A sunset in the sky.
An empty classroom.
A fresh breeze coming in through the window.
A girl standing still with her white dress fluttering in the wind.
“Personally, I find boys with poor grades disgusting, you know?”
And her cold voice.
In the midst of a suffocating sensation, I opened my eyes.
The piercing white fluorescent light and the white ceiling came into sight.
Before I could even ask myself where I was, I heard a voice beside me.
My consciousness returned instantly with the sudden pressure to my chest.
As I looked down coughing, I saw a small figured girl burying her face in my chest, dishevelling her black bobbed hair. She wore a black school uniform that belonged to the nearby all-girls high school that was affiliated with the Jaran University College, which was known locally as Collegiate High.
She was someone I knew well.
Her name was Ahn Yeon-hee.
As my one and only little sister, she is the last remaining family member I have left.
“I... I really thought you were going to die! You weren't waking up at all...!”
“Ah... There, there.”
Although I didn't quite understand the current situation, I surmised something serious had happened from how Yeon-hee, one who normally had a cold personality, was in such a lachrymose state.
“So how did I end up like this?”
Looking around, I discerned that I was in a patient room inside a hospital, and that I was lying in a bed.
“Don't you remember, Oppa?”
Yeon-hee said, raising her head from my chest. I felt a little bad upon seeing how her pretty face had been smeared with tears.
“You were struck by a car... The doctor said you had no injuries or any abnormalities, but you have been asleep all this time... Unable to wake up.”
“Struck by a car?”
A traffic accident? I don't remember anything. Now that you mention it, it does kind of feel like my body is aching all over...
It didn't feel real, but I understood that Yeon-hee had been through a lot of heartache because of me.
“I'm sorry for making you worry.”
“It's okay. You've woken up safe and sound, and I'm happy with that fact alone.”
After saying those words, Yeon-hee once again buried her face in my chest. With a bitter smile, I patted her on the shoulder.
She really is the perfect little sister no matter how you look at her. Although I'm concerned about her slightly cold personality, she's an honest, well-behaved, and kindhearted girl who stays out of trouble. As her older brother, I'm happy that she has been worrying about me.
“By the way...”
Knitting my eyebrows, I turned my head to the side.
“Those two girls over here... Who are they?”
These two girls have been standing beside the bed since you first got here.
One girl was wearing a brown school uniform from Bigyeong High School, the high school that I went to, and the other seemed like she was wearing a sky-blue uniform from Eunyoung Girls High School that was somewhere around this area.
“W-Wait! Glasses! Don't you recognize me?!”
The girl in the brown school uniform shouted in a pressing voice, but I had never heard that voice before, either.
“And who might you be...?”
Beside the girl who seemed shocked, the girl in the sky-blue uniform spoke in a serene voice:
“Maybe it's because he doesn't have his glasses on.”
It's just as she said. Right now, I'm not wearing my glasses that I usually have on me. Regrettably, since my eyesight is 0.1 on both sides, distinguishing people's faces without a visual aid is not an easy task.
She reached out her hand to the shelf atop of the bed, and then held her hand out in front of me.
“Here you go, Sunbae. Here’s your actual body, here’s your glasses.”
“What do you mean my 'actual body'?!”
“Oh my, I'm sorry... Your actual body is that king-sized Holy Sword Excalibur between your legs, right?”
“Who the heck are you?!”
Of all the people that I know, there's no one that would say such nonsensical stuff to me.
No, there is one person if I am being entirely honest... But since he's a boy, if that gentle voice I heard had come out of his mouth, that in itself would've been something quite surprising.
With those thoughts, I took my actual body—I mean my glasses... And put them on.
I felt on a much more steady footing now.
“As I thought, you feel stable now that you have re-combined with your actual body, right?”
“Yeah, being connected to my actual body definitely—wait a second, no! I haven't combined with anything!”
“Yeah, being connected to my actual body definitely—wait a second, no! I haven't combined with anything!”
“I'm sorry, your actual body is that vicious Demonic Sword Stormbringer between your legs, right?”
“It's different from before?!”
To subdue my agitation, I looked at the two girls standing beside the bed.
“So who are you...?”
Then I tilted my head sideways again.
“Wait, Oppa, weren't these people your acquaintances? One of the girls was the person who witnessed your accident and called for the ambulance.”
“No, this is my first time meeting them...”
“So, you have nothing to do with them?”
Yeon-hee raised herself up, and then stared intently at the two girls.
“Oppa, do you know what day it is today?”
“It's Saturday, and it's 7 o'clock in the evening.”
I couldn't understand how that was of any importance, and continued to look at the three girls in front of me.
It was Saturday, yet they were wearing their school uniforms.
“Then why were they waiting for you to wake up, staying up all night without even thinking about returning to their homes? By the way, Oppa, you were struck by a car on a Friday afternoon, so that would be yesterday.”
I carefully looked at the two girls once again.
The girl from the same school as me seemed like she was of a gentle disposition. She wasn’t wearing much make-up, but she didn't look dowdy or sloppy, either. The image of her looking this way with her flushed round face and anxiety-ridden eyes was adorable.
I looked down a little bit and, despite her petite frame, her considerably ample breasts came into sight, but they didn't have an ounce of uncomfortableness or vulgarity that was often associated with the term “huge boobs”. In every aspect, they were smooth curves that showed off her girlish charms.
The other girl beside her was of pure and elegant countenance with her lightly-coloured hair lying loose down her back. She had been smiling tenderly just moments ago, but now she was looking this way with an impassive look. Was it because of her composed nature? She had an overall ambiance of an adult, but her face itself was on the youthful side.
Due to her near pale white skin and slender body, she seemed to be of ill health at first glance. Even then, her pure, elegant, and tidy countenance made it feel as though it was part of her appeal. She was, so to speak, like a 'delicate maiden in convalescence' from old romance films.
“I'm sorry, but I honestly don't remember...”
It's not like they had such ordinary faces that one would easily forget, but I couldn't recognise them no matter how hard I tried.
The girl from the same school as me raised her voice.
“It's me! Bigyeong High School, Second Year Class 6, Attendance Number 26, Yu... Yuyu!”
I was bothered how I stumbled over her name but, nevertheless I tilted my head sideways from how familiar her name sounded.
Yu Yuyu. I remembered.
I'd heard that name during the self-introductions in class at the start of second year, and it was a name I'd heard every day during attendance. To be honest, I still haven't memorized even half of my classmates' names, but I remembered her name because it was so unusual.
However, her appearance was slightly different from what I remembered. Normally her fringe would have been concealing her face, but now that wasn't the case, and judging by my faint memory, I'm pretty sure her breasts weren't that conspicuous, either...
Could it be that she's using padded bras now?
“Wh-Why are you staring at my breasts like that?!”
Looking close to tears, Yu Yuyu crossed her arms across her breasts. Then the long-haired girl standing beside her spoke with a sigh:
“He was a person who remembered people by their breasts, after all...”
“Even for men, you were remembering them by their breasts...”
“That's just going too far!”
I cleared my throat noticing Yeon-hee's glare from the side, then I turned to Yu Yuyu again.
“By the way... Have we spoken before?”
She made a shocked face with eyes wide open, followed by one with mixed emotions. Then she lowered her head, nearly crying.
“A-Are you... Doing this on purpose...?”
“D-Do you really dislike me that much...?”
I wondered what she was saying, but she closed her mouth after mutterings those words. Unsure as to why she did so, I was about to open my mouth again when I heard a voice from beside her.
She spoke with a serious expression.
“My name is Han Ka-ryeon. I’m a first year student at Eunyoung Girls High School. I currently work part-time at café 'Saint'. I'm your junior at your part-time job.”
That certainly is the name of the café where I worked part-time, but only the manager and I worked there on weekdays with the manger's friends helping out on weekends. There wasn't any other part-timers...
“Han Chae-ryeon, the café manger, is my older sister.”
“Ah, come to think of it...”
I'd heard from the manager before that she had a younger sister. That she was going to have her help out in the shop once she graduates from high school...
“So you decided to work at the manager's shop from now on? By the way, have we met before?”
As I asked her, she looked at me with narrowed eyes.
Then she opened her small mouth and asked:
“Sunbae, what month and day is it now?”
“Do you know what month and day it is today?”
I tilted my head sideways at the abrupt question.
“Let's see... The school's opening ceremony was last week, so if it's a Saturday now, probably it's March...”
As I was calculating inside my head, I heard Yeon-hee's voice beside me.
“Oppa, it's June right now.”
At those unexpected words, I turned my head and looked at Yeon-hee's face.
“What are you saying? There's no way it could be June already... I mean, school only started a week—”
I heard Han Ka-ryeon's voice speaking to me.
“It’s the middle of June. School started back three months ago.”
I couldn't comprehend what I was hearing.
“And it has also been three months since I started working at my sister's shop. You've taught me a lot of things during that time.”
Her cold voice continued to reach my ears.
“What the hell...”
At that moment, Yu Yuyu lifted her head and looked at me.
“I-Is that how it is, Glasses? Right now, you only have memories from around the time we started back at school?”
Yu Yuyu's eyes cast a forlorn gaze, reflecting her anxiety, disquiet, and despair from within.
Just with that look alone, I could tell our relationship was more than just mere 'strangers'.
I muttered in a shaky voice.
It was now June.
From the time between moving up to second year and now, three months’ worth of my memory were completely gone.
“I have amnesia...?”
The plot device I'd seen in countless comic books and novels had actually happened to me.
I couldn't remember anything about how I had lived or what I had experienced until now. A sudden feeling of fear passed over me.
“Calm down, Oppa. It's fine, there's nothing else wrong with your body.”
Hearing Yeon-hee’s voice coming from aside me was the only thing saving me from falling into a state of panic right there.
“It's just the shock of not being able to remember certain things for the moment. We just have to ask the doctor to take a look at it later.”
I was thankful of how Yeon-hee had talked so sedately to put me at ease, despite being surprised herself; what a sweet little sister I have.
After taking a deep breath to compose myself, I turned around to face Yu Yuyu.
“Sorry, um... Were we close?”
As I asked, she bit her lips and held her chest tightly.
“Don't you remember... Anything about me?”
“Sorry, all I remember is your name...”
“Even how I've always been chasing right after you as the eternal School Rank #2?”
I had no idea.
As I replied, her face became dejected with a great sadness.
“Even how we'd been eating lunch and studying together every day in the Audiovisual Reference Prep Room?”
It was something I could hardly imagine. Leaving aside the lunch part, I'd studied together every day with another person?
Speaking in a tremulous voice, she suddenly smiled. Unlike the expression of apprehension and discomposure she had before, it was a smile as lovely as to captivate my gaze subconsciously.
A lonesome tear trickled down her cheek.
“Even how we loved each other...?”
My eyes opened wide at this sudden revelation.
What she was saying was different than before. Despite having no recollection of her, the earnest emotion within her voice penetrated deep into my heart.
Seeing I was dumbstruck with my mouth agape, she made a complicated expression for an instant.
Then smiling once more, she spoke as another tear fell.
“You don’t even remember the fact that... I’m your girlfriend?”
From the side, I heard the sound of Yeon-hee holding back a breath. As for me, I couldn't even manage to breathe.
'She's my girlfriend?!'
This girl who's crying before my very eyes right now... I was going out with her?
It's unbelievable. How did that happen? It'd make sense if it was somebody else, but me going out with a girl? There's no way...
“Then you probably won’t remember me, either.”
Paying no heed to the serious mood, Han Ka-ryeon daringly cut into the conversation.
I replied without thinking. She looked at me and slowly sighed with an expressionless face.
Then staring at me motionlessly, she spoke without smiling nor crying:
“Sunbae and I have been going out.”
The patient room fell silent.
Before I could even understand the meaning of her words, she added in a serene voice.
“We promised our futures to each other... To put it plainly: I was your fiancée.”
Fiancée... I've heard that word before... That's weird...
Yeon-hee, it seems like your older brother's had a bad head injury... The meaning of the word is confusing...
“W-Wait, wait! Just wait a second!”
Yu Yuyu, who's been listening to Han Ka-ryeon's story, raised her voice with a dazed look.
She hurriedly took out her handkerchief from her pocket and wiped away her tears in the blink of an eye, and then went at Han Ka-ryeon.
“Eh? Ehh? What kind of nonsense is that? You’re saying you're his fiancée?!”
“That's ridiculous! Getting married when you're still in high school?! You think your parents would approve of that?!”
“It doesn't mean that we'll get married while we're in high school... After all, it is an engagement in every respect.”
“That's not the problem...!”
“And I do not have any parents.”
As though at a loss for words, Yu Yuyu stared at Han Ka-ryeon's face for a while, but then shook her head side to side and shouted again:
“An-Anyhow, it's just not possible! I don't believe it... Starting with how Glasses is even going out with a girl!”
“Oh my, didn't you also say you were going out with him, too?”
Unlike Yu Yuyu, who had a flustered look on her face, Han Ka-ryeon continuously maintained her calm attitude.
“In any case, it is true that Sunbae and I were in a relationship.”
“Bu-But Glasses has never mentioned this to me before...“
“Well, it is unusual to hear a man openly voicing that he's two-timing.”
While talking, Han Ka-ryeon turned her head.
“You see, I also hadn’t heard from Sunbae that he had a girlfriend at school, either.”
She said so with her eyes looking towards me. Following her, Yu Yuyu turned her gaze to me as well.
The two girls stared at me expectantly awaiting a reply.
But I couldn't say anything to them.
I'm sorry. Right now, I'm kind of having a mental collapse, so to speak...
At any rate, it's a situation where not a single word is able to come out of my mouth.
“Is she telling the truth? Were you really going out with her? Having gone as far as to get engaged?”
Yu Yuyu's tear-filled voice pierced my heart.
“Sunbae, were you really going out with this girl? Why didn’t you tell me?”
Han Ka-ryeon's scolding words shook my mind violently.
Yeon-hee, press that button and call the nurse. I think I need to get my head examined.
Look, doctor, what do you mean I'm two-timing...?
“I've had enough. I'm sick and tired of listening to your stories.”
What pulled me out of the morass of mental collapse was the cold voice coming from beside me.
“Oppa, just how long are you going to go along with this farce?”
It was Yeon-hee.
“You actually believe what they're saying?”
Having got up off the bed, Yeon-hee seemed a little angry.
“Have you even forgotten who you are, Oppa?”
She told me, who was puzzled, right out:
“There's no way that a swot like Oppa would've had a romantic relationship with a girl.”
Afterwards, Yeon-hee directed her attention to Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon.
“Although I don't know how close you've been with my older brother, you would be aware of his personality if you'd spent time with him.”
Glaring at the two girls, there was a clear hostility within Yeon-hee's eyes.
“He never associates himself with anything that would impede his studies. Of course there's his part-time job, but that's something that can't be helped due to family circumstances, and he always makes plans for even the littlest of recreations or breaks. That's just how he is, but to say that he was romantically involved? Moreover... With two girls?”
In front of Yeon-hee, who was scoffing, the two girls couldn't say anything. They couldn't deny what Yeon-hee said.
It's nothing to brag about, but I, Ahn Kyeong-hyun, am a human being who loves studying the most.
I'm well aware that I'm a unique case, but it's just that I get the same pleasure from studying that other students get from games or sports.
To me, test scores and ranks are the same as experience points and levels inside a game. In most cases, players experience catharsis when they are able to defeat a powerful enemy that they were no match for. Similarly, I feel the same when I'm able to solve a problem that I couldn't previously solve.
I feel content when I perfectly memorise an English word and its meaning. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I solve an advanced applied question. For me, the greatest reward in life is getting high marks on tests.
That's why I put my heart and soul into studying every single day. Of course, it's not like I have my nose buried in a book all day nonstop, but my life is centred around studying in every respect.
I wouldn't do something so high-maintenance as romance. Sure, it might be different depending on how one dates, but there's no way socializing excessively with another person would help me with my studies.
And there's also that bad experience I had a long time ago... Anyway, I can't possibly imagine myself being romantically involved with anyone.
“Then... Are you suggesting that we are lying?”
As Han Ka-ryeon asked, Yeon-hee replied in a resolute voice:
“You are lying.”
“Oh my, how blunt of you to say.”
“Do you know why?”
Yeon-hee said with a confident attitude.
“Because not once did my older brother mention to me that he'd gotten a girlfriend. This is the biggest proof of all.”
I held my breath after hearing her say that.
“My older brother wouldn't hide anything from me, so there's no way he'd have a girlfriend that I wasn’t aware of.”
Yeah, that's also right.
If I had gotten myself a girlfriend, I would have definitely told Yeon-hee about her, and I especially wouldn't have gone as far as to get engaged without consulting Yeon-hee.
That's because we're the only two remaining members of our family.
“That's because my older brother has severe sister complex.”
It's true that I cherish you as my little sister, but if you put it that way it's somewhat...
Although I do love my little sister, I don’t have a sister complex!
“Let me ask you,”
Yeon-hee spoke as though to push Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon, who seemed lost for words, into a corner.
“Do you have any evidence that you went out with my older brother? Even a witness would be fine.”
But Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon just kept their mouths closed, not saying a word.
“You don't, do you?”
To Yeon-hee's anticipative words, Yu Yuyu opened her mouth, flustered.
“That's... That’s because it's not like we went around telling people that we were dating...”
“I don't have any proof... It's not like we signed a contract, and I haven't really told anybody about our engagement yet, not even my older sister.”
Said Han Ka-ryeon, shaking her head slightly.
“If we were talking about a normal person, showing one's cellphone would have been acceptable as evidence. However, Sunbae is not the kind of person to carry a cellphone.”
She was right. I don't own a cellphone which everyone seems to have nowadays. It's a hindrance to my studies and I don't particularly need one.
But I got one for Yeon-hee since she'd be the only person I'd call anyway. I've been contacting her through public telephone whenever the situation arose.
“Even on the answering machine back home, there were never any messages from someone like my older brother's girlfriend.”
“Then, Yeon-hee, why would these girls...”
Their stories are certainly unbelievable, but then why would they lie about us being romantically involved? Isn't that just unnatural?
“Who knows? If it's not the case that they're playing a practical joke on you, then they probably have ulterior motives.”
“For example, to steal our inheritance.”
At that comment, Han Ka-ryeon let out a small gasp.
“That's such a horrible thing to say.”
“For the record, although it's true that we received our father's inheritance, its amount is only enough to cover our tuition and living expenses until we graduate from high school. That's why my older brother is working part-time and you won't get much profit even if you tried to swindle it from us.”
No, Yeon-hee, I think that's quite a considerable amount of money to a high school student.
“And you, didn't you say you're ranked second in your school? Then if my older brother's grades drop, you would be able to take first place.”
Seeing Yu Yuyu's face turning ashen, I immediately raised my voice:
“Yeon-hee, aren't you being too harsh h—“
“You stay out of this, Oppa.”
Yeon-hee said in a sharp voice.
“It's because you wander around like a klutz that you get yourself embroiled with these weird girls.”
Yeon-hee just called me a klutz!
I was shocked to hear those words from my little sister, whom I always tried to be a role model for as her older brother. Meanwhile, Yeon-hee continued:
“There's of course the possibility that you're really my older brother's girlfriend, but as long as you have no proof, treating you like one is out of the question.”
Yu Yuyu was trying to say something, but Yeon-hee paid no attention to her and continued talking:
“But before anything else, right now my older brother is suffering from amnesia from a car accident. The one who has it the hardest is my older brother.”
Surprised by Yeon-hee's words, Yu Yuyu closed her lips. Han Ka-ryeon's expression darkened also.
“Don't cause any further confusion for my older brother. If you want to talk, do so when he has regained his memory.”
After Yeon-hee spoke in a serious voice, the discourse came to an end with complete silence.
Having taken a shower, I trudged back to my room.
I sat on the familiar chair, then I leaned back and sighed.
What greeted me when I returned home after taking care of the formalities for my discharge from the hospital was a front door that was a bit different from what I remembered. There was also a pair of shoes and a flowerpot that I hadn't seen before. Even the bathroom I went into to wash myself had small changes here and there. I once again realized there had been flows of time that I couldn't remember.
The appearance of my room was no exception to this feeling, either: the desk and chair placed opposite to the door; the bookshelf placed on the right; the bed placed on the left; the wardrobe right beside the door... The arrangement hadn't changed, but still it didn't feel the same in many places.
“Three months went by, huh...”
I slowly looked around my room.
The desk was organised so that I could use it easily. A stainless steel pencil case holding ball-point pens and highlighters of various colours, pads of post-it notes in different sizes, and a personal organiser with a week's study plan written on it...
The bookshelf standing next to the desk was fully packed with reference books, workbooks, binders with printouts, and notebooks. I could also see a basket with vocabulary memorization notepads. There was also a section with novels and comic books, but their numbers were few.
My own personal space that I'd optimised for studying. Although it was a familiar place, I noticed there were pens and books that I hadn't seen before. Time had definitely passed here, none of which I could remember.
Now that I was conscious of the three months I'd forgotten, I recalled the two girls, Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon, who had each claimed to be my girlfriend.
Yeon-hee had said they were lying, but to tell the truth, it didn't seem like they were lying at all.
Of course I can't believe their stories just as they are, and though I was honestly hoping that they were lies... I thought they must have had their own reasons even if they were lying.
“And if they weren't...”
One of the two girls might actually be my girlfriend, or even both.
If so, their hearts must be burning with anxiety; not only has the boyfriend that they've been dating forgotten about them, but now there was also another girl claiming she was going out with their boyfriend, too.
Upon imagining their anguish, a small pang of guilt struck me. Of course it didn't feel real to me since I had amnesia, however I thought I should apologise if that really was the case.
But as I was pondering, it was also occurred to me that such a case would be way too unrealistic.
“That's right... Why would these girls want to go out with someone like me?”
Besides studying, I had no particular interests at all.
I don't watch television, and I don't follow who recent celebrities are, or what songs are top of the charts these days, but that doesn't mean I read a lot, either. I don't have an active personality, or a particularly interesting sense of humour, either. Just what would be so great about dating this kind of guy?
It's difficult to judge, but I don't think of myself as being particularly good-looking. As for my hair, the local barber has been cutting it as he pleased every month for as long as I can remember, and I don’t remember having particularly cared about my appearance. Of course, I'd picked my actual body—I mean, my glasses—with considerable attention to detail. Anyway, I think it's impossible that they would be enamoured by my looks.
I recalled the images of those two girls I'd seen in the patient room.
Contrary to her old impression of seeming dreary, Yu Yuyu was a pretty girl. The heartrending image of her smiling sadly at me was still vivid in my mind, and moreover she was... Very well-endowed.
And Han Ka-ryeon was a delicate, beautiful girl that appeared as if she had came straight out of a work of fiction. If she has started working part-time at the café, I reckoned there ought to be quite a number of customers now who would visit the café if only to see her.
For such girls to to be interested in me is a far stretch from reality. Then again, it could be that they're not really dating me out of romance...
After a chain of thoughts, I have come to conclude the following:
The current situation is awfully complicated and unclear. I should not make a rash judgement.
“Oh well, I'll just have to think about it after my memory comes back!”
I erased all the thoughts of the two girls that has been lingering in my head until now.
It's not like worrying will solve anything, and like Yeon-hee said, everything will be fine if I just wait for my memory to return. Who knows? Maybe a shred of evidence will appear in the meantime that might cast a clearer light on our relationship.
So all I have to do is to just forget everything and take it easy with what I must do.
What is it that I must do, you ask?
Feeling that I was getting a little excited, I took a deep breath.
But my body kept itching, like a drug addict experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal.
“Fuu... Stay still... My right arm...”
I grabbed and held back my shaking right arm with my left hand. It was obvious that it has been starving since my stay at the hospital.
“Because I'm about to get started...!”
I can study now!
Yahoo! Studying is the best!
“I've spent the whole day confined to my bed, which means I’m a day behind with my studying...”
I muttered to myself with my eyes sparkling.
When I usually return home from school I do an overall review of what I studied at school that day in class... Alongside what I personally studied during recess and lunchtime. After that, I start studying according to the study schedule I made by the week, month, and semester.
If I had an accident on Friday night, then it meant I couldn't have gotten any studying done that day at home.
“Since it's already late into the night and tomorrow's Sunday, I should get the studying that I should have done on Friday finished by tomorrow.”
Because there are cases where I'm unable to study due to being under the weather, I always leave the weekend free whenever I plan my schedule. On weekends I usually go over the notebook with the wrong answers I got on the test again, or answer questions on the mock exam by myself, or study freely with no regard to the schedule. If I wasn't able to work on my studies for Wednesday, then I'd find the time to do it on Saturday or Sunday.
“Okay, first let's get started...!”
I promptly moved my left hand and opened the top drawer of the desk. That was where I stored the sheets of binder paper I used for reviewing.
At the same time I reached out my right hand, and from the bag I'd placed underneath the desk, I took out the stuff that I should have studied on Fri—
I stopped moving; my left hand felt something unfamiliar.
The hand that I've just put in the drawer should have taken out A4-sized sheets of hole-punched paper from the inside, but my fingers had bumped into a hard object and stopped.
“What is this?”
I absently looked inside the drawer, then realised what I had touched was a small paper box.
Sitting still, I held the box in my hand and looked at it.
Then after I'd placed it on the desk, I stared at it with my arms crossed.
After a while, I opened the box with my trembling hands and placed its contents on the desk.
It just looks like some vitamin supplements—was what crossed my mind.
Inside the square wrappers made of opaque plastic, each section contained something round.
I wasn't so naive as to not recognise what it was, because we learnt about them in school.
“Why is this in my...”
I muttered to myself as if groaning.
“This is a con—”
I stopped halfway into the word, lest Yeon-hee would hear it outside my room.
There's no mistake about it though, this... This is your most typical contraceptive device.
It said it was a pack of ten on the box, but there were only seven inside.
If three of them were gone, then that meant...
Startled by the voice I heard behind my back, I jumped to my feet from the chair.
As I turned around trying to conceal the desk, I saw Yeon-hee standing there with a tray of bread and milk. It seemed she had silently entered my room.
“Yeo, Yeon-hee?! Wh-Why are you—?!”
“You haven't had anything to eat, so I thought you'd be hungry...”
Noticing my awkwardness, Yeon-hee stared at me with a suspicious expression on her face.
But I couldn’t let Yeon-hee see what was on the desk. I had to block her view at all costs...!
Without any hesitation, Yeon-hee pushed me out of her way.
Then she saw those ‘things’ on the desk.
“Th-This isn't what you think it is, Yeon-hee. Um, you see...”
Yeon-hee stared at those ‘things’ with ice-cold eyes. Feeling fear from her, I tried to somehow explain myself, but I couldn't even begin to fathom as to how as I had no memory of buying nor using using them.
Eventually, Yeon-hee put down the tray she was holding on the desk. She stood still silently. Frightened by her eerie behaviour, I stepped backwards without even realising it.
Yeon-hee gently raised her head and turned towards me, slowly drawing closer.
“Yeon-hee? What's wrong...?”
My legs that were backing away from Yeon-hee hit the edge of the bed.
Whereupon Yeon-hee stretched out her arms toward me.
Then, pushed by Yeon-hee, I fell back on to the bed.
Lying on the bed clueless, I was left speechless by the action Yeon-hee took right afterwards.
She mounted on top of me. With her hands next to my head leaning over, our eyes met.
It was an abnormal position that a typical sibling would never do.
“......I was going to stay quiet until you had regained your memory, but it looks like it can't be helped.”
“Yeo... Yeon-hee?! What are you doing?!”
Taken aback by my awkward position, I quickly tried to push her away.
However, Yeon-hee's cold voice stopped my course of action.
“This is the kind of relationship we have, though you may not remember.”
Due to the provocative position, an indecent thought flashed through my mind.
“This kind of relationship? What is that supposed to...”
“The kind you're thinking of right now.”
When I stared vacantly at Yeon-hee's face, unable to comprehend, a cold voice flowed out from her lips.
“I'm not related to you by blood. It’s been quite some time since we first crossed that line..”
I was shocked to the core.
“Wh-What are you talking about? We're...”
“Yes, we've always thought that we're just 'half-siblings', but in actuality I wasn't our dad's daughter, and I wasn't related to you by one single drop of blood.”
“Just what happened those past three months?!”
This was a major event that I'd never even thought of during the 16 years I had lived as her older brother.
“I've liked you since I was young, so I pounced on you without hesitation when I realised there were no more obstacles.”
“Why didn't you hesitate?! You're supposed to hesitate!!”
“Let's get started, Oppa. I've been holding back since yesterday—I'm at my limit now.”
“It's that much of an everyday occurrence?!”
There's no way my little sister could be this erotic!
“W-Wait, Yeon-hee! What has gotten into you?”
Struggling, I tried to get up from the bed, but it proved futile as Yeon-hee was sitting on my lower abdomen, holding me down by the wrists... She was unexpectedly strong, and my body was still weak from the hospitalisation.
“Not only are you a hard-working, model student, but you even used to be a student council president back in middle school due to your popularity. What's more, you are a proper girl who has never once went astray and caused any trouble despite growing up without parents. You're a mysophobe with a dislike for boys, who has turned down countless confessions. There's no way you would do something like this!”
“You were really turned on when you found out your little sister was actually a lewd girl burning to be embraced by her older brother.”
“Ah, I want to kill him. I want to kill my former self from three months ago...!”
Never before in human history has there been a more dire need of a time machine than right now.
“This is the real reason why I was able to come to the conclusion that you couldn't have gone out with those girls back in the hospital.”
With those words, Yeon-hee brought her face closer to mine. Her black hair flowed down and brushed against my face.
“The one who is your girlfriend is me, Oppa. Even those 'things' on the desk were used with me. ...There's no way you'd go out with other girls when you're under these circumstances.”
I swallowed my saliva.
If Yeon-hee's words were true, then this is a quite a serious issue.
It was revealed that two siblings who lived interdependent of each other without their parents weren't actually related by blood, and with the older brother accepting his little sister's feelings for him as a man, they become united in love. Assuming this is true, then Yeon-hee and I would have went through great agony and internal conflicts in the process. However, though we're adolescent teenagers in the full flush of youth, we wouldn't have just indulged in our desires thoughtlessly.
I would have certainly taken the responsibility for Yeon-hee. No, I must have. If what I'd done was nothing more than an indiscriminate impulse, then I really deserve to die.
Under those circumstances, it's impossible that I would have wandered around outside, dating another girls.
“You're mine... I won't hand you over to anyone else.”
Rendered motionless by the sight of her desperate eyes gazing at me, I could only feel the warmth and faint trembling from her buttocks.
Calling me, Yeon-hee untied the scarf on her uniform. As she subsequently unfastened the button hidden inside the collar, her blouse came undone and revealed her lily-white skin. Then, further below, a light pink lace...
“S-Stop right there!”
Suddenly, I heard a sharp voice.
Both Yeon-hee, who was lowering her body towards me, and I, who was immobilised, turned our heads and looked to the direction where the voice had came from.
Standing there was a person I didn't expect to see.
“Wh-What in the world are you two doing?! How could a brother and sister do th-th-that kind of thing?!”
Having entered the room, Yu Yuyu stood there with her face turning red with outrage. Behind her, I saw Han Ka-ryeon with a troubled expression on her face.
Wait a minute, this is our house... Why are they in here?
“You girls, how did you get...”
“I heard strange noises when I was about to press the doorbell from outside... I came in to check what was going on, but you guys were doing this kind of thing!”
Yeon-hee and I live in an old apartment house with access corridors. Because my room's window is situated on the corridor side, there were times where I would hear noises from the hallway.
Then the noises from my room would leak outside as well. Were they eavesdropping on our conversation before they rushed in?
No, that's not the problem here...
“You're trespassing. How did you get in through the door?”
Yeon-hee asked, grimacing. Um, Yeon-hee, could you get off me now? People are looking...
“Oh my, have you forgotten that I am his fiancée?”
Han Ka-ryeon then raised the small object in her hand and jingled it.
“I have a key, you know.”
With a surprised expression, Yeon-hee stared at the key in Han Ka-ryeon's hand.
Likewise, I was surprised too. I can't see it clearly because it's far away, but it’s probably a house key just like the one Yeon-hee and I have.
Why does she have a key to our house...? Don't tell me she's really my fiancée?!
“I... I don't know anything about that at all!”
Although Yeon-hee gave me a glare filled with a sense of betrayal, I had nothing I could say as I had no memory of ever making a copy of the key for Han Ka-ryeon.
If she had the key, does that mean she had been frequenting our house this whole time? Then surely Yeon-hee would have known.
“Anyway, hurry up and get off him already! How long are you two going to stay in that in-in-incestu—unwholesome position?!”
“It's not incestuous since we're not related by blood. Weren't you listening in outside?”
Yu Yuyu yelled pointing her finger, but Yeon-hee only gave a scoff of laughter in response. Rather, she lowered her body and completely laid herself on top of me. Th-This was way too close for comfort!
“As you can see, we have this kind of relationship, so there's no room for you to interfere. Even if you were really going out with my older brother, in the end he only went out with you to pass the time and nothing more. I'm his real lover.”
With her mouth hanging wide open, Yu Yuyu looked at Yeon-hee, who was pressing her body against mine as though to show off her relationship with me. Han Ka-ryeon tittered, and then in a silvery voice said:
“Oh, then we're very much alike.”
As Yeon-hee looked at her with a frown, Han Ka-ryeon smiled and said:
“I'm already engaged to you, Sunbae. We already did everything newlyweds would do since we're to get married anyway.”
I beg your pardon...?
Stammering in a shrill-like voice , Yu Yuyu looked at Han Ka-ryeon. but Han Ka-ryeon was simply smiling softly.
“Whoever had the true physical connection with him is his real lover... If that is the case, then the same goes for me, as I have devoted my body and my heart to him.”
“H-Hey... You're just joking, right?”
Waving her beautiful hair, Han Ka-ryeon shook her head as I asked in a shaky voice.
“My, my... How could you say such a thing? I'm heartbroken. You have to take responsibility for whispering all kinds of dirty things in my ear with your innocent face and fierce lust for me.”
Who is this person? Just who the hell is are they talking about?! It couldn’t be me!
“J-Just what in the world are you two saying?! H-How indecent...!”
Now with glistening tears in her eyes, Yu Yuyu shouted with an expression of disbelief.
“Then what about you?”
“You're not planning on saying that you're also in an intimate relationship with him too, are you?
Yu Yuyu flinched from Han Ka-ryeon's narrowed stare.
“Judging by your reaction... You haven't even had your first kiss yet, have you? That figures, considering how you're saying the relationship between a boy and a girl born from love is immodest...”
With her body shaking all over, Yu Yuyu seemed like she was on the verge of bursting into tears.
Seeing her in a disquiet state, I called out to her involuntarily.
But at that moment, with her face flushed red, she raised her head.
“I-I'm the one who is your girlfriend! W-We also did more than just kissing!”
And that was what she yelled.
“Wh-Why do I have to say these embarrassing things in front of other people?! Aren't they supposed to be private and kept as secrets just between two lovers?!”
Yu Yuyu spoke in a tearful voice, giving me a resentful glare.
“I didn't know you were such a playboy, Glasses! How could you do this to me? I trusted you...!”
“Don't call me that! I told you to call me Yuyu!”
As though she was unable to endure her overwhelming emotions, Yu Yuyu lowered her head and buried her face in her hands.
I wanted to say something to her, but I was at a complete loss as to what I should say.
'Just who on earth was I...?'
Was it true? Was I really a playboy who went around wooing these three girls...?
“Don't be fooled, Oppa.”
What snapped me back to reality was once again Yeon-hee's cold voice.
“These girls are lying so that they won't lose to the relationship I have with you.”
Having already gotten off me, Yeon-hee was glaring at Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon.
“Can't you trust yourself, Oppa? You wouldn’t go around and do these kinds of immoral acts. These girls are just being ludicrous.”
“My, my... You're not free from the burden of suspicion either, Miss Yeon-hee.”
“What do you mean...?”
As Yeon-hee frowned at her, Han Ka-ryeon covered her lips with her hand and smiled.
"It could be that you're lying to try to sever the relationships we have with your older brother because you don't want him to be taken away.”
“Why would I do something like that?”
“Because even at first glance, you seem to have a serious case of a brother complex.”
With frigid eyes Yeon-hee glared daggers at Han Ka-ryeon who was speaking serenely.
“G-Glasses... Is that true?”
Yu Yuyu, who was listening to the conversation, looked at me with a desperate expression on her face.
“You don't actually have a relationship with these two, right? That's what it is, right? You're not that kind of person, right?”
There was an earnest hope in Yu Yuyu's voice.
But I had nothing to say, I couldn’t remember anything.
“We do have a relationship. At the very least, I'm his younger sister, so I'm in an entirely different relationship than you girls by that fact alone. Plus, I even have a physical relationship with him as his non-blood related little sister. To him, I'm his only number one as well as his only one.”
“That is just your opinion. I'll have you know at once that I'm already engaged to be married to him as his fiancée. Our bodies and hearts are connected and we have promised our futures together— I will not back down.”
“B-Be quiet! All of you! Glasses is not a promiscuous person! There's no way that he has done those l-l-lewd acts with you! He's the kind of person who would only do those things to the girl he cherishes, wh-which would be me!”
I don't know what is what anymore.
Engulfed in exhaustion, I weakly muttered:
“Let's first move to the living room and talk there. Other tenants can hear us from outside, and I wouldn't want some weird rumour to start spreading...”
We have a good reputation with our neighbours as two strong siblings living by ourselves, and rumours will start spreading from tomorrow that our home is this apartment complex's hidden Sodom and Gomorrah.
After all the shouting, I was spent.
Heaving a long sigh, I sat down on the chair that I brought through from the kitchen with a thump, then I wearily looked around.
Yu Yuyu and Han Ka-ryeon were sitting on the sofa in the living room, and Yeon-hee on another chair that had been brought through from the kitchen. All of them had their eyes on me with equally studious glares.
They were the girls who had candidly confessed all sorts of stories... Even their first times, to prove that they were my real girlfriends.
“...Okay, I've made my decision.”
“What kind of decision is it?”
Feeling their tense gazes upon me, I took a deep breath and said:
“Let's break up.”
The eyes of the three girls opened wide.
“Yu Yuyu, I am sorry, but I don't think I'll be able to study and eat lunch with you at school anymore.”
“Han Ka-ryeon, I apologise if I had really made that irresponsible promise to marry you.”
“Yeon-hee, even if we are really not blood relatives... We are still brother and sister; we are still family.”
I raised my voice at the girls staring at me with various expressions on their faces:
“Let's break up! We'll completely sort out our relationships here and now, and then go our separate ways!”
That's right, I'll just end it here!
“It will only be hassle for me to continue dating any one of you when I’m still suffering from amnesia! Let's go our separate ways now! Let's just end it here altogether!”
“G-Glasses! Don't you think that's being a bit cruel after you have messed around with the innocence of all these girls…?!”
“But I can’t even be sure if I have messed around with them or not!”
There's no way I could treat all three girls as my girlfriends when I don't even know which one is my real girlfriend!
I must study! And there's no way in hell I can do that if I had three girlfriends!
“B-But it could be true! You have to take respons—”
“Okay, I understand.”
At that moment, Yeon-hee cut in.
“I respect your decision if that's how you want to settle this matter, Oppa. If you completely break off your relationships with these two girls, I'll give up on you as well. It pains my heart, but there's nothing I can do.”
That's my little sister for you!
I was moved, however Yu Yuyu was now glowering at Yeon-hee.
“You're thinking of seducing him again after you've kicked us out, aren't you? Even if we break off our relationships with him, you'll still be living with him anyway.”
“It seems your head is as full of fat as those breasts of yours, Uyu.”
“It's Yuyu! And don't you think you're crossing the line with your words?!”
“You're the one who's crossing the line. Unlike some pervert who does lewd things at school, I know how to control myself.”
“D-Don't talk as if I'm some sort of a nymphomaniac! I know how to control myself, too!”
Yu Yuyu shouted with her face flushed red, but Yeon-hee merely scoffed in return.
“Okay, then we'll settle this as th—”
“H-Hold on a second!”
I tried to close the conversation, but Yu Yuyu cut me off, once again raising her voice.
“Don't you want to regain your memory? I think your chances of suddenly regaining your memory will be higher if you're together with us!”
“Honestly... I don't think I need to regain all my memory right now. It'd be nice if I do regain it, but I think it can't be helped if I don't.”
Of course, it's not easy having amnesia, but... Judging from the current situation, I reckon it'll only become more troublesome as I regain my memory.
At that moment Han Ka-ryeon, who had kept silent until now, opened her mouth.
“I think it'd be better for you to regain your memory as fast as we can make it possible..”
“No, I do think it'd be better for me too...”
But it can't be helped since there's really no known easy-fix for memory loss and amnesia.
I shook my head from side to side thinking such thoughts, but at that moment Han Ka-ryeon said something at a complete tangent to what we had been focussed on before:
“There's a national mock examination this Friday. Sunbae, you've made plans in preparation for that mock exam and have been studying since time immemorial.”
I blinked my eyes at the unexpected development.
Let's see, if it's June now, then the National Achievement Test is probably...
Staring straight into my eyes, Han Ka-ryeon asked:
“I have a question for you: do you remember what you have been studying for the past three months?”
For a moment, I couldn't think of anything.
“What I have... Studied?”
“Well, Sunbae, do you remember? The materials you were studying according to your schedule like you usually do?”
Her relentless questions kept pouring in.
“The materials you methodically studied so that you would be able to take the mock exam with every subject covered, do you remember?”
I could hear Yu Yuyu's trembling voice.
“No way... Your memories of studying are gone, too?”
Yeon-hee looked at me with her eyes wide open.
I couldn't say anything.
Instead, I slowly slid down off my chair. Kneeling, I laid face down with both hands on the floor.
“My older brother is utterly distraught...!”
“Sunbae, although you can't remember, I'm sure you can imagine just how much three months of studying amounts to.”
My whole body was shaking like crazy... Compared to my disbelief over the story of my three-timing, I had never felt so devastated and helpless.
“Having forgotten all your studying must be a serious matter for you, far more than your forgotten memories about us. After all, your obsession for studying is beyond description.”
“Th-That's right. Glasses was the kind of boy whose obsession with studying seemed almost perverted in a way... I heard other girls from our class talking about it the other day. Saying that Glasses is a pervert who is so nuts about studying that he p-pleases himself while watching Internet lectures instead of adult videos...”
“Wh-What the hell are you saying...?!”
I involuntarily jumped out of my seat.
“Who is it?! Just who has been spreading those rumours about me?!”
I do what while watching video lectures?!
“I've always thought it was strange because there was nothing on your computer no matter how I searched... Could it be that you've been pleasing yourself while watching Internet lectures, Oppa...?”
“O-Of course not! In every way, your brother is...”
Han Ka-ryeon's spoke to me in her serene voice.
“You have mentioned to me before that this mock exam, which will be conducted on a large scale, is a very important exam. That it is the perfect opportunity to check if what you've studied has definitely become part of your intelligence, and to confirm for sure what rank you are within the country.”
“Th-That's right. Although I've also been more concerned about the mock exam this time since it's on a far larger scale than previous ones, Glasses, you've been absorbed in your studies to a frightening extent lately.”
“But, Oppa, if you were to take the mock exam this time with the last three months of your memory completely gone...”
I came over faint imagining the worst-case scenario in my mind.
I was about to fall on the floor again, but I mustered my strength and sat back on the chair.
“Then... What should I...”
I muttered in a shaky voice.
“There is only one thing that you can do, Sunbae.”
Han Ka-ryeon's serene voice reached my ears.
“And that is to accompany us and endeavor to regain your memory. We'll do the same things we have done as lovers until now and try to recall who your real lover was and which relationship is real. If your memory returns to you in doing so, then what you have studied should also come back to you.”
“This is the only method I can think of that could increase the possibility of you recovering your memory.”
If I redo the things I did during these past three months, it could lead to the recovery of my memory, huh... Sounds about right...
“B-But I have to study and—“
“Sunbae, let’s say starting now you studied non-stop without sleep until the day of the exam, it would still be impossible to catch up the three months of studying you lost. Even if you don't study for a few days, all you have to do is to recall what you have studied."
Han Ka-ryeon rose to her feet from the sofa and drew closer me, and then grasped my right hand.
“Now then, come here you two.”
As Han Ka-ryeon waved her hand, both Yu Yuyu and Yeon-hee stood up awkwardly and came closer to me.
“Miss Yeon-hee, you embrace him from his back.”
“Miss Yu Yuyu, you cling on to his left arm. Yes, like that.”
“Don't call me that! By the way... What are we doing...?”
Yeon-hee hugged me from behind with her arms around my neck. Small waves of her breath tickled my ear.
Yu Yuyu is clinging on to my left arm as though she's hugging me with her arms, and I can feel something soft.
Holding on to my right hand, Han Ka-ryeon leaned her shoulder against mine. Then she drew her face near my ear and whispered in a gentle voice:
“So Sunbae, you don't have to study for a while. Forget everything about studying, you only have to enjoy your time with us.”
“Wh-What do we need to do?”
“By the way, what's the meaning behind these positions?”
“Everyone, do you know what the most important condition is as to why he was able to establish his three-timing?”
Like I said, it's uncertain if I really was three-timing or not...
“It is that the our times together with him did not coincide with one another. That is why we have never met each other, but were dating him without the knowledge of each others’ existence.”
Han Ka-ryeon gave a sweet smile, and then said:
“So from now on, we will divide the day into three and spend them separately with him.”
She raised her three fingers.
“The time spent from 7 am until 4 pm at school is 'Yu Yuyu Time'.”
After I leave my house in the morning, I walk to school with Yu Yuyu.
“The time spent from 4 pm until 9 pm at work is 'Han Ka-ryeon Time'.”
After the school ends and I make my way to the cafe, I work alongside Han Ka-ryeon.
“The time spent from 9 pm until 7 am the next morning at home is 'Ahn Yeon-hee Time'.”
After I return home from my part-time job, I finish the rest of the day with Yeon-hee.
“We can have our romantic relationship with him without running into each other if we divide the time in this way. Then a perfect three-timing is established.”
“Don't call it 'three-timing'.”
“U-Um, do we really have to do it like this?”
“I don't really see why I should go along with this either.”
Smiling at the reluctant Yu Yuyu and Yeon-hee, Han Ka-ryeon said to them:
“If he cooperates with this plan and engages in romantic relationships with us, you could use the time spent together with him to take complete control of his heart so that he won't look at other girls any more.”
“W-Wait a second... What about recovering my memory...?”
And it's not exactly dating for real, okay?!
“Then let's get started; let's harem.”
“What the heck is that?!”
Come to think of it, what's with this arrangement? It looks as if I'm surrounded by these girls like a playboy with three lovers!
“Oh well, then. I'll prove to you that I'm your real girlfriend!”
“I will devote my body and heart to you, and make you fall deeply in love with me, Sunbae.”
“I won't hand you over to anyone else...”
Three maidens pressing their bodies against me as though to monopolise me... I realised only then that I was completely surrounded and tied down by them. There was nowhere to run.
How did this come to be? Surrounded by these maidens pressing against me to the point of suffocation, I let out a scream in my mind.
Aaah, I just want to study!!3. TN: A biblical reference to the two ancient cities that were destroyed by God for their sexual depravity. ↩
1. TN: 0.1 is the decimal equivalent of 20/200 vision, which is classified as Severe Low Vision. ↩
2. TN: An allusion to a 80s Korean drama series, Rustic Period. It's an over-used Korean meme. ↩
1. TN: 0.1 is the decimal equivalent of 20/200 vision, which is classified as Severe Low Vision. ↩
2. TN: An allusion to a 80s Korean drama series, Rustic Period. It's an over-used Korean meme. ↩
4. TN: 'Uyu' is Korean for 'milk'. We all know where milk comes from, right? ↩