It had been a few days since I last saw Chang Min; I don’t know if he was avoiding me or if something was wrong with him. When Yun Ho and I went to class he wasn’t there, and neither were Yoo Chun or Jun Su. It hurt me on the inside, not knowing where they were and if they were staying away from us on purpose.
I really needed to talk to Chang Min. I needed to tell him that Yun Ho was going to get help... that he loved me and could change. I needed to believe that.
Why was I even worrying about him? I had just met him and I didn’t even know him that well...
I sighed, walking across the lush grass of the university campus and stopping for a moment under the shade of a large oak tree. I pulled out my phone, checking the time and to see if anyone had tried to call me or sent me a message.
Yun Ho had said he would meet me here for lunch, and so I sat down and unpacked the food I had made for us both that morning. He had complained of how we spent to much money on food and entertainment, and so if we wanted to get through uni comfortably, we would need to cut back.
So now cooking everyday was added to my already full to-do list. I didn’t complain though, I knew Yun Ho was working hard to provide for us in the future.
I looked up just in time to notice him leave the library, smiling happily as he strolled over, carrying his books under his arm.
I was just about to wave and call out to him when I noticed someone run up to him from behind. It was Chang Min.
Yun Ho turned around, and I was too far away to hear what was being said. Chang Min’s actions spoke louder than his words, however, as I saw Yun Ho stumble back, losing his balance as Chang Min threw punches and kicks.
“Yun Ho!” I yelled, dropping my things and almost tripping in my haste to get across the grass and to him.
Yun Ho’s books lay scattered on the ground as he and Chang Min stood in a stand off, Chang Min screaming a tirade of abuse as Yun Ho looked not only angry, but a little hurt.
A small crowd started to form around them, some looking on with amusement and others with slight disgust.
“How fucking DARE YOU?” Chang Min screamed, dark eyes framed by wispy brown hair. “How could you fucking do that to someone?”
He moved forward, eyes of the crowd on him as he stepped forward slowly, positively fuming from head to toe.
“You are one sick son of a b-”
“Back the fuck up, Chang Min,” Yun Ho snarled as Chang Min shoved him. “You don’t fucking know me OR Jae Joong.” He said, shoving back.
I approached the circle, people giving me annoyed looks as I desperately tried to push past them.
“Don’t you fucking touch me-”
“STOP!” I screamed, coming in between Yun Ho and Chang Min, turning to glare at both of them in turn, before moving over to Yun Ho, and picking up his books. I gathered them in my hands and shoved them against his chest. Letting loose a seething “Get out of here.” before turning back around to face Chang Min.
Yoo Chun and Jun Su had caught up to him by now, arms hooked through his as they held him back from Yun Ho.
The crowd of people remained, attention half fixed on Chang Min and half fixed on Yun Ho who stood a few moments before retreating. Their eyes bore into my back, my front, as they surrounded me. It was too much.
“Show’s over folks!” I screeched to no one in particular. “So FUCK OFF, nothing to see here.”
I turned again to see Yun Ho slumped down against the tree in the distance. He was in so much trouble. Why didn’t he just walk away... why did he stay and fight with Chang Min...?
As for him...
“You.” I spat, approaching the three boys who still had a few people around them.
“I am so fucking disappointed in you,” I said, almost sobbing, almost laughing.
Yoo Chun and Jun Su exchanged knowing looks, and pushed Chang Min forward, staring down the rest of the crowd who quickly dispersed.
He looked at me with a mix of shock and hurt, breathing deeply as he tried to form his words.
“Jae Joong... I...I...”
“Chang Min, we need to talk.” I said plainly, trying not to sound upset or angry in any way. I just needed to talk to him about Yun Ho. Needed to make him understand...
He looked slightly taken aback as I grabbed his hand, pulling him forward and in the direction of one of that main streets that the University was on.
I stopped in my tracks as I remembered that Yun Ho was probably still under the tree, waiting for me. I needed to talk to him too now, to just explain a few things. We could talk more seriously later.
“Wait here.” I said to Chang Min, letting go of his hand and jogging to the tree by the edge of the grass without looking back.
“Yunho-yah!” I shouted, stirring Yun Ho from his nap as his eyes fluttered open, adjusting to the mid-day light.
“Oh, Jae Joong ah! Look, I’m sorry about that-I-he just came up to me and-”
“It’s okay, I understand,” I sighed, picking up my things as I talked. “I have to go now. I have to talk to Chang Min. I need to explain... us to him. Need to tell him what we decided.”
Yun Ho just smiled, nodding as he closed his eyes again and lent back against the tree. “Okay,”
I sighed as I jogged back over to Chang Min, feeling as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, feeling just a little bit freer.
We arrived at Chang Min’s apartment a little while later. He apologised for the mess and hurriedly scrambled around to try and put some things away. I just laughed quietly, watching him go back and forth and eventually moving after him into the kitchen.
I stayed relatively quiet as he sifted through the fridge, only nodding an affirmative answer when he asked me if I wanted a drink.
He had tried to say a few things on the way here, but I simply told him to save it for later.
I sat tensely, looking around the apartment and realising it wasn’t that different from mine and Yun Ho’s. I guess all the apartments in this part of the city must be the same. It made me wonder how he afforded it.
“Listen, Jae Joong...” Chang Min sighed.
“You’re sorry, I know.” I said quietly before taking another sip of my tea. I looked at him across the table, noticing how he was trying to hold in his smile.
He thought I was happy with him? Thought that he was right, and that Yun Ho and I were wrong?
“It’s going to be hard...” I continued quietly, “To get you to see things my way,”
“Jae Joong... what do you mean?” he frowned.
“Just listen. I love Yun Ho. He loves me. He doesn’t mean to hurt me... I know he doesn’t. He’s changing. I’m making him change. It’s strange to me. I find it sad how this sense of freedom is a strange feeling to me. I remember what it used to be like.”
I said all of this very slowly, not once looking at Chang Min. In a sense I was saying these things more for myself, trying to put everything I had been feeling together, to make some sense of it.
It had been barely a week since Yun Ho and I had moved here, had started University. I had barely known Chang Min, and Yoo Chun and Jun Su for a week. A week and he was already getting involved in my life! Thinking he could be my friend and get so close to me...
I had to admit I felt a connection between us... there was something about him. I had kissed him...
I shook my head, mentally smacking myself for making such a big mistake.
Was it a mistake?
I looked across the table at him, meeting his eyes that were intently staring back at me.
“You need to trust me,” I whispered.
“I do,” he whispered back, hand reaching out for mine. “I just want to be your friend. You can trust me,” he sighed. “I’m sorry,”
“Do you think you can talk to Yoo Chun and Jun Su for me?”
“They’re your friends too,” Chang Min frowned. “I think they deserve an explanation from you,”
“Ok,” I sighed, standing up and grabbing my bag. “I think I should go,”
He just nodded, and I got up and walked across the room to the door. I took one last look around the apartment, smiled, and left Chang Min with his thoughts.
I don’t know how long I sat looking at the door to my apartment. My life was so complicated lately. It was all because of Jae Joong...
From the moment I saw him, he captivated me completely. I was so strongly drawn to him... there was just something about him... I don’t know...
I had tried to avoid him for the past couple of days; I barely knew him but I knew that the kiss had changed everything. I knew that if I ever saw him again I wouldn’t be able to hold myself back. I knew that if I ever saw Yun Ho again I wouldn’t be able to rest easy until I saw him come to justice.
If it was one thing I couldn’t deal with... it was abuse. How could someone do that to another human being? To someone they were supposed to love?
I had been through it myself with my father, and knew the emotional scars it could leave. I never wanted to see anyone I cared about go through that.
Just seeing Jae Joong’s beautiful chest marked with bruises and seeing him wince in pain brought back my own memories in sickening waves.
I needed to take him away from Yun Ho. No matter how much he said he loved him. No matter how much he said he was changing.
I needed to tell him how I felt.