Chapter 60: The Free Spirit is a Spectator and the Mom is Surprised
Yoochun watched everything. He saw the laughing group of teenagers playing joking on each other. He witnessed the adorable, young couples enjoying their dates. He noticed the parents admiring their children’s works. These were the happiest moments of life or at least one of the happiest parts, he thought.

Everything also included the worst moments of life. He saw a few quarreling couples. He was aware of lonely students. He perceived distressed teachers.  These scenes were few, but were impactful, especially those involving the boys. Yoochun had accidentally encountered Kannei and Rhett’s excursion. He didn’t mean to intrude nor did he mean to spy. He just happened to be behind them, part of the crowd. He saw their reactions and heard their entire conversation.
That was when he realized that the two could not have been lovers. Even if they were, their eyes were too filled with pain to be a couple. It was obvious, though, how much the two loved each other. Yoochun could easily tell from Rhett’s focused gaze that he wanted to please her so much, and he could see from hers that her heart was torn for Rhett. She had even made an indirect confession. Why, then? Why were they hurting so much? Yoochun sighed for he had no idea what to do. No matter how tempted Yoochun was to help Rhett, Yoochun didn’t do anything. He just watched. Some aspects were meant to be undisturbed like sacred forests.
Then, there were situations that required interruption like that of Junsu’s. Yoochun unintentionally observed Junsu and Naomi. He would have stopped Junsu from fighting with the stranger had Changmin not interjected first. It was unlike Junsu to use force. It was out of character for him to refuse help from any of the boys. At once, everything seemed so foreign. Was this Junsu, one of his closest friends? Was this the Junsu who practically laughed off all sorts of comments? Yoochun felt betrayed by his senses. No, this couldn’t be Junsu. Junsu would never behave in this manner.
“What’s wrong?” Sanghyun pensively asked at the still Yoochun.
“Nothing is wrong,” Yoochun mumbled. “Nothing is . . . wrong.”
He didn’t want to spoil Sanghyun’s mood. It wouldn’t be fair for a child to share an adult’s pain. Let them solve their own problems, Yoochun mumbled to himself. They were already old enough to cope with their own emotions. He didn’t need to step in anymore.
Even when Jaejoong was not in the mood for an audience, people, particularly girls, kept following him everywhere. Somehow, news had spread that he was the Kim Jaejoong; thus, the crowd had multiplied. What made matters worse was his hair colour. Among a sea of black, and brunette heads, he was the only blonde one with blue eyes. Yes, he knew he was in a tough situation, and so he tried his best to walk quickly and to look straight ahead. He’d be saved somehow, right? So, he climbed up a set of stairs and pushed past the beige curtains.
“Oh my god!” a girl screamed. “What are you—“
“Yumi?” Jaejoong cut her off. “What are you doing here?”
She was dressed in a short, black mini dress, completely covered in sequins. She also wore Alexander McQueen ankle boots to mix some punk into her outfit. There was a microphone in her hand, and it seemed to him that she was testing for the sound. Still, that didn’t mean that she belonged here.
Meeting his questioning gaze, Yumi replied, “I’m the celebrity guest for their winter concert.”
“And . . . why would you do something like that?”
“Because . . . does it really matter why?”
Jaejoong nodded his head, and reminded, “You’d never do a gig without some sort of payback.”
She paused for a bit before folding her arms together to say, “You’re right. Of course, I’d be here to promote the new OST for our drama!”
“Figures,” he murmured.
“Then, what brings you here? Why are you backstage?” Yumi harked. “I would have expected you to be with your girlfriend or something.”
“I was with her, but . . . she got lost in the crowd,” he spoke almost too softly.
“Wow, I didn’t know you were so popular now that you’d attract—“
“Yumi!”
There was Sora running towards Yumi while sporting a ton of supplies. Sora would have tripped over her own toes if Yumi had not caught her in time. Jaejoong chuckled to himself, thinking about how unprofessional this new manager was. Well, at least she was hardworking, he tried to add some positivity to this girl’s personality.
“Yumi, you’re on in a minute, come on!” Sora shrieked, pushing Yumi towards the stage.
Jaejoong shrugged and then found a chair hiding at the corner of backstage. Settling down in his seat, he stretched his arms forward. Suddenly, he was reminded of how Kannei had sat on the field with him. She was too quiet, too protective of herself. Maybe, he had pushed her too hard, but she should have at least . . .
“Oh, there you are Jaejoong.”
His heart pounded a few times, yet once he glimpsed up, he was in dismay. It was only Sora with two cups of tea in her hand. Giving him the other, she leaned on the wall. Then, she progressed to say, “Yumi doesn’t mean any harm. I’ve known her for years. Well, she is my childhood friend after all.”
“Why . . . are you telling me this?” he asked. “Is this to make me work well with her for the production?”
“No,” Sora answered, “it’s just that I don’t like misunderstandings, especially when I know the real Yumi. She wasn’t like this before, you know?”
“What do you want to say?” Jaejoong protested.
“Before she had her heart broken by her lying ex, she used to be very kind. She used to do everything with all her heart, but after she realized that even if you put in your all, you get nothing and also get your heart ripped apart,” Sora noted, “she changed. She still means well though. It’s just . . . she doesn’t really show it properly.”
“And what does this have to do with me?”
“I just don’t want someone else to break her heart again,” Sora admitted. “She said she had to sing today, and after some research, as in figuring out you were close with your friend, Changmin, I realized that she came out here just to help you.”
“That’s stupid,” Jaejoong uttered. “She hates me and I hate her.”
As she finished her last sip, she retorted, “No, she doesn’t hate you. In fact, she . . .”
“Jaejoong.”
That was the voice he had been waiting to hear all this time. At once, Jaejoong leapt from his seat and raced in the direction of the sound. Already, his arms were ready to envelop her, and indeed they did once he saw her tattered, disgruntled visage. Her eyes were slightly puffier than before and now, they were watering. He knew that within a minute or so, if they were to close, tears would sprinkle down her reddened cheeks.
In a gentle tone, he whispered, “It’s okay. I’m here. It’ll be okay. I’m here for you.”
She was quiet, but from the way she clung onto him and from the coldness that leached his shirt, he knew that she needed him. He would be there, just like he had proclaimed. That was what he realized he had to do to win over her heart. Perhaps, he’d be battling with time, but he didn’t care. For her, he would wait because it was worth it. She was the sort to stay.
“Jaejoong,” she told him, “let’s move in together.”
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