Title: The Servant Boy
Summary: Yunho, a young man with a rich father, falls for Changmin, a servant boy who works at an all-male brothel house called Spider Lillie.
I was originally from Korea. When I was eleven I was still just an ordinary boy living with my ordinary family which included my mother father and two younger sisters. I was living a ordinary life until I turned twelve. My father died in an accident, which wasn't clear how, and left behind a big debt that our family was left pay back. I didn't even know we were having trouble before.
Late one night my mother had woken me up from my sleep and said she had made me soup. It was strange, I thought. But I followed her into the kitchen anyway where she sat me down and handed me the bowl of ordinary looking soup. She watched me closely as I drank it. After I finished my hands became weak and dropped the soup bowl in a crash. I kept hearing my mother say, "sorry Changmin, I'm so sorry". Everything after that was a blur.
I awoke in a place they called Spider Lillie. I was confused. They told me I was in Japan, another country just across the sea from Korea I only heard and read about a land like this in books at school. My mother had sold me they told me.
Then they told me I was going to become a geisha. I didn't know what a geisha was at first, but I found out eventually, I had to, they made me. However, it was a challenge as I could barely understand this language they speak called Japanese (but after 6 years I had gotten the hang of it.)
Not only that, I couldn't say I was "beautiful, charming, or artistic". In fact, I found out I couldn't put on the make up due to I having sensitive skin, nor did I knew how to seduce a man, or entertain them other than with my clumsiness. In the end they demoted to the kitchen to cook, serve, clean and do above all other things.
It wasn't so bad really, I'd much rather serve the food and wine than parade myself in the heavy bundles of fabric they called a kimono in front of rich good-for-nothing-sleazeballs called our guests. So the people who worked here aren't the friendliest, and the geishas always screams and throws things when they felt like it, then pretends to be all nice when they're with guests, but that all eventually became a routine.
However, they aren't all that bad. One of the cooks in the kitchen is quite nice, always giving me extras at meals. Although, I don't think the other help liked it. I see the looks, but I don't care. Also, some geishas can be nice and polite when we bring them the tea and wine, while others would just grab the tray and shut the screen door in our faces, but I'm use to it.
And then there is this one guest. Somehow, he's different from all the others. For instance, his cat-like eyes, almond-shaped and his gentle smile, a little silly but sweet - not like the others with their ulterior motives hidden behind them. He's tall (I'm tall as well, but I think we're close in height) and, I usually don't say this but, I find him quite dashing.
Furthermore, I just can't stop thinking back to that night in the garden. I had dropped another tray and even worst it was in front of a courtesan. That geisha boy was so mad I thought he was really going to hit me with his fan, and those things hurt when they're folded up. I don't know if it was my luck, but the big guy came around and yelled at us and scooted the courtesan back to his guest. I went back to pick up the remaining pieces, and that's when I saw an extra hand appeared to help me. It turned out to be him, that dashing guest. I felt a bit ashamed, thinking he might have seen everything. I didn't want him to see me like that, even though I didn't know who he was. Flustered, I thanked him and quickly ran back into the kitchen.
I went to the garden to empty the buckets of dirty water into the canal when something got to me. It was everything that had been piling up inside of me, I suppose. The tears simply came out no matter how hard I tried to hold it back. I felt so mad at myself for letting them slip that I just threw the stupid bucket to the ground and didn't care if anyone saw. But someone did see, and it was him. Had he followed me? The next thing he did was unexpected like his presence; he gave me his hankerchief made of silk. It was soft and smooth, and warm as the hand I took it from.
One day on a not so wonderful morning (if never is) half the courtesans in the house fell ill. At that rate Spider Lillie would have had to close for the day, or week even, but 'NO!' said the owner. So the trainees that were of the close age to serve guests had to fill-in for the night and still there were not enough, even some staffs were chosen. And I never would have dreamed that there will be a day when I had to wear a geisha's kimono.
On this night I was paired with a trainee courtesan named Mokoto, who was two years younger than me but looked much younger, to serve a group of guests. He wore a kimono close to the ones the regular courtesans wore, while I was tucked into something less restraining and simple, but much more decorative then what I would have normally wore as a server. Back to the boy, he had a cute face too, but he kept glaring at me so it was hard to tell sometimes, that little brat. His face was also all powdered up while I stayed natural due to my skin sensitivity.
As we were led to our guests' room I noticed it was right next door to the same room which that handsome guest regulared. And there he was walking towards us. I tired to hide my face with my sleeve, but I made the mistake of peeking and I just knew I'd get caught. So when the mama-san cleared the door for us to go into the room I literally rammed in there, pushing Mokoto while I was at it. To make the situation more humiliating I tripped over my own kimono and fell face first in front of a guest who was sitting near by. Mokoto rolled his eyes at me as I tried to get up as there the two male guests laughed. Then to my surprised the younger of the two men told me to sit next to him.
After a short while Mokoto and the older man went outside leaving only me and the other alone. That was when I found out his name was Shunsuke and a businessman not much older than me, and the one he came with was his uncle. Talking more, I found that he was actually quite nice and even good-looking in that unconventional way, if that makes any sense. That was until he got to his fouth cup, I guess he was a shallow drinker. He started saying how pretty I was and stroked my cheek the same time he was rubbing my lap with his hands. I tried backing away and asking him to stop politely, but the next thing I knew he was on top of me kissing my neck.
Right then and there my offensive instincts set in which gave me the strength to push the monster off of me and ran to the door. When I slide opened it I thought I saw my guardian angel - sparkling and glowing, and he looked a lot like that handsome guest from next door. I caught a glimpse of his cat-like eyes and realized it really was him. And very much like a dream I once had, he grabbed me by the hand and started running while I following behind him. I felt like a heroine from a storybook, which is a bit weird to say, but I don't hate it.
We ran and ran away from Spider Lillie, away from the city and lights, away from everything, until we came to a wide open field with grass that went up over my waist. All that could be heard was our lungs grasping for air and the crickets chirping.
Eventually, the silence of the breeze and the warmth of our hands, still wrapped around each others' was all there was. And then suddenly he let go only to wrap his arms around me, so tightly that I almost couldn't breathe. But it was fine because I hadn't felt this kind of warmth for such a long time.
"I hope you understand I won't ever let you go back there again," he said as his first real words to me, still embracing me.
This didn't seem real. But when he didn't let go after a long time I decided not to either. "Can you tell me your name?" I had to ask.
He pulled back just a little and breathed, "Jung. My name is Jung Yunho."
I smiled, thinking how his name just fit him right. "Well, Jung-san I hope what you just said is true because I had been waiting." I blushed. How could I have said that, I'm unsure. Somehow, in that moment I felt adventurous and free, like I could do absolutely anything I wanted. I wrapped my arms behind his neck and pressed my mouth against his. As I imagined, his lips were very soft.
Once I pulled away he asked in a daze, "What is your name? I must know."
I chuckled. "Changmin. Just call me Changmin."