9. TrustBoy Next Door [ Hiatus ]
It’s embarrassing to admit, but whenever Minseok and I are on a date, I want to stay out longer, walk farther, talk louder, so more people will see us together. I want to run into every classmate who’s ever teased me, because I know they’ll take one look at Minseok with his dark eyebrows, inked arms, and bad attitude and know that I’m doing something right.
Usually, I’m bursting with pride. But as we trudge back to his new van, I don’t notice the face of anyone we pass. Because Park Chanyeol asked me out. Park Chanyeol asked me out. What am I supposed to do with that information? Minseok unlocks the passenger-side door and holds it open for me. Neither of us has spoken since we left. I mumble a thanks and get in. He climbs in the driver’s side, turns the key in the ignition, and then says.
“I don’t like him.” The flatness of his tone makes my stomach turn.
“I just don’t.” I can’t reply. I don’t know what I’d say. He doesn’t break the silence again until only few blocks from my house.
“Why didn’t you tell me about him?” I look at my hands.
“He’s not important.” Minseok waits, jaw tense.
“He just hurt me, that’s all. It was a long time ago. I don’t like talking about him.” He turns to me, struggling to stay calm.
“He hurt you?” I sink into my seat, wanting anything but this conversation.
“No. Not like that. We used to be friends, and we had a falling-out, and now he’s back, and I’m running into him everywhere—”
“You’ve run into him before.” He’s staring at the road again. His knuckles tighten on the steering wheel.
“Just . . . in the neighborhood. He’s not important, okay, Minseok?”
“Seems like a glaring omission to me.” I shake my head.
“Chanyeol means nothing to me, I swear.”
“He wants to take you out every night, and you expect me to believe there’s nothing going on?”
“There’s not!” The van jerks to a halt in front of my house, and Minseok pounds on the steering wheel.
“Tell me the truth, Miso! Why can’t you tell me the truth for once?” My eyes sting with tears.
“I am telling the truth.” He stares at me. “I love you.” I’m getting desperate. He has to believe me. “I don’t love him, I don’t even like him! I love you.” Minseok closes his eyes for what feels like an eternity. The muscles in his neck are tense and rigid. At last, they relax. He opens his eyes again.
“I’m sorry. I love you, too.”
“And you believe me?” My voice is tiny. He tilts my chin toward his and answers me with a kiss. His lips press hard against mine. I push back even harder against his. When we break apart, he looks deep into my eyes.
“I believe you.” Minseok speeds away in his van, the Misfits blasting in a musical cloud of dust behind him. I slump. So much for my day off.
“Who was that?” I startle at the sharp voice behind me. And then I turn to face her for the first time in two years. Her dark hair is pulled back into a tight ponytail, and she’s wearing warm-up clothes. Yet she still manages to look more beautiful than I ever will.
“Hey, Shin hye.” She stares at me as if to say, Why haven’t you answered my question?
“That was my boyfriend.” Shin hye looks surprised.
“Interesting,” she says, after a moment. And I can tell she is, in fact, interested. “Did my brother find you? He went out looking for you.”
“He did.” I speak the words cautiously. She’s waiting for more, but I’m not giving it to her. I don’t even know what more would be. “Nice seeing you again.” I move toward the stairs. I’m halfway to my front door when she says,
“You look different.”
“And you look the same.” I shut the door, and Kris is waiting on the other side.
“You didn’t call.” Oh, no. He’s furious. “You were supposed to check in over an hour ago. I called five times, and it went straight to your voice mail. Where have you been?”
“I forgot. I’m sorry, Dad, I forgot.”
“Was that Minseok’s van? Did he get a new car?”
“You were WATCHING?”
“I was worried, Miso.”
“SO YOU DECIDED TO SPY ON ME?”
“Do you know why guys buy vans? Do you?”
“TO HOLD THEIR GUITARS AND DRUMS? To go on TOUR?” I storm past him, upstairs and into my bedroom. My dad pounds up the stairs behind me.
“This conversation isn’t over. We have an agreement when you go out with Minseok. You check in with us.”
“What do you think will happen? Why don’t you trust me?” “I’m not getting drunk or doing drugs or breaking windows. I’m not her. I’m not Yoona.”
I’ve taken it too far. At the mention of his sister, Kris’s face grows so hurt and twisted that I know I’ve hit bull’s-eye. I brace for him to tear into me. Instead, he turns without a word. Which, somehow, is worse. But it’s his fault for punishing me for things that I haven’t done, for things SHE’S done. How did this day get so awful? When did this happen?
His name explodes inside of me like cannon fire. I move toward our windows. His curtains are open. The bags he brought home are still on his floor, but there’s no sign of him. What am I supposed to say the next time we see each other? Why won’t he stop ruining my life? Why does he