Chapter 23: The Mom Taunts the Child and the Hidden Devil is Targeted
Indeed, Jaejoong and Yumi were working together too soon. Somehow, he had become responsible for the makeup of her music video. Unfortunately for Yumi, he was distressed over his previous client, who kept complaining to him about her boyfriend’s lies, and ultimately kept crying in between her rants. So when Yumi arrived late due to heavy traffic, Jaejoong bawled, “Hurry! We don’t have time! Gosh, what’s up with people being divas these days?”

“There was an accident on the highway, so it took us longer than we expected,” she first clarified.
“I don’t care! Just hurry! We have to get you changed and dressed!”
Jaejoong tugged at the back of her blouse, dragging her to the changing room. Everyone stared at the two, mortifying Yumi. He really had a way with ruining people’s moods, and with embarrassing others. Before she could even argue, he had slammed the door and announced, “Take it off. Take everything off!”
“W-what?” She shielded her chest, verifying, “Take what off?”
Jaejoong already had a strapless, aquamarine mermaid dress in his hand. Tossing it in her face, he rebutted, “What else can you take off? Your clothes, of course!”
“Wait . . . what?” She backed away from Jaejoong, who now seemed like an approaching monster. “W-why are you coming onto me?”
He scoffed, “Oh please, as if there’s anything to see with that flat chest of yours. Now, come on, I have to help you dress. Why else would I want to be near you?”
“But, where’s the—“
“She fucking called in sick today, so I have to cover for her job too.” He pouted and even shrugged. “Sucks, doesn’t it?”
She snatched the piece from his hands and demanded, “I can dress myself!”
Surprisingly, Jaejoong smirked. Well, he deserved to smirk. He pointed to the complex corset on the dress and noted, “You’re bound to ask for my help, and I can’t wait to see you beg for it.”
She bit her bottom lip, grumbling, “We’ll see about that.”
            Any time now, she will open that door and she’ll have to beg for my help.
Jaejoong had been standing in front of her dressing room. For once, he was perfectly patient, never checking his cell phone for the time, but always waiting for her to fail. As soon as he heard the sound of doorknob turning, he smiled.
“What did I say?” Jaejoong heightened his crooked smile. “Now, plead away.”
As disgruntled as Yumi was, she still asked, “Could you pl-please help me?”
He shook his head and crossed his arms. “Not sincere enough. Try again.”
Yumi inhaled deeply before adjusting her tone slightly. “Please help me, Jaejoong.”
This time, his grin had revealed his teeth. “I’m not entirely convinced, Yumi.”
            She had to admit that her patience was dissipating; she could feel her fists clenching. Dropping her knees to the floor, she requested, “Jaejoong, please. I was wrong. Just help me, please.”
            With one hand deep in his pockets now, he leaned forward and used his other hand to lift her chin. Then, he grinned sincerely. “That’s more like it.”
            As he followed her into the room, she moped, “You’re diabolical, you know?”
            “Not really,” he retorted. “I know someone who’s actually like a devil.”
Jaejoong tightened the corset from behind, causing her to squeal. He worked at such a speed that she wasn’t even sure what was happening. It must have been the pain that made her complain so much. “You’re really annoying,” Yumi added once he had tied a ribbon on her back.
He slapped her back, chirping, “Thank you. I appreciate your compliment. In fact, I’m honoured to announce that you’ll be having a sex scene with some foreigner on the set.”
“What?” Her jaw gaped.
“Well, it’s more like an intense make-out scene,” he corrected. “I’m sure your manager told you about it.”
“N-N-No?”
“The director is a good friend of mine, and he asked for my input, so I thought—“
She pointed her finger at him. “You! You are awful!”
“No, I am brilliant.” Jaejoong waved his index finger back and forth. 
Then, there was a knock at the door.
“Jaejoong, is Yumi ready?” the director inquired. “We’re starting with the kiss, all right?”
“Yes,” Jaejoong answered for her. Looking back at her, he snickered. “So, are you ready? You don’t want to upset him right?”
Her head hung low, not knowing what she could do. This was her job, yet she felt uncomfortable kissing a stranger. Although she had had many kisses before, those were out of love. For this to be out of lust . . .
Jaejoong thought this was the perfect opportunity to tease her. It was that and the fact that he just wanted the job done. Then, he would go home, have some chilled beer, eat some edamame beans, take a long bath, and then go to bed. This was his remedy for a traumatic day. Tired of her silent thinking, he sought for action. Indeed, he made his rash move. His two hands softly sandwiched her cheeks and his lips landed on hers.
“See?” He let go. “That wasn’t hard.”
Too stunned to even respond, Yumi could only blink.
“Don’t tell me that you need more practice. I think once is enough,” he moped, “unless . . . you—“
“No, I am perfectly fine.”
She bolted out the door only to be greeted by her manager, “Ah, Yumi, there you are!” Her manager’s hand pushed her body forward as the two walked. “I was thinking that you’d bail for a moment there. Thank god, you’re here!”  Yumi disregarded her manager’s remarks and just let out a broad, intimidating smile. “What’s so funny? You think I’m joking?” her manager growled.
“Oh, no,” Yumi noted. “I was just wondering . . . umm, what expression I should have during the kiss. That’s all.”
With that being said, her manager became soundless. Sometimes, lies were necessary to prevent trouble. Yumi’s mind was already filled with all the vengeful schemes surfacing. One day, she too would say to him that appalling line: that wasn’t hard. 
For now, she had to kiss a stranger and as for Jaejoong, he had the last laugh as he thought about her sudden shyness.
As if she was so innocent . . .
-------
Changmin was never afraid of much, such as tests, interviews, horror films, insects, and animals, but when Naomi asked him to meet her during her spare, the last block of school, he was nervous, nearing fear. He had to, however, agree to her terms. This was altruism, he believed. He had never felt so heroic and so unselfish in his life. He even bet that he was the reincarnation of some important political figure, yet before he could figure out who he was in the past, it was already time for him to face her, Naomi.
He knocked on her classroom’s door, saying, “It’s me.”
She welcomed him with a shout, “Come in, Changmin!”
He entered with rather heavy footsteps. This was it, he thought. This was the start of an unruly game, one without written rules. There was one rule he had though and that was never to fall in love with the opponent. Games were easy to win sans emotions, but were hard to win without manipulating the rival’s emotions.
“So, what would you like me to do?” Changmin asked once he took the seat closest to her desk at the end of the classroom.
Naomi, sitting cross-legged in her leather chair, arose and casually walked towards him, making sure to stop right in front of him. “Kiss me,” she mouthed with her cherry-coloured lips.
He sported an insidious smile before snatching her hand and kissing it. When she frowned at him, he answered, “You never said where you wanted me to kiss you.”
            He absolutely enjoyed prodding at the holes that people often made in their sentences. He especially loved the looks that they handed him. Most people frowned and rarely, a few laughed. She was like most then, meaning that it would be easy to manage this deal. He then grinned again. Why was he even worrying in the first place? This was going to be a piece of cake.
“Then,” she suggested, “kiss me on the lips.”
“Anything for you,” he agreed. Without faltering, he leaned his head forward and then pressed his lips on hers. Seconds later, he pulled away and smirked. “Not what you wanted? Well, you didn’t tell me how you wanted me to kiss you.”
It would be a lie to say that Naomi was unruffled by Changmin’s actions. Although she had prepared for the worst that he had to offer, he was still able to startle her. Sure, he was being obedient, but with every smile that he shared, she knew that he was a rebel, a clandestine radical. Now that she understood his tactics, she was prepared to attack. Assess then attack. Impatiently waiting for her response, Changmin sank in the chair and stretched his legs outwards. She took this opportunity to grip onto his tie, lugging it along with his body, towards her. Her lips firmly planted on his, prying it open. Naturally, he followed the flow of her kiss, entwining his tongue with hers until he felt he had reciprocated her passion. Then, he waited until she grew accustomed to his embrace to bite her tongue when it was on top of his.
Choking in pain and on her saliva, she backed away and shouted, “What are you doing?”
“Oops,” he noted. “I must be too clumsy.” He had purposely scratched his head and looked downward.
“Must you be like this?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I think I’m the one that should say that.” He sat upright, straightening his shirt. “Mhm, let me repeat that. Must you be like this?” His finger had pointed at her as he posed that question. Naomi then grabbed onto the collar of his dress shirt, which prompted him to say, “Slap me. I dare you to.”
Unlike Changmin, Naomi had to plan everything ahead of time, considering all the possibilities before making her endeavour. Spontaneity was strenuous and would give her ulcers. “Why should I give what you wish?” she challenged his request.
His smile couldn’t have been wider and bolder. After all, he could inflict more damage on her statements now. “Because you can’t beat me,” he sneered.
Why was it that every time she tried, she failed? His words hurt, assaulting the utmost concealed insecurity of hers. Feeling her throat ache, she knew she was about cry. Defeat once again. She cried not for him, but she cried for all her failures, for everything that mattered.
She was about to rub her eyes when Changmin added, “Aww, don’t cry.” He stood up, marched to her side, and forcefully hugged her. Force was not of issue here. To her, it was comfort. Perhaps, her efforts were not wasted. There was hope when there was a gesture of kindness or affection. She then latched her arms around him, to which he whispered, “That’s what you’d want me to say right?”
“Fuck you!” she roared after pushing him away and wiping away the remaining tears from her eyes.
He chuckled too joyously. “Oh darling, I don’t like girls that swear. You do want me to like you right?”
“Fuck you. Fuck your mother. Fuck everything related to you!” she hollered. She was angry, angry at herself and at him, so she grasped his collar again and gritted her teeth.
 “Ah, so you do solve everything with violence?” he verified again with a subtle grin.
Upon hearing his remark, she loosened her grip. Fresh tears were sprinkling on her cheeks as she uttered, “You’ve c-changed . . . too much and now . . . you’re always like this.”
“Tell me something new, honey bunny,” his voice echoed in the classroom.
The bell then rang and following that, the classroom door slid open. And then there were two.
Junsu and Shiori.

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