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"and that's the way I loved you"

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1 – He is sensible and so incredible.

 

 

 

See you later. Can't wait. XO

 

 

 

“What!?” A voice asks near his right ear.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon suddenly locks his phone from shock and turns around to see his best friend, Daehwi, glaring at him. He takes a sip on his frappe and shrugs.

 

 

 

 

“No  way!”  Daehwi  sighs  exaggeratedly  and  dramatically.  He  always  does.  “You're  no  way  ---- getting back together with him.”

 

 

 

 

He eyes his best friend as if he's grown two heads. “We are not!”

 

 

 

 

Daehwi  takes  out  something  from  his  bag  and  hands  him  a  mirror.  He  examines  it  first  before Daehwi says, “Please take a look at yourself!”

 

 

And Jihoon does. He cannot see anything but his usual face. “So..?”

 

 

“That's the face of being in love!”

 

 

Jihoon examines himself carefully. A  single blush means being in love again? Definitely not. He's been  through  different  heart  aches,  the  last  relationship  proved  how much  he  fails  in  romance. There's no way he's ready for a relationship, again.

 

 

 

 

“Daehwi-yah...”

 

 

 

 

“Don't you  remember how  he broke your heart when  we were in  university? How  he was just a douche bag to you?” Daehwi likes to remind him.

 

 

The man shrugs in return. “Who cares? We're not dating.”

 

 

 

“Remember Woojin hyung?” He suddenly halts thinking about him --- for it still kind of hurts. “It's been --- six months, right? And how's the divorce going on so far?”

 

 

 

Jihoon looks at Daehwi. Daehwi has a point. He always does.

 

 

 

It's  been  six  months  since  he  walked  out  of  their  shared  house.  Six  months  since  he's  last  seen Woojin. Six months since he has thought about him at all.

 

 

 

 

Two months ago, he got reacquainted with Kim Donghan by an accident. Two months then since he's acting like a friend.

 

 

 

 

And  one  month  ago,  he  has  filed  a  divorce  on  the  ground  of  irreconcilable  differences  between Woojin and him.

 

 

 

 

His best friend tugs at his elbow. “Are you sure, though?”

 

 

“About what, Hwi?”

 

 

 

“Divorce.... with Woojin hyung.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 – But I miss screaming and fighting...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon! Jihoon!”

 

 

 

 

There's a loud knock on his door. He tunes it out.

 

 

 

“Please.... Hear me out.”

 

 

 

 

Ignore it, ignore it, Jihoon.

 

 

 

 

He tries so hard to ignore it and closes his eyes and pulls the pillow on his chest ---- as if the pillow can protect his heart from yearning the same man knocking on his door.

 

 

 

 

“You'll be going soon.” He whispers.

 

 

 

 

But please stay.

 

 

 

 

“I didn't mean it. Please... I want you to talk to me.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sits up and contemplates as he nears the door. There's this determination to open up the said door  and  open  up  his  heart,  too.  He  holds  his  breath  as  he  holds the  door  knob.  This  is  Woojin fighting for them. For him. Unlike the exes he had before. Nobody ever fought for him.

 

 

 

 

And then there's Woojin.

 

 

 

 

“Hyeongseob?” The voice says suddenly. “Yeah... I'm coming home.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon can hear the disappointment in his heart as the other starts his car. He thinks he no longer has tears to fall but he's still crying and crying and crying.

 

 

 

 

He's no longer Woojin's home. He'll never be his home again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 – He opens up my door and I get into his car...

 

 

 

 

Kim Donghan  is a perfect gentleman.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon knows that as he watches him opening the car door for him. There's no need to, he tells him, but he only smiles without answering and he gets in. No need to fuss over at anything.

 

 

 

 

“You know you didn't have to do that, Donghan.” He reminds again. Because if he can, he'll draw the line between them again and again until he remembers it.

 

 

 

 

Donghan puts  his  seat  belt  and  he  smells  really  wonderful.  He  meets  his  gaze  and  his  ears  are burning hot, his face flushes with red as they look into each other's eyes.

 

 

 

 

He's so close, he realizes. Too close, in fact, more than he allows him to.

 

 

 

 

Kim Donghan puts a smile on his gorgeous face, perfect set of white teeth blinding him. “You know I like and enjoy doing this for you, right?”

 

 

 

 

Park Jihoon nods. Donghan, when they were dating in university, really surprised him in different ways. A perfect gentleman, he swept him off his feet like a real and true Prince Charming.

 

 

 

 

But his defenses are up. He is a devil in disguise as a Prince Charming. “I don't know why you're doing this ----”

 

 

 

“Well, because I'm still in love with you.”

 

 

 

 

He freezes in his place. Donghan always catches him off-guard. He's blunt and bold and assertive of things, too.

 

 

 

Jihoon sighs, gripping on his seat belt. “I'm not looking forward to fall in love again.” Which is true. Donghan grips on the handle and focuses on the road. “I'll make you, Jihoon.” He's serious.

 

 

 

“I don't know why you're acting like this, Donghan -ssi,” He emphasizes the line he's trying to draw between them. “But it's not like we'll ever be dating again.”

 

 

 

 

There's a flash of hurt in his eyes but he dismisses it.

 

 

 

 

“I want you.... the way Woojin wanted to --- more than that. I love you ---- and I would care for you the way he never did.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon shakes his head and looks outside. “Like how you treated me like a trash in uni, Donghan?” The guy sighs and reaches for him. He does not tug his hand off. Donghan looks like he's ready to give up everything for this second chance he wants to get --- Donghan looks at him as if he were prize rather than a price ---- he feels warm these days --- but he doesn't want it. “I'd never dream of that again.”

 

 

 

 

A poignant pause.

 

 

 

 

He doesn't want to continue talking about this.

 

 

 

 

“I like your new hair cut.” He says softly, dropping the subject, with a smile.

 

 

 

 

Confusion  then  relief  breaks  on  his  face.  There's  a  smile  on  his  face  as  he  watches  the  scenery folding outside.

 

 

 

 

(He really did cut his hair.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He's amazed at how Donghan sees right through him --- the compliment he begged to get from him before --- the look in Donghan’s eyes as if he's a prize rather than on his eyes' as if he were a price. There's a tug on his heart with his compliment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He's excited to go home, knowing he's dressed up and got his hair cut. He's wearing his new blue sweatshirt that Daehwi personally chose for him. He's just happy and there's nothing special today as he cooks pasta for both of them, sets the dining room with candles around.

 

 

 

 

When  he  comes  back  home,  he  waits  on  the  door  with  a  smile.  He  hardly  looks  at  him  and asks,”What's for dinner?”

 

 

 

 

He's thwarted but tries to feel optimistic. “Pasta.” He singsongs at him.

 

 

 

They go straightly in the dining area. Woojin eyes around the room, both fascinated and confused. He looks with fear in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

“Oh... I forgot. It's our anniversary.” He says, clenching his fists in his sides. “I'm sorry.... I did not prepare anything for you... I was...”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon's smile fades.

 

 

 

 

“There's no anniversary, Woojin. I was just happy that I prepared --- but yeah --- never mind.” He smiles nervously, hoping it reaches him.

 

 

 

 

Woojin sighs, relaxed. “Thank Goodness.” There's a smile tugging on his lips. He wants to punch his face so bad. “Let's eat.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sits on his seat dejectedly.

 

 

 

 

He never heard the compliment he was looking for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 – All my single friends are  jealous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's Minki's birthday. It's Choi “DIVA” Minki's birthday and he is not getting a NO as answer. Choi Minki was his senior way back in University, a diva --- the biggest diva in this world, to be very honest.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon expects his birthday as grand (and it totally is) in an over-the-top high-end club in Gangnam, a masquerade theme party and he feels iffy with his tight black suit and even tighter pants.

 

 

 

 

He expects that he hates this particular suit already, all thanks to his crazy Daehwi again, who has his eyes checking on them --- him, Donghan, particularly --- and his dangerously low V cut line on his front.

 

 

 

 

“What... isn't this my lovely Jihoonie.” Minki greets as he opens his arms on him.

 

 

 

 

Minki's eyes train on someone, though, and he feels the incoming headache. Minki is an evil, sly, and loves baits. And right now, he and Kim Donghan are the baits for him.

 

 

 

 

Kim Donghan casually nods at him and wraps his arm around his waist protectively. “If this isn't.... a very interesting night, I don't know what is.” Minki says meaningfully. Jihoon should have seen it coming, especially Minki's words are laced with other meanings. Always.

 

 

 

 

He doesn't expect, though, the different murmurs of their old friends about him and Donghan. Two people who broke off in university, now, together after eight years. But he knows that they're just friends.

 

 

 

 

One of the guests, also known as the reporter (since she used to be the biggest blabbermouth before) approaches him and wheels his away from Donghan’s ear shot.

 

 

 

 

“Oh  my  god!”  He  remembers  her  name  is  Yoojung.  And  she's  looking  flustered  at  the  moment. “You're back together?”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon looks warily at Donghan who's offering him a smile in return. “No.” He denies vehemently.

 

 

 

 

Yoojung bumps her hips on his, almost sending him off. What. “Eyyy! You and Donghan used to be the campus couple for a few months.”

 

 

 

 

That is until he cheated, of course.

 

 

 

 

He only smiles at her, feeling uncomfortable when Donghan appears.

 

 

 

 

“I'm  taking  him  away,  if  you  may  excuse  us.”  Donghan ,  in  his  deepest  voice,  murmurs  which automatically sends Yoojung and other girlies giggle with themselves, eyeing him.

 

 

 

 

Donghan takes him away at some place in a corner.

 

 

 

 

He leans down at him and he's dangerously close. He's no longer used to this kind of contact but it's welcoming.

 

 

 

 

“I'm sorry if they make you uncomfortable.”

 

 

 

 

Oh.

 

 

 

Jihoon shrugs and smiles tentatively. “I'm perfectly fine, don't worry. Thank you, though,” Prince Charming holds his right hand takes it on his lips. It's warm... it's okay. But his treacherous heart screams for another name.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 – He respects my space.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon --- foolish Jihoon --- should have seen this coming. Especially after Minki's words.

 

 

 

 

Not  far  from  them,  stands  Park  Woojin,  in  his  perfect  black  suit,  forehead  showing,  looking  --- glaring in their way. He tries so hard to cover himself with the mask he has, but not even that can cover his nervousness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And his heart skips a beat.

 

 

 

 

It's been long since they've last seen each other. And well, he's still breathtaking tonight. There's an itch --- to go to him --- to touch him once more --- to be close to him once more.

 

 

 

 

“Do you want to talk to him?” Donghan wonders. He's astonished by his attitude.

 

 

 

 

Donghan looks at him --- waiting for an answer. He laughs at his reaction. “I mean--- technically, he's still your husband?” He nods. “So... if you like to talk to him, I'll be there for you, don't worry.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon doubts his words, doubts Donghan, overall.

 

 

 

 

He offers his hand, he takes it but before they can move, Minki is already coming their way. “Oh, I found you!” Minki happily greets again. But he isn't very much pleased, not when behind him is his estranged husband whose eyes are ready to hit anyone.

 

 

 

 

He acknowledges him with a nod.

 

 

 

 

But his eyes are solely boring a hole right through Minhyun who is not flinching at all, not backing out --- trying to square Woojin.

 

 

 

 

If this is not awkward at all, he doesn't know anymore.

 

 

 

 

Woojin  eyes his from head  to  toe and  shakes his head. It feels terrible inside --- feeling  as if he's judging him and it feels terrible to stand in front of him again after so long.

 

 

 

 

“Here.” Woojin is handing his coat that he hasn't realized he's taken off. Jihoon arches his brows at him.

 

 

 

“Cover yourself.” He commands.

 

 

 

He looks down at himself once more. And... oh.

 

 

 

 

Oh...

 

 

 

 

Realization dawns by itself.

 

 

 

 

Everyone is holding their breath as he thrusts his coat on his hands.

 

 

 

 

Before anything, though, Donghan is already putting on his coat on his shoulders. Minki's looking as if they're an entertainment. And he's feeling more confused as ever.

 

 

 

 

“My date... my care.” Donghan smiles at him. Woojin nods, taking back his coat.

 

 

 

“Hon...” There's another voice calling.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon is not surprised to see Ahn Hyeongseob, clinging on to Woojin like a koala. There's a little scream inside his heart. He tunes it out nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

“I'm out!” Minki declares suddenly.

 

 

 

 

This brat, he curses.

 

 

 

 

“Well...  this is rather an  interesting  sight to  paint...  right,  Jihoon-ssi?”  His voice  is a  tease  and  he won't be taking the bait. “Are you still painting.... or.... are you working in another field already?”

 

 

 

 

Something snaps inside him.

 

 

 

 

Donghan rubs his back gently and he's calm for a moment.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon bites the inside of his cheeks to prevent himself from answering.

 

 

 

 

“Wait... are you tired of being an unknown painter?” Hyeongseob fakes a gasp.

 

 

“Hyeongseob...” Woojin warns.

 

 

 

He wants to punch Woojin at this moment. So this asshole already told everything to this bitch? If they want to play this game, why can't he?

 

 

 

 

“Are you still... the side man, Hyeongseob-ssi?” He smirks as he sees Hyeongseob's eyes turn angry. “Oh yes...wait, you still are!”

 

 

 

 

Hyeongseob raises his hand, when Donghan runs in front of him and takes the slap initially intended for him.

 

 

 

 

The party stops.

 

 

 

 

The time stands still.

 

 

 

 

Everyone's attention is on them. And Woojin's avoiding his gaze.

 

 

 

 

“You  know  what,”  Jihoon  snaps.  “Thank  you  for taking  my  husband  --- ex-husband  from me.  It seems like --- he hasn't grown his balls yet. Good riddance, ex-husband.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon is taking Donghan away from them --- from the party --- from the ongoing scene. His face feels hot --- hotter than ever from anger --- his vision is blurry with tears. It feels frustrating. It feels suffocating.

 

 

 

 

They  stop  in  front of  his  car  and  Jihoon  worries  and  turns  to  Donghan,  caressing  the  cheek  that Hyeongseob struck. “Are you okay?”

 

 

 

 

Donghan smiles at him and nods.

 

 

 

 

“Weird masochist.” He mutters, rolling his eyes.

 

 

 

 

He kisses the inside of his wrist. “As long as you take care of me.” Jihoon gulps.

 

 

 

 

“I'm sorry.” He says.

 

 

 

The man only smiles in return. “Let's go back home?”

 

 

 

 

He nods at him. He opens the door for and they drive off. Home, where is home for him?

 

 

 

 

 

(But if he only stops, he'd see Woojin running and chasing after them. If he only stops, he'd hear Woojin screaming out his name.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – And kissing in the rain.

 

 

 

 

 

He's sitting in front of the marriage counselor. Last week, he received a subpoena for both of them to attend the said counseling.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon  fiddles  with  his  hands.  He's  nervous  and  is  not  exactly  thrilled  to  be  sitting  in  front  of  a counselor. There's a movement on his right and Woojin sits next to him.

 

 

 

 

The counselor eyes both of them. No one wants to peep.

 

 

 

 

“So...”

 

 

 

 

Her  voice  echoes  inside  the  room  and  Jihoon  feels  little.  He  feels  Woojin's  eyes  on  his  but  he's ignoring it --- he's ignoring the pain inside his chest.

 

 

 

 

The confrontation happened three days ago. “You want a divorce on the ground of....”

 

 

“Irreconcilable differences, Ma'am.” He says in a rush.

 

 

The older woman sighs. “You know that marriage is not a joke, right?” Both of them nod.

 

 

 

“I'm sure before this --- you've loved each other right?” The counselor prods.

 

 

 

Jihoon clenches his fists on his lap. Did they? Did he, really?

 

 

 

“Have you ever considered ---- going back to the places where love --- whatever love you've lost ---- to ---” The counselor stops seeing there's no reaction from them.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon looks at him, mistrustful. “With all due respect, Ma'am, we're here to get the divorce... not to get back together.”

 

 

 

 

“Look, Jihoon, she's just helping out.” Woojin reasons.

 

 

 

 

“I  don't have  time  for  this.”  Jihoon  dismisses,  gathering  his  things.  He  has  no  intention  to  spend another second with Woojin.

 

 

 

 

He bows down in front of the counselor and hurriedly leaves, Woojin hot on his tail, following. “This! Is! Insane!” He angrily mumbles.

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon... please...”

 

 

 

 

Don't look back, no looking back. He warns himself.

 

 

 

 

When he's about to enter his car, Woojin stops and turns him around. He holds him down, fingers on his face --- eyes ---they're still fascinating as ever

 

 

 

 

Jihoon wants to disappear.

 

 

 

 

--- wants the Earth to swallow him---

 

 

because he wants to cherish this moment

 

 

--- wants to kiss him ---

 

 

--- to feel him ----

 

 

his forehead on his.

 

 

 

 

“Let me explain, please.” He begs.

 

 

 

 

He wants to resist but he's holding him tight. The way he wanted him to hold before --- the way he needed him before.

 

 

 

 

“I'm sorry, Jihoon.” He exhales.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon tries prying him off but he's really holding tight. “Let me go, Woojin.”

 

 

 

 “That night...”

 

 

 

He shakes his head, ready to run. “You don't have balls, Woojin, stop bullshitting me.”

 

 

 

“I want to make it right.”

 

 

 

“There's no way----”

 

 

 

 

“Yes,  there  is!”  Woojin  insists.  “You  know  what  is?  Don't  ---  don't---”  There's  hesitation  in  his voice. He buckles but Jihoon waits.

 

 

 

 

He waits and waits.

 

 

 

 

But he's internally struggling.

 

 

 

 

Rain drizzles on both of them and Jihoon still tries but he's not letting go.

 

 

 

 

He continues waiting.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon laughs and looks up. “Your pride isn't letting you.” He smirks at him. “Now, let me go.”

 

 

 

Woojin looks at him --- sad and tired. Jihoon gets inside his car and drives as fast as he can. He watches in his rear view as Woojin kicks the air.

 

 

 

 

Why do you keep getting my hopes up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 – It's 2AM and I'm cursing your name

 

 

 

 

Jihoon throws the black paint in the blank canvas in front of him. He's angry --- beyond angry that he's ever been in his life. He can't even think of something to paint. Not even this anger can turn into something he wants to relay.

 

 

 

 

He's blank.

 

 

 

 

His heart is blank.

 

 

 

 

There's a paint brush in his right hand and he brushes it angrily on the canvas. “Fuck you.” He utters angrily.

 

 

 

 

If Woojin --- if he says it forwardly, if he has the guts to say it out --- if his pride is not what he highly regards of --- if he tells him to stay with me again, Jihoon --- maybe it's different. It's another story.

 

 

 

 

“But he wouldn't --- never.” What a sad life, indeed.

 

 

 

 

He glares at the poor canvas and slumps on the floor. He has resigned to his fate. There's no way things would go well between them. Never. Not anymore.

 

 

 

 

Beep.

 

 

 

This is me, Jihoon. I might not be around so leave a message and I'll try to get back to you. ASAP.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jihoon...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There's a loud jump hearing this voice. He hears a a gasp from the other line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's me, Woojin. I --- I'm not really sure if --- if I can get this, you know? But I just want --- just want --- to relay ---- this. Jihoon, oh my god, last time...... I--- I'm sorry. I... I...

want to personally tell you.... please... Meet me today. Same place and time... Jihoon, please... give this to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Same  time  and  same  place  means  when  they  first dated  and  when  they've  opened  up  about their exes. Jihoon isn't exactly sure why he's here --- why he's seeing the old pick up car that they used when they liked to stargaze together.

 

 

 

 

Together, why does the word leave a bitter taste in his dry mouth?

 

 

 

 

He isn't sure as to why Woojin's shoulders feels heavy, as he sits at the back of his pick up car, eyes on the stars.

 

 

 

 

It's 3freakingAM, why is he here, again? Maybe all he needs is a closure.

 

 

 

 

(This is what he likes himself to believe.)

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sits beside him with a sigh. “Tell me what you want.” He demands. He is in no way going to drag this any longer. He wants to leave as soon as he arrives.

 

 

 

 

Woojin exhales loudly and glances at his way. Jihoon looks away and feels small. He's wearing his overalls jumper with pink t-shirt on. His hair in a messy apple bun and he's wearing nothing but a chapstick on.

 

 

 

 

The guy smiles warmly. “You... look nice.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon   avoids   and   scratches   his   neck.   This   is   entirely   unexpected   from   him.   He's   never complimented Jihoon since his pride got in the way of their relationship.

 

 

 

 

“I have no time to --”

 

 

 

 

“I don't want a divorce.”

 

 

 

 

If he's shocked for awhile, he's now appalled by this revelation. He tries to calm down (heart, please calm down too) but he barely can react.

 

 

 

 

He—what?

 

 

 

 

“I don't want a divorce.” He repeats again.

 

 

 

 

This is not the Woojin he expects tonight. How is he real? “Jihoon... look...”

 

 

 

“No... no.” Jihoon disagrees, standing up. “Look, Woojin, if you hit your head --- or some shit, I don't care. But this... us.... it will not work anymore.”

 

 

 

“Why the heck not?” He questions.

 

 

 

He's frustrated by this time. Why is this happening to him now? Did Woojin suddenly forget what has happened between them?

 

 

 

 

“What do you mean --- oh my fucking --- Woojin, are you hearing yourself now? What do you --- Woojin, what ---”

 

 

 

 

Woojin holds his hand. “Jihoon...”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon stops and looks at him fearfully. “Why are you doing this to me, Woojin?” He inquires him seriously. “Is it fun? Is this fun for you, Woojin? Is it a game? Well... I'm not exactly a good player, so please...”

 

 

 

 

He stands in front of him, trapping his head in between his hands. They are calloused --- and yet he misses them.  He  misses how  they  feel rough  on  his face  but that's exactly  what makes his hands attractive.

 

 

 

 

“I don't want to play your game, Woojin.”

 

 

 

 

With all his might, he successfully pushes him off.  “Is it because of Kim Donghan?”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon stands still on his ground. He gives him an incredulous look. “Donghan has nothing to do with this.”

 

 

 

He taunts. “He's making you a business.”

 

 

 

 

He raises his hands in the air, giving up. “He's a friend! And what he has to do with me is none of your business.”

 

 

 

 

“You're my husband!” He exclaims.

 

 

 

 

“Husband?” He asks back. After so long.... “I won't be anymore. You can be happy and free with your side man! So stay out of my life --- Donghan included.”

 

 

 

 

He walks out.

 

 

 

 

He guesses Woojin wouldn't let him walk out just like that. For he's pulled him to turn again to him.

 

 

 

 

And then he's kissing him.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon  thinks  about  why  he  shouldn't  kiss  back  ----  thinks  about  everything  wrong  ----  why  he should never let his guard down again. But his heart and mind are different and this time, his heart has another thing in his mind.

 

 

 

 

For he is kissing back with no inhibitions and hesitations.

 

 

 

 

 

It feels like there's this sudden fire igniting for both of them alive. Their night has never been this hot before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 – He's close to my mother, talks business with my father

 

 

 

 

 

It's a plague in his mind, whatever happened that night. Lips on lips --- body on body --- heat on heat.

 

 

 

And he shakes his head every time this gets into his mind.

 

 

 

 

There's a food in front of him and sees his Mother looking at him with curious eyes. She eyes him like a prey and he doesn't even try to meet her eyes. His mother knows him best. Most mothers are, eventually.

 

 

 

 

“You look worn out.” She observes.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon fakes a laugh. “What do you mean?”

 

 

 

 

His mother puts her hands on her waist. This is not good. “Where were you last night?”

 

 

 

“I was --- at my studio.” He defends himself.

 

 

 

 

Mother shakes her head, disbelieving. “I heard Woojin's voice through a phone call.” He's about to deny when his Mother's eyes get bigger. “And heeeeep. Do not deny. Did you meet him?”

 

 

 

 

I did more than meet him, Mom.

 

 

 

 

“Donghan is here!” His dad announces suddenly.

 

 

 

 

Mother  stares  at  him,  and  he  runs  immediately  to  see  Donghanin  his  gray  suit  with  bouquet  of flowers in his hands. It's pretty cliché knowing they are both guys but Donghanis here out to give flowers. He's smiling at him as if he's seen the sun for the first time. He feels sicker than he already is. Donghan goes to his Mother first as he kisses her hand.

 

 

 

 

“Good morning, Mrs. Park.” He greets and hands her a strand of rose.

 

 

 

 

Mother beams  at the  rose  and  rejoices.  “Wow,  you're  so  sweet,  Donghan.”  His  Mother suddenly comes near him and whispers, “Forget Woojin. Donghan is the real charmer.”

 

 

 

 

He glimpses at Donghan who is only smiling.

 

 

 

 

He's been really wonderful all these while. He's a real gentleman. Perfect. But last night had been one of the best nights in his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.5 – It's a roller coaster kinda rush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jihoon reaches out for a star, hand outstretched.

 

 

 

 

Woojin laughs as he tries to intertwine their fingers together. “I've stopped seeing Hyeongseob.” He confesses.

 

 

 

 

 

The man ceases and looks up to this soon-to-be-ex-husband, Jihoon's head on his chest at the back of his pick up car. He feels elated --- if it was for whatever happened tonight or his news. He's elated and this is crazy.

 

 

 

 

The adrenaline is there and Jihoon feels high.

 

 

 

 

 

He combs his fingers on  his hand. “I don't want a divorce, Jihoon. When  you  walked  out of our apartment --- I have decided to be with you. Just you. I know I was never the best husband out there --- in fact, I could be the worst. And a million of sorry will not suffice. But please, give me a chance again?”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sees the same boy with the same stars in his eyes as his tears roll down. And he feels ashamed to see this once beautiful man crumbling down in front of him like he wanted him to. Is he happy now? Are you happy, Jihoon?

 

 

 

 

“You don't have to do it, Woojin.” He says softly.

 

 

 

 

Woojin's face turns serious and traps his face with his hands. He kissed his forehead. “I've always been in love with you. The moment you gave me that seat.” Jihoon snorts in return with the memory. “I guess --- I've just become used that you've always just been there and I wanted to be more than anything. I've sacrificed this love that was just right in front of me.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon's  heart  is  beating  too  fast  as  he  hears  this  from  Woojin.  He  sits  up  and  thinks  about  this. Carefully. These are the words he's always wanted to hear --- always begged to get from him and he's saying all these words just now, when everything seems blurry.

 

 

 

 

After everything?

 

 

 

 

After all the shouts? The fights? Between them? Between our inner selves? After Hyeongseob?

 

 

 

 

 

The husband sits up too and wraps his arms, putting his chin on his shoulders. “I've missed you so much, Jihoon.” Woojin whispers in his skin.

 

 

 

 

Is he ready to believe in him again?

 

 

 

 

He eyes him and Woojin looks fearful when he meets his eyes.

 

 

 

 

“Woojin....” His voice sounds scared.

 

 

 

 

There's  a  sad  smile  drawing  on  his  face.  “Tonight  has  been  wonderful.  Your  words  are  very flattering. But there are some scars that cannot be healed.” Jihoon pats his cheeks. “We'll heal one day, but not for now.”

 

 

 

 

Maybe someday, maybe one day. Or maybe never.

 

 

 

 

“I still have demons inside of me, Woojin. You've left demons in me, Woojin.”

 

 

 

 

 And then he leaves. He leaves with more uncertainties and doubts in their minds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8 – He's charming and endearing

 

 

 

 

There hasn't been a day that Kim Donghan stops courting him.

 

 

Every day flowers? - Check.

 

 

 

Every night call and text? - Check. Every weekend dates? - Check.

 

 

 

It's been three months since this started happening and it's been flattering the most. Yet at the back of his mind, that roller coaster night will be remembered.

 

 

 

His lips on mine, his skin on mine, they still feel all real.

 

 

 

 I can still feel his hands in every inch of my body.

 

 

I can feel his lips in all parts he explored that night. I can feel his eyes begging me to let him in.

 

 

 

And I did. I did let him in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.5  - He can't see the smile I'm fakin'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon.... Jihoon!”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon wakes up from his reverie. He around and sees most of his friends clapping their hands as he stands on a stage, his hands holding a microphone. His family is among the crowd, Daehwi standing in the very front, holding out a wine glass on him and not very far is Kim Donghan, genuinely proud.

 

 

 

 

He  remembers  that  this  is  his  second  exhibit  gallery.  And  by  far,  a  more  successful  one. This  is insane, he reckons. He goes down the stage, Donghan waiting for him and everyone is cheering for them and Jihoon feels uncomfortable because they are chanting 'kiss' to two people who are not in a relationship.

 

 

 

 

He tries dismissing it with a smile but Donghan takes no notice of his discomfort and grabs this as an opportunity and pecks him on his cheeks. Jihoon just pushes him and laughs it off.

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh my god!” Daehwi exclaims, taking him away from Donghan as everyone scatters to his different paintings. He's glad for his best friend's distraction. “What was that?” His best friend is still stuck up with his relationship with Woojin. It's quite obvious. Because really, he is just as bad as Daehwi. Still stuck in a relationship that is meant to end.

 

 

 

 

“I'm as shocked as you are, Hwi.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon masks his sadness. It's been two months now since that night with his husband. He's refused the marriage counseling and wants to push through the divorce.

 

 

 

 

Do you, Jihoon?

 

 

 

 

“Congratulations, Jihoon!” His Dad greets and hugs him. “Thanks, Pa.” He answers with a peck.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sneaks out as Daehwi talks to his parents. There's a particular painting that's dearly for him he makes sure it's a little far from prying eyes of everyone. He stands in front of it --- not a lot go to this corner.

 

 

 

 

The rebel.

 

 

 

 

That's the name of the painting. People ask him why it's named like that. There's nothing rebellious about the painting. It's very ordinary, but this painting gives him grief, happiness, and freedom.

 

 

 

 

At the back of a pick up car, there's a couple making out.

 

 

 

 

He's wearing a denim jumper, one sleeve down, his hair in a mess with wind whirling around and he is on top of him with his hands on his jaw, and he's on his favorite black leather jacket under his mercy and hands on his waist.

 

 

 

 

Take me back to that night.

 

 

 

 

“This is the most interesting painting.” Donghan comments. Jihoon jumps a little hearing his voice.

 

 

 

 

“It's actually ordinary.... but you seem to hold this as your most precious one.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon stares at the painting. “Well, I guess because....” The most amazing feel I've felt in the last six years  of  my  life?  It's  the  absolute  reality  I've  always  wanted  for  the  last  six  years  of  my  entire existence? “....simplicity is the best?”

 

 

 

 

He  laughs  at his  ridiculous  answer.  “And  here  I  was  expecting  a  very  heartfelt explanation  from you.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He only nods at him and there's silence hovering them.

 

 

 

 

Donghan gulps. “Do you think... there's a chance? For us? Again?”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon's  face  pales  from  the  question.  He  faces  Donghan with  a  sigh  but  before  he  can  give  the answer, one of his staff comes running in. “Jihoon-ssi! Someone bought this painting.” His staff says, pointing to the same painting they're in front of.

 

 

 

 

His head turns to the painting with disbelief.

 

 

 

 

Of all the paintings, why you?

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon!!!! Jihoon!” He sees his best friend rushing to them with a brown envelope on his hands. “Look! Someone gave this to the staff.” Daehwi hands him the envelope.

 

 

 

 

The man, in confusion, turns to everyone near him with a questioning face. He opens the envelope with shaking hands and sees paper and a letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only one word catches and sticks in his mind: DIVORCE.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the paper lies Park Woojin's signature. His signature is still missing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.75 -- And my heart's not breakin'

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daehwi gasps seeing the paper. Jihoon thinks this is a bad joke now. On the letter, it reads:

 

 

 

 

 

Be free and be happy. I wish you of your growth and happiness. WJ.

 

 

 

 

He looks at his staff with wide eyes and shakes his head. “Who bought this painting? He demands to know because this is not a good joke. This is happening, this is real, and he is not sure whether he likes this or not.

 

 

 

 

The staff avoids his eyes. “Your husband.” She admits.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon's legs give up and  his world  suddenly  spins 360  degree. Daehwi and  Donghan  both  catch him.  Woojin  is  giving  him  the  freedom  he's  asking  for  8  months  now.  He  has  fought  this  battle within himself and he has won. It's on his hands and with just one sign, that's the end of the story.

 

 

 

 

But just like that? And it's over?

 

 

 

 

 

“Oh, Jihoon, are you okay?” He hears his Mom asking.

 

 

 

 

His Mom takes the paper from him and reads it. She squeals as she sees the paper. “Oh my! What a beautiful news!” She squeaks. “Then you and Donghan ....” Jihoon glares at his Mom hard.

 

 

“There's no Donghan and I!” He defends.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon steals back the paper from Mother and turns to Donghan. “You're amazing, you are these past few months... and thank you.”

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon, what are you talking about?” His Mom interferes.

 

 

 

 

“Ma,” He exhales. “I'm old enough to marry and divorce someone.” He reasons out.

 

 

 

“Jihoon...” Daehwi calls his name and nods. Ever supportive. As always.

 

 

 

“I'm sorry, Donghan. I can't feel anything at all.”

 

 

 

 

Those are his last words because after that he's running away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 – You were wild and crazy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Is Park Woojin there?” He asks without stopping as he enters his own building. “I know the way, don't worry.”

 

 

 

 

 

Even  without answering,  he  already  passes  by  the  male  assistant and  opens  the  door  wide.  Cue, Woojin has finally changed his assistant. No more Hyeongseob in there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park Woojin is sitting on his swivel chair, his head lolling up, his arm blocking out the light from his eyes. And his heart freezes because he suddenly stands up the moment he feels another presence in his office.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon sees his mouth widening when he sees there, breathing so hard. His chest is going to explode soon, he notes.

 

 

 

 

 

“That's my....” He hesitates. “I know him.” He informs his assistant who nods and closes the door. He steps forward to him with confusion and he hates him so so so much and he wants to punch him so so so bad.

 

 

 

 

So  he  does.  He  punches  him  square  on  his  jaw  that  leaves  him  stumbling  on  the  floor.  There's adrenaline rushing through his blood seeing Woojin there on the floor. He hates him so so much and if he can do more than punch, he'd gladly do so.

 

 

 

 

“What the ---” He asks when he stands up, but his face changes when Jihoon's face is full with tears. He runs forward and wipes the tears away. “Jihoon, why why --- why...”

 

 

 

 

“I hate you so much.” He cries. “Hate you... hate you....”

 

 

 

 

He's confused with himself too. Why, why is he here – why is he crying?

 

 

 

 

Woojin leads them on the couch. He sits him on his lap, but he doesn't even mind. All he knows is that Woojin  is with  him,  he's with  Woojin,  his hands are  on  his face,  and  he's close  --- so  close, impossibly close and he can feel his breath on his. That's all that matters for him.

 

 

 

 

“Jihoon...” He whispers softly.

 

 

 

“No!” He sobs. “Call me the way you used to.” “Jihoon-ah..” Woojin says despite of being confused. He shakes his head.

 

 

 

“Hoon..”

 

 

 

“No!” He sobs harder, burying his face on his chest. “Babe..” He finally says, eyes softening.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon chokes harder and clutches on his expensive suit.

 

 

 

 

Woojin does not care if he ruins his suit as he runs his fingers to wipe his tears. “Why are you crying so much, Ji---” He's shaking his head now.”--- babe?”

 

 

 

 

“I don't want it.” He admits. “I don't want it.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon slightly releases himself from Woojin and returns the brown envelope to him. “I don't want this divorce, Woojin. I want --- to be with you. I want... to go back home to you. We can fight.... we can scream.... we can be frustrated with each other... but I want to be with you.”

 

 

 

 

“Oh babe.” He cries back, hugging him. “I'm so so sorry. I thought you want this... so... even if I didn't want to... I drunkenly signed it.”

 

 

 

 

He peers up to him. “I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I'm so unsure of myself that I failed to communicate with you. I'm sorry that I'm so rash with decisions without taking you into consideration --- without thinking of you.”

 

 

 

 

“Babe...” He breathes out and he's smiling so hard now. “I love you.”

 

 

 

“I love you love you you love you hate you hate you and I love you.” Woojin's laughter echoes inside his office room.

 

 

 

 

Sometimes, it's not all about the mistakes and mistrust in the past, sometimes, it's about forgiving and being with someone through thick and thin – through ups and downs. No matter how safe Donghan feels, Jihoon would always choose the roller coaster ride with Woojin.

 

 

 

 

Because he loves him and he wants to make everything works again.

 

 

 

 

10 – I never knew I could feel that much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Are you serious?” Woojin screams at him.

 

 

 

 

Jihoon bites his tongue to prevent from answering back and glares hard at Woojin. Well, anyone is going to scream at him if they see their shared white blanket with a paint of his face so he hides a snicker behind his hands.

 

 

 

 

Woojin looks at him with questioning eyes and hugs him. “What is this?” Jihoon leads him near the blanket and holds it up on him. “See for yourself.” He looks at it. The same one he has painted him.

 

 

 

 

Inside his office, face serious, hands under his chin and with a crown.

 

 

 

 

You're the King of My World. Thank you for being part of it.

 

 

 

 

Woojin's face breaks into a smile and wraps his arms around him possessively and buries his face on his head. “You freaking scared me.”

 

 

 

 

Jihoon laughs and they both fall on the bed.

 

 

 

 

But before Woojin can finally snoop in for a kiss, there's a bark and two soft footsteps running inside their shared bedroom. Woojin raises his eyes at him as he pouts for a cuter effect. Jihoon swoops the baby in his hand and coos at her lovingly.

 

 

 

 

“What--- is that a dog, Park Jihoon?”

 

 

 

 

Childishly, Jihoon covers the white poodle's ears. “He’s hearing you, Woojin!”

 

 

 

 

“Wait – seriously? Like I'm going to be ----- ?”

 

 

 

 

“A dad, yes.” He excitedly screams back. “Daddy Woojin. Daddy Woojin. This is Max. And I'm sure you're gonna love him.”

 

 

 

 

His heart leaps as Woojin slips from the bed he's currently sitting on the ground. There are tears on his face  as he  hugs the  poodle  his chest and  drags him down  on  the floor and  kisses him on  his forehead.

 

 

 

 

“Thank you for giving me this chance to be with you and be a family again.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that's the way I loved you.