“Where's Jae Joong?” I asked them again.
“Ah… he’s at home. He got home at about 8 this morning and he was having a cold,” Jun Su explained.
“He shouldn’t have stayed with me,” I sighed.
“He’ll be fine. He just needs to sleep it off. But the manager was pretty pissed that he missed this morning’s rehearsal.”
“I’ve explained it to him,” Yun Ho said.
“He understands, but he’s still pissed,” Chang Min sighed.
“Did you see us on TV last night?” Yoo Chun asked me.
“Sorry… I was out cold until maybe 3am this morning,” I smiled. “But I saw you guys on TV this morning. Ch’uk’ahamnida.”
“Thanks,” Yoo Chun smiled. “Same to you.”
“I can’t believe Skye and Shoei won Best Lyrics,” Jun Su said. “Even Yoo Chun has never won Best Lyrics,” he laughed and Yoo Chun glared at him.
“Are you trying to say that my songs aren’t good?” Yoo Chun asked Jun Su.
“Well… they were obviously not spectacular enough to even get a nomination,” he said.
“Don’t talk to me ever again,” Yoo Chun pointed at Jun Su and turned away so that he did not have to face him.
“Guys… come on. I’m sure it was beginner’s luck. You’re all equally talented,” I laughed.
“Wish I had that kind of luck,” Yoo Chun said.
“You will,” I said.
We played cards together for the next hour until Han Kyung, Hee Chul and Si Won appeared.
“Hey Sierra!” Hee Chul called out as he walked in.
“Hi,” I smiled.
“Feeling better?” Han Kyung asked me in Mandarin.
“Much better,” I replied.
“Can we please speak in Korean?” Hee Chul said as he looked at the both of us.
“No,” Han Kyung, Si Won and I replied in Mandarin, and we laughed.
“You missed so much yesterday,” Si Won said.
“How was the after-party?” I asked.
“It was okay. We just went for a short while. I feel like I’m aging. I can’t keep up with the partying anymore,” Si Won laughed.
“It’s a novelty when you begin,” Yun Ho said. “After awhile, it just doesn’t feel worth it to lose sleep over,” he smiled.
“Yea,” Jun Su said. “Unless we were celebrating a birthday or some huge achievement, I’d rather stay home. Or just go for dinner to celebrate it.”
“Sierra, you need to get well soon, or you’re going to miss a lot of celebratory dinners,” Chang Min said.
“Ne,” I laughed. “You guys are turning into old men.”
They sat there and chatted with me until the nurse brought in my lunch.
“Waaa!!! This looks delicious,” Chang Min said as he eyed the food in my tray.
“I don’t think I can finish,” I said. “Why don’t you help me?” I asked Chang Min and his eyes just brightened at my suggestion.
“You need to eat,” Yun Ho said.
“I will, but I really can’t finish it all,” I explained.
Just then, the door opened and in walked Jae Joong. He looked a little tired. His eyes were puffy and his nose was red.
“Jae Joong, kwaench’ana?” I asked him.
“Yea, I am,” he said and coughed. “I made you ch’uk,” he said as he put a thermos flask on my table.
“You didn’t have to, you’re sick,” I sighed.
“I did, so just eat it. Chang Min, you can have the lunch the hospital provided Sierra with,” he smiled and Chang Min gleefully picked up the tray and went to sit in a corner to eat.
“I guess it’s time we left,” Yoo Chun said as he got up. “We don’t need to see how lovey-dovey you both are.”
“I’m not done eating,” Chang Min said, his mouth full.
“Stay awhile,” I smiled. “Let Chang Min finish eating.”
“Here,” Jae Joong said as he passed me a bowl of the porridge he’d just scooped out of the flask.
I took and scooped up a spoonful. It smelled delicious, as usual. There was nothing he could make that didn’t taste great. I blew on it gently and was about to put the spoon in my mouth when Jae Joong stopped me.
“I’ll feed you,” he said as he took the spoon and bowl from me and blew on the porridge once more before he fed me.
“Aigoo… look at the two of you,” Jun Su said.
“Yes,” Hee Chul said. “It’s time for us to go.
“Aren’t you coughing?” Han Kyung reminded Jae Joong. “You shouldn’t blow on her porridge or you’ll pass her your germs.”
“I’ll feed her,” Yun Ho said as he held out his hand to intercept the bowl and spoon from Jae Joong.
“Komawo,” Jae Joong said as he passed Yun Ho the bowl and spoon. I felt uncomfortable now. Did I need to be fed? If I rejected Yun Ho feeding me, what would the guys’ reactions be?
“Open up,” Yun Ho said as he held the spoonful of porridge in front of me. I obediently opened my mouth and allowed him to feed me.
“Aren't you the luckiest girl,” Hee Chul laughed. “Yongwoong Jae Joong and U-Know Yun Ho are both feeding you ch’uk.”
“Very,” I smiled as I swallowed.
“You’d better not let Cassiopeia get a whiff of this, or they’d make sure you end up back in the hospital,” Yoo Chun said.
“I thought those crazy days were over since that last incident?” Si Won said.
“Yea, Jae Joong pretty much scared them off,” Han Kyung said.
“What do you mean?” I asked them. “How did Jae Joong scare them off?”
“Didn’t you know?” Han Kyung said. “After you were assaulted, Jae Joong held a fan meeting and told the fans that if they didn’t stop behaving like savages, TVXQ was going to denounce them as fans.”
“You did?” I turned to look at Jae Joong. No wonder the fans hadn’t showed any signs of violence towards me when I started dating Jae Joong.
“I told them we had our own private lives to lead, and that it didn’t help when they interfered like that. What’s more, it had to do with assault. We don’t need felons as fans.”
“I should’ve been here during that meeting,” Yun Ho said.
“It wouldn’t have helped since you were the ‘wounded’ party,” Jae Joong said. “They needed to hear from someone who wasn’t involved.”
“Guys… this is getting a little awkward,” Hee Chul cut in. “Let’s not talk about the unhappy times, alright?”
“You’re porridge is getting cold,” Yun Ho reminded me.
“I’ll eat it myself,” I smiled as I motioned for him to hand it to me and he did. I ate in silence while they started to discuss the next awards ceremony they had to attend.
I spent the rest of the week in the hospital mostly alone since everyone was busy with rehearsals. Skye brought my Sony VAIO on the second day I was hospitalized so that I had something to entertain myself with. At night, Jae Joong would bring me dinner and in the afternoons, I’d have to eat whatever was served by the hospital. After an awards ceremony, I’d go online and check out the results. So far, TVXQ had won 80% of the awards they were nominated for, and S-Cube, we’d be nominated for 2, at least, and we’d go home with 1 or 2 most of the time. It was another great year for SM, another great year for TVXQ and a great year for S-Cube. Too bad I wasn’t there to enjoy it all.
Christmas finally came, and I was still in the hospital on Christmas day and the guys had rehearsals. I pretty much spent Christmas day alone, surfing the internet, until Yun Ho showed up.
“Hey,” he said as he walked in.
“Hey,” I smiled as I looked up from my laptop.
“Merry Christmas,” he said as he leant down to kiss my cheek.
“Merry Christmas,” I replied. “Where are the rest?”
“They’ve got a radio show to attend.”
“What about you?”
“I didn’t need to go.”
“Thanks for coming,” I said.
“You think I’d let you spend Christmas alone?” he looked at me.
“You wouldn’t, but you should,” I said.
“Why in the hell should I?”
“Cos it’s only right. You don’t have an obligation to be here.”
“I’m your friend, aren’t I?”
“Are you being honest when you say you came here as a friend?”
“Fine,” I sighed.
“So when do you get out?”
“You make me sound like I’m in prison,” I laughed. “When the doctor’s happy with my condition.”
“How long is that gonna be?”
“It's only been about a week. I’m supposed to be here for 2 weeks at least.”
“You missed out on all the fun this past week.”
“I know. It sucks,” I smiled.
“So where’s my present?”
“My Christmas present.”
“It’s in my room, back at the apartment. You’ll get it when I get out of here. Where’s mine?”
“Thought you’d never ask,” he smiled as he took a small box out of his pocket.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Open it,” he said.
I opened it and inside was a single stud, an earring to be exact.
“Erm… there’s only one.”
“There’s only meant to be one.”
“I’m wearing the other,” he said as he pushed back his hair to reveal the other stud on his ear.
“Why don’t you wear both of them?”
“Cos I want you to have the other side.”
“It’s really a transmitter, so that our frequencies can be in tune and we can communicate better,” he said with a straight face.
“Rubbish,” I laughed as I smacked his arm. His face broke into a smile as he rubbed the spot I’d hit.
“It’s just a token of my friendship with you.”
“Is it a diamond?” I asked as I took it out and rolled it between my fingers.
“Nope, it’s Swarovski.”
“Did you want it to be a real diamond?” he asked me.
“Nah… I love Swarovski,” I smiled as I started taking off the first earring I wore on my left ear and put the Swarovski stud in.
“Looks good,” he said.
“Everything looks good on me,” I smiled smugly.
“Yes, they do,” he laughed.
“Where’s Jae Joong?”
“He had an appointment, he’ll be here soon. He was supposed to bring us dinner.”
“I’m kinda tired of ch’uk. Wish I could eat something else.”
“You need to bear with it. You’ll be fine after another week, and we can have a feast when you’re released.
There was a knock on the door, and Min Woo peeked in.