“I don’t understand why you won’t just send me a free poster or something, it shouldn’t be that hard to get one. Just ask your job if they can give you an ExEx Idol poster and-”
“Sam, now isn’t the time to be talking about that. I’m running late-”
“Late for what? I thought you always have Sundays off, wait! Are you going on a date-”
“It’s not like that!”
I shouted at my sister over the phone, I wasn’t expecting her to call me so suddenly this morning. Though I should see it as a blessing since I forgot to set my alarm last night! Luckily I took a shower before bed, but I’m still having to rush myself in getting ready to meet Jin.
“Ooh! By the sound of your voice it’s obviously a date, okay, tell me who it is! Is he tall? How old is he? Does he work in the same company as you? What does he look like-”
“Oh my god, listen to yourself. You sound creepy asking that many questions. As I said before it’s not a date, it’s....just me and this other person grabbing lunch and just hanging out-”
“Oh sis...your virgin innocence is so cute sometimes. You know what, call it whatever you want. But know that a guy would never ask a girl out anywhere if they weren’t interested...”
My sister explained with excitement, though her voice seemed to die down a bit once I heard her sigh. Putting on my shoes, I double-checked if I had everything including my face mask before heading out the door.
“Sam? Are you okay?” I asked while making my way down the apartment.
“It’s nothing...I just feel like, everything is flowing so we’ll for you. I mean, you’re living the dream that most girls would want. Working in the same company as ExEx Idol, living in Korea...and now, you’re going on a date-”
“It’s not a date-”
“Whatever, the point is...I feel like I’m stuck and not moving like you are. I’m not sure if that’s making any sense-”
“No, I know exactly what you’re trying to say because I felt that way too. Sam, you have one more year of high school left. After you graduate, you can do whatever you want that will make you happy, don’t ever feel like you’re being left behind- oh! Sorry, Sam, I got another call from the person I meeting with! Hey, uhh... I’ll call you later when I have time. Tell Mom and Dad I love them okay, bye.”
With my phone vibrating next to my ear, I knew that it was probably Jin who was contacting me. I didn’t mean to hang up on Sam so quickly, but I can’t keep Jin waiting any more than I have already! So once I reached the sidewalk, I waved down a cab while answering Jin’s call.
“Jin! Hey, I’m so sorry, I’m on my way to the meeting spot right now. I accidentally slept in and-”
“MelRose, it’s okay. I’m just glad you’re fine. I thought that something must have happened... the worse case was that I thought I’ve been stood up.”
He said in a playful laugh as I instantly smirked at his comment. Giving the cab driver the directions of where I needed to go, he began to drive us off as I finally rested myself back on the chair.
“You know I would never do that to you...I should be getting there in about 15 minutes.” I said to him as I stared at the time on my watch.
“Alright, I’ll be waiting for you then. See you soon...” I heard him voice out at me before we both got off the phone.
It’s like this weekend came by so quickly, it feels like it was only yesterday when Jin had asked me out. Though I’m starting to feel nervous, this will be my first time going on a date with a guy. And there was no way in hell I was going to tell Sam who I was going out with. I would never hear the end of it with her, but most importantly...I have to be very careful today. Of course, I’m feeling anxious, but I’m surprised that Jin seems completely okay with going out to the public eye right now. Hopefully, he keeps his appearance well hidden so no one could recognize him...
I’m beginning to think if this is a good idea or not, what if something happens and we get caught? I would be ruining Jin’s career, ugh! I hate this, here I am overthinking things again. I should be happy to go out finally, I’ve been wanting to sightsee for a while now. I’m very grateful that Jin had offered to take me out, but why me? I would think that there would be many beautiful women for him to choose from. Nevertheless, I should be thankful that Jin is taking his time out of his busy schedule to spend time with me. Looking down at my phone, I saw that Sam had texted me...
"Hope you have a cute date today, let me know how it goes later.”
Reading her text, I couldn’t help but giggle at her words. Though I was unable to respond once I felt the car come to an instant halt. I was finally where I needed to be! So I quickly paid the cab driver before hurrying myself off the cab, putting my face mask on. I was practically running to the train station and started to look for the platform number of where Jin said he would meet me!
“He said train bullet number 5...” I said to myself feeling breathless as I kept searching for it.
“Bullet train 5 is over there...” A man suddenly pointed out to me.
“Oh! Thank you! I- Jin!?”
Shouting out his name in surprise once I realized it was him who had spoken to me, he quickly placed his index finger against his mouth to keep my voice down. I was paying little attention to his voice earlier since I was so focused on finding the train that I mistook him for some random guy almost. Though I’m glad he decided to wear a hat to cover his blonde hair. His face mask covered most of his lower face, minus his eyes so it shouldn’t be that easy to recognize him...
“Sorry, you just shocked me. I thought you would be waiting by the train-”
“Yeah, I was. But that was after our train left, so I had to exchange our tickets for the next one coming, luckily there was still a private room available-”
“Oh no, I’m so sorry. I had no idea I made you wait that long. At least let me pay for my half of the ticket.”
I bowed to him apologetically as I reached for my wallet. Though Jin instantly stopped me as he grabbed my hand. The smile on his eyes could be shown as he began to lead me towards the bullet train. I knew that Jin wanted to do minimum talking to not get recognized, so all I could do was follow his lead as we enter the train. We then found our private room that was closed off from the rest of the public seats.
“Don’t worry so much about the ticket, it was my idea to take you out today. So let me take care of everything, you know...it’s been a while since I last been on a train, so it feels nice getting out of the city for a while.” He said to me as we both sat across from one other.
“I can say the same thing, I don’t remember the last time I’ve been on a train. But I’m curious, what made you want to go out today?” I asked him as we both began to take our masks off.
“Well, there are two main reasons why. Number one is that there’s a firework festival at a park right outside the city. It happens every year, there are usually food stalls and rides to get on. But my favorite part about the festival is seeing the fireworks being lit at night.” He explained with such a happy grin on his face as he looked out the window.
It’s strange when I see him in this type of atmosphere, not too long ago I watched him and Kai argued. I don’t know why, but I wonder what Jin meant by when he said I was special to him. After the fight he had with Kai, they both said some sensitive things towards each other before he left. I wish I could ask him, but I’m certain that would make things awkward...
“A festival? That sounds exciting! I don’t think I’ve ever gone to one.”
I responded to him as I too looked out the window, we both then finally felt the train beginning to take off.
“Is that so? Then I’m glad... because the other reason why I wanted to go out today. Was so I could spend more time with you.”
His words caught my attention, that I shifted my gaze back at him, only to see that he was no longer looking out the window, but at me. The seriousness in his eyes made me nervous as all I could do was avoid his stare and look down at my feet. I wasn’t expecting him to say something like that, I need to distract myself. Something that would lift away from my shyness, oh! I know...
“I...I wish your mom could come with us as well...” I muttered out my words as I felt my face growing red.
He replied in a deep sigh as I noticed him looking back out the window. Was it not a good idea to bring his mother up? Has her health possibly gotten worse?!
“How is she doing by the way?” I asked in a worried tone.
“She’s fine, she actually...misses you and wants you to visit again.” He explained in a bittersweet smile, my shoulders then dropped in relief knowing that she was okay.
“Oh, well that’s good to hear. I would love to come to see her again. Maybe on our next day off, I could drop by, I’ll make sure to bring flowers this time.” I said with a cheerful grin as I rested my head back.
“She would love that, very much. I hope you don’t mind, but it might be a while until we reach the festival.”
“That’s okay, besides, the view of the city is very nice,” I responded as I watched Jin lean his head against the glass. He looked so deep in thought, I wonder what’s on his mind...
“Jin, it was very kind of you to ask me out today. But...have you been doing okay? Correct me if I’m wrong, but lately this past week...you haven’t really been like yourself.”
“Really? That’s funny... because I was about to say the same thing about you. MelRose, you’ve been very distant from me and almost everyone else. I was beginning to think that maybe you no longer wanted to work here-”
“Huh?! No, of course not! I love working with everyone, the staff have been so kind to me and you’ve been more than helpful. I...I guess, I don’t know...maybe I’m just changing...” I said to him as I closed my eyes.
“I see, is that a good thing or a bad thing?” He asked in a curious matter.
“I don’t know... I’m still trying to figure it out.”
And with that, Jin didn’t pry any further. For the rest of the train ride, we kept our true sorrows hidden as we talked about the festival. Just for today, I would like to enjoy my life without any sadness. I don’t wanna think about anything, I don’t wanna think about Kai. All I want is to smile on my own. So at that very moment when the train came to a stop, I prepared myself to enjoy this day with Jin.
“Here, hold my hand. It gets very crowded at these festivals.” He said as he reached out his hand.
So without any hesitation, I grabbed on to him as he led us out of the train. I was honestly confused as to why I had to hold his hand so soon since we weren’t even at the park yet. But in that very instant when we both got off the train, I was amazed to see the number of people at the station! Are all these people here for the festival as well?! Looking around, I saw many girls dressed so beautifully. It almost makes me wish I could go back and change into something nicer. I was in such a rush that I just threw on whatever I could find...
“Are you ready?” Jin asked as he leaned himself closer to me.
“Yeah, uh, are you sure this is a good idea though? I mean, what if someone notices you-”
“Don’t worry so much, everyone here is more interested in seeing the fireworks tonight. Besides, as long as I have you by my side. I know everything will be okay...” He said so boldly as he led the way.
The beating of my heart skipped a bit as I felt how flushed my cheeks were getting. Seriously, how can Jin say things so directly without any hesitation? But never the less, I kept my face mask on the whole time as I tightened my hold on him. The warm crimson sun was slowly starting to set and the time I had with Jin on the train earlier felt timeless. It didn’t even feel like it was a 3-hour ride...
“MelRose, what would you like to do first?” He asked of me once we finally reached the main walkway of the festival.
“Me? Umm, I have no idea, this is my first time here. How about you decide, I’ll honestly be fine with anything.” I said to him as I looked around the many vendors and food stalls.
There was so much to do, that I personally didn’t even know where to start! I feel like the little kid inside me would just run around and see everything, but I’m sure Jin wouldn’t want to-
“How about, we make a stop at each place? We could even ride the ferris wheel later-”
“There’s a ferris wheel!? Where?!”
I quickly asked in excitement as I began to look around. It’s been far too long since I last got on one! I think I was 6 or 7? My thoughts were soon interrupted by Jin’s laughter.
“What’s so funny?”
“It’s nothing, it’s just that...you looked so cute for a second,” He said in a teasing smirk.
“What do you mean for a second? I’ll have you know that I’m always cute,” I responded in a playful sass.
“Yeah, your right. Okay... let’s go.” He responded as he gripped his hold on me.
The happiness in our voices distracted any negative emotion that we had tucked away in our hearts. I know that Jin is stress, the bag underneath his eyes is very visible. He could be lying about his mother’s health so we wouldn’t worry me, but I’m no better. Jin told me to rely on him whenever I needed him, but how could I when I see how tired he truly is. So only for today...I wanna have fun. I want Jin, to have fun...
“This would be a good look on you,” I said to him as I placed a pair of goofy shades in his eyes.
“In that case, should we get a matching pair?” He laughed while grabbing another set and placing it on my eyes as well.
Distracting each other was what we needed, it’s what kept us in the light. Even now, seeing the beautiful lights that lit each pathway as the night approaches, brought me a sense of comfort. The heavy crowds of the many people around us didn’t bother me, it felt nice and warm to my soul. This feeling of enjoining life is what I’ve been missing, I’ve been so focused on others that I’ve been neglecting my own self.
“What is it? Did you want another candy apple?” He said as he was about to hand me the one he was about to eat.
“No, I just...thank you. For bringing me here, I really needed it.”
I giggled to him as I bowed in a joyful smile. Even though he can’t see my face, I at least wanna show him my appreciation. But as I raised my head back, I watched as Jin stared at me for a moment before looking up at the sky.
“Let go ride the ferris wheel before the fireworks start.” He voiced out in a calming gesture before walking towards the rides that were only a few feet away from us.
“Following behind him, it was impossible to lose sight of where he was with how tall he stood out. This whole time since we’ve been here, everyone’s eyes have been solely on him. Yet no one has been able to notice who he was, I just wish he didn’t have to wear a disguise everywhere he goes...
“Watch your step.” Said the conductor who was working the ride.
With Jin offering his hand again, I went along and grabbed it. The wobbling of the ride was almost unstable that I couldn’t help but latch on to Jin’s arm so I wouldn’t fall. I know that these rides are meant for us to sit on, but with how tall Jin is. I don’t think he would be comfortable sitting in such a small space. Besides, you can’t really see the scenery if you’re sitting down. So I prefer standing...
“Hey, I hope you don’t mind. But can we take a picture? Since it’s just the two of us alone finally, I think it would be-”
“Oh yeah! We should take one once we’re at the top! Here, let me take a picture with my phone also!”
I said to him as I took my face mask off, Jin did the same as he fixed his disheveled hair. I’m sure wearing a hat all day must be uncomfortable for him.
“Here, how about we take a picture with my phone instead. I’ll send it to you afterward.”
He explained as he looked at my cracked phone I pulled out. I almost forgot that my camera was no longer working, I need to get a new phone soon...
“Yeah, I think that’s a good idea.”
I responded in an awkward laugh as I placed my phone back in my pocket. Though Jin just smiled as he scooted himself close to me. And once we reached the very top, he raised the camera in front of us. At first, I thought nothing of it as I smiled normally. However, in that very instant when Jin took the photo. I felt a light warm kiss on my rosy cheek! Surprised by his actions, I immediately jolted back only to stumble when I felt the ride come to an instant halt! However, Jin was quick in grabbing my waist and pulling me into an embrace so I wouldn’t fall!Gripping the shirt against his chest, I didn’t know where to look other than to tense my shoulders together. The tingling sensation of where Jin kissed me still lingers as I felt my heart beating rapidly. His long slender fingers soon rested beanthe my chin as he raised my head to look directly at me. Biting my lower lip, I grew lost within his eyes. The gap between us was beginning to close once we felt the ferris wheel moving once again! His strong cologne was enchanting and his tall demeanor made me feel safe, his strong hands have always been comforting to me. Yet despite how close we are, my heart still beats heavily for someone else...
The way he calls out my name was making my chest ache as he brought his lips closer to mine. Quickly shutting my eyes tight, I didn’t know what else to do! I can’t just push him away, it’s not like I could get very far with how small this ride was. But most of all...I haven’t really figured out what Jin is to me. He’s not just some co-worker, nor is he an Idol in my eyes. He’s become special to me as well, but...
“You need to put this back on.” He suddenly said to me as he helped me placed my face mask back on.
Opening my eyes again, I saw that he had already placed his own mask on as well! Wait! Was I the only one expecting a kiss!? What the hell is wrong with me! Come on Mel, don’t let your mind get dirty! Jin would never kiss me on the lips without my consent, he’s not like Kai...
“Hey, are you okay?” He asked in concern.
“I’m fine...I, just didn’t know the ride would make me so unbalanced.”
I explained to him as we both left the ride shortly afterward. The walk back to the main walkway was filled with a lot of people, and from what Jin told me earlier. This is the most popular place to see the fireworks more clearly, But I didn’t think it would be a sea of people gathering around here!
“Wait, Jin can you walk a little slow. There’s a lot of people and it’s hard to get past through everyone- ouch!” I suddenly yelled out in pain once I felt someone step on my foot!
“Huh? MelRose?! Are you okay? Hey, wait! I’m sorry, but can you please let me thorough- I’m sorry, I’m just trying to pass by-” I could hear Jin’s voice in the distance as he tried to get past people to reach me!
I yelled out his name, the moment I was beginning to lose sight of him. Regardless of how tall he is. It doesn’t make a difference that a short person like me can easily get lost in this massive crowd of people!
“Melrose, grab my hand!” He called out to me as he extended his hand in desperation!
Trying so hard to reach it, I lost the very sight of him the moment the lights around us went dark! It was completely pitch black and I was unable to see anything. However, within that instant of the lights going off, the sky was immediately lit up by the brightness of fireworks hovering above us!
Looking up at the sky, I was lost for a second, consumed by the different color lights painting the night sky. That was until I felt someone grab my hand! At first, I thought for a second it could be Jin, however, when I looked over at the person. They kept their head down and I was unable to make out who it was!? All they did was drag me away from the crowd! His grip was firm and I couldn’t shake him off as he kept leading me to a dark pathway that was far away from everyone!
“Hey! what the hell are you doing?! Let me go right now! I swear I’ll fucking punch you in the face if you don’t-”
“If I don’t what? Let you go back on your little date with Jin?”
That voice! My body ultimately gave up fighting the second I heard him speak. What the hell, why is he here!? Once I finally felt him release me, he refused to turn himself around. But I already know all too well who it was...
“Kai, what are you doing here!?”