|Potpourri Après Dix
||[Jan. 5th, 2014|11:18 pm]
Title: Potpourri Après Dix (Ten Years Later)
Pairing(s): DooWoon, JunWoon
Word Count: 4,864
Summary: Dongwoon’s wounds hear what they’ve been pining to hear for ten years.
Somehow, someway, you’ve given enough of a damn to care about what happened to poor, disillusioned Son Dongwoon. You’ve wondered what he’s been up to, how he’s been doing, you know, the usual bull. Well, I’ll give you the rundown, since you’re already here and kinda waiting. My life’s nothing exciting, really. You’re in for a letdown. But if you wanna know then I’ll fill you in. I should be formal…
Ahem. Hello, again. I’m Son Dongwoon, otherwise known as the former member—the beloved, sparkly-eyed maknae—of the singing group BEAST. The non-Korean one, or the one with the Caucasian features, or the Arabian features, shit, I don’t know, take your pick. I’ve heard ‘em all. But yeah, remember me? Of course you do. If not, that’s pretty much all you need to know. Now let’s fast forward ten long years.
I’m currently thirty-two-years-old. I’m not married, I’ve never been married. I have no children. I’m not dating. I’m not interested in dating. I’m just single.
Like I said, not much has changed. I still look the same, I would say. Still tall, handsome me.
What do I do… ah. I live on the outskirts of Seoul. I work in the city, though. I commute there every day. I’m a waiter at an upscale restaurant and I work for an insurance firm. Sound fun to you? It’s hellishly redundant. Yeah, I wasn’t as lucky as the other hyungs. I’ll get to them in a second.
I live with my roommate of two years. He’s a foreigner, a budding businessman from England, working in Seoul. His name’s George. He’s pretty cute—six years my junior—but upon agreeing that he’d stay with me, I didn’t know he was in “complete asshole” mode most of the time. I should’ve checked that out, I guess. As we’ve gotten to know one another over the years, we’ve gotten much cozier in the friendly sense. He likes to push my buttons every now and then, but he knows his limits. In our early days we helped each other further our English- and Korean-speaking abilities. We’re very fluent now. We speak both languages in the apartment, occasionally mixing the two. He was a very quick learner…
So, how are the hyungs doin’?
Great: Kikwang’s the star of his own morning talk show. He’s been doing pretty well—it’s been running for five years now. I watch it occasionally before I go to work if I don’t have to fight George for the remote. Kiki’s divorced, but he has two kids—little girls. If all of them smiled, you wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. Yoseob’s a vocal coach for aspiring child artists. He’s the best in the business right now—he has no kids of his own, though. Hyunseung owns his own fashion boutique and clothing line. The man’s always had good taste in threads, so no wonder. He’s single and still in the closet. Junhyung’s become a big music mogul. Super famous. Well-known. He wants to start his own record label, eventually. He’s single, no surprise there. He brings me the butterflies… Things ended so abruptly between us that my feelings for him have never stopped—sorry, rambling.
Anywho, Doojoon’s an actor slash family man. Married, with a five-year-old son. He’s all over the big screens. You really can’t miss ‘im and his wide-ass, pearly-white grin.
And then here’s me, Dongwoon, famous waiter slash insurer. Doin’ it big.
Anyway, we all try to keep in touch every now and then. I say I hear from them about once every two weeks—them being Hyunseung, Yoseob, Kikwang and Junhyung. They even come to the restaurant where I work, and I would wait on them and spend some time catching up. I am very proud of each and every one of them. There isn’t an ounce of envy and resentment in my bones for either of them. They’ve all worked hard to get where they are now, so how could I resent them for that?
I don’t talk to Doojoon. And you know why. Or you should.
I still haven’t forgiven Doojoon for what he’s done to me. No. No I have not. Seeing his face—his happy family—sickens me to my gut, to a point where I’d physically get nauseous just looking at him and hearing his voice. Nope. I’ve never forgiven him. Never.
Never. And I’ll be honest about it, it eats me up every day. And that’s no figure of speech. I literally feel it eating the plasma of my spirit every day.
It eats me and it hurts me. He never told me “why.” If I was told why, maybe I could’ve had a chance to get over this. Maybe I wouldn’t be promiscuous. Maybe I wouldn’t drink so much. Maybe I wouldn’t smoke. Maybe I would’ve had a decent life with a decent lover. Maybe maybe maybe fucking maybe.
But I’ll never know.
I’ll never even know.
Well, sorry. Time’s up. The usual hyungs and I have a lunch date set up this afternoon in a couple minutes—we’re meeting at Seobie’s garden.
Or… unless you wanna tag along? I’m sure they wouldn’t mind it.
“Heeeey Wooooon~” Seobie greets, clinging to me like a baby sloth with Velcro for hands. He still looks like a baby~
Hyunseung and Kiki are here, already. It’s just like old times. Almost. Junhyung’s invited, but he’s not here yet. We all get our hugs in, and then we simmer down into our seats.
Seobie’s garden is monstrous. It’s hard to believe he keeps it up all by himself. There’s nothing but green and plants with long, scientific names, and every color blossom you could conjure up. In the middle of it all is this petite, round, glassy table appearing to be carved from some unworldly crystal ice. The chairs are of the same material. I’m very surprised that I haven’t broken one yet. I’m prone to breaking things. Great, now I’m nervous.
There’s a porcelain tray of little finger foods on the table. And I’m kindaa starving so I snag a couple. I’m amazed that Seob doesn’t swat my hands. He likes for everyone to be present before eating.
“How’s life, Woonie?” Seung asks, also treating himself to a few cookies… or biscuits… I don’t know.
“The same,” I grab one of the cookie things and I let it soak in the tea. I’ve had the same answer for about two years.
“Really? Nothing new?”
“Nothing out of the ordinary?” chimes Seob.
I don’t know why they seemed surprised. My life’s not very eventful. Makes me wonder why they still associate with me at times… But speaking on all things eventful, the hyungs fill me in on their lives. Kikwang talks about his girls starting preschool and how much of a nervous wreck he is. Seung speaks excitedly on his debut into the spring swimsuit line as a designer. Seobie introduces us to one of his star clients and hints about making him his personal protégé. I listen to all of their marvelous adventures with a genuine smile…
…yet, it kind of retells how much of an actual loser I am. How much of a loser I turned out to be. That’s the downer in all this…
“Ahhh, there he is. Fashionably late, as usual,” Seobie comments, looking up and over my head. I turn around, and a very casually-well-dressed Junhyung’s walking up the smooth, stone path. His grin acts like some kind of crazy, invisible beam that shoots me dead in my heart and lungs and just about everywhere else that’s vital. He greets everyone with a pat to the back.
“Hey Woonie,” he mutters, as if our greeting must be kept secret. His hand does not pat my back. It rubs it. He takes his place, sitting across from me diagonally. The butterflies are upset. Dammit.
Junhyung gets his turn to blurb on his personal happenings. He’s looking forward to more national projects and to working with some of the fresh talent he’s discovered. He’s planning on having another tour again soon; he complains about all of the exercise he’ll have to endure, though. Hyung may be up there in age, but he’s still got it. I’ve personally purchased all his CDs. He’s the best…
“Sooo… um, Woon.”
I flinch out of my daydreaming. Kikwang’s gotta question.
“Have you talked with Doojoon at all?”
“No.” It’s been yea—Wait, why are we talking about Doojoon? We never talk about Doojoon—at least not while I’m present.
“He was on the show yesterday,” Kikwang comments, daintily sipping his tea. Ah. That’s why he brought him up. I knew there was something.
“For real?” I try to sound interested.
“Yeah, didn’t you see?” Hyunseung jumps in.
“No. George wanted to tune in to one of his British shows or whatever. He wouldn’t give up the remote.” Rather, I didn’t want to exert the energy needed to fight him for it. But it’s a good thing I didn’t see the show. I probably would’ve shattered the TV with the remote.
“Well… He was talking about you. He says he misses you…”
“Whatever.” I throw back my head and down the rest of my tea. I need something stronger.
Kikwang’s lips buckle tightly, “Dongwoon… Don’t you think this has gone on long enou—?”
Everyone’s suddenly staring at me crazy. I soon realize it is not because I just shouted like some suicidal maniac, but I had slammed down Yoseob’s priceless tea cup so abruptly that it shattered on the table.
“Fuck. Fuck, fuck. Seob I-I-I’m sorry,” I sputter, gathering the pieces and sweeping them into a pile, as if that would make them magically stitch together, “I-I’ll replace it. I can have the money to you by tomorrow.”
“Woonie, that’s unnecessary. I’ll buy a new one, now stop before you cut yourself.”
Hyung’s orders… I stop. And then I feel stupid. Ugggh, why am I always the weird one? I’ve always been the weird one.
“Maybe I should go—”
“—Dongwoon, stay. We need to talk about this. You need to talk about this. It’ll be good for you.”
My hand itches.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
No, it really itches.
“‘Cause I don’t want to talk about it,” I dive in my pocket for my cigarettes and lighter. A stick’s between my lips faster than you can blink. I have to flick the lighter a few times. I’m almost out of juice, but I get a nice, fat flame. I desperately suck a few times, and my hand stops itching for a minute. I sink slowly back into the chair, puffing.
Yoseob sighs, “Woonie. You know I hate that.”
I exhale, “What? We’re outside, it’s not hurting anybody.”
“I don’t care. I don’t want to see it. Put it out. Get rid of it.”
Seobie’s voice drops dangerously. It’s scary. His eyes are sharpened with hyung-ish authority. So are the others’, particularly Junhyung’s. He appears the most agitated, but his eyes carry understanding. I groan, putting out the cig. He doesn’t like me smoking. None of ‘em do, really, but Seob’s the only one who will bring it up to me.
“Well can we stop talking about Doojoon, please? Then maybe I won’t have to smoke.”
“Why are you doing this to yourself, sweetie?” Seobie rubs my back.
“You all know why. ‘Cause he… he hurt me,” is the only response I can verbally give. Because all of the events from way back when begin to play in full, vivid color before the films of my eyes. And all I see is a stupid, naked me choked with sheets, sweaty, confused, and alone. I stare at my naked self until the image is blurred. I force the moisture back into my tear ducts. I’m not having an episode here. I refuse.
Hyunseung grabs my hand, “You know you don’t have to turn to that… You can talk to us, and we’ll listen, Woon. We’ll be there for you—”
“Thanks, but I can handle stuff on my own.”
I slip Seung’s hand out of mine. I secondly rake a good wad of napkins together and I dab up the fjord of tea I created on the table. Seobie offers me more but I politely deny. Anyway, the get together progresses without any more spontaneous outbursts or breaking of porcelain tea cups. I kind of keep to myself and to my thoughts. I nod when appropriate, and I plaster on smile after smile. False smiles hurt.
I flinch again. Junhyung calls my name this time. He jerks his head over his right shoulder.
Junhyung and I leave the table. Our private stroll around the garden begins. I’m gonna get an earful, I’m sure.
“So what happened to ‘getting help?’” Junhyung questions, referring to my little five-year habit. I promised a month ago to them. I promised I would seek help in quitting the stick, but we all know how that goes.
“I’m gonna quit eventually—”
“That’s exactly what you said a month ago, Woon.”
“You just can’t up and quit, Junhyung,” I lower my voice, wary of the others not knowing of Junhyung’s brief relationship with the sticks, “you of all people know that.”
“But you can try.”
“I suppose I can—”
Junhyung snatches my wrists and holds me in place.
“No. You will.”
I blink; my lashes have a fit and my eyes are big and fat. Junhyung relaxes physically, but his gaze is as defined and aggressive. And sad.
“Please… try. Or at least lemme help you. Woon. You know what could happen to you if you keep this up. That’s why you need to quit it while you can… it’s not easy, no, but I’m here for you. I’m not gonna let you give up on this.”
I can’t even look at him while he basically sobs to me that he can’t take me smoking. Funny, life’s twists are.
“I’m sorry,” is pretty much all I can say. Or all that’ll come out. I can’t really focus.
‘Cause my hand itches really bad.
Okay. So the last three days have been a complete fucking emotional, disastrous roller coaster from the lowest level of hell.
Check it: What Kikwang didn’t tell me at our little meeting earlier was that he freely gave my number to Yoon effing Doojoon backstage after his show. Not just my cell number, ‘cause that apparently wasn’t enough information. He gave out my home number to him, too. So now he’s been calling and texting and calling and calling, wanting to get in touch with me so we could talk.
At first, I wanted nothing to do with him. But then, he called and left a message that said, “Would you like to have a drink together? How does this evening work for you?”
So I figured, hell, if he’s treating, then why not? I like to drink. Who doesn’t like to drink?
That’s where I fucked up.
So then, he picked me up. And everything was awkward. He was taking to me as if we were bestest buddies and nothing ever happened between us. That bothers the fuck out of me when people do that. So I was just imagining shit up? I’m delusional? Eh.
And he actually took me to his house instead of a damned restaurant like I was expecting. His wife and son were who knows where, so it was just me and him under his wide, white roof. I was trapped at this point. Well, he did keep his promise and said I could have anything I’d like in his extensive, godly collection—and I very much did. He wasn’t drinking anything, now that I look back on it in hindsight. That should’ve been a red freaking flag, but I was too busy treating myself to his exported liquors. We talked some—about what I can’t recall—but it was decent conversation from what little I could remember.
Now, and don’t judge me, but after having a few drinks, Doojoon and I ended up having sex. And I hate to say it, but I have built a high tolerance for alcohol, so I was completely aware of my decision to sleep with Doojoon. And I—my body never hesitated. I never took a breath and mentally stepped back and thought, “this is wrong,” or, “what the fuck are you doing!?” or “he’s married,” or, “this is the man who’s caused you so much pain, and here you are sleeping with him.”
I readily gave it up.
I could not believe that after all this time of me swearing to myself that I’d never let anyone else get the best of me, or get that close to me, I ended up doing it, anyway. And with Doojoon.
When I came to that realization, I felt so bad I threw up, and then I demanded that Doojoon take me home. And that’s where we are now…………
I shut his car door tight. I don’t know who to be more upset with: myself or Doojoon.
Well I say Doojoon ‘cause he’s old enough and should know better.
“Dongwoon let’s just talk about this,” he shouts from his car.
I whip out my keys, yelling in retort, “There’s nothing to talk about.” I’m so distraught I’m fidgeting and I can’t even stay still long enough to slip the key inside the keyhole. That’s when Doojoon takes me from behind, holds me, turns my head and kisses me. And I kiss back once—but I catch myself and I dig my teeth into his lip. He hollers for a few moments; that move alone physically frees me.
“Keep your fucking hands off me, Doojoon.”
George answers the door. He appears plausibly puzzled.
“Dongwoon? You alright?”
I guess he must have heard all of the ruckus from outside. I brush past him, “I’m perfect.”
Doojoon tries to walk inside of the apartment, but George halts him at the door.
“Who’s this?” George asks. English.
“An old acquaintance of mine,” I switch back to my native tongue as I turn to Doojoon, “This is my roommate, George. George, Doojoon.”
George forces his hand forward and bows politely, but still being suspicious, “Nice to meet you, Doojoon sir.”
“Very nice to meet you, too, George,” Doojoon replies fluently, “May I please come in? I… I really need to say something to Dongwoon. Please.”
“Mmm… I’m not quite sure that he’d like to see you right now—”
“It’s alright, George. You can let him in.”
So with my consent, George grants Doojoon permission inside. I guess I’ll let him say whatever it is that he has to say, then kick him out. And I’ll have to get the numbers changed first thing tomorrow morning.
“Could you give us some privacy, George?” I ask him.
“Ohyeahyeahsure! No problem!”
With that, George scampers off into one of our spare rooms and shuts the door. I hurriedly pour me some bourbon, then I turn around to face Doojoon, who is standing close by.
“Say what you have to say and leave.”
“I’m not happy in my marriage,” he confesses in one quick breath.
That was quick.
I mentally choke on my beverage. But actually, I swallow what I have in my mouth, and I calmly wipe my mouth with my wrist. I play it cool.
“……aaaaaand?” I drag out, “What exactly is it that you want me to say? Do you want advice, because I’m not the best person to get advice from. You might wanna ask Kikwa—”
“—You know what I mean.”
I set down my drink. I can feel myself getting a little furious. I’ve been waiting for this moment, but he’s not saying it right: my apology. The apology I’ve never gotten.
“No, Doojoon. No, I don’t know what you mean. So stop pussyfootin’ around and come out with it.”
“I mean that I love you, and I’m in love with you, and I’m not. happy. I haven’t been happy for a long time—for years, Dongwoon. I’ve tried everything, and I can’t go through with this anymore. I… I-I even thought having this kid would make everything better, but, it’s still the same. Everything’s still the same and I’m not happy.”
“And why are you telling me this for?”
Doojoon kneels in front of me. His eyes are big. It’s kinda funny.
“Oh here we—is this one of your fucking acts? Because it’s not funny, and I don’t think it’s cute.”
“Dongwoon, please listen to me…”
“Why are you on your knees like some fuckin’ prince? You’re not a prince. You may play a prince on one of your little sitcoms or whatever, but you’re far from a prince—”
“Dong. Woon,” and Doojoon pauses for a breath—or for dramatics, I don’t know and don’t give a fuck, “there isn’t a day where I don’t think about you. I’ve been living a lie for nearly ten years, and it ends today. Suppressing my love for you has been the greatest, nameable mistake in my life, and I think on it every day that I’m not with you. I’m sorry that I wasn’t man enough for you all that time back, that I wasn’t strong enough to just come out and say that you were my lover, and that my heart was truly with yours. I was a coward, and I hurt you because of my dishonesty with myself and my feelings, and for that I am deeply, deeply sorry. I’m sorry that I couldn’t have been more for you, and that I lied in order to protect myself and look out for myself. But I’m done with that way of thinking. I’m done. I’m here now, and I’m willing to risk it all in order to get us back—”
“—Doojoon get out of my face with this bullshit.”
And he blinks like a stupid puppy. I maneuver around him to be out in more open space. I pace the room a little bit—his words are all swirled around in my head and it hurts, “You are seriously doing this right now… seriously. You’re seriously doing this… You’re seriously doing this!! ‘Ohh, this isn’t working out with her so I’ll go back to what was actually working which was my relationship with Dongwoon that I myself destroyed.’ Is that how you rationalized this? You should’ve done this sooner. Way sooner. You can’t just up and forsake your wife—your child—for me, because you so call ‘love me’ now. But what can I say, you’d ruin their lives if it only meant that you’d be happy. Boy, I know that story all too well—”
“Dongwoon you don’t understand at all. Things are different now. If you’d just liste—”
“—You fuckin’ listen this time. You listen. Ten years ago, I would’ve done anything for you. Anything. I would’ve given anything just to have you, Doojoon. Just to keep your eyes on me, whether it was for a minute or a month longer. But you let me go. You made the decision that you didn’t want our relationship. You didn’t want me that badly. You never wanted me that badly; I was never your top priority. Oh, but now you’re unhappy, huh? Now being with her is not all it’s cracked up to be. You could’ve avoided all of this shit you’re feeling now if you would’ve been real with me and yourself from the fucking start. And now you feel it, don’t you? That twinge of anger inside you, the guilt, the hurt, the realization that all you’d ever wanted was right before you all that fucking time but you refused to take it because you were scared. You killed your own happiness, Doojoon, and it just breaks your heart, because now you know you will never have it—ever—and you will remain in your unhappy marriage with your wife and your child because you don’t even have the balls to ask for a divorce. None of this… none of this would’ve happened if you would’ve just…….”
I’m losing it.
“I would’ve given anything just to be in her place, Doojoon… to be your princess. Don’t you understand…? Anything. How couldn’t you see that…? You could’ve put everything on me and I would’ve happily taken the public’s bullets for you… I would’ve sacrificed myself for your happiness. I loved you more than I loved my very existence… but I’m glad I didn’t throw it all away for you—a coward. You have destroyed me, and I will not give you the opportunity to strike me again. Get out of my apartment and don’t you ever come back. Ev-er.”
George even opens the door for him, smiling giddily. Truthfully, I neither heard nor saw him leave the other room. But Doojoon’s stubborn ass didn’t leave immediately. He never does things the easy way.
“I love you, Dongwoon. I loved you back then, and I love you now. You may not believe me, but I know some part of you does. You have to—”
“OI. Dongwoon’s upset, and you’re upsettin’ ‘im even more. Didn’t he tell you he didn’t want to hear any more o’ that shit? He told you to get the fuck out, so why don’t you get the fuck out? Do you want me t’ help you?”
Doojoon understands George’s angry English wholly, because he’s out the door in seconds. When that door closes, all of the strength I have is whisked out of my throat and bones and I just collapse to the floor like a puddle. I start to cry.
He left me again.
George pulls me together in a loose yet comfy hug.
“Hey, hey. You’re alright. C’mon. You’re alright.”
“It took him this. fucking. long to realize that!? Why did it take him so long!?! Why did it have to take so long to say ‘I’m sorry!?’”
“You said it yourself: He’s a coward—he was puttin’ it off. Look, you did and said the right things back there. If you’d gotten back together with him, lord knows what other little lies he would tell to you, an’ you don’t need that. You don’t want that in your life, d’you?”
I nod “no.”
“See there? Now c’mon. Get up off o’ this floor. Up, up… there ya go…”
George makes a drink for himself before joining me on the sofa. He brings mine back from the counter.
“No problem. Sooo… I guess this is the reason why you’ve never really talked about this Doojoon guy.”
“Yeah,” I take a sip.
“So let me get this straight: from what I couldn’t have helped but overhear, you two were once lovers—”
“I’ll save you the headache. A loooong, long time ago, Doojoon and I were together, but secretly. We were lovers, yes. He also had a girlfriend, whom was in the public eye. What the public didn’t and still doesn’t know is that we were a couple as well. We’d been together for five years, but for whatever fucking reason, Doojoon had to go and get himself a girl. Well, I was tired of being kept in the dark. If Doojoon truly loved me, he would’ve came out to everyone about our relationship, and how serious we were. But he never did. Throughout our relationship, he promised me that I was at the top of his list. He loved me and fed me lie after lie about this chick and I being on equal grounds. We were in no ways equal, by the way, going by how differently he treated us. I was tired of being shoved back in the dark, and one day, I decided to end it all. The end.”
“Ah, so now he wants you back.”
“He had his chance ten years ago and he frankly fucked it up, and… and really… that’s what angers me. We could have been so much… we could’ve…”
“Don’t go thinking like that, Woon. You’ll drive yourself crazy. What we do know is that it’s been ten years, and Doojoon’s missed his chance. If he really wanted you, he would have never let you go in the first place. Right?”
“…Yeah. Maybe.” I don’t know.
“Don’t spend another ten years entertaining thoughts about ‘im. His story’s over. Why not… give someone else a try?”
The boy’s right. Painfully right. I have no other option but to move on now, lest I want to spend the rest of my life dangling by puppeteer Yoon Doojoon’s dangling threads.
“Eh, well first, I’d like to quit smoking. Then ,maybe I’ll ‘entertain’ getting into a relationship.” Although I don’t know why I’m picking and choosing. Either one is going to kill me, just about.
With lots of passion, George perks up and drags me onto his laptop to look for some tips, methods, and doable first steps for newly-quitting smokers. I write down a few that piques my curiosity, as does George.
His list ends up being longer than mine.