“So how did things go with that Jae Joong guy?” Yoo Chun asked cheekily as I stepped into the crowded classroom, taking a seat beside him and Jun Su.
“Great... great...” I muttered, not really wanting to talk about it and carefully arranging my notes and text book.
“So what did you guys do?” Jun Su chimed in, leaning eagerly over Yoo Chun’s desk to close off the conversation to just us three.
“We, uh... got some coffee and talked,” I said quietly, looking straight ahead and playing absent-mindedly with my pen. I wish they would drop it and leave me alone.
“So did you get his number or anything?” Jun Su pushed, almost giggling.
“He has a boyfriend!” I snapped, finally turning towards my friends and making a “Will you shut the fuck up and leave me alone!” face.
Jun Su merely shrugged. “Oh, well, so he’s gay... we didn’t scare the crap out of him.”
Yoo Chun however, let out a sigh, patting me on the back. “Better luck next time.” he said, making Jun Su burst out in laughter, attracting the attention of several other students.
I just zoned them out, barely hearing something along the lines of “I wonder if his boyfriend is hot too...” and sat there waiting for the class to begin.
We arrived at the campus early, knowing that it might take us a while to find our first class. Yun Ho and I had two classes that day. We both had English first and I was hoping that I would see Chang Min and the other guys again.
It had taken us a little while, as predicted, to find the class, and I held Yun Ho’s hand nervously as we stepped into the almost full room and tried to find somewhere to sit.
My eyes lit up at the sight of the three boys I had met yesterday sitting in a row at the back of the room, Jun Su and Yoo Chun talking animatedly and Chang Min staring off into space.
“Yunnie, let’s go and sit over there,” I said gently, pointing towards Chang Min. “With the guys I met yesterday.”
Yun Ho frowned, but nevertheless let me drag him towards the back of the room.
“Hi,” I said loudly attracting the attention of Jun Su, Yoo Chun, and a few other people around them.
“Oh hi Jae Joong,” he said sweetly, nudging Yoo Chun with his elbow and raising his eyebrows. Yoo Chun in turn elbowed Chang Min who woke from his daze and smiled brightly at me.
“Jae Joong, Yun Ho.” he said with a slight dip of the head.
Yun Ho bowed politely at Chang Min, his grip on my hand tightening.
“Yun Ho...” murmured Jun Su. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”
“Oh, sorry.” I blushed. “This is my boyfriend, Yun Ho.”
Jun Su and Yoo Chun exchanged knowing looks before standing up and lightly bowing, shaking Yun Ho’s free hand.
“I’m Jun Su and this is my boyfriend Yoo Chun.” he said cheerily. “Nice to meet you. Please... sit with us.” he said gesturing to the free seats next to Chang Min.
“Thanks,” Yun Ho mumbled, nodding as he went to sit next to Chang Min. I frowned, knowing that he was purposely blocking me from him. I sat beside him looking towards the front of the class where the instructor had taken her place. Everyone went quiet, even Jun Su and Yoo Chun who had been hitting each other and giggling like children seconds before.
I glanced sideways at Yun Ho who had been looking intently at me. I was only here for him, and so planned on not really paying attention. I smiled widely, made a kissy face and mouthed the words “I love you,” before settling back in my chair, pen in hand, pretending to pay attention.
Throughout the class Jun Su and Yoo Chun tried to make small conversation with Yun Ho, who simply grunted in response, sometimes smiling at a joke or nodding in agreement. I could tell he did not want to make friends with these people; he was merely putting up with it so they couldn’t talk to me.
I smiled sadly, knowing it was going to be like all those other times I tried to make friends. They would be offended by Yun Ho’s behaviour, his constant barring of me and jealous behaviour, they would be annoyed at me for seemingly ignoring them, and then they would try and help us...as if they could...
“Let’s go,” Yun Ho smiled, grabbing my hand at the end of the lesson and leading me out of the classroom before I could say goodbye to the guys. “Hungry, Boo?” he asked as we walked briskly across the campus. I started lightly at the affectionate name, one he had not called me in a little while.
“Yeah...” I managed, puffing to keep up with his long strides. “But I didn’t get to say bye to the guys back there... or see if they’re in my next class...” I trailed off.
“Sorry, Jae... we have to be quick if we want to grab a bite to eat before our next classes.”
“Oh, ok...” I said smiling, as we stepped into the small café .
“You know, BooJae...” Yun Ho started, finishing his coffee and setting the cup gently back on the table of our secluded corner booth. I looked up, noticing a look in his eyes I hadn’t seen before. I think it was hurt but I couldn’t quite place my finger upon it.
He lent over the table towards me, taking my hand in his.
“You don’t need anyone but me.” his eyes continued to show hurt, his breathing calm. “I am your one and only... why is this so hard for you to see?”
“I-I... don’t know what you mean...” I stuttered. “You are my only one... I love you Yun Ho.” I said in disbelief. I knew I would cry any second.
He sighed, breathing deep. I had only ever seen him cry once, and I swear he was coming close. “If you loved me you would listen to me...” he choked. I could see he was struggling and my heart ached. I knew he was a good person and I was letting him down. It was all my fault.
“I’m sorry Yun Ho,” I sobbed, getting up from my seat and moving around the table into his arms.
“You just don’t understand...” he said, watery eyes connecting with mine as he embraced me tightly. “Why are you always with other men... it makes me jealous to see my beautiful Jae in the company of another...laughing at their jokes when you should be laughing at my jokes...smiling at them when only I can make you smile...”
He gently stroked my cheek, our lips touching for a brief kiss before he moved away. “I am the only one that ever has, and ever will love you Jae Joong.” he whispered, sliding out of my arms and out of the seat, not looking back as he exited the café.
I sat in shock, crying silently as I stared at his leaving back. He said he loved me, and it made me feel a strange kind of completeness. I knew I only needed him... and I knew that if I ever stepped out of line again... there would be serious consequences.
It was all my fault and I needed to fix things.
I bowed in apology to the lecturer as I entered the class late, eyes still red from crying and chest heaving from running. My eyes scanned the rows of desks hoping and praying that I wouldn’t find the three boys waiting for me. My eyes landed on Chang Min as he smiled, waving me over and pointing to the seat next to him.
I looked away abruptly, heart racing as I moved to sit in one of the spare seats at the front, bluntly ignoring Chang Min and the other boys. All I wanted was to do something as simple as make friends but I could never lose Yun Ho... never. Where we had got to in our relationship was all my fault. I was so selfish and I hated myself for it...
I sat paralysed in fear and self hatred, staring blankly at the board in front of me and not taking anything in. I would not cry in the middle of a class, I could not.
It was as if a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders as I left the room at the end of the class, glad that I could finally go home and be with my Yun Ho. I shuffled slowly down the corridor and out into the cold air, bag slung over my shoulder.
At the last minute I remembered that I needed to grab a book for English, and turned around back through the doors only to bump into Chang Min.
“Jae!” he exclaimed, picking up my bag for me. “There was a spare seat next to me, didn’t you see?” he asked, slightly hurt.
“I... uh, I have to go...” I said, taking my bag and hurrying back along the corridor, only to have him follow. My face contorted in pain as I felt the tears fall. Why was this so hard?
“Oh my god, Jae! Is something wrong?” Chang Min said in a hushed voice as I broke down into tears, moving back to lean against a wall.
“Why did you ignore me, please, tell me, I’m your friend...” he soothed, sitting down cross legged in front of me as I continued to sob.
“It’s Y-Yun Ho...he...” Chang Min frowned.
“Your boyfriend?” he asked, confused. “Is he ok? What happened? Did he do anything to-”
“-NO.” I burst out, glistening eyes looking up into Chang Min’s concerned, frightened brown orbs.
“Shh...” he soothed, reaching out to dry my tears, smoothing his fingers through my hair. His touch felt good and I closed my eyes, sighing in relief.
“No one understands...” I said, opening my eyes but not having the courage to look into Chang Min’s eyes again. He continued to stroke my hair, moving closer, just sitting, waiting and listening.
“I love him so much...” I gulped. This was going to be hard to explain. Chang Min wouldn’t understand either. I wiped the last tears from the corners of my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt and decided to continue.
“He gets angry with me... when I let him down... I always let him down, it’s all my fault...he’s my only one and I don’t need anyone else...he tells me...he tells me...” I could feel the tears coming on again and on an impulse I grabbed Chang Min and pulled him closer, feeling his heart beat faster, his breathing quicken as I rest my head on his shoulder, drenching him in tears.
“It hurts, Chang Min...it hurts so much...” I whispered, shaking in his arms.
I arrived home late, having sat embraced in Chang Min’s arms for what seemed like hours, carefully explaining exactly what goes on between Yun Ho and I. I didn’t need to see his face to know that he was disgusted, angry, and so much more. He asked me why I stayed with him, why I didn’t get out. That was when I realised that he truly didn’t understand, couldn’t ever understand how much I loved Yun Ho.
I turned the knob of the door, already knowing it would be open because Yun Ho would be home waiting for me.
I walked in tentatively, heart pounding in my chest. I was greeted with the sight of Yun Ho standing, arms folded across his chest and back to the large window on the other side of the room.
“Yunnie...” I chirped happily, almost smiling until I felt his fist connect with my face. I fell hard to the floor, landing on my bag and crying out in pain as I felt it contents dig into my back.
“I saw you with that man... what were you thinking Jae Joong? Did he make all your pain go away?” he sneered in a joking voice, leaning over me and grabbing my shoulders. “Did he whisper sweet NOTHINGS in your ear as he stroked your BEAUTIFUL HAIR?”
I felt my chest explode in pain, remembering what it felt like to be kicked in the ribs.
“I wouldn’t know, I was too far away to hear,” Yun Ho sneered, gasping for breath as he looked at my watering eyes. “Don’t even...” he scoffed, raising a hand as I tried to raise myself up onto my knees.
“I’m sorry Yun Ho... I... I-I LOVE YOU.” I spluttered through the small amount of blood that had pooled in my mouth, feeling it dribble down the side of my cheek and onto the floor.
“You never learn Jae Joong... you just never seem to learn...” was the last thing I heard him say before everything turned black.