After dropping Lina off at her hotel, Jaejoong sped back to the company building. The text Hye Gyo had sent him seemed rather urgent.
“Hey guys I’m here!” Jaejoong panted breathlessly.
His band members looked up from their seats. Suitcases surrounded the group. “Where’ve you been?” Yunho asked impatiently.
“We’re going to Japan.”
“Wait, why so soon?”
“Some complications with the concert set-up. We need you guys to go over there too. We’ve already packed your stuff, Jaejoong. And we’re leaving now.”
“When are we coming back?” he asked hurriedly.
Hye Gyo checked her watch. “Not anytime soon. Why?”
Jaejoong frowned. “Oh? Oh…nothing.” He wouldn’t be able to make it to the dinner date.
“…Please buckle your seatbelts…”
Jaejoong dialed Lina’s number again, for the nth time. “We’re sorry. The person you are trying to…”
Why was her phone off?
Suddenly he didn’t feel too well.
“I’d like to rent a car, please.”
It was only 3 PM and Lina had plenty of time to kill. Jaejoong had suggested going shopping in Myong Dong. And of course, if Jaejoong had recommended it, why would she want to turn it down? Besides, she needed something pretty to wear tonight.
A car swerved and cut in front of her, barely preventing an accident.
“You should slow down.” Lina shook her head.
Lina skipped out of the store happily, swinging her shopping bags. Oh how she felt so successful! She had bought a pretty dress to wear---and gorgeous shoes too!
She looked both ways before crossing the street. No cars.
Her phone rang and she answered it as she crossed the street.
She heard tires skidding. She felt the headlights upon her. This couldn’t be happening. There were no cars when she looked!
A loud horn pierced through the silence.
Her bags flew up into the air.
And the impact knocked the wind out of her.
“MISS! MISS! ARE YOU ALRIGHT?”
“CALL THE AMBULANCE!”
“DID ANYBODY GET THE DRIVER’S LICENSE PLATE?”
She could feel her warm blood trickling down her face.
She wasn’t going to make the dinner date with Jaejoong tonight.
She closed her eyes.
The last thing she heard were the paramedics rushing to save her.
Jaejoong’s phone began to ring, waking him up from his nap. “Lina?”
“Excuse me sir. Can you please turn off your phone?” the flight attendant asked.
The phone dropped from his hand. His face was pale.
Something was wrong.
“I need to get off now,” he muttered. “I need to get off now.”
“Uh, mister. We’re flying right now, you can’t exactly…”
“Hyung, what’s wrong?” Yoochun asked, turning from his seat.
“Hm…that’s weird. She picked up and then the phone disconnected?” Seung Yeon mused. Younha wrinkled her forehead.
“What are you guys up to?” Tae Hee asked, startling her friends.
“Oh? Oh nothing. You just go on with life. Don’t mind us.”
“Huh.” Her phone vibrated and she held her breath, looking at the caller ID.
“Go answer your phone!” Younha shooed Tae Hee away.
“H-h-hello?” she greeted nervously.
“Tae Hee,” Jaejoong responded gravely. “I need your help. Please.”
“Yeah?” Of course she’d do it for him. She didn’t even need to know what.
“Can you please go to the hospital and take care of Lina for me? I’m in Japan right now, but I’m going to come back as soon as I can. I don’t know what’s wrong with her; the hospital called my phone. You’re the only one in Korea who, relatively, knows Lina. And you’re a doctor. Please, Tae Hee, I’m begging you.” His voice sounded desperate.
“I…” She could do anything but this. Helping Lina was basically approving of Jaejoong’s new relationship.
“Please Tae Hee. I don’t know who else to turn to. I’m afraid this happened because of my fans---or even anti-fans. Tae Hee, please. You know how it’s like too, being the girlfriend of a celebrity…”
She shut off her phone, cutting Jaejoong off.
“I’m sorry…I just can’t do it…” she whispered, crumpling to the ground. He hadn’t talked to her in so long, and the first thing he asked of her was to help his “new love”. “I just can’t.”
Jaejoong ran through the hallways, searching for the room. His shoes squeaked against the drab linoleum. His heart was pounding; the guilt was suffocating. He had done this to her, hadn’t he? He was the reason Lina was lying unconscious somewhere in this hospital. So the fangirls had finally attacked---but they had expressed their anger on the wrong person. Nobody was supposed to know about Lina, not yet.
And that’s why he flew back to Korea right after he was done with the recording.
His hand trembled; he was afraid to open the door, afraid to see what he had caused. A doctor walked out of the room, holding a clipboard.
“DOCTOR! DOCTOR! How is she? What happened?” He grabbed onto the physician desperately.
“It was a hit and run. We’ve run some tests, but we need to do some more once she wakes up.”
“ONCE SHE WAKES UP? IS SHE IN A COMA OR SOMETHING?”
“Sir, could you please quiet down? This is a hospital, after all.”
“You still haven’t answered me.”
“Yes, she is. And with the head trauma, she’s lucky her skull isn’t fractured. But other symptoms may include the loss of one or more of her senses. All we can do now is wait and see.”
“Is it permanent?”
“Many cases aren’t. But of course there’s always that chance.”
Jaejoong’s legs weakened. This was his entire fault.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, I have other patients to tend to.”
He leaned against the wall for support.
He never liked hospitals. Every single time he was in one, something bad had always happened. Years before, it had been his leukemia. And now? Lina.
He pulled a chair up to the bedside and held her hand. “Will you wake up, Lina? This isn’t funny. You need to wake up now or else I’m going to be mad at you. We were supposed to eat dinner together. How dare you blow me off.” A tear of frustration trickled down his cheek. “Wake up now, Lina.”
Tae Hee turned away from the hospital door. She had heard it all.