Chapter 11 – You’re whipped
I’m itching to know what Sica whispered to Yoona, so when she emerges from the cubicle, looking very comfortable in one of my favourite soft cotton blouse and jeans, I immediately ask about it.
“Sica, what did you tell Yoona when we met her just now?”
Sica cocks a cheeky brow and a corner of her lips curl up teasingly. “Not telling you.”
I pout. Sica is so mean. “Please tell me. I can’t stand it. My curiosity is eating me up,” I plead.
She narrows her eyes again and although she looks a little fierce and scary when she does that, I’m beginning to see through her mask of intimidation. I’m starting to see through her game. Especially with the tickling deal that we made at the pool. Sica definitely has her weaknesses.
I put on a knowing smirk and move towards her. She backs away from me immediately and puts her hands out. “No. Don’t even think about it.”
An impish grin stretches across my face. There’s nothing I love more than harassing my friends like that and it seems to threaten her even more. I take another big step forward and she cracks under pressure.
“Okay! Okay! I’ll tell you. But you won’t like it.”
“Tell me anyway, please…?” I plead and bat my eyelids at her. It works like a charm.
“Okay. I told Yoona that I was going to get you into a bikini and get you to kiss me again.”
“WHAT?!” I shriek in shock. That’s my reputation that’s sinking lower and lower for goodness sakes! I bury my face in my hands and groan, “Please tell me you didn’t say that…”
But Sica merely shrugs nonchalantly and walks out of the locker room, leaving me to grief over the destruction of my cool, popular lifeguard image.
Hyoyeon groans mentally and freezes in her sneaky tip-toe posture. She had been trying to get out of her home to go to the beach for a relaxing time when she heard the menacing roar of her father.
“WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING?” her father bellows as he appears behind her.
Immediately, she puts on the biggest grin she can muster up under such intimidating circumstances and tries her best to look anything but guilty. She knows that she isn’t supposed to leave the house. She knows that she’s supposed to be doing her English homework but English is hard and she doesn’t have the patience to sit at her desk all day, trying to learn one of the most difficult languages in the world. Besides, casting that English spell on Yuri took a lot of effort and she deserved a break after that. Didn’t she?
“I-I’m just going out to check on Yuri and Jessica,” she says, trying to appease her father a little. Much to her dismay, her father only seems to grow bigger as his face turns redder than ever.
“Yuri and Jessica? You said that you had the situation under control. You promised to help them. But what did you do instead? You cast the worst spell in the history of our household and I even received a letter from the wise fairies about it!” he hollers angrily as he opens his right palm and projects a hologram of a letter.
One look at the sign of the wise fairies on the letter turns Hyoyeon pale. Uh oh. She was in trouble now.
“You are such an embarrassment to our family! You are not stepping out of your room until you learn how to cast that English spell properly!!!! AND I MEAN IT!!!”
Hyoyeon swallows the gigantic lump in her throat, nods nervously and scampers back into her room, picking up the English book that’s lying on her bed as she passes it.
“Practicing. Practicing right now.”
“I’ll check on you, Hyoyeon. And you’re grounded until you learn this spell. Mark my words.”
It is the next morning when I receive a call of distress from Sica’s best friend, Tiffany.
“Babe, I have a problem on my hands.”
“What kind of problem? How can I help?” I respond immediately but all I get in return is a long pause. “Hello? You there?” I ask after a moment.
“Oh. Er, yeah. It’s just that you surprised me there. I was kinda prepared for your fuse to blow on me for calling you this early in the morning.”
I blink, feeling confused. Why would I blow a fuse on her? It’s not even that early—uh oh. I’m Sica. I’m not Yuri. Sica isn’t a morning person while I’m the opposite. I’ve already showered and made my health drink. If it were Sica, she’d probably still be in bed and I feel sick at that thought. My body is going to miss its morning health drink! Gah!
“Jessi? You there?”
“Huh?” I’m yanked from my thoughts by Tiffany’s voice and that’s when I hear her laugh.
“I knew you’d be half asleep. Was that you sleep talking at first?” laughs Tiffany. Her voice is very pleasant and I find myself smiling at her little laugh. Sica is so lucky to have a nice friend like her.
“Maybe,” I laugh as well, trying to convince her that Sica isn’t being weird.
“Anyway, I need your help.”
“What is it?”
“You need to come along on a date with me.”
“What?!” I splutter and choke on the health drink I’m drinking.
“You heard me.”
“B-But we’re b-best f-friends…” I blurt haltingly, my mind in a complete mess at this point. Why is Tiffany asking me out on a date? Does she really have a thing for Sica? Was that declaration on air for real? Why didn’t Sica tell me anything about this?!
Tiffany laughs so loudly that I hold the phone away from my ear immediately. Oh my mouse. That was loud!
“My dear girlfriend,” laughs Tiffany, “I’m not asking you out on a date. I’m asking you to come with me on a date.”
I blink. What’s the difference between those two?
“Babe, you’re worse than I thought in the morning,” says Tiffany after a pause. “Taeng DJ asked me out to dinner and I have a feeling that she’s coming on to me so I want to make it clear that I’m not interested. But I need you with me on this. It’s too awkward if I go by myself. I need your support.”
“So you’re not asking me out on a date. You’re asking me to join your date with Taeng DJ?”
“You want to reject her?”
“You know that I don’t go for girls who are shorter than me.”
“Why don’t you give her a chance?” I ask.
“You’re really weird this morning, Jessi. Really weird. Why aren’t you backing me up on this?”
“I just think that you should give her a chance. She seems really interested in you.”
“If I were to go out with every girl who is interested with me, I’d have no time for anything else. It doesn’t work like that, Jessi. And it’s not like you give that many people a chance either.” Tiffany pauses and I’m about to say my piece when she continues, adding an afterthought. “Except that hot lifeguard who saved you.”
I’m stunned by that information. Sica doesn’t usually date? And I’m the exception? What? What? What?
“No buts. You’re just as guilty of not giving chances as I am. Admit it.”
I’m still unable to string a coherent sentence together so Tiffany continues at rapid-fire speed.
“Speaking of which, how did it go with Yuri? Where did you go with her after the radio show?”
“She brought me to the lifeguard training center.”
Tiffany giggles. “I never figured you to be up for physical exercise. You’re whipped.”
I’m on the verge of refuting that fact when I suddenly recall how Sica shredded my image in front of my best friend. Heh. Tit for tat. I shall do the same.
So, I giggle like Sica and say, “I guess I am. She’s so hot, you know. She’s so gorgeous. And cool and—“
“Okay, okay, I got the idea. Gosh. You’re so whipped that it’s a little scary to see you acting like this. But I guess…there’s nothing like a little love to change our chic princess into a love-struck fool.”
I can only grin at what Tiffany says. Tit for tat, Sica. Tit for tat.
“So are you coming with me or not?”
“When’s the date?” I ask. I can’t go with her if I have to meet Sica.
“I can do late.”
“Why not early? Are you meeting Yuri or something?” Tiffany giggles again.
“Yes. I’m meeting her.”
“The two of you are progressing really quickly, huh.”
“Babe, you’re meeting each other every single day.”
“That’s because she’s teaching me lifeguard skills.”
“In a bikini?”
Tiffany giggles like a three year old at this point, bubbling over with amusement. “Oh Jessi, the pervy side of you is showing.”
And right then, I decide to drive the nail all the way home. “I can’t help it. Yuri’s abs are too sexy for me.”
To which Tiffany bursts into laughter. “I wish you all the best in your pervy endeavours then.”
My evil grin is at its widest as I thank her and end the call. Muehehehehe. Sica, you’re going down.
I’m about to set out for the beach to meet Sica when she calls me, sounding desperate and panicky.
“It’s not going to work.” Her words are falling over one another and it definitely doesn’t sound like the usual cool, chic Sica that I know.
“What’s not going to work?”
“This whole thing!”
“What whole thing?”
“Blistering icicles. Talking to you makes me feel like I’m dropping in intelligence or something. I’m talking about me being a lifeguard!”
“Sica, don’t panic. You can do it. You did fine in the pool yesterday,” I say, reassuringly.
“We’ve got to tell Yoona.”
“No, no, no.” Now I’m beginning to panic. “No, we can’t. What will she think?”
“Look. I can’t go to work doing a job I’ve barely had any training for. Even if I leave the rescuing to Yoona as you said, it’s still not going to work. Your reputation as a top-notch lifeguard is too much for me to live up to. And I don’t want to mess it up for you.”
I’m touched by her words. It seems as though she really cares for my reputation and job although she’s shredding my cool girl image in front of my friends. I guess, she does have a heart after all.
“So you’re saying that we have to let Yoona in on the game so that she can help you at work?”
“What about Tiffany then?”
“What about her?”
“I’ll need her help at work too. I don’t want to make a fool of you either.”
There is a pause before Sica speaks again. “We’ll talk about telling Tiffany after telling Yoona. Okay?”
I bit my lip. What she said certainly makes sense. When it comes to things like that, she proves to be a lot more reliable than she looks. And I know what she’s getting at too. My job concerns life and death whereas hers doesn’t. She can afford a few screw ups in English but a screw up on my job might result in death and nobody wants that to happen. She’s right. We have to tell Yoona. And Seohyun.
We send a text message to both Yoona and Seohyun, asking them to meet us in the locker room. It’s the most secluded part of the lifeguard building and the best place to hide in as well. Today’s the scheduled day for trainees to train in the open sea so nobody will be using the indoor pool.
When they arrive, they look befuddled. I would too, if I were asked to go to the locker room for a talk. Sica is visibly nervous and she slips her hand into my hand for comfort. I hold it and squeeze it, telling her that we’ll be fine.
Yoona spots our handholding and grins like an imp. But right in the next instant, her grin turns into a gape.
“Unnie! Are you getting married to Sica unnie?” she asks excitedly.
“No, no, no. We’re not getting married,” I say quickly.
“If not, what is it then? Your message sounded so mysterious,” Yoona says as she sits on the bench with Seohyun, facing us.
I take a deep breath and look at Sica. She’s looking at me encouragingly, her eyes urging me to spill the beans. So I do.
“Yoona. Seohyun. You’re probably going to find it very hard to believe but here’s the thing. Sica and I, we have switched bodies. So although I look like Sica right now? I’m actually Yuri. And she,” I gesture to Sica, “is Sica.”
Yoona looks at Seohyun and Seohyun looks at Yoona. They blink at each other for a moment. Then, they burst into peals of laughter.
“Unnie, you’re so funny,” laughs Seohyun.
Yoona is laughing so hard that she can’t even speak.
And we are looking at each other, despairing in our mission to convince them about our plight when a loud thud is heard and a cloud of rainbow sparkles fluff up into the air between us.
Yoona and Seohyun cease their laughter immediately. And for the first time, I think Sica is truly happy to see the sudden, awkward appearance of Hyoyeon sprawled across the floor on her face, complete with dragonfly wings and all.
In the meantime, Yoona and Seohyun look utterly dazed and their jaws hang loose. I realize that this must be how Sica and I looked too, the first time Hyoyeon made her appearance in front of us and a giggle escapes me.
“WHO? WHAT? THIS? THING? WHAT?” Yoona shrieks as she leaps from the bench, pointing at Hyoyeon.
Hyoyeon groans a little as she picks herself off the floor and dusts the sparkles off her clothes before flashing a wide grin at Yoona and Seohyun.
“Memorie duratussu!” Hyoyeon yells, her arms flailing about in wild circles and my two friends’ faces freeze and their eyes go blank. They are staring but unseeing. It’s a little freaky if you ask me.
“What have you done to them?” I ask, feeling anxious for them.
“Don’t worry. I’ve only frozen their memories for a bit so that they won’t remember this.”
“The more people know about this, the harder it is to clean up after—UMMPHH—“
The next thing I know, Hyoyeon is tackled to the ground and Sica is sitting on her, throttling her violently.
“Undo the spell! IF YOU DON’T, I’LL KILL YOU!” Sica growls menacingly and I’m really afraid for Hyoyeon right then.
“Sica!” I yell. Gosh. This is one scary girl. Nevertheless, I try to pull her off Hyoyeon to say the fairy’s life. “We definitely don’t want to have a fairy’s blood on our hands!”
Hyoyeon dashes behind me the moment Sica frees her and peeks out from around me.
“Unfreeze their memories now!” commands Sica and Hyoyeon looks at me for help.
“Sorry, I’m with Sica on this. We really need to let them know.”
Hyoyeon’s shoulders slump at my words and she nods reluctantly. “Okay then. But things are going to get real messy if any of this is leaked out.”
“I trust them,” I say with utmost confidence. Yoona has proven to be a fiercely loyal friend. She’s always been there for me in times of trouble, never leaving me in the lurch. Seohyun, although I’ve known her for a shorter period of time, would never betray me either. She’s too principled to do that.
“Okay. I’ll unfreeze them.”
Hyoyeon waves her arms wildly and says, “Memorie regelolo!” and Yoona and Seohyun blink rapidly as their minds are freed from the lock.
“Oh my gosh! Who is she?” Yoona gasps as Hyoyeon flaunts her dragonfly wings in front of her stunned audience.
“Hi, I’m Hyoyeon. I’m a fairy.”
“A fairy?!” Yoona and Seohyun exclaim and that’s when I take a seat on the bench behind me. This is going to take quite a lot of explaining.
“So…what you said is definitely true then? You’re Jessica unnie and you’re Yuri unnie?”
Sica and I nod.
“So you aren’t together. You aren’t dating?”
“We’re not,” says Sica, sounding a little more resolute than necessary. And after that conversation with Tiffany, I can’t help but wonder how she feels about me now, with this body switch fiasco.
“There’s someone at the door,” Hyoyeon says suddenly and she leaps from the bench and moves towards the door.
“There’s no one around here at this time, Hyoyeon,” I assure her. “All the trainers and trainees are out at sea right now.”
“I have tingling fairy senses yo,” says Hyoyeon and she looks very worried. “I’m sure somebody was at the door. And it wasn’t just anybody.”
All of us blink and stare at her, clueless.
Hyoyeon regards us carefully for a moment, the worry etching even further across her face with each passing second before speaking again.
“That was another fairy.”
“Another fairy?” all of us gasp.
Hyoyeon nods. And for once, the cheeky light in her eyes flicker out.
“Well, if it’s another fairy, you don’t have to worry about the secret leaking out to humans,” I reason.
But Hyoyeon shakes her head. “You don’t understand,” she says. “There’s only one other fairy in this area and she’s my cousin.”
“I really don’t understand then. If she’s your cousin, why would you have to be worried?”
“She hates me. If she knows that I messed up and cast the spell on you two, she’s going to make things really difficult for me.”
“Why does she hate you?”
Hyoyeon sighs. “It’s a long story, Yuri. We fairies have complicated family relations. My father is the eldest male fairy in the family right now and because of that, his word is law. My cousin has always thought that my father spoils me whereas her father is too strict with her and it doesn’t seem fair to her.”
Oh. This sort of complicated family relationship exists in the human world too but fortunately, I’m pretty close to my cousin and we hang out comfortably with each other. And because of that, I feel sorry for Hyoyeon.
“Don’t worry,” I comfort her as I put my arm around her shoulder. “We’ll protect you from your evil cousin.”
“How?” Hyoyeon is in despair but to me, the solution is simple.
“We’ll just set Sica on her and she won’t dare to harm you in any way.”