I’ve kept calling Rose and Jin the whole night, but no matter how many times I dialed their number, it would just go to voicemail. Even when I watched them leave in the cab earlier, I felt a heavy tug in my heart. The relationship they both have is more than just colleagues, Jin shows so much care for Rose and I think I know why. And I can’t bear it...
I grunted out in frustration as I continued to sit on the front porch.
“Kai? You’re still out here? Why don’t you come back inside already, I’m sure Jin is capable of taking Rose back home.”
Zack said to me in a tiresome sigh as I heard him walk down the steps towards where I was at.
“Is Lily sleeping?”
“Yeah, she’s in her room. Hey, did you two...talk yet?”
Zack asked with a hesitant tone as I stood back up...
“Yeah...we talked for a little.”
My mind then quickly replayed the conversation I had with her today when we were alone.
"Do you hate me?”
“What!? Of course not! Why would you ever ask that-"
“Because you haven’t reached out to me in these last few years since the accident... and when I came to see you today after the concert, your expression changed as if you saw a ghost when you looked at me. Even when I called you a few days ago, you sounded uncomfortable. I’m sure Zack told you that I was back in Korea, yet you still seemed so shocked that I showed up...so what am I supposed to think-”
“Lily...I could never hate you. I just...I didn’t know how to face you? After what happened, I still feel like absolute shit... and I still blame myself for it! I was fucking stupid back then! I should have never hugged you at the airport that day! If I would have known a reporter was there-”
“You didn’t know, none of us did...so please, stop blaming yourself. Kai, look at me... you’ve been avoiding me since the concert. I was hoping...that maybe, you and I could-”
“I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...”
I knew what Lily wanted to say to me, which is why I didn’t let her finish her words as I immediately apologized. It just didn’t feel right for me to express how we felt with one another, I don’t deserve happiness... Lily may have easily moved on with what happened to her. But I haven’t, besides...I don’t know what this pathetic heart of mine wants. Because even though Lily was holding me in her arms...my heart beats heavily with guilt.
But for who...is the reason for my heart reacting this way just solely out of guilt? Is it because I love Lily? Do I even love her? Just what the hell is going on with my fucking mind! With my emotions running through these chains of sorrow, all I could think of is the longing of holding her. To hear her tender voice...to feel her gentle hands and to have her tell me that everything will be okay...Lily, I’m sorry...but I’ve come to realize that there’s someone else who I’ve grown close to. And I don’t want to hurt her as I did with you...
“Huh? Did you say something?”
Zack asked while making his way back inside the house.
“It’s nothing...hey, I think...I’ma call it a night. It’s starting to get late and-”
“Just stay the night here-”
“No, I don’t think that would be a good idea. With your sister being back in town, I think it’s best if she and I stay away from each other.”
I said to him as I rubbed the back of my neck in an uncomfortable motion.
“So that’s what you wanna do? You still plan on pushing my sister away, even after she came back here to see you...this is complete bullshit right now!”
Zack responded in frustration as I watched him grip his hands into a tight fist.
“What the hell are you talking about? You know that it isn’t safe for Lily and me to be-”
“We’re not in the public eye you fucking idiot! Nothing is gonna happen if you stay the night! There’s no fucking paparazzi here! Kai, you and I may be like family. But my sister is my main priority, my parents and I almost lost her once. We saw the pain she went through after surgery, even when she had to go through therapy to have her walk again. It was hell...but she kept going...she stayed strong... because she wanted to show you that she was okay. Do you have any idea, how many times she would call me just to ask how you’re doing?! She has no idea that you’re taking antidepressants, I had to lie so many times, so she wouldn’t worry about you. But it doesn’t seem to matter if I lie to her or not, because she still ends up worrying about you either way. Kai, my sister truly loves you...and I’m not saying that you need to take responsibility. But if you no longer hold any feelings for her as you did back then...then tell her-”
“Don’t you fucking throw that shit at me! I know damn well what I did to her! Why do you think I’m staying away! Do you really believe that everything could go back to how it once was back then!? They can’t! I...I loved Lily...but, my mind...and this fucking heart of mine is confused! It’s fucking me up! And I don’t know what to do! Tell me! Tell me how I’m supposed to forget about everything!? How do I move on from what happened?! Even now... every night when I sleep, I still see the stains of my mother’s blood in my hands! And you would think after I wake up from that nightmare, I could have a moment of peace...but I can’t! Because whenever I would see Lily in any type of magazine or poster...I just get reminded of that day. Having a psycho fan of mine hitting Lily with a car!”
I shouted my words at him with pure anger and guilt as I kept gripping the shirt I wore so! I felt the sharp pain of my chest swelling and I felt so horrid!
I’m sure Zack felt just as pained as I because he didn’t speak any further. All he did was enter his house without looking back at me. Very soon the once clear night sky above me grew clouded as the roaring sounds of thunder collided and it began to rain. With every water droplet falling upon me, it felt like cold needles sinking through my skin. So I let out a depressing sigh as I tilted my head back, I decided to leave and head back to the dorms...
It was practically impossible for me to sleep though, as I kept tossing and turning within the sheets. The anxiety of not knowing if Rose was okay or not was suffocating, I trust Jin...but I’m not sure if I can trust his attentions towards Rose. Within the hours that passed, I managed to get a few hours of sleep before being awakened by my alarm. Taking a quick shower, I skipped breakfast and only took my pills before rushing myself out of the room and headed for the elevator. I’m sure I could be overthinking things, I’ll just drop by Jin’s dorm and ask if he took Rose back to her apartment safely. Though the moment the elevator doors opened, a staff member was staring at me in complete shock!
“Oh! Kai, you’re here? I thought you would spend this week at your home like Zack and Jin? I just came back from Jin’s dorm to drop off his V.I.P fan mail. Which by the way here’s your box, and I’ma drop off the last box at Zack’s-”
“Wait...Jin, he’s not in his dorm?”
I immediately asked him as I ignored what he was trying to say.
“Huh? Oh, no. He didn’t come back last night at all- wait! Where are you going!?”
I’m sure my expression was more surprised than his! Dashing away from the elevator, ignoring the staff member’s voice, I sprinted myself down the stairs until I was out of the building! The many emotions that ran through my mind were unspeakable! I was confused, angry, hurt, but I mostly felt... betrayed in some kind of way.
The immense agony that I felt blocked out every voice from reaching me, staff members, and security that tried to speak to me was non-existent. Because the one thing that was on my mind was to get to Jin’s home as soon as possible! I know for a fact that Jin won’t be with Rose at her apartments or they both risk being seen. So I had hurried towards the parking lot from the back of the building and quickly entered my car! Though the second I started the engine my phone went off, pulling it out of my pocket I looked at the caller ID and saw that it was Lily who was calling!
I said to myself in a stressful sigh as I immediately answered it. Though I began to drive and head towards Jin’s apartments.
“Lily, I’m sorry but I can’t speak right now, I’m driving.”
“Oh, I’m sorry... should I call you at a later time-”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea-”
“Kai...I thought after last night you would put your wall down with me. Where... are you going right now?”
Lily asked sounding very stern and annoyed by how I was rushing her off the phone.
“Look, last night...we talked. But I still feel the way that I do, and I don’t know if that will ever change. Listen, I’m hanging up. I have somewhere to be-”
“Why are you like this?! Why make things more complicated!? Just get over what happened to me already! I’m fine, do you understand!? I can still walk and it hasn’t affected my acting career in any way! Kai...tell me, have your feelings for me... shifted?”
“What!? No, I...it’s not like that, now isn’t the time to have this kind of conversation-”
“Why?! Why is it only when you wanna talk!? You know what, fine. I’ll hang up...but before I do...answer me this, Kai...is there someone else...that you care for?”
I didn’t expect her to ask such a sudden question, I was actually taken off guard that I was unsure of how to answer. Even as I pulled up to Jin’s apartment, I exited the car and stood for almost a minute...
“Lily...”Calling out her name, I grabbed Rose’s necklace that was around my neck and tilted my head back in frustration. What am I doing?! Back then I would have denied caring for anyone else other than her. So why am I having a difficult time right now in saying it! I need to know...what is Rose to me. Why do I feel the need to know if she’s okay, even on the night of the concert yesterday...I ended up kissing her again.
“So there is...”
She voiced out in sorrow before hanging up. Putting my phone down, I ruffled my hair in anger as I kicked the tire of my car!
I shouted in absolute rage, the echoing of my voice could then be heard throughout the parking lot as I tried to pull myself together. Taking a minute to calm myself down, I headed towards Jin’s room number. I was already preparing myself for what I might walk into, I was already upset but I didn’t want to lash it out at anyone. But when I think of Rose being close to Jin, it just makes me sick to my stomach! I keep telling myself that I don’t have the right to feel this way...but it’s not like one can control how they feel.
As I finally reached his room number I quickly knocked on the door and was growing more anxious as I waited. However, my high tension drifted away once I saw Jin’s mother who had opened the door. I almost forgot that she was living here, so I tried my best to show my respect to his mom when she invited me inside to eat breakfast. I wish I could say I was surprised when I saw Rose, but I’m sure she and I held the same look towards each other. The expression of ’why are you here?′
After we were done eating, I didn’t really speak to Jin. If anything, I tried to avoid talking to him, because I knew I would only provoke him if I spoke. So once I offered Rose a ride back home, it was clear as day that she didn’t want to be anywhere near me. I should’ve known that she would react this way, after seeing me with Lily. I’m certain that she wants to keep her distance, but that isn’t what I want.
Of course, I’m upset, especially after what Jin’s mom said about Rose dating her son. It’s obvious that they aren’t, but it still pisses me off that Rose is acting this childish. She doesn’t want to talk to me, even as I’m driving us back. She refused to look my way, however, when she brought up Lily. I just couldn’t handle anymore of the bullshit! I can’t deal with everyone’s emotions right now! I could barely handle my own...so without thinking, I ended up lashing my frustrations at her.
She cried out in pain as I watched her grip her phone tightly.
I felt like absolute shit after I heard her say that, but she was right. After everything I’ve done...after what I’ve been through. How can I not come out horrible? If Rose already thinks of me as a terrible person, I could only imagine what she would think of me if she knew the full truth of what I’ve been through...
I responded coldly as I continued to drive...
The car ride was silent, and the tension between us felt so visible that it became almost uncomfortable to breathe. I honestly thought this would be the last time I could be this close to her, but I can’t keep doing these conflicts with her. Maybe... it’s best if I just stay away-
“Huh?! What’s going on?” She suddenly spoke out in confusion.
As I pulled up in front of Rose’s apartment, I followed her gaze and saw that she was staring at a group of girls holding signs in front of the companies apartment. I was actually confused at first as to why my fans were out here instead of being at the main company building, but as I focused my eyes sights on the posters more closely. I understood very clearly what this was about...
“Rose...you can’t go home right now,” I said to her as I prepared to drive off. Though she was quick in holding my wrist and stopped me from turning the wheel.
“What? Why can’t I go home? What are all those girls doing outside-”
“It happens rarely, but sometimes...we have toxic fans of ExEx Idol that go on these foolish strikes of wanting the company to band all females from working with the group. Regardless of the staff members being married, they just don’t like the idea of any girl being close to us. A majority of these girls that do these types of protests, are very young and still have the mindset of a child. But you shouldn’t underestimate them, they may seem like children. But they have ways of making the female staff quit, whether it’s by threats or harassments.”
As I finished explaining to her, I looked over and saw that she was staring at the group of girls that could be heard yelling only a few feet away from us.
“I can’t believe this...are you being serious? Are these girls really that obsessed with you and the group-”
“It’s not just my group, there are many other K-pop groups that go through the same thing...this is why I didn’t want you to work in this type of environment. It’s not safe if any of these “fans” of mine find out who you are. I worry about what might happen-”
“I don’t need you to worry about me, I decided to work here so I could follow my dream. I enjoy what I do, I like doing makeup... and when I see how happy Jin is with my work, it makes me feel special... being able to do something on my own and accomplishing it...”
Hearing how she truly felt made me feel important, but at the same time...it pained me. Because I could not only see it in her eyes, but I could also hear it in her voice that she’s grown close to Jin in these last few weeks. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and just tell my old self to pick Rose from the start. Because maybe then, she and I wouldn’t have such a gap between us. I don’t want to make things harder on her, but I need to know. So I slowly shifted my body towards her direction, with her hand still holding on to my wrist. I gently grabbed it and watched as her eyes instantly looked back at mine.
“Rose, what is Jin...to you?”
She seemed taken off guard by my sudden blunt question. Her expression then changed into someone who looked like they were deep in thought. But before she could even speak, we were both interrupted by the abrupt yelling of the girls shouting louder. At first, I thought the girls were walking towards my car, so I grew a bit worried if they saw me and Rose. but when I followed their sights at who they were looking at. I looked at the rearview mirror and saw that they were walking towards a security guard coming near them. I haven’t driven my car in a while, so I almost forgot that I had all the windows-
“Rose! What are you doing!?”
I asked feeling shocked as I felt my rapid heartbeat the moment I felt her arms pulling me into her breasts! She’s practically embracing me, I would feel more flustered if it wasn’t for the fact that I could smell Jin’s cologne on her clothes...
“Oh my god, I’m so stupid! I was so angry at you that I ignored your safety, do you think they saw you?! I hope not, damn it! What are we gonna do if they did-”
“Don’t worry...the glass, it’s tinted,” I explained to her in an awkward motion as I tried to pull myself away from her.
But when I tried to tug my body back, she refused to let me go! The shaking of her hands could be felt as she gripped me closely against her. It almost felt unreal, the warmth of her body and the softens of her hands. I almost wish this feeling could last a lot longer-
“Kai...I’m sorry, but I want things to stop... whatever we’ve been doing in these last weeks. I want it to end...I can’t keep doing this with you, I feel so confused, so lost... and I hate it. I know you don’t want me talking about her...but, Lily...she’s a beautiful girl, unlike me, I have a very stubborn attitude and a very plain atmosphere. I don’t stand out at all when I next to someone as beautiful as her. She’s kind and very generous, and I could tell that you both care for each other very deeply. And you two...look really good together-”
I didn’t wanna hear her speak so low of herself anymore, so I quickly ended this pity embrace she had given me and pulled myself away. Only to then grab the back of her head and move her close to me, her whole body stiffened when I brought our faces a few inches from one another. The distance between our lips was only a few centimeters apart and the light of her breathing pressed lightly against my jawline.
“You’re an idiot...”
I whispered before pressing my forehead against hers...
“Why can’t you just leave me alone? You’re a bigger idiot than me...and it hurts...”
She cried out in despair as I watched her place her hand against her heart.
Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath in before I thought of what to say. I think all this time I’ve been avoiding the truth of what my own heart was after. Because I fear what might happen if I act upon it, will that make me selfish? No, I need to start being honest with myself...and to Rose.
“I’m sorry that I’ve been causing you pain. It was never my intention...there’s a place I wanna show you. Will you let me take you there?”
I asked her as I re-opened my eyes. She then took a long pause before giving me a weak nod.
If I want things to change, I can’t be afraid of letting her in. Being vulnerable is a frightening thing to do, but I don’t wish to live in fear for the rest of my life. I don’t want to live a life of regret like my father...