Chapter 7

I Is For Irony

“Will you bring me to your school tomorrow?” Jaejoong asked as they entered Lina’s home.

 

“You enjoyed it, didn’t you?” she grinned.  “I could tell the kids liked you too.”

He nodded.  “Especially that David.  He’s going to be famous one day.”

 

 

Jaejoong headed towards the guest room. 

 

“Hey Jaejoong?”

 

He stopped.  “Yes Lina?”

 

She hesitated and decided to change her topic.  “Aren’t you scared though?  I’m pretty sure a lot of the students’ mothers were checking you out.”

 

He chuckled.  “I told you I’m too pretty.”

 

“And what about the paparazzi?”

 

 

 

“Don’t worry so much, Lina.  I’m sure nobody will find me here.  Except for some of the fangirls---they’ve got resources.  It’s kind of scary.”  He smiled reassuringly and patted her head.  “Go to sleep Lina.”

 

 

Only their shuffling feet could be heard.  A moment of comfortable silence.

 

 

“Hey Jaejoong?  Thanks again for everything you’ve done to some of those kids.  It’s not everyday when they get to have music class; and you made it especially special.”

 

 

He smirked.  “No problem.  I enjoyed it.”

 

After all, that was why he became a singer.  Because he was passionate about music.  And because he wanted to spread his passion to as many people as he could.

 

 

He entered the bedroom and sat on the bed, contemplating over the events that had occurred over the past few days.

 

 

DBSK had arrived at LA.

 

A few days later, DBSK performed at the Hollywood Bowl.

 

And then Jaejoong ran away---to meet Lina Choi, a preschool teacher who didn’t know what Kimchi was.  Along the way, he had influenced little preschoolers; and they had done the same to him.

 

 

But he had never fulfilled what he had come to America for.

He had come for Tae Hee, the love of his life.

And she had eluded him.

 

 

 

She didn’t love him anymore, did she?  She didn’t want to see him anymore, did she?

 

 

He arose from the bed and headed down the hallway.

Jaejoong knocked on a pink door decorated with floral patterns.  “Lina?  Are you awake?”

 

 

She groaned from inside.  “Yeah.”

 

He heard her trudge to the door and unlock it.  There was no dragging chair this time, he noted.

 

 

“What’s up?” she grinned sleepily.

 

He couldn’t help but crack a smile.  She truly was like a little kid.  Her hair was askew.  Her eyes were hardly open.  But her smile was as true as always.

 

 

“Can you tell me about your ex?”

 

Her cheerful expression faltered.  “Oh.”  She sighed.  It had been more than two weeks.  Had she recovered from the break up?  “Come on in, I guess telling somebody will make me feel better.”

 

 

“He was one of my student’s uncle.  The most charming guy ever.  He was young and handsome and smart.  He could cook and clean; he could do anything.  But what impressed me the most was that he was willing to take care of his niece, my student.  Her parents had passed away, and so he decided to become her guardian instead of sending her to the adoption center...

 

 

“...but two years later, he told me he didn’t feel it anymore.  He told me I was like his sister now.  His dead sister, might I add.  And I guess...that was the end of that.  What about you Jaejoong?  Did you ever break up with someone you loved?”

 

 

She turned to question him.  But he had already fallen peacefully asleep on her bed.  She cracked a  smile.  Judging upon his innocent face, he probably hadn’t even started dating.  Lina tucked the covers around Jaejoong and slipped out of her room.

 

 

She would sleep on the sofa tonight.

 

*****

 

Tae Hee dropped the house keys on the coffee table.  Tonight was a disappointing disaster.

 

 

“How’d it go?” Laura asked from her seat in front of the television.

 

“It “didn’t go” at all.  Everybody was there BUT Kim Jaejoong.”

 

“What?”  All her money HAD BEEN WASTED THEN!

 

 

Tae Hee huffed.  “I’m going to my room.”

 

 

Today had been awful.  How could the guys deceive her like that?  The manager was understandable; after all, the entertainment company was the enemy.  But the boys...she had gone to school with them.

 

She her laptop.  Maybe surfing the net would palliate her.

 

 

Tae Hee clicked on “JAEJOONG AND GIRL?”

 

As the page loaded, her jaw dropped.

 

 

 

Her eyes scanned the paragraph(s) anxiously.

 

“OMG!  So we like saw him after the concert [which btw was like the awesomest thing ever!] and were all like “OPPA OPPA!  TAKE  A PICTURE WITH US!”  But then he saw us and grabbed the girl’s hand, and they drove off in her car...

 

...But of course, my friends and I were able to take a few pictures of them.  They looked kind of scared.  Maybe because they’re dating and don’t want us to know...

 

...Does anybody know who she is?  Is she like his ex-ulzzang girlfriend or something?”

 

 

Tae Hee scoffed.  She was his ulzzang girlfriend.  And apparently, she was his ex now too.  She had been too innocent.  To think that this international superstar would actually wait for her.  No, he would obviously go on to catch bigger fish.  After all, Tae Hee was just an ex-lover; she wasn’t even his first love.

 

 

“God, you sound so whiny,” she told herself.  She refused to continue this nonsense.  So much for palliation.

 

 

Tae Hee lay on her bed, trying to clear her mind of everything.  But all she could see was the picture of Jaejoong and the girl.  Everywhere she looked, Jaejoong was there...accompanied by that pretty girl.  Who was she?  What significance was she in his life?  Why couldn’t Tae Hee stop thinking about this?

 

 

Forget about all of this, Tae Hee told herself.

 

She looked at the white wall beside her with interest.

 

If she hit her head hard enough, would she suffer from amnesia?  She smiled ghoulishly.  Amnesia sounded pretty nice right now.

 

 

Her head banged against the wall.  There went a bazillion brain cells.

 

“YAH!  TAE HEE!  WHAT’S WITH ALL THE COMMOTION?” Laura asked, barging the room.

 

 

But there was no answer.

 

Tae Hee had blacked out.

 

 

 

 

 

Her eyes fluttered open.  It was all white.  That was good, she told herself.  Maybe you’ve forgotten and ended up in Heaven.  She turned her head and saw flowers---forget-me-nots.  Funny, those were the flowers she loved.  Nobody ever gave her forget-me-nots...except for Jaejoong. 

 

She shook her head angrily. 

The head banging hadn’t worked.

 

 

Ironic, wasn’t it?

 

Tae Hee had tried so hard to forget.

 

And where was she now?

 

In a hospital room with forget-me-nots in a vase near the window.

 

 

Forget-me-nots.

 

 

“Why can’t I forget you?” Tae Hee sighed aloud.

You’ve made me hurt too much.

 

 

“Tae Hee?  Are you awake?” Laura asked, popping her head into the room.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“The doctor, AKA ME,” she smiled,” has diagnosed you with fatigue.  And Mr. White, our head doctor, has corroborated my diagnosis.  So, I say you need to take a break.  And Mr. White agrees with my treatment.”

 

 

Tae Hee was silent; she turned her head and stared out the window.  Fatigue, huh?  That was perhaps the stupidest diagnosis she had heard.  She was not tired.  She couldn’t be.  She had so many patients to attend to.  She had taxes.  She had bills.  She couldn’t just stop everything and rest. 

 

 

She was a doctor, for goodness sake.  She couldn’t get sick.

 

 

“He’s giving you four months leave.”

 

“...what?” she murmured.  Mr. White was basically forcing this vacation upon her.  Four months.  Four months was too much.  What about her patients?

 

“If you’re worried about the hospital, there are plenty of doctors in here.  Don’t worry about the patients.  And by the end of those four months, we hope that you’ll be fully rested and continue to do well at the hospital.”

 

 

I can’t, she thought.  I can’t give myself time to muse upon the past.

 

 

“You can leave in a little while, after I’m done with your check-up.” 

 

 

With that, Laura left the room.  As soon as the room was empty of everybody but Tae Hee, she hastily scrambled off the bed.  Her pace slowed as she approached the forget-me-nots.  Tae Hee grabbed the flowers by the neck roughly, not caring whether or not the stems snapped.

 

 

 

“I will forget you.”

 

And the crushed flowers were thrown in the trash.

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