Chapter one

I Is For Irony

Kim Jaejoong sat down with a cup of tea and a bag full of fan mail in hand.  While the other members played computer games and composed songs, he spent his free time searching for that letter he longed for.  A love letter from his true love.

 

If you all thought about it, you’d probably say it was so sweet and wished he was your boyfriend.  But, in reality, it truly wasn’t.  Kim Jaejoong was searching for a letter he knew didn’t exist.

 

No, she didn’t die.  But it was close enough.

 

She had left him.  When he had become famous, she had left for schooling in America.  After a few letters and postcards were exchanged, the mail had suddenly stopped.  Everything related to her suddenly just disappeared.  Her family, friends, gifts... As if they had all vanished into thin air.

 

Deep down, he knew this was the best for him.  For DBSK.  For everybody.  But even with the lack of objects that reminded him of her, he couldn’t help but continue thinking about her.  After all, they had experienced so much together.  They had been mistaken as siblings, been enemies, battled through leukemia.  Nobody could ever replace her position in his heart, he had decided long ago.  She would always be his Number One.

 

And she was Kim Tae Hee.

 

 

Even the mention of her name could do wonders to him. 

 

“Tae Hee is not coming back, Jaejoong.”  And he felt a stab in his chest.

 

Jaejoong looked up from the letter he was ferociously ripping apart. (It was from a fangirl who claimed she was “Tae Hee”.)  It was Yunho.  If anybody could mildly understand Jaejoong, it would’ve been him.  After all, it was Yunho that Jaejoong went to confide in.  A best friend, you could call him.

 

“How do you know?  For all we know, she could be in a hospital right now suffering from a chronic disease,” he snapped back.

 

“And that’s the point.  We DON’T KNOW.  She hasn’t contacted you in FOUR YEARS.  FOUR WHOLE YEARS.”  He placed a hand on Jaejoong’s shoulder.  “If she loved you, she would’ve contacted you.  I’m sorry, but it’s obvious she’s moved on.”

 

Yunho was right.  It had been four years.  Four years should have been plenty of time to get over a girl.  But Jaejoong had been loyal.  He had believed in Tae Hee.  And in the end, he had always been hurt.

 

“But I still love her...” Jaejoong whispered helplessly.

 

 

 

At that moment, the front door slammed close.

 

“YAH.  WHERE IS JAEJOONG?” a woman demanded.

 

Popping their heads out of their rooms to see what the commotion was, the other band members motioned to the terrace outdoors.

 

“YUNHO, GET THOSE LETTERS AWAY FROM JAEJOONG.  YOU KNOW WHAT THEY DO TO HIM,” she ordered quickly.

 

“Yes, Hye Gyo,” he complied, grabbing the bag and rushing back to his room---leaving only Jaejoong and Hye Gyo.

 

Song Hye Gyo.  If you judged her based on her voice, she would’ve been the Wicked Witch of the East.  And if you judged her upon her looks, she would’ve been a perfect Disney Princess.  Mix both results together and you get Song Hye Gyo, the manager of DBSK.  With brains and looks like hers, she could virtually get anywhere in life.  But it just so happened that babysitting guys younger than her [only by a few years, of course] seemed to attract her.  And so she found herself in the position of Manager.  And although she seemed austere, she really did care for each and every member of DBSK.

 

 

“Jaejoong ah.”

 

“I don’t need your sympathy,” he spat.

 

“You know I’m doing it for your own good.  You know it’s best for you not to contact her.  After all, DBSK does have the biggest fanbase in the world.  If your fangirls find out that you’re in love with some random woman, do you think they’ll try to kill her?”

 

He opened his mouth to respond, but she stopped him, placing her hand over his mouth.

“That was a rhetorical question.  Don’t respond.

 

“And also, I know you might not be able to accept it.  But you’re going to have to.  Mr. Lee Soo Man has placed strict orders that none of you are to be involved with any woman for at least the next five years.  And when Mr. Lee orders it, you know we can’t do anything about it.” 

 

 

Lee Soo Man was the dictator of SM Entertainment, as many fans knew.  He had realized that romantic relationships and DBSK could not mix.  After all, if the fans knew they were no longer available, they would lose interest.  And losing interest wasn’t exactly profitable to the company.  So he installed the above into DBSK’s contract.

 

 

“You’ve got to be kidding...”

 

She stared at him sarcastically.  “Look at me.  Do I LOOK like I joke?”

 

He remained silent.

 

 

She turned towards the house and shouted, “BOYS!  YOU CAN COME OUT NOW.”

 

One by one, the remaining four filed behind each other.  Their heads were bowed down, as if they were afraid to meet Hye Gyo’s gaze and be burned to the ground.

 

She slapped Junsu on the arm playfully.  “Now stop it.  It’s not my fault I didn’t get my coffee today.”

 

 

They stared wide-eyed at her.  Everybody knew what happened when she didn’t have her daily dose of drugs coffee.  Extreme mood swings.  One moment she would be laughing hysterically; and the next, she would be bawling in the corner.  It’s unfortunate how dependent Hye Gyo had become on her coffee.

 

“OMO.  I’ll make you some right now,” Jaejoong volunteered.  With that, he turned and raced back into the house.  She needed that coffee ASAP.  Who knew what treacherous things she would do to them when she was in her “No Coffee” mode.  For example, the last time she had forgotten her coffee, she drove them around Seoul the whole day [with no bathroom or food breaks] looking for that “new music station”---which, by the way, never existed.

 

 

She fanned herself quickly.  “Oh I’m dizzy now.”

 

The members exchanged glances with each other.  What were they supposed to do?

 

 

She collapsed onto a chair and turned sober.  “I’m sorry.  I really am.  I tried to say no, but he wouldn’t take ‘No’ as an answer.  I had no choice.  I’m sorry.”

 

Junsu knelt beside her; his hand was on her shoulder.  “Noona, what do you mean?”

 

She smiled tiredly at him.  “I told you not to call me that.  It makes me feel old.”

 

“What do you mean?” he repeated.

 

Hye Gyo gazed out at the city view.  “I tried to stop it.  But Mr. Lee has declared that DBSK is to participate in the Korean Music Festival... which is in America.”

 

 

A coffee cup fell to the floor.  Its contents soaked into the wooden panels and the ceramic pieces lay dangerously on the ground.

 

 

“But I’m not ready...” Jaejoong replied at the doorway.

 

“I know.  I told him you weren’t ready, but he ignored my requests.  So you’re going.”

 

 

Yunho dragged Hye Gyo aside quickly.  “You know what happened last time when we went,” he whispered sharply.

 

 

She nodded with melancholy.  Four years ago, they had gone to the Hollywood Bowl where the festival was held.  Four years ago, Jaejoong had almost ruined the whole DBSK portion of the concert.  Five minutes before they were scheduled to perform, he had been reported missing.  Apparently he had seen a girl that looked like Tae Hee and had been following her.  And until he did show up, the emcees were forced to transform into stand-up comedians.  Lame ones, might I add.  And when he finally did show up to perform, his steps were all out of sync---basically ruining DBSK’s reputation for that year.

 

 

But he didn’t care.  All he knew was that the girl he was following was not Tae Hee.

Yes, the things love can do.

 

 

She looked over in Jaejoong’s direction.  “I know.  But an order is an order.”  Jaejoong was staring at the broken ceramic piece in his hand with interest.

 

“I can’t go.  This’ll stop them,” Jaejoong muttered to himself.  He raised the shard to his wrist, eagerly awaiting the pain.  This would be far better than going to the Hollywood Bowl---knowing that Tae Hee would not be in the crowd...knowing that she was less than twenty miles away from the performance arena, but also knowing that she would not be there to cheer him on.

 

“NO, JAEJOONG, NO!” Hye Gyo screamed out in horror as Yoochun tackled him and pinned him to the floor where he couldn’t inflict any harm upon himself.

 

Everybody and everything was silent---save for Jaejoong’s heavy breathing.

 

It was true that Jaejoong had been melancholic over the years.  But the makeup [and his constant hoping] masked his pain to reveal only what the fans wanted to see.

 

It was heart-wrenching.  For them to know that the smile he wore was fake.  They knew it pained Jaejoong the most to smile.  But he smiled anyway, despite the pain...to please his fans.

 

He smirked to himself.  It was obvious he wasn’t emotionally prepared, but for his fans, he had to be.  “I am ready.”

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