Kai left Jooyeon alone with Taemin that day. He didn't return with the food he promised and he doubted that Jooyeon would even notice his absence.
It hurt, it hurt so much even though he had expected it to happen. He knew it was not easy to go against fate, it wasn't easy to stop someone from loving another unlike the mundane things like stopping Jooyeon from getting hit by the ball.
If he knew anything about Taemin's powers, he knew that the things that were the most difficult to change were feelings. You could read the future and try to change some accident from killing somebody, or predict the test questions, but you can't read the future and find out about how this person will fall for another and try to stop it from happening.
Because it doesn't happen that way. Love can't be forced.
Kai sighed deeply and plopped himself on one of the seats outside the lodge and stared blankly into space. He didn't know getting his heart broken would be that painful, but he didn't regret it one bit. Because even now, he loved Jooyeon with every bit of his soul.
Kai looked up and saw a girl limping into the premises of their lodge with a bloody knee. He immediately stood up and went to her like the gentleman he was to offer his aid. "Are you okay?" he asked, wincing when he saw the blood.
The girl nodded, though her expression was pained. "Y-yeah. I'm fine." she assured, though her tone told him that she wasn't. He looked around and frowned. "Where's your partner? Why did you come back yourself?" he asked, frowning. "How can your partner let you limp back here alone?"
The girl pinked and fiddled with the hem of her blouse. "I...uh.. I don't have a partner." she whispered.
Kai blinked. "But everyone has a partner. The treasure hunt race is in pairs." he pointed out.
The girl reddened even more and tried to walk away from him. "I told you, I don't have a partner." her voice was so soft Kai would have missed it if not for his super hearing. "I'm always alone."
Kai's face was unreadable as he walked over and helped her into the sick bay to get her leg bandaged. He really wanted to pry into her mind to read what had happened, but he knew that this was her story to tell and he shouldn't invade her privacy.
Kai offered his hand for her to hold while the nurse applied antiseptic on the wound, and his arm nearly broke off when she clutched it so tightly. Her face was contorted in pain and her eyes screwed shut. However, to Kai's surprise, she didn't let a single tear drop.
When the bandage was safely on her knee, she actually smiled and thanked the nurse. Smiled. Brilliantly.
Kai never saw another stronger willed female ever in his life, maybe except for Jooyeon but he didn't really want to think about her. There weren't such things as antiseptics for broken hearts.
The girl turned to smiled at Kai. "Thank you for helping me, Kai sshi." she bowed and turned to go away. Kai didn't know what came over him when he grabbed her arm to stop her.
"Wait." he turned pink. "Uhm. I'm alone too. Let's...let's sit together."
The girl's eyes rounded and soon that all too familiar brilliant smile broke onto her face. "That would be lovely." she whispered in awe. "Thank you. I never expected that you would want to sit with...me."
Kai frowned at the level of her self esteem. "There's nothing wrong with you." he retorted. "Don't let anyone else tell your otherwise."
The girl shook her head. "You don't understand. I think I'm the only person in the entire school who's an orphan. All the other people say I'm not supposed to be here." she said in a small voice. "I'm supposed to be in an orphanage."
Kai felt this fire burning in him as anger grew. "How can they say that?" he snapped. "If they're going to discriminate against orphans then I think I'll have to get chased out of school too." he grumbled. The girl turned to him in surprise and Kai realised he just blurted out the secret of his family that no one in school knew besides for his close friends.
He looked at the pure innocence in the girl's face and decided that it was safe to tell her. She wouldn't spread. She wouldn't pity him. She would treat him as Kai, and nothing else added.
"Yeah. My parents are dead too." Kai admitted. "It's only me and my hyung."
The girl nodded and stared off into a distance. "It must be nice to at least have a hyung." she murmured. "I'd give anything to have someone being blood related to me right now."
In that moment, Kai felt how small one would feel when they were the only one in the universe. She was the only one left, without relatives, without friends. Without any support and help, and there she was with that brilliant smile. Kai thought he just met an angel.
"You can depend on me." Kai blurted.
The girl's eyes widened in surprise. Kai cleared his throat awkwardly and avoided her eyes. "I mean, we can be friends." he muttered. "If you don't mind."
For a few moments, the girl was absolutely silent and Kai nearly thought that she would reject him. Until that brilliant smile came onto her face again. "I don't mind. My first friend." she beamed. "Let's go this again. Annyeong Kai sshi, I'm Kim Minhee."
"Annyeong Minhee." Kai chuckled softly, memorising that smile. Perhaps this was an excellent opportunity to divert his attention from the heart break.
Taemin opened his eyes after a long eleven hour sleep. He never slept so long at one go and his head felt so heavy he thought there were weights plastered to it.
However, he never felt as satisfied either. The sleep was well needed and he could feel his cold going away and his strength returning. He sat up slowly and shook his head to clear his vision, looking around in surprise.
He was in one of the beds in the sick bay and he saw someone sleeping at the side of his bed. He blinked and a small smile curled on his lips. "Yeon." he whispered.
*I must have fainted after I kind of saved her from falling to her death.* he thought. He looked at her tenderly. *Did she stay here all the time?*
He reached out to her hair and brushed several stray strands away from her face so that he could see her clearly. She wasn't the most beautiful girl he had met, he would admit that. But in his heart, she would always be the most beautiful.
He didn't know why he loved her so much, but sometimes love doesn't need a reason. Because love is a form of urge and desire, and love doesn't follow rules. When you love, you don't tick off a list of what you want to find in your ideal partner and decide to fall for that person. You love because you do.
And at that moment, Taemin felt that he really did love Jooyeon. A lot.
Her face was absolutely angellic as she slept, and Taemin really wanted to see that face everyday the moment he woke up and before he fell asleep. It was completely worth it to wait so many years for her to arrive in his life, for him to miss out on so many other things before that.
Because she was Oh Jooyeon and she was all he needed.
Taemin bent down and pressed a small kiss on her temple. "I love you, Yeon." he whispered.
Jooyeon stirred in her sleep and Taemin quickly settled back, wanting to see how she looked like when she woke up. Jooyeon raised her head and blinked for a few times, looking absolutely blur and out of the moment. She scratched her head cutely and frowned, squinting.
She turned towards Taemin and he beamed brightly at her. She blinked back.
"Annyeong Yeon. Had a good sleep?" Taemin asked.
Jooyeon's eyes widened and she turned to her watch. "You're awake!" she gasped. Taemin gave her a look that screamed you-don't-say. Jooyeon pinked at her outburst, and avoided Taemin's eyes.
She didn't really know how to act around him right now, when she realised she loved him just hours before. This feeling in her was so many times stronger than what she felt for Himchan. What she felt for Himchan was just a speck of what she felt for Taemin.
This, she thought, was real love.