The drive to the club was silent, though Skye and Shoei were in the backseat. When we arrived, Skye and Shoei quickly walked off ahead of us, as if they’d felt the tension. Jae Joong and I were holding hands all the way from the car park to the club, but as soon as we reached the entrance, I let go of his hand. He turned to me and smiled reassuringly, to show me he understood.
As we entered the club, we could see the guys sitting in their usual area in a corner. The usual gang was there; Jun Su, Chang Min, Yoo Chun, Hee Chul, Han Kyung, Si Won, Ki Bum, Dong Hae and our latest addition, Hae Rin. Hae Rin is 17 and in her 3rd year of training with SM. She will debut in another year. Yun Ho was there, sitting between Yoo Chun and Hee Chul. He didn’t look at me as I approached the table.
“Hi guys!” I said as I approached the table.
They greeted me in a singsong tone and I sat down beside Han Kyung, as usual, and Jae Joong sat down beside me. Among all of the guys, I was closest to Han Kyung and Hee Chul because of our ages. Si Won would often join Han Kyung and me when we were having our conversations in Mandarin. Sometimes I’d sit beside Jun Su though, and we’d talk about music all night.
Han Kyung handed me a drink and as I sipped it, I stole a glance at Yun Ho. He looked a little thinner than he used to be. Was the filming in Japan hard on him?
“So is the filming all done, hyung?” Ki Bum asked Yun Ho.
“Yep… But I’ll still need to go back to Japan for promotional activities when they release it.”
“When’s that?” Chang Min asked.
“Another 3 months. For now, I’m back to work on our album,” Yun Ho replied.
“You’re so far behind now,” Yoo Chun said. “You’d better put in extra hours now that you’re back,” he nudged Yun Ho.
“Araso…” Yun Ho said in his playful voice, as though he were talking to his mother who’d been nagging at him.
For half an hour, I sat there, and he never once spoke directly to me, never once looked at me. It was as if I were invisible. I decided to go to the toilet. I washed my hands and rinsed my face, then I stared at my reflection in the mirror. Why did it feel like Yun Ho hated me? I walked out of the toilet to find him outside, leaning against the wall.
“You seem to be everywhere these days,” he said. His voice was serious and hard. It sounded nothing like the Yun Ho I knew, nothing like the Yun Ho he was when he was speaking to the gang just now.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked.
“Your pictures, your videos, they’re all over Korea, all over Japan and now you have to be right in front of me,” he said as he moved forward to trap me against the wall with both arms.
“Stop speaking in riddles, Yun Ho,” I said. I’m beginning to hate the way he was speaking to me. It was as if I were the one who’d forsaken him.
“Why did you bother to come tonight?” he asked.
“My friends are here.”
“Your friends? They were your friends because of me,” he said bitterly. “By the way, congratulations on moving fast. Didn’t know you had it in you. Jae Joong probably didn’t know what hit him.”
“What do you mean?”
“You didn’t think that I wouldn’t know about the two of you did you? I have my sources,” he said sarcastically. “I wonder… did you have him waiting in the sidelines all along, ready for when you were done with me.”
“It’s not like that, Yun Ho.”
“It’s not, huh. You must’ve planned that scandal with that friend of yours. I was such a fool to fall for it all. So who’s gonna be your new scandal when you’re done with Jae Joong? Is your friend going to have an encore performance?”
I couldn’t take it anymore. His insults just got more and more demeaning. I lifted my arm and swung it to slap him. He caught my arm just as it reached his face.
“Come on, Sierra. You shouldn’t do such things. Not when you’ve got such a pretty face now.”
“Why are you doing this, Yun Ho?”
“Did you know how much you hurt me?” he asked, gritting his teeth.
“You left!!” I shouted. “You left me all alone and went to Japan.”
“Wasn’t that exactly what you wanted?” he said as he flung my arm away from him.
I covered my face as the tears fell and I slowly slid to the floor in a kneeling position. “I waited for you, Yun Ho,” I cried. “Everyday I spent in that damned hospital, I waited for you and you never came.”
“Funny you should say that when you asked your manager to tell me that you wanted to break up with me,” he said in a sarcastic tone.
I froze when he said that, “What?” I exclaimed. I looked up at him, confused. What did he just say?
“Stop pretending, Sierra. You asked your manager to break it off with me, and that you didn’t want to see me, the moment you got out of that operation theatre.”
“I never…” I stammered, “I wasn’t…” What was he saying?
Just then, Jae Joong stepped up beside me. “What are you doing, Yun Ho?” he asked as he pulled me up from the floor and put his arm around me. “Kwaench’ana?” he asked me, his voice filled with concern and he turned to glare at Yun Ho.
“What does it look like? I’m having it out with this… I can’t even find a word to describe her now,” Yun Ho spat.
“Don’t say it, Yun Ho,” Jae Joong warned him. “You’re gonna regret it later.”
“Mwo?” he said, his anger still not subsiding, “Are you gonna make me, then? Some brother you turned out to be.”
That’s when I found my tongue, “I never asked for a breakup,” I stammered.
Yun Ho looked at me, “Oh, please. Like hell you didn’t,” he laughed derisively.
“I was unconscious for two days,” I said, looking at him, pleading him to believe me.
“You expect me to believe that?” he said.
“It’s true,” Jae Joong defended me. “Skye and Shoei were there every day. She was unconscious for two days.”
Yun Ho’s face started to soften when he heard Jae Joong’s defense.
“I’d never lied to you, Yun Ho,” I said. “And the only reason Jae Joong and I are together now was because I thought you were the one who wanted to break-up with me. You didn’t call, you didn’t come visit me. I thought you never wanted to see me again.”
“I didn’t want to see you again. I was so angry. I thought you’d given up on us just like that.”
“I didn’t,” I said as I walked forward and lifted my hand to his face. “I thought about you every day, I missed you every day, until I heard that you never wanted to see me again.”
“Mianhae,” Yun Ho said as he looked at me. Then he hugged me.
“It’s not your fault,” I whispered as I hugged him back.
“Ahn Shi Kyung… why did he lie to you?” Jae Joong said.
“It must have been the management’s directions,” I said as I pulled away from Yun Ho.
Jae Joong sighed, “I’ll leave you two alone,” he said as he started to walk away.
“Don’t worry, Jae Joong,” Yun Ho called to Jae Joong, “She’s yours now.” Jae Joong smiled. “Take good care of her,” Yun Ho added just before Jae Joong turned and walked away.
We walked to a quieter corner in the club and sat down, facing each other. Yun Ho brought his hands to my face and touched it lightly.
“Did it hurt?” he asked tenderly. The Yun Ho I knew was back.
I smiled, “At first, but it's healed. You hate it?”
“No. It’s alright. It’s still you but with bigger eyes,” he said.
“All the better to glare at you with,” I joked and he chuckled softly.
“And your lips,” he said, running his thumb across them.
“They look more kissable?” I said.
“Yea...” he sighed. “Too bad I don’t own you anymore.”
“Well, at least once, you did own me.”
“Right… I’ll just have to take comfort in that,” he smiled sadly.
“You’ve lost weight,” I said as I held his hands.
“You weren’t there to cook for me,” he teased and I smiled.
“I thought you gave up on us,” I said. “Hyung told me that you agreed to the breakup and left for Japan the moment I woke up.”
“He did, huh,” Yun Ho said as he closed his eyes and lay back in the chair. “I’d just gone to the cafeteria for a drink while waiting for you to regain consciousness. He’d sent me to the cafeteria after telling me that I needed a break since I’d been there the whole night and he said he’d take over watching you.”
Then he opened his eyes and sat up to face me, “When I came back, he wouldn’t allow me inside your room. I was speechless after he’d told me that you didn’t want to see me. And when he told me that you wanted a breakup, I just went numb. Then I got angry.” I reached out and rubbed Yun Ho’s arm, trying to comfort him, he looked like he was in pain as he recounted the incident to me. “I fought with Shi Kyung hyung. I tried to push past him to get into the room to see you. I wanted to hear you tell me to my face that you didn’t love me anymore.”
“You did? How I wish I could’ve heard you,” I sighed.
“They had to call for security to throw me out of the hospital,” he laughed.
“What?” I exclaimed. Then I laughed, “I can’t believe that you, U-Know YunHo, allowed a few security guards to get in your way.”
“They were huge, okay?” he smiled. “Then as I drove home, I got more and more angry. I thought, since you were so eager to be done with me, I’d just do my part. I called my manager and asked him to release the statement regarding our breakup. The next morning, I took the first flight back to Japan.”
“Mianhae, Yun Ho. It must’ve been hard on you.”
“Don’t apologise. It wasn’t your fault. If anything, I should apologise for doubting you.”
“I’m fine. I had Skye and Shoei, and I had Jae Joong here for me. But you had no one in Japan.”
“I was really lonely these past months; bitter and lonely. Everyday I’d wake up and throw myself into my role on the set. After that I’d join the crew for drinks till late into the night. If I wasn’t needed on set, I’d sleep the entire day and then go out drinking at night.”
“Was that how the scandal with Ayumi happened?” I asked.
“I was a little drunk that night, and she came along. But nothing happened. The picture they’d caught was just of us loitering around Tokyo, drunk.”
“I knew you hadn’t done anything even when I read the papers,” I said, taking his hand.
“Komawo,” he said. “You’ve always had faith in me. I can’t believe how I could’ve wronged someone who cared for me.”
“It’s not your fault. We’re just victims of lies,” I sighed.
“This is feeling a little awkward,” he laughed.
“What is?” I asked, puzzled.
“Me and you, sitting here, not as a couple.”
“Hmm… we’ll just have to get used to it,” I smiled.
“So tell me about you and Jae Joong, tell me about your new album,” he said, “I’ve been gone for so long, it feels like I’ve missed a lot,” and I started filling him in on the things he’d missed out on while he was gone; our dinners, our nights at the clubs and the noraebang, our promotional activities and a little about how Jae Joong had been there for me in the past months.
We rejoined the group more than an hour later.
“Where did you guys go?” Skye asked as we approached the table.
“Just catching up,” I said.
“You guys okay now?” Hee Chul asked as he eyed the both of us.
“We’re fine,” Yun Ho laughed as he put his arm affectionately around me, like a brother.
[Special segment, through Hae Rin’s eyes]
Jae Joong oppa had come back alone after searching for Yun Ho oppa and Sierra onni.
“Where’s Sierra onni and Yun Ho oppa?” I asked as he sat down.
“They’re somewhere out there,” he said dismissively.
I’d been wondering what had happened and where Yun Ho oppa and Sierra onni was. They’d just come back to join the group. They look really happy now. Earlier on, they were so obviously trying not to talk to or look at each other. I wonder if they’d made up. I hope they have.
I’d been starting to get sick of seeing Sierra onni and Jae Joong oppa together. If she and Yun Ho oppa’s made up, then I’ll finally get my chance. I’ll finally be able to make Jae Joong oppa mine.