The sunlight woke him as it slowly became brighter and brighter. He tried to stretch out his arms but knocked them against metal bars on each side of him. Kevin tried to hold back a scream of pain. He looked around and found himself in a hospital ward.
‘Oh, you’re awake?’ a familiar voice asked. The sunlight shun behind him, making the blurry figure in front of him glow. As Kevin’s eyes adjusted to the light, his eyes grew larger. Kiseop was smiling at Kevin, looking deep into his eyes.
‘K-Kiseop? You’re okay!’ Kevin yelled with joy and hugged him, his grip tight around Kiseop.
‘Don’t worry, I was fine from the beginning,’ Kiseop laughed.
Don’t lie; you were lying on the floor like a fish that stopped gasping for air after being thrown out of the water.
‘He left earlier. I’m pretty sure the nurse said he slept next to you while holding on to your hands,’ Kiseop said with a rather jealous look on his face. Kevin nodded but avoided eye contact. ‘Are you okay, Kevin?’ Kiseop asked, reaching for his chin but Kevin flinched and flicked Kiseop’s hand away.
‘S-sorry, reflexes,’ he lied.
What’s gotten in to me? Why did I do that?
Kevin tried to change the subject but Kiseop would just come back and ask why he flicked his hand away.
‘Are you sick? Did you get hit somewhere?’
‘Kiseop, I’m fine,’ Kevin tried convincing him. That didn’t work at all. Kevin was just flooded with more of those questions until his head started aching from it.
‘What’s gotten in to you, Kevin?’
That’s what I’d like to know.
‘I’m sorry, but can you leave for a bit? I think I’m starting to get a headache.’
‘I’ll get a doctor,’ he insisted. Kevin shook his head and gave Kiseop a fake smile. He left the room and closed the door behind him. Kevin ruffled his hair and groaned. He felt like ripping the hair off his head because he was just so confused. He wasn’t so sure what he was confused about but he just was. With a tightly clenched fist, Kevin began pounding pillow. His confusion wasn’t lessening but at least he was feeling more relieved.
‘Kevin hyung,’ Dongho called from the entrance of the ward. ‘I brought you some food.’ The overwhelming smell of fried chicken filled the room. Dongho had that usual cheeky grin on his face, as if he was always pranking someone. ‘Are you feeling better?’ Kevin just nodded and dug into the food. I heard saw what you did to Kiseop earlier.’ Hearing that, Kevin nearly choked on his chicken.
‘You saw it? B-but no one except Kiseop was there.’
Dongho let out a silent chuckle and whispered, ‘I was standing at the door peering through a gap. That was when I was going to bring the food in but I decided to look to see whether anyone was in there and coincidentally, you pushed him away.’ Kevin gulped down half a glass of water. ‘Who do you want, hyung?’ Dongho lifted an eyebrow and looked Kevin in the eye as if he was trying to read his mind.
‘I don’t understand,’ Kevin muttered. Dongho nodded and pursed his lips.
‘That’s what they all say but you can’t fool me, hyung. I’m smarter than you think.’ Kevin let out a deep sigh and looked away from Dongho.
‘I’m so confused. One minute I was in love with Kiseop, next minute I’m being pulled like a rope in tug-of-war. I can’t seem to make up my mind.’ Dongho stroked Kevin’s hair then suddenly flicked his forehead. ‘What the hell what that for?’
‘For being so stupid.’
‘You shouldn’t talk to your hyung like that.’
‘You shouldn’t play with people’s hearts so carelessly. It’s really scandalous, you know?’ A smile spread on Dongho’s face but Kevin knew he was serious. Dongho waited for a reply but nothing came out of Kevin’s mouth except for a couple of coughs. ‘I’ve already told you this billions of times but listen again. You can’t stay with both of them and you know that. Why do you still…?’ Dongho didn’t finish his sentence but Kevin understood what he meant; it’s just that he didn’t know how to reply. He glanced over at Dongho and couldn’t help but notice the tears that were starting to form around his big round eyes.
Trying to change the subject, Kevin chirped, ‘let’s get some ice-cream!’ Dongho pouted and frowned.
‘It’s winter. Only a crazy person would eat ice-cream in this weather.’
‘You just realised I’m crazy?’ Kevin laughed. Dongho let out a chuckle and ruffled Kevin’s hair.
‘Let’s go then!’
As Kevin approached the gelato store in his wheelchair with Dongho pushing him, a rush of schoolgirls began crowding them.
‘Kevin oppa, are you okay?!’ a few of them screamed. They pushed and shoved, trying to get a better view of Kevin since he was the one sitting down. Dongho was getting worried, so started to slowly push the wheelchair forward.
‘I’m sorry, but Kevin isn’t in his best state so please refrain from touching him,’ Dongho said with his loudest but calmest voice he had. The schoolgirls stopped for a second then started making a move for Dongho. ‘The same goes for me!’ he quickly yelled. Many of the girls groaned in disappointment but others still stared at the two with star-struck eyes.
‘Thanks Dongho,’ Kevin muttered when Dongho bent down to check on him. Dongho just gave him a gentle, warm smile and ordered ice-cream for the both of them.
While they ate, Kevin and Dongho told each other more about their families. It hadn’t really been the best topic to talk about when they debuted so they decided that they should open up now. Although Kevin’s family was currently staying in San Francisco, he calls them almost every night, regardless of how tired or sick he was. Dongho’s family, on the other hand, lived very near U-KISS’ dorm. Every weekend, Dongho would spend the night there, taking care of his mother while his father worked abroad. Both Kevin and Dongho had faced many hardships in life but it was all worth it. Where they are today-making music for the world to listen and the world cheering them on, it’s like a dream come true for the two boys.
They bonded, minutes passing by extremely quickly. They talked more about their pastimes, likes and dislikes and favourite things. The conversation seemed to have lasted forever but it was memorable. It made Kevin forget all of his worries and also made him feel somewhat free. All that happiness he gained during that time, he’s never had that feeling in so long. The joy it brought him was almost eternal; but of course, it was momentary. Kevin felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. It was a message. He read it and gulped down his saliva.
“Kevin, where are you? I came back to the hospital to check on you but you weren’t there. Also, do you know where Dongho went? That rascal’s always running off without telling anyone.”
What if Eli found us here? Would he do something like what he did to Kiseop?
‘Is it Eli hyung? Just tell him, “I’m having ice-cream with Dongho. Don’t be mad, I’ll be back at the hospital soon.” That’s all you have to say, really.’ Kevin wished it was that easy but replied what Dongho told him to write anyway.
‘You sure it’s going to work?’ Kevin looked at his phone hoping there wouldn’t be a reply but shortly after he turned his gaze away it vibrated in his hand. He turned his attention to Dongho, hoping he would say something but all he did was nodded towards the phone signaling to read the message.
“Sure, but don’t keep me waiting for too long~ Or else I’m going to starve to death (TдT)”
A sigh of relief escaped Kevin’s mouth. Dongho laughed and mumbled, ‘what did I tell you?’ and stood up. ‘C’mon. I’ll walk you back to the hospital.’ He gave Kevin a bright yet sad smile and began pushing the wheelchair out of the gelato store.
‘You didn’t do anything funny with him when you two were alone, right?’ Eli raised his eyebrow with suspicion but then broke into a laugh. Eli had been waiting outside the hospital’s main entrance in the snow just for Kevin’s return.
Dongho pretended to looked shocked and screamed, ‘Ah, hyung! I’m not like you, you know?’ which earned him a punch in the arm. ‘I was only joking!’ he cried as he rubbed his sore shoulder. While Eli and Dongho talked a little, Kevin felt slightly relieved for some reason.
‘Oh, Eli! Thanks for bringing me to the hospital last night.’ Kevin said brightly with a genuine smile. In return, he just got a warming smile from Eli but it didn’t feel completely sincere. He could see tears starting to form near his eyes, but Kevin decided not to say anything.
I wonder why he’s crying?
‘Well, I better take my leave. I’ll let you two have some quality time together,’ Dongho exclaimed as he stretched out his arms for a hug but all he got was a flick in the forehead by Eli. He nearly lost his balance but Kevin caught his hand. ‘Thanks hyung,’ he muttered nervously. Kevin felt butterflies in his stomach when he grabbed onto Dongho hand. He never felt anything like that before. His heartbeat began to race, beating faster by the second. ‘Hyung, you can let go now.’ Dongho shook his hand lightly so Kevin’s began to slip off.
‘S-sorry, I was daydreaming.’ Eli placed his hand on Dongho’s shoulder and bid him farewell.
‘I’ll see you back at the dorm later,’ Dongho called out to Eli as he walked down the steps at the front of the hospital’s doors. Kevin felt a sudden sadness fill his heart. He wasn’t sure why but he wanted to run after Dongho (well, ‘wheel’ after him).
‘I’m so sorry, Eli. Tell Kiseop I’m sorry too, if you see him later,’ Kevin said as he started to push his wheelchair down the ramp that was covered with a thin layer of snow. Once Kevin was out of sight, Kiseop appeared next to Eli.
‘There he goes. At least everyone can be happy now,’ he muttered, his voice starting to choke back his tears. Eli wrapped his arms around Kiseop’s waist and kissed him.
‘Don’t cry. You’ve got me, don’t you?’ Eli said with a smile spread across his face.
‘Dongho!’ Kevin cried when he was a few metres behind the boy. Dongho stopped in his tracks and turned around with a surprised face.
‘Kevin? W-why…?’ his eyes were red and slightly puffy from crying.
Kevin grinned and replied happily, ‘I forgot to tell you something.’ He waved at Dongho, telling him to come closer. As he bent down to hear what was so important, Kevin pulled his head closer and kissed Dongho on the lips after muttering three words: I. Love. You.