What is she looking at? I was half-running towards the spot where I left her when I saw her hiding behind the pillar. I squinted my eyes towards the direction of two people underneath the bridge. It's that Jongwan guy and Dara's friend Bom!
When Lee Jongwan held Bom's shoulders, I knew I had to get to Dara fast. I sprinted the remaining distance between us and fortunately, I was able to cover her eyes before she sees that guy kissing her friend.
I pulled her behind the pillar and turned her around to face me. Damn! I can't look at her in this state! She's already on the verge of tears, the corner of her eyes are already turning red.
She fumbled on her bag while biting her lips. I knew she really wants to cry but she's forcing herself not to since I told her I hate it when girls cry in front of me. She found what she was looking for and gave it to me. To my surprise, it was a Jiyong coupon. Is she going to claim this now? What does she want?
"What do you want me to do?", I whispered.
"I am going to cry and I want you to comfort me," she answered as tears started to fall from her eyes. I immediately diverted my gaze as I hug her. Don't let me see that guy on the streets, heaven knows what I will do to that ba$tard...
Her bitter sobs are reverberating on my ears as she hold on to me tightly. She planted her face on my chest and sobbed uncontrollably. I think my heart was torn to pieces whenever I hear her cry. I felt a lump on my throat and a tightening on my chest.
"Sh!T!", I exclaimed as I punch the pillar to release my anger. I didn't realize my voice is a bit loud, the next thing I knew is that there are sounds of footsteps going on our direction. I knew it was that Jongwan guy and Dara's friend. There's a big chance that Dara will be found out. I racked my brain thinking of a way to prevent that from happening.
In one swift motion, I stretched the hooded sweater that I was wearing and enveloped it to Dara. Good thing she's petite and I'm wearing a large sweater that is big enough for both of us. I zipped the sweater I was wearing, with Dara inside - arms wrapped around my body. Now, we look like we're inside a coccoon. When Lee Jongwan and Bom reached us, I immediately turned around so that my back is facing them. I can feel that they're curiously looking at us. I held Dara tightly.
"I'm going home. I'll pretend that you didn't say anything. Please don't let Dara know about this.", Bom said and quickly left with Lee Jongwan following her from behind.
I sighed heavily as I directed my gaze on the poor ahjumma inside my hooded sweater. Life...oh life.
Jiyong opened his closet, grabbed the pink scarf that Dara gave her and wrapped it around his neck. He sat on the bed while fixing the scarf when his gaze landed on the bedside table. Beside the lamp is a series of picture frames containing Dara's other gift to Jiyong,which is a couple of pictures of them goofing around the apartment.
The first one is the picture of them where they were both messing around with oranges. There's also a picture of them with tissue tears. And the largest one is the picture when they were both smiling widely taken inside the apartment - their backs are facing the window with a clear view of the sky, Jiyong is behind Dara while his arms are entwined on Dara's neck and Dara's hands are holding his arms.
A smile broke on Jiyong's face upon seeing them. He didn't realize Dara-ahjumma is already close to the other Big Bang members to the point where she can ask them favors. He found out that Dara asked Seungri and Daesung's help in printing the pictures and he asked Youngbae's help in picking the right colors for the knitted scarfs.
Dara already left a couple of minutes ago. She has been lying around all day and skipped school. She just moved when it's time for her to go to her part-time job. She's as good as a walking zombie and has never uttered a word since last night. Jiyong shook his head in frustration, he can handle the crazy and noisy Dara-ahjumma but not the quiet one. It's really heartbreaking to see her in her current state.
He went to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator to grab a drink. He was surprised to see a packed lunch inside. He took it out and saw a post-it with Dara-ahjumma's handwriting:
Big Bang Hwaiting! JIYONG HWAITING!
He can't help but chuckle at her sillyness. Despite what she's going through, she did not forget to poison GD with her unpalatable cooking.
Before leaving, Jiyong left the 'Jiyong coupon' on top of the bedside table and wrote a note for Dara:
Claim this some other time. Your request for comforting you doesn't count. The 'coupon hug' is invalid.
Meanwhile, in Itaewon Hiphop Bar, another round of glasses have been broken. Dara pick the broken glasses, unmindful of her bleeding fingers, while her manager is giving her a lengthy scolding. She feels really numb. Is this how it's like to be brokenhearted? She has never experienced one that's why she's very confused.
Suddenly, her manager stopped nagging. A pair of shoes materialized before her, the owner of which bent down and held her arms to stop her from what she's doing.
TOP: Stop it. You're bleeding. What happened to you? You seem so out of it.
Dara just ignored him and continued with what she's doing. TOP let out an exasperated sigh and talked to the manager. Afterwards, he pulled Dara.
TOP: I already told the manager that you're going to take a sick leave. Grab your things and let's get out of here.
Dara didn't even bother to argue and just did what she was told. When they exited the club however, instead of following TOP to his car, she just kept on walking aimlessly.
TOP: Yah!! Where are you going?! Hey Nuclear Fart! The car is here, don't you know what this is for?! It's for TRANSPORTATION!!!! YAHHHHH!!
Aigooo, my legs are already killing me!!!!! I ended up following Nuclear Fart who seems to have lost her soul. It's already dark and awfully cold!
We are here in Han River and I don't know what she's planning to do. She just boarded the subway station a while ago and I had no choice but to follow her. And so we're here, about to DIE!! It's sooo freakishly cold! Gawd, someone please help me!
"YAH!! NUCLEAR FART!", I screamed mightily on her ears. She jumped in surprise and looked at me with bewilderment, as if I'm a lifeform from another planet <*sigh>. I don't know what she's going through but if she continues staring blankly at me, I swear I am going to hit her with my shoes!
"Greetings earthling, M.Y. N.A.M.E. I.S. T.O.P., I. C.O.M.E. I.N. P.E.A.CE.", I said in a robotic voice.
She took a few steps towards me. My aura of defense was automatically activated, my body was in full alert. Can't blame me though since the last time she beat me to a pulp is still heavily imprinted on my mind.
She stopped in front of me, pulled her scarf and carefully wrapped it around my neck. She then pulled my bonnet and made sure my ears are covered. Afterwards, Dara continued walking until she reached the bottom of the bridge. I just walked behind her silently.
She just stood there and stared at...I don't exactly know what she's looking at underneath the bridge. I followed her gaze and all I see is, well, nothing - just pillars, concretes, etc. The place is deserted. Maybe because it's COLD!!! Good grief, what the heck is up with this girl, really? I'm getting really worried 'coz who knows, she might start running towards the water and throw herself on the river to kill herself. By golly, with this cold weather, I'd rather watch her die than jump in the water to save her. Okay, that's just my mouth talking, I'm kidding.
"Tabi, it's getting dark. You can just leave me here. I'm okay.", she said. HOLY CRAPPP!!! She called me TABI?! I'm not Eyeshadow Man anymore!! This is NOT good! I have a very VERY bad feeling about this!
"I give up, please don't scare me anymore. Let's go home, alright? I'll take you to Jiyong's apartment. Let's gooooo....", I pleaded. I don't want to be on the headline news tonight being interviewed about the 'Girl who committed suicide in the Han River'. And well....I'm also getting really worried about the way she's behaving.
"What exactly happened to you? Come on, talk to me. I promise I won't laugh and point at you.", I said. She just glanced at me, then she shifted her attention on the left, across the street where some hotels and hostels are lined up and she started walking on that direction. I stomped my feet in frustration and battled with myself whether I should just go back to Itaewon where my car is parked or whether I should still make sure that Dara is safe. With slumped shoulders, I started walking behind her again while dialing my friend's number at Itaewon, asking him for a favor about my car. I was about to dial Jiyong's number but my phone went dead, the battery was already drained. <*sigh> Great. Just great.
Dara stopped in front of a....damn, is this a hostel??? I think I can demolish this building with my bare hands! It's so old and scary!
"Dara, did you and Jiyong fight? If you don't want to go home, I'll just pay for a CLEAN hotel suite for you.", I said, hoping that she'll be tempted by the word CLEAN. She just shook her head and opened the door. DEAR HEAVENS!! Did I betray my country on my previous life to deserve this?
As soon as we entered, the people behind the table (which I assume is the reception desk), stopped what they were doing and stood frozen on their spot, staring at us with mouths gaping open. Is this their first time to have 'guests' in this hostel? I half expect them to throw their bodies on the floor and worship us.
"Are you going to spend your night here? This place doesn't look safe. Just come with me, okay?", I whispered as I pulled Dara's sleeves so we could get the hell out of here.
"Go home. I'm fine. I just need time by myself.", she answered. I placed both of my hands on my face and let out an exasperated sigh. Even if she's an ahjumma girl, she's still a GIRL! And I really think this place is not safe. For all I know, there are some weirdness happening behind these doors. Fine, I'll leave as soon as I made sure that she's safe.
Dara got the keys from the reception and proceeded to her room located at the second floor. As we pass by the doors on the narrow hallway, I stretched my ears for any suspicious sounds (like a woman crying for help or something). The stairs (yes STAIRS! I think elevator is something foreign in this hostel) creaks as we stepped on them.
She opened the padlock on her door with her keys...PADLOCK???!!! What the hell?!! Haven't they heard of DOORKNOBS before?! I am seriously fearing for our lives right now. WHAT is this place??
As soon as we entered the room, sweet heavens! My omma is right. Hell does exist! I was absolutely MORTIFIED! :
I looked at the switch and I'm pretty sure you can't turn on the lights without the risk of getting electrecuted. The bed looks like it walks on its own when you're deep asleep at night.
I inspected the bathroom and checked the water. Thank goodness it's working. But I wouldn't even dare take a bath here. It felt like someone's going to poke me while I'm washing my hair. I tried to flush the toilet and almost ran out in fright. The toilet is making weird sounds as if it's being possessed by a gang of evil spirits.
I looked at the mirror and regretted it afterwards. It's really creepy!! I can imagine a face popping out behind me while looking at my reflection!! <*cringe cringe>
I went out the bathroom and looked under the bed to make sure that no one's hiding there. I checked the closet as well, half-expecting to find big jars with brains in it. Everything in the room looks so old and...CREEPY!!
The TV is not a problem, though. Because there's no TV!
"Nuclear Fart! Seriously, if you want, you can crash on my apartment. Just don't stay here. They use a padlock instead of a doorknob, for crying out loud!", I yelled while pointing at the door. When I looked at Dara, she was already lying on the bed in fetal position...crying..
Holy sh!t... I quickly sat on the bed - her back is facing me. I hesitated for a moment before I finally caressed her hair while begging her to stop crying. She looks so fragile right now. I just want to break the neck of whoever does this to her.
"Hey sweetie, come on, talk to me. What happened to you? Is it Jiyong? I'm older than him, I can hit him if you ask me to.", I said. Dara shook her head, rolled on the bed to shift her position to face me while still lying, then she hugged my waist while sobbing, her face planted on my backwaist.
I gently patted her back. After a few minutes, she calmed down a bit and started telling me about the guy named Lee Jongwan and her bestfriend Bom.
"The guy that you like, who is treating you nicely, turns out to be doing that because he likes your bestfriend?", I asked.
"Yes. Please don't try to console me. Even words of consolation felt heavy right now. That's why I want to be alone tonight.", she answered.
"But let me ask you this. Do you like that Lee Jongwan that much? Or are you just enamored because as you said, he's the first guy to shower you with attention at school. Or is it just your ego that has been hurt because every guy seems to be interested in your bestfriend?", I asked after a while.
"I..don't know. I'm really confused since this is the first time this kind of thing happened to me. All I know is that I'm really hurt to be slapped by reality like that. I know I'm not lovable, but I really thought there can be something between Jongwan and I. And for him to be like that with my bestfriend, I didn't see it coming. ", she said while looking straight in my eyes.
I slid down and lied beside her on the bed. I faced her while brushing off her hair that has fallen on her face.
"You're disappointed, that's why it hurts. You've invested some feelings on something that you thought is for you, and it turns out it's not. No matter what I tell you, it will still be up to you how to deal with your feelings.", I said while wiping her tears.
"I'm pathetic, aren't I? He's not even my boyfriend and I'm acting like this.", she said.
"Sweetie, I can't even dance to save my life but I'm in a Kpop boy band!", I said. She laughed out loud while pointing at me.
"Yes, I saw videos during your training hahahhhahaha! And you called me 'Sweetie'! I'm not Nuclear Fart anymore!", she said teasingly.
"Only because you're crying. Now that you're not, you're Nuclear Fart again.", I said while pinching her cheeks.
We goofed around noisily like we own the place. I think I divulged the Big Bang's secrets that are enough for her to blackmail YG company. We talked on and on until our eyelids felt heavy and fell asleep in the creepy hostel somewhere in Seoul city.
"Thanks Eyeshadow Man!", I yelled while jumping out of TOP's car.
"I really hate that nickname!", he yelled back as he was putting the car on reverse. I laughed and took a few strides to be at the driver's side. I bent down so I would be on the same eye level as him.
"Thank you so much for last night, Tabi. I really appreciate you being there.", I said. He pinched my cheeks, gave me a peace sign and drove away.
When I opened the apartment, I jumped in surprise as a big paper hanging by the door touched my face. I stepped back to clearly see what it was. Something was written on the paper.
WHERE THE HELL HAVE YOU BEEN? I'VE BEEN CALLING YOU ALL NIGHT!
Omo, I forgot to call Jiyong! I pulled the paper and called out his name. I ran to the bedroom but all I saw was the Jiyong coupon and another letter by the bedside table. Darn, he already left. I pulled out my phone, the battery was already empty. I charged my phone without turning it on and prepared for school.
I was sitting in the classroom just like any other days in my university life. But it felt surreal, like my soul is elsewhere while my body is sitting there. The bell rang, just like how it has been for the years I've been to school. The students gathered their things and quickly left. Yep, just an ordinary day. I walked on the corridors. Amidst the busy buzz of activities around me, I felt disconnected to the world.
Good thing I haven't bumped into Bom or Jongwan yet. I really don't know how I would react...
Ugh! Oh man, I should've been paying attention while walking.
"I'm sorry", I sheepishly said while bowing down to whoever it was that I bumped into.
"Dara! Good thing I ran into you. Can we talk? I need your help!", Jongwan said excitedly while grabbing my shoulders. My eyes widened as soon as I saw him.
"It's about Bom. Can you help me...", he hasn't finished what he's saying yet but I quickly said goodbye and ran away from him.
When I reached the end of the corridors, I leaned my back on the wall while firmly closing my eyes. Gosh, I feel so exhausted.
"Yah Dara! I've been looking for you since yesterday! Why aren't you answering my texts", I snapped open my eyes when I heard Bom's voice. Her worried look tore my heart even more to pathetic little pieces.
"We need to talk. It's about Jongwan..", she said. I immediately tried to run away. I just can't deal with this all at once. But Bom blocked my path.
"Hey Dara, what's wrong? Are you avoiding me? Why?", she asked.
"I'M UPSET WITH YOU BOM!!", I screamed at her surprised face. Oh my gosh, someone please kill me now. What have I done? But my mouth has a life of its own. It continued spouting nonsense!
"I saw you and Jongwan the other day. I'm upset with you...But I'm more upset with myself for feeling this way. I know you haven't done anything wrong but I...I just probably need some time...away from you.", I said as I looked at her. I can tell Bom was deeply hurt by what I said, but so was I. DAMN! I hate myself.
My chest is about to burst so I walked away from her. She didn't bother to run after me, she just stood there frozen on her spot. "Congratulations Dara, you just pushed your bestfriend off your life", I can even hear my mind reprimanding me but what has been done was done.
I think this is by far the longest day of my life. The bell rang indicating that it's already 3PM. I even forgot to eat lunch because of the incident a while ago. My nerves has already calmed down and I felt the bitter taste of guilt.
I ran to the Music building to apologize to Bom but she's with her classmates. I just stood there waiting for her. I knew she will talk to me, she's Bom afterall. She started walking on my direction....and walked past me without even glancing. I called her name, but she just continued walking.
I followed her to the university cafeteria. It was really crowded. Bom and her classmates were looking for a place to sit when Jongwan and his bandmates caught their attention and made room for her to sit with them.
"Dara, sit with us!", Jongwan yelled at me. I looked at Bom but she's still ignoring me. I just shook my head at Jongwan and smiled. I saw his confused look as he looked at me and Bom. I also saw my b!tchy classmates throwing a curious glance at me.
I sat on the only empty table which is near the trash can. Nobody sits there because it's the losers' area. My b!tchy classmates started whispering to each other, then they high fived and giggled and informed my guy classmates about something they find amusing.
I stole a glance at Bom and Jongwan's group. The two gorgeous groups seem to be having a good time together.
Ouchhh!! Dang! My classmates are throwing their trash on the garbage bin but they're intentionally missing so the trash ends up hitting me instead.
"Ooooppppsss, sorry. I was aiming for the trash can", one of my b!tchy classmates said. I didn't say a word, I just sat in silence. My stomach is grumbling but I just don't have the appetite nor the energy to get some food. My classmates continued throwing trash on my direction but they eventually gave up since they can't elicit any reaction from me.
I sighed heavily like there's so much on my shoulder. It felt like nobody would even care if I drop dead right this instant.
I pulled out my phone since I remembered I haven't turned it on since I left the apartment. After turning it on, I was surprised to see the number of voicemails and text messages I got from Jiyong. I dialed my voicemail number.
DARA-AHJUMMA, WHERE ARE YOU?! DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS? CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS MESSAGE!<*beep>
Yah! Where are you, seriously? Call me asap, I'm getting really worried. Your manager told me you filed a sick leave.<*beep>
Dara....please call back, I'm begging you <*beep>
As I listened to them one by one, I didn't realize tears started falling on my cheeks. I was about to listen to the next message when a call from Jiyong came. I wiped my tears and tried to stop myself from crying. As soon as I hit the answer button, Jiyong threw questions in rapid succession.
"DARA! Where are you? Are you okay? Tell me where you are!", he said. I began crying again as soon as I heard his worried voice.
"I'm at the university cafeteria", I whispered then covered the mouthpiece so he won't hear my sobs.
My classmates resumed throwing some trash at me. Great. While I'm at my miserable state, they can't just stop themselves from bullying me.
Jiyong stopped talking on the other line, then he suddenly hang up. What the... Then I noticed the entire cafeteria became eerily quiet. I looked up and what I saw shocked me.
Kwon Jiyong was walking towards me together with his own security staff. He pulled off his mask and looked straight at me. He looks like someone straight from the covers of the magazine. He's approaching me as G-DRAGON, not Kim Ramyun! Is he out of his mind?!
"Can I sit here with you? This is the only empty seat left", he said in booming voice loud enough for everyone to hear. I just nodded my head in awe while a pandaemonium erupted all over us.
"I found you at last, you stupid ahjumma", he whispered as he took a seat in front of me and tossed a packed lunch with a post-it saying:
Your cooking . This is how a packed lunch should be
Everyone was watching us but I felt like we're in our own bubble world. It's as if all my troubles were lifted away. I started laughing heartily while he crossed his arms and smirked like the cool guy that he is.