There is an ice box where your heart used to be... you're so cold. If only you could learn to love again... if only you would love me like you once loved her... just once... that's all I ask of you...Ice Box ~ Part Two
She stared at the man who gripping her hand. He was tall, polished and good looking. He had on a casual grey suit, and sunglasses pushed up onto his head like a headband. You would never expect him to be a stalker or psycho kind of guy.
“Ajeosshi,” she said as she tried to pry her arm out of his vise-like grip. “Please let me go.”
“Jin Yi, it’s you, isn’t it?” he said.
Why won’t she acknowledge me? Why won’t she admit who she is?
“I’m not Jin Yi,” she said, “My name is not Jin Yi,” she yelled in frustration and finally, she managed to pull her arm out of his grasp. In doing so, she dropped the bouquet she was holding.
“You’re not Jin Yi?” he said.
“My name is Sierra. Are you drunk or something?” she said as she rubbed the part of her arm where he’d gripped her so tightly.
“Choesonghamnida,” Yun Ho said, finally awakening from the shock.
He’d wanted so much to believe that Jin Yi was still alive and she wasn’t. This Sierra girl really looked like Jin Yi. They were exact carbon copies, except for their hairstyles. Jin Yi had long hair that reached the small of her back, and this Sierra had short layered hair that almost reached her shoulders.
“Are you alright, ajeosshi?” she said as she peered at him.
He’d suddenly gone pale, as if he was in shock.
Shouldn’t I be the one in shock?
“Sierra,” a voice sounded from above and they both looked up.
A guy dressed in a black shirt and a pair of blue jeans jogged down the stairs.
“Oppa,” she greeted him.
“Kwaench’ana?” he asked as he came to stood beside her and put his arm around her shoulders.
“Nan kwaench’ana,” she replied.
“Who is this?” he asked her as he looked at Yun Ho.
“Erm… this is,” she started.
“Jung Yun Ho. Detective Jung Yun Ho,” he said.
“Park Jung Su,” the guy replied and extended his hand to Yun Ho.
“Nice to meet you, Sierra-sshi, Jung Su-sshi. I’ll take my leave now. Annyeonghi kyeseyo,” he said as he pulled his sunglasses down to cover his eyes.
“Annyeonghi kaseyo,” Jung Su replied, as he and Sierra watched Yun Ho walk away.
She’s taken… to think I actually mistook her for Jin Yi. She doesn’t even come close to Jin Yi…
“Who was that?” Jung Su asked Sierra.
“Just some guy,” Sierra said dismissively. “Let’s go see oma,” she said as she bent down to pick up the bouquet.
Sierra turned back as she and Jung Su walked down. Even from behind, he looked distinguished and poised, but he also looked depressed.
I wonder what happened to him. Who is this Jin Yi?
A week later, Sierra was standing in line at a café, waiting to place her order. She stepped forward as the guy in front moved away. The guy’s tray almost hit her, and she managed to step away just in time, but she lost her balance while doing so. She let out a cry, anticipating the impact of her butt and the ground, but someone reached out to steady her.
“Komapseumnida,” she said as she tried to regain her composure.
She turned around to have a look at her savior. To her surprise, it was the guy from the cemetery.
“Hello Sierra,” he said.
“Ah… hello…” she said. She’d forgotten his name.
“It’s Yun Ho,” he smiled.
“Miss? Your order?” the cashier called out.
“Excuse me for a moment,” she smiled at Yun Ho and turned to place her order.
They ended up having coffee together, and Yun Ho explained to her why he’d acted the way he did at the cemetery.
“Wow,” she said. “I look like your ex-girlfriend? That’s a little hard to believe.”
“We can always go back to the cemetery, and I’ll prove it to you,” he smiled.
“That’s okay. I’ll take your word for it,” she smiled back.
“Komawo,” he said.
“It must have been painful, then. Losing the one you love.”
“The pain dulls eventually,” he said wistfully as he stirred his coffee. “So where’s your boyfriend?”
“That guy you were with at the cemetery.”
“Oh… Jung Su oppa? He’s my cousin. We were visiting my mother’s grave,” she smiled.
So he thought I had a boyfriend.
“So you don’t have a boyfriend?” he asked her.
“Good,” he said. “Would you go out for dinner with me tomorrow?”
“Dinner?” she exclaimed.
Wow… that was fast…
“Erm… are you sure? Do you think it’s a good idea for you to go out with me when I look so much like her? I’m not partial to being a substitute.”
“You’re nothing like her,” he said. “You’re actually complete opposites, other than the fact that the both of you are friendly.”
“I don’t usually have coffee with strangers,” she laughed.
“That makes the two of us,” he said.
“In that case, dinner it is,” she smiled.
How much harm could a little dinner do?
3 months later…
Yun Ho slammed the door as he entered the apartment, startling Sierra as she walked out of the kitchen.
“Yun Ho,” she called out. “Waegeurae?”
“Don’t ask,” he said as he sat down at the dinner table.
She’d cooked dinner for him, and as usual, it was cold by the time he got home.
“Tough day?” she said as she came to stand behind him and started massaging his shoulders.
“Hmm…” was all he could say as he picked up his chopsticks and started to eat.
“I’m gonna clean up in the kitchen. Take your time,” she said as she walked out.
It’s been 3 months since they met, and a month since they got together as a couple. The first dinner had lead to more dinners, then there were movies, outings during the weekends and finally, a month ago, he told her that he really cared for her.
“You can’t be serious, Yun Ho,” was her reply. “You still have her in your mind. I know that I’m just a substitute.”
“Sierra, you’re not a substitute. I know who I’m looking at. I know who I’m talking to. You’re Sierra, not Jin Yi.”
“But will I ever live up to her?” she asked him.
“She’s dead, you’re here, and I love you,” he said, and he kissed her.
He’d opened up slowly these past months. She now knew why losing Jin Yi had been so painful for him. Jin Yi had only gotten close to him because she had been assigned to kill him. She still couldn’t imagine that someone could plot something like this; to pretend to care for someone, whilst planning to end their life.
It has only been a month, and so much has changed. She now saw a side of him she hadn’t noticed back then. Every night, he’d come home, stressed and moody. He refused to talk about work or how he felt. It was as if he didn’t trust her at all. Was this love?
She was loading the dishwasher when she felt him walk up behind her. She knew what he was going to do, and turned around to meet his gaze.
“Hey there,” he said and he put his arms around her waist.
“Hey,” she smiled.
It was always like this. After he’d had dinner and relaxed, he would come to her and he would be the Yun Ho she met at the café again. She sighed as he started kissing her neck. Despite him mistrusting her, despite the times he didn’t pay attention to her, they had chemistry, and there were good times too. The reason she’s sticking with him was that she knew that he just needed time to heal, and when his heart is healed, they would be able to be happy together.
She woke up the next morning and tiptoed around the bedroom, collecting her clothes and dressing up so that she could leave. She hadn’t planned on staying the night, but he’d been so persuasive that she couldn’t say no. When she was done, she tiptoed back to the bed to kiss him gently on the cheek.
“Saranghae,” she whispered, and she left his apartment.
Yun Ho woke up sometime later to an empty bed. He touched the spot on the pillow where her head lay on, and he smiled. She wasn’t there to wake up with him, as usual, because she had to rush to work, but he knew she would be here tonight. Ever since they’d gotten together, she came over often to clean and cook. He’d given her a key, but he was careful not to bring home any work. He just didn’t feel comfortable sharing the pains of his work with her, even though he knew that she wasn’t likely to betray him like Jin Yi did.
“U-Know,” his team greeted him as he walked into their cubicle area.
Since his days as a trainee at the academy, everyone had taken to calling him U-Know. It was like his code name for when he was on the job. When off-duty, he was Jung Yun Ho, and that’s how he wanted Sierra to see him. With Jin Yi, he’d often glorified himself by allowing her to see him as a whole; the law enforcer, and the man. With Sierra, he wanted her to only see him as the man she was with. The problem was that she had mentioned a few times that she wanted to know more.
Their relationship was strained even further when Yun Ho was put on a huge case, the case that would bring down Gyu Ok, and Akma along with him. Yun Ho would work late into the night, sometimes not returning home for 2 to 3 days in a row. Sierra would keep calling him on the phone, bring his dinner to his office and she continued to keep his house for him.
“You don’t have to bring me dinner,” he said, one day, after a round of teasing from his teammates.
“You need to eat,” she said simply.
“We have a cafeteria here,” he protested.
“The food’s unhealthy. You need your strength. I want you to be able to come home in one piece when this case is over.”
“What do you know about the case?” he asked her.
“Basically nothing, since you never tell me anything. All I know is that this must be big for you to not come home for days,” she said.
“You know I don’t like talking about my work at home,” he said.
“I know. It’s your choice and this is mine. Now eat,” she said as she placed a bowl of rice in front of him.
How long can I keep this up? I never know what is bothering him. I never know what he’s going through. Is this a relationship when you don’t share anything but the same bed?
There were nights when she would hear him call out Jin Yi’s name in his dreams. She knew that he could not forget her. Because Jin Yi had stolen his heart and betrayed him, Yun Ho could never let her memory go.
Weeks later, and Yun Ho was still busy with the Gyu Ok-Akma case. Sierra let herself into his apartment to clean as usual. Sometime ago, while cleaning his cupboards, she’d come across a box, a box filled with Jin Yi’s belongings. She’d ignored the box every time she cleaned, but today, she couldn’t ignore it anymore. She knew that she shouldn’t pry, but she wanted to know more about Jin Yi. Could she really be the cold-hearted assassin that Yun Ho had painted in her mind?
She picked up a photo album, inside were pictures of Yun Ho and Jin Yi. It was still rather shocking to know that there was a person of her exact likeness. Apart from their hairstyle, they looked exactly alike. Did Yun Ho really want to replace Jin Yi with her just because they looked alike? She put the album back into the box and reached for the next item she saw, a book… a diary.
Should I read it?
She really wanted to know what went on inside Jin Yi’s head. How did she manage bring herself to attempt to kill the man she supposedly loved.
Gyu Ok called today. He said I had to finish Yun Ho off this week. I told him it wasn’t time yet and that I could get more information out of Yun Ho that would benefit the gang. I was buying time for me, buying time for Yun Ho, and thank god, Gyu Ok agreed. 1 more month… I had 1 more month with him.
ThursdayTears rolled off Sierra’s cheeks onto the diary as she read Jin Yi’s last entry, and she quickly dabbed the page with the edge of her blouse. It was apparent that Yun Ho had never read Jin Yi’s diary, despite having it in his possession. She had to show it to him.
Gyu Ok called again. He said that Yun Ho’s team was closing in on him. He told me to act now. I asked him for 2 days. I knew that Yun Ho’s team was going to ambush them then… it would be the best day for me to make my move.
Yun Ho came home, elated that day. They’d finally nailed Gyu Ok. It would be a matter of days before Akma was history. As he entered the apartment, he realized that the atmosphere was different. Sierra wasn’t around?
“Sierra,” he called out, and there was no reply.
For once he felt strangely alone. Sometimes he found the attention she gave him to be taxing and sometimes he was grateful for it. Today, he wanted to share his joy with her, and she wasn’t around. Could it be because of the argument they had the yesterday? She’d always come around when they argued. It was unlike her to stay away just because they argued.
He’d come home highly-strung yesterday, since the next day would be a crucial day for him. She’d confronted him with Jin Yi’s diary, and he was upset that she had gone through his stuff.
“You have to read it, Yun Ho. Have you read it?” she asked him.
“Of course I have. The first few pages told me all I needed to know. She was out to kill me,” he retorted.
“You mean you didn’t read till the end?” she asked him.
“How could I? The beginning was bad enough.”
At first, he didn’t understand why her belongings were sent to him. After her admission, before she died, that she never loved him, he’d wanted to erase her from his mind. Then a few weeks after her funeral, which he had arranged, someone sent a box of her belongings to his apartment. He’d read the diary, and after the first 5 pages, he tossed it aside as he was overwhelmed by feelings of sickness. He had been played all along; for 6 months. Even though at that point, he hated Jin Yi, he couldn’t bear to throw her things out, so he stuffed them in a corner of his apartment, where it was forgotten, until Sierra brought it out.
“Why are you going through my stuff anyway?” he asked her.
“I was cleaning,” she said.
“You were snooping around?” he asked as he walked up to her.
“Yun Ho… I’m not Jin Yi. I don’t care about your case or what you do at work. I only care about you as a person, and if you read her diary, you will know that she cared about you too.”
“Lies… all lies,” he said as he shook his head. “I opened myself to her, and she betrayed me. How can she care about me? I almost lost my career and life because of her.”
“Just read it, Yun Ho! Read it from cover to cover,” she pleaded.
“You’re wasting your time. She was just a coldhearted bitch out to get me. Why do you care what I think about her? You should be on my side,” he said in frustration.
“You’re so stubborn,” Sierra raised her voice at him. “No wonder she had to die like this!”
“You don’t know anything!” he yelled back at her. “You’ll never know how it feels.”
“You’re not in my position. You would never understand!”
“I do now,” she said, tears glistening in her eyes, and she turned and left the apartment.
Have I lost her too?
He walked through his apartment, taking in the surroundings. He hadn’t realized how orderly everything was now. Jin Yi wasn’t really a housekeeper, and the both of them had lived in each other’s mess. Sierra was always neat and tidy. She put a lot of time into cleaning his apartment and decorating it. It was only now that he was able to appreciate her existence in his life. She had been there, taking care of him for the past few months, when he had lived in cynicism and despair for the year before he met her.
He walked up to his desk, and he saw Jin Yi’s diary sitting on it; a piece of paper was slipped between it, to mark a page.
She just wouldn’t give up, will she?
Yun Ho sat down at the table, opened the book and removed the paper it held.
Yun Ho… I know this is hard for you, but you have to trust me. Please read this page. It’s really important.He sighed as he felt the pressure of her persistence. If it was going to make her happy, once and for all, he’ll read it.
Tomorrow… I have one more day. We’re lazing around at home tonight, watching TV, tossing popcorn around. Today, everything about him was beautiful to me; his laughter, his smile, his voice. I wanted to remember them forever. I want them imprinted in my mind so that in my next life, I’d be able to find him, wherever I am.
SaturdayA single tear rolled down Yun Ho’s cheek. He now realized that she’d loved him all along, and that she knew that if she didn’t die, Gyu Ok would probably just send another assassin.
Tonight… tonight I have to kill him. But how do you kill someone who is already a part of you without killing yourself? I love him. It’s too late now, and I love him.
Because I love him… it will be my life for his.
Jin Yi… mianhae… you really fooled me. How could I believe that the time we had together was a charade? Those feelings were real… I was such a fool, and now I have lost another person who cared for me…
He cried. It’s been a long time since he felt like this. Even when Jin Yi died, he didn’t cry. He just hardened his heart and moved on. Now he was sobbing; for the love he had doubted and the love he hadn’t appreciated.
Just when he thought he’d lost everything, a pair of arms came to envelope him in a hug. He turned around and he’d never felt more thankful in his life when he saw who it was.
“Uljima,” Sierra said as she wiped his tears.
“Mianhae,” he whispered. “Cheongmal mianhae.”
“It’s alright,” she said as she stroked his hair.
“I thought you’d gone for good,” he said as he hugged her tightly around the waist, burying his face against her belly.
“Pabo… how can I leave you? I love you too much to abandon you,” she smiled as he looked up at her.
She was smiling, but there were tears running down her cheeks.
“Komawo…” he whispered, “for sticking by me.”
“Just remember that we both love you. She loved you, and I love you. You’re really lucky to have us both, you know,” she said.
He stood up and his hands came to stroke her cheek, to wipe her tears.
“I am, Sierra… I am… Mianhae… Saranghae,” he said, and he kissed her.
It felt like an eternity since he’d frozen his heart to everyone, and then she came along. The ice had now melted, his pain would soon heal, and he would learn to love and trust again.