“I… see…” Yeon Hee hugged you more tightly after you told her the truth. All of it.
You crashed your back deeply on the soft couch while sipping a bit of Jasmine tea to calm your soul when she released you. “I’m sorry if I didn’t tell you the truth earlier… I was afraid that it might cause difficulties and misunderstanding if I did and look what it did to all of us… I bet he’s really mad at me right now and it may not be possible to fix this problem forever… and look what it did to us… I…” you then slowly met her eyes. “I’m really sorry… if you’re mad at me then it’s fine. I did something wrong and I deserve your hate. I shouldn’t complain about it since I’m the one who lied to you…” you explained your side to Yeon Hee.
You didn’t expect her to hug you again so tightly like she did earlier. She pressed your head against her shoulder and rubbed your back while smiling gently. “____-ah… I know I’m lying if I say that I didn’t feel betrayed at all… but after seeing you so devastated like this… who could help you more than I? I’m the only one who have by your side right now and helping you is my first priority… it has been like that since the start… right?” your eyes widened at what she said. You pulled back gently, looking at her again.
“Jjeongmal…?” you asked her. “Of course…” she patted your shoulders. “Now all you have to do is to take time over work, rest yourself and then we should find some relaxation for you too. You have to take your mind off Shim Changmin first so that you’ll eventually feel better…” she smiled at you while patting your trembling hands.
“Yeon Hee-ah… thank you…” you smiled back at her, holding her hands tightly. Yeon Hee giggled at you as she swung your hands together. “Don’t cry now, okay? A pretty smile suits you more…” she told you. Well, it’s good to have a friend like her by your side at all times. You know that she won’t leave you. She’ll always be there in good times and even during your worst.
You probably took it seriously when Yeon Hee said you two should relax more before hitting up Changmin’s concert and continuing your work. Four days had passed with you spending your whole day shopping, eating and just walking around with Yeon Hee. You even went to the spa and got massages. You laid beside each other on consecutive massage beds. You giggled and exchanged small chats about various singers that you two researched and wrote about. All in all, those were good days when you had nothing to worry about. It was great being with your friend. No matter how many times you thanked her, it was fine. She deserved such praise and admiration for being the nicest person you have by your side now. She felt like family.
“Good morning, ____-ah!” you stifled a choking sound when you felt someone jump on your bed and hugged you tightly.
“Ah! Yeon Hee-ah!” you scratched your head as you sat upright and looked at her with irritation. “Yah!” she pouted. “Today’s Shim Changmin’s rehearsals before his concert tomorrow and people can watch him! Come on, it’s a must that we cover that! ____-ah, bbali!” she persuaded you by pulling your arms.
“Aish~ is this really okay…?” you looked at the mirror with Yeon Hee behind you. She made you wear a bright dress under a dainty orange cardigan and navy blue doll shoes. The combination of colors seemed odd but it looked so beautiful on your fair skin. When you tried to put on a pair of grey leggings underneath your skirt, she quickly stopped you. “Yeon Hee-ah! We’re going there for work, not for anything else!” you told her. She just laughed at you and pulled the leggings from you. Tossing it finally on the bed, Yeon Hee dragged you outside the room. “But still! It’s been almost a week since you saw Changmin oppa!” she emphasized ‘oppa’ with blinking starry eyes and a cute pout, making you curse again beneath your breath.
Once you two got out of the cab, you quickly skipped towards the huge open Expo where Changmin is set to perform tomorrow. It was prepared in a chic way, having black cloth covering the real back drop to hide Changmin’s concept for his special performance dedicated to his hometown.
You and Yeon Hee held each other’s hands while getting awestruck at the crowd. They waited for Changmin with their cameras and phones set to record his rehearsal. “Wow… there sure are many people!” you mumbled while scanning the view.
“Excuse me! Unnie!” your eyes widened when suddenly, Yeon Hee pulled your hand and approached a smiling an adult woman. She looked like she was two- three years older than you two and you also noticed that she wore an ID with the phrase “Coordinator” on it. “Yes?” she asked.
Yeon Hee gave her a calling card from her pocket. “Here… we are freelance reporters, unnie, and we would like to ask if we could cover Shim Changmin’s rehearsal and enter the Expo just for a while? Can we do that? We promise we won’t interfere with anything…” she bowed and clasped her palms together in a pleading way. She also pushed your head down and made you do the same thing. “Yah… ask. Help me here…” Yeon Hee whispered with her teeth gritted together.
“A-Ah… j-jebal, unnie… we really won’t interfere. We’ll just cover it to be able to update our work…” you added conviction to the request. The coordi noona was smiling at the two of you, seeing how polite you were with requesting. “It’s fine, you two. It’s really nice to see two respectful people like you with that kind of job. The other press people are such pains in the neck so we can’t allow them but if they ask nicely like you two, we’ll really allow it… I’m sure Changmin will also allow you two to do that…” she then lowered the rope and let you two enter. Yeon Hee hugged you from the side while you gave her a relieved smile.
While you two sat and wait, you felt uneasy and bothered. Your bladder was disturbing you and still, Changmin isn’t coming out to practice. You just couldn’t leave Yeon Hee and go to the restroom. What if he suddenly appears and then you won’t be there? Yeon Hee will have a hard time.
But no, your bladder was still troubling you. It was as if it told you “hurry up and go to the restroom already, you idiot! I’m dying here!” and it made you worried.
You turned to Yeon Hee with an apologetic expression on your eyes. “Yeon Hee-ah…” she turned to you. “Do you mind if I go to the restroom for a while? I’ll be quick, my bladder’s killing me with the heat…” you admitted eventually. “Yah, it’s fine. Go already or else it will really kill you!” she pushed you lightly to stand. You thanked her repeatedly while you walked briskly away.
Alone, you came out of the restroom while sighing in relief. You held your cardigan on your arm and you unfolded it to put it on again. “Wow… good thing that coordi noona let me use their restroom…” you wiped the sweat on your nape, breaking into a small smile.
“Yeah… good thing coordi noona let you use our restroom…” before you could even successfully cover yourself, you saw Changmin in front of you. “Yah!” you shouted at him, placing your cardigan on your chest to hide your skin.
Your eyes widened when Changmin pouted cutely at you, trying to woo you with his boyish charm. “Waeeeee? It’s not like I haven’t seen that, ____-ah…” he said, making you gasp in madness. You quickly slapped his arm hard, making him wince in pain. “Ah! Wae yo!?” he yelled. You pointed a finger at him before glaring. “Yah, don’t ever mention that again! First of all, it wasn’t my intention to show my body to you back then! You just came inside my bathroom while I was changing! Then you even touched me when you tried to apologize, you pervert!” you were blushing like a tomato while reprimanding him for what he did in the past. You then realized how loud you said it. It echoed throughout the whole corridor and you then covered your mouth tightly while looking around. “Aish~” you cursed as you turned to Changmin. You breathed in heavily to compose yourself quickly. “Like I said… don’t ever mention that again… or else I will punch you to death…” you glared once more before walking away.
For the second time, you got shocked when Changmin suddenly pulled you towards him. He flailed your body to turn to him before hugging you tightly. Once again, you felt so secure in his touch. It was warm and loving. You remembered how you were mad at him for days but you also longed for his loving embraces and his soft kisses when you needed his company.
Changmin was really there when you needed him. He just isn’t strong enough to handle the factors around him. His parents, to be exact. They were keeping him from going to you. Also, his dream was too far away from yours. It was close when it comes to these common events but when it comes to a serious relationship, a lot of things must be weighed before you make decisions.
“Ch-Changmin… let me go… I’m still m-mad at you…” you spoke softly.
“No… you’re not mad at me… you’re scared…” he whispered, making you look at him from the side of your eyes. He pulled you closer, letting you feel the fast heartbeat inside his chest. “You’re just scared of having me in your life again… why? Because I’ll hurt you again? I won’t do that, ____-ah… I was a fool back then… I didn’t know how to decide for myself and so eommoni controlled me to go to Seoul and leave you alone… I regretted what I did, ____-ah. I’m glad to have reached my biggest dream to become a successful artist but there’s still a huge lump in my life and that’s you who’s missing… the years you weren’t with me, I couldn’t comprehend how sad I was… if you have watched my performances, it may look great but deep inside, I was longing, _____-ah… I was longing to bring back the past when I was still a normal person… it was just surreal to go back to our precious memories… I will never ever forget them…” his speech stopped as he looked at you with passionate eyes.
You were trembling all over. To be honest, there’s nothing you could say to him anymore since the things he told you were the same sentiments you had with him. You just looked away and sighed. “This isn’t easy as you think… even if we wanted it, Changmin, we would still have problems and I don’t want that. I want you to be free… I don’t want to be the reason for your suffering… I know you get what I mean…” you patted his shoulders once you released yourself forcefully from his hug. Your eyes got a bit teary before you smiled at him weakly.
“I know you get it… so let’s not do it anymore. Instead, make me proud by doing your very best for tomorrow… I’ll watch from afar, just like how it should be…” you bowed before planting a short kiss on his cheek. At that, you walked away, leaving Changmin alone.
“____-ah…” he mumbled. He didn’t have much choice but to look down and smile sadly. “You don’t know how much I love you…” he was the only one who heard that. “I just hope… I could tell you that once more… to make you believe me…” he continued.
Yeon Hee kept on taking pictures of Changmin while he sang. You, on the other hand, were the one recording the video. He looked so charming in that simple black shirt and black pants. Fans screamed as they recorded too.
If only time could stop.
If only we could erase.
If only we could go back in time,
To the day when we first met…
You were looking by the lens. Your eyes suddenly widened when you saw Changmin’s eyes forming tears. He did soulful hand gestures as he hit the notes with flying colors. They were long yet wonderfully sung by him.
Once he hit the chorus again, his tears already fell.
How can I forget you?
Should I put an effort to try and forget you?
will we ever be able to go back to what we had
My words are frozen, tears keep flowing, words which I don’t want to believe…
Changmin walked away after the song ended. You were still holding the camera, also crying softly. You tried to hide your puffy eyes but Yeon Hee heard you sniffing beside her. “_____-ah…” she wrapped an arm around you comfortingly. “Y-Yeon Hee-ah…” you turned to her as you put down the gadget.
“Ch-Changmin-ah…” you mumbled. “I-I… I love him so much…” you then looked down and pressed your head on her shoulder as she held you with love. She shushed your crying gently, rubbing your back. “I know that… I know that, _____-ah… and I’m sure Changmin-ssi feels the same way…” she used those sweet words to keep you from hurting more.