I tug at the sleeves of my dress as I tap my foot impatiently. I couldn't be more uncomfortable if I tried. My heart races and my chest throbs as I feel eyes on me from every direction. They more than likely aren't actually on me. It's just my mind playing tricks on me. It's making me think I'm a bigger deal than I actually am.
"You look amazing!" JiHyo chirps as she slides into the seat across from me.
"Thanks." I mumble awkwardly as I rub at the back of my neck. I set my phone on the table and fold my hands in my lap.
"How've you been? Tell me everything." JiHyo smiles as she props her head up on her hands. She meets my eyes expectantly.
"Well—I—I took a break from university." I blurt out one of the dozen things I was hoping to keep on the down low.
"Really? Why? Did something happen?" JiHyo's face becomes flooded with concern.
"No—nothing really. I was just a little overwhelmed. I found a few things out recently that took a bit of a toll on me, but I'm managing." I try to play it off as innocently as I can, but it's not necessarily one of my strengths.
"Tell me—tell me everything." JiHyo insists as she scoots her chair closer to me.
"It's—it's not that easy to explain." I mumble as I look around for an easy excuse to leave.
My eyes fall on the one thing I was never expecting to see. JiSung pushes the door open for JeongIn and the others. My heart sinks. What if they notice me? What if they try to talk to me? They'll bring more attention to me than I'm prepared for. My breathing speeds up and my hands begin to tremble.
"Are you okay? What's wrong?" JiHyo asks as she tries to follow my gaze.
I quickly look away from them and swallow hard. I force a smile and nod my head in a very unconvincing way. My phone lights up and I know exactly what it is and who it is.
"Your phone—" JiHyo reaches out for it, but I quickly snatch it up. He saw me.
JiSung: you look amazing. I hope you're having fun. Taro is safe.
That's it. He doesn't say come here. He doesn't approach me. In fact, he doesn't even spare me a second glance. He seems to be too preoccupied trying to keep the others from noticing me to even really care.
"Autism. Autism and bipolar disorder. I have both." I blurt out as I somehow manage to regain my thoughts.
"Really? I never would've guessed—is that why you're so nervous? You were afraid to tell me? It doesn't make a difference. You're still the same person you've always been." JiHyo reaches out to move my hair from my face.
"I know, but it's scary in a way." I sigh as I stare down at my lap. I feel my eyes getting watery as JiHyo gets to her feet and hurries toward me.
"Don't be scared. I'll be here through thick and thin. You can't get rid of me that easily." JiHyo rests her head on my shoulder as she hugs me from behind.
My phone goes off again.
"That brings me to your surprise." JiHyo smiles brightly as she hugs me tightly.
"What's that?" I ask softly as I place my hand on top of hers. Her grip on me is suffocating and my skin is screaming to be released, but I don't want to ruin the moment.
"I want you to move in with me. My little Skye gets lonely when I have to go out of town. She needs a friend. It's a really nice place. You'll have your own room and it's close to campus—that way when you go back you don't have to go far." JiHyo releases me and heads back to her seat.
I glance at my phone. What did he say? Is he worried?
"I don't know." I mumble as I try to weigh the pros and cons.
I'll be quite aways from the boys. I'll be alone most of the time though. JiHyo never seems to be in town for more than a week at a time.
"Please! I promise I'll make sure it's worth your while. I'll stock the place with food and you can have a ton of people over if you want. I don't care. All I ask is you take care of my little Skye. She's a good kitty." JiHyo takes my hands in hers and squeezes.
"I'll have to think about it. Besides, I'll have to bring it up to my parents." I shrug as I try to play it off on someone else.
I like the idea, but I don't know if I can handle being that far from JiSung. I feel like I rely on him a lot more now than I ever imagined I would.
"You'll have to let me know before I leave tomorrow. If you can't watch little Skye, I'll have to take her to my mom's place. She won't be too happy." JiHyo frowns as she glances toward the counter.
I swallow hard as her eyes fall on JiSung and the others. Her face lights up. She knows who they are.
"Oh my god—isn't that the group you like?" JiHyo turns to me with an enormous grin.
"Uh—yeah—they are." I do my best to avoid looking at them.
"Why aren't you admiring their beauty? Oh god—they're looking over here." JiHyo adjusts her dress and fluffs her hair as I hear footsteps approach us.
They noticed. They saw me and now they're coming this way. I take a shaky breath. I hope they don't act like they know me—I don't have the guts or patience to explain how I know them to JiHyo.
"You dropped this." JiSung kneels down to pick up—nothing—there's honestly nothing on the ground. The moment he holds his hand out, a miraculous napkin appears. It's folded skillfully into a heart.
"Oh—thanks." I quickly snatch it away from him. I do my best not to look up at him.
"You're an idol, right?" JiHyo asks as JiSung turns to walk away, satisfied with himself.
"Hm—me?" JiSung points to himself as he spins around to look at her.
"Yes, you. Who else? You're adorable twin?" JiHyo props her head up on her hands.
I roll my eyes at her and give in. I steal a glance at JiSung. His face—it looks so—so unhim. He doesn't look like the person I've seen repeatedly over the past few days. He looks so much more polished—doll like.
"Uh—yeah. I guess I kind of am." JiSung awkwardly stands a few feet from us. He glances over his shoulder at the others.
"My friend is obsessed with you. She has every one of your albums and even bought your photo cards when she didn't get them in the album." JiHyo begins spilling my secrets.
I reach out and place my hand over her mouth. I told JiSung I liked him, but I didn't go into all the unnecessary details. JiSung smirks as Chan comes up behind him.
"You ready?" Chan asks as he places his hand on JiSung's shoulder.
"Hold on—how much time do we have?" JiSung asks as he glances from Chan to me and JiHyo.
"Like five minutes—JeongIn wanted to go across the street real quick." Chan mumbles hesitantly as he looks back at JeongIn.
"I'll meet you at the van in three." JiSung states before pulling a chair up and sitting beside us.
"JiSung—" Chan looks at me—my eyes pleading for him to grab JiSung by the collar and drag him out.
"I've just got one question for this lovely fan's friend." JiSung chuckles as he sets his drink down on the table.