At CL's place, 6pm
"Rule number 34. No clubbing. No parties without your manager. No public drinking.” Soohyun mumbled in a very slurred speech, giggling when her body plummeted on the cold floor. Though quick to lean against the sturdy wall, she's too buzzed to realize that she had one too many. In her hand, a cold delicate crystal glass is half-filled with dark red liquor. But instead of enjoying the aroma and crisp taste of pure brewed wine, the poor girl gulped the entire unmeasured amount in hope to drown the throbbing agony of what transpired few hours ago.
"But I'm not partying nor drinking in public. I got no one here. See?" She chortled at her own excretable pun and blinked trying to make sense of it.
A sudden hit of thought rushed through her brain making her hurl as she felt dizzy. Lucky for her, the numbing effect of alcohol prevented her from thinking further about Rose’s words. In addition to this, fatigue and stress is catching up. Her spine felt like being twisted and her shoulders felt tight. Teary-eyed, she sniffed to hold it back.
"This ." She whispered; a surge of insecurity resurfaced. To distract herself, she roamed her eyes and admire the pristine décor of the apartment. It was immaculate. Ironically, empty bottles and food containers scattered around her, littering everything .
"Ugh..." Soohyun groaned, grabbing the bottle near her and failed. She bends and reaches further, forcing her arm to stretch till she has it in her hand. The bottle felt light, so she ditched the wine glass; the rim of the bottle touched her lips. She had a mouthful and that’s it. The bottle is empty.
"Eh?" She clicked her tongue and shake the bottle. She rolled her eyes and said, "! "
Frustrated, she winced but got up too quick that she almost stumble avoiding a fall. Her hand touched a wall nearby to support her weight. She held her forehead, a warning that she should stop but she made her way towards the kitchen and ended up hitting her head against the refrigerator. The words of profanity escaped only describes how painful it is or how she’s sensitive at the moment. Tipsy is not even the right word for it.
To clear her mind, she kept squinting to find where the strong liquors are hidden. Soohyun remembered that her cousin keeps them near the cooler and so she did. Without any concern for her health, she reached for a bottle of scotch and twisted the cap off. A mouthful is all it took for to burn in seconds.
“Ah…this is good.” She sighed in relief, another hit of alcohol is keeping her away from the voices that’s tormenting her.
"I don't even know why Choi Soohyun is there. Blackpink is perfect with 4 members. OT4 forever."
"You call that singing? Pfft! She's so overrated."
"Jennie and Lisa are better rappers than her. Besides, she's ugly"
"She's just a CL copycat. No originality at all. She should just quit. Blinks don't like her anyway."
“You’re the leader, aren’t you? We’re fine before you joined.”
So easily, those harsh words slashed a piece of her soul.
“Maybe they are right". Her body temperature heated up while she swayed along the corridor almost knocking off her cousin’s vase.
"Apparently, they're fine without me." She mumbled under her breath.
"Hey kiddo.” A sweet voice registered in her mind. She turned her head and froze. The woman at the door stared at her and Soohyun felt better.
Time flies when you're doing the thing you love. That's how it feels every time I poured my heart in crafting my art. I went to the studio to continue writing for my new album. It went well. The only thing left is to go home and hang out with friends. But as soon as I unlocked the door, I'm welcomed by a mess. Food containers on the floor and empty wine bottles laid on the wooden floor. I'm quite pissed but luckily my new rug is fine. I'm a clean freak so I check these things.
"What happened here?" My manager asked and puzzled as we look around. This morning, we kept everything in order. I picked up the bottles of wine on the floor and found them empty. The fine wine I'm saving for tonight's dinner, gone. I'm not liking this, only three people have a spare key. Dara, Soohyun and my manager. Dara won't drink without me. knowing and my manager, he only goes in my apartment to run errands. The only one left is Soohyun. To my knowledge, she’s busy and it’s unusual for her not to call.
"Are you expecting anyone?" My manager quizzically looked my way.
“Not until 8pm.” I uttered and was in awe of the sight. A commotion came from the kitchen, I heard shuffling of feet. This alarmed my manager and asked me to stand behind him in case there’s a burglar on site. I’m told to be ready and call the police once it goes the other way. Then we heard someone talking to herself and I identified the owner of the voice to be my cousin's.
"It's fine. I think it’s Soohyun.” I reached for his shoulder and give it a pat.
He turned his head to look at me, definitely unconvinced then a drunk Soohyun appeared in front of us. She’s holding a bottle of scotch. Her face red and staggering on her heels. I’m afraid she’ll end up hurting herself as she kept bumping into furniture. My manager sighed and stared at me likely we're having the same thought. Soohyun is wasted but why?
"I think you two need a time alone." My manager excused himself, not wanting to pry with my personal life and I thank him for it. He left my things at the corner of the living room and went on his way.
I'm mixed up whether to scold Soohyun for not having the decency to inform me that she’ll visit and even have the audacity of drinking my fine wines. I couldn’t believe she can be this irresponsible. Biting my lip didn’t help to contain my dismay, so I reached for my nape and rubbed it gently. Maybe the tension building around that area will fade. I observed her but she’s in no way going to absorb anything even if I yelled at her.
I inhaled and slumped my shoulders. "Hey kiddo." That could her attention and damn she’s smiling in glee. She attempted to run towards my direction and she almost tripped over that made me flinched. Good thing I’m quick to support her elbow. “Woah, easy there.”
She clutched my shirt, giving leverage for her to stand straight. I tilt my head and she cutely rubbed her eyes. She must’ve noticed I’m looking since she’s smiling in gleefully
"Eonnie!!!!!!!!" She screamed against my ear when her arms engulfed me in what I call a bear hug. My ribs felt like its being squeezed; mind you, she's few inches taller than me. “I miss you." She giggled followed by kisses on my cheek. “How are you?”
My brows raised in an arch, she kept poking my cheekbones. I decided to keep quiet causing her to pout. “You love me, right?”
“Soohyun….” I reluctantly uttered but she insists that I say it out loud with that puppy eyed look she pulls every time she becomes clingy. “I love you. There.”
"Want some?" She said then confronted me with a bottle of alcohol.
Instead of explaining herself, my dear cousin randomly started to sing and dance in a very unrhythmic manner. The way she flaunts her limbs and mistakenly singing few notes appeared to me like someone who is drunk in a karaoke bar. Since she’s preoccupied, I started cleaning up her mess. Soohyun in her strong persona can be very touchy and funny when hammered.
"Why are you drinking? Don’t you have any schedule this week, or maybe tomorrow?” I aim to interrogate her to get into the bottom of this. I’m growing weary because the last time she’s this drunk, she had an alcohol poisoning. I prayed she’d stop. She nodded her head, blowing my mind in the process. I crossed my arms over my chest, and she stopped being so cheerful discerning that I needed an explanation.
“I don’t want to talk about it.” She distanced herself as a solution, like that answered my question. I watched her take a sit in front of the TV and started watching Knowing Brothers. In retrospect, one would want to figure things on their own. We’re both like that. We’re not fond of breaking down in front of people but bottling it up is toxic. A lesson I have to learn the hard way. Dara’s advice would be to keep asking but there’s no point of pushing it.
"Okay. But I have a visitor coming.” I chose to casually inform over scolding her.
She sighed, "Sorry. I know I should've called but I uh...I'll buy you a bottle."
Her expression unreadable but I sensed she’s not well.
"Don't worry about it.” I ruffled her hair, and my phone rang. “Excuse me.”
The call is from an unknown number, and not a lot of people have mine. However, I picked it up in case it is important. I walked to my room, leaving my cousin on her own. There’s a girl on the other line. The introduction is that she’s Jisoo of Blackpink. She apologized for the inconvenience and explained that Dara gave my contact details since she has no way of contacting Soohyun. Allowing myself to listen, she disclosed that they have an urgent schedule for tomorrow; obviously needing their leader. She requested if I could convey that message to her, and here I thought, Soohyun would know. But I’m mistaken. apparently my cousin doesn’t know when I told her. I handed the phone but refused to talk to Jisoo. The call ended and my head hurts. I went to the kitchen and had a glass of water. Maybe I need to give Soohyun that talk after all. A leader who is slacking off is unacceptable. What will her parents say if she failed? It is bad enough that her father hates her job.
A pair of arms slipped around my waist and the most heartbreaking whimper speaks to me. It is like being hit by a bullet, because it hurts like hell to encounter Soohyun in this condition. Her body trembles as what I suspect are her tears soaking my shirt and face buried on my back as she hides her pain.
"I don’t….” Her voice cracked between the sobs. No one could hear it but me. To my knowledge, something is hurting her and I'm not one to add more to that. All I could do is stand there and I’m willing to wait till it’s over.
“Wanna tell me?” I whispered but she wagged her head against my skin. “Work?”
She uttered, “yes”
The reason for her visit is not to have fun or waste time. She needed to let it out and she'd rather have a mental breakdown here with us than there. We stayed like that till she couldn’t shed a tear anymore.
My guest arrived and coincidentally it is Minzy. At least I trust her that Soohyun’s drunkenness won’t go public. She was stunned to see my cousin knocked out by alcohol. We had dinner together and I’m glad Minzy is able to stop my cousin from drinking further. Dinner went well though we both grew weary of Soohyun leaving the table in the middle of our conversation.
"And I have to drop her off." I rubbed my forehead, looking at my cousin who lies flat over the sofa. Blackpink's dorm is about an hour drive and I have to fly first thing tomorrow.
Minzy turned her head, confused. "Can't she stay here?"
"It'll be more convenient, and her manager can pick her up when she’s sober, but they have a schedule tomorrow." I said, running my fingers through my locks.
"A schedule?" Minzy gasped, brows knitted together. "Then what’s up with the drinking?"
I shrugged my shoulders, pretending I have no clue.
"You know..." I chuckled and nudged her. "The last time I saw her this drunk is when she got so jealous of your college friend." Crazy but I wanted to light up the mood.
“I don’t think that’s with me” Minzy chuckled but in a second her smile became strained. “That’s with Abby.”
I choked and wished I’m able to stick a foot in mouth. “I’m sorry, I thought…You know I just wish that.” Lost for words and just embarrassed myself there.
"It’s fine.” She glanced my way and winked. “This is better than nothing at all.”
Few year ago, I'm rooting for Minzy to be with my dearest cousin. Life just don’t work that way. We exchanged a look and sighed.
"I'll drop her off, if you want. " Minzy randomly volunteered that surprised me. I leaned forward and squinted but she didn’t flinch. "Her dorm is on the way. Dont worry. She's safe with me."
I intently look at Minzy but I got ignored. She woken up Soohyun and they both left.
At Blackpink's dorm
Ticktock the clock said. I kept looking at it. 1230am and we haven’t heard anything from Soohyun. A while ago I’m forced to call Dara to get CL’s number. Soohyun who is upset, gave Chaeyoung her phone. We don’t know how to contact her. Unfortunately, no one knew her passcode. The phone kept ringing too. We’re reluctant to pick up at first on the fact that some callers are foreign to us or that we are not Soohyun. But the sudden rings from the phone sounded like gunshots, causing us to jump up startled. The truth – the shrill scream of her mobile phone is becoming annoying. Most calls and messages turned out to be from work, specifically from our manager. The conversations were mainly errand, schedule, appointments with producers and pretty much workload that the four of us are unfamiliar with. Soohyun is fully involve and contributes 75% of her time on music production and building the brand of the group. The rest she invests on other work -related commitments like giving her own songs to one of us. So, when our manager wished to talk to our leader, we reasoned out that she is not feeling well. It turned out that Producer Teddy Park is waiting for the sample of Rose’s songs. He wasn’t happy about that and wanted to have a word with the group’s leader. Since we managed to cover up the incident, our manager got an extension till tomorrow. See, if the management found out that there’s conflict in the group that affects our work, we’ll get in trouble. Harsh rules will be implemented and a lot of it exists already. In the end, there is no point in staying in the studio. It was decided that we’ll sit down and fix this.
Usually, our dorm is filled with life. But that afternoon, there is something unpleasant in the air that silence is better than speaking about the pressing matter in front of us. The room went quiet and not a pin drop can be heard. No one look at the other, nor utter a word. Thinking back, I’m hurt. The purpose of ignoring Lisa is simply to get rid of the pain this one-sided love is giving me, that’s what I thought. That kiss we shared, stirs both love and hate. I love the fact she did that. I hate the idea that she still loves Jennie when it happened. The agony had faded to a dull throb. It doesn’t mean I’m not inflicted or desires to inflict pain. Lisa putting her best foot forward, is not enough to take the thorn away. I needed to make her realize how tormenting it is. Not an excellent example of positivity, but the blooming joy of love died when clearly at the end, Jennie owns her heart. In hindsight, Rosè is right. The burden of being the oldest in the group presses down on me like a ton of stone sitting over my shoulder. Guilt-ridden, I’ve done something pretty awful that I had to work so hard to justify it. But in doing so, it will affect others. I opened my mouth and apologized for my wrongdoing without patronizing my issue with Lisa. Admitting that I’ve been intentionally avoiding them creates a disgusting dynamic in our group. I strike a deal to stop it and to help get things back to normal. My eyes met theirs as I hold back the tears. One by one they opened up and apologized for the words that is spoken and for actions that is done.
Jennie confessed that she is jealous of my relationship with Soohyun. The way she fidgets with her fingers is a clear indication of how embarrassed she is for doing so. It is easy to forgive and forget that. Lisa on the other hand owned up for her bad behaviour towards our leader and also for the way she’s distancing herself from us. An explanation is not needed and I’m grateful it is left unspoken. I’m not ready to let the world know of the failed love I have. Rose was the last one to speak, more like burst into tears. She sobbed and sobbed till she’s able to apologize for her sudden outbursts. We gathered around her and offered her a hug.
“It’s okay. We’re the ones who should be sorry.” Jennie held her hand while I rubbed our Chaeyoung’s back.
“We’re friends and it must’ve been burdensome for you to see us act that way towards each other.” Lisa added on and brushed the hair off our friend’s face.
“It is.” She sniffled repeatedly, wiping away the tears with her sleeve. “Oh god, Soohyun…” Muffled, she cried meekly and covered her face almost child-like. I stared at her. Eyes bloodshot because of tears. “I didn’t mean to…She probably hates me now…What if she quit because of me?”
“Shh…Don’t say that.” I couldn’t bear a thought like that. I kept my arms around her and rest my head on her shoulder; because surely, we won’t let that happen.
“What should we do?” Lisa with wry eyes, glanced at me. I felt the warmth in her voice. I smiled and said, “Let’s make sure we’re not late for schedule. She gets nuts when we do.” Then for a moment there’s laughter.
Few hours later….
Time goes slow when you’re itching to see someone. Staring at the ceiling is not even a good idea. Soohyun better come home because we need her. What if she didn’t turn up tomorrow? What are we going to say if the management asked? I twist and I turn as if I’m rolling about. I stared at the ceiling and I’m thinking: the hell with it. I jumped on my feet and switched my computer on. Video games have a way in distracting me. I played and played till the doorbell rang. There’s someone at the door but I assumed no one is out here. Soohyun has a key and she knows the code to get in. It’s not her nature to disturb someone’s reasonable sleep. Fixated at the game, I’m about to level up when it rang again.
“Don’t tell me she forgot her keys.” It sounded like whining but deep inside there is anticipation to see she’s safely home. My feet led me to the door, but Jennie beat me to it. She ushered in a sick looking, dead man walking Soohyun and an unexpected visitor. Soohyun’s right arm draped over the woman’s shoulders, and Jennie being quick supported the left side; both dragging our leader inside the house. The scene is odd since two petite ladies is aiding a tall slim girl who seemed funny with her feet.
“Can you please help me put her to bed?” The woman pleadingly looked at me as if in a hurry. It is rude not to offer help, so I’m quick to hold the door and watch them put Soohyun roughly in bed. Her feet dangled over the edge as her s