I’m lying on the bed, with Jae Joong’s arms around me and my head on his chest; he’d decided to spend the night at my place.
“I missed you,” he said as he stroked my hair.
“I find that hard to believe,” I said, pretending to be indifferent, but my heart was practically bursting with joy.
“I told myself everyday that I wouldn’t call you, but my fingers itched to dial your number.”
“Then why didn’t you?”
“My pride got in the way?” was his reply.
I gave him a wry look, and he just smiled. He knew that the line was overused, especially in songs, but he used it anyway.
“Shoei’s going to Japan, and Skye to Taiwan,” I said.
“I’m gonna be alone here, for at least a month.”
“Want me to move in and keep you company until they get back?”
“Would you? What would the guys say?”
“And when Skye and Shoei return, it’ll be our turn to leave the country.”
“Where are you going?”
“To Japan, for a few months.”
“It’s not going to be on and off, like for you last album?”
“No. We’ve been neglecting our Japanese fans, so it’s going to be a long stint, this time. We’re going to participate in a lot of shows and host our radio program like we did for the 2nd album.”
“What am I supposed to do while you’re gone?”
“I’ll try to visit you whenever I can. You can come over.”
“I wish,” I sighed. “We’ll have S-Cube’s single to promote with Hee Chul, and the special single Yun Ho and I are doing.”
“Yea… he will definitely be traveling back and forth. Come to think of it, I should’ve taken the project; me and my stupid pride.”
“You don’t have to be so supportive, you know,” he smirked, and I giggled.
“What made him volunteer to take the project?”
“I told him that I didn't want it, and that we’d probably fight if we had to work together, then I just walked out, and he had to handle the producers for me.”
“See how much trouble people go through for you,” I poked him in the ribs, making him jump.
“Araso… I’m the bad guy. I make life a living hell for everyone.”
“Glad you know. You’re truly a devil, disguised as a beautiful guy,” I said.
“Beautiful? That’s what I love to hear,” he grimaced.
“Take it or leave it,” I said.
“It depends,” he grinned mischievously, and tightening his arms around me.
“On what you’re giving out,” he smiled suggestively.
“Yah… p’yeont’ae!” I exclaimed and smacked his arm.
“I didn’t do anything,” he complained, pretending to be hurt.
“You were thinking it,” I pointed out.
“No I wasn’t,” he said.
“Yes you were,” I replied.
“I missed our little squabbles,” he said, out of the blue.
I sighed and snuggled closer to him when he said that. I missed how he’d make my heart skip a beat with his disarming smiles and comments. It’s been so long, and you’d think the magic and mystery had long disappeared, but Jae Joong always made the effort to keep it alive.
People always say that relationships tend to become drab after you’ve seen everything there is to see about a person. We’ve seen each other in the morning, dragon breath and all, we’ve seen each other dressed up in our finest, we’ve seen each other in our most comfortable states, and yet… it has diminished nothing. He would always be beautiful to me, and he’d mentioned often enough, so was I to him.
“Why do you think I’m beautiful?” I asked him.
“Why?” he smiled. “Why this question now?”
“You’d always told me I’m beautiful, but I’ve never asked you why.”
“You call me beautiful,” he said.
“That’s different. It’s so obvious and the whole world knows that you are beautiful.”
“Don’t you think the world thinks the same of you?”
“I think so,” he laughed.
“So why? Sure I have high cheekbones and pretty good skin, but my face isn’t cute like most of the conventionally pretty girls.”
“Your eyes,” he smiled.
“I don’t even have double eyelids,” I said.
“Correction; you didn’t. But you do now,” he reminded me.
“Oh, right. I’d totally forgotten about my surgery,” I smiled sheepishly. “What about before?”
“It’s not about your eyelids,” he said. “It’s the expressions you make with your eyes. Don’t you see them in your photos?”
“I’ve never really noticed.”
“In every photo you take, your eyes stand out. Your eyes portray such depth of expressions.”
“I never knew,” I said, a little awed by his poetic explanation.
“Now you know,” he smiled. “And you are beautiful. Your whole face goes with your eyes. Your face is not just made up of your eyes you know. And another point to note; SM is hardly going to sign an ugly girl. So I don’t get why you are not confident about your beauty.”
“I just feel out of place sometimes. I’m not cute or sweet.”
“Precisely,” he said as he hugged me. “You’re a unique beauty. If the whole world sees it, it’s time you did too.”
“I guess so,” I sighed.
“And you’re not fat,” he added, smiling knowingly.
“I’m gonna kill Shoei,” I growled.
“He didn’t tell me,” Jae Joong said.
“Then who did?”
“I’m gonna kill Shoei,” I repeated, and he laughed.
“Come on. Bed time. It’s late.”
“Omigod,” I yawned as I looked at the clock. “It’s almost 5am.”
“I’m gonna be dead tomorrow.”
“Wanna call in sick? We could run off for the day.”
“Hyung will kill me. I’d better not.”
“If it ever gets too much, be sure to take a break. I don’t want you to get sick. I know how it’s like, going for events and meeting the schedules even when you’re sick. But I don’t want you to do it.”
“You don't want to, but it’s necessary for us to survive. This is a very short career if you don’t push hard while you can.”
“I know. But you have me,” he smiled. “I’ll do the pushing.”
“Whoever said I was going to depend on you,” I said, poking his chest. “I can take care of myself, thank you very much.”
“But I want to take care of you,” he said.
“In due time,” I smiled, and I leaned up to kiss his lips lightly. “Good night,” I said.
“Good night,” he replied, kissing the top of my head and then reaching out to turn off the bedside lamp.
3 hours later, Skye was banging on my door and screaming bloody murder. I stretched leisurely and turned onto my side to look at Jae Joong who was sleeping on the futon next to my bed. He was rubbing his eyes, awoken by the mayhem Skye was making.
“Nuna! We're late!” he yelled.
“I’ll get there myself,” I finally found my voice to reply.
I was so tired, and when extremely tired, my throat would feel scratchy and dry.
“How are you getting there?”
“Jae Joong will take me there,” I said, and I was met with a brief moment of silence on the other side of the door.
“He’s here now? In your room?” he finally said.
“Yes,” I smiled.
He was probably surprised that apart from having made up, we were so intimate again.
“That was fast,” he laughed.
“Yea… get going. Tell hyung I’m having diarrhea or something,” I said.
“Araso,” he said, and I could hear him bound off towards the front door. “Jae Joong hyung’s gonna take her,” I could hear him tell Shoei, and the rest of their conversation were inaudible.
I rolled off the bed, onto the futon and landed on Jae Joong.
“Oof!” he exclaimed. “Yah… twaeji,” he said as he hugged me. “You almost squashed me flat.”
“Mwo? Twaeji?” I said, and I slammed my body on his for good measure.
“Aahh…” he half-laughed and yelled at the same time. “You know… this isn’t the best way to kill me. It’s too obvious.”
“Who cares?” I said as I leaned down and started to nibble his earlobe. “As long as you’re dead,” I whispered in the most menacing, yet seductive, voice I could muster.
“If you wanna get to the studios on time,” he murmured, the tone of his voice conveying his state of pleasure to me, “I suggest you stop doing that.”
“Make me,” I said, and he grabbed my face and pulled me towards him for a toe-tingling kiss.
Half an hour later, we’re speeding towards the studios in Jae Joong’s car. We’ve gotten a little carried away and I was now late for a radio show.
“What time is the show?” Jae Joong asked as he overtook the car in front of him.
“We’re supposed to go on air in about 15 minutes.”
“Is it one of those shows that’s gonna be broadcasted live on the web?”
“Then you’d better start doing your own makeup. You wouldn’t have time when you get there.”
I rummaged through my bag, dug out my little makeup case and started putting on my makeup. At a particular traffic light, Jae Joong braked a little too hard, causing me to draw a line up my forehead with my eyebrow pencil.
“Yah!” I squealed and started rubbing my forehead to get rid of the line. “Thank god it’s not waterproof, or it’ll be hell to clean off.”
“Mian,” he laughed and dug up a packet of wet tissues from the compartment in his car. “Nawa,” he said, and he started wiping the line away for me.
We arrived at the studios just in time. I gave him a quick kiss on the lips, jumped out of the car and started sprinting up towards the studio.
“Where were you?” hyung almost yelled when he saw me.
“Mianhada…” I smiled, and I quickly slipped into the room and plopped down in the chair beside Skye.
“You’re so gonna get it from hyung after this,” Skye whispered, and I stuck out my tongue at him.
“Hello Sierra,” a familiar voice came from in front of me, and my hairs were standing on the back of my neck.
While rushing in, I’d been oblivious to everyone else in the room, and the microphone and other equipment were in the way, that I didn’t notice Darren sitting at the table, right across me.
“Stay calm, nuna,” Skye whispered.
I guess he could sense that I wanted to scream.