Chapter 11: Lost Innocence
SUNGMIN ended up not sleeping. Donghae and Eunhyuk turned the stage into an impromptu karaoke. He didn’t realize it until Donghae said it but, “It’s been a while since we sang just because we felt like it not because we had to. It feels good.” Eunhyuk was taking pictures with the girls. He was enjoying the attention and the teasing. Donghae looked like he needed a breather.
“I see you guys are enjoying yourselves.” it came out almost like a snarl.
“If you are so jealous of us having fun with the ladies, you should join in.” Donghae teased then looked worried when Sungmin rubbed his chest. “Are you feeling okay?” suddenly the hyung came out.
“It hurts.” Sungmin said while he was rubbing his chest. “It won’t go away even if I press on it.”
“You’re not having a heart attack…well at least not the kind that would require us to take you to the hospital.” Donghae followed his dongsaeng’s line of sight and was not surprised to see the laughing Jans at the end of it. “Feels like your heart would come out of your chest and the tightness is so uncomfortable and suprising it takes your breath away every time, huh? It’s not something that you can control, prince.”
“You are supposed to be helping me!” he snapped at his hyung.
“I am. I am helping you get out of your own way. I am helping you to be happy. I think she is a talented, refreshing and beautiful girl. What more can you ask for?” Donghae didn’t see a problem at all. Sungmin did. He’d breach his contract if he dated anyone who could compromise his job. And if it was up to his father, he’d be a married man at the age of 25! He was just recently allowed to date based on his contract. He couldn’t possibly get married. His SuJu days would be over if he did.
“Do you really want me to leave SuJu then? Because that is what I might do if I fall in love with her. Would you want that?” he asked Donghae who looked at him suddenly.
“Hey! Who said you would have to do something as stupid as that? You are allowed to have a girlfriend. Heck…oh wait…your parents want more than that, right?” he nodded to respond to Donghae’s question. “Crap. That is a problem.”
“This is just stockholm syndrome…” he pressed on his chest then sighed because even he didn’t believe what was coming out of his mouth. “I can’t fall in love with her. We just had that bet yesterday.”
“Bed?” Donghae’s eyes were like big pennies. “You already slept with her? Dongsaeng! You dog!”
“What are you talking about? Be quiet! I’ve never slept with anyone!” he had meant to say “We didn’t sleep with each other.” but something else came out. It was bad enough that Donghae had to hear it but the others chose that time to let a hush of silence pass and they all heard his outburst. The explosion of laughter they after made him want to slug his hyung. But even he found it amusing.
“Don’t worry, Sungmin. Jans is as pure as you.” Jen teased his sister and Jans blushed.
“Hey!” Jans pressed the back of her hands on her cheeks and pouted in embarrassment. Don’t do that. It’s too freaking cute.
He had to shake his head to jolt him back to the non-rosy version of his vision. Focus, Sungmin Lee. She is still after something else than your heart. She is using her talent and her innocence to hook you. The tightening loosened and he realized that the thought that she didn’t really love him relaxed his heart. But the punch in the gut that replaced it was equally unnerving and painful.
“SALAMAT.” Sungmin had learned that word in Boracay to mean thank you so he used it after Jans and her sister served them lunch. They were supposed to hang out together, just the two of them, but it ended up that they had to have a party with his friends. Somehow, he wondered how things would have been if his other friends were not there. Or if they all left. He shook his head and tried to focus on the food which was simple but tasty. Jen and Jans served a mix of Korean food and some local Filipino food. The Filipino food was a little sweeter than the Korean food they served.
“You guys have a great cook.” Eunhyuk was talking with his mouth full. Mary blushed when he said that. “What I say?”
Mary smiled at him and put more meat in his side dish plate. “I am glad that you like my cooking.”
Eunhyuk swallowed then exclaimed, “Wow. You should definitely make this your job or something.”
Jen interjected, “She’s our part-time chef here at the bar. She makes new dishes that is just ours and she teaches the cooks how to make it. This is our dream bar. Mary is the cook. Ninz is the designer. I am the manager and Jans is the PR.”
“You are the designer? You made all of these?” Donghae opened his arms to indicate the entire bar. Ninz nodded. “Wow. I should hire you to decorate my apartment. It’s great to have such a great artistic eye.”
“Down boy.” Sungmin teased his hyung. Donghae liked to praise people head-on and some girls, especially fans could easily drown in it if he doesn’t dial it down.
They ate in relative rowdiness and Sungmin was trying his best not to look at Jans while she ate. She didn’t do it like a princess but she didn’t eat like a pig either. She took her time to chew her food. But if she needed to say something to someone and had to do so with a full mouth she’d chew faster and swallow hard just to get her comment in.
Donghae was way too friendly. It was starting to irritate Sungmin. The tease had his arm on the lounge chair rest and basically has his arm across Jans’ shoulder. Ninz was looking rejected in one corner and it was pissing Sungmin off.
Sungmin suddenly stood up and put his chopsticks slowly down. He looked at Donghae who sat properly then at Jans who looked at him like she was waiting for him to say something nasty. She was looking at him through squintly eyes.
“Excuse me.” He didn’t storm off because he didn’t want to embarrass the other people who had been so accomodating to them. “I think the three of us best be going now. We have to get back to the hotel to clear things up.”
“Don’t worry, prince. I called the hotel and told them to fix whatever we broke in our escape. It seems that there wasn’t much that got affected. People just thought we were filming without a permit.” Eunhyuk broke his excuse to leave but he didn’t want to stay and let Donghae or anyone of the Eunhae combo shower any one else with their charms. Compared to the two guys who have been dating women all throughtout their twenties, he was a newb. He didn’t want the ladies to fall prey to their moves. You just don’t want Jans to. He could hear Donghae’s voice in his head. It was really pissing him off.
“We don’t want to leave yet. In fact, we want to stay and help out her today. It might be fun.” Donghae was really pushing it.
“Fine! If you want to stay. Then stay. I am getting a cab, going back to my hotel room, and getting some sleep.” he finally gave in to his irritation and walked out on everyone.
He closed the warehouse doors when he realized that he had wanted her to run after him. But she didn’t.
“Hey you.” he turned around and saw her. So she did follow him. He put his hands in his pocket and smiled his brightest smile at her.
“Yes?” he was expectant.
“You left your muffler.” He saw the pink muffler that he was wearing earlier. He brought it for effect but didn’t wear it since the heat was too much in this country. She was holding it out for him to get.
Before he could even re-think what he wanted to do, he grabbed the muffler and roped it around her shoulder to pull her closer for a kiss.