TRACKSIDED

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LIAR AND LOVER

Tae Won has no idea of who I am or what I have done to him.

He doesn’t see what poison I am, and I don’t know how to make him understand.

I’ve tried almost everything, except telling him the truth, which will kill him and me on the same occasion.

Now I’m imploding because the feelings I have been stopping me from doing what’s right on the one hand, and on the other, I have to do something before my blackmailer does something else.

I’ve received other messages; he taunts me.

I don’t sleep or eat; I’m just thankful it was already routine; otherwise, I would be admitted to a psychiatry ward right now.

Tae Won said he’d give me time, and the more it passes, the more I see myself falling in love.

I can’t speak of it to Mona; she’s engrossed in college and this secret movie project of hers. Brad seems to be avoiding me.

My world is collapsing, but all I think about is Tae Won as I tie my hair with his hairband. One of the many hairbands Tae Won brought for his mother, the mother I killed.

I held a week when Tae Won gave me time to think; after that, I went to find him.

I hate him for doing this to me.

If you ask me if I know love, I’d say I’ve seen it on others, and it suits them.

I’ve had crushes, but I’ve never had a boyfriend. I’ve flirted a lot, and I slept with this one guy when I was 16.

Unlike many girls, I’ve never seen my virginity as something sacred. I don’t have any percepts religious or other clouding my mind. When I slept with that guy in high school, it was just an experience like another; though I was drunk, I know that all I wanted back then was to have fun, and when it was over, I moved on to the next thrill on the bucket list.

One person regretted, though; Brad treated the info like a world crisis. He almost succeeded in making me regret it. To be honest, Brad was first on the list of the guys I wanted to sleep with, but I knew Mona’s feelings, and I would never hurt my cousin for one of my whims.

So, I don’t know how a relationship is supposed to go, the feelings surrounding them, or what demonstrations of love I have to do, but if love is what I feel for Tae Won, it’s frightening.

It’s like being locked in a coffin of spears; no matter how hard you try not to move, you’ll get hurt. Still, your willing to suffer from being with that person, so love is both tremendous joy and suffering.

I’m glad life spared love till now.

We’re at his place; mom is doing one of her guest appearances at a charity, and dad, I don’t know, he’s not at home.

It’s the first time Tae Won brings me here; it makes me feel like it’s all official, I’m his girlfriend.

The apartment is small but tidy, except his desk, full of books and folders, which he must have gathered there to make space.

I don’t know how we ended up in this position, but I’m sitting on the couch, and his head is on my lap. I gently caress his hair. Tae Won hasn’t got the perm, which gave his hair waves, and this auburn color that Koreans are so fond of like when I met him. Now his hair is straight and black; it’s silky in my hands. I slide my fingers on his eyebrows and the arc of his nose.

Tae Won is handsome. I know I’ve said it before, but I mean, he is gorgeous. When I see myself with him, I feel like one of those nerds who gets the playboy in one of my web novels, which ends with a happy mushy ending.

So now I’m the living testimony that the ploy can be played out in real life. The only difference is the ending here won’t be the one I would desire if my life were a novel.

It’s one of those blissful moments that I don’t deserve, and so I decide to punish myself.

“Tae Won.”

“Umm.”

“Do you think you can ever forgive, the driver?”

“Never.”

His eyes open at once, and he looks up at me a second and sits up.

“Why do you ask?”

“No, I was just curious.”

Harakiri.

Tae Won must read the panic on my face as I break a sweat, and as always, he tries to dissipate my thoughts. He hates misunderstandings, whereas other people would leave you hanging by your fingertips on a cliff of doubts. Tae Won hands you a rope and pulls you up.

“If he were alive, I would hunt him down and kill him if justice refused to do its duty. He was my obsession; I lived to find him when you told me he was dead; I was disappointed not to be the one to punish him.

“I lost my reason to live, but you were there. If you weren’t present, I don’t know how I would have ended up, and I don’t just mean that night. Even before your presence was beneficial,” Tae Won says while caressing my cheek before kissing me.

That day when I told him about my addiction, I wanted him to run away. It would have hurt, but it would have been easier, and here I am digging my own grave every second I spend with him.

This love is cruel.

As I inhale the scent of his shampoo under kisses, I forget the menacing cloud of my stalker and the nasty beast that I am as he showers me with his tenderness, which does not overstep any threshold.

I don’t know if he’s thinking of sex, but he doesn’t do anything—no hand under the sweater or between my legs. No verbal hints, just kisses, and I don’t need more because it’s already more than I deserve regarding affection.

How to not fall in love when someone is so cautious and treats you with such care?

The worst part is that my sentiment of guilt doesn’t give me enough willpower.

I am living on a lie; perhaps this is my divine punishment.

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