Chapter 34: The Innocent Boy has a Plan for the Innocent Girl’s Birthday and the Free Spirit Takes the Little Boy on a Little Adventure
Thank god for the advancement in cell phone technology, Junsu thought as he wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead. With the restaurant busily catering to wedding couples, he barely had any time to go out with Naomi. Even phone calls were short and text messages were only longer before he went to bed. It was conceivable then for Junsu to forget about days and also about her birthday. Being a good chap, he always had a habit of storing people’s birthdays in his cell phone after acquiring their phone numbers. That was precisely why he thanked his cell phone. It just reminded him of Naomi’s birthday that was coming up next week.
To redeem himself, Junsu decided that he would plan the best birthday for her. Even though she disliked surprises, he still wanted to surprise her with his brilliant idea. The problem was now to determine what he would do. There needed to be creativity, sincerity paired with a touch of romance, and humour for this special occasion. Humour was Junsu’s specialty, yet romance was his Achilles' heel.
Immediately, he dialed Yoochun’s number, declaring, “Hey, I need your help.”
“What is it?” Yoochun was in the car, using the Bluetooth to answer.
“Naomi’s birthday is coming up,” Junsu explained. “I want to do something special for her, something romantic, but not cheesy.”
Yoochun first thought of what Junsu could do. Eliminating all of the corny gestures that he, himself, had done, Yoochun then suggested, “I’ve done this before, but it’s definitely not cheesy. Why don’t you have a candle-lit dinner at some place unusual? Like, not at a restaurant, maybe somewhere where people don’t expect to have romantic dinners.”
“Like what?”
“Ugh, what about the beach? Oh wait, that’s pretty typical. What about the mall?”
“W-w-what about an amusement park?”
“Hey, that’s not bad,” Yoochun encouraged. “In fact, I think Rhett and Jaejoong know the son of the CEO of some amusement park here. I’m sure they can hook you up with something. You can try to  ask them to let you stay after hours and have one of us set up the dinner for you while you’re busy distracting Naomi.”
“Awesome,” Junsu cheered. “I was gonna call Jaejoong for something weird and out there, but this is pretty good. Thanks man. I owe you one.”
Yoochun simply chuckled. “Don’t sweat it. I’m glad to give you a hand any time.”
Now, Junsu could envision his master piece. He would first pretend to be forgetful and ask her out to a double date with Rhett and Kannei at the amusement park. They would certainly agree to help. He would ask Jaejoong to kindly request for the place to open after hours. Changmin and Yoochun could set up the dining area. He doubt Changmin would be patient enough to do the decorations, so he would also ask Rhett and Kannei to assist the other two.
Her birthday would be perfect. It had to be.
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Yoochun had the whole house to himself for the day since all the other boys were busy with other activities. He, thus, had invited Sanghyun over, hoping to bring some happiness to the child’s life. There was much to do at Yoochun’s place compared to Junghwa’s. That was one thing wealth could do for you, which was to open possibilities to happiness. Now, Sanghyun could figure out what he enjoyed doing and perhaps, acquire hobbies.
When Sanghyun entered the mansion, the first word he said was, “Whoa!”
Then, he kicked off his shoes and ran off to explore the area. Finally, like a kid, Yoochun thought. Yoochun first let Sanghyun roam around, but when it suddenly became too quiet, he was worried. Was Sanghyun lost or hurt? Was his illness affecting him? He scanned left, right, up, and down. The more he felt his anxiety surge, the more he felt that something bad had happened to Sanghyun.
“Sanghyun?” he now roared, walking aimlessly ahead. “Where are you?” Then, he heard the slam of a key from the piano. Yoochun dashed towards the living room, shouting, “What are you doing?”
Sanghyun, who sat on the piano bench, suddenly sported a face of terror. He was only trying to touch the keys to a mysterious object that he had never seen. Yoochun, however, felt irritation. This was not how someone should have treated a musical instrument, especially his beloved piano. Even the boys did not touch this grand piano without Yoochun’s permission. He had saved so much money by working through so many part-time jobs to purchase this piano. He wanted to scream and chide Sanghyun, but once he saw Sanghyun’s panicked gaze, Yoochun toned his voice down, “S-Sanghyun, what were you doing?”
“I just . . .” he quivered. “I didn’t know what this was. I-I-I’m sorry. Please don’t hit me.”
Now puzzled by Sanghyun’s statement, Yoochun decided to interrogate, “What made you think that I was going to hit you?”
Sanghyun didn’t say anything, and only looked at Yoochun with sorrowful eyes. That was the answer from a wavering, vexed mind. The damage from Sanghyun’s past had been deep-rooted in his present. Yoochun understood that pain was hard to obliterate or separate from memories, but it was part of life, coping with pain. It was also difficult to take on this task individually; thus, Yoochun would help this boy reconcile with the past.
“Don’t worry,” Yoochun urged. “I promise that I will never, ever hit you. I’m just very protective of my piano.”
“This is a piano?” Sanghyun’s eyes instantly beamed.
“This is how you play.”
Yoochun took a seat beside Sanghyun, who had to scoot a bit to the left. Yoochun then placed his hands upright on the keys and commenced to play one of his favourite songs, Arabesque by Debussy. His mother had taught him this hopeful, airy song when she had been well. He had fallen on his knees, scraping them in the process. He remembered crying so hard that even cookies wouldn’t do their job. His mother had to place him on her lap as she started to play that song.
“Yoochun,” she uttered, “I want you to be like this song. Dreamy and cheerful.”
“B-b-but, I don’t even know how to play this,” he moped.
“I’ll teach you.” She laughed, revealing her deep dimples at the corners of her mouth. “You know, your daddy taught me this song. One day,” she ended up tickling his ribs while explaining, “I hope you’ll teach this to someone you love.”
In the end, he never taught anyone this song, and he only played this piece whenever he felt weary of his life, and whenever he needed a sense of encouragement or a breath of relief. All of the boys knew that this was Yoochun’s theme song whenever he wanted to be left alone. This was Yoochun’s moment of relaxation.
After the end of his performance, Yoochun suddenly heard clapping coming from Sanghyun. “That was so cool! Do you t-think that someday I could play like that?”
“Sure,” Yoochun uttered. “If you practice, I’m sure you’ll be able to play this song.”
“B-but,” Sanghyun mumbled. “I don’t have this . . .”
His pinky pointed at the piano. Not wanting to discourage Sanghyun’s anticipation, Yoochun suggested, “I could teach you how to play the piano. Just don’t tell your mom about coming here okay? It’ll be our little secret.”
“Really? I can play the piano then?”
Yoochun loved to hear that question. That meant Sanghyun had picked his hobby, and it happened to be one that Yoochun also adored. Yoochun used to escape from his troubles by playing the piano, and often, it still was. Although he had little patience for children, he felt that he could be Sanghyun’s teacher. Sanghyun was a bright kid, so it shouldn’t be too hard to teach him.
Yoochun proudly answered, “Sure, I can teach you piano, but don’t tell your mom about this either!”
During the car ride home, both of them were wearing smiles on their faces. Sanghyun smiled for having an experience of his lifetime, while Yoochun smiled for having the opportunity to change a child’s life. He was changing his too, his past and his present.
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