Chapter 22: On, off, on, off, and . . . open?
This seems all so deja-vu, except I wake up . . . naked? Eh? What? 

"Ah!" I scream until there's no tomorrow. I'm like a little cry baby who can't get her favourite present. My arms and legs are thrashing like crazy, kicking the blanket of some bed I'm on up and down. The half-naked Yeonjun comes rushing in; he only has a towel covering that region, making me scream even louder.

"What? What? What's wrong?" Yeonjun growls at me with a horrible frown. My hands are shielding my eyes, except of course, I can still see in between the cracks of my fingers, which Yeonjun notes, "Really, if you were that embarrassed, you wouldn't even be peaking like that."

"Sh-sh-shut up!" I roar before pointing at my breasts. "I'm naked, don't you see?"

"No, you're covered by a blanket," he corrects me.

"Underneath this blanket is pure skin!" I argue. "Explain yourself! Did you . . ."

"No, I did not rape you," he rolls his eyes and sighs. "You were knocked out dead after throwing up like crazy all over yourself."

"Oh . . . but . . . why am I still naked? Who changed me? Huh? And where the hell are we?" 

Shaking his head, he grunts, "You ask too, too many questions. Patience, Lassie."

"I'm not a dog!" I shriek at him.

"I actually quite like that name for you," he tells me. "I think I'm going to start calling you that in the future. Lassie. Odd how I never thought of it before. You even look like one."

I release an overdue sigh: "Jesus . . ."

"Anyhow, if nothing is really wrong, I'm going to head back to the washroom and dry my hair."

"Oh . . . all right then."

Wait. What? No. Not all right. What the hell am I doing? Huh? Who does he think he is? Huh? Stripping me? Looking at my chest? Seeing my vag.ina? Huh? Ah! He saw everything. Oh my Lord! He did. He did. He did. This is so incredibly embarrassing, especially when my body is far from being hot.

Uh . . . and the problem is that I can't even remember what happened last night after taking that shot. I doubt anything important happened. Right? I hope not . . . and Richard Simmons, what about Suho? Crap! I left the party without him . . . Ah! Phone! Where is my phone? I scramble around the room, forgetting that I'm actually completely naked. I look high and low for my purse, but it's nowhere to be found. This is awful. What am I going to--

"Ah!" I yell again once Yeonjun appears in proper clothes. My hands immediately cover my most important areas, but Yeonjun doesn't seem to care at all. He walks by me to grab his socks while I scramble to find my clothes.

"Your clothes are over there," he instructs as his finger points to one of the leather couches closer to me. "And honestly . . . I've seen everything already, so . . . you don't have to try and cover stuff. There's not much to see anyhow."

I turn around to snap at him, "Hey! Watch where your . . . oops!" My arm forgets to cover my breasts, so they're flashing in front of him. Quickly, I dash to my clothes and start to dress myself.

"Expensive stuff you have there," Yeonjun all of a sudden comments. "Suho sure is shelling out for you."

"Oh no. These weren't from Suho. Those were from Sehun."

"Wow. Never knew his salary could--"

"He's taking over his father's company now."

"Oh." Yeonjun adjusts his tie and mutters, "About time."

As I'm hooking my bra on after putting on my panties, I state, "You know . . . Yeonjun . . . sometimes I don't want to say this to you, but . . ."


"But . . . you care too much about reputation and wealth," I explain while putting on my dress. "You judge people too much based on that, like even for . . . Sehun."

"And so?"

"And so you should . . . stop doing that and care more about people's characters?" My hands now work at the zipper for my dress, yet clearly, I can't seem to zip it up. I hear Yeonjun make a grunt as his footsteps grow louder. All of a sudden, I feel his hands touch my back, and I immediately snap, "Wh-wh-what are you--"

"What do you think I'm doing Lassie?" he barks at me with a heartless glare. Waving his finger at me, he orders, "Turn around so I can actually zip you up. You don't want to go out with a zipper hanging low on you right?" He doesn't even ask me to suck my stomach in, and instead, he forcefully pushes the zipper upwards. Luckily, I breathe in right before he can zip my skin with the dress. When he reaches the top, he gives me a pat on the back before proclaiming, "You know . . . people's characters can change too. Wealth and reputation, at least, are more concrete."

I shift my body to face him. "Then, why are you so against Suho if that's the case? He has wealth and reputation."

"Like I said before, as long as you give me the results, then--"

"Then, why have we been constantly fighting? We never used to fight until after I was involved in this . . . situation!"

Yeonjun buttons his blazer, disagreeing, "I don't think we've been fighting. You're being too sensitive."

"Then, whatever this is . . . that's happening between us . . ." I state. "I don't like it."

He raises one of his eyebrows and adjusts his cuff links. "What's wrong with us right now?" he questions.

Bobbing my head side to side, I scoff, "You honestly think nothing is wrong with us? Last time I called, you were trying to avoid me. We rarely have lunch together anymore. We barely even talk. You're constantly acting cold, and now when I thought we were on our way back on track, you throw this curve ball at me, denying that things aren't going well for us."

Yeonjun shoots me a piercing glare--the type that I've seen him use on some of his employees. He walks towards me until I can almost smell his breath. Staring down at me, he coldly states, "I don't have time for this foolishness."

"Foolishness?" I roar. "You think I'm being silly now?"

He relieves a sigh while holding his gaze. "We're already behind in campaigns for Christmas. In fact, we're also short on cash because last season's products didn't sell through and we also expanded too quickly. I'm using this opportunity to secure my position within the company. I have people waiting to nip me right behind and to take over my spot. We might even be acquired in the near future if things don't go well. So honestly, I don't have time to deal with anything else, and I really need that information."

I'm shocked beyond words. I don't even know what to begin. I really do think that I am silly then, compared to him. I can understand why he is being so distant, but I just wished that he had told me earlier about the severity of his situation. I kind of feel bad now because it's like I've been stuck in my own little bubble. I seem like the selfish one, you know those ladies that constantly ask if they're more important than work. But . . .

"Why . . . don't you just have more faith in yourself?" I wonder. "I just . . . don't think . . . getting insider's information will do you any good in the long run. Plus, you've already created your products, so everything is pretty much set now."

Yeonjun walks away from me and sits at the edge of the bed. With his back hunched and his hands crossed together, he mutters, "I just want to know . . . the answer sooner."

Seeing how despondent he is, I can't help but agree, "All right. I'll do my best. I'll give you notice within this week."

Yeonjun shifts his attention towards me. His lips smoothly turn upright, giving me a weak, subtle smile. "Thanks," he mouths almost inaudibly. "I really appreciate it."

His words make me grin along with me, yet I sense heaviness within my chest. I feel his pain and his frustration for his work. I wish that I can do something to make him happier or to make him more at ease. I think in my head as to what people normally do to comfort others, and a movie scene pops in my mind. Quickly, I scurry to where he is still sitting. Though I'm standing, I lean towards him and wrap my arms around his head. His cheek is resting close to my chest as I murmur, "It'll be okay."

There is a moment of silence before I hear Yeonjun speak, "You know . . ."


"I think this position is really awkward. My neck feels like it's about to be cracked apart," he answers in a muffled tone.

Instantly, I let go, screaming, "Ah! I'm so sorry!" 

I'm too embarrassed to even make eye contact with Yeonjun, and it's even worse when I hear him laughing at me. I sit on the ground with my face buried in my knees. While my cheeks grow red and my mind prays that he'll forget what just happened, I feel his hand ruffle the top of my head. I glance up, and there is Yeonjun's gentle smirk. 

"You really are a silly Lassie," he chirps.

"Hey!" I stand up and fold my arms together. "After all I did to try to make you happier, this is what you--"


I believe his lips touched my forehead. One of my hands rubs where I think he kissed me, and I can still feel the slight warmth from his touch there. Before I can even say anything, Yeonjun comments, "You look like you wanted to be comforted."

"People . . . people don't comfort others by kissing them!" I bellow at Yeonjun, who is heading out of the hotel room.

With his hand on the door knob, he shifts his focus to me and clarifies, "That's true. You can comfort others through sex too. Guess you prefer it that way."

I snatch my jacket and purse before chasing after him. "Lee Yeonjun! You! You! You--"

"I what?" he calls out with his back towards me. He is still strolling down the corridor of the hotel like some king.

I feel like a volcano about to erupt into tons and tons of ash, smoke and random cr.ap. Storming after him, I manage to grab him by the back of his blazer. Then, I shriek upon making sure that I have his full attention, "You can't just kiss someone and . . . and not take responsibility!" 

He releases a light scoff: "What sort of responsibility do you want me to take? Plus, it's just a kiss . . . on the forehead. I didn't even touch your lips."

"W-w-w-well, to you . . . these type of things might not mean anything, but to me, it's not just a kiss!" I reply. My hand is still clenching onto his blazer, and he still is awkwardly gawking at me. We're in a weird position . . . like always. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to try to be normal.

"Are you . . . trying to tell me . . . that you want me to like you?" he interrogates with a pair of sly eyes.

I let go of his clothing, and instead of running away, Yeonjun faces me directly. My face feels hot as I stammer, "O-o-o-of course people would want others to like them!" 

I don't even know what I'm saying right now. In fact, I'm not even sure why I'm arguing this whole thing. Okay, he kissed me on the forehead. We can move along . . . right? We're mature adults, so . . .

"Is that really want you want to say?" he confirms.

I find the courage to look at him, and I sort of regret doing that. Yeonjun is staring me down; he's way too serious right now. I don't know how to even begin. "Um . . . I d-d-d-don't think so?" I only manage to croak.

"Then, can I help you paraphrase and perhaps make a hypothesis?" he suggests, to which I sort of just nod away. At this point, the logical side of my brain has shut down completely. "I think what you want to say is that you like me, and you want to know if I like you back. This is in kindergarten terms. To push things further, you are in love with me. You want to date me, have sex with me, be in a relationship with me, and maybe marry me. Now, you want to know if I feel the same way. Am I correct?" 

My head bobs up and down by itself. I am nodding to . . . Wait. Wait. Wait! This isn't what I meant, and I supposedly dating Suho too. This really isn't--

Interrupting my thoughts, Yeonjun proposes, "I can do all of the above, but I can't marry you and I can't be in an official relationship with you."

Insert those record scratching noises. Maybe, put in some flies and lawn mowers in there for a more dramatic effect. Actually, throw in a hoard of moose trampling over me. Really . . . 

. . . Huh?

What . . . does he even mean by those words, and most importantly, what have I gotten myself into this time? I might as well be the model of that famous painting called The Scream. I'm sure I look exactly like that right now.