesterday; Skye back to Kwangju and Shoei back to Kyoto, in Japan.
“Dress warmly,” Shoei had said to me, just before he left.
“Araso,” I replied. “You’re sounding more and more like my mother.”
“You’ve just gotten better. I don’t want to see you sick again.”
“I won’t. Jae Joong will take care of me.”
“Jae Joong works too hard, and he’s as susceptible to illnesses as you are. I’m worried that it’s just gonna be the two of you going for this trip. What if both of you fall sick?”
“I won’t,” I said. “And Jae Joong isn’t as weak as you think.”
“Just take good care of each other. Araji?”
“Nae,” I said, pretending to sound bored, and I laughed.
“Fine… I won’t say a word from now on,” he grumbled.
“Come on, Shoei. You know I’m kidding,” I laughed as I ruffled his hair. “I know you have our best interests at heart.”
“See you in a week,” he said, and he gave me a quick hug before he got into his taxi.
I waved as his taxi pulled out of the gates. I missed him already. Spending each day with Skye and Shoei has made me attached to them. They felt like family to me, and they were the only family I had in Korea.
“Which counter?” I asked Jae Joong as we walked through Incheon International Airport.
“Erm… there,” he said as he pointed to the counters where we were supposed to check in our luggage.
After checking in our luggage and getting our boarding passes, we walked into the immigration area to get our passports stamped. If you’re wondering why we haven’t been mobbed yet, it was because we were dressed inconspicuously; I was wearing a denim jacket over a simple tank top and jeans, and the same went for Jae Joong. I had a cap on, Jae Joong had pulled a beanie over his head and we both had sunglasses on. But if anyone were to be spotted, it would be Jae Joong. It was easier for me to go unnoticed, but for Jae Joong, it depended on his luck. The officer at the counter flipped through my passport and looked up at me.
“Going on holiday?” he asked me in Korean.
“Nae,” I replied.
I noticed that the officer was sort of trying to decide if I were really Sierra from S-Cube or not. Sierra is actually my stage name. It was just a name I went by, which eventually became my stage name. The name Sierra was not indicated in my passport and since it wasn’t indicated in my passport, the officer couldn’t be sure and he didn’t dare ask me, in case I wasn’t.
“Komapseumnida,” I said as he handed me my passport.
As I walked away from the booth, I saw that Jae Joong was already waiting for me.
“What took you so long?” he asked me.
“The officer was trying to guess if I was really Sierra or not,” I giggled.
“At least you can hide. My passport practically declares who I am,” he grumbled.
“Did the officer ask for your autograph?”
“Yes,” he sighed, “and it was for his niece.”
“Let’s go,” he said, as he put his arm around me.
We walked slowly through the duty free shopping area, on the way to our departure gate.
“Do you want anything?” he asked me.
“What would I want?” I asked him in return.
“I dunno… you girls are so troublesome… always either wanting or needing something.”
“Troublesome?” I looked at him incredulously. “I’m the least troublesome girl I know,” I said.
“Sure you are,” he smiled slyly.
“Yah… Yong-ung Jae Joong,” I said threateningly as I pulled away and stood there, glaring at him.
“Waegeurae?” he replied innocently.
“Shikkeureoptta!” I said sternly.
“Hajima…” he cajoled as he put his arm back around me. “I’ll buy you a drink.”
“Shiro,” I pouted.
“Sierra-ya… hajima…” he said in a pleading tone, and he kissed me on the cheek.
“What about the other side?” I smiled, as I pointed to the other cheek.
“No problem,” he smiled, and he kissed me again.
“Pabo,” I said affectionately. “Let’s get to that plane.”
Thankfully, we got a direct flight via Korean Air from Incheon to Prague. When we finally arrived at Ruzyně International Airport in Prague, I wanted to kiss the ground as we got off the plane. I hated long journeys. Just as I did on our flight to NYC, I managed to annoy Jae Joong by constantly making trips to the toilet, or just wanting to walk up and down the aisle because I couldn’t sit still.
It was a good thing that Jae Joong had been to Prague before, for the Prince in Prague photo shoot, and he’d maintained some contacts there. As soon as we walked out of the arrival hall, we were picked up and sent straight to our botel. What is a botel? It’s really a boat, on the river, and it’s rented out to tourists or whoever who wants to live on the south of the river in Praha 4 and 5. Jae Joong’s contact in Prague had suggested this as an option, and since the price was mid-ranged, not too expensive and yet not dirt cheap, we decided to splurge a little. Jae Joong had paid for my plane ticket, but we were sharing the accommodation costs.
I stared at the scenery of the city as we drove towards the botel. Everything in Prague had ‘old-world’ written on it; the buildings, the streets, they were charming and looked like they each told a story. There were also modern buildings in Prague; the Corinthia Tower, the Žižkov Television Tower with crawling babies on it, and the Milunić and Gehry's Dancing House.
“What are we doing tomorrow?” I asked Jae Joong.
“Hmm… how about going to the zoo?” he suggested.
“The zoo? I’ve never even been to the zoo back Korea.”
“I heard they had a great zoo here,” he laughed. “They had some special breed of horse or something, and they’re like the most successful breeders.”
“Jae Joong…” I exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were such a nerd.” I laughed.
“I am not. They told us all these stuff when we were here for that photo shoot.”
“And you remembered?” I asked him.
“It just stuck,” he shrugged.
“I wouldn’t have guessed that you would remember such things. You don’t even remember half the stuff I tell you about penguins and dolphins.”
“What about them?” he asked.
“Never mind,” I sighed.
When we arrived at the botel, we were left with the keys and we let ourselves in.
“Wa…” I exclaimed as I walked in, and I dropped the bags I carried on the floor.
“You like it?” Jae Joong asked as he came to hug me from behind.
“I love it,” I said, and I turned around to kiss him on the nose.
“Good,” he smiled, and kissed me lightly on the lips.
“Look at the view,” I said as I ran to the windows to look out.
We had a view of the river banks and the buildings and trees lined along it.
“Let’s buy a boat when we get back to Seoul,” Jae Joong said.
“And you’re gonna live on it?” I asked him.
“That’s a good idea,” he smiled.
“Michoso,” I laughed.
“Why is that crazy?” he asked.
“Whoever said that boats were practical?” he asked.
“I’m hungry,” I smiled, attempting to change the subject.
“Me too. Let’s go eat then,” he said.
Since we were both pretty tired, we found a nearby hot dog stand, and that was our dinner for the night. The hot dogs here were different from the usual ones we had in Korea, and even different from those we’ve tried while in NYC. They used hollowed-out French baguettes instead of the usual buns and the baguette was filled with mustard and ketchup before inserting the frankfurter. We ate while standing side by side, leaning against the brick wall along the river. It was pretty chilly in Prague, since it was the beginning of winter. Jae Joong and I were wearing wind breakers, but I still felt a little cold. As soon as we were done eating, we walked straight back to the botel.
“You’d better go shower first,” Jae Joong said, as soon as we walked in.
“It’s cold. I don’t wanna shower,” I whined.
“We were just caught in a drizzle. You’d better shower or you might get sick,” he said as he combed his fingers through my hair, and he kissed my forehead.
“Araso,” I sighed and I walked off to dig through my bags for my clothes and toiletries.
It was almost 12am by the time we were done showering. We snuggled on the bed with the covers pulled up to our chins as we flipped through the channels on the television. The only channel we understood was CNN, and there were all sorts of weird programs on the other channels speaking languages we didn’t understand.
“I should’ve brought my laptop,” I said.
“It would’ve been troublesome to lug around.”
“Hmm…” I murmured, as my eyes started to close on their own accord. I was getting sleepier by the minute.
“Erm… Sierra,” Jae Joong said, and I opened my eyes to look at him.
“What?” I yawned.
“Look at what’s on TV,” he said.
I turned to look at the television and there were videos of naked girls prancing around.
“Are they actually advertising porn?” he said, as he stared at the television.
“I think so. Otherwise, what are those numbers for?”
“Omigod… the girls are so…”
“Ugly? Fat?” I laughed.
“Yea… and their expressions…”
“Bad acting,” I laughed. “Switch the channel.” I said.
“Are those real?” he said.
“What do you think?” I said sarcastically. “Can we change the channel?”
“Chamkan… I’ve never seen this before.”
“Like hell you haven’t!”
“They don’t have such stuff in Korea.”
“Are you telling me you’ve never watched porn in your entire life?”
“This is different.”
“Yah! Kim Jae Joong! You’re actually gonna watch this with me sitting beside you?”
“What’s wrong with that?” he asked.
“I don’t want to watch this!” I exclaimed, and I grabbed the remote control from his hands.
“Andoe!” he yelled dramatically as I turned off the television.
“Pyeont’ae!” I pinched his arm.
“Aahh!” he yelled and rubbed the spot I’d pinched. “I was just curious.”
“Go to bed,” I said.
I slid down the bed until my head touched my pillow.
“Sierra…” he said softly, as he put his arms around my waist and pulled me close to spoon me.
“Go to sleep,” I said, without opening my eyes.
“I know what you’re gonna say. Save it,” I mumbled.
“Hmmph…” he sniffed, and he turned off the bedside lamps. “Good night,” he whispered and kissed my hair.
I turned around in his arms and moved closer to him until I could lay my head against his chest.
“Good night,” I whispered, and I fell asleep within the minute.