You stared at your phone for a few seconds, not knowing what to do next. "Unknown!? What is this guy doing back? I thought V and Seven said that things were taken care of...why did he show up again," uou think to yourself, in a slight fit of anger and frustration. Before you were able to finally find a word to use to get Jaehee's attention, you feel your phone vibrate, showing a message was received:
[Unknown]: qwetADSWQt@%$q-I WIL-25@%$@$Q%q24Sd-TAKE YO-@$ASDOIH$TNSD@$%@-BACK-@%$ASDas254-PARADISE-@Q$#TAGS346344Q#$
Shocked at the jumble of characters appearing on your phone, you were unable to move...until you remembered something. A feature that you rarely used, aside from capturing various chats with Jaehee...you quickly place your index finger onto the power button of your phone, and your thumb on the Volume Down button, and hold both buttons down for a few seconds, capturing the chat as a picture.
"Phew..." you let out, just to notice that your phone had shut down, making you panic. "Oh, God, no," you quickly plead, "don't let me lose that picture..."
Jaehee overhears your muttering, watching you scramble to turn your phone on hastily. "Uhm...what's wrong? Did the messenger freeze up again? I do hate it when it does..." she says, softly laughing. You look up, teary-eyed, which causes Jaehee to panic slightly, widening her eyes. "Hun, what happened?!"
"It...it's the hacker..." you squeaked out, catching Jaehee's attention more. "He...he...," your phone powers back on, showing the main screen. You quickly go over to your pictures, and sure enough, the picture was still taken. You load it up, and face the screen to Jaehee's face, forcing her to look. "He came back into the messenger!!!"
Jaehee quickly places her cup of coffee on the counter, quickly making her way towards you, reading the message the mysterious being sent. "What...what the hell?!" She grabs her phone, seeing that her messenger was shut off, but was still on. "I'm going to call Luciel. Do you think you can figure out what that message means?"
You take notice of Jaehee's seriousness. It reminded you of when she was working under Jumin, at the very beginning. She was very prompt, very precise on what to do. You admired that about her...though, you couldn't deny the fact that you admire everything about her. You nod at Jaehee, and begin to read the message, figuring out what the code hides.
"Hmm...well," you internally begin, "there's definitely a message hidden here...why else would he send something like this...let's see...I WIL-...let's assume he means, 'I will.' Now...TAKE YO-...'Take you?' Hmm...BAC-...'Back?'...Paradise...'I will take you back...paradise...'...!!!" You lift your head up to tell Jaehee the message you figured out, only to witness a frustrated woman, staring at her phone.
"Damn it, he's not answering! We have to tell him that the messenger got hacked again! Gah...I was hoping all of this would be behind us...," she lets out, annoyed. You take her free hand, softly pulling her towards the couch, forcing her to look into your worried eyes. "Jae...sit down. I figured out what the message was...," you say, softly.
Jaehee's expression went from anger to sorrow, noticing how worried you are as well. She nods, taking in a deep breath, then sits down on the couch, facing your soft gaze. "Okay...what did he say?"
"Okay...it was a lot of characters, but I managed to get the phrase, 'I will take you back,' and, 'paradise.' I don't know what this paradise is...but...what...does he mean about that first one? Is...is he planning to kidnap me?" you weakly say, tearing up. Jaehee feels her heart sink to the bottom of her chest, dreading the thought of her best friend being taken away from her. Instinctively, she grabs you, and presses your body firmly against hers, her face digging into your neck.
"Don't...don't worry, my dear...I'll do everything in my power to make sure that no one is able to take you away from me...I won't let anyone touch you..." she says, sobbing, her tears dripping from your skin, traveling down to the brim of your top. You close your eyes, feeling tears form into your own eyes, and place your hand on the base of Jaehee's head, holding her closer to you. "I...I know you won't, Jae...our friendship is so powerful...no words can describe the bond we have...I'll let you protect me, under one condition..." you say, soothingly.
"Anything, my love...I'll do anything for you...now since I understand a bit of my feelings, I know what I'm willing to do for your safety...I want to tell you this feeling...but not yet...so, for now, I'll do anything you tell me to, as long as I get to keep you all to myself..." Jaehee thinks to herself, clinging to the back of your top, the soft fabric soothing her clutched fingers. "Yes? What is it, hun?"
You lift her head from your neck, closing your eyes, smiling. "You can protect me, as long as you continue to make coffee for me," you yell out, happily. Jaehee brightens up a bit from the warmth of your words, then smiles a bit more, wiping the tears from her face. "Of course, love...I'll make you all of the coffee you want...and more..." she trails off, blushing.
You blush as well, hearing the last part of her sentence. " And more," you ask, tilting your head. Jaehee blushes deeper, shaking her head. "N-nothing! Let me go ahead and make you a cup...I'll try calling Luciel in a bit." As she slowly lifts herself from the couch, you notice her phone vibrating, showing Seven's face on the screen. You quickly grab the phone, handing it to Jaehee. "It's Seven! Do you want to take the call?"
"Go ahead and answer it. Since you know the message, you can tell him yourself. I...want to make this cup special..." Jaehee says, softly, as she walks into the kitchen, slightly turning her head to watch you answer the phone, a small smile escaping from her lips.
"Jaehee! Why did you call me!? It's an invasion of privacy!!!" Seven lets out, loud enough to force the phone away from your head. "Seven...it's me...," you respond, trying to calm him down. "Oh, hey, you. Wait...why are you answering her phone? Where's she at?! Don't tell me that you two are...oh my god! You are! I'm so happy!!!" Seven says happily, overexcited by his own imagination.
"...shut up and listen. It's the hacker. He got back into the messenger," you let out in a serious tone. On the other side of the line, Seven, sitting in his computer chair, the LOLOL log-in menu showing on the large screen, with hacking software appearing on the side monitors. "...what did you say," he asks you, losing his goofy nature.
You sigh, lowering your gaze. "You heard me...he hacked in...I was even able to save the message he sent, before my phone shut off..." you say, determined to have Seven figure out what is going on. "Hmm...can you send me the picture? I'm assuming you actually took a screenshot," he asks, bouncing his knee rapidly.
"Okay, I'll send it now," you let out, grabbing your own phone, going to Seven's text messages, sending the picture. Seven feels his phone vibrate in his hand, letting him know the message was sent. "Okay," he begins, "thank you. I'm sorry that you're having to worry about this again...I thought V said he took care of it...God...where are you now, V...I'll give you two an update when I figure things out. Oh...and, try not to go out alone. If this guy hacked in again, after the party, he might know that you're not in Rika's apartment...so, be careful. Take care of Jaehee, okay?"
You softly smile, always happy to hear Seven's words of worry. "Don't worry. I don't plan to ever leave her side, ever...I'll hang up now. Take care of yourself, Seven, and don't overwork," you say sweetly, hanging up. You sigh, smiling, but a sweet aroma of mint catches your attention. You look up, and see Jaehee blushing, her smile as sweet as the aroma, if not sweeter. "I'm...glad you said that. I really am. I know I want to protect you as much as I can...but knowing that you would do the same...fills me up with so much warmth," she says, handing you the cup of coffee.
You blow the steam away from the cup, taking a small sip. "Jae," you begin, "...it's delicious. I can taste mint...a bit of chocolate...and...cherry?" Jaehee's smile grows wider, her eyes glistening with happiness. "Yes, actually. You named all three flavors. I love it when you can figure out what I make...it makes me happy..."
"Heh...well," you begin, blushing again, "like I said before, I'll love anything you make. It's part of our agreement." Jaehee reaches her hand out to your face, lightly brushing her fingers against your soft cheeks, the sensation of your blush intensifying.
"Love...that's an interesting word," Jaehee starts, her eyes lowering, as her smile softens to a beautiful grin, "...it's a word I would like to use a lot more."
Your eyes widen, your breath feeling heavier, as your heart begins to race once more. Just as Jaehee places the palm of her hand completely onto your cheek, the two of you hear a knock on the door, startling you both. "O-oh, that must be Zen..." you let out, exhausted. Jaehee sighs, taking in a deep breath, returning her lips to the happy smile she had on a minute ago. "He must have smelled the coffee. I'll admit, this new blend I put together is for the two of you. I...just wanted to give it to you first. Just...don't tell him you already drank from the cup," she says, winking. You laugh nervously, as you watch the woman you love walk away towards the front door.
"My god...this must be a dream...I had the feeling she was about to tell me she loves me...I want to hear those words, so damn much..." you think to yourself, as Jaehee opens the door to the tall, handsome man with the long, white hair.
"Please, make yourself at home, Zen," she says, allowing him to walk into your house. "Wow...it smells delicious in here! And the beauty of the room...gah, I still can't believe how much you've changed, Jaehee...and you...wow, you look beautiful...you both look beautiful," Zen says smoothly, looking directly into your eyes. You blush, admitting to yourself that hearing Zen's words made you feel more attractive, but what really made you blush is Jaehee's narrowed brow, showing a hint of jealousy towards Zen's words.
"Thank you for those words, Zen...please, sit down. I made that coffee for the two of you. I just poured her a cup, so let me get you a cup," Jaehee says, sharply. Zen tenses up a bit from Jaehee's sharp tongue, then sits down on the chair opposite of the couch. He turns his head to see Jaehee in the kitchen, then turns back, motioning you to lean towards him, as he leaned towards her.
"So," he whispers, "how are things going? Did her feelings explode?"
You start to shake your head, but you remember all of the times her emotions poured out of her during the past three days. "She...hasn't exploded, per say...but, she's really opening up. I swear...I think she feels the same thing I feel towards her...I mean, just now, she-"
Zen holds his hand up, showing you to halt your words. "Please, don't tell me. I'm one-hundred-percent supportive of you two...but..." he blushes as he trails off. You tilt your head, wanting to hear more. "Zen," you begin, "what were you going to say?"
Zen takes a deep breath, and looks over at Jaehee, smiling. "I'll admit...I'm really jealous of both her and you. She basically gets to have you all to herself...and she might not even know what you mean to her. And you...you were the one to get her to be like this. Even when I gave her that hand mill...even when I gave her my full support, she looked to you first. Granted, I haven't been here to see how you two act, but...I just feel like this is the kind of life I could have had if you chose me...or if I was more accepting of Jaehee, and saw her as more than a friend..."
You widen your eyes, as Zen looks away from your eye contact. "Zen...I didn't realize..."
Zen smiles, though you can still see the hurt emitting from his soul. "Jaehee is a good friend of mine. In fact, I was so engrossed with myself, I never even thought of the fact that she was a huge fan of my work. I don't want to do anything to damage that friendship I have with her...so I think I'll stop my words," he finishes, then looking into your eyes. "You really are special. I want to do everything in my power to protect the two of you...and even though we're in Korea, I really hope the two of you have a great life together...and who knows, you two might get married."
You blush deeply, your lip quivering at the thought of being married to Jaehee, living a perfect life with the woman you love. Just as you were about to say something, Jaehee places a cup of the mint coffee in front of Zen, startling him. "Oh, did I interupt something," she asks, smiling.
"N-no, you didn't. I was just telling her how happy I am right now. I mean, I have a new role, we just had a party, you two are living together..." he trailed off, placing the palm of his hand onto his forehead, laughing, "I still can't believe that you two are actually living together. It's like, the last thing I could think of that could happen. Even her being with Jumin was topping this..."
Jaehee sits down, next to you, narrowing her eyes in displeasure. "That is not a funny joke to say, Zen. I don't want to imagine her with...Jumin. He probably wouldn't even know what to do. I, at least, am able to have good thoughts, and know what to do..." She blushes, glancing at you, who is still blushing from Zen's conversation. Zen laughs even more, taking the cup of coffee, and begins to drink, even though the liquid is still fairly hot. "Ah, this is good...thank you, Jaehee. Seriously. I'm so happy you're using my gift."
Jaehee smiles back, bowing her head towards him, while still trying to glance at your expressions. "I'm very happy with the gift as well, Zen. Thank you so much for it. It's given me...so much to live for."
You nervously laugh, rubbing the back of your head. "Seriously, that hand mill was a godsend. I don't think anything else would be able to make her happier than making a grand cup of coffee." After finishing that sentence, you notice Jaehee in the corner of your eye, staring at you with those soft, narrow, amber eyes, forming her lips into a soft smile.
Zen stops drinking from his cup of coffee, noticing how Jaehee is acting towards you now. He softly smiles, hiding his smile with the cup. As soon as he finishes his cup, you snap into attention, standing up suddenly, startling Jaehee. "Jae! My suitcase! It's still in the trunk, right?!"
Jaehee tilts her head, thinking, then raises her eyebrows in realization. "Oh...you're right! We never even used the trunk when we went shopping yesterday. Do you want me to get it for you?"
You shake your head, smiling. "And risk the chance of you looking into my things, figuring out what I'm drawing for you? Nooo...where are you keys? I'll go get it."
Jaehee smiles, pointing towards the front door. "I always put them on the key rack next to the door. If you need any help, though, let me know."
You nod, taking the keys into your hand, as you walk towards the garage. Before you leave, you overhead Zen ask Jaehee, "So...you do, huh?"
You quickly open and close the door to the garage, your eyes wide-open. "Did...did Zen ask her what I think he did? God...why does he have to be so blunt on his curiosity? I mean...I do appreciate his longing to know how I feel towards you, Jaehee...but to have him ask you...it kind of pains me. He was preaching to me about that damn soda bottle, just for him to throw a monkey wrench into the mix, and cause your emotions to go haywire..." you thought to yourself, opening the trunk of Jaehee's car.
"Seriously...if you were going to ask her, why not just let me," you mutter to yourself, pulling your suitcase out, hearing the weight of it crash onto the cement, causing a loud bang. You look at your suitcase, feeling sad all of a sudden. "What...what if she really doesn't love me? God...I don't want to imagine a world like that...I want her to love me. Please...let me be hers, and let her be mine..." you softly say to yourself, opening the door, stepping back into the house.
As you walk back into the living room, you notice Jaehee, her face buried in the palms of her hands, sobbing loudly, with Zen sitting next to her, his hand rubbing her back, as if he was trying to soothe her. You drop your suitcase, weak from the scene being displayed in front of your eyes. "What...what happened, you two," you ask, slowly walking towards the two.
Zen looks up, startled by the loud bang of the suitcase, his face full of sorrow. "I...I'm sorry...I made her cry. I didn't mean to..."
You continue to walk towards the two, crouching down, placing your forearms onto Jaheee's knees, resting your body with her stability. "Jaehee, honey, what's wrong?"
She doesn't look at you, but instead, quickly shakes her head, her tears falling from the cracks of her fingers. You close your eyes, trying to hold in your own tears, then look up at Zen, who is avoiding eye contact again. "I...I think I need to go. Please, excuse me..."
As he stands up, takes a quick bow towards the two of you, and moves to the front door, placing his shoes back on his feet. "Please...take good care of her," Zen says, opening the front door, letting himself out, closing it behind him.
You quickly sit next to Jaehee, who is still crying her eyes out, pulling her head back onto your chest, again petting her hair, much like earlier. "It's okay, Jae...I'm here..."
"I...I'm broken..." she lets out softly, catching your attention. "I don't know what to do anymore...all of my emotions...they are going haywire...I...I don't know what to do..."
You begin to cry as well, resting your head onto hers, pulling her head closer to your chest. "Jae...open up your ears, and tell me what you hear," you let out, softly nuzzling the top of her scalp.
Jaehee notices her ear pressed hard against your chest, hearing a rhythm of beats, feeling the pulse of the beats through her skin, soothing her. "I...I hear your heart...it's beating...so fast right now..." she lets out, weakly.
You smile, continuing to pet her head. "That's right. Whenever you get like this, just imagine the pulses my heart makes. I want my heart to be the thing that cures you of when you're down like this. This...is how I would like to protect you."
Jaehee opens her eyes wide, feeling her own heart beat at the same rhythm as yours, almost perfectly in-sync. "P...protect...me..." she lets out, gripping the bottom of your top, feeling her arm strain from how hard she's squeezing.
"Jaehee...you don't need to be afraid. I'm always going to be here for you, regardless of how you feel. I will always protect you, just as you will always protect me," you softly say, feeling Jaehee loosen up her grip on you. She then slowly lifts her head away from your chest, revealing her red, broken face, though shining with a brilliant smile, tears still falling from her eyes. "Thank you...so much...for being in my life...for staying in my life..." she cries out softly.
You smile happily, as the two of you wrap your arms around each other, nuzzling each others cheek. "We will always be together, Jae. Always..." you say, beaming with warmth. Jaehee smiles, feeling her tears drip from her cheeks onto your top. "Oh...I think I'm ruining your new outfit...I'm sorry..." she apologizes.
You laugh softly, pulling away from your embrace, looking Jaehee in the eyes. "It's okay. Your tears are always welcome to me. Though...right now, I really want to finish that piece of art for you. I think you would like it right now, if it were finished."
Jaehee giggles, nodding her head. "Y-yeah, I would...go ahead and finish it. I need to go clean myself up."
You both get up from the couch, adjusting your skirts. You then walk over to your heavy suitcase, picking it up, and walk towards your bedroom, with Jaehee following. As she was walking behind you, Jaehee began to recall her conversation with Zen. One that she will never forget.
"So...you do, huh?" Zen begins, looking her in the eyes. Jaehee tilts her head, confused. "I do...what, Zen?"
Zen softly laughs, stroking his ponytail in a nervous manner. "I was hoping you would know what I meant...but, I guess you're still confused," he continues, blushing, "I can tell something's happening between you two. I was just wondering if you...you know..."
Jaehee's heart began to beat faster, starting to understand what Zen was trying to do. "Oh...I think I know what you mean, now...but...it's so difficult..."
Zen stopped laughing at the soft sound of her voice, forcing him to pay attention to her face, which is flushed with a red blush, her eyes watering. "Hey, hey," Zen says, soothingly, "Don't cry...I'm sorry if I brought up a touchy subject. I was just curious."
Jaehee shakes her head slightly, looking down. "It...it's alright. I feel a little better being able to talk about it. It...it's just so hard, you know...to keep something in. Something you wish to scream out into the night sky, yet something you wish for no one to hear...especially her..."
Zen's eyes open slightly wider, as in a surprised state. "Jaehee...are you having trouble coping with your feelings? If so, you know you can tell me. I told you before, and I'll tell you again: I'll be your number 1 fan, and I'll support any decision you make, regardless of how silly it sounds."
Jaehee's eyes water up a bit more, a smile spreading from her mouth. "T-thank you, Zen...though, in my heart, I think someone is a bigger fan of mine than you are...sorry if that sounds harsh, but...that's what I feel. I admire your support, I do...but her support...I don't know...it just makes me feel...warm. Happy."
Zen lowers his head, but smiles, knowing the truth now. "Jaehee," he begins, "you were my biggest fan for the longest time. You followed my every move, you watched all of my shows, you've defended my every choice in life...but here, in this moment, and from now on...you know in your heart that someone else has taken priority. This person...you care deeply for...and I can bet that you wish to spend the rest of your life with her. I said I will support your every decision, and this is no exception. I want you two to be happy...because deep down, in my soul...I believe that you lo-"
Before Zen was able to finish his sentence, Jaehee began to stream tears from her eyes, her lips quivering, her hands shaking, her whole body in a nervous, fragile case. "Z...Zen...I...I do...her...I do...I..." she weakly let out, her voice cracking from her crumbling state. Soon after trailing off, Jaehee quickly lowered her head onto her palms, sobbing uncontrollably, loud cries muffled by her hands.
Zen's face turned from shock to sorrow, reacting quickly to the change in atmosphere, sitting next to Jaehee, rubbing her back, attempting to soothe her cries. "It's okay, Jaehee...I'm sorry...I shouldn't have said anything. If I knew you were this fragile on the subject...I wouldn't have brought it up...I'm truly sorry..." As Zen finishes his statement, he is startled by the sound of a heavy object striking the floor, as if someone just dropped it onto the floor.
Jaehee softly grips her voilet blouse with her hand, admiring your figure from a distance, her heart fluttering uncontrollably.
"Hey, Jaehee," you say, opening up the door to your room, placing the suitcase inside. Jaehee wipes the tears away from her face again, smiling. "Yes, hon?"
"Cheer up," you say, with a soft smile, as you close the door, locking it.
Jaehee's eyes widen, trying to hold back the urge to cry again, and places her hand onto the door, pushing onto it. "Zen...thank you. I know I didn't want her to see me cry like that, but...you're such a good friend. You helped me, much like she helped me...I knew the answer the whole time, but I didn't want to admit it to myself...but you, Zen...you helped me achieve what I wanted to feel...you helped me finally understand my feelings. My feelings...for you, my dear...my best friend..." she thinks to herself, her eyes watering up.
After you locked the door, you stared at it for a few seconds, wondering what Jaehee is doing. All of a sudden, you see the door move slightly, as if something was pushing it, being stopped by the lock. You smile, placing your hand onto the door as well, pushing it slightly, feeling some resistance. You knew that Jaehee's hand was on the door as well, which causes tears to fall from your face again.
"Jaehee...I really wish that what I think is true...I don't know for sure, but I have a feeling...and thanks to Zen, I'm already thinking of what our future holds for us...and...at this exact moment...I know, without a shadow of a doubt..." you smile, feeling Jaehee press her hand harder against the door.
"...Jaehee..." you start.
"...my angel..." Jaehee continues.
And in an instant, at this very second, the next thought spreads warmth through both you and Jaehee.
"...I love you."
"Goddamn it, Zen! Why did you have to do that," Zen boldly states, slamming his fist onto the sidewalk. "It was easy to figure out that she had feelings for Jaehee...but how was I supposed to know how bottled up Jaehee's feelings were towards her?! I was the one who brought up the soda bottle metaphor...but dammit, why did I have to shake the bottle, and cause it to explode?! Gah, I'm so annoyed with myself!"
As Zen stands up from his self rant, he sighs, turning his head. "If you're here for an autograph, it will have to wait. I'm not in the mood."
A mysterious figure shifted from the tree next to him, a black hood hiding his hair and eyes, while a black mask shields his face. "Me? Ask for an autograph? Please, don't flatter yourself. In fact...I'm here to give you an invitation," the masked being stated, calmly.
Zen focuses his attention to the being, turning his body to face theirs. "An invitation? For what? If it's for a new role, I have to decline."
The hooded being tilts it's head back, showing two closed eyes. "Well, it's a wonderful place. A place where nothing bad can happen. No one can hurt another there. Everyone will live in peace. All you have to do, to gain entrance, is..." the being raised his arm, pointing towards Jaehee's front door. "...to bring her. The chosen one."
Zen's eyes widen, his fists clenched with anger. "What...what do you plan to do with her?"
The masked being laughed, shaking it's head. "You don't need to know why. All you need to do...is get her to join us."
Zen shakes his head, glaring at the masked person. "No dice. I won't let you touch a single hair on her body."
The hooded being sighed in responce, shaking his head. "We won't hurt her. In fact, she's special to us. I mean, we went through all that trouble to get her into that crude excuse of an apartment in the first place."
Zen freezes, his eyes shifting, trying to compute what was just spoken. "What...what did you say? Are you...are you the hack-"
Before Zen was able to finish his sentence, another being grabbed hold of him, while another attacked him. As he felt the short jab of a needle pierce his neck, causing his body to fall asleep almost instantaneously, two men grab onto Zen's lifeless body, and carried him over to a nearby van, as the masked being slid it's hood off.
"Hmph. This was easier than I thought. I never would have thought that this one and her would go to the assistant's house...it's okay, though. With the actor soon to join us," the masked being slid his mask down, opening his eyes, revealing a young male with soft, mint green eyes, light gray hair, accompanied by red highlights, his jacket sliding from his shoulder, showing a tattoo of an eye.
"...then our maiden will return to Magenta... to Mint Eye."