“What did I do?” Yun Ho shouted at Jae Joong again. This time, I’d recovered from my shock. I quickly pulled Yun Ho and sat him down in the armchair by the sofa and Yoo Chun did the same to Jae Joong.
“Why did you have to get involved in this matter?” Jae Joong asked him, still visibly angry.
“I was trying to help. What’s wrong with that?” Yun Ho retorted.
“Help? The management was already handling it. They didn’t need your help.”
“So it’s done anyway. What are you getting so pissed about?”
“Your message. Your message is going to cause Sierra more problems.”
“How in the hell is that gonna happen?!!”
“Calm down, Yun Ho,” I said as I rubbed his chest.
“Hyung, I heard shouting. What’s wrong?” Jun Su came out from the workroom.
Jae Joong ignored him. “You really think that your little message will appease your fans? All this time that you have been dating Sierra, do you know that they think of her? To them, she is the girl standing in the way of them having a shot at you. They’d been waiting for such a scandal to happen so that they can get you back. And now that it’s happened, they’re not gonna let go so easily.”
“So? I’ve explained to them that it’s a misunderstanding.”
“That will just make them want to think that Sierra’s got such a hold on you that she can cheat on you and still make you believe that she’s innocent. Because of that your fans will be even more determined to ‘rescue’ you from her.”
At that moment, Yun Ho’s expression fell in recognition of what he’d done, “I never thought of it in this way,” he said.
“You should’ve thought harder before you did it. You should’ve talked to me before you did that. You always discussed stuff like that with me, why didn’t you this time?”
“It’s my fault Jae Joong,” I spoke up. “I should’ve stopped him.”
“It’s not your fault,” Yun Ho said. “I should’ve known better. I’ve been in this industry for so long, I should not have forgotten how it was like to make a mistake.”
“No point arguing now,” Jae Joong said. “We’ll just have to see what happens tomorrow.”
“Let’s go to bed,” Yoo Chun said, “It’s getting late, and we have to be in the studios tomorrow.”
Jun Su, Yoo Chun and Chang Min walked towards their room while Jae Joong, Yun Ho and I remained in the living room.
“Aren’t you going to bed?” Yun Ho asked him.
“I’m gonna work for awhile,” he said as he got up and walked to the workroom.
That night, I slept with Yun Ho on his bed. I couldn’t sleep at first, tossing and turning in his arms till I woke him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked sleepily.
I shook my head and snuggled closer toward him.
“Go to sleep,” he mumbled as he pushed my hair back and pulled the sheets higher to cover me.
Jae Joong hadn’t come to bed. I continued to stay awake until about 2am, that’s when Jae Joong finally came into the room. I could see his silhouette at the door, watching Yun Ho and I for a moment before he walked over to his bed and got in.
“Good night,” he whispered. He knew I was still awake. I kept quiet and closed my eyes. Sleep came in a matter of seconds.
The next morning, I woke up as the sunlight streamed into the room. We’d forgotten to pull down the blinds. I turned around to look at Yun Ho who was hugging me at the waist. I pushed his arms off slowly and got out of the bed. Then I tiptoed to the windows to pull down the blinds. I looked down as I approached the windows and saw that Jae Joong’s prediction had come true. The mob had found out that I was with the guys and they were now gathered downstairs. It was a bigger mob than the last. Just then, Chang Min barged into the room.
“Hyung!!” he shouted, startling the three of us.
“Hmm… what?” Yun Ho said as he sat up sleepily.
“The mob… they’re downstairs!!” Chang Min stammered.
Jae Joong got up and walked to the window to look. He sighed. “Call Shi Kyung hyung, we need to do something about this. I’ll get dressed.” He took off his shirt and picked up a towel. Then he walked out of the room wearing only his sweatpants.
Yun Ho sat up on the bed and rubbed his eyes. I sat down beside him and lay down with my head on his lap. He brushed my hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear.
“What are we gonna do?” I asked him.
“I don’t know…” he said, “But we’ll try to figure out something soon, okay?”
All of us got dressed and were eating our breakfast in silence when the doorbell rang. Jun Su got up to open the door.
“It’s Jun Jin hyung,” he said as he let Jun Jin oppa from Shinhwa in.
“Hi guys,” Jun Jin oppa said and they greeted him in return. “I heard from Sierra’s band mates that she had to hide out here.” Jun Jin oppa was supposed to rap for a track on our 2nd album. He must have been by the studios today.
“Yea… you must have met the crowd on your way up,” I smiled weakly.
“I did… lovely bunch,” he laughed. “Actually, I’m here to see Yun Ho. Can I talk to you for a sec? In private?”
“Sure,” Yun Ho said as he got up. “I’m done with breakfast anyway. Just let me wash these.” He picked up his and my dishes and went into the kitchen. When he was done, he and Jun Jin oppa walked into his workroom. Yun Ho had always looked up to Jun Jin oppa. They were quite close because Yun Ho had performed with him several times before his debut.
During that time, Jun Su, Chang Min and Yoo Chun started to get ready to go to the studios. Jae Joong had opted to work at home so that he could be around for me and Yun Ho. About an hour later, they emerged from the workroom. Yun Ho looked really troubled. I walked over and put my arms around his waist and he put his arm around me.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Yea,” he said and he hugged me. I stood there in his embrace, puzzled.
Jun Jin oppa laughed, “Hey, I’m still here. Save it for later.”
“Sorry, oppa,” I said, pulling away from Yun Ho.
“I’ll leave you guys now. I gotta get back to the studios. Your band mates are waiting for me.”
“Right,” I said and suddenly remembered, “Oppa…” I called after him.
“Can you get the guys to bring me some clothes after their recording session? I’ve been wearing Yun Ho’s clothes for the last 2 days.”
“Sure thing. But honestly, you look fine in anything,” he winked and walked out of the apartment.
When the door closed, Yun Ho, Jae Joong and I sat together in the living room and Yun Ho started talking.
“Jun Jin hyung had a talk with Shi Kyung hyung earlier. The management had come up with a solution to this problem.”
“What is it?” Jae Joong asked.
Yun Ho hesitated for a moment before finally saying, “Sierra and I have to break up.”
“But wouldn’t that just prove that I am guilty?” I protested.
“This is no time to be righteous,” Jae Joong said.
“He said that the backlash wouldn’t be as bad, if we broke up, as the situation we have now,” Yun Ho continued.
“He’s right,” Jae Joong said. “If you quit now, some of the fans might be satisfied and leave her alone.”
I scooted over to Yun Ho and hugged him, “We can’t, Yun Ho! We can’t!”
“I don’t want to either,” he sighed as he hugged me back. “They want me to go back to Japan tomorrow and release a statement saying that we’ve broken up.”
Jae Joong sighed, “Maybe it’ll be good if you guys took a little break. Yun Ho can focus on his filming, and you can focus on recording your next album.”
“They want us broken up for good,” Yun Ho said. “‘We’ve given them enough chances,’ that’s what Shi Kyung hyung told Jun Jin hyung. The management said that they had given us enough chances. Who are they to decide how we deal with our relationship!” Yun Ho banged his fist on the coffee table.
“Calm down,” Jae Joong said. “Technically, they own us through the contracts. We have to do as they say. But you can take a short break and get back together later. When the scandal is forgotten, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
“I’m going to lie down,” I said as I got up and walked to their bedroom. I could still hear the two of them talking as I lay on the bed. I stared out of the window, looking at the clouds in the sky above. Was this a price I had to pay for getting my dream fulfilled? I cannot imagine my life without Yun Ho now. Why did they want to take him away from me? It’s my entire fault. I should never have let things between Jae Joong and I get out of hand. I betrayed Yun Ho and this was my punishment. I only had myself to blame. It was the best idea the management had and the most logical thing to do since our schedule demanded a temporary separation in the first place. Yun Ho had his filming, I had my album. We both had our obligations and jobs to do.
The door opened and Jae Joong walked in.
“Kwaench’ana?” he asked as he came to sit beside me on the bed.
“What if I weren’t?” I said.
“I would give anything to fix this for you, Sierra.”
“Then fix it for me…” I said, still not facing him.
“Sierra…” he groaned.
“Just leave me alone, Jae Joong,” I said.
“I’ve just come to check on you. Yun Ho’s pretty devastated himself.”
“You must be damned happy now that Yun Ho and I will have to split.”
“Come on, Sierra. You know that I would never want to hurt Yun Ho. You guys splitting up would be the last thing I wanted for him. I know how happy he is with you. I know how happy you are with him. Even if it hurts me to think of the both of you together, I’d still wish you my best. He’s like a brother to me, and you’re a good friend.”
“I just wished we’d never gotten involved with each other.”
“I’m sorry. It’s my fault for not controlling my feelings and actions.”
I sighed, “What’s done is done. Forget it… we’re in so deep now, I’m sick of trying to dig us out of it.” I got up and walked toward the door.
“Going to see Yun Ho?” Jae Joong asked.
“Yes…” and I closed the door.
Yun Ho was in the workroom, playing a sad little song on the keyboards, when I walked in.
“Hey…” I said, sitting down on his lap and putting my arms around his neck.
“Hey…” he said and put his arms around my waist. He kissed me on the cheek.
“So what are you doing?” I asked.
“Nothing… just working on this song I wrote.”
“For me?” I teased.
“Play it for me?”
He started playing a few chords and he started singing:
“My dark-haired angel, when I met you today
I could hear the heaven’s chorus, singing their praise
Whenever I close my eyes, I’d feel your presence
You never ceased to show me your wonders
My dark-haired angel, come play with me
Your laughter’s like bells on the crystal clear day
When you smile my heart melts, like snow in the spring
You never ceased to fuel my desires”
Then he stopped.
“Is that all?” I asked.
“Yea, it’s a working progress,” he smiled.
“It’s beautiful…” I said, kissing his forehead.
“I’m planning to put it in our next album. That is, if the guys agree.”
“I’m sure they will,” I caressed his cheek with my hand.
“I’m not gonna let this end without fighting, Sierra. I can’t let you go so easily.”
“I know. I’m with you,” I said and he kissed me lightly on the lips.
The doorbell rang. I looked at the time, it was 7pm. It could either be Chang Min and the guys, or maybe Skye and Shoei. I left Yun Ho in the room and went to open the door.
“Nuna!!” Skye shouted as he bounced in. It felt great to see him after so many days. I missed his infectious laughter.
“Skye,” I said and hugged him, “I’m so happy to see you.”
“What about me, nuna? Not happy to see me?” Shoei smiled.
“Ecstatic,” I said and hugged him too.
“Ya… why does he get ecstatic and I get happy?” Skye complained
“Aigoo…” I said and ruffled his hair.
We walked into the living room while Skye stood there and tried to fix his hair.
“Brought you some clothes,” Shoei said as he tossed me a duffel bag.
“Thanks… I’m beginning to feel like such a slob, wearing baggy shorts and guy shirts all day.”
“You’re still a cute slob,” Shoei smiled.
“Hmm…” I said as I dug through the bag.
“I’m gonna talk to Jae Joong hyung,” Skye said as he walked to the workroom.
“So are you gonna break it off with Yun Ho?” Shoei asked as soon as Skye closed the door.
“What?” I asked as I turned to him
“I know Jun Jin hyung came. He must’ve told you guys.”
“It’s none of your business what I’ve decided.”
“It’s actually not your decision at all,” Shoei said.
“It’s my life,” I replied.
“And SM owns it for the next few years.”
“I’ll do what I want.”
The Shoei reached forward and pulled me to him.
“Nuna… stop this now. You’re gonna get hurt if you don’t leave Yun Ho.”
“I’ll be fine.”
“People out there are waiting to kill you!!” He raised his voice.
“Then let me die. At least I know I am innocent.”
“Why do you have to be so stubborn, nuna?” he said.
“I believe that it’ll all clear up soon. I’m innocent. The truth will prevail.”
“This is the bloody entertaining industry!! There is not honesty in it!!” he shouted. “God!! I don’t even know why I still love you in the first place!!” He got up and started walking out of the house.
Love me? He can’t still love me. He’d been acting normal lately, there is no way he still had any feelings for me. Unless… I chased after Shoei. When I got out of the apartment, the elevator door had closed. I stood there and stared at my reflection on it. Suddenly, I saw something move behind me. Before I could react, I felt a sharp pain on my head and my vision was replaced with darkness.