18 |sixteen|

"What are you doing?" JeongIn asks as he stops abruptly in front of me.

"What time is it? Shouldn't you guys be getting ready for your performance?" I tug my phone out of my pocket. I gasp as I look at the time and the number of unanswered messages I have.

"You didn't watch, did you?" JiSung shakes his head as he wraps his arm around JeongIn's shoulders.

"I—I didn't mean to miss it—really." I stuff my phone back in my pocket and glance toward my apartment door.

"Don't worry about it. I'm sure it's up on YouTube by now. You can come watch it with us." JiSung smiles brightly as he nods back toward their door.

"Ari, I think that's the last of it." JiHyo mumbles as she slips out of the apartment with an armful of my belongings.

"Hey—" JiSung attempts to address JiHyo, but I quickly place my hand over his mouth.

"Hyo, do you think you could take it to your place on your own? I have something to do before I head out." I ask as I turn my back to JiSung and JeongIn.

"Oh—uh—yeah. Just call me when you're ready to come and I'll come get you." JiHyo nods happily as she slips passed us.

"Wait—who's stuff is that? Is it yours? Are you moving? Why are you moving?" JiSung grabs ahold of my wrist and squeezes.

"Let's move this party into the apartment." Chan steps in and immediately begins ushering us through the door. He knows a scene is coming, so he wants to try and contain it as best as possible.

"So, you're leaving. Why? Did we do something? If we're too loud—we can stop. Do we annoy you too much? We can leave you alone." JiSung begins pacing back and forth as he tries to figure out exactly why I'm moving.

"Hyo needs someone to watch her cat when she's out of town. She's not home often, so it'll be like I live alone. I figured I could treat you guys for once instead of you treating me. It's also much more private, but I mean I can have her bring my stuff back. The pool did look a little cold, so I don't think I'd be missing much." I shrug as I reach for my phone.

"No—you don't have to do that. It isn't necessary. I'm sure the pool will help with your knees and stuff. I mean—living alone can be kind of stressful—especially for someone like you—not you as in you you—but you as in someone who has a hard time around people—but then again no one will be there—but you—" JiSung struggles to get his thoughts out.

"Take a break, you're going to wear yourself out." Chan chuckles as he ruffles JiSung's hair playfully.

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"It'll be hard, but I have to do it someday." I shrug. I know what he was trying to get at, I'm not good at being alone with my emotions. My thighs say it all.

"Well, if you ever need anything, we'll be here." MinHo hops up from the stool next to me. He smiles brightly.

"Well, JiHyo and I bought too much food—I have no idea what we're going to do with it. I told her we should just cook it up and invite some of her guy friends over, but she said they wouldn't appreciate it." I sigh as I try to hand them an invitation as subtly as possible.

"I see where you're going with this. What kind of food is it exactly? I'm sure we could help you figure it out." Felix slowly approaches me as he rubs at his chin.

"Meat, fruit, cake—cheesecake, just a ton of random things really." I glance over at JiSung as I say cheesecake. His eyes light up and he swallows hard.

"That seems like quite the problem. I have no idea who would be able to help, but I'm willing to join you if you'd like. Maybe we can think something up while it's being cooked." Felix explains casually as he slips passed JiSung to stand beside me.

"You're insane. I think I'm better cut out for the job." SeungMin shakes his head as he grabs his sweatshirt and tries to slip between Felix and me.

"How about you? Do you think you could offer some assistance?" I directly ask JiSung as he glances away from me awkwardly.

"I mean—I do have a hostage, so shouldn't I have been your first priority?" JiSung glances over at the couch. Taro sits wrapped in JiSung's sweatshirt.

"I'm pretty sure he can take you. He's quite the strong octopus. He has a few more legs than you do, too." I tease as I slip away from the others to pick Taro up.

"If he can't, I'll step up. I can take him." HyunJin steps between JiSung and me with his hands up ready to fight. He playfully hits JiSung's shoulder and JiSung catches his hand.

"I can easily go through you." JiSung picks up HyunJin and sets him off to the side.

HyunJin lowers his head in defeat as everyone chuckles in amusement.

"So? Are you guys in? Do you want to go to JiHyo's with me?" I hold Taro close to my chest as I wait patiently for their answer.

"I don't know—it's really late. How far away does she live?" Chan glances at the clock as he rubs at the back of his neck.

"It's about twenty minutes away." I shrug as I struggle to get JiSung's sweatshirt off of Taro.

"As much as I want to, I have to record in the morning." Felix sighs in defeat as he plops down on the couch.

"Same." JeongIn pouts as Chan wraps his arms around him.

"I think the only three who don't have to record early are JiSung, MinHo, and ChangBin." Chan mumbles as he glances around the room trying to recall everyone's schedules.

"Nope, I record at ten, but I have to be there when Felix goes." ChangBin admits as he climbs on the couch to sit behind Felix.

"I'm free—I don't record until one." HyunJin states calmly as he glances at JiSung.

"Ah—that's right. You switched with—JiSung." Chan's voice falls as he lays eyes on JiSung.

"Yah—take it back. I wanna go." JiSung pouts as he takes HyunJin's hand in his.

"Can't. They already have everything set up for it." HyunJin shrugs JiSung off before moving toward me.

"We can always do it another time when you can all come. JiHyo might not be there, but that's not a big deal." I try to lighten the mood by offering up an alternative.

"No, it's alright. They can go." JiSung sighs as he steps down in defeat.

"Are you sure?" MinHo mumbles as he pretends to adjust JiSung's shirt.

"Yeah, it's fine. It's not like we won't have other opportunities. Besides, we're all just friends." JiSung tries to convince us thats he's perfectly fine with the idea of me being alone with HyunJin and MinHo, but the look in his eyes is hard to miss.

"I can't get your sweatshirt off Taro, so I guess it's coming with." I step in and try to shift the focus onto something else.

"Give it here." JiSung holds his arms out for Taro. He skillfully pulls his sweatshirt off of him before motioning for me to put it on.

"I—I don't need it. I'm okay." I wave my hands in dismissal as he hands Taro to MinHo.

"Put it on—your friend left with your coat. You're going to freeze to death if you don't." JiSung catches my wrist and pulls me toward him. He carefully tugs his sweatshirt over my head before helping me slip my arms into the sleeves.

"Thanks." I mumble as I stare down at my feet awkwardly.

"Take this, too." Chan quickly wraps a blanket around me before stepping back to admire his work.

"By the end of the week I feel like I'm going to have nearly half of your things in my bedroom." I sigh as I glance over at MinHo. I take Taro from him and head toward the door.

"Make sure she gets home safe." Chan pats MinHo and HyunJin on the back as they hurry to catch up with me.

"Don't stay out too late." ChangBin calls as we slip into the hall.

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