Title: N.B.S.B. Rating: PG13 Pairing: Yunho/Jaejoong (and bits of Yoochun/Junsu) Summary: Kim Jaejoong was 23 years old and has had no boyfriend since birth. Enter Jung Yunho and an offer he can't refuse. A/N: Um, first ever DBSK fanfic so please be nice? ^^ This is also unbetaed so I apologize for any mistakes I made. Disclaimer: Real people belong to themselves so I guess I can't own them ever.


Jung Yunho took another sip of his wine as he discretely looked at his watch. 8:10pm. The woman across from him was still talking, telling him about the time her pet poodle died from suffocation. “Fifi wasn’t breathing.” She sniffed. “No one noticed that she was locked at the compartment of my Volvo all this time.”

She was the daughter of a client. They had met at the New Year’s Eve bash that the Jung Corporation had thrown last week, one of the most talked about in the city. Entrance to the party was by invitation and guests included foreign ambassadors, celebrities, and socialites, to name a few. The bash was held at the Seasons Hotel, the most well-known of Jung Corporation’s chain of hotels. Food was served by a chef who specifically flew from Paris for the event, music was provided for by the Seoul Music Symphony, and booze was passed all around. Yunho had been drunk and she had been easy.

She flipped her black hair away from her face, her almond-shaped eyes brimming with tears. “Fifi’s been with me since she was a year old. She’s been with me through everything!”

“I’m sure she has.” Yunho said, reminding himself that Kang Mi Hwan has entrusted Jung Corporation with the construction of his resort in Jeju Island. Entertaining his daughter was the least he could do. “You’ll find some other pet, Hee Jin-shii.”

Below the table, Kang Hee Jin removed her left foot from her sandals, brushing it over Yunho’s. “Do you think so, Yunho-shii? Fifi’s been my only comfort whenever I feel depressed.”

Her foot was rubbing over his legs now, slowly and teasingly, coming closer to his thighs. “Yes, I believe so.”

Growing bolder, Hee Jin’s face came closer to his, lips brushing his before leaning to whisper in his ear. “Would you be my comfort then, Jung Yunho-shii?”

Before Yunho could reply, the waiter suddenly appeared, holding a big box open for the whole restaurant to see. In the middle were a necklace and a pair of earrings, the necklace formed by little Swarovski beads of a sapphire colour. The earrings were also

encrusted with those same Swarovski beads, still of sapphire, both twinkling under the lights of the restaurant.

“Just in time, Donghae.” Yunho removed the necklace from the box and clasped it on Hee Jin’s neck. “Just as I thought. It suits you.”

Kang Hee Jin touched the necklace. “This is for me?”

“Of course.” Yunho then got the two earrings, came closer to Hee Jin, putting them on each of her ears. Once he was done, Yunho whispered. “It’s my farewell gift after all.”

Hee Jin’s mouth dropped open. “What-”

Yunho smiled at her. “You don’t honestly think that there’s going to be a next time, did you?” He kissed her cheek. “Send your father my regards, would you?”

And with that, Jung Yunho stood up and left the restaurant. Kang Hee Jin remained where she was, hands still on the necklace.

The waiter named Donghae, on the other hand, put the bill on the table.


“Did you see that? The nerve of that guy!”

Two tables away, Kim Jaejoong watched the whole exchange, knife and fork slicing his tenderloin into tiny little pieces.

“The girl doesn’t seem too depressed, though. Must be the jewelry.”


Kim Kibum rolled his eyes. “Seriously, Jae, instead of worrying about other people’s business, you should mind your own. Maybe then you could actually give me a decent love story.”

“I have writer’s block!”

Kibum sighed. “As your editor, I don’t understand why you would want to write a romance novel. Your mysteries and suspense thrillers have been doing so well.”

Jaejoong put down his knife and fork. “I just want to try something different, Kibum. Something that would make my readers feel fluffy and happy. A story that they could dream about every night instead of giving them nightmares. A story that will have a happily-ever-after instead of everyone dying-”

Kibum put a hand up. Jaejoong’s face had a far-away and glazed expression. “I get it. So, have you written something yet? Anything?”

Jaejoong’s expression turned grave. “None.”

“Kim Jaejoong!”

“I’m trying!” Jae wailed. “It’s just…I never thought writing a love story could be so hard. I have this image in my head but whenever I put it into words, the emotions and the feelings are just not there!”

There was silence as Kibum contemplated their next move. His boss was getting impatient and it showed during their meeting. A Kim Jaejoong novel was scheduled to be published within the next six months. The meeting had finished just in time for Kibum to invite Jaejoong for dinner and discuss what’s going to happen next.

“Maybe…” Kibum voiced out. “Maybe it’s because you’ve never felt it before.”

Jaejoong blinked at him. “Huh?”

Kibum looked at Jaejoong thoughtfully, wondering if what he would suggest would be crazy. But desperate times called for desperate measures and his boss had made an ultimatum. If Kim Jaejoong does not submit a manuscript – anything – within the next three months, Kim Kibum could be demoted.

“You need to get a boyfriend.” Kibum said finally. “And I’m going to give you one.”

Chapter 1: “What’s this?” Jaejoong glanced up from his laptop to Kibum who had placed a folder on his desk. He had been staring at his laptop for sometime now, trying to come up with a story. At the young age of 23, Jaejoong has already published four novels, both becoming commercial and critical successes. The manuscript for his very first novel, 9095, which tells the story of a young man who travelled to the future and became the prime suspect for the President’s murder, was read by Kibum who then persuaded his bosses at Storybook Publishing to give a then 19 year old Jaejoong, still a college senior, a chance to be published.

Flashforward three years and Kim Jaejoong has already formed a following for his mystery and suspense with a slice of science fiction novels. It was a genre Jaejoong had enough practice with over the years, something that he felt was becoming routine. Thus for his fifth novel, Jaejoong felt the need to challenge himself by writing about something he’s never tried before.

“That, is the information sheet that you have to fill up for the matchmaking agency.”

“You went to a matchmaking agency?”

“It’s been over a week and you still haven’t thought of a plot, Jae!” Kibum wanted to pull his hair out but refrained from doing so. In all the years that they’ve worked as editorauthor, this was the only time that Jaejoong couldn’t meet his deadline. “I mean, even a sentence or two that I could tell to Heechul before he started breathing down my neck again would be great.”

“I’m sorry, Kibum.” Jaejoong stared at the blank screen forlornly. “I’m trying. But everything I start to write seems so cliché that I had to delete them again.”

“It’s okay.” Kibum sighed. “Just…give my idea a chance?”

Jaejoong recalled the weird conversation he had with Kibum last week at the restaurant. “Do you honestly believe that the reason I can’t write anything is because I don’t have any experience in love?”

Kim Jaejoong was the only boy and also the youngest in a brood of nine. For this reason, his parents became extremely protective of him, more so than to his eight older sisters. Where his noonas’ curfew was 10pm, Jae’s would be 9pm. Where his noonas can go sleep over their friends’ houses, Jae can only invite his friends to sleep over his. Where his noonas can wear any clothes they wanted (for so long as it doesn’t border on being vulgar), Jae’s clothes were always meticulously picked by his father, who preferred Jae to wear collared shirts and black pants.

It didn’t help that Jaejoong was also a loner of sorts, one who preferred to stay away from the crowd rather than joining them. Growing up, he had always been imaginative, thinking up stories in his head. He’s always lived in his own world with the tendency to ignore those around him. Those who manage to get past his cool exterior would know that Jaejoong was not what he seems but very few have ever tried to and Kibum was one of them.

“Why are you so dead-set on writing a romance, Jae?” Kibum asked him.

Jaejoong pulled out the rubber band from his hair, his bangs tumbling out and covering his forehead. “I wanted to write something different.”

“Then why not write a social commentary? A parody? A fantasy? There are many other genres to choose from, why choose romance?”

“I used to read a lot of Harlequin novels, you know.” Jaejoong mused. “The very first book I read for myself when I was 7 was a Harlequin I found in my noonas’ room. I was hooked from that moment on. Girl meets boy. Boy is a rebel. Girl slowly changes him.

They fall in love. The first story I ever wrote was about my childhood crush and how we got together in spite of the odds.” He laughed bitterly. “Except that my crush didn’t even read it and just tore it to pieces when I gave it to him. I stopped writing love stories after that.”

“So why start now?”

“Because I’ve already decided that I want my own love story.” Jaejoong smiled. “I’m 23 and I’ve never had a single romantic encounter in my entire life but that doesn’t mean I can’t make one. That’s the beauty of writing – if it’s not reality, at least it could come true in fiction.”

“Then maybe you should experience it first.” Kibum motioned to the folder he left on the desk. “Who knows, maybe you can find what you’re looking for there.”


“This has gone on far too long, Yunho.” Jung Ji Hoon stated as he looked over his younger brother. “Kang Mi Hwan is one of our clients. How could you just dump his daughter like that?”

“What I do with my personal life is none of your business, hyung.” Yunho shrugged. “And may I remind you that I was the one who closed the deal with Kang Mi Hwan?”

“By fucking his daughter?”

Yunho stared at him coolly. “Do you honestly think I’d stoop to that level?”

Ji Hoon knew he had gone one step too far. Yunho might be a playboy and the worst one there is but when it comes to the business, he does his job very seriously. “I’m sorry. It’s just that Kang Mi Hwan-shii has been telling father about his daughter locking herself up in her room every night and crying. He didn’t exactly blame you but-”

“I understand. Forget it.” Yunho paused. “I was drunk, okay? I didn’t even know she was Kang Mi Hwan’s daughter until she invited me for dinner.”

“And you gave her jewelry?” Ji Hoon snorted. “Your style of dumping women is expensive.”

“It’s effective.” Yunho grinned. “They’re always far too shocked to go after me.”

The two brothers sat at the conference room in comfortable silence. Ji Hoon was five years older than Yunho, and the one who would be the next CEO of Jung Corporation. Yunho, on the other hand, was the Executive Vice President. Despite their positions in the company, there was no rivalry between the two. Yunho had not wanted to be the CEO, content to give Ji Hoon the position, especially if it meant that Yunho could experience more freedom. As a child, he had witnessed how his father had groomed Ji Hoon, always checking up on him, researching the background of whoever made his acquaintance, and being followed by bodyguards everywhere. There was also the pressure for Ji Hoon to excel in whatever he did – be it in academics, in athletics, or in any other activity he involved himself with. His father had been less strict with Yunho because Ji Hoon had been there to take the brunt of responsibility that came with being a Jung. Yunho was grateful for it because in a way, Ji Hoon had given Yunho the leeway to enjoy his life.

Jung Corporation was one of the largest in South Korea, most well known for their chain of hotels and shopping malls around the country. But the corporation also had their hands on construction and real estate, as well as in shipping and airline transporation business. The corporation also plans on having expanding its business outside of South Korea, investing in other corporations that is related to their line of business.

The weekly board meeting had just ended when Ji Hoon had decided to confront his brother about the affair with the Kangs. “She was probably crying about the death of her pet poodle, anyway.” Yunho remarked.

“Yunho!” Ji Hoon sighed. “It’s no laughing matter. Father is contemplating that you settle down.”

“What?” Yunho froze. “He can’t do that! I won’t allow it.” He was 25 years old and not even at the prime of his life. He wouldn’t allow himself to be tied down, especially after-

“He’s called a matchmaking agency this morning.” Ji Hoon told him. “I think he’s really serious about this.”

“It’s not going to work.” Yunho said firmly. “Father has been setting me up with the children of his friends and associates, male and female alike, who he thinks is perfect for me. No one has ever been so what makes him think that going to a matchmaking agency would make a difference?”

“Yunho, not everyone is like-”

Yunho’s eyes flashed. “Don’t you dare.” He hissed. “Don’t you even dare say her name.”

And all this time, Ji Hoon thought, you’re still trying to get over her. “Why don’t you indulge father? If you do, it would probably get him off your back for a couple of months.”

Yunho considered Ji Hoon’s words carefully, playing them over his mind. His father, manipulative as he often was, genuinely cared about his sons and only wanted what was best for them. And if his father thought that going to a matchmaking agency would make Jung Yunho change his ways then – “I’ll go along with him,” Yunho smirked. “I’ll make sure that he won’t have anything to worry about anymore.”


“Don’t worry, hyung. I’ve got it all figured out.”

“That’s what I was afraid of.” Ji Hoon muttered.


Ever since he was little, Shim Changmin had watched as the people around him naturally gravitated to each other. His crush and his best friend had been a good example of that. The two had met by chance, when his best friend Jongwoon tried to help Changmin confess to his crush Dana when they were in seventh grade. The love letter Changmin wrote but was too shy to personally give to Dana was delivered by Jongwoon. Suffice it to say they were together since then and now has two kids to prove it.

Then there was his mother and his teacher. Shim Ma Ra had raised Changmin and his sister Seohyun on her own, her husband abandoning them when Changmin was four years old. His teacher, Lee Ji Sung was single and popular in his high school, with a heart so big that it accommodated every student he taught. Ma Ra and Ji Sung met at the first ever PTA meeting to talk about Changmin and are now celebrating their 10th year anniversary.

Lastly was Seohyun, his younger sister, and his college roommate, Seungri. Theirs is a cat-dog type relationship that started when Seohyun accompanied Changmin on his first

day at university, developed into something more whenever Seohyun visited, and now they are engaged to get married.

The point was, Changmin had been surrounded with people in love. He had grown up in love and he felt happy when he witnessed two people falling into it, that he had wanted to share this feeling with others. When Changmin graduated with a degree in Psychology, he decided to set up his own matchmaking business.

Cupid and Associates was abuzz with work, preparing for its “singles get-together” that upcoming weekend. His was still a small matchmaking agency, established only six months ago, with a success ratio of five is to five. His track record was impressive but Changmin has not established his name in the business enough for people to know him.

“I spoke to Jung Jin Ho over the phone,” Changmin announced to his staff of four.

Park Jungsu gasped. “Jung Jin Ho, the patriarch of Jung Corporation?”

Changmin nodded. “Yup. That Jung Jin Ho. He wants us to find his son a partner.”

“Which one?” Kang Daesung asked.

“The younger one.”

Cho Kyuhyun groaned. “No way. Jung Yunho is like the most well-known player in all of Seoul. We’ll have a hard time finding him a partner.”

“He’s not the only one.” Han Geng, the Chinese recruit, waved a piece of paper over their heads. “I talked to Kim Jaejoong’s editor this morning.”

“Kim Jaejoong the author?” Changmin’s face lit up. “I loved 9095. I couldn’t stop reading it until 6 in the morning.”

Kyuhyun coughed. Changmin cleared his throat. “Right. Back to business. So, I guess Jung Yunho and Kim Jaejoong are joining the “singles get-together” this Saturday. Hopefully, they’ll be able to meet someone there.”

(What Shim Changmin and his staff in Cupid and Associates didn’t know was that Jung Yunho and Kim Jaejoong were bound to meet each other, with or without their help.)

Chapter 2: “Joongie~ Noona’s going to Azure tonight at 8pm. I’ll be expecting you. Mwaah!!!” The message on his answering machine, no matter how sweet and fluffy it sounded, was an order that came from his oldest sister Hyori. It happened every month – ever since he moved away from home, Hyori had made it her mission to ensure that her youngest brother went loose and had some fun. Kim Hyori’s job as an events organizer got her invitations to try out the various night spots in Seoul. Jaejoong was lucky if the invitation came from a newly opened restaurant – at least he could get some good food from the bargain. Unfortunately for him, most of Hyori’s invitations are for Seoul’s hippest and trendiest night clubs. And when that happens, Jaejoong became the designated driver, Hyori always too smashed to go home by herself. Besides, Jaejoong couldn’t handle his alcohol that well. Jaejoong was at his apartment, devouring the sixth romance novel Kibum had purchased for him, hoping to get some sort of inspiration. This had to be the longest writer’s block he’s ever experienced ever since he began writing as a career. The stories he had created so far are different from the way they were formed. Sometimes, the idea came from seeing such a simple thing as an alarm clock – which was what happened for 9095. Other times, it came from a dream he had the night before, which already gave him a plot and all Jae had to do was flesh the idea out. And then, there were the quirky characters who usually come to life after Jae’s encounters with real people whom he felt would make for an interesting read. For his first romance novel, Jae was thinking of a love triangle. After reading six of them, he realized that at the very beginning of the love story, it became very obvious who the lead character was going to end up with. What Jae wanted to do with his story was to keep the readers guessing until the very end – he wanted them to root for the two guys who would be fighting over the lead character. At least the idea was there. Now, Jae has to think up of a plot (which he’s been trying to do all week) and characters loveable enough for his readers to root for and also flawed to the point that his readers could relate to them. But his thought processes would have to stop for the meantime – Hyori noona’s orders always came first. ++++

Azure was the newest hotspot in Seoul. The line outside of the club was long, most of who are under-aged teens who wished to enter and rub shoulders with the elite of Seoul. Inside, Azure was already brimming with people. Music blared from speakers located at each corner of the club and a makeshift stage was set up on the center of the dance floor with a DJ playing the latest tunes. Compared to the other clubs, Azure was smaller – there were no private rooms and the only tables there were those surrounding the dance floor, forming a half circle. The bar was situated at the left side of the dance floor, its counter and stools taking up half of the space. Azure implied exclusivity, which the members of Seoul’s high society appreciated. Whatever goes inside of Azure, stays within the walls of Azure. Yunho danced to the beat, arms and legs popping, catching the attention of every one in the club. The middle of the floor had cleared for him, the people creating a wide berth so that Yunho can show off his dance moves. Back when he was in high school and Ji Hoon was in college, one of their bonding moments was through dancing. Yunho and Ji Hoon entered dance competitions left and right, with either of the two winning the top prize and the other the runner-up. Jung Jin Ho once said that his sons’ talent must have come from their mother, who had been a well-known ballerina before becoming Jung Jin Ho’s wife. Both brothers were good but their styles were different – where Ji Hoon’s moves were fluid and powerful, Yunho’s were raw and avid. Yunho ended with a handstand and quickly jumped on his feet, as the crowd made way for him. Cheers and whistles were heard, and Yunho accepted them graciously, with a huge smile on his face. Whenever he felt as if the world was closing in on him, Yunho only found himself following the rhythm of the music and all will be right again with the world. “For someone who hasn’t had practice in a long time, you’re still in shape.” Yoochun commented, offering his friend a shot of vodka. Yunho drank it full, before slapping Yoochun on the shoulder. “Says the person who can’t even tell his left foot from his right one.” “Well, if it wasn’t for composers like us, I doubt you’d have any music to dance to.” Park Yoochun was one of the youngest and most gifted composer-pianist that South Korea ever produced. He had also recorded two full-length albums which had respectable sales and his concerts were sold out at most. Yoochun’s fanbase was mostly formed by women ranging from their teens to their late sixties. It was not surprising, either, given Yoochun’s looks and a charm so natural that one can’t help but be drawn to him.

He also happened to be Yunho’s best friend since childhood. Both of them had met in a private boarding school as roommates and had clicked it off. Where Yunho was at times abrasive, Yoochun was careful. Where Yoochun was sensitive – deciding with his emotions on important matters, Yunho was more practical – considering each and every aspect of the situation. Where Yunho was a born leader who took charge whenever needed, Yoochun was the person in the shadows who helped push things along. Both were well-known playboys until Yoochun found the person he wanted to commit to. “Where is Junsu anyway?” Yunho asked, looking around. Yoochun smiled, eyes twinkling at the mention of his boyfriend’s name. “He has soccer practice but he promised to come.” Yoochun met Kim Junsu while the former was in his last year at Juilliard School of Music in New York. Yoochun had been strolling through Central Park, mind filled with notes for his next composition, when a soccer ball hit him on the head. When he opened his eyes, an angel was in front of him, fussing and apologizing for kicking the ball too hard. Yoochun had been in love ever since. Junsu had been in New York then as part of the soccer team that represented South Korea for a practice game with New York’s brightest. When Junsu returned to Seoul, he took Yoochun’s heart with him. Speaking of Yoochun’s better half, it seemed that Junsu had arrived, based from the squeals that were emitted by the girls outside of Azure. Yunho couldn’t blame them. Junsu was one of the best national soccer players South Korea has at the moment. And like Yoochun, Junsu was also popular with the ladies – the only difference being that whereas Yoochun’s appeal lies in his charm, Junsu’s was his innocence. Yoochun kissed Junsu on the cheek. “I missed you.” Junsu blushed. “Yoochun, you drove me to soccer practice this afternoon.” Yunho watched the couple interact, felt a pang on his chest that was akin to wistfulness, and ignored it until the pang disappeared. It always happened whenever he was with Yoochun and Junsu. “Please keep your bedroom activities in the bedroom, thanks.” “Just because you can’t get any sometime in the near future doesn’t mean you have to ruin it for me, Yunho.” “Chun, shut up.” Yunho scowled. “I invited you here so that I can forget father’s crazy matchmaking plans.” “And score some girls?” For all his so-called innocence, Junsu wasn’t that naïve. The

first time they met, Yunho had wanted to test Junsu and tried to hit on him. Junsu flatly refused, telling Yunho that the latter wasn’t his type. They’ve been friends ever since. Yunho grinned. “That was part of the agenda, yes.” After all, if his plan pushes through, he wouldn’t be able to get any for a week – two at most. “Unless you plan on taking seconds anytime soon, you better find another girl fast,” Junsu advised him. Yunho’s back was facing the entrance to Azure, as opposed to Yoochun and Junsu who sat across from him. “What are you talking about?” Yoochun chuckled. “Kang Hee Jin just entered and she’s coming over this way.” Yoochun and Junsu had attended the New Year’s Eve bash – both had seen Yunho and Hee Jin leave the party together to make their own. Yoochun and Junsu both knew that it would only be for that one night. Apparently, Kang Hee Jin didn’t seem to get the message. Yunho cursed. “Shit.” Without thinking twice, he grabbed the hand of the person who just happened to be passing by their table, pulled that person to sit beside him, and jerked that person’s head on his shoulders. ++++ “Did you see that guy on the dance floor?” Hyori whistled. “If I was younger by a few years, I’d totally tap him.” “Age hasn’t stopped you before, noona.” Jae twirled the straw of his grape juice. “And thirty is not that old.” “Aww, my little Joongie is so sweet.” Hyori crowed, pinching his cheeks. As soon as Jae had arrived at Azure, Hyori had dragged him to the bar. Hyori then told Jae about what she’s been doing for the past month, filling him in about what’s been going on with his other noonas and also with their parents. Of all the Kims, Hyori and Jae were the only ones staying in Seoul, and thus kept in touch more often than the others. Jae watched as a crowd already started forming on the floor once more after the guy’s impromptu performance. Jae hated places like Azure – underneath the dim lights, bodies gyrating to each other, the smell of attraction and the promise of sex filling the air – it was just all too much. He took a sip of his grape juice.

Beside him, Hyori had started to flirt with the bartender who was really only serving them. The two of them were the only ones sitting at the bar, the others preferring to have their own tables or dancing. Jae had to admit that the bartender was cute, he wasn’t blind, and definitely Hyori’s type. It also helped that the bartender was flirting back, which meant that Jae doesn’t have to drive Hyori home tonight. Hyori giggled as the bartender whispered something in her ear. Jae rolled his eyes and took another drink of his juice. If this keeps up, Jae could leave Hyori behind and go home, as soon as she gives him the signal. It’s a strategy they’ve formed over the years – if Hyori finds a guy and feels that it’s okay for her to be left alone with him, she’ll give Jae a signal that he can already go home. If no signal is apparent within the next twenty minutes, it meant that Jae would have to stay and interfere if the guy gets too frisky with his noona. Jae glanced at his watch. Ten minutes to go. He was about to drink his grape juice once more, when he found the same to be empty. He really didn’t want to interrupt, but Jae wasn’t the type to wait at a bar without drinking anything. It made him more restless. “Um, excuse me, but may I order another one?” The bartender was already nuzzling Hyori’s neck. Really, Hyori noona should just give him the signal already. What was she waiting for, anyway? Jae cleared his throat loudly. The two pulled away, the bartender looking at him inquiringly. “Grape juice, please?” “I’ll be right back.” The bartender told Hyori, taking Jae’s empty glass. Hyori winked at him. “I’ll be waiting.” “Why aren’t you giving me the signal if you like him so much?” Jae asked her as soon as the bartender was out of ear shot. “Oh, yeah.” Hyori slapped her forehead. “Silly me. I forgot.” Jaejoong stared at his noona. “You forgot? All you had to do was tuck your hair behind your ear and you forgot?” Hyori pouted. “I was distracted. Forgive me?” Just then, the bartender appeared with a glass of newly filled grape juice. “Thank you.” Jae muttered. “Your brother’s pretty,” the bartender remarked as he once again leaned closer to Hyori. “It must run in the family.” Hyori let out a girlish squeal, tucking her hair behind her

ear. “Stop that, it tickles.” Without another word, Jae drank his grape juice up to the last drop. He was going to leave anyway and it wouldn’t do to waste something his noona would pay for. Except that it wasn’t grape juice. Jae felt as if he’d been hit on the head by a hammer and the pounding wasn’t stopping. The music seemed louder and his vision was starting to cloud – there were two Hyori noonas in front of him. The glass he was holding fell to the floor in shards. The idiot of a bartender gave him grape wine. The first time Jaejoong tasted alcohol, he fainted after the first sip. His noonas made fun of him afterwards, telling him that within the family, Jae had the lowest alcohol tolerance. It was true – the second time he drank, it only took him one shot to get totally plastered and puke his dinner all over the table. No one offered him any alcohol since. Jae stumbled away from his chair, a hand on his head, trying to keep the dizziness to a minimum. His noona and the bartender are too engrossed with each other by now to notice him. Besides, it’s been a long time since Hyori found a guy she could have fun with and Jae wouldn’t ruin that for her. It was too hot, he needed to wash his face, freshen up. He can’t drive in his condition right now. He started to walk, trying to remember where the restroom was located. People were closing in, pushing, pulling and tugging. Jae heard their groans, moans, and pants, as he crossed the dance floor. Sweat and sex clung in the air, making Jae sick in his stomach. It was dark, it was loud, and it was crowded and all Jae wanted to do was sit in a corner and curl into himself until the pounding on his head went away, the earth would stop tilting every so often and his stomach would refrain from trying to spill his guts out on the floor. Someone grabbed his hand, and Jae was suddenly sitting down, his head lying on very broad shoulders. At least the world had stopped spinning. Jae closed his eyes, as an arm weaved around his shoulders, and it just felt so very comfortable. There were murmurs and a kiss on Jaejoong’s forehead and everything just seemed blissful. But the churning in his stomach was getting worse and bile was already rising in his throat. Maybe vomiting would make it all better? Gasps were heard, the arm around his shoulder stilled, and Jae was already lost in his own dream world. ++++ He snuggled into the pillow more, the bed massaging his tired body, and with no clothes

on except for his boxers. “What-” Jaejoong jerked up and winced. “Aw! My head!” It took him a moment to consider his surroundings. It was obvious that he was in a room. That much he could tell from the bed he was currently on, which took up half of the space. A television set was placed at the foot of the bed, atop of the drawers. There was a side table with a pitcher of water and two glasses. His clothes were placed on top of the bed as he heard the sound of a shower ending in the bathroom. Jaejoong panicked, trying to cover himself with the blanket as much as he could. What happened? All he could remember was Hyori giving the signal and drinking. Everything that happened after that was a blank. “Oh good, you’re awake and it only took you two hours.” The man who stepped out from the shower was wearing a robe and currently rubbing his dark brown hair with the towel. He was taller than Jaejoong, tanned and toned, from what Jae could see of his skin and muscles. The man had a small face that complemented him, his eyes looking over Jae’s figure on the bed, his lips forming into a smirk, the mole above his lip distracting Jae’s concentration. The man was tall, dark, and handsome and damned if he didn’t know it. His aura screamed predator and Jae wrapped the blankets around him more protectively. The man walked over to Jae, hair dripping wet, and droplets of water glistening over his toned chest. Jae moved backward, until his head bumped on the bed frame. “Ouch!” “You need to pay me.” The man was now face to face with Jae, his eyes also a deep dark brown. “What you did awhile ago was unforgivable.” “What-” “Your stench is all over my suit. Do you even know how expensive that suit was?” Yunho shuddered. “I can’t even wear that thing now.” The guy might have been really pretty – what with huge doe-like eyes blinking at him, rosy cheeks complementing his ivory complexion, tongue licking over his red lips. Add to that the fresh out of bed look, black hair completely ruffled, face flushed, blankets covering his body, with a glimpse of white smooth skin and Yunho might have been tempted. Everything had seemed to be going well. The guy Yunho had pulled down to sit beside him was pliable enough, didn’t even complain when Yunho placed the latter’s head on

his shoulders. When Hee Jin came over, the guy had even acted content to be in Yunho’s arms, sighing happily when Yunho kissed him on the forehead. Hee Jin almost believed Yunho when he introduced the guy as his boyfriend and Yunho was ready to cheer inwardly for a job well done until the guy puked all over him. All over him. His face, his suit, his shoes. The worst part was, he couldn’t even leave the guy alone because Kang Hee Jin was still watching. Yoochun and Junsu were trying to keep a straight face through it all as Yunho walked out of Azure, with the guy’s lunch? dinner? covering him. Kang Hee Jin, trying to make sure that it wasn’t all an act, insisted on accompanying Yunho and the guy to the nearest motel, and even paid for their stay. Yunho cursed for the fifth time that night. Kang Hee Jin was smarter than she looked. Really, if he had known that Hee Jin would be such a pain in the ass, he shouldn’t have slept with her in the first place. “Since you ruined my clothes and I can’t wear them anymore,” Yunho spoke up. “I decided I’ll wear yours instead.” That was the reason he stripped the guy in the first place, after all. Before Jae could even say a word, Yunho had taken Jaejoong’s shirt and pulled it down over his head. Jaejoong closed his eyes when Yunho finally removed his robe and wore Jae’s black pants. “You’re two sizes too small and the pants are too short but I guess this would have to do.” Jaejoong could only watch as Yunho deemed it wise to take the former’s shoes as well. “By the way, the room’s been paid for the night so I guess you can stay.” Yunho’s lips then curved into a taunting smile. “And since I took your clothes, it’s only fair you have mine. They’re in the bathroom. Your stench is still on them.” With that, Kim Jaejoong was left alone in the motel room, only on his boxers, with no clothes of his own.

Chapter 3: Hero was allergic to alcohol. He had been five and his father had just been promoted at work. His parents were so happy that they decided to celebrate. His appa’s promotion as the new branch manager promised a lot of things for their family – his umma wouldn’t have to baby-sit the neighbors’ kids anymore; Hero could finally buy new clothes for Christmas; and his appa wouldn’t have to worry about finding another job. Hero could still hear his umma’s cries every night, when his parents thought he was already asleep, and his appa’s comforting voice, telling his umma that everything would be okay.

The vintage Chablis that his father had been saving for a special occasion was uncorked and his parents shared a drink.

Hero remembered his appa, face red from joy and just a little bit drunk. “Do you want one, Hero-ah?”

His umma had pinched his appa on the nose then, scolding him for teaching his only son to drink at such a young age.

His appa had snorted and said, in that gruff voice of his, “Just a sip wouldn’t hurt.”

So a five-year-old Hero eagerly took a sip of the wine –

- and woke up as his twenty-five year old self gasping, all alone in a huge mahogany bed, with no clothes on -

Jaejoong then stopped writing, his hands clenching into fists, and his nails digging into his palm. “Damn it.”

Kibum, who had been reading over Jae’s shoulder, didn’t even bat an eye. “Regarding

the last line, wouldn’t the reader think this would be another time jump instead of a love story?” He pointed at the laptop screen. “Maybe it’s better if you continue what the five year old Hero experienced –”

“Would you stop breathing down my neck?” Jaejoong snapped. “I can’t concentrate!”

Kibum only stared at Jaejoong, whose nostrils are flaring and his eyes flashing. “Still can’t get over it, huh?”

In answer, Jaejoong buried his head on the desk, and screamed. Kibum could only sigh (he seems to be doing a lot of it these days) as he walked over to Jae’s kitchen to get him a glass of water. “It’s been three days, Jae.”

“You’re not the one who was left on a motel room without any clothes!” Jae cried. Just the thought made his blood boil. “Do you have any idea how humiliating it was?”

Seeing as he was the one whom Jae called up to bring the latter a new set of clothes, Kibum did have an idea. “At least it gave you the inspiration for your story’s opening?”

That was true. As he waited for Kibum, Jaejoong had spent the rest of the time that night stewing over the fact that some stranger had stolen his clothes and left him with nothing to wear. It had taken him awhile to get over the shock but once he did, Jae wished he could have wiped that infuriating smirk off that man’s face instead of looking like an idiot. Just thinking about it made Jae want to pull someone’s eyes out. But in the midst of punching the pillows, imagining them to be that guy, Jae was struck with his muse.

When Kibum finally appeared, he saw Jaejoong calmly sitting on the bed with the blankets still covering his body and a thoughtful expression on his face. “The lead character’s name is Hero and the story shall begin when he wakes up on a hotel room after a night of drinking and partying and realizes that he’s tired of being alone.”

That had been enough for Kibum. If anything good had come out of the whole ordeal, at

least it got Jae writing again. The only problem was that Jae could not create the scene without remembering what had happened to him. And then Jae’s face would darken, his hands would clench, and he would feel the urge to hit something.

“Maybe the “singles’ gathering” tonight would make you forget about it.” Kibum gave Jae the glass of water to calm him down. “Besides, it’s not like you’re going to see that guy again.”

“I better not see him again.” Jaejoong hissed. “Because then the only way you’d get your story is if you’d visit me in jail for homicide.”


Jung Jin Ho turned another page of his newspaper. “Don’t think you can get away this time.”

“I won’t.” Yunho poured syrup over his pancakes. “I’m already excited over this so-called “singles’ gathering” tonight. Lots of people desperately looking for a partner. It’s going to be fun.” Sarcasm was evident in his voice.

“Since you’re also going to be there, doesn’t that make you desperate as well?” Ji Hoon mused.

Yunho glared at his brother. “Ji Hoon-ah, stop making fun of your brother.” Jung Youn Ha said. “After all, it’s not every day he follows what your father asks him to do.”

“Mom!” The Jung family were having their daily breakfast together. It’s something that Jung Youn Ha insisted on because it’s the only time the four of them could be together for the whole day.

“Your mother’s right.” Jin Ho finally folded the newspaper and looked at Yunho. “You’re planning something.” He knows his two sons like the back of his hand. And Yunho was

never the type to just obey – that was Ji Hoon. Yunho had always been the rebel, disregarding Jin Ho’s orders whenever possible, and often times getting into trouble because of it. The idea of setting Yunho up with a matchmaking agency, contrary to what his family believed, had not been out of the blue. Jin Ho knew of Yunho’s playboy ways and had been trying to curb it over the past few years. Introducing Yunho to the children of his friends and associates had the negative effect, resulting into one-night stands.

It was two months ago when an old friend of Jin Ho’s remarked off-handedly how matchmaking agencies seem to be in boom these days. “Too many single people who can’t find their better half.” Jin Ho then thought of Yunho and how his son’s search (for Jin Ho honestly believed that the reason Yunho was so promiscuous was because he was searching) for his soulmate was going nowhere. If Yunho could not find what he was looking for by himself, Jin Ho decided, maybe a matchmaking agency can.

“No foolish plans, Yunho.” Jin Ho warned. “Otherwise, I’ll take you off as the head of the Jeju Island resort project. And after what happened with Hee Jin, I don’t think Mi Hwan would mind.”

His father certainly knew which buttons to push. Yunho’s eyes narrowed. He worked hard to close that deal. He was hands-on when it came to the proposed design for the resort, spent sleepless nights with the team, researching, redrawing, and replanning until the proposal was accepted by Kang Mi Hwan. No way was his father taking him off the project. “Don’t worry, father, I don’t have any foolish plans.”

Because what Jung Yunho was planning wasn’t foolish – it was brilliant.


“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This “singles’ gathering” conducted by Cupid and Associates would now formally begin.” Shim Changmin spoke over the microphone, standing on the makeshift stage. Jungsu had managed to reserve the private room of an Italian restaurant for the event and also handled the decorations. Daesung had been in charge with the menu of the banquet. Kyuhyun and Han Geng had formed the list of participants and followed up on them to confirm their attendance. Changmin had thought up of the program for the night.

“I’m sure you’re all wondering what this “singles’ gathering” is all about.” Changmin gazed at the participants who were standing at the sides of the ballroom, congregating among themselves. Three long tables had been placed at the middle, the chairs arranged in a row. “As of now, my staff is passing a piece of paper around, with a number on it. The number will indicate where you will sit.” Each chair had a number pasted on it – the chairs on the left are all even numbers while the ones on the right are odd. “Each of you will be given three minutes to introduce yourself to the person sitting across from you. After the three minutes are up, the people with the odd numbers would then move over to their left. Those with even numbers would move to their right. Again, three minutes would be given to you and your partner. After every one on your table have met, those with odd numbers would then go to another table. The process would be repeated until every one had a chance to get to know every one.” There were around thirty people in the gathering, ten people per table. “Once it’s done, you can approach the person who caught your interest and get to know them better at the banquet.”

Jaejoong thanked the person who gave him his number – 03. One by one, people started moving, going to their designated seats. He sighed and trudged over to his table. For the sake of your story, Jaejoong chanted to himself. He was here for inspiration and nothing else. When envisioning how his own love story would begin, Jae had always imagined it to be more normal, without a third party (such as a matchmaking agency) setting him up.

With Jungsu, Daesung, Kyuhyun and Han Geng also giving the signal that every one has finally settled down, Changmin glanced at his watch. “And the three minutes start now.”

“You’re pretty.”

Jaejoong looked at the person in front of him. “Um, thank you?” It’s not that he wasn’t used to being called pretty – he’s been told that too many times to the point that he’s learned not to dislike it anymore. It doesn’t mean, however, that he knows how to react when faced with a person who tells him to his face that he’s pretty.

“I’m Hyunjoong.”


“So what brings you here?” Hyunjoong asked. “I doubt you’re the type who needs to go to a matchmaking agency to be able to date someone.”

Jae blushed. “I’m here because of a friend,” he replied. “He wanted me to live a little.”

“My sister is looking for a mate.” Hyunjoong smiled at him. “I told her I’d help her find one. She attends stuff like this all the time. She’s in another one right now so I’m filling in for her, looking for potential partners.”

“At least telling that straight out wouldn’t give people the wrong impression,” Jae laughed. The three minutes he spent talking with Hyunjoong was refreshing. The latter didn’t try to put up a front and make an effort to impress him. It was like talking to a friend.

Pretty soon, the three minutes were up and another person, this time a girl, introduced herself to Jaejoong. Three minutes with each person is enough to make a first impression – if the impression was good, then the banquet afterwards could be spent getting to know that person better. The process went on until every one in their table got to know each other and then it was time to move.

A member of the staff, the one who was Chinese, led Jaejoong over to the next table. Jae was about to take his seat when he happened to glance at the person whom he was going to spend the next three minutes with.

“You look familiar.” Yunho raised an eyebrow. “Do I know you?”

With a low growl, Jaejoong leapt over the table and strangled Yunho.


They got thrown out of the gathering for causing a commotion. The two of them were now sitting at the curb, Yunho waiting for the valet to fetch his car. Jaejoong was waiting for a cab.

Yunho rubbed his neck, scowling. “What’s your problem?” The both of them had toppled over the table and onto the floor, the guy on top of him holding his neck on a death grip. If the staff hadn’t pulled the guy away, Yunho might not have been breathing anymore.

“Choking you to death wouldn’t be enough of a punishment.” If looks could kill, Yunho would have turned to dust already.

“Did I sleep with you or something?” Yunho rolled his eyes. “Honestly, haven’t you heard of one night stands before?”

Jae gritted his teeth. Can this guy be anymore of a jerk? “You don’t even remember the people you’ve slept with? What kind of person are you?”

“A good one if I’m still talking to you.” Yunho snapped. “I could have you arrested for attempted homicide.”

“If I had my way, there wouldn’t be an attempted before the homicide.”

“Yah!” Yunho grabbed Jaejoong roughly. “I don’t know what I did wrong but it surely doesn’t justify trying to kill me!”

“You left me in a motel room without any clothes on!”

Yunho’s eyebrows furrowed. “Isn’t that normal after having sex?”

“We did not have sex, idiot!”

“Oh.” Understanding flooded Yunho’s features. He then bent closer to Jaejoong, staring deeply into the latter’s eyes, Yunho’s lips a breath away from Jae’s. “Would you like to, then?”

Jaejoong punched the living daylights out of Yunho. ++++ The idea for the "singles' gathering" was adapted from the jdrama Konkatsu. ^^

Chapter 4: Yoochun wouldn’t stop laughing at him. “You look like a panda.” Yunho was sporting two black eyes that were still swelling and a bruise on his lower lip which hurt as his tongue ran over it. He growled. “Shut up.” The two of them were at Seoul National University’s auditorium. Park Yoochun was holding a concert there the following night and the Jung Corporation was one of its main sponsors. Yunho had dropped by to oversee the preparations just in time after Yoochun’s rehearsal was over. The both of them were sitting at the front row, as the staff buzzed around, setting up the lights, fixing the sound system, and moving the piano to the stage. “None of your exes have punched you before.” No matter how much of a bastard Yunho seems when it came to his flings, Yoochun knew that Yunho never treated any of them badly. In fact, Yunho has remained friends with most of his exes – except those that were really persistent. Yunho covered his eyes with his Oakley sunglasses and brushed a hand through his hair. “The lunatic said I didn’t sleep with him.” “So you tried to seduce him afterwards because you thought that’s what he wanted.” Yoochun shook his head. “No wonder he beat you.” Yunho gritted his teeth. “He did not beat me…I was just caught by surprise.” The lunatic threw a mean left hook. “Can we not talk about this anymore?” There was a loud clang from the stage. “Be careful with the grand piano.” Yunho called out to the staff. “Move it over two steps to the right, please, so it could be front and center.” “I haven’t thanked you for sponsoring, have I?” “Forget it.” Yunho brushed it off. “I talked with one of the volunteers of the Make a Wish Foundation. There’s an eight-year-old girl with leukaemia who wants to meet you. I’ve secured her front row seats and backstage passes for tomorrow.” “Alright.” Yunho always does things without asking for permission first. Yoochun didn’t mind them most of the time since they’re for a good cause. But there were also times when Yunho pushed things a bit too far, especially when he wanted to get away with

something. “Your plan to get away from the whole matchmaking thing.” Yoochun said abruptly. “What about it?” “I don’t know what it is.” Yunho snorted. “So that you can tell my father? No thanks.” Yoochun might be his best friend but he was also considered an honorary member of the Jung family and Yoochun can never say no to Jin Ho, Youn Ha and even Ji Hoon whenever a favour was requested of him. His father probably wanted Yoochun to know what Yunho was up to. “But there’s another event the matchmaking agency set up this afternoon that I’m supposed to go to.” Yoochun pouted. “Fine.” The lights became dimmer and Yunho raised a hand to signal that it was the effect he was looking for. The lone grand piano on the stage with the spot lights focused only on that spot while the rest of the room is dimmed, basking on the music filling the air… “Jung Yunho-shii. Park Yoochun-shii.” One of the staff came over to them. “The headmaster wants to see you at his office. He would like to discuss the security for tomorrow’s concert.” “Thank you for telling us.” Yunho then noticed the girl holding a pocket book. “What are you reading?” “This?” The girl lifted up the book so that Yunho could take a better look at the cover. “It’s Taxi by Kim Jaejoong.” Yunho took the book from her, flipping over the pages, before his eyes rested on the back cover of the book. “Is it any good?” She beamed. “Most people prefer 9095 more but I like Taxi better.” Taxi was about a cab driver who could see into the future of every passenger who rides on his cab. Yoochun raised an eyebrow. “Since when were you interested in reading?” Yunho hasn’t opened a book since their college days. “Since I noticed this.” Yunho gave the book for Yoochun to inspect. On the back cover, was a picture of the author, Kim Jaejoong.

“Hey, that’s the guy who vomitted all over you at Azure.” Yoochun was laughing at him again. “Man, what’s up with you these days? First, you dump Kang Hee Jin and your father decides to set you up with a matchmaking agency. Then you try to avoid Kang Hee Jin and someone pukes all over you. Lastly, you follow your father’s orders and get beaten up for it. Is there some kind of “let’s screw over Jung Yunho” week that I didn’t know about?” It was then that something clicked on Yunho’s head. “Oh. So that’s why he was so mad.” ++++ “I’m so sorry.” Kibum was bowing his head while talking to the phone. “I’m sure Jaejoong-shii didn’t mean what he did. It was just a really bad day for him.” Jaejoong was holding a compress over his left knuckles. “Jaejoong can still come to the next event? Oh, thank you so much, Shim Changmin-shii.” Kibum smiled. “I really appreciate this. Jaejoong-shii does too.” The smile turned to a frown as soon as Kibum hanged up his cell phone. “Why didn’t you think first?” Having been friends for over three years now, Kibum knew that Jae had the tendency to act before thinking especially when the latter was angry. “He deserved it.” Jaejoong scowled. “That pervert didn’t even remember leaving me alone in that motel room. The worst part was, he tried to hit on me!” Kibum rolled his eyes. “And now you can’t even write. How am I supposed to give Heechul a sample when you can’t even use your left hand without wincing?” “It’s not like my right hand’s useless!” Jaejoong protested. “You’re left-handed.” Kibum shook his head. “What am I going to do with you?” “Bummie…” Jaejoong pouted, big doe eyes filled with regret. He only calls Kibum that when he needs something from the latter. “Forgive me?” The problem with Jaejoong was that Kibum could never stay angry with him for long. The longest had been two minutes and all Jae had to do was use his best “I’m sorry” expression which made Kibum feel as if he was kicking a lost puppy. This time was no different. “Just attend the event this afternoon at 3pm, okay? And behave yourself. Shim Changmin-shii was nice enough to invite you again despite the fact that you broke a

table, two chairs, a couple of plates as well as glasses last night.” ++++ Changmin had decided it was better to separate the people into two groups based on the preferences they wrote on their information sheet. Although there was a certain truth to the saying that opposites attract, he was also of the opinion that birds of the same feather tended to flock together. People with the same interests would find it easier to reach a common ground and this would build the foundation for a good relationship. “Feel free to roam around this gallery, they’re hosting an exhibit for new artists.” Changmin told the group. “But please be careful. If something breaks, I doubt if any one of us can afford to pay it. After an hour, Kyuhyun and I would meet you at the front lobby. Then we’ll meet up with the other group who are at the park right now.” The other group, composed of people who were more of an outdoor type, were with Jungsu, Daesung, and Han Geng. Jaejoong paused at a painting of the sun setting on the horizon, using different shades of yellow on the canvas. While the rest of the group paired up, he had been left alone. He didn’t mind it one bit – it gave him time to collect his thoughts. Maybe Hero should be an artist? Jaejoong was considering his lead character’s career options. A painter whose lost his muse, he thought. His works have failed to grab people’s attention ever since he woke up in that hotel room all alone… “Personally, I think the artist wants the viewer to feel comfortable.” Hyunjoong stepped beside Jaejoong. “Because of the colours, this is one of the brightest pieces around here. When you first look at it, all the yellows would shock you but then you start to adjust, and all you can feel is the warmth.” When Jaejoong only stared at him, Hyunjoong laughed. “I’m the curator of this art gallery.” It was also one of the reasons why Cupid and Associates had managed to reserve the venue for their group. “A curator.” Jaejoong muttered. “That could also work.” The curator who wanted to exhibit Hero’s works but felt that something was missing. The curator who wanted to help Hero find what he was looking for… “Jaejoong-shii?” Hyunjoong was waving a hand in front of him. “Are you alright?” “Oh. Sorry.” Jaejoong blinked. “I was just thinking about something.”

“I guess I shouldn’t have disturbed you.” “It’s alright.” Jaejoong looked sheepish. “If you hadn’t come, I doubt if my story could’ve moved along.” It was now Hyunjoong’s turn to be confused. “Pardon?” Jae only smiled. “Are there any other interesting pieces around here?” ++++ “Thanks, Heechul-hyung.” Yunho chuckled. “It’s no big deal, really. I was just curious.” He entered the room and paused. “I have to go now but I’ll call soon. Thanks again.” Yunho put his cell phone on his pocket and walked over to the person he had been looking for since he arrived to the event later than the others. The meeting with the headmaster about Yoochun’s concert took longer than expected. Hyunjoong was touring Jaejoong around the different rooms in the gallery, telling him how they obtained the works that were exhibited. He was in the middle of narrating to Jaejoong the background of the sculptor who used paper to make the Rubric’s cube they were standing in front of, when he saw someone approach them. “I think I better leave the two of you to talk.” Hyunjoong smiled at him. “It was nice seeing you again, Jaejoong-shii.” “Huh?” Jaejoong turned around to see the person he least wanted to. He felt some satisfaction that the man was wearing sunglasses even when they were inside an art gallery. At least his knuckles, no matter how bruised, had been good for something. “Lunatic.” Yunho greeted. “Pervert.” Jaejoong acknowledged. “You puked all over me.” “You stole my clothes.” “You almost choked me to death.” “You tried to seduce me.” “You gave me two black eyes.”

“My knuckles have bruises from punching you.” “So are we even now?” Yunho asked him. Jaejoong sighed. “I guess we are.” The two of them stared at the sculpture of the Rubric’s cube in front of them. “I have a proposition.” Yunho said abruptly. “What makes you think I’d be interested?” “You’re not here to find a partner,” Yunho continued as if he didn’t hear Jaejoong. “You’re here because you have writer’s block.” “How do you-” “Heechul was my senior in college.” Kim Heechul was the Project Manager/Editor of Storybook Publishing that was in charge of getting Jaejoong’s novels (and a couple of others) published. And also Kibum’s boss. “We can help each other.” “I don’t even know who you are.” “I’m Jung Yunho.” “Is that supposed to ring a bell or something?” If he had any doubts before this, they were all erased now. The lunatic was perfect for what Yunho had in mind. “Be my boyfriend, Kim Jaejoong-shii.”

Chapter 5: He must be crazy for even considering it. Jaejoong stared at the ticket on his hand, wondering if he should go. His conversation with the pervert known as Jung Yunho replayed in his mind. “I want my father to stop bothering me.” Yunho said. “But I have a feeling he won’t be satisfied until he’s sure that I’ve finally settled down. So I need you to pretend to be my boyfriend.” “Why me? We dislike each other.” “Exactly. So there’s no chance of you liking me in any way and expecting an actual relationship. Besides, none of my family members know who you are. It’s perfect. You’re a complete stranger and I met you when my father set me up with the matchmaking agency. We continue to see each other because of the events the matchmaking agency prepares for us and we hit it off.” Yunho grinned. “Isn’t that the goal of Cupid and Associates, anyway? To make a couple out of the people who joins it? If we become a pretend couple, my father would be off my back. I could go back to my old ways sooner and I wouldn’t have to go through something ridiculous like this for a very long time. ” “What’s in it for me?” “Heechul told me your writer’s block stemmed from the fact that you can’t get the atmosphere right for your love story.” It wasn’t difficult to get information from Heechul, who when you get him to talk wouldn’t stop blabbering especially if it’s about people he’s fond of. “So if I become your pretend boyfriend, we can simulate every romantic scene that you want to write about. That way, you will have a better idea of how the scene would flow.” Yunho shrugged. “I can play the love interest to your main character?” “My main character dislikes your type.” Jaejoong told him bluntly. But he supposed Yunho’s proposition of simulation was easier than trying to look for a real-life romance. Besides, Jaejoong would feel guilty if he used a person who was seriously considering finding love just to write his story. “So I can act out whatever scene I have in my head?” “Sure.” Yunho replied. “It would be like hitting two birds with one stone. If we act like a couple, you can get your story and I can have my freedom.”

“That’s if I agree to this stupid proposition of yours.” Yunho huffed. “It’s not stupid, it’s brilliant.” He’s been thinking about it ever since Ji Hoon mentioned that he should just go along with whatever their father was planning. And Yunho realized that it would be better for him if his father actually thought Yunho found a boyfriend. The only problem was finding someone who would agree to pretend to be one. Someone who wouldn’t care if Yunho continued on with his lifestyle while in a pretend relationship with him. Someone who would agree to the pretend relationship because the person could also get something out of it. And most importantly, someone who would never expect the relationship to become real. Kim Jaejoong fit those criteria. He already knew Yunho was a playboy and didn’t care. He was an author who needed inspiration for his love story that Yunho can provide. And they dislike each other to the point that they wouldn’t be caught dead in an actual relationship. “It’s been so overused I don’t think anyone would fall for it.” This was the plot for most of the romance novels Jaejoong had read. The pervert was a fool if he thought it would work and no one would notice. When Yunho starts to go back to his playboy ways while they were in the pretend relationship (which Jaejoong was sure he would do), what makes the pervert think that he wouldn’t get caught by his father? People talk. But either way, Jaejoong figured, he’d get his story. “Why? Afraid that you’d fall for me?” Yunho leaned closer to Jaejoong, his sunglasses glinting against the light. The two of them were still standing in front of the Rubric’s cube. Jaejoong took a step back. “You? As if.” Hasn’t this pervert ever heard of personal space? And because they were in an art gallery with precious works surrounding them, Jae couldn’t hit Yunho even if he had wanted to. “So you’re going to think about it?” Yunho then produced a ticket from his pocket, lifted it over his face, so that it served as a barrier between them. “Here.” “What’s this?” Jaejoong took it tentatively. “A ticket for Park Yoochun’s concert tomorrow at Seoul National University.” Yunho answered. “If you come, that means you agree with my plan.” Twenty-four hours later, Jae was being led to his seat by the usher. The seat was located at the end of the center aisle, eight rows from the front. Jaejoong looked at the

programme that was given to him when he entered. He’s heard of Park Yoochun, the musical prodigy, and had always wanted to see the pianist perform. Unfortunately, it was hard to obtain tickets for his concerts. Jae had been lucky enough to score one. “It would be a shame to waste it.” “Aren’t you Yunho’s pretend boyfriend?” The man who had spoken was cute – his eyes were shining and a friendly smile was plastered on his face. His voice reminded Jaejoong of that of a dolphin’s. “I beg your pardon?” And the pervert honestly believed his plan was brilliant? There was someone who already knew about it. The man took the sit beside his and looked at Jaejoong carefully. “You vomited while in Yunho’s arms.” “Oh.” Jaejoong honestly didn’t know how he could have puked all over Yunho to begin with – that night in Azure was still a blur for him. “I have low alcohol tolerance.” “Well, I thought it was funny. Besides, Yunho deserved it for pulling a stranger to him to act as his boyfriend to get rid of his ex.” Jaejoong’s eyebrow raised. “The pervert already used me as a pretend boyfriend while I was drunk and I didn’t even know it? Giving him two black eyes weren’t enough.” He muttered. “Did I say something wrong?” The man asked, noticing Jae’s dark expression. “It’s nothing.” Jaejoong smiled. “I don’t believe we’ve met. I’m Kim Jaejoong.” “Oh, where are my manners? I’m Kim Junsu.” Junsu’s face brightened up in recognition. “Are you Kim Jaejoong the author? If you are, you made my best friend Hyukjae actually read a book! I’ve never seen him so engrossed before, it was hilarious!” “That’s nice.” Jaejoong supposed he should be flattered. Kim Junsu’s name also sounded familiar. Jaejoong remembered hearing the news recently about how the South Korean soccer team won against China. “Kim Junsu? You’re the national soccer player who also happens to be Park Yoochun’s boyfriend!” Every one knew that Park Yoochun was Kim Junsu’s and Kim Junsu was Park Yoochun’s. Junsu blushed. “Yeah, that’s me.”

“Shouldn’t you be sitting at the front row?” Jaejoong asked him. Not that their seats weren’t nice but since Junsu was Park Yoochun’s special guest and those that were in front were considered the VIPs – “I’m always delegated to this seat whenever I watch Chunnie’s concerts.” Junsu giggled. “He tells me I distract him if I’m at the front row because I’m all he would look at. At least if I sit at the middle row, I would be far enough not to distract him but still near enough so that he can see me.” The romantic in Jaejoong sighed. “That’s really sweet.” “And cheesy.” Junsu added. “But that’s Chunnie – he wouldn’t be him if he wasn’t so greasy.” Jaejoong laughed. “It’s nice to meet you, Junsu-shii.” “Call me Junsu.” He told Jaejoong. “I have a feeling we’ll be hanging out more often especially now that you’re Yunho’s real boyfriend instead of his pretend one.” “What?” “Your seat is actually Yunho’s. Yunho always sits beside me at Chunnie’s concerts to keep me company. Unfortunately, he told me that he can’t join me tonight because he has something else to do.” Junsu paused. “I was actually surprised when he asked me if I could entertain his guest.” “Really?” “Yeah. It’s also always been a policy of Yunho’s not to bring dates to the concerts. He said it was because of a promise he made a long time ago.” Junsu smiled at him. “I think you’re the first person Yunho’s ever invited. You must be really special, Jaejoong.” “I wouldn’t say that. We’ve only started to get to know each other recently.” I must be going crazy, Jaejoong decided, for going along with this stupid plan. ++++ The eight-year-old girl’s name was Soo Jin. She became Yoochun’s fan because it was his music that makes her feel at ease after a round of chemotherapy. It was Yunho who welcomed her to the concert and served as her guide for the evening, keeping her company as she watched her idol perform on stage.

Yoochun’s playing was inspired – there was no other word to describe it. But then, Yunho mused, when wasn’t it? Mozart’s Piano Concerto 26 ~ Coronation filled the air, the audience engrossed with the man on the piano, his fingers running over the keys, producing note after note that made up the music they were listening to. “Yunho-oppa.” “Hmm?” Soo Jin bit her lip. “I don’t mean to be rude, but…why are you wearing sunglasses when it’s already dark in the auditorium?” “It makes me see better.” Yunho lied. “The glasses gives you X-ray vision?” “Something like that.” “So you can’t take it off?” Not if he wanted people to see his panda eyes. “No, I can’t.” Once Yoochun was finished with the piece, he immediately proceeded to play one of his own compositions, Love Bye Love. Soo Jin sighed. It was one of her favorites – how could a song be sad and yet happy at the same time? Yunho leaned close to Soo Jin’s ear and whispered. “Did you know why Love Bye Love was written?” Soo Jin shook her head. “It was written by Yoochun for a friend of his.” Yunho said softly. “Why?” “Because Yoochun’s friend was very sad after his first love left him.” “Why did his first love leave him?” “Because she wanted to follow her dreams and she couldn’t do that if they were together.”

“And Yoochun’s friend let her leave?” “Yes, because he wanted her to be happy.” “He must love her.” “Yes, very much.” Soo Jin frowned. “So why did she leave if she has someone who loves her very much?” It’s nice to be a kid, Yunho thought. And think that love was as simple as that. “Yoochun wrote Love Bye Love hoping that his friend would realize that even though his first love left him, that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love him anymore. It was just that her dreams were more important at the moment.” They were silent, reveling on the music that was Love Bye Love. “What happened to Yoochun’s friend?” Yunho smiled bitterly. “He tried to move on.” ++++ “Would you like to go backstage?” Junsu asked him. The concert has just ended and people were already being ushered out. Jaejoong and Junsu were two of the few remaining in the auditorium. “I’m not sure-” “Nonsense.” Junsu grabbed Jae’s hand. “Yunho’s definitely backstage and you must be looking forward to seeing him.” “Not particularly,” Jaejoong muttered under his breath as he let Junsu drag him backstage. The guard had recognized Junsu immediately and allowed him entrance. The two of them made their way to Yoochun’s dressing room. “Ji Hoon-hyung!” The guy walking a few feet away from them paused and waited as Junsu and Jaejoong caught up to him. “I didn’t know you watched the concert.” “I just arrived, actually.” Ji Hoon said sheepishly. “The meeting I had with a client took longer than I expected but I promised Yoochun I’d be here so…”

“Did Uncle and Auntie watch the concert?” Junsu asked. “Yunho wasn’t sitting beside me as usual – did he join them?” “I doubt it,” Ji Hoon laughed. “My parents opted to watch at the balcony that was reserved for the two of them because it was more private.” Junsu turned to Jaejoong. “I wonder what could have been more important than being with you.” What he told Jaejoong awhile ago was true. He honestly believed that Jaejoong was different from all the others Yunho had dated because Jaejoong was the only one that Yunho had invited to the concert. The door to the dressing room suddenly opened. Yunho walked out with Soo Jin, who was holding on to a CD that was signed by Park Yoochun. Soo Jin had the brightest smile on her face. “Park Yoochun-shii is wonderful.” “That he is,” Yunho agreed as he took Soo Jin’s hand. “Did you have fun this evening?” Soo Jin nodded. “The best. Thank you, Yunho oppa, for inviting me.” “It’s my pleasure.” Yunho smiled as he pinched Soo Jin’s nose. “We better go. Your sister must be waiting for you outside.” “Okay!” With that, Yunho guided Soo Jin down the hallway, holding her hand and listening to her happy chatter that he didn’t even notice the three people who had been standing a few feet away from them. “Yunho’s always had a soft spot for kids.” Ji Hoon remarked off-handedly. “Yeah, when he’s with them his whole face brightens up.” Junsu agreed. For Jaejoong, it was nice to know that there was something more to Jung Yunho than being the pervert who stole his clothes. ++++ “Su-ah!” Yoochun, who had been talking to the Jungs, excused himself. Junsu had just entered the dressing room, with Ji Hoon and Jaejoong behind him. Yoochun kissed his boyfriend. “You don’t know how happy I am to see you.” “The concert was great, Chunnie!” Junsu beamed at Yoochun.

Ji Hoon chuckled. “And the lovebirds are at it again.” He was used to their public displays of affection. It was a nice sight to see once in a while. “I wonder if I will ever see my sons in love like that.” “You sound as if you’ve lost all hope in them, Jin Ho.” Youn Ha admonished. “Ji Hoon and Yunho are still young. I’m sure that there will be someone for them eventually.” “One of two people you’re talking about are in the room.” Ji Hoon reminded his parents. “Although I think you should worry about Yunho more than me. With the rate he’s going, he’s never going to find someone even if you ask a matchmaking agency to set him up.” “But Yunho’s got Jaejoong now.” Junsu said, tearing away from Yoochun long enough to point at Jaejoong, who had been standing by the door. Junsu, Jaejoong decided, talks too much. All of a sudden, four pairs of eyes turned toward him. Jaejoong felt as if he was under a microscope, being examined by people he didn’t know. Someone wrapped their arms around him. “I’ve been waiting for you.” Yunho had returned after bidding Soo Jin goodbye to find Jaejoong standing inside the dressing room with the rest of his family and friends. “Yunho, who is he?” Jin Ho asked his son curiously. Yunho had never brought anyone with him in any of Yoochun’s concerts before. Every one knew that. “I’ll take it your answer’s yes then,” Yunho muttered under his breath as he pulled Jaejoong closer to him. In a louder voice, he said. “This is Kim Jaejoong, my date for the evening.” (And that was when it all began.)

Chapter 6: Their first meeting was made up of bad impressions. U-Know had been at the club, celebrating with his friends. He is an up and coming attorney, getting the highest grade among those who took the bar exams a year ago. He had just proven that he was more than up to the challenge of becoming an attorney by winning his very first case against a well-known corporation for tax evasion. Hero, on the other hand, was alone and had nothing to celebrate. The comments the critics had made about his last exhibit had been far from constructive – they were brutal. They questioned his reputation as a rising artist because his works have failed to engrave themselves in their memories. The harshest one yet came from the newspaper he read during breakfast that morning: Hero was overrated and his works were forgettable. U-Know finished off his eighth shot, drunk from success and high on praises. He was very happy. While Hero nursed his bruised ego by drowning the night away with alcohol, not caring that he was allergic to it. When he drinks, his face becomes bloated and his skin gets red and itchy. U-Know and Hero bumped into each other on their way to the bathroom, which only had one cubicle. U-Know’s bladder was full and he needed to pee. Hero just wanted to scratch his allergies, which were already acting up, in peace. Both were already drunk. In the end, U-Know pushed Hero. Hero caught the end of U-Know’s pants and pulled the latter along with him. That was all Hero could remember of that night before he woke up in the hotel room where U-Know left him all alone with his allergies. “That’s it?” Heechul waved the paper in front of Kibum. “Jae’s working on the continuation right now.” Kibum replied. He was at Heechul’s office at Storybook Publishing for their weekly consultation. As Project Manager/Editor, Heechul follows up on the author’s writing, reading bits and pieces of their works, adjusting deadlines, and trying to think up ways to promote each book. “It was a good thing you sent Jaejoong to that matchmaking agency. It appears that his

muse is working again.” Heechul’s eyes sparkled. “From what I’ve read, the story looks promising so far. Is U-Know the love interest?” “Jae didn’t say. All he told me was that Hero is the main character.” This was actually the first story Jaejoong wrote that Kibum did not know much about. “He’s been tightlipped about the story ever since he attended Park Yoochun’s concert.” “Hmm.” Aside from Kibum, it was Heechul who had helped Kim Jaejoong get published. Kibum, who was then the associate editor to Heechul, had given the latter the manuscript of 9095 and insisted that it should be published. After reading 9095, Heechul had agreed with Kibum’s opinion. When Heechul got promoted, he assigned Kibum to be Jaejoong’s editor. “Just tell Jae that I’d give you and him more leeway if he gives me something more like this to read.” ++++ “I’m Rui.” A business card was handed to Hero. He glanced up from the blank canvas, into the warm brown eyes of the man in front of him. “How did you get into my studio?” “The door wasn’t locked.” Rui bowed deeply. “I apologize if I was rude but I really need to talk to you.” Hero didn’t say anything. “I saw your last exhibit.” Rui took a deep breath. “If you wouldn’t mind, I would like to host your works.” “Why?” “I beg your pardon?” “I’m a failure. Why would you want to host my works?” “You’re not a failure.” Rui was thoughtful as he looked at Hero’s sullen expression. “You’re just lost.” “You write?” Jaejoong almost jumped up from his seat. He had been so engrossed with his writing

that he didn’t even notice the person who had crept up behind him. “This is the third time we meet and I still caught you off guard.” Hyunjoong chuckled. He motioned at the chair across from Jaejoong. “Are you waiting for someone?” Jae shook his head. “I just needed a change of place to continue my work.” The two of them were at Starbucks, a caramel frappucino half finished lying on the table beside Jae’s laptop. They were joined by Hyunjoong’s order, a slice of cheesecake and hot black coffee. “What about you, Hyunjoong-shii?” “The art gallery’s only fifteen minutes away from here. I needed a break from all the negotiating.” Hyunjoong sighed. “There are just some pieces, no matter how much you think they’re valuable, that’s just not worth pursuing.” “Trouble with work?” “You could say that. But I really don’t want to talk about it.” Hyunjoong pointed to the laptop. “So, you’re a writer?” “Yeah. Sorry you had to read that. It’s not polished yet.” “I’m glad I did because then I wouldn’t have figured out you’re Kim Jaejoong.” Hyunjoong smiled. “I should have recognized you from the moment I saw you at the gathering. My sister has all your books. She’s probably going to be thrilled if I set you up with her.” Jaejoong blinked. “You want to set me up with your sister?” “I said if,” Hyunjoong looked at him. “My sister and I have the same tastes.” Suddenly, Jaejoong’s phone began to ring. He got it out from his pocket, reading the name flashing on the screen. Jae almost groaned. Giving Hyunjoong an apologetic smile, Jae flipped the phone open. “What?” He hissed. “Why does my whole family like you?” “Because I’m just that likeable.” Jaejoong snapped. “What do you want?” “You’re invited to dinner.” Yunho’s voice drawled over the phone. “My mother wants to see you again because, and I quote, “Jaejoong-ah is the nicest boy I’ve ever met, Yunho. I would not mind seeing him again.” End quote.”

“But I already had dinner with your family.” After the concert, Jaejoong went to dinner with the Jungs along with Yoochun and Junsu. It’s not like he had a choice – Yunho had introduced him as his date. “I told her that,” Yunho said. “But my father overheard and he smacked me. He thinks I’m keeping you away from them because, and I quote once again, “You’re embarrassed that we’ll make a fool of ourselves in front of Jaejoong-ah.” End quote.” “Your family is nice. You’re the only one who likes making a fool of yourself.” “Haha.” Yunho replied. “Anyway, hyung was also there since it was breakfast and he suggested that you come to dinner this evening so that you can try my mother’s homecooked meals. Because, and this is the last time I’m quoting someone, “Jaejoong-ah looks thin. Have you been treating him right, Yunho?” End quote. As a result of which my mother fussed, my father worried over your health, and my hyung triumphant in getting one over me.” It was sweet of the Jungs to invite him for a home-cooked meal – it had been a long time since Jaejoong had eaten one. But on such short notice? “Didn’t it ever occur to you that I might have plans?” “Of course it did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have even called you. I would have just appeared on your doorstep tonight and dragged you away whether you liked it or not.” “You don’t even know where I live!” He had not wanted to give Yunho his number either but if they were going to continue the pretense, the latter had to know how to get in touch with him and vice versa. “I’m friends with Heechul.” He could feel Yunho smirking. Jae sighed. “Fine.” “I’ll pick you up at 7pm. You better be ready by then.” ++++ “Jaejoong-ah!” Jung Jin Ho greeted him warmly as soon as he entered the Jung mansion along with Yunho. Ji Hoon had insisted on taking Jaejoong’s coat despite the latter’s protests. “You’re early. Youn Ha’s still in the kitchen, preparing for dinner.”

“It’s alright.” Jaejoong smiled. “I’ll just go and help her, if you don’t mind.” Yunho stared at him. “You cook?” Ji Hoon, who had just arrived after hanging Jaejoong’s coat, smacked Yunho. “You don’t know? What kind of boyfriend are you?” “He’s not my boyfriend yet.” Yunho protested. “We’re still getting to know each other better.” Because it would be implausible to introduce Jaejoong as his boyfriend two days after their “official” meeting at the gathering, both had agreed to start the relationship at a getting to know you level. Followed by a couple of dates and get-togethers by the matchmaking agency (which Jaejoong insisted on so as not to waste the fees already paid for it) and then to a make-believe couple. Their make-believe relationship would last as long as Jaejoong needed to finish his story which Yunho was okay with but on the condition that Yunho can do whatever he wanted with his personal life (which involved flirting and seducing other people) without Jae interfering. Jae had agreed since he didn’t really care what the pervert did anyway. “You don’t have to do that.” Jin Ho told Jaejoong. “We have maids helping Youn Ha. You’re our guest for tonight, Jaejoong-ah. All you have to do is sit back and relax.” “But I’d like to.” Jaejoong smiled shyly. “I’d feel bad if you prepared so much and I did not even do anything.” “Oh, well then.” Jin Ho cleared his throat when he saw those huge doe-eyes looking at him earnestly. “Yunho, accompany Jaejoong-ah to the kitchen.” Jaejoong beamed up at him. “Thank you, Jin Ho-shii.” Ji Hoon watched in amusement as Yunho led Jaejoong to the kitchen. His father was still standing there, a tinge of red forming in his cheeks. “It’s okay to be embarrassed.” “Kim Jaejoong.” Jin Ho chuckled and shook his head. “I couldn’t refuse him, even if I had wanted to.” “At least look at it this way,” Ji Hoon smirked. “Yunho won’t even stand a chance.” ++++ The Jung family did everything with class – the rectangular dining table was covered in a traditional white tablecloth. A bouquet of flowers were placed on the table as a

centerpice. Five plates, each with a complete set of utensils and drinking glasses have all been arranged. Jin Ho sat at the head of the table, Youn Ha to his right and Ji Hoon beside Youn Ha. Yunho was sitting on Jin Ho’s left and beside him was Jaejoong. They were chatting as they were served the appetizer, which was a Caesar salad. “How’s your story coming along, Jaejoong-ah?” Jin Ho asked. “It’s still not much at the moment but it’s progressing.” Jaejoong said. “When you told father that you were a writer, he immediately ordered me to buy your books the next day.” Ji Hoon started. “He spent every night the past week devouring9095.” “It wasn’t only Jin Ho – Ji Hoon has also been engrossed with Taxi.” Youn Ha paused. “As for me, I have to say I’ve taken quite a liking to Secret Game.” Secret Game was the most recent of Jaejoong’s novels. “I cannot wait for your detective to figure out that there’s no case and that he’s actually part of a reality television show.” Jaejoong blushed. To have his books be so well-received is one of the greatest compliments anyone could give him. “Thank you.” “It’s quite a shame that Yunho had panda eyes for the whole week. Otherwise, he could have finished reading your books by now.” Ji Hoon commented, making fun of his younger brother. When Yunho had come home sporting two black eyes a week ago, no one in the family had been surprised. Yunho’s playboy ways were bound to haunt him sooner or later. Yunho didn’t know that his family had started reading Jaejoong’s books. “Why would I read something I’m not interested in to begin with?” He muttered under his breath. Jaejoong heard him. “Even if Yunho’s panda eyes are gone now, his intellect wouldn’t have made him understand my novels.” “I knew there was a reason why I like you.” Ji Hoon laughed. Yunho glared at the two of them. “Shut up.” “This salad is different from the ones you make, Youn Ha.” Jin Ho commented. “It’s tastier.” “It was Jaejoong who made the dressing,” Youn Ha beamed. “Oh, you don’t know how

nice it was to actually have a man help you in the kitchen and know what he was doing.” “It was a pleasure helping you.” Jaejoong’s skill in the kitchen had been borne out of necessity. The Kims owned a family restaurant in Chungnam where their nine children helped out whenever they were free. By the time he was eight, Jaejoong already knew how to cook the menu by heart. He also started experimenting with recipes of his own, adding an ingredient and subtracting another, trying to make a taste that was completely his. When Jaejoong began living on his own, he started creating his own dishes, dabbling not only in cooking but also in baking. When he took up writing as a full-fledged career, cooking had taken a complete back seat – as of the present, the only time Jaejoong would cook is when he needed to release his stress. “This is really delicious.” Ji Hoon looked at Yunho. “You made a good choice, dongsaeng. I approve.” Curious, Yunho took a bite of the salad. Then another. And another. Yunho had to concede grudgingly that Jaejoong did a good job with the dressing. A maid then came in carrying a tray with five bowls of soup. “Jaejoong also made the clam chowder soup.” Youn Ha said proudly. “You must all try it – it tastes wonderful.” The maid’s hand shook as she placed the soup in front of Jaejoong. Noticing this, Jae took the bowl from her with the intent of putting it on the table, a little of the soup spilling over his hand. “You’re clumsy.” Yunho remarked as he got a table napkin, grabbed Jae’s hand and wiped the spill away. Jaejoong hissed in pain. The soup was still steaming and it burned his skin. “That’s going to leave a mark. We’ll put an ointment on it after dinner.” “At least it’s not as obvious as the panda eyes.” Yunho pressed on the burn harder, a red mark starting to form. Jaejoong grimaced. Yunho smirked. “Serves you right for making fun of me.” Jaejoong removed his hand away from Yunho. The rest of the Jungs had been watching all through out this exchange, not knowing that they were all thinking the same thing – Kim Jaejoong suited Yunho.

Ji Hoon tried the soup. “Mom, you’re right. The clam chowder is wonderful.” “Isn’t it?” Youn Ha looked at Jaejoong, eyes shining. “We really should exchange recipes, Jaejoong. I want to learn a lot from you.” “You should also teach him how to make Yunho’s favourites, Youn Ha.” Jin Ho chimed in. “If they’re going to be together, Jaejoong should know how to please Yunho.” Yunho choked on his soup while Jaejoong almost dropped his spoon. Youn Ha only brightened up at the idea even more. “Why didn’t I think of that?” She turned to Jaejoong eagerly. “Why don’t we meet weekly? You’ll teach me all your recipes and I’ll teach you Yunho’s favourites!” “I-” Jaejoong hesitated. The Jungs were all very nice and he really didn’t want to fool them more than what was necessary. “He’ll do it.” Underneath the table, Yunho stomped on Jaejoong’s foot, urging him to play along. It’s been a long time since his mother has been this excited over something. Yunho was not going to allow anyone to ruin it. Jaejoong smiled through gritted teeth. The pervert owes me one. “Yes, are Sunday afternoons okay with you?” ++++ “They like you,” Yunho stated as he drove Jaejoong home an hour later. “I don’t know why, but I’ve never seen them that accommodating to any of the others before.” Jaejoong raised an eyebrow. “Your family knows all of your exes?” No wonder Jung Jin Ho signed his son up with a matchmaking agency. “Of course not.” Yunho snorted. “It’s just that most of them are acquaintances of the family.” “Oh.” The drive was silent. They really have nothing to say to each other when they’re not bickering. “Thank you for indulging my mother.” Yunho said suddenly, eyes still focused on the road. “I really appreciated that.” “It’s no big deal. You might not believe it, but I really like your family too.” Jaejoong

paused. “Thanks for the ointment.” As promised, Yunho had given him the ointment for his burn right after dinner. “No problem.” Yunho shrugged. “It’s the least I could do after forcing you to come to dinner on such short notice.” “It’s not your fault that your family thought of it just this morning.” Although Jaejoong did have to cancel his dinner plans with his Hyori noona, who had felt guilty about what had happened at Azure that night and wanted to make it up to Jaejoong. “Actually, that home-cooked dinner had been planned the day right after Yoochun’s concert.” Yunho grinned. “I just invited you today.” “Bastard.” “Payback.” But they were both smiling.

Chapter 7: Cupid and Associates prided itself with the knowledge that they were different from other matchmaking agencies. Where other agencies choose to go the usual route to matchmaking wherein they get a client’s preferences, look at their database, find the person they think appropriate, set up an appointment between the two, and let nature take its course, Cupid and Associates take things a bit further. They put all their clients in one big group, setting up a couple of get-togethers, and let them have their pick. It led to different results: a client’s choice might be the same as that of another’s; a client’s choice might not like said client back; and a client might not like any one at all. But Changmin believed that it was still the best way to set people up. Because through out these sessions, there were almost always two people who gravitate toward each other. And that was what matchmaking was all about. Changmin was looking through the schedule of events planned by his staff for that week when his private line rang. He picked it up absent-mindedly. “Cupid and Associates. Shim Changmin, speaking.” “This is Kim Hyunjoong.” “Hyunjoong-shii!” Changmin remembered the art curator’s sister Kim Yuri. Apparently, Yuri had joined a lot of matchmaking agencies to the point that she couldn’t attend all the appointments and gatherings that had been set up. But since it would be a waste of the fees to not go to any of them, Hyunjoong had volunteered to take Yuri’s place temporarily and choose who he thinks is right for his sister. Normally, Changmin wouldn’t have allowed such a thing – he believed that the best way to meet someone is to meet them personally and not through a proxy. But Hyunjoong offered the art gallery as a venue for one of the gatherings and Changmin was still a businessman – it was the kind of offer he couldn’t refuse. “I’m sorry if I’m interrupting your work.” Hyunjoong said. “But I just talked to Yuri, my sister. She’s withdrawing from your matchmaking sessions.” “Oh.” Changmin pursed his lips. “Are you going to ask for a refund? Because we have a policy and -” “I was actually wondering if I could take Yuri’s place permanently.”

Well, that was unexpected. “You want to join in the matchmaking sessions?” “We wouldn’t be able to get a full refund anyway,” Hyunjoong pointed out. “So wouldn’t it be better if I just finish the matchmaking sessions Yuri signed up for?” ++++ Rui went to the studio every day, just to check up on Hero. The latter had started preparing for his next exhibit and it was a chance for Rui to see Hero’s paintings at their most basic. Rui couldn’t describe his feelings when Hero finally agreed to let Rui host his works. No matter what the others say, Rui believed in Hero. Because it was through one of Hero’s paintings that Rui started to believe in himself. Rui did not know what happened but he had made it his mission to help Hero. And at that moment, watching Hero tear page after page from his sketchpad, Rui decided that Hero should relax. Rui took Hero ice skating. That was as far as Jaejoong got before he got stuck. Jaejoong stared ruefully at the ice skating rink in front of him, its pristine and slippery floor beckoning him to step on it. “Why couldn’t the pervert have moved his presentation to another day?” When Jaejoong heard that the next matchmaking session would be an ice skating activity, he envisioned Rui teaching Hero how to skate. The scene was already etched in his mind and Jaejoong couldn’t wait to write about it. It was the first scene Jaejoong had to ask for Yunho’s help – after two weeks of pretending to be a couple, they’ve become somewhat civil to each other – the bickering turning into friendly bantering. The pervert had laughed at him when Jaejoong called him yesterday. “Ice skating? Really?” “It’s for the story.” Jaejoong said through gritted teeth. “But ice skating is so boring.” Yunho shook his head, knowing that the other won’t see him. “I mean, the two of you just going around the rink, holding each other? Where’s the fun in that?”

“Everything doesn’t have to involve a bed to be fun,” Jaejoong shot back. “Did you even take any of your dates skating?” “No.” Jaejoong could feel the lecherous grin forming over the other’s face. “Because, really, who needs the foreplay when you can get right into the action?” “You really are a pervert.” Yunho only chuckled. “So, you’re simulating the scene with me, right?” Because that was why Jaejoong had agreed to the pretense in the first place. “I already had dinner with your family twice. During that first dinner your friends were there too and there were the cooking lessons with your mother every Sunday afternoon. You owe me three favours already. You have to do your part of the bargain now.” “I know.” Yunho paused. “But I have a presentation at the board meeting tomorrow so I can’t make it for the matchmaking session.” Jaejoong scowled. “You couldn’t have told me that earlier?” And now, Jaejoong was at the sidelines, watching as the people pair up on the skating rink. Of course, not all of them knew how to skate – so some had resorted to teaching those who cannot. There were also some who had taken advantage of this fact by touching in the most inappropriate places. “You’re not going to join them, Jaejoong-shii?” It was Changmin, a Polaroid camera slung around his neck. “I don’t want to make a fool of myself.” Jae looked at Changmin. “Are you going to take pictures?” Changmin nodded. “There’s been three matchmaking sessions now and this is usually the time the couples are determined.” He smiled, eyes crinkling. “Not all of them are going to end up together but the pictures would still be a nice remembrance.” A person just fell down in the middle of the rink. “You just want to take pictures of them making a fool of themselves.” “Yeah, that too.” Changmin beamed. Jaejoong laughed. He had always thought that Shim Changmin, President of Cupid and Associates, had a sadistic side to him. It turned

out he was right. Jae watched as Changmin joined the others in the rink, skating as if he’s been doing it for a long time, looking for the couples and capturing their moments. Jaejoong observed, trying to imagine the atmosphere he would need for the story and how Rui would go about teaching Hero. “Damn that pervert.” He grumbled. “This would be easier if I can actually skate.” “I could teach you.” Jaejoong turned. “Hyunjoong-shii! How long have you been standing there?” “Not long.” Hyunjoong took the sit beside Jaejoong. “You were talking to yourself. It’s cute.” Jae blushed. The two of them sat on the bleachers in comfortable silence. “Your sister has another gathering to go to?” “No.” Hyunjoong chuckled. “I actually took her place already.” “Why?” Jaejoong was curious. Hyunjoong didn’t strike him as someone who needed to go to a matchmaking agency to find a partner. From the first time they met, Jaejoong had always thought that Hyunjoong was the type who knew what he wanted and how to go about it. The man wasn’t cocky – he was just confident in his own skin and it showed from the way he acted. Instead of answering, Hyunjoong picked up the skate shoes Jae had placed on the floor. “Wear them. We’ll go skating.” He might as well do what he came here for, Jaejoong decided. He took the shoes from Hyunjoong, discarded his own, and started putting them on. “Come to think of it, we’ve known each other for a while now but I still don’t know your whole name.” Hyunjoong laughed. “It’s Kim Hyunjoong.” “You’re a Kim too – my best friend is also a Kim.” Jaejoong remarked, thinking of Kibum, who really was his best friend more than his editor. “You’re a Kim as well.” Jaejoong shrugged as he worked on tying the laces of the skate shoes properly. “Maybe I just get along with people surnamed Kims better than others.” He got along well with

Junsu and Heechul too. Hyunjoong smiled. “Maybe.” “Done!” Jaejoong announced as he stood up. He lost his balance immediately. Hyunjoong grabbed his hand and also stood up, cushioning Jae’s fall. “Careful,” Hyunjoong cautioned as he guided Jae into the rink. “You’re good at skating.” Jae said stepping on to the ice that had tempted him a while ago. Hyunjoong’s hands holding his steadied him and Jaejoong managed to take a few steps, before wobbling on his feet and almost falling onto Hyunjoong, who caught him by the arms once more. “Sorry. This is my first time.” “It’s okay.” Hyunjoong held onto Jae’s hands tighter, one of his arms snaking around Jae’s waist. Jae took a few more steps once again, with Hyunjoong keeping him balanced. “I won’t let you fall.” Rui let go of Hero’s hands and glided to the middle of the rink. “Rui!” Hero immediately grabbed on to one of the bars by the side of the rink, feeling himself slipping. Rui smiled. “You can do it, Hero.” Hero bit his lip as he tentatively let go of the bar. “You’re still on your feet.” Rui called out encouragingly. “Now, try skating over to where I am.” Hero took a step. And another. Rui has been teaching him how to skate for almost half an hour. Another step. Then another. Hero felt the ice on the floor sliding on to his shoes and he felt like he was flying. Rui was still smiling when Hero finally reached him. “You’re a very fast learner.” “Thank you.” Hero grabbed on to one of Rui’s hands, squeezing it gently. “Thank you.” ++++ “An amusement park?”

“I told you I’d make it up to you.” Yunho paid for their tickets. “What love story wouldn’t be complete without a scene at the amusement park?” Jaejoong rolled his eyes as the security guard stopped them for inspection before allowing them entrance. “I assumed you’d take me to an ice skating rink because that’s the scene I wanted to simulate. An amusement park is not even in the horizon, idiot.” “Why not?” Yunho demanded as he scanned his surroundings. “Believe me, a date in an amusement park is more fun. We could go on rides, play games, and watch shows.” “You just don’t know how to skate.” Yunho didn’t reply. Jaejoong’s eyes grew wide. “Oh my god. Really?” “Shut up,” Yunho growled. “I’m already simulating the amusement park scene with you, aren’t I?” Jung Yunho was a man of his word and he intended to keep his part of the bargain. It wasn’t his fault that the presentation conflicted with the matchmaking session which incidentally involved ice skating, something Yunho wasn’t really good at. “But there is no amusement park scene!” “You’re the writer! Just make one.” ++++ The two of them were next in line for the Roller Coaster, whose multiple loops and spirals coupled with its speed would make anyone dizzy. It was also 60 meters high. Jaejoong huffed. “What’s so romantic about riding a Roller Coaster?” “You’ll see.” The operator then opened the entrance for the next set of riders. Yunho dragged Jaejoong to the very front coaster. “Put your seatbelt on.” “I’m not a child.” Jaejoong said as he made sure that the seat belt was secured on his body. “Seriously though, I could understand why a lot of couples go on the Ferris Wheel. But how can a Roller Coaster be romantic when you’re already at the top about to make a huge drop and ready to scream your lungs out?” “You talk too much.” Jaejoong was about to say something else, when the engine whirred and the Roller Coaster started moving. It was fast. Jae felt his hair slapping his face, his hands gripping

tighter on the handle bars, and the air trying to get out of his lungs. And then all of a sudden it stopped. Jaejoong opened his eyes (he didn’t even know he’d closed them) and stared. They were finally at the top – the green of the trees greeted him as he looked down and beyond the forest was the sparkling blue of the sea. Birds were chirping as they flew over them. “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Yunho took Jaejoong’s hand in his and squeezed. “Now, don’t let go.” And with that, the Roller Coaster moved again, and Jaejoong felt like he was falling. Yunho had raised their entwined hands up in the air, both screaming their lungs out. Jae’s hair still slapped his face but it doesn’t hurt anymore; the hand that Yunho wasn’t holding was also raised up; and Jae was still breathing normally despite the huge drop to the ground. All because Yunho’s hand was holding his. ++++ “Here.” Yunho placed two canned sodas on the table. Jaejoong looked up from his notebook, grabbed one of the cans, and popped it open. “Thanks.” He then continued his scribbling. The two of them were sitting at one of the circular tables provided for in the amusement park. After the Roller Coaster, Yunho dragged Jaejoong to the Bumped Cars, then to the Carousel, and after that to the Spinning Tea Cups. By the end of the ride, the both had been too dizzy that they decided to take a break for a while. Yunho was already gulping down his soda. Jae’s, although opened, remained untouched. “You must really love writing a lot.” “Hmm?” Jae took a sip from the can, not even glancing up to acknowledge Yunho’s remark. “Do you carry a notebook with you everywhere?” “Most of the time.” Jaejoong finally put his pen down. “I never know when I might be struck by inspiration so it’s best to be prepared.” “So has writing always been a childhood dream of yours?”

“It’s difficult to explain.” Jaejoong paused. “For me, writing has just always been there. I’ve never thought of a time when I could not write because even when I didn’t know how to, my imagination conjured up the stories for me. And then when I did learn how to write, to put thoughts on paper, it became something I never wanted to let go of.” “It must be nice to do what you’ve always wanted.” “It is.” Jaejoong sighed. “But getting published wasn’t easy. Before my first manuscript was accepted by Storybook Publishing, a lot of people have already told me that writing is not worth pursuing. Not every one who wants to be a writer becomes successful. I also got into a lot of arguments with my parents – they wanted me to take up Hotel and Restaurant Management in college so that I could take over the family restaurant. They were also afraid that I would have nothing to fall back on if writing didn’t work out.” “Did you listen to them?” “No. I left Chungnam right after I graduated from high school and went to Seoul alone. My parents weren’t going to pay for my tuition if I took up Creative Writing, which I did. It was a good thing I had already applied for an academic scholarship and got accepted. But maintaining a grade point average while doing part-time jobs had been difficult. Add to that the feeling of homesickness and it was quite terrible.” “Your family, did you regret leaving them to follow your dreams?” “At first,” Jaejoong admitted. “It’s hard being alone in a city you know nothing about. And it was harder not having someone to lean on when things got too hard or when someone criticizes my writing. But if I had not left them, I doubt if I’d be where I am today. The experiences I had while living alone made me stronger and made me more determined to follow my dreams. So I guess in the end, I felt that I had to leave, to spread my wings so that I can grow and be someone that they can be proud of.” “I see.” She must have also felt the same way. “Thank you.” Jaejoong blinked. “Huh?” “Thank you.” Yunho smiled at him. “You made me understand something I should have a long time ago.” U-Know and Hero still weren’t the best of friends but they understood each other. UKnow understood the loneliness that emanated from Hero while Hero could

understand U-Know’s need to prove himself to every one around him. They were neighbours. U-Know had moved in next door to Hero over a month ago and that was where their pseudo-friendship started. U-Know could also see that Hero was closing into himself once more, so he took the latter to the amusement park. “BOO!” Hero screamed, a hand over his chest. U-Know laughed as he offered the huge Hamtaro stuffed toy to Hero. “I saw you looking at it awhile ago.” “You bought it for me?” “Of course not.” U-Know flicked Hero on the forehead. “I won it for you.” ++++ When Yunho arrived home, he sneaked into his father’s library and took one of Kim Jaejoong’s books.

Chapter 8: “It was the bartender, wasn’t it? Out of every one, his alibi is the most believable because the customer he was pouring drinks for was the police inspector. But that’s what’s suspicious – it’s the police inspector! What if he’s also part of the conspiracy?” In answer, all he heard was a snore. “Yah!” Yunho yelled over the phone. “Don’t you dare sleep on me! I have to know who the culprit is!” “Why can’t you just read the whole thing?” Jaejoong yawned. “And why are you calling me at 3 in the morning?” “It’s your fault for writing something so engrossing.” Jaejoong heard Yunho turn another page. “What? How could you kill the informant? Now no one knows who the real kidnapper is!” Since Yunho began reading Force (the third of Jaejoong’s novels) the night before, Yunho couldn’t put the book down. It had been a long time since Yunho had read something voluntarily and the mystery novel had definitely caught his interest. Jaejoong only burrowed his face into his pillows more, trying to drown out the other’s voice. “Let me sleep.” But Yunho wasn’t listening. “How can that kidnapper be so cruel? The victim was only eight years old. Eight! The kid didn’t even do anything to him.” “Because the kidnapper would get lots of money out of it.” Jaejoong replied tiredly. “That’s his motive – money.” “But the kidnapper also has a son around the victim’s age.” Yunho argued. “Shouldn’t he feel guilty about what he’s doing?” “He considers kidnapping as his job. It’s not something he takes personally.” Yunho frowned as he closed the book and put it on the counter. He was at the kitchen, making a cup of coffee, because Force was keeping him awake late into the night. “But how will he be able to look at his son afterwards?” “It’s normal to separate personal life from work.”

“Not if it involves taking someone’s life,” Yunho countered. “I doubt if anyone could live with that kind of guilt.” Jaejoong sat up and leaned against the headboard. “The kidnapper is just following orders – and because he’s just following orders from his superior – it’s easier to be detached from what he’s doing.” “Then that makes him a puppet,” Yunho said. “The kidnapper is weak and not even worth any sympathy.” (The two of them ended up talking for the rest of the night, discussing the fine points of good against evil and the grey lines in between.) ++++ “Here’s your cappucino.” The waiter announced as he put the coffee on the table. Jaejoong mumbled his thanks as he took a sip, only for his tongue to be burned by the steaming coffee. “Hot! Hot!” “You should be more careful.” Hyunjoong offered him a glass of water. “I seem to keep telling you that a lot.” “Sorry.” Jaejoong said after gulping down the glass of water. “I don’t think I’m the greatest company anyone could have this morning.” “It’s okay.” Hyunjoong smiled. “I’m just glad you agreed.” “It’s not every day I get to eat breakfast with a friend.” From the very first time they met, Jaejoong had considered Hyunjoong a friend. There were only a few people whom Jaejoong was comfortable with and Hyunjoong was one of them. “You look tired. Did you have a long night?” Jaejoong stifled a yawn. “I guess you could say that.” His phone conversation with Yunho had lasted until 5 in the morning. It was the first time, Jaejoong admitted, that anyone had tried to dissect his characters and point out their weaknesses to him. Yunho’s inputs gave Jaejoong another perspective to his characters and a chance to improve his writing better. “Yuri wants to meet you.”

“You are planning to set me up with your sister.” Jaejoong teased him. “No, it’s just that I’ve been talking a lot about you.” Hyunjoong replied easily. “So are you free tomorrow? Because that’s the only time Yuri’s calendar is not filled up with any of her matchmaking sessions.” “I’m sorry.” Jaejoong really was. “But I’m watching the South Korea-Japan soccer game tomorrow. Junsu already gave me a ticket and threatened that if I didn’t come, he’ll squeal at me until I turn deaf.” “You’re friends with Kim Junsu?” Hyunjoong couldn’t help the awe from seeping in to his voice. “He’s one of the best strikers out there right now.” “Striker?” “It’s someone who plays near the goal area and takes a shot at the goal so that the team can earn a point.” Hyunjoong saw Jaejoong’s confused expression. “You don’t play soccer, do you?” “No.” It was one of the things that his classmates in high school mocked Jaejoong for. What kind of guy doesn’t know about soccer? Jaejoong cringed at the thought, remembering the harsh taunts and the callous laughter that followed. “I just never got interested in it.” “I see.” Hyunjoong did not say anything after that. Jaejoong appreciated it. “I could teach you the basics so that you won’t feel so lost when you watch Kim Junsu.” Jaejoong looked up. “You could?” (And then Hyunjoong proceeded to tell Jaejoong all about soccer.) ++++ “GO! SOUTH KOREA!” Yunho and Yoochun stood up and cheered so Jaejoong followed suit. It seemed that the South Korean team had just scored another goal. Jaejoong would not really know – aside from Junsu, he wasn’t familiar with any of the other players. He heard their names spoken a lot in public but Jaejoong could not associate them with the faces. Watching the game, Jaejoong could only assume from their uniforms who the South Korean team was. “Junsu is in good form,” Yunho remarked as they all sat down on the bleachers once

more. The three of them had good seats at the midfield sidelines and could clearly see everything that was happening on the pitch. The excitement and enthusiasm was palpable in the air. Banners were scattered everywhere, the cheerleaders for both teams located at the front line and the crowd’s cheers filling the whole stadium. At present, Junsu was near the goal area, ready to strike once the opportunity presented itself. “He’s always in good form.” Yoochun grinned. “We practice a lot.” Yunho rolled his eyes. “I really don’t need to hear about you and Junsu having sex.” Especially when he’s been celibate for two weeks, since his pretense with Jaejoong started. It’s not like there weren’t any opportunities that presented itself to Yunho – it was just that he felt that it was still too early and his father would get suspicious if he did anything. The ball was passed on to Junsu, who was already past the defense. The latter took this opportunity to score, kicking the ball into the goal. Japan’s goalkeeper failed to block the ball and the South Korean team was now up by two points. What Hyunjoong told him helped but not by much – Jaejoong would probably get the game if the players moved only one at a time – but all of them were moving around at once and it was just hard to keep up. Right after Junsu had scored, one of the players in the South Korean team had tripped a Japanese player. Yoochun groaned. “Great. The Japanese team has a direct free kick now.” Jaejoong’s brows furrowed. A direct free kick? Wasn’t that what they’ve been doing since the game started? Kicking the ball? “One of the South Korean players, No. 15 just committed a foul, because he tripped No. 9 of the Japanese team. Now, the Japanese team is rewarded a direct free kick. One player from the Japanese team is given an opportunity to kick the ball into the South Korean’s goal and score without the ball having touched another player first, which is usually the rule.” Unfortunately for the Japanese team, the ball was blocked by South Korea’s goalkeeper No. 6. “No. 6 is Lee Hyukjae – he’s Junsu’s best friend and also South Korea’s goalkeeper. The goalkeeper is the person who blocks the ball to keep the other team from scoring.” “I know what a goalkeeper does.” Jaejoong looked at Yunho in surprise. Was he really that obvious? Yunho flicked him on the forehead. “Pabo. If you didn’t know anything,

why didn’t you just ask?” “I -” Yoochun gave another whoop. Junsu had scored again. Yunho sighed. “Just don’t tell Junsu you’re clueless about soccer. You’ll probably make him cry.” Jaejoong smiled. “Okay.” (During the rest of the game, Yunho and Jaejoong sat beside each other, with Yunho commentating and explaining to Jaejoong what was happening.) ++++ South Korea won over Japan. After the game, the whole soccer team (along with their guests) proceeded to an exclusive club, and decided to celebrate. “CHEERS!” “I better take that away.” Yunho swapped Jaejoong’s beer with iced tea. “I can’t have you throw up all over me again.” “That reminds me.” Jaejoong’s eyes flashed. “You still haven’t given me my clothes back.” “I think I told the maids to throw them away.” “You didn’t.” “Why? Were you going to pay for the Armani suit you ruined?” “Okay, that’s enough with the flirting.” Yoochun interrupted as he held his beer up. “And start with the drinking. The toast is done already, you know?” Beside Yoochun, Junsu giggled. “Come on, Chunnie! It’s cute.” The four of them were sitting together on the couch – Jaejoong, Yunho, Yoochun and Junsu, in that order – a round table in front of them. Junsu moved over to sit beside Jaejoong, grabbed the latter’s hands and clasped them tightly with his. “I’m so glad you’re here, Jae! I won’t have to be the third wheel anymore!” Yunho snorted. “Isn’t that supposed to be me?”

But Junsu ignored him. “It would be nice to have someone to talk to while Chunnie and Yunho go and do best friend things together.” He told Jaejoong. “Speaking of best friends…” Yoochun nodded to the figure who was approaching their table. “Yours is coming over here, Su-ah.” It was player No. 6…Lee Hyukjae, Jaejoong recalled. The goalkeeper was short but lean, with his hair flying all over. He was also grinning cheekily, gums showing. “Dolphin, Coach wants the team to gather asap. One of the new sponsors wants to meet us.” “Monkey, where are your manners? I have company.” “They know me. I know them.” Hyukjae waved a hand to Yoochun and Yunho. The two held their beers up in acknowledgement. Then Hyukjae turned to Jaejoong. “And you must be Kim Jaejoong. Dolphin couldn’t stop gushing about you, I’d wondered if he had replaced Yoochun.” “Hey!” Yoochun pouted. “My Su-ah wouldn’t do that to me.” Although Yoochun did understand why Junsu likes Jaejoong so much – even though Junsu had meant for it to come as a joke, Yoochun knew that there were times when his boyfriend felt left out whenever the two of them hang out with Yunho. Both were friends but there were still some things that Yunho would never feel comfortable telling Junsu about, that the former could only tell to Yoochun. Now that Jaejoong was added to their group, Junsu would now have someone to hang out with whenever Yoochun and Yunho decide to have their bonding moments as best friends. At the same time, Junsu also saw what Yoochun did – that whenever Kim Jaejoong was around, Yunho didn’t seem as lonely and alone as before. And if only for that, Yoochun approves of Jaejoong. Jaejoong smiled at Hyukjae. “Nice to meet you too.” “I better go.” Junsu blew a kiss over to Yoochun. “Don’t want to keep the sponsors waiting.” “Especially this one – Choi Siwon, new CEO of Choi Apparel is one of our biggest sponsors.” Hyukjae remarked. (At the mention of Choi Siwon’s name, Jaejoong’s hand shook.)

++++ Choi Siwon was still as gorgeous as he remembered. Siwon was laughing as he talked with the soccer team. Jaejoong quickly turned and ducked his head when Siwon looked at the direction of their table. “Are you okay?” Yunho asked him. Jaejoong had just grabbed the menu placed on the table and hid his face behind it. “Jaejoong?” Yoochun was also looking at him, a confused expression on his face. “I need to get out of here.” Jaejoong stood up, the menu still covering his face, and slithered away from the table. Yoochun and Yunho exchanged glances, wondering what was going on. It was a weird, if not amusing, sight – a young man making his way through the crowd, his eyes darting around behind the menu, so that he could see where he was going. Jaejoong then stopped walking and turned around. A few seconds later he moved again, his body slanted sideways, tiptoeing towards the exit. Jaejoong didn’t notice the waiter who was coming on the opposite direction. When Jaejoong was nearing the exit and was now in the periphery of Choi Siwon, he and the waiter slammed into each other. Luckily, the waiter had regained enough balance not to let any of the glasses on the tray he was holding break. However, Jaejoong ended up sprawled on the floor, the drinks spilling over his clothes. And every one’s attention on him, including the one he was avoiding the most. “Jaejoong? Is that you?” Choi Siwon – the first person who became his friend – and the only one who broke his heart. Jaejoong could still remember the disgusted expression on Siwon’s face as he tore the love story Jaejoong wrote for him. And it still hurt, after all these years. Jaejoong bit his lip, nails digging into his palms. He really didn’t want to see Choi Siwon right now, much less talk to him. Siwon had crouched down, soft hands tilting Jae’s chin up, burning the latter’s skin. Sincere eyes looked at him. “Jae, I’m so sorry.” The apology was long past due. A jacket was placed over Jaejoong’s shaking form (he didn’t even realize he was shaking) and Yunho pulled him roughly up to his feet. “Let’s get out of here.” With arms wrapped around Jaejoong’s shoulders, Yunho guided him to the exit. Jaejoong’s eyes tore away from Siwon’s as he allowed Yunho to take him away. The drive home was silent. Hero was staring at the window, the street signs and the

houses blurring pass him. U-Know kept his eyes on the road. Hero was still wearing U-Know’s jacket – the former’s clothes had dried from the liquids that had spilled all over him a while ago but the smell of them still clung to him. “You better change when you get home,” U-Know advised him. Hero nodded, not saying anything. The car stopped at an intersection. U-Know’s right hand was resting on the gear stick. Hero’s hands were on his lap. U-Know noticed that they were shaking. As the stop light turned to green, U-Know drove with one hand on the steering wheel and the other holding on to Hero’s. ++++ A/N: I don't know much about soccer, so I apologize if I had my facts wrong. ^^"

Chapter 9: “Who are they?” Kibum asked. “Who?” Jaejoong said as he stopped by the condiments section to get soy sauce. His eyes scanned the shelves until it settled on a brand he uses, grabbing the soy sauce and placing it on the cart, before trudging along the aisle. Jaejoong realized he had been running out of the bare necessities as well as food and decided to do some grocery shopping. Kibum pushed the cart as he followed Jaejoong. “Rui and U-Know.” “What about them?” Jaejoong looked on his list. Beef. He turned a corner, making his way to the meat section. “I want to meet Rui and U-Know.” “You can’t meet someone whose not real, Kibum.” “Your characters are usually based on real-life people.” Kibum pointed out. “And reading Rui and U-Know, I’m absolutely sure that you know people like them.” The two characters were so engaging, Kibum had to admit, that he could not choose who the right one would be for Hero. “They’re not based on anyone I know.” They were finally on the meat section. Jaejoong began to examine each piece of beef carefully. Kibum snorted. “Yeah, right. Did you meet them because of Cupid and Associates?” “I’m serious.” Jaejoong finally picked the beef he deemed best among the bunch and also placed it on his cart. “Rui and U-Know are complete figments of my imagination. Although…” “Although what?” “The scenes may have been inspired by real-life experiences.” Jaejoong divulged reluctantly.

Well, this was something new. “Really?” Kibum’s eyes narrowed. “Just what have you been doing that you’re not telling your best friend about?” Jaejoong hesitated. He and Yunho never agreed that Jaejoong couldn’t tell anyone about their pretense. “I may or may not have made an agreement with someone.” “And what was this agreement about?” “That we become a pretend couple so that I could write my story and he can get his family off his back?” Jaejoong said rapidly. Kibum closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and counted to three. “Kim Jaejoong, are you out of your mind?” “I knew you would say that.” Jaejoong started to push the cart along, going to the dairy products section, trying to get away from Kibum. “When I said that I would help you find a boyfriend, I meant it.” Kibum ranted after him. “Not a pretend relationship, Jaejoong, a real one. You know, so you can finally get rid of your no boyfriend since birth status?” While it was true that one of the reasons that motivated Kibum to sign Jaejoong up for Cupid and Associates was to get rid of his writer’s block, a part of Kibum also wanted Jaejoong to experience being in love, something his best friend never did. Jaejoong frowned. “But I don’t need a boyfriend, I just need inspiration for my story.” Seeing Choi Siwon again a few days ago reminded him of why he didn’t need the complications love could bring in his life and why it was better to just write about it. Truthfully, Jaejoong liked his life just the way it was – he had his family, he had his friends, and he had his career. There was really nothing more he could ask for. The dairy products section was now in front of them. Jaejoong slowed down his cart, looking at each of the shelves for milk, butter, and eggs. “What if you fall for real?” Kibum got a carton of eggs and put them on the cart. “What then? You’re just going to get hurt, Jae.” “That’s not going to happen,” Jae said confidently as he got the milk and the butter. “I’m not stupid enough.” “It’s not about stupidity.” Kibum muttered. “You can’t control feelings.”

But Jaejoong was already gone, heading to the counter with a cart full of groceries. The line wasn’t long – there were only two people ahead of them. Jaejoong also grabbed a copy of that day’s newspaper on the magazine stand. As he did so, the rest of the newspapers toppled to the floor. “Oops.” Jae knelt down and began to gather them. Used to these kind of things (because Jaejoong could be a klutz most of the time), Kibum knelt down and picked up the newspapers. The girl in front of them on the line also began to help and within minutes, the rest of the newspapers were placed on the magazine stand once more. Jaejoong turned to the girl and flashed her a grateful smile. The girl promptly squealed. “You’re Kim Jaejoong!” Jaejoong looked confused. “Um, yes?” To Kibum and Jaejoong’s surprise, the girl hugged Jaejoong. “Oh! It’s so nice to finally meet you! Oppa’s been talking a lot about you!” “Kim Yuri, get off him!” Hyunjoong pulled his sister away from Jaejoong. “What have I told you about coming on too strong?” Yuri pouted. “But, oppa, it’s Kim Jaejoong!” “Yes, I can see that. But Yuri, did you forget that he doesn’t know you?” Hyunjoong bowed to Jaejoong. “I’m sorry about this. My sister gets excited very easily.” Jaejoong, who was still flustered, could only nod. Kim Yuri was different from her brother – Hyunjoong was calm while Yuri was like a whirlwind. “Isn’t this great, Oppa?” Yuri beamed. “If you didn’t accompany me grocery shopping, you wouldn’t have seen Kim Jaejoong!” “Yuri, you’re next in line already.” Hyunjoong reminded her. “You don’t want to keep the others waiting.” There were already five people behind Jaejoong. Yuri huffed. “Fine.” She began getting the items from the cart and placing them on the counter. “Oppa, did you get the herbal soap I asked you?” “I’m pretty sure that’s the brand you like.” Hyunjoong placed the herbal soap on the counter. “Next time, I’ll be the one in line and you get your girly stuff.”

“Just be thankful it’s not sanitary napkins,” Yuri said cheerfully. “That would have been more embarrassing.” Hyunjoong chuckled. “I guess it would be.” He then looked at Jaejoong. “I guess there’s no need to set up that dinner anymore. You’ve already met Yuri.” “Yeah.” Jaejoong finally snapped out of his stupor. “I’m really sorry about that.” “I watched the match on television.” Hyunjoong smiled. “It was a good game.” “Yeah, it was.” “Did the basics I told you helped?” “A bit.” Jaejoong admitted. “But then they moved around and it was confusing.” Hyunjoong laughed. “Maybe I should have drawn them to make it easier to understand.” “You draw?” Jaejoong scratched his head. “Wait, of course you do. You’re an art curator.” “Just a little.” Hyunjoong told him. “When it comes to art, I prefer looking and collecting more than the making part.” Kibum cleared his throat. “Care to introduce your friend, Jae?” The guy had spiked black hair and kind black eyes with an easy smile gracing his lips. “Kim Hyunjoong.” Jaejoong motioned to Kibum. “This is my best friend, Kim Kibum, who also happens to be my editor.” Hyunjoong stretched out his hand. “Nice to meet you.” Kibum took the hand that was offered to him. “You too.” And this, Kibum concluded, is Rui. ++++

The doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” Kibum called out. He was in the living room, looking over the latest chapter Jaejoong had written. The latter was in his work office, busy typing up another chapter for his love story. Kibum opened the door to two people he had never seen before. One was a woman in her early fifties, with her black hair swept in a bun and her brown eyes twinkling behind her glasses. Beside her was a tall young man around Kibum’s age, who was wearing a navy blue tailored suit that fitted his body perfectly, making his small yet handsome face stand out. “May I help you?” Jung Youn Ha looked at his son. “Are we at the right apartment, Yunho?” “Yes, I’m sure.” Yunho stared at Kibum. “Where’s Jaejoong?” “Kibum, who’s there?” Jaejoong came out of his study to see who was at the door. “Youn Ha-shii? Yunho?” Kibum pulled the door wider and stepped aside to let the guests come in. That was when he noticed that the guy was carrying a plastic full of ingredients which Kibum assumed was for cooking. “Jaejoong-ah!” Youn Ha greeted him brightly. “It’s Sunday, remember?” “Oh!” Jaejoong slapped his forehead sheepishly. “I’m sorry, I forgot what day it was.” It was the second of their so-called exchanging of recipes. The first session had been held at the Jung mansion but Youn Ha had mentioned that she would also like to see Jaejoong’s home so they decided that the next one would be held at the latter’s place. “That’s alright. You must have been busy writing your book.” Youn Ha waved his apology away. “Yunho offered to drive me here. He’s on his way to the office, spending too much over time.” She whispered conspiratorially to Jaejoong. “I think he just wants to see you.” Yunho shrugged. “I want to get my jacket back.” He placed the ingredients on the counter top. The last time he saw Yunho was when the latter helped him get away from Choi Siwon a week ago. Then both had become busy with their work – Yunho with the resort project

in Jeju and Jaejoong with his writing. They did not talk about what had happened. Yunho never asked and Jaejoong never told him. “It’s still in the laundry. I forgot to wash it.” “I don’t care. I don’t trust you with my clothes.” “You were the one who threw mine away!” “You threw up all over mine!” Jaejoong huffed. “Fine! Wait here, I’ll return it to you.” At least he’s back to his old self, Yunho mused as he watched Jaejoong storm out of the room. Someone tapped him on the shoulder. Yunho turned around and saw the guy who had opened the door looking at him curiously, from top to bottom. He raised an eyebrow. “Like what you see?” “I don’t believe I’ve introduced myself.” The guy said stiffly. “I’m Kim Kibum, Jae’s best friend and his editor.” “Jung Yunho.” He drawled as he returned the favour to Kibum, by checking the latter out and leering. “It’s a pleasure.” Kibum decided he liked Rui better than U-Know. ++++ “You’re just like Yunho.” Youn Ha remarked as she watched Jaejoong slice the beef into very thin strips. She was teaching Jaejoong her recipe on bulgogi, which was one of Yunho’s favourites. “Really?” Jaejoong put the thin strips of beef on the tray to be marinated. After Yunho and Kibum left ten minutes after each other, the two of them had began their cooking session. Jaejoong enjoys spending time with Jung Youn Ha – he felt like he could tell her anything and she would just be there to listen, giving him advise when needed. She also shared to Jaejoong heart-warming stories about her life and her family, making Jaejoong laugh.

“You’re both too absorbed with work,” Youn Ha was mixing the vegetables. She had already given to Jaejoong the list of vegetables she used to make bulgogi, along with the quantity of each. “And tend to ignore everything around you.” “I don’t mean to.” Jaejoong got the soy sauce and started preparing the marinade. “But whenever I get an idea, I need to write it so that I won’t forget it.” “Yunho’s determined to prove to every one that he did not get the position of Executive Vice President because he’s the son of the CEO. But when he plays…” Youn Ha sighed. “He doesn’t know how to take care of himself.” She was finished with mixing the vegetables and passed them on to Jaejoong. Jaejoong placed the vegetables along with the thin strips of beef on the bowl with marinade for thirty minutes. “Yunho has a lot of people who worry about him so he doesn’t see the need to worry for himself. He’s headstrong because he knows that Jin Ho-shii would be there to point him in the right direction. He can be carefree and do whatever he wants because Ji Hoon-hyung is the one who would take on the responsibility of being a Jung. He parties and flirts around so much because Yoochun and Junsu is there to indulge him. He can focus on his work without thinking of anything else because Youn Ha-shii is around to look after him.” “Then what about you, Jaejoong-ah?” Youn Ha asked him thoughtfully. “How do you take care of Yunho?” ++++ “And that’s the end of it.” Yunho closed the last of the contracts he had to review for the Jeju Island resort project. He leaned back in his chair and stretched out his limbs, which had become sore after five hours of being cooped up behind his desk. “I’ll have this approved by the Board tomorrow.” Ji Hoon looked through the documents in approval before turning to Yunho. “You really should go home and rest. You look like shit.” He felt like shit too. Yunho’s throat burned even if he had been drinking a lot – the three bottles of mineral water that was on his table was an indication of that. He had a migraine that got worse after reading all those documents with their fine letters in print. His muscles ached, his arms and legs feeling so heavy that Yunho didn’t want to move. It must be fatigue, Yunho thought. The past week had been so hectic that Yunho really only had time to go home and sleep for at least three hours before going to work again.

“I will.” Yunho muttered as he took another gulp of water. “As soon as I pick mother up from Jaejoong’s place.” “I can do that,” Ji Hoon offered. “You really need to go home, Yunho.” “It’s fine.” Yunho waved his hand dismissively. “You still have some documents to sign, right? I’m already done for the day anyway.” Ji Hoon stared at him doubtfully. “Are you sure?” Yunho nodded. “Yeah, I am.” Almost half an hour later, as he trudged up the stairs to the third floor where Jaejoong’s apartment was located (after having been informed by the guard that the elevator wasn’t working), Yunho almost regretted declining Ji Hoon’s offer. His mother had left her cell phone at home so Yunho was forced to park his car and get her. When Yunho stopped in front of Jaejoong’s door, he was already gasping for breath. He removed his coat and grabbed his handkerchief from his shirt pocket to wipe away the sweat that had already formed on his forehead. After a minute, Yunho found the strength to ring the bell. He heard the sound of footsteps and soon enough, the door opened. “Yunho?” Jaejoong stared at him in confusion. “What are you doing here?” “I came to pick my mother up.” “But Youn Ha-shii already left two hours ago right after we finished cooking.” Jaejoong replied. “I was going to offer to drive her home but one of her former classmates came over to pick her up. Apparently, they have a meeting of some sort to talk about the details of their alumni homecoming.” Jung Youn Ha took some of the bulgogi with her to share with the others, telling Jaejoong to save the rest. Yunho sighed, pinching his nose. His mother had played him well. She probably thought that Yunho would keep Jaejoong company after finding the latter home alone. Jaejoong wasn’t definitely expecting anyone. He was also wearing a huge sweatshirt and jogging pants. Jaejoong had his reading glasses on and his bangs tied up with a rubber band and pulled up over his head, giving Yunho a clear sight of Jaejoong’s smooth forehead. He was cute, Yunho thought. He wondered if Jaejoong’s forehead would be as soft as it looked like.

“Yunho?” Jaejoong’s eyes grew wide as he felt Yunho’s hand on his forehead. “Yah! What are you doing?” He slapped the hand away. Yunho didn’t even react – he didn’t have the energy to. “Yunho?” Jaejoong frowned. Yunho’s hand felt unnaturally warm. Jaejoong tentatively touched Yunho’s forehead. “You’re burning up!” Yunho’s vision was becoming blurry. He took a step toward Jaejoong. “Why are there two of you?” His hands reached out, trying to steady himself. Yunho’s hand rested on Jaejoong’s shoulder before his body gave in. Yunho fell forward on top of Jaejoong. ++++ Yunho was heavy. Jaejoong had a hard time carrying Yunho on his back as the former made his way to the bedroom. Behind him, Jaejoong could feel the heat emanating from Yunho’s skin as Yunho nuzzled his neck. Jaejoong gently laid Yunho down on the bed. Yunho fell like a dead weight. Jaejoong began to remove Yunho’s shoes and placed them on the foot of the bed. Taking a deep breath, he then proceeded to take off Yunho’s polo shirt, opening the buttons one by one until Yunho’s toned and muscled upper body is revealed. Jaejoong folded Yunho’s shirt and put them on the dresser table, along with Yunho’s coat. Jaejoong went to his closet to grab a shirt for Yunho to change into. Yunho was now in a state of semi-consciousness. Jaejoong sat on the bed and slowly helped Yunho to sit up. “Can you stretch your arms?” Yunho did as he was told. Jaejoong pulled the shirt over Yunho’s head, tugging it down to his body. Yunho was shivering. “Cold.” He muttered as his hand reached out to grab Jaejoong’s and pulled him on the bed. Jaejoong fell on top of Yunho. Yunho’s arms wrapped around Jaejoong’s waist and held him tightly. Jaejoong froze as he felt Yunho’s breath on his ears. “Better.” They stayed that way for a little while, Jaejoong’s head settling on Yunho’s chest, feeling the latter’s heart beat as Yunho’s arms held Jaejoong’s waist, not wanting to let go. Yunho was mumbling and his lips were brushing over Jaejoong’s hair, forming words that Jaejoong couldn’t catch. Eventually, Yunho stopped mumbling and his breathing became even and steady. Tentatively, Jaejoong removed Yunho’s arms from his waist and stood up carefully, not

wanting to wake Yunho up. When he was out of the bed, he pulled the comforter over Yunho’s sleeping form and walked out of the room. Ten minutes later, Jaejoong returned with a compress and placed it on Yunho’s forehead. Yunho’s fever had gone down some but he was still sick. That night, Jaejoong slept on the couch, waking up once every two hours to check on Yunho’s temperature and replace the compress with a new one. ++++ “Joongie!” Hyori opened her brother’s apartment and let herself in. She had demanded that Jaejoong give her a copy of his key. “I was around the neighbourhood, so I decided to stop by!” There was no reply. “Joongie?” Hyori called out as she looked around the apartment. Hyori noticed the blanket that was folded neatly on the couch. “Kibum must have slept over.” She walked over to the bedroom, whose door was slightly ajar. Pushing it open, Hyori saw the lump figure of her beloved brother on the bed, snuggled in his blankets. “Joongie!” The figure didn’t move. Hyori frowned. “Did you pull an all-nighter again? Kim Jaejoong, I told you to take care of yourself better!” She ranted as she pulled the comforter off him. Kim Hyori stared. The man on the bed wasn’t her brother. “Noona, please don’t leave the key in the door knob, what if someone breaks in?” Jaejoong complained as he stepped inside the apartment. He had just returned from the bakery a few blocks away, a bag of croissants on his hand. “Noona?” A squeal was heard from Jaejoong’s bedroom. “Oh no.” Jaejoong paled. “MY JOONGIE FINALLY BROUGHT A GUY HOME!”

Chapter 10:

Yunho heard someone squeal. He groaned as he buried his face to the pillow, wanting to sleep more. The scent of vanilla filled his senses and Yunho breathed it in deeply.

After hearing Hyori, Jaejoong had sprinted to the room. He immediately covered Hyori’s mouth with his hand to refrain her from making any more noise. Part of the reason Yunho had a high fever was because of fatigue and Jaejoong wanted him to rest as much as possible. He had already called Jung Youn Ha early that morning and informed her that Yunho caught a fever and stayed the night at his apartment. Jaejoong felt Youn Ha’s smile over the phone. “You look after his health, Jaejoong-ah. I trust you to take care of him.”

He led Hyori out of his room (not before closing the door) and into the kitchen where he placed the bag of croissants on the counter. “Noona, I’m going to make breakfast. What would you like to eat?”

But Hyori had her arms crossed to her chest and was tapping her foot. “Who’s that?”

Jaejoong sighed. He knew that changing the subject with Hyori wouldn’t be of any help. Maybe he shouldn’t have given Hyori the only spare key to his apartment but then this kind of stuff had never happened to him before. “He’s just a friend, Noona. He had a fever last night and couldn’t even go home by himself so he spent the night here.”

“In your room?”

“I couldn’t allow a sick person to sleep on the couch.”

“He looks familiar.” Hyori pursed her lips. “I think I’ve seen him before.”

Jaejoong opened the fridge and took out three eggs and a pack of bacon. “I’m sure you do. You know lots of guys.”

“Is that sarcasm I hear, Kim Jaejoong?” Hyori walked over to the cupboard and got out the plates and utensils. “I’ll set the table.”

Jaejoong went to the stove, placed a pan on it, and turned the stove on. He also put on an apron. “Noona, please don’t make a big deal out of this.” He could tell Kibum about the pretense with Yunho because Kibum he could handle but his Hyori noona was an entirely different matter. Hyori was volatile (there was no other word to describe her) and Jaejoong had a feeling that if Hyori actually knew what was going on, she would not only meddle, she’d also get the rest of his noonas in on it too. Jaejoong shivered. He really didn’t want that to happen. He cracked the three eggs and started to fry them. The sound of cooking filled the air.

Hyori set the plates on the table. “He was the guy dancing at Azure, wasn’t he?”

“What guy?”

“The one I said I’d totally tap.” Hyori slapped Jae on the back. “God, Joongie, why didn’t you just tell me you were interested in him? I could have helped you catch him!”

He didn’t even know the dancer had been Yunho. But then, Jaejoong thought, that explained why Yunho was so fit. “Noona, I’m not interested in anyone, he’s just a friend.”

“A friend who spent the night in your apartment.”

“Kibum sleeps over a lot of times and you’ve never been like this,” Jaejoong said as he grabbed a plate and placed the fried eggs there.

“Kibum’s harmless. The guy in your bedroom, though…” Hyori wiggled her brows. “You two could probably go at it all night.”



Yunho woke up to the smell of bacon, eggs, and coffee wafting through the air. He rolled over the bed and stretched. It was one of the best sleeps he’s had in a long time.

He sat up on the bed and swung his legs over to the side, looking for his slippers that was usually placed there. He frowned when he couldn’t find it. Yunho stood up, blearily going over to where his walk-in closet was placed, reaching out to open it but only to grasp nothing but air.

Maybe Yunho wasn’t where he thought he was. He rubbed his eyes and looked around the room he was in. The room wasn’t even half of what his was. The single bed was placed in the middle and a dresser table on the left. The closet was placed at the wall near the door. A study table was placed on the far right, with many paperbacks piled up on it. Yunho picked up one, read the title, and put it back down again. He couldn’t think of anyone who would read something as cheesy as The Prince and His Love. Beside the study table was a huge recliner where the Hamtaro stuffed toy Yunho won for Jaejoong at the amusement park was placed.

More awake now, Yunho realized that he never left Jaejoong’s apartment. He ran a hand through his dishevelled hair. Jaejoong must have carried him all the way to his bedroom. He saw his coat and polo shirt folded neatly on the dresser table and his shoes placed on the foot of the bed. A quick inspection of the t-shirt he was wearing and Yunho deducted that Jaejoong changed his shirt as well.

The delicious aroma of breakfast filled his lungs and Yunho felt his stomach grumble. He hasn’t eaten anything since yesterday afternoon. He finally decided to follow what his stomach tells him, opened the door, and walked over to the kitchen.

“Oh, you’re awake.” Jaejoong pointed to the plate that was already filled up with bacon, a fried egg, and a croissant. “Eat up so you can finally take medicine.”

Yunho just stared. Jaejoong was holding a ladle on his left hand, his right on his hips. He had a black apron on and for a brief moment, Yunho wondered what Jaejoong would look like if he was only wearing the apron and there was nothing else underneath.

“I bet you’d jump him in an instant.” Someone whispered in his ear.

Yunho jumped and turned. There was a beautiful woman standing beside him, her long dark brown hair reaching over her shoulders, framing her face like some kind of seductress. Her brown eyes were sparkling with mischief.

“Noona, don’t scare my guest. He just woke up.”

“I think he’s enchanted.” Hyori replied innocently as she grabbed Yunho’s hand and led him to the table.

“Every one’s enchanted by you.” Jaejoong said.

Hyori grinned impishly. “Who said it was me he’s enchanted with?” She pushed Yunho down to sit on the chair. “My brother must have tired you out last night.”

“Noona! I told you nothing happened!”

Hyori winked. “Doesn’t mean I have to believe you.” She really just loves teasing Jaejoong because he looks adorable with his cheeks all red like that. And she had a feeling she wasn’t the only one who thought so. Hyori has had enough experience with guys to know what the expression on the guy’s face was a while ago. Speaking of which, the guy was also really easy on the eyes. “What’s your name?”

“Uh.” Yunho shook his head, trying to clear his mind. The woman had caught him off guard from the moment he saw her. “Yunho. Jung Yunho.”

A squeal was let out and Yunho felt himself being hugged. Yunho belatedly realized that it was also the same squeal he heard while asleep and wished would shut up. “Joongie! I’m so proud of you! You bagged one of the most eligible bachelors of South Korea. I taught you well.” There was pride in Hyori’s voice.

“Okay, Noona, that’s enough.” Jaejoong placed the bowl of seaweed soup he had just finished making in front of Yunho and removed the latter from Hyori’s clutches. “Eat,” Jaejoong ordered. “It’s already eight. You don’t want to be late for work any more than

you have to. You can use my bathroom to wash up. As for your clothes, if you’re not up to wearing the ones you wore yesterday, I’ll go to the cleaners and get the Armani one.”

Yunho blinked. “The one you puked all over?”

Jaejoong rolled his eyes. “You did leave it for me to wear, you know. It would have been a waste to just throw it away. Although I wasn’t really planning on giving it back to you since you didn’t have the decency to return mine.”

“Sorry.” Yunho muttered as he finally took a bite of bacon. He was famished. “Aren’t you going to eat as well?” Hyori staring at him all the time was a bit disconcerting.

Hyori waved her hand. “Don’t mind me. We already had breakfast while you were still in your dream world.” Jaejoong, on the other hand, had moved on to heating up the rest of the bulgogi he made with Jung Youn Ha yesterday. “I’m packing you bulgogi and seaweed soup for lunch.” Jaejoong told him. “And don’t you dare forget to eat, Jung Yunho. You wouldn’t be able to take your medicine if you didn’t.”

This was the first time he saw Jaejoong so domesticated. Actually, aside from his own mother, no one has ever fussed over him like this before. And Jaejoong was fussing – he cooked food for Yunho, he made Yunho take medicine, he even fixed Yunho his bath, and prepared the clothes he was going to wear for work (in the end, Yunho decided on the Armani suit).

“Wait.” Jaejoong called out before Yunho went to the bathroom, a towel and a bathrobe on hand. Yunho paused as Jaejoong moved closer to him. Jaejoong’s breath tickled his face as the former removed the cold compress on his forehead. It stung a bit and Yunho rubbed his forehead. “There.” Jaejoong pushed Yunho to the bathroom and shut the door behind him. “Now off you go.”

Maybe she shouldn’t meddle, Hyori thought to herself, as she watched Jaejoong wear his shoes to go to the cleaners and get Yunho’s suit.

(Because this could be one of those times where nature would just take its course.)


“You look more relaxed.” Rui observed. “I like it.”


Rui nodded. “It shows on your new sketches.” He didn’t know what the theme Hero was going for in his exhibit but the sketches were promising. Drawings of lovers walking hand in hand, a family of five having a picnic, and friends laughing together greeted Rui when he entered Hero’s studio. It was refreshing and different from Hero’s usual paintings of night, blood, and gore.

“What are you doing here?” Hero’s brows furrowed. “Not that I don’t like you here, it’s just that I didn’t expect you and…”

Rui chuckled. “You’re babbling.” He got out two tickets from his shirt pocket. “Here.”

Hero saw the tickets and his eyes lightened up. “This movie wouldn’t be showing until next month!”

“I got reservations for the advanced screening.” Rui scratched his head. He wasn’t usually this nervous. “Would you like to go with me?”

“Sure.” Hero flashed him a smile, the one Rui liked so much. “I’d love to.”

“Rui is boring.” Heechul remarked as he flipped another page of Jaejoong’s latest chapter. “I like U-Know better for Hero.”

“No, he’s not.” Kibum defended Rui. “Rui’s Prince Charming. He’s responsible, gentle, patient, and kind. He wouldn’t break Hero’s heart.”

“U-Know’s the Knight in Shining Armour. He’s stubborn and playful but very reliable.” Heechul reasoned out. “There are many more layers to U-Know’s character that the reader hasn’t discovered yet.”

“There are many facets to Rui too! Jaejoong just haven’t had the time to flesh them out yet.” Kibum made a mental note to advise Jaejoong about that.

The two of them stared at each other. Heechul sighed. “Alright. Who are they?” He knew about Jaejoong’s tendency to base his characters on real people.

“Rui is Kim Hyunjoong.” Kibum said. “23 years old and an art curator. He has one younger sister named Yuri and they adore each other. The Kims belong to the old rich and are a family of artists – his father is a renowned sculptor while his mother is a wellknown painter. Yuri’s a landscape architect. Hyunjoong grew up in Italy and studied art in Paris – he went back to Seoul with his sister two years ago to take over the family’s art gallery.” All it took for Kibum to make Shim Changmin divulge information is to bribe the latter with one of the first copies of Kim Jaejoong’s love story once it’s published.

“Interesting.” Heechul raised an eyebrow. “And U-Know?”

“Jung Yunho.”

At the mention of his friend’s name, Heechul laughed. “Jaejoong’s love story just got more interesting.”


Kang Mi Hwan shook Jung Yunho’s hand firmly. “I expect you to be at Jeju Island on Thursday to oversee the start of the construction.”

“You have my word on it.” Yunho replied.

“Good.” Kang Mi Hwan smiled. “Hee Jin’s going to be there as well.” There was some satisfaction at seeing the young man in front of him cringe. “I guess I’ll see you soon.”

When Kang Mi Hwan finally left the conference room, Jin Ho and Ji Hoon burst out laughing. Yunho scowled. “It’s not funny.”

“You deserve it.” Jin Ho told his son. “You shouldn’t have played with his daughter’s heart, Yunho. Mi Hwan is still bitter about it.”

Yunho sighed. “I can only handle Hee Jin in small doses. If she’s going to be at Jeju while I’m there for three days…” It was going to be a nightmare. Yunho would have to accommodate Hee Jin at every turn and he really doesn’t want to do that. It would just raise her hopes up when there’s no hope to raise at all. He knew Hee Jin still likes him – the messages in his phone that he continuously ignores is proof enough. Yunho definitely didn’t want to see her again.

His phone vibrated and Yunho took it out from his pocket. He couldn’t help the smile that formed on his lips when he read the message. You better be eating.

“I supposed that was Jaejoong reminding you to eat?” Ji Hoon said. “He also messaged me and asked me to see to it that you take your medicine afterwards.”

“Was that packed lunch made by Jaejoong?” Jin Ho asked. He had seen the lunchbox on Yunho’s office when he stopped by earlier that morning to see if his son was already feeling well.

Yunho nodded absent-mindedly as he messaged a reply. Yes, umma. “He said it was a left-over from what he and mother made yesterday.”

The reply had been fast. I wouldn’t want you for a son, idiot. You’re too high maintenance. Yunho grinned as he typed back. But I’m a very good son, umma ~ Jin Ho and Ji Hoon exchanged knowing glances. “Yunho, why don’t you consider the trip to Jeju as a vacation as well?” Ji Hoon suggested.

“Yeah,” Jin Ho agreed. “You’ve been working so hard, Yunho, you deserve to rest. Extend your stay at Jeju for a week; Ji Hoon can handle things back here.”

Whatever. You better be well enough to go to the matchmaking session tonight. My characters are going to watch a movie.

“Take Yoochun and Junsu with you,” Ji Hoon piped up. “Those two wouldn’t pass up a week’s romantic getaway at Jeju Island.”

Is that why you’re fussing over me? So that I’ll re-enact the scene with you later? I’m hurt, Joongie~

“And Jaejoong,” Jin Ho added. “You definitely need to take Jaejoong.”

I do not fuss. You owe me for letting you stay the night. And don’t you dare call me Joongie.

“Fine, fine.” Yunho answered too busy texting Jaejoong back to know what he was agreeing to.


Changmin called it “Movie Night.” It was the fourth of the matchmaking sessions and because it was the fourth, the activities were bound to get more intimate. The goal in the end was still, after all, to set up a couple.

The wonderful thing about Cupid and Associates was that they manage to make things more romantic. For this session, they had reserved the whole cinema for their group. There were six movies playing and the couples were free to select which one they wanted. Whatever they chose, there was a possibility that they would have the theatre to themselves. The only job the staff of Cupid and Associates had to do that night was to make sure that the couples don’t do anything that would get them thrown out for public indecency (because it had happened quite a few times and it hadn’t been pretty).

Jaejoong and Hyunjoong were looking at the movie posters. Jaejoong had agreed to meet Yunho there. “What do you suggest, Hyunjoong?”

“I’m not sure.” Hyunjoong said. “I really don’t watch movies that much, so I wouldn’t know what’s good.”

“Me either.” Jaejoong was actually thinking what kind of movie Hero and Rui would watch. They were both artists, it must be something intellectual. But he wanted Hero and Rui to have fun so…a comedy?

“Sorry, I took so long.” Yunho had just arrived. Ji Hoon had allowed him to leave the office earlier than usual when the former found out that there was a matchmaking session that night. “I don’t understand why it was so hard to park if there were only a couple of us here.”

“It must be because this cinema is sharing parking space with the restaurant across the street.” Hyunjoong held out a hand. “I’m Kim Hyunjoong.”

“Jung Yunho.” Yunho shook the hand that was offered to him. “Nice meeting you.”

Jaejoong was still staring at the posters, lost in his thoughts. Maybe horror suspense? But would Rui and Hero be scared enough? What about action? Somehow, Jaejoong doesn’t see them appreciating something like that as well. A romance then?

Hyunjoong and Yunho watched the change of expressions on Jaejoong’s face. Yunho sighed. “Why don’t you just close your eyes and pick?”

Jaejoong snapped out of his trance. “Huh?”

“Just close your eyes and pick,” Yunho repeated. “If you don’t, we won’t have a movie to watch anymore.”

It was a good idea, Jaejoong admitted. He’ll just work on the scene when he writes it later. Jaejoong closed his eyes and pointed.

“I’ll get the tickets then.” Hyunjoong turned to Yunho. “You don’t mind, do you?”

“Of course not.” Yunho said. “It’s the more the merrier, after all.”

(Though one isn’t quite sure if that phrase would be applicable to this case.)

Chapter 11:

They were watching a comedy. Since it was an advanced screening, the number of viewers was limited to the number of seats in the theatre. Rui managed to get good seats and as Hero watched the actors’ antics on screen, he can’t help laughing.

“Your popcorn is spilling over my clothes.” U-Know complained. Whenever Hero laughed, the popcorn on his hand tilted sideways and some of it ended up on U-Know’s seat. He doesn’t know if Hero was doing it on purpose.

“Sorry,” Hero said as he turned to U-Know and helped brush the popcorn away from his clothes.

It was Rui who took the popcorn away from Hero’s hand. “I’ll hold it for you.”

Hero flashed a smile at Rui. “Thanks.”

U-Know scowled.

“So Jaejoong was sitting in between Hyunjoong and Yunho?”

Kibum nodded. “Jae was also the only one who picked a comedy so they had the theatre all to themselves.”

Heechul leaned closer to Kibum, his face resting on his hands on the desk. “But wasn’t it supposed to be a date?”

“How could there be a date with three people?”

It was by coincidence that Rui and Hero bumped into U-Know at the movie theatre. One of the firm’s clients owned the cinema and had given U-Know a ticket for a job

well done. At first he had been surprised to see Hero there but had welcomed the company. U-Know figured it would be lonely to watch a funny movie all alone.

What he hadn’t expected was to be the third wheel. U-Know gritted his teeth as he watched Rui lean over to Hero and whisper something in his ear and Hero smiled.

“It’s Yunho’s fault for letting Hyunjoong go with them anyway.” Heechul remarked as he read another page. “That guy could be so clueless at times.”

“It’s a good thing Hyunjoong was with them,” Kibum countered. “Who knows what Yunho would have done to Jaejoong if he was left alone with him?”

“Are you still thirsty?” Rui motioned to the empty cup on Hero’s hand. “Would you like me to get a refill?”

Great. The guy was not only attentive, he was also observant. U-Know refrained the urge to gag.

“I can do that myself. I wouldn’t want to impose.” Hero began to stand up. Rui reached for his hand. “No, let me do it. I don’t mind.” A gentle squeeze. “Really.”

“Just let him get it.” U-Know grabbed Hero’s cup as well as his own. “Get me a refill too. Thanks.” U-Know shoved both cups to Rui. Rui had no choice but to let go of Hero’s hand to take both.

“Yunho’s not that bad,” Heechul said. “Most of the girls he’s been with still speak highly of him.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?” Kibum frowned. “I really don’t like the thought of my best friend having a pretend relationship with a certified playboy. It doesn’t sit well with me, knowing that Jae could be hurt.”

“Why don’t you have a date?” Hero asked U-Know. Rui had already left to get them their refills. They were already an hour into the movie and not much was happening

on screen. Hero had been pondering about that question for a while now – he knew of U-Know’s reputation with the ladies so it was strange to see him watching a movie alone.

U-Know shrugged. “There was only one ticket.” And for some reason, he really didn’t feel like going out and meeting girls these days. He didn’t know what caused it – all he knew was that the last time he had flirted with someone was the night he met Hero at the club.

“You might be surprised.” Heechul told Kibum.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kibum asked.

Hero’s attention was turned to the screen once more. U-Know took this chance to watch him, enjoying the play of emotions on Hero’s face. Unlike every one else, UKnow doesn’t believe that Hero’s face is like a blank canvas, incapable of feeling. If one could only look closely, they would see what U-Know does – that Hero displayed what he felt openly.

As of that moment, Hero’s eyes sparkled and his lips are quirked upwards. A few moments later, Hero turned his head up and let out a laugh, but not before a hand covered his mouth, hiding his laughter behind it.

Someday, U-Know thought, I’ll be able to see your laugh without anything covering it. The sound of Hero’s laughter was joy to his ears and U-Know wished he could hear it more often.


Someone was ringing his door bell incessantly. Jaejoong sighed as he walked to answer it. “What is it with people dropping by my apartment these days?” He opened the door and was immediately tackled by Kim Junsu.

“JAEJOONG!” Junsu yelled. “WE’RE GOING TO JEJU!”

“Su, you might want to let go,” Yoochun advised as he removed his boyfriend from Jaejoong. “Jae’s turning blue.”

Jaejoong was lying on the ground, having a hard time breathing. “Oops.” Junsu giggled. “I’m just so excited about our upcoming trip!”

Jaejoong was gasping, trying to fill his lungs with the air that Junsu had deprived him of a minute ago. Yoochun was patting his back comfortingly. “Not that I’m glad to see you but what are you two doing here?”

“We’re going shopping to prepare for the trip on Thursday.” Yoochun replied. “Su thought you might want to come along with us so we came here to drag you.”

“Stuff for what?”

“For the trip.” Junsu huffed. “Are you not listening to what I was saying, Kim Jaejoong?”

His mind might still be fuzzy because Jaejoong honestly don’t know what Junsu was talking about. “What trip?”

Yoochun raised an eyebrow. “The one to Jeju Island for a week? Ji Hoon-hyung called us and extended the invitation to join you and Yunho.”

Huh. This was the first time he heard about it. “Excuse me,” Jaejoong said through gritted teeth. “I need to speak with a certain idiot.”


“Whoever said I was going to Jeju Island with you?”

“Hello to you too.” Yunho tucked his cell phone between his head and shoulders as he signed the papers his secretary gave to him. “And I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yoochun told me that you and I are going to Jeju Island for a week with him and Junsu!” Jaejoong hissed. “Are you crazy?”

After signing, Yunho waved his secretary away and leaned back on his chair. “I didn’t say anything about you going…” It was then that Yunho vaguely remembered what his father and brother suggested yesterday. “Oh.”


Yunho cleared his throat. “I don’t think it’s such a bad idea.” If Jaejoong went along with him, Yunho’s problem with Kang Hee Jin would be solved. “You can help me get rid of my ex.”

“And that’s my problem?” Jaejoong snorted. “Why don’t you just ask someone else to go with you? It’s not like you lack in terms of companionship.”

That was true. Yunho could probably go out right now and have someone with him in an instant. Except that Yunho doesn’t really want to (which is kind of strange considering that the reason he proposed the pretend relationship with Jaejoong is so that he could be back to his old ways as soon as possible). He hasn’t felt the need to ever since he got into the pretend relationship with Jaejoong (and it’s not like Jaejoong would care if he actually went back to his old ways). “I can’t. I already introduced you to Hee Jin as my boyfriend back in Azure.”

“Then just tell her you found another one since then.”

“Our deal isn’t over yet.” Yunho reminded. “And you owe me for movie night.”

“But a week?” Jaejoong huffed. “I already made plans.”

“Oh please. The only plan you have is locking up in that apartment of yours and writing.” Yunho rolled his eyes. “And you can write anywhere, Jaejoong. Just bring your laptop with you to Jeju.”

There was silence on the other end. “You can charge all your shopping to my account?” Yunho offered.



“Is he really serious about buying a new laptop?” Junsu whispered to Yoochun.

Yoochun shrugged. “Yunho is going to pay for it.” They watched Jaejoong ask the saleslady about the latest Mac model on display. Since the mall they were currently shopping in was owned by Jung Corporation, Yunho had called all the shops before hand and informed them that the three of them were coming.

“Chunnie, I don’t think Jaejoong needs all of this stuff for a week’s getaway to Jeju.” Junsu said, motioning to the ten bags that they were carrying between them. That doesn’t even include the five bags Jaejoong was currently holding and the things Yoochun and Junsu bought for themselves. “I’ve never seen a person buy ten beanies with the same style but in different colours.”

“Don’t worry, Su-ah.” Yoochun chuckled. “It’s not like Yunho can’t afford it.”

An hour later, the three of them were having dinner at an Italian restaurant in the mall, with a giddy Jaejoong still admiring his brand-new laptop. “I’ve been wanting to buy this for sometime now but it was so expensive!”

“You should have asked Yunho to buy it for you sooner,” Junsu piped in. “I doubt if he would have minded it so much.”

“Of course I’d mind.” A new voice joined in on the conversation. “And why did you have to charge so much to my account?” Yunho waved the receipts he had just received from the various shops. “What do you need ten beanies for? Eight sunglasses? Five Hermes bags? Three Nike shoes?” Yunho glared at Jaejoong. “Twenty paperback novels?”

Jaejoong smiled at him sweetly. “You told me to charge everything in your account.”

“Maybe you should have been more specific, Yunho.” Yoochun informed his best friend. “You could have given him a price limit or something.”

“Or that he only buys something he might need for the trip?” Junsu added helpfully.

“What are you doing here?” Jaejoong said. “Don’t you have work to do or something?”

“I did.” Yunho took the chair beside Jaejoong’s. “But then I got a call from the mall’s manager, wanting to confirm if I’m really charging that much to my account.” Yunho growled. “Imagine my surprise when the manager told me how much I’m going to have to pay for your shopping spree.”

Yoochun gave Yunho a menu. “Well, I’m glad you’re here. We can split the bill between us then.”

“What makes you think I’ll pay for dinner as well?”

“Hey! You didn’t treat Su and I out shopping.” Yoochun pouted.

Yunho snorted. “Am I supposed to?”

“Yoochun, I’ll pay for dinner.” Jaejoong offered. “It’s the least I can do after I made you and Junsu carry all of my bags.”

Junsu turned to Jaejoong eagerly. “You would?”

“Sure.” Jaejoong shrugged. “I don’t mind.” He might not be as rich as Yunho, but that doesn’t mean Jaejoong couldn’t afford certain luxuries in life. His success as a writer granted Jaejoong the kind of lifestyle that others could only dream about.

Yunho just grinned as he scanned the menu for the most expensive meal there was.


“I hope you get stomach-ache.” Jaejoong cursed. “A stomach-ache so bad that you wouldn’t be able to get up tomorrow.” Because of the expensive bill, Jaejoong wouldn’t be able to use his credit card for a month.

“I’m already paying for your shopping spree; it’s only fair you paid for dinner.” Yunho smirked. “I’m only really returning the favour.” They were on their way back to Jaejoong’s apartment. Since Jaejoong went to the mall with Yoochun and Junsu in Yoochun’s BMW, it was Yunho who was taking Jaejoong home.

It had started to rain once they left the mall. Yunho’s eyes were on the road, carefully navigating the wet streets of Seoul. “I don’t know what I’m going to do in Jeju,” Jaejoong grumbled. “And Kibum won’t be happy knowing I’ll be gone for the entire week.”

“You’ll think of something,” Yunho told him. “Who knows, you can probably get more inspiration for your book in Jeju.”

“I guess.” Jaejoong sighed. “I better tell Hyunjoong that I can’t go to the art gallery’s open house on Friday.” While waiting for Yunho at the cinema the night before, Hyunjoong had invited Jaejoong as his guest for the open house. Jaejoong had agreed and was honestly looking forward to it.

“You and Hyunjoong seem to be pretty close.” Yunho remarked, hands unconsciously gripping tightly on the steering wheel.

“He’s a really good friend.” Jaejoong said. “We get along well.”

“I think he’s interested in you as more than a friend.” Yunho muttered under his breath.

“What did you say?”

“Nothing.” Yunho finally stopped his Porsche in front of Jaejoong’s apartment. Outside, the rain poured continuously. Yunho reached out behind the passenger seat to get the umbrella he kept in the car reserved for times like this. “I’ll go over there to your side and fetch you with the umbrella.”

“You don’t have to.” Jaejoong protested. “I can handle myself.”

“Don’t be silly. You’ll get drenched. When you get to your apartment, get another umbrella and help me take out all your bags from the trunk.”

Yunho can be sensible when he needed to be. “Fine.” Jaejoong conceded.

“Good boy.” Yunho got out of the car, opened the umbrella, and walked over to Jaejoong’s side. Yunho opened the car door for Jaejoong.

Jaejoong stepped out and as soon as his feet touched the ground, he slipped. Yunho grabbed him by the shoulders and held on to him. “Why are you so clumsy?”

“It’s not my fault it was slippery!” Jaejoong pouted. He removed Yunho’s hands from his shoulders, stood up straight and started to walk towards his apartment. Yunho walked beside him, covering them both with the umbrella.

They were halfway to the apartment when Jaejoong stepped on to a small stone and tripped. Jaejoong grabbed on to the only thing he could (which happened to be Yunho) to prevent his fall, but Yunho lost his balance as well. They ended up on the ground, with Jaejoong on top of Yunho.

And Jaejoong’s lips on Yunho’s.

(Kim Jaejoong has envisioned many scenes about how his first kiss would go. He dreamed that it would be after his first real date. The guy would walk Jaejoong to his doorstep. Jaejoong would say that he had a great time and then the guy would hold his hand. Jaejoong would blush. The two of them would stare at each other’s eyes, get lost in their own reflections, as they lean closer…)

Reality, Jaejoong thought (as the rain continued to pour on them, the umbrella lay forgotten on the ground, and he and Yunho remain frozen, lips still attached to each other’s), would always be different.

Chapter 12:

“Why do you look as if you want to kill me?”

“Your boyfriend is hogging mine.”

A shrug. “So?”

A scowl. “Do something about it!”

“Like what?”

“Why are you asking me? Isn’t that what you’re good at?”

Yunho sighed as he turned to the direction Yoochun had been staring at ever since they boarded the Jung Corporation’s private jet. As soon as they had entered the plane, Jaejoong had immediately grabbed Junsu’s hand and dragged the latter to sit with him. Junsu didn’t seem to mind, judging from the way the two of them chatted happily and giggled occasionally when they found something funny. Yoochun, on the other hand, was sulking. He was stuck sitting with Yunho when all he really wanted was to be by his boyfriend and start their romantic getaway together. “Jaejoong’s been ignoring me.”

“We noticed,” Yoochun said wryly. “When Jaejoong asked us to pick him up this morning and that we should tell you not to bother.”

“It’s been two days,” Yunho muttered. “I don’t know why he’s so upset.”

Yoochun raised an eyebrow. “Did something happen between you two?”

Yunho placed a hand over his lips. “You could say that.” When Jaejoong had placed his lips on Yunho’s, Jaejoong had looked so shocked while Yunho was definitely caught by

surprise. Jaejoong had tasted a hint of something sweet and forbidden. But before Yunho could probe further, Jaejoong had already run up to his apartment and slammed the door behind him. Yunho had no choice but to leave the shopping bags on his doorstep.

“Well, whatever it is, fix it.” Yoochun glared at Yunho. “Because Jeju Island is supposed to be romantic for me and Junsu. And we cannot be romantic if Jaejoong is going to stick to Junsu like glue.”


When they landed in Jeju, Jaejoong was still with Junsu. “We should go to the beach.” Jaejoong told Junsu brightly. “And stay there until night for fireworks.”

“That’s a great idea!” Junsu nodded enthusiastically. “We’re going to have so much fun, Jaejoong!” Then the two of them proceeded to make an itinerary for the week.

Yoochun nudged his best friend. “Yunho! This trip is turning into a nightmare!”

“You’ll share a room with Junsu at the hotel. You’ll have your alone time with him then.” Yunho was scanning the airport for their ride.

“But I want to spend more time with Su-ah outside the bedroom!” Yoochun whined.

“Aish!” Yunho ran a hand through his hair. “Maybe I shouldn’t have brought you along.”

“Yunho-ah!” Kang Hee Jin was approaching them, with her eyes fluttering at Yunho. “It’s so nice to see you again!”

“Hee Jin-shii.” Yunho smiled at her politely. “What are you doing here?”

Hee Jin beamed up at him. “Father told me to pick you up. I’m really excited for this week, Yunho-ah! You only need to oversee the construction for three days, right? You can spend the remaining time with me!” She winked at Yunho seductively.

“And us too.” Yoochun piped in, noticing Yunho’s discomfort. Kang Hee Jin was definitely a force to be reckoned with. Knowing that Yunho would need all the help he could get, Yoochun pulled Jaejoong to the front and placed Yunho’s hand with Jaejoong’s. Yoochun then went to where Jaejoong formerly was (behind Yunho) with Junsu.

“Oh.” Hee Jin’s smile faltered slightly. “I didn’t know you had company, Yunho-ah.”

“Yeah.” Yunho squeezed Jaejoong’s hand tighter, asking him to play along. “My boyfriend and I are really looking forward to this vacation.”

Beside him, Jaejoong stood stiffly but didn’t remove his hand. Yunho took it as a good sign. Hee Jin was regarding Jaejoong up and down. “I thought you would have dumped him by now. You’ve never had a fling last for over a month.”

“Well,” Yunho decided to let go of Jaejoong’s hand and instead wrap his arm over Jaejoong’s shoulders. “That was before I met Jaejoong.”

Hee Jin frowned. “I’ll take you to your car then.” She turned around and started to walk away.

“Please don’t let go.” Yunho muttered under his breath to Jaejoong, still holding on to him, as they followed Hee Jin. “I really need your help to get rid of her.”

“I didn’t know your taste could be so bad.” Jaejoong said coldly.

“I was drunk!” Yunho was insulted.

“Yeah sure.” As the two of them walked in silence, Jaejoong began to relax in Yunho’s arms. It was then that Yunho decided to broach the subject, knowing that it would be his only chance to. “Are you mad at me?”

“What makes you say that?”

“You’ve been ignoring me since-”

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence,” Jaejoong growled. “I want to forget it ever happened.”

“You were the one who kissed me.”

“You should have moved away.”

“How could I when you pulled me to the ground?”

“If it wasn’t for that stupid stone-”

“Exactly! It was an accident, we didn’t mean for it to happen, so why take it against me when you were the one who placed your lips on mine?”

“Because it was my first kiss, you insensitive jerk!”


After Jaejoong’s unexpected outburst at the airport, Yunho didn’t get the chance to talk to him again until later that evening. When they arrived at the Seasons Hotel (the hotel’s branch in Jeju), Yunho had immediately gone to work, meeting up with Kang Mi Hwan. There were still some things to be polished before the construction of the resort started the next day. Yoochun and Junsu went straight to the Presidential Suite while Jaejoong was led directly to the Penthouse.

“Are you sure I’m supposed to stay here?” Jaejoong asked the bell hopper who had carried his luggage for him and Yunho’s as well to the Penthouse.

The bell hopper nodded and gave Jaejoong a note. “Mr. Jung told us to give this to you, Mr. Kim, if you have any questions with the arrangements.”

The note was handwritten and was hastily scrawled. Don’t throw a fit. We have to stay in one room to keep the pretense. Don’t worry, I’ve stayed with you in a motel room and already spent the night in your apartment. Nothing happened. I’m not interested. And you should be insulted.

P.S. Bother Junsu if you want to sightsee. Don’t mind Yoochun, he’ll get over it.

Jaejoong snorted but he couldn’t help the smile that formed on his face. “Thank you. You may go now.” He gave the bell hopper a huge tip.

(Jaejoong did bother Junsu to go sightseeing with him. Junsu had been happy to indulge him, and with Yoochun as their designated driver, they toured the island. Yoochun pouted for a bit but was soon over it when Jaejoong offered to be their cameraman and take couple pictures of Yoochun and Junsu.)

When evening came, a buffet was especially prepared by the chef of Seasons Hotel for their guests. The ballroom was already filled with activity when Jaejoong, Junsu, and Yoochun arrived, with a jazz band playing in the background.

Yunho greeted them with a smile when they approached the table. “What took you so long?” There was a tinge of relief in his voice and rightly so. Kang Hee Jin was sitting beside him on the table, with Kang Mi Hwan across from them. Underneath the table, Hee Jin kept rubbing Yunho’s legs. Yunho stood up, offering his seat to Jaejoong. Jaejoong raised an eyebrow. Yunho gave him a pleading glance. Jaejoong sighed and sat down, Yunho taking the one beside him (and away from Hee Jin). Yoochun and Junsu were opposite them, with Yoochun sitting beside Kang Mi Hwan. Jaejoong felt Hee Jin’s stilettos stepping on his. It was a good thing he was wearing the Nike shoes he had bought two days before, otherwise his feet would have been swollen by now.

“I don’t think I’ve properly introduced every one.” Yunho cleared his throat. “This is Kang Mi Hwan and his daughter, Hee Jin. Kang-shii would be constructing a resort here in Jeju and has entrusted Jung Corporation’s real estate development sector to handle it. Kang-shii, these are my friends Park Yoochun and Kim Junsu.” As usual, Yunho grabbed Jaejoong’s hand. “And this is my boyfriend, Kim Jaejoong.”

“What is it that you do, Kim Jaejoong-shii?” Kang Mi Hwan asked pleasantly. “My Hee Jin is a Journalism major. She’s currently working at Seoul Times as an associate editor.” He didn’t mention that it was the Kang family who owned Seoul Times.

“I’m a writer,” Jaejoong answered politely.

“Interesting.” Mi Hwan remarked. “Have I read any of your works?” There was a tone of derision on his voice.

“9095,” Yoochun replied for Jaejoong. “That book was at the bestseller list for like six months when it was published.”

“And then there’s also Taxi, Force, and Secret Game,” Junsu enumerated. “Wow, Jaejoong, I never realized that all of your books have all become number one on the bestseller’s list.”

“They were all critically acclaimed as well,” Yunho commented. “Not many Korean authors could boast that they’re successful commercially and critically. Jaejoong is one of them.”

“Yunho-ah, how did you meet Jaejong-shii?” Hee Jin piped in. “I don’t remember Jaejoong-shii ever being invited to any of Jung Corporation’s parties before.” Unlike her and her father remained unsaid.

“Father set me up with a matchmaking agency,” Yunho answered. “I met Jaejoong there and we hit it off. In fact, I’ve already introduced Jaejoong to my family and they highly approve of him.”

Jaejoong felt like squirming. It was obvious that Kang Mi Hwan wanted his daughter for Yunho and they were doing everything to discredit him. Dinner was served and eaten in silence, with the occasional questions and remarks from the Kangs mostly directed at Jaejoong.

“Jaejoong-shii, you’re very well-mannered for someone raised in a brood of nine.” Mi Hwan commented as if there was something wrong with having a huge family.

Okay that was it. Yunho, knowing that Jaejoong was about to lose his temper, quickly jumped in. “Jaejoong, would you like to dance?” He didn’t wait for a reply as he grabbed Jaejoong to the dance floor. It was at that moment that the jazz band started to play a slow song.

Someday when I’m awfully low, When the world is cold, I would feel a glow…just thinking of you And the way you look tonight.

“They are so rude,” Jaejoong hissed. “I don’t know how you could handle being with them for a prolonged period of time.”

Yunho shrugged as he placed Jaejoong’s hands on his neck and Yunho put his on Jaejoong’s waist. “As much as I wouldn’t have minded you giving them a piece of your mind, the Kangs are still valued clients of Jung Corporation.”

“I don’t know why I have to put up with this,” Jaejoong muttered.

“I appreciate it.” Yunho told him. “And I promise to return the favour.”

“You better.”

They continued swaying to the music.

Yes you're lovely, with your smile so warm And your cheeks so soft, There is nothing for me but to love you, And the way you look tonight.

“You’re not such a bad dancer,” Jaejoong remarked blandly as he let Yunho guide him.

Yunho smirked. “You haven’t seen anything yet.” He spun Jaejoong around.

“Hey!” Jaejoong felt dizzy as Yunho caught him in his arms once more. “Don’t do that!”

“Why not? It’s fun.” Yunho said cheekily as he twirled Jaejoong three times.

Jaejoong’s cheeks were flushed and his eyes were bright when he intentionally stepped on Yunho’s toes.

Yunho only laughed. (Jaejoong was beautiful spitting mad.)

With each word your tenderness grows, Tearing my fear apart... And that laugh that wrinkles your nose, It touches my foolish heart.

“Was that really your first kiss?” Yunho asked him as he pulled Jaejoong closer to him, to keep the latter from falling because of dizziness.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” Jaejoong replied sourly. “It’s bad enough that I’ve never had a boyfriend before.”

Yunho blinked in surprise. “Really?”

Jaejoong glared at him. “Why do you think I was having such a hard time writing my love story?”

“Heechul never told me about that.” Yunho murmured. But then, it sort of made sense. After reading Jaejoong’s works, Yunho had wondered why Jaejoong had found it difficult get the romantic atmosphere right for his new story. The scenes Jaejoong wrote for his four previous novels, in Yunho’s opinion, were more difficult than writing a romance.

“Yah!” Jaejoong slapped him on the chest. “That’s not the kind of thing people would tell anyone, idiot.”

Lovely ... Never, ever change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it? 'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight.

“First date?”


“So when I took you to the amusement park…”

Jaejoong scowled. “Re-enacting a scene is not considered a date!”

“But you said that there was no amusement park scene.” Yunho grinned. “So technically…”

“Shut up. I don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Jaejoong pouted.

Yunho chuckled. (They continued to dance, Jaejoong’s shoes still stepping on Yunho’s, the former’s head unconsciously leaning on Yunho’s chest.)

“First love?”

Jaejoong looked up at Yunho evenly. “Don’t we all?”

Before Yunho could say anything else, another couple had bumped into them. Yunho and Jaejoong immediately jumped apart and away from each other while the other couple ended up sprawled on the floor. Yunho helped the female up. “Are you al-?” Yunho stared when he saw whose hand he was holding.



Mm, Mm, Mm, Mm, Just the way you look to-night.

(Go Ara was Yunho’s first love. They were together for two years before Ara decided to leave South Korea and fulfil her dreams to become a famous model. Yunho had been heartbroken. It was when Ara left that Yunho had become a playboy, using others to take away his pain and loneliness.

Go Ara was the one who left, the one who got away, and the one Yunho never really got over.) ++++ A/N: Um, yeah. Thank you for all your comments, I really appreciate them. ^^ The Way You Look Tonight was sang by Frank Sinatra.

Chapter 13:

Yunho dropped Ara’s hand as if he had been burnt.

“Yunho.” Ara stepped forward. “I-”

“Jaejoong, let’s go.” Yunho said. There was something in Yunho’s tone that warned Jaejoong that it would be best to just follow. Jaejoong flashed an apologetic smile to the man he helped up (Ara’s dancing partner) and to Ara as well and left the ballroom with Yunho.

Yunho didn’t even bother to say goodbye to the Kangs or even to Yoochun and Junsu. Yunho just walked out of the ballroom without another word. He and Jaejoong rode the elevator to the Penthouse in complete silence. When they got there, Yunho sat on the couch sullenly and stayed there. Jaejoong sat down at the far end of the couch, enough to give Yunho his space.

Yunho’s hands were on his knees, gripping the his pants tightly that Jaejoong was afraid Yunho would tear it apart. Jaejoong didn’t say anything for a while, as Yunho’s shaking form and harsh fast breaths were any indication of what the latter was feeling.

Yunho was lost in his swirl of thoughts and emotions. It’s been three years. Why was she here all of a sudden? Was this some kind of joke that is being played upon him? Everything has been going well for a while now, Yunho doesn’t feel hurt and lonely anymore, and then she had to appear again and everything that was kept locked up inside wanted to burst out again.

“His name was Choi Siwon,” Jaejoong finally spoke up. “We were next door neighbours. Being an only child, Siwon really didn’t have anyone to play with and I didn’t have any brothers so…you could say we were stuck with each other.”

Yunho had stopped gripping his pants. Jaejoong took it as a sign that he was listening. “He was my very first friend. We did everything together. We walked to school together, we played together, and we could talk to each other about everything. When I was a child, other kids used to tease me a lot because they think I’m girly.” He shrugged. “I

guess they think just because there were more women than men in my family, that I was soft. It didn’t really help that I’ve always been a sort of dreamer and was always lost in my own little world.”

“Siwon always defended me from the bullies. He took it upon himself as my protector. I always told him the stories I made up in my head and he always listened attentively. He’d then tell me that when I become a writer and get published, he’d be first in line to buy my books.” Jaejoong smiled bitterly. “In my eyes, Siwon had been perfect. He was what every love story I’ve read described as the ideal man. He was handsome, intelligent, and nice. He was an obedient son and a doting friend. He spoiled me – it’s a fact that his family was rich and whenever Siwon thought I wanted something, he’d buy it for me immediately. He was always there whenever I needed him and he supported me in everything I did. It was no wonder I fell in love with him.”

“But you know, things don’t always happen the way you want them to. When we went to high school, Siwon became part of the popular crowd. He was President of the Student Council and the Captain of the basketball team. While I just didn’t fit in. It didn’t help that I wasn’t athletic enough to become part of any sports team or that I had this aloof exterior that made people stay away from me. Then, there were my sisters who preceded me with the reputations they made in school and that I wasn’t like any of them, and well, high school wasn’t the fondest memory I have.”

“Siwon still tried to remain friends with me. He tried to reach out and I appreciated that. But it was obvious that the new friends he had made, the people around him, they had disapproved of me. And, well, you know what high school was like with the peer pressure and everything. Siwon tried his best not to let it influence him but I guess it didn’t work.”

“The first love story I ever made was my love confession to Siwon. I gave it to him on his sixteenth birthday because I wanted to give him my love as a present. That had been utterly stupid of me. There was a huge party and I handed it to him in an envelope and all his friends were there and they were mocking me and making fun of Siwon and just… by the end of it, Siwon just tore the story into pieces in front of my eyes. You could say that was the end of my first love. It hurt a lot not because Siwon rejected me. I think I was prepared for that but I think it hurt more because Siwon was my best friend and in the end he chose to be popular.”

“We drifted apart after that and then when I graduated from high school, I came to Seoul. I never saw Siwon again.” Jaejoong said thoughtfully. “Until the South KoreaJapan game, I honestly thought I’d never see Choi Siwon again. And I was perfectly fine

with that. Out of sight, out of mind, you know. But there he was, still gorgeous as ever and all the memories and pain came back…it was awful.”

“Does it still hurt now?” Yunho asked him softly.

“Before you took me away from there, Siwon apologized to me. After all these years…” Jaejoong shook his head. “It was better late than never. And in all honesty, I think I was waiting for that apology for a long time now. To answer your question, of course it hurts whenever I think about him. He’s my first love, after all, albeit unrequited but you know what they say.”


“That you always remember your first love.” Jaejoong looked at Yunho. “Did you ever forget yours?”

Yunho let out a sigh. “No.” Especially now that she was at the same place as he was.

Jaejoong just nodded and started humming the song they were dancing to just a while ago. Yunho’s body had relaxed from its rigid stance before and he leaned back on the couch, closing his eyes, and enjoying Jaejoong’s humming. Jaejoong’s voice filled the air and soothed Yunho’s nerves. It was sweet and pleasing to the ears.

After a while, “Her name was Go Ara.” Yunho murmured. “I met her my first day at university. It was love at first sight for both of us. We were together for two years until she went to Paris to pursue her dream as a model. We never really had a formal break up. I didn’t even know she had gone to Paris until I read the note she left me, telling me that she’s sorry and that she loves me.”

“That wasn’t very nice of her.” Jaejoong frowned. “She could have made the note longer.”

And for the first time since he saw Go Ara that night, Yunho laughed out loud.


“Shh! Chunnie, we can’t disturb them.”

“But Su-ah, if we don’t, Yunho’s going to be late for his appointments.”

Jaejoong stirred to the sound of Junsu and Yoochun talking in low voices. He yawned and started to stretch but froze when he felt something heavy on his shoulders. Jaejoong turned and saw Yunho’s head leaning on his shoulders. The latter still had his eyes closed.

“Oh good, you’re awake.” Yoochun said. “The manager of the hotel was ringing the Penthouse for half an hour now but no one was answering. The two of us offered to get you guys.” He smiled. “Imagine our surprise when we saw you sleeping on the couch together.”

“You two look so cute!” Junsu gushed.

“I couldn’t leave him alone,” Jaejoong muttered. He wasn’t that heartless, especially when it was obvious that Yunho was hurting after seeing his first love.

“Ara is here at Jeju for a photo shoot.” Yoochun told Jaejoong. Yoochun got to know of Go Ara when Yunho took her along with him to New York to visit his best friend. Yoochun was then studying at Juilliard School of Music. Yoochun and Ara weren’t friends but they did keep in touch during the two years that she was with Yunho. Yoochun was also the first person Ara called up when she got to Paris, asking Yoochun to look after Yunho for her.

“She saw Chunnie after you and Yunho left and pleaded with him if she can talk to Yunho.” Junsu added.

“I hope you told her that I don’t want anything to do with her.” Yunho removed his head from Jaejoong’s shoulders and glared at the three of them. “And I’d appreciate it if no one speaks about her when I’m around.”

Yoochun shrugged. “I said it was up to you whether you would like to or not.”

“Why won’t you talk to her?” Jaejoong asked Yunho. “You should give her a chance to explain, Yunho.”

“Why? Are you going to talk to Siwon again?”

Jaejoong opened his mouth and then closed it again. Yunho smirked. “I thought so.” He stood up from the couch and stretched his arms. “I better take a shower or else I’m going to be late for the groundbreaking of the construction site.”

The three of them watched as Yunho went to his room, got some clothes, and proceeded to the bathroom. “He’s not as cut up as I thought he would be,” Yoochun remarked. Yoochun remembered the last time Yunho even saw Ara on television. His best friend didn’t go to work for a week. He turned to Jaejoong. “Thank you.”

Jaejoong’s brows furrowed. “Huh?”

But Yoochun only smiled.


“I thought you aren’t one to mix business with pleasure, Yunho-ah.” Hee Jin remarked as she threw murderous glances at Jaejoong.

Jaejoong placed the lunchbox on the makeshift table. “I brought lunch.” It had become routine for the past three days – since Yunho was always at the construction site to oversee things, Jaejoong had made it his mission to make sure Yunho ate on time. He seriously did not want Yunho to get sick like last time because he devoted himself to his work. The construction workers have gotten used to the beautiful male who came at the site every lunch time to eat with their boss.

“Jaejoong is not bothering anyone, Hee Jin-shii.” Yunho said mildly. Kang Mi Hwan had left for Seoul right after the groundbreaking two days before, claiming an emergency in one of the Kangs’ numerous business ventures. Unfortunately, Hee Jin didn’t follow her father. Hee Jin was always at the construction site, following Yunho around, and hoping he would give her the time of day.

Yunho opened the lid of the container. “You made me curry?” It was Jaejoong who had also cooked Yunho’s lunch for the past three days. Jaejoong told him it was his way of taking a break from his writing. Besides, it was about time that somebody actually used the kitchen in the Penthouse (Jaejoong had felt the kitchen calling out to him when he saw its equipment in tip-top condition).

“Youn Ha-shii told me it was one of your favourites.” Jaejoong hesitated. “I used my own recipe, I hope you don’t mind.”

Yunho took a bite of the curry. “This is delicious.” Using his chopsticks, he offered some to Jaejoong. “Here, have a taste.”

“I made it, idiot. I already know what it tastes like.” Jaejoong said in amusement. “And I have one as well.”

“If you can eat it, what makes you think I wouldn’t?” Yunho shoved another mouthful. “You shouldn’t be so insecure when it comes to your own cooking.”

Jaejoong smiled unconsciously as he opened his own lunch box and began to eat as well. “Yoochun and Junsu left to go to the beach this morning. I’m going to follow them after.”

“Do you want me to drive you there?” Yunho offered.

“You can’t leave work.” Jaejoong pointed out. “Besides, it’s okay. I borrowed one of the hotel’s cars. How do you think I got here? Walking?”

“Oh right.”


“Hey!" Yunho pouted. “That’s twice you’ve called me an idiot.”

Hee Jin huffed and stomped away from the makeshift table. Yunho and Jaejoong didn’t even notice.


The construction is progressing along well enough for Yunho not to be too hands-on anymore. After three days spent on the construction site, Yunho was actually looking forward to some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Maybe it was a good thing father and hyung suggested for me to extend my trip at Jeju, Yunho mused, as he rode the elevator straight to the Penthouse.

The thought of spending the rest of the week with Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu didn’t seem so bad. They must have returned from the beach by now, Yunho thought as the elevator stopped at the top floor. “Jae-” He called out when he stepped out of the elevator, only to pause when he saw that Jaejoong had unwanted company.

“Yunho.” Ara stood up from the couch, Jaejoong standing beside her.

“What are you doing here?” Yunho said icily.

Ara bit her lip. “I want to talk to you.”

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Yunho nodded to the elevator. “You may leave now.”

“Yunho, please…” Ara took a step towards him.

Jaejoong sighed. “Yunho, she came here pleading with me to talk to you. Why don’t you listen to her?” When he returned from the beach with Yoochun and Junsu, Jaejoong had seen Go Ara at the front desk of Seasons Hotel, imploring the staff to let her talk to Jung Yunho. Suffice it to say that Jaejoong felt sorry for her and took her to the Penthouse to wait for Yunho. They didn’t talk much. (Jaejoong because he felt it wasn’t any of his business while Ara was just nervous of what Yunho’s reaction would be when he found her there.)

“Why should I?” Yunho asked Jaejoong. “When she was the one who left?”

“Do you know what’s the difference between your first love and mine, Yunho?” Jaejoong looked at Yunho directly. “Yours actually had the chance to bloom. Mine was cut short before it even began.”

There was complete silence. “Fine.” Yunho said stiffly. He turned to Ara. “We’ll talk.” Ara flashed Yunho a grateful smile.

“I’ll go bother Yoochun and Junsu.” Jaejoong walked towards the elevator but Yunho grabbed his hand.

“No. Stay here.” Yunho told him. “You still have some writing to do, right?”

Jaejoong nodded reluctantly. He did have some ideas he had wanted to play with.

“We can have dinner,” Ara offered softly. “Have you eaten yet, Yunho?”

“A while ago.” Yunho recalled the lunch he had with Jaejoong. “Fine, there’s a café downstairs.” He squeezed Jaejoong’s hand and then let go, with Ara following behind him. The both of them entered the elevator without a word.

It took five minutes before Jaejoong’s gaze left the elevator doors. Without a word, he went to his room (the one across from Yunho’s own), and grabbed his cell phone. Jaejoong dialled a number he knew so well and waited for the other person to answer his call. “Kibum? Talk to me. I feel lonely all of a sudden.”

Chapter 14:

“So Heechul made another of his assistants pee in her pants,” Kibum told Jaejoong over the phone.

Jaejoong laughed. “Heechul was probably offended.”

“Obviously.” Kibum snorted. “You know how he’s like – he’ll intimidate you into submission but he’s really harmless.”

“If Heechul heard you, he’ll skin you alive.”

“All talk, remember?” Kibum scoffed. There was silence as Kibum found another mistake in the new manuscript he was editing. It wasn’t only Kim Jaejoong’s novels he was in charge of, after all. There were still a few authors he was working with as well. “Jaejoong?”


“Are you alright?”

“I’m better now that I’ve talked to you,” Kibum could feel Jaejoong smiling over the phone. “I think I just got used to having some company around. I haven’t really been alone ever since I came to Jeju.” He’s either always with Junsu and Yoochun or accompanying Yunho. Aside from having lunch with Yunho these past three days, whenever Yunho managed to get free time, he made it a point to spend it with Jaejoong, Junsu, and Yoochun. Jaejoong had a feeling it was because Yunho was avoiding Go Ara.

Kibum’s eyes narrowed. “Is Jung Yunho treating you well, Jae?”

“Of course he is.” Jaejoong said quickly. A little too quickly for Kibum’s liking. “He’s not as bad as he seems, Kibum.”

“You could always leave Jeju early.”

“Why?” Jaejoong frowned. “Am I feeling this way because I’m homesick?” That would make sense. It also took Jaejoong quite awhile to get used to Seoul after leaving Chungnam. And as beautiful as Jeju Island was, it really didn’t feel like home. “But there are only four days still remaining, I think I’ll survive until then.”

Jaejoong, Kibum thought, could be quite dense. He sighed. “Just…be careful.”

“I’m always careful,” Jaejoong huffed. “I haven’t tripped on my own two feet or broken something in the past few days!” Jaejoong’s clumsiness has always been a touchy subject for him.

Maybe dense wasn’t the right word for it. “Stupid.”

“Yah!” Jaejoong chuckled. “But thanks, Kibum. I feel better now that I’ve called someone from home. And I’m sorry for keeping you from your work. You’re still editing Seunghyun’s manuscript, right?”

“Yeah.” Kibum replied. “The latest instalment of TOP is really good, Jae. You should read it.” Choi Seunghyun was well-known for his spy series entitled TOP, TOP being the main character, who happened to be a spy for the South Korean government. Being part of the roster of authors of Storybook Publishing, Seunghyun and Jaejoong have also become good friends.

“I promised him I’ll get a copy once it’s out.”

“Well, at least that would add to the sales.” Kibum commented.

They talked for a few more minutes before Jaejoong finally bid goodbye and hanged up the phone, claiming that he needed to write as well.


“Aren’t you going to eat?” Ara asked him softly. Yunho had been playing with his food for sometime now, twirling the spaghetti around with his fork but not tasting it. “I ordered it because it was your favourite whenever we visited Jeju.”

Yunho dropped the fork. “I would appreciate it if you don’t bring up the past anymore.”

(Unlike Jaejoong, Ara doesn’t really know how to cook. In the two years that the two of them were in a relationship, there were no home cooked meals. Ara claimed that she didn’t want Yunho to suffer from food poisoning. Yunho and Ara didn’t go out to eat often as well, because as an aspiring model, Ara had to be careful of what and how much she ate.)

“I’m so sorry, Yunho.” Ara bit her lip, a habit she has when she felt nervous. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”

“But you did.”

“You have to understand, becoming a model has been my dream, and when my agent finally told me that he got me a stint for Vogue in Paris…”

“I understood that.” Yunho cut her off. “I know how much modelling meant to you.”

(It was all Ara would talk about whenever they were together. They talked about their future often – Yunho’s had always included Ara as his wife while Ara’s was to become a famous model with Yunho by her side.)

“Then why are you so angry with me?” Ara asked him. “I admit that it was wrong of me to just leave without telling you but it was the only way I could without breaking into pieces. And it’s not like I didn’t try to keep in touch with you after, Yunho. You kept ignoring my calls, you don’t answer my e-mails, and the packages I sent you were all returned to me without being opened, that in the end, I had no choice but to stop.”

“Because I didn’t know what I was in your life anymore.” Yunho said. “What was I supposed to be, Ara? If I was still your boyfriend, you wouldn’t have traipsed around Europe with other guys and told reporters that you were single and available. If I was your friend, then why didn’t you have the decency to tell me you were leaving? That’s the least you could’ve done if we weren’t together anymore. I ignored you because it wasn’t fair to me. I was left behind in South Korea wondering whether or not I still had a girlfriend while my supposed girlfriend in Paris was certainly acting like she didn’t have a boyfriend.”

(Even though it hurt when Ara left, Yunho still followed her career, especially when she was just starting in Paris. Yunho collected every article wrote about her, bought every magazine she was in, and even secretly flew to Paris to watch her very first runway show. It all stopped when Ara denied outright in that very runway show that she had a special someone or that there was someone waiting for her back home. It hurt because Yunho had already decided that he would wait for her.)

“I…” Ara was at a loss for words. “I had to do it for my career, Yunho. They told me it wouldn’t do well for my image if I was attached. So I…”

Yunho smiled bitterly. “That’s always been the problem, hasn’t it? Your dream to become a model has always been more important to you than our relationship.”

(It was Jaejoong who made Yunho understand that there were dreams worth pursuing and that by doing so, someone was bound to get hurt. Jaejoong left his hometown and his family because he wanted to become a writer while Ara left Yunho for her modelling career. But that was where their similarities ended. Because unlike Jaejoong, who thought of his family often and for this purpose had become more determined to make a name for himself as a writer, Ara had not cared about anyone else but herself. Go Ara was selfish, Kim Jaejoong wasn’t.)


He didn’t want to admit it, but Hero had a good feeling about his upcoming exhibition. He was never one to believe in instincts and intuition but Hero was just-


Jaejoong had started writing another scene for his story when someone buzzed him online. He looked at the nickname and smiled.

Art_curator: Hey. Art_curator: I was about to log off when I saw you online. KJJ33: I’m glad you didn’t log off. KJJ33: I’m feeling a bit homesick. :( Art_curator: But you’re in Jeju. That’s still in South Korea. KJJ33: I know. I guess it’s because I’m alone now and every one else has someone special to spend their evening with. KJJ33: I’ve called Kibum already and I thought I was fine. But it’s only been ten minutes since and I’m feeling lonely again. *sigh* Art_curator: I’m here. Art_curator: I’ll stay here until you don’t feel lonely anymore.


“I love you, Yunho.” Ara said. “I never stopped.”

Yunho froze. Any other time he would have been happy to hear those words – because no matter how hard he tried to deny it, after all these years, it really has been only Go Ara. Yunho slept with many people because he had wanted to forget her touch, he drowned himself into his work to forget she ever existed and he acted like everything was alright because he didn’t want anyone to know he was still hurting.

Ara took Yunho’s hands in hers. “Do you remember that promise you made while we were in New York, Yunho? That when Yoochun finally becomes a successful musician, I would be your only date for his concerts.” She paused. “I read and watch the news after every Park Yoochun concert that was held. You’ve never brought a date to any of them, Yunho.”

Yunho never brought a date along to any of Yoochun’s concerts because he was giving Ara a message, wherever she might have been – that he was still waiting for her, no matter what he felt at her leaving.

“You’re wrong.” Yunho took his hand away from Ara’s. “I’ve already broken that promise.”

(Because at the last Park Yoochun concert, Jung Yunho had invited Kim Jaejoong and introduced him as his date to every one who mattered.)


KJJ33: How was the open house? Art_curator: It went well. There were a lot of art collectors who offered to commission some of the artists whose works were exhibited. It was a great opportunity for them. KJJ33: I’m sorry I couldn’t be there. Art_curator: That’s alright. It’s not like it was your choice to go to Jeju Island all of a sudden. Are you having fun despite your homesickness? KJJ33: Yeah. :) Junsu and Yoochun always take me sightseeing with them whenever Yunho’s busy with work. Art_curator: You and Yunho seem to be pretty close. KJJ33: Really? I actually never thought I’d get along with him, but he’s okay, I guess. KJJ33: You know, it’s funny that you and Yunho said the same thing with regard to each other. Art_curator: Really? KJJ33: Yup. He said that you and I were pretty close as well. Art_curator: I’m actually glad that we are.



“What are you really doing here, Ara?” Yunho asked the woman sitting across from him. It felt like they were talking in circles. “You’ve already apologized and explained. What else do you want from me?”

“Do you remember the man I was dancing with three days ago at the ballroom, Yunho?”

Yunho did not.

(But he remembered dancing with Jaejoong. The feel of Jaejoong in his arms, eyes bright and cheeks flushed from twirling around, so beautiful that Yunho wanted to tell every one that he was the one who caused that. He could still hear the tinge of embarrassment on Jaejoong’s voice after his admission that he’s never been in a relationship before and Yunho’s need to make Jaejoong feel relaxed once more.

He remembered their first meeting, how Jaejoong had been so shy even as Yunho stole his clothes right in front of him and that even then, Yunho had known that he was beautiful. He remembered their second meeting, when a spitting mad Kim Jaejoong strangled him to death and punched him afterwards and Yunho could now only laugh at his own stupidity. Because how could he have been stupid as to forget someone like Kim Jaejoong?

Yunho remembered going to the amusement park with Jaejoong and getting to know him for the first time. He remembered reading Jaejoong’s novels and being affected by them to the point that he called Jaejoong up in the middle of the night. Yunho didn’t want to admit it, but he had enjoyed talking to Jaejoong. Jaejoong was witty, sarcastic, but frank. He doesn’t think before he speaks and Yunho finds it refreshing.

It was fun telling Jaejoong all about soccer, watching the change of expressions on his face, like a child who had learned how to read. Yunho hoped that there would be a chance for him to teach Jaejoong how to play soccer. When he saw Jaejoong’s shaking form after the South Korea-Japan game, Yunho had the urge to cover Jaejoong up and take him away where he would be safe.

Yunho vaguely remembered hugging Jaejoong while he had been sick, seeking for some warmth. He wanted to smile, knowing how Jaejoong had fussed over him afterwards. Yunho cherished every meal Jaejoong made for him, knowing that it was made because the latter cared.

Yunho remembered their first kiss in the rain. He felt Jaejoong’s lips on his and the taste of vanilla filling his senses. There was a hint of something sweet and forbidden, something that Yunho wanted to explore further, if given the chance.

He honestly hoped Jaejoong would give him a chance.)

“He’s the President of a fashion line that’s going to be introduced soon in South Korea.” Ara told him. “He’s offering me the chance to be the top model of his line. Once I do, I’ll be staying in Seoul again, this time permanently.” She took a deep breath. “I’ll accept it if you want me to, Yunho.”


Art_curator: You have to make it up to me for missing the open house. KJJ33: Of course I would! I was seriously looking forward to it, Hyunjoong. But Yunho needed me to go to Jeju with him soArt_curator: Go out with me when you get back. KJJ33: Huh? Art_curator: I want to take Kim Jaejoong out for a date. Art_curator: I’m allowed to do that, right?


It has been three years since Go Ara left Jung Yunho to follow her dreams to become a model. Yunho thought that he would never get over her and the love that they had -

Until he met Kim Jaejoong. And Yunho realized that what he felt for Go Ara was nothing compared to what he was feeling for Jaejoong now. It hadn’t been love at first sight with Jaejoong – Yunho could not pinpoint the exact moment he could say that he was in love with Jaejoong.

But did it really matter now that Jung Yunho knew he was? And looking at Ara now, Yunho can finally say that that chapter of his life was finally over. “What you do with your life doesn’t have anything to do with me anymore.”


“Ara.” This time, Yunho really smiled at her. “I think it’s time we finally have our formal break up.”


KJJ33: Hyunjoong? Art_curator: If you’re not comfortable about it, consider it as your way to make it up to me.

When Hyunjoong put it that way…Jaejoong bit his lip, hands over the keyboard to type up a response.

Someone was knocking insistently on his door. Jaejoong got up from his chair and pulled the door open. “Yunho, what-?”

But Yunho was already taking Jaejoong into his arms, embracing him, with no intention of letting him go. Jaejoong struggled against him, but Yunho just held him more tightly. “Let…me…breathe…”

“Can we just stay like this for a little while?” Yunho whispered in Jaejoong’s ear as he loosened his hold on Jaejoong but still not letting the latter go. “Please?”

Yunho inhaled deeply, Jaejoong’s scent filling his senses. He burrowed his head further in to Jaejoong’s hair. Jaejoong, on the other hand, had stopped struggling. He figures Yunho would let go eventually and put his arms around Yunho as well.

Yunho smiled. I love you, Kim Jaejoong.

Chapter 15:

Yunho took the shopping bags Jaejoong was holding and carried it for the latter. “So where to next?”

“I’m not a girl.” Jaejoong grabbed the bags from Yunho. “I can carry my own stuff.”

“I never said you were.” Yunho just took the bags back. “I just want to carry them for you.”

“Is it my imagination or is Yunho acting strange?” Junsu asked Yoochun. The four of them were at the fair that was being held at the city. It was Junsu who had seen the flyers being given out at the beach the day before and had wanted to check it out. Jaejoong also had no qualms about going, thinking that he can find souvenirs to buy for his parents and sisters. The annual Kim family reunion was coming up (it’s not like Jaejoong can forget considering the number of messages he receives from his Hyorinoona reminding him of it every day) and it would be nice to bring a little token from his trip to Jeju Island to give to his family.

Yunho, whose vacation officially started that morning, had been in an extremely good mood. It felt like a burden had been lifted from his shoulders and he couldn’t stop smiling. It was also amusing how much he hang on to Jaejoong. During that breakfast, Yunho had asked whether or not Jaejoong liked what was set before them and if he didn’t, Yunho would order the hotel’s resident chef to make something else. (Jaejoong had steadfastly refused and had even scolded Yunho for even thinking of inconveniencing the chef – and all that while, Yunho was just grinning.) Yunho had the hotel staff prepare two cars for Yunho and Jaejoong and another for Yoochun and Junsu. (Yunho had told Yoochun that since Yunho was now free, Yoochun and Junsu don’t have to accompany Jaejoong anymore – and Yoochun swore that there was a hint of possessiveness on Yunho’s voice when he said that.) When Jaejoong had suggested that the four of them separate once they reach the fair, Yunho had pouted and claimed that he wanted to spend the day with Jaejoong. (To which Jaejoong then said that maybe it was better if the four of them stuck together – and led to Yunho sulking and ignoring Yoochun and Junsu’s presence as the four of them explored the fair together.)

Yoochun chuckled. “No, it’s not your imagination.” Maybe it was because they’ve been best friends ever since he could remember but to Yoochun, it was obvious when Yunho

was infatuated with someone. Yoochun could still remember Yunho’s first crush on their first-grade teacher. Yunho had hang on to her as well and followed her around like a puppy. Just like the way Yunho was following Jaejoong around now, going wherever the latter went.

Yoochun turned to Junsu. “Let’s leave the lovebirds alone, shall we?” At that point, Yunho and Jaejoong were walking far ahead of them already, still arguing about who would carry the shopping bags. “They won’t even know we’re gone.”

“I guess you’re right.” Junsu took Yoochun’s hand and dragged him away. “There was a fortune-telling booth we passed by awhile ago. Let’s get our fortunes taken!”

And just like they predicted, Jaejoong and Yunho didn’t even notice them missing. “Don’t you have something to do other than following me around and watching me buy things?” Jaejoong finally said exasperatedly to Yunho. Not that he minded Yunho’s company much, but Jaejoong thought that maybe Yunho would be with Ara right at this very moment. After the bone-crushing hug Yunho gave him last night, the two of them had not talked much. But Yunho had been smiling and had even bade Jaejoong a jolly good night and sweet dreams (something Yunho never did) so Jaejoong assumed that things went well.

“Nope.” Yunho answered cheerfully as he motioned to the bags he was carrying. “Don’t mind me, continue on with your shopping.”

Jaejoong stopped at one stall to look at the various baubles and trinkets that were being sold there. He’s already found gifts for his eight sisters and was wondering what he was going to buy for his mother. Knowing how his mother loved to collect baubles, Jaejoong scanned the stall, looking for something that his mother would love. He moved to the table on the side, where there were the other pieces lay, and started his search once more. Jaejoong’s eyes then rested on a pair of silver cross earrings placed in a small black velvet box. Jaejoong did not know what it was about the earrings that caught his attention.

“It’s completely made of silver,” the seller told him as she watched Jaejoong admire the earrings. “It’s worth 117,000 Korean won.”

When Jaejoong heard the price, he put back the black velvet box on the table. It was impractical to spend that much on a pair of earrings. Instead, Jaejoong continued

searching for something to give to his mother until he finally decided on a bracelet made up of sea shells. It was certainly cheaper than the earrings.

It wasn’t only the seller who had seen how Jaejoong had admired the earrings. Yunho had noticed the disappointment on Jaejoong’s face when he returned the velvet box back. He had to hold himself back from entering the stall and buying it for Jaejoong, knowing that it would wound Jaejoong’s pride. Just because Yunho was wealthier did not mean that Jaejoong would accept Yunho’s money. Jaejoong was a self-made man in his own right. (Even when Yunho had paid for Jaejoong’s shopping expenses before the Jeju Island trip, a part of Yunho had known that Jaejoong’s offer to treat them to dinner had been the latter’s way of paying Yunho back.)

Still, Yunho wanted to buy the earrings for Jaejoong. The thought that he’d give Jaejoong the world if he could crossed his mind too but Yunho quickly brushed it away knowing that it wouldn’t be appreciated. So right after Jaejoong purchased the bracelet for his mother and proceeded to look at what the other stalls had to offer, Yunho entered the stall Jaejoong had left and inquired about the earrings.


Jaejoong could not sleep that night. He kept tossing and turning on his bed. He felt restless for some reason and he didn’t know what it was. At one in the morning, Jaejoong finally gave up counting sheep and got out of bed. Jaejoong was already in his pyjamas so he pulled out a long coat from the closet to cover his form and slipped on his slippers. He stepped out of his room and walked to the elevator but not before sparing a glance on Yunho’s closed door.

Yunho had spent the whole day with him. After going to the fair, they went to the Jeju Teddy Bear Museum, which held the most unique and valuable teddy bears in the world. It was Jaejoong and Junsu who originally made plans to visit the museum but since the latter and Yoochun were nowhere to be found, Yunho had volunteered to go with Jaejoong instead. It was strange – Jaejoong had never seen Yunho that complacent and that eager before. Maybe talking to Ara had done him some good, Jaejoong mused.

When Jaejoong reached the first floor, he immediately made his way to the pool area. Upon reaching his destination, Jaejoong sat down on the edge of the pool, raised up his pyjama pants, and dipped his legs on the cool water.

“Kim Jaejoong-shii?”

Jaejoong, who had been absorbed splashing the water, turned and blinked. “Go Arashii? Shouldn’t you be in bed by now?”

“The photo shoot ran late.” Ara had not even changed yet and was still wearing the white mini dress she had for the photo shoot. Without another word, Jaejoong removed his coat and gave it to Ara. “Here. You might catch a cold.”

Ara flashed him a grateful smile and wrapped the coat around her shivering form. She then took off her stilettos and sat beside Jaejoong on the edge of the pool. “I never got the chance to thank you, Jaejoong-shii, for getting Yunho to talk to me last night.”

“Yunho was just being stubborn.” Jaejoong replied. “He would have talked to you eventually without anyone telling him to.”

“I doubt that.” Ara bit her lip. “I never thought Yunho could be that angry with me.”

“I think he was more hurt than angry, Ara-shii.” Jaejoong said. “You can’t blame him, though. He loved you.”

“And I believed he always would,” Ara laughed. “Yunho was right. I was selfish. I never considered his feelings and only did what I thought would be best for me.”

“There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re allowed to be selfish once in a while.”

“Why did you help me?” Ara stared at Jaejoong. “If it was me and Yunho was still mine, I wouldn’t have encouraged him to go and meet with his ex again. Aren’t you afraid that I’ll steal him from you?” She wasn’t naïve. From the first time she saw Kim Jaejoong she had noticed that he was something special to Yunho. It was only yesterday that she had known how much. She’s heard of Yunho’s flings before but didn’t think much of them, thinking that those flings were just like her casual dates – they hadn’t meant anything. Apparently, Kim Jaejoong was different.

“It wasn’t my place.” Jaejoong shrugged. He wasn’t in a real relationship with Yunho. It was all pretend so Jaejoong really doesn’t have any right to interfere with Yunho’s life. “Besides, I think it did both of you good to talk and clear things up.”

“Even if it meant that Yunho and I would get back together and he’ll end up leaving you?”

There was a pang in Jaejoong’s chest that he couldn’t quite identify and a lump that suddenly formed in his throat. “Yes.” Jaejoong answered. “As a friend, I would want Yunho to be happy.” He cleared his throat. “Ara-shii, I think I should tell you that nothing is going on between me and Yunho. We’re just pretending to be in a relationship so that his father would stop setting him up and I could write a decent love story. You really don’t have to worry about anything.”

There was silence. “It appears that Yunho would have a hard time then,” Ara laughed. “Jaejoong-shii, don’t give Yunho the satisfaction of giving in that easily. He’s the type whose had everything served on him in a silver platter and it would be nice to see him work his butt off for something he really wants.”

Jaejoong frowned. “But he’s always working his butt off for Jung Corporation. He works so hard that he forgets to take care of himself.”

“That’s not what I meant.” Ara shook her head, smiling. “You’re a breath of fresh air, Jaejoong-shii. I guess it’s one of the reasons why Yunho chose you.”


Ara took a deep breath. “Yunho and I already ended things between us yesterday. It’s for the best, really. I love Yunho but not enough to have fought for what we could have had in the future. Honestly, when I accepted this photo shoot in Jeju, I didn’t expect to see Yunho again. When I did, I thought it was a sign that there could be a second chance between the two of us. I guess I was wrong.”


“Yunho loved me.” Ara said. “But that’s all in the past now. He’s moved on and I guess it’s time for me to do that too. This is my last night here, Jaejoong-shii. My flight for Paris leaves at 7 this morning.” She took Jaejoong’s hand in hers. “I leave Yunho to you, Jaejoong-shii. And I wish that both of you would be happy.”


When Jaejoong returned to the Penthouse, it was already 3 in the morning. He was surprised to see Yoochun and Junsu sitting at the couch, the hotel’s manager and the hotel’s head of security with them. Yunho was in front of them, pacing back and forth, yelling something at his cell phone. “What do you mean twenty-four hours? Am I supposed to wait that long before you get your asses to work and find him?”

It was Junsu who first saw him. “Jaejoong!” He stood up to approach the latter but Yunho beat him to it. Jaejoong was pulled into a bone-crushing hug. (Yunho seemed to be doing that a lot lately.) Then Yunho pulled away and glared at him. “Where. Have. You. Been?” Yunho had never known what real fear was until he found Jaejoong’s room empty and his bed unmade. His immediate thought was that someone had taken Jaejoong away. Alarmed, he had called up Yoochun and Junsu, asking them if Jaejoong went to their room. Answering in the negative, Yunho got a hold of the hotel manager as well as the hotel’s head of security and ordered them to look for Kim Jaejoong. When the staff informed Yunho that they couldn’t find Jaejoong in the hotel, Yunho swore that his body turned ice cold.

Yunho was on the verge of a panic attack (something he’s never felt before) and was already calling the police up. But they refused to do anything until Jaejoong had been missing for twenty-four hours and Yunho filed a missing report. Did they honestly expected Yunho to wait that long, when various thoughts of what could happen to Jaejoong had rushed through his head, and Yunho did not know what to do anymore.

“I was at the pool area.” Jaejoong thought it best not to mention that he had spoken with Ara. “I couldn’t sleep.”

Yoochun’s brows furrowed as he turned to the hotel manager and head of security. “Not one of the staff bothered to check that place?”

“The area was closed off for the photo shoot that was held until midnight,” the hotel manager said sheepishly. “I guess nobody thought that Jaejoong-shii would go there.”

Yunho wasn’t paying attention to them, eyes only focused on Jaejoong. “Why didn’t you knock on my door?” He demanded. “I could have accompanied you.”

“I didn’t want to wake you up.” Jaejoong frowned. “And seriously, Yunho, did you have to cause such a commotion?”

“I was worried!” Yunho exclaimed. “Next time, tell me where you’re going first. You wouldn’t have disturbed me when I was having trouble sleeping anyway.” Because even in sleep, all he could think of was Jaejoong, driving Yunho to knock on Jaejoong’s door in the middle of the night. He tugged Jaejoong’s hand. “Come on, I don’t want you missing sleep. What if you faint tomorrow or something?”

Jaejoong let himself be dragged to his own room. He was already feeling tired anyway. He yawned. “What are you doing?” He asked Yunho when Yunho shut the door behind them. (Seeing that everything was fine, Yoochun dismissed the manager and the head of security before also leaving with Junsu.)

“I’m not leaving your room until you finally fall asleep.” Yunho crossed his arms over his chest as he watched Jaejoong lay down on his bed.

“I won’t be able to sleep with you watching me, it’s creepy.” Jaejoong protested as he pulled the blanket over his form, his eyes already closing.

Yunho only smiled as he grabbed a chair and sat beside Jaejoong’s bed. “You won’t even notice.”

(And Yunho did watch Jaejoong sleep – the rise and fall of Jaejoong’s chest calmed Yunho down. When Yunho had finally assured himself that Jaejoong was safe and he wouldn’t be going anywhere, Yunho stood up from the chair, kissed Jaejoong on the forehead and went back to his own room.

In his sleep, Jaejoong was smiling.)


Kang Hee Jin wasn’t one to back down without a fight. So when she saw one Kim Jaejoong all alone that morning at the restaurant, Hee Jin took the opportunity to give Jaejoong a piece of her mind.

Jaejoong, on the other hand, was eating his breakfast in peace. Despite sleeping late, he had woken up quite early (at around 8 in the morning) and felt extremely hungry. Yunho’s door had been open and seeing Yunho sleeping quite soundly, Jaejoong just left him a note telling him of his whereabouts.

“Jaejoong-shii, it’s so nice to see you here.”

The urge to reply that it wasn’t nice to see Hee Jin flashed through Jaejoong’s mind but he bit his lip. His parents taught him to respect women and really, he wasn’t going to start now. “Is there something I can do for you, Hee Jin-shii?”

Hee Jin took the chair across from his. “Nothing, really. I was just wondering if Yunho had given you any jewelry yet.”

Jaejoong raised an eyebrow. “Jewelry?”

“See this?” Hee Jin touched the Swarovski necklace that she was wearing. “Yunho gave this to me.” She also tilted her face from side to side, tucking her hair behind her ears, so that Jaejoong could see the matching earrings. “The earrings are very pretty, aren’t they? Yunho gave me those as well.”

“Hmm.” Jaejoong frowned. “And to think I pitied you back then.” He muttered under his breath. The jewelry triggered something in his memories and Jaejoong had a flash back to over a month ago when he had been having dinner with Kibum and Kang Hee Jin was dumped by Jung Yunho. Jaejoong still didn’t like the way Yunho dumped Hee Jin but Jaejoong had to admit that Yunho made the right choice in doing so.

“Did you know Jaejoong-shii,” Hee Jin purred. “That Yunho’s been known to be quite extravagant with his play things?”

Jaejoong took a deep breath, trying to rein in his temper. Kang Hee Jin was making it quite difficult for him. He wished that Yoochun and Junsu were there (but who knows what those two were up to in their suite.) Hee Jin might be smart but when it comes to love, she was a bit stupid. How could she not know that giving jewelry was Yunho’s way of breaking up with his flings?

“Jaejoong’s not a play thing, Hee Jin-shii.” It appeared that Yunho had joined Jaejoong in time for breakfast. And from the way Yunho was gripping Jaejoong’s shoulders, Yunho was warning him not to take the bait. “And Jaejoong, why did you leave your earrings behind? Did you not like them?”

Jaejoong’s eyes grew wide when he saw Yunho place the silver cross earrings he had been admiring at the fair on the table. “What-?”

“I think this has gone on long enough.” Yunho looked at Hee Jin. “What happened between us was just a one night stand. I’m sorry if I led you on and made you think otherwise.”

“Yunho-ah…” Hee Jin began.

Yunho smiled at Hee Jin. “I’m sure you’ll find someone who will be right for you, Hee Jin-shii. But I’m certain that person is not me.”

It took a while for Kang Hee Jin to get over the shock. But once she did, she stood up from her seat and walked out, not even sparing Jaejoong or Yunho another glance. She might not like it, but she knew when she had been defeated. (And she had fought all she could – except that it had been a losing battle.)

Yunho breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I’m glad that was done and over with.” He took the seat that Hee Jin had vacated. “Why didn’t you wait up for me?”

But Jaejoong was still staring at the earrings. He raised an eyebrow at Yunho. “Is this your way of telling me that we don’t need to pretend anymore?”

“What? No!” With that, Yunho snatched the box away.

“Hey!” Jaejoong scowled. His hands made their way across the table to grab for the box but Yunho put it away on his pocket. “Give me back the earrings!”

Yunho took Jaejoong’s hands instead. “I’m not letting you go, Jaejoong.”

I’ll keep you forever if I could.

Chapter 16:

Hero’s heart was beating erratically. But since it doesn’t happen often, Hero doesn’t think much of it. When he’s engrossed in painting, his heart beats are normal. When he cleans up the apartment, there is nothing wrong with his heart either. When he eats, his heart doesn’t beat that fast that he feels it pounding against his head. Hero wouldn’t know what happens when he sleeps but since he hasn’t suffered from a heart attack yet, he figures that everything is still normal with his heart.

It was strange – there was only one other time it happened to him before and Hero really does not want to remember that time – for it broke his heart.

Hero refuses to think too much about the times when his heart does beat erratically. Because it really only happens whenever he’s around-

“I found another package at your doorstep.” Kibum said as he stepped inside Jaejoong’s apartment. Before Jaejoong left for Jeju, he left the key to the apartment to Kibum so that the latter could take care of it while he was gone. After getting Jaejoong’s permission, Kibum had thought it best to also create a spare key for himself.

“Just put it on the dining table.” Jaejoong called out.

Kibum placed the parcel on the table. Compared to the others, this one was very light. Ever since Jaejoong returned from his trip to Jeju, he had started receiving the parcels every day. The first day, it had been a coffee mug from Starbucks. The second day had been a pair of skating shoes. This was the third day and Kibum had to admit he was curious about who was giving Jaejoong the gifts. There had been no cards on the parcels and it seemed like all of them had been delivered personally.

Jaejoong finally came out of his work office with the latest chapter on hand. “Here. After three days without any contact from the outside world except you, I’ve finally finished it.”

“At least my nagging had its purposes.” Kibum took the papers from Jaejoong. “I expected that one week in Jeju would make you write faster and yet you returned here with nothing new.” They were still running on a deadline.

Even though the urge to write had been there and Jaejoong did make it a point to find time to write while he was in Jeju, he couldn’t seem to write anything. Jaejoong wouldn’t call it writer’s block – it was just that he had been easily distracted. Especially the last four days when Yunho had dragged him everywhere and took him to places that the former thought should be worth seeing. Jaejoong wouldn’t admit it but he had fun.

I’m not letting you go. The words echoed in Jaejoong’s mind and he felt his cheeks reddening. He really didn’t want to think about it too much and he was grateful when Kibum waved the package at him. “So? Open it already.”

“If I didn’t know better, I’d think the reason you’ve been coming here every day is for the packages.” Jaejoong remarked as he tore the brown paper up and stared.

It was a piece of long bond paper with a drawing of Jaejoong kicking a soccer ball into the goal. At the bottom of the drawing was the initials K.H.J.

“Well.” Kibum spoke up beside Jaejoong. “I guess your secret admirer is not so secret anymore.”


“Talk to me.” Yoochun sat on the chair in front of Yunho’s desk.

“Don’t you have songs to compose?” Yunho asked him grumpily. It’s been three days since he last saw and talked to Jaejoong. The minute the private jet landed in Seoul, Jaejoong told Yunho not to bother him because he would be very busy writing his novel and would very much appreciate it if he would be left alone. As much as Yunho really did not want to, he had no choice. From Jaejoong’s point of view, Jung Yunho was still a pretend boyfriend.

“Don’t look so annoyed.” Yoochun told him. “Lucky for you, I felt utterly inspired by the Jeju trip that I finished my compositions in two days. I’ll probably include it in my next album.”

“Then go bother Junsu or something.”

“Can’t.” Yoochun replied cheerfully. “Junsu and Hyukjae are hanging out the whole day, playing video games most probably. And I thought, when was the last time I hanged out with my best friend without our boyfriends? So, here I am.”

“I’m busy, go away.”

Yoochun chuckled. “Yunho, you were playing Solitaire on your computer before I came in. Since the construction of the resort in Jeju is running smoothly and Ji Hoon-hyung handled things around here so well, you really don’t have anything to do for the next couple of days.”

“Shut up.”

Yoochun leaned back on his chair. “You’re in love with Jaejoong.”

There was silence. And then, “Am I really that obvious?”

“The way you reacted when you thought he was missing pretty much gave you away.” Yoochun said. “After that, not just Junsu but I think the whole hotel staff knew you were in love with Jaejoong.”

“Except Jaejoong.” Yunho pouted. He couldn’t even give Jaejoong the earrings he had bought for him at the fair for fear of Jaejoong getting the wrong impression that Yunho was putting a stop to the pretense. When it was actually the pretense that allowed Yunho to act like a boyfriend to Jaejoong, something Yunho would like to be for real.

He might not be Jaejoong’s first love but Jung Yunho would do everything to be Kim Jaejoong’s first (and hopefully, last) boyfriend.

“It’s not your fault that Jaejoong’s a little bit slow on the uptake.” Yoochun remarked. “From the way you followed him around, couldn’t let him go, and glared at any one who so much as takes a look at him, any sane person would have already realized the depth of your feelings for him.”

“Jaejoong’s not insane!” Yunho huffed. “He’s just clueless.”

“Which is why I wish you all the best.” Yoochun paused. “So when did you realize it?”

“When I was talking to Ara, ironically enough.” Yunho answered. “I can’t explain it, Yoochun, but it was like I was hit between the eyes and all I could see was Jaejoong.”

“I know how that felt.” Yoochun smiled. “That’s what happened with Junsu.”

“I guess this really ends my playboy ways.”

“I think the rest of your family would be delighted to hear that.” Yoochun said. “Besides, you don’t sound that dejected over the idea.”

“Did you regret ending your playboy ways for Junsu?”


Yunho sighed. “I miss him.”

“Did you try calling his phone?”

“It’s off.” Yunho replied. “It’s been off since three days ago.”

“Going to his apartment?”

“Every morning and right after I get off work but no one’s answering.” Yunho ran a hand through his hair. “Jaejoong did tell me he would be busy writing but did he seriously have to close himself off?”

Suddenly, Yunho’s private line rang. Excusing himself, Yunho picked it up. “Hello?”

“Is this Jung Yunho?” A female voice said.

“Yes this is he.” The voice sounded familiar. Yunho worried it might be one of his exes. Maybe he shouldn’t have said that he was Jung Yunho first without knowing who it was.

“Oh good.” The female voice was smiling. “That meant the message to your secretary that I was pregnant and you’re the father worked.”

Yunho choked on air. “Excuse me?”

“This is Hyori.”

Kim Hyori – the oldest of Jaejoong’s sisters was calling him on his private line. He really should not have been hasty to admit that he was Jung Yunho. “Noona?”

“Aww, you’re calling me Noona already.” Hyori crowed over the phone. “It’s cute.”

Yunho cleared his throat. “What can I do for you, Hyori-shii?”

“Oh, call me Noona. You’re going to be part of the family anyway.” Hyori said. “Knowing my only brother, he wouldn’t have mentioned the annual Kim family gathering that’s going to be held tomorrow at my home. So, for his sake, I’m telling you now that the annual Kim family gathering is tomorrow.”

Talking with Kim Hyori was like not talking at all. “I don’t think I understand-”

“It’s quite simple, really.” Hyori cut him off. “You’re going to the Kim family gathering tomorrow at my home of which I’ll send you the directions to once you give me your cell phone number.”

“Okay.” Yunho answered, still in a daze. He then told Hyori his cell phone number and after bidding Hyori goodbye, hung up.

Yoochun had his eyebrows raised. “Something wrong?”

“I think I just agreed to meet the whole Kim family tomorrow.” Yunho banged his head on the desk. “What have I gotten myself into?”

“There. There.” Yoochun patted him on the back. “You’ve been dating Jaejoong for over a month now. If you’re planning on being really serious with him now, its better that you meet his family. I mean, Jaejoong’s met yours, right?”

Yunho groaned. “I don’t think the Kims would appreciate a former playboy like me for their only and youngest boy.”

“Then you’ll just have to prove them wrong, won’t you?”


After three days, Jaejoong finally turned his phone on and also connected the phone line on his apartment. Immediately, his inbox was filled with dozens of messages from one Jung Yunho.

Good morning, Jae! (I can call you that, right?)

I’m eating now without you nagging me.

You should also be eating.

Don’t forget to sleep.

Sweet dreams!

Do we need to re-enact any scene soon?

You’re not re-enacting them with anyone else, right?

It’s been three days.

I miss you.

While scrolling his inbox, Jaejoong felt the smile unconsciously forming on his face. Yunho seemed to be doing that a lot to him lately. He shook his head and tried to clear his mind.

I hope you liked the gifts.

Looking at the sender, Jaejoong pressed his number and waited for the other line to answer. “Were the gifts your way of persuading me to agree on the date, Hyunjoong?”

“Actually, the gifts were my way of telling you I’m interested in you.” Hyunjoong replied. “So that when I properly ask you out on a date, you wouldn’t feel so lost as to why.”

“I’m sorry for leaving you hanging,” Jaejoong apologized. “I’m just not used to this.” No one’s asked him out on an actual date before.

“It’s okay. I don’t think you would have been ready to answer anyway.” Hyunjoong paused. “But I still want to take you out to dinner.”

“Is this a date?”

“No.” Hyunjoong chuckled. “Just as friends. Is that alright?”

Since Hyunjoong is a friend, Jaejoong really didn’t see any problem with that. “Sure. I need to make it up to you for ditching the open house anyway.”


Jaejoong sometimes wished he could be an only child. It would probably make his life easier. Because when the eight Kim sisters put it upon themselves to pry in to their youngest and only brother’s life, they wouldn’t stop until they got the answers they wanted.

“So, Jae.” Soori, the second oldest at 28 years old and the one currently in the kitchen helping Jaejoong, began. “I heard you’re writing a love story.”

His Soori-noona wasn’t really as bad as Hyori was. It was just that, being a private investigator, Soori had the tendency to be very inquisitive. Jaejoong inwardly groaned. His sisters were already sending in the big guns and they haven’t even eaten yet. “Yes, I am.”

“What’s it about?” Soori asked as she chopped the vegetables.

“It’s a love triangle.” Jaejoong said as he put the cooking oil on the pan. “The main character is a painter torn between an art curator and a lawyer.”

“Based on real life?” Jaejoong heard giggles behind him. He had a feeling they were his third, fourth, and fifth noonas who were triplets. At 27, Dara, Boa, and Taeyeon were still extreme gossips. They probably had their ears pressed behind the door, Jaejoong thought sourly.

Before Jae could even say anything, Soori had moved on. “Did you know that Yoona is planning to introduce her boyfriend to mom and dad soon?”

“Hyori-noona might have mentioned it.” Jaejoong is dreading where the conversation was headed. “Is So Eun okay with it?” So Eun was Yoona’s twin. At 24, they were the two youngest next to Jae.

“So Eun was actually the one who introduced them. I think the guy is a friend of Sang Bum’s.” It was ironic that among his noonas, the two youngest were the only ones who had boyfriends. Not that it mattered because -

“So when are you going to follow Yoona’s footsteps and finally get a boyfriend, Jae?”

In the end, all his sisters were interested in was Jaejoong’s non-existent love life. “Noona-”

Suddenly, the doorbell rang.

“I’ll get it!” Hyo Joo, Jae’s sixth noona at 25 years old and currently the only one in the living room, volunteered.

“I wonder who could it be.” Soori pursed her lips. “Unnie said that she invited someone to the gathering.”

Jaejoong suddenly felt an inexplicable chill to his bones when he heard that. His Hyorinoona, who was at the backyard with the twins and their parents, busily arranging the table had been in a strangely good mood all morning.

And when Hyo Joo called out that a certain Jung Yunho was standing at the door, Jaejoong knew that his life, as he knew it, was over.

(He also hoped Yunho knew what he was getting himself into.)

Chapter 17:

Yunho shifted uncomfortably on the sofa. He felt four pairs of eyes examining him as if he was the subject of an experiment. Having four beautiful women surround him would make anyone feel flattered but in this case, Yunho was just nervous.

He had every right to be.

“Well, he’s definitely Hyori-unnie’s type.” (Boa.)

“But isn’t he quite young?” (Dara.)

“This is unnie we’re talking about, when did age matter to her?” (Taeyeon.)

“But unnie’s never brought anyone to our gatherings before. Is she serious about him?” (Hyo Joo.)

“He’s not mine, girls.” Hyori finally entered the house. She had left the twins to finish setting up the table in the backyard while their father tended the grill and their mother went to the kitchen to help Jaejoong and Soori with the cooking.

“Really?” Hyo Joo frowned. “But he was looking for you, unnie. He said that you invited him to the gathering.”

“But that’s only because Joongie wouldn’t invite him himself. So I did the honours for our little brother.”

As soon as those words escaped Hyori’s lips, the four girls squealed. Yunho swore that his eardrums were going to burst.


Hiding in the kitchen, Jaejoong really wanted to ignore the fact that Yunho was presently at his Hyori-noona’s living room. Unfortunately, his noisy and nosy sisters were there to keep reminding him of it.

Soori nudged him. (Jaejoong almost burnt the fish he was frying.) “Sly Joongie! Why didn’t you tell me?”

His mother, Kim Rina, only looked at him in disapproval. “Jaejoong, it’s not nice to keep your guest waiting. And Soori’s right. How come your father and I didn’t know about this boyfriend of yours?”

At the mention of his father, Jaejoong paled. Every one knew how strict and over protective Kim Seung Ho could be with regard to his youngest and only son. “Father.” Without another word, Jaejoong rushed to the living room. (Leaving Soori and Rina to deal with the fish Jaejoong had been frying.)

Meanwhile, at the word “boyfriend,” Kim Seung Ho left the meat he was grilling and went back to the house. Yoona and So Eun, who had been with their father, could only gulp. (Before getting married to Rina and taking over the family restaurant, Kim Seung Ho had been a police man. He was supposed to be promoted to chief inspector but Seung Ho decided to resign and concentrate on taking care of his family.)


By then, Yunho was already surrounded by five of the Kim sisters, one of which was currently pinching his cheeks. “So cute! Like a hamster.”

“Taeyeon, I know you’re a veterinarian, but can you not associate every person you meet with an animal?” Boa said to her sister. She, on the other hand, was fingering Yunho’s polo shirt. “Is this Ralph Lauren? I approve.”

“Boa’s a fashion designer so it’s a big deal for her that you’re stylish,” Dara informed Yunho. “As for me, I’m the editor of a local lifestyle magazine in Busan. Can we do a feature on you and your brother, as the next generation of Jung Corporation?”

Then someone was snapping his picture and Yunho had to cover his eyes from the flash. “Sorry.” Hyo Joo put down her Nikon. “But this is too good to be true.” Hyo Joo was a professional photographer.

Yunho shot a pleading glance at Hyori, who was only beaming up at him. “Jaejoong’s busy in the kitchen. So you’ll be stuck with us in the meantime.”

It appears that Hyori had a sadistic streak to her. Taeyeon had not stopped pinching his cheeks and Boa had taken a liking to his slacks and was now touching it, trying to feel the fabric. Yunho refrained from squirming on his seat as Boa’s hands neared his crotch. Dara, on the other hand, kept babbling about the feature article she wanted to do with Yunho and Ji Hoon (which he hadn’t even agreed to yet) while Hyo Joo’s camera just kept on clicking.

“Noonas!” Jaejoong slapped Taeyeon’s hands away from Yunho’s cheeks, took away Boa’s hands from his pants, and pulled Yunho up from the sofa. “Where are your manners? Yunho’s a guest.”

“Jaejoong!” Yunho has never been that relieved to see him before. He really wanted to hug Jaejoong as well but reminded himself that now wouldn’t be the right time especially with all of the latter’s noonas around.

“Would you care to formally introduce your guest to us, Jaejoong?”

Jaejoong stiffened. “Father.” Kim Seung Ho had his arms crossed over his chest, as stern as ever. Jae cleared his throat. Why did Hyori-noona have to invite Yunho anyway? “This is Jung Yunho.”

“Jung Yunho.” Seung Ho repeated as he looked at the young man standing beside his only son.

Yunho did not quiver in fear. (Although the look Kim Seung Ho was giving him was enough to turn anyone into dust right then and there.) He bowed. “Nice to meet you, Sir.”

“I would have to decide if it’s nice to meet you too.” Seung Ho said. To his credit, Yunho did not flinch.

“Father, you left the grill unattended.” So Eun tugged at Seung Ho’s hand as she tried to divert his attention away from Yunho and Jaejoong.

Seung Ho’s other hand was taken by Yoona. “Yes, Father, the meat might burn.” The two of them led (more like pulled) Seung Ho back to the yard. Jaejoong flashed them a grateful smile. So Eun winked and Yoona mouthed “Hwaiting!” (Out of all his eight sisters, So Eun and Yoona were probably the most normal. Sure, the twins join in on the “let’s make Joongie’s life miserable by prying into his love life” but at least they knew when to stop.)

Their father was a force to be reckoned with. Considering the fact that Jaejoong had never brought anyone home to introduce to his family, Yunho being in the gathering was a pretty big deal. Jaejoong seriously wondered how he would ever get out of this. Telling his family that it was all a pretense was definitely out of the question. They wouldn’t believe Jaejoong. And in the event that they do believe him, knowing his eight sisters, they would do everything to see to it that Jaejoong and Yunho ended up together. (Once they’ve deemed Jung Yunho worthy of their one and only brother.)

“Unnie, Boa, Taeyeon, Dara, Hyo Joo!” Soori called out from the kitchen. “Mother and I would need some help in preparing the food now that Joongie is preoccupied with his boyfriend!”

Tact was not really one of the traits the Kim family could boast of having. Within seconds, Yunho and Jaejoong were left alone in the living room. This also meant that his sisters were now engaged in some serious gossiping about Yunho and Jaejoong. They were probably holding a family conference in the kitchen and Hyori was probably telling the rest of his four sisters along with their mother of what she knew. (Which, really, was not much but Hyori’s been known to embellish once in a while.)

Jaejoong glared at Yunho. “What are you doing here?”

Yunho pouted. “Aren’t you happy to see me?”

“Should I be?” Jaejoong plopped down on the couch, arms over his chest, his face sullen. “My whole family now thinks you’re my boyfriend!”

Yunho sat down beside Jaejoong. “I don’t see any problem with that.” In Yunho’s way of thinking, if every one assumes that they’re a couple, it would be harder for Jaejoong to deny them as such. He grinned as his arm sneaked around Jaejoong’s waist.

Jaejoong slapped Yunho’s arm away. “Yah! Stop that! It’s not funny.”

“But I missed you!” Yunho protested. “You don’t answer my messages and my calls. You don’t even open the door to your apartment when I come over. That’s why I accepted Hyori-noona’s invitation. This was the only way I could see you without you avoiding me.”

“I wasn’t avoiding you. I was just really busy with work.”

“Heechul said this was the first time you lost contact with the outside world for work.”

Jaejoong shifted uneasily on his seat. “Writing a love story is hard. I don’t need distractions.”

Yunho’s ears perked up. “So I distract you?”

“No!” Jaejoong willed the tinge of red on his cheeks would go away.

The smirk on Yunho’s face was so infuriating. “I forgive you for avoiding me then.”

“I told you I wasn’t avoiding you!” Jaejoong felt a headache coming on. “And just, don’t say or do anything that would make my family think we’re really in a relationship. I don’t want them getting the wrong idea any more than they already have.”

Yunho did not say anything. He already knew he won’t be able to do what Jaejoong wanted him to.


Since every one of the Kim siblings have already separated from their parents and set out paths of their own after graduating from university, the Kim family gathering was the only time in the year (except for special occasions like birthdays) that every one are together in one place. Each of the Kims take turns hosting the luncheon. This year, it was Hyori’s turn.

A long table had been set up in the backyard. Kim Seung Ho sat at the head of the table, Kim Rina at the other end. In between were their children, five on the right of Seung Ho and four on his left, from oldest to youngest. Yunho was sitting beside Jaejoong, across from Boa and on Rina’s left. (Yunho had two options – he could sit right next to Seung Ho or sit beside Rina. Yunho chose the lesser of two evils.)

They were all eating in peace. Seung Ho had been strangely complacent since the luncheon started. (Actually, it was more like he chose to ignore Jung Yunho’s entire existence. Aside from the introduction at the living room, Seung Ho had not said another word to him.) Yunho put more food on Jaejoong’s plate. “You lost weight since the last time I saw you. You always tell me to eat on time even if I’m busy with work. You should too. I don’t want you getting sick.”

Jaejoong only glared at him.

“So sweet.” So Eun sighed.

“You’re so brave, Joongie.” Yoona remarked. “Even I didn’t think of bringing my boyfriend to the gathering. I didn’t want to scare him away.”

(After graduating from university, the twins decided that they preferred living in Chungnam. So Eun became a therapist while Yoona was a local news reporter. And whenever the twins were free, the two of them were the ones helping out at the family restaurant.)

It was then that Jaejoong decided it was time to clear things up, no matter what the consequences were. “Yunho’s not-” Before he could finish the sentence, Yunho had fed him kimbap, leaving Jaejoong no choice but to chew it (or die from choking).

His noonas ‘awwed.’

“How did you two meet, Yunho-shii?”

As expected, it was Soori-noona, who started the questions. And from the way their father paused (just for a second) from slicing the steak he was eating made it obvious that he was very interested in this interrogation.

“We met when Jaejoong threw up all over me at a club.” Yunho replied.

“Oh, I remember that.” Hyori said. “I was the one who dragged Jae to that club.”

Seung Ho frowned at his oldest daughter. “You know that Jaejoong cannot handle his alcohol well.”

Hyori had the decency to look chastened. On the other hand, the rest of his sisters were stifling their smiles and laughter. Every one in his family knew how bad Jaejoong’s alcohol tolerance was. If Yunho had met their only brother at his worst and ended up being his boyfriend, then it must be love. (If they only knew the whole story.)

“What suit were you wearing?” Boa asked.

“Armani.” Yunho answered.

Boa gasped and glared at Jaejoong. “How could you ruin such an expensive suit?” Boa had always been single-minded when it came to designer clothes. She was apologetic to Yunho. “I’m so sorry for what Jaejoong did.”

One down, nine to go. “It’s okay. Jaejoong had the decency to return it to me when I stayed over his apartment.”

“You. Stayed. Over. My. Son’s. Apartment?” That was a pretty stupid statement from Yunho’s mouth.

“It was nothing like that, Father!” Jaejoong protested. “He was sick and fainted in front of my doorstep. It would have been rude of me to turn him away. I slept on the couch!”

Kim Seung Ho only grunted. Rina smiled. “Well, we did teach Jaejoong not to turn away those who are weaker than he is.” (Kim Rina might look sweet and motherly, but sometimes her words which one would think were meant to be nice, have veiled insults in them.)

Soori decided to go on with the interrogation. “What do you do for a living, Yunho-shii?”

“He’s the Executive Vice President of Jung Corporation.” Dara piped in. “And yes, before anyone asks, it’s that Jung Corporation.”

“I reported about the Jung Corporation recently,” Yoona remarked. “The new shopping mall that’s being built in Chungnam is owned by them.”

“It’s my brother who’s heading that project.” Yunho smiled at Yoona. “If you need to interview him, I could probably tell him. I think he’s planning to visit Chungnam soon.”

Yoona perked up. “You could? The head of Chungnam’s local news department wanted to know more about the project and the person in charge of it.”

“It’s no problem. I’ll talk to hyung about it.” Yunho then turned to Dara. “And I can probably ask Ji Hoon-hyung if he has time to be featured on your lifestyle magazine as well.”

“You’ll do it?” Dara said eagerly.

Yunho winked at her. “I bet you can even do a feature on the Jung mansion.”

Dara squealed, delighted. “Joongie, he’s a keeper!”

“Definitely.” Yoona agreed.

Three down. Sometimes, being a Jung really helped. “Jung Yunho.” So Eun pursed her lips. “Aren’t you a playboy?”

“Really, So Eun?” Seung Ho’s eyes narrowed.

So Eun nodded. “One of my clients went here for a holiday, met Jung Yunho in a club, and started dating him. It lasted three days. It took me five sessions with her to get over the dumping.”

And it seems his reputation preceded him as well. Yunho laughed awkwardly. “That was in the past.” He grabbed hold of Jaejoong’s hand. (Jaejoong who had been eating, dropped his chopsticks.) “Before I met Jaejoong.”

Rina frowned. “But we don’t really know that, do we?”

“Come on, mother.” Hyori, who seemed to have recovered after being admonished, snorted. “If Yunho wasn’t serious about Jaejoong, I doubt if he would be here now and actually facing us.” She winked at Yunho. Although she told herself she wouldn’t interfere, Hyori had grown tired of waiting for nature to take its course because it was going too slow for her. By inviting Yunho to the family reunion, Hyori was helping nature push things along.

“Yeah.” So Eun tilted her head thoughtfully. “Playboys tend to avoid meeting the parents as much as possible because that would make for a more complicated break-up.”

Five down. Yunho supposed he was lucky that Hyori liked him from the get-go and that So Eun was backing her up. During all of this, Jaejoong had taken his hand away from Yunho’s and had gone back to eating. If he didn’t do that, Jaejoong would be as red as a tomato by now. It was getting harder ordering his mouth to chew the food as it was and keeping a cold expression through out all this. Why was Yunho making things so difficult for him?

(How would he ever explain to his family what happened when the façade was finally over?)

“Anyway,” Soori interrupted as she faced Jaejoong. “A little bird told me that you went to Jeju Island with Yunho.” (Actually, what Soori knew she had gotten from Hyori. Hyori got the information from Kibum when it was the latter she found on her brother’s apartment a week ago.)

Hyo Joo frowned. “Joongie, what about our plans of going to Jeju Island this coming summer? Have you forgotten about that?”

“I’m sorry, noona.” Jaejoong really was. Hyo Joo has always loved the scenery in Jeju and had already made plans with a publishing house to release a photo book about Jeju. Jaejoong had promised that he would be the one to write the captions and descriptions for the photo book. The two of them were excited for the project for it would be their very first collaboration and was just trying to find some free time to do it. With all the events happening in his life, the project slipped from Jaejoong’s mind. “I promise to make it up to you.”

“You should have told me you were going.” Hyo Joo sighed. “I could have gone with you and taken the pictures already.”

“I’m really sorry.”

“It’s not Jaejoong’s fault.” Yunho said. “I kind of forced him to go.”

“You forced my son?”

Why is it, Yunho wondered, that Kim Seung Ho could twist his words and make them sound different than what he actually meant? “I had to oversee the construction of a resort there. My father and brother thought that it would be a good idea to bring Jaejoong along with me at Jeju so that we could have a vacation.”

“I think the vacation in Jeju did our Jaejoong some good.” Rina remarked. “He doesn’t look as stressed out as before.”

“He bought all of you gifts.” Yunho blurted out. “He didn’t buy anything for himself in Jeju but he took his time choosing gifts that he knew you would all like.”

“Stupid,” Jaejoong slapped Yunho on the head. “I haven’t even given them yet.” He had not even told his family that he had gone to Jeju (and that he was there with Yunho.)

“I didn’t want them to think that you forgot them!” Yunho pouted. “I don’t want your sister to be mad at you for something that wasn’t your fault.”

Jaejoong was going to say something else but Hyo Joo beat him to it. “I like you.” Anyone who would jump in to defend her brother like that was good in her book. It wasn’t that Jaejoong couldn’t take care of himself – it was just nice to see someone else doing it for him once in a while. “You remind me of Siwon.” Out of all of his sisters, Hyo Joo was the one who had liked Siwon best for Jaejoong.

Six down? Yunho refused to be compared to someone like Choi Siwon. “I’m better than him.”

Soori raised an eyebrow. “You know the bastard?” If Hyo Joo was the one who most liked Siwon for Jaejoong, Soori had been the opposite. For her, Siwon had always been too much of everything – too polite, too nice, too obedient, too smart, too popular – and when Jaejoong had ended up getting his heart broken, Soori had been justified of her extreme dislike of Siwon.

“I’m not like him.” Yunho looked at Soori as if challenging her. “I won’t be like him.” Choi Siwon was a fool who did not know how to treasure someone like Jaejoong.

Soori smiled in satisfaction. “Good.”

“Well, I can’t say he’s losing to Siwon in the looks department,” Taeyeon commented. She looked at Yunho. “Hey, do you have any more hot friends I can date?”

Yunho laughed. “Unfortunately, the two of them are dating each other already.”

“That’s a shame.” Taeyeon was put out.

“He’s referring to Kim Junsu and Park Yoochun.” Hyori knew what Yunho was doing and decided to help him out a little bit.

“I love them both!” Taeyeon squealed.

Jaejoong’s brows furrowed. “I didn’t know that.”

“That’s because it happened recently.” Boa rolled her eyes. “Taeyeon happened to watch an interview of theirs on television a month ago and she thought they looked adorable together.”

“And that’s when she started following them as a couple.” Dara laughed. “She actually named these two dogs that the neighbours left under her care Chun and Su.”

“I can’t help it if they’re cute.” Taeyeon glared at Jaejoong. “You’re friends with them too, aren’t you?”

“They were actually with us to Jeju,” Yunho said. “I could give you pictures, if you want.”

“Couple pictures?”

“Couple pictures.”

(And those were how Yunho caught the hearts of the eight Kim sisters.)


And then there were two. Kim Seung Ho and Kim Rina, Jaejoong’s parents. Yunho knew that getting all of Jaejoong’s sisters to like him wouldn’t be enough if he couldn’t make Seung Ho and Rina accept him for Jaejoong.

Right after lunch, the eight older sisters pestered Jaejoong about the gifts he bought for them from Jeju, forcing Jaejoong to get the gifts from his car. His sisters all followed him. Yunho was left alone with Seung Ho and Rina at the long table in the backyard.

Rina smiled at him. “They would probably take a while. It’s not every day the nine of them get together, after all.”

“I’m sure Jaejoong doesn’t mind.” Yunho said. “He might look pissed on the outside but I know he much he missed being with all of you.”

“Jaejoong never brought a guy home before.” Seung Ho spoke up. “Siwon does not count. He and Jaejoong grew up together and I treated Siwon as part of the family. That had been a mistake.” When Jaejoong had come home from Siwon’s sixteenth birthday party, pretending that everything was all right and trying his best not to cry, Seung Ho had sworn that he would never allow anyone else to hurt his only son.

Yunho took a deep breath. He stood up from his chair and bowed deeply in front of Seung Ho and Rina. “I am in love with your son. Please give me a chance.”

There was silence. Seung Ho and Rina exchanged glances. “Have you told him that?” Rina asked Yunho.

Yunho looked up. “Not yet. He’s not ready to hear it.”

“And you’re not ready to say it.” Seung Ho narrowed his eyes. “I don’t know what’s really going on between you and Jaejoong, but whatever it is, I trust that you will not break his heart.”

“Jaejoong would probably break mine first.”

It was a long while before any of them spoke again. “The next time we visit Seoul,” Rina started. “You should invite us to dine with your family, Yunho-shii.”

Seung Ho grunted. “It’s only fair since you’ve come to our family gathering unannounced.”

Yunho cleared his throat. “It would be a pleasure. I’m sure my family would be extremely delighted.” It wasn’t the approval Yunho had expected, but he supposed it was enough that Jaejoong’s parents did not hate him completely and that all of Jaejoong’s eight sisters like him.

(Yunho’s next step was to convince Jaejoong that he was worth giving a chance. Considering how dense and oblivious Jaejoong could be, Yunho knew he would need all the support he could get, especially from Jaejoong’s whole family.) ++++ A/N: I'm so sorry it took so long. School's just been crazy. Thank you all so much for reading this story. I'll try to reply to all of the comments as soon as I can. ^^

Chapter 18:

“For the last matchmaking session of this batch of participants, I’ve decided to hold a ball.” Changmin announced to his staff as soon as the meeting began. It has been the policy of Cupid and Associates that their clients pay only for five matchmaking sessions. The fifth one had always been considered as the most special of all the sessions for this was the time when a match could actually be determined. The first session is where the clients meet each other, the second is spent getting to know one another, the third and fourth is where they begin to enjoy each other’s company, and the fifth is where the clients usually decide whether or not to take it to the next level and actually continue dating.

Jungsu had gotten out a pen and paper and started to take notes. “There’s a lot of stuff to do then. When should we hold it?”

“Shouldn’t we reserve a place first?” Kyuhyun asked. “Or have we already found a place?”

“I’ve called Jung Yunho and asked if we could use the ballroom of Seasons Hotel.” Changmin replied. “He said that the ballroom was available the Sunday after next week and we could hold the ball there. He seems to be pretty excited about the idea. He even offered to sponsor the food and the music.”

Han Geng raised his hand. “Should we send out invitations?”

Changmin nodded. “I’ll trust you to take care of that.”

“Why not make it a masquerade?” Daesung suggested. “There’s something romantic about not knowing the person you’re dancing with until you unmasked them.”

“That’s a good idea.” Changmin said thoughtfully. “We’ll send out the invitations and specify that they have to go to the ball without a partner. They’ll have to find their match during the ball when every one is wearing masks. If they can find the person they’ve been spending time with this past month, then that means that they have gotten to know each other really well-”

“-and a match is deemed made.” Every one finished for Changmin.

Changmin beamed.


“You have a date with Hyunjoong?”

“It’s not a date. We’re just two friends that are going to have dinner together.”

“But he already admitted he’s interested in you!” Kibum exclaimed. “You agreeing to go out with him mean that you’re also interested.”

“It’s not like that. Hyunjoong assured me that it wasn’t a date and I believe him.” Hyunjoong had called Jaejoong again that morning to confirm their plans for the night.

“Why wouldn’t you want it to be a date? Hyunjoong is a great guy. Why won’t you give him a chance?”

“I can’t date someone while I’m in a pretend relationship with Yunho,” Jaejoong replied. “That would just be rude.”

“But Yunho’s allowed to date whoever he wants.” Kibum pointed out. “So why can’t you do that too?”

“Yunho hasn’t gone out with anyone since he met Jaejoong.” Heechul had just entered the conference room and had heard the last bit of their conversation.

“You’re late.” Kibum said to Heechul. For that week’s meeting, Heechul wanted to discuss with Kibum and Jaejoong the promotions that Heechul planned for Jaejoong’s newest novel.

“I’m the boss; it doesn’t matter if I’m late.” Heechul took the chair across from the two of them. “So, have you told Yunho that you have a date?” Being Yunho’s senior and friend as well as Jaejoong’s Project Manager/Editor, Heechul was the second person aside from Kibum to know of the pretend relationship.

“It’s not a date!” Jaejoong frowned. “And why should I tell him? Friends go out and eat together all the time. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

Heechul rolled his eyes. “There might not be for you, but you should really consider Yunho’s feelings. Don’t you wonder why he’s not dating anyone else?”

“He just doesn’t want his family and friends to be suspicious,” Jaejoong shrugged. “I mean, even if it’s pretend, we still have to make it believable to every one.”

Ever since Yunho appeared at the Kims’ family gathering two days ago, he had not left Jaejoong alone. Yunho called Jaejoong at night, telling the latter about his day and also asking about Jaejoong’s. Then the two of them would move on to talk about other things until they fell asleep, still on the phone. During the day, Yunho would send him text messages, quotes or stories that would make Jaejoong smile. The day before, Yunho had also visited Jaejoong at his apartment, claiming that he had some free time from work, and the two of them had spent the rest of the afternoon together, watching DVDs, talking, laughing, and basically hanging out with each other.

(It was almost as if Yunho was acting like his boyfriend already.)

Kibum looked at Jaejoong contemplatively. “So if you’re not in a pretend relationship with Yunho, you would date Hyunjoong?”

“I think the better question is,” Heechul also turned to Jaejoong. “Do you want the pretend relationship with Yunho to become real?”

Jaejoong sighed. “Can’t I just be friends with Yunho and Hyunjoong without the two of you making something out of it?”

(But in truth, Kibum and Heechul were just asking the things Jaejoong refuses to think about.)


The cross earrings glinted against the lights of the office.

“Are you planning on giving that to Jaejoong?”

Yunho shut the box closed and placed it back in his pockets. “Hyung, what are you doing here?”

Ji Hoon had his arms crossed over his chest. “Are you breaking up with Jaejoong, Yunho?” There was a hint of disapproval in his voice. “I thought that you really liked him. He’s the longest relationship you’ve had since you broke up with Ara. Have you found somebody else you’re interested in?”

“There’s nobody else! I like Jaejoong too much.” Like was an understatement. “And just because I want to give him jewelry does not mean I want to break up with him.” Yunho took the cross earrings with him everywhere, trying to find the perfect opportunity to give them again to Jaejoong without the latter getting the wrong impression.

“Good.” Ji Hoon sighed in relief. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re really glad that the matchmaking thing worked out for you.”

“Yeah. I guess I should thank Father for that.” If it had not been for his eagerness to get out of his Jin Ho’s clutches, Yunho wouldn’t have asked Jaejoong to be his pretend boyfriend in the first place. As it was, he still kept that piece of information a secret from every one. Yunho knew that once his family finds out the truth, there would be no point in pretending anymore.

If Yunho had a choice, he would not want the pretense to be over. Unfortunately, his agreement with Jaejoong was that the pretense would last only up to the time the latter finished writing his novel. In short, Yunho was also running on a deadline to make Jaejoong fall for him. (It was not that he could not pursue Jaejoong even when the

pretense was over – it would just be more difficult once every one is aware that Jaejoong is available.)

“By the way, Kim Yoona contacted me awhile ago about the interview I would be having with her when I go to Chungnam.” Ji Hoon told Yunho. “She says hi, by the way.”

Before leaving the Kim family gathering, Yunho had managed to get all the cell phone numbers as well as the e-mail addresses of all of Jaejoong’s sisters. (“Call any of us if you have trouble with Joongie,” Boa had said. “Or if you just want to ask for advice.”)

“When are you going to Chungnam?” Yunho asked. “Because we still have to do the photo shoot and interview at the mansion for Dara-noona’s lifestyle magazine.”

“I’ll be leaving two weeks from now so I guess we could do the feature before that.” Ji Hoon chuckled. “I can’t believe Jaejoong’s family already met you. You’ve never willingly gone and introduced yourself to any of the others’ family members before.”

Ji Hoon looked at his brother. “I know you’re serious about Jaejoong. But Yunho, be careful. I don’t want you to get hurt.”


“People think that you’re an expert when it comes to relationships because of the many flings you’ve had but we both know it’s not like that. Those flings did not matter to you, Yunho. But Jaejoong’s different. He’s capable of breaking your heart. I don’t want that to happen.” The word again remained unspoken.

“I’ve already resigned myself to the possibility of that happening.” Yunho smiled at Ji Hoon. “Don’t worry about me, Hyung, I can handle myself just fine.”

(Yunho did not know whether it was Ji Hoon he was assuring or himself.)


Hyunjoong and Jaejoong had decided to just meet at the restaurant. It was the same restaurant where Jaejoong had witnessed Yunho breaking up with Kang Hee Jin.

When Jaejoong arrived, Hyunjoong was already waiting for him at their table. Hyunjoong stood up and pulled Jaejoong’s chair for him.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” Jaejoong said. “I got caught by the rush hour traffic.” The meeting he had with Heechul and Kibum had lasted late into the afternoon. One of Heechul’s promotions was for Jaejoong to have a book-signing around South Korea and they discussed the places Jaejoong wanted to go to. After that, Jaejoong had to choose among the book covers Heechul had the art department make. Heechul also insisted that Jaejoong think up a title for his novel soon so that the cover could include it in. The three of them then spent a lot of time trying to come up with a title.

“Rough day?”

“I guess it was.” In the end, they still didn’t have a title for the story. By the time Jaejoong got home, he only had time to change his clothes in to something more presentable before driving to the restaurant.

“This is for you.” Hyunjoong motioned to the bouquet of yellow daffodils on the table. “I happened to pass by a flower shop on my way here. I thought it would be nice to give you flowers.”

“You didn’t have to.” Jaejoong protested. “You’ve already given me a lot of presents.”

“Oh, you mean the mug, the shoes, and the drawing?” Hyunjoong shrugged. “It’s no big deal. I wanted to give them to you.”


“A simple thank you would be enough.”

Jaejoong smiled helplessly. “Thank you, Hyunjoong.”


“Long time no see, Yunho.”

“How are you, Donghae?” Yunho greeted his friend. He was waiting outside of the restaurant for Ji Hoon who was still parking his car. Right after work, the two of them had decided to eat out. Their parents had a party to attend to that night and it had been a long time since the brothers had spent time together outside of their work at Jung Corporation.

“It’s been quite boring around here now that you don’t bring anyone around anymore.” Donghae and Yunho had become friends when the latter had requested for a waiter to bring in the jewelry after dessert. Donghae was the one that had been assigned to the task every time. Whenever Yunho’s date was becoming clingy, that was the time Donghae knew he had to step in. (Yunho always tipped him generously afterwards; aside from being the person who presented the jewelry, Donghae was also often times the only one left to handle the girls and guys Yunho dumped.)

Donghae looked at Yunho inquiringly. “You alone?”

“No, I’m here with my brother.” Ji Hoon finally joined Yunho at the entrance.

“Well, I’m pretty sure you won’t dump him.” Donghae teased. Yunho and Ji Hoon both laughed as they followed Donghae inside the restaurant.


“How’s your book coming along?” Hyunjoong asked. The two of them were waiting for their orders.

“It’s almost halfway through.” Jaejoong replied. “I’ve been working on it ever since I came back from Jeju.”

“Did you have fun in Jeju?”

Jaejoong nodded. “I got to visit most of the tourist spots, especially during the last couple of days when Yunho dragged me everywhere. He knew his way around Jeju quite well since he often visits their hotel branch there. He acted like our guide. It was nice.”

“You didn’t feel lonely anymore?”

“You still remember that?”

“I never forgot anything you told me.”

Jaejoong blushed. “The loneliness faded away whenever Yunho, Yoochun, and Junsu were around.” (Actually, it was really only Yunho but Jaejoong would never admit that to anyone, least of all to himself.)

“You know, I never asked you why you strangled Yunho to death at that first matchmaking session.” Hyunjoong suddenly said.

“That wasn’t one of my most shining moments.” Jaejoong laughed. “My temper got the best of me that time.” (Jaejoong never thought that the day would come when he could look back at the events that led to him meeting Yunho and laugh about it.)

“Do you want to know a secret?”


Hyunjoong leaned across the table, closer to Jaejoong. Jaejoong felt Hyunjoong’s breath on his ear as he whispered. “I’m jealous of Jung Yunho.”


As soon as they entered the restaurant, Yunho saw Jaejoong. It wasn’t hard not to – Jaejoong’s table was placed right in the middle. Jaejoong looked gorgeous wearing a white shirt that was covered up with a blue cardigan and grey slacks. His black hair framed his face, which was already of a rosy shade, tongue darting out to wet his red lips.

Unfortunately, Jaejoong was not alone.

Yunho’s eyes narrowed. “Kim Hyunjoong.” He had not expected Jaejoong to be at the restaurant. In fact, the last time he talked to Jaejoong, the latter did not mention anything about going out with Hyunjoong.

Ji Hoon watched as Yunho’s expression darkened, his teeth gritting, and his hands clenched to his sides. He was throwing murderous glances at Kim Hyunjoong. Ji Hoon swore he saw smoke coming out of his brother’s nose and ears.

When Hyunjoong leaned close to Jaejoong, Yunho saw red.


Before either Ji Hoon or Donghae could say anything else, Yunho had marched over to where Jaejoong and Hyunjoong was sitting, pushed Hyunjoong away from Jaejoong (the bastard’s face had been too close for Yunho’s liking), and punched him.

Jaejoong yelped in surprise. One moment, Hyunjoong had been telling him something, the next he was already sprawled on the ground, his nose bleeding. “Yunho! What did you do?” Jaejoong stood up to go to Hyunjoong but Yunho grabbed hold of Jaejoong’s hand and wouldn’t let go.

“He’s mine,” Yunho growled at Hyunjoong, who was still on the ground, touching his nose. The rest of the restaurant had grown silent and was watching the commotion. “I won’t give him up.”

Without another word, Yunho dragged Jaejoong away, walking pass Ji Hoon and Donghae, and out of the restaurant.


“Yah! Let me go!” Jaejoong struggled against Yunho’s hold. They were already on the parking lot, Yunho walking ahead of him but still holding his wrist. Yunho’s grip on his wrist was so tight that Jaejoong knew it would form bruises the next day. “Yunho, it hurts!”

Yunho let go. Jaejoong rubbed his wrist and glared at him. “What the hell’s wrong with you?”

“Why are you on a date with Hyunjoong?” Yunho demanded.

“It wasn’t a date! We were just eating out together.” Jaejoong’s eyes were flashing. “What did he do to deserve you breaking his nose? Go back and apologize to him!”

But Yunho wasn’t listening. “I forbid you to go out with Hyunjoong. I don’t want you to see him anymore. Stop talking to him and avoid him completely.”

“You have no right to tell me what to do!” Jaejoong was beyond furious by now. “Hyunjoong’s my friend.”

“He’s taking you away from me!” Yunho yelled. “I love you too much to let that happen!”

Whatever Jaejoong was about to say next died down his throat as Yunho pulled him close and kissed him.

It was different from his first kiss – this time, there was a hint of anger, jealousy, desperation, and love from Yunho as he coaxed Jaejoong to open up to him. Yunho nibbled on Jaejoong’s lower lip and Jaejoong unexpectedly moaned into the kiss. Yunho plunged in and took the kiss deeper. They did not know how long they stayed that way,

Yunho’s arms somehow making their way around Jaejoong’s waist, holding him closer, while Jaejoong’s were placed on Yunho’s back.

It was Jaejoong who broke away first, gasping for air, his eyes filled with utter confusion. “What-” Did Yunho say what he thought he just said a while ago?

“I’m in love with you, Jaejoong.” Yunho kissed him tenderly on the forehead. “I don’t want to pretend anymore, I want us to be real.”

And with those words, Yunho left Jaejoong alone in the middle of the parking lot, looking utterly kissed, his fingers brushing his tingling lips, thoughts of Jung Yunho swirling in his head. ++++ A/N: Thank you for reading this story and for all the lovely comments I've received the previous chapters. I'm really sorry if I haven't replied to any of them yet. ^^"

Chapter 19:


It became news. “Jung Yunho catches boyfriend Kim Jaejoong cheating” appeared on Seoul Times. (It seemed that it was the Kangs’ way of being vindictive.) Videos of Yunho breaking Hyunjoong’s nose were uploaded in the Internet. Social networking sites and forums have also commented on what happened. People on the streets have different reactions. It became the talk of the town.

It didn’t help that Jung Yunho was the Executive Vice President of Jung Corporation and also touted as one of South Korea’s most eligible bachelors for the past three years. Add to that that Kim Jaejoong was one of South Korea’s most successful novelists and that Kim Hyunjoong’s name is well-known among South Korea’s art circle (composed of artists, art lovers and critics alike). Then there was also the fact that it happened at a popular restaurant with patrons whose cell phones are equipped with cameras, who had witnessed the whole thing, and relayed it to every one they knew, and a scandal was created within twenty-four hours.

Jung Jin Ho put down the newspaper and placed it on the dining table. As usual, the whole family was having breakfast together. “Did you really have to break Kim Hyunjoong’s nose?”

“He was leaning too close to Jaejoong. I didn’t like it.”

Ji Hoon turned to Yunho. “I think you should apologize to him.” After Yunho had dragged Jaejoong out of the restaurant (because no one could deny that it was what he did), Ji Hoon had been left to deal with the aftermath. Donghae had led Ji Hoon and Hyunjoong to a more secluded spot in the restaurant to divert the spectators’ attention away from them. Since Hyunjoong’s nose was still bleeding, Ji Hoon had offered to accompany him to the doctor and pay for his medical bill. He also offered to pay for the dinner that he was supposed to have with Jaejoong, but Hyunjoong had politely declined both.

“I don’t want to.”

Youn Ha sighed. “He didn’t do anything wrong, Yunho. He doesn’t deserve to be humiliated like that.”

“He’s making moves on Jaejoong!” The more frustrating part for Yunho was that Jaejoong did not even know it. Jaejoong really does consider Kim Hyunjoong a friend of his. Yunho gritted his teeth. What did Jaejoong see in that bastard anyway? Why did Jaejoong have to enjoy his company so much?

“Jaejoong’s not really your boyfriend, Yunho, so Kim Hyunjoong has the freedom to pursue him if he wanted to.”

Yunho stared at his father. “You knew?”

“Of course I did.” Jin Ho snorted. “You’re predictable. I didn’t believe even for a second that you would obey my orders so willingly without a plan to get away from it all.”

“Father had someone follow you,” Ji Hoon said helpfully. “And he’s also on the phone with Shim Changmin-shii after every matchmaking session to check up on you.”

“But don’t worry,” Youn Ha assured her son. “I’ve already told Jin Ho to stop having you followed after we formally met Jaejoong. Although I couldn’t convince him to leave Changmin-shii alone.”

“It was the only way I could know whether Yunho’s having any real progress with Jaejoong.” Jin Ho paused. “Well, that, and talking to Yoochun and Junsu.”

“So every one knew all along?” Yunho shook his head in disbelief. (Jaejoong was right – the idea of a pretend relationship had been so overused that no one was going to buy it anymore.) “Then why didn’t you say anything?”

“Because we met Jaejoong.” Jin Ho replied simply. “And it was obvious to every one that given the chance, you could learn to love him.”

“You and Jaejoong suited each other.” Youn Ha sighed dreamily. “If you could only see how the two of you were together.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Ji Hoon looked at Yunho. “What happened after you dragged Jaejoong away with you last night?”

Since there was no point in lying anymore, Yunho settled for the simple truth. “I confessed to him that I was in love with him.”



It’s not running away, Jaejoong told himself, as he drove to Chungnam. He just missed his home, that’s all.

(It doesn’t have anything to do with the scandal that called Jaejoong unfaithful. It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with Hyunjoong’s comment that he’s jealous of Yunho and the fact that it was mostly Jaejoong’s fault that Hyunjoong now has a broken nose. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with Yunho’s confession of love and the kiss that followed it, which he couldn’t seem to forget, no matter how hard he tried.)

Jaejoong gripped the steering wheel as he stepped on the gas and sped up. He couldn’t wait to go home.

(Jaejoong left Seoul that morning without telling anyone where he was going. The past two days had been terrible. He couldn’t sleep, he couldn’t eat, and he couldn’t write. The phone had been ringing off the hook ever since the scandal came out and the reporters had crowded around his apartment asking for an opinion or any reaction at all to the incident. Since Saturday night, he had not talked to anyone. Heechul and Kibum tried getting a hold of him but he wasn’t answering. Hyunjoong had done the same, sending him text messages, apologizing profusely for the misunderstanding he had caused. He sincerely had no idea Jaejoong was already in a relationship with Yunho – Hyunjoong had been under the impression that Yunho was just a friend of Jae’s. Jaejoong still had not cleared that up with Hyunjoong, not prepared to talk to him just yet. And Yunho had not made any effort to contact him or see him at all.)

Jaejoong turned on the stereo, put it to its maximum volume, to drown out his thoughts.

Someday, when I’m awfully low…

He turned it off immediately.

(Jaejoong refuses to think about it. His life had been simple. Family, friends, and work. He was fine with that. There was no need to make things complicated.)

“I’m in love with you, Jaejoong.” Yunho’s words echoed in his head. “I don’t want to pretend anymore, I want us to be real.”

But how could he not think about it when that was all his mind (and his heart) seems to focus on?



“I haven’t talked to him, Hyung. I haven’t even seen Jaejoong since Saturday night.”

“He’s not answering any of my calls!” Yunho could hear Heechul’s frustration over the phone. “Kibum dropped by his apartment but no one’s there.”

“Have you tried asking Hyori-noona?”

“She’s ignoring us.” Heechul said dryly. “I think it has something to do with the fact that Storybook Publishing is not doing anything to clear up her brother’s name to the public.”

Yunho grimaced. He hasn’t done anything about it either. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, but Yunho had learned that the best way to handle the press was to just not say anything. It would all blow over eventually. (Although Ji Hoon had to physically restrain Yunho when the latter overheard some of their employees in Jung Corporation speaking badly of Jaejoong. Yunho then wanted to fire them immediately but Ji Hoon sensibly told Yunho that he couldn’t, having no grounds for it. Besides, they wouldn’t want to put Jung Corporation in the spotlight if the employees ever brought a suit for unlawful dismissal. It would not only tarnish their reputation, it would also reflect on Jaejoong badly.)

“Jaejoong knows he’s running on a deadline; there’s not much time left before the book is published.” Heechul ranted. “I can’t believe he’s being irresponsible.”

“Maybe he just has a lot to think about.” Yunho had left Jaejoong alone in the middle of the parking lot right after his confession because he wanted to give Jaejoong the time to finally consider Yunho’s feelings for him. It was also the reason Yunho had resisted the urge to confront Jaejoong these past few days, knowing that Jaejoong needed the space. (Truth be told, Yunho was not surprised that no one could get a hold of Jaejoong. When he did not go to the Jung mansion for the cooking session with his mother, Yunho had known that Jaejoong was avoiding him. Hopefully, this meant that Jaejoong was also thinking of him.)

“What did you do?” Heechul demanded to Yunho. “We both know Jaejoong’s ran away. Did you finally confess your undying love for him or something?”

The silence that followed confirmed that Heechul was right. “Well, Kibum’s not going to be happy about this. He’s rooting for Hyunjoong.”

Yunho scowled. “Kibum’s not the one to make the decision for Jaejoong.” (Although he supposed there was no harm in trying to win Jaejoong’s best friend over.)

“Damn it, Yunho couldn’t you have waited until, I don’t know, Jaejoong finished his love story?”

“It just came out!” Yunho exclaimed. “I couldn’t help it.” His confession might have been spur of the moment (Yunho had to admit that he had been jealous and angry) but that did not make it any less sincere.

“So? What do you plan to do now?”

“Nothing.” Yunho sighed. “It’s up to Jaejoong now.”



Jaejoong bowed. “Please come again soon.” It was lunchtime and the Kims’ family restaurant was swarming with people. Since Jaejoong arrived five days ago, he has been helping out in the restaurant.

The old lady took both of Jaejoong’s hands in hers. “I don’t believe what the television says about you, you’re a very decent young man.”

Jaejoong smiled at her. “Thank you.” (The stupid scandal had even reached Chungnam. Fortunately, the Kims were quite respected around the neighbourhood, and every one knew that they brought up their nine children properly.)

Jaejoong proceeded to clean up the table the old lady had vacated. So Eun came over to help him. “You should really take a break, Jae. You’ve been working since morning.” Seung Ho and Rina were both in the kitchen and cooking. Yoona was following up on an assignment and aside from three part-timers that his parents hired, So Eun and Jaejoong were the only ones serving the customers.

“It’s okay, Noona. I don’t mind.” Working takes his mind off stuff.

“Father and mother are worried about you. Have you been sleeping well? Your eye bags have become really obvious.”

“I’m writing at night,” Jaejoong lied. (He had trouble sleeping. Whenever he closed his eyes, he would see Yunho.) He has not done any writing since Saturday. (Whenever he

tried to write something, he would remember Yunho’s confession and Jaejoong would then unconsciously touch his lips. It was more terrible than having writer’s block.)

So Eun pursed her lips. “We won’t push you, Jaejoong. But if you want to talk about it…”

“I’m fine, Noona.” Jaejoong gave her a reassuring glance. “I just missed home, that’s all.” (Every one wasn’t buying that particular excuse of his, but ever since Jaejoong came back home, no one had said anything. Jaejoong was grateful for that.)

“I think Father almost regretted giving Yunho his approval when that stupid scandal came out.” So Eun mused. “But then Mother pointed out that jealousy had different effects on people.”

Suddenly, the door to the restaurant opened, the bell above it ringing to indicate that a new customer had come in. “I’ll handle this one,” Jaejoong volunteered as he grabbed a menu from the counter before serving the customer. He needed the distraction. (He just doesn’t like where the conversation with his Noona was going.)

But then he saw who the customer was and Jaejoong’s ready smile almost faltered. “Siwon.”

“Jaejoong.” Siwon smiled at him, his dimples showing. “I heard that you were in Chungnam. Can we talk?”



Yoochun and Junsu tried to distract Yunho from missing Jaejoong too much by taking him out clubbing. It wasn’t working.

Yunho watched Yoochun and Junsu dance, Junsu’s head on Yoochun’s shoulder while Yoochun had his arms around Junsu’s waist. The two of them were swaying slowly to the music, unmindful of the people around them.

The song was a fast one.

Yunho remembered dancing with Jaejoong in Jeju. The pang in his heart became more palpable. Yunho wasn’t naïve – he had already considered the possibility of Jaejoong rejecting him and had prepared himself for it.

(If that happened, Yunho knew it would be unbearable. But he’s also resolved to stay by Jaejoong’s side and become his friend no matter what. Although Jaejoong eventually ending up with someone else would break his heart, all Yunho would want for Jaejoong is to be happy.)

He had already received the invitation for the masquerade party. Yunho wondered if Jaejoong would come on Sunday.

Yunho honestly hoped Jaejoong would.



It had been a week since Jaejoong came to Chungnam. Though Seoul was his home away from home, Chungnam was still the place Jaejoong had grown up in and had many lovely memories of.

Jaejoong had just finished grocery shopping and was on his way home. Since their house was only ten minutes away from the supermarket, Jaejoong had opted to leave his car behind and just walk.

He was holding two plastic bags when he heard a horn sound. A red Lexus stopped next to him. The window on the passenger side was pulled down and Siwon’s face greeted Jaejoong. “Do you want a ride home?”

When Siwon came into the restaurant last Saturday, Kim Seung Ho didn’t put poison on Siwon’s food (although he had been tempted to). He just made it really spicy. To his credit, Siwon ate everything without complaint (even though he wasn’t a fan of spicy foods). While Siwon dined, he and Jaejoong began talking. Pretty soon, Jaejoong was telling Siwon everything that happened in his life so far ever since he left Chungnam. Siwon did the same.

It had been just like the old times. (Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that when Jaejoong saw Siwon again, he did not feel the pain he thought he would.)

Jaejoong hesitated. “Are you sure?”

Making the decision for Jaejoong, Siwon opened the car door automatically. Jaejoong had no choice but to get inside. “Thanks.”

“It’s no big deal. You’re my friend.” Siwon started driving to the direction of Jaejoong’s home. “I never really apologized for what I did to you.” He had every intention to, when he came to the Kims’ family restaurant. But when Siwon got there, it had not felt like the right time, with 3/11 of Jaejoong’s family watching his every move.

“I thought you already did when I saw you after that South Korea-Japan game.” Jaejoong chuckled. “I can’t believe how much I tried to avoid you back then.” (It was strange how Jaejoong did not feel the need to avoid Siwon anymore.)

“I can’t blame you.” Siwon said. “There was no excuse for what I did. You were my best friend, I had no right to hurt you the way I did. I was stupid and immature to listen to the people around me.”

“It’s all in the past now, Siwon.” Jaejoong told him. “I’ve forgiven you already.” (Jaejoong thinks he’s forgiven Siwon since that first apology. Talking about him with Yunho also helped.)

“But I hurt you.” Siwon paused. “And it’s my fault that you’re not with anyone right now.”

Jaejoong stared at Siwon. “What are you talking about?”

They were already nearing Jaejoong’s home. Siwon parked his car in front. “I knew you were in love with me even before my sixteenth birthday.”

“I guess I wasn’t as good at hiding it as I thought I had been.”

“The thing was, I was confused about what I felt for you.” Siwon continued. “You were my best friend, Jaejoong, and the brother I never had. I had not wanted to ruin that.”

“But you did,” Jaejoong pointed out. “When you tore my love story into pieces, you also broke my heart.” (He never thought the day would come when he could actually tell Siwon that.)

“I realize that.” Siwon bowed his head. “Which is why I’m trying to fix what I’ve done.”


“Jaejoong.” Siwon took his hand. “Don’t be afraid of love just because of me.”

“You must be full of yourself to think that way.”

“I check up on you once in a while, Jaejoong. I’ve never heard of you getting interested in someone else or even dating.” Siwon actually hired a private investigator to find out what was going on with Jaejoong’s life over the past few years. It was the only way Siwon could know what his best friend (for he still considered Jaejoong as such even though the latter didn’t) was up to.

Jaejoong snorted. “Have you been living under a rock these past few days to not know that the media has already tagged me as a slut?”

“Every one who knows you would attest that isn’t the truth.” Siwon replied. “What I want to know is why you’re here and not clearing things up with Jung Yunho as you should.”

Jaejoong opened his mouth. (Siwon didn’t know the whole story, he could not say something like that when he got his facts wrong.) But Siwon held up a hand. “Let me finish. When I saw how Jung Yunho came to your side when you saw me that one time, I had a feeling that he could love you in the way you had wanted me to.”

Jaejoong looked away. “You don’t know that.”

Siwon smiled. “Not every one is like me, Jaejoong.”

“Yunho could hurt me.”

“Did it ever occur to you that you could hurt him too?”

No, it had not. Jaejoong recalled the times he had spent with Yunho. He enjoyed their bantering (every one knew that Jaejoong had the tendency not to think before speaking or doing something, but Yunho was one of the few who didn’t seem to mind and could keep up with him in terms of sarcasm and wittiness.) He thought about the two times he had asked Yunho to simulate a scene with him (Jaejoong had to admit that he had fun at the amusement park and he had been touched when Yunho had won that Hamtaro stuffed toy for him.) The trip to Jeju Island made him get to know Yunho more (and how much Jaejoong felt lonely at the thought of Yunho leaving him for Ara.)

He wasn’t really angry at Yunho for barging into their family gathering so suddenly (it was just that it would be difficult to explain to every one what happened when Yunho decides to leave him.) He also genuinely like Yunho’s family, who had treated him with nothing but kindness (Jaejoong still felt guilty about lying to them). It was through Yunho that he got to know Yoochun and Junsu as well (he did not know of any couple as in love as the two of them were.)

And it was with Yunho that Jaejoong experienced his first date (Yunho was right – going to the amusement park was technically one), his first kiss (it wasn’t what Jaejoong had imagined it to be, but looking back, a kiss in the rain could be considered romantic), his

first couple dance (there had been others before Yunho, but no one had asked Jaejoong to dance to a slow song before), and his first love confession (“I’m in love with you, Jaejoong.”)

“Do you love Jung Yunho, Jaejoong?” Siwon asked him. “Because if you do, it’s okay. No one is stopping you from loving him.”

Except Kim Jaejoong himself.


Hero supposed it was time to snap out of his denial. It was just so easy to hide under the guise of friendship. There would be less pain that way and his heart would be safe.

But there comes a time when Hero has to stop being cautious and step out into the world. It was time to stop protecting his heart from breaking. It’s been beating unusually fast and hard recently anyway and Hero is afraid that if it goes on any longer, he would eventually get a heart attack.

Hero stared at the portrait he was making, the one he had started on ever since he accepted Rui’s proposal to host his artworks. He had not known what drove him to paint one, considering that he’s never made a portrait before. For this particular one, Hero had put all his heart and soul into and there was no going back.

It was a portrait of U-Know.

Chapter 20:

Since Jaejoong left Seoul without telling anyone, his return to Seoul was also unannounced. The reporters who had camped out of his apartment over a week ago were already gone and Jaejoong was grateful for that. (It had been difficult to get away from them without being noticed.) He opened the door to his apartment quietly, placed his suitcase to the sofa, and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

The mail that had accumulated over the past week had been placed on the dining table. Jaejoong supposed that Kibum had dropped by once in a while to check whether or not he had come back and to also take care of the apartment while he was gone.

Aside from the bills he had to pay, it was the invitation that caught Jaejoong’s attention. “A masquerade?” Jaejoong murmured as he read through its contents. With everything that has been happening the past few days, he had forgotten about the last matchmaking session he had with Cupid and Associates. Unmask your right one.

It was going to be held that Sunday at the ballroom of Seasons Hotel. Since it was the last matchmaking session and it was going to be at Seasons Hotel, Jaejoong knew that Hyunjoong and Yunho would most probably be there.

He bit his lip. It wasn’t like he could put it off any longer. No one is stopping you from loving him.

With a resolved look, Jaejoong grabbed the phone from its handle and called the first person he knew could help him. “Hyori-noona? I’m going on a masquerade this Sunday and I don’t have anything to wear yet.”


“Jaejoong’s back.”

Yunho looked up from the contract he was reading. “Really?”

“He called Junsu.” Yoochun replied. “You were right. He was in Chungnam all this time.”

Yunho had figured that Jaejoong had gone to Chungnam when no one could get a hold of him. It was where his family was, after all, and Yunho knew Jaejoong still considered it his home. Even so, Yunho did not follow Jaejoong, respecting the younger man’s decision and giving him his space. (The irrational part of Yunho had been arguing with his rational one, contending that Yunho was stupid to just leave Jaejoong alone, and that he should claim what was his. It was with great difficulty that Yunho managed to ignore that part of his brain.)

“How did he sound?” Yunho asked Yoochun eagerly. Did Jaejoong sound confused, miserable, and pining over the phone? Did Jaejoong miss him as much as Yunho did? Did he call Junsu to get information about how Yunho was doing?

“The two of them were chatting and laughing happily.” Yoochun said. “I think they made plans to hang out this Sunday.”

Whatever Yunho had been hoping for came flying right out the window. “I see.” It seemed that the trip to Chungnam had done Jaejoong good but it was not the good that Yunho expected. And he made plans with Junsu on Sunday? It appeared that Jaejoong was not going to the masquerade after all. Yunho had been so looking forward to seeing him again.

Yoochun frowned. “I personally came here to see you because I thought you’d be happy to know that Jaejoong’s back.”

“Why is it so hard, Yoochun? Why can’t I just love him and him love me back?”

“So that it would make it all worth it when he finally does love you.” Yoochun told him. “I want to reassure you that everything would work out fine between you and Jaejoong but, I can’t. You knew the risk you were taking when you fell for him. You should hang on until the very end.”

“I know.” Yunho sighed. “It would just be nice if I had a clue as to what Jaejoong is thinking or feeling right now.”


Even if Hero had become aware of what U-Know was to him, he still couldn’t bring himself to face the lawyer. He wasn’t experienced when it came to this kind of stuff and Hero doesn’t know what U-Know was expecting him to do.

Telling him would be nice. The voice inside Hero’s head said. Of course Hero knew that.

But still, he’s never said those words to anyone who wasn’t family before. And he’s never been really good at telling people what he felt because he always lets his paintings speak for himself.

Hero continued working on U-Know’s painting, taking great care and diligence to get his features exactly just right.


Yunho wasn’t particularly looking forward to the masquerade tomorrow evening. Actually, if it wasn’t for the fact that the event would be held at the Seasons Hotel and that he had already promised Changmin that he would attend (because it would be rude not to considering the venue and all), he wouldn’t have bothered dressing up for it.

As of the moment, it was his mother who was choosing a mask for him to wear. Youn Ha had already selected a black Venetian mask for Yunho, its linings trimmed and encrusted with gold. His black tuxedo has also been prepared and ironed out for him to wear.

“Don’t look so down, Yunho.” Youn Ha chided her son gently. “It’s not the end of the world.”

Yunho pouted. “He’s been back three days and he still hasn’t made any effort to contact me.”

“It goes both ways. You could contact him.”

“No.” Yunho was quite adamant about that. “I’ve already told him and showed him how I feel. It’s his move to make now.”


“I appreciate this, Junsu.” Jaejoong told him as the latter helped him prepare for the masquerade. His Hyori-noona, despite the short notice, had pulled through for him. As of the moment, Jaejoong had three suits to choose from, already paired up with masks, and with shoes to go along with each of them.

“Your Noona has very good taste,” Junsu remarked. “And she must know a lot of people to be able to get this kind of wardrobe in a very short amount of time.”

“Her being an events organizer led her to meeting people.” Jaejoong held up the white Venetian mask and covered his eyes with it.

“I like that one the best.” Junsu told him. “Actually, wearing the all white ensemble would make you look like an angel tonight.”

“You think so?” Jaejoong put down the mask and ran a hand through his dishevelled hair.

Junsu frowned. “Are you sure you want to go to the masquerade? You look like you haven’t slept in days.”

“I’m fine.” Jaejoong was running on adrenaline. Once he had returned from Chungnam, Jaejoong had not left his apartment once. His muse had come back in full force and Jaejoong had spent his days writing. He had finally finished his first-ever romance novel

late last night. Jaejoong’s sleep right after that was one of the most sound and peaceful he’s had in months.

Jaejoong felt wonderful. He tugged Junsu’s hand. “Help me with my hair?” Not that Jaejoong did not like the dark locks that framed his face – he just wanted to try something new. (It would make him feel like a different person – someone who was more confident and comfortable in his own skin and with his own feelings.)

“Not that I wouldn’t love to help you, but shouldn’t you ask your Noona as well?” Junsu asked. “She really has impeccable taste.”

“I’m not crazy. The last time I said something like that, she dragged me to a salon and left the noonas there to do all the work.” Jaejoong shivered. “I swore to myself never to go through something like that again.” (It was a good thing Hyori had a wedding to take care of that day, otherwise, Jaejoong was sure his Noona would insist helping him for the masquerade.)

Junsu laughed as he motioned to the various hair care products that were already placed on Jaejoong’s bed. (Jaejoong had called Kibum that morning to ask for a few favours. One of them had been to buy hair care products and drop by his apartment. Kibum, who had been pissed because Jaejoong changed the locks on his apartment as soon as he returned and in effect locked Kibum out, had begrudgingly agreed.) “So what do you have in mind?”

Jaejoong grinned. “I’ve always wanted to dye my hair blonde.”


After checking on Changmin and the rest of his staff and offering his help in decorating the ballroom for the masquerade (which Changmin had waved of, claiming that everything was going well), Yunho had proceeded to his office at the Seasons Hotel to do some work.

It was still late afternoon and the masquerade wouldn’t be for a couple of hours anyway.

Yunho was pouring through the reports that the hotel manager had submitted to him when a commotion was heard outside his office. Within seconds, a fuming Kim Kibum had stormed in. “YOU!”

“Um, yes?” Yunho had only really met Jaejoong’s best friend that one time. He doesn’t understand where the extreme dislike came from. “May I help you?”

In answer, Kibum slammed a brown envelope on Yunho’s table. “I don’t know what he sees in you.” His eyes were flashing. “Make him cry and I’ll kill you.”

And with those words, Kibum walked out with a huff. Yunho’s secretary and the two security guards who had tried to prevent Kibum from barging in, could only stare as the guy threw daggers with his eyes at anyone who so much as looks at him. (Kibum wasn’t smiling. It was scary.)

Yunho blinked then turned his attention to the envelope that Kibum placed on his desk. The back of the envelope had a handwritten message on it. It was only one sentence.

Please don’t tear it to pieces.


When Jaejoong stepped inside the ballroom with his mask on, he felt every one’s eyes on him. He was at the top of the staircase, about to make his way down on the red carpet that had been rolled down for the guests. At the bottom of stairs, to the right side, an orchestra was playing instrumental music. There were already couples dancing at the middle of the floor but they all seemed to stop when Jaejoong came.

(Jaejoong had no idea how ethereal he looked with his blonde hair and his all white getup. The Venetian mask that covered his eyes only served to enhance his huge doe-like eyes more. From up on the staircase, Kim Jaejoong looked like an angel that was about to step down to earth.)

Before leaving the apartment, Kibum had called Jaejoong and told him that he had already given Yunho a copy of the rough draft of Jaejoong’s novel. (“That playboy better not give me any reason to kill him,” Kibum had ranted.)

Taking a deep breath, Jaejoong finally walked down the stairs. It was Shim Changmin who greeted him at the bottom, a corsage in hand. “Kim Jaejoong-shii.”

“You recognize me?” Jaejoong asked. He thought the whole point of the masquerade was so that every one could be strangers for a night and find who they thought was the right one for them.

Changmin chuckled. “Everyone else is already here except for you and Jung Yunho-shii. And since I already saw Yunho-shii around here this afternoon and he’s definitely not blond…”

Jaejoong touched his newly dyed hair. Although Junsu had already assured him that the blond hair suited him, Jaejoong still felt conscious about it. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so drastic in changing his hairstyle.

“There’s only a few people who could carry out being blond,” Changmin pinned the corsage on Jaejoong’s left chest. “You’re definitely one of them.”

Jaejoong blushed. “Thank you.”

Changmin beamed at him and pushed Jaejoong to the dance floor. “Now off you go.”

And because he was Jaejoong, he tripped on nothing but air and was about to fall down when someone caught him. Jaejoong looked up. “Hyunjoong?” The latter had removed his mask and Jaejoong could see the bandage that covered his broken nose.

Hyunjoong looked dashing, also dressed in white. He and Jaejoong made quite a pair. “I was waiting for you. Can we talk?”


Hero and Rui were friends. When Rui had introduced himself that very first time, Hero had found it easy to open up to him.

It was different with U-Know. They weren’t friends when they met – they had been fighting. Hero didn’t like U-Know and thought him to be an arrogant idiotic pervert.

With Rui, it was comfortable. It felt like Hero could tell Rui anything and the latter would always be there to assure him that everything would be alright. That’s what Rui had been doing all this time – supporting Hero, lending a helping hand when needed, and always being there for him.

It was difficult with U-Know. They bantered a lot. Hero can’t remember a conversation he had with U-Know where he didn’t insult the latter or call him an idiot or a pervert. It went both ways – U-Know seemed to have fun teasing him a lot too. But in between the banter, there were also the times they had spent together where they had really gotten to know each other.

With Rui, it was friendship, pure and simple. With U-Know, it could be something more.


Jaejoong and Hyunjoong were sitting at opposite sides on the table. It was Jaejoong who first broke the silence. “Does your nose still hurt?”

“Not anymore.” Hyunjoong touched on the bandage tenderly. “I wasn’t supposed to go to this masquerade anymore.

“Why did you?”

Hyunjoong looked at him earnestly. “Because I knew you were going to be here.”

The thing with Hyunjoong is that he’s always been honest to Jaejoong. Since the first time they met, Hyunjoong had never tried to be someone he wasn’t. Even during the times that Hyunjoong had spoken in riddles, the latter had never lied to him.

(His relationship with Yunho, on the other hand, began with a pretense that had turned into something real.)

“I’m really sorry about Yunho.” Jaejoong bowed his head. “He had no right to punch you just like that.”

“It’s okay, I would have probably done the same thing in his place.” Hyunjoong smiled wistfully. “You’re worth fighting for, Jaejoong.”

“Hyunjoong, I’m not in a relationship with Yunho.” Jaejoong owed him that much.

“Even if you’re not with Yunho, I’ll still lose to him.” Hyunjoong said. “Even if I do continue fighting for you, you would never choose me.” (Hyunjoong had known that he would never be the one that could make Jaejoong happy. He had known, even before he had pursued Jaejoong, that Yunho had gotten to Jaejoong’s heart first. It was from the way Jaejoong talked about Yunho, from the way Jaejoong unconsciously ditched him for Yunho, and from the way Jaejoong and Yunho acted when they were together.)

“I’m so sorry.”

Hyunjoong offered his hand. “Friends?”

Jaejoong stared at the proffered hand. (From the very first time they met, Hyunjoong had been someone Jaejoong considered as a friend.) He shook it firmly. “Friends.”


Hero hopes that when U-Know sees the portrait, the latter will realize what Hero feels for him.


Jaejoong was laughing, a hand covering his mouth, when he saw him. Hyunjoong, who had been telling a funny story, followed Jaejoong’s gaze and smiled.

“Your Prince has finally arrived to sweep you off your feet.”

Jaejoong remained frozen in his seat. Yunho had not seen him yet but it was obvious he was looking for Jaejoong. The former was standing in the middle of the dance floor, his head turning to every where, eyes searching every face in the ballroom.

“You shouldn’t keep him waiting,” Hyunjoong told Jaejoong. “I think he’s been waiting long enough for you.”

Just then, Yunho and Jaejoong’s eyes met and Jaejoong’s breath caught in his throat. Both of them were wearing the same kind of Venetian mask, only in different colours. Jaejoong’s was white and Yunho’s was black.

They were night and day. If Jaejoong was the angel, then Yunho must be the dark prince that would take the angel away. Yunho looked handsome in his black tuxedo.

(Maybe it was a sign, but at that very moment when their eyes met, the orchestra was playing their song.)

Someday, when I’m awfully low, When the world is cold, I would feel a glow…just thinking of you, And the way you look tonight

Without a word, Jaejoong stood up from his chair and approached Yunho. Yunho walked towards Jaejoong, the two of them meeting halfway.

The two of them stared at each other. Yunho held out a hand. Jaejoong took it. Yunho then wrapped his arms around Jaejoong’s waist. Jaejoong placed his head on Yunho’s chest, his arms on Yunho’s shoulders.

As they swayed to their song, Jaejoong could feel Yunho’s heart beat. It was pounding as fast and as strong as Jaejoong’s was.

With each word your tenderness grows, Tearing my fear apart... And that laugh that wrinkles your nose, It touches my foolish heart.

“I read your love story.” Yunho pulled Jaejoong closer, his breath inhaling Jaejoong’s scent. “I’ll treasure it forever, if you’d allow me to.” (When Yunho had finished reading the rough draft, his first instinct had been to rush down to the ballroom and find Jaejoong. But he steeled himself in time, knowing that he needed to make himself the best for Jaejoong.

When Yunho had put on his mask and finally proceeded to the ballroom, he felt different. He was too happy and he felt as if his heart was going to burst at any moment as his eyes roamed the crowd, searching for that one particular person.

And then their eyes met, and Yunho swore his heart stopped. He had never seen someone so beautiful.)

Jaejoong looked up at Yunho, head tilted to the side. Yunho gently removed Jaejoong’s mask, wanting to see him clearly. Jaejoong did the same, peeling off Yunho’s mask as both of them continued dancing. (Jaejoong doubted if he would ever want to dance with anyone else but Yunho.)

Yunho cleared his throat. “I can’t promise that I wouldn’t make you cry or that we wouldn’t fight, but I can promise that I’ll do anything you want me to and that I’ll love you-”

This time, it was Jaejoong who took the initiative to kiss Yunho. It was hesitant and Yunho had been caught off-guard. But later on, as Jaejoong’s lips caressed that of Yunho’s, the kiss became easy, gentle, and sweet. Yunho allowed Jaejoong to lead the kiss, letting the latter probe in deeper. Yunho enjoyed the feeling of warmth and love that seeped through him and he knew. (Even while reading Jaejoong’s love story, Yunho had known.)

“I love you, Yunho.” Jaejoong said softly. He stood on his tiptoes to whisper on Yunho’s ear. “I’m sorry it took so long.”

(It was with Yunho that Kim Jaejoong finally took the risk of falling and being in love. And for some reason, Jaejoong knew that he made the right decision.)

“It’s okay,” Yunho kissed each of Jaejoong’s eyelids tenderly. “You were worth it.” He kissed him on the nose. “I love you, Jaejoong.” And then Yunho kissed him on the lips.

Their song continued playing.

Lovely ... Never, ever change. Keep that breathless charm. Won't you please arrange it? 'Cause I love you ... Just the way you look tonight.

“So,” Yunho pulled away from Jaejoong. “Does this mean I’m your first boyfriend?”

Jaejoong slapped Yunho’s chest. “Idiot.” But Jaejoong was smiling.

Both of them were.

(At the bottom of the staircase, Changmin watched the whole exchange. The rest of his staff, Jungsu, Kyuhyun, Daesung and Han Geng joined him.

Changmin was beaming. “And another match is made.”

And what a match it was.) ++++ A/N: The Way You Look Tonight was sang by Frank Sinatra (I love that song too much not to use it again). Next chapter is the Epilogue. ^^ I apologize if it seems sudden, but I originally planned for this story to only have 12 chapters, ending with YunJae getting together. It just so happened that it took so long to build up the plot. ^^" Thank you so much to every one who has read and commented on this story. I really appreciate them. ^^ I'm really sorry if I haven't replied to the comments these past few chapters, I've just been really busy. I promise I'll try to reply to them as soon as I can.


The title of the novel was Wasurenaide. It was the most successful of Jaejoong’s novels to date. It exceeded every one’s expectations, debuting at number 1 of the bestsellers’ list. Critics hailed it as “the love story that every one wanted but could only dream about.”

(Storybook Publishing, or Heechul rather, used the scandal for Jaejoong’s benefit. Months before Wasurenaide came out, Heechul had already sent out fillers and teasers, telling the public that Kim Jaejoong’s next novel would be the author’s very first love story basing it on his own personal experience.

Suffice it to say that Wasurenaide was one of the most anticipated books that year. Every one wanted to know what the real story was among Kim Jaejoong, Jung Yunho, and Kim Hyunjoong. Those who have read the book weren’t disappointed.)

Kim Jaejoong smiled at the girl as he signed her copy of Wasurenaide. “Thank you for coming.” It was the second of the book-signing events that Heechul had planned for Jaejoong as part of the promotions for his book. He was sitting behind a makeshift table, a tarpaulin of the book cover of Wasurenaide standing beside the table. The booksigning gave Jaejoong an opportunity to interact with his readers.

The girl sighed. “I was rooting for Rui to end up with Hero. Rui seems so perfect.”

On Jaejoong’s left, Kibum muttered, “You and me both.” Heechul, who was on Jaejoong’s right, whacked Kibum on the head. The two of them were there to oversee the book-signing which was held at one of the largest bookstores in Seoul.

(It wasn’t that Kibum was still bitter about Jaejoong’s decision. He had never seen Jaejoong as happy in the past four months since he got together with Yunho. It was just that – did fiction really have to imitate real life? As the editor, Kibum was of the opinion that Rui deserved Hero more than U-Know did. Rui was the one who gave Hero a chance when no one else wanted to host his paintings anymore. It was through one of Hero’s earlier paintings that Rui got inspired by and decided to pursue his love for the arts. Rui threw away the dreams his parents had decided for him and chose his own path

in the art world. In short, Hero and Rui were two peas in a pod who were linked together even before they had known of each other.

Kibum’s only mistake was broaching the subject to Jaejoong when Yunho dropped by the apartment unexpectedly, saying that he missed Jae. Of course, Yunho argued that UKnow was more destined for Hero than Rui was. Hero and U-Know’s first meeting, even if it had been by accident, paved the way for their love story. They became neighbours right after that – it must have been fate.

Kibum knows that Yunho just doesn’t want Jae to choose Hyunjoong, even in makebelieve. He would have said so, if Jae had not cut in that time, asking Yunho if he wouldn’t mind going out and buying groceries because Jae was running out of them again. Kibum was proud of his best friend – Jaejoong could order Yunho around.

When Yunho left, Jaejoong admitted to Kibum that he really wanted the ending to stay the way it was. Rui had been too perfect for Hero – and U-Know suited him more. Kibum had no choice but to leave it at that.

Besides, even if Jaejoong had agreed to change the ending, Heechul wouldn’t have allowed it. By then, the public already had an inkling that Wasurenaide was about Jaejoong’s love life and it would do more damage than good if Hero chose Rui, and every one knowing that Kim Jaejoong was already with Jung Yunho.)

Thankfully, the girl didn’t hear Kibum. “Do you think Rui can find his own happiness with someone else?” The girl asked Jaejoong.

“I believe so.” Jaejoong replied honestly. “Any person would be lucky to have Rui’s love.”

(Despite Yunho’s jealousy and possessiveness, Jaejoong and Hyunjoong remain good friends. It had been the subject of one their first fights as a couple. Jaejoong wanted Yunho to apologize to Hyunjoong for breaking his nose. Yunho, stubborn and proud as he was, refuses to. Jaejoong had yelled and asked Yunho what the problem was. They were already together and Hyunjoong was just a friend, there was nothing Yunho should be worried about.

Rationally, Yunho knew that Jaejoong was right. Irrationally, Yunho was afraid that Jaejoong would change his mind and go to Hyunjoong.

When he said as much, Jaejoong had punched him, telling him that he was an insensitive jerk and did he honestly think Jaejoong was that easy?

In the end, Yunho was sporting a black eye when he apologized to Hyunjoong. To his credit, Hyunjoong did not laugh and accepted the apology graciously.

Nowadays, whenever Jaejoong and Hyunjoong spend time together, Yunho makes it a point not to be too jealous. He trusts Jaejoong and Jaejoong always tells him whenever he was with Hyunjoong. Besides, even Yunho has to admit that Kim Hyunjoong was a gentleman. He hasn’t done anything that would make Yunho suspect that he and Jaejoong were more than friends.

Still, it doesn’t stop Yunho from praying to the gods that Hyunjoong would find someone soon.)

The next person in line presented Jaejoong with a bouquet of red roses. Jaejoong blinked, gazing at the man standing in front of him. “Yunho?”

Yunho kissed Jaejoong on the cheek. “I brought flowers.”

“It’s not that.” Cameras were seen and heard flashing everywhere. “What are you doing here?”

Yunho pouted. “Is it wrong to visit my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen for a while now?” While Jaejoong had been busy promoting his novel, Yunho had also been preoccupied with Seasons Hotel. Ever since Jung Jin Ho retired two months ago and Ji Hoon took over as CEO, the latter had charged Yunho with the responsibility of overseeing the main operations of the hotel chain.

“You better move.” Kibum told Yunho. “You’re getting in the way of the book-signing.”

Heechul, on the other hand, was grinning. “Ah! More publicity!” He nudged Jaejoong. “Take the bouquet. Every one is watching.”

With a sigh, Jae did as he was told. “I thought we agreed to just meet at the Jung mansion later.” He placed the bouquet on the side of the table and motioned for Yunho to move so that the next person’s book could be signed.

Yunho stepped aside but barely to stand next to Jaejoong. “I miss you.”

“You just don’t want to face them alone.” Jaejoong said as he smiled to the lady in her late thirties whose copy he just signed.

“Your parents don’t like me!” Kim Seung Ho and Kim Rina were staying with Jaejoong for a few days to take care of some business with some of their Seoul-based food suppliers. Another reason why Yunho had not seen Jaejoong recently.

“Don’t be silly. My parents already gave you their approval.” Jae continued signing books and meeting his readers. “Besides, your parents are also going to be there.”

Yunho clung to Jaejoong. “Which is why we need to go there together! They’ll all gang up on me!”

(Yunho kept his word. Because this was the first time after the Kim family gathering that Jaejoong’s parents went to Seoul, Yunho invited them to have dinner with the Jungs. Yunho’s parents, knowing and hoping that the Kims would be their prospective in-laws, had wanted to meet Jae’s parents for some time now. No one had been as delighted as Yunho’s whole family when they found out that Jae was officially Yunho’s boyfriend.

Interestingly enough, it was Ji Hoon who had managed to meet five members of the Kim family first. Overseeing the construction of the shopping mall in Chungnam, Ji Hoon had the opportunity to visit the Kim family restaurant. Kim Seung Ho and Kim Rina saw Jung Ji Hoon as a polite young man. Yoona and So Eun had nothing but praises for Ji Hoon, especially Yoona, when the latter got the chance to interview Ji Hoon for the local news.

And then there was the feature that Ji Hoon and Yunho did on the lifestyle magazine that Dara was editor for. Since Yunho’s parents were at a business trip at that time, they didn’t get to meet Jaejoong’s fourth noona. Dara was quite talkative and had enjoyed conversing with Ji Hoon, who was well-versed in any subject.

Last, but not the least, was Hyori. It was strange how the two of them had hit it off when Yunho and Jaejoong introduced them to each other. Hyori had dragged Jae to another club again, saying that just because Jae now had a boyfriend did not mean that he needed to change his lifestyle and that included bonding with his oldest Noona once a month. Yunho, worried that something might happen to Jae, decided to go with them and took Ji Hoon with him. That night, Hyori did not meet any guy, being charmed by Ji Hoon. Ji Hoon, on the other hand, found Hyori fascinating.

Yunho had the feeling that the Kims, or at least six out of eleven of them, liked his Ji Hoon-hyung more than him.)

“Yah!” Kibum pulled Yunho away. “You’re distracting him.” This time, Heechul helped Kibum. Yunho was actually getting in the way now. “Why don’t we ask the manager to tour us around this bookstore? Maybe something would make you take up reading again.” Heechul pulled the bookstore manager along to accompany them.

Jaejoong bowed apologetically to the people who were still in line. “I’m so sorry about that.”

“It’s okay.” The next person in line, a college freshman who was with her friends, squealed. “The two of you are very adorable together.”

Jaejoong blushed.


The book-signing event finished at 6 pm. Jaejoong, who had used Storybook Publishing’s van for the event with Kibum and Heechul, was leaving with Yunho. They still had a family dinner to attend, after all.

“What-” Jaejoong was about to open the door of Yunho’s car, when Yunho slammed it shut, turned Jae around and kissed him.

It was the sort of kiss that had Jaejoong seeing stars. When Yunho pulled away, both of them were gasping for air. Yunho grinned at Jae wolfishly as he opened the car door. “That was how I was supposed to greet you awhile ago if there weren’t so many people around.”

Jaejoong, who looked thoroughly kissed, stepped inside. “Idiot. And you think kissing me outside was any better?”

“I made you breathless.”

(Jaejoong and Yunho’s relationship really did not change that much from before. There was still the bantering, the innocent flirting, the phone conversations that lasted until they both fell asleep, and the times they spend together. They were friends who also happened to be in love with each other. And it showed.)


“Yours.” Yunho was holding Jae’s hand as he drove. They were passing down one of the main thoroughfares in Seoul when they saw the huge billboard advertising Cupid and Associates. Fall in love.

“Changmin seems to be doing well.”

Yunho snorted. “That’s an understatement. If Changmin ever considers leaving the matchmaking business, I’d offer him a management position in Jung Corporation immediately. That kid knows what he’s doing.”

(It is a known fact that Shim Changmin and Cupid and Associates played a hand in getting Yunho and Jaejoong together. It was Cupid and Associates that paved the way for them to meet that second time and gave them the different opportunities to explore their relationship. It is also with Cupid and Associates that Jaejoong was given the chance to simulate scenes for Wasurenaide.

Yunho and Jaejoong getting together at the masquerade had been six out of six for Cupid and Associates. Changmin couldn’t have been more thrilled – Jung Yunho and Kim Jaejoong’s reputations also helped bolster that of Cupid and Associates’. After that, more romantic hopefuls approached Cupid and Associates to help them, which Changmin is more than willing to oblige.)

Familiar music was playing on Yunho’s stereo as the two enjoyed each other’s company. “I really should buy Yoochun’s album soon.” Jaejoong remarked. “I like listening to it when I work. It’s soothing.”

“Why don’t you just ask him for a copy? Yoochun would give you one for free.” Yunho just pestered Yoochun for one.

“Why are you so stingy?” Jaejoong slapped him on the arm. “Yoochun bought a copy of my book. It’s only fair that I buy a copy of his album.”

“You can be such a goody-goody sometimes.” Yunho muttered under his breath.

“I heard that!”

(Park Yoochun’s latest album was released a month before Kim Jaejoong’s newest novel. Yoochun’s schedule became packed, touring key cities, appearing in various magazines, granting television and radio interviews, and performing at various music programs.

It wasn’t only Park Yoochun who was busy. The World Cup was fast approaching and Kim Junsu had put all his effort and time in the training. The last time Jaejoong had seen Yoochun and Junsu was when the two double dated with Yunho and Jaejoong two weeks ago. The double date had been Yoochun and Yunho’s idea and Junsu and Jaejoong could only roll their eyes at the cheesiness of it all.

Yunho had wanted Jaejoong to experience his first double date. And despite the sarcastic comments, Yunho knew that Jaejoong had fun watching movies with Yoochun and Junsu.)

They were finally at the Jung mansion. Yunho’s hand gripped Jaejoong’s tighter. “It’s just dinner, Yunho. We always have dinner with your family.” Actually, Jaejoong had been in the Jung mansion too many times to count that he was already considered part of the family.

“I still think your parents don’t like me.” Yunho hoped that by meeting Jin Ho and Younha, Kim Seung Ho and Kim Rina would see another side of Yunho.

Jaejoong chuckled. “Younha-shii is probably showing your baby pictures by now.” Yunho had been mortified when, at one of the cooking sessions Younha and Jaejoong had, Younha showed Jaejoong the family pictures. Jaejoong had made fun of him, claiming that his Taeyeon-noona was right, and that Yunho did look like a hamster.

Yunho paled. “Oh no.” But then, his parents did take fun in embarrassing him…

Jaejoong removed his hand from Yunho’s and was about to get out of the car, when Yunho pulled him back. “What now? We’re going to be late already.”

Yunho had gotten out the small box from his pants pocket. “I’ve been meaning to give you this for a while now.”

It was the cross earrings Jaejoong had wanted to buy in Jeju. Jae took it from Yunho in awe. “You still kept it?”

Yunho flicked Jae on the forehead. “Of course I did. They’ve always been for you.” And now, Yunho could finally give them to Jae without the latter doubting his intentions.

“Thank you.” Jaejoong said softly as he touched the earrings. “I’ll treasure them.”

Yunho took the earrings and put them on Jaejoong’s ears. They looked perfect on Jaejoong. He kissed Jaejoong tenderly and gently, revelling in the taste of vanilla that filled his senses. “I love you, Jae.”

“I love you too, Yunho.” Jaejoong never imagined he could say those words to anyone who wasn’t his family. But being with Yunho made it easy.

Yunho tilted his head thoughtfully. “You know, you never asked me to simulate a love scene for Wasurenaide.”

In response, Jaejoong smacked him on the head. Hard. “Pervert.”

(Kim Jaejoong was 23 years old and has had no boyfriend since birth. His life had been simple – family, friends, and work. That all changed when he met Jung Yunho.

And he couldn’t be happier.) ++++ A/N: Thank you so much for reading N.B.S.B. Thank you for supporting this until the very end. I really appreciate each and every comment I've received for this story. ^^ This was my first ever DBSK fanfic and I really had fun writing it. (Although there were moments when I just wanted to pull my hair out, because eight sisters? What was I thinking?) This is also unedited, so I apologize for any mistake I might have made in the course of writing this. But just out of curiosity, what were your favorite and least favorite scenes? My favorite scene would have to be the morning after Yunho got sick and stayed over Jaejoong's apartment. Hyori is just so fun to write. (She's my favorite character in the story aside from writer!Jae. ^^) My least favorite scene would have to be the whole Kim family gathering. (Eight sisters. Gah.) Again, thank you so much. ^^

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