Chapter Two: The Leader Finds Himself on the Path of Doom and the Free Spirit Finds Himself on the Path of Boredom

Rhett’s cell phone kept ringing, but he ignored its cries. Well, that would have happened if he actually knew that it was ringing. It wasn’t until a man in his forties tapped Rhett on the shoulder and pointed to his noisy cell phone did Rhett realize how silly he was. Already in a foul mood and now even more mortified, he answered with a yell, “Yeah! I thought I told you guys not to call!”

“Rhett?” a warm voice gently asked.

Shit, shit, shit. 

“Sorry, Mom. I thought it was . . . ugh . . . some stalker.” 

This was a white lie that he had to fabricate. He knew how pathetic he was acting, but he also knew that his mother would always believe him. He rarely lied; he didn’t really need to anyhow since Jaejoong always killed his harmless lies.

“Stalker? Are you all right sweetie?”

He cringed at the word, sweetie. He hated when people called him that. It made him seem like a baby, which was an image that he wanted to discard. Everyone thought he was a child at heart; sometimes, he was thought to be worse than Junsu. Junsu was already too childish, but at least, his face matched his personality.

“Yeah,” Rhett managed to croak.

“That’s good.” She breathed a sigh of relief. “Anyhow, I called because I think it’s time that you got yourself a steady girlfriend. I haven’t seen you bring home a girl yet and I’m getting worried. You’re already twenty-five, so I found a girl for you. She’s—“

“Mom, I don’t need you to find someone for me. I can do this myself.” He marched to his black Audi and almost couldn’t find his keys again. To calm himself, he noted in his head that he only needed that actress to come alive. Yes, that was all he required. 

“Just give her a chance. She’s only seventeen right now—“

“I don’t want to be a pedo . . . I mean, I don’t want to date someone that’s younger than my own sister,” he quickly corrected his statement.

“She’s very mature!” his mother argued. “She was born in Taiwan. You know, Mr. Lee, the school principal?” 

“Yeah?” He now opened the car door, but stood there just to hear her explanation.

“She’s his niece. She is very smart, except . . .” 

Rhett sighed, “What is it?”

“She looks very young and she’s small. She’s not the tallest person in the world,” she uttered rather nervously. She knew that Rhett didn’t really feel comfortable with dating shorter girls, but she had a feeling that the girl was the one for him. 

Rhett couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He was actually going to be deemed a pedophile if he agreed to this. He could just picture Changmin treating this idea in the wrong way while Jaejoong chanted an incantation about pedophiles in a background. Yoochun would probably smile foolishly without muttering a word, but of course, Rhett would know what Yoochun was thinking. Yoochun’s face told everything to everyone. Now, there was only Junsu, who would be somewhat supportive. Junsu was the positive one, after all.

 Rhett took a while to envision all of the consequences and then, he asked out of desperation, “Mom, do I have to?”

“Your dad and I believe that you should.”

If Rhett’s father had agreed to this, then the girl should be fine. Everyone in the family knew that his father was hard to please in general. Perhaps, it was also because the girl was from his father’s birth country that eventually led Rhett to agree, “Fine, I’ll have a date with her.” 

Not a lot of people were from his father’s country in Tokyo. In fact, Rhett had always wanted to connect with someone from his other home, Taiwan. He had lived in Tokyo for too long that he had difficulty understanding the cultural aspects of Taiwan despite being fluent in Mandarin. This was not to say that he regretted immigrating to Tokyo with his family at the age of three, which was largely due to his mother’s homesickness. This was to say that he was, perhaps, nostalgic of the other part of his identity. He wanted to remember more of his culture, and so even a meeting with someone from that country seemed to be fruitful.

“Good!” She laughed. “You’ll meet her this Saturday afternoon at your favourite coffee shop!”

As he stepped into his car, he prayed that the girl would resemble his favourite actress at least in personality. 

Yoochun had no idea why he felt like doing nothing. He could have spent the night at the bar or at the clubs, yet that night, he just wanted to roll around on his bed. Like usual, whenever he wanted to stay at home, Jaejoong was out drinking. The two of them never clicked in that sense; whenever Jaejoong was energetic, Yoochun was barely conscious or vice versa. That had to be the worst part of their friendship and fate just liked to promote unneeded differences.

Typically, Yoochun would have treated the other guys to a few drinks, but there was no one else to talk to that night. Rhett was out with his other friends, which all of the boys disregarded. None of them treated Rhett that well, but he still enjoyed being with them. He also loved treating them to lunches, dinners, breakfasts, or any event even though he was quite petty to himself and to the boys. Thus, the boys had concluded, just to make themselves feel better, that Rhett preferred leading and loved giving donations to the poor. Then, there was Changmin, who was most likely hanging out with Jaejoong. The two of them had suddenly developed an interest in drinking together. Yoochun still could not believe that Changmin, the lone wolf, would now rather have some company. Finally, Junsu, always too immersed in online gaming, was too preoccupied with researching ideas for dates. This time, Yoochun was actually hoping to be dragged by Junsu to play some games.

Perhaps, it would have been better to say that Yoochun was always caught at the wrong moment. He remembered when he discovered Changmin peeping at the silhouette of a lady bathing with a pair of binoculars. Changmin, feeling rather guilty, decided to tell Yoochun when this lady appeared as a means of bribing him to zip his mouth. Yoochun, of course, agreed and so the next day he decided to follow Changmin’s actions. That day, it was a man showering. Then, there was that time when Junsu could not resist watching a complete first season of a drama that Yoochun owned and so, Junsu allegedly borrowed them. In the end, Junsu had scratched the discs so badly that Yoochun could not watch them anymore. 

There was also that disastrous moment when Yoochun spilt soy sauce all over Jaejoong’s prized t-shirt just as Jaejoong passed the soy sauce to him while asking, “Shoyukouto?” 

All Yoochun could answer at that time was: “Douyukouto.” 

The worst part was when his girlfriends fell in love with Rhett. What annoyed him further was he knew exactly why that happened. It was all because of Rhett’s act. Rhett loved acting as a gentleman to strangers. Although he knew that Rhett never had any intentions of seducing his ladies, he was still irked that Rhett could capture their hearts with his suaveness, which all of the boys knew was just a facade. Rhett had to have been the least debonair man on earth. What sort of man would squeal during a horror film? 

Oops, Yoochun and Rhett did.

Completely submerging himself to boredom, Yoochun could only conclude that he had no purpose in his life. Looking back, he hadn’t done anything extraordinary. Sure, he had wooed a few women and yes, he had written songs, but those had been completed during the spur of the moment. His songs were not profound; they were unlike Jaejoong’s spontaneously induced ones that ironically turned out to be full of interpretation. 

Perchance, the problem was that he had no idea what he wanted in his life. Money was not a problem. His family was on the higher end of middle class and he had a steady job as a songwriter in one of the top entertainment companies in Tokyo. As for relationships, they were easy to acquire and easy to dissipate. Friendships too were simple, except the one that he shared with the boys. 

Rolling over and over on his bed, Yoochun at last decided that there was no need to think anymore. He felt relieved that greed had not yet consumed him, which could only have originated from his aimless attitude. He was certain that for now, he was going to enjoy his dullness. He loved taking risks even when it meant doing nothing.