“Well this is a surprise, I thought that Kai would have driven you back,” Zack said while tilting his head back as he continued to sit on the bench.“He’s...going to be busy today. So I told him that I’ll head back on my own...” I explained as I began to put my face mask on.
This couldn’t be any more awkward, Zack already sounds exhausted by his voice. I’m starting to second guess taking the bus now, but I’m a little confused as to why he’s waiting here. It can’t be because he’s thinking of taking the bus, is he? No, that would be ridiculous and-
“Just how much longer do I have to wait for this stupid bus-”
“Wait! So you’re really going to take the bus?! Why wouldn’t you just call a cab instead? It’s too dangerous for you to take public transportation-”
“I always take the bus, it’s more convenient for me. And since I don’t have a license yet, I can’t really drive a car. Besides, taking a cab has always been a pain in the ass for me since the taxis charge way too much.” He said in a breathless sigh, I was actually shocked to hear him say that he would much rather take the bus than pay the expenses of a cab. I mean... isn’t he rich?
“What about you? Why aren’t you taking a cab?” He asked me as we both heard the engine of a vehicle approaching.
“I would like to spend less money if I can, so If there’s a bus available near me. Then I would much rather take that instead...” I responded as we both looked down the street to see the bus coming towards us.
“Spend less money? You and the rest of the staff should be making a good income so why are you being so careful- you know what, nevermind. It’s none of my business what you do with your payments...” He said as he avoided making eye contact with me.
With the bus coming to a stop, we both entered the vehicle. And to my surprise, there weren’t many people inside. If anything, there were more elderly on the bus than younger folk. Then again, a lot of the younger generation drive their own cars now. Quickly entering, I watched as Zack took a seat near the back. Following his direction, I ended up taking the seat in front of him. I’m not entirely sure where this bus will stop at, but if Zack is going back to the dorm. Then I’m certain that the bus will stop near the company...
I heard Zack mumble his words out. Too nervous to turn around, I face forward and felt the bus starting to move.
“What are you talking about-”
“You and Kai...just how long has this relationship been going for? I know it wasn’t when you both met each other in America, so tell me...why did it have to be him?” He asked again, only this time his voice sounded very stern.
“You don’t need to apologize, it’s not like you knew you would like him. I’m just surprised that Kai would...start something with you. He’s always been someone who keeps to himself, not only that but...after what happened to my sister. He only ended up distrusting a lot more people...I honestly thought that Lily would be the one to help Kai in the end...but I guess life works in mysterious ways...”
He explained as I stared out the window, the many gray clouds that were beginning to cover the skies showed that it would begin to rain soon...
“Zack, you say I have nothing to be sorry for. But I do... because I’ve been lying to you. Kai already told me that he explained to you that I’m not really married. I never wanted to deceive anyone, especially manager Sang. Because I know that once he finds out the truth, he’ll most definitely fire me. I almost afraid that he might even sue me for this...but it was the only choice I had to make ends meet. You see, my parents don’t really have good-paying jobs. Their behind on their mortgage and I only ended up burying them deeper with my college payments. So whenever I get paid, I send a majority of my check to my family. I only keep enough to feed myself and buy the essentials of what I need...you’re probably wondering why I’m telling you all this. It’s because I have my reasons for working here...it wasn’t just to pursue my career of doing makeup. But to help my family as well... and that was it. That was all I planned on doing with my life...just working. Kai...he was the last person who I thought would interfere in my life. And you’re right...I didn’t plan on liking him, but because I did...I ended up hurting Lily and Kai’s relationship-”
“Whatever happened between Kai and my sister wasn’t your fault. Things just became complicated...I know...it’s not Kai’s fault for liking you. But I wanted him to understand that what he does has consequences. You know...I always looked up to Kai and Jin as my older brother’s. Though when I found out about Kai liking my sister, I just began to change... because I never wanted things to end up being awkward between us. Like they are now...but deep down. I’m kinda glad my sister and Kai ended things... because he was right. If he would have stayed with her...it would have been out of pity.” He said in such sadness that even I felt the painful sorrow in his words.
However, I couldn’t help but be confused by what he said in the end. Not only that, but this was the first time Zack and I are having such a deep conversation with each other. He’s always been so cheerful and full of smiles whenever he’s around me and the rest of the staff. But with the way he sounds, I wonder what type of expression he has at the moment. If I remember correctly, I think the last time we talked together alone was at the cafe. Which reminds me!
“Zack... do you remember back in the cafe when you asked if I could love someone who almost killed me? What did you mean by that? And what do you mean if Kai would have stayed with Lily it would have been out of pity?”
I asked him while turning myself around, with a face mask covering most of his lower face. The surprise in his eyes was visible enough for me to see that he was not expecting me to bring up our old conversation again. But his demeanor quickly changed in confusion as he leaned his face close to mine.
“Melrose...just how much did Kai tell you about his past with Lily?”
“Huh? Uhh...I mean...he told me about all four of you meeting a few years back. And that within time Kai started to hold feelings for your sister. Oh! I also remember speaking with Lily at the cafe a few weeks back as well. She brought up about her accident when she was in a car crash a long time ago... but other than that...” As I stopped myself from speaking, I started to really think of how much I’m actually left in the dark.
I don’t wanna pry into Kai’s past, but now I feel...like I’m missing something important. Kai specifically told me that he wouldn’t go into detail about what happened to him and Lily in the past. At first...I thought I would be okay with it. But now it’s beginning to hammer away at my heart a bit...
“That fucking idiot...”
Zack voiced out in annoyance before leaning back in his chair. Rubbing his temple in a frustrated motion, I was starting to feel anxious. Is there something that I’m missing here?
“Please tell me...that Kai had at least told you about his mother...” He asked in a tiresome voice before focusing his eyes back towards me.
“Yeah...he...told me everything,” I said to him as I looked away and finally saw the drops of rain beginning to fall from the sky.
“I see...well at least he was able to tell you that much. Though I wonder if he’s afraid of telling you the full truth of his recent past... MelRose, tell me...what did you see in Kai? What made you want to be with him? I could already tell the reasoning for him liking someone like you. You’re nice, dedicated, and the loyalty and passion you have for wanting to take care of your family. Just shows how much different you are compared to the rest of the female staff...to me. I feel like you put others first before yourself... and although that might be seen as a good trait. It could also be harmful... because then you’ll be neglecting yourself.”
I took what he said in mind, and I smiled a bit at his honesty. But he was right, I tend to have this habit of wanting those around me to smile. But always end up forgetting to make myself smile... though I thought very deeply about what Kai is possibly hiding from me. With how close we were last night, I thought that I was able to break down all his walls...but I guess I was wrong...
“What do I see in Kai? I wish the answer could be easy to say like the question. Because saying I just like him...sounds so simple. And from what Kai told me...love isn’t simple. He’s right, love to me...means to be able to smile on your best days with that person. But also to cry on your lowest days... it’s having patience...but also be able to express how you feel. To get angry and be able to make up without any regrets...I never knew how fragile my heart can become meeting Kai. Because he makes me feel everything about what I said...but most of all. He makes me feel like the most important person in his life...but love isn’t perfect. And it’s not supposed to be...”
After I was done explaining, I was unaware of the tears running down my face. Because I felt hurt, sad...that Kai isn’t able to fully open up to me. But I’m also afraid...scared that if I become too needy that he’ll end up pushing me away. And that’s not what I want, I want Kai to be able to tell me on his own when he’s ready. But it’s becoming too overwhelming for me...
“It sounds like...you and Kai have grown deeper in this relationship than I thought. But you both still yet to be honest with one another...”
He said as I felt something soft brushing away my tears, following the touch I saw that Zack had taken a seat next to me. His long cold fingers gently wiped away my tears as I sniffled a bit.
I almost felt embarrassed crying in front of him, I feel like a little sister sobbing and venting out my emotions to an older brother. Is Zack really younger than me? Because I can’t see it...he acts so mature and speaks so wisely at times. But most importantly, he’s understanding...Lily is really lucky to have such an amazing brother- oh! That reminds me...
“Zack...I hope you don’t mind. But, do you think it will be okay...if I spoke with your sister today?” I asked him as I tried to wipe away the remaining tears I had left.
But catching Zack’s sudden hesitation of speaking, he obviously didn’t expect me to ask something like that. Though he was very composed and just looked straight forward while rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly...
“You just keep on surprising me...don’t you? Look, Lily isn’t home today. She and my parents went out of town, but they said they will be coming home a little late. I don’t know what you have to say to my sister...but if it has anything to do with Kai. Please, don’t say anything...” He pleaded before standing back up. An within seconds of him getting up, the bus came to a halt!
“This is our stop.” He voiced out before walking off.
Quickly following behind him, I saw that we were only a few blocks away from the company. Pulling out my phone I saw that I made it in the nick of time, I was also relieved that it stopped raining. Though I was beginning to worry for Zack’s well-being. There’s a lot of people walking out today so hopefully-
“Oh my god! Is that Zack from ExEx Idol!?”
“No way! Where?!
The shouting of a small group of girls came running towards Zack in excitement as they began to pull out their phones! This isn’t good! I need to get Zack out of here! Like what the hell!? Were not even a minute in walking and Zack is already getting noticed? But my fears of anxiety grew in an instant once Zack held on to my hand! What the hell is he doing?! Is he fucking crazy-
“I look like Zack!? No way! Hey, babe did you hear that, they said I look like that one singer. Isn’t that cool?!” He suddenly said to me sounding surprised as he jumped in excitement.
“Aww...so you’re not Zack? How lame...”
“Are you sure? You have the same haircut as him-”
“Oh! I only cut my hair because my girlfriend wanted me to. Isn’t that right?” He said to me as he swiftly wrapped his arm around my waist!
Growing stiff as a board, all I could do was nod awkwardly until the group of girls decided to leave in disappointment. Feeling my face grow red, I quickly hurried in putting separation between us as he went back to his serious personality.
“You really need to learn how to act at the moment when it comes to these types of situations. Also, why are you going red for? After seeing you dressed in just a shirt over at Kai’s place, I would think that shyness of yours would be non-existent. So why-”
“Okay! Stop talking about that, can we just start walking already. I don’t wanna risk getting caught with you out here, now come on, let’s go.”
I said to Zack as my nerves were already shaking. Pushing his back, he picked up the pace as we took the long route that would take us around the company.
We both needed to avoid the wild crowd of fans that were in front of the building. So luckily for us, Zack and I were able to enter the company without getting caught by staff. I felt like I could finally breathe as I placed my lanyard badge around my neck.
“Thank you...” I bowed to him feeling thankful as I readied myself to head to work.
He suddenly called out to me, stopping myself from taking another step. He grabbed my arm and I immediately turned around to look at him.
“After work...come by dorm.” He bluntly said as he avoided eye contact before releasing his grip on me.
I didn’t get a chance to say anything to him since he hurried himself off. Gently patting my cheeks, I tried to calm myself before starting my day. Of course, what Zack said to me was echoing in the back of my mind. But I had to focus on my work, I came here so I could improve my makeup skills and that’s what I intend to do...
“Okay, has everyone decided on what makeup brands you’ll be working with. Remember, ExEx Idol will be going on tour very soon. These days are going by quickly, so I need you all to be ready, you’ll be expected to be quick on your feet and have everything prepared for the boys. Mrs. Lee, I know it’s been difficult to practice on a mannequin since Jin has been away due to his cold. However, manager Sang told me that he’s recovering and should be coming back within the next few days.”
With Miss. Kim speaking to us staff members, I was able to get my act together and work with everyone here. Though when I heard her bring up Jin, my chest came to a knot. I want to know how he’s doing, but I can’t call him... I know I told myself that I would but, he needs to be with his mother right now. And I don’t wanna take away any of his time... though if I get the chance. I would love to personally say sorry to his mother for lying...but for now, I’m just going to have to wait until Jin decides to call me himself...
With the day coming to an end, I headed to the bathroom to wash away the make-up swatches on my hand. Looking at myself in the mirror, I paused for a minute before placing my hand against my cheek. I don’t know why, but there’s just something different about me...
“Just how much have I changed...”
Whispering those words out, I was interrupted by my phone going off!
As I went to answer it, I saw that it was my sister again who was calling. Letting out a dreadful sigh, I went ahead and answered before stepping out. With work being done, I saw how late it was becoming. Zack told me to head towards his dorm, but how am I suppose to get by with security-
“Mel! Why did you hang up on me yesterday-”
“Because I was trying to sleep-”
“Bullshit! I heard a guys voice and weird sounds in the background-”
“No, you’re just crazy and making things up. Now tell me why you’re calling this time, and I swear if this has anything to do with Kai I’m hanging up.”
I coldly said to her as I looked around at my surroundings. There doesn’t seem to be any guards patrolling right now, strange...
“Oh please, I’m not stupid Mel. I’ve watched porn before, I’ve had sex so I think I know when someone is moaning-”
“Okay, eww. I’m hanging up-”
“No! Wait, I have something to say!”
She quickly said, stopping myself from walking any further. I looked up at the night sky and was growing stress over Sam’s voice.
“So I heard in the news today that ExEx Idol will be going on tour soon, does that mean you’ll be going with them? You work in the same company as they do...so I’m just wondering-”
“Okay, you know what. I’ve just about had it. Sam, I constantly tell you not to bring up Kai and ExEx Idol...I’m done talking with you about it. In fact...I’ve been so stressed these past few weeks...and you don’t care to ask how I’ve been doing. All you care about is Kai-”
“You already know why I ask about him, so I don’t know why you’re acting like this. Mel, if anything is going on...you have to tell me-”
“I don’t have to tell you shit, you need to start respecting me and stop calling me every day. Do you think these phone calls are cheap?”
I began to raise my voice as I brought my hand to a tight fist of frustration. I really didn’t want to tell Sam anything of what my real job was, but at this point. I no longer cared to keep it a secret...this whole time I’ve been lying to her about being a makeup artist to models or even back up dancers. But at this point, I’m through with keeping anything hidden from her...
“Respect? Are you fucking kidding me right now!? Since you left I’ve gone back into doing all the cleaning and cooking here, I feel trapped and have no one to talk to when I’m home. Mom and Dad are working longer hours and I can’t go out anywhere...the only place I could escape is when I’m at school. But Dad has been on my ass to study and to pick a college, you say your stress...well I’m fucking stress too. Having to constantly cook, clean, study... why do you think I like hearing ExEx Idols music? I love hearing Kai’s voice...he makes me feel like everything will be okay. He makes me feel.. special...but most of all...he makes me feel loved and appreciated.”
I could hear her voice beginning to crack and I’m sure Sam was begging to cry. I do feel a little guilty but at the same time...I won’t let my sister guilt trip me in my life. I understand that’s she’s frustrated, but what can I do when I’m a million miles away from her? Not only that, but it was about time Sam started growing up. She’s literally doing chores and just doing homework, I honestly would much rather go through all of that than what I’ve already gone through with Kai and Jin...After seeing the lives they go through, I think they truly know what stress is...
“Sam...I’m sorry, but you have to suck it up. You’re not a kid anymore...you are old enough to understand that. And from here on out I’m going to be very busy because I...I will be going on tour with ExEx Idol. The truth is...I’m Jin’s makeup artist and I will be there to support Zack, Jin, and...Kai when they perform.”
Once I finally spoke, a long silence came after. At first, I thought that Sam had to sink it all in...but that wasn’t until I pulled back my phone to see that my phone had finally died!
I yelled out in anger, only to have my voice be covered by a pair of hands!
“Come with me if you want to live...”
He voiced deeply close to my ear as he quickly started to pull me behind a building!