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
It didn’t sink in for Bunny just how crazy it was that she was going to be on a call with the Wolf Pack until she told Emi after school.
In response, Emi had calmly taken out her phone and called her mom, saying, “Ah, Okaa-san, I’m sorry but something really urgent came up and I’m going to be at Bunny’s until ten. No, it’s just schoolwork. Yes, I’ll be sure to apologize to her parents. Okay, bye.” After Emi hung up, she slung her backpack over her shoulder and said, “I’m ready.”
“What just happened there?” Bunny asked, bemused. They started walking towards the school bus parking lot. The bumping of Bunny’s heart told her that Ji-hun was already standing there waiting for his bus–unfortunately a different one from Bunny and Emi’s. Soon, she thought, taking in the way he talked to his friends with his hands jammed in his school jacket pockets like an adorable little boy. Soon.
“You always give the worst recaps so I want to see this for myself,” Emi said with a shrug.
“Why? It’s just a video call.”
“Sure, but with three of those.” Emi pointed at Kei, who was heading their way, a worshipful gaggle of Senior students in his wake. He had unbuttoned his jacket and it drifted behind his slender figure like he was in a music video. Kei was the most deer-like of the Wolf Pack, with melting dark eyes that seemed to look on the world with nothing but affection and wonder. “Vanessa!” he called out, quickening his pace and catching up with her and Emi. “Oh, hello, Vanessa’s friend,” he smiled down at Emi, his lashes brushing his cheek.
“Wow,” Emi said.
“Uh, hi. This is Emi. Emi, this is Kei. What’s up?” Bunny asked, a little discombobulated. When she had been negotiating with the Wolf Pack, Bunny had been too intent on getting a deal to be fully affected by the Wolf Pack’s individual charms, but now she could feel the warping power of Kei’s gaze. He made her feel as though everything around them faded away into a hazy light.
“I’m here to lay some groundwork,” Kei said. “Just watch.” He led the two girls close to Ji-hun’s school bus stop and as soon as they were within Ji-hun’s earshot, he said loudly, “Hey, Ji-hun!”
Ji-hun turned around in surprise. “Kei? Don’t you take the shuttle bus? I thought you lived too far for the school bus.” He did a double take when he saw Bunny and Emi. “Oh, I didn’t realize you guys knew each other.”
Kei draped an arm around Bunny’s shoulders. Bunny almost jumped out of her skin but a warning poke from Emi kept her from losing it. She tried not to tense up from the warmth of Kei’s arm. A stray impression entered her head as she tried to adjust to Kei’s proximity. He smells like sunlight.
“We’ve been getting to know each other recently,” Kei purred.
“Really? I had no idea,” Ji-hun said, a confused look on his face as he looked at Kei’s arm and Bunny’s expression. “That’s cool.”
“I didn’t realize that Vanessa knew you. I thought she was all ours,” Kei said. He mock-frowned at Bunny. “Should we be jealous?”
“Who’s ‘we’?” Ji-hun asked.
“Just the guys, Kurt and Taishi.”
“Ah, I see.” Ji-hun had recovered from his surprise and said cheerfully, “No need to be jealous about anything, Bunny is one of my best friends.”
Both Bunny and Kei frowned at this. “It doesn’t bother you at all?” Kei asked.
Ji-hun looked puzzled again. “Why would it?”
“Uh, hang on for a second. I just remembered, I need ask Bunny something confidential,” Kei turned Bunny around with a look of dismay. “He doesn’t care at all. Should I just kiss you?” he whispered.
“No!” Bunny hissed back, although much less forcefully than she intended.
“Understood. Gotta keep the mystery going.” Kei winked at her. They turned back to Ji-hun, and Kei smoothly said, “Sorry about that. It had something to do with Kurt, and you know how he hates people knowing his business.” Saying Kurt’s name made Kei hesitate for a moment as he remembered Kurt’s admonition to not overdo things. “Uh…well, I just came by to say goodbye to Vanessa and tell her how much I’ll miss seeing her face. Until tonight, when we call. Okay, gotta go, don’t want to miss the shuttle!” He gave Bunny’s shoulder a squeeze and ran off, flashing another smile that brought out muffled squeals from the lingering Seniors.
“Wow,” Emi said once more.
“Sorry, that was a little weird,” Bunny said to Ji-hun. He laughed and said, “Nah, not at all. Kei’s always been impulsive like that. He must really like you.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Bunny said half-heartedly. “Well, we have to go, the bus is here. See you tomorrow.” She dragged Emi away.
“That was a disaster,” Bunny groaned as soon as they were out of earshot.
“What are you talking about? It was great!” Emi said.
“Yeah, who knew Kei smelled so nice?”
Bunny tsked. “That’s beside the point! I could’ve made out with Kei in front of Ji-hun, and Ji-hun wouldn’t have batted an eye.”
“Could you have, though?”
Bunny blushed and admitted, “He offered.”
Emi stumbled and Bunny had to catch her before she fell. “Jeez, warn me before you drop a bombshell like that. So why didn’t you just go for it?”
“All I’m saying is that there are a limited number of opportunities in this life. You might as well take them when they appear,” Emi said matter-of-factly as they boarded the bus.
Bunny shook her head, scandalized. “You’re not going to say things like that during the video call, right?”
“Are you kidding me? That’s the only reason I’ll be there. Look, you had the balls to propose a deal with the Wolf Pack, they were dumb or desperate enough to agree, so I’m here to make sure that all of you see it through, and that you especially don’t chicken out when it gets serious.” Emi plopped her backpack onto her lap and grinned. “Because it will.”
“He’s really not into her,” Kei lamented as he checked the messages on his phone. “Oh, my mom says that we can have dinner at the new restaurant, if we like. But we have to leave at eight because a private party is coming in at eight-thirty. That should give us enough time to call Vanessa.” They were all sitting in Kurt’s SUV; unlike the other students at Canterbury, he was allowed to have a private car pick him up at the school after a previous, botched kidnapping attempt endangered one of the school shuttle buses. This meant that he had to sneak around to the back of the school where the staff parking lot was located and leave at different times each day, taking a different economy car each time.
His friends didn’t often join him–their parents were worried about the danger–so Kurt appreciated the rare occasions that they could. Predictably, Kei found the subterfuge thrilling, while Taishi was amused by the fact that his much-wealthier friend had ridden in more budget cars than he had.
“Is it that Sichuan restaurant that everyone’s talking about?” Taishi stretched his long legs. “I wouldn’t mind some spicy mapo tofu right now.”
“Me too!” Kei enthused. “You’ve got to try Chef Wong’s mala chicken too, and the crunchy green beans, oh my God…” Kei fell back against his seat, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
“Wait,” Kurt interrupted. “What do you mean ‘he’s really not into her’?”
“He didn’t get jealous at all. He was like ‘you do you’ to Vanessa, basically.”
“Ugh. Of all things, this sad little fish wants mission impossible. How far did you get with the diary, Taishi?” Kurt asked.
Taishi closed his eyes as if he were remembering a painful memory. “Not too much, honestly. It’s like looking into the mind of a psychopath.”
Kurt frowned. “Well, no regular guy would turn down a sexy babe, so maybe we should focus on making her into one.”
“We’ve turned down sexy babes,” Kei pointed out as he punched numbers on his phone.
“I said ‘regular guy’. They all get distracted by the same superficial stuff and then bang! You got them, and it’s too late.”
“You are really cynical for someone who’s never been in a serious relationship,” Taishi observed.
“It’s not cynicism. And you haven’t been in one either.”
“That’s because I have dreams, and I don’t want to get distracted.”
“Mapo tofu, mala chicken, green beans, dan dan noodles, twice-cooked pork, chao shou dumplings…” Kei said into his phone.
“And dry-fried eggplant,” Kurt instructed.
“And dry-fried eggplant,” Kei repeated. “Okay, see you in thirty minutes.” He looked up at his friends. “Dinner’s sorted!”
“Good. Now let’s talk strategy,” Kurt said, leaning back. “What can we do to sex up this sad little fish?”
Read Chapter Five here!