"Oops. Sorry." Jooyeon bowed as she knocked into one of the boys for the umpteenth time in the week.
The Lee siblings had been gone for more than one week. Accurately, it was eight days twelve hours and thirty three minutes since Jooyeon learnt that Kai and Taemin disappeared, but she would die rather than admit that she was keeping track.
Suho frowned at Jooyeon. "Noona, are you okay?" he asked, concerned. "You look out of sorts these few days."
Jooyeon forced a smile and waved her hands weakly. "It's nothing." she shrugged. She hugged her book and slumped. "I'll be around. Bye." She walked off, dragging her feet.
Chanyeol met eyes with Key and they sighed. Sunmi pouted and rested her chin on her hands. "She's been like that since Taemin and Kai disappeared." she muttered. "She's especially affected because she doesn't know Taemin and Kai does their disappearing act once in a while and that it's nothing big."
Jonghyun nodded in agreement. "The worst thing is that she doesn't believe us when we say that Taemin and Kai are going to be alright." he sighed. "And it doesn't help that this is the longest time they've disappeared. It doesn't exactly pacify her nerves."
Sehun nodded. He was half amused that his noona would actually get so affected by two boys, but on the other hand worried for her. "I'm worried for noona." he sighed. "She doesn't eat much these days and just stares blankly into space. That's so unlike her. And you know, she hasn't spazzed about Donghae for more than eight days! That's super abnormal."
The SHINee and EXO-K boys sat in a circle, together with Sunmi.
"She's obviously worried for them, but she doesn't want to admit it." D.O. chuckled. "It's quite amusing to watch."
It was rather true. All of them knew that Jooyeon was dead worried about Taemin and Kai, but she refuses to admit it, because if she does, it means that she's somewhat emotionally attached to the both of them and the stubborn her most definitely doesn't want that to happen.
"Who do you think she's worried about?" Onew blurted curiously. All of them looked at him in question. "I mean, who do you think she misses more?" Onew asked. "Who do you think she's missing her meals for, she's losing her sleep for?"
The boys looked at each other in surprise. They obviously had different opinions about this.
"I vote Kai." Suho said loyally. "I mean, he's the one who's been actively pursuing her all these days. With different flowers everyday and the most romantic things a guy can ever do for a girl. How can she not be touched by him?"
"Sure she may be touched." Key retorted. "But that doesn't mean she's falling for him. She can be touched by anyone but that doesn't mean she's going to fall in love with him!"
"Yeah!" Minho supported Key.
The gang looked at the flaming charisma that had suddenly blurted his thoughts in such an un-Minho-ly manner. "What?" Minho shrugged. "I just want Taemin to find a girlfriend soon so that 2Min will not exist anymore." he grumbled.
"Well, I support the Taemin pairing as well." Sehun suddenly blurted.
"Traitor!" D.O. blurted as Baekhyun smacked the chocopie fanatic in the head.
Sehun just shrugged sheepishly. "Kai's my good friend. But honestly, I thought Taemin and Jooyeon went together better." he admitted. "I mean, Taemin hyung is the one who waited outside our house to fetch noona to school long long ago, even before Kai confessed. He doesn't do a lot of elaborate things but he's the sort of guy I'll feel safe giving my noona to."
"That's perfectly what I thought." Sunmi swooned.
"But don't you think Kai's a good catch as well?" Key muttered. "Honestly I should be rooting for Taemin, but sometimes I don't think Taemin is doing enough. Kai's the ice man, and finally a girl manages to break that wall around his heart. Isn't that the perfect fairytale?"
The boys sighed and shook their heads. "This is tough."
Jooyeon dragged her feet out of school. She didn't mean to, but she let out a huge sigh.
"Another day passed." She murmured. "And Taemin oppa and Kai aren't back yet, from wherever they went."
She checked her phone and fumed. "Couldn't they have called or something? Don't they know that I'll get worried?" she grumbled.
She didn't want to admit it, but she missed them. Going to her locker 57 and not having that too-cool-for-his-age Kai smiling as he waited patiently for her. Not having that usual bouquet of roses at her doorstep each day (though she was glad it stopped, she didn't want Kai to waste his money.)
Not having that noisy banana milk lover that sat beside her, talking about soulmates over and over again. Not seeing his sunshine grin and bright eyes that didn't take it's gaze off her no matter what she did.
She had grown so used to Taemin's gaze that when he wasn't around, she finally realized how much time he spent looking at her. There wasn't the incessant look he gave her and for once she felt that emptiness lurch in her heart.
She sighed. *When are they coming back?*
She was just about to board the bus when a loud voice called out to her. "JOOYEON NOONA!"
Jooyeon blinked and spun around in surprise. She saw Kai running towards her breathlessly and she immediately got off the bus with a bright smile. *They're back!*
Kai was smiling widely, a rare sight since he was always cool and collected. He almost looked like Taemin when he smiled like that, except the sunniness was just incomparable.
"Jooyeon noona!" Kai sighed in relief and caught up with her, glad that she went off the bus in time. He pulled her into his arms and hugged her tightly. *Oh gosh, I missed her so much.*
Jooyeon sighed in relief and leaned awkwardly into his embrace. She was glad to see him alright, but that didn't mean she gave hugs out freely like that.
The hug went on a little longer than proper and Jooyeon pulled away gently. She looked up at Kai with a bright smile. "You're finally back!"
"Yeah..." Kai grinned sheepishly.
Jooyeon pouted and punched his arm lightly. "Where did the two of you go?" she demanded. "I was so worried!"
"Mianhae noona." Kai apologized. "Dansen Choi and his father Dave Choi came into this area to look for us, and Taemin hyung predicted that. We were in hiding for a while till they gave up."
Jooyeon's eyes widened. "Oh my!" she gasped. "Then are you two alright?"
"No need to worry, noona." Kai assured. "We always disappeared once in a while when the Choi's came too near us for comfort and we went into hiding. No big deal."
Jooyeon let out a sigh of relief. That's good.
She frowned and looked around Kai, her eyes darting around. "And may I ask where is Taemin oppa?" she asked pointedly.
Kai gulped. "Uhm...."
"Tell me." Jooyeon demanded.
"Taemin oppa's hiding at home because he thinks it may not be safe to be back yet. I came to find you because...Uhm I missed you." Kai pinked.
But Jooyeon didn't notice. She only got one message from it.
Lee Taemin was too scared to risk his life to see her.
*LEE TAEMIN!!!!* she roared in her mind.
Btw subscribers of "Strangest Mating Season of the Century", I updated it. I think the notification for it isn't working so yeah. Check out the chap ^___^ *wriggles eyebrows hehehe*