Chapter 4

I Is For Irony

The scent of coffee filled the air.  Ceramic cups clanked against the wood tables.

 

“Here’s your phone,” Lina replied curtly as she handed over the electronic.  “Have a nice er... midnight.” She rose to leave.

 

Jaejoong spoke up.  “Can you show me where Tae Hee is?”

She turned stared at him sarcastically.  “Um, how should I put this.  But I barely know this Tae Hee of yours.”

 

“Wait, what?”

 

 

Then he suddenly turned pale.

 

“OMG!  JAEJOONG OPPA!”

 

Camera lights flashed.  And fangirl screams erupted.

 

He grabbed Lina’s hand.  “RUN!”

 

 

“LET’S TAKE A PICTURE OPPA!  DON’T RUN!”

 

 

Lina led him to her car and started the engine.  Many minutes and “OMG THEY’RE COMING!” moments later, they were finally able to lose the obsessed fangirls.

 

 

In the passenger seat, Jaejoong glanced behind them and laughed.

 

“We lost them!”

 

Lina was pale as she slowly released her foot off the acceleration pedal.  “Is this what you have to suffer through?  OMG.  I pity you celebrities.”

 

 

He looked at her and continued laughing.  “That was fun.”  And for the first time in so long, he cracked a smile.  No make up was needed.  No effort was needed.  It didn’t hurt this time. 

 

She grinned as they cruised along the streets.  “You’re messed up, aren’t you?  Running from fangirls is fun.  Crazy kid.”

 

He chuckled.  “You know, Lina, you’re a pretty crazy person yourself.  You DO know you ran three red lights, right?  And I’m sure there were cameras there too.”

 

 

 

Lina sank in her seat.  All that money would be lost to pay for the ticket. “You serious?” she groaned.

He smiled brightly back at her.  “Nope.  And by the way, I’m Kim Jaejoong.”

 

“WHAT THE HECK.  You don’t just give me a heart attack and then introduce yourself.”

 

 

“Fine.  I’m Kim Jaejoong and I need a place to stay.  Specifically, your place.  I introduced myself and then gave you a heart attack.”

 

Lina slammed into the brakes.  “Wait, what?”

 

“I don’t have anywhere to go.”

 

“What happened to your other band members?  Where’d they stay?”

 

 

“They left.”

 

 

“What do you mean “they left”?  They couldn’t just leave you.  You’re part of that band!” 

 

 

How could they just leave a band member like that?  Lost and left to fend for himself.  From what she had seen at the concert, they had seemed like nice people, but apparently she had assumed wrong.  [After all, when you assume, you make an of u and me.]

 

“They left.  They left a few hours ago.”

“And why are you still here?”

 

“Because I need to settle things once and for all.”

 

 

“Well is there any place you want me to bring you?”

 

He paused for a second.  Maybe just maybe he could somehow find Tae Hee in the next five minutes.  And then he could stay with Tae Hee.  But no.  “I...don’t know where to go.”

 

Lina was silent.  Oh no.  Her motherly instincts were telling her to let him stay with her.  NO!  She shook her head.  She barely knew this Jaejoong.  Who knew if he was a or something?

 

Inhale.  “If you want, you can stay at my home for the time being.”  Exhale.

 

WHAT WAS LINA THINKING?

 

“Ok.  Thanks,” Jaejoong accepted quickly, perhaps too quickly.  Now what was he up to?

 

*****

 

Lina maneuvered her car into the driveway.  Jaejoong glanced around in the car and finally came out.

“C’mon,” Lina motioned, leading him towards the front door.

 

He continued observing his surroundings.  Her house wasn’t the greatest, but it was a nice neighborhood.  A one-story white and blue house---matched with pretty flowers in the front yard.  In a way, the house and the owner matched each other.  Pretty and simple.

 

“OH NO!” Lina cried, rushing to her forget-me-nots---forgetting all about Jaejoong and the door.  She knelt down and gently held a bud.  The plant had wilted.

 

 

Jaejoong stood behind her, his hands in his pockets.  “Forget-me-nots, huh?” he asked bitterly.  These flowers had symbolized Tae Hee and his relationship for so long.  And a dead one, to him, was better than a live one.

 

 

A tear rolled down her cheek.  “I had tried so hard to keep them alive.”

 

 

He shrugged.  “Why?  You can always buy new ones.”

 

 

“Do you know what they mean?” She looked at him with teary eyes.

He turned away.  Of course he knew what they meant.

 

 

He looked around, holding a flower in his hand.

 

The florist came back.  “Like those flowers?  Forget-me-nots.  True love, hope, remembrance, memoriesThey were her favorite because she believed in them.”

 

“Oh...” He put them back gingerly, careful not to snap the neck.  He wanted to believe in them too.

 

She held out a bouquet of striped carnations (was that even possible?) “These are for you.”

“Err... thanks...” he said uncertainly.  He began walking towards the shop exit.

 

 

He hesitated as his hands contacted the door handle.  Turning back to the florist, he asked, “What does it mean?”

 

“Huh?”

 

“The carnations...”

 

 

She smiled.  He was a pretty boy with brains.  “Carnations in general mean divine love.  However, striped carnations, which you have, mean refusal.  In other words, sorry, I can’t be with you.  Guess today isn’t your day, kiddo.”

 

 

“Hope.  Remembrance.  Memories.  True love.  My ex-boyfriend and I planted these together two years ago.  Two weeks ago, he broke up with me.  I tried so desperately to keep these alive...”

 

 

Jaejoong placed his right hand on her shoulder.  “Well don’t.  No man is worth a woman's tears; the only one who is, will never make her cry.”  He paused.  “...and vice versa.”

 

Lina wiped a tear away and stood up.  “C’mon.  Let’s get into the house.”

 

 

He followed her into the building as she switched on the lights.

 

“I’ll go get you some of my ex-boyfriends clothes so you can change.  And that room over there’s yours.  The bathroom’s over there, and mines is right next to it.”

 

 

She walked off... and came back with a pile of clothing.  “I didn’t know which one you wanted, so I brought it all for you.”

 

Jaejoong stood with his mouth agape.  This girl was unbelievable.  “Uh...thanks.”

 

 

Lina smiled brightly.  “Anyhow, I have to work tomorrow, so I’m going to go to sleep now.”  Then remembering something, she turned back and continued, “And I’m assuming you have nothing to do, right?  I’ll bring you along too!”  After all, she couldn’t just leave him here at her house.  What if he was a professional thief or something?

 

 

He stared at her but was too surprised to say something.

 

“I’m taking that as a yes!  Good night!”  And she skipped down the hallway into her room. 

 

 

He thought he heard a click [of a lock] and a chair being dragged over to the door.  He smirked.  Typical, he couldn’t blame her.

 

 

After doing his hygienic routine, Jaejoong laid awake on his bed, despite the fact that it was well past 3 AM.

 

 

Were they missing him?  Were they blaming him?  Luckily Hye Gyo had given her word and really hadn’t gone looking after him.  How were they faring without him?

 

 

What about Tae Hee?  How was she doing?  Was she lying awake thinking about him too?  Or was she sleeping like any other day because he no longer haunted her dreams, like she did daily to his.

 

 

And that new girl, Lina Choi.  Was she really not a fangirl?  Or was she just extremely skillful in hiding it?  How could she be related to Tae Hee?  And why was she so weak when it came to that dead flower?  After all, it was JUST a flower.

 

 

He sighed.  She and Tae Hee had so much in common.

 

 

Simultaneously, in a room not far from Jaejoong’s, Lina Choi was sprawled on her bed, staring at the ceiling.  You should’ve gone to bed earlier than this, she reprimanded herself, you’ve got work tomorrow...today.  Why did she have to randomly invite some stranger into her house?  Hadn’t she watched “Blades of Glory”?  STRANGER DANGER.  But nonetheless, she had invited him.  And now she had to basically babysit him.  Like she had told Laura, she watched adorable kids, not intimidating adults [who were probably older than her].

 

 

Then why had she invited him of all people?

 

 

Was it because he had this innocent aura around him?  One of loss and confusion?  Whatever the attitude, it was because he reminded her of a kid.  One who was abandoned in the harsh world.  That was why she took him in.  To help him...wasn’t it?

 

She turned over and yawned but still could not sleep.

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