Part 2 of 2 (END)

As usual, Yuri jogged past the chalet to check if the painter was up and about. Jessica was usually up by 6.30am and sitting by the bench at the beach, waiting for the sunrise. However, the painter wasn’t at her usual spot this morning.

 

Maybe she has a hangover from last night. Hyoyeon and her stupid idea of bringing the painter to the pub.

 

Yuri stopped at the security post at the chalet and asked the guard if he had seen Jessica. He shook his head. Thinking that her assumption was right, Yuri continued her jog.

 

At 8am, Yuri was in the office looking through some documents when she received a phone call.

 

“Good morning, Hani police station. Yuri speaking, how can I help you?” Yuri greeted.

 

“Are you the tall and tanned looking one?” the voice said.

 

“Erm…,” Yuri thought for a while. She was definitely the most tanned looking person in the police station. She assumed the caller was a tourist since it was unlikely for someone staying in Hani to ask such a question.

 

“Yes, I believe so. Who’s this on the line and how can I help you?” Yuri asked.

 

“Come over to the chalet. I need some help now, right now!” the voice commanded before hanging up.

 

Yuri held the phone receiver and stared at it. “What the…who in the world can this be? Wait a minute, it sounded like HER!”

 

Thinking it was an emergency, Yuri hurried over.

 

Within fifteen minutes, Yuri was at the chalet. She rapped on the door in succession, worried about the painter. Moments later, the door opened.

 

Yuri was blown away by the sight of the person standing in front of her. She blinked twice and wondered if this was good karma at work.

 

Jessica had her long brown hair tied neatly in a bun, revealing her long neck and sharp jawline. Her eyes were bright and her complexion was as smooth as a baby’s bottom. The top few buttons of her white blouse was undone, showing off her collar bone and fair skin. She wore an apron over her blouse and it was covered with a multitude of paint colours.

 

Yuri’s eyes were slowly taking in the sight in front of her. Her breath hitched when she stopped at the painter’s chest. The curve of the painter’s chest was obvious beneath the apron and blouse. She wondered how much would be revealed if the apron was removed.

 

“Hello?” Jessica cocked her head to one side and raised her brows.

 

“Oh, oh hi! Are you okay?” Yuri asked, flustered by being caught ogling at the painter’s chest.

 

“Am I okay? I’m perfectly fine. I think you’re the one who’s not okay,” Jessica huffed. “Don’t just stand here. I need help that’s why I called.”

 

“What is it that you need help with?” Yuri asked with concern. She followed the painter to the second floor of the chalet.

 

Along the way, Yuri noticed the bed was unmade and a Gingerbread man soft toy was buried among the pillows. Jessica went into the room where she usually spent her time painting. There was a huge easel stand with thick drawing paper. A wooden chair and a low table filled up all the painting tools and colours were the only other furniture in the room.

 

“This,” Jessica said, pointing to the aircon. “It isn’t working.”

 

“Ah huh. Is that all?”

 

“Yes. That’s the most important piece of house appliance in the house. How can anyone work without aircon?”

 

“Erm…it’s Spring and it’s quite cooling if you leave the windows open.” Yuri wanted to facepalm herself. She had rushed over thinking it was an emergency and turned out it was only an aircon fault.

 

“There’s a lot of bugs outside and I don’t like them inside the house.” Jessica pouted and folded her arms across her chest.

 

Yuri’s legs almost turned into jelly.

 

Please don’t so that to me. I don’t know why you’re making me soft and your pout is making me melt.

 

“I’ll be in my bedroom. Call me when you’re done,” Jessica instructed. She untied the apron around her neck and waist and threw it onto the chair.

 

Fortunately Yuri was standing near the door. She leaned against the door frame, trying to regain her balance after seeing the painter remove the apron. The painter was dressed in a low cut tank top underneath the half-buttoned up white blouse, paired with a pair of micro-denim shorts that revealed her long legs. Her earlier wish about seeing what was beneath the blouse was fulfilled.

 

As the painter walked past her to get to the bedroom, Yuri caught sight of the painter’s ample bosom underneath the white blouse. There was a hint of wisteria when the painter passed her. Yuri swallowed hard.

 

After calming herself down, it occurred to Yuri that she should have asked Jessica to call for an aircon repair man instead of a police officer. The image of Uncle Kwangsoo, the handyman of Hani, flashed past her, causing her to shudder. Yuri couldn’t imagine letting him into the house with such a scantily dressed, sexy painter. Letting out a long sigh, she attempted to fix the aircon since she did simple repair jobs at home.

 

A few minutes later, Yuri knocked on the bedroom door. It was slightly ajar but Yuri knew it was common courtesy to knock before entering the room.

 

“Come in. Done already?” Jessica asked, looking up from her book. She was sitting cross legged on the bed and hugging the Gingerbread soft toy while reading a novel that was propped on a pillow.

 

“Not…not yet. I…I need to borrow some…tools,” Yuri stammered.

 

“Go ahead.”

 

“O…okay.”

 

Yuri scolded herself while heading to the security post to borrow the toolbox. She couldn’t help but stammer when talking to the painter, especially after seeing her dressed so casually.

 

Luckily it was a small problem and Yuri managed to fix it. She turned on the switch and allowed the cool air to fill the room.

 

“Done?” a voice interrupted Yuri.

 

“Yes,” Yuri said with a smile.

 

“Good. Thanks,” Jessica said as she entered the room and stood beside Yuri. She closed her eyes and hummed in satisfaction.

 

“Is there anything else?” Yuri asked.

 

“Can you help me bring those stuff out to the balcony to dry? I don’t think I’ll be painting anymore today.” Jessica pointed at some of the empty bottles on the table.

 

“Sure.”

 

Both of them took the bottles and paint brushes and headed for the balcony. As Jessica walked out, she accidentally tripped over the pair of slippers that was near the sliding door of the balcony. The plastic bottles and paint brushes in her hands went flying across the balcony as she fell.

 

Yuri dropped her stuff and rushed forward, scooping the painter with her arms and preventing her head from hitting the tiled floor. Both of them landed in a heap on the floor with Yuri at the bottom and the painter lying on top of her. Jessica was lying face down on Yuri’s chest while Yuri had one arm behind Jessica’s head and the other wrapped around the painter’s waist.

 

“Oh my God!”

 

They turned their heads to the direction of the voice and saw Tiffany standing at the beach and looking up at the balcony. The reporter had her hands covering her mouth in shock.

 

They knew it was only a matter of seconds before numerous photos of their compromising position was taken. Yuri and Jessica struggled to get up but their legs were entangled with each other’s. Then Yuri hugged Jessica tightly and rolled towards the balcony door so that Tiffany wouldn’t be able to see them at that angle.

 

“What are you doing?!” Jessica shrieked, stunned by Yuri’s tight hug.

 

“Saving the both of us!” Yuri breathed.

 

As what they had predicted, continuous snaps of the camera were heard. They untangled themselves and crawled into the room before closing the balcony door.

 

“That was simply awful!” Jessica complained. Her white blouse was stained with the dust on the balcony. She started to unbutton the rest of her blouse, unwilling to wear that piece of dirty fabric any longer.

 

However, Yuri dashed forward and swatted Jessica’s hands from her blouse. “Don’t!”

 

“It’s dirty!”

 

“I know! Don’t do that in front of me. It’s…embarrassing,” Yuri’s voice became weak.

 

“You’re weird. I need a shower now. It’s too much for me to take in one morning,” Jessica said as she stomped out of the room.

 

Yuri bent down, her breathing was heavy. She had to leave and look for Tiffany right away so that she could clarify matters before things got blown out of proportion.

 

“I need to deal with that pesky reporter,” Yuri said to herself.

 

Appearing at the security post, Yuri wasn’t surprised to see a beaming Tiffany waiting for her there.

 

“I see the both of you have progressed quite quickly,” Tiffany said with a cheeky grin.

 

“It isn’t what you think it is,” Yuri defended.

 

“Words may lie but I trust my own eyes. Out with it, how long have the both of you been together?”

 

“I thought you’re writing for the local newspaper, not some trashy tabloid.”

 

“I am. The editor allowed me to start my own regular column in the papers and I’m free to write what I want. This week’s topic is about the secret love affair of the police officer and painter. Isn’t that exciting?”

 

“You’re enjoying it very much eh?”

 

“To be honest, not really,” Tiffany said with a soft sigh.

 

“It surely doesn’t sound like you’re being forced to do it though.”

 

“Anyway, give me the scoop. What made you fall in love with her? Was it love at first sight since last year? What’s her favourite painting?”

 

Yuri held Tiffany by her shoulders.

 

“You’re a nice person and please don’t make me throw you into the sea okay?” Yuri pleaded.

 

Tiffany shivered at the thought of being thrown into the sea.

 

“And don’t bring up the topic of the motorbike. I’m going to sell it since I rarely get to use it anyway.”

 

Yuri walked away. Tiffany saw the police officer’s back and felt a bit sorry for her. Truthfully, she was being forced by her boss to write about the painter since there wasn’t usually anything interesting that happened in Hani. However, it was painful for her to do so because she had a crush on Yuri and seeing how close Yuri and Jessica were caused her much heartache.

 

~*~*~*~

 

It was another day in the office. Inspector Seo had to go to the city for a meeting at the Police HQ which meant that only Yuri and Taeyeon, her colleague, were left at the Hani Police Station.

 

A phone call broke the silence of the office. Yuri picked it up and greeted the caller with her usual greeting.

 

“Office Yuri! Sicasso is missing!!” Hyoyeon yelled into the phone even before Yuri could finish her greeting.

 

“What?!” Yuri exclaimed in shock.

 

“Every morning at 9am, I would pop by to check on her to see if she needs anything. I knocked several times and she didn’t respond. In the end, I had to get the security to open the door for her because I’m worried something may have happened. Then I realised she’s not in the chalet and everything’s a mess!” Hyoyeon fired like a machine gun.

 

“I’ll be right over!” Yuri hung up and rushed over.

 

Both police officers rushed to the scene. Taeyeon brought her dog, a black poodle named Ginger to assist in the search for the painter.

 

The chalet door was ajar and there were papers scattered all over the ground floor. The furniture was still intact. There wasn’t any sign of anyone on the ground floor so Yuri dashed up the stairs to the second floor. She pressed herself against the wall as she crept up the last few steps, in case the intruder was still around. She held her baton tightly in her hand as she peered around the corner. Taeyeon followed behind, holding Ginger in her arms while Hyoyeon was the last in line.

 

The trio crept towards the bedroom. The door was unlocked so Yuri opened it and jumped in. Scanning around the room and confirming that no one was around, the trio decided to make their way to the other room that led to the balcony.

 

Suddenly, Ginger leapt from Taeyeon’s arms and dashed into the room. Taeyeon ran after him, fearful of his safety. The dog stopped in the middle of the room and barked wildly. When the trio arrived, it was evident that someone had broken into the chalet via the balcony as the lock on the balcony door was damaged.

 

Drawing paper filled with incomplete paintings and paint brushes were scattered all over the floor. The easel and stool which were by the window were overturned. It appeared that the kidnapper couldn’t find what he or she wanted and decided to take the painter instead.

 

Yuri’s heart was beating very quickly.

 

“SunBun!” All of them exclaimed simultaneously.

 

“Taeyeon, call Inspector Seo and inform her about this case. Meanwhile, get Ginger to pick up Sicasso’s scent and see if you’re able to find her trail. She wears a perfume with wisteria scent,” Yuri instructed.

 

“How do you know?” Taeyeon asked innocently.

 

“I…I…now isn’t the time to ask about such things. Just go! Officer Hyoyeon and I will continue to look for her in this area. I don’t think they’ve gone far.”

 

Yuri and Hyoyeon hurried downstairs to the security post.

 

“Office Hyoyeon, please run through the CCTV tapes while I try to track her down on foot,” Yuri requested.

 

Hyoyeon nodded. She wasn’t the type who enjoyed getting into the thick of the action. Watching CCTV tapes in a safe environment suited her perfectly.

 

Yuri borrowed a bicycle from the guard and cycled around the area, asking passersby if they had seen any suspicious people around. Unfortunately none of them noticed. After two hours of searching, Yuri stopped to rest, racking her brains on where SunBun could have brought Jessica to.

 

While pedaling along the main street in town, Yuri spotted Tiffany from afar. She knew Tiffany had a lot of connections and she was the best person to help though she was reluctant to let her in on such the news. Inspector Seo had specifically told her not to raise any alarm but Yuri had no choice.

 

“Tiffany!” Yuri called out.

 

Tiffany was surprised to see Yuri in town at this time. The police officer usually started her patrolling in the late morning.

 

“Yuri dear, what can I do for you?”

 

“Hop on, I have something to ask you but this isn’t a good place to tell you.”

 

“Ooh, sounds juicy,” Tiffany said, rubbing her hands with glee.

 

Tiffany hopped onto the bicycle and wrapped her waist tightly around Yuri. It was the first time she experienced such a close skinship with the police officer and she wasn’t going to let the chance past.

 

Yuri didn’t say anything except to pedal away to a quieter spot out of the main street.

 

“I have something important to tell you but you must swear on your life and all your pink accessories, including your pink car that you would not tell anyone else,” Yuri said. Her eyebrows were knitted in the centre and she wore a serious expression.

 

“Okay. I promise,” Tiffany replied earnestly.

 

“Sicasso is missing. We fear she has been kidnapped by SunBun, a woman who wanted to buy a particular painting from her but is always rejected. Word is that she could be here as she desperately wants to get that painting from Sicasso,” Yuri explained.

 

Tiffany let out a gasp. “That’s scary! This is like the scariest yet exciting thing to ever happen in Hani!”

 

“Remember what I just told you earlier?”

 

“Yes yes, I know. I’ll keep it to myself. How can I help?”

 

“You know a lot of people. I would need you to check with them to see if they seen or heard anyone suspicious. Be careful you don’t raise any unnecessary alarm. We can always say we’re concerned about the safety of our residents here.”

 

“You know that sounds really lame right?”

 

Yuri sighed. “I can’t think of anything else.”

 

“Leave it to me,” Tiffany said confidently.

 

~*~*~*~

 

“Yuri! Over here!” Tiffany called out, waving to the police officer who was looking around for her.

 

Yuri came to Tiffany’s side.

 

“Did you have any news?” Yuri asked in a hushed tone. They met outside Choi’s Minimart.

 

“Yes. Yoona, the park ranger, told me that a petite woman booked a room at the treehouse in the hills. She thought it was unusual for someone to rent the treehouse at this time of the year. She didn’t question much but merely advised the person about the safety of the roads as they can be quite slippery due to the wet weather in the hills.”

 

“Okay thanks for the news. I better get going.”

 

“How are you intending to get there?” Tiffany asked.

 

Yuri thought for a moment. Her parents were out of town and they took the family car. Inspector Seo had driven the patrol car to the city for meetings.

 

“Can I borrow your car?”

 

“We can’t. My car’s in the workshop because the radiator is acting up. We’ll need to use your motorbike.”

 

“My what?”

 

“That’s the only way now. Inspector Seo drove the patrol car to the city and your parents are out of town using your family car. What other choice do you have?”

 

“Soo’s mini van!”

 

“No way, my dad needs me to do deliveries today,” Sooyoung said, appearing by Yuri’s side.

 

“Yul, take your motorbike. I’m sure your parents wouldn’t mind since it’s for work purposes,” Sooyoung said, patting Yuri on the back. “I’ll explain it to them. Unfortunately I can’t join you girls on this adventure. Work beckons.”

 

Yuri went to the back of the minimart and saw her shiny motorbike parked in a corner, partially covered by a green canvas. She threw aside the canvas and ran her fingers along the length of the bike.

 

“Now isn’t the time to admire your motorbike. You’ve got someone to rescue!” Tiffany growled. She climbed onto the passenger seat of the motorbike. “Hurry up!”

 

“You can’t come along. It’s dangerous!”

 

“Who’s the one who provided you with the news of Sicasso’s whereabouts? I demand to tag along!”

 

“I’m not responsible for your safety!”

 

“You are. Stop arguing and let’s get going!”

 

“Soo, call Taeyeon and tell her we’re going to the hills. Ask her to get reinforcements!”

 

“Alrighty!” Sooyoung yelled from the front door.

 

Yuri picked up two helments from the cupboard in the garage and threw one to Tiffany.

 

They fastened their helmets and got onto the bike. Yuri cranked the ignition and the engine roared to life. Yuri couldn’t help but smile. Then she felt Tiffany wrapping her arms around her waist. It caused her heart to skip a beat. It was a similar feeling she had when Jessica was on her back.

 

Why am I getting these feelings so often lately?

 

Yuri pushed that thought out of her head and focused on getting to the hill.

 

After forty minutes, they arrived at the foot of the hill. Yoona greeted them and gave them the directions to the treehouse which was rented out to a person by the name of SK Lee. It sounded vaguely like their mayor’s initials but Yuri thought it was impossible to be the same person.

 

They took a map and travelled along the narrow path. They kept their eyes peeled for any signs of the painter. Yuri parked her motorbike a distance away from the treehouse. Both of them crept towards treehouse.

 

The treehouse was perched on a huge branch of an old oak tree. There was a ladder that led to the treehouse. An old swing made of wood and rope was hung from another branch nearby. The treehouse provided a panoramic view of the park and Hani if one stood at the balcony. The air was thick with the smell of vegetation and it was cooler than in Hani due to the higher altitude. Sounds of insects formed the background music to the park.

 

Suddenly a sharp voice pierced through the park.

 

“Tell me where you kept it!”

 

“Oh, that must be SunBun!” Tiffany exclaimed, hitting Yuri on her back.

 

“Would you just lower your volume?! You want to get us into trouble?!” Yuri said in a hushed tone.

 

“Sawwrryy,” Tiffany said apologetically.

 

They walked around the treehouse, wondering what was the best way to get into the treehouse without alerting the kidnapper.

 

“I’m not going to tell you!” They heard Jessica shout.

 

“I’ll torture you until you say it!” the voice demanded fiercely.

 

“Oh no, she’s in trouble!” Tiffany squeaked. “How how how???”

 

Yuri covered Tiffany’s mouth with her hands.

 

“Don’t make me throw you down the hill!” Yuri warned, glaring angrily at Tiffany.

 

“Sssawwrryyy!”

 

Yuri spotted a tree branch that looked sturdy and was low enough for both of them to climb on. Yuri climbed up first and helped pulled the reporter up. Yuri held Tiffany’s hands as she walked first towards the treehouse. TIffany followed close behind, afraid to look down. They walked carefully along the branch and hide behind the trunk of the tree.

 

“Why can’t you give up the painting without any resistance?!”

 

“Because it’s my works and I have the right to decide which ones I want to sell and which ones I want to keep!”

 

“Arghhh!!”

 

*Slap*

 

Yuri’s eyes widened in shock. That person must be Sunbun. Her heart ached at the thought of a reddened palm print on Jessica’s face.

 

“We should dash in now and rescue her! Her life is at stake! We should go now. Go go…!” Tiffany burst out before she was silenced in the midst of her sentence.

 

It turned out that Yuri pushed Tiffany backwards and pressed her body against the tree trunk. She pressed her lips against Tiffany’s and silenced the reporter.

 

“Mmmpph…mmm…”

 

Yuri broke apart from the sudden kiss, panting as her heart was beating erratically.

 

“Sorry I had to do that. You’re too loud and will get us into trouble! I’m the police officer here and I should know better. Just follow my lead and keep your mouth zipped!”

 

Tiffany was still in shock and wouldn’t reply at all. She merely nodded as her heartbeat went into an overdrive.

 

When they reached the window ledge of the treehouse, Yuri peeped in. She saw a petite woman dressed in a ninja-style black suit which covered every part of her body except her eyes. Jessica was tied onto a chair with a bandage around her mouth to prevent her from making any noise.

 

Sunbun was pacing around the treehouse, deep in thought.

 

At this point in time, Tiffany couldn’t resist asking Yuri a question.

 

“Do you always kiss people you hardly know?” Tiffany whispered.

 

Yuri’s cheeks instantly warmed up. She didn’t know how to answer that question.

 

“By the way, you’re a good kisser. I like how you gently you kiss. I’m guessing you have had a lot of practise,” Tiffany grinned, her eyes turning into small letter ‘n’s again.

 

Yuri’s anger subsided upon seeing that face. It wasn’t the time to be discussing about kissing matters. She had to save Jessica.

 

“SunBun doesn’t look armed. I think it would be safe for us to enter and rescue the painter. On a count of three, I’ll force my way through the door. You hurry in and untie Sicasso, got it?” Yuri whispered. Tiffany nodded in agreement.

 

“One, two, three!” Yuri got up and threw her full body weight against the door of the treehouse. The unlocked door swung open and hit Sunbun, causing the petite woman to fall backwards and hitting her head against the wooden walls. She jumped onto SunBun and pulled both of SunBun’s arms to the back. Tiffany threw her the remaining bandage by the side of the chair and Yuri used it to tie SunBun’s wrists together.

 

“You’re under arrest!” Yuri declared.

 

Tiffany rushed in and untied the painter from the chair. She removed the bandage around her mouth too.

 

“It’s high time you arrived,” Jessica said sarcastically, massaging her sore arms and legs. “What took you sooo long? I thought Hani was just a small town.”

 

Once Yuri was sure SunBun was securely tied up, she propped the woman against the wall.

 

“I was so afraid! I thought I was going to die!” Jessica cried when she finally realised she was safe. She threw herself onto Yuri’s back and wrapped her arms around the officer’s waist.

 

Yuri and Tiffany were stunned by the painter’s actions. Yuri separated the arms that were wound around her waist and turned around slowly.

 

However, the painter was like a magnet. She threw her arms around Yuri’s neck and wrapped them around her tightly. She buried her face in the crook of Yuri’s neck and cried.

 

Yuri didn’t know what to do. She rubbed Jessica’s back, trying to soothe the painter while signaling to Tiffany to unmask the kidnapper.

 

Tiffany squatted in front of kidnapper. The kidnapper’s eyes were filled with worry. Tiffany reached for one side of the mask and pulled it. The black cloth fell onto the floor, revealing the face of the kidnapper.

 

Everyone in the room gasped.

 

“Mayor Lee Soonkyu!” Tiffany proclaimed.

 

“You’re SunBun?” Yuri said in shock.

 

Mayor Lee nodded sadly. “Yes, that’s my nickname. It’s short for Sunny Bunny. My high school classmates used to call me that.”

 

“Why are you so insistent on getting that painting?” Yuri questioned with the painter still crying on her chest.

 

“I wanted that painting very badly. I must have it but she refused to sell it to me even though I offered to pay a lot of money for it.”

 

“Why that painting and not others?” Tiffany asked curiously.

 

Mayor Lee reached into her pocket and pulled out her mobile phone. She tapped on a photo and showed it to them.

 

“This is the painting I’m after. It’s actually a portrait of me but it is so badly done! I don’t want the rest of the world to see it anymore!” Mayor Lee said sadly, tears welling up in her eyes.

 

Tiffany took the phone for a closer look. She burst out laughing instantly and looked like she couldn’t stop at all.

 

“That…that’s a portrait of you?! I thought it was just lines. Hahahaha!” Tiffany laughed.

 

“How dare you! This is abstract art!” Jessica suddenly yelled. She wiped her tears on Yuri’s sleeve and glared at the mayor and Tiffany.

 

“Jessica, this is a lovely painting. How about giving it to the Mayor and drawing a new one? Perhaps you may do a better job after getting inspiration from the sea?” Yuri encouraged. She held the painter by her shoulders and smiled sincerely.

 

The sound of police sirens was heard echoing throughout the hill.

 

“Please let me go. I didn’t harm Sicasso. I only want to get that painting from her. If she would give it to me willingly, I wouldn’t need to resort to such a way,” Mayor Lee pleaded.

 

“Jessica, are you okay to give Mayor Lee your painting?” Yuri asked again.

 

Jessica nodded reluctantly, like a kid who was forced to share her candy.

 

“Good. Mayor, I think you need to get out of here before the rest of the police officers find you. I’ll help to delay them. There’s an alternate route by the side of that road. Here, take my motorbike. That’s the fastest way you can escape. Tiffany, go downstairs and stop them from approaching,” Yuri instructed.

 

Tiffany and Mayor Lee went downstairs, leaving Jessica and Yuri alone.

 

“Thank you for saving me.” Jessica placed her hands on either side of Yuri’s face and looked at the police officer.

 

“It’s nothing. Just doing my job,” Yuri said sheepishly, her cheeks were turning pink.

 

“You probably don’t know how to appreciate art so here’s my reward for you.”

 

Jessica tiptoed and pressed her lips against Yuri’s. The police officer’s eyes widened with surprise and she took a step backwards. She met with the wooden walls and couldn’t back away anymore. She felt the painter pressing her body against her own and she slowly relaxed. Yuri closed her eyes and allowed herself to bask in the moment of lip locking.

 

“Yuri dear, we’re coming!” Tiffany called out from outside the door.

 

The two of them quickly broke apart and stood a metre away from each other. Tiffany entered the treehouse and wondered why the both of them were behaving so suspiciously.

 

The police officers combed the treehouse for clues while Taeyeon ushered Jessica into the police car. Yuri and Tiffany took a separate police car and all of them headed back into town.

 

“Let me guess, you kissed.” Tiffany arched an eyebrow at Yuri.

 

Yuri looked out of the window, pretending not to hear Tiffany’s comment. Her reddening ears and cheeks betrayed her seemingly expressionless face.

 

“You did! Kwon Yuri, I never know you’re the type that goes around kissing people.”

 

“I don’t! She kissed me!” Yuri defended. A laughter from the driver’s seat caused Yuri to regret her defense immediately.

 

Tiffany joined in and the whole police car was filled with hearty laughter.

 

~*~*~*~

 

A year later…

 

“Yuri, you wanted to apply for a week’s leave?” Inspector Seo asked.

 

“Yes Chief. My friend is coming for a visit and I want to bring her around.”

 

“Friend? Someone I know?”

 

Yuri nodded sheepishly. “Yes.”

 

“Judging from your facial expression, it must be a special friend then. Alright, I’ll get Officer Taeyeon to cover your duties. Leave approved.”

 

“Thanks Chief!” Yuri jumped from her seat.

 

~*~*~*~

 

Yuri waited at the national park’s carpark. She had two bouquets of freshly picked flowers in her hands. Sooyoung was waiting along with her and sipping on a cold cola.

 

“I ought to change my profession,” Sooyoung said.

 

“Why? You’re the heir to a minimart while I’m just a salaried employee.”

 

“In a way, you’re wealthier than me.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“Look over there.”

 

A bright pink car turned into the carpark. Yuri jumped from her chair with excitement. She skipped towards the car with light steps while Sooyoung ambled along.

 

Two women got out from the car.

 

“Yuri dear, I’m back!” Tiffany greeted while waving one hand.

 

Yuri waved back, glad that Tiffany was back. Yuri and Tiffany grew closer since the kidnapping incident. Tiffany stopped writing for the local newspaper and focused on promoting Hani as a tourist attraction for city dwellers. She designed a simple website and roped in some of the Hani residents to share their thoughts and photos, putting her writing skills to good use too.

 

Tiffany had gone to the city for a two week holiday and also to do some promotional work for the small coastal town. Initially Yuri was worried that Tiffany might not return since the lure of the city was definitely more attractive than a small town. However, Tiffany kept reassuring her that she would be back because she couldn’t bear to give up the serenity of Hani.

 

“Hi,” Jessica greeted with her usual smirk when they met. Jessica’s impression of Yuri had changed for the better. She wasn’t cold towards Yuri anymore and they had a good time during the last two days of her previous trip, together with Tiffany and Sooyoung. Her recent art exhibition drew a lot of good reviews. She made it a point to return to Hani during each season to get different inspirations for her future works.

 

Yuri handed a bouquet of flowers to each of them.

 

“How was your trip to the city? Had a good break?” Yuri asked Tiffany. Then she turned around and faced Jessica. “And how was the trip back here? It’s nice to see you again.”

 

Yuri swung an arm over each of the women and pulled them close as they headed for the treehouse. The three of them were chatting happily, leaving Sooyoung to deal with the bags.

 

“Don’t worry, I’ll help you.” Yoona pushed a trolley over and helped Sooyoung pile the bags onto it.

 

“Thanks Yoong. Can’t help but be envious of Yuri.”

 

Yoona giggled. “I think it’s a bigger headache to have to choose between either one of them.”

 

“That’s true. Well, good luck to her then,” Sooyoung said sarcastically.

 

 = THE END = 

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