For days, Jungah stayed on the mind-numbing cloud.
She was awake but not alert. She was breathing, but she didn’t feel alive.
Ever since Zico died, Jungah hadn’t been able to get back on her feet. She locked herself in the house and didn’t go anywhere.
Block B and Kris tried to visit her, but she wouldn’t open the door for anyone. The only one with a spare key to her house had been Zico. Since he was gone, that spare had been gone also.
Jungah stayed curled into a ball against the door for most of the day. Her curtains were shut close. She didn’t know when it was day and when it was night. Every day it felt the same to her.
Meaningless. Dark. Void.
Without Zico, life seemed impossible.
Every night, Jungah had nightmares.
She dreamt of Zico’s death over and over again.
She dreamed he was shot.
She dreamed of his blood.
She dreamed of his painful groans.
In every nightmare, she would try to save Zico, but she was always too late. He was dead before she could reach him.
“Zico….no…no…ZICO!” Jungah sat up in bed with a panic attack. She gasped for air, and her hair stuck to her sweaty forehead. Jungah looked around her dark, empty room. There were no guns. There were no killers. There was no Zico. She had had a nightmare once again. Her gaze fell upon the floor as her shoulders fell in despair. *I was dreaming of him again.*
Jungah bent her knees and rested her elbows on them. She smoothed her face that was wet with tears and sweat. Jungah shut her eyes and touched her temples. *I keep dreaming of him. I have the same nightmare over and over. He dies, he screams in pain, and he’s gone. Again and again, I’m not able to do anything for him. Is there a reason why he keeps appearing my dreams without a smile? Maybe he’s sending me a message from death. Maybe there’s something he wants me to do about his death.*
Jungah’s eyes shot wide open. She threw the blanket off of her and hopped out of bed. Jungah slipped on a thin cardigan and raced out of the apartment. She didn’t stop running until she reached Zico’s place. Jungah’s hand shook as she unlocked his door and entered. His scent hit her, and she stepped back, stunned. *I came here for a reason. I have to find something.*
Resolute and determined, Jungah bravely entered his house. She the lights, and her expression softened. Everything had been left exactly as Zico had last left it. She could tell Block B had entered a few times. Yet, noting really had changed. *They were waiting for me to become ready and take care of his things at my own pace.* Jungah thought in gratitude. She didn’t know what she would have done if everything that had belonged to Zico had been tossed away.
Jungah walked across the living room and down the hallway. She reached for the doorknob to his bedroom and paused.
Was she ready to face a room that would never be filled with its owner again?
Her hand shook. Jungah grasped her wrist with her other hand and took a deep breath to calm down. *You can do this. You came here looking for answers. Find them. Don’t be a coward. Look what happened because you were a wimp. Zico died.* That one thought was enough to push her to do anything.
Jungah twisted open the doorknob and pushed open the door. She reached out and flicked the light on. Her heart twisted in agony. So many memories of Zico filled her. tightened, but she clenched her fists and remained calm and collected. Jungah entered the bedroom carefully as if she would disturb the lingering atmosphere of Zico. She spotted the picture of them by his bedside and walked over to it.
Jungah picked up the phot and ran her hand over Zico’s smiling face. *I can’t believe he’s gone. It feels like he’ll come into this room any moment and call me ‘Jungie Jungie’.*
The thought of never hearing him call her annoying nickname again made her feel depressed.
Jungah palced the picture back down before she could break down again. She turned around and walked around the room. She didn’t know what she was searching for. She just knew the answer to her nightmare was somewhere in here. Jungah looked through drawers, closets, and bookshelf. She found a couple hundred dollars stashed away in a book, but she just left the money there. That was not what she had come for.
Jungah found a watch that belonged to Zico, and she clasped that around her wrist. It was big for her, but she liked the feeling of having something that belonged to him with her. Jungah knelt down by the bed and looked under it. She found several boxes covered with dust bunnies.
Jungah pulled several out. Dust filled the air, and she waved them away with a couple sneezes. *I wonder what are inside these boxes.* She opened the first one. Inside were pictures of Jungah, her mother, and his father. Most of the photos had Jungah in them.
There was a recent photo of Jungah at her 19th birthday party. She saw writing in the back and turned the photo around. ‘Happy 19th birthday to my Jungie Jungie~ Saranghae.’
Her eyes softened. *Woo Jiho, you idiot. How did you keep your feelings for me boxed up like this?* She slipped the photo into her jacket and closed that box.
Jungah opened two more boxes. They just contained random objects like belts, cologne, and necklaces.
There was something different about the last box though.
Jungah could already feel it as she dragged the heavy box towards her.
There was something ominous about it.
Jungah swallowed hard. With a deep breath, she opened the box.
Her eyes widened.
Inside was a silver gun that had never been used. There were six bullets neatly lined up in one straight row. Her heart pounded with fear. *Why did Zico keep a gun in here?*
Intrigued, Jungah took the gun out of the box and held it in her hand. It felt powerful and profound.
She stared at it, enraptured.
With the weapon, she felt like she could do anything.
Even hunt down Liang and pay him back for what he had done to Zico.
Jungah examined the gun with adrenaline rushing through her veins. *Is this why I kept having those nightmares of Zico? Because he couldn’t rest his peace? Does he want me to…get revenge for him?* She opened the gun where the bullets went, and her eyes gleamed with a new, edgy, and dangerous fortitude.
Jungah shut the gun and aimed it at the window with one eye close.
*If revenge is what Zico wants…revenge is what he’ll get.*
Kris was sitting at the VIP room of the hotel where Exo-M and the Cold Dragons had gathered to ‘celebrate’ the capture of the culprit.
“It’s all thanks to Yixing, actually. He had a large part in this.” Liang winked.
Lay bowed mannerly, and Liang nodded in approval.
Lay met eyes with Kris who was hatefully glaring at him.
Lay looked away and chatted with other party guests.
After the dinner, Liang and Exo-M headed up to Liang’s suite for a drink.
Liang cheerfully set his feet on the coffee table and waved his bottle of red wine around. “This is a beautiful day! We captured the nasty culprit who copied my drugs. We made drug deals with seven other gangs. And we’re getting a shipment of our drugs back from Cho’s secret lair. Soon, we’ll be able to pack up, and get the hell out of this country. Aren’t you boys excited to go back home to China?” He laughed and took a long sip of the wine straight out from the bottle.
No one could give a hearty reply.
Just then, Kris spoke, “I actually have an announcement.”
Six heads turned towards him.
“What is it? We must hear this important announcement during our celebration.” Liang laughed.
Kris lifted his chin up and stared at him evenly, “I would like to resign from my position as Exo-M's leader.”
Everything turned silent at once.
Eyes widened. Tao gasped.
“Duizhang.” Luhan whispered frantically.
“What…did you just say?” Liang asked for clarification.
Kris didn’t waver once. “I want to quit. I want to quit your gang. I don’t want to work for you anymore.”
Everything became still. Xiumin uneasily glanced around. *. This isn’ good.* Lay gaped at Kris in shock. He had never knew Kris would resort to this far.
Liang coolly put his bottle of wine down. “Is this because of your little girlfriend?”
“No.” Kris was lying. The main reason why he wanted to stop being in such violent scenes was because of her. He had seen her suffer because of Zico’s death. He never wanted her to undergo such pain like that again.
“Oh, really?” Liang put his feet back on the floor and leaned forward with his hands clasped together. “Lately, you’ve been such a disappointment, Wu Fan. You’ve kept things from me. You didn’t complete your assignment. You blew off several contracts.”
“If I’m such a disappointment, it wouldn’t be a problem letting me go then.” Kris refuted composedly.
Liang furrowed his eyebrows.
“Duizhang.” Xiumin warned in a low voice. *Gege, please don’t perturb him!* Tao frantically thought.
“Besides, you should reward Lay for accomplishing this task. Why not give him my position?” Kris turned his head and coldly stared at his ex-best friend. “I’d be more than happy to give it up for him.”
Lay stared at him, dumbfounded.
After an uneasy moment of silence, Liang stood up. “Fine, if that’s what you want, that is what will happen. Do whatever you want.” Exo-M gaped at him. He was just going to release Kris so easily?!
Kris stood up and curtly bowed. “Thank you, sir.” He headed to the door.
Just as his hand touched the handle, Liang quoted, “But just so you know, a leopard can never change his spots.”
“You may have left my gang, but that doesn’t mean your identity has changed. You cannot change who you are, Wu Fan. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, you will always be a drug dealer. The blood of a gang member runs in your veins. You will always be charged with the murders of the many people you killed. Never forget that.” Liang coldly warned.
Kris glanced sideways at his ex-boss. Then wordlessly, he strode out of the room.
Lay glanced at Liang then fled out of the room. “Kris…KRIS!”
Kris halted. He didn’t turn around though.
Lay marched over, grabbed his wrist, and spun him around. “Are you really going to just quit?! What about us?! You’re our leader! You can’t leave us like this!”
“I highly doubt you need me anymore.” Kris snorted. "Besides, you’re the leader now. You make Liang proud, don’t you? You accomplished everything on your own this time. Without letting me know. Without giving me a warning. Without giving me some time to prepare. Aren’t I right?” His piercing eyes penetrated through Lay. He looked at the ground with shame.
Kris turned back around then stopped and spun around to face Lay once again. “You know, I thought we were best friends.”
“We are.” Lay whispered.
“Funny, because best friends don’t stab each other in the back.” Kris sneered.
Lay turned quiet. He had nothing to say.
Kris stepped closer and hissed vehemently, “You chose business over me, Yixing. You made me hurt the girl I love. Was it so hard for you to accept that I had finally become happy? Was pleasing Liang more important than supporting my happiness?”
When Lay didn’t say anything, Kris stepped back while shaking his head, “I’m out. We’re through. I never want to see you or your filthy master again.” He turned his back on Lay and stormed out of the hotel.
Kris entered his car and just sat there.
Although he had just quit a notorious gang, he didn’t feel free.
Something dreadful was about to happen.
He just hoped he was being paranoid.