Chapter 54: The Hidden Devil Has to Make a Choice and the Innocent Boy Consults with the Free Spirit
The start of a bad day began with small setbacks and then ended with a grand finale. For Changmin, his bad day all commenced with eating burnt toast. Jaejoong had left much earlier than usual for work, so Changmin could only pop in a piece of toast in the toaster. Then, he banged his knee against the table after noticing that he was behind schedule. Already aching from a bruise, he rushed to his car, only to find it spluttered with bird poo. Traffic was heavy on the way to school, so he had to keep switching lanes to be a few inches ahead of the other cars. Because he was late to work, he had to climb over the gated entrance. His grand finale, however, came when he was called to the principal’s office. Upon entering the frightening room, he saw the principal, Mrs. Lee, dourly frowning at him and a timid Shiori sitting on one of the couches. Mrs. Lee had her back hunched over as she leaned forward in her seat to question.

“Do you know why I called you here?” she asked.
“No,” Changmin replied while shaking his head.
Afraid to take a seat, he still planted his feet on the ground. Mrs. Lee carelessly tossed a stack of photos onto the coffee table, which separated the couches. With one glance, Changmin understood what those photos depicted and who the perpetrator was. Too cruel, Changmin thought.  
“These are why I asked you and Miyagi-san to come here. Can you care to explain what happened?” Mrs. Lee urged.
Changmin didn’t believe in the idea of innocent before proven guilty. It was too difficult to eradicate misconceptions that were already formed. Evidence overruled personal testimonies.
“I-I-it was an accident,” Shiori butted in.
“But the photos say otherwise,” Mrs. Lee continued. “I also have an eyewitness, who claims that you two are in a romantic relationship.”
“T-t-that’s not true!” Shiori argued. “Mr. Shim is only my teacher! He d-d-didn’t do anything wrong!”
Mrs. Lee cackled, “Rumours will spread and so will these photos. Soon, this will become the talk of the town. To prevent these occurrences, I suggest that both of you tell the truth. Perhaps, your punishments will lessen.”
Changmin’s thoughts paced back and forth. It was apparent that Mrs. Lee would never believe in their accounts. She was only looking for their approval for her claims. She was also threatening them. With her authority, there was nothing much that Changmin could do. If both of them kept denying, they would all receive a severe penalty. Shiori’s future would be scarred and so would his. No one would ever accept them. Perhaps, he could assert that Shiori had blackmailed him or seduced him, but looking at the distraught girl, whose future was promising, he couldn’t utter those words. He couldn’t be the one who demolished her future. He also knew that she wasn’t like what Mrs. Lee believed to be.
“Mrs. Lee, I will formally resign after the winter break,” Changmin declared. “Once I resign, I hope that this news will never be known.” 
“A wise choice, Shim sensei. You are a knowledgeable man, which was precisely the reason that I employed you,” Mrs. Lee noted with a grin. “I will see to it that your wish is fulfilled.”
Yes, that was his wish. He had blurted it out, yet somehow, he wasn’t sure if he could follow through with this decision. Maybe, he had wavered a bit even as the two exited the room after Mrs. Lee pointed to the door. As he turned his head back to Mrs. Lee’s office, he was, instead, met with Shiori’s petrified look. It was then that he almost opened his mouth to ask if she was okay. Instead, tears flowed down her cheeks, and it was her mouth that had opened.
 “I’m s-s-sorry,” she uttered. “It’s my fault.”
Changmin gave a sigh before answering, “It’s not your fault nor is it my fault. It’s all someone else’s doing.”
He began to walk back to his classroom to face his work like usual. This was professionalism, he believed. He would have stuck with this rule if she had not called out for him.
“What are you going to do about Nishio sensei?” Shiori asked. “What are you going to do after winter break?”
He turned his head to explain, “I don’t know about her and I don’t really care anymore. I mean, at least I won’t see her every day at work now. And what else would I do besides job hunting?”
“Sensei,” she called out. “I’m  . . . so sorry.”
Changmin heard her, but he carried on walking. There was no time for stopping. He had his own life to continue. 
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The first to visit Yoochun happened to be Junsu. It wasn’t because he wanted to tour Yoochun’s residence or that he wanted to challenge Yoochun to some car-racing games on PS3 did he make such an unexpected visit. It was only because he wanted someone to listen to his problems and Yoochun suited the role of the listener.
The two of them were hogging the kitchen with a bottle of wine on the counter, dividing the line between the listener and the speaker. Ironically, Yoochun was the first to ask, “Want a drink?”
“No,” Junsu replied, “you know I don’t like drinking much.”
“All right.” Yoochun then poured some wine into an empty glass, and noted, “I’ll leave a glass out just in case you want one later.”
“Thanks.”
Junsu vaguely smiled, which Yoochun recognized to be a sorrowful smile. Whenever there was silence following Junsu’s smile, it was evident that Junsu was forcing a grin.
Yoochun suddenly blurted, “I know you don’t want me to ask you about anything, so I’ll just work on my song until you’re ready to talk.”
For a while, Junsu remained still, staring at the clear wine glass. It reminded him of his now barren soul. He didn’t know what to believe anymore. He felt guilty for not listening. Now that he thought of it, there were numerous warnings that questioned the genuineness of his relationship with Naomi. Did she even love him? Sure, they had become more affectionate towards each other, but did she do those out of love? She often cried, which now made him wonder: for whom was she crying?
Then, he remembered what he had read from her diary, a certain abbreviation, MM. It was too clear who MM was. Her detailed descriptions of him made it easy for Junsu to unmask his identity. The evidence all indicated that she was in love with MM. The way she prudently wrote his initials, the way she described every movement of his, the way she rashly scribbled her emotions onto paper . . . All of them were signs of her love for MM. So, this was how she behaved when in love, Junsu remembered thinking to himself. It was an objective thought, which exacerbated the situation. How could he be so analytical at this point? That was because he needed to know the truth. He needed to know whether or not anything was true.
“Hey Yoochun,” Junsu at last asked, “what if you discovered that your girlfriend is most likely in love with someone else?”
“What do you mean?” Yoochun muttered.
“What if you found her diary and you noticed that she kept writing about someone else, another man?” Junsu now posed before pouring himself half a glass of wine.
 “Is this a diary of the past or the present?”
 “I’m not sure.”
“Well, if it’s something from the past, then just forget about it,” Yoochun spoke from experience. “What’s important is your time with her now. She chose you over him.”
Unconvinced, Junsu interjected, “What if I’m not even sure if she chose him over me? What if she still loves him? What if that person that she loves is a close friend of mine?”
He had at last expressed his concerns aloud. He used to laugh away anything from happiness to mockery. No one could disapprove of laughter. Plus, no one would investigate the reason for laughter. He didn’t want people prying his emotions or thoughts. He also never sought for extra attention; he preferred others to forget about what had happened. The simplest solution was for him to laugh. This time, however, he wasn’t laughing. This problem would never wane with hilarity. It would continuously linger in his mind, causing him to grow more and more wary. Unforgettable, it would become.
“Seeing how you can’t ignore this,” Yoochun remarked, “you should just take your time and see how things go. I don’t think you should immediately accuse her of cheating on you, but I think you really have to watch for things now. In the end, if you honestly feel that she doesn’t love you, then you should confront her.”
It was at that point did Junsu feel that he had made the right choice by speaking with Yoochun. Changmin would probably have laughed at Junsu’s discovery and maybe even create a joke about it. Rhett would have an all-knowing demeanor, thinking to himself that Junsu had been warned about the dangerous rate of his relationship. Jaejoong would have kept asking what exactly happened, poking at every detail. Yoochun, thus, was the best candidate, the type of counselor Junsu wanted. Knowing what to do now, Junsu finished his drink, thanked Yoochun, and then went home for a nap. It was necessary for him to sleep, to momentarily recover.  

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