Bright light filters into my room as someone pushes my door open. They slip inside and back out as quickly as they appeared. The sound of the squeaking door forces my eyes open. I rub at my eyes frantically as I yawn. The feeling of someone grabbing my arm forces me to shoot up in bed.
I look around the room in a panic. My heart races and my chest grows tight as I try to locate the source of the unusual sensation. Then it sinks in. It's the aftermath of last night. Everything I had thought was a dream was so far from.
I grab my phone and click on the one app I had convinced myself to never use. Who in their right mind would pay money to talk to someone, especially when there's a chance they won't even answer you? It doesn't matter. Right now, I need this. I click on JiSung and approve the charge to my account.
As if on cue, his first message comes through.
JiSung: Are you awake?
Don't answer. Don't say anything. Just watch.
JiSung: Why? It's so early! Go back to sleep!
That's it. I can't not answer. Something in me is demanding me to respond.
Me: I wish I could. But last night is haunting me.
I watch and wait for him to read my message. The little one goes away, signaling he's seen it. However, it doesn't mean he'll respond to me.
JiSung: Last night was scary. I ran into someone on the street. I thought I hurt them bad.
My heart drops. He knows it's me. He has to.
JiSung: Stays, how should I apologize? I feel bad.
He doesn't need to. I'm fine. There's nothing he can do to change anything. There's not really a reason to anyway. It's not like I do much other than lay in bed.
Me: Nothing. Don't do anything.
I sigh and close the app. That's enough for now. I'm going to get myself all worked up over nothing. My heart aches as the sound of his messages coming in begins to pile up.
I place my hands over my ears and close my eyes. I lay back in bed and place my pillow over my head.
"Ari, I need you to watch Min while I take a shower." MinJi sticks her head in my room.
I sit upright and toss my pillow aside before holding my arms out for the precious bundle of joy. She places his in my arms and I hold onto him tightly. He runs his fingers across my face as he smiles brightly.
"MinSunggie." I smile as I place him in the center of my bed. He rolls onto his stomach and starts babbling.
My phone goes off a few more times and I give in. I pick it up and begin scrolling through his messages.
JiSung: I don't know if I'll see them again, but I feel bad.
JiSung: they got hurt.
JiSung: there was blood 😭
JiSung: I'm stupid.
JiSung: I should've watched where I was going.
I shake my head. I can't answer him. I'll just let him talk to the other fans about it. MinSung reaches out and grabs my phone from me before I can lock it. He hits an emoji as I try to take it back from him. Within the short struggle, he manages to hit send.
My heart drops. He sent a penguin with heart eyes. How do I explain that to him? What if he comes knocking on the door demanding an answer as to why I sent it? What if he's laughing at me right now? I probably look like a needy fan girl who is unrealistically imagining us together.
I put my phone on mute and toss it into my desk drawer. I don't want to know what he says. I pick MinSung up and head into the living room. I swallow hard as I set him down on the ground. I pace a few toys in front of him before turning the tv on. I click on YouTube and immediately fuel my need to recreate last night. I need to replay it to try and get a grasp on what actually happened.
The sound of chatter fills the hall just outside of the door. They're leaving. JiSung must've stopped messaging by now. I wonder if he even noticed the emoji. I mean—he probably has a ton of other messages to read. Maybe mine got lost in them. I hope mine got lost in them.
I jump as someone knocks on the door. I glance at the bathroom door then at MinSung. As if she could read minds, my sister comes stumbling out of the bathroom. I point at MinSung before hurrying to the door. I'm not one to answer the door, but if it's about last night, I don't want anyone else answering.
I open the door a crack to see Chan waiting patiently. I glance back at my sister before slipping into the hall and shutting the door behind me. He smiles brightly as he holds something out for me.
"This must've fell out of your pocket last night." Chan chuckles softly as he hands me my JiSung photo card I keep in my jacket pocket.
I close my eyes tightly and chew on my lip. He takes my hand in his and delicately places the photo card in my palm. I can feel my chest tighten as I force my eyes open. I look up at him and he smiles.
"It's just between me and you. No one else knows. All they know is you dropped something." Chan reassures me as he ruffles my hair.
"Thanks." I stare down at my feet as my face grows warmer and warmer.
"How's your knee?" Chan glances down at my legs to see that I'm still wearing JiSung's sweatpants.
"It—it's fine. A little sore still, but it's fine, really." I brush it off as quickly as I can. They don't need to know it's bruised. JiSung is clearly still upset about it, I don't want to make him worry even more.
"I'll let Hannie know. I gotta get going. They're probably waiting for me in the van." Chan waves before hurrying toward the elevator.
I take a shaky breath and look at the photo card that almost ended my life. I turn around and tug the apartment door open. MinJi stumbles back and pretends to be occupied. She was watching through the peephole. She saw everything.
"Who was that?" She questions as she sways back and forth with MinSung in her arms.
"No one. Just someone I ran into yesterday." I brush it off as nothing and quickly rush to my room.
I shut the door and lock it behind me. I set my JiSung photo card down delicately on my desk before falling down onto my bed. I bury my face in my huge stuffed monkey and groan.
Chan can't be the only one who knows about the photo card. There's no way in hell he's the only one. They're probably all making fun of me. No, they wouldn't. Would they? They're probably thrilled to have fans—even if one of them is me.
"Ari, I'm going out." MinJi calls as she tugs the door open.