Yes, just take a left-right here...”
“Are you sure, this is behind the building...”
“Yes, I’m certain...”
What’s going on? Where am I? Everything feels like it’s still spinning, I don’t even wanna open my eyes because I feel like any type of bright light would give me an instant headache. But I need to know who’s arm is wrapped around me, I can’t really make out their voice all that well. But it feels like we’re in a vehicle with how my body keeps moving in a rhythmic motion, so as I began to slowly open my eyes I steadied my vision until I could make out where I was at. Averting my eyes towards the window, I saw how late the night was. But what I took notice of was that I was leaning myself against someone. So I carefully shifted my head up and saw that it was Jin! I don’t think he even realized I was awake since he continued to speak to the cab driver. But once he was finished I muttered out my words in confusion...
“Jin? What...where am I?”
“Oh, MelRose. You’re awake, that’s good. I was about to carry you if you didn’t wake up.”
He said to me sounding relieved, he wore his face mask and a hat to hide his face, however, his blonde hair already looks so familiar to me that I can instantly tell it was him. Adjusting myself on the seat, I could already feel my temples beginning to beat heavily in discomfort.
“Carry me? How long have I’ve been asleep for-”
“We’re here, sir.”
Said the taxi driver, I then took the view of where he pulled up to. And I’m sure my jaw dropped to the floor when I witnessed the enormous tall building in front of me! Just where the hell am I at?!
“Thank you. MelRose, let me help you-”
“Huh? Oh, no it’s okay...I...I should be getting back to my apartment...”
I explained to him, however, Jin had already got off the taxi and made his way around my side of the door and opened it for me. Reaching out his hand, I was hesitant at first but I took note of how unstable I was once I tried to stand on my own two feet when I got out of the car. I couldn’t even walk well without stumbling myself forward, however, Jin was quick in supporting my body by wrapping his arms around my waist!
“You really weren’t lying when you said your drinking tolerance wasn’t that good. I think it’s best for both of us if you don’t consume so much liquor next time.”
He said while waving the cab driver off, though after he spoke. He hurried us into getting into the building...
“I’m so sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking...wait...where are we? What building is this-”
“I wanted to take you back to your apartment, however, when I tried waking you in the cab. You weren’t responding so I wasn’t sure what to do, the only thing I could think of was bringing you to my home-”
“What! This huge building is your house!?”
I shouted in absolute shock as I watched him pull out his keys, he then went ahead and opened the door for us as he walked us into an underground parking lot.
“I think your still a bit drunk, this building isn’t mine. I just live in these apartments, though I do plan on buying a house soon, the main reason being that I could have my privacy. I’m sure you noticed that we were entering the back of the parking lot, and that’s because most of my fans found out where I lived. So it’s practically impossible for me to enter the front door, luckily for me, the back of this building is gated off. The only way to enter is if you have the key to this building, I’ve been living here for 3 years already. But it doesn’t really feel like a home to me, anyway...it’s already midnight and I would prefer it if you stayed here for the night instead of getting a cab back home so late at this hour. You can’t really stand on your own, so I would feel awful and irresponsible if I let you go.” He explained in a worried tone as we crossed the parking lot to get to the elevator.
I took his words into consideration, but I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea. I don’t know how I feel about staying at a guy’s house all alone, I mean...I did kinda spend the night at Kai’s place that one time. But that wasn’t really by choice, I swear...I’m just causing trouble for these guys-
“If you’re concerned about being alone with me, don’t worry. My mother is living with me, so it won’t be-”
“Your mother!? I...don’t...won’t your mother be upset at you for bringing a girl so late at this hour? I’m not exactly sober so I don’t wanna leave a horrible impression by showing up like this-”
“Don’t worry so much, my mother is asleep already. And...I think she would be very happy to see you.” He said with a bittersweet smile as I watched him take his facemask off.
The sorrow in his eyes that looked down in sadness made me want to ask what was wrong, but I have no right to interfere in his personal life. Jin is doing enough in helping me, so I won’t stress him out more than I already have. I know that Jin isn’t aware of what I overheard him talk to Kai about last time. About his mother collapsing not too long ago, I guess her health isn’t that good. So I shouldn’t be surprised that Jin has her mom living with him, I just hope that she’s doing well. Though I wasn’t sure what to say other than look over at Jin who held a mournful expression. He couldn’t look at me as he stared at the ground, so we both just stood there in quietness until we reached Jin’s floor.
“I’m sorry, but I hope you don’t mind that I turned off your phone when you were asleep in the cab. Kai kept calling you consistently when we left, I even had to turn off my phone to get some peace in mind.”
Jin finally spoke out to break the silence between us. Reacting to his comment, I quickly reached for my pocket and saw that it really was turned off!
“Oh, I see...do you know why he was calling?”
I asked in an uncomfortable sigh as I placed my phone back in my pocket. I almost forgot about Kai, but hearing his name brings back so many emotions that I don’t wanna remember. And seeing him hug Lily is one of them...
“I’m sure it has to do with me taking you back home, but knowing him...I’m sure he realized that you’re not back at your apartment yet. I would rather avoid him right now, and I think you should do that same.” Jin said as we finally approached his room...
Placing his key card in front of the pad, it automatically unlocked and he welcomes me into his apartment. Bowing my head, I took the first few steps inside still feeling a bit uneasy. But I had to get over it, we’re both adults here and we could act maturely about being under the same roof. Besides, his mother is also here. So it’s not like we’re completely alone...
“I completely agree...Kai, he’s so difficult to deal with sometimes.” I responded in a tiresome voice as I rubbed both of my temples.
“It’s understandable why that is, Kai...we both argue and fight a lot. But in the end, we’re like brothers. He’s been there for me when I needed it, but...I haven’t been able to be there for him. In fact, I don’t think anyone has been able to help Kai with what he’s gone through. The wounds in his heart are still there, they haven’t healed. This is why he’s relying on medication most of the time...he’s trying to stay strong. But I know it’s sometimes hard for him, which is why it’s so difficult to deal with his character.”
With Jin taking off his jacket, I paid attention to what he was saying and couldn’t help but feel a sharp pain in my heart. Is there a reason why Kai acts the way he does because of what he has gone through?
“The wounds in his heart? Did Kai, go through something tragic in his past? I’ve never seen someone so young take so many types of prescriptions...is Kai, okay?”
I asked in a worried-like expression, I know I said I wanted to forget about Kai. But these stupid feelings of mine are way too stubborn to ignore. Looking over at Jin, he didn’t change his expression of dejection.
“I think...I spoke too much. It’s not my place to say anything. But I think...when Kai is ready, he’ll finally open up one day.” He responded to me as he avoided eye contact.
I guess Jin wants to respect Kia’s private life. I should respect that too, but I do hope...that Kai will be able to let down his guard one day with me. Because then I’ll know, I’m someone special to him. Watching Jin make his way to the kitchen, I finally took notice of my surroundings and admired how beautiful his home was. This lifestyle of his is completely different from mine. He lives so high up, as to where I live so...below him.
“Here, you should drink some water before going back to sleep. I think the last thing you need is a hangover in the morning.”
He said in a playful smile, handing me a water bottle I nodded my head and tried my best in smiling as well.
“Thank you...umm, where should I sleep at?” I asked while taking a drink, though I almost choked on my water when I heard Jin respond.
“That’s a foolish question, you’ll be sleeping in my bed. I’ll take my sleep on the couch-”
“Huh!? No, I can’t do that. I’ll be fine sleeping on the couch. I can’t use your bed, that wouldn’t be right of me-”
“It’s no trouble, MelRose. Besides...my mother would kill me if she found out I let you sleep in the living room. Which reminds me, I should check up on her. The nurse did text me earlier that she was doing fine, but I should still see how she’s doing.”
He explained as he turned on a lamp next to the couch he’ll be sleeping on. It was actually quite big and looked soft to rest on, but my main concern was what Jin said.
“The nurse? Is your mother sick? Oh! I’m so sorry, I shouldn’t be asking you something like that. Forget I asked-”
“It’s okay, not many people know about my mother’s health. It mainly manager Sang, Kai, and Zack that are aware of it, but I trust you. Would you...like to meet her?”
He asked with a tender like smile before leading me to a separate room. I wanted to decline at first, but what he said truly touched me. I don’t know how I gained his trust, but I’m very happy that he’s okay with letting me see his dear mother.
But the smile on my face quickly evaporated once I followed Jin to his mother’s room. She was sleeping, but what made my chest sink in despair was seeing Jin’s mom hooked to so many machines. She had an oxygen mask on her face and an I.V attached to her arm as well. But despite all of that, it didn’t take away her beauty...
“She’s beautiful, you both share the same hair color,” I said to him in a low whisper, the last thing I want is to make Jin feel sad by my reaction.
I want to talk to him as if everything is okay, but I wonder...is Jin mentally okay with all of this. He already stressing being part of ExEx Idol, being a celebrity, and having to deal with his mother’s health. It must be a lot to handle...
“She is half German, and although I took after her traits in hair color. I, unfortunately, took my father’s appearance, though I don’t know what he looks like. My mother told me I resemble him so much. He ended up leaving my mother for another woman when I was only a newborn. But my mother stayed strong for the both of us, she did her best in taking care of me...”
“I had a feeling you were half Korean, that blond hair of yours does not look like it’s bleached,” I said to him in a light chuckle as I watched him walk up to his mother.
Taking her hand, he gave her a heartfelt smile before placing a kiss on her forehead. It’s hard to listen to what Jin said about his father leaving them. I would have never thought that he was raised by a single parent...
“Everyone thinks I bleach it, but this is just how I look. MelRose...the last thing I want is for you to treat me any differently. I would also appreciate it if you don’t mention my mother’s health to anyone-”
“Oh! Of course, I swear on my life I won’t tell a soul. You don’t have to worry about me treating you any different, you are still the same Jin in my eyes...” I said as I approached both of them.
“Mother, this is MelRose. MelRose, this is my mother Sofia Pak.”
He introduced us in a calming voice, bowing my head respectfully I looked at her and smiled before looking back at Jin.
“You don’t have to worry about waking her, usually the nurse gives her a dose of morphine to help her sleep and numb the pain that she goes through.” He said while tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear.“Pain?”
I questioned out in concern, Jin’s gaze then focused on me before looking over at his mother one last time before leaving the room. Following him from behind, he closed the door of the room and took a seat on the living room couch. He then hunched himself over where I saw his long soft like hair cover his face. I wasn’t sure what to do other than just stand there and watch him. He looks so exhausted and worn out when he’s like this. I wish I could help him...but what can I do?
“She goes through pain every day, but I know she tries to hide it from me. My mother has always been like that, hiding her pain, her stress, her tiredness. Because she never wants me to worry about her, even on the day when we found out she had...brain cancer...she didn’t cry, she didn’t even show any expression of being worried. All she did was smile...I begged her, I even got on my knees and pleaded for her to get chemotherapy. But she refused, and every day...I live in fear of losing the only family member I have left. I joined ExEx Idol not only to live my dream of being the best, but I did it because it was the only way I could think of making good money to take care of her...”
My voice cracked a bit as I called out his name. Walking towards him, I felt so heartbroken by what he was saying. He then ran his fingers through his hair until he leaned his head back against the couch, though he covered his eyes with his hand as he continued to speak.
“Am I selfish...for wanting my mother to live a little longer? I know that she doesn’t want to suffer anymore...but I’m just not ready to let her go yet. Because I’m afraid...of being alone-”
I could no longer bear to hear his broken words, they hurt...it’s painful and I don’t know how much more I can take. So I self-consciously wrapped my arms around Jin, bringing him to an embrace I felt his arms shaking as he held on to me tightly. This whole time, he’s been just like his mother. Hiding his sorrow, putting a fake smile on the world, and acting like everything is okay. But it’s a lie, he’s not living in happiness. He living a nightmare that he wishes to wake up from...
“Don’t ever think you’re selfish, it’s natural to want your mother to live. I could tell by your voice, how much you’re trying to hold everything in. Jin, remember what you told me. That whenever I felt alone, you would be there for me. So know that I will do the same if you ever feel like your suffocating in isolation. Know that I will always be there for you as well, so please... don’t hold back what you feel. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be sad...Jin.”
As I cried out to him, he only buried himself deeper into my chest. But I was able to hear his sniffles as the tears in his eyes were beginning to damp my shirt. The shakiness in his body only made me want to hold him more as we both embraced one another not wanting to let each other go.
And before I knew it, we both gripped each other’s sorrow until the tears in our eyes became heavy that we ended sleeping in each other’s arms. This warm embrace is what we both needed, to replace the heartbreak that we both couldn’t take. Kai, I wish I could be someone important to you. But I don’t think I ever will be, and it hurts... perhaps, the person who truly needs me, is Jin...