[CONTENTID2]chapter twenty three[/CONTENTID2]
[CONTENTID3]lay down the law[/CONTENTID3] [CONTENTID4]
"What if two can play at this game?"
They always say you should fear the ones that have nothing to lose.
So now that all of my favourites are lost...
And I'm no longer fearful of losing things I don't even have...
Does that apply to me, too?
Should they fear me, too?
Should I fear myself?
I notice the way Sehun's expression has darkened. He's staring at me with a deeper downturn of his lips.
"What's wrong, Sehun?" I smile, "Don't you like it when the tables have turned? You prefer it when I'm sobbing, begging you for your help, don't you?"
I stride toward him.
"You know what? Since you're the one that got me in this mess..."
I halt just in front of him, seething through my clenched teeth.
"You're the one that's going to ing fix it."
I hold the pocketknife up, sure to spit my words as maliciously as I can. "You're going to back to Sanghoon, and you're going to get back that ing audio. I don't care if you need to call Baekhyun or all of your stupid ing friends but I better get that audio back within the next twenty-four hours."
And now I'm smirking.
"And do you know what will happen if you don't?" I hold the knife under his throat, "You can ing bet I'm going straight to Dr Oh with everything I know."
He's staring at me, frozen.
"But first things first, Sehun..."
I tuck the blade back into its pocket.
"Apologise to me."
There is silence.
"Apologise to the girl you like," my smirk grows more daring, "apologise to your girl."
I almost roll my eyes to the back of my brain as I echo his own words back to him.
I reiterate his words because I want him to hear how despicable they are. I want him to know that I did, in fact, catch onto what he had been intending to do. He made these words sound so effortless—and simultaneously so natural and genuine—to give me a false sense of security. That was so clever of him, wasn't it?
I suppose I am also attempting to remind myself that such words truly attest to the far extents Sehun is very willing to go to get what he wants. And in these times, he truly amazes me—I find myself wondering if it had ever been a struggle for him to act this way. Did he inwardly wince every time he smiled at me? Did the heartfelt words that swept me off my feet ever echo back inside his conscience? Was he, himself, pleasantly surprised at how easily these lies flew out between his teeth?
The girl I like.
Sehun doesn't know how to respond. His face is flushed with anger while he clenches his jaw. We're staring at each other now, both unyielding and uncompromising, though I catch how his glance quickly flickers to Junmyeon.
And while I would have given myself this opportunity to leave, Sehun has reached down to seize my wrist, and he's forcefully dragging me with him as he stomps further and further away from the park.
I am livid.
"Let me go!" I furiously yell, enraged that he still seems to think he has any right over me.
"Sehun!" I bellow again, writhing my wrist from his fingers, doing so much as to slam my other free hand on his, finally springing myself away from his grip.
I instantly stop. "Are you kidding me right now?"
He quickly whirls around, revealing his heavy breaths.
"What the was that?" He lunges toward me with a step, fuming at me, eyes wide with disbelief.
If it weren't for the fact that I'm seeing it with my own two eyes, I would not have ever thought Sehun could be so outrageously shameless. He knows what he did. He doesn't deny what he did. He didn't even try to explain what he did, and yet, here he is, impudent enough to drag me along the road like a ing ragdoll. At this point, my blood is sizzling. What complete, arrant bull.
"You really are a piece of work," I scoff with incredulity, noticing myself lose my wits, "you are unbelievable. Do you know how shameless you're being right now?"
He clenches his jaw again, like he's biting down his tongue. Thankfully for him, I'm not finished. "I could go straight to your father based on this alone. Do you think I'm joking? Do you really want to take the risk and see what happens?" I taunt him with a sneer, though precariously withstanding the desire to kill him.
Because, trust me, the desire is there.
It is definitely there.
I could shut my eyes right now and lean myself into the vivid imagery of me repeatedly stabbing him to death.
"I'm trying," Sehun takes another stride toward me with a pained exhale and a face wrenched with an emotion that I will not do the disservice to myself in deciphering, "I'm trying, Juri."
"Now you have something to say?" I shake my head, chuckling because he has once again proved to be outrageously unashamed of his own actions and words, "After all that silence... after I begged you to say something... after I cried and I wept and I sobbed in your arms only for you to say nothing... Now? Now you have something to say? Only after I've threatened you?"
Sehun is instantly silenced.
"Would you like to explain yourself, then?"
He is silent.
"That's what I thought," I smile venomously, lacing my tongue with heavy vitriol, "So the next time your brain tells you to open your mouth and say something, I'm going to kindly suggest that you think twice. Can you do that, Sehun? Can you use your brain more than once? Is that difficult for you?"
He is silent.
I knew it.
Stay silent, .
"Do not touch me ever again," I seethe through my teeth, fists balling as my nails painfully dig into the skin of my palms.
I must have been truly ing bonkers to have ever thought this man was sane. Was I that delusional? How off the rails was I? Was I on crack? Please, somebody tell me—whose ing crack was I snorting?
His gaze has faltered. He can't even meet my eyes. I smirk at this sight, because it prompts me to coat my words with a pool of thicker venom.
"Don't look so sad, Sehun—I'm sure you can find another way to me over sooner or later... you're really good at it," I plaster a smile on my face and speak at him like he's a child, "but of course, give it a bit of a wait until I trust you again—that's how you know it'll hurt deeper. Don't just wait until we're friends, or until I can simply tolerate being in a room with you, but wait until I've opened up to you about the most painful experience of my entire life. Wait for that. Oh, , that's right—you already did!"
"Nam Juri." Sehun sternly warns me, as though communicating that I was pushing his boundary.
It really is a shame that murder is criminal. I have never been more enraged with him. I have given him opportunity after opportunity to replace his silence with real words, but I have yet to receive a single explanation or even a proper apology. Why? Because he doesn't have an explanation. Because he isn't sorry. Because, I'm sure, he would make the same decision, again and again, in any other reality.
Grappling with such a thought, I find the rage coursing through my veins as I begin to tremor. You know what? I don't need this . I don't need to give him my time of day. In saying that, I am storming off now, with a hand outstretched to flip him the bird while I'm at it.
The sounds of his shadowing steps are infuriating. I quicken my pace, willing myself to not heed his call.
How audacious—how relentless of him.
He's pushing it.
He's really pushing it.
"Listen to me!"
He has pushed it.
I instantly freeze in my tracks and face him with an infuriated, incredulous expression.
"I begged you to say something. I begged you to say something that I could listen to. And you're telling me to listen now?"
His mouth instantly shuts.
What a ing idiot.
"You are worse than Junmyeon, because at least he's not acting the way you are right now. If you have something to say, then say it. But it seems very clear to me that there is nothing you can say that would be worth my time. Just get lost, won't you? I hate you. I hate you more than words can even say."
"The thing is," he finally hisses back, overcome by his own anger, "I don't ing care if you hate me. That's fine with me. But stop walking away from me. I hate it, Juri."
The moonlight has cast a dim illumination on his face to reveal a rather tormented expression. Wow. Please—the boy deserves some applause. He has really pulled all the stops tonight. Perhaps I shouldn't even be mad at this point, because he is just so impressive. His acting progress is just staggering. Like, god—step aside, Kristen Stewart! But of course, if an acting career doesn't work out for him, he can always fall back on being a full-time insufferable son of a back-stabbing . Or perhaps juggle some part-time studies in being a conniving, manipulative .
"Just hate me, Nam Juri. But... stop ing walking away, will you? I hate seeing your back all the time. I... I just..."
Once again: he is speaking—he is saying words—but none of these are real words. He's not giving me anything.
"Then get used to it, because I'm sick of seeing your face. Just get lost. Leave, Sehun."
"I'm not leaving," he eyes with me a sense of resoluteness.
I eye him, furious and at a lost with what to do with him. Why is he so ing relentless?
"This must feel really great, you sociopathic wit," I scoff with disdain, "you must love this push and pull."
Another unreadable expression.
Why is he doing this?
"Whatever, I'm sick of talking to you," I shut my eyes, feeling another fiery breath escape my lips as I swelter with residual anger.
The truth is... the longer I stand here, the longer I let him waste my time with aimless and ineffectual words, the greater I feel myself surge with repugnance.
Because, in all honesty... I'm disgusted by Sehun.
I find it appalling how heartless he is. And while I am far from the point of crying about it any further, it's truly sickening to see the way he's staring at me, like there's something he wants to say but just won't. Though I would have been truly self-deluded to have thought he cared about me in the first place, tonight has shown me that he really doesn't. At least not enough to even pretend to explain himself. He's giving me nothing, and I think that is telling enough.
The only difference between Sehun's betrayal and that of Sanghoon's, or Junmyeon's, or even Mina's, was the fact that I had higher hopes for him. Because I had opened one of the most intimate parts of my soul with him. I thought he understood me. I thought so many things about him. I felt terrible for not being able to reciprocate the way he helped me out...
And with him, everything felt real. The way my heart would hammer out my ing chest or do those cheesy somersaults that every fool seems to romanticise felt so real. Or the way I loved how his touch felt, and his lips moved, and his scent smelled just felt so real. All of it. I thought they were glaring indicators to me that perhaps there really was a heaven on Earth and it was with him. I felt seen. I felt protected. I felt safe.
But, as it turns out... he's a bullet I should have dodged a while ago. And while it might feel too late, I can only move forward and right my wrongs while I can.
"We're finished, Sehun." I scoff with an unflinching gaze, "I'm finished with you."
"So once I have that audio in my hands—once you give that to me—it's over. I never want to see you again. Never talk to me again. Never look at me again. Never even say my name again."
I turn on my shoes and walk off, but once again he stops me.
"Then come with us."
"Then come with us... come with us to get the audio."
The frown has deepened against my lips. I turn my head back to face him with a scowl. "Do I look like a babysitter to you?"
"Don't you want to delete it yourself?" He quickly counterattacks, staring at me sternly now, knowing that I've already thought to myself this very question—can I really trust him to retrieve the audio will no issues? What if he hands me a copy? What if... What if... What if I get ed over again?
"Fine." I hiss, "But if you try anything, I swear I will tell your father everything."
"Baekhyun, Chanyeol and Kai are on their way here," Sehun informs me, but I can't help but roll my eyes at even the sound of his voice. I'm not sure what it is, but there is something inherently annoying about him now. I can't stand just being in his presence. He's pissing me off.
"Fine." I mutter back, brows digging into my face like shovels.
"Do you need a ride back to the facility?"
Not if you're in the ing car.
"Whatever." I merely respond.
It would have been so easy to uphold such a cold exterior if it weren't for the fact that we are interrupted with the sounds of my stomach growling. I haven't eaten all night.
. . .
My stomach growls even louder.
Why is everybody betraying me? Including my own digestive system?
"Baekhyun cooked some rice earlier—"
"I will go straight to banging my fists on Dr Oh's door if you try to feed me Baekhyun's cooking, you sadistic ."
Sehun stifles a laugh. He cracks a tiny smile in doing so, though he tries to hide it with a hand over his mouth.
I watch with a deepening frown as he conceals that smile and he returns to his usual stoic expression, nodding his head.
"JuJu!" Baekhyun breathlessly sprints his way from the van, and within fractions of a second, has pounced on me with all his weight. I feel his heavy arms constrict me like a snake as I stumble backward, overwhelmed by his sudden embrace.
"I'm so glad you're okay!" Baekhyun wails dramatically, shoving his face into my hair as