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
“Oh, it’s Kei again,” Ji-hun said to Bunny and Emi as Kei made his way towards them during morning break, leaving people swooning in his wake. Bunny looked at Ji-hun sharply, trying to figure out what he might be feeling, but he didn’t seem bothered at all. Kei had been popping up like an exceptionally pretty flower whenever she was with Ji-hun for the past three days, but aside from his initial surprise, Ji-hun had welcomed him warmly and didn’t seem to begrudge his presence at all.
“I get that Ji-hun is amazing and friendly, and I love that about him, but come on,” Bunny had said to Emi bitterly after the second day.
“You need to work on your own seduction stuff, too. Otherwise, it just looks like Kei is coming over to hang out.”
“Yeah, Taishi and Kurt were supposed to give me notes, but something came up for Taishi and he’s busy until next week.”
“Can’t Kurt give you the notes himself?”
“I guess not. Anyway, I’d rather have Taishi there, too. Kurt is kind of surly sometimes.”
“I know,” Emi said, clearly picturing a fond memory. “The way his eyes squint is really sexy.”
“Here, take my seat,” Ji-hun offered, getting up from his chair beside Bunny. But before Bunny could protest, Kei smoothly slid into the chair between her and Emi, leaving Ji-hun to return to his seat. “Hi, guys! Vanessa, look, I got you this.” Kei whipped out a box and opened it up revealing half a dozen buttery-yellow puff pastry egg tarts inside. He beamed as the light scent of vanilla custard seductively unveiled itself. “I got these from Kam Fung, they were baked just this morning.” Kam Fung was a cha chaan teng or teahouse restaurant famous for its baked goods, especially its egg tarts and pineapple buns, and people often queued up for ages to get hold of them.
“Oh wow!” Bunny gasped, pretending to be surprised and hoping that her acting wasn’t over the top. “Thank you! Aren’t these hard to get? You must’ve woken up really early to get these.”
Kei shrugged modestly. “It was no big deal.”
“How did you know egg tarts are one of her favorite snacks?” Emi said robotically, repeating the lines that she’d rehearsed for over half an hour the night before. Bunny sighed internally but admitted to herself that she had no right to criticize Emi’s acting abilities.
“Oh, is it one of your favorites?” Ji-hun asked Bunny as she passed the egg tarts around. “I didn’t know that. Hah, funny. Pat had her first egg tart just a couple of days ago, and she loved it too.”
Bunny was stunned silent, and Kei looked dismayed but he quickly recovered and said, “It’s not hard to find things out about special people, right, Ji-hun?” Kei nudged Ji-hun.
“Yeah, not at all,” Ji-hun agreed pleasantly. “I mean, Pat doesn’t know anyone here in Hong Kong, and I still managed to figure some things out. It’s just a little detective work.”
Bunny and Kei exchanged a look. Kei leaned over and said, “Hey, your hair’s a little messy here.” He reached over to tuck the pretend lock behind Bunny’s ear. She felt his fingers brush her ear, waking up goosebumps along her arms. Kei whispered in her ear, “Start giggling, like I’m telling you something naughty but funny.”
“Ha ha ha ha,” Bunny automatically said. The terrifying artificiality of her laughter made Kei’s bright expression falter. Ji-hun and Emi both looked like one of the egg tarts had decided to get up and start dancing on the table.
“Something wrong?” Ji-hun asked, concerned. “That was a…strange reaction.”
“No, just a private joke,” Kei smiled, although his eyes retained a slightly haunted expression. “Why don’t we finish these tarts up before the bell rings?”
“Are you all right, Kei?” Kurt asked, kicking his friend out of a stupor. They were sitting by the white-curtained windows at Tai Ping Koon Cafe for an after school snack, and Kei hadn’t swallowed up his plate of the restaurant’s famous Swiss sauce chicken wings like he normally did.
“Huh? What?” Kei sat up, looking like he’d just been revived with CPR.
“What’s up with you? You’ve been weird since morning break. Did you get a stomach ache from all those tarts?”
Kei looked forlorn. “I just…I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so sad and hopeless,” he confessed.
“You mean you’ve been thinking about that sad little fish all day?” Kurt snorted into his milk tea. “I guess I’d be feeling depressed too.”
“Ji-hun talks to her like the way I talk to you or Taishi,” Kei continued, not minding Kurt’s words. “And you know, she still has so much faith that we can help her, even though she’s really struggling and it’s totally an uphill battle.”
“Are those tears in your eyes?”
“Don’t you ever watch those videos with those puppies who have missing legs and then they get a little cart to help them walk, and they’re so happy when they’re finally running around and it’s so beautiful and moving?” Kei sniffled.
“Okay, okay.” Kurt patted Kei’s hand. “It’s not that deep. We’re helping a girl with a crush, don’t take it so seriously.”
Kei sniffled some more. “She makes me believe in the impossible.”
“Yeah, ‘impossible’ is the right word, that’s for sure.”
With a final sniff, Kei began eating his chicken wings. “I can’t wait for Taishi to be done with his auditions so he can help out.” He looked accusingly at Kurt. “You should be doing more, too.”
“I am, as a matter of fact,” Kurt smirked. “I’ve been investigating that Patcharin girl that Ji-hun likes.”
Kei perked up. “What did you find out?”
“She’s got a few guys chasing after her.” The unimpressed look on Kurt’s face clearly indicated that he found the number negligible. “She doesn’t seem to be into anyone in particular but just, you know, enjoying the attention.”
Kei nodded sagely. “Must be her first time.”
“Who knows? I mean, she’s cute and all that.” Kurt shrugged. “But I think the reason guys like Ji-hun like her is that she makes them feel like they’re amazing and different. She does this thing, you know…” Kurt affected a high-pitched voice and said, “‘Wow, you’re so interesting.'” He returned to his usual timber and continued, “Vanessa needs to learn how to do that kind of bull if she wants Ji-hun to see her as a girl.”
“But she does think Ji-hun is interesting. You can see it on her face when she looks at him,” Kei objected, vaguely feeling that he ought to defend Bunny.
Kurt shrugged. “She needs to make it more obvious. Anyway, it’s Taishi’s job to teach her how to do that.”
“What are you going to do then?”
“I’m going to distract Patcharin and get her out of the picture until Vanessa gets this done. After that, she’s on her own.”
“Good, good. Vanessa needs to isolate Ji-hun and then bam! He won’t have any other choice but to fall for her,” Kei said approvingly.
“Why are you so invested in helping her? I’ve never seen you work so hard for something or care about a goal so much.” Kurt raised one of his eyebrows. “If you’d put this much effort into the tryouts for the polo team or the fencing team, you would’ve gotten in.” He crossed his arms and gave Kei a suspicious look. “Is this going to be like when you thought you’d get into photography and gave up after a month? Or when you wanted to do rock climbing and stopped after six lessons?”
“No, it’s not like that,” Kei said earnestly. “I really think I can see this through. I really want to help her, and I won’t give up on her, like those puppies with missing legs.” He choked up briefly then cleared his throat. “Anyway, why aren’t you more invested in helping her? It’s your secret that Vanessa knows.”
“I’m invested, I just…she’s on my mind a lot, and it’s hard for me to concentrate on anything else.” Kurt slumped in his chair. It was obvious to Kei that he wasn’t referring to Vanessa. “I think I might visit Ah Ma this weekend and tell her about it. Maybe she knows something that I don’t.”
Kei looked concerned. “Why is it bothering you so much?”
“Because…because despite everything she’s done, I think I still love her.” Kurt’s mouth twisted. “Stupid, right?”
“No, it’s not. It’s the least stupid thing,” Kei said loyally. “It’s like when a puppy…”
“Please don’t say I’m like a puppy with missing legs.”
“Fine,” Kei sniffed. “Anyway, I’ll go with you if you need me as emotional backup. Taishi will, too.”
“Thanks.” Kurt smiled at his good friend. His phone suddenly buzzed and he looked at the screen. “Speaking of the devil, he’s done the first round of auditions and wants to meet us now.”