“It’s not Jae Joong’s fault,” I said, quickly, in Jae Joong’s defense.
“I didn’t mean Jae Joong,” Yun Ho replied. “I meant that jerk, Darren Kang.”
“Calm down hyung,” Jun Su said as he put a hand on Yun Ho’s shoulder. “We don’t even know his intentions, so we shouldn’t just attack him.”
“He violated Sierra, and hurt her and Jae Joong. Are you saying we should sit back and let it be?”
At times like this, only Jae Joong could calm Yun Ho. The bond they shared as brothers would always be unbreakable. This is the only reason why I could date the both of them and not cause a rift between them.
“We should look into it before we act,” Shoei said.
“Yaa!” Chang Min exclaimed as he walked out of his room. “Why are you guys here at this hour?”
“It’s still early,” Skye laughed. “Don’t you guys like sleep at 2am all the time?”
“We got off earlier tonight, since Jae Joong hyung wanted to go to your album launch. I was looking forward to an early night, before my stomach started asking for food. Now that you guys are here, I might as well eat supper,” he smiled.
“I want supper too,” Skye said, and he walked off with Chang Min into the kitchen.
“Who are you calling?” Jun Su asked when Yun Ho took out his phone.
“Jae Joong,” he replied. “Where the hell did he go?”
“He’s probably still upset,” Shoei said.
“He shouldn’t be,” Yun Ho said.
“It’s understandable,” Jun Su said. “I would’ve been upset.”
“But it’s been hours, hasn’t it? He should’ve come to his senses by now,” Yun Ho said sternly.
“Cut him some slack, hyung. You know how emotional Jae Joong hyung can get sometimes,” Jun Su said in Jae Joong’s defense.
“Jae Joong,” Yun Ho said, holding up his hand at Jun Su to signal for silence. “Where are you? Come home now… What do you mean you’re not coming home? Do you know how upset Sierra is? Come on… you know she’s innocent,” he said, and then he lowered his hand and stared at the phone.
“What?” Jun Su asked.
“He hung up on me,” Yun Ho said.
“He must be really upset,” Shoei said.
“Did you manage to find Jae Joong hyung?” Chang Min asked as he and Skye walked out of the kitchen holding a cup of ramen each.
“Yea, but he hung up on Yun Ho hyung,” Jun Su said.
“It’s alright,” I said. “I’m sure he’ll be back once he calms down.”
“Yea,” Jun Su said as he gave me a reassuring smile.
“Come with me,” Yun Ho said as he grabbed my hand and dragged me to the room he and Jae Joong shared.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him as soon as he closed the door.
“Are you alright?” he said as he turned around to look at me.
“I’m fine,” I said bravely.
I know that Yun Ho is worried about Jae Joong. Even though he seems angry, he is concerned of Jae Joong’s whereabouts, concerned that Jae Joong isn’t taking care of himself. I felt guilty that Yun Ho had to worry for me too.
“Why do you always attract such mess?” he smiled sadly as his hand came to touch my cheek.
“Yun Ho…” I said, as I turned away. “It was just a misunderstanding. I’m fine.”
“That Darren’s gonna pay when I find him,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Don’t,” I said to Yun Ho. “Don’t do anything. Ignore him.”
“How can I?” Yun Ho said. “He hurt my brother, and he hurt the girl I love.”
“Yun Ho… stop,” I pleaded.
“You know how I feel. You know I still love you. I just want you to be happy, and now you’re not.”
“I’m fine, Yun Ho,” I said grabbing his hand to reassure him.
“Jae Joong is such a fool. Why did he get upset like that?”
“You would’ve done the same thing,” I reminded him.
“Would I?” he remarked.
“Yes… you would,” I insisted, and he sighed.
“You look great tonight,” he said, as he looked me up and down.
“I didn’t even have the mood to change after what had happened,” I smiled weakly.
“Don’t cry, alright?” he said as his thumb came to trace the tear stains on my cheek.
“Araso,” I said softly, and then… he pulled me into a hug.
“I miss you,” he said. “But I know you’re happy with Jae Joong.”
I didn’t struggle, I didn’t yell at him… and I should have. I just needed a hug so badly, and Yun Ho was the best person to get one from. He always managed to comfort me, not to say that Jae Joong didn’t. But at that moment, Jae Joong didn’t want to see me, and Yun Ho was there.
“Komawo,” I whispered against his shoulder, and he tightened his arms around me.
“You can cry if you want,” he said. “Just once more… to get it out of your system.”
“I’m fine,” I said as I pulled away. “I’d cried enough earlier.”
“I doubted you once, and it was my mistake. Just know that if there is anyone in this world who believes in you 100%, it’s me. Araji?”
“Araso…” I replied, but I wanted to tell him that he shouldn’t.
I’d betrayed him without him knowing it, and I deserved mistrust if that was how he felt about me. Here he is, telling me that he believes in me 100% and when I heard that, I felt like such a sinner. I didn’t deserve his love.
“What’s wrong?” he asked when he noticed my somber expression.
“Just… nothing,” I sighed.
“Let’s go out then” he said. “Or the guys would be wondering what we’re doing.”
“What were you guys discussing without us?” Jun Su asked when we walked out.
“Never you mind,” Yun Ho said as he ruffled Jun Su’s hair.
“Hey!” Jun Su exclaimed.
“We should get home,” Shoei said. “It’s getting late.”
“Yea,” Yun Ho said. “Go home and rest. Things will be better tomorrow. I’ll make sure Jae Joong comes to see you.”
“Okay,” I smiled.
Back at the apartment, the three of us got ready for bed silently. The events of the night had dampened our moods, when in actuality; we should be celebrating tonight. Shi Kyung hyung called earlier ago to inform us that our album sold 10,000 copies on the first day, surpassing the management’s projected sales target. We had a brief moment of celebration in the car when we were informed.
“Omigod!” Skye yelled when he hung up his phone.
“Who was that?” Shoei asked. “Can you watch the road?”
“Sorry,” Skye laughed.
He’d been driving when he received a call from hyung.
“You should’ve passed the phone to me. Who was it?”
“Hyung called and said that we sold 10,000 copies today,” Skye said, and gave a whoop.
“That’s great,” I said half-heartedly.
“Come on nuna… stop acting like that. We sold 10,000 copies today. Yell with us!” Skye said.
“Yea,” Shoei said, as he turned around to smile at me. “Yell,” he said, and he too gave a loud whoop.
“Do I have to?” I smiled.
“Yes you do,” they both said, and waited for me to deliver.
“Woooo!!!” I yelled and raise my hands in the air.
“That’s more like it,” Skye said. “Altogether, one more time!” he yelled.
“Wooooo!!!” the three of us yelled like crazy, and broke into laughter after that.
I’d just showered and was drying my hair when Shoei walked into my room and sat on my bed.
“Wassup?” I asked him.
“What were you and Yun Ho hyung doing earlier?”
“When the both of you went to his room,” he elaborated.
“Couldn’t you do it outside? What would the rest of them think?”
“Yun Ho was the one who wanted to.”
“And you shouldn’t allow him to,” he said. “Already Jae Joong hyung was upset and MIA, and you walk into a room alone with Yun Ho hyung in front of the rest of TVXQ.”
“Nothing happened,” I reasoned.
“Only you and Yun Ho know what you did.”
“They’d never make such assumptions,” I said. “Jun Su or Chang Min would never think ill thoughts of Yun Ho and me.”
“Whatever… be stubborn. You and Yun Ho… sometimes you really deserve one another.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
“That leader attitude the both of you have… it sometimes gets the better of your judgments and actions.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Just think things through before you do them,” he said.
“Are you saying you don’t believe me? About that Darren thing?”
“Now you’re steering away from the topic. I am not referring to anything that has happened between you and Darren.”
“So what’s this about now?”
“I just feel that you still have feelings for Yun Ho hyung.”
“So what if I do? I’m with Jae Joong now, and I will never betray Jae Joong. I can’t just push Yun Ho out of my mind. I still have to face him every other week, and he’s still my friend.”
“I’ve seen the way he looks at you,” Shoei sighed. “He still loves you.”
“We’ll never get back together,” I said.
“I know. But do you think Jae Joong hyung never notices? Do you think he can’t see that Yun Ho hyung still loves you?”
“He’s never mentioned it.”
“Of course he wouldn’t. Why would he want to mention the obvious?”
“Can we not talk about this tonight?” I said in an annoyed tone.
“Fine, suit yourself. I’ll shut up,” he said as he lay back on my bed.
“Thank you,” I said and I went back to drying my hair.
I put down my hairdryer a few minutes later and turned around to find Shoei asleep on my bed. I sat down beside him and studied his face. For these past 3 years, of all people, I owed Shoei the most. He was the one who always stood by me and loved me silently. Maybe he’s given up on us by now, but he still showed that he cared in so many ways. I’m constantly baffled by the fact that I’m surrounded by people who cared for me, whom I do not deserve at all. I feel blessed and cursed at the same time.
I covered Shoei with my blanket and turned out the lights. I laid down beside him in the faint glow of the city lights, and pulled the blanket up to cover my shoulders. I had no male siblings, only male cousins, so I never really knew how it felt to have a brother. When I first arrived in Korea, I felt that another piece of my life’s puzzle was somehow in place, now that I had 2 brothers; Skye and Shoei. Who would have guessed that Shoei turned out to be more than a brother? It pained me when I hurt him, but he will always be a brother to me. It’s ingrained in my mind, and I can never change it.
I leaned forward to kiss him lightly on the forehead.
“Saranghae,” I whispered, then I turned around and went to sleep.
I felt her cover me with the blanket, and I continued to pretend that I was sleeping. She needed me tonight, and I just did what I do best; being by her side. I felt her get into the bed beside me, and I longed to put my arms around her and gather her close. I wanted to hold her and try to melt her fears and sorrows away, but I wasn’t in the position to do so.
“Saranghae,” I heard her whisper, her breath tickling my face, after she kissed me lightly on the forehead.
A single tear escaped my eye as she turned around to go to sleep. The love she gave me, no, allowed me, was not the love I wanted, but it will always be this way. I would always be her tongsaeng in her eyes.