Chapter 10: The Free Spirit and His Song; the Hidden Devil and His Escape

Alarm clocks were never Yoochun’s friends. To wake up, he needed at least four clocks. Each was placed in separate corners of his bedroom and each was equidistance from his king-sized bed. He would set them a few minutes apart from each other, so he couldn’t turn all of them off in one try. Thankfully, he didn’t need to go to work in the mornings, unlike Rhett, who woke early and stayed late at work. Yoochun’s career only involved composing songs, meaning that he could work at home. Even when he had to attend meetings with artists to understand their album concepts, he scheduled them in the afternoon or preferably, in the evening. 

When his cell phone vibrated on his night stand, he hesitated to answer it and at first, ignored the sound. However, the buzzing had become so irritating that he had reached for it. “H-hello,” his voice at once cracked.  

“Are you almost done that love song?” his manager inquired.

What . . . song? When did I . . . 


“You forgot again, Yoochun?” 

His manager already predicted. Whenever Yoochun was asked to write a romantic song, he seemed to procrastinate or fail to remember his task. 

“You’re lucky that I phoned five days before it’s due.”

“Yes, I know,” Yoochun heaved a sigh. “I’ll start working on it now and I’ll get it done by tomorrow.”

“Great! Just drop by my office any time.”

 “All right.”

Sitting up straight, Yoochun wondered how he was going to create this love song. Inspiration was ungraspable at this stage, especially when he was not with her for years. He no longer craved to see her, yet he still thought of her. His memories of their relationship did not weaken and instead, intensified, leading him to compare his other lovers with her. He would ask himself why he loved them. 

Because they were more tolerant, more talkative, more . . . 

Then, he would ask, “So what?” 

So what if one reigned over the other? He knew, by that time, that he could not write anymore love songs. Love was not supposed to be sensible. For him, love had been that look they had shared. One glance at her and he could foresee whether his future had her. It did It always did.

Now, he stood up and walked towards his desk. Gripping a pen he found on the table, he felt that that was his sword. Actually, he would have preferred being the troubadour, playing music to his lover. With this reflection in mind, he began to write. He would etch his sentiments to music. Forlorn, regrets, contemplation, seclusion would meld into a ballad, a ballad that reflected her, but dedicated to him.

Changmin had a few stalkers, who enjoyed taking photos of anything related to him. Although Changmin had filed a complaint to the school, the administration blatantly ignored him. So, he bet that they were jealous of his popularity and decided that there was nothing frightening about girls. Regrettably, he had to fight with all his might just to eat lunch in peace. He didn’t particularly enjoy being blinded by camera flashes. He also didn’t like knowing that someone was watching his every move. Most importantly, he hated dining in the staff room. There was always some teacher gossiping. Some old teacher. 

Changmin could have eaten with Ken, but Ken talked too much. Unlike Changmin, Ken did not appreciate food. He expected Changmin to respond to his every comment even with a full mouth. Rather than make Ken frustrated, Changmin opted to eat in isolation. He just needed to find a new refuge for this school year.    

Changmin wandered around the gardens at lunch all because the roof top had been taken by freshmen. Luckily for him, the gardens were not popular with the students. There was a rumour that a girl had hung herself from the largest willow tree and that her spirit haunted the area. Though Changmin did not believe in ghosts, he still didn’t want to find a skull or a corpse. This had been the one reason that had stopped him from eating at that location, but now that he had tried all the other places, he was just left with this dreaded one.

He continued to walk until he saw that gigantic willow tree with its branches leaning to one side. To his surprise, there was a faint figure sitting beneath that tree. The fog had blurred his vision, making him almost believe that the rumour was true, yet as he drew closer to the shadow, he recognized that it was her. 

That student?
He could only profess, “Oh, it’s you again.”

“Shim sensei, what are you doing here?” Her pupils had dilated.

Taking a spot beside her, Changmin placed his paper bag on the soggy ground. “It’s lunch. What else did you think I was doing?” He stuck his hand into the bag to lift a multiple-layered sandwich.

“I-I don’t know.” She shrugged her shoulders, looking away. “No, no one c-comes here, except for me.”

Before taking a colossal bite from the sandwich that Jaejoong had made, he cheered, “Perfect for me. You wouldn’t mind, would you?”

 “Y-you can stay here, if you want. It’s, it’s a public area.”

“This whole school is a public area.”

“T-true, but I d-don’t own this place, so—“

Changmin patted her back with an excessive amount of force that almost caused her to choke on her saliva. “I’m just joking with you. There’s no need to be so serious.”

“W-well,” She cleared her throat. “It’s hard to know when someone is joking. I-I don’t like jokes.”

Changmin looked at her with some sympathy for she responded with sadness in her eyes. “Life wouldn’t be fun without all the games,” he uttered.

“It’s not fun when you’re directly involved in the games.” She frowned at him. “It’s only fun when you’re watching them and even when you’re watching, there’s not much to watch.”

For once, Changmin didn’t know what to say. He was the king of comebacks, yet he had become speechless and stern. He found himself gawking at her nicely made lunch, which was complete with rice balls, petite octopuses, fried eggs, and a few small sausages. 

“Did you make those yourself?” He pointed his finger at her meal, to which she warily nodded. “They look good! Can I try the octopus?” he inquisitively requested for Jaejoong never made octopuses like that. 

Using her chopsticks, she grabbed an octopus and said, “I’ll place it on your hand.”

“All right.” His palm laid flat and once he felt some heaviness in his hand, he tossed it into his mouth. “Wow! That’s really good! Can I try the eggs?”

“O-oh no!” she argued. “T-they’re n-n-n-no good.”

 “Oh come on, just let me try one.” 

She shook her head and covered her hand over the eggs. 

After a few minutes of silence, Changmin added one last remark, “I think girls shouldn’t be so stingy. If they hog all the good stuff, they’ll just grow fat. Guys, on the other hand, would grow tall, like me, or in muscle.”

 “Okay, you can have a piece, but only one.”

Upon tasting the coveted eggs, Changmin shouted, “No wonder, you wanted to pig out and I thought you weren’t the sort to lie!”