Tryin to find the courage to speak, I was unable to even say a single word as I felt my whole existence being crumbled. My fears were too great that I wasn’t even brave enough to look at manager Sang in the face. It was only when he started to yell towards me that I instantly dropped to my knees in wanting forgiveness. These lies...that I’ve been creating. Are finally ready...to punish me.
“ANSWER THE FUCKING QUESTION!” He demanded while kicking his chair to the floor!
His actions led me to tighten my fists in a panic, I didn’t even notice how much I was wrinkling the photographs that I held so nervously in my grip. All these pictures...were definitely from last night. But, I don’t understand? There are only pictures of me with Zack and Jin...but there weren’t any of me with Kai. Why? I could only assume that manager Sang only knows about me being close to Jin and Zack. If that’s the case...then it explains why Kai isn’t here...
“I’m sorry...I...never intended to lie. But, I just...wanted to take this opportunity to-”
“Opportunity to what! To get a chance to get close to your Idols. Did you think if you continued to lie to me you would’ve had a chance in sleeping with one of them-”
I screamed out in horror once I saw Jin had run-up to Sang to punch him ruthlessly in the face!
“No! Jin stop!”
Zack shouted in shock as he and the rest of the security guards tried to pull him off of Sang! However, Jin kept fighting back and I just couldn’t handle what I was seeing anymore. So I immediately got off the floor and quickly ran up to Jin as well and held him tightly once I wrapped my arms around him. It was only when he felt my warmth, that he finally stopped his violent tantrum.
“No more... please, that’s enough Jin.”
I quietly said to him as I felt the rapid thumping of his heartbeat...
“You would go this far in defending her...have you already forgotten who helped you get to where you are today? The income that you spend on taking care of your mother, where do you think it comes from? Jin, has this girl blinded you already? Has she manipulated you-”
“You son of a bitch!”
Jin cursed out in rage, the feeling of his body jolt in anger, and I felt his body wanting to move forward towards Sang again. Though I only latched onto him stronger as I tried to calm him down.
“Jin, look at me...I need you to calm down, okay. Please...I...I’m the one that needs to take responsibility for what I did. So don’t ruin everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve-”
“Melrose...how...can you just let him talk to you like that!? You-”
“He has every right to be upset at me...I lied to him and to this company.”
I quickly said to Jin before releasing my arms, Zack then pulled him away as security kept manager Sang separated from me and the boys.
I’m trying so hard not to cry...I want to be strong. I want Jin and Zack to know that I’ll be okay...but it’s just so hard when I’m the reason why this is all happening. I should’ve paid more attention if I was being followed. No wonder I felt like I was being watched the whole time when I got there.
“Jin... judging by how close you are with this woman. I want you to tell me the truth...what is your relationship with her. Zack...I want you to give me an answer also...and I would be wise in telling the truth. Because what you three have done...goes against everything of what you’ve agreed on what you wouldn’t do. Do you have any fucking idea of the amount of payment I had to do for this not to be released to the press?! The pictures that he took of you two getting close to this woman, could have ended not only your career but this women’s life. Regardless if she is part of the staff, a married woman would never agree to spend alone time with two men. The reporter that came by this morning had more pictures that he took that night, but he refused to sell them to me. I don’t know what else he took, but right now we’re currently negotiating the price of what he wants for those photos. I worry that he’ll just end up posting them on social media...and if that happens, you three can just kiss your careers goodbye. So let me ask once more...Jin, did you know she wasn’t married?”
He asked in a cold frightening stare...
Though I wasn’t going to let Jin or Zack answer! This is my sin that I need to carry on my shoulders. I refuse to be the reason their dreams come to an end! So I need to stop it...I have to protect them, so they can’t get hurt by their own fans. I don’t want the world to shatter them more...they’ve gone through enough!
“Jin had no clue that I wasn’t married...I lied so he can personally pick me. And I have no intimate relationship with either one of them...I...just wanted to be their friend-”
“Melrose, What are you saying? You can’t-”
“Zack...don’t make this harder than it is for me...you need to focus on your career...I want you to keep performing. I...am not worth ruining what you worked so hard to achieve.”
I immediately silenced Zack as I looked at Sang giving me a disgusted expression...
His eyes feel like they’re just judging me, and why wouldn’t he? No matter what I say to him, he just thinks I’m lying again. But that’s okay... because I am a liar...I’ve been deceiving everyone the moment I met Kai. Gripping my chest, it pained me to breathe as I felt like I was about to faint at any given moment...
“I knew I should have never let female staff work here. You’re all the same...just wanting attention. Earlier before you came, I was dead set on pressing charges against you. Breaking the contract that you signed is a violation... however, Zack came down to his knees along with Jin and begged me to just send you home. Though I will have a restraining order filed against you...Miss. Lee. You are not allowed to come anywhere near the company again and if you are ever seen with Jin, Zack, and Kai. Then I will show no remorse in suing you, which reminds me...Kai, what is your relationship with him? He has no idea what’s going on right now and the last thing I want to do is involve him in this mess-”
“Nothing! I don’t even see him that much like I did with Jin and Zack. I never even properly spoken to him before...he...has nothing to do with my life.”
I choked out my words as I fought back my tears from wanting to fall...
If Sang has no clue of what’s been going on between Kai and me. Then I need to make sure it stays that way...I’ll never forgive myself if Kai gets ruined because of my stupid mistakes. Even as I desperately tried to deny any relation to him, the further I felt myself drowning in an empty abyss. Because it just dawned on me that...what I said will become a reality. I will no longer be able to see Kai anymore...
“It’s true...Kai never cares to know about the staff. So just leave him out of this...it will only distract him later when we perform.”
Jin tried to calmly explain, though I noticed a small trace of blood running down his lip! How?! I didn’t see manager Sang hit him- wait, don’t tell me that he’s this angry that he’s breaking the skin of his lower lip by bitting it!
“You’re right...will keep what happened today a secret. Jin, Zack...you two may leave now. You both need to head out already for the meetup, I’ll have security escort you. Will discuss more of the matter once we’re back in Korea, now leave us.”
With what manager Sang said to the boys, it took a minute before Jin moved his feet. But I couldn’t bring myself to look at either one of them as they walked past me. Because I knew if I looked at either one of them, I would break down in despair. This heart of mine...it feels like it’s breaking. Like I’m being pulled away from the ones I come to hold dear to me...
“I can’t do it...this is wrong! Why should it fucking matter if she isn’t married! She did nothing wrong-
“That’s enough Zack! Clearly what happened to your sister back then didn’t teach you anything-”
“Fuck you! You cold-hearted asshole- hey! Get off me! Let me go! Melrose! Don’t do this! It’s our fault! Jin?! Say something! MelRose!?”
With manager Sang and Zack yelling at each other across the room, it took two security guards to pull Zack away as he tried to fight back. I watched the guilt of Zack’s tears run down as I heard his frustration and rage. This was the first time I saw Zack act this way. But with all my strength I had left in me, I finally looked at Zack...and gave him the best smile I could give. But even I knew...this smile of mine was already broken.
I softly spoke in sorrow as I watched Zack’s expression change drastically!
“No...don’t do that! Don’t smile at me like that! Melrose!”
With Zack still screaming out my name, I watched him disappear from my eyes once he was carried out. The only person I saw still standing by the door in silence was Jin who had his back turned against me. His tensed shoulders were visible as he smacked one of the security guard’s hands from touching him. Bringing his hand to a fist, he took a big heavy sigh before I watched him take one step out the door.
What I’m witnessing, was a part of my memories being stripped away from me. From the very beginning, the man that I’m about to see walk away. Was the first person who opened his heart to me, who made my dreams a reality. I didn’t deserve his kindness...but he gave it to me anyway. And now...I feel absolutely horrible not being able to keep my word to his mother. To be by his side...and take care of him whenever he was in pain. I don’t know what kind of person Jin is to my heart yet...but I wish I could’ve figured it out. I guess it’s too late now...
“Take care of yourself, okay...”
I said to him, but all Jin could do was listen as he was escorted out...
And once I was finally left alone with manager Sang, he explained that he will be having me take a flight back to Korea. This all still doesn’t seem real to me, but when Sang asked for my phone. I handed it over to him and watched as he deleted my entire contacts. From my staff phone numbers to the group chat apps I had and any other app that would forbid me from contacting the company and the members...
“I’ve already deleted your information from the boy’s phones and I will be terminating your file from our system when I’m back in Korea. Your plane will be arriving in a few hours so I want you to pack your things and get ready to leave. My assistant will be going with you and you will have security waiting for you when you land. I’ve had them gather supplies to help you start packing your belongings. You have less than a week to be gone before we all come back from tour.”
He explained as he handed me my plane ticket. Bowing in silence, I took the ticket along with my phone as the security that was waiting outside opened the door for me. But before I could even take a step, manager Sang asked me one last thing...
“I just wanna know why? Why lie to me? What did you gain by doing all of this? Was it really worth it?”
“I’m sorry...I just really wanted to help my family out. And I always loved doing make-up...so it was kinda like killing two birds with one stone. That’s how I saw it at first...I was never good at lying. But I guess... to protect somthing I truly love and care for. I had to lie to protect what I hold dear to me... though I wish I knew how to put it into better words. Because I can’t really describe what I gain from all of this...but was it worth it? I can’t really say. Manager Sang, again I apologize for deceiving you and betraying your trust. But I thank you for taking care of me... goodbye.”
I last said to him as I took my leave, with security walking next to me. They watched my every move as they watched me pack...
I guess Sang has them monitoring me so I don’t do anything reckless, but I’m sure it’s for my safety also. From what he mentioned before, the reporter that took pictures of me with the boys still has other photos in his possession. So I’m gonna have to start being careful from here on out, as I tried to hurry in packing my things. Security wasted no time in leading me out of the hotel, we then walked towards the van that was parked outside. Entering the vehicle, I saw Sang’s assistant in the passenger seat. He looked busy responding to emails...
The awkward silent ride was like having a walk of shame. I hate feeling so guilty, but the actions I’ve done have consequences. And the further we drove away from the hotel, the more I felt the unattachment pulling at my heartstrings. It’s like I’m growing more anxious separating away from everyone, I’ve grown so used to seeing Zack’s loud goofy smile, Jin’s sweet kindness of reassurance. And Kai...
“Kai... I’m sorry...I’m so sorry...”
I whispered to myself hoping in some sort of miracle Kai could hear my cries.
Crouching myself forward, I wrapped my arms around my stomach as I hunched my head down in sadness. This wasn’t supposed to happen...things weren’t meant to end like this. But what can I do? Nothing... there’s nothing that I can do to make things okay. Just what am I suppose to say to Kai? I can’t have Jin or Zack say anything to him about what happened today. Knowing full well how he’ll react, he’ll only make things worse. And if he tells manager Sang the truth of what our relationship really was...I could only imagine how horrible things will turn out.
I won’t be selfish, I can’t... because Kai, he doesn’t belong to just only me. He belongs to everyone who loves him...his fans, his music, and his group. If he decides to leave ExEx Idol because of me...it will haunt me forever. My mind was only getting filled with darker emotions of anxiety as I felt completely alone. With no one to rely on, I had to keep telling myself that I’ll be okay...but I knew the truth was that things weren’t going to be alright.
The human mind really is a frightening thing, I’ve spent so much time overthinking that I didn’t even realize when we pulled up to the airport. Leaving the vehicle, I saw how cloudy the skies became. How fitting, even the sky itself feels the same sadness as I do. Following security and Sang’s assistant, we hurried in boarding the plane before the weather grew worse...
“I’m fully aware of what happened, manager Sang was very strict on having me take you back. This is why I forbid you from taking your mask off when you’re out in public until you leave Korea. You’re also not allowed to tell anyone of has happened and you will have to sign a nondisclosure agreement before you head back to America. An incident like this should have never happened, it’s no surprise that the boys will be signing another contract soon. Only this time no female staff will be allowed to work in the company-”
“What!? They’re gonna signed another contract soon!? When? How long will this contract be?!”
I asked the assistant in disbelief as we passed through the terminals...
“That is none of your concern, now follow me. Our ticket numbers are about to be called soon,” He said as I paced myself to keep up with him.
Boarding the plane, I took the empty seat assigned to me and saw that Sang’s assistance got his plane ticket to be first class. I was honestly relieved that we weren’t sitting together, I really just want to be left alone- what am I even thinking. Being alone is the one thing I don’t want right now! I’ve damaged my own career so the boys could still have theirs...I shouldn’t have any regrets. But my heart is filled with nothing but regret...If what the assistant said is true and the boys will be signing another contract, I worry how much more stress they’ll be able to handle...
“Miss. Lee? Hello? Miss. Lee, are you here?”
Hearing that familiar voice, I looked down the aisle and immediately jolted my body up once I saw security Jung looking at each row of seats to find me!“Jung?! What are you doing here? How did you board the plane? I thought-”
“Shh! For emergency purposes, I had to use manager Sang’s name to board the flight real quick to hand this to you. I’m just glad I made it time before you left.”
He explained in high relief as I watched him pull out an envelope for me. With a bit of hesitation, I took it as he lightly bowed.
“I’m sorry that this is happening to you, but I wanna let you know. Despite the blackmailing, those boys put me through...it’s been a long while since I’ve last seen them this happy. It’s like having you around them really raised their spirits...so thank you. I’ve been their personal security from the very beginning when they started ExEx Idol. So watching who they once were to who they are now...I’ve grown very proud of them. I promise to keep a good eye on them, please take care of yourself... goodbye, Miss Lee.”
He said to me before taking his leave in a hurry...
Sitting back down, I took a moment to take everything he said into motion. Looking at the envelope he gave me, I gradually opened it and saw that it was a letter! I didn’t have time to read it since the plane was getting ready to depart. Placing my seat belt on, I felt the turbulence of the plane as I held on to the letter with all my might. It was only when the flight settled down that I started to read the note...
‘Melrose, I wish I had more time to write this quickly. But it looks like Zack and I are being heavily guarded at the moment. So I’m having security Jung give you this letter on my behalf. I want to tell you to please don’t cry, and don’t blame yourself for what happened. Everything was done due to my recklessness, I don’t ever want you to feel like you’re alone. So I’ll be leaving my number in this letter, please call me as soon as you can. I need you to stay strong, I’ll do my best in watching over Kai. ’
Jin told me not to cry, but that was all I could do as I watched the droplets of my tears splashing against the paper I still held. How can I be strong when I’ve grown dependent on the one person who can ease this tragic pain away. What am I supposed to do or say to Kai?! After everything we’ve gone through and what he told me last night. Do I simply just end everything like nothing ever mattered! That all my feelings were just lies and I was just using him!? Well, I can’t! Because that is a lie that I could never say...but in the end...it’s what I must do.
“Kai...forgive me...but...I can’t be with you anymore.”
I sobbed uncontrollably as I finally felt what true heartbreak was for the first time in my life...