“Huh?! Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to step on your shoe!”
I responded in an apologetic bow towards Jin who called out my name, I didn’t realize that when I was taking a few steps back that I ended up stepping on him!
“That’s okay, but...look at me. Are you okay? You look very pale from the face?” He said with concern as he placed his hand on my shoulder to look at me more closely.
“I...I’m fine, I’m just tired I think? I’m gonna start getting ready to pack...”
Trying to come up with an excuse to leave, I was suddenly interrupted by some girl calling out to me! So I awkwardly turned my gaze and saw that Lily was coming in my direction!
The intense gaze that Kai gave me was visible along with Zack who looked just as shocked by how Lily was approaching me. This is what I wanted to avoid, I’m sure Jin felt how stiff my shoulder got with how my body was becoming. I didn’t think I was ever going to meet this person again...
“So your name is Melrose? That’s such a beautiful name, it’s so nice to meet you again. Though I would have never guessed we would end up seeing each other here nor would have I ever thought you worked for ExEx Idol.”
She explained to me, she then did something so unexpected that Zack and Kai had quickly rushed towards her side.
“Lily! What the hell are you doing?! You shouldn’t be standing-”
“Shut up, you sound like mom. My doctor said it’s completely safe for me to walk an hour or two a day as long as I don’t overdo it. Sorry about that, my brother can be a bit much when it comes to my health. But I’m so happy I got to meet you again, my name is Lily Ahn Jee. I’m Zack’s older sister.” She said in a respectable bow, following her pattern. I immediately bowed as I kept my introduction short...
I can’t be rude to her, she’s been nothing but kind to me. But I can’t help but feel so uncomfortable being around her now. It just feels so awkward for me and I just don’t feel like I have the right to be near Kai right now. Even Kai can’t directly look at me, he’s obviously avoiding eye contact the moment Lily got close to me.
“Have you two met before?” Jin asked while standing by my side.
“Uhh, yeah...we met at a cafe, coincidence...”
“Oh! That’s where you were at when you snuck out of the house that night!”
Zack quickly worded in as some staff members began to approach him. They then began to help him along with the rest of the members in taking off their mics.
“Alright boys, manager Sang has already left due to some business calls. He’s allowed you three to go back home for this week, however, he forbids any of you to go out to the public eye without your security. You must also let Sang know beforehand when you’re going out.”
Said one of the staff members, though in mid-sentence. His eye grew wide in amazement once he saw Lily.
“Oh my God! Lily?! I had no idea you would be here! Zack! Why didn’t you tell me your sister just came back from France!? Lily- I mean Miss. Ahn Jee. Excuse my rudeness, but I’m such a huge fan of yours! I loved every movie you were in, especially-”
“Alright, alright! Give my sister some space, Lily. Sit back down on your chair, how did you even get in here without a pass? And where’s Dong-Hyun? You would think he would be a good bodyguard by now since he’s been with our family for years.”
Zack explained in annoyance as he had his sister sit back in her wheelchair, I didn’t even notice how many staff members were surrounding us once I looked around. I guess Lily must be a famous actor, it makes a lot of sense now. With how much taller she is than me and her beauty stood out so much, it’s no wonder Kai loves her. She’s perfect...
“I had father call manager Sang earlier today, and he was very kind to have me come see you guys perform. Also, Dong-Hyun is over there by the snack stall, I just really wanted to surprise you guys. It wouldn’t be fun if I told you I was coming, by the way, you three were all amazing out there. Especially you Kai, though I have to say you’ve gained more muscle the last time I saw you. But I don’t want you showing your body so easily to everyone...here, let me fix your shirt.”
She explained, turning herself around. She faced Kai and began to button up his shirt, his eyes didn’t know where to look as he leaned himself down to have Lily reach more easily.
“Thanks...and I won’t do that again.”
He answered her apologetically, and when I saw the way he was finally looking at her. It felt as someone broke my chest, the amount of weight that made it almost difficult to breathe was enough for me to walk away.
“Okay, I want everyone to start packing up. You three need to meet the V.I.P. members that are waiting backstage in the private room. Lily, please wait in Zack’s room along with your bodyguard...”
With one of the staff members giving orders, I tried my best in holding an expressionless stare as I made my way down the hall. I didn’t want to see anyone, even speaking right now seemed impossible for me.
So I decided to close myself off in Jin’s station room since I’ve already finished packing earlier. There wasn’t much left for me to do other than sit down on the floor. Bringing my knees close to my chest, I buried my head within my crossed arms as I felt empty. Within minutes, I don’t know why...but my face grew warm with the number of tears that I was shedding. This is so pathetic of me, why the hell am I crying for?! I should be happy right now, proud of the boys performing so well. They worked so hard and especially Kai...he did amazing.
“MelRose...I told you to rely on me whenever you needed me.”
Hearing his soothing voice call out to me made me want to stop sobbing. But no matter how much I tried, the tears refused to stop falling. Raising my head, my vision was a bit hazy but I was still able to make out who was standing in front of me...
“Don’t ever apologize for what your feeling, if you need someone to talk to, I’ll be here to listen, and if you need to cry, use my shoulder. And when you ever feel alone, know that I will be there whenever you need me.”
He said with a sorrowful smile as he stuck his hand out towards me. So without any hesitation, I quickly got up on my feet and buried myself within Jin’s chest.
The feeling of his big arms was strong and comforting once I felt them wrapping around me. But that only made me break down more as I felt safe in pouring my emotions out, Jin has never meddled with my life. And whenever I’m crying, he doesn’t question why. He just gives me time and patience to put myself together, you are an amazing person, Jin. Thank you...for being there for me.
It only took a few minutes for me to finally stop sobbing and the tight knot on my throat was starting to fade away, I was able to breathe regularly again. With my head resting on Jin’s chest, I was able to feel his hand patting the back of my head so very lightly. It’s like he always knows how to calm me down, giving out a sigh I sniffled a bit before raising my head to look at him. His smile was sweet and full of reassurance that everything will be okay...
“Thank you, for always being kind to me,” I said to him in teary eyes, giving him a weak smile I felt his hand resting on my lower back.
Jin’s gaze grew serious as I felt his other arm holding me more firmly, he then pulled me closer to him and was about to say something to me. But we were both suddenly interrupted by the door being quickly opened!
“Hey, Jin did you-Whoa! Sorry, did we come in a bad time?”
Zack voiced out in total shock, but I’m sure Jin and I were more surprised than he was considering how we were holding one other! And what made it worse was that Lily and Kai were standing right behind him! So I hurried in pulling away while looking down. I’m sure my eyes are still red and I don’t want anyone seeing me like this, especially Kai...
“No, it’s fine. What did you need?” Jin asked casually as he had me hide behind him.
Appreciating his kind gesture, I wiped away the dry tears on my cheeks and peeked over Jin’s body to see that Kai held an expression of anger. The way he had his jaw clenched so firmly could be shown by the veins being displayed around his neck. Even his eyes have a death stare towards Jin as he forced his way into the room, pushing Zack aside he stood in front of Jin with a look of intimidation. His eyes then looked over at me, and I immediately looked away as I hid behind Jin.
“Uhh...we’re all heading back to my place. And I was gonna ask if you wanted to come, but if you’re busy-”
“I’m not taking a no for an answer! It’s been too long since we’ve all hanged out together! So you’re coming whether you like it or not, Jin! And MelRose...I was gonna ask if you wanted to join us as well.”
Lily quickly explained as she cut off what Zack was saying, she then entered the room to break the tension between Jin and Kai.
“What!? No, staff members have to go back home and-”
“Who said they have to? MelRose is already done cleaning up her station and if she wants to join then I’ll come as well.” Jin quickly talked over Kai as they both kept staring at one another so seriously.
“I’m sure she’s not interested in joining us-”
“Don’t answer for her, MelRose...I had a lot of fun when we got together last time. I know this might sound hard to believe, but I don’t have many female friends in Korea. So I would love for you to come to my home and spend some time with us. My parents left to attend a business party. So they won’t be back until much later, so please consider coming.” Lily interrupted what Kai was about to say as she pleaded for me to come.
I honestly just wanted to go home and just forget about today. But I also don’t want to be rude and disrespect Lily’s invitation, and what she mentioned earlier about not having any girlfriends saddened me. Because I could kinda relate to that, I may have made a few female friends here. But at the end of the day, they’re more like coworkers than anything. Though I don’t know if it will be possible to be friends with Lily, I’ll give it a chance though. Making my way towards her, I gave her the best smile I could give and simply nodded.
The excitement in her expression made her grab my hand, and I felt Kai’s gaze piercing through me. Zack and Lily’s bodyguard was kind to give all of us a ride back to their home soon afterward. I could tell that I was growing nervous because the moment I saw their house. My jaw dropped! It was insanely huge and it looked like some kind of mansion! It was even gated off from the rest of the neighborhood! Are they rich? You know what, that’s a dumb question to ask. Of course their wealthy, with Zack being a world-famous artist and Lily being a famous actor. I could only imagine what their parents are like...
“It feels like it’s been years since I last came here.” I heard Jin say to himself as he helped me get out of the car.
“If you want to be specific, it’s been 5 years. Come, don’t be shy. Let me show you around, Mel!” Lily spoke out as she came rolling up next to me.
Leading the way, I followed her as Jin stuck by my side. Though Kai remained quiet the whole car ride here, even now he hasn’t spoken a word. He must have really not wanted me to come, maybe I should have just gone back to my apartment. Giving out a tiresome sigh, my energy levels picked up once bodyguard, Dong-Hyun opened the door for us. This place feels like an entirely different world than what I’m used to. The main dining hall in itself is probably the same size as my parent’s home!
“God! It feels good to be back home. The dorms were beginning to make me homesick, I hate that we only get a week off after we’re done doing a concert. You would think our manager would give us a longer break after how hard we work. I need a drink...” Zack sighed out as he left to the kitchen...
“Bring some for us, okay Zack! Dong-Hyun, you’re done for the rest of day. I’ll let my parents know you brought me home safe.”
Lily said to her bodyguard, he then gave a bow before leaving for the rest of the night.
“Jin is it really okay for me to be here. I don’t feel like I belong in this type of environment.”
I whispered loud enough for him to hear. He then gave a light chuckle as he responded in a comforting tone to help me relax.
“Don’t be silly, you were personally invited by Lily. Try to enjoy yourself-”
“Kai! Take a look at the news! You’re trending again.”
Lily voiced out in happiness as she approached where Kai was sitting. Jin then led me to where they were as we both took a seat next to each other.
“Of course he’ll be trending, after that type of performance. I’m sure your fan base grew even more, I’m definitely doing a solo next after our tour in Europe is over!”
We all heard Zack say as he brought in a few bottles of liquor. Setting them down on the table he began to pour everyone a shot as he took a seat next to Kai. But as he began to hand one to everyone, I was surprised by Kai’s actions when he grabbed the shot glass away from Zack’s hand when he was about to hand me one! Even Lily looked shocked by what he was doing!
“Rose isn’t drinking, her tolerance is terrible. So unless you plan on taking care of her, don’t offer any-”
“Then I’ll take care of her, that should solve that issue. Besides, it’s up to MelRose what she wants to do.”
Jin spoke out as he grabbed the shot away from Kai. He then went ahead and placed it down on the table in front of me, but Kai didn’t listen to what Jin had to say as he tried to grab the shot away from me again. So I quickly picked it up before he can reach it and gave him an annoyed glance. Just what the hell is up with him?! He’s being so controlling right now...
“One shot isn’t gonna make me drunk,” I said with frustration as I decided to ignore him.
“Well you heard the lady, everyone lift your glasses! Cheers for a successful night!”
Zack shouted in happiness before consuming his drink. We all then cheered as well before drinking our small beverage, the burning tingle ran past my throat that I couldn’t help but pout at the bitter taste.
“Oh! I almost forgot! Kai, I have a surprise for you. I know it’s not much, but I wanted to give you something. Your favorite color is still white, right? Here, I bought these for you. I hope you like them...I wasn’t sure if you would like diamond or emerald, so I went with white diamond earrings.”
Watching Lily pull her gift out, my eyes stayed focused on the earrings that she had shown me before. That’s when I was reminded about everything she had told me, the person that she loves is Kai. Now I really do feel sick to my stomach, I can’t do this. As much as I would want to be friends with Lily, I just don’t see anything good coming from it...
“You didn’t need to give me anything, but thank you. I appreciate it. Their amazing-”
“Here, Let me put them on for you.”
Lily responded in excitement as she began to help Kai put them on his ears. I could tell that his face was growing flushed as he smiled once Lily was done, they both then stared at one another so sweetly before she wrapped her arms around him. He smiled a bit, but it quickly went away once he looked at me. I’m only making things awkward...Though Lily and Kai immediately separated once the ringing of his phone went off, so he quickly answered it before he got up for the chair and walked away. From how Kai was speaking it sounded like it was manager Sang who had called. But Lily didn’t seem to have cared since she went to follow him not too long after. I should just leave, there’s no point in being here. But before I decide to call a taxi, I need to use the lady’s room...
“Uh...Zack, where’s your restroom?” I asked him as I stood myself up.
Following the directions that Zack gave me, I was able to find the bathroom. I didn’t think that looking for a toilet would be so complex to find in a mansion. So as I prepared myself to walk down the hall, I overheard two voices coming from a room nearby. The closer I got, the clearer I could make out who they were. The door wasn’t fully closed and I was able to get a clear image of Lily embracing Kai so strongly in her arms. She was standing on her own two feet and her eyes were full of tears...
“I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...”
I heard Kai cry out as he buried his face onto Lily’s neck. His arms held on to her as If it would be his last time he could hold her.
“No, don’t ever apologize for something that wasn’t your fault. The blame is on me for being careless, I should have known better...Kai. You are so important to me, and I hate seeing you like this. I want to see you smile again, I want us to go back to how we used to be...” Lily’s voice cracked as she continued to sob along with him.
Quickly rushing myself away, I hurried in getting back to the living room. I wanted to forget what I just saw, the image of those two hugging each other. Even with everything they were saying, I wanted it to be completely erased from my thoughts. So I grabbed the bottle of liquor that Zack was holding and took a huge mouth full, the burning liquid could then be filled filling my insides. Though Jin was fast in taking the bottle away from me before I could even finish it. But the amount I drank was enough to make me light-headed. I even ended up leaning my whole body against Jin, his arms helped support me as I felt off-balance. At first, I thought that maybe I wasn’t that tipsy. But I was proven wrong with how dizzy I was starting to become, even the many voices I was beginning to hear from everyone was a mixed mess...
“I told you to not let her drink!”
“I’ll take her home...”
“You’re fucking stupid if you think I’m going to trust you in taking her home...”
“I don’t care what you have to say, I told you to not get involved with her. And to focus on the relationship you have with Lily...”
“Lily and I are just friends-”
“You’re a fool if you believe that’s what Lily thinks...”
“Shut up! Hand over Rose, now!”
“You’re not blind, I know you saw Melrose crying in my arms. Who do you think caused her to be that way? Kai, just leave her alone...she is mine to look after.”