Chapter 5 Red apples.
We remain the same no matter what.
Jinyoung had to admit it…
The dinner was too much!
And not only for the fact the lovely couple asked CNU to let them use his mansion for the event not caring the hosts were only a few; or the fact Jieun made Taeni to bring her friend, the guy called Moonbin, just to make him work the full travel as her personal photographer so she could publish his work on a girly magazine; or the fact Baro's parents came and acted like they were happy when everyone knew they were against the wedding because they didn't like the future bride making awkward everything around them.
It was too much because even when all those things would make him dislike the event, when he saw Baro kneeling in front of the girl to formally put the ring (the five friends had looked for an entire month until they found THE PERFECT ONE) on her finger, and her eyes filled with tears and his friend was about to cry too…
Jinyoung knew they will be fine for the next fifty years at least.
He didn't cry, he was not crying. That wan't the reason he took the handkerchief Gongchan offered to him. He just needed air. So he ended up on the cold balcony.
A calm music from the enormous living room filling the air.
"Are you skipping dessert, oppa?" Taeni playfully asked him. The short haired woman sweetly smiled at him.
He showed her a big smirk. "Never." Then he looked at the garden. Plenty flowers were illuminated by the bright light of the mansion. "Just getting ready and feeling old?" He suggested.
She chuckled. "Believe me, these days I'm feeling like that a lot. It's always a bad idea to come back to Daegu."
"Don't you like it?" He asked with curiosity.
"Daegu?" She looked at him. Then she turned to look for her sister who waved her hand. Yep. Keri was talking to Eunwoo. "I hate it. Things were fine until High School…" Her smile became bigger. She made a gesture to call Keri over. "University was though and my first work awful. When Keri graduated and we decided to move to a micro apartment in Seoul with Suji, I promised myself to come back here just when it's really necessary."
He laughed. "On Chuseok and Christmas?"
"Are you crazy?" Taeni laughed. Keri giggled when she got close and heard that. Jinyoung avoided to see her for any particular reason. "Just on Chuseok! Christmas and New Year are for Eunjung-eonnie!"
"And our precious Mino-ya!" Keri confirmed making the cutest face.
Jinyoung felt warm on his cheeks.
"You two are a pair of rude daughters."
"Jinyoung-oppa!" Keri complained and that was almost an aegyo. Jinyoung clenched his jaw. That was too much for him!
"Look who's talking." Taeni made fun of him. "Your mom said the last time you came back was two years ago!"
"I'm not a daughter." And that was a lie, he came back very often, but he didn't want to explain. Thanks to his mother he was having a good time.
The three of them laughed loud.
Jinyoung had to use both of his hands to clean the snow on his hair. "Don't laugh at me!"
"But, oppa…" Taeni said hardly hiding her laugh. "We told you to share with us! You're so stubborn!"
Keri's giggles sounded beautiful. He had two cute dongsaengs, he thought. "I'm not!" He said making a face.
"You are!" Keri insisted by his side, she was covering him with her transparent umbrella.
The snow was falling and they were walking slowly. It was dark. And Jinyoung thought he could keep walking like that forever… Until it hit his head.
"Ouch!" He complained.
"I'm sorry!" Keri said. "It's not that easy."
"Oppa, you are too tall!" Taeni pointed at him. "Of course, Keri will get tired."
"Because she is very lazy?" He suggested and they laugh.
"I said I'm sorry." She pouted. "I just…" She stopped when he took the umbrella from her hand. He smiled as he covered both of them.
He looked at her beautiful eyes. "What? Am I that impressive?" He smirked.
She looked away. "No." She said. "For a second I thought oppa was cool. But you killed the moment."
He laughed at that. "I'm sorry." He said with a big smile on his face.
"For what? For the mess you all did here? For touching my father's collection of good wine? For ignoring me the whole night?" CNU asked him as he moved to a side so Jinyoung could sit on the couch too. His friend had a glass half empty on his hand.
Jinyoung laughed a little. "No. For not asking what's so wrong you've been gloomy the whole night."
CNU kept silent. He took another sip of his drink before talking. "I'm fine." He said. But he didn't lift his gaze from the table.
"Sure..." Jinyoung looked at his best friend with a smirk. "You know what? We've known each other since... Since forever. Can we be honest for...?"
"Oppa... I'm sorry. Can some of you help us?" That was Taeni. She was smiling but had a worried expression.
Both men stood up immediately. "What is it?" Jinyoung was worried.
"Nothing is wrong... Just... Suji drank too much. She was so happy and we didn't looked at... I'm sorry. She's getting sleepy and we cannot walk her to the cab."
Jinyoung breath again. He thought something wrong occurred but looking at the other side of the room, the way Keri was talking to a weird Suji, he smiled. "Sure. I think we can handle this."
CNU, who was also smiling took a step forward. He was about to say something when they heard someone else.
"Hyung! Don't worry. I got this." That was Eunwoo who had spent the dinner in silent, just talking to people when it was needed. He smiled at them whilst he helped Suji to get up. He and Keri were laughing at something Suji said.
"Thank you so much, Eunwoo!" Taeni talked loud even when the trio was out of the room. "Thanks you two too. We're heading home."
Jinyoung ruffled her hair making the girl to protest. "Good. Take care."
"Sure!" She said looking at him and then brightly smiling to CNU. "See you tomorrow."
"Let me walk you out." The elder offered.
"You don't need to, oppa. It's ok. Please, continue your talk." She said before getting out.
Both men sat down on the couch at the same time. Jinyoung poured two more glasses without asking.
"That... Doesn't bother you at all?" Finally CNU asked after some minutes of silent.
"What? The silent?" His friend said knowing the true answer.
"The guy." CNU awkwardly spoke out the words.
"Who? Eunwoo-ssi?" Jinyoung thought about it. "He's kind." The poisoned look that received from his friend was enough to know it wasn't what he was asking. "Oh. You mean with her?" He thought maybe CNU was asking that because Moonbin. He thought about Eunwoo. He wasn't jealous. Why would he be? "I don't know. It's fine."
"Don't you feel like you want to punch his face?" Yep. The alcohol was making effect on CNU's system. He usually was not that sincere. "I would want to punch him if I was you."
"Because my dongsaeng?" He thought a little more. Their situations were different. "He's her ex. They're friends. We're friends. It's fine."
"How? How is that fine? Don't you feel sick when...?" The tallest man shut up.
"I guess I could say I'm not totally good... But... You know. Everyone had their own past, even their own present. I don't like to judge others because their personal life. Not like that."
- Jinyoung-ah, I'm home.
- You really meant you would not wait for me at the airport.
- Jinyoung-ah is past midnight, where are you?
- Aren't you coming home? Should I wait?
The words we spoke were full of sincerity.
Sandeul showed his tongue whilst he was trying to concentrate.
His hands were trembling and he could feel his eyebrows almost touching.
His heart was beating fast, but a warm feeling grew on him because he was sure he'll be successful.
"Faster!" A loud voice. A voice that broke his concentration. "Do it faster, radio friend!"
That made him fail.
The brown pieces of the genga game fell on the table.
"Waaaah! I won!" Mino stood up on the chair and raised both of his hands. "Mom! I won!"
That made Sandeul a little worried. "Yah. Mino-yah, remember to keep silent." He softly asked.
The realization immediately made the kid's eyes grew open. "Oh-oh." Mino put his little hands over his pinky mouth. "Silent." He mumbled.
The man smiled, the boy was very smart. "Now, what will we do?"
They were in Eunjung's apartment, and as Sandeul imagined, it was small, warm and elegant but at the same time a little messy because the toys. It felt like home.
Mino made a cute face thinking hard until he came out with a good idea. "Do you like cars?"
"I love cars! Didn't you saw mine? Wasn't it cool?" Sandeul asked.
"I like it. But I like Mom's better. I'll show you." Then the boy offered his hand and Sandeul immediately took it.
They walked to Mino's room. Sandeul smiled, it was obvious. The room had no bed, only toys, so Eunjung probably slept with the kid every night.
"See?" Mino handed him a little pink car. "Mine is blue." He continued handing another toy. "You can use the red if you like it." And another.
"Mino-yah." Sandeul called looking at nine or ten little cars he had now. "Let's build a highway for your cars!"
The boy couldn't believe his new friend was so amazing.
"But... Why? Why are you crying?" Sandeul asked full of concern.
"I'm not crying!" Eunjung declared hiding her face behind the big sweater she had on her hands.
Sandeul giggled. "Then why are you so happy?"
"Oh! Don't be silly!" She said throwing the soft sweater at his face.
Sandeul looked deeply at her beautiful eyes. Yes, they were beautiful even if they were red at the moment.
"What were you doing here, noona?"
"I... I was playing." Just in that moment Sandeul noticed the ball on the other side. He hummed. "And I stupidly stepped on my own foot... I... My ankle hurts." She finally said blushing.
"In that case you should had called me. What if I don't think today is a good day to play basketball?" He said offering his hand so he could walk her to the grades. That was impossible, his mind admitted. Always was a good time to come to his noona. Once both were sat down he talked again. "So? Will you let me see?"
She protested a little but ended taking off the shoe. "This is humiliant! My dongsaeng shouldn't be taking care of me!" Sandeul was flying high. This was the first time seeing Eunjung-noona acting so childish and he was falling in love even more than he already had. "No! That hurts! Deullie!"
"Sorry, but I have to be sure you don't have a broken bone here!" He explained touching as soft as he could the cute bare foot. Her nails were painted in a pale shade of lilac. How cute!
"Is it?" The girl asked. And when Sandeul saw her wondering if she had read his mind, she asked again. "Is there something broken?"
Oh! Sandeul concentrated again. "Hum... No. Thanks God, no." He said searching something in his backpack. He found it. "But put this on your ankle for a while, so it won't get too swollen."
It was a cold coke. He probably brought it for her, to drink it after their game. She smiled. She really liked him. "It is cold."
"What?" They asked.
Eunjung found both, the man and the boy, sitting on the rug, their hands full of Lego blocks and all Mino's toys that had light. They talked at the same time like they were twins.
"I said it is cold outside and our radio friend should be tired for the travel. I was about to ask if you want some coffee before you have to go."
"Are you leaving?" Mino asked with a pout on his lips.
Sandeul answered to the boy first. "Don't worry, pal. We'll finish this before I go." And to the pretty mother. "I'd love to."
"Good! Mino-yah, please bring the cookies to the table." That made the kid stood up.
"Whatever I want?"
"Of course, honey." She said knowing he would bring those chocolate chips he liked so much lately. She already put them first on the cabinet so the kid wouldn't have to search that much. Sandeul fixed a cross before standing up.
When they were left alone, she took the opportunity to talk. "Thank you. He's enjoying it a lot."
"It's my pleasure." He said. "Mino-yah is too cute." And looking the side of her face. "Was it from your office?"
"It was my assistant." She explained. Her phone still on her hand. "I have to work tomorrow, something happened."
"Who will take care of Mino?" He asked full of hope.
"I'm taking him to his father's after you leave."
We remain the same not matter what.
"I'm home." Jinyoung announced when he opened the door. The first thing that came to welcome him was his dear Beullie that rubbed her head on his legs. "Hi, kitty, how'd you been?"
She didn't answered but someone did...
"Jinyoung-ah? What happened to you?" A pretty woman in pijama and long hair came from the kitchen. "I was worried. Where you were?"
He sighed. He told her. "Yulhee, I told you. This weekend was Sunwoo's engagement party."
"I know." She admitted sitting down on the soft couch. His favorite couch. The one that have the best afternoon sunlight when he writes lyrics. "But you didn't said that you were going to be out of the town or that you were leaving Beullie with Mrs. Kang." She locked her eyes with him. She was pouting.
"Did she take good care of my baby?" He asked lifting the kitty. Mrs. Kang was his neighbor. Well, the old lady lived two floors down. They were in the penthouse.
"You know, I'm talking to you." Yulhee was raising a eyebrow.
"Right. How was your travel?" He sat up in one of the white leather couch.
"It was good." She proudly smiled. "We had a photoshoot in a beautiful beach! You surely would love it!"
"Yeah? I like better the countryside. And I have not time for vacations." Beullie was purring on his lap.
"Oh! I know that!" She had a smirk on her face and rolled her eyes. "Where were you?"
He looked at her for a moment, mind traveling for the memories of his friends and his parents' house. "Daegu." He answered with calm.
"Daegu? All these pics are from Daegu?" Yulhee asked looking through some photo albums that were in that box. "I recognize Dongwoo-ssi and Sunwoo-yah on this. But who are these?"
Jinyoung walked to her. There were a lot of boxes on the floor, they just moved in. Jinyoung never really thought about moving into the penthouse he bought two years ago until now.
He smiled at the pic and kissed his girlfriend before answering. "They're my dongsaengs."
"Your sisters?" She was surprised. "Do you have sisters?"
He chuckled. "Yes and no. They were my neighbors. They're very smart."
"You'd never talked about them..." She pouted.
It was true. He never talks about Taeni and Keri, but he usually thought about them. He studied the pic where the three of them were sitting on the porch of his old house. Three bright smiles. "It had been almost seven years since the last time I saw them."
It was weird. Why those girls were so important to keep those old pics but not for keeping the contact. "You don't talk to each other since you moved to Seoul?"
He hummed. "I wonder what Keri studied... She was the first of her class and she was pretty good at sports." He kept looking at the photos, there were many, most of them were of one girl and it was obvious he had bought them. Yes, she knew. Those pics were very similar to those she secretly bought of her high school crush to the student council after every festival.
Something wasn't right. Yulhee thought. "There're so many of her." She pointed out the long haired girl who was taller than the other girls. "Did you have preferences?"
"Not at all." He said taking out of the album a pic where the two girls were posing in a funny way in front of a pink Sakura tree. "Dongwoo asked for Taeni's."
Even so... The way he was looking at the pics made her stomach sick. Yulhee smiled. "Jinyoung-ah, we can't keep everything here." She said closing the album she had on her lap. "These old books... We should leave them in your house in Daegu or in your old apartment."
"You're missing space here?" He asked with a smirk on his face.
"Are you making fun of me?"
He chuckled. "Of course not." He reached for her long hair. "I'll move them to Daegu, I told you I'll try to sell my old apartment. I'll do it... After I make all of this digital! It will be so cool to put a digital frame on the table!"
She smiled and kissed him. "You're impossible."
"I know." He happily said. He put the pic inside his wallet.
"Then you're accepting it's your time to cook." Yulhee made sure both of them were on the same page.
"Yes." Jinyoung came back from his room dressing with sweatpants and a big hoodie. "But when I said I'm too tired to cook I meant it."
"I won't cook either." She cleared from the living room. She was watching some show about extreme sports and the sound of it were all over the place.
"I know." He repeat. "I'll order something."
"Please, something light!" She scream from the other room. "Remember I'm dieting!"
"It's gonna be pizza." He warned.
"But..." She try to argue.
"If you want something else, please order it yourself. I really want pizza."
She laughed. "Rude!" She thought a little. "Well, a piece of pizza won't kill me, right?"
Both loudly laughed for a moment but when the apartment went silent Jinyoung started to think about it again. He needed to ask. "Did you find something?"
"I didn't look for it this weekend." She answered right away. "I was working."
"Yes. Yes, I know." He said. "I just..."
"Now are you in a hurry?"
"I don't know." He was calm. He was always calm. Yulhee smiled.
"Right, right, Jinyoung-ah." She searched on her phone for a restaurant that was close. "Let's have dinner first. Tomorrow I'll do that."
"After all... " She said walking again to the living room. The big screen showing some riders on a mountain way. "I'm gonna have salad for tonight."