Jeno’s words kept on repeating in Jisung’s head.
“How did that happen? Why? When? Where?”
His conversation with Karina years ago started coming back to him too.
“How’s Lesa doing? Everyone lost contact with the two of you right before graduation. All we heard was that you guys migrated to some country.”
“Lesa is doing well. She’s actually in the same situation as me now.”
“What do you mean? She also has a son now?”
“Yeah. Same age as my Jeno…”
“ it! Is it possible that..” Jisung’s thought was cut off when Chenle called. Jisung put him on speaker mode. “Jisung. Come to my place asap. I need to tell you something.”
“Alright, I’ll be on my way,” Jisung answered before he dropped the call.
“I also want to tell you something Chenle but before that, we need to go somewhere first before it’s too late,” Jisung said to himself while driving to Chenle’s place fast.
Jisung immediately grabbed Chenle’s hand when he arrived and dragged him out of his house.
“Jisung, what the heck?” Chenle tried to free himself from the taller’s grip.
“Let me go first. I have something to tell you.”
“We’ll talk about that in the car.” Chenle was still trying to break free.
“I am not going in until you tell me what is happening!”
“I’ll tell you everything once inside.”
“No. Tell me now.” Chenle’s answer was very firm.
“Chenle, we’re running out of time. We need to get to Mark before Jeno does.”
“I think I know where Mark is. Now get in.” Chenle did what Jisung told him and sat in the passenger seat.
Jisung right away started his car engine and drove as quickly as he can.
“So where do you think Mark is?” Chenle calmly asked Jisung.
“Remember Karina and Lesa’s rest house in the woods? I think he’s there.” Chenle looked at him confused.
“Why would he be there? Is he even connected with the sisters?”
“I am not yet 100% sure but I have a hunch,” Chenle is waiting for Jisung to continue. “I’m sorry for not telling you this before but I bumped into Karina when I attended that conference in Paris.”
“So that’s why you know about Karina’s son?”
“Yeah. She was with him then. I wanted to ignore her but my curiosity got the best of me so I talked to her and that’s when she told me,” Jisung briefly looked at Chenle who still has a confused look on his face before continuing, “about her son Jeno. I then asked her about Lesa and she said that she’s in the same situation as Karina.”
“What does that mean?”
“Lesa also has a son.” Jisung can see Chenle’s eyes widened from his peripheral vision, “and her son is about the same age as Jeno.”
“So I did some math. And if my calculations are correct, Lesa’s time of conception was around the month of our graduating seniors’ party.”
“I’m saying. Chenle, I know what happened to you and Lesa during that party.”
“What, what happened?”
“I saw you and Lesa go out of one of the rooms in the party venue. Before you guys came out, I heard weird noises from inside. I heard you , Chenle.”
“You-you knew about that and you never told me?”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t know how to tell you…without exposing the feelings I have for you.” The last part was only left at the back of Jisung’s tongue.
“You’re basically telling me now that you’re suspecting me of having a child with Lesa. Are there other secrets involving me that you would like to tell me Jisung while we’re at it?” Chenle’s voice became louder.
“Yes. But you might not want to hear it.” Jisung thought. “None,” he loudly answered.
“So what does this all got to do with Mark being in the Lee sisters’ rest house?” Chenle caught himself getting shocked at his own question. It hit him, the answer to his own question. Jisung didn’t speak. He let Chenle solve the puzzle on his own.
“I am…No, that can’t be Jisung. I can’t be Mark’s father, can I?”
Jisung stepped on the accelerator harder, “There’s only one way to find out Chenle.”
“Dammit Mark! Answer my calls.” Jeno shouted only being heard by himself as he was panic calling Mark on the phone after he talked to Jisung outside of his house.
He had been trying to ring his cousin’s phone but it was never answered.
“Fine! I’ll go there myself.” He grabbed his car keys and drove away to his mother and aunt’s rest house.
The past weeks have been very stressful for Mark, if he’ll be honest. He can barely sleep as his brain keeps on picking up new thoughts every now and then. He can barely eat as he has lost appetite. But what’s worse for him is he’s being all that down when he should be celebrating because of the successful launch, because finally his road to the top is on its way.
He decided to get some alone quiet time for a while. It was his first time going out in the woods of the rest house. He left his phone at the cabin he was staying in to avoid any distraction. It didn’t stop receiving calls and messages ever since the launch of his startup tech company happened.
He breathed some fresh air, smelled the little flowers blooming, touched the dried leaves, and sat on the ground leaning on a big tree.
“Mom, how are you up there?” he started talking to himself. Tears started forming in his eyes as he continued to speak.
“I didn’t know you owned something as beautiful as this. Did you not remember you have this also? We could’ve lived here, if only you remember its existence. It’s peaceful here, Mom. So peaceful. Did you see the launch I did? This is the start of me fulfilling your dreams. You know how long I waited for this to happen, right? You know how badly I wanted to do this for you….” Mark’s tears already started falling like waterfalls.
“…I was so excited when I was planning for the startup and working on the robot. I should be happy and proud that I am finally here. That I have finally done and got past the first step to the top. I should be celebrating but why don’t I feel like it, Mom? Why do I feel heavy inside instead? Why do I feel down? Why do I feel bad about what I did? Why am I feeling the opposite of everything I expected to feel?” at this point, Mark was sobbing so hard already barely catching his breaths.
When he calmed down a little, he continued, “Why did you have to leave me to handle all this on my own? I thought when you said goodbye that day at the hospital, you will just go back to sleep. Why didn’t you wake up anymore, Mom? You said you will come back to me but you never did! How I wish you can see all this success because it’s for you but you are no longer here. I want you here Mom. I want you back but it’s impossible. What’s the point of living and seeing all the success if you’re not here to hug me and tell me you’re proud of me? Why did you have to leave me too when you already deprived me of a father?” He sobbed harder than ever before with only the trees around hearing his loud agony.