Kiseop stared blankly at the manager then scoffed. Everyone avoided eye contact with him.
‘What? You think I’m going out with…NO!’ Kiseop stood up and sighed. ‘I am perfectly straight!’ Hoon faked a cough. ‘Do you want me to prove it to you?!’
‘Hyung. We’ve all witnessed you throw yourself at Kevin hyung. I think it’s safe you say that you’re gay,’ Dongho exclaimed. U-KISS’ manager cleared his voice, silencing everyone.
‘Look, the reporters are starting to pick up on it so for now, act…normal.’
‘You’re saying being gay isn’t normal?’ Kiseop screamed. He stood up, clenching his fists and jaw. Kiseop let out a cry of frustration and walked to his room, slamming the door behind him. Right after Kiseop disappeared from the living room Kevin awoke suddenly.
‘What happened? I heard the door,’ Kevin said, looking at everyone. ‘Where’s Kiseop and Eli? Did they go out together?’ Dongho let out a sigh and climbed to his feet. He looked at Kevin and tilted his head toward the rooms, signaling to talk to Kevin privately. Just before Kevin got of the couch Eli stormed through the front door.
‘That…that…oh. Kevin. Here’s your wheelchair,’ Eli said monotonously as he unfolded the chair. He left the chair far from Kevin’s reach and went straight to the bathroom. Dongho groaned softly and helped Kevin onto his wheelchair then went to his room.
‘What happened when I was sleeping Dongho? Tell me now,’ Kevin demanded. Dongho gulped down his saliva and scratched the back of his head.
‘Well…you were sleeping and I didn’t want to disturb you so I carried you upstairs then I met Eli on the way up. He got angry with me for some reason so I asked him to get your wheelchair. Then…um, you know how I said the manager wanted to talk to us?’ Kevin nodded. ‘How do I say this, it was directed to you, Kiseop and Eli.’ Kevin let out a deep sigh. ‘You know what it’s about now, right? He doesn’t want it to go on because the media’s starting to publicise it.’ Dongho put his arm around Kevin’s shoulders and tried to comfort him.
What’s Dongho doing? It’s not that big a deal, right?
Someone entered the room without knocking. It was Hoon. Dongho suddenly got to his feet, only to ram his head into the frame of the top bunk of the bunk bed.
‘Not you too! You told me you liked women!’ Hoon screamed.
‘It’s not like that! I was comforting him, hyung,’ Dongho argued. Kevin looked at Dongho and scrunched his eyebrows.
‘That’s what you were doing?’ he asked. Hoon raised his eyebrows with surprise. Dongho yelled with frustration and plopped on the lower bunk. Hoon let out a slight chuckle and left the room.
‘Dongho, why are you helping me so much? It’s not like you’re involved with this…right?’ Kevin asked nervously. There was no reply, only a shake from the head saying ‘no’. Dongho sat up and gave Kevin a big bear hug and a kiss on the forehead.
With a smile he said, ‘keep this a secret, will you?’ Dongho leaned closer to Kevin’s ear and whispered, ‘I like you, hyung. That’s why I help you so much but I know I can’t win over either Kiseop-hyung or Eli-hyung so I just watch from the sidelines.’ There was a gentle smile spread on Dongho’s face but Kevin could tell he was about to tear up.
‘I’m sorry.’ That was all Kevin said before leaving his room.
That was a little heartless…maybe I should’ve said it in a better way…
‘Ya, we’re going out for dinner so hurry up and get ready!’ Soohyun ordered, putting on a jacket. Kevin had been lying on the couch watching B-grade movies that were on TV.
‘Can’t we just order some chicken? Isn’t that much easier?’ Dongho whined. Eli rolled his eyes and put on a blazer that was sitting on the couch.
‘Let’s hurry then. I’m starting to get really hungry,’ he said, ignoring Dongho’s complaints.
Dongho pouted and mumbled, ‘you’re always hungry, aren’t you?’ to himself.
It was cold outside. With Dongho pushing Kevin’s wheelchair, the boys walked to the nearest restaurant. The streets were bustling; people walking everywhere and the never-ending flow of cars driving past.
‘Waaaaah, it’s like the perfect place for a date!’ Soohyun exclaimed and laughed.
‘You would know, wouldn’t you hyung?’ Kiseop said with a smile on his face. He turned to Kevin and smiled even brighter. Kevin’s heart started to beat faster and his face started to feel warmer. ‘Let’s go have Mexican, I feel like eating some.’
After one mouthful of a spicy Mexican dish, he could feel that this wasn’t the best dish to eat. Even though he swallowed the food, it felt as if it was going to come back up.
With struggle Kevin stuttered, ‘I-I need some air. I don’t think Mexican was such a good idea…’ and wheeled the wheelchair outside of the restaurant. Kiseop followed him, worried. He put his arm on Kevin’s back and crouched down by the wheelchair.
‘Was it really the food?’ Kiseop asked. ‘It seemed more like you were uncomfortable with something.’ Kevin just shook his head and took a deep breath.
I would yell it out to the world that it was completely the food’s fault but my stomach isn’t letting me say anything without spilling out its contents.
‘Hey, can you help carry something for me?’ Someone tall approached the two with a sheepish smile. The boy looked about Dongho’s age, had long, black hair that was mostly covered by a red cap and wore tattered jeans and a grey hoodie. Even though he looked kind, there was something suspicious and mysterious about him. Before Kevin tried to answer Kiseop declined immediately.
‘I’m sorry. As you can see my friend is confined to a wheelchair and I’m his guardian and…’
‘Don’t worry, there’s nothing big or heavy to carry.’ Kiseop was reluctant but agreed. The mysterious boy led Kiseop and Kevin into a dark alley where a car was parked. ‘Okay, give me your money,’ the boy suddenly exclaimed and pulled out something that looked like a long dagger.
‘Look, we don’t want any…’
‘You’re idols, aren’t you?! So…so you must be rich, right?’ There was confusion and hesitance is his voice.
‘Just because we’re idols doesn’t mean we have billions of dollars. Sure, we earn a higher wage but we have to pay for stylists, clothes, training, and at the end of the day we might have a lower wage with all that paying off to do,’ Kevin explained.
‘Sh-shut up! Just give me your money!’ the boy screamed but realized he had to keep his voice down since there was so many people at the end of the alley. It was intimidating, him holding the knife only a metre from Kevin’s throat. Although his hand was shaking, the boy was ready to stab someone unless he gets what he wants.
There’s probably no point in reasoning with him.
‘I didn’t bring my wallet and I left my phone in the restaurant,’ Kevin said as he patted his pockets to check whether there was something in them. The boy turned to Kiseop but kept the knife pointing at Kevin.
‘What about you? Give me your valuables and the cripple doesn’t get hurt.’
CRIPPLE?! How dare he…?!
‘Wow, you’re getting more greedy. What happened to “Give me you money”?’ Kiseop scoffed. The knife started to wave loosely in the boy’s hand in front of Kevin’s throat. ‘C-calm down. I don’t have either of those too. All I’ve got is 2,000 won. Here, take it.’ Kiseop threw the amount on the front of the boy’s feet. ‘Now you’ve got all from us, let us go.’
The boy bent down to pick up the money then suddenly swung his arm and prepared to drive the dagger in Kevin’s chest. Kevin closed his eyes and expected the feeling of a sharp pain to come rushing into his abdomen, like the sharp pain he got when he was in the car crash, but instead he felt liquid splatter on face. When he opened his tightly shut eyes Kiseop was standing right in front of him. There was a dark red stain on the back of Kiseop’s black jacket and the boy was standing with the long dagger driven into Kiseop’s stomach. It took about a minute for Kevin to realise what happened. He touched the liquid that had splattered on his face then looked at his hand, only to see red fluid trickling slowly onto the paved ground. The boy looked almost as horrified as Kevin did. His face had gone pale (which must’ve been paler in the light because it was almost pitch black in the alley) and his whole body was shaking. In panic, he pulled the dagger from Kiseop’s stomach and ran, leaving a small trail of blood behind him.
When Kevin finally came to his senses, at the top of his lungs he screamed, ‘KISEOP!’ The other members must’ve heard him because after a few seconds they came rushing into the dark alley.
‘Kevin, what’s wrong? Where’s…?’ Soohyun’s voice faltered as he soon realised Kiseop was lying on the floor with blood gushing out of his stomach. Eli and Hoon tried to drag Kevin away from Kiseop’s body but he wouldn’t move. Kevin was crying so much the tears fogged up his vision.
Why did this have to happen to Kiseop? Is God really this cruel?
His chest started to hurt and he couldn't breathe properly.
‘LET ME GO! HYUNG DON’T JUST STAND THERE, CALL THE AMBULANCE! DON’T LET HIM DIE, DAMN IT.’ Kevin screamed until his throat started to burn. He wanted to help Kiseop. He couldn’t just let him lie there and bleed to death. Kiseop groaned but didn’t move.
I have to do something…why won’t they just let me help?
‘Calm down, Kevin. The ambulance will be here soon. Breathe for a second, will you?’ Dongho said as he crouched down beside Kevin.
‘HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALM, DONGHO?! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ALL OF YOU?!’ Everything suddenly went quiet. It was so quiet Kevin could hear Kiseop’s soft panting.
He’s loosing his breath. He’s gasping for air now. Where the hell is the ambulance…?
All of Kevin’s energy had been drained. He couldn’t breathe properly anymore. The tears kept flowing down his face. All that pain…it was too much to handle. Sirens started to become louder and louder-the ambulance had arrived. Soohyun picked up Kiseop’s aching body and started heading towards the main street and out of the alley. Eli had pinned Kevin to the ground while Dongho and Hoon followed Soohyun.
‘Why. Won’t. You. Let. Go. Of. Me?’ Kevin shouted with the little breath that he had. Eli looked Kevin in the eye and leaned closer to him.
‘I don’t want you to go after him.’ Kevin was speechless. He stopped tensing his muscles and relaxed.
This is really too much.
‘Why do you even…like him?’ Eli asked. He looked deadly serious but his eyes were extremely sad.
‘What does it matter to you?’ Kevin said, regaining his strength.
‘EVERYTHING TO DO WITH YOU MATTERS TO ME. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO UNDERSTAND?’