Chapter 51: The Hidden Devil’s Plan Backfires
There was only one word capable of summarizing Changmin’s state: unlucky. Even with all his praying and his preparing, there were still uncontrollable aspects that terminated his plan. He hadn’t considered a child being in his care and that child happened to be Sanghyun. When Changmin had first seen Sanghyun, Changmin knew that this kid was up to no good. This child was probably the carrier of misfortune.

It was true that Changmin could have been ruthless by ignoring such a misfortune; however, he couldn’t refuse Yoochun, who now clearly represented the meaning of distress. The creases at the corner of Yoochun’s eyes had deepened and a few wrinkles around the forehead had developed. Even his usual smiling face had morphed to an upsetting one. The reason for these changes? Yoochun was busy packing, moving the occasional things, finding another school for Sanghyun, and seeking for more job opportunities from Jaejoong’s clients with the majority of them being singers. Another reason that Changmin couldn’t decline babysitting Sanghyun was that all of the other boys had had their share. Everyone, except for Changmin, had experienced a dash of fatherhood. Perhaps, Changmin had succumbed peer pressure. He would have liked to believe that he had given in to equality.
Damn fairness, he thought while watching Sanghyun devour a chunk of mint chocolate ice cream. Changmin truly felt like pushing the child aside. That flavor of ice cream was one of his treasured desserts due to its rich dark chocolate chips, and fresh, exhilarating taste. He had especially limited himself to eating a cone a week. Sanghyun was breaking this pattern and that enraged Changmin. When Changmin asked what Sanghyun wanted to eat from the refrigerator, Changmin never expected him to choose that particular dessert. Changmin almost rejected Sanghyun’s request upfront, but Yoochun had been there. That bastard must have planned for this to happen, Changmin now debated.
“Are you hungry, Mr. Shim?” Sanghyun extended his spoon outwards to Changmin, who sat across from him. “Do you want some of my ice cream?” Sanghyun asked.
“No thanks,” Changmin answered.
 “But you look like you’re hungry,” Sanghyun figured.
“Shut up and just eat your food,” Changmin snapped back. “I don’t want to hear your nonsense.”
He had expected Sanghyun to cry, but Sanghyun just ate faster. Sanghyun was gobbling so quickly that he kept dripping bits of ice cream onto the table. Why, oh, why did he have to clean after a kid, or maybe, a dog? Why was he so unlucky today?
 Frustrated with the untidiness that Sanghyun had caused, Changmin roared, “Stop making a mess! I don’t expect to be cleaning after you! God, I don’t know what your mom has been teaching you, but clearly, it’s not working.”
Then, Sanghyun reluctantly burst into tears. “My m-mom is a good mom!” he yelled. “She’s not what you’ve said!”
How many times had Changmin said that about his own mother? All of his classmates despised his mother for being so austere. She was a middle school teacher, and he happened to be attending the same institution. Everyone knew that he was her son. They had similar features: large double eye-lids, long, straight noses, and flattened lips. She was known as the BBB, beautiful, but bitchy teacher. She was the type of teacher, who strived to find mistakes in students and who only believed in absolute perfection. She never tested based on the textbook; she went beyond books by testing what the students believed to be close to impossible to answer unless they were geniuses. Her lectures too were disheartening. She would pose questions at students, and then whoever she selected would have to answer them. The only positive aspect of her was that she had the cleanest set of notes.
Changmin, however, understood that his mother had more to offer than notes. She was merely doing what she thought best for the students. He used to ask her why she acted that way. She would gently smile by stretching her lips apart, and then answer, “I’d rather they hate me than to deprive them of a good education.”
No one understood her intentions though. They never wondered why people truly behaved a certain way. The students surmised preposterous reasons, such as his mother being divorced or being a victim of menopause. They never looked for the positive parts. In a way, Changmin could not blame them for their guesses. Even he felt his mother was unapproachable and aloof at school. He didn’t want others to misinterpret her or him for what she represented usually was associated with him. Although he attempted to explain to his classmates, he realized that there was nothing he could do. No one believed him. No one believed a direct family member because he could be subjective. Wasn’t it because he was related to her that proved that he knew her the most? Subjectivity should have been a bonus, not a fault. His classmates didn’t care. Who cared then? Only him, Shim Changmin.
Changmin ripped a paper towel from the roll on the counter, harking, “Hey dwarf! Your mom is probably a great mom if you think so.”
“I know so!” Sanghyun tweeted.
Changmin understood that expression. That was the look that he had wanted to wear a while ago. Now, someone else was wearing it for him. This lucky brat, he muttered in his mind. Perhaps, Changmin was unlucky since he had forgotten to make an important phone call. He had also forgotten that someone was waiting for him.
Crisis. Junsu felt that he was suffering from a crisis. In fact, it was more like a debate between his emotions and his reasons. This debate involved the whether or not phrase. He didn’t know whether or not he should obey Changmin’s instructions. He didn’t know whether or not he should wait at the hotel. This scheme seemed fishy to him. It seemed like a prank at most, but for some reason, he sensed that it wasn’t. He also didn’t want to be suspicious of Naomi. What if she was innocent? What if she wasn’t? What if Changmin were innocent and what if he were guilty?
Christ, Junsu thought.
It was the end of a long day of work, close to midnight. The staff meeting had taken longer than expected. Junsu’s father had plans of expanding the restaurant business now that their restaurant had become critically acclaimed. The chances of meeting celebrities and well-known figures were high at their restaurant. Although it seemed plausible to open a second restaurant in another part of Tokyo, Junsu’s father had riskier plans. He hoped to open a restaurant in another country, specifically Korea. His reason was that it was better only to have one restaurant per country. This exclusiveness made the restaurant seem like a hidden treasure and people adored treasures. That was all Junsu had remembered from the meeting. He was too preoccupied with other thoughts, which pertained to Changmin and Naomi.
“Son, something is on your mind,” his father noted after the meeting. “I know you weren’t paying much attention to this meeting. I won’t ask you what’s wrong, but I hope you clear up whatever that is you need to do. Work should not be affected by personal problems.”
“I know,” Junsu mumbled. “I’ll do what I have to do.”
In the end, he arrived at Naomi’s apartment. He climbed the stairs. If she were at home, then there was no need for drama. So, he knocked on her door. No one was at home. Junsu had phoned Naomi’s cell phone numerous times, but all he heard was a voice message, asking him to leave his message after the tone. He left three messages in total. He didn’t want to seem desperate even though he knew he was. Each passing moment made him grow more fretful. Something was wrong. His intuition told him that.
Now, he sat on the cold, concrete floor, leaning his back on the front door of her apartment. He was waiting for a reply. Whenever he heard footsteps, his head turned to the direction of the noise, hoping that it was her. Every time, there was disappointment following his verification and the one time that he learned not to shift his head was when it was actually her.
“J-J-Junsu . . .” she whimpered.
She staggered while bolting to his side. She didn’t care if her knees chafed the harsh concrete. It only mattered that he was there. Hugging him ever so tightly, she let her tears shower him. Everything was happening too quickly. He didn’t understand why she was crying, why she was hugging him, and why she was home so late.
Pulling away from her embrace, Junsu harshly echoed his thoughts, “Why are you home so late?”
“I-I-I had a bad day today,” she murmured. “Can we not talk about this, babe?”
Both of his hands gripped onto her shoulders as he refuted, “I thought we were supposed to be honest with each other.”
Junsu then clumsily stood up. His legs were too numb from sitting in the same position. Even when she reached out her hand to help him up, he flicked it away. Was he angry? He didn’t really know. He just sensed that he needed to be alone.
Before he made his first step down the stairs, Naomi shrieked from behind, “Why? Why are you doing this to me? Even you’re leaving me too? Why?”
At the reverberation of her despaired voice, Junsu still gazed back at her. Guilt was treacherously engulfing him, making it hard for him to even gulp or even take a step forward. At the sight of his hesitation, she sprinted towards him, pressing her body to his from behind. Her warmth was transferring to his chilled body. A warm embrace, it was. Her head latched onto the edge of his shoulder, causing him to feel her pressured state. This was a delicate, intimate gesture. Junsu closed his eyes and held onto her dangling hands, which struggled to find security.  
“I’m not leaving you, silly,” he affirmed. “I just wanted some time alone to stop myself from throwing a tantrum at you.”
He turned around and expected a hug. He acquired more than he had anticipated. She was kissing him. Their lips were entangled in an escalating mesh of lust, and craving. Naomi was desperate to seal the barrenness in her heart. She found herself longing for Junsu, and he too found himself yearning for her. He wished to savour more than her lips.
As she gently inched away from him, she enticingly whispered, “Stay with me tonight. I . . . need you by my side.”
It could have been plausible that he was lured to her side. However, it was more likely that he had succumbed to temptation. He wanted to love her and to love her meant to follow her lead.  Junsu woke up simply from the sun that was boldly shining on his face, causing him much discomfort. He didn’t particularly enjoy being sun tanned. Stretching his arms out, he didn’t feel her presence. He had expected to act as an arm rest for Naomi; he never expected to be resting his arm on a pillow. He immediately sat upright and scanned the area. She was nowhere to be found. Without a care in the world, he nakedly dashed from her bedroom to search every room. She wasn’t in the cramped bathroom. She wasn’t in the kitchen and the living room. She wasn’t even in the closet. He felt like he was going berserk.
When he saw the post-it note she left on the fridge, he felt a sense of relief. She was at work. Of course, she was at work. It was a Monday morning after all. Now realizing his exposed appearance, he rushed to her room for his clothes. As he snatched his watch from the night stand, he accidentally knocked down a pile of books.
“Damn,” he grumbled while bending down to retrieve the fallen objects.
Perchance, it was fate that opened the pages to a special, navy book for only that one was exposed. It was certainly curiosity that led Junsu to read its contents. Each page began with Dear Diary. This could be the key to knowing what was bothering Naomi, he thought. Junsu would soon learn that this would be the key to discovering what would bother him.
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