‘Hahsni’ is my phonetic translation of the Korean word for avatar. I was unable to find a dictionary that could provide the word, so please excuse if it is not the way you would pronounce it. This story shares a couple of common traits with many of my others. First it features a change in clothing and appearance shifting a woman’s outlook and behaviour; a subtle form of mind control. Second, one of the female characters featured in this one, particularly in terms of clothing, is based on an actual woman I encountered on public transport while travelling in the UK. Seeing her coming on to a busy bus inspired this story.
“My name is Heo Kwan, sorry, in the English style, Kwan Heo, Heo is my family name.” A man’s voice beside Rachel said.
Rachel Mundy was on her usual bus heading to work. Now she turned her head away from the window she had been gazing out of to see who was speaking. As his name suggested, he was East Asian in appearance. Immediately Rachel guessed he was a student and that he was probably in his early twenties. She imagined that he was probably Chinese, because Beth at work had told her that the university in their town, like most across the country, was now recruiting lots of Chinese. Though Rachel had never really looked at Asian men much before, this Kwan struck her as handsome. His styling seemed to have been borrowed from the 1950s. She was not certain if it had been James Dean or Marlon Brando, but she had a memory of a photograph of a man like this, dressed in a black leather jacket over a white teeshirt and wearing blue jeans. His raven black hair seemed gelled into a Fifties style and it accentuated his angular but elegant features. Maybe elegant was not the right word, but, for some reason, Rachel felt that, for all of his rebel style, Kwan was a gentleman in the making.
Rachel had been taught to be polite and interacting with the customers she encountered had further enhanced that tendency. She did not consider that many British women of her background; from her age group, she was now thirty-four and who, like her, had rarely strayed from this town would have simply ignored the young man’s introduction.
“Hello, I am Rachel, Rachel Mundy. Nice to meet you.” Rachel said warmly, reinforced with a smile that came automatically to her lips.
“You are going to work?” Kwan asked. His voice was accented but not to the extent that Rachel could not understand him easily.
“Yes, I work in a building society. And you: are you a student?”
“Yes, I have just started a postgraduate degree here; before that I was in London.”
“Oh, okay. Do you like it here?”
“Yes, it is a nice place. London is fun, you know, when you first come to the UK, but after a while it seems too crowded, too noisy, especially if you want to study. Here it is twenty minutes on the bus, there it was an hour or more crowded on the underground.”
“And you, you are from China?”
Rachel realised she was asking standard questions but recognised that she had a genuine curiosity. She had a small circle of friends, slightly smaller still since Robert had split with her last summer after three years of them sharing a house. He had headed to Germany for work and Rachel had been unwilling to shift to another city, let alone to another country. It had seemed that, as they had aged he had become increasingly adventurous and she had focused more and more simply on her local area. Sometimes she wondered if she had been wrong in doing that. Indeed, some days, especially when she heard the things some women who came into her branch came out with, she wanted to prove that she was not like them and that she could talk with someone from another country or culture without making them feel uneasy.
“No, I come from the city of Pusan, it’s in South Korea. Have you been to China?”
“No, no, I went to Florida for two weeks once and a couple of times to Spain.”
“I have never been to Spain, I would love to see Barcelona. Maybe this year I will.”
“Oh, I just did holiday resorts, places like Benidorm, Malaga, that kind of thing.”
“This town, it seems there are many things to see, in the countryside too.”
“Oh yes, we have a few bits of history, mainly churches. The countryside is nice, well in the Summer.”
“And places for people to meet? Where do young people go? You know women, men?”
For a moment Rachel felt a sudden unease that all of this had been building up to Kwan somehow making some advance to her. However, she quickly calmed herself. She had to be, at least, ten, if not, twelve or fifteen years older than Kwan. If he had already been living in London he presumably knew what was appropriate in this country. Perhaps it was simply his tone that had misled her. Was it any surprise that he was curious about where his contemporaries would hang out? She just hoped students were more understanding of foreign visitors than some of the young people in the town she had heard about.
“Well, there are places, I guess around the university.”
“Yes, but those tend to be the places for the eighteen year olds, and sorry, but the English young people seem to drink a lot of beer and spirits.”
“Yes, yes, I guess that is the case.”
Rachel remembered that twenty-five, even twenty-two, was in fact a long way from eighteen. For all the distinctive style he adopted, she guessed that Kwan was looking for something different to yet another alcopop promotion. She remembered that the fifties-style diner that had occasionally had local rockabilly bands, probably ten years back, now she thought about it, had finally closed. That was a pity, he would have fitted in there.
“Well, you know, there are some nice coffee places along that pedestrianised street there.” Rachel gestured through the town centre to the area she was thinking of. “I guess older students sit and talk about books and stuff; some of the pubs, they, well these days they have food and quieter areas. Maybe one of the bookshops, they’ve all got cafes now and they have authors come and speak in the evenings.”
Rachel felt she was fumbling a little to come up with some answers. If she had to be honest, she did not really have an idea where an older student would go, she had not really even given much thought to their existence, somehow seeing all students as if they were eighteen. A lot of them behaved recklessly, especially with alcohol in the mix. Perhaps it was not surprising: she had heard more than one report about how much the average thirteen year old drunk these days. It was not the kind of behaviour she had been part of. She had joined the building society straight from college and so university had never entered the equation. Of course, back then, far fewer people went to university anyway. These days everyone’s eighteen year old seemed to be off taking some course or another. She remained dubious as to whether any of them would get better jobs as a result.
“Rachel Mundy, thank you, that is very useful. I had not thought of that. In London it is different. I will look for the bookshops. Usually, you see, I use the one at the university. I had not thought these may be social places in the town.”
“Yes, yes.” Rachel had been to a couple events with her work colleague Gill, though she had not known the authors and so had felt a little at a loss attending. However, she guessed if Kwan picked the right event he might run into the kind of people he was looking to meet.
“Oh it’s nothing, just being, you know, welcoming.”
Rachel felt a little silly saying that; Kwan had been in this country for years, but she wanted him to feel that she did not consider him any different to any other newcomer to the town who asked her for advice. For a moment she worried that she had sounded patronising.
“No, it is something. Do you know how many English people just ignore me when I speak to them? You know, look embarrassed, say nothing, move away. You, well, you were polite, helpful. I am very grateful. You don’t know how good it is just to have a conversation without being looked at like I have just come from outer space.”
Rachel felt rather embarrassed at what Kwan was saying and was glad when she saw that the bus was quickly approaching her stop.
“This is me, my stop. All the best.” Rachel said, rising from her seat.
“Have a good day. Thank you.” Kwan smiled as he shifted to let Rachel by.
As she walked down the bus Rachel realised she had been a little hard on Kwan. Sometimes, especially since the split with Robert, she had found herself feeling lonely and wishing she could get to meet and know new people. She had found it difficult to do that and she guessed it was even tougher for an outsider like Kwan. At the exit from the bus, she turned to look back at Kwan but he was now gazing out of the window. However, as she walked past the bus, heading to her workplace she looked up and caught his eye. He gave Rachel a warm smile which she returned, feeling pleased that, in some small way, she had made this man’s day seem a little better. The bus pulled away and Rachel focused on the small cluster of her colleagues waiting for the door to their branch to be opened and for the working day to begin in earnest.
Rachel recognised the Korean man she had spoken to the day before. He was a short way off from the bus stop where she waited, talking with a long-haired woman dressed in black. Kwan, that had been his name, Rachel remembered. As he gestured in the direction of the bus stop she saw that the woman was also Far Eastern, she guessed that, like Kwan, she was a Korean. For a moment, Rachel found herself a little jealous of the woman because she, rather than Rachel, was talking with Kwan. For an instant she felt she should give up her place and walk over and talk to him. She stopped herself: she would lose her position in the queue and perhaps would miss the bus. Then Rachel wondered why she had felt that way; had wanted to go over to Kwan. He was a pleasant young man, clearly intelligent and certainly politer than many men you met these days especially on public transport. However, Kwan had to be at least ten to fifteen years younger than Rachel and she guessed that, even if he remembered Rachel, he would think of her as nothing more than a nice older British woman. She knew some young men liked mature women, but, of course, most preferred those of their own age or younger. It also made sense that Kwan would associate with someone from his home country, no doubt it was good to be able to talk in his mother tongue.
The bus pulled up and Rachel made her way steady forwards as the people got on. Then she saw the woman bid Kwan farewell. For a moment Rachel found she was wishing he would come on the bus so she could chat with him again. However, he set off in the opposite direction and it was the woman who turned and came Rachel’s way. She could now see that the woman was Oriental in appearance and somehow Rachel knew she was Korean rather than Chinese or Japanese. She was most likely nineteen or twenty, probably a student like Kwan himself. That seemed to make sense, given as she had remembered, when talking with Kwan, that this was the bus that ultimately reached the university. The young woman joined the end of the queue some places behind Rachel who concentrated on getting her ticket, wondering a little why she was suddenly so interested in the young Koreans.
Rachel found a seat and looked down the bus, trying not to think about the young woman but she found she was keen to see her step on and look over her at closer quarters. As the student paid for her ticket and then made her way down the already busy bus seeking out a seat, Rachel studied her. She had a broad forehead, a slender nose and a tapering chin. She had almond-shaped eyes, a rich brown in shade and accentuated by elegant eyebrows. Her skin tone was a little more tanned than the pale porcelain shade Rachel found she had expected. Similarly, her mouth was broader too, not large but not the doll-like rosebuds of classic portrayals of Korean women.
As the woman approached, Rachel realised her clothes were not of the black denim or lycra that she had assumed, they were of leather. The woman wore a black leather jacket that stretched to just beyond her waist. Below it was a grey and white patterned baggy teeshirt and around her neck and over her shoulder a long white pashmina. Her trousers were tight black leather showing of the sleek line of her legs and feeding into black flat-heeled over-the-knee boots detailed with long leather tassels running down the sides. As a result, every step she took seemed to emphasise the leather she wore; the tassels seemed to lash her legs as she walked and, as she passed Rachel, the gentle creaks of her smooth, soft leather came from points around her body.
Rachel had not seen the young Korean woman leave the bus, but by the time Rachel got off, she seemed to have gone. Rachel hesitated on the pavement to look along the bus to see if she could catch sight of the Korean for one last time. Then she turned away, wondering why she had been so intrigued by the woman. She was attractive certainly, but other attractive women got on the bus or passed her in the street without them fascinating Rachel. She was Korean, but these days it seemed every other student at universities came from the Far East; every day scores of them must travel on this bus route alone. Rachel wondered if it was the way the woman dressed. Leather jackets and long boots were pretty common for young women these days, but the added inclusion of leather trousers seemed to make a statement: this was a sexy woman but not in an airheaded bimbo way. The leather might be sensuous but it was also a form of protection, of armour, even. This seemed to make sense, that the woman was a saying a great deal in how she dressed, in a fashionable way, but distinct from the crowd; in a sexy way but on her own terms.
The following day, despite her unease about what was prompting all of this, Rachel found herself looking out for Kwan and the young Korean woman at the bus stop. She worried whether it was some kind of statement of how empty her life had become that she was filling it with thoughts about people she saw around the town. However, she reassured herself that, in fact, it was no different to watching a soap opera or reading a romantic novel. It gave viewers and readers a nice feeling to see the romance of two young people unfold. Rachel guessed it was the immediacy of what she had seen that made it all that more interesting. If she was honest to herself, she had to admit that she found the ‘leading man’ in this story very attractive and that helped. As she thought about it too, she was quite coming to like the ‘heroine’ and, despite their age difference, to actually admire her fashion sense. Perhaps, Rachel wondered, her unease was because they were Korean and so, looked different to the usual characters she saw in television series. Rachel quickly excused her concerns and told herself not to feel guilty if she hoped to spot either Kwan or the woman and pondered about any developing relationship.
Rachel suddenly felt the urge to look up as if she had sensed the young woman’s approach. As the day before the Korean woman was making her way to the bus queue but there was no sight of Kwan. Rachel was content to look at the woman’s clothes. Today, in the place of her leather trousers and long boots, were shiny black leggings and patent ankle boots. Her leather jacket was replaced by a short black silk raincoat flared out from the waist and not stretching beyond mid thigh. The dark shades were offset by a flame red scarf she wore, hanging over her shoulder and down her back alongside her long black hair. Rachel wondered if she should try and talk to the woman, but then could not think of what she would say and the student may think her approach a little odd. Rachel was worried that she was losing it a little, to be becoming fascinated by a female student, but again the reassuring thoughts soon flowed into her mind. She was doing nothing wrong. If the media stories were correct she had to imagine that most of the men on the bus would be fantasising about having sex with the women they saw on the street or were shown on the billboards they passed. Rachel was not even thinking that, she had no desire to have sex with a woman. If she was honest, she had to admit, some part of her simply wanted to be the woman; to be young, to travel, to be fashionable.
Rachel sat at the back of the bus so that she could see the young woman walk the length of it. As she did Rachel realised that she had a lovely smile and, despite her sexy clothes, actually seemed pretty demure. She took a seat a few down from Rachel and, as the bus quickly filled up, soon all Rachel could see of the woman was her shiny clad leg and, within a couple of stops, even that was obscured from view by standing passengers. Now looking out at the shops as the bus passed them Rachel found she was telling herself that perhaps it was time to go on a bit of a shopping spree. Autumn was approaching and it had to be the Spring since she last bought some new clothes. Some of the mannequins were wearing outfits that might look good on her, or, at least, part of them. She decided that after work that evening she would pop into a couple of shops and pick up something suitable for the coming season. It was Friday and she could wear her new outfit the following day.
Though she would not really admit it, seeing the young woman had given her a real desire to get some leggings. In contrast to the dull skirt she wore to work and the rather thick jeans she wore at weekends, there was something distinctive about leggings, something that made her feel excited. She told herself that she was only in her thirties, she was not middle aged yet and, in fact, rather than the routine life she seemed to be leading these days, she began to feel increasingly that she should try to spice things up a little. Robert was long gone and perhaps she needed to think about finding a man to be in her life. She felt she stood no chance unless she looked sexier than she did at the moment. By the time Rachel stepped down from the bus stop closest to her work she had forgotten about the Korean student, instead she was filled with a determination to change her life and get a bit of excitement, certainly a bit of sex, back into it.
Rachel stepped into her small house having bought a short pea coat, a pair of plain black leggings and shoe-boots. They were comfortable and made her feel sexy when she tried them on, but she remained self conscious of wearing them outside the house, concerned the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ tag would be applied to her. In addition, they lacked the shine that she realised she was yearning for. She felt rather foolish to wish she had the body profile to be able to carry off the current sleek fashions, but she could not deny that she felt qualms of jealousy when she saw women who could. A little uneasily, she realised that she wished she could look a little more like the woman she had seen Kwan with. That was silly, of course, but maybe she could grow her hair longer and have it coloured black. There was something so intriguing about it stretching down that woman’s back, hanging free, rather than the short controlled styles Rachel had imposed on her almond shade hair, never going down to her shoulder, let alone beyond.
Rachel wondered why she was concerned about what women Kwan might be attracted to. It was ridiculous to think he might find her appealing in that way, though she had to admit she saw enough women with ‘toy boys’. They did, however, tend to be far wealthier than herself; rich enough not to give a damn about what people thought about how they dressed or behaved. Rachel knew, though, that she could never consider moving into that kind of category unless she won the lottery and she rarely bought a ticket. She guessed that however much Kwan had been grateful that she had not responded coldly to him, that she too had felt glad that he had talked to her without turning his nose up at her; simply dismissing her as some drab middle-aged woman. She had heard Korean and Japanese men were old fashioned in their behaviour, which could mean they were sexist but also that they were often more likely to be more gentlemanly than the average British man of their age. Rachel concluded that that was what had appealed to her about Kwan. Was it surprising, really, that given she had been chatting with a man who seemed to mix Mr. Darcy with James Dean, she should not feel a bit of a crush for him and want to at least look a little like the kind of woman he was attracted to?
Rachel was a little self-conscious when she stepped down from the bus. She was now dressed in her new coat, leggings and shoe-boots. She was taking advantage of a day off; she got them mid-week once in a while to make up for working Saturdays. Perhaps that the fact that she shopping mall she was heading to stood close to where she worked, where her colleagues would be working right now, added to that unease. She realised she worried one of them would see her dressed this way and would make an embarrassing comment or be disapproving. It was so different now to the night before, when, fired with confidence, she had signed up to an online dating service and had even emailed a few of the men she had seen featured that lived in her area. She was quite proud at the steps she had taken, but her nerve kept wavering and so she had decided to step out in her new outfit to practice. It would be no use turning up to a date and looking uncomfortable in what she wore.
Rachel was determined that her new relationship was going to be sexy and sophisticated and she felt that however uneasy she might feel now she needed to come across as that kind of woman. She had felt a little daring when she had decided to raise the setting for her profile for seeking East Asian men. However, she had realised that, perhaps, she had discovered something about herself in recent days. It was only a start after all, there was a long way between even emailing a man and actually having a relationship with him, lots of opportunity to really test how she felt about particular types of men let alone particular individuals. Perhaps by ignoring a certain type she had been denying herself access to a kind of man she actually would find nice or sexy or attractive; hopefully all three.
Rachel walked into the shopping mall, silently reasserting to herself that she was a sexy young woman out doing some browsing in clothes shops with some distant thought that if she was going to be dating again, let alone having a new sexual partner, she was going to need some decent lingerie. She stopped by the rail on the upper level of the mall and looked down to the floors below her. Something in the movement of a figure on the escalator caught her attention. Rachel realised that it was the young Korean student, dressed once more in the leathers she had originally seen her in. The trademark scarf was grey this time, matching the loose boyfriend cardigan that she wore beneath her jacket. Keeping her eye on the woman, somehow concerned not to lose sight of her, Rachel found herself walking after her. For some reason she realised she had come to see this woman as something like her genie, a youthful fairy godmother who was encouraging her to change her life. Rachel knew that it was a ridiculous thought but had to confess that if she had not see this woman with Kwan she would not have embarked down the path she was now following.
Rachel walked down the escalator the young woman had taken, keen not to lose her among the shopping crowd. She just caught sight of her as she turned into a large boutique and Rachel followed, curious as to what the woman would be looking at; what fashions would take her fancy. Inside the shop Rachel worried that she had lost the woman who she had to admit, was pretty illusive. Trying not to be obvious, Rachel walked through the different rails and into the various sections of the store. For some reason she felt that if she saw the woman one more time she would have the courage she needed to carry on with these new approaches in her life that she had decided on.
Then Rachel caught sight of the woman coming towards her, down an aisle between rows of clothing. She glanced away, not wanting to appear as if she was staring. However, when she glanced back, the woman had stopped walking and was looking straight at her. Rachel felt embarrassed and lowered her eyes, pretending to look at a display of coats. Then she told herself that she had done nothing wrong and that if she was this uneasy about encountering a woman she had taken some remote interest in, how was she going to handle the kind of dates she was assuming she was going to be setting up in the weeks to come? With determination, Rachel began to walk towards the woman thinking through some question she could ask to strike up a conversation. However, all she could think about things related to Kwan and she felt that such questions might unnerve the young woman.
Rachel looked up a little more boldly, knowing that she had to say something or the moment would be passed. The woman had stopped walking and looked back at her with an air of anticipation. Then Rachel realised something was wrong. At a distance she had not really noticed it. Her confusion and worries had no doubt played a part too. Now she realised that she, in fact, had not seen the woman, she had been looking into a full-length mirror fixed to one of the pillars. Rachel looked around her and then quickly ran to the mirror, not believing this was true. As she stood right by the mirror, gripping the frame as if to confirm it was a mirror and not something like a display screen, she saw the Korean woman reflected, not only that, but her stance, the movements she made, were Rachel’s.
Rachel Mundy’s mind was not willing to accept what her eyes were telling her. Her heart was beating furiously, but her head seemed surprisingly clear. She stepped back from the mirror, not trusting the image it showed her and looked down at herself. Now she saw that was indeed dressed in tight leather clothing, just as the reflection showed. The leather was very soft and was smooth to the touch. Rachel realised this was not the cheap hard, almost brittle, leather you often saw in shops, this was quality designer leather and she wondered how much these clothes had cost. For a moment she felt rather privileged to be dressed in them and certainly appreciated how good they felt on her. Then Rachel reminded herself sharply that these were not her clothes and, in fact, she could never envisage herself dressed this way. Countering that, she told herself, that, of course, it was not ‘her’ in these clothes it was this young Korean woman and, as she knew from her own sightings of her, this outfit suited perfectly.
Rachel looked at her hand. It was smaller, slender, a more ivory shade than her skin had been. Rachel ran her hand down her front, passed her waist. As she looked around her she realised, she was a little shorter than she had been too. She took a couple of steps back and then forward to stand close to the mirror again; the thongs of her boots flailing gently as she did. Incredulous, Rachel lifted her hands to her face and ran them over her lips, her nose. Everything her fingers told her matched what she could see reflected. She turned her head and looked over her shoulder where her long black hair stretched down her back. Looking back at the mirror, Rachel ran her index finger gently around the ellipse of her eye. The face was a stranger’s, she kept telling herself, yet she realised quickly that these beautiful features seemed somehow so right for her to be wearing. She blinked and then again, but when she looked it was this face, what she was rapidly finding herself thinking of as her face, that looked back. Rachel tried to call to mind her face, what she thought of as her real face, that of Rachel Mundy. However, she found it difficult to hold all the features in her mind’s eye at once. Instead, this attractive, youthful, Oriental face maintained, by its very reflection of where she stood, that it was hers. She shook herself as if she could snap out of what she was seeing, even shake herself free of her body, but doing that seemed to have the opposite effect and emphasised that this was the body she was in and it felt good in a way Rachel could never remember her own body feeling, even at nineteen.
Rachel’s mind ran with all kinds of thoughts. Despite what she could see and feel, it was impossible that she could have gone from being a Caucasian woman in cotton and synthetic clothing to being this leather-clad Korean woman, clearly just leaving her teens rather than halfway through her thirties. She was sure that this must be some kind of dream. That was the only explanation. She had been working hard and seeing this young woman around she must have dreamt about her to the extent that she had suddenly saw herself actually as that woman. In some ways, that thought excited Rachel. In this body she could try out all of the latest fashions as tight and as sexy as she wanted. However, as the moments passed, Rachel knew she was lying to herself. Dreams may be realistic but for this to be a dream it somehow had to have touch and smell added. She could feel the clothes she wore, from the silk chemise beneath her cardigan to the constraining leather of her trousers and long boots. She could smell that leather and some expensive perfume she seemed to be wearing. Aside from that, around her, the shop was just the store that she knew, nothing was exceptional about it: Brad Pitt was not serving behind the till and no herd of elephants was storming through.
Rachel glanced at her watch, knowing somehow that it was a Movado Reva that her parents had given her when she had turned eighteen, and saw that only a couple of minutes had passed since she had seen the clock in the centre of the mall. Of course, the dream might have an internal logic, but all of this seemed too real for a fantasy. Yet, how did she explain that, suddenly, she had had a body swap? Where was her body, the body of Rachel Mundy? Then she drew up short: a designer watch for her eighteenth birthday, where had that knowledge come from? She guessed that this dream or hallucination or whatever it was, was filling in a back story for her. Rachel took some deep breaths and decided that it appeared that whatever had happened was not going to reverse itself any time soon. She walked, very self-consciously, from the store, both feeling that everyone’s gaze was on her and trying to stop herself enjoying the body that she had suddenly found herself in.
Outside the store, Rachel headed to the cafe and, without thinking, bought a blackcurrant juice. It was only when she was carrying it over to her table that she realised it was not the kind of thing she usually drank. She put it down anyway and, sipping some, found the taste was good, nice and refreshing. She put the Korean woman’s shoulder bag, a Tod’s ribbed leather one, on the table. She felt rather guilty rifling through another woman’s things, but thought that, if nothing else, she had to get to know this woman’s name. The identity card issued by the university had her name arranged in the Western way. Rachel was a little unnerved that she had suddenly gained an understanding of Korean names and knew that this woman, the one whose body she seemed to be in, was called Soo Jin and her surname was Tae. The picture on that card and the student union one was that of the face she had seen reflected. As she sorted through the documents in the bag it appeared that Soo Jin was a business studies student from Kunsan in South Korea, with a good qualification in English language and just starting her second year of her degree here in Britain. Her British address was in a street not far from where Rachel had once lived, one where many of the terraced houses were now let out to groups of students. Realising that, Rachel suddenly felt the urge to go home, to go there and be with her housemates, they could reassure her that everything was alright.
Rachel stopped herself abruptly. That place was not her home; those housemates would be strangers to her. She realised that, all too easily, she had been slipping into having the thoughts that Soo Jin might have. Rachel had no idea how all of this worked, but she had a sense that if she began thinking like Soo Jin then she would simply become her in entirety and she would forget that she even had a need to change back. Not only did that seem wrong, that her life as Rachel Mundy would have been stolen, but she also worried, that it would trap Soo Jin’s consciousness in the body of Rachel Mundy and that certainly did not seem fair on the young woman. On that basis, with new determination, Rachel decided that she had to find where her, Rachel Mundy’s, body was. Perhaps if she could reunite them there would be something like in the movies, perhaps a flash of lightning and she and Soo Jin would suddenly find themselves back in their own bodies. Even if that did not happen, it seemed sensible to at least have both sides of the puzzle back together. At least then she could reassure Soo Jin that she was not alone, and, at least as Rachel felt, had not gone mad.
Rachel walked to the bus stop; as she did, being very conscious of the clothes she was wearing and also the reactions of people she passed. Of course, many of the old women who she passed, even women of her age, looked on disapprovingly, but Rachel found she simply ignored them and concentrated instead on any young men she saw. Rachel wondered if she had ever been this interested in the opposite sex at nineteen. She guessed that Soo Jin was pretty different to the teenaged Rachel Mundy, after all, she had come halfway round the world to study and seemed to strut around town unashamedly in her own eye-catching style. Rachel fought against it but she found she was eyeing up the young men and enjoying the sensation when they looked her over. It was not the kind of attention she had received in many years and certainly never on this scale. She could not help but admit that it gave her a pleasurable tingle.
Struggling to focus, Rachel decided the best place to head would be to head back home. Perhaps in her body and with her possessions, Soo Jin would have thought to head to Rachel’s house to sort things out. Rachel headed to the bus stop, this seemed a sensible approach to take. As she sat down on the narrow metal strip that served as the seat in the bus shelter and stretched out her leather-clad legs Rachel felt a strange realisation: she was about to act as she had seen the woman she now knew as Soo Jin do on previous days, coming aboard the bus and heading towards the university. For a moment, Rachel wondered if rather than heading home, going to the university would be the trigger to rectify all of this: she would see herself, Rachel, seated on the bus and everything would revert to how it would have been. Of course, the timing was different, with all her wandering around it was now well into the morning. Rachel realised that, for all her sassiness, Soo Jin must be a keen student to be going to the campus at the same time as employees were heading to work. It might work, she told herself, she had to remain confident.
As she sat there, it was clear to Rachel that people were looking at her. While she imagined it was because they knew something extraordinary had happened to her, but then guessed, rationally, that it was for a mixture of reasons. The real Soo Jin was probably more self-confident than Rachel herself; certainly given the way she dressed. She had picked distinct, sexy outfits, in contrast to the more low-key hooded tops and jogging bottoms she had seen some of the other female overseas students wearing. It seemed no surprise that she, in Soo Jin’s body and the clothes it wore attracted attention.
Now Rachel sat, impatient for the bus to come, and wondered if that was another trait of Soo Jin’s seeping through. She lifted up the large leather shoulder bag she was carrying and sifting through it she found a student bus pass and then an ipod. Rachel was curious what music it would hold and, anyway, it might pass some time until the bus came. She put the small headphones into each ear and dialled up a shuffle. The music was unfamiliar to her. It seemed like pop music but the words were peculiar, she guessed the performers were singing in Korean but she had a feeling that if she just tried that little bit harder she would be able to understand them completely. As she flicked through various tracks they did seem familiar to her and she left one running, despite the lyrics currently being incomprehensible. Increasingly Rachel found she liked the music and it made her feel relaxed.
As Rachel sat back and looked around her, her gaze caught sight of the building society where she worked, a short way down the street. She realised that with her mind getting to grip with all that had happened she had not realised where she had been walking or not picked up on the familiar location. She suddenly wondered if in her body, rather than head home Soo Jin would have gone to the building society seeking help. Would that be the right approach for herself? While she was nervous about being seen in this form, increasingly she felt, that she could deal with all of this better if she could at least talk with Gill or Beth who would be in there today. Rachel got up from the bus shelter and began to cross the road to the building society. For a moment she realised she was worrying that she would see someone she knew. Of course, she reminded herself, most of the people she travelled alongside on the average morning would have been at work for hours. She then felt optimistic that, in fact, seeing someone she had known as Rachel might trigger her going back to her own body and she now crossed the road with more enthusiasm.
Seeing Soo Jin’s face reflected palely in a shop window, she imagined that unless she said something, no-one would even guess that she was not the young Korean student she appeared to be and so it was likely there would be no challenges, she could handle all this at the pace which suited her best. In a few minutes she was at the building society. As she looked into her branch’s front window she felt apprehensive again, worrying what would happen once she walked in. Rachel told herself to be brave, after all, for now, this seemed like the only way she stood a chance of getting back into her body and return to living her own life again. She joined the queue and waited patiently.
There was no sign of anyone in there looking like Rachel Mundy and she felt she had been foolish to assume Soo Jin in her body would come here. However, Rachel did notice that, at the desk where she usually sat when not serving the public, there was a smaller, dark-haired woman who she did not recognise. Perhaps she had been called in from another branch, because they were busy that morning. Rachel felt rather guilty to think she had left her colleagues with a heavy workload simply because she had wanted a day off to go shopping. She found quickly, though that she was reminding herself it was her right and, in fact, they did not seem overly rushed in here.
To calm herself from her see-sawing thoughts, Rachel focused on her ipod and dialled up another track. Somehow, even though she could not have spoken the words herself, she found she was at least able to comprehend the meaning of the songs, a lot of the words were the usual pop lyrics about love. Rather than feeling a little irritated by such things, the way she usually did, Rachel found now she quite enjoyed them and the time passed quickly.
Despite pushing aside such concerns and gazing vacantly at all the different posters, Rachel kept on being startled as she noticed the feel or the sound of the clothes she wore or caught sight of a reflection of herself as a young Korean woman. Inside she had a vision of herself as the normal Rachel Mundy in her usual clothes and it was a surprise each time she realised that that was not in fact the case. Eventually she reached the head of the queue and walked to the counter, rehearsing in her head what she was going to ask.
“Hello, dear, how can I help you?” Julie Hudson asked.
Even if she had been a stranger at the building society Rachel would have known Julie’s name from the badge she wore. However, of course, she knew Julie far better than that. The two of them had been working together for six years and, whilst Julie was not Rachel’s best friend at work, they got on well and often went to lunch together. For a moment Rachel felt like shouting ‘Julie, it’s me, it’s Rachel Mundy!’ but realised that it would sound peculiar and, appearing as a nineteen year old Korean woman, it would be taken either as some kind of strange joke or, at worst, as if she had lost her senses. If she had still believed this was a dream, Rachel realised, then she would have given it a go in the hope she would break down the rules of this dream scenario and wake up. However, with all the sights, sounds, smells and particularly what she felt by touching, she knew that, however impossible it was, this was real. She was inhabiting the body of a young Korean woman. The question remained was whether some Korean woman’s mind was in her body? Some straight switch seemed easier to deal with.
“Erm, can I speak to Rachel Mundy? She works here.” Rachel said.
By the way Julie did that expression that looked like she was straining to hear but in fact was struggling to understand, Rachel realised her words were probably coming out with some Korean accent.
“Are you sure you’ve got the right branch? There’s no-one called Rachel Monday working here.” Julie said slowly and looked to Beth and Gill either side of her for confirmation.
“Rachel Mundy. Are you sure?”
“Yes, were you told she worked here?”
Rachel nodded her head. “Yes, I had an appointment with her.” She said to make it seem more official.
“There’s another branch near the station.” Gill chipped in; Rachel knew it well enough: she had occasionally worked there as cover. “But I guess you probably want one of the banks at the university. You are a student?”
Rachel did not know how to respond to that. Of course, she looked like a student, she even had the appropriate identity card and course work and everything, but surely that was all a masquerade of some kind, this weird occurrence, this strange dream. Rachel felt that if she agreed with Gill’s assumption then somehow she would be admitting a little bit of defeat, allowing herself to take one more step away from actually being Rachel Mundy and to accepting that in fact she was Tae Soo Jin.
“Thank you.” Rachel said simply and walked away, imagining that, as she did, her three colleagues would be exchanging rather bemused glances but, in moments, would be concentrating on the next customer.
Out in the street again, Rachel wondered about what the absence of Rachel Mundy from even the memories of Julie and the others signified. Of course, they might simply have misunderstood the name she was asking for, but it did seem to eliminate one assumption that Rachel had made about her body being somewhere around town, probably with Soo Jin’s mind in it. For a moment, Rachel felt the desire simply to forget all about this: after all, she had reading to do and an essay to prepare. Then she snapped back, mentally shouting at her mind to stay focused and not let the siren calls of easing fully into Soo Jin’s life tempt her.
A little at a loss what to do next, Rachel wandered back through the centre of town and found herself looking into boutiques she normally would not have given a second thought to. Soo Jin’s faint reflection in each window as she looked at the mannequins on display kept reminding her that now she could try on all the fashions on display with no challenge, they would look good on her, she was sure. Her slender legs would look wonderful in those leggings and whilst her breasts were of average size at her age, or rather in the body of a nineteen year old, she could certainly carry off those cropped tops in the place of the loose teeshirt she was wearing. Rachel was so tempted to go into a shop and try some of the things on. However, she realised it would seem all wrong, it would not be Rachel Mundy’s reflection looking back at her but that of Tae Soo Jin and it would almost feel as if she was eavesdropping on the poor woman, ogling her body. With a shudder, Rachel walked away pondering what there was that she could do.
Suddenly Rachel had an idea and reached into Soo Jin’s bag and pulled out her smart phone. The young woman certainly seemed to be well equipped, but Rachel imagined that her family must be pretty well off to be able to send her study in the UK for three years. Then she remembered something she had read about even British students arriving at university with thousands of pounds’ worth of electrical equipment. Consequently, she guessed, Soo Jin having the latest phone, gloss black in colour, no doubt to match her preferred style, was not a real surprise. It certainly contrasted with the old thing Rachel had seemed to have had for ages.
It took some moments for Rachel to work out how to use the device but within a couple of minutes she was calling her home phone number. After a couple of rings an unfamiliar voice emanated from an answerphone and told Rachel that this was the number for a Charlotte Bailey. Rachel input her number again only to get the same response. Frustrated, she shoved the phone back into her bag and tried to work out the implications of what she had discovered in the past few minutes. Of course, this might still all be a dream and she would, hopefully wake up and, at worst find she had overslept or had a bump on her head. However, the longer it went on it seemed to be that this was real, yet it was all entirely impossible. For a moment she wondered if she in fact had always been Soo Jin and the dream or the hallucination caused by some blow had been what had made her think she was Rachel Mundy. Perhaps that was the simple answer and she should forget about all this running around trying to find this English woman in her thirties who worked in a building society and concentrate on what she was: a nineteen-year old Korean student with work to be done.
For an instant that seemed the perfect solution, but then something piqued Rachel. She was still thinking of herself as Rachel, that was not really fading and to give up trying to reconcile her mind and her body seemed to be a betrayal of the life that she remembered having as Rachel and all that had encompassed. Surely it was memories that made someone’s identity and, of course, she had no memories of being Soo Jin. As she thought about it, however, she found that was not really the case. Quite quickly she could call up memories of arriving in Britain, her lectures and seminars, even the essays she had written in her first year. Before that she could remember her home in South Korea, her school, friends back there and, of course, her parents and her sister, Kyoung Mi. With this flood of memories, Rachel stopped herself, worried that they would drown out what she could remember of her life, Rachel Mundy’s life. Rachel wondered if she would find answers at Soo Jin’s house, but was concerned for now, that if she went there, something might click into place, an acceptance that that was where she actually lived, and, as with her thoughts about memories moments before, would obliterate her identity as Rachel.
Rachel was at a loss what to do and decided to head to another cafe. Again self-conscious of how she appeared, so differently from how she still envisaged herself, she eschewed the tea room style cafe she usually favoured and found herself heading to a juice bar that was popular with students. She had a real urge for a blackcurrant smoothie. Usually she disliked dark fruit, tending to stick to orange, but now she had a real taste for it. Within a few minutes she was sat on a high stool at the window sipping on the refreshing drink idly looking at the passing customers. However, she was conscious too of the students in the room with her, especially the small clutch of Koreans, a couple of men and one woman, who seemed to have an interest in her. However, as she expected from people of her country, of South Korea, they were polite and might have commented on her but showed no intention of bothering her. Rachel pulled out her ipod again and brought up another tune, this time she quickly found herself singing along with the lyrics. Then she was aware of a presence behind her and pulled out her earphones.
Rachel turned at the sound of the voice, surprised a little that she felt that she should so easily respond to that name. Standing beside her was Kwan looking quite serious.
“You know me?” Rachel asked with seemingly equal uncertainty.
“Yes, I’m …”
“You’re Heo Kwan, we met a couple of days ago on the bus. Well, no, you met me at the bus stop, or the me that I look like now at the bus stop. However, you met me, the me in here,” Rachel patted her chest, “on the bus the day before that. I am …”
Rachel trailed off. She suddenly realised that the conversation she had just had was not in English, but Korean. Moments later she realised too that she was fumbling for her British name, but guessed that stemmed from speaking in a different language.
“It worked.” Kwan said.
“What worked?” Rachel hoped she was speaking in English. “Are you responsible for what has happened to me?” Rachel said brusquely, but more from a sense of curiosity than anger.
Kwan took the seat beside her but with no air of urgency. Rachel did now hope there would be some answers.
“You were the first person who was kind to me since I came to this city and did not look like you wanted to be somewhere else rather than talk with me.”
This did not seem like any of the answers Rachel was looking for and she wondered if meeting Kwan here was simply chance rather than connected with what had happened to her. However, she did wonder, how he knew the name she had. She guessed that if she had swapped bodies, then, of course, there would have been a good chance that he had simply known Tae Soo Jin. However, the phrase ‘it worked’, she realised, indicated that he did indeed have some awareness of what had happened even if he had not initiated it.
“Yes, and so …”
Kwan hesitated for a moment but then seemed to feel as if he had to make some explanation. “I have abilities, well, everyone in my family has such abilities, but we use them rarely. I never want to use my abilities for harm, just to reward people and of all of those I have met in this country you seemed the one deserving of reward.”
“By turning me into a Korean student?” Rachel asked a little indignantly.
“By allowing you to become the most wonderful kind of woman, young and beautiful and, yes, of course, Korean, the best people in the world to be part of.”
“Can’t you turn me back?”
Kwan looked a bit bemused at the request.
“No. It is not really me who transformed you. I gave you some options, but you made the choice to change. Members of my family have the ability to alter bits of reality, to open up pathways in the place of others. However, if this goes against what the person wants, then, well, it is likely not to succeed. It would be immoral and I guess the universe would not tolerate that. I simply created an avatar and it was you who decided to take on its form for real; to step into the new pathway I had opened up. That was how I knew that I had made the right choice when you began becoming Soo Jin. If it had not been what you wanted then this never could have happened.”
“So who was this Soo Jin whose life I have taken over?”
“She wasn’t anybody. She was a Hahsni, an avatar, that I created.”
“She was real, she was a human, I saw her interacting with people.”
“Yes, but that was just a shell, what I created had no consciousness of what or who she was, she was like a robot programmed to behave in certain ways. She had limited life. If you had not accepted my gift, well, then she would have faded away.”
Rachel sat for a moment trying to absorb what Kwan was saying, it certainly sounded as if it had come from a sci-fi novel. However, what she could not deny was that she was sitting here, appearing to anyone who looked, that she was a young Korean student. If she accepted that as the fact it increasingly appeared to be, then she had to accept that other incredible things were possible.
“What about her family, her sister? Did you ‘create’ them too.”
Kwan shook his head. “No, the Tae family simply acquire an elder daughter they did not once have. However, of course, they believe they always had Soo Jin, and because reality has shifted that little bit. It is now true, you are that daughter, that elder sister.”
“People do not appear and disappear like that.”
“In this country, how many is it? About one in three hundred people go missing at any one time. Of course, occasionally some people appear too. There are strict rules. I cannot wipe someone out, but they can change, especially if they want to change and it is to something better.”
Rachel was going to argue about her life not being that bad. However, guiltily, she knew that Kwan was right in saying that she had wanted this change. Of course, she would never have considered it before and naturally, anyway, would have believed such things were impossible. Yet, she had not been able to shake her fascination with Soo Jin and her life, and had actually shifted her own more in that woman’s direction. Had she not, in fact, wanted Soo Jin’s life and gone out to get it? If she had not followed the woman, this avatar, into the store, then she doubted that the change would have occurred.
“What about Rachel Mundy?” She asked, feeling that partly she knew the answer.
“You have seen it. The universe tidies itself up very quickly. Someone works in your place at the building society and Mr. and Mrs. Mundy have a daughter called Rachel, though I doubt you would recognise her.”
“All very neat.” Rachel said but more with admiration at Kwan’s abilities than with any sarcasm.
“Of course, this is a reward, a thank-you gift for the kindness you showed me. To you it might appear something so small, but after being in a country so long and regularly meeting only sourness, it was refreshing to talk with you. Take the gift that I am offering. I can see that you do truly want it though you still hesitate to take it fully. Accept it entirely, doing that will really hearten me.”
Rachel felt uneasy. Was Kwan tricking her? Had it been the case that he had really just created his ideal version of a girlfriend and had simply used Rachel as the raw material to achieve that? She marvelled at that question. All of this was, of course, impossible. People were not simply transformed in terms of their age, their appearance, their ethnicity, and yet, that was what she was now being forced to accept had happened.
If Kwan was telling her the truth, then, was it really the case that she had decided to assume this form, to accept his ‘gift’ and become a sexy young Korean woman? Rachel thought back over when she had first seen Soo Jin and the touch of jealousy that she had felt that Kwan was talking to her. This had been followed by her fascination with how this unknown woman had dressed and looked. Had she not also envied the woman’s youth, her slender body and long hair? Surely jealousy and envy meant that you wanted to possess what the other person had. On that basis, had she not, in fact, wanted to be Soo Jin; to live her life? Of course, such thoughts and feelings usually remained simply that, what had been different this time was that she had been given the chance to live that life for real.
Were the changes in fact anything more than cosmetic? Was what Kwan had done nothing more than what complex plastic surgery could have brought about. Rachel realised that since the change there had been a whole range of thoughts that she had kept on dismissing, trying to deny that they were relevant to her. As she recognised that fact and, possibly just out of curiosity, let them have freer rein, it was as if an opening had been made in the wall that was keeping these thoughts from coming naturally to mind. She began thinking of how she liked these clothes and ran her slender fingers over the smooth leather of her trousers. She found she loved the way that how she dressed both made her feel sexy and attracted attention. She glanced over at Kwan and felt pleased that he loved the way she appeared.
For an instant she was curious at why Kwan’s opinion mattered to her, but then she realised it was because she fancied him. That was no surprise, he was tall, handsome, intelligent, polite and, though she knew he had a sense of humour, he was not frivolous, something that a young woman like herself, studying so far from home felt was an important characteristic for a boyfriend. Boyfriend? Of course, she was hoping that Kwan could become that and not just sometime, but tonight. A little nervously she brushed her long black hair back from her face. She felt for a moment as if she had turned back into a demure girl of the past. However, she reminded herself, she was a modern woman, a confident Korean woman who took the initiative. She looked up at Kwan from beneath her eyelashes and was reminded how good he appeared; she felt the urge to feel the body under those clothes. She smiled sweetly.
“Would you like to go out for a drink?” The words came with ease but left her blushing.
“Of course,” Kwan responded. “I was going to ask you, but a woman who can ask herself, well, it’s the 2000s. I could tell you were confident from how you dress and I like that, I like it a lot.”
Soo Jin felt a thrill run through her, this was going even better than she had expected. She had not to rush things, but it seemed that Kwan had had the same ideas as herself and she was glad that she had not let him slip away. She had the urge to kiss Kwan right now, but reined in her feelings, there was time enough for that later and she did not want to appear over-eager. However, she found herself sliding from the stool and taking the short step to press herself against Kwan and move her lips on to his. As his arm came round and pressed her leather jacket into the small of her back, she knew she had made the right decision: why waste time when there was pleasure to be had?
“Okay, well, I need to go and get ready. I will see you at seven in ‘All Bar One’.” Soo Jin said confidently.
“Sure, sounds good.” Kwan replied looking a little bemused.
Soo Jin had a feeling that she knew this town far better than him. She guessed she would have to get him to return the favour and take her to some good places in London, where she knew he had been studying before. For now, she quite liked being on what, after a year of living here, she felt was home turf. She had selected the wine bar deliberately. She wanted somewhere that would be busy and lively, but not too noisy that she would not be able to hear herself speak and the sofas would allow her to snuggle discreetly towards Kwan. She had already determined that she was going to have sex with him later. Being October it was coming on to darkness by the time she reached the bus stop. However, it was dry and anyway in her leathers she usually shrugged off the British weather.
It took a while for Soo Jin to reach the house she shared with three other students: another Korean woman, Choon Yei, and two Thais, a woman and a man, just friends rather than a couple. Soo Jin had big hopes for Choon Yei who was far too mouse-like for her own good, though very warm hearted and with a great sense of humour if you could get her to relax. Soo Jin was keen to develop her confidence more and get her to trade the baggy tracksuit bottoms and Uggs for some far sleeker leggings and boots, then she could be a really good companion for nights out. Soo Jin wondered if Kwan had some friend on his course that they could match Choon Yei up with; she might go for a slightly older man.
Soo Jin called out as was her habit when she came home, but there was no response; she guessed her housemates were out, perhaps sleeping. She went up to her room, she had the large front one with a bay window looking out over the street. She switched on the light to reveal a magnolia painted room decorated by the landlord in a style reminiscent of the Eighties. Soo Jin had added posters of K-pop artists: Epik High, Rain and DBSK. She kept her room tidy and, as always, now put her bag down on the low table by the door; she would take her smaller, Radley Chelsea bag when she went out later.
Soo Jin looked at the clothes in her wardrobe. For a moment she thought about going with something conservative but knew that that was not her. She knew that she wanted sex with Kwan so why not appear sexy and communicate that to him the moment he saw her? She picked up a corset style top. She had a couple of these, one in shiny vinyl, but, given that she was looking to be dressed in other glossy clothes, she picked her charcoal grey one with the black silk ribbons laced down the front. She then pulled on a new thong before sliding her shapely legs into the tight shiny vinyl trousers and lifting out the cropped vinyl jacket that went with it. She did up a couple of the metal buttons on that before turning to her boots: tonight it would be the patent lace-up knee-length ones. She sat on the edge of the bed and ran the laces between the ski hooks and pulled them tight. Soo Jin stood up and ran her hands over the slippery vinyl of her trousers, loving how snug she felt in those and how the corset top hugged her. There was a real sleekness about this outfit that she liked and it certainly did the job of making her both feel and appear sexy. She went to her dressing table and brushed her long black hair before turning to her make-up, selecting dark plum lipstick and then silver shades for her eyelids.
Satisfied with her handiwork, Soo Jin stopped and looked at her reflection. For a moment it was as if her face was unfamiliar to her, as if she was looking not at her own features but those of a stranger, a woman alien to her. Thinking that, she felt that there was something at the corner of her mind, just out of the reach of her conscious thoughts. She looked down at her body held in its tight clothes and seeing how the vinyl was taut on her thighs became distracted running her fingers across the gloss once more, thinking about Kwan doing something similar later. Soo Jin checked her watch and saw that she needed to be on her way if she was not going to be late getting to the bar. She pulled down her silk raincoat and as she put it on she looked around her room. Though she prided herself in being a stylish, relaxed young woman, she did not want to come across as neglectful of keeping her space tidy. As Soo Jin headed to the door, she realised that she was assuming that she would be bringing Kwan back here later and smiled at that thought. Of course, it might not turn out that way, but she increasingly felt that the more she thought about it being the case the more likely it was to come true. She had had only a couple of sexual partners in her first year, and whilst she was not desperate for another encounter, Soo Jin did feel that in Kwan she had found a man who could both be a good boyfriend for her as well as an exciting lover.
Soo Jin walked into the bar, conscious that even with the number of people already here, she attracted attention. She glanced around and saw Kwan sat on one of the larger sofas in the corner, a bottle of beer on the table in front of him. She liked how he was dressed and felt his outfit would complement hers perfectly. He had on a long leather coat, beneath which was a polo neck top in black, black cargo pants and chunky shoes she recognised as being Mad Fish. For an instant she turned towards the bar as if to order herself a drink. There seemed to be a British woman, perhaps in her thirties, perhaps older, with shorter than shoulder-length brown hair and a peacoat, walking from the back of the bar towards Soo Jin. She smiled and looked relaxed and Soo Jin wondered if she knew the woman, perhaps she was an administrator or a librarian at the university; maybe she had mistaken Soo Jin for someone else.
For an instant Soo Jin felt she should continue walking towards the woman and should talk to her. Then she shook her head, sending her long black hair sweeping across the back of her silk raincoat. Instead she turned towards Kwan feeling a sudden shudder of excitement as she did. She glanced back just as she reached his sofa but she could not see the British woman at all now. She tried to work out the sight line that she had been looking down but it only led to the mirrors behind the bar. Perhaps the woman had been a member of staff or a health inspector or something and had been smiling at someone behind Soo Jin. That seemed likely. An initial feeling that it had been important to talk to the woman faded quickly and instead she turned to Kwan. He stood up as she came near and she sent a hand around the small of his back and closed to kiss him. She guessed that was behaving the way that they would do if they were already a couple. Certainly in Korea they would have been more discreet but that was one reason why she liked it in the UK, few people gave such actions much thought. Conversely, Soo Jin knew here that men had to be in no doubt about what the woman wanted. Soo Jin felt more than confident enough to rein Kwan in if he started to take things too quickly, but she guessed some decent sex at the end of the first date was fast enough to satisfy the average man. What she might have to assert control over was the nature of the sex. She was not going to let him get away with having an early ejaculation and thinking it was all over neither was she simply going to give him oral sex and let his jism gunge up her lovely hair. She was certainly not averse to oral sex especially if it was fair exchange, but it had to be on her terms.
Kwan smiled and Soo Jin could see his eyes were running hungrily over her. It was clear that her clothes and make-up, and presumably her very self, matched with what he was seeking. That was a good start as she realised that there was nothing about him that she had any doubts about. He already had a bottle of her favourite alcopop waiting and she mentally commended him on reading her tastes so well.
The next few hours passed incredibly quickly and they found they had a lot to talk about. Soo Jin enjoyed being able to speak in Korean so that it did not make every sentence she delivered seem laboured. It turned out that they liked many of the same movies and listened to the same bands. They talked about their experiences in the UK and their plans for the future and soon they were catching a taxi back to Soo Jin’s house. As she sat in the back of the taxi, Soo Jin thought over how well the evening had gone. It was almost as if Kwan had somehow been made for her, he seemed to fit into her life so well. He now had his arm protectively around her and she felt that they had been a couple for ages not just that day. Perhaps things had moved quickly, but it seemed foolish to put obstacles in the way of a development that was certainly making her feel happy.
At the house, the muted sound of the television and light under the door to the lounge were the only signs of life. Soo Jin hesitated to kiss Kwan just inside the door. There had been no need for the discussion about cups of coffee, both of them, it seemed, knew they were going to spend the night together. Soo Jin took Kwan by the hand and led him up the stairs to her bedroom. She hurried in ahead of him to switch on a couple of the smaller lamps which bathed the room in a pleasant orangey glow. Then she turned and locked with Kwan in a deep kiss, letting her tongue chase his around and slowly manoeuvred back to the bed. She lowered herself down while Kwan stood over her. She tossed off her raincoat, having dropped her bag on the table as she had entered. Now she gently pressed her corset top down on her pleasurably sensitive nipples.
“What would you like to try first?” Soo Jin asked with a saucy smile as she looked up at Kwan.
“Well, you don’t think you’re going to be leaving here tonight do you?”
“No, no, of course not.”
Soo Jin was charmed by his uncertainty now. She liked leading the way and would have balked at a man calling all the shots.
“Well, I am thinking you probably want me to suck you off, all young, erm, all men want that don’t they?” Soo Jin said but tried not to sound patronising; now she had got him here she did not want him going off in a huff.
“Erm, er.” Kwan stuttered. “How could you, erm?”
He seemed put out as if disconcerted that somehow Soo Jin had read his mind. However, from the erection straining to break out from his trousers, Soo Jin guessed she had been spot on with her assumption. To reassure him, she smiled sweetly and began unlacing her top so that her breasts began to appear.
“Fair enough, but there will be rules. First, though you have to do something for me. Fair exchange is no robbery.” Soo Jin said, wondering where she had got that phrase from.
It was clear Kwan had not entirely got the message.
“Down here. On your knees. Get down here, please.” Soo Jin said to moderate her request not wanting to come over as too dominating; after all she did want to make love to this man not simply screw him.
Kwan threw off his coat and complied. Soo Jin unzipped her vinyl trousers and slid them a short way down her thighs but did not remove them, she realised she was keen to see Kwan’s head sliding between the glossy black. Having sex in these clothes would make them all the more exciting to wear next time she put them on. She pulled her thong aside and rang her fingers over her black pussy hair. The lips were widening of their own accord. With two fingers Soo Jin caught her clitoris and excited it more, making it a clearer target for Kwan’s attentions. However, she felt certain he would know what he was doing. Then his head slid between her thighs and Soo Jin shuddered with a thrill, loving the shininess of the clothes she wore and how sexual they made her feel. As Kwan’s tongue did a long stroke across her pussy lips and stroking the tip of her clitoris, she knew there was not much she was going to have to tutor him in doing, bar the pace and focus that she wanted at each stage.
As the pleasure rose steadily, Soo Jin threw back her head and emitted yelps of delight with each stroke of Kwan’s tongue. Reflected in the chrome around the light fitting in the centre of the room, she could see a dim, orangey image of her face. For an instant it seemed that he features were replaced with those of the British woman she had seen in the bar. That seemed wrong and Soo Jin closed her eyes firmly. Opening them she stared intently at her features as if to fix them in place: her ivory skin, her elliptical eyes, her long black hair. This was her, this was Tae Soo Jin and as her boyfriend brought her to orgasm she knew she did not want to be anywhere or anyone else.
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:46 am