I was no longer listening to what Shoei said, but focusing on that thing crawling on the wall behind him.
“What’s wrong nuna?” Shoei asked me.
“Shoei…” I stammered. “There’s a cockroach on the wall behind you?”
“Where?” he whirled around to look, and just then, the cockroach flew up. The bloody cockroach flew. I hate flying cockroaches. I squealed and ducked under the table, and Shoei practically jumped out of his seat in shock.
“Get it, Shoei,” I almost sobbed.
I had a horrible fear for creepy crawlies. The downside was that Jae Joong was afraid of cockroaches too. If he’d been here, he might have behaved as I did. Thank god Shoei’s here. I watched as Shoei chase the ugly critter down and smack it with his slipper, only then did I stand up from my crouching position.
“Euugghh…” Shoe exclaimed as he wiped up the remains of the cockroach with a paper towel.
“I think we need to clean the apartment,” I said. “We haven’t really cleaned it in a long time. That’s why there was a cockroach.”
“Cockroaches will appear anywhere when there’s food. The apartment is clean,” Shoei insisted.
“What if its relatives come to avenge it?” I said and Shoei just looked at me with a wry smile.
“Nuna… stop it. It’s just your roach phobia talking. It’s only one cockroach.”
“If I spot another, we’re going to spring clean this place,” I said as I sat down again.
“Whatever,” he answered as he sat down and continued eating.
Sometimes I can’t help being a nag, especially when it involved one of my many phobias. I often wonder if I was really a pain to live with, and if Skye and Shoei ever got sick of my antics and demands.
I washed the dishes so that Shoei could go unpack, and since Shoei was the one who cooked. He appeared in the living room while I was watching the TV, and he tossed a bag onto the coffee table.
“What’s that?” I asked him.
“Sweets,” he said as he put his feet up on the table.
“You want some?”
“Nope… I’m back on my diet as of now. I just weighed myself, and the numbers didn’t look pretty.”
“You’re way too thin already.”
“Not thin enough by the company’s standards.”
“You know… where everyone should be no more than 45kg,” I winked.
“Rubbish,” he said. “Then you’ve been off the mark for a long time now. What difference does it make?”
“Just trying not to push the limits,” I said. “I can’t go over the 48kg mark. I’m not BoA. She’s the only one who has a healthy BMI, compared to the others. And she isn’t that tall to begin with.”
“Double standards,” Shoei muttered.
“You should know better,” I laughed. “It’s the cash cow that gets preferential treatment. And we sure ain’t the cows of the moment.”
“Nicely put,” he laughed.
“We’re evil, sitting here and gossiping about our seniors. If BoA’s a cash cow, so is TVXQ.”
“Can’t deny that they are. Appreciate your relationship with Jae Joong while it lasts.”
“You think it won’t last?” I asked him.
“I’m not saying it won’t. Things happen for a reason, and you’ll never know when things would happen.”
“You’re being very cryptic. What have they been feeding you in Kyoto?”
“Just the usual rice and sashimi,” he smiled.
I stretched and yawned, “Yah… it’s Sunday tomorrow. One more day and we’re back in the studios.”
“Don’t you miss the studios? Singing? Recording?”
“Sure it’s fun. But it’s sure hard work.”
“I remember when you once told me, being a kasu is the best job ever, cos you don’t need to contemplate your actions. You just show up, open your mouth and sing.”
“And I still think so. But being human, we’ll never be satisfied with what we have. When you’ve graduated and started working, you’ll wish you were studying, and back when you were studying, you wished you were just sleeping or doing nothing. We’re just born lazy.”
“That only applies to you,” he said. “I’m a hard worker.”
“Mwo?” I glared at him.
“But you’re coping pretty well,” he added. “For a pig…”
“You’re so gonna get it,” I said, as I lazily threw a pillow at him.
“You’re too much of a pig to bother to get up and actually ‘get me’,” he laughed.
“Whatever. I’m taking it easy tonight. Tomorrow’s my last day of bliss,” I yawned.
“You’re sleepy again? Didn’t you take a nap?”
“I’m making up for the past months.”
“Didn’t you sleep enough in the hospital?”
“So how was Prague?”
“Freezing… and you know how I hate the cold,” I grimaced.
“Haha! But was it beautiful? Cos I heard it was.”
“Yea… it’s all old buildings and cobblestone streets. Very charming.”
“Maybe I should go there someday,” he said wistfully.
“On your own?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Would you come with me?”
“If you paid for everything,” I laughed.
“Okay,” he smiled.
“But not the next break,” I said. “I don’t wanna go to the same place twice in a row.”
“Fine,” he said, and he too yawned. “What?” he said, when he caught me watching him. “I’ve been travelling today. I’m allowed to be tired.”
“I’m not saying anything,” I laughed and put my hands up.
“Go to bed,” he said, and he kicked my feet.
“You go to bed,” I said, and I kicked him back.
“Fine! We’ll both go to bed,” he said, and he got up and walked towards me.
“Bedroom’s that way,” I pointed when he came to stand in front of me.
“I know,” he said.
“Then what do you want?”
He leant down and scooped me up in his arms.
“Yah! Put me down,” I laughed, as he started walking towards our rooms.
“Bed time,” he said, as he pushed my door open.
“Put me down,” I repeated, and he tossed me onto my bed.
After tossing me onto my bed, he leaned over me, and his face came within millimeters of mine.
“G’nite, nuna,” he said, then he straightened up and walked away.
I watched him, puzzled, as he walked out. What’s with that sudden bout of craziness? I dismissed his behavior. I’m not about to spoil my break, thinking about what Shoei was up to again. It’s been a long time since he’d behaved like that. Up till now, I don’t know how I should deal with this attitude of his.
The next afternoon, I was just walking out of the shower when I heard the phone ring. By the time I got to it, the caller had hung up. I scrolled through my phone to view the missed calls list. It was Jae Joong. I dialed his number and waited for him to answer.
“Where were you?” he said, as soon as he picked up.
“Showering,” I replied.
“I’m back in Seoul. I’ll be over in an hour.”
“Okay,” I replied.
“You wanna go somewhere, or shall I just come and hang out at your place?”
“Let’s go somewhere,” I said. “Unless you’re too tired.”
“I’m fine. I’ll pick you up in an hour.”
“Okay,” I said, and we both hung up.
I walked to my cupboard and pulled out a shirt and a pair of jeans. I just combed my hair back, and dug through my drawer for a cap. These days, I don’t bother to apply any makeup when going out. Since it’s cold, I always have a hat on, and that’s one reason not to style my hair.
An hour later, I lugged the remaining bags of Jae Joong’s luggage, from our trip, into the elevator. When the elevator reached the lobby, Jae Joong was waiting to intercept the bags from me.
“Hey,” he said, and he gave me a quick kiss and cuddle.
We loaded the luggage into his car, and got in.
“Where to?” he asked.
“Wherever you wanna go,” I said.
“Let’s grab some lunch, and we’ll go to the hillside.”
“Okay,” I replied.
We ate in silence in his car, on the hillside that overlooked the city.
“So what have you been up to,” he said, breaking the silence.
“I was gone for 2 days, and you did nothing much?” he said.
“I just lazed around, did a little cleaning. What else could I do?”
“You should’ve came with me,” he said.
“I wasn’t ready to meet your family.”
“I thought I’ve told you before.”
“Tell me again,” he said, and that was when I got really annoyed.
“Jae Joong. I don’t want to keep explaining myself. We’re not even getting married yet. Why do I need to meet your family?”
“Since they want to meet you, what’s wrong with that?”
“And if someday, we’re no longer together, I don’t want to feel awkward if I ever met them. Given the current situation, if I ever met them after we broke up, I won’t feel pressured, or guilty.”
“Why do you need to feel guilty if we broke up? Unless you cheated on me or something along those lines, there’s no reason for you to feel guilty.”
“Fine. I know I’m not making sense, and I’m probably explaining how I feel in the best way possible. The point is that I am not ready, and I need you to respect that.”
“Do you know that all weekend, everyone was asking me why you hadn’t come along?”
“You could’ve made an excuse for me.”
“You know I hate to lie.”
“An excuse is not a lie.”
“Anyway… are you saying you don’t plan to stay with me for long or something? Cos it feels like that’s what you’re getting at.”
“Who knows what will happen in the future. Do you? Cos I don’t.”
“Sometimes, I wonder if I’m enough for you,” he said, and I wanted to strangle him for that statement.
“What is it with you and Yun Ho?” I yelled. “He said the exact same thing to me back then. If you guys don’t think you’re enough, why bother in the first place?”
“Don’t compare me with Yun Ho,” he said.
“You’re both the same. I thought you were different, but you ended up being the same.”
“So what are you saying? You’re sick of me?”
I kept quiet and bit my lip when he said that. What was I supposed to say now? Was I sick of us? No, I wasn’t. Why can’t he just let me be? Why did he have to harp on the ‘meeting the parents’ issue?
“Take me home, now,” I said.
I didn’t want to continue this conversation. The best way was to avoid it now, or it’ll be over in a minute.
“Take me home, Jae Joong,” I said, this time with a firmer tone.
He sighed, and he put his car into gear. When his car pulled up in front of my apartment block, I got out without a word, and went in.
“Nuna!” Skye’s annoyingly perky voice exclaimed as I walked into the door.
“Not now,” I said, and I went straight into my room.
I threw myself onto my bed, and I started crying. I’d been holding back my tears all the way back. I didn’t want to cry in front of Jae Joong, because I didn’t want him to think that I was just trying to manipulate him with my tears. My mobile phone, which I’d put on silent mode, was buzzing beside me and Jae Joong’s face kept flashing on it. I smothered the phone with a pillow, and went back to wallowing in my tears. This time, I’m not backing down.