I didn’t sleep much yesterday, thanks to how the plot had unfolded itself in my head. It’s like 7.30am now and I feel that if I don’t settle this, I will never have peace of mind. Here goes…
I stared as Jae Joong, his eyes were still closed, his hands cupped my face and he kept kissing on me. ‘Why was he doing this?’ I thought in shock. He must’ve felt me stiffen from the shock and pulled away and his eyes slowly opening, his mouth still slightly parted. He didn’t turn red, he didn’t look away and he didn’t say anything. He just looked at me. I couldn’t describe the expression in his eyes at that moment. Was it love? Was it longing? If it were, why? My hands came up to touch my lips. They still felt moist from his kiss.
“It’s a wrap!!” the director hollered at us.
Jae Joong coughed once and turned to look and wave at the director in acknowledgement. He looked at me for awhile, studying my still shocked expression, before he sighed and walked off.
We were silent all the way back to the hotel. He hadn’t offered an explanation and I hadn’t asked him for one. As we entered the elevator, I couldn’t contain myself anymore.
“What was that?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he said.
“I mean, what happened back there, on the set,” I said.
“On the set? What happened?” he feigned ignorance, trying to avoid my question.
“Why didn’t you pull away when the director said, ‘Cut!’?” I half shouted in frustration.
He covered his face in his hands and slowly moved them upwards, pushing his hair back and inhaling as he did, “I was just caught in the moment, sorry.”
That was his explanation? He was caught in the moment? I’ve never heard of Jae Joong being caught like that before.
“You’re lying,” I said quietly. I was disappointed that he couldn’t be honest with me. After being friends for more than a year, I’d expect him to be a little more honest.
“What do you want me to say?” he suddenly raised his voice, “That I love you? That I want you?”
Just then the elevator doors opened. There were people waiting to get in and we’re supposed to get out. But I was frozen. Jae Jong exhaled sharply and grabbed my hand. He half-dragged me up the corridor and into his room. He closed the door and turned on the lights. I continued to stand there, with an expression of mixed emotions.
“Are you going to stop looking like that?” he asked in desperation.
I looked up at him. I cannot believe what he’d just said in the elevator.
“Did you mean what you said?” I stammered.
“Back at the elevator?” he asked, this time in a gentler tone.
“Yes, did you mean it?” I repeated myself.
He sighed and said, “Yes.”
That’s when I just collapsed and sat on the floor. I pushed my hair back in desperation. Why now? Why did he have to do this? Yun Ho and I had just gotten closer than ever, and now this?
Jae Joong grabbed me by the arms and pulled me up. I looked up at him as tears started to fill my eyes. He sighed a long sigh… and he hugged me. As I stood there in his arms, I felt confused, and yet, I felt comforted. Jae Joong always made me feel comforted. Whenever he hugged me, I always felt like I was being protected and that no harm would come to me. He slowly pulled away and I looked up at him. He pushed a stray hair from my face and while doing that, he caressed my cheek. I closed my eyes as I felt the sensation of his touch. I felt his warm breath on my face, coming closer and closer, and he kissed me. He kissed me as if he hadn’t kissed in a thousand years, longingly, lovingly and sincerely. This time, I kissed him back. I put my arms around his neck and he pulled me closer by the waist as we kissed. I felt like I had a big hole in my heart, and I tried to fill it by kissing him. Still kissing, he slowly guided me as I walked backwards. When my legs touched the edge of the bed, we fell onto it, still kissing.
He pulled away for a second and said, “Saranghandago,” and before I could say anything, he kissed me again.
It’s just an illusion, I thought, as we kept at it. Tears kept flowing down my cheeks as we kissed. Somewhere in my heart, I knew there had always been a place for Jae Joong, but my loyalty was to Yun Ho. How will I be able to face him after this?
Hours later, we were sitting on his bed in the hotel room. I was sitting with my legs up against my chest at the foot of the bed on one end. He sat on the floor, leaning against the bed on the other end.
Finally, he spoke, “It was at the club. The first time I saw you.”
“Huh?” I said, still a little disoriented from the kiss and deep in my thoughts.
“I had feelings for you from the first day I saw you,” he said, “But because Yun Ho made the first move, I had to step back,” he continued.
“Then, why… what happened today?”
“I stepped back, I tried to forget about it, but then we always met up, we always talked and then this collaboration for the song. I couldn’t fight it anymore,” he said, sadly.
“When you got sick because of Yun Ho, I wanted to take you for myself there and then. I’d almost convinced myself that you and Yun Ho would be finished, but when I saw you, I knew you still loved him.”
“Jae Joong, I…”
“Just pretend today didn’t happen,” he said, as he got up.
“How?” I asked, bewildered. How can I keep this from Yun Ho?
“We can’t tell him. I will lose a friend, a band mate. You will lose the person you love. So let’s just act like nothing happened today.”
“You think it’s so easy?” I shouted at him.
“I didn’t say it was,” he said quietly and he pulled me up. He hugged me tightly and inhaled as he did so, “We have to try, for Yun Ho. Alright?” he said as he pulled away and looked at me. I could only nod sadly. What have we gotten ourselves into?
When we arrived at the airport back in Seoul, Yun Ho was there to pick us up.
“Hey, there,” he said as I ran into his arms for a hug and he kissed my forehead. I’ve never been happier to see him.
“What about me?” Jae Joong joked, half-heartedly.
“Jae Joong!” Yun Ho squealed in a high pitched voice and hugged him like a fan would.
We couldn’t help but laugh.
Yun Ho sent me home first. He left Jae Joong in the car and walked me up to my apartment. Outside my door, I leaned against the wall and he leaned toward me with one hand on the wall to support his weight.
“Did you miss me?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said and reached forward to hug him.
“I missed you too,” he said and hugged me tight.
As we stood there, I could feel the guilt creeping into my head, before it had a chance to show, I pulled away.
“I’d better go. Need to get ready and get to the studio,” I said as I started punching in the code to open the door.
“Okay,” he said, as he came to hug me from behind. I was pushing the door open when he did that, and I stopped for a moment. I stood there for awhile, trying to find comfort in the hug. I turned my head back and he kissed me on the lips.
“See ya,” I said as I walked out of his embrace into the apartment.
“See ya,” he said as his hand, which was holding on to my arm, slowly trailed down to hold my hand. He smiled as he let go of my hand, then turned and walked into the elevator.
I sighed as I watched him go. Will the guilt ever stop eating at me?
For the whole week, I threw myself into work, trying to forget everything. I’d get really tired so that I could fall asleep immediately at night, but before that, I’d have to face Yun Ho for at least 2 hours.
“You’ve been really quiet the past few days, have they been working you too hard?” he asked.
“No,” I said, shaking my head.
“Then what’s up? You’ve been acting really strange since you got back from Cheju,” he said, “Did something happen there? Jae Joong didn’t say anything to me.”
“I’m fine. Nothing’s happened. I’m just a little more tired than the usual.”
“You take care of yourself, you hear?” he said, as he pulled me close.
“Mmm…” I said and buried my face in his shirt.
The next night, I made an effort to be a little extra perky. It worked cos Yun Ho didn’t ask me stuff like he did before and he had a smile on his face when he left.
I really don’t know how I can keep this up. Every time I close my eyes, I’m flooded by the memories of me and Jae Joong on Cheju. Every time Yun Ho hugged me, I’d think of Jae Joong. Every time Yun Ho kissed me, I’d think of that night in Jae Joong’s room.
It was Thursday. Yun Ho was lying beside me in my room. The room was silent aside from the music playing from my speakers. I turned over in his arms to hug him. He pulled me closer. Clazziquai’s ‘Tattoo’ was playing at that moment. The song was slow, romantic and sensual. Yun Ho tilted my head up and started kissing me. Jae Joong’s face slowly appeared in my mind, I willed his image away as I returned Yun Ho’s kiss. The guilt and the mood at that moment made me feel like I was hanging on my last thread of sanity. I kissed Yun Ho hard, and he pulled away for a moment and looked at me in surprise. My mouth was raw and my lips still parted. He pulled me back in and kissed me as I had kissed him. I pulled him to me fiercely, I wanted to drown my guilt with his love, I wanted him to wash away the sins I’d committed against him with his touch. I still loved him, I couldn’t let him go. Because of that, and because of my guilt, we made love that night.
The next morning, when I woke up, the reality of what I had done dawned on me. Did I really think I could redeem myself with my body? Would he forgive me if he knew, now that we’d made love? I turned and looked beside me, Yun Ho was still sleeping soundly. He had such a look of contentment on his face that it hurt just to look at him.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered into the silence of the room and I started crying.
Yun Ho woke up to my sobbing, “Hey…” he said in his sleepy voice, “What’s wrong?”
I shook my head silently as I continued to sob.
“Nawa,” he said and pulled me to lie next to him with one arm under my neck. He put his other arm around me and pulled me close, spooning me, then he kissed my cheek, “Are you regretting what we did last night?” he said.
I shook my head again as I tried to control my tears.
“I’m sorry if I hurt you. It won’t happen again,” he said as he turned me around to face him.
I buried my head in his chest and sobbed silently.
That afternoon during training, I received a call from Yun Ho.
“We’re going out tonight,” he said.
“Odi?” I asked
“We’re going to that hip hop club down at Dae Hang Ro. Remember? Where we first met?” he said, I could imagine him grinning as he said that.
“Erm… can I not come? I’m kinda tired,” I said and I was tired. I didn’t want to go to a place where I will be assaulted by memories. Memories of the first time I met Jae Joong. It’s true that we had some chemistry that night. We talked, we laughed, but then, Yun Ho was the one who came forward.
“Aww… come on,” he said, “It’s just for awhile. I’ll send you home early,” he pleaded.
I could never say no when Yun Ho begged me, so I agreed.
“Great! Pick you up at 9pm!” he said, and hung up.
That night, as I got ready, there was a feeling of dread inside me. I feel like I was dragging my feet on the way to an execution. 9pm soon came around, and my phone rang. Yun Ho’s photo flashed on the screen.
“I’m coming,” I said, as soon as I picked up.
“Ppalli, ppalli!” he said.
When I got into the car, he pulled me close and kissed me passionately. When he pulled away, I was breathless and bewildered.
“Pogoshipda,” he said and smiled, then he released the handbrakes and we drove off.
When we arrived at the club, the usual group was there. Lately, Stephanie from TSZX has been joining us on most of our outings. I wonder who she was interested in. Jae Joong was sitting in the middle of the group when we arrived, his arms spread apart behind Jun Su and Siwon, who sat on either side. He looked beautiful, yet masculine tonight. Then again, he always did. I looked away as he looked up.
“Hi guys,” Yun Ho said and he jumped onto Jae Joong and Siwon. They wrestled for awhile and finally settled down. I sat at the end of the seat beside Han Kyung.
“How’ve you been?” asked Han Kyung.
“Hmm?” I said. I didn’t hear him clearly.
“I said, ‘How have you been?’”
“How was the MV?” he continued.
The one thing I didn’t want to remember, “I was okay,” I quickly said and hoped he didn’t ask anymore.
“Must’ve been great working with Jae Joong, he’s so talented.”
When he said that, I couldn’t help but look up at Jae Joong, as I turned my head, I caught him looking at me and turned away quickly.
“Oh… You’re pretty talented yourself,” I said to Han Kyung, “I need to go to the ladies,” I said, as I got up and left the table.
As I approached the toilet door, I felt someone grab my hand. I turned around, it was Jae Joong.
“Let go,” I said, trying to free myself from his grasp.
“No,” he said, tugging me over and pushing me to the wall. He put both of his hands against the wall so that I couldn’t move away.
“What do you want?” I sighed, closing my eyes and turning away. I didn’t want to look at him. I didn’t want to remember.
“You have to stop doing this,” he said. I could sense the impatience in his voice.
“What am I doing?” I retorted.
“This… ignoring me, being hostile. People would notice.”
“And whose fault is that?”
“Yes, it’s my fault, but we can’t keep doing this. We’re gonna hurt Yun Ho if we do.”
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Move away,” I said.
“Move away,” I said, as I gritted my teeth.
“Not until you stop treating me like this!” he raised his voice as he glared at me.
I gave up and slid down until I squatted on the floor, still leaning against the wall, “I don’t want to, but I can’t help it,” I said.
“Mianhae,” he said, as he squatted down beside me, “I never meant to put this burden on you.”
“Then why did you?” I cried out and covered my face with my hands, tears started to prickle my eyes.
“I… I couldn’t help myself back then. And now I don’t want to see Yun Ho hurt.”
“I don’t want to see him hurt either.”
“Then please, stop treating me like this,” he said.
“I can’t help myself!” I said, raising my voice. I stood up and looked down at him, my eyes filled with tears, “You think it’s been easy for me?”
“I know,” he said, standing up to face me, he put his hands on my arms.
I shrugged his hands off roughly, “No you don’t,” I said, “Stay the hell away from me.”
I walked back out towards the group, wiping my tears as I did. I turned the corner and Yun Ho was standing there, leaning against the wall.