"Stay here, I'll be right back." I instruct HyunJin as he awkwardly stands in the kitchen of my apartment.
"Tell me again why you picked me to come and not JiSung or even Chan?" HyunJin asks as he takes in his surroundings.
"Because Chan already knows more than you and I'm going to want to jump off a cliff after I explain everything to JiSung." I stick my head out of my room to offer him a shy smile.
It's the truth. Chan already knows I have a thing for JiSung. He found my photo card for me. The moment I spill my guts out, JiSung is going to want to stay as far away from me as humanly possible. I slip out of my room and place a mint green box in HyunJin's hands.
"What's this?" HyunJin asks as he stares down at it in confusion.
"Read the name on the front." I mumble as I slip my shoes on and grab my coat. I'm going to need it after I tell them everything.
"Han—wait—like JiSung?" HyunJin looks up at me in shock.
"Did you really think I didn't know you were famous?" I chuckle in amusement. They had to know I knew.
"Well—you didn't say anything about it. I figured you probably had an idea, but I assumed you didn't care." HyunJin looks at me in amusement.
"I don't care—well I do and I don't. I know you're normal people, just like me, but the idea of someone catching us together scares me. If someone posts a photo or something, people might start coming after me. That's the last thing I need. I'm already having a hard time as is." I reach for the doorknob and push the door open.
"I wish you were wrong, but you're not." HyunJin sighs as he leads the way back to their dorm. He types the code in and pulls the door open for me.
"There you are. I thought someone kidnapped you. It took you forever." JiSung snaps as he hops up from the couch.
HyunJin hands me my box and makes his way toward the others. He pushes JiSung back down onto the couch before sitting next to him. I take a deep breath before standing in front of them.
Without a word, I hand JiSung the box. He turns it over in his hands, unsure as to what exactly it is. He overlooks his name and glances up at me for permission to open it.
"Go for it. It's for you anyway." I turn the box toward him so he sees his name.
"What is it?" JiSung questions as his fingers linger along the edge of the lid.
"Letters. They go all the way back to your predebut days." I sit in the center of the room, ready to be judged.
"Really? Why didn't you ever send them?" JiSung asks as he picks up one of the dozens—maybe even hundreds—of letters.
"Because—what famous person wants to hear from a weird girl who can't seem to keep her thoughts straight. She doesn't have friends. She can't talk to people well. She's on the verge of committing suicide almost every night. No one deserves to put up with that." I explain softly as I pick at my nails. I can't look at them. I can't meet anyone's gaze—even if it's only for a fraction of a second.
"That's exactly why you should've sent them. If sending these to me would've helped you get through it easier, I would've been happy to get them." JiSung puts the lid on the box and sets it on the ground before making his way toward me. He kneels next to me and wraps his arms around me.
"Autism. Bipolar disorder. Arthritis. The big three. That's what's wrong with me. That's why I took a break from university. That's why I don't know if I want to go back." I state firmly as a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders. I never imagined how freeing this would be.
The room falls quiet. No one knows what to say. I know they aren't thinking negatively of me. They're just taken aback by how unexpected my confession was.
"Can I see them? No—never mind. I don't want to." JiSung asks softly as he pulls away. His eyes dart down to my thighs before he shakes his head.
"They're not as bad as you think. I never cut too deep. I was always too scared." I stand up and slip my fingers under the waistband of his sweatpants. I left my spandex underneath because I figured I'd be stupid and do something like this.
I gently lower the sweatpants down my legs. Everyone looks away in shock, unaware of my spandex. I chuckle softly as Chan clears his throat.
"I'm wearing pants still." I smile to myself. They're clearly gentlemen, not one of them tried to steal a glance.
"Give us a warning next time." SeungMin rubs awkwardly at the back of his neck.
"See—they're really pale. Most of them are gone." I trail my fingers along the thin lines on my thighs.
I see JiSung hesitate. He wants to touch them, but he's too afraid of how I'll react to his touch. I told him about my autism last night. He was honestly shocked. He had no idea. No one ever does. That's why it took so long to finally get a diagnosis.
I sit back down on the ground beside him. I take his hand and close my eyes as I place it on my lower thigh just above my knee. The scars cover nearly every inch of my thighs. Some are more noticeable than others.
JiSung swallows hard as he quickly pulls his hand back. He turns away from me and gets to his feet. He walks toward the window without a word.
"You're amazing, you know that, right?" Chan is the first to break the silence. He gets to his feet and makes his way toward me.
"I'm far from, but thanks." I mumble as I get to my feet. I prepare myself for the obvious—he's going to hug me—they all are.
"You know you're stuck with us now, right?" ChangBin chirps as he hurries toward me to wrap his arms around me.
What started as me trying to explain why I stay away from people ends in the biggest group hug I've ever been a part of without having an anxiety attack. The only thing missing is standing a few feet away with his back turned toward us. My eyes can't leave JiSung's figure. The brilliant sun surrounds him like a halo as he hangs his head.
"Don't worry about him." MinHo rests his hand on my shoulder as the others break away.
"I shouldn't have said anything." I let my regrets slowly take me over.
"He'll be fine. He's just upset you went through all of that alone. He'll blame himself for awhile, even though there was nothing he could've done, but he'll be okay." SeungMin explains as we watch JeongIn wrap his arms around JiSung. He whispers something to him, but we can't pick up on it.
"Why don't you head home and get cleaned up? You're probably on edge after all of that. We have a schedule in a few hours, so he'll be distracted. You won't have to worry about him." Chan joins our little group. He steals a glance at JiSung, but quickly returns his attention to me.
"I have to grab my stuff out of the bedroom." I slip away from them and back into the bedroom where I changed.
I grab my blanket and wrap it around me before staring at Taro. I pick him up and hold him out in front of me. Without much thought, I step back into the living room and head directly for JiSung. I look him dead in the eyes and hand him Taro before moving toward the door. He needs him more than I do right now.