“Why do you have claw marks on your neck?” you slapped your neck around with both of your hands and nothing seemed to hurt or feel any different. You looked behind you to see who was talking to you.
In the middle of a busy mall where you were looking for a new blanket to binge Netflix and Youtube with, you saw a familiar face that you know you’ve seen before.
He was staring at you for a bit longer than possible. He was wearing a black shirt, denim jacket, worn out jeans and a beret.
It felt like time stopped.
Store employees started to walk away from both of you since you two were unresponsive. It felt like the rest of the customers were treating both of you like mannequins.
Those deep eyes. Full lips. Broad shoulders. Tanned complexion. How could you not notice your own bias?
“Y-Yang Hongseok from Pentagon?” you stuttered as you held the thick blanket you were going to buy close to your face to hide your blushing cheeks.
He physically shook his head and hit his temples as if to snap himself. You blinked a few times before bowing to you repeatedly, “I’m sorry! I was rude!” You laughed. You weren’t laughing at him. You were laughing at the awkward situation you’re in. You smacked your lips to make you physically stop making the situation more weird than it already was. You weren’t exactly elegant when laughing. You approached him first as he was still bowing.
“Nice to meet you,” you put your hand between the two of you. He stopped mid bow when he saw your hand and laughed. You guessed… no, you knew he was also laughing because he found the situation and the circumstances between the two of you crazy. He shook your hand with a firm grip.
Strong grip. Rough palm. Veiny back hand. When he released his hand from yours, your fingers traced each other’s. You felt the hair at the back of your neck stand up from how electric that felt.
“Yeah, I’m Hongseok. I’m surprised you recognized me.” he laughed.
“You’re not that hard to miss,” you laughed with him. You bit your lips. Should you say you’re a fan? Would that sound weird? Would that sound fake? But you were a fan! You have their albums and had his full body poster in your room, how are you fake? You could memorize all the songs in their first album when they debuted, you recognized him from survival shows, you recognize his face on billboards from a mile away -!
“I’m a huge fan of you.” you regret saying those words. Why did they come out of your mouth? Now he’ll think you’re a weird person and a stalker because in what situation out of a million ones, do you end up talking to your bias this way?
“Oh, thank you! I was worried you might have seen me as a creepy guy stalking you. Thank god we got that covered.” he smiled. You didn’t regret saying those words. Why did you regret in the first place? Now, he’ll say that you made a good first impression!
You two stood there in silence for a while. You looked around the floor of the department store to avoid eye contact. You noticed why both of you look awkward in this situation. People were walking around the store pointing at random items and actually shopping. You two are standing in one spot and just laughing awkwardly… loudly… next to each other in the bed section of the store.
“Shall we walk around?” You gestured to him to walk to another section. He nodded vigorously and followed next to you.
“Umm…” you said while carrying around the red blanket around you as if that would protect you from the cringe that is being not good at interacting with strangers. He was your bias, you watched every VLIVE and Youtube videos about Pentagon, but you gradually realized that… you didn’t know him at all. He was a complete stranger with a familiar face. You were used to seeing him through the screen, and you would not have imagined him being ever next to you and window shopping together. What do you even talk about?
“So, umm… about that scar you have, how did you get that?” he pointed at his own neck, implying that he meant the claw marks on your neck. You traced your own neck as he gestured. “I mean! If you don’t mind answering that question…”
“Nobody has seen it before,” You said bluntly. It’s crazy. You know what he’s talking about. There was a scar on your neck. It looks like a lion dragged it’s claw from the back of your neck up and trailed up to your chest where the heart is - it looks like it healed over. You have had this since you were a kid. Somehow, not even your parents could see it meanwhile you see it the first thing in the morning when you look at the mirror. It never hurts. It never changes. It never goes away, not even a day. You had no one to go to about it. You were just convinced at this point that you were crazy. “Did my friends or my family set you up for this to say that? How much did they pay you?”
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to say that. I just thought it was pretty cool of you not making it a big deal. It caught my eye the moment I saw it.” you hear the regret in his voice. You automatically feel bad. This is your boy! Your bias! How could you be so cold?
Yes, this is a scar you only see, people pretend all the time that they can see it just to entertain you out of pity. You looked up to him, grabbed his arm to stop both of you from walking, and asked sincerely, hoping to hear the same sincerity in his answer, “If you see my scar, what does it look like?”
You were wearing an off-shoulder blouse, your scar is very much in the view if he can see it. “It looks like a lion or a dragon ripped your skin off. It looks…lumpy and pinkish colored. Ah… I don’t want it to sound like I’m looking in that general area, but…” his eye travelled slowly from your eyes to your neck and then to your cleavage. He snapped his head away as if that could hide away his blush. He coughed, “And the scar is going towards your ummm…” he motioned his hands towards his chest implying… yours.
You let go of his arm. Frozen. You felt chills all over. You didn’t even describe your scar to yourself before, yet he was more than accurate. You were also blushing as hard as he is because he looked at your chest. You don’t understand if you should slap him for actually looking or just stand there and be .
“If I’m wrong, you’re allowed to report me to police -?”
You grabbed his cheeks with both your hands - you had to stand on your toes though in order to grab his face. You pulled his head near your face and whispered, “How did you know?”
“It’s big, how can I miss it?”
You shook your head and let him go. “You want proof?”
He nodded slowly with a raised eyebrow.
You typically won’t approach salespeople from a clothes store, but who cares!? You were talking to your bias. He turned you on without him being on the other side of the screen. He said he sees your imaginary scar. At this point, if you are crazy, at least you’re seeing an illusion of Yang Hongseok from Pentagon.
You grabbed a random sleeveless dress and asked the three (3) salespeople who were spilling tea at a random corner of the store. “Excuse me, miss, does this dress compliment my neck scar?”
The three (3) salespeople had to double-take what you said. “Ah, you want to know if that dress matches a scarf, ma’am?”
“No,” you motioned to your scar on your neck, “this big scar on my neck, will it look bad if I wore this dress?”
“Not a scarf?”
“My neck scar,”
The salespeople gradually took a step back from you. The one who answered you earlier was holding off a laugh, “Ah, we’ll have to look in our storage space if there is a dress for that miss.” The three (3) of them practically fast walked away from you.
“Well, that was rude,” Hongseok snorted and placed a hand on your exposed shoulder. It felt hot and you turned hot.
“Y-yeah,” you choked.
“I’m the only one to see your scar. So we’re like soulmates, right?”
You blushed from his response. He hasn’t processed what he said. He only realized the message he relayed from his own mouth in public in front of you when he saw you blush and shrink in your own shirt.
“So ah…” he scratched his head as if that could help him speak, “We’ll start with dates, right? Or I mean, ah -!”
“Do you even know my name, Hongseok?”
“Oh…I’m so sorry, but what was your name again?”
“I never told you my name.”
“Okay, let’s start with that,” he gave you his toothy grin.
“Are you real? I’m imaging a scar that only I can see and you’re my bias from my ultimate group, Pentagon.” you looked at him with a raised eyebrow. “This doesn’t look so good to me.”
“Oh, then,” he grabbed the blanket you were holding this whole time, wrapped it around you and pulled you near him. His forehead touched yours as you felt his hot breath. If this was schizophrenia, you’re NOT supposed to feel that. You’re NOT supposed to feel him at all. Oh god. He is real. “How about now? Am I real?”
“Are you cake?” you panicked.
He broke up laughing and dropped the blanket on the ground. You laughed with him. You two were laughing so hard to the point where you both didn’t notice the security guard behind the two of you.
You two did a public display of affection, potentially scared off other customers and made the employees piss their pants in a mall. Was it all worth it?
You looked at him laughing while trying to explain to the security guard what was happening and felt yourself wear a smile longer than you’ve ever had on your face ever. Yes. Yes, it was.