The ring was empty. Amber slipped off, and Kibum went in the direction of the dining room. Jonghyun didn’t know where to go anymore. He had lost his appetite, so he took to mindlessly circling the ring. He began humming. The humming turned into singing the tune. That turned into singing the lyrics with all the feeling in his heart. It worked, because he was singing melancholy songs. He could suddenly relate to lines he hadn’t been able to before. He sang as loudly as he pleased, wishing he could sing until he fell asleep. Maybe he wouldn’t have to wake up after, and he wouldn’t have to deal with all of this drama.
In a pause between two songs, Jonghyun heard another voice in the room other than his own. His skin crawled and he whipped around to see Jinki in the highest bench in the stands, tapping his hands on his knees as he sang along. He laughed when he noticed that Jonghyun had turned around.
“What the heck?” Jonghyun snapped.
“I like singing too, y’know,” Jinki told him. Jonghyun glared at him.
“I’m not in the mood for this,” He seethed. Jinki nodded.
“I know that, trust me. But I’ll help you out, Kim Jonghyun,” He replied. Jonghyun waited for him to continue, but he didn’t.
“…Then help me out,” Jonghyun finally requested. Jinki smiled.
“I know the way to Kibum’s heart,” He stated. Jonghyun frowned. What in the world was he getting at now?
“Tell me,” Jonghyun told him. Jinki leaned forward.
“There isn’t a way,” He said softly, just loud enough to carry to Jonghyun.
“I already said I wasn’t in the mood for this,” Jonghyun growled. Jinki waved his hands.
“No no, wait, I’m not done!” He said. Jonghyun rolled his eyes.
“Then don’t try to be poetic,” He sighed.
“I’m going to be poetic anyway,” Jinki retorted. He stood up and descended the stands until he was on the bottom bench. “Listen, if a cat runs away from home, it’s difficult to find. It wants to run away. It doesn’t want to be found. The cat is a huge overreacter and won’t listen to reason. The cat-“
“Get to the point, please,” Jonghyun interrupted. Jinki grinned.
“Right, of course. Listen, you’re never gonna find that cat looking for it. Instead, you put some fish on your porch, and the cat will decide to come back.”
Jonghyun stared at Jinki for a moment.
“But he isn’t a cat and he’s not gonna be baited back with fish,” Jonghyun finally pointed out, exasperated.
“No, no, he won’t” Jinki agreed, “But he’s running away because he’s hurt, and he doesn’t want to be sought after. What you have to do is be distant and soft and welcoming, and he’ll come back when he wants to. Cats will run away because their house is too cold, but they always realize that it’s much colder outside.”
“You’re confusing,” Jonghyun told him.
“But do you get what I’m saying?’ Jinki asked.
“Sure,” Jonghyun answered, “The way to his heart is to be a warm house.”
“Not quite,” Jinki laughed, “It’s not the way to his heart. Since you’re already there. It’s his way to yours.”
“Got it,” He said softly. Jinki smiled. “But I thought I wasn’t supposed to go after him or whatever.” Jinki sat down and leaned his elbows on his knees.
“Sum up Kibum in one word for me,” He requested. Jonghyun was about to refuse, but the earnest in Jinki’s eyes made him rethink. Which was a mistake, because everything related to Kibum right then made him so upset. And everything piled on like the stones in a pond. Kibum was everything.
Jonghyun was about to spit out that word as his answer, but he choked up and lost his voice for a moment. Jinki nodded to himself.
“Maybe I overacted at first,” he said, twiddling his thumbs, “If you’ve been trying to win him over for this long, then maybe you’re good enough for him.”
Jonghyun stared at him for a bit. Then his eyes wandered to the ring entrance. If he was good enough for Kibum, then why did he keep screwing up?
“I’m not though,” Jonghyun breathed. Jinki sighed and left the stands into the ring. As he passed Jonghyun towards offstage, he turned to him.
“Don’t doubt yourself, Jonghyun,” He advised, “That’s the very worst thing you can do.” And he left the ring. Jonghyun waited a while before also going offstage. He decided to try his luck and see who he would bump into. Usually he could make some kind of conversation with Taemin or Amber. Instead, the hallways were empty. He went to Kibum’s room as a sort of underlying reaction, but didn’t dare knock on the door or go in.
Instead, Jonghyun leaned against the door and listened. He expected to hear crying, to be honest. But instead, he simply heard breathing. The kind of breathing one does when they’re trying to calm down, or rationalize.
“Forget him, forget him, forget him.”
Jonghyun tensed up. Who was he talking about?
“He’s terrible for you, just stop, stop, stop.”
The breathing resumed. Jonghyun didn’t know what to think. He wanted to go in there and spill his guts out, and he wanted Kibum to do the same. If Kibum was so desperate to forget about him, he should know it, so he could move on. He wanted a clean slate.
Suddenly, the door was open. Nothing but a scarce few inches separated Jonghyun from Kibum. Kibum turned red. Before Jonghyun could do anything, Kibum’s eyes narrowed, and his ears flattened. Jonghyun expected him to push past him or say something dismissive, but instead, he took a step back and re-closed the door. Jonghyun wasn’t sure how to react. Kibum was becoming less and less like himself, it seemed.
Maybe he had already succeeded in running away.
I'm late, I know :P There was a birthday party and blah blah blah. No excuses! Sorry~ Sorry sorry sorry sorry naega naega naega ~
Things will get all super dramatic and crazy soon, I promise. Don't lose faith!
Thank you so much for all your comments so far! <3
Stay tuned for chapter 26!
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