She wrapped her arms around me, and we continued kissing. I didn’t dare touch her or pull her closer in case I woke her. I just leaned in as much as I could and supported my weight with my elbows on the bed.
It was almost as perfect as I’d wanted it to be. I guess love magnifies everything for you. Because of love, a touch, a look, a kiss would seem beautiful and feel as if it were searing right through your heart. I will never regret this moment. Even though I know that as she kissed me, she had Jae Joong hyung in her mind.
“Jae Joong,” again she whispered in between the kisses.
I wanted to grip her shoulders and yell at her. I wanted to tell her I wasn’t Jae Joong, but I know she will never forgive me if realized that I’ve taken advantage of her. Still, I can’t help myself. I wanted her too much. I pulled away slowly, and moved off the bed to turn off the lights.
“Kajima…” she cried softly, and it really broke my heart to hear the sadness in her voice. “Jae Joong, kajima,” she cried in her sleep.
“Naeil pwayo,” I whispered in her ear as I covered her with the blanket and kissed her lightly on her cheek.
I walked out of the room slowly, turning back to watch her for a moment before I closed the door. I couldn’t stay on. I would never be able to redeem myself in the morning after, if I did.
“Wake up!!!” Skye yelled in my ear the next morning.
“Huh?” I groaned sleepily.
I went to bed at about 2am yesterday, and my head is throbbing from the lack of sleep.
“It’s 7am!” Skye yelled again.
7am? That meant that I only had 5 hours of sleep.
“Go away,” I yawned, and covered my face with a pillow.
“We’re leaving in an hour. You’d better wake up. Wassup with you anyway? You’re usually the first to be up. Where did you go last night? You weren’t back when I went to bed last night.”
“I was with nuna,” I said.
“Ya… what were you guys up to so late? And without me…”
“We had soju,” I said, and was immediately cut off.
“Without me?” Skye wailed. “How can you guys do this to me? Why are you always leaving me out?”
“She was upset. I only brought her the soju to help her sleep.”
“Yea… after she’d drank enough, I put her to bed and left.”
“Did she make any confessions after she was drunk?” Skye asked, his eyes wide with anticipation.
“Other than she’s really upset, nope.”
“Aishii…” Skye exclaimed, disappointed.
“Did you think she would reveal all her little secrets?” I laughed.
“I was hoping she would. Sometimes… she’s as secretive as you are.”
“Nae,” Skye said as he stood up. “Yah! Ppalli! We’re gonna be late.”
“Araso,” I said as I sat up slowly. “You’d better go wake nuna. I don’t know if she’ll have a hangover or not.”
“Nae…” he said and he opened the door and left the room.
“Jae Joong!” I heard myself call out, and I sat up, awoken with a start.
The room was pitch black, there was no one there. I clutched my aching head… I really do hate alcohol… but it gave me a moment of peace earlier. I should just go back to sleep. I’d dreamt that Jae Joong was beside me, and he kissed me. It felt so real… so real that my lips felt a little raw from the passion, and my face was wet from the tears I cried while I dreamt.
I lay my head back on the pillow and tried to make myself comfortable. Numbing myself hadn’t been the best way to control my feelings. I still missed Jae Joong. No matter what I’d said to Yun Ho, I still missed Jae Joong. I was trying to get my anger to overpower the feelings of sadness, but at the end of the day, my anger would subside, and all there’s left would be sadness and longing.
I was awoken by Skye’s hollering almost an instant later.
“Nuna!” he yelled as he banged on the door.
“What?” I groaned.
“Wake up,” he yelled.
I rolled out of bed and lunged at the door to open it. I couldn’t stand the racket he was making and it was adding to my headache. The best thing was to stop him from doing it by letting him in. I groaned as I threw myself back onto the bed and buried my head under the pillow.
“Wake up, you pig. Did you have too much to drink?”
“How did you know? What time is it now? I feel like I’ve only slept for 5 minutes.”
“It’s almost 8am. We’re gonna be late and hyung is gonna be upset.”
“8am?” I exclaimed and I grabbed my mobile phone to look at the time. It was 7:45pm. I had another 15 minutes to get ready. “Get out… I need to get dressed.”
“Hurry up,” he said as I pushed him out of my room.
We arrived in Seoul and headed straight to another promotional event. Later today, we would be making an appearance on a special program. We were going to visit a retirement home and the whole process of us entertaining the elderly will be captured on film and broadcasted on television.
We traveled a little way to the outskirts of the city where the retirement home was. It was a sweet and idyllic. Made up of 2-3 buildings on a plot of land donated by a local businessman, it housed about 20 elderly.
“Welcome,” the manager of the home came out to greet us.
The manager was actually more of a housekeeper, in charge of making sure that the place was cleaned, bills were paid, food stocked, and such. There were about 5-10 other staff made up of nurses, caretakers, cooks and cleaners who saw the needs of the inhabitants of the home. Volunteers came in every weekend to organize little activities for the entertainment of the elderly. Today, S-Cube would be their entertainment.
“Annyeonghaseyo,” S-Cube bowed politely.
The camera had been rolling as soon as we left Seoul, and every move we made were now being recorded.
“Thank you for coming,” the manager said. “These folks have been dying for some company, and they’re quite sick of my singing already,” he laughed.
“Surely you don’t mean that,” I laughed. “I bet they are really grateful for having you. You seem to have organized this place so well.”
“Kamsahamnida,” he bowed. “Just doing my job.”
“How is this home financed?” Shoei asked.
“Most of the inhabitants check themselves in, with the retirement funds they have. That’s our main source of income. Then there are contributions from the children of some, and then we accept donations too,” he explained.
“And you draw your salary from that?”
“Yes… I draw a minimum salary, since I too live here,” he smiled.
On first impression, my guess was that he was approaching 50 years old.
“Does your family live with you here?” I asked him.
“No, I was widowed at a young age. I never had children. And now my life is dedicated to this home,” he said.
“You mean you never remarried?” Skye asked him.
“My wife was my soul mate, and one of a kind. I never believed I could meet someone like her. So I’m happy living with just memories of her. I have never felt the need to remarry because I have met the love of my life already, despite having only been married for 5 years.”
“Wow,” I said. “It must have been a really beautiful union between to two of you.”
“It was,” he smiled.
“I hope I can find someone like that in my lifetime,” I said wistfully.
“I’m sure you will,” he said. “Aren’t you with Jae Joong of TVXQ? I don’t follow all the entertainment news, but I do know that you have both been together for awhile. Is he not your soul mate?”
“I… erm…” I hesitated. What do I tell him?
“We’re here!” Shoei exclaimed as we approached the hall where the elderly were waiting.
They started clapping as soon as we walked in, and I actually felt a little shy.
“Allow me to introduce S-Cube,” the manager started. “This is Sierra, this is Skye and this is Shoei.”
“We know who they are,” an old gentleman exclaimed, and everyone laughed.
“Just a formality,” the manager laughed.
“Annyeonghasimnikka,” I bowed. “Thank you for allowing us to come here and share this beautiful day with you.”
“We’ve brought along some gifts for everyone,” Shoei said, as he held up a bag of goodies we’d purchased with our own allowances.
We’d made the van stop on our way here when we realized that the management had not prepared anything for us to bring along, and we felt that it was rude not to bring something.
“You’re really too kind,” the manager said as he accepted the bag from Shoei.
He handed it to the staff and they started to distribute the gifts.
“What’s this?” an elderly lady asked as she held up one of the contents of her goodie bag.
“We’re sorry if any of the gifts are inappropriate,” Skye said. “That’s little battery operated fan, which comes with a little water container and spray so that you can spritz yourself when you feel warm.”
“Oh…” she said as she started fiddling with it. “It’s cute,” she smiled. “Kamsahamnida.”
After everyone had gone through their goodie bags, we started our little performance for them. Shoei picked a guitar and started playing while Skye and I sang. After our performance, we had light snacks and spent sometime going around, chatting with them.
“You’re too thin,” one of the elderly ladies, Mrs Sun, told me as she patted my hand. “In my days… the kasu were all full-figured women.”
“Unfortunately, they like them thinner these days. I’m actually considered a little on the heavy side,” I said.
“Nonsense,” she huffed. “You’re practically skin and bones,” she said.
“That’s what I keep telling her,” Shoei said as he came to stand beside us.
“You’re not beefy enough, either, young man,” Mrs Sun said, and I started laughing at Shoei, who looked pretty bewildered.
“Men should be bigger and buffed. You’re too thin,” she said, as she clucked and shook her head at him.
3 hours later, our little visit drew to an end and as we walked out, the able inhabitants of the home walked out with us.
“Thank you for coming,” they said as we shook hands and hugged.
“It was our pleasure,” I said.
“You’re really talented youngsters,” old Mr Bong said as he shook Skye and Shoei’s hands.
“Komapseumnida,” Skye and Shoei bowed.
“That was fun,” I said as we got onto the van.
“Let’s come back again next year,” Skye said.
“We’ll need to check with the management,” Shoei said.
“Today has really been a fun and meaningful experience,” I said as I looked at the camera. “We hope to be able to do more charitable work like this in the future, don’t we?” I said as I turned to the guys.
“Definitely,” Skye smiled.
“Count me in,” Shoei added.
“So this is S-Cube, signing out. We hope you had fun watching our little trip to the retirement home. Annyeong!” I said, and we waved to the camera.
We slouched in our seats all the way home. As soon as the camera was turned off, fatigue overcame us; traveling back to Seoul early this morning, the promotional events, then traveling out of Seoul to shoot this little program. We were almost knocked out, but we still had one destination to go to, back to SM, because we had a meeting with hyung and a few producers.
We sat down in the meeting room sometime later. It was almost 8pm, and our stomachs were grumbling.
“I’m hungry,” Skye said. “Can we call up for delivery?” he asked hyung.
“This will only take 15 minutes. We’ll go for dinner after this,” hyung replied.
“Yaa… ppalli ppalli…” Skye said as he laid the upper half of his body across the table.
“Well… your 3rd album is pretty much a hit, and while we’re going to continue promoting it, we have other side projects for S-Cube, but as individuals,” the producer said.
“Like?” Shoei asked.
“Shoei, you are going to Japan where you will be appearing in Mika Nakashima’s new MV. Skye will be going to Taiwan to appear in a series of game shows and host a music program with Vanness Wu.”
“Hey! No fair! Why do I get a guy?”
“Shikkeureo,” I hissed at Skye.
“Just joking,” Skye said, smiling sheepishly.
“Sierra… you’re staying here, and you will record a special single; another duet with Jae Joong.”
“What?” I exclaimed, and I felt Shoei’s hand clasp mine under the table, trying to get me to calm down.