I jerked my hand back from the inside of my bag to reveal a line of blood, increasing steadily in size. The stinging of the cut was slow and steady, like the burning of a low flame. I brought the cut to mouth, stanching the flow of blood. I felt my lips turn down in a grimace as the metallic, salty taste hit my tongue.
What the ?
I wrenched open my bag, sorting through my belongings and looking for the source of my injury. A small flash of silver caught my attention. I reached my uninjured hand into the depths of the duffel bag, feeling around carefully so as to prevent yet another cut. My fingers wrapped gingerly around a sharp piece of metal. I removed my hand from the depths of the bag, and uncurled my fingers.
I almost forgot I had this, I thought to myself as I gazed down at half of a golden locket. In the shape of a heart, nestled in carefully, was a picture of my parents. My fist immediately hid the locket from my sight. I didn't want to remember.
I cleared my throat to avoid any possibility of tears. I was not about to cry. I shoved the locket deep into my jeans pocket, making a mental note to put it in a place where I was no longer at risk of inflicting yet another injury upon myself. I turned back to packing my things when a soft knock broke through the otherwise silent atmosphere of my cluttered dorm room.
"Come in," I called towards the door, closing my eyes for half a second to wash away the moist glaze that covered their surface. I resumed my packing, focusing all my attention on rolling up my socks neatly, just the way Mom had taught me.
"Jong?" Luhan's voice was more tentative than usual as he inched into the room, shutting the door softly behind him. "Do you...need help?"
"Nope," I replied without looking up from folding my clothes. "I'm good." I didn't want to make this more painful for him than necessary. If I broke down now, there was no way I was going to be able to leave him in the end. I didn't want to meet his large, insisting eyes, so full of accusation. I didn't want to feel responsible for the utter misery of my best friend.
"Okay," he muttered. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him bow his head and backtrack to where he had just entered.
"Actually," I said, giving up and straightening to look at him, "I could use your help with one thing."
Luhan refused to look at me now. He seemed determined to stare down the floor until it gave out beneath his feet. I sighed and went to him, wrapping an arm around his slumped shoulders. His eyes remained glued to the tan, carpeted floor.
"Save me a spot in the audition, got it?"
I made myself hold back my laughter as he jumped back and looked at me with an expression of pure shock and joy. His eyes were round, mouth open in a perfect 'o,' exaggerating the fact that he looked like a perfectly crafted china doll.
"You're still doing it?!" The excitement in his voice made my mouth break out into a full-fledged grin.
"Of course I am, you dolt!" I said, wrapping my arm more tightly around his shoulders and bringing his head down so I could ruffle up his already messy, black hair. His peals of delighted laughter filled my heart with relief. Maybe my absence wouldn't be so bad for him.
"Hey, let me go," he laughed, shoving my arms away and straightening up to try and calm his excited hair, which was far from being tamed.
"You really think I spent two years of my life practicing my off for nothing?" I faked a chastising tone, raising an eyebrow as a appraised his disheveled figure.
"No," he insisted, his eyes widening. "I just thought that...well, you being all the way in Seoul, I figured you would leave everything behind, including the audition."
"I'm gonna be in Seoul anyway, right? The actual audition is probably twenty miles from my house. There's no way I would miss it." I couldn't hold back my smile as Luhan flung himself into me and tackled me with a bear hug. Our laughter mixed together, bringing back memories of all those times we had hung out together, practiced together. I felt my smile fade as I realized I'd be gone, and those memories would be nothing but shadows of the past.
"C'mon, Lu," I said, prying him off. "My train leaves in," I glanced at the clock that hung on the back wall, "..., it leaves in two hours. Help me pack, yeah?"
"Sure thing," he said, his voice more cheerful sounding than it had been throughout the past week. The knowledge that I was leaving had been hanging over our heads every minute, constantly forcing us to face the depressing reality that sooner than later, we would no longer be at each other's sides for support and guidance.
From then on, we cleared up the room and sorted through the possessions which had not already been shipped off to Seoul the previous day. We chatted quietly about the routines we planned to do for the audition, and how great it would be if we actually, by some miracle, made it into the infamous SM Entertainment Company.
When it came time to leave, Luhan's eyes were suspiciously wet. I had promised myself I wouldn't cry, but that promise was getting harder to keep with each passing second of looking at Luhan's miserable, depressed expression.
"Listen to me," I told him, trying to bring his attention to my face. He seemed unable to meet my eyes. I tried again, wrapping my hands around his shoulders. "Lu, listen to me. If anyone tries to hurt you again, you call me, understand? I will hop on a train to come and beat those punks up. Try and make some new friends, too, got it? I'm not always gonna be here to save your . Stand up for yourself a little bit, why don't you? Okay?"
Luhan nodded, and sympathy washed over me as his tears rained down his face, staining his cheeks with sadness incarnate. I pulled him into a hug, tears collecting in my own eyes. His soft sobs sent vibrations through my body. It took everything I had not to collapse in heaving sobs alongside him.
"Well isn't this cute," a deep, mocking voice rang from down the hall. I looked up and backed away from Luhan to try and find the owner of the voice.
Kyungsoo, the very reason why I was all too reluctant to leave Luhan, made his way down the hall, his footsteps echoing forlornly throughout the empty hallway of the dorm.
"What do you want?" I asked, stepping in front of Luhan, who was beginning to tremble. I was sick of this guy beating up my best friend. If he laid one finger on Luhan while I was gone, there was no guarantee that I would have the power to prevent myself from strangling him.
"Oh, nothing much," he said, his mouth twisted up into his signature, crooked smirk. I would give anything to wipe that grin off of his face. "I heard you're finally packing up and leaving, Jongin." Something about the way he said my name made me tighten my hands into fists. This guy was really starting to piss me off.
"What's it to you?" My voice was tense, making Kyungsoo's smirk widen. Luhan's shaking hand tugged at my sleeve. I glanced at him. He was shaking his head ever-so-slightly, a mask of anxiety covering his face. I ignored him and turned back to Kyungsoo, who was now standing five feet in front of me.
"Oh, you know," he glanced behind me at Luhan. "With you gone, Lulu is gonna need some people to hang out with. I figured I could take him under my wing."
" off, Do," I spat at him, addressing him by his last name. His nostrils flared in response, anger rolling over his stoic expression like a sudden storm.
"Careful, now," he growled. "You don't want me to retract that offer. Without you, Lulu can either be my friend," I scoffed in exasperation, "or continue to be my punching bag."
"If you think he'd ever be friends with you, you have some serious going on with your brain. You think he'd be friends with you after everything you've done? He was in the hospital for three months because of you. And you're offering to let him be your friend? That's the biggest bull I've ever heard. Don't you have more people to beat up right about now? Last time I heard, you dislocated Sehun's arm."
"That punk was asking for it," he said simply, flexing the muscles in his thick arms.
"They always ask for it. It's your decision whether or not to give it to them."
"Maybe I can't help myself."
"That means you're either really stupid, or just plain retarded."
"Watch yourself, Jojo," he said threateningly. "You have no control over what I do to your precious boyfriend while you're heading back to your precious mother." He turned away to leave, sending me yet another condescending smirk over his shoulder. "See you around. If not, I'll see you at the audition where I'll kick your lazy out of the competition."
I was positively seething as Kyungsoo walked away, his laughter ringing in my ears.
I rounded on Luhan. "Lu, if you let that bastard beat you up again, I'll kill you. And since when is he doing the audition?! Dammit! He must seriously be out to get me. I'll beat him. We'll beat him. And what the was with him calling me Jojo?! I'll stick his head right up his a-"
"Jong, calm down. You're going to miss your train," Luhan interrupted my rant, his soft voice catching my attention more so than if he had yelled.
woot! here's chapter 2! :)
things are starting to get...
intense...? idek yet, im still trying
to plan out the transitions into the
next chapters. feedback? :D
don't forget to leave comments!