Chapter 13

EXILE

Jaebeom had a long night, Jackson, Henry, Namjoon and their band members hung out till 2 in the morning. By the time Jaebeom reached his flat, he is exhausted and ready to hit the bed. His phone rang as he is going through his nightly routine to hit the bed. He wondered who it is calling him at this hour as he walked into the living room to fetch his phone.

“Hey Lenny,” Jaebeom greeted answering the call.

“Jae, I have splendid news for you, Ale is out of coma. I have spoken to her over the phone. She sounded well.” Lenny said with relief and joy in his tone.

“I am relieved to hear from her after all these months of waiting, I just couldn’t stop myself from calling you right away to inform you about it. I am sorry if I woke you up.”

“Lenny, you have no idea how relieved I am to hear that Ale is doing well. Thank you for calling me at once,” Jaebeom replied with relief flooding his body.

“When are you going to see her?” Jaebeom enquired.

“Not until 2 days later, she said she will arrive at Hanscom Air Force base by early afternoon on Monday. She asked for you, I told her, you moved back to Korea, and you have been getting updates from me regularly.”

“Did she mention anything about seeing me? Can I fly down to Boston? I am dying to see her, talk to her.”

“Jae, she definitely misses you. You are the only other person she talked about during our brief conversation. I know about Ale she may not say it out loud but she would want you to be there.” Lennox assured Jaebeom.

“Is she coming home?”

“She will be in the military medical clinic; however, we can visit her.”

“Ok. I will be in Boston by Sunday night. I will send you a text with the details once I book my flight.” Jaebeom stated.

“Are you ok to travel with such brief notice? You must be busy with the company.”

“Don’t worry about it, I am just glad Ale is doing well and I get to see both of you.  Have nothing more important than you both.”

“Jae, I missed you, I bet Ale missed you too, I am glad you are making this trip. I won’t hold you up longer. See you soon, Jae.”

The exhaustion Jaebeom was feeling earlier seemed to be gone after the phone call and he is wide awake.  This is the news he had been waiting for since his return from USA, even when he finally learnt from Lennox that Ale is doing good Jaebeom still felt anxious. Until he sees Ale with his own eyes he may not feel at ease. After waiting for 4 months with a ton of patience he felt he couldn’t wait for two more days to see Ale.   

He has certain duties to take care of before he takes off to Boston. He had to make plans to cancel his meetings for Monday. He needs to coordinate with his staff to postpone the meetings and other document related works may be by a week. He is not sure when he will be back. He had to let his parents know of his trip, however it may raise too many questions on the purpose of his abrupt travel plans to Boston. He didn’t want to say anything to any of in his family until he had an honest conversation with Ale.

He felt bad to disturb his staff during the weekend, however certain jobs need to be delegated before he can board the flight to Boston. He had to coordinate with Jackson too, as they were planning to have a formal meeting with Namjoon and Henry before Jackson left for Hongkong. For now, he can book his flight ticket and, in the morning, he can connect with his staff to delegate the work.

Jaebeom felt guilty about ditching Jackson once again and dumping all the work on him. He promised Jackson that he will be more involved regarding the music platform a few hours earlier, and here he goes backpedaling on his promise. He needs to call Jackson and talk to him in the morning if he could reschedule the meeting for a later date or if he will go ahead with the meeting by self.

The sun is up and high in the sky by the time Jaebeom is awake. After his morning routine, he connected with his staff, sent emails detailing the tasks that need attention in his absence and the meetings that need rescheduling. The next task on hand is to call Jackson and inform him about his trip to USA.

“Hey Bummie, good morning, what’s up?” Jackson answered the call with his usual chirpy self.

“Hey Jack, what are you up to?

“On my way to have breakfast with Jinyoung, I wanted to invite you, but we all went home pretty late last night and I didn’t want to disturb your sleep,” Jackson informed.

“I would have skipped, anyway. The reason I called you is to check with you if it’s possible for you to reschedule our meeting with Henry and Namjoon for a later week?”

“Oh, why? What’s going on? Jackson sounded concerned.

“I am flying to Boston on Sunday night, I may stay there for a week, I am not sure when I will be back in Seoul.”

“Is it work related? Is everything fine?

“Ya don’t worry about it. Things are fine, it’s just a last-minute plan, I am sorry to ditch you again. Hope you understand, I had to make this trip. If you don’t want to delay it, you can go ahead with the meeting. Once I am back, we can finalize all the last details.” Jaebeom answered.

“Bummie don’t stress, these kinds of things happen at work, I understand. I will go ahead with the meeting and will update you on it. I have my flight to Hongkong late evening on Monday, I will update you when I can be back in Seoul to kick start our project.”

“Thanks Jacks, I need to get going to work. I will keep you posted on my return plan to Seoul.”

Jaebeom felt bad lying to Jackson. He didn’t lie to Jackson per se, he just let Jackson assume it’s work related, and he didn’t correct him. Maybe he will be able to talk about it once he meets Ale. His thoughts carried him back to the day when Lennox received the call saying Ale was out of danger and in a stable condition. They both were relieved and happy, unfortunately the happiness didn’t last long. Lennox received a call the next day stating Alexis had cerebral edema and the doctors have put her in an induced coma to minimize the swelling and inflammation of the brain. The doctors didn’t give any other information regarding Ale’s condition. Lennox and Jaebeom were anxious and have been waiting for past 4 months waiting for the day to receive the news that Ale is out of coma. They didn’t expect it to take so long, and frankly they were distressed as months passed by. Jaebeom trusted Ale being the resilient individual she is will get through. Lennox and Jaebeom were patiently waiting for this very day to come when Ale is up and healthy. Jaebeom had a lot on his mind that he would like to share with Ale, however he has to make sure Ale is in a condition comfortable enough for any discussion regarding their relationship. If he has to wait for her to get better, he is willing to do so, even if it takes months.

Jackson reached Jinyoung’s home, where he is welcomed warmly by Jinyoung’s mother. It’s been a year or two since he saw her last, she has changed little. Ever the graceful, reticent lady who displayed affection and emotions behind closed doors. After a brief conversation she led Jackson to the dinning area where breakfast is served, Jinyoung joined them shortly and the trio ate together and Jinyoung’s mother excused herself, leaving the young men to go about with their plans for the day.

“So how was last night? Is Jaebeom convinced with the band?” Jinyoung enquired.

“It went smoother than I have expected. We were supposed to have a meeting with Henry and Namjoon this Monday, however Jaebeom is flying to Boston on Sunday night, so I need to take care of it myself.”

“Boston? Why?”

“Jaebeom said it is a last-minute plan, he is not sure when he will be back,” Jackson shrugged.

“Do you want me to tag along for the meeting? Jinyoung asked, trying to be as casual as possible.

“You can if you want, I thought you are not interested in this,” Jackson stated with an unsure look.

“I just wanna hang out with you before you leave.”

“Says the guy who ditched me last night,” Jackson snickered, rolling his eyes.

“I left so it won’t be awkward if Seokjin joined you guys along with his boyfriend. I was helping you all and you should be thankful for that,” Jinyoung snorted with an indignant look on his face.

“Also, you mentioned Jaebeom is not sure when he will be back from Boston. If you need my help regarding the band or your music platform, I am happy to help in Jaebeom’s absence. Consider this my good deed for this year,” Jinyoung proposed.

“Jinyounga, I know you better than anyone, you are never this selfless, so what is the real reason? Are you finding excuses not to show up at work? Is that the real reason?”

“Ok. You caught me. Yes, I want an out, even if it’s temporary. I am going to burst one of these days working under my grandfather, so yes, I want some distraction from the hell I am in.” Jinyoung responded. He is glad Jackson had no idea what the real reason is for his sudden interest in their project.

“Please don’t say our dream project is some sort of distraction for you. I don’t want to involve you if you are going to do a half job,” Jackson mumbled with displeasure.

“Hey you trust your crazy cousin Henry with this project and you don’t trust me? I feel insulted,” Jinyoung stated with annoyance.

“I told you Henry has changed for good, however I am bit worried about him. He never has kept secrets from me, but he is tight-lipped about this new friend of his. This guy Yien is staying with Henry in the guest house, I am not sure how long he has been staying there with Henry.”

Jinyoung ears perked up the moment he heard Yien’s name. He is glad Jackson has brought Yien up in the conversation. He had to be smooth on extracting information on Yien without sounding too excited. He also concluded that Jackson has no clue who Yien is, but he couldn’t find a logical reason on why Henry is guarded on the information with respect to Yien. Jinyoung is aware of how close Jackson and Henry are, there must be a solid reason on why Henry isn’t ready to share Yien’s details with Jackson. It is discouraging to know that Henry wouldn’t share information about Yien to Jackson, if that is the case, there is no way Jinyoung can spill it from Henry if he choose to stay silent on Yien’s topic.

“Jinyounga, are you even listening?” Jackson questioned after he didn’t receive any response from Jinyoung.

“Yeh, is this the same guy you mentioned about last night?”

“Indeed.”

“What are you stressed about in particular? Henry has a lot of friends who spend time with him. How is this Yien guy any different from Henry’s other friends?”

“I know most of Henry’s friends. Even when I meet his friends for the first time, the introductions are lengthy and elaborate. The manner in which he introduced Yien is in a single sentence which is not Henry’s usual self.”

“Henry stated and I quote,” “He is a special friend of mine,” Jackson said with air quotes gesture.

“Special friend? Are you saying Henry is interested in men now?” Jinyoung questioned with surprise evident on his face.

“Nah, that’s not what I implied. I am certain he is not into guys; The reason I am worried is, I don’t want that guy to take advantage of Henry’s generosity. Although to be honest Yien doesn’t come across as someone who would do that sort of thing.”

“It seems to me the real reason behind your concern is the fact that Henry has not disclosed Yien’s information to you.”

“May be, but that is the precise reason I am worried about. If it’s just a friend, he should be able to tell me who Yien is and where he is from. There is no reason to be secretive about it,” Jackson stated defensively.

Jinyoung is as intrigued as Jackson, to say the least. For now, he had to be content with the information on Yien lodging at Jackson’s guest house, atleast he knows where to find Yien.

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