TOTGA

3000 Worlds to JoyRene

TOTGA

World: #13

** "We had a love before. Now, I was loved and you are loving somebody else." **

 

Darkness greeted her soon as she opened her apartment door. She idly went inside with her only phone as the light. She walked kicking some bottles of soju on the floor. The action gave her the consequence of being tripped to one of those objects and fell on the floor. 

A big sigh was released indicating that she was not going to complain. She didn't even dare to stand up as she just shifted her body and lied in supine position. Her phone lit up from a call, but she paid no attention to the contact name. She put her forearm over her eyes as she sighed once again. However, this time tears followed. Subsequently, little painful sounds were produced making the room more darker.

They said that alcoholic beverages have the capability to remove painful memories for someone, but for her it seemed like the mechanism took an opposite route. The intoxicant rather stimulated her mind to flash her memories and emotions. She cannot deny it anymore, now that her body chose to be honest. 

She really does love Irene.

It's been two years ever since they made a decision to cut their ties between each other. They are the epitome of 'almost' who were not able to overcome the conflict of their love story. They were the main characters who chose to end their story tragically because they thought it was the best solution to their problems— For Joy, it was until it wasn't anymore. 

Joy regretted the choice she had made. They had a lot of differences, more like opposing perspectives, and to as why they ended it just like that. But still,  they could have just fixed it. 

What could have been wrong?

It was Joy all along. The other party left crying and she stood still watching the one she loves walked away. She had the power to repair the damage, but she chose to give up in a mindset that both of them would be able to move on just like in her past relationships. She thought that the outcome would be the same, but it was just her ego who made her believe that it was.

In Joy's past relationships before Irene,  breaking up was a normal thing to do. She can move on quickly and can have them stay as her friends. There was no big deal at all. However, with her latest heartbreak she wasn't able to do what she usually did in the past. She could have been dating someone new after a month, but she didn't. She thought that she would be freed, but it suffocated her more rather. She wasn't able to befriend Irene just like her other exes. They never talked after the heartbreak since Irene also resigned from her job and transferred to somewhere else to which Joy didn't know.

A two years without communication nor news about her ex lover, but her feelings got stronger as time went by. She constantly thought of Irene from weeks, months, until it became a year. That's the only time she realized Irene was different from everyone. Irene was the only one who was able to make her engrave happy memories that turned painful whenever she remembers her. Irene was the only one who was able to make her feel home, but now she's homeless. There were many houses to stay, but she chose to wander, letting various catastrophes hurt her in every possible way with the belief of redeeming her sin.

***

"I'm sorry for what I caused yesterday." Joy bowed an apology.

Yesterday was another bad day for her. She made the supposed-to-be-fun party awkward when she wasn't able to control from spitting harsh comments. She blamed the alcohol, but reality spoke that it was her innate self who was really at fault.

"No unnie, thank you."

Joy looked up. Her face showed confusion from the words responded to her by Yeri.

"Thank you?" she questioned.

"You were right about me stopping my habit of playing games in love. It made me realize that love isn't a game at all because you cannot retry it when it is over. I should start being serious about my relationship with Saeron. Thank you for scolding me." Yeri explained to her while scratching her nape in shy manner.

Joy slowly nodded in understanding and a small curve formed on her lips. 

"That's good to know. Don't follow my example where I let a jewel fell into the sea." Joy replied. There was a hint of sadness in her tone.

"Wow, that's deep! I thought you were just playing around that's why we never talked about this, but... you do love her, don't you?"

Joy was taken aback from the question. It was first time from a long time that someone brought the topic to her. She was hesitant to answer, but she still nodded as a response.

Back then, she would reply immediately without any care about the real meaning of love. She thought that love was just a label for couples who reconciled with their feelings. However, with Irene's departure, she realized that love was different from feeling butterflies in your stomach, smiling idiotically because of an LSM, feeling electricity when kissing and hugging your partner, and getting excited during a special event. It was far more than that. It's not an attraction, admiration, affection, nor infatuation. It was only love— a strange phenomenon that connects souls to one another. That's what Joy perceived upon her discovery that the bond she had with Irene was special.

"Why won't you claim her again?" Yeri asked.

"It's been two years now and I don't have any news about her. We never crossed paths for those months and I think she already moved on. I also think that she already has someone new in the present." She sighed. She simultaneously brushed her hair with her fingers. From every , she can feel her heart breaking. She had been trying to accept this possibility, but until now she cannot do it since it was painful for her and part of her wanted to hold on.

Yeri shook her head. "You're just overthinking, unnie." she said. "This is why you didn't get any news about her because you were not trying anything at all."

Yeri was right. She didn't try any action towards satisfying her curiosity about Irene. She chose to be stuck from blaming herself. She chose to think of herself as a useless and worthless person who doesn't deserve love. She chose not to bother Irene since she was the cause of their despair. She preferred to stay in the dark rather than chasing the light to reach her own nirvana.

"You're gorgeous, smart, rich, loved by many, and a famous actress. You're on hiatus anyway and have a lot of free time since you only attend your acting class thrice in a week. Why don't you use your time to retrieve your former manager, specifically, your ex?" Yeri opened her bag and took out a red coloured card. She handed it to Joy.

"Red Velvet Publishing? What's this? Did you change your job from a music producer to a book employee?" Joy asked in confusion.

"It's not me." She grabbed her phone and began typing something on its screen. As she returned her phone in her bag, Joy's phone screen lit up.

Joy saw the message sent to her and she did not have to ask to know whose number was shared to her. Although, she deleted the number, she can still memorized who owned it and she cannot believe that Irene was still using the same number. 

"Irene-unnie changed, but not her feelings for you. She may not be telling us directly, but we know she's secretly longing for you. Unlike you, she's casually open whenever your name is being mentioned. She still thinks about you, but she keeps it low-key."

Joy bit her lower lip from the information she received. Her holds to the card became tighter as her breathing became sharper.  She diverted her eyes to conceal her emotions.

Irene still cares...

"There's still a chance, unnie." Yeri put a hand on her shoulder. "Irene-unnie is a cat. She's too lazy to move on. Go and take her home. She belongs to you."

***

Books, blankets, used and unused clothes, papers, can of beers, pillows, and other objects were lying everywhere. Joy continued on browsing her gallery while lying on the center of the carpet. She slept there and woke up there, now still not having her momentum to stand up. She continued to swipe her phone screen showing Irene's face one after another. It was then that she accidentally played a video of Irene who was smiling beautifully. Joy could hear her own heart beat cheering for her to get up. 

She released a deep breath and closed her phone. That's enough... She shifted her body as she spreaded her arms while staring at the ceiling. She then sat up and looked around. Her room was a mess. She bet that it could be mistaken as garbage dump. She sighed, slapped her cheeks, and decided to clean her room.

She picked the books and piled them on the side. She dusted the shelves first before returning the books in their respective places. She threw the clothes and blankets to the laundry basket. She put away  the can of beers and other objects lying on the floor. She then switched the vacuum on and began cleaning.

Sweats were smoothly slipping down her forehead. She let a groan upon stretching her shoulder. She took a deep breath. She turned her head to her side. She walked towards her window. She grabbed the curtain and moved it, opening it wider until the sunlight fully illuminated her once dark room.

She jumped from her feet when her phone rang. She went to grab it and answered the phone call, which came from Yeri.

"I just want to remind you about your mission. Just so you know, I don't have a coward friend, unnie. You better go there today."

Joy sighed from the threatening tone. Yeri was one of those people who was indifferent to her relationship with Irene before, but now she's the one pushing Joy to mend her shattered bond with Irene. 

"Don't worry, I will go."

"Oh ripper! That's good to hear. Update me, unnie."

"Okay,"

"I should go, unnie. Hwaiting!"

"Later," Joy hung up the phone call. She brushed her hair through her fingers before deciding of making herself ready.

***

It's not that easy...

Joy could hope that her confidence as the so-called y Dynamite back then remained.  She wanted to tell Yeri that she's going to revoke her goal, but part of her was also afraid that Yeri would be mad at her again. It's hard to gain that young friend's support knowing that Yeri didn't approve her with Irene in the past, so disappointing her wasn't an option. 

She spent her time thinking of possible scenarios in the shower and now she's wasting her time again fighting with herself. She's been in her car for an hour staring at the red building Yeri had told her. She never stepped out as if she was glued on her seat.

Come on, Joy...

She pulled her hair and almost slamming her head on the steering wheel of her car. How did she develop anxiety? She's used to camera flashes, intense interviews, attention, but she didn't expect that facing Irene would make her feel so very nervous. She sighed in frustration of losing the courage to face her. All the sleepless nights of planning to get Irene back were gone from her mind and were replaced by many What ifs.

A group of students went past her car holding cups of coffee. It made her get an idea of calming her nerves first before facing her beloved muse.

Wearing her mask and baseball cap, she went out from her car, she looked around scanning her overall surroundings until her eyes caught a glimpse of a coffee symbol. She made her way to the shop. She opened the glass door and the scent of coffee made her smile a bit. 

It's relaxing...

She directed her way to the counter and ordered her choice of beverage. When her order was already processed, she went to find a table, but to her dismay, everything seemed to be occupied. 

This place is quite famous. She thought as she approached some of the attendants of the shop and told her concern.

"Miss, we found a table. Would it be okay for you to share it with other customer?"

Joy nodded. "Yes, I don't mind." she replied showing an eyesmile.

"And can we get your authograph?" the attendant asked shyly.

Joy was a bit surprised, but she chuckled and nodded. She held the pen and notebook offered to her and wrote her signature. Now I know why there's a lot of people today. Joy thought as she started to feel the familiar sensation of being stared at.

The attendant guided her towards a table, a bit isolated, and has a more relaxing ambiance much to Joy's liking. She thanked that attendant as she was finally able to settle down. She removed her disguise and let herself breathed in the scent of her cup of coffee. She was too relaxed that she was late to notice the customer she shared the table with.

Her peace was suddenly disturbed upon recognizing the face of her goddess. Irene was in front of her staring at her in unreadable facial expression. Joy felt herself turning into a statue from the doe eyes looking at her. She didn't know what to do as her surrounding was muffled. She can definitely hear her own breathing and the way she felt her chest burning intended for her to be reminded about her relationship with that person in front of her.

If you see your ex after a long time, what will you do?

Joy didn't know the answer. The answer she had to others was different to that of Irene's. Irene is unordinary, distinct, and the only one who can shut her system down. Joy didn't expect it at all. She avoided going to the red building, but she ended up meeting Irene in an unexpected place and with a great timing. It seemed for Joy that they were fated to meet, but what would she say? After a long time, she felt like a toddler learning to speak.

Irene was the first one to break the eye contact as well as the first one to break the silence. Joy didn't know if she should be thankful or not because the moment Irene opened to say something, it sounded like a lullaby and it made Joy dizzy. Her voice was stuck in and she wasn't able to reply.

"How are you going?" Irene repeated.

Irene's voice was still breathy, soft, and gentle. Joy bit her tongue to wake herself up from daydreaming and forced herself to respond.

"I... I'm doing... good. How about y-you?" Joy cursed herself from stuttering. She was in the industry of celebrities for too long that speaking in public didn't become her problem at all. It was her first time having a speech problem. Oh boy did she look like a high school girl trying to confess to her crush.

Joy could tell how awkward her situation was, not to mention that Irene didn't reply to her yet. She was taking her time staring at her as if she's dissecting her. The stare wasn't cold and wasn't warm either. It lies in X where there is an unknown answer to that.

A while back, Joy was so excited to drink her coffee, now she can almost forgot that she's even inside a coffee shop. She wished to ask help from Yeri, but she cannot even move nor breathe normally. 

"You dyed your hair." Irene chose to say instead of answering Joy's question.

Joy nodded. "I'm on hiatus... that is why..." she replied pertaining to her once dyed in red hair. Now that the hair was mentioned, Joy could slap herself from being late to notice the visible changed of her beloved's appearance. Irene's once long untouchable hair was now on her shoulder level and Joy wanted to hit herself to make sure she wasn't dreaming. Irene became more beautiful and youthful as Joy would want to compliment her if it's not about them being exes. Joy could wish to turn back the time or for her to get an amnesia, so that she can start over easily. She hates her situation.

"Your hairstyle suit you." Joy could only managed to say. She wanted the ground to her alive when she saw Irene touching her own hair. The scene was mesmerizing.

"I want to change, that is why." 

There's a double meaning to her statement as it caused Joy of not being able to formulate an answer. Subsequently, there was an awkward silence and Joy didn't know what to do anymore.

"Your coffee,"

"Huh?" Joy blinked twice, shook her head; she spaced out and didn't hear Irene well. "I'm sorry... What was that?"

"You should drink your coffee before it gets cold." 

"Oh right..." Joy looked down and realization hit her upon seeing her stimulant beverage. It's Iced Americano, so technically it's cold. Did she mean that—

She was cut in trance when her companion stood up from her seat. She eyed her in a question, but Irene didn't say anything nor looked at her direction. 

"Irene," Joy called in pure impulses. Her hand caught Irene's wrist through adrenalin rush before the latter could finally walk away. Joy felt afraid to let go. Joy was catching her breath as if she just ran in a marathon and her heart can almost leapt out from her chest. She took a deep breath before forcing herself to speak. "Please, stay..."

There was a marked silence until Irene gently took Joy's hand away from hers. Without turning her head back to Joy, she responded, "I'm going to be late from work. If you want to talk to me, let's meet here again." And she left.

Joy slowly turned her head back to her Iced Americano and held it close to her lips. She took a sip allowing the cold solution extinguished her burning feelings.

"Damn..."  

She grabbed her phone and dialed Yeri's number. She needs an advice.

***

Joy woke up from a soft shake she felt on her shoulder. She groaned, complaining that she was still sleepy, but soon as she recognized Irene's voice, she immediately raised her head and sat in erect position.

"I'm sorry, I fell asleep...!" she apologized. Her eyes automatically closed when Irene's hand was raised and went towards her face expecting a hit (she cannot think straight because of forcing herself to wake up). She opened her eyes realizing that Irene was just brushing her hair through her finger tips, particularly fixing her mussed hair. Joy was able to see Irene's face closely. From her eyes, to her nose, to her lips, Joy wanted to own Irene's overall being again. She missed Irene too much that she felt her heart being squeezed in maximum pressure. She wanted to hold her, but she was afraid that it would cause discomfort to the latter.

Irene stopped from what she was doing and matched Joy's stare. The latter though looked away, slightly blushing from being caught.

"Have you been waiting for me here since I left?" Irene asked her. She was now sitting on the chair opposite to Joy's.

Joy nodded, not looking at Irene. She was still embarassed from her action in which she shouldn't be feeling since they had a very close relationship before. They had kissed each other already, embraced each other, witnessed their insecurities and imperfections, but Joy felt like it was her first time meeting Irene again. It was nothing compared to their first meeting where Joy continued on flirting with her until their feelings towards each other blossomed then withered at some point. Now that Joy decided to be put in the same flower box as Irene again, she became shy and stupid.

"You could have just gone home. What if I didn't go here? You would be waiting for nothing." Irene told her. 

This time, Joy was able to tilt her head to see Irene. She saw the familiar concern written on her ex's face. Rather than feeling happiness, she felt a pang in her chest instead. She wanted Irene to smile.

"It's fine. It's better than not seeing you... forever... After all, I... I—" 

"I'm sorry to interrupt, but Miss Joy, Miss Bae, we may need to close now since there's a storm coming. It's better if you go on your way too for the safety of both you." 

Joy sighed and nodded. She took a peek on Irene who briefly looked at her phone screen. 

Both of them went out from the coffee shop. It's already dark and it was raining hard. Joy didn't even notice it. She was way too focused on her problem with Irene to read any country nor global news. It's not the best time to talk to Irene. She should just come back for another time since she doesn't want to bother Irene's resting hours especially that there was a typhoon.

"Do you have a place to stay here?" Irene suddenly asked her. She opened her umbrella and scooched closer to Joy to shield the latter from the rain.

"I'm just gonna drive home." Joy replied. Her travel time took two hours, it didn't bother her at all. 

"And come back tomorrow?" Irene asked.

Joy looked down to see Irene who was already staring at her. Joy timidly nodded as a response. 

The rainfall was becoming heavier and Joy could tell that taking a bus or a cab would be a too much hassle for Irene. If Yeri was correct, Irene didn't try to get her driver's license yet.  "Where do you stay? I'm gonna bring you to your home." Joy shifted the topic immediately, slightly increasing the volume of her voice, so that Irene could hear her. It's her fault that Irene was stuck in that kind of weather with her.

Irene just let Joy delivered her on her place. The road trip was silent and only the heavy raindrops became their music background. The rain was becoming heavier as time passed by and it annoyed Joy as she was needed to deaccelerate the car making her suffering prolonged from the awkward silence.

Joy parked her car when she reached the place Irene had told her. She wanted to open the car door for Irene, but considering the heavy rain she would be looking fool of herself if she did that. She turned to Irene's direction and just waited for her to make a move.

"You should stay."

Joy blinked twice, processing what she heard. She was forced to ask Irene to repeat what she said to confirm that her mind wasn't playing tricks on her.

Irene sighed still not looking back at Joy. "The road to this location is dangerous and prone to flooding whenever it's raining. I suggest you to stay at my place for the mean time. You're my responsibility for this day, so if something happens to you it would be my fault."

She opened the car door, closed it, and then walked to driver's seat location where Joy opened her car door. Joy didn't have a choice and just followed Irene's words. After all, she partly liked the idea since she was going to spend her time with the one she was missing so much. She may also take this as an opportunity to talk to Irene if a chance will be given to her.

Joy volunteered in holding the umbrella as Irene clung to her arm. She can feel the warmth radiating from Irene's body. It made her tensed shoulders relax. She felt disappointment when they're already in a shed. Joy had wished for the road to be longer to have Irene close to her in a longer period, but it's a selfish reason.

A literal neat, clean, and organized apartment greeted Joy. Nothing changed to Irene's liking especially to the refreshing scent she was familiar with, in contrast to Joy's house where there was an recurring awful smell of alcohols. If she didn't break up with Irene, the latter could have been scolded her many times. Irene didn't like her drinking alcoholic drinks.

Joy stayed in the living room. She sat on the couch just staring at nothingness for few minutes until Yeri started bombarding her phone with messages. Joy took her time making her phone silent and almost shutting it off, but she realized she might need Yeri to divert her uneasiness for a moment. She started sending responses to her young friend.

 

Just bcoz she didnt tell u the time, u stayed there the whole day LMAO!! Be thankful I told her that u've been waitin~

Why did you do that? I don't like how she looked guilty a while back...

Ya just be thankful that it bcame ur blessing in disguise! U're stayin in her flat, right? Grab the chance to tell her that u want her back.

It's not that easy...

Just KISS her already!!!

Why would I do that you?? That's stupid.

It's called tactic. U're an actress! U could have probably known that a kiss can solve conflicts.

Sorry I don't know & I'm regretting to know that. I'm not going to kiss her.

PATHETIC. WEAK. BORING.

AHSJSJSTUPIDSHSJSKSBRATDHDJ

JAJKSKSIREADTHATYOUSTUPIDUNNIEMSKSKS

Just how fast the night changes. Last time u're an arrogant btch, now u're an annoying goody two shoes.

Thanks for the compliment that made me want to strangle you with hug.

:P

BTW since u told her about me then she knows why I'm here?

Of course. 

What did she say?

I'm not gonna tell you :P

I'll buy you anything you want soon as I get home.

Me: She wants u back.

Her: ...

Me: You love her, right? Give her a chance. I can tell that she changed after the two of you broke up.

Her: ...

Me: She's been problematizing on how she'll face you. 

Her: ...

Me: BTW, she's waiting in the coffee shop until now coz u told her that u'll meet her there again.

Her: You should have told me earlier. 

Me: I'm just assessing if you still love her. If not, I would tell her immediately to give up. Do you want her to give up?

Her: ...

You didn't make this up, did you?

Gosh how annoying!!! Of course I didnt. She only replied me once and there's 95%  silence.

That's the proof!!!

...

WOW that's so sweet╭∩╮

BTW what will u do now? 

Wait.

Goodluck. Hope she turns u down :D

Hope Saeron breaks up with you :D

╭∩╮(︶︿︶)╭∩╮

 

Joy closed her phone sighing. She's fond of Yeri since they work in the same company, but she gets on her nerve most of the time. She was just thankful that they are still close friends despite their many disagreements from serious to trivial matters.

Irene called Joy afterwards. Both of them ate their dinner silently. Joy also did the dishes in which she found it funny since she remembered that she haven't wash her own dishes in her house yet.

Joy stared at her reflection in the mirror after showering. She's wearing her purple shirt. Irene brought her the shirt she remembered as Irene's favoriteJoy blushed from the memory, but still, the sight of Irene wearing her own shirt after their first long night was still fresh to her. Joy subconsciously bitten her lower lip as Irene's reactions when she marked her suddenly flashed into her mind.

"Get a grip, Joy..." she muttered. She pinched her own cheek as she decided to ask Irene if they could finally talk.

"Irene—" 

"Yes, I'll be there. Don't worry, I didn't forget."

Irene was talking to someone with a smile on her face... Joy could feel her heart being squeezed. She should be happy, but having the thought that someone can make her beloved smile made her fear that maybe Yeri was wrong about Irene who didn't move on. 

Joy just stood at the middle of her walk while staring at Irene talked to someone on the phone. She never thought it can hurt her this much. Maybe, just maybe, but still she hopes... That should be me making you smile.

"Silly! Of course. I'm just gonna sleep. Huh? I don't want to. Okay, okay. Take care and don't get hurt. See you later." 

Irene put her phone down on the side table. She noticed Joy's presence so as to why she gestured her to sit beside her.

Joy sat beside her with enough space between them. She wanted to ask who was that person, but she thought that it wasn't her business since Irene wasn't her girlfriend anymore. She didn't have the rights to show that she was jealous.

"Why did you come here?"

"You told me to—"

"No," Irene cut her. "I'm meant to say why did you come here." Joy didn't reply to her. "Yeri told me that you came for me. Why?"

Joy was fidgeting her fingers collecting the words she could use to reply.

"What do you want to say?"

Joy turned to her side and faced Irene. "I'm so sorry..." 

"Why?" Irene's face was still unreadable.

Joy gulped. She took a deep breath and answered her in honesty. Since Irene gave her the opportunity, she's just gonna let herself spoke everything. "I'm sorry for everything, for not fighting hard, for taking everything about you for granted, for hurting you, for not following you that day— I... I've been condescending, fool, jerk, bad to you... I'm sorry that I didn't do anything after our break up. I'm sorry that I became a coward. I'm so sorry, Irene..." 

There was silence. The weight beside Joy shifted. Irene was now standing in front of her. She was directly staring at Joy's eyes as if telling Joy not to look away.

The event was fast. Joy was now holding her left cheek from the slap she received from Irene. Her lower lip was bleeding because she bit her bottom lip prior to receiving the impact. 

I deserve it...

She aimed to wipe her blood, but Irene wiped it first by kissing her in a very gentle manner. Joy was stunned as Irene climbed to her lap still kissing her and with her hand softly caressing her cheek that had been hit. It was surreal. Joy couldn't process it. Her feelings was far overwhelming that her thinking capability was disrupted. She could only respond from the intimacy. Closing her eyes and wrapping her arms around Irene's waist, she pulled her closer to her body; slowly caressing her back. I love you. I love you. I love you. She relayed her feelings through the kiss. 

The kiss took enough time until their lips parted. Their foreheads touched, both of them had their eyes still closed, their breathing synchronizing as well as their hearts beating together.

"Do you love me...?" Irene breathed out.

"I do... I love you..." Joy answered. "Do you love me?"

Irene gave her a peck on the lips before pulling herself away from Joy. She was now standing in front of Joy again.

Joy could feel the emptiness not only because Irene was gone from her embrace, but also because the latter didn't reply to her question. Instead, she was told with something that saddened her.

"Forgiving you is as hard as trying to forget you... You, coming here caused me to feel different emotions. I was confused. Should I be happy that you're here? Should I be sad that you're hurt too? Should I be angry because you let me go? I didn't know how to justify what you made me feel. Everything was mixed up, but now that I realized your intention..." Irene paused to take a deep breath before continuing her statement. "How much I loved you is equivalent to the pain you gave me. That is why until now, I'm still in pain..."

Joy involuntarily held her hand, slowly rubbing her thumb to comfort her. Irene was calm, but there were tears falling from her eyes.

"You must be relieved that until now I still have my heart fixated to you."

Joy shook her head.

"You must be satisfied that I kissed you, that I let you stay here, that I was concerned with your safety, that I'm revealing how much I am head over heels to you."

"No, Irene..." Joy whispered.

"That day... I wanted you to hug me from behind, to tell me that you don't like it more if I'm not with you, to lock me in your room. I had wanted you to be possessive of me..." Joy continued on rubbing and squeezing her hand. "When I left that day, I waited on the middle of the road for you. I counted the people passing by... I wasted my time standing like an idiot and you never chased me. I had came to a conclusion that you really didn't love me, that you only liked my stupid appearance and body... that you only enjoyed our game of tag... that I'm your entertainment..."

"Irene..." 

"And then our friends kept on updating me about you after I moved in to another location. They told me that you didn't enter a relationship. They told me the changes about you after we broke up..." She paused to collect herself. She's sobbing and Joy was now standing too. "It could have been better if you continued being an abnoxious person... I could have just hated you and moved on. I... I waited... for a day... it became a week, then months, until it became a year... I suffered from every flashbacks I had with you. I suffered from missing our memories together. I suffered from hoping, praying, dreaming that you would get me back... Now that you're finally here, I feel so upset... Why just now? "

"I'm sorry." Joy could only say as she enveloped the crying goddess into her arms.

"I cannot forgive you..."

"I know."

***

She kissed me.

OMG!!!

♡⃛◟( ˊ̱˂˃ˋ̱ )◞⸜₍ ˍ́˱˲ˍ̀ ₎⸝◟( ˊ̱˂˃ˋ̱ )◞♡⃛

As expected u're pathetic! U should have kissed her first!!! Tssskkk.

And rejected me.

Awww...

How R u feeling my dear sissy?

I feel contented.

Oh that's new!

Yer gonna give up or continue in persuading her? 

I'll continue in loving her.

(づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ

٩(●˙—˙●)۶

That's not included in my question!!!

What will u do now?? 

Court her

maybe... 

What's w/ the 'maybe'?? U should def court her!! 

So did u confirm that she still loves u???

Yeah.

What did she say???

She said that she cannot forgive me.

Awww... 

She's hurt because she really loves you. Don't stop. Deep inside her despite unable to forgive you, she is hoping that you'd never give up on her.-- Saeron

(╥_╥)

Thank you, Saeron.

What about me??? 

Tnx.

U're so cold to me. I'm mad.

┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐

1 year supply of Almond Breeze soymilk.

U'd be ok. Irene-unnie will forgive u. She's just giving u lesson that there are things that u cannot acquire that easily. She wants u to make an effort. She wants to see how hard u try to make her return to u. Never give up! Unnie, hwaiting!!! 

♡╭∩╮(♡˙︶˙♡)╭∩╮♡

(づ ̄ ³ ̄)づ⌐╦╦═─  ♡♡♡

 

Joy closed her phone and rested her head on the arm of the couch. She smiled a bit, feeling at ease from the comfort she received from her young couple friends, especially Yeri.

Irene was now sleeping in her bedroom. She cried until she was tired. She literally fell asleep in Joy's arm, which made Joy carry her to the bed.

Morning came and Joy prepared for breakfast. She settled the foods in the table, just in time when Irene made an appearance. She's already dressed up, but her swollen eyes weren't concealed enough.

There was silence from eating their breakfast to leaving the apartment building.

"I'll bring you to your workplace." Joy said.

Irene didn't say anything, but let Joy do what she pleased. 

The heavy rain finally subsided and the dark sky was now bright compared from yesterday. Joy definitely felt the pressure inside her car, but she spoke anyway. 

"I'm going home, but I will return tomorrow."

Irene didn't reply.

"Thank you for having me in your home."

They finally arrived at the red building. Before Irene could open the car door, Joy held her hand.

"I'm not giving up. I want us to be together again." Joy squeezed her hand.

"Take care..." Irene could only reply.

Joy smiled giving her a hand kiss before letting go. The car door opened, but before Irene could close it, Joy spoke again. "I love you."

***

"Irene-unnie may have missed you so much that you got a wound in your lips LOL." Yeri commented followed by an evil smile.

"She didn't bite me, she slapped me."

"Oi, I didn't say anything."

"Your face told me everything."

Yeri gave her a peace sign and paid the materials she chose.

"This is not part of the deal. I just told you that I'll buy anything you want not to do everything you want." Joy complained as she was carrying the mechanical parts Yeri bought. "What's will all these things anyway? Are you going to build a robot?"

"Nope. I'll display them in my sanctuary."

"You're basically just buying them for satisfaction."

"EXACTLY!" 

Joy rolled her eyes.

"Let's go eat, unnie. My treat!"

"Yet you're using my card."

***

"You're really gonna purchase your own flat there?"

Joy nodded. She decided to reside near Irene's place for a while with the purpose of getting in touch with her more conveniently.

"That is why I'm letting you stay in my house for a while. Actually, you can call it as your own, just don't burn it. I've invested a lot to make that dream house of mine come true."

Yeri's grin grew wider. "Are you my mother in the past? You're really spoiling me ever since we met."

"Don't you like it?"

"You crazy? Of course, I like it!"

Joy smiled. "Good. I might have given the house to Saeron if you don't like it."

"Hey, that's unfair! You're giving it to her while you're only sharing it to me."

"Just eat. I'm moving out soon."

***

Joy made herself comfortable on the bed of her apartment. She was supposed to buy an apartment in Irene's apartment building, but everything was already taken. Well, her new home was not that bad at all. It wasn't that far from Irene's place. She can actually walk there if she wants to meet Irene.

"I wonder what she's doing right now..."

She jumped out from her bed and wore her disguise. She decided to have a walk around the area to get familiar.

The sky was already in its golden phase, an indicator that the sun was having its dramatic farewell for the day. Joy spent her time strolling. She would stop from specific spot and continued on walking.

There were various stores and restaurants around her apartment building. There was also a mini park that overlooking the Han River, in which she can go if she wants to relax. Aside from that, she could actually feel the peace around in which she didn't witness yesterday because of the hard rainfall. The location was beautiful and it's probably the reason why Irene chose to stay here.

She looked up and saw Irene's apartment building. Irene should be home by now as Joy remembered in the schedule she memorized from Irene's apartment bedroom.

Should I wait?

It was then a car arrived. The car doors opened and a familiar and non-familiar figure went out. It was Irene and some stranger.

Her eyebrows met when she saw the stranger holding Irene's hand. Her eyes went to Irene's face— Why is she smiling again? Joy could feel her heart rampaging not because of delightness of seeing her beloved's beautiful face, but because she felt jealousy. Her mood suddenly went down hill from witnessing it. She thought that it would end there, but Irene and the stranger directed their ways into the apartment building. This made her almost lost her breath from shock.

She wanted to follow them. She wanted to pry their hands away from each other. She wanted to pull Irene towards her, but she just ended up going in a pub. She just cannot confront Irene about it since they don't have have the label anymore. 

There were so many questions running to her mind. Who was that person? Who is she to Irene? Why was Irene looked like that? Why were they holding each other's hands? Why were they going inside the apartment together? Is the stranger a relative of hers or not? What's happening in her apartment right now?

Yeri said that Irene didn't move on just like what Irene had told her, but... What if Irene decided to move on today?

Joy drank from her glass of beer and then decided to call Yeri.

"You miss me already?"

"NO and I called you because I have something I want to ask you."

"Omo you're making me feel nervous. What is it?"

"Do you know someone who is close to Irene in the extent that someone can hold her hand and be invited to Irene's apartment?"

"Ahh you must be talking about Wendy-unnie or maybe Seulgi-unnie."

"What? There's another one?"

"Why are you so surprised? Irene-unnie is an irresistible human being, so literally she got many suitors."

"S-Suitors?" Joy couldn't believe her ears.

"Oh right, I didn't tell you. Irene-unnie got a lot of persistent admirers after becoming an Editor in RV Publishing."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"You didn't ask." Yeri laughed from the other line. "Don't worry, it doesn't matter since she loves you still. You're still the number one in her heart."

"But she let that mammalian creature inside her apartment while holding her hand and Irene looks happy..."

"Ahh you're basically saying that you feel upset because she can do what she had done with you before to others? Well, good luck for that. Who knows, she might be falling for that person."

Joy silently cursed her young friend. "I hate you."

Yeri laughed from the other line again. "If you're that worried, do something! I told you that I don't have a coward friend. You better get her before others do. You left her in an empty plot, so a passerby may take her thinking that she doesn't have an owner."

"What should I do?"

"Compete with 'em. I'll give you a hint who are your main rivals. The first one is Seulgi-unnie. She's an illustrator and she's hand in hand with Wendy-unnie who is a writer, your second rival."

"Why can't they just be together? They suit each other: a writer and an illustrator." Joy commented. Her tone cannot hide her irritation.

"You're so obvious today. I like your honesty. You're inside a bar, aren't you? Did you drink? You do know that Irene-unnie doesn't like drunkards." Yeri laughed when she heard Joy's soft cussed. "It's fine, unnie. Just don't let her see you in your drunk state. By the way, here's my additional information about your rivals..."

"Hmm?"

"I'll send their pictures to you."

Joy opened the photos Yeri sent to her. There were three pictures. One of them was the one she saw a while back. "Who is this caramel haired girl?"

"It's Wendy-unnie, the writer. She's quite famous for being an author of one of the best selling picture books alongside with Seulgi-unnie who is her illustrator. Wendy-unnie is also a music composer. She had several projects in our company before. She's kind, caring, funny, multilingual, talented, smart, well-spoken, and yeah... she is really perfect. She's a tough competitor because she's Irene-unnie's type."

Joy clicked her tongue from the information. She may hate it, but she won't deny that the description suit Irene's criteria. Irene really likes well-expressive individuals and Joy isn't one of them. She maybe good in expressing when she's acting in dramas, but in real life situations she cannot express her feelings well and she overthinks before she could speak. 

"This monolid girl? Who is she?" she asked.

"That's Seulgi-unnie. She's one of the coolest person you'll ever meet. I think you may like her too. Like she's hot and has a lot of talents. She can sing, dance, act, but chose to become a professional artist. She's also a teddy bear. She's the cutest. She's the type Irene-unnie wants to hug the most."

"It's making me pissed..." Joy muttered as her imagination getting wilder when an image of Irene embracing someone other than her. The alcoholic beverage was slowly getting into her system and her frustrations were heightened.

"The last one would be Jennie-unnie. She's the boss of RV Publishing. She's not really a threat since she's already in a relationship, but she's very close to Irene-unnie. I just included her in case you get jealous when you see them together."

"So, you're saying that I have two main rivals?"

"Yes! So, unnie, do you think you can par with them?"

"I still have the upper hand."

"Oho! That's the spirit!" She clapped. "But it doesn't mean that she still loves you, does mean she won't unlove you."

"Wow, thank you." Joy responded in sarcasm.

"Ya I'm just pressuring you, so that you'll try your best."

"I'm doing my best. Thank you."

"Don't forget the two years supply of Almond Breeze soymilk!"

"It's only one year. You can't fool me."

"Heh, whatever! Bye unnie, I have a movie marathon date with Saeron. Ciao!"

This brat, should she share about her couple goals with her girlfriend? Joy deeply sighed as she decided to go home. 

Darkness greeted her soon as she got out from the pub. The sun already settled and Joy could feel her body being tired. She was so productive for just a day just because she was excited to see Irene. 

I guess not everything goes in your way even if you feel that it would be a good day...

Joy stopped in front of Irene's apartment building. What a timing... Her eye corner caught Irene telling her farewell to Wendy. She was smiling again and Joy could only bitten her lower lip. She wanted to be the reason of Irene's smile too.

When the car left, Joy also decided to leave since she cannot have Irene knows that she drank alcohol.

She started walking away and didn't know that Irene saw her and was already following her from  behind. She arrived at her place and opened her door, that's the only time she noticed a person beside her. She jumped from surprise in the extent that she had herself bumped to her own door.

"I-Irene?!" She immediately fixed herself and greeted her ex. "Good evening. Why are you here?"

And again, Irene's face was unreadable and she didn't answer her.  She instead asked her the same question. "Why are you here?"

"I moved here." Joy held her arm. She was nervous for some reason.

"Why?"

"To see you every day..." 

Silence overcame them. Irene nodded and started to walk away. Joy felt the urge to follow her, so she closed her entrance and chased after Irene.

"How's your day?" Joy asked her when they're finally out from the building. She didn't get any response though.

Both of them arrived at Irene's apartment building. Joy stopped mid track and just told her goodbye to Irene.

"I'll see you tomorrow." 

Irene didn't even look at her. Joy just sighed. She expected it anyway. She just cannot help, but to feel sad on the difference of Irene's behaviour between her and Wendy.

She returned to her apartment. She made her way to the bathroom and decided to take a shower. For relaxation, she chose to play a music, but before she could press the play button she received a message from someone she didn't expect to text her.

Good night.

The number was unregistered, but she knew it was Irene's number. Smiling, she typed her reply.

Good night. I love you.

***

"Good morning. How was your sleep?" Joy greeted soon as Irene was in front of her. 

She didn't get any reply. Joy just opened the car door for her. Irene didn't give any reaction.

They arrived at the red building and Joy took the initiative to open the car door for Irene. 

"Do you want me to join you this lunch time?"

Irene shook her head.

"Okay," Joy smiled. "I'll fetch you after your work." She was about to leave when someone called her name. 

"Joy, the actress, is that you?" 

Both her and Irene turned to look at the person. Joy was a bit surprised to see Chaeyoung, her celebrity friend. Both of them were wearing disguise, but they can still be recognized.

"Chae, what are you doing here?"

"I'm visiting my girlfriend." Chaeyoung replied as she looked at Irene. "Good morning, Irene-ssi. Is she recruiting you again?"

Many people didn't know that Joy had a relationship with Irene. Since the past Joy was known to be flirty, her advances to her manager was only considered as normal behaviour. 

"I didn't know you have a girlfriend here." Joy shifted the topic.

"She's the boss anyway." Chaeyoung replied with a proud tone.

"Wow, she's Jennie, right?" Joy responded in which she realized it late that what she had said was something unusual.

She can feel Irene's intense stare and she can see the amusement in Chaeyoung's eyes accompanied with danger.

"How did you know?" Irene and Chaeyoung asked in unison.

Joy gulped. "Y-Yeri told me. I haven't meet her yet..." Joy answered showing her eyesmile when in fact she's biting her tongue. 

"You do have a plan in meeting my girl?" Chaeyoung question.

Joy could actually see a dark aura surrounding Chaeyoung. She knew that Chaeyoung had a girlfriend, but she never knew who it was since Chaeyoung was very protective of her. She also knew why no one from media dared to report any dating news of the celebrity. She's way too scary despite her playfulness in front of the camera.

"Listen mate, I know that she is your die hard fan, but know your place. Don't take advantage of that—"

Joy's eyebrows furrowed from the misunderstanding. "I'M ONLY INTERESTED IN IRENE ALONE!" Her voice was loud enough for the workers inside the building to turn their heads towards their direction. People passing by also stopped from walking. Joy on the other hand closed her eyes in embarrassment.

It took a while before Chaeyoung laughed hysterically while patting Joy's shoulder. Now, Joy's fear diminished and was replaced by irritation.

"My gal, you should have told me earlier. I could have help you with her."

Joy removed Chaeyoung's hand away from her. She deeply sighed and looked at Irene who was still staring her. Her face softened and smiled at Irene. "You'll be late. Go now. I'll be on my way."

"Ya, why are you ignoring me? We're both Parks, y'know." Chaeyoung hung her arm around Joy's shoulder.

"Take care and be safe. I'll see you later." Joy told Irene. The latter just nodded and finally went inside the building.

"Ya, Joy-unnie~"

Joy snorted from the sudden honorific. "Get off. My students are waiting for me."

"Why didn't you tell me that you're dating Editor-nim?" 

Joy took Chaeyoung's arm off from her shoulder. "I'm not dating her."

Chaeyoung raised her eyebrow and crossed her arms. "You can't fool me. The way you treated her a while back obviously showed you're dating her... I mean for real like really real. You're not like that to anyone."

"I love her. That's the reason why."

Chaeyoung cheered from her reply, but immediately stopped when she realized something. "Then how come you're not with her? That makes no sense. How much changes the y Dynamite had? Is it hard to have her? Did she reject you?"

Joy shook her head. "We dated before."

"Before?" Slowly, Chaeyoung's eyes widened. "She's your—"

"She's my ex and I am here to bring her back."

***

Joy parked her car in front of the red building as she waited for Irene to come out. She was listening to music until she caught a glimpse of Irene who was holding some folders with her. She exited her car and approached her. She volunteered to hold it for her, but before she can get it, another hands were extended and got the folders first.

Joy turned her head to look at the person. Beautiful monolid eyes greeted her. The strong presence made her smirk behind her mask. Yeri told me that she's like a teddy bear, but she's actually a ferocious bear wanting to hunt me right now. Seulgi was actually glaring at her and so with Joy.

"Unnie, you should have called me or Wendy that you're carrying these  manuscripts." 

Joy controlled herself from reacting aggressively. Seulgi just ignored her entire existence at first meeting. She surmised that Seulgi knew something about her.

"It's fine, Seul. I can manage." Irene replied. It was the first time for the day that Joy was able to hear her voice. And again she felt jealousy arising, but she shrugged it off soon as she remembered that she wasn't forgiven yet.

"Then should we go?" 

Joy was needed to intervene. "Miss, you don't have to do that. I will bring her home."

Seulgi looked at her. "Who are you? You're wearing a mask. You're being sus. I don't trust you."

Never in Joy's life she had encounter someone talking rudely to her at first sight. She looked at Irene who was just silent and then back to Seulgi. She took a deep breath calming herself and was about to reply when Seulgi spoke again.

"Ah I remember you. You're that red-haired actress. Joy, right? You're being managed by Irene-unnie before. Nice meeting you, I'm Seulgi." She offered her free hand.

Joy confirmed her theory that Seulgi actually knew something about her. Everything was sarcastic and what Yeri had told her wasn't applied to her. Seulgi maybe kind, but not to her.

Joy showed her a fake eyesmile and shook Seulgi's hand. "Nice meeting you too." 

"So, unnie, can we go now? You promised that we're gonna hang out for today since Wendy had you yesterday." Seulgi said smiling.

Joy wanted to protest, but she kept it mum. She didn't have the choice, but to let go of her selfishness. After all, Irene may have really promised Seulgi.

Irene doesn't like breaking promises.

Joy stole the folders from Seulgi and looked at Irene. "You should go. I'll just give it to you in your home." 

Irene gave her a meaningful glance. Joy was able to get what it meant, so she continued in speaking. "Just send me a message when you're finally home. I'll deliver it to you. Take care and enjoy."

Irene and Seulgi walked away and Joy caught Seulgi glaring at her for the last time before entering another car. 

Joy silently went back to her car holding the folders. Of course, I'm disappointed. If she was on her old self she would have snapped back at Seulgi. 

She parked her car. While holding the folders, she went inside the building. She's not gonna wait for Irene's message anymore. She's just gonna wait for her to come home.

She settled beside Irene's apartment door, sitting down and bringing her knees to her chest. She wanted to rant to Yeri, but she didn't have the mood to do so. She felt sulky, but couldn't do anything about it. 

***

She was awake throughout her mini breaking down moment, so she immediately noticed Irene's presence in front of her. She raised her head only to be greeted with Irene's face only an inch apart from her. Joy felt surprised that she didn't expect the sudden race of her heartbeats. 

Irene's eyes went down to her lips. Joy noticed it and wished for Irene to kiss her again. She felt disappointed when Irene stood up. Joy heaved a sigh and carried the folders with her.

"How long you've been waiting here?" Irene questioned her while opening her door.

"I don't know..." Joy answered. She really didn't know how long she had been sitting there. Time flies and she didn't care enough.

The door opened and both of them went inside. Joy put down the folders on the living room table. 

"How's your dinner date?" Joy asked pretending to be okay. She maybe pissed, but she still managed to sound sincere.

Irene didn't reply. Joy expected it.

"I'm going," Joy told her. "See you tomorrow... I love you." And Joy was finally out. She finally let go of her feelings.  Tears were falling because of frustration. She carefully inhaled some air, trying her hardest not to create any sound.

She wiped her tears, but she kept on tearing up. She walked faster until she reached her car.

Joy, c'mon, why are you crying?

She started her car engine and made her way towards her place. She was about to go inside, but the convenience store across the street hypnotized her. 

Joy paid to the counter and then went to a table where she began her stress eating habit. It's better than drinking alcohol again. She heard her phone ringing, so she grabbed it out from pocket and answered the phone call.

"I'm eating right now. What's your problem?"

"I burnt your house."

"What the f—"

"Chill, just kidding~ I'm just trying to know if you're still alive or not. Based from your reaction, you're still alive."

Joy sighed in relief. "Okay, what do you want?"

"Just gonna ask where you are right now."

"Why? You're coming here?"

"Just answer my question, unnie!"

"Give me three valid reasons."

"One, I'm asking. Two, I'm asking. Three, I'm asking."

Joy rolled her eyes. "I'm here at Kwangya."

"Kwangya? Where the hell is that?"

"Call you later. Bye!" And she hung up her phone. She also shut her phone off and put it back in her pocket. She's not really in the mood to talk to anyone.

She focused in eating until she's finally done. The employee also asked for her autograph before she decided to return to her apartment.

I still feel empty...

She paused in her tracks when she saw a familiar figure standing in the corridor in front of her apartment door. Joy continued in walking until she's face fo face with Irene who was already wearing her pajama.

"What are you doing here, Irene?" she asked.

"Why did you turn off your phone?" Her face was unreadable as ever.

Joy reached for her nape and smiled sheepishly. "Sorry... I just felt like turning it off." 

Irene just nodded.

"I... uhh... is there a problem that I can help you with?" Joy questioned.

Irene shook her head.

"It's already dark outside. Let's get you home." 

Irene shook her head again.

Joy sighed and smiled. "Wanna come inside?" She opened her door and Irene went inside voluntarily. "I'll just gonna take a shower." She left Irene in the living room and headed towards the bathroom. She made it quick as possible and returned to Irene's location where the latter was currently reviewing some papers. Ahh right... She actually brought them with her... Joy thought. She was late to remember that Irene really had with her the folders she brought from RV Publishing. Then Irene has a plan in staying— Her forehead creased upon the realization. However, she decided not to ask about it because she might be wrong.

Joy opened her phone and she sighed upon receiving many messages from Yeri. It was mostly emoticons and emojis. She decided to delete it all. When Yeri's name was cleared from her inbox, that's the time she saw Irene's simple messages to her.

 

Open your door. I'm here.

Where are you? Are you home?

Reply ASAP.

Why is your phone turned off? 

 

Joy hid her little smile. Just a while back she was crying, now she's happy. She turned to look at Irene who was still reading a draft from her workplace. Joy couldn't help, but to admire Irene's perfect side profile. Naturally long eyelashes, perfect nose matched with her slightly parted lips: Joy would imagine the past where Irene would always turn her head towards her to scold her for staring too much, but would ended up with a kiss. The past and the present were different.

Joy waited for Irene to give her the sign that she's going home until it was past 12 AM when Irene had finished her work. It was too late to send Irene home.

She held Irene's hand and gently pulled her towards her room. "You can sleep here." 

Irene gave her a meaningful gaze. "How about you?"

"Don't worry about me, I barely sleep here anyway. I always sleep on the couch... and on the floor..."  Her last words were barely heard. It's definitely true though. Her body was so used to sleeping on the floor instead of the bed because of her bad drinking habits.

She was about to leave the room when Irene tugged her wrist. "What is it?" she asked.

"You should sleep here with me." Irene responded.

Joy's heart skipped a beat. "Is it... is it okay to you?"

Irene nodded.

"Okay,"

The lights were all turned and both of them were already lying side by side on the bed. In the past, Irene would always used Joy as her pillow. I guess, I won't wake up the same as before. Irene's back was facing her and there was also a significant space between them. Irene was too near yet too far.

"I am jealous of them..." Joy thought out loud pertaining to the two girls and the other people who can make Irene replies and smiles to them, not minding if Irene could hear her or not. That should have been her, but she cannot ignore the fact that it was her fault in the first place. At this kind of moment where she was in a foul mood, she wished that Irene would give her an attention and cuddle her until she is okay. 

It's not going to happen, Joy...

She let a sigh. "Sweetdreams... I love you... I will always love you..." she whispered before closing her eyes.

***

Joy woke up with no Irene around. She sighed. She expected it anyway.

Hopping off from the bed, she wished for Irene's figure in her kitchen, but it wasn't granted. 

She took a bath, ready herself, and drove to Irene's apartment. Much to her dismay, a lady told her that Irene already went to her workplace. Joy didn't have a choice, but to just send Irene a message as she went to her scheduled class.

"Miss Joy, when is your comeback?" Winter asked.

"Are you going to ask that every meeting?" Karina scolded her.

Ningning raised her hand. "Teacher, can I have your autograph!"

"Ning Yizhou, are you going to have our teacher's authograph every meeting?" Karina sighed.

Giselle just laughed at them as the other students joined in. Joy joined in too. Joy didn't mind their antics since it always makes the class lively and fun.

After their class, Giselle approached her holding her phone. "Professor, I have something to ask."

"Hm? What is it?"

"Well, I read some random articles and it said that some actors broke up with their partners, so that they could act effectively when doing their roles in acting." she said while showing her the screen of her phone. "I just want to confirm if it's really happening in acting world, professor." 

Joy looked at her for a moment and then replied. "Yes, it's actually happening. It's the same with other actors immersing themselves in an actual experiences. Per se an actor was given a big role of that of an anchor, that actor would want to study, would ask for real anchor's advices, and undergo training prior to filming."

Giselle nodded. "Now, I get it. Thanks professor—" She paused and turned her head back to Joy. "Professor, you're famous for that one kind of drama where your partner broke up with you..." Giselle smiled in shy manner. "Have you experienced being broken prior to filming or being casted in?"

The drama that Giselle was talking about was the drama she partook in two months after her breakup with Irene. If she was not mistaken, the drama gained a high ratings because of her so-called phenomenal acting in which she just ignored in the extent of not attending an award ceremony. She remembered doing her every day life in a same cycle only thinking about Irene that time. She didn't care to the recognitions she received.

"Professor, please forgive my curiosity. You don't have to answer me if you don't want to."

Joy put a hand on top of her student's head. "No worries. I will answer your question." She smiled. "I actually experienced breakup before joining the drama. But unlike other actors, it wasn't my intention to break up with that person just because I wanted to be good in acting. The experienced just became a factor for me to do good in acting because I had related to the scene. You see, when people lost something important, their body couldn't handle the emptiness, so they fill that space by other things."

***

Joy thought that her goal would be easy. Wendy and Seulgi became persistent and Joy was in disadvantage part. She realized that Wendy and Seulgi really hate her and formed an alliance not to let her have Irene.

She already met Wendy. The behavior was the same with Seulgi's. It turned out that both of them knew about her mistake. It was disclosed accidentally by Irene and was supplemented by Yeri. Joy wasn't considered as a proper rival. Rather, she was considered as a zombie-virus-infected individual, which made Joy almost wanted to confront the two. She was just controlling herself for Irene's sake.

She never felt winning for the past weeks. She was always been left out. She was indeed trying her best, but Irene would always choose to go with either of the two and not her. Well, there would be instances that Irene was staying in her place, but that was all. Nothing changed in their relationship. There was no physical intimacy, no additional confrontations— just nothing. Joy would talk and Irene would reply with a question unrelated to Joy's statements. Most of the time, Irene would only reply with a nod and shaking of head if it is a yes or no question. Almost all the time, she would be silent.

There were instances when Joy would buy Irene's favorite foods, drinks, bouquet of flowers,  but all these things were never given since Joy would always see either Wendy or Seulgi buying these before her and Irene accepting them. Aside from that, Joy had been meaning to have a date with Irene, but the latter's schedule would always be occupied. It's either Wendy and Seulgi who invited her first, Jennie's invitation, or the RV Publishing's huddle.

"The world is against me..." Joy mumbled, her face on the table.

Yeri slapped her forearm resting on the table, which made her yelp in pain as she immediately sat upright.

"What's wrong with you?!"

"If the world is against you, your body could have been crystallized in Neptune."

Joy just glared at her and continued sulking while waiting for their orders to come.

"Why are you here anyway? Why did you ask me to have a lunch date with you when you can ask Irene-unnie." Yeri asked her.

"She's having a date with Seulgi."

"How about yesterday?"

"She had a date with Wendy."

"Tomorrow?"

"I asked her, but I didn't receive any reply. I never received any reply from her." Joy pouted, almost tearing up.

"Aigoo, how sad~ Maybe she doesn't love you anymore." Yeri teased.

Joy glared at her again. 

"Girl, cheer up! She loves you."

Joy scoffed from the sugar coated words of comfort. "She became more silent towards me."

"Silence is considered as a response, y'know. It means that she's tired of you."

Joy stood up from her chair and attempted to leave only to be blocked on her way by Yeri who was already apologizing to her while laughing.

"Ya, it's a joke, unnie!"

Joy crossed her arms as she looked away, still looking mad. "It's not funny at all." It was not really funny considering the fact that it maybe possible. 

"Stop making Joy-unnie feel bad in my restaurant." Saeron said putting their orders on the table with the help of some waitress.

"I'm not making her feel bad. It's actually her body feeling bad from my jokes." Yeri responded.

Saeron sighed and pinched her cheek. "Your jokes are terrible." She turned to look at Joy and smiled apologetically.

"Join us, Saeron." Yeri said.

"Nah, I'm good."

Saeron left them and Yeri and Joy started savoring the foods in front of them. 

"Unnie, about your problem with Irene-unnie, you're being passive. Why can't you just use your boldness to bring her back just like before?"

Joy gulped her food before replying. "I wish I could do that, but things are different now. I've learnt many things and one of those was being sensitive to other people's feelings. I don't want to force myself to her. I hurt her, so naturally her treatment towards me was justifiable. Whatever she chooses I would respect that."

Yeri shook her head in a pity. "So, you're just gonna give up?"

"Who told you that I'm giving up? I'm not and never will. I'm just taking it slowly because like I said, I don't want to force her to forgive me."

"Aww..."

They continued in enjoying their meal until they were finally finished and currently resting.

"By the way," 

Joy set her phone aside and looked at Yeri, telling the latter to continue her words.

"I've been meaning to ask, why did the two of you really break up?"

There was a recognizable stoppage from Joy's breathing upon hearing it.

"I'm just curious. I'm aware that you guys had the tendency to break up at some point, but I never knew the reason specifically from your point of view."

Joy took a deep breath before deciding to reply. "Fine, I will tell you our story..."

***

5 years ago

Irene was not actually trained as manager nor had the qualifications to be one. She was just recommended, begged rather to replace her manager friend temporarily. Thanks to her memory capabilities that she was able to adapt quickly to the unknown environment. However, her heart had a trouble adjusting because of the celebrity she was managing.

Joy may have the fruity innocent visual, but she was also known for being too friendly in the sense that it was considered by many as flirting. Not to mention that Joy had many exes already and a stranger may think that they were not her exes because of their behaviours like nothing happened when they were altogether. Bottom line, Joy enjoyed flirting and never considered relationships seriously. 

Meeting Irene was unexpected to Joy. She never thought she would meet someone who can be called the perfect vessel of a goddess. She never considered dating people who aren't celebrities and famous individuals since keeping secrets wasn't her forte. She believed that having to date a non-celebrity person was just a drag since there would be rules and she would be responsible. However, she was challenged to make Irene her girlfriend.

Irene was not that easy as to why Joy felt excitement. She's more than thrilled to keep on taming her. Joy was really attracted to her and it was not a lost for her even if they break up as long as Irene had her first relationship with Joy. That would be considered as achievement for the y Dynamite.

Joy, however, experienced many new things too upon having her weird manager. Normally, the manager would be the one driving the car, but Irene was too scared to even sit in the driver's seat. Joy and her had dissimilarities especially to the things they like and dislike. Joy loves chicken dishes in which Irene hates. Joy likes animals in which Irene fears. Joy was more like an extrovert while Irene was more like an introvert. Their views were also different causing them to have a mini arguments every time some topics were being spoken.

Joy came to like Irene's treatment towards her. The cold remarks, which could be considered rude and the bossy nature in which Joy often pointed out, but made her satisfy anyway.

During Joy's 24th birthday, they became official.

As their relationship progressed, they had faced the ups and downs of dating. Joy was aware of these problems, but she never expected it to be burdensome. She never experienced it to her past relationships, only to Irene. There were time demands, attention demands, small to big conflicts, and most especially the "shipping" to other celebrities, which eventually lead to jealousy and misunderstandings considering Joy's friendly nature.

Their relationship was not publicized, but was not considered as secret also. Few people knew, especially those closest of the closest and people who dared to ask. In which then Joy decided to tell it to the public as a solution, but Irene didn't agree.

Their fights continued. Although their actions in every day work were still the same, inside them, particularly Joy felt heavy. She felt like drowning. She felt like a bird that had been caged. This is not what she expected a relationship would be.

 

2 years ago

During Joy's 26th birthday, they broke up.

After celebrating it with her coworkers and other friends, Joy went home were she was surprised by Irene. The girlfriend prepared a romantic dinner in her house. 

Irene was smiling at her lovingly at that time, but Joy was not happy. 

And then there was a small box settled on the table, but before it can be opened, Joy already spoke her wish upon blowing the candle on the cake.

"I wish for us to break up."

Irene definitely made a joke out of it. She also used Joy's drunken state as an excuse. She denied the wish, but Joy was in her right mind. Alcohol was Joy's little helper in expressing what she really wanted to express.

"No," Irene repeatedly answered her. "I won't break up with you. Let's think of this carefully. We can fix it, Joy. Please, don't do this to me... You said that you'll be responsible for me until the end... Just tell me what I am supposed to do and I will achieve that..."

Irene begged her to stay while Joy begged her to leave. 

"I love you so much, Joy... I don't want us to end. I want us to be forever. Please, don't push me away... You love me, right?"

"I don't know what is love anymore... I'm confused as hell... Let's move on. We can move on. Maybe we're not really for each other. You see, this is not working at all. I'm so tired. Our relationship became toxic. I cannot breath anymore. I want to be freed. Please, free me..."

With tears falling from Joy's unemotional eyes, Irene finally granted the wish. 

***

"You broke up with her because you were not happy anymore?"

Joy deeply sighed. "Absurd, right? During that time all I knew about having commitment was to only feel happiness. I never considered other emotions. I believed that once you felt bored and unhappy with your relationship, you should break up with that person already."

"Negative circumstances were meant to make relationship stronger." Yeri commented.

"That's the point." Joy smiled sadly. "I guess love was too unfamiliar to me at that time. I was ignorant to that word. I was immature that I didn't know it would make me suffer more when I let go of her." She sighed and then bowed in an apology. "I'm sorry that I am a disappointment. I'm sorry that I hurt your sister."

Yeri extended her hand and patted Joy's head. "I forgive you and I'm proud of you that you became your better version." She made Joy raise her head. She smiled. "Your birthday is next week, right? Make that as an excuse, so that you would have time alone with Irene-unnie."

"Next week? It's still too far. It's on September 3."

Yeri rolled her eyes. "Wow, you really don't care about anything except for Irene-unnie, do you? You stupid unnie, It's already the end of the August!"

"What?"

***

"Miss Joy, what's your plan in your birthday? Can we celebrate it instead of having discussions?" Winter asked.

"Teacher, teacher, can you show as your acting during your birthday?" Ningning asked.

Karina scolded them both, but later raised her hand to say her thoughts. "Professor, what if we give you a performance during your birthday?"

Giselle also raised her hand. "Can we have Winter act as puppy?"

"Yaaa!"

Joy just sighed. Other people were more knowledgeable about her coming birthday than herself. She wanted to have her whole day with Irene, but having to see her students anticipate on her birthday made her change her plan.

"Alright, alright! Let's have your suggestions."

The class cheered.

"Then Winter's gonna act as puppy?" 

"Yaaaa!"

***

A day before her birthday, Joy decided to invite Irene personally on the night of her birthday. However, she saw something she shouldn't see.

She saw Irene giving a kiss to Seulgi on her apartment entrance. Joy immediately retreated. She expected Irene to follow her and tell her that it was just a misunderstanding, but it did not happen.

That night, Joy didn't contact anyone not even Yeri whom she always ranted about her frustrations in life. She didn't want to brought about what she saw. She logged out from all her social media accounts and silenced her phone. She stayed in her balcony just staring at the small box she was holding. It was Irene's gift to her during the night of their break up— a promise ring.

Sighing and having to calm herself, she sent a message to Irene.

 

I will be the one to fetch you tomorrow.

I have somewhere to go.

Is it that important?

Yes.

If you get home tomorrow, I'll just be in the park.

 

Joy let herself slided until she was hugging her legs against her chest. She was not crying, but her hand grip to the small box she was holding was so tight that it was shaking.

There wasn't a confirmation yet she already felt broken. 

I deserve it...

Maybe it was the payment of her past mistake. She already accepted the consequences. After all, maybe Seulgi or the others were the better partner for Irene.

Irene never gave her the smile ever since they met each other in the coffee shop, so it was expected that Irene won't be hers again.

My name's Joy, but I cannot bring happiness to her and  even to myself.

Joy laughed at her own joke. "I must be crazy...."

***

It was Joy's birthday and she received many messages and missed calls from her coworkers and friends. However, she never received any greetings from Irene.

She was supposed to drive Irene to her workplace, but she knew that Seulgi or Wendy would be there for her. Thus, she drove to the university to celebrate her birthday with her students. After all, she was still upset.

Throughout the time she was with her students, she was acting as if nothing was bothering her. Nevertheless, she was still touched, laughed wholeheartedly, and thanked them for the fun they gave to her.

When her time with her students was finished, she had a joyride until the sun was already settled. She was finally home, but the pain slowly surged in to her again. She walked towards the park and sat on a bench. There was no one around, only her.

She patiently waited until it was 11 PM. She waited until it was 11:11 PM. I wish for answers. She waited until it's almost September 4.

Joy stood up from the bench. She approached the fence where she was able to view the river illuminated by the moon. She reached for her pocket and grabbed out the small box. She opened it and removed the ring. She extended her hand and with full force, she threw the promise ring to the river.

"Happy birthday..." Joy breathed out. When she turned around, she saw an unexpected person standing few meters apart from her.

"Hello,"

"Hi," Joy timidly responded to Wendy before walking past her. 

"You really love her?"

Joy paused for a moment. She nodded and didn't care if Wendy received her response or not. She was aware that Wendy was telling her something, but nothing mattered to her at that moment as she continued in walking and finally left.

It was already September 4. What am I feeling sad about it? It's just a day when I was born just like any other day. She tried to cheer herself up.

However, a flashback came to her making her paused from finally opening her apartment.

"Having you was the best thing that happened to me in my birthday."

"Now, you can never forget me."

"That's better and don't you like it? You'll be in my mind for 24/7. No treasures can replace you as the greatest gift I've ever received."

She bit her lower lip and tried her best to open her door. Her hand was trembling and she felt her eyes welling from the memory.

Irene was actually the reason why she started appreciating special days.

Darkness greeted her upon entering her apartment. It's not the same with her 26th birthday. No Irene prepared a surprise for her. Also, it was her who was broken this time.

She closed her door and started sobbing, hand clutching her stomach. It hurts... It hurts so much... 

Her phone vibrated from her pocket. She  reached for it and saw who was the caller. Still not Irene.  She ignored the phone call and let herself lied on the floor. She was too tired, so she had herself drifted to a dream of escapism.

***

The next day, she decided to go home for a while. However, upon opening her apartment door, she was greeted by a tight embrace making her almost fell down on the floor.

Joy didn't need to see the person's face because she already memorized everything about her. Irene was the only one who can do this to her. Although Joy was upset, she still responded from the hug, recharging her cold empty heart from the warmth of her beloved. She silently closed the door and tightened the hug.

Both of them separated each other. Both of them stared at one another's faces, scanning for something they cannot really comprehend. 

Joy held Irene's hand and dragged her towards the couch. Both of them sat with enough space between each other. Joy then took the lead in confessing.

"Ever since I was a kid, I was already made to appear in the world of acting. I've learnt from watching movies and dramas." Joy started. "The things I knew about love was too shallow. No one ever made me experience nor taught me about it. Then you came... You made me feel unfamiliar emotions. It caused me crisis as I felt like losing myself. I felt pressured and I made a decision out of my personal feelings. Then time made me realize that I had the biggest regret of my life and that was letting you go." 

Joy started playing the latter's fingers. "When we broke up, I was hurt too. I also thought of many possibilities like you having someone new already. I had always remembered our past. It wasn't supposed to hurt me since I was the one who chose to break up with you, but I was hurt in all those times. And then I decided to get you back..."

She stopped playing Irene's fingers and had it intertwined with her own. "I changed because of you. I chased after you because I realized that I would be a walking dead for a lifetime if I can't have you... I thought it would be enough to qualify my apology. You never smiled at me ever since we met after our break up. You barely replied to my questions. I felt envious of strangers who was able to get a more than two sentences, a smile, a laugh... You never chose me when it comes to your schedule. You never greeted me on my birthday nor went to the place I told you. I understood all of these things. I've also concluded the fact that you were falling to someone better than me... I was frustrated, but I can't have myself to hate you. After all, it was my fault all along and I deserve it..."

"Joy," Irene called. 

Joy tilted her head to her direction. Irene had a soft expression on her face. Her eyes were sparkling and there's a tiny smile displayed.

"I still love you, Irene. I love you so much..." Joy told her. She stood up from her seat and then kneeled in front of Irene. She was holding a small box in which she got from the pocket of her jacket.

"I threw your gift away because I want something greater." She smiled apologetically. "Maybe I was hurt, but without you it would be more painful. I don't want to let you go again. I want you in my life forever." She opened the box and picked the ring out. She didn't wait for Irene's response. She slided it to the latter's ring finger almost immediately.

She moved closer until her body was in-between the latter's thighs. Her hands were wrapped around Irene's waist and her eyes never left Irene's. "I love you. Please, love me again..."

Irene pressed her palms to her face, squeezing her cheeks gently. "I never stopped loving you, so you don't need to beg me to love you again. I've always loved you, Joy." She slowly leaned, eyes shutting up, until her lips were touching Joy's. 

Their lips stayed like that for a while until Joy initiated in moving, sighing momentarily, smiling, then returning her lips to savour more of Irene's. Slowly, she lifted Irene up and carried her towards her bedroom without breaking the kiss. Slowly, until she was already pressing Irene on the bed with her body.

"Own me..." Irene whispered and Joy was more than happy to oblige. She's not gonna get home because she was already home in Irene's life again.

***

"We apologize for pretending that we like Irene-unnie. I mean, we really like her, but not that kind of like, y'know..." Wendy said gesturing an explanation.

Seulgi held her hand and stopped her. "Wendy and I are actually dating. We just did that because we felt so bad for hearing Irene-unnie's story and we felt like giving you a hard time in getting her back." she said and then smiled. Unlike before, Seulgi was wearing her signature bear smile in which Joy alway see to anyone, but her. 

"It's fine. Thanks for that, I became more thirsty of her." 

"You drank her then?" 

Joy blushed hard from the statement left from Seulgi's mouth. She actually remembered her previous moment time alone with Irene. "Please... use words that cannot make other people misunderstood."

"So, you really—" Seulgi's words were cut immediately.

"Just to make it clear, I'm still mad that Wendy had many times of holding her hand and you—" Joy glared at Seulgi. "—Irene kissed you in front of me a day before my birthday."

"Well, Irene-unnie kissed me! It's not me who kissed her! She said that it's for the show." Seulgi defended herself.

Wendy faked a cough and tapped Seulgi's shoulder. Seulgi flinched from the touch. "Why am I not aware of this, Seul? I thought there would be no secrets."

"Well... I... I was afraid that you will get angry—"

"Joy, don't worry about that. I shall punish Seulgi." She rised from her seat and tugged Seulgi's arm. "We're going.  And again, I'm sorry for the trouble we had caused. Have a great day!"

Joy sighed and smiled afterwards. She already forgiven them and even Yeri who plotted it. The youngest who was with Joy all along was actually the mastermind why Irene, Seulgi, and Wendy treated Joy coldly. 

"How long have you been waiting?" 

Joy looked up and saw Irene walking towards her direction. She gave her an eyesmile. "Not that long since Wendy and Seulgi entertained me." She stood up and held Irene's hand.

"So, they confessed?"

Both of them exited the red building.

"They did. I told them that I'm still mad at them for being too close to you... and about the kiss..."

Irene chuckled as she opened the car door and went inside. Joy followed too, sitting in the driver's seat and taking off her mask.

"You should blame Yeri for suggesting that to me." Irene told her.

"Why would I if you actually did it...?" Joy pouted and started the car's engine.

"That's my last act of pretending. I only wanted to see your cute reaction for the last time."

Joy started driving. "I'm always cute, y'know."

"You look more y all the time than being cute." 

"You're basically saying that you like me better when I'm jealous."

"No. I like you better when you are with me."

Joy smiled. "But it doesn't change the fact that I'm still pissed that you kissed Seulgi."

"I can kiss you if that's what you want."

"Sure, I want that— Irene, I'm driving!" Joy exclaimed when Irene suddenly kissed her neck. 

"You said you want a kiss?" Irene intentionally whispered to Joy's ear. She also bit the latter's earlobe, which made Joy gasp.

"Irene, stop... I'm driving right now. Do it later, okay?"

"But I want to do this now. I can't do this later since we're going to Saeron's dinner party." Irene nudged her nose to Joy's neck and began giving Joy feather kisses.

"Irene..." Joy inhaled sharply. "I said stop."

Irene groaned and slumped herself back on her seat. "You're a kill joy."

"That's better than getting us killed, Irene." Joy replied.

Irene crossed her arms. "I'm not going to give you any kiss starting from now on."

"I'm just gonna get it then." Joy smiled.

"Kiss me if you can,"

"Sure!"

***

"What are you reading?" Joy questioned upon lying on the bed just beside Irene.

"Manuscript,"

Joy chuckled. "I meant the title,"

"Bucket List for the Brokenhearted," Irene replied. "It's about two exes who decided to make a bucket list before they move on from each other."

Joy sat up. "Who wrote that? Can't they just go back to being a couple rather than moving on after they filled all their bucket list?"

Irene turned her head to look at her. "Don't worry, it's a happy ending. They would soon to realize that they are really meant for each other. Their bucket list will become their means of moving on from their painful memories and mistakes."

"Well... that, that's good to know." 

Irene chuckled and settled the draft on the bedside table. She scooched closer to Joy and cupped her cheeks. "You really hate tragic ending, don't you? I remember when you actually threatened the director of your past drama that you're going to withdraw if they won't change the ending."

"My life's been a tragedy, so having to act a tragic drama make me feel bad." Joy said. "But then—" She wrapped an arm around Irene's waist. "—you came. I knew that my life would change drastically, so I started to accept those drama with sad endings. I realized that they were actually beautiful, genuine, and gives you a lot to learn just like how you made me experience various things."

Irene smiled and leaned her head to Joy. "Your name really suit you."

Joy leaned her head too. "Maybe I was named Joy to give happiness to the lonely goddess Irene."

"If so, then you're doing great." Their foreheads touched. "Thank you for getting me back."

Joy smiled. "Thank you for accepting me back. I'm so glad that you didn't become my one that got away."

"What if I became your one that got away?"

"I might be spending my time collecting golds while being obsessed of finding that specific jewel I had before."

"That's deep."

"Do you like it?"

"Yes... but you know, I like other things to be deep too." Irene replied. She closed her eyes and brushed her lips to Joy's. "This..."

 

 

 

fin.


SOME NOTE:/

I'm back for the mean time. Our sem just ended & thankfully I got promoted to the next level 🤡 Yeah baby, I'm on the next level.

Anyway, this, I had read it from a tweet before, but I cannot find who tweeted it anymore when I tried to confirm the concept. 

Hey, it's TOTGA with the happy ending (tho may not be the same as what you think). Well, if you are reading this, hello! It's your concept and dedicated to you♥ 

Continue to love and support Red Velvet! Anticipate and watch Blue Birthday y'all. Red Velvet Comeback too! Take care~ 

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