It’s been 2 days since Jae Joong walked out on me. He didn’t call, didn’t email or send me any messages online. I performed my promotional duties in the manner expected of me, and each night, I’d get home and go straight to bed. I could tell that Shoei and Skye were worried, but I really didn’t feel like dealing with my feelings. I just wanted to numb them and focus on work since there was no room for me to be sullen and depressed during our promotional events.
Today, we were going on a road trip to Inch’eon to promote our album. We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout of fans at the autograph session. Wherever we turned, there were Seraphs holding our blue and silver balloons. I guess S-Cube’s popularity is climbing. It’s funny how the high point of my life, was also the low point.
The management decided that we should stay the night since the Road Manager was tired. In the past, many accidents had happened because of the kasu’s schedules; rushing around and the Road Manager ended up being too tired and yet speeding. The serious accident involving Kyu Hyun of Super Junior had forced the management to rethink the schedule management, and thus, we no longer rushed around like that so often. Once in awhile, it still happened, but not as often as it used to back then.
Yun Ho had been calling me each night since I told him I’d given up on Jae Joong. He never mentioned anything about my giving up on my relationship with Jae Joong, neither did he mention me and him getting back together. He just called me each night to talk about the daily mundane details, as if trying to distract me from my thoughts.
“You’re still in Inch’eon?” he said as soon as I picked up the phone.
“Yea. We’re staying the night.”
“Good. I don’t like the idea of you guys driving back to Seoul in the dead of the night.”
“Well, if we had to, we would. You know how it is. When you aren’t that popular, you have to do everything and anything the management arranges for you.”
“Aren’t those days over now,” he said.
“For TXVQ… maybe. For S-Cube… we still have a long way to go.”
“But I heard about S-Cube having thousands of fans show up at all your appearances,” he teased. “Doesn’t that make you popular enough?”
“It was the same for you a few years back, and now you have more. So I guess the management isn’t stopping until we reach the standards of TVXQ.”
“Think you can?” he laughed.
“I’ll show you,” I said in mock annoyance.
“Show me, baby,” he drawled.
“P’yont’ae,” I laughed.
“Only for you,” he said, and there was an uncomfortable silence.
“Why do you keep calling, Yun Ho?” I asked him.
“How can I not? I need to make sure you’re alright, every night. Jae Joong isn’t doing his job. I can’t be at peace knowing that there isn’t anyone there for you.”
“Skye and Shoei are here,” I reminded him.
“From their reports, you have been keeping your distance from them. What good can they do for you if you don’t even speak to them? At least you’re speaking to me.”
“Should I stop speaking to you then?”
“Hajima,” he said. “I’m happy you’re at least speaking to me. I know you’re still upset. It wasn’t fair how Jae Joong treated you, but I’m sure he’ll come to his senses soon enough.”
“Then what? Do I take him back after how he’s treated me?”
“It’s up to you then. I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t, because of how he treated you.”
“Then would you want to take his place?”
“Why do you say that?”
“Isn’t that why you keep calling me?” I asked. “Are you’re waiting for an opportunity for us to get back together?”
“That’s really low, Sierra. I wouldn’t do that to Jae Joong. Even if we were to get back together, it wouldn’t be now.”
“What do you think I am; an unwanted girlfriend to be passed between the both of you whenever you pleased?”
“That’s not how it is, and you know it. You know I love you.”
“You…” I started but stopped myself before I dug up the past.
I could never forget the past, but I should not use it to hurt Yun Ho. I am so frustrated, and I need to take it out on someone. Yun Ho, being the only person I spoke to for the past few days, had become an unwitting target. Then again, I wouldn’t say that he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He knew me as well as Jae Joong did.
“I’m tired,” I conceded. “I wanna go to bed.”
“I feel bad about what has happened, and I just want you to be happy. Don’t misjudge my intentions. It hurts me. Don’t chase me away like that.”
“Araso,” I sighed.
“Text me when you get back to Seoul tomorrow,” he said.
“Good night,” I said, and hung up.
I switched on my laptop after tossing my phone on the bed. Despite my anger for Jae Joong, I still understood the hurt he felt. I felt like such a sucker for him, but that’s just the way it goes when it comes to love, doesn’t it?
‘You have 1 mail!’ my Y!M notification popped out.
I clicked on it and found that it was a mail from Darren.
First of all… I’m sorry for the other day. I honestly didn’t know what came over me. I guess now that it has come to this, I would have to come clean. I have a confession to make….
I think I like you… I really like you!!!
I know you’re with Jae Joong, and I must be crazy to think that I can take you away from someone like him. So I’m not gonna try, but I want you to know that’s why I kissed you the other day. You were just too irresistible. I hope that it hasn’t caused any problems between you and Jae Joong, and I hope that we can continue being friends.
I stared at the screen for sometime, trying to digest what Darren had written. Of all the crazy things… he liked me? I wrote him a short reply, and turned off my laptop. My life was getting weirder by the day. Again, I ask myself, was this the price for having success?
I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom after brushing my teeth. My fingers came to the pendant that rested on my collarbone; the pendant that Jae Joong had given me on my birthday. I reached behind my neck and unhooked the clasp. I’m never wearing it again. I continued by taking off the matching earrings and after I did, my hand came to rest on the single stud Yun Ho had given me. He’d told me that it was a token of our friendship, but I knew it was how he wanted to show me that we are still connected. He has the other side. My mind hurt when I thought of him, of Jae Joong… how they mean so much to me, and how much pain we’ve caused each other. Will it ever end?
“Nuna,” I heard Shoei call out as he knocked on my door.
I turned off the bathroom lights and walked towards the door. When I opened it, I found him wearing a set of pajamas with lots of cute, little flying sheep printed on it, and holding onto the corner of a pillow in his right hand.
“What on earth?” I laughed, and he just grinned.
“Can I bunk with you tonight?” he said.
“Sure,” I smiled and let him in.
“Tired?” he asked me as he flopped onto my bed.
“Dying…” I said as I jumped onto the bed after him.
“Then why aren’t you sleeping already?”
“I just got off the phone with Yun Ho.”
“He called again?”
“Isn’t this like the 3rd night in a row?”
“I lost count,” I shrugged. “And I received the strangest email from Darren.”
“What did the jerk want?”
“He did? Any explanations for his actions?”
“His reason was that he liked me,” I said sarcastically.
“Not another one?” Shoei groaned and covered his face with the pillow he brought.
“What do you mean?” I said as I pulled the pillow off his face.
“How are you and I ever gonna elope if you keep getting more and more admirers?” he laughed.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Did I ever say I would elope with you?”
“Sure… dozens of times,” he laughed as I bashed him with my pillow.
“You’re hallucinating. You need to see a doctor,” I said.
“No… I just need you to elope with me,” he laughed.
“Michoso,” I said and I kicked his butt.
“Ya…” he said and he flipped over to squash me with his body.
“Get off…” I laugh as I gasped for air.
“Not until you agree,” he said.
“No way… cheoltae andoe,” I laughed. “Get off, I can’t breathe,” I gasped again, and he rolled off.
“Not sleeping still?” he asked.
“I can’t sleep,” I said.
“Lend me your bathrobe,” he said as he got off the bed and picked it up.
“What for?” I asked as I watched him put it on.
“I’ll be back in awhile,” he said, and he left the room.
15 minutes later, he came back with a bottle of soju and 2 glasses.
“You know I don’t drink,” I wrinkled my nose.
“It’ll help you sleep,” he said as he poured me a glass.
“Shiro…” I said, and hid my head under a pillow.
“Come on,” he said as he nudged my arm. “Drink up,” he said and he started pouring himself one too.
“If I puke on this bed, we’re gonna have to move to your room,” I said.
“No problem. We can cuddle up with Skye,” he smiled.
I took the glass from him at put it to my lips, hesitating for a moment. Then I finished it in one gulp.
“Eww…” I exclaimed and made a face; I really wasn’t a fan of alcohol.
Shoei laughed at my expression, and downed his soju too.
Half an hour later, nuna became quite drunk. It was a surprise for me since she rarely got drunk; except that one time, long ago, because of Yun Ho hyung. She kept talking, and talking about her and Jae Joong hyung, how they’d made so much effort only to have their relationship in tatters now.
“I know why he doesn’t want me anymore,” she said, slurring her words. “I’m too old. I’m fat. I mean… I’m almost his weight. Which guy would want to date a girl almost his weight?”
She was lying on her side, poking at the last glass of soju she’d drunk.
“You’re not fat, nuna,” I said as I pushed her hair out of her face.
She’d started growing her hair long again. It’s not going to be as long as it was during our first album, but the management had instructed her to adopt a more feminine style, which meant at least a shoulder length do. In the meantime, they’d been adding extensions to her hair for our performances and other public appearances.
“Then why, why doesn’t Jae Joong want me anymore?” she moaned, her eyes half-closed.
“Time for bed,” I said, and I rolled her over and adjusted her position so that she wasn’t taking up the whole bed.
“Good night,” she drawled, and she closed her eyes.
I sighed as I covered her with the blanket. If it weren’t for the soju, I would never have known how insecure she felt about her relationship with Jae Joong hyung. I knew she wasn’t really confident, but I never expected her to put herself down like that; to really feel that she wasn’t good enough for him.
“Jae Joong,” she murmured in her sleep, and hiccupped.
My fingers went to softly caress her face, and her hand came up to hold them there.
“Jae Joong,” she called out softly, and this time, I couldn’t help myself.
“I’m here,” I said. “I’m here.”
“Don’t go,” she whispered, and tears rolled down her cheeks.
“I won’t,” I whispered, and I leant down to kiss her cheek.
She turned her head as I leant down, and our lips met instead. I’d been waiting for 3 years to do this, so I didn’t hold back. I didn’t stop her or myself. I just kissed her. It felt like a dam had broken inside me. All the feelings I had ever harbored for her just washed out as we kissed passionately.
‘Just tonight,’ I told myself.
After tonight, I will be her tongsaeng forevermore.
I’d just finished hosting a radio show and I flipped open my laptop to check my email. I was pleasantly surprised to see such a quick reply from Sierra. I clicked on her email and the page popped open.
That’s all she wrote. I laughed hysterically at her reply. So she’s challenging me now, is she? We’ll see who gives in first. I am loving this game.