The newest fiction series from The Unpublishables is a teen K-drama-style romcom without the interminable wait for Viki to load properly (or is that just me?) and for a generous person to subtitle. If you haven’t read Chapter One, you can do so here.
Things are pretty grim for Vanessa “Bunny” Chan. It’s the start of Sixth Form and classmate Ji-hun still hasn’t realized that she’s a girl, much less noticed she’s been in love with him for a year. When Ji-hun tells her that he’s fallen for the new girl, Bunny almost loses hope but fate gives her the luckiest break ever: she manages to convince the most popular boys in school, known as the Wolf Pack, to swear to help her and Ji-hun get together. Kurt, Taishi, and Wei resist at first but gradually get swept up by Bunny’s plans…until they all start falling for her, too.
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BUNNY AND THE WOLF PACK
“So here’s what we think we can do,” Kurt said without any preamble when Bunny answered his call. “Wait, who’s that?” His face suddenly loomed on Bunny’s phone screen as he squinted at Emi, who was sitting at Bunny’s desk in her room.
“Who’s who?” Kei’s voice piped up in the background. Kurt’s face disappeared, and the screen blurred with movement as it dropped to the floor, stabilizing into a view of a vaulted ceiling before Kei’s face appeared. “It’s Emi!” he said.
The screen blurred once more. “Hey! Stop elbowing my face! I want to see too!” Taishi yelped.
“Will you two give me back my phone?” Kurt said in exasperation over sounds of scuffling.
“Oh my God. They’re fighting to look at me,” Emi said, clutching Bunny’s arm.
After a minute or two, Kurt returned to the screen, looking slightly disheveled. “Who’s that, Vanessa?”
“This is my best friend, Emi. She’s sitting in to…”
“Advise you,” Emi promptly said.
“Didn’t we agree that you wouldn’t tell anyone?” Kurt’s features grew even colder than their usual icy demeanor, which made him look like a winter prince in a fairy tale. But Bunny also noticed the anxiety in his dark eyes. This secret really means a lot to him, she thought, hastening to reassure him. “Emi doesn’t know how I made the deal with you. Only that we have one. I swear.”
“I really don’t,” Emi said. “I’m just here for backup because Bunny is really stubborn about change. For all I know, she promised to do your homework for the entire year.”
“I don’t need help with homework, thanks,” Kurt snapped, but he looked slightly mollified. Behind him, Kei said sadly, “I need help, though.”
Taishi’s face appeared next to Kurt’s. “If we hear even a whisper of our deal in school, though, it’s off, and we tell Ji-hun about the whole thing. Agreed?”
Bunny and Emi nodded. Kurt and Taishi relaxed visibly. “As I was saying, we’re going to maximize our resources and get this done as quickly as possible. The three of us are going to act like we’re competing against each other for Vanessa. That should drive up Ji-hun’s curiosity, and maybe that’ll help put you on his radar as a girl. That means you’ll need to spend some lunches and recesses with us and play into the drama of this whole love rivalry thing,” Kurt instructed.
“I can do that,” Bunny said, although nervousness was beginning to prick at her. She wasn’t good at acting; when she did Drama as her Art elective in Year 7, Mrs Liu had despaired of her stage fright. Mrs Liu ended up giving her the role of the First Commoner in Julius Ceasar, and Bunny had been so terrified that she’d barely stuttered out her only line, “Why, sir, a carpenter.”
“And you’re going to have to change how you interact with Ji-hun,” Kurt continued. “Kei said that he doesn’t find you attractive at all.”
Bunny winced. “Yeah, I know that. So what do I need to change exactly?” Emi handed her a notebook and a pen, whispering, “Take notes.”
“You need to be more interested in Ji-hun,” Kei’s face popped up in front of Kurt’s.
“I am interested in Ji-hun,” Bunny protested. “Why do you think we’re talking about this right now?”
“Yeah, but you have to look like this,” Taishi said, grabbing Kei’s face and giving him a long, lingering look. Kei cooed, “Ooh, that’s good.”
Emi fell out of her seat and hit the floor. “Excuse me,” she said, getting up again immediately and straightening her uniform out.
“I can’t do that,” Bunny said, blushing. “That’s embarrassing! Like, how could I just go up to him and do that? I can’t!”
“To be fair, she doesn’t have the face for it,” Kurt told Taishi, who frowned and scratched his chin. “How about this one?” Taishi grabbed Kei’s face again, and gave him a look that was so intense, so full of passion, that Bunny’s knees felt weak. Kei pretended to faint, and Bunny was pretty sure that Emi just did.
“That’s a pretty easy look to pull off. I was thinking of kakigori the entire time, but you can just think of any dessert you like,” Taishi explained. “Go ahead, try it and let us see.”
Oh my God. Bunny tried to remember how Taishi arranged his features and made a huge effort to replicate how he did it, thinking of her favorite foods: tang yuan, char siu bao, chicken feet. There was silence from the Wolf Pack until Kurt barked, “Well? Come on, try it.”
“I just did!” Bunny said.
“Your face did not change at all,” Kurt said accusingly.
“It did,” Emi said, loyally. “I saw it.”
“Well, I didn’t.” Kurt looked Bunny over. “Are you using Botox? Aren’t you a little young?”
“I’m not on Botox, okay?”
“Then why does your face move like milk pudding?”
“Look, she obviously hasn’t done this before, so we can’t just expect her to know how to do it,” Taishi said reasonably. He looked at Bunny appraisingly. “I could give you lessons.”
Bunny suddenly pictured afternoons sitting with Taishi as he gave her those looks that he’d given Kei. It seemed like a really terrible good idea. “I don’t know…” she hesitated.
“Don’t worry, Taishi’s really good and he can teach you a lot! He’s going to be an actor, there’s a producer who–ow!” Kei’s face disappeared again and a lot of scuffling noises ensued. “You can’t just tell people we don’t know about this!” Taishi complained.
“But we know her, she’s Vanessa!” Kei said, his voice muffled.
Jeez, what’s the deal with these guys and their secrets, Bunny thought.
“Taishi has a point. Our plan can’t succeed unless you learn how to act like a normal human being. You should meet up as soon as possible and get started. Who knows how long it’ll take?” Kurt decided. Behind him, Taishi nodded.
“Can’t we do this over the phone?” Bunny asked plaintively.
“No,” Taishi said. “We can meet at morning break tomorrow.” He sat back and grinned at her. “Don’t worry, I’ll make it really easy for you.”
“Ugh, that was terrible. I really don’t know if we can help this sad little fish.” Kurt flung himself against the sofa, accidentally hitting himself in the face with his phone. “God!” He rubbed his cheek.
Taishi and Kei were unmoved by Kurt’s pain. Kurt had always been clumsy, even as a little kid, and his friends were used to seeing him constantly breaking things and injuring himself. Unless there was a lot of blood and/or screaming involved, they usually shrugged it off. They did wonder how he ever made it onto Canterbury’s polo team, but Kurt seemed to be somewhat more coordinated when he was on a horse.
“While I’m with Vanessa, you and Kei should work on priming Ji-hun,” Taishi said, flopping down next to Kurt.
Kei scooted to Kurt’s other side. “You mean like complimenting Vanessa and making him see how great it would be to date her?”
“Yes, exactly. But remember, people hate to lose out more than they like winning, so make it look like you guys are starting to like her a lot and that you’re both feeling some tension with each other because of your rivalry,” Taishi said. “That should make him start thinking of her as a girl and start worrying that he’ll miss out on dating her.”
“Rivalry? Dating? What are you all talking about?” A female voice pierced through the room, followed by the scent of Annick Goutal’s Eau D’Hadrien. Kurt’s latest stepmother, Kelly, appeared, holding a small Harvey Nichols shopping bag. “What are you boys plotting this evening?”
Kurt rolled his eyes. “You guys should leave before it gets weird. I’ll get one of the drivers to take you home.”
“What do you mean ‘weird’?” Kelly asked, looking offended. “I’m really doing my best to get along with you, Kurt.”
“Okay, it’s starting. Let me walk you guys out.” Kurt stalked off, followed by Taishi and Kei, who both quietly said, “Goodbye, Auntie Kelly.”
“That was really rude, Kurt,” Kei said, as they walked to the garage.
Taishi spoke up, “Acting like that to her isn’t going to bring your Ah Ma back, you know.”
“I know.” Kurt paused, biting the knuckles of his clenched fist.
Kei and Taishi put their arms around Kurt’s shoulders comfortingly. The three friends stood in silence for a while until Kurt composed himself. “You guys should go. We’re going to have a busy day tomorrow getting this sad little fish thing started.” He managed a smile. “You know what’s funny? I’m kind of looking forward to it. It’ll be something different for once. And it might even be fun.”
Read Chapter Six here!