“KIM TAE HEE!” Laura shouted as she stomped down the hallway. Tae Hee was so dead; she had gotten onto Laura’s bad side. “I SAID! KIM TAE HEE!”
The nurses and other doctors scurried to get out of her way. Carts were pushed to one side. And everybody was all eyes. What had happened to their good natured Laura?
Tae Hee turned and smiled. Apparently she was oblivious of the impending storm. “Good morning Laura!”
Laura glared at her friend and pulled Tae Hee to a private room.
“WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU TAE HEE?” Laura snapped.
Tae Hee was aghast; Laura had just yelled at her. What had she done wrong? “What’s wrong Laura?”
She touched Laura’s arm. But it was jerked roughly away.
“I paid so much money for those tickets. I worked overtime to cover for you. And what’d you do? YOU DIDN’T GO.” She gazed at Tae Hee with pleading eyes. “Now all I want to know is WHY.”
Tae Hee was silent. Then in a whisper, she said, “I sold the ticket.”
“WHY. You know how hard it was for me to get a hold of those tickets?”
“I sold the ticket to someone who wanted it. I, on the other hand, did not see any need to.”
“WE HAD AGREED THAT YOU WERE GOING TO CLEAR THINGS UP AT THE CONCERT.”
“I already did... with Hye Gyo, their manager....before the concert.”
“WHAT THE HECK WOULD YOU TALK TO THEIR MANAGER ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP?” If Laura was angry before, she was FURIOUS now. “IT’S NOT HER RELATIONSHIP. SHE’S OBVIOUSLY GOING TO WANT TO BREAK YOU TWO APART.”
Tae Hee smiled slowly. On the contrary, it seemed as if Hye Gyo was begging her to save Jaejoong. He needed Tae Hee, and Hye Gyo knew it.
Tae Hee answered her phone as she prepared herself for the concert---despite the fact that she was five hours early. She was excited; she wanted to see Jaejoong, and she wanted him to see her at her best.
“Hi, is this Kim Tae Hee? I’m Song Hye Gyo, DBSK’s manager.”
Tae Hee frowned. Oh no. What was going on? How had she gotten a hold of her phone? “Yes...”
“I would like to ask a favor of yours, Miss Kim.”
“And that would be...?”
“I want you to see Jaejoong.”
Tae Hee was evidently surprised for she had been rendered speechless.
“Hello? Miss Kim?”
“Oh yes...?” Was this too good to be true? Should she be wary of a ruse?
“We’re leaving tomorrow, the day after the concert. I would like you to see him before we leave for home.”
“He’s in trouble. And I think the only one who can help him...is you.”
And that was why there was no longer a need to attend the concert. Rather, Tae Hee wanted to spend those concert hours assisting others in need...before she would go on to help her love, Kim Jaejoong.
“I’m going to see him tonight at the hotel before they leave.”
Laura’s previous wrath had dissipated; and now, she had tears in her eyes. Tears of happiness, mind you.
“Tae Hee, you’re going to settle it! I’m so glad for you!” She hugged her friend.
“I think it’s time to go...” Tae Hee said slowly.
“Good luck. Good luck. And more good luck!” Laura shouted after Tae Hee.
The other employees of the hospital stuck their heads out of their protective havens. Had the storm already passed?
Tae Hee took a deep breath and rechecked the room number. 1024. This was the right one.
“Stop it!” she reprimanded herself. “You’ve seen them before. You’ve hung out with them for so long. Don’t be nervous!”
She knocked on the door. And slowly, the door swung open.
Probably the prettiest woman she had ever seen opened the door with a smile. Tae Hee’s heart sank. What was a pretty woman doing in their room? [Thankfully she was fully clothed.]
“Hi, you must be Miss Kim Tae Hee.”
Oh, so this woman knew her name.
“I’m Song Hye Gyo; we’ve spoken over the phone.”
Tae Hee couldn’t suppress her happiness. Hye Gyo wasn’t a paramour. Shame on herself for being so impudent. She shouldn’t have thought of such nasty ideas.
A chorus of exclamations rained down upon her as the boys realized who was at the door.
“OMG! IS THAT YOU?”
They ran to hug her. And she smiled at their voices... before realizing that one was missing.
“Guys, where’s Jaejoong?”
Yunho exchanged glances with Junsu; and Yoochun exchanged glances with Changmin. And Hye Gyo exchanged glances with...well herself, or rather, the mirror. Who was going to tell her? That is, if they were going to tell her at all.
“So how’s your doctor thing going?” Yunho asked quickly.
“Or a better question, how’re my friends doing in Korea?” Tae Hee responded, as if she had forgotten about Jaejoong.
Junsu looked away. “About Seung Yeon and Younha...”
“We’re not allowed to contact them anymore,” Changmin blurted out. It was hardest for him [after Jaejoong of course] to have to break up with his beloved, Younha. After all, there was no longer anybody else to pig out with without having to worry about their figures.
“WHAT?” Tae Hee shouted angrily. “I left Korea making sure that you guys would take care of them. What happened?”
“Their contract. That’s what happened,” Hye Gyo interrupted. Heads turned. Clearly, during their reunion, they had forgotten about her. But now, all was remembered. “In clause 2 on page 4. It states that the members of DBSK are not allowed to participate in “romantic relationships” until five years later from now.”
“And so you dumped them just like that? How heartless could you be?” Tae Hee demanded.
“Mr. Lee Soo Man’s behind all of it. You can’t blame the boys.” Hye Gyo tried to mollify Tae Hee.
“It was their choice to sign the contract,” she snapped back. Then turning to Yunho, she continued, “What about Seul Gi, huh? You were betrothed to her. You loved her. Did you really break it off...just like that?”
Yunho looked away bashfully. “She understands. She’s still waiting for me.”
“You’re going to make her wait FIVE YEARS. What if you renew your contract? Are you just going to keep her waiting? Life is short, I hope you realize that. Eventually, she’s going to lose faith in you. And you’re going to lose her. You know how painfully selfish that is?”
Hye Gyo was steadily turning red. She had to save the band before Tae Hee screwed them all over.
“Miss Kim, I hope that you realize I asked you here to help Jaejoong, not to destroy the rest of the band’s perspectives.” Perhaps asking Tae Hee over had been a bad idea.
“Well where is he?” Her foul mood suddenly turned hopeful.
“He’s not here,” Hye Gyo replied.
Tae Hee made a “WTF” face. DBSK’s manager had seemed so personable and charming. And now she was a total hag. Was Hye Gyo just trying to toy with her? Jaejoong wasn’t even there. Then what was the point of even coming?
“He disappeared after the concert,” Yunho added sadly. “He’s obviously looking for you. If only he knew.”
“You know what? I’m leaving,” Tae Hee declared angrily. First it was their manager who decided to play around with her. But Yunho? He was a friend, not a foe. How could HE be deceiving her too? This was too much.
“Noona...” Changmin whispered with disappointment.
It had been four years since they last saw each other. All of them had been so happy when they heard Tae Hee at the door. Not only was Jaejoong saved, they were finally able to remember their past. After all, Soo Man had basically stolen their history. They were “going to be International Stars; and that meant the events which had shaped them into who they were, had to be discarded”, according to the SM Entertainment head.
But she had stayed for less than four minutes.
“Her temper’s as scary as always...” Junsu remarked, as an attempt to palliate the tension.
Hye Gyo cleared her voice. “I’m sorry. It was my fault; I shouldn’t have asked her over. Don’t blame her. She’s just confused. I had promised for her to meet Jaejoong and help him...but obviously I had broken it.”
Yoochun placed a hand on her shoulder. “Hye Gyo...”
She turned away. Only on rare occasions did she feel guilty, and this was one of them. It was her who had thought that inviting Tae Hee could’ve made things better. But ironically, things turned out for the worse. And now, Tae Hee had all of them considering that SM Entertainment was ruining their lives. [And it obviously was.] But the boys were happy before. Now? Hye Gyo looked at them. They were all melancholic.
“I’m sorry, you guys.”
“Well don’t be!” Junsu suddenly smiled. “We got to see Tae Hee. I don’t care if it was for a minute or a second. We got to see her, and that’s what counts. I’m glad I got to see her. Thank you Noona.”
“Oh, Junsu...” She was too thankful to tell him to stop calling her “noona”.
“At least we know she hasn’t changed, right?” Changmin smiled. “Don’t feel bad,” he soothed. “You tried to make us feel better.” He hugged his manager. “And by the way, if we could possibly see Seung Yeon and Younha and friends, that’d be nice too.”
Hye Gyo smiled. “We’ll see.”
But even though she wanted to meet the boys’ previous lovers, she knew it was practically impossible. But she was going to try.
Han Seung Yeon.
Bae Seul Gi.
And perhaps most importantly, Kim Tae Hee.
She was going to bring them all back to DBSK.
They were going to become whole again.