"That's what you were scared to tell me?" JiSung questions as he watches me try to work through the beginning stages of a panic attack.
I nod weakly as I claw at my thighs. I hang my head and take a deep breath. JiSung slips off of the bench and squats down in front of me. He places his hands on my knees to steady himself before taking my hands in his.
"Breathe. It doesn't change anything. I think you're a really cool person. Just because you aren't perfect, doesn't mean that's going to change. I have my own faults, too. I'm far from perfect. Everyone is." JiSung attempts to use words to calm me, but they never do much.
The only way to successfully calm me is through music. I can't seem to collect my thoughts enough to slip my hands out of his. I need my phone and headphones.
"What can I do to help?" JiSung asks as he attempts to look me in the eyes.
I quickly shut my eyes. Eye contact is never going to help calm me down. It'll make things worse. I tap my foot aggressively.
"I don't know what to do." Han begins to panic. He clearly wants to help me, but he has no idea how to.
I want to tell him how, but I feel like if I open my mouth it'll only make things worse. I decide the next best thing is something I hate more than breathing. I take a deep breath before grabbing his arms and forcing them around me. I'm taking a giant leap of faith right now—I really hope it pays off.
JiSung catches on and wraps his arms around me tightly. He guides my head to his shoulder. Shockingly, the feeling of his skin against mine is much less bothersome than I had imagined. Something about it is actually quite soothing.
I close my eyes tightly and live in the moment. The feeling of another person holding me is something I have never been able to handle. It's always been way too overwhelming for me, but now, I feel like I'm going to crave it. I'm going to dread not having him holding me.
I gently push him away the moment my heart stops racing. I can't let him touch me more than absolutely necessary. The more I take it in, the more I'm going to want it.
Chatter begins to stir in the distance and JiSung glances over his shoulder. He takes his lip between his teeth and pulls me onto my feet. Quickly yet carefully, he leads me back into the building.
"Is it better?" JiSung asks as the door shuts behind us.
"Yeah." I nod weakly. I'm better, but not a hundred percent. I'll be weak and exhausted for at least another day.
"Do you want to go home? I was kind of hoping you'd come hang out with us. We were gonna watch a movie." JiSung scratches at the back of his neck as he walks toward the elevator.
"What about the others? Will they be mad if I come?" I mumble as I hesitantly stand beside him. I shouldn't be this close to him when someone can easily see us, but I'm honestly starting to not care if anyone sees.
"Yeah—I should ask them, shouldn't I?" JiSung sighs as he steps into the elevator.
I quickly follow after him, not wanting to be alone. He hits the button for our floor and turns toward me.
"I'll walk you to your apartment then ask them. I don't see them being upset about it. They seem to really like you. Besides, Chan is constantly talking about your knee. I think he thinks it'll never get better." JiSung chuckles to himself as stares down at his feet.
"Message me. If they say yes, just message me and I'll come over." I push myself out of my comfort zone and agree to something I'd typically stay as far from as humanly possible.
JiSung's face grows red. He quickly turns away and clears his throat. The moment the doors creep open, he's out of the elevator and making his way toward my apartment. I chuckle softly, slightly amused by his anxious state. It's my job to be the anxious mess.
"Well, here it is. I should see you soon. I don't see them having a problem with it." JiSung smiles awkwardly as he glances over his shoulder at his dorm door.
"Sounds good." I turn my back to him as my heart flutters. This is how it feels to like someone. I've never felt this before. I never thought that I would.
JiSung waits until I shut the door behind me to turn away. I stand on my tiptoes to watch him make his way across the hall. I slap my thighs and chew on my lip as I turn around to head toward my room.
Not even two minutes after leaving JiSung, my phone goes off. I smile as I pull my phone out of my pocket and make my way toward my room.
JiSung: Chan said it's a go as long as you sit and keep ice on your knee.
Ice? I feel like they're never going to get over it. I'm fine. I've been fine. If ice is all it takes to be around them—him—I'll do it.
Me: ice? Really? Can't he just chop my knee off or something? It's okay. You saw it earlier. I was walking fine.
I complain, but light heartedly. I really don't care if I have to have ice on my knee. It can't hurt. If anything, it'll help dull the everyday pain. I slip into my room and head toward my closet. I pull my spandex out and an oversized sweatshirt. I quickly switch clothes before grabbing Taro and my favorite blanket.
JiSung: I know. He's a pain, but it's worth it. I'll wait for you in the hall.
I can feel my face heat up. Why am I like this? I don't like people. I despise them. They make it hard to breathe. They make me want to hide in a dark room, but he makes me happy. I want to be around him. Honestly, years of following their musical journey makes this feel like I've known him for years, while he barely knows my name.
JiSung: hurry up or they'll start without us.
I slip my favorite slippers on and hurry out of my room. I quietly shut my bedroom door, not wanting to wake anyone. The moment I'm in the hall, reality sinks in. I was in such a rush, I didn't even think about what I was wearing. My spandex. They don't cover my thighs.
I stop in my tracks as JiSung looks up at me. He smiles, but it quickly fades as he picks up on my panic. He stuffs his phone in his pocket and hurries toward me. I tightly wrap my blanket around myself, trying to hide my legs from him.
"What's wrong?" JiSung asks as he attempts to look me in the eyes.
"I—I should go change my pants. It'll only take a second." I go to turn around, but JiSung reaches out to stop me.
As soon as I lay eyes on him, I know he saw. His face is pale and his eyes glued on my legs. I look down, ashamed of myself. JiSung takes a shaky breath before looking up at me and forcing a smile.
"Why do you need to change? You look perfect." JiSung insists as he tugs me toward their dorm.
"No one can know—that's why." I tug back against his grip.
"No one will know. I promise, but you don't need to change. It'll be dark. Just keep your blanket over your lap." JiSung reassures me as his strength wins over mine.